Ampara, Batticaloa, Elections, Jaffna, Politics and Governance, Post-War, Trincomalee, Vavuniya

Parliamentary Elections, April 2010: An opportunity for voters in the North and East

I remember visiting Jaffna in 1997. Local government elections were due. Several leading political figures had been assassinated in the preceding years, some by the LTTE, others by anti-LTTE groups.  In the prevailing climate of fear, the Federal Party had reluctantly submitted nominations for elections for the Jaffna Municipal Council and one or two other local bodies. The LTTE was against the whole exercise, but the anti-LTTE gun carrying groups were contesting the elections. The Federal Party candidates showed great courage in contesting but minimized their risk by avoiding public meetings and house-to-house campaigning.

Many Federal Party supporters faulted the candidates for avoiding public visibility. They asked: how can we vote for those who are reluctant to publicly or privately ask for our votes? But in the end they did vote for the Federal Party candidates, as did many who had never been Federal Party supporters. The faults they found in the Federal Party were nothing in comparison to those they found in the violent armed groups.

Of those armed groups, the LTTE ceased to exist in May 2009, but some of the other groups remain active in public life. They fared poorly in the recent local government elections in the North and proved to be ineffective in the Presidential Elections in January 2010. They are in the field for the Parliamentary Elections due in a few days. Whatever faults the voters may find in the non-gun carrying political parties, our priority is surely to eradicate the gun culture.

I have no doubt that the voters of the North and East will rise to the occasion as they have done more than once in the past and help to ensure that this time the violent gun carrying groups disappear from the political scene.

  • Kathir

    Dear Mr.Devanesan Nesiah, Your argument is correct up to some extent but the real culprits are the TULF and TNA who has created this so called armed groups from the start.I hope that you cant deny the real hands behind the Killing of Mr.Alfred Duraiappa who was the people mayor.It is well known fact that ,Killing of Duraiappa’s was induced by the Kasiananthan ,Mavai Senathirajah, Mr.Amirthalingam and others , in the open stage meetings .Not only that, ,Mr.Appapillai Amirthalingam helped Mr.Killer of Jaffna major to escape from the police.
    The problem is that the ordinary people could not be educated without a proper organization which will work in favour of the people.I hope that a genuine political group will come up from the people in the near future to expose the FP,TC,TUF,TULF , TNA and the people like you.The LTTE was a paper tiger but the real tiger is TNA.It is the immediate enemy of the people.

  • justitia

    I totally agree with Mr Nesiah.
    But the armed groups are sure to intimidate the voters like what happended during the presidential election, and one large group is headed by the quisling who has the navy controlling his “electorate” and the army assisting his mercenaries. Recently one mercenary had abducted a teenager for ransom and killed him.
    Will the IDPs get transport? Will all those eligible receive identity documents and polling cards?

  • Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    The upcoming election is an unwanted trap for the Tamils. They are being forced to make choices from a plethora of mediocre parties , groups and candidates, who have no feel for what the Tamils need now or in the future.

    The so-called unarmed Tamil political parties laid the foundations for what befell the Tamils. They encouraged and condoned violence. They resorted to politics of passion and emotions to rouse the placid Tamils. This camouflaged their inability to provide the vision, mission and strategy to lead the Tamils into a post-colonial future in an independent Sri Lanka. They failed to find a niche for the Tamils within the Sri Lankan nation. They aided the emerging Sinhala nationalism to transform into narrow chauvinism with their short sighted handling of issues and slogans. They gave the Tamils, the minority a ‘Majority Complex’ to counter the emerging the ‘Minority Complex’ of the majority Sinhalese. The Tamil politicians provided the tinder for the fire that was to engulf the Tamils and Sri Lanka. The same short sighted opportunistic politics are being pursued by these Tamil parties even now. They have failed to highlight what are life and death issues for the Tamils at this juncture and are instead focusing on issues that have no relevance to the Tamils now or in the future. These parties and groups are bankrupt and should be shown the exit door.

    The so-called armed ‘democratic’ Tamil parties are the known devils and pose a lesser danger than the unarmed democratic Tamils parties- the subtle and devious devils. They have no long term prospects in Tamil politics and will wither away with time.

    The national parties contesting the elections in the north and east have also failed to field candidates who can inspire confidence of the people. The short sightedness of the national parties, does not bode well for the nation. Politics is doomed to be the profession and abode of the cads, thugs and rascals in Sri Lanka, for a long time to come.

    The Tamils will lose irrespective of who gets elected to parliament from the north and east. A new genre of leaders have to emerge from among the Tamils to make a difference and challenge the current bunch of incompetent pretenders and contenders for the Tamil throne.

    Dr.Devanesan Nesiah a descendant of one of the pioneers of the movement for independence in Sri Lanka ( a type of man we should have had to lead the Tamils now), should play a catalytic role to bring forth a new generation of ‘Quality’ for the Tamils,instead of backing a bankrupt TNA.

  • ranjit de mel

    i was is and also in the future would be for a federal set up in s.l.. for me the whole of s.l. is the homeland of all s.lans .iam against anyone who says s.l. belongs to the sinhalese and the buddhist. and against the tamils who say n/e province is the homeland of the tamils.i would like to tell the sinhalese,who say a federal set up would lead to the seperation of s.l. is a federal set up the defence as well as the foriegn policy is detemined by the central government.the monetary as well as juduciary too could be arranged in a way where the central government has the main say.let the people living in their state (PROVINCE) develope their state according to their wishes and iam convinced they could do it better than the central government.i do not agree that the armed groups(exception epdp) has much influence how people vote in the n/e provinces.not only the sinhale natonalism/chauvenism is a hindrance for a political solution but also the tamil n./c. .t.n.a. could be a big the moment meger of the north with the east should not be discussed.when his excellency the president says developing s.l. is the best way for the unity of the ethniens,maybe he is correct,but development should be accordng to the wishes and the mentality of the people.even in the south there are many who may not agree the way he wants to develope s.l.(i do not consider the national socialist donkeys the jvp nor monks party the jhu).our aim should be a federal set up in s.l. so that we can develope s.l. together. ranjit de mel berlin/colombo

  • The politicos. their cohorts and the media, should be shameful for the disgraceful political history they created since colonial Ceylon became a British dominion in 1948, to be administered by a Governor General, appointed by the queen of England.

    Bandaranayake-Chelvanayakam Pact, an agreement made between the two leaders of the two nations in the island, during the time of Dominion of Ceylon – not yet an “independent republic”- proved not only the existence of two nations but also confirmed the presence of dual sovereignty.

    The unilateral and rebellious declaration of the entire island as a republic by the politicos of the Sinhala nation in 1972 as Sri Lanka(SL), leaving out the representatives of the Tamil nation, necessitated the declaration of its independence also.

    The Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976, seeking the independence of Tamil nation as Tamil Eelam(TE), and the peoples’ democratic mandate of 1977, established TE as a country politically.

    This great, timely and irreversible act of wisdom of the fathers of TE is somewhat similar to the wisdom of the founding fathers of America.

    Instead of respecting the democratic mandate of the people of a nation and recognising it as a state, TE was treated as a colony occupied by SL; the Sinhala nation.

    A non violent political struggle for the freedom of TE ensued and it was replied by the colonists in Colombo with military repression, arbitrary arrests, disappearances and ethnic racism, worse than apartheid.

    Armed resistance against these evil acts and terror by the Sinhala nation birthed the LTTE.

    Determined to have independence, a postal system was inaugurated and first stamps were issued on the 5th of September 1986.

    Indo-Lanka Pact of 1987 gave partial independence to TE and when the Sinhala nation abrogated the pact as another abrogation, the Chief Minister rightly and timeously declared TE as fully independent.

    And to this day, that political act remains unreversed and will remain so for ever.

    From 1987-2009, the de facto state of TE existed and even a ceasefire was signed between the de facto state and SL.

    Trying to dismantle the de facto state, the Sinhala nation resorted to war crimes and Tamil genocide, necessitating international justice and punishment.

    It is time for the Sinhala nation to revive itself and learn from history instead of fooloishly repeating it. It should make way for TE and SL in the island, as TE is technically independnt but occupied by SL.

  • Nithyananthan

    I am in total agreement with Dr. D. Nesiah’s perception and his attempt, at a crucial time, to alert and induct cautionary awareness among the Tamil Speaking people. While agreeing that the TULF was partly responsible for creation of armed struggle by arousing fiery speeches, now its offshoot TNA has proved to be a spent force. As Mr. Kathir said I can not find TNA, as a scapegoat or a dump-yard, to discharge whole blame on them. Firstly, let’s understand that the TULF / TNA or the armed groups were nonexistent before 1975. Until his demise, Mr. Alfred Durai’yapa & Co. was the champions of politics of the Tamils and pawned their political interest by their sycophancy. Same Tamil cabal was instrumental to form the foundation for the merger of FP, TC & CWC and named it as the ‘TULF’ under a triangular leadership.
    Hello’ Mr. Kathir!
    If I am correct to paraphrase what you said and conclude that Mr. Alfred Durai’yapa was an honourable Tamil with inherent peerless qualities and high morality and was prematurely killed by the said rascals of TULF / TNA. Your compelling hypothesis makes is so astounding and urging me believing it. Monumental failure on the part of the members of TULF / TNA was that they didn’t want to participate or join-hands with his effortless still tireless contributions and services for the betterment, political dignity and prosperity of Eelam Tamils.
    A few of Durai’yapa’s such still reverberating contributions, which outweigh cumulative contributions of Kathirs, Karunas and Douglas, have already been engraved and immortalized on tablets of hearts and minds of Tamils to percolate – into the future generations. In an environment where he was championing the interests and well-being of Tamils against the FP and TC, and when the armed groups were not born to be heard or seen – as it’s now; how can the average Tamils forget his single-handed accomplishments such as (1) his complicity in abrupt disruption of the ‘1973 World Tamil Research Conference’ which claimed so many lives by electrocution; (2) endorsing the historic 1972 Constitution that removed the Chapter 29 (only safeguard for the minorities enshrined by the GB) thus rendered Tamils unprotected thus reduced them to third class voiceless; and (3) as a pimp running brothels, promoting prostitution and sex-trade by providing helpless Tamil Girls to the visiting Politicians and high level CCS officials from the south – late son of the then PM – specific notoriety. It’s hard to believe how foolish and shortsighted these TULF / TNA politician were and still are for not getting any full / half or at least quarter ministerial posts by joining any colourless governments to serve for prosperity of the people as Mr. Alfred served. It’s agonizing to realize that if still living he would have made Jaffna a prosperous rival in tourism to the Lanka’s southern shores, Bombay, Bangkok and Manila! Nithy!

  • Sie.Kathieravealu

    Mr.DN is right as well as wrong. He seems to be indirectly supporting the TNA because there is no other choice The TNA has many faults. First and foremost they failed to incorporate like minded persons such as Anandasangaree (TULF) and Sitharthan (PLOTE) Kajendrakumar (TC) and even Douglas Devananda for that matter into their fold. The aim of all seems to be the same with slightly different approaches. Secondly they have still not come out with an alternative system that will give the Tamils their DUE DIGNITY. Thirdly they seem to be guided by an unknown hand. Fourthly each member in the TEAM seems to think that he is better than the other members in the TEAM. The TEAM SPRIT is absent..

    With these faults the Tamils have no alternative but o support the TNA because the Tamils need International support to win their DUE RIGHTS as citizens of this country. .

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    Dear Dr Nesiah,

    For the most part of your career you served in the government and you lived in Colombo. I do agree with your opinion but reading between the lines I realise you chose not to take a stand.

    You are against gun-culture. I too am against. But could you not have at least mentioned the state’s gun culture? How media-workers, aid workers and civilians brutally murdered since the eighties to say the least.

    I have attended your press-briefings and although you are an intellectual you are also very adept at pussyfooting on issues affecting Tamils just like your counterparts such as the late Appeal Court Judge Palakidnar, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Devanayagam et al who at any cost want to retain their positions with the government.

    Eeerie silence by intelletucals like you is the very reason Tamil youth took up guns. And this simple truth still does not seem to have reached your conscience.

    Now that the LTTE appears to be spent force it is incumbent on people like you to speak up on the denied rights of Tamils and make sure history does not repeat itself.