Secession and the TNA stand
Posted on November 15th, 2014

Chandre DharmawardanaOttawa, Canada

article_image

Writing to The Island Newspaper, 5-11- 2014, Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan has contested one of the issues that emerges from the article published by Prof. Gerald Peiries (Island, 24 October) . In effect, Nirmala C suggests that, given the assertions found  in the TNA Manifesto, and the public statements of the Hon. Mr. Sampanthan, the issue of the fear of a secessionist policy is no longer a concern. In fact, Nirmala C writes  “am not sure whether the writer is aware that the TNA leadership in general and the leader of the TNA in particular Mr. R. Sampanthan have in Parliament and outside, and in their Manifesto categorically stated that they are for a United Sri Lanka, and are not espousing a separate state.”

Prof. Gerald Peiries, Nirmala C, and I myself were students at the Cambridge University and knew each other closely, and we all respect the advantages we had then, and  have today after the Eelam wars, in being able to discuss these issues openly and  and as friends, even when we may hold somewhat differing political views regarding how to achieve a peaceful, “united Sri Lanka.”

As Poongakoothai Chandrahasan has noted in some of her film clips, the people in the south were immensely joyous  in May 2009  “because the war is over”, while those in the North were also overcome with relief, even if expressed in a more muted manner.

However, there rests  a vast bulwark of suspicion in the country, as well as a genuine fear of the possibility of a recrudescence of terrorism in the country.  This suspicion  drives a  set of  low-key  gestapo tactics allegedly orchestrated by the state.

So it is necessary for the TNA to take some explicit steps to allay these fears, instead of referring to its Manifesto. Even in the case of the TNA manifesto, an official English and Sinhalese translation should be available.  Is it  13A, 13A+, federation, confederation, ISGA, or Arasu? The average person is confused. Federalism versus Arasu  is a question that has plagued the ITAK since its foundation in 1949.  The Tamil language election presentations since the 1950s,  often written to reflect, e.g., Mr. Navaratnam’s more militant views, differed significantly  from those written in English, and many Tamil-language documents are said to have talked of Arasu in its true sense, even in 1952. This ambiguity still exists, perhaps in the minds of many people including those in the TNA.

What many people remember of the TNA is its unstinted support for the LTTE, as well as its refusal to categorically denounce the assassinations of people of the calibre of Amirthalingam, Kadirgamar  and others. Unlike, say,  Mr. Anandasangaree, the leaders of the TNA have not taken a clear stand on the terrorism of the LTTE.

In France, after the World War II, the Vichy government leaders  who  collaborated with the enemy were prosecuted. The present government has, instead, very rightly accepted the TNA into the mainstream of politics, probably in the hope that the TNA would assist it in the reconciliation effort. It went ahead with the Northern provincial-council elections in spite of  hard-liner attempts to prevent it. The conciliatory attitude of the government towards the TNA that collaborated with the LTTE  has been met with has not been appreciated.

A great step for confidence building would be for the TNA to clearly denounce the crimes committed by the LLTE – its assassinations, abductions of children etc., even when the TNA was the political mouthpiece of the LTTE.  The impression that many observes have is that the TNA continues to  recognize Prabhakaran as their “guiding spirit” and  Talaivar.  That is a serious road-block to confidence building.

Given that most nations had listed the LTTE as a terrorist organization, what is the moral difficulty that the TNA faces in distancing itself from Prabhakaran and his legacy?

The other issue that most Southerners cannot understand is the claim  that the North and the East , merged , form the “exclusive” homeland of the Tamils. Michael Roberts has given an excellent narration of  the rise of Tamil militant nationalism” and the homeland concept (South Asian Studies, Vol XXVII.  2004). Mr. G. G. Ponnambalam used to assert that the whole of Sri Lanka is the homeland of the Tamils. The latter, modified to mean that it is the homeland of all Ceylonese, was the position taken by D. S. Senanayake  (Hansard, 1945, Nov. 8). The TNA has to clarify its stand on this “exclusive” homeland issue as well, not just in legalistic jargon whichmeans nothing to the ordinary person, but in actions, by being inclusive in practice, rather than by being “exclusive”.

Chandre Dharmawardana

Ottawa, Canada

 

2 Responses to “Secession and the TNA stand”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    IF TNA does this, it will LOSE almost all the VOTES.

    The real problem is NOT the TNA. It is the VOTERS who consciously vote for TNA, Ponnambalam, ITAK, TULF, etc.

    e.g. If someone mistakes DENGI fever for FLU and gives the patient Panadol it worsens it. The ROOT CAUSE of this is in TNA VOTERS.

    Modi partially understood it and busted the MOST POPULAR and MOST POWERFUL (ever) Tamil leader. SL leaders cannot do it.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    The article states ““am not sure whether the writer is aware that the TNA leadership in general and the leader of the TNA in particular Mr. R. Sampanthan have in Parliament and outside, and in their Manifesto categorically stated that they are for a United Sri Lanka, and are not espousing a separate state.”

    The Tamil National Alliance will have to PUT THAT IN WRITING. THEY HAVE TO REMOVE ANY LANGUAGE IN THEIR MANIFESTO THAT SUPPORTS THE TAMIL TIGERS AND ELAM. IF THEY DO NOT DO THAT THEN THEIR WORDS ARE EMPTY. IN FACT THEIR WORDS ARE DANGEROUS FOR THEY ARE MEANT TO DECEIVE.

    THE TAMIL NATIONAL ALLIANCE HAS TO PROVE THEIR LOYALTY TO A UNITED SRI LANKA BECAUSE THEY HAVE PROVED THEIR LOYALTY IN THE PAST FOR THE CREATION OF ELAM AND THE DISMANTLING OF SRI LANKA. IT IS ON THEIR HEAD AND ONLY ON THEIR HEADS ALONE.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2018 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress