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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings - C Kumarabharathy > Sri Lanka: It should be soul searching time

Selected Writings by C.Kumarabharathy

Sri Lanka: It should be soul searching Time...
6 May 2000

[see also Sri Lanka - Tamil Eelam: Getting to Yes]

Sri Lanka: It should be a soul searching Time, but will it be...?

Yes, it will be, if  World Governments act or not act according to the situation but do so with moral integrity. Many of the Diaspora Tamils have become desperate armchair analysts, which is understandable when a large number of civilian Tamils are trapped with various precarious options - whether in Jaffna,Wanni, Batticola or the  Hill Country.

# Non military benevolent intervention is the least damaging of the options which will slowly surely converge events towards peace talks. Any other options will increase civilian casuality and progressively diverge the war into wider arenas.

# The euphoria of LTTE success is a luxury which drained very fast in me as I vividly remembered the times when my family was caught in similar circumstances. The present crisis should converge logically and morally into a negotiated peace. Any military assistance will jeopordise this delicate balance of power not only within the country but also into the South Asian region.

# The current war cry of Sri Lanka is a grand stand stance played by the government to - one tactical withdrawal and second a wild card in case .... The new draconian laws are an irony because these are already in force now as far as Tamils are concerned. With less draconian laws, more than ruthless implementation is familiar to the Tamils. This step is bound to boomerang unleashed. There is nothing more that the Lankan government is left with apart from putting Lanka on a war footing. All options have been exhausted. When the crisis passes Lanka will realise it is an unwinnable 20 year war, and that peace can be only negotiated.

# Without rushing about in the world it should approach the present situation differently. This millenium will see several deprived communities trying to find their voice. This should be a mind opener so that such problems are looked at in a different way by governments. They should look at the source of the problem. Military intervention may be appealing but it has myraid downstream effects for the Asian region. These effects will grow and have their own life, and will be under no body's control. Everything is related to everything else and these threads runs unseen. By itself nothing is big or small. We may not know all the future ramifications of an amoral or immoral stance- all secret intelligence reports not withstanding. No amount of objective analysis will picture changes that could occur subsequent to a military intervention. These unseen threads and reactions spam and coalesce and will surely perpetuate bigger conflicts at some other place at another time. Act morally - then good will come for all. This 'crisis' that Sri Lanka is facing, calls for a principled stand by International community.

# In such a time as now, wild speculations and many linear extrapolations abound. Through life's experiences we know that only a few of such predictions eventualize. Communal violence on a large scale may not be possible. A few isolated incidents may be expected, but not anything like communal violence against Tamils 1958, 1977 or 1983 . Mmilitary license and political involvement is necessary to keep such attacks going. It is doubtful if these fuels will be forth coming. There is a parliamentary general election expected in August, which will make political parties move away from such mass violence.

# About Hela Urumaya - Our Heritage, the new right wing party.  The question is: Is this going to be accepted by a war weary Sinhalese people. Chandrika wants peace talks as badly as LTTE.  Which is the reason why the Government reluctantly went to Norwegian negotiations. Third party mediation is a result of LTTE's efforts, if I am not mistaken. Urumaya's influence has so far been overrated by a section of Sri Lankan media gone berserk. Urumaya's influence in shaping opinion in polls is yet to be tested. But the clergy taking to the streets has put off PA from Peace Talks. How the people are reacting to this hardened thinking is not clear from the media in its the current agitated state.

# UNP which only a week ago was saying that the continuation of war is not an option (BBC interview by Ranil) is just joining the band wagon. This suits them, as they are distancing themselves from battle debacles. Ranil will want the debacle to be in the mind of voters when General Elections are faced in August. The Army can not get manpower by volunteers. Conscription is a spectre. It is difficult to see this step happening. It will bring its own set of contradictions. Children of the rich people, bureaucrats and politicians are not in the Army. This will be the acid test.

# This and the necessity to give army a rest will bring talks to the foreground. Economical conditions are another vital factor in favor of peace. As it is all sections of Sri Lankan security are stretched including Police. So peace holds a very practical attraction at the moment, in spite of war hysteria.

# Why you might ask: peace should have always been attractive, for a country in civil war for two decades?. Yes, but the possible answer is that inertia of war had its own power of propagation. But now, this day to day war routine- the hum drum existence of Colombo, its bureaucracy , the elite with their Press briefings etc, - that soothing routine is broken by recent debacles. It is as if the spell of monotony, under which the War was functioning is now broken. When the dust settles down after the initial shock, it will be questioning time.

# Whatever happened to the Sinhala thinking in the last fortnight has yet to be fully evaluated. Initial reactions can not be anything but different from what we hear. But hopefully the picture presented only represents a section of the vociferous ultra right and Buddhist clergy's outlook. Within the clergy itself dissenting voices will start to come out. The Buddhist clergy has also a meditative tradition with dignified monks.

# Up until now the signs of people's war weariness has not been taken into account. This is the most potent factor.

# Any foreign intervention would only temporarily bail out the PA regime. Democracy is not at stake. Army coups are never going to succeed. It is not as if the civilians are facing a massacre. It is an army, armed to the teeth and only their hard line stance is at stake. This hard line is the mind set that blocks any settlement. Other than that, a cease fire practicalities can be easily assisted first by India and negotiations with third party International support.

# This time India or any other Country should wait for a little more clarity in the minds of the turbulent Political constituency before doing anything. People must get a chance to make political adjustments that best suits them. International Governments know how acutely critical JVP and other left wing parties are for any foreign intervention. So it is not easy for the outside world to know its role. If they intervene how are they going to resolve the Tamil question. The general elections in August will allow a chance for people to make some choice. Parties have to put their Policy on Peace to the voters.

# Chandrika will be driven to seek an accommodation with Clergy for International/ Norway mediation or whatever...including a change of guards in Colombo. This crisis will not pass without a major shift. I hope it is Norway that gets this job. They will have a clean slate and approach with a fresh perspective.

# But I am hopeful that a good solution that guarantees our rights will be forth coming. United North and East with sufficient autonomy and security while recognizing the special relationship with Tamil Nadu. There are successful world models for achieving this. More than hope there objective evidences are now in sight.


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