Ensuring TNA participation at the parliamentary select committee

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The political dialogue between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil National Alliance(TNA)that progressed in fits and starts has reached a state of impasse for several months. The current deadlock is due to rigid positions adopted by both sides on the key question of a Parliamentary Select Committee(PSC).

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Leader of Tamil National Alliance Mr. R. Sampanthan at Temple Trees on February 21-Pic by : Chandana Perera-news.lk

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is of the firm opinion that any negotiated political settlement or arrangement should be multi-lateral and worked out only through a Parliamentary Select Committee(PSC). He has appointed a 31 member PSC for the purpose comprising 19 Govt party representatives and 12 opposition party representatives. The TNA has been allocated three of the twelve opposition representatives.

The bi-lateral talks between the Government and TNA were suddenly put on hold by President Rajapaksa who opined that any political settlement or arrangement could only be evolved through the multi-lateral mechanism of a Parliamentary Select Committee. Earlier the delegation representing the Govt unilaterally transformed its nomenclature into that of representing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) which is the chief constituent of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

This arbitrary change from Govt delegation to SLFP delegation was a harbinger of things to come. It indicated that President Rajapaksa had changed goal posts while the game was in progress. The President who initiated the constructive dialogue with the TNA seemed to disfavour it as a viable option now. Instead he wanted the TNA to participate in the envisaged Parliamentary Select Committee and together with other political parties evolve an acceptable political settlement.

The rationale behind the President’s decision was two- fold. Firstly he felt that any arrangement reached at the Govt-TNA talks had to be approved by Parliament. Therefore it would be better to shift the discussions into a Parliamentary forum like the Select committee and proceed with political discussions aimed at one or more Constitutional amendment/s.

Secondly the President opined that bi-lateral agreements reached in the past between Govt and Tamil representatives had ultimately failed due to the suspicion and resentment among other parties notably the opposition. That was because they were not stake holders in any bi-lateral agreement. Thus Rajapaksa wanted all Parties represented in Parliament to claim ownership to any possible political settlement. He wanted to increase the number of stake holders.

The TNA which has proved through democratic elections to Parliament and local authorities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces that it is the premier political party representing the “Ilangaith Thamizhar” or Sri Lankan Tamils was not amenable to the President’s drastic “U”turn. It wanted the Govt-TNA bi- lateral talks to continue and arrive at a basic agreement first. Thereafter that bilateral agreement could be presented at the PSC for multi-party approval.

TNA STANCE

The TNA was not averse to participating at the PSC. It only demurred on the modalities. It wanted talks to continue bilaterally on an already agreed upon set of principles. Once an accord was reached it could be presented singly or jointly to the PSC. This was the TNA stance.

This TNA position did gain acceptance from the International community notably India and USA.To most detached observers the TNA stance did seem understandable as it appeared that the President had unilaterally changed the rules of political engagement.

Whatever the nature of outside opinion ,President Rajapaksa seemed determined that it was the PSC or nothing. But he found it impossible to convene the PSC and start the ball rolling due to opposition non – cooperation.

The TNA is refusing to go into the PSA at this point of time saying it wants the talks with the Govt to continue first. The Chief opposition United National Party (UNP) says it will abide by the TNA decision. The JVP has virtually rejected the PSC for its own reasons. This in essence has caused a stalemate without any forward movement.

The political stalemate prevails at a critical time for the Rajapaksa regime. The Govt is under intense international scrutiny thanks to the resolution sponsored by the USA and supported by India at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It was passed by 24 votes to 15 with 8 countries abstaining in a council of 47 member states.

ENDORSEMENT

The visible lack of effective progress on political rapprochement with the TNA reflects badly on the Govt. The TNA due to its creditable performance in democratic elections and by articulating its political stance through acceptable, moderate terms has earned the regard and endorsement of the International Community. The Government’s perceived inability or unwillingness to even engage the TNA in political discussions does not project a positive image internationally.

The crux of the matter is that the Rajapaksa regime trying to resolve the Tamil national question known euphemistically as the ethnic problem without the involvement of the TNA is akin to enacting the “Ramayana” without Lord Rama. However much the Govt and critics try to belittle the TNA and deem it inconsequential , the perception both nationally and internationally is that the TNA has a democratic mandate from the Sri Lankan Tamil people to negotiate on its behalf. Trying to supplant the TNA with political renegades or self –confessed “half democrats “ would not suffice.

The President in an effort to demonstrate that some forward movement is being achieved has been trying to get the TNA to at least nominate its proposed representatives to the PSC. President Rajapaksa even summoned TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to a one to one meeting at “Temple Trees” and tried to elicit the names of TNA nominees but the Septugenarian Sampanthan would not oblige. The impasse prevails.

The TNA’s reluctance to go into the PSC without reaching an agreement with the SLFP(Govt) first is understandable. Significant progress has been made at the Govt-TNA talks notwithstanding the fact that some irresponsible TNA Parliamentarians make media statements to the contrary. Besides the unilateral manner in which President Rajapaksa terminated the bilateral talks abruptly and imposed the PSC as an alternative is insulting.It is after all a matter of dignity where the TNA and by extension the Tamil people have once again been treated shabbily.

There is also a question of mistrust and lack of confidence. If President Rajapaksa is reluctant to go in for bilateral talks the TNA is hesitant about going in for multilateral initiatives. Recent history is replete with instances of round table conferences, all party conferences, political party conferences, Fact-finding Commissions, Parliamentary Select committees etc where no worthy decision was arrived at. Where reports were presented no follow up action has been taken.

President Rajapaksa’s record in this respect too has been tardy. The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) he convened years ago submitted an interim report that has not been implemented. The four different reports submitted by different groups and members of the APRC experts panel are also gathering dust. At another level the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Report(LLRC) Interim and final reports are yet to be implemented.

DEVOLUTION

If these acts of omission or non – commission do not inspire confidence in the Govt there is also another cause of deep suspicion on the part of the TNA. The party is fearful that through multilateral discussions and majoritarian imposition the PSC could be converted into an instrument that could crush the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils. The TNA worries that the quantum of devolution proposed could be little or nothing at all. The TNA has anxiety that even the devolution available through Provincial Councils could be done away with through the PSC. If that happens the TNA which strives for the Silk “verty” of greater devolution may lose even the cotton “verty” it is clad in now!

The statements made by some members of Parties represented in the Government like the Jathika Nidhahas Peramuna or Jathika Hela Urumaya as well as by some members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party make the TNA uneasy that the whole concept of devolution could be under threat at the PSC. The recent interview given by Economic Affairs minister and Presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa to a Sunday English weekly has also accentuated fears of the PSC outcome. Many Tamils share TNA misgivings about the possibility of a Sinhala majoritarian viewpoint being imposed through the PSC.

Another factor heightening TNA trepidation about going into the PSC has been the recent “communication gap” between President Rajapaksa and visiting Indian political leaders on the question of “13 A plus”. Both Indian Foreign minister SM Krishna and opposition leader Sushma Swaraj told the media on different occasions that President Rajapaksa had agreed to “Thirteenth Amendment Plus”.

Those assertions at public press conferences went unchallenged when they were made but were disputed within days. It was made clear that President Rajapaksa had not agreed to 13 A plus. He had only said he was prepared to concede 13 A plus or beyond if the PSC decided so. What the President had indicated was that he himself would comply with whatever the Parliamentary select committee decided upon.

This clarification too did not infuse much confidence to the TNA. Ironically the TNA which has also been dismissing the 13th Amendment as being inadequate was now troubled that even those gains made through the Indo-Lanka accord could be frittered away. There was a time when TNA leader Sampanthan told the BBC Tamil service that “the 13th amendment was a stinking ,dead corpse which the TNA wont touch”.Even now the TNA yearns for something greater than the 13th amendment but was equally concerned that powers could be whittled away to much less.

SUSPICION

In this respect there is also suspicion among Tamil circles that the PSC idea could be a deceptive time buying exercise. With the Rajapaksa regime facing lots of international pressure the PSC could be utilized as a stratagem to deflect attention away. After prolonged and protracted sittings the PSC could simply wither away like the APRC without anything tangible in the form of an acceptable report materializing.The TNA would then be the laughing stock of the Tamil speaking world.

If these were reasons reinforcing the TNA’s doubts over the PSC, the President was equally if not more, resolved to forge a political consensus through the multilateral mechanism of a PSC and nothing else. He was not amenable to the suggestion that bilateral talks and agreement should precede TNA participation at the PSC. Obviously the TNA is disgruntled at what it depicts as intransigience but what the TNA seems oblivious to is the fact that the party too is an underlying cause for this state of affairs.

The TNA derisively described as Tiger Nominated Agents by Douglas Devananda is seen as an appendage of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)by a vast number of the Sri Lankan people. The LTTE may no longer exist in Sri Lanka as a viable organization but its overseas structures remain intact.

A large number of Tigers and pro-tiger elements in the Diaspora have changed their stripes and transformed into human rights champions and seekers of retributive justice. This transfiguration may have deceived western human rights organizations, political representatives and media personnel but in Sri Lanka the people remain wary.

The TNA because of its past history where it was meekly subservient to the LTTE and acted as tiger puppets is yet viewed with suspicion. The intemperate pronouncements of some TNA leaders and their past tiger links increase this feeling.

In recent times the TNA has incurred further hostility by shamelessly aligning itself with extremist elements in the Diaspora. The TNA was elected by the Ilangaith Thamizhar to represent them and look after their welfare but many TNA parliamentarians seem keen to cater more to the whims and fancies of Diaspora elements rather than to the basic needs of their constituents whom they seem to take for granted.Interviews to media organs of the Diaspora and frequent overseas trips seem to be the order of the day for several TNA leaders.

HOSTILITY

This nexus is causing much revulsion and hostility at home among the Sinhala people who view this suspiciously as an unhealthy development. Many regard the TNA as dancing merrily to the tunes played by Overseas orchestras. President Rajapaksa being a political animal sensitive to public opinion realizes this. He may also be having more concrete evidence of TNA –Diaspora links through reports furnished by the impressive intelligence network run by his brother the Defence secretary.

Although devolution of a limited extent is already available through the Provincial councils there also exists a degree of hostility towards it. Greater devolution is looked upon suspiciously by some as the word Devolution is also fast acquiring a negative image akin to a “dirty word” like Federalism. There is also resentment over the fact that the 13th Constitutional amendment paving the way for devolution was made possible through Indian intervention. There is a sullen mood in the country that could erupt if mishandled.

All this has made the President cautious. He is aware that a bilateral deal with the TNA runs the risk of being looked upon suspiciously by sections of the majority. Also he is conscious of the fact that this “deal” could be exploited by elements hostile to him in the country. The President only knows too well that slight friction could ignite violent demonstrations as witnessed at Katunayake and Chilaw. He knows the ethnic issue is volatile and requires only a flashpoint of tension to trigger off a major conflagration. Thus Rajapaksa treads cautiously.

Moreover the President is also doubtful about a potential agreement with the TNA. Given the manner in which virulent sections of the Diaspora exert dominant influence on some TNA leaders the President fears that the TNA would make excessive demands of him. He has also seen how Sampanthan and the old Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF)let down Chandrika Kumaratunga at a crucial juncture in 2000. He does not want a replay of that scenario.

President Rajapaksa is like a batsman who does not want to call a run because he thinks the partner at the other end may not respond and run him out. He is like a trapeze artiste who does not want to jump off his swinging bar and grasp the hands of his partner in mid air because he is paranoid that his opposite number would let him down literally and figuratively. So Rajapaksa wants a safety net!

SAFETY NET

And that safety net is the Parliamentary select committee. By involving other political parties in the exercise the President wants to make it a combined effort rather than a solo effort by his party alone. By getting all involved as stakeholders he is distributing responsibility at multiple levels.

Rajapaksa is hopeful that he could convince the people of a political arrangement forged multilaterally than one formulated unilaterally or bilaterally. It is not a two –thirds majority in Parliament that is of concern but the daunting prospect of a potential country wide referendum. Only a multilateral end product could prevent the possibility of a referendum polarizing into ethnic camps, he feels.

Had President Rajapaksa taken the TNA leader Sampanthan into his confidence and outlined his reasons for changing from bilateral to multilateral talks the veteran TNA leader may have been amenable as he too is a politician sensitive to political considerations.. But this did not happen presumably because a Johnny come lately into politics had prejudiced the President’s mind about Sampanthan carrying old LTTE baggage. Instead of trying to win over Sampanthan the President attempted to browbeat the TNA and hence the current deadlock.

The stalemate situation however is not good for the Government in general and the Tamil National Alliance in particular. The President and Govt are strong enough to simply stay put without making any effort to either convene the PSC or engage in parallel poltical efforts as a substitute. This however would result in increasing loss of trust and confidence towards the Govt among the minority communities. It would also bring about an undesirable strengthening of hawkish tendencies among both the Sinhala and Tamil ethnicities. The Diaspora hardliners will have a field day condemning Colombo while the International community will gain another reason to criticize the Rajapaksa regime.

The TNA too would be affected. First and foremost there is the question of what the TNA could do constructively by staying away indefinitely. If the Govt continues to be inflexible on reviving the Govt-TNA talks and the TNA does not participate in the PSC there does not seem to be any other viable alternative looming on the political horizon. There seem to be no other options available.

While there is much merit in the TNA wanting to reach an agreement with the Govt before convening the PSC, the harsh reality is that it takes two to tango. Rightly or wrongly the President is resolved that it is a multilateral mechanism or nothing. Compelling the President to re-commence bilateral talks through international pressure even if possible (this writer thinks it is impossible)would only amount to a forced marriage. Consummation is not possible. So the TNA simply parroting the demand for bilateral talks is politically a despondent cry in bleak wilderness.

DIASPORA

The LTTE and pro-LTTE Diaspora elements and those irresponsible vocal warriors who want the TNA to adopt a confrontational posture with the Govt would no doubt be delighted at the TNA remaining indefinitely outside the PSC but such an approach would not be fair by the Tamil people of Sri Lanka who elected the TNA.

The TNA won recent elections by campaigning on a platform of a negotiated political settlement within a united Sri Lanka and not on a separatist demand. The TNA beseeched the voters to strengthen their hands at negotiations by voting for them. The TNA did not campaign for “Thesiyam, Suyanirnayam and Thayagam”(Nationalism, Self-dtermination and Homeland). In fact those who did so were roundly defeated at the polls.

It is therefore imperative that the TNA be attentive to the requisites of their constituency. The Tamil people in Sri Lanka are quite realistic about the current situation. What they are worried about is their existential problems, the safeguarding and preservation of their ethnic identity and the ensuring of fundamental rights.

Going into talks and discussions with the intention of arriving at a settlement providing greater devolution at the periphery and sharing of power at the centre is a legitimate aspiration of the Tamil people which the TNA is duty bound to fulfill.

With the President resolved that the PSC is the only option the TNA is in realistic terms faced with Hobson’s choice. It is no comedown to adjust to this reality as politics is the art of the possible. Stubborn unwillingness can only lead to annihilation as events in May demonstrated three years ago.

Compromising pragmatically is what responsible political parties representing a weak minority do. The compromise however has to be done with calculated finesse and tempered with cautious optimism.

The TNA must also realize one thing. International opinion is fluid and fickle. The shades of opinion that backed Colombo’s war three years ago is now calling for accountability. International opinion may be supportive of the TNA stance towards the PSC at present but it could change overnight. Faced with the prospect of a prolonged impasse the Internatiional community may alter its attitude and pressure the TNA to participate in the PSC at Rajapaksa’s terms. It would be better therefore if the TNA revises its stance towards the PSC of its own volition.

EXTREMIST

Another point to be noted by the TNA is that a state of impasse could result in greater pressure being exerted by Tamil extremist elements within and outside Sri Lanka. Nature abhors a vacuum and if the TNA keeps up a state of non – negotiations indefinitely the extremist elements would seek to press the party into adopting harder, confrontational positions. This is not a good thing for both the party as well as the long suffering Tamil people in the Island.

It must be emphasized that the intention of the President to seek a political solution through a Parliamentary select committee is something commendable in the eyes of the democratic world. It is an acceptable exercise upholding the finest traditions of participatory democracy.

In the case of Sri Lanka the doubts are not about the mechanism but of how the process would turn out to be. The TNA is reluctant only because it fears the PSC would be utilized wrongly. If the doubts on this account are clarified or eradicated then there should not be any reason for non –participation. At the same time the Rajapaksa regime too should be mindful of TNA apprehensions and seek to allay them positively.

When suggesting that the TNA should abandon its rigidity and participate in the PSC one does not want the premier Tamil party to walk into the spider’s parlour like the fly. Just as President Rajapaksa seeks to use the PSC as a safety net the TNA also should have adequate safeguards before participating in the PSC.

GUARANTEES

The least that it should demand and obtain before consenting to participate are minimum guarantees. These guarantees should make the TNA feel more secure and confident about participation.

Firstly the TNA must ensure that the PSC exercise should not diminish what is already available in terms of devolution. Whatever is available through the present provincial councils must not be reduced. In short the Prevailing provincial council structure and powers should not be allowed to decrease below par.

Secondly the quest for greater or maximum devolution should not be curtailed or restricted. The usage of concepts like “13 A plus” or “13 A minus seem meaningless in a state of flux. As it stands today it is 13 A minus” without the North- Eastern merger.

What is possible and feasible is to regain the “plus” by trading the unit of devolution for substance of devolution. In this the eradication of the concurrent list and allocating the bulk of powers to the Province with the exception of key areas seems to be the way to gain greater devolution.

The extent of Maximum devolution cannot be guaranteed but what is necessary is a guarantee that the target would be above and beyond the current scope and scale of the Provincial Council.

Thirdly the gains made through the Govt-TNA bilateral talks should not be simply thrown in the dustbin of history. It may be recalled that there were bilateral talks at three levels. The first was the one to one talks between Central Bank Governor Ajit Nivard Cabraal and TNA national list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran. The second was the one to one talks between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan. The third was the delegation to delegation talks between the Govt (SLFP) and the TNA.

Despite negative aspersions cast on these talks by the TNA spokesperson Kandiah Premachandran alias Suresh and journalist mouthpieces of the Diaspora like a Tamil Sunday newspaper editor, the fact of the matter is that much progress had indeed been made in the various rounds of talks as far as the search for greater devolution. Agreement had been reached on a number of substantive issues and there were only three to six outstanding matters to be resolved when the talks were aborted. The outstanding issues however were contentious and required in depth discussions.

DOCUMENTS

Since the bilateral talks have been abruptly terminated and the President wants fresh discussions to begin at the PSC there is no way in which the essence of the agreement reached could be imported into PSC proceedings. President Rajapaksa would not want the PSC to be seen as an extension of the Govt-TNA talks. There is however a device that could be used to both retain the basis of areas covered as well as to make a fresh start.

This would be to define the starting point in PSC discussions on the basis of certain modalities agreed upon during the bilateral talks. It may be recalled that it was agreed during the meeting between President Rajapaksa and TNA leader Sampanthan on September 2nd 2011 that five documents would comprise the basis for further discussions. This decision was reiterated and endorsed at the talks between the two delegations on September 16th 2011. The endorsement was minuted and later accepted as minutes and ratified at the next round of talks between Govt and TNA delegations on October 20th 2011.

The five relevant documents are-

1. The text of the Interim report of the Parliamentary Select Committee chaired by Mangala Moonesinghe that was released in December 1992.

2. The text of proposals released by the Kumaratunga Government in January 1996.

3. The Text of proposals formulated by the Parliamentary select Committee chaired by Prof GL Peiris that was presented to Parliament as a White paper in October 1997.

4. The Text of the Draft Constitution Bill presented by the Kumaratunga Govt in Parliament in August 2000.

5. The text of the report submitted by the All Party Representative Committee (APRC)Majority of Experts Panel on December 2006. Eleven of Seventeen Expert panel members comprising Six Sinhalese, Four Tamils and One Muslim signed this report.

All the above documents have already been agreed upon as the basis for further discussions at the bilateral talks. They could now be accepted as discussion papers for PSC proceedings and be used as a basis. This would ensure an element of continuity from bilateral to multilateral talks while enabling the PSC to start off with a fresh slate.

The substance of these five documents incorporate much of the essentials covered thus providing the TNA with a sense of confidence in the PSC. At the same time utilizing these documents as discussion papers at the PSC could also lay down the parameters of a home grown solution which is what President Rajapaksa wants to finalise.

All five reports/documents are indigenously formulated without any external input or imposition. Moreover there is a multilateral basis to at least four of the five documents. These documents as discussion papers could satisfy both the Govt and TNA as well as other parties in the PSC and also provide a sound basis for proceedings.

DEADLINE

Fourthly the PSC should be a time bound exercise. President Rajapaksa should fix a firm deadline of around three to six months for the PSC. Exceptional care should be taken to hold PSC sittings regularly and frequently without prolonged intervals. There must be a guarantee that an interim report would be presented to Parliament after a designated period of time like Six months.

Fifthly options of sharing power at the Centre also should be examined in addition to devolving power to the Provinces. The departed TULF leader and Constitutional expert Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam used to observe that the Tamils seek power sharing at the periphery only because they were denied power sharing at the centre. In that respect President Rajapaksa’s idea of setting up a second chamber or upper house also should be delved into and accepted with modifications at the PSC proceedings.

If President Rajapaksa could provide such categorical guarantees on these counts to the TNA in good faith there should be no reason then for the Tamil representatives to remain in the cold.Such guarantees if duly conveyed to the International community through appropriate channels would endow the process with a sense and spirit of serious commitment.

The TNA should also consult parties such as the UNP, Muslim Congress, Ceylon Workers Congress and the leftist ministers in cabinet about these PSC matters and try and evolve a consensus.Already the UNP leader Ranil Wickremasighe has indicated willingness to allocate two of the eight representatives entitled to the UNP to the TNA if necessary. This would enhance TNA strength to five in the PSC of Thirty –one.

The role played by opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in trying to ensure participation of the TNA in the PSC is commendable. He is reportedly acting as an intermediary between both sides in this.

Ranil has also agreed to evolving a working arrangement with the TNA. He has said he would join PSC proceedings if the TNA agreed to do so and has also said that he would abide by whatever decision reached by the TNA on devolution. This no doubt would provide the TNA much needed moral support and a sense of political security.

Even if the TNA is provided these minimum guarantees by the President and it participates in the PSC there is no guarantee that everything would be to its satisfaction. Given the inconsistent nature of politics as well as inter-personal relationships, everything is uncertain and unpredictable. The guarantees given by the President could be observed in the breach at the PSC. The final outcome could prove extremely unsatisfactory.

OPTIONS

If such an eventuality occurs what can the TNA do? It has two options. It can pull out of the PSC at the earliest sign of dissatisfaction and release a statement outlining its reasons for doing so.

The other option is to stick it out till the end, refuse to endorse the PSC report and instead present a dissenting report. Some sections of the Tamil media are warning the TNA that the PSC is a trap. Even if it were so the TNA need not be trapped permanently. It can always exit when necessary. Withdrawal is always an option.

The matter of issuing a dissenting report also evokes memories of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam (how one misses him at this juncture) during the time of President JR Jayewardena. In 1979 JR appointed a Commission on Devolution chaired by retired chief justice Victor Tennekoon. Neelan was the TULF nominee on the Commission. The final report was not to the liking of the TULF and Dr. Tiruchelvam. So Neelan wrote a dissenting report.

Lo and Behold! A pleasant surprise was in store when the District Development Councils bill was presented in Parliament in 1980 and the DDC’s set up in 1981. Many recommendations in the dissenting report filed by Neelan were in the DDC bill and structure. The only TULF Parliamentarian of that time currently in Parliament is Rajavarothayam Sampanthan. As a close associate of Neelan, Sampanthan would certainly remember what happened then if and when the TNA participates in the PSC.

The time is ripe for the TNA to participate in the PSC if minimum guarantees are sought and obtained from the President. Even if all things work out well there is a question of saving face. Since the Govt and TNA have adopted contrary positions and rationalized their conduct on that basis neither side would like to be perceived as having compromised. Politics is more perception than reality and optics counts.

The TNA is likely to suffer more because it has insisted vehemently that it would participate in multilateral talks only after bilateral talks conclude. Its political opponents could attack the TNA on this count now.In such a situation the way out would be for President to help the TNA . He could convene a fresh political conference of political parties represented in Parliament and use that as a prelude to constituting the PSC.

However much one understands and agrees with the reasons stated by the TNA about participating in the PSC the time has now come to end this stance. The politics of boycott and confrontational approach has been detrimental to overall Tamil interests in the past.

The TNA must obtain guarantees to participate in the PSC. The President must provide such guarantees. Politics is the art of the Possible!

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com

104 Comments

  1. Well done DBS

    You’ve made constructive suggestions to kickstart the political process.Hope Govt and TNA will act positively

  2. GOSL must discharge its duties to ALL citizens. any GOSL must be by now fully aware of aspirations of Tamil population.

    any GOSL ( Rajapakse or Fonseka ) should come out with an internationally acceptable solution instead of RE INVENTING THE WHEELS by appointing different committees .

    there is NO NEED OF ANY COMITTEE .
    enough committees had been appointed enough proposals discussed from SWRD to current.

    If ANY GOSL has genuine plan to solve this problem .
    They don’t need ANY COMMITTE.

    Learn from past come out with a solution
    NO NEED FOR RE INVENT THE WHEEL AS IT IS ALREADY THERE

  3. TNA do what diaspora tigers say. tiger diaspora dont want talks to happen. so TNA wont go to PSC

  4. Problem is that there are NO or VERY FEW genuine Tamil moderates today. All of them are in bed with Tamil extremism/racism. Until the Tamils get rid of this ugly mentality they will not get a solution for their problems.

  5. Congratulations Mr.Jeyaraj for an excellent article.You have analysed situation in detail and made practical proposals.May wisdom prevail!

  6. DBS

    You made very valuable ideas in this article. TNA should go into the PSC and try it out. As you say tNA can pull out when necessary if it is a trap.But responsible leaders must try every method to get rights of Tamils back.

  7. As far as I am concerned, Nationalism is an excuse for Racism and many politicians use this very cunningly, irrespective of the so called race. For me there’s only one race that is Homo sapience sapience and the rest of it is irrelevant.

    Dear DBSJ,
    I grew up with all three communities, and yet I am ignorant of the Tamil problems.

  8. DBSJ,

    An unimpeachable presentation of relevant history, in-depth analysis and a wise road map for the TNA and the government. Thanks.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  9. The successive Tamil leadership has always asked for some form of guarantee from the Sinhala leadership, (Chelva asked for some guarantee before voting in the Parliament, if I am right). He got none.

    Two people have talked in private. One person comes out and says, ‘we have spoken these things and the President has consented to those things’.

    Then there is no reply instantly. Then few days later comes a denial (S.M. Krishna and Suhsma Swaraj).

    Then how can the TNA get a guarantee for the agreed things in the bilateral talks.

    What is the guarantee that this talk process will not be repeated on some other pretext.

    But I do believe that talks have to be taken forward.

    This is a case of mutual distrust between people.

    I feel the load of mistrust has been assiduously built by the successive sinhala govts.

    But TNA should explore options.

    It could make its minimum demands public and say that if any of those is curtailed they would walk away from talks.

    That could be a way forward.

  10. I am confident that the current TNA leadership is capable of working with other parties with the help of international community to active a lasting solution for Eelam Tamils.

  11. Suresh M,

    Can you please define ” Eelam Tamils” ? As far as I know there are tamils all over the world they call themselves by the adjective of the country they belong. (Indian Tamils, Malaysian Tamils, etc). Where does this country “Eelam” exist ?

  12. TNA has nothing to lose by partcipating in PSC. On the other hand by not participating it would only serve as an excuse for the Govt to prolong the agony of the Tamils.

  13. Dear Lankapura

    Problem is that there are NO or VERY FEW genuine Tamil moderates today. All of them are in bed with Tamil extremism/racism. Until the Tamils get rid of this ugly mentality they will not get a solution for their problems.

    How many Sinhala moderates are there?

  14. Nothing will come out of it. Singhalese and tamils are cannibals in human skin. The more they fight the better for the world. These lot cant negotiate cos they dont know how to behave like humans. Both races are a bunch of uncivilised barbarians. Good riddence of bad rubbish. For the last 50 years they go back to ground 0 to start talks and leave after some time with 0 only to start at 0 again cos they love conflict and live like an undeveloped despot country in asia. They should jointly negotiate how to plant themselves in africa cos they will integrate better there. The singhalese can have their unitary state and the tamils can have a separate state. Ask usa to help with that as they did it to the jews with the support of the british to create israel. Just get out of asia you two races that is a curse for this plannet. Every tamil and singhalese should be ashamed of ourselves. The last 50 years has shown we the people never supported the politicians to reach out for peace but instead supported extremist to divide us but conviniently blame the politicians for everything. Why blame them ? Blame yourself for this mess

  15. “How many Sinhala moderates are there?”

    FAR, FAR MORE than there exists among the Tamils:

    – Tissa Vitarana
    – Vickramabahu Karunaratne
    – Milinda Moragoda
    – Ranil Wickramasinghe
    – Bradman Weerakoon
    – Rajiva Wijesinghe
    – Vasudeva Nanayakkara
    – Jehan Mendis
    – Austin Fernando
    – Jayantha Dhanapala
    – Dayan Jayatillaka
    – Sanjana Hattotuwa
    – Harsha Perera
    – Chandrika Kumaratunga
    – Nimalka Fernando
    – Mahinda Rajapaksa (yes he makes an effort to speak Tamil, is married to a Catholic, sent his children to a Christian school, worships at Hindu temples, and comes from a family with Tamils in it!)
    – Oswald Gomis

    Just a few off the top of my head.

    Add to that the fact that 9 out of 10 articles that DBS Jeyaraj publishes on his website are written by many lay Sinhalese!

    SO WHERE ARE THE TAMIL MODERATES??? Not one has still condemned any of the atrocities of the Tamil Tigers or written about how the Tamils were beholden to its violence and ethnic savagery. It’s laughable to call the Tamil National Alliance “moderates” – they are far from being moderates. Look at Suresh Premachandran’s latest speech – nothing but a venomous pile of bile and ethnic hatred. Is this what Tamil Hindu culture has come to? So much for the never ending bragging and drum beating about 5000 years of glorious history and culture. Basically all the smart, moderate, intellectual Tamils were killed off by the Tamil “sole representatives” and now the Tamils are very unfortunately stuck with tribalist, primitive, backward politicians/representatives who sold their soul to the LTTE and traded God for Tamil racism.

  16. In reality, the problem lies with three major actors in Sri Lanka. The ruling government (SLFP), the oppossition (UNP) and Tamil National Alliance. Unless there is an agreement within these groups, you will never find a solution in Sri Lanka. These three parties represent over 90 percent of the pariament.The subject of solution to this problem have been discussed in several instances in detail and there are proposals that is acceptable to all parties. The historical evidence clearly suggest that the major parties behaved in such a way to hinder to find a solution. So, the first step should these three actors (President Rajapakse, Ranil Wickremasinghe, Sampanthan & Rauf Hakeem) should sit together and come to an agreement of the suitable solution and then publicly announce to the people of the country and work for it until they achieve that.

  17. Where is the main opposition party, the UNP in this?.

    If the UNP is interested in a genuine reconciliation, and appoints its nominees to the PSC, the task of reining in Sambandan will be a lot easier.

    Would the UNP do that?.

    Of course not. They only want to nail Rajapaksa and roll him by telling the South that the President is selling the country to the Tigers.

    If Rajapaksa agrees to Sambandan’s demands it will be a Hara Kiri for sure.

    Because, as far as the great majority of the Sinhala population is concerned, Sambandan’s main demand is North and East for the TNA , with Police and Land transferred to him.

    That is the mistrust that the TNA ought to clear first , before they can ask a private deal from the President.

    Constant anti Sinhala and , anti Srilankan propaganda barrages beamed to the West using every single issue, most of which have nothing to do with the Govt , and dilly dallying with the anti Lankan overseas elements by the TNA MPs on regular basis are making the great majprity even more resentful towards the TNA.

    TNA technically represent only the Jaffna Tamil people, yet they try to portray that they are the sole representatives of the Tmil population.

    What about the Tamil leaders who are working with the Govt , who are elected members as well?.

    What about the Indian Tamil population who outnumber the Srilankan Tamils?

    What is there for them in a private deal between Sambandan and Rajapaksa?.

    Isn’t it best to disscuss the issues with all these three segments together?.

    Isn’t it better if the TNA totally dissociate itself from the overseas elements and join with the non TNA Tamil leaders and eliminate the fears of the Southern polity. that they are not interested in homelands and separate Police Forces?.

    Itn’t it better for them to acknowledge the increasing living standards of the inhabitants in the current peaceful environment,and express their solidarity to move forward and to bring more prosperity and better living standards to the whole populace, irrespective of their race or religion?.

    Wouldn’t that lead to winning the hearts and minds of people who only want to live peacefully in the new terror free environment.

  18. DBS,

    Good Article. But you say

    “What is possible and feasible is to regain the “plus” by trading the unit of devolution for substance of devolution. In this the eradication of the concurrent list and allocating the bulk of powers to the Province with the exception of key areas seems to be the way to gain greater devolution.”

    In opinion what should be the unit of devolution for the tamils. North or North plus part of east. Also what are the key areas that you think should be with the centre. Police powers ???

    The problem here is the inability for the Sri Lankan Government to trust the elected Tamil politicians like Premachandran with Police powers. If the likes of you or Chandrahasans take power I do not think the Sri Lankan governmnet will have a problem in devolving police powers

  19. Sri Lankan government have to make meaningful practical, and convincing concession or
    suggestion to make the TNA to participate in this .

    Tamils have been cheated and betrayed many time. Until TNA 100% convinced that this is real.
    No point in entering in to this PSC.

    Rajapaksa goverment has lot of power, if they want they can do lot of things silently for Tamils
    to get TNA on their side.

    But this Lankan government is even now trying to deceive the world with petty concessions, not
    addressing the main issues such as devolution, accountability and impunity.

    Pro Tamil/Tiger Diapsora, will support the TNA in its decisions. But until the time there permanent
    peace in sri lanka for tamils, there need for activism at international level to bring about settlement.

  20. Dr Upul Kumara says:

    “I grew up with all three communities, and yet I am ignorant of the Tamil problems.”

    I beg your pardon. When did it become a “Tamil Problem”.

    If people demand that they should be treated equitably, they become a problem, “Tamil Problem”, “Muslim Problem”, “Up Country Indian Problem”, “Vedda Problem”, ….. except “Sinhala/Buddhist/Aryan Problem”.

    If I may, I would like you to clarify or define what this “Tamil Problem” means to you.

    Most race blind people know that it was a Sinhala/Buddhist/Aryan problem imposed on rest of the people. The problem grew out of myths old and new and fed to the gullible stupid people, on a 24/7/52 basis by the imagined race.

    It is similar to describing LTTE terrorism as “Tamil Terrorism” whereas Sinhala terrorism was merely a “JVP Terrorism”.

  21. The TNA are caught between a rock and a hard place, the PSC is a trap and everyone knows it. The PSC will most likely deliver something far less than what the Tamil people want, a 13A Triple minus.

    The MR regime knows they hold most of the cards and the only card on the side of the Tamils is the insistence of the International Community to treat the Tamils fairly, in particular the west and India. However, how reliable is this card for the Tamils? Is the IC really after justice and equality for the Tamils or are they after compliance from the MR regime, thats the big question.

    The position the TNA is currently in is symbolic of what all Tamils in the island are facing. Accept Sinhala majoritarianism or leave the country, for the TNA, accept MR’s version of “devolution” or get nothing.

  22. Lanka pura, I canot count a single Sinhala moderate other than Kalu Albert on this blog.

    Also here Tamils are the under dogs for 64 years and unles and until Sinhala racist Mahavamsa majoritian mind set is whiped out Tamil confrantanalist politics will not chang as Tamils won’t feel secure enough.

  23. Dear DBSJ,
    I meant to ask you this question before but some sort of technical difficulty prevented the posting it, unless the administrator edited it.

    My questions are,
    what are the specific problems faced by the Tamil population? Can you number them? I wanted to ask this purely because I consider myself ignorant considering the many who have knowledge about this in this forum itself ( I meant the people like Dr RN not the sjoseph kind)

    Please bear with me for my ignorance and help out if you can, within your limits.

  24. I can feel the pain of the long struggle and the hopelessness felt by the Tamil politicians at present.

    To be realistic even reading your last few paras it is obvious that the chances for a power devolution had been in the past. But who burned all the bridges then?

    Its a pity that at present there is a leadership vacuum at national level. As many potential leaders were killed during the conflicts or simply no man/woman with a sensible mind will opt for dirty politics today.
    —————————-

    ‘All five reports/documents are indigenously formulated without any external input or imposition. Moreover there is a multilateral basis to at least four of the five documents. These documents as discussion papers could satisfy both the Govt and TNA as well as other parties in the PSC and also provide a sound basis for proceedings.’

    ‘Fourthly the PSC should be a time bound exercise’

    ———————————

    Yes very rational basis for multilateral talks.

    But can we expect a rational out come from the present potential MPs who will be participating in this PSC?

    I would suggest there should be a select committee with experts on constitutional, HR and civil law. They should first study the 5 reports and give a summary or most acceptable solution/s. Then the MPs can base there discussions on the expert panel summations.

    This will need at least one year if we set a deadline.

    Meanwhile the civil society with the media should propagate a view of ‘reconciliation’ approach and have a popular view for a power devolution acceptable which will be acceptable to most citizen of Sri Lanka.

    Hoping for the best.

  25. Dr Upul Kumara says:

    Can you please define ” Eelam Tamils” ? As far as I know there are tamils all over the world they call themselves by the adjective of the country they belong. (Indian Tamils, Malaysian Tamils, etc). Where does this country “Eelam” exist ?
    Dr Upul Kumara, fron your name I believe you havea a Ph.D. Do you know that ” Illangai” “Eelam” are tamil names, similar to Ceylon and Sri Lanka. Tamils are using these words before the Sinhala,which is mixture of mainly Sanskrit and Paly with words from colonial masters. We do not need a P.HD to understand the history of Tamils in Illankai or Eelam, that means Sri Lanka. Tomorrow Sri Lanka will bocome Mahinda Lanka or LankaMahinda. Eelam and Illankai never change.

  26. Mr.Upul kumara there was no country called srilanka.Your homeland is bengal.EELAM is place wherever the SLA has dropped the shells & bombs

  27. There have been several attempts in the past to devolve power to the provinces. if I may list a few here:

    Thirteenth Amendment 1987 [Certified on 14th November, 1987]

    The Interim Report of the Mangala Moonesinghe Parliamentary Select Committee, 1992

    Gamini Dissanayake Proposals 1994 (Devolution proposals of 1994 Presidential Elections’ Candidate Late Mr Gamini Dissanayake of the United National Party.)

    CBK Govt propsed Constitution G L Peries – Thiruchelvam 1995

    Proposal on Devolution of Power – CBK Govt 1996

    Bar Association Proposals for The Constitution 2000

    How many more proposals, counter proposals and water downed proposals do the the Sri Lankan state needs to come back to where they started?

    Reinventing fire and wheel has become an official past time for the rulers as they have nothing better to do or contribute to the country.

    Time and again Sri Lanka’s politicians need something to impress their wives, mistresses and partners. This should not be one of them.

  28. Hi DBS, What’s the point in having ‘Nationalism, Self-determination and Homeland’ in the election manifesto as if and when elected Oath needs to be taken against Separate state in the Sri Lankan parliament?

    Why those nationalist champions can’t tell truth that they are saying this to get elected as Legislators in Sri Lanka parliament to engage with them on political issues based on the laws of the land?

    Besides the parliament perks and prestige is some of the so called nationalist mind sets are after anyway!

  29. TNA has nothing to lose by participating in the Parliamentary Select Committee deliberations. They can present the same demands they presented at the stalled negotiations. Now that the whole international community including India and US are watching developments in Sri Lanka, if the Sri Lankan President tries to use these deliberations as another dishonest exercise to delay devolution he would be found out and exposed.

    The problem with the TNA is that it is not functioning with one voice. There are some elements within the TNA who listen to the dictats of the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora. Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are on one side willing to deal with President Mahinda Rajapakse while Suresh Premachandran is working on another agenda. He is eying to become the next leader of TNA. Towards this end he is trying to unite TULF,PLOTE, TELO and EPRLF (Pathmanabha wing) behind him. He even managed to entice the Batticaloa Branch of EPRLF (Pathmanabha Wing) to his side. He is different to Sampanthan and Sumanthiran in that he comes from an armed group that has been accused of many murders. He was rightly exposed by Douglas Devananda in Parliament the other day.Suresh Premachandran also wants to be on the side of the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora. In the past, Tamil Parliamentary leaders have always come from moderate Tamil parties. Suresh Premachandran like Douglas Devananda has blood on his hands.

  30. This article is a good analysis to understand the political positions of some of the major stakeholders and interested parties regarding the current political developments related to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

    It is pointed out in this article that TNA did not campaign on “Nationalism, Self-determination and Homeland” and won the recent election while others who campaigned on the above lost. I do not think we can argue therefore, TNA would have lost if they campaigned on the above principles. It is probable that TNA had made a tactical decision not to talk about this during the recent election. It is my view that these principles are fundamental to the current political negotiations. Unfortunately, these principles are associated with the claim for a separate state and connected to the failed LTTE campaign causing fear among the Sinhalese population.

    The Sinhalese and Tamils must equally claim Nationalism, Self-determination and Homeland. There is sufficient history in Sri Lanka to indicate that these two nations speak different languages, have different cultures and lived in different areas in this island. It is only by recognizing these ‘nations’ that we can protect and cherish them especially their rich languages and cultures. What is important to note is that two nation states are not required to achieve this. When I visited Sri Lanka last year, I saw billboards in the North promoting the idea of “one nation, one people”. This ideology is fundamentally flawed and historically inaccurate. It is my view that any good political solution to resolve the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka must affirm the two nations in this island as a starting point. This is a difficult ideology to accept at the moment in Sri Lanka but is necessary to build the rest of the political structure. Therefore, the new constitution of Sri Lanka – that will be enacted at the end of the successful negotiations – must affirm, in writing, the two nations. Quebec experience in Canada is a good example where ‘multiculturalism in one nation’ ideology is preventing Quebec – which is predominantly francophone – not to ratify the Canadian constitution (Constitution Act) to this day precisely because there is no ‘one nation’ in Canada.

  31. Lankapura

    Where are the tamil moderates ? We the tamil moderates have given up dealing with you and the ltte both you and the ltte were extremist nutcases. There is nothing called tamil moderates now they are all dead. You should have asked that in 1970 not now.

  32. “Lanka pura, I canot count a single Sinhala moderate other than Kalu Albert on this blog.

    Also here Tamils are the under dogs for 64 years and unles and until Sinhala racist Mahavamsa majoritian mindAll set is whiped out Tamil confrantanalist politics will not chang as Tamils won’t feel secure enough.”

    Well guess what? The VAST majority of the current moderates are from the Sinhalese community who have and continue to voice their concerns despite threats to their lives. They critique Sinhalese society and work not only for its betterment but speak out for the Sri Lankan Tamils as well! Any such thing from the Sri Lankan Tamil side? Do the Sri Lankan Tamils have ANYTHING REMOTELY like Groundviews? The Centre for Policy Alternatives? The MARGA institute? Sarvodaya? The International Centre for Ethnic Studies? The answer is NO because the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus are still stuck in their racist, bigoted, casteist mentality. There is NOT ONE Tamil organisation that critiques the extremism, racism and bigotry within the Sri Lankan Tamil community – and we all know there is plenty of it. The Sri Lankan Tamils are lacking not only in moderates, but in intellectuals. They will beat the drum of “Tamil culture” and “Tamil pride” but in reality the current lot of represnetatives they have are as blind as bats and as dumb as nits.

    Keep up the “confrontational politics” — The Tamils are sure to “win handsomely” just like they did 3 years ago in Mullaivaikkal. Smart thing I would say is to COOPERATE and WORK TOWARDS FINDING A SOLUTION FOR THE TAMIL PEOPLE INSTEAD OF SOILING ONSELF IN SILLY TAMIL NATIONALISM AND THE HOT AIR OF “TAMIL PRIDE”.

  33. “Lankapura

    Where are the tamil moderates ? We the tamil moderates have given up dealing with you and the ltte both you and the ltte were extremist nutcases. There is nothing called tamil moderates now they are all dead. You should have asked that in 1970 not now.”

    They are all dead because Tamils like you killed them. Because Tamils like you chose the LTTE, nurtured them and supported them to the hilt. Don’t try and blame others now that your community is in the doldrums running hither and tither like a headless chicken. It’s everybody else’s fault isn’t it? And let me add one thing, real moderates don’t go around boasting to the world that they are moderates – their behaviour and speech do the talking.

  34. Great analysis, good and sincere recommendations, but who is fooling who?

    The conclusion viz a viz the Sri Lankan matter is simple: until time there emerges a Sinhala Buddhist leader committed to multi-culturism, secularism, and social justice (e.g. ‘Dambulla’), the island will continue to drift rudderless – the 65+ years cancer has not ceased to spread.

    I would like to quote from a recent public statement made by the president of EU Herman Van Rompuy: “I remember a speech by President Obama who said: ‘This nation is built on compromise’. Even the United States is built on an agreement, compromise is the rule of life.” If anyone believes that the majority of Sinhalese (made mostly of rural villagers) understands this Rule, then s/he should go get its head examined. But that would be OK if our leaders understood it. We are back to the identical status of 1956 – a national leadership heavily influenced by Sinhala Buddhists nationalists.

  35. Anton,

    Thanks for the explanation, My knowledge on thamil is limited , and I am not a PhD holder for language, I am a doctor of medicine, unfortunately. My apologies to Suresh M in that case.

  36. Dear Native Vedda,

    Part of my comment did not get posted may be due to moderation or accidental deleting by myself before submission and, I asked the same question again from DBSJ. When I said Tamil problem, I meant problems specific to Tamils and I do understand the rest of the facts you were trying to elaborate.

  37. “Lankapura —SO WHERE ARE THE TAMIL MODERATES??? ”

    you can start from famous Sinnaleppai from baticaloa who proposed Lion Flag in the Parliment in 1947 ,

    then proceed to great leaders like

    GG ponnampalam, V.Kumarasamay , many Congress leaders , Thondaman and many of his party members ,

    Muslim leaders being let down with dampulla event …..
    there will not be enough pace to list the names here is some
    thevanayagam, Rasathurai, Kanagaratnam , Douglas, Neelan , douglas, sitharthan, Karuna, KP , V.ponnampalam, and many more like DBSJ , myself

    they all have been let…

  38. I don’t have any trust about president assurance/ guarantee on the participation of TNA in the multi group political talk. I also found from literature that Sri Lankan governments just want to pass the time through commissions but not want to implement finally or they are not commited do so. It is very simple finger to “Tamil Extremists” but seems Government Sri Lanka itself extremist.

    What to say still the ” Politics is art of possible” but what I have from my experience “Politics make prosperity to all people belongs to nation” Well it is fate of “third world politic”

    Regards,
    Ratnam.

  39. Dear Native Vedda,
    Part of my comment got deleted may be as part of moderation or accidentally by myself before submission. I asked the same question again from DBSJ, When I said Tamil problems, I meant specific problems to Tamils, I understand rest of what you are trying to elaborate.

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  41. I was initially supportive of SLFP – TNA agreement on power devolution but not anymore. I think now the best option available is the PSC. A lasting and acceptable solution to the majority of Sinhalese and Tamils is only possible with the support of UNP. If Rajapakse make any pact with the TNA, UNP will exploit it to their advantage and destroy it. TNA has made this much easier by their confrontational approach and constant criticism of the government and Sri Lanka. TNA has lost whatever credibility it had with the Sinhala people. It is very obvious now that TNA is leaning more towards extremist elements in Tamil Diospora. So in my opinion, it is a wise move from Rajapakse’s point of view to get UNP onboard for any lasting solution. If Rajapakse moves along he will lose his Sinhala support base.

  42. Lankapura

    Tamils like you chose the LTTE, nurtured them and supported them to the hilt.

    ============

    Don’t put all the blame on the Tamils. You cheated the just demands of the Tamils many a number of times. You entered into accords and tore them off.

    This made the moderates like Chelva and Amir a laughing stock in the eyes of the Tamil people.

    And again Tamils were killed in the many pograms there.

    The Tamils then listened to the LTTE which paid you in your own coin.

    If after 1983 no ethnic riot happened, it was because of your fear for LTTE.

    LTTE put fear into your mind, which was not even having fear for the God.

    That fear made you behave like humans.

    You drove the Tamils into the lap of LTTE and now you are blaming them for nurturing them and supporting them.

    Don’t talk as if you are all as white as swan.

    Fear of retribution made you desist from killing Tamils post 1983 more than your inherent goodness.

  43. Nature needs and prefers the ilk of SWRDs’, MRs’. VPs’and other like minded Hitler’s, Sadams’, Gadafis’ mostly of the ruthless and less mindful to work for their own greater glory and a larger through-put of weeding out the less fit from its churning of experimental proto-type humans and sub-humans. Will it be an unethical or amoral proposition to offer to give the peaceful/suicide pills along with any meagre rations to offer another option to assist nature as through a Tsunami, flood or pandemic? Even as a first hand contact told me, was requested by a partly maimed and blinded war casualty in the Vanni?!

  44. Anton says:

    “Do you know that ” Illangai” “Eelam” are tamil names, similar to Ceylon and Sri Lanka. Tamils are using these words before the Sinhala,which is mixture of mainly Sanskrit and Paly with words from colonial masters.”

    Could site your sources to confirm you know what you are talking about, of course without a PhD.

    I have problem with both Hela/Lanka Tamils and Illangai/Eelam Sinhalese and their imagined or myth infested history.

    You should collaborate with Dr Upul Kumara to define historical terminologies which have been loosely used in commenting contemporary political events.

    I am confused as to what exactly both of you mean and feel when using emotionally charged words. Please bear with me as I am bit thick.

  45. Dr Kumarakuru Vasanthi,

    Please DO NOT try and drag the Indian Tamils aka Upcountry/Malaiyaha Tamils into this. Their leaders have absolutely NOTHING to do with Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka and their leaders have ALWAYS shunned the ugly violence and haughty attitude of the Jaffna Tamil Hindus and preferred to work with successive Sri Lankan governments. The upcountry Tamils may be far poorer and more uneducated than the casteist Jaffna Tamils but they certainly are better representatives of Tamil culture and civilization! The difference is that the Upcountry Tamils have fought tooth and nail TO BE SRI LANKANS while large sections of Sri Lankan Tamils have been fighting NOT TO BE SRI LANKAN. What a difference! Maybe the Jaffna Tamils need to take a leaf out of the “tea pluckers” and “kallathonis” that they loved to disparage.

    Even Mano Ganeshan is an Upcountry Tamil and not a Sri Lankan/Ceylon Tamil! Same for Muttiah Muralitharan! These folk can speak Sinhalese and mix freely with the Sinhalese people without hangups.

    I will admit that there WERE Tamil moderates in the PAST. But NONE or VERY FEW IF ANY TODAY IN 2012! Basically the ENTIRE SL Tamil community is enveloped in silly tribal pride and racial bigotry, hungry to find someone to blame and point fingers at, and hungry for revenge and a piece of flesh. The ones who are somewhat removed from this primitive tribalist mentality are the Tamil Christians/Catholics in Colombo and other urban areas who mix with their Sinhalese brethren at school and at Church. Schools such as St Thomas, Royal College, St Peters, St Benedicts etc have done a yeoman service in bridging the ethnic gap and even some of these Tamil Christians are cursed and spat at by the kovil-going, waste-a-milion-rupees-on-a-pooja, Tamil Hindu extremists. I’m NOT trying to create divisions here, just mentioning a home truth.

  46. Dear Mahesh,

    That broken record is getting old….. real old.

    The chorus is “waaah, waah ,waah, we are the victims! waah, waah, waah, it’s everybody else’s fault! Tamil Blood!! Tamil pride!! Tamil power!! Waah, waah, waah, we are the victims, it’s everybody else’s fault.”

    Time to sing another tune don’t you think.

    Maybe it’s time the SL Tamil community bring out some real moderates who do not have their head stuck up in the clouds dancing with the cuckoos.

    The Indian Tamils like you can mind their p’s and q’s… fools like you have the blood of Sri Lankan Tamils (and other Sri Lankans) on their hands. All your moronic filmstar Tamil Nadu leaders have contributed to the decimation of the Sri Lankan Tamils when they could have played a constructive role in bringing about peace in the island.

  47. “TNA has made this much easier by their confrontational approach and constant criticism of the government and Sri Lanka. ”

    No doubt. This is the result of having moronic, tribalistic, backward godayas representing the Tamils. It’s just like having the JHU/JVP represent all Sinhalese…

  48. Every time In Srilanka when the constitution was changed or amanded Tamils and the minorities got worse off from bad to worse.If any one care to look at the the changes since 1948.

  49. May 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    LANKAPURA,

    “Problem is that there are NO or VERY FEW genuine Tamil moderates today. All of them are in bed with Tamil extremism/racism. Until the Tamils get rid of this ugly mentality they will not get a solution for their problems.”

    Lanka pura, your questian is in itself shows the hidden racist mind set in your suconscious mind.Plese make good hot cup of TEA(Ceylon) and sit in a quite room and calmly examin your mindset before pointing you fingers at others.

  50. I was initially supportive of SLFP – TNA agreement on power devolution but not anymore. I think now the best option available is the PSC. A lasting and acceptable solution to the majority of Sinhalese and Tamils is only possible with the support of UNP. If Rajapakse make any pact with the TNA, UNP will exploit it to their advantage and destroy it.////

    It is now clear that Sinkala political parties exploit the situations in favour of winning the elections at the expense of tamils livelihood. Whether it is PSC or APC the outcome will be the same because either UNP or SLFP is not going to agree to power sharing fearing Sinkala extremism. So, is there any solution other than international community supported division of the country?

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  52. HELP ME…. What I can’t understand with Sri Lankan government:

    There has been many meetings with Tamil representatives from Thimpu …. Mahinda, APC etc. The government knows what Srilankan Tamils lack and want. So, why go this Merry-go-round again. If there is a true leader, He or She can impliment some of them without even talking to TNA. This will give the TRUST.

    Mahinda has all the time at Dhansala and Victory day parade but NO TIME to solve the problem. Its true, more the matter drags on Diaspora will be stronger. It will in turn push the International community. Moderate Tamils will be pushed towards LTTE, just like JR did to TULF. The government keeps pushing out the democratic Tamil parties to buy time or moving the goal post everytime.

  53. What are the “minimum gurantees” to be sought and “obtained” from the president?
    These are NOT stated.
    I think that the “minimum gurantees” should be:-
    a) Withdraw the armed forces from the northeast but strenghten the police if necessary.
    b) Appoint a civilian governer.
    c) Disarm all paramilitaries.
    d) All lands misappropriated by the army and other ‘state acters/officials’ be returned.
    e) Remove restrictions on all forms of livelihoods so as to return to the pre-war status.
    f0 Allow tamils who fled abroad to return and reclaim their lands and properties and live without harassment.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Which is the way to Vaddukkoddai?
    Two arecanuts for a coin.

    Where are you going?
    Coconuts in the bag.

  54. very ibncisive analysis of situation in srilanka.while i concur with you jey that it is a question of give and take neither side can adopt a rigid position.flexibility on both sides needs a proper definition.tamils dont want 13 plus what they want is 13th amendment as enshrined in rajiv jayawardane agreement nothing more nothing less.an integrated north and east with a chief minister armed with police and land powers is what tamils can aspire for i do hope that sinhalese realise that nothing is going to happen to srilanka if they accept it whole heartedly.international community will not support srilankan tamils if they secede as being apprehended by sinhalese.i dont know whether i am imagining but i feel that in two decades from now india and srilanka will be integrated much more economically given the fact that both the countries are going to gain.here it has to be pointed out that pakistan despite the fact that it could gain enomously if it enhanced trade ties was maintaining a rigid position till two months back.after realising that it is going to gain enormously economically it has announced enhancement of trade ties and most favoured nation status was given to india.bhatinda refinery which is a joint venture between hpcl and ln mittal is planning to supply refined products to pakistan thus saving pakistan enormous cost.like wise srilanka is bound to look forward to india for greater economic ties thus lessening the ethnic tensions.nearly a century back head gear wearing poet bharathi sang singala theevirkor palam amaipom i feel it is increasingly likely to happen.as far as rajapakse is concerned why should he be reluctant to take a path breaking stand utmost it can cost him his presidency.already he has become president twice and utmost he may lose the elections.what is wrong in it he can lead a peaceful life like chandrika kumaratunga.any person who is greedy and obsessed with power is bound to lead a unhappy life this mahinda rajapakshe has to realise.i hope that everything ends well and i would like to wish you jey an advanced happy birth day wishes and i hope that you lead a life without any health problems so that we can continue to learn a lot from you.

  55. Lankapura

    That broken record is getting old….. real old.

    The chorus is “waaah, waah ,waah, we are the victims! waah, waah, waah, it’s everybody else’s fault! Tamil Blood!! Tamil pride!! Tamil power!! Waah, waah, waah, we are the victims, it’s everybody else’s fault.”

    ===================

    Do you mean to say that the older one fault gets you need not address it.

    Okay, By your words I get to think that it the fault of the Tamils and no one is responsible for the spitting of the Tamil blood other than Tamil. May be you mean to say that the Sinhalese are as white as swan. No blame attaches to them,

    Can you clarify on this?

    ====================

    The Indian Tamils like you can mind their p’s and q’s… fools like you have the blood of Sri Lankan Tamils (and other Sri Lankans) on their hands. All your moronic filmstar Tamil Nadu leaders have contributed to the decimation of the Sri Lankan Tamils when they could have played a constructive role in bringing about peace in the island.

    ================

    When the discussion is in the realm of gentlemanly level, you show your true color saying that I am fool. But I won’t say that all the Sinhalese are fools and they do not know what is decency or that they don’t have any culture and all the Sinhalese are killers they hate Tamils, and the blood of the Tamils is in the hands of all the Sinhalese.

    i won’t also say that the Tamils can never live as equal citizens there in Sri Lanka, because of few extremists there.

    I also won’t say that all the Sinhalese are blood thirsty, and they are like cannibals who will eat the flesh and the blood of the Tamils.

    I also won’t say that all the Sinhala Budhists are having a secret desire to kill the Tamil men and marry their women and thereby put an end to this bloody conflict.

    but you keep telling all you want to. i won’t talk in the same vein as you are doing.

  56. “Lanka pura, your questian is in itself shows the hidden racist mind set in your suconscious mind.”

    Does it now?? Or could it be the truth??

    Perhaps it’s time for the Jaffna Tamils to put their money where their mouth is and show the rest of us their superior “itelligence” by coming out and working towards a political solution that will save the Sri Lankan Tamil people from ending up in the dustbin of history? Perhaps it is time to put silly notions of “Tamil pride” and “Tamil power” aside and focus on being PRAGMATIC?? Perhaps it is time to given up this eternal claim for a pure Tamil-only country and LEARN TO LIVE WITH THE SINHALESE/MUSLIMS/BURGHERS/MALAYS while PRESERVING ONE’S OWN IDENTITY?? Look at the Muslims – they are preserveing their religion/culture and TAMIL LANGUAGE without issue, and also speaking Sinhalese! When they are attacked by extremists elements among the Sinhalese the Sinhalese people themselves come out in their support! Perhaps it is time to free SL Tamil society from its tribalism and Tamil-only mentality?? You don’t think these are worthwhile ambitions?? You think the last 30 years have helped the Sri Lankan Tamils in anyway??

    GET A GRIP!

  57. Aj says:
    May 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm
    Where are the tamil moderates ? We the tamil moderates have given up dealing with you and the ltte both you and the ltte were extremist nutcases. There is nothing called tamil moderates now they are all dead. You should have asked that in 1970 not now.
    ———-
    It is nothing but most of tamils blindly just trapped what SJV.make. It is the high time to re-read the foreginer SJV. What I presummed is other wise more or less tamils in sri lanka might not be have fruitful future.

    samarasekara

  58. TNA must enter all parliamentary talks because it is unfavorable to Rajapaksa to hold bilateral talks with the TNA. These bilateral talks can be used against him by the opposition. Therefore the TNA must understand that Rajapaksa faces resistance in Colombo from bourgeois elements and pressure from revolutionary Sinhala speaking elements.

    Tamils must also humble themselves to the will of India and Western powers. Exposing the political alignment of the past only serves to highlight the inadequate policy of a war without diplomatic consent from real regional powers.

    At the same time Tamils can build their strength, experience development, and build relations with Sinhalese speaking people, India and Western powers. As a contingency strength in itself will gaurantee respect and dignity.

  59. Dear DBSJ

    In this the eradication of the concurrent list and allocating the bulk of powers to the Province with the exception of key areas seems to be the way to gain greater devolution.

    From where will the Provinces get the budget to pay for all these powers? Especially war-devastated northeast?

    Fifthly options of sharing power at the Centre also should be examined in addition to devolving power to the Provinces. The departed TULF leader and Constitutional expert Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam used to observe that the Tamils seek power sharing at the periphery only because they were denied power sharing at the centre. In that respect President Rajapaksa’s idea of setting up a second chamber or upper house also should be delved into and accepted with modifications at the PSC proceedings.

    Although there is nothing wrong with the idea of 2nd chamber, it should not be seen as panacea to the problem of “power-sharing.” Some countries like USA and Brazil have strong 2nd chambers that can veto legislation and other countries like India and Germany have weaker 2nd chambers. Strong 2nd chambers are generally inadvisable because they tend to obstruct more than deliver.

    A better way of thinking about power-sharing is Cabinet representation. There should be a quota of minority representation in the Cabinet. For this to be meaningful, though, Sri Lanka’s constitutional system would have to be reformed in a way that would increase the power of the Cabinet at the expense of the Executive Presidency. This also would require changing Sri lanka’s electoral system. Simply arguing about devolution will not address the fundamental problems.

  60. Dear Lankapura

    The answer is NO because the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus are still stuck in their racist, bigoted, casteist mentality…The ones who are somewhat removed from this primitive tribalist mentality are the Tamil Christians/Catholics in Colombo and other urban areas who mix with their Sinhalese brethren at school and at Church.

    Usually the Sinhala Buddhist argument is that the Tamil Hindus are okay but the Tamil Christians/Catholics are the villains and grand conspirators of Eelamism. As evidence they show that Fr S.J. Emmanuel is head of GTF and also role of other LTTE supporters like Fr Singarayar.

    Are you Sinhala Buddhist or Catholic? I am guessing you are Catholic since you have sympathy for Tamil Catholic brethren. That is good.

  61. Dear Mahesh

    If after 1983 no ethnic riot happened, it was because of your fear for LTTE.

    The problem with that argument is that there was an anti-Tamil riot in 2006 in Trincomalee which was under siege by LTTE. On the other hand there has been no riot since end of LTTE in 2009. Therefore you will have to find some better arguments.

    I will give you a hint the real reason why there have been no riots: it is the same reason why there were no major anti-Tamil violence from 1948 to 1956, and again from 1960 until 1977. Can you figure it out?

  62. Dear DBS

    Happy Birthday.Can I know how old you will be on May 21st?

    Thank you. I will turn 58…………..DBSJ

  63. Hey DBS

    I guess you’ll be celebrating your B’day tomorrow. Have a great day man

    Thank you………..DBSJ

  64. No solution to this ethnic problem is possible as long as there is mistrust , fear ,anger , hatred between the Sinhalese and Tamils . The past few decades of war ,terror and violence has created so much mistrust between these 2 communities that their respective leadership are unable to reach a common platform .Both have a general fear that any compromise in their stand will be considered a sign of weakness by the opponent and they will use it to crush them further .
    The only way out is for the Tamil leadership to address the Sinhala masses and address their fears and for the Sinhala leaders to address the Tamil Masses and address their fears .

  65. Birthday Greetings Jeyaraj Annan

    Have a nice day tomorrow and may God bless you

    Thank you Mythili……….DBSJ

  66. Happy Birthday DBSJ on May 21 . Wish u a long and healthy life so that you continue to educate us about this ethnic issue through your articles in a very mature way .I have been highly benefited by reading ur articles and also through the various exchanges of opinion through other readers comments in this blog of urs . I know it a very tough job writing , moderating the comments etc . Keep up the good way and once again wish u a happy birthday and a healthy long life .

    Thank you very much…………DBSJ

  67. Tamils must also gain Sinhalese trust by investing in development to build their strength.

    Tamil investment in development will gain the trust of the Sinhalese and ensure the demobilization of the army.

  68. Native Vedda,

    “I am confused as to what exactly both of you mean and feel when using emotionally charged words. Please bear with me as I am bit thick.”

    I use the word Sri Lankan to any body born in Sri Lanka, or Any person who regard themselves as one of the Sri Lankan Nation. It can be a Tamil , Sinhalese , Muslims , Burger or any other Nationality or Religion by what ever means they recognize them self. For example, If an Englishman wants to be a Sri Lankan, and self introduce himself as a Sri Lankan; I will recognize that person as a Sri Lankan and will treat him the same way I treat everybody else in my country.

    If Anton, Suresh M calls Sri Lanka as Eelam as it was their native language and it has been the way they have been referring to Sri Lanka, I’ve got no problem with that either.

    I believe we all have the same rights for this country and that is equal to everybody who are living in this country. And we all should have the right not to be tortured , not to live in fear, suffering etc. It doesn’t matter much about the words actually. I realized this when I read Anton’s comments and did my own research on the linguistics. It is how one feels that matters, not the words; as the words may mean any thing depending on how it’s been used. But the feelings do matter as that is what determine the course of actions.

    This is how I see it, feel free to correct me if I am wrong, Thanks for the initial comments.

  69. Wish you a very happy B’day, a long life and a healthy life.

    Hope you can come to visit to your motherland this year.

    May your wish of walking in the sandy beaches of Batti become true.

    Yes, you never know the possibilities that the future holds… since SF is released on unconditional presidential pardon… anything is possible now.

    Thank you very much for your wishes and who knows I may at least enjoy the pleasure of Walking on Galle face green this year………….DBSJ

  70. Krishna,

    Well said, I agree with you, but the problem is that it is not that simple to overcome one’s ego/ pride and when it comes to a nation we have majority of people agreeing that we all should live in peace but the pride and ego of the minority gets in the way of the majority as in any nation only a minority will be prominent in the society and the majority will be silent. The prominent minority speaks for everybody and screw up all.

  71. Anbulla Jeyaraj anna

    Iniya Pirantha Naal Vaalthukkal

    Neengal nalamudan Needoodi Kaalam Vaalha

    Ungal Vaasagi

    Thangai Vathsala

    Mikka Nandri Thangai Vathsala………..DBSJ

  72. Dear Murugan,

    Very good point, Tamil must invest and then die like animal.. referring the Killing of Canadian at Kilinochchi.

    What sinhala regime ordering (Saying?) to diaspora come and see your damage houses or assets.. eat some dinner with your friends and go back. Not intervene any politics or economic.

    I belive DBSJ here saying that there is no other option that Tamil must continue to speak with the government to resolve at least day to day problem that we are facing at the ground, he should have in the mind that there is no solution would be reached in near future.

    Just recall, met a friend who visit “puthukudiyiruppu” recently to attend a “Samarthiyasadangu” he could see army was in uniform and some Tamil militant people are in civil… so what I see here the Army want to control everything in field.

    Best Regards,
    Ratnam.

  73. Dear Lankapura

    do you know anything about international human rights lawdefinition of genocide ???

    show me your knowledge on it . write few lines .

    I will then come to discussion with you otherwise please don’t bother.

  74. Dr Upul Kumara

    I have been demanding all stupid Sinhalese and stupid Tamils vacate my ancestral land for the past several years.

    Having read your comment I think you can live in the island and share our resources with my people. You are an exception and not the norm. So is our concession.

    Sinhalese and Tamils do not have the automatic right to live in the island. They will have to earn it.

  75. Hi David,
    Delighted to hear that you are planning to trod the grass of the Galle Face Green soon.

    Please go on a Saturday or Sunday Night too, to enjoy the real Multiculturalism and Multiracial atmosphere in new Lanka.

    A Pina colada or a cold Lion Lager with a plate of club sandwiches at the Gale Face Hotel will be a fitting end.

    You will be amazed how even our rural people can frequent these iconic places, which were out of bounds to the great majority for centuries.

    Here is my belated B’day wishes to you for a happy and healthy future and a enjoyable stay in Lanka.

  76. Dear DBSJ,

    Wish you a very happy B’day, a long and a healthy life.

    samarasekara

  77. Dear Lankapura,

    I read most of your comments and the answers to those! ( pretty big task in my capacity), and thought of putting a line or two.

    Some parts of your comments were right where as most parts were actually wrong. I am pretty sure you consider yourself a moderate( We all do!)
    But it looks like that your emotions gets in the way. If you can come to a some sort of a state of indifference, you’ll see this in a different perspective.

    I actually believe there are a lot of Tamil moderates and there are a lot of Sinhalese moderates. I have seen this enough and it’s just a matter of looking around with open eyes to see. I am also sure that most Tamils know that Sinhalese majority are not that bad as the Politicians depict them.

    It has been a problem of this minority and we all allow them to do this to us all. They do their huffing and puffing and the biting , the poor majority suffer. In a way it’s our fault that we elect them to represent us.

    Having seen the worst parts of the war and the crimes from both sides, I do not think that the majority of either side approve that. Remember it was about a few thousands if not hundreds of thugs who were behind the black july, and the majority Sinhalese did not approve that. but they were helpless, and they were not strong enough to go against it.In fact it was some sinhalese who helped the poor tamils who were subjected to the unjust, and it was the tamils in jafna who helped the sinhalese to hide from the thugs and come to south.

    I am sure you are not one of those thugs and that’s why you take time to be in this blog and write so many comments. But if you allow your emotions get in the way, your efforts of conveying the right message will go in vain. I do appreciate your efforts and I am pretty sure DBSJ does so too, that’s why he allows the comments to appear. This is a good public forum for people to get together and talk and work the differences out, We should be grateful to DBSJ for this.

    I am not trying to teach you something or any thing like that, I really think you are a good contributor to this and have good thought process, it’s just that some times things gets out of hand. Do not wary, it happens to me too and I kick myself later for doing it(LOL), but we are all only humans and we make mistakes here and there. Please bear with me if I offended you by this comment. I did not mean to.

    regards

  78. Happy Birthday DBSJ!

    I wish you would reconsider your decision on “suspending the comments sections on the blog”, but it is only a wish as a loyal reader; I will understand.

    You turned 58! (same age as my appa, but still I will call you DBSJ as I feel more closer/friendlier, but I do have a lot of respect for you.) There are many people I like and admire; you have a special place in them. I learned and learning a lot from your articles, I am sure that will continue! Although I did my secondary & post secondary schools in Canada, I am polishing my English from your blog.

    Wish you a very happy Birthday and pray for your good health!

  79. I hope the SL Tamil leadership only joins the PSC, if there are going to be a clear dead line with mile stones like a project to avoid a trap by the SL Govt.

    If they can also make the agreed dead line with mile stones public then the Tamils all over the world will be on their side too. Not only the Tamils but the rest of the world too.

    If they join PSC without a dead line with mile stones and keep talking the entire Tamil race will be suspecious and disgusted with their move and be viewed as there must be some under hand deal for personal benefits between the SL Govt and the SL Tamil leadership.

  80. The Vaddukotai 1976 resolution still stands valid for SL Tamils as they have voted for it in 1977, and never voted against it since then.

    It would be interesting to know how the SL Tamils will vote on Vaddukotai redolution today?

    Does the SL govt and its supporters have the guts to go for a referendum like in Quebec Canada, if they truly believe they save the Tamils from the wrong hands or direction?

  81. wije

    Read this one. This also indicts the Sinhalese, their police and the Army.

    In mid 2006, a bomb blast killed 16 people, prompting a Sinhalese mob to torch Tamil-owned shops and to hunt down Tamil civilians. According to the main hospital, the blast killed 16 people, eight Tamils, five Sinhalese, two Muslims and a person who could not be identified. The reprisal attacks claimed another five: four Tamils and one Sinhalese, who were burned, stabbed and shot to death. Whether the riots were spontaneous or planned is impossible to know, although the police and the army, deployed in full force around the market, did not manage to stop them. Rohan Abeywardana, the deputy inspector general of police in charge of Trincomalee, said his forces were overpowered. Those arrested were released the next morning.

    ——————–

  82. M FERN says:

    “The Vaddukotai 1976 resolution still stands valid for SL Tamils as they have voted for it in 1977, and never voted against it since then”.

    The Vaddukotai 1976 resolution was dead on arrival.

    The Tamil parties including militants since 1976 have contested several elections at local and national level and taken oath affirming their loyalty to the unitary constitution.

    What more do you want?

    The first Presidential Elections held in 1982 after the introduction of new constitution produced the following results:

    UNP SLFP JVP ACTC LSSP NSSP Valid

    Jaffna 44780 77300 3098 87263 3376 2186 218003

    Vanni 32834 23221 2286 11521 584 293 70739

    Batticaloa 48094 21688 1287 47095 1294 618 120076

    Trincomalee 45522 31700 5395 10068 635 276 93596

    Predominantly Tamil areas voted for national parties than the Tamil party.

    Now will you make up your mind.

  83. Dear Native Vedda,

    Thanks for that ( very funny though! but I understand the metaphor).

    In my opinion we are a primitive nation with minimal ability of comprehension. That is why we are where we are today compared with the other developed countries. We are more driven by unnecessary emotions such as pride, honor etc and we give a completely different definition to honor and respect compared with the others. Our behavior is such that we expect others to respect us but no respect given in return!

    Specially our politicians behave in such a bold way that they regard the common people as some sort of secondary citizens compared with them. It’s rare to see this behavior in developed countries, and they know that they can get kicked out easily and respect is something to earn, not automatic right of the leaders.

    Most our politicians come to politics not because they want to serve the people, but because they consider that a way of earning more money, power and influence, and feeling themselves above the others. I am yet to see a Sri Lankan politician who regards themselves as one of the normal population. ( May be Dahanayake was one)

    When I read about the Sri Lankan politics and the politicians, all of them had this primary problem (The Syndrome of superiority complex) and that is one of the major problems the nation has today. And unfortunately it’s such an infectious disease that most our politicians are suffering from it.

    That is why the politicians do not see the plight of disasters happening to the community and why they are not sensitive to those.

    Until we get some sort of level headed politicians it will be difficult to see any progress of the country, and the same goes for these talks and I feel sorry for our nation.

  84. [Ironically the TNA which has also been dismissing the 13th Amendment as being inadequate was now troubled that even those gains made through the Indo-Lanka accord could be frittered away.]
    ———

    It is dawning in their brain only now after going on the ride for 3 years.That is why i always maintained that the tamils must just tell the president to first implement the indo lanka accord and then they can enter into negotiations with the government for the for the ‘plus’ that mahinda keeps talking about,so that he can delay the implementation of the accord.TNAfell into the trap and wasted time with him and now is looking at 13th amendment ‘minus’.

    After all the indo lanka accord is between the GOSL and GOI.No need for TNA or anybody to get involved for its implementation,and certainly no need of the PSC for it.TNA should tell mahinda he can have the PSC if he wants without them in order to implement the indolanka accord,that is upto him and nothing to do with them.Indeed the TNA can propose that some indian parliamentarians join in the PSC to implement the indo lanka accord in full,instead of them.

    The more mahinda delays a political solution,the more the eelamists will be taking the north towards a kosovo,south sudan,east timor type solution.Due to the stupid mahinda,once the north is lost,the GOSL loses the control of the palk strait and the east too wll become vulnerable to be annexed to the north in the future.

  85. [Significant progress has been made at the Govt-TNA talks notwithstanding the fact that some irresponsible TNA Parliamentarians make media statements to the contrary.]
    ———–

    It is time that the TNA told the people what went on in the talks and what was the progress made.If at the beginning they had an agreement with the SLFP that they would not divulge this,then now they are not bound by that agreement anymore ,because mahinda under the advice and influence of douglas has changed the goalposts and the rules.Bfore they make a public statement on the significant progress achieved at the talks,the TNA should inform mahinda that they are going to do so.
    —————————————————————-

    [without the involvement of the TNA is akin to enacting the “Ramayana” without Lord Rama.]
    ————-
    or rickshawkaran without MGR.
    ——————————————————————

    [It indicated that President Rajapaksa had changed goal posts while the game was in progress.]
    ———
    When he plays games with the sinhalese,he changes the umpires and the referees,bribes the opposition players,those not willing to take bribes are locked up or abducted and disappear.So what is the TNA complaining about some goal post being changed only. Didn’t they know they were entering into a dirty game?
    ————————————————————-

    [The bi-lateral talks between the Government and TNA were suddenly put on hold by President Rajapaksa who opined that any political settlement or arrangement could only be evolved through the multi-lateral mechanism of a Parliamentary Select Committee.]
    ———–
    Why did he not tell that to the TNA when he started the talks?Why the sudden enlightenment after nearly a year of time wasting exercise to show the world that talks are in progress?Sampanthan is quite right in saying that what has been agreed to by the TNA and SLFP can be now put before the parliamentary select committee.

    What mahinda has achieved so far thinking he is very clever and cunning is to bring upon the heads of the srilankan people the may 2012 resolution.If tries to continue to be clever and cunning he will bring upon the people of srilanka some more UN resolutions and one day allow the north to secede through a referendum.In hindsight people will blame him like the way they are blaming one time 1983 sinhala hero JR.Jayawardena for the calamity that occurred for the 25 year war.For the next 25 years a war of a different nature will be waged through the UN due to mahinda’s procrastination in implementing a political solution quickly after the end of the war,unlike nehru who quickly brought in federalism the moment he heard rumblings of seperation,thanks to which after 60 years india has become what it is today,instead of fragmenting into at least 10 countries.

  86. [The TNA due to its creditable performance in democratic elections and by articulating its political stance through acceptable, moderate terms has earned the regard and endorsement of the International Community.]
    ———-

    This seems to the exact opposite of the prabha-chandrika era.At that time prabha was the bad guy and chandrika was the good girl for the international community.So it was easy for the rajapakshes to mop up the LTTE because the international community had made up their minds that prabha was a stumbling block towards a political settlment.

    Fast forward to 2012-mahinda bad boy and sampanthan good old man.

    Has the international community made up their mind that regime change is the only way to achieve a political settlement?The vastly experienced in international affairs,tamara,seems to think that the west wants regime change,because i remember in her letter to GLP,she mentions it in the last sentence or so.

    Will mahinda be the wispy willow and wriggle out of this,or will he be the stout oak like prabha and take on the world and go down fighting to the last?Will he put respect before self or self before respect?Will he get on to the descendent of ‘kandula’,dutu’s elephant,and mightily swinging dutu’s sword that the treasure hunters unearthed,charge towards the enemy and go down with respect,as he instructed tamara to do so regarding the UN resolution?time will tell
    —————————————————————

  87. Shankar

    The more mahinda delays a political solution,the more the eelamists will be taking the north towards a kosovo,south sudan,east timor type solution.

    Who are the Eelamists who still remain in Sri Lanka? My understanding is that they all either fled or are dead.

  88. [The TNA was not averse to participating at the PSC. It only demurred on the modalities. It wanted talks to continue bilaterally on an already agreed upon set of principles. Once an accord was reached it could be presented singly or jointly to the PSC. This was the TNA stance.

    This TNA position did gain acceptance from the International community notably India and USA.To most detached observers the TNA stance did seem understandable as it appeared that the President had unilaterally changed the rules of political engagement.]
    ———–
    This says it all.The TNA did the correct thing and the international community especially US and india approves it.By7 changing the goal posts while the game is on,mahinda has kicked an own goal.US and Uk and india might have decided that regime change is the only hope for a political solution,or in the alternative a referendum for eelam.
    ———————————————————-

    [The political stalemate prevails at a critical time for the Rajapaksa regime. The Govt is under intense international scrutiny thanks to the resolution sponsored by the USA and supported by India at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    The Government’s perceived inability or unwillingness to even engage the TNA in political discussions does not project a positive image internationally.]

    ———

    1983- Junius Caesar was fiddling, while colombo was burning.

    2012-Nero is fiddling while the world is watching.
    ———————————————————–
    [There was a time when TNA leader Sampanthan told the BBC Tamil service that “the 13th amendment was a stinking ,dead corpse which the TNA wont touch”.Even now the TNA yearns for something greater than the 13th amendment but was equally concerned that powers could be whittled away to much less.]
    —————

    So old uncle sam is now worried that he will get less than stinking dead corpse eh? Maybe a stinking dead fish wrapped up in a purple shawl.

  89. wije says:
    June 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm
    Who are the Eelamists who still remain in Sri Lanka? My understanding is that they all either fled or are dead.
    ———–

    Wije,when i meant eelamists,i did not necessarily refer to anyone in srilanka.Due to this stupid war nearly a million tamils are outside the country.Also don’t think that eelamist only refer to tamils of srilankan origin.There are 80 million tamils in the world.Also there maybe non tamils too who might become eelamists due to their sympathy to the tamils plight or due to eelam satisfying their interests.

    Also how do you come to the conclusion that all eelamists in srilanka are dead or fled?have they got mark on their forehead or something.Only a UN sponsored referendum will make them known to you.

    An eelamist is a person who believes that eelam is the only solution.

    Mahinda with his stance is not encouraging tamils to believe that there is another solution and a better one for all of us,like the indian model,albeit in a step by step process,that might take some time.He is aiding and abetting the eelamists without realising it.
    ——————————————————————–

    Coming back to this very important and very interesting article that DBSJ has meticulously put together

    [The TNA because of its past history where it was meekly subservient to the LTTE and acted as tiger puppets is yet viewed with suspicion.]
    ————-

    This seems to be the crux of the problem.Unlike ananda sangaree’s TULF,the TNA is not trusted by the sinhalese. Ananda sangaree courageously stood upto prabhaharan and is lucky to be alive today.

    However if mahinda is adopting delaying tactics because of this lack of trust,then he is kicking own goals and playing right into the hand of the eelamists,who will tell the world that “you can see now first hand that the only solution for the tamils is eelam”. So mahinda should do two things first quickly.

    1.Enforce the 6th amendment and make it illegal for anyone in srilanka to have eelam as their goal.I think the indian constitution too has the same thing making seperation illegal,but the sweetener they have given is federalism,while the sweeteners we have given the tamils is regular bashings.If the 6th amendment is enforced,i think the sinhalese will be happy and might consider some sweeteners.

    2.Implement the indo- lanka accord in full,including making tamil an official language and english the link language.You don’t neeed a PSC for this as it is an agreement made between two countries,similar to the kachativu and sirima -shastri,sirima -ghandhi pacts.Nothing to discuss in parliament,after signing,all that should have been done before putting ink on the accord.No need for TNA also to get involved to see whether they want the accord or not,because the tamils never were a party to it in the first place.The main benefit to mahinds by implementing the accord in full is that it will get india off his back,so that it will again become his ally in fighting off eelamists.
    Remember india and srilanka have the same objective of no-eelam.

    3.Implement the 16th amendment,making sinhalese and tamil the languages of administration and legislation.With that the language issue can be buried once and for all.A headache for the tamils as well as muslims in their day to day affairs will be no more.

    These 3 steps if implemented quickly and concurrently,will greatly ameliorate the distrust within the communities and we will be on the road towards becoming the switzerland of asia.Many more steps will have to be taken before we achieve that,but by taking the correct turn in the fork on the road,we will be moving in the right direction.We can show the world what we srilankans are capable of.

  90. [President Rajapaksa is like a batsman who does not want to call a run because he thinks the partner at the other end may not respond and run him out.]
    ————-
    I like that one.Mahinda is like sangakkara who was always being run out by dilshan just after he lost the captaincy to jayawardene.

    What mahinda can do is just hit four after four by implementing the 13th amendment without calling a run from the TNA,because it has nothing to do with the TNA.Unfortunately he does not want to devolve the land and police powers that the indo lanka accord stipulates.

    If he implements the indo lanka accord,then if there are demonstrations mahinda can channel them to ward place,and they can burn down JR jayawardene’s residence.

    Devolution has become a dirty word now,but when the LTTE was being victorious,it was not.Might is right it seems.One day when the sinhalese realise that due to immense international pressure,eelam for the north is inevitable,then devolution will become a clean word again,but then it will be too little,too late.
    —————————————————————-

    [So the TNA simply parroting the demand for bilateral talks is politically a despondent cry in bleak wilderness]
    ————–
    I agree.So the TNA should just tell the government to go ahead and implement the 13th amendment in full,and that they are not interested in the ‘plus’ at the moment.That should expose mahinda for what he is,because he does not want to devolve land and police powers.Then the TNA can show the whole world that it is futile to join the PSC for talks with a regime that does not even believe in limited autonomy that encompasses limited devolution for land and police powers.

    It is abundantly clear that the government opposes land and police powers to be devolved,because they want to land grab and use the armed forces instead of the police force.
    ——————————————————————

    [Faced with the prospect of a prolonged impasse the Internatiional community may alter its attitude and pressure the TNA to participate in the PSC at Rajapaksa’s terms.]
    ————
    If that happens,i agree that the TNA should listen to the international community.Until then it can stay put.It can say to the international community,when mahinda is not willing to even give limited devolution of land and police powers through the 13th amendment already in the constitution,do you think the PSC will ever give greater powers in this regard?It will only come up with a 13 ‘minus’ after a time wasting exercise,during which srilanka will increase its bilateral agreements with china including on defence.

    The international community has already decided that regime change is necessary,according to Tamara.So let mahinda continue on his hardline path and let the international community continue on theirs.

  91. [As it stands today it is 13 A minus” without the North- Eastern merger.
    What is possible and feasible is to regain the “plus” by trading the unit of devolution for substance of devolution. In this the eradication of the concurrent list and allocating the bulk of powers to the Province with the exception of key areas seems to be the way to gain greater devolution.]
    ————-
    The non amalgamation of the north and east does not make the 13th amendment a 13 minus,because according to the 13th amendment after the amalgamation a referendum should be held in the east to see whether the easterners want to be amalgamated with the north.The muslims and sinhalese in the east will say no to it,even many tamils in the east may say no.So first what will happen if the 13th amendment is implemented is,the north and east will be amalgamated and then seperated.

    Some people might wonder why amalgamate in the first place when it is going to be seperated anyway? Why put the cart before the horse?It does not make sense to me too.First the referendum in the east should be held.I don’t know why the sinhalese are not doing this,because it will make the amalgamation a dead issue once and for all.The sinhalese can just show the world that the people in the east do not want to be lumped up with the people in the north in one provinciaal council,but want to have their seperate one.

    The real factor that makes the present impasse look like coming out with a 13 minus is the fact that mahinda has stated that land and police powers cannot be devolved to the provinces as envisaged in the 13th amendment.

    So the tamils do not have anything to trade with where the unit of devolution is concerned,because the referendum in the east will get the sinhalese what they want anyway.The delay in having that referendum is only giving that mirage to the tamils that they have something to trade with.

    As for the concurrent list,there too there is nothing to trade with for the tamils.The indo lanka accord is a agreement between the srilankan and indian governments,without the participation or input of the tamils.Whatever modifications they want to do they can do with each other.In fact the PSC can invite some indian MP’s instead of the TNA and go ahead with any changes they want.

    The tamils can just wait and see whether the indo lanka accord which is part of the constitution is implemented or not.If it is not,then there is a valid case for revisiting the kachativu and sirima -shastri,sirima -ghandhi pacts.

    If the sinhalese will not implement a written and signed accord with india,what is the guarantees that we can get from them,written or verbal that they will implement anything with the tamils or any guarantees they give is worth their salt.The indo lanka accord will be the litmus test whether indeed their attitude and culture towards promises and agreements have indeed taken a turn for the better.

    Otherwise negotiations with them is just one big ride after another.

    It is okay to take each other for rides if that is their culture,but doing it to others is disrespectful and humiliating to them.The indians are patient people with long memories and will fix such types the way they fixed prabha after 20 years.

    The biggest mistake the TNA is making is to trash the indo lanka accord like prabha did.They are indeed appendages of the LTTE.

  92. [Agreement had been reached on a number of substantive issues and there were only three to six outstanding matters to be resolved when the talks were aborted. The outstanding issues however were contentious and required in depth discussions.]
    ————-
    That must be the reason mahinda changed the goal posts while the game was on and wanted the PSC.he had made up his mind that he was not going to give in to the 3 to six outstanding issues,of which land and polce powers devolution was 2 of those.He wanted a PSC to say no to those issues instead of himself saying no.You can be sure that if the TNA enters the PSC those outstanding issues are not going to be resolved.

    Since the game is now over,it is time that the tamil people are told what are these 3 to six outstanding issues,and why they could not be resolved.After all is this some top secret affairs that jeopardize national security or something,that there should be no transparency at all.I can understand while talks are going on to keep it secret in order not to jeopardize an outcome,but now that the talks are over,the TNA is duty bound to tell the tamil people whom they say they represent(Thankfully they don’t claim sole representative status yet)why the talks failed and what are these 3 to six outstanding issues and why they could not be resolved bilateraly,and pigs will start flying when they are resolved multilaterally in a PSC.

    Then the tamil people can make up their minds whether joining the PSC is worth it.Keeping the tamil people in the dark about what went on in the talks is not going to help them make up their minds.
    ——————————————————————-

    [Since the bilateral talks have been abruptly terminated and the President wants fresh discussions to begin at the PSC there is no way in which the essence of the agreement reached could be imported into PSC proceedings. President Rajapaksa would not want the PSC to be seen as an extension of the Govt-TNA talks.]
    ———-
    And why should that be.Why can’t the PSC become the forum on which the 3 to six outstanding issues are to be resolved.Why did the government have bilateral talks in the first place if they wanted the PSC to be not an extension of the Govt-TNA talks.When we play 3 ODI against pakistan,if we win the third one,are we to forget the outcome of the first two for the series.The game goes on with the outcome of the earlier ones ticking on for the outcome of the series.

    Under no circumstances should the TNA enter into talks in the PSC,without what has been agreed upon in the bilateral talks excluded and only the contentious 3 to six issues to be discussed in the PSC.The outcome of the first two ODI are irreversible.They should not have been played in the first place if their results were reversible.

    At some point the tamils have to draw the line on this humiliating ride after ride after sinhalese attained independence,but tamils did not.If a government is not willing to give a political solution,the tamils representatives should just say to the world and to the tamil people the true situation and not keep going on, on the ride.Then only alternative options can be looked into for the salvation of the dignity and self respect of the tamil people on a serious note.

  93. [Fifthly options of sharing power at the Centre also should be examined in addition to devolving power to the Provinces.

    The politics of boycott and confrontational approach has been detrimental to overall Tamil interests in the past.]
    ————-
    The problem with persuing both power sharing and devolution,is that you can power sharing will be at the expense of devolution.Mahinda will say we can’t devolve powers for land and police,but we will have a senate where tamils will have more representation than their numbers warrant.That is the path he is treading.

    Tamils should firmly say to him,”first you give adequate devolution to manage our own affairs in our traditional homelands and then we can look into power sharing arrangements”.

    When land is taken from civilians in the north and east,and the armed forces are maintaining law and order instead of a police force,what is there to talk of power sharing.Devolving powers is the only option available for tamils in the north and east to live with dignity and self respect.

    TNA not participating in the PSC cannot be considered a boycott,because the goal posts were changed by mahinda,while the game was going on.It can be instead considered as unable to play the game due to disruption and sabotage by the organisers themselves.

    Similarly non participation in the PSC cannot be considered confrontational politics by the TNA because they played by the rules and did not break any.However mahinda has started to play confrontational politics by changing the goal posts while the game was on,just like he practices confrontation politics with his sinhalese adversaries.Good luck to him,if he thinks he can defeat both his sinhalese and tamil political opponents using foul play.

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