The real patriotism

MahindaToHitler_LnWFamous Chinese Marxist Mao Tse-tung said “the enemy will tell us which weapon we should take”. This is what president Mahinda Rajapaksa did to eliminate LTTE terrorism. The whole world understands this theory very clearly. The Sri Lankan Government never had an idea to solve this problem militarily. But it was the LTTE which led the government to this situation.

“There never was a good war and bad peace” Benjamin Franklin once said. Tamils should understand this very clearly. War is always to get rid of the bad elements and peace is always there for the betterment of human being.The Tamil community also should be aware that, a country will not succeed with regional patriotism. In a multi-ethnic populated country, it is important that all communities should know how to live peacefully. All communities should motivate and promote to work towards one goal. Thereby, we will find the people working for the country. We need to cultivate that mindset. That is called national patriotism. Further, it is important to promote national unity, rather than regional unity or community unity. If you seek only among your community members, sometimes it may be a detrimental to the national unity. National unity cannot be compromised by any means. Some countries which have multi-ethnic population sometimes create division among community members to promote national unity. That is one way of achieving unity. The other way is to find one good reason to show there is a foreign conspiracy and rally around people to work as one nation.

Muslim Factor
In this context, some intellectuals say Muslims in Sri Lanka by their extra ordinary attachment to their religion and unity provoked and pushed the other communities such as Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamils to pay more attention to their religions. Now innocent Buddhists and Hindus have also started talking about their religions and try to show their attachment and involvement in their faiths. If one religion shows off very much where the majority and other communities keep silent, then it will not lead to a pluralistic society. One rational thinking person will always think about the country and the environment before perusing his religious practices. Tolerance is not only applicable to majority, but also applies to the minority as well. All communities should treat their religions alike. One religion cannot overrule the other. Religious leaders should not promote religious separatism. In the mean time, each religion should know its limits. If this problem is not solved then there will be a Religious Patriotism Vs National Patritism scenario.

The main question here is: are we looking for a pro-regional patriotic country or a pro-national patriotic country? If we promote pro-regional elements, it will be detrimental to national patriotism. One cannot have regional and national patriotism. We should look for the best possible solution to suit the country’s ground situation. I would suggest that it has to be national patriotism, which is the best gift for post war Sri Lanka.

Therefore, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) should consider this point seriously when discussing the devolution package for Tamils. A rational thinking Tamil also should give some thought to this, if in case a solution is arrived at. Will the answer be devolution or will it take some other form? If that be so GoSL should think of a just and fair solution as an alternative to devolution. But a devolution based solution should not be a preference. GoSL can think of some other way to please the Tamil community.

Main Objective 
In a nutshell, people in a multi ethnic society should not leave any room for Religious Patriotism or Regional Patriotism. People should be educated on this. We see few extremists in each community. But that is very much a small percentage compared to the peace-oving majority. Therefore people should be educated to ignore or sideline the extremists’ view and look for majority view. The media has a major role to play in maintaining religious and communal harmony in the country. Law and order procedures are not enough. People in this country should help each other to ease the task of law enforcement authorities.

A country or a responsible government will always focus on solving an ethnic or a religious issue, not only to give a better life to the affected community, but also to promote and encourage the affected community to love its motherland. This has to be the main motto behind each and every solution. So any solution does not serve this purpose.

History and background 
The dawn of Indian independence came through by massacres and migrations in the Punjab on a scale unparalleled in world history, in time of peace. During that time Burma also experienced a similar struggle. Aung San, the youthful leader of Burma’s independence struggle, did not live to see the signing of the treaty which he had negotiated between Britain and Burma which granted Burma her independence as he was assassinated.

The situation in Sri Lanka was totally different. Sri Lanka in 1948 was in contrast, an oasis of stability, peace, harmony and order. The transfer of power in Sri Lanka was smooth and peaceful; little was seen of the divisions and bitterness which were tearing at the recent independence of the new nations of South Asia. Some critics say this may be one reason that members of a different community not showing a huge attachment towards national patriotism compared to Indians.

On the inaugural day of independence from the British, who ruled the country from the year 1815, the first Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake, who was nicknamed the Maha Kalu Sinhalaya, issued a statement clarifying the importance of independence in which he mentioned that the freedom we enjoyed for two and a half millennium years was regained after struggles.

The Prime Minister also mentioned clearly that regaining independence was the end of one struggle, but the beginning of another struggle which could be bigger than the previous one. How correct his words turned out to be. They serve as a clear analysis of political implications especially of minority anxieties on points of development interest starting from the Soulbury constitution which did not have adequate protection and rights of the minority communities in the country. That was the root of all problems.

Looking back it could be said that in the first years after independence the nation was united for most of the time, because people of Ceylon tasted the real independence and cooperated with UNITY concept without any divisions. There was much progress made in fields such as education, agriculture and health due to farthinking politicians at the time such as the Prime Minister himself and C. W. W. Kannangara. The efforts made in agriculture were such that the country was almost self-sufficient in rice production. As we can see some similarities in POST independence era of D.S Senanayake and during under President Rajapaksa’s rule, still we have a long way to go to achieve a durable solution to the ethnic issue. But D.S Senanayake did not face the challenge of terrorism and separatism, so it was easy for him to unite the communities. But President Rajapaksa faced a daunting task when he took over office, but he managed to end the war in a successful manner. That credit should go to President Rajapaksa.

The future of Tamils 
The Tamil National Alliance which has (up to now) a wider support of Tamils still shows its agitation and protests against the government. These actions will never ever solve the Tamils’ problems; instead it will prolong finding solutions to the issue.In an expected way, the TNA responded to the Government’s decision to ban 16 Diaspora organizations. The TNA backed Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka has adopted a resolution against the government’s decision to proscribe 16 international Tamil diaspora organizations alleged of functioning as LTTE front organizations.

The Council controlled by the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) passed 23 resolutions including a resolution demanding the government to withdraw the ban on the 16 overseas Tamil organizations.The resolution moved by the Council member M.K. Sivajilingam has been passed unanimously, but UPFA provincial councilors objected to this resolution. Through this resolution TNA’s duplicity is well exposed. When UN human rights council passed a resolution against Sri Lanka in March, TNA welcomed the resolution and pressed for international probe for war crimes. But when UN resolution 1373 came into effect TNA objected it. 

The government of Sri Lanka signed the UN Resolution 1373 which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing. So the Government of Sri Lanka worked according to UN resolution 1373, which is an accepted norm of a member state. TNA backed Northern Provincial Council passing this resolution shows clearly that they are against the UN resolution. UN high officials should make a serious note of it.

Among the organizations proscribed are, the LTTE’s Trans National Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) headed by New York lawyer Visuvanathan Ruthirakumaran, Global Tamil Forum (GTF), which is headed by Fr.SJ Emmanuel and active in Europe, and the UK-based British Tamil Forum (BTF). 
“All types of tolerances are not only applied to the majority community, but also applied to Minority as well. Minority Tamils and Muslims in this country should understand this fact as well.”
(The writer is a senior journalist) – See more at:

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