Colombo Telegraph

For Tamils Trying Times At Their Worst

By S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

In what appears to be a choice less confrontation, what can the Tamils do? If they vote for the incumbent President, he is sure to win and rivet his despotism on them and the country still further. If they refrain from voting, they give a victory to the existing regime on a silver platter. If they vote sluggishly and lukewarmly for the common candidate at a fifth of their potential, they make no difference besides getting entangled in the non-negotiable snares of the JHU. So what are the options left if their goal and target is regime change and if they are earnest about it?

One and only one. To realize acutely the strength of their full potential and to vote decisively for Maithripala Sirisena. He will have the wise and moderating counsel of age and experience in Sobitha Thero, Chandrika, Ranil and Sampanthan. To vote with verve to reach more than five times their performance at the 2010 election. Then regime change will become a fact of life. This will overwhelm minor formations. The vote will make the voter a force to be reckoned with. The voice of the Tamils will begin to be heard.

When a time comes to test our weight, we Tamils cut ourselves to size. Then we lament the loss of weight and bemoan that we have lost a bonus seat or two. In the 2010 Parliamentary election we had about 550,000 countable votes. Yet votes counted for 14 successful candidates was 233,000. From the JHU, 2 successful candidates had 232,000 votes. Comes 2015 Presidential election and in weighing importance, a whole minority community is treated on par with this fragment of the majority community.

Delving into the recent past it is seen that the power of the Tigers grew exponentially in a matter of 18 years from 1983. They grew as per the dictum of Mao – power grows out of the… Yet the devastation of morale after Katunayake was never used to advantage in negotiating a deal. From the Ceasefire of 2002, firepower lost its relevance. From 2009, it ceased to exist.

When the ground equation changes, strategies have to be trimmed appropriately. But never have we thought of this option. Sulking from our camp was considered a good proposition. We reduced our weight to less than a third through indifference and inertia resulting in a partial boycott. Such action in 2010 has come home to roost in 2015. JHU and TNA weigh in equal measure. The late Hon. S. Thondaman has told me on a few occasions, TULF does not become important on its own self-assessment. It has to make its importance felt in the eyes of the decision maker. To illustrate this point he applied it to Athulathmudali and his discomfiture. He was an important member of the government, but he did not make his importance felt.

If the voting pattern of the Tamils keeps to the same level as other communities, then it will approximate five (5) times the size of 2010 voting. What a difference it will make! What great influence it will wield in political bargains. But instead of making that significance felt, we only prate that we are king makers. If a 1.2 million plus of our votes can go en bloc to a single candidate, and it makes a difference to the outcome, then the winner carries with him a moral obligation to reward those who made that difference. This is the substance of politics. Tamils and Tamils alone stand in that privileged and enviable position for the last time in January 2015.

It is the Tamils who have incurred the very worst from the incumbent regime for over nine years. The TNA is mandated politically to educate the Tamil Electorate accordingly, to make this difference and to create history. This is the last chance for a vote to a President to abolish the system and only the correct vote can achieve it. No effort is needed to convert the people to vote for the common candidate. They are fully converted already. Their made up mind need not be spoilt with talk of detraction. They have only to be activated to go to the booth and to cast their vote with the benefits made quite apparent.

The TNA party machinery certainly has to do its publicity and propaganda work, strongly effective in the North, effective in the East and in a subdued tone elsewhere. It will be a way of converting times of tribulation into a pursuit of much worth.

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