By Kumar David –
Prof. Kumar David
A Sri Lankan President, as reported by the BBC, New York Times and The Telegraph (UK) and not contradicted by him up to this time of writing, has for the first time dropped the bombshell that 20,000 Tamils were killed in the civil war. Before commenting on that let me discuss devolution. Allow me these premises.
1. Gota is on record as having said devolution is not possible because the majority are opposed.
2. I (KD) agree that this is factually correct. The Sinhalese are strongly opposed, at this moment, to any devolution to the Tamils and Muslims in their respective areas of domicile. That’s a fact, let’s face it!
3. There is an implication in the way Gota phrased it that he, personally, would be more accommodating but his hands are tied by prevailing correlations of power.
4. There is historical precedent to this. Banda and Dudley had to tear up the B-C Pact and the Dudley-Chelva Accord, respectively, and duck for cover when Sinhala chauvinists and monks counterattacked.
If 1 to 4 are correct what is the right thing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to do? You can’t and shouldn’t expect him to hit his head against a rock and destroy himself. At the same time, it would be wrong to do nothing. Then how should he set about overcoming this gangrene? How did others who faced moral challenges of similar proportions respond? Three that come to mind are Lincoln, Gandhi and Mandela, admittedly men of extraordinary stature, but that’s just what makes them important. All three were determined to fight and to raise the consciousness of their people.