Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's time for hard work

Victory celebrations seem to be dragging on inordinately. They were, no doubt, spontaneous and the victims of LTTE terrorism had a reason to dance in the streets upon the outfit's decapitation. Hoopla naturally surrounds a monster's demise. People also rejoiced at the news of JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera's violent death at the hands of the army twenty years ago. They lit firecrackers and ate milk rice in public the way they are doing at present.

But, this is the time for sober reflection and not protracted celebrations.

Doomsday prophets who predicted that in battling terrorism Sri Lanka would have to settle for a pyrrhic victory have had to eat their words. However, victory has come at a huge cost. Many have been killed or maimed in battle, tens of thousands of people displaced, property destroyed and billions of rupees spent on a massive military campaign.

Military expenditure is bound to remain high for years to come as demobilisation is not possible in the near future. Instead, many more will have to be recruited into the armed forces and the police for deployment in the newly liberated areas. Families of fallen war heroes need to be compensated and the disabled servicemen looked after. The displaced civilians need to be resettled as fast as possible. This means colossal rehabilitation and reconstruction expenditure which will have a severe strain on the national economy already bled dry.

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