Waiting for the final move by Sri Lanka’s Man with the Plan
Posted on July 11th, 2012

Nimal Fernando

July 10  —  What some in Sri Lanka and in many parts of the world see as a sluggish pace, or even irresolute meandering, to the crafting of a lasting solution to the ethnic problem, could also, more positively, be accepted as a careful, clinical approach to the most critical national issue …

As the debate continues — as it must — and respected, well-meaning Sri Lankans of all ethnicities air their views on Lankaweb and many other vital forums, it is pertinent to ask whether there is enough information on all aspects of the issue available both domestically and globally …

 Sri Lankans and all other interested parties worldwide are now familiar with Tamil calims to ‘historical homelands’; charges of marginalisation and discrimination by the majority community; lack of dignity; even threats to life and liberty.

 Let us agree upfront that this administration, especially, has done much to belie the doctored history, creative geography and false propaganda of a minority within a minority still clinging to a dream of separatism.

 As both in the recent and distant past, they will continue to have their sympathisers/backers/financiers in some parts of the world — all with their own agendas, some of which have to do with geopolitics; others with personal gain and even religious hegemony.

 So let’s have a detailed report — assuming one such does not exist — that is freely available, on the ground reality, which covers all the supposed  ‘grievances’ — jobs, land, freedom of movement, habitation, business opportunity, social mobility et al …

 But let such a report also focus not only on how the minority Tamils fare in regard to all these factors, but all communities, including the majority Sinhalese.

 Let’s take poverty. What’s the percentage of Tamils, Moors, Burghers, other minorities and Sinhalese living below the poverty line, in relation to their numbers in the total population? Apply the same yardstick in terms of employment; property; entrepreneurship; positions of authority in the public service/private sector; foreign service; political representation right down to the district and local government levels.

 Let the same report also explain the hows and  whys of the undue influence of minority forces in national life, such as the Tamil community and the Church.

 Such an exercise could indeed be money well spent on presenting the complete picture, as they say, not only to the country at large but also to foreigners of the meddling kind both close (very close!) to home and  others oceans away on an ‘old’ continent holding on for dear life to a  once-exalted, now fast-disappearing position of influence in a realigned world.

 Come to think of it, perhaps one of those well-funded, above-board (are there any?) NGOs could undertake this worthy exercise as a service to all concerned.

 So, coming back to the careful but slow approach to finding a lasting solution: it is such a demanding task that it is something that can only be entrusted to a Man with the Plan …

 Not just any man but one looking far into the future — many generations from now — when all this anguish will be a history lesson to an enlightened, united Sri Lankan populace that will be wont to ask what the fuss was all about! 

 Arguably, apart from independents occupying the middle ground, even pragmatic, national-minded Sri Lankans of all political persuations might agree that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is displaying, by his unhurried, if careful approach, that he is that Man with the Plan for all Sri Lankans.

 Some recent statements by the present administration must give heart to the overwhelming majority that insists on a unitary state: that there should be no ethnic enclaves in Sri Lanka; that all its people should be able to live wherever they choose; that there is simply no way that any kind of solution to the ethnic issue will ever be at the expense of the majority community.

 It is comforting to know that some of the above promises have been made by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, decidedly one of the gutsiest sons of the soil that Sri Lanka has seen in a great many generations.

 Surely this is the essence of democracy? And are those elected to office by the majority not expected to reflect the will of that majority? And stand firm against the outrageous demands of a minuscule sector in a minuscule minority?

 Since there is so much talk about marginalisation, let all forces of goodwill unite to marginalise the few who advocate separatism; those who, even as they raise their voices about discrimination, are really pushing back against an end to decades of privilege, especially in the public sector, courtesy of a colonial power aided and abetted by its missionary exports …

 It is pertinent to remember that, for only the second time in the nation’s history, President Mahinda Rajapaksa commands a two-thirds majority in parliament.

 It is equally pertinent to reflect on the fact that more than a few Sri Lankans across the board lament the ‘lost decade’ in terms of the ethnic issue during the first two-thirds majority of the J. R. Jayewardene presidency.[Following that heady victory, an elated President Jayewardene boasted that the only thing he couldn’t do with his power was change a man into a woman] History surely would have been so much kinder to him if he had displayed his legendary political acumen and much-publicised, no-nonsense leadership to heal the ethnic divide and solve the problem. Sigh ….

 This president’s political will, and leadership, however, are in ample evidence following his steady hand in overcoming LTTE terrorism.

 Now, with his overwhelming majority in parliament, it is not improbable to expect him to make the hard decisions that will see Sri Lanka put such devisive demands as police and land powers by a minority behind it to facilitate the functioning of a truly multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation in which its people live — and prosper — wherever they wish.

 A nation in which the rights of all its citizens will not just be guaranteed under the Constitution, but will be part of daily life … with equal opportunities for all.

2 Responses to “Waiting for the final move by Sri Lanka’s Man with the Plan”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    No power sharing with TNA!

    That is the bottomline.

  2. Ratanapala Says:

    Well said. Let the powers be decide to take a dispassionate look at the situation and find a solution that is acceptable to all peoples of all ethnicities and creeds. Tail wagging the the dog must end! There must be an end to this call of separatism based on non existing Tamil land in Sri Lanka. The stories concocted by the Racist Tamils must be debunked for good.

    The analysis paralysis must now come to an end. We are all educated enough to understand the forces at play and the agendas of the Christian Church, those of the Christian West as well as those of the Wahabbis! Indians must told in clear and concise terms that we cannot have solutions in Sri Lanka that will lead to a permanent state of war between ethnic enclaves and the rest of the country; and that Sri Lanka will do what is good for Sri Lanka and to make no mistake that our actions will be good for the whole of South Asia including the big stinking neighborhood – Tamil Nadu!

    The President has the golden opportunity which no other politician will have in foreseeable future to make a call on behalf of all Sri Lankans and tell the world that the solutions for the so called ethnic problems cannot be solved taking only the minorities into consideration. It must be done to the satisfaction of all Sri Lankans, especially the majority Sinhala Buddhist. I believe that he is already mindful of the situation and acting accordingly. It is the bounden duty of well meaning Sri Lankans to strengthen his hand and make us lead on the correct path.

    It is the historical land of the Sinhalese that is up for grabs. I am sure magnanimous Sinhalese are open to an just solution where all those who call themselves Sri Lankans can share equitably the commonwealth of Sri Lanka.

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