Seasonal patriotism - EDITORIAL

10 August 2015 08:24 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


he patriotism professed by Sri Lankan politicians seems to be at a time seasonal while at another party based. They talk about secessionist threats during elections and then maintain a deafening silence until the next election is announced. In the meantime some of them unflinchingly and unashamedly team up with the forces which they had accused of separatism. Another group in the other end of the island would shout at the top of their voices about self-determination of their lot and federalism and the likes, only until the election period is over.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and several other politicians associated with him are these days warning the people that the country was going to be bifurcated if the UNFGG came to power in spite of the latter repeatedly assuring that they stood for the unitary state of the country. One would remember that the same leaders of the UPFA led by Rajapaksa were claiming in last November and December that the common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena had been fielded by the foreign conspirators and that he had signed a secret agreement with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to divide the country.

The genuineness and the seriousness of their allegation and those of their patriotism were exposed to the world when they made President Maithripala Sirisena - the so-called foreign conspirator - the leader of their party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) soon after the Presidential election was concluded. Had they been so patriotic and true to their declared stance they should have fought tooth and nail even after the Presidential election against the new government without taking an official decision to accept ministerial portfolios under that government. The simple lesson they had to learn was that they were defeated at the Presidential election despite their separatism bogey.
Some years back the UNP too was following the same racist line when President Chandrika Bandaranaike was taking various actions in respect of the long-drawn ethnic strife. They set on fire inside the Parliament the copies of the federal constitution presented by the SLFP when it was taken for debate in the House in August 2000. However, after two years in December 2002, the same UNP made a formal agreement with the LTTE to explore a solution to the ethnic problem based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.

Both main parties along with their political crutches have alternately used racism for electoral gains while the parties with communal tags in their name have used it always. Therefore one would argue that one should not worry about this kind of false alarms or about the misleading and false comments made by politicians during election periods, since the majority of the populace is not driven to their decisions to vote by these comments or promises. However, creating or increasing a fear psychosis in a particular community or among members of another is dangerous as the fear is accompanied by growing animosity and hate. In short, this kind of bogey is nothing other than subtly stirring racism. Sri Lanka has won a separatist war but not peace, the whole world has been repeatedly saying for the past six years. One would easily understand the reason for the failure through the words and deeds of politicians in the North as well as the South.

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