Categories
Foreign Affairs

The Electricity Tariffs, Populism And Smarter Consumption: Some Reflections

pradeep Jeganatan Colombo Telegraph

Dr. Pradeep Jeganathan

In midst of the noise of populist political posturing on the electricity tariff increase, there has also been, as always, a considerable amount substantial discussion on the issue. While a number of OpEds have been edifying, and of our legislators, Harsha de Silva‘s lone, yet richly informed analytical voice has been most stimulating, I do feel there is an aspect of the matter that has still not drawn attention. In the paragraphs below, I will attempt to delineate this.

I will not go over all the numbers here, yet suffice to say that simply throwing out percentages of the increase does not paint a worthwhile picture. For example telling us that a 30 unit consumer’s bill will rise, 52% is a great, factually correct but misleading headline – that may allow the reader to miss, the fact that for nearly half the electrified households in Sri Lanka (0-30), this increase will amount to Rs. 75/=. Consider at this point that a loaf of bread is 60/=, a packet of milk powder 400/=, and the cost of mobile telecommunication perhaps 400/=, to say nothing of other utilities. Tub thumping about a 75/= increase of one utility is neither here nor there. On the other hand, electricity subsidies, unlike many others are beautiful and elegant since they are not easily transferable to an affluent consumer. Comparing this to the old style ration books, which were, and the new style car permits that are, would clinch the case. In any event this small increase comes in at some thing like Rs. 575 million, which again given the CEB short fall of nearly 60 Billion, is neither here nor there.

The brunt of the increase in rupee terms is borne by the lower-middle band 90-180 consumers. A 150 unit household will see its bill rise, from 2850/= to 4515/=. That’s not just 58%, its also Rs. 1,670/= or so. A 180 unit household will see its bill go up to 5130/= an increase of only 33% and rupee addition of 1275/= ( Yes, the rate of increase decreases with consumption. All figures have been rounded off, and are rough).

That’s a lot.  For a family of four, in the urban service sector, living on some thing like 40,000/= a month, spending some thing like 12% of its income on one utility is a heavy burden, given others like cooking gas, water and telecommunications. Transportation while not a household utility is another thicken slice of the families budget.

So what should be done? Indeed one can agitate for a reduction; but unless this cost is recovered, those very households will see price inflation in other segments of their monthly basket of goods.

Promoting energy efficiency is the other way to go. Indeed if we are to accept and live with the form capitalism we have, it seems rather contrary to suggest as some do that the answer is to discourage consumption. That may be one model of using resources, but its silly to impose it in electricity consumption and promote it in other areas.

For example are we to have a sliding scale of pricing for personal miles flown each year? In this model, if you’ve flown 10,000 miles this year your next ticket would be twice the price of your old one. On the contrary, airlines encourage frequent fliers, by giving them perks. At the bottom of this system of capitalism – which is flawed but still viable – is the idea that flying becomes more energy efficient each year. So its not that you fly less. You fly more, at lower energy cost.

Returning to the lower-middle band of 90-180 customers of the CEB, we can make the same kind of argument, which a false, child like populism is masking. What does that mean? Well, we only speak of light blubs when we speak of energy efficiency. Since lighting is so basic, it seems safely populist to speak of moving from incandescent lighting to CFL or LED lighting. Yet is it unclear, if these well known new technologies are supported by duty waivers.

But once we leave lighting behind we will find that a household in the 90-120 band has both a refrigerator and a television. 40% of Sri Lankan households have a fridge, 80% a TV. But in the lower-middle band I speak of ownership of these appliances has to be pretty universal. It stands to reason; or else where would the units go? What is the average energy efficiency of these appliances as used in the lower middle band? I am not sure any one knows – but we can guess estimate that the turnover cycle among this consumer is long – unlike with the affluent who may turn over their appliances every 3-5 years. Older appliances are far more inefficient than new ones.

Let us look at some numbers. Switching from a 17” CRT TV to a 15” LCD TV (which has the equivalent viewing area), will save 13+ units a month, if daily viewing is set at an avarage 8 hours a day. With a refrigerator, switching from a 8 CF model that’s 20-10 years old to a fresh model, will save more than 50 units a month.

Lets say a savings of 59 units a month. Our 150 unit household is down to 91, and their bill is back down to, 2,225/= or from 4,500/=. A reduction of huge proportions. Our 180 unit household is down to 121 in this simple calculation (the reductions could be higher if the TV and/or fridge was bigger); and their bill is now 3,500 down from 5130. (If 60 units were used as the savings, the drop would even larger, but perhaps misleading, because of the quantum jump at the pricing bands).

No doubt its not that simple; new appliances do have a considerable capital cost. Yet, there is little doubt that home appliance chains sell new low end TVs and fridges by the truck load; the question is how does a consumer learn about her choices?

Shouldn’t we be rating household appliances on an efficiency scale? Shouldn’t such rating be regulated, just as the ingredient listing on a can of fish or packet of sausages is regulated? Shouldn’t there be huge duty concessions for the highest energy band? Shouldn’t consumers be told at the point of purchase, this model will cost you so much a month to run, the other one more?

We don’t seem to doing any of this. At the very top end of things, several retailers advertize energy efficient air conditions. But even they do not actually tell us what the power consumption of the model is. If you walk into one of the large home appliances chains in Sri Lanka  – there are three big ones – and ask casually or other wise (I’ve tried both) – what the power consumption of the reverent appliance is, you will find that the sales staff are clueless. In fact, when recently at the service center to pick up an appliance, I asked the technician in front of me, at the testing table, what was the power consumption of a LCD TV he was testing. He looked blank. I rephrased the question a number of ways; he looked about the back of the TV and said, ’220.’ Yes he did. He was pointing to a white sticker that said, the appliance was rated for 220-240 A/C. For the uninitiated, the rated voltage of an appliance has nothing to do with its power consumption; if a trained repairmen is as clueless as a sales person on these matters, I am very much afraid the consumer may be quite lost. We really need to do better.

My numbers are rough, and I am skeptical, to say the least, about the great project of consumer capitalism. But that’s where we are. Populist protests mask this because consumer capitalism seems dirty, and unworthy of street protests. I think we need to grow up, and for the time being at least, simply consume  smarter.

Print Friendly

Categories
General

MR orders complete inquiry

While denying reports that the Sri Lankan Navy had fired on Indian fishermen, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he instructed the Navy to carry out a detailed investigation into the incident, the Hindu reported today.

Talking over breakfast to foreign correspondents at his Temple Trees residence in Colombo this morning, he said that the Sri Lankan Navy was not involved in the incident.

Asked if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had spoken to him about the incident, he said that the Prime Minister had not. Asked if the Sri Lankan government would take action in the event of the firing being committed by its security forces, he said that despite the preliminary investigation – which established that the Navy was not involved — he had asked the Navy Commander to conduct a detailed investigation.

The Sri Lankan Navy’s chief of operations, said that the incident occurred well within the Indian waters. “The sea is very shallow in these areas and the position of all our ships’ locations are monitored by land-based and other equipment. This is in the open and anyone can check,” he told The Hindu, denying that the Sri Lankan Navy had anything to do with the incident.
>> Full Story

Categories
Foreign Affairs

Let’s Not Do This: A Wee Note To Dr Jayatileka And Mr Seneviratne

An excellent piece in the New York Times today talks about ‘Monks Gone Bad’, describing a corrupt and violent Sangha that uses hate speech and abuse against minorities and is helmed by leaders who resemble fatuous politicians and not the ‘birds of the wing’ that the Buddha wanted his mendicant followers to be. I am not here to point out the contradictions between Buddhism as taught and Buddhism as practiced, the ingloriousness of Buddhist praxis nowadays is evident for all to see. I just wanted to point out that at every instance in that article where I saw Myanmar, I could have easily inserted Sri Lanka. For every instance where I read about 969 in the news, I can insert ‘Bodu Bala Sena’. About the only words that do not require replacing are ‘anti-Muslim’, ‘minority’ and ‘hate’.

IMG_8368.CR2

As we all know, the police, together with the Bodu Bala Sena soon disbursed the vigil, arresting some, manhandling others, and collecting the names and pictures of most of the attendees.

The Bodu Bala Sena and its kindred run amok in Sri Lanka, like bullies in a school playground, and with not much more in the way of finesse. They hurl offensive invective towards religious minorities, and their words have resulted in quite a few violent incidents against Muslims ,and at least one against Christians, re-opening wounds in the country that are still struggling to heal after the 30 year war. They seem to operate in a space where Sri Lanka has not just lost so many lives, its economic development, and so much of its natural beauty to a long, long war. In order, perhaps, to call their attention to this, a peaceful vigil was held outside the headquarters of the Bodu Bala Sena. As we all know, the police, together with the Bodu Bala Sena soon disbursed the vigil, arresting some, manhandling others, and collecting the names and pictures of most of the attendees. Not only this, the Facebook page of the Bodu Bala Sena decided to ‘name and shame’ these attendees, causing their supporters to enact the most disgraceful bout of name-calling, verbal harassment and racist trolling that I have ever seen on social media.

One of the ‘points of order’ from the Bodu Bala Sena, its supporters and some of the media who covered the incident, was that the legitimacy of the vigil was in question because the attendees did not represent the Buddhist population, that many Muslims, Christians and Hindus were present. On Facebook, attendees are called out as ‘demalek’ ‘muslimayek’ ‘jathiyak nathe’. Indeed, an attendee tweeted that he overheard someone saying that the vigil was convened due to a ‘conspiracy of Muslims and Catholics’. So much for a critical understanding of religious history- perhaps the speaker would be better served from devoting his time to education rather than racist troublemaking! To each his own, however.
It is altogether more worrying thing that this misrepresentation of the attendees was not only picked up by the media, but that it was also the feature of an article by Malinda Seneviratne, writing in the Colombo Telegraph. The good gentleman, from his considerable experience, no doubt, is able to discern a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist, and therefore writes an entirely unnecessary article that serves only to distance himself from standing with those who attended the vigil. In response, Dr Dayan Jayatileka – who is experiencing some changes to his tune- quite rightly pointed out the flaws in Mr Seneviratne’s argument, but did it in a manner that entirely calls attention to his own accomplishments and ‘stake’ in the manner. The riposte from Mr Seneviratne was then, to accuse the good Doctor of ‘throwing his CV’ at him. I ask you, gentlemen, is this really the response to what is happening in Sri Lanka? The actions of the Bodu Bala Sena, and the complicity of the government in them are grotesque enough without the debate being reduced to puerile attacks on each other’s logic.

If you have a voice that can be heard and that has gravitas, and you both have the great privilege of this, why not turn it more fully toward more constructive dialogue? Why not ask that the rights of those who attended the vigil be defended? Countless women- because the body of the woman is so carelessly mangled in these cases- are facing vile, misogynistic abuse via Facebook from the supporters of the Bodu Bala Sena. These men direct all their perverted, violent fantasies at these girls who really do not have much in the way of legal succour. After all, the AG has instructed victims of social media attack to file complaints with the police. Yes, the very same police who put the kybosh in the vigil. Why not direct more energy into rousing the non-English speaking Buddhists to speak out against the Bodu Bala Sena with less articles in places like the Telegraph which are read by the diaspora and the English speakers? Yes, the handicap at the vigil was that there were many who attended who were ‘English speaking’- but that does not make them any less Sri Lankan, any less Buddhist, any less angry, or any less valid in their protesting attacks on minorities. Give out your voice in solidarity with each other, with those who will question the validity of the Bodu Bala Sena, and in solidarity with what must be a better tomorrow.

*Anupama Ranawana is a wishful academic and a practicing activist. She can be reached for comment via Twitter @MsAMR25

Print Friendly

Categories
Domestic

Hazardous milk powder sneaks into SL market

Hazardous milk powder sneaks into SL market
However, Chairman of Pelawatte Dairy Industries (Pvt) Ltd., and Mawbima Lanka Foundation, Ariyaseela Wickramanayake claimed these tainted milk powder products may have found their way to the Sri Lankan market. Among milk powder available in the …
Read more on Nation on Sunday

Categories
Foreign Affairs

Sri Lanka extend support to legal affairs in Fiji island

(SLBC) Sri Lanka is to provide support to enhance legal section in Fiji Island. Visiting Fijian Chief Justice Anthony Harold met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees this morning. At the discussion he pointed out that many Sri Lankan legal experts are engaged in state and private legal activities in the Fiji Island. President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed that service of the Sri Lankan legal experts should be obtained in more efficient manner and pledged necessary support and advice to streamline legal activities in the Fiji island.

Categories
Economics

Sri Lankan Accountants Lure Global Outsourcers

Southern China has its assembly plants. India has customer support centers, research laboratories and low-cost lawyers.

And Sri Lanka’s contribution to global outsourcing? Accountants — thousands of them, standing ready to crunch the world’s numbers.

As this tiny island nation staggers back from a bloody, decades-long civil war, one of its brightest business prospects was born from a surprising side effect of that conflict. Many Sri Lankans, for various reasons, studied accounting in such numbers during the war that this nation of about 20 million people now has an estimated 10,000 certified accountants.

An additional 30,000 students are currently enrolled in accounting programs, according to the Sri Lankan Institute of Chartered Accountants. While that ratio is lower than in developed economies like the United States, it is much greater than in Sri Lanka’s neighboring outsourcing giant, India.

Offices in Sri Lanka are doing financial work for some of the world’s biggest companies, including the international bank HSBC and the insurer Aviva. And it is not simply payroll and bookkeeping. The outsourced work includes derivatives pricing and risk management for money managers and hedge funds, stock research for investment banks and underwriting for insurance companies.

Categories
Politics

The Tamil Leadership Solely Responsible for What Happened to the Tamil People

Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Commission,

I am honored and privileged to be invited to give evidence before this Commission and lengthy historical events of our time and I thank the Commission for giving me this opportunity.

Before I go any further I must congratulate the Commission for the progress made so far, especially in giving the lie to its critics dismissed it as fantastic as that of an international inquiry. The wonderful and fantastic commission scheme again debunked the cynical attitude common in some Sri Lankans who believe that local products are not so good as that imported goods and services. I can not see how three foreign gentlemen, sitting far away New York, with a predetermined attitude towards Sri Lanka, may investigate and report on the conditions in Sri Lanka based on the accounts presented suspicious sources which has a notorious record of reporting adversely and negatively in Sri Lanka. It is predictable that the UN Panel appointed by UN Secretary General, ban Ki Moon, – you know especially the problem of attitude of the UN panellists – is just rubber stamp the prevailing judgment of the West denigrating the largest historic movement in living memory Sri Lankans.

I want to say with certainty that the alliance of the World for Peace, which I represent, with the implicit trust and faith in the integrity and the ability of the distinguished Commissioners to fulfill their mandates to honor. I can, therefore, begin by congratulating the Commission for his outstanding performance as another successful attempt in telling the critics and doubting Thomases that we – yes, we can – manage our problems ourselves, in our own way, without intrusive foreigners trying to teach grandmothers how to suck eggs. The irony in all this is that foreigners preaching and elegant universal behavioral standards to us in no uncertainty principle that we should do what they say and not what they do.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Panel We value and appreciate the advances made so far and we trust and hope that you will continue to do so to serve the country which requires the user to make the laudable and very purpose of reconciliation.
I am here today as representatives of the World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPs). It is a global net work, spread from Toronto to Melbourne, dedicated to fighting the horrible anti-Sri Lankan forces damaging the image of Sri Lanka abroad. It is composed of volunteers committed to the forefront of an international movement to protect, preserve and promote the good name of Sri Lanka. WAPs are an independent organization that does not rely for funds, or direction from any government, either Sri Lanka or elsewhere. WAPs runs itself raised funds collected from the patriotic Sri Lankans in the diaspora and I’m proud to represent the WAPs which is probably the only NGO consisting of Sri Lankans without any links to any government in Sri Lanka or any other country or foreign funding agencies. It does not pretend to be a non-governmental organizations like the National Council For Peace, OR THE CENTRE FOR POLICY alternative that, in fact, linked either directly or indirectly to the Western governments or their agencies funding.

Works of Western governments and private funding agencies hand in hand to finance the local NGOs that received agents to do their dirty work in crisis-torn or less developed countries like Sri Lanka. To the West it is cheaper to outsource their foreign policy objective of the hired hands of the local NGOs because they proved highly sophisticated agents that can push the Western political purposes at a cheaper rate than their expensive career diplomats posted to Addis Ababa, Islamabad or Colombo. Western governments have openly admitted that NGOs have their “soft power” used effectively to advance their political agenda. It is, therefore, a misnomer to consider the National Council for Peace or the Centre for Alternative Policies or International Centre for Ethnic Studies, to mention only a few, such as NGOs because they are, directly or indirectly, may owe the government abroad. The NGO is also working closely with the diplomatic mission of the West where the local arm of Western governments. To whether the NGO is funded by Western sources, directly or indirectly linked to Western governments, and if they also work closely with the diplomats of foreign governments, how they are called non-a government organization? They act as the local arms of foreign governments. They dance to their tune because that is the only way in which they can continue running their funds from Western sources. If the local NGOs that fail to promote a political purpose useful to Western sources they go after business.

One of the main goals of WAPs is to take the same NGO in Sri Lanka and other countries which are, by and large, anti-Sri Lankan political fronts of the West. Distinguished members of the Commission, it is my intention to focus exclusively on the conflict for several reasons.

1) became the national reconciliation agenda from colonial times where communities compete with each vying for power and territory and it continues to be the national aim of this day almost in the same format.

2) It has been prioritized as the prime need of the day for us to move forward.

3) International and national pressures have mounted on the issue of conflict.

4) I believe reconciliation is also the main purpose of this Commission.

When we talk of reconciliation we mean essentially the reconciliation of the Sinhalese in the Tamil-speaking community took up arms demanding a separate state. A notable – but mostly ignored – political reality is that the relationship with the other two Tamil-speaking community, the Muslims and the Indian Tamils, remained undisturbed normal levels without either of them going the extreme of demanding a separate state or taking up arms against the majority Sinhalese. A single barrel statistics are revealing because that is denigrated as Sinhalese extremists, chauvinists, anti-Tamil racists will never be overcome peacefully co-exist with two other Tamil-speaking community if they are bad as they are painted to be.

A single political statistic also goes against the general accusation that the Sinhala majority is the oppressor of the Tamil-speaking community. This makes it abundantly clear that, despite the differences and tensions, both Sinhala majority have been successful in maintaining compatible and peaceful relations with two of the Tamil-speaking community and had only one problem with Tamil -speaking community. This single political truth should talk more about the political culture of peninsular with mono-ethnic extremism than about the Sinhalese who had grown Co-exist as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi- cultural and pluralistic entity.

The topics that dominate the political landscape turned reality on its head. For example, the multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural and pluralistic society is denigrated as Sinhala racist or chauvinistic as the mono-culture of Jaffna which was fought strenuously to preserve its mono-ethnic hegemony is projected as an exclusive haven of cultural superiority. The anti-Sinhala lobbying manufactured an ideology as Sinhalese extremists paint and paint the mono-ethnic extremism of the Jaffna Tamils ??as the Sinhala victims of bullying. If, as they say, the Sinhala majority is oppressing the Tamil-speaking minority in the scale described by NGOs and related propagandists of Jaffna Tamil separatist lobby, not all the other Tamil-speaking community There are basically due to gang up against the Sinhalese? Besides, why is the leadership of Jaffna Tamil not move the other two Tamil-speaking communities in their political and military campaign against their so-called “Sinhala oppressors”? Serious attempt was made by the SJV Chelvanayakam to develop a pan-Tamil-speaking peoples’ front against the Sinhalese but he failed to get them in a common front against the Sinhalese.
If the mathematics seen in convincing rational political analysts, the majority Sinhala has maintained consistent relationship with two of the Tamil-speaking communities, resolving differences without violence, why is the Jaffna Tamil leadership alone fail to keep non-violent, harmonious relationships with other communities? Why did they drag their own people by a senseless war in abysmal depths of Nandikadal? What they achieve? They went to destroy the Sinhalese whom they demonized globally and in the end it boomeranged on them. Their violence turned inwards and they lost their entire leadership, they lost their friends and relatives, and they lose their self respect and dignity when they were forced to surrender to fascist terror of a pathological serial killer. Now that we have gone through the worst part time has come for the Jaffna Tamil leadership to consider how the other two Tamil-speaking community leaders succeeded in guiding their communities in constructive and reliable end and why only the Jaffna Tamil leadership fails? Why is it that reconciliation is possible with other two-Tamil speaking community and a community not only in Jaffna?
The answer is found in the intricacies and complexities of the unique political culture of peninsular which dragged the Jaffna people from colonial times to the mono-ethnic extremism. In summary it is shown that according to the northern leadership is doomed to fail because of their intransigence and extremist mono-ethnic ideology that refuses to compromise on anything short of their fancy state of Eelam.
Jaffna jingoism is the most destructive and counter-productive to all the political culture of the Tamil-speaking community. Their ideologues and intellectuals who rationalized mono-ethnic extremism of Jaffna demanded reconciliation should be based only on terms dictated by the purpose of extremist of Jaffna-centric politics. This intransigence is one of the main causes that led to the failure of any moves towards reconciliation.
Reconciliation is viewed, argued and expected as a one way process – ie, the government of the day should provide the needs of only one Tamil-speaking community of disregarding or marginalizing the aspirations, the historical grievances, and needs of others other minority and majority communities whose primary purpose is co-exist in harmony with each other, sharing common ground with all those that consider the entire 25,000 square miles, from Point Pedro to Dondra, their homeland without any division.
Successive governments have lost this one-way track without any success. Each national, regional and global endeavor to bring about reconciliation failed because each move is aimed at appeasing intransigent leadership of Jaffna. The Indian move to bring about reconciliation completed by assassinating Rajiv Gandhi. Moves to harmonize the Premadasa finished assassinating Premadasa. The Chandrika-Neelan transition to produce a charter for reconciliation ended in assassinating Neelan and almost getting Chandrika. The last major one-way attempt at reconciliation Ranil Wickremesinghe when the Prabhakaran signed the CFA that conceding almost the next best thing to Eelam. It failed because the Jaffna Tamil leadership, as usual, refused to accept it as the route to reconciliation.
Furthermore, the undeniable fact is that the reconciliatory moves, signed the Tamil leadership, was approved by the Tamil people and their fellow travelers in the circuit NGOs. So what is the logic in saying that the Sinhala leadership has not made real moves in harmony? The Sinhala leadership has even gone as far as dismissing or marginalizing of the aspirations and needs of other Sinhala and Tamil-speaking community. Ranil Wickremesinghe, for example, crimes committed against the country when he authorized the supply of arms and ammunition, duty free, the Tamil Tigers. Even put him in the Navy Commander, Wasantha Karannagoda, the mat for the disappearance of Tamil Tiger boat smuggling arms and ammunition. Should he go to the Guinness Book of Records for being the first prime minister in any part of the world that pulled up his Navy commander for the defense of territorial integrity and security of the country. It is the innocent children in the Security Forces had to pay with their lives to repair the damage done to the CFA.
However he lost Wickremesinghe actions prove that he was bent over backwards to appease the Tamil leadership – a task that is doomed to fail. Successive Sri Lankan leaders have lost their way – sometimes under international pressure – to harmonize with the Tamil separatists. But they succeeded. Although the evidence is loaded against the Jaffna Tamil leadership for deliberately pursuing a military solution, reject a negotiated settlement, it is the “Sinhala state” to be blamed for every failure to harmonize the Jaffna Tamil leadership.
The Nordic peace-makers are on record saying that 95% of the terms and conditions of the CFA was violated by the LTTE. So who should take responsibility for failing to bring about reconciliation?
That is the leadership of the Tamil who decided to seek a military solution when they passed the Vadukoddai Resolution on May 14, 1976. It is known Resolution unanimously endorsed the decision to wage war against other parts of the country. Prof. AJ Wilson, son-in-law of Chelvanayakam, the father of separatism and the man who posed as Gandhi, states in his memoir that Chelvanayakam went through every word of Vadukoddai Resolution. Specifically urged the Tamil youth to take up arms and not REST until they achieve their goal of Eelam.
So it is not the “Sinhala state” adopted by the military solution. Historical documents record that it is the Tamil leadership to deliberately and consciously decided to go down the path of violence. That is the leadership provided by the ideology Tamil instigate the Tamil youth to take up arms. That is the leadership of the Tamil who financed the bullets, the guns, landmines, hand grenades, boats and all other firearms when the door is open to them to negotiate as the other two Tamil-speaking communities. That is the leadership of the Tamil who gave silent acquiescence in the killings of Tamil leaders.
Reneged on the national, regional and international agreements, which rejected all reasonable offers for reconciliation, even though the offer came with international guarantees, the Tamil leadership and their fellow travelers in academia, media, NGOs etc refused to accept political responsibility for the horrendous crimes committed in the name of the people in Tamil. Not surprisingly, the intellectuals, academics, NGO pundits made rationalizing their volumes dividing Tamil politics and justifying violence by blaming the Sinhalese.
Blaming the Sinhalese are the most common features of the Jaffna Tamil political culture. Jaffna-centric politics has thrived in targeting the Sinhalese. Ultimately it turned into a cult of hatred. The true expression of this anti-Sinhala politics is encapsulated in Resolution Vadukoddai. This is the most specific document to produce Jaffna determining their political goals, the violent approach and the cult of hatred. Made it a core ideology based not actually concocted history and geography.
A whole new industry grew round the ideological Vadukoddai Resolution. The pro-separatist seminars, lectures, researches, publications aimed at blaming only the Sinhala-Buddhists. The Vadukoddai ideology designed to justify the Jaffna Tamil leadership from all blame and any subsequent review of studies reveal that academics and public intellectuals are not deviated one inch from the fictions and laid down in Resolution Vadukoddai concoctions. In the end they blamed Prabhakaran also as a creation of the Sinhalese. If Prabhakaran is a creation of the Sinhalese his bullets should be directed only to the Sinhalese. But why did he turn his gun first at the father of Tamil Vadukoddai Resolution that endorsed violence? Is the Sinhalese teach him to target the entire Tamil leadership? If, as claimed, he came of Sinhala violence, why is he targeting innocent Muslims? What they have done to him? Why did he pluck the children in Tamil from Tamil breasts of mothers? It was the Sinhalese who prompted him to commit crimes against humanity?
Sinhala-Buddhists demonizing is a necessary strategy to justify Tamil violence and the needs of extremist. The root of the Tamil violence and the needs of extremist ideology Vadukoddai this is where specified and laid the road map to Eelam which, contrary to their expectations, completed in Nandikadal.
The Vadukoddai Resolution made the Vadukoddai War which lasted 33 years and four days. It has a definite beginning (May 14, 1976) and it has a definite conclusion on May 18, 2009. I consider it as an ongoing war and not as four Eelam Wars. The fact that Vadukoddai see-sawed in the War between the low-intensity and high-intensity phases does not add up to four war. This is just one ongoing war led by the war-mongers Jaffna specifically declared war on the rest of the country Vadukoddai Resolution.
This Commission and the major countries are now committed to working out the modalities for reconciliation. There are many roads to reconciliation, up from state initiatives in organized activities at grass root level. Reconciliation is not one-way traffic. It takes two came into conflict. Reconciliation, it must be mentioned, is a process that begins in the mind. Leading down the mental barriers, misperceptions, prejudices and fear-mongering some of the essentials needed to bring about reconciliation. More importantly, no reconciliation is possible if the ideology that led to the War Vadukoddai is left unchallenged.
Vadukoddai Resolution is not intended for reconciliation. It is intended to demonize the Sinhalese, they rewrite history to fit the purpose of Jaffna-centric politics and whip up anti-Sinhala sentiments Vadukoddai violence to keep the boiling point. In fact, when the Tamil separatists decided to go down the path laid down in Resolution Vadukoddai they opened two fronts: 1. The military front in the soil where the Tamil youth took up arms as stipulated in the Vadukoddai Resolution and 2. the ideological front where justified and fueled Vadukoddai War for 33 years. We won the war on the ground. But we have yet to win the second front – the ideological front which was heavily defeated by the military as before.
The Vadukoddai ideology hangs like a sword of Damocles over the heads of the country. The Tamil diaspora is primarily driven by Vadukoddai ideology. That is their one and only reference point. The Interim Government of Tamil Eelam Transnational is designed to achieve the objectives of Resolution Vadukoddai. Although the Tamil Tigers – the misled children Vadukoddai Resolution – is dead ideology is still alive.
Resistance to the ideology that it is a sine qua non for countries to move towards reconciliation. The main task of the second front, where the government has not been opened in any effective way, is to abolish the political topics and fictions woven round Vadukoddai Resolution. No amount of legislation can win this ideological battle. It’s going to be a battle for hearts and minds of people. Reconciliation is only possible when the mind is liberated from the subject of divisive and violent politics embedded in the Vadukoddai Resolution. The removal of the Tamil Tiger terrorists from the political equation helps. But the ideology that fired them to continue to linger on in various shades and manifestations.
This is why the ideological battle has to be taken seriously and fought relentlessly as the recently concluded war on the ground. The common thrust of anti-Sinhala ideology was based on allegations of discrimination against Tamils. Besides the concocted historical and geographical fictions, Jaffna-centric politics has always been accused what they called “Sinhala state” in the areas of discrimination. This is the rationale which took Jaffna-centric politics of violence. This accusation has been accepted uncritically by various pundits who found it very useful to toe the line.
It has become an integral part of conventional wisdom that hardly anyone dares to challenge it. I do not have time to cover all the issues of discrimination raised by Jaffna Tamil lobby. But let me deal with the main charge based on the Sinhala Only Act. As a result of massive brainwashing the world will know it as a symbol of discrimination against the Tamil-speaking people. But the other two Tamil-speaking communities – the Muslims and the Indians – is not consider it as an issue which could take up arms or demand a separate state. What should be mentioned that all issues of discrimination are raised and pursued relentlessly, ending up with the War in Vadukoddai, only by Jaffna Tamils. Almost every one of the issues of discrimination raised by the Jaffna Tamil political caste / class – except for the issue of citizenship of the Indians – has nothing to do with the other two Tamil-speaking community. This is one reason why the issue of discrimination that is so hollow. If two out of three Tamil-speaking community always pursued a political program of peaceful co-existence while having their rights through non-violent politics what is the justification of the Jaffna political caste / class to go all the way from Vadukoddai to Nandikadal?
Take the example of Sinhala only Act that were mentioned as the mother of all evil in Sri Lankan politics. It is not only the Jaffna Tamils ??but the whole Westernized, English-educated ruling class of all communities, including the Sinhalese, who rebelled against it. Although the language of the Tamils ??issue was confined essentially to the English-educated professionals, especially those in public service. The majority of the Tamils ??who lived in the Sinhalese have no problem with Sinhala as the language of commerce. When I grow my barber, my corner grocer store, my people thosai boutique, my rickshaw man took me to school, botal karaya, – you name it – all
Tamils ??and they have no problem with the Sinhalese. My mother shopped for her jewelry on Sea Street is no problem with bargaining in Tamil jewelers in Sinhalese. In fact, this is a problem confined only 6% of the English educated elite who resented and resisted their power and privileges taken away by enthroning the language of most people. They Hooked on retaining the colonial privileges which are going to 94% of people to communicate in the language of their elected government in the mother tongue. Which democratic, or even dictatorship, continue to unfair practice of running a government in a foreign language? France is run in English? England provided the Welsh? China is run in Japan? Why is it right for all other countries to run their government in the language of most but not Sri Lanka?
But let me hasten to add that the Tamils ??also have the right to communicate with their elected governments in their mother tongue. And provision is made for it by SW In RD Bandaranaike, the largest liberal Sinhala leaders who demonized the Tamil lobby as the sole author who deprived them of their rights. Bandaranaike will not overthrow the Tamil language. The dethroned him only English. Its mission is to correcting the imbalances left by centuries of colonialism. The pendulum swung in the West under colonialism is swinging in the East in all ex-colonies. One of the first human rights are managed in their own language.
When Sinhala only act was passed Chelvanayakam went from kachcheri kachcheri urging Tamil public servants do not know Sinhala. This is typical of the narrow-minded, divisive politics of Jaffna-centric politics that took it late in Nandikadal. It is the duty of all public servants to serve the public and it is the duty of all public servants to deliver 75% of the population in Sinhala. Chelvanayakam and the English-educated ruling class does not want to change the colonial practices. They are for retaining the status quo. In other words, you Chelvanayakam public to learn the language of public servants rather than public servants to study the language of the public. How fair it public? In fairness to Bandaranaike, it must be noted that he made it compulsory for public servants burgher Sinhala and Tamil to learn and even provided free classes in the department for public servants to learn the language of the public. That is the policy of this administration and democratizing the administration publicly accessible without any barriers of language that is vilified as a racist act by “Sinhala state” against the Tamils.
Let us also not forget that it is Sinhala youth took up arms first to yell discrimination. They too raised the issue of language but on the basis of a class. They said that English is the language of the ruling class who declined the opportunity to lower class. The Jaffna Tamils ??took the same issue on an ethnic basis and accused the Sinhalese pursuing racist politics. Although the late Marxist leader came to the conclusion that it is a class issue and not an ethnic issue. And despite all the allegations of discrimination in a base language of the country is still run in English. The judiciary, the executive and the legislature is ruled by and large in English. Although the bulk of the evidence recorded in the commission that it is in English. So where is the discrimination if all three languages ??are used in operations management today?
Let me highlight some key aspects to debunk this myth of discrimination. There are 192 members of the distinguished flying UN flags. Flags of all this is only the flag of Sri Lankan Tamils ??gave a place of respect, dignity and honor. The flag is the highest symbol of any country. When the President salutes the national flag as he salutes the Tamils ??and Muslims also. So with “the Sinhala state” excluded the Tamils ??and gave them a lower status nationally or internationally? Take the case of money – another symbol of national recognition. Remember every penny because it gives Tamil recognition as an equal partner. So where is this discrimination? This place of honor is not there for Tamils ??even in India – the ONLY homeland of Tamils.
In what way the unique symbol of the Tamils ??are denied their rights, their culture, their identity? On the contrary, in developing countries is not “successive” Sinhala government “put minorities on equal footing to every critical level? This is confirmed by the fact that two Tamil-speaking community has refused to join the Jaffna Tamils ??in their violent campaign against Sri Lanka. They had no reason to join hands because the issues of discrimination and other allegations are not valid. If the allegations of discrimination and oppression of minorities is valid it will be felt across the board with the minorities. But it is not. They all spoke in Tamil language, all of them are faced with the same majority Sinhala and they live in the same political space. Their refusal to join hands with the Tamils ??in Jaffna that the allegations of discrimination and oppression conclusively refutes the allegations of the Jaffna Tamils ??concocted.
As a result of distorted ideologies political culture of peninsular country was put through the most traumatic period in its history. The Jaffna Tamil political parties have survived past the culture of blaming the Sinhalese. If they are to learn from the history of one outstanding lesson that they must accept that there is no future in ideologically wild past. They pushed their mono-ethnic politics in the extreme and they are gone. Now is their task to re-think their place in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious state.
But to summarize, their mono-ethnic politics of extremism does not expire as long as their second front – the ideological front – is left wide open. Reconciliation can be built only by abandoning the Vadukoddai ideology which has no future. Those still are committed to the ideology that is not grasped the geo-political facts that went against Vadukoddai ideology. The Tamil leaders are aware that the international community is against a separate state but they said that the Tamil people. They kept the illusion of the Eelam alive for their own self-interest without any consideration for the suffering of people in Tamil.
Let us not forget that all this is the Jaffna Tamil people who suffered most. The Jaffna Tamil leadership should apologize to their knees in Jaffna people for leading them to Nandikadal. Jaffna deserves a more enlightened leadership that can save them from going to the same old route from Vadukoddai to Nandikadal on. Blaming the Sinhalese are not going to pay them any dividends any more. They should be responsible for manufacturing the Vadukoddai ideology that took them nowhere. No one asked them to pass the Vadukoddai Resolution. They did it themselves. No one asked them to drag the people of Tamil, using it as a human shield, to Nandikadal. They alone must take full responsibility for what happened to the Tamil people. They should not only apologize but promised their people not to take them down the path to another Nandikadal.

Categories
Domestic

Zardari, MR agree to enhance economic, defence cooperation

Pakistan and Sri Lanka yesterday agreed to work towards enhancing economic and defence cooperation.

Diplomatic and government sources told The Island, that the decision had been taken during one-to one talks between the visiting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo.

They said that Zardari’s four-day state visit, which commenced on Saturday, was aimed at further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries which dated back to Buddhist civilisation.

Sources said that regional peace, stability, money laundering and the fight against militancy had also figured in the discussions between the two leaders.

“The other areas agreed on were connectivity and cultural exchanges. Tourist,educational, technology and media sector exchanges were also discussed. The Pakistan Presidents visit is part of a long tradition of high-level contacts between the two countries,” sources said.

Pakistani diplomatic sources said that Pakistan had stood by Sri Lanka in good and bad times and expected the same solidarity with Pakistan now.

“The security situation in Sri Lanka was never an issue for us to do business or visit there. We expect the same solidarity now. The situation in Pakistan is not so bad as it is made out to be by some media groups with vested interests,” they said.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L.Peiris, asked to comment on his discussions with Zardari on the question of regional peace stability and the fight against militancy, told The Island that no country could act in isolation and that SAARC had to adopt a joint approach on the issue.

Money laundering, he said, was an equally serious problem that had to be tackled together as it was fast spreading its tentacles.

Prof. Peiris said: “The important thing is that violence is behind us and there is a huge scope for economic and social development. We discussed political, economic, social and cultural cooperation. Broad agreement was reached on enhanced bilateral trade in tea, sugar, betel leaves, edible oils etc. President Zadari will have a meeting the Sri Lankan Chambers of Commerce tomorrow, where the specifics will be gone into.”

Sri Lanka-Pakistan bilateral trade has increased from US$ 150 million to around US$ 350 million since the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2002 became operational in 2005. The two countries are also exploring the possibility of establishing an Investment Bank.