FRIDAY FORUM presents Road Map for Sri Lanka to LLR Commission

Courtesy of, 1 October 2010 where readers will find a lively set of comments from a diverse spectrum of readers

 Dear Groundviews,

The following was submitted by the Friday Forum to the LLRC today by Mahen Dayanada, former Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Friday Forum Members who associated with the submisson are;

  1. Jayantha Dhanapala
  2. Most Rev. Bishop Duleep de Chickera
  3. Professor Arjuna Aluwihare
  4. Suriya Wickremasinghe
  5. Dr. A. C. Visvalingam
  6. Jezima Ismail
  7. Manouri Muttetuwegama
  8. Dr. Deepika Udagama
  9. Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran
  10. Dr. Camena Gunaratne
  11. Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne
  12. Sithie Tiruchelvam
  13. Ahilan Kadirgamar
  14. Lanka Nesiah
  15. Dr. Anura Ekanayake
  16. Dr. Nimal Sandaratne
  17. Prashan de Visser
  18. Mahen Dayananda
  19. Professor Gananath Obeysekera
  20. Professor Ranjini Obeysekera
  21. Suresh de Mel
  22. Ranjit Fernando
  23. J. C. Weliamuna
  24. Damaris Wickramasekera
  25. Shanthi Dias
  26. Chandra Jayaratne

With Warm Regards,

Chandra Jayaratne

The Friday Forum is an informal gathering of public spirited persons committed to contributing to the future development of Sri Lanka within a framework of democracy, pluralism and social justice. The Forum brings together a diversity of expertise and viewpoints reflecting its membership consisting of academics, various professionals, retired diplomats and civil servants, educationists, leaders of civil society organizations and leading personalities from the business sector. Furthermore, our membership reflects the diverse ethnic and religious composition of Sri Lankan society. The Forum meets regularly to discuss issues of public concern and to make interventions in the public interest.

The Forum wishes to place on record the following submissions forwarded to the LLRC for its consideration. The submissions are made in a constructive spirit. It is hoped that the Forum’s observations and views will be given due consideration by the LLRC in its deliberations and in the formulation of final recommendations.

Based on the knowledge and expertise of the Forum, its submissions are confined to the subject of promoting national unity and reconciliation.


1.1 At the outset the Friday Forum wishes to emphasize that the path to national unity and reconciliation lies in a process of sustained policies and sincere efforts for which leadership must be given by the State. Reconciliation cannot be achieved in a short period or through a few steps.

1.2 While the resettlement of the IDPs and economic development of the war-affected areas are essential steps in this process, those steps alone will not result in national unity and reconciliation. We wish to emphatically point out that efforts at reconciliation must be based within an overall framework of governance that helps build confidence among the various communities of the nation. If the overall nature of governance does not instill confidence, then whatever policies and efforts are put in place to achieve national cohesion and unity, they are bound to fail. Hence, strengthening of democratic governance, the Rule of Law and protection of human rights on the basis of equal rights should be essential goal posts on the path to reconciliation.

1.3 Democratic governance is essential to build confidence among minority communities. Confidence building is the key to reconciliation. Governance that flouts basic principles of democracy instills fear and uncertainty. Forging meaningful reconciliation in such a negative environment is an impossible task.


2.1 The past must be looked at not with a view to apportioning blame for the rise in ethnic tensions and violence, but to learn lessons so that we can build an ethos of saying
“never again”.

2.2 To view the genesis of the ethnic divide from a human rights perspective will help future efforts at reconciliation and in finding solutions. Positions tend to harden when the past is viewed purely from a political perspective.

2.3 The ethnic conflict/divide was brought about by a multitude of reasons –grievances based on violation of language rights, access to public employment, education and indeed a fair share of political power. Peaceful protests were met by violence, which in turn led to retaliation, thus giving birth to an ever intensifying spiral of violence in which original grievances often got overshadowed. The escalation of the ethnic conflict has given rise to demands by the Muslims and to increased apprehensions by Tamils of recent Indian origin as well.

2.4 In viewing the past, it is necessary to recognize that perceptions of discrimination have contributed to the ethnic divide just as much as proven discrimination. In a divided society, it is essential to address those negative perceptions as well.

2.5 While national unity may require the building of a common national identity for all, yet effective reconciliation among the various communities can be achieved only if there is recognition of the importance of different identities and the need to respect and protect those identities. A cohesive national identity could be wrought only through recognition and respect of diversity.

2.6 The failure to uphold Article 29.2 – the minorities protection clause – in the Soulbury Constitution and in particular the disenfranchisement of the Up-Country Tamils soon after independence was a major blow to minority rights. The political changes introduced since 1956 and the introduction of the ‘Sinhala Only’ policy polarised the country along linguistic lines. The failure to implement the Bandaranaike – Chelvanayagam Pact of 1958 and the Senanayake – Chelvanayagam Pact of 1965 were additional causes for loss of confidence in political engagement.

2.7 The adoption of the first republican Constitution offered a golden opportunity to construct an inclusive constitutional order. Unfortunately, the 1972 constitution with a Sinhala only policy, a unitary state structure, lack of protection for minorities and the alienation of the minorities exacerbated the division. The centralisation of state power under the executive presidency, entrenchment of the unitary structure and the undermining of possibility of a political solution through devolution brought about by the 1978 constitution further aggravated the situation.

2.8 Riots and violence, including those with state complicity in 1958, 1977 and 1983 and the burning of the Jaffna library in 1981 politically alienated the Tamil community in particular.

2.9 The inability of the South to put forward a political solution, and the irresponsible 1976 Vaddukottai resolution of the TULF calling for a separate state led to the further escalation of separatism.

2.10 While the genesis of the ethnic conflict can be traced to violation of group rights, the armed conflict in the north-east (pre and post 1983) gave rise to new types of human rights violations, mainly those pertaining to right to life, liberty and personal security. With the emergence of a national security state in Sri Lanka (some may argue that this actually happened with the declaration of emergency in 1971) life for many in the Tamil community were defined by the operation of emergency regulations and the PTA. So, for instance, movement, residence, where one worked and schooled, whether families could live together or not, were all determined, directly or indirectly, by the operation of those laws. In that backdrop citizens witnessed large scale human rights violations in the form of arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, involuntary disappearances and extra-judicial killings. Emergency powers and the PTA entrenched a strong culture of impunity.

2.11 The fact that violations also did occur in a most egregious manner in the south during the two JVP insurrections cannot be used as a defence. Violations of that magnitude are wrong wherever they occur. However, violations in the north-east had an additional sinister connotation—that it was not only the hunting down of “subversives”, but also the punishment of an entire community. Needless to say, the situation widened the ethnic divide and created an environment of mutual suspicion and the “demonization” of the other.

2.12 While the burning of the Jaffna Library is a cultural atrocity of the worst order, the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom left the most painful legacy. The personal pain of those survivors is very palpable. While it may appear that those who were affected have moved on, there is no doubt that the pain lingers on. Living through the reality of being persecuted and rejected with the connivance of one’s own state, simply for being who you are, is an experience that no citizen must undergo. Yet, today we do not even remember the anniversary of Black July.

2.13 That anniversary should be commemorated each year to say “never again”; to pledge to recognize the beautifully diverse mosaic that is Sri Lankan society; to co-exist with mutual respect and equal rights. In that context the commemoration only of “victory day” or “war heroes’ day” worsens the ethnic cleavage. War heroes deserve their special place in history. But we cannot forget that the nearly three decade war is a national tragedy in which almost all who died on either side of the battle lines were citizens of this country (excepting members of the IPKF). To memorialize only the victor denies to the nation an opportunity to unite in memorializing all those who died in this tragedy and to reflect on past mistakes that paved the way for the war. The war heroes gallantly died to unite the country. The best tribute we can pay them is to bring about national unity.

2.14 It may also be prudent that there be an official public apology to those fellow citizens who were victimized in the riots of 1983. It may be a bold measure requiring a great degree of political courage, but it will take the divided communities a long way toward reconciliation. (Minister Patali Champaka Ranawaka is reported to have apologized for the burning down of the Jaffna Library during a recent visit to Jaffna). Such an apology could well bring about national introspection and compel at least some offending parties across ethnic lines to accept past mistakes with humility. Acknowledgements of that nature could go a long way to heal wounds of the past.

2.15 That the LTTE and other armed groups in the north-east were also guilty of serious human rights abuses has to be recognized and articulated. Discrimination against one’s community in no way justifies the manufacture of human bombs and the use of child soldiers; summary executions and torture chambers and the assassination of persons for their beliefs. However, it has to be noted that those groups are no more or have joined the political mainstream.

2.16 What is required now is for the State and all segments of society to learn from that painful past and to develop a future vision for national unity and reconciliation. The obligation is primarily on the State to provide a protective umbrella to all its citizens based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination, while recognizing distinct identities.


The end of the war was welcomed by Sri Lankans with great expectations. It presented the country with a unique opportunity to reflect on the ills of the past and to forge ahead with radical political reforms; further democratize governance; to win the hearts and minds of the minority communities; and to realize meaningful development. We may have lost precious time, but it is not too late to take corrective measures. Not to do so will be to once again perpetuate the curse of lost opportunities and to incur the wrath of generations to come.

With the end of the war, the expectation foremost in the minds of many a citizen was that the first priority of the government and all political parties would be to take constitutional measures to provide a durable solution to the ethnic divide. A war weary nation needed reassurances that it would not slip back to war again.

It has been suggested that the average war affected citizen has no interest in constitutional reform. We disagree. Needs can be articulated in different ways. A simple demand for better security or basic needs is in effect also a demand for a political order that can deliver the goods. Sentiments expressed by the average citizen must not be interpreted so as to postpone the search for a political solution. It is not surprising that citizens who are traumatized by the war wish to have their immediate needs met; however, that does not mean that they do not crave a permanent solution to the larger political issues that have placed them in such a vulnerable situation in the first place.

Given the consensus reached within the APRC on the recognition of minorities, power-sharing at the centre, devolution of power to the regions, and the empowerment of all the communities, the priority need is for the President, the government and all political parties to immediately move on a political solution building on that consensus. Such proposals will give great confidence to the minorities and be a major step towards political reconciliation.

Urgent political engagement to adopt a constitutional solution will help remove the distrust and suspicion entertained by the minorities, particularly the Tamil community, brought about by past failures. The failure of successive governments to make the 13th Amendment and devolution of power work even in the South has left serious doubts as to whether devolution of power will ever be effective in the north-east. The opportunism of the UNP and the failure with the Draft Constitution of 2000 to seal a consensus towards a political solution further aggravated this sense of distrust and political betrayal.

Given the urgent need to work on a political solution, it is extremely unfortunate that the government swiftly moved instead to adopt as an Emergency Bill the 18th Amendment to the Constitution to further bolster powers of an Executive President by, among other things, removing term limits and the significant checks inherent in the 17th Amendment. The Friday Forum publicly voiced its serious objections to the content of the 18th Amendment and the manner in which it was adopted without providing adequate opportunity for public debate. Such moves, among other things, can only deepen suspicions entertained by the minorities and alienate them further from structures of governance.

Meaningful constitutional reform should necessarily put in place a strong legal régime of human rights protection. The evolution of human rights violations before and during the war points to the need to recognize that healing, reconciliation and looking for a better future require a holistic view of human rights. One is reminded of the truism expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)—“…that if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…”

Meaningful steps taken to protect human rights must recognize the principle of indivisibility of rights—that is to say that all rights, be they political, economic, social, cultural or civil, must be given constitutional recognition. Similarly, both individual and group rights must be recognized. All rights must be recognized within a strong framework of equal protection and non-discrimination. Provision must be made for effective remedies for violations of human rights. Other than courts, institutions such as the Human Rights Commission and Police Commission play a key role in this regard, but only if they can function independently.

Sri Lanka has a proud record of being a party to a number of international human rights treaties. International obligations under those treaties must be discharged in good faith. The government must constructively engage with international human rights mechanisms with the sincere objective of improving human rights protection at home. That is a win-win formula that benefits both the people and the government. To engage with international mechanisms with suspicion and disdain through politics of confrontation is a losing formula that can only result in loss of faith in the administration both among the international community and the peace loving people of Sri Lanka.

Today, human rights discourse in Sri Lanka appears to be mainly focused on the rights of IDPs. This is understandable. However, it is imperative that both the government and civil society actors have a long term view of rights protection. Even when the last IDP is well resettled, could we as Sri Lankans honestly say that we are on the right path? This compartmentalized way viewing rights protection, or for that matter any human endeavour, is short-sighted and counterproductive.

It must also be recognized that even within one group/community there are different voices. For example, women within an ethnic community will have distinct demands based on their life experiences. Meaningful human rights protection requires that future policies and reforms take those distinct demands into consideration. The Friday Forum urges the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to make a special effort to give opportunities to women, youth and other such groups from various communities to express their views.

Where constitutional protection of human rights is concerned, it has to be noted that the deficiencies in the 1978 Constitution have been studied and discussed extensively. In fact, so far there have been three draft bills of rights (1997, 2000 and 2009) formulated under respective governments to rectify the shortcomings. The latest, which was drafted under the auspices of the previous Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration, was submitted to the government in 2009. This draft is a very progressive document that incorporates cutting-edge thinking on rights protection (both international and comparative). Friday Forum wishes to urge its incorporation, after public deliberation, into a future Constitution.

Constitutional reform will be fruitful only when a Constitution’s entire scheme is cohesive, and where that scheme is democratic and inclusive. Even a comprehensive bill of rights will be ineffective when placed within an undemocratic constitutional scheme. We, therefore, urge that piecemeal tinkering with the existing Constitution be avoided at any cost.

Friday Forum wishes to emphasise that constitutional reform alone is by itself insufficient to bring about lasting peace and stability. The political culture and the nature of political leadership must necessarily change, upholding democratic rights, equality, rule of law, and justice.


That the war retarded economic activity in the country is no secret. The post-war period offers great hope of achieving economic progress. Having said that however, the Friday Forum wishes to emphasise that economic progress must not be viewed in isolation from other national priorities of democratizing governance, finding a durable political solution to the ethnic question and achieving national unity and reconciliation.

Historically agriculture has been the mainstay of our economy with manufacture and IT related services still at a fairly early stage of development with the possible exception of the apparel trade. Exports are extremely important to our economy with the major areas being apparel, tea, rubber and coconut products. Apart from exports, we have over the past 10 years attracted approximately USD 3.7 billion per annum attributable to overseas remittances originating from Sri Lankans working overseas with particular concentration in the Middle East. Our export connections have been developed over several decades and this applies particularly to tea, rubber and coconut products. The apparel sector is a more recent development although performance has been extremely encouraging with the United States of America and the European Union being our major markets.

Against this background, it is important to bear in mind that we are connected intimately with most countries around the globe particularly as trading partners. Needless to say good relations with these countries will ensure that our trading relationships are not only maintained but enhanced in the future. It is extremely important to accept and acknowledge that future economic progress has to be built against the background of a strong platform of democracy and decency. Good governance is becoming increasingly important in the current context of connectivity particularly with some of our more important trading partners including the USA, EU and Japan as the recent GSP + episode proved. These three economic giants, in particular, are vitally important in maintaining our current standing as an exporter not only of commodities but also of apparel and some manufactured goods such as ceramics.

In the area of tea exports, Russia and several countries in the Middle East, not forgetting former parts of the USSR play an important role. However, demand merely from particular segments would not be sufficiently widespread to ensure a positive overall outlook for our commodities.

In addition, a major part of our tourist arrivals still originate from the UK and numerous other European destinations. It is a sine-qua-non that very many tourists in general seek to visit destinations which offer political stability, protection through the Rule of Law, freedom of choice and ethical standards of conduct all of which are underpinned by strong principles of democracy.

In summary, it is important to maintain a regime of good international relations with the rest of the world. To do so requires the elimination of any negative perceptions with regard to our democratic institutions and principles. Further more, it is our view that the commitment to good governance in a country provides a significant level of comfort to end users/buyers of our different commodities.

There is no doubt that the Sri Lankan diaspora too will invest in the country in a sustained manner only if there is progress in the good governance front with a sincere commitment on the part of the government to national reconciliation through a durable political solution to the ethnic issue.


The Friday Forum believes that the following activities should commence immediately in order to create an effective overall framework for national unity and reconciliation in the spirit of principles identified above:

5.1.1 Commence discussions between the government and all willing political parties to take forward the APRC consensus in order to negotiate a durable political solution to the ethnic question.

5.1.2 Find ways and means of doing away with, or at least gradually phasing out, the state of emergency, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and High Security Zones. Such steps should be effectively explained to the public. It will go along way in lifting the “siege mentality” of a war-affected society.

5.1.3 Similarly, a rational policy must be developed regarding LTTE suspects; there is a great degree of confusion regarding the currently employed categorization and disparate treatment of suspects.

5.1.4 A policy for reunification of war-affected families must be put in place urgently. We understand that a large number of persons have testified before the LLRC to that effect.

5.1.5 Find ways and means of implementing the official languages policy in an effective manner, particularly at service delivery points such as police stations, post offices, government offices, banks.

5.1.6 Utilize the current education reform process to urgently review school curricula in order to revise lessons that perpetuate ethnic divisions through, e.g., portrayal of certain ethnic communities as “invaders”, “outsiders”, “enemies” “subordinate” and the “other”. All relevant curricula should infuse a strong sense of equal national entitlement and belonging of the various communities of Sri Lanka. “Celebrating the beauty of our diversity” should be a golden thread that runs throughout our education system.

• If Sri Lanka is to make lasting attempts towards reconciliation the concepts and philosophy of reconciliation needs to find its place in the countries education system.

• Including in-depth lessons on the richness of Sri Lankan diversity and how it refines us as a nation is a very strong approach. It will also create a stronger resistance against prejudices and attempts to instill animosity in their minds. Without a resistance to the prevalent prejudices these students are bound to succumb to the hatred and repeat the cycle of distrust and division.

• The teaching of comparative religion and ethics in school is advocated over the teaching only of one’s own religion. Such an education should focus on values that are common to all faiths and the potential of those values to enrich life in a diverse society. The exam-oriented education system fails to refine the student as a person; such an objective needs to be a central focus in reforming the education system. The effectiveness of a school in producing students with civic consciousness should be measured within holistic education that includes sports, extracurricular activity, trilingual ability and exposure to broader Sri Lankan culture.

• Having the nation’s best student leaders to interact with each other and create networks to develop their leadership and ability to make a difference around the country is a unique opportunity. The thousands of Sri Lankans born to the war generations have not met a person of a different ethnicity or have not called one “friend”. This is a crisis but also an opportunity to ensure that prejudices die and new relationships that define a common Sri Lankan identity blossom. Bring students with similar interest and abilities to emulate the same sort of model would also prove to be effective, e.g. sportsmen, orators, actors, musicians. Their similarities will bring them together but it is their differences that will keep them together and will sharpen each other

5.1.7 It follows then that the above process should commence a serious dialogue on how to end ethnic/religious segregation of schools. The separation of children belonging to various ethnic and/or religious communities throughout their school life is a strong dividing factor in Sri Lankan society. Often segregation is justified on the basis of language. We strongly suggest that resources should be developed to provide trilingual education at least up to secondary education. Whatever the cost of such an endeavour may be, we believe that it is truly a worthwhile national investment.

5.1.8 Policies that segregate university students along regional lines (hence often ethnic lines) must end. Steps must be taken to ensure all public universities have integrated student populations with a choice of courses offered in the three language media. Currently, it does appear that most Tamil speaking undergraduate are confined to the North and East and the Sinhala speaking undergraduates are sent to universities in the South. These psychological delimitations must now decisively end.

5.1.9 A policy must be formulated for all national events, publicity programs (e.g. promotion of tourism) etc. to be designed and implemented in a manner that portrays and promotes the identities of all communities on an equal footing. In other words the appeal is to eschew tokenism at these events and promotions. A very negative aspect of the minority experience anywhere is to be treated with condescension/tokenism. Reconciliation requires the creation of an environment that promotes “equal national belonging” of all groups in society.

The Friday Forum has over many months focused attention on the development programs launched by the government in the North and East. Following are some of the observations and recommendations in that regard:

5.2.2 Development, especially in a post-war context, should pay a great degree of attention to promoting healing, human well-being and restoring confidence. In any event, we recognize development as a process that is focused on developing human dignity and potential. While large infrastructure projects undoubtedly have their direct and indirect value, emphatic attention must be paid to alleviating human suffering brought about by the war. Such suffering is at the same time economic, physical and psychological. Community development, therefore, must be a priority of those programs.

5.2.3 Civil society actors of all ethnic communities must be able to work together in assisting in the reconciliation and development processes. The government must encourage such activities. We doubt that a top heavy approach to reconstruction and development will help forge national unity in the long run. The active participation of civil society is an attribute of a true pursuit of reconciliation. Emotional scars that have been created during three decades of war need to be addressed. Doing so will ensure that true reconciliation is experienced by broader society.

5.2.4 Relevant communities must be made aware of government plans, with ample opportunities given for community consultation. To impose state policies on communities which they may not necessarily agree with will only lead to resentment and further division. Civil forums where people from Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim backgrounds can freely share grievances caused to each other will prove to be a very effective concept. Such forums were highly effective in post -conflict Northern Ireland, Rwanda and South Africa. A similar format to the civilian forums for reconciliation should also be emulated by the State. This forum can be an ideal setting to put the record straight on inaccuracies in perception on the State’s objectives and positions on a range of issues. Such forums would also be an ideal opportunity to congratulate the State on areas that have been successfully dealt with and critique the State in areas that have been overlooked. The ability to create an atmosphere of free speech and expression will be invaluable in many ways, not only creating trust in the hearts and minds of the people you serve, but also disarming any kind of growing hatred and mistrust.

5.2.5 To the maximum extent possible civil administration must be restored in the North and East. Whilst the military can play a creative role in reconstruction and rehabilitation, it is imperative that the civilians see and feel that their everyday lives are administered by civilian authorities. Such steps will assist in removing a “war psychosis” and help in the process of healing and reconciliation.


Filed under island economy, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations

3 responses to “FRIDAY FORUM presents Road Map for Sri Lanka to LLR Commission

  1. Raj

    seems like wrote to a disney movie character. I am sorry, In sri lanka, we have justice like this for tamils. i cant stop laughing. it is good we have 20 or sinhalease in sri lanka atleast accept killing innocent tamils in 1983 is wrong, burning library is wrong. shocked, but good to see. i am sure these 20 sinhalese must have read some books other than mahavamsa. way to go. hats-off to those 20 sinhalese people.

  2. C. Wijeyawickrema

    LLRC and the future of Sri Lanka
    C. Wijeyawickrema, LL.B., Ph.D.
    Eurocentric thinking
    Those who argued unjustly for a South Africa/Rwanda-type “truth and reconciliation commission” in Sri Lanka (impermanence and Ehi Passiko as guiding principles Sinhala Buddhists never discriminated against their minority communities) disliked the LLRC from its inception, and tried to “humiliate” it by questioning the qualifications of its membership. In addition, several local politicians and foreign entities who had no courage to face the reality or admit their past and present mistakes decided to boycott it (CFA -2002, the subject matter of LLRC, was described as the “greatest give-away in world’s history” by the Englishman Paul Harris, a prediction for which he was deported from Sri Lanka). But as the date for the LLRC final report becomes nearer, a group of writers are “self-lobbying” for a report favorable to both their open and hidden agenda. For example, Mr. Jehan Perera recently suggested that LLRC resurrect the infamous Majority Report of the APRC (Island, 7/19/201). That report was an example of the Eurocentric thinking (Europe is superior in body and mind) of some Colombo officers and a Marxist minister. On another front, Mr. Rajan Philips (The Island, 7/2/2011), piggybacking on two essays written by Dr. N. Chandrahasan argued that 13-A must be “honestly” implemented because it is the law of the country. Missing were the jurisprudential (applied law) issues such as who created 13-A law and for whom.
    Most of the witnesses appeared before LLRC displayed an ingrained Eurocentric bias in their evidence (a built-in element found in Lord McCaulay’s grandchildren known as black-whites or coconuts -brown outside, white inside). Therefore, there is a real danger that LLRC, faced with local and foreign pressure (intimidation?) to provide what some Indian, white and American diplomats and politicians demand as “meaningful devolution,” (European solution) could cave in to this Eurocentric trap and drift away from its originally emphasized goal of finding home-grown solutions to social, economic and spatial inequities prevalent in the island. There are some variables that are beyond the reach of LLRC arm, such as LTTE remnants in London, Toronto, Geneva, Oslo, Paris or New York City, and the drama of Tamil Nadu politicians. But the very encouraging foothold the UPFA received at the recent local government elections in former LTTE controlled areas is a clear signal indicating that the local variable, the TNA separatist agenda, is within the taming net of LLRC. Considering the geography and history of Sri Lanka, and the current global and Asian geopolitical developments, the Jana Sabha concept is LLRC’s choice vehicle to kill so many birds including such characters like Robert Blake, the Miliband brothers, Hillary Clinton, Jayalalitha and Ban Ki Moon, with one stone. Clinton-Jayalalitha meeting in Chennai in July, bypassing Delhi, is an example of a new axis against Sri Lanka. The Eurocentric phrase of meaningful devolution (to Tamil separatist politicians of TNA) must be replaced by the homegrown solution of meaningful empowerment of people at the village level.
    LLRC’s historical role
    LLRC can be compared with two other previous landmark commissions, the Colebrooke-Cameron and the Donoughmore. In 1832 communal representation was introduced with the Colebrook-Cameron Report. The island was divided into five provinces for the purpose of removing the power of the previously disunited Kandyan feudal leaders. Under a communal system, a divide-and-rule policy cannot be avoided, and the divisions were based on skin color, race, religion, history, location, education, wealth and caste. Thus there was a division as upcountry and low country Sinhalese and with such division educated Tamil politicians had the numerical upper hand. In fact, one governor had to remind Tamil politicians at that time that they were not the majority community in Ceylon. With territory-based elections appearing on the horizon, by 1920-23, Tamil politicians realized that they were not going to be the next set of ruling families in Ceylon when the British left. At this time in Madras, separatism was having birth pains as an agitation against Hindu Brahmins (Justice Party which ended as DMK was formed in 1917). A pact called the balanced representation formula was hurriedly designed by the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Colombo politicians so that the majority Sinhalese will be contained by the combined numerical strength of minorities. But the geography of the country could not be legislated and bottled.
    In 1931, the Donoughmore Commission decided to remove the paradigm of communal representation, and introduced territorial representation based on universal adult suffrage (both Sinhala and Tamil politicians, except the labor leader A. E. Goonasinghe, opposed free voting right). Various “minority protection measures” were introduced. Yet, influenced by Ali Jinna’s Pakistan plan (tacitly aided and abetted by the British) and the Dravidastan dreams in Madras, a group of mostly Christian, Colombo-living Tamils floated the idea of a separate Tamil country in Ceylon. In India, colonial master promoted the two-India plan, and the 1935 Government of India Act accepted communal representation (why this was not followed in Ceylon in 1931 was an accident of history). Both the Donoughmore and the Soulbury Reports gave adequate warnings to Sinhala politicians on the separatist intentions/strategies of the Colombo-living Tamil politicians, but the Colombo-living Sinhala politicians did not see or hear this warning.
    The territorial representation system operated within a Tamil separatist agenda which imposed a severe inferiority complex on the Colombo-living Sinhala politicians. Black-white run Colombo Ceylon politicians were not ready to share power with the villagers who lived in the other Ceylon. Therefore, they failed to take the Tamil separatism bull by the horns and expose it as an unreasonable demand. Instead, B-C and D-C pacts, 1972 unfair constitution of Felix-Colvin and the 1978 monster constitution of JRJ-AJ Wilson with so many shameful Amendments poisoned peoples’ minds. After 1978, structural democracy (rule of law, independence of judiciary and public service) under attack since the 1960s from UNP, SLFP, LSSP and CP politicians as well as the ineffective territorial representative democracy got killed (Colombo political party leaders became employers of MPs and the MP-job became a lucrative investment opportunity of black money). After 1987, communal representation of the 1935 Government of India Act-type was also forced on Sri Lanka by Indian politicians. Thus, LLRC is now faced with worst of both worlds (no representative democracy in parliament or pradeshiya sabhas and legal recognition by a set of imprisoned politicians of a Tamil homeland in the island (13-A), the mother of communalistic Indian-imposed politics. Can LLRC unravel this mess?
    Discrimination with reason
    LLRC needs to introduce the doctrine of reasonableness in to Sri Lankan politics and governance. The Australian-living Sri Lankan Tamil Devanesan Nesiah wrote a dissertation on this subject titled “discrimination with reason” (Discrimination with reason: the policy of reservations in the U.S., India and Malaysia, 1997). Discrimination with reason, according to him, was not a violation of human rights. Thus, whether one likes it or not, the erasing of the idea that in future a Tamil country with a UN flag can arise from the Sri Lankan soil should be part of the political war Sri Lanka has to wage against local and foreign forces. The fact that Tamils in Sri Lanka have more rights than the Tamils in their homeland of Tamil Nadu (in July 1983, the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, the IGP and all the DIGs were Tamils!) was due to the influence of the Buddhist doctrine of the Middle Path which is similar to the Doctrine of Reasonableness in Western Jurisprudence. Thus, the 29 (2) clause of the 1947 constitution was an unreasonable restriction of Sinhala people’s rights. In India over 40% of people are covered by new rights based on discrimination with reason (reverse discrimination in USA?).
    Geography, law and Buddhism
    When two successive Indian presidents, both non-Buddhists (Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil) publicly preached that the solution to world’s problems could be found through Buddhism, they were actually sensing the affinity between the doctrine of reasonableness and the Middle Path in Buddhism, both of which are recognition of geography (you cannot legislate against geography; one law for the lion and the ox is oppression). There are other religious traditions bordering on the Middle Path, but in Buddhism it is the Central building block of human life and living. Since the Mahinda Chinthanaya Program promulgated at the 2005 presidential election is based on the Middle Path of Buddhism, which is accepted by people of Sri Lanka in successive elections, LLRC has a relatively easier task of basing its recommendations on Buddhist principles of reasonableness. In other words, home grown solutions should come not from Colombo-living lawyers but from the geographical knowledge databases of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people in the villages. The “Kamatha Test,” allegedly utilized by President Premadasa, in hiring officers for jobs (have you ever stepped into a Kamatha?) was reflective of this attitude.
    Thesavalamai mindset
    Colombo Tamil elites’ unreasonable demand for a separate country since the 1920s, from the time they first realized that they were not likely to get a controlling ruling power from the Colombo Sinhala elites, can be gleaned by reading between the lines of Jane Russell’s doctoral dissertation, Communal politics under the Donoughmore constitution, 1931-1947. The idea of having it both ways, separatism for Jaffna and more than equal benefits in Colombo, can be identified as a Thesavalamai mindset, which was discrimination against Tamil women as well as non-Tamil people. Why Jaffna land is protected from free market economics, but Tamils and Muslims are allowed to buy the Colombo District with foreign funds needs explanation. Talking about such issues cannot be condemned as Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism. In the past when A. E. Goonasinghe raised issues like Boras and Malayalis unfairly grabbing Colombo trade Vishaka Kumari Jayawardena from the then LSSP perspective identified it as Sinhala Chauvinism.
    The outward manifestation of this unreasonable (ugly?) mind set was reflected by reactions such as branding anything done by the government as “Sinhalisation,” and labeling reasonable Tamils working with the government as “Tamil Traitors.” The grant of universal suffrage in 1931, peasant colonization schemes in 1940s, nationalization of schools (1960s), Trinco harbor (from U.K in 1957) or tea estates (1970s), were all branded as aggression and invasion aimed at Tamil homes (cement, paper and chemical factories by the government in Tamil areas excluded). On the long or short list of Tamil traitors, were examples such as Dr. E. V. Ratnam, S. Saravanamuttu and even G. G. Ponnambalam in one of his many reincarnations. The latest so identified by Colombo-living Mano Ganeshan was Batticaloa man Minister Karuna Amman for openly declaring that police and land powers are not needed for the PC white elephants (Karuna is the only modern Tamil politician to reject the Indian F formula; even the late Lakshman Kadiragamar and Jeyaraj Fernandopullai were supporters of a federal Sri Lanka).
    It was this Thesavalamai blindness that prevented Mr. Amirthalingam acting as a true leader of the opposition and Mr. Anandasangaree not having courage to accept the “offer” of a parliamentary seat by the JHU. The opportunity a Tamil politician had to become a national politician was lost by each of them. They could have been Tamil Obamas long before the Tamil Obama syndrome hit Sri Lankan separatists in 2008. Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam under his many versions of package deals during CBK times worked overtime for an Indian F system, but refused the Pondicherry sub-element of the Indian F, because he did not want a moth eaten-like Tamil homeland with Sinhala and Muslim enclaves within it. Mr. Kumar David recently took this blindness to a new level with his usual hair-splitting Marxist flavor, by arguing against a new “ethnic homogenization” in the works. He says under this policy there will be no more Tamil or Muslim majority areas in the island since 75% population is Sinhala. He does not understand that the only piece of real estate the Sinhala people have on the planet is the tiny island of Sri Lanka while Tamils have a source region of Tamil Nad, Muslims have Mecca, Catholics the Vatican to look for, and Christian evangelists and R2P-NGO agents are endowed with billion-dollar funding networks. Previously, the late Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam, with his happy life in Colombo, when asked to name an example of discrimination specific to Tamils, came up with the idea of “Tamils have aspirations,” not realizing that unlike personal aspirations, public or collective aspirations always created conflicts with aspirations of other communities such as the French president’s aspiration to keep Europe Christian and white and Turkey’s aspiration to become European!
    The unreasonable behavior of Tamil separatist politicians, depriving Tamil villagers their basic human rights and human dignity, faced a death blow with the end of Prabakaran era, and the recent local government elections opened a wide gap between TNA Prabakaran ghosts and the Tamil people. Sixty-eight UPFA elected members backed by a president of the country who can speak to Tamils in Tamil cannot be side-tracked by TNA as Tamil traitors. LLRC can hasten the end of Tamil separatism by promoting the Janasabha concept empowering Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala villagers. It should not allow room for a subclass of Tamil politicians to manipulate Tamil masses. The rise of a new set of state level politicians challenging the authority of Delhi politicians, thus forcing opportunistic coalition governments aimed at political survival was the result of language-based state demarcation that began in India in 1956. Now Hillary Clinton has the nerve to meet Jayalalitha without Delhi at the table because US politicians want to play the divide and rule game with an independent-like Tamil Nad.

    Power sharing with a Tamil Moses
    TNA MP Mr. Sumanthiran’s (S) SJVChelvanayagam (SJVC) memorial oration (Island, 5/10/ 2011) which advocated to “re-visit the vision of Thanthai Chelva, of a country in which every citizen has the space to exercise his or her full and equal right to citizenship and by that contribute to the lasting advancement and flourishing of all her Peoples” was an indication of Tamil separatist crowd not learning from their bitter lessons. It was obvious that S, had not read the book written by A. J. Wilson about SJVC, “SJV Chelvanayagam and the crisis in Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism, 1947-1977” (1994). Historical record was clear that SJVC wanted a separate country, not peaceful co-existence. The strategy was take one step at a time, until the Vaddukoddai Resolution in 1976 let the cat out of the bag. SJVC made an unreasonable demand then, and S and his TNA are making unreasonable demands now in 2011. In SWRD’s words SJVC was,
    “ [he is surely] one of the most dangerous types of human beings in the world, quite in his own way sincere, in his own way an idealist, but having no idea whatsoever of reality and the practical side of things. Very dangerous people, such people are capable of deluding themselves completely, capable of deluding others too”, (Ceylon Hansard vol. 31 (June 3, 1958) cols. 244-5); Wilson, p. 10).
    Wilson also wrote:
    The Ilankai Thamil [Kosovo?] plan was floated first by SJV Chelvanayakam in Dec 1949. In 1952 SJVC talked about the Yugoslav model aiming at “another Pakistan in Ceylon” (Wilson, p. 42). AT SJVC’s funeral, Rt. Rev. Lakshman Wickremasinghe identified SJVC (who belonged to the Church of South India) as a Tamil Moses (Wilson, p. 73). [Wilson also thought that] SJVC was hailed as the “prophet-seer of the Tamil people” (Wilson, p. 82). After the July 1970 General Elections SJVC felt “only God can help the Tamils” (Wilson, p. 114).
    Ironically, SJVC lost the “prophet” status in 1975 when he garlanded a statute of Sivakumaran who committed suicide after trying to assassinate a superintendent of police. By then SJVC was convinced that the only alternative was to fight to the end for a Tamil Nad (Wilson, p. 127). The fight was lost on May 19, 2009.
    If SJVC was the Tamil Moses, he took poor Hindu and other Tamils on a ride for 40 or more years looking for the Promised Land, and delivered them to the terrorist Prabakaran to be used as a human shield. S’s oration shows that he and his TNA is still living in a state of delusion and will be out of business soon. With the “voter-cheating” nature of representative democracy in India, USA and UK getting exposed on a regular basis, the two questions we need to ask in Sri Lanka are: (1) what is power-sharing and (2) share it with whom? Power must be shared by the ruling elites with the masses by way of empowering people at the village/town level. In Sri Lanka this will happen at the GSN (Jana Sabha) level. In 1956, in India, a language-based state demarcation system allowed sharing political power with regional political elites (Delhi politicians versus regional language-speaking politicians), and in 1987 India forced Sri Lanka to implement this bad experiment as the 13th Amendment. After May 19, 2009, Sri Lanka has no reason to get intimidated from anybody to share power with a small fraction of separatist regional Tamil political elites. They lost on all of their slogans such as “this war was not winnable”, “Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism” and “Sri Lanka was a failed state.” In the end it was “Give war a chance,” without the meddling by foreigners that worked for Sri Lanka (Ref: Edward N. Luttwak, Foreign Affairs, 78 (4), 1999; Monica Duffy Toft, International Security, 34 (4), 2010). Therefore, if the world Tamil movement and the separatist Tamils want a separate Tamil country with a flag at UNO, it must be carved out from India in Tamil Nad (in Tamil Nad itself two other caste groups are also demanding two separate states!). In Sri Lanka, Tamils and Muslims lived amicably with Sinhalese until the white man came and created division just like what he did in India and in other colonies.

    Humiliation theory
    Eurocentric thinking and the Thesavalamai attitude bred unreasonable behavior and all three of them were byproducts of the colonial humiliation theory. The conquest of Asian (and other) colonies was a two-part imperial subjugation strategy, physical (military) and mental (modernize/Christianize and save backward natives). The military cruelty of white colonial empire-building expressed by such acts like the massacre of the Incas, Opium Wars, 1818 and 1848 Kandyan genocides or the cold-blooded murder at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar (April 13, 1919) by a lunatic general Dyer “to teach agitating natives a lesson.” Yet, what is clear today is that humiliation by physical cruelty was trivial compared to the psychological/mental humiliation which was universal, perpetual and cancer-like.
    Creating a class of natives who are “brown in color and English in thinking, habits and living” was Lord McCaulay’s grand civilizing plan that first began in Colonial India in the 1820s. Human societies always had ruling elites (feudalism) and the British masters capitalized on this human societal character to create a loyalist native class. Eventually, in former colonies, this class came to be known as the black-white ruling elites (it was agents of this class who invited Price Charles for the 50th- year independence celebrations and Lisbon rulers to celebrate 500 years of Portuguese arrival, respectively). The late Martin Wickramasinghe called them the Brahmin Caste in Ceylon. The history of Ceylon’s representative politics from 1832 to 1948 was a history of this brown skin class suffering from a mindset of humiliation and agitating for a piece of the pie (crumbs) enjoyed by the white ruling class (share in government jobs etc.).
    Unlike military power, the psychological control exerted upon local elites (political families, civil-public service, university graduates) has no finish line. New groups will join the traditional crowds, such as those who made money from the 30-year war, Mahaveli project money, and the Sinhala medium village graduates who got CAS jobs. It is this Eurocentric thinking that makes a three-piece suit a requirement to visit the parliament in 2011 or university teachers voting to make English the medium of instruction in universities. Most of these teachers would not have gone to university themselves if not for the Sinhala medium! The English medium generation of university products rarely admired the native systems, embraced western thinking and methods, and some went further and wrote books from American universities supporting the need for modernization. A good example was the transplanting of European Protestant Christian idea as protestant Buddhism in Ceylon. Graduate civil engineers educated on the western model rarely admired the ancient irrigation works in their country. Instead of implementing the soft technology of water and soil conservation ecosystem, they destroyed ancient local irrigation works by following the hard technology of hydraulic engineering approach (ref. D.L.O. Mendis, Ceylon Daily News, 1/11/1993). It is no wonder that the science post graduate establishment in Sri Lanka ridiculing the research team at Vidyalankara University for revealing the divine help one of the members received in the arsenic in water detection project. On August 6, 2011 Texas governor Rick Perry, an aspiring presidential candidate in 2012, had a public prayer meeting to obtain God’s help to guide him and others to come out of the current mess in USA. There was no mass scientist protest against it in USA, the land of Nobel science prize winners!
    End of humiliation
    Like other ex-colonies Sri Lanka is struggling today, because of the mental humiliation that the ruling classes and the masses are trapped in. This essential defect was detected by the Ven. Anagarika Dharmapala in the 1930s-1940s, when he asked people to make a puppet, paint it in white color, keep it in front of the house and slap or kick it twice in the morning and evening on a daily basis. A modern day rejection of this humiliation took place when Gotabhaya Rajapakse rejected as a matter of military strategy a “request-like demand” made in April 2009 by the two visiting white foreign secretaries from UK and France to go to meet Prabakaran to rescue Tamil hostages. It was a plan by them to rescue Prabakaran so that their goal of two countries in the island would have continued with a Prabakaran living in exile in a white country in Europe or in Canada. The humiliated duo like two wounded wild boars took a bee line to the pavement of New York City’s UNO building and displayed their anger at the GOSL. This was the beginning of the war crimes saga, Darusman drama, and the London Channel-4 video.
    After Cuba’s Castro and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Min, it was Sri Lanka which taught a bitter lesson to the new western imperialist masters who hide behind a mask of human rights, practicing remote controlled colonialism. Why former colonial masters are now ganged up against Sri Lanka using Tamil terrorist agents living overseas and federalist-separatist agents operating in the island as cats’ paws can be explained easily in the context of this return humiliation given to Western white politicians by Sri Lanka. It can be called the Miliband-Robert Blake Damanaya reminiscent of the Upatissa or Nalagiri Damanaya in the Buddhist literature. While Cuban and Vietnam cases are limited to defeats of one country, USA, Sri Lanka’s case covered the new face of western imperialism. If China and even India are becoming economic threats to the western white hegemony, the tiny island of Sri Lanka became the proverbial lizard inside the white elephant’s trunk! (described as heen saraya by the late writer Munidasa Kumaranatunga) The agitation for reform for a new world order with a modified UNO system received a boost from the way Sri Lankan president handled his western ambassadors. Even the foreign service of Sri Lanka is undergoing a silent revolution with examples of non-traditional diplomatic appointments and interventions.
    Humiliation of Tamils by Tamils
    In the history of Colombo Sinhala versus Colombo Tamil elites’ clash, Tamil Christians such as G.G. Ponnambalam and SJV Chelvanayagam openly declared on several occasions that Sinhala leaders in Colombo were not qualified to govern Tamils. This superiority complex has arisen out of the Manu Law expressed by the behavior of Jaffna people like the Math professor Sundaralingam who wanted to protect Hindu temples from “caste pollution” and fought against the Prevention of Social Disabilities Law passed after 1956. In fact, even in the Christian Tamil churches the depressed castes had to sit on low benches or on the floor. Low caste children had no schools or no school desks or benches. They sat on the floor. This aspect of humiliation of poor-low caste Tamils by rich, English-educated higher caste Tamils did not receive any attention from university anthropologists/sociologists like Stanley Tambiah, Gananath Obeysekera or H.L. Seneviratna who were all critical of the Sinhala Buddhist society and wrote books for their American students. Tambiah decided to go to Thailand and study about the Theravada Buddhism in the 1960s and produced a book titled, “Buddhism Betrayed” in the 1990s. The Mahinda Chinthanaya Program in Sri Lanka silenced all of them from their anti-Sinhala Buddhist propaganda.
    In this regard Sebastian Rasalingam’s essay (Sri Lanka Guardian, Toronto, 7/29/2011) about the plight of the depressed castes should be an eye-opener to LLRC on the unreasonableness of the Tamil separatist agenda. Even though the army rescued the depressed caste Tamils from humiliation from their own second savior Prabakaran, not a single Tamil appeared before the LLRC to present their depressed caste case. It was the Sinhala journalist H.L.D. Mahindapala who brought a somewhat similar version (dictatorial abuse of Jaffna people by the Vellala caste) to that of Rasalingam’s to the attention of LLRC. HLDM knows better as he has been married to a Tamil. Rasalingam, himself as a depressed caste Tamil when he was in Jaffna, suggests taking an out of the box approach on IDP settlements etc., which TNA is trying to use for its political survival. He says that settling down Tamils in the same old villages will perpetuate caste-dominated control found in Jaffna. Jaffna people are suffering from spatial injustice and humiliation of Tamils by Tamils, and they do not ask for a homeland controlled by caste domination. For the depressed castes in Jaffna, Sinhalalisation meant causeways to their villages, schools for their castes, admission to universities for depressed castes. Because of their guilty feeling under a Colombo paradigm (milk to Colombo, forage to villages), Colombo politicians did not and could not make an effort to go directly before the people of Jaffna. Buddhist monks did not want to go to Jaffna because of Federal Party (leaders mostly Christian) objections; instead monks selected Europe and USA where they received a welcome mat to practice the principles of “Ehi Passiko.” Buddhism, with its emphasis on how human mind works, is the religion with the highest rate of growth in USA, Australia and Europe.
    Tamil Obamas
    In the context of Eurocentric thinking of the Colombo political crowd, unreasonable Tamil separatist demands based on the Thesavalamai mindset and the continuation of the influence of the grand humiliation theory, it was not surprising that the Indian F separatist lobby in Sri Lanka embracing Barak Obama’s election victory as a God send weapon to promote their agenda. A born again Christian, who said to Tamils at the Jaffna Kachcheri then that he came to Jaffna to implement the official language act, led the group of retired CCS/CAS officers in floating a Tamil Obama crusade. They asked why a Tamil cannot get elected as president of Sri Lanka. They thought Obama was elected because he was not fully white and that the average American voter wanted to send a message to the world (to Sri Lankan voters?) that a minority person must be elected as president to escape from the R2P axe. Above all they expected to hide the crisis in western capitalist democracy by hiding behind Obama’s election and Robert Blake’s toothpaste smile. They forgot that anybody coming closer to a Tamil Obama was either assassinated or branded as a Tamil traitor by the separatist or terrorist Tamils. They simply were agents of western propaganda aimed at regime change.
    Unfortunately, by August 2011, the “Yes we can” Obama dream of 2008 is on logs. What has happened to President Obama is a specific example of the crisis of the western capitalist democracy in general. Obama described US system of government as dysfunctional not divided/shared (separation of powers). The Tamil Obama NGO lobby, local and foreign, tries to hide the myth of capitalist representative democracy in the west or in India wearing a mask of R2P human rights. While the Hasalaka-hero model has made Sri Lanka the only terrorism-free country in the world, western white politicians are using local agents as cats’ paw to divide the island, and to make a regime change. Five hundred years ago Europeans came to Asia to civilize and save the natives. They had the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other. Today, the former white imperialists led by a set of American politicians who have lost the support of their own countrymen appear shedding crocodile tears on behalf of democracy and human rights in the rest of the world. It is amazing how the average American voter is as innocent and helpless as the Sri Lankan voter cheated by politicians of all kinds.
    End of history
    Western capitalist project to destroy the Iron Curtain worked partly because inside the Iron Curtain, there was no socialism but a corrupt communist party control system. Therefore, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the west was happy that the free market democratic system won. This was identified as the end of history (of conflict with socialism). However, soon new conflicts arose with terrorism in so many hot spots with a new history of troubles and pains. Cold War had the enemy known and spatially contained, not so with terrorism. If end of history was false with regard to political systems, the free market system collapsed with the financial meltdown of the Wall Street. The global monetary control system maintained by U.S. dominated west using the three unholy agents-World Bank, IMF, and WTO- also got exposed over the years (each WTO conference venue became a scene of riots). Global geopolitical map has also changed China taking the lead and even India giving credit to US treasury. In such circumstances, wars away from USA and EC were the best baits for the disappointed western voters. The western politicians were never genuine in their declared mission of helping the world or saving the poor. They wanted to exploit the world for their benefit. This is what one sees in the history of the world.
    Haiti – First free slave state – 1804
    Today Haiti is considered a failed state just like Somalia or Ethiopia. But Haiti was the richest colony in the world during the time of French Revolution and became free after a slave rebellion of 1791-1804. Western imperialists including the newly born USA did everything to destroy Haiti. So many other countries, with or without oil and gas deposits or other rare minerals (e.g., Congo) got ruined because Multinational companies used corrupt rulers to cheat the native people. What a section of white western politicians are now trying to do to Sri Lanka using human rights as a mask in 2011 is no different from what they did to Haiti or what they did to Patrice Lumumba in 1961. After WW I, it was U.S. policy to use trade as the instrument of new colonialism, rather than capturing others lands. USA took seriously Kipling description of the White Man’s Burden by capturing the Philippine Islands in 1902 and also derailing the Cuban war against Spain (ref. Howard Zinn, A People’s history of the United States, 1980).
    Problems Sri Lanka is facing today are no different from problems one find in USA. Take education: Public education is getting from bad to worse from elementary education to college level. About 60% of high school students entering college cannot read, write, or add (Math) so that they have to spend first year of college doing remedial courses to make them ready to take regular college courses. The disparity in educational levels of blacks, Hispanics and poor whites is growing and school buildings are in dilapidated conditions. Waste and corruption is rampant. Take the health care system. Profit making is the name of the game at all level. Billions of dollars are spent annually on serving medically underserved/disadvantaged areas/populations etc. The same medicine that one can buy in Cuba for one dollar or less is 50 or 100 dollars in USA! American Medical Association is a monopoly controlling the supply of doctors while Cuba is annually training hundreds doctors for other poor countries free of cost. Take the prison system: governments cannot handle the overcrowded prisons. Therefore, prisons are given to private corporations to run them so that making profit is the main objective of the new prison managers. Transportation system is equally in trouble and the list of troubles can go on and on. People are eating chemicals as fruits, vegetables, milk and meat! Cigarettes are now exported to China and Vietnam as tobacco companies lost their battle in USA (merchants of death). With all these economic troubles, racial biases are raising their heads, Hispanic managers hiring Hispanics and whites hiring whites. Perhaps, there is a need to bring this kind of information to the attention of average Sri Lankans so that they can appreciate what they have in Sri Lanka. The American legal system is also full of defects. Is it democracy to select judges by popular elections?
    Dancing to new Eurocentric tunes
    Despite their dismal performance in their own countries, even in 2011, European politicians continue to treat the rest of the world as their free playing field. The new tune is the strategy called “meaningful devolution” by way of unmajoritarian institutions within the western-created capitalist representative democracy. This method promoted by white Eurocentric writers like Donald Horowitz creates regional ethnic minority elites and weakens the central governments in former colonies slowly, until a new Kosovo or South Sudan is established splitting countries. The real democracy of empowering people (not separatist politicians) at the local level is not in this new Eurocentric formula. This formula stops at regional ethnic politicians’ level. It is interesting to note that in his writings Horowitz did not mention even once the concept of Panchayathi Raj Institutes in India based on consensus politics (God speaks in five, if five people agree, god is with them) not western party politics of throat-cutting divisions. Sri Lankan villagers are today divided so hopelessly due to green, blue and red party politics.
    The subjugation of natives to a level of drawers of water and hewers of wood was done first with guns but later it was implemented through a local class of puppets. In 1494, Pope (Treaty of Tordesillas) divided the world into two areas and handed over it to the two rival countries, Portugal and Spain. In 1648, the Westphalian system implemented the idea of nation states. In the 1884, the Berlin Conference divided Africa among fighting Europeans. In more recent times Europe preached Multiculturalism and the dissolution of the sovereign state. No strong state means more flexible units available for manipulation (e.g., Delhi versus 30 other units in India such as Tamil Nad, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka). In all this the underlying current is how to exploit the rest of the world for Europe’s benefit. After WW-I, U.S.A. began to replace Europe as the leading exploiter using free trade as the operating construct (Neil Smith, American Empire: Roosevelt’s geographer, 2002). The Clinton-Jayalalitha axis is an indication of what is in store for Sri Lanka on the face of US decision to meet China in the Indian Ocean.
    Historically, a fundamental flaw in Eurocentric thinking of brown native/local elites has been the blind faith in the “expertise” of the Eurocentric thinking of white European and American establishment (most of it came as World Bank recommendations). American university professors are in the forefront in cultivating and propagating new ideas and solutions to world problems, and ethnic conflicts has become a thriving field of research. An earlier example was the Religious Fundamentalism Project undertaken by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby), which Sri Lankan-born professors copied as protestant Buddhism in Sri Lanka. These research works are long-term and life-long projects led by industrious individuals and generously funded by public and private agencies. Once printed in book format, these writings are copied by local/native “experts” and reproduced in local English newspapers as brilliant essays. Two such American names cited even before the LLRC are Joseph Nye (Soft Power U.S. Politics) and Donald Horowitz (Ethnic Groups in Conflict). More relevant here are the ideas expressed by Horowitz in his several books and an essay, “The Many Uses of Federalism,” (55 Drake Law Review 953, 2007). Unfortunately, his ideas have already proven as failed propositions in the two countries that he used as examples, Nigeria and Lebanon. They are examples of how Eurocentric thinking tries to package complex issues into a marketable product, so that half-baked peace is maintained with a weak country open to exploitation by former colonial masters and their local agents until the time is ripe for a breakaway satellite.
    Madisonian method –unmajoritarian institutions
    Massive volumes by Religious Fundamentalism Project missed the fundamental difference between linear versus cyclical nature of life and death presented by Abrahamic religions versus Buddhism. Basic rules of impermanence of life and the Middle Path in Buddhism do not allow putting Buddhist priests in the category of Ayatollahs or the Christian Fundamentalists in USA. One cannot blame Europeans for such mistakes. The problem is the blind acceptance of their views by the local Eurocentric thinkers suffering from the effect of centuries of humiliation. Professors Donald Horowitz comes as an expert on Sri Lankan ethnic issues, yet he made so many factual errors. For example, in one of his books he stated that regional autonomy demand by Tamils was a reaction to the Official Language Act of 1956 (page 132 in Ethnic Groups in Conflict, 2000). He did not refer to Jane Russell’s book, Communal Politics under the Donoughmore Constitution 1931-1947, printed in 1982, in any of his writings.
    The writings of Nye and Horowitz are supplementary to the larger western globalization project currently in operation based on Human Rights and R2P formula. With these new masks the intended goal can be an artificial world peace or weaker countries susceptible to manipulation by capitalist democracy and global corporations. In presenting the old wine of Madisonian method and the unmajoritarian institutions in new bottles, in his massive volumes, Horowitz totally ignored history and geography of his target countries. The Madisonian method of constitutional engineering aimed to pit “faction” against “faction,” and to prevent the “passions” of a majority from prevailing unimpeded. In the case of the mother of federal governments, the U.S.A, this approach has created a dysfunctional government. Horowitz used Stanford Levinson’s book, Our Undemocratic Constitution, (2006) to list eight ways in which devolution federalism (territorial subunits holding some governmental power that the central government does not hold) can prevent separatism. These formulas have already failed in Belgium and Cyprus. They can be described as Kosovo-Sudan-Timor path to secession.
    These European writers who misreport Sri Lankan factual situations and their local followers in Sri Lanka who in turn blindly copy them forget that devolution federalism cannot work in this island as separatism is in built in Tamil separatist politicians’ mind and body since the 1920s. In Lebanon, Nigeria or the latest case of Scotland separatist mind was not tamed by unmajoritarian bribes. Such bribes like quota systems for minorities in government jobs, army and police, a second chamber like the U.S. Senate with equal representation for minorities (thus Alaska or Wyoming with less than a million people has two senators each compared to California, New York, Florida or Texas which have ten or more millions) are proposed for Sri Lanka by local and foreign NGOs. The kind of unmajoritarian institutions that Horowitz’ listed, following Arend Liphart (Democracy in Plural Societies, 1977) were: (1) grand coalition of all ethnic groups,(2) mutual veto in decision-making, (3) ethnic proportionality in the allocation of certain opportunities and (4) offices and ethnic autonomy, often expressed in federalism (Horowitz, 2000, p. 568). Also discussed were the five mechanisms of interethnic conflict reduction: (a) dispersing it by proliferating the points of power so as to take the heat off of a single focal point, (b) interethnic conflicts may be reduced by arrangements that emphasize intra-ethnic conflicts (e.g., Jaffna versus Batticaloa Tamils, Hindu versus Christian Tamils), (c) creating incentives for interethnic cooperation, (d) encouraging alignments based on interests other than ethnicity and (e) reduction of disparities between groups so that dissatisfaction declines (restructuring the incentives for conflict behavior, largely on the part of political leaders) (Horowitz, 2000, p. 598).
    Montesquieu standing on his head
    Most of these structural and distributional approaches and mechanisms of conflict reduction were tried in Sri Lanka since the 1920s. They took place with vigor after 1978 with radical constitutional and electoral changes, in 1987 with the 13 Amendment, and in 2002 with the infamous CFA (two other separatist plans, ISGA and P-TOMS just missed the bus). These theories failed miserably in operation until the military defeat of separatism in May 2009. There is no reason for the LLRC to think of resurrecting these failed Eurocentric ideas now in 2011 simply because they are promoted vehemently by local and foreign entities. In this context, it is important to note that Horowitz has missed so many other lines of solutions available globally. At least the Norwegian Johan Galtung follows Buddhist ways of promoting peace (Peace by peaceful means: peace and conflict, development and civilization, 1996), but other Eurocentric white writers ignore d Buddhist principles or the concept of Panchayathi Raj Institutions in India.
    The concept of separation of powers hidden in Horowitz’s many writings on conflict reduction approaches and mechanisms was rediscovered lately as a method of distribution of the sum total of governmental power amongst as many units as possible, horizontally and vertically, instead of how it was interpreted rigidly by U.S. constitutional framers as strict separation of the three branches of government. This is aptly called Montesquieu standing on his head! A good example comes from Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, where a village temple’s chief priest is a sovereign entity not controlled by a central religious organization like the Vatican. Horowitz did not indicate any knowledge on this aspect of Montesquieu’s solution to the human nature described as “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. On the subject of Buddhist politics, Robert Thurman’s book, Inner Revolution (1999) has a chapter on how the American society can benefit from a Buddhist insight. Buddhist Republics in the 5th century B.C. had consensus politics similar to city states in ancient Greece.
    Horowitz’s Eurocentric thinking also missed other lines of thinking such as the human scale (Human Scale by Kirkpatrick Sale, 1980) and local knowledge (Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott, 1998; Local Institutional Development by Norman Uphoff, 1986). Large scale state-sponsored projects often fail due to lack of room for local institutional knowledge. These interconnected lines of thinking had been in operation in Sri Lanka for thousands of years. Sri Lanka is unique in world history. It is the repository of the Theravada Buddhism. It defeated 30 years of terrorism in less than 3 years against all odds. Tamil terrorists had enough weapons to invade even a hostile Tamil Nad! Even in the field of geophysics Sri Lanka is a place on earth with lowest readings of gravity. This tiny island is almost the antipode of the Bermuda Triangle! On the question of ethnic conflicts it can give the world the best solution based on a paradigm of reducing spatial inequalities in people. Spatial disparities are an inevitable result of capitalist colonialism and capitalist neocolonialism based on exploitation (ref., Neil Smith, Uneven Development, 1984). LLRC has a golden opportunity to promote this new paradigm which is central to empowering people as against local and foreign efforts to weaken countries by creating new sets of local ethnic politicians open to manipulation by global king (puppet) makers. The 2010 presidential election in Sri Lanka witnessed such an effort on “king-making” by a USA led white coalition of politicians.
    Home grown solution
    Spatial inequalities of different communities in Sri Lanka are language-blind. For nearly 550 years spatial inequalities, a necessary result of capitalist uneven development, radiated from the port of Colombo. By 1948 there were thus two Ceylons: Colombo elites’ Ceylon versus the other Ceylon of Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim villagers. There was never a Tamil language Ceylon or a Sinhala language Ceylon but there was an English-speaking Ceylon and a Sinhala/Tamil-speaking Ceylon. Because of the unreasonable and selfish behavior of Colombo ruling elites of rich Tamils/Muslims and rich Sinhalese, the nine provinces of Sri Lanka ended up as aTamil country and a Sinhala country. Tamil leaders living in Colombo who realized in the 1920s and 1930s that they cannot be the leaders ruling Sri Lanka after the British left planned for an Ali Jinna-type solution for their public careers—a separate Tamil country for them. For such a project they knew that Jaffna peninsula or the Northern Province alone was not sufficient. Therefore, a Tamil homeland with the Eastern Province had to be cooked up. A. J. Wilson’s book on SJV Chelvanayagam records (page 42) this story in detail.
    Even the World Bank is now focusing on spatial inequalities in former colonies (The world is not flat, uneven development [spatial injustice?] can be reduced by spatially-blind action – World Development Report: Reshaping Economic Geography, 2009, p. 1). Eurocentric writers, both local and foreign, did not take the spatial inequalities path. Instead, Horowitz and others promoted (The Deadly Ethnic Riot (2001), Ethnic Groups in Conflict (2000)) devolution federalism and unmajoritarian institutions within the capitalist representative democracy of the capitalist European West. The Horowitz path helps creating weak countries (with weak central governments) slowly spinning off newer weaker countries into orbit. Scotland and North Ireland will soon be two European examples.
    Sri Lanka did not fall into the Horowitz path, perhaps due to divine intervention by way of confusing Prabakaran’s mind. If Prabakaran accepted the CFA 2002 or if he allowed Tamils to vote in the 2005 Presidential Election, by now Sri Lanka would have been divided into two countries fighting with each other, a Palestine in South Asia. Fortunately Sri Lanka is already implementing a homegrown solution different from the Horowitz path aiming at empowering people rather than giving a piece of political real state to local ethnic separatists. The Jana Sabha concept to be implemented at the GSN level will empower Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim villagers by passing and marginalizing a handful of Muslim and Tamil separatist politicians.
    The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement has been implementing the concept of empowering people at the village level for decades encompassing 15,000 villages (Sri Lanka has 14,000 GSN units). In India, since 1993, the Panchayathi Raj Institutes are now a constitutionally empowered method of local governance. Sri Lanka inherits a two thousand-year old tradition of local governance trinity—village, water tank and temple. Therefore, LLRC has a relatively easier task before it. It does not have to invent “innovative and creative ideas” on Sri Lanka as Hillary Clinton wished at her meeting with Jayalalitha. All what remains to be done by LLRC is to play its historic role of resurrecting the territorial representation system introduced in 1931 at the village (Jana Sabha) level. This is its destined role because so many of the ills in Sri Lankan society and governance could be tackled via an empowered Jana Sabha. Light will be thrown on corruption, criminality, inefficiency and inequity when governmental action is discussed, implemented and monitored at the village level by non-partisan peoples’ representative councils. This idea was presented as far back as in 1988 by the Sarvodaya leader A. T. Ariyaratna in his timeless book, “The Power Pyramid and the Dharmic Cycle.”
    The decentralized administration at the GSN level is appropriate as an out-of-the box solution to the Horowitz’s path of ethnic conflict reduction because, the population geography of Sri Lanka presents a scrambled egg-type distribution of different ethnic communities. In such context, if the local unit is small, then there will be more units and more opportunities for local ethnic identity (Northern Province alone has 924 GSN units). This is important when politicians talk about collective ethnic identities or public aspirations as a mask for hiding separatism. Unlike private aspirations, public aspirations generate more public clashes, if the spatial unit of its coverage is a district or a province. For example, a Tamil village or a Muslim village celebrating their ethnic identity will not be perceived as threat by adjoining Sinhala villagers, unlike a Tamil homeland of a merged N-E Provinces.
    A further improvement that LLRC can make to this GSN unit-level decentralization of governmental power is to recommend a process to demarcate GSN (Jana Sabha) boundaries on an ecological basis. The local administrative unit in the past was a village trinity of people-water-religion. All over the world, river basins or groundwater basins serve as spatial resource management units. New Zealand is the latest example in this regard where local government units are demarcated by river basins. Hence, in Sri Lanka, if Jana Sabhas are demarcated on the basis of river basins, hydrology or geology, the innate instinct of people thinking on ethnic lines could erase from their minds in the long run. Sri Lanka needs language-blind political units. For example, the 24 agro-ecological regions of Sri Lanka do not fit in with language or religious boundaries. Sri Lanka has 103 river basins. These can be categorized into seven large river basins. If Jana Sabha’s are demarcated using hydrology then each Jana Sabha ultimately comes within one of seven major river basins. The Environmental Authority in Sri Lanka has identified these river basins and about two decades ago the geographer Maddumabandara prepared a seven river basin map for Sri Lanka to replace the present nine provinces map. This is how Sri Lanka can meet its environmental problems due to global warming, floods, landslides, soil erosion, denudation and droughts. The seven river basin map (available at LLRC office) is an innovative idea that the American ambassador in Colombo can forward to Mrs. Clinton to discuss with Ms. Jayalalitha. This is different from Mrs. Clinton separating oil basins in Libya between Tripoli and Benghazi.
    If LLRC caves into Horowitz kind of devolution federalism trap and recommends resurrecting the APRC majority report’s plan of unmajoritarian institutions, Sri Lanka will be in the same nervous path that Scotland and Northern Ireland are now on, where each next election is considered a step closer to secession leaving the British Parliament. TNA and Tamil Nad and Clinton-Jayalalitha axis in a way made LLRC’s mission much easier. The TNA Tamil Party in Sri Lanka is compared to the “Tea Party” in USA in its unreasonable behavior and delusional thinking (ref. essay by Neville Ladduwahetty in Island, 8/12/2011). Former 13-A plus promoters still write about Sinhala extremism, Southern extremism/fundamentalism and the Sinhala ultras (Dayan Jayatileka, Island, 7/31/2011). Who are these Sinhala ultras? Was the suggestion promoting a Hindu-Buddhist Axis a bad idea (Gomin Dayasiri, Island, 8/7/2011). Suggestions such as to begin a program similar to de-Nazification in post WW II Germany in Sri Lanka to erase Tamil separatism from the minds of TNA Tamils and from most Tamil public servants and Marxist professors are a reaction to this Thesavalamai fundamentalism (Susantha Goonatilaka, Daily Mirror, 8/2/2011). The average Tamil man and woman is not interest in land powers or police powers. They want their basic needs satisfied (Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs?). In about 10 years when Sinhala and Tamil children learn how to speak both Sinhala and Tamil, there will be no need for European recipes.
    Take care of your relatives (Maha Mangala Sutta)
    Relatives can be pain in the neck if the Middle Path (be reasonable) is not followed in treating them. Humans cannot ignore their relatives. Napoleon was perhaps the only human being on earth who rose to eminence in so short a period of time without anybody’s help. But as emperor he distributed countries he captured to his sisters to govern. These sisters were not qualified for the jobs. A good example of giving jobs to qualified relatives comes from Singapore where Lee Kwan’s son got the prime minister’s job and the latter in turn appointed his wife to a top job. John F. Kennedy’s father wanted Robert Kennedy appointed as Attorney General of USA. Nobody could stop him. Later, a WW III was prevented because of this brother who prevented the cabinet taking the president on a war path during Cuban missile crisis.
    Each prime minister/president in Ceylon/Sri Lanka (except SWRD and W. Dahanayake) used his/her relatives in governance. Some were so unreasonable in this regard and in so doing damaged the country. But it is an objective historical truth to say that Sri Lanka was saved from destruction on May 19, 2009, by the combined wisdom of three Rajapakse brothers, Mahinda, Basil and Gotabhaya. This was this island’s destiny. It is therefore, no wonder that the federal separatist local and foreign lobby has targeted the brotherly love for attack. The Hindu editorial, a brother out of control (8/16/2011), and the TNA attempt to accuse “dishonesty” on the part of the three brothers are two latest examples in this regard. Fortunately, voters in Sri Lanka know better as evidenced by an opinion letter to the editor by Capricorn (Island, 8/16/2011). In response to TNA’s new golden brain S. Sumanthiran’s demand “[brothers] Speak in one voice” (Island, 8/12/2011), it clarifies using TNA’s own words that Gotabhaya Rajapakse has said the same thing that Mahinda Rajapakse had said in 2005 presidential election manifesto. In the past when SJV Chelvanayagam was delusional and behaving unreasonably there was no one to bell the cat. In 1961 Patrice Lumumba was assassinated (along with UNSG Dag Hammerskjold a few months later?) within months after him telling the Belgian King who was sitting on stage on the occasion of granting independence to leave the country ASAP. And for 30 years the replacement Mobutu provided a dictatorial regime for the west to exploit Congo-Katanga mineral resources. Lumumba reacted so because the king was talking (lying) about the good his country did to Congo! Considering the humiliation treatment that Sri Lanka gave to western imperialist politicians it is not surprising that they want more of the Channel 4 videos type murder weapons in 2011 unlike during days of 1961. In this context, some religious leaders preaching to avoid “isolation of Sri Lanka” are in the same boat with Channel 4. For them the world is a handful of white politicians and they can mislead their devotees because history is not taught in schools since the 1970s, removed by Marxist agents. To bring back history to school curriculum and to bell the delusional TNA cats require lot of courage from reasonable men and women in Sri Lanka.

    • WOW!! This is an article in itself! Even w ithout reading it, it strikes me that (a) it should enter the public realm as an independent piece and I will consider making it one within the limited circle that THUPPAHI draws.; (b) so you should consider publishing it in SL newspapers or better still, in transcurrents or groundviews so that you attract comment [plus fire and brimstone].
      Given the limits of my website I suspect that you are using a bulldozer to crack a nut … but this comment is premature. I do appreciate the trouble you have taken and the implicit commendation of my site.

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