Political chaos in Sri Lanka by V Gunaratnam

There are new imperatives driving Sri Lankan politics at this time, as it struggles to move the peace process forward and around the corner. But it is difficult to make out anything, because the political scene is like a huge iceberg: only the tip is visible but there is a lot going on below the surface. Let’s take a look and try to get some idea about the chaos going on below anyway.

Kumaratunga caught in economic downdraught

The Sri Lankan economic crisis has finally caught up with Kumaratunga’s political problems, putting her leadership and government in imminent danger of being reduced to a farcical political force, unless she buckles up and gets back on track with the peace process.

The economy hangs over her like a metaphorical anvil, threatening to come crashing down on her at any moment. Skyrocketing prices and widespread drought are playing havoc with people’s lives, but the government has virtually nothing to offer the farmers and homemakers reeling under the impact.

Suddenly the screws are tightening even more on the government with ‘big’ election promises to keep. The cash-strapped UPFA is hard pressed to do anything about the 70% salary increase promised to civil servants, and the pledge to train nearly 60,000 university graduates and school leavers, for jobs that don’t really exist.

Without question, the government is desperate for funds, but the $4.5 billion promised as foreign aid is not going to be unlocked by donors until Kumaratunga’s government commits to restarting the stalled peace talks, and puts out a sound economic plan that somehow escapes being mangled by the JVP.

Kumaratunga’s recent eureka-like cry that she “see the light at the end of the tunnel” was nothing more than a mirage of shiny American dollars. But it’s very unlikely she would be seeing the real thing until she starts dealing with the peace process in earnest.

As is typical of her, Kumaratunge no doubt has many other irons in the fire. There is too much more at stake for her to lose than the presidency when her term ends in 2005. She can no longer claim immunity from prosecution in the courts once she is out of the presidency. Knowing her penchant for doing unpredictable things, even playing with fire, anything could happen before she vacates office.

If Kumaratunga is to redeem her presidency, even at this late stage she should get the peace jigsaw puzzle falling into place to get much needed aid flowing again. However, as time runs out on her, she seems more bent on extending her hold on power by whatever means necessary than taking care of the plight of her people.

But the writing is on the wall. Restart the peace process, get the vital aid to arrest the haemorrhaging economy, or risk plunging the country into political and economic chaos, civil strife, and even war.

CWC in another balancing act

The CWC in government is not uncharacteristic of the party, because they have always straddled the political divide very astutely out of sheer necessity, being a small fish in a big pond.

CWC leader, Thondaman, has a rich legacy of political wisdom to fall back on, the art of performing the balancing act in politics. The CWC has played a significant stabilizing role in Sri Lankan politics for decades. But this time round they might also be required to play another role, as an agent of change.

Kumaratunga wants the CWC to butt heads with the JVP, and stand up to them, because the CWC is not tied down like a coalition partner. No sooner they were in cabinet, they fired off their first salvo at the JVP. But Kumaratunga also sees them as a very useful political lifeline to Ranil, should the JVP’s tantrums start rocking the boat. This way she keeps all her options open.

Ranil sees the CWC as their Trojan horse within the UPFA, to pave the way for a possible return to power at some opportune time. While Kumaratunga knows this risk, she has no choice but to use the CWC to get a majority government and do her ‘deeds’ in parliament before being thrown out of power or the presidency.

Perhaps India also has a hand in this. By gently persuading Thondaman to shore up Kumaratunga’s shaky minority government, they might be trying to get the peace talks going again without actually playing their own hand until some strategic later time.

The Indians could also be fishing in troubled waters to get a stranglehold on the Sri Lanka economy. And that fear has already been raised publicly in Colombo. The Sri Lanka government should not be mistaken about what the driving force is behind India’s policies towards it.

Whatever got the CWC into government, it gives them the chance to promote their own political and economic interests, and at the same time help the peace process along by shrewdly exploiting their unique relationship with Kumaratunga and Ranil.

Watch out for more developments!

JVP’s malignancy grows

The JVP has been driving Kumaratunga bonkers ever since the UPFA government was formed. At one point Kumaratunga must have muttered “…my god, are these fellows on our side or what?”.

The JVP for its part has been digging its own grave, acting like a bull in a china shop, trying to wreck everything from the peace talks to IMF loans. They are so consumed by their self-importance and power that they have lost control, pushing too hard to get their way, and taking swipes at Kumaratunga in public.

Finally, Kumaratunga had had enough of the stuff from her Marxist comrades, and decided to show them who was boss. She abruptly vacated her position as head of the coalition and made herself free to knock them about from the high perch of the presidency, and that’s working.

On the economic front, the JVP exposed its Marxist pedigree, and ignorance of international finance when they tried to lay down the law to lenders like the IMF, who were being badgered by Kumaratunga for loans. It was a most disturbing sign to the international crowd of what could happen to their hard currency loans if the JVP’s voodoo economic theories were to hold sway within the UPFA government.

But the JVP’s antics probably won’t shake Kumaratunga’s resolve to do what she wants to do, by invoking the enormous powers of the presidency. In the end it is very likely the JVP would buckle under her pressure. But neither side would like to overplay its hand and precipitate a crisis, unless it becomes inevitable.

The JVP’s position could, however, become untenable if the peace process gets underway. A lot would depend on Ranil. If he decides to play ball with Kumaratunga – a big ‘if’, the JVP could take to the streets in a battle to protect their own political future and credibility.

Ranil’s waiting game

Ranil is well known for playing the waiting game in politics. That’s what he did most of the time from 2001, when the UNF came into power, until Kumaratunga outmaneuvered and drove him out of power, while he waited and waited to strike at her. We know that he banked on being propelled to the presidency.

He probably reckoned that once he became president everything could be righted in the country. But he lost two straight times to Kumaratunga waiting for that to happen, and there is nothing to indicate he will be elected the next time, because his years of indecision and political miscalculations have completely changed the balance of power in Sri Lankan politics, to the detriment of both the major parties.

The opposition portrayed him as being soft on the LTTE and that worked very well for them at the last general election in 2004. The JVP more than doubled its strength in parliament; and the JHU captured a handful of seats, but enough to throw its weight about in parliament.

It signalled a paradigm shift in political power to the extremists, and that’s not a good thing for either Kumaratunga or Ranil. The extremists hold more than 20% of the seats, and threaten to be a disruptive force in parliament, but more troubling is the thought that their influence over the electorate could prove decisive in electing the next president.

If Ranil is to get anywhere, he has to stop dreaming about the presidency and start working to win it first, or better still, worm his way into power before that, by demonstrating political courage, and an urgency which had been lacking before.  To Ranil’s credit, he has shown some consistency and integrity in his approach to the peace process, and with his party’s liberal economic policies, he represents a solid alternative to the UPFA.

For now the UNF in opposition is still a formidable force, and with some realignment of the parties, Ranil is well poised to grab back power should Kumaratunga ever slip up. But he has to constantly work to get there, without waiting for it to fall into his lap.

Gandhi’s India

India is like a lumbering giant that moves ever so slowly to get things going. Up to now they have done sweet nothing to advance the peace process in Sri Lanka one bit, despite appeals from both sides.

They never relished their peacekeeping mission to Sri Lanka during 1987-1990 when their jawans did all the dirty work for Sri Lanka, before things went wrong, and they had to leave under a cloud of shame.

They came to intervene in Sri Lanka on humanitarian grounds, but when they went beyond their mandate and tried to subdue the Tigers, the mission failed. With that, India lost credibility and a golden opportunity to bring a swift end to the conflict, create a permanent peace, and get self-rule for the Tamils.

India has no history of having tried to impose their will on others with military force. They had bitter wars against China in 1962, Pakistan in 1965 and helped East Pakistan to become a free Bangladesh in 1971, but beyond that there are only the ongoing conflict in Kashmir and the confrontation with the Sikhs from 1973. There was a rationale for their actions in all these cases, which reasonable people understood well.

India does not have any good reason for going into Sri Lanka and helping to crush the Tamils. There are no real or justifiable political or historical reasons for that. Compared to their huge states, the Sri Lankan Tamils constitute only a tiny political entity, still struggling to win equality. There is no parallel, rationale, logic or threat, for India to be involved in Sri Lanka except to put their foot down and get the Sri Lankan government to do the right thing by the Tamils.

India can no longer stand by and allow Sri Lanka to kill its own citizens, Hindus with close religious, cultural and historic affinities to them. It’s about time they called Sri Lanka to account and brought 50 years of discrimination, death and destruction to an end. Lest Sri Lanka forget India’s heritage, let them be clear about one thing.

Gandhi’s India will never stoop to help Sri Lanka subjugate the Tamils or deny them their legitimate rights!

 

A Second Look at US Assistance to Lanka Against ‘Terrorism’

Sinhala Buddhist nationalists do not count their blessings. They keep complaining that the world is not helping them in any concrete way to crush the LTTE. One of them recently asked the US, “Where’s the beef?” (Though it is unbecoming of a Sinhala Buddhist nationalist to ask for beef even metaphorically, the perceptive writer makes a well-reasoned, cogent argument for bringing about a happy confluence of American and Sri Lankan strategic interests against the LTTE.)

We often read articulate Sinhala Buddhist patriots who urge the US to match its words with deeds against the Tigers. That the world’s sole super power is not bringing down its mailed fist hard on the LTTE’s head irks some of them. America is hence scolded for its alleged double standard on the war on terrorism.                                                                              Cofer Black

Sinhala Buddhist nationalists should pause to study what the US has actually done to help them fight the LTTE and how US strategic interests in Sri Lanka are decidedly against Tamil aspirations, before they gripe further about the US not providing them “the beef”.

The reaction of the Tamil National Alliance to the comments of Ambassador Cofer Black, the senior US Counter Terrorism official who visited Colombo recently, should make it amply clear to all that the Americans are solidly and sincerely behind Sinhala nationalists in their quest to wipe out the LTTE from the face of the earth and to eventually preserve Sri Lanka’s sacred unitary character.

And in the past, just one instance would suffice to demonstrate the US military’s commitment to tilt the island’s strategic balance in favour of the Sri Lankan state. Well-informed politicians, academics and opinion makers in the south continue to believe that the Tigers came for talks because successful operations by the Sri Lanka Army’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP) scared the wits out of them. The only way the LTTE could stop the LRRP danger was to sue for peace, according those who subscribe to this line of thinking. In this sense LRRP operations achieved what the massive Op. Riviresa, Op. Jaya Sikurui and Op. Agni Khiela could not do, they say.

But how many Sinhala nationalists, who grumble that the US is not doing enough to bash the LTTE, know about the US Special Forces’ role in training the LRRP teams that penetrated deep into the Vanni and killed very senior Tigers?

One could list many other instances where Special Forces, Navy Seals and other elite arms of the US Army helped the Sri Lanka Army improve its fighting and planning capabilities immensely during the height of the war from May 1997 to April 2002.

But let us look at what the US is currently doing to stabilise the Sri Lankan state.

The Tokyo Declaration by donor nations was primarily designed to use aid as a carrot to persuade/coerce the Sinhala polity to fundamentally restructure the unitary Sri Lankan state into a federal form of government.

The architects of the Tokyo Declaration, particularly some member countries of the European Union, appear to have assumed that squeezing the flow of aid could hit the Sinhala polity below the belt and thereby make it compromise the unitary state.

Today officials of some EU countries lament that the US has sent the wrong signals to the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) by announcing that it is eligible for the Millennium Account facility. The GOSL would no longer be under any strong pressure to restart negotiations with the LTTE, they say. US ally Japan and the Asian Development Bank have followed suit in removing the ‘coercive aid factor’ from Sri Lanka’s peace equation.

Therefore, given US commitment to keep the LTTE on the list of foreign terrorist groups and in the absence of the ‘coercive aid factor’ there is nothing today to compel the Sinhala polity to radically restructure the unitary Sri Lankan state.

Sinhala nationalists can now rest assured that they can totally trash the ISGA proposal and indefinitely postpone talks with the Tigers without having to fear any effective external coercion.

Of course, some EU countries and India appear to think that the US move to neutralise the ‘coercive aid factor’ would create conditions that can precipitate another war.

Also, the apprehensions of some Sinhala nationalists, when the US speaks of a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict along federal lines, are unfounded. Very obviously, the US strategic and political interests here are squarely behind the Sri Lankan state.

By keeping the LTTE on the Foreign Terrorist Groups (FTA) list and thereby insisting that it should give up violence as a means to achieving political ends in “word and deed”, the US has created a singular advantage for the GOSL. This advantage totally obviates the need for restructuring the Sri Lankan state as a federation. How?

On the one hand, let us assume that the LTTE, terrified by America’s might (!), agrees to give up violence in “word and deed”. Then the Tigers will have to accept Sri Lanka’s sovereignty in every part of the northeast and there won’t be any need at all for the GOSL to change the constitution. Perhaps the LTTE could stage a Satyagraha in Jaffna demanding federalism – provided they get permission from the Police!

On the other hand let us assume that the LTTE tells the world’s sole super power and its Sinhala nationalist allies to go fly a kite, then the GOSL would have full US backing to wage war on the Tigers if negotiations fail.

Either way there is absolutely no way that the US formula on the LTTE would permit a federal solution. The manner in which the US has formulated its stand on the LTTE is clearly designed to preserve the unitary Sinhala Buddhist state.

America, of course has to, as a matter of routine, pay lip service to a negotiated settlement. Sinhala nationalists should understand this when they lament that the US is talking about a negotiating a federal solution to the conflict.

This fact about the US approach to the conflict in Sri Lanka would become obvious to all as the days go by and as the peace process stagnates indefinitely.

In this context the desire to crush the LTTE militarily would inexorably come to the fore in the Sinhala polity. And then the strategic objectives of Sinhala Buddhist nationalists and the US may achieve a sweet confluence whether India likes it or not. And what of the Tigers? They are used to standing on their own feet.

Daily Mirror

SL Economy in Shambles by K.Mylvaganam

There is no doubt that the economic situation of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has never been as low as it is now. To add fuel to the fire, the soaring of petroleum prices is affecting the Sri Lankan economy very hard. The price of crude oil reached an all time high of £47.50 yesterday (21.08.04).

There are two main reasons for the rise in price. One is the increase in consumption of fuel by India and China, both of which contain almost 50% of the world population. According to the statistics available by both these governments China has increased its refining of crude oil by 40% and India by 17.23% during the last twelve months. The other reason for the price hike is the unwanted and uncalled for war in Iraq. The bursting of the oil supply pipes by the rebels and the threat to blow up more pipes have been conducive largely to this end. America also is now compelled to restrict its import crude oil for its consumption and the American economy is growing. There is a proposal for it to pump more oil from Alaska. It may be interesting for the reader to note for comparative reasons that America, which constitutes 4% of the world population consumes 25% of the world production of fuel.

America being a very rich country can afford to bear this increase in price, but the question is can Sri Lanka take up this burden without dire consequences. It is already suffering the effects of the war that has been going on for over two decades. It had only around 11,000 military personal when the war started in the early seventies. Now the figure has shot over 125,000, not including the reserve brigades. The heavy losses incurred when it lost the Mullaitivu, Mankulam and the Elephant Pass camps and the enormous cost of the planes destroyed at the Katunayake airport have already depleted its economy drastically. The mushrooming general elections have had their toll as well.

The peace agreement did throw some hope to build back its economy. But since the latest election that took place in April this year things have turned to the worst. Foreign investment is down, as investors are reluctant to bring their capital into the country fearing the possibility of the eruption of the war. Some of the foreign investors have started to pull out. The newly elected government does not have an absolute majority to conduct its business in parliament. It is prepared to tie a knot even with the devil to get the magical “operation 113” on its side in parliament. The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) was sitting on the fence and flashing both red and green lights to the government and has now joined the government “unconditionally,” but with 14 demands according to minister Sivalingam.. The Jathika Hela Urumaya is sending conditional signals and openly condemning the peace proposals. This fluid state of an unstable government does not give confidence to foreign investors. This is not at all favourable for the stock market, which has started to plunge downwards. The chamber of commerce and the industrialists are bringing pressure on the government to commence the peace talks.

It is alleged that the JVP is secretly or indirectly involved in sabotage actions in the country. One rumor has it that it was the JVP who instigated the strike among the employees of the petroleum corporation. This caused havoc and panic all over the country resulting in the petrol stations having long queues and running short of stocks.

The donor countries have stated categorically that the promised $4.5 million would be released only if there were to be steady progress and positive signals in the peace talks. The GOSL is hoping to bridge the deficit in its proposed budget from the above said aid. Since this aid is not forthcoming, the GOSL is making attempts to get India to grant a loan in advance against the said sum. India seems to have agreed to this to some extent, but on the condition that the loan will be utilised to settle the dues outstanding by the GOSL to the Indian oil company operating in Sri Lanka.

The rupee is losing its value against the U.S. dollar and UK sterling, which are fetching now over Rs.104.00 and Rs.186.00 respectively. The rupee even shot up to Rs.192.00 a few weeks back. During the first half of 2004 the rupee depreciated vis-à-vis the US Dollar by 5.4%. The rupee continued to depreciate against other major currencies: 7% against UK Sterling, 2% against the Euro and 5% against the Indian rupee. The rate of inflation rose from 3.9% in June to 4.3%in July. By the end of the year inflation is expected to be around 6-7%.

The devaluation in the currency and the increase in oil prices are sky rocketing the prices of goods, including essential items. Petrol is sold now at Rs.62.00 per litre in Colombo and it is expected go up by another Rs.4.00 in the very near future. The private bus operators are demanding to increase their minimum rate by Re.1.00, i.e. from Rs.3.00 to 4.00. They have given the government an ultimatum to respond and have issued notice for an island-wide strike if their demand is not met. Several other general strikes are also round the corner.

It is reported that there was a drop in the income for the government by 11.41% during the first two months this year. This amounts to Rs.45.8 billion. Expenditure during the same period has gone up by 3.1%, which amounts to Rs.78.6 billion. The 75% salary increase that was promised to government servants will cost the government Rs.90 billion.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have warned about a big budget deficit. The budget is to be presented to the parliament in November. It is expected that the deficit may exceed 7.3% of the Gross National Product (GNP). The local representative of the World Bank, Mr.Peter Harold, has already warned the sad state of affairs in the Sri Lankan economy. It is feared the increase in the expenditure is going to force an increase in interest rates sooner or later. The president of the group of representatives from the IMF, Mr.Jahankeer Azeez, has warned that the IMF may freeze the lending if proper remedial measures are not taken soon.

Sri Lanka’s finance minister, Mr Sarath Amunugama, has accepted at a press conference that the government is facing a financial crisis. The foreign minister, Mr Kathirgamar, flew recently to Japan to plead with the Japanese government to make an advance payment on the proposed $4.5 billion aid pending the commencement of the peace talks. A similar request was made to the Indian government as well.

The severe drought experienced all over the island recently has compelled the government to import rice among other goods. The Iranamadu tank in Kilinochchi, for example, is almost dry and those who were late in sowing will be compelled to plough their crops under. The tea plantations are also affected by this drought and the workers are offered only three days work in a week. Hence a drop in the production of tea is anticipated.

Some Thoughts on Ethnic Reconciliation in Sri Lanka by M. Thiru

In the 1930’s though there were political differences between the Sinhalese and Tamil leaders, but there was no state terrorism on Tamils. There were no atrocities by the armed forces, no riots, no looting or arsons, no rape, no shelling or bombing of Tamil areas, Tamils were not displaced from their habitats, the temples and the churches were not destroyed, so of course there was no need for Tamil youths to carry arms. Yet at that time a sensible Sinhalese leader was talking about a non-unitary solution.

Between 1956 & now a lot has happened. Who will provide the security for the Tamils in the NorthEast where there is no normal life? Therefore an agreed upon, or negotiated, ISGA will be the starting point for reconciliation and trust building. That will pave the way for permanent peace.

Teaching the Tamils a lesson with state terrorism since 1958 has not worked to contain Tamil aspirations.  It has only made Tamil youths take to arms.

The war for peace did not work either since the IPKF’s time.  If the majority parties still want to continue to follow the old tricks, they might succeed in crushing the Tamils with foreign help but their beloved unitary state will also suffer immensely.

I suppose the majority race in general has not changed their mindset.  Their thinking is still that the Tamils can not be our equals, the Tamils are just a minority & must go along with what we decide.  The majority of Sinhalese will be very happy to see Tamils suppressed, even if they are not progressing well and the country as a whole going down the drain.

Successive Sri Lankan governments since 1948 have continued to survive with the help of India, the US, Pakistan, China, Israel, etc.  For the Sinhalese governments and party leaders these foreign countries are more trustworthy friends than the Tamils in their own country.  Why??

Because the Tamils are demanding equal status and powersharing within SL .  Tamil citizens are entitled to be equal with the Sinhalese by their birth.

Even after 1956, I have seen and heard people like Dr.N.M.Pereira, Dr.Colvin R de Silva, Dr.Bernard Souza, Vivien Gunawardene, Osman Wjeyaratne, Karalasingam from the LSSP, Peter Keuneman, and V.Ponnampalam from the Communist Party – all of them coming to my constituency in Jaffna district in support of their candidates and campaigning for parity of status for Tamils with the Sinhalese. They further advocated that parity is better than a federal state. I had not yet reached voting age. The LSSP candidate got more than 40% of the votes. Subsequently, a few years later I voted for Barrister Karalasingham, though he was operating from Colombo and could not speak Tamil well.

But what happened in 1972 when Colvin R de Silva had the opportunity to practice what he preached ??? Mind you, I also attended as a spectator the royal welcome the Federal Party gave to the old fox JRJayawardene from Kankesanthurai to Jaffna Town. I saw the commotion from a distance when a poor, self-respecting Tamil youth, who remembered JR’s 1957 march to Kandy, gave a welcome greeting to JR with his Bata slippers. I was elated actually. JR deserved much harsher treatment than that for what he did in 1957 to the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact.

The LSSP was not against the Federal Party’s demands, but the LSSP was worried more about the whole of SL and the economic progress of the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and so on.. In other words about the progress of all SL citizens. Though I was a supporter of the LSSP & accepted their broader view, I was a sympathizer of the Federal Party because of the language issue, particularly after the BC Pact was aborted mainly because of JR. He was a fox who managed to find a permanent constituency in Colombo South and build again his empire when he was rejected by the majority in Kelaniya.

In 1961 as a student of 14 years I also participated in the Satyagraha in front of the Jaffna Kachcheri and witnessed state terrorism. The Federal Party leaders and the senior cadres really experienced the brutal force of the armed forces.

During the riots in the south in 1958 one of the 5 Sinhalese families living in my town was hidden in our place by my father until the police jeep came and took them to Jaffna town to send them back to Matara. I was standing in front of my house when three FP supporters came and asked me, “We are looking for the Piyadasa0 family, where are they?”

Though they were still in my house, I told them my father has sent them with the IP and they are no more here. They believed me and went away. My father never briefed me in advance. Yet I was able to understand what is right and what is wrong even at that age because of my upbringing. I was also able to identify the people who were responsible for breaking two bakeries in town and setting them on fire (there was no looting). As a government servant my father did his duty and got adequate compensation to the bakery owners when normalcy returned in SL. They started their bakeries again.

Prior to the Piyadasa incident, we heard that one of our close relatives who was the Manager of a cinema in Mt Lavinia in Colombo was burnt to death alive by placing a heavy stone in his chest, and pouring petrol on his body in front of his house. Opposite was a Sinhalese Police Officer’s house. My relative rushed his wife and mother-in-law into the police officer’s house and went back to lock his house gate. He was running back to the Police officer’s house and the mob caught him. Unfortunately the police officer was on duty somewhere else and the others could not help as the mob was so violent. There are good Sinhalese and there are bad Sinhalese. Same with the Tamils. But when it comes to collective issues, both Sinhalese and Tamils, we have had problems since Sir P.Arunachalam’s time. It has gotten worse since 1958 and reached the yield point in 1983.

All the above are real experiences. I left SL in 1975 for good. I was lucky I was not in SL in 1977 or 1983 and afterwards. Many of my close friends (from Jaffna as well as Batticaloa) and relatives who are innocent and do not belong to any political groups perished as victims of the riots or various forms of state terrorism.

Looking back, I am glad the younger generation prepared themselves to face venom with venom. I fully realised this in 1995 when I read how Chandrika changed after her election victory. The availability of more credible news on the Internet enlightened me further how dirty the SL leaders, the regional powers and international players are.

Can any Sinhalese leaders who is in power be trusted by the Tamils? History has not proved their trustworthiness in the affirmative. Maybe the answer lies in Mahavamsa which says that the Tamils are invaders, they do not have equal rights in SL and they cannot be trusted unless they are those like Kadigamar, Devanada or Karuna.

So who have been the saviors of Tamils since 1983??

The answer is obvious. They have to depend on themselves with a strong leader.

In my view ISGA is the last chance for Sinhalese leaders to become clean and trustworthy leaders and to go for an honourable settlement with Tamils which is long overdue since Sir P. Arunachalam’s time. My grandfather and father were ardent grassroot supporters of Sir P.Ramanathan’s family at that time. My father and grandfather brought us up with a social and political conscience and to be proud citizens of Ceylon. But 1972 made many of my friends and me to leave the country in anticipation of events that were to unfold against the Tamils starting with the 1977 riots.

Will the majority of the Sinhalese intelligentsia realise their mistakes and make structural changes to take the country forward??? or will they go along with the leaders of the JHU, JVP, UNP & SLFP to play the same game again and again??

I think the answer lies in the Tamil Proverb the late Rohana Vijayaweera, the JVP leader, quoted from the dock, after the 1971 insurgency was crushed:

Aneethikku Inru Maddum Vettri Aanal Neethikku Enrume Vetri. In English, “Victory for injustice is only for today, whereas Victory for JUSTICE is forever.”