Peace process faces difficult future - paper

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 September 2005, 10:13 GMT]
Reflecting growing anxieties amongst Sri Lanka’s Tamils in the wake of the Sinhala nationalist forces gathering behind Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, the Tamil Guardian newspaper warned this week that the peace process “will face an ever more uncompromising Sinhala bloc.” The island’s political developments, moreover, reflect the polarised sentiments amongst the island’s communities, the English-language paper’s editorial column argued.

The text of its editorial comment, titled “Mainstream Extremism” follows:

The stark polarisation amongst Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities is undoubtedly set to deepen further. The Sinhala right wing coalition that emerged this week behind Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse’s Presidential candidacy is not just a marriage of political convenience but an assertive statement of their shared vision of a future Sri Lanka – one in which the Sinhala-Buddhism is the prevailing order and the minorities know their place. Mr. Rajapakse is going to sign an agreement with the Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP), the third force in the Sinhala politics and another with the small, but important monks’ party, the Jeyatha Hela Urumaya. The text of the JVP deal makes grim reading for those concerned with promoting a peaceful solution to Sri Lanka’s protracted ethnic conflict. It is a comprehensive attack on the very foundations of the Norwegian peace process. Every concept around which dialogue has been proposed – joint aid mechanism, interim administration, etc – has been rejected. The ceasefire is criticised. Even Oslo’s invaluable role in stopping the bloodshed is denounced.

The most important aspect of these attitudes, as far as the Tamils are concerned, is that they are mainstream values in the south. The JVP has been described as ultra-nationalist, chauvinist and hardline. These characterisations are all true. But what does it say about Sri Lanka’s polity that one of the two main candidates for the most powerful office in the country is basing his election platform almost wholly on these principles? The twelve points spelled out in the JVP text are described as ‘conditions’ which Mr. Rajapakse must accept for the party’s support. But the Tamil perspective on this is quite different. It is a joint statement of shared values, rather than imposed conditions.

Mr. Rajapakse’s archrival, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, is perceived by many observers as the more liberal. But the Tamils have noted his ready resort to nationalist positions more than once. Even this week, in a feeble effort to vie for the nationalist vote, Mr. Wickremesinghe vowed to usher in a ‘Prarakaramabahu’ era if he wins. His invocation of the name of a Sinhala king credited in mythology with unifying the country - by the sword – is unlikely to endear him to the non-Sinhalese.

The past few years of comparatively stable - at least in the south - peace and international engagement have not invoked a spirit of compromise in the Sinhala polity. On the contrary, mindsets have not changed at all. The unkind and unwarranted criticism levelled at Norway is a case in point. The Tamils are grateful for Norway’s diplomatic intervention, not because of any latent bias, but because it was a sincere effort to end the war. But what is important to the Sinhala polity is not the lives saved or the peace that prevails because of Norway’s intervention, but a misperceived affront to an even more misguided notion of national sovereignty. ‘Impartiality’ in southern lexicon – unfortunately for Norway - means hostility to the Tamil struggle. We note, with some interest, that not once has Mr. Wickremesinghe risen to defend the Norwegians’ indefatigable efforts against the JVP’s bile.

What is clear to Sri Lanka’s minority communities is that in the coming years we will face an ever more uncompromising Sinhala nationalist bloc with a firm grasp on power. So will the international community. Those still optimistic about a liberal peace in a united Sri Lanka need to seriously reconsider the viability of their vision. Three decades of violence have not dulled Sinhala nationalist aspirations, nor have four years of peace and increasing enmeshment in the threads of globalisation. On the other hand, these - and a half-century of increasing Sinhala oppression - have concretised a Tamil national consciousness. It is these polarised sentiments that are playing out in the political developments today.


External Links:
TG: Mainstream extremism

 

Latest 15 Reports
19.04.18 21:15   Photo
JUSU urges Tamils to mark Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance in its true spirit of uprising
18.04.18 23:03  
Cooray emerges as broker of civil contracts to occupying Sinhala military in North
17.04.18 23:31  
SL Resettlement Ministry twists figures on lands seized by Sinhala military in North
16.04.18 20:02  
Mano Ganesan challenged in Jaffna, politician complains of threat
15.04.18 10:13  
7 DS officials under pressure to collaborate with Sinhala colonisation schemes in Batticaloa
14.04.18 23:19  
Colombo schemes new type of subservient CSD colonies in Jaffna diverting foreign aid
13.04.18 23:18   Photo
SL military brings back paramilitary violence to control peaceful protests as NGO tricks fail
12.04.18 19:03  
SL Forest department blocks access to 300 acres of agricultural lands in Ampaa'rai
11.04.18 23:20  
Tamil political prisoner launches hunger-strike at Anuradhapura prison
10.04.18 18:19  
Genocidal Sri Lanka imposes forcible military training for CSD pre-school teachers
09.04.18 11:40   Photo
Fisheries society cautiously welcomes Court decision on fishing access to Naayaa'ru Tamils
08.04.18 23:28  
Militarisation of pre-schools akin to child soldiering: NPC Education Minister
07.04.18 21:34  
Muslim politicians block relocation of SL military base in Batticaloa
06.04.18 06:35   Photo
NPC finally awakens against SL Mahaweli Authority obstructing territorial integrity of Tamil homeland
05.04.18 16:46  
Vavuniyaa Judge warns SL Attorney General against delaying tactics on TPP cases
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=15853