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It is election year for Sri Lanka. A general election has to be held before August 5th 2020 for a new Government to rule the polarized and divided country of majority Sinhalese and minorities with Tamils and Sinhalese politically pitted against each other for the last 72 years.

This election is unique and historical as the President Gotabaya and his sibling Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakshe have frankly declared their objectives to make Sri Lanka a SINHALA-BUDDHIST STATE, with Sinhalese considered being the owners of the Island, and Buddhism being the only religion that should be protected and fostered by the state.

Thanks to the President Gotabaya for being frank, honest and forthright, with non-acceptance, non-recognition and burial of the 72 years old ethnic problem. This mindset has sapped the country politically and drained it economically. This is like an ostrich burying its head under the sand and concluding nothing is visible and in existence around it.

The victims of this agenda of Sinhalization, Buddhisization coupled with Militarization, particularly Tamils waged all forms of resistances violent and non-violent and they were crushed with no mercy for the civilians by the rampant 99% Sinhalese dominated Security Forces. However, Parliamentary democracy, prevailed with Governments changing but each Government ensuring their victory by relying on racism, communalism, chauvinism and hegemony clinging to protection of Buddhism and Sinhala race with open discriminatory moves and policies aided by Maha Sanga [Myth] and Buddhist extremists.

Not to be undone, President Gotabaya, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and opposition leader Sajith Premadasa are also vigorously pursuing these lethal weapons to achieve their political ambitions of power and position. President Gotabaya has declared his intent with no qualms to make Sri Lanka a SINHALA-BUDDHIST STATE and is proceeding with his agenda along with the assistance of Security Forces to silence the critics if any.

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe promised to build 5,000 Buddhist Viharas in the North and East – the traditional and historical homeland of Tamils [where a few/no Buddhist live] while the Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa promised to protect Buddhism at any cost  to accelerate the Buddhisization in the North and East.

In this debilitating process involving marginalization of minorities, it appears that no one, even International Community, United Nations, UN Human Rights Council can put a brake to this nazist style policy. Even India, home of Lord Buddha whose preaching’s are heard in day to day prayers of Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka, is turning a blind eye to the desperations of Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka who face a gradual extension..

However, the only available option for the minorities in Sri Lanka is to register their protests and voice their unanimous opposition with one voice in the upcoming general elections this year. In order to make this a reality, only parties with candidates who are bold, sincere, honest, determined and dedicated to the causes of all Tamil speaking [North, East, Upcountry and Muslims] as well as possessing the required courage and determination to put a halt to the Buddhisization and Sinhalisization and restore the status quo which existed in the Northern and Eastern Provinces before 2009.

If one looks at the track record of Tamil parties, particularly Tamil National Alliance formed in 2002 with the promise of leading the Tamils after the defeat of the armed struggle by the Liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE], it is crystal clear that all leaders have been functioning as empty vessels and engaged only in promoting their party and interests. Occasionally they make barren sounds and eloquent speeches in Parliament and in public to show the voters their existence as parties. In fact the failures and the reasons for them could be their lack of political courage, determination and a program of ground action and/or adoption of a submissive attitude and alternate policy of conciliation and good will which were neatly exploited by the successive Sinhala Buddhist Governments in power since 2009.

The chauvinistic Sinhala Government’s machinery is rolling on pretty well knowing the sterile, faint and fragile position and strength of Tamil National Alliance and other Tamil political leaders.

At present, there are 20 Tamil political parties declaring to continue the struggle to win back the lost causes of Tamils. The latest party being Peoples Progressive Party formed on January 28, 2020 led by Arun Thambimuttu. Therefore we now have twenty Tamil leaders and all have declared their intentions to fight single handedly or aligning with one or two other parties after settling their competing demands like number of seats, choice of candidates etc. The survival of these parties depends on the survival and continuation of the sufferings and miseries of the Tamils which commenced in the worst forms during the civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] and Sri Lankan Security Forces.

The mushroomed Tamil political parties’ leaders after 2009 put the blame on Tamil National Alliance’s {TNA’s} failure for their births. The stark truth is the existence of vacuum for a sincere and dedicated leadership. There is no denying of the fact that the leaders of these parties exploited the empty performances of TNA and formed their own parties all of which carry the familiar words ‘TAMIL’ or ‘NATIONAL’ and or ‘LIBERATION’. There is also no gainsaying of the truth that the leaders of these almost one man initiated parties are motivated and focussing only to boost their self-image, popularity and plant an individual mark in the traumatised Tamils’ history. Almost all of them have no agenda or ground map for action, except issuing timely statements updating the latest moves of Sinhala Government’s agenda of Sinhalisization and Buddhisization. Furthermore, unity has been a continuing cause of cancer afflicting the Tamil leaders and the body politic of Tamils since 1948.

Several United Fronts including Memorandum of Understandings were formed and signed when all of them have been dumped in the quickest time. The latest act of unity was initiated on October 21, 2019 where six parties signed a Memorandum listing six demands for the Presidential candidates Gotabaya Rajapakshe and Sajith Premadasa. Both the demands and Memorandum are now consigned to dust bin and dead after their outright rejection by President Gotabaya and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa.

The present 20 leaders are continuing to weaken the causes of Tamils by infighting, jostling for chairs in Parliament, hurling abuses at each other, settling old scores and personal hostility while focusing to promote self-interests. It is therefore better late than never for the Tamil voters to pick, choose and elect young, aggressive and dedicated candidates who believe in ground action and face the challenges of Government and not contented with issuing mere statements shunning, hobnobbing and meeting with Government ministers, President or Prime Minister. It is to be noted that competing claims for the leadership of Tamil National Alliance are currently pushed by Sumanthiran and Wigneswaran. The need of the hour is young leaders who are capable to establish contacts with Foreign Diplomats and Dignitaries and convince them to help us in redressing the remedies for our grievances without further delay so as to not to sow the seeds for militancy among the Tamil youths. In this respect University Students can and should play the key role and lead in shaping the destiny of Tamils as has happened in some other countries.

To sum up, it is opportune time for the desperate Tamils to pack up the part and time passing old politicians and pick up a new generation of young, energetic, sincere and courageous young leaders dedicated and committed to the causes of Tamils.

Kumarathasan Rasingam  – Secretary Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.


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