Canada’s boycott of Victory parade: Military spokesman responds Featured Published in Latest – Defence

May 18, 2014

Brigadier Ruwan WanigasooriyaMilitary spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya on Friday said that the Annual Victory Day Parade was meant to celebrate Sri Lanka’s triumph over terrorism in May 2009.

It was in line with military celebrations in other parts of the world, Brigadier Wanigasooriya insisted, adding that nothing could be further from the truth than the assertion that the government celebrated victory over Tamil speaking people.

The official was responding to an exclusive statement in yesterday’s The Island attributed to Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo, Shelley Whiting.

High Commissioner Whiting said: “No community here-whether Sinhalese or Tamil, Muslim or Burgher -was spared during the conflict.

In this vein, Canada has encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to retire its Annual Victory Day Parade, which perpetuates roles of victors and vanquished within the country, for a day of remembering for all those who suffered as a result of the conflict.”

High Commissioner Whiting said that she wouldn’t attend today’s event in Matara.

The military spokesman said that whatever the critics say, Tamil speaking people realized that they were free at last thanks to the sacrifices made by the armed forces. Had the army failed on the Vanni front, the LTTE would have continued with despicable use of child soldiers’ et al, the Brigadier said, urging the international community not to propagate lies. The global community reacted swiftly and decisively when Boko Haram terrorists abducted over 200 Nigerian girls, but the same powers turned a blind eye to what was happening here, the Brigadier said.

The Brigadier pointed out that Canada joined annual Allied victory celebrations over Nazism though the World War II ended 70 years ago. Nazism was nothing but another form of terrorism, the Brigadier said, urging the global community not to misconstrue the military parade. “Would Allied powers ever stop celebrating D-Day landings in France beginning June 5, 1944, to pave the way for victory over Nazi Germany, Would Canada stop participating in D-Day celebrations?”

The Brigadier said that Western media was giving substantial coverage to D-Day celebrations during the first week of next month.

The Brigadier said that those critical of Sri Lanka’s response to terrorism had conveniently forgotten the origins of terrorism here. The spokesman said that the global community should join Sri Lanka in celebrating eradication of LTTE terrorism. In fact, countries which suffered directly or indirectly due to terrorism could mark the day, the Brigadier said. Responding to a query, he said that the Norwegian who massacred over 70 men, women and mostly children in June 2011 was on record as having said that he was following the LTTE strategy in driving the Muslims out of the Northern Province in late 1990 and massacre of Muslims in the Eastern Province.

The Brigadier declined to comment on Canadian motive to boycott the event.

The Military spokesman said that Canadian High Commissioner Whiting should have informed the defence ministry of her decision to boycott the event when issuing a statement to “The Island”.

The High Commissioner was obviously playing politics for obvious reasons.

However, an External Affairs Ministry official has told The Island that Canadian political parties had been fighting among each other to appease the LTTE rump in the run-up to next year’s parliamentary polls. With several Sri Lankan Tamils in the fray, both representing the ruling party as well as the Opposition, the incumbent Canadian government had no option but to play politics with Sri Lanka. Well over 300,000 Canadians of Sri Lankan origin was a powerful inducement to any political party, the official said, adding that the decision to boycott Matara parade was the latest in a series of high profile measures to appease Diaspora groupings.


The Editor

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