The Defence Column

21st April 1996

Youth have a dynamic role to play in the war

By Our Defence Correspondent

The war is like rain. Sometimes the action pours and floods the enemy strongholds. And then, we see a prolonged drought. The long respite works in favour of the battered enemy.


By the time the war machinery is oiled for the next big 'un', the reservoir of moral - the living waters of a people at war, dwindles, invariably assuming alarming proportions. The young men reved up by a national victory had over a period of a few months of waiting and waiting to carry on the fight to the finish, entered the panic zone.


If the politicians and the top-brass had decided to ignore the truth, the youth out in the country who have received the call of duty, refuse to tred the path of make believe. The war will soon be over, cry politicians. But the youth have come of age. The message they are trying to communicate to the politicians is - "it's time you grow up."

When large newspaper ads called on the youth to join the Army and defend the motherland, one expected the patriotic undertone would move youths in their thousands. Especially, having seen fellow youths liberating Jaffna.


Every now and then, their moral is energized by a victory in the likes of Operation Riviresa. Suddenly they want to fight - finish it up.


Interestingly, the Sri Lanka Navy conducted a simultaneous media campaign alongside the Army to recruit sailors. The response was overwhelming.


This is ample proof that the unemployed youths prefer to join the prestigious and 'relative' safety of the Navy.


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