Editorial

Barbarians at the doors of Parliament

A front page report of The Island today states that the Tiger terrorists want nine of the 15 Tamils MPs to resign in order to accommodate representatives of the terrorists It could be argued that since the so called Tamil National Alliance before the last elections had agreed to recognise the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamils this call of the terrorists is perfectly in order. The TNA – Tiger Nominated Appeasers-as some Tamils themselves call this set up, having no choice at all on this matter, is known by one and all.

It is indeed the tragedy of the Tamil people, who had prided themselves on being an educated people, to have been placed in a situation, where their learned leaders and colleagues have been brutally killed by the terrorists, are now being asked to make way for these very killers. This is a horrendous example of the fascist dictatorship making an educated population kneel down to their demands or die. It is the sad fate of a leadership that attempted to use juvenile thugs for political gain only to go down to these barbaric monsters. Even at this stage Tamil political leaders should take a firm stand and tell the terrorists to go to hell and seek help of the democratic parties-even Sinhala dominated parties.

Today, on this page adjoining these comments, we publish a detailed report by the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) titled ‘Towards a Totalitarian Peace: The Human Rights Dilemma’ on the situation in the North and East after the Ceasefire Agreement. The title: ‘Totalitarian Peace’ itself self- explanatory. This group of young Tamil academics are today the only group of Tamils who have dared to challenge the right of the LTTE to subjugate the Tamil people and commit gross violations of human rights while being equally harsh on the government forces for their violation of human rights. They have long been critical of the LTTE atrocities and been driven underground but have had the courage to defy the terrorists, unlike the politicians who have succumbed. All Sri Lankans and those human rights activists throughout the world, owe a deep debt to this group of academics.

Whatever the arrangement between the LTTE and the TNA are concerned, the entry of LTTE terrorists to the supreme legislative assembly of this country is not a matter that concerns only them. It concerns all political parties and all citizens. Can an internationally proscribed terrorist organisation described as the ‘world’s most ruthless terrorist organisation’ say ‘Open Sesame’ and expect the doors of parliament to open before them?

The standard political strategy will be deployed-the new MPs being appointed under the names of political parties of those MPs who have resigned, to create the vacancies. But parliament should closely scrutinise the credentials of aspirant representatives of the terrorists. Their records, particularly in relation to laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be scrutinised. MPs should also be concerned of their own security, sitting together with terrorist representatives.

There is also the issue of terrorists being required to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution. They will have to state that they ‘Solemnly declare and affirm that they will uphold and defend the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka.’ And those who have killed innocents by the thousands to create a separate state will make this affirmation quite nonchalantly. Of course, separatists have taken this oath before, even though the TULF MPs at one stage disqualified themselves by refusing to take the oath of allegiance. Tigers taking this oath will be supreme mockery of the credibility of parliament.

The apologists for the terrorists will cheer. This move has resulted in the LTTE being brought into the mainstream of politics they will claim. But the terrorists are not entering the ‘mainstream’ to be carried away by it but to divert the ‘mainstream’ their own way. It would be argued that there were revolutionary Marxists such as Dr. N. M. Perera, Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, Pieter Keuneman and P. Kandiah who took the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and continued in parliament. But most LTTE leaders are not from the London School of Economics, London University, Cambridge or Peradeniya like them. They are GCE-OL or school dropouts and their understanding of parliamentary democracy and justice have been demonstrated by lamp post hangings and taxation by abduction.

The Barbarians are knocking on the doors of Parliament. Whether parliamentarians can do anything about it, is in doubt. Let them at least keep in mind that it is not the MOU that counts in this instance but Constitution of Sri Lanka. Political parties opposed to this move should think of new parliamentary strategies.


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