On Lakshman Kadirgamar
& the Peace Process
Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
in Sinhala Owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times,
21 August 2005
|"...We stood for
administrative decentralization, he stood for
federalism. We said how in Sri Lanka's
context, federalism and separatism were
entwined. He did not necessarily agree, but was
eager to hear what we said. He considered them
reasoned arguments... The LTTE has been guilty
of all the crimes over which the western
powers, the "International Community",
has been campaigning against ... The LTTE should
not be given visas by these countries. The JVP
hopes to hold a major demonstration in London
and in capitals of other countries for democracy
and against the LTTE. We are asking Britain to
deport Mr. Balasingham... If the LTTE resorts to
war, as the signs indicate they will, we must
prepare for self-defence. We must prepare now.
The international community must support us in
that legitimate self- defence..."
Assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar
Sri Kantha -
Farewell to Lakshman Kadirgamar
தி(ஒ)ரு லக்ஷ்மன் கதிர்காமரின்,‘ஒரு தனி
மனிதச்சாவு’ ஒரு பதிவு
We are still in shock and in mourning about
a person that
of the JVP and the country loved and admired. It is time
for all of us to take stock and for us to take the
opportunity to say a few words on how we of the JVP
Mr. Kadirgamar fought for the integrity of
the country. Equally important, and perhaps more so, he
fought for democracy and human rights for all the people
especially of the Tamils living in the North and East.
When we first heard of Mr. Kadirgamar over
10 years ago, in 1994 we had not met him in person. We had
only read about his straightforward and honest actions
through the media. We followed his work over the years. In
2004 when we came to form the new government we thought him
the most suitable for the highest office then available. It
is no secret that we campaigned strongly for him. Others who
now unreservedly extol his virtues would understand and
appreciate our viewpoint. We believe we must all learn from
him the qualities of honesty and straightforwardness.
As we began to meet him regularly, we became
friends. Our friendship was based on an agreement to
disagree if needed. We soon discovered that he behaved
correctly, probably because he had grown up in mature
environments both in Sri Lanka and internationally, where
correct norms on how to conduct business was followed.
He never spoke without an agreed agenda. So
our discussions were up to the point, businesslike. He was
always very punctual. If he was even five minutes delayed he
would apologise. There were many times he would cancel other
appointments to meet us. This was because he understood the
basic nature of coalition politics. We were the major
coalition partner and he took our viewpoints seriously. And
when we met again at the next meeting he would go back to
our earlier agenda and especially draw attention to those
areas where there were disagreements. He never tried to
gloss over or conceal genuine differences.
He was honest in politics, in discussions
and in personal dealings. As he began to know us, he started
in turn to appreciate some of our actions especially our
honesty. And he said so several times. We, of course, came
from different histories and different backgrounds. But
because of his honesty we developed a strong bond. After
official matters were over, he wanted us to stay behind and
chat freely as normal friends, not political associates. We
regret that in our busy political life we could not oblige
After we left the Sandanaya too, he
reiterated the invitation to chat in such a manner. It is
wrongly put by some quarters that he blindly followed our
ideas. That was not true. We stood for administrative
decentralization, he stood for
federalism. We said how in Sri Lanka's context,
federalism and separatism
were entwined. He did not necessarily agree, but was
eager to hear what we said. He considered them reasoned
But these differences were no barrier for
civilized discussion, between us. Both sides agreed that the
final solution to the national question was by discussion
and dialogue of all the parties to the conflict. When we
spoke at length about consistency in democracy and the need
to wipe out inequalities in all communities, he listened
with considerable attention. We both agreed that democracy
should be the foundation for any future in any part of Sri
Lanka. If the people were for federal solution on the
democratic will, then so be it. If the people wanted
administrative decentralization, then so be it.
We both believed that in
the search for democracy and equality in the country,
Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and Malays should not be
considered second-class citizens and also should not be
condemned to a
dictatorship without democracy and human rights.
He together with us did not believe that the
LTTE, the major suppresser of free will and democracy, could
in any way be considered
the sole representative of Tamils.
We learned from him
how international diplomacy was conducted. He mentioned
to us the
working of human rights organizations in the United Nations
and other international organizations. When we were ignorant
of certain matters he pointed out our own failings and we
appreciated it. We learned from him.
He confessed several times that before
meeting us he had a wrong impression about us - given to him
by interested parties. He appreciated
and he repeated several times that he wanted our idealism to
be harnessed in the forward march of the country. We know
that many times he had corrected others' false views on us
and showed them our true nature. We found him appreciating
views, irrespective of a person's social origin. And he
would openly say so when he disagreed. There was no coercion
whatsoever or attempt to force his views on others without
first convincing them.
As we came to know him personally, we were
glad that we had proposed him to high office, although then
only knowing him from his actions. When he contested the
post of Secretary of the Commonwealth we were relieved that
he did not succeed because we felt that he could serve the
motherland better than serving the world. And we did express
these sentiments to him to his face. He gave us his broad
After the Sandanaya was dissolved we spoke
with him. He was disappointed. We said that this was not the
first Sandanaya or the last. And we said that whatever be
the fate of the political alliance, our appreciation of him
would not diminish. Later when we met him for a
non-political chat we found him as open as ever. He did not
betray SLFP secrets but clearly
discomfort on such issues as PTOMS were plain to see.
Today our country is in deep trouble. The
prime and first duty of any country's leaders is to maintain
the country's borders intact. It is for this purpose that
countries whatever their size or nature from whichever part
of the world, maintain an army and a foreign service.
Today, our borders have been eroded in
an attempt to carve out a separate state. There are no
signs that the LTTE has given up these aims. In the
Wanni today there exists an illegal entity from which
the government is debarred and which at every turn aims
to legalise it as a separate state and expand its
Eradicating this entity should be the legitimate
objective of any person aspiring to be a leader of the
We are today in a phony peace trap. It is
difficult to get out of it. Within this trap our sovereignty
is continuously getting eroded. If this cease-fire was not
phony we should not have any LTTE assassinations. Minister
Kadirgamar should have been able to cycle freely from his
official residence to his own home for his swim.
The LTTE leaders have said several times
recently that they are prepared to go to war. This was
possibly meant to blackmail us. The government on the other
hand has bent over backwards every time to accommodate the
LTTE's unreasonable and increasing demands.
does the international community. The LTTE is not so
strong as it seems. They are afraid of freedom and democracy
for the Tamils.
has lost effective control of the East. It is maintained
partly by the government.
The United States and Britain have recently
namely attacks on noncombatants. These are by no means
legitimate armed struggles. The LTTE has been guilty of
all the crimes over which the western powers, the
"International Community", has been campaigning against and
even went to war for.
The LTTE has done ethnic cleansing,
in fact it invented it. It has the largest amount of
in fact it invented it. It recruits children as
too was invented by the LTTE. It prevents democracy.
Those who are genuinely against war should
now pressurize the LTTE. There are strict laws against
terrorism in the USA and Britain.
The LTTE should not be given visas by
these countries. The JVP hopes to hold a major demonstration
in London and in capitals of other countries for democracy
and against the LTTE. We are asking Britain to deport Mr.
We are also advocating both abroad and
locally, the highest transfer of resources to rebuild the
devastated areas in the North and East. We also want the
greatest possible welfare to the population there,
through the existing government machinery.
It is time now to ask some direct questions.
Will the LTTE come for peace talks? Democracy and human
rights for Tamils should be the main subject of such talks.
If the LTTE resorts to war, as the signs indicate they will,
we must prepare for self-defence. We must prepare now.
The international community must support us in that
legitimate self- defence. If the International community
governments do not come to our assistance, we will appeal
directly to the terrorism-affected people of US, Britain,
France, and other countries. This would be similar to what
they did for us in our time of need when the tsunami hit us.Comment