Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dayan's Politico-Academic Veneer

The Hon Dayan Jayatilleke is quite a well known academic / politician turned diplomat - our Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. Mr.Jayatilleke's past is diverse to say the least: Among other roles he was a former supporter of the EPRLF and the Tamil Self Determination movement (The Late Kethesh Loganathan i understand had taken him in the 80s to Jaffna to lecture to the EPRLF cadres probably on Marxism) , a former Minister of Fisheries in Varadharajah Perumal's short lived North East Provincial Government, a former Advisor to President Premadasa and a former academic at the University of Colombo. The British Foreign Secretary David Milband released a message on the eve of Sri Lanka's 60th Independence day celebrations in which the Foreign Secretary called for an end to violence and regretted the abrogation of the CFA. Mr. Jayatilleke has responded to this statement in an article appearing in yesterday's (13 February) Island. You can read the article here Let me give you some extracts from this article and leave it to to you to judge their content.

Dayan's description of the war being waged by the Mahinda regime as a bourgeois democratic revolution (Wonder when Marxists started supporting and being an agent of bourgeois democratic revolutions!!):

Sri Lanka is fighting a war to prevent separation, to unite the country, to maintain it as a single territory, to make the writ of the state run from West to East, North to South of our little island. This is a struggle undertaken by many societies at an earlier stage of their history. It is part of what is known as the bourgeois democratic revolution, i.e. those tasks undertaken or completed by the rising bourgeois class of those nations. In the global South, this task of national unification often comes up against the opposition of the Western powers (as it did in China). This seems to be the case in present day Sri Lanka too. In such historical situations, the tasks of national unification combine with the struggle to win or defend national independence and sovereignty

Justification for a majoritarian nationalist project:
Sometimes the task of national unification takes a particularly enlightened ultilingual, multi-religious character, but in many, even most cases, the struggle requires the mobilization of the peasantry and the nationalist intelligentsia and therefore takes a majoritarian nationalist, even religio-nationalist, character.

Warning to the West similar To Bush's "Either you are with us or with the enemey" comment.
If any country takes a stand that is tilted against us or is ambivalent in this most fundamental of struggles, then we must recognize that there exists an incompatibility of interests between those countries and ours. Such states are not firm friends or staunch allies. It should be made clear to them that their stand today directly influences the role they will or will not have in influencing the post-war, post-conflict order in Sri Lanka. Those who stand against us, who threaten or attempt to intimidate us; those who vacillate and temporize during this war, have forfeited the chance to play a role in the peace. They must be limited to a strictly diplomatic presence. There are on the other hand, states that have uncritically supported us during this war, or have voiced their misgivings and advice in private. They are the ones with whom we have a basic identity of interests. These are our friends, allies and partners. They are the extended family to which we truly belong.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Local Government Elections in the Eastern Province: Empowering the people?

This is reproduced from a comment i made to Sanjana's article on groundviews:

For whom are these elections being held? Can Local Government of Provincial Council Elections empower the people of the East to usher in the development that the region requires? The answer is a plain no. Both the Local Government and the Provincial Council systems do not have the legal competency (powers) or the finances to undertake development work leave alone taking care of basic or local needs. The public administration system (GA's and AGA's) managed by the Central Government run the show when it comes to the basic day to day needs of the people. The ‘Big’ Ministries and the ‘Big’ Ministers at the Centre and in this case the Ministry of Nation Building (one of those five which comes under the President) are responsible for the so far announced development projects for the East. These are being done (if at all if they are being implemented) with almost zero consultation with the elected representatives from the East. Mr. Basil Rajapaksha is in full control. DBS Jeyeraj in a post on his website dated Oct 20, 2007, candidly explains how these projects could be used and are being used to promote Sinhala colonisation in the East. So are the LG representatives going to be of use? Are we naive to think that democratic elections should not be questioned for their purpose? That’s the first question – would the Local Government representatives be used or would they be of use within the present framework of governance? The second is the one that a lot of people are raising will it be of value balanced with the blood that is being and going to be shed in electing these representatives?

The UPFA is teaming up with TMVP for the polls. Without Govt support the TMVP cannot exist. So the TMVP has no choice but to accept UPFA as an electoral partner to gain legitimacy. So even there given that TMVP will sweep the polls the govt is going to have full control. A self-serving election for the Government this will be.