Shadows forecast of things to come
Fireworks heralded the traditional New Year,
and people got injured as they traditionally do. In the eastern
city of Muttur, however, the people got injured, but the fireworks
came from AK-47 automatic rifles.
sound of gunfire shattered the fragile peace hanging by a thread
in the East. Not all the sermons for peace and ethnic harmony from
religious leaders, the President, the Prime Minister nor civil society
frontliners could prevent yet another bloodbath in predominantly
the grim reminders that even an year of a ceasefire, and rounds
and rounds of negotiations in the capitals of the world have yet
to take firm root especially in the Eastern Province of this country,
where the Muslims and indeed the Sinhalese fear that a negotiated
settlement with the LTTE would mean a sell-out of their safety and
political leadership is in turmoil over events in the East revolving
around the degree of powers that would be conferred to their bete
noir - the LTTE. How much of this stems from genuine concern for
their people, and how much is raw political opportunism is difficult
sometimes to gauge, but the answer they believe is, what in effect,
would be the creation of ethnic enclaves in a future Sri Lanka.
is being bandied about today like a freshly baked cake. The one
remaining question seems to be whether the ingredients for the icing
ought to come from Canada, Switzerland or South Africa.
There is one
major thrust from Governments and Non-Government Organisations in
this direction, but very little is being said about the efficacy
and efficiency of the existing Provincial Councils, which is turning
out to be one big, expensive fraud perpetrated on the people.
are focusing our attention only in one direction, and the country
is heading in that direction like an unstoppable train. Federalism
at all cost. Federalism at whatever the price of inefficiency. Federalism,
come what may.
best form of devolution so far presented - using a manageable unit
with a name that removes the unsavoury tag of ethnicity attached
to it, emphasising the very purpose of such a unit - the District
Development Councils invoked by President J.R. Jayewardene, have,
alas, been thrown into the limbo of forgotten things.
attack on the Muslims of Muttur co-incided with the US 'crystal
clear' position on the self-styled liberation movement, stamped
a terrorist organisation by Washington.
must unequivocally renounce terrorism, in word and deed" the
US Under Secretary of State told a seminar in his capital. Within
24-hours what happened in Muttur happened.
in Muttur is only an indicator of things to come - of 'border' skirmishes
around ethnic enclaves; of holy wars; and what-not that we witness
happening around the world.