13 Plus, 13 Minus are equal – cooking without a recipe

| by S. V. Kirubaharan
“In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything,
and two minus one equals nothing” – Mignon McLaughlin quotes (American Journalist and Author, 1913-1983)
( February 05, Paris, Sri Lanka Guardian) After an interval of three years, once again the verbal 13 Plus product has come onto the market. The vendor is a famous company. This time the crucial question is, to whom are they going to sell this? Before Mullivaighal, even though the buyers knew neither the product nor the vendor, for obvious reasons this product had good sales internationally. 
But soon after Mullivaighal was over, those who agreed with the attractive verbal product, sought the vendor. Eventually they found the happy and prospering vendor who was not in the least bothered about his earlier orders but was now busy selling ‘development products’ only.
The story has continued for three years. Those who had confidence in 13 Plus found that the vendor ignored his/her customers and was trialling various other products. But shrewd customers prepared their ground well with ‘Channel-4 product’ and ‘Ban-Ki product’. After realising their mistake, the vendor came out with another new LLRC product to catch the market where the ‘Channel-4 and ‘Ban-Ki products’ had very good sales. 
Customers who had lost confidence demanded that the vendor show some seriousness in their deal otherwise they will be taken to a court in Geneva in March. Therefore after a three-year interval the vendor was forced to bring back the same 13 Plus product, but still only a verbal one.
In this scenario, the Tamil National Alliance – TNA has become the victim in all the markets. They are facing pressures from various corners that they should participate in the Elocution contest for the Parliamentary Select Committee – PSC. At the same time, Tamil Civil Society and most of the divided diaspora have put blame on the TNA.
First let us briefly go into the PSC. A gentleman, presumably a member of parliament, quoted well from history, when he said: “………..Therefore, international support harnessed by you will be useless at the PSC. Instead, you should be armed with arguments, facts and figures to justify your demands to convince Sinhalese to accept those. We are eagerly waiting for meeting you at the PSC. We are ready to discuss anything. Not only to discuss, we are ready to accept anything including Tamil Eelam provided that you convince us with facts and figures”
The same gentleman continue to say that, “…….In Kalama Sutra, the Buddha has preached to accept anything only if you are convinced. He has specially taught not to accept anything because of fear of allurements.” Well and good, he has his freedom of expression.
What puzzles me is whether this gentleman who quoted so well from history thinks that former leaders from the South signed every pact, accord, etc without conviction. What he says about the past can be appreciated. But saying “………anything including Tamil Eelam” makes his intentions clear. It is an exaggeration.
Secondly a public memo by Tamil Civil Society to the TNA appears to be “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”. We should acknowledge that the memo to the TNA is well written, but where was this Tamil Civil Society when TNA was intentionally divided by narrow minded politicians. Do they realise how far their recent memo to the TNA will fuel further divisions in the near future? In such a situation, once again only Douglas Devananda’s party will represent Tamils in the North and Karuna and Pillyan will dominate the East. The memo states “….We could think of alternative strategies to make sure that the Northern Provincial Council does not fall into anti-Tamil, pro–Government forces. The TNA should further consult the Tamil people regarding this.” When the TNA was being divided did anyone consulted the Tamil people?
Tamil Civil Society should be aware that presently the International community considers only the elected representatives of the Tamils for any useful deal. I mean the local parliamentarians.
It is very sad that the Diaspora community which is in Democratic countries is doing emotional politics. Some say Eelam will be born soon; others say that once again armed struggle will start soon, another group is hostile to India. Friends, let’s take it for granted that these statements are true and we don’t have to seek the help of India. Do you realise that your unwanted and unwarranted statement will make India hostile to us? Also you are giving encouraging support to the government to continue with its energetic misinformation propaganda.
Friends, please explain which state has helped, is helping or will help Tamil aspirations? There is only one country and that is India, which has an obligation under signed agreement. If we ignore this reality then we are failing in our strategy and diplomacy. Of course there are a few other countries that may support us. But they cannot take any initiative on our behalf. 
The last three years of negotiations brought nothing but, as usual, more and more disasters to the people in the North and East. At the same time whenever a question is asked about the imminent solution for the ethnic problem, the standard reply by the government representative is that “30 years of problem cannot be solved in 3 years.” In fact it is not a 30 year-old problem. It has been a problem since 1919, the time of the Sirs Ponambalam brothers. It has been a problem since soon after Independence in 1948. They are talking only about the period of armed struggle, not the actual period of this ethnic conflict. Those representatives have a lack of knowledge of the island.
It is known that the President is a politician and a Lawyer, but I do not know how good he and his advisors are in Mathematics/Arithmetic. It is a simple equation that the Plus is made with two minus symbols. In other words all negative things can be shaped as positives, if thought about in an intelligent way.
Therefore, whenever the President speaks about 13 Plus, I wonder whether in fact he means nothing! The American Journalist Mignon McLaughlin said, “In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing”. Especially now, even after 3 years of speaking about the same 13 Plus, he has no idea what it is! It is something like a cook speaking about various types of meals, knowing neither the recipe nor even the ingredients. 
When one looks at the comments and statements published regarding the LLRC report, they can be divided into three categories. Firstly, people from the South say there is something in it, but that the government will not implement it. At the same time some are comparing this situation to the 1971 incidents of the JVP. But there is no comparison between 1971 and May 2009. To make it brief, how many civilians were killed in 1971? And does anyone expect me to give at least the figure of how many innocent people were killed in May 2009? Secondly, the opinion of 90% of the Tamils. The victims reject the LLRC report on the whole and demand an independent international investigation. This includes the diaspora. Thirdly, views of the international actors. India and the Commonwealth are very cautious in their statements but of course the Western countries and International institutions still want an international investigation.
When one considers all this, can we believe that a durable solution is possible through the PSC? If the President with executive powers and two third majority in parliament really wants to settle this conflict, he can settle with 13 Plus through PSC even without the representation of the TNA. The TNA participation in the PSC will give more teeth to the government international propaganda. This is the reason why an independent international investigation and mediation are so very necessary. 
If anything is done in a fair and honest way, there is no need for TNA representatives to be present in the PSC. As long as this fact is not realised by the government, the imminent political solution will be a day dream. End

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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