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Is the TNA response to LLRC Report  politically correct?

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by Asanga Welikala

Hello Friends,

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA)is today the premier political party of the Sri Lankan Tamils. When the long delayed report by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was released the response of the TNA was eagerly awaited.

TNA Leader R. Sampanthan addressing a meeting in Vavuniya, Feb 20, 2012-pic:Tamilwin

The TNA did respond by issuing a devastating critique in the form of an analytical report. This aroused the anger of the Government and is regarded as one of the contributing factors to the prevailing deadlock in Govt-TNA talks.

Asanga Welikala,one of the bright young minds in Sri Lanka ,has written a working paper for the Oxford Transitional Justice Research project on the TNA response to the LLRC report.

Welikala is a senior researcher at the Legal and Constitutional unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives(CPA) in Colombo . He has a progressive outlook on the issues of pwer sharing and devolution.

Yet, he is somewhat critical of certain aspects in the TNA report and has outlined his reasons for adopting that position.

I feel Asanga’s paper will make worthwhile reading and perhaps fuel a healthy, informed discussion on whether the TNA has responded to the LLRC report correctly or incorrectly

I am therefore posting it on my blog.

Here it is Friends-DBS Jeyaraj

Some Constitutional Aspects of Sri Lanka’s post-war reconciliation debate: The LLRC Report and the TNA response

by Asanga Welikala

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), appointed by the Sri Lankan government to recommend measures for post-war reconciliation, published its much-anticipated report in December 2011. The nature of the Commission’s mandate, composition, and the legal framework of its operation, as well as the hopeless record of similar bodies in the past, had led some to dismiss the LLRC as inadequate to its historic task.

It is apparent upon reading the report that at least some of these reservations were justified. For the LLRC’s recommendations in relation to the allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, against both the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), do not set out clear measures to ensure the criminal accountability of perpetrators.

Yet what surprised many were the LLRC’s observations about democracy, citizenship, fundamental rights, the rule of law, good governance, creeping militarisation, and government-sanctioned criminal activity.

At least with regard to those observations, the robustness of the Commission’s recommendations was not widely expected, even if neither its analyses nor the recommendations themselves are beyond informed critique. The report accordingly received a cautious welcome from local civil society and the international community. While they were disappointed that the LLRC had not been sufficiently rigorous and forceful in regard to criminal accountability, and while aware of policy alternatives that the LLRC chose not to adopt, these responses rightly stressed that the success of the reconciliation process would depend significantly on the government’s sincerity and seriousness of purpose in implementing the LLRC’s recommendations in full.

The official response of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), published in January, adopted an appreciably more critical tone, focussing on the shortcomings of the LLRC’s treatment of the factual circumstances at the closing stages of the war and its misapplication of relevant norms of international law. The TNA did not engage at any length with those LLRC recommendations that address the political and constitutional dimensions of the conflict, except to dismiss certain recommendations (such as the proposal for a second chamber in the central legislature to represent the provinces) as inadequate and inappropriate, while noting, with reservations, that it would welcome
other more general measures to strengthen democracy, if properly implemented. While the TNA is entirely within its rights to critique what is the weakest element of the LLRC report, it is the TNA’s presentation of legalistic arguments and analysis in isolation that is perhaps problematic. It has thus arguably missed an opportunity to engage with some of the deeper political and historical concerns that pertain to reconciliation, and in particular, to the constitutional dimensions of the post-war state dispensation apropos of minorities and pluralism.

The TNA has described the LLRC’s observations with regard to constitutional reform as “exceedingly vague” and “mostly rhetorical.”8 This needs to be understood in the light of two factors. First, the LLRC was not expected to produce a comprehensive blueprint for a post war constitutional settlement, and neither would it have been desirable or appropriate for it to have done so. The broad and general manner in which it has articulated the principles that ought to inform the constitutional accommodation of ethnic, religious, and cultural pluralism in post-war Sri Lanka is therefore methodologically appropriate. Second, it is surprising that the TNA has not used the opportunity to set out a serious critique of the overarching constitutional vision for postwar Sri Lanka advanced by the LLRC.

This vision is that of a very conventional model of nation-state that addresses unity in diversity through guarantees of citizenship rights.

To elaborate upon this further, it is in the LLRC’s heavy reliance on the preindependence Soulbury Commission’s understandings of such key concepts as nation, state, ethnicity, pluralism, and citizenship that we see how the LLRC imagines what the post-war state should look like. The LLRC has followed the lead of the Soulbury Commission insofar as the LLRC likewise embraces the conventional Westphalian model of the nation-state, wherein the nation was defined by reference to bounded territory, the state was the juridical form and repository of the sovereign rights and obligations of the nation, and solidarity and cohesion were achieved by the common enjoyment by individuals of the rights and entitlements of citizenship.

The idea that language, religion, culture, or other ascriptive associations might be more important to Sri Lankans in articulating their sense of collective identity than are abstract concepts like social contract, citizenship, and civil and political rights was addressed by the Soulbury Commission only through specific constitutional mechanisms designed to prohibit legislative discrimination. Presumably, it was hoped that nation-building and political development would lead to the construction of an inclusive, modern, civic Sri Lankan national identity, and render the pre-modern linguistic, religious, and cultural communalisms redundant.

The postcolonial history of mismanaged ethnic pluralism and violent conflict in Ceylon/Sri Lanka immediately demonstrates the glaring inadequacies of this model of statehood. Despite the model’s well intentioned commitments to democratic pluralism, to the rights of minorities, and to counter-majoritarian safeguards, the model was singularly ill-equipped to address the constitutional requirements of a polity such as Sri Lanka, in which there is more than one ethnic community that sees itself as a nation, but in which one such ethno religious nation, namely the Sinhala-Buddhists, enjoys an overwhelming numerical superiority as well as an emotionally charged historiography that lays claim to the exclusive ownership of the state and its territory.

Procedural democracy in the context of such dominant nationalism all but becomes ethnicised majoritarianism and hegemony, and the consequences have been violent, palpable, and tragic.

Yet the LLRC champions this as the exemplary paradigm to which post-war Sri Lanka should aspire. While such a perspective contrasts refreshingly with the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism and populist authoritarianism that characterises the present government, the LLRC’s model is nonetheless theoretically inadequate, constitutionally unimaginative and analytically flawed as a prescription for the fundamental politicoconstitutional challenges of accommodating the ethno-national pluralism that exist within Sri Lanka.

Comparative theory and practice with regard to the constitutional accommodation of national pluralism, in the liberal democratic West as well as in the global South, abounds with some of the most exciting developments in contemporary constitutional law and political theory.

One of the central features of these developments is the theoretical proposition that the ‘nation’ can be disaggregated from the ‘state’, and that innovative constitutional arrangements can be devised wherein more than one nation can be peacefully accommodated within the framework of a united, single state.

While generally obviating the need to establish separate states to satisfy the aspirations of sub-state nations, this calls for radical forms of autonomy and decentralisation. The LLRC has engaged with none of these developments, but has instead resorted to the comforting familiarity of a failed constitutional orthodoxy.

It might have been expected that the TNA would have the foremost interest, at the very least, in pointing these issues out. There is no strategic advantage for the TNA in focussing solely only on the accountability issues to the exclusion of the constitutional matters.

Indeed, such a focus actually plays into the Rajapaksa regime’s hands, in its disingenuous attempts to conceal its own pathologically centralising and authoritarian tendencies, and portray Tamil nationalism as fundamentally separatist. The regime can now all the more easily continue to paint the TNA as a kind of ‘rump LTTE’ that shows too much concern for the Tamil diaspora’s (and Western governments’) preoccupation with accountability and international intrusions into Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, and too little concern for the socio-economic needs and political aspirations of its Tamil constituency within the island.

Perhaps more seriously, the TNA’s refusal or inability to engage critically with the central constitutional ideas underpinning the LLRC report demonstrates its own lack of a substantive constitutional vision for the sub-state nation that it seeks to represent. This is a crisis of ideas that has afflicted Tamil nationalism since the end of the war in 2009 (if not before), and which requires urgent attention if any notion of a sub-state Tamil nation is to eventually be negotiated and expressed in a future constitutional settlement.

Without conceptual clarity as to both how Tamil nationalism is politically articulated as well as the substantive constitutional claims it seeks to make, the TNA’s political strategy, in dealing especially with a recalcitrant and triumphalist regime in Colombo, risks confusion in theory and disarray in practice.

Click here to view/print PDF version of this report, including foot notes: Some Constitutional Aspects of Sri Lanka’s post-war reconciliation debate: The LLRC Report and the TNA response – by Asanga Welikala

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35 Comments

  1. The TNA has described the LLRC’s observations with regard to constitutional reform as “exceedingly vague” and “mostly rhetorical.”…it is surprising that the TNA has not used the opportunity to set out a serious critique of the overarching constitutional vision for postwar Sri Lanka advanced by the LLRC.

    This is Asanga’s one and only useful observation, and thankfully he placed it near the beginning. The demands of the Tamil nationalists, as enshrined in the Thimphu Declaration are also “exceedingly vague” and “mostly rhetorical,” and the TNA has not deviated from that tradition.

  2. A good analysis indeed, especially a refreshing one to come from one of the southerners. Hats off..

    Also we need to understand TNA’s position in relation to approaching the report. On one hand TNA has to look into means to come up with a sustainable power sharing proposal that is acceptable to the minority community, they also have to make sure that the proposal has a possibility of implementation in the current context. For them to stipulate a solution, which would completely avoid ethnicised majoritarianism and hegemony may seem to be stupid especially dealing with the hard line government and its strong support in the south. Also as the sole representatives of the Tamils, TNA has its responsibility in being firm in the accountability issue. It is immoral for them to ignore the accountability issues. They have the highest priority in looking after the interests of those badly affected by the conflict. The concentration in accountability may also have come by for a different reason, that it may have been used as a tool in loosening the hardline stance of this government. It may be opportunistic, but threat works better in this part of the world. Saama petha thaana thandam……….

  3. This guy Asanga seems to be knowledgeable but what’s he doing with Pakkiyasothy Savanamuthu’s CPA outfit? That makes me doubt him.

    Why?What’s wrong with the CPA?……..DBSJ

  4. “Without conceptual clarity as to both how Tamil nationalism is politically articulated as well as the substantive constitutional claims it seeks to make, the TNA’s political strategy, in dealing especially with a recalcitrant and triumphalist regime in Colombo, risks confusion in theory and disarray in practice”.

    An exceptionally perceptive analysis by Asanga Welikala. The above quoted concluding paragraph focuses attention on the dilemma confronting the Tamils and the government. In the post-war context the problems confronting the Tamils now and likely to confront the Tamils in the future have to be clearly identified and articulated. The problems cannot be yet identified in the context of the pre-militancy circumstances, however much these circumstances (Sinhala only, colonization schemes, Standardization of marks and restricted recruitment to the public services) led to the militancy. The fact that the circumstances have drastically changed, have to be recognized. The TNA and other Tamil formations have failed in this context.

    Many Tamils yet fear that the a riot of the likes of 1983 and before can recur any time in the future, in the absence of a detterent like the LTTE. They yet feel insecure in this context. What can be done to assuage these fears? The LLRC has touched on related issues, but has failed to identify this sense of fear and suggest remedies. Many issues identified by the LLRC are of a national character and affect all citizens of Sri Lanka. However, the issues affecting a minority that feels disempowered, alienated and seeks to find an evil intent behind every action of the goverment, have to identified and adequately addressed.

    I will be bold to identify the primary issue is the collective security of the Tamils as a people, a linguistic group, a cultural entity, a religious entity and an entity that has a predominent presence in particular areas of the country. The overwhelming desire for recognition of the land-related identity, arises because of past experiences with anti-Tamil riots in the south and the insecurity it engendered. The other issue is opportunities commisurate with their numbers in all walks of life. The third issue is recognition of the principle of merit over and above that of linguistic identity.

    The governments post-war attempt at imposing a Tamil leadership of its choice but of dubious character has clearly failed. It should have created the conditions for a new leadership more attuned with the times and needs of the Tamils to evolve. This has created the circumstances for the TNA- an anachronism in terms of the times, its ideology and its composition- to present itself as the representatives of the Tamils. A sad post-war development that has positioned us for the old ‘merry-go- round’ ride with frightful consequences.

    The government and the political parties from the south have also been quite vague in identifying the problems confronting the minorities now and suggesting remedies for their post-war needs. The president while articulating the laudable vision for a united nation (‘one nation, one people’) has miserably failed to give flesh to this vision- for public view and debate. The opposition has continued to play its traditional partisan role. The President fears to spell out his vision in its details because he knows how the opposition and his coalition partners will react. He seems to think that time and the result of his investment in development will eliminate the problems, forclosing the need for constitutional solutions. He also apparently feels that the TNA is trying to subvert the path he has chosen to take. I am sure the TNA is either incapable of comprehending the President’s startegy or fears losing its political relevance to the Tamils, if his stretegy succeeds.

    Both the TNA and the government are deliberately remaining vague to avoid committing themselves to any reasonable solution primarily for fear of losing their political constituency. The secondary factor is that both have no clear understanding of what the problems are and hence continue a charade. The political culture that has developed over the years in Sri Lanka, has made this charade an unfortunate necessity. We are a nation incapable of grabbing the bull by its horns at the opportune time! It is tragic story of missed opportunities!

    ( I have ventured to make this comment, despite my previous decision to not comment here, because of the critical importance of the subject and validity of the issues raised. I will defintely not do this often and annoy my detractors!)

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Thank you for this comment Dr.Narendran. Even the Catholic priests at Tholagatty observing the vow of silence had one day a week in which they spoke out.

    It is your choice entirely as to whether you wish to comment or not. But please do not let others determine your choice indirectly. If you are keeping away because of “detractors” then that would be a false choice.These detractors would have succeeded in their objective if you keep aloof on their account.

    My humble advice to you is to say what you want to say clearly and fearlessly. Do not respond to stupid,routine criticism. If someone responds intelligently and decently then please engage with that person.Dont bother replying to detractors whose only intention is to harass you and make you stop commenting

    You are one of the few people who comment under your own name. Most of your detractors are people who write under bogus names. They do not deserve your response. You do not need to enter into discussions with them. Please treat them with supreme disdain and keep writing whatever you want to say whenever you feel like it

    Please do not forget that these comments are only a very,very minute fraction of the readers who visit this site.As in many instances of national life a miniscule vociferous minority hogs the megaphone.This minority does not reflect the vast number of actual readers who comprise the silent majority.

    I always keep that silent majority in mind when I write and not this vociferous minority

    When I started the comments section I thought it would be a healthy forum where ideas would be exchanged through amiable conversation.I thought my people would discuss the tragic predicament they are in with a sense of introspection and form opinion aimed at uplifting the people and country.Sadly it has been a disappointment

    I often think of stopping comments because it is a waste of space and my time and energy. Besides some of the comments simply depress me

    But still I retain it because there are some intelligent, informative and at times amusing comments. A few are innovative(for instance Native Veddah). I dont want to shut these comments out.

    In order to see a few beautiful lotus flowers blossom I suffer the large amounts of mud too. Also like Sisyphus I contiue pushing the rolling boulder upwards with the optimism that gradually the quality of comments would improve.

    For that to happen people like you need to post frequently

    There is a Scottish proverb that I follow in my life most of the time when detractors target me deliberately –

    “They say?
    What say they?
    Let them say!”

    Then there is also this verse from a film song sung by JT Chandrababu

    “Sollurathai Sollipputten
    Seiyyurathai Senjidunga
    Nallathunnaa Kaettitudunga
    Kettathunnaa Vittudunga”

    ( I have said what I want to say. You can do what you want to do. If its good listen to it.if its bad just discard it)

  5. Is the TNA response to LLRC Report been politically correct?

    Yes, absolutely right – but the TNA should have used the same yardstick and hit the LTTE whenever the latter overstepped the legitimate scope of armed resistance.

  6. An excellent analysis! I am sure TNA would have engaged Rajapakse on most of these issues, only if he thought that he was talking to a person or persons who had receptive minds. The paradox is that the regime expected a report according to his wishes that could have bee used as a whip against the Tamils and reasonably usable in the international forum as a shield against accusations. Unfortunatel, the report blew up in his face, leaving no time to make amends. His mothpieces criticized the report to that extent. They would have even contemplated accusing the members of his own committee as agents of LTTE or the diaspora!

    Any reasonable person would have thought that he worked so unscrupulously to gather a two third majority in the Parliament and brought in the 18th amendment so that he could use these tools to implement at least some important recommendations. But that was not to be. It was solely for the purpose of securing his safety and family propagation of power. Solving the ethnic problem was the last thig in his mind.

    Under those circumstances, engaging him on those areas would certainly have been futile. Nevertheless, TNA could have done so at least for the purpose of records.

  7. “It is apparent upon reading the report that at least some of these reservations were justified. For the LLRC’s recommendations in relation to the allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, against both the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), do not set out clear measures to ensure the criminal accountability of perpetrators”

    How do you expect the LLRC to set out clear measures to ensure criminal accountability of perpetrators when the LTTE military hierachy is not around to be held accountable? So, what Asanga Welikala, while trying to act impartial, is indirectly saying is to forget about the violations of the LTTE, but to hold only the sri lankan military accountable.

    Secondly, if Asanga Welikala is expecting the lower level LTTE cadres who survived the war to be held accountable for the decisions and actions of their military leaders, then does he not approve the rehabilitation and re-integration of some 11,000 LTTE cadres into society? Maybe he would prefer if these cadres were held accountable and punished for any violations committed by the LTTE instead of getting a ‘second chance in life’.

    This could be one of the reasons why the LLRC did not want to go down that road of setting out clear measures of ‘accountability’ because they did not want to be partial or selective in this regard.

  8. TNA was voted into power during the last election but is denied administration of the NE Provincial Council which is being administered by the Military Governer.
    This ‘military government’ is assisted by paramilitaries of the EPDP.
    This does not happen in all other provincial councils.
    This is contravention of the provisions of the constitution.
    There is no requirement for any “political strategy” on the part of TNA..
    It is a military takeover of the provincial council by force.
    If the tamils’ elected political representatives are allowed to run the affairs of the council – as is happening in all other provincial council – there will be peace and good governance, and further discussions on other matters can commence.
    Welikala’s long submission is irrelavent.

    I would think your comment is irrelevant to the article………..DBSJ

  9. A very excellent thoughful paper.One of the best I’ve read. Thank you Mr. Welikala and Thank you Mr.Jeyaraj for posting it here

  10. I think the TNA critique of LLRC report was legally and morally flawless but politically it was neither pragmatic nor prudent

  11. The author of this critique brings what is essentially a postcolonial theoretical understanding to bear on the TNA response to the LLRC report. Scholars in the humanities and social sciences adept in postconlonial theory would especially be appreciative of this analysis.

    The critique of the “crisis of ideas” afflicting Tamil nationalism is a good one and younger generation of social science and humanities trained Tamils should come forward and be given a place in formulating such a critique of majoritarian politics.
    Yet, what is clearly absent in this Oxonian critique is that the TNA team whith its emphasis on the war crimes issue is responding to what the LLRC was meant to cover up. After all LLRC was simply the latest ploy by the government to hoodwink the international community reluctantly launched by SL in the face of UN investigation of war crimes.

    So while I welcome this critique it should not be at this time since it could be seen by some crazy’s as a way of illegitmizing an aging TNA who are trying to better than the armed militants with their complete distaste for any Oxonian claptrap!

  12. I believe TNA gave more than enough chance to MR , particularly on disagreements they had with GOSL by not publishing it .

    one good example is
    As per wiki leaks http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/09/09COLOMBO877.html#

    “On September 7, seven members of parliament from the
    Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party met with President
    Rajapaksa and his brother, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil
    Rajapaksa. While it was reported in the press as a cordial
    and satisfactory meeting, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, one of
    the attendees, told PolStaff that he and his colleagues found
    that the meeting was not at all productive, and that the
    president did not effectively address a single one of the
    issues the TNA brought before him. Premachandran said
    although the meeting lasted over three hours, most of that
    time consisted of Basil Rajapaksa doing all the talking, with
    the president occasionally answering a question.” 7th Sept 2009

    GOSL has gone beyond the reasonable limit of any kind of standard and reached the breaking point .

    It is time to wash the dirty cloths in public now.
    TNA should stand up and short it out once for all .

  13. I believe TNA gave enough chance to MR particularly on disagreements they had with GOSL by not publishing it .
    As per wiki leaks http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/09/09COLOMBO877.html#
    “On September 7, seven members of parliament from the
    Tamil National Alliance (TNA) party met with President
    Rajapaksa and his brother, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil
    Rajapaksa. While it was reported in the press as a cordial
    and satisfactory meeting, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, one of
    the attendees, told PolStaff that he and his colleagues found
    that the meeting was not at all productive, and that the
    president did not effectively address a single one of the
    issues the TNA brought before him. Premachandran said
    although the meeting lasted over three hours, most of that
    time consisted of Basil Rajapaksa doing all the talking, with
    the president occasionally answering a question.” 7th Sept 2009

    GOSL has gone beyond the limit and reached the breaking point .

    It is time to wash the dirty cloths in public now.
    TNA should stand up and short this out once for all ,

    if they don’t , we will have to have another massive disaster get another IINTERNATIONAL momentum like now.

    OUR NATION CANNOT AFFORD THAT . NO MISTAKES MUST BE MADE NOW.

    So you want another disaster?……….DBSJ

  14. TNA represents Eelam Tamils, and they receive mandate from the local people. It is their duty to reject the ‘findings’ of this bogus commission, if it has serious short comings. As usual, this was another delaying tactic anyway. They (TULF)have seen many commissions before, and their recommendations yet to be implemented. Former TULF went along with all Sinhala appointed commissions, and we all know what happened to the recommendations! All these so called ‘senior researchers’ and ‘respected’ journalists can say anything but it won’t change a bit in Sinhala south. Only way to bring change is an outside intervention from a world power, not even regional power.

    And which world power do you want to “intervene” here?…………DBSJ

  15. Since the Indian government and President of Sri Lanka signed the accord accepting the 13th amendment to the constitution to give some devolution of power to people of North East, which was subsequently accepted by the Sri Lankan Parliament. So many years have passed since the 13th amendment was made law nothing has been done to act on this amendment. Instead they de-merged the North and East with the help of the previous Chief Justice. So how can you trust this government now? We have been waiting and waiting for the last 65years to solve our problem, now it has got the international attention and it’s going to be even discussed in the UN shortly. If we miss this opportunity to bring our problems to the international forum now, then when are we going find a way out? If we are not going to take this change we will not have one again for some time. Mahinda has to answer to the tears and suffering of thousands of innocent people who have lost their loved ones in this unwanted war. The only fault of theirs was they were in that part of the country at the time of war. They have suffered under LTTE and the President was trying to portrait to the world that he sent the troops to save the people. If so why are you still using your troops to torture, harass and kill the Tamils after liberating them?? This shows you are not genuine. Your only desire is to subjugate the Tamils and rule them and keep them like slaves without any freedom or choice.

  16. Dr.Kumaraguru:
    TNA is not a registered political party and may breakup anytime. TNA is well known as the proxy of LTTE.

    TNA cannot give any chance to President but Mahinda gave many chances. What is the policy of TNA after all? Mathiyaparanam Sumanthiran tells “TNA do not accept 13th Amendment”. R.Samabanthan tells he accepts 13th amendment and expects Indian pressure in solving ethnic problem. Where are these TNA politicians stand?

    TNA and other pro-LTTE elements + the WHITE men’s Human Rights companies totally rejected the LLRC. Then what kind of ‘politics” TNA needs now over the LLRC?

    TNA must explain to the Tamils why they rejected the LLRC at the start? Then they can issue 100 page or 500 page statements on LLRC report. I observed the TNA always try to destroy anything to solve the problem.

    Those who have made their homes in the West can shout anything because they never go back and prepared to live in Sri Lanka!If these people dream that USA/UK will come and give EELAM, it is a DAY DREAM.

  17. DBSJ,

    Thank you very much for the personal note and advise. It is the almost pathetic nature of most comments and the attempt to target me as a person that frustrated me. I engage in the discussions to provide a much to often ignored perspective to problems here in Sri lanka. I will continue to do so , because of your encouragement.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    Thank you very much. We look forward to your participation…………DBSJ

  18. Asanga Welikala’s analysis is well presented for the TNA to focus it’s future strategy in it’s discussions with the government.Continue to jaw jaw is the only way and there is no other way if the country is to progress.No one is saying that the LLRC Report is perfect it has many shortcomings and defects but on the basis of Asanga’s analysis whatever positive features that the report has must be considered as an avenue for making further progress.

    I would like to mention here a point made by Dr.Narendran in this blog where he is critical of the TNA’s for not taking into consideration the President’s reluctance to spell out his vision because of fears that the TNA may subvert his delelopment strategy making it possible for the oppositon and his coalition to undermine him politically.The President seems to believe that development alone is sufficient without any need for constitutional reforms.This is where the TNA the crux of the problem lies..

    But the reality is the Tamil people in the island with the burdensome history of their past losses,humiliations unhappy memories and bad experiences have rightly or wrongly given a mandate to the TNA with reagrd to their collective security as an indentifiable minority who have lived in the island side by side with the majority community for thousands of years.

    It is the task of the President to accept fact and to spcifically spell out his vision and also influence his coalition partners and the opposition of the truth that fact. The President is the President of all the people irrespective of their linguistic,religious or cultural differences are inextricably linked and reach out to them, and for that to happen the TNA should too reciprocate in a similar vein.

  19. I am a Tamil and I truly truly believe the Tamils and sinhalese should respect each other
    60 years of hatred will not go away easily. There are so many many many wonderful loving sinhalese and tamils are begging for PEACE

    We tamils should become patriotic to the country we were born in which is Srilanka
    Sadly we are not patriotic to the country
    Majority should always protect Minority . It also did not happen example 77 , 83 riots
    let us start a new beginning

    (a) raise SriLankan flag all over Tamil areas show we are Sri Lankans
    (b) sing srilankan national anthem in schools and public functions

    (c) Sue the monsters who talk against race or cultcure . take them to cleaners

    (d) meditation to all

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn8zI9QZq1k

  20. Jimmy good suggestions but very diffecult to practice. How can the current government bring unity if they stop people in Tamil speeking areas from sing the national anthem in Tamil and force the children to sing in Singhala and use the flag as a simbol of victory over the Tamils. If you say sue the people who talk against the race and culture I think half the cabinate of the presnet government will be behind the bar. Advise the President to do that atleast his brain will then function better.

  21. I also thought at first TNA has not done justice to LLRC report when I read TNA response.
    Rather than saying TNA response is politically incorrect we can say that it is not diplomatic.
    Even the Global Tamil Forum praised some of LLRC’s recommendations.
    Sadly, TNA opted to ignore most of the good points in its recommendations.
    One must learn from US Diplomatic maneuvers in presenting the resolution in UNHRC in which it praises LLRC and its report and wisely criticizes its shortcomings.
    Hope TNA will change its attitude towards GOSL.

  22. Dear Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,

    I think you have highlighted correctly the part of the question. At the moment Sinhala government is handled by a team of thief’s, as a Sinhalese when I see TNA I see them as the thief’s in the Tamil side. Those who Understand Sinhala please spend some time to listen to this radio programme
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07zThC2dk-U if we fight to get a administrative system that is independent of Politicians I think that is what we should need to fight for, not just transferring power from Sinhala thief’s to Tamils thief’s., Singapore is a best example.

    Regards,
    Sudarshana

  23. Real peace can be achieved when only individuals win their own self. You are the enemy of youself. Can you think of everyone being the same regardless of Tamils Sinhalese Muslims and Whites. We should put everyone in equal setting and make life better for all Sri Lankans. How do we do that? We should eliminate race, caste and creed or class system, get rid of wrong religious beliefs and embrace scientific ways of solving problems. WE SHOULD NOT GO BEHIND THE WHITE MAN TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS! Religions make people fight each other!

  24. Dr Narendran

    I’m sorry to say your views are not balanced.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I have deleted the rest of your post

    There is no need to “balance” as you say when one writes a point of view. This applies to you too. There are some who may say you are “unbalanced” too when you write your view point

  25. Dear Dr Narendran,

    I, for one appreciate your comments. They are articulate, insightful, well argued and more importantly well intentioned. If the political leadership (of Tamils and Sinhalese) held the same attitude as displayed in your comments, reconciliation could be achieved easily.

    Thank you for posting the article Mr DBSJ. Though sometimes the issues are a bit beyond my legal understanding as my studies and current employment is in finance the article is good analysis of the current situation.

    Since MR has concentrated power in the presidency it is not likely than there will be any constitutional solution he will acquiesce that involves a lessening of his power. This has been the case in the Presidency since JRJs time. Or in this case a structure of power he cannot easily influence.

    Even in more open parliamentary democracies power is tended to be wielded more unilaterally by the leader, particularly when the leader wins an election campaign convincingly. This is because the campaign is nowadays won or lost largely by the leader who is better able to capture the electorates attention since there are less policy differences between parties.

  26. I do detect a certain exasperation in DBSJ’s comments. I can not for the life of me see why!

    I am however slightly perturbed by Dr Narendran’s discontentment with his detractors. He is sadly one of the few Tamil voices that speak with the clarity, substance and above all good sense. I avidly read his articles primarily so as to be educated. Some of the criticism (if you want to call it that) of Dr Narendran is as pointed out by Mr Welikala, due to “crisis of ideas” among Tamils as to the most constructive way forward, in light of the changed realities. In the absence of enlightened views such as his, it is rhetoric from the Tamil/Sinhala extremists that find resonance in such a debate.

    Sorry to depress you further with my comments DBSJ, but keep finding the lotus flowers and as for the mud slinging, with you I think it is like water off a duck’s back. Keep up the great work Sir.

    Thank you………..DBSJ

  27. A first rate scholarly analysis by Asanga Welikala, which needs building upon. I would like to read a paper on this, co-authored someday by him and Kalana Senaratne, our most promising young Constitutional law scholars.

  28. TNA MPs were democratically elected by the Tamils. They are in the process of negotiating with the Sinhala Govt on behalf of Sri Lankan Tamils. One has to admit that only those who are involved in these negotiations would know how to move the pieces, tactically and strategically. So, I appeal to all to give them a chance. If they fail to negotiate equal rights, they will be discarded by those who elected them.

  29. Dr. Rajasingham Narendran, I hope you contribute more often here. You have a very realistic, balance perspective to issues Tamils facing and as a country we all. I don’t see that often among other Tamils contributors here or in other forums. As a Sinhalese I admire you and my sincerer hope is that one day more educated, intelligent and balance minded Tamils like you lead our Tamils to lasting peace and reconciliation.

  30. Mr Jayasri ,

    “WE SHOULD NOT GO BEHIND THE WHITE MAN TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS!”
    “We should eliminate race, caste and creed or class system, get rid of wrong religious beliefs and embrace scientific ways of solving problems.”

    By looking at above phrases from your comments , I am laughing ha ha good try but you sliped ,

    it makes me to remind a psychological lesson which states that

    “ if you let a lier to talk bit longer he will prove himself as a dishonest ….

    May I kindly asked you to read
    Equivocation —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocations
    And
    Deception http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deception

    A lie will be caught at one point .
    You will always slip unless it comes from heart .

  31. Many sensible readers appreciates the trouble DBSJ takes to run his blog, act as a moderator and allow comments. Patriots and non patriots and other well wishers must thank DBSJ for that . I am glad he has posted this analysis by Asanga Welikala.

    I think except the last 4 paragraphs based on my wisdom as a Godaya boy he has done briliantly. Based on the last 4 paragraphs Godaya boy would say any conclusive arguemets searching for a one word answer whether TNA is politically correct or incorrect is diabolical.

    How many times between 4th Feb 1948 and end of 2011, the two dominant parties UNP and SLFP, using the majoritarian power has made changes to the Ceylon/ Srilankan constitutions with or without out the help of TC, FP, TULF, and other small parties ?

    Even the so called progressive partie like LSSP and CP threw away their principles. These parties too had competent lawyers who were fully blossomed competent constituional and economic, financial experts.

    Based on the realities the question of whehter TNA is politically correct or not is well answered to a larger extent in detail by Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri in his essay

    ” History after the War: Challenges for Post War Reconciliation ” written for ICES.

    For this Godaya boy the onus is on either SLFP or UNP or both combined to make Tamils regain their lost status through meaningful devolution. Both UNP and SLFP have been politically wrong since 1948 and 1953 respectively

  32. TNA’s devastating critique in the form of a report can’t be taken as a contributing factor for the present deadlock in the GOSL/TNA talks as the government has already stalled it.Further as the majority party representing the Tamils and the second largest opposition party they have all the right to express their opinion.Can we expect a learned,considered opinion from EPDP or TMVP?
    As for Asanga he is definitely a bright, liberal young guy around and I remember attending a conference in Murten in Switzerland in the immediate aftermath of the signing of the CFA.He has correctly referred to the present situation as ‘post war’ and not as ‘post conflict’ as the government and some others continue to state..The recommendations that has come out in the LLRC report (leaving aside their position on the accountability part) is not as a result of the hearing but matters that has been raised by all right thinking people for a very long time.Problem is even the recommendations in the interim report has not been implemented to-date. They in any event had to do it to balance their comments and findings with regard to Accountability.After all Bullah is not a fool. As far as the political solution is concerned LLRC is not the one that TNA has to engage.GOSL-TNA talks and LLRC were but ploys by the government to buy time to finish the ‘land grabbing’ and ‘militarisation’ of the Tamil homeland.Now the GOSL will request time at the UNHRC until the Universal Periodic Review in October so that there will be ‘no more problem’ in Ceylon to solve.Forced amnesia of past war crimes will not bring about reconciliation.Without accountability for past crimes there can’t be reconciliation. Above all without the proper ‘mind set’ to find a political solution there can’t be peace. With many jumping from the party in which they contested and became Members of Parliament to the Ruling party to become ministers(including the Professor for whom ‘internal self determination’ mentioned in the Oslo talks was a paradigm shift then and no more and the present Minister who is the government’s spokesperson at Geneva on Human Rights)can you expect anything fair?

  33. [For the LLRC’s recommendations in relation to the allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, against both the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), do not set out clear measures to ensure the criminal accountability of perpetrators.]

    How can you have a report that states it is a reconciliation report,if it ignores the most fundamental aspects of the tamil grieviences which is that upto 40000 civilians were slaughtered in cold blood and countless numbers of women were stripped,raped and killed and then photographed naked.The LLRC report is saying to the tamils please forget about that and let us look into other matters that are of concern to you.Does it think that tamils are so selfish that they will forget about what happenned to their fellow countrymen for some sweets and toffees offered by the LLRC report.

    the LLRC report is like being invited for a dinner and after the entree,you are waiting for the main course,which never comes.Then the host goes on talking to you about various matters such as your health and his health etc,and then the dessert comes which is a caramel pudding,and the host waves goodbye to you and says that from now on all the misunderstandings are over and we will have a new and great relationship in future.

    The visitors also wave bye,bye but strangely there is a emptiness in the stomach.It does not seem that full and so the bye byes are not so loud as is usual after a hefty dinner.

    then the visitors ask the kids are you’ll still hungry and they all shout shout “yes mummy” let us go to macdonalds and so they got to the mac which in this case is the international community.

    So for the tamils the recommendations of LLRC report should be implemented and the recommmendations of the darusman report also should be implemented so that they can really lustily wave bye bye to the sinhala hosts.

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