Tue, 29 Jul 2003

Offers and counter offers to the LTTE

P. S. Mahawatte, The Island, Asia News Network, Colombo

Excellent constructive ideas and suggestions appear in The Island newspapers from time to time on many subjects, particularly to those on the "peace process" and the "interim administration". These are topics that will affect not only the lives of the present generation but the lives of generations yet to be born. Every citizen, therefore, in a democracy has the right to be concerned and voice their opinions. Someone said that in a democracy, the only rights we have is to vote every so many years and a letter to the editor!

The government should not, therefore, dismiss these constructive ideas as "hostile" or "anti-peace" or "war mongering" or "racist" or anti government. If the ministers and MPs do not have the time to read these letters, they could appoint a person to read these letters and articles and present a gist of these suggestions relevant to that minister for his attention.

It appears that our negotiators are now unable to see the wood for the trees, because they have been bogged down in this peace process to the exclusion of all other problems for the last 18 months. Our negotiators may also be annoyed and feel let down because the LTTE negotiating team says that the last six meetings held in several foreign countries was a waste of time.

The government has already offered two separate proposals to the LTTE regarding an interim administration. Both have been rejected out of hand by the LTTE. The government is said to be working on yet another offer brokered by the Norwegians. A responsible government should not keep making offers and counter offers as is in an auction, on such an important matter as the life and death of this nation. This is not a private business deal between two parties. They must study the problem, formulate the solution and stick to it.

The government must maintain some semblance of respectability and dignity, without giving the impression that they will do anything to keep the talks going on at any cost in order to satisfy the condition for releasing the donor money which they need badly. LTTE knows this and will try to take every possible advantage to further their cause which is what they are now doing like a cat playing with a rat it has got between its paws. They have all this time hiding in a "closed fist" sharp claws in their soft paws.

The LTTE at least has been consistent. They refused to participate in the donor meeting in Tokyo and inspite of cajolings and pleadings by rich and mighty nations, making pilgrimages to Wanni, they stubbornly stuck to their decision. They give the impression that they do not care a tinkers cuss for international opinion whilst we are putting all our eggs in the international safety basket. Why they refused to attend the Tokyo donor meeting and make capital out of it is a matter for serious conjecture.

Ferial Ashroff MP, appearing in a Kinihira program asked a government Minister Jayalath Jayawardena, "To whom are you offering this interim administration". I think that this is a very pertinent question because the LTTE are not democratically elected representatives of the Tamil people. They cannot even be considered as representing the majority of the Tamil people, leave alone the claim of sole representatives because they have not faced any democratic elections and proved their contention.

Read also what Anandasangari said in Jaffna. Besides, without any political power, they are killing their opponents by the dozens with utter contempt of the government and the SLMM and the laws of the country. Just imagine what they will do when they get financial and administrative power.

Any devolution of power should be granted only to a democratically elected body like the Provincial Council or members of parliament of that province. Not to a bunch of terrorists who knows only the power of the bullet. Incidentally, the "closed fist" peace advertisement is mostly applicable to the LTTE because they do not want to reveal that they are hiding sharp claws in their soft paws!