16 September, 2019

Blog

Giving Priority To Constitutional Reform

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The dawn of the New Year will see Parliament convening as a parliamentary committee of the whole to start the process of constitutional reform. This will be only the second time since the last constitution was made in 1978 that there will be a dedicated effort at constitutional reform. The previous occasion was in 2000 when former President Chandrika Kumaratunga presented a constitutional bill to Parliament which was literally burnt by the opposition. The promise to amend the constitution was made by government leaders at both the last presidential and general elections that took place in January and August of this year. Their main pledge was to abolish the executive presidency and to change the electoral system from one based on proportional representation to a mixed system of proportional representation and first-past-the-post voting in which parliamentary seats would be apportioned in proportion to the total number of votes obtained by each of the political parties.

There is a general consensus in society about the need to reduce the power of individuals elected to power and to ensure their accountability. This is an outcome of the people’s experience of politics and governance over the past four decades after the constitution of 1972 made parliament supreme. However, today’s consensus in society about limiting the power of elected politicians does not necessarily carry over into a consensus within political parties and the politicians themselves. Even though President Maithripala Sirisena made a determined attempt after his election victory in January to achieve the goals of abolishing the executive presidency and changing the electoral system, he was only partially successful. He succeeded in reducing the power of the presidency and making it more accountable to other institutions through the 19th Amendment, but he did not succeed in pushing through reforms to the electoral system through the 20th Amendment which had to be discarded.

The lesson from the failure to enact constitutional reforms to the full extent desired earlier this year is that the partisan and personal interests of political actors have to be considered despite the general consensus that might exist in society regarding the need for change. There is a need for those who are guiding the process of change to be able to keep the different political parties and their members together in the task of achieving constitutional reform. The formation of a government of national unity at the present time has presented an unprecedented and unique opportunity for the entire Parliament to work together as one parliamentary committee. It is in this context that President Sirisena’s decision to extend the term of the local government authorities for a further six months instead of going for elections in March of next year needs to be seen. The president has justified the postponement of elections on the grounds that the delimitation of electorates is still not finalized and that over 2000 objections have to be dealt with first.

Abysmal Failure 

Any revision of the constitution is going to affect different sections of the polity differently. Therefore there is a need for mutual accommodation and compromise in getting agreement on contentious issues. This implies that whatever is divisive should be minimized in order to give the constitutional reform process the best chance to succeed. Elections in Sri Lanka, especially in recent decades, have invariably been bitterly contested and divisive events in which much is at stake for the contesting political parties and the contestants. Many political parties and politicians have adopted a no-holds barred approach to winning elections in the past. On this occasion, it will not be possible for those who wish to engage in violence and thuggery to get away with it due to the empowerment of the Election Commissioner under the 19th Amendment. But a highly competitive election, even if conducted within the boundaries of the law, would lead to rivalry and one-upmanship between the political parties that must necessarily compete against each other. This would have adverse consequences for the spirit of mutual accommodation and compromise necessary for the constitutional reform process to be successful.

As the two dominant political parties at the local and national levels, the UNP and SLFP are going to be the main rivals at any election. But they are the two parties which form the core of today’s National Unity Government. It is their unity that makes constitutional reform possible, as together they have a 2/3 majority in Parliament. It is also necessary to recognize that constitutional reform will be more than dealing with the executive presidency and the electoral system. It will also have to involve the issues of devolution of power to the provinces, accountability for human rights violations, and a mutually agreeable political solution to the ethnic conflict which has been the most divisive political issues in the country for the past several decades. The failure of the polity to achieve bipartisan political cooperation to address this issue has been abysmal over a long period. Whichever party was in power faced an earthquake of political opposition when it tried to resolve the ethnic conflict through constitutional reform.

The alliance of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe presents an unprecedented and unique opportunity for the polity to address the issue of the ethnic conflict in a more successful manner than in the past. The non-racist and statesmanlike behaviors of both these leaders have won the confidence of the ethnic and religious minorities and also of the more liberal segment of the ethnic majority community. It is noteworthy that virtually all of the small political parties, whether ideology-based or ethnic and religious-based, are broadly supportive of the National Unity Government. This was seen in the recent budget debate and vote in parliament, and also in their constructive responses to the recent trade union actions.

Real Politik

There is also another possible reason why the government may not to wish to rush into the local government elections. This has to do with the split within the SLFP headed by President Sirisena. A longer period of waiting prior to elections is likely to strengthen President Sirisena’s hand in relation to former president Rajapaksa who still commands the support of a substantial section of parliamentarians, local level party cadres and voters of the SLFP. The split within the SLFP was evident at the recent vote on the budget when about half of the SLFP parliamentarians cast their votes against the budget proposed by the National Unity Government. There have been indications that this disgruntled faction of the SLFP under the leadership of the former president might contest the forthcoming local government elections as a third force.

The local government elections would offer the pro-Rajapaksa faction of the SLFP a platform to campaign against the sensitive aspects in the constitutional reform process. The former president continues to champion ethnic majority nationalism in the name of protecting the sovereignty and unity of the country. The local government elections would offer him an ideal platform to get his message across to the people regarding the dangers of the constitutional reform process. At the same time it would also offer a platform to Tamil nationalists in the North and East to contest the moderate TNA which has been supportive of the National Unity Government. Last week several of these parties and individuals formed a new organisation which observers see as the first step towards opposing the TNA called the Tamil People’s Council. As in the case of the pro-Rajapaksa faction they too could use the local government elections as a platform to oppose the mutual accommodations and compromises necessary to arrive at a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

It is significant that the time frames set by the government for constitutional reform and local government elections are the same. Parliament is set to convene as a constitutional assembly on January 9. Government sources have let it be known that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe will present a resolution to Parliament to continue parliamentary proceedings as a constitutional assembly to promulgate Sri Lanka’s third republican constitution to coincide with the first anniversary of President Sirisena’s swearing in as the president. The time frame for drafting the new constitution and getting it approved is six months. The local government elections are also being postponed by six months. Finalising the constitutional reform process in six months, which includes consultations with the general public, forming of parliamentary sub-committees and processing all the reports and obtaining consensus on them is going to be an uphill task. Having elections in this situation can disturb the smooth flow of the constitutional reform process, which justifies the postponement of the local government elections.

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    Dear Mr. Perera,

    Sir, you have said:
    “Having elections in this situation can disturb the smooth flow of the constitutional reform process, which justifies the postponement of the local government elections.”

    Your recommendation in a previous article that a postponement of the elections would be beneficial appears to have been heeded by the authorities. Congratulations!

    Sir,
    I would wish that this new constitution be of a type described in Bastiat’s famous essay “The Law” and closer to the American constitution in that it propones small government, leaves the economy alone, has no provision for a central bank or central planning, and avoids any and all social or welfare based interventions.

    Unfortunately it would seem that any constitution developed in consultation with the public is in all likelihood going to be socialist in nature, and thus will have the necessary cracks within which some socialism leads to more socialism ultimately resulting in a repeat of the corruption and decadence we have today.

    Sir, what do you think are the odds that MS and RW would want this type of small-government-no-welfare constitution? What do you think are the odds that Sri Lankans will accept such a constitution? What do you think are the odds that the parliamentarians will accept that with such a consitution their political careers may be at an end?

  • 2
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    Relax Mr NGO , Dr Jehan.

    UNP constitution is more important to cull the Sinhala Buddhists who have a little clout now with their Minister gigs,send them to the out back, and Batalanda to take total control , hoping to stay in the all powerful PM post for the next decade after the 2020 election..

    Keselwatta Kid and his Mentor are the first on the chopping block.

    Clearing the Armed Forces by culling the Sinhala Buddhist Commanders is well on the way.

    The latest is one time UNP Prez candidate the Field Marshall is going to be grilled by the UNP CID over the ex Sunday Leaders’s departure.

    That will put a rocket up our Field Marshal’s ass..

    After grilling the Intelligence Officers , Batalanda has collected enough evidence to show the White Judges that the whole lot of our Tri Forces Commanders, the Army in particular are kidnappers and murderers in addition to being War Criminals who killed innocent Pirahaparan and his sand bags.

    Sira is on the other hand is busy trying to destroy the SLFP by accusing a Senior Minister from the Govt organising a coup to topple him and grab the Govt..

    Can a Politician no matter how big he is grab power from the President just like that?.

    Is this a helping hand by Sira to his mate Batalanda to keep the Armed Forces under control, until the White Judges finish their job?.

    The latest is Sira’s announcenment that he will be the PM candidate at the next Election after the the ex Presidency is abolished in 2020.

    Who is going to vote for him ?.

    Will the Colombo Elite , Anglicans and the Vellalas tick him in place of Batalanada?.

    Or has Sira got intelligence that Batalanda won’t be around in 2020 and the Yahapalana supporters have no other choice.

    Vellalas will be well entrenched in their Homeland by then and wouldn’t care less..

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    Dayan had recently written an easy as “Fall of a nation”. I wanted to tell him my appreciation, not because the fall of the Sinhala nation will open up the path for the Tamil nation, it is about uncovering the important sources, according to him, the Yahapalanaya government was about to use to bring down the fall to the Sinhala nation. First let me tell my reason, summarily, what prevented me from showing the appreciation, then that will free me to go ahead and discuss the appreciable matters in his essay. He had talked a lot about his parliament’s Sovereignty, a matter this UN diplomat rarely understands. As I am out of his essay, it is not my intention to teach him what is meant by sovereignty. It has been in much area, in the past, TULF had explained that after freedom, the sovereignty of the Tamils has returned back to them. They never delegated it to the parliament to govern them. The parliament is using the autocratic power to rule Tamils. In that essay Dayan was confusing himself by lack of his understand the difference between the autocratic power to rule to another subject and the delegated sovereignty to rule themselves. Almost all over everywhere Dayan used the sovereignty in synonym for authoritarian power. Other than that he had brought out a good lesson to the Sinhala people about the sneaky deal of the Yahapalanaya government.

    Tamils need not to live in a unified land of hell that is ruled by majoritarian Sinhala Intellectuals. It has only one extremist Sinhala Buddhist name, “Sri Lanka”. The Language of Sinhala did not exist before 16th century. Tamils calling a land that they lived and cherished for 5000 years with the Sinhalese name itself is a compromise for them. But if they have to live with Sinhalese, it has to be on equal status and mutual understanding. Sinhalese, without exception, go to a referendum poll and should ask the Tamils to live with them. They should extend their both hand and receive the Tamils and say sorry for the past 70 years. This has to come from the Sinhalese, not from the unscrupulous Sinhala Intellectual politicians or from hide & seek crook writers like Jehan PhDs.

    This is where I had to appreciate Dayan’s essay that called the Yahapalanaya government to stop packaging the Tamils rights into other offerings of the constitutional change and fool the Sinhala mass. From the 16th century Mahanama’s falsified chronicle, a divisive book calling men as lions, written by a Telugu Monk, who was chased from Tamil Nadu during the religious riots there at a time, when the Sinhala Language had not existed, the Buddhism was used to divide the communities. Once it was learned that Buddhism was there in Eelam even before Mahanama and his Pali chronicle, and the Tamils, specifically Eelam Tamils, have contributed the growth of the religion, the segregation went even to more acute narrow path and renamed as “Sinhala Buddhist”. After these Sinhala Buddhist are programmed to 13 centuries to hate the Tamils, as Dayan said in his essay, there are stories spreading out that Yahapalanaya government is packaging their proposals together to put in one constitution. I understand that these proposed changes to the constitution will go as a new constitution not as a comprehensive amendment. So, one can expect this put forward in from of the so called Sinhala Buddhist for their approval. This is where the Yahapalanaya government is playing its hide and seeks and on which Dayan is basing his essay.

    Tamils do not have power to demand anything from the New Royal Government. The new Royals Government, when it was facing the election, refused to accept the support of the TNA. An explanation given to this was, associating a party itself with Tamils will bring defeat from Sinhala mass. So the New Royals did not ask any support from Tamils. But TNA, according to their prominent MP Sumanthiran, pressed the Tamils to vote for the New Royals, only to escape from a burning house. That means it was only an anti-Old Royals votes. The Tamils support to the policies of the New Royals is not established by TNA, in their talks. It appears the TNA which escaped from the fire of the Old Royals, only have jumped into the frying pan of the Yahapalanaya Government, the New Royals. TNA has not delivered any of its promises so far, though asked for Tamils support to the CC. TNA still asking more Time, that is end of the 2016 a time its say the new government have its promises fulfilled. We do not want to get into that. Because there are many more changes have to take place in the world arean which can influence the Lankawe’s politics too.

    To return back to our subject we started, there is no evidence that Tamils supported the new Royals, There is no evidence that New Royals wanted the Tamils support. Tamils do not have any muscles to demand any new changes. So why Dayan was worrying about the Yahapalanaya government packaging deals? To whom they are obligated to the changes? The Lankawe’s customs is, until the ruling party is in power, it constantly maneuvers to destroy the opposition. This had a new turn when the EP came in to existence, as the parliament may not his/her party too. JR went to a level to impeach the opposition leader from TULF and put the SLFP leader in prison and took away her civil rights. That is not the case with the western democracies, where to woe the opposition support, they package the deals in legislations, or the bills they propose. It is very common in America, where frequently president who is from the opposition party in congress tempts to veto the bills. The important point here is, in cases of America, the packaging for only to president and congress, not to the public. What are achieved here are voluntary bi-partisan bills, not fooling the public, who are, in theory considered neutral, though vote for a party, not patrician minded.

    TNA has no power to demand anything at from the New Royals. The nations who supported the Old Royals to win the war, seeing the power balance between Sinhalese and Tamils unbelievably tilted, exerting their side of pressure on the New Royals government. Because the foreign countries received the explanation for not giving their rights for Tamils as unwillingness of the Sinhala people, the unusual type of packaging has been proposed in the new constitutional referendum. This is not acceptable to Dayan as it is cheating the Sinhala mass. Where the appreciation to Dayan coming here is can be explained with an example of, when few days ago BBS supported TNA in opposing the anti-hate bill. They both had opposite side reasons why that bill should not go through the parliament. It was an unusual alliance without aliening. Dayan is opposing this package as it was cheating the Sinhala mass. But for Tamils, as it was not obtaining the approval of Sinhala mass, once the pressure of the IC is gone, the boulder will returning to valley and crash with a devastating effect by suddenly releasing all its kinetic energy. This may cause even larger 1983 Black July or even larger 2009 genocidal massacres. So Tamils should use Dayan’s support and resist any of these hidden package deals.

    So far, if there is anything, it is not sure what is being posed in the new constitution for Tamils. Still the proposed constitution may have to go for referendum. Once again, like in the election, the Royal government is not asking any support from Tamils or TNA. But TNA is again ready to give the same unconditional support to the new Royals is rumbling and rolling to gather it. In that process, it has lost its unity and been broken up into pieces too. But TNA still will be able to muster a substantial support for any proposal put forward by the New Royal. (Further, it has no muscle to impose any amendments either.)

    But, unlike Dayan claimed, nobody, G.G or SJV or Amirthalingam have passed the delegated sovereignty to the new constitution formers. So, theoretically, none of the Lankawe’s constitutions were binding them, though Tamils did not have enough military power to reject the Sinhala Autocratic overruling of them. This is being now challenged by the TNA’s new approach of giving always unconditional support to a party, which is rejecting it. This will end up as the Tamils sovereignty surrendered to the Sinhala over rulers for no benefit to Tamils. Even though TNA is unconditionally supports the Sinhala government, there are pressures from countries who are affected the Lankawe’s Aappa diplomatic maneuvering. So, they like to see the Lankawe’s internal problems solved so that it will not seek outside for military and political support its authoritarian rules and stir the peace out of its jurisdiction.

    So the purpose this package is only to please the IC; other than that it is only a hallow shell. Like the 13A Sinhalese are not approving it; Tamils are not accepting it. This action is like hiding the bomb only until the ticking clock finishes its cycles.

    In this uncertain situation, the Jehan PhD is pushing his top notch crooked writing. He is saying the government is pushing the local election to behind the referendum. The reason is to deny a chance for the Old Royals to change the mind of the Sinhala mass. If he is sincere in writing this, he is no longer the Sinhala intellectual, he is the Sinhala Modaya. But as he has established that he is a Sinhala intellectual, this writing is another fraud. If this package goes to Sinhala mass, Dayan has already indicated that they are waiting to meet it. This poor man Jehan PhD, instead of having reply to Dayan’s essay, “Fall of a Nation”, he is fooling around here. If the New Royals were sincere in doing anything for Tamils, they might have tested their intentions in the Local government election by putting forward the referendum elements in front of the Sinhala mass. It would have been an opportunity to educate the Sinhala mass, without losing the referendum. But the dishonest New Royals is “PIllaiyaium Killi Todilaiyum Aaddinum”. TNA is offering its unconditional support for it.

    • 3
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      Mr Mallaimuran

      “Tamils need not to live in a unified land of hell that is ruled by majoritarian Sinhala Intellectuals.”

      They need not live in the hellk and we do not want them to. +50% of them are presenly occypying Sinhala areas. They must leave this hell and your dream homeland will be automatically created. In any case the day you have your “solution” the “Sinhala” side will declare them all second class citizens. They will only be marginally better off than your low caste in Jaffna.

      Once you demarcate the boundaries of your “Tamil Homeland” TNA must organize the movement of all Tamils into that area. As for me the day I observe Tamils moving out of the “hell” voluntarily I will be in your camp actively supporting the separation.

      Mr Mallaimuran, when will Wingeswaran and Sumanthiran move out of the “hell”?

      Soma

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        “presenly occypying Sinhala areas” As soon as the occupying rapist army leave their land vacate from Tamil Eelam, all diaspora and Southern Tamils will rerun to their land.

        “In any case the day you have your “solution” the “Sinhala” side will declare them all second class citizens.” The of Freedom Charter ” of TGTE (may,2014) said all there languages will be affirmed in the constitution as official Languages and measure will be prescribed to use them as so.

        “I will be in your camp actively supporting the separation.” Thanks in advance!. In the past too, we appreciated your help of making the Tamils to pack and move to North-East.

        “when will Wingeswaran and Sumanthiran move out of the “hell”?” CV is already there. He visits south only to see his Sinhala relatives and In-Laws. Those relatives too are welcome to North or East, as per their preferences. Then he needs not go to south. Sumanthiran has no idea of residing in the North-East. He might needs a gentle push like 1958, 1977,1983..Could you help us on this too? If you send Sumanthiran too, you are a real patriotic Sinhala Buddhist, even if you are not a hybrid like Mahindapala.

        • 2
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          Mallaiyuran,

          I looked at the numbers given in the Census of Population and Housing of Sri Lanka, 2012. This document is available at http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/Pages/Activities/Reports/FinalReport/Population/Table%20A3.pdf

          The table gives the total Sri Lanka Tamil population at 2,269,266.

          If you add the numbers for the 8 districts located in the north-east, it works out to 1,598,219 Sri Lanka Tamils. This means that 70% live in the north-east. And the balance 30% live outside the north east.

          Isn’t that a high figure living outside the north-east?

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            Is that too hard to let TNA, as it asked, to count and put the numbers in its website? Where are all these zero casualty numbers are coming from?

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              Mallaiyuran,

              “Where are all these zero casualty numbers are coming from?”

              From the Rajapaksas. Any fool knows that.

              On another note, let’s assume that the number of Tamils who died during the last phase of the war is at 200,000. This number is higher than the one given by Rayappu. Add to this another 50,000 Tamil fighters dead during the last phase. Add to this another 25,000 fighters and 75,000 civilians who died during the previous phases of the war. We now have a total of 300,000 Tamils dead.

              Under this situation, the no. of Tamil living in the north-east would be 1,598,219 + 300,000 = 1,898,219

              The total no. of Sri Lanka Tamils is now 2,269,266 + 300,000 = 2,569,266

              The no. of Sri Lanka Tamils living outside the north-east remains the same.

              If we work out the percentages, the number that lives in the north east increases to 74%.

              This means that 26% live outside the north-east. Isn’t this a high number?

              • 0
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                You are mixing up two subject matters.

                One is about the statistics. I have put many times my numbers with highly accurate estimates on CT. This estimate suggested more than 750,000 are missing. We will continue to work with proper authorities to arrive at the actual numbers. This can take many years. At this time, I am not going to comment about the zero casualty talk of the Royal Government’s numbers, other than to stick on to the estimates I put on the CT.
                Other one is about the Tamils left in the south after the separation. This issue is repeated by many Sinhala writers, not because of lack of understanding, but to issue a threat that the remaining ones will be wiped out by pogroms and genocides, if the NorthEast Tamils ask for separation.

                The Lankawe has a war crime accusation in front of it. The Old King was named in OISL report, which was modified by America and names removed. The New King’s name too was there. If they want to realize why their names are in the OSIL report, the simple explanation is they tried to wipe out Tamils already a couple of times. If that part is understood and further if we take your numbers for a talk, the fate of the 26% left out Tamils, is not a question to be answered by me, but the government who deal with them with the willingness to face the consequences. As matter of fact, in any country, for any percentage, no government can use them as shield for anything. That is position of the international human rights and humanitarian laws. I am willing think that appe andu will be willing to respect it, so no to add any more weight for the already pending war crime accusations. So Lankawe’s Sinhala Intellectuals have to realize the old pogrom and genocide threats are not something suitable for future. They have to invent something new and should put the question in a meaningful way.

                Once have we answered the “left out Tamil minority shield” threat of the Sinhala Intellectual writers, we can try to analyze the probable outcomes of the separation. TGTE has said that all three languages will be official Languages in Tamil Eelam. Practically any race or language people living in Tamil Eelam should be able to get education, employment and government services with that facility. Their proposal or the declaration of freedom charter is clearly indicating the Tamils issue is raised only to liberate the race oppressed by the Sinhala Lankawe. Other than that, once liberated, the country will remain as secular democratic country. The majority Tamils, under all the accepted UN convention, will not impose anything on the other races. On the same token, no minority may receive any special treatment either. Tamil Eelam country has to be separated by the line of race to get rid the oppression that has settled on their back. But the country will not be ruled as another Sinhala chauvinist Lankawe. But, on the citizenship issue, a special treatment will be given to the Tamil born in Sri Lanka. That is the oppressed Tamils born in Lanka will be a given chance to come there and settle, irrelevant of where ever their domicile at the time of their application for citizenship. This is the rule currently used by TGTE to issue its national ID card. This is only to honor the purpose of separation.

                This will be a lesson to Lankawe to how to treat the Tamils remaining in Lankawe, for some reasons have not moved to Tamils Eelam. Failure will be dealt according the international laws.

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                  Ma Mallaiyuran,

                  The LTTE made a huge mistake in fighting along the line of Tamil nationalism. Had they waged war along the lines of democratic confederalism as is now happening in Rojava, I would have been queuing in the line to sign up.

                  And some American idiot has the temerity to tell me that the Arabs and Muslims do not know anything about democracy.

                  Release Abdullah Öcalan now!

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                    Keynes!

                    “Release Abdullah Öcalan now!”

                    Apo Abdullah Öcalan is not an Arab, but Kurd from Turkey. He is a founder member of Kurdistan Workers’ Party which has been fighting for the rights of the Kurdish people in Turkey since 1978.

                    What has Apo got to do with Arabs?

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                      Aapoh!

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                      Native,

                      My objective to inject what is happening in Rojava into this forum is to start a discourse as to whether democratic confederalism could be an answer to Sri Lanka’s problem.

                      We have had all forms of political arrangements being thrown at us such as Unitarism, Unitedism, Separatism, Nationalism, Federalism, Devolutionism, Capitalism, Marxism, Buddhism…etc.

                      We now have a referendumism coming up.

                      What have you got to say on the democratic confederalism approach? Will it be suitable for Sri Lanka?

                      Are you the Sri Lankan?

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                  Mallaiyuran,

                  “On the same token, no minority may receive any special treatment either.”

                  You gave it away!

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                  Mallaiyuran,

                  The preponderant representatives of the Eelam Tamils have a history of unleashing violence on the Muslims living in the North-East. So, don’t you think Muslims require special rights for their protection?

                  Your version of Tamil Eelam is more like a Jaffna-centric version lead by an elitist clan. It does not take into account the fact that there are other Tamils such as Mannar Tamils, Wanni Tamils and Batticaloa Tamils and that they need special rights to protect them from the Jaffna Tamils.

                  At least Prabhakaran’s version of Eelam was more egalitarian even though Karuna from Batti broke away.

                  It seems like there there is Eelam, and Eelam!

        • 0
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          “As soon as the occupying rapist army leave their land vacate from Tamil Eelam, all diaspora and Southern Tamils will rerun to their land.”

          Really? I will be at the airport to welcome the Diaspora.

          Soma

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            somaass

            ” I will be at the airport to welcome the Diaspora.”

            Weerawansa is already in Europe meeting Sinhala/Buddhist diaspora, inviting them to protect the Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto.

            You should be able to fill the ghetto with returning Weerawansa’s supporters.

            Therefore, it is appropriate that you should head the welcoming party at the Hambantota harbour.

      • 1
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        soma,

        “+50% of them are presenly occypying Sinhala areas.”

        How did you arrive at this calculation?

        Please show your workings.

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          Keynes!

          “How did you arrive at this calculation? Please show your workings.”

          Somaass must have counted all those Sinhala speaking Demelas, including himself.

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            I counted all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their religion or date of arrival.

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              soma,

              “I counted all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their religion or date of arrival.”

              The date of arrival of Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike’s ancestor Nilaperumal Pandaram was in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century. When he arrived he was Tamil.

              I presume you counted Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike as a Tamil and not as a Sinhalese.

              What about Nethru Nanayakkara, the President of Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Association, whose accusations have been rejected by Julian Bolling. Nethru’s ancestors were the Nayakkars from Madurai who were Tamil speaking. I presume you counted him as a Tamil.

              How about Diya Rakusa Charitha Ratwatte Jnr? His ancestor signed the Kandyan Convention as Raawathai in Tamil. Or was it a freak stroke that magically turned out to be perfect Tamil.

              What about Prasanna Kuruppu – the double amputee who is a Sri Lanka Air Force Veteran? His ancestors are from Kerala and probably spoke Malayalam just like Harin Fernando M.P.’s ancestors.

              What about all the Karava people whose ancestors arrived from the Coromandel Coast in modern day Tamil Nadu. Did you count them as Tamil?

              If we go by your method, the whole of Sri Lanka can be claimed as the Tamil homeland!

              Stop it Mr. (or Ms.) Eelamist!

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            Native Vedda,

            Soma is insinuating that I am a Tamil nationalist. Whereas, Mallaiyuran is insinuating that I am a Sinhala nationalist.

            I am confused. How about you facilitating a ceasefire agreement between these two so that they can decide on which side of the fence I am?

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          Keynes

          The apparent confusion in your mind arises from your own attempt to confuse others. I am struggling to get a clear and unambiguous answer to the simple question who are the ‘Tamil Nation’ in respect of a ‘political solution’. Is it only the Tamil speaking people who are Hindu and Christian in their religion or does it include all Tamil speaking people scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or date of arrival?

          (Or to make it totally unambiguous does the ‘Tamil Nation’ include the Tamils whose religion is Islam and the Tamils working in the plantation sector?)

          No one wants to answer this simple question. Finally I have taken it as all Tamil speakers irrespective of their religion and date of arrival. All right, what is YOUR answer? Is it the official position of TNA?

          Again the word ‘Sinhala’ is not my word. It is simply those who are not ‘Tamil’ as defined by you minus tiny native English speakers. And ‘Sinhala areas’ is the total area outside your ‘Tamil Homeland’ as defined by you.

          Soma

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            Soma,

            From my interaction with members of the TNA and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, I am made to understand that what they refer to as the Tamil Nation at the moment are the Sri Lanka Tamils.

            The religion of the Sri Lanka Tamils does not matter be they Hindu (like Sambanthan) or Christian (like Sumanthiran). There are some Sri Lanka Tamils like Dhiren Niramlingam at the Blue Elephant who do not wish to be a part of the Tamil Nation. The TNA and Gajendrakumar seem okay with that since anybody has a right to live at the Blue Elephant.

            Their Tamil Nation does not include Tamils of recent Indian origin such as Muttiah Muralidharan, Arumugam Thondaman and Durka Chellaram. Nor does the Tamil Nation include Muslims (like Rishard Badurdeen or the Public Schooled, LSE Educated, Sandhurst Trained clay pigeon sharp-shooter Ash Ashroff whose profile on Linked In is a must visit). Sinhalese (like Wimal Weerawansa) are also not part of the Tamil Nation.

            There are some exceptions such as Tamilini of the LTTE’s women’s wing, LTTE political Chief’s Sinhala wife from Morawaka, Australian woman Adele Balasingham, Dayan Jayatilleka and David Blacker.

            Tamilini is a Tamil of recent Indian origin. She nevertheless identified herself as a member of the Tamil Nation possibly because she and her family were resettled in a Kibbutzim like settlement in the Vavuniya area possibly by the Gandhiyam movement.

            Dayan Jayatilleka is also an exception. In the late nineties, he espoused the cause of the EPDP and joined the North-East Provincial Council as a Minister. I believe that Dayan has now left the Tamil Nation and joined the Rajapaksa Nation. He crossed over at Nugegoda earlier this year. Had Nadesan’s wife crossed over at Nugegoda and not in the Wanni, she may still have been alive like Dayan.

            David Blacker is also an exception. Although he has a Tamil mother, he prefers to identify himself as a hipster from Colombo. He seems ashamed of his Tamil mother and Tamil roots and wished he was born in Colombo 7. The Tamil Nation has no problem with David Blacker not identifying with itself even though he was half-born into the Tamil Nation.

            Nevertheless, anyone who wants to be a part of the Tamil Nation or leave the Tamil Nation is welcome. Since Kumar Sangakkara is getting a lot of flak after the bra-throwing incident, he is also welcome to join the Tamil Nation or the Tamil Diaspora. All he has to do is walk into Tamil Eelam or the Tamil Diaspora, learn a few words of Tamil like Mahinda Rajapaksa, intersperse his speeches with a few words of Tamil like how Mahinda did it at the UN and say his prayers like how one converts to become a born-again Christian. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Wimal Weerawansa are also welcome to join the Tamil Nation and have tea with Sambanthan before the recitals since they anyway speak a few words of Tamil.

            Just because you write and speak English, it doesn’t mean that you are English. In similar vein, just because you speak Tamil, it does not mean that you are part of the Tamil Nation.

            Ideally, you should come out and publicly profess that you are part of the Tamil Nation. Those who wish to come out of the closet (like Dayan and David Blacker) can be given an internship to help ease the process.

            Any damn fool can go to Jaffna.

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              Prabakaran and Chelvanayagam were Malayales. Now most of the people who identify themselves as Tamils are actually descended from Malayalee fishermen.

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                David (Thaveethu)

                “Prabakaran and Chelvanayagam were Malayales. Now most of the people who identify themselves as Tamils are actually descended from Malayalee fishermen.”

                So are most of the Southerners.

                What is your point if there is one?

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                David,

                “Now most of the people who identify themselves as Tamils are actually descended from Malayalee fishermen.”

                The same thing could be said of the Sinhalese. Most of of the people who identify themselves as Sinhalese are actually descended from Tamil and Malayalees.

                The Karava originate from the Coromandel coast of Tamil Nadu. The Nanayakkaras are descendants of the Nayakkars of Madurai. The low country Sinhalese such as Salagama are from Tamil Nadu.

                The Govigama and De Saram families are Malay Muslim.

                However, there are problems with this line of thinking. Prabhakaran’s father may have been born in the Kollam district of Kerala. The fact of the matter is that he identified himself as a Tamil even though only his mother’s side was Tamil. Indeed, I see some similarities between Prabhakaran and David Blacker – both had Tamil mothers and both have often bragged about their heroic deeds in the battlefield.

                Even though there is new evidence that Lucy the Hominid may not have been the Mother of Mankind, it is still agreed by most scientists that humans originated from Africa. Why, then, refer to Prabhakaran as a Malayalee? Why not call him an African?

                As for your claim of Chelvanayagam being a Malayalee, I do not have much to say because I do not know anything about his Malayali heritage. Perhaps you could refer me to some documents online?

                T.M. Dilshan, Gomin Dayasiri, SWRD Bandaranaike, J.R. Jayawardene, Brendon Kuruppu, Prasanna Kuruppu and Dayan Jayatilleka have all identified and publicly proclaimed themselves as members of the Sinhala Nation although the names of their forefathers have non-Sinhala names. This is perfectly legit. I did not even have any issues when one morning Dayan Jayatilleka identified himself as a member of the Tamil Nation through his act of becoming a minister in the North-East Provincial Council. Or when he decided to leave the Tamil Nation in the afternoon and join the Sinhala Nation!

                Let me now address your claim that all Tamils descended from Malayalees. Most Malayalees will not accept this position since they believe that their race is superior to the dark-skinned Tamil race. V.S. Naipaul cautioned that “Cultural purity is a fundamentalist fantasy.” and was well-captured in an article by Joe MS when a controversy erupted in 2010. Please see article at http://kafila.org/2010/02/22/jayaram-and-tamil-some-scattered-thoughts-on-the-anti-black-mass-culture-in-keralajoems/

                The Tamil language originated circa 300 B.C. during the Sangam period. Tamil was the first Indian language to be printed and published. This was done by Portuguese Missionaries in 1578. The University of California at Berkeley in a communique states:

                “the quality of classical Tamil literature is such that it is fit to stand beside the great literatures of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Persian and Arabic. The subtlety and profundity of its works, their varied scope (Tamil is the only premodern Indian literature to treat the subaltern extensively), and their universality qualify Tamil to stand as one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world.”

                T. C. Kumari, who is a is a native speaker of Malayalam and a former professor at a college in Kerala, has demonstrated in a Cambridge University Press journal in 1999 that Malayalam is most likely to have originated from Middle Tamil in the 6th Century A.D. This is about 900 years after the Sangam period.

                The region called Tamilakam existed between 3rd century BCE – 4th century CE. It included modern day Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The preponderant language that was used in the courts of Tamilakam was Tamil.

                So, did the Tamils originate from the Malayalees? Or did the Malayalees come out of the Tamil womb?

                Finally, I would like to take a Parthian shot at Dayan Jayathillaka. If only you and Colombo Telegraph would give me that opportunity. Will you’ll grant me the permission?

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    The whole political debate in Sri Lanka is up side down Jehan Perera!

    Sri Lanka needs a CLEAN POLITICAL CULTURE FIRST!

    Not even the most perfect God-given constitution will be able straighten out the country until the existing CORRUPT POLITICAL CULTURE is changed and corrupt politicians investigated and locked up, and the culture of impunity and immunity for politicians is ended.

    Today a bunch of corrupt lawyers control the discourse on constitutional reform which is a grand distraction for the moda masses from the fact that the Parliament which is the highest law making body in the country is full of corrupt clown who are paid bribes by the leaders of the SInhala Modayas.

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    The so called independence in 1948 supposed to provide independence but in real terms it gave a path to destruction of independence little by little towards an authoritarian dictatorship where people’s body became a family body and rule of law transformed into rule of jungle. Fortunately, the disaster was saved in January 2015 but still couldn’t come out of its threat because the fear of those evils on the people’s mind is deeply rooted and it needs concentrated flush out to clean up with pure water. There is a lack of pure water to carry out this task. You need to have clear objectives and goals and commitments in achieving those objectives and goals. Do they have those commitments?

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    “The local government elections would offer the pro-Rajapaksa faction of the SLFP a platform to campaign against the sensitive aspects in the constitutional reform process. The former president continues to champion ethnic majority nationalism in the name of protecting the sovereignty and unity of the country. The local government elections would offer him an ideal platform to get his message across to the people regarding the dangers of the constitutional reform process. At the same time it would also offer a platform to Tamil nationalists in the North and East to contest the moderate TNA which has been supportive of the National Unity Government. Last week several of these parties and individuals formed a new organisation which observers see as the first step towards opposing the TNA called the Tamil People’s Council. As in the case of the pro-Rajapaksa faction they too could use the local government elections as a platform to oppose the mutual accommodations and compromises necessary to arrive at a political solution to the ethnic conflic”

    I can’t understand what this man is taking about. I thought it is the democratic right of every citizen to express his/her opinion and campaign for it.

    Soma

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      somaaasss

      “I can’t understand what this man is taking about.”

      It is beyond you, therefore just forget it. Go back to your normal self, where you are more comfortable than discussing the finer points of future constitution.

      Your constitution is Mahawamsa whereas the people need a constitution to define their relationship with the state, their rights and responsibilities.

      In the modern globalised world Mahawamsa cannot continued to be the constitution of this island.

      We need a vibrant pro-people constitution.

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        What finer points of Constitution?

        This fox is so brazenly, so openly discussing how the constitution making process can be manipulated to keep the most significant section, majority of Sinhala Buddhists (your most hated lot NV ), of the population can be kept away!

        Soma

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          somaass

          “What finer points of Constitution?”

          As I wrote earlier it is beyond you who cannot see beyond your nose.

          Only those who possessed with wisdom, farsightedness, vision, sensibility, compassion, humanity, ……………. can understand those finer points. Therefore as a member of a noisy minority you should support like minded bigots.

          “can be manipulated to keep the most significant section, majority of Sinhala Buddhists (your most hated lot NV ), of the population can be kept away!”

          Discussions and debates are part and parcel of inclusive process. As a member of noisy racist minority you too can submit your proposals to the constitutional council and the council will host several public hearing within the next few weeks.

          The Council if wise should receive suggestions from all concerned member of the public and decide on its considered view. I bet your paranoid views will be disregarded.

          I am hopeful that the council would propose the right to separation only to those who are members of noisy minority the Sinhala/Buddhists and the area designated should be in the far corner of Hambantota district.

          The only condition I like to attach to their right to separation is that the noisy minority the Sinhala/Buddhist should gather all their members from rest of the island and move them to the said Sinhala/Buddhists nation of the Rajapakses, Fonsekas, Ganapathipillais, Dayan Silvas, Nanayakaras, Dhinesh, Nalins, Wimal Weerawansas, Somawansas, …. smart ass patriots, ………. crooks, drug smugglers, arms merchants, rapists, child molesters, nepotistas, saffron clad thugs, Cobra Heads, ………….. and most importantly yourself, Jimmy, sachoo, Nuisance, ravi perera the Sinhala speaking Demela, KASmaalam, ………… Sajith Premadasa, ……….

          You can still have your King.

          The rest of the people can and will support your nation of Sinhala/Buddhists and as usual you don’t have to be gainfully employed.

          Once in a while you will be granted permission to stress-pass into the Island proper to go about being your normal self, burning down libraries, business premises, temples, mosques, churches, looting, raping (specially made 3 hole blow up sex dolls will be provided), torture chambers, ….. We would fund the building of a specially designed Disney Land for those who want to remain true Sinhala/Buddhists.

  • 1
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    When it comes to making constitutions, Lawyers come out with Montesquieu’s theory on separation of powers. Political Scientists try to dwell on -isms, and Economists would try to dwell on economic models. What would be the outcome of deliberations, when the Parliament comprising Lawyers, Economists, Political Scientists, “Social Workers”, Medical Doctors,Dental Surgeons, Agents of the Underworld, Night Club Goers, Drug and Ethanol Dealers and perhaps prostitutes, functions as a Constitutional Council?

    Will the new constitution be longer than the Constitution of India which Wikipedia says is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world,[2] containing 444 articles in 22 parts,[3][4] 12 schedules and 118 amendments, with 117,369 words in its English-language translation,[5] or shorter than the United States Constitution is the shortest written constitution, containing seven articles and 27 amendments, and a total of 4,400 words?

    Will the common man be able to understand the content of the new constitution without the help of lawyers?

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