25 September, 2020

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Revisiting Reconciliation And Winning At Diplomacy

By Heshika Deegahawathura

Heshika Deegahawathura

Heshika Deegahawathura

The Setting

At the 67th Independence Day celebrations, the newly elected President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, delivered the state speech centered on reconciliation and progress. As it stands a few wheels are turning in the international arena vis-à-vis Sri Lanka. Firstly, a United Nations inquiry, into the alleged war crimes that occurred in the final phases of the war, is set to be released in March. Secondly, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, met with Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Smaraweera this past week. In a few days’ time, Minister Samaraweera is scheduled to meet Secretary Kerry in Washington DC.

How does all this connect? How can Sri Lanka be prevented from sliding down an irreversible path of foreign intervention in internal affairs? In preventing such, how can we, the people of Sri Lanka, strive to attain sustainable peace from within Sri Lanka? The answer lies in understanding the US State Department’s mindset and in building a framework for true reconciliation.

Understanding Kerry and the US’s take on Sri Lanka

In December 2009, as Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then Senator Kerry endorsed a report titled “Sri Lanka: Recharting US Strategy after the War”. Three points made in the report should be highlighted. Firstly, then Senator Kerry along with Senator Lugar stated that “the [Sri Lankan Government] faces many challenges in transitioning to peace, and the international community can help”. The report goes on to say that “real peace will not come over night to Sri Lanka and cannot be imposed from the outside”. Finally, as a recommendation, the report insists that steps should be taken by the US government to “promote people-to-people reconciliation programs to build bridges between the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities.”

Nisha Biswal MaithiripalaIn essence, the above facts portray that the United States believes that achieving true sustainable peace in Sri Lanka (i) will take time, (ii) cannot be imposed from the outside through international mechanisms and (iii) will need the assistance from donor countries in order to conduct productive reconciliation programs. With the new change of government in Sri Lanka, Secretary Kerry could be thinking back to strategies mapped out in that Foreign Relations Committee Report. For the United States, regaining strategic leverage in Sri Lanka vis-à-vis Chinese interests is important. Further, the US Department of State has enough clout to postpone, or stop, the publishing of the United Nations report. The UN resolution which recommended an inquiry into Sri Lanka was backed by the United States because the US believed that Sri Lanka, under President Rajapaksa, wasn’t taking enough effort to achieve a sustainable peace. It is wrong to believe that the US, or any other nation for that matter, is trying to persecute Sri Lanka, or Sri Lankan officials, at an international level. As it stands, President Maithripala Sirisena’s government offers an opening for Sri Lanka to take a step back and implement a just and robust reconciliatory mechanism. The US State Department knows this. Sri Lanka needs to capitalize on it. Simply put- plan a revitalized reconciliation effort; put it into action. If Sri Lanka can show a credible reconciliation plan to Secretary Kerry then we can lobby the US government to postpone or stop the inquiry from materializing into anything beyond a report.

Revisiting Reconciliation

Sri Lanka has engaged in reconciliatory efforts since the war’s end in 2009. Significant work was done and those involved need to be praised. However, there were loopholes, inefficiencies and strategic mishaps in the previous approach which has left room for international criticism. By virtue the previous failure offers the opportunity for restructuring. The key is to implement a comprehensive and revitalized reconciliation framework that addresses the key issues of people-to-people reconciliation, truth and justice. The framework should address international concerns without compromising the national integrity of Sri Lanka or that of its citizens. Sri Lanka needs to revamp its reconciliation efforts and take genuine, credible steps to achieve true reconciliation. Time is of the essence.

Below, in brief, is the idea for such a framework. The focus of the framework is at the grass root level of society. It does not seek to address constitutional level actions that need to be implemented. If the grass root level reconciliation is achieved then structuring constitutional level policy for a sustainable peace would be child’s play. The framework is built based on a personal understanding of the post-conflict scenario in Sri Lanka. This understanding was gained while working and living alongside soldiers and ex- militants at a rehabilitation camp in Vavuniya.

A) Truth

Truth is the most important aspect of reconciliation. In essence the people involved in the war need to be given the opportunity to voice their narratives. A mechanism for genuine truth-telling like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa should be established. An environment in which people feel safe should be created. Soldiers, military officers, ex-militants, government officials, aid workers and normal citizens from all across Sri Lanka should be given an opportunity to present their truths. They should be given opportunities to voice their feelings of grief and despair. Irrespective of side, people lost loved ones and their stories need to be heard. In return, all such narratives and those that narrate, should be guaranteed security and their views need to be respected. To encourage people to come forward and tell their story, the truth seeking mechanism should be aligned with that of reparations. All hearings and such, in the case that people agree to make their views public, should be made available for the general citizenry of the country. It is the right of every citizen to know, to be a part of the healing process and to grow hand in hand with each other. The media needs to play a critical role is churning out the information being released by such a truth mechanism. It could learn from the South African case in which those processes were telecast on national television for a few hours every week. The internet provides many other innovative ways such as social media to communicate such narratives too. Youth volunteers who have capacities in engaging with such material could be recruited. The youth of Sri Lanka is quite enthusiastic of a peaceful future for the country and they could be engaged en masse for such efforts. Media units should be respectful and release material in a manner that fosters reconciliation and builds camaraderie between communities.

B) Justice

The flow of truth will cascade onto justice. Justice has numerous fronts. Care should be taken to select one (or more as necessary) aspect of justice that fits the Sri Lankan scenario best. The form of justice that would be most productive in the context of Sri Lanka would be restorative justice. Restorative justice is important because it emphasizes reconciliation and the restoration of social harmony between the communities. It is a form of justice that is born at the communal level and hence would also foster people- to-people reconciliatory efforts. Restorative justice begins with truth. The work done by the truth mechanisms above would pave way to put restorative justice in place. Since restorative justice functions best at the grass roots levels it could be initiated through the local governmental institutions in Sri Lanka. For instance, a structure that incorporates inter “Grama Niladhari Division” (GND) interaction of peoples, with Divisional Secretariat (DS) oversight, would be ideal. Such programs could first be piloted in former border areas of the conflict. For instance, Grama Niladhari Divisions belonging to the Divisional Secretariats of Vavuniya South and Vengalacheddikulam could setup restorative justice committees with GNDs belonging to DSs of Medawachchiya and Kebithigollewa. This formula could then be extrapolated to encompass most regions of the country where inter-communal restorative justice is most needed. The combinations of the setup would have to be constructed by academics, community workers and government officials as seen best-fit in achieving the goal of reconciliation. The committees that would form from such interaction would also need the support of the justice department and those associated with the legal framework of Sri Lanka to offer guidance. Men and women participating in such committees would then have the opportunity to return to their communities and spread reconciliatory efforts with the assistance of the respective Grama Niladhari personnel. The inclusion of local religious figures, representative of the communities involved, would also assist in restorative justice efforts. Further, any suggestions and recommendations that arise from the committee hearings that have national level ramifications needs to be forwarded to district, provincial and national level authorities through the Divisional Secretaries. These efforts for restorative justice needs to be carried out in tandem with the truth telling mechanisms (detailed above).

Any push for retributive justice should be cautioned. However, if deemed to be the suitable method, such processes should be conducted within the realms of the legal framework of Sri Lanka. For instance, when it came to the My Lai massacre that concerned the US Army in the Vietnam War, 26 persons were charged, 14 went through a proper court partial procedure, but only one, Lt. Calley was convicted to life in prison. Eventually, Calley would only serve three and a half years under house arrest and was granted parole by the then US Secretary of the Army Howard Callaway in 1974. The fact remains that proper processes were conducted in accordance to the US military law. In South Africa, based on the TRC hearings and his own testimony, Eugene de Kock, the former head of the South African counter-insurgency unit C1, was sentenced in 1996 to 212 years in prison for the illegal killings he conducted which were deemed to be crimes against humanity. On January 30th 2015, 19 years after the conviction, current justice minister of South Africa, Michael Masutha announced that de Kock had been granted parole in the interest of nation building and reconciliation. Further, the TRC was given a mandate to grant amnesty to those it sought fit, given that those individuals confessed truthfully. In 2007 former President Mbeki instituted a process, to grant special pardons in addition to the amnesties granted by the TRC Amnesty Committee, which has been continued by his successors Presidents Motlanthe and Zuma. The positivity of forgiveness was given prominence. Further, retributive justice can be too risky and also, at times, be counterproductive to the goal of reconciliation. In the case of Sri Lanka retributive justice could instigate ultra nationalist forces to provoke the masses which would then enable rent-seeking political leaders to manipulate such sentiment. This could push Sri Lanka back by several decades to the very situation it saw itself in the 1950’s which eventually led to the civil war. The crux of the argument is that retributive justice isn’t the most efficient method of justice that should be implemented with regard to the Sri Lankan case but, if implemented, would need to go hand in hand with forgiveness for sustainable reconciliation to be achieved.

C) People-to-people Reconciliation

In the long run, people-to-people reconciliation would be the most important aspect of the reconciliatory framework in Sri Lanka. This would mean altering the mindset of nearly the entire population of the nation. Three decades of warfare has left a sense of distrust and enmity towards communities outside of the ones people belong to. This is especially true in the “deep-North” and “deep-South” of the country. There are certain important conditions upon which the national people-to-people bonding framework should be built. First, national reconciliation should be built from the ground up. No matter how many dialogues we have at the higher echelons of civic society, if the effects of reconciliation aren’t felt by the general populace, then we would have failed. From Padaviya to Thissamaharama sons and daughters of innocent, loving families joined the armed forces and were killed in the battlefields of the Vanni. From Valvettithurai to Omantha sons and daughters of sincerely caring families were recruited by the LTTE and sent onto the front lines to be cannon fodder. The general populace of Sri Lanka bled deep and bled long due to the war. Tears and wails of anguish were heard for many nights on both sides. Of paramount importance is shaping the mindsets of the common man- those that walk the streets of the country and bear the burdens of our nation. Hence, all reconciliation efforts should start with the general populace.

Secondly, the approach should be multi-dimensional. It can’t only focus on one demographic, be it youth, women, middle-aged men or rural communities. The approach needs to simultaneously target all sub divisions of society. For instance, if it’s only the youth who are engaged then they’ll face friction from their elders upon returning to their own communities. However, a multi-dimensional approach will, hopefully, create a cohesive mindset between sub-groups and expedite reconciliation efforts. Further, it would also be helpful if organizations specializing in handling a certain demographic of people are involved and hence can contribute with their expertise. It should be a national plan that would be implemented in stages, considering geographies and demographics of society.

For the purpose of discussion, and to roughly map out the reconciliation plan, I will broadly categorize the population of Sri Lanka into two main categories (In the real case scenario the breakdown of efforts would have to be much more intricate and finely mapped out). On one side would be the “mature” category consisting of people belonging to the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X – roughly, those born from the end of World War II until the late 70’s. On the flip side would be the “young” category consisting of people belonging to Generation Y and Generation Z- roughly those born from the late 70’s till present day (Of course I’ll leave the tiny toddlers, in their pampers, out of the equation since they’re too busy sleeping and being cute! But more importantly because if we can change the mindsets of the guardians then we won’t have to be worried about the toddlers being indoctrinated by negative mindsets)

The mature category of people would be those that are hardest to engage in reconciliatory efforts, since they are those that would have faced the brunt of the war. They key is to achieve maximum levels of engagement at the grass root levels. Once again the framework of Grama Niladhari Divisions and Divisional Secretariats detailed in the “Truth” section above can be put in place. Each Grama Niladhari Division would have social groups associated to various causes like ‘village development’, ‘women’s issues’ and ‘funeral assistance’. They key is to create linkages between such groups in communities that see themselves in animus with each other. The Grama Niladhari himself, as a peace bearing official, would play a critical role in creating and sustaining such linkages. The linkages could involve, but are not limited to, participating in inter-community social welfare programs, assisting village level development programs of other villages and inter-communal festivals (Sinhala-Tamil New Year and Eid would be a good start). Inter-community trade could also be developed based on regional agriculture and the respective needs of the communities.

Next would be people-to-people interactions targeted at state and private sector employees. They need to be engaged with their counterparts from various regions of the country. For instance, personnel from the Kandy Municipality Council could build interactions with their counterparts from Jaffna. Employees attached to a private sector bank in Matara could build sustainable linkages with such employees in the banks’ Kilinochchi branch. These interactions could be at the level of, but not limited to, leisure exchanges, workshops oriented at communal reconciliation, and social work done in favor of development work conducted in rural communities both in the North and the South. When compared to the state sector many private sector companies and organizations have progressed in this aspect and have engaged in intermittent activities of this nature. However, what should take place is a nationally coordinated effort to engage the Sri Lankan populace.

When it comes to the “young” category of people-to-people reconciliation the main focus should be on schools and educational institutions. What is encouraging is that vast majority of Sri Lanka’s youth is optimistic about reconciliation and a sustainable peace. As a part of the technological and information revolutions they are aware that the benefits of peace far outweigh the costs of civil turmoil.

Sri Lanka has an educational network structure that is quite robust. These include public and private secondary (i.e schools) and tertiary (i.e universities and institutes) entities of learning. A policy should be structured as following. Secondary and tertiary entities should initiate inter-school and inter- university/institute dialogues and programs catered for students, and student unions with the over sight of the academic staff. For instance, schools belonging to the department of education in the Southern Province could be matched with schools belonging to the Northern Province. The University of Jaffna could build a connection with the Universities of Colombo & Kelaniya. The Eastern University of Sri Lanka could build relationships with the University of Ruhuna. The combinations in which the schools and universities could be connected are numerous. This network structure would create inter-school and inter-university/institute relationships between students of the main ethnicities. Caution must be taken to include logical and fair representation of students of all ethnicities. These students would have common grievances which would be helpful in establishing cordial relations between each other. This aspect needs to be constructively capitalized upon.

In essence, what needs to be accomplished is the linkage between students, as many as possible, who are representative of the student bodies, in each of these institutions. Once the linkages have been created, leading students should be brought together for discussion panels, seminars and workshops. The dialogue in all of the above activities should be centered on creating implementable reconciliatory mechanisms within the realms of each of the respective schools, institutes and universities. The students can contribute and collaborate in creative ways such as through art, theatre and film to spread the messages of reconciliation. In turn, the students can also influence the local communities from which they hail. As educated youth, they would have significant leverage in molding the mindsets of those in their individual communities. For this exercise to succeed, the efforts of school level, provincial level, university level and national level educational administrative bodies would need to be at their utmost. In addition, other governmental bodies that are engaged in youth led activities, need to be involved and be able to contribute towards this exercise. The selection of students could be based on voluntary self- recommendations while all students could have a mandatory participatory requirement through written ideas for discussion in terms of questions and essays. There are many non-governmental organizations that also have expertise dealing with youth led initiatives and their expertise would also be helpful.

A significant portion of Sri Lanka’s youth would have already gone beyond the realms of education. Yet, engaging this sub-category of youth is also important. The best method of capturing this group in reconciliation efforts would be through youth groups, clubs and organizations that they are part of. Alumni associations, entrepreneurial societies, welfare societies, leadership and community service organizations are a few of the many groups that these youth belong to. If the government can incorporate the efforts of such individual youth organizations and streamline them into the cohesive national reconciliation effort then it would be a feat that would set a model for the entire world to follow. All that is needed is the will-power to put in the effort and an inexorable determination to make it a success.

Challenges

Two large problematic issues could crop up with regard to the implementation of a mammoth national policy framework for reconciliation. First would be the funding for such a large scale reconciliation effort. If Sri Lanka is to achieve true, sustainable reconciliation then the government would have to play a major part in allocating the necessary budgetary requirements. However, the responsibility shouldn’t fall completely on the government. There is room for the private sector to be involved through Public Private Partnerships. If corporations can be involved with development efforts and policy lobbying then why can’t national reconciliation efforts be privatized to a certain degree? After all, a reconciled Sri Lanka would reap far more benefits in the long run than the cost of reconciliation. Further, private sector expertise would also assist in making such processes of reconciliation highly effective. Sri Lanka could also be strategic with requesting foreign funding for such a reconciliation drive. If Sri Lanka can map-out a pragmatic plan for implementation, take definitive steps in that regard and portray the capacity to execute sustainable reconciliation then non-intrusive foreign funding would also be attainable.

Secondly, and unfortunately, the truth is that most of the populace is indifferent to the concept of reconciliation. For them, they do not see a direct correlation between national reconciliation and personal progress. Reconciliation is a fancy word that lies in the intellectual realms beyond getting their daily or monthly allowances, sustaining their families and putting food on the table. Hence, what needs to be done is create a utilitarian correlation between true national reconciliation and personal benefit, in which, if reconciliation is achieved, all Sri Lankans stand to gain something tangible. This issue with this, however, is that such a tangible benefit cannot be quantified. For instance, what is the true monetary gain of reconciliation? We know that it would be good for the country but we cannot put a rupee amount on it. Hence, what we are left with is to play a qualitative game- a game based on patriotism, emotional allegiance and the heart to make all of Sri Lanka and its people better.

Revisiting Kerry and the International Stage

Secretary Kerry is a man who believes in integrity. It’s a trait he got from his parents. As a statesman involved in diplomacy, Secretary Kerry also believes in empathy- listening to the story of the other side. That is why Sri Lanka can appeal to him with a righteous plan for reconciliation. Sri Lanka needs to show him, and the world, that Sri Lanka is genuinely interested in reconciliation. This, in turn, needs to be corroborated by bona fide action. If so, it paves way for Sri Lankan diplomats to persuade countries, the likes of the US and India, to allow room for the country to heal under its own terms. This is the most effective way through which we can stop external intervention in Sri Lankan affairs. If not, those with malicious intent towards a unified Sri Lanka would keep lobbying for an international intervention.

Final Thoughts

Mother Lanka shouldn’t compromise on the victory of a unified Sri Lanka. No, sir! We are at our strongest when we are united. Sri Lanka has on its palm an opportunity to prosper. It is the duty of all Sri Lankans, irrespective of ethnicity, to reconcile with each other and show the global community the enduring passion of our unity. Let us rise to realize the true potential of the wonderful country we proudly call home! After all, that’s why we ended the war didn’t we?

*Heshika Deegahawathura is an Old Trinitian and graduated with honors and distinction in Political Science and Government from Yale University. He currently works on business strategy in Mumbai, India. He can be contacted at heshika.deegahawathura@aya.yale.edu

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Latest comments

  • 14
    31

    “My fellow Yalie” how does that self aggrandisement add to the story???

    • 12
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      Quick question Since when did the USA become the ‘international communituy’?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????. They or He has written off nerly a few billion people and nations. Funny kind of ‘INT COMMUNITY’ still i suppose the USA are the Only nation that Lied to the United nation and Invaded Iraq and Broke that nation into pieces. Many Oceans of Civilian blood later now this ‘int community’ is helping syria out by supporting Heart eating criminals. Yes Sri Lankan needs the Justice of the USA i mean ‘INT Community’ who until 2008 called Nelson Mandela a terrorist in the same state dep. Even the LTTE political wing had more sense than the USA sorry i mean ‘INT Community’

    • 28
      12

      Unfortunately Chucky, I must point out that your comment does not add anything to both the article nor the discussion. The credentials, on the other, do go to show that the author is more knowledgeable in the field of political science than the average writer and reader.

  • 17
    33

    So are we suppose to read the story with a different perspective because of the your credentials you mentioned at the end of the article? What was the purpose of that?

    • 20
      14

      rather try to grasp the purpose of the perspective :)

  • 32
    14

    Great article Mr. Deegahawathura. It’s clear that its people who haven’t got the credentials who feel the need to focus on it. Sri Lanka needs more perspectives from people like him.

    • 11
      24

      Well, I do not mean to distract the conversation from the content of the article. Many have written about the transitional justice and retributive justice. And I have no major issues with the article. It is a good one. However. it is funny that Keith assumes that people who commented do not have the similar or higher credentials are the author of the article. It is the norm that these days authors do not drum beat their credentials to the extent author concerned here has done. Anyways, this should not be a point of discussion here , it is rather trivial. Lets focus on the content of the article.

    • 26
      13

      Few who feel intimidated by the authors credentials seem to have forgotten what the article states instead focusing on the last paragraph only

    • 11
      19

      ‘My Lai massacre that concerned the US Army,,The fact remains that proper processes were conducted in accordance to the US military law’ First the Entire Vietnam was based on a Lie where the USA political Administration Illegally Bombed and Invaded Vietnam. WHich lead to Chemical weapons, Humans been Burnt alive by American napalm bombs dropped by USA Airforce on Civilian Areas, Massive Rape torture and killing of Civilians and After the war Not one USA politician who gave the orders was charged with war crimes. WHich lead to Iraq in 2003. The writer says ‘The fact remains that proper processes were conducted in accordance’ The USA Constitution and LAw was broken by politicians based on lies.

  • 20
    10

    Heshika, the basis of that unity that once existed and some of which still remains has to be identified and strengthened and developed. I hope you are here to do this.

  • 15
    31

    what a tool this author is telling the reader what his university grades were….. small wonder he is working from Bombay with that pedigree!!!!

  • 14
    25

    As if we give a shit about your credentials Heshika. You’re so full of it

    • 27
      12

      Maybe no one else cares Kenny, but it looks like you actually give a shit. It’s why you choose to focus on that minor detail when there’s an entire article of intelligent insight and thought to discuss.

      • 5
        22

        STFU and Go back to Krypton

  • 23
    13

    The extent to which Sri Lankan thinking had deteriorated is evident by the key board heroes trying to devalue the author’s ivy league education. Any author should proudly display what they rightfully earned unlike the fake degree holding Namals of yesteryear or the ones who’ve never set foot in an ivy league institute or OxBridge colleges.

  • 12
    19

    The author’s faith in Kerry is rather misplaced. The Americans recently voted him the worst US Secy of State, even worse than Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright. On several occasions in the recent past he has been trumped by the Sinhala-speaking Sergey Lavrov, his Russian equivalent.

    • 20
      2

      Kerry being voted the worst Sec. of State, as you state by the Americans themselves, shows that he isn’t always working on furthering American interests. This, in fact, corroborates the authors claim of being able to get Kerry to lobby for Sri Lanka. What might be “worst” for the Americans but be the “best” thing that happens for the Sri Lankans.

  • 25
    15

    It seems some are hell bent on ruining the few good men Sri Lanka seems to be producing. If you haven’t gone to an Ivy League or Oxbridge school, I suggest you not be envious about it but appreciate that this person rightfully earned it. The article offers a view we have not seen before, therefore it is important that we dwell on it and not the author’s credentials. They are impressive and they add value to the article but the article itself deserves the attention than the sad comments trying to demean the author’s achievements.

  • 19
    9

    This dude makes sensible comments.

    But, are the current lot who govern the inhabitants suited for the tasks?.

    Uncle Sam was desperate to put UNP in Power mainly to get rid of China from Srilanka.

    Chandrika wanted revenge.

    Fonseka started the ball rolling for the UN to find ways and means to topple the eliminators of the LTTE.

    Fonseka was aided and abetted by the British, France , Canada, and Norway every which way to punish Rajapaksa for not bending over to them and release Prabkaran and his Commanders, to fight another day.

    5.6 Million voters however realized the Opposition plot and stood for the great achievements of peace, harmony, and little development they received from the previous Regime.

    Right now Swire boy and Taylor boy are in high level discussions in Westminster to help the UNP become a legitimate government with a legitimate PM.

    After the British helped the Syrian Elite and their partners, who are equivalent to our UNP partners, the Anglicans, and the Vellalas , 12,5 Million Syrians are refugees today.

    And the UN woman in charge of them is organizing a fund raiser right now in Kuwait to find money to feed them.

    5.6 Million who voted against the UNP must be extra vigilant now. to prevent Ranil becoming legit.

    Otherwise there is a strong possibility that North and East will be out of bounds again to them, as it was from the 80 to 2009.

    Bathudeen , Assath Sally and Hakeem joining with the Sambnadan, Premachandran and Sivaliingam may be reconciliation .

    Can Ranil force them to reconcile with the 5.6 Million ?..

  • 21
    12

    A well written, detailed article displaying an in-depth knowledge of the challenges our country faces in terms of reconciliation. Let’s hope our internal systems are good enough to see some form of these intelligent suggestions materialise. The future is in our hands. Keep up the great work Heshika.

  • 19
    0

    To clap you need both hands. Reconciliation cannot take place unless the Tamil Community also respond. How can this happen when the North Provincial Council accuses the Sri Lanka govt of practicing GENOCIDE of the Tamil Community.

  • 8
    24

    Heshika Deegahawa

    Revisiting Reconciliation And Winning At Diplomacy.

    Reconciliation is an internal process and Diplomacy is the International Community trying to engage Sri Lanka to right the wrong which under MR proved to be difficult as MR has his own agenda of Ethnic cleansing.

    I want to pick up on the following and put the record straight.

    1)How does all this connect? How can Sri Lanka be prevented from sliding down an irreversible path of foreign intervention in internal affairs? In preventing such, how can we, the people of Sri Lanka, strive to attain sustainable peace from within Sri Lanka? The answer lies in understanding the US State Department’s mindset and in building a framework for true reconciliation.

    *** You are wrong my friend. The answer doesn’t lie entirely in understanding the US State Departments mindset. You are jumping the gun and the answer lies closer to home. It is the Sinhala mindset of racial hatred the root of all the problem in Sinhala Lanka. Even though we managed to break the back of MR that was done through the Tamil vote. Dark clouds are gathering as Mr has been put forward as the candidate for PM and if he stands he will win hands down.

    2) Final Thoughts

    Mother Lanka shouldn’t compromise on the victory of a unified Sri Lanka. No, sir! We are at our strongest when we are united. Sri Lanka has on its palm an opportunity to prosper. It is the duty of all Sri Lankans, irrespective of ethnicity, to reconcile with each other and show the global community the enduring passion of our unity. Let us rise to realize the true potential of the wonderful country we proudly call home! After all, that’s why we ended the war didn’t we?

    *** We call Eelam our home which comes first before we call ourselves Sri Lankans. United as one under Sinhala domination we FALL. Divided as two separate people within a united Lanka we STAND. It is as simple as that. Currently we have no stake in the country. You rule the country, you control the country and derive all the benefit. Tamil land has been deliberately neglected devoid of investment and infrastructure. Until we reach parity we cannot be part of Sri Lanka.

  • 20
    10

    Well written article Heshika. And for the record your credentials were what made me read the whole article, even though I didnt agree with you.

    ‘A) Truth’ & ‘B) Justice’ are not practical and one certainly shouldnt go down this path to appease the US, who with their own track record,should mind their own business.

    ‘C) People-to-people Reconciliation’ is something that I believe that we should all work towards. Lot of these hate & misunderstandings can be overcome if all races get to mix with each other in a positive way. (This however will not please the diaspora, who are happy to comment/fight without actually having even visited the country or without even making an effort to make things better in SL)

  • 7
    25

    God. Not another uppity Trinitian riding his high horse. You guys are too soft for Sri Lankan politics mate. Stay in India.

    • 23
      9

      I’m sure all the undermentioned Trinitians were “too soft” for politics. Crawl back to your school which I bet isn’t anything much to speak of.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Trinity_College,_Kandy_alumni#Government_and_Politics

      Government and Politics[edit]
      Intergovernmental Organizations

      Dr Deshamanya Jayantha Kelegama – Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of External and Internal Trade [1]During 1977–1990 he pursued a career outside Sri Lanka serving in various international organizations such as UNCTAD, FAO, and ESCAP as an economic consultant.[2][3][4]
      Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala – Senior Special Advisor to both Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapakse,UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and the Government of Sri Lanka’s nominee for the office of United Nations Secretary General in 2006. (Also Trinity Ryde Gold medalist of 1956) (See also Diplomatic Service)
      Mohamed Muhsin – Vice President and Founder Chief Information Officer of the World Bank (Retired Nov 1 2005)(Also Trinity Senior Prefect and Ryde Gold Medalist of 1962)
      Nihal Rodrigo – Formerly, Secretary-General of SAARC and Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. (See also Diplomatic Service)
      Lakshman Kadirgamar – Founder Director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Advisor to 36 Foreign Governments. Advisor to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) See also under Diplomats, Ministers and Sportsmen)
      Dr Sarath Amunugama – Founder Director of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) at the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). See also Cabinet Ministers
      Bandula Jayasekera – Former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations[5]
      Hiran Herat – former Senior Implementation Specialist and now Consultant- World Bank in Washington (Cricket, Hockey and Athletics Triple Coloursman, Senior Prefect and Ryde Gold medallist of 1970)
      Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya – Lead Environmental Specialist – South Asia Region, World Bank.
      Gotabaya (GKB) Dasanayaka – Senior Specialist, Employer Activity- South Asian Region International Labour Organisation, New Delhi. Formerly Director General of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon and former President TCK OBA Colombo Branch.
      Colonel Shiam Vidurupola psc. United Nations Security Reform Expert. Technical Advisor on military-rebel integration, reintegration and rehabilitation, United Nations Mission in Nepal,United Nations Planning Consultant on Peace-Building and Recovery. Senior Military Advisor to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
      M. Thiruchelvam, Transport Specialist, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Afghanistan Resident Mission
      Diplomatic Service

      Sir V. Coomaraswamy CMG – former Ceylonese High Commissioner to Canada,[6] Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defense & External Affairs, and Senior Civil Servant
      N.Q. Dias – former High Commissioner to India and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defense & External Affairs[6]
      Nihal Rodrigo – Former Ambassador to the USA and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (See also Intergovernmental Organizations)
      M.B. Dissanayake – former High Commissioner to France
      Chandra Monerawela – former Chief of Protocol (Sri Lanka) and High Commissioner to the UK
      Jayantha Dhanapala – Former High Commissioner to New Delhi,London and Ambassador to Washington (with accreditation to the United Nations and Geneva)[citation needed]
      Fredrick E. de Silva – former Ambassador to France,[6] Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya, MP, Mayor and Barrister
      R.A. Kannangara – former Ambassador to Italy[6]
      K. Kanagasunderam – former High Commissioner to Malaysia[6]
      J.C.T. Kotelawela, (“Jack”) – former Ambassador to the Soviet Union[6] and former Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) Member of Parliament
      M.M. Maharoof – former High Commissioner to Pakistan and Malaysia, and Ambassador to the UAR[6]
      A.C.L. Ratwatte MBE – former High Commissioner to Ghana and Malaysia[6]
      S.P. Wickremasinghe – former Ambassador to West Germany[6]
      R.S. Pelpola – High Commissioner to Malaysia[6]
      Upatissa Pethiyagoda- Ambassador to Rome, Italy.First Trinitian to obtain a First class honours degree in Botany from any University.
      Adigar TB Panabokke – High Commissioner to New Delhi (India)
      SCB Walgampaya, PC – High Commissioner to Australia
      Faiz Mustapha, PC – former High Commissioner to the UK. See also Queen’s Counsels / President’s Counsels
      Bandula Jayasekera – former Consul General, Canada.[5] See also intergovernmental organizations
      Col. Shiam Vidurupola- Defense Advisor to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London.
      Cabinet Ministers and Legislators

      Earnest Michael Kawalya Kaggwa – Prime Minister [Kattikiro] of Buganda[6] and Regent
      Sri Lankabhimanya Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar PC – former Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of his assassination on August 12, 2005. President of the Oxford Union, Honorary Master of the Inner Temple in 1996 (only the second Asian to have this after Malaysian Prime Minister Tungku Abdul Rahaman in 1974), and Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. Senior Prefect and Ryde Gold Medalist in 1950. (Also see underInternational Civil Servants,Diplomats, Sportsmen and Sports Administrators)
      Hon. T.B.L.Moonemalle – Kandyan Member of the Legislative Council, 1899–1912, Ceylon[6]
      Adigar Sir T.B.Panabokke – Ceylonese Cabinet Minister and Member of the Legislative Council
      Hon. Hector Kobbekaduwa – Presidential candidate at the 1982 Presidential Election and former Minister of Agriculture[6] in Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s United Front Government of 1970-1977
      Hon. Lionel Gamini Dissanayake PC – Presidential Candidate- United National Party and Leader of the Opposition, Minister of Lands, Land Development and Mahaweli Development, in the JR Jayawardene Government of 1977. Minister of Plantation Industries in the Ranasinghe Premadasa Government of 1989.First MP for Nuwara Eliya in 1970 and 1977. President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, Founder President of the Cricket Foundation of Sri Lanka (also Trinity General Lion)
      Deshamanya Hon. Edward Lionel Senanayake – Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, 1983–88; Minister of Agriculture, later Minister of Health, and Governor North Central Province in the JR Jayawardene Government of 1977-1988, and Minister of Health in the Dudley Senanayake Government of 1965-1970) See also Provincial Governors.
      Hon. R.S. Pelpola – Speaker of the Ceylonese House of Representatives (1960–64), Cabinet Minister (1964–65), and later High Commissioner to Malaysia[6]
      Hon. C. Vanderwall – Burgher Member of the Ceylon Legislative Council, elected in 1916.[6]
      Hon. W.E. Botejue – Member of the Ceylonese Legislative Council, 1921-24.[6]
      Hon. G.E. Madawela – Member of the Ceylonese Legislative Council (1924–31) and Ceylon State Council (1931–32).[6]
      Hon. T.B. Panabokke Adigar – Member of the Legislative Council (1921–24), and Cabinet Minister for Health (1931–36).[6]
      Hon. P.B. Rambukwelle – Member of the Ceylonese Legislative Council, 1925.[6]
      Hon. P.B. Nugawela Dissawe – Member of the Ceylon State Council, 1931-32.[6]
      Hon. P.B. Ranarajah – Member of the Ceylon State Council, 1932.[6]
      Hon. R.S. Tennakoon – Member of the Ceylon State Council (1931–47) and Deputy Chairman of Committees (1936–1947).[6]
      Hon. Peri Sunderam – Cabinet Minister (Labour, Industry and Commerce) and Member of the Ceylon State Council.[6]
      J.C. Ratwatte Adigar – Member of the Ceylon State Council (1931–36).[6]
      H.L. Ratwatte – Member of the Ceylon State Council (1947–52), Member of the Senate (1947–70).[6]
      Hon. E.A. Nugawela – Cabinet Minister for Education (1947–52), Member of the Ceylon State Council (1936–47), Member of the Ceylon House of Representatives (1947–56)
      Hon. P.B. Bulankulame Dissawe – Ceylonese Cabinet Minister for Agriculture and Lands, and Member of the House of Representatives[6]
      Hon. B.H. Dunuwille – Deputy President of the Senate, Ceylon (1947–70)[6]
      Hon. B.H. Aluwihare – Ceylonese Cabinet Minister (Education, Cultural Affairs, Labour, Industries and Fisheries, 1960), Member of the Ceylon State Council (1936–47), Member of the House of Representatives (1952–56)[6]
      Sir Francis De Zoysa KC – Member of the Ceylon State Council (1936–47) and leading barrister
      J.C.T. Kotelawela – Member of the House of Representatives (1947–60)[6]
      H.B. Tenne – Member of the House of Representatives (1947–56)[6]
      T.B. Poholiyadde Dissawe – Member of the House of Representatives (1947–56)[6]
      H.B. Rambukwelle Dissawe – Member of the House of Representatives (1947–56)[6]
      T.B. Panabokke (Jnr) – Member of the House of Representatives (1947–56)[6]
      K. Herat – Member of the House of Representatives (1947–56)[6]
      F.C. De Silva – Member of the House of Representatives (1952–56)[6]
      W.A. Ratwatte – Member of the House of Representatives (1952–56)[6]
      U.B. Unamboowe – Member of the House of Representatives (1952–56)[6]
      Hon. J.H.S.V. Jayawickrema – former Ceylonese Cabinet Minister for Justice (1947–70)[6]
      Hon. Edwin Loku Banda Hurulle – Cabinet Minister of Communications and Cultural Affairs
      D.H. Ranaweera – Member of the House of Representatives (1960)[6]
      P.C. Imbulana – Member of the House of Representatives (1960–65)[6]
      Hon. Alick Aluwihare – Minister of Plantation Industries and later Minister of Ports and Shipping
      Hon. P.C. Imbulana- former Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister of Labour, Member of the House of Representatives (1960–70)[6] and Governor of the Central & Uva Provinces
      B. Ratwatte Dissawe – Member of the Senate (1947–70)[6]
      Dr J.E. Senanayake – Member of the Senate (1970–77)[6]
      Hon. Lakshman Jayakody – Deputy Minister of Defence in the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government of 1970-1977 and Minister of Cultural and Religious Affairs in the Chandrika Kumaratunga Government of 1994, MP for Divulapitiya[6] and Kurunegala District MP
      S.M. Manickarajah – Member of the House of Representatives (1960–68)[6]
      Dr L.O. Abeyaratne – Member of the House of Representatives (1960–65)[6]
      Hon. M.D.H. Jayawardene – Minister of Finance (1954–56), Member of the House of Representatives (1952–56), Minister of Health (1965–70),[6] Minister of Plantation Industries (in the JR Jayewardene Government) and MP for Kaduwela[disambiguation needed]
      D.J. Ranaweera – Member of the House of Representatives (1960–70)[6]
      S. Mollegoda – Member of the House of Representatives (1965–70)[6]
      R. Udugama – Member of the House of Representatives (1970–77)[6]
      T.R. Balalle – Member of the House of Representatives (1970–77)[6]
      Hon. Sarath Welagedara – former State Minister for Irrigation
      Hon. Anuruddha Ratwatte – former Minister of Power and Energy and Deputy Minister of Defence and MP for Kandy District
      Hon. Batty Weerakoon – former Minister of Science and Technology and National List MP, General Secretary of The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP)
      Hon. Dr Sarath Amunugama – Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister (Min. of Public Administration & Home Affairs), Minister of Irrigation prior to becoming independent Sri Lanka’s 16th Finance Minister in the Chandrika Kumaratunga Government, Minister of Public Administration in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government, Deputy Minister of Finance and now Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation and Kandy District MP. (see also under International Civil Servants, Public Servants and Media)
      Hon. Prof Tissa Vitarana – Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister (Science & Technology) & Professor of Microbiology, former Head of the Medical Research Institute, and Leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party
      Hon. Rohan Abeygoonesekera – Minister of State for Trade and Commerce in the Ranasinghe Premadasa Government of 1989-1993 and Kandy District MP
      Hon. D P Wickremesinghe – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Cooperatives in the Chandrika Kumaratunga Government
      Hon. R. Yogarajan- MP, Vice President of The Ceylon Workers Congress, Minister of Youth Empowerment & Socio Economic Development
      Hon. Kabir Hashim- Minister of Tertiary Education in the abridged Ranil Wickremesinghe Government of 2001- 2003 and MP for Kegalle District
      Hon. Harindra Dunuwille – former Mayor of Kandy, MP and State Minister for Constitutional Affairs during the Ranasinghe Premadasa Government(Cricket Captain and Lion in 1964)
      Provincial Governors

      Hon. Edwin Loku Banda Hurulle Governor, Central Province and North Central Province (see Ministers)
      Hon. Tissa Balalle – Governor of North Western Province
      Hon. Tikiri Kobbekaduwa – Governor of Central Province (see Media, Corporate)
      Hon. P.C. Imbulana- Governor of the Central & Uva Provinces (see Ministers)
      Deshamanya Hon. Edward Lionel Senanayake – Governor of North Central Province. See also Cabinet Ministers and Legislators
      Members of Parliament

      Hon. Dilum Amunugama- MP,Kandy District
      Hon. Sujeewa Senasinghe- MP, Colombo District
      Hon. Neranjan Wickramasinghe – MP, Kurunegala District
      Hon. Kanaka Herath – MP, Kegalle District
      Hon. Wasantha Aluwihare – MP, Matale District
      Hon. Ranjinth Aluwihare – Former MP for Matale District.
      Hon. Lohan Ratwatte – MP, Kandy District (Rugger Lion and Member/ Prop Forward of the Champion unbeaten Trinity Rugby XV led by Tyrell Rajapaksa which had six new Rugger Lions in 1987 and whose team was awarded the coveted Bradby Shield by President J.R. Jayewardene and the Premadasa Trophy by Premier Ranasinghe Premadasa. First XV rugger coach)
      Hon. Thenuka Vidanagamage – MP, Badulla District
      Members of Municipal Council’s

      Sanjeewa Hulangamuwa – Councillor, Kandy Municipal Council
      Senior Civil Servants and Heads of Government Departments[edit]
      Atma Jayaram – former Chief of the Indian Intelligence Bureau.[6] Personal Advisor to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – First instance of a Trinitian advising a foreign Head of Government.
      A.S. Kohobanwickrema – Secretary to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1960 (winner of Trinity’s richest prize, the Dr Andreas Nell Memorial Prize for Ceylon History)
      W.T. Jayasinghe – Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (1970–1977), Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1978 onwards) (one time staff member of TCK and one of the five Trinitians to obtain a First Class Honours Degree in Classics at the time)
      A. Ratnavale- Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and External Affairs
      Dr Nihal Kappagoda – First Ceylonese Rhodes Scholar and later Director-General, External Resources Department, Ministry of Finance & Planning
      Jayantha Dhanapala-Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) from 2004 – 2005.
      Dr Ernest Abeyratne – former Director of Agriculture.
      Deshamanya Dr Jayantha Kelegama – Sri Lankan Economist and Senior Civil Servant and Secretary to the Ministry of Trade and Commerce:1970-1977, Chancellor of the Rajarata University:1996-2002, First Professor of Economics at Vidyalankara University, now the Kelaniya University:1960-1966.[7]
      Bertram Tittawela – former Secretary General of Parliament, Sri Lanka
      Dr H.N.S. Karunatilaka – former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka
      W. Tennakoon – former Governor of the Central Bank of Ceylon and Government Agent, Kandy
      S.M.L. Marikkar CCS – former Permanent Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka
      Edmund Eramudugolla- former Senior Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. (Donor of the Folk Lore Prize at the Annual Prize Giving)
      Dr Prathap Ramanujan- Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism and Senior civil servant.
      M.I. Aziez – former Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board
      Dr R.L. Balasuriya CCS – former Secretary to the Public Service Commission, Ceylon
      J.C. Chanmugam – former Surveyor General, Ceylon.
      M G. (Malcolm) Wright – Conservator of Forests
      W. T. I. Alagaratnam – Director of Irrigation
      M.B. Dissanayake – former Commissioner of Excise, Ceylon.
      B.E. Fernando – former Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Ceylon
      Brig. C.P. Jayawardena CMG – former Conservator of Forests, Ceylon
      J.A. de Silva – former Conservator of Forests, Ceylon.
      Hugh Molagoda – former Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Sri Lanka.
      LKB (Lalith) Godamunne- Secretary General, Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka
      Victor Unantenne – Government Agent, Polonnaruwa
      Dr Sarath Amunugama – Government Agent- Ratnapura and Hambantota (see also under International Civil Servants, Ministers and Media)
      M. Rajanayagam – former Labour Commissioner, Ceylon.
      Robin Talwatte – Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon and the State Mortgage and Investment Bank
      Mudaliyar A.G. Tillekeratne – former Post Master General, Ceylon
      N.A.D. Weerasinha – former Head of the Government Analysts’ Department, Ceylon
      G.M. Sparkes CCS – former Tea Commissioner, Ceylon
      L.W. Madugalle – Secretary to the Ministry of Sports and Parliamentary Affairs and Registrar- University of Peradeniya (father of Ranjan Madugalle)
      John Albert Aserappa – former Conservator of Forests, Ceylon
      Dr. Sapumal Bandara Dhanapala – Former Director General of Animal Production and Health Department.
      Dr. Seevali Ranawana – Former Director General of Animal Production and Health Department.
      Dr. Abeyrathne Bandaranayake – Former Director General of Animal Production and Health Department.
      Faiz Mustapha, PC – Chairman of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, 2000-3. See also Diplomatic Service
      Susantha Ratnayake- Chairman – Sri Lanka Tea Board
      Kanchana Ratwatte -former Director- General, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka
      Stanley Maralande Ceylon Administrative Service (CAS) – one time Government Agent Kegalle
      P R Dasanayaka Ceylon Administrative Service (CAS) – one time Additional Government Agent Kurunegala
      C E Tennkoon Ceylon Administrative Service (CAS) – one time Additional Government Agent Kandy
      Bandula Bulumulle CAS – One time Additional Secretary Ministry of Transport
      Mayors[edit]
      Sir Cuda Ratwatte Adigar – The First Kandyan Knight and the first Mayor of Kandy.
      Harindra Dunuwille – former Mayor of Kandy, MP and State Minister for Constitutional Affairs
      Fredrick de Silva, MBE – former Mayor of Kandy
      Kesara Senanayake – former Mayor of Kandy
      Edmund Rajapakse – former Mayor of Nuwara Eliya
      Mahen Ratwatte – present Mayor of Kandy
      Political Party Leaders[edit]
      Gamini Dissanayake (Democratic United National Front) (DUNF)
      R B (Batty) Werakoon – The Lanka Sama Samaja Party
      Prof. Tissa Vitharana The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP)

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