| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(April 09 2012, London,Sri Lanka Guardian) Writing to the Sri Lanka Guardian a few days ago Bishop Emeritus of Kurunegala, Rt Rev. Kumara Ilangasinghe, explains the widening chasm between truth and reconciliation and greed and bribery. Judas did not want to betray Jesus but was driven by the greed of 30 pieces of silver which in those days would have been a princely sum of money the impoverished disciple could not ignore.
The government is in for a
long haul and a more serious
threat to its sustenance. The
time is now ripe to come out
with admitting that its approach
to Tamil separatism was one of
foolhardiness and rash knee-jerk
Far be it for this writer, being a lay person, to comment as well as the Rt. Rev. Bishop but feels the need to expand on his article; a necessary and contemporary teaching in these days of consumerism and me-generation when greed and selfishness obliterate truth and generosity.
Truth, that rarest commodity in modern society, should free us from all that has blighted this island nation. Our leaders, mainstream media, the judiciary, police and public servants have succumbed to hunger for power, fallen victim to nepotism, greed and corruption.
The Bishop is taking on the government that it needs to mend its ways. He re-iterates that despite having won the war on terror it needs to shine the torch inwards and make peace with all the ethnic communities in the island and pave the way for a better future. He does not preach from the pulpit but pleads that reconciliation and retribution could only succeed when we admit we have done wrong.
No more can Sri Lanka bury its head in the sands and pretend all is well. The LLRC (Lessons Learn and Reconciliation Commission) appointed by the President dared to come out with some unpalatable truths which the government kept denying. No more can we pretend the world is not watching us. We are not alone. We are a part of an increasing tapestry of a global village which transmits within nanoseconds what happens in the four corners of the world.
We cannot afford to exclude ourselves in the name of sovereignty and territorial integrity and obfuscate the impudence of suppression of human rights violations which are taking place with the blessings of the government. This government of all thinks that having suppressed separatist militancy should earn itself kudos. UNHRC has proved it wrong and it should heed the voice of the enlightened majority.
The government is in for a long haul and a more serious threat to its sustenance. The time is now ripe to come out with admitting that its approach to Tamil separatism was one of foolhardiness and rash knee-jerk reaction.
The government’s behaviour in its time of apparent victory only earned it the wrath of human rights activists and the internatinal community as a whole. The end of the three decade of war did not bring the desired peace dividends. Rather it descended into a kind of oligarchy where a neophyte of a government which neither cared for truth nor Buddhist Dharmista chose to bury the truth aka a whole pumpkin in a plate of rice. It is now careering on a slippery slope which would spell the doom of a once known Serendib isle as one which only caters to sycophants, greedy and selfish politicians and those whose only aim is to feather their own nests.
The only light at the end of the tunnel is the UPR (Universal Periodic Review) of the UN which could stop the government on its tracks and make a regime change. This regime has failed and of this there is no doubt. If the Arab Spring is anything to go by, its fall-out is bound to reflect on other nations which thought that sovereignty and national integrity should preclude them from the watchful eyes of the the international community.
The recent debate on how and why the Sri Lankan delegation to Geneva failed is only an attempt to side-track the major issues confronting the nation. Dayan, Tamara and Kshenuka, their petty personal prejudices and their pilfering government funds for their personal pleasures should not deter us from focusing on the bigger picture which is that the government killed thousands of innocent civilians in the name of wiping out the Tamil Tigers.
The LTTE may be a spent force but the aspirations of the Tamils are not forgotten nor their loss of lives and properties left to dissipate. The Tamils abroad have elephantine memories and the government and its cronies cannot party forever with what rightfully belong to the Tamils. The government can fool some people some time but all at all times.
The answer is for all to see and judgment day is not far off. As Martin Luther King 1 said, “We shall overcome”.
The ethnic Tamils although made to flee their homes and country are going nowhere. They are coming home like the homing pigeons.
(The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 22 years. She can be reached at email@example.com)