22 April, 2019

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Letter To The President; On Eternal Peace Versus Ephemeral Peace

By Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

Dr. Muttukrishna Saravananthan

Dr. Muttukrishna Saravananthan

His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa,

The President Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka,

Office of the President,

Temple Trees,

150 Galle Road,

Colombo 3,

Sri Lanka.

Dear President Rajapaksa,

I applied and was selected by the United States – Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission (US-SLFC) to be a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington D.C. from October 2008 to April 2009 (subsequently extended till July 2009).

To begin with, I was in fact surprised that I was selected through a due process of application (in response to a newspaper advertisement by the US-SLFC) and interview in a country where such privileges, I am sure you would agree with me, are mostly afforded to people with influence, patronage, and power. I did not realise that the foregoing was the case until a compatriot working at The World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. (whom I had not met before) asked me how I got this scholarship. Thus, the selection process of the US-SLFC in itself is worthy of emulation by your Government; and indeed all the future Governments of Sri Lanka.

My time in the United States of America as a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar was marked by two historically momentous events; one in my host country and the other in my home country. The American people made history in November 2008 by electing a President who hails from a minority community that was brought to the United States as slaves centuries ago. About six months later in May 2009 your government was successful in defeating a terrorist organisation (to most people of Sri Lanka including myself; though the struggle by the Tamil community for equality could not be termed “terrorism”) in our home soil.

For the vast majority of the people of the United States and Sri Lanka, and indeed of the world, the foregoing two momentous events would have been a mere dream or just wishful thinking few months prior to those historic events. Both of the aforementioned events were inspirational to minority communities and governments the world over.

However, while the election of the first African-American President of the United States of America was achieved entirely by non-violent democratic process, the defeat of the LTTE was entirely by military violence using overwhelming force. While the momentous event in my host country has resulted in social cohesion and national unity (in my opinion), the same cannot be said about the momentous event in my home country because in all the elections since May 2009 (until September 2012) you and your political coalition have been consistently and emphatically defeated in parts of the country which bore the brunt of the civil war. Therein lies the lesson to be learnt; that is, whilst democracy established through forbearance is eternal, democracy solely established through violence and militarism is ephemeral!

While through my participation in the Fulbright exchange programme, I have personally come to realize that democracy established through forbearance is eternal but democracy established through violence and militarism is ephemeral, it is my (spiritually speaking ) hope that the philosophy of Lord Buddha will guide you one day to the realization of this fundamental truth as well. I am convinced that such a realization on your part would result in eternal `real’ peace in our beloved country.

*This essay is taken from the book, ‘Letters to Our Presidents’ published by US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    Given your recent expose of DBS Jeyaraj and this (though it is from last year) puts you in conflict with the powers that be-careful you are stepping on someone’s toes !

    • 3
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      Dr. Sarvananthan makes an excellent point.

      The King has deaf ears though.

      Cheers!

  • 7
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    These educated and civilised Fulbright scholars writing to an uneducated criminal thug politician is a waste of their time. Your views and pleas will not move him an iota. The man is too drunk with power to see what you write or hear what you tell him.

    • 1
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      Piranha

      Yes.

      Listen to

      JVP May Day Rally 2014 – Anura Dissanayake’s Speech

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0V7f1pSZ5k

      Published on May 2, 2014 JVP May Day Rally 2014 – Anura Dissanayake’s Speech

    • 2
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      Pirhana,

      You are right,

      Those who write to Maharajapakse, the executor of the Mahavamsa doctrine, are fools who don’t understand reality: Mahinda knows what he is doing and doesn’t care a damn for anybody’s opinion.

      He is the Saddam Hussein of the Indian Ocean: He is awaiting his fate.

  • 2
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    “To begin with, I was in fact surprised that I was selected through a due process of application and interview in a country where such privileges (mostly afforded to people with influence, patronage, and power)”.

    As a Fulbright Alumni, I hope, Dr. Muttukrishna Saravananthan will be able to comment on the ethnic makeup of the Fulbright scholars from Sri Lanka.

    • 2
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      Unlike in our land, I am sure a cursory look on the Fulbright website should give you such information within a few mouse clicks.

      Are you implying that that the state department looks at the ethnic origins in picking their candidates? And that the author was at an advantage due to this?

  • 1
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    Fulbright taught you, Dr. Muttukrishna Saravananthan, that the country should have been split up into 1/3 : 2/3 because terrorism is a right???

    Fulbright taught you to analyze that in spite of gigantic Tamil Nadu North of Sri Lanka, Tamils still had a right to their own country on one small Island???

    Fulbright taught you that the large % of Blacks in New York should have their own autonomy aligning themselves with Liberia, for example (and that is so far away compared to Tamil Nadu- TN being a huge threat to Sri Lanka). And that the previously large percentage of Hispanics in Texas and California meant that Whites quickly resettling the areas after driving out the Hispanics is correct???

    Didn’t Fulbright teach you that American history was so different from Sri Lanka’s ancient history, and if Sri Lanka was to follow America’s history, America would then have to first reinstate Native Americans on their original lands and not keep them in dry, dusty, hot, reservations?

    Surely Fulbright (who is full of humanity, cultural and historical studies, rather than imperialism and colonial studies), would have told you that Barack Obama, while Black, understands deeply the rights and aspirations of the majority Whites. He was carefully chosen by Whites before he was put upon the platform. See…..look, said they,……we are non-racist……and they then proceed to elect a Black president while the entire time keeping Blacks in their place.

    But Barack Obama has done well for his Black constituents by setting up universal Health-Care Coverage for them. Likewise Sri Lanka has done well for the North by setting up so many infrastructure projects that enhance the livelihoods of the people in the North.

    Any Tamil president who comes along should also understand deeply, the rights of the majority Sinhala-Buddhist person. Therefore there are a number of Tamils in tune with Sinhala-Buddhist sentiments that can be chosen for president to represent the whole United Country. But they will have to be carefully chosen by the Sinhala-Buddhists.

    And always remember, Fulbright aspirations are about creating a global-connectivity, by understanding each and alls’ complaints and desires, and forming a structure where all will benefit, rather than one or the other succumbing to ancient folklore on who is the superior (and it is, in the end, the Tamilian who deems himself superior).

  • 1
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    Full Bright or Not, Muthukrishna try to get a life other than being a NGO and scrounging on others money.

  • 1
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    Can this Author actually detail the SPECIFIC issues that contribute towards his perceived discrimination against his ethnic group ?

    Flowery rhetoric and self aggrandizement aside, what is he even asking Rajapakse for ?

    We do have peace now don’t we ?

  • 0
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    The US President has the lowest approval ratings ever, even though he was accepted as a welcome change from the years under the “most learned” of the US Presidents, who had the distinction of attending both Harvard and Yale. He it was who carried out the illegal war in Iraq and responsible for the abominable deeds at Abu Gharaib, Guantanamo and Bagram among tens of other ‘black’ sites. Abu Gharaib is now in the hands of the terrorists, Bagram allegedly mostly closed, but the eye sore Guantanamo still continues, even under this President who promised it’s closure multiple times. The tortured prisoners cannot get justice from the specially set up military courts, even after 13 years. Yet the guy who wrote ‘The Audacity of Hope’ is unable to deliver the same to the hundreds held there.
    Democracy has one meaning and one meaning alone, and that is the acceptance of a government elected by the populace. The multiple segments of society which do not get what they desire NEED to learn to live with it. The oft presented canard of inequality is nothing but a canard. The Tamils have lost out over the last thirty years because of the actions of their ‘liberators’ who took up the weapons, whereas the Muslims who embraced the books and education are way ahead today. They are represented in all parts of society. The meaning of democracy cannot be changed to salve the demands of one minority.

  • 0
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    My Response To, DBS Jeyaraj And The Bogey Of The Reincarnation Of The Tiger: Part 2 May 7, 2014 | Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Opinion | Posted by: COLOMBO_TELEGRAPH By Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

    Whilst DBSJ’s chicanery is not new what’s irking me is the concern for the life and limbs of Dr Sarvi; that I am herein repeating as a synopsis of a synopsis and would like him too to be tested quantitatively and qualitatively for Toxoplasma organism in his brain as:-

    . “A not so recent discovery akin to the discovery of the Americas and Australia is that in addition to our genes and memes there is 3rd member to this modern trinity called the microbiome that comprises of nine tenths of us humans whilst our human cells are only a tenth of whole human cellular body mass in the totality of all organs. Hence not only MR and his gangs but whatever is left of VP and his minions along with the rest of citizenry of Lanka should be tested for this parasitic organism called Toxoplasma which is a microscopic protozoan organism that lives as a parasite in the organs of vertebrates, especially birds and mammals. When the brain is affected by an overwhelming multiplicity of this organism the host take risks and do dangerous things that people not having these organisms would not do. The outcome would may fall between looking like an accident and/or suicide and or even drive them to get to murder as well as get murdered.

    In a random sampling in France around 52% had this Toxoplasma in their brains. I have seen in the two part documentary “Life on Us” which should in reality be called or mean to be entitled “Life in, on and through us”; A mouse with Toxoplasma would playing and teasing a cat that makes it easier for the mouse to be eaten by the cat with great relish.”

    So Sarvi my real repeat question to you and your wife is even as when we met in person in Melbourne is, with the contacts that you have already developed and enhanced since, is it impossible for you to do these exposes and renderings as authentically and wonderfully from outside of the “Perishing Mahinda Rajapakse wonderland of this planet !?”.

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