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President D.B. (What Ethnic Problem) Wijetunga
President D.B. (What ethnic problem? No ethnic problem!) Wijetunga addressing the UNP National Convention in Nuwara Eliya in late November has unburdened himself (once again) of some of his inner feelings. He said:
But apparently what is sauce for the opposition SLFP goose is not sauce for the ruling UNP gander. President Wijetunge clearly did not see the irony of addressing the question whether the SLFP can stop the war in the north by holding a meeting at Nuwara Eliya - at a political meeting held by the UNP in the same town. But then his vision may have been clouded by the UNP government's perception of war as a 'race to kill' combined ofcourse with the race to win the next elections.
In President D.B. (What ethnic problem? No ethnic problem!) Wijetunga's eyes, 'when a war is continuing, there is no law.' t is a perception which provides the ideological base for the continuing breach by the Sri Lankan armed forces of the humanitarian law of armed conflict during the past several years.
President Wijetunge's comment is at one with the equally caring comment of ex President J.R.Jayawardene to Kuldip Nayar in an interview reported in the Sri Lanka Island on 17 February 1985: ''The President conceded that 'terrible things' were happening in Sri Lanka. Asked if he would set up an inquiry commission to go into the atrocities committed by the army against the Tamils, he said: 'Did the British appoint a commission during the war?'''
Over the years, the voice of Sinhala chauvinism has always been, if nothing else, totally frank. The late Deputy Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne said cheerfully in the Sri Lanka Island on 24 August 1990: ''You must understand that in a war, civilians get killed. We are fighting a war.''
President D.B. Wijetunga's recent comments serve only to underline the truth of the assessment made by the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Velupillai Pirabaharan in November 1992: