The Sunday Leader

The Greatest Paradox Of Sri Lankan Terrorism

Independence Day is supposed to be a day of national unity. Regrettably, in Sri Lanka it has been a day revealing national disunity than unity. On Thursday, the main opposition party, the UNP boycotted official ceremonies.  Tamil parties as they had done for decades boycotted official functions. The UNP said they were keeping out because of the Opposition’s main presidential candidate, former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka being jailed.
It was ironic that on Independence Day when military might is the showpiece of the celebrations, the man who was acknowledged as the person who led the troops to victory in the 30-year-old terrorist war was languishing in prison in Colombo, ‘unwept, unhonoured and unsung’ despite calls being made by leading religious dignitaries of all faiths and community leaders to release General Fonseka.

Political Unity

National unity cannot be pulled out instantly on Independence Day like a rabbit out of a magician’s hat.  A lesson learnt from history is that it is a long process that has to be cultivated over the years. But in this country, governments in power expect aggrieved political parties and minorities to rally round the ruling party on Independence Day to demonstrate national unity to the outside world, however much they have been kicked around on other days of the year.  Thus, political unity has been elusive.
Political unity has broken down in the majority community with the two main parties being strongly polarised moving apart rapidly. Polarisation between Tamils and the Sinhalese happened way back in 1958 and  continued moving apart to the point of separation. With the end of the war on terrorism, almost two years ago, it was expected that national reconciliation would be attempted almost immediately. Talks between the Tamil National Alliance — in fits and starts — have been reported in recent times but it was only last week that it was reported that the two parties would engage on a ‘structured regular dialogue’ on constitutional changes.
There is of course the Presidential Lessons Learnt and  National Reconciliation Commission. With due respect to members of the  commission it must be pointed out that Presidential Commissions after kicking off with much bombast have fizzled out into oblivion producing no positive results.


Having watched political developments in recent years we get an eerie feeling that the Tamil problem remaining unresolved is a kind of political dynamite for the Rajapaksa government. Concessions granted to Tamils as called for by them could cold blow up the Sinhala vote bank in the South. A recent pronouncement by Rajapaksa that he would not concede now what he had refused Prabhakaran had the  Hela Urumaya types cheering. The shelving of the All Party Conference Report which Prof. Tissa Vitarana and others sweated over for about two years is another example.
Keeping the Tamil problem going is more in line with the thinking of Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington  whose contribution: The Clash Of Civilizations And The Remaking Of World Order is still making the news. He cited Venezuelan Writer Michael Dibdin in his novel, Dead Lagoon: “There can be no true friends without true enemies, unless we hate what we are not we cannot love what we are……. Those who deny them deny their family, their heritage, their culture, their birthright, their very selves. They will not be lightly forgiven.”
Huntington adds: “The unfortunate truth in these old truths cannot be ignored by statesmen and scholars. For people seeking identity and reinventing ethnicity; enemies are essential and potentially most dangerous enmities occur across the fault lines between the world’s major civilizations.”

Sinhala and Tamil dynamite

For some Sinhalese the fear and hatred of Tamils could be political dynamite that could be used to their advantage. To Tamils too enough hatred and fear  generated against the Sinhalese can keep their agendas intact.
All Sri Lankan governments have been emphatically stressing that their fight was against the LTTE and not the Tamil Community. After the military clout of LTTE was eliminated, attention was focused on the so called diaspora. Verbal attacks on the Tamil diaspora are still so intense that government mass media propagandists have ‘Sinhalasised’ diaspora into ‘diasporava’!
But a very strange paradox has manifested itself. Kumaran Pathmanathan — KP as he is known — who  was the acknowledged leader of the diaspora, the arms procurer of the LTTE, financier and in the last  days of Prabhakaran, named as the International Head of the LTTE and the Leader of the LTTE after the death of  Prabhakaran, is now said to be actively engaged and working with the government on rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres and displaced Tamils!
KP is an internationally wanted criminal  and an Interpol warrant has been issued for his arrest. He is wanted by the Indian government for questioning on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Before his capture in Kuala Lumpur, the hatred of KP by Rajapaksa propagandists was  evident in editorials written about him. All that  hatred appears to have evaporated. KP and Gotabaya Rajapaksa are reported to have buried the hatchet and the past seems forgotten.
Two other chief lieutenants of Prabhakaran — Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan alias Karuna, the Chief Commander of the LTTE in the Eastern Province and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan are leading politicians of the Rajapaksa government. Karuna is MP, Deputy Minister and Vice President of the SLFP while Pillayan is the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province!
These former terrorists are wanted for murder of both Sinhalese and Tamils — in one horrendous massacre more than 600 policemen who surrendered to the LTTE on the orders of then President Premadasa were shot dead. As former Senior SSP Tassie Seneviratne told the Lessons Learnt Commission, not even a departmental inquiry has been held in to the incident so far!  Who can speak of boosting the morale of the police?
Government propagandists claim that KP, Karuna and Pillayan are being used to win over the Tamil diaspora. But could these renegades who have been called traitors and renegades perform that role?

The Fonseka-KP paradox

The greatest paradox is that the acclaimed hero for the military defeat of terrorism, the former decorated General Sarath Fonseka whom  government leaders acknowledged as the ‘best army commander in contemporary times’ now languishes in prison in prisoners uniform — dirty shorts and banian while Karuna and Pillayan strut about in finely cut suits probably from London, hopping out of brand new cars. This is the greatest paradox of Sri Lankan terrorism.

13 Comments for “The Greatest Paradox Of Sri Lankan Terrorism”

  1. S.A.

    Everywhere in the world isn’t it the politics that gave us World Wars, Ethnic Wars, Terrorism, etc.,etc. A person can be a gentleman or a respected noble one until he steps into the Hell’s Kitchen of Politics. Once, that person tastes the soups and dishes made in the Hell’s Kitchen ( my apologies to Chef Ramsay ) he is transformed into a demon like figure where his reasoning power, farsightedness and above all the basic humanity in him were all will be lost or shed for the taste of power. Our country mostly have been producing such individuals with a long interval until a new person is groomed to take over mantle of saving one’s own race and religion at the expense of others. Imagine when the demons are empowered to guard and protect a progeny??? The outcome is always BLOODY!!!!!

  2. sri

    Whose independence? That is the real questionin no hope Lanka.

  3. Soorya

    The only terrorism which ruins Sri Lanka is the state terrorism of Sinhalese.

  4. Ragu

    In Politics, there are no true friends and real enimies. Ther’s only political gain and loss.

  5. Suren

    Tamils forever going to trust these felows. For Sinhalese if they really want to make peace just throw them in trash (they can only betray LTTE and help the sinhalese to distroy LTTE). Tamils generally more educated than average LTTE and these goons. They will do whatever they felt as longer they have pain caused by sinhales.

  6. Sunthar

    Long awited unity seems to be MIRAGE.
    Reconciliation cannot be achieved until there is some radical change in the thinking pattern of polititions.

  7. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    What is the purpose of the National List. Don’t blame JR.Jayawardene. The Government and the opposition always appointed useless figures to the Parliament via this opportunity. A logistic approach is in hand. KP…Pillian..ete..ete could be appointed via National list to the Parliment and give them inportant portfolios to serve their community. The opposition should go in parallel with the Government to solve this National issue. At the mean time the GOSL has the responsibility to connect Colombo with Northern and Eastern provinces via a very sophisticated road net work reducing the existing Travel Times.The railway track parallel to the MHT road is a barrier(dam) to the free surface water drainage during a heavy storm. To overcome those problems associated the GOSL must have a constant dialogue with the Irrigation department. For Ethnic-reconciliation we all together be Patriots and we a very good political leadership in the country to over come the situation.

  8. sri

    Karuna ? Wow! He is said to own a house in Chelsea in the heart of expensive London wheer his wife lives . How come? Who smuggled him into and out of London on a Diplomatic passport?

    Nature is finshing off from the ruins left by man in Sri Lanka. How very unfortunate for the ordinary people.

  9. Ruwan Ferdinandez

    Gamini W,
    There is no paradox there, it’s just a fatal irony. It is fair, you expect SF to be in super luxury and KP/Karuna to be six feet under as respective war hero and enemies. Unfortunately for SF, the war ended a long time ago and the problems associated with KP/Karuna and SF are peacetime problems. While KP/Karuna helped peace time government, SF turned otherwise. When they are all are in peace time politics, as you may have heard, there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics.

  10. Sie.Kathieravealu

    We need a minimum of one Statesman/woman at the Head of the political Establishment to bring about peace in the country preserving the dignity of ALL the individuals in the country.

    A Statesman/woman normally emerges from a “politician”. So a “politician” is a pre-requiste for the emergence of a Statesman/woman. BUT sadly we do not have any “politicians” in this country from the “DAY the Union Flag stopped flying in the “Official” functions of the Government of this country.

    We had and still having only “political opportunists” who proclaimed themselves as the “Leaders” of their “Groups” and the most successful became the “Leader of the Country”.

    The ONLY way in tackling this problem is by changing the system of governance in each and every country that would give room for the POOR TO PARTICIPATE in the governance of the country.

    A system of representation and empowerment of different sets of representatives in different areas elected and empowered by different groups of people to implement different ‘distinct and defined’ functions of one and the same parliament Through this system “corruption” in any form and at any level cannot easily arise. If there is no “corruption” then the Rule of Law will prevail making way for peace and good governance in the country, which is the need of the inhabitants of a country.

    In a civilized society, the people must be empowered to directly participate in the governance of the country and the best way for the people to empower themselves is, a system of governance that would address the problems faced by various sections of the society – particularly the poor, the politically weak and the various categories of “minorities” who do not carry any “political weight” – would be to DILUTE the powers of all elected representatives of the people by separating the various powers of the Parliament and by horizontally empowering different sets of people’s representatives elected on different area basis to administer the different sets of the separated powers at different locations and thus throughout the country (a small fraction of the Parliament with defined powers and duties functions in each and every village, division, district and region)” to perform the different, defined and distinct functions of one and the same institution – the Parliament – like the organs of our body – heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, nose, ear etc. – performing different and distinct functions to enable us to sustain normal life

  11. Sinhaya

    The Eelam Government is now in disarray because its President – 34-year-old Nina Kanagasingham of Chichele Road, Cricklewood, who had been in the process of becoming a woman, had been arrested over the alleged killing of British HR lawyer David Burgess, London based sources say.

    Burgess, a top immigration solicitor, who was pushed under a train allegedly by Nina Kanagasingham at the King’s Cross tube station, had represented the LTTE for many years. He had been one of the first British lawyers hired by the LTTE and Tamil Diaspora.The British press described Burgess aka ‘Sonia’, as a transsexual. At the time, Burgess was pushed under the train, he was dressed as a woman.

    UK based sources told The Island that Burgess had even represented one-time LTTE Jaffna Commander Sathasivam Krishnakumar aka ‘Kittu’ when he moved to London to take over the international secretariat of the LTTE, at that time located at 54 Tavistock Place, London WC1

  12. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Thanks lot Mr.Kathieravelu.

  13. Bruz

    Historically , Sri lanka was terrorised , in some form or the other,by many forces. The Portughese, Dutch,English then & later by India ( IPKF including),Indian aided Tamil groups of many kinds,LTTE ( even if some were claimed legitimate) and now it’s exclusively by our own govt people elected democratically.It’s all in the game of stinking politics, for power & perks. Hardly anyone cared about the country.
    Can understand the mentality of the foreigners, but not our so called leaders.
    Instead of rectifying the unjust commited by those outsiders, our politicians fought with each other in destroying the little we had.This Terrorisms, foreign & local has
    done deep damages to the nation & people. Some of them are in the driving seat
    today. Terrorist turned politicians & politicians turned terrorists like Mr Douglas
    Devanada,Mr Karuna, Mr Pillaiyan, & now the recent recruit K.P. These infamous gentlemen are famous for many memorable activities in & out of sri lanka. Now they are our political leaders, just like that & they are leading us under the almighty’s
    guidance & chinthanaya. What is there to prevent our success from becoming the miracle of whatever ?! So terrorism is not a new concept in sri lanka, only the degree & the veracity differed. People may think that Pirabakaran was the most ruthless,heartless terrorist they have ever known, if so ,they have sadly mistaken & will realise one day that it was, afterall not him. In the mean time we have no choice but to enjoy the ‘ Democratic Terrorism’ forced upon all of us.

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