What President Rajapakse and his brothers – the real government – need at this time are friends – both local and foreign. Credible policies and a track record to show good intent will do well too.
by I.S. Senguttuvan
(July 02, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lankan watchers and students of how Rajapakse is running the government were not surprised at all when President Rajapakse pushed to Parliament his responsibility to unite the country with this Parliamentary Select Committee device – not the first time either. This was not merely a case of lacking the courage to do what is right and necessary to pull the country out of its most debilitating catastrophe – but also a further indication the Rajapakses believe they can fool the people all the time. The country, the region and the world remembers the joke of what was called the APRC and many other President Rajapakse fed false hopes with – merely to buy time. When everyone of these efforts was making headway it was President Rajapakse who either frustrated them and pulled the rug under to make them fail. Such a man will not be trusted by the TNA – the main interlocutor – whom the government showcases to India and the world as its partner in a continuing dialogue to search for lasting peace. TNA was the first political party to laugh this charade off for whatever it is. The UNP and the JVP followed suit. And yet the government wastes valuable time in persisting in this non-starter.
Why is President Mahinda Rajapakse shy of a solution? The time is right and the conditions are all in his favour. He has a captive Parliament with more than a two-third majority with his non-lawyer brother ensconsed as the Speaker, just in case; political parties identified as Sinhala extreme that fed on the communal vote bank are at his beck and call; the once powerful Kandy Prelates who called the shots from 1956 till late were silenced by a visit from the radical politicized Elle Gunewansa Thero, who reminded the Prelates what was in store if they went ahead with that Great Gathering of the Maha Sangha. His threats – carried on behalf of the high and mighty – were neither Compassionate, nor based on ahimsa or meant to advance doctrines based on Dharma. The only plausible reason talked around is he fears if he is party to a solution to the National Question then the chances of the present Rajapakses and those to come later will all be seriously jeopardised by a toxic Sinhala electorate poisoned to the core that is satisfied even the most minor concessions to the Tamils as a sell-out of the Buddhist Sinhala Nation. It is Hobson’s choice.
While much of the country is convinced he has no further time to lose but to face reality, he keeps setting fires in many parts of the country hoping the sympathy aroused will save him by the extreme Sinhala supremacists. It is infantile thinking such as this that has resulted in this regime being despised by all our traditional overseas friends and benefactors – Britain, the EU, Canada, Australia, the USA to name a few. As to India ??? Your guess is as good as mine. His friend Libya’s Gadaffi is trying to ward off EU bombs and has ensured almost his entire family has escaped. In addition is Gadaffi’s fear of the ICCJ Warrant. While Iran’s Ahmedinajed makes the usual noises he too is in mortal funk of the fate that has befallen Gadaffi and the Arab despots. The latest State Department “counseling” cannot bring much joy to Rajapakse, who has mishandled his entire foreign policy approach. For the first time our Ambassador in high-profile Washington is a small time tea trader with no known educational qualifications – except he is a close relative. He is the first of our Ambassadors there to speak English, the language of the USA, haltingly. This sits pretty well with Chemical Ali, Saddam Hussein’s cousin and Minister who was a postal peon, who met with a rather violent fate.
Things are not altogether hopeless for the Rajapakses. They seem to have accomplished a few things in Jaffna and the East to please the Tamil people there. Unfortunately, the harm done to the Tamils there far outweigh the good – and this needs immediate and early correction. There is much speculation while he means good to the Tamils the army may be having different plans – which is, to put in another way, there is some form of conflict between the political and military leadership in how the Tamil Question should be approached. The recent incidents at Noolaham and Alaveddy points out to such a struggle. As July 23 approaches with the stakes for the local elections in Jaffna it is far more likely the army will up the ante there and make democratic polls virtually impossible with such friends like Douglas Devananda giving a helping hand. Devananda takes the Quisling tradition to new lows by genuflecting before the regime at every command – the need for a 2nd Chamber; accepting the State dictate Land and Police Powers should not be part of this so called 13th Amendment + and so on.
What President Rajapakse and his brothers – the real government – need at this time are friends – both local and foreign. Credible policies and a track record to show good intent will do well too. It is good time those with reading habits close to the regime provide the President and his brothers with a Sinhala translation of Dale Carnegie’s old hack “How to win friends and influence people” They should have thought of this long ago. Anyway, it is better late than never, as they say in Ole Blighty.