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Hardly the Death of Democracy or the Nation:

Ten Points From a Political Scientist

The cynic in me is tempted to remark that the neoliberal, Rightwing Opposition and civil society groups wanted ‘regime change’ throughout the war years and boy, they’ve got it. They didn’t change the regime, the regime changed itself.

What has it changed into, why and how? Reading the vibrant commentaries that accompanied the impending passage of the 18th amendment, two resonated with my own sense of what was going on. In their distinct ways Kishali Pinto Jayewardene and Indi Samarajiva critically perceived it as a process and pointed to the quintessential continuities, while almost all others highlighted what they thought were decisive, dramatic dislocations and discontinuities.


Wealth creation and sovereignty

The country must be justifiably proud of the building of the Hambantota harbor. It is a noteworthy achievement. The President has asked the country to take pride in it. But the pride would have been more justifiable if the project was built by Sri Lankan engineers and Sri Lankan labor. Economic development ultimately rests on the work of the people and building the capacity of the people is the way to promote development.

I don’t know whether readers will agree with me that since 1956, instead of building the capacities of the people our journey to the past has produced a nation of human beings whose capacity has hardly improved if not worsened. Are our engineers, scientists, economists, administrators produced by our Universities today better than those we produced in the 1950s and 1960s? The situation has arisen because we neglected modernization and sought to revive our ancient culture and religion rather than move forward towards modernization. So we feel threatened by the International community. If we had the type of diplomats and Foreign Service officers of the past – men like the late Vernon Mendis, would we have got into this situation? Israel, despite many violations of human rights, manages to escape censure. U.S. backing is not the whole story; there is also clever diplomacy.


Tamil politics and Tiger strategy in perspective

KP’s story continues to provide insights into the history of the LTTE, Tamil politics and the contemporary history of Sri Lanka. One disclosure stands out. “The then TULF leader A. Amirthalingham introduced me to Prabhakaran in mid 70s, most probably in 1976 and since then we worked together”. (‘KP Speaks Out: An Interview with T. Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP’, Shamindra Ferdinando, The Island, Aug 5, 2010).

An exegetical attempt is subsequently made to downgrade its significance and render it ‘innocuous’. “KP was introduced to Prabhakaran – both 20 + years, by Amirthalingam when he was out of parliament (1970-77) and in with the grassroots as well as the violent upstarts.” (‘Tamil politics post-LTTE: serious business or serial stories?’ Rajan Philips, Sunday Island, Aug 15, 2010).

Let us unpack the meaning of KP’s disclosure. The leader of the moderate secessionist Tamil party the TULF, Mr Amirthalingam, introduced KP to a young man known to be heading a terrorist organisation. For what purpose could he have done this? If he wanted to recruit KP he could have done so to the TULF or its youth/students wing. Instead he pretty much acted as a recruiter for a terrorist nucleus.



Once upon a time, it was taken as a fact that the CFA, or the Cease Fire Agreement was hidden from the then President, Madam Chandrika Kumaratunga.  Or rather, that she got to know about it, only when it was signed and delivered, so to speak!  That may have been, since it was a house divided, with a UPFA President  and a UNF Government, with no love lost between them, at that time!

But now, new facts emerging from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission tells an alarming story that even the senior officers of the then Government were unaware of the CFA. We learn, rather surprisingly, according to the submissions of the former Defence Secretary, Austin Fernando to the LLRC, that he had "not been involved with the preparing of the CFA."


Did we fail to market the atrocities of the LTTE?

The world is still sympathetic to the terror organization LTTE

India with strong marketing caught the world attention on Mumbai 26/11

War has cost Sri Lanka 70,000 lives and cost US$200 billion to the economy

The Diaspora is only 1 million but Sri Lanka has 20 million voices

Last week when I saw my former colleague from the Government Peace Secretariat appearing before the "Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)’ and later that evening we saw the adverse publicity on BBC and CNN, it was very evident that global perception were very sympathetic towards the LTTE. It was then that I decided that it is my duty to write these thoughts, given that we were part of the larger team that fought the war with the LTTE.

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