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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2490

Sri Lanka: Terrorism retarded development, brought human misery also challenged peace and stability

Colombo, 02 May, (Asiantribune.com): The Tamil people President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing in the May Day celebrations held at Temple TreesPresident Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing in the May Day celebrations held at Temple Treesabroad, who carry out demonstrations in front of Sri Lankan embassies, and attack the High Commissions of India, say nothing about lakhs of Tamil people who have come seeking freedom.

The Tamil civilians fleeing for freedom are being attacked by the weapons bought from the money of these very Tamils living abroad.

"It is necessary to tell the Tamils abroad who support the LTTE and the countries that supported the LTTE that the weapons provided by you are being used against your own fraternal people," pointed out Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa speaking at the May Day celebrations held at Temple Trees, further pointed out, "Even funds given to assist the people who suffered from the tsunami in the north, were used to built palatial homes for the LTTE and heap suffering on the innocent people."

In his address Sri Lanka President also said, "It is with those heavily armed tanks that the innocent Tamil people and their children who were escaping terror were attacked. Therefore, it is necessary to tell the Tamils abroad who support the LTTE and the countries that supported the LTTE that the weapons provided by you are being used against your own fraternal people."

Given below the text of the address by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the May Day celebrations held at Temple Trees May 01, 2009:

Ven. Members of the Maha Sangha and all clergy

President and Secretary of the May Day Committee

Hon. Ministers

Hon. Members of Parliament

Members of the Trade Union Federation

My dear Working People

I am pleased to extend a war welcome to all of you who have gathered at Temple Trees to celebrate International Workers Day.

Today the working people and trade union leaders are very familiar with Temple Trees. The working people are more used to Temple Trees today than Cabinet Ministers, as the Cabinet meets only once a week, while on some occasions the workers meet me here more often.

However, we are not pleased at having to hold May Day celebrations at Temple Trees. We have gone together with lakhs of working people to hold May Day rallies at Hyde Park and Galle Face Green.

We are truly pleased at the opportunity to go with the working classes to address rallies from platforms at Hyde Park, Galle Face, Town Hall grounds or Campbell Park.

For several years that freedom has been denied to us and the working people, due to terrorism, which is a threat not only to us, but also to the working people in the entire world.

Friends

If there was no terrorism, how many factories could have been built in the North and East? How many lakhs of our brotherly Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim people could have obtained employment in them? How much could the people of the North have increased their produce of vegetables and fruit?

Apart from building new factories a large number of existing factories and industries had to be closed down due to terrorism. We had to close down the cement and paper factories. The Tamil people employed there were thrown out of work.

Even the private sector did not make investments in areas where terrorism prevailed because of extortion and the taking of hostages. Those who are unable to invest here will take their investments elsewhere. The investors will make their profits. But, the problem will remain for the working people of this country.

Our working people need a single country that is free. Therefore, the battle that we waged to free this country of terrorism is a battle waged for the right to life of the working people.

Friends

There are many victories to be gained through the unity of the working people. You know that today in the North many lakhs of people have come to the government controlled areas having escaped from terrorism. The whole world has seen how they came undergoing so much suffering at the hands of the terrorists.

A section of the crowd (Pix by Sudath Silva)A section of the crowd (Pix by Sudath Silva)

Yet, the world does not talk about these people who came to freedom. Today various countries are calling for ceasefires. Earlier, they asked for a ceasefire in the name of the people who were trapped in the No Fire Zone. Now those people have come to freedom from the No Fire Zone. But, these countries do not talk of the people who were liberated from terror. In fact, the Tamil people abroad who carry out demonstrations in front of Sri Lankan embassies, and attack the High Commissions of India, say nothing about these lakhs of Tamil people who have come seeking freedom. The Tamil people must think carefully of such friends. Today they do not speak on behalf of you.

It is with the weapons obtained by the funds provided by them to the LTTE that the Tamil civilians fleeing for freedom were attacked. It is with those heavily armed tanks that the innocent Tamil people and their children who were escaping terror were attacked. Therefore, it is necessary to tell the Tamils abroad who support the LTTE and the countries that supported the LTTE that the weapons provided by you are being used against your own fraternal people. Even funds given to
assist the people who suffered from the tsunami in the north, were used to built palatial homes for the LTTE and heap suffering on the innocent people.

Therefore, it is now the time to divert the assistance given to terrorists to the people who have escaped the grip of terror. However, instead of that, what is talked about are a ceasefire and a political solution.

Friends

It is necessary to keep these people alive before offering them political solutions. Today it is the responsibility of our government and the people of this country to help these people to be alive. I undertake responsibility for the people who have escaped and those who are still held by force. It is my responsibility to ensure that they will be freed with no harm to them and give them the opportunity live in freedom.

I recall how, after the tragedy of the tsunami, we worked with the people to restore and rebuild those devastated areas. We built houses, roads, fisheries harbours, schools and hospitals. As Prime Minister and later as President, I directed these activities. We need even greater commitment to resettle these innocent people by providing them the necessary schools, roads, hospitals, water supply, electricity as well as good means of livelihood. That is my commitment today.

At the beginning of this year, the Opposition said this will be a year of struggle. But, as the working people are with us there were no such struggles seen. There was no theme for such struggles, and the Opposition itself has forgotten the Year of Struggle. In place of a Year of Struggle we placed a Year of Elections before the people. Now, day by day, we see how the working people are gathering around us.

The Western Province is where one finds the most people who live through employment. For the first time in history a government of ours obtained a two-thirds strength in this provincial council election. That means the majority of the working people, is with us.

Why do the working people of this country rally round this government? It is because this is a government that told the people the truth and was honest with the people. When the entire world was affected by the triple crises of food, fuel and finances, we protected our people.

When many companies were closing down and thousands of workers were thrown to the streets, those countries could do nothing. But when some financial institutions were about to collapse here, we did not allow any of them to close with the government taking over the necessary responsibility. When elsewhere in the world thousands were being thrown out of employment in companies, we gave employment to thousands in the public sector.

That is not all. When the cost of goods was raised sky high and the middlemen and traders were trying to exploit the working people, we confronted the companies and brought prices under control. We were able to keep inflation under control.

Whatever the regulations imposed to fight terrorism, none of them were used to oppress the working people. The Emergency Regulations were never used to break strikes.

Friends

Due to the tripartite interactions under the concept of the Employer – Employee state that was initiated when I was Minister of Labour, we have been able to resolve the issues of the working people amicably. The past three years saw the lowest record in strikes and industrial disputes. We were able to improve worker welfare and have more industrial peace. There was also a 6 per cent growth in the economy. The working class made a major contribution towards these successes. That is why the working people are with us today.

Friends

The theme of this May Day is "Let us work to build the country".

Our heroic troops have protected the country by being on duty not for eight hours but 24 hours a day for a full three years. Not only have they sacrificed their personal lives but they have committed their very lives for the country obtained the biggest victory in the world for our country. These heroic troops have removed the obstacle to economic development that prevailed for the past three decades.

The working people of the country must also take an example from them. The heroic troops worked 24 hours a day and protected the country. If the people of our country do not think of the hours worked,

but make a commitment to honest work, this country can be raised to an important position in the world in two to three years. We in Sri Lanka will be able to overcome some of the crises faced by the world. I will not allow using international monetary institutions for the benefit of political agenda. I am not ready to give in to conditions that are not favourable to the country or to subjugate the economy of the country in such manner.

We must act with the same determination shown by Malaysia in building the country at the time of the Asian Financial Crisis. The entrepreneurs and banks in our country have the necessary strength to obtain financial resources. There is no need to create non-existent problems through the raising of exchange rates and interest rates.

Therefore, all our entrepreneurs and bankers must bring the monies they have abroad and use it to raise the country. The working people must contribute to showing maximum productivity in work. They must also determine to raise the strengths of business ventures. When that happens, at times of international financial crises, the World Bank may come to us. It is necessary for the working people to work with commitment to obtain the maximum benefit to our people from the development aid we receive from friendly countries. This is the time for such commitment. Calling all of you to be ready for such national commitment, my wish on this May Day is the success of the working people and Sri Lanka and peace in our country.

- Asian Tribune -

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