By Dhammika Mendis
The war is over at long last. The destructive battle that wreaked havoc for three decades causing catastrophic loss of precious lives, limbs and scores of privately owned as well as commercial properties including national assets, was brought to a decisive conclusion on 19th May 2009, by a successful military campaign executed by the combined military establishment of the country, through a well orchestrated politico-military strategy that witnessed the decimation of the fighting apparatus of the LTTE, then considered one of the most ruthless armed movements, the world has ever seen.
Dawning of the day where Velupillai Pirabaharan is no more was considered a virtual un-attainability. Failure of successive governments to prosecute effective campaigns in and out of the theatre of conflict through a cohesive strategy resulted in a long drawn out armed conflict, debilitating state coffers whilst numerous economic woes being heaped on the people. What ensued was an atmosphere of widespread uncertainty and fear psychosis which practically destabilized the fabric of the society.
The incredible news of the demise of one of the most ferocious men in the world at Nanthikadal brought immeasurable relief to people who dreaded the barbarism of the elusive terrorist leader. Masses were inundated in euphoria and the feeling of the wellbeing with the dawn of an era of peace and prosperity, in a world where they would once again be free to move about at their own free will. What followed was grandiose hyped up celebration of the unparalleled war victory which was destined to rewrite the history of Sri Lankan nation and go down in the annals as a feat far greater than what was achieved by some of the greatest kings. Sri Lanka, the tiny island nation was suddenly in the limelight as the unique role model and envy of the developed world,
standing self confident, upright and pompous, exuding unbridled patriotism. What started unraveling in the aftermath of gradually fading atmosphere of the epic historical victory, patriotism and glorification of war heroism is the true story of incessant human suffering caused by deteriorating socio economic situation that has remained properly unaddressed or kept concealed by the successive regimes, behind the ever changing facades of issues and conflicts, expediently manoeuvered to preoccupy the attention of the gullible public. It was intended to serve selfish interests of the ruling hierarchy of the day. During the protracted hostilities lasting over three decades, people chose to endure hardships in the name of patriotic war, which was fought on their behalf by their own kith and kin. With war becoming a thing of the past and country getting back to reality day by day, socio economic issues that were buried underneath the much touted war victory have started raising its ugly head again, much to the chagrin of the political establishment. People undoubtedly are waking up to the bitter reality, the naked truth and nothing but the truth.
Although people heaved a sigh of great relief when Nanthikadal waters witnessed Velupillai Pirabaharan meeting his waterloo, dissipating euphoria of military success has gradually made them realise to their utter dismay that their real battle for survival is never ending. But the real war, the war of debilitation that has been waged hitting the majority under the belt is far from over, and is raging with increasing ferocity. Contrary to the expectation of people, crushing defeat of terrorism is yet to bring about the economic prosperity that everyone aspired and was assured, with a view to sharing a decent standard of living with fellow citizens. It has remained a distant dream during the war of destruction and it is destined to remain very much so, as the war of debilitation that eluded the attention of people has once again surfaced with added vigour and become the bane of their lives.