After his Government has built grotesque and hate-provoking replicas of horrendous massacres by the LTTE and commemorated the Tigers’ Central Bank bombing with a photographic exhibition and other events just four days ago, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said bitter memories should be written on sand as they get wiped away while good experiences should be etched on stone to be remembered forever, in his address to the nation on Independence Day.
“Forgetting these bitter memories, we have pardoned the terrorists who came to kill us and rehabilitated them providing employment for some of them in the police and the Civil Defence Corps and provided them with suitable livelihoods,” President Rajapaksa said.
He said “revenge has never been a part of our culture”.
Forgetful of the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the brutal assaults on countless others and the number of reporters forcibly disappeared or forced into exile in the last nine years of his reign, President Rajapaksa said that no matter what obstructions were caused by the media while his Government was battling terrorism, they did not “censor the media.”
“We even opened the door for some anti-peace and anti-national media institutions who were not allowed in other countries. We continue to follow the policy of ‘Eva, balava’ (Come and see),” President Rajapaksa said, three days after his Government rejected the visa of a high ranking US Ambassador overseeing gender affairs, adding strain to Sri Lanka’s relationship with the US Government.
In his independence day address, President Rajapaksa also sent a chilling message for dissidents and opposition parties that will participate in the electoral process in the country in the coming days.
“We should keep in mind that our contest is not among blue, green, red or yellow parties; or Sinhala, Tamil Muslim and Burgher communities. Our contest is between those who love this country who those have hatred towards it,” he charged.
He warned the people of the North that they needed to be aware that foreign forces were attempting to use them as human shields. “The invaders always came to our country shedding oceans of crocodile tears. They interfered in these countries putting forward claims to protect human rights, establish democracy and the rule of law,” he warned.