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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha > Pirabaharan's Shadow & Democracy, Sri Lanka Style

Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

Pirabaharan's Shadow,
& Democracy Sri Lanka Style

12 June 2000

[see also Media & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam]

According to Nirupama Subramanian's report from Colombo, which appeared in the Hindu of June 17, based on the material published in the state-owned Daily News,

"It is the opinion of the President [Chandrika Kumaratunga] that the longer the delay in arriving at a consensus [on the so-called Constitutional Reform package], the greater are the opportunities for the acts of crime perpetrated by Pirabaharan."

Well, it appears that the current Sri Lankan President carries her administrative burden heavily and cannot stand on her own legs without parrot-mouthing the name of Pirabaharan.

Who has not forgotten that this lady is the one who made her entry into the political circus proclaiming that she will abolish the executive presidency. Thank God, until now she hasn't overtly blamed Pirabaharan for her lack of courage in abolishing the executive presidency in Sri Lanka. But I feel she will pass the buck on this issue also onto Pirabaharan's shadow.

The Time magazine of Nov.28, 1994 announced to the world the power grab by the current matriarch of the Bandaranaike clan. Now five summers have passed, and the Sri Lankan tax payers are burdened with an invalid, over-the-hill 'living mummy' (pun intended!) Sirimavo who passes off with the title, 'Prime Minister' of Sri Lanka.

Democracy is a much-maligned word in Sri Lanka, India and elsewhere in Asia. One can see a semblance of democracy within the SLFP. Chandrika's estranged younger brother Anura Bandaranaike, in his last year's duel with the current token Tamil retainer Lakshman Kadirgamar, exposed the facade of democracy within the SLFP. In his parliamentary speech on Oct.24, 1999, Anura had stated:

"My distinguished sister never used the Bandaranaike name till she joined the SLFP in 1992 and Sir, all of you know that. She only used the name Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga when she contested the Chief Ministerial post in 1993 and furthermore she does not need to flash her pedigree because she has attained the highest office in this country thanks to her father, thanks to her mother and thanks to her pedigree. Otherwise, the Hon.Richard Pathirana would have been President of this country. The Hon.Mahinda Rajapakse would have been President of this country. The Hon.Alavi Moulana would have been President of this country. Why her? Because of her pedigree, because of her name."

One is inclined to nod, 'Well said Anura'. Unlike his sister, Pirabaharan did not need a pedigree to lead the Tamils. He rose from the ordinary ranks by his sheer leadership skills. Opposed to this, Chandrika was an usurper to the SLFP 'throne' .... Past Sinhalese history in Sri Lanka is replete with examples of usurpers who captured power via kitchen intrigue and later suffered its consequences. Despite all the posturing she makes as a peace-nik for international consumption, words emanating from Chandrika's mouth have the same agitational hum as that of a frightened little chicken. How can Tamils sincerely trust a lady who couldn't even make peace with her own brother Anura?



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