Ensure 2/3 majority to reinstate the past Glory and Grandeur – Part II
Posted on July 17th, 2020

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA

Upon returning to Sri Lanka he started an intensive media campaign on this subject.   I reproduce below excerpts from this traitor’s writings and appropriate counter comments  

Veteran journalist Malinda Seneviratne who was the Chief Editor of The Nation” wrote on 5th July, 2009 that Dayan Jayatillake, with respect to the implementation of the 13th Amendment, points to two documents (a joint statement issued at the conclusion of discussions with a high-level Indian delegation and another by the UN Secretary-General. In both, there is mention of the Government’s commitment to the 13th Amendment.

He observes that some who oppose the 13th Amendment refer to Mahinda Chinthana but points out that Mahinda Rajapaksa can be safely trusted to know the spirit of Mahinda Chinthana. In other words, Dayan not only thinks the 13th is great, but trusts the President to deliver his (Dayan’s) Utopia. Nothing wrong in that of course! I, on the other hand, think the 13th was brought about undemocratically, and proved to be a ‘white elephant’ and a distraction with respect to addressing and resolving real Tamil demands.

Writing to Daily Mirror on 4th July, 2009, Dayan Jayatilleke states upfront I don’t believe that the 13th as it stands compromises the unitary character of the state and adds that  ‘The defence dimensions of devolution’  isn’t going to be ‘full implementation’; it will always be ‘minus’ (since there was a de-merger of the North and East and hopes there will be a ‘plus’. As of now, ‘police powers’ appear set to be shoved into the ‘minus’ column while ‘land matters’ as of now are not ‘threatening’.

Malinda Seneviratne (MS) comments that as mentioned above, the utterly undemocratic manner in which it came into being, sans discussion, in secret and with more than a little arm-twisting, all this could be ‘accepted’ if it worked though. Some point out that the 13th has been legitimated by the fact that its main opponents have opted to contest PC elections. Does it make it ‘right’, though? Does the 13th as ‘solution to Tamil demands’ hold water (MS) asks? No. It is essentially a territory-based solution and such is unwarranted given that there are no ‘Tamil grievances’ that can reference territory. It is moreover a mechanism that has devolved (some) power to politicians. It is therefore for thugs and thieves, not ordinary citizens.

MS continues that some have argued ‘it is part of the Constitution, so live with it’. That’s a cop-out answer. In that case we don’t need the APRC, we didn’t need the 17th Amendment, we should not have had the 1st Amendment to the 1978 Constitution and we should not have any more Amendments. It assumes that constitutions are necessarily perfect documents and that time and society stand still. It is because something was thought to be flawed that its correction is attempted. If the 13th is flawed then it follows that it should be corrected even to the point of trashing it if a compelling case can be made.

Dayan’s fascination with the 13th on the other hand includes but is not limited to consideration of that thing called ‘geo-political realities’ that hit us with a ton of bricks and precipitated the death of 60,000 plus young people in the late eighties.

But we are not in 1987 now. We don’t have a Government enslaved to Western interests. We don’t have a West that has the kind of compelling power it used to back then. Tamil Nadu is no longer a compelling factor in how India sees Sri Lanka.

True, the statements Dayan refers to show a Government that is certainly reluctant (or made to be reluctant) to trash the 13th, but what a Government does or does not do can depend on the ability of the people and the power of the relevant arguments to sway those in power. We lived through a time when a federal arrangement was thought to be inevitable. We have suffered under 500 years of foreign rule. We were told that the LTTE was a reality that will not go away and therefore we have to accommodate terrorism. Things changed drastically. .

President Rajapaksa takes even a drastic decision on this issue, no one would be able to convince the country that he is going to bifurcate or betray the country. This is an opportunity that no Head of State in this country has been offered’. Dayan says pretty much the same thing: ‘President Rajapaksa has the trust of the Sinhalese to a degree that none of his predecessors had; he can therefore carry the Sinhalese with him into a settlement of the underlying and pre-existing issues.’

This is true. One can argue, however, that given this power of sway, president Mahinda Rajapaksa can do what, I believe, he should: trash the 13th and go for true ‘reconciliation’ and addressing of grievance by revisiting the 17th Amendment, correcting its flaws and thereby giving the respect to the citizen that has been denied and subverted by all his predecessors instead of dabbling in something that is archaic, undemocratic, wasteful and has nothing to do with the grievances that need to be resolved.

Dayan Jayatilleke who has queer passion to serve the Tamils and hinder the Sinhalese from exercising their legitimate and inherent rights, responding to Malinda Seneviratne says that the 13th amendment is historically significant and currently indispensable because it is the only structural reform of the centralized Sri Lankan state which devolves power, makes for some measure of autonomy and thereby provides a basis for the reconciliation of the Sinhalese and Tamil communities within a united and unitary Sri Lanka.

He says that the 13thy Amendment is the only such reform to take place exactly three decades after the abrogation of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam pact of 1957 which proposed for Regional Councils. (It had to be abrogated because it was not discussed with the people and there was people’s consent for measures proposed in it) Those who say that the Indo-Lanka Accord and the 13th amendment were “hurried”and “externally coerced” forget the fact that from another point of view, they amounted to a Caesarean surgical intervention, bringing forth a power sharing solution that had been thwarted from 1957, through the District Councils of 1966 and the Indian facilitated negotiations of 1984 (APC/Annexure C) to 1986 (December 19th Chidambaram proposals). It is important to recall than none of these proposals for moderate power sharing were voted down democratically. They never had a chance to be. This pro-Tamil poodle accuses that leaders such as SWRD Bandaranaike, were besieged by extra-parliamentary lobbies and the parliamentary process aborted by extra-parliamentary agitation.

My strong support (“craze”) for the 13th amendment Dayan shamelessly says that is because it is already in place (by force and not with the consent of the majority of the people of this country ) and does not have to be (re)negotiated. It has only to be implemented and Sri Lanka’s military triumph would be politically reinforced instantly. Tamil nationalism would be split between the hyper-nationalists who reject it and the moderates who accept and participate, the Tamil Diaspora would be divided, the North-South gap would be bridged, a renewed cycle of conflict would be less likely or possible, the impressive weight of India in the world system would be solidly with us, (sheer imaginations and stupid hallucinations)) the international pressure on us would lift somewhat, our allies and friends in the international system would be relieved and vindicated, external financing would be more readily available, the anti-Sri Lanka global campaign would be severely weakened and the attempt to encircle Sri Lanka internationally would be defeated.

It is not any particular President I trust to deliver on the 13th amendment or its equivalent or improvement. My point was that President Rajapakse can deliver because he is the least vulnerable to a Southern backlash. (A stupid conclusion that this Colombo Baiyaa made thinking that he could easily fool the rustic Mr. Rajapajsa – a  man from the other side of the of the Bentara Ganga.  He must remember that even a kitten that has not opened its eyes coming from other side of the Bentra Ganga cannot be fooled) This poodle states that he trusts that the challenge of accommodating Tamil identity and reconciling it with Sinhala and Muslim identity will remain and that it will be necessary for any government to negotiate with the Tamil parliamentarians as India will not go away and our need for India in the face of western pressure will not go away either, and that the 13th amendment, however elasticized, will remain the saddle-point between the Sinhala insistence on a unitary state and the Tamil demand for some degree of self –rule.

MS asserts that Sri Lanka with a working 13th amendment is a far cry from “Dayan’s Utopia”, but it is a brake on a downward slide to Dayan’s Dystopia of renewed conflict in different forms, of a resumed narrative of lost opportunities, of civic violence, stagnation and decay, of a long and bitter peace and rueful mid- 21st century ruminations of “the path we never took/into the rose garden”

Dayan says that India was not the cause for the deaths of 60,000 youths in the late 1980s and if Sri Lanka had devolved power in 1957, 1966, 1981 (DDCs), 1984 (Annexure c) or 1986 (Chidambaram), there would have been no Indian intervention. (Please note that this shameless foreign servile sycophant justifies the abhorrent illegal Indian intervention) If the 1987 accord had been resisted by the JVP peacefully,(This abhorrent accord was not noly resisted by JVP but also by the SLFP and a massive sit-in protest headed by Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike was held in front of the Pettah Bodhiya and as a continuation of this protest the SLFP boycotted the first Provincial Council Elections)  there would have been no call for the Sri Lankan state to defend itself violently and adds that both the LTTE and the JVP violently opposed the 13th amendment and the North east provincial council and both movements have been militarily defeated. It must also be recalled that the JVP took up the gun before a single IPKF jawan had appeared on Sri Lankan soil and Daya Pathirana was murdered in November 1986, and the entire left was under violent siege for supporting devolution which was luridly portrayed as secessionism.

Dayan also attempts to drag China also to the dispute and says Tamil Nadu matters less than it did while China matters more and the 13th amendment matters even to China, and that is why the official Sri Lankan communiqué following the discussions between the Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka and China twice mentioned Sri Lanka’s reiteration of its commitment to implementing the 13th amendment.

Malinda Seneviratne in another article dated 14th Jult, 2009 states that Dayan’s defense of the 13th Amendment and his plea for its implementation is predicated on the validity of the Tamil (chauvinist) demands, or, to put it another way, the erroneous and mischievous assertion of the equation that equates aspiration to legitimate demand.

He defends the hurried and coercively introduced 13th Amendment as a necessary Caesarean surgical intervention to bring forth a power sharing solution thwarted from 1957′ and pats himself on the back for having predicted the same.  He enumerates the advantages of going with the 13th, painting a happily-ever-after picture of internal stability, international backing and communal harmony with an equally happy bridging of the North-South gap and a downing of the anti-Sri Lanka global campaign.  These are strategic benefits which Dayan believes will accrue automatically if we implemented the 13th.   He implies that pandering to Eelamist mythology and burning defensible historical transcript is a small price to pay for all these goodies. 

First of all, I don’t think that the goodies are there for the taking.  There are no friends’ or enemies’ in the international, just entities playing cards as per self-interest. There is a give and take and there’s a lot of arm-twisting too. Dayan knows this and Dayan knows that India is not the do-gooder that India likes us to believe she is.   That is however not an entity that was god-made and meant to be immobile from Day One to Day Last.  Things change.  To accept current realities as overarching forces best met with acquiescence is a legitimate option, but honour, dignity and intellectual honesty demand that error in perception be resisted.  That however, is not an important entry in the diary of a politician.  I believe it was one of the First Nations in the Americas that predicated policy decision on a consideration of impact on the seventh generation down the line.  Resolving for aspirations that infringe on the rights of other communities and for grievances that can be addressed in other ways may appease ”international pals’ in the here-and-now but will amount to little more than shoving a bunch of garbage under the carpet.

 Dayan, so adept at meeting, countering and triumphing over Western mischief-making with respect to Sri Lanka, is surprisingly meek when it comes to Eelamist posturing regarding history.Perhaps this is because he is fascinated with the notion of  ”autonomous political space’ for the Tamil people in the North and East.  I will go with ”political space’ but there is nothing to support ”autonomy’ as per defined territory.  The provincial boundaries were arbitrarily drawn, to begin with. The Eastern Province is demographically divided roughly into three equal parts, and in terms of territory, ”Sinhala’ areas far outweigh Tamil and Muslim areas put together.  As for legitimacy of claim following historical evidence, it is at best paltry.  The archaeological record does not support the thesis. We could of course set the take-off point closer to the present, but then again, we do know that Chelvanayagam was not a Ceylonese, that Ponnambalam Ramanathan’s grandfather did not have an address in this country and we have to make note of the fact that the results of the first census were surreptitiously ”disappeared’.  Oh yes, Tamil chauvinism has a long history and one that pre-dates the horrendous disenfranchisement of Tamils in the estates and Bandaranaike’s swabasha adventure.

Dayan points out that our so-called”friends’ in the international community want the 13th implemented, citing statements made.  Even if we were generous and grant that all these statements were/are made in good faith, the fact remains that they are based on their perceptions of our problem, something that is largely influenced by three factors: a) strong and sustained propaganda by the Eelam lobby, b) an ”intellectual’ community (mostly of Marxist-Leninist leanings) that was and still is quite quiescent, and c) governments and political leaders who were operating throughout in the here-and-now mode.   

 Bandaranaike cowed down to ”extra-parliamentary pressure’, yes.  But it was not a matter of going through with the Chelva-Banda pact or dumping it unceremoniously. There was a compelling argument for a instituting a reason-privileging exercise in considering ”Tamil grievances’. He could have instituted a historical audit into claims and thereafter addressed that which was legitimate and ignore that which was not. His successors could have too. That they did not is a pity, and does not in any way make a case for Caesarian section or the sanitization of belligerent bullying on the part of India.  Or anyone else.

 I agree with Dayan that the Sri Lanka state needs structural reform.  There can be structural reform without compromising its centralized form.  Devolution of power is not only antithetical to current global trends (for those who are fascinated by the Global’ with a capital G) it is not a necessary precondition for reconciliation of Sinhala and Tamil communities.  That is like saying that the United States should devolve power to the African Americans, Hispanics and Asians in clearly demarcated pieces of land in order to obtain reconciliation.  

 There is nothing wrong in any community wanting legitimate political space, in wanting equal rights as citizens, but autonomous political space is another matter altogether.  That can be an aspiration, sure, but not delivering that aspiration is not a crime against humanity and not necessarily undemocratic.  

 All communities should have political space’ to air grievances, assert identity and obtain relief where infringement occurs.  This requires an overall democratization of our institutions.  This is where my argument for the 17th Amendment is not the apple against the 13th Amendment orange as per Dayan’s characterization makes sense.  The 1978 constitution is anti-citizen, first and foremost and this is the structural anomaly that needs to be addressed most urgently.  It diminishes the citizen.

Reconciliation is not about pandering to a historical claim.  Aspiration clothed as right may excite those who like masquerades and cross-dressing of course, but a nation can do better than to go overboard with such things.   This is why we need to get to the basics, i.e. a historical audit of Tamil claims.  If not we will condemn our children to deal with chauvinism and the violence it tends to spawn.  We cannot afford, especially not after suffering immense costs in eliminating the military avatar of Eelamist posturing, to concede constitutionally the rudimentary structures that can later be the basis for a renewed journey towards Prabhakaran’s objective. Reconciliation, rather, is about coming to terms with realities, of privileging respect, affirming equal rights for all citizens and providing the necessary space for celebrating identity. 

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