By H. L. D. Mahindapala –
Velupillai Prabhakaran, the sociopathic Rottweiler unleashed by the Tamil Vellahla leadership to fetch their bone of Eelam, is no longer there to bark, bite, or grab Tamil children on their way to school. In the absence of any one else surfacing to replace ruthless Tamil racism and hate politics, C.V. Wigneswaran, the Chief Minister, seems to have stepped in to fill the vacuum. Like Prabhakaran his aim is to shine as the “sole representative of the Tamils”, eclipsing his political sponsors in the TNA. As an English-speaking, Saivite, Jaffna Vellahla extremist he represents the worst elements of what went wrong with Tamil politics in the post-Independent era.
Like all Tamil politicians, his standard political tactic is to blame the Sinhalese for all the evils bred in the womb of Jaffna. Diverting attention away from the evils of caste-ridden oppression that dehumanised Jaffna society is a prime necessity for Jaffna politicians to cover-up their heinous past. Wigneswaran’s latest diversion is to blame the Security Forces for the rise of drug addiction among the Tamil youth. P. K. Balachandran of the Indian Express wrote : “Wigneswaran, like other Tamil politicians, blames the army and the police for rising drink and drug addiction among Tamil youth in the post-war era. He has also alleged that the Security Forces are behind the rising crime in the North.” (Indian Express — August 30, 2016 ). Well. what else is new in Jaffna politics? As I have said earlier, whenever Prabhakaran had constipation, the Tamils blamed “the Sinhala-government” for not sending Basmati rice!
Wigneswaran’s ideological affinities with Prabhakaran, Swamy Premananda, the Tamil rapist who is also accused of murder, and Arumuka Navalar, the religious guru of Vellahla Saivites, guarantee that he is most likely to sabotage and resist negotiations to make compromises work for peaceful co-existence. However, as a Saivite of Jaffna, his loyalties are to Arumuka Navalar, the Hindu revivalist who preached that non-believers should be killed and if the Jaffna Tamils can’t kill them personally they must hire someone else to do the job for them. And if they can’t do either they must migrate. It is this blood-thirsty cult that gripped the minds of the Saivite, Jaffna Vellahla extremists who dominated and steered peninsular politics all the way to Nandikadal.
Besides, Wigneswaran’s alignment with the Indian Vishawa Hindu Parisad (VHP) does not augur well for the future of non-Hindu Muslims and the Sinhalese. He combines in him the fascist Saivite cult of Arumuka Navalar and the Indian VHP – a deadly combination that threatens the best efforts of all peace activists. If the Wigneswaran strand of extremism gains the upper hand in Jaffna, with the backing of the Tamil Diaspora, then the people of Jaffna should get ready to trek all the way back to Nandikadal one more time.
Wigneswaran is showing no signs of letting up. He is consistently stoking the past to raise the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist hate politics. He is reverting to hate politics because he has nothing else to offer the Tamil people. He does not even bother to utilise the state resources available to him to serve the immediate needs of the Tamil people. Like most Tamil politicians he is obsessed with anti-Sinhala politics, brushing aside the much needed economics. He is behind the Tamil People’s Council, (TPC), which was launched on December 12, 2015, as an alternative to the TNA, according to Tamil political analysts.
Right now TPC is making preparations to launch an anti-Government “Tamil uprising” (whatever form it takes) on September 14, states the TamilNet, the rabid mouthpiece of Tamil extremism. This “uprising” is to coincide with the September sessions in Geneva and also the arrival of Ban Ki-Moon. Of course, this means that Wigneswaran’s TPC has decided to revert to confrontational politics at a time when the imperatives of the post-Nandikadal politics demand more sober and rational approach to resolve sensitive issues. Jaffna is resorting to the same old game of pushing the electorate to aggressive Tamil racism in an attempt to sabotage the attempts of the Tamil parties willing to find accommodation within the pragmatic parameters of attainable politics. The political agenda of the TPC is aimed primarily at undermining the TNA’s moves to find compromises.
The TPC and TNA are now running against each other in an electoral competition to retain their vote base. The TNA seems to be the less aggressive party with an understanding of the extent to which it can go. They have grasped the heavy pressures of the international community and they know that they can go only thus far and no further. But the Wigneswaran-Gajendran Ponnambalam extremists in the TPC wing of Tamil politics, backed by the Prabhakaranist elements in the Tamil Diaspora, are manoeuvring to drag Jaffna back to the failed Vadukoddai agenda.
Wigneswaran is playing with fire when he gambles with Tamil racist extremism once again. Does he know what bloody route it will take if his extremism turns violent and takes the same Vadukoddian path? Does he know where it will end? Does he know how many more Tamil children will be dragged in to pursue his political fantasies? After Prabhakaran, is he going to be the next grim grave digger of Jaffna? With his aggressive Tamil extremism he is also forcing political players to take sides. Not surprisingly, Jehan Perera has decided to join Wigneswaran’s bandwagon. In doing so he has returned to his failed past of joining hands with the extreme wing of Tamil politics. His diastrous record proves that he never had any viable solution to the national issues, except appeasement of Tamil extremist demands at any cost. In his role as a foreign-funded peace-mudalali, with pretentious claims of having the keys to the kingdom of peace, he ended his futile days parroting Prabhakaranist politics of all-or-nothing which is the current stand of Wigneswaran.
Perera’s latest hijinks is to repeat Wigneswaran’s accusation that the entry of Sinhala students to Jaffna University is “cultural colonisation”. He also agrees with Wigneswaran who claims that the admission of Sinhala students is an attempt to change the demographic composition of the Tamils in the North. (Colombo Telegraph — July 25, 2016). Regurgitating the NPC statement, he states: “…the Northern Provincial Council issued a statement that identified the demographic pattern of the North and East after the war as being consciously changed and students from other provinces being admitted in large numbers into Jaffna University.”
Endorsing it as valid evidence he adds : “The statement issued by the Northern Provincial Council and signed by both its Chief Minister and Opposition Leader, and which cannot simply be dismissed as being the political maneuverings of extremists, contains feelings and facts that need to be taken seriously.” It is not surprising to find that Perera’s NPC (National Peace Council) parrots the politics of Wigneswaran’s NPC (Northern Provincial Council.) Moves for reconciliation will go nowhere with the two NPCs working in tandem to push Tamil racism to the extreme. If this Perera knows the ABC of race relations, just not in Sri Lanka but across the globe, he should be aware that intransigent identity politics pushing extreme religio-ethnic agendas have been the primary cause of violence and global instability. The biggest threat to human rights and peace stems from the likes of Donald Trumps and Wigneswarans. Perera’s politics has been to defend and justify mono-ethnic extremism as the way to peace and stability. He tried this formula with his favourites in the LTTE, all of which sank with his political heroes to the bottom of Nandikadal. His theories were no better than the fictitious doctorate he conferred on Anton Balasingham.
In joining Wigneswaran he has started his old game of backing “Dr.” Anton Balasingham and his master, the Tamil Pol Pot. From now on one can expect this Perera to labour indefatigably to back the venomous racism of Wigneswaran. He is once again manufacturing excuses for “the political maneuverings of extremists” who are pushing politics of the North to mono-ethnic singularities at the expense of democratic pluralism. In other words, he is saying that it is legitimate for the North to reserve the Jaffna university for the Tamils as the introduction of multi-ethnic multi-culturalism would disturb the demographic dominance of the Tamils. This is another way of saying that the north must be carved out as an exclusive mono-ethnic enclave for the Tamils only to maintain their supremacy, denying any space for non-Tamils, whether Muslims or Sinhalese, while the South must open their doors for multi-ethnic pluralism. Well, if it is ok for the North to preserve the North exclusively for the Tamils (their “feeling and facts …need to be taken seriously”, he says) then why is it not ok for the Sinhala supremacists to deny rights to non-Sinhalese? Why shouldn’t the Sinhalese maintain the land they claim to be theirs only for the Sinhalese? Shouldn’t “the feeling and the facts of the Sinhalese also be taken seriously”, eh Pachaya?
Those who argue for multiculturalism and pluralism can’t have it both ways. They can’t insist on legalising and institutionalising multi-culturalism and pluralism in the south and, in the same breath, insisting on legalising and institutionalising Tamil racism in the north. Their flawed notion of multi-culturalism is in preserving the North exclusively for the Tamils and, at the same time, opening the rest of the nation for the Tamils to have a foot in the south as well, on an equal footing as the rest – a right which they refuse to give other communities in the north. In short, there will no be no multi-culturalism in the North. Jaffna is to be a territory that will be preserved for the Vellahla elite. Anyone “outsider” stepping in Jaffna will be accused of interfering with minority rights. But the South must open their doors for pluralism, including the Tamils, in addition to the domain they claim to be their exclusive property. Drawing borders to demarcate ethnicity is racism. Opening societies for all communities to co-exist peacefully is pluralism. Multi-culturalists must get their definitions right and decide, once and for all, whether they want mono-ethnic singularities or liberal and humane pluralities.
Moves for reconciliation will go nowhere with the two NPCs working in tandem to push Tamil racism to the extreme. All the punditry of our Perera in the past has failed to deliver results of any value to the war-weary people. Not a single of his partisan theories, cooked up by his NPC, ever worked to bring peace to the victims of the Vadukoddai War. He was manufacturing theories to rake in more dollars to fatten his bank account and not to save the victims of the war waged by his “Dr.” Anton Balasingham and his master. Perera unashamedly played the devious role of an unscrupulous liar deliberately distorting realities and hard facts to boost the war-mongering Tamil Pol Pot. Now he is starting his theoretical jiggery-pokery all over again to stoke the embers of racism for him and his fellow-peace-mudalalis to profit from the misery of another ethnic conflagration.
This, of course, is against the principle of guaranteeing non-recurrence of violence – one of the four objectives mandated in the Geneva Resolution. When our Perera joins hands with Wigneswaran it can only lead to recurrence of ethnic violence. He can’t argue for the implementation of Geneva Resolution and, in the same breath, back extreme racism, jumping into Wigneswaran’s bandwagon, which can only lead to recurrence of Tamil violence. Besides, he boasts of a being a committed “stakeholder” of the Yahapalanya regime. Doesn’t he know that when he sides with Wigneswaran he is undermining his prime “stakeholder”, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is putting pressure on Rajavarothiam Sampanthan to stop the scheduled “Tamil uprising”. It is apparent that our Perera is aiming to ride both horses – Wigneswaran and Wickremesinghe – simultaneously. Since both horses are running two different directions in which dustbin will this Pereras end up?
Consider, for instance, the following statement where he cites figures to project a picture of the Sinhala students getting an undue share of places in the Science Faculty of Jaffna University. Like Wigneswaran he resents the presence of 60 % Sinhala students in the Science Faculty (mark you, selected on merit). Perera and states : “It may be necessary to restructure the university admissions which is currently based on a national merit-based policy or permit the provincial councils to set up regional universities that can give priority to local area students.” In other words, he is saying that university authorities must reject merit as a criterion in selecting talented Sinhala and Muslims students and admit only local Tamil students to Jaffna University to retain the local ethnic demographics. Supposing I argued on these lines and insisted that all the universities in Sinhala areas should admit only local students, irrespective of their merits, what would he say? Won’t he and his moral maniacs raise a howl branding me as a racist? Isn’t he deliberately promoting racist politics to keep communities apart?
Perera’s formula of admitting only local students to universities is racism at its worst, promoting divisive politics to maintain the territorial claims based on ethnic composition. This is Perera’s version of “bhumiputra” politics. Compare this to the constructive experiment of His Excellency Judge C. G.Weeramantry. He proved that the future is in integration and not in separation. He funded a programme where undergraduates of the north and east were camped for a fortnight under one roof with the Sinhala students of the south. Initially, on the first day or two, there was reluctance and mental reservations about breaking out of the old prejudices. But at the end of the fortnight the students of all communities had bonded together and there were tears in their eyes on the eve of departure. Even in the Jaffna campus, despite the language differences, there was no bitter animosity among the Sinhala and Tamils students until the atavistic arrogance of Tamil racism raised its ugly head. So when Pacha Perera theorises to keep the communities apart, confined to Nazi-style campuses, he is pursuing the Prabhakaranist–Wigneswaranist racism and not the mandate of “non-recurrence” of racism leading to violence. The two formulas reveal the difference between a far-seeing savant serving the noble cause of bringing humanity together and a myopic idiot trawling theoretical mud to build walls to keep people apart. It is clear that even with his glass-bottom specs he cannot see beyond his nose. At best, he can see just far enough – and that too when he goes down on his knees — to lick the boots of Tamil Pol Pots and their successors.
In essence, Perera is arguing to retain the status quo in the north without changing pragmatically to meet the new realities of the post-Nandikadal era. As long as Prabhakaran was running peninsular politics the Tamils and NGOs were relying cockily on brutal violence as a means of dictating terms to the state. Without that leverage now they have fallen back on “the international community” to pull their chestnuts out. With Prabhakaran they were dependent primarily inhuman violence. Now they are relying on human rights. The Pereras and Saravanamuttus have been in both bandwagons, aiding and abetting Tamil extremism. They never argued for regime change of the Pol Potist regime for the liberation of Tamils.
They were always for retaining the violent and racist status quo in the north, whoever was in command. Their strategy was consistently to change regimes of the democratic south, or to weaken power at the centre for the West to manipulate and enforce their will. Their human rights campaigns have not gone beyond putting up defences for the racist fascism of the North, disguised as minority rights. Minority rights have no blanket cover to do what they want at any cost. Their rights end where the rights of the other minorities and the majorities begin. This means that the North must change and accept the new realities of co-existing in a pluralistic society. It means abandoning the failed policies of mono-ethnic arrogance aimed at overriding the aspirations of the other communities. It means live and let live. It means that the North must change — and change radically.
Perera, for instance, has been moving from village to village in the South holding seminars to change the South. But there was no commensurate programme to change the perspectives of the North. Besides, there were foreign-funds only for changing the South, not the North. For instance, Norwegian funds flooded the nation to even penetrate the Sangha – a grass root power identified as a primary source for manipulating local politics to serve foreign interests. At the height of the international intervention led by the Norwegians, the Norwegian Foreign Office sent a senior researcher, Iselin Frydenlund of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) to do field work in Buddhism in Sri Lanka. In 2004 –2005, she wrote a paper on “The Sangha and its relation to the peace process in Sri Lanka” for the benefit of the Norwegian team led by Erik Solheim, the Norwegian negotiator whose mission, inter alia, was to pick up the liquor bills left behind in five star hotels by our Pachayas “Dr”. Balasingham. Research was a part of the political process of Western powers to manipulate developing nations to serve their foreign interests. Both big corporations and the foreign offices of the West hire NGOs to develop strategies for socio-political interventions. It is cheaper for foreign powers to hire Pereras and Saravanamuttus than post their diplomats and their families in Colombo.
Politics in the Buddhist belt of South Asia, located in the underbelly of China, has received special attention, not only because of the emerging dynamics of the Big Power politics in the region but also because of the minorities clashing with the Buddhist majorities. Influencing the Sangha has become a political necessity for interventionist politics to succeed. So it is not surprising to find a Buddhist monk on the board of Catholic Pacha Perara’s NPC. Infiltrating and exploiting the Sangha has been one of the main tactics of all foreign funded NGOs. Even the former 75-rupee teacher at Nalanda College, A. T. Ariyaratne, became a billionaire, by packaging and marketing politicised Buddhism to foreign powers.
The upshot of this massive focus on Sinhala-Buddhism has been to demonise the South as racist bigots for not giving into the extremist demands of the North. But this is historically inaccurate. The South has a history of giving, though tardily, and each time it concedes the North increases its demands. The 13th Amendment is a case in point. After signing the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, with the help of India, they have shifted the ground to demand 13 plus. The history of the Northern demands is the same as that of Oliver Twist : the more you give the more they want. There will be Wigneswarans sprouting like mushrooms to push the North to the extreme until they get their Eelam. Constitutional exercises are mere eye-wash which will not take either the North or the South anywhere. Which constitutional formula can stop the the rise of Oliver Twists? Isn’t it time to say enough is enough?
The only certainty in Northern politics is the rise of future Oliver Twists, demanding this, that and the other. North has been the most vicious breeding ground for intransigent racism and will continue to be so because they depend primarily on hate politics for their survival. Northern racism thrived exclusively on politics of hate of the “other” – i.e., the Sinhala-Buddhists. Our intellectual “Pachayas” are reluctant to mount an argument to end Northern racism. It is the prime cause that obstructs peaceful co-existence. Reconciliation is a two-way traffic : Yal Devi must not only go to Jaffna, it must also come down to Colombo. But Prabhakaran-Wigneswaran idea of reconciliation is confined to only one-way traffic. Their idea of reconciliation is all take and no give. And the NGO “Pachayas” have gone along blithely with this one-way politics which has been the root cause of communal violence.
There can be no peace, stability and reconciliation as long as the North insists on mono-ethnic extremism. So the future depends of the North changing and accepting pluralistic multi-culturalism as a new way of life. Insisting on changes only in the South can lead to two counter-productive ends : (1) fattening bank accounts of Jehan Perera and Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu in the South and 2. paving the path to the next Nandikadal in the North.