Regarding the two types of srilankans ; the ones that love Sri Lanka and the ones that do not.
Posted on August 12th, 2009

By Mario Perera, Kadawata

 No one will forget this utterance of the President when addressing Parliament. I was reminded of this statement with reference to the good showing of the TNA at the recent elections, and also when reading news clips about the attitude of Muslim youth during the last two one day cricket internationals between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, cheering the Pakistanis as if they were strangers to this country, their motherland. The president’s formulation was strictly with reference to the LTTE and its suppression. The declaration could however be interpreted as having a wider fallout.

 As regards the first situation I raised, the low participation of northern voters at the polls; less than 20% on Jaffna and less than 50% in Vavuniya seem to indicate that the voters hearkened to voices of the Tamil diaspora demanding a boycott. As for those who did vote, the victory of the TNA in Vavuniya and their impressive performance in Jaffna were disconcerting for the Government. Could it be argued that these northern voters do not love Sri Lanka? It is certainly not easy to resume complex issues in simplistic phrases.

 The results however are lopsided in that the voters were almost hundred percent Tamils. There was no multi ethnic representation as in the other provinces. We know that the Sinhala and Muslim components of the North were brutally evicted by the LTTE. The government has vowed to resettle these displaced persons in the north. The recent vote was therefore mono-ethnic and to that extent did not represent the Sri Lankan plurality. The results as they stand however demand an explanation. The people who voted are represented as having been “ƒ”¹…”liberated’ from the LTTE who were their cruel persecutors. Now the TNA are proxy to the LTTE and were hand in glove with them. They were hand picked by the LTTE and should normally have been looked upon with animosity by the Tamil voters. But lo and behold, what do we see”¦the persecuted voting for the persecutors! This means that the Government’s perception of things went off at a tangent somewhere. Where did things go wrong? Pundits will discuss whether the elections were premature. Should the government not have waited until the displaced Sinhalese and Muslims were resettled? Yet what happened did happen and needs to be explained. Now there were two sets of Tamil groups contesting these elections. The TNA contested on its own while the EFDP of Douglas Devananda contested under the UPFA ticket. The question I ask myself which of these two parties mirrored back the idea that these voters steeped especially in their own language and with no other to communicate with, have of themselves? These are people who lived among themselves and for themselves during thirty odd years. The TNA was opaque in that it did not show any reality behind it. This was not the case of the EFDP which was like transparent glass revealing the face of the government. The TNA mirror showed the voters what they wanted to see; namely themselves.

 It would be in the interest of the country that the north be made to reflect the social reality it was before the ethnic cleansing by the LTTE by the reintegration of the displaced Sinhala and Muslim population. Also, like in India, let the Tamil political groups fight it out among themselves at the polls and then decide on their alliances with the main contending national parties. This does not mean that the national parties must abstain. Let them participate too if they so wish (at the risk of undermining their potential allies), but under their own banners. It is natural that smaller parties even those of ethnic inspiration seek alliances with the national party best placed to advance their brand of politics within a common vision. What occurred in the north was a direct confrontation between the TNA and the government on a terrain that was not yet salutary for the government considering the isolation of the voters and their psychological trauma.

 The second issue is the exclusive support of the Muslims for Pakistan during the last two one day internationals which Pakistan won convincingly. Does this mean that these Muslim youth do not love Sri Lanka? In this connection I would refer to the article “ƒ”¹…”Does cricket have a citizenship? That appeared on August 11 on Infolanka, by Nazeeya Faarooq. The crux of the arguments is that the ethnic and religious communities should not be made to feel like grafts on the national body but as its essential members. This feeling needs to be inculcated from the school atmosphere onwards within the framework of equal opportunities for all. Indeed national unity does not come on a golden platter at the behest of the rulers but through the patient pursuance of an enlightened vision that encompasses the legitimate aspirations of all whatever be their ethnic or religious precedents.

 The issues are therefore much wider than what party politics conceive. I recall an episode pertaining to recent British history. Churchill had won the war for England. He was the toast of his country and the world. Yet at the next elections he was ousted from power with Atlee succeeding him. Memory is like sifting sand, so short lived it is.

 The question that nevertheless remains to be answered is, does loving Sri Lanka mean loving the party in power and its policies just because it thinks and wants to be seen as the only one that loves Sri Lanka? Compelled as we are to judge the two situations mentioned at the outset in a positive frame of mind without panic but with a realistic appraisal, the answer to this question would have to be “ƒ”¹…”no’.

2 Responses to “Regarding the two types of srilankans ; the ones that love Sri Lanka and the ones that do not.”

  1. nuwans Says:

    This two types as president identified after defeating LTTE is in my opinion is not right at all. I believe that it is purely a political stunt to sideline those who oppose to his party and brand them as people who does not love Sri Lanka. The election in the north may have been influenced by different factors. For one, they are Tamils and I believe they would rather vote for a Tamil party. That is how we sinhalese would vote too, if the situations were reversed. Secondly, people in those area, still suffer immensly even though LTTE is gone. A lot of IDP’s. Their hope is gone and many live like hell. I do not think in that backdrop, government can expect an olive branch from them.

    This government follow the same failed mentality that last American president Bush had in regard to war on terror and Iraq. He tried to brand all those who opposed to the war and his policies as non patriots and he was successful for a while doing that and democratic party was scared and hesitated to oppose him because people supported that view. Secondly, in Iraq, he assumed that American troops will be welcomed as liberators after removing Sadam. That was a grave mistake. A parellel can be drawn if we compare Bush strategy with MR strategy. Northern Tamils have suffered immensly from LTTE, still LTTE were Tamils. And their is a wide rift and distrust among Sinhalese and Tamils in these areas due to this decad old conflict. So it is very not pragmatic for this government to assume that just because we defeated LTTE that those Tamils would welcome the Sinhalese govt. with open hands. I think the govt. did a grave miscalculation. There is a big wound that will take a long time to heal. Same as Sinhalese take pride about its race, Tamils have the same pride and for whatever reason many of those Tamils supported LTTE and saw them as liberators. And we should not expect a suddent change of heart from them.

    I think it is dangerous to try to brand Sri Lankans into two; those who love and those does not according to the political vision of the current government. For one, I do not agree with the current government at all when it comes to economy and human rights and many other things. But no one should dare to tell me, I do not love my country. I have done a lot to my country and still doing that. But according to MR’s measuring stick, I may belong to the catagory of “does not love Sri Lanka” because I have dissenting views to his politcs. So this branding is very wrong. We as a democracy must accept that people have difference in opinion. And especially dealing with the Tamils in the north, we must consider the background and the current mentality before trying to draw lines branding people for their views. Otherwise we will only end up in a divided country with never ending problems.

    Finally, government shouldn’t have had elections in those areas. It was too soon. I think they tried to show that they have the support of Tamils too. But their miscalculations gave them a shock at the end. At this point in time, government should focus on settling people and fixing the problems in the country instead of thinking about elections and how to prolonge their power base. It is unfortunate that all they can think is about how to stay in power longer and how to conquer more of Sri Lanka to their party.

  2. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    Regarding the two types of Sri Lankans, I feel it like a load of rubbish churned out by little Americans spin doctoring the politics in Sinhale’ (Lanka). The truth is that there is none called Sri Lankans who could speak Sri Lankan. Who are they trying to fool by following the footsteps of English colonisers that carry funny statehood names to hide the true nature of their ill-gotten lands? It could have been right to say that clueless and rootless politicians are trying to create an identity for themselves to justify their own existence in the country. Sinhala people should understand that there is a bunch of political animals in the ruling coalition who pretend to love the country to deceive you and the same type in the opposition who openly display their hate towards the country. Can anybody tell the difference in their thinking and actions? Both types are from the same lot who betrayed our people to English occupiers that continue their legacy wearing local clown-like costumes. I doubt very much they can fool us that long. Referring to behaviour of migrant menace festering in the country, I can assure that they even do not know what “love towards a country” means because they are bloody migrants. Having spent two decades of my life as a migrant mingling among all sorts of migrants carrying many ethnic baggages, I like to warn Sinhala people to stay away from associating with these migrants (the most dangerous type of pestilence that should be eradicated) to save future for their children.

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