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What Happened to Sudan Will Happen to Sri Lanka Unless the Mono-Ethnic Nature of the North is Changed

by Kumar Moses, LankaWeb, Colombo, January 21, 2011

As with the case of East Timor, Kosovo, Eritrea, Somaliland and South Sudan it is ethnic and religious isolation that determine the desire to separation in areas where race and religious centred politics dominate. It is this that needs fixing.

South Sudanese have decided to separate. The referendum returned an overwhelming support for mostly Christian and tribal controlled South Sudan to separate from the Islamic north. Tamil Tigers have been invited to participate in the celebrations. Officials of the Transitional Government of Tamil Elam (TGTE) will be attending the celebration of the forming of the nation of South Sudan. Strategically important Red Sea area has seen Sudanmany separations including Eritrea, Somaliland and Now South Sudan. Although away from the Red Sea, massive oil resources, close proximity to Egypt (the most powerful African nation) and a vast non-Arabic population in an otherwise Arabic region are some reasons for the success of the SPLA campaign. Notwithstanding old alliances, most superpowers (four out of five are Christian nations) threw their weight behind the larger Christian South against the Islamic North. Israel too supported the South Sudan movement for a very long time. Such enormous support left Sudan helpless and was forced to put up with the referendum.

Darfur the Bait, South Sudan the Catch
Darfur made a media sensation in the West for years. Millions of people, mostly Muslims continue to suffer horrendous crimes in Darfur. However, instead of any relief to them, world powers made use of their sufferings to help South Sudangain independence. Impoverished Darfur continues to be ruled by the North with no change in the lives of suffering people. It makes sense to address the sufferings of Darfur people than to help South Sudanese achieve independence.  But it was not to be so, because of their religion.

This pattern can be seen around the world in newly formed nations. Australia, the US, UK and a host of western nations were all behind East Timor until it was formed. It was hailed as a victory of Christians against the world’s most populous Islamic nation. But what happened after Independence? Australia started exploiting East Timor’s oil reserves without offering anything to the locals. Today East Timor is one of the poorest countries. Eritrea is another example of desertion after helping split from Ethiopia. Kosovo is yet another example. US backed the Kosovo militants until they gained Independence. Their horrendous crimes including selling organs of captives went unnoticed and unpunished. But now the West brings up these crimes to subjugate the newly formed nation of Kosovo. South Sudan cannot expect much after the honeymoon. People of Darfur will be worse off in future.

Tamil Tiger Connection  
The Tamil Tiger-South Sudan connection is a cleverly engineered plan. South Sudanese won their military campaign to force Sudan to consider separation but Tamil Tigers lost. However, South Sudan can be turned into a platform to create Tamil Elam. A few adjustments would be needed in the Tamil community to gain from the momentum created in Sudan. Puppeteers behind South Sudan want to see the creation of the next Christian nation in Asia after East Timor. Only 30% north-east Tamils in Sri Lanka are Christians although growing rapidly. Tamil political groups in the north-east are dominated by Hindus at the moment. They are unlikely to get any real support. On the other hand Hindustan will be worried if anything were to change in Tamil polity. However, under the leadership of Christian bishops both in Sri Lanka and abroad, Tamil Tigers are determined to change to please western Christian fundamentalists.

By being at the forefront of the South Sudanese celebrations and even in helping the new nation take root, Tamil Tigers will be seen as good puppets for separatism and darlings of the West. Tigers’ strong proven anti-Islamic tendency is also an asset to the West. The strong Israeli connection of South Sudan is another thing TGTE Tamils are after.

Tamil Tigers around the world buoyant by a series of favourable events including the massive show of force in London, the first and only invite to participate in a national event, a spate of assassinations of anti-separatist Tamils in the north recently and TNA’s gathering support in Sri Lanka are going to make the most of the situation. Forthcoming LG elections in the north and the east will be seen as an opportunity to strengthen grassroots level support for TNA at taxpayers’ expense. TNA which is devoid of any second or third tier at the moment will be building a very strong ground support base following the enormous victory expected at the forthcoming LG elections and at the subsequent Northern Provincial Council election. TNA won most votes and seats at the 2010 General Election and TNA backed Sarath Fonseka swept the north and the east at the 2010 Presidential Election despite serving as the Army Commander.

Development, peace, prosperity and all other good brought about by the government count for nothing in the north at an election/referendum. Few pundits who predicted the end of the TNA with the LTTE had to eat their own words after the two elections in 2010. They are in for a shock this time.

Nasty Implications for Sri Lanka   
It is only a matter of time since Sri Lanka will be forced to hold a referendum in the north and the east to assess the desirability of dividing the nation. Tamil Tigers are busy creating a conducive infrastructure for separation. The West is looking for another puppet nation in the region to keep China and India under check. If Tamil Elam is created it will be perpetual conflict not only over the land and sea borders but also to share waterways, natural resources, etc. Obviously a conflict between two nations will be far more gruesome than an internal conflict. The time to act is now. Things will happen at a faster pace from now onwards and before long Sri Lanka will be at crossroads. When pro-western political parties come to power, this process will be expedited.

What will happen if a referendum is held today in the north and the east for separation?

Jaffna, Vanni and Batticaloa districts will endorse separation while Trincomalee and Ampara districts will reject it. Overall the yes vote for separation will win easily.

As with the case of East Timor, Kosovo, Eritrea, Somaliland and South Sudan it is ethnic and religious isolation that determine the desire to separation in areas where race and religious centred politics dominate. It is this that needs fixing.

Trincomalee and Ampara districts didn’t end up in their present political state by accident. It was a very difficult process of changing the mono ethnic nature of these districts. Planned or unplanned, expected or unexpected this is what happened. This proven successful strategy must be followed in the north as well. Sinhalese and Muslims must be settled in the north.

Due to the large outflow of people from the north, a vast area has been vacated. Areas surrounding SLDF bases should be converted to agricultural, fisheries and industrial supply sources for these bases. It can increase food production, reduce defence spend, provide security forces personnel with fresh food, provide employment, contribute to the national economy and achieve sustainable development by distributing the population. New villages with all facilities should be created in the north for the families of service personnel. The argument that they may not be willing to relocate there is absurd. At least they can use them as holiday houses or rent out to millions of visitors from the south.

Illegal immigrants from Tamil Nadu must be stopped. Every year tens of thousands of illegal immigrants come to Sri Lanka.

Apart from these moves strategic defence initiatives must be taken to deter separatists. Military presence of friendly nations in the north goes a long way in deterring separatist activity. Power of pro-separatist Christian clergy and the huge Evangelical movement need to be cut down. Foreign missionaries should be totally banned. NGO activities must be monitored. All NGOs discriminating people by race or religion must be banned. At the moment almost all NGOs help mostly Tamils almost totally disregarding others.

DS Senanayake is respected by most political parties with over 95% voters’ support. He didn’t become the father of the nation merely by giving birth to a nation. He did well to expect and manage the threats to the infant nation. He could see the Tamil separatist cancer affecting parts of the nation and took proactive steps to prevent it. However, his actions only prevented it in the east but failed in the north due to the north being closest to Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka’s inability to prevent illegal immigration from Tamil Nadu.

This country awaits a leader with foresight, not one who thinks he won the lottery when the war ended. Can the present leader convert and galvanize the military and political victories into a national victory? Only time will tell. But time is running out.


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