The Prime Minister came out of his residence having several papers in his hand. With his appearance, people became silent. Everybody wanted to listen to what he got to say. He was very patient. Firstly, he paid homage to the monks. He said "I never go against the wishes of Maha Sangha (Buddhist monks)".
After making that announcement, he tore off the papers with him. The Buddhist monks chanted "Sadhu! Sadhu!". People cheered shouting "Jaya wewa!". That was the end of Bandaranaike - Chelvanayakam Pact (B-C Pact). Dear leaders of the TNA, I recalled the fate of the first pact between Tamil leaders and Sri Lankan government, in order to highlight a very valid point. The B-C Pact was a result of lengthy discussions and deep negotiations. It took more than a year to see the day light. But it lived only few days. When Sinhala nationalists protested with the leadership of Buddhist monks, the Prime Minister decided to unilaterally withdraw from the pact. It was the first pact between Tamil leaders and the Sri Lankan government in the post-independent history. It is also the first broken promise to Tamil leaders by the Sri Lankan government. Not only the B-C Pact but successive other pacts also had the same fate. Dudley - Chelvanayakam Pact in 1966, Annexure C of All Party Conference in 1986, Mangala Munasinghe Committee Report in 1992, Federal Constitution of CBK in 2000 are a few to name. Successive Sri Lankan governments never implemented what they promised to Tamil leaders because of resistance of the Sinhala nationalists led by Buddhist monks. The most important pact in this respect is India - Lanka Accord in 1987. It was signed by the Indian Prime Minister on behalf of the Tamil leaders as a guarantee of implementation. Thereafter, provisions of the agreement became part of Sri Lankan Constitution by way of the 13th Amendment. However, even India, the regional super power, failed to cause full implementation of this agreement. Sinhalese also paid a heavy price by way of sacrificing approximately 67,000 lives in their resistance. Unfortunately, you have not learnt any lesson from the events of 64 years in the post-independent era. In fact, you and your predecessors got yourselves trapped in a vicious cycle. You pressurize the government to meet your demands. When pressure reaches to a peak, the Sri Lankan government commences negotiations with you and reaches an agreement. When Sinhalese pressurize the government to withdraw from the agreement, the government does so. After a pause, you commence pressurizing the government again. These cyclic events repeated several times in the recent past. It will do so in the future as well. You had been negotiating with the government for the entire year of 2011. An English weekly, in an interview with the writer, posed a question regarding talks between the TNA and the government. My response was that we were least bothered about the talks. Frankly, we have not been updated about the talks and we never questioned as well. That is because we are confident that whatever the agreement reached between the TNA and the government, it cannot be implemented without the consent of Sinhala nationalists. History has repeated several times to prove this bitter truth. Learning from the history, you should have realized that the talks with the government would be futile without the participation of Sinhala nationalists. In addition to them, there are other stakeholders as well. The EPDP have been representing Tamil people in the parliament since 1994 without a break. The SLMC represents the voice of the Muslims. Irrespective of ideological differences, every parliament representing political party has a right to express their views about your demands.
Therefore, Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is the best place to discuss about your demands. The JHU has expressed its willingness to participate in the PSC without setting a single pre-condition. We expect the TNA to do the same. We are ready to openly discuss anything including Tamil Eelam. However, you have to change your traditional approach to winning demands. During the entire period of postindependent history, you have used a single tool to motivate the government to meet your demands. That is coercion or force. It may be violent or non violent but still coercion is coercion. During the period from 1947 to 1972, you mostly used non violent coercive tools under the leadership of Mr S J V Chelvanayakam. This period was full of events such as protest marches, satyagraha, fasting and hartals. Although you pressurize the government to meet your demands using coercive tools, you never attempted to justify your demands with reasoning, facts and figures. During the period from 1972-2009 marked the violent phase of the Tamil struggle. Instead of hartals and satyagraha, you used guns and bombs to pressurize the government to meet your demand under the leadership of Velupillai Pirabaharan. He was able to build the most powerful and ruthless terrorist outfit in the world. However, Sinhalese chose to fight and defeat the terrorism without succumbing to your pressure tactics. In the post terrorist phase which commenced in May 2009, you have chosen another pressure instrument, ie external pressures. You are now in an attempt to pressurize the government through foreign governments, international media, INGOs and IGOs to meet your demands. The European Union withdrew GSP+ concession to Sri Lanka. here were resolutions against Sri Lanka at IGOs such as the UNHRC and Commonwealth Heads of States Summit. There were frequent news and documentaries against Sri Lanka in foreign media. INGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International pressurize friendly States to act against Sri Lanka. Frankly, there are several feathers on your hat can be classified as great achievements from your perspective. However, you failed to bend the Sri Lankan government to meet your demands despite of your toiled achievement s in the international sphere. You should have realized through your experience of the last two and half years that your latest instrument also does not bring intended results. You must now be in a dilemma. All three instruments used during the postindependent era to meet your demands have been failed. What to do next? Before deciding the next strategy, you should find out why you failed. If you failed to discover it so far, let me disclose the secret. Sinhalese have a unique relationship with their religion, the Buddhism. Sinhalese are the only nation in the world who have been practicing one religion as the majority's religion for 2,300 years without a break. Because of this unique relationship, thinking of Sinhalese has been greatly shaped and influenced by Buddhism. In Kalama Sutra, the Buddha has preached to accept anything only if you are convinced. He has specially taught not to accept anything because of fear of allurements.
Therefore, Sinhalese are not ready to accept Tamil aspirations without conviction. Sinhalese are ready to die one after the other without succumbing to pressures. They were not afraid of hartals, satyagraha or protest marches used by Mr Chelvanayakam in the nonviolent phase. They were not afraid of bombs, guns and massacres used by Pirabaharan in the violent phase. Similarly, they are not afraid of resolutions of IGOs, allegations of INGOs and black news of international media. The aforesaid pressure tactics do not work with Sinhalese because of Kalama Sutra. They accept your stands only if you convinced them. Therefore, international support harnessed by you will be useless at the PSC. Instead, you should be armed with arguments, facts and figures to justify your demands to convince Sinhalese to accept those. We are eagerly waiting for meeting you at the PSC. We are ready to discuss anything. Not only to discuss, we are ready to accept anything including Tamil Eelam provided that you convince us with facts and figures. By Udaya P Gammanpila
Very rational assessment of the way things are and the majority thinking in Sri Lanka. For heavens sake what is the logical reasoning the TNA has for what they are forcing the Sri Lankans to give them. JP / USA
punchinilame Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:51 AM
If this is solvable, Sinhala politics cannot be put to practice any more. It is Politicians who decide and not Sinhala Voters.
P.L.J.B.Palipana Wednesday, 18 January 2012 10:08 AM
Sinnalebbe Wednesday, 18 January 2012 10:55 AM
You are simply saying the (historically) sinhala nationalist will not give in aa inch. However the TNA should be part of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), where you would be anihilated. The moral of the story is the nationalist haven't learned a lesson and the history will be repeated again untill the country learn a lesson!
Chaminda Tilakumara Wednesday, 18 January 2012 10:57 AM
Very proud to be Sri Lankan (and a Catholic at that), way to go brother:-)
Wicks Malaviarachchi Wednesday, 18 January 2012 03:18 AM
I firmly believe the best answer to resolve this complex problem is to adopt one Sri Lankan identity for all inhabitants of the island nation. First you need to be a Sri Lankan - race, religion etc. could take a second place for only cultural purposes. Finally, Sri Lankans should have the freedom to live in any part of the island with dignity as they wish. There should not be any homelands for any particular community. Sinhala and Tamil languages should be official languages with English as the commerce and link language. Those who learn the two official languages should be given recognition when seeking employment.
Malin Tuesday, 17 January 2012 11:31 AM
I am in a quandary as to why Udaya G brand sinhalese as Sinhal Nationalists and Tamils as just Tamils. Aren't the Tamils nationalistic and racists?
siraj Wednesday, 18 January 2012 06:24 AM
What you are saying is that even PSC recommendations will not be implemented. So that means this problem will go on for another 100 years. Correct?
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