Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 10:43 UK

Media react to Sri Lanka 'victory'

Celebrations in Sri Lanka on 18 May 2009
Sri Lankans celebrated on the streets of Colombo

The end to 26 years of civil war in Sri Lanka has occupied headlines in newspapers and websites around the world.

Sri Lanka's media congratulated President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the military "victory" over Tamil Tiger rebels.

International media warn that serious measures to address Tamil grievances must follow battlefield success.


Vellupillai Prabhakaran, who was the leader of a murderous fascist organisation which shook the whole world, and his senior comrades are now dead. It is true that death is not an occasion on which anyone can rejoice.

But the news of the death of this cursed man and his fascist clique can only be good news for the country and the people who suffered from that terrorism.

Vellupillai Prabhakaran is a manifestation of a villainous culture of murder. A distorted creation of a cyanide culture. That Prabhakaran made this country a funeral house destroying and separating human families is not something we need to say anew. There is no village, city or family that had not suffered by the murders of Prabhakaran.

The beast who hung cyanide round the necks of innocent children of the north is among the dead. Isn't that a relief?


In the end the hoity-toity Big Tiger died a "fraidy cat". Having killed thousands of people and driven a similar number of his own brainwashed cadres to suicide in vain, Prabhakaran the self-deified warlord together with a group of his trusted lieutenants including his son died a violent death at the hands of the army, while fleeing the battlefront in an ambulance leaving his followers to their fate.

That he was a coward of the first order was no secret but hardly anyone expected him to die in such a shameless manner. Where was his cyanide capsule?


Now the nation could look forward to an era of peace and tranquillity where all its sons and daughters could live as brothers and sisters under one banner. For this the nation will be ever indebted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa...

It indeed is a tumultuous occasion unparalleled in recent history. While powerful nations are still groping in the dark trying to counter terrorism President Mahinda Rajapaksa had achieved the impossible, fighting against all odds and dodging all obstacles thrown in his path and standing against international pressure to vanquish the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world.


The immediate problem remains the displaced people of the north, now being sheltered at government run welfare camps in Vavuniya. It is on the faces of this battered populace that the story of the Sri Lankan civil war is written. They have been starved, wounded and in many cases, they have watched their loved ones die before their eyes. With the numbers now swelling to over 200,000, facilities are limited and in short supply.

As people who have witnessed the horrors of war up close, these people will need rehabilitation, not only in terms of housing and resettlement but by way of mental upliftment and counselling.


Serious concerns are raised in the Tamil diaspora circles at the IC's [international community's] attempt to pour in rehabilitation aid through Colombo's rehabilitation structure, which is completely militarised and Sinhalicised. This will only serve Colombo's next agenda of "structural genocide" of Tamils, the diaspora circles said. While rehabilitation is the immediate need, there will be an irredeemable danger if the IC is embarked upon it without recognition of Tamil status in the island and without involving Tamil hands, they said.


A long succession of Colombo governments has failed to address the Tamil minority's legitimate complaints.

With the Tigers' defeat a fresh opportunity emerges. If Rajapaksa treats Tamils as a conquered enemy, who have to be corralled in camps and whose land has to be split up and occupied, he will sow the seeds for militancy in the generation to come.


The grievances of Tamils turned violent and acquired a separatist character only after decades of peaceful struggle failed. This is a moment of reckoning for Sri Lanka. At stake is the idea of a multi-ethnic, multilingual and multi-religious nation that doesn't discriminate among its citizens.

Colombo must not shy away from taking the help of the international community, especially India, to reconstruct Tamil homelands and rehabilitate the massive refugee population.

The main Tamil-language newspapers in Sri Lanka carried no editorial, comment or opinion about the defeat of the rebels at the time this round-up was compiled.

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