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Subject: Letter to the Editor - Re: The peace frenzy - your editorial in the Sunday Times of 24th February 2002

By : Ivan Pedropillai
Location & Time : London 20.00 GMT - Febrauary 16, 2002
Source : TWG

Dear Sir

The fragile peace process - treat it with love and care

These are crucial times in the nation's modern history. The legacy of human suffering, economic stagnation , devastation and social deprivation bequeathed on the country by the protracted ethnic war is an unmitigated catastrophe from which we have to extricate ourselves. The courageous stance of the Prime Minister (and UNF) and the LTTE to pursue peace in a fragile climate of fear and suspicion on both sides is much to be admired. Your editorial, 'The peace frenzy' on Sunday, 24th February 2002 , unfortunately pours scorn on a peace process as yet in its infancy. It is reckless and self-indulgent at this critical juncture for the President or anyone else to 'fiddle' while ' Rome ' ( Sri Lanka ) burns.

According to a recent study by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) published today , a substantial majority of Sri Lankans have expressed confidence that the war can be ended through peace talks while, significantly, their confidence in establishing peace through a war effort has declined. In their hearts, the people must liken the current situation to that of a new born baby that needs tender love and nurturing and not the battering of the child nor the impugning of the character or motives of the baby's parents immanent in your position.

For the partisans, there appear to be sufficient reasons to attribute the blame for the failure of previous negotiations to their opponents. But let us start anew. France and Germany have forged a new partnership in Europe after centuries of confrontation and war . It must be obvious to everyone that after all these years there can be no military victor in the ethnic war in Sri Lanka . In the prevailing climate of hostility and suspicion, it requires an equitable political solution that can be guaranteed by the international community. Please do not deride the honest broker's efforts of Norway as there are not many like them with such excellent credentials prepared to invest so much of their skills, effort and time for the doubtful benefit of the occasional kick in their teeth. In the 'laden minefield' that you so aptly describe, it is incumbent upon you not to set more mines that you know will scupper the delicate process; the President appears to be quite adept with it and needs no additional help. By all means provide constructive criticism but do maintain an encouraging stance so that you do not extinguish the all consuming hopes and prayers of the people for peace with justice and for a better future for themselves and their children . There is no doubt that there is a small but vociferous constituency on both sides bent on prosecut ing the war and it would be calamitous to provide them with a kindl ing stick .

William Shakespeare wrote so presciently in Julius Caesar ; "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune". This is true of nations too.

So let us recognise this momentous opportunity and collectively give th is courageous peace process our whole hearted support , and trust our leaders as there surely will be many difficulties to resolve with patience, understanding, integrity and compromise on all sides, on the rocky road to achieving peace with honour for our people .

Yours sincerely

Ivan Pedropillai

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