24 May, 2019

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The LLRC And The Prospects Of Reconcilation In Sri Lanka

By Kumar Rupesinghe –

Dr. Kumar Rupesinghe

It is now over three years since the LTTE was decisively defeated by the Government of Sri Lanka. Since then the government and the international community have been grappling with the issue of winning peace, addressing the causes which gave rise to the deadly conflict, issues of accountability, and reconciliation. These issues have dominated the Sri Lankan debate in the last few years.

Peace in the conflict literature is not the absence of war. There are three kinds of violence that are defined in the literature of conflict transformation. Johan Galtung, suggests that these three types of violence are direct violence, i.e. deadly violence used by both sides, structural violence, which is defined as structures which perpetuate poverty, inequality and discrimination, and cultural violence, defined as the denial of identity and the denial of the other. Whilst direct violence has been used extensively by both sides in Sri Lanka, this phase has now come to an end. However structural violence remains, with inequality and discrimination experienced not only by the Tamils, but also Sinhalese, Muslims, Christians and other minorities, through discrimination due to ethnicity, caste or class. The Tamils in the plantations experience structural violence due to super exploitation of their labour. Cultural violence also continues to dominate the narrative in Sri Lanka, in different manifestations such as the denial of identity, myths perpetuated such as the “Chosen People” narrative in the Mahavansa, the concept of a “homeland”, which requires a separate state, contestation as to the mythos of origins of peoples residing in Sri Lanka. Self-fulfilling prophesies, chosen traumas fill the folklore of the peoples living in the island. In winning peace, these narratives ,myths and ideologies have to be taken into account. It is in such a landscape that we have to examine the role of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as a vehicle for winning peace but also as a symbol of contestation
The Lessons Learn and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was a response to the concerns expressed by the western powers, India and the Tamil Diaspora in the aftermath of the war. It was to be just another Commission, condemned to the dustbin of history, which was the fate of so many other commissions, in the past. A distinguished panel was appointed by the President, and its members were seen as those favourable to the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and did not think that it would be given serious attention. In short it was seen by the detractors of the government, as an eye wash, an attempt to cover a multitude of sins and omissions.
It is undoubtedly the efforts of the USA and later India through the resolution introduced in the UN. Human Rights Council that the LLRC took centre stage.. However, Sri Lanka was defeated at the UN Human Rights Council and it was a clear indication as to the will of the international community.
After the defeat of Sri Lanka at the UNHRC good sense prevailed and a strategic shift was taken by the President, to renew relations with the USA, and the western powers and India. The efforts of the Weeratunge Committee, and the tireless work of its members, produced an implementation plan, provides a measuring rod with key performance indicators on the performance of the government, where the more contentious issues would be taken up with the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee. Sri Lanka is now under the radar screen of the U.N. and the measuring rod will be the government’s own home grown implementation plan. The Tamil Diaspora would continue with its agitation calling for an international inquiry into war crimes but its efforts to draw the international community into this strategy would lose momentum, if the government implements the plan. Whether the Government has taken a strategic shift to win over the western powers upon whom Sri Lanka is dependent for its markets or is a tactical shift to buy time is yet to be seen.
However, India expects Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment and as a first step it requires that elections are held in the north as soon as possible. Having elections in the North makes good sense, as it will be a major instrument in the reconciliation process. The Tamil National Alliance and other Tamil parties must be given the opportunity to govern the regions where they command a majority, and checks and balances have to be developed with regards to police and land powers. Such a step will relax pent-up frustrations and a sense of humiliation that the peoples of the north experience. The argument that we must wait till 2013 for the elections is based on a wrong premise-i.e. that the North must be developed, with infrastructure and development so that a grateful Tamil population will vote against the TNA. This is an erroneous theory based on fallacious arguments that the economy can shift people’s identity through economic and infrastructure developments. Further, the delay must not be interpreted as a way of changing the demographic balance. It is important that we heal the wound and remove the sense of humiliation of a beleaguered people. Humiliation is “about putting down and holding down.” It is the “enforced lowering of any person or group by a process of subjugation that damages their dignity.
To remove the sense of humiliation, and heal the wound, the people and their lenders must be co-partners in building the country with a shared vision and value for all. Here the leaders of the country, not only the Sinhalese but also the leaders of other communities, must work towards a process of accommodation and trust. For this to happen the mindset of all the parties, relics of the past, must be discarded to rebuild a new Sri Lanka. The challenge is how such a paradigm shift can be achieved.
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Latest comments

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    Having worked for sometime with Dr Kumar Rupesinghe, I am convinced, with his connections and his approach, he is one who can take us closer to unity and reconciliation He is non-communal and does not carry the Sinhala supremacist baggage. Calm, collected and well-read, he should be encouraged by the Govt to get more involved in the peace effort.

    Senguttuvan

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      KR was fired from International Alert in London because of his lack of ethics and for taking money and blood diamonds from African war lords while involved in the PEACE BUSINESS.
      He profits from war and other peoples misery. He makes money out of other peoples misery and is a good example of what Naomi Klein called “disaster capitalism”!

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    He is non-communal but bribable.
    He carries only $$$ in his baggage

    Well read no doubt but qick to seize the opportunity for self centered gains to promote paymasters voices.

    What %% of that population is that majority??
    Handover from Wellawatte along the coast upto Puttalam too for them to govern.
    Hidden aspirations differ from the pent up frustration.
    Pent up frustration is a ruse for hidden aspirations.

    Only humiliation is once again when dusk it is to set in, one sees intoxicated cyclist on the road as it was in the past.

  • 0
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    THE GOSL SAY THAT THERE ARE NO TAMILS IN THE ISLAND TO BRING PEACE AND HARMONY, OR TO IMPLEMENT THE LLRC. THEY SAY THAT ALL THE SRI LANKAN TAMILS ARE LIVING ABROAD AND DO NOT WISH TO RETURN TO THEIR MOTHERLAND.
    THEY SAY THAT THERE ARE A FEW TAMIL REFUGEES LIVING IN TAMIL NADU, WHO WANT TO ESCAPE TO AUSTRALIA.
    THIS IS THE REASON THEY ARE GRABBING ALL THE LANDS IN THE NORTH AND SETTLING SINHALESE FORCES AND THEIR FAMILIES. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THE GOSL TO DO?.
    THERE ARE NO TAMILS WITH ANY BACKBONE TO CONFRONT THE GOSL AND STAND FIRM TO IMPLEMENT THE LLRC.
    IF THE GOSL COULD NOT IMPLEMENT THE LLRC THEN THEY SHOULD STAND DOWN AND LET OTHERS WHO WILL IMPLEMENT IT, TO DO IT.
    THE GOSL IS RUNNING SCARED, AND GETTING THEIR LACKY’S AND BOOTLICKERS TO IMPLEMENT THE LLRC THE WAY THEY WANT TO IMPLEMENT IT. RAPING, MURDERING, MOLESTING ETC.
    THE EAST IS GUARDED BY THE LACKY’S AND THE BOOTLICKERS FOR THE GAIN OF THE GOSL. THIS WILL SOON CHANGE WHEN THE GOING IS GOOD FOR THE GOSL.
    COME ON SRI LANKA, WAKE UP AND DO WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

  • 0
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    What we need is not a personal analysis or a transparency of each and every sinhalese who writes their opinion in any of the webpages or involved in SL ethnic conflict

    All these people who did political prostitution like Dayan, Tamara, Vasu and all other similar characters show us we can not relay on these individuals

    All these actors changed their role due to the political weather conditions

    Resources for NGOs were limited, so they changed their concept

    We need a common concept for a reconcilliation, independant from their individual mindset,

    I believe the sihalese majority is not matured enough to go through a reconcilliation

    This is only a drama to fullfil international requirements to get GSP plus and all other benefits.

    West in coorperation with India does not like to give some space for China and SL never had their own policy. This is a real political prostitution, these women have no other chance than getting rid of their situation. ” It is not their fault”

    • 0
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      Vasu

      Where have you been all these days?

      Have you had time to look at those research papers on genetics and those books I recommended on stupid Tamil/Sinhala affinity?

      Good to hear from you please do visit us.

      It is not easy being a lone Vedda in these sites.

      Will you take up our cause as well?

  • 0
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    A thoughtful analysis. However, I have to disagree on the merits of holding PC elections in the north, for the following reasons:

    1. The grievous structural faults in the PC system relating to the concurrent list and the powers devolved to the governor.

    2. The mistakes made by the government in trying to impose an unacceptable leadership on the Tamils and the decision on the Tamil version of the national anthem, without any clear policy statement as to what it envisages as solutions to minority grievances, in the post-war scenario. This was a failure of wise post-war leadership by president Mahinda Rajapakse and has contributed to the current crisis of confidence.

    3. The trust deficit that is being deliberately expanded by the TNA,for short term political gain, rather than wisely permiited to diminish, in the larger interest of the Tamils and Sri Lanka. This aspect also involves the poor quality of politicians pretending to be Tamil leaders.

    4. The inevitable dependence of the northern PC on the central government for funds, in view of the serious contraints for tax revenue generation within the north.

    5. The need for the central government to be involved in infra-structural and development activities in the north, in the post- war scenario of utter devastation.

    6. The adversarial relationship that has been permitted to develop between the TNA and the government.

    7. The Éelam wars’related doubts and fears that will require the strategic positioning of the armed forces in the north for a long period.

    8. The suspicions that have grown about the long term intentions of the government and the TNA.

    9. The fact that the TNA is totally ignoring the reality and consequences of the Eelam wars and the role of the LTTE in making any meaningful devolutionary exercise suspect. The TNA approach of reading Tamil history with several important chapters missing, is a contributary factor.

    10. The intentions of influencial sections of the Tamil Diaspora and the likes of Karunanithy.

    All these factors combined are likely to create more problems than solve existing ones, once a northern PC is constituted. The almost all Tamil composition of the northern province, will inevitably lead to re-inforcing the yet incipient demand for an independent Tamil Eelam, rather than kill it for ever.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      Thanks for returning to platonic platform.

      Since the closure of comments in DBSJ’s website I have been looking for you everywhere.

      Good to hear from you.

      • 0
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        Dear native Vedda,

        Thanks. I miss the thrust, parry, profound, ridiculous and of course your irony, in the comments section of dbsjeyaraj.com and transcurrents.com. I now comment mainly in groundviews.com.
        Best regards,

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

          Thanks for your rapid response.

          I have read few of your comments in Groundviews.

          Please do comment in these forums as we need to have alternative views expressed and discussed which we cannot freely do in Sri Lanka.

          I think commenting on matters of importance, not so important and the ridiculous are part of the learning the learning process.

          I am looking forward to reading your comments.

  • 0
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    Public apology is in order from the likes of this writer for their sinister contributions (elaboration not needed) for personal gain or otherwise, bringing about untold misery to the people of this land.

    • 0
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      Chandra,

      Public apology for what? Please clarify.

      Beauty/ugliness is in the eyes of the beholder! Contest the message, without targetting the messenger. What makes you think my message/s will bring untold misery to the people of this land? Who are the people you are referring to? Could anything I say harbinger more misery than has been bequethed to the people you are referring to, by past actions and events? Where is the logic in what you say?

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 0
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        Dr.Narendran

        Thousand apologies. My referrence was to the writer of the original article.

  • 0
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    The issue of Kumar Rupasinghe and the blood diamonds surfaced after he (KR) left IA. Gunatilake, admittedly who has a grouse against KR, raked this up and had his reply. Calling names of those whom you do not
    like, without engaging the issues in question, is, sadly, a Sri Lankan weakness. As far as I know, KR is held in esteem by several Scandinavian countries, India, the USA and others. It is up to KR to respond if he left IA voluntarily or otherwise as charged here.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    No need personal attacks on Dr Kumar Rupasinghe,having on policy matter to be taken on the interest of People of Sri lankan.
    What I think is Dr KR has not taken Country soverignty, terrortail intergrity and indepandance as priority of Capitalist Democracy in the Island.
    In carrying out our peace and reconicilization rehabilization and reconstrucation end of war against LTTE terrorist outfit,our decomacry programme we must proceed from Sri lankan realities. Both in reconstruaction and peace we sholud leran from other countries draw on our own exprinces since 1948, specially after 1977 UNP-JRJ regime.
    But copoing application of foreing exprinces and models will get nowhere.We must integrate democratic truth of basic soverignty with the concerat realities of ethanics classes of Sri lankan society.
    The blaze a developing path of capitalism of our own and building natioanl economy base on democratic principle with history of civilization of 2600 years of natioanl characterstic—that is the basic conculsion of reconcilization we have reach with elite ruling classes of the island.
    Needless to say old policy of peace process is out dated propsed by Dr K Rupasinghe,we have reached after reviewing our policis of exprieience after 1948.

  • 0
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    this good story to read

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