29 July, 2021

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Tricky Period But Productive Prospects On National Question

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

CT correspondents have reported a surfeit of gossip on whose-who and horse trading re Ministerial appointments. The number of appointees has turned ‘good-governance’ into a term of derision, but Sirisen and Ranil (S&R) have thickened their hide after the elections. Repeated flops in the courts, Avant Garde the most recent, confirms the incompetence of the CID and the AG’s Department and aggravates worries about the state machine (and S&R?) conniving with the old-time crooked leaders.

I am much relieved to give this all a wide berth today, but I will lead into my topic by pointing to glaring imbalances in Cabinet. The worst is that of the 43 freeloaders sworn in on 4 September, only two are women (Ms Athukorale and Ms Bandara), not one leftist, not a single elected Ceylon Tamil (sans-base Swaminathan is appointed) and there are just two Tamils of Upcountry origin (Digambaram and Mano Ganesan). With four members (Hakeem, Hashim, Haleem and Bathiudeen) the Muslims won’t complain except for the H-overload.

Worse is that there is no way out of this problem within the constraints of membership of this parliament. There are no more women of experience and no leftists who can be appointed to Cabinet. On the Tamil side the jinx is worse. Taking (oh-my-god!) Douglas, despised by human-rights defenders, into Cabinet has goaded every strand of Tamil opinion. And oh-my-god Thonda too! So this regime wants to prolong the uncouthness of its predecessor. Yes R&S have become thick-skinned, but it is also true that they are up against a parched landscape of decent human capital to choose from in the women, Left and non-TNA-Tamil categories. Women and leftists are not my pick for today; today it’s minorities.

Challenges

The next period will throw up two grave challenges on Tamil issues; what to do about devolution in the proposed new constitution, second the scenario after UNHRC Geneva. The latter though more explosive is less complicated. The shift from international to a domestic process is unavoidable though I am well aware there will be no conviction or punishment of offenders. That’s the truth about these things; it has happened umpteen times all over the world. It is only rarely that government and military leaders guilty of rights violations or war-crimes get their desserts. May I add, as a personal opinion, that I am of the view that there were grave offences.

Vasu Dinesh Wimal Udaya

*Shysters and snake-oil vendors invoke the occult

Have no illusions, at best a few political knuckles may be rapped, lightly, but military personnel will be whitewashed. Knowing this, I still say there is little point in rejecting a domestic process. The best to hope for is that the ugly evidence and loathsome brutality (LTTE included) will be dragged into the sunlight. Lanka will benefit from a cathartic experience and edge a little closer to its senses. The realist in me says: “That’s the most one can get, so get the best out of it”. The TNA should, in principle, oppose the dumping of the international process but realistically bend its efforts to optimising the domestic one. For example: What are the terms of reference; who will sit on the panel; what witness protection programme? Yes, get the whole truth vomited out; victor’s justice will not allow due punishment to be meted out.

Still there will be a battle to get even a credible domestic process going and in framing it in a non-fraudulent terms. Lanka’s bigot-force piloted by Wimal, Gamanpilla, Vasu, Dinesh and Dayan will kick up an almighty shindy when the report is adopted in Geneva and Lanka accepts a local process. Then would be the time to test the resolve of R&S and stiffen the backbone of the left-democratic forces. I have little faith in the will of R&S when direct-action is needed; the JVP is namby-pamby about confronting racism; so the responsibility passes elsewhere. When racists occupy streets they have to be confronted, they have to be stopped as the workers of London stopped Oswald Mosley (Battle of Cable Street, 1936); they must be disrobed and driven out. When Reggie Mendis controlled Pettah and D.G. William and M.G. Mendis the trade unions, such things were done; even Premadasa knew how to do it.

The balance of forces on the street is different now – or maybe not. It needs to be tested as we are in a new political phase. Cashing the January 8 and August 17 mandates to finish off fascism is not an opportunity to be missed. Racism had a blank cheque from SWRD’s soft embrace of post Sinhala Only goons, through JR’s “teach them a lesson” cutthroats of 1979 and 1983, to the Mahinda-Gota state led reign of terror. If this country is to begin afresh this past has to be inverted. Now is the opportunity to confront and end this epoch of hate-rule. Don’t expect much help form the R&S regime; a peoples’ movement (civil society, trade unions, democratic groups and political activists) will have to do it. How wonderful if the JVP would lend a hand, but it won’t!

Do not underestimate the enemy. Weerawansa and Gamanpilla were first and third in Colombo District polling lakhs of preference votes, a man on a double murder charge, on the second occasion the victims were 10 members of the Muslim Congress, polled 120,000 UPFA votes in Kandy District, Nimal Lanza despite allegations of criminal connection polled nearly a lakh, and the UPFA vote-topper in Ratnapura has been remanded for years on a murder charge. A part of the electorate of this country is sick, mentally sick. The fascist challenge will mobilise killers; it has to be confronted and eradicated. January 8 and August 17 only set the stage; the real game is about to begin. Half the SLFP MPs are said to be lining up behind Mahinda Rajapaksa, race hate will be their battle cry. A panicky President Sirisena, instead of exposing the diversionary antics of MPs trying to avoid criminal charges, is scaremongering an Eelamist threat in a competitive display of Sinhala-Buddhist histrionics.

A new constitutional dispensation

UNP, SLFP and JVP have ruled out the federalism word; everybody is now tired of words. The right to self-determination (RSD) a formula Marxists made such efforts to explain could not get past the armour-plated skulls of 90% of Sinhalese, and make no mistake about it, Tamils as well. For both, RSD and a demand for secession were indistinguishable. I no longer try to explain and since Tamils and TNA are no longer interested in RSD (what the devil in ‘internal-RSD’, a kind of loose motion?) there is no purpose in keeping up theoretical purism.

The TNA proposed a sensible compromise; it’s time for the JVP to get on board. Sampanthan, in his address to Parliament, proposed that Lanka have three to five regions with devolved power. He had the Indian example in mind and said: “Rather than so many ministers in the centre why not have three to five regions vested with substantial powers of governance? There are many young members of Parliament who could be ministers and chief ministers in these regions. Allow each part of the country to be ruled such that people are served best. India has 29 states; the country is united and stays together because people’s aspirations are respected, honoured and implemented. States have preserved linguistic, cultural and religious interests”.

Sampanthan promised to work constructively with R&S but spat at a near-century of free loaders on the public purse – Cabinet, Deputy and State Ministers. As for the devolution ball, it is now very much in the JVP’s court. If it takes a positive stance on the TNA proposal it will corner Ranil and the UNP making it difficult for them to capitulate to the chauvinists. Sirisena and the SLFP-in-government can be cornered next. Only the scum that break away from the SLFP to join the Wimal-Udaya-Vasu-Dinesh-Dayan mad-dog pack will howl. The pack can then be isolated and politically exterminated.

In respect of the structure of devolution the devil is in the details of the; (a) what powers to devolve and what retain at the Centre, (b) what should be the units of devolution? There are models in place as starters for (a); 13A and the Indian model. A national consultation process is getting started and these two should be the exemplars. Direct devolution to local governments from the Centre without an intermediate regional level will not be helpful. It will not address the National Question; that is the desire of the Tamil people for their own unit.

Three to five regional units seems correct. The broad outline could be a unit in the North and part of the East for Tamil comfort, second Southern Province and Ratnapura and Moneragala Districts, third Central Province and Badulla and Kegalle Districts, fourth NCP and NWP, and fifthly Western Province. Don’t take this gerrymandering seriously; it’s just kicking-off to get the ball rolling. My gut reaction is that nine (current provinces) are too many to be effective devolution units with powers as in India. Three is too few for people to feel they have a unit of their own or to provide openings as regional leaders for “many young members of parliament”. My intention is to invite you to put on your thinking caps and give the grey matter some vigorous exercise. Two other issues have to be addressed: (a) how will the Muslim elite respond to the Sampanthan formula (will they ask for a Pondicherry to lord it over as their satrapy?) and (b) the status of Trincomalee harbour needs to be defined – same as now should be ok.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    3

    States have preserved linguistic, cultural and religious interests

    If its “linguistic state” cancel Tamil from the 7 provinces. That will be less of a burden on the tax payer too.

    That will encourage Tamils living elsewhere to go and settle down in their linguistic allocated area too.

  • 0
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    At least your Gola of the past Bahu should have been in the Parliament.I think Bahu’s main concern is now to get the pay arrears and go in to retirement. On second thoughts, his absence in the parliament is a good thing for all. The man is a spent force. His speeches, especially the English ones, are a drag. I counted him saying ‘er’ once for every 5 words. He should know that his is one of the hallmarks of a bad speaker.

    Even the content and the logic of his so called ‘speeches’ is confusing. He mumbles and meanders and goes in to a lot of leftist jargon that is as out of date as the dinosaurs are. In one of his recent speeches, the only thing I could clearly graspwithout ambiguity was that Dinesh is his BIL. One wonders who the Devadatta is.

  • 1
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    “Yes, get the whole truth vomited out; victor’s justice will not allow due punishment to be meted out.”
    “victor’s justice will not allow due punishment to be meted out”.
    100 million Tamils will loose faith in justice, in UNHCR, UN and in all the international justice organization . They will presume the commissioner has betrayed them.

  • 1
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    The writer has very correctly pulled out two political lepers Thondaman and Douglas for exposure and exclusion. Let these despicable outlaws and untouchables be rightly spurned by political leaders. But do they have the sense?

  • 1
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    Only Solution, would be to severely Prune the ‘Perks’ and Entitlements of the Members, and increase the Responsibilities of those who choose to ‘Serve’ the Country.

    This would cut out the Undesirables and Unemployables, who now Queue Up to get Elected

    • 0
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      Answer to corruption is not perks and feather bedding, but the firing squad as in China.

      • 3
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        CHANAKYAN

        “Answer to corruption is not perks and feather bedding, but the firing squad as in China.”

        It hasn’t made firing and beheading squad redundant. In fact more and more people are being shot by firing squad for corruption or beheaded for murder, rape, false prophecy, blasphemy, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy,adultery, witchcraft and sorcery.

        The question is whether these methods are effective or deterrent in preventing crimes in the first place. What happens later if found a case of miscarriage of justice?

        Why is this rage for judicial murder?

  • 5
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    It is important that Justice be done to the living with the least delay. If that is done nobody would have died in vain. Let us all hope that the new government will get down to the task of resolving the National Question to the satisfaction of all with the least possible delay. Doing so would help the grieved to forget the past before long.
    Sengodan. M

  • 0
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    Five is better than Three for sure..

    My worry is whether our Daits also end up as India’s…..

  • 1
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    my 2 cents’ worth:

    – harbours, air ports, highways should be under central control
    – police should be under state (local) control
    – religious sites important to multiple faiths (eg. Adam’s Peak) should be der central control
    – if 30% or more speak a language different from the majority of the area, all children should be taught both languages
    – affirmative action programs should be put in place to diversify the government services

    • 0
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      Also,

      1. Schooling up to the A-levels should be a provincial/regional (?) subject, within the scope of a broad national schooling po;icy.

      2. The O-[evel examinations should be conducted by the provinces/regions and the A-level examination by the government at the centre.

      3. There should be provincial/regional universities, polytechnics and technical schools.

      4. The National universities should be few and under the purview of the center.

      5. Private universities ( if they meet well defined criteria0and polytechnics should be permitted.The universities should also be permitted to be indepemdednt entities, competing for funds, students and staff. Only the Chancellors should be appointed by the State or province/region as applicable.

      6. The health services should be under the provinces and run to meet nationally set standards.

      7. The concurrent list should be eliminated.

      8.The number of provincial council ministers should be expanded of between 8-10.

      9. The Governor’s powers should be trimmed, to permit the PCs/RCs to operate within clearly defined rules and regulations.

      10. A mechanism must be created for the CMs to meet the cabinet at least once a month in a formal setting to discuss issues and find solutions.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 2
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    “Have no illusions, at best a few political knuckles may be rapped, lightly, but military personnel will be whitewashed. Knowing this, I still say there is little point in rejecting a domestic process.”

    Earlier this week, newspapers reported on the war crimes investigation of Chad’s Hissene Habre in a Senegal court, 30 years after the crimes were committed, under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction. The victims were able to confront in a court of another country the political leader who gave orders to torture and rape them.

    So, it is not easy or quick, and some victims and perpetrators may pass away, but Tamil victims should keep the hope for true justice alive and wait for their chance under universal jurisdiction; but until then, they should use every opportunity for any investigation as a chance to build up a credible case for future trials. Even as Tamils register their protest and disappointment if the UNHRC process inevitably leads to a domestic investigation based on in the interests of global powers, we should impose conditions for safeguarding victims’ interests, and take care to meticulously record and preserve evidence. Even if the outcome is a foregone conclusion, the process should be such that it can be used as evidence in future trials under universal jurisdiction.

  • 0
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    The JVPs finest hour,so to say,will unfold on their stand relating to the Devolution proposal of the TNA. The JVP NEEDS TO PROJECT THEMSELVES,as a serious mature political outfit,as opposed to Dinesh,Wimal,Gammanpila et al.

  • 4
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    Solving the country’s national problem once and for all for the good should be the number one priority for the Sirisena-Ranil government. Lanka’s dirtiest racist bigot-force piloted by the mad-dog pack Wimal – Gamanpilla – Vasu – Dinesh – Dayan is quite a dangerous pack that should be dealt with very strongly if they try to create chaos and disrupt the peace in the country. This is the gang that misguided Mahinda Rajapakshe and hijacked the UPFA.

    As Kumar says, this mad-dog pack is very capable of mobilising all those mentally sick racists (who voted them) creating unrest in the country. They can also get hold of all the rogue Buddhist Monks (hora ganayas or cheevaradharis) who hijack the Buddhist religion with their anti-Buddhist activities (violate the Buddhist disciplinary code, values & principles) and disrupt the peace in the country (violent street propaganda).

    R. Premadasa was an expert in dealing with such people. He had a separate gang equipped with bicycle chains. A gang that did not respect even the saffron robed cheevaradharis.

    The Sirisena-Ranil government should get prepared for all kinds of defences if this racist mad-dog pack tries to create trouble in the country. Keep the police and the armed forces alert and make sure they are loyal to the government. All the rogue Buddhist Monks who create trouble should be subjected to disciplinary action and should be disrobed. Isolate this mad-dog pack if they create trouble and put them in jail. When you are dealing with such people, you have to be as tough as Sir John Kothalawela or R. Premadasa.

    • 2
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      The Messenger

      “Lanka’s dirtiest racist bigot-force piloted by the mad-dog pack Wimal – Gamanpilla – Vasu – Dinesh – Dayan is quite a dangerous pack that should be dealt with very strongly if they try to create chaos and disrupt the peace in the country.”

      “Wimal, Gamanpilla, Vasu, Dinesh, and Dayan are the only five smart patriot standing up to the west, Tamil Nadu, Diaspora, C V Wigneshwaran, …. and the entire world.

      How dare you call them Lanka’s dirtiest racist bigot-force?

      Mind your language.

  • 0
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    The partition of Sri lanka into five region advocated by David’s proposed project plan of Indian & US,UK harbors plans to exert politics over the divided an Island sphere of influence , while building separate state for Tamils.

    The David knows very well that great powers would manage Indian Ocean affairs by negotiating directly with Tamil rough state.

    This seems be dramatic and farfetched ,but the Eealm plan for a suppose to exist in future Sri Lanka as part of world Map.
    Hence new globalism battled with another blueprint Tamil for securing new resetting as Indian Ocean on the war zone against Peace Zone.

    Some Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil political class have mooted building their own Tamil cyberspace for a range of different motives are new norms of Tamil Eealm. This reaching ugly dimension ,which of feudal decadence that nexus moribund neo-liberal degenerations.
    Will lead to growing criminalization of democracy and grows in accompany Tamil and Sinhalese communal feeling exploited by UNP-RW TNA and JVP ruling class for their Parliament electoral objectivities.

    David’s proposal is nothing new of that partition for five regions of Island, was not only from TNA, but is one concept of Praksaraligiam of Tamil Eealm advices to UNP, follow up by UNP currently advocated for New Federalism Constitution of Sri lanka.

    We have be alarmed at the prospect new age orthodox Christian democracy of UNP would be a series of zones of management with each power able to interfere internal affairs of Sri lanka by the interest of Indian hegemony .
    While theoretically open to India by partition for five region in reality they would impose political heavy cost on developing nation to be prohibitive.

    Sri lanka Tamil political class and its leadership join hand with Indian monopoly capital due to the compulsions of its narrow social base has been to align with the US hegemony forces in order to maintain its class rule in an Island since 2015 January 9th by
    so-called “rainbow revolution” led by UNP-RW, MS and CBK.

    The new set political crisis of UNP ruling class and their contradictions that continue decided direction of unsustainability of capitalist development in politically. Such an TNA ,JVP and UNP alliance meant the inability of ruling class governances in become anti-democracy context in the Sri lanka.

    Needless to say David proposed “Five Region” is ex-colonial and
    pre-capitalist of the result of Tamil chauvinism and communalism that by the social consciousness associated backward demand for Tamil Eealm land.

    The David version of ‘region demarcation’ process of class compositions Tamils and Compradors bourgeoisie of such will be limited to capitalist development .It will taking place within the parameters of a historically persistent races divided country.

    • 4
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      D.Nimal

      Please write about this island.

      We don’t want to read about a country or place that is outside this universe.

      We are not interested in virtual world.

  • 2
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    Prof.A.K David.

    D.Nimal the Linguist is on your trail.This bugger can be taught anything,but English!

  • 0
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    I have no idea David Doctorate ship on what ? By and large his Five Region of Federalism is purely partition of Island of Sri lanka the very so-called cause for the “self -determination” Tamil for Eealm….(RSD).

    David’s theory of Trotskyism of five region ,led to anti-Marxists that doctrine misrepresented and distorted reality of key principle of Lenin’s Bolshevik’s Party Right of self-determination. Its irrational element of non-democratic methods and non-dialectical view.

    David proposed that five region is merely divined concept of ‘Hinduism or Christian’ concept of Neo-Liberal politics practices by UNP-RW, CBK, MS, JVP and TNA since 2015 January 9th. Policy has NOT been endorsed by 2015 August 17 election by minority of TNA JVP and UNP alliances.

    David is not edged away from the Tamil conservative principle of
    Neo-Liberal socio-politics partition of Island that by his outlook.
    That is not only limited for David and gang of the bunch of “Lefties” of cultivate strait-laced chauvinism of Jayampathy Wijenayaka,Wickrambahu, Ajith Rupasinghe Siritunga and many reactionary petty bourgeois elites forward teaches us, that democratic principle of Democratic revolution of an Island.

    We democratic forces regards partition of Island by Federalism into Country as that as impact , we consider is politically meaningless in People’s point of view.

    I rejected all outdated region of FIVE of Federalism of New Constitution of Republic outdated which an opposed democratic system that reintroduce new colonialism of autocracy ,that created cult Tamil Feudal nobility and Tamil Eealm apotheosis war for Eealm state.

    There is remarkable sings of reversal of national economic slowdown since 2015 January 9th by MS led UNP-RW and CBK and US led global economy recession continuing buying US debt has been particularly staggering over the last decade. The global economy continuing to falter .
    National economy has dries up its foreign reversed since 2015 January 9th last 9 months by misrule and mismanagement of political leadership of MS, RW and CBK elites group of “good governances” and “Rule of Law” of unknown democracy.

    The 2015 January 9th election of President and 2015 August 17th Parliament elections such hopes are fast fading. There is more evidences of how role in the rise of US fascism of WAR tone politics and Indian involvement in the wake of economics crisis and the 2008 Great collapse of stock market of depression that display a similar yearning tragedy.

    In fact Western world-US & UK that including India encouraging current ruling class and their political parties,to Fascist methods that against democratic norms had been accepted by 67 years old democracy system of governances in Sri lanka.

    The region of five by David concept more less part of new Fascism acts of the interest of extremes US and Indian hegemony ,but it presenters itself the People in the guise of the champion an ill-treated nation and apples to outraged Tamil nationalism sentiments by David .

    Five region idea puts the people at mercy of the most corrupt and venal elements ,but comes before them with demand of an myth of honest and incorruptible Govt. and outside ruling elites like David . This is a chilling convergence with anti-democracy of fascist methodology by David and their unmoral anti- democratic political ideologies.

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