No doubt there would perhaps be a sense of media generated euphoria in the country following reports of revesting administrative control over the areas previously under effective control of the LTTE. It would however be very shortsighted to believe that the armed conflict originating in the North would end as a result of the claimed victories on the military front. It would be equally shortsighted to believe that the similarly caused armed uprising in the South has been buried even in the medium term. In fact the chances of the next phase of the armed conflicts being on the basis of a united front between the non-English speaking sections in the North and the South do not appear to be too low. This is particularly so since employment opportunities, except in the bottom rungs of the military, are now becoming available primarily to those fluent in English. This would increasingly leave the desperate vernacular youths in the North and the South with no hopes of salvation other than through renewed armed struggle.
In this connection it has been regrettable that local, regional and western vested interests have been able to successfully categorise the armed conflicts in Sri Lanka to be of `Ethnic' and `Terrorist' in nature through the `Goebles' formula of repeated misinformation and hate campaigns. The intended results have enabled successive Administrators to try and eliminate the "symptoms" rather than in providing a cure for the actual "cause". It also helped to divert the interests of most people from all races and creeds from the various policies detriment to the country which have been blatantly implemented.
In actual fact no identifiable ethnic problem existed then, nor does it exist now. There is indeed greater harmony amongst the anglicized and other priviledged Sinhalese and Tamils than ever before. Such harmony and unity began to be particularly consolidated after the commencement of the armed conflicts in the North and the South which threatenned their common vested interests.
If any ethnic problem did exist at all, it was the oppression of the underpriviledged sections of the majority race by the priviledged and pampered sections of the minorities. Such policies which were a legacy of the colonial masters involved placing greater trust in and consequently granting disproprtionate priviledges to those from minority classes, races and religions. This continued to be consolidated via the conspicuously high proportion of the budgets for education, welfare services and infrastructure development being apportioned to the Provinces where these priviledged sections lived and the other Provinces being merely afforded "step-motherly" attention.
This policy continued to be perpetrated on the common people by the ruling classes from all races. They were supported in their task, particularly by those who had acquired allegiances to and served foreign vested interests well and who were disproportionately entrenched in the Professions and the Administration which in fact wielded the real power while politicians were kept busy with their defacto "acting" and PR roles.
The actual causes of the current crises have been economic in nature and the result of the justifiable grievences of the repective non-English speaking sections in the North and the South being not adequately addressed. This was amply demonstrated by the results of the 1956 elections whereat the defeat of the representatives of the ruling elite was even more prominent in the North than those in the South.
Lip service has been paid ever since to addressing the causes of the severe social problem arising primarily from using English as the medium of instruction, administration and consequent oppression. However, the only palpable attempt at addressing at least some of the issues was indeed the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam pact. This was naturally sabotaged by the representatives of foreign and local vested interests who have successfully adopted and implemented the `divide and rule' policies which they had learnt so well from the colonial masters.
The country was acordingly fortunate that the current President had duly noted the vernacular rather than ethnic nature of the two wars by recognizing the LTT as the only representative of the vernacular sections of the North. It is they who have had a justifiable grievance and been driven to despair as indeed were their counterparts in the South. It was a welcome change from the oft recurring attempts to negotiate with those who have been using the LTT as a mere cat's paw to retain or regain the priviledges that they have had under the colonial masters and their obedient successors.
However, her failure to commence parralel negotiations with the corresponding representatives of the vernacular sections of the South has been one of the main causes of the failure to arrive at a reasonable end to the conflicts.
Another cause has clearly been the fact that the Administration has been lured into addressing less relevant issues related to the conflict in the North under pressure from those who are directly interested in perpetuating one war or the other in Sri Lanka. They include regional and Western vested interests who are the actual pay-masters of the NGO's and alleged "human rights" do-gooders who fuel the conflicts. Their ultimate objective has clearly been to prolong the wars and thus turn Sri Lanka also to `beggar' status. This would ensure the country's dependence and consequent subservience to them, as clearly demonstrated in many other countries too.
Pre-requisites for a sustainable end to the two conflicts to the benefit of the indigenous population rather than according to the wishes and dictates of Western countries, their media and their NGO's appear to include :
I would be glad to furnish further details on the above proposal if invited to do so by your committee or any other duly constituted body entrusted with the task of making suggestions to bring about a sustainable end to the armed conflicts that the country has had to suffer for the last 25 years.
Sri Lanka ppt No.K0636060
WIJEDORU & CO. LTD.
PO Box : 90866 TST, Hong Kong
Tel : ( 852)23671221 Fax : (852)2369493
E-mail: [email protected]
12 September 1996
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access since 12 September 1996.