Foreign Affairs

Tamils & The Political Culture Of Auto-Genocide

By Rajan Hoole

The Surrender of the Intellectuals and the Cancer of Fascism

Man in his fullness is not powerful, but ideal. For that reason, to turn him into mere power, you have to curtail his soul as significantly as attainable. When we are totally human, we can’t fly at one particular another’s throats our instincts of social life, our tradition of moral ideals stand in the way. If you want me to take to butchering human beings, you have to break up that wholeness of my humanity by means of some discipline which makes my will dead, my thoughts numb, my movements automatic, and then from the dissolution of the complicated personal man will come out that abstraction, that destructive force, which has no relation to human truth, and can consequently be easily brutal or mechanical. Take away man from his all-natural surroundings, from the fullness of his communal life, with all its living associations of beauty and love and social obligations, and you will be able to turn him into numerous fragments of a machine for the production of wealth on a gigantic scale. Turn a tree into a log and it will burn for you, but it will never ever bear living flowers and fruit.” &#8211 Rabindranath Tagore, from Nationalism

Over the final few years, the use of the young children as combatants has turn into a burning concern worldwide. This phenomenon is generally linked with post- colonial societies with a history of exploitation, that are coping with extremes of poverty and wealth, and where neighborhood group or tribal rivalries have been mobilised behind the global competition for main resources. West Africa had all this apart from the social disruption resulting from numerous centuries of slave trade exactly where millions have been dispatched in chains, especially to the Americas. But how did the nationalism of the Tamils of Jaffna &#8211 a reasonably modernised society with a level of education commensurate with developed components of the world &#8211 come to be linked with kid soldiers?

The principal paradox of this society is that one section &#8211 the diaspora &#8211 love life to the utmost and are averse to the slightest risk that may impair it. Then there are the kids fighting for the LTTE who disdain life and apparently take pride in blowing themselves to smithereens at a sign from the Leader. Recently a journalist from the French journal Le Point had the opportunity to talk to an LTTE girl Mariana close to Batticaloa (Daily Mirror 27.4.2000). She connected proudly how even ladies do not take prisoners and how ‘traitors’ are publicly executed and their severed heads stuck on a pole. The rare Sri Lankan soldier taken prisoner, she said, was drained for his blood and then executed. Mariana also spoke of her readiness to explode herself.

LTTE colomboletegraph

*File Photo

There is nevertheless an inherent drawback in such hugely newsworthy disclosures. It seems as an abnormal outgrowth. It is amenable to getting played down as an exaggeration or as becoming isolated. But the insider who knows and feels the organic growth of cancerous fibres trying to strangle the whole society, needs a sense of humour to keep his sanity. His expertise is seldom sensational. It is for the most element absurd and commonplace. It is not newsworthy. One particular demands to ask inquiries and probe deeper to recognize its sinister import. Take a few examples.

Amongst those who fled to the army- controlled region when the LTTE overran the Thenmaratchy sector in Could 2000, was an ordinary driver from Palai. He spoke to a buddy resignedly about his plight. He mentioned, “If those LTTE fellows come right here as well, God knows no matter whether my personal young children will be mine or theirs!”

In the early 1990s, very young young children from poor families taken by the LTTE in Jaffna have been corralled in camps. A single was sited on the way to the cremation ground in Irupalai, a single in Manthuvil and so on. The one particular in Irupalai had a flimsy fence of palmyrah fronds. Parents of the youngsters taken, loss and bewilderment writ on their faces, surrounded the camp and waited passively. They lacked the defiance collectively to go in and get their youngsters out. In Bulletin No. 23 we gave an example of a couple who got into a camp in the Vanni exactly where their child was taken. The couple was assaulted for trespass.

A single mother stated, “You must see the inexpressible agony of the parents whose youngsters are so taken. They go from pillar to post for weeks and months trying to uncover their child. There is for them no rest thereafter.” In what has become quite typical in the Vanni these days, the parents of a boy saw nothing of their son who was taken away. Following several months, the LTTE brought residence a sealed coffin that was stated to include the remains of their son. The father insisted on opening the coffin. The LTTEers objected, saying that the stink would be unbearable. The father said, “What does it matter to me, is it not after all my son’s stench?” He then took an axe and broke open the coffin. The coffin was found to include stems of plantain trees. The father, in a fit of agony, assaulted these who brought the coffin.

Such events are so widespread that a single forgets their significance. Here is a force, which, in the name of liberation, has imposed an astonishing legality by the use of thuggery. It has created the poorer sections helpless to the point doubting their rights and duties by their own youngsters. It has lowered governance to a branch of cattle ranching or factory farming. In the LTTE’s management of society, parenting has been curtailed to eating and breeding offspring to feed its infernal machine. No agent of external terror could have imposed such a glaring indignity with such remarkable thoroughness. There are other experiences exactly where the intensely sinister lies hidden behind a manifestation of heart-rending innocence.

A man was cycling to Jaffna by means of the Ooriyan passage, east of Elephant Pass, in the early 1990s. It was previous mid-evening when he passed an LTTE sentry. A kid in uniform was sharing a gun with an older boy. Apart from the gun, the one particular mark of adulthood in the youngster was his wrist-watch. The man asked the child the time. Right after a pause, the youngster replied, “Seven- five”. The man knew instantaneously that the time was 1-thirty five AM! Such innocents were the first to be killed anytime the Army produced a foray.

This force has brazenly violated the sanctity of the most basic of human relationships. It destroyed living associations that make for a powerful and vibrant individuals. A force that has brought this ignominy upon its personal individuals is capable of any depravity. Everything about it becomes a lie. Only, it does not know that the people see through it. The most dastardly of its actions have become an region of insider understanding that is incommunicable.

To these who have lived under this regime and kept their humanity who feel its shame and the abasement of a folks its leaders, and their agents, can not be forgiven. These who diminish the degradation triggered by the Tiger phenomenon would also fail to appreciate the malignancy of its parent &#8211 the Sri Lankan State.

Then there is that strangest of ironies. These campaigning most feverishly on the genocide of Tamils by the Sri Lankan State and supporting the Tiger result in for a separate state, are Tamils living overseas. At each boast of a Tiger ‘victory’ millions of dollars are collected for armaments to be sent to the Vanni jungles. But in the Vanni itself worry stricken parents hide their young children at residence to hold them away from LTTE press gangs. This one particular way trip of children into the LTTE forms the largest single element of ongoing genocide.

Furthermore, it is not as though these persons who speak about genocide in Sri Lanka arrived in Canada or Europe from some such predicament as in Rwanda. They for the most component like ordinary Sri Lankans applied for their passport and flew out of Colombo International Airport by following standard procedures. And in cities with a main concentration of Tamils like London, Toronto and Geneva, they study Tamil papers flown from Colombo. These papers use their democratic freedom to reinforce the speak about genocide, compliment the LTTE and to run down the handful of Tamils who openly differ. They also derive revenue from birthday advertisements displaying richly attired Tamil youngsters living abroad, wishing them lengthy life and prosperity. Surely the remedy for the problems faced by the Tamils in Sri Lanka does not require such draconian measures as condemning native children to explode themselves at the Leader’s behest?

How did a nicely-educated community where parents are normally over-careful of their children turn out to be element of this public crime against children? The primary part of the answer is to do with the neighborhood itself, and stemming from it, a element regarding today’s worldwide culture as articulated by the West.

The most potent aspect of the LTTE’s accomplishment is its strike against dissent. It was in the major completed by 1987, although it could not have been so evident then. From then onwards, its effects proceeded steadily like a cancer consuming the best element of the Tamil intelligentsia. The extent to which it would go was not so evident to us when we completed the Broken Palmyrah in 1988. It is correct that the foundations for the LTTE’s achievement have been laid by state oppression of the Tamils. This was additional aggravated by the intolerant Tamil nationalism of the Federal Celebration. Writing in 1988, Dr. Rajani Thiranagama traced the weakness of Tamil nationalism to the nature of the Tamil middle class (The Broken Palmyrah, Sects. 6.two.five. and six.two.11):

“[Getting a item of British colonialism] ensured their position as an intermediary controlling group&#8230..This privileged position produced an overblown psychology of superiority. Nonetheless, the underpinning material base consisted of economic activity entirely beneath the manage of the state structure and dependent on the South. This weak and paradoxical position was to create each the impetus as effectively as the impediments to the development of Tamil nationalism.”

But, from the time these words had been written Tamil society has gone through 13 years of sheer destruction with no finish in sight. For those who care to see, the Tamil individuals have often, by overt and covert implies, expressed their wish for peace with democracy. But a quantity of burdens imposed on the individuals by the distinct actors, have obstructed the latent prospective for renewal blossoming out from inside Tamil society. Disenchantment with the LTTE emerged into the open in 1987,1990 and 1995, but it led to absolutely nothing that was sustained. This cannot be explained with no reference to the current international atmosphere.

In looking at distinct fascist experiences, 1 would notice several common features. Particularly accurate of them all is the German joke cited by Helmut Thielieke in his In between Heaven and Earth: “&#8230 of the three qualities, namely, getting a Nazi, becoming intelligent and obtaining character, 1 can have only two. Either 1 can be a Nazi and be intelligent, in which case one has no character or 1 can be a Nazi and have character in which case 1 is not intelligent or one can be intelligent and have character, in which case one is not a Nazi”. The stifling of dissent was in all situations the very first step towards fascism.

What fascism imposes on society is conformity with a method of total destruction &#8211 both material and spiritual. Thus even the handful of voices that continue to proclaim the ideals of freedom and equality turn out to be anathema to the rulers. But having already been decreased to a minuscule minority, these voices are effortlessly isolated and crushed. This can happen only in societies where the elite have already lost faith in freedom and equality, and are in turn mired in cynicism and opportunism. Fertile ground for this is pervasive insecurity and despair, amidst a political vacuum.

In Germany the circumstances were precipitated by the post Globe War I economic collapse. In the Tamil case, the main responsibility for creating situations of insecurity and despair lies with the State, which ultimately pushed matters to breaking point in July 1983. A considerable part of the blame also lies with the immature nationalist politics of the Tamil middle class which thrived on insecurity and despair rather than in their alleviation. From this boorish brand of parliamentary politics emerged that notion of ‘traitor’ that has wreaked havoc within the neighborhood over the years. Circumstances have been hence made ripe for the Tamil elite to worship a demon of their own creation.

The 1st achievement of the Tigers in silencing the intellectuals from a weak middle class was accomplished with tiny work. This victory was to make sure their silence over assassinations of men and women. To some extent, the foundation was laid by the Federal Party’s attacks on ‘traitors’ followed by the political murder of Alfred Duraiappah in 1975, which elicited weak protest. The turning point was the assassination of St. John’s College principal and citizens’ committee activist C.E. Anandarajah in June 1985. He was not a political figure, but rather a valued educationist and a member of the Jaffna University Council.

The LTTE almost completely muffled any protest by paying visits to some top members of the Jaffna Citizens’ Committee and abducting an editor who spoke out of turn. The Citizens’ Committee, which initially wanted to get in touch with for a day of mourning, backed off. The University Council discharged its obligation by merely sending a condolence message to Mrs. Anandarajah. A reputedly bolder physique, the Students’ Council of the University, asked the LTTE to ‘show cause’. The incident showed the Tamil intelligentsia to be deficient in the redeeming qualities of courage, civic sense and intellectual depth. They had been so effortlessly cowed down by the loutish indicates of selective violence major to pervasive worry.

Most people remained complacent, pondering this a passing phase. But it was the beginning of the cancer. After the LTTE imposed itself as the sole arbiter more than life and death, even these who had earlier shown token dissent subsided into acquiescence. Right here one was able to witness and even feel the progressive character degeneration of the intelligentsia. 1 could feel it at meetings of university, church and other civil bodies. The accepted issue was to utter platitudes and drop some hints that a single appreciated what the LTTE was undertaking. Nonetheless, these persons knew in their heart that they had been wrong and additional, that they have been betraying the individuals.

By contrast, when an individual rather exceptionally discussed actual problems and raised queries about what this silence and complicity had been performing to the folks, there was pin-drop silence. No one particular contradicted the speaker. A lot of of them looked at the speaker as even though wishing that one thing would take away him or her from their midst. They and their self-esteem have been getting challenged. In a society that was for extended grudging in its tolerance of dissent, the all-natural trend beneath the LTTE was to universalise its attitude to dissent, particularly among the elite. Repression by the LTTE became for these among the intelligentsia who co-operated, a means to boost their international standing as accredited spokesmen for the Tamil people.

They unashamedly articulated the LTTE’s line. How uneasy they felt even about dissent that had to take refuge outside the North-East is reflected in a statement created by a bishop, who was also effective in the World Council Churches:

“Those who do not assistance the LTTE have left the land (the North-East). Almost all these who live in the land support the LTTE. Unfortunately, those in the West are paying heed to reports from those who have left the land. Nonetheless these reports are extremely far from the truth.”

This statement appeared in an interview in the Europe-based LTTE journal Kalatthil of 10th July 1992. It came at a time when properly- authenticated reports of torture and elimination of dissidents in the LTTE’s mass detention camps have been beginning to emerge (our Reports five,6,9 and ten, and Bulletin five). This was also a time when Tamil dissidents had been really active in the West and a number of Tamil journals essential of the LTTE have been in circulation. The subsequent main accomplishment of the LTTE, and a most outstanding one, was to silence, assimilate or utterly marginalise this dissident segment in the West. In contrast to in Jaffna this happened in the quite ‘citadels of freedom’ where the appropriate to dissent was regarded as sacred.

This was critical in enabling the LTTE to become a really versatile parasite on the global technique, tapping each and every chance it offered, including crime and extortion. The cover is again provided by the Westernised Tamil elite who are organised into cultural groups, peace groups and charities. Their function has been crucial in exploiting the foibles of churches, democratic politicians and NGOs. Money collected by them, ostensibly for refugees, is brazenly spent on placing a lot more kids at residence beneath arms.

As a result the facility offered by the LTTE’s worldwide attain enabled a properly-financed war to be fought in the north-eastern dry-zone of Sri Lanka, that had couple of resources to boast of. The worth of the land rather lay in what was made of it by its inhabitants who tended and cherished it. Right here was massive funds pouring in from all corners of the planet into this little location to destroy everything that had been painstakingly constructed up more than many generations, and indeed the politics of the struggle thrived on destruction. The Tamils living abroad, who had the greatest freedom to question it, have turn into its chief agents.

The effective accomplishment of this created it absolutely necessary to crack down on all powerful Tamil dissent abroad. It was accomplished very simply by variants of the same approaches utilised at residence &#8211 threat, physical attack, arson and even murder. A notable example of the latter was the murder of dissent intellectual A. Sabalingam in Paris on 1st May 1994. Handful of months earlier D.B.S. Jeyaraj, a properly-identified Tamil journalist in Toronto, was grievously assaulted since even his tactically worded reporting of internal developments did not conform to the LTTE’s sensibilities. His leg was broken and he was forced to close down his Tamil paper &#8211 Mancharie. The basic signifies of closing down a dissident journal was to threaten shops that sold it. Thedakam, a stridently anti-LTTE dissident group in Toronto, which ran a library and study centre, had its premises destroyed by an LTTE arson attack.

The impunity with which the LTTE is in a position to function in the West is exemplified by many murders ascribed to it in Paris alone by neighborhood residents. Two other notable killings in Paris are those of senior LTTE operatives Perinpanathan and Gajendran by a gunman on 26th October 1996. The LTTE leader bemoaned their loss as triggered by ‘the enemy’. Nevertheless, other factors, such as the precipitate and mysterious removal of the LTTE’s European spokesman Lawrence Thilagar, confirmed that the killing was an inside job. The European authorities dismiss such incidents as intra-communal violence inside migrant communities. To them Sabalingam and Thilagar &#8211 the 1st, a man with noble suggestions, so beneficial to the community, and the second, a crude killer &#8211 are like Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. Tamil dissidents under attack in the West are therefore extremely significantly on their own. Quite tiny was accomplished by the governments or by non-governmental organisations to sustain the victims of these attacks. The end result was very considerably a coup in the LTTE’s favour.

A particular aspect of the modern day Western milieu is advantageous to groups like the LTTE. For the duration of 1940 a group of German dissidents conceived of a plot to murder Hitler. In urging timely action, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the drastically respected Christian thinker and martyr had exclaimed: “If we claim to be Christians, there is no area for expediency. Hitler is the Anti-Christ&#8230.” If 1 had been to say anything mildly approaching that in the West nowadays about the LTTE leader, one particular would be greeted with incredulity and disapproval. A single would be swiftly branded an extremist, and asked to cool off and take a course in peace making. Considering that the last World War there has been a quiet revolution in the West, where evil has been relegated to a primitive superstition.

Many dissidents had been appalled by what Tamil fascism has accomplished to the Tamil individuals and the hypocrisy and opportunism of individuals who pandered to it. But in the West, they had been largely ignored by their elite compatriots. Once attacked by the LTTE and confronted by Western attitudes, these dissidents also drew the conclusion that their strategy of denouncing what they knew to be evil was incorrect. Like everybody else, a lot of of them moved in the direction of subscribing to platitudes about conciliation, compromise and self-assurance creating, which meant totally nothing at all to the LTTE. Different shades of compromise in the globe-wide dissident camp resulted in division and, amongst themselves, a desultory war of attrition. Some gradually drifted into the LTTE’s camp &#8211 especially the more nationalistic &#8211 in a final act of character breakdown.

It left the LTTE supreme in the West. Even those who are uncomfortable about the LTTE find it challenging to say no to collectors who come with video war cassettes. There have been standard reports, and we as well have received testimony, that LTTE fund collectors extort money from refugee claimants in Europe by straight or indirectly threatening to harm their families. It is a context in which there is fear, and where issues concerning the excellent of these at residence, can not be discussed. This is the fate of Tamils in the ‘democratic’ West.

We appear at how the British government dealt with the LTTE just before it was formally listed a terrorist organisation in early 2001. Our testimony from impeccable sources for the duration of late 2000 relates to the all-important City of London. Fund raising is organised systematically. LTTE agents check out the neighborhood libraries and make copies of electoral lists. Tamil homes are marked off and collectors go there with their literature etc. Then a second list is made of properties that refuse to contribute. Senior LTTE operators then go to these properties and harangue the inmates on their want of patriotic fervour. The threat is implicit in the tone and manner rather than in the words. Additionally, realizing the LTTE’s reputation, no 1 likes to be on its blacklist.

Occasionally, there might be an altercation and the Police named in. The Police would generally take the collectors to a side and advise them in a friendly manner not to go to such homes. This much seems pedestrian, but there are other remarkable elements.

Scotland Yard officers preserve a friendly partnership with these who perform for the LTTE. A number of of them have been provided personal cards by Scotland Yard officers and asked to get in touch

if they needed help. In turn, Scotland Yard keeps a close watch on the LTTE and any irregularity is queried in a friendly manner. If for instance, a vehicle that frequently goes to the LTTE office is not seen for a couple of days, the owner would get a get in touch with from Scotland Yard asking him what occurred.

The LTTE workplace is a various world from ‘democratic’ Britain. Inside, no one dare raise queries. Those who do are reminded in colourful language of the cost of such impertinence in Tamil Eelam. Thankfully, such chastisement has to stop quick of providing the recipient a taste of Tamil Eelam.

One could nonetheless see a pragmatic argument emerging for Britain’s recent handling of the LTTE. Providing the LTTE rope to take some liberties with the law enabled close monitoring of the group. It produced it difficult for the LTTE to go to the next step and resort to violent crime in Britain, unlike in Continental Europe and Canada. Violent crime within the Tamil community in Toronto has reached notorious proportions. 1 sees what Anton Balasingam meant when he mentioned that need to Britain ban the LTTE, they would turn out to be actual terrorists!

Such pragmatism nonetheless threatened Britain’s credibility as a democracy. It discriminated against Tamil British citizens and residents by winking at LTTE extortion from this minority. Each democratic society maintains some basic checks on organisations that appeal to the public for money. The LTTE accosting men and women for cash is a very distinct phenomenon from collections by the Salvation Army. The LTTE’s history of terror carries an unspoken message. The British position was in effect a bias that conferred de facto recognition on the LTTE as the representatives of the Tamil people. It imposed a psychological inhibition on Tamils who wanted to organise and campaign for options to fascism. Further, it inhibited Tamil politics at residence from coming out of the fascist groove. In this respect, at least, Britain’s new position will have a salutary impact.

Of concern has also been the complacency and even complicity of many NGOs and church groups in the West (see our Unique Report No.11). What the LTTE had carried out to its folks at house is horrifying adequate. But right here is an organisation that has even developed the sophistication and versatility to defy all legal checks and to bring Tamils living even in the West under a covert regime of terror. Addressing the danger it poses for that reason becomes all the much more compelling.

The manner in which peace analysis sponsored from the West with each other with its local counterpart has avoided key concerns pertaining to the LTTE raises some searching issues. The resulting selectivity imposes dangerously false perceptions about the reality of the folks. This glaring misrepresentation can’t go on without having the help of characterless Tamil intellectuals in a society levelled down by fascism.

*To be continued..

*From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power – Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for providing us permission to republish. To study earlier components click right here

Foreign Affairs

The Story Of Profitable Devolved Governance

By Mahesan Niranjan &#8211

Prof. Mahesan Niranjan

Prof. Mahesan Niranjan

Rapidly forwarding to the Eighteenth of May possibly 2016, we observe noisy scenes in the Sri Lankan Parliament. A few members insist that the Prime Minister ought to intervene and quit separation from taking place. They are a noisy minority. The majority, nonetheless, agree with Prime Minster Wikramaathiththan’s stubborn stance: “The right to separation has already been subject to maximum devolution. The central government will not interfere.”

Gosh! Who is Prime Minister Wikramaathiththan, and how can he devolve the most sensitive subjects in our politics – the right to separation?

The lately formed jumbo cabinet of ministers was a disappointment to numerous of you. “Have we gone back to the poor old days?” you worried. Distracted by that, you failed to notice an innovation, the appointment of a Minister for National Dialog.

“But we already have dialog no?” an aunt of mine remarked, thinking of the telephone business.

The new Ministry for National Dialog has, as a starting point of achieving their objectives, offered new names, with minimal edits to their present ones, to the major characters in the governance of our country. The aim is to remind these in power that reconciliation begins by the thought experiment of putting oneself in the other man’s shoes.

“Let peace commence with me,” is the slogan written on the entrance to the new ministry.

Wikramaathiththan is a single such name, the epistemology of which I will clarify now, and leave other individuals to your imaginations.

Normal readers of ampulimaamaa will know this character – a king whose job it was to catch a genie living in the banyan tree and bottle it. The genie was intelligent and each time he caught it, it would inform him a story to distract his interest and escape back the banyan tree. The king, nevertheless, was not an individual to give up in the face of serial failures. He tried and attempted, once again and once again, and in the most current try had caught the genie. Will he be able to hold onto it, we are not positive but.


*Photograph of King Wikramaathiththan capturing the ghost scanned from the author’s ampulimaamaa archives

Prime Minister Wikramaathiththan had introduced a bill to set up a kind of governance that was to devolve significantly power and responsibility to regions of different granularities: provinces, districts, municipalities and villages. Each village chief was offered a Pajero jeep, petrol allowance and had devolved power to decide what concerns need to be asked on the five page kind to be filled before cutting down a palmyrah tree in your back garden. Obviously, if palmyrah does not grow in you portion of the country, there is no want for this five-web page form, is there? That is the beauty of devolved governance.

PM Wikramaathiththan produced persuasive arguments in support of his devolution bill.

“Consider how we Sri Lankans have been poor at solving issues. We do not address troubles of our youth in time. Alternatively we just let them get worse, let the pressure of aggravation develop up so our youth take up arms and rebel. That is when we bring out our tried and tested resolution, don’t we?

“We kill.

“Consider how we handled troubles faced by minorities in our nation. We have recognized these difficulties, have set up so numerous commissions, held inquiries and have signed a number of pacts. Despite the diligence with which gentlemen tasked with obtaining options worked, when it came to implementation, we just shelved the reports and ditched the Pacts, didn’t we? We had a tried and tested response when challenged on this efficiency.

“What difficulty?”

The PM, provided his track record in politics should have felt duty bound to feel of a extended term solution. Right after all, throughout his extended profession, he had observed, amongst other items, how his uncle sponsored the riots of 1977 and 1983, how his mates travelled to the North to make certain that the library was burnt, how the Hanuman army forced an Accord on us, how a previous president ordered the surrender of some 600 policemen who had been then lined up and shot, and, above all, he have to have been a bit far more than bystander of the brutality with which the rebellion in the 1988-90 period was put down.

Desirous of placing all that in the previous, we welcome his devolution plan to attain ever-lasting peace in our country.

Even so, the Devolution Bill faced strong objections from the Leader of the Opposition, Rt. Hon. Trigonometry Aarachchige Sampath (a new name given to him by the Ministry for National Dialogue, of course).

Rt. Hon. Sampath mentioned, as leader of the opposition, he had to represent the majority Sinhala men and women as effectively. Hence he held the view that any devolution need to be opposed &#8212 nipped in the bud, so to speak, simply because it is the very first step towards separation.

“Which college did you go to? Did they not teach you authoritative texts of history to know that warriors from Tamil Nadu will swim across the Palk Strait and butcher us? Our culture, unique in the identified Universe, will be ruined, this being the only country we have. Would the Prime Minister note they [Tamil Nadu fellows] are already engaged in doing just that, with low high quality tv soaps with Sinhala sub-titles broadcast on numerous channels

“Cultural genocide is what I contact it!” Hon. Sampath roared like a lion in Parliament.

Contrary to repeated polite requests from the Ministry for National Dialog, Hon Sampath has not given up the “G-word”, as he is significantly indebted to it for his electoral prospects. If he didn’t say it frequently enough, Chief Minister Gandalf might obtain ownership of it, he feared.

All through the debate, one member was chanting a mantra from a corner of the Property. It was the Vanni representative, Rt. Hon. Ku Rangupillai. “Police powers, land powers, police powers, land powers” he was heard repeating to himself.

The constitutional lawyer Hon. Samaanthiram MP intervened. He is either a member of the government or most likely from the opposition, we are not really sure. However that ambiguity is to be celebrated as a distinct innovation of our new-discovered democracy. Hon. Samaanthiram patiently explained, in all 3 languages, the following: “Policing is not about energy policing need to be a service.”

“In Sri Lanka,” Samaanthiram said, “police had the energy to beat confessions out of suspects, and based on those confessions, folks could be locked up and keys thrown away. In theory, this is nevertheless feasible since the laws enabling these are nonetheless in spot.

“But remember, prior to 2009, such energy was devolved and practiced in the Vanni, with threats of hands becoming chopped off for voting at elections, legs getting chopped off for operating away with no carrying out your patriotic duty of acting as human shields, and bullets in your head if you believed something distinct from what the believed police had thought, proper? Do you want to go back to those dark days?” Samaanthiram asked.

“And it is unwise to claim power over land in such low-lying places,” the eminent lawyer continued, “have you not heard of worldwide warning? If we want to defend our culture for centuries to come, we need to have to find actual estate on high ground someplace. I am confident you have heard about Poompukaar,” he reminded his colleague of the ancient city of Tamil civilization, now lost to the sea. “Mind you, over half of our people live outside the land more than which you claim energy.”

The apparent logic in his explanations had no impact on Hon. Ku Rangupillai who continued to chant “police powers, land powers, police powers, land powers,” for he knew carrying out so was important for his future electoral prospects.

From the opposition benches Rt. Hon Patriotwasa was also opposed to the Devolution Bill. Now, Mr Patriotwasa is a person who claims to be a descendent of the lion, but the well-known belief in Sri Lanka is he is a descendent of the donkey. A donkey in lions clothes, you may possibly say. No, it is more complex. He barks. The PM says that this behaviour is similar to that of monkeys. Geneticists reconstructing evolutionary trees are much puzzled by all this. Which of the 4 did our patriot actually descend from?

Hon. Patriotwasa strongly condemned the bill and in order to demonstrate his patriotism vowed to go on a hunger strike: “I shall starve until you withdraw the bill or my body and soul separate, whichever happens first” he shouted and walked out of the Home.

That is the separation – the possible separation of the body and soul of the most patriotic member of our Parliament – is what was pointed out at the beginning of this story.

Are you surprised that Prime Minsiter Wikramaathiththan’s refusal to intervene – of the centre not interfering with regional choice generating &#8212 had robust support in the Residence?

Foreign Affairs

The Sampanthan Hour

By Chaminda Weerawardhana &#8211

Dr. Chaminda Weerawardhana

Dr. Chaminda Weerawardhana

Rajavarothiam Sampanthan MP (RS) has been appointed as the Leader of the Opposition of the Eighth Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. MP because 1970, RS also deserves the title ‘Father of the Home’. Even analysts not usually sympathetic to the political ideology of Tamil self-determination concur that RS has a track record of acting with decorum and dignity in debate. This also applies to his celebration colleagues, who, unlike several a Sinhalese and Moor MP, conduct themselves gracefully inside and outdoors Parliament.

TNA: the strongest ‘Tamil’ voice?

Because the War’s end, the RS-led TNA has been successful at each and each election held in the two provinces. The absence of credible political alternatives, other than the EPDP that tarnished its reputation by way of its [in Tamil eyes] unholy alliance with the Rajapaksa regime, UNP’s Vijayakala Maheswaran issue in Jaffna and the SLMC in the East, there is no political movement in the two provinces that can equal, in any substantial terms, the TNA’s electoral strength, the reasons for which ought to form the subject of a separate article.

R. SampanthanSome Sinhala nationalists query RS’s positions on the rights of his community, his emphasis on ensuring the Tamils’ political aspirations and proper to live as equal citizens. That RS’s voice on the rights of his people wants to be heard, respected and honoured is a offered. It is the principal signifies by way of which, post-war, the dignity of Tamil society can be restored and much more importantly, the Tamils’ position as full-fledged citizens of Sri Lanka can be enhanced and enlivened. These becoming elected to Parliament by Tamil voters have every correct to raise issues that concern their voters, constituencies and electoral districts.

New duty of ‘national’ relevance?

For the very first time in his political profession, RS has been granted a position of national relevance inside the legislature. His parliamentary responsibilities have been doubly redoubled overnight, going way beyond these of an MP representing a certain district, and a celebration leader representing a offered demographic. From now on, RS has the duty of the complete Parliamentary Opposition upon his shoulders. As he described to the media on the way out of the Property quickly following becoming appointed Opposition Leader, he is completely conscious of the nature of his new role, and has the prospective to perform properly.

RS, this writer believes, is also competent to identify the most advisable forward method, when reconciling his function as the ‘leader’ representing his ethnic community in parliament, and his national function as Opposition Leader. Reflecting along that line, the most advisable path appears to be that of upholding a ‘policy-based’ method, strongly raising troubles affecting the day-to-day lives of the folks of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, even though simultaneously juxtaposing these with a central focus on problems of national concern.

TNA and JVP: troubled (&amp ‘shared’) legacies?

Sinhala nationalist components in national politics despise each TNA and JVP. Concerning the latter, they continuously evoke that party’s armed resistance of 1971 and particularly 1988-89. The TNA is branded as obtaining been pro-LTTE – the ultimate blasphemy in Sinhala nationalist eyes.

As the second half of the post-war decade unfolds, it is essential for Sri Lankans to collectively reflect upon the fundamental motives that prompted young individuals (from each Sinhalese and Tamil communities) to take up arms and resort to violence against the Sri Lankan state.

In the case of the Sinhalese, key contentious concerns involved class pressures, socioeconomic disparities, lack of possibilities and the grossly unequal distribution of resources. These concerns also concerned Tamil youth, who, in addition, had been ethnically catalogued through university entrance regulations, issues of political representation, difficulties of working out their fundamental civic rights, as nicely as ethnicity and language-primarily based discrimination. For numerous Tamil youth (whose militant outfits sooner or later became the Colombo government’s worst nightmares), discontent also stemmed from discrimination from within the Tamil neighborhood, its class, and very especially caste hierarchies. Therefore their intense anguish at those sophisticated, educated, English-speaking, liberal and more typically than not higher caste Tamil intellectuals and politicos who, in their eyes, had been of an uptight disposition, and had been intent upon ‘preaching’ them – the lesser beings – on conciliatory middle paths and the vices of violent resistance.

TNA: from ethnic politics to national politics?

The TNA and the LTTE are two incredibly different entities, and anyone creating a correlation in between them (the ‘TNA is pro-LTTE’ argument) is only making a display of political and sociocultural illiteracy. In the course of the LTTE’s heyday, as Tamil representatives in the national legislature, the TNA could surely have upheld a self-determination-based discourse, for which they can’t be blamed. Today, the TNA is in the procedure of – and in fairness has been significantly effective at – locating its pleine place in post-war Sri Lankan politics. The TNA has expressed its commitment to a united Sri Lankan state, and in guaranteeing the rights of Tamils inside that framework. Apart from its ‘men of the people’, such as Mavai Senathirajah MP, the TNA has equipped itself with professionals such as Messrs Sumanthiran and Vigneswaran, and upon being elevated to a national-level function, has expressed a commitment to uphold that role’s ‘national’ dimension to the fullest.

TNA and JVP: possibilities of functioning collectively?

The Eighth Parliament gives a unique chance for the TNA and the JVP, the two principal opposition parties, to start a cordial and open-minded dialogue, and perform towards sharing shadow cabinet responsibilities. The JVP has a golden chance to stand by its regularly repeated commitment to national unity and inter-ethnic coexistence. The TNA has a golden opportunity to perform with a national-level party that, regardless of its modest size, occupies a decisive position in the polity, and is composed of educated young leaders, all of them representing not Colombo’s privileged high-tea cliques, but the larger Sinhala (and fairly often Buddhist) neighborhood. The JVP’s composition and inclusivity could also send a crucial message to the TNA, on the importance of going beyond Vellalar gentlemen’s politics, to a political strategy that far better accommodates and represents the Tamil social spectrum, and performs towards elevated respect for parity.

To the cynical observer, some of the aforementioned observations may possibly appear to be somewhat devoid of realism.

However, inventive thinking is the crucial path forward for each the TNA and the JVP, to say the least.

Foreign Affairs

The King Is Dead. Lengthy Reside The King

By Saliya Pieris &#8211

Saliya Pieris

Saliya Pieris

The King is dead. Extended reside the King.” In Britain the passing away of the old monarch and the advent of the new, is heralded by these words. In Sri Lanka, Wijithamuni Zoysa, Member of Parliament, echoed these exact same thoughts, in somewhat cruder terms in his infamous “Appachchi Mala” speech.

After the Parliamentary Elections, the speed at which scores of Parliamentarians from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party switched their allegiance from the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to President Maithripala Sirisena marks a new low even for politicians in Sri Lanka. Gone are the days when politicians at least kept a decent interval and in the very least supplied some excuse when switching sides. Today no interval is necessary and no excuse provided.

The Surrender Of The Rajapaksa Camp 

As for President Sirisena, he has now regained substantial manage over the machinery of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which probably just more than a month ago had side-lined him or as some claim was on the verge of removing him as celebration leader. The day was saved only by an order from the District Court.

MahindaHours right after the Parliamentary election it was clear that several of those who had been on the Rajapaksa camp which includes Susil Premajayanth and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa had raised the white flag of surrender. So full is the surrender that they have accepted ministerial workplace from the really President who just weeks ago suspended them from their Secretary posts.

If ever Mahinda Rajapaksa produced a error following losing the Presidential Elections, that was to let go of the party leadership. 1 reason probably why Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe in no way let go of the leadership of the UNP even for the duration of the wilderness years.

President Sirisena in his own quiet way has demonstrated time and once again that he is not a push-more than, some of his political moves equalling or even surpassing the Machiavellian abilities of his predecessors.

Mahinda Rajapaksa Lives On 

However in spite of gaining manage more than the celebration machinery, whether that identical control is regained over the rank and file of the party is an entirely different query. As much as Ranil Wickremesinghe could not be written off regardless of dozens of setbacks in the past, it would be equally naïve to assume that Mahinda Rajapaksa or his political legacy has come to an finish.

Inside the vast majority of UPFA supporters, Mahinda Rajapaksa lives on. Now that President Sirisena has shown an appetite for remaining in party politics, his political accomplishment will depend on his capability to either win over the Rajapaksa camp or his ability to wean the celebration voters away from them. Despite the camaraderie shown at the swearing in of the Prime Minister and at the SLFP anniversary this week, it is challenging to think that the rift will be totally healed as long as Mahinda Rajapaksa remains in active politics.

The months to come will see further developments in the tug of war inside the UPFA and SLFP. That half of the SLFP Parliamentarians abstained from voting for the resolution increasing the Cabinet of Ministers shows the challenges that the President will have in his bid to stave off a permanent split in the party.

2020: Sirisena Versus Wickremesinghe? 

If President Sirisena is in a position to rally the party about him and to fend off the Rajapaka challenge, then when the period of the National Government comes to an end, the most significant challenge to Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP will be from the rejuvenated SLFP led by Maithripala Sirisena.

The subsequent Parliamentary elections in 2020 could effectively be a Sirisena v Wickremesinghe election, specially if the Executive Presidency is entirely abolished by this time. In such an eventuality the possibility of Maithripala Sirisena returning to Parliament in the Prime Ministerial form can not be ruled out. Such a move will also see a realignment of political forces as soon as again.

The subsequent couple of years will see political manoeuvring between the two centres of power- Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe as each leader seeks to position himself, to lastly probably face each other the day when the national government comes to an end.

Although this eventuality may appear strange to several of us in Sri Lanka, this is not uncommon in countries with national or coalition governments. David Cameron and Nick Clegg sat in the government as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister even as they battled it out at the hustings in 2015. In 1945 following five years of National Government, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Deputy Prime Minister Clement Atlee faced each and every other at the Basic Elections and Churchill was buried in a landslide.

Creating The Second Tier Of The UNP 

The unprecedented delays in appointing the Cabinet of Ministers reflect this intricate balance of power and energy play within the new regime. It is in the face of this future challenge that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ought to seek to create the second tier of his personal celebration and broad-base his assistance within the UNP.

On the 23rd of July 1977, when Prime Minister J.R. Jayewardene was sworn in by President William Gopallawa, the composition of the new Cabinet itself gave impetus to public self-assurance. What ever criticism that existed against Mr. Jayewardene, of his rule from 1977 to 1988 a single of his greatest achievements was his potential to construct up a powerful team and his capability to select appropriate folks irrespective of his private friendships and preferences. It is this team which helped Jayewardene to develop a solid government, which paved the way for the UNP to rule for the next 17 years.
When he left the Presidency in 1988, Jayewardene left to the UNP a legacy of a sturdy second tier of leaders like Prime Minister Premadasa, Ministers Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake.

The Cabinet of Ministers in 1977 saw the induction of first time Parliamentarian Lalith Athulathmudali, into the Cabinet of Ministers as Minister of Trade. The present Prime Minister himself was a beneficiary when at the age of 28 years he was inducted into the Cabinet of Ministers in October 1977, just a few months after he was appointed as Deputy Foreign Minister, as the very first time MP from Biyagama.

Old Wine In A New Bottle 

The Prime Minister continues to attract criticism more than the manner in which he selects individuals for public office. Not absolutely everyone in the UNP camp is happy about the manner in which selections have been created to the Cabinet of Ministers, which was appointed on Friday. Some feel that these appointments reflect the perennial difficulty the UNP has faced beneath Mr. Wickremesinghe’s leadership and that after again the UNP has lost an opportunity of bringing in fresh faces to the leadership. Apart from a handful of new faces such as Daya Gamage, and Harin Fernando, the new Cabinet has a lot of of the identical old faces from the past- some stretching back to the 1977 government.

At least three of the new UNP Ministers are septuagenarians on the verge of retirement at least one UNP Minister was recognized to be on the fence during the Rajapakse regime some were mere bystanders in the course of the Rajapaksa era believing Rajapakse to be a fait accompli who could by no means be dislodged some did not contribute in any way to the ouster of the former President. Whether or not some deserved Cabinet Office at all is a moot point.

Leaving Out The Young Turks&#8217 Of The UNP 

In contrast, left out of the Cabinet are many younger Members of Parliament who entered the legislature and energised the United National Celebration, waking it up from its extended slumber in the opposition. Dr. Harsha de Silva, Eran Wickremeratne, Ruwan Wijewardene, Ajith Perera, Niroshan Perera have been among those who worked tirelessly from 2010 to 2015 to energise the opposition and were in the frontlines against the Rajapaksa regime. There have been no critical allegations against them as to their conduct in the last handful of months.

The inspection of numerous government installations and activities by these MPs for the duration of the Rajapaksa regime, their active opposition to the impeachment of the Chief Justice, their vocal criticism of the Rajapakse regime, and their pro-active participation in parliamentary and political work culminated in the effective revolution of January 8th. These MPs worked with dedication in the run up to the Presidential Elections to organise the UNP. Some of them have been deeply involved with the likes of Mangala Samaraweera and Malik Samarawickrema in the effort to bring in a frequent candidate. They have demonstrated competence in both political and specialist life at the highest level.

The appointment of professionals such as Harsha de Silva and Eran WIckremeratne to Cabinet Office would most surely have inspired public self-confidence in the new government. Critical questions arise as to the criteria followed in the allotment of crucial Cabinet portfolios.

Though disaffection and resentment arising out of selections to government, would not surface proper now , numerous years down the line these resentments could surface at the most critical time. This is one lesson which President Premadasa had to discover just two and a half years into workplace as President when disaffected UNPers which includes the Speaker M.H. Mohammed joined in the impeachment against him in August 1991. It hardly needs to be stated that it will be a lot less difficult to pull the rug from beneath the Prime Minister’s feet than from below the feet of the Executive President. This has occurred to the Prime Minister as soon as before.

Nevertheless laudable his vision could be, he must not leave space for complacency and take his party males and the voters who voted for the UNP for granted.

A Lesson From Abraham Lincon 

The Prime Minister should possibly take a lesson from the connection between American President Abraham Lincoln and Edward Stanton his Secretary of War, during the Civil War in that country. Regardless of his intense dislike of Stanton, Abraham Lincoln selected him to his Cabinet because Lincoln felt he had all the needed qualities for the position whatever his private dislikes had been.

At some point, Stanton became 1 of the most beneficial political assets that President Lincoln had and the two established a close specialist and private relationship which lasted until Lincoln died.

Foreign Affairs

MS With MR At His Side Nowadays Calls On SLFP To Unite

President Maithripala Sirisena with his major adversary Mahinda Rajapaksa at his side today called for the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to unite.

Maithri Mahinda August 2, 2015He was speaking at a meeting held to celebrate the 64th Anniversary of the SLFP in Polonnaruwa these days.

Nonetheless a extended standing SLFP MP stated that it was the power struggle among both Sirisena and Rajapaksa which divided the SLFP into two factions.

Sirisena went on to say that the SLFP ought to face the next polls as a united force.

Nevertheless, Chandrika Kuratunga who Rajapaksa has described as his greatest enemy was not on stage in Polonnaruwa.

The new General Secretary of the SLFP Duminda Dissanayake in his address stated that Bandaranaike could not attend the occasion as she had gone abroad.

Nevertheless, Sirisena was wary adequate not to grant a speech to Rajapaksa.

Though Rajapaksa was seated next to Sirisena the two did not engage in considerably speak.

Also the division within the SLFP was significantly evident at the meeting with both Sirisena and Rajapaksa factions choosing to band with each other with colleagues from the exact same side.

Foreign Affairs

Sirisena To Lead SLFP At Upcoming Regional Government Polls

President Maithripala Sirisena will have to lead the Sri Lanka Freedom Party&#8217s campaign at the forthcoming polls to elect members to the local authorities, expected to take spot at the finish of the year, a SLFP source told Colombo Telegraph.

Maithri newThe above improvement comes in the wake of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who led the UPFA campaign in a loosing battle against the UNP at the last general election deciding to hand over the reigns to Sirisena.

A supply close to Rajapaksa mentioned that he has already conveyed this decision to Sirisena. This comes in the backdrop of a number of moves initiated by Sirisena to consolidate his power inside the SLFP. However it is unclear which party Sirisena will lead, the SLFP or the coalition UPFA in which the SLFP is the key stakeholder. According to SLFP sources the party is most most likely to pull out of the UPFA shortly.

Already the SLFP is divided with a majority supporting the national government mooted by Wickremesinghe and Sirisena and other folks joining the remnants of the UPFA led by Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Udaya Gammanpila, Kumara Welgama and Dinesh Gunawardena.

This UPFA remnant group is planning to be the main opposition in the new parliament which will sit for the very first time tomorrow.

Also they are planning to propose Kumara Welgama, the Kalutara district parliamentarian as the opposition leader.

Earlier in the day the President had told some UPFA leaders that the opposition will be permitted to appoint its own leader in parliament. Earlier the SLFP CC decided that President as the head of the party could take a decision as to who will be the opposition leader.

Meanwhile UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told media that the powers of appointing the opposition leader were vested with the speaker.

Also the TNA has thrown its hat in to the ring claiming that the opposition leaders post ought to be theirs for the taking as the SLFP already has signed a MoU with the UNP to set up a national government.

Rajapaksa has conveyed to the UPFA remnants that he will sit as a back bencher for a brief period and resign from politics afterwards. However, according to a supply close to the former President, Rajapaksa could stay in parliament and bide his time if the new national government does fail to click as a robust unit.

Prior to the common election President Sirisena mentioned that the Local Government polls will be held soon after the parliamentary polls.

The regional bodies whose terms have been lapsed are currently being administered by unique commissioners in accordance with the Local Authority Act.

The government in March extended the official term of 234 local government bodies, which was due to expire by the 31st of March, until the 15th of Might. The terms of other remaining LG institutes are to expire in October.

Foreign Affairs

TNPF For ‘Two-Nations in 1 Country’: Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

This statement is being released with the intension of clarifying the Tamil National People’s Front’s (TNPF) policies relating to what we take into account to be a resolution to the Tamil National Question and our position on accountability with regards to international human rights law and international humanitarian law violations that had been committed against the Tamil men and women.

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam

As regards the answer to the Tamil National Query, the TNPF stands for a policy primarily based on the notion of ‘Two-Nations in 1 Country’ – namely that the Sri Lankan State (nation) comprises of the numerically bigger Sinhala nation and the numerically smaller Tamil nation and other Peoples &#8211 a model really well known to scholars and practitioners of pluri-national/ multi-national constitutional ordering across the world. Examples of a bi-national state (country) contain Canada, Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina. We reject the notion of a Sri Lankan nation-state (one particular nation-one nation) for the reason that the numerical strength of the Sinhala Buddhist people, getting a permanent majority, would make Sri Lanka in practical terms a Sinhala-Buddhist state (nation). Accordingly, we insist that the recognition of Tamil Nationhood, its right to self-determination and the recognition of the North-East of the island as its territorial unit – its conventional homeland – in line with the Thimpu Principles of 1985 is quintessential to any solution.

We accept that self-determination and nationhood require not be necessarily manifested through the institutional settings of a separate state (country) but that a multi national state (country) can also recognize the plurality of nations and the self-determination of its constituent units. We are hence committed to exploring a political solution within an united state (nation) regardless of the history of failed negotiations amongst the Tamils and successive Sri Lankan Governments. We have produced this quite clear in the celebration manifesto that was release for the purposes of contesting the 17 August 2015 Parliamentary Common Elections.

The TNPF is of the view that the “Two Nations in One Country” notion can be accommodated inside a federal structure. However the TNPF has regularly rejected a devolutionary path to federalism, which we believe is contradictory to the assertion of the correct of self-determination. The term devolution concedes the place of state energy/ sovereignty with the political entity in handle of the state / country (in this context the Sinhala Buddhist Nationalist order) and seeks mere devolution of energy not as a matter of right but as a goodwill gesture of the Sinhala-Buddhist Nation. Offered bitter experiences of solemn pacts being abrogated unilaterally by the Sinhala leaders and unfulfilled promises, we consider that this is the wrong way of approaching the Tamil National Query. Rather we stand for the ‘pooling of sovereignty’ of the constituent nations strategy to federalism, which will offer the essential legal safeguards against the therefore far experienced unilateralist majoritarian approach of the numerically bigger Sinhala Nation. This method believes that both the Sinhala and Tamil nations are sovereign in their personal right and pool their respective sovereignties to develop a new social contract producing a multi-national Sri Lankan state (nation). This would guarantee genuine collective equality amongst the constitutive nations of Sri Lanka.

The TNPF categorically rejects the Unitary State structure of the current Sri Lankan constitution and is of the firm position that no arrangement inside such a Unitary State structure can form the beginning point for any negotiations with regards to locating a resolution to the Tamil National Query. For these causes we reject the 13th Amendment and the Provincial council system as supplying the basis for a political answer.

The TNPF wishes to emphasize that we have in our manifesto made it quite clear that our reference to ‘Two Nations’ does not mean that we cast aside the rightful place of the Muslims and Up Nation Tamils in Sri Lanka. We have explicitly noted therein that we think that the Muslims and Up Nation Tamils have the appropriate to self-determination but as to regardless of whether they want to conduct their politics with the consciousness of such is up to them. We have pledged solidarity politics with them towards justice and collective equality for all constituent Peoples in Sri Lanka. We have also explicitly stated in our manifesto that we are prepared to function with progressive sections in the Sinhala Nation for genuine reformation and democratization of the Sri Lanka.

The TNPF has been fairly unequivocal in its demand for accountability and justice for crimes committed throughout the 30 year long war and just before. Provided that the Sri Lankan Army is noticed as protectors of the Sinhala Buddhist order and the Army and the Police are the main accused parties concerning the grave crimes, like the crime of Genocide, committed against the Tamil people, we are of the firm view that no internal / domestic mechanism or inquiry can result in genuine prosecutions against the Sri Lankan Army, Police and members of its political class. To hold an internal / domestic accountability process will be tantamount to “victor’s justice” and hence we insist on an international criminal justice procedure as portion of a wider programme for accountability, truth seeking and justice.

The TNPF has also warned the Tamils regularly about attempts to use the Tamil people’s struggle as leverage for geo-political contestations. We have argued that we are not against the national interests of any nation, but are opposed to Tamil national interests getting sacrificed by any global energy for the attainment of merely their ambitions and interests.

We urge and welcome our detractors to engage us with the issues that we stand for. Regardless of the electoral setbacks suffered by the TNPF, the celebration will remain committed to the Tamil Nation’s struggle for self-determination, justice and genuine democracy.

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam
President, Tamil National People’s Front

29 August 2015.

Foreign Affairs

Giving Priority To Regional Constructors

By Hema Senanayake &#8211

Hema Senanayake

Hema Senanayake

We have a corporate sector. And a couple of of corporate leaders not too long ago had spoken to Sri Lanka Everyday News about the new government. One of them created a comment and a request for which I paid a tiny much more attention. This report is about it. In truth the report is not about his certain comment or request, alternatively this article is about an economic principle on which the government ought to establish an critical national policy in regard to his request. I think his request merits in establishing such a national policy.

So, not too long ago, Dr. Rohan Karunaratne, President of Ceylon Institute of Builders had commented as follows

“… with the alter of presidency in January some of the on going improvement projects were halted due to different motives. “We hope that the government would look at to any irregularities if any and re-commence these projects as the market is facing issues due to this.” “We also request the new government that they give priority to regional constructors when awarding future projects” (Day-to-day News).

Construction is an essential sector in the economy. Even although I do not know the precise percentage of the contribution of this sector to GDP, I imagine the figure could be nicely more than 20%. Hence, this sector in the economy is so essential in creation of the nation’s wealth and a lot of direct and indirect employments. This sector will stay so in the next five years as well. Now, on behalf of the people who have direct business or employment interest in this sector, Dr. Karunaratne requests that, “the new government provides priority to neighborhood constructors when awarding future (improvement) projects.”

China Sri Lanka RanilIt seems his request is reasonable. His request seems far more suitable considering that the setting up of the giant “megapolis” project has been mentioned as the flagship development project in the UNP manifesto. Beneath the Megapolis project, it has been proposed to develop the region stretching from Negombo to Beruwela with the city of Colombo as the core. The Everyday News has reported that Megapolis plan will convert the hitherto unplanned Western Province into a main megapolis by 2030 with an estimated population of 8.four million. This indicates a lot of constructions will involve in this project itself.

The building of Mattala Airport was offered to Chinese firm. So was the building of Hambantota Harbor. A billion dollar project of Port City would be again awarded to a Chinese firm even under the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The list of development projects which had currently been awarded in the past and which would be awarded in the future to foreign companies would be a lot longer. Why does any government do favor foreign development companies than neighborhood developers?

If we ignore all concerns about corruption and technical knowledge such as designing capabilities, engineering know-how and acquisition of crucial machineries and so on. the easy answer to the above mentioned query is the concern about Balance of Payment (BoP) in the country. I will clarify later as to how the issue of BoP requires in determining how a lot of development projects need to go to neighborhood constructors and how many projects be awarded to foreign firms. Before that, from the above answer we could make an additional easy conclusion in regard to the fundamental rule on creating a feasible national policy in awarding contracts. What is it?

It is that, we have to award all improvement projects to local constructors, if such awards shall not impact the country’s BoP circumstance badly. This is an critical rule. Also, this rule implies that, if any project is anticipated to change the BoP circumstance badly, then, nevertheless the local developer may possibly be capable to win the contract award if that firm could aid in stabilizing BoP. When these two fundamental concepts are incorporated into the national policy of awarding construction contracts, the local bidders recognize that they are partly obligated in stabilizing the country’s BoP, so that the bidders or their regional bankers can come up with a appropriate economic program which helps removing the unfavorable effects that can possibly happen if the project is totally funded with domestic funds/currency.

Some people think that there are no adequate funds in the domestic economic program in order to finance certain mega projects and as a outcome we need to offer you those projects to foreign firms. This notion is not accurate. The issue is not the insufficiency of funds instead the difficulty is about the stabilizing of BoP. Below the existing banking technique which is known as fractional reserve banking which we practice right now, we have literarily limitless quantity of funds but the limit is set by the BoP scenario.

When any nation increases consumption or investment or each, then, that mostly affects the country’s present account. If the country is operating a current account deficit currently which is the case for Sri Lanka, the deficit will enhance when the nation increases consumption and investment. This seems as bad. But if the damaging influence can be balanced out by the funds recorded in the country’s monetary account then the country’s BoP would be stabilized. That is why I talked about above that the limit of neighborhood funds has nothing at all to do with insufficiency rather the limit of nearby funds is determined by the BoP circumstance.

As a result, giving priority to regional constructors is not a basic selection. But it is also not a tough decision, if all stake holders get collectively to facilitate the approach. The crucial stake holders I have in my mind would be the Central Bank, the Treasury, the regional constructors/ tentative bidders and the local industrial banks. Under this approach, the bidders have to submit a economic strategy as well. That is precisely what the Chinese firms do in securing a improvement project. For instance, they submit the bid and Exim Bank of China submit the financial proposal.

Now, below the new method I talked about above, the constructor would submit the bid and their banker would submit as to how a lot they mobilize in neighborhood funds and how considerably they want in foreign funds so as to neutralize the effects of BoP in carrying out the project. Alternatively of paying to Exim Bank in China, now the government would pay to neighborhood bank which financed the project which is an further benefit.

Also, the above talked about policy setting will do yet another essential issue which is that the government will put much more projects in “investment mode” than “consumption mode.” These two “modes” relate to the fund flows in the economy. The government can employ a contractor to do a distinct project. When the project is completed the government would pay the contractor in full. Even though this kind of infrastructure or any other development project is referred to as as an “investment” by the government, in truth such projects should truly be defined as “consumption” when deemed the fund flows in the economy. When a bank finances the project, it will grow to be an investment. It may well be strange, but that is how it functions in the economy.

Given that the Ministry of Finance has now requested the public and private sector institutions and the common public to submit their proposals to be integrated in the proposed spending budget for the year 2016, I submit the above view. I want if the Ministry of Finance pay its due consideration on this matter.

Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka’s New Directions Soon after The Parliamentary Elections

By Siri Gamage &#8211

Dr. Siri Gamage

Dr. Siri Gamage

Sri Lanka’s New Directions soon after the Parliamentary Elections: National Demands vs. International Dimension

Leaving aside the ongoing horse-trading going on for positions in the new ministries, appointment of defeated candidates to the national list by the party secretaries, and the concept of national government mooted by both the UNP and the SLFP leadership, there is no doubt that the country will expertise a new path in political, economic, diplomatic and other arenas in the close to future. Political and civic forces that have been behind the adjust initiated on January 8th and strengthened with the outcomes of the parliamentary elections held this month –though at present are in a state of flux- are potent adequate to introduce and implement policies and applications that are different from those implemented by the previous regime led by former President Mahinda Rajapakse. We are however to get a really feel for these new policies and applications. It is early days. Nonetheless, it is achievable to imagine the nature of foreign policy to be adopted by the new government and some of the policies as properly as challenges facing the nation and the new government. Election manifesto of the UNFGG led by the UNP supplies some tips in this connection.

Questions can however be raised about the directions in financial policy to be adopted by the new government. Is it going to be complete-blown neoliberal, free-market place driven policies equivalent to the Open Economy policies adopted by JR since 1977? Or is it a mixture of a nationally focused policy with some encouragement offered to indigenous industries, producers, farmers and other entrepreneurs even though pandering to the multinational corporations from the US, Europe, Australia and the Asian area? Is it going to be a Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysian style economic improvement exactly where the regional and international capital run the show or is it going to be an economic policy oriented toward a far more sustainable development with a firm foot on the natural environment, regional culture, needs of the population at huge rather than the well-to-do segments of society- such as these with close hyperlinks to the Sri Lankan diaspora?

Maithri NishaWhen we look at the tourism sector for instance, several who operate in its five star establishments like resorts, hotels are just earning a ‘living wage only’ once they leave out their meals, transport, housing and other costs. They have a job but it doesn&#8217t give considerably surplus on a month-to-month basis when the costs are left out. The same could be stated about these working in factories set up in Cost-free Trade Zones and similar enterprises with foreign capital, ownership and know-how. Colombo and other cities in the country are currently becoming a also costly place for mum and dad visitors. Numerous hotels and resorts appear to be catering to higher-finish tourists with fat pockets. These places of entertainment, relaxation and are beyond the capacity of many Sri Lankans to afford. So are the higher-end shops that are selling designer products. If the needs of country’s population are at heart, the new government demands to develop policies and applications that can on a single hand give job opportunities for the young in various sectors where they can earn ‘a genuine wage’ to fulfil their life aspirations rather than a living wage alone. Similarly, it has to develop policies and programs to offer you products and services for these living in the rural sector, working class and middle class in a affordable expense-benefit framework. The balance of emphasis has to be turned up side down in some ways compared to the policies and applications of the prior regime, which created the basis for a ‘synthetic’ and ‘corrupt’ economy. Making conditions for ‘economic democracy’ is as critical for a small island nation like Sri Lanka for its extended-term vision and development.

Going back to the roots of Sri Lanka freedom Party’s economic policies, especially these implemented throughout early to mid 70s beneath Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike, 1 could even speculate that there could be some emphasis on supporting nearby entrepreneurs, farmers, industrialists, pros and so forth. to develop their respective fields and compete in the globe and regional markets. This is where one particular can count on, rightly or wrongly, the new government to orient its financial policies in such a way that it provides priority to boost nearby meals production, manufacturing, service and other fields with an eye for the regional and international markets &#8211 instead of producing the nearby population just imitative customers of imported items and services. In the globalised planet where Sri Lankan diaspora is spread more than several countries, this challenge may be met with its cooperation and excellent will. Nevertheless, the competitors Sri Lanka faces from the nations in the area and elsewhere will be fierce. For that reason, while emphasising the national concentrate in economic field, it is also crucial for the newly elected PM, Parliamentarians, ministers, as properly as key bureaucrats and policy makers to recognize the existing state of play in the area in their respective fields of activity.

One consideration ought to be the improvement of high quality of life. This is where the notions of sustainable development, environmental protection, top quality education, well being and nutritional solutions, transport options, and import policy and so on. can be a catalyst. Taking for example the fume developed by diesel and petrol operated autos on the country’s roads, one particular can only hope for policies to lessen such damaging fumes. The congestion on roads contributes to ill health, as are imported products with artificial additives. Smoking, alcohol and drug consumption are other locations of concern. Commercialisation of the medical profession/sector with out promoting ‘services with a social conscience’ is consuming into the very fabric of society, specifically its vulnerable segments. These with cash and sources are capable to access private well being facilities but the vast majority rely on state sponsored overall health services. In this connection, current introduction of an ambulatory service in two districts with the help of Indian government need to have to be appreciated.

A society’s soul is measured by how its members take care of the sick, old, vulnerable and the weak. Charitable and voluntary organisations play a essential part in this regard by complementing services provided by the state. However, such organisations want the assistance of the state to some extent in financial terms also.

If the new directions adopted by the national government is just to cater to foreign interests in economic and other fields, Sri Lanka runs the threat of becoming a satellite state of regional and worldwide massive powers who have their own agendas. A policy re-think is also needed in almost in all fields at this juncture. This is since there could be policy conflicts among the two election manifestos of the two major political camps on 1 hand and policy vacuum in other locations. The new government has to hit the road operating and it does not have much time to waste ahead of getting to company of government. Although these in a variety of political camps are busy trying to sort out positions, responsibilities and privileges, the majority of folks yarn for some relief for day-to-day living on a single hand and a greater future on the other. It is for creating required situations for great governance as effectively as sensible financial and other policies that are nationally focused but regionally and internationally integrated that a great opposition is necessary in the national parliament. Policies of the new government need to be founded on an articulate social, financial and political philosophy also. But the attributes of such a philosophy are not frequently identified, particularly in the context of the national government getting mooted at present! The MOU signed in between the two major political camps does not supply enough information in terms of the general direction of the new government.

Foreign Affairs

Second Victory Gives Exclusive Chance For Dilemma Solving 

By Jehan Perera &#8211

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

At the presidential elections held in January this year Sri Lanka created its initial transition away from authoritarian rule in which ethnic nationalism was utilised to deliver repeated electoral mandates. The victory of the coalition of parties led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Common Elections on August 17 will guarantee that the alterations brought about at the presidential election will be sustained. The majority of Sri Lankan voters reaffirmed the option they had produced in January when they voted in President Maithripala Sirisena and rejected the siren get in touch with of narrow ethnic-based nationalism. The principal significance of the newest election verdict is that it paves the way for transition to take location in two essential aspects of governance. The very first is that will consolidate the modifications that have taken arbitrary power away from people and vested them alternatively in systems.

The question at the common election was regardless of whether the modify that had taken place soon after the January elections would be reversed. The sustainability of the reformist good governance method lies in the fact that virtually all the political parties have agreed that the systems of government need to be strengthened. The second crucial transition that the country has taken as a outcome of the general election is the shift away from the governance method of the UPFA period that saw the escalation of militarization in a state that suspected conspiracies against itself and the targeting of ethnic minorities as possible enemies of the state. There is now a want to journey towards a society that is truly multi-ethnic and multi-religious in its selection creating and its alternatives.

Maithripala SampanthanThe outcome of the common election guarantees that the procedure of transition will not be reversed any time soon. Even although the UPFA challenge to the new governing coalition was quite strong during the elections, now that the outcome is in, their challenge seems to have collapsed at least for the time being. Members of the defeated opposition are gravitating to the leadership of President Maitripala Sirisena who occupies the presidency of the SLFP as effectively as being chairman of the bigger UPFA coalition. Bereft of a well-known mandate, the twice defeated former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has small in tangible terms to supply to keep them loyal to him. It seems that a lot of in the opposition would be interested in joining the new consensus government to be formed by the signing of an MOU by the UNP and SLFP.

Consensus Exists 

The agreement signed by these two parties soon after the elections is to work with each other for two years on numerous identified locations of great governance. They incorporate addressing corruption concerns, taking the country on a quick track of economic development, safeguarding fundamental freedoms and protection of the rights of females and kids. The MOU reflects the consensus that exists in society with regards to excellent governance. This can pave the way for constitutional reform which will not be controversial, and which the new government can do with no facing opposition. There are numerous unfulfilled pledges in the government’s one hundred day programme that it can start off to implement. Chief amongst these would be establishing the bipartisan Constitutional Council with members drawn from each the government and opposition and also from civil society.

The importance of the Constitutional Council is that it is the body vested with the authority under the 19th Amendment to appoint the members of the different independent commissions, most notably those pertaining to the judiciary, police, public service, bribery and corruption commission, human rights commission and elections commission. These institutions of state are of the greatest value exactly where it concerns establishing a system of checks and balances in limiting the powers of the elected politicians. For the duration of the UPFA period many ruling politicians and their supporters ended up behaving with the impunity linked with royalty in the feudal ages. They could pillage, rape and even commit murder with no action becoming taken against them.

President Sirisena’s readiness at the beginning of his term of workplace to reduce his own powers in the national interest was an act of statesmanship that has handful of parallels in Sri Lanka, and even internationally. There is explanation to think that his continuing commitment to very good governance will make sure that a lot more structures for checks and balances will be in place quickly. These reforms would incorporate producing a renewed try to pass the 20th Amendment which is about getting smaller sized electorates a lot more accountable to voters, and passing the right to info law which would give the basic public access to governmental documents. The lack of transparency in the governmental program was brought to light for the duration of both the presidential and basic election campaigns, with revelations of enormous corruption in government contracts that took spot in the past with no any transparency at all.

Receding Force 

Another location of reform in the area of governance that will need to be tackled is that of inter-ethnic relations and the devolution of power. This was the essential theme in the election campaign of the Tamil parties in the North and East of the country. Though the winning party, the TNA, is regarded to be a moderate celebration on account of its willingness to engage in dialogue and trust-building with the government, it campaigned on a platform of greater autonomy and federalism for the North and East. In contrast to other concerns of governance, which relate to central government institutions, the problem of devolution of power is 1 on which there is much much less consensus in the nation. It is to be noted that those who got the largest numbers of votes in the defeated UPFA opposition have been these who took stands against the devolution of energy.

The problem of ethnic nationalism continues to be alive in the nation even although the inability of the UPFA to make it a winning formula at two successive elections suggests that it is receding as a force. It has been in existence given that the 1950s when the SLFP was formed and utilized the energy of language-primarily based ethnic nationalism to trounce the UNP at the basic elections of 1956. The past ten years of UPFA rule was mainly primarily based on ethnic nationalism with the common population getting constantly exposed to a barrage of anti-minority propaganda. For that reason there is a need to have for the government to commence an quick programme of public education on the concern of inter-ethnic relations and the choices for a political answer that would address the roots of the conflict. This could be done alongside civil society organisations to prepare the ground for future reforms that are needed to resolve the conflict in a sustainable and mutually acceptable manner.

In the meantime, efforts to win the trust and self-assurance of the ethnic minorities want to continue. The pay a visit to paid by President Sirisena and former president Chandrika Kumaratunga to the former war zones of the East to give back land taken over by the military to the men and women shortly right after the election indicates that the government is on the conflict-resolving track. The reality that President Sirisena is each on the side of the government and opposition presents a special chance for problem solving. It will imply that when the government and opposition sit with each other to go over how to deal with even contentious troubles, they will be sitting collectively and not necessarily as adversaries. They will not be engaging in negotiations in which 1 side should lose in order for the other side to acquire, but in dilemma solving exactly where every single side’s issues are taken into account so that all sides can acquire. This must not only be a wish, it can turn out to be reality.