Opinion Article

Knowing folly

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 March 2009, 02:12 GMT]
The pleading tone of the US Ambassador in Colombo, Robert Blake, even in selling what is already existing or is in proposal, last Friday, show the mood of Sinhala chauvinism in the South, living in the euphoria of ‘victory’ and delusions of ‘post-LTTE’ politics, writes Opinion Columnist Chivanadi. “A striking note of the ambassador’s speech was the importance he gave to the electoral process in ending the conflict.” It is ‘knowing folly’ of Mr. Blake to paint a picture of hope on the end of conflict through electoral process in Sri Lanka, after weakening the Tamil fighting force, he says.

The US Ambassador Robert Blake is once again at one of his political pranks.

Speaking to the youth of Colombo at Hotel Taj Samudra, organized by Kumar Rupesinghe, last Friday, he said holding elections to the Provincial Council of the North, full implementation of the 13th Amendment and APRC deliberations are steps to end the conflict in the island of Sri Lanka.

Robert Orris Blake, Jr.
Robert Orris Blake, Jr.
The US Ambassador’s pleading tone, even in selling what is already existing or is in proposal, show the mood of Sinhala chauvinism in the South, living in the euphoria of ‘victory’ and delusions of ‘post-LTTE’ politics.

The mood is that the ‘defeated’ Tamils have to accept whatever ‘magnanimous’ Sinhalese concede and Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only person who can provide a space for the dialogue between the victorious and the vanquished.

This dialogue is obviously going to be a monologue. Even a staunch opponent of the LTTE will find it difficult to speak on the democratically righteous national aspirations the Tamils have in their heart.

As the totalitarian Sinhala polity disguised in ‘democracy’ - and for these very attributes seen as a convenient model by the imperialist abettors - shows semblances of success in absorbing, intimidating or liquidating all local dissent, the worry now is only about the diaspora.

The US ambassador repeatedly cautions Colombo on this phenomenon and he didn’t fail to reiterate it on Friday, saying that the Tamil diaspora will fund LTTE’s ‘sleeping cells’.

A striking note of the ambassador’s speech was the importance he gave to the electoral process in ending the conflict. He attributed significance to the Provincial Council elections in the North.

A shallow argument one often hears harping on the electoral process of Sri Lanka is that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government is an elected government and it has every right to do whatever it is doing, and this government has to be protected for the sake of ‘democracy’.

But one cannot take Mr. Blake for a novice to the realities of Sri Lanka’s electoral politics.

In fact, electoral politics and ethnic crisis in the island have started together and are intertwined.

The political struggle of Tamil ethnicity in the island started when Colombo Tamils, migrants from North and East but champions of a united Ceylon, were denied of representation in the 1920s, under William Manning Constitution.

The next electoral process that saw universal adult suffrage under the Donoughmore Constitution of 1931and the resultant first State Council was boycotted by Tamils of the North and East. The Tamil resentment was justified when the State Council in 1936, despite Tamil participation, formed an All Sinhalese Cabinet.

The first government of independent Ceylon, ‘democratically’ elected under the Soulbury Constitution, ‘democratically’ disenfranchised the Tamils of Indian Origin who at that time were more in number than the Eezham Tamils of North and East.

It was the electoral greed of SWRD Bandaranayake that made him to ‘democratically’ enact the Sinhala Only Law, the direct precursor of all the evils that followed.

With overwhelming ‘democracy’ of two third majority, Mrs. Srimao Bandaranayake brought in the 1972 constitution that striped all minority safeguards and declared Sri Lanka a Sinhala – Buddhist country.

These are all old history, said again and again.

But the most important point is that all the said anti-democratic acts were perpetrated through ‘democratic’ electoral processes.

It is also extremely important to note that whatever cosmetic changes took place such as, equal right to Tamil as official language, citizenship to remaining Indian Tamils after a major part of them got repatriated, District Councils and later the Provincial Councils – all came only after the rise of Tamil militant struggle.

It is a ‘knowing folly’ of Mr. Blake to paint a picture of hope on the end of conflict through electoral process in Sri Lanka, after weakening the Tamil fighting force.

The cancerous element in the electoral politics of Sri Lanka is such that even a full-fledged federal solution will succumb to the evils of the tyranny of this ethnic majority.

Under given circumstances of the island, electoral process and democracy can be meaningful and will lead to further social progress and equal development, horizontally and vertically, only after partition on ethnic grounds.

Ethnic reconciliation and even meaningful unification too may become possible in less time than anticipated, if such a process of ‘separation for unity’ could be conceived.

The writer doesn’t think Mr. Blake is unaware of the realities.

But, imperialism has its own ways. Yet it can choose in pinning its stakes: whether the shortcut and brutal way of exploiting a single Sri Lanka of perpetual chaos or the long-lasting civilized way of invoking mutual development with two potential and democratic countries in the island that will be free to think of development.


External Links:
US Embassy: From Gandhi and Martin Luther King to Obama: New Challenges and Threats

 

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