Lanka at crossroads
By Frederica Jansz
The question all Sri Lankans should be
asking themselves today is this: How safe are....
coalitions and multiple problems
Strategic thoughts to boost CBK's image
The disunited United Nations
Boys will be boys
Lanka at crossroads
- Determined to bring peace to this country
Mahinda - How will his deals with extremist elements
By Frederica Jansz
The question all Sri Lankans should be
asking themselves today is this: How safe are we?
As a presidential campaign takes off
the ground with one nominee, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse
reneging on policies his own party holds sacred, we should all
seriously be considering not just the future of this country
but how Mahinda Rajapakse's recent deals with extremist
elements will directly affect us all.
Rajapakse's pledges with the JVP and
JHU are not mere political piffle. There is a chance that
Mahinda Rajapakse if he is not removed as presidential nominee
by his boss before nominations are finalised will win the
If he does, he has promised to abrogate
the P-TOMS agreement, renegotiate the Cease Fire Agreement
(CFA) and begin talks with the LTTE. A contradictory position
if ever there was one.
Given the Tigers' present stance that
they are not willing to renegotiate the CFA and will take
serious umbrage if and when the P-TOMS agreement is abolished,
what Rajapakse intends to discuss with the LTTE is something
he has refrained from publicising.
We can only surmise given the Premier's
links now with the JVP and the JHU that he not only agrees but
intends to hold their view.
And this is their view.
No option but war
Treasurer, JHU, H. M. G. B.
Kotakadeniya has no doubts about what should be done in the
event the LTTE refuses to renegotiate the CFA, which according
to Kotakadeniya, "has remained a dead document these last
few years, lending instead huge advantages to the LTTE to
continue kidnappings, killings and recruiting child
"If the LTTE is not willing to
talk there is no option left but to go back to war,"
Kotakadeniya asserted. He insists as has the Premier, that if
the Tigers do agree to talks they must do so after laying down
arms and discarding military style uniforms.
Kotakadeniya's statements coupled with
those made by Rajapakse too only brings about a deep sense of
d‚j… vu. Remember the Premadasa era in the early '90s and
the laying down of arms then?
Now Rajapakse in a desperate bid to
cully votes is treading down the same path - one that has
already been tried, tested and failed.
So how does it feel? This is what we
have to ask ourselves as we consider Mahinda Rajapakse as a
Forget the fact that you and your
forefathers have been blue or green these last so many
generations. There is too much at stake for you and me to
allow the colour of a party to dominate our decision when
casting our vote.
We have ourselves to consider, and a
return to war is a situation not one of us can shoulder.
When a man like Mahinda Rajapakse who
has never served in the military and has never seen young men
die in battle, as some of us have, but yet send our young
people off to war, do you think they know how to conduct a
war? Do they know what it means to have your legs blown off?
Perhaps if Rajapakse would only
picture, god forbid, one of his own three sons with a
mutilated arm or leg or worse, lying still in a coffin, he
would not be so brash and stupid as to accede to the demands
of the JVP and JHU, agreeing blindly to conditions that can
only harm people like you, me and himself.
When he signed those pieces of paper
did he not for one moment consider you and me? Does it not
bother him that we, Sri Lankans, are held in ridicule by the
rest of the world - considered as a nation both moronic and
arrogant to boot? A damning combination if ever there was one.
Our vulnerability is not just about
dealing with terrorists or natural disasters. We are
vulnerable and unsafe because we allow thousands of Sri
Lankans to live in horrible poverty. We accept an education
system where most never graduate and most of those who do
can't string a coherent sentence together and as a result
while away their time carrying placards opposite the Fort
The middle class can't pay their
mortgage or hospital bills while more than a three quarter of
our 19 million population has no health coverage whatsoever.
So, are we safe?
We have consistently given this country
to individuals who weren't up for the job, who in turn have
hired people who also aren't up for the job. We need to fix
this situation irrespective of whether we are deciding to vote
for either Mahinda Rajapakse or Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The issue is this though. While
Wickremesinghe remains steadfast in his determination to
implement a political solution that he hopes will bring peace
to this country, the agreements between Mahinda Rajapakse, the
JVP and JHU has implicitly justified division of Sri Lanka.
If Rajapakse believes that these
agreements will help safeguard the territorial integrity of
this island, that is simply beyond belief.
Lack of comprehension
Rajapakse's lack of comprehension with
regard to negotiating with a terrorist outfit or how to
implement conflict resolution methods has only given the LTTE
a steadier platform to demand for a separate state.
It is no small wonder that TNA MPs
Joseph Pararajasingham and R. Sambandan continue to reiterate
to us that even at the Oslo meeting in 2002, the LTTE only
agreed to study a possible solution incorporating internal
self-determination and it did not agree to give up the armed
struggle. The Tigers however have at several instances
elaborated the reasons for its refusal.
According to the TNA the latest turn of
events in the south now has justified the reasons given by the
Ever since the CFA in 2002, both the
governments of Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe
conceded a Tamil and Sinhala state coming together to form a
joined central government.
Kumaratunga, while initially
criticising the UNP's method of power sharing, nevertheless is
today hailing those measures. The UNP government even
considered an arrangement of internal self-determination.
The President herself has always
remained committed towards a political settlement with the
LTTE, insisting peace would be possible only through a method
of power sharing.
After all this, what is happening
today? What has Mahinda Rajapakse gone and done? He has gone
and turned everything upside down.
Not only has Rajapakse ruled out any
chances of power sharing, he has aptly proved that southern
politicians can if need be revert to being oppressors - at
great cost to Sri Lankans.
Yet Rajapakse engages in double speak.
He says contrary to his positions on paper, that he is a
father and wants all children to be safe and happy. That he
won't dance to anyone's tune (a laughable one that). The UNP
will have a role to play in the development of the country.
That minority rights will be safeguarded.
And the Sinhala community must be brought together.
What on earth does he mean?
He has even said the Muslim community
has been wronged and must be given their rightful place.
Where? How? When?
Who is he fooling? Who is he deceiving?
You and me.
Rajapakse talks about talking with the
Tigers. How? From a position of strength?
If only Rajapakse bothered himself with
reading up on other situations of conflict he would learn that
communication is central to a negotiation process - A process
which he has already severed.
Integrative negotiation is possible
when the parties share concern for each other's positive
outcome. The presence of shared goals, trust, and clear
communication between the parties will facilitate effective,
Going by the Premier's recent actions
he has not given a thought to even focus on possible
commonalties between the negotiators and engage in a free flow
of information. They must understand each other's interests
and needs, and must seek solutions which satisfy both sides.
All vital aspects to peace talks, Rajapakse appears not to
have a clue.
After all it is not he who is the
terrorist here. So one would naturally expect him to be
considering these positions with a sense of political
So, in which direction is our nation
going to go?
We must ask ourselves, do we need to
substantially change the course of our nation? Are we going to
stand our ground, considering all that we have had to deal
with these last miserable two decades?
What is Rajapakse promising us?
That we will be safer from terrorists by going on the
This is no time for political tactics.
This is no time to have a leader who does not lead with
conviction and Sri Lanka's safety, but instead leads with
extremists' opinions. This is no time to have a leader who
does not have a vision for the future. This is no time to have
a leader who wants to pretend the 1980s / '90s are still here,
when they clearly are not.
In a recent address to the business
community Prime Minister Rajapakse said, "All sections of
our society are sick and tired of theories and verbose
statements, sick of visionary statements of our leaders, which
have been largely confined to words, words. Like you, the
captains of business, I too want action first, action second
and action all the way." Rajapakse could not have made a
truer statement. We hope that he is right about his attitude.
There is a proverb in Tamil, which
states, "The vein-less tongue can be twisted in any way
to say anything."
Proverbs apart one aspect is crystal
clear, and that is both Rajapakse and his boss are on two very
different wavelengths. Their approach to the peace process
differs greatly, so much so one can only wonder if the party
is already over for Mahinda Rajapakse - even before it
President means business
For Chandrika Kumaratunga means
business. She is not about to let her dreams be vanquished all
in the name of an electoral win for an individual.
In a speech to the Asia Society in New
York last week, President Kumaratunga said she believed the
main challenges for the peace process in Sri Lanka were a
transformation of the state and of the LTTE.
"We need to transform the state so
it is more inclusive - equally reflecting the concerns of all
communities," she said, adding, "My view and the
view of overwhelming sections of Sri Lankan society is that
this will involve transforming the state from a unitary one to
one that is plural and federal in nature."
And vociferously agreeing and backing
his sister is Foreign Minister Anura Bandaranaike who also has
lashed out at Rajapakse and his recent "deals" with
Clearly these next few days for Mahinda
Rajapakse will be significant. He maintains he would advocate
devolution of power within a unitary state. But we all know
the JVP and JHU are dead set against federalism. Unless
Rajapakse intends to tear up his agreements with both these
parties if he wins the presidential poll. That, we don't know.
What we do know is this. Irrespective
of the dynamics involved in this political quagmire, we have
only one question to keep asking ourselves. And that is, in
the current context, how safe are we all?
coalitions and multiple problems
Rajapakse, Joseph Pararajasingham, Tilvin Silva and Ven.
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
A humorous prediction made by a reputed
political columnist last week was that while there are many
political marriages taking place at present, there also would
be many political divorces once the presidential election is
It is an easy prediction to make given
the coalitions the SLFP presidential candidate Mahinda
Rajapakse had so far formed.
And he appears to be governed by 12-point agreements
with two different political parties that back his
candidature. But having formed two alliances with a Marxist
party and a Buddhist clergy outfit, his choices are somewhat
limited. In the process, Rajapakse had alienated the SLFP's
previous alliance partners, the LSSP and CP due to the
hard-line politics he had opted for.
The journey ahead therefore, for
Rajapakse is going to be a difficult one. While undoubtedly
the most contentious issue he would have to deal with, if
elected, would be to seek a solution to the ethnic issue, it
is this that he is least equipped to deal with. Then there is
the issue of the economic thrust a government under him would
take and his vocal opposition to the free market economy which
he has pledged to drastically alter.
Rajapakse's sudden shift of positions
had been so swift and a clear departure from the SLFP's
publicly acknowledged positions, that an angry Party Leader,
President Chandrika Kumaratunga fired a letter of censure 10
days ago alleging he had backtracked, on a government
commitment through the signing of the P-TOMS agreement in
contravention of the party's central committee decision.
much so that before consolidating his position as party
candidate, he has to now deal with an inordinate amount of
criticism with regard to his change of heart, particularly
with regard to the P-TOMS, an agreement presented to
parliament by him as Prime Minister. With this, he has lost
considerable support of the leftist parties that have
traditionally supported the SLFP.
The first stumbling block before
Rajapakse is the unit of devolution.
"These concerns have to be
discussed. The meeting today (18) amongst SLFP leaders is
crucial," says PA General Secretary, D. M. Jayaratne who
admittedly intends smoothing President Kumaratunga's ruffled
feathers before the meeting takes place.
And Jayaratne admits to the existence
of some ill feeling between the President and the party's
presidential candidate over the stances adopted by the latter
with regard to important national issues as well as policies.
Given his penchant to shift positions
and form alliances that cannot even agree to disagree, the two
parties that have formed alliances with the Premier advocate a
unitary character. It is a position completely rejected by
SLFP President, Chandrika Kumaratunga herself.
In her strongly worded letter to the
Premier just prior to her departure to the US to attend the UN
General Assembly, she emphasised that previous political
leaders who allowed themselves to be confined to the unitary
character of the Sri Lankan state could not go beyond that
position to resolve the conflict.
The 1972 Republican Constitution
recognised the unitary character and the1978 Constitution
fortified this position. It was none other than President J.
R. Jayewardene who was restricted by the character of the
unitary state when he signed the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord to
eschew out the separatist cause. Suddenly, the government
realised the constraints created for a significant power
The country naturally failed to
progress in the path towards peace with the only two steps so
far taken in this regard being, the signing of the CFA and
P-TOMS, whatever their drawbacks may be.
Not just to D. M. Jayaratne but to many
others, not only the future of the ad hoc alliance but the
chances of a future Mahinda Rajapakse led government to settle
the dispute appear remote.
Prior to sealing the pact, the JVP was
perturbed by the fact that the JHU was insisting on the
unitary character of the state. Though originally silent on
the issue, the hard-line JVP threatened that the Marxists also
will have to insist on a unitary state if the Premier accepts
the JHU proposal.
With the same ease with which he sealed
off a pact with the JVP, Rajapakse signed an agreement with
the JHU at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth in truly Buddhist
fashion last week. More electoral pacts are expected to follow
bringing in a diversity of positions that would be near
impossible to reconcile as days advance.
According to Assistant Secretary, UNP,
Tissa Attanayake, the survival rate of these ad hoc alliances
is low. The
UPFA government did not survive the first alliance with the
JVP and the second time would be worse.
History will repeat
" People expected a lot from the
JVP when they formed part of a ruling alliance. With their
popularity having suffered significantly due to
non-performance, the second alliance with the reds would not
survive even 14 months. The JVP will abandon the ship once
more when the government is compelled to deal with contentious
issues as they did this time," Attanayake insists.
According to General Secretary, LSSP,
Batty Weerakoon, both the JHU and the JVP had suffered a major
setback to their popularity in the past year, a view
Attanayake supports. Attanayake feels that both the JVP and
the JHU did not wish to bare their inability to garner public
support by fielding a candidate each that would have resulted
in humiliating defeats that would adversely impact party
" When the time is opportune, they
will abandon the ship. But at present, they have to save face
by forming some coalition or the other," Attanayake adds.
"They are working at different
agendas and they would obviously clash when the time is right
for decision making. It is sad that there is retrograde
political action," says Batty Weerakoon, expressing
unhappiness over the treatment meted out to the previous SLFP
coalition partners who shared significant political ideals.
" We shared a commitment to
extensive power devolution, but where do these two parties
take the SLFP?" he queried.
In this entire backdrop, the CWC that
had decided to support the Rajapakse led rainbow coalition is
having a rethink. They fear that P. Chandrasekeran would score
better with the Tamil estate population if the CWC supports a
coalition that is now being identified as a pro Sinhala
According to Convenor, NLF, Vasudeva
Nanayakkara, it was disastrous to reverse positions so soon,
particularly with regard to the island's most contentious
" We can't work with parties that
do not accept extensive power devolution as the basis for
resolving the ethnic question," he says.
Expressing his fears, Senior Vice
President, CWC, and Estate Infrastructure Minister, Muthu
Sivalingam said that the basis for any alliance should be a
deep commitment to pursue peace without which there could be
no growth. JHU and the JVP may well stand in the way.
The above sentiment is more
vociferously expressed by TNA's Joseph Pararajasingham.
" We would support the candidate
who demonstrates the biggest commitment to the negotiated
peace," Pararajasingham said.
Perturbed TNA members last week rushed
to the Wanni to discuss with the LTTE the stance they should
adopt when the poll is finally announced.
" Our choice would be the
candidate who is most likely to continue with the peace
process," insisted Pararajasingham.
It is learned that the LTTE would
reassess the position it should adopt in the event of a
victory for Mahinda Rajapakse.
But it is not just the possibilities of
peace that is being questioned today. With Rajapakse all set
to form more deals with various other political parties, UNP
Parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardena observes that the new
alliances would prove "disastrously inimical" on two
counts - the ethnic issue and the economic thrust.
" The Premier is now trying to
take us 30 years back. He had made a commitment that the
market economy would be scrapped. He pledges to create a
'balanced economy' and nowhere in the world could one find
that economic model," he added.
Gunawardena notes that by outright
rejection of a free market economy, something Rajapakse had
vociferously campaigned against during President Jayewardene's
rule in the late '70s, the negative work would be completed
this time around, if elected.
"He is a man still stuck in the
past and now he would put his party on reverse gear with
regard to two significant changes President Kumaratunga
introduced. She accepted an open economic policy and extensive
power devolution based on a federal structure - two positions
the new coalitions led by Rajapakse have rejected.
Bandula Gunawardena also points out
that the business community had recently called for
commitments from both candidates to long term economic
policies and strategies that would hold, and the creation of a
conducive atmosphere for the nation's growth through
augmenting inventor confidence.
"Queues, lack of investment,
prohibitions on imports and heavy taxes on imported goods are
what we should except from a government headed by
Rajapakse," Gunawardena predicted.
Furthermore, there is the nagging issue
of a Rajapakse led coalition government's approach to
privatisation. The programme introduced by the UNP was
continued by the PA and then the UPFA and now there is a
departure once more from the previous commitment.
It is one of the significant points
contained in the JVP-Rajapakse agreement - that restructuring
of state would come to a grinding halt.
As President Chandrika Kumaratunga
meets her party bigwigs today (18) to have the draft SLFP
policy statement ratified by the party's decision making body,
many SLFPers feel that the presidential candidate should not
compromise the party position.
" It would be tragic to make a
departure from the party position. We are committed to a
federal solution and stand by the P-TOMS agreement. It should
be continued," says D. M. Jayaratne.
The policy statement is the last ditch
attempt by a President who has less than two months as head of
state, and that is something she is determined to keep
Rajapakse bound by - if only to prevent a serious compromise
on SLFP party policies and ideals.
What Rajapakse needs to remember while
forging alliances of different types is that his candidature
should anyway reflect party positions, even if Kumaratunga did
not attempt to force them down his reluctant throat. Though
the most powerful Bandaranaike is about to relinquish the
highest political office, there is no dispute about the power
Bandaranaikes wield over the SLFP, its decision making process
and their marketability to the masses.
Rajapakse this week would be compelled
to accept a statement that is more in tune with the liberal
acceptance of a negotiated political solution to the ethnic
conflict as espoused by Kumaratunga and a commitment to an
economic programme that might rankle against his wishes, as
well as his decapacitated alliance partners, the JVP and the
It would be a good strategy for him to
reassess the situation and position before his hotchpotch of
alliances cost him his political future.
Boys will be boys
There's never telling what you'll do
next darling. Always something up your ruddy sleeve, eh? And
no I'm not talking about yesterday's under arm stubble you
forgot to wax. I'm talking about this uncanny knack you have
of giving an unsuspecting chappie a red carpet welcome and
then pulling the bally carpet from under him.
Mallo must have been seated cross
legged on the ground by your feet at the Ritz Carlton. No, no
that's not a picture I'd like to imagine dear. So let's say he
was in the vicinity chattering away 'bout the old days and how
he would be playing with your Barbie dolls, while you hung on
the phone chatting to your latest crush, when you might have
stumbled upon the subject of your ole friend Mahinder. I mean
to say New York will do just as well as any other for a heart
to heart with your little Mallo.
Meanwhile Mallo has been acting rather
like a scrappy little chi hwa hwa whose bone has been stolen
darling. Rather peeved he seems to be. I don't care about this
bally election he told the rags. The policies of the blues are
not being followed. In fact, the chap sulked, my Akki and I
will come along after this UN thingummie and like Samson with
the Philistines seize the jawbone of an ass and smite the
offending fellows who entered into these agreements, some on
the hip and some on the thigh.
Well we all know what happened to that
long-haired bloke dear. His final act brought down the house
if you know your Jewish history. Come to think of it, it would
do Mahinder well to brush up on his Israeli history. For if he
did he would know that like Samson with Delilah once a woman
gets into a man's hair he's pretty bally helpless.
Any way dear you've decided to cut down
your UN visit by five days and wing it back to paradise in an
indecent hurry. And it can't be that you are missing the
string hopper biryani or the pol sambol. I know dear, those
bally UN sessions can be a tearing bore darling don't you
know. Washed down reforms couched in pretty language, that's
all it ever is.
But sadly you will have to sacrifice
seeing a good off broadway play or a tacky broadway musical or
even just jostling about at Times Square. I say darling it may
be rather nifty if you could etch upon a stone at the UN
building the words 'Satty woz 'ere' or something.
Anyway it would seem that you've been
acting with a lot of vim, vigour and vitality dear and keeping
your ear to the ground and all that. Mahinder giving you a
headache dearie? Tch Tch. And has he been a naughty boy or
what. Playing with fellows you specifically told him not to
play with. Ah dear. You know how it is? Boys will be boys.
I wonder if you had anything to do with
Mahinder's 'Helping Hambantota' scam case being filed in
courts. M' dear I don't know how that chap ever helped
Hambantota when Hambantota is the poorest bally district in
all of paradise next to Moneragala which of course, surprise
surprise, is next to it. What pray have these Mahinder
pattiyas been doing for 60 years? Certainly not helping their
Be that as it may darling, not since
the fall of Rome have I seen anything so pathetic as a man who
may be so badly teetering on the edge. Are you planning dearie
to dissolve the bally house like a disprin? Or are we to have
the presidential?If so will you officially nominate Mahinder
as the blue candidate? After all it was you who advised him to
go as an independent just the other day. Ouch. That's going to
I mean to say the chap is going to look
pretty silly having pasted all those posters with him smiling
in the foreground on a blue background. So would he have to
quickly tear down posters of you and Anura flanking him like a
But darling the chap is not a man
devoid of the Pee R. Rather charming he has been to the
100,000 guests he has been hosting from time to time at Temple
Trees. He was to say to a batch of junior lawyers the other
day, "Mama edath Mahinder, adath Mahinder, hetath
Mahinder." While needless to say this type of vacuous,
populist speech does have its fans and rather a loud applause
ensued, one wonders whether he was at one time thinking of
having a sex change or something that he has to assure the
public he will remain the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Nice thing it would be if Mahinder was
voted in as next prez and at the time of taking his oath
before the Chief Justice and much to ole Sarath's dismay he
came decked in Shiranthi's shiny sari and signed as Uthpala on
the dotted line. All sorts of comments it's going to incite I
mean to say. Not to mention that the voting public will
immediately lose faith in the system of governance with a man
who does not know his own sex. Bad enough he does not know his
own party and goes from red to yellow to blue like a bally
chameleon. Neither can one accuse him of knowing what he
stands for. Well except the obvious I mean to say what. Eh,
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes the chap
knows how to keep you happy too. I wonder whether you watched
Ellawela Medhananda Thero's speech after the JHU agreement was
signed last week dear. The Thero I hardly like to tell you,
castigated you for trying to divide the country darling. All
the time while Mahinder was pasted to his side, the Thero
lamented that you and Ranil were trying to break paradise into
a million little pieces.
Just moments before Mahinder himself
who is in serious denial was speechifying haltingly about how
he was a man from the blues and how you were committed to
peace, etcetera. A little butter hurt no one. So judge of his
surprise and consternation when the Thero spilled the beans
and putting his foot you know where scolded you properly.
Quick as a thingumagig our Mahinder was
to call upon the media not to report that part of the Thero's
speech where he's calling you a divider as if you were a
geometrical instrument. Hmm. Trying to keep you happy too, eh?
Meanwhile as far as I see Mahinder is
in a hot soup. Does one see the iron hand at work beneath the
Not long to wait and see.
Tara for now
Strategic thoughts to boost CBK's image
In a darkened room of the creaky old
Gordon Gardens, the Insecurity Council was in session.
This is not to be mistaken for the all powerful Security
Council. It is a think tank advising the Sri Lanka government
on strategic matters.
Former top bureaucrat, Kapati
Pandangratne was in the chair. He was preambling.
Kumaratunga addressing the UN
"In every endeavour today, be it
the opening of thosai boutique to pasting posters, selling
newspapers or toffee wrapping papers, strategic planning is an
absolute essential. Now we must come up with a strategic plan
to boost up our president's visit to the United Nations - to
project her image among the world's leaders and of course
elections are round the corner.
"We have already commenced the
first prong of our strategy by sending a high powered
delegation with the president to the UN sessions - you can
judge how high-powered it is from the delegates: Panther
Wanniaratchchi, Arumugam Thondaman, D.E.W. Gunasekera, state
media bosses and journalists past and present, Rupavahini TV
team with Jayanatha Dhanapala and one or two diplomats. Sadly,
Mervyn Silva is missing.
that our crack team is in place, we must have a strategic plan
to announce to the world that Our President Chandrika
Kumaratunga is at the UN headquarters among other world
leaders. Therefore gentlemen, I have been asked to call for
strategic proposals of the Insecurity Council.
But before that I urge you to look under the table and
look out for those defence correspondent types."
Army top brass: None under the table
sir. The moles may be at the table.
See eye eh Silva: (Darling of the
Western embassies with a brilliant academic record not
entering a Sri Lanka university but having won a badminton
scholarship to the University of Buffalo, New York). I've been
working on this strategy. You know, the Americans are still
obsessed with bin Laden. Four years have passed since 9/11 and
that fellow is still taunting the Yanks who are desperate to
catch him. So why not leak the story that bin Laden has been
hiding in Slave Island and that he had been seen chewing betel
near the Slave Island rail gate and the Muslim Library? Yanks
will be terribly excited. Within days the CIA, FBI and all
their spy organisations will swoop on Slave Island. Sri Lanka
will be the focus of world opinion. Madam can pledge to the US
that all the help needed will be given. She will be the
instant darling of the international community....
Kapati Pandangratne: But what happens
when the Americans come and they can't find bin Laden?
Seeeyeeh: We will say he has gone into
hiding. Take pictures of a tall fellow like Alavi Moulana
dressed like an Arab with the railway station in the
background as proof that bin Laden was there. Say he
disappeared in a Hi- Ace van with no number plates and was
heard seen giving directions to proceed to Beruwela or some
such place such as Uurugasmanhandiya.
Nonaligned Savari: (of the Foreign
Ministry) all this will be counter productive. This will
complicate our policy with Arab nations who still fund bin
Laden. It will cause jitters in India.
Kapati: Quite right. Do we have other
Pontificatus Mahadenatilleke ( Leading
NGO activist from the Mariyakadde Centre of Social De-stabililisation).
Why not spread the story that a Buddhist bomb is being made in
the Vidyodaya Science Laboratories by a team spearheaded by
Nalin de Silva with those like Gunadasa Amersekera and S.L.
Gunasekera giving support? Nalin de Silva, remember is an
astrophysicist from the Sussex University. First Class and
averaged 98 per cent in the Maths final in the old University
of Colombo. We will say he is in league with Buddhist
scientists in Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Tibet and outer Mongolia
and is spearheading the project of the Buddhist bomb. We can
find an ideological basis for this by referring to the
Mahavamsa-chosen race and all that. The. ICES can provide
enough and more documentation on the subject, dating to pre
We will say radioactive Monazite sands
from Beruwela is being converted to Uranium tetraflouride in
the Vidyodaya centrifuges and upgraded wih radioactive
Ilemenite from Pullmodai to produce fissile plutonium to make
a low yielding nuclear bomb as small as a buth packet.
CBK can declare to the world that the
conspiracy about the Buddhist bomb has been uncovered and she
has taken all steps to arrest the culprits and send them to
Guantanamo Bay. This will send her reputation sky high. The
nuclear non proliferation lobby will hail her as the saviour
of the world.
Bauddhapala Poladisinghe: ( Attanagalla
Blue SLFPer) Are you mad? Rake up another anti- Buddhist issue
before the election? Already we have the JVP beating the
underberas and the JHU the getaberas against us. Do you want
us to be drummed out?
Hulangoda: (Former insurrectionist and talented abductor of
VIPs now leading human rights activist with a mid West
American accent.) Now that the Madam is in New York and not
being taken notice of very much because of so many Third World
performers being present, why don't we drop a peace propaganda
bomb. We will declare that she is willing to grant all
Pirapaharan's wishes- his demand for a separate state with
immediate effect for the sake of peace! This is certain to
make the world headlines. Old Bill Clinton will come rushing
out from some boudoir saying: Atta girl Chandrika! I told you
folks she is the best bet for peace! All Americans will
declare she is the next best thing to sliced bread and Nelson
Mandela. Nobel Prize will be for the asking!
Kapati:But what can the President tell
the howling New York media mob? Tell them she will handover
both the north and east to the megalomaniac? What will be the
reaction at home?
Drohi:She can flash her famed toothy
smile and say she is prepared to discuss her proposal further
with Pirapaharan and it is still a proposal. She will recall
how she offered Pirapaharan the entire north and that it was
turned down. It is on record in a
- Magazine interview of hers. So why not add on the
east this time?
Kapati:And if Pirapharan says he will
accept the President's offer what is she to do?
Drohi: Disappear for some time to
London and a few weeks later say the deal is off. Nevermind
the repercussions; she has made headlines and the world will
remember her as a true messenger of peace and how far she was
willing to go for the sake of peace.
Kapati: But what are the reasons she
can give for calling off the deal?
Drohi: Say that Pirapaharan wanted
entire Sri Lanka. To him Eelam means entire Lanka. She can say
she would willingly grant that too for the sake of peace if
not for those cantankerous fellows like S.L. Gunasekera and
Nalin De Silva.
Kapati: And what happens when she comes
back home? Did she really offer the entire north and east to
Pirapharanakaran, the BJB ( Bambalapitiya Junction Balavegaya)
Drohi: She can say that this is a
diabolical plot of the JVP-Mahinda gang in conjunction with
the UNP. They are all trying to discredit her and the
Bandaranaikes. She never told the American media that she
would give the north and east to Pirapaharan. How could she?
Not her family property nor state lands at Madiwela to donate
as she wants.
The indignant Chandrika can bellow
overstate TV that Milinda Moragoda with the assistance of the
American media and the CIA cooked up this plot. The Americans,
Ranil and Milinda can deny it till they are blue in the face
but do you think our intelligent masses will believe all that?
Remember how often she has denied statements she made on TV
the very next day without batting an eyelid ? Accept my
proposal gentlemen not forgetting that talents such as mine
need to be harnessed in the field of diplomacy.
Kapati: This is a strategy that needs
The disunited United Nations
International 'talkathons' with world
in with their delegations and TV crews, to make known
intentions and plans for the betterment of the world and
then fly out in a few days, rarely meet the idealistic
declared in the
of such confabs.
|The current 60th sessions of the
General Assembly of the United
Nations now on in New York is no different going
from reports of the first three days of the sessions.
It holds much promise for the betterment of humanity but of
the vast gamut of proposals that are to be considered only a
few limited proposals will receive an impetus from this
conference of 150 heads of state of the 160 member
This conference had on its
all major global issues:
sessions in progress
Alleviating of poverty and
helping poor nations towards reaching their development goals,
taking on pandemics such as AIDS, protection of human
rights, combating international terrorism, breaking through
trade barriers, spreading democracy and reform of the United
By the time the General Assembly met, a
group of core nations after 'long and acrimonious debating'
had watered down the UN plans particularly on controversial
issues. Some observers had pointed out that the highly
contentious issues had been reduced to nuances that could be
interpreted in the way partisan observers could wish for.
Secretary General Kofi Annan himself in
his opening address confessed that the blueprint of the
conference fell short of his visions of freedom from hunger
and war. "We have yet achieved the sweeping and
fundamental reforms I believe is required," he said.
However, reports spoke of positive
advances such as plans to reform the much criticised UN
organisation itself. There was agreement for
a code of ethics for the UN staff, internal management
reform plan and agreement of
' whistleblower protection'- protection to those
employees who squeal on their corrupt bosses- as well as the
strengthening of the internal audit system.
These reforms were indeed of urgency
because the UN had come in for scathing criticism as a
corrupt, inefficient and anachronistic organisation, by the
Bush administration itself. There were even lurking doubts
whether the United States that finances almost 20 per cent of
the UN expenditure will pull the carpet under the feet of the
world body with President George Bush appointing a favourite
UN baiter, John Bolton as the US ambassador to the United
Nations. The American President had even by-passed US congress
in making this appointment which has been unprecedented.
The walrus moustachioed Bolton is known
for his comments such as "It wouldn't make a bit of a
difference if the UN Secretariat in New York were to lose 10
storeys" and that "the Security Council needed only
one permanent member because that's the real distribution of
power in the world." However President Bush addressing
the sessions on the first day and "promoting his
blueprint for selling democracy in Iraq and
elsewhere,"overhauling the UN and expanding free trade
has cleared doubts about the Bush administration being the
nemesis of the UN.
Blair hits out
British Prime Minister Tony Blair came
out strongly for using the UN as an instrument for fighting
international terrorism. With his usual sangfroid shattered by
the recent London bombings, he called for a law for all states
to outlaw incitement on terrorism. He called for action
against international terrorism, and unanimity in enacting
laws against it. But even at this session, failed to define
terrorism - an abject failure because some of these passionate
anti- terrorist calls seem meaningless to some nations.
For example, Tony Blair's calls for
united action against terrorism will be meaningless to Sri
Lankans when Britian continues to permit Sri Lanka's No. 2
terrorist leader to live
in London. It all boils down to 'one man's terrorist
still being entertained by some as the other man's freedom
Tony Blair has also proposed that the
respect for sovereignty of individual states be overridden by
the UN when a government cannot protect its own people from
acts such as genocide. He declared: "We in the name of
humanity have a common duty to protect the people where their
own governments will not."
Earlier the UN convention was that such
interference be permitted only when the security of another
state was threatened by internal conflicts of a neighbouring
state. This proposal, although it has
the consensus of the General Assembly, needs great
scrutiny by Third World countries, particularly small poor
countries. It will be an instrument of the big powers to
intervene in the internal affairs of small nations and dictate
the internal and foreign policies to those weak countries.
On the other hand big and powerful countries or even
intermediate powers will be able to get away with blue murder
with or without UN sanction.
For example could the UN or any other
power intervene in internal issues involving big countries
such as China, India, or Russia? On the other hand what of the
United States and Britian itself?
Iraq was invaded by the US and Britian
without the sanction of the UN Security Council on a
horrendously wrong charge: Possession of weapons of mass
destruction. Neither country can deny that. Will the UN that
is sanctioning intervention in poor countries when governments
are unable to protect their people now ask the US and Britian
to clear out of Iraq and the take over the administration from
the puppets of Britian and US?
This assembly is likely to approve a
Human Rights Council to monitor human rights abuses, replacing
the much maligned UN Human Rights Commission. Will it do any
better than the previous organisation in defending human
rights of the Iraqis?
Nuclear non proliferation
The issue of nuclear non proliferation
has been left out in this year's discussion which Kofi Annan
has described as the ' biggest failure' while the Millennium
to bring about dramatic improvement in the quality of the
lives of the poor - particularly in Africa and Asia remain as
far as ever.
The UN has not been the darling of the
powerful Western nations since it was set up. This is only
natural because in the Cold War days it received a severe
verbal battering from the Non Aligned Nations as well as those
in the Soviet bloc.
UN role for development of the Third
World has been unquestionable, particularly in the efforts of
these former colonial countries becoming independent nations.
The proposals are there before the UN for the transformation
of the quality of life of the poor of the world but only the
Western powers have the financial clout to implement them.
A UN official was quoted in the first
day's session as saying: "The UN can only be strong as
governments allow it to be."