14 December, 2017

Blog

Why Not A MoU With The TNA?

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Nominations for the premature presidential elections closed three days back and less than a month is left for the decisive decision on 8 January 2015. The competition is polarized between two candidates and the result will be crucial for the future of the country. This is perhaps the most significant election ever held in this island nation since the introduction of adult universal franchise in 1931.

To put it mildly, the result will decide whether the country would continue in the direction of ‘constitutional dictatorship’ or whether it would open up a ‘widow of opportunity’ to halt the democratic deterioration and reinstate democracy. No one can expect miracles and it is up to all actors in the political arena to utilize the available opportunities for the betterment of the country and the people. The reinstatement of democracy is important to all communities and individuals, irrespective of ethnicity, language, religion, gender or any other distinction.

The common opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, has put forward a promising platform for democratic rejuvenation in consultation with the UNP and many other political parties in the opposition, and the main policy formulations are reflected in the MOUs so far signed between them. This process itself is democratic and transparent (and there are no hidden agendas or conspiracies!).

TNA and JVP

There are however certain political parties/groups in the opposition who have not yet come into this process, at least directly, and two of the most important parties are the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the JVP.

Ranil Maithri Chandrila Fonseka 1In respect of the JVP, although their position is still ambiguous, they have not fielded their own candidate and stated that defeating the incumbent President is crucially important although they are reluctant to give ‘character certificates’ to anyone in the opposition given their past bitter experiences. The ‘character certificate matter’ is understandable from the point view of both the JVP and the TNA. The JVP leaders have come on common platforms, however, to call for the abolition of the executive presidential system while conducting their own propaganda campaigns on that and other issues. This is not the case of the TNA so far.

The active support of the TNA is decisive for the opposition candidate to win more than the JVP. The JVP’s national vote bank at present could be considered around 200,000 and in contrast, the TNA could motivate over 600,000 voters to cast their votes to whoever they decide to support, if ample lead time is allowed to canvass and explain that position to the voters. Any undue delay might hinder the process.

On the 2nd of December, although the TNA parliamentarian M. A.  Sumanthiran was supposed to speak at a common opposition rally at Hyde Park, he withdrew at the last moment, expressing that the TNA has not yet taken a decision on the presidential elections. His withdrawal also interpreted as a tactical gesture to avoid criticisms from the government circles that the opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, is in alliance with the LTTE proxies etc.

If this is the case, I have major reservations on the tactic or the strategy, as Sri Lanka cannot afford to have ‘hide and seek’ politics any longer and the people should not be deceived whatever the (minor) repercussions at the electoral front. There is no doubt that the main campaign plank of the government is about national security and against making any concessions to the Tamils and other minority communities.

This is the very reason why the opposition should have taken a clear principled position openly on the Tamil national question and tried its best to educate the majority community, of course in a cautious and a prudent manner. I would not consider this is such a difficult task given the fact that the war is over and any resurrection of separatist politics is unthinkable in the foreseeable future. All the present inhibitions or reservations on the matter are in the subjective or the metaphysical sphere. It is true that in politics, unscrupulous leaders try to thrive on misinformation and scaremongering. However, people’s common sense knowledge might be far better than the distorted perceptions of the ‘rulers’ or their henchmen.

The Dilemma 

The issue that I am raising in this article is already, but differently, raised by Dr S. I. Keethaponcalan in respect of the TNA in his “Presidential Election and the Tamil Dilemma,” among other matters. He has stated:

“In theory, the TNA can decide not to formally endorse Sirisena and as stated in the news report, agree to extend its support informally or indirectly. This could happen if the agreement between Sirisena and the JHU contains any real or perceived anti-minority or anti-devolution provisions. Such a situation could also be illustrated as a setback for Sirisena because given the possible Tamil apathy towards the election, getting Tamil people to go to the polling booth and vote might need some serious encouragement. The TNA will be able to do that.”

It should be noted that the first part of his article was to outline that Sirisena in contrast to Ranil Wickremasinghe is largely an unknown person among the Tamil community and his credentials on minority issues are also unknown. It is in that context that he stated “given the possible Tamil apathy towards the election, getting Tamil people to go to the polling booth and vote might need some serious encouragement.”

While the above comment was aiming at the TNA, he has also stated that “Sirisena cannot take Tamil votes for granted or assume that the Tamils will vote for him automatically.” It may appear that Keethaponcalan has written his article or stated his position only in respect of the elections or his apparent support for the common candidate. However, there is something more and that is my main point in this article. Let me raise it as a question or questions.

Could there be a MOU between the common candidate and the TNA? How far such a MOU would harm or help the chances of the winning prospects of Maithripala Sirisena?

It is obvious that any reluctance to have a MOU or any other formal understanding with the TNA is based on the premise that the TNA or the main stream Tamil community is a pariah section of the Sri Lankan society that anyone should not touch them even with a barge pole. This perception or position is not only harmful for future reconciliation but also is one of the main reasons why the Tamil militants are driven, over and over again, for separatism or exclusionism on their part.

The Other Side

The perception or the situation is not one sided, but mutual from both sides. Take the example of what the EPRLF (Suresh wing) leader, Suresh Premachandran, repeatedly says about the forthcoming presidential elections and the two main candidates. As reported by the Daily Mirror few days back (8 December 2014) he has stated again:

There is no solution offered to the problems of the Tamil people. There is no plan to resettle displaced Tamils.   It seems that the common candidate is endorsing the views of Sinhala extremist forces backing him. Let alone a political solution, there is no approach even to address day to day problems.”

From a conflict resolution or reconciliation point of view, it is completely erroneous on the part of the TNA or the mainstream Tamil community to wait for solutions from the Sinhala community or their leaders, without cooperating and/or mutually working together. That attitude, clearly expressed by Premachandran, is akin to militant trade union bargaining and perhaps derives from that ideology. That attitude perpetuates an employer-employee or, in this case, a ‘ruler-subject’ relationship.

The Tamil community or their representatives should be an active participant of the national political process without completely confining themselves to their own sphere or the North East. One step forward might be to utilize the opportunity available at the forthcoming presidential elections. It might be important to quote Dr Rajasingham Narendran when he commented on the issue of voting at the presidential elections by the Tamil community relevant to the subject that we are discussing here in this article. As he has said,

“We, the Tamils living in Sri Lanka have to vote in the Presidential elections as Sri Lankans and parliamentary elections as Tamil Sri Lankans. We have to vote as Tamils in the provincial council elections. This has to be the formula for Tamil Sri Lankans in the current circumstances.”

The Need

When there is a Common Candidate it is normal for various political parties or interest groups to come to an understanding with such a candidate or his/her main political organization. Even the JHU has come to such an understanding today. On the other hand, it is incumbent upon and the duty of such a candidate or his/her political party/group to seek an understanding with such an important community like the Tamils in Sri Lanka and its main political representatives. It is in this context that a MOU between the Common Candidate and the TNA is important. There should be an effort to break the divide between the two communities or the respective political parties.

It is not only in terms of votes that such an understanding is important. The common candidate and his United Front has promised that a future government under their leadership would be a national government and/or an all- party government at least for two years. While that is an admirable object what might be necessary is to take a first step. Sirisena-JHU MOU, as far as I am concerned, has not placed any obstacles for a Sirisena-TNA MOU. On the contrary, the leader of the JHU, Champika Ranawaka has very clearly encouraged such a MOU or an understanding.

It is obvious that such a MOU could not cover all the issues that the Tamil community might be facing. However, it could at least address the first step/s in breaking the ice between the two communities and their respective parties and declare very openly that the two parties agree to work mutually in finding solutions to the issues that the country and various communities are facing in the present juncture of politics. The present leaders of the UPFA and the President by using the TNA, the Tamil community and the Tamil Diaspora as scapegoats have proved time and again that they are not for any reasonable solution or reconciliation in the country. They want to tread in the war path even after the end of the war.

The election is only an opportunity. The two communities and even the Muslim community should discover mutual grounds by relating to each other irrespective of their differences. The reinstatement of democracy, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and good governance by abolishing at least the draconian powers of the executive presidential system is one such a mutual ground at the national level.

There may be various issues that relevant parties on both sides would like to include in such a MOU. However on my part, I could see the possibility of agreeing on at least four matters that I consider important for the Tamil community. (1) Full implementation of the LLRC recommendations (2) Unhindered funding and functioning of the Northern and the Eastern Provincial Councils (3) Termination of any forced colonization (4) Phased out withdrawal of the military from the Northern Province without hindrance to the security and territorial integrity of the country. It is understood that the resettlement, rehabilitation and development should continue.

[Note that this article did not touch the issue of the SLMC and thus the Muslim community in respect of a possible MOU, since the SLMC is still a part of the UPFA government.]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    1

    If there is genuine momentum in the country towards democracy, rule of law and good governance, then we the Tamil people (and TNA as our authentic political representatives) should consider supporting the joint opposition candidate, in the interest of the whole country and democracy (assuming such momentum, rather than the outcome itself, will ultimately benefit Tamils too), rather than linking our support explicitly to Tamil demands (we did poorly, though we thought we were acting cleverly, whenever we linked our specific demands to national election outcomes – can complicate election dynamics, winner can backtrack, etc, etc)”. Sri Lanka desperately needs a dose of principle to build a decent society (beyond group thinking), and this could be our contribution towards it.

    In reality, TNA’s choice is either to keep quiet (knowing very well Tamil people don’t need guidance to vote in this election) or publicly support the the joint opposition candidate. Not taking a public stand is not ideal for a decent and principled political formation such as TNA, unless of course, there are clear indications that this could severely affect the election outcome by affording the government an opportunity to purposefully mislead and confuse uninformed sections of the Sinhala electorate.

  • 9
    1

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando.
    Thank you for your valuable analysis of the current election. We need to learn from the historical issues that Tamils and Sinhalese have fought before and after the Colonial Period of our history.

    I would like to start my comment on your article with a passage from ‘All Experience – Essays and reflections’ by Sam Wijeyasinghe (2001 p.147). It gives a glimpse of the fundamental problem of the ethnic conflict in a premature democracy. A ‘democracy’ that was draped over the pre-existing religion based feudal rule. It shows how rival Sinhala political parties manipulate this ‘democracy’ to seek power so as to rule over the Island while the Tamil feudalists wait to catch the falling crumbs.

    SWRD Bandaranaike “faced the election with a broad-based group that included the Sangha, Veda, Guru, Govi and Kamkaru acting in concert. This unprecedented nationwide alliance, which combined Buddhist clergy, ayurvedic doctors, teachers, farmers and workers (all Sinhalese) may have owed something to the pioneering campaign of DM Rajapakse from Hambantota (‘who was the only member of parliament who followed Bandaranaike across the floor of the house in 1951’)…

    ”In an election rally in Polannaruwa in 1956 he unleashed a vibrant tirade that dug deep into the issues of race and language. When he was returning to Colombo that night in M W H de Silva’s car, MWH (‘He became the Minister of Justice in the Bandaranaike’s government.’) said to him, ‘You have sowed the wind, our people have to reap the whirlwind.’ Pat came the reply from the master of the mixed metaphor, ‘We will cross that bridge when we come to it.’ “

    SWRD Bandaranaike, like Aladdin, found the lamp with the Genie inside. He rubbed it and the Genie granted his wish to be Prime Minister. SWRD thought he could put the Genie back in lamp. The Genie had other things in his mind. Chelva and SWRD and Chelva and Dudley could not bargain with the Genie. The Genie ruled by lay proxy leaders. Pirapakaran tried to slay the Genie by slaying the Proxy leaders and the Proxy armed forces. He and the Tamils paid the price.

    Laksiri’s article and many others’ articles on the subject of Tamils and the elections skirt around the fundamental cause of the problem – the Genie. Everyone pretend that there is no Genie. Under one person one vote the Genie is the King of the Island. There is no one in the Island who can rehabilitate the Genie.

    That fundamental problem is that more than two-thirds of the Sinhala Buddhist is the Genie. It is lead by the thoughts and preaching of the Buddhist clergy that the island belongs to the Sinhala Buddhists and other religious and linguistic communities are immigrants who are welcomed as residents who can live and earn a living as long as they accept the rule of the Sinhala Buddhist – the Genie. Those who accept and pay obeisance will be appropriately rewarded in name and wealth.

    Now there are two of the Genie’s Proxies – one from Hambantota and the other from Polannaruwa vying for the chance to be in power and do the bidding of the Genie. Both are trying to get the support of the support of the Tamils without antagonizing the Genie. Both proxies remember Kotalawela’s strategy to get Tamil votes. It backfired. Both pretend silence on the Tamil rights is what will get them elected, not MOU.

    • 6
      1

      Very powerful statements.

    • 1
      0

      Mr Ethirveerasingam

      Your poignant comment on the plight of Tamils as well as the Sinhalese touched my heart and stirred my soul.

      “It backfired. Both pretend silence on the Tamil rights is what will get them elected, not MOU”

      This words remind me of Anton Chekhov’s Misery. Not bad at all for a former illustrious sportsman!

      • 2
        0

        ken robert

        Please check your e mail for scanned copy of Proto Dravidian which CT has already forwarded to you.

  • 7
    3

    The Sinhala-Buddhist majority politics in Sri Lanka right from independence was to make promises to the Tamils and then deceive them as we have seen in several ‘pacts’ in the past. The moment they win the election and form the government, they endorse the views of Sinhala extremist forces within the party, in the opposition, and the racist Buddhist monks.

    As usual, during the Presidential election, the Tamil votes are very crucial. In 2005, Prabakaran boycotting the Tamil votes helped Mahinda Rajapakshe to win. In 2010, TNA (so called LTTE proxy) supporting Sarath Fonseka helped Mahinda Rajapakshe to win again. Now, in 2015, it is the Tamil votes that is going to be the deciding factor. Will the Tamils help Mahinda Rajapakshe to win again?

    The situation in Sri Lanka today is very similar to 2005 Presidential Election. The majority Sinhala votes are split into two between the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. The Muslim and the upcountry Tamil votes are also split and therefore no candidate will be able to get 50% of the votes without the N/E Tamil Votes, the deciding factor is going to be the N/E Tamil support.

    Now, whom should the Tamils support or should the Tamils boycott the election?

    One may argue that none of the Sinhala Buddhist leaders irrespective of whether they were moderate or not had done anything good to the Tamils other than deceiving the Tamils right from the day Sri Lanka attained its independence. How can they ask the Tamil people to vote for any of them when they have failed to offer anything to the Tamils? Why should the Tamils continue to support these Sinhala-Buddhist leaders at the Presidential Election and then get screwed left, right and centre? Why don’t we learn lessons from our past mistakes? In other words, either field a well-respected Tamil candidate who is not only popular in the North & East but also in the rest of the country so that no candidate will be able to get 50% of the votes to get the president ship which proves the importance of Tamils (it is too late now but anyway there is a Tamil candidate contesting). The other option (may be the only option) is to boycott the election leaving the Sinhalese to elect their own Sinhala-Buddhist leader as they did in 2005.

    Suppose if the Tamils decide not to boycott the election, then whom should they support.

    Well, we all know the Hambanthota devil but the so called Polonnaruwa angel is unknown to us. Who is Maithripala Sirisena and is he capable of solving the burning issues that the Tamils are facing?

    So far, there is nothing what so ever on the common presidential candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirisena’s agenda for the Tamils other than the common theme of law and order. He also says his election manifesto will not include proposals for a political solution for the Tamils. How can we place blind faith in an idealized, mystified, personified image of Maithripala Sirisena as the saviour of democracy and freedom and will have a fair representation for all communities?

    Maithripala Sirisena has gone on record that he would not allow any international investigation on Sri Lanka if he wins in the elections. He also went on record stating that he would protect the Security forces from any such scrutiny. He also celebrated the war that resulted in the political subjugation, territorial hijacking and military occupation of the Tamil nation and participated at the victory parades with great dignity and pride. Maithripala Sirisena is NOT a moderate Sinhalese, he is a strong Sinhala-Buddhist and very similar in nature to SWRD Bandaranayake who came up with Sinhala only in 24 hours. Maithripala Sirisena is a Sinhala only, Buddhist only type of a person, who has already signed a MOU for getting the support of Sinhala-Buddhist racist JHU Party, what else can one expect from him? The Tamils cannot expect anything from him. Even the very moderate Sinhala leaders in the past have cheated the Tamil leadership. What guarantee do we have that Maithiripala Sirisena, another strong Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalist will not deceive the Tamil again?

    Once Maithiripala Sirisena wins the Presidential election and become an executive president, will he listen to Ranil or Chandrika? How can anyone trust Chandrika, who wasted 11 long years in the past doing nothing? Only thing that Ranil and Chandrika can do with their Western influence is, stop or block the western countries from supporting the Tamils. Maithiripala Sirisena has already joined hands with the anti-Tamil racists, the non-negotiable JHU and signed a MOU with them. The JHU has joined the Maithripala Sirisena bandwagon only to advance its mission and agenda in defending the supremacist-hegemonic Sinhala-Buddhist unitary State. Will the JHU allow Maithiripala Sirisena to even talk to the Tamils? Why should the Tamils vote for Maithiripala Sirisena? What has he got to give the Tamils?

    Is it better to keep the known devil Mahinda Rajapaksa rather than the unknown angel Maithripala Sirisena?

    The Rajapakshe family looting and plundering the country’s wealth and becoming a dictator, etc, etc is a problem for the majority Sinhalese but it has no much effect on the Tamils. At least Mahinda Rajapakshe has done some economic projects in the N/E. Voting for Maithripala Sirisena is saying goodbye to this but in return for what?

    The Tamils have a huge support in the West, in Tamil Nadu and in the UN only because of Mahnida Rajapakshe’s foolish anti-western Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalist policy. As long as Mahinda Rajapaksa continues as the president, the Western countries who are not happy with him will continue to support the Tamils and exert international pressure on his regime. Things may change with the foreign policy of Maithiripala-Ranil-Chandrika, the Tamils may lose the Western support. TNA should think wisely and refrain from supporting the wrong candidate. In other words, the TNA should give conditional support to Mahinda Rajapaksa (the known devil).

    The best option for the Tamils is to have an anti-western Sinhala-Buddhist dictator (whom the Western world hates) as the President of Sri Lanka and Mahinda Rajapakshe is the best choice. To achieve the objective of a federal state or even implementing the 13A in full, the LLRC, war crime investigation, etc the Tamils need the continuous support of the West. A change of government may change the western thinking.

    It is time for the Tamils to think. The TNA should wait for the election manifesto of the opposition candidate to decide whom to support. If it does not have anything for the Tamils, it is better to keep the known devil rather than bringing the unknown angel.

    • 1
      1

      well said ! Tamil leaders like TNA have to look for long term prospective than having a short term view ! supporting one will bring the unfavorable out come from the other as both leaders do not want Tamils vote tamil should stay out of the poll for the first round if there are any promises after first round tamils can consider that. TNA SHOULD LET THE TAMILS FREE TO VOTE! LET THEM DECIDE TO VOTE OR NOT!

      • 0
        0

        If the Tamils who are now second class citizens think that there is no difference between both Sinhalese contestants and not vote for either or even if they vote for one, they are still at a risk,

        Because there is no guarantee that the winning candidate will not one day decide to take revenge by disenfranchising the Tamils just as Sinhala Only was made as the official language and then, Buddhisam the foremost religion.

        As long as there is a Sinhalese majority in their parliament they can do anything.

        See what they did to one of their own Chief Justice a Sinhalese at that, recently with the help of a PSC that was conjured up for that illegal dastardly purpose.There was some half hearted protests by some over that, and then everything was forgotten. That is the way things are in the island.

        Remember what JR. announced to the world at large in 1983…” the Sinhalese will be Happy if the Tamils are Starved”

        The Sinhalese whether urban or rural do not and will not bother a hoot for Tamils.

    • 1
      0

      We Tamils have to bear in mind that it is neither the West nor India that are going to sort out our National Question. Of course, they will make use of it to serve their needs. We have to sort out the problems with the Sinhalese one day or other, however slow the process may be.

      Sirisena is not contesting as a single person on his own. He, no doubt has some support from the Sinhala rural base but his mainstay of support at the moment is from moderates like Ranil, Chandrika, Mangala and others and that makes the difference between him and ‘the known devil’!

      It will be utterly silly for the Tamils to boycott the election. If we do so we will end up with no friends both locally and internationally. Isolation will not take us anywhere!

      Sengodan. M

      • 0
        0

        Sengodan

        “It will be utterly silly for the Tamils to boycott the election.”

        I agree with you.When you boycott a election you are giving up a political power you have which is idiotic because you have to wait so patiently for years until election time to get it anyway.

        However the tamils have to be careful how they use that political power called the ballot.If you use it foolishly it can backfire.

        Tamil leaders should be careful not to take sides among the sinhalese.They should let the people decide for themselves whom to vote for.The only advise they should give the tamil people is to use their vote wisely and not to waste it by voting for some numbskull who is contesting to get some publicity and instead vote for only the one of the two leading contenders maithri or mahinda.

        They should also advise not to stay at at home and sulk,but to go and vote for one of these two,whoever they hate least.

        The reason that they should not take sides is because

        1.Once sampanthan says vote for maithri,he will be making the mahinda camp bitter enemies of him and the tamils.Now we don’t want unnecessary enemies with the load of problems we have already,do we.Sinhala politics is not matured enough for us to enter it and get caught to all the bullshit that goes with it.

        2.When the tamil leaders don’t stand in the way and block the sinhala leaders, and let them go directly to the tamil people instead,the sinhala leaders will be encouraged in future to win the hearts and minds of the tamil people.They know that they have a better chance of getting their votes by giving them little by little something or other and these little things can all add up into substantial benefits to the tamil people one day.

    • 0
      0

      Very well said Ravi. By letting the current regime to continue the Tamils will get a solution soon.

  • 2
    0

    In may well be there are 4 different strands of the Southern voting electorate. They are roughly

    (1) the committed SLFP, anti-UNP, Sinhala Buddhist-centric base of around 30/35%

    (2) the committed UNP vote base of around 30/35% including Christians, Muslims and other minorities

    (3) The Tamils of North-East origin settled also in the South (estimated in the 350,000 region) and those of recent Indian origin (about 500,000) in the Plantation areas

    (4) liberal, reasoning Sinhalese, Tamils and other minorities settled all over the island who do not easily give into visceral, racial, religious prejudices but hope for and work towards a united Sri Lanka living in peace and harmony with each other in all four corners of the island. This group realises the indigenous Tamils have been wronged for long and unless that denied justice is restored to them the country can, once again, fall into a long and more self-destructive spiral of violence necessitating in external intervention.

    As for recently emerging Muslim factor, while a smaller number of them may vote for the President it is clear most of them – in the EP and elsewhere in the South – will vote against him notwithstanding what Rauf Hakeem and his men will do. It is the view of many political analysts SLMC and the communal factor in them is gradually on the decline, largely in view of the attacks on them in recent times. Leaders within the Muslim community always felt the place of the Muslims is within the main Sinhala political formations – as it indeed has been since 1948. The theory was going solo along the religious line will bring the community hitherto unseen disaster. They also point out the aberration where Rauf Hakeem – a Muslim from Kandy later settled in Colombo – is a strange contradiction for leadership to a Muslim religious-centric political body whose base is in the Batticaloa region. They may be right considering Ashroff formed the SLMC purportedly to serve the immediate interests of Eastern Province Muslims. It is significant the latter consider Tamil their mother tongue. It is a fact they speak Tamil as Tamils in the NEP do, whereas Lankan Muslims in the South speak Tamil with a different accent and oscillate between Sinhalese and Tamil. In the next few years Muslims will very likely return to the two main Sinhala parties leaving a few die-hards in the EP clinging on to the Muslim communal factor more satisfying personal agendas than serve the community at large. They will be influenced more by their handlers in the Pakistani ISI and global Jihadi interests. These insidious faceless sources influenced them to reflect their own parochial interests to create chaos in the island and pose a threat to India’s security in the post-Asraff years.

    I would place Prof. Laksiri Fernando, the academic community such as the Friday Forum, recognised NGOs etc into the 4th category. I welcome Prof. Fernando’s 4 point programme. I feel this may be acceptable to the Tamil Nation – as a starting point and a symbol of final thaw in the Sinhala Buddhist mindset.

    The problem, however, will be the disproportionately politicised Buddhist priests, who, though fragmented from the original Malwatte-Asgiriya (and later the Amarapura) sects, enjoy massive political power and continue to call the shots making our Parliamentary democracy a mockery. JRJ, with 5/6th majority and an impressive performance in the economic front and job-creation, was thwarted by Sinhala extremists in his Cabinet. This cabal, one suspects, were made to infiltrate into his ranks to weaken him – an endeavour in which they eventually succeeded. What the Sinhala electorate in the South – both SLFP and UNP oriented – may realise is unless the hierarchy of the politicised Sinhala priesthood gathers reason, shed their anti-Tamil prejudice and a change of mindset, no reconciliation between the Sinhalese and the Tamils in the Island will make a headway in the foreseeable future. There is room to think there is a gradual change in this direction when one considers the visit of the Mahanayakas to Jaffna recently, the change of the Policy of the hitherto virulently anti-Tamil JVP and now what appears to be the shedding of its main anti-Tamil bias by that arch communalist Champika R and the JHU. The recent about turn of Ven. Maduluwe Sobitha Thero is further indication of this shift in the mindset of the Sinhala South.

    Blaming Suresh Premachandran or other Tamil politicians for not coming out with suggestions for solutions is unfortunate. There have been many – even in recent times. They are all there in the record through several meetings held with President Rajapakse and his preferred Committees. But they all came to nought simply because that is what Mahinda Rajapakse wanted.

    The good Professor has wasted much time, paper and print in blaming the Tamil side when he argues “it is completely erroneous on the part of the TNA and the mainstream Tamil community to wait for solutions from the Sinhala community” Has the learned man forgotten that both CBK and Ranil W made headway in coming to some for some form of initial breakthrough during their times. But all of this was to be sabotaged by Sinhala extremists.

    That weak vehicle and misleading LLRC is widely considered a fraudulent time-wasting exercise. The Rajapakse insincerity is so palpable as the President not only took years to act on the contested LLRC findings but has, till today, refused to implement even half of them. Last weekend there was a discussion in the BBC on War Crimes. Prof. Chandra Lekha Sriram of the East London University, one of the invited experts, said the Rajapakses LLRC is a weak device to evade responsibility of the mass civilian killings and the UN Inquiry. She was to insist in the programme most relevant global organisations refused to testify before it. The Rajapakse, nonetheless, continues to fool his people with this tool that satisfies the old story of promising a mountain and eventually producing a mouse.

    Like many commentators here, I do not think an MoU with the Tamil political formation with the Sinhala side, at this stage, will prove any useful purpose here. The Sinhala electorate continues to suffer from the toxic dose of anti-Tamil prejudice taught to the Sinhala Nation from the lower classes in school.One good example is the “Demala minissu boma napuru minissu”(Tamils are bad people) in the Kumarodaya text books from the lower classes. Such a misplaced MoU only will result in such tasteless communal cries as “Dudleyge bade masala vady” “Hath Avula aanduwa” to be raised in demonstrations working the riff and raff in the regular anti-Tamil diet on which the Rajapakses and other Sinhala regimes have survived.

    An MoU might be a subject to be considered once the Buddhist priests and the Sinhala supremacist cabal remove from their mind the mischievous and delusional fear of “the Lankan-Tamil Tamilnadu Separatism project” and the imaginary Tamil-diaspora/India fear.
    And that too under enforceable international community safeguards.
    I need not elaborate the fact, if properly handled both the Tamilnadu/India and the Tamil-diaspora fears can be cultivated to the economic, social and political good of the majority Sinhala race. How many Sinhalese are aware that heavy financing of the present Rajapakse leadership is with Tamils in the UK, Canadian and EU Tamil diaspora. The majority Sinhalese also may wonder why Mahinda R chooses to rush to Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh/India to seek the intervention of the godly Shri Venketeeshwar while there is Kadirgamam, Anuradhapura or even the Dalada Maligawa for one obliquely suggesting to be an ardent anti-Indian Sinhala Buddhist extremist. To paraphrase Arundathi Roy does President Rajapakse signal to the Sinhala Nation theirs is a “smaller God” One is also reminded of Dudley Senanayaka’s swipe at Maitripala Senanayake in the 1960s “Sinhala Only in the day and Reasonable Use of Tamil in the night” I might add Maitripala Senanayake was married to the Tamil Ranji Handy – a Lake House journalist.

    Finally, the perfidy of the Rajapakses in addressing the urgent issue of the National Question is best answered by Prof. Laksiri Fernando himself as he judiciously concludes ”the present leaders of the UPFA and the President by using the Tamil Community and the Tamil Diaspora as scapegoats have proved, time and again, they are not for any reasonable solution or reconciliation in the country. They want to travel in the war path even (long) after the end of the war”

    Dear Professor, the country owes a debt to sons of Lanka such as your good self for untiring efforts to bring for all of us peace, unity and reconciliation. You have thus satisfied your social responsibility. I hope your good efforts till bear fruit – sooner than later.

    R. Varathan

    • 1
      1

      A fair and reasonable assessment of the current situation. People like Varathan should put across this view point to reach a wider section of educated Sinhalese.

      Sengodan. M

      • 0
        0

        Dear Sengodan,

        I believe CT also has a Sinhala version. But I agree there is much space for the more educated non-English reading Sinhala
        public to be correctly advised of today’s Tamil perceptions and
        political outlook. This is because I believe, despite all the unnecessary blood-letting on both sides since the 1970s both the Sinhalese and Tamils are ready to look at matters afresh.

        Does the Sinhala side recognise, even at this late stage now, killing our English supremacy in 1956 has hurt them more than any other. I was in a meeting in Geneva a few years ago where there were some Arab businessmen. After I finished my address, they came to me and said they thought Siri Lanka (that’s how they pronounced it) only produces maids (slaves?) and low level workers. As to India, whose general standard of English was much lower than ours till about the 1980s, now they corner most of the white collar jobs in the Gulf States from Clerks to middle managers. GoSL has been trying to address the issue for sometime – but it is too little too late. I am fully confident if the
        Tamil-dominated NEP is allowed sufficient resources to function
        they will reach a high standard of English – within ten years.
        I hate to speculate – but that is one of the reasons the Sinhala side goes hell for leather to ensure the NPC remains paralysed.

        Many thanks/R. Varathan

  • 0
    0

    Having read all the view with interst, I think TNA should not sing an MOU – because Sinhalese governments have a bad track record on honoring anything that they agreed to. So even if they sing it it will be useless.

    But they should vote against MR in an organized way for the following reaons :

    1) Tamils should realize from their own bitter experience that any dictator is bad – it does not matter if it is Prabakaran or MR they both need to be rid off.

    2) Show some generosity. The Sinhalese now have their own Prabakaran and realize a thing or two about the cost of supporting communal morons. We can also see Sinhalese educated donkeys supporting the MR very much ike the Tamil educated donkeys supporting VP.

    This election is not an opportunity to solve the Tamil Problem. It is to solve the Sinhalese Problem. Tamils should show good will and help the Sinhalese dump their dictator. Because any settlement for the Tamil issue is not going to come from communal Sinhalese Dumbos – it is going to come from the smaller number of enlightened Sinhalese and their good will need to be earned and they need to be empowered.

    So TNA should not negotiate a useless MOU but demonstrate in spirit that the well being of Tamils rely on empowering the less racist and more sensible Sinhalese.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Sundharam Mahendran – Presidential candidate
    ————————————————

    Your excellency,

    You belongs to a party founded by Mr. Edmond
    Samarakoddy (NLSSP) and he always fought for the Tamils in the early days of political history in Sri Lanka. We also find that you are very much interested in the current Tamil problem. There is a strong possibility that TNA may ask the Tamils to vote for you in the absence of any MOU signed between TNA and the SLFP (Old & New) on the burning
    Tamil issues. So be prepared to accept the challenge and drop your slogan that you are contesting to support the opposition and talk about the Tamil sufferings. Wish you luck.

  • 0
    0

    maithri should not have a MOU with the TNA as it will jeopardize his chances of winning. Sinhala voters will desert him in droves because they consider the TNA as the political arm of the LTTE and cannot be blamed.Any MOU with the TNA will be considered a MOU with the LTTE.

    As for the TNA they should let the tamils decide for themselves what they should do.Should they vote or not and if they do vote to whom should all be left to be decided by the voters themselves.If sampanthan decides to support maithri he will be making the mahinda a enemy.

    And all that for what.To be played out again and again and taken for ride since 1947.Just forget about the bitter politics of the sinhalese.

    The votes from the jaffna,vanni,batti and trinco district will decide this election.Let the people there decide for themselves whom to vote for.After all they are grown up adults and not idiots and if they like a particular candidate let them vote,otherwise let them stay at home.

    You can’t drag a donkey to the water they say and in this case you wonder whether there is water or mud in the hole that you are trying to drag the donkey to.Just imagine after all that effort it is mud,not water in the hole.Only international pressure will result in water.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.