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Sarath Fonseka silent on resolving Tamil National question

Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The JVP put forward, a four point minimum programme for the common candidate, which includes: a) Abolition of the executive Presidency, (b) Reactivate the independent commissions, a constitutional obligation under the 17th amendment (c) Restore democracy and curb corruption, (d) A programme to expedite the resettlement of IDPs and to address their concerns.

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Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, at a rally protesting the burning of Sunday Leader offices, Nov 23, 2007

The UNP has agreed with this minimum programme. Thus the JVP’s minimum programme which now becomes the basis of the programme of the common candidate deals in general with what the bourgeois identify as constitutional liberalism. The UNF argues that it is left with no other choice but to field General Sarath Fonseka who could pander into the grass roots and win their votes, in order to accomplish this common liberal agenda.

As typical for an underdeveloped bourgeois leadership the UNF leaders forget the most important aspect of a liberal democratic agenda. The liberal democracy arises in a national state. Unless a viable national state is formed by resolving the problem of nationalities, no liberal democracy could function. In Sri Lanka as well as many newly found ex -colonial states, the basic problem has been the continuation of bloody racial and nationality clashes that undermines the function of the civil society.

All other ills such as the lack of rule of law, corruption, etc arise due to this fundamental break down. It is strange that the democratic minimum programme of General Sarath does not say a word about a political solution to the national problem. Not even the implementation of the 13 plus. In that scenario, the Tamil national minority or any other minority group has no attraction to side with a candidate who consciously avoids the subject of a political solution.

General Sarath in his letter of resignation had soundly condemned the inability of the government to come out with a political solution. But the common programme that expects to propel the General into power does not have a word to resolve the Tamil national problem.

I believe this is the most important issue as far as the JVP is concerned. Their identity is to uncompromisingly oppose any plan of devolution.

This strong Sinhala chauvinist stand is the very trademark of the JVP; it is on that basis the JVP developed so quickly among the petty bourgeois Sinhala youth. In this presidential election, the JVP has managed to force their version of a common programme which specifically excludes the devolution issue, by the UNF. Wickremesinghe and others have become willing victims of the JVP following the foot steps of Chandrika and Mahinda. The tragedy of this country is that a small group of radical chauvinists have been able to defeat the liberal democratic project since the time of SWRD.

This time too the common candidate for liberal democracy has joined the orchestra carrying a violin with the main string broken. We can hear only a jarring noise instead of the violin concerto of Beethoven! In fact the hegemony of the Mahinda clan was broken by the striking workers. Mahinda was reluctant to attack the striking workers with the newly consolidated chauvinist military apparatus.

While the strikers advanced from the plantation hills to the petroleum centre in the Colombo suburbs, Mahinda was appeasing the opportunist trade union leaders. Emergency powers were used only after making offers to the striking workers. Obviously the bourgeoisie was dissatisfied with the political war hero, who cannot chop off the heads of the strike leaders. Hence they turned to the military war hero, General Fonseka.

The General had many grievances against the Mahinda regime, which included the step motherly treatment given to the armed forces in general. This grievance is beautifully combined with the dissatisfaction of the employers of the striking workers.

That was the political background that pushed the war hero to become the common candidate of the far right. Thus there is no democratic choice for the people between them. The only way out is a Left candidate, ready to carry out the pressing national democratic tasks.

10 Comments

It is good to be an idealist but as always there is no ideal situation or even an ideal problem. Situations are complex requiring complex solutions. The bedrock of the system is democracy and human rights. If democracy is absent then there is no room for the 13th amendment or any political solution. Even the granting of Human rights would come if and only if Democracy is established. Therefore I think the promise to implement the 17th amendment is a step in the right direction. From there will flow the independence of the police and judiciary and rights of ordinary people including the Tamils and other Minorities. We have only two choices MR or SF. The others are likely to be also rans, serving no particular purpose other than to divert the attention of people from the core issues.

Posted by: SriLankan | November 28, 2009 11:17 PM

Is there a tamil problem in S..L.Look at many multi ethnic countries and compare with Sri Lanka.

Posted by: PP | November 29, 2009 03:07 AM

Dear Mr. V. Karunaratne,

I believe that you belong to one of those few politicians in the developing countries including Sri Lanka, who are not corrupted or chauvinistic but who really want to see some major "social changes" in their respective countries with respect to pluralism, democracy, human rights (including minority rights), etc and etc.

I respect you and your “individuality” despite my concerns over some of your "leftist ideas".

Having said that, I feel that I must write some of my “thoughts” regarding to your article that you have brought up here.

Your are stating: "...The UNF argues that it is left with no other choice but to field General Sarath Fonseka who could pander into the grass roots and win their votes, in order to accomplish this common liberal agenda..."

The UNF is not wrong. As we all know, the UNF is only fighting for its political survival. If the UNF want to remain as a major political force also in the future politics of Sri Lanka, obviously, they have left with no other option than accepting Sarath Fonseka (SF) as their common presidential candidate. Having the current political environment in mind, it is the best political choice that the UNF has right now. The UNF has definitely not become a willing victim of the JVP following the footsteps of Chandrika and Mahinda, as you are stating. But they have, indeed, taken a most important and a rational decision due to the country's current political atmosphere.

You are also writing: "...The tragedy of this country is that a small group of radical chauvinists have been able to defeat the liberal democratic project since the time of SWRD..." I strongly disagree in this argument of yours. As a matter of fact, every one of us, who have been following the Sri Lankan politics for decades, knows very well that this is not true: It is definitely not a small group of radical chauvinists that have defeated the country's democratic process. It is, indeed, a big group; nearly more than 90% of the majority population because of their uncritical understanding and a blind acceptance of “Mahavamsa” as the country’s formal political history, has unfortunately defeated the country’s move towards peace and prosperity by promoting economic development, pluralism, democracy and human rights including minority rights and has, thus, successfully contributed to the great “tragedies” that we have seen and that are still going on in the country for decades now.

At last, you are stating: "...In fact the hegemony of the Mahinda clan was broken by the striking workers. Mahinda was reluctant to attack the striking workers with the newly consolidated chauvinist military apparatus..."

As a matter of fact, the reason why Mahinda did not use his military forces to stop the strike was one of his rational decisions. Mahinda knows that he is going to meet the public soon. He knows that an unpleasant, toughed battle is waiting ahead for him in the presidential election against SF. Furthermore; Mahinda also knows that any attempt from his side to add the "main string" to the "violin" will undoubtedly mean that he will lose his privilege to be present in the "orchestra". That is why, Mahinda as well as Sarath Fonseka both would rather play with the “violin” with the “main string” broken. They both won't mind to listen to the "jarring noise" in the orchestra and so won't the chauvinist majority population either. Only a very few conscience full group of majority people, like yourself, seem to be disrupted by the “jarring noise in the orchestra” but instead would like to enjoy the “violin concerto of Beethoven” together with all of “us”.

Thank you.

Posted by: J. Shanker M. | November 29, 2009 08:47 AM

Sarath Fonseka silent on resolving Tamil National question, you are absolutely righ Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne. Not even Mahinda has said a word how he propose to settle the Tamil problem. These people are as usual tring to decieve the Tamils again. I urge every minorty groups who think they are being discreminated by this power hungry politicians should vote for Dr. Karunaratne to show their support for his policy on solving the minorty issue, and also to show the word that they have no turst in the Singhala Communal Politicains to resolve their 60 year old conflict. Even Muslim and other Tamil partis like TNA, Tamil Congress and all the other minority parties representing the East should unitedly support the doctor.

Posted by: Martin Thomas | November 29, 2009 05:20 PM

Dear Dr. V.K.,

The latest news from Sri Lanka is telling us that SF has now become brave enough to announce in his electoral campaigns that he, in order to solve the country's longstanding ethnic conflict, is now ready to go beyond the 13th Amendment. SF has further indicated that he is even willing to corporate with the former LTTE cadres and with VP's parents as well, whereupon he had asked them to support him in his campaign.

SF had now dared to add the "main string" to the "violin". Now we better wait and see what our Excellency President, MR is going to do.

I sincerely hope that SF will win in this election. I do this certainly not because of I trust him. I am very clear about the real person that is hiding behind our electoral candidate SF. But, I strongly believe that a major power change in the Sri Lankan politics will definitely benefit not only the minorities of the country but the country itself as whole - in the long term, if not in the short term.

Thanks.

Regards,
J.Shanker M.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 30, 2009 12:00 PM

Mr v kaunaratna my vote is for you on Priciple. goon demolish MR AND SF

Posted by: SinhalaTiger | December 3, 2009 11:53 AM

Dr. VK has earned the esteem and affection of the Lankan Tamil nation long ago. They will honour and celebrate him – and, those who raised their voices loud and clear both within and without - in their soil soon. But as far as the Presidential Elections are concerned, it is clear he cannot gather the numbers required to make an impact. This is probably the most crucial elections for the Tamils in recent times. Ranil W is right when he advises Tamils not to waste their vote. The Tamil voter is sufficiently intelligent and should only use his/her franchise to vote in one of the two major candidates. It is the duty of their political leadership to guide them along wisely this time. Even going alone will be futile this time – something ideal in a future Parliamentary election.

ISS

Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | December 13, 2009 06:52 PM

Dr. VK has earned the esteem and affection of the Lankan Tamil nation long ago. They will honour and celebrate him – and, those who raised their voices loud and clear both within and without - in their soil soon. But as far as the Presidential Elections are concerned, it is clear he cannot gather the numbers required to make an impact. This is probably the most crucial elections for the Tamils in recent times. Ranil W is right when he advises Tamils not to waste their vote. The Tamil voter is sufficiently intelligent and should only use his/her franchise to vote in one of the two major candidates. It is the duty of their political leadership to guide them along wisely this time. Even going alone will be futile this time – something ideal in a future Parliamentary election.

ISS

Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | December 13, 2009 06:53 PM

Its time to defeat Rajapakse and bring a new chapter to Sri Lankan politics. Hence, it is good to vote for Sarath Fonseka.

As Sarath Fonseka said that there is no reason to hold Tamils in detention camps, Rajapakse regime released the Tamils from these camps.

Posted by: V Siva | December 22, 2009 02:47 PM

Rajapakse regime is the worst and ruthless among the past regiems in Sri Lanka.

Tamils were abducted,raped and murdered. Journalists have no mercy and attacked mercilessly by state forces.

The armed gangs have a great deal with this regime and they have complete impunity.

Rajapakse brothers rule Sri Lanka as their own country, fully corrupt and alleged war criminals. The Western nations have to deal with Rajapakse regime firmly and probably after Sarath Fonseka becomes the president of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankans need a change of leadership. Great opportunity to say no to violence.

Posted by: V Siva | December 22, 2009 02:52 PM

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