By Dr Vickramabahu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In spite of indications made by the TNA, there is the uncertainty about how the Northern voter will vote. There is a strong opinion that neither party has given a serious answer to the questions raised by the Tamil voters. Obviously they want to know the final solution proposed by the each candidate. Then, some of them are more interested in investigation in to war crimes. There are many Tamils who do not consider this election is relevant to them. In a sense such people have, in their own minds, give up being a citizen of Lanka. It is an alien country with alien set of people. Why get involved in an election conducted in a foreign country? However not many will fall into that category. TNA has a large following and their authority remains strong. They openly claim that they do not aspire to build a separate country but want to have a significant power sharing. The extremists say that there is no hope for such a solution, as Sinhala majority is not interested in a compromise.
One engineer sympathetic to power sharing compared the power sharing in politics to a long building. When a long building is constructed, especially on weak soil, it is almost mandatory to have a movement joint to separate the building into two. To the layman that building will appear and function as a single integral structure. But careful inspection will reveal that there are double columns and beams at the joint, to allow one part of the building to settle differentially with respect to the other. Such differential settlement is imperceptible to users of the building, but real; and it allows a long building to exist without developing unsightly cracks. On the other hand one cold have a very stiff structure that somehow tries to force the entire building to settle uniformly but it can generate unsightly cracks in the building, thus creating de facto ‘separations’. Majoritist approach of Sinhala politicians oppose to power sharing appears to be similar to the ‘stiff structure’ approach, because tight control is seen to be the antidote to separatist tendencies. This approach does not appear to be working and is probably counterproductive, fuelling the very separatism it tries to suppress. Already national integrity is showing cracks in various forms including the so called Tamil parliament that has frightened the Mahinda regime.
There is a good reason for Sinhala majority to give their minority counterparts greater freedom of ‘movement’. Tamils are culturally very independent although the Tamils are accused of receiving educational and other favours from colonial rule. The Tamils themselves have strived to preserve their culture, without capitulating to colonial culture, more than the Sinhala. This happened probably because of Buddhist rationalism.
So at the time when Sinhala themselves were trying to forge a distinctive Sinhala identity rather than aping the West they had to get support from the Tamils. In other words, the Tamils were destined to be the vanguard for the entire nation to develop an authentic Sri Lankan identity. In order to be part of this vanguard, the Tamils need more freedom. That means the North East needs autonomy, while preserving Lankan national integrity. Clearly such thinking will be detested by the Sinhala chauvinist elements. Latter consider that the war is the final answer to the Tamil national problem. Many people inside this group consider Gen Sarath Fonseka to be the real hero of the Sinhala people. It is true that Gen. Sarath Fonseka was perhaps the main driver of the victory insofar as the ground war was innovatively designed and determinedly driven by him. It is also true that this administration treated him disgracefully. However, General Fonseka and several others, who are appreciated as war veterans, were in the army during the two Presidential terms of Chandrika. Ranil also became Priminister during her period. But both could not direct the war against Tamil liberation. They new it could develop into a genocidal attack on Tamil people. Hence due to ideological and philosophical reasons, they didn’t consider it as desirable.
Mahinda Rajapaksa won the war because he had political ferocity and determination to crush the Tamil aspiration for a free society. He sought India’s backing and overruled the US evacuation attempt which had been facilitated by the Norwegians. He dismissed all appeals made on humanitarian ground and carried on the war to a finish. Perhaps he wanted to be a war hero; and then to exploit that position to collect wealth and to be in power for a long period. Whatever the consequences was a political and existential one, and it was made by President Rajapaksa. Then it wasn’t Gota’s war; it was Mahinda’s, and he must be made to pay a price for his resolve to defeat all attempts to bring about a peaceful solution and making use of ‘war hero’ title illegitimately for his personnel benefit! Defeat of Mahinda in this election will be a counter to the Tamil Diaspora who wants revenge for the defeat of their Tigers and the death of Prabhakaran. The West and MNCs who supported Mahinda for the benefit of imperialist super exploitation have incorporated the support of China and Russia to make Mahinda an example to the developing countries as a task maker for neo liberalism. Consider this carefully: are we ready to risk the possibility that Rajapaksa could be a Don Juan Dharma Pala who was crowned by an imperialist power and be a party to a modern sellout? Is that how we want future generations to view us? I am certain that history will not absolve us.
The Joint Opposition’s current program combines the prospects of radical politico -constitutional change and no less radical economic change; given that Ranil Wickremesinghe is an ideologically liberal modernist as proven during his brief tenure as PM. This programme opens the way forward for proletarian intervention with the help of mass organizations that are developing with the election campaign. Struggle for implementation of national democratic tasks will increase the power of working masses and will draw the solidarity of international progressive forces.