CLASSIFIED | POLITICS | TERRORISM | OPINION | VIEWS





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Living thousands of miles away from one's mother country, only connected by wireless telephone and the marvels of the computer technology and internet, to be promptly informed of the happenings in Sri Lanka, it was a delightfull awareness to read and learn of the speech to the nation on the present peace senario made by HE. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumartunga, specially when she has said, that she is prepared to cohabit with the government and has invited the UNF government of Hon. Ranil Wicremasinghe to join hands to make Peace a reality in Sri Lanka.


PEACE THE DREAM OF CHANDRIKA .

By Noor Nizam.

In 1994/1995 when Chandrika was in the battle field of elections, she was speaking of a "dream" and in this dream she saw the dream of Peace in Sri Lanka and she told the nation of her dream. She wanted them to share this dream and asked the people to help her make this dream come true. The people, having no alternative to the brutal civil war that was promoted by various, political, ethnic, business, international agents, arms dealers, NGO's, religious groups and politically ambitious individuals, voted her profoundly to be elected to the highest Office of Political Administration in the country. She followed the footsteps of her father and mother, the late SWRD Bandaranaike and the late Sirimavo RD Bandaranaike , as the Prime Minister and then elected to the Office of President in just one year of being PM.

With the clear majority and mandate she had received from the nation, the Sinhalese, Tamil, the Tamils of Indian Origin, Muslims, Malays and the other monorities, she slowly but steadly started to shape her dreams for Peace. It was this honourable mission that she commenced in 1994/1995 that has seen the much spoken and written Peace Senario in Sri Lanka, and which has made the whole world to take a keen interest, with, specially the USA taking a very active role in pushing it to reach this reality - maybe to make that dream come true.

In this long path of political negotiations confronted by people around her calling themselves supporters with shelfish interests, personal motives and ulterior goals, her political opponents and other schemers trying to gain her confidence to use that for their business and career developments, and the political parties waiting for an opportunity to scuttle her mission, she indeed invited the UNP and Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe in 1995 and in 2000 to join hands and to work towards a Peacefull settlement of the ethnic conflict. In 2001 she even invited the UNP to form a Government of Reconciliation. She was indeed doing her best to make that "dream" a reality to the SLFP, the PA and the UNP and to share it with the Tamils, LTTE, Tamils of Indian Origin, Muslims, Malays and the other minorities. The Americans, the British, the French, the Indian, South Africa (Mr.Nelson Mandela), Palestinians (Mr.Yaseer Arafat) and specially the NORWEGIANS cannot deny this.


ABSENCE OF WAR IS NOT PEACE.
In her address to the Nation, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had said "the government is doing it's utmost, but absence of war is not Peace and this is a very important metaphor of communication to all those concerned and involved in the Peace Senario in Sri Lanka, be it local or International. It is also a very important reminder to the Norwegians who were only authorised to act as the "FACILITATORS" to the Peace process that was negotiated to be worked out between the Government and the LTTE, but the Norwegians have gone beyond that authority and are in fact, draging the UNF Government by it's nose towards settling the ethnic issue with no "honour of the settlement" to the Sinhalese, the Tamils of Indian Origin, the Muslims, Malays and the other minorities.

No dought the UNF government and Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe have been found fault by the political leaders of the Opposition parties, Sinhala leaders and it's clergy, the Muslim Political, religious and community leaders and other minority groups including small Tamil political parties from the North and East. These forces have very clearly and strongly presented their case of injustice done to them by the affairs of the present Peace process and even pointed their hand at the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission dominated by the Norwegians and largely filled by their Scandinavian neighbours. Even certain Tamil Human Rights Organizations have expressed their disatisfaction against the manner in which the Monitoring Mission is working in a biased manner. These actions have been well documented and recorded. Some of the violations that have happened and are happening even today are: child conscriptions, extra-judicial killings, extortion of money, abducting of persons, demanding ransoms, taking hostages, , running a parellel banking system, Police Department, Judicial system and a Public service, violating the Constitutional mandate and the Right of a legitimate and Sovereign Goverment. The Norwegians fail to accept these as "VIOLATIONS" of the Peace Accord or Truce entered into, but take keen interest in the little matters of "violations" done by the Security Forces of the Government or some Political party members in the North and East. The boycott of Parliament by the 10 Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Members of Parliament and now the joining of 3 more Muslim Members of Parliament of the East belonging to the NUA (National Unity Allaince) lead by Mrs. Ferial Ashraff,MP for Kalmunai and the wife of the late leader of the SLMC and NUA, the late M.H.M.Ashraff and the joint agreement of action signed between the Hon. Rauf Hakeem and Hon. Thondaman (Jr), very clearly underlines what HE. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga really ment by saying - "the Government is doing it's utmost, ( without the Norwegians actually helping the government, but looking after the interest of the LTTE only) - "BUT ABSENCE OF WAR IS NOT PEACE"" This is in an environment where no armed or battle confrontations of gunfire between the Security forces and the LTTE has occured to the level, it can be militarily classified as "WAR". The Norwegians should be commended for this and the Security Forces praised for their dedication to the Commander of the Armed Forces in respecting the wish of the people for Peace.


THE DUTY OF THE GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPLEMENT THE MANDATE RECEIVED FROM THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA.
By Constitution,The Government of Sri Lanka is the Presidency and the Parliament of the country. The Presidenct is entrusted to HE. the President who is Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Parliament is entrusted to the Hon. Prime Minister, his Cabinet of Ministers and the Members of Parliament, both in the Government benches (by majority numbers) and the Members of Parliament in Opposition (by less in number).The UNF government has a majority count in parliament because of their coaliation partner MP's of the SLMC,JVP,CWC,PLOTE and other minority political groups supporting the coalition. Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe has been named the Prime Minister of the UNF Government heading a Cabinet of Ministers nominated by him, but appointed by HE the President.

The Serenity of Democracy is exactly what this means, that a Government created by the majority wishes of the people of the country " The Nation" through their most serene right - the "Universal franchise", which was and is their right of vote in accordence to the laws laid down (the Constitution), Prof. G.L. Peiris, an important Cabinet Minister in the UNF Government and the Leader of the Governments negotiating team and a former Professor of Law of the University of Colombo, Law Faculty, has sincerely accepted this plliar of democracy by his statement at a press conference, that " the duty of the Government is to implement the mandate received from the Sovereign people of Sri Lanka", and what was that mandate given by the Sovereign people of Sri Lanka to the Presidency and the Parliament? The mandate was to bring PEACE to the country/Nation by negotiating a Peacefull settlement with honour to the ethnic conflict between the Tamil the Sinhalese people and to give equal consideration to at the same level to the minorities of the Tamils of Indian Origin, the Muslims (Moors and Malays) in the North, East and the South, and all other invisible minorities in the country.


USA SEEKS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR SRI LANKA PEACE BID.
In promoting the Peace Process in Sri Lanka, many foreign governments have shown a great interest in making it a reality. The initiatives taken by the UN, IMF, EEC, the World Bank are very encouraging. Yet the political powers that be they are in Sri Lanka are failing to realize this consensus. The bill "16th.,amendment" was not a need of the hour. Even the bill of conscience was the same. But Sri Lanka being one of the oldest democracy in the World, will be proud again due to the Supreme Court Ruling against the validity of that bill,clearly indicates that the Constitution is Supreme and the Rule of Law even applies to the Presidency and the Parliament. This was indeed not a defeat to the Government or the Opposition or a defeat to Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe or a victory to the President Chandrika, rather it should be looked as the "VICTORY" of Democracy and the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka - a victory of the People, a victory to make the "dream" come true in all it's form. It is a victory to enable "CO-HABITATION " between the President and the Prime Minister and the forces behind them in finding real Peace to the people of Sri Lanka. No dought the visiting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Asian Affairs, of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Camp, has expressed the wish of the US by stating that the US seeks bipartisan support for Sri Lanka Peace bid. This has also been accepted as the need of the hour by the Hon.Tyrone Fernando, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Hon. Mahinda Rajapaske, the Leader of the Opposition, when Hon. Mr. Donald Camp discussed the situation when he paid an official visit to them during his visit to Sri Lanka last week.


A STABLE UNF GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION NEEDED.
Political concensus will help the Peace Process , is the feelings of the Americans and the message to the Politicians in Sri Lanka. The US feels that a consensus of the two major political parties would help in negotiating with the LTTE and through to a settlement which would bring immediate benefits to all parties. The US have also strongly indicated that, because of their indulgence in sucide bombing, the LTTE could face the wrath of the US led coalition against terrorism, if they break the Norwegian arranged February Truce. What the US is really telling is that a stable UNF Government supported by the Presidency will be in a stronger position to acheive success while they will watch the LTTE follow suit and compromise on terms whenever needed. The US is clearly giving out signals that the call made by HE. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in 1950, 2000 and in 2001 to the UNP for cohabitation should be in fact implemented immediately. Chandrika was truely honest and sincere in her call for Peace and a Peacefull settlement of the ethnic conflict when she made the call in 1995, just after her resounding victory to the Presidency. The UNP failed to hear that call, yet it is not too later to accept it, as supported by the Supreme Court Judgement, if interpreted politically, and as per the verdict given by the people at the General and Presidential Elections in 1994, 2001, 1995 and 2000.


LET THE PEACE PROCESS AND IT'S SUCCESS BE A FAIR DEAL TO ALL.

The grievances of the TAMIL people, the main cause for the advent of the armed struggle and the formation of the LTTE is well justified. It is now the wish of the Tamil people to turn the might of the LTTE to a democratic might and the Leader of the LTTE Mr. Prabaharan, with the advice and guidance of his able comrade Dr. Anton Balasingham and his team of militarily trained subordinates have accepted the path of negotiations to go through this metamophosis, for the betterment of ther people. The Norwegians, who have been involved with the Tamil populace in the North from 1969, through missionary work, then humanitarian work and finally in the training of various trades that enhanced their ability to be a strong international organization, while opening the North of Norway for Tamil refugees in the 1980's, to settle in the fishing communities that were in short supply of manpower resources, to man their fish processing factories, had the trust and confidence of the LTTE to be accepted as the "Facilitator" to the Peace Initiative that led to the signing of the "Truce" on the 22nd., of February 2002.

The Norwegians would not have been accepted to this positin if not for the unquestioned support they received from other minority groups in Sri Lanka, specially that of the Muslim community and a very few Academic and Interllectual personalities of the Sinhalese Community. One of those persons is the Hon. G.L. Peiris, whose support started with HE.President Chandrika's dream in 1994 and was catalysed with the grant of Rs. 100 million to his Ministry of Constitutional and Ethnic Affairs and Intergeration by the Norwegian Government through their Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo. The funds were given to his Ministry to propogate the "Devolution of Power Package" to the Sinhalese and Tamil people. Prof. G.L. Peiris was given a free hand in the disbursement of the funds and even HE. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga did not question his disbursment methods. Some of the negative actions that came to light later on, were, the use of funds to pay for luxury bunglows for certain University Professors who were brought into the propoganda machinery and the high priced vechiles they were using even for their private use during their assignments with this programme. They were also involved with the Sudu Nelum Movement during that time and the disbursement funds are unaccounted as yet.None of the Tamil Academics and Interllectuals support this programme and even Tamil speaking Parliamentarians of the then PA government evaded to support the "Devolution of Power" project of the PA (HE. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga)

It was only a group of Muslim Interllectuals grouped under a Civil Society Movement called the "National Muslim Movement" which carried out a very vigours publicity campaign in support of the "Devolution of Power" Package in the Press, TV and also arranged Seminars in Sinhalese areas where Muslims and Tamil speaking communities were domiciled. It should be said with great honour, that not a single cent of the Norwegian Funding or from the Ministry of Constitutional, Ethnic Affairs and Intergration, Sudu Nelum or the Presidential Secretariat was seeked for or received by the National Muslim Movement.

But for Hon.G.L. Peiris now, to evade the "Muslim Factor" in the on-going Peace negotiations, seems very okward an action by a learned Proffessor of Law. It should have been the untold reponsibility of Hon.G.L. Peiris and the Norwegians to have taken care of the concerns of the Muslims in the North and the East in the Peace negitiations. Failure to do this throughout the Peace process, specially by the Norwegians and the idifferent treatment given to the complains made by the Muslims of the Eastern Province defenitely led to the very dangerous political situations in Mutur in the Trincomalee district and in Akkaraipattu and Vallaichena, which has been curtailed with just a few deaths taking place, but millions in property damage to the Muslims and the Tamils. The Hon. Mr. Azwer, Minister of Parliamentry Affairs was correct in saying at the 85th., anniversary celeberations of the YMMA held at Hamza Muslim Vidiyalaya, Mutuwal on Oct. 26th.-02, that "the Muslim Community has an important role in establishing Peace in Sri Lanka. Yet the SLMC Members of Parliament numbering 10 began a boycott of Parliament and are now joined by Hon. Ferial Ashraff, the wife of the late Hon. M.H.M.Ashraff, founder and former leader of the SLMC and NUA, and her 3 MP's of the NUA. They are supporting Hon. Athaullah, Deputy Minister and rebel leader of the boycotting Muslim parliamentarians, who has made a very strong claim - expressing "The Muslim MP's were agitating for recognition of the Rights of Muslims in the East". The message is further made valid by what Hon. Rauf Hakeem, Minister of Ports Development, Rehabilitation of the East and Muslim Affairs Minister and Leader of the SLMC saying - there is no "rebellion" in the party (SLMC), only that certain MP's were voicing the concerns of the Muslims in the East. Hon. Athaullah's claim that the Norwegians are unfair to the Muslims in the North and East is a very valid due to the fact that their concerns, even when brought to the attention of the Norwegians and the SLMM have been given step-motherly treatment and consideration. It is learned that the SLMC has now taken a course of action that has brought this issue to the attention of certain Muslim Countries in South East Asia and the Middle East and will be brought to the forefront in the United Nations. Even the EEC and North American nations will be briefed on the actual situation. Some Muslim MP's who have enjoyed study trips to Norway are the only MP's from the East who have not boycotted parliament as yet in support of the Muslim cause.


WILL THE PRESIDENT COHABIT WITH THE GOVERNMENT.
With a general consensus both locally and internationally to the need for cohabitation between the Presidency and Parliament (HE. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe), the call by US that bipartisan support for the Sri Lanka Peace bid,, and the International Community also making the same wish, this political concensus is what the President is trying to reach out to the UNF government in the "Speech to the "Nation" she made in the national TV "The Rupavahini" on the night of Thursday the 24th., of October 2002. The president is trying to make the UNF government a stable government as wished by the LTTE, without going into another general elections and waste the much needed funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction, a huge amount of Rs.600 million. Mr. Walter Jayawardhana, a well known journalist writting from Los Angels says that "The Tamil Guardian in it's Oct.23rd., edition has said that the LTTE declared "Sri Lanka's future depends on a stable UNF Administration"

It is now for the UNF Government and Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe to fall in line as wished by all and the World to co-habit with the President on the conditions as expressed by the President in Matara in the South of Sri Lanka and a highly populated Sinhalese region. The main conditions are :
1. Govt should completely stop the harassment of PA supporters to ensure success of co-habitation.
2. Work on abolishing the Executive Presidency.
3. Educate her and the people about the Peace Process.
4. Inform the type of powers the UNF govt. is willing to offer theLTTE.
5. Govt. should have a clear cut programme for economicaldevelopment.

But it would also be very meaningfull and productive, if the Norwegians just leave the Sri Lankans to negotiate with the LTTE, rather than creating proposals and showing big funding possibilities and initiating aid-committing meetings and discussions as an inducement to the UNF Government to follow the Norwegian Agenda of pushing the Peace Process on fast track to gain World recognition as an able Peace Negotiator who has no unlterior motives, when the Norwegian National Newspaper "THE NATIONEN " Website- www.nationen.on has published a series of investigative articles starting in August 2002 of the misappropriation of Nkr.100 million (approximately) Rs.800 to 900 million by Norwegian Politicians and the Secretary General of the World View Foundation which is registered in Sri Lanka, involved from 1977 as a non-profit organization, with a multistoried modern building in Nugegoda built on humanitarian assistance funds extended to Sri Lanka. What is the guarantee to Sri Lanka, that the Aid funds that will be made available to the North and East for re-habilitaion and construction will not be misappropriated by the interested Norwegians. It is a well known fact that many Norwegian business houses and Companies are already preparing blue prints to push projects in the North and East of Sri Lanka, in callaboration with unscrupulous Politicians which will be manipulated to be funded by the enormous rehabilitation and reconstruction and humanitarian funds that are to be pledged by the friendly nations of the world, to the Peace Initiative in Sri Lanka. One of the main reasons why Hon. Vidar Helgesen, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Norway is pushing for the establishment of a joint task force for the North and East which will later be transformed to an "Interim Administration" clearly indicates the "hidden agenda" Norway has in trying to keep a strong foot in the affairs of the North and East of Sri Lanka, without giving the "SOVEREIGN" right to the people of Sri Lanka - specially the people of the North and East of Sri Lanka to administer their affairs. HE. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was right in asking the UNF government to have a "Clear cut programme for the economical development of the country". In other words what the President meant can be interpreted as - lets not allow economical programmes or development project proposed for the sake of implementing, to be carried on the badwagon of Peace Initiative, to be funded by the Aid assistance expected, rather we plan out our priorities to make our economy sound and stable for the betterment of our children.


Noor Nizam.
A Sri Lankan of commitment to Peace.
NORAD-Fellow(1971/73)




 

 

 


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