An analysis of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of 1987
which was the first great betrayal of the nation
since the inception of the Tamil separatist insurgency.
This is the reissue of a document first published in September 1987 by the Queensland Association for Sri Lanka Unity (QASLU). It was written shortly after the conclusion of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of that year between President Jayawardene and Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. Both these politicians are now deceased,
It was worthwhile recalling the situation when the Accord was signed. Many people in Sri Lanka today consider Rajiv Gandhi some something of a hero because he as assassinated by the LTTE. But in 1987 he was very much a friend of the LTTE and his foray into Sri Lanka was he help the LTTE. The LTTE was originally set up by the Indian Government of Mrs Gandhi, mother of Rajiv, through RAW the Indian secret service. The early LTTE cardres were trained and armed by the Indians.
When in 1987 the Sri Lankan military had succeeded in cornering the LTTE and was on the verge of annihilating them in the Vadamarachi operation Rajiv Gandhi intervened by illegally sending planes into the Jaffna Peninsula to drop supplies to the Tamils and demoralize the SL Army. This was aggression against Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka should have taken the matter to the Security Council of the UN. Instead it concluded a shameful "Accord" with Rajiv Gandhi. It was the first great betrayal of the interests of Sri Lanka by a duly elected leader of the nation. Under the Accord India was given unusual powers over internal matters of Sri Lanka. One consequence was that Sri Lanka agreed to merge the Northern and Eastern provinces and recognise them as the traditional homeland of the Tamil people. The treacherous decision has still not been overturned by any subsequent government of Sri Lanka.
This document analyses the causes and consequences of this national betrayal of 1987. This betrayal set the pattern for several other betrayals until now the LTTE have been given their own sovereign territory.
Subsequent events did not go the way either of the two parties anticipated. The Indians could not carry out their part of the bargain of disarming the LTTE. Instead they were soundly beaten by the LTTE, and the Indians soon quit as they did not want to do the dirty work for the Sri Lankans. Sri Lankan Governments too have ever since been capitulating to the LTTE.
On 29 July 1987 an agreement was signed in Colombo between the President of Sri Lanka, Mr Junius Jayawardene, and the Prime Minister of India, Mr Rajiv Gandhi, which is destined to become a landmark in the history of Sri Lanka. The signing of this accord is not just another occurrence in the sequence of tragic events that has engulfed Sri Lanka during the past half dozen years or so. Nor does it signify the end of Sri Lanka's agony. It is another turning point in that tragedy, and one that will usher in an even more tragic phase in the contemporary history of Sri Lanka. The full effects of this agreement will take some time to manifest, but already some of its consequences could be seen in the political landscape of Sri Lanka. Unless the agreement is abrogated soon the destiny of Sri Lanka will be affected for a considerable time to come. This agreement also has many international dimensions, going beyond the two parties immediately involved, for it represents a retreat from certain international gains in the areas of decolonisation and the struggle against terrorism.
The agreement has been promoted by its protagonists as constituting a "solution" to Sri Lanka's terrorist conflict. It is the task of the present work to examine the nature of that "solution", placing it within the context of what has gone before and what is likely to eventuate.
In examining the agreement it must be remembered that its real implications go well beyond the actual text of the document. The accord has to be assessed in terms of the political realities which lie behind it. There are no external parties, either international or national, who as co-signatories to the agreement could act as its guarantors, ensuring its correct implementation. And there is of course no impartial tribunal that could interpret the accord in the event of a disagreement over its terms. In fact the Sri Lankan Government has laid itself totally at the mercy of the Indian Government, a Government which for over a decade has conducted a clandestine terrorist operation against Sri Lanka in defiance of all the established rules of international conduct. The Sri Lankan Government has failed dismally in its attempt to curb the relatively minor terrorist insurgency; it will therefore be totally incapable of exercising any control over infringements of the accord by their Indian masters. In fact this appears to be happening already. India's treatment of its small Northern nations, whose rights have been trampled underfoot and where Indian interference is the order of the day, is well known.
This agreement opens up another frontier for the exercise of Indian imperialist machinations. It is the thesis of the present work that this so-called solution does not address the vital issues that underlie this conflict, and in fact opens the door to further conflict on ethnic and other lines. It will be argued that this agreement amounts to nothing less than the betrayal of the territorial integrity and the national independence of Sri Lanka. The accord appears to have been reached to satisfy the interests of a narrow political and economic group that despite its immense social, economic and political power in Sri Lanka, in fact represents a very small proportion of its people. It would appear that this oligarchy is prepared to pay even the supreme price to perpetuate its power and wealth, a price which imposes a heavy penalty not only on the nation as a whole, but also on generations still unborn. An inevitable outcome of this agreement would he the further disintegration of Sri Lanka and the loss of even the nominal independence now left to the Sri Lankan Government.
The Plan of this work could be stated at this point. Section 2 will detail the real dimensions of the betrayal of July 1987. Section 3 will examine the Accord itself. Section 4 will recapitulate briefly [N1] the essential nature of the Tamil separatist insurrection, and consider whether the this accord really addresses the problems created by that terrorist insurgency. Sections 5 and 6 will consider the reasons for this debacle, the former considering the more fundamental factors that underlay the sell-out, and the latter the tortuous path leading to the surrender. Section 7 will consider the responsibility of other Sri Lankans in bringing about this act of national humiliation. Section 8 will consider the role of foreign elements in the Indian and terrorist triumph. Section 9 will examine the puerile excuses trotted out by the traitors and their supporters, and the next section will look at some possible future scenarios resulting fro& this act of surrender. The last section will be devoted to a few concluding comments.
Many deliberate misconceptions about the nature of the terrorist insurgency has been perpetrated by the separatists, and it appears that much of this has been acquired by the Sri Lankan government. Refutations of the terrorist thesis is contained in several publications of Sri Lankan expatriates, especially those of the Queensland Association for Sri Lankan Unity (QASLU).
At this stage it might be useful to catalogue the rights and principles that have been bartered away, and the people who have been betrayed, by this agreement. By any reckoning these must surely include the following:
Betrayal in any one of these areas would itself constitute a major crime against the Sri Lankan nation (and in some respects against humanity itself). Their conjoint betrayal makes the accord of July 1987 truly a Great Betrayal not only in Sri Lankan history, but indeed in the annals of free peoples. Nations have lost wars, but they have gone into defeat with honour and dignity, and have indeed earned the admiration of the victors. Such has been the case with the losers of the Second World War. But nothing but contempt attaches to the efforts of traitors, and this contempt will come not only from the people of Sri Lanka and indeed from the rest of humanity, but also from their erstwhile masters to whom they have betrayed the trust reposed in them by the nation.
When the Indian Prize Minister came home after setting the seal of defeat and humiliation on Sri Lanka he was hailed in Madras and Delhi as a conquering hero and given a standing ovation in the Indian Parliament. His achievement was truly monumental. [n3] Without firing a single shot he had been able to subjugate an entire nation and even occupy a significant part of its territory! This victory had been possible through the use of terrorism and a few acts of brazen intimidation. But behind this lies the cupidity and greed of a corrupt government in Sri Lanka, which had mismanaged almost every aspect of the struggle against the separatists, abandoned its duty to its people, and in the last instance made bedfellows of these very terrorists. There is probably no government in the world capable of such perfidy.
As a betrayal of a nation the Great Betrayal has few parallels in the history of free peoples. There is no record of anything comparable to it in the whole history of Sri Lanka. The nearest event that would come to mind is the capitulation of the Kandyan Kingdom to the British in 1815. While some similarities exist there are several crucial differences which do not make it strictly comparable to the Great Betrayal. These include the following:
Thus those who have master-minded the Great Betrayal of 1987 can at last claim to have done something unique in Sri Lankan history!
As an international accord between two countries the 'agreement' of July 1987 is a sadly deficient document, almost a farcical one. As stated earlier the real implications of this agreement go far beyond what is actually stated in it. Indeed the document has been left deliberately vague to conceal from the people the extent of the surrender by the Sri Lankan vassal to the dictates of the Indian master. Nonetheless the document as it stands should be subjected to scrutiny.
The document consists of a short introduction, a preamble containing 5 points, a resolution containing 17 clauses, and an Annexure to the Agreement containing 6 clauses. In addition an exchange of letters between the two parties to the agreement have been published which give further concessions to India.
The agreement starts by talking of the 'traditional friendship' between India and Sri Lanka. In recent years India has displayed this traditional friendship by despatching armed bands to wreak havoc in Sri Lanka, and only a few weeks before the signing of the accord the Sri Lankan vassal described his future Indian master as a 'Hitler'! After this exercise in mendacity the signatories to the accord talk about the need to solve an alleged 'ethnic problem' in Sri Lanka. The reality is that the terrorist war in Sri Lanka has little to do with ethnic issues as such and everything to do with the plan of terrorists to carve out a State for themselves out of the territory of Sri Lanka using racism as their war-cry, and of the Indian government to use these terrorists to turn Sri Lanka into an Indian colony.
The President of Sri Lanka, after endorsing these canards, goes on in the preamble to the actual articles of agreement to affirm with the Indian overlord five other hypocritical statements (clauses 1.1 to 1.5). These are the following:
Having got over these preliminary lies and deceptions the Agreement then gets down to 'brass tacks', even though these are left in a deliberately vague state in certain crucial areas so as to give full latitude to India to adjust the agreement to conform to the interests of their terrorist protÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©gÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©s. It would be tedious to go one-by-one through the 17 sub-clauses making up this part of the agreement. Instead they will be considered certain broad groupings.
This is the crux of the 'solution'. A Provincial Council is to be set up for the Northern and the Eastern Provinces (2.1), elections to which are to be overseen by and 'an observer' (2.8). It is stated that this observer should be a 'representative of the Government of India' (Annex. Art 2), but what is clear is that the real 'observers' will no doubt be the Indian arm which has now moved into these areas in massive numbers. How a free election could take place under these conditions even if the so-called 'displaced persons' are moved into their former areas of habitation (as required in Art. 2.4) is never stated. In any case the massive Tamil majority of the North could be used to ensure that the combined Provincial Council will be dominated by separatists.
It is a fact that in the North and the East the Tamil terrorists have established their de facto rule, a rule which has the full support of the Indian forces of occupation. In these circumstances both the elections to the Provincial Council and the subsequent referendum will be conducted to perpetuate their domination.
This part of the agreement amounts to a fundamental change in the Constitution of Sri Lanka. It has not been secured through any due constitutional process, and the people of the nation have not been consulted. There is absolutely no provision in domestic or international lay for the Indian Prime Minister to determine matters which lie within the jurisdiction of the Sri Lankan nation. This part of the agreement therefore has no legal justification and must be repudiated.
The agreement contains a curious provision that after the de facto amalgamation of the Northern and Eastern Provinces had been accomplished, and after a Tamil separatist Provincial Government installed, the people of the Eastern Province would be given the right to determine whether the amalgamation should continue. Now it is an accepted procedure that any such referendum should be conducted before an amalgamation is carried out. It is however not difficult to see why this accepted procedure has not been required by these two leaders of supposedly democratic governments. It is well-known that if such a referendum were to be carried out in any impartial manner it would be rejected outright by the people of the Eastern province.
So the leaders of Sri Lanka and India are to give the people of the Eastern Province a taste of the kind of democracy they practice in their own countries. They are to be first subjected to an arbitrarily constituted Provincial administration, which will be dominated by separatist terrorists, and under the thumb of these terrorists, with the benign supervision of the Indian patrons of these very terrorists, the de facto situation of a forced amalgamation is to he legalized in a sham referendum. The people of Sri Lanka have ample experience of fraudulent referendums stage-managed to 'legalize' essentially undemocratic acts. The proposal to have this repeated in the Eastern Province is therefore nothing new.
According to Art. 2.5 the Committee monitoring the referendum is to consist of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, a representative of the Government of Sri Lanka, and a representative of the 'Tamil speaking people of the Eastern province'. The inclusion of the last named representative is a blatantly racist provision (there being no representative of the non-Tamil speaking people of the Eastern province); this is in keeping with the racist nature of the 'solution' contemplated in this agreement. In any event, with the Chief Justice already a Tamil, there will he an inbuilt Tamil majority in the Committee. Given that the representative of the Government will also be a crypto-Tamil there is full scope for the perpetuation of a massive act of injustice in the name of a referendum.
The agreement provides for the cessation of the power of the government of Sri Lanka over the areas conceded to the Tamil separatists. This takes several forms, e.g. the requirement that the Sri Lankan troops be confined to barracks (Art. 2.9), that the 'Home Guards' be disbanded and all para-military personnel be withdrawn' (Annex Art 3), but more generally in the general provision that Indian troops be brought in to take control of the Northern and Eastern Provinces. This legitimization of foreign and terrorist rule over a substantial part of Sri Lanka is quaintly described as a 'cessation of hostilities'.
Of course for the Sri Lankan army sitting in the barracks is nothing new. This is what they had been doing for most of the terrorist emergency under the orders of the Sri Lankan government. What is now to happen under the agreement is that they are to be completely immobilized or disbanded, and their place taken by Indian forces. Even the occasional initiatives which the security forces were able to take such as the much-touted 'Operation Liberation' are guaranteed never to take place.
The Indian occupation of Sri Lanka is legitimised in the last clause of the Annexure to the agreement: 'an Indian peace keeping contingent may be invited by the President of Sri Lanka to guarantee and enforce the cessation of hostilities, if so required'. It is not known whether the President of Sri Lanka actually required this 'assistance', but scarcely had the ink been dry on this agreement when massive Indian troops crossed over the Sri Lanka to occupy the country. Indeed they were not confined to the North and East where the 'hostilities' had taken place, but were evident in Colombo itself taking charge of critical establishments like the Airport, 'guarding' the President and the Government against the wrath of the people, and so on. one curious 'omission' in the agreement is that there is nothing said about how and when the Indian forces of occupation are to leave Sri Lanka! Probably no such exit is contemplated, and the Indians will ensure that they will become a permanent fixture in Sri Lanka until such a time that a national leader will arise who will be able to re-assert the independence of Sri Lanka.
Quite apart from the conferment of effective rule in the North and the East to separatist terrorists and their Indian supporters, there is evidence that the Agreement amount to the imposition of Indian colonialist domination over Sri Lanka.
This is clearly seen in the exchange of letters between the two signatories which accompanied the signing of the document. These letters contain the substance of secret negotiations, and were revealed by the Indian Prime Minister who wanted to proclaim to Indians and the world at large the extent of his triumph over the Sri Lankan traitors. Amongst these concessions are the following:
No elaboration is needed on the implications of these concessions. They show clearly that Sri Lanka as a whole, and not just the North and the East, has become a colonial outpost of India.
The agreement affirms that 'hostilities' are to cease and that the terrorists are to lay down their weapons. According to the agreement 'All arms presently held by militant groups will be surrendered in accordance with an agreed procedure to authorities to be designated by the Government of Sri Lanka'. This was to be the final moment of glory for the armed forces of Sri Lanka who were to be the 'authorities' designated by the Government of Sri Lanka, before they were to be sent in utter humilation to their barracks. But even this was to be denied, for this clause was the first casualty of the agreement.
The agreement stipulates that 'the process of surrendering of arms and the confining of security personnel to barracks shall he completed within 72 hours of the cessation of hostilities'. while the second part of the bargain (the confinement of the security forces) was accomplished ahead of time, no progress was made on the first part, te surrender of arms by the terrorists ! Not only did the 72 hours elapse, but even after 12 days the indications are that the terrorist arsenals have actually increased. It must also be mentioned the President of Sri Lanka no longer refers to terrorists as terrorists but as 'militant groups'. The President had tore than once vowed to rid Sri Lanka of terrorists; he has done this now by the simple expedient of calling them militants! This is another of public humiliations which this 'Nobel Peace nominee' had been forced to endure during the course of this dispute.
Despite the massive concessions given to India there is very little that India is obliged to do in return.
The most important of Indian 'obligations', if indeed that term could justifiably be used, are contained in Art 2.16. This states that 'India will take all necessary steps to ensure that Indian territory is not used for activities prejudicial to the unity, integrity and security of Sri Lanka'. The unstated implication of this is that Indian territory has hitherto been used for this purpose. This, of course, has all along been the case even though the Sri Lankan government had failed to bring this to the bar of world justice, unlike say Nicaragua in the case of US interference. Even now there is, no explicit admission that India had all along violated this important principle of international law. [n4]
There is a 'requirement' that Indian naval craft should patrol the Palk Straight to prevent terrorists bringing in supplies from India. Hitherto the Indian navy had been operating in these waters to support and facilitate the transport of terrorists and their arms. The much simpler solution is that if India were to liquidate terrorist bases on its soil, instead of supporting and sponsoring them, then there would be no need for any Navy, Indian or Sri Lankan, to patrol the Palk Straight! once again no reprimand, let alone punishment, is meted to the culprit.
The rest of India's so-called obligation's are not obligations at all but functions conferred UP013 it as a colonial power. This is particularly true of the so called 'peace keeping role': as the principal agent behind the terrorists it is fully partisan in this issue and cannot be entitled to any such role. The Agreement surrenders the sovereignty of Sri Lanka to see that India adheres to the elementary rules of international conduct. No clearer example of a miscreant been rewarded for its illegal conduct could be found in an international agreement.
The other provisions of this agreement are no different from the main ones which we have analyzed. It is thus stipulated that 'the President of Sri Lanka will grant a general amnesty to political and other prisoners now held in custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and other emergency laws, and to combatants, as well as to those persons accused, charged and/or convicted under these lays. Here we have a curious admission that Jayawardene has indeed been holding 'political prisoners', something that he had denied so far. [n5] The implications of this 'amnesty' is that the persons responsible for the most brutal killings are to go unpunished, even when there is overwhelming evidence of their culpability! Naturally this amnesty will apply only to Tamils - the political prisoners belonging to other groups who are held in jails are to be excluded. It will also be noted that Jayawardena now confers on those he had previously labeled terrorists the status of "combatants'!
There is a provision about repatriating 'Indian citizens' from Sri Lanka and of Sri Lankan 'refugees' from India. One can safely assume that the 'Indian citizens' will not include the plantations Tamils (for whom the Jayawardene government has already given citizenship) or other illegal immigrants, while the 'refugees' from Tamilnadu will include substantial numbers of new Indian Tamil immigrants to occupy the vast tracts of land given over to Tamils as their 'homeland'.
Finally it must be mentioned that while all these conditions are imposed on Jayawardene, who by signing this document has accepted them, there is nothing binding on the terrorists! The Agreement puts it as follows: 'The Government of Sri Lanka will accept and abide by the above provisions and expect all others to do likewise' (Art. 2.12). While Jayawardene has bound the nation hand and foot to an unequal 'treaty' all that is binding on the terrorists is a mere 'expectation'. This is another of the astonishing features with which this agreement is replete.
The Agreement spells out the surrender of the Jayawardene Government to the terrorists and their Indian patrons. This government has accepted the arguments of the secessionists in toto. . This agreement cannot be considered a treaty between nations in the normal sense. It is simply and agreement between a Master and a Servant. It cannot be treated otherwise. International Lay permits the repudiation of unequal treaties, especially those entered into by quislings and traitors. This is one such agreement that should he repudiated by a Government which once tore has secured the mandate of the people of Sri Lanka.
The Jayawardene-Gandhi agreement has been touted as a solution to the Sri Lankan problem. It has been hailed as such not only by its authors, but also by a wide variety of international sources. These were the very sources that had stood behind the Tamil secessionists, provided them with financial and other support, and condemned the Sri Lankan government when it was trying to tackle the problem in a manner, which though confused, incompetent and insincere, was at least partially correct. This itself indicates what kind of solution this Agreement provides for the Sri Lanka problem.
The secessionists themselves are obviously pleased with the 'solution', but for obvious reasons have not welcomed it openly, for it provides them with a convenient resting place in their plans towards the final goal of 'Eelam'.
It is however opportune to consider whether this agreement proves a solution to the problem in the sense understood by reasonable people. At this point it is necessary to digress briefly on the meaning that could be attached to the term 'solution' in problems of this kind. An analogy, which is not far removed from the actual problem, may be in order. If a terrorist were to take hostages and make certain demands as a condition for their release, then one 'solution' would be to concede the demands and secure the release of the hostages. This is of course not a proper solution to this problem for if nothing else it will encourage others to resort to similar methods to attain their objectives. There are instances when terrorists and blackmailers have won, but the existence of a large number of hostages still in the custody of terrorists is proof that it is neither the universal nor the accepted method of resolving such problems. Furthermore where terrorism has been given into this has almost always been in the case of private problems, not for public or constitutional demands. The problem is aggravated if the terrorists demands involve the denial of legitimate rights to others, or the perpetration of an act of injustice. In these circumstances even the most depraved would not give in to the demands of the terrorists and still call it a 'solution'. A true solution is one which involves the liquidation of the problem, without giving in to unjust demands, or sacrificing the legitimate rights of those who have not resorted to terrorist methods. We shall refer to the former kind of 'solution' as capitulation to terrorist demands, and the latter as a genuine solution. On the basis of this terminology it is easy to show that what the agreement envisages is capitulation to, and not a solution of, the terrorist problem.
To find out whether any solution is appropriate or not it is necessary to diagnose the problem. In the case of the Sri Lankan dispute the nature of the problem is far from clear. The Tamil secessionists and their international supporters have characterised it as an 'ethnic problem'. As we have seen the Government of Sri Lanka too has now endorsed this view in the document signed by the President.
The term 'ethnic problem' is usually used to denote a situation where rights are denied to an ethnic group, usually a minority, in a multi-ethnic community. This is in fact what the Tamils had claimed, when they argued that there was an ethnic (Tamil) problem in Sri Lanka. They claimed that they were 'discriminated' in Sri Lanka. This claim has been amply refuted, and each and every ground on which discrimination has been alleged has been subjected to minute scrutiny. [n6] Even it discrimination is alleged to have taken place, there is no 'solution' to this problem in the agreement considered. For even if Tamils are given, the territory claimed by them, it is clear that only a part of Sri Lankan Tamils will live in this area. The rest of the Tamils will continue to live and work in the rest of the country. It is difficult to see how 'autonomy' to a section of the Tamils will eliminate the alleged problem of 'discrimination' for Tamils living elsewhere. On the other hand this agreement which allocated certain Provinces on a racial basis and creates the problem of second class citizens in these Provinces. Far.from rectifying a non-existent ethnic problem, this agreement creates a real ethnic problem and real discrimination, for it establishes the institutions of racial segregation, racism and apartheid in Sri Lanka.
The ethnic question was only an excuse for those who perpetrated the terrorist problem in Sri Lanka. In essence it was a compound of two distinct problems.
None of these have any justification in international usage or customary rights. Ethnic minorities do not generally have an exclusive right to a section of the territory of the country in which they reside, even though a measure of autonomy may be justified in special circumstances. The Indian government has resisted any attempts of ethnic groups to secede from India, even though some of them, like the Sikhs of the Punjab, have greater justification than the Tamils of Sri Lanka, for a separate homeland. The Sri Lankan Tamils have no rights in terms of history or or on 'any other ground to the separate state they claim.
The geographical extent of their claims is pure fantasy. The second factor involved in the Sri Lankan problem, viz. India's attempt to subjugate a sovereign nation through terrorism and intimidation is completely contrary to international law.
The Sri Lankan problem was created to achieve these twin objectives. The method adopted was that of international terrorism. The terrorists were accommodated in India, and dispatched from thence into Sri Lanka to create the problem which was then passed off as an 'ethnic' or 'human rights' problem. The 'human rights' aspects came to be highlighted only after the terrorist insurgency had commenced with Indian support, and the Sri Lankan government in its usually ineffective way, tried to curb it using methods adopted by security forces everywhere to curb terrorist activities of the ferocity and barbarity of the Tamil separatists.
Even if the Sri Lankan problem is treated as an 'ethnic problem' the Jayawardena-Gandhi accord is not a solution. In the first place all ethnic groups must be treated alike, and the hall-mark of the agreement is the denial of similar treatment to other ethnic groups. Even in the case of Tamils the grant of 'automony' to those living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces (at the expense of the rights of the other inhabitants of these areas) does not touch the Tamils elsewhere. If it is argued that these Tamils are not subjected to any ethnic disability (as is indeed the case) then there is no case for a special provision with respect of those living in the North and the East.
The fact is the accord was not meant to solve any 'ethnic problem' which never existed but designed to accommodate the demands of Tamil secessionists and Indian imperialists. We might enquire how far these have been satisfied.
As far as the Tamil secessionist-terrorists are concerned, they have indeed achieved more than they had dared to hope. This was admitted as such by the Indian Prime Minister when he gave an accounting his success in Sri Lanka to the Tamils of Madras. Of course the Tamil secessionists had overstated their territorial ambitions in the famous 'Eelaam map' to which they gave world-wide publicity. This is the normal extravagant demand made by any claimant to territory to which they have no real right. But the accord gives the entire extent of this exaggerated claim. What the terrorists have not achieved is the formal statehood of the area in which they are left the effective rulers. But even here the secessionists have not formally given up their claim. It is paradoxical that the agreement does not even require that they make a formal renunciation to Statehood. The terrorist leaders have stated openly that the creation of a State of Eelaam retains their goal. And they would be expected to resume this campaign once they have digested the extravagant fare served up for their consumption by Jayawardene and Gandhi!
It must be mentioned that the Agreement does not specify in detail the extent of the actual devolution of powers to the Provincial Council of the North and the East. It is stated that the previous offers of devolution should be adhered to. There have been many such offers, the last major published proposal being that of June 1986, extended still further in December of that year. These related to devolution to the existing nine Provinces of Sri Lanka, and did not envisage the amalgamation of provinces. Jayawardene even made a statement on the 'non-joinder' of the North and the East. This is another instance of Jayawardene being forced to eat his words in the course of his handling of this problem. [n7]
It has been shown elsewhere that the June 1986 devolution proposals are completely improper and unjust as a constitutional contrivance to bring about the resolution of the Sri Lankan problem. [n8] Since then further concessions have been made to the separatists by the Sri Lankan government in its policy of appeasement, which further reduced their validity. One would presume that even more concessions would have been made in the negotiations with the terrorists and the Indian leader. As with all initiatives at constitutional adjustment the last people to know about the concessions that have been made are the Sri Lankan people.
As far as the Indian imperialists are concerned they have gained their immediate objectives. Sri Lanka has been converted into a vassal state of India. But imperialists are insatiable. The Indians will continue to build on their newly established vassal state, and the exploitation of its people and resources will be the next item on the agenda. Some indications of this is already seen in the exchange of letters between the two signatories, but the real quid pro quo will be paid out in due course. Plentiful rewards will be made to the handful of traitors responsible for this act of treachery, but this is a small price to pay for a country like India, when compared to the powerful gains they have made.
In case Indian imperialists are denied any part of their dues, they have only to resurrect the 'ethnic problem', by giving the separatist terrorists the go-ahead to re-commence their carnage. The puppet government of Sri Lanka will then go to their Indian masters on bended knee, ever ready to barter away any retaining shreds of the rights and dignity of the Sri Lankan people!
But the clearest indication that the Sri Lankan problem has not been solved by the present agreement will be seen when we consider the possible consequences of this accord in a later section of this work. It will be shown that the ground-work has been laid for the legitimization of terrorism, for territorial demands by other ethnic groups, and for the nation to descend even -further into the quagmire of political despotism, economic corruption and national bankruptcy.
Having established that the Jayawardene-Gandhi accord amounts externally to the surrender of the independence of Sri Lanka with the re-imposition of a colonial yoke, and internally to the dismemberment of the nation (with undetermined and undeclared powers conceded to a special part of the country) it would be appropriate to enquire into the causes for this act of major national humiliation and defeat.
Our proximity to this act of Great Betrayal, and the secrecy under which the sell-out of the national interest was negotiated and perpetrated, make it impossible to arrive at definite conclusions about the causes for the Great Betrayal and the identification of those responsible. [n9] However from what is known some tentative conclusions could be drawn, both on the fundamental factors underlying the Betrayal and on the incorrect policies followed by the Sri Lankan authorities, which paved the way for the disaster. These will be the subject of the present and the subsequent sections of this work.
In discussing the root causes attention will be confined to three factors, two of them directly attributable to the Sri Lankan government, and the third a national failing of the Sri Lankan elite which was greatly promoted by the policies of the government. These are (i) the eclipse of democracy and the rise of despotism; (ii) the spread of corruption; and (iii) the social and moral failure of the ruling elite of Sri Lankan society.
When the British granted independence to Sri Lanka a democratic system was put in place. Many observers of the time thought that this was to be a permanent feature, but events proved otherwise. Both the letter and the spirit of democracy were maintained by the first four Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka provided the best model of the two-party system. Even though the democratic system came under increasing strain the early 1970s, the Government which preceded the current regime did maintain electoral procedures intact, the clearest proof of this being the election of 1977 which swept it out of office. That was to be the last free election in Sri Lanka.
Due to a quirk of the electoral process in Sri Lanka small majorities in the popular vote were magnified into large swings in Parliamentary seats. Thus even though the last free election resulted in a massive Parliamentary majority for the ruling United National Party (U.N.P) its real majority in terms of popular votes was much smaller. This fact was ignored by the ruling regime which used its massive Parliamentary majority in effect to bury democracy itself.
The result was the gradual replacement of democracy by a system of despotism. This descent into despotism took place through a series of steps, both formal and informal. The formal steps involved the following:
Of these formal acts the last mentioned was the most serious. This in effect puts in question the legality of the Parliament after the expiration of its legitimate term (whether this be 5 or 6 years). It must be remembered that amongst the acts passed by this Parliament are those dealing with the terrorist insurgency. Parliamentary approval of the Jaywardene-Gandhi accord does nothing to strengthen its legal position.
These formal acts leading to the dismantling of democracy were matched by a longer list of arbitrary acts. This included the politicization of almost every aspect of public life. Almost every conceivable kind of appointment and the distribution of every kind of government benefit and largesse went to the politically acceptable. The institutions of government were used to promote the political interest. While something of this had happened under previous administrations in Sri Lanka, what now occurred under the present regime far surpassed any previous known excess. It would be too tedious to catalogue this in a work of this kind.
But even more disturbing was the emergence of a private 'mafia' directed at the silencing of criticism. This was one of the charges leveled against the Government by pro-Tamil propagandists abroad to prove that the government has a chronic record of violations of civil rights. The secessionists of course distorted this to represent the Government as using these undemocratic methods against Tamils. [n11] In fact this was not the case, and the activities of this unofficial 'mafia' were directed against law abiding citizens, mainly of the majority community who were protesting against the betrayal of the nation and other crimes against democracy. Trade unionists, academics, etc. were also among the victims of this 'mafia'. It has been claimed that this 'mafia' was also responsible for some of the acts committed during the civil riots of 1983, which was to be the turning of the tide of world opinion in favour of the secessionists.
The significance of the rise of despotism for the conclusion of the shameful accord was that the whole process of negotiation with the Indian government, and the bartering away of the nation's sovereignty, was placed outside the arena of democratic decision taking. A handful of people, and those with influence over them, made the decisions, even on fundamental matters which affected the whole nation. That the nation did not acquiesce in this act of surrender is seen in the popular uprising which followed the signing of the accord. This uprising was without leadership, and was easily defeated by the forces of repression established to perpetuate despotism. Security forces who were kept in barracks while terrorists were holding large areas in the North and the East were unleashed on defenseless and unarmed protesters, many of the attacks being made from helicopter gunships allegedly imported to fight the terrorists, but instead used on the people of the country expressing peacefully their right of protest. Most observers agree that it was only after this repression of popular opinion that the protest turned into a riot against the symbols of governmental authority. Without the demise of democracy the disgraceful sell-out would not have been possible. Indeed if democratic processes rather than the whim of an autocratic President had been used to solve this problem, the secessionists would not have secured international support, and the problem could have been solved without the loss of national unity or the occupation of the country by a foreign power.
The rise of autocracy was accompanied by a decline and corruption in the standards of public life. This was to play an important part in the Great Betrayal.
Some degree of corruption had always existed in Sri Lanka even during the pre-independence period. What happened after independence was a progressive increase in the level of corruption. By the 1970s it had assumed the position of a threat to public life, but the real explosion took place in the 1980s.
The corruption that is referred to here is primarily economic corruption, i.e the receiving of gratifications of all sorts by persons in authority from those engaged in illegal activities, or who are the beneficiaries of Government expenditures, hand-outs, and contracts. Corruption of this kind exists to some extent everywhere. In the first world there have been well known scandals (e.g. the Lockheed scandal) in recent times, but because of the existence of democratic procedures such corruption is frequently exposed and the guilty punished. In the third world countries this rarely happens. The level of corruption varies in different countries, and third world countries like Nigeria and Indonesia have always had a bad reputation in this regard. During the last decade Sri Lanka appears to have moved into the front line in this area.
Third world corruption has been strongly associated with the inflow of foreign 'aid' either outright grants or loans of various kinds. The inflow of such funds into developing countries is usually associated with the undertaking of 'development' projects, almost all of them coordinated by Government Departments and Ministries in the recipient country. The implementation of such programmes involves the award of contracts, some running into millions of dollars, either to firms and individuals in the 'donor' countries, to other international firms, or to local firms. It is well-known that the contracts are grossly inflated, and their award is accompanied by kick-backs, bribery, graft, and the like to the persons making the relevant decision in the developing country. As these illegal gratifications are usually termed 'commissions', this kind of economic corruption will be referred to as the 'Commission System. [n12]
It must not be thought that the Commission System is simply a transfer of funds between the parties involved with no effects on the public welfare. The contractors cover themselves through inflated tendering, so the real victim is the public as a whole, who are either denied the full value of the 'aid' given to them,' or are saddled with massive debts.
It is paradoxical that Sri Lanka after 40 years of independence still remains one of the countries heavily addicted to 'foreign aid'. It is a popular misconception that foreign aid is a 'free gift'. There is a material cost attached to every form of aid, and more importantly a political cost. When a nation like Sri Lanka becomes aid-dependent, the heavier becomes the political price that has to be paid simply to maintain the addiction. To those dependent on the maintenance of the Commission System the bartering away of the independence and sovereignty of the country appears to be a cheap price, although only a few developing countries actually stoop this far.
The Tamil separatists, particularly their international propaganda arm the International Tamil Separatist Lobby (ITSL) [n13] were quick to understand the significance of this, and were able to use it to their advantage, They began to lobby the aid givers, urging the cut-off of aid to Sri Lanka unless their demands are met. They realized that if 'aid' was cut-off, or reduced, it was not so much the development of the nation that would be held up, but the flow of funds to lubricate the Commission System. In the event this turned out to be a successful strategy. Many countries reduced their quantum of aid, notably the Scandinavian countries. The Sri Lankan government boasted that it was able to increase the quantum of aid, but they did not reveal the price paid to achieve this.
The Western 'aid consortium' usually meets between April and June of each year, and its meetings in recent years has become something of an auction house of Sri Lanka's independence. Sri Lanka's had become something of an accomplished international beggar, and its entire diplomatic offensive was concentrated, not as it should have been in fighting the separatist distortions or bringing India before the bar of world justice, bu in begging for more and more aid. In the event the ITSL proved to be more successful than the entire diplomatic efforts of the Sri Lankan government. The Tamil separatists coordinated their international propaganda with massacres in Sri Lanka in the weeks before the Aid Consortium meeting to demonstrate to the world their complete power and control over the areas to which they had laid claim. As we have seen they were able to strangulate progressively the source of aid, forcing the Sri Lankan government to make more and more concession in order to maintain the life-giving flow of 'aid'. A price expected of Sri Lanka was giving in to the unjust demands of the separatists, and this is what Sri Lanka progressively did, leading up to the Great Betrayal. Foreign aid to Sri Lanka was, as we have seen, one of the main engines of corruption. And Sri Lanka's dependence of foreign aid had a direct link with the final act of surrender. It is not surprising that the most ardent supporters of the Great Betrayal were those who were most dependent on the aid system, and all that it implied.
The ITSL is the name that has been given to the formal and informal organizations which have been the international arm of the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist terrorists. This has become a formidable force in international propaganda, which must be given even more credit that the actual terrorists in bringing about the defeat and humiliation of the Sri Lankan Government.
In a sense both of the previously identified general causes for the Great Betrayal, are themselves the consequences of an even more fundamental flaw - the moral bankruptcy of the Sri Lankan ruling elite.
It has been often said that Sri Lanka has been ruled since independence by a Westernised elite. This is true in the sense that a wide chasm had opened up between the ruling segments of society and the ordinary people. This chasm is clearly seen in the attitudes to the Great Betrayal by groups that supported it on the one hand and the ordinary people on the other. But many of the leading traits of the ruling elite are only Western in a superficial may. They have absorbed only the negative aspects of Western culture, especially it crass materialist and a simplistic view of its religion (by those who had adopted it). The deeper and more enduring aspects of Western civilization have eluded them. In particular the Western political system - democracy based on political parties - was converted into a system where the ruling party took every opportunity to use their authority for personal advantage, This was the root cause for both the rise of despotism and the epidemic of corruption which has swept the nation. The standards of Parliamentary debate was debased until it became little more than a forum for the exchange of abuse. In any event the latest Constitutional reforms had meant a serious devaluation of Parliament.
In Sri Lanka the Sinhalese constitute the bulk of the population and it is amongst the Sinhalese ruling elite that the moral decline is most evident. In classical times the Sinhalese were a dynamic ethnic group, who produced great leaders who mere able to maintain the unity and the independence of the nation - without denying due recognition and reward to other minorities. But the decline of classical Sinhalese civilization had set in even before the advent of Western colonialism. When the Western colonialists fashioned a ruling class from the indigenous population they were dealing with a group which needed little deprogramming because they were in the process of losing their identity. The large numbers of Sri Lankans who embraced the superficial Western customs and habits, ignoring its deeper virtues is testimony to this. This group had repeatedly abandoned the national cause, and the Great Betrayal is simply the latest in this regard.
The absence of a collective will amongst the Sinhalese elite is clearly seen in their response to the Tamil separatist threat. The contending Tamil groups were often at conflict with each other, spilling into bloody feuding, but they were broadly presented a united front, and no group - or for that matter, individual broke ranks to betray what they regarded as their 'cause', however unjustifiable it may have been. On the other hand the Sinhalese elite could not present a united front against the anti-Sri Lankan forces. While the bulk of them remained apathetic to the threat facing the nation, many others actually joined up or supported the separatists. in fact these Sinhalese 'renegades' were always put into the forefront by the international Tamil separatist lobby, many of them prefacing their anti-Sri Lankan activities by proclaiming that they were 'full-blooded Sinhalese'. These 'full blooded Sinhalese' provide the best example of the moral decline of the Sinhalese, but the bulk of the Sinhalese elite, though less conspicuous in the anti-national cause, mere equally ready to sell the independence and unity of their nation. Even those working in some way for the national cause could not unite, and some actually mere engaged in sabotaging the work of others.
It must be reiterated that the comments on the moral decline of Sri Lankans, and the Sinhalese in particular, refer only to the ruling elite. The ordinary masses appear to have kept up the cause of the nation, and might yet provide the resource from which the ultimate liberation of Sri Lanka will come.
The Great Betrayal of July 1987 would have come as a shock to many persons, especially those who have taken the statements of the Government and it leaders like the President and the Prime Minister at their face value. It does not come as a surprise to those who have studied the Government's handling of the problem, and issued advice and warnings to the Government to change its policy. Of course the Government gave no heed to these warnings, and the direct consequence of this is the total defeat of the Government - and also of the nation - by the separatist terrorists and their Indian sponsors.
This section will highlight the errors in the path trodden by the Government of Sri Lanka which finally led to the Great Betrayal. We shall concentrate on the major strategic errors committed by, the Government in the handling of this problem. It would not be possible in a work of this length to comment in detail on the tactical and day-to-day errors which made the Sri Lankan policy on this problem something of a farce. A roughly chronological order will be followed in so far as this is possible given the inconsistencies, reversals and somersaults which characterized the Government handling of this problem.
The President and his United National Party (UNP) government has a long history of using the ethnic issue as a lever to achieve political power. In this respect they were not unique, as other political leaders and parties had done likewise. But Jayawardene was perhaps more cynical than most in the use of the ethnic issue. He had opposed a compromise worked out between a previous SLFP government and (non-terrorist) Tamil leaders, and in fact had led a 'march' from Colombo to Kandy against this compromise, which resulted in its complete sabotage. This did not prevent him seeking Tamil votes in areas other than the Northern Province for his party by making various compromises.
All these efforts were characterized by the lack of principle on the ethnic issue. As mentioned earlier the present Government alone cannot be accused of this lack of principle, so it is unnecessary to dwell at length on this issue.
Tamil separatist terrorism commenced in the last years of the previous Government, but was confined to isolated terrorist incidents. But in the first three years of the present government (1977-1980) it became clear that it had become an organized movement with firm support from the Government of Tamilnadu, if not yet from the Central Government of India. in spite of the growing body of evidence on this, the Government gave priority to persecuting its political opponents, especially the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), over trying to combat terrorism. Had terrorism been firmly dealt with in its incipient phase, it is possible that the nation would have been spared the travail that it has had to undergo, and finally the loss of its independence.
The previous government had dealt with an uprising led by the Jatika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in 1971 quite decisively, and successfully prosecuted its leaders. The President released these leaders from prison, in the hope that they could be utilised in his campaign against the previous government. In this, as in many others, he was mistaken. The JVP began reorganizing its operational structure, and it has been argued has actually established links with Tamil terrorist groups. It is paradoxical that the President has now blamed the disturbances which followed his act of national betrayal, on the very JVP that he tried to use for his own objectives. Another curious fact is that while the Tamil terrorists have been exonerated and promoted to the category of 'militants', 'combatants', etc., the President continues to refer to the JVP as 'Southern terrorists' or 'Sinhalese terrorists'. Apparently Northern/Tamil terrorism is made of different stuff from what the President of Sri Lanka calls 'Southern/Sinhalese terrorism'!
It is generally agreed that the riots of 1983 gave international prominence and support to the secessionist cause. Even though these riots were insignificant by the standards of ethnic riots in India and in some other countries, there is little doubt that the degree of rioting, the number of deaths and destruction of property, was directly due to the mishandling by the government.
The government was totally inactive during the first few days which decisive action would have ended the rioting. But even more serious is the claim that thugs and 'Mafiosi' deployed by the ruling Party had actually organized a large part of the rioting. The government never held an independent investigation into these riots, so the truth of these claims cannot he investigated. The mishandling of the riots, and the failure to institute an official enquiry greatly played into the international propaganda of the terrorists.
After the riots the Government tried to pacify the Tamils by paying compensation to those affected, but this did not alter the fact that the Government had handed to the separatists a tremendous propaganda coup.
The 'all-Party Conference' of 1985 was the one effort made by the Government during the duration of the crisis to lift this problem from the Party-political level to the national level. The attempt was a failure, and the blame for this failure has been laid variously either on the government for not making it an attempt at a genuine consultation of opinion, or on the opposition SLFP for walking out of the Conference. No doubt both parties have some responsibility for this.
But the Government was the principal player in this game, and the responsibility for forging a national consensus on this problem must be considered the primary responsibility of the Government. The series of extra-ordinary and undezocratic acts of the Government such as the failure to hold a general election, the deprivation of the civic rights of the leader of the S.L.F.P., etc., ensured that there was to be no genuine bi-partisan approach to this problem. It is in this sense that the 'All-Party Conference' onthe subject was mismanaged. The aim of the whole exercise appeared to be to obtain endorsement for the Government's policy on this question (and possibly also for its undemocratic actions), rather than solve the problem by_a through a process of genuine national consultation.
The Government also passed the notorious Ninth Amendment to the Constitution which had the result of excluding the Federal Party MPs from Parliament. While there could be some legitimacy in requiring the oath that was expected of members of Parliament under this Amendment to the Constitution, its net effect was to close a channel of communication with elected Members of Parliament from the Northern Province. It is ironical that a Government that refused to engaged in a dialogue with Tamil MPs elected by Tamil constituencies, soon after engaged in a dialogue with self-appointed Tamil terrorist leaders!
Both the mismanagement of the All-Party Conference and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution showed an unwillingness on the part of the Government to negotiate with persons and parties who have had a democratic mandate from those whom they claimed to represent. The government preference all along has been a desire to negotiate and accommodate the views of terrorists and of the Indian government, both of whom have no legitimate right to be involved in the resolution of the so-called 'ethnic problem'.
One of the crucial failures of the government was the failure to counter the international propaganda of the Tamil separatists. This propaganda, orchestrated by the international Tatil separatist lobby (ITSL), was highly effective in swaying foreign governments, voluntary organizations, religious bodies, the international media, etc.
The first to respond to this international propaganda assault were the Sri Lankan expatriate groups abroad who were able to observe at first bind the operation of the Tamil propaganda machine. Despite repeated pleas to the Sri Lankan government to co-ordinate information and propaganda on the Sri Lankan problem there was no effective response. The crude propaganda of the Information Department and such Colombo-based entities like the 'Media Centre' and the 'Centre for Ethnic Amity' were highly amateurish, and very often had the effect of confirming rather than countering the terrorist propaganda.
The Government was totally incapable of controlling the foreign media news reports originating from Sri Lanka. No effective action was taken against foreign journalists sending distorted reports out of Sri Lanka; on the other hand they were given every opportunity and facility to engage in their pro-Tamil tendentious propaganda.
A measure of the success of the Tamil propaganda was that the government itself came to believe some of the Tamil claims and theories. One of the most important successes of Tamil propaganda was to make the Government accept their so-called 'political vs. military solution' theory. The essence of this 'theory' was that the Sri Lankan government should lay down their arms before the terrorist threat and begin taking tore and tore concessions to the Tamil separatists. This is exactly what the Sri Lankan government ultimately did.
It did not tak . c long for the Indian government to rgalize the opportunity that this crisis gave them to make Sri Lanka a client state. They decided to underwrite the terrorists, and engaged in a series of hostile acts against - Sri Lanka.
The illegal acts committed by India in the pursuit of their objective have been detailed elsewhere and need not be repeated here. [n14] What is interesting is the total failure of the Sri Lankan government to defend the national interest in responding to these illegal acts. No attempt was made to channel the resources of international lay, either the United Nations or the World Court. The .excuse was trotted out that India was too large a country for Sri Lanka to do anything about. But what was asked of Sri Lanka was no military expedition against India, but to utilize the resources of international lay to defend the country against the illegal acts of a neighbour. The example of Nicaragua's actions against the United States in the world court could be cited as the actions of a stall nations against a great power - in this case the greatest power in the world.
Even when India moved from indirect to direct action there was no proper response. This happened when India violated Sri Lankan air space to provide (allegedly humanitarian) assistance to Tamils in the Jaffna peninsula. Not even an official protest was lodged with the UN Security Council; all that the government did -was to write private letters to them, which they correctly tossed into the waste paper basket!
For a detailed account of Indian violations of international lay see the present, writer's India and the Sri Lankan problem: the international law perspective.
India also took up the propaganda themes of the Tamil separatists to international organizations, often using as its proxies nations like Argentina which had a special grouse against Sri Lanka. The most important of these is the raising of the Tamil claims in the UN subcommittee on Human Relations.
The defences of the Sri Lankan representative in that body against these charges make pathetic reading. There was not a single attempt to compare India's human right record against Sri Lanka's, or to question the Indian motives in raising this issue when they turned a blind eye not only to human rights violations more serious than those alleged against Sri Lanka, not only in other parts of the world but also in India itself.
The failure to defend the national interest against the Indian onslaught is one of the most serious failures of the Sri Lankan government.
Many clear thinking people realized that with India joining forces with the terrorists Sri Lanka was faced with a formidable situation which could not be solved by a Government which was based on a Political Party that had become increasingly isolated from the people. Indeed even a Party which had the support of a majority of the people could not have solved it. It needed the mobilization of the entire resources of the nation.
Accordingly a call for the formation of a truly National Government came from many quarters, especially expatriate Sri Lankans. Sri Lankan expatriate groups in Australia in particular articulated the demand for a National Government. The initiative for the formation of such a Government should have come from the Government. This never came. The impediment was the intensely hostile attitude taken by the Government towards the leading opposition Party (the SLFM symbolised by the deprivation of the Civic Rights of its leader. When civic rights was restored, and some dialogue was resumed, there was no serious offer to form a National Government on terms that were not humiliating for the opposition.
With the government trying to 'go it alone' in the resolution of the problem there was the problem of curbing the terrorists who were by now trained and armed into a formidable force. Nothing less than the full mobilization of the armed forces of Sri Lanka was needed to curb terrorism.
The President frequently claimed that he was going to wipe out terrorism. Unfortunately this retained only in the realm of rhetoric. In effect the armed forces mere quite incapable of dealing with the terrorists. The Government was extremely reluctant to build an efficient fighting force.
A peoples' army, which would have involved the mobilization of the youth of the country as a mass force dedicated would have swept out the terrorists. The Government was increasingly incapable of undertaking such a task. It was afraid that such an army would demand the end of the corrupt and despotic government itself. Afraid that its position was jeopardized the size of the army was kept at a minimal level. But even the diminutive armed forces were not used efficiently. For most of the terrorist insurgency they were confined to barracks. It has also been claimed that they were placed under severe restraint by their civilian masters, with certain actions to be authorized personally be the President himself! Whether the President did so or not, as the titular commander in chief of the armed forces he has to accept full responsibility for the military humiliation of the Sri Lankan army by a rag-tag band of terrorists. Military commanders are known to resign or be removed for less!
The military failure was accompanied in the international plane by the complete diplomatic failure of the Government. The Sri Lankan government had signally failed to secure a single international ally in this dispute. Even the few nations that offered material support to Sri Lanka did so because they were themselves threatened by the Indian government, or had some grievance with India. These countries, of course, were betrayed by the Indo-Sri Lankan 'accord'.
We have already mentioned the failure to counter the anti-Sri Lankan activities of the Taml separatists. Even when foreign governments endorsed the Tamil claims and criticized Sri Lanka the Government remained passive. interference in Sri Lanka's internal matters was permitted without a single diplomatic protest. Thus when the European Parliament passed several resolutions pertaining to Sri Lanka's internal matters no protest was lodged. If this Parliament had criticised the internal affairs of any other self-respecting independent nation appropriate protests would have been lodged.
Resolutions against Sri Lanka were passed in many foreign legislatures, again without protest. As we have already seen when India invoked the Sri Lankan issue in the UK Subcommittee on Human Rights a purely passive attitude was taken by the Sri Lankan government.
The diplomatic representatives of Sri Lanka were subjected to ridicule by foreign governments and in foreign Parliaments to an extent that would have prompted even a banana republic to protest. Yet no diplomatic protest, leave alone the threat of tore severe action was forthcoming from the Sri Lankan. government. The experience of the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in Australia could be cited in this regard. Not only the Sri Lankan High Commissioner,. but even the President of^Sri Lanka himself was rebuked in Parliament in terms that could hardly he described as 'Parliamentary'. No apology was demanded from the Australian government and none was given. Yet when a number of Asian and Pacific countries were referred to disparagingly in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, an obscure Australian legislature, the diplomats of these countries were summoned to the Foreign Ministry and an apology given. [n15] No doubt the experience in other countries would have been similar.
The final act of folly which set the seal on the fate of the Government's handling of this problem could be called the Thimphu policy. Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan, and this was the venue selected by India to bring about the reconciliation of the Sri Lankan Government and the terrorists. The Sri Lankan Government eagerly accepted this invitation, and the ball was set in motion towards the final debacle that lay at the end of the road from Thimphu.
The Thimphu policy was doomed because of two fatal flaws: (1) it recognized the terrorists as the legitimate representatives of the Tamil people which whom negotiations could be conducted to determine the constitutional structure of Sri Lanka, and (2) it legitimized the interference of India in internal Sri Lankan matters even though India was guilty of hostile acts against Sri Lanka by sponsoring terrorism. Despite frequent representation made to the Sri Lankan government, especially by Sri Lankan expatriates and domestic patriotic forces to change this policy, no such change was affected. The road from Thimphu led directly to the Great Betrayal of Sri Lanka.
The previous sections have highlighted the Government's role and responsibility for the Great Betrayal. We now turn to the role played by some other groups in the Sri Lankan tragedy.
It was not only the ruling United National Party (UNP) that had an incorrect grasp of the Sri Lankan problem. The policies of the other parties were also confused, but they had not been consulted and so had no direct input into the resolution of the problem. Sri Lanka has a multiplicity of political organizations, many of the& splinter groups, and it is not possible to examine the policies of all of them, even if they are clearly known. We shall consider briefly the position taken by the three following groups: (a) the main Opposition party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), (b) the left parties, and (c) the Jatika Vimukti Peramuna (JVP).
This party had for a long time denounced the Government's handling of the crisis, and it condemned the Accord when it was signed. Some SLFP leaders even demonstrated against the agreement, but it was clear that the SLFP was not able to mobilize mass political action against the Accord, just as it had not been able to mobilize mass demonstrations against the other undemocratic acts of the Government. In fact it was the very lack of effective opposition which was one of the factors which has persuaded the Government to surrender of Sri Lanka's sovereignty to India as the price for its continuance in power.
It is difficult to speculate on the course of action the SLFP would have followed had it been in power, and this will not be attempted here. We can only consider the official line taken by this Party on the Sri Lankan problem. on the surface this appears to be more sensible as far as maintaining the integrity of Sri Lanka is concerned. Thus it had not been able to contemplate a level of devolution going beyond that of District Councils; it had opposed terrorism and was not likely to have engaged in a dialogue with terrorists as readily as the Government did. in fact it has a good record in fighting terrorism when terrorism had opposed democratically constituted authority. All this would have led to a more favourable outcome had it been able to preside over Sri Lanka's destiny during this crucial period.
In one crucial area however the SLFP. policy appears to be questionable, and this relates to the role of India. The SLFP. appears to have entertained the delusion that it would have been able to come to a more favourable arrangement with India. This was based on allegedly good relations between the founders of SLFP and Indian leaders. But it is highly unlikely that such an outcome would have been possible, and an SLFP government would have soon found this out. But whether it would have been able to oppose Indian interference in Sri Lanka's internal affairs is another thing. This must remain in the nature of things a speculative question. What can be said with some certainty is that with regard to India both the main political parties in Sri Lanka appear to have entertained serious delusions. It is this 'bi-partisan folly' that has been the cause of Sri Lanka's undoing. The evaluation of the position and role of the SLFP in the Sri Lankan problem must therefore remain a mixed one. While it would no doubt have opposed terrorist more vigorously we will have to reserve judgement on whether it would have been able to tackle the other arm of the Sri Lankan problem - the Indian plan to subvert the Independence of Sri Lanka.
The political left in Sri Lanka is fragmented into a number of 'Marxist' parties, ranging from Trotskytes to Communists (both Moscow and Peking wings). These parties had failed to outgrow the ideological conflicts of the 1930s and 1940s (which was the period when they were established), and as a result of which they had progressively become alienated from the political life of the nation. This progressive alienation culminated in their virtual elimination from the Parliatent in the last general election.
On the ethnic question the left parties took a dogmatic stand, generally favouring Tamil autonomy, if not outright independence. The left parties never had enjoyed much support from the Tamils, and their Parliamentary representation had come almost exclusively from predominantly Sinhalese electorates. This did not prevent the& from taking a pro-Tamil position, which was one of the reasons for their elimination from national politics.
The position of the Left parties on Indian intervention is not clear. It is possible that they would have opposed it. However they had a very naive notion of internationalism, and some would even have welcomed the Indian occupation of Sri Lanka. Some of the Trotskyte parties in Sri Lanka started as offshoots of Indian political parties. Of all the Sri Lankan political parties the left parties have the most 'Westernized' leadership, and this contributes no doubt to their isolation from the mass of the people on the 'ethnic issue' as on other matters.
This party which led the insurrection of 1971 has become something of an enigma in Sri Lankan politics. It was virtually eliminated by the previous government, but resurrected by the present one in a classic exercise of political opportunism. The JVP had developed close links with the Tamil terrorists during the insurgency. But whether this was a marriage of convenience or a genuine conversion to their cause can only be speculated upon. As an ally of the Tamils the JVP must take some responsibility for the Tamil terrorist carnage. Because of the clandestine nature of the JVP it is virtually impossible to get definitive information about its policies and real intentions. It is possible that the JVP does not have a monolithic unity, and there could be sections in it that hold diametrically opposite views on the question of its links with Tamil terrorist.
The JVP had opposed Indian expansionism. [n16] This had been one of the 5 points of its original 1971 platform. But whether it still constitutes an important element of its policy is not known. It has opposed vigorously the Accord signed by the present government, and as such has been able to harness a greater extent of popular support than it has ever been able to do before. The government blamed it for the anti-Accord riots, but this may be another of the government's errors.
The greatest boost which the JVP has received out of the Accord is the legitimisation of Tamil terrorist. Even though the President has made an esoteric difference between 'Northern' terrorism and 'Southern' terrorism he will find that it will be impossible to legitimize the former and not the latter. The Accord is the most significant victory of terrorism so far, and the JVP will seek to profit from this legitimacy given to terrorism by the two leaders who have signed the Accord.
It is a popular misconception that the Great Betrayal was the sole responsibility of the Government of Sri Lanka or even of the triumvirate within the Cabinet who were its chief architects. This is not in fact the case. Defeatism had been much more widespread, and the enthusiastic support given to it by the ruling elites in Sri Lanka clearly show that these elites could be considered as willing parties to this act of national betrayal. In every society there are ruling elements who constitute a minority in purely numerical terms, but exercise overwhelming power. These elites usually comprise (a) the capitalists and other wealthy groups; (b) professional groups including administrators and managers; (c) the intelligentsia and opinion makers, including the media, and (d) the religious establishments. This section will consider the first three of these groups, leaving the last for the next section.
It was argued earlier that one of the enabling circumstances which led to the Great Betrayal was the moral decline of the ruling elites. This is particularly seen with respect to the three kinds of elites that will be considered in this section. But this decline was greatly facilitated by the general policy orientation, especially the economic policy, followed by the Government since its assumption of power in 1977.
The previous regime had followed a policy of economic autarky With a regulated economy. For various reasons which need not he considered in the present context that policy tailed, and this failure accounted in large measure to the defeat of that government at the polls. The present government reversed this policy and initiated the policy of the 'open economy'. The main ingredients of this policy were: (1) removal of restrictions on economic activity, especially international transactions; (ii) promotion of foreign exchange oriented industries, especially tourist and exports of manufactured goods; (iii) heavy dependence of foreign 'aid', and burrowing from public and private foreign sources; (iv) encouragement of the inflow of foreign capital and aulti-national enterprise.
In the first 5 years of its operation this policy was a success. It was greatly helped by certain fortuitous circumstances which were not directly connected with the policy. These included (i) the commodity boom which greatly inflated the value of traditional exports, (ii) the exodus of migrants and 'quest workers' to foreign countries, especially the Middle East, with the resulting inflow of migrant remittances; and (iii) the success of 'green revolution technologies' whose adoption antedated the deployment of the new economic policy, some going back to the previous regime.
But this success was achieved at a price. The new policy depended heavily on circumstances which were beyond the control of the Government or the nation, e.g. developments in the world economy, and in the perception of foreign governments and foreign investors of Sri Lanka as a suitable country for the flow of funds. At the same time the distribution of the benefits of the new policy was very uneven. The main beneficiaries comprised a narrow class who soon developed a dependence on the continuation of this policy. [n17] This narrow class was composed mainly of the elites me had identified earlier. The new policy also gave considerable scope for official corruption, but as this has already been referred to earlier as one of the root causes of the Great Betrayal, it will not be dealt with here.
The Tamil separatists diagnosed the nature of this dependence of the ruling elites on foreign factors, and set about undermining it. This took two main forms direct action within the country by their terrorist arm, and lobbying activities outside Sri Lanka. The terrorists soon put an end to tourist, and also to a large extent of foreign investment. With attacks on tourist complexes, particularly in the East coast, and with attacks on airliners and random bombs everywhere the tourists were scared away. At the same time factories were bombed and destroyed and this helped to keep the foreign investors away. The external action was directed at the cut-off of foreign aid, the reduction of tourism and even boycotting Sri Lankan exports. Particularly noteworthy in this regard was the boycott Sri Lankan tea exports, which was given a boost by the terrorist threat to poison tea exports. In these activities the separatists were able to chalk up considerable success.
The first to respond to this was the capitalist elite of Sri Lanka. They were only interested in the perpetuation of their short-term gains, and were not interested in the longer term future of the nation. Many persons belonging to this elite had managed to secrete large amounts of funds in foreign countries and were contemplating a move abroad if there was a complete collapse at home. Hence they had no permanent interest in the maintenance of Si Lanka as an independent and viable nation. The capitalists were also tempted by the possible gains from collaboration with a foreign ruling power. Even it Indian colonial rule is established, the Indians like all colonial powers would need a local comprador class as proxies for their rule, and the capitalist elite of Sri Lanka were willing to discharge this function. All these factors disposed the capitalist elite towards the Great Betrayal, all that it lacked was the courage to defy the nation. When the government itself decided to take the political risk of the national betrayal the capitalists closed ranks with the government, and the Great Betrayal became a reality.
The more affluent professional groups, like doctors, lawyers, beads of corporations (almost all of them political appointees without any capacity for independent decision making), all belonged to the privileged few, and naturally made common cause with the capitalists, This group also includes high ranking public servants, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, etc. all of whoa were likewise political appointees (not appointed on the basis of merit), and were given their due share of the plunder of the national wealth. The support of such groups with vested interests for the Great Betrayal is easily understood, and therefore does not warrant any special consideration.
The support of many other elements belonging to the elite was secured through the implicit threat of dismissal, and the economic penalties that could be imposed. Many perceptive public servants and others have frequently expressed the view (in private of course) that they were against the policy followed by the government but dared not do anything about it for fear of jeapordising the economic position of their families etc. This blackmail exercised by those in authority against the economically vulnerable middle class is one of the greatest crises they have committed against the fabric of Sri Lankan society.
The silence of the intelligentsia on this question is more difficult to explain. Many of them like University academics and journalists theoretically had freedom of expression. In fact they were subjected to various legal controls. The Universities had long been politicized, and journalists could be subjected to censorship. It was even argued that illegal pressures could be brought. Some academics who had organized a protest meeting vere assaulted by 'unidentified elements', while a journalist who had been too 'nosey' vith his photo-journalism is reported to have died mysteriously. However the failure of the intelligentsia could not be put entirely to this. The Tamil separatist campaign vas accompanied by serious distortions in the areas of history, political theory, geography and the social sciences, and these could have been refuted by the academics and the press within legally tolerated parameters. Such a refutation did not occur. In fact sore of the intelligentsia went so far as to give credibility to the separatists distortions. [n18] A part of the explanation may lie in the need to toe the line on the Sri Lankan problem favoured in many academic institutions abroad which had developed an interest in this question, and who had resources to expend on those toeing their line.
Religion has been an important factor behind the Sri Lankan problem. As with other aspects the religious dimension has been distorted, and a false view propagated by those with an interest in this matter.
Sri Lanka is a multi-religious nation, and almost all religions are represented in the country. The four main religious groups are the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Muslims and the Christians. The Muslims (as a religious group) have not been regarded as not fundamentally involved in this problem and will not be considered here. [n19] As far as the other three groups are concerned the view has been propagated .that the Sri Lankan conflict is one between Buddhists and Hindus with the Buddhist Sinhalese 'chauvinists' led by their 'clergy' as the aggressors, and the Christians as impartial onlookers. This is a gross travesty of the real situation and has been spread mainly by by the Tamil (Christian) propagandists to harness the anti-Buddhist sentiments of the Western interest groups and conceal their own involvement.
Sri Lanka has throughout recorded history been a Buddhist nation, and this fact has been recognised even by colonial powers. Under the Kandyan convention which ceded sovereignty to the British the latter undertook to protect Buddhism as the national religion. It was in this spirit that the present Constitution gave to Buddhism the 'foremost place' without in any way detracting from the rights of persons of other religions to full religious freedom.
Most countries give a special place to the preponderant religion. This is the case in all Muslim and Catholic countries, and also in many protestant countries, e.g. the U.K. Thus Sri Lankan practice is not exceptional but conforms to the rule, even though this fact has been adduced by the separatists as one of their claims to 'discrimination'.
Buddhism has never been a highly centralized religion, and this is true of Sri Lankan Buddhism. The freedom given for individual interpretation and practice has led to the growth of superstition, and this is true of much of Buddhist practice in Sri Lanka. Buddhist monks have played a part in the social, educational and even political life, there being no requirement in the code of conduct for monks, the Vinaya, which could be interpreted as a requirement to abstain from political conduct. However monks have not intervened in the political domain except in periods of extreme crisis.
The situation created by the separatist insurgency was one such moment which put the survival of the nation at peril, and some monks exercised their political right to give guidance to a population left leaderless by the despotism of some, and the cowardice of other lay leaders. It was this involvement that has been grossly distorted by the separatist propagandists as action directed against Tamils. [n20] In fact the monks had used their influence to protect Tamils during the episodes of communal violence, and their opposition had been against those who worked against the national interest, be they Tamil or Sinhalese, Buddhist or non-Buddhist. In fact when the Great Betrayal took place it was the monks who were able to give some leadership to the people and prevent the people's anger from turning entirely into destructive ends. In fact the Jayawardena government has launched a new campaign against Buddhist monks seeking to deny them their political rights. [n21]
Unfortunately in Sri Lanka much of Buddhist practice deviates from the pure teachings of the Buddha, and this perversion has been used by unscrupulous elements to promote anti-national ideas. A few Buddhist monks have been found to support the anti-national cause. Jayawardene himself tried to sell his Accord with Gandhi to the people of Sri Lanka by claiming that Gandhi had agreed to pass on some Buddhist relics to Sri Lanka as part of the deal! India is the world's leading exporter of human skeletons (some of these skeletons being those of small children specially murdered to obtain their skeletons for sale). It would be small matter for the Indian Prime Minister to palm off a few fragments of human bones as 'relics' to their puppet Jayawardene who could in turn then pass these off to the 'Buddhists' of Sri Lanka as 'Buddhist relics'. There could be no greater prostitution of religion than this act by a President who now wants to deprive the Buddhist monks of an essential part of their civil rights.
If the view propagated by separatists that Buddhists were seeking to wage on other religionists is wrong, so also is the view that the Hindus are engaged in some form of conflict with the Buddhist majority. The actual situation is quite the contrary. Throughout history the Hindu religion was allowed to be practiced freely, and cordial relationships have prevailed between the two religions. In fact popular Buddhism as practiced by most Sinhalese has absorbed many of the Hindu deities (even though somewhat differently from classic Hinduism), and Hindu shrines have always been respected and even venerated by ordinary Sinhalese. On a reciprocal basis the Hindus regard the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu.
The picture of Hindu-Buddhist religious strife is thus a pure fabrication of the separatists. In fact the greatest threat to the Hindu religious and social practices has come not from Buddhist Sinhalese, but from the Tamil separatist terrorists, most of whom as will be shown are organised and directed by Christian Tamils. In this connection it should be mentioned that many traditionaiist Hindu political leaders, such as those belonging to the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) hav been killed by terrorists during their rule in Jaffna.
The reasons for the fabrication of a mythical Hindu-Buddhist conflict become clear when we examine the role of the Sri Lankan Christians. There have been conversions to Christianity from both the Sinhalese and the Tamil communities, but whereas only about 6 percent of Buddhist Sinhalese were converte during the long period of Colonial rule, the conversion rate from the Tamil Hindu exceeded 20 percent. Many Christian missionaries turned their attention to Jaffna, and the Tamil voice became dominant in Christian organizations, even though the Sinhalese Christians probably outnumber Tamil Christians in purely numerical terms.
There were also several other reasons that prompted the Christian organizations in Sri Lanka to support the Tamil separatists in the Sri Lankan conflict. The distance between Hinduism and Christianity, both theistic religions, is narrower tha that between Buddhist and Christianity, which are antithetical to each other in many respects. Furthermore Sinhalese Christians were more uprooted from the traditional values, and tended to identify more with Western Christians, than was the case with the Tamil Christians. These comments however refer to the official position taken by Church organisations in Sri Lanka and abroad, and it is not suggested that Sinhalese Christian voices were not raised against Tamil separatism. indeed many individual Sinhalese Christians played a leading part in the struggle to expose the separatist propaganda while many 'Buddhists' feigned apathy. This was particularly true in many expatriate organization where they provided most of the drive.
In Sri Lanka however the position was rather different. In the North and the East the Church provided active support and assistance to the terrorists. In other parts it did not raise its voice effectively against the divisive activities of the separatists, even though many Christians were victims, and some Christian churches were actually attacked by the terrorists. it is therefore hardly surprising that Christian organizations in Sri Lanka did not mount any opposition to the sell-out of the national interest in the Great Betrayal.
On the basis of their stand on the Sri Lankan problem the Sri Lankan expatriates tell into three categories - those that actively supported the separatist cause, those that opposed the activities of the separatists, and those who remained indifferent to the problem. [n22]
The Sri Lankan expatriate supporters of separatist were the first to get organized. They were mainly Sri Lanka Tamils, but they had many allies amongst the Sinhalese. Their activities ae now well-known. They entrenched themselves in Western countries by spreading the well-known canards such as the discrimination canard and the homeland canard. The devious tactics used by them to penetrate informational, religious and governmental organizations in Western countries are now well known. For several years this activity us carried out in stealth. But after the 1983 riots in Sri Lanka, which as we have seen were badly mismanaged by the Government, they came into the open. By now they had established powerful lobbies, with international headquarters like the Tamil Information Centre in London.
The Tamil separatist lobby was always well endowed with funds, coiling initially from the voluntary contributions of Tamil expatriates, but later augmented by funds from Indian and other sources who say opportunities for themselves in the Tamil insurgency. Finally the multi-million dollar narcotics trade was tapped as a source of funds, utilizing the vast numbers of Tamil 'economic refugees' who were being welcomed with open arms in Western countries.
The Sri Lankan expatriates with an interest in the unity of the nation came later into the picture. They had initially to justify their very involvement. But by then the separatists were will entrenched, and difficult to dislodge. Those with an interest in promoting the good name and interests of Sri Lanka had several severe handicaps to contend with, amongst which the most important can be briefly mentioned:
The combination of all the above factors made the work of these expatriate extremely difficult. Nonetheless they were able to stem to some extent the barrage ol propaganda unleashed by the terrorist supporters, and sway opinion even to a small extent in the direction of Sri Lanka. Had the Sri Lankan government not capitulated as swiftly as they did the outcome of the Sri Lankan dispute could well have been quite different.
A word may be said about the bulk of the Sri Lanka expatriates who remained aloof from this problem. Many of them were the products of the moral decadence o the Sri Lankan middle and upper classes which we had mentioned earlier. They could even be considered prime examples of the deracinÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© Sri Lankan whose emigration abroad symbolized a cut-off of all significant links with their homeland (except for things like retaining their food habits). Their disinterest in this latter is understandable (though not their taking of the separatist cause). As such it would not be necessary to dwell at greater length on this as these persons were expressing a viewpoint to which they had a right, however dishonourable it tight appear to other
A final word lust be said about the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka. Probably no group paid a greater price for Sri Lanka's cause than the security forces.
Their betrayal is therefore one of the cruelest blows dealt by the government. This betrayal came long before the actual signing of the Accord - it lay in the refusal o the government to mobilize all national resources in the terrorist struggle (as they were more afraid of their own safety), the refusal to follow a consistent foreign policy that would have aided the armed struggle, and several other factors.
Sri Lanka never developed an army that was commensurate with her needs. The blame for this has to be placed with all governments. Deluding themselves that they had no enemies they concentrated their resources on economic and social development (with some resources diverted for purposes of economic corruption). If this was economy indeed it has turned out to be a false economy. It the Sri Lanka's experience has any lessons for other nations it is that deluding oneself that one has no enemies in a sure recipe to create new enemies even if there were none in the first place.
The commanding officers of Sri Lanka's 'ceremonial army' were drawn from the elite groups, and nepotism was rife. There was even political interference in the recruitment of the lower ranks of the armed services as well. Thus it has been claimed that even in the height of the terrorist war, when people were volunteering to join the army in large numbers to fight the terrorists, the small numbers that were actually recruited were made on the recommendation of government MPs from the Party faithful. Fear of JVP 'infiltration' was the official excuse given, but the real reason could well have been otherwise.
While there have been incidents of officers plotting military 'coups' in the past, there has never been a tradition of a military take-over in Sri Lanka, unlike in many of the third world countries. Indeed it was the very fear of such a coup that prevented the government from building an army capable of taking over the terrorists. The government was willing to accept the colonial yoke of India rather than run the risk of a military take-over. Of course having an efficient military does not necessarily mean ending up with a military regime. In fact in the countries with the largest military establishments (including India) civilian regimes are well entrenched.
The Armed Forces of Sri Lanka could well claim that they were not allowed to do their job.
It would next be appropriate to examine the role of foreign interests, other than India, in the Sri Lankan problem and in the Great Betrayal. Foreign interests, both official and unofficial, have played a significant part in the course of this dispute, and determined to a significant degree the final outcome.
The Western powers have played a role more significant than is generally recognized in the surrender by the Jayawardene government. Jayawardene had looked to the West more than to any other source to salvage his Sri Lankan Policy - indeed if he ever had one! Jayawardene proudly proclaimed his pro-Western (and specifically pro-American) bias; his anti-Communist rhetoric was undisguised; his cringing servility to Western reporters (who roundly abused the privileges extended to them) was well known; and he was ever ready to follow closely the economic dictates of the World Bank and other institutions of Western capitalism..
Despite all this he received very little real support from the Western countries. None of these countries publicly supported any of his initiatives - except of course the final act of Betrayal. [n23] The only Western country to provide some support was Britain, but most of this was unofficial, and designed to protect Britain's long-term interests in Sri Lanka. Even though some official British statements could be produced that appear on the surface to be supportive of Sri Lanka, these were carefully balanced to accommodate the interests of the Tamil separatists, and of course there was no outright condemnation of the separatists.
There are several factors behind this lack of support from the West despite the fawning attendance paid on them by the Jayawardene government. For one thing there is the contempt that is reserved for a leader lacking principle or consistency. Sri Lanka is known to the West as an artful beggar of foreign aid, and despite its cringing servility quite unreliable. These countries perhaps rightly judged that finally Sri Lanka would bow down to Indian dictates as it lacked the coral courage to stand up to its rights. Even if there was anything that these countries had to secure in Sri Lanka, this could best be done through negotiations with the Indian leader. Hence no Western country was prepared to offend India when all indications were that Jayawardene would finally crawl to his Indian master.
The Western countries were also under the sway of the Tamil secessionists, either directly or through their sponsor groups in the West such as the 'human rights groups' and the churches. Even when Tamils were introducing narcotics into the West in massive quantities, and so-called Tamil 'refugees' were overwhelming these countries, none of these countries deserted the Tamil cause, or deported a single Tamil miscreant to Sri Lanka. Even if these countries were wise enough to see through the Tamil propaganda they vere equally avare of Jayawardene's sabotage of democracy in Sri Lanka and the system of corruption he had established in its place. Such was the contempt they had for the Sri Lankan government. For the West Sri Lanka was little more than an annoyance, and its being gobbled up by India not much cause for regret.
The role of the Soviet Bloc was constrained by the requirements of the Kremlin leaders to keep their relations with India at the closest level. 1ndia was the closest ally of the Soviet Union between Afghanistan and Vietnam. As such the Kremlin was not willing to do anything that was contrary to the local interests of India.
This position was aggravated by the policy of the Jayawardene government. Its well-known servility to the West for which it got nothing in return except a few monetary handouts which was used to lubricate the system of corruption also predisposed the Soviet Union against Sri Lanka. Like the Western countries the Soviet Union concluded that any positions that they needed in Sri Lanka could best be negotiated directly with the Indian master rather than the Sri Lankan puppet. Whether Soviet interest would extend to a naval base at Trincomalee is not known, neither is Indian views on this question, now that effective sovereignty over that part of Sri Lanka has been passed over to India.
The actual extent of Soviet support for the Tamil terrorists is however problematical. It is possible that some of them would have been supported with money and weapons, but the Kremlin would have been aware that despite the Marxist rhetoric of these terrorist groups they were closer to fascism than to Marxism. The Soviets had fared badly in developing interest groups in Sri Lanka, the pro-Moscow Communist Party being quite ineffective. Despite this it is possible that the Soviets may not have looked at the Sri Lankan capitulation with approval. There was no official reaction to this news, and this indicates some caution. The Soviets could be vary of Indian reliability, and the prospect of the extension of Indian imperialism in South Asia may be the source of some problems should India change its international alignment.
The Jayawardene government's foreign policy towards the Soviet bloc has been as much a fiasco as the rest of its foreign policy, and this itself was a contributory cause for the Indian and terrorist triumph.
Despite the inconsistency of the Jayawardene government's foreign policy there were a few countries which showed some interest in extending some material help to Sri Lanka. These countries were Pakistan, China, Israel and South Africa. We could notice briefly the nature of their interest in this problem.
Pakistan and China have fought wars with India, and continue to treat India as an adversary if not actually a hostile power. These countries provided much valuable assistance to Sri Lanka in terms of war-material and intelligence. The obstacle to the proper use of this assistance was the inconsistency of the Government's policy on the problem and the lack of a real will to solve it. The relationship with China should have been a cardinal one if Sri Lanka was to solve this problem with honour. But in this task the Government did not have the proper credentials. Jayawardene had been noted for his Sino-phobia on the ground that China had shown respect to the Bandaranikes. Indeed in a previous election Jayawardene had raised anti-Chinese sentiment to such an extent that some innocent Chinese were victims from political hooligans. This Sino-phobia was coupled with the general anti-Communism propagated by him. In spite of all this it is surprising that China has aided Sri Lanka to the extent that it has. Israel and South Africa had different motives. Both were seeking international recognition especially in the third world, and felt that Sri Lanka would provide that recognition. They also considered India as an adversary engaged in activities directed against them. [n24] Once again much valuable assistance was obtained from these sources, especially from Israel in the training of anti-terrorist cadre.
Tamil terrorists and their supporters made much use of the assistance given to Sri Lanka by these countries trying to stir up countries which were against them. Thus the anti-Israeli cry was raised in Muslim countries, while the Western media was used to propagate the view that Sri Lanka was supportive of South African apartheid. [n25]
The betrayal of these few countries that came to Sri Lanka's aid at the hour of need is one of the greatest crimes that the government has committed in the Great Betrayal. It is to be hoped that this betrayal of the trust of friendly nations will not be laid by these countries against Sri Lanka as a whole, but against a government which has acted against the interests of the Sri Lankan people.
One consistent source of support for the Tamils came from groups in the West allegedly concerned with 'Human Rights'. There were several reasons for this support all of which cannot be considered here. They see Sri Lanka as a country with a weak and mendicant government that they could conveniently adopt. They were supported in their own countries by large sources of funds, and in order to ensure the flow of these funds had to give the impression that they were active in fighting for 'Human Rights'. Yet at the same time they were not willing to challenge countries with powerful or courageous governments. Sri Lanka fitted their requirements so perfectly that they soon adopted 'Sri Lanka's ethnic problem' as one of their pet projects.
The fabrications and distortions of the international Human Rights movement on Sri Lanka have been refuted by expatriates that they need not be reiterated once again. [n26] What is significant is the failure of the Government not only to defend itself, but to defend the nation as well. The real violations of civil rights in Sri Lanka were the violations of the rights of patriotic Sri Lankans protesting against the sell-out of the country, and this did not interest the Human Rights groups.
The farcical responses of the Sri Lankan government to the charges on human rights brought in the official UN Subcommittee has already been commented on. As with most things connected with the failure of the Sri Lankan government to defend the national interest this was related fundamentally to the fact that Sri Lanka was afraid to offend the donors of foreign aid which provided the lubrication for the corruption which was rife in the workings of the Sri Lankan economy.
No group in the Western World was more consistently hostile to the cause of Sri Lanka than the world-wide Christian churches. As we have seen the Human Rights organizations had a self-interest in adopting the Tamil cause. But this self-interest was relatively minor, and their support went mainly to the endorsement of the propaganda claims of the terrorists. As against this the international church organizations developed a substantial interest in the Sri Lankan dispute. They provided financial and material assistance to the terrorists, both in Sri Lanka as well as in Madras (usually through their affiliate church organizations in these countries). Thus they have a direct responsibility for the reign of murder and torture unleashed by the Tamil separatist terrorists in Sri Lanka. It must also be mentioned that Church influence has been strong in the 'human rights groups' in the Western world, so that much of the interest in the Sri Lankan problem shown by the 'human rights' groups may well have been at the instigation of their church members. World church bodies have always sought to proselytize and 'convert' the rest of the world, failing which they have tried to destroy systems of belief which they felt were a threat to them. For the realization of this objective any means bribery, distortion, falsehood, deception, or even the support of terrorists was used,A London-based Sri Lankan expatriate group interested in national unity actually lodged a protest with the UN subcommittee on human rights and
other Human Rights groups against the persecution of patriots by the Sri Lankan government, but naturally no action was taken on this complaint as against the hue and cry raised on the flimsiest complaint by the Tamil secessionists considered legitimate. In many parts of the world, especially in Muslin countries, there has been a backlash against this kind of activity. However the international church organizations have found Buddhist countries to be a fertile ground for their activity abusing the Buddhist quality of tolerance. Of the Buddhist countries it was Sri Lanka that provided the international church organizations with the greatest opportunity. Even though there was much outward emphasis on Buddhist activity in Sri Lanka it was a degenerate and superstitious kind of Buddhist that was prevalent. This in turn reflected the moral decadence of the Sinhalese leadership, their proverbial disunity, and the political corruption and deceit that was rampant. Indeed the Government itself provided the best example. While outwardly making great show of Buddhist 'devotion' the leaders were not only devoid of the most elementary Buddhist virtues, but were ready to sell out the very sovereignty of the nation itself.
The world church bodies found powerful agents in the Tamil separatists and the local church groups. We have already mentioned the success of the Missionaries in converting Sri Lankan Tamils. This was also true of India, where the major part of the Indian Christian movement is concentrated in South India. Thus promoting the Tatil interest was seen as an essential element in the success of the strategy of the world church movement in South Asia.
The Accord represents another victory for the world church movement. Christian elements within the Sri Lankan government were the most ardent supporters of this pact. With the signing of the accord the Government of Sri Lanka itself became an agent in the suppression of the Buddhist cause in Sri Lanka. The propagandists of the vorld church movement had already created the myth of an aggressive Buddhist 'chauvinism'. The proponents of this myth have never produced any credible evidence for their claims. They had to delve deep into history to search for leaders of this 'Buddhist nationalism', and only succeeded in perpetrating a deception. [n27]
In this section ve shall consider briefly the excuses that have been heard frequently in Sri Lanka by those who have supported the Great Betrayal. These excuses have been heard for a long time, and they have been refuted in many expatriate publications. These arguments have usually been put forward by the ill informed; but it is disturbing to note that they are increasingly repeated by persons in informed circles. Many of these apologetics are too puerile even, to merit systematic consideration, but it would be necessary to at least record these excuses if only to emphasize the intellectual bankruptcy of those who have brought about the Great Betrayal.
These are some of the excuses trotted out by those who support the Great Betrayal. There are a few others even more absurd which it would not even be worth while to record. There is no validity for any of these excuses. They are important as indicators of the mentality of those responsible for this act of Great Betrayal.
Having looked at the nature and the causes of the Great Betrayal it is time to consider some of its possible consequences. Speculation about the course of future events is of course a hazardous venture, and the present writer does not claim any special competence in this area. What can be done is to make some reasonable extrapolations of what have gone before, given that we have by now a good idea of the motives and thinking of the principal parties involved in the Sri Lankan tragedy.
Instead of considering every possible eventuality, which would he an impossible task, we will confine out comments to considering three alternative scenarios which could eventuate, each of these scenario being considered with a few possible variations in each. These are (i) the scenario expected by the Betrayers, (ii) the scenario expected by the Terrorists, and (iii) the scenario leading to liberation and the restitution of national sovereignty and unity. Whether these scenarios are considered good or bad will depend on the viewpoint of the person considered. The first is the best outcome for those who signed the accord, but it will be shown that the chances of it eventuating are slender. The second is the scenario of disintegration hoped for by those who launched the insurrection; this still has even better prospects than it did at the start of the insurrection. The final one is the one real path to national salvation. It retains to be seen whether a leader or Party will emerge that can tread down that path.
What the Betrayers of the Nation hope is that as part of their bargain the newly appointed colonial masters will discipline the terrorists, remove their arms and convert them into law-abiding Sri Lankans. They feel that the bribe offered to the terrorists, i.e. rule of the Eelaam region will satisfy their separatist appetites. They feel that the proposed Referendum in the East, indeed it it ever takes place [n29] could be engineered to deliver this region to the terrorists for all time to come. They hope that a sufficient amount of servility to India will persuade the new. Colonial masters to give the Sri Lankan government a superficial amount of independence. Meanwhile there are expectations of a massive flood of 'aid' from the traditional donors, whose dictates have been carried out by a servile government right down to the last letter, with possibly new donors added to the list. [n30] It is hoped that this 'aid' could be used to serve up some crumbs to the local population, especially the groups supporting the surrender, and that the government with the aid of the beneficiaries of this aid, and the Tamil voters in the Wnon-Tamil areas', will be able to manipulate the next election (if it is ever held as a free election~ and thereby perpetuate its rule.
This scenario is based on a number of hypothetical circumstances which are very unlikely to eventuate. Only the more important of these need be mentioned here:
The second scenario which we will consider may be termed the 'scenario of complete disintegration'. Its consequences for Sri Lanka are much worse than those of the scenario which we have just considered. The basis for this scenario lies in the three principles enshrined in the Accord, viz. the recognition of racial homelands, the endorsement of terrorism, and the legalisation of neo-colonial rule by India. We shall consider some of the possible consequences of these three principles.
(a) The establishment of racial homelandsOnce the first principle of racial 'homelands' in Sri Lanka has been conceded, it is clear that it cannot be confined to Sri Lankan Tamils in the North and the East. There would soon be other claimants. These would include the following:
Such is the scenario of racial disintegration that could ensue in Sri Lanka as a result of the principles conceded in this pact. It will be seen that what has started to happen in Sri Lanka is the enthronement of the racial principle of apartheid. This doctrine originated in South Africa, and is concerned with the segregation of the population of that country into racial 'homelands'. The consequences of this principle were first the passage of such laws as the 'Group Areas Act' and later the establishment of the so-called 'homelands' for the different racial groups in South Africa, which have been appropriately been dubbed 'Bantustans'. The South African policy has evoked universal condemnation, and there appears to he a retreat from that policy. But even as South Africa is forced to water down this doctrine, it has been recognised as a valid principle for Sri Lanka by the Jayawardene- Gandhi agreement. But as we have seen once the principle of racist homelands has been conceded with respect to the Tamils, it cannot be confined to them alone.
(b) The endorsement of terrorismThe accord signed by Jayawardene and Gandhi is perhaps the first significant international agreement which has acknowledged terrorism as a legitimate method of political change. The Tamil separatists are terrorists on any reasonable interpretation of the term. This fact was denied by their supporters, especially their international backers and most of the Western media. The Indian government, of course, which was ready to brand any kind of domestic opponent to its policies as terrorists, never acknowledged the Tamil separatists of Sri Lanka as terrorists. The Sri Lankan government was of course well aware of the essentially terrorist nature of the separatists, but they did their best to keep this aspect under cover, especially after they began their dialogue with these terrorists. The attempts of those seeking to whitewash the terrorists in Western countries have been amply exposed by many Sri Lankan expatriate groups. [n32] It is therefore not necessary to document this fact here. However in view of the attempt by the signatories to this accord to 'rehabilitate' the terrorists as genuine political activists, it is necessary to restate once again some of the more significant aspects of their military activity. During the last few years not only have they committed all the classic acts of terrorism, but they have even made novel contributions of their own to the international repertoire of terrorism. The following is a brief reminder of the main areas of their activity.
(1) The assassination of political and civic leaders. It was with selective assassinations of civilian leaders that the Tamil separatists began their political activity. Their first success in this area was the killing of Mr Alfred Duraiyyappa, the former Mayor of Jaffna. Many other political leaders who refused to endorse the terrorist methods were assassinated during their long rule in the North. Even politicians who had generally endorsed their separatist aspirations were not safe. Thus many members of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), including several of their elected MPs were killed, and 'sentence of death' was passed on many others, including their leader Amirthalingam, should they oppose the political line of the terrorists. It was not only political leaders, but community leaders such as the Principals of schools, and prominent religious personalities such as Buddhist monks were systematically killed.
(2) The large-scale killing of civilians. Very soon they developed the techniques of wholesale massacre. The killing of the occupants of the agricultural settlements of the Dollar and Rent Farms was the first such massacre. But very soon the Sinhalese and Muslim inhabitants were the targets of systematic genocidal attacks. In several villages the entire population, including children, women, the sick and the infirm, was exterminated often using the most brutal methods. Buses and other public vehicles were waylaid and their entire occupants were killed. While the Sinhalese and the Muslims were the major victims of the terrorists, the Tamils were not spared. The technique of 'lamp-post killings', usually employed against dissident Tamils, was one of the unique inventions of Tamil terrorism, and almost became their trade-mark. In these genocidal attacks the leading role was invariably played by the Tamil Christian terrorists, who usually selected Buddhist festivals for their most gruesome killings. They then ascribed them to 'Hindu freedom fighters'!
(3) Terrorist bombings. The classic method of placing bombs in public places was freely indulged in by the terrorists. Some of their most noteworthy 'coups' in this area were the bombings of the Central Telegraph Office, the Air Lanka jetliner, and the Central Bus Station, all in Colombo. Terrorists in many other parts of the world manage to give some warning so that the random carnage could be reduced. Such refinements have been foreign to the Tamil terrorists, and in every instance of terrorist bombing the maximum effect was secured in terms of the loss of life and limb. It is widely suspected that the bombs and the technical assistance used in setting them up, was supplied by the Indian authorities. It is well-known that the bulk of the explosives made were manufactured in India, and the Indian army are known to have sent special instructors to train the Tamil terrorist killers. This policy was put in place by the late Indira Gandhi, who is generally regarded as the patroness of the Tamil terrorists, and who herself was killed by a Sikh terrorists. But the policy has been carried on by the present Indian government, and indeed continues still. [n33]
(4) Kidnapping and the taking of hostages. The classic terrorist technique of the taking of hostages has been freely indulged in by the separatist terrorists. This has included foreigners as well as local Sri Lankans. Many of these hostages were executed after periods of detention. Unlike in the Lebanon hostages and prisoners are not held for long by the Tamil terrorists - they are tortured and executed, perhaps to save on the costs of detaining them.
(5) Extortion and local crime. From the inception of their activity the terrorists have relied on crime to finance their activity. When they ran out of public institutions like Banks to rob they began to extort money from private individuals and business institutions. Many people who refused to pay, or could not pay, were tortured and executed.
(6) International crime. The Tamil terrorists have become experts in international crime. Their narco-terrorism is well known in all parts of the world, not only in the Western countries which have been the main theatre of action. Tamils have been apprehended in almost every country in the world for their narco-terrorism, and they are undoubtedly the world leaders in this area of activity. In addition to this the Tamils have also operated the equally lucrative 'refugee trade' under which large numbers of illegal immigrants have been introduced in many parts of the world in the guise of refugees. In these criminal activities the world Church organisations have provided the Tamil terrorists with every kind of assistance. The above instances of clear-cut terrorism have to be re-iterated in view of the attempt by Jayawardene and Gandhi to 'promote' these ruthless terrorists into ore respectable categories such as 'militants', etc. That Gandhi was their patron saint is well known. The public 'conversion' of Jayawardena, who had repeatedly vowed to rid Sri Lanka of terrorism, is the significant innovation in the agreement. The implication of this for the disintegrationist scenario is that from now on it will be terrorism that will be able to achieve political results in Sri Lanka. We had pointed out that the rise of despotism had involved a gradual growth of 'terrorist' tendencies within in the Sri Lankan ruling circles. This no doubt made the cohabitation between the Sri Lankan government and the terrorists a tore natural process than it mould otherwise have been. [n34] The only group in the South which is at present in a position to resort to terrorist-cum-mitilitary means is the JVP. But it will not be long before others join in the legitimisation of terrorism given in the accord. With the Parliament and the electoral process already heavily devalued, Sri Lanka can expect to see the rise of armed groups seeking to achieve everything from personal loot to political gains.
(c) The legitimization of Indian rule over Sri Lanka
The accord has seen the introduction of Indian colonial rule over Sri Lanka for the first time in nearly a thousand years. In the historic past when Indian kings mere able to rule parts of Sri Lanka they did not have the means to subjugate the entire land, and a part of it was left over for the Sri Lankans Who used it as a shelter until a leader of sufficient strength emerged who could reclaim the nation. This time the Indians will seek to ensure that their rule will not only he confined to the North and the East. The Indian presence in the North and the East has been dubbed a 'peace keeping exercise'. This is far from the case. Right on the heels of the Indian army came the whole apparatus of civilian administrative control. Large numbers of Indian police personnel were brought in to administer the newly won territory, and very soon economic and other controls will be put in place. The progress of Indian control over the political, economic and even the social landscape will proceed in several stages. No doubt the next area for Indian penetration would be the establishment of an Indian puppet region in the central plantation areas. Already India has a ready-made fifth column there in the form of the Indian plantation workers for whom the Jayawardene government has been forced to grant full citizenship through Indian and foreign pressure.
The penetration of Indian colonial rule to the rest of the country will present several serious problems. It is clear that the Indians will have to rely on local traitors and quislings to perpetuate their rule in this part of th country.
Since the bulk of the Sinhalese and Muslim population will not readily acquiesce in the Indian rule, however indirect it be, there will he an increasing discord and conflict between the broad mass of the people and the new comprador class of Indian puppets. This in turn will lead to tore political repression, denial of civil rights, and the further entrenchment of despotism.
Already the people have turned on the political supporters of the Great Betrayal, and many of them have been kept under heavy guard in Colombo away from the people they are supposed to represent. The authors of the Great Betrayal are no doubt banking on the notoriously short memories of the Sri Lankan people. But there has so far not been a betrayal on this scale, and it would be dangerous to speculate that in time the Betrayal will be accepted. If the economic benefits which have been promised as the reward for the sell-out of national dignity fail to materialise the disruptive forces will be given a clear momentum.
It must be remembered that the continuation of the unity of India itself is an open question. So far India has been able to contain the disintegrationist forces. But the Sikhs are increasingly treading the road which the Tazils have successully trod in Sri Lanka. The victory of the separatist Tazils would greatly hearten all separtist forces in India and put in question the survival of India as a single entity. Futheraore the greatest turmoil will come when the Kuslims and the other depressed castes begin to revolt against their subjugation. Perhaps India will not be able to contain this explosion even if it manages to suppress the Sikh revolt.
The implications of the potential disintegration of India for Sri Lanka is that Sri Lanka can no longer, as a vassal state, he insulated from the consequences of these disruptive events. India has earned the hostility of all its neighbours, and Sri Lanka as a vassal state of India will find that some of this odium will he attached to itself.
Such is the scenario of disintegration. It has a much greaer possibility of coming true that the pipe dreams of the authors of the Great Betrayal. Unlike the scenario of the capitulationists, which depends on a number of highly questionable assumptions, that of disintegration follows logically fro& the ideas, the deeds, and the interests of the three principal parties to the Sri Lankan tragedy -the Tallil separatist terrorists, their Indian mentors, and the Sri Lankan government.
There is however another possibility, on which however remote it may appear at the moment, the nation must set its sights. This is the restitution of the Sri Lanka's sovereignty, the reclamation of its dignity and the rehabilitation of its traditional historic role - that of a united country offering freedom and justice to all its inhabitants irrespective of their ethnic origin. We shall call this the scenario of liberation. The first step of regaining Sri Lanka's rights is to abrogate the Jayawardene-Gandhi pact. As a legal document this pact is of dubious standing, and its abrogation will present no great difficulty to a government determined to do so. The government which concluded this agreement had not faced its electors for over 10 years,' and therefore had no mandate to make such a pact. But even if this fact is overlooked there is clear evidence that it is an unequal treaty imposed on Sri Lanka by a much larger power which had been in violation of international law in its policy of interference in Sri Lankan affairs for well over a decade. It has no more validity that the pacts made by Hitler with puppet regimes to legalize German expansionism during the second world war. The rest of the world refused to accept these pacts, and this same principle will have to be extended to the Jayawardene-Gandhi pact.
After the repudiation of this pact India should be given an ultimatum to remove its armed forces from Sri Lanka as expeditiously as they were introduced into Sri Lanka. If India refuses to comply with this lawful request of a sovereign nation, and continues its illegal occupation of parts of Sri Lanka the people of Sri Lanka will have to regain their national territory as the great Sri Lankan liberators of the past have done when they were confronted with an illegal occupation of parts of the nation by Indian forces. The technique of peoples' war which has been used successfully against troops of occupation elsewhere will have to be employed. The defeat of the United States in Vietnam, and the impending defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, clearly shows that being a large power is not necessarily a guarantee that territory gained illegally or through the instrumentality of traitors and puppets could he secured for all time.
Confronted with these realities the Indian forces will be forced to withdraw as they had to withdraw from Bangladesh. At the sate time action should be initiated in the world court and elsewhere to proscribe Indian meddling with the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and its sponsoring of international terrorism.
With the elimination of the Indian occupation of Sri Lanka the next step should be to eliminate terrorism and reconstitute Sri Lanka with a just constitution failed in its fight against terrorism as it was fearful of the people and did not want to create a peoples' militia. But a national government - for it is only such a government that will be able to tread the path of liberation - will have no such fears. Indeed the very organisation of the mass army will itself have a shattering effects on the terrorists and their Indian patrons.
Meanwhile a relentless campaign should he waged in the international arena to expose the terrorists and their international supporters. The narco-terrorists have earned the contempt of the civilized world, and the inability of the Sri Lankan regime to turn world opinion against them was due to the nature of that regime, with its undemocratic methods, its servile dependence on foreign 'aid', and the monumental corruption. It was these, more than anything else, which alienated liberal opinion the world over. For once the defence of the national interest must take precedence over the begging for 'aid'. Much smaller and economically tore vulnerable nations than Sri Lanka, such as Fiji, have put their national interest above that of petty short-term gain. Sri Lanka's case has never been presented to the world as it should have been for the weight of right on the side of the Sri Lankans. The terrorists can be defeated, with or without the assistance which the terrorists get from, their Indian patrons, and the international lobbies that have adopted their 'cause'.
The defeat of terrorism must be followed by an attempt to reconstitute the nation. A constituent assembly should be convened democratically to do so, and the rights of all groups, including minorities, should be firmly entrenched in the new constitution. Sri Lanka should examine the practice of small zulti-ethnic countries like herself, and see how minority rights are guaranteed without national division. In particular the principles of racism, and apartheid should be outlawed in Sri Lanka as it is in international conventions..
The greatest obstacle to the path of liberation will be the lack of proper leadership. But must not be assumed that those responsible for the Great Betrayal are the best that the country can produce, Indeed in many respects they are the worst and many of the& will flee the country Marcos-style, in the event of the liberation of the nation, (but of course attempts should be made to recover some of the plundered national wealth, as the post-Marcos government in the Philippines appears to be doing with some success).
Such is the scenario of liberation - the only path which Sri Lanka can tread, indeed has to tread, if it is to achieve a semblance of national dignity, not to mention the recovery of its lost sovereignty.
We have looked at the Jayawardene-Gandhi accord frommany angles, and seen that it is one of most shoddy agreements that has ever been seen in international relations. The British newspaper The Guardian described it as follows: 'India's pact with Sri Lanka is the most infamous contract imposed on a small country - short of military occupation - since the Munich Agreement of 1938' (21.8.87). coming from a newspaper that had supported the Tamils this is, if at all, an understatement. But the Munich Accord is the closest parallel that one can think of in recent times, but in many respects the Jayawardene-Gandhi accord even surpasses that, and it could well claim to he the most infamous agreement between two countries in this century.
As a result of this Accord Sri Lanka has been put in the most parlous state it has ever known. A century ago Sri Lankans (and the Sinhalese-Buddhists in particular) had reached another low point in their history. The revival out of that nadir was made possible by a group of courageous Westerners, of whom Colonel Olcott is the best known. Even now a light from outside Sri Lanka could rekindle the flames of a national revival. Of course the decline of the West reflected in the ascendency of the Church, and the adoption by the latter of the Tamil terrorist cause', means that there will be no Colonel Olcott this time. However there are small groups of Sri Lankan expatriates for whoa the foreign experience and the freedom from the Sri Lankan despots have opened up perspectives on the Sri Lankan problem that is not available to many Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka itself. Even though they are still a minority in the fledgling Sri Lankan communities abroad, they could well provide the stimulus to the rebirth of the old Sri Lankan spirit. This must remain one of the slender hopes if Sri Lanka is o tread the path of liberation.
Meanwhile the situation in Sri Lanka is daily deteriorating. The hollowness of the promises for which the sovereignty of the nation has been bartered away is becoming clear with every passing day. The only people who have been 'disarmed' in the North and the East are the Sri Lankan security forces and the local people who are now without any form of defence. After a short respite the terrorists have begun their carnage. Meanwhile the process of converting the region abandoned by the Government into an Indian territory is proceeding with accelerated speed.
Meanwhile those who have been responsible for this Great Betrayal are continuing to suppress even the residues of freedom left for the rest of the Sri Lankan people, still under their direct rule. The armed forces, who have capitulated to the terrorists, have been unleashed on the defenceless population of the South. There is no forum for free speech left in the Nation. The Parliament has long been devalued and converted into chamber for gossip. The Press is reduced to repeating the comfortable lies put out in official quarters. The Universities are closed, and probably remain so, as the authorities fear that educated youth is a force they cannot tame. The Buddhist monks have been put in shackles, reduced to the position of criminals branded with 'identity cards', while Christian proselytizers are given the full freedom to promote the cause of the separatists and the terrorists.
Such is the present plight of a nation -that awaits its liberation. From whence this will come we shall not speculate. But one thing is certain. It will not be from the ranks of the Betrayers, who do not know the difference between peace and appeasement.