Sumanthiran’s statement, a wake-up call
A Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
Parliamentarian has advocated a change of attitude of the Tamil
diaspora. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran had told his party’s UK branch in
London recently, that the current political environment demands that the
Tamil diaspora changes its attitude.
His bold and candid statement is not only an eye-opener to all Tamils
living here and abroad, but also to his own fellow TNA Parliamentarians.
The Government has taken cognizance that the Tamil voters have given a
clear mandate to the TNA at the recent Local Government (LG) elections.
Hence, it behoves those elected from the TNA to develop those areas with
the Government’s financial support.
As Parliamentarian Sumanthiran has pointed out, nobody should thwart
the attempts being made to renew the stalled bilateral talks between the
Government and the TNA to seek a peaceful and permanent solution to the
grievances of people in the North.
There is an ongoing dialogue between the TNA and the Government to
find solutions to the problems faced by people in the North and the
East. The last three meetings between the TNA and the Government were
encouraging and there were positive suggestions by both parties. At this
crucial juncture, this could pave the way for an honourable solution
acceptable to all, irrespective of their ethnic affiliations.
MP Sumanthiran hit the nail on the head when he said that to find a
peaceful and lasting solution to the problems of people in the North,
the blessings and endorsement of the majority Sinhala people is
essential. The MP has suggested that there should be a positive change
of heart and mind among the Tamil diaspora. He said that such an
attitude would help expedite the process to find a permanent solution.
His fearless statement is indeed food for thought not only to all
ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, but also the International Community and the
Tamil diaspora which more often than not looks at the positive
developments in Sri Lanka with blinkers. These groups and the
International Community should make an indepth study on the Government’s
efforts to uplift the living standards of people in the North, who had
been rescued from the jaws of LTTE terror.
Simultaneously, the UPFA-led Government’s popularity is soaring due
to the far-sighted vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The majority
of the people throughout the country have wholeheartedly endorsed the
decisions taken by the Government and the President.
Should extraneous forces unduly worry about the internal affairs of
the country when the masses are supporting the Government to the hilt?
The masses in no uncertain terms have demonstrated their profound
gratitude to President Rajapaksa and the United People’s Freedom
Alliance (UPFA) at the Local Government (LG) elections last week. Of the
75 LG bodies where elections were held last Saturday, the UPFA secured
control of 45.
The UPFA, with its latest LG polls victory, now controls 250 of the
299 bodies for which elections have been held so far. This literally
means that the UPFA has secured power in 75 percent of the LG bodies.
Elections to the remaining 23 Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and
Pradeshiya Sabhas will be held shortly.
It’s the prime duty of all parties which secured control of 299 LG
bodies to develop their areas. Be it the UPFA, TNA, UNP or TULF, it is
incumbent on those elected to the 299 LG bodies to do their best for
people in the area. The Government has created a conducive environment
for people to live in harmony and it is the duty of one and all to make
the optimum use of it to develop the country.
There was tremendous response from the Northerners as democracy in
the area has been restored after many moons. The overall voter turnout
was over 50 percent in the North. Most of the voters in the North had
exercised their democratic right for the first time in their lives. This
no doubt was a positive sign as people who had only heard the sounds of
bullets are now reposing faith in the ballot.
The dividends of peace are now enjoyed by all communities in equal
measure in Sri Lanka. The West should look at the current developments
in Sri Lanka in a true spirit and an open mind. Tamils and Sinhalese had
lived in astounding harmony for many decades in the North. Opportunist
and racist politicians, backed by those with vested interests in the
West were largely instrumental in destroying Sinhala-Tamil coexistence.
Having severed the ancient bond that existed between the two
communities, certain INGO nosey parkers are now attempting to advise on
peace, purportedly showing an uncanny sympathy for the Tamils.
Tamils by no means have been discriminated against in Sri Lanka as
they are free to reach the zenith in any field - be it political or
otherwise. Tamils could live in any part of the country in peace, but
the LTTE drove out Sinhalese and Muslims living in the North. The LTTE
brutally killed and got rid of Sinhalese and Muslims from their
traditional settlements in the North and the East. In this scenario, it
is as clear as daylight that it were the Sinhalese and the Muslims who
had been discriminated against and by no stretch of imagination,the
If the Tamils were to face problems in the North, it was not due to
their ethnicity, but due to its geographical location. The problems
faced by the Tamils in the North are not uncommon to the Muslims and
Sinhalese in the North and the East. Nevertheless, certain quarters in
the West are determined to project a dismal picture. With peace
prevailing in the country, the West or any other country for that matter
should not meddle in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs and should let the
Government resolve its problems with a home-grown solution.
President Rajapaksa and the Government are deeply conscious of the
problems faced by the people in the North and the East, who are now
enjoying preferential treatment compared to others when it comes to
infrastructure development. Parliamentarian Sumanthiran’s statement
bears out a lucid message not only to the Tamil diaspora, but also to
the West. ‘Moderate Tamil politicians who put their country before self
and value ethnic harmony could play a vital and decisive role in the
reconciliation process. This would certainly be a big boost in Sri
Lanka’s intrepid forward march.