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Viva devolution 13 plus!

By Vicramabahu Karunaratna

(June 28, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Maha Rajano issued a decree sometime back forcing a simple division in society. We were told that there should be only two types of humans here: patriots and non-patriots. Accordingly a patriot was a person who stood for the war, and those who wanted peace and a political solution to the Tamil national problem, were non-patriots. On the side of the so-called patriots were chauvinists, communalists, liberals, democrats, rationalists, Che Guevarists, Trotskyites and Stalinists. Quite an unbelievable combination! The chauvinists explained that the war was a liberation-war against terrorism which is inhuman. Hence there cannot be human rights issues as they were fighting ‘inhuman’ beings for the sake of humanity! All these stories of Tamil civilians killed, may be more than 20,000 on a single day, were irrelevant as these were suspected terrorists and suspected terrorists are as bad as terrorists. Of course one does not need an intensive research using Boolean algebra to identify the idiocy in these arguments.


Yet these arguments are dished out everyday by men who have achieved positions in academic circles. In fact, men, such as Prof Carlo Fonseka, Vasudeva and many others who used to claim that they were some sort of followers of Marx, held hands together with Wimal, Champika and Dinesh to hail the victories of Maha Rajano. Of course the former was embarrassed. Nevertheless all these patriots congratulated each other a few weeks back for the freedom won. On the other hand, non-patriots such as myself had to face threats and the hooliganism practiced by supporters of the patriotic lot. In particular, editors and chairmen of the state media danced ‘naked’, hurling crap at us. Of course we returned the lot for their own consumption!
Now the situation is changing. I am questioned everyday by various media about the validity of the 13th Amendment. Apparently the earlier decree of Maha Rajano is getting negated. A new spirit has moved through the cabinet and entered society to create confusion in all organisations and institutes. This new spirit has changed the very essence of patriotism. From the dark corner of non-patriotism, I am getting pushed into the forefront of the ‘new patriotism’.
What is this new patriotism? It is simpler than the first. If you want to go beyond the Thirteenth Amendment you become a patriot and those who oppose it are non-patriots, while those who stick to the 13th Amendment are imbeciles! Is this a mirage to cover the misery of those imprisoned in refugee camps and the devastation of a civilisation in the North? I do not know, but the debate is on and that has pushed all other political items off the table. Wimal has raised the question - “why did we make all these sacrifices in the war if we are to devolve power now?” I am in agreement in a way and I raised the opposite question “why did not we devolve power and avoid the war altogether?”

Reasonable devolution

If there was reasonable devolution and recognition of the Tamil nationality either the LTTE would have withered away or Tamil democracy would have suppressed it because the LTTE was organically linked to the Tamil national problem. It arose due to continued oppression of the Tamil people. Looking from that angle anyone could see that the war effort was an utter waste and hence quite unpatriotic.

Certainly the chauvinists will come out with the classic argument that the LTTE was something unrelated to the Tamil national problem and that it was an alien terrorist organisation. Even if one accepts that argument it is obvious that if autonomy, equality and free choice was offered to the Tamil people prior to the war and practical steps were taken to implement it, then the war would have taken an entirely different character. But Maha Rajano wants to follow the ancient pundit Maha Denamuththa. A goat had got its head stuck in a clay pot. Maha Denamuththa’s solution was to cut the neck of the goat first and then to crush the pot.

Thus both the goat and the pot were lost. With the advice of the three Maha Denamuththas - Champika, Wimal and Dinesh, Maha Rajano has done the same. Crush the Tamils first and then give 13 plus.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

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