21 January, 2021

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Letter To President Sirisena From Diaspora

By Romesh Hettiarachchi

Romesh Hettiarachchi

Romesh Hettiarachchi

Dear President Sirisena,

I write to you as a member of the Sri Lankan diaspora; a multi-ethnic and multi-faceted community identifying as Sri Lankan but living outside the country. At the outset, let me join many others in congratulating and wishing you the very best on beginning your term as the 6th President of Sri Lanka.

As President, I recognize neither you nor your Government owe any obligations to me, a member of the diaspora, especially since you are likely deluged with so many requests and suggestions from your own constituents so early in your presidency. I am also acutely aware that many if not most Sri Lankans have strong reservations about the Diaspora, arising in part from the continuing support in certain segments of the Diaspora for the goals and objectives of the LTTE.

I nevertheless write to ask you to consider implementing measures that lead to a more constructive relationship between the people of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Diaspora. As you are likely to aware, the global Sri Lankan Diaspora consists of all Sri Lankan communities; there are Tamils living outside Sri Lanka who identify as being Sri Lankan and not Tamil . Even with respect to the self-identified Tamil Diaspora, few generalizations can be made. Your election amply demonstrates these differences: Tamil Diaspora organizations such as the Global Tamil Forum encouraged the Sri Lankan Tamil population to vote in this election as Tamils “still have the good of the country and of all peoples at heart and wish the triumph of democracy and rule of law” while other Tamil Diaspora activists urged the Tamil population to boycott.

I write to offer you some measures you may consider adopting with respect to the Diaspora when appropriate; measures based out of my own professional experience and the conversations, public and otherwise, which I have been a part of that have been occurring within and between the Sri Lankan and Tamil communities over the last five years.

Ministry of Diaspora Relations

Your Excellency, my first suggestion to you is to establish a Ministry of Diaspora Relations dedicated to fostering a constructive relationship with the Sri Lankan Diaspora. This Ministry ought to have the expertise to coordinate a variety of aspects of the relationship between the Sri Lankan government and its Diaspora such as processing dual citizenship applications, offering favourable investment opportunities to members of the Diaspora, developing academic and exchange opportunities and facilitating legitimate charity and fundraising events that contribute to the lives and well-being of their ancestral communities.

Maithripala Dalanda Maligava 01 11 2015This idea is not a novel one: both Bangladesh and India having a Ministry of Diaspora Relations. India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs may best be adapted to the Sri Lankan context, offering exchange programs and other initiatives designed to increase the engagement of the Diaspora with the lives of Sri Lankan citizens. If Your Excellency is truly concerned about the national security implications of giving the Diaspora citizenship carte blanche, then you may be interested in the limited form of citizenship offered by both Canada (temporary limitations) and India (permanent limitations) for a period of time.

A Ministry of Diaspora Relations will play a critical role in reversing the migration of young Sri Lankan professionals to other countries; a “brain drain” that has become all too common over the past four years. An effective Ministry will facilitate knowledge transfer from educated professionals in the Diaspora to local Sri Lankan professionals, catalyzing local entrepreneurship and business communities leading to increasing job growth. The Ministry of Diaspora Relations would also be responsible for engaging with the so-called ‘hostile diaspora groups’ constructively and address their concerns as recommended by the LLRC (See Recommendations of LLRC Report below, 9.261-9.263). I will specifically highlight the work of the Canadian Tamil Congress whose members have the competence and the talent to play integral roles in rebuilding communities in the North and North East of Sri Lanka.

In the long term such a Ministry will likely persuading members of the Sri Lankan diaspora to stay for extended periods of time in the communities that their mothers, fathers and ancestors once called home.

Begin Implementation of the LLRC Recommendations

Your Excellency should also consider the substantive implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (“Commission”); the Commission emphasized the Government bears the responsibility of moving the reconciliation process, an objective which should be “continuous and broad based” (Para 9.183).

Implementation of the recommendations of the Report (English, Sinhala, Tamil) will generate considerable goodwill in the Diaspora and international community, some of which are outlined below with paragraph of Report included in (parantheses):

  • Phase out the involvement of the security forces in civilian activities and use of private lands by Security Forces (9.171)
  • Phase out the presence of the military in the Northern Province and ensure that the Northern Province reverts to civilian administration to ensure people enjoy the benefits of peace (9.227)
  • Begin a good-faith effort for devlolution (9.230 – 9.237)
  • Make the learning of each other’s language a compulsory part of the school curriculum (9.243).
  • All Government offices should have Tamil-speaking officers at all times. Police Stations should have bi-lingual officers on a 24-hour basis (9.247)
  • National anthem should be sung simultaneously in two languages to the same tune. (9.278)
  • A separate event should be set apart on the National Day (4 February) to express solidarity and empathy with all victims of the tragic conflict and pledge the collective commitment to ensure that there should never be such blood-letting in the country again. (9.284-285)

Demilitarization in the North and North East/Psychosocial Programs

In line with other recommendations of the LLRC Report, I urge your Excellency to consider making plans over the medium term to replace military professionals in the North and North East with psycho-social professionals to assist in the recovery of war affected communities throughout the island. Anecdotally speaking, I have personally heard many stories of deep psychological trauma that civilians in various regions of the North and North East have undergone, all of whom in my non-professional opinion require professional assistance. Given the duration of the conflict and the communities the conflict expected, it is reasonable to assume that the same psychological trauma is present in other areas of the country. Provisions need to be made to obtain professional care for these victims, particularly in populations in the North and North East of Sri Lanka who bore the brunt of the conflict.

Expecting the drastic reduction in the military presence in communities in the North and North East of Sri Lanka may not be politically feasible in the short term, given the current calls for you to not do away with post-war security measures. Notwithstanding, I strongly hope there will soon come a time in your Presidency when Your Excellency will enact policies to ensure Sri Lankan civilians of Tamil descent in the North and North East will be as free from the military as their counterparts in other areas of the country.

Release the LLRC Report in State Media

Again I recognize that you are (and indeed ought to be) preoccupied with the need of your constituents. But in time I hope you will consider implementing some of these proposals. I recognize these suggestions may not be practical or feasible at the moment, given the demands and pressures exerted by Sinhalese nationalists. In response to these pressures, ensure that the Sri Lankan people are aware of recommendations of the LLRC by asking State Media to release the LLRC Report in all official languages on a serialized basis. Know that there are groups in the Sri Lankan Diaspora – and even in the Tamil Diaspora – that may be able to assist in the substantive implementation of the LLRC Recommendations, if that assistance is at all needed.

In conclusion, please know your demonstrated courage and humility during this election has been incredibly inspirational and has instilled in many a Sri Lankan a great hope for reform. I hope you continue to set an example for all Sri Lankans to emulate to the world and to each other for the duration of your presidency.

May the Blessed Triple Gem continue to give you strength and bless you and your loved ones.

Romesh Hettiarachchi is a lawyer and mediator in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached @romesh_h.

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Latest comments

  • 16
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    sounds good to me.
    unfortunately this new regime also going on the same corrupt direction and we as diaspora need to express our voice heard thru social media to get this peopels govt in the right track.

    getting SVG and Karuna sounds doom. MR will be laughing all the way.

    • 7
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      MR may be masterminding it.

    • 14
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      If you wish to build the nation to the so called ideals you ask for then Come back here (to sri lanka), and Help to make it a reality.. DOnt just sit from afar write stupid letters, You take action before you Tell others..Until Then ******************************

      • 2
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        I was there in 2012, but couldn’t do much. If you don’t have dual citizenship it is impossible to do anything solid as a foreigner.

      • 0
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        may be the guy is away for a reason. he does not need to be in dri lanka but still help like most diaspora do. may be he despises politics like i do.
        it is cretins like you who make life miserable for all sri lankans.

        • 1
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          @ Perera.. Let Me tell you a True story about OUR Sri Lankan Disapora.. After the Tsunami.. These Diaspora Hoilday Makers were the first to FIGHT TO GET A FLIGHT OUT OF SRI LANKA.. WHile European Origin Tourist Stayed Behind to Help us Bury the Dead and Transport food.. Its was this Same SRi Lankan Daispora that sent us Good from Overseas.. Such as Canned Tin food the sell by date was late 90’s.. Moth eaten Winter JAckets… To Sri Lanka.. It Tooks more time to sort the Shit Of the Diaspora at the Air Port Terminal.. I Know many Sri Lankan Diaspora Who Take action rather than Write Bogus Letters. (many on 1 year Visa system).. OUR Sri Lankan diaspora like these Letter writers are paracites.. They will eat the Cake there, and once we Sri Lankans do all the hard work here come and eat the cake here as well. The diaspora love to take photos of their lives outside the country and send it here to be put on Magz’s and papers.. You know the paracite type..

    • 5
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      Romesh Hettiarachchi –

      RE: Letter To President Sirisena From Diaspora

      Dear Hon. President Mr. Matripala Sirisena,

      Thank you for coming forward and, becoming the Common(Sense) Candidate and defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa.

      You had a 100 Day Program and Common Candidate Manifesto.P lease stick to that during the First 100 days.

      All other wishes come later. What wishes did the people get after the war with Mr. Mahinda Dictatorship? Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa (MaRa) Family Dictatorship and Cronyism and ot and corruption.

      The Voters Voted on your Program. Stick to it.

      Thank you

      PS. Please do bring the culprits to face their charges.

    • 2
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      We have changed the face of the leader through an election, but not the ideology. If we can create intellectual leaders through elections, by now Sri Lanka would have got the world’s best brains. President Sirisena was working closely with President Rajapaksa; therefore do not expect too much changes. Sri Lankans have been fighting since the independence, they haven’t created intelligent leaders, but created leaders who play race, language and religious cards to keep their power to create wealth. I have written similar letter to the Rajapaksa regime, but it has ignored.The West brain drain the country by supporting the war indirectly. A dialogue with diaspora is must to educate them and also to bring back the skills and investments in order to develop the country. In fact I offered my knowledge and skills for this particular iseue for free of charge, but the Rajapaksa regime ignored; no wonder why it is not in power. I also urge the diaspora leaders to fight for the betterment of the people not for their own survival or for their Western Masters. Don’t feel that you owe to your Western Masters because they let you to educate and work in their country; it is nothing if you compare what they have taken from the Indian Subcontinent, Asia, Native Americans, Canadian First Nations, Australian Aboriginal people, New Zealand Maori, South America, Africa etc.

  • 19
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    great we have to include few more things. Stop state aided majority’s settlement in north n east. Stop bulding Buddhist temples n war memorial for the troops in north n east. Allow the Tamils to mourn their dead. The state should apologize what they done to Tamils since independence .

    • 3
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      will you apologise for the 100000 killed by the butcher prabakaran aided by tn politicians.

  • 10
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    1. Is there any other country in this World, where a Ministry of Diaspora Relations exist? There is a very big population of Indians and Chinese livig ins the US as well as Canada and has Indian or Chninese government established a Ministry of Diaspora Relations?
    2. Leave all matters to the people who are residing in this country. Don’t poke your fingers into affairs here, while living comfortably and well protected in another country. There are enough educated and abled professionals who are living permanently in Sri Lanka.

    • 10
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      Lihil,

      “There are enough educated and abled professionals who are living permanently in Sri Lanka.”

      Sadly the well educated and able professionals who are permanently is Sri Lanka have failed to deliver a good outcome so far.

      India and Bangladesh do have ministries of diaspora. Having a ministry of diaspora for Sri Lanka also makes sense as the second biggest foreign exhange earner for Sri Lanka is the remittances from people living overseas.

      Please subdue your jealousy of people living overseas in comfort and safety. Many had to leave Sri Lanka due to the horrors committed in the land of the triple blessed, losing all their relatives and all thier megre belongings and not to mention to escape those horrible thugs in saffron robes.

  • 8
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    A VERY GOOD ARTICLE AND I AGREE WITH THE WRITER. WE NEED SUCH A BROADER THINKING

  • 1
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    Dear Romesh
    Thank you for asking the govt to translate LLRC report into all languages and to start implementing.
    Hope you have seen the following which will reinforce your letter:
    ”Structural and geo-technical engineers know that when a long building is constructed especially on weak soil, it is almost mandatory to have a movement joint to separate the building into two. To the non-engineer that building will appear and function as a single integral structure. But careful inspection will reveal that there are double columns and beams at the joint, to allow one part of the building to settle differentially with respect to the other. Such differential settlement is imperceptible to users of the building, but real; and it allows a long building to exist without developing unsightly cracks. Even reservoirs can be constructed with movement joints; the 10,000 cubic meter Jubilee Reservoir which supplies Colombo with water from the Kelani River has a movement joint right through the middle of its length – but it is nevertheless a single integral reservoir.
    …… here is probably a good case for Southerners to give their Northern counterparts greater freedom of ‘movement’. …. the Northerners need greater freedom; and the North needs a movement joint to settle differentially, while preserving national integrity.”
    _ Does the North of Sri Lanka need a ‘Movement Joint’? Prof Priyan Dias, 24 December 2014, Groundviews.

    • 12
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      ” Does the North of Sri Lanka need a ‘Movement Joint’? Prof Priyan Dias, 24 December 2014, Groundviews. “

      Underware who??

  • 4
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    My sentiments exactly. I would also add to the new government’s list of priorities the following:

    1)The reinstatement of the Dual Citizenship program in its original format. This has the following advantages:
    a.Relinquish the fear that it was a ploy by the previous administration to disallow the diaspora to inherit and forfeit their properties from their ageing parents.
    b.These former Sri Lankans contribution to the socio-economic development is immeasurable. The Lankans who migrated in the 60’s and 70’s are now reaching retirement age and may permanently settle with lucrative pensions. They are also likely to have large capitals, skills and experience acquired over the years.
    c.Enhance our reputation internationally as the reason for revoking the program is widely believed as revenge for the UK diaspora’s protest that led to the cancellation of the former President’s speech to the Oxford Union in 2011. Also believed was that this was an instrument to keep out the Tamil people on the mistaken assumption that all of them supported the LTTE.
    d.Application fees, averaging about Rs. 1 million for a typical family with adult children, paid in hard currency into foreign missions.

    2)The recruitment of the different communities to reflect their proportion in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Civil Service and the Police. They should be deployed island wide and not restricted to specific areas. This doesn’t appear among the LLRC recommendations.

    • 11
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      “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others, merely because you were born in it”.

      Patriotism is to politics what faith is to religion: The unquestioned acceptance of information that is either unverified or that may actually be in conflict with factual evidence. Patriotism is the incubator of wars.

      Similar to religion, patriotism is an emotion, as opposed to a rational thought process.
      Indirect taxes in developing countries are more than in the developed. (Indirect means on consumption)
      I suppose you are aware of the case of the 7th richest man in the UK Hinduja and his passport issue with taxes. The richest living in the UK NRI Mittal with business registered in the US. Modi is changing it to Indian card.
      The mainland Chinese living and working in the west have a single passport of China and they have performed.
      American nationals have to pay taxes for all funds they possess worldwide.
      Europeans with dual passport paying single taxes but there still are issues of evasion. I hold dual and its returns for both within the EU – its a big headache.

      Retired folk in the west like to stretch their funds in developing nations with facilities so they go.
      Local professional bodies will be the first to object to your suggestion.
      I know of 3rd generation super rich lankans who want a foot hold there just for the memory but find it difficult to enter local contracts over there.
      So think about it do you love your country or your hard earned money which is rolled by politicians and unaccountable.

      However, no matter what excuse politicians dream up for waging war, the underlying cause of all wars is economic in nature.

      • 3
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        Javi-Shankar you Jihadist

        What a load of rubbish. Some corrections if you understand what that means I doubt very much .

        1) I know of 3rd generation super rich lankans who want a foot hold there just for the memory but find it difficult to enter local contracts over there.

        *** Change the I know to I have heard of a 3rd Generation Lankan toddler. How old are you in your 90s.

        2) So think about it do you love your country or your hard earned money which is rolled by politicians and unaccountable.

        *** Why don’t you say untold misery.

        3) However, no matter what excuse politicians dream up for waging war, the underlying cause of all wars is economic in nature.

        *** You really are a Moron. What you are saying in the context of Sri Lankan conflict amounts to saying that the Sinhalese are butchering the Tamils not for who they are but what they have and what they own.
        Your brain needs to be steam cleaned.

        (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)

        • 7
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          anything you can imagine is real nallavar of the village (toddy tapper)

          Ja Tam`ill desperately sucked the shing fang foe irish balls- gun+justic to be doomed for ever as the tiger rump.

          You can neve be the decent scots who waited 200 years for a referendum of their own soil.

          kail the rump LTTE tam`ill` nation army you homeland is “porrike nadu” pleas hibernate there the world and fbi dont need more of you rump – follow the way of the diego garcians as we dont need more jaffa tam`ill` terrorist sucide bombers farting.

          90% read and write sihala a cosmopolitan by virtue of its borrowi ngs there lets have sihala and english for the damed be the jaffa kalllathoni mercenari tam`ill` rump.

          • 2
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            Javi-Shankar you Jihadist

            Your reaction ( the MR rump) is highly predictable especially coming from an illiterate ( obvious from your writing talents and choice or words ) who has just lost his entire family and going through a period of GRIEF. But don’t worry as a Jihadist you are used to dealing with personal tragedies because killing is a way of life for you. Take comfort from the fact that the loss of your family( MR and his rump) amounts to Martyrdom.

            Some people find it hard to deal with GRIEF and they become agitated. I will be monitoring your downward progress and sooner you succumb to your GRIEF the better so you are out of your misery. Man Crime never pays.

            (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)

            • 6
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              jaffa kalllathoni mercenari tam`ill` rump.

              Go Bark At the Moon Werewolf rump toddy tappers the distinct breed.

              POYA Po_Ai_Ya palla plla murunge. (get swimming good for nothings)

              ________________

              Dirtbag Ratio:

              JAFFNA – Just Another Fat, F***ing Nectar Administrator –
              Rotten Red Mangoes- Artapittu tittu!

              ~k.|.k~

              • 1
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                Javi-Shankar You Jihadist

                In one word Jihadist CRAP from an MR rump. Basil Fled. Gotha Fled MR is in his Bunker and the rest are on the run. You can run but cant hide. Will be hunted down and killed.

                • 6
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                  “”#Will be hunted down and killed. “”##

                  Hooo, Hooo, Hooo long eared Owl call.

                  JAR Syndrome###my3###

                  Not even in the ball game – confused, senile aren’t you Kalia??

                  @ Muslim- Laffir – Billiards champion of the world Colombo for a minor background

                  @ Tamil (not yalpannen)- Murali – cricket world record

                  @ J T FROG – Just Trigger F***ing Ran Out Of Gas

                  J.T. @ Jaffna Tam`ill`, Emil Soundaranayagam, Raj Rajaratnam still serving- world conmen and hedge banksters `
                  _____

                  90% read and write Sinhala for sure let’s have an islandwide all inclusive referendum `yes or no` to Sihala and English only in the island – that is how Basque terror was stopped in France and Spain and now unemployment there is almost nil.

                  Get Sarath Fonny on this job pronto.
                  Boris & Cameron would easily back it up before or after June 2015.

                  Cut suit UN will follow suit – short cut precedence established.

                  Believe me you have Hindu NaMo blessing on this idea.

                  “We have art and technology to wipe out bribery from the system.”

                  • 1
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                    Javi-Shankar You Jihadist

                    At least you now accept in your mother tongue Arabic that you will be hunted down and killed. End is nigh. There is nothing worse than knowing that will be killed but not when. Crime never pays but it is too late. Just look at your family the Sinka- Nalams scattered all over the Globe waiting to be arrested and killed.

                    (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)

              • 1
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                Javi-Shankar You Jihadist

                What language you are writing in. Is it Arabic or Swahili it looks pre-human like you.

                • 5
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                  Hindu Munnani leader murdered in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli- PTIndia
                  porriki- Dravida Kazhagam

                  landa funda madalanda london new york calling.-0 We never say die.

                  Mahabaharat Greater India and the ocean
                  `Krishna vanquishes Kaliya and let the children play` coming soon- Appna Desh you are paradeshi kaliya.

          • 2
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            It is the fault of CT allowing obscene language like that from the MR rump to appear as comments lowering the standard of exchanging views. This practice must change post MR.

  • 4
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    Oh!! the New President has opened the salon doors very early……

    Sajin Vaz, Karuna, what about Namal baby, Douglass want anymore kindly drop a line to Ananthi as well.

    • 0
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      Rotten to the core bunch getting in with the tidal wave of gate crashers. This bunch could be the rear guard of MR organized saboteurs. The tidal wave of gate crashers is worrying me, it’s unnatural and if I were the President I would lower my portcullis, trapping some of them between it and the gates for a proper scrutiny of their intentions!

  • 4
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    Hats Off Romesh for a thoughtful and timely letter written to HE The President.
    Your professionalism in drafting the letter highlights the resources our land has and been used elsewhere.
    We sincerely hope HE The President MS will work around with the support of RW and CBK to implement your suggestions
    Nanatha

  • 5
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    Romesh Hettiarachi aka Romy Hetti. You are no more than a MR supporting closet racist. How come you never wrote MR an open letter like this? You had ample time from 2010 to 2014 to write MR such a letter. But only now do you decide to write the new president who only took oaths on Saturday such a letter. Some of you Sinhala di ass porans are nothing more than a bunch of jokers.

    • 3
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      Hi Percy Jilmart hold your horses, Ask yourself why RH should have written to M R? M R was having the Idea that he was the only brain of the Srilankans, all others were dummies who were saying yes by shaking their heads. He did not want any one to preach to him, Whether his advisers or ministers. He was deaf to the West,Indians and even the UN. Ban Ki Moon was shown empty hands by M R. Because of his Arrogance and stupidity. Ultimately these brought his downfall.However Srisena is another ‘kettle of fish’. He has openly invited others to send in their views and that he is prepared to listen and understand their views. R H had the guts to openly say what he wanted to say. I congratulate him for this timely writing of this well thought out briefing. A real professional. R H out of his good will wrote this on behalf of all Diaspora Srilankans. He has also woken up many from the Srilankan Diaspora (Civil society. Calling all to rally round for the benefit of many oppressed societies. Sirisena possibly a little more understanding and an intelligent person than Mahinda R. Percy Jilmart, don’t be a spoiler, Past 66 years there has been only “nation busting” acts never was there a nation building programme by politicians. Even the civil society then was spitting venomous communal slogans, instigating violence. Recently we have seen a better civil society in Srilanka who were able to articulate even when M R was the King who resented them all, but was scared of their intellects. Sure we will be able to see they would continue with their good work to unite all communities. We did not have a unifying force in the Diaspora’s Civil society who was able to speak out for the benefit of the country. Many factions, ethnic groups who were suspicious of each other. The Only people from the Sinhala Diaspora who did really speak for the Tamils were the followers of NLSSP. Dr. Vickramabahu was a honest man, an educated elite. Now we are happy to hear from Romesh Hettiarachi. All Srilankans irrespective of their nationality or ethnicity have more or less the same set of Genome, indicating that they all come from the same stock. Before the foreign rule we had kingdoms that looked after its own people, there were no communal riots. Tamils Sinhalese and Muslims were able to have an amicable understanding and to live in Peace. Early 20th century we saw the introduction of the twisted version of English translation on Mahavamsa. This was to create the division.(Divide and Rule policy) which worked well and had continued for these past 66 years. Pali Mahavamsa had existed from the 5th Century. Was there a history to show that the two nationalities tore each other apart between 5th to the 16th century? Tamil Nayakars kings from Vellore south India were the Kandyan kings from 1739-1815 treaty with the British,where the king signed his name in Tamil. We can leave the past and look forward for peaceful co-existence of all communities, respecting each others. Bring back the selection on Merit for any office, and wash the nepotism down the drain.

      • 2
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        Waran, I agree with you on the Mahavamsa mindset that is still around and will be there for quite some more time.
        Very relieved that Percy and his despotic family are out. My beef with
        Romy Hetti is that I used to see his comments on various FB forums in the past and none of them questioned MRs corrupt murderous rule. It was all about di ass pora this and di ass pora that, reconciliation, building bridges and all the nice words that come out of the mouths of people who are detached from SL and visit this country once in awhile on holiday.
        These are the people who went gaga over how nice Colombo looked and how nice the highways were, conveniently forgetting what was happening in the rest of the country.
        Will MY3 act like a statesman and treat all communities equally or will he be a petty dynasty building politician like Percy? Only time will tell.

  • 1
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    Can you do such things by appointing gonas with bad track records ? Not sure if My3 is much different to MR ?

  • 1
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    Romesh,

    I like your ideas of reconciliation with diaspora as well as the measures needed to internally build up the atmosphere where people can work together to a better future for People and the Nation. The good side of this change is there is a clear understanding is that democracy require better rule of law. If that goes right, everything including racism, terrorism (including state), will not survive for long.

  • 2
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    An excellent suggestion and presentation.
    As shown by RH above, similar organisations exist in other countries, especially India, our neighbour.
    The LLRC report publication and implementation is very necessary, as it will unify the nation – if MR had done it, he may not have lost the election.
    We want unity of purpose in installation of people friendly, people centered government.
    Sirisena must be beware of wrong-doers who are trying to join his administration.

  • 0
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    A very well written and balanced article with good recommendations. Thank you Mr. Romesh Hettiarachi

  • 2
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    Romesh,

    Steps suggested in your article are in the right direction.

    Justice and accountability are of utmost importance following mass atrocities such as those committed in Sri Lanka during its 25-year civil war. An estimated 80,000–100,000 people were killed during the war, and millions more are still displaced and living in Diaspora around the world. Establishing an accurate account of the conflict, investigating allegations of human rights violations, and holding wrongdoers criminally accountable are all crucial to providing victims with justice and the nation and international community with vital answers. Effective accountability procedures help heal deep nation-wide wounds and restore people’s trust and security in their communities, their government, and the rule of law. Proper judicial accountability measures facilitate just resolution, peace, deterrence, and security, helping to transform a war-ravaged state into a reconciled society.

    When national accountability efforts are inadequate in the face of ethical, legal, and political pressure, the United Nations often facilitates the implementation of effective judicial processes. Over the years, the international community has utilized a variety of accountability mechanisms, beginning with the precedent set by the Nuremburg trials and continuing to the more recent establishment of ad hoc tribunals and hybrid courts. When the need has arisen, the United Nations has assumed the burden of establishing an international tribunal that operates independent of the offending state. On occasion, the United Nations has incorporated a customized national legal system into the accountability process, consequently restoring the integrity of the state’s judiciary.

    There is indisputable evidence that Sri Lankan security forces are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against its ethnic Tamil civilian population. Moreover, rather than fostering justice or accountability after the civil war, the Sri Lankan government has continuously impeded efforts to hold human rights violators accountable. As for its specious efforts, the Sri Lankan government has demonstrated an interest only in prosecuting members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, while failing to express any interest in holding its own state security forces responsible for the willful and deliberate targeted killing of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. The Sri Lankan government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), established at the close of the civil war, does not provide any of the requisite safeguards to ensure a fair tribunal, resulting in a system that heavily favors the Sri Lankan military officials while marginalizing the rights of the Tamil population. Moreover, the Sri Lankan government has opposed and obstructed the efforts of a U.N.-appointed panel established to aid fair and impartial accountability.

    The Tamil people, along with the other victims of the civil war, continue to wait for an accountability procedure that will restore justice and stability. As their recent conduct demonstrates, the Sri Lankan government has no intention to assist the affected Tamil people in seeking justice or accountability, or to respect fundamental international law principles. As the U.N. Security Council has previously recognized when establishing tribunals, the lack of accountability procedures following widespread atrocities threatens international peace and security.

  • 5
    0

    Romesh Hettiarachchi – you put the Tamil Diaspora organisations like the NRT-SR to shame.

    The new president is calling for an all inclusive united Govt to take the country forward.

    However whaat we have among Tamils is plethora of old and new diaspora organisations like mushrooms appearing all over the place and declaring themselves as the voice of the Tamil diaspoara.

    The Sri Lankan diaspoara need to unite if the want a united country back at home!

  • 4
    0

    You have my vote Romesh. Excellent piece.

    If I may, in the Behavioral Sciences we study something called the ” Availability Bias “, meaning people know, only what is in front of them.

    The LLRC was hidden by the Previous Regime from the people. Take people into confidence. Release it, they will back it.

    We won’t be able to sort our troubles in 100 days or 10 years. Yet, our hearts can get closer, sorting our issues, peacefully.

    Towards a One Nation, One People, under One Flag.

    Thanks for reading.

    • 2
      0

      Vish,

      and in fine Chinese philosophy??

      Nothing matters to a man who says nothing matters.

      While north Americans have a strange contrast -efficiency, punctuality & the desire for achievement and success.

      “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

  • 1
    0

    There is no doubt in Romesh’s arguments. We must establish diaspora relations as he mostly suggest.
    What is a lot Sri Lankans failed to realize is independent financial strength given by diaspora families to their SL families, friends, religious org (specially Buddhist) and local charities. Growing body of research shows countries like Sri Lanka and Philippine has to organize these remittance financial benefits in terms of rural entrepreneurships, educational boost, family health and children’s wellbeing etc.

    I first suggest make laws and financial structures to eliminate burden of money transfer payment charges to middle man and allow more economical remittance for relatives in SL.
    Diaspora send real world money to relatives by remittance. This trend continues to grow as no string attach cash flow to SL economy. Actually they go to SL treasury. Relatives consume SL Rupees in the island. Gov. must use this remittance money for programs to eliminate poverty by implementing programs and strengthening hands of poor for financial independency. I must empathize politically motivated popular programs never work if SL poor and middle class need to get out this vicious cycle of poor.

    Now SL is in the process of naming responsibilities for Chosen politicians. We call them legislators or law makers for strong democratic reason. They are there to make laws to protect democracy for all citizens including minorities and erase racial lines or other vicious lines. They must not intermingle with state institutions.
    Then SL must stand for independent democratic institutions. Finally in order to bring strong civil professional society for all walk of lives they must exhume all political cockroaches and pave way for professionals and innovators. That is where Diaspora can help genuinely by exchanging expertise to masses.
    We must not forget whether diaspora or peasant masses in SL have much more responsibility to change for good governance. Therefore regime change and forget everything after until next election is not good enough. First you must change as a good citizen by being honest and stand for each other when cockroaches creep in.
    Never forget
    ‘Sabbe Saththa Ummanthaka – Buddha
    Therefore ‘Wakeup and stay present (Sathi)”

    • 1
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      `What is a lot Sri Lankans failed to realize is independent financial strength `

      and you have you failed to note the undervalued dollar so that the black money can be exported and more dollars come from 600k sihala women in the middle east doing what they should never be doing- India and Pakistan don’t send menial women to medieval middle east.

      US $ is going strong and Oil is going to $40 where is the benefit to the people of SL that UK is experiencing from both.

      So what are you looking for a lamppost of political contacts via canada – for your info they are well established kakko.

  • 1
    1

    Good to hear Ramesh’s suggestions. Will it be heard or fall into deaf ears of the New Government.
    General Fonseka has already told the media that the security forces would not be removed from the North for Security reasons. I wonder if anyone can explain what security reasons General Fonseka was speaking of. The only reason I can think of is for the Sinhala people and the Sinhala politicians to visit North without any fear under the protection of the Army although there is no threat to the Sinhala people or politicians who visit North from the Tamil people. The President should understand that the Tamils voted overwhelmingly to him for three reasons. One to oust Rajapaksa, second for the removal of the occupying Army from the North and return all the private lands to the owners and third, to implement and devolve powers to the Tamils. The LLRC report is already there for the President to implement it. Yet he told the TNA members that a Committee would be appointed to look into the grievances of the Tamils. Back to square one for the Tamils. Once you dig a Barber’s place, a heap of human hair will come out. You go on digging, the same thing will come out. That is the Politics in Sri Lanka, then , now and in future.
    May I ask Ramesh will there be an election after six years for the 7th President to be elected and the Tamils to vote?

    Quote..” Individual rights are not subject to a public vote. A majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of Rights is precisely to protect minorities and the smallest minority on earth is an individual”

  • 3
    6

    Demilitarization in the North and North East/Psychosocial Programs

    Are you out of your mind? There will be innocent protests that will turn into hand bombs then land mines then bus bombs.

    Demilitarization will hapen the day Tamils turn in to Sinhaleese and stop being so self centered. After all what Rajapakse did for the North East reconstruction there is not even 2% vote for him I consider the Tamil minority brainwashed by their so called separatist leaders.

  • 2
    6

    Ramesh Chandrika Ranil all in the same boat. They dont know who they are dealing with. Dealing with separatisit tamils is not a simple political manure. Next time when the majority of Sinhalees vote to one preson these selfish self centered tamil votes will not be counted for a win.

  • 5
    1

    I don’t think anything going to change under MY3’s government, at least for Tamils. Tamils from North – East and from Uva voted against Mahinda. The reason is obvious. It was the way he finished the war and the justification of the atrocities carried out by Srilankan forces. The reason why Muslims voted against him was the riots in Aluthgama and the way Mahinda and Kothabaya handled BBS. Mahinda paid the price for what he has done in the last 5 years.
    But for Sinhalese, he is the new Dutugemunu, the hero who defeated Tamils and brought them under Sinhalese’ complete control. This was well noticed from this election. More than 62% of the Sinhalese voted for Mahinda.
    Tamil votes decided the result in this election. Even Mahinda accepted this openly today in Colombo, “Tamils defeated me”. MY3 knows this too. But he is not going to do anything different to Mahinda when comes to solving Tamil grievances, especially when TNA gave him unconditional support in the election.
    Soon after Mahinda got defeated, I was going through few Sinhala forums on internet to see the general feeling of people on the outcome. There were some very interesting comments posted and lots of people liked these comments.

    One of the comments says as follows, “We should have taken out the voting rights from Tamils as soon as we won the war in 2009. Mahinda was defeated purely by Tamil votes”.
    Another one says, “We should have listened to BBS and JHU when comes to dealing with minorities. We should not allow minorities to take part in the mainstream politics”.

    This is what we are. We are still living a “Tribesmen” mentality. We think minorities are not worthy to live. They are slaves or second class citizens. Even though we are living in 21st century, our mind set is still not civilized.

    • 2
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      Ranjith

      There are racist and there are liberal minded people like Romesh. We should not be defeated by the racist.

    • 1
      1

      Ranjith,

      “But for Sinhalese, he is the new Dutugemunu, the hero who defeated Tamils and brought them under Sinhalese’ complete control. This was well noticed from this election. More than 62% of the Sinhalese voted for Mahinda.”

      Looks like Sarath Foneska is claiming that he is the new Dutugemunu.

      http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=13438

      Former army general Sarath Fonseka claimed responsibility for conducting Sri Lanka’s military campaign during the armed conflict, stating he had “planned the entire operation” and rejected cooperating with an United Nations inquiry into mass atrocities.

      In an interview to the Times of India, Fonseka criticised former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa for stating he would engage in peace talks in 2005, saying,

      “Every President wanted to finish the war. But in the 2005 election manifesto, Rajapaksa said he will have peace talks with Prabhakaran.”

      Fonseka went on to claim responsibility for the culmination of the armed conflict, which ended with the systematic shelling of civilian hospitals and execution of those who surrenders, saying

      “When the army was chasing the LTTE, he didn’t even know what was happening on the ground in 2007. He did not even allocate money for ammunitions. I was recruiting additional 85,000 army men. When I became commander I recruited 4,000 men in a month. Earlier only 3,000 people joined the army for a year.”

      “I planned the entire operation and I was communicating with all levels of army persons.”

      In the run up to Sri Lanka’s presidential election, the eventual victor Maithripala Sirisena also claimed credit for his role in the armed conflict, stating that he was the Acting Defence Minister during the final days of the war, when the surrendering LTTE leadership were killed.

      See more in our earlier post: ‘I was Defence Minister when LTTE leaders were killed’ says Maithri (02 Jan 2015)

      The former army general went on to reject the possibility of cooperating with an international inquiry into war crimes, saying

      “We have not signed any agreement with any country for any probe. If there are any allegations of human rights violations or war crimes then the rest of the international community will be interested to probe. We can’t accommodate everyone. We can’t permit everyone. But our military court would conduct inquiries. Whenever there was mass killing our military did inquire into it. The government can take action against the military.”

      “If there is a legitimate inquiry then as a member of the country we have to face it. As far as the military is concerned I have to face it. If there is a legitimate inquiry then I am ready to face it since I was doing the ground operations.”

      He did however call for former LTTE members Karuna and Kumaran Padmanathan (KP) to face “legal action”. “They were hardcore terrorists”, said Fonseka.

      Speaking on the future of the island, Fonseka went on to tell the Times of India that the military would not be withdrawn from the Northern Province, saying,

      “We have to maintain the army there. Not only for internal security, but also in the view of security threat externally…. The military has far been positioned in the country. If people in North say you can’t keep the military in their area then people in South will repeat the same.”

      Fonseka also envisaged a greater role for himself under new president Maithripala Sirisena, stating

      “I will play a major in the security aspect. I like to work with the President on the national security. Though I am not a parliamentarian right now I am expecting a political post.”

      See the full interview here.

      For more on the events of 2009, where tens of thousands of Tamils were massacred during the end of the armed conflict, see our feature: 5 years today: revisiting May 2009 (18 May 2014)
      Also see: Fonseka booed by voters in Jaffna (02 Jan 2015)

    • 0
      0

      “”I don’t think anything going to change under MY3’s government,””

      like a chimpanzee clever and curious I like to be a man.

      What is the essence of human dignity??

      scamp, amp, camp, champ, clamp, cramp, damp, encamp, gamp, lamp, ramp, samp, stamp, tamp, tramp, vamp.

      Idler but never with finer muscles of a tiger or lion nor sweeter temper of a dove or the dear.

      Pro life- Glow Glow!!

  • 1
    4

    Tamils want the dual citizenship statues activated. Because, then they can get all the Tamils including non-Sri Lankan Tamils to Sri lanka and expand Peelam. Another way to build mono-ethnic peelam.

  • 2
    4

    where did this stupid diaspora hide this long ?

  • 0
    5

    I thought GTF has already appointed the FM of Sira Regime !!!!

  • 3
    0

    Think about it
    Accept the Tamil struggle against suppression and repression has been legitimate. In a way ,They fought for all the oppressed people of Sri Lanka. Respect the truth. Look for the truth behind all the murders happened before during and after the war.
    Lay foundation for the long term harmony and peace. I urge hate speeches should be banned.
    At this juncture of history It is very important that Tamils should learn not only Singhala but also Hindi and Chinese too.

  • 3
    1

    Romesh Hettiarachchi,

    Most of what you said made sense until you said,

    “May the Blessed Triple Gem continue to give you strength and bless you and your loved ones”.

    The triple gem is a myth my friend from the diaspora. Sri Lanka has never been blessed by any Triple Gem. Nothing is far from the truth. Sri Lanka is neither sanctified nor consecrated. All evidence from the occurences since Lord Buddha came to being is to the contrary in Sri Lanka. One can without the slightest hesitation say that Sri Lanka has always been hallowed by horrible men and women doing horrible things to their fellow men, women and children with minds twisted with hate, anger, greed, lust, vengefullness and all other things that are inhumane.

    ‘Triple Gem’ is a myth. Please drop it.

  • 0
    1

    what a wonderful article and proposal. Wish we had more people like him who could control both the Sinhala diaspora and tamil diaspora fanatics who I believe make noice than their numbers warrant. the recent case of stupid engineer sri ranjan is the most idiotic of the lot!

  • 0
    0

    Diaspora from the island nation should look after their own affairs and leave the island nation alone. If you are really concerned about the island nation then educate yourself and the people around you about the Indian imperialists and their interference in the affairs of the island nation. Jai Hind

  • 0
    0

    Great Article, I agree with everything you have said.
    Maybe the Diaspora in every country should unite on a common platform.
    The main objective would be to the common good of the “Motherland”.
    The agenda should be friendship and non controversial. No flag raising events just simple common sense uniting views. Tamil diaspora needs to find common ground with the sinhalese diaspora and vice versa.
    The diaspora should also work with local organisations and support education and micro finance projects, so as to get the people out of poverty. We in the diaspora have no idea the suffering in the country.
    As much as we feel the War Crimes need to be addressed, lets leave it to the UN to deal with it,
    On another point we Srilankans have a misconception in regard to democracy. I read a lot of articles on “what a great Democracy Srilanka is and that we should be proud of our smooth transition etc etc.
    Democracy is not based on being member of a party and being elected on a platform of policies and then when elected switching alliance based on ministerial posts. In Srilanka democracy and electoral system is still a “Franchise Model” If you are elected you have 4 years to make a living and if you are bent(crooked) you will make enough money so as to retire or survive in case you don’t get elected. So please do not get the misapprehension that Srilanka has a political system which can be categorized as a democracy.

  • 0
    0

    Oh God look at this who is next to president Ujjit licked MR feet and become the chairman at the fishers minister. hardly knows so called education god MS you are already in the company of wrong people already president MS

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