A Forum without commonsense
Posted on January 5th, 2013

C. Wijeyawickrema, LL.B., Ph.D.

                The group of “concerned citizens” called the Friday Forum has been in the habit of issuing statements on Sri Lankan issues.  Often these go against “commonsense.”  We sense the world with our five senses: see, hear, smell, touch and taste.  One without commonsense becomes one who is not reasonable. For example, Mr. Jayantha Danapala, now leading the Friday Forum was known for his PTOM and ISGA deals.  Even, Erik Solheim was surprised at what PTOM and ISGA were proposing to do! How can such a person write about 13-A, and suggest to exclude the operation of the Divineguma Bill from the Northern Province?  Another Forum leader, the Marxist Jayampathy Wicks was associated with the notorious Vitharana Majority Report of APRC, which suggested a plan to establish Tamil police station in each village in the South! Fortunately, this group meets in a Colombo house, drink coffee and brandy, and issue statements in English. Those mostly with a Eurocentric mind in Colombo read what they write and all are happy. The difference between them and the Tamil/Sinhala village is like the distance between the earth and the moon.

                I do not know how many in this forum was in the boat called “this war was not winnable.” I do not know how many of them know the basic principles or practices in Buddhism. All what projects out of their writings is that they try to hang on to anything they can save to create two countries out of Sri Lanka.  The Forum is like a TNA agency in Colombo. There are so many problems with the Mahinda R administration but the Forum should ask new questions, if its intention is to help the poor and victimized people of Sri Lanka and not the promotion of TNA agenda. If it is asking the same old question of how to derail the MR Administration, it will get answers like “ƒ”¹…”do not implement the Divineguma Bill in Jaffna.’

                To ask new and reasonable questions, one needs to have an understanding of the burning issues of the man in the street.  Forum members ought to know the difference between a Kamatha and a Kumbura.  They need to understand the history and geography of Sri Lanka and at least a little bit of global and regional geopolitics before making unrealistic and stupid-looking suggestions.  How many forum members travel by bus; how many live in house (not a fortress surrounded by a wall) away from the highly polluted and congested Colombo Area? Then only they will see, smell and hear the moral and social decay, indiscipline, poverty and suffering of people in the name of infrastructure development. I spent eight months in Sri Lanka recently, travelling and walking sometimes covering my nose and mouth to escape from bad smell and dust. Because of this experience in 2012, which I had to face to a lesser extent even in the 1970s, I tend to ask different questions and get different answers. For example:

  1. Did this Forum know that 13-A accepts a Tamil homeland in the NP and EP of Sri Lanka?
  2. Did this Forum know that the World Tamil Forum wants a Tamil country and the best prospects for this is now available under the 13-A?
  3. Did this Forum know that 13-A was based on the Government of India Act of 1935, which accepted communal representation in India sowing the germ for Pakistan?
  4. Did this Forum know that Nehru regretted very much his decision in 1956 to demarcate state boundaries based on language?
  5. Did this Forum know that 13-A type Eurocentric remedies never prevented break-up countries? (Scotland will be latest example).
  6. How can this Forum ignore truth that 13-A was not a democratically passed law?
  7. How can this Forum ignore the fact that Sri Lanka is a scrambled egg of ethnicity mix with no space for any homelands?
  8. How can this Forum ignore that the only real estate for the Sinhalese is Sri Lanka, unlike Tamils and Islamists?
  9. How can this Forum ignore that under the Neelan-GL package of the CBK days, Neelan did not want to accept Muslim or Sinhala pockets inside the combined N-E Tamil homeland? (in India this is called the Pondicherry model of devolution because inside Tamil Nadu there are independent units of former French  colonies; Neelan did not want a moth-eaten like homeland!).
  10. How can this Forum blind to the havoc caused by the PC system in the South?
  11. How can this Forum blind to the fact that only those who make money out of PCs are supporting it?
  12. How can this Forum blind to the fact that Sri Lanka is too small for nine jokers called Chief Ministers and mostly local caste-based idiot PC MPs?
  13. How can this Forum blind to the fact that a new set of PC politicians and public servants did not create efficiency but more corruption?
  14. How can this Forum blind to the fact 90% of the country’s present problems can be solved if people are empowered at the village level?
  15. What is this Forum’s answer to landslides, floods and drought in Sri Lanka?
  16. What is this Forum’s solution to crime and corruption in Sri Lanka?
  17. What is Forum’s approach to loss of integrity of all recent CJ’s and almost all politicians and public servants? (the perception is that from the president to the janitors, and from company bosses to security guards all are corrupt).

 If Forum members were concerned with the last three questions they would have come up with a different statement on how to modify the Divineguma Bill (DB).   Eurocentric (black-white?) politicians and officers ruined Sri Lanka since 1948 or 1960 or 1978. DB-type grand state projects did not work in the past with the state officer in the driver’s seat. Even state colonization schemes were not that successful where the officer decided things ignoring the farmer. R. Premadasa’s Gam Udava, ended up as ghosts of broken clock towers standing on haphazardly cleared abandoned remote land areas. He increased GSN units from 4,000 to 14,000 but GSN services went from bad to worse.

 Creating a 27,000 or 40,000 Divineguma officers is not going to solve poverty.  The purpose should be not the creation of officer-set with pension rights, but the empowerment of the villager. The Samurdhi program was not created to help a set of officers. Politicians become prisoners to striking Samurdhi officers because they are not genuine in their motives.  

Poverty is not just a money matter, poverty in morals, discipline and respect for others rights are all interconnected. At present a village (GSN unit?) has at least 5 full-time government officers. Divineguma will add one more bribe-prone officer to this list.  There must be a paradigm change in Ministerial political thinking. Ministers have proposals on these matters, but they ignore these proposals for selfish reasons.

 DB must be modified to empower people at GSN unit level. A body of 10 representatives selected on non-partisan basis at GSN-level must be empowered to decide local matters. Officers at all levels must be made responsible to this local body to implement local decisions.  This is what the Gami Diriya program is so successfully doing now. Why did DB ignore this model?  Politicians do not like to give up their grip over villagers.

 Another important change is to demarcate boundaries of admin units based on ecology. Thus GSN units need to be ecological units. If hydrology is the basis Sri Lanka will have GSN units that can ultimately connected with the large seven river basins in Sri Lanka. Thus Sri Lanka will have language-blind political units. If any member of the Forum wishes to know more about this kind of thinking, s/he can get it from the author archive of the Lankaweb Website under my name or e-mail cwije7@gmail.com.

One Response to “A Forum without commonsense”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    A bit distant but related topic.

    “[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 January 2013, 00:05 GMT]

    Jaffna born music phenom, Maya Arulpragasam (popularly known as MIA), called the “the most sexually provocative pop star of her age,” by the British Guardian, and who played a big role in raising the plight of Tamil refugees, again spoke out for the Tamil asylum seekers in Australia as she landed in the Gold Coast, near Brisbane Australia today to join The Chemical Brothers as one of the headline acts at the Summafieldayze music festival, reports from Australia said. “You know, it’s really difficult to work out the future of a minority group [Eezham Tamils] that is considered disposable (I agree BIG TIME.). Can you just let them in? It’s a big enough country….I don’t think it’s about isolating those people. It’s about embracing them because that’s the future,” MIA was quoted as saying in a local paper.”

    As a Jaffna born Tamil, I’m DISGUSTED about the way the Tamil Diarrhea is heading – total prostitution. Is this the Siva culture? This is a disgrace to Hindu figure Mathangi as prostitutionalising Tamil Siva culture will destroy the future of Elam Tamils.

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