trick neatly punctured
interview with Shakthi TV, Anton Balasingham announced that the
19th Amendment was the result of Tiger advice. Its failure now -
obvious to any one with basic commonsense - lays to rest many Tiger
plans. The President of the whole country has held sway while the
Prime Minister of the South lost. Meanwhile thanks to the MOU, -
marketed as "peace" - Tigers had got what they could not
get in battle. So Prabhakaran, the self-appointed President and
Prime Minister of the North and East controls "his" area
that he lost militarily. Yet the legalization through the Interim
Council of this de facto Tiger regime is now out. Only the Joint
LTTE/government Task Force could now do it.
By all objective
measures the Tigers had been defeated when the UNF came to power.
The enormity of the Tiger loss one realizes only after actually
seeing the North empty of its people (they are among the Sinhalese
or living abroad) and its destroyed towns. Usually a figure of ten
government soldiers to every guerilla is the accepted norm in this
type of war. Yet the LTTE's admitted losses are more than the government's.
It was only propaganda that has kept the Tiger myth of invincibility
going, combined with the cowardice of leaders frightened by threats
of assassinations and suicide bombings. The US and the West are
today beset with these same problems but their reaction has been
just the opposite.
The first duty
of a government is the defense of the country's borders. But today
the military is heavily compromised, the Tigers recruit in government
areas and army readiness is being dismantled. More alarmingly, those
with suspect attitudes are advising the military. Harry Gunatillake
who had appeared on TV saying that the Tigers could not be defeated
is in official committees. One advisor to the new UNF defense plan
- through a retired flag officers group - is Kumar Rupasinghe (source
retired flag officers group). Rupasinghe, when the government was
about to take Jaffna went on BBC demanding the UN halt it. At the
time he was head of International Alert which had been formed specifically
to fight for Tamil Eelam. Today changes in the military are being
attempted based on this new defense plan.
from the claim to fictitious Tamil homelands which even the Prime
Minister claims he does not believe in, (but grants in his Interim
Council), Tamils and other minorities have more language and religious
rights here than India or Western countries, Norway included, give
to their minorities. (Yet, such legal equality may not translate
to actual practice as many Sri Lankans in Western countries quickly
Not only did
enemy views infiltrate the military, but the government became the
enemy's main spokesman. State and private TV - during the post December
period the difference between the two vanished - fell over each
other to justify Tigers. One had the spectacle of bird brained "vidwathun"
who would never be entertained in a serious academic discussion
justifying Tiger positions. Especially TV was under tight control.
Positions opposed to pro-Tiger views were blanked out. This was
done directly in the government media; in the private media it was
done informally by phone calls to key persons. The most infamous
incident was blanking out the monks' statement rejecting the MOU.
Since then there was the careful grooming of monks especially by
gifts, some called this bribery. It was the most extensive campaign
of brain washing which any post colonial democratic country has
But the brain
washing backfired. One of those foreign funded outfits closely linked
to the MOU, monitoring public opinion has come to the conclusion
that the majority in the country rejects this attempted coup by
the Tigers. Only 11% of the Sinhalese believe the statement in Thailand
by Balasingham, the government's key partner, allegedly disowning
separatism. This figure should give pause for any sane UNF deciding
to go to the polls now.
But how did
this impossible dream, a supreme con act come about? Weren't there
UNPers who could have seen through this? By any measure of democracy
this is the only post Independence government where most of the
key influential positions are held by non Buddhist families. One
does not have to be a sociologist; count and the results should
alarm any democrat. It is like the 1962 Catholic coup had succeeded
without a shot being fired. It was an attempt at what in financial
circles is called a leveraged buy out; a small amount of money being
leveraged to buy much larger assets. It is a high risk strategy.
In our case, it was a minority like in colonial times allying itself
again to external forces and fraudulently and undemocratically trying
to impose its will on the majority in the country. But this, in
an aware society like ours was like constructing a house of cards,
so that the slightest wobble could bring the whole edifice down.
The Supreme Court decision did this.
The UNF had
come in with twin challenges, in the ethnic and economic fronts.
In the economic
front the government instead of making the state sector efficient
got bogged down in trying to sell it. The private sector, instead
of trying to earn profits by selling their products turned to being
the key salesmen for the MOU and the Tigers. One had the comical
spectacle of employees being forced by their employers to hold hands,
and in the case of the Jana Bala Mehayuma to parade the streets
on orders of employers. Both of these acts violate new social clauses
in international trade under the SA 8000 requirements and could
put our exports at risk.
And what about
business now? The stock market was hyped up by the peace talks.
It did not require hyping up. By any standards Sri Lanka is a good
place to invest. A key indicator, the price to earnings ratio of
our shares is cheap compared to other countries. Businessmen instead
of playing anti national politics should have invested in the country.
Above all instead of sleeping with the enemy it should have invested
in its people. And the people? They should disinvest from those
businesses that become traitorous. Any self respecting country would