Drafting a New Constitution
Posted on December 27th, 2014

Dr D.Chandraratna

 It is true that the existing constitution helped to fight terrorism without unnecessary factionalism rampant in the Westminster system of democracy but the general opinion is that more power has to be passed on to the parliament to open up the political dialogue in peacetime. Much of this noise about regime change may be with ulterior motives but nonetheless the country is better off with more checks and balances to ward off the terror caused by international hawks, peaceniks and the human rights NGO’s. They will find themselves without a job not having a single target like President Rajapaksa to attract their lucre. President Rajapaksa has offered the best possible opportunity for all and he deserves credit for proposing a workable plan for constitutional changes and not another hocus-pocus hodge- podge for the hoi polloi like the opposition.

 There have been numerous commissions, investigations, both local and foreign on the war crimes supposedly committed by warring parties to the Sri Lankan conflict. There are also those fronts which appear for human rights, like Amnesty, Human rights Watch and even the Geoffrey Robertson’s human rights team (See the cover page of his new book, An Inconvenient Genocide) who have built their anti Sri Lanka allegations on material submitted to them by parties with a stake in carving out separate state in Sri Lanka. Creating separate states in small states in the guise of self-determination claims is to wreak havoc in these nations where diverse people have lived together for years in reasonable harmony.  Division of countries mooted in far away places is the surest way to increase sales for the military industrial complexes in gun power producing countries and they will dearly love the thought of it. We do not need an Einstein like mind to tell that it will the beginning of a thousand-year war. It is known that multicultural and multilingual societies in poor countries can fray at a momentary lapse and through dialogue and vigilance they will continue to live together. Sri Lanka with its cultural richness has no record of mass killings about which it should be ashamed. 

 The time has come to put an end to this incessant propaganda that is sapping the energy of a developing nation. An open and frank dialogue between the communities can stop the surreptitious campaign conducted by the Tamil political parties at the behest of groups, which are resident in other countries.  The current debate about a new constitution for Sri Lanka is an ideal opportunity to lay the ghost of separatism to rest by all concerned. The legal solutions cannot be to create further structural fault lines in the body politic. A country, which treats all as equals in all fronts with no particular provision for different ethnic or religious groups or creeds, has to be the solution. Provisions to feather division of the body politic can only create further dissension. One law for everyone, and one country for all.  Any other method will only invite further trouble. There are a multitude of merchants who espouse the cause of other people in other lands while keeping their countries safe. I do not know whether we were naive to take all that rubbish coming out of the western press in the distant past to believe their word as the gospel truth or whether over the years the western press has taken a partisan role with the evolution of world politics. However there is one fact that cannot be ignored and that is the bogey of human rights claims and counter claims are mostly unfounded. Any semblance of truth has to be squeezed out from the critical mass. The name United Nations is mostly a sham when it comes to political matters. It may be believed when the subject matter is the Ebola or any other epidemic but the rest has to be sifted out well and truly. The other point is that the groups who sympathise with terror movements are adept at the clauses in the conventions, which they use to their maximum advantage.  That the Western countries are having a second look at legal aid provisions, NGO support networks, UN conventions is proof that they find it extremely cumbersome to deal with the terror movements they are facing today. Their laws are being tightened, welfare provisions are curtailed, and UN conventions given new interpretations because the activists are thriving on the human rights theatrics. The coaxing that is given to asylum seekers just to keep their jobs going is pitiful.

 For Sri Lanka lessons can be learnt from other countries of the world where legal structures are for everyone while allowances are made for cultural and religious relativities.  Checks and balances are easily available for just grievances. Equivocation on base sentiments like language, religion, caste and everything else to please the insolent pride of various communities or countries or the international community will only court disaster. The time of writing a new constitution is an opportunity, which must not be squandered away. The time period allowed for various groups to do their soul searching, historians to seek out facts, sociologists to find out causes and others to talk the truth without pulling punches may produce the catharsis that is necessary for the rapprochement between communities for a future peaceful nation. It is not a question of apportioning blame to past events because the goal is to look to the future. The nation must move forward and compromises for the purpose may be necessary from all sides. If apologies are in order they should be given candidly. That is the way to stop all these proxy wars that are conducted against Sri Lanka both by word and deed. Let those who occupy their time bashing Sri Lanka thinking that it is gainful employment in a western country seek meaningful work from now on.  

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