Repealing the 13th amendment & listening to the Patriotic Nationalists - Sri Lanka Guardian

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Repealing the 13th amendment & listening to the Patriotic Nationalists

Today India has trapped Sri Lanka constitutionally with the 13th amendment, economically with Indian projects that are tied to Indian labor, Indian trade agreements that benefits India, geographically with Indian ferry links to Sri Lanka & countless other agreements that may see the light of day in days to come. 

by Shenali Waduge


(June 14, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Patriotic nationalism is the basis on which a nation state rests. These nationalists do not betray their nation and they do not go against their own citizens. Without them a nation state cannot last long, cannot foster peace, cannot encourage national sacrifice, cannot fight external enemies & cannot save itself from collapsing. A country needs nationalists & they need to be listened to. They say the 13th amendment must be repealed. Lack of majority in Parliament was the earlier excuse. The present scenario demands the Government take action in the interest of Sri Lanka’ future as a sovereign nation.

We have only 3 choices vis a vis the 13th amendment – implement it fully, amend it, or repeal it. What does the Sri Lankan Government propose to do? The 13th amendment was presented directly to Parliament bypassing the Supreme Court & signed following the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord in July 1987. Alongside the 13th amendment was the Provincial Councils Bill. India wants Sri Lanka to grant police & and powers to the Provincial Councils. India is also insisting on removing emergency laws. Sri Lanka being such a small country does it make sense to have so many police forces? Devolving land powers would drastically affect water flowing from the Mahaweli River (Bangladesh & India’s handling of the Ganges is a good example). The question of devolving police powers is equivalent to creating a few countries within Sri Lanka. Can India say its devolving police powers has better affects today? Do we tell India want to do inside India?

Governments have unnecessarily dilly dallied with the 13th amendment & the country should no longer remain silent & a similar effort made to demerge the North & East must take place now.

The world does not need to be repeatedly told how India fostered LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka. Pretending to be Sri Lanka’s friend while arming, training & providing financial support to a terrorist organization can India be surprised if Sri Lanka is angry? The US did the same with Osama & India thought it could do the same with Prabakaran. Ultimately both Osama & Prabakaran went against its creator. Lesson to be learnt is that terrorists can never be manipulated all the time & terrorists are no puppets. What India & he world needs to realize is that Sri Lanka is not bound to protect any country’s sovereignty at the cost of its own.

To understand the Sri Lankan crisis we cannot detach the Indian interest & it is the Indian interest that has been a barrier to all of the attempts to usher peace. In fact all these attempts were merely to hoodwink the masses of both nations. India’s interest vis a vis Sri Lanka defers with octopus type plans. Initial support for the LTTE was to export the freedom struggle calls away from South India to have them watch it take shape in Sri Lanka. Any deviation from this main objective was to ensure Sri Lanka remained destabilized to enable India to tap into its strategic location & secure its natural harbor of Trincomalee. India thought they could achieve their objective with Prabakaran, realizing the futility of that they went on to entrap Sri Lanka constitutionally, economically & geographically while keeping the LTTE & Prabakaran happy by way of a supposed “non-interference” since India’s action plan was to eventually annex Sri Lanka. Eelaam was merely a joy ride & a ploy to ensure India never left Sri Lanka’s political stage & the 13th amendment was a perfect means to ensure India remained involved in local Sri Lankan politics as well.

Today India has trapped Sri Lanka constitutionally with the 13th amendment, economically with Indian projects that are tied to Indian labor, Indian trade agreements that benefits India, geographically with Indian ferry links to Sri Lanka & countless other agreements that may see the light of day in days to come. Annexing Sri Lanka by the current manner that Indians are allowed to freely move, work & reside in Sri Lanka is already taking place while the Government seems to be asleep. With India already engulfing Sri Lanka it makes practical sense to decide to eliminate the factor that would disturb this that being the LTTE. This plus the involvement of China, Pakistan & Russia are two main reasons why India indirectly would have helped Sri Lanka during the last stages of the conflict. India may have a large army but it is way inferior to Sri Lanka’s armed forces therefore the present way of engulfing Sri Lanka certainly saves an eventual Indian military presence in Sri Lanka to be made a part of India! Enveloping Sri Lanka thus is going to be detrimental to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty & Sri Lanka’s Government needs to wake up to the ground realities & do something to ensure Sri Lanka’s sovereign status is not compromised even if its Ministers think they have any right to allot Sri Lanka as they please.

It must be reiterated again & again that we cannot fault Indian officials for pressurizing Sri Lanka for they are doing so for the benefit of India whereas how many of Sri Lanka’s Ministers & officials speak & act in favor of our motherland? No sooner they are sent to represent Sri Lanka we wait in fear to see how far they would have compromised Sri Lanka’s sovereignty…!!! President Rajapakse needs to be aware of this important void. All these people think of is making power, obtaining power, filling foreign bank accounts & ever ready to flee the country!

Yet, President Rajapakse is certainly different from his predecessors. To be fair by President Jayawardena he did not have the military strength to go head on with India & had to bow down to Indian dictates. This is the only reason where Jayawardena differs from President Premadasa, Chandrika & Wickremasinghe. Again to be fair by President Premadasa had he not demanded the IPKF to leave Sri Lanka’s fate would have been far different then again can we forgive him for the deaths of 600 policemen or the lives that were lost because of giving arms to the LTTE? Are these perhaps reasons why his son cannot win the Southern vote? However, in contrast Chandrika (ISGA/ signing CEPA that crippled Sri Lanka’s small industries) & Wickremasinghe (almost handed Sri Lanka to LTTE on a platter with the CFA) stand out as true traitors to Sri Lanka.

President Rajapakse is no fool. Within his limits he has done exceptionally well. He has managed to scuttle the implementation of aspects of the 13th amendment while spearheading massive development projects in the North & East in an aim to get the Tamil people to give him the backing he needs. A folly India is doing is to merely concentrate on providing development aid to the North & East alone where the populace is well short of 500,000. President Rajapakse has mastered the numbers game & that is how he is winning the votes but he must not forget that the South is anything but developed & concentrating on the North & East alone is unfair.

We are well aware how the UN is being manipulated by powerful nations. Today it is an entity that is being used to legitimize the rights of these nations to walk over smaller countries & its present head is nothing but a puppet seeking a second term. Labeling Sri Lanka’s conflict as “ethnic” based was a joint plan by both India & the West with different objectives for both yet detrimental to Sri Lanka’s sovereign status.

President Rajapakse’s faux pas was to think proposals made by Moon & co can be easily brushed aside or forgotten. Thus the present panel report. Our logic should have remained simple. We either committed war crimes or we didn’t. This does not mean people don’t die in battle…the “we didn’t commit war crimes” is solely on the premise that no orders were given to kill civilians. Why would we need to send emissaries to India or any other country to beg for their support? We were protecting our nation against terrorists – simple as that. Geneva Conventions are not meant to protect terrorists..or are they..??? Support is always given with a price tag & these support promises do not come cheap & will always seek to drain the nation of its resources or even compromise its sovereign status? Currently threats of being taken to the International Criminal Court are meant to have Sri Lankan Government agree to western gameplans. The people of Sri Lanka are all in unison that we are ready to accept whatever comes our way & all its citizens will protect its nation. Sri Lanka differs to all the other countries where currently strife is taking place & Sri Lanka’s Government should take pride in that its people will all unite to save its nation. The West especially India need to understand this. Both the West & India may play fiddle with the country’s Governments but its people cannot be fooled & cannot be bought.

US & NATO troops have killed thousands of civilians. As of March 2011, 4,441 Americans have died in Iraq as have as many as 150,000 civilians, and another 4.5 million civilians have been displaced. In Afghanistan, 1,513 Americans have died and, as many as 8,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and another 3.7 million refugees are internally displaced or living in neighboring countries. U.S. is spending $100 million per day in Libya. A no-flight zone over the northern part of Libya could cost $400 million to $800 million for the initial strikes. It had also projected costs of $30 million to $100 million a week to patrol the area. Just one Tomahawk missile costs $1.4 million. More than 178 Tomahawk missiles were filed worth $250 million. Could US, NATO, UK not think of anything else to do with people’s money?

Sri Lanka has practically re-housed all of the displaced & rehabilitated & released even hard core LTTE fighters. Can the US, UK, NATO or even the Indians boast of anywhere near such achievements?

We are made to believe that the common enemy is China. Given that India is well aware that tomorrow’s power houses economically are China & Russia, it would be impractical to think India would throw in their lot with US which is bankrupt on paper. India’s strings are being pulled westward by the western lady in Indian saree & patriotic India must in many ways be relieved that China has by way of Hambantota port got a foothold in Sri Lanka which would help India to give reasons for not pressurizing Sri Lanka too much! India would certainly be committing hara-kiri if India aligns with the West…which is certainly not what India will ever do. In the politics of double games…could India be actually fooling the West? The West themselves cannot be naïve to think that they can use India to get what it wants!

What President Rajapakse needs to do now is to immediately hold a referendum to ask his people what they desire. This is a perfect means to repeal the 13th amendment & be rid of these foreign interferences forever.

True India may need to appease the Tamil Nadu vote base & its corrupt politicians but India needs to know & India needs to be reminded that Sri Lanka is not a part of India.

India’s ruling elite are the Brahmin North Indians…shoddy treatment is openly given to the South Indians. Both know the reality of this statement. Similarly, the Tamils in Sri Lanka are more divided than united. How many Jaffna Tamils would today even serve tea in the same tea cups they use to low caste Tamils? How many Jaffna Tamils would today allow their children to marry Eastern Tamils or Up Country Tamils? With such divides amongst them how can they ever live in an Eelaam had it ever been created? Then there is the “discrimination” tag…how many Tamils openly say they would sell their houses only to Tamils…??? Eelaam was only to hoodwink separatist tendencies away from India while in Sri Lanka the Eelaam struggle was merely to allow Prabakaran & his merry men to defeat the class struggle amongst their own people & for the Tamil Diaspora to become richer by playing upon the sympathy tag & collecting funds that went primarily into their bank accounts & for their luxurious living.

If over 90% of the 20m population can speak & understand Sinhala why does the country need to be divided along regional languages? If there are Tamils amongst us who feel that Tamils are denied its right to a homeland they are advised to look at Tamil Nadu as the rightful place for that homeland. 97% of the world’s Tamil populace live in Tamil Nadu. If Tamils feel India will help carve Eelaam in Sri Lanka, Tamils must look at history & question why India crushed the “We Tamil Movement” & quickly brought in legislature to stop any person or party from seeking to separate from India. Tamils are encouraged to go through countless attempts made by Tamil Nadu upon the North Indian regime to give due prominence to Tamil language & Tamil history which have been totally ignored. Tamils cannot forget that the orange featured on Sri Lanka’s national flag depicts Tamil ethnicity as does Green for Muslims! Where has such provisions been given for just 2.4million people in a population of 20m where the Sinhalese are 14,8m?

We can empathize with some Tamils who used LTTE terrorism as a means to go as refugees & help their families back home. Those who used the tag of ethnic discrimination to fill these embassy forms will have their conscience tell the actual truth. Many of these people themselves lived in fear of the LTTE & had to fill the LTTE kitty. We know the majority of them were not part of the LTTE though they remained silent because they were indirectly benefiting from the existence of the LTTE. We again can empathize with this. We know that most Jaffna Tamils hated the LTTE for their own sense of pride in their families had to be compromised & they had to bow down to low caste LTTE dictates. We again can understand this. However, there is no LTTE now. We can forget about the utopian transnational government trying to befool the Tamil people again.

The present is an important juncture for the Tamils. They must decide to at least now make amends for the injustice done to the nation. Tamils must stop hiding behind Eelaam, India, Transnational Government or any other attempts to break up Sri Lanka. They must now sincerely decide to function as Sri Lankans going forward & those that do not wish to, the Government can through discussions with India decide to offer citizenship in India if they feel India is a better home.

Many injustices have taken place & the voice of Sri Lanka now insists that these wrongs be made right & the first step must be taken by a Government that has been given the majority by the people to make the changes needed. The Government is thus bound to act & repeal the 13th amendment.


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