16 October, 2021

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Trouble Up Ahead: The TNA’s Election Manifesto

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

To go by its election manifesto the TNA seems completely unmindful of the massive effort that had to be made for the Provincial Council system to be set up in 1987-88, for the 13th amendment to be preserved in 2013 and the PC election in the North to be held under the existing amendment. In short it appears to be unconcerned about the fragility of the political space that has been prised open and the need to carry a sizeable segment of Southern opinion with it at all times or at least neutralise Southern opposition to the Council.

The inflated, emotive electoral rhetoric of 1977 played its part in setting the TULF on a confrontation course with Colombo. It is about to happen again and this time the collision is more certain and will perhaps prove more consequential. One miscalculation could lead to protracted deadlock and worse still, a strategic politico-military lockdown.

The TNA’s electoral manifesto shows that the Tamil politicians and perhaps their Northern constituency have learned as little as have their Southern counterparts. Here I do not refer to the call for federalism or the North-East merger, which may be objectionable to many and inadvisable to boot, but can hardly be described as illegitimate. Even if debatable, these are valid political stances and propositions.

I refer instead to other important aspects of the TNA’s manifesto. One is the explicit, uncritical and deceitful references to the LTTE.

Let us however, examine the TNA’s manifesto from the beginning. It says: “At the time of independence from colonial rule in 1948, Ceylon was foisted with a unitary type constitution with simple majoritarian rule.”

It is striking that even the Soulbury Constitution is rejected by the TNA in its recounting of its mandate. That Constitution was silent on the nature of the unitary character of the state and it is the closest to a secular constitution as we have had. The explicit commitment to a unitary state and the entrenchment of majoritarianism in the form of the privileged place accorded to Sinhala and Buddhism were features of the first Republican Constitution of 1972. That Tamil nationalism opposed the 1972 Constitution is entirely legitimate. What is shocking is the TNA’s characterisation of the Soulbury Constitution. This reveals that the TNA stands opposed to any type of unitary state, even one that was designed by a progressive post-war British Labour administration, is discreetly silent on that unitary character and did not entrench majoritarian hegemony as did the successor Constitution of 1972. The conclusion is thus inescapable that the majoritarianism that the TNA is opposed to is simply, democracy itself.

The references in the TNA manifesto to the LTTE are morally repugnant. With no criticism of the LTTE at all, the manifesto simply says that “While no progress was being made on the political front to solve the burning national issue, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued its armed struggle.”

To put it politely this is nothing less than a lie. What does the TNA call the Indo-Lanka accord and the North-East Provincial Council? What of the Interim Administration of September 1987 which granted the LTTE 7 out of 11 seats including the chairpersonship? The Tigers resumed their armed struggle despite the existence of alternatives such as these, and proceeded to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. What also of the dialogue between President Premadasa and the LTTE? The Tigers unilaterally resumed the war while the talks were ongoing. What of the Manalaga Moonesinghe proposals of 1993? Premadasa was assassinated despite these political efforts. What of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s advanced political reform packages of 1995, 1997 and 2000? Did the Tigers stop their war or did they continue despite the availability of reformist political options?

The TNA manifesto then says that “Though initially there were several military outfits, since 1987 the LTTE emerged as the sole military force in pursuing the struggle.” How pray did the LTTE ‘emerge’ as the sole military force? Did that emergence have anything to do with the murder of Sri Sabaratnam of TELO and the burning alive of TELO cadre in the streets of Jaffna while shopkeeper served soft drinks, on April 30th 1986 by the LTTE? Was the miraculous emergence linked in any way to the massacre of EPRLF captives who had been rounded up in late 1986, also by the LTTE? Was it in any way connected to the burning alive on the beach of Vasudevan the political leader of PLOT in the Eastern province, by the LTTE?

The TNA manifesto then laments the fact that the “Ceasefire Agreement…did not last and hostilities broke out between the government forces and the LTTE with the military confrontation coming to an end on 19th May 2009.” This mealy-mouthed statement omits to mention that during that CFA the Tigers murdered dozens of police and armed forces personnel and demonstrated its striking commitment to the CFA by shooting the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar.

The TNA manifesto should either have avoided any reference to the LTTE or if reference had to be made it should have included a denunciation of internal executions, lethal attacks on unarmed civilians , the murder of Tamil intellectuals such as Rajini Tiranagama, the savage slaughter of the EPRLF central committee, the assignation of Rajiv Gandhi (thanks to whom the TNA has a Provincial Council to contest, enter and complain about) and the liquidation of many Tamil political leaders such as Appapillai Amirthalingam, and Neelan Tiruchelvam.

The failure to do any of this and the references to the LTTE entirely without disapproval show that the TNA is either susceptible to the pro-Tiger sentiment of sections of the Tamil Diaspora and Tamil Nadu or to such sentiments within its own ranks or support base. It also shows that the TNA is dangerously interested in profiling the LTTE as part of the narrative of the Tamil struggle rather than a deviation/aberration. The TNA also seems ready to place itself on a political continuum with the LTTE’s ‘struggle’. Finally, it shows a complete lack of sensitivity to the sentiments of the vast majority of the country’s citizenry, not to mention the armed forces.

The TNA manifesto says that “An Independent International Investigation must be conducted into the allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws made against both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE during the last stages of the war”. It should try to figure why the Sinn Fein/IRA, having entered mainstream electoral politics, never called for an international inquiry into Bloody Sunday, and mass internment that led to the deaths of Bobby Sands and others etc.  The TNA has raised a slogan which will have absolutely no resonance whatsoever in the South.

The TNA identifies its political solution as one of shared sovereignty among the peoples of this island.  The TNA must grasp that in Sri Lanka which is a democratic republic, power may be devolved from centre to periphery but sovereignty is not ‘shared’ by constituent peoples. Sovereignty is vested in the citizenry as a whole. The manifesto states that “the TNA firmly believes that sovereignty lies with the People and not with the State. It is not the government in Colombo that holds the right to govern the Tamil People, but the People themselves.” This is a strange sleight of hand. The term ‘people’ in the first sentence slides into ‘Tamil people’ in the second one. Sovereignty does indeed lie with the people but that does not mean it lies with the people of one ethnicity; it means the people taken as a totality; the people as a whole.

The manifesto goes on to say that “In this regard the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka is flawed in that power is concentrated at the Centre and its Agent, the Governor. Our political philosophy is rooted in a fundamental democratic challenge to the authoritarian state.”

This denotes a criticism by the TNA not of the current regime or post-war policy but of the 13th amendment as promulgated in 1987 itself. The TNA evidently regards the Sri Lankan state even of 1987 as an authoritarian state (though Madam Pillay considers that it is moving in an authoritarian direction) and  regards itself as posing nothing less than a fundamental challenge albeit a democratic one, to that state. Thus the problem is not with a policy or a policy regime but with the state and with the structural reform that is the 13th amendment.

The TNA must know that there is only one way to overcome the shortcomings that it laments. That is by means of a referendum that must necessarily be island-wide. This in turn either requires the TNA to convince the majority of voters while going against the views of the existing government or to support a party that will form another government which would support the TNA in its bid. I can only wish it luck.

The concluding sentence of the TNA’s manifesto says that “The TNA is firmly of the view that justice to all Peoples who inhabit Sri Lanka and genuine reconciliation through permanent peace is only achievable under international auspices.” This is a clear signal that the TNA does not consider as its primary partner, democratic opinion and the democratic forces of reform in the rest of the island. Furthermore it means that any alliance with the TNA, as a party that is firmly of the view that justice, reconciliation and permanent peace are “only achievable under international auspices” would amount to an electoral kiss of death for any Southern mainstream democratic candidate or formation.

The TNA has made a choice. So be it. This does not mean that the TNA should be coerced or legally harassed in any way. Still less does it mean that the Provincial Council election should not be held. What it does mean is that the TNA cannot and should not be trusted politically, not only by the Government of the day but the Sri Lankan state and the democratic polity. The policy towards the TNA should not be one of roll-back or cut back of devolution as urged by the Sinhala hawks, but must certainly be one of vigilant containment within the strict boundaries of the 13th amendment, until that political bloc – and Tamil political opinion–evolves in a more moderate and realistic direction, however long that takes.

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    Since the defeat of LTTE none of Sinhala Parties have proposed a viable solution to the minority issues. Instead thay have been peddling racia hatred and patronising extremist partites such as BBS.
    There is no other option for the Tamils and other minorities to seek international assistance.

    What is certain is this country is sleeping walking in to a serious violent future. The country is sitting on a powderkeg of sinhla violoece groomed by the Rajapakse’s. The country as a whole is going to pay a heavy price and reach a point of no return for the peace loving people of this country.

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      “Trouble Up Ahead: The TNA’s Election Manifesto”: As far as the Sinhala ruling elite are concerned, if anything positive to Tamils is to accrue, they foresee troubles ahead; anti-Tamil pogroms, riots, massacres etc.

      Simply they created, or nurtured the inherent hatred of the Sinhalese towards Tamils. They are doing it with vigor now.

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      Dayan is living off “ethnic conflict” in Sri Lanka, massaging, analysing and stoking it like the other racist clown Rohan Gunaratne who is in Singapore’s Technical University living off war studies and promoting war and militarization in Sri Lanka and other places..

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        It calls for a special kind of blindness to compare DJ to Gunaratne?Are you totally lacking in analytical skills?
        God help the Tamils if this is the kind of propaganda that the Tamil “intellectuals” can provide.
        My advice: Listen to Dayan’s words of wisdom or get caoght in another maelstrom.

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      Dayan Sir,
      Your conclusion says
      “What it does mean is that the TNA cannot and should not be trusted politically, not only by the Government of the day but the Sri Lankan state and the democratic polity.”
      This is very unusual from you. So TNA is the only untrustworthy political party you have come across in you career that worth mentioned publicly.
      All the facts and logic you mentioned in your article are to come to this conclusion. Have you ever felt that you were part of OR work for OR work with more untrustworthy political parties in the last 30~40 years of your carrier ?
      You may be start getting similar neurological issues like G L Peris !!!

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    Mr jeyathilaka,
    Don’t lie…during the CFA,how manay tamils killed by army..kidnapped by armed forces and paramilitary groups…more than 2000 civilians killed by army in jaffna only…why didn’t talk abou this….Why indian raw and Sri Lanka intelligence paid money to the tamil armed groups..still sl army pay money to these groups…why

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    Yea trouble ahead, u Sinhala never going to change. Thank god ltte and praba gone for good. Sinhala bullshit never going to work, whole world know your typical bull and cock shit. Let wait and see…

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    It is clear from May 2009 when the Rajapakses had the choice of magnanimity in victory they chose not only to focus on celebrating
    majoritarianism but poisoned the inebriated Sinhala psyche by stepping hard on the “we” and “them” syndrome. Very little effort was made to narrow the space between the two communities that had seen the end of the feud. Jeering – often drunken – hordes began descending on “conquered territory” of the North and the shocked Tamils were made to bow their heads down and watch the emerging humiliation imposed by the “victors” from the South picnicking more on seeing “the defeated Tamil enemy” in tourist hotels run by the army located in stolen Tamil land. Sinhala academics made little effort to educate their side it was more an over-armed military machine of nearly 300,000 men in the army, navy and air force – with foreign modern war machinery – that won the disproportionate war against the LTTE (20,000 in the latest figure of the Defence Secretary) More Tamil civilians were punished and incarcerated than fighting Tamil LTTE cadres – with nearly
    a hundred thousand missing and unaccounted for.

    State actors were also not slow in roping in Tamilnadu to the indignity
    calling leaders across the Straits as “jokers” and what not.

    If there is one thought of Dayan Jayatilake in this piece with which I agree it is his comment “confrontation course with Colombo…it is about to happen again and this time the collision is more certain and will perhaps prove more consequential…’ DJ is doubtlessly trying to get back into the Rajapakse fold by mollycoddling the regime in insisting on a settlement should be “by means of a referendum that must necessarily be island-wide” What a suggestion from an analyst who has been here, there and everywhere in our political landscape.

    Considerations of space makes me limit my observations to just the ones in which I have chosen to take on a man desperately trying to regain the attention of the Rajapakses, who appear to have no other objective but the determination to remain power, by hook or crook, for a long time across the generations.

    Varathan

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      R. Varathan:
      You are correct when you say, “a man desperately trying to regain the attention of the Rajapakses, who appear to have no other objective but the determination to remain power, by hook or crook, for a long time across the generations.”
      What this shameless b…r is trying to do is crawl back up you-know-where of MR since he now seems convinced that thanks to the the US, China etc. he and his generations to come will rule over SL.
      Opportunism as it continues to be practiced by the DJ’s and the other academics who shamelessly support this immoral government!

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    Do you seriously expect Sambandan to diss Prabakaran when Sambandan hasn’t even said sorry to Mrs Gandhi for her husband’s untimely death at the hands of the LTTE.

    The priorities in his manifesto are to fullfil the aspirations of the Diaspora and its Govt in excile lead by ex LTTE card holder PM Rudrakumaran.

    You think the mini Summit in Toronto between Sambandan , Sumanathira duo with the Diaspora heavies is to create peace and harmony in Srilanka?.

    Despite the pro LTTE Diaspora infiltration of the British parliament, it is good to hear that the majority of the MPs are not yes men of the US lap dog PM there.

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      Mr. Sumanasegera – To this date no one is sure who is behind the killing of Rajiv Gandhi, although Dhanu set off the bomb. VP was
      400 miles away from the incident. That Indian Police officer Karthikeyan came out with that nonsensical report simply to save
      Indian officialdom caught off the guard for failing to provide security
      to a campaigning ex-PM. There are far too many holes in his comical
      report and book. Sikh terrorists, Sharad Pawar, extreme hindu and muslim interests could have done it separately or together.
      Dhanu too had a burning private grudge against Rajiv.

      Like many in the Singalese side you are obsessed with the growing strength of the TNA, Sampanthan and the diaspora you see a devil behind every shadow. I understand TNA men meeting in Toronto was for the legitimate purpose of raising funds. It is different to that where
      the Rajapakses, Tiran Alles and Emil Kanthan illegally got into a cash-for-Tami votes deal with the LTTE. Take it from me, the Rajapakses are about to push the country into separation – which even the Tamils do not want.

      Backlash

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        Why did Balasingham admit to the assassination of Indian PM? He called it a ‘monumental mistake’ and wanted India to ‘forget the past’

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          Who is Rajasekaran In Madras Cafe, Balasingham ?

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            chai wallah

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          lynx

          Do you remember what Thamil Selvan said on the following day?

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            lynx

            Excerpts from an interview with Thamilselvan:

            LTTE: We Didn’t Kill Rajiv Gandhi

            Jaffna/Kilinochchi: In an exclusive interview to NDTV the political wing head of the LTTE, SP Thamilselvan claimed that the LTTE had nothing to do with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. He demanded that the case should be further investigated. Also, the banned organisation is now seeking Indian support.

            …………….

            …………..
            “‘We need the support of the Indian government and the people. They should recognise our struggle for liberation. We want to know whether we have been rightly accused of the murder of Rajiv Gandhi. The LTTE or the movement has never admitted to the murder. More details of that incident need to be examined,” said Thamilselvan, Political Head, LTTE.

            NDTV Transcript
            22 November, 2006

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              One would hardly expect Thamilselvam to say anything else!!

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        Backlash,

        Please tell us why Anton Balasingham apologised if LTTE was not the mastermind of Rajiv Gandhi murder?

        As long as you white wash the terrorists the security measures that have been taken in former terrorist infested areas will remain.

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      Tsunamisekera:
      The housing (rip-off) market must be kinda slow to give you all the time required to fulfill your other career!
      “Despite the pro LTTE Diaspora infiltration of the British parliament, it is good to hear that the majority of the MPs are not yes men of the US lap dog PM there” misses at least one major point:
      The LTTE lapdogs bribed Nelson Mandela, HRW, AI, ICG, every European government, the entire US Congress etc. into supporting their cause. Each member of the Tamil Diaspora has donated several BILLION dollars or Euros to do so, but they have all been working very hard, cleaning toilets (as you never tire of reminding us), to earn that kind of money. At least one additional thing that can be said in condemnation of these people is that they work hard at whatever they do rather than sit in armoured vehicles collection kappang from drug dealers and commissions from every contractor, local and foreign. That is even more anti-national that conspiring to do the Rajapassas in, don’t you think?

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    Dayan J is in big trouble. He praised Vigneswaran and he wanted 13A+

    Now with this essay he has become the proverbial cat on a rock!!

    Soon president MahindaR will join Dayan’s new club.

    As president Clinton once said if all these ethnic groups are given countries there will be over 5000 countries in the world. If Tamil ethnic groups are reasonable in claiming a country it should be in Tamil Nad.

    In Sri Lanka we must have language-blind political units and empowerment of people at the village level. Not a new Wigneswaran or Premachandran.

    Vasu must be so happy with his plan with his in-law Vigneswaran.

    GLPeiris and Rajitha S should be send to Scotland with Mervyn Silva.

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      C. Wijeyawickrema

      “GLPeiris and Rajitha S should be send to Scotland with Mervyn Silva.”

      How about sending Mervyn Silva to your home? Don’t you love your fellow Sinhala/Buddhist?

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      C. Wijeyawickreme:
      Is this your claim to being an even bigger Fascist than those whose names you mention within the current Junta?
      Incidentally, whatever happened to all the “qualifications,” one of them at least the same as Mervyn Silva uses, that you usually hang on to your “handle.” Dhoby took them for laundering much as you try to do with your Lokka’s b.s?

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      The only way that Dayan’s mentality can be explained is by accepting even to date, Dayan is an Indian Agent.

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    An islandwide “referendum” will never be held and Dayan knows it.
    He does not say the subject of the referendum.
    He is now desperately trying to get back into the good books of MR.
    He knows that the White Van respects nobody – not even ex-diplomats.

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      justice

      “He knows that the White Van respects nobody – not even ex-diplomats.”

      Aren’t you being nasty to Gota who confirmed that “Sri Lanka Is One Of The Peaceful, Stable And Democratically Secured Countries In The World”

      What is stopping you from agreeing with him, after all he is a highly respected state official who says what he means and he means what he says. Man of word.

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    The good that the TNA can do for the Tamil people and the rest of the country is being effectively stifled by the hawks and ambitious elements in the party. One other problem seems to be the rather unfortunate belief in their own brilliance and ability that they are unable to see any merit in anything other than their own views. That kind of overconfidence was one cause for the ultimate defeat of the LTTE.

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    In the first instance it is wrong to analyse the manifesto as though it is a treatise on the role of the LTTE. Far from it! It is true that the LTTE had many shortfalls and even committed some crimes. But that does not mean that the LTTE never had a positive side.

    I wonder why Dayan wants to sing hallelujahs to the Soulbury constitution?

    Is a unitary constitution something holy, sacred and inviolable just because the word federalism has become a dirty word in the South?

    Is the island of Sri Lanka populated with only one ‘people’ implying the Sinhala Buddhist people? Is it not multi- national?

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      Unitary SL does not mean it is of single national. Even a multi cultural country can be unitary.

      1. We have NO problem with power devolution. But we cant undermine the soveregnity and defence of this country for the sake of it. Because seperatists are not silent in the country or abraod. Therefore Dayan is CORRECT to point out the wrongs in TNA manifesto.

      2. Power devolution is not a one step. And the other side need to WIN the trust of the Sri Lankan state as a whole. But what have they done? The least they can do is GIVING UP SEPERATISM. but do they? SO naturally this manifesto raises Qns.

      3. Has TNA publicly declared LTTE is a TERRORIST? HAS? This manifesto justify LTTE. They dont even apologise for the years of mayhem they carried out in the country with their support. This is given that LTTE has killed unarmed civilians be they sinhala, tamil and muslims. After destroying many religious places of others. After killing several national leaders. STILL TNA JUSTIFY THEM. so I humbly ask CAN WE TRUST?

      4. Why does TNA go along with enemies of SL. TNA has to understand they are a part of State of SL. And if they become partners with them, CAN WE TRUST?

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        “Unitary SL does not mean it is of single national. Even a multi cultural country can be unitary.” – By the same token, Federalism does not mean separatism, example India, Federalism us the best option for mulit-cultural conutry than unitary

        1. We have NO problem with power devolution. But we cant undermine the soveregnity and defence of this country for the sake of it. Because seperatists are not silent in the country or abraod. Therefore Dayan is CORRECT to point out the wrongs in TNA manifesto.

        Rejoinder: Sovereignty is for people, if people aspire Federalism they are entitled to.

        2. Power devolution is not a one step. And the other side need to WIN the trust of the Sri Lankan state as a whole. But what have they done? The least they can do is GIVING UP SEPERATISM. but do they? SO naturally this manifesto raises Qns.

        Rejoinder: Why is it always Tamils alone asked to win hearts of Srilankan state: Why is that GoSL come forward with teh trust by removing military form civilian affairs and what stopped them for four years? Who is tunnel visioned here. TNA forced after seeing last four years of actions of GoSL.
        3. Has TNA publicly declared LTTE is a TERRORIST? HAS? This manifesto justify LTTE. They dont even apologise for the years of mayhem they carried out in the country with their support. This is given that LTTE has killed unarmed civilians be they sinhala, tamil and muslims. After destroying many religious places of others. After killing several national leaders. STILL TNA JUSTIFY THEM. so I humbly ask CAN WE TRUST? –

        Rejoinder: Where did TNA justify the killing of LTTE? Any references? Even it asked independent enquiry including violations of LTTE. TNA is right in its demand. Did TNA has tiger flag as party flag? Be sensible.

        4. Why does TNA go along with enemies of SL. TNA has to understand they are a part of State of SL. And if they become partners with them, CAN WE TRUST?

        Who are enemies of Srilanka? Srilanka is enemy to itself. Do you say that all displaced people are enemies to Srilanka??

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    It would have been better to go with the existing arrangements than promising what is not available and not being able to deliver on such a mandate. Much can be achieved through the building of trust and negotiation rather than making demands that would not be conceded by the majority Sinhalese and Muslims, the merger of the North and East being a case in point.

    We hope the TNA will adopt a more democratic and pragmatic approach. What is possible must be applicable to all provinces and all people living in Sri Lanka. North, East, South or West cannot have any special status.

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    Dayan,

    In studying the manifesto did you fail to note that the TNA in tracing the history of the tamil struggle has deliberately omitted a landmark event, the adaption of the ‘Vaddukkoddai Resolution’?

    Sengodan. M

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    The TNA manifesto should have been short and sweet with maximum ten points only and not more than a page or 2.Instead as Dr.Dayan pointed out it is full of crap and just meant to inflame passions.Here we go again on the same road of appapillai amirthalingam whose unnecessary rhetoric finally ended up with him getting killed by the frankenstein he encouraged at one time.Hasn’t sambanthan learnt from the mistakes of the earlier tamil leaders who have brought nothing but grief for the tamil people due to their inflexibility and passion to arouse the tamils for votes and play to the gallery.Very little difference between the sinhala politicians and tamil ones,both being the root cause of the problems.

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      Spot on!
      what TNA is doing with this is raising passions of the N and E people as an election is coming. I remember reading a comment by a certain elderly Tamil man that Tamil leaders of that day promised one thing to Sinhala leaders in colombo and another in the stages in North. So they kept the passions of people running high.

      This is the SAME thing!

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    There is only “trouble up ahead” if this is mishandled ! A Rajapaksa Government will not be able to handle and “control” the TNA situation with the type of cunning (for want of a better word) that is needed.

    For that you need Ranil Wickramasinghe and Dayan, much as you hate Ranil, you have just built a case for him to be in charge !

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      Both Dayan and RanilW are failures in politics.

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    Backlash- At last and indeed.The Rajapakse’s are pushing the Tamils towards a seperate state.
    They simply do not understand ‘diplomacy’,tact and dealing with human lives ?.The agenda has to change.

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    The here I suppose is never try to accommodate or help Nazi in anyway shape or form. The only way is to keep clobbering until they breathe their last breath however daunting the task may be. I hope the UNP gets on board. That will benefit them too and the country.

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    I agree with Dr.Jayatilleke’s stance. The TNA has blundered. Its manifesto should have been on the lines of what Mr.Sivathasan has proposed in a differed thread on CT. I wish to point out however that the northern electorate is far ahead of the TNA and much more rational in its collective aspirations.

    I yet have faith in Justice Wigneswaran and his potential to make change in northern Tamil politics and transcend the TNA dilemma of wanting to be both fowl and fish.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Dr RN still have faith in TNA and justice Wigneswaran ….
      Dayan is not far behind Dr RN when he says “…The policy towards the TNA should not be one of roll-back or cut back of devolution as urged by the Sinhala hawks, but must certainly be one of vigilant containment within the strict boundaries of the 13th amendment, until that political bloc – and Tamil political opinion–evolves in a more moderate and realistic direction, however long that takes”

      RN can not figure out what TNA upto with recent decalarations it made just after Navi Pilllay left …..
      DJ plans to ‘vigilant containment’ within STRICT BOUNDRIES of the 13th amendment … He can not see it is impossible to “contain within strict boundries of the 13th” when 13th is in place …

      How come these two Dr’s are so naive? …. Is it due to faith, hopes, emotional attachement to ideas or just simply being foolish?

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    Justice – Will any just or fair-minded person talk of a National Referendum in Sri Lanka involving a passionate Tamil issue where
    80% of the voters are Sinhalese fed on a general anti-Tamil diet
    and about 10% Tamil. The idea itself is patently ludicrous.

    Backlash

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    Correction – Generation of anti-Tamil diet

    Backlash

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    Merging North & East mentioned in TNA Manifesto, I am sure, will not be supported by the East, especially by the Muslims. The Eastern Muslims must have learnt a bitter lesson from the Tamil Tigers and Mr. Sampanthar should not even think of a merger of the provinces. However, much depends on how the majority Sinhalese and the government treats the Eastern and other Muslims. Harassments and intimidations presently carried out by BBS and Ravana Balaya etc. will not at all help the country in the current situation.

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    Dear Dayan,

    I agree that the TNA could have taken a stance more palatable to its southern partners, but I think the Manifesto is a reflection of the will of the polity. If you read the Tamil papers or if you speak to ordinary Tamils you can see that the Manifesto is an accurate reflection of their political aspirations. It is important that the Southern polity is aware of the Tamils views. As you rightly point out the Tamils have a democratic right to ask for a federal structure of governance. The problem I see is that it makes no effort to allay Sinhala fears about separation. While the Manifesto is very clear that it does not seek separation, it should have have acknowledged the Sinhalese fears and reiterated that there is no desire to separate.

    Some of your points of criticism though are misplaced:

    1. Soulbury Constitution – TNA’s is being anti-democratic
    The 1948 Constitution was secular and Section 29(2) provided, in theory, protection to minorities. The Tamils’ fear was that a majority community would ignore the safeguards and act against them – this is exactly what happened in 1956. But more importantly there is nothing undemocratic about a non-unitary or federal type constitution. The TNA’s position is that the Tamils should have been given the political autonomy that was not dependent upon the largesse of the majority Sinhalese for success. In fact, if a federal constitution had been implemented at the start the ethnic issues are unlikely to have arisen.

    2.and 3. LTTE continuing the armed struggle
    The TNA’s ambivalence towards the LTTE has to be viewed from the perspective of the elections. If the LTTE is decried or completely disowned by the TNA they would lose the elections in Jaffna. It is as simple as that. The TNA is not strong enough to change the public perception on the LTTE. From a democratic perspective it is voicing, in muted terms, the sympathies of the Tamils towards the LTTE. The relationship between the Tamils and the LTTE is complex. From being absolutely behind them at the inception, many of them became disillusioned. But they remain close to the heart of the Tamils. The reason for this is that they strongly believe that there was justification for their taking up to arms – so they are willing to ignore their methods to a large extent.

    4. Sovereignty with the People
    There is no sleight of hand here. The argument by the TNA is very clear. The Tamil People are a distinct People, as are the Muslim People. Together they are termed as the Tamil Speaking Peoples (in plural). They constitute a nation. Accordingly sovereignty should remain with them. They oppose to their destinies being dictated by a group with which they cohabit an island. Whether this is objectionable is another issue – but there is no sleight of hand.

    5. Independent investigation
    Yes, there may not be much sympathy in the south regarding this. But I think that is likely to change – especially in the context of Weliweriya. The Sinhalese polity is slowly realising the brutality with which the Government crushes dissent.

    6. Democratic challenge to the Authoritarian State

    While there is a necessity for a referendum for a change from a unitary structure to a federate structure, there is plenty of room to maneuvre, with a pliant legislature and supreme court. It may be possible to get the SC to declare that only the special majority in parliament is needed. The SC has no qualms about revisiting its judgements to suit the Executive. But the island wide referendum is a long way off. The first step is to have a democratically elected provincial council which clearly articulates its constituency’s will.

    7. International auspices
    This is the truth. The Sri Lankan govt will not give an inch without international pressure. In fact it will take 6000 acres at a time. It does not necessarily mean the kiss of death. The 2005 victory of Mahinda was narrow and may have swung the other way if not for the LTTE. The Southern mindset is more susceptible to moulding by the Government in power. If the Government is willing, particularly one with Sinhala Buddhist credentials like the present, it would be easy to sell to the polity.

    S

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      You read the situation well. What is the point of having all economic policies when there is no minimum land power or polictical power entrusted to Provinces, I read Sivadasan article which is good manifesto, but that manifesto will be reality only when the elected representative has power to realise it, but the power is with Governor who can veto on every instances.

      Also to many who dont understand the later problems with this unitary set-up for provinces, similar issues were in 1919 Indian constitution, which caused huge problem paving way to federalism in 1935. Else once the provincial election won by TNA, the governor will halt its functioning which will lead to all frictions and the situation will be to square one. Alraming more dangerous than ever because the military which lost its grip will be eying every opportunity to take the control back.

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      TNA need not justify LTTE to win elections. They will surely win. But justifying LTTE means the lack of sensitivity towards the mayhem terrorists created in the island. If the northern polity think LTTE not as terrorists TNA could have sent the signal that is NOT the way to go.

      I dont think TNA’s manifesto represent the northern polity 100%. It is more like the dislike towards the government that support TNA.

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      so they are willing to ignore their methods to a large extent.

      If Jaffna Tamils like to ignore atrocities of the LTTE because they believe they were right to engage in terrorism then then will have no problem understanding that Sinhalese believe GR was right to have finished them all off including any Jaffna Tamils who happened to be in league with them or any civilians who happened to have got in the way no eh?

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      ….but they remain close to the heart of the Tamils. The reason for this is that they strongly believe that there was justification for their taking up to arms – so they are willing to ignore their methods to a large extent….

      …. Yes, there may not be much sympathy in the south regarding this. But I think that is likely to change…

      Do Jaffna Tamils believe the universe revolves around them?

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        Navin

        “Do Jaffna Tamils believe the universe revolves around them?”

        Definitely not, however they believe the first ape spoke Tamil and practiced Saivaism.

        It is similar to their Sinhala/Buddhist brethren’s belief that the first ape spoke Sinhala and practiced Sinhala/Buddhism.

        Most wise people find these two people funny, I don’t see both people as funny but irredeemably stupid.

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    I concur with Dayan Jayatilleke. Much was expected from the TNA manifesto. It was expected that despite the humiliation and the bias of the Sinhala South, the Tamil North will be the first to extend the hand of friendship. The manifesto shows that there is no hope for that. We are destined to continue our squabbling and suffering because we do not have that courage to rise above racist politics. May be it is because the Tamils, like the Sinhalese are from the same roots. Reminds me of the Jews and the Palestinians. No lessons learnt by anyone here.

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    There was no article from this coward when Navi Pillay spoke about the HR violation and harassments to Tamils, now see how quicky he is back to business the moment TNA wanted independent war enquiry.

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      just because you have nothing significant to add, do not insult a learned man

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        I am not insulting a saint , Sach.

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    DJ: “…To put it politely this is nothing less than a lie. What does the TNA call the Indo-Lanka accord and the North-East Provincial Council? What of the Interim Administration of September 1987 which granted the LTTE 7 out of 11 seats including the chairpersonship? “

    The LTTE by then had committed to the idea of Tamil liberation through armed resistance, and Tamil militants had made so many sacrifices for the cause, that the Indo-Lanka accord was widely seen among Tamils as falling far too short of Tamil aspirations. Such a view was held even by some of your Tamil cheer-leaders like DBSJ; singling out the LTTE for such a view is foolhardy. One can fault the LTTE leadership for a number of things– their totalitarian mindset, elimination of dissenters, conscription of child soldiers, their failure to think strategically, etc. But their unshakeable commitment to their stated cause was principled, and cannot be faulted.

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    Dayan, it is obvious that the TNA manifesto has been drafted by the TGTE (driven by the Tamil diaspora), and foisted upon the hapless Sampanthan, Sumanthiran, Wigneswran et al.

    The local TNA yokels who are beholden financially and otherwise to the militant and highly-networked Tamil diaspora, are not idiots and clearly understand the political and social ramifications the Manifesto would create. The perception is that the TNA has emerged as the proxy for the Tamil Diaspora, and that is extremely dangerous and destabilising.

    This Manifesto is not only ethnic-based but seriously confrontational in content.

    This hardline attitude, as you put it succintly “could lead to protracted deadlock and worse still, a strategic politico-military lockdown”.

    Haven’t the Tamils learnt their lessons still?

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    Didn’t we says so DJ?

    89,000 Tamil Mahaveer war widows (or 11% of Tamil women) hasn’t taught a lesson.

    May be the lesson has to be taught again.

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    If you don’t like their manifesto, then don’t vote for them…..
    :-)

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    Dayan a Sinhala hardliner posing as a democrat and marxist again lecturing to the tamils about what is politically correct?

    Go crawl for the rajapakses for your next meal as usual!

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      Don’t be stupid; Dayan is no Sinhala hardliner, he is a 13A or rather an Indian fanatic.

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    The TNA knows very well that the GOSL will never agree with the Thimpu principles (i.e. Tamils are a nation, they have a homeland and they have the right to self determination) which are the centerpiece of their manifesto, and for that matter any manifesto that any Tamil group have put forward in the last 60 years!

    It is the International Community that is the game changer. The TNA is not seeking the support of the GOSL. Rather they are seeking the support of the IC to impose a solution against the wishes of the Sinhalese. The TNA’s policy is best expressed by paraphrasing the words of a former president of SL:

    No we cannot think of the Sinhalese people. Not about their lives or their opinions

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      Latching on to the IC and diaspora has its own downside. Already some of the negatives of this policy are coming back to haunt the TNA with more to come if they win the provincial council elections.

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    Dayan:

    “The TNA must know that there is only one way to overcome the shortcomings that it laments. That is by means of a referendum that must necessarily be island-wide.”

    Whom are you trying to fool Dayan? The referendum should be in the Tamil areas (North & East) on whether the Tamils wish to go their way. Whether in Canada or Scotland, that’s how it happened, not forgetting East Timor.

    Actually your heroes, the Rajapaksa clans, should have moved speedily to implement the 13A and prove to the world their sincerity. They have proved to be hoodlums with their credibility utterly shattered. Now anything they say is graded F (for Fail.). By their deeds and actions they have laid bare their duplicity and deceitful character and ways. There was an adverse time for the LTTE. Now, it is the turn of the Rajapaksas, strangely on their own choosing, too. What kind of fools will squander the fantastic opportunity placed at their feet to stand tall, rather now they appear as criminals.

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    I wonder why MR Jayathilaka stay silent about the Pillay¨s statements. He always comes with articles but about Pillays visit was not directly addressed by him. For unexplainable reasons, he is still not fully against ruling megalomaniac govt.

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