The government will be having its “Victory Day” celebration in Matara in the Southern Province on May 18. In preparation for this celebration the government ordered the closing over 40 schools in the Matara city area for over a week to facilitate the organizing of the logistics relating the celebratory events. This is an indication of the importance that the government is placing on this celebration in which the bravery and sacrifice of the Sri Lankan security forces will be commemorated.
Concurrently, the government has prohibited any public commemoration of the end of the war in the Northern Province. The government has expressed its opposition to the occasion being used by political parties and separatist groups in the North to glorify the LTTE. The diametrically different government positions with regard to public commemorations of the end of the war in the North and South reveals a chasm that continues to exist in the polity.
The National Peace Council is saddened by the continuing emphasis on the divisions that exist within Sri Lankan society instead of on factors that could genuinely unify the polity. Our country is once again leaving space to the people in the North to develop their own structures to deal with their sorrows and issues which will contribute to a separate state of mind. There is no peace when there is victory and defeat side by side on the same issue. It was all of Sri Lanka that went through a thirty year war that saw large scale civilian casualties through offensives, bomb attacks and assassinations. We should remember all who died in the hope that this bloodletting will never occur again. This indeed is the message and recommendation of the Lessons Learn and Reconciliation Commission appointed by His Excellency the President, which is yet to be implemented in full.
No wise country celebrates war victory after a civil war. The American Civil War is not celebrated as the victory of the North versus the South where 600,000 Americans died. After the battle of Gettysburg President Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg address. He went out of the way to show that it was a common victory. Unfortunately in Sri Lanka, the political leadership indulged and continues to indulge in triumphalism celebrating the victory over the LTTE. We call for religious observances islandwide in memory of all those who lost their lives during the war and restoration of normality for war-affected displaced communities. The need for reconciliation between all communities must be foremost in the minds of all people and our political leaders.
Governing Council /National Peace Council
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.