18 October, 2019

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The Need To Address The Root Of Conflict With Public Participation

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

February 22 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002 between the government and LTTE with Norwegian facilitation. This was an unexpected development that brought hope to the country that the war would come to an end and a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict would be possible. Faced with the prospect of economic collapse, and a protracted war, the government of that time headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe sought to break the stalemate with a bold initiative. The sudden cessation of armed conflict came as a relief to the general population and almost immediately the wounds of war began to heal with people traveling for business and tourism from the north to the south and to the east. The benefits to the people of the peace process made it seem that it had become irreversible. But what was not seen so well at that time was that the ceasefire was only the start of the process, not its end. There needed to be a sustainable political solution that addressed the roots of the conflict.

The ceasefire agreement brought the country respite for four years from a war that had sapped its strength, and led the economy to shrink rather than to expand. If it had succeeded it would have saved tens of thousands of lives and obtained enormous economic resources for the country with the active support of the international community. After the ceasefire broke down in early 2006 the Ceasefire Agreement became seen as a political liability to the government that had signed it. The fact that neither the opposition nor the LTTE assisted the government to come up with a political solution was lost sight of. The ceasefire agreement became a subject of vilification for giving in to the international community and to the LTTE. The only ones who explained what it meant to the country were those who opposed it tooth and nail, and they gave it a one-sided interpretation. The ceasefire agreement of 2002 continues to be criticized for this even to this day by the nationalists and opposition politicians.

The importance of marking the ceasefire is that Sri Lanka once again has a historic opportunity to transcend its past. This has come in the form of the National Unity Government formed last year that has united the two traditional rival political parties, the SLFP and UNP, and also drawn in the major ethnic based parties and also the JVP. But the opportunity could prove to be a fleeting one unless every effort is made to use it to address the political roots of the conflict. The peace and reconciliation process that is in place today cannot be taken for granted. The period of ceasefire did not last, due to the many violations that took place, the bad faith that was demonstrated, and the country plunged back into war. The failure of the government and LTTE to reach a political settlement that addressed the roots of the conflict meant that there was no political and legal infrastructure to hold the ceasefire in place. It is important therefore that the present efforts to achieve constitutional reforms, should also address the roots of the ethnic conflict and be successful if the past is not to repeat itself.

Myanmar Example 

Once again it is Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the head of the government who is seeking to make a difference as he tried before with the ceasefire agreement. On Thursday, he will be presenting to Parliament the resolution that seeks to make parliament into a constitutional assembly to deliberate and come up with the content for constitutional change. Where constitutional reform is concerned, the areas of focus are the executive presidency, the electoral system and the sharing of power across provincial lines. There are reports that the government will be under pressure to remain within the ambit of the present 13th Amendment which limits the devolution of power to the provinces. The political solution to the ethnic conflict will come from a solution where the ethnic and religious minorities are not subject to the goodwill of the ethnic majority, but enter into an unbreakable partnership in which joint decision making is necessary. If the roots of the ethnic conflict are to be resolved there is a need to go beyond what has not been a solution in the past.

The ongoing negotiation process in Myanmar between the government and the more than 20 ethnic rebel organizations and their armies is instructive and can offer some indications of the direction that Sri Lanka too might wish to tread. The government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had close relations with the Myanmar government headed by the army generals. Sri Lanka also has historical ties with Myanmar. A common feature in both countries is the fear of disintegration and separation. Interestingly, even before the democratic opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi won the national elections on November 8, the army generals of Myanmar in October 2015 arrived at a nationwide ceasefire agreement with many of the rebel groups which continues to hold. In Myanmar, the ethnic rebels have sought independence, while the government has resisted federalism. However, the ceasefire agreement is based on a renunciation of independence by the ethnic rebels who have signed the agreement, while the government has agreed to work out a political solution based on federalism.

Like in Sri Lanka, in the period that followed the ceasefire agreement of 2002, the benefits to the people of the cessation of hostilities in immense. There is anticipation that the newly elected government of Myanmar which will be led by Aung San Suu Kyi will take forward the ceasefire process initiated by the generals. The framework for political dialogue that the Myanmar government has agreed to with the ethnic armed organizations states that “By upholding the three main national causes of non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity, and perpetuation of national sovereignty based on liberty, equality and justice, and in the spirit of the Panlong Agreement (of 1947) that fully guarantees political equality, the right to self-determination, democratic practices, this framework for political dialogue was deliberately adopted to be a useful tool for the establishment of a Union that is based on democracy and federal practices in accordance with the results from a series of political dialogues.”

Going Beyond

There are lessons from both the Sri Lankan and Myanmar ceasefires that need to be utilized to improve the prospects for success of the government’s reform efforts. The government is taking a bold initiative in marshalling the country’s intelligentsia towards constitutional reforms, but taking into considerations past experience. This time around it is doing much to ensure people’s participation in the reform process. This was not the case during the period of the ceasefire. At that time, the decisions were taken by the government, but without clarifying the situation to the people. This proved to be a major shortcoming, as the government depended upon public support for its continued existence. The people who were left out of the process were not willing to give the government the political backing it needed when elections were called for in 2004. But this time around, that cycle need not be repeated.

On this occasion, the constitutional reform and reconciliation processes involve significant public participation. The government has appointed a 20 member Public Representation Committee to obtain the feedback of the general population regarding the constitutional reform process. They have been having public consultations in different parts of the country and generated local level discussions. They have received hundreds of proposals and met with thousands of people. Similarly with regard to the reconciliation process, the government has again deployed civil society leaders and activists appointed a 11 member Steering Committee that is tasked with engaging in public consultations and providing feedback to the government. The public consultations are based on the broad parameters that the government has set in both areas. Where reconciliation is involved the areas of focus are truth seeking, legal accountability, missing persons and reparations.

Among the large number of submissions made by civil society groups to the Public Representations Committee on constitutional reforms many have been from the former war zones of the North and East. One such submitted by the Centre for Women and Development, Jaffna, states that with regard to the formation of government “There should be two houses in the parliament, upper house and lower house. Representatives of the upper house should be elected by the people. Members from various professional backgrounds be appointed to the lower house and one third of the members should be from minority races of the country.” It adds that with respect to power sharing, the “Proposed draft for constitutional amendment should deviate from unitary state concept and provide more devolution of power to Tamil, Muslims and plantation Tamils. The proposed constitution should absorb more federal aspects than unitary status. The words unitary and federal should be omitted.” These are people’s views that need to be taken aboard the constitutional reform process.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    10

    You can’t blame this guy. He has to be loyal to his pay masters. Of the thousands of public proposal from all parts of the country he sees only on one from North as a ground breaking example. [Edited out] the reality is MY3 doesn’t represent the SLFP. There is mass scale social anger at the hodge podge national government which not representing the peoples will. Why would you care now let’s get some dollars to study the Myanmar model.

    • 9
      2

      When the Sinhalese people were bestowed custodianship of the country with guaranteed rights in the country’s constitution, like language policy, Buddhism as state religion and protection safeguards for it, they never did a good job of it, and minorities paid the price. Now let us give all people a fair chance with equal say to this custodianship guaranteed in the Constitution, and see whether the situation will improve. I am sure it will make a difference. If anyone disagrees, I would like to know why and reasons.

    • 11
      2

      patriot,

      Isn’t it obvious to you that you belong to an ever decreasing minority of bigots? I can see that you are getting very hot under your collar, which makes you feel miserable! The fact you need to understand clearly is that, Sri Lanka was put together as one country with the Sinhala Buddhist as majority. This is the first lesson that you need to come to terms with. Then you need to understand that in order to build a nation and democracy as the basis for governance, there need to be consensus based decision making protocols. The minorities are also the stakeholders on equal footings. The SLFP’s association with Sinhala Only is history. In the new chapter, there is no room for bigots on all fronts that includes the Tamil bigots too.

    • 0
      1

      Annamave munnodu kiliye
      illik kudamaaderumai neyyari
      annar thalai-idai-kadai maanaakkar.

      Swan, cow and earth(field for cultivation), Parrot and holed pot, buffalo, Pannadai(a strainer structure at bottom of a young palmyra or cocoanut leaf.) are the three categories of the students respectively, First or prime and the followers or middle and last or failures. Swan drink the milk and leave behind the water. When out of the field and at its stable, cow takes back from its stomach what it ate earlier and re-do it more finer way. That is behaviour of first class students. If you put some effort in the field you will reap only for that much effort. Parrot just repeat. Middle class students are if taught will learn. Thier grade or losers like Pannadai let the sweet toddy leak and hold on to the death insects from the toddy. Holed pot let go all what poured into it.

      “அன்ன மாவே மண்ணொடு கிளியே
      இல்லிக் குடமா டெருமை நெய்யரி
      அன்னர் தலையிடை கடைமா ணாக்கர்.”

      As usual Jehan PhD has written many things with double meanings. You let all them go without commenting, but caught something in you taste. Bravo! Cheers!

      • 3
        0

        Monkey Mallaiyuran:-
        What are you singing? Nee oru muththipponna mettalppundai.

        • 0
          2

          It pricked you; isn’t it Jihadi Pannadai. Isn’t it that is why you poped up your head.

          You have achieved something. In’t it now even UN recognizes your Jihadism and has listed Lankawe as one of the country in the world supply Jihadists.

  • 4
    0

    Jehan,
    You are a gem compared to everyday journalism we see in media. Unfortunately, for quite a lot of us, quality has no value…

  • 0
    0

    Dear sir,

    Thank you for the article.

    With regards to constitutional reform my proposal as follows:

    1. It is likely, and only natural, that the various individuals, communities and organisations will vie to secure as many benefits as possible from any new constitution. Thus the process must inevitably devolve into a pie grabbing exercise.

    2. The solution is to shrink the role of government. The less government is empowered to do, the less concerned the people will be about it. The people will be forced to look at the private sector to serve their needs.

    3. As government powers are limited, further benefits could be as follows:
    a. The debate on the nature, type or structure of government becomes less important.
    b. The importance accorded to the vote is also likely to be reduced.
    c. It would be left to the private sector to address and fulfill the needs of the people. This it will do by allocating scarce resources in a logical fashion. For example, you would not have a situation where the people go hungry but yet receive free education. The private sector would ensure that the food comes first!
    d. Lastly each individual must be fully responsible for his or her actions and would not be able to transfer responsibility to any government body. It would encourage personal responsibility and empowerment.

  • 1
    0

    CT Administration!

    Jehan Perera in his article has said: “There needed to be a sustainable political solution that addressed the roots of the conflict.”

    But the title of the article says: “The Need To Address The Root Of Conflict With Public Participation.”

    Would you please explain these?

  • 10
    4

    “The Need To Address The Root Of Conflict With Public Participation”

    A vast majority of the Sinhalese genuinely do not know of Tamil grievances. Sure, there were periodic attacks on Tamils, there was the Sinhala Only issue, the Sri campaign, the standardization of university entrance exams, Sinhala proficiency for promotions, discrimination on recruitment to the public service, and such like. Most of these were rectified over time. But there may be more.

    Could someone please answer the BIG QUESTION:

    WHAT ARE THE CURRENT GRIEVANCES OF THE TAMIL PEOPLE IN SRI LANKA?

    A clear and concise list of the grievances is the first step in addressing the “root of conflict with public participation”.

    • 7
      4

      Ken,

      “Most of these were rectified over time. But there may be more.”

      Please do not play ignorant and sound condescending. What has been rectified?

      Why don’t you read the TNA manifesto? The Tamils want autonomy and power-sharing; there is no need to prevaricate. Please do not try to be a “smart patriot” of the kind that Dayan advocates! What the majority government had and has been doing is to systemically undermine the Tamil community. You excluded the Tamils on everything that affected them. You simply replaced Brits as colonial masters! This is what needs to be rectified!

      • 2
        5

        B.I
        “This is what needs to be rectified”
        To do this Tamil speaking people lliving outside North and East will have to be physically relocated in to North and East.

        If the majority of the Tamils are unwilling to relocate what is the logic of a federal unit for Tamils in North and East.?

        Soma

        • 7
          2

          Soma,

          I assume that you made that feable remark with a good intention. Scotland and Wales were granted devolution and we all know that how their population scattered around UK! It is up to individuals to decide what they want to do. Bottom line is that, a solution needs to be found for the Tamil question.

          • 1
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            What is the Tamil question if the majority of Tamils are unwilling to relocate to North and East?

            Soma

            • 4
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              Soma,

              You sound extremely patronising! Why do you worry about whether the Tamils outside N&E relocate or not? Is this your problem? Do you understand the meaning of the terms power devolution and federalism? The United States is a collection of federated states. People can live wherever they want and same applies to SL.

              Do you now get it?

              The power was handed over to the Sinhala under the 1948 constitution and you guys made a total hash of it! This is why we are in this mess; we need to think anew and empower the minorities. This is what needs to happen to move forward. Why is it a problem for you to devolve power?

              • 0
                5

                BI
                “Do you now get it? “
                No dear, not yet.
                Say there is a set of reasons such as discrimination, genocide, racial riots etc. justifying a separate unit for less than 50%. I am unable to comprehend how those reasons do not apply to other 50%. Any argument concocted to justify leaving 50% among Sinhalese is unadulterated hypocrisy. In fact it is this desire of Tamils to live among the Sinhalese that makes me exceedingly proud as a Sinhalese. The day I observe Tamils leaving Sinhala areas voluntarily to settle down in North and East I will begin feeling ashamed and actively support your demand.

                Soma

                • 3
                  0

                  Soma,

                  “No dear, not yet.”

                  What a surprise! I did not think that you will get it; you will never get it because your stance is not genuine and extremely condescending indeed.

                  The successive Sri Lankan governments since independence have been systemically depriving the N&E of investments. The Tamils are concentrated in colombo for economic reasons. During the war period, they sought safety. The vast majority of them moved back to their original homes; particularly those who were able to! Even today, Welkamam North; the high-security zones are intact and people are threatening to move in by force.

                  The bottom line is that, TNA fought the recent general election with a clear manifesto and got overwhelmingly elected on a federal platform. The N&E must be set free to develop their economy and living standards. This is democratic and just. I pointed out to you that the Scots and Walsh people live outside of their areas in greater numbers than the tamils in Sri Lanka; the devolution demand was not subjected to all Scots and Walsh people moving back to their lands! It is because, the Brits are civilised and understand democracy. They do not hide behind feeble excuses in obscuring their disapprovals. This issue never even surfaced on the debates! Here we have you uttering meaningless talk.

                  I asked you and you did not answer! What have you against power devolution? Please outline your rational for objecting the democratic right of the Tamils.

      • 7
        2

        This is typical. Every time the question, “what are the grievance?” is asked, all what one gets as a reply is some nonsense. There is never a straight answer.

        The request for “devolution” is an “answer” to some malady which is not commonly known.

        Why beat about the bush. Why don’t those who claim that there are GRIEVANCES, list them out so we all know.

        • 2
          2

          Ken,

          What is typical is the likes of your ply ignorant! This is because you have closed minds and refuse to accept the reality! The Tamils are sick and tired of repeating the same old issues over and over again.

          The Tamils want a federal solution and it is their democratic right. They want to govern and resolve their issues by themselves. You had 68 years to build a nation of subjects but you built a Sinhala Buddhist nation! You made a total hash of everything. The Tamils do not need to justify their aspirations to you or anyone else. It is their democratic right and they will endeavour to get it. If you want to know exactly what the Tamils want, you are welcome to read the manifesto of the TNA. It is laid out in detail as to what Tamils want.

          As soon as the LTTE was defeated, while the refugees were languishing in the concentration camps, the Sinhala Buddhist were busy erecting Buddha statues all over the N&E. You have indeed shown your magnanimity in abundance indeed!

          • 4
            2

            Burning Issue:

            You hit the nail right on the head. This is exactly what Tamils always wanted:a separate state, or near enough.

            One has to grant that successive governments did not address the Tamils’ aspirations of “self rule”.

            Ever since Independence, Tamils were not treated, in a responsive and qualitative sense, as equal citizens of the country. Although there was equality to an extent in quantitative terms, qualitatively there were serious deficiencies.

            The pride of place was given to Sinhala-Buddhists. In fact, the term “Sri Lanka” was made synonymous with “Sinhala-Buddhists”. Sri Lanka’s culture, be it language, religion, history, art & architecture, etc were all about Sinhala-Buddhist and that of the Mahawamsa ideology. Tamils and Muslims were made to feel, not deliberately, as late comers and second-class.

            Thus the true Tamil “GRIEVANCE” is that of lack of recognition, lack of respect as a “first class citizen”. Only way that could be rectified is by devolution of power to a geographic region where Tamil Culture and Identity can be fostered – in short, a kind of Eelam.

            Successive Sinhala and Tamil leaders failed to identify the true grievance of the Tamil people. For decades the Tamil political leadership talked of “discrimination”. Which was true, at certain times, but as governments rectified these, the claim of “discrimination” turned to “grievances”, although no one really articulated it well. Nevertheless the sense of grievance remained as a thorn to harmony and peace.

            I do not believe “devolution” will ever solve the underlying dissatisfaction and the undeclared enmity between the two people. Devolution will only make it worse for all people and that it will only reinforce the separate identities and cultures forever. To be sure, there may be a temporary euphoria among the Tamils if a devolved North-East come to fruition. There will be an equal degree of animosity among the Sinhalese, were this to happen. And it will not be a lasting solution. If one were to read history, for example that of Serbia, one would see how these things go on and on beneath a peaceful facade only to erupt in violent upheavals, even if it is centuries later.

            Ideally, if we had enlightened political leadership, what would have worked is reinforcing the “Sri Lankan” identity and diluting the Sinhala and Tamil identities. It should have happened 60 years ago. Now, it may be too late, but still worth a try if both Sinhala and Tamil political leaders have more concern for the future of the country/island and its future generations than attempting to advance their narrow personal political futures.

            Ranil Wickramasinghe, perhaps, has the vision; may be Maitripala Sirisena too, to a lesser extent. But certainly not Mahinda Rajapakse, who has no sense of history or that of destiny.

            Same negatives are true of Chief Minister Wignasewaran. And, sad to say, of people like you, Burning Issue, are just as belligerent as the Sinhala counterparts of BBS.

            • 1
              1

              Ken,

              I am totally indignant at those who play ignorant as to the causes of Tamil rebellion and continual denial of their political and social disparity at the hands of the majority that is chronically insecure.

              You are another one of those who cannot distinguish between a federal solution to a separate state. No matter how well one articulates the likes of you would not comprehend! Prof. Lucksri Fernando recently published an article enuanciating the rational for federal solution. Another Sinhala prof. published an article explaining that Sri Lanka historical never been a single country. The facts are there for anyone to learn if one really wants to!

              The reality is that SriLanka was put together as one country under the British and handed over to the Ceylonese under a unifying 1948 constitution. It was envisaged that the then so-called erudite politicians would improve the country in terms of nation building. We all know as to what transpired! The Tamils who became a minority community as the direct result of creation of Ceylon were left at the hands of whim and fancy of the majority that was sailing rudderlessly!

              There is no guarantees whatsoever that the minorities will be safe within a unitary state. You produced leaders of the caliber of SWRD, JRJ, Mrs Banda, and of course MR who acted senselessly to constitionslly undermine the Tamils. Today we RW and MS and tomorrow on one knows who will be at the helm; may MR again or may be another one of the mould of Donald Trupp; who knows! The Tamils must be protected and a solution should be found that is future proof. This is the reality. You can call me belligerent and compare me to BBS, but it will be no use. The Tamil aspire to set up a federal solution within a United Sri Lanka and it is just and democratic.

              Of course Sri Lanka can progress within such a set up with communal integration in mind. The language policy should be religiously implemented with trilingualism in mind. The state must promote policies and distribute investments fairly in such a way that people feel at ease to live wherever they chose to live. Counties like Canada, Switzerland, and Belgium have such governance.

              You yourself outlined the track records of your myopic politicians and then you find incredulity of the Tamils as belligerent! You want the Tamils to toe the line and at same time you are sceptical about the caliber of politicians you produce! Are being truthful to yourself let alone trying to convincing me! Before you ask the Tamils to list their grievances you spend some time introspecting!

              • 1
                1

                Simply put:

                Tamils are always good and right and Sinhalese are always bad and wrong?

                The core problem is one of “You” and “Me” differentiation; the identification as Tamil and Sinhalese rather than Sri Lankan.

                Good luck with your “Federal” solution.

                • 1
                  0

                  Ken,

                  Please stop your pathetic disposition. You could not guarantee the calibre of Sinhala politicians who can foster a Sri Lankan identity. You have had 68 years to do it and failed. What is wrong about a federal governance? It is about formulating policies at the centre in an inclusive manner devoid of expediency and myopia. This can only come about by resolving the thorny ethnic question.

        • 4
          2

          Those grievances have been articulated by Tamil political leaders, journalists as well as civil society over several decades. It is for people like you to research it on your own, not for Tamils to repeat it ad nauseam.

          There is a saying in Tamil “I talked about Ramayana all night, but in the morning you are asking what is the relationship between Rama and Sita?”
          That is the feeling that Tamils have, and that is why they don’t answer your question.

          Why should people waste their time explaining it to every single individual in a nation of 20 million people, when it has been clear all along? Whether it is willful denial, presumptuous dismissal, feigned ignorance or incomprehension on your part, it is not something the readers are inclined to help you with. If you are sincere, go read and do some research, and if you have specific questions after that, maybe people who have time will help you with it.

    • 2
      5

      Actually, the first step is clearly defining “Tamil” in the context of a
      “political solution “

      Is it only the Tamil speaking people who are Hindu and Christian or does it include all Tamil speaking people scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or date of arrival.?

      Soma

      • 3
        1

        Soma,

        Actually first step is for you Sinhala to accept that there is a clearly demarcated areas where the Tamil speaking people live and have historical ancestry. This is the first step, then you need to respect democracy any accommodate and empower the Tamils to have a grater say in the aspects that affect them. This is the civilised thing to do after miserably failing to build a nation. Your insidious talk will not work and you must not think that others are stupid!

        • 1
          2

          BI
          “Actually first step is for you Sinhala to accept that there is a clearly demarcated areas where the Tamil speaking people live and have historical ancestry”. Continuing on that same logic the Tamils must accept that the rest of island is exclusively for the Sinhalese and those Tamils who are outside must be prepared to relocate themselves to your historical area.

          Your logic that North AND East are for us only while the rest is for all of us is not quite palatable my friend.

          Soma

          • 1
            1

            soma,

            Are you think? What do you understand of the terms power devolution or federal solution? Do you understand by way of separation? Is this the issue?

            What is your problem?

            • 1
              1

              BI

              My problem is

              Your refusal to clearly identify what “Tamil” means in the contxt of a “political solution “

              My question is as clear and unambiguous as can be:

              “Is it only the Tamil speaking people who are Hindu and Christian or does it include all Tamil speaking people scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or date of arrival.?”

              Let us begin with the beginning.

              And as another commentator above has requested let us list down all the problems Tamil speaking people are faced with TODAY so that a suitable devolution model can be devised which would address those problems of at least 90% of the Tamil speaking people scattered across the country.

              Soma

  • 6
    1

    In what way it affect if the Singhala people if the Tamils live with equal civil and political rights and autonomy? having a fair say in their own affairs. Or you want justify looting , killing and raping, slavery inequality and is that the right thing to do?

  • 2
    3

    Dr Wiggins prediction after his curry lunch with Batalanada’s uncle Junius is still valid..

    Tigers are still around , You can’t pull their teeth with just the PCs as the Vellala CM constantly keeps reminding our inhabitants.

    TNA which managed to take the maximum advantage of the CF by going on joint Patrols with the LTTE Tigers, while Batalanada Ranil locked up our Armed Forces in the Barracks,won’t settle for anything other than a Federal State in the North,

    Our MPs who have been made Constitutional Experts by BR ,will be happy to sit in Kotte Chambers for the next full five years.

    The ones who grabbed BR’s Bacon Bones may even vote for what ever BR recommends.

    It may even get a pass through the Parliament. but there won’t be any two third majority approval.

    Can BR change Uncle Junius’s Constitution with a 2/3 majority?.

    Will Ranil stack the SC with his mates to say Yes.

    At least NGO Jehan seems to have a little feel of the pulse of the Dalits.

    While the Yahapalana PM and his lovely FM seem to think they can bludgeon the Armed Forces with the Foreign Judges and the White Courts and keep the Dalits under control, in case they don’t like to live in Federal States run by BR’s mates in the Yahapalana Coalition.

  • 3
    7

    Well, the keyword to focus on is Equlity and dignity. Where did this come from? Were the Tamils ever “Equal” before? They actually were. The story and In a nutshell the recent history of Tamils in Ceylon is as follows.

    Year 1700 Entire north east of Ceylon is virtually Sinhala. (See here , and here)
    Year 1901 Nearly 1 million Tamils have been brought to Ceylon to both NE and upcountry.
    Year 1911 The British create a new demography and Ethnic rival to Sinhala called “Ceylon Tamil” by dividing the Tamil population in half (see here). No citizenship test is conducted.
    Year 1931 The British gives Ceylon Tamil virtaully 50% of the power. Here is where Tamils are “Equal”.
    Year 1947 The British normalises Ceylon Tamil power down 12% of the power before they leave.
    Year 1948 The civil service is 90% Tamil.

    The Tamils were given 50% of the power. The British takes it back before they leave. So as you can see they left a time bomb. It was all contrived. Let it be known why and how Ceylon failed after independence.

    This is exactly what they did with Moslems and Hindus in India. They are still each others throats.

    There is a movie called “Trading Places” starring Eddie Murphy. The Tamils were treated the same way Eddie Murphy’s charater in the movie was treated by the “Mortimers” characters in the cast.

    The Tamils and Moslems in India should have done exactly what Eddie Murphy did in the movie.

    • 7
      1

      And then SUUDA made Vibushana to save Sinhalese. What a creation!! SBs like me should be proud to have historian Vibushana advocating for us. Ha Ha..

      • 4
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        Vibhushana does not learn anything. He thinks that if he can repeat the same old nonsenses over and over again, they become true!

      • 0
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        [Edited out] Alahakoon,

        [Edited out]
        What you asking for is “dignity” – but in actual fact what you want is “vanity”. The whole thing has been about Tamil vanity.[Edited out]

    • 2
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      Vibhushana, It appears your wrong knowledge about the history of Tamils is from a fable.

      True history of Tamils was recorded by traveller and voyager Marco Polo about 400 AD when he visited Ceylon. He wrote that he met the King named Sandanam, a Tamil king.

      King Sangili, a Tamil King, ruled Jaffna and was captured by Colonisers (Portuguese) about 600 years ago.

      So your arithmetic is skewed and mnot correct when you speak of the year 1700.

  • 1
    0

    harvard educated NGO, JP, what a waste of an education

  • 0
    0

    “The political solution to the ethnic conflict will come from a solution where the ethnic and religious minorities are not subject to the goodwill of the ethnic majority, but enter into an unbreakable partnership in which joint decision making is necessary.”

    In another article, maybe you could define the exact nature of the ‘ethnic conflict’. At present there is no ethnic conflict is there? Neither was there one during the Ceasefire agreement.

    Equal rights for all comunities must come through discussion over a period of time.

    There must be no violence. The government’s primary duty is to prevent violent conflict between ethnic groups.

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    Whatever ‘patriots’ or nationalists can accuse Jehan Peera of, one thing is certain that he, like Laksiri Fernando, is genuine in his desire to create a peaceful country that can concentrate on development without unnecessary and wasteful in fighting between different ethnic and religious communities.

    But destructive elements are more powerful and loud than peaceful and silent majority.Because of the polarised nature of the status quo reaching a peaceful and lasting solution is difficult as the fears of the ethnic majority is mythical and based on the belief of Mahavamsa mindset.

    To demonstrate that fear is ill founded one can suggest a model that had already been tested in multi-ethnic Switzerland or Canada be tried for ONLY a limited time and if not appropriate to Sri Lanka can reverse back to any other set up. Otherwise trouble makers with vested invest will move ‘hell and earth’ to wreck the well intended efforts of finding a genuine solution.

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    ” It is important therefore that the present efforts to achieve constitutional reforms, should also address the roots of the ethnic conflict and be successful ….”

    Good luck with that!! The Sinhala establishment will never ever acknowledge the root cause. At Independence, the British handed the Sinhala establishment a country that was far ahead of most Asian countries in terms of economy and education. By insisting on Sinhala hegemony and cutting out the minorities, the Sinhala establishment have messed up the country for sixty plus years resulting in the country falling behind most Asian countries. Have they learnt any lessons?? probably not.

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    The FUTURE started on the 20th May 2009. It was a hopeful start when the Great Liberator declared ‘now there are NO minorities’. Alas, it was a false dawn. He was, of course, joking as we saw from his refusal to contemplate any form of reconciliation that would have interfered with his supporters ‘the chosen people’.

    We are coming up to the seventh anniversary of ‘peace’. In fact our lackadaisical approach hides an uneasy peace that could well fester into something altogether worse than what we endured for thirty years.

    From what I find as I fly about this blessed land, the MINORITIES want nothing more than EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. It would be a good start to overhaul the anomalies in EDUCATION (including Further Education). Then, EMPLOYMENT opportunity. Many a time I have been dismayed at the imbalances in the composition of departments within Government service. Another would be the Armed Forces. It is a myth to think that only the Sinhalese could fight, and die, for this country. Others have, and will again if given the opportunity.

    When these and other ridiculous lesser anomalies are addressed, not only will we have a true and lasting PEACE but also a happier and altogether more successful country that will surely allow us to punch in a weight beyond our geographical stature. There are many indicators that a growing number of the Sinhalese see the sense of it all. We must not allow the bastards that will divide us to win. WE the People, ALL SRi Lankans of goodwill must seize this moment. NOW.

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    The roots of the conflict are language and Land.

    The experience of past 68 years is that the Sinhalese were greedy for the land in the North and East, in spite of plenty of land available in the South. The intent was racist, to marginalise the Tamil speaking people in their traditional homeland.

    It is political like the Apartheiod regime, chasing away “Blacks” to make them “Whites” areas.

    For the Tamil speaking people, because of the past experience, not controlling their own land is something they cannot live with in the future

    They are not interested in the land in the South..The Sinhalese can keep them.

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    This guy Jehan is a runaway from the Sarvodaya Organization of his cousin Dr. Ariyaratne and it is rumoured that there are allegations that he ran away robbing contacts and funds and then formed the National Peace Council. He betrayed the Sri Lankan Muslim community by making false prorogation about the Muslim community in Sri Lanka to the foreigners and swept the MUSLIM FACTOR under the carpet in the Peace Agreement, with the support of deceptive Muslim politicians and raked in millions of rupees from NORAD, SIDA, NOVIB and US Aid and UK NGO funding organizations over the years. Up to now, the National Peace Council has not submitted its annual accounts for PUBLIC SCRUTINY which has been requested many times. The NPC had very close connections with the Norwegians and Canadians who aspired to divide the country since 1995. The constitution REFORMS should give UTMOST consideration to incorporate/include provisions to make it law in the NEW CONSTITUTION to be enacted, that the National Peace Council and similar NGOS’s like the CPA, Transparency International, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) should declare the millions of dollars they have received up to now and account for it. Powers should also be included in the news constitution to audit these institutions who are even suspected to hold funds in foreign banks for use of unscrupulous political activities in Sri Lanka.
    Noor Nizam. Peace and Political Activist, Political Communication Researcher and Convener – “THE MUSLIM VOICE”.

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    Ho Ho Ho

    ‘……Canadians who aspired to divide the country since 1995…..’

    Didn’t we laugh when during one discussion, the proposal was ‘we could squeeze Sri Lanka into Lake Superior, and have enough left over for ferry channels’.

    NO, seriously, forget the Norwegians and Canadians, the ONLY ones who are capable of dividing Sri Lanka are the SRI LANKANS.

    Sunneth!

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      Spring Koha

      “NO, seriously, forget the Norwegians and Canadians, the ONLY ones who are capable of dividing Sri Lanka are the SRI LANKANS. “

      The only ones who are capable of preventing division of Sri Lanka are the Hindians.

      On the other hand you are right, the Hindians may support division of the island if ever Sri Lankans need help.

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