Internationally monitored election for North East
on "renewal and rage'' in the book Failure and Success in America
talks about individual reactions to injustice in the following way:
"Erik Erickson says that animals and women know how to survive
without the need to slay, but the male is forced to choose between
the virtue and vulnerability of the non-killer, or the guilt and
power of the murderer. In the latter case we are exposed to one
man's outrageous desire to be at once, plaintiff judge and executioner.''
Close on the
heels of reading the Prabhakaran profile, that sentence struck a
chord. Prabhakaran's book has a chapter, which contains one curious
episode, that of a conducted tour for the LTTE leader and comrades
courtesy the New Delhi establishment.
is taken to Raj Ghat, where Gandhi's ashes are interred, and where
there is a touching memorial erected for the Mahathma. Prabhakaran
stands before the memorial, and then he jabs his comrade on the
arm with a finger. He says with a wink in his eye and a tone suffused
with sarcasm: "the Indians want us to protest peacefully and
practise ahimsa - they want us to practise non-violence.''
This is not
to make a value judgement about Prabhakaran's almost cheeky repudiation
of non-violence during that conducted tour of Raj Ghat. But the
episode gets one thinking.
At a time when
we are being told that we are at the threshold of an Interim administration
for the North and the East, there is reason to see the conflict
in broader even philosophical terms. Many a time we have been told
that this is one man's revenge, and that as said in that opening
quote in this column "we are exposed to one man's outrageous
desire to be at once, plaintiff judge and executioner." Hence
Prabhakaran's dismissive kick in the rear to all that's represented
by non-violence, in that placid environment of the Raj Ghat.
But, if it
is Prabhakran's propensity for violence that we have at one end
of the spectrum (very often described by commentators as fascism)
at the other we have the mindless disorganisation and insensitivity
of the Sri Lankan state.
So, if these
are the countervailing forces, Prabhakaran's "fascism for a
cause'', and the Sri Lankan state's collective stupidity in not
meeting its obligations to the Tamil minority, can't we reduce the
equation of this conflict to its rudiments?
No doubt it
may sound abstruse and metaphysical, but if it's a game of chess,
it's the forces of Prabhakran's righteous fascism that are arraigned
against the forces of the Sri Lankan government's anarchic stupidity.
The less stupidity
there is on the Sri Lankan state's side, it figures in terms of
the laws of a game of skill such as chess, that there will be a
reduction of fascism on the other side. The more fascistic the tendency
on the other side, however, the less stupid this side gets in terms
of meeting its obligations to the Tamil people. (ie: the more terror
on the part of the LTTE, the more sensible the Lankan government
often has become.)
But if it is
a power game that can be reduced to these rudiments, where do we
stand at this point of time? It is a constant refrain that we hear
that Prabhakaran is making all the moves. The Southern Sinhala polity
is only being reactive, and making counter moves to escape all of
Prabhakaran's pro-active lightning chess.
righteous fascism can never be condoned. Its fascistic element has
to be blunted, even though its righteous connotation can remain.
Likewise, the Sri Lankan state's democratic indifference can never
be endorsed. Its core anti-fascist democratic character can be highlighted,
but its inability to address its obligations, such as obligations
to the Tamil minority, needs to be dealt with. These days, there
is an Interim administration in the offing. It is a kind of a peace
stalemate. It comes on the heels of a hostile stalemate, in which
the two sides were locked in fierce combat. (Hostilities.)
has made the first move, as he is being often accused of doing.
As if making the first move is not his prerogative, particularly
when the other side is only used to being reactive.
He will ask
for an Interim administration that will be LTTE dominant, but will
have a few Muslims and other non-LTTE elements in it. This "interim''
technically at least is not going to be time-ended, which makes
the description "Interim administration'' quite illogical.
It is an "interim'' towards something that is said to be still
in the construction stage - - an "interim'' towards something
intangible. In fact such an interim is no interim at all, but that
doesn't matter, as long as it solves the problem, or so we are being
But such an
interim does nothing to blunt the dominant (fascistic) edge of Prabhakran's
righteous fascism. In other words, in the game of chess, the Sri
Lankan state is losing some of its democratic character, and giving
Prabhakran more room to strengthen the fascistic side of his campaign,
as opposed to its righteous side. That's very reactive on the part
of the Sri Lankan state. It might create a state of a peaceful stalemate,
which of course will be preferred to a hostile stalemate as there
was earlier, for the simple reason that there will be no war.
But the problem
with a peaceful stalemate is that it can collapse with the result
that the old hostile stalemate might reappear. In other words, an
interim council that strengthens and legitimises Prabhakaran's fascistic
edge while diluting the positive democratic character of the Sri
Lankan polity will lead to a stalemate - - not a resolution (or
"an agreed draw'') in this protracted game of conflict chess.
An agreed draw
will of course be a negotiated permanent settlement. But, before
such an agreed draw, there needs to be an attrition of the stalemate.
That can be done if the stalemate itself appears more like a real
stalemate than a further polarisation of positions between each
side. (ie: the LTTE becoming more fascist, the Sri Lankan government
possibly becoming more indifferent.)
There are better
alternatives to an appointed interim administration. For example,
the Sri Lankan government can work for an election for the proposed
North East Interim council. Such an election of course can only
be held if there is a peaceful atmosphere on the ground, and if
the election is not determined by force of arms.
This can be
done, if there is an armed international force that monitors that
election. That takes the onus off the Sri Lankan armed forces, which
can be confined to barracks. Let an international force monitor
the elections for an Interim administration in the North and the
East. It will make the LTTE obtain its legitimacy that it has been
fairly aching for this past few months.
And it will
make the Sri Lankan government look more democratic, and not make
it open to accusations of caving into righteous fascistic hegemony.
Why is it that the Sri Lankan government cannot become intelligently
pro-active, and propose such an election for the North East Interim
council, monitored by an armed international peacekeeping force
brought in strictly and only for the purpose of keeping the peace
at such a poll?