(1998 November 04)
Tamil racism baptised, and nurtured in the beginning by Britain and then by the west in general is very active again. The Tamil racists and their sponsors seem to be working according to a plan. The theme at the moment appears to be negotiations with the LTTE. There may be debates on whether the negotiations should be conditional or not and whether the UNP and the PA should agree on what they have to offer jointly to Tamil racism. However the UNP, the PA, the Marx brothers, the NGO's and the non-national lobby all agree on some kind of negotiations with the LTTE.
The big business community as expected and predicted have finally settled down to the so-called ethnic problem. They started the all party conferrence with ten points but it was very clear from the beginning that they were interested only in one question. Though they have not defined as yet what this ethnic question is they are willing to offer their expertise to the government as well as the opposition to solve this undefined problem.
In the meantime the LTTE handed over to the International Red Cross (soldiers freed by LTTE), some of the soldiers and a few others that they had 'captured'. They were brought to Kolomba and many wandered why they were released at this juncture. In fact at least one of those released has aired the view that the LTTE is ready for negotiations and that the release of the soldiers could be considered as a green light.
Mr. Fatchett, the under secretary in the British commonwealth and foreign office, arrives (Fatchett to arrive) in Kolomba next week amidst these events. The UNP and I suppose Mr. Kadirgamer, who has been identified with the Fox agreement between the leader of the opposition, would like to see Mr. Fatchett campaigning to implement his predecessor's agreement. On the other hand Mr. Fatchett himself would most probably insist on strengthening the Fox agreement. The Tamil racists want negotiations to commence immediately but the government, especially the G. L. Peiris school of thought insist on some kind of agreement between the UNP and the PA before commencing negotiations. Dr. Peiris himself would insist that the UNP agree on the so-called political package as a pre condition for the negotiations.
Anyhow the general theme appears to be an agreement between the UNP and the PA and then negotiations with the LTTE. As far as the Tamil racists are concerned talks means getting one-step closer to Eelam. Their policy of "a little now and more later", as formulated by Mr. Chelvanayakam has helped them in their journey from the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam pact to the G. L.- Neelan package.
The all party conference convened by the big business community was nothing but a platform for the UNP and the PA to come together in preparation for the talks between the government and the LTTE. However it did not materialise that way but the big business community has not given up its task. Apparently they are thinking of convening another all party conference. I would not be surprised if they offer themselves as the facilitator, or even the mediator, for the talks first between the UNP and the PA and then between the government and the LTTE.
Before commencing these talks there is the task of fooling the Sinhala people. Already various groups are demanding that the UNP and the PA should get together to finish the Tamil racist problem. The Sinhala people also want these two parties to come to some kind of agreement. However their objective is something else. They want the UNP and the PA to get together, not as a precondition for talks between the government and the LTTE, but to annihilate the LTTE militarily. The NGO propaganda machinery knows this very well. They simply state that the two parties should join hands in order to put an end to the problem without saying what the problem is and what they mean by solving the problem. The Sinhala people are made to believe that the 'problem' will be solved if the UNP supports the government in its "war efforts".
Some Sinhala organisations have already swallowed the bait and they insist that the UNP and the PA should join hands to defeat the LTTE. They are either very naïve politically or are being led by the NGOs. Those who think that the Foxes, Fatchetts and the Tathams would allow the UNP and the PA to come together to crush the LTTE, are sadly mistaken. If the UNP and the PA join hands it will be at the insistence of the western powers led by Britain and will pave the way for negotiations between the government and the LTTE.
I do not subscribe to the view that the LTTE is interested in talks only when they are weak. That hypothesis does not explain the behaviour of the LTTE. The LTTE wants negotiations when the Tamil racist movement can gain something out of the talks, or when they themselves are interested in some auxiliary conditions such as movement of various goods to Yapanaya, the so-called fishing rights of the people which very often mean the freedom for the LTTE boats to operate without any interference by the navy etc or when they are under pressure from the sponsors of Tamil racism. When India opted to become a sponsor of Tamil racism in order to teach a lesson to the J. R. Jayawardhane government LTTE had no choice but to agree to go to Thimpu for talks with the government. Now they may be willing to come to the negotiating table as Britain, the godfather of Tamil racism, which allows the LTTE to have an office in London, is determined to see that negotiations commence.
The LTTE and the Tamil racist movement in general, in spite of the much-talked about Hindu culture, are closer to Christian Britain than to Hindu India. At least by now it should be clear that Britain and the other western powers are using Tamil racism against the Sinhala people and their culture. Tamil racism is only a weapon in the hands of western cultural imperialism.
Everybody including the Christian western powers, who said they are secular, know that the LTTE is interested only in Eelam. It is prepared to give up Eelam only for a confederation of what they call a Sinhala state and Eelam. On many occasions Prof. A. J. Wilson, the only son-in-law of Mr. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, has also made pronouncements to the effect that the LTTE would be prepared to drop Eelam for a confederation. A confederation is a de facto separate Eelam and the LTTE and the other Tamil racists are only trying to hoodwink the others.
However the LTTE does not mind coming to the negotiation table in order to gain recognition by the government and the international community that they are the sole representative of the Tamils and also to legalise through accords, pacts etc., some of the intermediate 'legal pre-requisites' like self determination and Tamil homeland before they achieve their final goal of Eelam. The UNP, which clamour for unconditional talks, completely ignores the fact that as far as the Tamil racist parties are concerned, self determination, Tamil nation and Tamil homeland are non-negotiable. In other words the government has to agree to these pre-conditions of Tamil racism before they commence these so-called unconditional talks.
The LTTE is not interested in regional councils and political packages. Unlike the so-called Tamil moderates the LTTE does not want to achieve Eelam in two stages, first going through a federal state. That is why they have rejected the G.L. - Neelan political package. The LTTE would perhaps like to see the UNP and the PA agreeing on the confederation.
Mr. Fatchett is interested in negotiations. Like so many others he may quote the Northern Ireland problem. Whether he does it or not he has to be reminded that the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka have been parts of an ehsesath (unitary) Sri Lanka for more than two thousand years and that it was only in 1889, the present Northern and Eastern provinces were demarcated by the ancestors of Mr. Fatchett. In any case can Mr. Fatchett explain to the vast majority of the Sinhala people, other than the NGO people and the NGO like people, what this problem that Mr. Fatchett is interested in solving. Many people think that there is a problem but when they are asked to identify or define the problem they just do not respond. Mr. Fatchett has to be informed that the Sinhala people are not interested in solving undefined problems.
The problem is not only not defined but non-existing as well. As the Tamil leaders themselves have admitted the Tamils do not have any grievances. Why is Mr. Fatchett coming all the way from London to solve a problem that is non-existing? (Please do not say that he is coming to Sri Lanka only in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of 'independence'.) If it was only a question of defining the problem the Sinhala people could have waited until a Professor of History, Political Science or Sociology from Britain defined it. The professors, NGO people, NGO type people, the media pundits, the enlightened artists, literary critics, those parliamentarians who think of themselves as intellectuals and similar people in Sri Lanka are unable to define anything on their own. They respect the intellectuals in the country of Mr. Fatchett so much, that for a living, they are prepared only to echo what their masters in Britain have to say. As there is no problem that warrants packages political or otherwise, Mr. Fatchett is only going to waist his time in Sri Lanka. Perhaps he could visit Anuradhapura and see for himself some parts of the unique culture that the Sinhala people have built in this country and that the history of the country is Sinhala Buddhist to the dissatisfaction of the Tamil racists and the professors of history.
These professors tell us that the history as revealed in the Mahavansaya is biased and it is not the 'proper history' of the country. It is so unfortunate that the Tamils who are supposed to have lived in this country from the very beginning, I mean from Vijaya days, did not leave us a history at least relative to them, if not the true and proper history of the 'objective realists'. . They could have easily borrowed some ola leaves from Rev. Mahanama who authored Mahavansaya, or somebody else and at least following the example set by the Sinhala people, could have written their own history. If they had just done that Prof. Indrapalan, formerly of the University of Yapanaya, would have been spared of the burden of coming to the conclusion that there were no permanent settlements in Sri Lanka before the tenth century.
I am bothered by the question, 'where is the Mahavansaya of the Tamils'? Were they magnanimous enough not to write their own history? Even if there was no tradition of writing history among the Tamils they could have learnt a lesson from the Sinhala people. Were they so proud that they did not want to emulate the Sinhala people? By not writing their own history the Tamils have only created problems for our professors of history. Whenever they want to write something of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, as Prof. Siriweera has done, they have to read between the lines that Rev. Mahanama wrote!
Coming to the other end of the spectrum what is the history of the Tamils in Sri Lanka after the fall of the kingdom of Jaffna in 1619? It is well known that the 'leading' Tamil families like Ramanathans and the Coomaraswamys are of very recent origin not going beyond the Dutch period. It is not only these families which arrived in Sri Lanka during or after the Dutch period. Most of the Tamils in Jaffna are of recent origin. In fact the Dutch had to codify the Thesavalamai Law with regard to inheritance of land, in order to prevent these people from going back to South India and to encourage them to settle down here. As Mr. Gamini Iriyagolla has pointed out on so many occasions Thesavalamai is not even a Hindu Law.
As the Tamils have no continuous history in this country going back to few centuries and a culture built in this country and passed down continuously from one generation to the next, again over a few centuries, they want to deny the country and the Sinhala people the Sinhala Buddhist history and the Sinhala Buddhist culture that the latter built. Mr. Fachett's ancestors have encouraged the ancestors of the present day Tamils to do so. The Tamil racists and the others who back them do not want to recognise that the Sinhala people are the majority in the country, that the history of the country is Sinhala Buddhist, and that the culture is essentially Sinhala Buddhist and hence the country is Sinhala Buddhist. People who are prepared to recognise that the country of Mr. Fatchett is Anglo Saxon Christian are not willing to accept that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country. This is the crux of the problem. The Sinhala people and the country are denied their history and culture. If it is not racism then what is meant by racism?
Mr. Fatchett, I am afraid, has no role to play. We are having a Tamil racist problem, which was created by the British. It has evolved over the years to the extent that a section of the Tamil racists are now fighting for a separate state. The problem has been presented as that due to so-called Sinhala chauvinism trying to exert its hegemony over the Tamils. The so-called solutions offered to this new 'problem' constitute the problem itself. The G.L.- Neelan package is only a stepping stone to Eelam. Any discussion with the LTTE will only take the country further towards an Eelam. There is only one solution to the problem. That is to defeat the LTTE militarily and Tamil racism politically.