To Win the War and Lose the Peace: Beyond Sri Lanka’s ‘War on Terror’

It looks like one of the more winnable conflicts in an age of the global ‘war on terror’. The Sri Lankan government appears to be on the brink of announcing victory in its drawn-out battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The armed separatist group, listed as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups, has fought successive Sri Lankan governments for over a quarter of a century in the guise of liberating the island’s Tamil community from a state that has increasingly marginalised linguistic and religious minorities. However, the question remains as to whether the victory would be pyrrhic when finally manifest, consolidated on irreparable damage to the county’s increasingly fragile democratic institutions and centuries-old multicultural, multi-religious and hybrid social fabric.

Several conflicts have been assimilated to the global ‘war on terror’ in the aftermath of 9/11 and the United States-led global ‘war on terror’ that casts a long shadow in South Asia. In 2006, the conflict in Sri Lanka was officially renamed a ‘war on terror’ after a highly internationalised Norwegian-brokered ceasefire agreement collapsed. Prior to that, the past quarter of a century of violence punctuated by three abortive peace processes, was known as an ‘ethnic conflict’ or a ‘liberation struggle’, depending on the perspective. The current government has worked hard to portray its battle against the LTTE, now in its final stages, as a ‘war on terror’. This time the top priority is to recapture the island’s northeastern territories controlled by the LTTE’s quasi-state, and the LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who is also wanted by India for assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

One is familiar with the adage ‘one man’s terrorist is another’s liberation fighter’, a phrase that was common in many parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America during the era of post-colonial struggles for self-determination and independence from European empires. The Sri Lankan government also terms the current bid a ‘humanitarian war’ to liberate innocent Tamil civilians from the grip of an organisation that has held people as a buffer and human shield to deflect the onslaught of the military and air force. On the other hand, the LTTE claims that it is seeking to liberate Tamil-speaking people from the abuse and humiliation meted out by the post-colonial state dominated by the majority Sinhala community. There is good evidence to suggest that minority communities in Sri Lanka have had a raw deal in the form of discriminatory policies on language, education, land settlement and development. There have also been episodic riots and pogroms against minority Tamils and Muslims since independence in 1948.

Clearly the conflict in the island is complex and it is necessary to look beyond the blame game between the two principle protagonists and the gloss of the ‘war on terror’ to seek sustainable solutions. After all, sustainable peace would need to be based on an analysis and address of the root causes of conflict. In the case of ethno-nationalist guerrilla movements such as the LTTE, once a group loses territory, it may melt into the people and return years or decades later to fight, if the root causes of the conflict are not addressed. Several long-term, low-intensity conflicts that predate the global ‘war on terror’ in South Asia make this apparent.

 

Democracy as Collateral Damage

At independence from Britain in 1948, the prognosis both for democratic governance and development in the island nation then called Ceylon was generally rated excellent. Sri Lanka was considered a ‘model democracy’ with an established record of peaceful co-existence between diverse ethnic and religious communities until the armed violence erupted in the early 1908s. Its social indicators (literacy, health and education), were the envy of much of the developing world in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, and they remain the best in South Asia.

Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen was fond of referring to Sri Lanka and its particular development model and trajectory as an ‘outlier’ because of high levels of social development despite relatively low per capita income. Later it was expected that the island, given its size and ethno-religious mix, would develop like Singapore rather than Malaysia which was seen to have an uneasy ethnic peace [1]. Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore was indeed the role model for the J. R Jayawardena regime in the late 1970s and 1980s. However, somewhere along the way, the country’s politicians and policy-makers seemed to lose the plot and were subsequently ambushed by the LTTE, which in its early days was funded by India’s intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), during the period of proxy wars of the Cold War. Although the LTTE was started locally in the late 1970s to secure the rights of a minority marginalised by the state, it subsequently morphed into one of the world’s most ruthless terrorist groups.

After the ethnic riots of 1983 which may be better described as a pogrom, the LTTE grew exponentially. A quarter of a century of violence killed over 70,000 people, mainly in the north and east of the country, and displaced between 5-10 percent of the island’s 20 million people. The LTTE forcibly evicted the Muslim minority population from the northern Jaffna Peninsular in 1990, claiming they were a security threat to the Tamil homeland. A significant number of Tamils displaced in the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE have formed a powerful disapora in North America, Europe, Australia and parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia, and from afar, they have contributed to sustain family members and communities as well as subsidise the conflict in their homeland. It was largely with the funds generated from the diaspora that the LTTE was able to run a de facto state for almost a decade in the northern and eastern parts of the country. However, its territory has been slowly but surely retaken by the ongoing military offensive of the government to ‘liberate’ the Tamil people. 

It was against this backdrop that the first week of 2009 saw the fall of the capital of the LTTE’s de facto state in the north of the country. A few days later, troops gained control of the Elephant Pass base and the A-9, the main trunk road that links the southern capital, Colombo, to Jaffna, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka Tamils. Celebrations were held throughout the country while government institutions hoisted the national flag. The capture of the LTTE’s capital was termed ‘an incomparable victory’ and the President used the rhetoric of the ‘war on terror': “What our heroic troops have achieved is not only the capture of the great fortress of the LTTE, but a major victory in the world’s battle against terrorism”.

For 23 years, parts of the A-9 highway had been controlled and sealed off by the LTTE. The securing of the highway means that travel between Jaffna and Colombo would no longer need to be by sea or air and would bring down the cost of living in the Jaffna peninsular. The Sri Lankan government also plans to roll out reconstruction and development plans for Kilinochchi, now a ghost town vacated by civilians fleeing the military onslaught and air force bombing campaign to dislodge the LTTE from bunkers dug deep in the earth. Simultaneously, the first two weeks of 2009 saw a dramatic rise in refugees arriving in South India. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only humanitarian organisation operational in the conflict areas, 200,000 people have been displaced.

It is axiomatic that, as externalised threats are perceived and nations go to war, civil liberties and rights in the domestic sphere are eroded. This phenomenon was observed by Max Weber, a founding father of the discipline of sociology. Within days of the celebrations following the capture of LTTE’s de facto capital, one of the island’s leading journalists, Lasantha Wickrematunge, Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Leader newspaper, a liberal anti-establishment paper known for exposing corruption and nepotism in the state apparatus, was assassinated in broad daylight in Colombo. At his funeral, where thousands gathered, an effigy of the Sri Lanka’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was burnt. The slain journalist’s funeral was attended by political leaders, media representatives, civil society organisations and senior foreign diplomats in Colombo. The slain journalist, who was also a lawyer, had penned his own obituary three day’s before his assassination: “And then they came for me”, naming in all but words his killers. His final editorial published posthumously which has come to be known as the ‘letter from the grave’ constitutes a powerful indictment on the regime that would be hard to shake off in a country where astrology, the symbolic and uncanny, carries significant weight in politics. Minimally, the state is accused of promoting a ‘culture of impunity’ that has rendered Sri Lanka ‘one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists’ according to the organisation, ‘Reporters without Borders’. In the past two years, at least eight journalists have been killed in the country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

As the war (including an information war) has escalated, the phenomenon of extra-judicial killings has risen. Wickramatunge’s assassination was in the wake of a series of killings and intimidation of journalists and lawyers, and attacks on independent media institutions in the south. A few weeks earlier, the largest independent television station in the capital, MTV, criticised by segments of the state of being unpatriotic, was attacked by a masked gunman in a city teaming with security forces. A few months earlier, the house of a leading lawyer and head of Transparency International, Sri Lanka, who had appeared in several fundamental rights cases, was struck by grenades. In August 2008, Sri Lanka lost its seat in the United Nation’s Human Rights Council and has since turned down several requests of the United Nations Human Rights Commission to set up an observer mission to monitor the situation in the country.

 

Needed: An Exit from Violence

Implicit in renaming the conflict in Sri Lanka a ‘war on terror” is the suggestion that the current war is a ‘just war’, which has elicited considerable support from members of the international community engaged in the global war on terror. The challenge of war, be it a ‘just war’, ‘humanitarian war’, a ‘war on terror’ or even an oxymoronic ‘war for peace’ is to avoid destruction of the lives, institutions, values and ideals sought to be liberated or protected. The LTTE, which began as a movement for the rights of a minority community against state discrimination, over time morphed into a self-sustaining war machine that has sapped the strength of the very community it sought to protect. During the decades of conflict, there have been several rounds of negotiation with the assistance of the international community. However, the LTTE has failed to grasp the opportunity to negotiate peace for the war wary and depleted population that it seeks to ‘liberate’.  

The armed group has been, for some time now, fighting a war of diminishing returns. The globally networked organisation, which draws support from a significant diaspora in North America, Europe and Asia, has been banned in many countries. Likewise, successive regimes in Sri Lanka have periodically used an emergent ‘war economy’ to benefit from violence, while extended periods of Emergency Rule has seen the attenuation of the rule of law, while a growing culture of impunity has stymied investigation of grave human rights violations, corruption, and rent-seeking behaviour by state actors, non-state actors and paramilitaries. Hence the conflict has been also referred to as a ‘dirty war’. Over the two and a half decades of conflict, a variety of politicians, members of the defence industry and paramilitary groups had acquired illegal personal profit and political power as the economy periodically morphed into a ‘war economy’. Sri Lanka seems to be in the midst of one such cycle. At the same time, the regime may be increasingly dependent on the use of majoritarian nationalism and the militarisation for survival, given the soaring cost of living with one of the highest inflation rates in South Asia. Sri Lanka has the largest defence budget in South Asia in percentage terms. At the November 2008 budget, President Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance and whose brother is the Minister of Defence, promised to raise defence spending by seven percent to a record US$1.6 billion in 2009, according to figures presented to the Parliament.

In his inauguration speech, Franklin D. Roosevelt remarked, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”. Naming a complex conflict such as Sri Lanka’s ‘war on terror’ may be counterproductive. Indeed as John Sidel, a specialist on Indonesia noted in his book, “Riots, Pogroms, Jihad”, that since 9/11 an industry of terrorism experts has reframed diverse types and forms of complex political conflict in South Asia and Southeast Asia. To call Sri Lanka’s complex conflict simply a ‘terrorist war’ or an ‘ethnic conflict’ is to get history and indeed geography wrong. For it is necessary to talk of state terrorism in the same breath, as the LTTE is no doubt vicious terrorism which has included violence against the very community it seeks to liberate, including the assassination of those who do not agree with it, recruitment of women and child soldiers, and perfecting the suicide bomb.

There is little doubt that the LTTE engages in terrorist acts and combating it requires special measures. However, renaming Sri Lanka’s complex conflict a ‘war on terror’ may leave little space for the reasoned analysis required to understand and address the root causes of the conflict so as to ensure a lasting political solution that would underwrite sustainable peace. The quarter of a century-long conflict in the country cannot be solved by military means alone. It would require a political solution that ensures power-sharing with the minorities in the north and east. Otherwise the LTTE would very likely regroup and return to fight another day, as has occurred in the past. However, because the current regime in Colombo has key nationalist parties as its allies, it seems unlikely that it would be able to deliver a genuine power sharing package at this point in time. The All Party Representatives Committee, convened almost three years ago to formulate a political solution, has yet to deliver a solution acceptable to all Sri Lankans, particularly the island’s minority communities.

 

Epilogue

Arguably, it was in recognition of the collateral damage that the global ‘war on terror’ inflicted on democratic rights, values and the rule of law that United States President Barack Obama, in his inauguration speech, signalled a change in strategy and method to deal with threats to peace, “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake”. The global ‘war on terror’ may no longer be expedient for states that are required to address complex domestic identity conflicts through genuine power sharing agreements.

 

References

Horowitz, Donald, 1989, “Incentives and Behaviour in the Ethnic Politics of Sri Lanka and Malaysia”, Third World Quarterly October, 1989.

Sen, Amartya, 1993, “Capability and Well being” in The Quality of Life. Amartya Sen and Nussbaum, Martha C. eds. Oxford. Clarendon Press.

Sidel, John, 2007, “Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia”. Cornell University Press.

 


[1] Sri Lanka’s success was often posited in comparison with Southeast Asia’s emergent nations. Thus Donald Horowitz stated in a retrospective on Sri Lanka that “any knowledgeable observer would have predicted that Malaysia was in for serious, perhaps devastating, Malay-Chinese conflict, while Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was likely to experience only mild difficulty between the Sinhalese and Tamils” (1993, 1).  

 

 

  • arul

    There are a few statements in this articles that cannot go unchallenged. The writer claims that violence began in the 80's,glossing over the repeated anti tamil pogroms. If the singhalese claim they are fighting to rescue the tamils from terrorism, they should take this battle to its logical conclusion, and hold a referendum to see what the majority of tamils want. Unfortunately the 60 year experience of the tamil people is one of betrayal. Initially by the singhalese, followed now by the indians, japan the US and the EU. All talk of maximum devolution is disappearing. They all stand ready to supply arms and aid to help the singhala state in its enterprise.So the singhalese are not going to come up with any political solution. What we the tamil people have to brace ourselves for is some thing simillar to what the israelis are trying in the westbank. A patchwork of settlements to try and destroy the tamil homeland. So the battle will continue in a different form.

  • KSiva

    /However, the LTTE has failed to grasp the opportunity to negotiate peace for the war wary and depleted population that it seeks to ‘liberate’. /

    Ms. Rajasingham,
    Thank you for the article. I confess;.this column is much more balanced than what I expected from a Rajasingham.
    However one factual error in your above statement.
    Whatever the blunders of LTTE are, blaming LTTE for not grasping the opportunity for peace in the last peace process is NOT correct. Sri lankan government has to take the responsibility for the breaking down of the process. As the matter of fact, GOSL is the one gained.

  • ksiva

    In december 2008, Eric Solheim stated in the Nobel Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari's party that LTTE was the one with a proposal. I search the link on the web. If I get I will post here.

    I will be happy if you would not make any sweeping statement like what you made here in the future.

    Hope you / the moderator would allow this comment

    Also, please correct the typo, 1908 to 1980 in the text.
    Thank you.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Arul,

    The battle will not continue as long as the most bloodthirsty elements (i.e. the Sinhala and Tamil expatriates like yourself who don't bear the cost of the war) continue to keep their distance from Sri Lanka and play the role of distant spectator.

  • http://poeticequillibrium.blogspot.com/ Bard

    “It would require a political solution that ensures power-sharing with the minorities in the north and east. Otherwise the LTTE would very likely regroup and return to fight another day”

    With this I agree totally. LTTE was not the founding father of armed conflict in Sri Lanka; this honour is held by the JVP. The eradication of the JVP’s armed wing by the Sri Lankan military was supported by a genuine political package which enabled them to step into main stream politics and lay down arms and pick up banners and placards to be used in their protests.

  • http://poeticequillibrium.blogspot.com/ Bard

    The “Gloss” of war as you mentioned is blinding our foresight. Many social problems would begin showing itself during the post war era even if the North is liberated. People will see the emergence of politically backed armed group just as we see in the East which will act as a pawn to the Sri Lankan government in managing Northern and Eastern affairs.

    We see the politicians crossing over their allegiance from party to party when their interests are not met. This happening to the government backed gun lords of the North and East could prove disastrous. It will make them resort to rising against the very government that strengthened them or to squeeze the unarmed innocent civilians living in their control to achieve their goals. The thousands of youth who took up arms to sustain the army will have a tough time laying down the gun in place of a mammoty for agriculture or pen for higher education.

    War is a terrible cycle and not taking the needed political actions to accommodate all parties unconditionally will only make this cycle exponential in its adverse effects on the society!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Kuruvelu Kuruvelu

    Agreeing with most of the comments made and in complying with the grievances expressed in them that a political solution is essential I give below a set of suggestions that can be evolved into a proposal.

    In Sri Lanka, the trouble started due to discrimination and injustice and continues due to bribery and corruption. These may be the reasons for troubles in other countries too.

    Current wars have to be ended and new wars have to be prevented. To achieve this goal the present system of Democratic Governance has to be changed to one that is really democratic in its true sense.

    In the present democratic system it is only those – who possess the power to attract people through speech, have enough money and muscle power – can join the ruling class to suppress or convert all others as their subjects and is thus a fertile ground for "corruption" in various forms to thrive.

    In my opinion "Corruption" includes any kind of waste, neglect and every form of malpractice, dishonesty, abuse, misuse, unreasonable exercise of power, failure or refusal to exercise power, anything and everything left undone which results in the right of the people being denied or impaired.

    Without a "just society" in existence much talked about "terrorism" cannot be eradicated. For the creation of a "just society" there should be "good governance" in the country. For the creation of "good governance" in the country "corruption" in ALL its forms must be eradicated. And to eradicate "corruption" the present democratic system of governance, where full power to make final decisions ultimately rests in the hands of one person, must be changed.

    So the only way to salvage a country is to change the present system of governance to one that is truly democratic where the final decision-making power will NOT be in the hands of ONE person BUT shared by as many people as possible and thus restricting any individual to rush into hasty decisions that might lead to trouble everywhere.

    To make a country truly democratic, the powers of the Parliament (the decision making supreme body of a country) should be split and separated and each of the separated powers must be handled by different groups of persons selected and elected by the people for the purpose of administering EACH SET OF POWERS or duties as the case may be so that no single group has the full power. All the groups together will make the whole. The country is not divided but the powers of parliament are divided/separated. The World would become united. The people would have sustainable peace, prosperity and a pleasant for everyone is guaranteed.

    Different groups have to be elected for such purposes as administration, fiscal management, planning, implementing, policy and law making, auditing and for any other function that may be deemed necessary.

    The group that is entrusted with the power to make laws and regulations shall not be given the duty/power of implementing/administering the laws and regulations.

    Particular care should be taken to see that all powers are NOT CONCENTRATED in one place and that they do not overlap and there must not be a secret budget to be handled by a single person.

    All transactions should be transparent including Diplomacy which has to be diplomatically transparent.

    One set of powers dealing with the development of the country should be given to the set of representatives at the village level. The people of each and every village must be empowered to determine their way of life (lifestyle). The life-style of a village, its lands and resources shall not be disturbed by external forces.

    All plans of development of a village that remotely/indirectly affects the village must have the concurrence of the people of that village concerned.

    It has to be ensured that people are treated equitably regardless of their gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origins, age, disability, socio-economic background, religious or political beliefs and affiliations, marital status, family responsibilities, sexual orientation or other inappropriate distinction;

    The decision-making powers with regard to each and every set of powers must be spread through-out the country.

    With such system in practice discrimination, injustice, bribery and corruption, the four pillars of an Evil society might become history.

    When the above four pillars of Evil are eradicated, the people would be living under a system that would guarantee sustainable peace, prosperity and a pleasant living to everyone in any country.

    A more detailed set of suggestions can be had on request from <[email protected]>.

    Comments on the above views are solicited from everyone with a view to prevent future wars and end current wars.

  • Kichchi

    A portion of another article is given below.

    “There will be for the next couple of years bombs coming up — they will be able to do it, but they won’t control areas,” says Mr. Hulugalle, the defense spokesman. “It’s very difficult to crush it 100 per cent, we accept that. The war will be over, but terrorism will be there.”
    As a result, he says, the government will be obliged to maintain its vast network of checkpoints and other “security measures” loathed by the Tamil population, which include sealing off prime land, restricting civilian movement and barring fishermen from going to sea.
    The new phase of the conflict could be just as grim as the last, in its effects on the civilian population and on the prospects for development in Sri Lanka.
    “As the government congratulates itself on its glorious military victories, the old proverb applies: They have won the battle, but they haven’t won the war,” says one Western diplomat.

  • Arul

    Wijepala, what is stopping the all powerful singhala junta, from putting forward a proposal, so that we blood thirsty tamils and singhalese from overseas can stop being distant spectators. Besides it is the singhalese who elect the governments , that have come to power on a platform of singhala supremacy. I dont recall hearing one politician from any major political party refuting sarath fonseka's statement that the island belongs to the singhalese and all minorities have to accept what is given by the singhala majority. You cant whitewash your history.

  • http://www.groundviews.org Sam Thambipillai

    Congratulations to Barrack Obama and the people of America for the great inauguration event on the 20th January. It was excellent. The Tamils of North East(NE) of Sri Lanka(SL) have exceptional reasons to be proud about the presidency of Barack Obama, inspite of the agony of the present state genocide on them.

    Two graet leaders of America; Abraham Lincoln and Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who influenced the potential and great values of President Obama, were the same leaders who influenced the potential and great values and political vision of our past Tamil leaders from the NE. The sap was from the same plant, the branches were different!

    Abraham Lincoln was the father of emancipation from slavery in America. At the same time of emancipation, Christian missionaries from America were working under "American Mission" in the region of NE of SL and South India, where there was a cruel caste system equalling to slavery. There was an urgent need for a "City on a hill", and president Abraham Lincoln became that "City".

  • http://www.groundviews.org Sam Thambipillai

    Realising the need for education in emancipation, Jaffna College was established in 1860s, by learned missionaries, as the first University College of its kind in the region. As the president of America, Abraham Lincoln, wrote a letter to the Board Of Directors, wishing them success. America thus helped the missionaries "under the shadow of its wings" to extricate slavery in caste system.

    Most of the leaders in the country studied in schools and Jaffna College run by American Mission. SJV Chelvanayakam, fondly called as SJV, was mentored in a similar manner to become an outstanding Queen's Counsel lawyer, law maker and director of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College. Having inherited the golden values of justice, equality and freedom; cherished by Abraham Lincoln, SJV became the political leader of the people of NE from 1950s till his death in 1977.

  • http://www.groundviews.org Sam Thambipillai

    Dr Martin Luther King Jr led the civil rights movement and SJV led a non violent "Satyagraha" movement. Tamils and African Americans became contemporaries in their struggle for freedom and dignity in the 1960s and shared a common history. Our fathers sang "We shall overcome" simultaneously in America and in the NE and were locked up inside prison during the same years. Satyagraha was always met by more brutal state violence. Yoke of oppression became heavier and rule of law was non existent on Tamil matters.

    John F Kennedy, aware of Tamil struggle, sent a message to Colombo Plan Exhibition in Ceylon stating that he hoped Ceylon would "solve its problems and develop". He was surely hinting of a Federal constitution as found in America. Ceylon never solved its Tamil problem and was in retardation since then. Prophesy and words of wisdom are for believers, not for the foolish and the defiant!

  • http://www.groundviews.org Sam Thambipillai

    Congratulations to

    President Obama in his first 100 hours of presidency said " ….transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency". Adherence to rule of law for SL. both internally and internationally would mean; reinstating the ceasefire Agreement(CFA); Withdrawing its soldiers to 2002 CFA lines; Calling back Scandanavian monitors; Continuing with peace talks and facing War Crimes charges as envisaged for Israeli soldiers for their violatins in Gaza.

    As a world leader and as a leader of a "Co-Chair country", President Obama has the responsibility to make SL adhere strictly to rule of law on Tamil matters. But Sri Lankan state is a "Wild stallion", needing taming with civilisation before it could comply with rule of law. The task is difficult but Barack Obama is capable.

  • Ethirveerasingam

    Darini
    It is good to know your perspective of the conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhala peoples and those who fight on their behalf. I had the pleasure of meeting you at the SEED meeting when we discussed the methods education of Special Children – a project school of SEED and about their rehabilitation projects of the displaced Tamil families. Your compassion for the less fortunate and the victims of the war is commendable. I was fortunate to be a student of your father who taught me Mathematics in 1949/50. I met him in 1995 after 45 years and thanked him for the excellent teacher he is.

    Those of us whose views have petrified through years of repeated tragic experience and repeating failed ways of recommended conflict resolutions have nothing new to propose. History tells us that "Might is Right." Democracy preaches that the majority will shall be done. Tamils in the North-East are trying to think and act otherwise and paying the price for it. I see no end to the misery visited on us. Nor do I see the beiginning of peace. I hope you and persons like you continue to express your perspectives and more importantly propose viable and just solutions based on your analysis.

  • sumana

    now that tamil eelam doesnt have a homeland, you see (as in this site commets) lot of people asking for "proposals" and expecting the majority to put ideas. when the land border (1/3 of coastel belt) game was looked at no tamil party wanted proposals. so as the saying goes, "to the victor the sopils of war" hence please hold you breath and wait for the set of proposals….. at best the onus is on the tamil politicians, i bet the sanagrees, devanandas and karunas will fill the vacume and become democratically elected members in a unitary SL…

  • Arul

    Sumana tries to twist history again. During the ceasefire the LTTE cam up with two proposals The ISGA and PTOMS. History records the singhalese response.The APRC recommendations of Tissa Vitharane was still born. The attitude of to the victor the spoils is why as tamils we have no alternative but to fight, either militarily or by other means to regain our independance from people with the mentality known as the mahavamsa mindset. This attitude exemplifies shows why sr lanka will win This war but not have real peace

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Suren_Raghavan Suren_Raghavan

    I believe every moderate Thamil has the legimate right to demand a proposal from the Sinhalas and their polity. As they govern the state. It would take only a politically insane individul to say there are no problems for Thamils in SL. 7 weeks ago my friend could not send a telegramin Thamil from Nuwaraeliya post office. This is the distric with the largest Thamil speaking population in the south.

    Colombo's rehtoric was ''no solution before the end of LTTE''. (history shows that LTTE came to be because there was no solution) However as GoSL claims the end of LTTE, once again their committment to , Buddhism, Ahimsa, Pularity, Democracy and all other vertures will be tested. History is the best teacher in politics. What kind of Sri Lanka the Sinhalas will build? Who are the key architectects of that new state? Where/how will the Thamils, Muslim and ''other'' sons(and daughters) of Lanka will be placed?

    These are more sober yet probing questions that everyone who rejoys over the capture of Mullaithevu should ponder upon.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Suren_Raghavan Suren_Raghavan

    I believe every moderate Thamil has the legimate right to demand a proposal from the Sinhalas and their polity. As they govern the state. It would take only a politically insane individul to say there are no problems for Thamils in SL. 7 weeks ago my friend could not send a telegramin Thamil from Nuwaraeliya post office. This is the distric with the largest Thamil speaking population in the south.

    Colombo's rehtoric was ''no solution before the end of LTTE''. (history shows that LTTE came to be because there was no solution) However as GoSL claims the end of LTTE, once again their committment to , Buddhism, Ahimsa, Pularity, Democracy and all other vertures will be tested. History is the best teacher in politics. What kind of Sri Lanka the Sinhalas will build? Who are the key architectects of that new state? Where/how will the Thamils, Muslim and ''other'' sons(and daughters) of Lanka will be placed?

    These are more sober yet probing questions that everyone who rejoys over the capture of Mullaithevu should ponder upon.

  • Anagarika

    The sri lankan army commander sarath fonseka stated that sri lanka belongs to the sinhala buddhists. The hindus and the christians must now try to live with the buddhists wihout provoking them.

  • Arul

    Anagarika what will the singhala buddhists do if the christians and the hindus " provoke you"? Revert to your animalistic past? Like emergency 58, or balack july 83.