The political meaning of the retreat in London

Image courtesy ITV News

“It was under these circumstances that Rajapaksa agreed to forego his own limousine and travel to Marlborough House at Pall Mall in an unmarked vehicle belonging to the Metropolitan Police . The President and First Lady entered Marlborough House premises in a Range Rover bearing the number plate VX 12 CYY. The vehicle did not fly the lion flag for obvious reasons.

Thousands of demonstrators mainly young Tamils from England,Scotland, France,Germany and Switzerland massed outside Marlborough House ,chanting slogans against President Rajapaksa . They also waved placards and held banners aloft. An effigy of the President as if hanging on the gallows was also dragged and carried about.It was later burnt.

A recurring theme in the slogans chanted was “Sri Lanka President War Criminal”. This cry went up loudly whenever a guest arrived. The shouts echoed around the forecourt as each of the 70-75 guests went in.” – DBS Jeyaraj[1]

DBS Jeyaraj is not a representative of the Tamil diaspora that has set out to wage war against the government of Sri Lanka. He is a journalist who lives in Canada and maintains links to all sides. What he has reported is quite similar to other reports that have appeared in the media regarding this incident.

At the same time, there was a group of about one hundred demonstrators near the hotel where the President was staying, who called out the slogan ‘Rajapakse is our King’.

President Rajapakse was forced to attend the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in a clandestine vehicle in the face of Tamil protesters demonstrating against his visit to London. A speech that he had been due to make at a Conference around the same time had to be cancelled. These were incidents that proved to be newsworthy as far as the national and international media was concerned. Many reports described this as a defeat for President Rajapakse and a victory for the international Tamil community.

To coincide with the President’s visit to the UK, there had been a Supplement of several pages arranged in the Guardian, which is one of the UK’s leading dailies, at the cost of millions of rupees.  On the same day, the Guardian published a report on the torture of a Sri Lankan Tamil who had been deported from the UK to Sri Lanka following the rejection of his claim for asylum by the Police in Sri Lanka. The report was accompanied by photographs. This report received much more attention than the Supplement.

It is extremely rarely that you hear of a President being forced to travel to a state function in a foreign country clandestinely, in a car which does not bear the flag of his country. As pointed out b y the Ravaya and other newspapers, this is a humiliating experience. But in the political arena, such a fate may come not only to President Rajapakse but to any other politician.

We can fund such examples in Sri Lanka itself. Recall the manner in which General Fonseka, who had led the ground troops in the decisive battles of the war, was forcibly dragged off to a prison cell by those who had served under him as junior officers.   Libyan leader Gaddafi, who was known as the Lion of the Desert, was killed as he pleaded with his assassins, asking them ‘Why?’. Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak is today condemned to spend the rest of his life in prison for ordering the shooting of peaceful protestors. In our villages, there is a saying that when the time of Saturn (the senasura) comes around, even a king will be reduced to eating ‘bata’ leaves.

The difference is that Mahinda Rajapakse has had to confront this  political debacle while he is a President who enjoys the support of his people. There is no way that he will have to face a similar humiliation in Sri Lanka. However, what this incident draws our attention to, is that there is another level of political reality that has a direct impact on the politics of our country. This is created by the global Tamil community, who, in spite of the differences among them, are unified by their hatred for the Rajapakse regime.

Unlike the community of nation states that gathers together under the auspices of the United Nations, this global Tamil diaspora has an organic connection to the Sri Lankan Tamil community. They maintain direct and regular communication with the national Tamil community on a daily basis, using diverse means, but especially the internet. Therefore, unlike the discussions which take place within the United Nations on Sri Lanka, the victories they extract from humiliating Rajapakse are directly communicated to the Sri Lankan Tamil community.

Including the Si Lankan Tamil diaspora, there are four principal centres of power that are active in the international arena on questions relating to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

First is the community of nation states that we mentioned earlier, that constitute the global international community, led by the western democracies, and articulated through the United Nations system. By bringing about a Resolution on accountability in Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, they have already demonstrated their influence on the Sri Lankan situation.

Second is the ever sharpening political dynamic in India, calling for a speedy and sustainable resolution of the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka, concentrated in Tamilnadu but rapidly expanding to the national political arena in India.

Third is the international human rights community, led by organizations such as Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, which have ever widening spheres of influence globally. It is they who bring the most pressure to bear on the community of nation states that we spoke of earlier, producing regular investigative reports on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

The fourth centre of power is what is referred to broadly as ‘the Tamil diaspora’ consisting of hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils around the world, who have ably demonstrated the propaganda and communication machinery at their disposal. Demonstrations, fasts, meetings and campaigns are all a part of their toolbox.

We should understand and analyse the political misfortune that confronted President Rajapakse in England by locating within this broad scenario.

It is an undisputed fact that by now, three years after the end of the war, the Rajapakse regime has  not shown any inclination to seek a just and sustainable resolution of the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. They have only succeeded in making empty promises. The main strategy being followed by the Rajapakse government with regard to the ethnic issue is to blunt aspirations of the Tamil people by engaging in infrastructure development that is linked to a process of militarization. Their goal is not to seek a just political solution to the ethnic problem, but to keep the Tamil people of Sri Lanka as a subordinated and subjugated community. If their goal was to resolve the ethnic problem, they would not have discarded the recommendations of the All Party Conference that they appointed, and would not be wasting time with the appointment of pseudo Parliamentary Select Committees.

What needs to be added to this political equation is the fact that there is no strong or decisive voice coming from the majority Sinhala community, calling for a political solution. In the absence of such a voice, the position adopted by the Rajapakse regime becomes accepted, by default, as the will of the Sinhala majority.

It is in the context of these developments that we should locate the present position of the Tamil National Alliance, which is the main political representative of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Their opinion is that we should seek a resolution to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka with the support of the international community. This is a clear indication that they have by now accepted that the Sri Lankan state will not offer them a just political solution. Now we can see that not only the Sri Lankan Tamils within the country, but also those who form the global Tamil community, have come to this conclusion. As was made clear by Mr. Sambanthan’s speech in Batticaloa, the political strategy of the Sri Lankan Tamil community that is not subservient to the government should be to act in a manner that will show the international community the reality of the Sri Lankan situation.

So let us examine the scenario that lies before us. The majority of the Sinhala polity, of which the Rajapakse regime is the symbol, is not ready to offer an appropriate resolution of the ethnic issue. The four key centres of power that lie outside the country that I have outlined above are all standing together with the Tamil people of Sri Lanka to support the goal of a political solution.

Seeking a political solution to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka has become the collective aspiration of the international community and the Sri Lankan Tamil people.

The future that stretches out before us in the context of this scenario is frightening. This is how pro-Rajapakse political analyst Dayan Jayatilleke sees it:

”In 1990 that Council which had been set-up under the 13th amendment, made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, with tens of thousands of foreign troops on the soil of the area. Who is to say that a future Council which is similarly committed to going beyond the 13th amendment will not do likewise, only this time with foreign troops being invited in by the rebellious Council? Why would any responsible state take that risk?

How then to resolve this complex conundrum? Fortunately there exists a legal and constitutional pathway: that of an interim administration. An interim administration comprising of all parliamentary parties currently representing the relevant (Northern) area, appointed in proportion to their parliamentary strengths relevant to that area, may be a provisional solution; a stop-gap measure.”[2]

This proposal shows us how the national and international forces described above are pushing the Rajapakse regime to a crisis.

The Rajapakse regime cannot allow the Provincial Councils of the North and East of Sri Lanka to fall into the hands of the Tamil National Alliance in the face of current development in India and in the international arena which leave it at a distinct disadvantage. But they cannot also deny the will of the majority of the Tamil people and hand over control of those areas to their henchmen because they know that any attempt to do so would result in a worsening of the situation. Such a move would lay Sri Lanka wide open once again to a complex cycle that may lead to a conflict that will invariably stretch beyond its borders.

There is one path to emerge from this crisis; that is, to renounce militarism, and to move forward to a process of democratization.  A lasting and just resolution of the ethnic problem can be created only through such a process.

If the Rajapakse regime is to prevent the echoing and re-echoing of their humiliation in London, they must achieve a positive transformation of their strategies and tactics. This is what has been made clear to them and to all of us by the incidents in London.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    An interesting analysis by Sunanda. He refers to me as a ‘pro-Rajapaksa political analyst’ and it is true that as between the incumbent President, the current Leader of the Opposition and the demonstrators in London I am indeed describable as such, the policy prescription that he cites from my article does not derive from that political position.

    It derives from something else altogether:
    (i) the irrational and immoderate character of the dominant strand of Tamil nationalism and its inability to effect a rupture from the LTTE and criticism of it
    (ii) my defence of the territorial unity and integrity of the Sri Lankan state.

    This is why, as an advocate and supporter of moderate devolution and Provincial Councils for a quarter century, I have also opposed the adventurism of the Vardarajaperumal NEPC administration (from which I resigned a year before the UDI), the 1995 and 1997 packages of the CBK administration, the CFA, the ISGA and PTOMS.

    I would therefore advocate for reasons of strategy, not politics, the same policy that Sunanda cites from my recent article, irrespective of who happened to be the President at this moment.

    I also note that Prof Laksiri Fernando and Kishali Pinto Jayewardena, whose views are as different from each other’s as they are from mine, have engaged critically with Mr Sampanthan’s recent speech and have pointed an alternative pathway to both the political status quo and the ethno nationalist paradigm.

    I found Sunanda listing of four factors to be broadly accurate. What needs to be reflected upon is that in the face of those four factors, the nationalist-patriotic sentiments of the majority of citizens/electors is likley to tbe reinforced, not dissipated, and thus the political race will be between those who are perceived as being able to resist and withstand — NOT give into or accomodate– those pressures.

    The edge may enjoyed EITHER by a (patriotic) project/personality which can resist such pressures while also addressing economic and governance grievances, OR by one who/which can be trusted to resist such pressures even though falling short on economic and governance issues.

    In short, it is precisely the four factors listed by Sunanda that guarantee that the dynamics which prevailed since the CBK ‘package’ of ’95 and Ranil’s CFA, will continue to prevail and predominate.

  • Shaun F

    This is only partly true. There are those who legitimately want reconciliation, transparency and a better deal for Sri Lankan Tamils. Then there are those LTTE supporters who are protesting against the Sri Lankan state whose interest is not Sri Lankan Tamils, but in punishing the country for defeating the Tigers.

    Still, that shouldn’t be a reason to do the right thing and move towards transparency, reconciliation and representation.

  • Median

    In addition to the four power centers abroad President Rajapakse faces pressure from power centers within

    The extreme Hela Urumaya Faction
    The Sinhala Patriotic segment
    Sections of the Clergy and Laity
    Sections of the Military including Secretary of Defence

    So maybe he is between the devil and the deep blue sea. To extricate from this tricky situation and bring about a solution would probably require statesmanship and leadership skills which either he lacks or he does not want to take the risk. Also the support of the opposition and minorities which seems to have eluded his thinking. We dont see any other person capable of achieving this at present.

  • Sie.Kathieravealu

    “There is only path to emerge from this crisis; that is, to renounce militarism, and to move forward to a process of democratization. A lasting and just resolution of the ethnic problem can be created only through such a process.”

    To move forward to a process of democratization please consider the suggestion for empowering the ordinary people to participate in the governance of the country.

    Some suggestions that would help to create a UNIQUE SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE that would ultimately bring in GOOD GOVERNANCE by showing the way out for injustice, discrimination, oppression and corruption born due and bred by the present system of governance that is mistakenly or mischievously termed as democratic by persons who call themselves political scientists.

    “Even the demand for devolution needs to be reframed as a demand for democratization that brings government closer to all the people, not just minorities, apart from being made far stronger than the 13th Amendment, which has loopholes allowing the Centre to take back the devolved powers. Along with the demand for abolition of the Executive Presidency, and further devolution to smaller units, it would give all the people of Sri Lanka more control over their lives, instead of having their lives ruled by a remote power in Colombo that knows little and cares less about their needs”.
    So, it is high-time we start to RETHINK in terms of a solution that would address the ASPIRATIONS ALL THE PEOPLE in the country, not just the aspirations of the Tamils, in a just and meaningful way rather than continue to criticize other people for their “faults
    A UNIQUE concept that moves towards a meaningful and just power-sharing arrangement (not devolution) based on true democracy – a large number of people participating in the governance of the country based on equality, equity – is a great deviation from the usual thinking of the meaning of the word “sharing of power” is given below for the perusal and comments of concerned people.
    The best political solution or system of governance to address the problems faced by various sections of the Sri Lankan society – particularly the poor, the politically weak and the various categories of “minorities” who do not carry any “political weight” – would be to DILUTE the powers of all elected representatives of the people by separating the various powers of the Parliament and by horizontally empowering different sets of people’s representatives elected on different area basis to administer the different sets of the separated powers at different locations.
    It has to be devolution HORIZONTALLY where each and every set of representatives would be in the SAME LEVEL as equals and in par and NOT VERTICALLY, where one set of representatives would be above (more powerful than) the other, which is the normal adopted practice when talking of devolution, in this power-hungry world. It is because “devolution of power” has been evolved “vertically”, we have all the trouble in this power-hungry world. So, for sustainable peace it should not be the present form of “devolution of power” but “dilution of powers” or “meaningful sharing of powers” in such a way that no single person or single set of people’s representatives be “superior” to another.
    This system would help to eradicate injustice, discrimination, corruption and oppression – the four pillars of an evil society – and help to establish the “Rule of Law” and “Rule by ALL” for sustainable peace, tranquility and prosperity and a pleasant harmonious living with dignity and respect for all the inhabitants in the country. Everyone must have similar powers, rights, duties and responsibilities and most importantly everyone should be deemed “equal” and treated “equitably” before the law not only on paper but also practically – be it the Head of State, The Chief Justice or the voiceless poor of the poorest in the country.
    Since all political and other powers flow from the sovereignty of the people, it is proposed herein that these powers be not given to any ONE set of representatives but distributed among different sets of people’s representatives (groups) elected on different area basis (village and villages grouped) to perform the different, defined and distinct functions of one and the same institution – the Parliament – like the organs of our body – heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, nose, ear etc. – performing different and distinct functions to enable us to sustain normal life.
    In these suggestions the powers of Parliament have been so separated and distributed among different sets of people’s representatives in different areas so as to dilute the powers of an individual representative or that of a set of representatives in any area. (Dilution is better than Devolution)

    • georgethebushpig

      Dear Sie.Kathieravealu,

      Leaving aside that your ideas probably need a little more time in the oven, I find it refreshing that you propose an alternative that goes beyond ethnicity and possibly beyond hierarchical social organisation. I hear you.

      If you haven’t already done so I would suggest that you read Murray Bookchin; he provides a brilliant analysis of “hierarchy” and its many facets of subjugation and domination.

      If I understand your proposal correctly you are suggesting that we adopt a politics of participation, that we promote mutualism and seek out complementarity rather than tire ourselves out trying to work within the existing political construct that is fundamentally flawed. This too is what Bookchin argues albeit in another context: that of the social and ecological destruction of the world.

      We are being exhorted to accept the “reality” of the current political situation by people like Dr. Jayatilleke and that we should work from within the framework already in place i.e. 13th amendment. As Bookchin also states, if the “reality” is irrational it should be rejected out right!

      At the same time, I am beginning to see the merit of Dr. Narendran’s views that maybe it is better to put on hold the discussion of political rights of the Tamil community for now and rather focus on rebuilding the community and rebuilding the lost sense of community between Sinhalese and Tamils. This approach will probably bear sweeter fruit than engaging in an acrimonious debate on political rights for the Tamil people, which unfortunately will only result in a Pyrrhic victory if “victory” was ever actually achieved.

      The true “reality” of today is that the GOSL does not have the moral fortitude or foresight to see that it is in Sri Lanka’s best interest to address the grievances of the Tamil community. Can the captain navigate Sri Lanka away from another cycle of violence? We all await with bated breath for the heroes return….

      Initiatives like the following are where I put my money –
      http://reconciliationyouthforum.org/

      Best regards

      • Sie.Kathieravealu

        Thank you Mr.georgethebushpig. Happy to note that there are people who could appreciate the call for peace and happiness by disowning individual Leadership and trust collective leadership with wisdom for the benefit of the people.

        Tamil aspirations is not different from the aspirations of the Sinhalese, Muslims and others. It is all the same. BUT Politicians are spoiling the scene with their greediness for money through “political power”. That is the problem.

        For the benefit of the 1% the rest of the 99% are suffering. This situation has to be changed.

        Can you help?

      • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

        For once I agree with your general drift.

        As for the 13th amendment (and working with and within it) being ‘irrational’, what’s so irrational about the only arrangement that remains standing when all efforts before and after — from the B-C pact to the ISGA– have failed or been rejected? I hardly consider those who worked on that arrangement, namely JRJ, Gamini Dissanaike, Ronnie de Mel, Sarath Amunugama and JN Dixit to be ‘irrational’…whatever else they may have been.

      • georgethebushpig

        Dear Dr. Jayatilleke,

        I have already explained why I think the 13th Amendment is irrational in a previous response to you – http://groundviews.org/2012/05/29/itaks-plan-of-attack-the-breakout-strategy/#comment-44975 – and I believe you’ve heard far better arguments than I can ever put forward ad nauseum over the years. The discussion you had with Dr. Narendran and Bira in your “Breakout Strategy” article pretty much covers it all.

        http://groundviews.org/2012/05/29/itaks-plan-of-attack-the-breakout-strategy/#comment-45116

        At some point in time, as an evolving nation state, we will need to revisit the fundamental principles that define the conduct of the state. “We the people” have allowed the leaders to subvert the basic principles of good governance and to create a scaffolding that only supports their venal interests. A day will come when that scaffolding comes crashing down…. ahhh I can almost smell the fragrance and taste the heady flavor of that spring!

        Regards

    • Median

      Rule of Law is preferred to Rule by All as the latter could be taken to the mean Rule of the Majority as opposed to Natural Justice and Internatinal Humanitarian Law.

      • Sie.Kathieravealu

        Median
        June 20, 2012 • 6:50 am

        “Rule of Law is preferred to Rule by All as the latter could be taken to the mean Rule of the Majority as opposed to Natural Justice and Internatinal Humanitarian Law”

        I was not referring to “Rule by All” but “participation of ALL” in the rule of Law which is quite different.

  • Sie.Kathieravealu

    “In short, it is precisely the four factors listed by Sunanda that guarantee that the dynamics which prevailed since the CBK ‘package’ of ’95 and Ranil’s CFA, will continue to prevail and predominate” Mr.Dayan Jayatilake may not have forgotten that “actions and reactions are equal and opposite”.

    So my suggestions are better in many ways. No one is at a loss other than the power hungry “money-makers”.

    The common man will immensely benefit. Hatred will find its way out.
    “Peace” would find its way-in easily.

    Happiness and win-win for every law abiding ordinary peace-loving persons.

  • MV

    Where does this author think this ‘democratization’ will come from?

    • Sie.Kathieravealu

      Dr Dayan Jayatilleka
      June 20, 2012 • 3:23 pm

      “For once I agree with your general drift.”

      As for the 13th amendment which is nothing but “a set of words” to put “decorate” a set of status loving persons. It is not intended to develop the country.

      India and its supporters are just hoodwinking the country and its people.

      “MV
      June 20, 2012 • 12:40 pm

      Where does this author think this ‘democratization’ will come from?” the people when they realize that they cannot bear the suffering any further.

      The “majority” in any country are the “poor” but they find it difficult to elect a person from amongst them to govern the country in the present system of “Democracy”.

      The system suggested by me “empowers” many “poor” to actively participate in the governance of the country. So with the “participation” of the “poor” in governing many evils like corruption, oppression, injustice will find no place in society.

  • http://brainoil.wordpress.com sharanga

    “The vehicle did not fly the lion flag for obvious reasons.”
    What exactly were the obvious reasons? It’s terror. These people have supported terrorism for decades. They can get violent.

    “Many reports described this as a defeat for President Rajapakse and a victory for the international Tamil community.”
    Who exactly are these people, who think silencing a person (literally, not metaphorically) with means other than logic and reason, is a victory for the Tamil community? Do they think preventing Akon from coming to SL was a victory to Buddhism?

    • Happy Heathen

      sharanga
      June 20, 2012 • 1:39 pm
      “The vehicle did not fly the lion flag for obvious reasons.”
      What exactly were the obvious reasons? It’s terror. These people have supported terrorism for decades. They can get violent.

      “Many reports described this as a defeat for President Rajapakse and a victory for the international Tamil community.”
      Who exactly are these people, who think silencing a person (literally, not metaphorically) with means other than logic and reason, is a victory for the Tamil community? Do they think preventing Akon from coming to SL was a victory to Buddhism?

      Aptly demonstrates Sunanda’s intellectual capacity!!

  • Lanka Muslim, UK

    One aspect that is not being taken into consideration in the above dialogue or debate, whatever it may be termed, is the fact that corruption in all forms has been an obstacle for any Govt. in Sri Lanka to honestly initiate a process to end the conflict and establish peace in the country. It is because, once there is peace the corrupt politicians will stand exposed and the people will throw them out. The present administration in that respect is worst, being sunk upto its nose in corruption, with the latest issue of the UL Chairman, a close relative of the Head of the State, alleged to be in possession of undeclared foreign and local currency. So these politicians and their kith and kin do not want a peaceful country. It is in an environment of confusion that unscrupulous persons can flourish.

  • Median

    The three C’s, Consultation, Compromise and Consensus are neccesary to arrive at any solution. Here we have not got past even the first C because one faction believes there is no problem at all, so why negotiate. War was won, so problem over?

    Is the problem really over? It seems a new problem has cropped up. Justice, Compensation and Resettlement. Restoration of status quo Neither side wants to give. The problem has shifted to the international sphere. The Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora has enlisted the support of Tamils in India and Worldwide. They are an influential community in many developed countries. So the World wants Justice to be done.

    So this problem will not go away easily. The Govt lacks the clout and the credibility to counter. Attacks on minorities, opposition parties and the stifling of dissent and media freedom continue. General conditions of lawlessness, corruption and nepotism prevail. So Govt cannot justify its stand that there is no problem in the country.

  • Median

    An interesting interview of Imran Khan by Julian Assange

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WacS98ATtIM&feature=plcp

    It has some parallels and commonalities with what is happening here.

    The Entrenched Political Establishment
    The role of the Military
    The advent and nuturing of Religous Extremism to overcome a threat
    The economic situation etc

    Will the people realize?

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Georgethebushpig,

    All true –but what makes you think the unitary state is part of the ‘scaffolding’ and not part of the foundation?

    • georgethebushpig

      Dear Dr. Jayatilleke,

      I don’t.

      The state, unitary or otherwise, is not the issue; it is what defines its existence and conduct. The 13th amendment, and if I may add the 18th as well, are clear examples of irrational rules that serve none but those in power, namely the office of the President.

      The assumption that we don’t have any other option but the 13th amendment for maintaining a unitary state (if that is the sole objective) is not even consistent with your own views as argued in 1995 (referred to in Kalana’s article). I find it difficult to accept that someone patently intelligent as you would consider the 13th (& possibly 18th) to be a cornerstone of our foundation.

      Regards
      GTBP

  • Luxmy

    At London School of Economics on 19 June Aung San Suu Kyi said that Burma’s constitution must be amended to have the Rule of Law to harmonise the aspirations of all ethnic nationalities.

    • Luxmy

      That is what Justice Weeramantry and many others told LLRC.

      • Luxmy

        That is also in the reports on Sri Lanka by International Commission of Jurists, Asian Human Rights Commission, etc in the last few decades.

  • Sie.Kathieravealu

    Luxmy

    “At London School of Economics on 19 June Aung San Suu Kyi said that Burma’s constitution must be amended to have the Rule of Law to harmonize the aspirations of all ethnic nationalities.”

    True and together, the people must have the “Right to Information” on all the activities of the Government that is “transparency” in all its actons.

  • Naga

    If Dayan wants to see unitary state as the foundation of the Sri Lankan nation then the Tamils should be made to think that they are one of the four pillars of that foundation. That is not the case now. President Rajapakse had three years to allay the fears of the Tamils and make them feel as part of the nation. He wasted a golden opportunity that came his way when Tiger terrorism was defeated. He is still not interested in finding a reasonable solution to the Tamil problem. By his own inaction he has empowered the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora to engage in anti-Sri Lankan activities with more vigour. The three other power centres Sunanda alluding to have valid reasons to voice their support for the Tamils. There is now no need for a Parliamentary Select Committee. Why not resurrect Chandrika Kumaratunga’s proposals or that of the All Parties Conference and get the Parliament’s approval. International community, India and the Human Rights Consortium will have to back off if the Sri Lankans themselves can find a reasonable settlement of the Tamil problem.

  • Candidly

    In the relatively small world of Sri Lankan and Tamil politics the cancellation of president Rajapaksa’s speech at London’s Mansion House during the UK Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations might seem to be a set back for the president and a victory for Tamil separatists. But in the wider world I think these events will be seen in a very different pespective.

    This is now the second time in 12 months that Tamil separatist activists have been able to force the cancellation of a speech in the UK by Mr Rajapaksa. But it’s not just the president who is adversely affected. In the case of the cancellation of a speech at Oxford an influential group of elite academics and students had their right to freely listen to a speech curtailed by fear of disruption and violence from Tamil separatists. In the case of the cancelled Mansion House speech, a large group of British and Commonwealth business and political leaders also had their right to hear a speech curtailed by the same people for the same reasons. But in this case an additional person’s right to free speech was also curtailed – that of the Lord Mayor of London who was to have opened the morning session of the Commonwealth Business Council.

    These are powerful and wise people, and if some think they are the sort of persons likely to run in fear because of threats from supporters of the Tamil Tigers,they are making a huge mistake. In those circles, and in the international context, president Rajapaksa is likely to have received a lot of sympathy, especially given the sea of Tamil Tiger flags seen on the demonstrations. “Ah, now we get an idea of what you had to deal with Mr President” will be the thoughts of many of those people whose rights were curtailed by the pro-Tamil separatists in Oxford and London.

    For the general public in the west, it is the reputation of Tamil migrants that will have gone down, not the reputation of Sri Lanka’s president and government.

    • rita

      Candidly

      What you write shows the type of our education curriculum/textbooks and the type of politicians we have been having. It also shows what you are reading and what you are NOT reading in print and online.

      1. We have unleashed state-aided pogroms on those who asked for devolution of power. Britain has devolved power to the regions. In our country It is illegal to advocate separation! Britain has allowed Scotland to hold referendum on separation and the Prime Minister went to Scotland to ask(plead with) the Scots to consider staying inside Britain with maximum devolved power. We keep the people under army boots if they are likely to demand fairness.

      2. We are told that the diaspora from many countries have demonstrations year round in London and that the locals know that they are using their freedom of expression the diaspora didn’t have in their countries of origin. Just think of all the killings and abductions of those who criticise the government within the last one year alone inside our country. If you visit London once you may get us much more info for all of us here.

      3. Most people judge others by deeds and not by words. The international community doesn’t judge the Sri Lankan President by what he speaks on international platforms but by what he does inside Sri Lanka. He has been doing inside Sri Lanka just the opposite of what he has been telling the world on international platforms. That is called lying in common parlance. In this internet age if the ruler of a country is lying, what can you say? The less the lying the better.

      4.We should be demonstrating to demand so much from this President: we could start by demanding him to release the 15 reports in:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/85007346/A-List-of-Commissions-of-Inquiry-and-Committees-Appointed-by-the-Government-of-Sri-Lanka-2006-%E2%80%93-2012

  • Buddhika

    Luxmy
    Thanks for reminding us of this Great Lady’s visit to the UK.
    I’ve just found the right thing for us Sri Lankans AND the Rajapakses to reflect on:

    “To those who feel themselves to be somehow above politics, I want to say that politics should be seen neither as something that exists above us nor as something that happens beneath us but something that is integral to our everyday existence” – Westminster, 21 June 2012

  • Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    “The main strategy being followed by the Rajapakse government with regard to the ethnic issue is to blunt aspirations of the Tamil people by engaging in infrastructure development that is linked to a process of militarization. Their goal is not to seek a just political solution to the ethnic problem, but to keep the Tamil people of Sri Lanka as a subordinated and subjugated community. If their goal was to resolve the ethnic problem, they would not have discarded the recommendations of the All Party Conference that they appointed, and would not be wasting time with the appointment of pseudo Parliamentary Select Committees.”

    I totally disagree. I have spent most of my time in Jaffna and traveled throughout the Vanni in the past two years. I have also visited the east. The needs of the the war-affected people do not relate to exercising political power. Their needs are very basic and relate to human dignity. What they need is a responsive , responsible and sensitive process to deliver their basic needs. Unfortunately, this has been wanting from the politicians and the government services. The armed forces have filled this breach commendably.

    I would describe the actions of the government as rather well intended, though sabotaged to a considerable extent by the actions of corrupt cum stupid politicians it depends on and an effete cum corrupt public service.

    The government has directed its efforts towards winning the confidence of the Tamils through its development thrust and promoting greater interaction between the north, east and the south through facilitating travel and greater people to people contacts. The armed forces have slowly but steadily transformed themselves into a bridge between the government and the people, and have won the trust of the people at large despite the few unsavoury incidents that are exaggerated and highlighted. The armed forces are trusted more by the people than the police, public service and the politicians thrust on them.

    This is the truth, many for lack of knowledge or political reasons refuse to acknowledge.

    The fault of the government has been its failure to define its vision in clear and unambiguous terms. The path it is traveling is definitely visible to the discerning, despite the hue and cry of the four forces identified by Sunanda Deshapriya and the despicable game being played by the TNA and other Tamil political formations. By trying to resort to coyness in expressing its intent and path, the government has created the conditions for the world at large to believe that it is not only naked, but also covered with sores! The GOsl has not understood the mind frame of the Sinhala people at large viz a viz the Tamils and has adopted its coy strategy to keep the Sinhala hardliners at bay. This foolish strategy has misfired.

    The government should radically reform the public services in the north and east top to bottom and remove the ‘nasty’ politicians they have imposed on the people. Good governance is the only solution to the problems yet confronting the Tamils. Political solutions though necessary at some stage in the future, are not the answer now. If good governance can be brought about by any means, it should be considered. Political solutions and politicians of the type we have and who are waiting to be crowned through political solutions, would only make matters worse and widen the communal divide in Sri Lanka. Empowering divisive and corrupt elements will not definitely be of any help in the reconciliation process. Reconciliation should build trust. Trust should seed political solutions.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • http://[email protected] prabath

    Every one should remember, have any body analysis the way that the tamils lives in Wellawatta and Hettiveediya, Kandy e.c.t. Has any body gone to Meemure, Adappane , Gomarankadawalae.c.t. where the sinhaleese people are suffering for their lives, Tamil politicians have done their part exceptionally and sinhaleese politicians who are robbers more than the leaders of the people are still strugling. obviouse reason is the poor perfomances of politicians, nothing bad for tamils in Sri Lanka as politicians and LTTE money.