Problem in Sri Lanka is not a minority issue! It is the inability of the majority to assert themselves! Let the majority unite to make racist minority politics, history.
Posted on January 4th, 2015
Ratanapala – 4 Jan 2015
With the formation of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in 1951, the majority Sinhalese became a near non-entity in Sri Lankan politics. Sinhala polity got bifurcated and each half went of separate ways in a manner suicidal to each other. This provided and opened up untold vistas for the minorities to play divisive politics to the detriment of the Sri Lankan nation. Ever since that time the minorities have been the kingmakers, movers and shakers in Sri Lankan politics except for very brief periods of time. They were behind unequal demands for the asymmetrical dismemberment of Sri Lanka, which resulted in Bandaranaike _ Chelvanayagam, then Dudley – Chelvanayagam and later JR – Amirthalingam pacts that paved way to the Vadukkodai Declaration for war and the resulting 30 year war.
Their demands were for ethnically cleansed enclaves while more than 50% of their compatriots lived worked and made business in the rest of Sri Lanka. If Bandaranaike stayed with the UNP in a few short years he could have come to power and reformed the party from within and there would not have been a need to disempower the Sinhalese. (Remember JR who was a senior politician in the first UNP government had to wait till 1973 to take on the leadership of the UNP.) The current ills of Sri Lanka are a direct result of this catastrophic political eruption. The power hungry and politically myopic Senanayakes and Bandaranaike’s and the pseudo arm chair socialists of the time should be held responsible for this not anticipated but idiotic act of self-immolation! They walked into the trap laid by the Westminster model of democracy.
Every politician that came to power since that fateful 1951 decision went onto bargain the majority rights – be they language, land or other privileges with the minorities in order to stay in power and to add insult to injury they called it democracy! They went onto take for granted the loyalties of the very people who brought them to power. The results of this treachery, is the longest war in the 20th Century – a direct result of the disproportionate demands that restricts the living space of the majority in every sphere of human endeavor. Sinhalese are driven from the North and East and now from Colombo and its environs! One only has to take a stroll down Colombo eateries, open spaces, the shopping malls, and the business houses to find out who is enjoying fruits of years of giving into minorities. This is the challenge that Sinhalese have in this election.
No country, where the majority community is left in limbo in perpetuity with the feeling of having left out by politicians, has not prospered or was able to form stable political structures. Iraq where a Sunni minority ruled the majority Shia, and Syria where an Alawaite minority ruled the majority Sunnis and Rwanda where the minority Tutsi ruled the majority Hutus come to mind.
The two politically castrated parties the UNP and the SLFP took turns to woo the minorities to stay in power. The present political re-alignments is an excellent occasion to bring back the status-quo to where the majority community find its proper and equitable position in the political landscape of Sri Lanka. The current political situation also shows that minority support is self-seeking and with every such move has left the majority community impoverished of their justifiable rights and standing in society. Even today the Sinhalese who were displaced from the North languish as internally displaced unfortunates wandering as the new gypsies of Sri Lanka at the mercy of their kith and kin in the South.
Whenever a minority politician joins a majority party they come with a bagful of demands and veritable a pound of flesh for default. One good example comes to mind. When Ashroff became the Ports and Shipping Minister he stacked the Colombo port with his supporters – obviously Muslims who were given permanent jobs. When he or his followers crossed over later, the Muslims he found jobs at the Port remained, while he went wooing the other idiotic Sinhala party seeking a fresh set of demands and a pound of flesh. Even Thondaman did likewise in the estate sector. Amirthalingam did likewise as his predecessor and mentor – Chelavanakam! “Little now and more later” became their political motto. Minority demands became the black hole that is devouring the mother star!
Kandyans who lost their land to the British under the infamous Wasteland Ordinance are suffering to date. Even to this day these hapless people are left unheard, unrepresented and impoverished not even able to have proper access to their places of livelihood, for access is across the land they lost to the British and then to the Estate Tamils. When Estate Tamils received citizenship in Sri Lanka they got exclusive rights to the lands they worked on as well. How many people in Sri Lanka know of this give historic giveaway?
When Sinhala people in Kotmale were displaced due to the construction of the Hydro Reservoirs they did not get alternate land in the same area due to protests from Thondaman and the historic caving in of JR and Gamini Dissanayake – the latter being himself a Kotmale born! Sinhala people who inhabited this land since King Dutu Gemunu’s time and beyond, had to leave their ancestral lands. They were settled in a clime entirely foreign to them – in the arid Mahaweli C-sector – Aralaganwila and Girandurukotte. All of this happened because the government in power couldn’t stand up to Thondaman who was asking for a pound of flesh to support the government in power. A whole lot of these unfortunate people, mainly children and the elderly died within the first year of settlement; the first things that one encountered in entering those villages were the cemeteries of the dead. Every time the politicians relented Sinhalese lost out.
Today most of the Shylocks have left the governing party and they are now with Sirisena. The rest will cross over in droves if the unthinkable were to happen and there is a win for Sirisena. In case of a Sirisena win they are waiting to milk him dry with their demands and a call for a pound of flesh on default. This will be the beginning of a new wave of destabilization that will lead to make another Libya out of Sri Lanka and the formation of Eelam, Naziristan and a Safristan – in simple words unending civil war!
It is time for the Sinhalese in both UNP and SLFP to join hands and bring back their lost position in Sri Lankan politics to create a monolithic political entity of the majority Sinhalese, simply because we cannot rely on the minorities political parties at this juncture to show magnanimity. Fact of the matter is there is nothing essentially different between the two main parties with respect to how they approach economic development and other spheres of political endeavor. In fact with frequent crossovers the difference between the two parties is only in the label, the content being the same with only a slight difference in flavor! The other difference is that on the UPFA side there is at least a hope for the majority Sinhalese and especially Sinhala Buddhists. The truth is it is only the majority Sinhala polity who can bring solutions to the justifiable and practically possible demands of the minorities.
Over the years the UNP has very surreptitiously filtered out Buddhist contenders for power within the party. So much so with Chrisitian Ranil, Catholic Ravi Karunanayake, Catholic Joseph Micheal Perera, Christian Eran Wickramasinghe of Assembly of God and supposedly “Born Again” Sajith Premadasa could be a closet Christian (thanks to Born Again Christian Rosy Senanayake) the UNP has become a Christian / Catholic led political party. If voted to power they will bring about evangelization of Sri Lanka – a la South Korea. It is decision time for any Buddhist UNPers who love their country, religion and culture to think twice of their affiliation to this Anti Buddhist, Anti Sinhala party anymore. Don Juan Ranil will once again invite the “New Portuguese” and it will not be long before Sri Lanka has Western Powers and their cat’spaws at the gates of Kotte again!
Prosperity of Malaysia and Singapore is mainly due to having a a strong political party at the helm for more than two decades. This is how Japan prospered and this how South Korea prospered. The need for a one single party of the majority Sinhalese will make racial politics a thing of the past forever. It is the bounden duty of the patriots to see that Sri Lanka will not end up at the receiving end of petit minority led politics and in turn end up at the mercy of international big power politics who were ever ready to fish in troubled waters and now for regime change.
If Sirisena comes to power it will be with a common understanding with the Ranil, Chandrika, Sarath Fonseka, TNA and the rump of the JHU. It is clear as day light that this unholy alliance cannot have a common agenda. Once the elected these parties with opposing agenda’s will jockey for power leading to major instability in the country. It is very likely that there will be widespread riots a la post 1977 election riots to settle scores, having being out of power for nearly two decades. Knowing the forces at play it is very likely these events can elevate into a very cruel civil war.
People in Sri Lanka do not know what it is like to be in a civil war. The closest examples are to see what is happening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. This is where neighbor rise up against neighbor, which is the worst form of warfare one, would not wish even on an enemy. Although termed a civil war due to lack of foreign forces, the 30 years Eelam War was not a civil war per se. It ran on clearly demarcated lines in that they were fighting for a separate homeland. Eelamists ethnically cleansed, the Sinhalese and the Muslims from the North. In the South there was no danger to the ethnic Tamils and in fact the majority of the Tamils including those of Terrorism supporting TULF and TNA lived in safety in Colombo and elsewhere in the South. For most part of the war it was mainly restricted to the North and East of the country.
Civil wars are far more devastating and far more cruel. Rape, pillage, arson, looting death and destruction become commonplace. People who lived as friends earlier become deadly enemies. Examples of the aftermath of such wars are full of unbelievable cruelty and depravity. The worst under current circumstances is the scenario when foreign powers decide to favor one faction over the other, like what is happening now in Syria, Iraq, Libya and most recently in the Ukraine. They will dump lethal weapons to fuel and destabilize the country even further and further. In a civil war the worst is for the recently rich middle class. Just listen to the lamentations of the Syrians now freezing under tents as homeless in refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey. Myopic Colombians and their like-minded compatriots elsewhere in the island are literally behaving like flies in a death dance with the flame.
The “Democracy and Human Rights of the west can only be cultivated in a soil fertilized by the flesh and blood of human beings. This is what they are doing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now trying in Syria and in the Ukraine!
When going to polls on the 8th of January the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka have a clear choice in their hands. That is whether
- to vote for the band of former traitors – Ranil, Chandrika, Mangala, Rajitha , Sampandan conglomerate now using Sirisena as a cat’s paw to come to power in a political coup or
- to vote and keep in power the Rajapakses who delivered Sri Lanka from a supposed to be unwinnable war, made tremendous progress in making bridges to the minorities, made rehabilitation of brainwashed ex- terrorists into useful citizens, have implemented mega development of essential infrastructure projects and now in the way to further development of Sri Lanka to be the wonder of Asia.
The nation needs to get the big picture and prioritize the dangers facing them. What is more important – whether it is living with the Rajapakse regime or the prospects of rosy future full of blood and gory a la Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine!
I sincerely hope that the Sri Lankans will have the wisdom to opt for the lesser of the two evils – just as much as President Rajapakse told the Northerners that it is better to be with the known devil than with the unknown angels.