A former child-soldier demits office

R. K. RADHAKRISHNAN

COLOMBO, June 27, 2012

It’s election time again in Sri Lanka. Late on Wednesday night, the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Province Councils were dissolved. The Northern Province continues to be the only one without an elected council.


Elections to these three provincial councils are likely to be held in August, after a notification and a 45-day campaign. The most important of these elections will be in the Eastern Province, which has the only Tamil Chief Minister outside Tamil Nadu, Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan alias Pillaiyan, a former LTTE child soldier. “There are 10 more months for my term of office to end. But I am sure people will bring us back with a thumping majority. I was for dissolving the Council and going for fresh elections…I leave the post of Chief Minister with great satisfaction,” said Mr. Santhirakanthan, in his first interview after the news of the dissolution was announced.

“We have proved to the world that all communities can live together in peace and harmony, without any fear. This I consider my greatest achievement,” said Mr. Santhirakanthan, who assumed office in mid-2008. His party, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal, has seven seats in the out-going Council. “I was able to show the people of the Province that we were not talking one thing and doing another. If Eastern Province has progressed so much, in such a short time, I think we can genuinely take credit for it,” he added.
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Reconciliation: What? Why? How? by Elijah Hoole

 

NEVER AGAIN:  Please read the intro ‘To Unite or Not to Unite is THIS the question.

 

With our Government busy defending itself against war crime allegations, protecting the sovereignty of the country and advising the common man to say ‘no’ to Google, the Tamil leadership and, of course, the Tamil Diaspora dreaming of some mode of foreign intervention and drooling over the latest Channel 4 documentary, the Muslim Community deeply wounded by the recent developments in Dambulla, and the common man constantly worried over the ever increasing fuel price, it’s understandable why the journey towards achieving true and authentic reconciliation has become such a tricky business in our country. With so many external factors coming into the equation (of achieving reconciliation) even Albert Einstein would have had trouble sorting things out and moving forward.

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‘To Unite or Not to Unite’ is THIS the Question ?

 

Gaya Fernando

 
I agree with Elijah.  Not the old prophet on the frontispiece of the King James’ Version but young Elijah with tousled hair and same appreciation of quirky Sri Lanka as I.  But then Elijah and I are from the same land.  When I saw his Youtube testimonial on Sri Lanka Unites a long time ago I said to myself ‘watch that space.’  A few days ago Elijah sent me his essay on Reconciliation.  I read it and knew that I would need, as I generally do, a quiet moment to reflect on it and introduce it properly.
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Stopping the Rot: A Must-Read Keynote Address by Namini Wijedasa

This pattern needs to be repeated. People from the bottom have to get their rulers to listen. They have to cut through the rhetoric about international and local conspiracies and get to the root of the problem.

But the objective, in my personal view, should not be to topple governments. Any fool can see that the alternatives are not viable. And if the systems remain the same what’s the point in changing a government anyway? Besides, that objective will defeat the purpose. The fight will once again be about personalities and not about systems.

I don’t know whether we can achieve this. I do know that the job can’t be left to journalists alone or to civil society alone or to anybody else alone. Everyone who has the knowledge and the exposure must encourage people at the grassroots to demand more from our rulers. Governing, after all, isn’t the sole prerogative or business of governments, and of particular political parties. The agenda has to be set by us. If we can’t get the people we elected to do their job, then we are responsible for the rot we so despise.

Read more via Colombo Telegraph 

Red flags don’t wave away exploitation, Buddhist flags don’t confer enlightenment and national flags don’t make nations.

 

MALINDA SENEVIRATNE

 

Gaya’s Intro:  May Day rallies, dancing around maypoles and flags in all shapes, colours and sizes mark the month of May.

Yesterday I passed by a farmhouse in the tuscan countryside that had a dual flag one above the other; a common sight over here . The flag below was the Italian green, white and red flag of the Republic and above it a flag very similar in colour to the Buddhist flag with one word on it: PACE ( pah-che) as in Peace. The dual flag is an improvement on the national flag. There is no compromise of the national identity in the Universal Value Flag of Peace flying above it, only an affirmation of a value held by Italians. I think this is a great combo. We would have to use the universal flag design though cos designing a new one would result in certain death of the concept. Then comes the language issue : I suggest  Samadhana 2012 Benefit Reading Series Peace,in one graphic element not walking all over the design. [Read more…]

Diplomatic Desk : Tamara rejects transfer, hits out at ministry

Sri Lanka has paid a heavy price for the lack of cohesion as it was essential to project an image of unity rather than that of discord as the country prepares for important appointments at the UN Human Rights Council, said Tamara Kunanayakam, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.
 She mentioned this in a May 1 datelined letter sent to External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris rejecting an offer to be transferred to another station.

“Your proposal to move me out only nine months after assuming duties as PR in Geneva, will suggest instability in our diplomacy and an ad hoc character, when, in a multilateral Mission, it is essential to display cohesion, unity and stability if we are not to be continuously on the defensive. If I were to accept your proposal, Sri Lanka will be the only country to have had four Ambassadors in three years, which is normally the minimum period of postings for envoys of other countries,” Ambassador Kunanayakam said. “Removing one of the very few Tamils heading diplomatic missions abroad will allow questioning of the bona fides of the Government’s commitment to reconciliation, will reinforce extremist elements on all sides, and validate the argument that mine was only a token appointment.” [Read more…]

Dambulla : A must-see photoessay of a day trip by ‘Sootch’ and Navin

NAVIN WEERARATNE : Threatened shrines and threatened people

Gaya’s intro : I had a hard time finding out the real meaning of the events in Dambulla and I failed to get a clear answer. The events were very clearly reported in the Groundviews reports. Yet it was rather strange to see a metal shed sealed off; to me a mosque was an imposing structure in white, much like the mosque near the Galle Fort.

The power of the monk concerned and his history were enough to shock you into wondering how on earth, so many amazing and heartwarming people could live in a small space, where corrupt power-hungry thugs parade themselves with blatant impunity. I felt repulsed. I squinted at the Italian sunlight and tried to talk myself out of believing in the saving grace in Sri Lanka. [Read more…]

After the Resolution

Gaya : Well here’s an interesting scenario I picked up from the random commentary floating around :

By David Blacker

Maybe the GoSL set the tone of the debate :

1. It set up an LLRC to fact-find, then criticized the facts and the method of finding them.

2. Then, when the US pushed us to implement the LLRC recommendations, we resist, and call them nasty names.

3. The US invites us to be a part of drafting a document that will ask us to do what our own commission recommends, but we refuse, in spite of the fact that human rights activists condemn the resolution as pointless. [Read more…]

Anapayan : Kumar David on Kaluthaihal and India

BLOGS Political : An excellent intervention from Dr Kumar David, that is very timely one and crucial to the current political discourse in Sri Lanka especially to the Tamils.

“The two matters, signing up on a political agreement, and demanding and contesting PC elections in the NP, are separate, and to use a Maoist expression, the TNA “must walk on two legs.”

It seems inexplicable that the TNA is not demanding the establishment of a northern PC; but there is a reason, it is allowing itself to be held hostage by a small but boisterous section of the Tamil community living in cloud cuckoo land that styles itself a “civil society” movement. This movement is extremist in that its programme is too Tamil nationalist. It is opposed to the TNA taking control of the NP-PC (the TNA is sure to win) until Rajapakse gives the sun, the moon and acknowledges the right of the Tamil people to self-determination.

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Pradeep Jeganathan : Forgive, but do not Forget

Forgive “What about the beginning and middle, is my question, though simple in construction, grave and serious in its import.

Surely, from the burning of the public library in Jaffna, to the massacre of pilgrims at the sacred Bo tree in Anuradhapura, to the massacre of women and children in Sathurukondan,

to the killing of worshippers in the mosques in Kattankudy, there are the most inhuman and vicious atrocities that punctuate the unremitting brutality of our civil war. No list would be complete, my four events are simply, and obviously, a sampler. [Read more…]