The nation waits for closure
Posted on May 5th, 2013

Nimal Fernando

  The nation waits for closure. Stepping back … and looking at the larger picture, it could be argued that this has been some decades in coming …. It could be argued, also, that Sri Lanka is closer than ever before, at this moment in time, to this long-elusive goal.

History tells us that such ‘moments in time’ for so many nations around the world, have not lasted long. Which is why time is of the essence for Sri Lanka to finally put the ethnic issue behind it. Doing so will decidedly demand an end to false starts and half-measures; appeasements and political expediency; tolerance of extremists anywhere; and shameful winks and nods to foreign interests.

It is easy to imagine that many Sri Lankan hearts — not Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Burgher or other hearts –but Sri Lankan hearts, must necessarily sink every time that larger picture is looked at. Because, among so many other elements, what it shows is how some well-meaning prime ministers and presidents tried half-hearted experiments; kept searching for misplaced political will; let themselves be held hostage by chauvinist elements.

In the final analysis, the only reckoner is political will. And fortunately for Sri Lanka, that same political will that others lacked, seems to be in ample supply among the Brothers Rajapaksa — especially the president and the defence secretary.

A report in Lankaweb bears ample testimony to this. A part of this report went thus:  [A foreign correspondent, who interviewed Gotabhaya very aggressively today, asked him why Sinhalese are settling down in predominantly Tamil areas, to which Gotabhaya reacted very appropriately and told him that any citizen can buy property and settle down anywhere in the country he wants. He then pointed out to him that many years ago, there were no Tamils in the Hambantota area but now there are. So why cannot there be Sinhalese in the North, to which the correspondent had no answer.

 MR has said officially that the LTTE, which failed to achieve its goal militarily, is now trying to achieve the same goal through different means. The fact that MR has realized that is in itself an assurance to the majority Sinhalese that constitute 75% of the nation. On the question of national security and respect for sovereignty, both MR and Gota have scored very heavy points. Now couple that with what MR had to say through his secretary about the part that India played in her conspiracy against Sri Lanka at a recentbook-launching ceremony. The result has been that we have received no more insults from India and they have stopped ordering us to take the initial step that will lead to the partitioning of the country. The government has scored heavily on these points.]

It is abundantly clear that the path to an enduring solution, to lasting peace and sustained development, lies in inclusion, not in any measure that sets the minority apart as the ‘other’. Such inclusion also demands that in being part of the mainstream — while being able to celebrate their ethnicity, language and traditions — Sri Lankan Tamils are never made to feel like the ‘other’. That a level playing field delivers equal opportunity; security, rights, an open market and everything else a citizen is guaranteed under the Constitution.

That is the ideal social setting in which the majority too, will not feel that its rights have been compromised in  addressing any ‘grievances’ of the minority. Let’s get serious here: since we’re talking about the will of the majority in a democracy, surely all those democrats out there, particularly in ‘influencial’ parts of the planet, will not deny Sri Lanka’s majority its demand for the preservation of the nation’s territorial integrity and freedom of choice in all aspects of life, again, under a democratic Constitution?

In such a situation of normalcy, it is hard to visualize fertile ground for the sustenance of extremist elements anywhere.Getting there in the near-term calls for a national chorus of Sri Lankan voices — from village-level organisations and faith-based groups, to trade unions and focus groups representative of the intelligentsia — urging this government to do what needs to be done.

As Sri Lankans across the board have made clear, particularly in recent years: this nation will never tolerate orders or intimidation by India or any other nation that fancies itself in a position to do so; certainly not in a setting of new global realities.
This nation is eminently capable of  solving its internal issues to the satisfaction of all its people. And for the benefit of any simple minds that cannot still get it, all includes the majority Sinhalese …

The nation waits for closure.

3 Responses to “The nation waits for closure”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Nimal has put it VERY diplomatically. May be TOO DIPLOMATICALLY for many to understand.

    In more understandable terms, the lasting solution is to REDUCE the Tamil majority of the northern province into a MINORITY.

    It will NEVER happen automatically as TNA VOTERS don’t allow Sinhalese to live in the north.
    GOVT. MUST do something.

  2. Christie Says:

    Majority manipulated by a minority with the assistance of major power next door.

  3. jayasiri Says:

    Dear Mr. Nihal Fernando…………Agree with you fully. Canada had a never ending problem with the french minority, and finally with the introduction of Clarity Act by the then Liberal Govt., it fizzeled away.

    Now none talks about seperation or other form of independence in Canada, as evrybody is working hard to better themselves by getting good jobs, and focussing mainly on the Economy.

    We in Sri Lanka should as the writer says find closure, this never ending talk about seperation, special treatment because of their ethinicity, language or culture, is never going to work, when the majority race number more than 75%.

    Minority rights & concessions were granted enough, let us look after the majority, how they live, how they manage their lives without much conflict, demands or harrasment of the central govt. It is time to look after the majority BUT not at the expense of others.

    Our prime concern is the economy as in the USA, EU & few other countries in the world. If our efforts are fociussed on goals, to achieve them collectively without always wasting our valuable time on race, religion, culture, we could have achieved countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam & other South East Asians have reached.

    It is time look for closure as the comments made by two other gentlemen also stated. From reports it is not at all sufficient to highlight few exports we make without much effort, we all should aim for higher volumes of exports. It has gone down by 10.7% it seems.

    Now it is more than ever, to find closure & start exporting, impproving the manufacturing sector, as well.

    Just adding my views as an expat from Canada……….Thank you all……~ J

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