Sri Lanka's Failure?


M. A. Sumanthiran,

M. A. Sumanthiran, TNA MP, was reported (The Island, 1 May) to have alleged that the "Easter Sunday carnage was a result of Sri Lanka’s failure to ensure certain basic values", and "warned of dire consequences unless the government addressed the grievance of the minorities". That he did make such a statement with all the solemnity and suavity at his disposal was confirmed by a live TV broadcast of parts of his presentation at an event staged at the BIMCH the previous day.

Sumanthiran, I am told by those who know him, hails from an affluent family. He has lived almost throughout his life in Colombo among the multiethnic social elite of Sri Lanka, enjoying all the privileges which the nation has accorded to that elite

regardless of its ethnic diversities. By attributing the "carnage" to a general failure of the nation to ensure certain "basic values" he has, implicitly,

rationalized (if not justified) the carnage, just as much he would probably justify the horrendous attacks of comparable magnitude on civilians by the LTTE even as recently as a decade or so ago. Such a syllogistic speculation seems reasonable in the context of the fact that several among the present leadersof the TNA were permitted to survive during the Eelam War because of their willingness to serve as the "boys" of the LTTE (a fascinating reversal of roles in our political tragicomedy), while the invincible thalaivar liquidated several others.

What, may we ask, arethe "basic values" which he says our nation has failed to ensure – which presumably other nations of the world supposedly subscribing to democratic ideals have been ensuring their ‘minorities’ and thus averted terrorist attacks?

 What is also of pathetic relevance is that, except for a brief denial of Sumanthiran’s charge by Dinesh Gunawardena, none of the other leaders of the country has responded tothe aforesaid comment because, I believe, the pursuit of the ‘Muslim Vote’ is their overarching consideration. 

G. H. Peiris

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