Accountability, Reconciliation and Seeking a Political Solution: Volcanic Time-Bombs along the Tectonic Fault-Lines of the Lankan State
Posted on July 20th, 2016

 

By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe

 Center of the Storm:

The triple  issues of accountability, reconciliation and seeking a political solution to the National Question are at the epicenter of a gathering political storm. It could be a storm that would be even more embracing, volatile and destructive than any and all the storms of war, destruction and terror that we have been put through. This time around, the stakes are that much more decisive, on an international, regional and internal scale. This is a gathering storm of irreconcilable ideological polarization and violent political contention. Redrawing the map of the world, including that of countries and nations through genocidal war is the dominant trend in world politics. Such destructive violence can lay to rest what the Land of Lanka had once been, along with its current political map.

Context:

The National Question has itself evolved following the end of the war. It is now enjoined with the issues of accountability, reconciliation and implementing a just political solution, These issues of accountability, reconciliation and seeking a just political solution to the National Question stand as three banners tied together, the contest over which shall decide our fate and our future.

Each of these issues, separately and collectively, has been hi-jacked by international powers, and all local players are being played according to its tune– on all sides of the divide. The US and its allies, through the UN, has hijacked these issues as a means to get a strategic grip on the politics of Lanka. This had become an urgent necessity to confront a rising strategic threat issuing from China over the control of  the vital Indian Ocean sea-lanes and to address the shifting balance of power in the  Asia /Pacific region. China has its own fangs into the lifelines of the political economy of Lanka, as does India.  These international players  shall play ball with all three issues, appearing to be the deliverers of universal justice. The International Tamil Diaspora – sections of it – shall also play ball. The US-led ‘Western Bloc’ will support a government and leadership that could be relied upon as trusted strategic allies and friends against its rivals. It shall either stabilize or destabilize the Lankan state and the regime by using any and all these three issues depending on how the game is played. Either the Land of Lanka shall be divided or unified, according to these interests. The Sinhala-Buddhist nation, the Tamil nation, the Moslem and Hill Country Malayaga Tamil nationality and other ethnic/religious communities all shall be played according to the needs of marauding vultures of Capital and their local agents.

Triple Time-Bombs:

In my view, the question of establishing credible accountability for alleged war crimes is an essential element in any meaningful process of reconciliation, which alone  leads to implementing a just and lasting solution to the National Question. Accountability is necessary to lay the basis for legal justice and political and moral responsibility, and in ensuring non- repetition , and is the bed-rock basis for reconciliation. Reconciliation refers to the integrated process of de-militarization, return and restoration of all lands and means of livelihood, release or amnesty for all political prisoners, accountability for those disappeared and the end to all colonization. The process of reconciliation lays the basis for healing the wounds of war, building broken bridges of trust and creating a genuine process  of  mutual understanding and respect, paving the ground to approach a negotiated political settlement. The three issues are enjoined. The issue of accountability has become the barometer of sincerity and commitment to be demonstrated in building genuine reconciliation on the basis of truth, justice, dignity and equality, as the bed-rock basis of implementing a democratic political solution. For that very reason, these three elements taken separately and individually constitute what may be termed the tectonic fault-lines of the Lankan State, and concentrate the focal point of violent political division and contention in the country.

The Resurgence of the Neo-Fascist Agenda: 

In my view, any real, meaningful, concrete step taken towards solving the Tamil National Question on a democratic foundation that, by definition,  recognizes the right of self-determination – in whatever form – shall be twisted and manipulated to become the spark that ignites the flames of communal carnage, genocidal terror and willful self-destruction – once again, but on an unprecedented level of vengeful  ferocity. The rebellion shall be inspired, organized and led by the deposed Rajapakse dynasty, as a way of suppressing any move towards prosecution or punishment for heinous crimes they have committed.  Any step towards implementing accountability on the part of the armed forces of the State shall be pitched as a wholesale capitulation to ‘Western Imperialist Powers’ and as a tragic betrayal of the ‘valiant war heroes’ who had shed their blood and lost their life and limbs for the ‘defense of the Motherland’. Once again the clarion call for the purification and resurgence of the Sinhala-Buddhist Nation as the undisputed rulers of the Motherland defended by the unitary state shall be issued more vehemently, militantly and violently than ever before- from the roof tops and temples throughout the Land. A Holy Patriotic Crusade shall be mobilized against imperialism and all its agents and imposters, against all faiths, beliefs and practices, against all alien minorities that have contaminated the nation and undermine its undisputed hegemony. The tottering financial crisis and increasing economic hardships, the broken pledges, the state of crisis and instability of the State and society, the breakdown of morality shall all be attributed to the traitors, in league with the minorities – whether national, ethnic or religious. This shall be the neo-fascist/ chauvinist-hegemonic agenda wrapped in the garb of a sacred theocratic mission mandated by the gods.

In my humble opinion, neither the Ranil/Sirisena regime backed by all its imperialist and regional powers, nor so-called civil society combined would be able to withstand the ferocity of the resurgence of the neo-fascist agenda. Not that this agenda represents a popular, majority agenda, but that it shall be imposed and enforced through the power of violent indoctrination, mass mobilization, backed by naked terror. As did the Nazis. As the debased and demented leader of the Bodu Bala Sena declared recently that there would be a replay of Aluthgama, thus openly and defiantly acknowledging ownership and responsibility for the anti-Moslem carnage at Aluthgama previously.  Mahasona Brigade, Ravana Brigade and all such para-military, para-state forces are simply the robed ideological goon squads of a resurging, serpentine neo-fascist agenda. And yet not shall the SR Regime take any action to defang the venomous creatures and stem the rising tide, lest they shall also get washed away by the raging fury of the storm. The truth is that all successive regimes have promoted and pandered to this chauvinism and are guilty of sabotaging any political solution.

These developments towards anarchy and civil conflict shall play into the hands of the foreign powers. It will give reason to exercise the right to intervene directly, including militarily, invoking the right to protect (R2P). I have no faith in any of these foreign predator powers to play any positive role in solving the national question, since they are all out to advance their own strategic agendas at the expense of their rivals. Nor do I have any faith in the prevailing neo-colonial State and political system, and in any and all of the established ruling class political parties to deliver justice. They are complicit in shedding the blood of the people. They are all captive agents of foreign powers. Yet, given the perilous situation, it is of paramount importance that some middle way be designed that would be a principled step towards reaching a political solution. It is worth a try.

Vigneswaran-Champika Polarities and the Way Forward:

These two polarities serve to crystallize the divide in reaching a just solution. Hon. Vigneswaran stands for the right of self-determination of the Tamil nation, to be exercised internally, within a unified State, with some acceptable form and degree of devolution of power. Hon. Champika Ranawaka, along with the entire chauvinist camp, including the UNP, SLFP, JHU and JVP and others,  reject the right of self-determination, and stands for the unitary state, along with the acceptance of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy and hegemony. He, like every other chauvinist force, plays to the fear of separatism created among the Sinhala masses. Champika and his ilk reject any demand for any form of devolution of power, and have a deep psycho-emotional echo among the Sinhala –Buddhist masses.  Is there a way out of this imbroglio?

Sharing Power at the Center: A Second Chamber?

So far, the discourse has been limited to the devolution of power to the periphery, while the Center shall remain the seat of exclusive majoritarian, Sinhala-Buddhist supremacist hegemony. This is a barren paradigm. I venture to suggest that the solution should be found in sharing state power at the Center, along with reasonable devolution that shall ensure equality, autonomy, security and democratic freedom to the minority nationalities. This would invoke a commitment to the State by all national minorities and serve to allay fears of separation. I suggest the formation of a Second Chamber to consist of eminent citizens who have won the trust of the people, including of the minority nationalities and religious communities. This Second Chamber shall be constitutionally empowered to review all legislation concerning the national-democratic rights of the nationalities and be able to submit any dispute to the Supreme Court. Sharing power at the Center would serve to establish equality and parity of status for all concerned and would be a step towards dismantling the prevailing chauvinist-hegemonic state and establishing a modern democratic State that would be made to honor the national-democratic aspirations of all nationalities. This is the only remaining path towards genuine national reconciliation and integration. We should strive to build a powerful popular consensus behind such a solution. The alternative is simply unthinkable.

8 Responses to “Accountability, Reconciliation and Seeking a Political Solution: Volcanic Time-Bombs along the Tectonic Fault-Lines of the Lankan State”

  1. Ramanie Says:

    Don’t like Buddhist ‘supremacy and hegemony’ and want to reward “Hon. Vigneswaran” who apparently “stands for the right of self-determination of the Tamil nation”- no worries! Head straight to where the Tamil Nation is- Tamil Nadu in India. Take Vigna; and, take all other traitors with Sinhala names with you when you leave!

  2. anura seneviratna Says:

    Who and where from is this Sinhela name branded being? Any national country the indigenous nation hold sovereignty; In Japan, Japanese nation is supreme, France French nation is supreme etc., nicknamed SL is the Sinhela national sovereignty. If know the abc of nationhood, there is only one nation in one country hence no separate “nationalities” within one country. As Ramanie points out aptly head home to Tamil Nadu (Tamil country) for Tamil self determination.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    Some wrong assumptions in the article.

    Accountability, reconciliation and implementing a just political solution must apply to all ethnic groups. If you assume only Sinhala majority (government and the army) must be held accountable, you are only pandering into Tamil racism. You cannot clap in one hand. Most war crimes were done by Tamils and Tamils must be held accountable to their war crimes. This includes all LTTE members (in prison and not in prison), TULF, ITAK, TNA, ACTC, Tamil Diaspora sections, Tamil Nadu sections, Indian involvement and NGOs that instigated Tamil terror.

    Without their accountability, it is rubbish to hold only Sinhalese accountable.

    Although only Sinhalese are supposed to be accountable for war crimes, etc., only Tamils are entitled to a political solution! This is racism and apartheid. A political solution must address grievances and aspirations of all ethnic groups, not just Tamils.

    The Tamil national question cannot be resolved by Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka houses only 5% of world Tamils. It must be addressed in Tamil Nadu which houses over 90% of Tamils.

    Finally, Sri Lankans must not fear war. As history shows, war with Tamil elements has always been part of our history. It will remain. Tamils were defeated in all wars. With clever planning and priorities, the next war can be won with lower casualties on the pro-Sri Lankan side.

  4. plumblossom Says:

    Sri Lanka should tell the US that Sri Lanka cannot abide by the UNHRC resolution. The Sri Lankan Army did not commit any war crimes. It is the LTTE terrorists who committed war crimes throughout 26 years of war. No country with an ounce of self respect will place their army in harms way to be tried by a court domestic or hybrid of war crimes the army did not commit in anyway. If individual soldiers committed any crimes, a complaint can be placed in a court of law in Sri Lanka. Why is there a need for special judicial procedures? This government is a puppet of the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India and is so subservient to US interests that it is ready to try its own armed forces for crimes that the armed forces did not commit. All the while, the LTTE terrorists who committed war crimes are being shown as totally innocent. Using the ploy of wanting a new constitution which almost all Sri Lankans don’t want, this treacherous government is trying to create a separate state in the guise of a federal state as the TNA separatist terrorists and the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India wants. Sri Lanka should tell the US that Sri Lanka cannot abide by the UNHRC resolution. The worst that the US, UK, EU, Sweden, Norway and India can do is impose sanctions on Sri Lanka. So what? Sri Lanka can trade with all the countries of Asia and the rest of the world even if the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden and India imposes sanctions. Sri Lanka can grow rice, we have jack fruit, bananas, bread fruit and plenty of water too. So we will not starve just because the US, UK, EU, Sweden, Norway and India imposes sanctions. Also since we can trade with the powerful economies of Asia which includes the Middle East, South East Asia, South Asia, the Far East and Central Asia as well as the rest of the world, actually, we may be OK economically too despite any sanctions imposed by the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India. However by avoiding implementing the unjust UNHRC resolution, Sri Lanka will safeguard its independence and freedom which is the most important thing for the next thousands of years as we have safeguarded our independence and freedom for at least the last 2600 years and avoid the creation of a separate state or eelam in the guise of a federal state. So Sri Lanka must very urgently tell the US that we will not abide by the unjust UNHRC resolution but carry out our own domestic process of reconciliation as we see fit. Let the imperialist US impose sanctions. Nothing much will happen to our economy since we can trade with the powerful economies of Asia and the rest of the world instead but Sri Lanka would have preserved its independence and freedom for the next thousands of years and avoid the partition of the country and the creation of a separate state which will be Sri Lanka’s end.

  5. plumblossom Says:

    Not only this, the treacherous Ranil, Sirisena, CBK, Mangala, idiotic UNPers, those INGOs working for thousands of dollars and even the JVP are trying to dismember the country via constitutional changes. We patriotic Sri Lankans should demand a strong central government, no more powers to provincial councils, no merger between provinces, ideally abolition of the 13th amendment to the constitution and absolute safeguarding of the sovereignty of the country.

    The army did not commit any war crimes. it is the LTTE who committed war crimes. However, it is high time that Sri Lanka rejected the US imperialists UNHRC resolution and state at the UNHRC to leave Sri Lanka alone to get on with reconciliation as Sri Lanka sees fit.

    Actually Sri Lanka today being accused of committing war crimes by the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden, Canada, India etc. is very similar to the way Saddam Hussein and Iraq was accused of possessing non existent WMDs. Although Iraq did everything possible to show the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden, Canada etc. that it did not possess WMD it was bombed anyway, regime change brought about since Iraq has massive amounts of oil which the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden, Canada companies wanted to extract at cheap rates by bringing on a puppet regime. A similar scenario is unfolding in Sri Lanka since Sri Lanka is located at a strategic location, the US wanting to establish a naval/air base at Trincomalee, the US wanting to establish further US army, navy, air force bases in the island, mineral resources, marine resources, control of the Indian ocean sea routes etc. For this, the separatist, terroristic Tamils who are subservient to the US are who the US is favouring to help them with this task. This is why the US favours eelam. All patriotic Sri Lankans should therefore tell the government to withdraw from carrying out the US resolution and to tell the US to leave Sri Lanka alone.

  6. plumblossom Says:

    Sri Lanka needs a strong central government in the form of the executive presidency. It is the executive presidency which is keeping the unitary state together since provincial councils have now been provided powers. Therefore if the executive presidency is abolished, the provincial councils will become more powerful and the separatist terroristic TNA will try to break away using threats the North and the East. the PR system is the fairest system which means each vote counts. It is a very democratic system. We do not need any changes to the constitution. These changes to the constitution are only suggested to bring on stealthily a federal or a separate state by falsely labelling it as ‘unitary’ to hoodwink the idiotic Sinhala Buddhists. We do not need any changes to the constitution which is what the separatist terrorists of the TNA, US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden and Canada wants to dismember this country. Also it is the executive presidential system which can easily carry out programmes to develop the country since otherwise there will be endless wranglings within the cabinet and in parliament about what path to follow for development to happen. A well meaning executive president can easily implement a reasonable and suitable programme to take the country forward. Another main reason to keep the executive presidency as it is to counter the separatist threat since a strong executive president can stop any treacherous activities which goes against the independence, freedom, sovereignty, unitary status etc. of the country since the executive president is elected directly by the people’s vote and is answerable to all the people of the country as a result. So for all these reasons, there is no need whatsoever to change the constitution. However the provincial councils should not be given any more powers, there should not be any merger between provinces, ideally the 13th amendment to the constitution should be abolished and there should be a strong central government if Sri Lanka is to move forward as a country and since it is a small country.

  7. Christie Says:

    සින්හලයින්ගේ රට අද මුලුමනින්ම ඉන්දියානු යටත් විජිතයකි. මෙය වටහා ගන්නා තුරු සින්හලයාට ගැලවීමක් නැත.

  8. SA Kumar Says:

    Tamil Nadu (Tamil country) for Tamil self determination.- Agreed anura seneviratna but We-Demil are not Thamilar We are Eelavar , We both know who is Elra ( Ellalan) & Dudugamu (Thudda Kaimunu).

    Machang why this kolaver ??? have you seen kabali film???

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