20 October, 2020

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The TNA’s ‘Hardline’ Manifesto

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

There is a time-tested formula to obtain the optimum in any engagement.  It was proposed first by the All-Knowing and All-Seeing, the Buddha Siddhartha Gauthama.  The doctrine is contained in two ideas: compassion and wisdom.  Applicable to all, this formula offers the best instruments to dissect and respond to the manifesto recently put out by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Promising sun, moon, stars and everything underneath is part and parcel of manifestos.  If, as Lee Kwan Yew once said, democracy in Sri Lanka is but the periodic auctioning of non-existent resources, the TNA cannot be faulted for promising the undeliverable.

The TNA manifesto pledges a commitment to a separate state in no uncertain terms.  The deliverability aside, there are several reasons why such a manifesto makes sense, politically that is, for the TNA.  There is no Tamil country in this world.  As such, the promise has appeal, albeit to the less-critical and baser instincts of the Tamil community.  It need not be a place, even if obtained, that someone in Colombo or Toronto, for example, would ever inhabit, but it is certainly an idea that is warm enough to warrant support.

Then there is also the issue of belonging.  The distance between the powerful and the powerless is such that few can actually relate with heart and soul to rulers.  A Sinhalese being President does not make all Sinhalese feel safer.  A woman president doesn’t automatically emancipate women from patriarchal fetters.  Given decades of deliberate mis-education by communalist leaders, a war where primarily Sinhala soldiers fought an outfit made of Tamils and failure to address real, felt grievances (never mind the inflations of the same), that sense of un-belonging can be expected to be more acute in a Tamil.  The TNA manifesto, therefore, is something that the Tamil voter could salute, never mind the fact that it echoes the Vadukoddai Resolution and the anger, violence, misery, death, destruction and dismemberment it precipitated.  Manifesto-scribblers are tasked to script documents that rake in the votes. They don’t have to deal with the fall out.  Responsibility is not their referent framework.

The TNA Manifesto is different from those of other parties only in the fact that it pledges to deliver different ‘undeliverables’.  It plays on different aspirations.  The key words remain the same: ‘undeliverable’ and ‘aspiration’.  There’s nothing undemocratic about it.  Hardliners, after all, can operate within a democracy and do their ‘hardlining’ democratically.  And of course, this is ‘vintage’ Tamil communalist politics.  Nothing new here.

The manifesto, therefore, should be looked at with compassion, as we have done above.  That’s part of the ‘wise way’, we offer, of treating the TNA and its hardline politics.  Wisdom, however, has other dimensions.

The TNA’s hardline precludes the possibility of any reasonable, say, ‘softliner’, considering that party as a credible partner in post-conflict reconciliation. Indeed, this manifesto can be branded as ‘RECONCILIATION OBSTACLE’ because it proposes a schema that will result in perpetual antagonism between communities.

Hardliners and ‘hardlines’ are not contained by legislation and especially not by that horrendous affront to democracy, democratic process and communal harmony, the 13th Amendment.  On the other hand, it remains a legitimate cling-on for separatists, Indophiles, regime-haters and other spoilers in the absence of a comprehensive, gloves-off, lets-be-real, lets-not-beat-around-the-bush, exercise to enumerate ALL grievances of ALL communities that include credible measurement of the same, leading of course to practical mechanisms capable of alleviating grievances to the satisfaction of all.

All this calls for a fresh sheet of paper.  The first line on the paper could be ‘The Second Republican Constitution’.  Whether we like it or not, that document and all the errors scribbled into it that make for the legal accumulation of privileges by the rulers and the cover-up of all things illegal, while systematically robbing citizen of participatory agency in decision-making, remains ‘starting point’, this side of revolution or invasion.

It is a relatively simple exercise (and one that has been done by many critics) to identify all its flaws and all its anti-citizen clauses, i.e. those lines which favor ruler and detract from the ruled.  In the rush to assert identity, consequent fixation with one’s community and simultaneous suspicion of the relevant ‘other’ to the point of fear, sense of threat and resolution to fight (back), the broader category of ‘citizen’ has been forgotten.  In power politics this is to be expected; ‘citizen’ is somehow less sexy than ‘Tamil’, ‘Buddhist’, ‘Catholic’ or any such identity.  Hardliners will not think ‘citizen’, and this adds to the burden of ‘softliners’.

Whatever the TNA’s ‘hard line’ produces, the softer and ultimately more enduring line of national reconciliation is that which focuses on ‘citizen’, engages relentlessly with the constitution and consistently privileges reason over emotion.  Everything else is nothing but testosterone rush and the comparison of libido.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

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    Malinda [Edited out],
    Its not TNA Manifesto, pure Tamil manifesto. Just wait Tamils of great ealams verdict. U damn [Edited out] never ever going to know freedom and democracy.

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      MS, the Buddha also said that every action has a equal and opposite reaction. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!
      Sinhala Buddhist racism has been shoved down people’s throats and the minorities pulvarized – particularly at elections JHU and JVP market racism to win votes – so what do you expect when the Tamil minority in the north votes for the first time after 25 years for a provincial council?
      Get a grip – do some real political and historical analysis on election inspired racism and playing the ethnic card to win votes which is an old game practices by the Sinhalay modayas to destroy harmony in Lanka!

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      MS: you are a classic case of the saying:

      Many people think that they are thinking when they are actually re-arranging their prejudices..

      MS you seem to have STOPPED thinking, reading and education yourself- and merely re-cycle you prejudices endlessly.. given the sub optimal standards of journalism and English language skills in Lanka you clal yourself an editor!

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    as Lee Kwan Yew once said, democracy in Sri Lanka is but the periodic auctioning
    Also said

    Mahinda Rajapaksa Is A Sinhalese Extremist’ – Lee Kuan Yew

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahinda-rajapaksa-is-a-sinhalese-extremist-lee-kuan-yew/

    You are a puppet we can’t blame you because if you tell the truth like true journalist you have to fear for your loge and out of job

    • 0
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      Every political statement has a partial truth and part falsehood. Unfortunately for the Tamils, it is run by the Colombo Lawyer class. That is how it has been since the time of the Ramanaths, more than a century ago. The ramanathans ran it based on caste supriority. G. G. Ponnambalam raised Tamil communalism and Tamil Nationalism in the 1930s and captured the ball from the Ramanathans. Then S. J. V. Chelvanayagam went even further in his push for Tamil Nationalism by declaring in 1949 at Maradana that the tamils must have their own Arasu and even stated the rudiments if the homeland’s doctrine. There was no language bill or any of that at the time. But he felt that given the power of the tamils in the public servce, in commerce, banking etc., they could wrest power by simply non-cooperating with the Sinhalese and setting up a seperate administration in the North. But jis manifesto was regarded as extremist, racist and was roundly rejected by the the Tamils in 1952, even though he and EMVNaganathan hoped to win over Colombo Tamils (like the Thiruchelvams) to his side by talking of a “Federal party” instead of an Arasu Kadchi. With Banda and Sinhala only and ITAK’s “non-violent” sathyagrahs (where “token” wooden pistols were distributed),
      followed by Arasu stamps issued in jaffna and tarring sinhala name boards etc, and Sinhala goons coming into the picture as well, we got into the process where ITAK became the main Tamil party till they were hijacked by Prabhakaran.

      Did the Colombo lawyers want to improve the lot of the Tamils in the North economically, or did they – absentee landlords — want to wrest control of their land from the Central government?
      After all, the Colombo tamils of that era had every thing except Arasu, while the Jaffna tamils had next to nothing while the Mattakkalppu Tamils at less than nothing). So The Arasu Kadchi was for them to become kings.

      So, I am sad to say, the TNA is following the same old path which will not help the Tamils of the North. The manifesto is good for the rich lawyer class with strong links outside the country, but not good for the Northern Tamils OR ORDINARY MIDDLE-CLASS TAMILS LIKE MYSELF living among the sinhalese in the south.

      That has to wait till true sons of the North become mature enough to take up parliamentary power (not armed power -after all, Prabhakaran was a True Son of the North who got rid of the Colombo leaders and got even the Ponnambalams and Sampanthans to supplicate at his feet and tow the LTTE line).

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        manoharan

        “not armed power -after all, Prabhakaran was a True Son of the North who got rid of the Colombo leaders and got even the Ponnambalams and Sampanthans to supplicate at his feet and tow the LTTE line”

        Would you like to see another VP who could completely wipe out the rest of the stupid Tamils or ethnically cleanse Muslims from entire island?

        Perhaps that would make your job less of a burden and create a happy environment in which you will have no one but yourself to blame.

        However remember you are living in my ancestral land.

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    Dear Author,
    TNA is promising the deliverable.
    LTTE was defeated by international community and not by SL government.
    International community is not playing when they take Rajapakses government to UNHRC. They are serious. This is why TNA is living in reality while Rajapakses are living in cloud cuckoo land, hoping to colonise more land for Sinhalese and divert aid money and material to various wrong locations.
    It is the Sinhala governments who are hard line from the day of independence by calling for pogroms, race riots, war crimes, official rapes, genocide, etc…. It is not only hard line but fascism that will be defeated by international community once and for all. But you can rest assured they will not let the country split. So it is going to be shared sovereignty. Do not live in cloud cuckoo land. TNA is promising the deliverable.

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      K.Chevvez,
      Entirely correct.

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      TNA thinks it can deliver Eelam with the support of world’s worst human rights violators.

      SJV Chelvanayakam thought they could do it because Tamils were dominating the public sector and leading professions and therefore superior to all other communities.

      Amirthalingam thought they could do it via Vadukkoddai.

      LTTE thought they could do it initially through the support of India and later with the vast diaspora network and Western support led by Norway.

      TNA has got stuck in the same exclusivist, racist paradigm and think they can do it with the support of India & USA alliance too.

      It will be again a massive miscalculation and the Tamils will be the losers.

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        hela

        Okay the Tamils got it wrong will again again get it wrong, because they are stupid Tamils.

        Sinhalese also got it wrong will again and again get it wrong because they genetically related to their stupid brethren.

        “It will be again a massive miscalculation and the Tamils will be the losers.”

        Don’t under estimate Tamil/Sinhalese stupidity. There is no miscalculation, all you have is no calculation.

        If past history is anything to go by both will the losers and Sri Lanka will become a Sinhala state of India.

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    The Buddha said, “Hatred ceases not by hatred, but by love…that is the eternal truth.”

    Your All-Knowing and All-Seeing patron saints Mahinda and Gota said, “Kill them all, bomb them into the stone age and rule the rest in the North like slaves under the jackboots of the armed forces, and the South will be eternally grateful to us.”

    …what the Buddha said is eternal and what the RajaPassas’ are doing is temporary.
    The more hardline the RajaPassas’ are towards the Tamils, the more supportive the international community will be towards them.
    If you want real peace in the country, tell your two patron saints to devolve power to the North and East with no strings attached…that is the only way forward.

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    It is clear as crystal the only function of both mouthpieces of the State – Rajpal A and Malinda S – is to pour maximum scorn on the TNA. The level to which Rajpal has brought down the once revered Ceylon Daily is an absolutely disgrace. For some weeks the main news in the front page of CDN are utter lies and crude attacks on the TNA and its
    CM candidate. The Sinhala Southern electorate is once again warned 24×7
    TNA is about to split Sri Lanka into two – at the behest of the diaspora and Tamilnadu. Will the usually gullible Sinhala electorate swallow this pill this time also? Why are the Rajapakses so fearful of a TNA victory on Sept 21. Many well informed still believe the rogue regime will find some excuse to call off the elections at the last moment if the current set-up conspiracy through a petition in Courts
    fails.

    Nettabomman

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    K.Chevvez

    “It is the Sinhala governments who are hard line from the day of independence by calling for pogroms, race riots, war crimes, official rapes, genocide, etc…”

    Of course there were many atrocities committed by the state however it was VP who took it upon himself to liberate the Tamils and take them to a promised land.

    Why did he miserably fail?

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      NV,
      You know the answer.
      “Why did he miserably fail?” Because IC (India, USA,….) decided to finish him.

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        and funded billions of dollars to that effect

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        Anpu

        No VP won it for MR.

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          You are right it is VP’s stupidity which made Tamils lose everything. He converted a Legitimate struggle of the Suppressed people into a Terrorist Fight. Still Tamils have not digested this fact… they live in dream heroism.

  • 0
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    Well, with this manifesto the tri-facotor for spawning next-gen Prabha is complete isn’ it? Three weeks ago Suresh whatshisname of TNA said Tamils need to arm themselves. The following week Vingeswaran comes along and says prev-gen Prabakaran was right all along. This week Sampathan delivers a blueprint for a yet another Tamil kingdom.

    The TNA now better deliver the Tamil Kingdom in peaceful “Ghandian” fashion. After all the next-gen Pirbha now has powerful dream and a goal. If TNA fails, he will take over wihouth much hesitation. First to go will be the Colombo absentee landlords of TNA. Next-gen Pirbha will then esablish contact with loonies like Nedumaran across the ditch. Obtain finances to fund initial round of uprising killing Policeman, politicians, lamp post killings and robbing banks.

    Once that is over he will need to raise a bigger army. Although he realises most Tamils live down south. To his dismay Colombo Tamils only seems to pay lip service to Tamil Nazidom. They do not seem to be interested in paying for liberation like the northern folks. Trying to kill 2 birds with one stone he organises something like the 83 wakeup call for Colombo Tamils all over again.

    Hopefully TNA has a plan for delivering on promises. After reading their manifesto all it mentions is a plan to live on knees infront of foreign embassies in Colombo. This better work. Failure to do so will be quite dire me thinks.

  • 0
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    Darth insidious at it again. Where does “The TNA manifesto pledge a commitment to a separate state in no uncertain terms “? That assertion is the premise of this holier than thou article. On the contrary the manifesto specifically refers to the peoples of the country living together. Malinda is just providing campaign material for the government in the other two provinces. Just like when he said that as the father of two daughters he couldn’t vote for General Fonseka because of rape allegations against him. If he doesn’t mind peddling his daughters when peddling his lies, what misrepresentation will he not resort to?!

  • 0
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    As someone once said about somebody else, “this b….d is not worth the shot to blow him away.”
    He epitomises the slimy underworld from which the Rajapassas recruit their acolytes, this one employed and paid for by them. LITERALLY!
    P.S.
    “Son like, father alike”

  • 0
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    In south MR entertains BB Sena, Ravana Sena etc. to get sinhala votes.
    TNA is playing same game in north to get Tamil votes.

  • 0
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    Why TNA manifesto is undeliverable?

    The product (Tamil Homeland) is currently stolen and it is in the hands of two manufacturer’s. These manufacturer’s have their own product (Sinhala Homeland)and there is always competition between them to get their market share of their product. Whenever they have shortage of strategies to deliver their own product, they bring the issue of the stolen product.

    The owners of that product (Tamil)always demand that their product should be given to them. It is their right and it is rational. Sometimes in order to increase their market share the competitors need the help of the owners of the stolen product. In that circumstances, they agree to give up some of the ownership of that stolen product to the owners. However, the competitor then uses that as a marketing strategy against other to increase his market share and these agreements collapse.

    It is the story behind the undeliverable good. In fact, it is deliverable and it is rational. The owners of the stolen product tried various strategies to recover their product and was not successful so far. Since the product has come now come under international market place and it is proven without doubt that the competitors are deliberately trying to take out that product out of the market by destroying it.

    It is now a question of international market share holders to decide on how they are going to intervene in this market. International competitors are interested in this product and they have shown their interest and they are capable of taking over both products and keep them under their control.

    There is nothing called “undeliverable”. It is possible!

  • 0
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    “There is nothing called “undeliverable”. It is possible”.

    Yes every thing is possible on piggy back of masses.

    Every politician and all the parties trying to deliver the undeliverable, swimming through the Innocent’s blood.

    These Tom Tom Beater Malinda S and Torch Bearer RAJAPAL A is looking for chances like BANDULA J.
    Definietly Rajpassa will treat them well on Tax payer’s account.

    MALINDA SENAVIRATHNA,

    Now everybody knows,Who are beating around the bushes.

    THIS IS CALLED hiding THE MAIN TOOL, AND GOING TO DO WITH two THINGS.

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    No human who ever lived on this planet has ever been All Knowing and All Seeing, yet. How different is this statement from MS to the claims of the Taleban?

  • 0
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    Commitment with faith and determination will bring dividends.

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