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Happy Birthday, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa – Sri Lanka’s Enigmatic Leader

Mahinda Rajapaksa created history in 2009 as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of SL by commanding the National Army to eliminate terrorism & bring the Citizens of Sri Lanka to safety. This was a fete that resonated with the bravery of the Kings of the Island who defended the Nation against foreign enemies and it was a fete that none of the previous 4 Presidents of Sri Lanka did dare to do. Thus, this decision enters history & forever etches Mahinda Rajapakse’s stewardship in history. This will remain his legacy and is one by which all citizens will eternally remember him.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also created history by becoming the youngest to enter Parliament at the age of 24 in 1970. After 34 years in politics, Mahinda Rajapaksa became Prime Minister in 2004. The following year he became Sri Lanka’s 6th President of Sri Lanka.

LTTE miscalculated Mahinda Rajapaksa in deciding to close the Mavil Aru anicut in July 2006 which led to the elimination of the LTTE within 3 years in May 2009. Mahinda Rajapakse will not only be remembered for ending terrorism but commencing post-war development in particular resurrecting North & East of Sri Lanka where LTTE ran a defacto statute denying people their fundamental rights to life, education, freedom of movement, or development.

The people of the North & East will know how life was under LTTE and how life became after LTTE was eliminated. That appreciation goes to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka, the Civil Defense Force & the Sri Lanka Police together with all of the individuals, organizations, and public sector that played individual and collective roles in the teamwork that led to the defeat of the LTTE and the post-conflict development.

He was keen for the communities to bridge communication channels and immediate steps were taken to facilitate people of the South to visit their fellow sisters & brothers in the North & similarly the people of the North to visit their fellow sisters & brothers in the South. People who traveled North or South will have fond memories of their journey and the friendships nurtured.

Mahinda Rajapaksa remains one of Sri Lanka’s most versatile and street-smart political visionaries in Sri Lankan politics. His charisma cannot be matched by any. He can win over the hearts and minds of even the Opposition. Many Opposition MP admits their role model in politics is Mahinda Rajapakse. Mahinda Rajapaksa was versatile in his management of friends and foes even in the international political scene. He walked the China-India diplomatic tightrope smartly. He knew how to handle even his western adversaries. This is why the diplomatic war Mahinda Rajapakse battled with countries that forbade him to end terror, is equal to the battle fought by the Armed Forces & LTTE in Nandikadal. He stuck to his decision and put the lives of the citizens before the interests of terrorists, for that he has become the villain of his foes who supported terror because many lived off terror.

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s legacy is unparalleled. While he will remain the only President to have boldly decided to end terrorism, where development, social welfare, vocational education, and many more areas are concerned Mahinda Rajapaksa has no competition.

On his 77th birthday, I would like to wish Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse, long life, good health, and happiness while looking forward to guiding Sri Lanka as the nation faces threats to the nation far more dangerous than the 3 decades of terrorism Mahinda Rajapaksa brought to a close.

Jihan Hameed

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