By Kumar David –
Some things are incredible but true. Two crazy possibilities have come into the limelight recently. There is a lobby that argues that the Malaysian Boeing 777 was abducted by aliens. The lobbyist’s case is that not even a remotely credible conventional explanation has been offered by Malaysian, Chinese or US authorities. If nothing turns by the time you read these lines, it is not too silly to engage in unconventional speculation, especially if you are young at heart! Unconventional I said, not unscientific. Science can accept that life exists elsewhere in the universe; the poser is how devil aliens got here, given the restriction imposed by Special Relativity.
What the lunatic fringe of the Tamil diaspora is up to is no less harebrained. Recently I ran into Tamil “intellectuals” buggering up Wigneswaran from the radical side, but convinced they were being helpful. “Why don’t you set up a parallel administration (dual power) instead of asking for 13A” they exclaim. Dual power just at the moment when it would lead to shipwreck! Standing Lenin on his head is the Tamil extremist’s upside-down perception of his thesis of getting the ‘next step’ right all along the way. If it was only theoretical ignorance of Lenin and the dual power concept, it can be put down to immaturity and ignorance, but it dovetails with the harm Tamil extremism is doing to the impending UNHRC vote.
Tamil nationalists in London and Toronto are still fighting the civil war for Eelam that others thought had been was lost in the Vannie. I recognise the right of Tamils to self-determination and if secession be their choice, so be it. The issue at this time, however, is less momentous. The immediate issue is should Tamils help get the US resolution in Geneva adopted, or should they undermine it because it does not go far enough. Far enough for ultra nationalists means it is not useful to the Eelam project. Actually the latest draft is good. Clause 8d puts GoSL on the spot and in effect says: “You set in motion an independent investigation or the Human Rights Commissioner will intervene”. Real-politik and the importance of winning Council votes dictate that Tamils accept it as it stands. The next step is if Rajapakse rejects it and unleashes mayhem, or says ‘yes’ but undermines it in practice, thus inviting an international backlash. In this cut-throat game Lanka’s democrats must watch and move one step at a time; Tamil extremism must be kept in check.
Two other strong points in the resolution are the demand that the regime stops grinding down the Northern PC and that it ceases attacks on peace activists, journalists and NGO types. That is to say the resolution explicitly takes devolution (something outside the UNHRC’s strict remit) and human rights in general (in the South and beside the 2009 period) on board. In total, this is a good resolution; quite good enough for me.
Tamil nationalists are drawing inspiration from Jayalalitha-talk of a referendum in the North or hallucinating after the Russian annexation of Crimea. Jayalalithaa is playing politics for elections; she will not let down the Ceylon Tamils, but neither will she transgress constitutional limits; she is no Putin. Crimea has been a part of Russia since 1783, though lost and won in battles off and on. It was ceded by Khrushchev, in a bout of drunken bonhomie, to the Ukrainian Republic of the Soviet Union in 1954. It is flaming nonsense to imagine that there are parallels to the North Lanka–Tamil Nadu/ India case. The better parallel is Indira’s gift of Kachchaitivu to Sirima because of friendship between the ladies. (The transfer has not been ratified by the Lok Saba and has been struck down by the Indian Supreme Court as unconstitutional).
Russia was in a position to take military control of Crimea instantly; Sevastopol is home to the Black Sea Fleet. Over 95% voted in favour of joining Russia in the referendum and the result was so overwhelming that it embarrassed even Putin. (The result must be taken with a pinch of salt for two reasons; irrational populist effusion and a boycott by Tartars and Ukrainians in living in Crimea). Tamil extremists in the diaspora with their heads in the clouds have their feet twisted in the mud when they see parallels between heaven and earth. The real task now is to get the resolution adopted by a large majority, and to anticipate and prepare to deal with the countermeasures the Rajapakses will respond with.
One possibility, especially if the Lankan government is prone to suicide, is to unleash a frenzy of xenophobia against Western embassies and businesses and to confront the minorities. Add to this instability within the government and chauvinists on the streets and the situation becomes chaotic. This will destabilise the regime, but unfortunately it will also harm the country. If the SLMC (at least the few who are not up to their necks in graft) quits and if the CWC is alienated within the government, then the Rajapakse siblings’ grip on power will weaken. The government of Sri Lanka must refrain from any such a course of action whatever its extremist support base urges. It is pathetic to for a government to inflict regime change upon itself and then blame others.