Colombo Telegraph

Whoever Becomes President, It’s The Same For The Tamils!

By S. V. Kirubaharan

S. V. Kirubaharan

Since the call for the Presidential election in Sri Lanka, we have seen statements, press releases and opinions from various quarters. So far, not a single Sinhala politician has made a call or a positive statement about finding a political solution to the problems underpinning the six decades of bloody conflict in Sri Lanka.

On the contrary, from both sides, the government and the opposition, there have been many verbal statements voicing the fact that they are not bothered about the Tamil’s leading political party – Tamil National Alliance – TNA or the Tamil votes.

It seems ridiculous when we see statements made by so-called Tamil diaspora leaders. What have they got to do with the Presidential election in Sri Lanka? Do they have a vote? Not even the Tamils in the ground who live with various difficulties seek out the opinion of these individuals.

Some among the diaspora demand a boycott of the elections; others say not to vote in the election and yet another funny group says ‘not to boycott the Presidential election like what happened in 2005’! The diaspora members who make public their opinion on the Presidential election are not even capable of lobbying their own government regarding a political solution in Sri Lanka.

The funny crowd which blames the diaspora for the boycott are ignorant of what actually happened in 2005. At that time, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – LTTE were in a strong position and they made their decision based on the information they had gathered. It’s true that their decision changed the island’s history. But what has the diaspora got to do with 2005 boycott?

Today those who criticize the LTTE were the ones who had been waiting for a very long time to destroy the LTTE. Today half of these people are still working with the Sri Lanka intelligence agencies gathering information locally and internationally. The other half is regretting their blunders. Now they are unable to generate any income on pretexts relating to the LTTE. In fact, these individuals and organisations sold the Tamil nation for their self-gain.

Politics of Rajapaksa

Everyone knows the politics of Mahinda Rajapaksa who amended the constitution so as to contest for the third time. Since the defeat of the LTTE, he has claimed that “there is neither a minority nor an ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka”. Outrageously, Rajapaksa says that the 13th amendment and the recommendations of his hypocritical ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ – LLRC have been already implemented. This is the reason why today Sri Lanka is under international scrutiny and Tamils have sympathy and support.

The people who coordinated the Common Presidential candidate are silent on the ethnic issue. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Ranil Wickremesinghe, General Sarath Fonseka, Former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva, Mangala Samaraweera and others are cool and calm about anything concerning the Tamils.

Both leading contestants feel that if they give any importance to the ethnic issue, they may lose the election. It is obvious that the Sinhala voters are totally against any political settlement. The majority of them believe that Sri Lanka is exclusively a Sinhala Buddhist country.

To win the voters in the South, on 1 December, President Rajapaksa indirectly and fearlessly admitted that he is in fact, guilty of the war crimes allegations that are being levelled against him. In other words he has admitted that he is responsible for the massacre of unarmed Tamils.

There is no difference between Rajapaksa’s statement and former President JR Jeyewardene’s statement on 11 July 1983 to UK Daily Telegraph. Jeyewardene said: “Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy”.

Whoever starves the Tamils or massacres the Tamils in Sri Lanka will get more votes in the South. This is the reality in Sri Lanka. It has taken a very long time for the international community to realise this fact.

Opposition leaders

Now let us analysis some of the opposition leaders who formed the ‘opposition coalition’ and signed a MoU on 1 December.

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga successfully served her two terms in office with a military action, code named “war for peace”. During her time in office – how many Tamils in the North and East disappeared including 600 people buried in mass graves in Chemmani, Jaffna; many others arbitrarily killed and assassinated; massacres which took place including the bombing of St Peter’s Church in Navaly, killing 120 people who had taken shelter in the Church etc. Had she apologised or delivered any justice for those victims or has Rajapaksa who replaced her, instigated any inquiry into those and many other heinous incidents?

Soon after the defeat of the LTTE, General Sarath Fonseka wanted to recruit 200,000 soldiers to militarise the North and East. Also we can’t forget the interviews that he gave when he was in charge of the military. If Rajapaksa wins in the forthcoming President election, Fonseka will gradually join Rajapaksa.

Mangala Samaraweera did the maximum damage to the Tamils. When he was the External Minister, he went around the world portraying the Tamil’s political struggle as ‘Terrorism’. He worked hard and successfully banned the LTTE in a few countries. Last October when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared that the Council of the European Union’s ban on LTTE is illegal and ordered payment of court costs; immediately Samaraweera travelled to UK to feel the pulse of the Tamils. Also he wanted to join Rajapaksa’s government as the Minister of External affairs to work further on the LTTE ban. If Rajapaksa wins in the Presidential election, he will be first opposition member to join Rajapaksa.

Former Chief justice, Sarath N Silva is the root cause of many problems in Sri Lanka. He sowed the seeds for Rajapaksa to be in the all-powerful position he is in today! He was the one who started to politicise the judiciary in Sri Lanka. One fine example is his verdict on the demerger of the North and East.

SLFP and Tamil political rights

Under the coordination of these people, today the longest serving General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – SLFP has become the Common Candidate. During his Secretary-ship the SLFP has suppressed the political rights of the Tamils, even more than Chandrika’s father SWRD Bandaranaike did in June 1956 – with the Sinhala Only Act.

Maithiripala Sirisena may be an honest individual, but what can someone who cannot open his mouth about the ethnic conflict during the election campaign, do later?

In his first speech as a common candidate, he praised Sarath Fonseka. This is enough for the Tamils to understand what the future will be under Maithiripala Sirisena. Somebody said on his behalf, that he will implement the LLRC recommendations.

What is the LLRC? On the advice of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s international propagandists, this was formulated to eye-wash the international community. The recommendations of the LLRC were not fully accepted by the international community. Also there is no specific political solution proposed in the LLRC. So, Maithripala Sirisena is going to implement the LLRC to ‘satisfy the Tamils’, who have been struggling for their political rights for the last six decades with huge sacrifices of lives and serious losses in socio-economic terms too.

As I have mentioned before in my articles, there are only two paths to a durable political solution for the people in the North and East. One is to fully implement the 13th amendment. In order to achieve this, India which is the equal partner of the Indo-Lanka accord has to take the lead. The other one is through the United Nations, of course through the support of the international community.

If the impending international investigation can establish that what happened to the Tamils for so many decades is a ‘genocide’ or ‘ethnic cleansing’, then the Tamils can continue their struggle for ‘right to self-determination’ with the support of the international community. Other than these two routes, all other bogus promises and dreams will lead to the Tamils ending-up with ‘minority ‘status rather than ‘Nation-hood’.

Those who don’t know the definition of the ‘interim administration’, say that Tamils need an ‘interim administration’. Others say that there should be a referendum for a separate state. Good to hear all these castles in the air. Can these two objectives be achieved?

As I mentioned above, if the report of the UN international investigation is a positive one, then at some stage there will a referendum as has happened in a few other countries.

Since Mullivaighzhal – end of the war in May 2009, the homeland of the Tamils for thousands of years in the North and East of the island, has been under Militarisation, Sinhalisation, and Buddhisation.

Tamil homeland

Within the last five years, about 400 new Buddhist temples have been erected in the Jaffna peninsula alone and thousands of Singhalese civilians and military personnel have been settled in the North and East.

Tamil paramilitary groups and some individuals who had personnel grievances within the LTTE helped the Rajapaksa government to defeat the LTTE. These people are the ones responsible for all that has been happening during the last five years. There is no doubt that the LTTE made mistakes. This was even acknowledged by the LTTE itself. It was waging a war against a chauvinist government and safe-guarding the people and land for nearly two and a half decades. What have those who helped the government to destroy the LTTE, achieved for the people within the last five years?

Unlike any elections before Mullivaghzhal (2009), today none of the leading candidates are talking about the political rights of the Tamils. With the defeat of the LTTE, Tamil people have become non-grata to both sides – ruling and the opposition.

Will those who coordinated to have a Common candidate, agree to support the International investigation? Will they allow the international investigators to enter the island? Will they stop the ongoing colonization, singhalisation, buddhisation in the North and East? The answer is certainly ‘No’.

Re-assure their faithfulness

All of a sudden, the EPDP leader says that “only Mahinda Rajapaksa can find a solution to the ethnic conflict”! What has Rajapaksa done for the Tamils other than spending money on changing the demography of the Tamil homeland? Can the EPDP leader explain to the people, why Rajapaksa could not settle the ethnic conflict with his two third majority in the parliament? If the EPDP leader believes that Rajapaksa has a solution to the ethnic conflict, can he firmly say what he is going to do and when?

It is believed that Rajapaksa has told his friends that if the EPDP leader is coming to see him, it means that he is coming for (salley) money.

Another joker, after heavy boozing, shed ‘crocodile tears’ with his broken English in the parliament, blaming a few for what they have done to the Tamils. But he never said a single word about Mahinda Rajapaksa. It’s obvious that these two jokers’ statements are to re-assure Rajapaksa of their faithfulness.

Let us carefully listen to and analyse the speeches made by Maithiripala Sirisena and other members of the opposition. They all say that whether Rajapaksa wins the Presidential election or not, they will never allow Rajapaksa and other leaders to be tried for war crimes!

The statement made by former President Premadasa’s son Sajith, is more racial than factual. He says that once the opposition wins the Presidential election, they will destroy the rest of the LTTE-ers who live in foreign countries.

While his father President Premadasa was having negotiations with the LTTE, this same Sajith praised the LTTE for their bravery, fighting against the Indian Army. Also he wanted to take photographs with LTTE political advisor Anton Balasingham, Yogi and other LTTE members who were in Colombo.  A special day and time was allocated for Sajith to have his photograph taken with LTTE members and he was really amazed by this gesture. We don’t know where he has hidden those photographs now!

Freedom to vote

For nearly two decades we were accused as LTTE, LTTE supporters, terrorists, etc while the Sri Lankan government tried persistently to tarnish our image, we ignored everything and continued our task internationally, all alone, seeking justice for the victims.  Of course a few non-Tamils stood with us. The government media – English, Tamil and Singhalese wrote fictional news and articles about our activities. Not only the extreme Singhalese, but also some opportunist Tamils attempted to sabotage our efforts. But we stood firm and worked hard.

However, today, with the best coordination of many individuals, international institutions, organisations, countries and also well-coordinated actions of some diaspora organisations after 2009, the international community has finally opened its eyes. Today, the human rights and political issues of the Tamils are internationalised.

Now it is the duty of every member of the Tamil diaspora to keep up this momentum with good coordination and solidarity with those who helped us to reach this stage. In any circumstance, if we are reluctant in our international task, once again we will be cheated by the rulers of Sri Lanka.

For everyone’s information – former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has a good relationship with important members of the ‘Democratic Party’ in the USA. Therefore, if Maithiripala Sirisena wins the Presidential election, then through the influence of Chandrika, the present commitment of the Americans on Sri Lankan affairs may not be there in future!

People in the North and East should not allow anyone to buy them. If this happens, they will end-up going ‘from the frying pan into the fire’.

In the coming Presidential election, there will not only be the two leading candidates, there will also be a few others candidates. Therefore, it is not a must that people in the North and East cast their vote for either of these two candidates. Using their freedom to vote, they can cast their ballot for anyone of their choice.

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