21 November, 2018

Blog

Government Needs To Build On Its Northern Achievements 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Military personnel stationed in the North are often perplexed when told that their continued presence is objectionable to the local population. Their experience is different. When they ask the people about their presence, the answer they say they receive is a positive one whether in term of preserving law and order or in terms of providing material assistance. The sceptic would point out no civilian population in a post-war setting would be willing to tell uniformed military personnel that their continued presence is objectionable. But this may not be the only truth of the matter.

On a visit to the North we went to the northernmost point of the country in Point Pedro. A plaque there says that this area was cleared and made fit for public viewing by the army. There is also a signboard that says unity in diversity is the strength of the country. The tourists who come there to take photographs are from all parts of the country. When we were there we saw a group of young women come on their own and cross over the rocks and corrals that form the front barrier of the built-up viewing point. They waded into the sea to take photos and selfies of themselves. They appeared to be local people.

We stopped for lunch at the army-run hotel called “Thalsevana” (shade of the palmyra tree) in Kankasanthurai which had once been the site of full scale war. Although the time we got there was past 2 pm, the hotel was full of local people who had come there for lunch and to enjoy the swimming pool. Many of them had come with their relatives from the Diaspora. The issue of the military running civilian businesses, such as hotels and farms is an issue that is often brought up by human rights and political activists. But to the local population and the Diaspora community who may be less politically motivated, the army is providing a quality service at a reasonable price and from which they wish to benefit. It needs to be noted that ending the role of the military in commercial enterprises in the North is one of the commitments of the government in the UN Human Rights Council resolution of October 2015, which has yet to be implemented fully.

On the road down from Point Pedro to Jaffna we passed new housing projects, some completed others just beginning. At the ones that are just beginning there are signboards with the photos of the president and prime minister on either side. The fact that these two governmental leaders, whose political rivalry is a major source of political analysis and speculation, should come together on the signboards of housing projects for war-affected people in the North, gives an impression of governmental unity in developing the North. Their rivalry to be the government candidate for the next presidential election in 2019 has not stood in the way of portraying them as being equally committed to the welfare of the northern people.

Continuing Dissatisfaction 

The towns we passed through coming down from Point Pedro, such as Nelliady, looked bustling and modern with large new government buildings and wide roads without a sense of the clutter and disorganization that is symptomatic of older towns. These are all towns that were more or less destroyed during the war, and which have been reconstructed in recent years. The net result is that they seem to be no less booming and bustling than their counterparts in the southern parts of the country. The appearance of prosperity in the North is no doubt supplemented by the generosity of relatives who are now in the Diaspora. However, despite these visible signs of progress and development there is dissatisfaction that fills the polity in the North.

As befits a plural society, there are different strata and groups in the North who see things differently. This was observable during the local government elections held in February this year when Tamil nationalist parties that are very critical of the government initiatives improved their performance at the expense of the Tamil parties that seek to collaborate with the government. Improving the infrastructure and economy is not the only priority concern of the people who also look to other unmet concerns. These are their grievances about the war and those who went missing in the war, particularly those who were surrendered by their families to the military at the end of the war. Although the government has established an Office of Missing Persons earlier this year, this mechanism has yet to start giving answers, which has prompted sections of the Northern people to denounce this government effort and to continue to press for international intervention.

Another reason why the Tamil nationalist parties are gaining in strength is due to the government’s failure to deliver on the promised political reforms that include constitutional reform. The themes of Tamil nationhood, right to self determination and Tamil homeland continue to resonate powerfully within the Tamil polity as it has done for the past sixty years before the war began and today more than nine years after it ended. Unless the government’s heart and mind strategies include constitutional reform that address these issues, the country will be fated to see the continuation of Tamil grievances and the rise of nationalism.

Best Chance 

The challenge for the government is to find a political solution that can transcend the nationalism in the North and South, and East and West, and yields a polity that is plural, multi ethnic and multi religious and in which no citizen has an advantage or disadvantage because of his or her community in any part of the country. The Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim people, and their mainstream political representatives, need to feel that they are treated equitably and are joint decisionmakers in creating the future in a united Sri Lanka. The best opportunity that the country has to chart out this shared future is now when the President and Prime Minister and the two major political parties they separately lead are united with the ethnic minority parties and their leaderships in seeking a mutually acceptable political solution.

The commitment of the President and Prime Minister to the national reconciliation process was recently seen at the ceremony held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium to appreciate the students who achieved distinction passes for Sinhala and Tamil from the “If you know, teach, if you do not know, learn” Radio Programme 2017 organised by the National Integration, Reconciliation and Official Languages Ministry under Minister Mano Ganesan. More than 3000 schoolchildren from all parts of the country attended the function at which prizes were awarded to those schools that had performed best in teaching a second language in their schools. Minister Ganesan pledged that the programme would expand and said many more students would follow the programme next year so that the ceremony to appreciate their achievements would have to be held at the Gall Face Green.

Although they have unresolved issues of leadership in the government, both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe need to put their differences aside to come together with the schoolchildren of the country for the sake of national reconciliation. As leaders of their respective political parties, they need to be more assertive in communicating the success of the government in developing the North and in increasing the role of civilian administration. They need to take their commitment a step further and work jointly for the constitutional change that addresses the aspirations and grievances of the Tamil people while taking the rest of the country along with them, for which their respective political parties too need to work together.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 6
    5

    Constitutional changes, federalism not required as only Economic Empowerment to all people of Sri Lanka is the requirement as no special treatment to any area of the country and even people of any area do not ask such special treatment as well.
    We know very well people in the North needs and it is not what TNA or other racist individuals talk about for sure.

    • 3
      3

      Nimal Tissa Wijethunga

      We don’t need you racist kallathonie descendants. Go back to your homeland in Tamil Nadu. Don’t come back.

  • 4
    4

    Jehan Perera seems to have visited Jaffna for the first time. What he saw around and appreciated were all there by January 2015. Highest amount of infrastructure investment were done by Rajapaksas at the cost of enormous loans to the country.(Had he spent half that on rural South he would still be the president today) It is up to the Tamils to acknowledge it or not. It is foolish for the Sinhalese to expect anything of the sort from people who lost a war. We have to face the inevitable backlash. Thinks take time. Yahapalanists did the deadly blunder of fooling the Tamils that they would get what they fought for ( in return of their votes) instead of telling them the stark reality: there is no such thing as a ‘political solution’ for Tamils while majority of them occupy areas outside North East – physical relocation of them would be necessary. When will the Vellala political class realise that herding the poor Tamils towards that mirage is robbing them of their happiness and their right to peaceful coexistence with the majority of the country?
    Soma

    • 4
      2

      As Soma says all the developments that Jehan mentions happened during Mahinda’s time, is this the first time JPerera visited Jaffna, OMG! The Thalasevana, The express railway service to KKS (6-7 hrs from MT Lavinia), all the new Railway Stations, all those happened before Yahapalana came to be, and Mahinda’s government also started a highly modern ferry service to the islands. Suddenly Jehan Perera is seeing the light! Common man we were not born yesterday, we’ve been to Jaffna and Point Pedro and many of the small islands many many times, so stop the BS, you are singing for your supper pleading to whoever willing to give you that.

    • 3
      7

      soma,

      The only reason the Vellala political class wants a separate state is to control the low caste Tamils. They never cared about their happiness or safety because they were remote controlling the war from Colombo and foreign countries.
      The Vellala political class and the foreign Tamil continue to propagate the “Sinhalaya Gonni Billa” theory so they can continue to get elected to political office and continue their business of economic migration.

  • 4
    2

    Jehan, not only schoolchildren you too should learn Tamil language so that you could converse with the poor Tamil villagers and understand their actual grievances fully without the help of an intermediary. You are easily deceived by northern town residents funded by their diaspora relatives. If you want to know the whole truth give up your upper middle class mentality and life style. Restart your journey through the villages, cross the fields and bushes. Sit and talk with the people you meet on your way and find out what problems they face daily and why they lead a life of a beggar. You need to know their language first to create trust otherwise they won’t open their heart and mind. You will be viewed by them as a ” foreigner ” if you speak through an interpreter and whatever the information you gather will-have no value except to write an article similar to the above.

    How many years you have been living in Srilanka yet your superiority complex does not allow you to spend atleast an hour per day to learn Tamil language. Samething applies to the southern politicians including the PM and President. You all should come out of the mahavamsa mindset then a half of the problem will be over.

    You may ask what about TNA MPs learning Sinhala language. Please don’t waste time. They are the best cheats tamil community has produced!!

    • 1
      1

      Sadhu,

      You may ask what about TNA MPs learning Sinhala language. Please don’t waste time. They are the best cheats tamil community has produced!!

      I couldn’t have said it better.

      That said, majority of the foreign Tamils living in Western Countries assimilate to that particular culture by learning the language, following the rule of law ect.

      In Sri Lanka, they expect and demand special treatment because they feel that they are better than everyone else. Go figure.

      • 1
        1

        Rajiv Tennekoon “.. they(Tamils) feel that they are better than everyone else…”

        feel? Tamils are better than everyone else…..

        I have traveled to all the continents in the world…and ….there is Tamil culture…

        ok ok hang on …I am not talking about the Tamil diaspora….

        I am talking about the ancient Tamil culture going back to many centuries…

        Angkor Wat in Cambodia is one example.

        How on earth did the Tamils build that?

        https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=angkor+wat&oq=ankor&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.6221j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        every where lin the nook and corner of the planet…there is Tamil culture spreading back to centuries.

        but in the North East of Sri Lanka the Maha Sangha is burying Buddha statues by night and excavating them by day and shouting hey presto ….Sinhalese lived here before LTTE …what a joke

      • 0
        0

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

  • 3
    0

    Dear Jehan Perera,
    Just like talking to military personnel and to those with diaspora enjoying the hotels run by military personnel, don’t you talk to the religious clergy from whom the top leaders get advice for making important decisions for the future of the Country? While the military and religious leaders are ruling the Country through elected politicians, how will the part you play going to change anything? The leaders of all developing Countries while striving to give the best for their future, the leaders in Sri Lanka have driven the Country deep down to bury their future and are still continuing with the same digging for burial. But all the Journalists, all the Academicians, all concerned professionals, all brain stormers concerned for the future of the Country have long lost their efforts. All the help offered by the international community are long buried by the top leaders elected for responsible positions. Is it possible for you to even put the horse in front of the cart facing in the right direction? I am sure you need to get permission not only from religious clergy but also from Countries manipulating your Country today if you are thinking of putting the horse in front of the cart.

  • 7
    0

    Sri Lanka got assistance to defeat the LTTE by many powerful nations with the promise of implementing federalism. A promise no Sri Lankan government has any intention of fulfilling. Be it Rajapaksa or this current Yahapalana.

    • 1
      2

      A federal Sri Lanka will need huge military resources to keep it federal.
      Soma

      • 1
        1

        somass

        “A federal Sri Lanka will need huge military resources to keep it federal.”

        As Hindia has been doing it in the past 70 years, it will continue to provide security to its Sinhala state (of Hindia) for the foreseeable future. Of course its Tamil state is in the mainland as well as in this island.

        If and when you decide to grant Tamil Eeelam you need to clear it with New Delhi. It is not within your prerogative to determine the shape and size of Hindia. Hindians will be very cross with you.

  • 4
    1

    Life was very tense during white-van rule.

    • 0
      1

      Pillai mate how was life during the war, was it a cake walk?

  • 4
    2

    Tamils are very resilient and intellectual and hard working people. Give them the right opportunity and free the North East will be a Singapore in no time.

    The Sinhala South tourist are still flocking to Jaffna and Killinochi and Vavuniya and Mullaithivu and awed by the feats achieved by the Tamil Tigers .

    • 1
      2

      Really Rajash I did not know the new bridge over the lagoon, the KKS railway, the ferry services all were done by the Tigers..common man just shut the BS, who are you trying to kid?

      • 1
        0

        As usual you are talking utter rubbish.
        Tamils or any other people could build, develop, thrive if they are allowed to do what they deem necessary, appropriate, …………………..

        You filthy beasts are sitting on their shoulders and breathing heavily on their neck preventing them to do what they think right for them. If the crooked politicians didn’t embark on a colossal projects they could not have made wealth plenty for many generations.

        The people of this country soon will be forced to get permission from asses in the government as well as from the functionaries just before they decide to use the toilets or make love with their partners. Every aspect of human activity including economic as well as religious and social activity is heavily controlled by the crooks in their own interest. If the people are left to their own devices, they could spring miracles. Every measure introduced by racists Ass****s since 1956 have been a drag on people’s creativity, resourcefulness, hard work, …………… curtailed the progress of the entire nation. Never ever underestimate people potential and their ability. Unlike you lazy b***s carrying bums, generally people are hard working only if they are allowed the freedom to chose their own pathways.

        Their potential have been curtailed/wasted by the racists and the crooks in the centre. Why don’t you hands off the people and p**s off.

        In your case you do not have to think or work, either you are in the network which usually protects and rewards its fellow crooked members or you make good income from intermittent riots against the “others”.

        “I did not know the new bridge over the lagoon, the KKS railway, the ferry services all were done by the Tigers..common man just shut the BS, who are you trying to kid?”

        The Railwas to KKS was initially built by the British in 1900s, possibly just before 1910, not by your ancestors. After the war had ended it was rebuilt by Hindians.

  • 2
    1

    Jehan remains as one courageously write lies, hoping Tamils has only one choice believe it or get the hell out of here. Last time he wrote about kids, it cannot be substantiated.
    Army induced crime is the main problem. The Kerala Ganja is the other problem. Rapist Army occupying Tamils lands is problem. Army running hotels, as far I know, not reported equally to these. Hotel details were requested by “Uthayan”; this refused by Army first. This is reported by CT. These restaurant and hotels were run in a way so the private owners are closing their hotels & restaurants. Rapist Army has to close and let the private owners reopen what they closed during the war.
    .
    Additionally I just want to show the systematic lies Appe Aanduwa campaigners are telling.
    1. The entire world, up to UNHRC knows the Paranagama like senior officials lies and they were sending CID to missing person’s relative’s homes. International NGO, UNHRC rapporteurs are reporting Police and Rapist Army’s tortures, irrelevant of whatever Jehan PhD is trying to cover up here.
    2. These guys beat the Doctors worked with the ICRC in makeshift hospitals and made them to lie at “Lies Agreed Upon”. When those doctors went outside, they told the opposite to “Killing Field” documentary.
    3. North is cordoned by 3:1 Rapist Army. Old Royals said North had only 13,000 troops. The truth is, it is 150,000 troops. Yahapalanaya accepted this 150,000 number, when it took the power; now it says 14,000 troops and it is from the time Old Royals left. This lie is not just for IC and Tamils, but for South too. These rogues are not ready to South also the truth. They don’t want to accept in South that they need to close camps to cost cut and satisfy IC on reconciliation. They don’t want to take a reconciliation talk in South.

  • 2
    1

    4. Recently Army released a leopard brought up in cages in the middle of a Kilinochchi village. Then it concocted stories as villagers killed a wild animal.
    5. The biggest game two months ago played was about Colonel Rathnapriya Bandu.
    Here is government version, from Daily Mirror:
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Rehabilitated-LTTE-cadres-in-tearful-send-off-for-departing-Commander-151106.html
    Can anyone tell if the man in this below picture is really crying? Are there any others in that Photo crying? : http://static.dailymirror.lk/media/images/image_1528687801-6c2eebf1cc.jpg.
    The story appeared in the Tamil media is complete opposite. They say this colonel is mater crook. The money given to this man to rehabilitate rebels was the money thrown in the river. They say he was caught first time, but government could not do anything because government doesn’t want to accept the rehabilitation money is under the control of game players. He was caught again, so government played a drama that he did a big service and even the Ex. LTTE rebels are crying for him when they removed him. One abuse case is Army wanted to have Nursery kids under its control. They recruited teachers at 30,000Rs a month. According to Northern Media this is something even High government officials don’t get there. So these teachers, (in private systems, sometimes, considered as nannies or baby sitters) causing a chaos situation within the school system on North. That is that; but the other is even worse. The Rebels employed were not practically taught any jobs or not even employed. They were on the colonel’s payroll. When the salary remitted to their bank account, they have to cash and remit major part of the pay to the assigned Army employee’s account and they keep a minor potion. Any Rapist Army does is not Audited. The rebels’ skills not tested & certified by private organizations.

  • 2
    1

    MP Sritharan has been releasing many statistics about the Rapist Army controlled commercially managed forests, Fruit farms, crops, Food and vegetable farms and other cultivation area. These would put between 15-30 thousand acres. He asked to hand over the lands to unemployed, rehabilitated youths. They are kept as forced labor on these. The rehabilitated youths fear is if Rapist Army leaves, like they did it to all the houses and schools they will demolish these to ground. So the minimal wage they get and the only employment possible for them will be lost. These lands are to be shared to those youths instead of colonizing these areas with Military families from south.

  • 4
    2

    Keeping Sinhalese names for hotels and restaurants run by the armed forces in Tamil areas , most probably on confiscated private Tamil properties smacks of chauvinism and very bad for reconciliation. Why not a Tamil name? Is this to show who the ruler/occupier is? Why are the armed forces busy running hotels. restaurants, farms and other businesses , especially on confiscated private Tamil properties, whilst the local population are languishing without their homes and lands and deprived of a living? This not the duty of the army , especially a Sinhalese army in Tamil land. How will Jehan and the rest of the Sinhalese feel if an occupying Tamil army confiscates Sinhalese lands and then starts running various businesses , like a hotel on these lands and to add insult to injury give these establishments Tamil names? Has Jehan spoken to the masses of Jaffna or just a few selected people and get their opinions? . The Diaspora visitors who and their accompanying relatives , grateful for a good feed , are not representative of the Tamil masses. Many of the second generation amongst sections of the diaspora do not care , only come to the island for a good time and cheap holidays. To them it is not an issue who runs the hotel or restaurant, as long as they have a nice time. The suffering of their fellow Tamils living in the north and east , is a non issue to them. They look at everything on the surface like most foreign tourists and Jehan does and say everything is wonderful.

  • 4
    3

    The LTTE only given Cemeteries to the people specially in the North. Besides, they have given cyanide capsule around the necks of school children recruited for the fighting as cannon fodder. Similarly, the have brainwashed people to become suicide bombers ansd unleashed terror on innocent unarmed masses of Sri Lanka. As a so called freedom fighters, they have killed moderate political leaders of all sides and in India as well including Tamil intelectuals such as Laksman Kadiragamar and Neelan Thiruchelvam. These are a few of LTTE achievements.

    Angoda Native Vedda do not posses brain capacity to understand the truth and what is racist being a racist thug by himself. It is quite evident that he has to go back to his original place soon if he does not like the reality and the truth here.

    Angoda Vedda and other racist thugs in this forum must understand that the Tamil masses in particular and Sri Lankans as a whole will never purchase their fanciful slogans for elam , federalism etc as the masses are slowly and surely building up their lives with a loving relationship with the Sri Lankan Armed forces, who are doing a wonderful job in developing reconciliation and providing Economic empowerment since the day Humanitarian operation to Annihilate LTTE and its entire leadership was completed.

  • 1
    1

    After Vijayakala’s speech, the main change in the North is many kinds of Grease Monsters. These Rapist Army men are assisted by local Paramilitary. The talk is local guys are guiding to the houses the Army’s grease monsters. So the helpless people are either staying out of the house in the nights or completely abandoning the houses. Jehan PhD who is writing about Diaspora who are eating only at Army hotels, never even accidently dropped one word of Grease mobster which is filling the Tamil media these days. Had Jehan PhD ever wrote about Widows suffering by Yahapalanaya’s microloans?

    The Yahapalanaya, who completely abandoned West after the 2015 honeymoon and was sleeping in the China hut, is now fearing of China may fund again for Old Royals through the projects it is doing for Yahapalanaya. So Yahapalanaya wants to renew its friendship with West, only to win election. So it is using utter liars as propagandist to spread false talks in the media. Yahapalanaya is not ready to contest the Old Royals in the South on any Tamil-Sinhala issues. Its members even openly talking against constitutional solution, which is the one it used to make America suppress OISL report of March 2015, , where all these guys are listed as war criminals. Yahapalanaya created an enormous culture of impunity in the Island for all political figures that is whoever just with Old Royals and Yahapalanaya. Ranil’s and New King’s scale of this game is unprecedented to the Island. In One direction, Yahapalanaya is challenging the justice seekers as “They tried to come by the other way, but we foiled it” and in the other way, to West, these propagandist are talking about OMP, Repatriation Bill… only to make West to go after them again in the election.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.