18 July, 2019

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Mangala Samaraweera: A Champion Of Peace & From Point Pedro To Dondra

By R. Sampanthan

R. Sampanthan

Hon Mangala Samaraweera my dear friend for a long time Hon Sajith Premadasa Minister, Hon Ministers Hon State Ministers Hon Deputy Ministers Hon Members of Parliament Chief Ministers of Provincial Councils Former Provincial Councilors Present Chairmen of local government institutions members of local government institutions and my dear friends.

I am deeply honored to be able to say few words on this memorable occasion where we are felicitating Hon Mangala Samaraweera on his completion of 30 years in active political service. I will commence my speech by saying few words about Hon Mangala Samaraweera. He had been abroad for some time on his return to Sri Lanka he was elected to parliament in 1988 from Matara he has continued to represent Matara in Parliament. He has been a vivacious  and versatile political personality in this country. He has held several portfolios Post and Telecommunications, Urban Development, Port Development, Foreign Affairs,, Media, and Finance amongst others. He has generally left the impression of being a Minister who discharged his duties competently and efficiently with honesty and integrity and that if i might say so is not an insignificant achievement in the Sri Lankan context.

Hon Mangala Samraweera also left his imprint on Human rights in this country. He has been outspoken forthright both nationally and internationally and has never compromised on the need for a firm commitment to Human rights. He has thereby rendered a  great service to Sri Lanka. At a different time and at a difficult time in the history of our country, he was the leader of the Mother’s front championing the cause of the mothers searching for their sons and wives searching for their husbands. This phenomenon sadly yet continues in our country though the current victims are from different parts of the country of a different ethnicity. This only demonstrates that violations can takes place against anyone irrespective of who they are and resistance to such violations must be a common effort from all citizens from all parts of the country and Hon Mangala Samraweera identifies himself whole heartedly with the victims  from all parts of the country and his role was greatly appreciated and will be remembered.

Hon Mangala Samraweera also held very progressive views on the resolution of the national question which has dogged this country from the time of independence. It must be remembered that the Tamil people though they have a history of their own never demanded separation or for that matter even an orthodox power sharing arrangement such as a federal arrangement which was the Kandyans demand before the country attained independence. The Kandyans demanded three units of power sharing one for the Kandyans Sinhalese in the territory of the Kandyan Kingdom one for the low country Sinhalese in the territory of the Low country Sinhalese Kingdom and the third for the Tamils in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country. the Tamils only demanded equal just rule  within an undivided united country. The Jaffna Youth League demanded “poorna swaraj”which meant full freedom for the whole country. unfortunately things turned sour after the country attained independence. Power passed on to the hands of the majority community Citizenship, Langugae, Land, Education, Economic Development, Employment became contentious issues.  When Tamils demanded their rights they were subjected to violence they did not retaliate they did not receive the protection of the law they started leaving the country and today around fifty percent of the Tamil who lived in this country have left the country. LTTE emerged in the 1980s after the rights of the Tamil people were denied and agreements were breached and  unbridled violence was unleashed against the Tamils.

Tamils were not given legal protection LTTEs manifestation must be seen in this context. Tamil issue was a serious issue in this country, well beyond thirty years before the LTTE emerged on the political scene.

During the thirty year war LTTE demonstrated its military potential but was eventually defeated in 2009. Various efforts have been made to resolve the national question the Tamil issue. All party talks Thimpu Talks, TULF – Government talks, Indo-Sri Lanka agreement, 13thAmendment to the Constitution were among the some of the steps taken. After the 13thamendment to the Constitution President Ranasinghe Premadasa appointed the Mangala Moonesinghe select committee.  He chose as the Chairman of the select committee a leading member of the SLFP to bring about a consensus. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga came up with the 2000 August proposal in which Hon Mangala Samraweera played an active role. There was a “Sudhu Nelum”movement which carried out a very earnest campaign and a very strong and effective campaign throughut the country to explain to the Sinhala people the need for power sharing arrangements to be effective in this country to bring about unity and amity between all the communities who live in this country. Hon Mangala Samaraweera played a leading and active role in formulating that programme and implementing that programme.

Then we had President Mahinda Rajapaksa who came up with his own proposal. He made an excellent speech in July 2006 at the inaugural meeting of the All Party Representatives Committee and the Multi Ethnic Experts Committee. He said the only way the problem could be solved was maximum possible devolution people must have the power to determine their destiny in their territory which they lived and he appointed a multi ethnic experts committee to study patterns of power sharing arrangements in other parts of the world and come up with their proposals which the multi ethnic expert committee have done. A few days after the end of the war when the Secretary General of the UN Mr Ban Ki Moon came to Sri Lanka Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa President made a commitment to come up with a proposal that would be acceptable to all the people and bring about effective power sharing. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Foreign Minister Professor G.L. Peiris made a commitment to the government and the Prime Minster of India that the 13thamendment would be fully implemented and that the 13 amendment would be built upon so as to ensure meaningful devolution of power and enable this country to get rid of its national conflict.

After the present Parliament was constituted a resolution was unanimously adopted converting Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly and appointing a Steering Committee and sub committees to handle the issues. The Steering Committee and the sub committees have brought their reports to Parliament and to the Constitutional Assembly. Somehow things don’t seem to be moving. Can a resolution unanimously adopted by Parliament to frame a new Constitution for the governance of the country reduced to naught and the same Parliament continue to be the whole country’s supreme law making body?

Armed conflict came to an end in 2009. Until then there was some movement. Commitments were made to the International Community that once the LTTE is defeated there would be a reasonable political solution. The forward movements during President Ranasinghe Premadas’s time President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga’s time and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s time are clearly indicative of this. But now everything seems dead though the expectations were different.

In this background there appear to be two questions

1. Can there be forward political movement only in the face of armed conflict. Is this the expectation of the world. In the Sri Lankan context the armed conflict has come to an end as desired by the Sri Lankan Government. Does it mean that all commitments made by Sri Lankan Government to the International community become redundant. The International community substantially supported the Sri Lankan Government to bring the war to an end. If the Sri Lankan government is relinquishing its commitments can the International community be silent spectators?

Countries like India United States of America the European Union the United Kingdom  and several other countries world over not merely branded the LTTE as a terrorist organization in their country they impeded them and prevented them from being able to carryon an armed struggle against the Sri Lankan government. That was on the basis of the Sri Lankan government’s commitment that the LTTE was an impediment to the resolution of the national question and to negotiations  and that once the LTTE was militarily defeated they would bring about an acceptable political solution. The next question that arises is this,

2. Can the national question that has lasted for 70 years ever since the country became independent with a serious armed conflict that lasted for 30 years which even brought foreign forces to our country which has resulted in several commitments being made at different stages be just forgotten? Or what is the way for all right thinking Sri Lankans to come together to bring this whole question to a satisfactory conclusion.

I raise this question as a Sri Lankan because I want to work with fellow Sri Lankans to resolve this conflict within the frame work of a united undivided indivisible Sri Lanka, that would be the best thing for Sri Lanka. If we do not what would be the consequences?

United Nations Human Rights resolutions remain unimplemented the government appears to be stuck the government appears to be unable to move. If there is a nonviolent campaign of the Tamil People for their rights based on Akimshai and Sathiyakiraka will the human rights of the Tamil people be once again violated if that happens what would be the consequences?

The economic consequences can the country come out of it’s current economic morass unless it is able to present politically and economically a different image of the country to the whole world.

Do our people continuously have to endure a poor quality of life on account of the follies of those who govern them? We know how other countries have progressed? Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia today even Bangaladesh are progressing but we are lagging behind and our people are suffering through a very minimum quality of life because we have not been able to do the right thing. Put things right in this country and enable investment in this country development in this country to give our people a better quality of life.

Our international stature and standing is deteriorating day by day and we are being increasingly seen as a failed state. We cannot continue this.

There can be no other better occasion than an event when Mr Mangala Samraweera is being felicitated a champion of peace in this country to bring this matter to the notice of the public in the south public in the whole country and to say that I as a Tamil person as a Leader of the Tamil people I say at Matara that we all must come together and resolve this issue in the interests of all our people and our country.

*Speech delivered by R Sampanthan MP, at Matara on 7thJuly 2019, at the event to felicitate Mangala Samraweera MP, Minister completion of 30 years in active politics

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Latest comments

  • 24
    5

    Mangala Samarweera, a very efficient administrator, I remember a journalist friend once told me that when he was the media minister during the Chandrika government, he used to handle the press conferences very efficiently and skillfully, all the journalists were impressed by his skills in answering tricky questions

    Also, he has been clear on his policies from day one and haven’t changed or stooped to anyone , always called a spade a spade

    I would say that he is the only Statesman we have in the country at the moment, only if we have few more of them, this country will prosper

    • 20
      2

      After saying “SL isn’t a Sinhala Buddhist country, a country of Sri Lankans”, he received attacks from every possible corner. What he said, right or wrong is not the question here, but he stood by what he said despite the challenges and all those attacks against him.

      • 10
        3

        Amila W

        Whatever he did or didn’t do he managed to save tens of thousands war criminals’ neck as well as their bum.

        Ranil, Mangala Samaraweera, ……… are too sophisticated for little islanders.

    • 0
      0

      Well said Concerned Citizen

  • 13
    7

    He should be the next president, and take charge of the country to make it a better place for all.

    • 8
      3

      I fully endorse

  • 7
    4

    CONVERT sampanthan to Buddhism and elect him the next president. He would make the ideal choice for all communities.

  • 4
    3

    I find that his obsession to further liberalize alcohol in a country that is devastated by alcohol abuse – particularly among the very poor , is a clear indication that he is out of touch with the ground reality . He appears to be indifferent to the the poverty , domestic violence , rape, and incest that is rampant particularly in the plantation sector attributed directly to alcohol abuse. Perhaps these are not topics which are discussed in the bourgeois circles he moves in .

    • 4
      5

      To The Oracle,

      Of course he is out of touch from reality. He doesn’t have a family no kids. His dad was a minister jumping from SLFP to UNP like him and have a lot of money, no good education, it is alleged he didn’t even pass O/L maths, but has a good command of English to take people for a ride. “Kata nathnum ballo genihilla” does not understand sorrow of poor, or problems alcohol created among them never earned a cent by working other than as an MP like his boss RW, cast minded people in Matara keep him winning. Another US licker.

      I hope one day our people will start voting for educated, innovative people without considering race, cast, religion etc, etc,

      • 2
        3

        Freeda are you on moonshine?

  • 1
    0

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_justice
    If we have Social Justice, we will be living in an ideal society.

    This probably was what Mangala meant when he said that “…………………………………..it is a country of Sri Lankans”.

  • 4
    8

    Sam!
    Your statement that Tamils never claimed a Federal State or a Separate state is a deliberate misrepresentation of facts. The need to ask for a federal state arose purely because of the activities of DS Senanayake, who not only disenfranchised the upcountry Tamil but also made moves to colonize the Tamil areas with Sinhalese , so as to change the texture of the population in order to reduce the Tamil. representation in the parliament. What Gnasara is doing by words today, DS did it by action. The demand for separation arose due to the failure of federal claim due the underhand activities of people like you.
    One can write and write about the history of the federal claim where you too participated. After the demise of the leaders like SJV and Amirthalingam Vanniyasingham Naganathan and Prabhaharan, you took over the leadership of the Tamils and are in the process of selling them wholesale. No wonder, you want to justify your present stand, by saying that the Tamils Never claimed A full fledged federal solution or separation You are an embodiment of falsehood..
    You are now in the hands of the UNP trying to safeguard their rule rather than safeguarding, even the simple rights of the Tamils in prison as ‘war criminals’ and getting the lands occupied by the army released. All what you and Sumanthiran have done is to feather your nests, gather your profit at the expense of the Tamils.
    One can continue to write pages and pages about your political activities particularly during the last 10 years,.but, it will serve no purpose at the end of your political career. You are an example as to how politics should not be done for deprived..

    • 3
      3

      KA
      The FP, ACTC and all other Tamil parties were sell outs.
      The “selling out” on the Tamil Eelam project started with Amirthalingam who was never sincere about the Vaddukkodai resolution.
      Sampanthan did exactly what Amirthalingam would have done was he spared by the LTTE.
      Vaniyasingam was a leader of substance, far more than SJVC. But he died in 1958.

    • 5
      2

      K.Anaga
      “The need to ask for a federal state arose purely because of the activities of DS Senanayake, who not only disenfranchised the upcountry Tamil but also made moves to colonize the Tamil areas with Sinhalese , so as to change the texture of the population in order to reduce the Tamil.”
      According to Oxford Learners Dictionary the definition of ‘Colonizer’ is:
      “a person who helps take control of an area or a country that is not their own, especially using force, and sending people from their own country to live there.”
      https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/colonizer

      Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo are the Native people in this country. Saying native Sinhalayo colonized their own country is a joke but it has not gone into brains of people who keep on repeating this probably because they have been brainwashed by Demala racist extremists. How can Hon. D.S.Senanayake start colonizing Tamil areas when there were no Tamil areas in Sinhale? At the time Portuguese arrived, this country was a Sinhala Buddhist country with about 95% Sinhala people. It was Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial rulers that changed the demographic composition by importing Demala slaves from Malabar to work in their plantations.
      Hon. D.S.Senanayake started settlement schemes in areas covered with jungles, not in areas where there were settlements. He in fact offered land in those settlement schemes to Demala people but Demalu who were scared of Malaria refused to come. Heroic Sinhalayo took the challenge, cleared the jungle while facing the threat from malaria and developed agriculture. Now the descendants of those cowardice Demalu say Hon. D.S.Senanayake colonized Tamil areas. BS!

      • 0
        0

        I have replied to you on numerous occasions and clarified the Tamil Problems. You seem to be deaf and your eves appear to be suffering from Glaucoma.
        I wouldn’t like to pore water on ducks back. Continue to swallow the mud in the drains.

    • 1
      0

      Sam is not our of his mind; He is a liar and speaks to suit the platform and never thinks of the outcome. It is high time for him to retire before does more damage to the Tamil Community

      [edited out]

  • 2
    0

    I do not hold any brief for Amirthalingam. He had his own weaknesses. Perhaps that may be the reason he was gunned down. I do not believe in gunning down opponents. His attachments to JR.was questionable and his conduct after losing election was unwelcome.
    Yes what you say about Vanniyasingham is true. That is why SJV said that he has lost his right hand on the death of Vanniyasingham.

  • 0
    0

    Good Old Mangy boy has his set of views of his own. There are others who disagree with him on his views , whether personal or public. My simple question to Sampanthan Aiya (Some prefer to call him as Aiyo) what have you learnt from his outlook? Take the most elementary one – free speech. Mangy makes it clear. Quoting someone roughly he says that he may disagree with a party but he stands for the right of that party to express his/her opinion. In reality Aiya! Do you hold that? By your conduct you have demonstrated the fact that if a guy or gal were to say or do something that is in line with your political and other objectives, you shower praise. I do not think even Mangy would like that though he may not say that to you now.

  • 5
    6

    Mangala will certainly to take the road to make easy money for his 1%. Giving devolution to the N&E will certainly bump up his monetary powers.
    *
    And while Sam keeps mourning about the goodness of the Tamils, Sam will conveniently skim away from the wider picture of Tamils not only wanting country-unity, but a country-unity where Tamils will rule the whole of Sri Lanka (language and all). Failing which, Tamils will devolve and soon join up with the greater Tamil empire in India.
    *
    Right when Sri Lanka needs an Island with no ethnic divisions, Mangala will be right there to bring all of Sam’s mournings to fruition.

  • 5
    2

    So our Kandy King wanted a Federal State for themselves.
    A separate federal State of the Low Country Sinhala People and a Federal State for the Tamil People in the East and the North..
    How Cool.

    That seems to have a lot of parallels with Dr Ranil’s new Constitution which Dr Jayampathy drafted to please the TNA Boss Mr Sampathar and his mates Suren Surendran ,UN . US , UK and the Diaspora .
    It guarantees a separate State for the Thamils in the North and the East which exactly the King
    envisaged.
    That was of course before Ibrahims and Zaran Boys put the spanner in the works .

    But the other parts of Dr Ranil’s New Constitution are the worrying bit for us.
    Dr Ranil wants to put all Sinhala People into Seven states.
    The differences among those States are phenomenal.

    For Example 20% of the Inhabitants who share 54% of the GDP live in only two or three of those Seven
    I know the King didn’t know about this GDP..
    29% of the Inhabitants who have only 4% of the GDP, live in the rest 5 of those States .
    I got these Stats from none other than the UNP Deputy Keselwatta Kid, who was also a distinguished Guest at this Khema Boy’s 30th Political Birthday Bash, where Mr . Sampathar delivered this speech.

    Under Dr Ranil’s New Constitution all those States have their own little Kings and their little Cabinets or Courts.,although they are not called as such.
    They have all the powers to rule us with our everyday lives.

    Now my main worry is Mr Sampathar can have a well qualified King and a Cabinet because he has to pick only one.

    But our Low Country people have to pick at least Five .
    Do you understand?.

    • 1
      2

      KASmaalam


      “Under Dr Ranil’s New Constitution all those States have their own little Kings and their little Cabinets or Courts.,although they are not called as such.”

      This island has already been divided into various kingdoms like the good old days, however one important aspect you little islanders refuse to acknowledge, is that the Hindians do not give a damn about the structure of this Sinhala state of Hindia.

      You can kick yourself, twist your arms, crush your neck with your own bare hand, scream, …. even chant Sinhala Buddha is great, …. as far as the Hindians are concerned this is Sinhala state of Hindia.

      There is one option left for you to do, get the Warmonger and war crime denier your mate Dayan to buy the Russian corroded floating metal tie it to Indian Sub Continent and taw it to Antartica.

      If it doesn’t work get your mate Wimal Sangili Karuppan Weerawansa to huff, and puff, and blow India in.

      Do you think Hindians have any right to intervene in this island’s internal or external affairs?

    • 4
      1

      Sumanasekera. That was so cool. Thank you for your explanatory powers. Terrible situation for the beloved Motherland!

  • 2
    1

    I get the impression all about what he does is good for the people with neutrality and not necessarily what’s good for the for the party.

  • 3
    1

    Sampanthan and rest of the Tamil leaders will hang on to anything if it suits their needs. The Only national question that exists in Sri Lanka is Sinhala Buddhism has not yet given it’s due place, Since English have left the country it’s been an uphill battle to achieve this goal. England by using Vellalalas and other anti Sinhala forces are trying to make sure it won’t happen. England want to turn Sri Lanka into a Anglican country like them. Tamils are just being used as a tool in the hands of English.

  • 3
    1

    Yes RS. The political column of Sunday Times of 7th July, says it all. How stupid Mangy Samare is. Praising such a torpid politico is nothing but a pig talks about the cleanliness of another pig.

  • 3
    0

    With people like, Mangala, Karu and Sajit and combined with upholding the judicial system, there is still glimmer of hope in Sri Lanka. It is the religious interference in the political system or vice versa, that makes it more cumbersome to govern and unnecessarily complex. If this practice is weeded out gradually, the system will function effectively with people’s mandate.

  • 1
    0

    In Trinco, there was Old Hindu/ Tamil Temple, ( kiniya), nearly -(1000). Years old, but , the Srilanka some Buddist people want remove, ( Temple—) and build a Buddist pansala, look ( Budda and Hindu god) came from India, but both gods, come from India, but Sinhala hardliners fighting for building temples, why,

  • 0
    0

    Mangala S may be a champion to NGOs and others(people who has no love for country). But majority of Sri Lankans he is a enemy.

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