“Sampanthan slams President”
Posted on May 4th, 2012

 Asada M Erpini

“Sampanthan slams President for silence over arrests in East” went the caption of a news item on Island on 02 May. It accompanied the now familiar photo of the TNA leader, with the trademark pointed finger, that few would say makes the subject an endearing character to those who come across it.

Then, there was the Opposition Leader waxing eloquent on the “Lion Flag waving” that the TNA leader is reported to have done at the joint UNP-TNA May Day rally in Jaffna. If the Opposition Leader is capable of having a change of heart in Sampanthan and get him to act, first and foremost, as a Sri Lankan and not as a proxy of the separatist LTTE or as the mouthpiece of the LTTE rump based in the affluent countries, there will be millions of genuine Sri Lankans who will clamour to carry the Opposition Leader on their shoulders and help him to stop adding to his unenviable record of being the “party leader who has lost the highest number of elections”.

As His Excellency Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse has rightly pointed out in his May Day Rally announcement, neither the TNA Leader nor the Opposition Leader would have been able to move about freely in the North and hold any public meeting if not for the stupendous achievement of the armed forces of Sri Lanka. They should both be thankful to the President of Sri Lanka for his determination and the steadfastness that he displayed in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and for giving back to the country the peace and normalcy that were hijacked by a band of terrorists.

As  the Opposition Leader has displayed that he is a capable person – by getting the TNA Leader to wave the Lion Flag – he should move a step further and implore, coax, advise or force the latter to sincerely feel and act as a true Sri Lankan. Whatever that the TNA leader had been doing up to this point has been detrimental to the Sri Lankan nation as a whole. After all, Sampanthan got elected to Parliament as a member of ITAK, which stands for a Tamil nation, and the readers are yet to hear that he is ready to dissociate himself from the policies and aspirations of the LTTE.

Yes, Sampanthan has told the Indian Parliamentary delegation, as reported in the media on 30 April, that he was not in favour of the “Separation of Sri Lanka”. What exactly does he mean by separation? Separation from what, one may ask? And, separation is not the same as division or partition. Is he, through sleight of hand, saying that Sri Lanka, or at least a part of Sri Lanka, should not be separate from Tamil Nadu?

A point that the Opposition Leader may remind Sampanthan during his pow wows with his comrade in arms is that Sri Lanka is one of the few countries, among those at the receiving end of never-ending bashings and admonitions by the clean-as-a-whistle West on alleged human rights violations, that allows a citizen to slam the Head of State and carry on with the slanders and fabrications: if he were in some countries in South East Asia, the Far East or the Middle East, the use of derogatory statements or lies about the ruler would have been a prompt entry ticket to him for a sojourn in jail.

Until and unless Sampanthan shows that he is a genuine member of the community of Sri Lankans, most other Sri Lankans may hold the view that in his mind what he did on May Day may have been merely waving a stick that had a piece of cloth carrying the stylised image of an animal. Now that the Opposition Leader has been able to “”…” at least according to his own claims “”…” incur a change of attitude in the TNA leader, he should move post haste not to let the former interpretation take root in the hearts of true Sri Lankans.

 

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