‘Defending non-implementation of LLRC recommendations’ – a reply


Mr. Harim Peiris, writing in The Island newspaper (22. Feb. '14) and criticises the post-LTTE policies followed by the government. His rebuke begins as follows: "The argument used by the government ... contrary to all the facts, is that it has in fact implemented much of the LLRC recommendations. This from a government which post war even stopped Tamil children from singing the national anthem in their own language, something which had been occurring even at the height of the war".

Mr. Peiris forgets that at the "height of the war" Tamil children, their sisters etc., far from singing the National Anthem were singing songs of death and murder, undergoing war drill, and had been abducted from their parents and brain-washed to become little killers.

And how can a government stop children from singing whatever they want in any language?

The only cases where the government imposed a specific language were on official occasions. Has Mr. Peiris heard of the French Marseillaise being sung in Arabic by French Arabs whose demographic percentage is higher than all the Lankan Tamils put together? In the US there are some19% Hispanics. Has Mr. Peiris heard any official function of the US, or the US embassy, where the "Star-spangled banner" is sung in Spanish as well, even by Hispanic children?

So why should a province be given the opportunity to rouse emotions and create ethnic strife by making demands of parity of status on the national anthem, at a time where the wounds of a four-decade war are still raw?

Mr. Peiris unfolds his jaundiced, flawed views based on his belief that the Eealm wars began because of Sri Lanka's injustices towards the Tamils. The oft quoted example is the Sinhala official languages act of 1956, even though Tamil separatism started long before.

Peiris now looks at land ownership! Does he not know that land tenure in the North has been extremely skewed, with most of the good land owned by rich land-owning Tamils who live in Colombo? Most of them are TNA-MPs now and ITAK or TC MPs in the 1950, or State councilors in an earlier era in the 1930s. There has been no change in the political masters of the North. So, what we need is land reform in the North, with private lands nationalized and re-allocated to poor Tamils of socially disadvantaged castes who actually live in the North, and not in Cinnamon Gardens. Instead, Mr. Peiris says , "Furthermore, there has been no progress in giving back the private lands in the now redundant artillery range perimeters of the former high security zones in the North, especially in the Waligamam North area, almost five years after the last threat of artillery to security forces was eliminated for good".

The army has handed over thousands of sq. kilometers of lands held illegally by the LTTE, to their owners. Given the rumblings that we hear from Tamil Nadu, the discovery of communication equipment among LTTE detainees and their prison riots that were directed from outside, as well as bellicose statements from the TNA including that Prabhakaran was a great hero and not a Pol Pot, it would be utter folly to undo the defenses that we have in the North. Regarding private land in the North, I suggest that Mr. Peiris reads some of the articles on that topic by Sebastian Rasalingam. One of his articles that I have is entitled "Land Reform in the North and East". It appeared in The Island newspaper, October 13, 2011, as well as in electronic journals.

Mr. Peiris's amnesia of recent political history is also striking. He says: " The implementation of political measures already on the books, such as the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which was at the end only opposed by the LTTE, should now be implemented." Mr. Peiris needs to be reminded that the TNA spurned the 13A, with both Mr. Sampanthan, and Mr. Sumanthiran, rejecting it by giving it the middle finger, as stated by Dayan Jayatilleke (like M.I.A flipping the bird in the US, see "Transcurrents, 11 Feb. 2012"). Today the TNA leadership clamours for the 13A as a mere first step to Eelam. So the Sinhala majority also rejects the 13A. In spite of all this, Peiris claims that only the LTTE rejected the 13A!

We must note that Mr. Peiris's type of thinking is limited to a small fringe of Colombo denizens. However, it is THE ideology of the Western-Funded NGOs, as well as the West that embraced Anton Balasingham, and now the Militant Tamil diaspora led by the GTF, CTC, and other organizations with connections to Father Emmanuel, Nediyavan, Rudrakumaran etc. It is precisely because of them, their Colombo fellow-travelers, as well as Vaiko and Jayalalitha, that the guns, and the military have to stay in the North.

Bodhi Dhanapala


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