05 February 2012

‘Get lost’ around the corner for the TNA

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is making demands from the Government.  Seeking betterment is legitimate in a democracy.  There’s nothing wrong in wanting the moon.  Proposal must match grievance, however, aspirations should be reasonable and practical realities cannot be wished away. 
First of all, there is the issue of territory and relevant boundaries.  Arbitrarily drawn, the provincial boundaries make for claims that are ill-supported by history and demography.  Tamil Chauvinism has always been thin on fact, thick on myth and fidgety when it comes to substantiation and in drawing a solid line between grievance and proposal.  More than half the Tamils live outside the North and East.  Vast swathes of land in the East happen to be traditional Sinhala villages and this is discounting ‘colonization’.  The TNA’s one time lord and master, Velupillai Prabhakaran ethnically cleansed the Jaffna Peninsula of Sinhalese and Muslims.  The archaeological evidence rebels against exclusive homeland claims while place names and their Tamil corruption further compromise the Tamil chauvinistic narrative. 
And yet the TNA insists that the Government must give into its demands before that party agrees to submit names to the Parliamentary Select Committee set up to hammer out a lasting solution to ‘the problem’.  The TNA first demanded the devolution of land and police powers and now wants fiscal powers to be added to the equation. 
The TNA is not negotiating with the Government but with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the major partner in the ruling UPFA coalition.  There’s nothing wrong in two political parties to come to agreement on any issue, but the SLFP cannot promise on behalf of the UPFA or the Government. 
The TNA polled 233,190 votes at the last General Election (2.9%).  The UPFA obtained 4,846,388 (60.33%).  With less than 3% representational power, the TNA is essentially asking for racist control of one third the land mass and more than half the coastline.  Indeed, even if one were to put aside the myth-mongering with respect to the North and East, what this less-than-three-percent bunch is determined to chart the political future of the entire country.  Nothing wrong in wanting, but there is thing called sense of proportion.   
What is most galling about the TNA’s chauvinistic posturing is the utter lack of logic in the demand.  The TNA proposes ‘solution’ as a non-negotiable precondition to sitting in the PSC.  Now let’s assume the SLFP agrees.  That’s a two-party agreement.  If they do agree, and since the SLFP is the major party in the coalition, then why bother wasting time with a PSC?  In effect the TNA, even as it says that it has not rejected the option of thrashing things out in the PSC, it has rejected the idea.  
Here are some more numbers that tell a story.  The UPFA secured 144 out of the 225 seats (64%) and has since won over enough MPs to have a two-thirds majority in Parliament.  The TNA has 14 seats (6.2%).  The composition of the PSC gives the UPFA only a little more than a 50% share of representational voice. 
This country doesn’t belong to the SLFP or the TNA.  If any changes in the institutional arrangement are required, such proposals have to be debated in and approved by the Parliament.  Proposals hammered out at a PSC made of all political parties has far greater chance of translating into a legislated reality than agreements  between two political parties. 
The TNA needs to understand where cart and horse should be, relative to one another.  Today, the TNA is using the same pernicious ruse adopted by pro-LTTE operators pretending to be peace-makers.  Having determined that federalism (if not secession) is the non-negotiable and only ‘solution’, they proposed dialogue to negotiate ‘settlement’.  Dialogue must include consideration of all claims pertaining to grievances and all aspirations (located within realistic frames).  Positing end-point as starting point smacks of political brinkmanship. 
There’s only one thing that the TNA needs to understand: what Prabhakaran could not secure in 30 years of terrorism, his yes-boys will not get on a silver platter.  The TNA’s insistence of walking the chauvinist path is likely to test the patience of Sinhalese who have had enough of myth-mongering and wails whose volume is not consistent with nature of wound. 
The TNA can walk the world and state their lie as loud as it wants.  Sooner or later it will meet a person called ‘The Vast Majorty’ and that will be on Sri Lankan soil.  I won’t be surprised if that individual will look the TNA in the eye and say ‘Enough!’   ‘Get lost’ is around the corner, the TNA should take note.
[Published in 'The Nation' of February 4, 2012] 


Anonymous said...

what "problem" are the TNA talking about now? i thought the problem was solved ?

TNA's stupidity has given rise to people like ranawaka..

utterly stupid , unless there are puppet masters accross the seas working behind the scenes....

Anonymous said...

The TNA is also using LTTE tactics 'give this to us or else.... (remember after Mavil Aru and Sampur?)'. Though they say that solutions must be acceptable to the other communities, they keep running to foreigners, wanting them to 'pressure' the Government. Do they want a another 200 years of 'colonialism?' Hasn't the TNA learned from the experience with the Indians and the IPKF?

But it also seems that the TNA doesn't read or listen to anything other than their own rhetoric and the 'yesses' of their 'yes' people

beautiful sunshine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Your point taken, but is it not also true that the Tamil community -particularly diaspora - looks upon the entire Sinhala community as a 'mob' ('58,'77,'83)? They don't see any moderate Sinhalese or realize that the majority community has a sizeable proportion of people who feel that genuine grievances of minorities must be addressed. The Tamil diaspora continues sabre rattling. The Tamil political party's negotiation always carries a latent threat in it. How could the other communities have the confidence to 'lower their guard'?

MAH said...

Nice piece Malinda. Somebody should be showing the TNA the political exit door soon. This is getting ridiculous! Even to a non-Sri Lankan, their tactics lie right smack in the middle of absurdity.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

here's a challenge: list grievances and match them to solution-proposal. nothing wrong in calling pro-eelam or pro-ltte people exactly that. until such time that tamil 'moderates' come out in the open and condemn the ltte, then they are essentially pussy-footting around the problem. it is strange also that those who disagree with eelamist posturing are always branded as sinhala chauvinists...

Anonymous said...

Excellent challenge for the TNA to take on! But do they read and digest alternative ideas and suggestions? Seems they don't.

The eelamists play to the international media to push their agenda and hope the americans or the europeans will do their dirty work for them.

The eelamist lobby's response here will be to discredit the challenge (and the challenger) rather than engage in matching solutions - to - grievances.

Wasantha Bandara Ranagala said...

History repeats itself and never ends. Two millennia ago a determined boy from Magampura saw to it that the little now and more later strategy dealt with for a few centuries. Followed similar containment few more times until the last at Mullivaikkal lagoon. The so called moderates of Tamil invasion are in yet another scheme to get under the skin of the so called Sinhala Chauvinists and it’s time to tell them where to get off. Bit more to get lost.