16 May, 2022

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Choose Internal Unity & Not Become A Failed State

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The government is under siege as it is not delivering results to the people. This is especially true of the economy where the situation is deteriorating by the day and the country is borrowing endless billions from foreign countries that have a stake in Sri Lanka. There is a seemingly endless drop in the value of the Sri Lankan currency, sharply rising costs that are beyond belief, and the worst may be to come. The increases in prices of basic commodities, accompanied by shortages, have severely impacted upon the standard of living of the general population and even prompted the government to call out the army to maintain social peace where queues have formed, as at petrol stations. The fear and deference that people once gave to the government leadership, both on account of war-time victories and ruthless governance, has given way to jests and insults. This is the way in advanced democracies, and it is time that Sri Lanka should be this way, to give no room to political leaders to act inappropriately.

It is in this time of adversity that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is giving leadership to, what appears to be, a serious effort at finding a solution. This would be the meaning of the All Party Conference he has summoned. Even though this dialogue could have taken place in parliament, unfortunately the 225 members are so bitterly divided across the well of the house that it would be impossible to have a meaningful dialogue among them. The boycott of the APC by the main opposition parties and even by a section within the government highlights the sharp political divisions and lack of trust within the polity. The president recognized this reality when he stated that the conference was not called to gain a political advantage. He added that he would once again invite the parties that did not attend the conference. The president also said that he would prepare a plan to carry out the recommendations made by the political party leaders.

President Rajapaksa’s apology to former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after a government member tried to score political points against the former government was in keeping with his stated commitment to make this an occasion for non-partisan problem solving. The former prime minister’s grasp of both the national and international crises, and their meeting points, is an indication of the value of a national government to face the crisis of the present time. The president’s meeting with the TNA that represents the majority of Tamil voters in the North and East of the country soon after the APC, has the potential to break new ground in the area of national reconciliation that will help to strengthen the unity and promote economic investment and aid flows to the country. This approach of finding solutions through discussions and consultations needs to be supported.

Seven Agreements

Shortly after the President’s meeting with the TNA, Foreign Minister Prof G L Peiris took it upon himself to brief a civil society group (Sri Lankan Collective for Consensus) on the outcome of the meeting. Since his appointment as foreign minister, Prof Peiris has made a special effort to make the government accessible to civil society. His contribution in that respect has been considerable. One of his first acts as foreign minister was to heed the voice of civil society organisations that were under the purview of the Ministry of Defence. The CSOs objected to being considered to be primarily threats to national security rather than being a part and parcel of the democratic system and its checks and balances. After the CSOs were brought under the purview of the foreign ministry they have been able engage more positively and constructively with government mechanisms. The minister has stated that he would ensure the smooth functioning of the NGO sector and remove the obstacles to their functioning as necessary.

According to Prof Peiris, as reported variously in the media, the President and TNA reached broad agreement in seven areas that had significance to the Tamil people. The first was to release those held in state custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for more than ten years without charges, unless there were compelling reasons to continue to keep them in detention. With regard to the PTA itself, which has been under international scrutiny since the end of the war, he said that its present amendments were only a start. The government, he said, was considering the Law Commission’s report and the draft Counter Terrorism Act of the previous government to take forward the process of amendment. However, it may yet be prudent to consider removing the PTA from the statute books as this would give a clear message to the local and international community that the government means business.

Second, Prof Peiris said that there would be no changes made to territorial boundaries of districts and sub-district units to change their demographic composition or for any other purpose by the government acting alone. Third, issues relating to forest land, coast conservation and archaeological sites would not be arbitrarily decided on by the government without due regard being paid to the interests of the people of those areas and where found to be unjustified would be reconsidered appropriately for reversion. Fourth, the interests of the people in the north and east would be further secured by the devolution of power, which would be discussed further once the Committee of Experts appointed to propose a new constitution finalized their report which would be done within the next two months.

Long Term

Fifth, Prof Peiris said that the Office of Missing Persons would investigate into the circumstances of disappearances and families of the missing would be provided with RS 100,000 as an initial measure. The formulation of a truth commission also would be considered and a government delegation would visit South Africa to study the iconic Truth and Reconciliation Commission that has proved to be inspirational in facing other situations of war and human rights violations. Sixth, the foreign minister pledged to meet on a regular basis with the representatives of the core group of countries that sustain the truth, accountability and reconciliation process through the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Seventh, the possibility of setting up a funding mechanism for economic development in the north and east would be explored together with the Tamil Diaspora whom the government would seek to engage with in a constructive manner.

Addressing these serious matters constructively would constitute a breakthrough to a new phase in the relationship between the government and Tamil people. No previous government was able to resolve these issues through dialogue, political negotiations and mutual accommodation. Engaging in such a process in the midst of an economic crisis will be doubly challenging. When there is an economic crisis, it becomes easier for those who are ethnic nationalists to blame those of other communities and see conspiracies at play. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa are leaders in whom the Sinhalese ethnic majority have placed their trust in the past.

It is incumbent on the other political parties to join the next round of discussions in a spirit of constructive engagement. So far the opposition political parties have not sought to act as rabble rousers but have voiced their protests against the government’s mishandling of the situation in a democratic and peaceful manner. Unlike the parliamentary forum in which the government and opposition sit on opposite sides, the all party conference offers the forum to agree on a policy for the country that will resolve the problems that the people face and which all political parties can endorse for the longer term irrespective of who leads the government. Likewise, civil society in all its diversity should discuss and debate the way forward and share their thinking with the political leaders for them to draw inspiration from the people. At the present moment of impending economic collapse, it is important for all political and non-political actors to pool their resourcefulness and help evolve a workable plan to prevent the country becoming a failed state.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    2

    Most the political leaders starting with Gota down to Tamil and Muslim politicians are corrupt to the core: They are not going to bring any good outcome to the society.

    People are corrupt , so are the politicians! So Sri Lanka has to face its karma of 75 years. What you sow is what you reap!

    • 3
      0

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      • 3
        1

        They went the alt-way with BRICS and Russian-Crypto bracks, and couldn’t even handle that. They damaged the whole country with much suffering for the Lankan people. They have now done the 180⁰ turn and going the mainstream US dollar way. Going the mainstream US dollar way means the merger with India, land-bridge and all. Their megalomaniacy and quest for ultimate power over the suffering Lankan Masses + lack of IQ, shows no compromise to secure finer way for the Motherland. They need to be forcibly removed.

      • 2
        4

        Jehan you should call for the resignation of US citizen Basil the uneducated Minister of Finance in this miracle of Modayas who has ruined the Economy these past years!
        Or is he protected because he is a US citizen?
        In Pakistan right now there is a CIA organized regime change operation, against PM Imran Khan because he visited and supported Mr. Putin of Russia recently.
        Sri Lanka is is much more dire straits than Pakistan but no one is protesting the US citizens responsible or asking for regime change. JVP too is silent on the Cold War now back in South Asia and the fact that US wants to control Strategic Sri Lanka through IMF and control of Energy Plants and forcing Sri Lanka to be dependent on US LNG rather than buy oil, gas etc from Russia.
        US operative are gaming the MEDIA NARRATIVE in Sri Lanka and with lots of FAKE NEWS! India and China better watch out!

  • 3
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    Even though this dialogue take place in parliament, can 225 members solve the problem in one week,

    Peaceful Country requires collective measures for explicit steps to make our future more secure international cooperation to solve economic and social problems, and respect for human rights.

    Analyst strategy forecast voting ( prediction )
    The 69 percent voted because he saved the country 31 per did not vote due selling the country

  • 7
    1

    What a pity, to see two clowns , JP and Rusiri trying best to outdo each other. JP is pleading for “spirit of constructive SHAM engagement”.

  • 5
    3

    Seems that Dr. JP is trying to advance the Washington project, to COLONIZE Sri Lanka with IMF and its economic hit men and foreign legal firms take over of Sri lanka’s economy, energy and agriculture sectors under the Green Scam and environmental disaster hoax narrative..
    Unity with US citizens Goat and Basil and US puppet UNPs Bondscam Ranil??!

    The American game with Rajapakse and Ranil (UNP and SLFP) has always been “Heads I win , tails you loose”. Either way Washington wins with this UNP-SLFP_PP unified support! What a game! Of course, its the same in the the Republicans and Democrats in Washington who both work for the American Military business media intel Complex and its endless wars to keep the crashing Empire going!

  • 0
    1

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  • 2
    11

    The Government should have put down conditions to those who passed a resolution to create a separate State, declared war against the Government and Sinhala Nation and massacred Sinhala Buddhists for three decades instead of mollycoddling them.

    • 1
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      EE,
      Good morning.
      Grovelling to Pakistan, Bangladesh et all for dollar Swaps and loans unable to feed, fuel the basic needs of the populace and you want to still ‘Ride the High’, by “putting – laying down conditions”?
      Insanity has its limits!!
      Are you real?
      Would that strategy work and benefit the Sri Lankans at large, which includes the Sinhalese??
      Hair brained ideas?

    • 1
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      EE,
      Good morning.
      The basic question is simple to your claim.
      1. Is Feeding and providing Fuel for the SL population – including, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Burghers – livelihood is more important,
      Or
      2. Egoistic ethnic ‘superiority mental centric’ attitude to scuttle the process and continue suffering of the populace?
      It is simple and not a difficult problem to resolve and answer!!
      We have been regurgitating like the ‘Grass eating kind’ for too long with absolutely no positive or credible results to show as accomplishments and move forward.
      In fact we have “moved backwards”.
      Let the past recede, for a bright future to dawn!!!

  • 6
    1

    Jegan Perera,

    Time is running out!

    If you are intellectual it is your responsibility and bounden duty to express your candid opinion , not to beating about the bush to be in the good books of the ruling party.

    • 3
      2

      Jehan Perera,
      Does any political party or politicians whether in the government or the opposition or any expert in or outside the country has formulated a complete road map for short term and long term recovery. If not it is only blind leading the blind. It is simple to engage in blame game.
      If you don’t know say so!, but to pretend to camouflage your ignorance with talk about a national government or IMF or Ranil has the magic lamp is irresponsible.
      It is statesmanship to declare bankruptcy and expect what comes next

      • 1
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        Srikirish,
        Well said
        “Does any political party or politicians whether in the government or the opposition or any expert in or outside the country has formulated a complete road map for short term and long term recovery. If not it is only blind leading the blind. It is simple to engage in blame game.”

  • 8
    2

    Jehan you are forgetting history. There has been agreements from 1956 and we all know what happened. So now no sane tamil will be prepared to take these kathawa seriously. Of all what Gota says, well it is just not believable. G.L.Peries is a senile, spineless opportunist and tamils have learned enough from this pathetic man who has simply lost even his own identitiy. He is a joker. How is that Jehan Gota suddenly became the president for all. He disallowed even national anthem to be sung in tamil. He appointed all sinhala committee to do archaeology invasion in the Tamil areas. And now Jehan, you are talking of his agreement with naki senile Sambanthan. Sambanthan is more a dead man than alive. Sumanthiran is trying to satisfy both sides. This is not the time to worry about minorities but think about the national calamity. Country is in the verge of revolution. First is to change the government and then look for honest politicians who can salvage SL. First get rid of traditional politicians manned by thugs, goons, rowdies, tavern owners and drug dealers but REALLY educated honest people who are ready to be honest and sincere to run the country. Then deal with all the crooks who ruined and plundered the country and lock them up for life. Bring all the plundered money to be brought back into the country.

  • 4
    0

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  • 3
    2

    Dear Jehan
    Yes a course correction was overdue a long time. Today the country is at cross roads and in the worst dire situation since independence.
    Todate the authorities has not done anything to mitgate the sufferings of the masses. Committees after Committees have been set and APC is a joke to put it mildly.
    Admit that the regime is ill equipped to handle the task at hand.Whats all these rehertroic and nonsences being propsed. RANIL as PM? Is he the magician who can turn things around with a magic wand?
    Please give us a break Jehan
    It’s a failed state and keeps on fooling the masses. Enough is NOT enough

  • 1
    0

    The collapse is part of the freemason agenda.
    They are trying to reduce the human population world wide, and set up their NWO.
    That is why they created the fake pandemic, so they can make many go destitute with their lockdowns, then give them the fatal so called vaccines, which are slow kill shots (fast kill for some with weaker immune systems).
    They wanted to start ww3 also to kill off many
    Thankfully the most high will not let them succeed.
    However! He is allowing much of humanity to suffer, because he is angry with them, for their refusal to repent and come back to him!
    This is about learning lessons at the end of the day.

  • 1
    0

    Sri Lanka, the “Resplendent Isle” has been reduced to the level of a beggar going around the globe with a begging bowl for alms!
    This country would be flowing with milk and honey if the politicians, including DS. Senanayake had a clear vision to take the country to prosperity. Instead, Sinhalese politicians raised the cry of Sinhala Only and Buddhist Only in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country like Sri Lanka.
    The rot started with the Donoughmore Commission introducing universal suffrage. Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan foresaw the dangers that would befall the Tamils and other minority groups. He perceived that a universal franchise would bring about the rule of the majority. He was prophetic. The pan Sinhala Board of Ministers elected by the State Council after the general elections in 1936 confirmed his fears. This worsened the ethnic relationship with the formation of Sinhala Maha Sabha by SWRD Bandaranaike in 1937.
    After realizing that state power has fallen into the hands of the majority, DS Senanayake went for the kill by depriving 700,000 Tamils of Indian origin of their citizenship and franchise in 1948.
    This was followed by Sinhala Only enacted by SWRD Bandaranaike in 1956. This effectively barred Tamils from holding GoSL positions.
    Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike on her part jettisoned the Soulbury constitution lock, stock and barrel and gave foremost place to Buddhism.
    1/2

  • 1
    0

    JR Jayawardene ruined the country with his brainchild the hybrid Presidential system of government. He talked about Sinhalese vs Tamils in his infamous speech “I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna [Tamil] people now… Now we can’t think of them. Not about their lives, or their opinion about us. Nothing will happen in our favour until the terrorists are wiped out. Just that.
    You can’t cure an appendicitis patient until you remove the appendix. The more you put pressure on the North, the happier the Sinhala people will be here. Really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy.”
    Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike jettisoned the Soulbury constitution lock, stock and barrel and gave foremost place to Buddhism.
    President Chandrika Kumaratunga too played the Sinhala – Buddhist card. When the government and the LTTE were set for talks, she acting on the advice of the JVP took over three key portfolios, including Defense, setting off a political crisis that culminated in the dissolution of Parliament.
    Ms Chandrika Kumaratunga accused Mr Wickremesinghe of being too soft on the LTTE, a ridiculous charge.
    The exit of the Wickremesinghe government in April 2004 led to the strengthening of the Sinhalese hardliners and the exacerbation of the ethnic and armed conflict.

  • 0
    0

    Sinhalese themselves lost or squandered unique cultural and geographical advantage by their racist and hegemonic ideologies. It could have been triple the value of Singapore ..being brotherhood and equal power sharing with tamils since independence they could have tapped enormous potential in south India SG Malaysia Indonesia now in west. After all two language and two mainstream ethnicity that they cannot manage whereas India with minimum 50 ethinicity and 180 language growing as powerful. Whom to blame ?.

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