16 October, 2019

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Rationale For 13A Minus Plus

By Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

In my article “The Solution to the Ethnic Problem” I argued that the implementation of 13A minus land and police powers together with a fully functioning democracy will lead to a solution of the ethnic problem. I expressed a conviction about that outcome, which could seem to be foolhardiness on my part. That article published in the Colombo Telegraph, where up to now it has provoked 175 responses, which is a very exceptionally high number. That seems to attest to a very widespread interest and concern over the question of a solution to the ethnic problem. Some of the responses, particularly from Tamil readers, indicate that my article can be seriously misunderstood. I am therefore setting out here a brief rationale for 13A minus plus, brief because I am focusing only on what seem to me to be the essentials.

I hold that the Sri Lankan Tamil ethnic problem is in reality an Indian problem. If not for the fall-out in Tamil Nadu of what happens to the Tamils here, which can evoke the deepest concerns in Delhi, the Tamil ethnic problem would not have the kind of international resonance that it has at present. The Tamils would be treated as a conquered people – that is to say like dirt – about which some concerns would be expressed by some Western countries where the Tamil diaspora can wield some influence. Those concerns would have been irritants to the SL Government but not a danger to Sri Lanka. The West has also been concerned about the fate of the Tamils but I believe that India is the main external factor in our ethnic problem, and India is concerned not with human rights but with putting an end to the ethnic problem. That is why shortly after the present Government came to power, holding out the prospect of a solution, the presentation of the war crimes report in Geneva was postponed by six months. To see the ethnic problem as more an Indian than a Sri Lanka Tamil one is crucially important for working out a solution.

The crux of the Tamil ethnic problem is that the Tamils hold that they are not just another minority but a national minority with a valid claim to a homeland, an area of traditional Tamil habitation which lasted down the ages, where furthermore the Tamils had a kingdom which lasted for five centuries or more. Consequently they claim that in terms of the sacrosanct principle of self-determination they have a right to set up a separate state, Eelam. If that is not possible, they claim on the sacrosanct principle of internal self-determination the right to a very wide measure of devolution, amounting at least to federalism. It is that claim to a very wide measure of devolution that the Sinhalese side has not been able to accommodate. The result has been a quarter century of war which left around a hundred thousand dead.

Will the Sinhalese side be able to accommodate the Tamil demand for a very wide measure of devolution in the foreseeable future? I doubt it very much. I am afraid that the Sinhalese objections to a very wide measure of devolution have not been articulated too well. They fear that devolution beyond a point will lead to Eelam in an ineluctable linear progression. The analogy they seem to have in mind is that of Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Rhodesia. But in that case the imperial centre of London was far away whereas here a Perumal of the future will be instantly jailed together with his separatist cronies – without objection from the international community – unless of course UDI is part of an Indian plan to break up Sri Lanka. The real objection to too wide a measure of devolution – an objection that does not figure in Sinhalese discourse as far as I am aware – is that it could make the task of forging a sense of national unity much more difficult. Another Sinhalese objection is that devolution makes sense in a huge country such as India but not in tiny Sri Lanka – which of course is to forget the Swiss model. I can think of a much more fundamental objection to devolution in anything but small units. In India there has been no antagonism between the States nor serious antagonism between the States and the Center. Here we are expected to have a Province or two Provinces linked together in which the Tamils will be dominant after having fought a quarter-century war and with close links with 60-million-strong Tamil Nadu. That arguably points to a continuing fateful polarization between our two major communities. That kind of polarization as a consequence of devolution is not to be found anywhere in India. It too will stand in the way of forging a sense of national unity.

I will not expand on those arguments because my purpose here is to focus on the essentials. Compromise on police and land powers might be possible, corrections and improvements amounting to an extension of 13A are conceivable, but wider devolution going in the direction of federalism does not belong to the realm of practical politics in Sri Lanka of the present-day. Let the Tamils continue their struggle for wider and wider devolution, and let them and the Sinhalese continue to bicker over Constitutional and other matters. But let us, while all that is going on, thoroughly implement 13A minus land and police powers, plus a fully functioning democracy, a mix that should lead to a solution of the ethnic problem.

What I am really advocating is a grass roots approach to the ethnic problem. Certainly an ethnic problem can be solved through devolution, and the setting up of certain institutions, backed by Constitutional provisions. But that approach has failed dismally in Sri Lanka over many decades. I have set out above the underlying structural reasons for that failure. The Tamils conceive of themselves as a nation which is entitled to a separate state or a very wide measure of devolution, and they can be expected to be very reluctant to give up that claim as long as they feel that Tamil numerical preponderance – taking into account the sixty million in Tamil Nadu – will count some day in establishing Eelam. Many Sinhalese have feared devolution for the identical reason. They have always held that the Tamils will never be satisfied with a modest measure of devolution but will ask for more and more until they get Eelam or something close to it. By way of substantiation they can point to the present situation: after the Presidential elections there seemed to be a good prospect of a final political solution on the basis of 13A, but now the Tamils want 13A plus, apparently with the backing of India.

I have set out above hard and inescapable facts that will continue to militate against any solution based on a very wide measure of devolution. The present situation cries out for a paradigm shift in our approach to the ethnic problem. I have proposed 13A minus plus. I will now make some points that constitute part of the rationale for 13A minus plus. It will help if both sides begin by acknowledging that both have contributed mightily to our ethnic tragedy. A) The Sinhalese must acknowledge that the main cause for the civil war was State terrorism from 1977 to 1983. B) The Tamils must acknowledge that because of LTTE intransigence they missed opportunities for a political solution from 1994 to 2000. C) The Sinhalese must acknowledge that the conditions were very propitious for a political solution after the military victory of 2009, but that became impossible because of the racist neo-Fascism of President Rajapaksa. D) I suppose it is too much to expect the Tamils to acknowledge that the conditions again became propitious for a solution after the recent Presidential elections, but they are being negated by Wigneswaran’s advocacy of 13A plus to the extent of federalism, for which he claims the backing of India.

In this situation the thorough implementation of 13A minus police and land powers, plus a fully functioning democracy will lead to a grass roots solution of the ethnic problem. Devanesan Nesiah in his brilliant article “Are the Sri Lankan Tamils prone to collective political suicide?” (Island of April 8) referred to the “horrible depths” to which the lives of vast sections of the Tamil population of the Vanni and elsewhere have descended – as attested by the meticulous research of Dr. Rajan Hoole Let the Government alleviate the misery of those Tamils, and my guess is that they won’t give a dam about devolution. Remember that the Jaffna farmers voted heavily for Hector Kobbekaduwa without bothering about devolution because they were grateful for what he did for them. People want a better life and my guess is that if they can get that devolution will become of secondary or no importance.

I suspect that our Tamils have illusions about what India can do for them. It is true that India can try to break up Sri Lanka under certain circumstances, but we can be sure that it will try nothing of the sort unless it has heavy international backing, and for that we have to be guilty of horrendous ill-treatment of the Tamils. India can of course harm us in various ways, particularly by getting together with some of the Western countries, but there will be no warrant for that if we are seen to have a reasonably clean record on human rights, and are also seen as trying to give fair and equal treatment to the minorities. That can be done without any devolution at all.

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Latest comments

  • 30
    2

    The pervading presence of the military which invades all activities of tamils – their lives & livelihoods is completely ignored by writer.
    If the military is removed from tamil areas of habitation, most problems will be settled.
    Tamils are not going to “run away” with the landmass.
    The LTTE is dead but it is the military which is trying to resurrect it, to remain in the lands occupied by them.
    It appears that the state no longer is in control of the military.

    • 5
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      Yet another stupid outpouring of a self claimed pundit. It is clear to any fair minded person that he has an anti Indian agenda. It is India that is standing in the way of an independent state for Tamils, for which Sinhalese must be grateful. India created Bangladesh without the support of the international community, and therefore if India wants to create Ealam, no one can stop it. Sinhalese are ungrateful to India for this stand, and keep on rejecting the advice given, to give Tamils substantial autonomy. This was re-iterated by Indian Prime Minister during his visit to Srilanka viz to go beyond 13A in a spirit of co-operative federalism. Just because majority of Sinhalese are not prepared, does not mean that Tamils should continue to be denied their legitimate rights. The suggestion of 13A minus police and land powers is a non starter for even the moderate Tamils, and has to be forced on them. Please remember that enforced solution will not bring peace. Elsewhere in the world, similar problems were settled only by foreign interventions.

      Srilanka is a foreign policy failure to India. India had been bending over backwards to please Srilanka such as agreeing to deport Tamils and to grant Katchativu. Rajapakse was given five years to reform, and when India found that he is incorrigible, got him kicked out. The present government have promised to India and western powers, that they will settle the Tamil problem by going beyond 13A, and will reduce the military presence in Tamil areas, but they do not seem to be honest. They have assured Mahanayake Theros that they will not withdraw the army. Even in returning of lands forcibly taken over by the army, they promised to release 1000 acres of the occupied 6000 acres, but only released 500 acres, out of which only 20% are lands where people had lived and the rest bare lands. With this hoodwinking methods, there is every possibility that the present government will delay indefinitely, taking any action to settle the Tamil problem. India as a regional power will have to show the stick, when the carrots fail, to get Sinhalese to see reason.

      I studied at Royal College around the same vintage as that of Wigneswaran and Wickremasinghe. Despite secular upbringing, out of my 75 Sinhala class mates, bar a few fair minded, the rest are not willing for any devolution to Tamils. Thus Sinhalese will never agree to a settlement according to international norms, and the problem will need foreign intervention. India has every right to implement the Indo-lanka accord, if Srilanka fails to honour. At first it would be diplomatic pressure as what is happening now, and what may happen if it fails to succeed, we have to wait and see. Now there is no Prabaharan to spoil the Indian party, if it sends troops to Srilanka for that purpose. After the defeat of the LTTE, Sinhalese have been exposed to the world that they are the ones and not Tamils who are intransigent in arriving at a settlement. Now Tamils have regained their moral high ground as an oppressed and helpless people. Tamils have the most powerful weapons for their struggle, viz Truth and Justice, which according to history, have always triumphed at the end.

      • 1
        35

        Dr GS – You write “stupid outpouring”, which is abusive. I have told you before that abuse is not argument but you seem incapable of learning. You write of me as a “self claimed pundit”. Can you tell me where I have made that claim. You can’t. You are a liar, an abusive liar.You write that “India created Bangladesh without the support of the international community”, and therefore no one can stop India from creating Eelam. When Bangladeshi refugees started pouring into Bengal India did not take military action. It waited for eleven months before intervening, during which time it did a brilliant job in stirring up international opinion against Pakistan. Andre Malraux wanted to go and fight for the Bangladeshis, the Beatles sang at Trafalgar Square to raise money for them, and so on. You are ignorant of those facts. You are an ignorant abusive liar. I can’t waste my time on you. Go away.- IH

        • 2
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          Dear Izeth, what I have said is true. Your statement that I am a liar shows to what low level you have descended, when your hidden agenda is being exposed. US and it’s allies, Muslim countries and China did not approve of the creation of Bangladesh. US sent it’s seventh fleet to bay of Bengal. India had to get the help of USSR to amass it’s troops along the Russian Chinese border to prevent China getting involved. Srilanka allowed Pakistani military planes to refill in Colombo on their supply missions for war. You seem to suffer from selective amnesia, in order to further your lop sided views. Tamils also had support for their cause, which Prabaharan destroyed it by his foolish and selfish acts. India had no intention to create a separate state even at the height of massacres of Tamils and refugees piling up in India. Does all these do not prove that you are a stupid fellow who is wasting the time of intelligent people. Please stop posting your rubbish in a decent site as Colombo telegraph, if you are not prepared to accept the reality.

          • 1
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            Dr GS – “stupid outpouring” – that’s abusive, so I replied in the language suitable to you. You wrote “self-claimed pundit”. I did mot make that claim. I cited what others said or wrote about me in reply to abusive attacks against me by lunatic fringe racists. So you are a liar. I am aware that several countries were unhappy over the breakup of Pakistan. But there was an immense international wave of sympathy for the Bangladeshis and very strong disapproval of Pakistan. I believe that if not for that factor India would not have intervened militarily. The international norms of today won’t permit the cavalier breaking up of countries.
            You call me “a stupid fellow” – abuse is your element – and ask me to stop posting my articles in the CT. You are unable to face up to the fact that the CT Editor chooses to publish me. Articles are not automatically posted. You are in a state of impotent wrath. You may be unaware that the effort to stop me being published in the Island and the CT has been going on for over a year – to no avail at all. I suppose that that is why the Tamil racist attacks against me are much less than in the past. At one time each article provoked attacks by about ten Tamil racists spewing forth hysterical hatred and mad-dog rage. Now it’s only Ketti joined by one or two “stupid fellows” like you.
            I will now provide just a few details to show why I continue to be published. My weekly articles have provoked several very favorable responses from readers, including from Tamils one of whom was Fr. S.J. Emmanuel. A Tamil expatriate paper in Canada took the trouble to publish two of my articles in translation. Did they think I am anti-Tamil? A well-known NGO offered to publish in book form my series of articles on the SL Muslims. Not many articles get that kind of accolade. Does all that fit in with my image as a stupid fellow? I am not boasting. I am citing how others estimate my writings, in self-defense against attacks by mad-dog Tamil racists – IH

            • 1
              1

              This is one of the unfortunate comments you made on that learned
              Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam. And, in keeping with your known character brazenly deny it. These are your words, Sir – ugly words, I hasten to add – “You are an ignorant abusive liar. I can’t waste my time on you. Go away…” This is not the language of a perfectly sane man engaged in civilised debate. It is clear you need immediate medical/psychiatric help. It is equally clear the very mention of a Tamil name drives you bonkers. What a sad sod!

              Kettikaran

        • 2
          1

          Once again crude and uncultured language from this ‘ex-diplomat’ merely because someone has a different view. It is time our senior diplomat and regular commentator Bandula de Silva advises his friend – this Hus – to use polite and temperate language in debate. It must be said in favour of Mr. de Silva, even on those occasions when readers strongly disagreed with his views, he did not abandon his cultured demeanour. Breeding, good company and upbringing may have had something to do here. Won’t surprise me if Hus is totally unaware of these civilizational features.

          Kettikaran

          • 1
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            Ketti accuses me of using crude and uncultured language. I used the same abusive term used by Dr GS – “stupid”. That is objectionable from me a Muslim, but not from a Tamil. Earlier also the Tamil racists have used the same double standard in attacking me. It shows the depth of the Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racism. – IH

      • 5
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        Dr.Gnana Sankaralingam,
        Well said. Moreover, Izeth Hussain is concealing a vital fact that India’s concern is about the threat of Islamists from Eastern Province and trying to deviate the subject. 13th Amendment has provided Police & Land powers to the Provinces to which JR has already agreed, but reluctant to implement. India has repeatedly said that self-determination is the only solution which was evident at the Thimpu Talks.

        • 1
          1

          Izeth Hussain is blinded in his hated of the Tamils and India, he ignores to write on the crisis within Muslims in Sri Lanka (outside the BBS and other anti-Muslim issues) Muslims unnaturally multiplying in the East has now resulted in the Tamils being over-run in the Eastern Province Council itself to be a minority. It is not difficult to predict continuing Tamil-Muslim clashes in the East in the future. Muslims themselves are sharply divided there with the older and peaceful conservative Muslims and the young provocative Zihadists, mostly middle-east ruffians who have returned, in sympathy with Taliban, the ISIS and so on. It requires Chennai’s “Hindu” to highlight, a few days ago, the Fatwa issued on an educated girl from Eravur – Sharmila Seyyid – merely for expressing her views on BBC. The Zihadists in the EP have declared a Fatwa on her and chased her out of the country – threatening to kill her. It is time this Izeth Hussain, who finds fault with Tamils and Sinhalese regularly, shift his searchlight inwards, if he knows what’s going on. It is time Sri Lanka realises the country has been sacrificed to the war designs and machinations of both Pakistan to gradually begin their attacks on the Southern soft belly of India – from Muslim-dominated areas of the Eastern Province. It would appear Ashraff bought expensive properties in London and educated his children in the UK – at the expense of Sri Lanka’s security considerations.

          Kettikaran

    • 12
      1

      “”is completely ignored by writer.””

      Remember reconquest(711-1498)…

      here it is the same style: that is because the attitude of the Muslim in the native majority Sinhalese; underneath whatever they wear.-
      crusade and land grab by stealth in the 21st centenary- Sonia the Nazi daughter wanted to complete it for them (Hitler respected the Muslim)by handing over Kashmir to Pakistan and that is Rhaul G. game (don`t interfere there but be aware his father was Muslim cross courtesy mahatma who was in practice a Muslim polygamist- within the decade India would expose it;;;;;)

  • 47
    2

    You keep stating the same old thing over and over and over and over and over again.

    You still have not gotten over your bias of Modi. You can scream all you like but looks like Modi is here to stay and India is here to stay.

    • 18
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      Srilanka is a very small island and Sinhalese can’t run a government. I wish Modi take over the governance of this island and create two regional states under Central indian government.

      • 18
        1

        well he gave the bait on his visit- a $1.5 billion restructuring so that the Lankan rupee may not fall.
        So we said that he meant `lankans stay in your brood` no float sams no jet sams with drivel of war.

        Like Pakistan got around $3 billion from Saudi to recover from financial collapse and in return play the Sandi game on Syria. SMALL WORLD Lanka was hooked by Modi with $1.5 billion to stay in its brood. ‘Lanka Reserves Expected to Boost from Indian Currency Swap’

        COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s official reserves are set to receive a boost by the currency swap arrangement with India, signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, the country’s Central Bank said today. “The official reserves are projected to strengthen further with the proceeds pending from the currency swap arrangement between Sri Lanka and India and other identified regular investment inflows to a level of official reserves comfortable for supporting the exchange rate stability in the immediate future,” Central Bank of Sri Lanka said in a statement. During his visit to Sri Lanka last month, Prime Minister Modi had pledged USD 1.5 billion in financial assistance on a currency swap arrangement. The Reserve Bank of India and Central Bank of Sri Lanka agreement will help Sri Lanka keep its Rupee stable. The Sri Lankan Rupee has been under pressure since early January and has fell around 1.5 per cent so far this year despite Central Bank action to sell dollars to defend it. The bank also announced today the cutting of policy interest rates for the first time in 16 months. The deposit facility Rate and the lending facility rate of the Central Bank are reduced to 6 per cent and 7. 50 per cent, respectively. “Current behaviour of market interest rates is viewed to be inconsistent with the continued low inflation and investments needed to address concerns on economic growth for the year. “Inflation is projected to remain at low mid-single digit level in 2015,” the statement added. The Central Bank said the inflation, on a year-on-year basis, declined to 0.1 per cent in March 2015 from 0.6 per cent in February 2015. The annual average inflation also declined to 2.5 per cent from 2.9 per cent recorded in the previous month. http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/Lanka-Reserves-Expected-to-Boost-from-Indian-Currency-Swap/2015/04/15/article2765683.ece

    • 1
      0

      Dear IH, when you are advocating full democracy, why not advocate the devolution of democracy, which will be implemented by one legislature with a Tamil majority for merged northern and eastern provinces and another with a Sinhala majority for the rest of Srilanka. This is already happening in United Kingdom with a separate assembly for Scotland, the home of parliamentary democracy.

      • 0
        19

        Dr Gnana,

        “Tamil majority for merged northern and eastern provinces and another with a Sinhala majority for the rest of Srilanka”

        This is possible for the North. East can not be included in the combined North East.

        • 7
          0

          Ravi Perera the Sinhala speaking Demela

          “This is possible for the North. East can not be included in the combined North East.”

          Why not?

        • 2
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          Dear Ravi, rightful owners of Eastern province are the Tamilised coastal Veddhas living in the eastern province. It is they who have to decide about the future of Eastern province and not the Sinhalese, Muslims or even the rest of the Tamils such as Mukkuwars. For the misfortune of the Sinhala racists, these ancient people want a north east merger to protect their people from Sinhala murderers. The oldest place of worship in the eastern province is Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee which the Sinhala racists have tried several times to destroy without success. The current state of eastern province is due to large scale Sinhala colonization carried out by successive governments, the uncontrolled Muslim population growth, and the ethnic cleansing of Tamils by the state, all of which has caused a reduction of Tamil majority. Please do not be a racist, because there is ample reason for the merger. What you can do is to merge the two provinces, and make adjustments to the boundaries, such as remove Amparai electorate from the east and link it to Uva, remove Puttalam electorate where ancient urn burial sites a hall mark of Dravidian civilization have been found, from North-west and link it to North, remove Gomarankadawela AGA division from East and South Vavunia AGA division from north and link them to North-central.Then carve out a Muslim majority sub-council area, similar to Pondechery by linking in a non contiguous manner to Muslim majority area. Denying the merger of north and east to satisfy Sinhala racists is grossly unfair.

  • 12
    12

    I commend Mr Hussein for attempting to address this long standing and intractable problem. And unlike some authors (like Mr Jayatilike, taking on readers comments and evolving his argument). I agree with some points but of course continue to disagree with most. Here are my responses:
    i) Mr Hussein, like Mr Jayatileke, continues to believe the parameters of Sri Lanka’s solution are defined solely by what the majority is willing to concede, whether it is right nor not. The Tamils disagree. That is an immoral position, but also a ‘non-realist’ position, given the contemporary events in Kosovo, Aceh and East Timor, amongst other examples;
    ii) Sinhalese fears about devolution of powers to Tamils are many and as Mr Hussein suggests with his example of ‘Switzerland’, a great many are not relevant or well founded. They have been whipped up by theocratic lobbies that continue to play a big part in modern politics. Were Mr Hussein genuinely seeking an equitable solution within a united framework his proposals should include reconstituting Sri Lanka as a secular state, as sidelining the Buddhist lobby is essential to what ever sort of peace is built;
    iii) Regarding Mr Husseins mutual concessions (A,B,C and D), i think they make sense, but it is too early to judge D. So far the new government’s reformist agenda appears just skin deep – to the neutral they really don’t look that different to Rajapakse and in the North the military oppression and police intimidation continues, as various commentaries from the press to the UN have observed recently;
    iii) As for the argument that the ‘Tamils always want more’ – its a little duplicitous as nothing agreed with the Tamils has ever been implemented in the history of post Independence Sri Lanka. Its a little unfair judge the Tamils when the state can’t deliver on simple, existing deals – unless Mr Hussein suggests that 13A has in fact, and unbeknownst to the Tamils been implemented. As for 13++ it was promised as part of the deal to help defeat the LTTE – so looks like yet again the Sri Lanka state is trying to wriggle .. will be a little tougher this time though, thanks to Mr Modi and Co;
    iv) As for the argument that economics will subdue Tamil aspirations, that’s not true and nor is it morally right. The tamils are an indigenous people of the island, no about of roads, bridged, and development can change that. Those aspirations are now well established, there have been referendums on the matter and there is no doubt that the Tamils see themselves as indigenous people. Only the continuation of the genocide will change that.

    • 1
      64

      The following are my responses to Alex.
      i)I don’t know why Alex says that I continue to believe that the parameters of a solution are defined solely by what the majority is willing to concede, whether it is right or not. I have never held that belief and have never written anything to that effect. My parameters are defined by the international community. A new Government may be unwilling to give land and police powers, but that should not preclude a thorough implementation of 13A in its truncated form. I believe that the international community will approve of tat position. I want a focus on the people’s needs instead of on infrastructure as under MR. The IC will approve of that too. I want a full democracy as in the West, under which the Tamils too will be enabled to live in peace, freedom, and dignity. The IC will approve of that position as well. I don’t need lessons on Kosovo etc. I have written two articles on the possibility that India might impose a Cyprus style solution.
      11) I too want a secular state, but that’s not possible in the foreseeable future.My thinking on the problem is as follows. It is inevitable that Buddhism will have the foremost place because of Buddhist numerical preponderance. The real problem is that the racists want Buddhists, not only Buddhism, to have the foremost place. That problem has to be solved through full democracy.
      iii) I have been outspoken on Sinhalese racist Governments reneging on commitments and failing to implement agreements. But it seems to be in the logical order of things that the Tamils who want Eelam or something close to it should want more and more and more than 13A. As for military oppression in the North, let us see what happens after a new Government is installed. If it continues unabated, Eelam could follow sooner or later.
      iv) I have never argued that economics will subdue Tamil aspirations. I want a full democracy which implies much much much more than economic justice for the Tamils. – IH

      • 9
        1

        Izeth hussain,

        We can go on debating the pros and cons of how to solve the ethnic problem.

        However, the UNHRC report on Sri Lanka in September may turn out to be a game changer; when the premises of the arguments of this author and others like him, may become irrelevant and invalid.

        If the Sri Lankan state has failed to protect and continuing not fully protecting the basic human rights of Tamils, then things may take a different course.

        • 0
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          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

        • 1
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          The 6 months Let by the UNHRC is for the new Ranil-Sirisena regime to get hold of matters. The final outcome of the Report will not change. As a matter of fact, it could be further disaster for MR and GR when their arms-running multi-million dollar surreptitious business is found out. Not just the Ukrainians. It may well be these mindless idiots also may have sold arms to rebels in Nigeria, Kenya, Somali and even in Nagaland. The new Govt must also have a chat with KP to check if GR and his men discussed with him about the wheeler-dealers in the global illegal arms racket.

          When a government falls to the hands of uneducated mutts, it is like a garland in the hands of a chimpanzee. Soon, once all these surface to the attention of the world, we will see the Rajapakses will throw mud in the face of every Sri Lankan by their underhand misadventures.

          Backlash

      • 0
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        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 19
        2

        CT in that case completely put it to rest for you in Buddhist style.

        When the Girl Razeena was to be beheaded Muslims/Islamist and CT were hiding behind a woman’s skirt.
        Tissarani Gunasekera was grooming the pick pocket government. Yes or No What did CT and comments achieve except for jaw dripping abuse of Saudi.

        Only in medival muslim world judiciary is ad hoc. Decide by mulla who can marry 8 times or even hundred as in Dubai world record.

        In the US alone a few hundred Somali Muslim’s have grown to a town of 50000 in 10 years and are now escaping to Syria to fight USA- they spit at the good salt they receive.

        When the Palestinian with UK nationality was killed Prince Charles came over personally for a Russian girl with no religion and got justice- that is the difference in world we live in.

        Don’t tell us someone over there is running a job agency sending Buddhist maids to ME??

      • 2
        0

        Being inflicted by the regular re-runs of Izeth Hussain reminds me of a film in my younger days where that German actor Curt Jurgens said “the more and more I see (Mr…)the less and less I like him” On a careful reading of Hussain one comes to the conclusion he has not written anything new. He has merely rearranged his prejudices – differently.

        Hussain’s anti-Tamil rhetoric continues as he, once more, refers to them as “dirt” Surely he does not expect the Tamil Nation to like his series of regular and unprovoked insults – particularly coming from an arch racialist. Is the man’s repertoire so woefully limited he cannot find a more polite word as an alternative. Or does he automatically get high as he sees the word Tamil? Why does his friend Bandu de Silva, who sprang to his defence, teach him the art of polite language and diplomacy.

        He is not only sadly mistaken when he reads our ethnic issue as an Indian problem. He blunders as he goes on “To see the ethnic problem as more an Indian than a Sri Lanka Tamil one is crucially important for working out a solution” I am of the view our National Question is created entirely by us and we must close ranks to solve it. This is fundamentally acknowledged by all sensible quarters. What has been the impediment is the majoritarian factor, to which we makes reference here. It is Sinhala extremism and the politicised Buddhist clergy that is against a solution. To this quagmire, of late, comes in the disproportionately high army – placing us in the predicament of Pakistan> Pakistanis themselves say they lag behind India in all the indexes – because the army there plunders much of their resources under various pretexts. Just because Pakistan is in ruins does not mean we should follow the path of that theocratic and collapsing state.

        Fortunately, the new dispensation of Sirisena-Ranil-CBK-Mangala S is working hard to take Sri Lanka out of its racial-religious trap in the fresh post-January 08 opportunity. But the extremists are regrouping and are trying to poison the electorate on the same evil doctrine that destroyed the country in 1956. Is there room here to take lessons from the wisdom of Francis Fukuyama when he sagaciously warned “those who do not learn from history are condemned to relive it”

        Why does Hussain twist history with the deliberate falsehood “Tamils had a kingdom which lasted for five centuries or more” while the Sinhalese have themselves accepted Tamils have been here as long as they. Is he leaving room in the future so that the Muslims can lodge in their claim for a Separate Region for them now that “they have been here for about a thousand years” – which is fiddlesticks. Lorna Dewaraja will say anything after a good Buriyani feed. When Hussain writes “they have a right to set up a separate state of Eelam he is not speaking in sympathy with the Tamils. He is, in fact, massaging the prejudice of Sinhalese that the Tamils are still for a Separate State. But I think the Sinhala leadership is now convinced, on the basis of repeated statements by the Tamil leadership in and out of Parliament, they are no more for a separate state and are for an undivided island that recognises past history.

        As Hussain proceeds he observes “wider devolution going in the direction of federalism does not belong to the realm of practical politics in Sri Lanka of the present-day” Why not? Unless you want to suggest to the already confused Sinhalese Federalism is Separatism. Your duty, Sir, as a teacher, political and outstanding intellectual that you claim to be, is to teach the Sinhalese to be practical after 60 years of obstinacy. You should point out the Sinhala side fooling the Tamils and leaving them empty-handed after Wiggie’s NPC winning the PC elections convincingly, does in no way promote unity or reconciliation.

        We are fully with you when you observe “an ethnic problem can be solved through devolution, and the setting up of certain institutions, backed by Constitutional provisions..” and then you go on to express your disappointment “that approach has failed dismally in Sri Lanka over many decades”
        I think, Mr. Hussain, you should write more by teaching the Sinhalese side to see that approach more positively. There you can make a contribution to unite the divided country – instead of pouring oil on the dragging communal inferno by your onslaught of weekly forced “wisdom”

        “Tamils will never be satisfied with a modest measure of devolution but will ask for more and more until they get Eelam or something close to it” you write. This, Sir, is the language of the miniscule of uncompromising Sinhala extremists both in the lay and clerical sides. Not that of a peace maker. Most Tamils I know care little about Eelam – now or when VP/LTTE ran the show. They simply want to live in peace and dignity with all communities as they did prior to the 1950s.

        “Tamils want 13A plus, apparently with the backing of India” Why do you insist in dragging India to our mess unduly. 13A is the baby of the Sri Lankan side, as India has continued to insist. If a politicised Supreme Court in Sri Lanka played pandu with it and violated an international protocol, it is our baby. You know all too well that notorious and maverick Chief Justice has since distanced himself from his mischief. He was later to say if it (13A) is presented differently it may be acceptable. That is our side playing football Mr. Hussain – not the Indians or Mody. Also, don’t you remember our own popular President Mr. Rajapakse told the Indians and the UN – more than once – he will give “13A and more” Who is cheating now, Mr. Hussain.

        “The Sinhalese must acknowledge that the main cause for the civil war was State terrorism from 1977 to 1983” Here you become slimey again. The “main cause” or parts of it began long before 1977. Have you forgotten the time when the untested and inexperienced Mrs.B sent her cousin General Udugama and his army of adventurers to the “weak” Tamil mainland for a job that could have been easily and efficiently handled by the then multi-racial, linguistic Police force. This act of political “chivalry” was described by the fighting youth as “sending an army of occupation” into the Tamil areas. Those were the times and incidents that brought forth armed Tamil resistance.

        Continuing and repeating your deception of India’s intention you say “India can try to break up Sri Lanka under certain circumstances,….. for that we have to be guilty of horrendous ill-treatment”??? Do you, in all seriousness, think the Sinhala Govt and side have been treating the Tamil Nation well and strictly by the words of the Constitution all these years, good Sir. Like Rip Van Winkle, have you been on a long sleep or “at your regular heights” that you shared with us recently.

        Mr. Hussain, many of us have reason to think Sinhala majoritarianism, the politicised Buddhist clergy and the armed forces have taken us to the edge of the cliff. Don’t blame the Tamils, the diaspora or India for that. It is these trouble-makers who should bring the country back from the brink. If at all I agree with one sentence you wrote this time, which I believe is also your fond wish. And that is “My guess is that they won’t give a dam about devolution” So be it.

        Kettikaran

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          This Ketti’s mind is so full of racist hatred that he cannot understand my plain English. He berates me for describing the Tamils as”dirt”. I did nothing of the sort.What I wrote was that if not for India the Tamils would be treated like a conquered people – that is to say like dirt. That is to say that that is how conquerors have usually treated the conquered. Mot that I approve of that.
          Somerset Maugham was a life-long Francophile and preferred to live on the Riviera rather than in England. He fled France when the Nazis came in. When he was asked what would be the fate of the French people he replied tersely “Eat shit”. Obviously he didn’t approve of that.
          I haven’t read the rest of Ketti’s garbage. Can’t waste my time – IH

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            Reading you, Sir, against our wishes so boringly often, we take note of your quote of Somerset Maugham about the French fate under the Nazis. It seems to me your homing on the wrong type of words in literature has made you what you are – taking so much of flak from Tamils, Sinhalese, those using pseudonyms and others when you use such unacceptable language. Pity the poor man!

            Kettikaran

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              This poor fellow Ketti seems to be determined to make an ass of himself. He cannot answer my point that when I wrote that Tamils would have been treated like dirt I meant nothing derogatory about the Tamils. So he resorts to double standards. He is not critical of Maugham for using the word “shit”, but he finds it unacceptable that I quote Maugham. Earlier he was not critical of Dr GS for repeatedly using the word “stupid” about me and my writings, but my use of the same word by way of retort led him to speculate on my (entirely imaginary)low upbringing. These Tamil racists are far gone in their lunacy.
              He writes that he and others are reading my boring articles against their wishes. Who is compelling them and why? He will never divulge that because he and they belong to a cowardly racist gang who sense some kind of threat in me. I will explain what I have in mind in a future article.
              As for “boring” let me give some facts. When CT started publish my articles I received several encomiums, including one from the head of the Global Tamil Forum. A Tamil expatriate magazine in Canada published two of my articles in translation. Did they think of me as anti-Tamil or the opposite? A well-kown institute in Colombo wants to publish my series of articles on the SL Muslims in book form. Is it their expectation that the readers will find them boring? – IH

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                “…who sense some kind of threat in me..” Perish the thought
                Mr. Hussain. To us you are nothing but a boring, nondescript,
                abusive, writer-pretender. Reading your work gives us a few minutes of laughs. Keep churning the regular hog-wash. We need some leisure after reading the more sensible and serious writers in these pages.

                Want to comment on the Eravur Muslim girl Sharmila – recepient of the Fatwa from your ilk – the local Jihadists? Or is it you know little of what’s happening in the Muslim EP – the omniscient one.

                Kettikaran

      • 2
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        Mr Hussein, firstly thanks for your thoughtful responses. I suppose in the first two bullet points of your response contains the correction to my understanding that you have to date limited your solutions to that which the ‘majority’ (read Sinhala Buddhists) will accept.
        i) In (i) you say your ‘parameters’ are defined by the International Community and in (ii) you say that in your thinking it is ‘inevitable that Buddhism will have the foremost place in any solutions. The two statements imply that the International Community is wedded to the idea of preserving Buddism’s foremost place in Sri Lanka. Is that your contention? And if so upon what do you base that hypothesis?
        ii) On three I would have thought the logical order of things would be to continue to critique those who abrogate deals rather than buttress or defend unfounded fears that ‘the Tamils will always want more’. The latter has no foundation, as no deal has ever been delivered – thus the tamils will of course always want more than nothing – even the language rights that were promised were never really implemented. I would stop pandering to the ‘fears of the SInhala buddhists as they are not logical and thus cannot contribute to a discussion about a genuine solution. Note those fears are the foundation of almost all of Mr Jayatileke’s arguments too;
        iii) (iv) I am glad you are for a full democracy – not sure how you plan to achieve that by criticising Tamil politics. The overwhelming problem on the island is Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism. The International Community is well aware of that and thus their policies (as Mr Jayatileke has correctly identified) is to undermine the Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka. Going back to Kosovo, majorities that are ardent ethno-religious nationalists will face the full brunt of International soft (and hard) power
        iv) Finally, I note elsewhere you continue to asset that as Tamils can live perfectly happily in other liberal democracies they should settle for that in Sri Lanka too. Once again you miss the point – they are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka and there is no deal that can ever change that, and so there is no point thrusting such a solution upon them, as the conflict of people will simply continue.

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          Thanks Alex for your sober dissent. Serious dialogue is so important and so rare in Sri Lanka.
          I) I did not write anything to the effect that Buddhism will have the foremost place in any solution. I merely commented on your view that we need a secular state.
          ii) The Sinhalese racists keep reneging on commitments and failing to implement agreements. The corrective is to get them to do so, not to ask for more devolution. The latter tactic bolsters the argument that the Tamils want Eelam or something slightly less. I don’t pander to the irrational fears of the Buddhists. I have argued many times that we can give any amount of devolution without that leading by itself to separation. I have never had a single response over the years. However, we must face the fact that fears though irrational are real. We have to try to change that. Not easy.
          iii) and iv) I have never tried to promote democracy by criticizing Tamil politics. Since 1990 I have written many articles on the importance of having a fully functioning democracy without any reference to Tamil politics. Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism is the major problem. But I think it is important to recognize that Tamil intransigence has contributed mightily to the mess. The main reason for that intransigence is the foolish expectation that India and the international community will set up Eelam for them – which in reality is possible only as a very remote contimgency. Plese see Jehan Perera’s article in today’s Island, and also Dr G Sankaralingam’s account of how Bangladesh was set up – in his exchange with me above.
          True, the Tamils claim a homeland and all that. But I don’t believe in unchanging social realities. They lived very happily under the British and prospered without any devolution. Today most Tamils are living outside Tamil areas. They don’t seem to have a great yearning for a Tamil environment.
          I am not trying to thrust a solution on the Tamils. Let them by all means continue their struggle for more devolution. But let us at the same time take action at the grass roots level as I have proposed. It is a pleasure to exchange ideas with you _ IH

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        Actually, a comment I made to another reader (in your defence) made me think of one more point.

        You of course advocate a ‘full (liberal) democracy’ in Sri Lanka. In those circumstances it is not unlikely (in fact given the Diaspora it is quite likely) that Tamils and Muslims, will once again and quickly dominate the wealth and economics of Sri Lanka

        Can anyone believe that if the Tamils once again held 50% (or more) of the economic power in Sri Lanka, the majority of Buddhists would be fine with it – that is what a ‘full democracy means’.

        What do you think? Given contemporary rhetoric, I suspect the answer is ‘no’ ( the majority will not be satisfied with such a situation), which is why a ‘full democracy’ won’t work. You must believe that the answer is ‘yes’ (that they have learned from history, and will be fine with Tamil / Muslim economic domination).

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    What is amazing to me is that this author fails to understand that India, under whatever government will never ever support a separate Eelam. So, why is he constantly harping on the theme of ‘Eelam with Indian support’ unless he has some ulterior motive in creating a ‘hate India’ opinion among the populace? On what basis does he deduce that India is for the creation of a separate Eelam?

    Again this author is constantly harping on minuses, a total negativistic person he is!

    Let alone 13A. Why cannot he advocate the government withdrawing from all the grabbed lands at once, five long years after the end of the war? He obviously doesn’t want land powers to be devolved so that the central government can continue with land grabs, Gota style unabated and the Tamils to be at the mercy of such autocrats!

    Sengodan. M

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      To be far to IH, he is advocating a ‘full democracy’, which from what I understand of his writings include ‘de-militarisation of the NE’. Where, he is less clear is how a ‘full democracy’ guarantees Tamil rights in the future, which of course is what the discourse in terms of a political solution is all about.

      After all, for the Tamils, Muslims and other indigenous groups of the island, there is no point in having an ordinary democracy, if pursuant to their economic success (which is not unlikely in a free sri lanka) another Chauvinist party start the entire cycle again.

      Can anyone believe that if the Tamils once again held 50% (or more) of the economic power in Sri Lanka, the majority of Buddhists would be fine with it – that is what a ‘full democracy means’. Interesting I have to pose that question to IH.

      • 1
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        Alex – I don’t think that the Tamils ever held 50% of the economic power in their hands. The Sinhalese were seriously under represented in the State sector. But Sinhalese business got going from the late nineteenth century onwards, thanks mainly to the three low country castes. They can be expected to continue dominating the State sector and they should be able to do well enough in the private sector, and so should the minorities even though the State can be expected to give preferential treatment to Sinhalese business. We must make a distinction between tolerable and intolerable discrimination. The former is possible under full democracy, of which we were quite capable at one time. I think it will help if we recognize that in politics the choice usually is not between the good and the bad but between the bad and the worse. – IH

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          Thanks for all your responses.

          I note you say that the ‘State can be expected to give preferential treatment’ to Sinhala businesses.

          That is not a ‘full (liberal) democracy), as I understand it. It looks like you are advocating a solution like Malaysia. Where one group are recognised as indigenous and with it given advantageous treatment.

          If anything we need to reform Malaysia, not create more countries like it. Malaysia’s GDP is now less than Singapore (a shocking indictment of their policies given the vast population imbalance).

          In any case we must agree to disagree. I see now as a wonderful opportunity to reform Sri Lanka into a ‘liberal’ state, where political power is correctly represented (and so not a unitary state, where it is not). There is significant external support for those reforms and Sri Lankans should embrace the political structures that bring peace by giving all their inalienable rights.

          Only then can Sri Lanka prosper. United but not unitary. None-the-less it has been a pleasure engaging with you. best alex

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    “In this situation the thorough implementation of 13A minus police and land powers, plus a fully functioning democracy will lead to a grass roots solution of the ethnic problem.”

    This time MR.Hussein’s article will be much better understood by tamils because he is giving the sinhalese side of the coin as to why the will be stubbornly opposing devolution.However he is still chanting the same manthram of 13 minus as a solution to the problem when the tamils are asking for minimum of 13plus.Mr husseins plus is a fully functioning democracy which is actually a plus for the sinhalese and nothing specific as a plus for the tamils.mahinda’s plus was a senate which is also in the same boat as as nothing specific as a plus for the tamils.

    So now that MR.Hussein has only looked at the sinhala side of the coin and come out with the same solution as in his previous article,he must now look at the tamil side of the coin and come out with a solution in his third article.At least he is trying to grapple with a vexing problem whereas many have thrown in the towel into the too hard basket.

    Mr.Hussein has well articulated this time the tamil side of the coin too thus

    “The crux of the Tamil ethnic problem is that the Tamils hold that they are not just another minority but a national minority with a valid claim to a homeland, an area of traditional Tamil habitation which lasted down the ages, where furthermore the Tamils had a kingdom which lasted for five centuries or more. Consequently they claim that in terms of the sacrosanct principle of self-determination they have a right to set up a separate state, Eelam. If that is not possible, they claim on the sacrosanct principle of internal self-determination the right to a very wide measure of devolution, amounting at least to federalism. It is that claim to a very wide measure of devolution that the Sinhalese side has not been able to accommodate.

    Now this is the side of the coin that mr.Hussein has to concentrate on now instead of the sinhalese side of the coin only as he has been doing so far,if he is to find a solution to the problem.Firstly he should look at the last sentence of the abovementioned para of his and see whether the 13th amendment is a wide measure of devolution.The answer is obviously no it isn’t even in its full form.So is it a wide measure of devolution with minus land and police powers?If the sinhalese are trying to prune something that isn’t even a wide measure of devolution then are they as MR.hussein claims” It is that claim to a very wide measure of devolution that the Sinhalese side has not been able to accommodate.”?So how can Mr.Hussein say that sinhalese are unable to accommodate a very wide measure of devolution when they are not even giving the bare minimum devolution required.Even the 13 minus that the tamils are having now is because of the pressure from india,not because the sinhalese want to give even an ounce of devolution to the tamils.

    Mr.hussein must first understand the mahawamsa mentality of the sinhalese to understand the reluctance of the sinhalese to give any teeny weeny bit of devolution to the tamils,let alone very wider measures of devolution.The sinhalese sincerely believe that the country belongs to them and the tamils and muslims can live here as long as they don’t make undue demands on them.The difference between fonseka and other sinhalese is that fonseka is a straight talking straight shooting cussard no frills soldier while the other sinhalese are not like that and don’t talk directly what is in their minds.It does not mean that they are racists,but because they have been brainwashed with the mahawamsa since childhood(just like the islamic fundamentalists have been brainwashed by the koran in islamic schools since childhood)they are sincerely believing(just like the jihad idiots)that they are having tamil and muslim guests in their house and sinhalese traditional hospitality is such they will look after these guests very well(as many tamils and muslims including me would have found that sinhalese are so helpful and friendly),but the anger starts to boil when the guests start to claim that they are part owners of the house.

    For the tamils and muslims there are two choices only.First choice,to accept the fact that the country belongs to the sinhalese and they are their guests in their house.If they do that the they will be basking in the goodness of the sinhalese and will be well looked after(not as much as their own but as much as a guest could hope for.I’am afraid the guests nowadays will not have the benefits of sleeping the night with the wife or daughter because the prude queen victoria put a stop to all those extra bit of hospitality).

    Now for the second choice,if the tamils and muslims start to claim that they are not guests after all,but co owners of the house,then they will be roasting in the bad side of the sinhalese and getting their arses whipped from time to time when they are bad boys and girls.The tamils got their disciplinary action with the cane by the schoolmaster/principal since 1957 when they raised a rumpus about the sinhala only with a satyagraha on galle face green and got continuous doses after that when they were not well behaved guests even going to an extent of killing 13 soldiers.Now they have killed 26000 soldiers and the shoolmaster/pricipal has felt the cane going up his arse.

    The muslims of course,while the tamils and sinhalese have been fighting for 26 years,have quietly got wealthier and wealthier and bought up lots of properties in colombo for their extended families and future generations.With the fighting with the tamils over the sinhalese were now able to look at this matter where the guests were buying up their land and getting wealthy and better off than the home owners themselves.Hence the various incidents of harassment and bullying culminating in the aluthgama riots.Hope the muslims have got the message now and revert back to being well behaved guests in the future.Good behaviour encompasses not only being non violent but also be respectful to the house owners without trying to go buying their land and try to be wealthier than them.The muslims did not realise that ‘well behaved’means these two points too,but now that the schoolmaster/principal has given the cane to the muslim schoolboys(which he managed with difficulty to get out of his arse)they will get the message as to what good behaviour of a guest means.

    So to find a solution to the ethnic problem,Mr hussein you must try to find a way of smashing and unbrainwashing the mahawamsa mentality.

    i’am sure that is easy because you have been successful with all your jihadists who have been unbrainwashed and are now model citizens.

    At least you have embarked courageously on this with two articles.Good luck to you and i hope on your 1000th at least you find the solution.

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      Shankar,

      “Hope the muslims have got the message now and revert back to being well behaved guests in the future”

      If this is your attitude towards the Muslims,how can you complaint about the Sinhalese attitude towards the Tamils ?

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        Ravi Perera the Sinhala speaking Demela

        “how can you complaint about the Sinhalese attitude towards the Tamils?”

        If ever there was complain, it was up to the Tamils and Sinhalese to deal with. What has it got to do with a recent convert like you?

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        ravi,you must always read something in the context that it is written in and not in isolation only.Then only you will be able discern sarcasm and satire and real meanings of words etc.

        In the west you regularly find politicians complaining that they have been quoted out of context.That is because opposing politicians have guys like you who specialise in misquoting their opponents.

        i wonder whether you also have some thing to do with politics?

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 16
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    CT in your `The Solution To The Ethnic Problem`
    On April 11 by I.H. he comments : he is a muslim not of Sinhala or tamil origin then must be Pakistani Immigrant from the partition??
    Anything wrong in that or is he part of your `policy/politics of defaming others because THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO MONITOR YOU?? then play clean about your display please.

    Izeth Hussain
    April 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm
    ReplyModi needs to be rapped on the knuckles for complicating matters by recommending that we go beyond 13A.

    Izeth hussain
    April 13, 2015 at 5:55 pm
    I must be the only Muslim, in fact the only Sri Lankan non-Tamil, who has referred more than once in his writings to the fact that Muslim home guards got together with the STF and drove out Tamils from around sixteen villages in the Eastern Province.
    Now he says: Rationale For 13A Minus Plus
    Have the Muslim’s ever scored Z grade in maths or engineering NO it is not their subject.
    So my simple question to the fascist attitude of his is simply very Buddhist.
    No Coming, No Going:
    Bring me your mind, and I will put it to rest.

  • 1
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    Izzeth:

    ” In India there has been no antagonism between the States nor serious antagonism between the States and the Center. Here we are expected to have a Province or two Provinces linked together in which the Tamils will be dominant after having fought a quarter-century war and with close links with 60-million-strong Tamil Nadu. That arguably points to a continuing fateful polarization between our two major communities. That kind of polarization as a consequence of devolution is not to be found anywhere in India. It too will stand in the way of forging a sense of national unity.”

    You ought to be ashamed of yourself comparing SL to India in a manner as above. When India achieved independence, Nehru and his team realised and believed in “UNITY IN DIVERSITY”. By and large, the model that governed the relationship between the state and centre left little or no room for the sort of antagonism that you are talking about. While there were apprehensions in forging ties with the Sinhalese, which was what the British had emphasised to grant independence to Ceylon, the Tamils trusted the Sinhalese based on the promises given to them by the Sinhalese. From the Sinhala Only Act 1956 to the post 2009 era, successive SL regimes have proved to be cheats and liars. The phony commissions and agreements all duped the Tamils and the world. Pablo de Greiff, in his recent statement pointed out the “Overuse of commissions of inquiry leading to a confidence gap”. That, and not what you suggest, has been the primary reason why Tamils had to draw a firm line.

    “Remember that the Jaffna farmers voted heavily for Hector Kobbekaduwa without bothering about devolution because they were grateful for what he did for them. People want a better life and my guess is that if they can get that devolution will become of secondary or no importance.”

    You mean replicate the often quoted some 22% growth in the North? Hector Kobbekaduwa was a Minister during 1971-77, before the 1983 black July and the burning of the Jaffna library. This, by itself, shows how outdated and antique you and your arguments are.

    “but there will be no warrant for that if we are seen to have a reasonably clean record on human rights, and are also seen as trying to give fair and equal treatment to the minorities. That can be done without any devolution at all”

    Does the history and behaviour of successive SL regimes show even the slightest indication that your suggestion is plausible, ever. This is a mahavamsa state that believes in holding the Human Rights Charter in one hand and the gun in the other. Nothing except lies and deceit are their armors. After all, Tamils didn’t insist on devolution in 1948.

    You know Izzeth what is so funny about all this – the sinhalese will make it possible the division of this country. That is how much idiosyncratic they have become.

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      Jansee,

      I think Hussain is referring to the Presidential election sometime in 1982, in which Kobbekaduwa contested against JR. My memory is a bit hazy but it is that TULF had asked people to boycott it, but Kumar Ponnampalam/ACTC, also contested to see how many votes he would get. Despite the boycott call by the TULF, Jaffna farmers did in fact vote for Kobbekaduwa in fairly large numbers because they had benefited from the restrictions on onion imports, etc., introduced during the Srima regime up to 1977, and wanted those benefits again.

      Thondaman, who was supportive of JR, later mentioned this in a meeting in Batticaloa, saying that the people of Jaffna had ignored him and voted for the man who, when he was a minister, had said he would push Thondaman into the sea.

      Ponnampalam Jr. didn’t get many votes in the North-East but got a sizable number of votes outside it.

      In those days there were still sizable numbers of people in Jaffna who were not Tamil nationalistic, and wanted to focus instead on their own economic lives. But July 1983 changed all that.

      • 1
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        Agnos – thanks for your well-informed clarifications. I recall that in 1977 there were Sinhalese racists who found it intolerable that the Jaffna farmers had done very well. That was the background for JR’s removal of restrictions on onion imports etc.
        A British businessman told me he was very surprised by what was going on because it was surely axiomatic that a nation should grow its own food. He was doubtless remembering the war years when Britain was desperately trying become self-sufficient in food. That would not have been understood by JR because racists are never nationalists.
        In 1982 in Manila a Tamil retired Civil Servant told me that Hector K would give a good fight to JR and that the Jaffna farmers would vote for him because they were grateful for what he did for them. Hector was a nationalist.
        1983 was an episode, a terrible episode. We must weigh that against the entire history of Sinhalese – Tamil relations which for the most part have been symbiotic, not antagonistic – IH

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          I beg to disagree. Hector K was not a Nationalist but a Buddhist Sinhala supremacist with an established anti-Tamil bias. He wanted “Indian” Tamil Stateless workers thrown into the sea. Jaffna Tamils voted for him (1982) not because of the release of imports on Onions and Chillies only. Many of the votes were because of Vijaya K, who campaigned so well for Hector in that election. Tamil votes against JRJ and the UNP was also a protest against the 1977 country-wide pogrom against the Tamils. JRJ showed he has not forgotten this signal – in July 1983,

          Backlash

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    Agnos:

    Yes, I am aware that Hector lost the 1982 presidential election. He passed away the following year (1983). It was this election that had the roots of a tailspin into the dark alley. Irony it may be, the Sinhalese have proven again and again that anything good for the Tamils and the Tamils’ happiness have always been view in an antagonistic way. They simply like their politicians to tell them how much hurt that they have inflicted on the Tamils and earn the votes, and JRJ was but one example when he said that:

    “I am not worried about the opinion of the Tamil people … now we cannot think of them, not about the lives or their opinions … the more you put pressure on the North, the happier the Sinhalese people will be here … Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhalese people will be happy.”

    Over the years, Sinhalese politicians have used this mantra to suppress the Tamils and have built their political careers mainly on this principle.

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