National Problem:Danger within!
Another round of conversation on the National Problem has emerged in our Sri Lankan society. This discussion is initiated by the PA govt’s side; govt minister Saumyamurthi Thondaman left for an unofficial LTTE conference held in Thailand. The tour was sponsored by the govt. This became the first step of the recent activities regarding the National Problem in Sri Lanka. PA govt is getting ready to call for North and East Provincial Council Elections. But before that the govt is planning to implement the so called "political package" introduced in 1997. PA leaders expect to create a favorable public image on the govt specially a popular image of president Chandrika Kuumaratunga among theTamil community. That is a preparation for a ‘Presidential Election’. There will be certain programt to deal with ‘package related issues’.
Before a presidential election there must be a way to win the hearts of Tamil people. Some of the religeous leaders left for North to meet the second rank leaders of LTTE. They have insisted on the importance of peacetalks. To solve the National Problem, they argue that the peacetalk is the only path. Then another sector retorts that the war is the only solution. However Thondaman left for Thailand Conference and his next political moves may reveal the effect of that conference on him.
Having these events in background, we can focus our attention on the PA govt’s latest responses on the National Problem. Those primary considerations on the events may help us to understand the moves of other political forces related to National Problem in Sri Lanka.
Until the end of year 2000 the PA govt may have no relief but to face elections. The next election, as PA govt supposedly chosen for the survival is a Presidential Election. Chandrika govt has measured that it is safe to hold a Presidential Election and then a General Election rather than holding a presidential election after a general election. But the components of PA such as Muslim Congress and Old Left groups have opposed this decision. But since so far they were not successful in changing the PA govt towards positive politics, this opposition too may not gain any fruitful result.
To hold a presidential election, Tamil people of this country should be given a bait. But the ‘Chewing gum’ of the political package, govt has been chewing since last 3 years may have not done any good for the Tamil’s life. So the expected package will modified using lots of ‘show items’. The arrival of Vardaraja Perumal may have a connection.
He escaped from the island after declaring an Elaam State in North and East. His returning to the island via the VIP lounge of Katunayake airport hints us to expect a role for him to act in the next ‘package show’.
Before the presidential election and before holding an election in North and East the PA govt is eager to have discussions and an agreement with LTTE. The govt by sending Thondaman to an unofficial LTTE conference and by sending religeous leaders to North, tried to fulfill that intention. But the LTTE, having supported the Chandrika’s PA to come to power by removing Gamini Dissanayake factor is unlikely to support PA this tme.
US govt is also not satisfied with the moves of Chandrika govt. This has happened owing to the desruption of trade plans implemented recently which have been less fruitful owing to the the impotence of PA govt. Within such an infavorable political situation, LTTE may rather support Ranil’s UNP than supporting the less popular, feeble govt of PA.
However Chandrika govt has shown its eagerness to go for some sort of an agreement (even unofficial) before the presidential election. We can imagine that there could be a peaceful period as well as a time of sudden military actions with terrifying experiences. Meanwhile having these in background, there are ‘independent’ efforts taken to building the image of UNP. These latest developments in Sri Lankan politics must be recognized when we analyse the future of Chandrika govt.
UNP too have face problems of finding slogans against Chandrika govt. When the PA for its popularity among Tamil people, try to have negotiations with LTTE. UNP having the same intentions may not come up with slogans against that. But somehow or other the UNP needs attacking PA govt on the discussions with LTTE. So the Anti-Terrorist Movement has therefore become the instrument of UNP by that intention.
This movement protests against negotiations and urge for military actions. But the actual problem arisen are nothing but the problems of the two extremes in the National problem. The problem is not whether to eat rice using hand or using fork and spoon. These gentlemen argue that it should be done using fork and spoon (war). But the religeous leaders who went to north protests, eat rise using hand, ("No more war!") But our point is that whether it is spoon and fork or hand the eating process and what they eat is not changed. Our protest to select between those two ends is misleading. Only that will hide the actual facts and the false slogans may ultimately pave the way to UNP for getting political benefits. What we must understand is that the capitalist leadership of any kind in a war or peaceful negotiations, may push the country towards division. The protests must be against this "eating process", and not against the "style of eating"! That type of narrow minded protest may give the chance to the other capitalist gangs who fight for power. It is clear that those who have organized themselves in the name of Sinhala people’s rights have taken the contract of such power-seeking capitalist gangs.
The next moves related toNational Problem, in the Sri Lankan politics may become subtler, that those who keep their eyes open may see the reality. That awareness may help us defeating the different possible ghosts of Chandrika and Ranil.