July 30, 2008

Majorities, minorities, hammers and nails!

When people of different origins, speaking different languages and professing different religions inhabit the same country and live under the same political sovereignty, ethnic and racial conflict is the usual outcome. More often than not, this happens when the majority tries to impose its language, religion and cultural values on the minorities!

There is an old saying: If your only tool is a hammer, then all your problems look like nails. In the ‘Aluth Sri Lanka’ that we live in today, our tools for problem solving consist of multi-barrel rocket launchers, migs, kafirs, white vans, goon squads and rigged elections. And the Tamils in the north and east and other parts of the country including journalists and the general public at large are the nails that are bombed into submission, abducted, beaten, killed and terrorized!
The ‘Maanushika Meheuma’ or ‘Humanitarian Operation,’ an euphemism for the ongoing war is fought today as a scared and justifiable war! A war of good against evil, black versus white! But let us not forget the many shades of grey in between!

’Fighting for peace is like copulating for virginity,’ is a pithy saying attributed to an American GI during the Vietnam war. This saying describes Sri Lanka’s predicament in a nutshell! Using military might to settle a dispute might seem logical in the short term, taking the peoples minds off the rising cost of living, but in the long term we are all losers!

Maximum devolution of power is the only way forward. In Sri Lanka’s 60 year history, agreements were made but not implemented! Pacts were signed and abrogated! This time around, if the majority community does not agree to devolution, the country’s future will be quite bleak, and it will not be the beginning of the end, but the end of the end, and Sri Lanka will meander along as ‘A can’t be developed country,’ the ‘Sick man of Asia.’

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