Life before and after April 8
Posted on April 13th, 2010

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The results of April 8 parliamentary election is a defining moment that clears and settles most of the controversies, doubts and speculation that clouded the pre-poll political landscape. Even though the final count of the April 8 parliamentary elections is yet to be completed the known results are sufficient to give the broad outline of the shape of things to come. It defines very clearly the power relations between the political forces competing for dominance. It reveals unambiguously who’s in and who’s out. Above all it has blown to bits the myths propagandized by national and international agents/pundits who had misread the national forces that had asserted their rightful place in the political agenda. 

Of course, after the preceding victories and defeats at the provincial and presidential elections foreshadowed the results of April 8, and after the collapse of the opposition’s make-shift coalition for the presidential election it wasn’t difficult for the analysts and the average voter to predict the outcome. There wasn’t a responsible single news cast or analysis from abroad or at home that failed to forecast a victory for the ruling UPFA. They were also agreed that this election was the dullest known in living memory. All the fire that crackles and lights up the political issues had got burnt out in the presidential election. That was the make-or-break contest. Anything after that was bound to be as exciting as the disintegrating ashes left over from a huge conflagration.

Besides, the presidential election had all the dramatic elements of two comrades-in-arms breaking up immediately after victory and returning to the political arenas as bitter combatants. The contest between the General and his Commander-in-Chief is the kind of drama that grabs the imagination of the public. It was heightened by the fact that the entire opposition “”…” from the north to the south “”…” ganged up against the incumbent president with the sole aim of regime change. Even the anti-national Western forces covertly and overtly joined hands with the opposition hoping to turn the tide of history sweeping the nation.

There was so much at stake in the presidential election that it kept the nation gasping for breath until the last moment. At the core of it was the central issue of whether the nation was going to consolidate and move on to build a new future on the gains achieved in the 33-year-old war or whether we were going to put the clock back to the point where the war began on May 14, 1976 when the north declared war on the rest in the Vadukoddai Resolution. Of course, the definitive story of the war that began in Vadukoddai on May 14, 1976 and ended on May 18, 2009 in Nandthikadal is yet to be written. There are many, many stories yet to be revealed before anyone could sit down and put them all together. But whoever sits down to do it in the years to come will find one single thread running through it all: every event in between had contributed substantially to define the essence of our shared history leading us to our common destiny inside a common territory.

Is as if history has taken us by our hands and walked the walk to reveal who we are, what we are capable of and what our role has been and should be in the years to come. The parliamentary election just concluded is the last episode of the biggest drama this generation had ever seen. Though the winding, twisting passage of time was harrowing and agonizing we, in a sense, are fortunate to have lived through it and experienced the stuff that goes to make epic history. Generations to come will dissect, discuss and even marvel as to we how we endured and came through it all.

One thing is certain: the doomsayers will be at the bottom of dustbin of history. Their negative theories, analyses, predictions and politics will be derided as futile products of febrile and warped minds. History belongs to those who make things happens. Those who say “Yes, we can” have a better chance of survival in the pages of history than those who say “No, we can’t”. The captains who said “Yes, we can” as they navigated through stormy seas and brought the ship to a safe haven deserve our gratitude and plaudits than the captains who said “No, we can’t” and let the ship drift until it crashed against the rocks and sank to the bottom.

The last shot of the bullets and ballots that raged in the preceding 33-years was fired on April 8. The nation was exhausted. The reluctance to face any kind of battle was shown in the poor turn out at the polls. It was time to say enough is enough and the people said so in no uncertain terms. Nearly fifty per cent of the nation stayed at home. It was just not a case of election fatigue. It was exhaustion from battling for 33 years. Even the electoral gladiators at the arena had no fire in their bellies. They had nothing new to offer. All that had to be said and done had been said and done. There was nothing new under sun for the voters to get excited.

Besides, they knew who was going to win and who was going to lose. So they let things happen the way it was going to happen without worrying about the outcome which they knew beforehand. More than indifference there was a sense of contentment knowing that the worst is over. They know that what was impossible yesterday is possible today. It was, for instance, impossible to go to Madhu and Nagadepa yesterday. But it is possible today.

In, short, we are back to where we were before the self-destructive and counter-productive violence began. April 8 then marks the birth of a new era where we return to that phase of history which promises us a way out of our grim and bloody past. The very thought of us moving into a no-war zone, granting positive assurances of peace in the foreseeable future, is exhilarating. We have, of course, a lot of work to do as we take our first steps more confidently, into the future. We have miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go before we sleep. But the good news is that we can look forward to a better future knowing that we, our families, our friends, workmates et al will not be forced to relive the nightmares of the past.

No, never again. Never again. Never to raise its ruthless and brutal head again.    

2 Responses to “Life before and after April 8”

  1. cassandra Says:

    I read this wide ranging article with interest. I have some difficulty, however, to accept that every event in between the Vadukoddai Resolution and the defeat of the LTTE “had contributed substantially to define the essence of our shared history leading us to our common destiny inside a common territory.” Surely, the “essence of our shared history” was not something we were unaware of. Did we really need these traumatic events to define it for us?

    The writer does not consider “election fatigue” as a reason for the low voter turnout at the recent elections. Interestingly, he attributes it rather to “exhaustion from battling for 33 years”. But how come, one might ask, this was not a factor during the Presidential poll – and that happened less than three months ago.

    The writer has also noted that “They (the parties) had nothing new to offer. All that had to be said and done had been said and done. There was nothing new under sun for the voters to get excited.” Surely, this is not the first election where this has happened.

    Is it not more likely that the electorate has become as cynical of politicians as they have been of the people? Is it not more likely that those who stayed away from voting did so because the electoral system has been manipulated and corrupted in such manner and to such degree that they no longer have faith in it? As for feeling “a sense of contentment knowing that the worst is over”, the point seems valid if we are only talking of the war. I cannot imagine for a moment that such feelings extend to how the public views elections or the prevailing political process.

  2. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Vaddukoddai resolution was not the HOME grown idea but it was parachutted from London, England. Later Anton Stanislaus(Balasingam), former employee of British High Commission in Colombo and former employee of MI5, became the idealogue of LTTE.

    All the democratic, left and other patriotic forces among Tamils were systematically destroyed by LTTE. The agents of UK/USA, specially the Catholic/Chirsitian Churches joined hands with LTTE.

    In the Sinhala side LTTE was given all kinds of assistance directly and indirectly. For example, the informants among Tamils were simply killed brutally by LTTE. How did LTTE find the informants names or Tamil Policemen who investigated LTTE?

    LTTE got a new life from UNP when it was at a point of demise at the hands of IPKF. Later Ranil carved out an area to LTTE. Ranil became the leader of UNP. How? LTTE killed all the senior politicians in the UNP. LTTE never tried to kill Ranil but LTTE tried to kill Douglas Devanada 11 times. Because Devananda was marked by the same “foreign” forces as an enemy. Remember two CIA agents were identified and arrested by the same Devananda when he was a militant in EPRLF which was propagating SOCIALIST solutions to the conflicts.

    EELAM was an agenda propelled by the “FOREINERS” to re-colonise Sri lanka and it was not merely a Sinhala-Tamil conflict!

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