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Sri Lanka: Sources of Hope, Reasons for Optimism

By Dayan Jayatilleka

While I worry and agonize about the country and its prospects – a habit of decades—I refuse to succumb to the pessimism that seems to consume most commentators writing in English on Sri Lankan affairs. 

That pessimism and negativism stems from two broad sources. Insofar as several are pacifist “civil society” liberals as distinct from Realist or pragmatic liberals (such as Barack Obama), they lament the Sri Lankan armed forces military drive and the prospects of a Sri Lankan military victory over the LTTE, preferring a ceasefire and negotiated solution between the two belligerents. These critics have been joined by Sri Lankan commentators who mistakenly see a parallel between the policies and ideology of the Rajapakse administration and those of the Bush administration. Not only do they confuse an internal war of self–defense and reunification against secessionist terrorism with a war of aggression against a sovereign country, their perspective is very far from the pragmatic liberalism of the Obama ticket.

 

My guarded optimism stems from a Neo-Realist perspective. Dr. Kumar Rupesinghe, a far more astute academic and analyst than activist in political or civil society (a book edited by him is in the UN Bookstore here in Geneva ) used to resignedly term me a Realist, during the many debates and discussions we had at public seminars on conflict in Colombo . He was not referring to realism in the common or garden sense, but in the precise sense of the well known perspective on world politics; one that is focused on the centrality of power and the state. He was only partly correct, because I would fit more strictly into the school of Neo-Realism , which combines the perspective of power and the state with the recognition of the importance of ideas, ideology and non-state actors. There is a more recent scholarly tendency with which I would be even more comfortable, which calls itself Ethical Realism (e.g. Anatole Lieven), except that it is a trifle too self–congratulatory since the best of the modern Realist thinkers such as Hans Morgenthau and Reinhold Niebuhr, dealing as they did with questions of nuclear weapons and war after Hiroshima, wrestled heavily with questions of “just war” ethics and power.

 

The central vice of Sri Lankan cosmopolitan liberalism-progressivism is that it has no equivalent of the Obama-Biden US Democrat perspective on National Security. Any one with even a cursory acquaintance of the US Presidential election campaign will be aware that Senators Obama and Biden have attacked the Republican candidate on national security issues, pointing out that a needless war on Iraq had undermined the necessary war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Why necessary? Because it was these forces that attacked the USA on 9/11 and still intend to do so if they possess the capability, while Iraq had nothing to with 9/11. The Democrats have criticized the Republicans for being diverted from the task of “capturing or killing” Osama Bin Laden, tasks which they have pledged themselves to achieve (the terms are from Senator Obama’s first debate, echoed by Senator Biden in his Veep debate). In his dramatically delivered concluding speech at the Democratic convention Senator Obama accused war hero John McCain of saying he will “go through the gates of hell after Bin Laden” but of not being “ready to go to the mouth of the cave he (Bin Laden) is hiding in”. Rightly or wrongly, wisely or imprudently, Senator Obama reiterated in the first face-to-face Presidential debate, his pledge to take out Osama Bin Laden if “there is actionable intelligence” that he is in a location across the Pakistani border; if “he is in the cross hairs…and the Pakistani authorities are not going to do the job”.

 

An authentic Lankan liberal or social democratic stand would weave its secular criticisms into a resounding endorsement of the Rajapakse leadership for “going after” with a view to “capturing or killing” Velupillai Prabhakaran for the latter’s repeated attacks on the Sri Lankan state and society, his repeated return to war abandoning negotiations, and his serial murders and maiming of Sri Lankan leaders of all ethnicities.  

 

Some enlightened and literate Sri Lankan commentators (“erudite but not analytical” as Regi Siriwardene once opined of Kumari Jayawardena in the pages of the Lanka Guardian), Sinhala and Tamil, in their legitimate concern over recrudescent Sinhala chauvinism, have even raised doubts as to whether the ongoing war is a just one, and go on to equate, implicitly or explicitly, the warring sides.

 

Even if one concedes that there is a Sinhala hegemonic striving or project resurgent or lurking in the wings, that is not the, or even a criterion for the assessment of the just or unjust character of a war. The almost uniquely diligent research of Noam Chomsky unearthed the Grand Area Planning documents of the USA which as early as 1940, thought through the World War and “forward planned” out the post–war order as one that would permit US capital free mobility throughout the world, dismantling its rivals, fascism and the old colonial empires. Chomsky sees these documents as the foundations of US hegemonic foreign policy to date.

 

However, neither the hegemonic project that arguably under-girded the US intervention in the Second World War, nor its heinous tactics at the closing, namely the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nor indeed the resurgence of Great Russian patriotism, nor the reprehensible conduct of some Red Army soldiers in the counter-onslaught through Germany, can reverse History’s verdict of the Allied war as a Just War.

 

The Second World War remains a just one because of the aggression by the enemy (Poland, Pearl Harbor, Operation Barbarossa), the nature of the enemy—Fascism—the impossibility of a negotiated solution given that nature, the undesirability of a negotiated solution which would have entailed an accommodation with or surrender to an enemy of that character (History reviles Munich), and the far greater price that humanity would have paid had the enemy won, given the character and conduct of that enemy. These are the very same factors that render the ongoing war of the Sri Lankan state against the LTTE, a Just War, whatever the subjective strivings and motivations of its various actors.

 

While I am on the matter of the subjective strivings of actors, I must add that I know of hardly any military chief in any ideological system anywhere in the world that did not hold more hawkish, hard-line views, narrower and less nuanced than those of the political leadership. That seems to come with the territory: the rough and ready military ethos, the practice of war, and the imperative need to motivate the rank and file soldiery. (Gen. David Petraeus, PhD, is a notable exception). So long as it does not translate itself into state policy, it should not be taken as the key indicator, though it must of course not be ignored or swept under the rug.

 

The pessimism, negativism and hostility of most commentators stem from concerns over the unresolved Tamil ethnic/nationalities Question, the revival of Sinhala and Tamil nationalism, the nature of the postwar/post conflict order, the economic prospects, and the quality of domestic governance. While I recognize the salience of these issues and legitimacy of these concerns—and have in my writings cautioned of the need not only of “Winning The War” but also of “Winning the Peace” – a Neo-Realist perspective tells me that the best we can hope for is a situation of checks and balances, of the balance of power, of tenuous equilibrium. My analysis is that powerful factors, objective and subjective, will balance out, resulting in an equilibrium which may not be the best of all possible syntheses but will keep us from plunging over the precipice into the beckoning darkness.

 

One man’s or woman’s problem is another’s solution. Every problem identified by critics and commentators is in fact a solution to another problem. There are several problems that have been identified as plaguing Sri Lanka , though partisan and ideological polarization is such that few analysts identify all these as problems: the Tiger threat, Sinhala and Tamil ultra-nationalism (in whichever order), issues of domestic governance and living standards, Sri Lanka ’s external relations, the crisis of education. Of these, in any society the equivalent of the Tiger threat to security and territorial integrity would be considered the most serious and pressing. The Tiger threat is the most pressing in that it challenges the most basic attributes of the state (territory, monopoly of violence) and causes the gravest physical damage, loss of life and financial resources to society.

 

We are at “the beginning of the end” for the LTTE, as Secy/Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapakse has put it. I cannot see how one cannot regard positively, the real –though not irreversible or inevitable--prospect and probability of military victory over the LTTE and the overcoming thereby of the most proximate and pressing problem the country has faced in its contemporary history. Whatever it recommends to us (and hypocritically preaches the exact opposite to the Pakistani government), the West would be mightily pleased if it were to achieve our degree of success in Afghanistan .  We have also shown ourselves to have more resolve in relation to the Tigers than our giant neighbor who has not brought to justice, Prabhakaran, the man who ordered the murder of a former Prime Minister and grandson of a great founding father.

 

A Neo-Realist reading also acknowledges that the fight back against the Tigers and the probability of victory is in great measure owed to Sinhala nationalism. Therefore what is seen as a curse by many cosmopolitan commentators is actually a mixed blessing. While the Sri Lankan state is prevailing over the Tigers, it is dishonest not to recognize that the strength of Sinhala nationalism, or Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, has been the main driving force of this performance insofar as it is the main motivational well spring for the largely Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lankan armed forces. A Realist or Neo-Realist would recognize as utopian the assumption that it could have been otherwise for a drive to victory rather than to fruitless negotiations. To illustrate, it is the Soviet Union that broke the back of the Nazi German army in Stalingrad , but one of the driving forces of the Red Army’s performance was the renewal of Great Russian nationalism (thus the Great Patriotic War) under/by Joseph Stalin. I say Sinhala nationalism has been the main (as distinct from sole) driver because there is another factor in the mix which Sinhala nationalists fail to give due credit to: the Eastern Tamil rebellion led by Karuna; the anti-autocratic striving within Tamil nationalism.

 

The strength of Sinhala nationalism will balance off yet another danger to the wellbeing and welfare of Sri Lanka ’s state and society. This is the political, social and electoral challenge posed by the ultra Right, the neo-liberals who during their two years in office practiced the kind of market fundamentalism that has led to the meltdown of the US financial system. These neo-liberals are also neo-compradors who will sell out Sri Lanka ’s sovereignty and territorial integrity at the slightest opportunity, already proved their propensity for the appeasement of Tiger separatism. They will, if elected, generate a powerful populist Sinhala chauvinist backlash of a neo-fascist character. However, given the image and character of the current leadership of the bloc of the UNP and SLFP Right,  and the UNP’s collaborationist fifth columnist “antiwar” ideology (Vajira Abeywardena, MP told The Island recently that the war cannot be won), strong Sinhala nationalist revulsion will probably prevent their election to office or assumption of power by extra-parliamentary means. That then is the second positive feature of Sinhala nationalism.

 

The third is as bulwark against external interventionism. This can emanate from two sources: Tamil Nadu and the West. A Neo-Realist reckoning would recognize that there are people, elements and forces in Tamil Nadu which hate the Sinhalese and support Tamil Eelam. As a mere glance at websites would demonstrate, this is also true of the bulk of the Tamil Diaspora. These are permanent threats to Sri Lanka which have to be squarely faced. Sinhala identity and consciousness is a powerful defensive factor when facing these existential threats.

 

The Tamil Diaspora may combine with Western antipathy to Sri Lanka ’s patriotic, anti-imperialist Presidency, to urge interventionism. Bob Rae, a prominent personality of Canada ’s Liberal party has written to the Canadian Prime Minister criticizing him for non-advocacy and non-pursuit by Canada of the “Responsibility to Protect” with regard to Darfur and Sri Lanka . Sri Lanka is not a fragmented and failing or failed state, nor is it a state which been independent only briefly and intermittently as has Georgia . Here, for better or worse, the nation came before the state, giving the   nation-state an organic and historical core. Any coercive external intervention will sooner or later come up against that fact and its powerful contemporary reassertion as consciousness and armed agency. 

 

The fourth positive feature of Sinhala nationalism is as a check on Tamil ultra-nationalism, just as Tamil nationalism will be a check on Sinhala ultra-nationalism.

 

Contrary to the hopes of some and fears of others, populist Sinhala nationalism will be unable to semi-permanently mask the internal weaknesses and dysfunctions that trouble us. The end of the conventional/semi conventional mid-intensity military challenge to the Sri Lankan state will at one and the same time bring to the surface matters of domestic policy and governance, exacting an electoral price, the prospect or postscript of which will propel corrective change.           

 

Reciprocally, Tamil nationalism will act as a check on Sinhala ultranationalist strivings and projects. Electoral democracy will be both agency and arena of these checks and balances. Though the current administration, given the political reality of its coalitional character, has been less than strident on devolution, it has preserved (one may say restored) and actually reactivated the basic unit of devolution and autonomy, the Provincial Councils. Tamil local nationalism and anti-despotism in the form of the Karuna rebellion, and Sinhala nationalism as a motivator of the Armed Forces’ rollback of the Tigers, combined to make this re-opening of democratic space possible. That is a historic achievement and cannot be minimized because the Government has not filled this cleared space with devolved power.  Sinhala ultra-nationalist preferences notwithstanding, the Provincial Councils constitute a “floor” below which the administration and the Sri Lankan state will not and cannot go. Nor should it go too far above this floor, beyond autonomy: as Bolivia and Ecuador remind us, excessive autonomy can be the launch pad for reactionary, even fascistic secessionism. 

 

In postwar conditions, the competitive character of electoral politics among Tamil parties will necessitate sensitivity to Tamil aspirations and a more or less accurate reflection of them, be they primary ones of welfare and development or of collective identity or a mixture of both.

 

At the same time, Tamil and Muslim representation at all levels of the polity through elections on the basis of proportional representation provide an automatic enabler of devolution, insofar as the Sinhala candidates and parties will vie with each other for minority votes and the support of minority parties. If sufficiently strong, the minority parties could unite conditionally with a mainstream Southern party to successfully press for a brand new Constitutional architecture. As for fantasies of the restoration of the first past the post electoral system which takes for majority hegemony, all that the minority parties have to do is vote against it in parliament, blocking the needed two/thirds majority.

 

Electoral competition reflecting the pressures of pent-up wartime social demands, the needs of postwar reconstruction and participation in the world economy, combined with the renewed availability of foreign investment and tourism, will provide the propellant and prosperity needed for domestic improvement and reform.

 

Finally, what of Sinhala ultra-nationalism, chauvinism, or hegemonism? While on the one hand Tamil ultra-nationalism especially in the Diaspora, overestimates the international factor and underestimates the internal factor; the national, domestic and demographic power realities of the island of Sri Lanka , on the other hand Sinhala ultranationalists have no understanding of the external factor, the international realities and Sri Lanka ’s overall strategic environment. Just as Sinhala nationalism will prevail over the Tigers and hold in check Tamil ultra-nationalism, Rightwing neo-liberalism/collaborationism, and external interventionism, Sinhala majoritarian supremacism in its Parliamentary forms and extra-Parliamentary fantasies will be held in check and countervailed by the realities of power including the power of ideas, i.e. by soft power and hard power.

 

The latest issue, Sept/Oct 2008, of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine, published by the Carnegie Endowment has the following to say in its main feature:

 

“…Otto von Bismarck once famously predicted that the most important geopolitical fact of the 20th century would be that the United States and Britain spoke the same language. Now, the values shared by United States and India may emerge as the most important geopolitical fact of this century”. (Foreign Policy, Sept/Oct 2008, page 32).

 

The story notes the formation of a US-India military alliance, the treaty to share nuclear materials, and projected military sales to India over the next decade which total US $ 100 billion ( yep, that’s a hundred billion).  

 

Sri Lanka cannot sustain itself on the very doorstep of this grand geopolitical fact if it attempts to translate the values of Sinhala chauvinism into policy practice. Any Realist or Neo-Realist analysis tells us that an asymmetry of the values of Sinhala chauvinism and the Indo-US alliance, compounding and compounded by the spillover effect in a part of India -- Tamil Nadu -- of Sri Lankan Tamil ethnic grievances, can end only one way. If on the other hand, Sri Lanka realistically modifies its mindset, undertakes a “mind-shift” to fit into or be compatible with those shared values, the prospects of catch up and lift-off are enormous. This “most important geopolitical fact”, this massive reality of ratios of power, holds true whether or not there is a change in Washington in less than a month’s time. Such a change will sharpen and accelerate the process I refer to above.  That possible change, a Revolution of Reason at the heart of the international system, the USA, will embody and globalize a new Zeitgeist which will not only reveal the ideology of archaic majoritarianism as absurdly nonsensical but will render it utterly unsustainable. Time – and space—are running out for both Tamil Tiger terrorism and Sinhala chauvinist hegemonism. The only problem is that it’s a bit of a race – and the pun is intended.

17 Comments

It is not stated whether this ultra nationalist Dayan Jayatilleke writing this as a paid servant of ultra nationalists Rajapakse brothers' and Sarath Fonseka's GOSL or as his personal view along the lines of KMB Rajaratna, Cyril Mathews and the likes of the past.

Still as an educated Sinhalese ( similar to all the educated Sinhalese leaders, mnisters and MPs ) he does not accept that the Tamil nationalism was forced to emerge well before LTTE & other groups of the post 1972 era and pre 1972 era because of Sinhala ultra nationalism based on historical myth and the fortune they got in the form of soverginity and intergrity of the Island that was presented to them by British in 1948 with the support of some Tamil politicians ( similar to Karuna, Douglas, Sangaree, Pillayan et el now)

After Each political turning point since 1948 they have consolidated the Sinhala ultranationalism further through majoritiarian votes, new constitutions,colinisation,marginalising the minorities in the Civil service, armed forces and police forces and so on.

Now under Mahinda brothers and Sarath Fonseka ( at least he was honest with his comments to Canadian News Paper and the vision and the aim they the the ultra nationalists have ) with the help of US through Pakistan & Japan and now through India, they are trying to conquer the whole of NE so that the minorities have to crawl on their knees to the Sinhalese masters and live on their mercy as Sarath Fonseka and Mahinda brothers have been telling.

In his last article on TW Dayan bashed India and now in this he is playing a different game. He is also trying to flatter Obama and distance his masters from George Bushes regime for the blunders on Iraq, but was a blessing to GOSL, Pakistan in the name of supporting Bush and fighting the terrorism. Now they want Obama regime ( if they win ) to continue support Mahinda regime which has increased its war budget further, even after November 4.

What camelion Sinhala ultra nationalist Dayan is other wise contrary to this article he would not have come out with the exisitential theory some times back in denying devolution to Tamils & other minorities beyond ditrict councils minus minus.

We must make the younger generation of Tamil diaspora realise that the Sinhalese ultranationalist leaders & their supporters chased the Tamils ( as many as possible ) away first from Colombo and other out stations and then from the North and East or killed them. Now they have statred calling names and attacking the Tamil Diaspora too.

Posted by: M.thiru | October 8, 2008 01:49 AM

DJ,

So Mahinda is winning your war against LTTE. What is your deal for moderates tamils ?
Is that going going to be just provincial councils, DDC or assimiation with Sinhalese ?

Posted by: Roshan Fernando | October 8, 2008 08:36 AM

Dayan Jayatilleka fits quite adequately into the "school" of Surrealism - and not one of Neo-Realism as he claims.
He ignores the reality of the sri lankan state to paint a whitewashed government which in reality promotes state sponsored terrorism, massive corruption, disregard of the Rule of Law, political sycophancy purchased with perks and priviledges and the establishment of dictatership by the Rajapakse Family.
The latest casualty is General Janaka Perera who not only was cast into obscurity for daring to join the opposition,as was his right as a citizen and voter, but was also allowed to be assassinated.
But he is not to be blamed. All lankan diplomats have to toe the line, else they are cast into obscurity.
The whole world knows what is happening in sri lanka, but Dayan Jayatilleka appears to be living in a different world.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 8, 2008 09:26 AM

Your infactuation with Barack Obama is naive and detracts from your otherwise finely written article. From afar Obama may appear to be an answer but here in America he is viewed as a BIG RISK. Not only does his socialism concern us (probably would not to SL who look for the gov't to provide most needs) but he is a paperlion and very naive on foreign policy. In between taking off his shirt for media pictures (yuck!) and invading neighboring countries on a whim, Putin is shaking in his boots (not from fear but from laughter from Obama's naive comments and policy views).

Posted by: Open eyes in America | October 8, 2008 09:41 AM

Although it looks good on paper , the proposional system is a disasater.There old parliamnentary seats without MPs where nothing gets done and nobody is responsible(there orphaned seats like Rathgama).The dying caste consiciousness was given a new life ,People started voiting for "their man " .Since the votes were coming from the whole district, a caste based campaigned could get people elected who were only responsible their caste.According to previous system if the party's candidate is not from your caste ,you will vote anyway for the candidate.Now they can pick an choose cafetaria style.("I will vote for ___(insert caste here ) from ____(insert party here) )
Although the proposional system gave representaion option for small parties it does not look like extremists are reaping the benifits)
We can correct the system and check the Sinhala Hegemony (and Tamil Hegemony) if we go to old seats based parliamentary system togther with with US style Senate system.Both houses should approve every law.
The Senate could consist of 50 representives (2 each from a district)
Most probably Jaffna,KIllinochhi,Mullative,Mannar,Batticalo will have 2 tamil Senators.
Then Trincomalle,Ampara,Nuwaraeliya will have at least one Tamil or Muslim.
Looking at the previous political landscape it is possible to have Muslims or Tamils from Puttlam,Kalutara,Colombo and Badulla.
So if we use the current map of district it is possible to have 33:17 ratio of Sinhala to minority in the Senate(34% which higher than the national average).If we thow in the non-Budhists who could get elected to the equation ,this could go higher.Also we can count districts like Hambantota,Galle where there are considerable muslim population send at least one minority.If that does not work we can always gerimander the districts and get a ratio of 60:40 which could act as a check on Sinhala hegemony.
As a additional benefit we would get a represenative(MP) who will look after a small parliamentary seats as well as a Senator who has the whole district as his reponsiblity.


Posted by: chandare | October 8, 2008 10:43 AM

"We are at “the beginning of the end” for the LTTE"

I only read this in SL sites.

Are the readers aware there are other people and countries outside your country - that cannot let a minority be ethnically cleanse by a majority?

If that happen - then all minorities of this world will be under threat. Are the Sinhalese intellectuals so intellectually challenged?

If they are, then all I can say to the Sinhalese people to prepare yourself to be on the other side of the table.
:-)

Posted by: snpost | October 8, 2008 03:03 PM

.
Sorry DJ, what are you trying to say???
.

Posted by: aratai | October 8, 2008 03:58 PM

Nothing new here. We have heard the same thing from JRJ to MR. The LTTE must be defeated militarily. The rebellion must be crushed. No one has succeeded in doing this so far though all of them tried in various ways. The budget will show us the real measure of success in this direction. The price of this policy stares us in the face every day - the islands infrastructure is crumbling and its institutional framework is rapidly coming apart as well. This is all that this policy has achieved so far apart from filling the pockets of its proponents.

Posted by: Crazyoldmansl | October 9, 2008 12:51 AM

1. Dear M tiru,

don't be absurd. i must be the only " sinhala ultranationalist" whose article is on anton balasingham's website. be it balasinham or taraki, the most intelligent Tigers or pro-Tigers know that i am no sinhala ultranationalist, and a reading of sinhala ultranationalist websites would show what they think of me. so if you consider me an ultrantionalist, i can only feel sorry for you and any other tamil who shares your opinion.

and where on earth did you get the idea that i supported district level devolution? i was totally opposed, in print , to the reduction of the unit of devoliution, and have always stood for the full implementation of the 13th amendment and provincial autonomy.

as for Obama, I have supported him in print-- includng on this website-- long before he even got the Democratic nomination! you do not seem to know that it is not the Sri Lankan ruling party but the UNP that is affiliated with the Republicans and the leader of the Oppsoition who is a personal friend of the Republican candidate.

"in his last article on this website Dayan bashed India", you say. that's silly. Please quote.

Dear Roshan Fernando,

i have consistently and publicly the full implementation of the 13th amendment and any enghancement ( 13th amendment plus one, as the chiedf justice said at the opening of the jaffna courts complex) which does not need a two-thirds in parliament. but the tamil moderates can go beyond that depending on how they position themselves at-- and through--the series of upcoming elections( PCs in 2009, parliamentary in 2010 and presidential a year or two later. of course if they ae silly enough to vote with a party that will not be elected by the sinhala majority, and will therefore remain in opposition as it has for 1712 decades, then they will lose their leverage.

3. dear anonymous,
If the "whole world" shares your view of what is happening in sri lanka there should be an arms embargo and no fly zones! while there is some criticism, the only ones who share your damning view of sri lanka are fellow Diaspora tamils...not a single state, or what is more striking, not a single liberation movement!

4. dear Openeyes in America,

well you must know something about Putin that i don't, and I am a member of the small panel of International Experts of Security Index, publihed by the Cente for Russian Studies in Moscow, which the top russian strategic and security studies journal. Moscow, and almost every world capital, seems to prefer someone rational and realistic they can talk to, than a Cold warrior with a militarist reflex action.

5. Dear snpost:
you obviously do not read the Economist (London), among the many other quality international papers and tv stations which are talking about the final phase of the war, the last battles etc.

You ask whether the sinhalese are intellectually challenged. it is not possible to answer unless you tell me in comparison to whom or which community? For instance, in comparison to a community which has allowed a movement from within its bosom to decimate its educated elite of political leaders and representatives, murder the grandson of nehru, turn the community into one with the highest percentage of IDPs and exiles, lose jaffna and the east and paint itself into a corner of two lousy districts after 35 years of armed activity, and has failed to achive any economic development, then one wonders which community is a clear case of being "intellectually challenged".

6. dear aratai:

what am i saying? that the sinhalese and tamils have to rethink, readjust to reality and abandon their ultranationalism. the tigers are on the way to defeat by the sri lankan armed forces, while federalism as a project never succeeded and will not electorally. on the other hand, the realities of regional power are going to make impossible the implementation of sinhala chauvinist fantasies ( they already had to move back from the district to the province). PR in a competitive electoral marketplace will do the rest and things will arrive at a suitable saddlepoint.

Posted by: Dayan Jayatilleka | October 9, 2008 04:58 AM

The positive feature of Sinhala nationalism would be a check on Tamil ultra-nationalism, just as Tamil nationalism will be a check on Sinhala ultra-nationalism could have been averted had he focused his attention on framing a federal constitution which would have a system of Checks and Balances on the American model or a Canadian model both of which would have suited even the Sinhalese. Dayan should be aware that the passing of two constitutions (1972 & 1978) gave birth for the creation of Sinhala ultra-nationalism and Tamil ultra-nationalism. These two constitutions paved way for discrimination by way of marginalization of the Tamils. As such it is ridiculous to see the differences between the policies and ideology of the Rajapakse administration and those of the Bush administration. Rajapakse is waging a war against innocent Tamils (who are also Sri Lankans) when there is an existing remedy of federalism. Bush's administration is really against international terrorism which is a threat to the entire world. By the way Dayan what are the drawbacks you have found on federalism to solve the present issue? USA has not changed its constitution like Sri Lanka.

Dayan forgets that the attack on USA on 9/11 and similar attacks in London were attacks on the international community. They were homes to hundreds of races throughout the world - not only to Americans and Britains. Americans and the British felt correctly that they had a moral duty towards other races and waged war against Iraq and Afganistan. It is totally absurd to compare such situations with Sri Lanka.

We all accept that terrorism is evil. Is Dayan aware that Rajapakse has already earned a black mark in opposing the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord and the presence of the IPKF which wanted to defeat the LTTE. Now it appears that the attack on the innocent civilians in Vanni is for self image on the pretext of either killing or capturing VP both of which are impossible. Against such a background “Winning The War” and also of “Winning the Peace” becomes ridiculous when the LTTE staged successful attack in Anuradhapura.

In a changing world when behaviour of States is activated due to the sound diplomacy of the leaders like Bismark (for the unification of Germany) and Cavun Cavoor (unification of Italy), will Dayan inform the role to be played by Sri Lanka or will it follow the footsteps of Napolean III of France who played in the hands of Bismark and Cavoor. The recent behaviour of Sri Lanka in appointing Karuna as a Parliamentarian (who has been accused of war crimes and child conscription and being convicted for travelling on forged Passport) points that democracy has become a mockery in Sri Lanka, in addition to the statements made by some clown Ministers. Still I wish to point out that the LTTE is crouching to pounce when the opportunity comes and that date is not far away to dismiss allegations of some Ministers. Certainly the Tamils are in for a favourable solution (not separation) in June/July in 2009, not on account of the might of the LTTE but on the consequences of the pressures applied by or behaviour powerful States that give recognition to human rights. Further the allegation Dayan makes of India in not bringing justice is absolutely false and baseless because the late Premadasa was instrumental for the inactivity of the IPKF. Though it appears that VP and Pottu had master-minded the murder of Rajiv Gandhi, it should not be forgotten that the Jain Commission had also given its report of Subramaniya Swamy who is alleged to have some involvement with the LTTE.

The victory over the LTTE is in great measure owed to Sinhala nationalism is also misleading. What would have happened had Karuna not split with VP which was the turning point of the theatre of war. Even now the Military Forces are unable to capture Kilinochchi and while drawing close to Kilinochchi the LTTE has shown that they are still active by exploding major bomb attack on Anuradhapura. It is not the question of the neo-liberals who will sell out Sri Lanka ’s sovereignty and territorial integrity at the slightest opportunity, but the question of the Sri Lanka's selfish leaders following a malignant economic policy and lack of good governance, all of which contribute for the appeasement of Tiger separation. If only federalism is put forward as the firm and sound solution in its true perspective especially on the Canadian model, the Tamils themselves will solve the entire country's loan like the Germans.
A.Rajasingam

Posted by: A.Rajasingam | October 9, 2008 10:31 AM

First let us have some intellectual discussion. If you want to enter into an intellectual discussion with Dayan, You must be able to use some of the
Terms that end with “ism” like Patriotism. Liberalism, neo liberalism, Marxism, Leninism, realism, neo realism, ultra-nationalism, chauvinism, or hegemonism, pessimism and negativism,

Dayan has graduated from being a realist to a neorealist and then to be an ethical realist.

Realism was a dirty word during the golden era of of Marxism when the Marxist had socialist realism of Maxim Gorky.

But,Thanks God!he had never been a humanist!

Now there is going to be a change in Washington in less than a month’s time, Yes, a pragmatic liberal Barrack Obama will become the President of the United States.

Barrack Obama is our new hero. But he is only a pragmatic realist, not a neorealist or ethical realist.

However he had said that the war in Iraq is an unjust war whereas the war in Afghanistan is a just war.

So the war in Sri Lanka is also a just war. That is pragmatic realism.

This is how Dayan had discarded his old heroes like Marx, Lenin, Mao, Castro and Che and embraced realism and Barrack Obama.

But in reality each one of these historic figures including Barrack Obama will support the call for negotiation, ceasefire and devolution in Sri Lanka as a way out.

Not even President Bush will support war as a solution in Sri Lanka!

The Sinhala Buddhist nationalism is similar to the German nationalism of 1940s.

It is fascist in character with massive human rights violations and pointing fingers at minority groups as scapegoats.

Why you brought in Noam Chomsky is a million dollar question! just to sound like an intellectual or to frighten the readers or to impress!

Dayan, you believe that the government is honest and sincere in negotiations and finding a political solution,

But LTTE had repeatedly returned to war abandoning negotiations, and that is why the government has gone to an all out war to destroy LTTE.

This is the favorite theory of those who support and justify the war.

If so, why you and the government claims that after the war when peace returns there is no other solution other than Provincial Councils under 13th Amendment in a de-merged North East and that the majority will not support anything more and that the referendum is a barrier..

It will be an imposed solution and Tamils are forced to accept at gun point.

That is not a democratic solution and you are proving your fascist penchant and was not the LTTE is justified in shunning negotiations with this government?


The Sinhala Buddhist nationalism is similar to the German nationalism of 1940s.

It is fascist in character with massive human rights violations and pointing fingers at minority groups as scapegoats.

Why you brought in Noam Chomsky is a million dollar question! .just to sound like an intellectual or to frighten the readers or to impress!

Dayan, you believe that the government is honest and sincere in negotiations and finding a political solution But LTTE had repeatedly returned to war abandoning negotiations, and that is why the government has gone to an all out war to destroy LTTE.

This is the favorite theory of those who support and justify the war.
If so why you and the government claims that after the war when peace returns there is no other solution other than Provincial Councils under 13th Amendment in a de-merged North East and that the majority will not support anything more and that the referendum is a barrier..It will be an imposed solution and Tamils are forced to accept at gun point.

That is not a democratic solution and you are proving your fascist penchant and was not the LTTE is justified in shunning negotiations with this government..

Posted by: Sri | October 9, 2008 11:09 AM

Clearly this man no longer lives in Sri Lanka!

Posted by: Joe Smith | October 9, 2008 03:16 PM

Your excellency

Here's the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!

NeO

Posted by: Anonymous | October 9, 2008 07:44 PM

One must commend Mr. Jayatilleka for being optimistic as that is a generally a more favorable state of mind than its opposite. However the reasons he gives for his optimism and the analysis behind it is another story. The problem lies at the very core of his outlook – his theory. He decides to use a neo-realist theory to analyze the actions taken by the Sri Lankan State. Kenneth Waltz and Hans Morgenthau who insisted that the Great Powers or major powers were the only international actors that mattered may have an issue with Jayatilleka’s use of their theory to refer to the actions of a small state. This is in no way to endorse the neo-realist outlook which I have problems with but to point out that Mr. Jayatilleka who wields the tools of international political analysis is doing so in an improper way. It is to put it simply a case of using a hammer to crack open an egg. Indeed much of the analysis that follows is similarly muddled.

He takes issue with “Sri Lankan commentators who mistakenly see a parallel between the policies and ideology of the Rajapakse administration and those of the Bush administration. Not only do they confuse an internal war of self–defense and reunification against secessionist terrorism with a war of aggression against a sovereign country”.

Here we see the same misunderstanding of neo-realism dogging DJ yet again. In the neo-realist analysis small states are not given equal treatment with the major powers not simply because of some prejudice against small states but because of the qualitatively different nature of a small state like Sri Lanka vis-à-vis a major power like the United States. Most differences are obvious to anyone, size, population, economic power, military power etc. but the issue of sovereignty is also implicit in the neo-realist analysis.

How can we speak of a country as sovereign if their economic capability and military capability both depend on the goodwill of major and/or secondary powers like the US, China, India? How real is such sovereignty? Does the word sovereign mean the same thing in application to the United States and Sri Lanka? These are questions to which Mr. Jayatilleka no doubt has simple answers for. The issue of sovereignty is critical not only in unveiling DJ’s conceit that the United States and Sri Lanka are equal sovereign states but also in revealing the truth about the crisis in Sri Lanka.

Most states that were created after the colonial period were artificial creations drawn up by the colonial power setting the stage for much of the conflict we see in the world today. Hodgepodges of ethnicities, tribes, nations and religions were amalgamated and on the other hand some nationalities were divided up by the colonial administrators’ borders.

The Sri Lankan State similarly was created without taking into account the pre-colonial history of distinct kingdoms existing on the island. The creation of a single state out of multiple social formations by the British led to the problem of majoritarianism on the part of the Sinhala nation which sought to redress their domination by stamping their authority over the new state with laws like Sinhala Only and the university standardization acts of the 1972 constitution. It was only after nearly 30 years of peaceful, parliamentary and civil agitation by Tamils for equal rights did the youth militancy that went on to take the form of the LTTE emerge as a real force.

This history is missing from DJ’s analysis altogether. This is convenient because he is able to equate the LTTE to Al Qaeda something which even the biggest neo-con in the Bush administration would have swallowing with a straight face. While both use acts of terror to achieve political ends they are very different entities. It is yet another example of self-serving shoddy analysis by DJ.

The LTTE bases its struggle on the oppression of the Tamil nation within the Sri Lankan State. It sees the formation of an independent Tamil State – Tamil Eelam as the only way for Tamils to be able to exercise their basic rights. Towards this end the LTTE developed from a guerilla group to one that controls and administers territory and has a conventional military apparatus. The LTTE can be compared to the IRA, the ETA, the PKK and other organizations that seek national liberation but not to a nihilistic criminal enterprise like Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is more myth than fiction and perhaps decades from now we will know the real truth about whom or what it is and what was the power behind it.

However from a Sinhala nationalist point of view the equation of the LTTE with Al Qaeda under the broad brush-stroke of “terrorism” is convenient because it allows the Sri Lankan State to carry out its war on the coat-tails of the US War on Terror. It is here actually that the neo-realist analysis if properly utilized would have yielded more accurate results for DJ. The neo-realist analysis speaks of the opportunities that small states can use to fight for their national interests. Such opportunities are created by the maneuverings of the major powers.
The US War on Terror is an example of such an opportunity. The neo-cons in the Bush Administration certainly did not have in mind neither Sri Lanka nor the LTTE when they hatched their stupid plan to ensure US global domination in the 21st century by forcefully remaking the Middle East in its image. It was meant to be a clarion call in the fight against militant Islam which has global bases of support and shares a common hatred of US foreign policy. However, small states like Sri Lanka were able to use the international moment created after 9-11 to advance their own interests in this opportunity provided by the United States. This was certainly clever on the part of the GOSL and its functionaries and allowed for the destruction of a peace process that had gone some way towards a negotiated sharing of power and a return to all out war.

The LTTE also made a strategic mistake by miscalculating the international situation. By being intransigent and inflexible in their demands they allowed the Sri Lankan State to gain the upper hand by effectively tarring the LTTE with the brush of terrorism. To be sure the international conditions set-up by the United States was unfavorable for a non-state actor like the LTTE seeking to create its own state through military means but the LTTE dealt with minor setbacks in the peace process as if they were major issues. By doing so they played into the hands of the Sinhala extremist elements within the GOSL who wanted no accommodation whatsoever with the LTTE and was against the peace process from the start. The JHU and the JVP were invigorated by the LTTE’s mistakes. This was probably the LTTE’s second major strategic blunder after the killing of Rajiv Gandhi.

There is no doubt that SL military intelligence was very active in a campaign of assassination against the LTTE leaders while the peace process was unfolding and this campaign was meant to provoke high profile counter-attacks against state forces. A spate of claymore attacks after Rajapakse’s ascendancy to power left scores of soldiers dead and Rajapakse just bided his time slowly building his case on the international front that peace with the LTTE is not possible.

The killing of Kadirgamar, who was a vital advocate for the GOSL’s position and was well-known and liked in international diplomatic circles, led to the banning of the LTTE by the EU and was soon followed by bannings and police action against LTTE fund-raising and activity across the western world. It was the yet another strategic blunder by the LTTE.

This was the ideal moment for the Rajapakse regime to put its Sinhala nationalist agenda into action. Rajapakse was able to proclaim that peace with the LTTE was not possible and that the LTTE must be militarily defeated in order to bring a political settlement to the Tamil people.

The narrative of a political solution has also changed as the State has gained the military upper-hand to a narrative of “liberation of Tamils from the LTTE”. In a deft political maneuver GOSL effectively substituted the LTTE from representing the problems of the Tamils to the LTTE as the reason for the Tamil people’s problems. The LTTE was an equal partner to the peace process financed and brokered by the international community acknowledging its representation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka in just the previous administration.

In short according to the GOSL there is no real national problem of the Tamil people as such. The whole history of struggle from independence to the militant period has been swept under the rug and substituted with the narrative of the LTTE being the Tamils oppressor and the GOSL being the Tamils liberator. Orwell could not come up with a better scenario himself.

DJ again mixes apples and oranges when comparing the Allies war against the Axis powers with the Sri Lankan situation. Once again the sloppiness is a self-serving one – to register the war by the Sri Lankan State on the LTTE as a “just war.” If the comparison were correct then DJ implicitly agrees that there is more than one state formation on the island with LTTE run Tamil Eelam playing the role of Nazi Germany and the Sri Lankan State in the position of the United States. But of course this is an unintended consequence of shoddy analysis and surely not an intended outcome of the author.

The Sri Lankan scenario is that of a civil war between two nations within a common state. It is comparable as mentioned above to the struggle of people like the Kurds, Basque, Karen and others for national self-determination. While DJ can call it a “just” war from the standpoint of the Sinhala nationalists and the Sri Lankan State it can certainly also be a “just” war from the standpoint of the Tamil nationalists. Indeed the Tamil nationalists are actually fighting for land in which they live and have lived for hundreds of years whereas the Sinhala nationalists are fighting to maintain the status-quo ante when the whole island was under a Sinhala majority Sri Lankan State. In this assessment those who are fighting for their homes and neighborhoods can indeed argue to have “just cause” than those who are occupying their homes and villages. While the just war literature generally refers to a “proper authority” i.e. a State power as only being able to wage a “just war” this also begs the question of what constitutes proper authority. It can be argued from a Lockean perspective that a State that is corrupt and violent in its treatment of the citizenry does not constitute a proper authority and therefore is precluded by definition of waging a just war.

Ignoring the history of the conflict enables DJ to pronounce that Tamils will gain their due rights in a post-war, post-LTTE environment of electoral politics. But what is the guarantee for the Tamil masses? As mentioned before electoral politics preceded and led to the creation of LTTE militancy. DJ is confident that the international reality of the Indo-US alliance will necessitate changed behavior on the part of the Sri Lankan State and prevent it from going back to Sinhala majoritarianism. But as DJ himself admits the Sinhala ultra-nationalists have no understanding or concern for external factors. Neither Provincial Councils nor a changed regional geo-political reality guarantee very little by way of hope for the Tamil masses.

A more plausible yet perhaps “pessimistic” scenario is, the Sinhala ultras emboldened by what they have been able to achieve militarily will continue to push their agenda of Sinhala domination through such schemes as settling Sinhala villagers in the North and East (a la the Israeli settlers) to create new ground realities in the traditional Tamil areas of habitation.

The unfortunate history from a Tamil perspective is that they were subjected to daily abuse which broke out into mass pogroms on a number of occasions from 1956 to 1983. After the rise of the LTTE as powerful military force the number of pogroms went to zero. I am sure Tamils themselves who have to deal with their existential issues on a daily basis will have a much longer list of concerns to add to these. The key issue of course, in terms of political science, is that without the LTTE there will be nothing to counter-balance the power of the Sinhala-centric Sri Lankan State.

Without the LTTE as a bargaining tool the ability of the Tamils to weigh in on a new constitution with new legal protections and rights for Tamils could also be easily blocked by the very same Sinhala coalitions in the South that brought Rajapakse into power. In other words it would be a return to the post-Independence period where the Sinhala elites hold all the cards and the Tamils none.

It is unlikely that the LTTE will allow such a situation to come to pass. It is more likely that the LTTE if they are defeated in Eelam War IV and lose their conventional capacity,will go underground and resort to traditional guerilla war against the Sri Lankan State. That means the civilian population in the South will continue to suffer from terrorist attacks and in fact such attacks may increase as the LTTE’s conventional abilities decline.

Meanwhile if the armed forces are able to destroy the de facto state in the Wanni the Sinhala ultras would feel greatly emboldened and be able to press their supremacist agenda further. This would in turn provide the material conditions for a rebirth of a strengthened LTTE. Yet another generation of young people of both communities will be sacrificed by yet another incompetent egomaniac out to prove that he is the new Dutugemunu. In this vicious circle of violence the ordinary people and the country itself are the real losers. The politicians will make their ill-gotten wealth and send their children abroad.

As we gain more distance from 9-11-2001 and the US led War on Terror is discredited by forces from within the US itself as well as the outside world, the international situation too will shift to one that is more hospitable to the struggles of small nations like that of the Eelam Tamils. The Sri Lankan State will not be able to secure a just peace by the course it has embarked upon. It has only set the stage for the battle for Tamil national rights to continue further albeit in changed circumstances.

Posted by: Vimukthi Jayadeva | October 10, 2008 01:41 PM

The problem with Dayan is that he blows his own trumpet

Posted by: nandasena | October 10, 2008 07:42 PM

the cliche that a little learning is a dangerous thing is proven oce again by vimukthi jayadeva.

He takes issue with me taking issue with “Sri Lankan commentators who mistakenly see a parallel between the policies and ideology of the Rajapakse administration and those of the Bush administration. Not only do they confuse an internal war of self–defense and reunification against secessionist terrorism with a war of aggression against a sovereign country”.

Jayadeva opines that " Here we see the same misunderstanding of neo-realism dogging DJ yet again. In the neo-realist analysis small states are not given equal treatment with the major powers not simply because of some prejudice against small states...."

This is t set up a straw man and beat him. my opposition to those who conflate the Neocon war in Iraq with sri lank's war against the LTTE, has nothing to do with the unequal treatment accorded to small and major states in international relations theory. I also fail to see what one has to do with the other. my objectio was to the conflation of two very different types of war. one of invasion and agression, the other of self -defense.

This is the very distinction that Barack Obama draws between Iraq and al Qaeda. It has nothing to do with al Qaeda's so-called nihilism. as Obama says, the Bush administration failed to prosecute to the finish awar against those who attacked the united Staes, and instead initiated awar against those who had not. This is the key: the justice of a war of counterattack against those who attack one's state and citizenry.

The US Civil war is an example of the legitimacy of a war against any force --nihilistic or otherwise-- that seeks to secede by force of arms.

Sri Lanka is waging awar which is a combination of both. this is why it is not dependent upon the contxt provided by Neo-con ideology, and why it will remain a bebeficiary of the post 9/11 context, i.e. because Barack Obama seeks precisely to restore that context ( Afghanistan/ Al Qaeda as the central front in the war on terror) and get us away from Bush's diversionary Iraq context.

As for Jayadeva on sovereignty, may I suggest a few speeches of lakshman kadirgamar?

jayadeva gives us a potted history and complains that it --his version of history-- is missing from my analysis. why on earth should i clutter up an analysis with utterly tendentious history?
This is especially so because jayadeva's endition of curent history is a lie, and therefore one may judge the veracity of his reconstruction of modern si lankan history.

for instance he writes that:

" There is no doubt that SL military intelligence was very active in a campaign of assassination against the LTTE leaders while the peace process was unfolding and this campaign was meant to provoke high profile counter-attacks against state forces."

Can he name a single LTTE leader who was killed while "the peace process was unfolding" ? the sri lankan armed forces wete èrotectingther deep peneration operations and units from the ranil wickremesinghe administration's witch-hunt and were in no position to kill any LTTe leaders. on the other hand the LTTE assassins murdered a senior military intelligence officer and a senior police officer in the suburbs of Colombo " when the peace process was unfolding".

Jayadeva writes that "DJ again mixes apples and oranges when comparing the Allies war against the Axis powers with the Sri Lankan situation." The point was that the tigers are a fascist formation, which is running a ( shrinking) proto-state within the borders of the sri lankan state. the fascist paralllel was not drawn by me but by emeritus professor walter laquer in his book the New Terrorism. He is an expert on fascism being the editor of the Penguin/Pelican Readers Guide on Fascism.

jayadeva's logic and political literacy are such that he queries, "from a Lockean perspective" as to whether the Sri Lankan state "that is corrupt and violent in its treatment of the citizenry" constitues a proper authority acording to just war theory. ok I get it. a state that is recognised in the international system as a legitimate actor and representative of the sri lankan people, and state that has been a practising electoral democracy since independence even according to the most sharply critical human rifhts organisations, is far less of a proper authority than a tyrannical , despotic , Sun God worshipping, terrorist formation such as the Tigers.

Jayadeva questions my hopeful prognosis that "Tamils will gain their due rights in a post-war, post-LTTE environment of electoral politics". But he asks, "what is the guarantee for the Tamil masses?" This guy is a NeoRealist or whatevr and asks for guarantees in politics, espcially competitive electoral politics?

he says "DJ is confident that the international reality of the Indo-US alliance will necessitate changed behavior on the part of the Sri Lankan State and prevent it from going back to Sinhala majoritarianism. But as DJ himself admits the Sinhala ultra-nationalists have no understanding or concern for external factors. Neither Provincial Councils nor a changed regional geo-political reality guarantee very little by way of hope for the Tamil masses.
A more plausible yet perhaps “pessimistic” scenario is, the Sinhala ultras emboldened by what they have been able to achieve militarily will continue to push their agenda of Sinhala domination through such schemes as settling Sinhala villagers in the North and East (a la the Israeli settlers) to create new ground realities in the traditional Tamil areas of habitation."

Now this is where jayadeva most clearly illustrates his illtaeracy concerning the NeoRealist school. my analysis does not depend on what sinhala ultras know or do not know. As any Neo-Realist would, I combine an awareness of the power of ideas and ideology with a stress on th determining effect of the structure of power. And the structre of power in south asia as well as globally ( the Indo-US alliance) cannot be superceded by the subjective drives of the sinhala chauvinists.

Jayadeva says that "without the LTTE there will be nothing to counter-balance the power of the Sinhala-centric Sri Lankan State". I didn't know that the Sri Lankan state has been counterbalanced. It sure doesn't look that way. To the extent that it has, it was by the Indian state, not the Tigers. The LTTE is no "bargaining tool". Its the biggest liablity the tamils have and the finest excuse and screen that the Sinhala racists have. The LTTE is the ideal human shield for the Sinhala racists. So long as the tigers ae around the Tamils willnot have the politiocal space "to weigh in on a new constitution with new legal protections and rights for Tamils". This is what happened under Chandrika. Without the " terrorist factor" , i.e. without the Tigers and after the Tigers, the sinhala ultras will have no excuse and the world will see the reality, whatever that turns out to be.

Jayadeva says "It is unlikely that the LTTE will allow such a situation to come to pass. It is more likely that the LTTE if they are defeated in Eelam War IV and lose their conventional capacity,will go underground and resort to traditional guerilla war against the Sri Lankan State. That means the civilian population in the South will continue to suffer from terrorist attacks and in fact such attacks may increase as the LTTE’s conventional abilities decline." Firstly what on earth makes him think that's up to the LTTE to "allow"? One would have thought they would not have "allowed" themselves to lose jaffna, the east, and mannar and be pinned into two provinces after thirty odd years of armed struggle. Secondly, the Sri Lanka armed forces, which has plenty of experience in counter terrorism in North and South would probably just love a counter-insurgency campaign in village, jungle and town--ably assisted by their tamil allies.

Posted by: Dayan Jayatilleka | October 17, 2008 05:03 AM

So Dayan Jayatilleka strikes again: "if one can't dazzle with brilliance, then one must try to baffle with BS".

Muddying the waters with confusion, misinformation and little learning is probably a way to carve out a ('patriotic') place for oneself.

But that will not make things any better on the island of Lanka, only worse.

Honestly Dayan, do you think you make sense?

Posted by: N2 | October 21, 2008 12:41 AM

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