THE NORWEGIAN STUDY: A CRITIQUE

The Norwegian (NORAD) commissioned study ‘Pawns of Peace: Evaluation of Norwegian peace efforts in Sri Lanka, 1997-2009’, is useful and good, but analytically flawed at its very core. It is useful because it shows us how the ‘liberal peace’ discourse goes and how that constituency views the conflict in retrospect. This does not mean that this perspective has it all wrong. Indeed the study has quite a few things right. In any case it is crucial that the Sri Lankan readership sees how our contemporary history is perceived and reconstructed. It is useful to look into a mirror, while being conscious as to whether it is a slightly or greatly distorting one. Taken as a whole, the Norwegian study is a valuable and welcome addition to the growing literature on the war and our times—with the strongest part being the analysis of the International Dimension in Chapter 7. In the interest of transparency I should add that I am one of the 84 persons listed as having been interviewed for the study (one of the authors flew over from Europe for a day to the Singaporean think-tank where I was at the time), and have been quoted quite accurately (p 79, fn. 273).

It is however, wrong or empty at its very core. Wrong not only in what it sees and says, but perhaps even more so, in what it does not—in what it fails to or chooses not to see and/or express. The NORAD study is characterised by an absent analytical core. Let us limit ourselves to considering, as a microcosm, a representative sample, these conclusions from the Executive Summary:

“…there was an incommensurable gap between what the South would countenance (a unitary state with limited devolution) and the LTTE demanded (a separate state in all but name)….” (p. xv)

“…The effort led by the United National Front (UNF) government to internationalize the peace process through security guarantees, donor funding and politically sensitive economic reforms sparked a Sinhala-nationalist backlash. This contributed to the emergence of a nationalist-oriented administration, with a commitment to a more hard line position towards the LTTE and greater scepticism towards Western involvement. ” (p. xvi)

This is as inaccurate as it is inadequate. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was willing to go beyond “a unitary state with limited devolution”.  This neither prevented the Tigers from going to war nor did it induce them to stop the war they re-initiated in April ’95 and talk to her about the quasi-federal ‘union of regions package’ (’95-’97).  Certainly, it didn’t prevent the LTTE from trying to blow her up, leaving her blinded in one eye. Furthermore, why was a unitary state with devolution acceptable to the IRA/Sinn Fein, which debated and negotiated the limits and extent of that devolution, but was not something that the LTTE would even consider (and the TNA is unwilling to explicitly commit to, even today)? Why did it continue to demand and repeatedly initiate war for ‘a separate state in all but name’ even in the wake of reforms such as the Indo-Lanka accord and against a peace-keeping force from a country with a huge Tamil population? What does that say about the LTTE, from a comparative political perspective? What does Norway’s failure to ask itself the question after the Good Friday agreement, tell us? What indeed does the failure of this post-mortem, to raise that question, reveal?

The second assertion quoted from the executive summary is also wrong or only partially true, and misses the essential point. What, exactly, fuelled the ‘Sinhala nationalist backlash’ to the point of the ‘emergence of nationalist oriented administration’? As public opinion polls of that period (some cited in the study) reveal, support for the UNP administration’s CFA was moderately high at the outset but kept dropping as the LTTE’s lethal violence continued, with the killing even of a police officer in the Dehiwela police station, an army officer on a city street and the much respected Foreign Minister as he took a swim.  In sum, was not the real causative factor, the aggressive, deadly behaviour of the Tigers during the CFA, and the pusillanimity of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga during her comeback ( Karuna rebellion, PTOMS), and the Norwegians, in the face of such marked aggression? What does the failure of the NORAD analysis to pose this crucial question tell us?

Running through the entirety of the study is the dual argument about (i) two contending nationalisms (or ultra-nationalisms) and (ii) the failure of the Sri Lankan state to reform/restructure. This argument is supported by and often attributed to a few Lankan social scientists.  Though containing considerable truth, the dual argument fails to grasp the main thing: as Sartre emphasised, what is most crucial is not what is done to you by others, but what you do with, and about, what is done to you. One is free to choose, and the existential choice one makes tells you about yourself and tells us about you– all the more so if it is a choice that is repeatedly made over time. Not many armed movements faced with the phenomenon of a state that refuses to or is agonisingly slow to reform, respond by assassinating neighbouring peacemakers like Rajiv Gandhi or wiping out competing guerrilla movements and intellectuals who were for federal reforms, such as Rajani Tiranagama and Neelan Tiruchelvam.

Aristotle was the first to point out that one size does not fit all, when he embarked on a comparative study of constitutions of the Greek city states and pioneered the classification of regimes, according to their internal arrangements and ‘animating spirit’ or governing ethos. For many long years I have argued emphatically that the same is true of non-state or anti-state actors.

Thus, the Tigers and their leader were of a qualitatively different category from, say, the Guatemalan guerrillas with whom the Norwegians dealt with in the peace process they successfully mediated.

This is not a prejudiced assumption which should have been made apriori by Norway. It is a conclusion that would have flowed had they undertaken a quite basic task of analysis, namely to study the earlier peace efforts that were made by India and Sri Lanka, and have detailed discussions with the Indian and Lankan negotiators. Even if one assumed ideological–cultural bias on the part of the Sri Lankans, searching conversations with the Indian negotiators of the 1980s (such as India’s man currently on the Security Council) should have been an obvious exercise. That this has not been mentioned or undertaken by the Norwegian study reveals that they are still unaware that they attempted to re-invent a wheel.

In an exercise that is pretty standard in the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit at Quantico, a study of the LTTE’s conduct during all previous ceasefires and efforts at negotiation would have yielded an unmistakable profile of the movement and its leader.

That in turn, would have helped construct a far less frail and foredoomed effort at peace by Norway. Given the character of the LTTE as analytically derived from its patterns of political (more correctly, politico-military) behaviour, a different and far stronger strategy could have been drawn up by Norway. Such a strategy would have had to be based on concepts of containment and deterrence, not of appeasement; a model emphasising conflict management rather than of conflict resolution. The primary object of containment and deterrence should have been of that party which had repeatedly returned to war– even against a non-Sinhala, secular, quasi-federal mediator (India) and a reform-minded President (Chandrika).

That would have been the Realist option. The last war was not solely the ‘realist’ choice of several available (and implicitly free-floating) options, and to present it as such, reveals a feeble capacity for political analysis. The final war was the sole realist (or real) option left open after the Norwegian failure to adopt a realist model of peace-making deriving from a comprehension of the character of one of the belligerents, itself deducible from (a) the political behaviour of that actor and (b) a comparative political analysis of other armed movements (e.g. Guatemala, El Salvador, Northern Ireland).

This study does not pose, still less grapple with the quintessential political question involved in the Norwegian and other efforts at a negotiated peace in Sri Lanka: how does one make peace with a non-state (therefore unconstrained) actor that is fanatical, politico-ideologically fundamentalist and totalitarian? Is peace possible, in the final analysis, with such an entity? If so, is it not only as a product of prolonged containment and firm deterrence, until that entity evolves/mutates, or decomposes/implodes? If not, surely war is necessary, and if we are to invert Machiavelli who said the only just war is a necessary war, is not a necessary war, a just war?

It is also bad political theory verging on ignorance, to posit, as the Norwegian study and its supportive/feeder studies by Sri Lankan Social Scientists have done, a contradiction between the ‘liberal’ and ‘Realist’ approaches. On the contrary, not only have contemporary Realists credibly counterattacked, dismantling the illiberal neoconservative militarist approach as undermining precisely the national interest, the most outstanding thinkers in the modern Realist tradition have themselves been liberals and reformists (even progressives): George Kennan, Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr, Raymond Aron and Stanley Hoffman to name just those who spring to mind. Moving from such ‘grand strategists’ to contemporary military thinkers, Gen David Petraeus (with whom I had the privilege to dialogue during his presentation in Paris few months back) is a socially liberal Realist.

This is not one-upmanship or hair-splitting. It is the enduring intellectual availability and strong international reassertion of a reformist liberal Realism — ‘post-Neocon Realism’ – that enables a clear understanding of why the Norwegian effort was foredoomed, and why the war had to be fought to win. It sheds light on why, with the domestic abdication or absence of a liberal realist political will to defeat the Tigers and defend sovereignty, leaving the task almost by default to a re-emergent ‘nationalist orientation’,  the aftermath was pretty much inevitable. A liberal realist perspective also informs us no less crucially, what must be done, undone and not done, for the peace too to be won.

  • Ward

    It is not necessary to debate this an umpteenth time here.
    Yet I’m urged to comment on a few things:

    1.Some important lessons learnt by Norway have already been stated in many papers as research findings. As this is the most vicious conflict of our times, this is a challenge to many experts in conflict resolution. One of the reasons is the impact of increasing Sinhalisation of the Northeast by GOVERNMENT schemes to reduce the need for devolution of power to the ethnic minorities have been planned and successfully executed in the last seven decades, much more in the last 30 months than in the previous 70yrs(migration of individual Tamils to the South in the last century is for reasons of financial initially and now increasingly physical safety). It has already reached a critical level that devolution of power has become meaningless to Tamils in the Northeast.
    When will the elections for North PC be held? That will show a great deal of what has been going on in the last 30 months in the Northeast.
    We don’t have to wait for LLRC report but for the Northern PC elections.
    It’s going to show the world that there is no more reason for a ”political solution”.
    One recent exposure:
    Post-war situation in Northern Sri Lanka & Prospects for Reconciliation, *Watchdog, 19 November 2011 – http://groundviews.org/2011/11/19/post-war-situation-in-northern-sri-lanka-prospects-for-reconciliation/

    2.Why draw in so many genres of (not home-grown)philosophy unknown to most Sri Lankans?

    Why not speak plain language known or understandable – UDHR (and failing which basic precepts of Buddhism)?

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) underlines that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

    This must be taught to all school children instead of the hatred for the ‘other’ spread through textbooks published by successive governments.

    3.”why was a UNITARY state with devolution acceptable to the IRA/Sinn Fein, ….”
    i. B-C pact and D-C pact were discarded – SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated and a Buddhist monk was (accidentally?) shot dead in the protests against the intentions to give ”concessions” to Tamils.
    ii.13A and Language Policy REMAIN MOSTLY UNIMPLEMENTED – these have been debated so many times here and even recently.
    ii. APRC and CoI reports remain hidden. APCDR was appointed (July 200)
    ….. TNA talks …. PSC (transferred from limelight to the pipeline) ……
    iii. the most populous President cannot spell out the solution he wants to see(he will do if he wants to?) in his beloved land and keeps saying it has to come from the people after he has been voted in twice and every conceivable attack on the idea of ”devolution of power” is happening inside and outside the parliament?? Most vociferously from the triple Rajapakses.

    3.Ethnic outbidding of five decades has been buried by the emergence of ”Jumbo Cabinet” – buying Opposition MPs with creative Ministries(only financial gain for the ”crossovers” and ministerial power remains with the Rajapakses)

    4.”the Tigers and their leader were of a qualitatively different category”

    True.

    The hatred and the indignity created by the oppression shown by successive governments in the last 6+ decades up to this moment is a qualitatively and quantitatively different category – every imaginable and unimagined oppression has been unleashed on the ethnic minorities (leading some to say that it is a textbook example of ethnic conflict):

    Where on earth were nearly 75,000 people disenfranchised in mid-20C when half the world were stampeding for franchise?
    Where on earth were a series of state-aided pogroms unleashed in the second half of 20C?
    Where on earth were the leaders(SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayawardene) were waiting for mob anarchy (aided by state forces) to take place for nearly three days before emergency was declared in 1958 and 1983?
    Separation of the East from the North by state colonisation schemes for Sinhalese had begun in late 40s.
    Sinhala only and patronage politics weaned Tamils off not only government employment but also private trade.

    Every imaginable form of oppression has been meted out by the Buddhist Republic of Sri Lanka to its ethnic minorities – when a lot of things in the Northeast come out in the open (if and when they are allowed to)
    some conscientious people may freeze.

    • yapa

      Dear ward;

      Interpretation of facts does not overlap with the reality. You interprets things for your own advantage and argues and presses for a subjective goal. You think majority was acting unjustifiably without reasons? You think majority has been brutal to minorities for no reasons?

      My dear friend, your painting of majority as unimaginably brutal is unsubstantial imaginations only. Is there no reason for their behavior? Is it a behaviour without any reasonable cause? You think majority behave as the characters in “Alice in Wonderland”? I think it is better to find why it was so, rather than pointing to the wrongs without their causes. Do you think minority was subject to so called “injustices” without any valid reasons?

      I think those so called injustices are reactions to the previous injustices inflicted by the minority on the minority with the help of then authorities that suppressed the rights of the majority. I think everybody is aware of the historical injustice done by colonialists to the majority of this country, with the given privileges to the minorities of this country. Rectification of historical injustices forced on the majority was seen as injustice towards the minority and really it was only loosing their special privileges and not loosing their rights. Can anybody say the minority of this country was not unduly privileged during the colonial period?

      You all are trying to secure the undue privileges you got from the colonials over the majority. Devolution of power in the present context would secure that alone and nothing else. You loose the inhuman battle by LTTE to secure the privileges. After that you all want peaceful negotiation for the same. In that case victory of the battle has no meaning. All the privileges would have given without sacrificing so much of valuable human lives.

      Do you say only loss of your human lives should be paid off for its cause, neglecting the loss of human lives in the opposition? My dear friend it is not realistic. You have made a mistake. Your cause of action has failed and it has to accept its consequences or you should have opted for a negotiated settlement before loosing your forced alternative on us. You never thought you would loose, and if you won by any chance, you think we could negotiate any negotiated settlement or we could demand like you do in public?

      My dear friend we are much better compared to so called minority in this country. None was vocal when LTTE was doing murderous atrocities against the innocent civilians in the border villages. Do you think murder is a lesser form of crime than what you describe above?

      Dear friend any analysis should be impartial. What it should represent is not the capacity of partial writing.

      Thanks!
      Thanks!

  • luxmy

    Dayan

    Please speak and write the language many can understand – UN language.

    Though you’ve been employed by the Sri Lankan government at UNHRC earlier and now at UNESCO, you tend to speak and write quoting academic (and obscure?) philosophers and not the easily understandable layman language of the UN charter, UNESCO mission, etc.

  • Shanuki

    What’s all this about obscure language and references? This is only a short critique of the Norad report. This has nothing to do with Dayan’s job as ambassador and premanent rep. to UNESCO. I think people commenting here should only be allowed to give critical feedback to critical views, not personal opinions, kitchen talk, pillow talk etc.

    • luxmy

      ”I think people commenting here should only be allowed to give critical feedback to critical views”

      Critical feedback can be given only when critical views are UNDERSTOOD.
      Misunderstanding may lead to personal opinions, kitchen talk, pillow talk, …….

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        If you don’t understand, perhaps you shouldn’t even be commenting on the subject in the first place. I hardly think a writer should be faulted for not catering to the lowest common denominator. If you want that, go listen to a Parliamentary debate.

    • luxmy

      Arguments need connection between various parts. I could make connection only that way.

    • http://n/a HolmungP

      Well, I quite agree that in dyan’s effort to use sophisticated sounding words to perhaps further advance his career, the majority of us in the middle- would waste considerable time reading/re-reading to try understand what he’s saying. Nothing personal. for maximum effectiveness than impact.

      No real need to get all hot under the collar girl – dyan must be sure enjoying this moment, whilst it lasts?!

      Lets focus on the bigger issues @ hand, the impunity with which some political types act. The absence of the Rule-of-law. Keep the pillow-talk off-line.

      Peace!

  • Vino Gamage

    No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka, Report by Minority Rights Group International, 19 January 2011:
    ”With the end of the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE or ‘Tamil Tigers’) in 2009, normality has returned for much of the population of Sri Lanka. But for members of the country’s two main minority groups – Tamils and Muslims – living in the north and east of the country, harsh material conditions, economic marginalisation, and militarism remain prevalent. Drawing on interviews with activists, religious and political leaders, and ordinary people living in these areas of the country, MRG found a picture very much at odds with the official image of peace and prosperity following the end of armed conflict. …. In light of the findings of this report MRG calls on the government of Sri Lanka to respect the economic, cultural and political rights of minorities living in Sri Lanka and to ensure that they gain from post-conflict reconstruction and development projects in the areas where they live. Failure to do so may have long-term repercussions for peace and stability in the country. …. The UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues should be granted an invitation by the government to visit the country in order to report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation of minorities in Sri Lanka.’’

    The situation has worsened a great deal:

    Post-war situation in Northern Sri Lanka & Prospects for Reconciliation, Watchdog, 19 November 2011 – http://groundviews.org/2011/11/19/post-war-situation-in-northern-sri-lanka-prospects-for-reconciliation/

    Your Excellency, what would the philosophers cited by you tell about the situation of Northeast Sri Lanka?

  • Nihal Perera

    “…The effort led by the United National Front (UNF) government to internationalize the peace process through security guarantees, donor funding and politically sensitive economic reforms sparked a Sinhala-nationalist backlash. This contributed to the emergence of a nationalist-oriented administration, with a commitment to a more hard line position towards the LTTE and greater scepticism towards Western involvement. ” (p. xvi)

    This is the absolute truth. The fact of the matter is that with the exception of Ranil, no Sri Lankan administration was willing to negotiate with the LTTE on equal terms. To do so would have invoked the quintessential Sinhala-Buddhist backlash. One need only look at the public reaction to the CFA and the failure of the Rajapakse administration to obtain a cohesive political solution two years down the road. Contrary to Dayan’s claim that Chandrika was willing to negotiate on good faith, who can forget that in her nationalist zeal to “save” the South, she dissolved the Parliament . References to Neelan T, Rajani etc. are irrelevent; if Ranil could not reach an amicable consensus with the South, it is presumptious to assume a Tamil could have done so, much less a Northern Tamil such as Rajani. But the real proof of the pudding lies in the fact that since May 2009, devolution has not even been discussed. Instead, the military has strengthened its grip on the Northern Peninsula. Sinhala nationalist chauvinism is as strong as ever. Now that it has successfully countered the LTTE threat on the home front, it is slowly working to restablish the mythical Mahavamsa monarchy, by eroding the Constitution as well as the integrity of once independent institutions.

  • Vino Gamage

    What can Aristotle or any other philosopher do with:

    L. Athulathmudali, 4 Feb 1985: ‘’Proposing a federal constitution will be political suicide.”

    R. Wickremasinghe, 13 May 1997: “We are a political party. Like any other political party, we will not do anything that will not get us into power, nor would we do anything when we are in power to lose power.”

    M.Rajapakse, June 2011: “If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, 13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted, it will be curtains for me.

    In 1974 on his deathbed, SJV Chelvanayagam said that only God could save the Tamils. But God can’t; only the leaders selected by the South can.

  • Asanga Welikala

    “Furthermore, why was a unitary state with devolution acceptable to the IRA/Sinn Fein, which debated and negotiated the limits and extent of that devolution, but was not something that the LTTE would even consider (and the TNA is unwilling to explicitly commit to, even today)?”

    Without disagreeing with the broader critique of the LTTE in relation to their unwillingness or inability to engage with any constitutional framework outside of a virtual separate state, the reference to the UK as a unitary state that is comparable for any purpose with Sri Lanka is not only “inaccurate as it is inadequate” but also misleading and mischievous. I cannot speak for the TNA, but one of the reasons moderate Tamil federalists (and Sri Lankan liberal democrats) are so averse to the Sri Lankan unitary state is because the UK and Sri Lankan articulations of the concept are not only fundamentally different animals, but possibly belong to different species.

    • silva

      Well-said, Asanga.

      Rajapakses cannot have elections for Northern PC till enough Sinhalese are settled in the North.
      They had to hold the elctions for the Eastern PC to ”show off” (PC cabinet has no political power and hence no development of any form – only de-development is promoted by the Governor)

      Assemblies in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are proceeding with their own plans ….

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Asanga, the British state officially defines itself as a unitary state, as the documents submitted by it to the Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council would prove ( ‘the United Kingdom is a unitary state comprising ….’).

      Every state form has case-by-case variations originating in concrete historical and political circumstances, e.g. the unitary state in China is rather different from that of the UK, which is in turn different from that of the Philippines, just as the federal state of Russia is different from that of Canada ( as any of its units would find out if it tried to play Quebec). However none of this means that the broad and basic classification is irrelevent.

      Indeed the point about the relevance for the Sri Lankan situation of the Good Friday agreement precisely as a model of conflict resolution through ‘devolution within a unitary state’ was made at the British Council, Colombo, by Peter Hain, some ten years ago.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Let me get the underlying logic of this one right, Asanga. Greatly put out by the enormous gap between the (acceptable) British unitary state and the (unacceptable) Sri Lankan one, Tamil federalists and Sri Lankan liberal democrats have NOT opted to call for a more liberal or radical devolution within a unitary framework as in the UK, but refuse to accept the very idea of a unitary state for Sri Lanka.

      That’s real smart of them, and I wish them luck. A Sri Lanka that refused to go federal in the face of a ferocious protracted war punctuated by an external intervention is hardly likely to do so having won that war, and with Messrs Nedumaran and Seeman about to celebrate Prabhakaran’s birthday with weeklong events across the water.

      Any fruitful Sri Lankan debate cannot between the options of a federal and a unitary state but between an overcentralised unitary state and one with a greater measure of devolution. In short, the only real discussion on state form in Sri Lanka is over which type or variant of unitary state, just as the only economic discussion worth having in most parts of the world today is over which type of capitalism — with which policy mix– and not over capitalism vs socialism.

      • Leela

        The resultant of the war is itself a political solution. That’s what Prof Nalin de Silva says, and I cannot agree with him more. For one thing, if LTTE won the war by any chance, what political solution would it or its proxy, TNA would have discussed with its subjects let alone with us.
        Leela

  • luxmy

    Asanga
    I can’t agree enough with you.

  • silva

    What can Aristotle or Norway or any expert in conflict resolution do with a man like our President:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzGj2hYoymo&feature=youtube_gdata

    • silva

      As soon as the war was over Udalagama Commission and APRC were wound up (and the reports hidden from the public).

      Hope Norway has noted that.

    • Neville Perera

      ”Every state form has case-by-case variations originating in concrete historical and political circumstances”

      Therefore (knowing what happened in the last 63 years in Sri Lanka),

      ”Tamil federalists and Sri Lankan liberal democrats have NOT opted to call for a more liberal or radical devolution within a unitary framework as in the UK, but refuse to accept the very idea of a unitary state for Sri Lanka.”

    • silva

      Dear Ambassador

      Have you had this discussion with your employer please?

      What political theories do you usually discuss please? Realism? Liberalism? Neo-conservatism?

      We need to understand this President through the political theories he has faith in.

      • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

        Yes, I have had this discussion with my (current) employer.

  • silva

    Prospective mediators for Sri Lankan conflict,

    1.THE SANGHA AND ITS RELATION TO THE PEACE PROCESS IN SRI LANKA, A Report for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2005):
    Lack of political consensus in the south and opposition to the various peace processes by nationalist and Buddhist pressure groups have time and again made peacebuilding difficult in Sri Lanka. ……One possible strategy for supporting pro-peace actors might be to encourage support from countries like Thailand which is also a Theravada Buddhist country like Sri lanka.

    2.Buddha’s Savage Peace, September 2009, ROBERT D. KAPLAN: ‘’President Rajapaksa came to Kandy a few days later, on May 23, to receive the blessings of the chief Buddhist monks at the Temple of the Tooth for winning the war. He expressed no apologies or remorse for the victims of the war, and he promised the monks, “Our motherland will never be divided [again].” He told them that there were only two types of Sri Lankans, those who love the motherland and those who don’t. Because he conceives of the motherland as primarily Buddhist, his words carried too little magnanimity’’ – http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/buddha-8217-s-savage-peace/7620/
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/buddha-8217-s-savage-peace/7620/

  • Neville Perera

    ”A Sri Lanka that refused to go federal in the face of a ferocious protracted war punctuated by an external intervention is hardly likely to do so having won that war” ????

    1. Refused to go not just federal but ”13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted” – http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers46/paper4558.html

    2. ”I mean now the LTTE is gone, I don’t think there is any requirement.” – Video: Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa speaks to ‘HeadlinesToday’, 8 August 2011, http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/2921

    3. http://www.nation.lk/2011/02/20/newsfe5.htm
    ”Education Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council Wimalaweera Dissanayake complained that their Governor has become a stumbling block to the smooth functioning of the Provincial Ministries including his. He charged that the Governor did not allow him to recruit teachers or even transfer a teacher despite his being the Minister of Education. If he had no power even to affect the transfer of a sanitary labourer, what is the purpose of his being a Minister, he asked. A former military officer, the Governor is trying to run the Provincial Council too in the military style, the Provincial Minister alleged.
    Chief Secretary Western Provincial Council Lalith Kannangara, Opposition Leader Kithsiri Kahatapitiya and PC member Mahesh Almeida said that their Governor Alavi Mowlana, despite being a politician himself does not interfere in the administrative affairs of the Council. PC members and officials from the UVA PC also said that their Governor Nanda Mathew too was non-interfering.”

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Don’t be silly or deceitful, ‘Neville’. 13A exists and the Sinhalese have been voting in PC elections since 1988, i.e. for almost a quarter century. All that is needed if for the PCs everywhere to be elected and activated/re-activated. Stop moaning and focus on that.

      • Neville Perera

        ”… deceitful, 13A exists …” :

        http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=14340
        A publication of the Institute for Constitutional Studies, ‘Twenty Two Years of Devolution – An Evaluation of the Working of Provincial Councils(PCs) in Sri Lanka’, launched on 21 December 2010 says: ‘’… Recentralization is the hallmark of the system. Today, PCs have become a means by which the centre controls regional resources. They have also become the avenues through which the centre consolidates its political power.’’

        http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Harim%20Peiris.pdf
        Submission by Harim Peiris to LLRC, 7 October 2010:
        ‘’If General and Presidential Elections can be held in the North and the East it is impossible to argue that the Northern Provincial Council’s elections need to be delayed any further. However, I would also respectfully submit that the frustrations experienced by the elected Chief Minister of the Eastern Province – incidentally an ethnic Tamil, in relation to the unelected Governor – incidentally a retired Sinhala Military Officer should not be allowed to be repeated in the North, if devolution is to be meaningful, and indeed such issues should be resolved, in the East.”

        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.” The government’s parliamentary group met the evening before the esteemed visitors arrived and decided; ‘’Let’s tell them the truth straight from the shoulder and upfront; let’s tell them’’

  • Buddhika

    ”The resultant of the war is itself a political solution” – Leela

    Same meaning but different words:

    i.Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, 15 June 2011: “If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, 13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted, it will be curtains for me. The government’s parliamentary group met the evening before the esteemed visitors arrived and decided; ‘Let’s tell them the truth straight from the shoulder and upfront; let’s tell them, if we do it we are dead meat’’ – http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers46/paper4558.html
    ii.”NW: Will your government ever produce a political solution? Basil Rajapakse: This Constitution of Sri Lanka is far more advanced than any other Constitution in the world. … It’s all there in the book but practical things have to be done” – Namini Wijedasa interviews Basil Rajapakse, 30 July 2011, http://www.lakbimanews.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2333%3Atna-stoked-hatred-ballot-papers-taken-away-were-ours&Itemid=56
    ‘’Q:The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) which secured 18 local councils yesterday insists on the devolution of police and land powers..
    Basil rajapakse: Then the President has a bigger mandate not to give these powers’’- 28July2011, http://print.dailymirror.lk/opinion1/51370.html
    iii.“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?” – Video: Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa speaks to ‘HeadlinesToday’, 8 August 2011, http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/2921

  • Buddhika

    ”if LTTE won the war by any chance, what political solution would it or its proxy, TNA would have discussed with its subjects let alone with us”

    In the absence of oppression by Sinhalese there may not be any serious splits among them. Or they may have had their own ”Tahrir Square”.
    But they are now spared of all that by i. humanitarian rescue, ii.Menik Farm and now iii. military protection 1/10.

    Most Tamils were united judging by the election results of 1960, 1965, 1970,and 1977(1956 – support growing in the initial stages of political and economic oppression) When oppression continues for some time, history amply shows that the oppressed begin to quarrel among themselves, mostly because they would have initially used the most reasonable way of struggle. When that is unproductive, they resort to less reasonable(which are more than one) ways. Splits then arise – that is why the oppressors continue their action. 2010/1 – just before the election half the cabinet was in the North handing out materials and multi-million projects. Some people who underwent aerial bombing and intense shelling for 30 years would have thankfully voted for the government – hence TNA didn’t get as much support as they expected.

    Stories are reaching our shores of how the government is now spending enough money to split the Tamil diaspora. Crossover UNPers have financial gain. KP and Karuna have financial/physical security of sorts(though it may not last long)

  • luxmy

    Black Adder

    Most of those who misunderstand something do not realise that they misunderstand and do whatever they do. Here they comment. As it is a very serious conflict going on for more than 63 years, in fact worsening by the day even after a very vicious war was fought and ended, many people try to comment desperately hoping ….

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Puxmy, if you have misunderstood, you will be corrected, in the hope that you will understand BEFORE you comment. But if your only comment is to lecture the author on writing something that goes over your head, you’re wasting your time and, more importantly, crippling debate.

      The situation is not “in fact worsening day by day”, as you claim. Perhaps you should ask the survivors of the Wanni if the situation is worse than it was in May 2009. They may be able to correct that misunderstanding of yours too.

      What was your desperate hope in commenting that DJ should write things you can understand? It seems disparate rather than desperate. The hope is that people will elevate themselves to the level of the debate instead of dragging the debate down to their own level.

  • Kusum

    More than anything else the very fact that Norway is evaluating itself and publishing the report must open the eyes of oppressive regimes around the world.

    In our case, how many reports are in the graveyard having been seen by only a few pairs of eyes?

    Had they been seen by the public in the last 3/4 ”decades of commissions”, our conflict may not have been so intractable.

    Should ”insular” be so evil in 21C?

  • Kusum

    Of course Ambassadors carry the messages of their country to the rest of the world. Surely they must also be informing the government of what is happening in ”the rest of the world”.

    I wonder if and how it happens with the Rajapakses.

  • Davidson

    ”Thus, the Tigers and their leader were of a qualitatively different category from, say, the Guatemalan guerrillas with whom the Norwegians dealt with in the peace process they successfully mediated.”

    Future mediators will have to deal with the forgotten Mahinda Chintanaya too.

  • Davidson

    ”Sartre emphasised, what is most crucial is not what is done to you by others, but what you do with, and about, what is done to you”

    So
    1. Tamils have been trying so many ways over the last 63 years to deal with what successive governments have been trying to do to them and are back to square one, trying and trying, again and again, ….

    2. After the ”marauding dragon has been slayed”, the last 30 months have been …….

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/10/17/an-allergy-to-analysis-and-historical-amnesia-in-sri-lanka/#comments
    Allergy to analysis and historical amnesia in Sri Lanka, Dayan Jayatilleka, 17 October 2010:
    ”… The Bandaranaike administration(1956-9) sowed the dragon’s teeth and it took Mahinda Rajapakse(2005-) to slay the marauding dragon, with all the corollaries and consequences that entailed. …”

  • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

    It was a measure of Sri Lanka’s abject weakness and subjugation to Norway’s ever-so-superior tone that in 2003 an LTTE delegation visited the Norwegian Army’s Telemark Battalion’s base.

    The Norwegian Army’s official statement hailing LTTE visitors to their camp tells you all you need to know about the contempt with which Sri Lanka was held by the Norwegian govt and its official organs.

    This is a direct quote taken from from the official Norwegian Army website, [the link no longer works, but the words were taken from their site in 2009].

    http://tinyurl.com/ygcu5os

    “They [the LTTE] will retain the knowledge gained about military matters, as well as knowledge about the ways of a democratic government, as practised by the Nordic countries. Later they [the LTTE] will come up with their own ways of establishing similar practices in a peaceful Sri Lanka, alongside the Sinhalese.”

    Yes. Really. The LTTE was going to be taught “about the ways of a democratic government” by the deluded Norwegians.

    I hope GoSL will use that quote at every available opportunity when the Norwegians give another lecture.

    Here’s the video of the LTTE delegation’s visit to their Base in Rena to learn about mine clearing and crowd control. Irony? :)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPAH8lNp9I0

  • Davidson

    1.”mine clearing and crowd control” shouldn’t be welcomed ?

    2.“about the ways of a democratic government” – any Sri Lankan government needs it:
    Jayantha Dhanapala’s written submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC), August 2010: ‘’Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage our own internal affairs has led to foreign intervention but more seriously has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens. we need to rectify this bad governance and the first and foremost task before us is to undertake constitutional reform in order to ensure that we have adequate devolution of power. We need to have State reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongst our citizens.”

    • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com Mango

      The LTTE team were very poor students. They understood ‘riot control’ as shooting at escaping Tamil civilians during the last months. ‘Mine clearance’ was even worse. They laid mines and lost the maps and these mines are being now cleared by the Army and local volunteers. As for ‘democracy’, they totally misunderstood it. They only knew ‘Thalaivar is Always Right’. I reckon they spent their time calculating their duty free allowance didn’t pay attention to the Norwegian Army lecturers.

      Sri Lankan democracy has been beaten, kicked, run over by a bus, set on fire and is now in the long-term care ward. It will eventually recover.

      • sr

        ”Sri Lankan democracy has been beaten, kicked, run over by a bus, set on fire, and is now in the long-term care ward”

        Oh, no.

        Another Amendment to the Constitution will then come along soon.

      • Mary

        beaten, …
        kicked, …
        run over by a bus, …
        set on fire, …

        shoot-outs, …
        helicopter rides, …

        long-time care ward, …

        WHO is in charge of the country please?

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Davidson, I personally observed the Tigers’ “mine-clearing” techniques at Elephant Pass in June 1991. They sent 12-14-year-old boys running through our minefields. Once the children had blown a path through the mines, the adults attacked.

      • Davidson

        Criticising the government means supporting LTTE actions ??????

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        I believe Mango and I were responding to your query on the correctness of Tiger mine-clearing and crowd control technique. Regardless of one’s feelings about the GoSL, there should be no ambivalence in feelings towards the Tigers.

  • Davidson

    Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka: Seeking a Transformative Way Out by Ashok K Behuria, Strategic Analysis, Vol. 30, No. 1, Jan-Mar 2006: ‘’…The long drawn out ethno-political conflict in Sri Lanka has been accepted as a serious challenge for scholars, activists, peace-makers and the expanding international community of professionals engaged in conflict-resolution/ management/ transformation …. It is time now, therefore, for scholars and analysts to isolate the issues that contribute to the conflict, to dwell upon the socio-economic and political context that precipitates lasting ethno-political division and to seek a transformative way out of the crisis.’’

  • Davidson

    ”taught “about the ways of a democratic government” by the deluded Norwegians”:

    1. About 10 years ago the Buddhist Clergy went to the UK on the invitation from the UK to look at the devolution of power there.
    2. APRC members went to India to look at their devolution of power.
    3.
    http://cpa.informz.net/cpa/archives/archive_1134894.html
    Parliamentarians fight mismanagement, corruption and abuse of power to prevent conflict
    ”…. The MPs met at the Joint Vienna Institute in Vienna, Austria, from 25 to 29 October 2010 to discuss “Parliament, Aid Effectiveness and Conflict Prevention. … The group was composed of Parliamentarians from Cyprus, Pakistan, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Guyana, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka.”

    http://cpa.informz.net/cpa/data/images/concludingstatement.pdf
    CONCLUDING STATEMENT: PARLIAMENT, AID EFFECTIVENESS AND CONFLICT PREVENTION
    ‘’ Representatives from eight Commonwealth Parliaments in countries recently or currently
    affected by violent conflicts, meeting at the Joint Vienna Institute in Vienna, Austria,
    from 25 to 29 October 2010, have agreed recommendations to expand the role of
    Parliament in preventing and resolving serious conflicts that destabilize entire nations They recognized that Parliamentarians have a leading role in conflict prevention and building a durable peace. Parliament must therefore be strengthened by improving democratic governance, particularly its oversight functions and systems for ensuring accountability by the executive, including the budget
    process and public sector financial management. Parliament must also raise standards of natural resource management, a leading cause of tension in many states today, by ensuring that there are fair and equitable systems for the distribution of benefits to all segments of the nation.’’

  • Davidson

    Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO:

    The Governments of the States Parties to this Constitution on behalf of their peoples declare:
    That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed;

    That ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war;

    That the great and terrible war which has now ended was a war made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality and mutual respect of men, and by the propagation, in their place, through ignorance and prejudice, of the doctrine of the inequality of men and races;

    That the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man and constitute a sacred duty which all the nations must fulfil in a spirit of mutual assistance and concern;

    That a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.

    For these reasons, the States Parties to this Constitution, believing in full and equal opportunities for education for all, in the unrestricted pursuit of objective truth, and in the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, are agreed and determined to develop and to increase the means of communication between their peoples and to employ these means for the purposes of mutual understanding and a truer and more perfect knowledge of each other’s lives;

    In consequence whereof they do hereby create the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for the purpose of advancing, through the educational and scientific and cultural relations of the peoples of the world, the objectives of international peace and of the common welfare of mankind for which the United Nations Organization was established and which its Charter proclaims.

  • Chandana Ukwatte

    This is meant to be a comment, not centrally on the critique of the Norwegian study, but on the generalized significance of the term “realism,” which by all accounts tends to resist immediate grasp.
    The invoking of Aristotle’s analysis of generation and corruption of the constitutions of Greek cities in support of a sensible approach to constitution making, makes Dr. Jayatilleka appear just in his appreciation of Aristotle’s generally assumed respect for the sheer “thereness” of things, whether things are products of nature or art.
    But it was felt that a word might be in order, lest Aristotle’s contextualism, his insistence on starting any enquiry with what we find and encounter in the experienced world be equivocated with an empiricism in which is assumed that the world is completely without structure.
    In saying this, I am not being so senseless as to distrust the caution of a man of Dr. Jayatilleka’s erudition and learning. It is just that Aristotelianism, which insists that “man can grasp the structure and relations of things, and express them in logos; he can say what things are, and things are what they can said to be,” is not in the mainstream of intellectual principles today. Indeed the insistence either of Idealism – “knowledge is a purely human creation; or of Romantic Irrationalism – “knowledge is a free choice of the will,” has captured the popular imagination. Reformers too, whose deep sympathy for the suffering of others, which in the classic tradition of the West is called a form of hedonism, tend to favour as an intellectual orientation Idealism or Romantic Irrationalism in the sense in which the terms have been used here. For rightly or wrongly, reformers have long been viewed as those who feel, “they must pass new laws against what is making men unhappy,” and try to do so in disregard of both the human constitution and the habits of thinking, believing, feeling, valuing and acting to which people become accustomed by the traditional material they handle. (And it may be said in passing that the Norwegian appear to be just such reformers. Their interest is not in maintaining a world order but in humanitarianism.)
    All this may be a poor excuse for an irresistible desire to discuss a cherished subject before a choice and distinguished readership, the opportunity for which Dr. Jayatilleka’s insistence on a”liberal realism” has presented. Nevertheless, I feel I do him and his readers no injustice by attempting to remind anew something of the categorical inheritance of Aristotle as context for his contextualism, even if such a reminder is based on secondhand information or misinformation.
    Reportedly, the distinction between nature and art was at the core of Greek reflective living and thinking. All the existing things exist by nature or by art. By art it was meant that which intervenes between the human as an agent of nature and the rest of nature which the human seeks make the slave of his biddings. Art, in other words, completes or prefects what nature leaves imperfect. So that Aristotle’s saying in Poetics that art imitates nature is understood as art imitating the patterns of nature, unhindered by vagaries of chance. This was true for the Greek mind not only of imaginative arts but of all practical and productive arts.
    This completing or perfecting of things is what all motion strives after. A plant grows from seed to flower. An acorn might end up as breakfast for squirrels, but it is to be understood an oak tree to be, that is the perfected form inherent in an acorn. Motion is always from the potential to the actual. The world is intelligible because things have structures of determinate processes, functioning in determinate contexts toward determinate ends or perfections, although when left to nature alone motion is susceptible to be hindered by chance. Speaking symbolically, Aristotle says even a stone strives to be a doorstep. Logic was the art needed to perfect articulated speech to express what can be said of things. Human speech, although a product of nature, when left to nature alone cannot be perfected into reliable knowledge.
    Aristotle’s approach to politics is not independent of the distinction between nature and art at the core of Greek thinking. Politics which was for Aristotle practical and not theoretical philosophy was not separated from ethics, but was continuous with ethics. His politics was based on the conception of the good life. In contrast today ethics is no practical science, but something subjective, and generally assumed to be a handmaid of religion, of a path to be trodden for redemption or a peace of mind. Thus the separation of church and state has meant even the separation of politics and ethics. Today there is no ideal of human perfection, no common conception of the good life, animating how communal or associated living is to be organized. In ancient Greece, since ethics was a practical science, there was no demand for the separation of church and state. Whatever else religion may have meant then, it also had a patriotic function, not dissimilar to the function which Anglicanism has, or once had, in England.
    Regardless, what is relevant here is that at the back of Aristotle’s analysis of Greek constitutions is the fact that politics is continuous with ethics. Aristotle also had a physician’s interest in the actualized human powers to do what they do. He comes from the medical tradition of Greek science. His father was a physician to Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. Although semi barbarous, being at the edge of the Greek world, Macedon became a great world power through her reliance on Greek minds and sciences. And Aristotle’s interest was “to talk about living things and their processes of generation and growth.” So much so that Darwin centuries later could say: “Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle.”
    The approach of Aristotle to political institutions and constitutional arrangements he saw in Greek cites was that of physician examining a patient. So he speaks even of how to improve a tyranny. But there is near unanimous agreement among scholars that Aristotle’s own preference was for “a judicious mixture of the democratic with oligarchic principle,” to promote the achievement of the good life, the achievement of full humanity. His initial sympathy for Alexander’s conquests is generally assumed to be based on the recognition that Hellenism needs to spread first to unify independent Greek city-sates spiritually into a sense of nationhood, and second that without Hellenism barbarians have no prospect of achieving full humanity. Nevertheless, this much may be said of Aristotle’s preferred constitutional arrangement, its wisdom is evident in the fact that the oldest functioning representative form of constitutional arrangement is the constitution of the US, and it has a judicious mixture of the democratic and oligarchic principle.
    The substance of the preceding paragraphs may be summed up this way. If Aristotle was a realist, his was a contextual and logical realism. He took both the potentialities and actualities of the determinate processes of the structures he found as real. Realism which takes only the actualities as real is a selective realism. Where human behaviour is concerned, the realism which takes only the actualities seriously often ends in either disillusionment or cynicism. Classical liberalism had the at the back of it a comprehensive vision of existence which the classic tradition of Western thought, the naturalistic thinking of Greek science and philosophy had afforded. But modern liberalism or progressivism is inspired by the 3Rs – Reformation, Revolution and Romanticism. Progressivism represents the Orientalization of liberalism. It is desperate ethic which confuses humanitarianism with morals. In his 1939 lectures on Aristotle’s vision of nature, delivered at the Union Theological Seminary, then dean of the graduate faculties of Columbia University, Fredrick J. E. Woodbridge said: “Philanthropy is medicine, but not morals. Only a lack of intelligence confuses them.” Although this was not the most important thing he said on that occasion, the confusion of which he spoke is at a maximum today. From smoking and drinking to trans fat and global warming are confused today with morals. In a word, the insistence on a liberal realism must rest on the need for a comprehensive vision of existence which includes a vision of the ideal of human perfection. It must recover the fact that politics is continuous with ethics, not an ethic conceived merely as humane behaviour but one which is conceived as a science of values whose aim is the perfection of the human being into his true form.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Thanks Chandana, your view is quite congruent with what I said in my address on World Philosophy Day at UNESCO ten days back, on the topic ‘Political Movements for Change: What Ethics”? The transcript may appear soon.

    • yapa

      Dear Chandana Ukwatte;

      A very good piece of writing.

      However, I think the following statement in the essay is not without much doubt.

      “The world is intelligible because things have structures of determinate processes, functioning in determinate contexts toward determinate ends or perfections, although when left to nature alone motion is susceptible to be hindered by chance.”

      Classical Science(Newtonian Science)developed during 14th to 20th centuries held that view with regard to material world, and it kept its assertion excepting of the Metaphysical world. This notion was known as the “Deterministic Worldview” of Newtonian and was refuted by the Modern Science developed after the 20th century. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle states that the position and the momentum of a particle at given time cannot be determined due to its intrinsic nature, which means even a perfect experimentalist cannot determine those two characteristics of a particle simultaneously even though he uses the perfect apparatus and tools.

      Further, according to the findings of modern Science, Science it self cannot determine the nature of something definitely as a particle or a wave. As per Quantum Physics a particle is not a particle as a whole or a wave is not a wave as a whole. Any material thing is represented in Quantum Physics as a “Wave Function”, meaning when a wave length of the thing is small it has more particle properties and when it has a longer wave length its wave properties are more. So even the modern Scientists are in a startled position to even to identify small particle in precision. They talk of the dual nature of ‘things’ in probabilistic language and not in certainty.

      So, Quantum Physics attributes some of the parameters of nature as indeterminable by virtue of their intrinsic nature and also some of them are impossible to attribute to definite causes on the basis of human knowledge gained so far. Even though human knowledge is improved to grasp the latter ones, the former are unintelligible.

      Gödel’s Theorem too reiterates this status. It says that any system of knowledge cannot prove its axioms, inferring that no system contains knowledge in perfection.

      Buddhism too holds this stance, refusing to answer ten questions inquired from the Buddha, as unintelligible naming them as “Avyakatha”.

      Even the commonsense suggests that human senses are not sufficiently subtle and too feeble to grasp the reality of the nature. There are no perfect senses and their ranges of grasp are limited in their own subject ares. Therefore there are things exist in abundance outside of their grasp. Two tools endowed by the man to identify the reality is, that is sensory perception and rationality have their own limitations. No human can with his intrinsic intelligence can plan the journey of a migratory bird, who comes from the north pole and goes back to his destination after his winter vacation.

      I doubt the notion that world is totally ineligible. At least it is not the notion of modern Epistemology.

      Thanks!

      • yapa

        Correction……..

        I doubt the notion that world is totally ineligible.

        Here “ineligible” should be replaced with “intelligible”.

        Thanks!

  • Mary

    ”It is however, wrong or empty at its very core. Wrong not only in what it sees and says, but perhaps even more so, in what it does not—in what it fails to or chooses not to see and/or express”:

    http://www.norad.no/en/about-norad/news/could-norway-have-stopped-the-war-in-sri-lanka
    Could Norway have stopped the war in Sri Lanka? 11 November 2011:
    ”The greatest problem was that the Sri Lankan authorities did not want to talk to us, and denied us visas. We have tried to compensate in various ways, but this probably means that the voices most critical of Norway’s role in Sri Lanka are underrepresented in the study”.

    • truth

      ”In the interest of transparency I should add that I am one of the 84 persons listed as having been interviewed for the study (one of the authors flew over from Europe for a day to the Singaporean think-tank where I was at the time), and have been quoted quite accurately”

      and

      ”The greatest problem was that the Sri Lankan authorities did not want to talk to us, and denied us visas. We have tried to compensate in various ways, but this probably means that the voices most critical of Norway’s role in Sri Lanka are underrepresented in the study”

      • Kusum

        mhhh… philosophise relative transparency …. nothing is absolute in this world.

        Our Ambassador is transparent.
        Why cannot the government learn from him to be transparent?

    • truth

      Austin Fernando to LLRC, 18 August 2010:
      ‘’When I look at the responsibilities, some of those government senior politicians were very silent. On the other hand the Opposition politicians were sabotaging the thing(peace talks) ….’’

      Had the evaluation team been allowed into Sri Lanka, ”voices most critical of Norway’s role in Sri Lanka” would have had due representation in the study and thus in the findings.

      At this critical juncture of man’s history, evaluation of a process in one corner of the world may help a similar process in another.

      • Kusum

        Critique without mentioning(knowing ?) ”voices most critical of Norway’s role in Sri Lanka are underrepresented in the study” ?