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SRI LANKA: Who has made a fool of whom?

SRI LANKA: Who has made a fool of whom?

Nilantha Ilangamuwa
March 19, 2013

No great gain than virtue aught can cause;
No great loss than life oblivious of her laws. – Tamil Kurral

It is not only a portrayal of the lack of will to address the issue of solving problems in Sri Lanka but also the loss of a great opportunity to get rid of the political stalemate in which President Rajapakse has trapped himself that has surfaced by the attacks against innocent Sri Lankans on Indian soil. Attacks on Buddhist monks by angry Indians has reopened, painfully, some of the factual realities that we, as a region centralized by the world's largest democracy, are facing.

Violence is not the guide to a long term solution. It is a guide line that has its origins in ancient India, a nation that has given birth to great philosophies that spread among other communities around the world. But after the end of long and bloody civil war in Sri Lanka led by the military, Tamil Nadu has returned to its notorious history and started, not only threatening its own central government, but also is also mobilizing the innocent citizens to a violence motivated by intolerance of other cultures. This has created a web of crisis that is damaging every layer of the relationship between the two countries.

Nevertheless, even a child can understand that despite the political motivation behind this kind of attack, it will be a major reason for creating another round of the diplomatic cohabitation between the two countries in these crucial times. This is the time when we need more tolerance than intolerance, more political dialogue rather than mob violence, inter-religious activities rather than the fueling of extremism.

None of the Tamil Nadu politicians have spoken out rationally on behalf of the Tamils who are living in the highly militarized areas in the Island nation, but they are playing foul games for their own political benefits at the local level. What they have forgotten is that it is not only Tamils but also Sinhalese who are victims of the Rajapakse regime. None of these leaders can confirm that only Tamils are discriminated against on the Island. In fact, the Sinhalese are also the victims of this powerful nepotistic regime which considers itself to be above the law. To understand this it is not necessary to go deep into our history in a fact finding mission. The impeachment of our chief justice alone is enough for one to appreciate the gravity of the problem.

In these circumstances directly or indirectly, the Tamil Nadu mob violence politicians are gifting a great opportunity to President Rajapaksa which is even better than what J.R. Jayawardhana did in early 80s when 13 soldiers were ambushed by the Tamil Tigers in Thirunelveli in the Jaffna peninsula. Most Sinhalese extremist groups and extremist Tamil political groups are puppets of the present regime, and hence they are now well equipped to fuel another crisis in the country in order to hide their weakness and failures. Imagine if Sri Lankan extremists start attacks on Indians who are visiting Sri Lanka in acts of revenge for the recent incidents! The developing scenario would be catastrophic. Who will benefit from the resulting mayhem? This is where we need to understand the difference between 'to' and 'too'.

When the political situation in the country turns into a rotten egg, the people have to find out how to take that rotten egg out of the box before it explodes and splatters the other eggs. If the Tamil Nadu politicians are happier playing with the rotten egg instead of helping authentic descendants who are concerned about the crisis in Sri Lanka, then the situation will be worse than in the past. Attacking the Sri Lankan monks has created, not only a black hole, but it has given a clear cut picture of where Tamil Nadu politicians are sitting in the political formula in the Sri Lankan issue. The basic question that remains here is: Who has made a fool of whom?

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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