21 September, 2020

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Danger Of Space For Dissent Being Captured By Nationalists

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The rise in public manifestation of ethnic nationalism in the North was evident at this year’s commemoration ceremonies of the last phase of the war at Mullivaikkal of May 18, 2009. Several thousands of people attended the ceremony of remembrance held there at the monument erected in memory of the civilians killed in the war. This is the first time since the end of the war that a political event took place on May 18. Politicians from the moderate TNA who attended the event were not permitted to speak and instead university students and nationalist members of civil society groups took the centre stage. Although it was the Northern Provincial Council that had resolved to remember the Tamil civilians who died in the war, it was reported that even the Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council was physically stopped from entering the podium.

The only politician who addressed the gathering was Northern Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran, who has fallen out of favour with his party hierarchy. The TNA has made every effort to be moderate and to cooperate with the government to find a mutually acceptable solution to the ethnic conflict and to resolve the outstanding issues of the Tamil people. However, basic issues remain unresolved, including the quantum of devolution and power sharing and dealing with the consequences of the war. The chief minister moved a six-point resolution. These included declaring every May 18 in the coming years as “Tamil Genocide Day,” the international community to set up an international mechanism to ensure justice for the people affected, ensure a sustainable political settlement based on Tamil sovereignty, homeland and individuality and identify their suffering as a mass disaster situation and arrange the necessary infrastructure to rehabilitate the people directly, and withdrawal of the armed forces from the Tamil areas of traditional habitation.

The resolution proposed by the chief minister summarises the concerns of the people of the North. The danger inherent in the chief minister’s approach is that it is confrontational and if taken forward can only lead to a breaking of relations with the government and the larger society. The chief minister, although not supported by his party, also wields influence over youthful minds which are prone to extremism born of idealism. The manifestation of extreme sentiment in the North will surely strengthen the forces of extremist nationalism in the South. The space for democratic action can expand, as it has under the present government. But it can also contract as was the case under the former government which did not permit any form of public commemoration of the last days of the war.

Government Position 

From a reconciliation perspective the greater significance of this year’s commemoration of the end of the war is that the government did not attempt to block the public and political events organized by citizens and political parties in the North. While commemorating the security forces who lost their lives, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that all civilians who lost their lives from the day the war began should also be remembered during that day. He said “Today is an important day for Sri Lanka as the country is commemorating the end of the war and the emergence of peace. We will also remember the security forces personnel who sacrificed their lives and the civilians who died during the armed conflict.”

This statement of the prime minister reflected the government’s acknowledgement that this issue continues to be a burning one for the people of the North. The government’s position on the commemoration of the war in the North was defended by government spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne. He compared the commemoration of the northern dead to the commemoration of the southern dead in the JVP insurrections of the past which have been taking place regularly in the South. The government and Minister Senaratne in particular have been denounced by opposition politicians for having permitted the northern commemoration to take place and for justifying the right of the Tamil people to commemorate those who died that day and in the course of the war.

The former government saw the end of the war as the end of the ethnic conflict. Even today many of its top leaders will continue to say that there is no more ethnic conflict, only a problem of politics and of economic development. It required a change of government, which took place in 2015, for the government to adopt a more conciliatory approach to dealing with the Northern people’s desire to commemorate May 18 as their day of mourning and sorrow for the loss of their loved ones. But it was not until this May 18 that the government gave the green light for the public and political commemoration of the dead. In the period 2015-17 they only permitted religious observances which were done in public with large numbers of the public in attendance.

While the government’s reform process is going slower than was expected it is ongoing. There was the passage of the amendments to the judicature act that will set up anti corruption courts that will sit continuously to expedite cases. There are amendments forthcoming that will strengthen anti corruption laws. The office of missing persons was established and has started to do public activities. The office of reparations is about to be put before parliament. This suggests that there will be more truth seeking, more reparations and more reform of laws that strengthen the protection of human rights. The government needs to do this because of international pressure, to win Tamil votes in the future and to establish a just and healed society for all.

Work Together 

Those who seek to promote reconciliation and healing through a more even handed approach are vulnerable to attack. At the present time government leaders are being assailed in the South of the country as traitors who are negating the sacrifices of the military and legitimizing those who engaged in warfare and terrorism to divide the country. The strength of the opposition is that they are united in their ethnic nationalism. The weakness of the government is that the government is not of one mind. It is composed of two parties with two leaders, the president and prime minister, who are equals with neither being subordinate to the other. They each have their own separate powers. One cannot overwhelm or command the other. The problem is that they have not reached formal agreement about the division of authority.

In his speech at the commencement of the new term of parliament on May 8, President Maithripala Sirisena admitted as much when he said that the change that he sought to give leadership to in 2015, has not been completed. He said “Certain incidents that took place in the past three years have proven that we have been unable to develop the socio-political maturity required to move forward with a national government system. The consensual and dialogue democracy is the governing structure of most of the democratic countries in the world today, but it is still an alien concept for us.” The president also identified the key challenges. “First among them was to restore democracy and rule of law. Second was to ensure trust and promote peace among the communities. Third was to build the economy of the country tied to a huge debt. Fourth was to win the International arena which was lost.”

The problem for the government is that they have been more successful in meeting the first of the challenges, that of restoring democracy and the rule of law, than at meeting the challenges posed by the other priorities identified by the president. As a result there has been an opening of democratic space that is used by political opponents of the government to attack and discredit it. This is the case both in the North and South. If this destructive cycle is to change the government needs to act in a unified manner without one branch of government countermanding the other. This requires that the president and prime minister decide on policies together and identify those who will implement them and support the speeding up of the process.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    5

    The Northern commemorations are nothing but continuation of separatist agenda by other means. The events, resolutions put forward etc all point towards confrontation and ultimately the break down of law & order in the North resulting in endangering national security. in 1976 wooden pistols were distributed among youth who attended Vadukkoddai meeting. Jehan’s avatar’s then preached the same “bana” to us then like what Jehan & others doing now. The incremental break down of law & order resulted in a 30 year brutal conflict. Jehan and yahapalanistas paving the path for another mayhem. They will take refuge somewhere comfortable, but the country and the ordinary people of all ethnicities will pay for the follies of these bastards.

    • 3
      5

      Hela why donot you talk about todays injustices made by Ballige putha Rajapakseh ?

      We are all them courts to go for any crimes, but we must never allow Rajapakshe [edited out] be back to ruin our nation again.

      May be that alugosuwa of the nation Gotabaya would be their candidate, but we just want to save this nation from a babarian of that kind to be the leader.

      • 5
        5

        Don’t scream maralathoni…………those ballige puthas are returning……….and you can do f…….. nothing.

        • 2
          1

          Dr. JP is a fiction and fake news/ narratives artist!
          Bondscam Ranil looted the Central Bank, the most important financial institution of a country, but Dr. JP concludes without irony that: “The problem for the government is that they have been more successful in meeting the first of the challenges, that of restoring democracy and the rule of law, than at meeting the challenges posed by the other priorities identified by the president.”

          ‘Rule of law restored’ by Jarapalanaya govt.- my foot! Rule of impunity! Con artist Dr. JP – enough now of your fairy stories

        • 2
          0

          “My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch” – Jack Nicholson.

          • 0
            0

            Jack Nicholson in realty grew up without knowing his father and later in life, when he was one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood got to know that the women who raised him was his grand-mother and His sister was his actual mother. ! His mother/ sister had him when she was 16 and as per the customs of that time ( Catholics in New Jersey ) he was raised by His grand-mother.

      • 5
        2

        Jehan PErera: I heard Wigneswaran is vry concerend about his Political defeat. So, he is becoming Tribalist that is all. TNA stayed away from Wigneswaran for a reason.

    • 4
      4

      Hel-ass

      “The Northern commemorations are nothing but continuation of separatist agenda by other means.”

      Though I don’t agree with you I may grant you the freedom to say so.

      However the southern celebration of the November Heroes’ Day celebrations by The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and the Frontline Socialist Party are not continuation of Sinhala/Buddhists terrorist agenda by other means just because those glorious celebrations are being hosted by Sinhala/Buddhists terrorists for and on behalf of Sinhala/Buddhist terrorists.

      • 4
        2

        Hora Indian Vedda,

        You granting me freedom? He….he…he…….

        • 4
          2

          Hela,
          Where are you from? Are you a Buddhist? Where did you get your Buddhism from? Is it Hora Buddha you use to cheat Sinhalese masses? Why your Hora Buddha Mahinda go every year to Thirupathy Hindu temple? Why your Hora Buddha Gota go to USA not to loose his US citizenshp?

          • 1
            1

            Ajith, what’s the problem? Can try to solve it for you if you tell me…….

            • 1
              1

              Hel ass

              “Ajith, what’s the problem? Can try to solve it for you if you tell me…….”

              The problem is the “Sinhala/Buddhist noisy racist bigoted minority”. The problem festered for the past 100 or so years and now it has reached a point of no return, it is in advance stages of Gangrene.

              We need to amputate that part of the island and confine it in a Sinhala/Buddhist racist ghetto. Rest can live happily ever after. Are you going do the amputation by yourself or do you want help?

              Go to the closest saiva kadde and have some dosa, vaddey and a cup of tea.

    • 1
      1

      You scum @Hela da fagot. wait for Eelam Tamils wrath. Thalaivar is our god, Chief minister wigie is his servent. Wigie follows the path of Thalaivar to the glory of Tamil Eelam. patiotic Eelam Tamils in eelam and diaspora are with chief minister wigie.we are ready to bit your sorry ass when chief minister wigie give orders, we do not need wooden pistols , except to rip your assss. Tamils are ever loyal to Thalaivar and his teaching. long live Tamil Eelam

      • 1
        1

        Hey EM, have you seen your Thalaivar’s photo near the Nandikadal lagoon? That scum forced everybody else to consume cyanide. But the coward didn’t have the guts to take it. He wanted to escape to the West courtesy of US Pacific Command & Norway.

        • 1
          0

          Hel ass

          “But the coward didn’t have the guts to take it.”

          The Hindians cut off the supply route hence the scarcity for the capsule.

          ” He wanted to escape to the West courtesy of US Pacific Command & Norway.”

          Of course the Hindians gave the US Pacific commander good bollocking twice in Hindia and then Shiva Sankaran went all the way to the state department and gave good bollocking to whoever was there, maybe Palitha Kohona moonlighting as whatever,… .

    • 1
      1

      Hela! the separatist agenda will be continued unless the government/Sinhal people accept the. Tamil problems and give them AUTONOMY. Beating about the bush is not going to solve the problem..

      • 1
        1

        K.Anga, all citizens of Sri Lanka are equal under the law (though some belonging to all communities are more equal than others in practice, which to me is a major issue). Tamils are not SPECIAL.

      • 2
        2

        K.Anaga

        What is the Tamil problem?

        It has always been a Sinhala/Buddhist problem imposed on rest of the people, including Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims, Burghers, Malays, Kiffir, Gypsies, …………………..

  • 3
    1

    Will Jehan take the lead to build a monument in Batalanda?

  • 6
    3

    “The government’s position on the commemoration of the war in the North was defended by government spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne. He compared the commemoration of the northern dead to the commemoration of the southern dead in the JVP insurrections of the past which have been taking place regularly in the South. “
    Every human being has a right to commemorate the death of their loved ones irrespective of which race, religion, caste or gender etc they belong to. This is a basic human right which has to be respected.

  • 4
    2

    Dear jegan perera
    Prior to this meeting , it was decided by students not to allow any political persons to make speech. But after much discussions only they allowed the CM to make the speech. The large mouners gatherd there shows the extent of the deaths happened in that killing field. What the previous government did was to suppress and cover the reality. Please dont tarnish sufferer’s expressions as extremism.
    Ok , infact what wete the root causes this government solved.? Other than releasing small piece of lands out of thousands of acres of private lands hold by military.in mullaitheevu sinhalese are being settled in lands owned by displaced tamil . Will you gladly accept kiribathgoda to be settled by tamils by the state after forcibly preventing sinhalese to resettle sir ? If any person disagree , call them extremist or terrorist.

    • 2
      4

      SAGARAM: YOu say that every tamil including those Kallathonic whio migrated during Vanni EELAm had lands ?

    • 2
      3

      SAGARAM: Some Tamils were renting. YOu say they had lands it is that for those Tamils who migrated from Tamilnadyu during the war. They cannot show at least an address or deed to say they were in the North. This is very reliable information source.

      • 4
        0

        Dear jim
        Many of those tamils have their land documents issued by government of srilanka. What you going to say for that?
        Can you proove indian settlement here by any true evidence? It is not like killing people after blocking all medias and international agencies and after that saying there were only 70000 people inside when infact tripple the amount came out latter. Can you proof ?

        • 1
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          SAGARAM: What I heard they do not have such documents and some of them came from Tamilnadu as the life there is difficult. do you say that every Tamil had a land ?

          • 1
            0

            Jim softy! ‘What I heard”……………………..
            Hear say evidence is not acceptable. Fromm whom did you hear?

            • 0
              1

              Check and see. Do you say that every one had lands ? NO one came from Tamilnadu at that time to Vanni. Goddess Mahalakshmi

            • 1
              0

              K.Anaga

              “Fromm whom did you hear?”

              He hears many voices in his head, cannot be specific?

              • 0
                0

                It is called as schizophrenia native veddha

      • 3
        0

        Do the army and police have deeds in their favour:? It is said that the government has to pay million of rupees to to release the lands taken over by the army. This money understand will deprive the suffering people from getting their house built. So what- the Tamils should not have roof over their heads..

  • 2
    2

    JEhan PErera: May 18th Tamils commemorated thier Dead as well as blown up suicide bombers and black tigers. Why did not you talk May 19th celebrations the Army victory because on that PAbakaran was busted for good.

    • 4
      2

      They were not simply dead but killed by their own country.

      • 1
        3

        PAbakaran and his Brigadiers, thamilselvam, suicide bombers, black tigers, Malathy regiment (MAlathy had escaped) Child soldiers, LTTE cadres, Pabakakran and many more was killed for no reason.

        • 1
          0

          In a war combatants can be killed .but not innocents or even combatants who have surrenendered themselves. Here What the srilanjan armed forces done was pure mass murder in several thousands. Induce the public to go to proclaimed safe zoñes and the bombed them with cluster bombs and heavy artilery.
          Jasmin zooka last week told that there are witnesses for Handshaking between Mr.Nadesan and Savendra de silva when coming with white flags. Everybody knows what happened later. Those surrendered LTTE leaders were tortoured burnt and killed. I want to repeat again .you can kill a combatant but not a surrendee.

  • 3
    3

    MAy 17th Tamilnadu Tamils had commemorated the EELAM WAR Memorial. Wiogneswaran is destroying any help given by the south to those Tamils. HE is promoting Tribalism and anti-LTTE sentiments of the South.

  • 2
    1

    Nationalism is superfluous in a country where ‘Law and Order’ is supreme.
    In Lanka we have ethnic-Nationalism – Lankan ethnic-majority, Lankan-minority and a third getting floated.
    Politicians continue to exploit ethnic-Nationalism – just look across the Strait.
    Was the Mullivaikal commemoration dissent or ethnic-Nationalism? Debatable.
    .

    • 2
      0

      ‘Nationalism is superfluous in a country where ‘Law and Order’ is supreme.’

      So how come it is rising all over Western Europe?

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
    2

    Native …. Hel-as- Ass……………………………….. Rani and company it may sound sweet music to their years.
    Well, whatever the commemoration were, they were all thirsty and the cool drinks were much welcomed the way they were rescued in May 2009. Some may have remembered as well.
    Problem remains not with the masses but with the high caste politicians who act like Sheppards.

    First we saw VP shepparding with the barrel of a gun……….. Then Emmanuel with his Cassoak and now through Caste……….

    JEhan PErera……….. better indulge yourself in something useful to the Society with your PhD before it gets stale & gripes occur due to feeding with $$ food.

    • 2
      1

      Thondassmany

      “First we saw VP shepparding with the barrel of a gun……….. Then Emmanuel with his Cassoak and now through Caste……….”

      “First we saw VP shepparding with the barrel of a gun……….. Then Emmanuel with his Cassoak and now through Caste……….”

      Oh really? You hadn’t seen any gun, country gun, Molotov cocktails, …………………… before or after LTTE? What did you use in 1958, 1960,1961, 1971, 1977, 1981, 1983, between 1987 and 1990, …………………………2018, …. . ?

  • 2
    1

    The more the Tamil politicians talk about, commemoration of war dead in the North, more they talk about Tamil Elam, more they talk about separatist agenda, more you talk against Buddhism and more you talked about Tamil Genocidal Day, do not expect any reconciliation with the Majority and by doing so, the current so called Tamil Leaders Taking the destructive violent path for Tamil masses by poisoning their minds as same as the previous leaders did since 1933 on non-existent and unrealistic demands, which will never ever going to happen in the land of Sri Lanka.

    In view of the above, we would like to caution the Tamil masses that this kind of poisoning may end up another round of violent and destructive annihilation as same as what happened to LTTE after 30 years.

    In the circumstances, we are very confident that Tamil masses may get the wisdom not to listen to so called Tamil Leaders for the sake of your families and the future of you all.

    There is no ethnic problem in Sri Lanka as the problems are Economic in nature to everybody living here ad howsoever, people argue Sri Lanka’s majority is Sinhalese Buddhist and if you dig the land anywhere including North and East, you find artifacts and archaeological evidence connected with Buddhism and not any other.

    Use the wisdom to accpet the reality and the truth and live peacefully and harmoniously.

    • 2
      1

      Nimal Tissass Wijethunga

      “more they talk about separatist agenda, more you talk against Buddhism and more you talked about Tamil Genocidal Day,”

      Actually no one talks against Buddhism while you destroy it left right and centre. In fact You don’t need others to talk against Buddhism when you (the Sinhala/Buddhists) alone have already destroyed it by your own behaviors since the advent of the public racists Aryan Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala.

      “Use the wisdom to accpet the reality and the truth and live peacefully and harmoniously.”

      Are you using the wisdom? If so why?
      What are wisdom, reality, life, peaceful, harmonious, …………………..?

  • 2
    0

    Nimal Tissa Wijethunga, As regards to your hypothesis that the problems are Economic in nature, would you grant that the measures adopted by the Sinhala governments precipitated the economic woes of the Tamils. Shouldn’t it be your responsibility to tell the government to make amends by withdrawing those measures.

    Please note – as regards to the artifacts and archaeological evidence of Buddhism in North and East – that we were once followers of Buddhism.

    • 2
      0

      Thappu

      Nimal Tissass Wijethunga is all over the place who doesn’t know if he is “coming or going or coming” .

      His priority is to blame the victim and then save the bums of every failed Sinhala/Buddhist leadership. Through out his typing he makes veiled threat to minorities.

  • 0
    1

    Native Vedda

    You think that only you can understand matters that is your problem here. The problems here are Economic in nature for all Sri Lankans.

    Rather barking like a dog, ut forward special problems of Tamils whoever in this country to seek Tamil Elam or federalism or an other stupid solution.

    • 1
      0

      Nimal Tissass Wijethunga

      “You think that only you can understand matters “

      No I am hear to learn, understand, ask questions, learn, understand, change my opinion, make better decision, ……………………..

      You are here in this forum for the sake of being here, and keep on bull s******g without dealing with the real issues.

      You seems desperate and in a hurry to declare Tamil Eelam more than anyone else.
      Tissass, Hindians are not in a hurry to declare Eelam and recognize it as a separate state. So why don’t you shove your Eelam in a suitable hole in your body and stop climaxing.

      Tissass let us know why Federalism is a stupid solution, especially to the one who cannot see beyond one’s nose? I know you have no clue about Federalism in the first place.

  • 0
    1

    Thappu,

    Tamils have come to Sri Lanka as Invaders, plunderers, smugglers, Kallathonies, as slaves to work in Tea Estates. Any Archelogical facts to rove otherwise, nothing and they were never a followers of Buddhism, any evidence , nothing. Accept the truth howsoever bitter

    But, that does not mean we cannot live as Sri Lankans, we can if no more separatist agendas, Tamil Genocidal days etc…….

    Please mention any special problem of Tamils requires Tamil Elam or Federalism as a solution.

    • 0
      0

      Nimal Tissa Wijethunga, The answer to your question is embedded in the very question I had posed for you. Read carefully. Answer honestly. You’ll get to know the answer yourself. You too have a responsibility towards an honest dialogue. Stop sidestepping your responsibility.

    • 1
      0

      Nimal Tissass Wijethunga

      “Tamils have come to Sri Lanka as Invaders, plunderers, smugglers, Kallathonies, as slaves to work in Tea Estates. “

      They did over many millennia.
      They eventually converted to Buddhism, influenced language and religion, then converted to Sinhala/Buddhism, a sham concocted identity in the past 100 or so years.

      You are a late convert to Sinhala/Buddhism, guarding zealously your new identity in order to fit in with your fellow racist and benefit from it. I don’t believe any self respecting Sinhalese or Buddhist would proudly have you as his/her friend or relative.

      Go get a job and work productively, be useful to the country, people, neighbours, kith and kin, friends, local community, …………… Else you are going to die alone.

    • 0
      0

      Paranoia. Have you studied basic histoty of this land friend? Before that then vijayan was a criminal who have been forcibly evacuated by his father. Also there are stories of beastiality and incest in early sinhalese ancesters history by Mahavamsam. So do you have right for a say here yaluwo.? There are several tamil brahmi stone inscriptions to prooce the tamil history.

  • 0
    0

    Native veddah, Thapu, Sagara,

    Only megalomaniacs ask non-existing, Day dreaming Elam, self rule, federalism etc, These megalomaniacs ideology was effectively answered on the 19th of May 2009 on the banks of Nanthikadal lagoon by annihilating LTTE.

    Besides, I am not surprised that the knowledge of the history of Sri Lanka by the people who have come here as invaders, plunderers, smugglers, kallathonies and as slaves to work in Tea estates.

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