Feature Article

Facing offensive presidential election with self-respect

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 December 2009, 23:04 GMT]
The Tamil parties thinking of fielding a common candidate should rise above outside diktats, should do justice to the Tamil cause at this formative stage of new Tamil polity and should come out with an election agenda that doesn’t harm the cause of Tamils in the long run. Any mistake made now will be irreversible, writes TamilNet political commentator in Colombo.

Full text of the article from the political commentator:

For the first time in the history of the island of Sri Lanka, an election is taking place not to vote for a president but to choose which outside power should be the master of the island.

The powers may look ‘democratic’ in settling their scores, but many fear that this is going to be only a onetime democracy.

The war has imperceptibly eroded the independence and sovereignty of the Sinhalese too.

According to many observers, apart from the age-old folly of the Sinhala polity in not sharing sovereignty with Eezham Tamils, the current political plight of the island has been largely brought in by India.

Whether the hijack of Tamil militancy in the 80s, deceit of an accord, savage mission of the IPKF, abetment to genocide or ‘great friendship’ shown to Colombo government, India on one hand lost all trust with Tamils and on the other hand created a Frankenstein monster to the Sinhalese.

A widely prevalent opinion is that as long as the Indian Establishment, especially the Congress Establishment has any say, the national question in the island cannot find a righteous or logical solution.

When what was needed the most for the Indian Establishment was a course correction, Karunanidhi who could have done it opted for collaboration.

Sarath Fonseka
General (retd) Sarath Fonseka
In an editorial Tuesday, The Hindu, one of the architects of New Delhi-Chennai-Colombo nexus, was wailing for opposition parties in the island opting for the candidature of Sarath Fonseka, who believes the island belongs to the Sinhalese, wants to have a re-look on India’s pet 13th Amendment, expressed plans to increase the strength of Army by 50 percent and who called Tamil Nadu political leaders as a bunch of jokers.

In the opinion of The Hindu, the opposition in the island is courting “humiliation and possibly trouble.”

This was the line of writing by many not-so-sophisticated cronies of the nexus too.

However, many independent observers in the island believe that US is now backing the candidature of Fonseka and this line of the US and the opposition parties in the island became inevitable mainly because of India’s refusal to course correction and continued buttressing of the Rajapaksa regime for its own plunder of the island.

Diplomatic circles that talk about India rejecting a US proposal to stop the war in Vanni, point out to a nuanced warning made by Admiral Timothy on his visit to New Delhi on 14 May, but India’s continued bigotry in supporting Rajapaksa regime along with China in the human rights council. They also accuse India for sitting on any international remedy to post war situation.

Both India and the US have embarked upon a dangerous and anti-people experiment in South Asia from Afghanistan to the island of Sri Lanka. Encouraged by the war in the island, while Obama is increasing the US troops in Afghanistan, India is engaged in large scale military operations affecting its own people in many of its states.

Perhaps this is going to be the last opportunity for the Sinhalese people to avert the catastrophe of the island totally falling a prey to the powers.

Mahinda Rajapaksa
Mahinda Rajapaksa
The way out is to see none of the two candidates, Rajapaksa or Fonseka getting the needed 50 percent in the elections. A clear message has to go to the powers from the people - Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all others of the island.

In this respect any vote cast for Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne is a slap on the face of those collectively ruined the island, is a vote for freedom of people from totalitarianism and is a vote for true reconciliation.

Dr Karunaratne may not come victorious as president, but the elite who can see what is happening, the working class and the silent masses filled with anger voting for him will save the island from any puppet dictator getting 50 percent and will also pave way for eventual emergence of much needed new polity.

While some Tamil circles say that Tamils should register their non-adherence to the Sri Lankan State and its constitution by boycotting the elections, some other Tamil circles feel that the elections should not be boycotted by Tamils for emotional reasons but using their intelligence they should field a common Tamil candidate to make Tamils to vote, to consolidate Tamil votes and to reduce the possibility of any of the candidates getting 50 percent.

Unfortunately, the power drama has not stopped with Sinhala political parties alone. Recently Tamils have witnessed such a drama being enacted to capture Tamil and Muslim political parties at Zurich.

Ultimately Tamils in the island today are left with a pathetic situation that none of their political parties hooked with the agendas of powers could open mouth with guts even to spell out full-fledged right to self-determination of Tamils.

While the word ‘self-determination’ has become a taboo for Douglas Devananda, the TNA has been ‘directed’ to permanently sabotage the liberation and self-respect of Tamil nation in the island by mutilating the concept into ‘internal self-determination.’

If one power is said to be blackmailing Tamil polity in the island to meddle with the right to self-determination of Tamils, another power is perceived by many as perverting the transnational efforts of the diaspora through revisionist tactics.

The long-affected Eezham Tamils could face any eventuality of this power-drama only when they build their polity with independence and will power, both in the island and in the diaspora.

Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne
Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne
An amazing irony of the decades-long Tamil struggle is that for the first time left-wing Sinhala political parties rallying behind Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne have come out with a better proposal to Tamils than what the Tamil parties in the island are able to spell out.

The Tamil parties thinking of fielding a common candidate should rise above outside diktats, should do justice to the Tamil cause at this formative stage of new Tamil polity and should come out with an election agenda that doesn’t harm the cause of Tamils in the long run. Any mistake made now will be irreversible.

An Eezham Tamil activist, agitated at the ways of the Tamil political parties in the island, was heard saying whether Tamils don’t have at least one appealing individual of integrity outside of these parties, who could boldly state the national cause of Tamils and stand for the elections.

If the Tamil political parties are unable to think of creative themes not betraying the national liberation struggle, or if they can’t find an appealing Tamil candidate to represent their cause, then it will be advisable for them to forge alliance with the left wing and support Dr. Karunaratne’s candidature in the presidential election. This will be a novel and revolutionary step, rather than playing the good old game of collaboration politics with oppressors that has brought in only disaster to Tamils in the past.

Such a step would at least keep the Tamil political parties on high moral ground to face the parliamentary elections later as truly independent politicians of Eezham Tamils.

Some Tamil circles are very ‘confident’ that Eezham Tamils will never vote for the left, even after being at the worst receiving end of India and the USA that are 'sponsoring' candidates over the dead bodies of Tamils, with full of promises for further genocide to come.

Sections of Tamil media in the West don’t want to consider the left even as an option, despite the left front conceding ‘nation, homeland and unadulterated self-determination’ to Tamils.

But no harm in trying the option to see whether the war has metamorphosed the Tamils to rise up to the occasion to give the right answer to the oppressors. Helpless Tamil politicians and media should try the option wholeheartedly. It is certainly better than some diaspora personalities flying to see the Rajapaksas to ‘bridge’ the gap between Tamils and Sinhalese.



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