21 August 2013

Suresh Premachandran recovers from selective memory loss

[In a parallel universe called 'Humility']
I, Suresh Premachandran, recently stated that Minister Basil Rajapaksa should not stop at saying ‘sorry’ to the near and dear of those killed and injured in Weliveriya. I said he should apologize to the loved ones of Tamils killed during the war. 
It is good that Basil has the humility to recognize wrong and to apologize to the wronged.  It would be good if all wrong-doers, including those who sanctioned wrongdoing by omission or commission said ‘sorry’.  That is an important step in the process towards reconciliation.  Charity begins at home, they say.  I am sorry, first and foremost, that I issued a demand to Basil about apologizing before I apologized myself.  But they say it is always better late than never.  So here goes…

I say ‘deeply sorry’ to my Tamil brethren who suffered all manner of deprivation for close to thirty years.  My sorrow comes too late for those who died of course, but there’s precious little I can do about this.  I deeply regret the part I played in the violence both as a gun-toting militant and as a sometimes tacit other times overt approver of the LTTE.  I am sorry that I regurgitated myths about traditional homelands for purely narrow political purposes.
I am sorry that I exaggerated grievances.  I am sorry that my politicking with the sole intention of arousing the worst sentiments of human beings led to thousands of innocents picking up guns and thousands of them dying for a cause most had long forgotten and thousands of others they killed.  I am sorry that I have, throughout my political life, inflated grievances and constructed ‘aspirations’ that no one on the other side of the politico-identity divide could subscribe to without putting him/herself and his/her community at risk of being obliterated by an empowered and belligerent Tamil polity.   

I am sorry that I conflated ‘Tamil’ with ‘LTTE’ by saying ‘Prabhakaran/LTTE is the sole-representative of the Tamils’.  I am sorry I didn’t have the strength of character to emulate the example of V. Anandasangaree, who identified with cause but refused to condone method or would-be deliverer of objective. 

I know that my political future depends on continued mistrust, fear, apprehension and even hatred among communities and I am sorry that I have chosen to privilege the furtherance of personal political agendas over true reconciliation and inter-communal harmony. 
I have apologized.  I now call upon others who claim to represent the interest of Tamils who have similar histories to say ‘sorry’ to both Tamils as well as other communities who were not spared the horrors of a war that no one wanted except those who wanted to make political capital.  People like me, that is.  I call upon my Sinhala and Muslim counterparts to stand up, raise their hands, and follow my lead, say ‘sorry’ for similar crimes of omission and commission.