I am creating a Webpage of Blogs on the SL Problem which can be accessed by clicking on this link. This will initially include articles and comments written by me but could include other articles as well. It is arranged chronologically in descending order. Older blogs will gradually be added.
The Homeland Myth
The debate on the discredited myth of "Homelands" has again being re-opened in connection with an "open letter" to DBS Jeyaraj written by Chand Wije and a response to this by Wimal Ediriwira, the principal of the Sinhela Centre (London). Both these documents are reproduced below. Wije has been noted over the years for a number of crazy ideas on the SL problem, like moving the capital to the Vanni, enlisting God Vishnu in the fight against the LTTE, the 200 "kalusudda" families, the "river basins" theory, etc. He has now joined this with his own version of Federalism in which the M-Chintanaya notion of "maximum devolution" is extended to minority areas. Wimal counters this by restating his own theory of homelands of which he must be amongst the last few defenders. Even though there are differences in their respective views both are based on a racist ideology. This ideology has led to great conflict worldwide and has caused massive carnage in SL bringing it to the brink of disintegration. Even though the views concerned have been refuted by me before I think they deserve to the restated, if only briefly, in view of the dire straights they have led to in SL .
I may start with Wimal's homeland theory. He sees the world divided into different "countries" each consisting of a "homeland" for a racial-ethnic group. Each group can claim one and only one country as their homeland within which they enjoy Sovereign National Rights (SNR). The country is said to be "owned" by the dominant group whose homeland it is. People of other racial-ethnic origin can live there but they are only entitled to Human Rights (HR), more restricted that SNR, even though they may be full citizens of that country. Naturally these people do not "own" the country. Earlier Wimal had stated that the other groups must "integrate" with the dominant group, but it is not clear if he still adheres to this. If he does not this may be due to my previous criticism of the integration theory. If these other groups, dissatisfied with the discrimination that is exercised against them, and the lesser rights accorded to them, agitate for the recognition of their own racial and ethnic rights, then they become "invaders" and the government of the country can treat them as such. It is clear from this brief statement that this theory is a racist theory.
Like most racist theories this theory does not define its basic terminology. We may cite the following as some problems confronting this racist theory, to which the racists have no logical answer:
Chand Wije's error is not as substantial as that of Wimal. Most of his letter to Jeyraj, a pro-LTTE Tamil journalist, is devoted to a critique of Jeyraj's not-too-subtle attempts to defend the LTTE. I have no problem with this. Jeyraj has also criticised the President for the actions against the LTTE in the East comparing it to ethnic cleansing. Chand Wije is quite right in criticisng Jeyraj on this score. It is in his defence of President Mahinda here that he advances a sort of "power-sharing theory" which is advocated by the current President. But his views on the subject are as confused as those of the President. We know that the President advanced in his so-called Chintanaya the absurd theory of "maximum devolution within a unitary state". This shows that he did not have a clue as to what is a unitary state and what is devolution. Chand Wije's confusion is of a similar order.
In a recent news report retired biochemistry professor Carlo Fonseka has identified you as a "brilliant journalist." He was giving a keynote address at BMICH on 12/19/2006, on the occasion of celebrating Mr. Anandasangaree's recent UNESCO Award (Ceylon Daily News, 1/13/07). This is a significant commendation for you since Carlo is an authority on Sri Lankan history. The late Lal Jayawardena of WIDER in Norway in fact funded him for this history project (Island, 1/24/07).
Previously, you replied to me by e-mail when I sent you a copy of my essay, "An Immoral Report by Six Sinhala Colombo Lawyers." In your reply you said, "Thanks for sending me this article. It has a different perspective and though I don't agree with some points stated it certainly offers much food for thought..." I requested you on 12/30/06 to let me know what you did not agree and why.
Instead, what I have found is your continuation of a journalistic policy which supports at least indirectly, the terrorist outfit of Prabakaran. I cite two examples. In a recent essay (Island, 1/24/07), I.P.C. Mendis quotes your propagation of the Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rev. Duleep de Chickera's biased "wisdom" on statecraft. A priest should concentrate on his religion and not on war strategies.
I am more worried about the second example. In that essay titled, "The continuing agony of eastern Tamil civilians," (1/23/07, http://transcurrents.com), I think you were not fair by President Rajapakse.
Despite a massive collection of data! to the contrary, you hark back on a mythical allegation of "state-sponsored ethnic cleansing in Sri Lanka." Since you are operating at international level such statements by you fall into the category of irresponsible journalism.
I quote the last paragraph of your essay. "What is now happening in the East is a monumental crime against humanity with genocidal attributes. Innocent civilians are being decimated for politico-military objectives. Meanwhile Mahinda Rajapakse will continue taking "Malthattus" to viharas, observe "Sil" and listen to "sethpirith" being chanted. May the blessings of the Triple Gem be upon him. "Pin Siddha Vechaava."
Do you have any idea why Buddhists take flowers to temples? It is a symbol of impermanence. Beautiful flowers in the morning whither away in a few hours time! Your story reminds me behavior of the former attorney general of Sri Lanka, Siva Pashupathi or the other one Paskaralingam. They are all now in the terrorist camp. What camp they were in as government servants? Both draw their pensions too.
Buddhism got wiped out from India and in modern times from South Korea because of what you think Buddhist should do in a world fighting to eliminate others' religion. Just like the Cobra Bodisatva who ended up in a kitchen of an old lady while in search of water during a drought had to show her his full fan when she took a stick to hit him thinking it was a garandiya, GOSL had to talk to the terrorist in the language they understand to chase them out of the Marvil Aru anicut. The rest is history now. Because you cannot accept this reality you are talking Bana that you yourself do not really understand.
Did you know that the U.S. president Ronald Regan used this same lang! uage of missiles, the only language that Gadafi in Libya understood? That stopped Gadafi and decades later he became a tamed lamb giving up all his nuclear ambitions. Did you know that the American general George Patten, asked his army chaplain to write a prayer to get clear skies so that the American planes could attack the enemy positions? And the chaplain wrote it and Patton got the clear sky? And this Patton prayer is used by millions of Christians today? Have also forgotten that the American planes dropped bombs in one area of Afghanistan and food baskets in another area of Afghanistan at the same time? If U.S. president George Bush coul! d do that why do you think the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse should not do it?
I am sure that under the Mahinda Chintanaya which is Buddhism in practice modified to suit the world situation in 2007 would make the Tamil people happier in months once the terrorism headache is removed from the island. He will follow what the great Buddhist king Ashoka did in India after the Kalinga war. If you talk to the Tamil people returning home at Vakarai you will understand what I mean. In the past Tamil Christian leaders of the Tamil state party living in Colombo taught their children Sinhala but prevented the Jaffna poor Tamil learning Sinhala. Today journalists like you are not taking the side of the average Tamil. You are backing up the Tamil politicians.
You should use your position as an international journalist to device a mechanism to empower the average person in Jaffna, Batticaloa or Point Pedro! . How that can be done is the theme of my essay that you read. Rather than playing to the tune of the Colombo black white crowd with a Majority Report, I urge you to work for a village council based power devolution and power sharing system for Sri Lanka. This is what all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka needs to get rid of the Colombo control of people via a crazy and corrupt bureaucracy. With all the disasters of land slips, flooding and drought the spatial unit of village council and wards should be based on river basins/water sheds just like the river basin concept is applied in New Zealand.
The system can have a hierarchy so that at the top there are several predominantly Tamil or Muslim districts where the respective ethnic groups can work on their much cherished aspirations. Aspirations can also take place at the village council level without extra police stations as suggested by the Majority Report as happened for thousands of years before the colonial rulers came.
With a Tamilnad gorilla waiting on the other side of the Palk Street and the World Tamil Federation asking for a state for Tamils, this is the only way Sri Lankan Tamil leaders can live peacefully with the Sinhala Buddhists people (not politicians). Where do you think the Sinhala Buddhist people should go?
From: Buddhist-News@yahoogroups.com On Behalf Of Wimal Ediriwira
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 1:06 AM
Subject: Re: [BNC] Re Chand Wije's devolution and his "An open letter to Mr. D.B.S. Jeyaraj"
Why Chand Wije's ideas are invalid is because his primary premise - that there is an ethnic problem in Sinhalé - is WRONG. There is NO ethnic problem, there is simply a TERRORIST (that is, a law and order) problem.
This is not to say that ANY situation, anywhere in the world, cannot be turned - even overnight - into an ethnic problem. For example, I live in the UK. If I demand (along with a few other Sinhelas) that the Sinhelas should have a Sinhela homeland in the UK - AND if a terrorism is started on this basis - there is IMMEDIATELY an 'ethnic' problem.
And the same will exist ANYWHERE in the world.
The thing is, that Wije needs to relate his arguments to the REAL world - and this means that ANY premises on which arguments are based MUST be valid as REASONABLE (SEE Buddhism!) - by being accepted and existent in OTHER places and countries as well. The moment he gets introverted and tries to study a problem as if it is UNIQUE and FOUND IN SRI LANKA ALONE, then he gets trapped into an UNKNOWN SPECIES syndrome, where ANYTHING or ANY THEORY can be invented!
The fact is that immigrants like Sri Lankan Tamils are NOT unique. EVERY country in the world has immigrants. Even I, and the other Sinhelas in the UK are immigrants in the same way that the Tamils are in Sri Lanka. If he points out that I have not been in the UK as long as the Tamils have been in Sinhalé, it is easy to point out to OTHER minorities - Italians (from even BEFORE the English arrived in what is today called England), French from more than a thousand years ago, Vikings, Germans etc! But NONE of them have demanded, or will dare to demand, that they have a 'right' to have an ethnic homeland for their immigrant population in the UK. It is the same in France - where there are many English who have settled down from as far back as the Crusades! - but would THEY demand a piece of land as an "English homeland" there?
The point is that there are certain universally recognised principles even though many have not been actually put down on paper, but they are explicitly or implicitly accepted and implemented almost everywhere in the world. Such as:
The Sinhela Centre