DEVOLVE OR DEPART
(1998 September 23)
The message is very clear. The non- national forces, which include the foreign powers, seem to be telling the
government either you devolve and retain power or depart and make way for Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe to form a government
so that he can finish off what Mr. J. R. Jayawardhane started. Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga has already told the country
of a conspiracy to topple the government.
It is true that the governments in this part of the world come to power through the vote of the people. However it is also true that there are external powers which interfere with the elections and the elected governments. If the countries are small and poor the interference is very much great.
Even in the case of the rich and large countries the western powers are able to exert their influence through various means. Those who had visions of Asia becoming the economic giant in the twenty first century would have had their initial shocks after the recent collapse of the stock markets in a number of Asian countries. Neither Economics nor Politics is Physics where the so-called laws and theories are applied to inanimate objects. Even in Physics the theories are (western) man (meaning males, one Curie does not make an Academy) made and the laws only formulate a world as seen by the western culture. I often wonder what shape Physics (or some such thing) would have taken if it were formulated by the Asian women (not the westernised English/French speaking variety and their followers). Would there have been any laws to begin with?
In Economics and Politics the situation is much worse. There the laws, concepts and theories are not only man made but applicable to the lives of people who are supposed to think and be conscious of what is happening. Though all people are supposed to think, some think for the others as well. In fact the thinking of some people affect the thinking of the others. The Buddha did not think for the others though Buddhism has affected many of us. However it is not the case with the present day theorists in the west. Their thinking not only affect us but they have burdened themselves with the task of thinking for the others as well.
It is difficult to think that the laws of capital are on the same footing as the Newton's laws of motion, which describe the motion of inanimate objects in a Newtonian world. The capital as well as the laws of capital control us. On the other hand the people who have the ability to control the capital will not hesitate to control us. It is not only the capital, which affect our lives but the laws themselves condition us. Those who create or construct these laws influence the way we think and live. Those who inhabit the non-western world have been conditioned to think that they think. It was Descartes who said, "I think therefore I am". All that we can say is "I think that I think therefore I am not".
As long as London is the finance capital of the world and thinking is done in London as well as in the other western cities Asia has no hope. Until Asia thinks for herself she will only be a dwarf among the American and the European giants. We are so much dependent on western knowledge that even in Sinhala Literary criticism we follow the western theories, of course, with a time lag. Dr. Sarachchandra started the rot and the rest followed. Only Mr. Martin Wickremesinghe was able to come out with some form of indigenous literary criticism and today we have Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera keeping the tradition alive. The argument is that modern literature is a creation of the west and therefore we have to follow the west in criticism as well. This is good only for the imitators who know nothing of assimilation of knowledge and the eastern theories of knowledge. This type of reasoning goes on to prove that the culture that creates knowledge rules the world.
The west will never give up the stranglehold that they have in our countries. Whether it is called neo colonialism or world imperialism there is the cultural component, which includes subjugation through theory construction. More than anything else we are under this cultural colonialism. Our countries are still under cultural, political and economical colonialism.
The west is most interested in continuing with the cultural hegemony over the other cultures in the world. Their educational system, with which we are saddled, only reinforces this hegemony. The cultural, political and economical components of world imperialism are interdependent and they assist each other.
In Sri Lanka the problem in the Eastern and the Northern provinces was baptised by the British. They created Tamil racism in order to use it against the Sinhala people. It tallied with their divide and rule policy, which was practised throughout their empire. After the so-called second world war some kind of a political independence was given to the colonies but the British continues to interfere with these countries. They want to make sure that their hegemony is not lost as a result of the semblance of independence given.
The problem of Tamil racism has only one solution in the eyes of the British, that being the creation of a separate state in the East and the North. That will make sure that Sri Lanka will not be able to evolve a common culture with Sinhala Buddhist culture as the main component. Instead there will be two countries, one in the East and the North with a Hindu culture and the other in the rest of the country not with a Sinhala Buddhist culture but a 'mixture of cultures'. The antagonism between the two countries will grow giving rise to wars between them. The so-called Eelam wars are not wars. The war will start only after the separation. Those peace merchants who advocate 'political solutions' are only clamouring for a war that will go on for years and years. The British and the rest of the west will be very happy with such an outcome as then the cultural and the other hegemonies will continue without much challenge.
On the other hand an Eelam in the East and the North will give an incentive to the Tamils in Tamil Nadu to separate from India and join with Eelam to form a Tamil state for the entire region. That will make the west happier and they will only encourage the Tamil Nadu Tamils to agitate for a separate state.
Why should the British High Commissioner take a deep interest in the Tamil problem? Why should Dr. Liam Fox the former British Under Secretary for foreign affairs get interested in the talks with the LTTE? Why should the British import the Frasers to advice us on constitutional devices in connection with the G. L. - Neelan package? There are many more questions that can be asked. The British are not interested in our welfare. Why should they be so? They have only their interests to look after and they just want to maintain their domination in the 'empire'.
The non-national (not only the foreign) forces were instrumental in making Ms. Kumaratunga the leader of the PA and then presenting her as the presidential candidate. The Tamil racists and their sponsors were of the opinion that it would be easier to devolve power through a SLFP led coalition than through a UNP government as they thought that then the Sinhala nationalist forces, which usually sympathise with the SLFP would not oppose such a move. Their thinking was that in such situation the UNP will vote with the government and the bill for amending the constitution would be passed, as only a handful of 'extremists' would be against it.
However there was a problem. That was to get the SLFP to present the bill in the parliament. With Mrs. Bandaranaike as the leader, the non-national forces were not confident that they would succeed. At that point Ms. Kumaratunga who had visited the LTTE terrorists with her late husband and who was in England and who had some WIDER connections emerged from hibernation. She who had been an SLMP stalwart and the founder of the Bahujana Nidahas Party, joined the SLFP for the sole purpose of hijacking that party. Meanwhile Dr. G. L. Peiris, who had been a well-known UNP sympathiser, all of a sudden found that the UNP was engaged in dooshanaya and bheeshanaya and joined the SLFP. The Tamil racist parties and the two 'major Marxist' parties also rallied round Ms. Kumaratunga. The non-national forces had finally found the leader and the team for the mission. The missionaries went into action and the PA was ready with the G. L.- Neelan package.
It now appears to be a mission impossible. The non-national forces had not estimated the strength of the Sinhala nationalist movement. Even without the leadership of the SLFP the Sinhala nationalist forces campaigned against the G. L. - Neelan package. The assignment given to Ms. Kumaratunga and Dr. Peiris remains unfulfilled. Time is running out for the government. If the PA government cannot devolve power then they will be devoid of power. The non-national forces would have already given them orders to depart if not for the executive presidency. Ms. Kumaratunga seems to have an understanding of the situation and she has referred to a conspiracy by the LTTE and the UNP.
Her suspicion is partly built on the alleged visit of Dr. Jayalath Jayawardhane to Vanni to meet the LTTE terrorists while on pilgrimage to Madhu. Probably there is no truth in this allegation and Dr. Jayawardhane did not meet any terrorists in Vanni or Madhu. But any body could have met with the LTTE terrorists while he or she was in Madhu without going to the Vanni jungles. The monthly bulletin of the St.Mary's church, Dehiwala in its September issue states that " once the pilgrims went past the army checkpoint and were in the area controlled by the LTTE, they were received and escorted by unarmed LTTE cadres dressed in immaculate white, to the shrine at Madhu" (pg.8). Whether dressed in immaculate white or not the terrorists are terrorists The question is whether anybody met these terrorists in Madhu and whether the proposed talks with the LTTE have anything to do with these meetings.
In any case, it is clear that the Tamil racists and their sponsors have already chosen their next presidential candidate. He is occupied with meeting LTTE front organisations and organising so-called all party conferences. Ms. Kumaratunga who could not accomplish the job given to her will have to depart, from the point of view of the non-national forces. In the meantime these forces are busy with preparing the stage for the so-called unconditional talks with the LTTE. The Sinhala nationalist movement should take note of all these developments in assessing the present situation.