Commissioner Pillai: Separate the chaff from the wheat!
Posted on August 26th, 2013

By Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

Let us hope that the visiting UN Commissioner Navinathan Pillai would not get inundated with the rabble and the self-serving!  Dr. Pillai please see for yourself that Sri Lanka can assertively claim a commonality of interests prevailing among all communities as a conduit for healthy give-and take after centuries of living together side by side in thick and thin.  No one would relinquish their stake-hold on a platter. Neither would they want interference in their right to adjudicate their internal affairs. 

Please inhale a good doze of prevalent ambiance and not get bogged down in the rhetoric. The notion that an incurable conflict proneness or feeling of being besieged do not dominate the conversion among most of Sri Lanka’s diverse ethno-religious-groups.  You would soon know that Northern PC elections are in full swing.  

It would indeed be more productive to interpret specific issues to find solutions rather than endlessly debating abstract generalities. The Rajapaksa government at the Centre may or may not respond with open arms to a TNA government in the North. She should however, not dwell on the erroneous assumption that “Ethno-religious affinity” within each group ‘is driven by primeval bonding among the kith and kin sharing a common history, culture etc.that habitually leads to conflict. 

The policy preference of each group-Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim as regards food, clothing and shelter””‚or basic needs, right to work, assemble and free speech remain the same–minor differences apart.  There is an intense rivalry among the political parties vying to gain ascendance. Some call it a fractured political landscape.  This is found in many places in the world””‚the US in particular has a divided government. 

Sense of unity 

Certain unifying urges cut across the ethno-religious divide periodically turning into stressful episodes. These are found in most countries and should not be taken as the delineating norm. Neither are linguistic differences and geographical boundaries the defining pattern like in the past. Those transacting business with the government today are finding things at a fairly efficient level.  Shortcomings prevail her and there.  Overall, it is smoother operation today””‚the best in many years. 

Sri Lankans now enjoy accessibility as regards fundamental governance at a secure level””‚education, healthcare, electricity, water and transportation amenities have widened exponentially during the last decade. Poverty levels have been sliced down sharply while per capita income of the country had put Sri Lanka into the middle income group category and things are on an upward spiral. 

No second class citizens

The development agenda while being intense is on over-drive””‚the outlays poured into transportation infra-structure, for example, has covered virtually every province of Sri Lanka.  Development is inclusive.  Equal opportunity is within the grasp of most with the drive towards success.  I saw this trend in the Jaffna district during my visit there.  The notion of being a second class citizen i quite obscure.

The cultural effervescence with a bubbly music, drama and fine arts sectors are emerging quite fast.  Talk shows and drama series keep the nation at the edge of the seats many a night as TV programs broadcast them on multiple channels. Media competition for ratings and readership are at an unprecedented level.  The access to internet, cell phone and the like have reached peaks levels.

The resurgence of North and East

Most importantly, the Commissioner should be able to gauge the potent ideology of coming together of those with different ethno-religious affinities now gaining ground.  The performance of the Sri Lanka state has been notably praise-worthy for keeping the solidifying fiber of society in tact amidst some disturbances springing up from time to time.  In most instances, the culprits were disgruntled folks bent on making mischief during run-of-the-mill grievance protests.  

The problem solving aptitude of the President has received all-round recognition.  One harsh critic reluctantly agreed that “we have a Teflon President””‚people never point the finger at him even when he make mistakes.” The ultimate success of unity rally would depend on the capability and dedication of the commandant.  The country seemed assured of that.

At the end of the day, it is important how the UN Commissioner views these things and what memories she takes away. 

The oft quoted sources of discontent in any country relates to a variety of factors such as denial of cultural identity, political discrimination, repression, or economic deprivation.  It could be stated with a great deal of certainty that Sri Lankan leaders have shown great sensitivity towards resolving any form of discontent mentioned above. The dismal failure of the militaristic approach to conflict resolution are etched well in their collective memories.

An effort to build a viable administrative platform in the North is on.  It may be embryonic but relates to reconstruction and rehabilitation. There is an urgency to avoid confrontational politics as regards the military governor and the presence of the army. There is a readiness to empathetically and resolutely mediate between the needs of the people in the North and the political powers in Colombo. Commissioner, the ball is in your court!

4 Responses to “Commissioner Pillai: Separate the chaff from the wheat!”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SHE HAS TO APPEASE THE TAMIL TERRORISTS DIASPORA, SO SHE WILL SAY SOMETHING NICE FIRST, AND NEGATE THAT WITH A THUNDERING TOKKA, TO DEAR SRI LANKA. MARK MY WORDS , PLEASE.

    GOVERNMENT IS HAPPY, TAMIL TERRORISTS DIASPORA IS HAPPY, AND SHE CONTINUES TO GET HER LOADED REMUNERATION. SHE IS ALSO HAPPY. THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF POLITICAL CIRCLING.

  2. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Tamils have a legitimate claim on the grounds of their ancient kingdoms existed, accordinng to them.
    Only problem for all the rest of the people in the country and the whole world is, we can’t see
    any evidence. There is no Anuradhapuras, no Polonnaruwas. What happened to those buildings then.
    Maybe they were very very bad builders all those years ago.

    Only thing any sensible person can deduce from this is, they were mythical kingdoms. They exist only in books and
    internet only. So admit there were no such things.
    You all can live in other peoples countries very happily without asking for a piece of it. Norway, Germany,
    UK, etc. etc. Why in Sri Lanka? We have given you free education, free medication to make you doctors, engineers,
    lawyers, etc. etc. IT WAS ALL FREE. Even the US, the richest couuntry on the planet, won’t give those free.
    So be grateful to the country which has given you so much. Don’t be traitors. Where is your conscience?

  3. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    PILLAY HAS SAID THAT POLICE SHOULD BE UNDER THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE. AH HAAA, SO THE PRESIDENT HAS BREACHED THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF RAUF HAKEEM EH ? IAM OF VIEW THAT SHE IS NOT MANDATED TO FIDDLE WITH INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF THE STATE, AND PRESIDENTS DECISIONS. SO WHICH UN ARM IS GOING TO TELL HER WHERE SHE WENT WRONG, AND THAT IT DOES NOT COME UNDER HUMAN RIGHTS.

    May be she went over board to reciprocate Raufs kapaty smile with a bonus.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Guess what! Endian child Dayan J has BEGGED NP to set up a permanant UNHRC field offfice in SL.

    What a bloody traitor we have!!

    If this piece of dirt has a long life, the lives of ALL SLs will be MISERABLE.

    We can fight off external enemies but HOW can we fight INTERNAL ENEMIES like this one?

    I can think of ways but if I say them I will be banned from commenting. My ONLY concern is UNITARY SL which must be protected AT ANY COST.

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