Dual Citizens
Posted on September 22nd, 2020

Chanaka Bandarage

With the advent of 20A bashing the dual citizens has become a pastime of many. It has now become a fashionable social phenomena.

Currently dual citizens are seen as a ‘pariah community’.  They are attacked from left, centre and the right. They are despised in every corner. They are seen as the reason for every evil of the land.

When we refer to Sri Lankan dual citizens we largely mean the very large Sinhalese community who have taken up citizenship in developed western countries like the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Switzerland  and France.

These people tend to work to preserve the unitary status of  Sri Lanka. Though they have left the motherland permanently, they are genuine patriots.

Some have returned to the motherland and contribute to the development of Sri Lanka.

True there are a large number of Tamil dual citizens, but, they are more or less referred to as the Tamil Diaspora. There is a perception that some of them support the creation of the separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka.

Over a million Sinhalese dual citizens live in those western countries.  Most of them left Sri Lanka during the war period.  In 1980s to early 2000s hundreds and thousands of educated Sinhalese left Sri Lanka to western countries to escape the war, and also in search of greener pastures.  The majority of them settled down well in their newly adopted countries. They have led exemplary, decent lives. They have mingled well with their respective western counterparts. They have brought forth much fame and glory to Sri Lanka.

A significant feature of them is that they have continued to maintain a close tie with the motherland. Since leaving, most of them have visited the mother country often as possible.  They send millions (perhaps billions) of valuable foreign remittance to Sri Lanka. They help their kith and kin in Sri Lanka in numerous ways.

During the war, the Sinhalese dual citizens  fought vehemently hard against the LTTE and their sympathizers operating in the west. They united themselves as a force. To bestow goodwill to Sri Lanka they conducted Bodhi Pujas in the temples that they have built in their adopted countries. Christians have also done similar things, though to a lesser degree.

It is also thanks to their struggles that the LTTE was able to be banned easily in those countries.  These good people did many things like positive lobbying, conducting demonstrations for Sri Lanka and directly confronting Tamil Tigers and their Sri Lankan and western supporters who are extremely strong and powerful in those countries. Dual citizens have fought hard to stop western nations from imposing various sanctions and restrictions against Sri Lanka.

The meritorious and righteous things that these dual citizens have done for Sri Lanka is many. The only ‘sin’ that they have committed is leaving mother Lanka during the time of the war and acquiring a second citizenship.

As stated in the beginning, there is a strong resentment in the country today against dual citizens.  This is because 20A attempts to lift the ban on them from entering the parliament.

Majority of the people oppose this stand. They correctly argue that dual citizens should not be allowed to enter the parliament. It is a justified demand. Dual citizens show allegiance to two nations – Sri Lanka and their newly adopted country.  Such people should not be allowed to enter the parliament. If they want, they must renounce their second citizenship first (the biggest joke is that there are a number of dual citizenship holders in the current parliament; it is rumored that several of TNA MPs hold dual citizenships.  Only Geetha Kumarasinhge was chased out of the parliament owing to be a dual citizen, and Gotabaya was compelled to renounce his US citizenship before contesting the Sri Lankan Presidential election 2019).

There is a demand that dual citizens should be stopped from holding any high level government position. This is not fair and reasonable. It is in the government’s interests that such qualified and highly experienced persons are offered top positions in the government’s administrative and management hierarchy. It is the creation of a ‘Win Win’ situation.

Clearly dual citizens are not enemies of the nation. As pointed out herein, they are genuine friends of the motherland (true patriots). Some say they love the motherland more than those who actually live there. As indicated earlier dual citizens have contributed immensely in the social, cultural and economic development and wellbeing of Sri Lanka in numerous ways. A separate book can be written about this!

The country should be kind to the dual citizens. They should not be attacked at every nook and corner like now. The writer states that those who attack them seem to be doing so with a cynical mindset.

Some say if dual citizens are allowed to enter the parliament, such dubious characters like ex Tamil Tigers and their sympathizers, members of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam would also enter it. This is a ridiculous argument. This cannot happen in any way. Some of these people have committed serious crimes against Sri Lanka and her people. We have existing laws to punish them for their crimes. So, instead of entering the parliament such criminals when arrive in the country should be presented with a charge sheet. 

One Response to “Dual Citizens”

  1. Sirih Says:

    This issue can be easily fixed by asking higher post position to be born in Sri Lanka if he/she is a duel citizen.

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