Repeating the Boycott of Presidential Election Once Again
Posted on December 30th, 2009

By Dr D.  Chandraratna, Western Australia.

Once again that ghost of separatism is raising its ugly head. A number of Tamil organisations spurred on by the Diaspora are appealing to the Tamil voters to boycott Presidential elections. The LTTE used the same tactic to forcibly drive a wedge between the Tamil electorate and the rest. The Tamil people will lose a golden opportunity to join in the national agenda because pining for a separate state is like pining for the moon by the proverbial little boy. All that is pointless, unproductive and wasteful.

Has the LTTE lost everything, the game, set and match? A writer asked this question in February 2009, prior to the rout of the LTTE.  May be not the match he answered, because common sense rid of all the academic hyperbole the Tamil question to the ultra separatists is one thing and one thing only and that is an autonomous state. All know that this is presented in many pretentious garbs. When it is defrocked the one thing that remains nakedly clear to all and sundry is the driving desire for an autonomous land that the Tamils can claim to be their own state. Many will concede that behind all the garbage thrown at Sri Lanka the one thing that remains clear is their incandescent desire for a state that they can call Ealam. They can never be happy with any other constitutional dispensation. None should be deluded into thinking that the 13 th plus, devolution, more democracy, self governing Tamil areas, even Federalism is going to satisfy this group of ethno nationalist Tamils. If you can step into the shoes of a Tamils living either in India or Toronto this is the mind set.

But while sympathising with that dream as Sri Lankans we are unable to assist hard core separatist Tamils in their cause. The reasons are obvious and these have been adumbrated in million words by many over the years. To carve out a State in Sri Lanka is never ever possible because there is neither a political, historical, or geographical rationale for doing so. No argument proffered by any pro Tamil idealist or the fabrications weaved out by the Diaspora is ever a feasibility. The country is made up of many ethnic groups who need the totality of that land mass to live in peace and separating one third of the country for some mythical homeland for a tiny fraction of the population living elsewhere is lunacy and should never be considered an option. Reading between the lines of even the so called Tamil moderates what is still inferred by them is that there is no solution to the Tamil issue anything less than a separate state. It is about time that all ethnic groups resign to the fact that there will be no such possibility in that country ever again. This war of thirty years was an eye opener to the rulers of that country. The lesson told to the Sri Lankan state is that if you allow a terror movement to simmer and fester the result is a blood bath. So in the future even that rustling of dead wood must be seen as a critical incident worthy of an inspection. The post mortems that Tamils are conducting of the defeat of the LTTE must be discarded to the dustbin of history.

Whether LTTE would have succeeded if they did not assassinate Gandhi, did not assassinate their own leaders, did not drive the Muslims out of North East, did not estrange India, they ask. The answer is perhaps yes. But all that is history because Sri Lanka will not allow that situation to occur again. Their plan was to enlist the international community along with India to carve out a state. The shortest possible essay one can write of the Tamil issue can be encapsulated in one sentence and that is the desire for an autonomous state. Other grievances are pure window dressing. If the Tamils are oppressed and alienated so are many others. That is the reality of scarce resources which can be abated with economic development attendant on peace. Allow the economy to grow; much of that alienation and discrimination will fly out of the window. Give that country a chance without whinging and asking for handouts all your life. The solution is not separatism because it is a pathway to oppress the rest of the country for ever. The nanny state in Sri Lanka has stifled initiative and enterprise in all Sri Lankans.

The politics of the country since Independence has been fought on ethnic agendas. Both the Sinhalese and the Tamils were driven by a sense of victimisation. Righting the wrongs of colonialism, levelling the opportunity structures for upward mobility created enmity. That these issues could have been handled differently there is no argument. But there is no reason to cry alienation and discrimination now because if there are any issues the way is all open for debate negotiation and resolution. To keep crying out but then opting out at the elections without telling the world what these are is nonsense. Is it language, education, jobs or what? You must spit it out. There is no liberation struggle as such on these matters unless the aspiration is to fractionate the country. To say that there is no national unification or a democratic revolution possible in the country is utter nonsense except for those who still long for that dreamland as an article of faith. Yes all must come together, do not please pass the buck to the Sinhalese and the Muslims only. The Tamils also must reconcile with those communities they brutalised in the past thirty years mostly by the deft silence when they were decimated.

We are in a new era. Ethnic agenda is old hack. It is citizenship and that is no prerogative of one community. We all share similar claims on the state. Mr Rajapakse has shown the way to live in peace. If you do not harbour the possibility of further violence in the future the Tamils must join mainstream politics. To bandwagon the ethnic torch is of no value. It is only a pathway to set the country ablaze. I am sure the ethnic factor is bound to die a well deserved death on the 26 th of January. Those who want the nature of Sri Lankan state to dramatically change will dissipate in time with the next wave of economic development in the country. Mr Sarath Fonseka has not the political acumen to lead the country. The choice before people is abundantly clear. To forge the country to a point where this spectre of separatism will be exorcised from the mentality of all Sri Lankans we need a man with resolve and determination. The incumbent President Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse has amply demonstrated that capability over the last three and a half years. The conspiracy of the Tamil Diaspora has to be quelled and MR will do it for sure. The conspiratorial minds will forbid Tamils to join the mainstream by calling national elections as the phoney strategy. The right thinking Tamils should not betray the so called National liberation struggle which will once again paint them to a corner.

2 Responses to “Repeating the Boycott of Presidential Election Once Again”

  1. Jan Chandra Says:

    The writer is absolutely right. We are yet to know what discriminations are there in Sri Lanka against the Tamils. We have a democratically elected government with franchise awarded to everyone over 18 years of age. We have a legal framework that ensures access to justice to every citizen in the country. There is absolute freedom for everyone to follow one’s religion although some of the practices are abhorrent to the Sinhalese Buddhists. There is universal access to free education and health. Our welfare state in fact is one of the best in the world. Therefore I am at a loss to figure out what discrimination there is for the Tamils?
    As the writer says this is a facade to cover up the real issue of having a separate state. Tamils have formed minority groups all over the world and they hoped they could achieve their separate state in other parts of the world such as in Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore etc., which they knew they would never succeed. They however took advantage of the Buddhist Sri Lankan environment to organize their mission in which they almost succeeded.
    Now their aspirations were thwarted they are still persisting with this obsession which would/should never come to pass in Sri Lanka. If it did, it would only end up like another Palestine. It is heartening to note however the younger generation, the Jaffna University students appear to have seen through the veil and have made assertions to encourage the true Sri Lankan Tamils who live and breathed the frustrations of terrorism to assimilate with the main stream society and its politics. If being a minority is the discrimination Tamils are bugged about they should do what the minorities generally do in other communities, i.e. to assimilate and join in with the main stream. If they follow this path I am sure the vengeance and obsessions of the armchair Tamil Sri Lankans living abroad would/should be what it is – only an armchair dream.

  2. jackaroo Says:

    Tamils live in Sri Lanka will realize sooner or later or have been realized that only peace and harmony will bring the
    country to prosperity and not these differences among the communities.
    The people who do not recognize this truth is the Tamil diaspora.They live in the developed countries in Europe USA and Australia,where there is more opportunity for jobs and good living standards.Still in those countries you find differences in the society. You will find that that though you live there you are not accepted as equal .Do not sit with you in the metro or in the train,where there in Sri Lanka Sinhalese and Tamils are eat together drink together travel together.
    This is the best country in the world. You have every thing in your finger tip close .History culture, heritage Landscape.Beautiful beaches.The development in North and East and Humbanthota is unbelievable .Some one live in USA told me the roads are better than in USA.

    Do not boycott the Presidential election.
    Let the president bring the country to the best in the region.By waisting your time and your money you are fast loosing your life,age and the potential.Don’t be stupid to give your labor to capitalists.They want to create endless conflicts among us to keep you there forever.Majority of you are doing the so called the odd jobs that their people doesn’t want to do ,except the few intellectuals to shaw they are genuine human right respecting nations.Be enlightened. Come to Sri Lanka buy the vast land in East, Hambantota,where ever you like.Invest in business.Otherwise it will be too late.I bet if any body comes to Sri lanka with a noble feeling of doing a business ,will not regret for his decision.There are endless opportunities.With the money and the knowledge you earned there you have greatest
    Do not act as what Westerners wants to do . Divide and rule is over.

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