24 May, 2022


Breaking The Cycle

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The Leader of the Opposition and of the United National Party, Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe, has done it again: he sees flaws in the LLRC report, but none in the CFA. He has issued a solemn, well-crafted statement on the LLRC and the current debate on devolution, commencing with a rejection of the LLRC’s critique of the Ceasefire agreement as ‘flawed’.

If there is any point on which broad social and national consensus is obtainable it is precisely the flawed character of the CFA and its results. This criticism is not limited to Sinhala and Tamil hardliners. A serious scholarly study by the Norwegians has produced a Western liberal critique.

None of it has had the slightest effect on Mr Wickremesinghe. He refuses to confront the fact that the CFA was seriously lopsided in favour of the Tigers because at the time of signing, the LTTE was on the back-foot, with its leaders dodging the deep-penetration operations of the LRRP which had already taken out six key figures, including Shanker, who had planned the raid on Katunayake.

Mr Wickremesinghe obviously sees nothing wrong in the CFA that allowed the Tigers to move into areas they could not win through battle, including Jaffna, while the Sri Lankan state could not move reciprocally into Tiger controlled areas. He is totally devoid of regret over the throwing to the wolves or rather the Tigers, of Directorate of Military Intelligence operatives over the infamous Athurugiriya safe house case, which was never heard of again.

Mr Wickremesinghe’s latest statement reveals that he and his party will remain decisively vulnerable targets of patriotic criticism at any future election, however shop-worn the nationalist project may have become by that time.

He has no regrets about facilitating the transferring sensitive electronic communications gear to the Tigers, permitting them to bring in sensitive military equipment including underwater gear unchecked through the Customs, and permitting the uplink through Rupavahini of Prabhakaran’s Hitlerian Mahaveera day speeches.

He sees nothing wrong in the murder (doubtless by the most painful means imaginable) of several dozens of Tamil personnel working for Sri Lankan intelligence and special operations, during the CFA, partly as a result of the disclosures during the interrogations of the DMI personnel. He has no problems with a CFA during which a senior police officer was killed by the Tigers in Dehiwela and Major Muthaliph slain in Pamankada. He has no word of self-doubt about the CFA during which the Tigers built up their forces to a point that access to Trincomalee harbour was threatened by insurgent heavy guns.

Mr Wickremesinghe does not share the sense of national humiliation that the entire period of the CFA generated, nor is he sensitive to that feeling. He remains resolutely incapable of self criticism on any score on any matter whatsoever, including the drastic devaluation under his leadership, of the electoral and political fortunes of his party.

Mr Wickremesinghe’s latest statement reveals that he and his party will remain decisively vulnerable targets of patriotic criticism at any future election, however shop-worn the nationalist project may have become by that time. He has also demonstrated by this new statement—which is not entirely devoid of accurate and sensible points—that he is producing for the political ‘export market’, not for the domestic one; and if it is for the domestic market at all, it is for a slender minoritarian niche. He appears to be positioning himself as part of an externally propelled strategy of regime change. In sum, he remains a puppet and a proxy and is determined to remain so. It is his comfort zone, and so long as he inhabits it with his dwindling party, the power-bloc is comfortable too.

Quaint and quirky as Mr Wickremesinghe’s antics are, much more important is the current confusion in the polity, over devolution and the dialogue with the TNA. Some seem to think that it is dangerous to enable the TNA to take control of the Northern Provincial Council and that therefore the 13th amendment should either be scrapped, shelved or subverted, while others assume that there is nothing politically the matter with the TNA and even if there were, it would be a greater travesty to tamper with devolution of powers to the provinces in order to forestall a takeover by the TNA.

I think the debate is wholly wrong-headed and posits a zero-sum game when there need not be one. Certainly we have a serious strategic conundrum: conceding to the TNA which has yet to accept the 13th amendment (and says it ‘rejects’ it) and/or criticise the terrorism of the Tigers, full provincial powers at the strategic Northern rim adjacent to a hostile Tamil nadu; powers including an armed police force easily convertible into a militia, would be utterly imprudent. Conversely, scrapping or tampering with the existing 13th amendment would take us back to the 1980s in terms of our relations with the Tamil community as well as with our giant neighbour and the world beyond.

I must digress at this point to commend strongly, two relatively recent reports which contain brilliant suggestions as to how to proceed painlessly, with, within and upon the basis of the 13th amendment—one by young constitutional lawyer Asanga Welikela in his study of the Eastern Provincial Council and the others by the low-profile Institute of Constitutional Studies (ICS).

To return to my main point, a bit of clear thinking can help and a gradualist approach may provide a solution. Until the TNA comes to its senses, it can remain the voice of the Tamil people of the North in the country’s important legislature. It is neither necessary to hold Northern Provincial Council elections now, nor dilute the powers devolved under the 13th amendment. It is by no means necessary to prolong the present politico-institutional vacuum in the North. Existing legislation and presidential power permit the setting up of an Interim Administration or Interim Council. This was declared by JR Jayewardene in September 1987 and rejected by Prabhakaran, and considered on several occasions by President Kumaratunga, while never implemented.

This then is the way to cut the Gordian knot: set up an Interim Administration for the North, vested with the powers of the 13th amendment except perhaps for police powers. It can consist entirely of Tamil political and civic personalities of proven moderate views and non/anti-Tiger track records such as SC Chandrahasan (Mr SJV Chelvanayakam’s son), V Anandasangaree, D Siddharthan of PLOTE, Sritharan (‘Sugu’) of the EPRLF, Nesan Shanker Raji of EROS and Douglas Devananda.  Appoint a distinguished Tamil governor for the province. Let the TNA speak out and participate in parliament. A prolonged peacetime spell in a parliamentary political life at the centre will draw that party out of its ethnic enclave and dysfunctional ‘domestic Diaspora’ mentality, absorbing the MPs into the mainstream.

Meanwhile, the youth (who embody the future) and private enterprise must conceive and construct a new, inclusive, pluralist Sri Lankan identity at the social, cultural, artistic, economic and inter-personal levels, quite irrespective of the politicians.

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  • 0

    Dayan says:

    “It can consist entirely of Tamil political and civic personalities of proven moderate views and non/anti-Tiger track records such as SC Chandrahasan (Mr SJV Chelvanayakam’s son), V Anandasangaree, D Siddharthan of PLOTE, Sritharan (‘Sugu’) of the EPRLF, Nesan Shanker Raji of EROS and Douglas Devananda”.

    “proven moderate views and non/anti-Tiger track records ….. D Siddharthan of PLOTE, Sritharan (‘Sugu’) of the EPRLF…..Douglas Devananda”

    Dayan is naive to believe D Siddharthan of PLOTE is a saint. Dayan doesn’t know the background of PLOTE which was known to have killed many of its cadres in India and was linked to many murders in Sri Lanka. Its involvement in extortion in itself a legend in Vanni area.

    Dayan’s close relationship with EPRLF should have informed him of EPRLF’s past violent history under IPKF occupation. Suddenly Dayan has invented two Ganthians out of PLOTE and EPRLF.

    “Nesan Shanker Raji of EROS”

    Where does this fellow come from?

    Could Dayan the fantasist give us CV of this unknown person and his contribution to the island and his political background.

    Is he a new recruit to the Sinhala/Buddhist establishment?

    EROS was sitting on the fence for a long time until LTTE banned the organisation in the early 90s. A few joined the LTTE and the rest disappeared into thin air. I have had no information about EROS’s existence until Dayan waved his magic wand.

    It is interesting to know Dayan is gifted with such abilities to resuscitate a dead organisation.

    If we were to believe in his supernatural abilities he should materialise other ESOS old hands who were well known to the people. To begin with Dayan can bring back Balakumar who is known to be dead and at the same time alive.

    Many of the EROS old hands are still alive and kicking. What is the compulsion for Dayan to recruit this unknown person to EROS a defunct organisation then impose him on Tamil speaking people? Dayan works in mysterious ways for his own good.

    Dayan’s old comrade in arms EPRLF Suresh Pramachandran is still based in Sri Lanka who was important part of EPRLF when Dayan was a minister in the Provincial Council. Why has Dayan excluded his former red comrade from his list of good and the great?

    Oh I now remember Shanker Raji who was the military commander of EROS who never saw a battle front. Nesan may be his son. If it is true then Dayan is helping to build an EROS dynasty for the Tamil Speaking people while reaffirming Chandrahasan’s place in another dynasty, creating future conflicts between different Tamil dynasties.

    Old Revolutionary has now become a Chanakya, using old strategies such as Sama, Dhana, Peda, Dunda not necessarily in that order.

  • 0

    The TNA were elected – like in all other provincial councils, to administer the NE council. But the Rajapakse Regime has denied this and allowed a Military Governer and EPDP as his side-kick behind the scenes, to run the council.
    Now Dayan J magnanimously wanfs an “interim council” !
    There is NO “Gordian Knot” – this exists only in Dayan J’s mind.
    The simple & democratic way is to allow the peoples’ verdict to prevail and allow TNA to run the affairs of the NE Council.

  • 0

    Talking about Ranil is a waste of time.He is a goner.May be i am not educated as Dayan.That’s why i don,t get paid for airing my views.In a way that’s good because i am free to make my views blunt without worrying about my bank balance.But remember one thing,that is that the value of both mine and Dayan’s votes are equal.No matter what type of so called solution to the so called Tamil problem that the intellectuals come out with,ultimately it is we who decide in a referendum.Not local and foreign experts.13th Amendment was forced upon us by the Indians.PCs have become a white elephant.Improving on that would be another farce.How about the Tamils in Colombo?Let’s say we make Sambandan a sort of king in the north.Will it solve so called problems of the Tamils in Colombo?Political solutions are best for politicians.What we need is a human solution to all Srilankans without any foreign meddling.For starters get rid of the dictatorial presidency.Scrap PCs which is a damn waste of resources,Scrap the 18 amendment and reintroduce the 17th,introduce the freedom of information act,scrap Rs25 buffets for MPs,scrap pensions for MPs.From there onwards we can talk about political solutions right here in Srilanka,not Geneva or Washington.This blackmail gimmicks with threats of war crimes tribunes will not help a single Srilankan.

    • 0

      I agree feeling sorry for the party my people helped build before Independence. It was the quiet transition from being an Uncle Tom or a John Crow into a British inspired bunch of arse-holes.
      Ranil should retire and start counting his blessings. Janaka Perera was blasted by Ranil’s friends. All his opposition have been taken out.. that is including Lasantha Wickrematunga. It adds up. Why is the man trying to save Sarath Fonseka if he was not an accomplice in Lasantha’s death? “Hoona” was sure that SF was after his life…. and Ranil is trying to save the guy from spending a few years with some good friends at Welikada.. As for the Tamils in Kotahena I would not mind getting rid of them all by fair means or foul.

  • 0

    True there are not anything flawless mainthing is not going to implement its finding.same as cfa what a lot we gained .Dyan is someone like vasidewa nanayakkara.

  • 0

    Dayan is always rejoicing Ranil bashing just as much he does rejoice eulogizing the Rajapaksas. He sounds very mundane and insignificant when tarnished by a hate complex against Ranil. No wonder he is on pay to act the way he does.

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    May be or may be not that Dayan is a Rajapakse lackey.But don’t forget the fact that Dayan did a good job in Geneva(HRC) sometime back in defending mother Lanka when the Tamil terror diaspora assisted by imperialists were calling for the blood of Srilanka.

  • 0

    Dayan says about Ranil”….and so long as he inhabits it with his dwindling party, the power-bloc is comfortable too…” Then why the hell did you creep into the labor room and deliver this piece of shit if Ranil is such a loser as you screech out?

    It is the considered view of this “political scientist” that the CFA is flawed. Firstly this is not the time to harp on CFA, its Western or Northern critique, sensitive electronics/underwater gear, Mahaweera up-link, Ranil’s regrets or devaluating fortunes of UNP while there is every likelihood Rajapaksha regime Dayan is paid to prop up would be hauled before a war crime tribunal after next UNHRC secession. Dayan is vociferous about national humiliation during CFA but what about the utter humiliation the whole country has been forced to suffer by the Rajapakshas at the hands of international community through their notorious deeds: US ambassador calls Basil “Mr 10%”, the whole Rajapaksha family reported as “uneducated uncultured bastards” and whenever they go to a western country someone is after them seeking an arrest warrant or greet with a protest or hoot anthem such as the Oxford fiasco?

    CFA was not signed in itself to bring in a political solution but rather for the country to allow breathing space from the international stranglehold put on as a result of poor governance and maladministration of the Dayan’s own UPFA government: the economy was negative, there was a huge debt burden, Central Bank, Kolonnawa Oil Tanks, Air Port had been attacked and above all the LTTE had manipulated and turned the opinion and sympathy of the whole world in favor of them and to mount any counter-attack the country had to recuperate and regain strength, Ranil had to rebuild everything which Dayan’s stupid government had destroyed.

    CFA was meant to achieve only a few objectives: to buy time to achieve economic stability, strengthen armed forces including arms, subvert the pro-LTTE sentiments of the key international players by exposing their terror tactics and glean and garner pro-SL Government opinion in the world, try out to actually bring about a political solution to the ethnic problem which again was created by SLFP government and most important of all to mandate SL Armed Forces to launch an all-out offensive against LTTE if negotiations and all else possible avenues for a peaceful settlement have exhausted and the LTTE themselves initiate armed struggle or resume violence which is exactly what happened with the closure of the dam by the LTTE. Had the CFA not been signed and followed India or international would definitely intervene and say, “look we don’t approve and can’t allow your fighting LTTE without first trying out negotiated settlement, hence please stop it now”.

    So Dayan even though fumbles with everything got one thing dead right i.e. “none of what these political apprentices say has had the slightest effect on Mr Wickremesinghe, he refuses that the CFA was seriously lopsided” etc. The fact that the LTTE too fortified their positions and other issues stated by Dayan are the other side of the bargain. You can’t come out totally clean with complete advantage from a CFA you had to sign to solve a separatist movement claiming 1/3 of the country with region’s big brother having a vested interest and world’s powers on the side of the terrorists with a vast diaspora and media openly supporting the LTTE.

    Having said all that what has this failed and pathetic government of Dayan has done to solve the ethnic problem? What are the political decisions they took? None! What happened to countless commissions, round table discussions, negotiations and whatnot your regime appointed and carried out? How much public money have you wasted for these fruitless efforts? Your infamous LLRC is not Ranil’s invention. It was eyewash to deflect international scrutiny and action. Its entire panel was your people. However the blunders, crimes, omissions and contraventions your own regime had committed were so grave, stark and naked that even the people of your own government could not completely whitewash and exonerate the regime but put blame on them and made recommendations to be followed to restore normalcy, democratic institutions, law and order and a watered down reconciliation. Your regime saved the day thanks to Ranil’s restoration of country’s ruined economy by Chandrika government, watered down pro-LTTE sentiments caused by Ranil’s CFA and 9.11 attack and Fonseka’s decisive role and ordinary people venturing out to battle filed. Victory has many fathers but defeat none! Where are the real war hero and the other unidentified and unsung battlefront heroes who won the war for us including Dayan to engage in his rotten theories about nothing!

    On the contrary Ranil had the courage, political wisdom and enterprise to take decisive steps to shape the future of the country. That is why Ranil went ahead with Norway on peace negotiations who actually landed on the country during your UPFA government under Chandrika. What Ranil has said is to act according to the constitution and implement the recommendations of your own LLRC findings. After all why the hell do you and your government appoint these commissions if you do not intend to implement their recommendations? You may be able to fool the stupid Sinhalese morons for a while who I am afraid are now awakening from their Mahinda Chanthana nightmare and wonder of Asia fantasy but these oppressed Tamils and the international community you can’t deceive!

    You have reached the end of “moda choon” type of governance. If the country achieved anything by war victory at a colossal expense your government has wasted it. This is the ideal ground situation Prabakaran would have wanted created for the international players to act upon for a separate state: estranged relations with Tamils and the world, highly militarized governance with all round oppression, usurping democratic institutions and complete collapse of law and order, abject poverty and despair for the masses, a government going on a spree of abductions, killings and impunity and Sri Lanka on the agenda and table of UNHRC! You bragged to have defended SL against a resolution at UN. Can you do it again and for how long? From that day of your “great salvage” of the country where did you bunch of idiots lead it? To the diminution of international pressure or escalation of same? Be the judge yourself. Gone are the days when we used to send our brothers and children to the battlefield to save the country under a great military commander like Fonseka. But we didn’t consider all the Tamils to be our sworn enemies because we knew this situation had been brought about by these stupid politicians and extremists like Prabakaran. A just and reasonable solution had to be found. But alas this Rajapakshas made the collective victory of everyone their own for their own filthy and sinful existence! We have nothing to lose now because your rogue king has robbed everything we had: our freedom, our economy, our hopes and our country! When we traveled to Colombo we used to go to Galle Face to inhale some free and fresh air, your moronic moda choon king even sold that too! Is this what you call wonder of Asia? We don’t understand, but we don’t mind living under a Tamil, Indian or US rule because it matters nothing to us!

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