Theoretical understanding of the death of truce

by Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz

“Why?” That was the question raised by many Sri Lankan watchers – and others — when they were stunned by the decision of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration to terminate the February 2002 ceasefire agreement signed with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the major politico-military movement fighting to establish an ethnic Tamil state in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

The simple but yet question is what triggered the government to abrogate the ceasefire pact? One can offer a plethora of answers and explanations based on regular political incidents and formulas. This article, however, will attempt to give some theoretical explanations based on symbolic political agendas to understand the causes that led to the abrogation of the ceasefire agreement, which formally ended on January 16.

Theoretical explanations

A basic argument of the symbolic theory is that when people choose to act, they often think emotionally rather than rationally. This is particularly true in the tense political situation where leaders directly appeal to the masses’ emotions. The central argument of symbolic politics is that emotional symbols such as pro-war or anti-peace slogans, the flag, the national anthem, group history, the myth of motherland and fatherland can become tools in politics to sway the masses for the elite to win and hold power.

In politics, as anthropologist Zdzislaw Mach observed, symbols are important. They are used to influence the people, to appeal to values; to refer to ideas; to stir emotions and to stimulate action. When politicians or leaders of political movements mobilize people by means of emotions and symbols, the masses would likely react overwhelmingly and positively.

The logic behind mass support for the symbols is that masses develop their identity primarily on powerful symbols such as myth, heroic history, heroes, culture, religion and tradition. When elites, politicians or nationalist leaders, appeal to the masses with symbols – praising history, declaring war on their ethnic/religious enemies, blaming foreign countries for their domestic crisis, claiming to revive ancient leaders’ rule, referring to heroes, waving flags, making policies to offer state protection and official status to the language and religion of a particular group, kissing babies – masses’ reaction is likely positive. The logic of success is the employment of powerful symbols that directly appeal to identity.

The one major consequence of symbolic politics is that it can trigger vicious civil war against ethnic or religious groups if they predominate in a particular corner of the country’s territory. According to S.J. Kaufman, myths justify the hostility if groups dominate in a particular geographic area claiming it as homeland.

In Sri Lanka, for example, minority Tamils who claim they are discriminated against by the state and majority Sinhala politicians, predominantly living in the island’s North and East and have launched a violent campaign to establish a Tamil state called Tamil Eelam. Sinhala politicians, who exercise the mythical Sinhala history to arouse the majority Sinhalese’s ethnic feelings for electoral gains, even deny to Tamils any political autonomy based on a federal framework. The Sinhala political class’ emotionally burdened anti-Tamil mythical appeals provoke the Sinhala people’s anger against the Tamils and coax them to oppose any political solution that aims to go beyond the (British introduced) unitary state.

Symbolism behind the abrogation

The elite mobilization of ethnic emotions and symbols has been the major trend in the electoral politics in Sri Lanka since independence. Emotional linguistic nationalism and anti-minority rhetoric that generated fears in minority ethnic political groups become handy instruments of the main Sinhala political parties in the island to win the sympathy of the Sinhalese.

Mr. Rajapaksa, who hails from the Sinhala-dominated southern region, energetically and forcefully employed pro-Sinhala policies and rhetoric to manipulate the Sinhalese to win power on November 17, 2005. During the election campaign, Mr. Rajapaksa, with his charismatic style, vigorously attempted to show a picture to the rural Sinhalese, that he is a member of the oppressed Sinhala masses. To win southern Sinhalese sympathy, he appealed to the Sinhala masses with the symbols – praising history, declaring tough policies on the LTTE, promising to abrogate President Kumaratunga’s tsunami pact with the LTTE, and radically amend the Norwegian brokered ceasefire agreement, blaming the West, particularly Norway, for the country’s current peace crisis, waving flags, and kissing babies and school children. Most importantly, Rajapaksa struck deals with the Sinhala nationalist JVP and the JHU, both of which are strongly opposed to the LTTE and had demanded that Mr. Rajapaksa abolish the ceasefire agreement when he came to power.

[The ceremonial opening of the new session in parliament in Nov 2005: “Sri Lanka President’s first policy statement calls for revision of ceasefire and transparent peace process-Courtesy of mahindarajapakse.com]

When politicians capture power through the channels of symbolic agendas, it is highly unlikely they can retract those emotional promises. Furthermore, any possible divorce from the symbolic agenda launched, could endanger the life of the relevant politician. For example, in Sri Lanka, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, a man who introduced institutionalized Sinhala chauvinism into Sri Lankan politics, found himself unable to control the emotions he had unleashed. In 1959, Bandaranaike was brutally assassinated by an extremist monk who thought Bandaranaike’s concessions to the Tamils deliberately debilitated the interests of the Sinhalese. Mr. Rajapaksa, who won on the “anti-federal” or anti-peace platform, carefully designed policies and made moves in order to win the support and confidence of Sinhalese constituencies and his Sinhala extremist political allies, particularly the JVP which holds 39 seats in parliament.

It is widely believed that pressure from the JVP played a significant role in persuading the Rajapaksa regime to terminate the ceasefire agreement. Mr. Rajapaksa, who came to power on pro-Sinhala agendas in 2005, has been facing considerable challenges to give out economic emancipation to the poor people who stomached his symbolic emotional election rhetoric.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s regime only has two choices: (A) seek a political solution to arrest the ethnic civil war, and (B) continuously play the symbolic ethnic card. It seems the regime has chosen the second option to manage popular Sinhala discontent and thus conceded to the JVP’s anti-peace agendas.

In fact, Mr. Rajapaksa’s decision to terminate the ceasefire agreement would likely justify LTTE propaganda. Ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka believe that the state and its institutions in Sri Lanka are pro-Sinhalese. Also, Tamils believe that they would not get any just solution to their problem from the Sinhala polity, because the Sinhala political establishment would never demonstrate any guts to seek a political solution beyond the century-old unitary state structure, which became the symbol of Sinhala identity in the island.

What the Rajapaksa regime’s behavior proves is that the more the political actors employ symbolic policies and slogans against the minorities to win political power, the harder it is for them to retract their symbolic promises. But Sri Lanka’s situation also portends devastating consequences: When symbolic policies target ethnic minorities because of their identity and culture, mobilization by the marginalized minorities against the state is very likely. Marginalized groups’ mobilization would be on the cards when they lose trust in both the state and its institutions.

It is also true that unremitting hostile symbolic policies and actions of the ruling and opposition political elites are more likely to push the marginalized groups to support the separate state demands of their politico-military movement. The LTTE’s struggle to establish an independent sovereign state in the Tamil dominated North and East exemplifies this scenario.

Symbolic agendas in Sri Lanka from the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim polity make the country vulnerable to the challenges posed by modernization and impede development. If Sri Lanka needs to embrace progress and development, politicians and leaders of the island need strictly to re-think their harmful and intransigent strategies to win their electoral ambitions.

If the hostile emotions and polices continue to dominate the politics of Sri Lanka, the time will not be too distant for scholars studying the consequences of hostile symbolic politics take Sri Lanka as a case study for their research.

(The author is a Sri Lankan political scientist who is currently affiliated as a visiting scholar to the Department of Political Science, Temple University, USA.)

Read this article in Tamil: ஒப்பந்த முறிவு குறித்த கோட்பாட்டியல் நோக்கு

28 Comments »

  1. Devinda Fernando said,

    January 20, 2008 @ 10:55 am

    The CFA was DEAD from the moment it was signed,.. it actually NEVER EXISTED… It may as well have been used to wipe our asses with because it was useful for nothing more than that… For there to be a Cease Fire, in the true meaning of the term both sides actually had to agree to it in spirit, not just on paper. The LTTE signed this piece of paper as a part of a plan they had to return to War at their next available opportunity. Notice how the LTTE want the CFA kept in place now? Yet they still lead the CFA violations 10 to 1 over the Government! Only because they are LOSING this War and losing it badly,… they now want the CFA in place. With the CFA gone they have no more lies to sing to their Diaspora supporters who think the LTTE is the true Peace Seeker and not the ‘Sinhala’ Government as they have been indoctrinated to think.

    This Joker who writes this article above about Sinhala Politicians pandering to their base may have some truth to what he says, but the real problem with this article and the numerous ones like it, is that he gives the LTTE a FREE PASS when it come to criticism and condemnation for ending the CFA. It does not seem to matter to LTTE sympathizers and apologists that the LTTE are the worst offenders of the CFA, it only matter that a ‘Sinhala’ Political figure has decided to end it. This once again beautifully illustrates where Dr A.R.M Imtiyaz loyalties lie. To put this conflict in terms of Ethnicity shows the Pro-LTTE bias as clear as day, for you would never hear him criticize the LTTE for exterminating Tamil Dissidents or Slaughtering Sinhalese women and children on Buses,… he would only point out Sinhala radicalization around this war. I’m not a JVP supporter but when it comes to the Issue of the War I like most Sri Lankans can completely understand why Sinhalese Radicalization occurs… Twenty years of negotiating with someone who has ABSOLUTELY NO INTENT of settling anything politically leaves people no other choice but to support a leader who will put an end to this Brutal Terrorist Outfit on our soil. If the LTTE were concerned with Legitimate Tamil Grievances then the Government is listening, they have been listening,… for Twenty odd years! They have been attempting to make concessions from as far back as JR Jayawardene, however if the LTTE only want Eelam then they will have to fight us for it, and we will fight them back…. as you can see we are doing.

    Furthermore, The LTTE (the Most Extreme Racists of All Sri Lankans) pander to their Base every step of the way… I would like to see there be some criticism of that? Or is that a silent Truth, a dirty secret that these LTTE sympathizing writers selectively choose to ignore or keep quiet about? It seems to be ok for the LTTE to pander to the Tamil population, along with their Proxy Political mouthpieces in Parliament. It is ok for the LTTE to spread lies, propaganda and Hatred towards Sinhalese people, and try to paint them as Genocidal Monster to the International Community in order to further their agenda… no word about that from the author of this article right? Oh yes! Tamils are the PERPETUAL VICTIMS, so that gives them the right to say what they want no matter how untrue it maybe…..

  2. selva said,

    January 20, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

    Sinhalese want to dominate the whole of Sri Lanka and the LTTE want to dominate the whole of Northeast and that is why this problem is not yet solved. This problem would have been solved during Chandrica’s regime if LTTE would have been broad minded like Chandrica. Even after LTTE walk away from negotiation she was ready to devolve the power as three different Federals under a country called United States of Sri Lanka.Later because of the opposition from Ranil she happened to back from implementing. Also later her mind got rottened by cunning Kadirkamar.

  3. raj said,

    January 20, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

    LTTEs intransigence is costing them dearly. One should never judge themselves beyond what they are. As for Chandrika that can only be an excuse like the excuses SWRD and others who backed out because the other side opposed.

  4. Perera said,

    January 20, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

    Thousands critics have awaken from their deep slumber with the formal abrogation of the dead CFA. What were these people doing when the LTTE started violating it the from its very beginning. What have they done to keep up the then dying CFA?

    Having turned a blind eye to the LTTE activities, these critics should not now cry unnecessarily over spilled milk. Had the LTTE also been pressured to go by the terms of the CFA, then the current situation would have been much better. Instead, SLMM kept counting the number of violations each party did just like doing the scoring of a cricket match.

  5. Gee Sampanthan said,

    January 20, 2008 @ 10:02 pm

    The truce ended thanks to other Tamils inside and outside the government, including the Tamil muslims. The Sinhalese on their own never managed to hurt the Tamils. Tamils are always hurt by Tamils, including the Tamil muslims. This has been our history or sad history.

    Each and every Tamil knows better than the other..and the Sinhalese knows it will and using it to their advantage. So,
    let us not blame theSinhalese..most of them are good, except those who enjoys the friendship of Mr. Lakshman Kataragama and Devananda et el.

  6. Suresh M said,

    January 21, 2008 @ 12:27 am

    At least now, so called ‘International Community’ would come to their senses, and support the Tamil speaking community’s quest for self-determination. Past sixty years had shown that Sinhala regimes were not capable, or trustworthy in solving the Tamil question. International Community should prescribe a ‘Kosovo’ style solution to this long running ethnic war.

  7. Raj said,

    January 21, 2008 @ 1:44 am

    Who do the Sinhalese think they are, they are behaving like they are the majority of the population.
    Let me tell you in countries like the UK there is no way that the majority would try to impose thier will on the vocal minority, no sirreee !

    Get reall buddy, unless you have better answer to democracy you should enter the real world and aknowledge that there are bunch of terrorists that are trying to ride rough shot over the will of the majority and carve out fiefdom to satisfy their bogus power lust.

  8. Murugan said,

    January 21, 2008 @ 4:01 am

    Rajapakse got rid of the CFA because the JVP demanded he do so. It is that simple.
    If he didn’t rely on the JVP on political support, he would not have abrogated the CFA. He knows that abrogating the CFA offended the great powers of the United States and EU. No leader would have done something so foolish as to abrogate the CFA unless pressured by the JVP. The JVP would have threatened to end their support for the government unless Colombo ended the CFA. And the JVP did not like the CFA because they fear foreigners. (i.e. Co-Chairs, and SLMM monitors)
    People make up their own reasons for the end of the CFA to pander to their own ideology. But this is disingenuous. The truth is that Rajapakse wants to stay in power, and he needed to give into the demands of the JVP in order to preserve his power.
    Who knows… Maybe Rajapakse made a deal with the JVP – that he would end the CFA if the JVP would abstain from voting against the budget? Just some speculation.

  9. Sarath said,

    January 21, 2008 @ 8:48 am

    The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the LTTE. The Ranil Wickremasinghe administration bent over backward to accommodate the LTTE. So much so that poor Ranil had to bear harsh comments from critiques who even went to the extent of saying that Chandrika had ‘more balls’ than he did. But the LTTE walked away from the table — once again. It was the LTTE that ditched the peace table and peace talks – not the government of Sri Lanka.

    This is what the LTTE has done time and time again. It is not interested in any negotiated political settlement. It will settle for nothing less than ‘Tamil Eelam.’ It represents the ugly face of Tamil racism and must be crushed military if any political solution is to have a slight possiblity of working out.

  10. CakeBoy said,

    January 22, 2008 @ 8:08 am

    Why??? Why Not…..

  11. Chales Ryan said,

    January 23, 2008 @ 12:47 am

    Imtiaz writes beautifully. but he is too intelligent for the southern SL masses whose only reaction to democratic dissent is to beat up the minorities. This chap Devinda Fernando who wrote some comments above is a typical example.He calls Imtiaz a “joker”The present govt. behaves like a third grade kid fighting for a pencil.I dont think they can understand the philosophy of Imtiaz. Many European countries have multi-ethnic communities who co-exist peacefull with autonomy.Instead of reading Mahavamsa please study the examples of civilized countries.

  12. Tamil said,

    January 23, 2008 @ 3:21 am

    Sinhala and Tamil race are historically enemies, and Tamil struggle has 60 years of history even before LTTE was born.

    The very basic problem is that Sinhala racist parties never accept Tamils genuine rights. Tamils started to fight back the state terrorism because all the non violent protests were failed. The CFA was signed not because of the international pressure, but it was because LTTE hit hard on the Sinhala military bases. That is the only reason the CFA was signed. It was torn down because Sinhala government thinks it can militarily win the LTTE.

  13. Gayan said,

    January 23, 2008 @ 10:26 am

    What Rubbish
    The author does not have any grassroot level knowladge of politics & emotions in southern politics.(Its worthwhile for the author to visist SL other than write rubbish from USA)

    The southern people did NOT vote for Rajapaksha coz he is “pro-singhalese”.Since 1948 the southern voters are devided into 2 groups .One the right of center UNP & the other left of center (madeup by “Leftih SLFP,Communists ,JVP ect) .This devide is based on domestic economic policies & international relations .Plus southern voters are traditional based .i.e generations of families vote for “their own party” (mainly UNP or SLFP/JVP). It has nothing to do with “Race “!

    The voter base ratio is around 52%-48% in favour of the left.However the lestish parties rarely run elections on a common platform hence the rightish UNP (thanks to the propotion based lection system ) wins on most occations. in 2005 as it happend in 1994 the two main left of centre parties PA & JVP ran on a common platform & won the election .Yes the LTTE issue was a main point but was not the icebreaker.

    The author also lives in the dreamland that 2002 CFA brought “peace” to SL (Again his light knowladge on ground realities in SL).2002CFA actually prolonged the war by allowing the LTTE to re-arm ,re-group & most importantly to lay low on international/USA radar after 9/11 2001.

    Very poor article.

  14. Rajasinghe said,

    January 24, 2008 @ 5:27 am

    “The very basic problem is that Sinhala racist parties never accept Tamils genuine rights”

    Tamils have more rights in Sri Lanka than they have in their mother country of India.

  15. nathan said,

    January 24, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

    Abrogation of the CFA was simply a matter of survival of the government to please the JVP without whose support it could not carry on. This is known to all.
    Soon a Ban on the LTTE will be imposed, as this is the yet unfulfilled demand of the JVP.
    The latest news that VP may have been eliminated in an air strike will make any pretense of ‘devolution’ redundant.
    If VP is dead, then even this latest version of power devolution by the Government Party Representative Committee – NOT the All party Representative Committe ( as JVP says ) will be jettisioned and an all out war will be waged by the government.

  16. Rifai said,

    January 26, 2008 @ 9:59 am

    He writes from what learns not from what he sees on the ground.

  17. JP said,

    January 26, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

    There may be little truth in this article. But authors theory is a crap. Dr. Imthiyaz has no clue about the people of Sri Lanka. LTTE got rid of many thousands of Muslims from North and East. And killed many more. It is a racist idea to have sepearte Tamil land. There are Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims evenly distributed in the East. How can they have a seperate land?

  18. QSS said,

    January 27, 2008 @ 2:23 am

    What does Rifai know about the ground?

    Try pondering on these:-

    “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos” Martin Luther King, Jr

    The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.’
    -George Orwell

    ‘Before we set our hearts too much on anything, let us examine how happy are those who already possess it.’ Fran’s, Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

    There are really only three fundamental ways to break the Law: harm someone; damage another’s property or use fraud or mischief in your contracts. All things under statutes rest upon a foundation of consent or agreement and thus are violations of a societal contract.

    ‘To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
    Life’s good comes not from others’ gift, nor ill
    Man’s pains and pains’ relief are from within.
    Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !.’
    – Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C

    ‘The nature of the universe is such that ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end.’ (Aldous Huxley).

  19. Tamer@hotmail.com said,

    January 28, 2008 @ 9:34 am

    We all need peace in this beautiful country and should work for that

  20. Athos said,

    February 26, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

    Again leave “political analysis” to experts.

  21. Ran 2nd said,

    February 27, 2008 @ 11:10 am

    quote “In Sri Lanka, for example, minority Tamils who claim they are discriminated against by the state and majority Sinhala politicians, predominantly living in the island’s North and East and have launched a violent campaign to establish a Tamil state called Tamil Eelam..”

    The iorny is the same organisation(LTTE) is now denying the freedoms for the very people they claim to represent and praying upon the tamils.

  22. Nimal Jayanetti said,

    February 27, 2008 @ 2:24 pm

    I am Sick and tired of this Tamil and Sinhala animosity.

    Wake up guys, look around, every other country in Asia has progressed rapidly since WW11, except us. We are so “Patriotic” clinging to our dear race, meanwhile our country is rapidly becoming in par with “Sub Sahara” states.

    Please bring back the english medium schools again, so all ethnics can integrate and learn together.
    I’m glad, numerous International schools have propped up in the Capital, we need to expand it to further to other cities.

    Please devolve the power through provincial level so minorities can have a say in their affairs.

    Those who think “the war is the answer”, good luck to you!

  23. Thamil said,

    February 27, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

    Very good article, it focuses on the different aspects of the Singhalese aggressions on the Tamils since independent, obviously the truth will hurt, these Singhalese need to be educated about humanity, civilization and other aspects of human values.

    They are way behind in the human evaluation process, it will take another hundreds of years before they become a fully fledge human race.

    Killing and looting of Tamil goes on since independent, forms and the methods of killing changed but it is a continues process.

    1957, 1977, 1983 thousands of Tamils being Killed, looted, raped and burned alive rest of them repatriated to their Tamil homeland in the North and the East as refugees, Tamil homeland welcomed everybody with open hand and looked after them very well.

    Now the methods changed, in the name of eradicating LTTE, Tamil youths are killed and dumped in mass graves all around the country, rackets operated by powerful ministers and military extort money from Tamil individuals and businesses, indiscriminate aerial bombardments, road side bombs on civilian transport by military infiltrators inside the Tamil homeland the and list goes on.

    Srilanka is one of the unsafe countries to visit; it is absolutely a failed rough state. Tamils don’t have a slimmest of chance of living together with these barbarians, we want our freedom, and independent Tamil homeland is the only solution forward.

  24. Chales Ryan said,

    February 27, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

    According to SLMM it is the GOSL who committed more violations of ceasefire than Tigers. In the case of Tigers every little thing they did like hoisting a tiger flag,carrying weapons etc were all counted as violations. Where as occupying high security zones and not allowing people to return to their homes are serious GOSL violations. But you cannot physically give a number count to match the Tiger violations.All murders were deone by GOSL paramilitaries therefore “it is not a GOSL violation”. The GOSL cannot hoodwink the world.

  25. ilaya seran senguttuvan said,

    February 28, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

    Noted and respected academics, Constitutional experts who have done much work in studying the issue are in unison that the 1978 Constitution has to be re-engineered and that many aspects of it
    flowing from the previous 1972 Constitution are not solutions to our ills but really those which exacerbated the problem. The arrival of the JVP and the JHU made it worse or perhaps irresolvable. The uncalled for provision for a Special
    Place for Buddhism, the Unitary State, the removal of entrenched clauses (strangely the work of a educated and respected Leftist legal luminary), the 6th Amendment were some of them. The disproportionate political power manipulated by the powerful Buddhist clergy are other unsatisfactory features
    that prevents the different ethnic and religious groupings coming together as one single, united nation. There is no way in the immediate future for the Buddhist supremacists to sacrifice their political clout and privileges and, therefore, as we saw in
    the hitherto relatively stable Kenya recently, the politicians from the majority and power mongers give two hoots to the welfare of the country or all its people and will compel its disintegration. I see 2 options (1) the coming of foreign forces with international approval to hammer out some sense to our hopelessly divided political parties (2) deterioration of serious and continued HR crimes against the Tamils in the South, N-E to the extent India – at the plea of Tamilnadu – will be compelled to intervene with knowledge and approval of the global community to stop the non-stop blood-letting to be followed by a Cyprus-like situation. The JVP’s unnecessary, uncalled for and provocative campaign now on against India will only expedite the process.

  26. Deshamanya said,

    February 29, 2008 @ 5:49 am

    why was the northeast separated when GOSL was against separatism?..
    why are the jaffna Muslims not sent back to GOSL controlled jaffna when the tamils from colombo were sent back in one day ?
    why is it not recognized that the tamils and sinhaese have very different language and religion and culture separating them?.. not like Kosova or croatia where there is a similar language..
    why is the GOSL army 99% sinhaese ?
    why do the sinhaese have Portuguese (conquerors) last names?..are sinhaese blue eyed Aryans?
    why is the GOSL flag similar to old Dutch ships flag?
    Is Colombo a sinhaese name ?
    why is there old tamil kovils in sinhaese areas ?..Does this mean tamils can claim sinhaese lands similar to sinhaese claiming tamil lands?
    why are sinhaese victims compensated and not tamil victims by the GOSL?

  27. ilaya seran senguttuvan said,

    March 1, 2008 @ 1:23 am

    Nimal Jayanetti (22) … I am with you – all the way, brother/sister.
    You speak sense and therefore you will be in the Sinhala minority -at best. On the other side of the spectrum you shall be nothing
    but an “LTTer” “Sinhala Tiger” (green/other colours is their choice) We had maintained our high level of English education of then where there were no efforts to down-grade Sinhala. In fact, many
    scholars of the day; very fluent in English were equally good in Sinhala as well . Some Tamils also read and wrote
    good Sinhala. If we had that high level of English, instead of the dubious reputation of providing “slaves” to the Middle East (I am in no way speaking ill of our poor brothers and sisters there now sending valuable foreign exchange home) we would have equal to those average english-speaking Indians and Kerala clerks, middle managers there. What we could have earned would have been 5 times the number we do now) Also, remember what happened to those patriotic Sri Lankans who established a highly respected Medical School at Ragama in the early 80s. JVP-inspired goons destroyed this and now our medical students are
    thrown to the ice wastes of mediocre medical schools in the former Soviet Union. Their parents are ruined sending money to them; these children live in fear of their lives from Xenophobic Russian youth killer gangs. When many of them return here their degrees are often not recognised. This is what patriotic political parties have done to our talented children. Anyway, I am with you in trying to bring back the earlier United Ceylon. Good-luck.

  28. dante said,

    March 1, 2008 @ 5:41 am

    Way off the mark Dr.

    We got rid of the CFA to get the SLMM off our back. The Whites wanted human rights monitoring to be set up in the country and we were blocking it. In its absence the SLMM was quietly spying on the ground and playing their games somewhat sympathetically towards the LTTE in support of the status quo.

    Before we took the gloves off in the Vanni we wanted the Whites out of the way and so we threw off the CFA, and the whites, in the form of the SLMM, took the next plane out.

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