20 September, 2020

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Five Years On, What Have We Got Here?

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

I write this with mixed feelings, believing in some opportunities and mindful of enormous problems or difficulties. Five years on, the problems have enlarged and the opportunities dwindled. Yet, as a perennial optimist, I stick to the opportunities perhaps as the last straws. Let me begin with by commenting on the termination of the war in May 2009, as it is from that lamppost that we count the five years.

On that Monday, 18th May 2009, I was at the Navy Cantonment at Wattala, conducting a session on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, when the news broke out of the demise of the LTTE leader and the decisive victory of the army. I was at the Officers’ Mess at lunch after the session, and the reception to the news among the navy officers were calm, somber and of a matter of fact nature. There was no overt jubilation which I admired as an academic.

On my way back to Colombo, the situation was different. The roads were almost impassable, people dancing and parading with banners, and fire crackers were all over the place. There were symptoms of an ‘ethnic victory’ although no one was harmed, a sentiment which became eventually enlarged as the months and years went by. It is this sentiment and trend that the extremists have utilized during the last five years to the maximum and the government has willingly succumbed to.

mahindaThere was reason to be happy or even jubilant given the hardships and difficulties that the ordinary people had to go through, not to speak of the heinous crimes of terrorism. It is possible that even the Tamils in the North also felt the same or at least a sigh of relief. I had a senior Tamil female officer on my staff and she or her family was never near any admirers of the LTTE politics. She was relieved at the beginning, but as the days went by she became worried and withdrawn perhaps feeling insecure within an increasing atmosphere of Sinhala triumphalism. I am not sure to what extent that triumphalism manifested within the organization that I was heading (and responsible). She prematurely retired, on which I was not in a position to do anything given the issues and circumstances.

The above is an impressionistic or experiential introduction to what I am going to write on briefly.

Was there any possibility of Sri Lanka evolving differently after May 2009? Yes, there was in my opinion, at least to the extent of fifty-fifty. History sometimes determined by few personalities or few events. If the President and the government followed what the President stated in his ‘victory speech’ in Parliament on 19 May 2009 and what he agreed with the UN Secretary General a week later, or consistently followed what was outlined in the Mahinda Chinthana 2005 (and not 2010), the situation in Sri Lanka would have been different.

What was necessary was reconciliation with accountability and resurrection of democracy. If a long term political settlement was difficult, a political understanding could have been reached with the TNA to normalize the North. The immediate establishment of the NPC was imperative like in the East.

But the things didn’t happen that way. Perhaps the victory in the UNHRC gave the hawks an undue confidence. The rigid attitude of the West pushed the regime to the wall on war crime charges. The split between the regime and the (former) Army Commander by the end of the year placed the regime to rely more and more on the armed forces and/or the Defense Establishment. Chauvinist partners within the UPFA, the JHU and the NFF, became more influential in comparison to the Left or the moderates. The propensity of the SLFP to fall back on Sinhala chauvinism was always high. The CBK period was quite an exception and there was a contrast between CBK and MR on the Tamil or the minority question.

When the regime emerged after the two elections in 2010 it was different. The new Mahinda Chinthana 2010 was different. It talked about Buddhism as the ‘state religion’ although many would not have noticed it. It completely dropped the previous promise to abolish the presidential system. It was ambiguous and lukewarm on the provincial council system and devolution. There was no firm program for reconciliation. Instead, all assurances were placed on economic development but without democracy.

Economic progress undoubtedly is the main strength of the present regime. Simply to deny that is self-deception. Anyone to match should come up with a similar or an alternative program. Its success is not merely an internal story but an external one largely linked to Chinese assistance. Sri Lanka’s move away from India towards China has also been a part of this story.

Has there been culpability on the part of the Tamil constituencies for the sorry state of the country or the ethnic relations after the war? Yes, there has been in my opinion. Tamil nationalism still appears to base itself on the ideology of separatism and self-determination. This is more prominent within the Diaspora but no less within the local actors. It is not merely a reaction to the majority domination and chauvinism but an orientation within the elite thinking for a long period.

There has been an exclusive thinking, a failure to accommodate or compromise except at certain junctures. The claim of two provinces for a separate state or even for exclusive devolution is unreasonable and untenable. In 1949, the Federal party was formed on the issue discrimination against the hill country Tamils, but failed to consider them as one of their people or constituency. On the issues of the Muslims it was more or less the same. It was very difficult for the Tamil nationalism to take the moral high ground against Sinhala nationalism or chauvinism under the circumstances.

There is no question that the major responsibility for the national conundrum would rely on the majority community and particularly on the state that they control or manipulate. It is difficult to believe that any progress on reconciliation would emerge under the present regime. Its present effort is to assimilate and not reconcile or integrate. This is unreasonable and untenable.

It is not only the unresolved national question that we have got after five years. The regime has destroyed and destroying the rule of law, independence of the Judiciary and curtail the freedoms of expression and religion. There are all hallmarks of a totalitarian regime. The 18th Amendment has been a watershed in this direction, the full implications of which people have not yet grasped or not yet clear. There is a mammoth task of educating the people and organizing them on such issues. The economy has progressed overtly, yet discriminately, creating new deprived sections and major income disparities.

The opposition has not yet tapped these opportunities for its benefit. Corruption has thrived with development, creating a new class of politically rich. They should be exposed along with corruption. Casino issue reveals the nature of economic development that Rajapaksas are relying on. It is a potential issue for the opposition, even good enough to oust a government if properly utilized.

Within the ruling UPFA, the traditional SLFPers are effectively marginalized, monopolizing the decision making apparatus by the family cabal. There is every reason to split/save the SLFP from this sad situation. The CBK should speak up and speak up decisively on these issues.

What a democratic opposition could effectively do to curtail adverse policies of a regressive government is amply demonstrated by what is unravelling in Australia just now, as I write this, against the Abbot-Hokey budget. In Sri Lanka more forthright mobilizations may be necessary. In Australia, the campaigning includes TV talk shows, paid advertisements, continuous press statements, public meetings, demonstrations and protests and the full utilization of the social media (email, numerous blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc.). Isn’t that the way even Narendra Modi and the BJP won the Indian elections?

In Sri Lanka more creative devices may be necessary but peacefully through democratic means and without indulging in unethical practices such as gossip or lies. A viable opposition should take a moral high ground.

It is not only the Tamils and the (religious) minorities that are at the receiving end under the present regime. In the North, the opposition and the resentment is obvious and overt, but not so in the South. In the North, the opposition is apparently going in the wrong direction which needs to be soon corrected. In the South, the opposition is incipient and weak but it could be resurrected if concerted and non-sectarian efforts are made.

Tamil support is needed to resurrect democracy in the country. This is rather an appeal. They are part and parcel of the common citizenry. They should feel and act that way whatever the odds. What we face against injustice, discrimination and repression is ultimately a common cause transcending ethnicity and religion. That common cause is also one way of resolving the national question amicably and eventually.

Accountability is important in respect of what happened in particularly at the last stages of the war and even thereafter. The existing military rule in the North should end and the civil administration should be reinstated. The role of the opposition in the South should be crystal clear on this issue. However, complete reliance on the UNHRC inquiry on war crimes would be illusory for the Tamil people. It would probably turn out to be another UN report, in my opinion, at best some countries imposing travel restrictions on some perpetrators identified.

In politics some opportunities or chance breakthroughs are necessary for political change. The BJP landslide victory might bring them in some ‘unexpected ways.’ Why unexpected ways?

The ‘expected’ outcome of the Indian elections was or is predicted as Delhi supporting the UNHRC inquiry and taking the Rajapaksas to The Hague under the influence or pressure of Tamil Nadu. There was also hope that then the Tamils could go for a referendum for a separate state. It would simply not happen. Even Delhi might scuttle the UNHRC inquiry in a subtle manner. This is India’s sphere of influence. Delhi is no longer under the influence of Tamil Nadu. The rift between Modi and Jayalalitha at the last stages of the election campaign was symptomatic.

Even new Delhi might support Rajapaksa on the UNHRC issue. But it will strongly negotiate on the Tamil fishermen’s issue with Colombo. It will patronize Colombo but ask the regime to withdraw or minimize army/navy in the North and implement the 13th Amendment. What will result are frictions and disorientations within the regime in Colombo. The Cabinet will split on the issue of India. The government will be weaken. These are the opportunities that the opposition has to utilize delicately to effect political change in the country for reconciliation, democracy and development in the country. I may be wrong, but above is my reading of the evolving scenario in the coming future.

If I may pontificate a little, don’t rely on external factors too much. Read them carefully, utilize them, but rely on internal alliances and forces. At least that is what might be sustainable. We may have to live in this small Island for a very longtime or forever.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    2

    All these pontifications are fine to read and forget: What is happening on the ground is more important:

    The Sinhala racist state and the regime are fast accelerating the Sinhalization of the Tamil homeland. In a few years writers will claim that Tamils cannot claim anything left over in their homeland for 3 millenniums or more.

    This is the strategy followed by all Sinhala political elite and the regimes since independence. Sinhala intellectuals and politicians are very crafty : They can make foxes cower in shame!

    • 5
      2

      Well said Thiru

    • 0
      0

      You are perfectly right. I have watched these Sinhala intellectuals and politicians are very crafty :

      NaMo has to bomb them north to south – no boots on the ground is the 21st centenary style- we have the technology and the drones but the tamils must never play the VP game of hitting back at Indians ever again.

      hanuman ki jai

    • 0
      1

      If you were here for 3 millenias why there is NOTHING to claim so? No book written, no hisorical sites, absolutely NOTHING.

      • 1
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        sach

        “No book written, no hisorical sites, absolutely NOTHING.”

        Probably they didn’t have a good fiction writer as Mahanama or Senarath Paranavithana who was able to read interlinear inscriptions. Nor did they have Irathinavalli, Kamalika Pieris, Champika, Bandu de Silva, Nalin de Silva,……. Banda, mechanic, ………..

    • 0
      3

      Thiru,
      Go on dreaming, your Tamil ‘homeland’ is lying at the bottom of Nandikadal with your maniac ‘sun god’ Prabha. Anyone who is a Sri lankan can claim their right to live and work wherever they like in Sri Lanka. Remember 54% of Sri Lankan Tamils live and work in Colombo and the South. Sri Lankan Sinhala, Muslim and others have the right to live and work anywhere they want in the North and East. There are no racial enclaves in Sri lanka.

      • 3
        0

        Lanka you fool:

        You cant bloody live anywhere you want if the intention is to colonise. We are not going to let you. 54% of the Tamils live in the South simply because you lot never developed the North and East.
        For your information mate Jeyalalitha has been given the task of dealing with MR. It is the Iron Lady vs the Hambanthota Thug and let us wait and see. I am sure it will be a knockout in the first round and MR will bite the dust. Cant wait.

  • 6
    3

    I don’t believe that you are asking the right question. By May 2009, Sri Lankans fate was already sealed. There was nothing could be done to prevent the end-game that’s going to unfold on the Island – and endgame that involves US leadership and peacekeepers from the UN. For reasons we will probably never fully understand, the GOSL had convinced itself that all it had to do to annex the NE is to destroy the LTTE, regardless of how much “collateral damage” it had to accept. It’s as if no one in the GOSL watches world news. It’s as if they were oblivious to what happened in Kosovo and East Timor.
     
    It’s still too early, but years from now historians will look back at the war of 2009, and conclude that it was the LTTE that achieved its strategic objective and won the war, despite the enormous loss of life it suffered both to its cadres and to its leadership. I also think Mahinda Rajapakse will eventually be remembered both by the Sinhalese and the Tamils, as the fool who thought he had defeated the collective wisdom, courage and sacrifice of the Jaffna Tamil people, when in fact the exact opposite is true.

  • 2
    6

    Five years on the the Tamils are surprised that the world was not interested when LTTE aided and abetted by TNA politicians, INGOs, Catholic Church, Journalists were abducting Tamil Youth & Children and using them to fight a war with the GOSL financed by the Diaspora.

    Nevertheless, today we see the whole World in unison rising up against the BOKO HARAM demanding the release of 200 schoolo girls that were abducted………….

    Its a funny world…………
    Northern Tamils in Sri Lanka will never learn at least now………..

  • 3
    1

    Dear Dr. Laksiri Fernando

    Five Years On, What Have We Got Here? Para-MR and his dynasty. Why?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1vU7jfMStI

    Anura Dissanayake’s Speech at Founders; Day Ceremony of All Ceylon Muslim League Youth Federation – 2014.05.12

    Anura Dissanayake’s Speech at Muslim Youth Ceremony – 2014

    50 Years On, What Have We Got Here? Para-Sinhala Monk Mahanama Buddhist Racism and Sacrifice of Egalitarianism and Buddhism

    500 Years On, What Have We Got Here? Para- Portugese

    1,000 Years On, What Have We Got Here? Para-Tamils

    1,500 Years On, What Have We Got Here? Para-Monk Mahanama lies and Imaginations

    2,300 Years On, What Have We Got Here? Introduction of Buddhism

    2,500 years ago, Arrival od Some paras from India

    3,000 years ago, arrival of paras from South India

    25,000 years ago, Native Veddah Walked. Seal levels were low, as low as 120 meters.

    So, other than Native Veddah, everybody else is a Para.

    However, the Native Veddah, expects the guest Para to live in keeping with the Ethics and Egalitarian traditions of Native Veddah.
    Their DNA proves that. Do you want more evidence?

  • 9
    0

    Prof. Laksiri ,

    As alleged elsewhere in CT today, the President was aware of Balachandran’s murder and has not made it public.
    This incident , the President’s immediate reaction and subsequent posture, define his presidency and the state of this country.

    I had also been very hopeful that Mahinda Rajapakse will be the man who would make the best use of the opportunity that came about on the 19th of May’ 2009, to do what was right by this country. He failed miserably and contemptuously. He has gone off course and paved his path with pretension, empty words, outright lies, deceit, prevarications and despicable intrigue.

    When I had the opportunity to meet him in 1995 , soon after he was elected President first, I told him that he has to become THE PRESIDENT of all Sri Lankans and not the Sinhalese alone. He seemed to agree. Where are we today? He is stroking communal fires and extremism on one hand, while declaring on this day the fifth anniversary of the end of a brutal and ugly war that he is not celebrating the victory but the peace that has resulted. What he is celebrating with military parades is not peace, but the jingoism that he hopes will win him another election. What he is celebrating will lead to further fragmentation of our society and future bloodshed, in yet an unknown form.

    CT has well timed the information relating to MR’s awareness of the manner in which Balachandran was allegedly killed. If true, can a President who has not had the guts to admit and the decency to condemn this dastardly incident, have the moral right to be our President and talk of celebrating peace? Will this President yet have the moral fibre to also apologise for the murders of Balachandran, Isaipriya and those involved in the ‘ White Flag’ episode ( also revealed in greater detail by CT today)? I do not think MR has the moral timbre to do this. It is not the moral high ground of the Tamils or the Sinhalese that has come into question, but the very morality of our President .

    What moral right has MR to continue as our President? What hope can we see through him?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    I

    • 2
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      Dr. Narendran,

      I went through your comment very carefully. I agree with you 100 percent except that I would dread to imagine or say that “what he is celebrating will lead to further fragmentation of our society and future bloodshed, in yet an unknown form.” This is something we should try our best to avoid. That was the very reason that I took a different stance to what I normally write these days in cautioning Tamil activists and the leaders. The intention is to avoid another misadventure although I could be accused of expressing a ‘Sinhala’ sentiment. I believe I’m not. However, I wanted to record my view frankly in a milder manner without attacking any person or organization.

      • 2
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        Dear Prof.Laksiri,

        Thanks. I have been also fighting from my small corner to preserve the unity of Sri Lanka and ensure equality, justice and fair play to all her people. I worked to ensure that there will not ever be a repeat of our past. I had been very critical of the TNA and Sambanthan in particular during the period following the war. I have seen the TNA take a new direction, despite the antics of a few empty heads in their midst.

        I reposed much confidence in MR to steer the right/ righteous course, because he appeared to be basically a decent man in the few interactions I had with him. He had the right words and the right tone, although he was wanting in specifics. I thought he did not want to spell out specifics for strategic reasons. However, he has taken many of us and this country for a ride and feathered his sinecure. This makes me angry- a sentiment I have always tried to keep under control.

        Dr. RN

        • 2
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          Dr RN,
          From around 2009 I used to hate you very much. Now I respect you a lot. When I visit CT website , first I look for your name under the Latest Comments. If I see your name, first I read your comments.

          “He had the right words and the right tone,…” All the past Sinhalese PMs and presidents used the right words and tone to fool us and the world.

          WE CANNOT TRUST THEM any more. Of course I will trust Prof Laksiri Fernando, Dr Jude Lal Fernando and people like them.

          Like SJV said only GOD (if there is one ) can save Tamils.

    • 1
      0

      Dear. DR. RN, you, Dr. LF and few may be raising this question.
      But how many stupid folks across the country are fooled by his lies to this day?
      We dont need to focus those stupid majorities, but what about so called self proclaimed political analyst DJ. He confirmed us y day, that he would rather support MR or immatured baby boy in politics -Sajith in next P election. This is very typcial to some developing countries like hours.

      This man is what the germans call it hinterhältig by all nature. This may the reason why his close relatives once said to media ” mahinda is unpredicatable”.
      He passes a very affectionate view of pride father even toughing and kissing infants to young ones to misguide those rural masses, but on his return to political capital, he goes on his under ground agendas in which many analysts would see as :
      solely based on illegal businesses including alcohol and drug import
      and varied other agendas that the average are not informed of. Since the media is over 90% controlled by their pvt men, the average would not have the change to get them right.
      His style of governance is very undemocratic – more authoritarian, we dont need to criticise Ms Pillay anymore, we have experiencee all these. Yesterday´s gamaudawa style ceremonies were not the need of the hour – more he would go for such celebrities, more hatred among the miniority folks would be the consequence. I believe, this man is a failure by birth. No other words I feel fits better

      • 1
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        Apologies:

        The average would not have the chance to get them right.

    • 0
      2

      seriously? who are u to question MR’s moral right, when you people have been funding terrorism fr 30 years.

      I personally belive isaipriya’s and prabha’s kid’s cases should have been investigated. I think there are internal investigations. But ltte leaders is strict NO.

      and again who the hell are you to question MR’s morality when you and your ilk have none left.

      • 4
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        Please take note of Dr RN and others, this is what Sinahla racist mindset is all about. Anything that Sinha racists element do, noone should question? World community must learn and act swiftly.

  • 5
    0

    Dear Dr. Laksiri Fernando,
    There is no deep-seated animosity between Modi and Jayalalithaa. Track record of their interactions would show they admire each other The recent hiccup in their otherwise cordial relations was not real- Modi knew that. Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu had accused Jayalalitha of having secret alliance with BJP, for post-election purposes. She had to deny the charge. Otherwise, she might have lost the minority (Musslim, Christian) votes in Tamil Nadu to DMK or Congress. My hunch is that, vis-a-vis Sri Lanka, Modi would be aggressive on issues directly affecting Indian interests, including TN fishermen, SL-Pak, SL-China relations,13A and otherwise may not be pro-active on core issues affecting SL Tamils. Of course, unlike Manmohan Singh, Modi will effectively control the South Block in New Delhi and tell them, “It is my way or the HWY” They need lot of pruning. Modi is pragmatic , but an unknown quantity on extra-national questions. Must wait and see.

    • 3
      0

      Sravanan:

      At the time I called it lovers tiff. Frankly that is what it was and their friendship is 25 years old and it has stood the test of time. We paid a heavy price for Jeyalalithas animosity towards Sonia whom she called a foreigner in one of Karan Thapars interview but we consider Modi a family member which the Sinhalese can accept.

  • 0
    7

    7 out of 10 for the Professor’s assessment of the LTTE proxy TNA demands for full autonomy…

    But the assessment of his take on our inhabitants current Economic Development and march towards a mid income Nation with in a short span of 5 years since seeing off the Terrorists and their overseas backers,should be left to the inhabitants.

    Didn’t the Leader of the TNA morph into the champion of the LTTE demands soon after Nanthikadal with the full backing of England, Canada and the US?.

    Isn’t it the root cause of this stalemate between the LTTE proxies and the Govt?..

    As the President said in his “Victory of Peace” rally in Matara, the Govt is ready to defend any attempts to drag the nation back to the dark ages of pre 2009.

    And it is comforting for the great majority of the population, who are rural poor.now earning a quid in a peaceful environment.

    This is the first time these people have been able to not wait for their begging bowls to be filled with Western food aid.

    And they are determined to keep it that way.

    As for the Professor’s wish for regime change, he ought to impart his Aussie political experience to the Christian Faction of the UNP who have hijacked the party.

    Telling them how good your Aussie mates are doing with their Casinos will be a start,

    Surely you must have put a few Dollars in their slot machines in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Townsville, Brisbane and Hobarti. Right…

  • 0
    5

    What Laksiri F’do yearns for is democracy, and believes that Tamils could help achieve this in Sri Lanka. Tamils, in considerable numbers rejected democracy and took to the gun, because that which they aspired for, desired and lusted for could NOT be achieved via democracy. The diasporan LTTE does not seek democracy and still does not wish to live in a democratic Sri Lanka. We need to face the fact. That does NOT mean that we surrender to them.

    Every attempt is made equate the celebration of the victory over the terrorists and terrorism as being anti-Tamil. Nothing could be further from the truth. The heavy load that terrorism imposed on all segments of Sri Lankan society was suddenly removed on that glorious day, the 19th of May and that needs to be celebrated by one and all, irrespective of ethnicity religion or even that ever present shadow of caste. This is also the time to think of the dead, the soldiers who gave their willingly so that we could live and those who lost theirs from the murderous activities of the terrorists themselves or being in the middle of activities they had no way of controlling.

    Lakisri’s faith in the Northern Province leadership is misplaced. Wigneswaran, a man of learning, respected by many, who was looked up to, to bring peace and harmony, went up North and opened his mouth and uttered words that brought dismay in the South. His, was a lost opportunity. Today the North could have been very different had he used the wisdom he is known to possess, instead of playing to the gallery.

  • 3
    1

    Dr Fernando:

    Like you I also respond to your Article with mixed feelings.

    The following is an understatement: I am not sure what you mean by some opportunities. There were plenty of opportunities to resolve the Tamil issue but there was no willingness on the part of the GOSL headed by MR and Navigated by Gotha to meet with the Tamil aspirations which has led to e enormous problems or difficulties.

    It is possible that even the Tamils in the North also felt the same or at least a sigh of relief. The above is your imagination as vast majority of the Tamils identified with the LTTE as they knew without the LTTE the Sri Lankan security forces will run riot as is happening now.

    Was there any possibility of Sri Lanka evolving differently after May 2009? Yes, there was in my opinion, at least to the extent of fifty-fifty.
    You might be a perennial optimist but I am not as in the last 64 long years we have not seen any shred of evidence. I don’t think the attitude of the Sinhalese towards the Tamils will ever change which is inborn.

    I agree that What was necessary was reconciliation with accountability and resurrection of democracy but in the reverse order.

    ***Economic progress undoubtedly is the main strength of the present regime. Simply to deny that is self-deception. Anyone to match should come up with a similar or an alternative program. Its success is not merely an internal story but an external one largely linked to Chinese assistance. Sri Lanka’s move away from India towards China has also been a part of this story.

    You are an educated individual and I am not sure how you define Economic Progress. Simply building Roads an Airports is not going to generate income without any Industrial expansion and I have not seen any. Sri Lanka is already struggling to compete with Chinese Indian and other smaller countries especially in the Garment Industry. When the concession was withdrawn by the EU it resulted in the decimation of Garment Industry. Why do you think the UNP MPs were chased out of Hambanthota by the Gun wielding Mayor.

    ***Has there been culpability on the part of the Tamil constituencies for the sorry state of the country or the ethnic relations after the war? Yes, there has been in my opinion. Tamil nationalism still appears to base itself on the ideology of separatism and self-determination. This is more prominent within the Diaspora but no less within the local actors. It is not merely a reaction to the majority domination and chauvinism but an orientation within the elite thinking for a long period.

    Will you please clarify the above and give me the date ( not date and month) of inception of Tamil Nationalism and the reason for emergence. We were not born Terrorists but turned into one by the actions of the majority. So please don’t try to patronise us. We had no control over anything and it was your creation.

    ***There has been an exclusive thinking, a failure to accommodate or compromise except at certain junctures. The claim of two provinces for a separate state or even for exclusive devolution is unreasonable and untenable. In 1949, the Federal party was formed on the issue discrimination against the hill country Tamils, but failed to consider them as one of their people or constituency. On the issues of the Muslims it was more or less the same. It was very difficult for the Tamil nationalism to take the moral high ground against Sinhala nationalism or chauvinism under the circumstances.

    My friend you can only compromise when there is something concrete and meaningful was on offer. There was nothing and whatever there was on a “Take it or Leave” it basis which no self respecting person would accept.

    There is no question that the major responsibility for the national conundrum would rely on the majority community and particularly on the state that they control or manipulate.

    I am not sure what you mean by the above which doesn’t make any sense.

    What a democratic opposition could effectively do to curtail adverse policies of a regressive government is amply demonstrated by what is unravelling in Australia just now, as I write this, against the Abbot-Hokey budget. In Sri Lanka more forthright mobilizations may be necessary. In Australia, the campaigning includes TV talk shows, paid advertisements, continuous press statements, public meetings, demonstrations and protests and the full utilization of the social media (email, numerous blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc.). Isn’t that the way even Narendra Modi and the BJP won the Indian elections?.

    *** I am sure you are a realist and I don’t think you mean what you say above. We are talking about different electorate. The only issue that will win elections in Sri Lanka is the Race issue. If you play the Race Card you are home and dry and no one plays it better than MR.

    ***It is not only the Tamils and the (religious) minorities that are at the receiving end under the present regime. In the North, the opposition and the resentment is obvious and overt, but not so in the South. In the North, the opposition is apparently going in the wrong direction which needs to be soon corrected. In the South, the opposition is incipient and weak but it could be resurrected if concerted and non-sectarian efforts are made.

    My friend you are on a different planet are you suggesting that the Tamil suffering and that of the Sinhalese suffering is on a similar scale.

    Tamil support is needed to resurrect democracy in the country.

    Sadly the Tamils have no say in the running of the country and I wouldn’t want to pretend otherwise. We certainly don’t want to be Boot Lickers of MR.

    Accountability is important in respect of what happened in particularly at the last stages of the war and even thereafter. The existing military rule in the North should end and the civil administration should be reinstated. The role of the opposition in the South should be crystal clear on this issue.

    I agree with the above but disagree with the following. However, complete reliance on the UNHRC inquiry on war crimes would be illusory for the Tamil people. It would probably turn out to be another UN report, in my opinion, at best some countries imposing travel restrictions on some perpetrators identified.

    The ‘expected’ outcome of the Indian elections was or is predicted as Delhi supporting the UNHRC inquiry and taking the Rajapaksas to The Hague under the influence or pressure of Tamil Nadu. There was also hope that then the Tamils could go for a referendum for a separate state. It would simply not happen. Even Delhi might scuttle the UNHRC inquiry in a subtle manner. This is India’s sphere of influence. Delhi is no longer under the influence of Tamil Nadu. The rift between Modi and Jayalalitha at the last stages of the election campaign was symptomatic.

    *** The above is wishful thinking but Modi has already stated that he will act on the Tamil issue based on the Diktat from Jeyalalitha and that is bad news for MR.

    If I may pontificate a little, don’t rely on external factors too much. Read them carefully, utilize them, but rely on internal alliances and forces. At least that is what might be sustainable. We may have to live in this small Island for a very longtime or forever.

    *** I disagree as history has taught us Tamils that any change in our fortune is not going to come from within as right minded people like
    you are a drop in the ocean.

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