Thu, 22 Apr 2021 Today's Paper

Geneva: A destination where the cruel fear to go

25 February 2021 02:24 am - 26     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Displaced and grief-stricken Tamil civilians who were one time at the Kadirgamh camp in Chettikulam (the year was 2009) as this picture shows might have wondered what happened to some of their loved ones who went missing during the civil war (Pic AFP) 

 

For many right thinking people the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva offer hopes. These hopes are to have a government that’s responsible and accountable. 

 

The many voices that support the Rajapaksa regime affirm that allegations are made against the country’s security forces and past officials of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regimes-that were in office between 2005 and 2015-sans a semblance of evidence. The tide in Geneva generated by democratic forces has always been strong and this time too Sri Lanka runs the risk of being swept away. 


When one reads newspapers these days we see that the so-called patriotic forces are viewing or trying to paint a picture that right thinking forces in Geneva are ghosts or evil forces. Much propaganda is being carried out on these lines. What people in this island cannot fathom is that the GoSL is trying to woo other countries to support a ‘party’ alleged to have committed war crimes and cruelties. The GoSL is trying to stubbornly remain unchanged without reviewing its past actions during the civil war without committing to some parts of its reconciliation plan. To reconcile the defeated and damaged minds of the Tamil people there are calls to trace so many who went missing and also account for the lives lost during the decades of war between separatists rebels and government security forces. 


When the regime changed in 2019 there were concerns about investigations or probes into acts of cruelties being swept under the carpet because some of those appointed to the cabinet and state institutes had allegations levelled against them for committing crimes against humanity. 


The present regime justifies its aggressive stance in dealing with people who oppose them. The regime maintains that some people in this country need to be disciplined. The State Minister for Defence Dr. Sarath Weerasekare in an interview with the Sunday Ravaya newspaper (2021-1-31) makes mention of this fact. This group, according to critics, includes politicians as well. Some of the worst behaved lawmakers in the history of the parliament are holding cabinet or state minister posts in the present government. The present government has the bad reputation of silencing critics. Recently there was a heated verbal exchange in parliament between SJB Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara and Dinesh Gunawardene when questions were posed to the government  regarding the delay in releasing the Presidential Commission report which contains details about those who were subject to political victimization. The opposition forces in parliament complain about a delay in the part of the government in releasing this much looked forward to document. Recently Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa had affirmed that the government is hellbent on targetting their critics in a way that violates their political, civil and human rights. 

 

What people in this island cannot fathom is that the GoSL is trying to woo other countries to support a ‘party’ alleged to have committed war crimes and cruelties


This regime appreciates the weight that the Buddhist clergy throws behind it. In a subtle, but clear way the government minister and some sections of the Buddhist clergy underscore the need for Sri Lanka to not disassociate with the word ‘unitary’ when making references to the state. The present lawmakers of the country oppose federalism as the solution to the national question. They keep poisoning the minds of the people that federalism is a bad evil. It must be stated here that federalism where ever applied in the world has ensured peace and promoted coexistence between different communities. A good example is neighbouring India. Further examples for federalism providing the desired results in multiethnic societies are Switzerland, Malaysia and Singapore. 


World politics shows us that when the majority citizens of the country back the lawmakers’ stance to maintain the unitary features of a country that’s multicultural the need for a minority group to break away and demand self autonomy has cropped up. It must be mentioned here that the Old Ceylon Constitution (1947) allowed for some features of federalism, but all that was taken away when the new constitution was drafted in 1972. For the record two prominent personalities who made substantial claims that Sri Lanka should adopt federalism were premier SWRD Bandaranaike (1926) and renowned lawyer S. Nadesan (1975). 


The atrocities that have taken place in Sri Lanka and the subsequent lobbying by democratic forces in Geneva to highlight them underscores that a minority community that speaks a different language has been discriminated against. The only little stick that the past and present governments can lean on in the face of criticism against them in Geneva is that there has been adequate representation of Tamil people in parliament. But a race controlling a minority community has continued since Sri Lanka achieved independence from the British in 1948. 


We saw the ‘Rajapaksa way’ and the ‘Yahapalana way’ of administering the country. If the Rajapaksas technically left out the aggressive Tamil politicians from being part of the Cabinet the Yahapalana regime over extended the arm of camaraderie to Tamil lawmakers to the point that it made the majority Sinhalese look small. How A.

Sumanthiran questioned those who were brought in front of the COPE committee and the aggressive nature in the way Mano Ganesan spoke to media personnel and critics when he was the Minister of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages are solid examples. 


The president at present is aggressively promoting his campaign to find solutions to people’s problems in villages. This is because he thinks this is real development. But from the perspective off humanity we see a battered and a marginalised race, that cherishes ‘wadai’ and ‘South India’ movies, standing on the other side of a ‘bridge’ that offers a passage to mainstream activities. The GoSL must woo them by ensuring their rights; not by channeling time and effort to win over countries which would have to back a nation that is alleged to have violated the rights of a section of its people.

 

 

 

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  Comments - 26

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  • Ravi Sri Thursday, 25 February 2021 07:50 AM

    The message is very clear, the people who are majority by numbers should understand this.

    Peacemaker Thursday, 25 February 2021 09:21 AM

    Sinhalese should understand, without solving ethnic problem, Sri Lanka cannot develop itself or its economy, SL will be a third world country for even another 1000 years if the political solution is not achieved for the ethnic problem

    Jayasuriya Friday, 26 February 2021 02:46 AM

    Tamils should understand that if the country is to develop they need to stop complaining about everything. They even complain about Sinhala people coming to the north, now they are complaining to the geneva which could cost the army. Last time with the yahapalana govt. tamil diaspora together with my3 started putting intel agents behind bars and in the end it was the tamils who paid the price during the easter bombing because of there crusade against the armed forces.

    Panch Svensson Thursday, 25 February 2021 12:14 PM

    Thanks for your article. As long as there are free-thinking jounalists in a country, there is hope for democracy. BR //Panch

    Lanka Peiris Thursday, 25 February 2021 03:12 PM

    Ravi Nagahawatte, which part of Sri Lanka did you live and work during the 20/30 years of brutal murderous LTTE terrorism. Tamil lawmakers Sumanthiran, Mano Ganesan both left over LTTE supporters, where did these humbugs live! Sumanthiran, still begs govt. security for protection to live in Jaffna!

    unbiased Thursday, 25 February 2021 03:25 PM

    I really appreciate that there are still free thinking journalists in this country like you, but my worry is even yourself may be crushed at some point. how difficult is it to accept responsibility for ones own actions , and take corrective actions and move on to the right direction. It may well be a wishful thinking, but I sincerely believe if we can leave racial, majority minority, language religious arrogance aside, embrace each other accept people for who they are, accept their opinions give them the justice they deserve irrespective of who they are, and have a common law, and a law which is controlled by people not the politicians. If we can achieve this we will not only have long lasting peace in this island, but expat community will start investing in this country, we will have a stable political system, stable economy, no need to depend on debt. call me a dreamer

    Kumara Thursday, 25 February 2021 03:57 PM

    Please the people of SL ,mainly the Sinhalese peace loving people, understand how innocent people's grief and urge for concluding this matter with justice!

    Ratnam Nadarajah Thursday, 25 February 2021 04:33 PM

    Thank you for your vivid scope of the article. We need more journalists who think beyond race, language and religion lines. There is still hope for sanity where liberal minded souls raise against tyrany

    A.Rajakumar Thursday, 25 February 2021 04:43 PM

    Free thinking is fine, but the author of this article seems to have conveniently brushed aside historical facts to blame the Sinhalese. It is common knowledge the forefathers of the Sinhalese community were brutally treated and heavily discriminated against for centuries by the colonial powers, under their divide and rule policy which favored the minorities and migrants. Unfortunately, having tasted positions of power, these elitists within this minority community could not let go and did not understand the yearning of the Sinhalese community to regain their lost rights and continued the discriminatory policies of the Colonials which eventually lead to a fractured society. Fortunately, the majority, within all communities in Sri Lanka, live as peaceful neighbors, respecting and helping each other.

    Haris Wijayasiri Thursday, 25 February 2021 06:36 PM

    They willingly or forcible handed over their loved ones to the LTTE. Many of the combatants laid their lives for the LTTE. Why is Adele living comfortably in the UK after hanging the cyanide necklaces around the combatants necks?

    Haris Wijayasiri Thursday, 25 February 2021 06:43 PM

    I am lost here. Please explain the 'rights' which the ethnic minorities do not have, besides self government, which is not a human right. The Hispanics and the blacks in the US do not have that. They will be crushed if they ask for it. Many people in India do not have it either.

    K J Thursday, 25 February 2021 06:54 PM

    What a healthy report. I admire the reporter who reflect the issues properly.

    Punchi Banda Thursday, 25 February 2021 07:23 PM

    We don’t need the international community interference in human rights only in the shinhala Buddhist living rights like providing free food, free medicine, free free etc welcome. Buddha will come and look after us living in his special country

    Bernard Thursday, 25 February 2021 07:58 PM

    As Sri Lanka is still struggling to unite all the communities, countries like Singapore has made giant strides as a developed country uniting all the communities and Sri Lanka has already crossed the redline of being categorised as an under-developed country.

    Mokan Thursday, 25 February 2021 08:05 PM

    Very well said Sir. Take Care

    brainmaster Thursday, 25 February 2021 08:06 PM

    Good article. We need a certain federalism, learn from Switzerland and its diversification of powers and responsabilities. It will satisfy all.

    ari Thursday, 25 February 2021 11:11 PM

    India is a federal country with Hindi as its only official language with minorities like Muslims and Sikhs been marginalized and massacred over the years. How come federalism did not prevent it.

    Logan Friday, 26 February 2021 12:14 AM

    This is a small mirror, through which the international community can can see the real face of present Sri Lanka. I like your article Mr. Ravi Nagahawatte, and I totally agree to your points Sir.

    Kuhan Friday, 26 February 2021 05:05 AM

    A thought-provoking piece of journalism

    Srijith Hikkaduwa Liyanage Friday, 26 February 2021 09:31 AM

    Unless one happened to be USA/UK or their favoured countries

    Nallammah Kulanthaivelu Friday, 26 February 2021 10:37 AM

    A well-written article pointing out clearly the truths that prevail in The politics of Sri Lanka Congratulations To Ravi Nagawatte, Srilanka Needs Journalists Of His Caliber.

    Panch Sunday, 28 February 2021 04:46 AM

    The fact is year 1957 had Sri Lanka more educated people and more natural resources than South Korea. But you know how differences are now. Please forget the past, do something better now. Germany and Japan lost the war but they could develop their countries. Please let us develop our country. We don’t need any religion or language but we need respect as a human.

    thavamanis Sunday, 28 February 2021 04:04 PM

    How can we satisfy the Tamil community? I even see them complaining Sinhalese coming to the north. I also see none of the billboards in the north are written in Sinhalese. They are written only in Tamil and not much complains. At the same time even if there is one spelling mistake in the govt Billboards or Forms in Tamil, there is huge cry from Tamils, Quite difficult to satisfy them

    SarangaDS Monday, 01 March 2021 11:54 AM

    A diversive piece of journalism; reflected by the comments. However, congratulations on being able to publish it. In many countries this would have been viewed as unpatriotic, and there would be consequences for the author.

    Jeeves Monday, 01 March 2021 12:01 PM

    Minorities in most developed countries are forced to speak the majority language if they are to get on and prosper! But, do they complain, call it " discrimination" or accept the reality of the situation?

    Ranaweera Tuesday, 02 March 2021 11:21 AM

    Terrorists work with terror bosses at UN who approved war against many countries. All LTTE and racist tamils are in Geneva.


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