Right now Sri Lanka is facing three offensives – and all three have come from abroad with the Tamil Diaspora trying their best to embarrass the Sri Lankan government. The first is the anti-Sri Lanka resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council at its 25th session in Geneva. This resolution insisting on an international investigation into allegations of war crimes in the final phases of the civil war in 2009 has pleased the Tamil Diaspora. They think they have scored a victory against the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL). But GOSL has bluntly refused to go along with the UNHRC resolution. What the Diaspora does not realize (or does not publicize) is that the economic consequences of any sanctions will hurt the Tamil people in the North and south more than the Government. GOSL is working on its own formula – possibly a Truth Commission on S. African lines – which will weaken the UNHRC move as the GOSL has shown a willingness to conduct an investigation of its own.
The second is the abortive attempt by small group ex LTTE to revive the violent struggle in the post-May 2009 period. Informed journalists such as DBS Jeyaraj have identified the Nediyavan group of Norway as the key operator who has financed and directed operations from abroad. GOSL reacted swiftly to target all three thus ending the futile attempt of the Diaspora to achieve their goal. It is clear that the Government forces are on full alert and the ready response to beat futile attempt is a clear warning to the Tamil Diaspora that they cannot gain anything significant by financing and directing militancy except causing more chaos and suffering to Tamils in Sri Lanka
Third, the Tamil Diaspora has been working overtime to hit back at GOSL in various ways. But the GOSL has taken the Diaspora by surprise when it listed 16 organisations as terrorist outfits. This is a move to nip in the bud any organized moves by the Diaspora to destabilize Sri Lanka. To some extent this move has given the GOSL the upper hand. It has also crippled the free access to Sri Lankan agents in of the Tamil Diaspora. I personally think all these Diaspora organization not only banned but also initiating a inquiry against arming and financing a war against t Sri Lankan people many years ago.
The fact that the killing of the three agents of the Diaspora did not provoke a public outrage proves that any attempt to revive terrorism will not gain any sympathy either abroad or in Sri Lanka. In fact, various reports agree that the vast amount of information came from the Sri Lankan Tamils in the North who are wary of the rise of violence again. The West and Pro LTTE Diaspora fronts have one thing common: they have no sympathy for the victims of their foolish adventures. The consequences of all their actions will have to be borne by the Tamil civilians who have had a gutful of violence. The GOSL forces are quite pleased that the Tamil community, by and large, have responded favorably to their request for information and cooperation. As usual the Tamil Diaspora is going down the wrong path. They have not calculated their options realistically. Whatever emotions there are left over it is not emotions that is going to win the day. The chances of winning gains for the Tamil people are greater if the Diaspora can change its tactics and look for positive engagement with the GOSL.
We have to seriously ask the West and LTTE front organisation to leave the Sri Lankans to sort their problem because that is the only way forward to permanent peace in our Island. Guns and goons occupied the land till May 2009.Violence of the south and north ruined the nation. There were no positive gains in either the JVP insurrections or the Tamil separatist violence. If the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna insurrection succeeded in Sri Lanka, then most probably we would have ended up like another North Korea. I believe Rohana Wijeweera would have been be worse than Kim Il-sung who after the Korean War, introduced the personal philosophy of Juche, or self-reliance, which became a guiding light for North Korea’s politics. Decades of this rigid state-controlled system have led to stagnation and a leadership dependent on the cult of personality.
In 1971, unable to control the insurrection, Sri Lanka had to get help from India; unfortunately many young people were killed. Many mothers lost their children. The Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike led government in Sri Lanka, not only rehabilitated many militants but also let many leaders back into the community believing they all respect democracy and power of the ballot paper.
In 1987 the same leaders started another insurrection while government battling with Tamil militancy in north and east during 87-90, more young militants, and defence personal and innocent people were killed. The Government during the time had crushed the JVP leadership without mercy, made no prisoner from the leadership. But there were not many complaining about human right violation because cold war clouds covered over the entire horizon during the time. Subsequently thirty years of Tamil militancy was brought to end last may 2009 by military means.
I am not a blind supporter of the government. Governments are all over the world are not only imperfect but also inefficient, but the alternative to a government is chaos, destruction of lives and properties. Foreign intervention in many countries whatever those governments were imperfect, interference by other countries in last 60 years have turned into disastrous consequences. The Tamil people of the North are being kept in the dark about the unrest and instability in places like Kosovo, South Sudan and East Timor by local Tamil Medias. Last provincial election results shows people are longing for the peace and order provided by the current government. President Mahinda Rajapaksa achieved in Sri Lanka last 5 years was stability and established law and order that many presidents and government were not able to provide to citizens of Sri Lanka for many years that why he is being elected every election from 2006 to today.
During last presidential election I was travelling south of Sri Lanka and talking to many Sinhala workers, farmer and fisher folks and they all said was he was the man who stopped killing our sons. One friend of mine with his wife and children were driving from Kandy to Colombo, said to me ‘Machan, we were not able to come to Colombo together as a family before. We could only come either my wife with son or daughter or me with son or daughter because of bomb blasts in Colombo.’ I asked him, ‘how come all the people forgot this so soon. He replied ‘ No, No ordinary people remember this and voting to Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa all along.’
The majority of the Sri Lankan people are grateful to the Government for removing terrorism from the country. This is specially so in the border villages in the Districts of Anuradhapura, Tricomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. The rural Sinhala people will perceive the actions of the West and the Diaspora as anti-Sinhala. The west and the diaspora are therefore really sabotaging any real reconciliation between the communities. They are looking only to fulfil their political and emotional agenda. I thought that was true if you are a wealthy Sinhalese or Tamil you can send your children abroad but ordinary people did not have this choice. Poor Tamil send to LTTE and Sinhalese send to army all these years before May 2009. Now after three decades, ordinary Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese are sleeping peacefully at their home with their children beside them and dreaming of their future but some people outside Sri Lanka do not like their peaceful dreams.
NOEL NADESAN: “Winds of change in Jaffna — KFC and economics not politics is what the people need” .. . 6 April 2014
The war radicalized Jaffna and it was inevitable that we could never again return to the good old Jaffna we knew. There were signs of a new Jaffna emerging imperceptibly even during the war years. I have visited Jaffna 13 times in the last five years. But nothing signified the change better than the international symbol I saw in Jaffna when I visited the place last in January 2014. For the first time ever I saw one of the best international symbols in the heart of Jaffna. It was the face of the bearded Colonel of Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was a giant leap for Jaffna to abandon the traditional porichci koli” and go for KFC. To me it was like our people abandoning betel and opting for chewing gum. This to me is the ultimate symbol of Jaffna breaking away from the feudal past and arriving at last in the 21st century.
Talking of climate change one cannot feel it better than in Sri Lanka. We travelled from north to south and east to west. There is a palpable change that you can feel and see. Just not the roads but the attitude and the new spirit that is visible in the faces.
One bright evening, as I was walking with my wife on a narrow street in Wellawatta, Colombo, — a predominantly Tamil suburb – I received a mobile call from a young widow in Kilinochchi. I have sponsored her for last three years. I was to meet her on the way to Jaffna. She rang to regret that she would not able to meet us at Kilinochchi as she had begun teaching voluntarily at a local school. She thanked me profusely for the financial help given to raise her family. She informed me that her children were doing well at school. I was happy to learn of her progress which I took as a general indicator of the progress made by the twelve other widows who had lost their husbands during the war. I have been helping them for the last three years.
The widow who spoke to me was Lakshmi. She has two children below the age of ten. Just a year after the war I saw her in a rebuilt house, which was built with government assistance, but did not have any door. She did not have any money to install a door. Nor was any financial support forthcoming. With the backing of a local friend I was able to organize some help to her family and I was happy to learn that the domestic situation had improved.
In March 2009, I went to Colombo with likeminded 25 expatriate Tamils from Europe and North America on the invitation of the government. It was a critical time when the war had reached a climactic moment. The goal was to engage the Lankan government to help the Tamil people who were taken by LTTE as human shields for the protection of LTTE leaders. We were in discussions for two days with some of the key government officials, though our mission was a failure due to LTTE obstructions and obstinacy. We were not involved in the politics of the time. We were continuously engaged with the government in rehabilitation of post-war situation such us regularly visiting refugee camps and submitting our observations to the government for improvement.
There are many important facts that need to be put on record.
Thirty years of terror and violence perpetrated by LTTE were brought to an end by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Whether we like him or not we have to concede to this hard fact.The ending of a war is a defining moment which opens up new possibilities. This is not a small achievement. Ending a war proved to be as difficult as waging a war. The frustrated Tamil Diaspora who financed Prabhakaran’s futile war decided to pursue the war through other means. They went on the war path from abroad. They decided to fight from the safe shores.
After financing all the violations of international humanitarian law committed by LTTE , they became human rights champions overnight. It was the war in which more Tamils were killed by our liberators” than all others put together.
Considering the suffering, the deaths and destruction caused by the futile war of Prabhaharan and his liberators” the attempt of Diaspora to carry on as if nothing has changed is as futile as the war. We have to recognise the gains of peace if we are to move forward. Politics can cloud the issues and make us easily forget the bloody past.
LTTE was not a small outfit. It claimed that it had defeated the world’s fourth largest army when it forced the IPKF out of Sri Lanka. LTTE claimed that it had a state with an army, navy and air force not only to threaten the Government of Sri Lanka but even to kill Indian prime minister as well. But in the end they lost everything. During the last days of war, knowing the inevitable military defeat, the LTTE took cover behind 400, 000 Tamil civilians hoping to raise an international cry. Taking cover behind unarmed civilians is a shameful act not worthy of our so-called heroes. It was a cowardly act. The liberators” gave cyanide pills to the brain-washed youth and they took cover behind the civilians. They shot the Tamil civilians running away from them. In addition, they killed all the captured army personnel. The Sri Lankan army not only defeated LTTE but also rescued all these captured people. Of the displaced people 95% were able to resettle within three years and infrastructures were rebuilt in the Northern Province. Almost 95 % of active LTTE cadres were rehabilitated and released in the society.
I agree there are a few areas that still need remedial measures that could speed up the process of reconciliation among the communities. But our political Tamil leadership is bankrupt. For this the entire blame is to borne by LTTE for eliminating not only political leaders but also potential social leaders in last thirty years.
What we need is a new leadership that can read the sign of KFC in Jaffna and move with the times. Going back to confrontational politics can only lead us tortuously to political turmoil again. What we need is a pragmatic leadership that brings relief to the war-weary people of the north and east. Our people cannot live on a diet of politics forever. We need economics to raise our heads from the depths of misery. We have to postpone politics for the time being. With politics we will be forced to spill only blood. With economics we can move forward to regain what we lost during the past 30 years in useless politics.
The choice before us is simple: it’s either politics or economics. If we opt for politics we are going back to Eelam which we lost. If we opt for economics we have a chance of regaining the future we lost in May 2009 Historical examples justify this. Take, for instance, the case of the Germans. If after losing the war, had they returned Hitler’s fascist politics where would Germany be today? It was because the pragmatic Germans opted for economics and buried their politics for good they were able to rise from the ashes of defeat.
The Germans and the Japanese won all what they lost in their futile wars. We can do better than them if we can get our politics right.