It s a Golden Opportunity for the Minority Communities to Join the National Agenda
Posted on November 26th, 2009

Donald Chandraratna Perth, Australia

War is over for good. It is about time that those on different sides of the conflict demonstrate the sincerity of their commitment for each other’s right to exist in a united Sri Lanka. This is a golden opportunity, for the Tamil community in particular, to show their genuine desire to coexist. This has to be demonstrated not by a deafening silence. We are aware of the current designs of the Diaspora to destroy our beautiful land once again. Silence on the part of the Tamils living in Sri Lanka will be interpreted by the Diaspora as acquiescence to their designs. The reality is that no sane minded Tamil living outside Sri Lanka should believe that there will ever be any possibility of reactivating the LTTE or separatism on Sri Lankan soil. That is in cuckoo land. The creation of the erstwhile LTTE was partly due to indifference by the State to the possibility of a terror outfit of that magnitude ever taking root in the country. Added to that, the popularised invincibility, fear of a backlash from the so called international community, corruption in the state instrumentalities, lack of resolve and inept leadership contributed to the creation of this ruthless organisation headed by an egotistical person, a rarity among decent humanity. Thanks to the leadership of the current President and the sacrifice of the gallant security forces we are free now and forever. The Tamil community is “ƒ”¹…”freer’ than the others for they can now live in peace thanks to those soldiers who eliminated terrorism in the country. Now the country has done what is needed for you and me what remains is what we can do for the country.

It has been the tendency of both Tamils and the Sinhalese to demand everything from someone else from anywhere which has been the bugbear of the nation: jobs from the state, food from the state, job seeking through friends, reliance on ethnic networks, bribery etc,. and when all else fails, blame the government. It is about time that people, as in the West, start doing things for themselves. The responsibility of the incoming President is to install good governance and the rest will take care of itself.

We must be truthful. Even now there isn’t a single piece of legislation inimical to any group. Although both Tamil and some opportunistic Sinhala pundits say there is discrimination we have to ask for specifics to let us join hands to fix them. The cultured people of our country treat human beings with respect. It is not new to us. We always do, we have done and will also do in the future.

The topic that I wanted to talk was of the upcoming Presidential poll. What better opportunity for the minorities who were shouting from their roof tops that the majority community is discriminatory to show that the minorities are open minded for a fresh start? Why vote for those parties which have an ethnic prefix. It is a waste of a vote in the first place and their motif is to appeal to primordialism in order to deliver benefits. It is an archaic, inane mind-set which is looking back to socio-biology as a tool for naked power. I am appealing to the minority communities to go with the flow for you are then a Sri Lankan true blue. Joining hands with the National agenda, you will have a say. You will also be participating in the creation of the national agenda that will deliver what you need. The invitation is open from both major parties and it is about time that we “ƒ”¹…”join the club’. The way in which all of us can go back to that golden era is to eschew ethnic politics. Law cannot abolish ethnic parties but morality can. We all can learn from the abject performance of the so called ultra Sinhala patriotic parties. Contrary to the charge that the majorities are a racialized lot they have shunned them at every poll.

Talking of discrimination, genocide, rape and what not is a lot of codswallop. Next time these charges are levelled at the majority we must be firm and request the details of where, how, when and of what magnitude. You must not paint an entire nation by such slander and innuendo. If so many have been killed in the IDP camps where are the corpses? If so many have disappeared from the IDP camps give the details to check whether they are in the Bintan camps in Indonesia. Where are the injured, the tortured. Print the details. There are plenty of media outlets. If not you are conning. If true you must produce them so that the nation can do something about them. Even Dr Sivapalan, one of the doctors in custody now admitted that only three hundred were caught in the cross fire when the reported figure in the gullible Western Press was 20,000, and the West was ever ready to shout “ƒ”¹…”War Crimes’. What a load of hog wash.

War is a dirty game but it was the duty of the Sri Lankan State to fight it on behalf of the other nineteen million who are held hostage. Reading the past history of other nations it is Sri Lanka alone which prosecuted it in the most humanitarian way. We never initiated a My lai, Dresden, Hiroshima or Nagasaki: no cluster bombing, no personal mines or chemical sprays. But super powers who did all that are the ones who are hectoring and lecturing. Being powerful is an advantage and that is where justice lies in the world of politics. According to the Greek philosopher Thrasymarchus justice is always on the side of the mighty and even Socrates could not rebut.

I am hoping that the intelligentsia of the Tamil community will lead the people to join the national agenda. What better way to declare to the world that we have no separatist tendencies. We will fight for injustice through the democratic means. If the issues are mainly class related there is no better way than to be united beyond ethnic lines in the struggle to fight injustice.

The Sinhalese are exhorted to win the hearts and minds of the Tamils but then there must be reciprocity for a happy union. Is it reasonable to believe that there is still a fair degree of suspicion that violence against the majority is lurking in the distance given the large quantity of weapons smuggled in to annihilate the “ƒ”¹…”other’ Sri Lankans. The Tamils have to speak out to quell these uncertainties. We need to speak the truth. The President in his extreme generosity has invited the Northerners to participate in the Presidential poll for the first time in thirty odd years. Participation I believe must be sincere. Sincerity is lost if you go back to the ethno nationalist agenda. There will never be homelands, no North East mergers, no special privileges and may be no easy way to seek refugee status. None can have it both ways. All Sri Lankans should be under the same laws and structures. We are not interested in divide and rule policies anymore. Let us be Sri Lankans first before being Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim etc.

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