Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Is There Euphoria About the Agreement between the SLFP and UNP?

by M. Nadarajan

It is not for the Tamils to decide whether they want to stay in a country
with a unitary constitution, it is for the Sinhalese to decide whether they
want to treat Tamils with Equality, Dignity and Justice in a political
system which accepts at a minimum internal self determination.

This article is meant to analyze where Tamils stand in the context of the joint Southern opinion, and whether the agreement between the two Sinhala parties would solve the outstanding national problem or make it worse.


In any other country, if two major parties which jointly have the support of over 75 % of the major voting block (the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka) sign a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU), it is a matter for joy, because of the expectation of the solution of major problems facing the country. In Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was a spin-off from the United National Party (UNP) in 1955. The majority of members of both parties are Sinhalese, and on the ethnic problem their views are very similar. Basically, both major parties are anti-Tamil.

In addition, there is no sincerity amongst the politicians of either party. All they are interested in is which party they could benefit themselves from more, personally, at any point of time. Hence, jumping from one party to another is not uncommon.

In the past, any solution of the national problem arrived at with one major party was opposed by the other for political reasons.

There is so much mistrust between Sinhalese and Tamils that has increased year by year that concerted effort should be put in, perhaps with the help of other countries or international Organizations, to improve relations.

No one wants war, with even one more death, be it amongst the members of the armed forces or the LTTE, or among the civilian men, women and children. No one, including the Tamils and the LTTE, wants the destruction of property and wealth built up over generations, places of worship, residences, schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and businesses. Opinion polls conducted amongst Sinhalese prove that a very large majority do not want war, and would like a solution by negotiation and agreement.

Tamils, including the LTTE, want a solution based on equality, justice and dignity, and to have at a minimum internal self-determination, which they are entitled to, according to the covenants of the United Nations. Please see an article on this subject on the TamilCanadian website of March this year.

Loose talk

Most politicians of both major parties are quite free with their comments, whether they speak on behalf of the party or not. They speak, giving views which are often in contradiction of party policy. Party policy seems to be to tell whatever they think the audience at that time wants to hear. What they say is full of lies and false propaganda. It is not what they say that matters, but what they do. The lack of consistency is done purposefully, so that on the rare occasions when the right message is given, it is passed on to embassies of foreign governments in Colombo. Government officials in the country and overseas do the same. At a recent meeting of all Sri Lankan Ambassadors, the President gave an unusual tongue lashing for not doing enough for the country.

At times, the persons who speak a lot do not really understand the subject or the meaning of words they use. One can only feel sorry for such persons, except that decisions are made on the basis of what they say and could be harmful.

There is talk of an Indian type of federalism, a Swiss type and a Canadian type, without knowing what any of these are. Senior politicians repeat that the Ethnic problem cannot be solved militarily, only by talks, yet the government goes about trying to seize territory, kill civilians by aerial bombing, shelling from the sea and strafing. Curfews are declared at will, search and destroy missions end in rapes, torture and extrajudicial killings. Recently the government called an All Party Conference and Advisory Committee to discus the issue and come up with a solution, but the major Tamil party, representing 22 electorates in parliament, was not even invited!

It looks as if the government wants to suggest a solution on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. The worst Sinhalese hardliner, HL de Silva, was the chairman of the all-party conference. He is also to attend the peace talks. Members of the Committee have now gone to India to study the Panchayat Raj system in force there, as suggested by Indian minister Mani Sankar Iyer, and not to study Indian federalism which has been "studied" a number of times before, along with various other forms of federalism. Poor souls, let them go on a free tour of India, but let the powers that matter arrive at a conclusion soon to the problem which has evaded solution for over 58 years.

Who knows if the proposed MoU is a ruse to get the UNP to join in an all- Sinhalese front to confront the Tamils?

The statements made by members of the government are confusing. The
President wants to negotiate a settlement without a war. The army Commander has said that he has to defend the territorial integrity and unitary nature of the country. Does he know what he means? No one denies him the right to defend the unitary nature of the Sinhala homelands. Is that why the Muhamalai attack was carried out without the President and others who should have approved such action even knowing about it? The army suffered one of the most major debacles in a long time. It is rumored that because there was an attempt at his assassination, the Commander wants to take revenge. It is even rumored that he may carry out a coup with the help of the JVP ( Jathika Vimukthi Pearamuna, a Marxist Chauvinistic party) and the JHU (Jathika Hela Urumaya, a party of Buddhist Monks and Chauvinists) , both of which supported the President to win the election. It is rumored that both parties have apparently infiltrated into the army.

Geneva I and II

The forthcoming Geneva II talks were to be unconditional. Before the ink was dry on the statement, an official of the government announced that three "conditions' should be observed. Another said that seven "issues" have to be taken up. A third said no past incidents or matters should be brought up. This means that they do not want anything that was decided at Geneva I, and not carried out, brought up. At Geneva I it was agreed that, like all other paramilitaries, the Karuna group was to be disarmed and not permitted to operate from government-controlled areas.

President Rajapakse had  said that the government was not aware of the Karuna group in government-controlled territory. Not only is there evidence that the group is there, but it gets sanctuary in army camps, and is supplied with arms by the government. The President said later that, if the LTTE stops attacks for two weeks, he could disarm the Karuna group! Obviously, there are no investigations of crimes in government controlled territories.

The US State Department in its 2005 yearly report names the three paramilitary groups functioning with government forces as the Karuna group, the EPDP (the leader of which is a government minister) and PLOTE.

At the Geneva I talks, the LTTE gave the government organization charts, as well as names of paramilitaries, and military officials handling them, and locations of their camps. According to the media, President Rajapakse was shocked! shocked! at such information.

Pretty words for international consumption

At the Convention of the Nonaligned Movement held in Havana and at the UN General Assembly, Rajapakse (who had attended it with an entourage of 65 persons, the largest for any country) told the audiences what he thought they wanted to hear. He waxed eloquent about humanism and political pluralism. Does he know the meaning of these words, and is he acting accordingly? He also spoke about the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists. He did not speak about the government not complying with decisions agreed at the Geneva I talks. He did not speak about State terrorism and the increase in the defense budget year by year - with an increase of 44% for 2007 over 2006 - while he was shouting himself hoarse about solving the problem by talks and not by war.

Rajapakse should know the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters. President George Washington of the US was called the 17th centure equivalent of a terrorist, and, getting closer home, Puran Appu who revolted against the British, was a terrorist to the British and a freedom fighter to the locals.

Repeatedly calling the LTTE terrorists makes people get used to that terminology. Sinhala Politicians and the majority of media in Sri Lanka refer to the LTTE as terrorists. Elsewhere they are called 'Tamil rebels,' 'Tamil separatists,' or 'Separatist rebels.'

Nature of rebellion

Rebels are not born as such, but made due to the circumstances they are born into.

I do not want to give a lesson in history, but anyone who knows the background of the problem knows that Tamils tried to obtain redress by parliamentary means, by non-violent demonstrations, and pleas. It must not be forgotten that at general elections, Tamils first voted for a party that stood for a unitary government, against one that stood for a federal one.

Later, as a result of what happened in the intervening years, they overwhelmingly voted for the Federal Party against one that advocated separation. In 1957 and 1965 Tamils signed pacts with the Prime Ministers of the SLFP and the UNP respectively, which were almost immediately unilaterally abrogated by the Sinhalese parties. It was finally after a number of communal pogroms, further injustices, and State terrorism that Tamils took the decision and gave a mandate to their representatives in 1976 to ask for a separate State.

Eelam War 1 started in1983 after the worst pogrom of its kind against Tamils. It must be noted that since the militants took to arms, no major attacks by Sinhalese hoodlums have taken place against Tamil civilians.

Starting from the Indian-sponsored Thimpu talks of 1985, Tamils have said that they would give up their demand for separation if their aspirations are met (these were spelt out) and one of them was the right to self-determination. Ever since then, Tamils have been continuing to repeat that demand, including at the Oslo conference when both sides agreed to explore federalism with internal self determination.  Nothing has happened towards implementing this agreement, except calling it the "Oslo Accord."

The LTTE submitted a proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) as a basis for discussion. But the Ranil government went on dragging its feet and the President, who herself was in favor of a Federal type of government at one time, took over three important ministries herself, and soon thereafter, called for new general elections to Parliament. The UNP lost the elections.

During the years of war, it was the LTTE which declared unilateral cease-fires three times, followed by the government.


Some people still ask what problems Tamils have. I refer them to the pre-election speeches of the Late President Jayewardene and Ex-President Kumaratunga from the two different major parties. Both had spelt out the problems faced by Tamils and promised redress if they were elected.

President Rajapakse is supposed to be looking at the B-C Pact that was signed in 1957 and abrogated by the Sinhalese Prime minister who signed it. Too late my dear President! Much water has flown under the Kelani Bridge since then. Had that pact been implemented, we could have avoided the amount of death, destruction and other privations and tribulations suffered by the people, and could have spent the money spent on defense in the last five decades on development instead, and Sri Lanka would have rivaled Singapore. It would have prevented a brain drain with, according to Mrs. Kumaratunga, 800,000 Tamils fleeing the country. She also acknowledged that there were about a million became internal refugees in 2002, many displaced multiple times.

Rajapakse has apparently also mused aloud about the people in the East deciding if they want to join the North. This is political foul play. Having intentionally settled Sinhalese in the East, using tax payers money, with the objective of changing the East's demography - increasing the Sinhalese population in the Eastern Province from a little over 4 % in 1924 to a little over 9% in 1947 (the year before independence ) to around 32 % currently - ; having acknowledged in the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord signed by Prime Minister of India and Late President Jayewardene  (who said the he had the power to do anything other than to change a man to a woman), that the Northern and Eastern provinces were the historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka; and this pact being approved by the Parliament, Rajapakse is now wondering aloud about the merger.

Besides this,  the B-C Pact, the later Dudley-Chelva Pact, and the reasonable use of Tamil Act, all accept that Tamil should be the language of administration and the
courts in the NorthEastern province. The reality is that, despite all this, the reasonable use of Tamil Act being passed by Parliament, and Tamil being named an Official Language, these Acts are still ignored in the main, with most Tamils receiving communication from the government in a language that they do not understand.

If there is to be a referendum it should be held in the whole of the Northeastern province. Is Rajapakse serious when he says such things? Does he really want to solve the problems by negotiations? The JVP and JHU, which are fringe parties, are in favor of de-merger. So long as they are permitted to be spoilers, there can be no peace. In any case, the Supreme Court must have heard these musings, for it has held that the merger was not valid!

As mentioned earlier, there has been so much of mistrust between Sinhalese and Tamils for decades, which has grown year by year, that we should take a hard look at the two major parties, and their main actors before we can have any faith in agreements that may be reached at the next, and subsequent, Peace Talks. Can we trust them to agree on something that would be acceptable toTamils? Can we trust that they will abide by any agreement reached?

It is not for the Tamils to decide whether they want to stay in a country
with a unitary constitution, it is for the Sinhalese to decide whether they
want to treat Tamils with Equality, Dignity and Justice in a political
system which accepts at a minimum internal self determination. Just because the Sinhalese do not want to agree to a confederal system - once suggested by Amb.Theresa Schaffer, one-time US ambassador to Colombo - they want to continue the carnage and destruction, and the consequent transformation of the country from an almost failed state to a failed one, similar to some of the African countries.


On the question of whether the LTTE is the sole representative of the Tamils, who else is fighting for the mandate given by the Tamils? If two parties are fighting, what is the point in talking to a third party? If it is really necessary to find out who the true representatives are, a free and fair referendum under international supervision should be held amongst all Tamils in the country, with postal votes given to all Tamils and their natural increase living overseas, as has been done in some other countries.

Being pushed by the international community to go to the table and negotiate is meaningless, unless there is goodwill on both sides and there is some basis for
negotiation. If not, it would be like the proverbial horse and water situation.

The United National Party

This is the oldest political party in the country that is still functioning. It is hard to know its thinking, and it is very slow to react. There is so much of rivalry within in the party that one has to look carefully at who is saying what. There is a revolt brewing up against the leadership and one does not know if Ranil could prevail for long. It is understood that parts of the party are against joining the government and others in favor. There are some people who are looking for ministries for themselves and are prepared to cross over even without a MoU.

There is also no trust between the two major parties. One time the President was having a meeting with former Prime Minister Ranil about joint action. Later, it was found that half an hour earlier, the President had sworn in a UNP member who had crossed over as a member of his cabinet... Normal protocol would have been to have mentioned it during the talks. But it was not done.

After the recent decision by the President that ministers would get the same salaries as parliamentarians, I am not sure how many would want to join the government.

There are those who are demanding 50 % of the ministries for the UNP if the party signs a MoU, and those who want Ranil Wickramasinghe to be made prime

Of those who want to be ministers, the most prominent ones are Milinda Moragoda and G.L .Peiris. The latter was earlier Minister for Constitutional Affairs in the SLFP government and crossed over. He was thought to be a mild mannered person who was in favor of a Federal system. Milinda is very ambitious and is eyeing the Prime Ministership one day. According to the political columnist of the Sunday Times, recently Ranil wanted to meet the President on a one-on-one basis. It was agreed, but someone got to know about it, and also wanted to join in. Two more UNPers went to see the President, who also had asked two additional persons from his party to attend. Just before the meeting started, Milinda Moragoda and G.L.Peiris (who do not see eye-to- eye most times) also arrived, uninvited. Peiris had brought some documents which had been approved by the central committee of the party. He had apparently slipped in a document which had not been seen or approved by the central committee. Pussy cat Peiris who had, while in the SLFP, supported a federal system of government, made a recent statement that there should be a military response to "terrorism". UNP General Secretary Attanayake has said that the LTTE must lay down arms and then come for talks! Is he mad, or is it wishful thinking?

Milinda was one of two senior UNP Ministers who had said shortly before the presidential elections, that it was the UNP which engineered Karuna to leave the LTTE and raise the cry of Eastern regionalism. This may be true, because Karuna and his cohorts ran away to Colombo in the van of a Muslim UNP member of Parliament. Of course, the split in the LTTE would have helped the government of the day, and since then. However, this admission possibly lost the presidential election for Ranil, who lost the election by only a small margin.

Tamils living in the LTTE-controlled area were not encouraged to vote since Ranil was dragging his feet on many things, and had not done much to solve the problem. However, Tamils living outside that area, who are large in number would have voted against Ranil after this was disclosed. Ranil is a weak person and did not take action against the two Ministers, nor did he issue a denial. It was unofficially mentioned that the two Ministers made the statement in order to get more Sinhala votes!

In defense of the UNP, one must mention that it was trying to run a government with a President from the opposite major party, who did not see eye-to-eye on with the Prime Minister on many matters, purely for personal reasons.

The UNP did sign the ceasefire agreement under pressure from the International Community, after the LTTE declared a unilateral ceasefire. That is perhaps a plus point for them.

The UNP & the CFA

The CFA is not a surrender document. It recognizes the balance of power between the two parties. It was supposed to bring normalcy to the lives of Tamils. As a result of the failure to observe certain clauses in the agreement, life is not yet normal for a large number of Tamil people, while Sinhalese in the South benefited a lot from the peace dividend. Tamils cannot cultivate their most fertile lands due these lands coming within the High Security Zones; some residences and schools have not yet been vacated; restrictions on fishing continued and fishermen subject to a special ID system. Hundreds of thousands were still in refugee camps, tens of thousands of children are not attending schools, and medical facilities are poor and
hospitals destroyed, resulting in reduced health care etc, etc. Many clauses in the CFA agreement remained unimplemented. These were pointed out to the government, and brought up during formal talks, but nothing was done.

In addition, matters agreed at the six rounds of talks were also not implemented. So much so, that the LTTE refused to go for further talks. Instead of getting these matters attended to, Ranil started globe trotting, canvassing countries to aid him and spoke about building a safety net. He was famous for appointing committees to look into matters and did not follow up. He should have tried to win the hearts and minds of the Tamils. If he was genuine about a ceasefire he should have attended to rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged buildings and shattered lives. He should have adopted the attitude that Tamils were after all citizens of the country, that he was their Prime minister as well, and that henceforth there should
not be "we" and "them". He should have reduced defense expenditure to the
minimum maintenance level, and stopped importation of arms, and spent the
money saved on repairs of damaged buildings and the development of the Tamil
areas neglected for over five decades.

The UN has estimated that about 50,000 children were not attending schools and 140,000 persons have been displaced.

Last year Japan promised $300 million and ADB $240 million for development in Trincomalee. The LTTE submitted 24 projects estimated to cost Rs. 359 million (only about $3.5 million ) to SIRHAN which is supposed oversee such projects. The outcome of these transactions is not known.

A good question to ask is, as to why the government could import arms and the LTTE was not permitted. In order to maintain the balance of power during the ceasefire agreement, no one should have been permitted to bring in arms, or if one side could, the other should also have been permitted.

The UNP did submit a document outlining a vague Interim Administration. The LTTE submitted the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals as a basis, and agreed to discuss it further. UNP did not react in time. Soon thereafter the President dissolved parliament and called for fresh elections.

Tamils felt that UNP was not a party to be trusted to deliver the goods. The LTTE felt that they should try the other party and unofficially asked Tamils not to vote at the presidential election. The decision was probably based on a Tamil saying "What does it matter whether Rama rules or Ravana rules, it is the same to us." The LTTE leader felt that Rajapakse was a more pragmatic person, and might be easier to deal with, and said so after the election.

It must be admitted that, though there were small attacks at times,  irritations regarding fishing, requirement of special IDs for fishermen, there were no aerial attacks and attempts to capture LTTE controlled areas, as has happened after Rajapakse became President.

The UNP also did not pursue with vigor crimes committed during its period of power against Tamils, mostly by paramilitaries. The EPDP and the Karuna group were permitted to roam government-controlled areas at will and commit crimes, such as killings, abduction of children for training and businessmen for ransom for millions of rupees. It showed a blind eye when Buddha statues were installed in Hindu temples and public places.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was formed  in 1955 and was a much more rural-oriented, and nationalist (say Sinhalese-oriented) party. It was the original architect of the 'Sinhala as the only official language' law, and most anti-Tamil policies. For political expediency, it also took in some left oriented parties in a coalition.

Mrs.Kumaratunga, who is the daughter of two former Prime ministers, was President of the country and Rajapakse, the Prime Minister, before Ranil Wickramasinghe became Prime Minister.

To those who want to know what type of a man Rajapakse is and his policies, I refer you to the writer's article "Rajapakse, the Man, and His Mission" available in the Illankai Tamil Sangam website Archives.

With his memorandum signed with the JVP and JHU, Rajapakse found that he had a tiger (no pun intended) by the tail. Not that he wanted to do much more for the Tamils, but found that  he was between the rock and a hard place with pressures from the JVP and JHU on one side and the international and donor communities on the other. Before he was nominated as the SLFP's candidate for presidential election, he had promised Mrs. Kumaratunga, the then President, that he will pursue the peace process, he would support a Federal type of government, keep Norway as the facilitator and continue with the P-TOMS agreement which was signed with the LTTE after long negotiations and persuasion of the international community for distribution of tsunami relief in the Northeast. He knew then he had no intention of keeping to his word. Once President Kamaratunga was away he formed an alliance with JVP and JHU, as he said later "to get their support and votes" When he was asked after being elected  as to how he was going to fulfill his obligation, he had said that he did not have to, and that it was done to obtain more votes!

Rajapakse started with using tsunami donations coming into the country to open a bank account called "Helping Hambantota" (which was his electorate). The   operators on the account were members of his family. He had transferred Rs. 82.5 millions, before it was found out and he transferred the amount back to government funds. He appointed one of his brothers as Defense Secretary and another as Special Advisor to the President (probably on agriculture}. Does this smack of nepotism? He appointed a pliant hard line Sinhala chauvinist, Wickramanayake, as Prime Minister. Recently Wickramanayake expressed his delight at the proposed signing of the MoU.

Rajapakse speaks as if he is the nicest person on earth and lies without blinking an eyelid. He has a coterie of persons either similar by nature or trained to be so. They go about the globe spreading false propaganda and lies. They say what they think the audiences want to hear. They are smooth talkers, who appear to have convinced the EU countries to ban the LTTE. They want the foreign  governments to control the flow of money to the LTTE to purchase arms. They spread the canard that the LTTE taught Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists the art of suicide bombing.

An article titled "The poor man's aircraft is the suicide bomber" posted on the Sangam website says that people who do not have funds to buy aircraft resort to suicide bombing. A recent statement published in the Sri Lankan press says that there are nearly 400,000 members in the armed forces, police and other forces such as home guards and the Special Task Force, who have to tackle around 8,000 LTTE.

As regards LTTE training the world in this expertise, the same article
referred to earlier refers to the origin of suicide bombing. According to
that article it was practiced long before the grandfathers of the LTTE
suicide bombers were born!

Rajapakse, of course, jettisoned the P-TOMS agreement immediately and got the
court to support him. Tsunami victims are given step-motherly treatment and
out of 60,000 partially and fully damaged houses in the NorthEast, only 20,000 have been completed.

Rajapakse is not following the peace process at all. Though he says that he is following it, his actions are all in the opposite direction; has expressed opposition to the federal system, though paying lip service about studying various models; but he could not get Norway away from the facilitator's position due to the international community's opposition. He has had to fall out with the JVP and is
not bothered now that he has the UNP with him. He is also apparently exploring the idea of calling a general election.

After his regime took over, there have been 25 deaths in police stations,
1796 arrested under emergency regulations outside the Northeastern province
and 684 registered complaints of torture.

I list below some (not all) of the acts of the government which has further
alienated Tamils. They are not in any order of time or magnitude.

1. Attacked LTTE controlled areas in Trincomalee (Sampoor and Puthur) and Amparai districts, Muhamalai, Mavil Aru sluice gate, Nagarcoil areas, saying they are taking defensive action. They use aircraft to bomb and army to attack saying that the retaliatory bombing will cease in a day or two, and go on doing so for several days. The army has taken over some LTTE- controlled areas. Ceasefire violations are taking place with scant regard to International Community's call to cease violence.

2. Bombed the site where until recently a well known, long established orphanage, in Kilinochchi called Chencholai had been located, where young schoolgirls were being given first aid training, killing a large number and wounding many more. The excuse given was that they were child soldiers being given training. The LTTE are not so naïve that they would do so, to that many in such a public place. Besides, there were no arms found in that location. The army had transferred three wounded girls to a hospital in Kandy where one died apparently due to lack of
treatment and released the other two. They terrified one girl to say that they were had been given arms training. However, other survivors have said that they were given training in first aid.

3. When a convoy of sailors was attacked the government said that they were unarmed sailors. This is parrot-wise repeated by other governments and media inside and outside the country. Photographs taken at the site show a pile of guns collected at the site. A photo speaks  more than a thousand words.

4. Crimes of killings, torture, and rape, abduction for huge ransoms of Tamil businessmen, journalists and Parliamentarians are carried out in the dead of night as well as during broad daylight with impunity, and very few attempts are made to solve these crimes. Many of these crimes are committed by paramilitaries near army camps and others by the armed forces. A senior Parliamentarian was killed when he was taking Christmas mass in a cathedral and had police bodyguards with him.

5. Collections coming in for reconstruction of areas in the NorthEast are not spent there. Those areas were given step-motherly treatment. Unspent money could revert to the donors if unspent, and could be lost for ever. The American Red Cross organization has said that they had collected over two million dollars for tsunami relief, but was told by the government not to spend any in the NorthEast.

6 .Several NGOs and INGOs have recently been banned from working in the Northeast. Few have been issued a sort of visa to work. The last news to come out is that Medicines Sans Frontier has pulled out of the only hospital that they were working in in the North.

7.12 volunteer workers of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) were abducted and five were released with seven missing, presumed killed. The crime has not yet been solved.

The TRO has been operating since 1985 doing rehabilitation work in Tamil areas.
Several INGOs, International Financial multilateral organizations and local NGOs have subcontracted work to it. It also looks after schooling and self employment programs. President Kumaratunga gave it an award for the work it did in connection with the tsunami. The government has suddenly found out that it is a front for the LTTE, and has told overseas governments to prevent its collections of funds for rehabilitation work. Some foreign governments have started making inquiries in this regard.. The bank accounts of TRO totaling Rs four Billion in Sri Lanka have been blocked. This is worse than the proverbial bull trampling the man who had fallen down.

8. The A9 highway has been blocked, preventing food, essentials, medicines, and material for reconstruction of tsunami damage from going through... Tsunami reconstructed work has been bombed.

9. 17 volunteer workers of the French NGO, ACF were killed execution style in their offices. This raised a hue and cry in the international community with calls for investigation. The International Committee of Jurists was prepared to do so and some Australian forensics experts arrived in Sri Lanka. They were refused permission and returned home. The latest news is that a few have come back
and some bodies have been exhumed.

10. Since Rajapakse became President over 2,000 persons have been killed and over 220,000 have been displaced.

11. Parliamentarians , ex-parliamentarians , prominent journalists and killing .Execution style killing of students, and journalists have taken place. Killing, torture, rape of ordinary people have taken place within government controlled areas with no perpetrators brought to  book.

12. The World Bank is prepared to give a four year program of $800 million in
interest free new grants to help the shattered economy as compared with an average of about $60 million a year spent over the last five years. It is well known that amounts not spent revert to the lender. It is anybody's guess as to where the money would have gone.

13. The government's chief negotiator had said that the LTTE has no rights to lay claims to any part of Sri Lankan soil. Granted. The same is true of the SLFP. Tamils have claims over the Tamil homelands and the LTTE is negotiating on their behalf.

14. The Sri Lankan navy captured over 100 fishing boats with outboard motors
to use in their naval exercises and confiscated the motors.

15. A government negotiator said that the government would under no circumstances engage the LTTE in military confrontation unless provoked by the latter. To the contrary, there have been unprovoked attacks initiated by the government stating that they were taking defensive action.

16. The government has been obtaining arms from India which had informed Tamil Nadu politicians that it will not do so. Even a group of Sri Lankan policemen getting training in Coimbatore were sent back half way through their training. The reason for this change of mind was given as India wanting to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. Adversity makes strange bedfellows with both India and Pakistan supplying arms.

I can go on and on, but I think sufficient has been said for the reader to form an opinion as to whether these are the type of people with whom we want to deal with; or if there is any point in having "Peace talks"; or would it be a waste of time. If we do talk and arrive at a solution eventually, it has to be underwritten by a group of International countries like India, Norway, and United Kingdom.

International reaction

A major surprise to me is that most major countries have High Commissions and Embassies in Colombo, yet their representatives do not seem to have apprised their home governments the truth of what is happening.

The ethnic problem which could not be solved for over five and a half decades is not going to be solved just because the international or donor community want the antagonists to go to the negotiating table for unconditional talks.

It is like giving the green flag to revisit matters that have been discussed and solved, but were not implemented. It will be a waste of time going back to the starting point and spending a further several decades of talks.

Are the major parties getting together to genuinely solve the problems or to have greater strength to make them worse is a question that Tamils have to decide.

It is not for us to decide what we want, but for the Sinhalese to decide if they want us in the same country. If the Sinhalese do not want us to live with the Tamils in Equality, Justice and Dignity in one country, why not let us go? Why is keeping us with them and subjugating us, so important? They could pursue more pleasurable matters.

A possible solution

It is suggested that talks start on the basis of strictly abiding by all that has been decided over the years between the Tamils and the Sinhalese parties on both sides of the aisle. This means going back to the point at which talks were suspended. It means going back to the CFA, which has to be observed strictly in regard to areas under control and demarcation of borders, and vacation of land and buildings already agreed. Any disputes can be subject to international arbitration.

Neither side should attack the other, nor, in order to preserve the balance of power, should they be able to import arms. It also means that a federal system of government with internal self- determination should be explored. A time frame should be given to arrive at a final settlement.

Obviously till a final settlement is arrived at, which may take a long time, there should be an interim administration arrangement. The ISGA proposals submitted by the LTTE are on the table and the LTTE is prepared to discuss them further.

xperts could be invited from international organizations or countries acceptable to both parties to help in negotiations, not merely to be facilitators.

The above conditions should be proposed and enforced by the IC/Donors with
threat of sanctions, and stationing of UN forces to stop the carnage and destruction that have gone on for far too many years.