"War has brought misery and barbarism to all people of Lanka"
by Dr.Vickramabahu Karunaratne
The local “bourgeois democracy” including Lakthilaka, Victor Ivan and the rump of platform for freedom has decided to save democracy by getting General Sarath Fonseka elected. They have made a pandemonium in educated circles about the prime need to get rid of corruption; and hence pressed the point that the removal of executive presidency is the prime task today, for the Lankan masses.
Discussions, seminars, and debates started in practically all the media where they have a say. It was a calculated attempt to push the campaign for devolution and discussion on the Tamil national problem, to the backyard. Sarath has been educated by these gentlemen, to stick to the subject of executive presidency and the corruption flowing from it. It is like going back to the days of autocratic monarchy where democracy had to work in secret societies and whispering messages.
But the setback in the armed struggle has not removed the burning interest of the Tamil people for freedom. It is still the most damning attack on the corrupt and unjust regime. If the struggle against executive presidency is an important aspect of the campaign for democracy, then the fight for devolution and autonomy is thousand times more important. What does Sarath Fonseka has to say on that subject? He has said the13th amendment is now obsolete and in consequence he has made the topic of devolution itself obsolete.
Just because a tough general has ignored the pressing problem of the Tamil nationality, it cannot disappear like mist. Somebody reminded of the words of the late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam: “When asked by a journalist [Walter Schwarz of the Guardian] how the TULF would achieve its goal, Chelvanayakam replied prophetically: ‘We would make such a nuisance of ourselves that they [the Sinhalese] would throw us out.
The trouble with these gentlemen of democracy is that they do not realize that the Tamil national problem is not an isolated problem of the Tamils but a gangrene developing in Lankan society eating into the Sinhalese as well. It will be stupid to campaign for release from the executive presidency and for a new constitution for that purpose, without the necessary item of devolution of power being given to the Tamil nationality. Whether it is in a constituent assembly or the Parliament, the Tamils and consistent democrats will vote only for a new constitution with a devolution acceptable to the Tamil people and the other minority communities.
Devolution itself is a mechanism to arrest the power of the executive presidency. Even the 13th amendment reduced the power of the president in several aspects. In the first place, the president cannot dissolve the provincial councils nor could he remove an elected chief minister. The executive president who could remove any cabinet minister or even the prime minister was humbled by the 13th amendment; at least to some extent. If we give more powers to the provincial councils, particularly in relation to the police, judiciary, land and finance, then to that extent the power at the centre will be reduced. This will be so, whether the power at the centre is in the hands of an executive president or the cabinet of ministers. Why are these gentlemen of democracy, eager to neglect the pressing problem of democracy, namely the national problem, and concentrate only on the executive presidency?
Clearly they do not want to take the bull by the horns. Mahinda could be pardoned for his attack on democracy made by his chauvinist war against the Tamil people.The plain truth is, that this war has brought misery and barbarism to all the people of Lanka. Obviously, the general who brags about his heroism in the battle against a rag tag army of the Tamil youth cannot condemn the war. General Fonseka cannot raise a finger against Mahinda and say “you are a war mongering corrupt dictator”. Because both of them are responsible for the hell-hole that we are in today. On the other hand, Mahinda has shown his fraudulent nature, by accepting the 10 points programme of Douglas Devananda that includes autonomy for a Tamil homeland and the right of self-determination to the Tamil peole! It is very necessary to avoid both the fake and the fraud and to vote for the truth.