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Divide and Rule: Season Two - Editorial

19 November 2013 05:29 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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There are a lot of things that David Cameron has not done.  He is dragging his feet on the Chilcot Report.  He has not thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa for making it possible to visit Jaffna by ridding the peninsula and indeed the entire country of the terrorist threat. He has not issued an ultimatum to Barack Obama regarding the closure of the USA’s premier torture chamber, Guantanamo Bay.  There are probably other things, but these are major issues.

What he has said and done are what get commented on.   He visited Jaffna. He spoke to people who told him horror stories.  There’s no doubt that death is horrible, especially for the loved ones of the dead.  A mother holding a picture of a dead son makes a capture that wets the eye, especially if the particular mother did not say what her son did, for example, if he was a terrorist.

When someone says ‘ask the military to leave,’ the recipient of the request can feel good about himself.  If that person did not tell Cameron that there was a process of demilitarisation and explained that it was necessary for it to be gradual because of the antics of LTTE groups operating from London forcing the Government to err on the side of caution, that’s irresponsible.

In all the stories that Cameron chose to hear, one thing is missing: the fact that the complainants would have been living and dying in LTTE-Hell had the Sri Lankan security forces not done what the British were never able to do: eliminate terrorism.  Had Cameron visited these areas before May 2009, he would have thought twice before uttering what appears to most Sri Lankans, unadulterated balderdash.

So what are we to make of Cameron’s angst about the suffering Tamils and his pugnacious finger-wagging?  In short, ‘old hat’; colonial old-hat that is.  
There’s a big difference between Britain and let’s say France.  Both countries trotted around the globe, securing territory, plundering wealth and perpetrating genocide.  If you check out the countries these colonies  ruled, you would find that most of the former British ‘colonies’ are still in the throes of inter-communal conflicts whereas the former French ‘colonies’ are relatively spared these miseries.  That’s ‘divide-and-rule’ for you.

There was no ‘Eelam-issue’ of any kind in 1796 when the British landed.   Cameron’s ancestors carefully played the Tamils against the Sinhalese by privileging the former. This was evident in the colonial policy on education and in the various legislative arrangements enacted where a system of one vote for each group was adopted in a gross disregard for numbers of proportions. When real democracy was established, it was natural for the historical injustice to be reversed.  It was natural for the beneficiaries of British ‘largesse’ to be upset.  True, chauvinistic approaches by the leaders of both communities didn’t help, but Original Sin is clearly a British preserve.

David Cameron was just applying ‘lessons learnt’.  He played up Tamil (and we are not talking about Murali, who is reported to have told David some ‘home truths’ which of course the man chose not to hear) against Sinhalese and got the relevant cheers and jeers.

What is most pitiful about it all is that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) played right into Colonial Project II authored by David Cameron, acting deaf, dumb and blind about what Tamil chauvinism delivered to the TNA’s constituency.

It is time to unshackle.  Let David do what’s best for David.  The Sinhalese and Tamils must learn to read the Camerons of this world accurately and understand that those with post-empire angst cannot and will not help.  No one delivers reconciliation; it has to be wrought by the victims of divide-and-rule.  It’s a Sinhala-Tamil thing.  A Sri Lankan thing.

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  • MHA Wednesday, 20 November 2013 08:45 AM

    Amen! Cameroon does not deserve to the UK's Prime Minister. He has failed his own country and is doing the citizens of Sri Lanka no favor.


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