Bala beats the war drum
LTTE Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham last week shed light on Velupillai Pirapaharan's ultimatum to the government of Sri Lanka. Following is the translation of his speech in London made in Tamil:......
Lapsed bills require reprocessing
Make the ' Maveerar' coo like a dove (....Serendipity)
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> Gedera yana gaman (....Thelma)
Bala beats the war drum
LTTE Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham last week shed light on Velupillai Pirapaharan's ultimatum to the government of Sri Lanka. Following is the translation of his speech in London made in Tamil:
I am grateful that you gave me this opportunity to speak to you on our land and our people as well as the heroic fighters who gave their lives to our cause.
When I arrived at this hall one of my friends told me that Mr. Anandasangaree was also present here. I would like to meet him and kiss him; if any one here can identify him I would be grateful.
Anandasangaree has said in Colombo that he can travel all over the world, but he cannot go to Kilinochchi which is his home. We all know why he wants to go to Kilinochchi.
There are two old ladies who know him. He is known to love to eat monitor lizard meat. That is why he wants to visit Kilinochchi. I like to tell him in Kilinochchi there is a five star hotel built by Pottu Amman and he can come there any time and eat good food.
Leader Pirapaharan has spoken on many matters today, and there are important points in this speech. In the past few years there were many incidents, and conspiracies as well as shadow insurgencies that were organised against our movement and our leaders.
Finally our leader speaks of Rajapakse and his government, and his policies, as well as our movement, aims, plans and our battles ahead, in this context.
There are 10 to 12 important points in our Leader's speech.
What is the Mahawansa mindset according to our Leader? According to our Leader the Sinhalese people are still in the Mahawansa mindset era. What is the Mahawansa mindset as stated by our Leader? The Mahawansa is an old Buddhist story written by a Buddhist priest wherein the Buddha has given Sri Lanka to the Sinhalese as a god given land in writing.
This is a sacred land for the propagation of Theravada Buddhism. This also belongs to the Sinhalese according to the Buddha. Therefore the Sinhalese consider this land for the last 2000 years as their land and the Buddha has gifted it to the Buddhists, and no one else can live here. Tamils cannot live here, nor can anyone else. The Sinhalese have this Mahawansa mindset. The Sinhalese do not understand the realistic position.
That is the north and the east has been occupied by the Tamils who have their culture, their language, their history and the Sinhalese are not ready to accept this fact. Therefore our Leader says that the Sinhalese people will never change their attitude from this Mahawansa mindset. Therefore the Sinhalese chauvinists will never accept the Tamils as people of this country and give them their rights and self governance in this
This idea comes from the roots of a religion. The Buddha! Who is the Buddha? The Buddha was a Hindu. He was an exponent of the Hindu religion. He said there was no god, there is no soul, there is no world after this.
He was a revolutionary thinker, who wanted to improve Hinduism. A thinker who said there is no god, you have deified him. The Sinhalese believe that such a god has given this country to them in writing. How can you talk to such people, they don't have anything upstairs. This is what the Leader says.
If talks are not necessary why go for talks, why send Balasingham for talks, when the Sinhalese will not give you anything? The Leader said as follows: We went for talks because the international community wanted us to engage in talks.
At one stage India interfered in our affairs and we went to Thimpu, Bangalore and Delhi for talks, because India insisted on this, by twisting our neck.
Our Leader gives the reasons for this. Since the LTTE is a liberation organisation we need international recognition and legal legitimacy. We went to the international community to tell them about the problems of our people, and their liberation struggle.
Next we went to the international community to show that the Sinhalese will not give a reasonable and legally binding solution to the problems of the Tamil people.
For the past 50 years this problem has been dragging on and we were able to tell the international press as well as the international community the reasons for this. We need this from our side too. The talks are more difficult than war; in war you can destroy the enemy, and show results.
Talks are a different type of war. There will be stratagems and pitfalls in negotiation. Balasingham can be twisted. There will be plans to turn the Tiger aims in a different direction. We have to face this. Talks are not easy.
The Sinhalese enemy will bring with them famous chanayakas, excellent professionals, great educated men and legal experts. We have to handle them with great care. Otherwise we will be lost.
In spite of this we fell into trouble. The Jayewardena-Rajiv agreement established provincial councils, making us decommission weapons; we refused to accept provincial councils. What happened next?
India tried to destroy us by sending her army to Sri Lanka. We opposed India to safeguard our people and our policies. We as a small liberation organisation fought the army of a big country and all of you are aware of it. Whether we lose our cadres or the movement is destroyed we will always stand for our goals, namely, to protect our people and this has been explained by our Leader clearly.
Ranil Wickremesinghe's close friend is Milinda Moragoda. He was the Economic Reforms Minister, he took part in the talks. Just before the recent elections he gave an interview to the press saying, "We dragged the Tigers to talks with the international community and at the end we never gave them anything. We threw a web round them. By this, the Tigers were broken - one of their leaders left the movement and started his
own outfit." You know whom he is referring to.
What actually happened? The government of Ranil Wickremesinghe took us for talks thinking that these boys have been suffering in the forests; we will show them the civilisation of the West and then the Tigers will leave the organisation and run away. I was the leader of the Tiger delegation.
In Thailand talks took place. Mr. Peiris and I were talking of federalism but the boys who came with me would go to Bangkok night clubs in the evening and come back late in the night. Some of them were disturbed. Women were able to upset them. Those who were disturbed should have left the movement and started sex clubs.
Just before the elections recently Milinda Moragoda says that the government of Sri Lanka broke the Tiger movement by showing them the world and one leader was made to run away. This was the strategy. We were able to recognise this all along. Therefore, we were able to overcome these difficulties and we are now ready with our strategy.
For 30 years talks and war have succeeded each other. Our Leader says the last talks have been dragging for four years from December 2001. We signed a Cease Fire Agreement from a position of strength. What is the result? Having captured Wanni and Elephant Pass, having destroyed the army establishments, we showed our friendly face.
This has continued for four years. With Ranil we had six rounds of talks in Norway, Germany, Thailand, Japan and I too went for these talks. Ranil went and Chandrika came back. We spoke to Chandrika. In these four years all the agreements, all the decisions and all the goals arrived at, have not been implemented.
What does the international strategy show?
We have to talk about international strategy. The plan is to get us involved in order to destroy our movement. America, Britain, Japan, European Union have decided that it should be done this way. And then, they thrust it on us and we continued this dialogue with the assistance of Norway as the facilitator. But America, Japan and European Union keep on insisting that we do certain things.
Our people must decide what our people need. The international community cannot do this. Within a unitary state the international community cannot insist on the LTTE accepting any arrangement. De-commissioning of weapons also will not be acceptable in these circumstances. This strategy was brought by Ranil and it is Ranil who was the victim of this strategy. We stand.
The last year and the plan for war as well as the P-TOMS.
At the last Maveerar celebrations our Leader said we cannot get our people without an interim administration in our territory; they cannot live in a vacuum. We will continue to fight for our rights and if there is any dragging of talks we will win our rights by force.
Our Leader is getting ready to engage in a liberation struggle to establish Tamil Eelam. It was in this eventuality last December that the tsunami struck; 20,000 Tamils and Muslims died, 300,000 lost their homes and became refugees. In this situation our Leader gave up the idea of a liberation struggle and got the fighters to engage in rehabilitation work.
This tsunami kindled the conscience of the world. US$ 4 billion was offered. Madam Chandrika thought that she would talk with the Tigers and get this money with an ulterior motive. We engaged in talks with her in the hope that at least half of it would come to us, even though more than 20,000 of our people had died and 300,000 were refugees.
The P-TOMS was established since the welfare of our people is paramount. We cannot engage in war when our people are suffering. After a long period the government of Sri Lanka and the Tigers signed the P-TOMS but as soon as it was signed the JVP opposed it and left the government. The bare-headed bhikkus also left the government. The Supreme Court upheld the objections of the JVP.
Our Leader points this out and says the Tamil people don't need federalism or independence if you cannot implement the P-TOMS which was signed in good faith. How can your government do anything more for the Tamil people? The Sinhala governing establishment based on racism will never give our people their rights.
Therefore, we will have to fight and win these rights. Living on Sinhala generosity for 57 years is enough and our Leader upholds the fate of the P-TOMS as the example to take in order to chart the future of our people.
Our Leader says there is a very important development, which is that an underground war has taken place and is taking place. Some people throw grenades but cannot be caught. And this year it has intensified.
Our leading cadres, our important fighters, our supporters, our intellectuals, and our international agents have been subjected to this type of war. We have come to the conclusion that it is the military intelligence which is behind this and those encouraging them are the Sinhala chauvinists in political circles.
This is a peaceful era. The CFA has been in operation for four years; we wanted peace but they want war. This is the work of Sinhala chauvinists. How patient have we been for four years? But the international community keeps blaming us. Who are these people killing? They are killing us.
The Sinhalese have faith in war; they do not have faith in peace or in talks. By maintaining a fa‡ade the Sinhalese are conducting an underground war which is a destructive affair hoping that our movement will die.
In this the Sinhala army does not come in the open, they use Tamil armed groups who are paid operatives. Tamils against Tamils. This is the problem we have had. We have it in London too.
There is no meaning in the words peace, cessation of hostilities and talks. Speak of peace and conduct a war. Cover your face and conduct a dark war and a shadowy war. Is this peace? When thousands of people have lost their homes and are living in tents, is this the CFA in action?
When will the paramilitary be disarmed? By encouraging them, are you not breaking the provisions of the CFA? Talks means dragging it out and getting the international community to disarm us. Ranil's game was this.
Ranil's promise to the Tamils (Sinhalese only understand aggression
Many of us are angry. If we voted for Ranil, we could have gone for talks with Ranil but Ranil is a dangerous fox. Why I say this is because I am tired of talks. I know about this from the days of Premadasa. I have been in this game from the age of 17 and I know their tricks and their strategems.
Some would say Ranil is OK. He will give us a federal structure. We have spoken about federalism for 57 years. Is this a new development? From Chelvanayagam days we have been speaking of federalism. They will talk about federalism and cheat us all along.
This P-TOMS which did not have the powers of even a village council was not given to us. Do you think the Sinhalese will ever give us anything approaching a federal structure and enthrone us in our land? Never.
Sinhalese understand one word, "hit." If you hit, they will understand. The Tigers understand this. For the past 57 years, 30 years have been years when the Tigers have fought and it is useless to raise our hands in prayer to the Sinhalese and beg for federalism. It is useless. There is no hope for the Tamil people or for our movement.
Recently you would have noticed many movements in Jaffna and in the east where the Tamil people have assembled in large numbers to talk about their culture, and their way of life. This is the re-awakening of the Tamil people. This is Pongu Tamil. This is not present among the Sinhalese.
The Tamil people are speaking loud to the international community. This is the way they want to convince the international community that they have problems and they have a just cause.
The election came. Whose election? To elect a Sinhala president. Why should we participate in these elections? Whether Ranil is elected or Rajapakse is elected, will the problem be solved? Never. Give a vote to one of them, put them on the throne and go back to Bangkok and once again drag out the talks?
The LTTE called the MPs - don't trust these elections and don't take sides. The people understood this message very clearly, that is what happened. The EPDP wanted to cast illegal ballots but our university students lit fire crackers and chased these EPDP cadres. The world is against us for this too.
The rejection of the elections and international opinion
The European Union according to some will ban the LTTE for having prevented the Tamils from voting. In which case we ask the EU a question.
For the past 10 years, people have lost their homes, their land, their villages and are now living as refugees. What about their democratic rights? Are you from the international community concerned about this? Is this not a democratic right?
They say we should have voted for Ranil, in which case he would have won. He would have wanted to set a trap for us. The failure of the Tamil people to vote was an important event. An important event in the recent history. This is the first time that the Tamil people did not accept a Sinhala government arrangement.
Whoever rules in the south is of no concern to us and in the Sinhala areas this is causing considerable concern. The people of the north and east are not concerned about Ranil or Rajapakse; they are opposed to the Sinhala political establishment, the Sinhala government machinery; we do not want any part of the south, namely, their governmental structure.
We will go our own way. You keep your governance and your authority, we will keep our governing authority and our people will rule by themselves their area. Unfortunately, the international community will blame us. We do not understand this.
The European Union representative called me and told me, "your movement has prevented the Tamil people from voting and war is inevitable and your movement is responsible for this. The European Union will condemn you and we will have to do it."
I replied, you can condemn us. There is a ban in England but still you can see thousands who have come to this hall; that is because you cannot separate the LTTE and the people.
There is a ban on me in London. But if I were to hide in my house, nothing will happen. If I were to get out and some person decides to kill me that will be good news because I will become a hero. In Europe too this ban will be similar to the one in Britain.
What we do openly will in future be done surreptitiously. I have a British passport and I can do what I want. It is Tamilselvan and Puleedevan who cannot come to London.
Next the Leader speaks of another important idea. There the Sinhala people have chosen a leader. Mahinda Rajapakse is a pure Sinhala Buddhist. He was chosen by the Sinhala Buddhist votes. Sinhala Buddhist votes, voted by the majority to elect him.
Ranil got upcountry, Muslim and the Sinhala votes but if our people voted, he would have won. But a Sinhala Buddhist has been elected; he has 27 parties with him; yellow robes and red shirts are all with him and a big Buddhist hierarchy has established itself.
OK what happened in Tamil Eelam? Here the cry for statehood has arisen. The Leader says, there is an administrative structure here; there is a LTTE administrative unit. The Tiger unit and its government is very much here - that is the structure of the Tamil nation and he describes what is in this structure.
We have a well defined territory. A territory marked by boundaries - a large population, a navy and an army to protect them. In our area, we have a police force to maintain law and order. We have a judicial structure to maintain this territory. We are operating this governmental unit of ours. Our territory encompasses 70% of Tamil Eelam and this government operates in this area.
The Sinhalese cannot see this and therefore cannot accept it. Even if he believes it, he cannot accept it. His understanding of the Tigers is that it is a small terrorist group and they keep telling the world this.
Some countries believe this and have branded us as terrorists. They tell us to give up terrorist acts. Is it reasonable for us to give up our arms, to give up our claim for a separate identity and take the offer of the Sinhala people according to their dictates?
Pirapaharan replies, we have shown the world one truth after all these years. We have been patient and according to your advice we have tried to negotiate but to no purpose. We have no faith that they will give us anything. In which case, what is the way out?
We have to take our fate into our hands; we have a government of our own; we have our territory, 30% of our territory must come back to us, 70% is already with us. People in the 30% area too will support us. They boycotted the elections - the people of Jaffna.
The 40,000 army personnel could not get the people to vote. Pirapaharan sent a message in a clandestine manner and the people obeyed him.
What is terrorism?
Speaking of terrorism, you have confined us. Tell us, what is terrorism? The people will obey the law and dharma when enforced but not otherwise. India has learnt this. Russia is suppressing some of its minorities.
In various parts of the world, national minorities have been suppressed and this cannot be brought up at the United Nations. You are unable to define terrorism but you must understand that for legality, justice and for equity liberation movements have been branded when they fight for these ideals. Keeping this threat alive, you keep the state terror mechanism active.
The United States champions antiterrorist action, and India Sri Lanka and Russia are hiding their governmental terror tactics. Therefore, a movement where the Tigers have lost 18,000 heroes and are able to hold their heads high are not ready to sacrifice their just cause.
Is it correct for you to brand us terrorists? We are against state terrorism. Why are you stamping us with this label? You keep your unitary state, we have our Tiger administration.
Mahinda Rajapakse signed an agreement with the JHU and the JVP. He also says it is the Mahinda Chinthana. Pirapaharan says that the difference between the Mahinda Chinthana and the Tiger programme is vast.
Let us look at Mahinda's policy. He mentioned in parliament last Friday, that there will be a settlement only under a unitary state and nothing else. We say, you keep your unitary state and we will also establish our unitary state.
You keep your unitary state with your Buddhist priests; we will keep our unitary state with the Tigers. There is no problem for us and we will not dispute your unitary state.
The problem for us is those who promise us a federal structure. Mahinda is a good man. Let him keep his unitary state, we will also keep our unitary state. Mahinda says there is no Tamil homeland. By your saying it, will the traditional homeland disappear?
We have liberated 70% of our homeland and we have our liberation army. You say you want to meet our Leader. If you come, our police will give you protection, and a visa will also be issued. Therefore, when we say that there is nothing upstairs where the Sinhalese are concerned, is this not correct?
You say you won't give us the homeland, when 70% has been liberated and we have a government structure. 30% has to be liberated. This will not take much time. That will also come.
Mahinda says he will not give the Tamils an independent structure. Who asked you for such a structure? All that has gone away - it is past history. We have now taken a decision; we will take care of our fate ourselves. We will watch what you are going to do.
The Tamil people have decided that they do not want your governance. They have told you they will go their own way. There is no meaning in your saying that there will be no federalism, no self-governance and no traditional homeland because the path we travel will be different. We will win our rights.
Mahinda says that he wants to renegotiate the CFA - how are you going to renegotiate? The CFA was signed between two parties and the SLMM was the intermediary. Several countries were involved. The CFA is not restricted to the government and the Tigers. It is an international agreement.
If you say you are going to change the CFA, is it by yourself? It is impossible. Without our permission if you do it, the CFA will cease to exist. If you want to break the ceasefire, do so. We are ready.
Mahinda says he is going to have a consensus with all parties and take a decision. We know all about all-party conferences. The Sinhala governments from time to time convene these all party conferences to cheat the Tamil people. Do you think that you can get 27 parties and arrange a programme acceptable to us?
Rajapakse has 27 parties but not a single minority group is with him. He has one person - you know who he is. He is supposed to be in charge of Social Services. He is actually in charge of Anti-Social Services and minister in charge of that. It is a ministry fit for his capabilities.
Is this an interval or is this the fall?
Pirapaharan tells Mahinda lastly, I will give you a small time frame. You are a seasoned politician and a practical man. You want to speak to the Tigers and you want a new way of approaching this subject. Alright, we will not throw you out when you show your friendly face. We will give you an opportunity but it will be a very short one.
What are you going to do with it? Peace, CFA and what type of legal structure for the Tamil people? We will watch all this.
We do not want to confront you now. We will give you a short breathing space. Next year, if you keep dragging talks, we will definitely not accept it and we will proceed to intensify our struggle.
Some media personnel have interpreted our Leader's statement to mean that he has given only one month. But it is not so. It can be either at the beginning of next year or in the middle of next year. Whatever the obstacles, whatever the harm, whatever the suffering we will oppose and wage war and get back our motherland.
Lapsed bills require reprocessing
All parliamentary committees will have to be reconstituted
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
Following the prorogation of parliament by President Mahinda Rajapakse, some six government bills and eight private members' bills have lapsed and now require re-processing.
The lapsed bills do not include any urgent bills though they include two controversial private members' bills proposed by the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), one seeking a ban on unethical conversions and the abolition of the temporary amalgamation of the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka under the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord.
According to British parliamentary traditions which are also followed here, with a prorogation of the House, all the committees, bills, motions and questions lapse and require to be re-presented to acquire efficacy.
According to sources from the Bills Department in parliament, most of the bills that lapsed have only been included in the order book and have not been completely processed - meaning they have not advanced to the second and third reading stages.
"It means, the lapsing would not have a drastic delaying impact on the bills concerned as they have not reached advanced stages in legislation making. As a formality following prorogation, they need to be presented once again and the process restarted," an officer from the department explained.
However, the practical factor is that the prorogation caused the lapsing of only a handful of bills. Conversely, if there were many bills that merely required the formalities to conclude, the result would have been the creation of a massive backlog of bills for clearing. It also would have meant the government lacking business to process.
"This would practically mean that until and unless the bills are presented once more, the government would not have business. The only saving grace is that there will be a budget debate from this week and before that a debate on the policy statement of the President," noted UNP's Assistant Secretary, Tissa Attanayake.
According to parliamentary sources, most bills though given notice of have not yet been gazetted. "They are incomplete and cannot be considered full fledged bills," the source explained.
However, there are some 20 other draft bills that are pending their first presentation. " They are independent of those that have lapsed two weeks ago," an official explained.
Meanwhile, there is concern regarding the JHU proposed bill urging a legal prohibition on "unethical" conversions.
The bill was presented by JHU MP, Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Thero sometime back. According to JHU sources, there is no problem in processing the private member's bill as there has been no opposition expressed against it openly. The source explained that there is hindrance to its introduction.
"It has to be referred then to the Select Committee for approval before presenting it to the house for a vote. It has completed the second reading as well, but the JHU would now quickly re-present and complete the initial stages," a senior bhikku legislator said.
Meanwhile, a senior official from parliament said that the controversial bill has to go through the select committee which has two problems - it has to be reconstituted and gazetted once more following the prorogation, in addition to appointing a chairman, with the job being declined by two legislators before.
Meanwhile, inside sources said that the JHU is unhappy with the policy statement made by President Mahinda Rajapakse in which he declared that the state would not interfere with religions.
In his address to parliament on November 25, President Rajapakse made a broad hint that his government would move towards a secular state. He has also backed his statement by not appointing separate ministers for different religions and made it a combined ministry of religious affairs.
This, according to sources has displeased the JHU monks who have been banking on Rajapakse's support to ban "unethical" conversions through legislation.
Meanwhile, it is not just the bills that have lapsed. According to parliamentary administrators, the parliamentary committees too have to be re-constituted.
In the same vein following the prorogation, besides bills, motions, petitions- both adjournment and dilatory - and questions have lapsed making it incumbent upon the new government to re-commence the legislative process.
Notice of presentation
Likewise, all papers that were scheduled for presentation and given notice of have to be given new notice of. According to parliamentary authorities, notice of questions and motions too have to be given notice of, according to Section 23 of the Standing Orders of parliament.
Accordingly, after due notice is given they can be permitted to be included in the Order Book out of which items are selected according to priority to be included in the Order Paper of the day.
Meanwhile, with the JHU poised to push legislation curbing conversions, the Christian lobby has protested that passing legislation would be the wrong end of the stick to hold given the fact that religion is a personal choice.
However, the parliament secretariat is expected to be busy next week attending to the procedural requirements of government business as a new appropriation bill is scheduled to be presented on Thursday (8).
Make the ' Maveerar' coo like a dove
The much awaited birthday oration of the self- proclaimed Maveerar (Great Hero) and Suriya Theivam (Sun God) for once proved to be a Pus Vedilla ( damp squib). The man who by his fatwa made large numbers of Tamil voters of the north not cast their ballots had, virtually by himself, elected the new president of
Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse. Verbal fireworks were expected in his annual address to the nation and the 'world,' replete as usual with blood and thunder. But it was devoid of all that bluster and was unusually tame.
The usual litany and tirade against the near 2000 year old chronicle, the Mahavamsa, 'Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists attempting to suppress the Tamil minority,' the role of the much aggrieved Tamil liberation fighters in defending the Tamil 'Nation,' what law abiding and morally correct citizens the LTTE are, were all there in the much awaited address.
But the only new and significant statement was that "the new government of President Rajapakse should come forward soon with a reasonable political framework that will satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people. This is our urgent and final appeal and we will next year, in solidarity with our people intensify our struggle to establish self- government in our homeland."
Mahinda Chintana rejected
It is quite obvious that Velupillai Pirapaharan has not accepted the Mahinda Chintana - the President's election manifesto. Pirapaharan makes it quite clear in his statement. What Rajapakse and his supporters, the JVP and JHU will now do, the people await to see, Rajapakse having won the southern votes on the firm commitment to a unitary constitution.
Was Pirapaharan's lowering the tone of his rhetoric due to the reaction of the 'international community' to his anti democratic act of preventing voters casting their ballots? Most Western countries have unreservedly condemned this fatwa. It is also an open secret that the ' international community' expected Tamil voters to cast their ballots for Ranil Wickremesinghe who was toeing a much more accommodating line for the LTTE,
in contrast to Mahinda Rajapakse's ' hardline'- the words of the Western media.
Now, it does appear that the 'international community' has fired its first shot across the bows.
The raid conducted by the Australian federal police on November 23 resulted in the arrest of many LTTE members resident in Australia. Reports said that they were being accused of funding the LTTE to the tune of Rs.236 million. Police operations were based on UN Security Council Resolution 1373 and the Australian Criminal Code.
Among the arrested members were officials of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation which is banned in Britain and is considered a LTTE front for collection of funds. This raid would no doubt come as a shock to the LTTE fronts in the developed world where funds are being freely collected and sent to the LTTE to continue terrorist activities. If the international community acts in accordance with this UN resolution on terrorism
and move against the LTTE , the Tigers would indeed be much more amenable to negotiations than sticking to its intransigent demand for a separate state. The raids in Melbourne would have resulted in the mellowing of Pirapaharan's rhetoric in his 'Heroes Day, speech. Further action could have him cooing like a dove as he had done before when Western nations turned against terrorism.
The 'Maveerar' rightly claims that his unilateral offer for a ceasefire was made in December 2001, when the LTTE after the fall of Elephant Pass, had the military advantage. But as usual he ignores the fact that this was the time the world had turned against terrorism in all its forms. US, Britain, India, Australia had banned LTTE activities and it appeared that the EU was to follow when the LTTE stalled it with the Ceasefire
Agreement. Pirapaharan who has been favoured by this international community time and again despite their commitment to fight international terrorism, now claims that this very same community had been setting a 'peace trap,' together with Ranil Wickremesinghe.
He says: 'Ranil's government was primarily focusing on setting up an international safety net aiming at decommissioning our weapons. An international aid conference was organised in Tokyo in June 2003 as an essential element of this subversion scheme. Having realised the implications of the international safety net we decided to boycott the Tokyo Conference and eventually suspend peace talks.'
Does this 'Maveerar' sincerely believe that the international community guided by Norway, the peace negotiator, was plotting against the LTTE? In fact the majority of Sinhalese said that Ranil Wickremesinghe together with the LTTE and the international community was working to establish a separate state!
Where is the secret pact?
Now is the turn for those stentorian platform orators like Wimal Weerawansa, Somawansa Amara-singhe, Champika Ranawaka not forgetting Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapakse to tell us about the 'Ali-Koti Givisuma' between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Pirapa-haran.
Conspiracy theories often boomerang. Now the latest conspiracy spoken about is of the son of an international education mudalali meeting LTTE leaders in the Wanni a week before the elections and clinching a deal making the Tigers double-cross Ranil and making Rajapakse win on a 'Koti- Kurahan' deal!
The international community did seem rather foolish when it became known that the LTTE had issued its fatwa to the Tamil people not to vote. After the fatwa one newspaper reported that the only voter in the Kilinochchi District had his arms chopped off by the Tigers. Unfortunately, thereafter, the journal had not followed up with the story.
The expectations of the international community were that the LTTE would be responsive to a fair deal and that Ranil Wickremesinghe was willing for such a deal. True, he had rejected the Interim Self Government Proposal but it could be negotiated on with other proposals. Federalism was the name of the game. Foreign embassies based in Colombo and some NGOs had been expending vast sums sending journalists, legislators and other
influence peddlers to Europe to study federalism.
LTTE cadres were pulled out of their bunkers, put into elegant lounge suits and deposited in planes to study federalism at seminars, workshops and observation tours in Europe and elsewhere. This comedy continues unabated even after the presidential election. But the joke is that Velupillai Pirapaharan had not wanted federalism as a solution at any stage or even now! When pressed for a solution, Balasingham, the con-artiste
mumbles about a viable alternative and hints about federalism being an alternative. At the Oslo peace talks he accepted a federal form of government as a solution and embraced Prof. G.L. Peiris for the benefit of the world press and TV. But Pirapaharan it is reported had gone into tantrums about a federal solution and ordered talks in Ireland by LTTE lawyers that produced the Interim Self
Government Authority Proposal (ISGA).
Now that a federal solution is ruled out, what is it going to be: a confederation or separate state? Mahinda Rajapakse is committed irrevocably to a unitary state. What's the solution now?
President Rajapakse should take note of the last paragraph of the 'Maveerar's statement. "The new government should come out with a reasonable political framework that will satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people. This is our urgent and final appeal, We will next year, in solidarity with our people intensify our struggle for self determination..'
Apparently, the 'Maveerar' is threatening war. Whether he means it or not, President Rajapakse has to put the defence forces on full alert. Experience has shown that Pirpaharan does not give notice to go to war. Surprise is one of his basic war strategies.
War in Iraq: Opposition at home and abroad grows
The greatest paradox in contemporary geopolitics is that Osama bin Laden, the man who is hell bent on destroying America and caused the biggest national disaster to America since World War II, has been instrumental in creating the biggest upsurge in American patriotism since the last World War.
Samuel Huntington, the Harvard Professor best known for his work The Clash Of Civilisations in a later publication, Who Are We? states: "The Stars and Stripes has the status of a religious icon and is more a central symbol of identity for Americans than their flags are for peoples of other nations. Probably never in the past, however, was the flag omnipresent as it was after September 11. It was everywhere: homes,
businesses, automobiles, clothes, furniture, windows, storefronts, lampposts, telephone poles. In early October 80 per cent of Americans said they were displaying the flag.... Wal-Mart (the biggest American supermarket) reportedly sold 116,000 flags on September 11, and 250,000 the next day, compared with 6,400 and 10,000 on the
same day a year earlier."
Huntington notes that by 2000 America was in many respects, less a nation than it had been for a century. The Stars and Stripes were at half mast and other flags flew higher on the flagpole of American identities, he notes.
But later lesser numbers of Stars and Stripes are being flown, Huntington himself notes and it is apparent that the surge of patriotism that kept George Bush going is now on the decline.
The main beneficiary of this surge of American patriotism was the incumbent president George Bush. His gung- ho attitude fitted him to the lead role as he vowed to uproot terrorism 'root and branch' and hound them around the world in a Global War on terrorism. No doubt, it won him the second presidential race against John Kerry, a war hero
who won several Purple Hearts - the highest of American decorations in military combat - for his performances in the Vietnam War as compared with George Bush who did not step on Vietnam soil and had been accused of being a draft dodger.
The popularity of President Bush soared as he went into Iraq having attempted to link Saddam Hussein with the al Qaeda and also into Afghanistan where al Qaeda was being hosted by the Taliban regime. His popularity now appears to be taking a downturn as the 2000th body of an American soldier who died in Iraq
came home. Now the demand for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq appears to be ascending.
On Wednesday ( November 30) President Bush laid out his strategy for winning the Iraq war. He said that there would be violence for many years to come and refused to set a deadline for a US pull out. A policy paper of Bush's National Security Council said that they expected to cut the US military presence by 2006 but added that there was no certain date for a complete
pullout or victory.
Hopes of President Bush were dashed when invading US and allied troops were greeted with bullets and bombs instead of garlands. Since then the US strategy has been to train Iraqi troops to meet the challenge of insurgents and set up the infrastructure for a functioning
democracy before a troop pull out.
The December 16 electios is a part of this strategy which has had a fair degree of success in an earlier election and in a referendum for a new constitution. The measure of success is that voters in large numbers braved the violence and cast their ballots affirming their faith in a democratic set up. With 80 per cent of the population, the Shiites and Kurds going along with the American strategy, and only 20 per cent of
Sunnis and supporters of al Qaeda unleashing terrorism, there appears to be some hope but the casualty figures are far from encouraging, More than 2000 Americans, 3,600 Iraqi troops and an estimated 30,000 civilians and
an unknown number of insurgents have died since the invasion. Both at home and in countries which are US allies, the opposition to the continued presence of US troops in Iraq is growing.
A recent public opinion poll conducted by the Pew Research Centre, among professionals indicated that they were not hopeful of the American strategy working out. The Economist which quotes the results of this poll - one question was: Will America be successful in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq?
Only 33 % of journalists, 27% of academicians, and 13% of scientists and engineers thought it would. Of the general public, however, 56% thought America would prevail. Two thirds of the Americans thought their country was less respected than in the past and 88% thought the reason was the Iraq war.
Among the general public, the proportion who thought America should mind their own business internationally and let other countries get long the best they can, rose from 30% in 2002 to 42% this year which is comparable with the peaks of isolationist sentiments after the Vietnam War and after the Cold War ended.
However most of those interviewed had been Democrats but that does not mean that President Bush cannot dismiss the public sentiments to the prevalent violence, the report states.
Even among American allies, there is a growing resistance to the strategies of the United States in its fight against terrorism. When the US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice flies to Europe this week, she will fly into ' a storm of protest' over allegations that the CIA is running ' Black Sites' in some
European countries for interrogation, even extending to torture, reports say. The allegations were first made in the Washington Post but now many countries are demanding answers from the United States. Abuse of national sovereignty and violation of human rights are alleged.
The CIA having abducted suspects had used European airports to transport them to secret prisons. European governments are demanding answers. Eight European governments including ever faithful Britain have asked for clarifications but the US governments has said that it 'needs time for evaluation.
Condoleeza Rice when questioned has artfully dodged the question by saying : "We have never fought a war like this before where you can't allow a person to commit a crime before you detain them because if they commit the crime thousands of innocent victims die."
Now it appears that the demand for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq is on the rise in America itself and the popularity of President Bush is on the decline as more disasters pile up in Iraq.
However, President Bush seems confident that he can achieve his objectives. The policy paper of his National Security Council released on Wednesday said: "We expect but we cannot guarantee that our forces posture will change over next year as the political process advances and Iraqi security forces grow and gain experience."
Gedera yana gaman
I was trembling like an unset jelly just the other day dearie when I heard about the way you went about signing all those cheques with nary a glance at what was in them.
I mean to say sweetie at the very least you might have looked at the numbers. A whopping 750 million it had come to. You might have noticed the many zeros doodled on the cheques if nothing else.
And if you were looking for any help from the new Prez, well, you know what he's like. Grabs the bull by the horns and what not. No sooner he saw a tiny window of opportunity to do you in, he seized it. Much like a prisoner on parole after 23 years, would seize his better half is how eagerly Ma-hinder seized the opportunity.
And can you blame Ma-hinder, is the rhetorical question darling. Here is man who has finally found an answer to the 'Helping Hambantota' issue. It may be a koheda yanne malle pol answer but an answer it is.
I mean to say if Clinton could do it, why can't he. Remember old Bill and that little spot of bother he got into with dear old Monika? Well there he was the next day dropping bomb after bomb on Iraq and most inconveniently missing that chap Saddam... And the upshot? Everybody forgot 'that woman' and focused on the smoke emanating from the Middle East.
But at least one good thing came out of that blunder. Saddam remained evil and menacing enough for little Bushie to spring up from behind and light a fire cracker. I mean to say if Saddam hadn't been missed by Clinton, Bush wouldn't have had a war to battle with. And we all know how fond he is of playing with soldiers... and I mean it in the best possible sense.
Be that as it may I am rather astonished you haven't already heard from the advertising agency for the Food City supermarket chain dearie. You'll be the perfect pin up girl for their slogan 'On Your Way Home.'
I mean to say, there's Aishwarya for Loreal, there's Karina for Garnier, so why not Satty for Food City? The way things are going it's the perfect choice.
There you are dear, taking over some prime property around Independence Square and annoying the daylights out of the fat folk who circle the square everyday hoping to shed a few pounds.
There you are again taking over one and a half acres of storm water retention land in Battaramulla and hoping to generously flood other people's back gardens.
And no doubt you've picked up and dropped into your large shopping cart some choice vehicles and even choicer security guards and other little nick nacks... Good for you dear. Good for you.
Anyway dear don't expect Ma-hinder to be gracious to you. You know him no. Rather an odd fellow. There he was just the other day inviting the three wheeler driver at the Pannipitiya junction to sup with him at Temple Trees but then 14 days after that he decides to unceremoniously cut off your name from the guest list when he was hosting Clinton for a spot of luncheon the other day.
Ever and anon while slurping the mulligatawny, Ma-hinder was seen smiling a satisfied smile to himself at the thought of you being kicked out of the guest list by none other than himself.
How powerful the chappie would have felt dear. Just two weeks ago there you were summoning him here and ordering him there and now look at the bloke. His red shawl swishing about him he is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bill and making grand decisions on who should be seen where.
But you are not one to be left out of things are you dearie? Circumventing Ma-hinder's nefarious plans to keep you out of Bill's sight, you met Clinton separately at a hotel. Sneaky eh!
Now who would have thought you would do it. Not the new Prez who obviously thought he'd blocked you from meeting international fellows permanently.
But there was old Clinton charmed by you as always inviting you to the United Nations and telling all and sundry you still had much to offer ole paradise and shouldn't be allowed to retire on a couch in front of the telly watching Desperate Housewives.
At the very least dear given Bill's disposition towards you, both of you could chum it up at the UN and smoke if not a fine cigar, then the peace pipe. What, what!