Whats in a passport?
Prabhakarans son, Charles Anthony, according to reports, has obtained a passport and a national identity card with the help of a minister. The boy, we are told, is to be sent abroad for education. It was about two years ago that we reported he had fared well at the G. C. E. (O/L) examination.
Prabhakaran, despite his terrorist track record, has set an example in parenting for most politicians of the south whose sloshed progeny get involved in brawls over women at five star hotels or settle personal scores with rivals in public.
The passport and the identity card, according to our report yesterday, have been issued without his permanent address being declared. Given the circumstances under which the applicant is living, no one in his or her proper senses will expect him to disclose his address if he is living with his father, which is very likely to be the case. After all, permanent addresses are not to be taken very seriously. How our school admission system has made a mockery of permanent addresses is too well known to merit elaboration.
Those who went to Jaffna when it was under LTTE control prior to Operation Riviresa in 1995 will recall that they had to obtain visa from the LTTE before entering Jaffna, which the LTTE claimed was part of Eelam it had established. When Prabhakarans son today obtains a passport from Colombo, they may wonder what has become of the Immigration and Emigration Department of the LTTE, which issued visa those days.
Be that as it may, if the boy is entitled to a passport and an NIC and if no serious violation of laws governing the issuance of those documents has taken place, then why on earth did it become so important as to hit newspaper headlines, one may ask.
It is important for a number of reasons. The LTTE is an organisation which doesnt care a damn for childrens education. It has thousands of child combatants and is forcibly conscripting thousands more, a fact confirmed by the UN, human rights groups and newspapers like the New York Times. The recent hartal in Trincomalee was also consequent to the arrest of two LTTE cadres who had abducted two school children.
Prabhakaran, as boasted by LTTE sympathisers, himself wears a cyanide capsule. The message that he sends, we are told, is that he is prepared to do exactly what he wants his cadres to do.
But he is a different man altogether when it comes to family members. He is a good father at least to his children. He sends them to school while sending others precious little ones to the grave. Nay, it is not advocated here that he should send his children too to the battlefield. That must not be done! Instead he must treat other children too like his son and daughter and let them live their lives. He must not recruit children or drag them out of their schools to stage protests exposing them to grave risks.
He also must order his death squads to steer clear of children. His men have so far killed hundreds if not thousands of children, most of them in their sleep in villages bordering his imaginary Eelam. There have been instances where they killed pregnant mothers by slashing them to pieces with their unborn babies and dashed infants on walls. This must stop!
Meanwhile, Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, who is the chief peace negotiator of the government, has lashed out at the critics of the peace process his government has entered into with Prabhakarans LTTE. "The most vocal critics of the peace process," he has said in an interview with The Sunday Island last week, "are the very people who send their children to foreign universities." The implication here is that those who have sent their children abroad for education have in so doing forfeited their right to oppose the peace process or in other words to advocate the so-called military option. What if this argument is extended to the LTTE?
Now Prabhakarans son has got a passport and he is expected to be sent abroad for education. If this happens, going by Prof. Peiris argument, then Prabhakaran too will be without any moral right to wage war like those in the south whose children are studying in foreign universities. So lets hope and pray that Prabhakaran will send his son abroad and thereby disqualify himself from reverting to war, which is the best that can happen to this country!
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