Colombo, Constitutional Reform, International, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War, War Crimes

Thus Spake Gothabaya

[Editors’ note: An edited version of this article appeared in the Daily Mirror today.]

 

Photo courtesy of Media Centre for National Development of Sri Lanka (www.development.lk)

 

“The existing constitution is more than enough for us to live together. I don’t think there is any issue on this more than that.

“I mean this was given as a solution for the whole thing with the discussion of these people. I mean now the LTTE is gone, I don’t think there is any requirement.

“I mean what can you do more than this? … Devolution wise I think we have done enough, I don’t think there is a necessity to go beyond that.”

Thus spake the Defence Secretary to the Indian media organ Headlines Today. The significance of these remarks lies in their utterance by arguably the most powerful man in the country on the most important issue facing the country, if it is to move from a post-war to a post – conflict situation.

Gotabaya Rajapaksha is the secretary to a ministry.  Ministry secretaries are not supposed to pronounce on policy in public.  Moreover, in this instance, the pronouncements of this Mr Rajapaksha are at variance with those of another Mr Rajapaksha who happens to be his minister and the President of the Republic.  In another era and in this country, Secretary Rajapaksha would be sent packing for stepping so egregiously out of line.  This Mr Rajapaksha however is different. He is a key member of the brotherhood that runs the country and the key architect of the military victory that has brought about the post-war situation. I have called for his resignation or sacking on more than one occasion. This is yet another.

The propriety of his pronouncements notwithstanding, Mr Rajapaksha has provided a candid and authoritative insight into the mindset of the regime.  He has confirmed what some of us have always suspected and in this respect, his pronouncements serve as a catalyst for honest appraisal of the prospects for a post conflict Sri Lanka.  Explicit reiteration of his opposition to the devolution of land and police powers to the provinces, would have settled the matter beyond doubt and dispute.  However when he says, “I mean what can you do more than this? Devolution wise we have done enough, I don’t think there is a necessity for us to go beyond that”, he is defending the prevailing status quo – Thirteenth Amendment Minus.  Is there any reason to assume that the parliamentary select committee will not come to the same conclusion?

By digging in its heels, the regime poses a serious challenge to Tamil and Muslim political representation in acquiescing or rejecting the current constitutional dispensation.  The TNA in particular has to think about what it can and should do when the parliamentary select committee reaches its foregone conclusion.  Likewise, Delhi, which has consistently called for a political settlement.  The key factor here could be Tamil Nadu and the extent to which Jeyalalitha’s interest in Sri Lanka and importance to the ruling coalition parallels and outlasts the playing out of the select committee charade in Colombo and the announcement of its foregone conclusion.  The satisfaction of Indian economic interests by Colombo is yet another factor which could defuse any pressure regarding a political settlement.

Countering Indian and Western pressure through Chinese protection and loans, the Rajapaksha regime believes it can get away with it – military victory trumping political settlement, its brand of economic development blunting political grievances and aspirations.  On a political settlement it intends to be unyielding – the farcical placating of sections of international opinion aside; on human rights and war crimes accountability that allegedly reach into the very heart of the regime, it will engage to combat.

The glitzy launch of the Defence Ministry’s film and report “Lies Agreed Upon” is an illustration of the latter. Whilst not explicitly presented as such, the Defence Ministry productions are a response to the Panel Report and Channel Four.   The objective, one would have thought, was to lay the allegations to rest to the extent possible, rather than sustain the controversy. Both the Ministry Report and film, however, preach to the converted.  The overwhelming objective is to establish how horrendous and horrific the LTTE were.  Only a very selective reading of the Panel Report and Channel Four would conclude that they need convincing or disagree on the LTTE.  In both cases the LTTE too is accused of war crimes.

Much has been made of the admission that there were civilian casualties – despite the incredible denials of the past. There is no mention of the murder of the 17 ACF workers or of the alleged attacks on hospitals.  In the film, allegations are refuted through the five doctors who, maintaining that they were subjected to LTTE intimidation, retracted what they said during the war in a subsequent press conference.  Tamilchlevam’s widow is interviewed along with George Master and a number of ex-LTTE female cadres who pay tribute to the way in which they have been treated by the forces.  Whilst Karuna was in the audience, one waited in vain to see KP on screen.

The Rajapaksha regime seems unable to grasp the challenge and promise of reconciliation and unity, of moving from post-war to post –conflict. Most disturbing, it doesn’t seem to care.

Gotabaya has spoken and it looks like we are going back to the future.

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Finally Gotabaya has come out openly with the ‘true’ ideology of the regime regarding the devolution of power, which some of us knew for sure for quiet sometime.

    The regime has equalized the ‘political aspirations of tamils’ to the LTTE. This simple math says; no LTTE = no tamil problem. We should be more than happy if this simple arithmatic is true.

    Is that so simple? Should we be amazed why TNA has given a ultimatum to the GoSL before the talks? Instead we should be suprised to see why TNA had agreed to sit with the GoSL for talks in the first place.

    May be Gotabaya’s plan is to supress any tamil aspirations for political freedom with military force in the future in the N/E. With hundreds of army camps with settlments of Army Familiies he probably thinks that there will not be any future tamil opposition in N/E.

    We have seen how different ethnic groups were kept under a flag of a single country with brutal force applied from the centre in the past in countries like Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Finall what happened to those unitary states?

    • wijayapala

      PP,

      We have seen how different ethnic groups were kept under a flag of a single country with brutal force applied from the centre in the past in countries like Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Finall what happened to those unitary states?

      Sigh… both Yugoslavia and the USSR were FEDERATIONS, not unitary states!!! You have presented two wonderful examples how devolution does not ensure the unity of countries!

      • Devolution would be a federation or federal system devolving from an original unitary state. Jugoslavia, the USSR, etc were separate states unified by a federation. So it is not an example of devolution leading to separation, because they were originally separate anyway; simply unified for a time.

        Nevertheless, PP is also wrong that the are examples of separation from a unitary state.

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Wijayapala,

        I accept that my choice of words is wrong. However, what I want to emphasis was that different ethinic groups who aspires for political freedoms can not be supressed for ever with force.

        On the other hand, one would argue that the Sri Lankan situation was no different from those of Yugoslavia and USSR. When the British united Ceylon under the Union Jack it took at least three (may be two) different ethnic groups under its flag namely Tamils, Up country Sinhalese and Low Country Sinhalese. (We should remember that for a long time Up Country sinhalese thought that they were different from Low Country sinhalese.)

        So after Parakrmabahu the 6th the British was the first power to unify Ceylon under a single flag. When the British left the internal frictiion of Tamils and Sinhalese came on to surface. It was just like in Yugoslavia and USSR. The different ethnic groups took up arms and rioted when the central authority weakened due to Tito’s death in the case of one and the weakening of the communist state in the other.

        There are lots of similarities between us, USSR and Yugoslavia.

      • PP, the USSR and Jugosalavia are still not good examples. They were unified in a federation relatively recently (early this century in the case of the USSR, and after WW2 in Jugoslavia’s case), and were relatively modern countries when they were unified. Pre-Brit SL cannot be compared; the separate nations (how sovereign they actually were is still under debate) were basically feudal fiefdoms that were modernised and ruled as one. To therefore claim that those feudal kingdoms are a good model to base a future separation on is ridiculous. I might as well point to the unification of the two Germanies as proof that unification is the way to go.

        There is an argument for separation in SL, as there is an argument also for federalism; however, you are not making that argument.

      • Sorry, that should read “early in the 20th century” in the case of the USSR.

  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, written by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

    Maybe the offense secretary will one day write his memoirs and call it “Thus Spoke Gotabaya: A Book of Zero Casualties for ALL?”

    • Ravana

      “Secretary of Offence”

      Hik Hik Hik

  • Burning_Issue

    I think that Dr.Saravanamuttu has got to a stage that he cares very little about his own life! Dr. Jayadeva Uyangoda has been silenced along with numerous others, but Dr, Saravanamuttu is still going with no fear; I take my hat off to him.

    • Ravana

      Burning_Issue,

      Hear Hear

    • Ratnam Ganesh

      Dr.Hoole made a wise decission at the right time to move out of the country.I think Sara shall follow him sooner or later.We need such people.Else our silence will confirm they are always right.

  • silva

    Rajapakses open their minds sometimes unguardedly:

    http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers46/paper4558.html:
    Sri Lanka: Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, 15 June 2011: ‘’The umpteenth Indian delegation (Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, National Security Advisor Shiva Shankar Menon and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar) came to Colombo and duly went back empty handed and funny as a comic strip! President Rajapakse handed them a flat ‘Nyet’ and for once in a lifetime he spoke the truth. “If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, 13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted, it will be curtains for me.”

    It’s difficult to hide a real crime(the crime of oppressing the ethnic minorities).

  • Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam

    Thank you Sara.
    The term “Brotherhood” describes perfectly the current Government of Sri Lanka.

  • wijayapala

    Devolution would be a federation or federal system devolving from an original unitary state.

    Have any of the pro-devolutionists come up with a list of unitary states that became federations through “devolution?”

    • Devolution doesn’t require going as far as a federation, so it would not be necessary to provide such a list to substantiate devolution; unless of course, one is recommending federation. Countries that have adapted a federal system of course are many.

      My point was simply that PP’s choices maybe wrong as examples of unitary states undergoing separation, but they are also wrong as examples of devolution leading to separation.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    If I understand you correctly, the entire point of this article is that GR is a bad person because he does not support devolution?

    • PitastharaPuthraya

      Wijayapala,

      Yes, You have made a good point here. However, there are no good or bad (or ugly for that matter) on this argument. Two sides are pro and anti devolution.

      The people, who see the LTTE as not more than a bunch of criminal gang, do not see a point of talking about it or anything else when it is destroyed.

      The people, who see the LTTE as a symptom of an ailment in our society, may want to treat that condition even if the symptom is suppressed with a pain killer temporarily.

      That is the differece between two group.

      Surely you belong to the former I suppose.

      • wijayapala

        PP,

        On the other hand, one would argue that the Sri Lankan situation was no different from those of Yugoslavia and USSR.

        How did Yugoslavia and the USSR try to hold themselves together through force? If you are referring to their post-communist history, the Russian Federation most certainly succeeded in crushing the Chechen insurgency through brute force and cunning. In Serbia, Milosevic lost against the Kosovar Albanians primarily because of outside intervention, not any inherent strength or willpower that the Kosovars had.

        The different ethnic groups took up arms and rioted when the central authority weakened due to Tito’s death in the case of one and the weakening of the communist state in the other.

        So you are basically saying that even if the Tamils gain “internal self-determination” as practiced in Yugoslavia and the USSR, they will take up arms and riot if the central government weakens???

        So after Parakrmabahu the 6th the British was the first power to unify Ceylon under a single flag. When the British left the internal frictiion of Tamils and Sinhalese came on to surface.

        What friction between the Tamils and Sinhalese existed before the British?

        (We should remember that for a long time Up Country sinhalese thought that they were different from Low Country sinhalese.)

        Is it possible that 100 years from now, PP the IVth might be telling Wije Junior how for a long time the Sinhalese and Tamils thought they were different from each other, which would render your aforementioned separate ethnic group ideas to be garbage?

        That is the differece between two group.
        Surely you belong to the former I suppose.

        Sorry, but I reject your false dichotomy.

      • PitastharaPuthraya

        Wijayapala,

        What is the false dichotomy? Tell me how do you see the LTTE problem. I can say without any hesitation I am in the camp, which believes that the LTTE is just a symptom of more sinister disease devouring our nation. What about you?

  • anton norbert

    Gota has said ” as is “. Well and good. That’s the extreme position of one side. The TNA will hold for federalism. Somewhere in between we can settle, after all we are the same people.

    Why don’t the other Provinces ask for the same devolution of powers from the centre ? They don’t want it. They don’t allow the other to have it either.

  • wijayapala

    PP,

    It seems that my simple question isn’t worthy of Paikiasothy’s valuable time to answer, so I’ll assume that his tacit answer is “yes GR is ugly because he does not support devolution.”

    Tell me how do you see the LTTE problem.

    Tamil militancy had little if anything to do with devolution or the lack of it. The first groups originated around the time of Mrs B’s standardisation, a policy unconnected with devolution that alienated young men from Jaffna. These pre-LTTE militants had no interest in devolution or “political solution.” They were inspired by Bangladesh and believed that if they created enough trouble, India would intervene and help create a separate Tamil state (although Prabakaran himself did not hold this view).

    Tamil militancy was hardly consequential until it exploded with the 1983 riots. I see the war that recently ended primarily as the result of the *violently* anti-Tamil environment created by the UNP govt in the late 1970s and 1980s. It was only after 1983 that thousands of Tamil youth became militants, compared with the mere dozens in the 1970s. So I see anti-Tamil VIOLENCE- something that threatened the Tamils’ basic sense of security- as the cause of the war, not some vaguely defined “disease” that you appear to be unable to pinpoint.

    From the 1980s onward Tamil militancy gained a momentum of its own largely independent of the govt. The nature of the anti-Tamil violence before the war more or less determined that the logic of Tamil militancy would be defined by retributive violence, as opposed to ideology or social justice. Hence the LTTE became the most legitimate militant group among the Tamils, who were mostly silent when the LTTE decimated the other groups, any other Tamil dissident, and later used Tamil children as cannon fodder. The Tamils wanted an organisation that would not compromise their security. They wanted the ability to fight back against the violence they suffered. This mindset changed eventually when they realised that the LTTE was bringing them more violence and making their lives even less secure, but that is a different story.

    It is important to note that the overwhelming bulk of this anti-Tamil violence that led to the war and the rise of the LTTE was not conducted by security forces (although they were complicit in some things such as the burning of Jaffna Library), mostly because the security forces were too few in number to make a difference in anything. There were only about 16,000 police constables for the entire island when the war started, and many of them were part-time reservists. It was in this security vacuum that the LTTE was able to grow. It is unlikely that this will happen again, given the present size of security forces.

    In case you are hoping to identify anti-Tamil violence as a part of your “disease” or the “disease” itself, it does not hold up when you consider that the four major incidents of anti-Tamil violence all took place under just two leaders: SWRD and JR. There were no communal riots under Dudley or even under Mrs B, who was known for using force against her opponents and was more Sinhala nationalist than SWRD was. At best, you can describe the “disease” as extremely bad leadership that tolerates or encourages uncontrolled communal violence.

    In any case, I hope I showed you how unitary state played no role in the beginning of the war, and how devolution, Banda-Chelva or Dudley Chelva Pact would not have prevented it from arising.

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Dr. P. Saravanamuttu,

    You say “Only a very selective reading of the Panel Report and Channel Four would conclude that they need convincing or disagree on the LTTE. In both cases the LTTE too is accused of war crimes”

    The question Dr Sravanamuttu is whether BOTH the Darusman and CH4 gave a balanced view? Are you maintaining that they do? Is a passing reference by CH4 to the LTTE (meant to ward off this very charge) makes it balanced? It appears that you are guilty of the “very selective reading” that you accuse others of.

    Why are you discussing CH4 in the same breath as the UN report? Are they of equal standard or are you trying to elevate the disgustingly biased CH4 to the comparatively less disgusting Darusman report?

    What do you have to say about The Uthayam Editor Dr Noel Nadeson’s adverse comments on CH4, expressed in an open letter to Australia Broadcasting Corporation, that is Diametrically opposed to yours?

    Extract

    “Channel 4 showed images of a young man who was tied to a tree, threatened with a knife and subsequently killed. I was told by sources in the Wanni that this was an LTTE operation and pictures were taken for propaganda purposes by LTTE. Have a close look and you will find among the so-called soldiers a man in SLIPPERS. Sri Lankan soldiers never go about in slippers when they go out on operations.”

    End Extract

    CH4 did not have a SINGLE LTTE Cadre injured or Dead in battle, within the ONLY hospital accessible to the LTTE in the war zone. War it seems, only injures and kills Civilians as CH4 claims.
    The above two facts trashes CH4 as far as credibility goes.

    In the circumstances your statement above appear to be an apologist view rather than an objective view. Not worthy of a an intellectual whose objective is to move from a post-war to post –conflict.

    You say “By digging in its heels, the regime poses a serious challenge to Tamil and Muslim political representation in acquiescing or rejecting the current constitutional dispensation.”

    How did the Muslims come in to the picture?
    Have they asked for a separate Homeland on their own?
    Have they not controlled and still control very powerful Ministries in Govt?
    Why are you trying to annex the Muslims?

    The Thirteenth Amendment did not evolve through the democratic process in Lanka but was forced on Lanka by a bullying Indian Govt. Yet it is Law and you are still unsatisfied and want to go beyond the Thirteenth?

    You say “Explicit reiteration of his opposition to the devolution of land and police powers to the provinces, would have settled the matter beyond doubt and dispute.”

    Not only Gotabaya but the great Majority of Non Tamils will be opposed to the Devolution of Land Powers to the Provinces as you will find out, if its ever put to the democratic test.

    80% of Land in Lanka is PUBLICLY owned and hence the common property of all. The Provinces are an arbitrary demarcation by the British. The majority of undeveloped land lies within the Northern and Eastern provinces. On what grounds do you claim ownership to the Major portion of Public Resources? A Land grab in whatever language it is couched will not find favour with the Majority. Lankan resources are common property of ALL Lankans and not an exclusive domain of anyone Ethnicity.

    You should study the Singapore Ethnic Integration Policy which is still alive (has been so for over two decades) and has been the main tool of Ethnic Integration in Singapore.

    Police powers of course should be devolved, whilst ensuring the integrity of the security of the Island and her Territorial waters (including the Economic Zone).

    • P.Saravanamuttu

      Off the Cuff, the issue with regard to accountability is the need to lay the matter to rest to the extent possible, through an independent investigation of the allegations made. The allegations and counter allegations, the contestation of the evidence provided as biased and manufactured, keep the issue alive and keep it alive to fuel and sustain notions of injustice and grievance. 2009 should not be allowed to fuel conflict in the way that 1983 did and only a credible, independent investigation can do this. Furthermore, there is a crucial need for a national accountability mechanism to reverse the culture of impunity in respect of human rights violations.

      The Muslims come into the picture because a post conflict situation requires a political settlement of the conflict which has affected them as well. Constitutional reform in this regard is about the future of Sri Lanka and all of the peoples who inhabit it.

      Regarding land, please have a look at CPA’s report on land issues in the east and the report on land issues in the north which will be published by the end of the month. Also do read the thirteenth Amendment. Land powers to provinces is not a license for them to discriminate against any community in the country.

      As for the Singapore model, I do not think that Sri Lanka should turn its back on the democracy, however flawed, that we have enjoyed since independence. To do this would be to invite more conflict.

      Wijayapala, perhaps you should read the article again and Burning Issue thank you for the kind words. i do care about my life and in a Sri Lanka that is a functioning democracy.

      • wijayapala

        Dr. Saravanamuttu,

        Thank you for your response. I read the article again and did not observe any changes made to it. I ask again- was your point that GR is a bad man because he is against devolution?

      • @ P.Saravanamuttu

        You should stand corrected.We now live in a “functioning DemoCrazy” and NOT a “functioning democracy,” like you state in your reply to ‘Off the Cuff’ and others.

        Please do watch your back. Anything is possible and everything is acceptable in this “DemoCrazy, TheoCrazy, International ConsPirazy” we live in today.

        Thus Spake Julius Caesar many years ago…and thus do our ‘herd’ pronounced as ‘majority’ follow in the quote given below…and the key words to watch here are, “infused with fear and blinded by patriotism.”

        “Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.

        And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.

        How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”

        O tempora, O mores! (Oh the times! Oh the customs!) Oh! What a country!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dr P. Saravanamuttu

        Thank you for your reply.

        You say, “the issue with regard to accountability is the need to lay the matter to rest to the extent possible, through an independent investigation of the allegations made.”

        War is dirty and unfortunately civilians die in war. Could you please elaborate on the modus operandi that you propose and any established precedents of accountability of a democratic govt placed in similar circumstances?

        You say “The allegations and counter allegations, the contestation of the evidence provided as biased and manufactured, keep the issue alive and keep it alive to fuel and sustain notions of injustice and grievance. “

        Ask yourself the question, what evidence has CH4 provided?
        Can it stand up in a court of Law?
        There was a multitude of SL govt videos and pictures available in the public domain and yet the CH4 was crammed with LTTE propaganda material filmed by their embedded cameramen, the so called “Truth Soldiers”.
        Does tha make it balanced?

        Dr Noel Nadesan a Tamil of standing, points out to a Slipper clad man in uniform within the group that slashes the throat of a young man. He points out that SLA soldiers never wear Slippers when going on operations in uniform.

        The ONLY hospital available to the LTTE in the war zone does not have a SINGLE LTTE cadre injured or dead within it’s precincts. Where were the LTTE injured? While civilian corpses were on display there were no LTTE corpses visible. Where were the LTTE corpses? Were all of them camouflaged in CIVILIAN clothes?

        With such obvious indicators pointing to biased and manufactured evidence, how can an intellectual like you, even consider CH4?

        You say “2009 should not be allowed to fuel conflict in the way that 1983 did “

        Agree with you unreservedly.

        You say “and only a credible, independent investigation can do this.”

        I have my reservations on what you mean and hence will await your clarification.

        You say “Furthermore, there is a crucial need for a national accountability mechanism to reverse the culture of impunity in respect of human rights violations.”

        Agree with you unreservedly. Such a mechanism should be an integral part of any Democracy to ensure good governance.

        You say “The Muslims come into the picture because a post conflict situation requires a political settlement of the conflict which has affected them as well. Constitutional reform in this regard is about the future of Sri Lanka and all of the peoples who inhabit it.”

        Is it not strange to see Tamils taking the forefront and not the Muslims in asking for a political settlement? Are they incapable of independent political negotiation? Is this not a devious attempt at increasing the Numbers like the “Tamil Speaking” phrase was used to annex the Muslim population to buttress the Tamil demands?

        You say “Regarding land, please have a look at CPA’s report on land issues in the east and the report on land issues in the north which will be published by the end of the month. Also do read the thirteenth Amendment. Land powers to provinces is not a license for them to discriminate against any community in the country.”

        I have read the thirteenth amendment.
        Initially it accepts the per capita principle in dealing with land but filibusters it later, in another clause.
        Land is probably the biggest bone of contention that fuels mistrust amongst the majority of Sri Lankans. The refusal by the Tamils to share Lanka’s resources equally “fuels and sustains notions of injustice and grievance more than anything else”.

        Due to it’s importance, I will deal with the Land issue in a separate post.

        You say “As for the Singapore model, I do not think that Sri Lanka should turn its back on the democracy, however flawed, that we have enjoyed since independence. To do this would be to invite more conflict”.

        I am not suggesting the adoption of the Singapore model of Governance. I am aware that Singapore is a quasi police state. Yet EIP is a fair and Democratic Policy, that ensures per capita distribution of the scarcest resource of all, Land.

        EIP recognises per capita distribution, just like the thirteenth amendment. But unlike the thirteenth, it does not have a filibuster operating within it. EIP is still operative (has been for over 20 years) and has ensured peace, in a country that also saw Ethnic Riots in the past. Should we not learn from that experience?

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Dr P. Saravanamuttu,

        I have discussed the Land Issues in a separate post as promised. Please see link below.
        http://groundviews.org/2011/09/02/should-sri-lanka%e2%80%99s-youth-get-ready-to-confront-armed-intervention-two-years-after-the-war/#comment-36318
        Please contribute your views in the discussion there.

        My response (August 30, 2011 • 2:22 am) to yours of August 24, 2011 • 7:46 pm in this thread is also awaiting your views.

  • MV

    Isn’t this revealing?

    “I mean this was given as a solution for the whole thing with the discussion of these people. I mean now the LTTE is gone, I don’t think there is any requirement.”

    Gotabhaya simply reiterates what his brother, Mahinda Rajapakse, stated in an interview given out to The Hindu shortly after he declared the war over – that, he will not give what Prabhakaran demanded.

    Why would a regime devolve or share power, hence weakening the state’s authoritarian grip, when it went to the extent of passing on the 18th amendment? or would it want to lose all that it gained through war victory by doing just what was demanded during CFA?

    • wijayapala

      MV, perhaps a better question would be, “why would a regime devolve or share power when people like yourself will still oppose it anyway?”

      • MV

        I am not sure if I get you here Wijayapala. Why would I oppose it?

  • sambar

    Dear OfftheCuff,

    You have quoted Nadesan: “Have a close look and you will find among the so-called soldiers a man in SLIPPERS. Sri Lankan soldiers never go about in slippers when they go out on operations”.

    What kind of silly logic is this?
    So wearing slippers is proof of LTTE persons? Colombo is then full of them and from all communities too.
    Maybe SriLankan soldiers never go about in slippers when they go out on combat operations, but this is a torture operation!
    Also many Karuna men helped the SL forces and were among them, maybe they wore slippers during combat as well as torture operations.

    (I have replied to what Percival wrote).

    • sambar
    • Off the Cuff

      Sambar,

      You ask “What kind of silly logic is this? ”

      Why is it silly? Because you got caught with your pants down?
      Rubber Flip Flops are worn in the USA too but not by US Soldiers in UNIFORM.

      No Sri Lankan Soldier in UNIFORM wears rubber slippers Sambar.
      That is what Dr Nadesan, a Tamil himself, points out and he is not a medical doctor or an idiot.

      Remember that the purported soldiers are shown in UNIFORM

      I wonder why you skipped the following statement

      “CH4 did not have a SINGLE LTTE Cadre injured or Dead in battle, within the ONLY hospital accessible to the LTTE in the war zone. War it seems, only injures and kills Civilians as CH4 claims”

      CH4 has tripped on it’s own lies and you are making a fool of yourself trying to white wash them.

      Yes I have seen your reply about Percival and I do not agree with what you have written. Will give you an appropriate reply in due course.

  • sambar

    Dr. P. Saravanamuttu,

    You wrote: “Countering Indian and Western pressure through Chinese protection and loans, the Rajapaksha regime believes it can get away with it”

    Not so!
    Rather it is exactly because the Rajapakse regime full well knows that it has the support of the west and India that it believes it can get away with anything – note also that the west and India only goes as far as saying that the GOSL itself must investigate the allegations of its own war crimes.
    What is this Chinese protection you are talking about?
    There is none!
    Anyway, China could never protect the Rajapakse regime or any SL regime against any serious insistence (not mere cosmetic ‘pressure’ for the media to report) from India and the west.

    Proof that India/Delhi is not serious about proper settlement for the Tamils but is only concerned about its own interests in the region is in the Indian foreign minister S. M. Krishna’s recent comment that the problems of Sri Lanka was a terrorist one; and like Gothabaya, Krishna too maintains that now that the LTTE is gone the problems of Sri Lanka are gone too.

  • P.Saravanamuttu

    Wijeyapala, being opposed to devolution does not make for a bad person; being opposed to devolution does make for a conflict ridden Sri Lanka, though. Gotabhaya Rajapaksha, opposing devolution, given his position in the power structure of the country is indicative of the regime’s inability and unwillingness to move the country from a post- war to a post-confict situation. That he should mouth off on this subject to an international media organization or indeed to any media organ in public, undermines governance. Officially he is a secretary to a ministry. HIs minister is the president and defense secretary and his brother whose official public pronouncements on this issue are different. Who calls the shots? Who indeed should be allowed to?
    Would you also not think that the question of as to whether someone is a good or bad man depends on a lot more than their stand on devolution?

    • wijayapala

      Dr. Saravanamuttu, thank you for answering my question.

      being opposed to devolution does make for a conflict ridden Sri Lanka, though.

      Are you saying that Sri Lanka would have less conflict or no conflict if there was devolution? Could you please explain this idea more?

      That he should mouth off on this subject to an international media organization or indeed to any media organ in public, undermines governance. Officially he is a secretary to a ministry. HIs minister is the president and defense secretary and his brother whose official public pronouncements on this issue are different. Who calls the shots? Who indeed should be allowed to?

      Would you have had the same reaction if GR had publicly endorsed devolution?