THE noble aim of creating a Sri Lanka
where everyone, regardless of ethnicity, language and religion, would
receive his or her due, has been underscored by President Mahinda
Rajapaksa. There is no doubt that the majority of Lankans would endorse
this profoundly important sentiment.
We hope SLFP politicians, big and small, at the party's 55th annual
convention, where the President gave eloquent expression to this idea,
would treasure it in their hearts and take it to the masses of the land.
The idea needs to seep into the hearts and minds of particularly those
who cling to the misleading notion that Sri Lankan society needs to be
monoethnic, monolingual and monoreligious.
Such notions have contributed considerably towards turning Sri Lanka
into a conflict - ridden state. The country needs to put this
destabilizing notion behind it and forge steadily ahead to a future
where all our communities and cultural groups would co-exist peacefully
on the basis of social justice and equal empowerment. That these
considerations are on the State's agenda is abundantly clear from the
President's address to the convention. The Government is clearly for an
equal Sri Lanka where everyone would receive what is due to him or her
on the basis of merit.
We are glad that the Government is considering the structures which
would facilitate the implementation of this idea. For, there is no doubt
that it is empowerment on an equal basis which would help in resolving
Meanwhile, the LTTE's plans to destabilize Sri Lanka need to be
resoundingly defeated. As long as the LTTE shuns the peace path and
swears by the force of arms, it would need to be confronted by the State
and militarily subdued.
We are certain the majority of the public would not question this
position but the pains need to be taken to point out that the Tamil
people should be carefully differentiated from the LTTE. Against the
Tamil people per se, none could have a quarrel, for, they are not
colluding with the LTTE in their evil schemes.
However, the LTTE is a terror organisation, operating outside the
bounds of the law and needs to be treated as such. They need to be
hunted and brought to heel. On the other hand, the Tamil people need to
be given their due.
It must be also remembered that many a noble Tamil citizen has worked
selflessly for Sri Lanka. Two such personalities of recent memory are,
Lakshman Kadirgamar and Neelan Tiruchelvam. Therefore, it is doubly
important that the communities of this land co-exist peacefully in the
thought that they constitute a single fraternity. Only those groups
resorting to terror and bloodshed, such as the LTTE, need to be
alienated and hunted down.
We could be also glad that the Government is fully recognizing the
need to "put the right man/woman in the right place", regardless of
man-made barriers such as ethnicity and religion.
The President cited the case of a top officer in the Armed Forces who
won his position purely on capability and merit.
Such thinking marks a distinct advance from communalistic and
religious biases in some quarters which were instrumental in igniting
the flames of social discontent in Sri Lanka in the past.
The role of the media in building a country's unity
A media which propagates respect for minority
rights, democratic processes and international intervention could be
an asset to a society. Compelling examples of this doctrine are
Apartheid of South Africa, which in the beginning of the last decade
was transformed into a multiracial democracy dominated by Africans
through a moral conscience instilled by proactive politics and
'Devolution of powers - a necessary pre-condition for solution
to ethnic issue'
As a party committed to democracy we firmly
believe that we can find a solution to the national problem within a
democratic frame work. In that we would not hesitate to look for new
modalities of governance that could give true reflection to the
aspiration of a multilingual and multiracial community if that could
be a solution to stop this cruel war.
Please Mr. Minister