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What Is the Rationality behind the Sri Lankan Government's Present Attitudes towards the LTTE?

Rev. (Dr.) Rahula Thera, USA

The present Sri Lankan government's speedy actions to appease the Tigers, its ambitious effort to revoke (or to suspend?) the LTTE ban, and some responsible people's alleged readiness to support the government's actions and intended plans seem to require a rational evaluation from anybody who is concerned about the well-being of the country.

Evidently, the responsible people in the government are moving fast-perhaps faster than most people who are circumspect to take rash decisions- towards pacification of the Tigers. Besides, both the government and the other rigorously active groups are also striving to grab supporters for both the government's present and future actions concerning the LTTE.

What is actually the Sri Lankan government going to do, and what would be the impending outcome of all these hasty decisions? After all, what would be the repercussions of the current effort to establish peace in the country? One needs to pause for a moment and think over these questions before accepting or rejecting the government's move.

Of course, there is no doubt that peace is the most urgent need for Sri Lanka. Evidently, war has delivered a telling blow to this once-promising country and has caused enormous suffering to the people living there. Only peace will place the country on the right path and soothe the war-torn hearts of people.

However, one may doubt-quite reasonably indeed-whether the prime minister's optimistic and unusually benevolent attitude towards the Tigers would help establish the much-needed peace in the country.

In fact, the most probable outcome of the present peace process seems exactly the opposite: very upsurge of peacelessness both in the country and in the hearts of people instead of having peace.

Importantly, it seems absolutely right to argue that, in dealing with crucial decisions that can affect an entire nation, one should not depend entirely on one's own intuition, assumptions, probabilities, or, notably, personal inclinations well-supported by the personal advantages at hand.

Instead, one needs, first of all, dependable proof in support of the soundness of one's own decision. In the absence of such proof, a crucial decision can cause devastating effects and irreparable damages.

Connecting this clarification to the topic under discussion, one may ask what evidence the Sri Lankan government possesses to trust the LTTE commitment to peace. Obviously, what the prime minister and others seem to have is just the adamant and blind confidence in the LTTE, a sort of confidence devoid of evidence and, hence, devoid of rationality and farsightedness.

In support of the LTTE's trustworthiness or duplicity, history provides with ample and appropriate evidence. Most Sri Lankans should be aware-if they do not forget the past too soon, at least for now-that the present occasion is not the only time that the Tigers readied for peace.

Once, twice, nay, numerous times they either volunteered to initiate peace talks or consented to join the peace talks initiated by the former Sri Lankan governments.

On each and every occasion, they proved themselves to be cunning, deceitful, and treacherous. When their military strength weakened, they invited the government to peace talks or accepted the peace proposals offered by the government so that they would find enough time to reorganize their military power.

At the height of their military strength, they blatantly opposed to peace and craved for more bloodshed. Worst of all, after rebuilding their military power during a truce, they shamelessly abandoned every peace initiative, to be more engaged in war.

Not only does this evidence strongly support the view that the Tigers are dishonest, but it also strongly challenges the confidence the present government has placed upon the LTTE leadership.

Besides, the clandestine activities the LTTE is presently engaged in further confirm the doubts that the Tigers are insincere. Reportedly, a group of LTTE fighters recently entered Welikanda against the wishes of the government forces.

Again, media reported that the LTTE is spying at large. Worst of all, more recent news indicates that the LTTE militants are recruiting a large number of young people by force and even through abduction from areas that are out of their control. This report is a clear fact that the Sri Lankan government itself has confirmed.

Furthermore, the latest news points out that the LTTE members are persuading innocent citizens in the East to rebel against the Sri Lankan government.

What would be the ulterior motive behind all this highly questionable conduct, a clear repetition of what the LTTE did in the past before departing from every peace initiative and returning to war? Obviously, a more deadly and devastating LTTE attack is looming, and the Tigers are preparing themselves, better than ever, for such an attack.

It is highly unfortunate that the present Sri Lankan government has paved an unobstructed way for the Tigers to launch an all out war against the country. Any Tiger now can roam anywhere in the country and plan his or her attacks with much ease. Hardcore cadres-with their suicide kits, of course-can flock in main cities, hoping to fulfill the so-called duty towards their own leadership.

They also can easily access to the triple forces' military secrets, which some people would be glad to release out of partiality to the government. The much-exposed and demoralized Sri Lankan forces seem to be more assailable and more vulnerable than ever before.

In short, the most recent conduct of the Sri Lankan government has offered the Tigers every facility to continue their much desired war with more success.

The Prime Minister himself appears to be in a Catch 22 position: if he wishes to avoid a war, he should gladly fulfill each and every demand of the LTTE; if he fails to meet their demands, he should face the enormous destruction the Tigers are presumably planning to cause.

After all, fulfillment of what demand will satisfy the fastidious Tigers? What is their end goal? After studying the overall philosophy of the Tigers, one may judiciously argue that an interim government will tempt them to demand for an independent state, and the completion of that demand will urge them to expand the territory further.

The inevitable outcome appears to be the Sri Lankan government's eventual return to the war as a much weaker side.

The visible sea remains unusually calm when a violent tempest gathers momentum at a distance, but, when the storm reaches the shore, one witnesses its immense power and vast destruction.

The present peaceful atmosphere in Sri Lanka can be understood in the light of this metaphor. Understandably, the tigers are preparing themselves for a more organized war even if the Sri Lankan government meets all their demands.

It is the utmost duty and responsibility of the government to take actions that would prevent the already tense situation from getting worse. Otherwise, the country will, predictably, experience tragic repercussions that would cause the entire nation to lament over its heedlessness and blunders.


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