21 September, 2020

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Paving The Middle Path: Why We Must Empower Moderate Voices

By M.A. Sumanthiran

MA Sumanthiran MP

MA Sumanthiran MP

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants. – Edmund Burke (1729–1797)

Last week in Parliament, I pleaded with my fellow MPs to listen to the voices of moderation. I appealed to them to do their best to prevent extremist forces on either side from destroying our future. Now I appeal to the members of the public to do the same. Do not for a moment underestimate the power that still resides in you, the reasonable-minded citizens of this country. Your leaders still fear the shame you might impose on them for extremist views.

During my short tenure in politics, I have observed a glimmer of hope. That glimmer does not emanate from the sparkling new streetlamps, the shiny new expressways, or the other glistening things that are presented to us as evidence of progress and development. Hope comes from the moderate and non-violent path that so many have chosen to follow. There are still some who choose to endure immeasurable suffering and humiliation without retaliating with violence or aggression. As long as such individuals remain in Sri Lanka, there is still hope.

The false dichotomy

A false dichotomy of ‘moderation’ and ‘extremism’ has emerged to discredit reasonable demands for autonomy. We must, however, reflect on the meaning of these words and apply them only when appropriate. On the one hand, we must not demonise moderate voices merely because we disagree with them. On the other, we must not venerate extremist voices merely because they target those with whom we disagree. The real test of moderation lies in the manner of engagement. The true moderates are those who believe that, whatever their political aspirations, they must be pursued in a manner that does not undermine the rights of other individuals and communities; in a manner that expands the freedoms of those who are struggling, as well as those they are struggling against.

Emblems of moderation

The ideal of true moderation is reinforced each time the widows and mothers of this country, overcome with grief for their missing husbands and children, choose to protest with dignity rather than with malice. We have seen such emblems of moderation in the South and we continue to see them in the North and East. The Muslim men and women who endure daily indignities with quiet restraint undoubtedly reaffirm this ideal. The ideal is strengthened each time the displaced communities of Valikamam engage in Satyagraha instead of expressing their frustration through violence. Indeed, there is some measure of hope left. I even witnessed it in Parliament last week when, amidst unruly interruptions, the Leader of the Tamil National Alliance chose to respond with temperance instead of retorting in kind. Despite incessant ridicule, he continued to appeal to reason in his speech. These acts of obdurate moderation are the dams that keep the virulent waters from flooding our fields. There is still hope, as long as a few of us remain committed to reasonable, non-violent and dignified means of resolving our differences. We are reminded that we can remain civilised peoples each time we choose to remain dignified in the face of extreme indignity.

Many take these voices of moderation for granted. Some treat moderation as a sign of weakness. Others distrust it as mere posturing or pretence. However, I can tell you with confidence that, amidst immeasurable indignities, moderation is the hardest path to follow. As evinced by our own bitter history of violence, man is prone to violent retaliation when cornered. Therefore, to show restraint in the face of violence and ridicule is an extreme act of resolve. It is this middle path that is perhaps the straightest and narrowest.

Empowering moderate voices

Reasonable-minded citizens are likely to be conscious of two truths: first, that moderation on all sides is essential for a peaceful and prosperous future; and second, that moderation is an arduous route to endure for those who are committed to embrace it.

So all reasonable-minded citizens have a patriotic duty to seek out and empower voices of moderation. These voices are softer than the loud, brash noises one hears from the extremists. One only needs to observe an hour of parliamentary proceedings to witness how moderate voices are being literally drowned out by the voices of extremism. However, the voices of moderation can still be heard all around us, provided we are willing to listen. They don’t always speak the same language, nor do they follow the same religion. Yet they are distinguished by their commitment to the truth and to a civilized and reasonable resolution of differences. These are the very voices that must be amplified.

Since the end of the war, billions of rupees have been spent on paving roads in the hope of appeasing the people. The 2014 budget, which many moderate voices have criticised, continues this trend. Yet what is the actual return on such tokenistic investments? The pressures of a failing economy, increased corruption, and the breakdown in the rule of law now stand to tear the fabric of our society. Paving roads will not appease the people for much longer.

The need of the hour remains a ‘paving’ of another kind. Reasonable-minded citizens must now stand up for the voices of moderation. They must pave the middle path, so that many might tread on it knowing that a principled public supports them. Paving this path will cost us much less. And the return on investment will be plentiful, as it is the middle path that will ultimately bridge our differences.

The power of the reasonable mind

The power of reasonable-minded citizens must not be underestimated, least of all by themselves. For they have the power to shame their leaders. They have the authority to call for adherence to the Middle Path, a precept that no political actor in this country would dare oppose openly. Reasonable-minded citizens must therefore rally around the voices that encourage an honest, dignified and moderate discourse.

How then, can ordinary citizens safeguard this country’s future? Grandiose gestures may not be required. Simple acts that promote moderation may suffice: identify and discount irrational and extremist views in the media; question those who fail to substantiate their claims; criticise even those you support, hoping that it will better them; and condemn all violence, particularly aggression in response to peaceful expressions of dissent.

I assure you, indifference now will only spell disaster for the preservation of a shared future. The cliché often attributed to Edmund Burk has never been more pertinent, as we stand on the brink: ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Joining a mainstream political party that represents all ethnic groups instead of a one dedicated to one ethnicity will be a good start sir. Specially a one that was linked to a separatist organization.

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      Liberal One, ………………………………………………
      Well said. There was one such party LSSP, that sold out to the Sinhala Buddhist Racists for Ministerial portfolios…… Will the new crop do the same, and pander to the Sinhala and Tamil Racists………
      ……………………………………………………..

      Lanka Sama Samaja Party…………………..
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanka_Sama_Samaja_Party ……………

      In 1964 the LSSP held a conference, at which the majority agreed with a theoretical categorisation of the SLFP by Hector Abhayavardhana as a petty bourgeois party, leaving the door open to a united front with it. A minority faction, led by Colvin R de Silva and Leslie Goonewardena, opposed the move but opted to stay within the Party. Another minority faction led by Edmund Samarakkody, Merryl Fernando, V Karalasingham and Bala Tampoe, left the party and formed the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (Revolutionary)- LSSP(R)………………………………………

      Later that year, the LSSP joined the coalition government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Three of its MPs became Ministers; Dr N. M. Perera (Finance), Cholomondely Goonewardena (Public Works) and Anil Moonesinghe (Communications). The LSSP was expelled from the Fourth International, and the membership was passed on to LSSP(R)…………

      DeJa Vu????????

      • 1
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        MAS, whjy don’t you guys join govt. (blue or green)& participate in PSC , irrespective of they are worthy or not, by being in opposition with a Ceylon Tamil only label won’t do any good to people you represent, even if you can do something for people from ministerial posts would do great & you guys being shown as members og govt. would change the attitude of people as well as in the case of plantation tamils.

    • 1
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      Liberal One ……. What is the point when TNA Sinhala MP switched sides after winning his seat in Eastern Province? …….. Kathirkamar was in line for Premiership was conveniently bumped off for someone else to succeed as second in command. ……. The man who worked for united Sri Lanka was denied his promotion by racist SLFP. ……. It is the Sinhala/Buddhists who should be looking at their past and present racist policies and history. …… Are you related to Weerawansa?….

      • 1
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        Lol related to modawanshe? Is that all you self-loather can come up with? Kadiragamar would have made an excellent premier but that is irrelevant to the article don’t you think? and who did exactly kill him?

        The point is SLFP/UNP is way ahead in representing all Sri Lankans that TNA will ever be. Representing aspirations of 10% and not respecting the aspirations of the other 90% and then talking about moderation is lame.

        • 0
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          Liberal One ……” Kadiragamar would have made an excellent premier but that is irrelevant to the article don’t you think?” ……… My comment is in response to your ignorance.

        • 0
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          Liberal One …… Let me hear from you what is the aspirations of 75%, forget the other 15%? . What evidence can you give us to prove all 75% aspire for the same whatever it is? …………. Kathirkamar’s death was not a mystery to many. This was talk of the town among the members of SLFP high command just after his death. ………. Have you heard about Ceylon National Congress. Let me know what you know about it…………

      • 2
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        Lert us give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he switched sides because he was disgusted with the continuing racist appellation “Tamil National Alliance” and its refusal to reject Prabahkaran politics outright.
        Remember, this trend was started by
        G. G. Ponnambalam in the 1930as against Ramanathan. GGP wanted to capture power from the Ramanathan family, unite the Tamils under Tamil Nationalism while at the time Caste was the dominant factor in ramanathan’s thinking – he wanted caste ruights inscribed in the constitution, just as today some people want 13A as a way of ensuring ethnic rights.), When Ponnambalam decided to drop all that and join D. S. Senanayake, Chelvanayagam came from the even more rightwing nationalist “Arasu” platform already in 1949. He was regarded as a racist extremist by Tamils in the 1952 election (where the tamil-language publications were pretty extreme in talking of a sovereign tamil state, but much more mild in English language publications); but he managed to displace Ponnambalam and become main-stream in Tamil politics, thanks to the rise of language confrontation.

    • 4
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      Liberal one, come on. Sumanthiran is beyond political party. He is a voice all to his own and is pretty much the opposition. You expect him to join a shattered UNP? Get serious.

      • 3
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        Actually the best thing the UNP can do is come under the leadership of Summanthiram and the TNA – the UNP is divided, disunited and dying. They have no solutions to offer not even opposition in the traditional sense.

        If that is not possible a coalition should be formed with parity of status given to the TNA

        • 0
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          man, which cuckoos’ land you live in?

          • 0
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            Liberal One …… Let me hear from you what is the aspirations of 75%, forget the other 15%? . What evidence can you give us to prove all 75% aspire for the same whatever it is? …………. Kathirkamar’s death was not a mystery to many. This was talk of the town among the members of SLFP high command just after his death. ………. Have you heard about Ceylon National Congress. Let me know what you know about it…………

          • 0
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            I am no muslim:.. Li lives in a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in the vast Indian ocean.

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        Sumanthiran is a voice only to his people. Remember that there are another 90% of population with their own needs/aspirations. Shattered UNP is a political party that represents all ethnic parties, it is way moderate than TNA which has interests in only Tamil issues.

        • 2
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          I don’t think Sumanthiran is a voice to only his people. Sri Lankan Muslims got behind Sumanthiran very early on because they recognized just what a significant figure he is before most could see it. There are a lot of Sinhalese who back him as well. He attracts a broad coalition because what he is about is very basic which is equality and the rule of law under democracy. This man is going far. Please get on board with him….

        • 0
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          ILiberal One: … ” Remember that there are another 90% of population with their own needs/aspirations.” .. What are the needs/aspirations of the 90%…. Come to think of it you are right their needs/aspirations to be part of a culture that includes drug smuggling, casino culture, 10 to 20% commissions, fathers raping their daughters while their wives are eking out a living in harsh conditions, Saffron clad thugs meting out injustices to other minorities, land grabbing, committing war crime and human rights violations, robbing Vihare’s of its antics, Tax dodging, contract killing,living off immoral earnings, electing criminals to parliament and other democratic institutions, ballot rigging one form or another, …………

        • 2
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          No this is not right.
          lately, I heard to his speeches, he there said ” you the parliamentarians should see things with some degree of responsibilities”. There he addressed all.. not his MPs only.
          Give me one single example of any other MPs that address the issues to the manner Sumanthiran has been.
          His speeches are the best ..
          And Dr. Harsha Silva is the other candidate I would give plus A for his performance. He always brings facts and figures though the ruling representatives stay unanswered to his critial questions. Even that Oral patient – Rajitha would not have guts to reponnd to Harsha’s critiques.

    • 1
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      I am still not sure whether your post was a joke but if your serious which party would you suggest.

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      Yes, if this man is a moderate we will have more extremists please!

      Sumanthiran is a fraud who does not have a political base among Hindu Tamils who just want to live in peace. He does not represent these people.

      This man is a poor imitation of Chelvanayakam who started the last cycle of violent Tamil extremism.

      He should be challenged to face an election in the North and be elected before he can claim to reprsent the Tamils.

      • 2
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        I could not disagree more Little… Sumanthiran is a great man and every much the equal of anyone the west has to offer. You are looking at a Sri Lanka John F. Kennedy here. And, Sri Lanka has waited a very long time for a man like this to come along…

        • 1
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          You seem to be adding bla bla as if an election campaigner would do…

          why not you add more about the good side of Sumanthiran instead…. I have no doubt, that we have not many of his calibre in the current parliament, but however, I still believe his would need more experience until he would ever become a leader for the nation. I like him very much… but alone that would not make him a leader.. he should work on that years long… Today, Ranil W has been critised for no reason,… though his ist eh best to everyone^s eye… if anyone would expect nation to be led by a law respecting… leader. He can also make better relationships with IC… we are a nation that cant stay being away from IC… stupid rajapakshes have already killed the external affairs that MRS B and previous govts have strenghthened.. though they made use of those relationships with China to work with them today.. It was not MR who had better BONDS with China, it was the late MRS B and Bandaranayakes.

    • 0
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      @Liberal One

      Bullshit. What about the SLFP/UPFA and the UNP? They have used state terrorism when they were/are in power. The TNA is the only party moderate Tamils can trust since the main Sinhala parties have let them down for 65 years.

      • 1
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        State terrorism? You mean disarming an armed separatist group?

  • 8
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    The voices of moderation are heard mostly from the english-educated of Colombo. The Sinhala and Tamil newspapers should also publish articles of the voices of reason over extremism, so that the vast majority in the country can hear them. Mind-sets have to be changed.

    • 1
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      How about the photo where CM of NPC Wignashwaran is seen planting a tree on LTTE “great heros day”? Should Sinhala news papers run that? The man is supposed to be a “moderate” no eh?

      • 6
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        Navin ,,,,,,,,, Don’t you grieve/remember your dead ones? And could you tell me what’s wrong with his gesture. ….. A unifying leader should accommodate all sections of his people. …….. Mandela was right in embracing a rainbow coalition, which included his former political enemies such as Mangosuthu Buthelezi the leader of British inspired Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) as well as unrepresented section of his South Africans. ……. Open your jaundice eyes and look around you will see only Tigers.

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          First, he was not grieving the dead but trying to resurrect the LTTE. It was a political event on the “hero’s day”. Second, there is no need to grieve dead terrorists in public. The family members can do that in private. People can grieve their dead in public where it does not impact others in the society. What about their victims? Haven’t you heard the saying “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins….”?

          • 0
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            If Mr Sumanthiran is muted the LTTE sympathies will be elated; is this what you want? Resurrecting the LTTE is the job that MR and his gang are doing admirably with your full endorsement! Obstacles to this quest is Sumanthiran; comprehentha?

          • 0
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            Navin ……….. “First, he was not grieving the dead but trying to resurrect the LTTE. It was a political event on the “hero’s day” ………. Did he confirm that he was resurrecting the LTTE? He is a politician now he would do anything to keep the entire population in unity and calm. ……….. “Second, there is no need to grieve dead terrorists in public.” Why not? Give me reasons not your usual bull… …… ” People can grieve their dead in public where it does not impact others in the society” ……… They live in society therefore let the immediate society around them decide, not the stupid governor nor the arm forces for that matter not you. …… “What about their victims?” ………. Let them too mourn. Would ask the same question when JVP Sinhala/Buddhist terrorists mourn openly in the South. If they are allowed to mourn openly what about their victims.

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              Did he confirm that he was resurrecting the LTTE? He is a politician now he would do anything to keep the entire population in unity and calm.

              Native Veddha, I have no interest in arguing with you for the sake of arguing. So it’s quite alright for Wigs the politician to do anything to keep the “population” “united and clam”? ah? Which population are you talking about? Then you must have no problem in MR/GR doing anything to keep the “population” “safe” right? Hypocrite.

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              Second, there is no need to grieve dead terrorists in public.” Why not? Give me reasons not your usual bull…

              Because they are terrorists you moron. Is that a good enough reason for you?

            • 0
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              They live in society therefore let the immediate society around them decide, not the stupid governor nor the arm forces for that matter not you.

              I have no interest in reasoning with an arrogant bastard. You make your decisions. We will make ours.

              • 0
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                Navin ……. “I have no interest in reasoning with an arrogant bastard.” ……….. You mean you are not interested in reasoning with yourself………. I may be an arrogant bastard, I am my own arrogant bastard and not yours. Does it bother you? Back off.

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              Would ask the same question when JVP Sinhala/Buddhist terrorists mourn openly in the South. If they are allowed to mourn openly what about their victims.

              JVP hero’s day events are akin to LTTE hero’s day event celebrated by “jokers” in Tamil Nadu. Did the government take any action when Siritharan praised VP? Siritharan’s actions are more of an irritant to TNA than to the government! If you do not wish to understand the matters in right perspective for your convenience then there is nothing I can do about that. Furthermore, only an insane mind will deduce that just because JVP manages to draw a couple of hundred people to their hero’s day events, that amounts to Sinhala people even tolerating JVP hero’s let alone publicly mourn their passing.

              • 0
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                Navin ………. When JVP was in bed with MR’s SLFP the act of JVP remembering their fallen terrorists were not only encouraged or approved but also the entire population didn’t protest against such events including yourself. . ……….

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            Navin ……. In case if you have forgotten past history, let me jog your memory. ………… It was LTTE which kicked the IPKF out of the island while your Armed forces were hiding behind their women folks……… The entire Sinhala/Buddhist population should be eternally grateful to VP and his LTTE. ……… Probably your president may be thanking VP 24/07/52 for his support during the elections. Without VP he could not have won the elections……… If you support MR you better start remembering VP and his LTTE. ..

            • 1
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              It was LTTE which kicked the IPKF — Wow! I’ll remember that. Thank you.

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                Navin …….. Truth is stranger than fiction….. You better remember LTTE 24/7/52 for the rest of life…….. Please remind me how, when, and where did your Sinhala/Buddhists army fight the IPKF. ………….. It would be an interesting chapter to be added to Modern Mahawamsa.

              • 1
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                Hey Navin, I completely agree with Native Vedda. It was the LTTE which kicked the dreaded IPKF out of our country, not the SLA. One Indian General said to Rajiv Gandhi, before this becomes the next Vietnam, we need to pull out. Thus, they pulled out. So don’t blow your horns too loud. If you disagree with Native Vedda and me, then exhibit your great wisdom and tell us how the IPKF left their hell called Sri Lanka, where they came to be slaughtered. Remember they dragged about 2500 of their dead and 50 thousand wounded back to India. It was the LTTE which fought these fellows alone. Yes, Premadasa gave them weapons, but it was all the LTTE’s work which got these Indian fellows out of the country. Remember I can’t stand the LTTE, SLA or the IPKF. So don’t think I am part of the Tamil diaspora which supports the LTTE.

          • 0
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            Why do you have to celebrate or erect monuments for the soldiers who killed thousands of innocent people? They were paid to do the job!! There are no sinhalese parties, red,blue or green who has clean hands!! Their aim is only to kill as many Tamils as possible and make Sri Lanka a Budhist (blood soaked) country!!

            What is wrong with you guys? Why do you have such hatred for Tamils? Are you jealous of the antiquity and richness of their language?

            • 1
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              Why do you have such hatred for Tamils? Are you jealous of the antiquity and richness of their language?—

              I can assure you that I have absolutely no hatred for Tamils. I have benefited immensely from both Sri Lankan Tamils and Tamils who are South Indians (Yes they are Indian citizens if you are in doubt) and I myself have being able to contribute back to the lives of many Tamils. Tamils and Sinhalese both have this metal rod “antiquity and richness of their language” stuck up their ass all the way to their head piecing their skull that often times they don’t see that there are other equally “rich and elegant” cultures around them.

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                Navin ……….. “Tamils and Sinhalese both have this metal rod “antiquity and richness of their language” stuck up their ass all the way to their head piecing their skull that often times they don’t see that there are other equally “rich and elegant” cultures around them.” …………… This is precisely my point……….. It is a shared heritage, history and culture, an most of us want keep the country that way….. In the Sinhala/Buddhist minds, words and actions so far we have witnessed, this island should be made a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in the Indian Ocean. ……….. You may not realise that is what you say in your comments…………

        • 1
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          It is about trust. Remembering the dead is all good, but been arrogant to remember the dead on tiger maaveer day could be taken as an act of aggression by the people who suffered of tiger separatist violence. There are enough and more reason to distrust TNA, they should not add more to the list and damage the reconciliation process.

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            Not to worry; distrust is mutual! Why should a Tamil trust any of the Sinhala leader? Can you give me one example please? Please be Liberal on this!

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              The last time I checked there were plenty of Tamil, Muslim and Christian politicians in both SLFP and UNP. Does that tell you something or are you blind?

              • 0
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                Liberal, I asked you a question; you did not answer! Can you tell me one reason as to why a Tamil should trust a Sinhala leader? It no good you say that there Tamils and Muslims in UNP and SLFP. Of course there will be some and there is no surprise is there?

          • 0
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            Liberal One ………. The people not only want to remember those suffered under LTTE but also under your Sinhala/Buddhjist armed forces. However the Sinhala/Buddhist state continued to deny the ordinary people the right to mourn/grieve their dead kith and kin. …… The ordinary people are not aggressive as you imply. ……. Have you ever visited South when the ordinary people mourn/grieve their relatives who were murdered either by JVP terrorist or made to disappear by your armed forces? ……… Next year visit them.

          • 0
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            In the same breath, how would a Tamil feel, when thousands and thousands of Tamils were killed, maimed, starved, raped, imprisoned by the “uniformed thugs” with the approval of the “supposed to be leaders” is celebrated with milk rice and fireworks!!

            The Sinhalese consider Tigers to be terrorists. That is o.k. But they often compare the “supposed to be leaders” to Pirapaharan!! The leaders are supposed to be impartial and should treat all the citizens, equal irrespective of the language spoken or religion practiced!! Sri lankans seems not to expect this from their “so called leaders” Their definition of the qualities of a leader is way inferior to that of the normal expectations around the world!! Something is wrong here.

            How is that the country has money to squander on a lot of unwanted things eg, the largest number of Ministers in this planet! Half of them don’t even know what is happening in the parliament!! Gallivanting with a massive entourage, particularly involving the Royal family, but has no money to rehabilitate the maimed, widowed, citizens or to find the missing, abducted people!

            The sinhalese politicians have done nothing positive for the Tamils to TRUST them.

      • 1
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        So what? It was not remembering just the LTTE even if it was they are sons and daughters of the soil of the north. Could be misguided but they sacrifised their life for what they believed in the hope they can find a better future for their people.

        I dont think they will be ever forgotten. If the rest can understand this and move forward it will be easy for those people to come to terms with what happened and put it in the past.

  • 2
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    Good suggestion. Pl do it by example. Start by separating TNA from diaspora and LTTE sympathizers.

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      A part of the diaspora have been driven out of the country by the injustice and violence (=state terrorism) of successive governments. Therefore TNA cannot be delinked from the whole diaspora.

    • 6
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      Professional, I think Sumanthiran’s presence in the TNA shows that it has gone in a different direction. After all, Sumanthiran is getting broad appeal for good reason. He is doing something which no other politician has succeeded at in Sri Lanka which is uniting diverse peoples. He is doing this because his themes are not race or ethnicity or even religion. Sumanthiran is uniting people behind their common love of freedom and democracy. He is also uniting people behind the one thing most agree on which is the rule of law applied equally to all. I think the man is great!

      • 3
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        agreed !

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      Separating TNA from the diaspora, basically MRs divide and rule, is too late now I guess. Diaspora was created willy-nilly by Sri Lanka Politics,and has grown majestically. It is not a harmful unit to the Sinhala community but a significant arm of the local Tamils – be it Political parties or just society. Being one of the largest diaspora in the world, it would be wise to incorporate them in the Policies of future govts. in its own interest.

      The Gota-minded policy of placing on-hold the issuing of dual-citizenship is harming Sri Lanka in the long-term and Policy makers have no say. A typical attitude of current SL.

      Tamil Diaspora: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_diaspora#North_America

      • 1
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        “Diaspora was created willy-nilly by Sri Lanka Politics,and has grown majestically. It is not a harmful unit to the Sinhala community but a significant arm of the local Tamils – be it Political parties or just society. Being one of the largest diaspora in the world, it would be wise to incorporate them in the Policies of future govts.”

        Good point Mr. Punchinilame. Do you mean that Tamil diaspora is only anti-MR and GR and not anti-Sinhala or Anti-Sinhala Buddhist?

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          The Professional …….. Tamils in general have never been anti Sinhala. However they have been with the Sinhalese since 1915 until the last days of war. …. LTTE won the war for the Sinhalese and the elections for MR. ….. LTTE fought the war against IPKF for and on behalf of the Sinhala/Buddhists state while its armed forces were hiding behind their women folks sacrificing 100 of thousands of Tamil lives. …. There is one commonality among the Tamils and Sinhalese. …… Both hate Muslims.

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      The diaspora is a major part of the Tamil community and their not going anywhere. Tamils should take a lesson from the Jews. One silver lining for the Tamils is that the second generation of Tamils are getting active in local politics in their adopted countries.

  • 3
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    finally what will bring well being to the people of our country or any country: it is not simply allegiance to a party, to an ethnic group or not even blindly following of religion, but to be patriotic; that is the ability to love all the people of the country even at the expense of one’s own life; the compassion and the sensitivity to listen to the truth spoken by fellow brother or sister and the generosity and courage to speak the truth without malice towards none.

  • 6
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    M.A. Sumanthiran is the ultimate moderate voice of common sense in Sri Lanka which is why he attracts so much support from so many diverse people. I love reading your columns and watching your speeches. You are every much a leader as good, if not better, than anything the west has to offer. I am behind you 100 percent. Sri Lanka’s stock would rise quickly if you were its president. I hope that someday you will lead this nation out of the dark place it is headed. I believe that day will come.

    • 0
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      are u related to him ?

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        I wish. I would be very proud to be….

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    It was humiliating wasn’ it getting caught on national TV telling a bare faced pokie Mr Sumitharan? If you do this in Sinhala media heavan knows what you say to Tamils.

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      Vibhushana ………. The biggest humiliation so far Sumanthiran has to endure is nothing compared to that the Sinhala/Buddhists state unashamedly suffered when Indian Air force dropped improvised parripu bombs over Jaffna. …….. Those brave Aryan Sinhala/Buddhists including MR were hiding behind their women folks …. There was not even a token resistance to the invading IPKF. ……. The Sinhala/Buddhists defined re-energised the concepts of humiliation and complete capitulation. ….

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    Very good note Sumanthiran. It does not apply to the Parliament alone but to all institutions in the country which are becoming ‘mini parliament’ in its present status, ‘listen to agressives’ or ‘dont listen to any’.

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    The article contains much sense. The actual ‘doing’ is more complex. Parties with ethnic labels don’t help, particularly when extremist voices and extremist demands emanate from within. It is going to take a long time for a political party with a honest and credible national character for moderates to rally round emerges.

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    What is this Moderation peddler doing in the same camp with Terror Sira and his other moderate Prema?…He says Billions of Dollars have been spent to pave the roads…. Do these Moderates have special ways to pave the Roads without spending money ???…Has he been reading the works of , Praba, Paikiasothy and Rudrakumaran on how to build Infrastructure in Eelaam, ??…..And he says there is no Law an Order now….. . Was he under a Rock until May 2009 ??…..

  • 2
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    Mr MA Sumanthiran MP, You said “There is still hope, as long as a few of us remain committed to reasonable, non-violent and dignified means of resolving our differences.” Very Good, but what is your reasonable solution? Is it the granting of third of the land and two third of the coast line solely for Tamils as their so-called home land while good many in your rank are ganging up to pave way for Eelam via HR council with a gang called IC. If you want the majority to believe you, you will have to show them that Tamils do not want segregation to start with. // Now do not write me off as an extremist and discard this request for I do not believe only what I say is right, and only my religion is right, and only my race is the best.

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      Banda ………….. “Is it the granting of third of the land and two third of the coast line solely for Tamils as their so-called home land” …………. The reasonable solution depends on how soon these two stupid peoples leave my ancestral land. ….. Regaining my land is important to us than your reasonable solution. Both stupid peoples can find a middle path once you have settled down in your ancestral homeland North/South India.

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    Hon. M.A. Sumanthiran,

    You have won my vote!

    Sharmini Serasinghe

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      I bet, you houri would have voted even velu’s grand father against sinhala buddhists.

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        @I am no muslim

        I bet you would vote even for the devil if he said that no power would be devolved to the North & East. :)

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      M.A. Sumanthiran, you have my vote too.

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    I can’t believe that he is a member of Parliament,because after ’77, my belief is only that the unemployable enters politics.Hon.M.A.Sumanthiran,you’ve proved my belief is wrong.I fully agree with your view point.

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    During my recent visit to Sri Lanka when I through my conversations with young people of all communities I realised that the young people of Sri Lanka of all communities wish to live and work together and look forward to a new political vision and direction. Sumanthiran seems to be providing such a vision a direction. So his views should reach the young generation of the country so that they will be guided in the right path.

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    The essence of the message – the call to support moderate voices – is valid. Many may think Mr. Sumanthiran is not that voice – that matters not. What is important is that concerned citizens should take that call to heart. Trading insults and abuse is not going to bring peace or justice.

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    Hello Dears!

    All of you have expressed your personal opinions.

    But, the Para-8.150 of the LLRC Report says:

    “The Commission takes the view that the root cause of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka lies in the failure of successive Governments to address the genuine grievances of the Tamil people. The country may not have been confronted with a violent separatist agenda, if the political consensus at the time of independence had been sustained and if policies had been implemented to build up and strengthen the confidence of the minorities around the system which had gained a reasonable measure of acceptance.”

    2) the Para-8.163 of the LLRC Report says:

    “The decisive rift in the inter-ethnic relationship came first with the riots of 1958, then in1977, and culminating in what is known as ‘Black July’ of 1983, and the heinous failure of the then Government to provide adequate protection to Tamil citizens. The problems pertaining to the Tamil Community and their grievances cannot be fully addressed without a fuller understanding of this culture of violence that marred the relationship between the Sinhala and Tamil communities.”

    3) the para-9.285 of the LLRC Reports says:

    “The Commission strongly recommends that a separate event be set apart on the National Day to express solidarity and empathy with all victims of the tragic conflict and pledge our collective commitment to ensure that there should never be such blood-letting in the country again. Based on testimonies it received the Commission feels that this commemorative gesture, on such a solemn occasion, and at a high political level will provide the necessary impetus to the reconciliation process the nation as a whole now poised to undertake.”

    4. the para-28 of the UN Panel Report says:

    “After independence, political elites tended to prioritize short-term political gains, appealing to communal and ethnic sentiments, over long-term policies, which could have built an inclusive state that adequately represented the multicultural nature of the citizenry. Because of these dynamics and divisions, the formation of a unifying national identity has been greatly hampered. Meanwhile, SINHALA-BUDDHIST NATIONALISM GAINED TRACTION, ASSERTING A PRIVILEGED PLACE FOR THE SINHALESE AS THE PROTECTORS OF SRI LANKA,AS THE SACRED HOME OF BUDDHISM. THESE FACTORS RESULTED IN DEVASTATING AND ENDURING CONSEQUENCES FOR THE NATURE OF THE STATE, GOVERNANCE AND INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS IN SRI LANKA.”

    Will you all make your comments now?

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