In the afterglow of a Holy Week which testifies to the everlasting truth that love, compassion, self sacrifice and dialogue will eventually triumph over hatred and violence, we need to reflect deeply on one of the vital issues in Sri Lanka. The ‘Yahapalanaya’ government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe -- with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga also playing a vital role -- had listed constitutional and electoral reforms and good governance as its main priorities for the 100 days.
Yesterday Ms. Kumaratunga who has been appointed to head a Presidential Task Force (PTF) for reconciliation and lasting peace said the new government’s efforts to promote national unity in Sri Lanka would break down unless there was reconciliation. Ms. Kumaratunga in her first interview to the international media for some years, told India’s ‘The Hindu’ newspaper the PTF would be transformed into a permanent office for national unity and reconciliation.
“We have been encouraged by the response we have already received from the international community, including India which is offering us a lot of help to do all this work. Sri Lanka is now reverting to a foreign policy based on a principle of dynamic active non-alignment,” she said, outlining the dynamics of the highly successful foreign policy pursued by her father and mother, former prime ministers S.W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
The PTF comprises personalities of the calibre of those in the world’s group of eminent people who have been quietly involved in peaceful conflict resolution through dialogue and accommodation. The Task Force includes Charlie Jayawardene, Javed Yusuf, Kandiah Neelakandan, Professor Savithri Gunasekera, Dr. Ram Manikkalingam, Rienzie Arsekularatna and Priyanthi Fernando. The main objective of the PTF is to ensure trust, unity and the contribution of all to uplift the nation while healing the wounds of mistrust, social and cultural tension among different communities due to conflict and violence. One of the responsibilities of the PTF will be to identify solutions to concerns among different races and to resolve disputes faced by the people.
As the PTF began work, a historic event took place on Wednesday at Lausanne in Switzerland to make the world a safer place. After months of intense dialogue, with day and night talks during the past few days, the world’s six big powers reached an agreement with Iran whereby a potential Middle East superpower State agreed it would not make nuclear bombs.
A major lesson for the world is that the main principles of peaceful conflict resolution were followed in this dialogue between P5 plus and Iran. The P5 included the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany. Firstly there was a paradigm shift or change of perception. The seven countries represented at foreign-ministerial level, agreed they would have a dialogue on the basis that each country’s perceptions on the issues were relative and not absolute. That means they all were open to accommodate the viewpoints or perceptions of the other or others. On this basis they conducted a peaceful dialogue of give and take till they came to an accommodation on the hallowed middle path. It is a win-win solution not the largely self-centred win-lose solution. This produces what is known by conflict resolution specialists as synergy--the interaction or cooperation of two or more countries to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. In simple mathematical terms, it means that one plus one makes not two but three, something new.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif are reported to have played the major role in reaching this win-win solution which has been welcomed by most world leaders and political analysts, except extremists or hardliners like Israel’s fire-breathing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and right wing Republican firebrands in the US Congress. The Lausanne agreement is a timely and inspiring lesson for Sri Lanka’s PTF which we hope will have the vision and courage to help rebuild a new Sri Lanka by dreaming the impossible dream and fighting impossible foes of racial or religious extremism.
That is a marvellous thought and a very good example in sight as in the case of the Lausanne Agreement...Certainly with the current political power given my the people of Sri Lanka. The PTF can achieve the impossible dream of uniting the Sri Lankans from the multi racialists. The majority Buddihist people have not much to lose as they simply believe so.... but more to gain from bringing all religious minded people together and arrive at National Unity... Thus experiencing the momentous Growth which would be the outcome of the Synergy generated from National Harmony... We earnestly request the PTF to march forward with confidence... We can certainly recover the lost failure years....!
Lanka Saturday, 04 April 2015 08:49 PM
Chandrika you were a dead loss during your 10 years as President. If you had your way today the Sinhala people would be under a coward like you and your mate Prabha would have being the Eelam King.Thank God for MR we got rid of sxxt like you. Please get lost.
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