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No time to get comfy for Mahinda Rajapakse, the chickens are coming home to roost

By : Ivan Pedropillai
Location & Time : London 14.00 GMT - December 03, 2005
Source : TWG

The Hindustan Times comment of 2 December 2005 is a balanced analysis of the reality of the post-election situation in Sri Lanka. President Rajapakse has been hoist by his own petard. He has not got much elbow room for wriggling, with the JVP baying on the one side and the West, the country's donor-paymasters, suspicious of him and considering him a recidivist Marxist, Sinhala hardliner.

The LTTE will watch his contortions carefully with interest, while he adjusts to the straight-jacket that he has managed to fashion for himself, without letting its guard down. An iron fist in a velvet glove, is what may be expected from them. While some Tiger baiting psephologists have tried to blame the defeat of the favoured business candidate, Ranil Wickremesinghe of the UNP, on alleged intimidation of the Tamils by the LTTE, an objective study of the voting patterns has shown that Tamils, not only in the Northeast but also outside it, have chosen to boycott the election in droves.

It is the first time in the course of the country's many Presidential elections that the Tamils en masse have unequivocally expressed their unified voice that this was an election of a Sinhala President for the Sinhala nation with which they had no truck.

No country can expect to prosper by suppressing a sizeable minority of its citizenry on a permanent basis. This is bad economics and even worse politics. If the country is to preserve its unity in its diversity, it has to pay heed to this loud message of alienation and despair of the Tamils clearly shown in the outcome of the Presidential election. It is only the Oslo accord, arrived at after many months of protracted negotiation, which lays down an equitable basis for a political settlement and this is no time to set fire to it.

The pundits are wrong to say that in his Heroes day speech, Pirapaharan gave the Rajapakse regime one year (12 months) to settle the Tamil question. The Tamils have waited four long years patiently watching the perfidious conduct of the Sinhala governments over the CFA and the Oslo accord. Such betrayal cannot be perpetuated without consequences and the Tamil leader has said that if the ethnic issues are not settled in the next year (which means sometime during 2006), the struggle to achieve self government in our homeland will have to be intensified.

'Our people have lost patience, hope and reached the brink of utter frustration. They are not prepared to tolerate and wait any longer. The new government should come forward soon with a reasonable political framework that will satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people', the LTTE leader declared. 'If the new government rejects our urgent appeal, opts for a hard-line position and adopts delaying tactics, we will, next year, in solidarity with our people, intensify our struggle for self-determination, our struggle for national liberation to establish self-government in our own homeland', Mr Pirapaharan asserted.

There is no good reason to believe that the Sinhala state can go on procrastination for another whole year, playing with fire without bringing on Armageddon upon the whole country. The clock is ticking away, and the time is now upon both parties for urgent and earnest negotiation and a permanent settlement of a problem which will not go away by being ignored or worse still, by eliminating the leaders of Tamil nationalism, as is being presently pursued by the Sri Lankan armed forces against those Tamil civilians who organised the Tamil resurgence ( Pongu Thamil) conventions in Jaffna.

Even yesterday, two of these brave individuals were allegedly killed by the Sri Lankan army. You do not need to garrison 40,000 of your troops and occupy the homes and the farms of the Tamil people in Jaffna even after four years of the ceasefire agreement, if you did not consider yourselves an army of occupation needing to repress the Tamil people in their heartland.

If you are truly a democrat and a leader, call off the dogs of war, Mr President, before they lead you and the country to inevitable disaster.


 Tamil Writers Guild

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