‘Stop this ‘Peace War’

It is time for those Sri Lankans who like what they see going on, who favour peace, to shout down those who believe that war is the answer. War isn’t the answer,’ American Ambassador, Mr. Ashley Wills advised us this week while handing over 2000 tonnes of rice to the Sri Lankan government.

Some Sri Lankans may see a sharp contradiction in what Mr. Wills says and the strident rhetoric of his leader, President George Bush on the Global War against Terrorism. Whether we agree with the ambassador or not, the question should be posed: Is there any person or group in this country that is advocating ‘War’ as a solution to the North-East Conflict or is campaigning against peace?

We are certainly unaware of the existence of any such person or group and will be grateful to those who could enlighten us.

We are not certain whether Mr. Wills was referring to those who are opposed to the Memorandum of Understanding, which is quite different to being opposed to peace. Many respected and learned citizens have publicly criticised the MoU in many respects and contended that it will not lead to a stable peace but lead to the commencement of hostilities soon.

There are many ‘peace activists’ in this country who emerged after 1983 posing as the paragons of virtue and communal amity and claiming to be sole agents of peace, while being recipients of heavy funding by gullible and devious foreign organisations with their own Machiavellian agendas. Governments of Sri Lanka backed by the majority Sinhala - Buddhists were deeply committed to eradicate the minorities from this country has been their line. This, quite often, works well with western NGOs and western governments.

We are well aware that this diabolical line has been pushed with western governments and agencies for two decades and it is still a line that is swallowed with much enthusiasm.

On the other hand, those who are opposed to the MoU because of a variety of reasons – not because they want to eliminate minorities by ‘war’ – too have failed to acknowledge that the ceasefire followed by the MoU has resulted in the halt to killings since December 25 last year, which by itself is an achievement. If the LTTE does sit down to negotiate, their genuine desire for peace or subjugation of the people through terrorism, could be exposed.

The self appointed Guardians of Peace have been successful projecting opinion into two rival camps – the ‘Peace’ camp and the imaginary ‘War’ camp which is much to their advantage. The situation calls for critical analyses of the MoU and the way it is being worked out today. While the MoU has had positive results there are many negative factors emerging as well. In particular, the intense exposure on child conscription in the Eastern Province by the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) serialized in The Island in four installments commencing last Saturday, demands responses from the LTTE, the government as well as from Guardians of Peace who have developed chronic locked jaw. That itself reveals their sincerity in protection of human rights.

What is called for is not a ‘Peace War’ but the narrowing of issues that could pave the way for negotiations.

Whom does the TULF represent?

TULF leader, Mr. Sivasithamparam, in a press release issued on Thursday has called for the ban placed on the LTTE as a terrorist organisation to be lifted, as an immediate step. As the sole representative of the Tamil people they (LTTE) cannot be expected to participate except on a basis of equality, he has said.

Yesterday, in the editorial page of The Island we raised the issue of the peculiar position the TULF has placed itself in. The TULF along with some other Tamil parties and groups under the appellation of the Tamil National Alliance before the last general election, recognised the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamils. By this move has not the TULF declared that it is no more representative of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka?

It is elementary logic that if by its own volition someone or some organisation declares another to be the sole representative of a group of people then there can be no other representative of that group. Thus, has not the TULF denied itself of representing the Tamils? Surely, if the LTTE is now the sole representative of the Tamils and the government accepts that position, how could it recognise the statement made by Mr. Sivasithamparam? Yesterday, we pointed out that the General Secretary Mr. R. Sampanthan had brought himself down to the rank of ‘Interpreter Mudliyar’ of the Sole Representative of the Tamil People – the LTTE.

TULF leaders have been notorious for wanting ‘to eat the cake and have the cake’. That perhaps if the reason why they declare the LTTE to be the sole representative and also attempt to represent the Tamil people and the LTTE as well!

This foolish exercise of attempting to ‘ride the Tiger’ has resulted in most of their prominent leaders – as the ditty goes – ending inside her.

The Tamils are desperately in need of leadership. The Island is receiving letters from Eastern Province Tamils crying out that they are destitute without leaders or anyone to protect them. The ‘sole representatives’ are abducting their children and the police and government forces are unable to intervene. Can the TULF help?

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