20 July, 2024

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NPP/Anura & Reconciliation: Part II

By Asoka S. Seneviratne –

Prof. Asoka.S. Seneviratne

The Part I of this article presented the historical development and efforts for reconciliation to show its failure. Part II presents how and why NPP/ANURA can generate the expected reconciliation outcomes, or NPP/ANURA is the anchor of reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Thematic Approach to Reconciliation and its components 

Reconciliation is a complex and complicated process. Given the country’s conflictual and fractured situation, it involves building relationships from the grassroots and among individuals in various groups, institutions, authorities, and states. We need genuine, close, and open dialogues, information sharing, education, mutual understanding and respect for each other, recognition and acceptance at the political level, trust-building processes, public or national and international recognition and acknowledgment, apologies for wrongdoing, institutional reforms, truth recovery, reparation and many more.

Based on the above and a document named “The Reconciliation Paradox,” the following five (5) principles and forty (40) sub-components are essential for a more comprehensive and truthful reconciliation that will generate the expected outcomes.

1. Developing a shared vision of an independent and fair society. This requires the involvement of the whole society at all levels.  Even though individuals may have different opinions or political beliefs, articulating a shared vision of an independent, just, equitable, open, and diverse society is critical to any reconciliation process (i.e., eight sub-components).

2. Acknowledge and deal with the past. The truth of the past, with all its pain, suffering, and losses, must be acknowledged and mechanisms implemented providing for justice, healing, restitution or reparation, and restoration (including profound apologies if needed and steps aimed at redress). To build reconciliation, individuals and institutions need to acknowledge their role in the conflict of the past, accepting and learning from it in a constructive way to ensure non-repetition (i.e., 12 sub-components)

3. Building positive relationships. Following the violent conflict, relationships need to be built or renewed, addressing issues of trust, prejudice, and intolerance in the process. This results in accepting commonalities and differences and embracing and engaging with those different from us (i.e., seven sub-components)

4. Significant cultural and attitudinal change. The culture of suspicion, fear, mistrust, and violence is broken down, and opportunities and spaces have opened up where people can hear and be heard. A culture of respect for human rights and human differences is developed, creating a context for each citizen to become an active participant in society and feel like a scene of belonging (i.e., five sub-components) and

5. Substantial societal, economic, and political change. The social, financial, and political structures that gave rise to the conflict and estrangement are identified, reconstructed, addressed, and transformed. This stand can also be thought of as being about equality and attaining equity among groups (i.e., eight sub-components)

How and Why NPP/ANURA Can Work for Reconciliation

Compared to NPP/ANURA, SLFP/SLPP and UNP/SJB have substantial involvement and experience with reconciliation. When SLFP/SLPP and UNP/SJB go to the North and East, they discuss problems or issues of economic and social development and listen to the people’s grievances. Given the circumstances and situations, they sometimes discuss the unsatisfactory progress made on the reconciliation-based LLRC 2011. It also talks about the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, while some Tamil politicians stress the implementation of the 13th Amendment. SLFP/SLPP and UNP/SJB state that they do not want to make any mistakes when working with people in the North and East. They discuss the development needs and issues people are facing with. The above-mentioned political parties promise to address and resolve the development issues of the people as soon as possible. At the same time, NPP/ANURA focuses on and talks about the ground realities and seeks durable, long-lasting solutions that inspire people in the right direction. People are embarrassed by the above because they, too, want to look for a better future with NPP/ANURA than short-term benefits and gains. The above vividly indicates the profound and thoughtful difference between the main political camps and NPP/ANURA in dealing with the people in the North and East.   

One salient feature of most politicians of SLFP/SLPP and UNP/SJB in the South is how they have treated the people in the North and East. Given the people’s grievances, they know well that the North and East are part and parcel of the country, so unity, peace, and harmony are essential. But particularly during elections, they love the people in the North and East to get the people’s support and win the elections. The above is an open truth but not for NNP/ANURA. At the same time, the above is a problem related to attitude and perception that may have caused aggravation of mistrust and uncertainty; simultaneously, the reconciliation efforts must have been affected by the same fact. Given the above, reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka need a new approach, which includes new wine and new wine in a new bottle by leaving aside the dyeing political parties mentioned above. This is where NPP/ANURA stands comfortably in the right direction for reconciliation.

NPP/ANURA is the Anchor of Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

This section outlines how NPP/ANURA is suitable and capable of working for reconciliation, given the reasons and causes discussed in section 2. In short, NPP/ANURA is well endowed and equipped with the following for reconciliation:

1. NPP/ANURA has a vision: We, all Sri Lankans, coexist in harmony and unity, sharing the same identity while respecting, accepting, honoring, and celebrating diversity.

2. Political will: Sri Lanka needs politicians with vision and political will to bring reconciliation. Political will is a political actor’s (ANURA) demonstrated and committed intent to take the required action for the common good and against their self-interest. For the above, ANURA makes all provisions based on law and order to generate the expected outcome and mobilize all resources required. In my article, “NPP-A Reformed & Mature Political Movement,” I explained the 20 anti-governance practices of the opposition politicians that caused bankruptcy in the country. The foundation of NPP/ANURA’s sustainable economic and social development is eradicating anti-governance practices. This requires the utmost political will, as explained above. The same political will apply to reconciliation as well. Indeed, there is a nexus between anti-governance practices and reconciliation efforts. 

3. NPP/ANURA is well endowed with five principles and 40 sub-components of reconciliation indicated above. Reconciliation is a complex and complicated process that requires the utmost commitment from all parties/actors, considering all facts and figures. As it is dynamic, ANURA knows the depth and nature of reconciliation well because he knows why the reconciliation efforts since 2011 have failed and now what to do and how to do it in the right direction. This means ANURA has a strategic plan: (a) where we are now on reconciliation, (b) where the nation wants to go, (c) how, and finally, (d) how the country would feel exactly and know well that it achieved reconciliation. The primary and profound difference between the previous attempts, including LLRC 2011 for reconciliation. 

4. Anura is a Leader: The leader of JVP/NPP has been with the parliament for 20 years. Anura is a democratic leader who listens first and acts second. He has a vision and goals together with values and qualities. His utmost leadership qualities are vividly indicated in the domain of his apology, nationally and internationally, for what happened during the insurrection in 1971 and 1988/1989. He is highly insightful and strategic in the right direction. Anura puts people first; he can rally and inspire people to achieve their goals. He is highly capable of focusing on building a solid emotional relationship and trust. He has created teams to manage conditions that drive the generation of positive outcomes in different and required fields. The above mentioned leadership qualities of ANURA are a blessing for NPP or JVP.

5. NPP/ANURA is committed to transitional justice and establishing law and order. Transitional justice is not a particular form of justice. Still, justice adapted to societies transforming themselves after a period of pervasive human rights abuse or a pathway to overcome systematic or widespread human rights violations. It seeks recognition for victims and promotes possibilities and avenues for peace, reconciliation, and democracy based on law and order. Law and order are part and parcel of Transitional Justice.

6. ANURA has clean hands and is corrupt-free: NPP/ANURA can openly discuss corruption and the corrupt practices of opposition politicians and others. However, no one talks about bribery or the corrupt practices of NPP/ANURA and his colleagues. This is stunningly beautiful in Sri Lanka politics.

7. NPP/ANURA talks with the same facts and figures: When ANURA goes to the North, South, East, and West, he uses the language and vocabulary. He is welcomed highly and enthusiastically wherever he goes and attends any event. He has nothing to hide and mislead. He talks to the people’s hearts—no frills or dressing.

8. NPP/ANURA is resilient to any criticism/provocation: ANURA is the best orator in and out of the parliament. He is resilient to any provocation and aggressive treatment. He has never surrendered the proper and correct facts.

9. NPP/ANURA: Personify Recognition: NPP/ANURA has neither substitute nor alternative in Sri Lankan politics. This is a stunningly significant fact. One of the most powerful lessons from international experience is the need to personify a society’s recognition experience. The importance of a figure like Nelson Mandela in South Africa rests partly in his ability to inspire society to reconcile. In Sri Lanka, this role can be performed by NPP/ANURA without any questions asked. This is the beauty of the reconciliation intent or drive of NPP/ANURA.

Given the above ten reasons, it is a novel and personified approach to reconciliation. As in South Africa, it is an approach with the utmost political vision and will be based on the NPP leadership to generate the expected results.

Conclusion

Reconciliation is part and parcel of economic development efforts in Sri Lanka. However, apart from NPP/ANURA, other political parties (i.e., SLFP/SLPP and UNP/SJB) hardly discuss reconciliation in depth. It is clear that despite the LLRC (2011) and other subsequent efforts for reconciliation, there is a grave need to generate the expected results for well-understood reasons. Reconciliation is a complex and complicated endeavor for which Vision and Political Will are profound. Given the above, reconciliation efforts must be personified with a committed leader. It requires an anchor. Given the various convincing and conclusive reasons, NPP/ANURA is well-equipped to provide the anchor for reconciliation.

*The author worked as the Special Advisor to the Office of the President of Namibia and was a Senior Consultant with UNDP for 16 years. He worked as a Senior Economist with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (1972-1993) before he migrated to New Zealand. The writer can be contacted at asoka.seneviratne@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 8
    2

    … Reconciliation … involves building relationships from the grassroots .
    The grass was torched parched dry. You need a new lawn!

    • 5
      0

      Nathan,
      May be a New Earth and soil!!!??? What’s left behind is SCORCHED!!! No life would SPROUT THEREIN!!!??? Left unattended for past 15 years, when the Bu____s were Gallivanting, to all parts of the world from Medamulana, including Geneva annually, for the “POOJA or TRIBUTE” to Save their Souls, from the Guillotine!!!??? And other times CELEBRATING the ‘Pain of Other Party’!!?? Silly Bu____s playing Pandu!!!??? Or was it the ‘MYNA’, keeping them Busy in the INTERLUDE!!??? Favourite Pastime of the ELATED, Non-Erudite Stock and Lineage!!?
      Lost Priority signifies ATTITUDE AND BIGOTRY!!!???

    • 5
      0

      Nathan
      For actual reconciliation to occur, it must be undertaken with genuine sincerity.
      When reconciliation is sought merely for political gain, it lacks honesty and becomes nothing more than a superficial gesture aimed at deceiving the voters.
      Shame on those who try to pull such cheap stunts.
      It goes to show lack of self respect and how opportunistic these people truly are.

    • 13
      1

      Nathan
      These are wolf’s in sheep’s clothing.
      Only pretending to care till they get what they want.
      Beware of people who only remember you when they want something.

      • 2
        11

        Wolves I think not wolf’s – hope you know the difference…

        • 9
          0

          Ruchira
          You are right. My bad.
          Thanks.

    • 0
      12

      “Reconciliation … involves building relationships from the grassroots .”
      .
      It takes two to tango. Same is true for building relationships, grassroots or otherwise.

      • 13
        0

        Ruchira
        If I were a Tamil, I would not be misled by such superficial attempts to deceive the Tamil community. This demonstrates the tenuous nature of the JVP’s ideals and indicates how swiftly they might change their position once their objectives are achieved.

        • 2
          12

          HT – I wasn’t necessarily referring to JVP/NPP stance. It’s just my personal view. I honestly don’t see Tamil people wanting anything in the sort of reconciliation. They have some demands, eventuality of them is a Tamil Federal State in Sri Lanka’s North & East. As far as JVP/NPP is concerned their importance has risen due circumstances not necessarily due to any inherent strengths. But if they act prudently they could translate the circumstances that favours them into long term inherent strengths of their party. Whether they could do it remains to be seen. Changing positions once the objectives are achieved is just natural, nothing unique to JVP/NPP.

          • 9
            1

            ““They say there’s no bigger crime than aiming low. I can vouch for you that Sri Lanka is full of criminals.”
            -Ruchira / June 29, 2024
            Given the above, how can Tamils reconcile with criminals?

  • 19
    2

    The JVP leaders, most of them not being proficient in English, do not have a common language to speak to the Tamils. So, this portrayal of their knowledge of the problems of the Tamils on a few visits to the N and E Provinces is inexact. Anura in one of his visits spoke of allowing the 13th Amendment because as he said it is already law. It is what Premadasa said as well. He also suggested further reform. The JVP’s past record with the Tamils is negative. Apart from the five points in their original lectures, they were instrumental in the merger of the North and Eastern provinces being scrapped. On transitional justice, which requires accountability for missing persons and alleged war crimes, the JVP has taken no stance as it would anger the armed forces. So, despite all the high-sounding phrases in this article, what we are left with is a lot of gas.

    • 7
      0

      Nathan,
      May be a New Earth and soil!!!??? What’s left behind is SCORCHED!!! No life would SPROUT THEREIN!!!??? Left unattended for past 15 years, when the Bu____s were Gallivanting, to all parts of the world from Medamulana, including Geneva annually, for the “POOJA or TRIBUTE” to Save their Souls, from the Guillotine!!!??? And other times CELEBRATING the ‘Pain of Other Party’!!?? Silly Bu____s playing Pandu!!!??? Or was it the ‘MYNA’, keeping them Busy in the INTERLUDE!!??? Favourite Pastime of the ELATED, Non-Erudite Stock and Lineage!!?
      Lost Priority signifies ATTITUDE AND BIGOTRY!!!???

    • 7
      0

      GREAT LOT OF “PUFF” WITHOUT SUBSTANCE!!??

  • 20
    2

    I agree with Cicero in toto.
    In addition, I don’t think Anura or for that matter, any Southern politician, will have the guts to go against the anti-minorities yellow and khaki uniformed brigades who have infiltrated into the entire Lanka polity. They will always be stumbling blocks to any reconciliation attempt. They will never understand that SL is so far behind because of the racist attitudes of the SB majority, especially the yellow uniformed forever, and khaki uniformed since MR’s time.

    • 11
      1

      Dear Readers,
      .
      SB,
      “They will never understand that SL is so far behind because of the racist attitudes of the SB majority, especially the yellow uniformed forever, and khaki uniformed since MR’s time.”

      How true ?

      The levels of Sinhala-supremacy in the Sinhala-dominated South and other regions are obvious and much higher than that of zionist’s hate against Palastinians in Gaza, but not yet to the main STREAM media brothel houses in our country (TV derana, Tv Hiru, TV Sirasa and the like private TV channels).

      Media is the greater threat of srilanka today, standing on the way, not allowing people to receive balanced news.
      FAKE public perceptions are repeating in this culture because of lack of proper laws against giant media.

      The 4th pillar of a functioning democracy is assumed to be “main stream media of the country”. The question arises if we are democracy at all ?
      However, today srilanka and srialnkens are heavily caught in a huge media mafia racket of several TV channels. This has now reached an incurable level.
      Tbc

      • 10
        0

        cont.

        Hirunika’s jailing yesterday proved to the whole world that a deliberate false public perception by a vengeful TV channel (HIRU TV) can easily imprison an anyone.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmQdkTwnl60

        After misappropriating billions of people’s money to build a palace in Gampaha, the thug president’s brother Basil Rajapaksa (aka Kaputa) was shamelessly exonerated from his court case. Every 10-year-old child will be forever disturbed by the judgments of the judges in Sri Lanka. Parents over to you, how would you clear the doubts of the growing children about srilanken “court judgements” ?

        Pointing fingers only at the crooked politicians (Mahendra Rajapaksa) of the totally corrupt nation is reaching its limits today. Now people want to see what happens when inexperienced public speakers such as JVPrs become their future rulers, how things would tanibly change for good …..

        • 1
          2

          Dear LM: What is wrong with ex-MP Hirunika being found guilty of all the 18 charges? She was the 9th accused. All the other 8 accused (all her bodyguards) pleaded guilty earlier and were punished. This is how to dispense law – All are equal before the Law. This is what we want and justice was carried equally. That media reporting was also correct.

          You also say: ‘Now people…. what happens when inexperienced public speakers….” Hay, we have experienced immense hardships and have been subjected to suffering without a life worth living by all those “EXPERIENCED” who ruled us for decades. Are we to go on like this, as you wish? NO. My friend. I too didn’t have an atom of experience when I got my first job, but I excelled well to go up the ladder and secure recognition. That’s how it works. Talk to your heart and you will hear the same voice.

      • 11
        0

        LM
        You have articulated the absolute truth about the plight of our people.
        Thank you.

        • 8
          1

          HT,
          .
          Unfortunately, truths are not welcome in a country filled with beasts in human disguise.

      • 7
        6

        leelagemalli,

        “They will never understand that SL is so far behind because of the racist attitudes of the SB majority, especially the yellow uniformed forever, and khaki uniformed since MR’s time.”

        Don’t mislead the people that SL is so far behind because of the racist attitudes of the SB majority since MR’s time only by ignoring JRJ time along with RW and SWRD or DS. Both UNP and SLFP (SLPP) have to take full responsibility for the crisis of the Country. RW is the one who protects Rajapaksa family and Rajapaksa is the one who protects RW.
        There is also propaganda goes on that Ranil is the man who saved the Country from the disaster because of his personal talent. Who chased away Rajapaksas? Aragalaya and People. Who brought back Gota? It is Ranil. How he came Prime Minister? Who elected RW as President? Who asked Ranil to contest for President by MPs? Rajapaksas. IF he lost on that selection what would have happen to Sri Lanka. Do you think that Sri Lanka will not be there now?

  • 7
    5

    As it is now we can assume that the presidential election may come first and we assume that Sajith from SJB, Anura from NPP and Ranil W from (not known which party).
    Reconciliation is a process that should involve president, Parliament, Judiciary, Religious leaders, political parties etc. President alone cannot do anything because you need two third majority and referendum to make any changes or to make a new constitution. Out of this three NPP Anura may be better option to make this country than other two. So far Sinhalese people are not prepared to accept JVP/NPP but only after the Economic Crisis they started to believe on them but they have to make it real using this opportunity. So far, NPP has not in active politics of North East, particularly among Tamils and Muslims or UP country Tamils.
    As a Tamil speaking person in my opinion the people should not vote for any of these three candidates. Voting for one over other means you are biased against Sinhalese people or supporting the Buddhist Fundamentalism.

  • 3
    0

    Let’s put everything aside and look back.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYKy41ti32s

    How about 2 years ago?
    No oil, no gas, no medicine, no essentials – anxiety reigned.

    People who are used to getting caught easily have forgotten the ground reality today.

    One man stood against the whole people. AKD did not take it seriously.

    And the leader of the opposition (Sajith Premadasa) did not have the balls to accept the challenge. But a man whose party had lost almost everything in Rajapaksa’s campaign took up the challenge.

    It was possible to surprise within 24 months thanks to Harin and several other cabinet ministers. Falsehoods and lies were spread against CBK and RANIL for an uncultured uprising in this country. we should Blame the media for that.

  • 11
    1

    The JVP like the JHU was hostile to devolution, was pro-war and did not care about the national question.
    They do not recognize the existence of Tamil speaking nationalities.
    Let us stop making excuses.
    Let us see what the JVP/NPP has on offer in the manifesto.

    • 2
      17

      It was Tamil militancy that first waged war, who later became terrorists and organised criminals. What do you expect Sinhalese to do? Let them walk all over us? We defended and after 30 years when the Western world too got tired of the maniac called Prabhakaran, we wacked them for good. Now some of them want reconciliation!

      • 12
        2

        You really are a nasty piece of racist shyte. Blame the victims for everything conveniently forgetting that it was state sponsored Sinhalese racism, aided and abetted by the majority of Sinhalese with racist mindsets like you that created all this problem. The LTTE is the child of Sinhalese racism, if there was no state sponsored ethnic cleansing, marginalization, denial of language, higher education and employment to the island’s Tamils the LTTE would not have been born. What about all the pogroms other killings and violence that was organized all Sinhalese led Sri Lankan governments from 1956 onwards, to teach the Tamils a lesson, whenever they demanded justice and rights for them, in a nonviolent way. Criminals and thugs were set loose against them, with the government army and police all watching the fun, and even taking part in to. The LTTE is dead and gone now more than 15 years but just Tamil rights, and self-determination that the Sri Lankan state promised the world to defeat the LTTE is yet to arrive. Proving the Sinhalese led state and most Sinhalese are liars and will lie and deceive the world, individuals to get what they want.

        • 12
          2

          I remember clearly your war criminal hero coming on international television, soon after the defeat of the LTTE and promising SC 13A plus. Now it is no 13A or nothing at all. I do not think you are that old but clearly are a very nasty despicable Sinhalese Buddhist racist and Fascist. Constantly coming here like the two racist jokers, who have run away to live the good life in the west one in the UK and the other somewhere else but want racism, killings, genocide, war crimes and marginalization of the island’s Tamils to continue back home, whilst they and their immigrant families continue to enjoy all the benefits and perks that the liberal west offers them. Will never return to their genocidal hellhole that they have run away from but from a distance, will want the hell hole to remain a hellhole and be a bankrupt nation, practicing Sinhalese Buddhist Fascism, rather than develop and be prosperous, with equal rights to everyone, with a federal setup. Still trying to use the dead and gone LTTE as an excuse and use the bogey of terrorism, that is really practiced by the Sinhalese Sri Lankan state to deny Tamils their just rights.

  • 4
    1

    “Reconciliation” is not a ONE-WAY street. It is TWO-WAYS and based on GIVE AND TAKE.

    Why have we failed so far? That’s because the POWERFUL (Political, Professional, Social, and Religious) are a large part of the problem. We have established inequality and deviated from equality – “All Men Are Created Equal”- that every citizen has the same birthright, privileges, and inherent dignity as every other citizen. This “Powerful” collectively, in their interest form some kind of Government with the help of the “Bottom” mostly by misleading with false and illusive promises, using a tool called “Reconciliation”. This must stop. To stop it, that “Bottom” must awaken to reality and work towards peace and reconciliation.

  • 3
    1

    Prof. Seneviratne
    ”How and Why NPP/ANURA Can Work for Reconciliation”
    I don’t want to know ‘How’ & ‘Why’. Why don’t you advise AKD & the NPP on that? If you have so much faith in the NPP, why don’t you join the bandwagon & become their strategist & official spokesman? If you are not a member & actively involved in the planing & strategy of the NPP policies, I am surprised an academic of your status making assumptions & promoting a political party when you should be making an unbiased opinion based on their published manifesto. Otherwise, you are no better than an opportunist prostituting his/her integrity.

    • 6
      1

      Raj UK
      Aside from crying, fretting, and complaining about others, I have yet to see a solid manifesto from these JVP members. I need to see their action plan on how they will mitigate the various issues plaguing the country. Developing a viable economic development plan is not something any clown can pull out of a hat. So far, their only strategy is to catch thieves, which is too rudimentary to save a country from debt. It merely teases the minds of shallow-minded followers with bitterness in their hearts. While bringing crooks to justice is undoubtedly important, we need a solid economic development initiative to change the status quo in Sri Lanka. I bet that will be the last thing the JVP will be able to accomplish.

      • 2
        0

        Human Touch

        My thoughts too. I have been asking the same questions all along. Our priority is economic recovery but the NPP strategy, in my understanding, is a ‘partially’ closed economy, focussed on small & medium industry & agriculture, an unproven model, if at all. The NPP was against IMF intervention but now they are following the same path, ‘confident’ in getting a better deal. What if the IMF & the external debtors refuse to play ball? Going after crooks & recovery of plundered assets is up to the integrity of an independent Judiciary but when a political party is focussed on a few rival party members as it’s main political theme, it gives the impression of political vendetta. We all know the level of corruption but finding the evidence of the Rajapakse clan alone, even by a dedicated task force, probably, would not be possible even by the end of their tenure.

        When academics sing the praises of a political party, acting as the unofficial spokesman, it takes the piss. An academic should scrutinise the political manifesto or, in its absence, question & analyse the objectives & strategy to provide an unbiased opinion.

  • 2
    1

    Tamil speaking citizens in SL have been failed by all the other Political parties. Their best hope is for AKD to deliver real reconciliation.
    What does reconciliation means?
    What should be the first STEP in this process?
    People working for the Defence in North and are too prevalent.
    Are they there to suppress any progress in reconciliation ? Why is there drug culture problem in North and east in spite of the huge presence of defence forces?

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