Several issues came into sharp focus at Tuesday’s May Day celebrations. It also showed the real traitors.
Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)- led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) May Day procession and rally under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Significantly, the theme of this year’s UPFA May Day celebrations was ‘The Country First’.
The theme enlightened the working class and all peace-loving and patriotic citizens around the country, irrespective of political affiliations. While the UPFA put the country before self, the Ranil Wickremesinghe faction of the United National Party (UNP) resorted to a theory of survival at any cost!
Top-notch UNPers proved in no uncertain terms that they could descend to the lowest level for their political survival when they teamed up with LTTE proxies, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to hold a joint May Day in Jaffna. Knowing only too well that he could barely attract even a few thousand people for a separate UNP May Day rally, Wickremesinghe opted to hang on to Sampanthan’s tail to partially cover the UNP’s political nudity with the help of the TNA.
There are allegations that the flag of the now defunct terrorist outfit, the LTTE had fluttered during the joint TNA-UNP May Day rally in Jaffna. Though the UNP had denied such allegations, several pro-LTTE websites carried photographs of it. Even if Wickremesinghe had seen the LTTE flags at the Jaffna rally, he would have preferred to turn a Nelsonian eye to achieve his political goals via short cuts.
On the other hand, the UNP Reformists gave Wickremesinghe more headaches as they organised a separate May Day celebration on the pretext of the Premadasa commemoration. Notwithstanding the fact that Wickremesinghe imposed an embargo, warning party seniors of severe disciplinary action if they skip the party’s official Jaffna rally and take part in the Premadasa commemoration under the patronage of UNP’s Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, it was apparent that the UNP leader was isolated in Jaffna with only a handful of party seniors.
Minister Wimal Weerawansa, referring to Wickremesinghe’s deplorable conduct, told the UPFA May Day rally at the Colombo Town Hall grounds that the UNP would put the country in fifth place, while the UPFA’s priority would always be country first.
The masses turned up in large numbers at the UPFA May Day celebrations to extend support to President Rajapaksa and demonstrate their strength against international conspiracies. The President stressed that under any circumstances he would not permit international conspirators to create dissension and destabilise the country.
President Rajapaksa reiterated that the working class in Sri Lanka is intelligent and would not fall prey to disgruntled elements who seek to destabilise the country.
Certain countries in the West are intent on a regime change in Sri Lanka. This is not because they prefer the UNP or any other political party in Sri Lanka to surpass the UPFA or the SLFP, but chiefly because they need a weak regime to dance the fandango round them.
These Western countries are acutely aware that their meddling with the internal affairs would never be tolerated as long as President Rajapaksa and the UPFA Government are in power. Hence, these countries are day-dreaming of a regime change in Sri Lanka.
The overwhelming support extended by the masses to the President and the UPFA at the May Day celebrations showed that their dreams would never come true.
The President said that certain individuals were also doing their damnedest to destabilise the country by using the working class as a cat’s paw and the masses were intelligent enough to beat conspiracies hatched by the West. Such individuals do not have a country or a particular name, but some countries incite them.
We still recall how certain Western countries, which now pontificate to us on human rights, invaded Sri Lanka way back when and treated people here like slaves. Such imperialists are under an illusion that countries such as Sri Lanka are still their colonies. Rather than respecting Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, these countries seem to think that Sri Lanka should swallow hook line and sinker whatever they dish out.
There was a time when they even intimidated Sri Lanka on their so-called GSP Plus trade facility. With the support of a few opportunist political parties such as the UNP, they even tried to give an impression that Sri Lanka’s garment industry would collapse no sooner the GSP Plus was withdrawn.
However, the President stood his ground and assured the working class that their jobs would be secure. Despite the gloomy predictions, Sri Lanka now gets more orders and the withdrawal of the GSP plus did not make any impact on Sri Lanka’s garment industry. This is one glaring example how Western countries tried to browbeat Sri Lanka under the pretext of granting concessions.
The UNP or any other party in the Opposition, for that matter, should not fall prey to the ‘Western mafia’ which abhors Sri Lanka’s victorious march after terrorism was defeated. There was a time when the West propounded the theory that LTTE terrorism could never be crushed. Even when the NATO Forces were at the receiving end for years on end, the West strongly believed that Al Qaeda could be crushed militarily. They exhorted us to remain at the negotiation table forever with the Tigers, despite LTTE killing civilians mercilessly.
Thanks to the strong will-power and foresight of President Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka has proved to the world that the West was wrong in its assessment and Sri Lanka has achieved many milestones which the West never dreamt that this little island in the Indian Ocean would accomplish.