Friday, February 09, 2007

Battle to 'clear' the East

The official position is that the Sri Lankan Government is still committed to the MoU (ceasefire agreement). But the Government seems to have no problems in undertaking 'clearing activities' such as in Vaharai despite the ceasefire being in place. Why this hypocrisy? Tearing up the Ceasefire MoU will not be easy like tearing up the MoU with the UNP I suppose. Having a ceasefire agreement 'officially' in place and uttering the verbal mantra now and then that 'the Government is committed to a peaceful solution to the ethnic conflict'; that 'the Government renews its call for peace talks' is enough to appease the donor and international community. Plus if you say that the war that you are waging is 'a war against terrorism' then countries like the USA and its ambassador cannot say anything much after that. This is what happened in the Galle development Forum.

I do not here any more about the SLMM in the news. About their opinion on whether a particular incident has violated the MoU or not and the rest! The best that Norway can do i suppose at this moment, to save its reputation (if there's anything left of it), is to pull out from the 'Peace' process and to pull out the SLMM as well. Any logical person/entity would do that. Without doing this the SLMM has forced itself to listen to the hate speech from the Government and its peace secretariat that it is not properly doing its job, that it is not working in the North East and so on. I'm sure the LTTE is also blowing hot and cold on the SLMM.

The East is being 'cleared' and people are being 'liberated' from the hands of terrorists using a former terrorist - 'Karuna', now a 'democrat' of reputation who has joined 'mainstream democracy' with a political office even in the capital city. There was no pre-condition that he had to 'lay down arms' before joining mainstream democracy. The Government has taken it as practice to defend Karuna where and when possible as was seen in its response to the Rock report and the Human Rights Watch report. If my memory serves me right i remember seeing a posting of the Karuna group's press release denying involvement in child conscription on the Government peace secretariat website sometime recently.

The concern about politics in the East has traditionally been with regard to accommodating Muslim and Sinhala Minorities living in this province, especially the fear of excessive Tamil domination in the case of a merged North and East province. But now nobody seems to be bothered about this. The talk is about giving Karuna control in the East to neutralise Prabah in the North. The fate of the Muslims and Sinhalese is not much talked about. (Afterall the Muslim MPs are busy organising hartals in Amparai complaining that they have not been offered a ministerial post*). Such are the dictates of so called 'military reality' on the politics of this country. I have painfully in the recent past read articles written by Dayan Jayatilleke suggesting that its time that Karuna be fully be used to confront Prabah and that the conflict in the country be shifted to be one between the Eastren Tamils and the Northern Tamils so as to take way the focus on the conflict between the Sinhala and Tamil communities.

Let the 'liberation' and 'clearing' continue!!

*(My referrence is to MP Nijamudheen. Following the hartal H.E. has promised him a ministerial portfolio as well. One more Nation Building Ministry it can be. That will make it 5!)