Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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A Unitary Unit, Federalism or Independence

by Wakeley Paul

The international community, the SLFP as led by Mrs Kumaratunge, the UNF and the LTTE are all supposedly  committed to seeking a Federal Constitution to solve the  nation's ethnic dilemma. 

Federalism, however, is a vague and uncertain concept.  The ISGA proposal by the LTTE is the only concrete alternative to an Unitary Constitution  made so far. Regardless of whether this amounts to Federalism or something more than that, the fact is that neither the international community, nor the SLFP as defined above have offered any acceptable alternative to these proposals.

All the international community, the SLFP and the UNP have done is condemn the idea of separation, which in essence amounts to nothing more than Independence from the continuing Sinhalese domination and suppression of Tamil aspirations.  This is, after all, what the whole ethnic issue is all about. Neither the international community nor Mrs Kumaratunge are willing to acknowledge this simple reality.

Rajapakse and his JVP cohorts on  the other hand,  stick with the outworn idea of a Unitary Constitution, which has been the underlying cause of the nation's ethnic discontent.  They can well be regarded, by all but themselves, as the coalition of the clueless. Their commitment will only serve to seal the need for separation.

What the nation needs and what the nation lacks is a leader with insight and a political will to match. What the nation does have is the legacy of Mr Pribakaran, which is the only legacy that stands firm. The succession of calamities that has plagued the nation to date stems from the inability of both the international community and the Sinhalese leaders to recognize that this is not a nation any more and that Tamil independence from Sinhalese domination is the only acceptable alternative to the present crisis.

Instead of shuddering at the concept of separation, it is time they recognized that this the the only acceptable solution to the present problem. They must also recognize that  the optimistic calls about forging ties between the Tamils and Sinhalese rulers is a cry that has long evaporated. It is no more than a dream that has lost both its meaning and its significance.