Global crisis and cost of war in Sri Lanka

“TNA MPs and other politicians have repeatedly pointed out that if this war is not against Tamils, then the UNP-SLFP must jointly announce a credible solution to the Tamils, not to the LTTE.”

by Vipul

(November 23, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The current financial crisis is rapidly becoming an economic crisis and threatens to become a social crisis in many developing countries such as Sri Lanka.

Latest Central Bank data showed that Sri Lanka's trade deficit narrowed during the nine months to September, as a slowdown in the global economy hurt export sales.

“The US and other major export destination markets had been grappling with what has been dubbed as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s,” said the bank.
A few days before the bank’s statement, SLFP Mahajana wing leader Mangala Samaraweera said that Sri Lankans had not yet felt the effect of the global economic collapse.

He predicted that Sri Lankans might feel the burden of the world economic crisis by 2009 April New Year season.

The former foreign minister’s remarks come as the global population is facing a severe financial crisis of unprecedented dimensions.

The consequences are global, however. The situation is volatile.

Amidst this scenario, the humanitarian crisis in the Wanni region of northern Sri Lanka is also worsening as the insurgents enter into their heroes’ week.

The government in Colombo needs to take more serious and practical steps to prove that this costly war to liberate "uncleared areas" is NOT actually against Tamil civilians.

The conduct of some armed forces personnel and politicians, in the past and present, has given rise to the feeling that a fair political solution may not be offered to the minorities if and when the Tigers are militarily silenced.

There is no doubt, however, that Sinhalese have immense respect for their Tamil-speaking neighbours and friends. Many Sinhalese saved Tamils during the ethnic riots of 1983, which was allegedly fuelled by vested interests.

Although voiceless, powerless Tamil residents of Sri Lanka feel that the brutality of the insurgents also is self-defeating, there is still support for secessionist forces because some consider the rebel group as a necessary evil as the southern polity is yet to arrive at a consensus on a peace plan.

The insurgents were the product of the acts of commission and omission of the two main political parties that governed since independence.

Some observers have, however, pointed out in recent years that the Tiger leaders need this war for their survival!

In a related development, the military website Strategy Page says that the insurgents provide rudimentary weapons training to civilians in uncleared areas and forced them to man the frontlines.

When they are killed while fighting the security forces, it says the insurgents allegedly remove the weapon(s) and say they are ‘civilians’ killed by the troops.

In the words of Strategy Page editors, while many of the civilians are all for more Tamil autonomy in Sri Lanka, they also find themselves trapped by the Tigers.

In a recent statement, Amnesty International alleged that the Tigers continued to forcibly recruit one person per family with recent steep recruitment of younger people. It said the insurgents had also reportedly hindered people from moving to safer places by imposing a strict pass system.

Amnesty's report urged the government and the Tigers to let international observers monitor the plight of the displaced.

TNA MPs and other politicians have repeatedly pointed out that if this war is not against Tamils, then the UNP-SLFP must jointly announce a credible solution to the Tamils, not to the LTTE.

Serious efforts are needed to encourage all Sri Lankan MPs representing the Northern and Eastern provinces to join the negotiation process.

Local and international community must rally round democratic secular forces at this crucial stage to ensure the true liberation of Northern civilians.

The concerns and views of the ethnic minorities were not considered when the constitutions of 1972 and 1978 were drafted, lament the Tamil moderrates.

The All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) is a farce of the Sri Lanka government, claims Jaffna MP Suresh Premachandran.

His claim apparently stems from the belief among the minorities that the confidence of the ethnic Tamils in the Sinhala polity rule eroded rapidly since 1956. It dipped low with the July 1983 violence that was intended to intimidate the powerless Tamils.

However, our country has gone through many phases of the conflict since 1983.

Young Sri Lankans have been losing their lives in the battlefield.

There is a lot of talk that the implementation of the 13th amendment would resolve the political problems.

But political observers have pointed out that even the Constitutional Council under the 17th Amendment is yet to be constituted.

Time has come for all Sri Lankans to stand up for justice and fair play.

Professor Jeyadeva Uyangoda said this month that with its militaristic approach to finish “LTTE terrorism once and for all,” is fast losing the political war and has “heightened alienation of the Tamil citizens from the Sri Lankan state”

It is important for all Sri Lankans to realise what went wrong in independent Sri Lanka and who were first responsible for creating the secessionist forces.
- Sri Lanka Guardian