Connect with us

Politics

Get ready for the next round of ‘Vexatious Persecution’!

Published

on

by Malinda Seneviratne

There’s a bill currently at the ‘Committee Stage’ in the UK’s House of Lords which that country’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Sarah Hulton, cannot pretend to be unaware of. It’s called ‘The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill.’ The second reading of the Bill was passed by Parliament last September by 331 to 77.

It was essentially a bipartisan piece of legislation with just 18 Labor MPs opposing it, along with the SNP and Liberal Democrats. The Labor leadership urged Labor MPs not to vote against it. They were ordered to abstain, warning that those voting against it would have to resign any posts they held. MPs Olivia Blake and Beth Winter duly stepped down from their roles. Nadi Whittome, the shadow health secretary’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS), was sacked.

The Bill is said to be part of the UK government’s response to ’the judicialization of war: the extension of human rights norms to overseas combat operations and the birth of a litigation industry that has unleashed a torrent of “vexatious claims” against British forces. ‘Lawfare’ is what the UK wants to trump. In short, it would give British forces the license to do whatever, absolute or near absolute impunity is what is to be legislated.

Now what has all this got to do with Sri Lanka? Well, we’ve had Hulton making noises about Sri Lanka and human rights. She tweeted, ‘UK raising human rights concerns with Sri Lanka, including forced cremation of #COVID19 victims. UN report to be published next week, will inform the approach to @UN_HRC.’ Meanwhile UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite, has said that his country would be considering the new UN Human Rights report on Sri Lanka at the upcoming session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). That’s more diplomatic, but then again both Braithwaite and Hulton know the adage ‘charity begins at home,’ but they are far away from their respective villages and washing dirty linen in public is not their business. Understood.

Hulton is worried about how dead bodies are to be disposed of, i.e. of Muslims who succumb to Covid-19. Hulton could of course have expressed serious concern about the blatant violation of the principle of equality and especially the open subjugation of women embedded in several pieces of legislation including but not limited to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act. The living oppressed aren’t her concern. They don’t disturb the likes of Braithwaite and that’s all good as far as the other interlocutor Aliana B Teplitz, the US Ambassador, who also talks of the cremation issue and condescendingly wants Sri Lanka to come up with a meaningful plan at the UNHRC, the body which her government withdrew from after calling it ‘a cesspool of bias.’

Now, in December 2020, Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court concluding the preliminary examination of charges against the UK regarding war crimes in Iraq, stated that members of the British armed forces had indeed committed the war crimes of willful killing, torture, inhuman/cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and/or other forms of sexual violence. The Office has identified a confined number of incidents which, while not exhaustive, appear to correspond to the most serious allegations of violence against persons in UK custody. It is no surprise that the ICC, despite all this, cited ‘the UK’s willingness to genuinely investigate and prosecute these war crimes’ as sufficient reason to close the examination. We don’t know how on earth Ms Bensouda concluded ‘genuineness’ considering the deliberate moves on the part of the UK to decriminalize war crimes through ‘anti-vexatious claims’ legislation. Indeed her copout statement is vexatious in the extreme.

One wonders if Ms Hulton and Ms Teplitz ever met the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Ms Hanaa Singer. Singer does meet with the leaders of Tamil political parties and probably advises them on how to draft petitions to the UNHRC, human rights outfits and of course submissions to the Experts’ Committee on drafting a new constitution. It’s an old game. You script it, the script is played and the script-writer explains, ‘what a performance, what a script!’

If these individuals do meet it is quite likely that they talk of (if not plot) moves against Sri Lanka. One wonders if, say during a break or in a lighter moment, they guffaw about US and UK war crimes. One wonders if Singer chuckles and tells Hulton ‘isn’t it a hoot that you are planning to drag Sri Lanka over the coals and at the same time want to legislate against lawfare, so-called?’

Here’s a question none of them would have considered or would wish to be put to them: ‘What if Sri Lanka did a xerox of “The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill,” only expanding its relevance to include all operations including those targeting terrorists and terrorism at home?’ What if Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena invited Ms Hulton, Ms Teplitz and Ms Singer for tea/coffee, cookies and bibikkan, handed a copy of proposed legislation along those lines, remarking with a chuckle, ‘we were inspired by our former colonial rulers, the mother country, the empire on which the sun never sets and the fact that neither the USA nor the UN seem to find anything wrong with the bill,’ and ask, kindly, politely, ‘could you help us by tweeting warm and supporting comments?’

Could happen, but probably won’t. At least not in this way. Still, it’s something that the government could think of. If not for anything but to call out the humbuggery and to drive home the point that none of these people give a hoot about human rights and that the circus is about persecution. Vexatious persecution, in fact.

What’s the government’s response, is the question that we need to ask. Reactive or proactive? It looks like the former. Typically actions against countries, honorable and otherwise, are long-drawn affairs where the planning begins at the conclusion of one session with all manner of interventions carefully phased to climax at the next session. Those at the receiving end of vexatious moves ought to do the same. We are less than four weeks away from ‘Geneva.’ There will be other Genevas. The balance of forces obviously is skewed against Sri Lanka and this will be the case into the foreseeable future. All the more reason for round-the-year work on these issues, not just to counter outrageous claims, but to tell our story and get our house in order.

On the other hand, as the anti-Sri Lanka lobby well knows, UNHRC resolutions are non-binding and what teeth they have depends on co-sponsorship. It’s at the General Assembly that things can get hot. And that’s where we have to fight the hardest. And that’s where we have to figure out who our friends are.

There’s talk about taking a nonaligned stand with regard to the play of global powers in the Indian Ocean. That’s all bunkum. There’s no such thing as neutrality. There are no ethics. There is lawfare. There are vexatious claims. There’s threat, as a more cost-effective arm-twister than its execution. In the long run, countries such as Sri Lanka are best served by unity and maybe Sri Lanka could take the lead in reviving the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Of course many of the NAM members are aligned (read, subservient) to one or more of the major powers. Some have moved on, like China, which is set to take over the No 1 spot from the USA before the decade is out.

A 21st Century version of ‘The Tricontinental’ championed by Ernesto Che Guevara is an option, but that’s a long term plan and obviously a long shot. What do we do right now? The USA is, as pointed out, slipping. It has to hold hands with India, Japan and Australia to counter China. The UK wants to join this ‘Quad,’ a ‘Quin’ is the shelter that country seeks. What does Sri Lanka do? Where does Sri Lanka go?

The answer is ‘tried and tested.’ Obviously the US is not a friend. The UK? Well, they are yet to return the loot and compensate for genocide, ethnic cleansing, cultural erasure and other forms of vandalism and outright theft. The UN is a creature of the USA, notwithstanding damning censure of its ‘soft’ (arm-twisting) arm (UNHRC) as, as mentioned above, ‘a cesspool of bias.’

China. That country has been vilified no end by the leaders of countries that have no moral authority to do so and of course by their lackeys. China: a country that has always stood with Sri Lanka against vexatious prosecution/persecution. China: never said ‘change your constitution or else…!’

It looks like Sri Lanka will not have to choose. The choosing is being done by the likes of Teplitz, Hulton and Singer.

India? Well, India has kindly offered to help counter the Covid-19 pandemic via vaccine diplomacy. India decided to send a bunch of stuff, FoC. Sri Lanka will have to pay for the rest. It’s a decent price, admittedly. We don’t know if this ‘decency’ is the price India pays to take control of the Colombo Port, beautifully positioning that country to obtain full control of transshipment business in the region by a) wrecking operations here, and b) developing a home port in South India.

The vaccine is cheap in other ways too. In any case 99.5% of the infected recover. No vaccine is 100% reliable. That unreliability could be less than 0.5%, more than 0.5% or 0.5%. In other words, hardly something to go wild about. It would, however, boost confidence in the entire public and that’s fundamentally necessary to get life back on track. Thanks are due to Prime Minister Modi, let us not be ungracious.

Let us also retain perspective, though. And perspective, right now, means we cannot drop our guard. We should not be persuaded to roll over and die in Geneva. We are not required to remain silent when we can and should call out the humbuggery. Vexatious Persecution: that’s a term that the Foreign Ministry needs to learn. And use!



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

The British will not learn English, let’s not kid ourselves

Published

on

The UK and others hell-bent on censuring Sri Lanka for imagined war crimes frequently refer to documents that are based on a report issued by a ‘panel of experts’ appointed by Ban Ki-moon. The Darusman Report is what it is called. There are lots of claims in that document but no one can claim that any of it was ‘independently confirmed.’ The sources will remain a mystery for years to come. In the United Kingdom, they’ve not heard of the word ‘contradiction’ it seems. Certain things that are partisan and come unconfirmed are permissible whereas other stuff that’s independent (unless the UK actually sided with the Sri Lankan security forces in the last days of the war on terrorism) are out of order.

by Malinda Seneviratne

The United Kingdom, it is reported, has rejected Sri Lanka’s request for the disclosure of wartime dispatches from its High Commission in Colombo. Sri Lanka had made the request during the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva a few weeks ago.

The dispatches from the then British Defence Advisor, Lt Col Anthony Gash were never referred to in any of the many ‘studies’ on Sri Lanka’s bloody struggle against terrorism. Indeed no one would have known of them or what they contained if not for Lord Naseby invoking the UK’s right to information laws to obtain them.

Gash’s dispatches clearly prove that there were no war crimes committed by Sri Lankan security forces, certainly not the kind that the terrorist lobby (strangely or perhaps not so strangely bed-fellowing with rogue states such as the UK and USA) and indeed these bed-fellows claim have been perpetrated.

British authorities pretended for years that there was no such information available. Now they can’t deny these dispatches exist. And therefore they’ve come up with an interesting disclaimer. The UK now faults Gash for not obtaining independent confirmation of reports he had sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Key word: ‘now.’ This was NOT the position originally taken by the FCO.

Alright, let’s take the CURRENT position at face value. Couldn’t the UK table the dispatches in all relevant forums with such caveats/disclaimers? That’s just one issue. There’s another. Yes, the business of ‘independent confirmation.’ What’s independent and what’s confirmation?

The UK and others hell-bent on censuring Sri Lanka for imagined war crimes frequently refer to documents that are based on a report issued by a ‘panel of experts’ appointed by Ban Ki-moon. The Darusman Report is what it is called. There are lots of claims in that document but no one can claim that any of it was ‘independently confirmed.’ The sources will remain a mystery for years to come.

In the United Kingdom, they’ve not heard of the word ‘contradiction’ it seems. Certain things that are partisan and come unconfirmed are permissible whereas other stuff that’s independent (unless the UK actually sided with the Sri Lankan security forces in the last days of the war on terrorism) are out of order.

It seems to me that the authorities in the UK don’t know whether they are coming or going. Well, maybe they do know that they are severely challenged in logic, in intellect, in moral standing etc., but believe that the world someone does not notice. A third possibility: they just don’t care.

The United Kingdom, with respect to the UNHRC resolution and all matters relevant to it, then, hasn’t exactly covered herself in glory, but what of that considering that shamelessness is the blood-stained batch on its coat of arms, so to speak?

Let’s humor them, though. There’s a lady called Sarah Hulton. Let’s assume she knows English. Let’s assume she has some skills in language comprehension. Let’s not assume she values truth, justice and being honorable for we shouldn’t kid ourselves too much. Nevertheless, we can ask some questions.What’s the value of hearsay? Do we discard ‘word’ and if so which words? If we pick some words and junk others, what criteria should we employ? The Darusman Report, for example, is ALL ABOUT HEARSAY. We have to assume that until we know who said what, for only then can we talk of reliability of source.

We have reports that toss out random numbers without a shred of substantiation. Is that OK, Ms Hulton? If Gash is unreliable, how can any report based on some other report that is based on hearsay be okay?

Let’s not kid ourselves. This is not about truth and reconciliation. The United Kingdom values lie over truth, injustice over justice, violation of all basic tenets of humanity over their protection, theft over property rights, plunder over protection. The British are yet to reconcile themselves regarding the many crimes against humanity they have perpetrated or, at least, benefited from. Seeking justice and truth from such people is silly. Seeking honor from the dishonorable is silly.

And yet, in Geneva and in other places where bucks and bombs count more than truth and justice, countries like the United Kingdom will prevail. For now. For now, we must add, for we know that nothing is permanent. For now, the reports of idiots and/or the politically compromised will be valued over those of impartial, dispassionate individuals such as Gash.

Let’s get this right. The British are not just bullies. They are cowards. Intellect is not their strong point or even if they are sophomoric at best, they are bullish enough to push aside the truth. It’s about ‘by any means necessary’ but obviously not in an emancipatory sense of that phrase, as used by Malcolm X. So when they talk of truth and justice, reconciliation and peace and other such lovely things, let’s keep in mind that it’s all balderdash. When they talk of ‘victims’ it is nonsense because without ‘wrongdoing’ that’s established, there can be no ‘victims’. Mr Hulton is not sleeping ladies and gentlemen. The United Kingdom is not sleeping. The Foreign and Commenwealth Office in that country is not sleeping. They are pretend-sleepers. They cannot be woken up.

One is reminded of a song from ‘My fair lady,’ the musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’. Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak? That’s the title of the song. When the English learn English — now that would be the day! Right now they speak some garbled language devoid of any logic or reason. It works for them.

Colonial-speak is a possible name for that language. It is an excellent communications device in all things antithetical to the high ideals, the furtherance of which was the reason for the establishment of the UNHRC. Indeed that has become the lingua franca of Geneva. The British know this French, pardon the irony! Ms Hulton knows it, as do her bosses in London as did their ancestors whose crimes against humanity are left out from the history books.

We are not talking of the past though. It’s the present. It’s ugly. As ugly as the past, only it’s come wearing other clothes. Nice ones. Not everyone is fooled though.

malindasenevi@gmail.com. www.malindawords.blogspot.com.

[Malinda Seneviratne is the Director/CEO of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute. These are his personal views.]

Continue Reading

Politics

Conversation with Lee Kuan Yew at Anuradhapura

Published

on

One day President JRJ telephoned me from Nuwara Eliya. He was wont to occasionally telephone me direct in the past. He informed me that PM Lee Kuan Yew would be arriving in Anuradhapura two days later, with Minister Gamini Dissanayake in attendance. I was to give the PM of Singapore the ancient city treatment for 40 minutes, and to remember to show him where Fa Hien the Chinese pilgrim cried, during his sojourn at the Abhayagiri monastery.

So I arrived at the appointed meeting place, the Tissawewa rest house where the Singapore PM and his party were having refreshments. I saw Murthy of the Overseas Service, who told me that I was expected, and that both the Singaporean PM and his wife were “top lawyers” who were educated at Cambridge. I was to expect searching questions. 

I went upstairs to see a long table replete with refreshments, Lee Kuan Yew seated at the centre and Gamini D. standing by. I addressed him in Sinhalese, identified myself as Raja de Silva and said that I had come to guide the visitors around Auradhapura. At this point the following conversation took place:

Minister Gamini to Lee Kuan Yew: This is Raja de Silva of the Archaeological Department who will be acting as our guide.  

LKY to RHdeS:

Are you in charge of this station?

RHdeS:

It comes under my archaeological control, Sir.  

LKY:

Are you in charge of this district? 

RHdeS:

The district comes under my archaeological control, Sir. 

LKY:

Are you in charge of this Province?

RHdeS :

This Province and the whole country comes under my archaeological control, Sir. 

LKY (looking satisfied):

Where did you learn your stuff?

RHdeS:

In an old university in England.

LKY:

Where was that?

RHdeS:

In Oxford, Sir. 

LKY:

Whatever reason did you go there for? 

RHdeS:

Sir, for the same reason you went to Cambridge. 

LKY (all smiles, turning to his wife):

Did you hear that? He has gone to Oxford. 

From then on the PM of Singapore spent much time at certain spots and my 40 minute time limit was ignored. At one point in the Abhayagiri area, at the splendid remains of an image house, the following dialogue took place. 

RHdeS:

It was here that Fa Hien,  the Chinese pilgrim, saw a donatory. Chinese silk flag and his eyes were brimful of tears. 

LKY:

Your President told me about that. 

It was altogether an enjoyable outing. 

 

Raja de Silva

Retired Commissioner of Archaeology

Continue Reading

Politics

The New Old Left turns 50

Published

on

by Malinda Seneviratne

Revolutionaries, self-styled or otherwise, are hard to imagine as old people, the exception of course being Fidel Castro. Castro grew old with a Cuban Revolution that has demonstrated surprising resilience. Che Guevara was effectively stilled, literally and metaphorically when he was just 39, ensuring iconic longevity — and the wild haired image with a star pinned on a beret is a symbol of resistance and, as is often the case, used to endorse and inspire things and processes that would have horrified the man.

Daniel Ortega at 75 was a revolutionary leader who reinvented himself a few decades after the Sandinistas’ exit was effectively orchestrated by the USA in April 1990. He’s changed and so has the Sandinistas. Revolutionary is not an appropriate descriptive for either.

Rohana Wijeweera is seen as a rebel by some, naturally those who are associated with the party he led for 25 years, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People’s Liberation Front), widely referred to by its Sinhala acronym, JVP. He led two insurrections and was incarcerated alive on November 13, 1989 in the Borella Cemetery during the UNP regime that held stewardship during the bloodiest period in post-Independence Sri Lanka.

If he was alive today, he would be almost 78-years old. Imagination following the ‘ifs’ probably will not inspire comparison with Castro or Che. Not even Ortega, for the Nicaraguan actually helped overthrow a despotic regime and, as mentioned, succeeded in recapturing power, this time through an election.

Wijeweera did contest elections, but he is not remembered as a democrat. Neither he nor his party showed any success at elections during his leadership. In any event, as the leaders of what was called the ‘Old Left’ as well as people who are seen as ‘Left Intellectuals’ have pointed out, the 1971 insurrection was an adventure against a newly elected government whose policy prerogatives were antithetical to the world’s ‘Right.’ As such, although the JVP had the color and the word right, moment and act squarely placed it as a tool of the capitalist camp, it can be argued.

As for the second insurrection, the JVP targeted leaders and members of trade unions and political parties who, although they may have lost left credentials or rather revolutionary credentials, were by no means in the political right. That such individuals and groups, in the face of the JVP onslaught, ended up fighting alongside the ‘right’ is a different matter.

Anyway, this Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the first insurrection launched by the Wijeweera-led JVP. Of course that ‘moment’ was preceded by preparation and planning that was good enough to catch the United Front government led by the SLFP by surprise, but the entire adventure needs to be examined by the longer history that came before.

Wijeweera belonged to what was called the Peking Wing of the Communist Party, formed after the USSR and China parted political/ideological ways. When Wijeweera broke away from the Peking Wing he was barely out of his teens. What he and others dubbed as the ‘Old Left’ were at the time seen as having lost much of its previous revolutionary zeal. Entering into pacts with the ‘centrist’ SLFP gave credence to this perception. There was, then, a palpable void in the left half of the political spectrum. Wijeweera and the JVP sought to fill it.

It’s easy to play referee after the fact. April 4, 1971 was inauspicious one could argue. The entire strategy of capturing police stations, kidnapping/assassinating the Prime Minister, securing control of the state radio station etc., describe a coup-attempt rather than a revolution. There was no mass movement to speak of. There wasn’t even anti-government sentiment of any significance.

Nevertheless, it was an important moment. As Prof Gamini Samaranayake in his book on the JVP pointed out, the adventure revealed important things: a) the state was weak or rather the security apparatus of the state was weak, and b) armed struggle was now an option for those who aspired to political power. Indeed these two ‘revelations’ may have given some ideas to those Tamil ‘nationalists’ who would end up launching an armed struggle against the state and would so believe that victory was possible that they would try their luck for 30 long years!

Had April 4 not happened, would we have ever had an armed insurrection? If we did, would it have been different from April 1971 and 1988/89? That’s for those who enjoy speculation. Maybe some creative individual with an interest in politics and thinks of producing fiction based on alternative realities might try his/her hand at it. It would probably make entertaining reading.

The April 4 adventure ended in an inglorious defeat. Wijeweera himself was captured or, as some might claim, planned to be captured (a better option than being killed, as hundreds of his followers were). The captors did not know who he was until he himself confessed. He spilled the beans, so to speak, without being urged to do so.

The JVP, thereafter, abandoned the infantile strategy adopted in April 1971. The party dabbled in electoral politics for a while after J.R. Jayewardene’s UNP offered a general pardon that set Wijeweera free. Wijeweera and the JVP would focus mostly on attacking the SLFP thereafter. Others who were arrested opted go their individual ways. Some went back to books and ended up as academics (Jayadeva Uyangoda or ‘Oo Mahaththaya’, Gamini Keerawella and Gamini Samaranayake for example).

Others took up journalism (Victor Ivan alias Podi Athula and Sunanda Deshapriya). A few joined mainstream political parties (e.g. Loku Athula). Many would end up in the NGO sector (Wasantha Dissanayake, Patrick Fernando and Sarath Fernando). Their political trajectories, then, have been varied.

The JVP is still around. For the record, the ‘Old Left’ is still around too, although not as visible as the JVP. We still have the CP (Moscow Wing) and LSSP, as well as their off-shoots. Individuals who wished to be politically active, either joined the SLFP or the UNP or else were politically associated with such parties, even if they didn’t actually contest elections.

The JVP still talks of Wijeweera but this has been infrequent. It’s nothing more than tokenism, even then. The party has politically aligned itself with the SLFP and the UNP at different times and as of now seems to have been captured by the gravitational forces of the latter to a point that it cannot extricate itself or rather, finds itself in a situation where extrication allows for political crumbs and nothing more. The Marxist rhetoric is gone. Red has been replaced by pink. There’s no talk of revolution.

The high point in the post-Wijeweera era was returning some 40 members to parliament at the 2004 elections in a coalition with the SLFP. However, the decision to leave the coalition (UPFA) seems to have been the beginning of a serious decline in political fortunes. It demonstrated, one can argue, the important role that Wimal Weerawansa played in the party’s resurgence after the annihilation of the late eighties. In more recent times, the party suffered a more serious split which had a significant impact on its revolutionary credentials. The party’s radicals broke ranks and formed the Frontline Socialist Party, led by Kumar Gunaratnam, younger brother of the much-loved student leader Ranjithan (captured, tortured and assassinated sometime in late 1989).

The JVP, led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake, has done better than the FSP in elections thereafter, but the split also saw the former losing considerable ground in the universities, the traditional homelands of recruitment if you will. The spark went out as well. There’s palpable blandness in the affairs of the party. At the last general election the JVP could secure just 3% of the vote.

The JVP is old. Too old to call itself the ‘New Left’ (by comparing itself with the LSSP and CP). The FSP is ‘new’ but it poses as the ‘real JVP’ and as such is as old. There’s nothing fresh in their politics or the ideological positions they’ve taken. In fact one might even argue that now there’s no left in the country. It doesn’t mean everyone is in the right either. There’s ideological confusion or, as some might argue, ideology is no longer a factor in Sri Lankan politics. It’s just about power for the sake of power. That’s not new either, but in the past ideological pretension was apparent whereas now politics is more or less ideology-free. Of course this means that a largely exploitative system and those in advantageous positions within it are the default beneficiaries.

Can the JVP reinvent itself? I would say, unlikely. There’s a name. It’s a brand. It’s off-color. It is politically resolved to align with this or that party as dictated by the personal/political needs of the party’s leadership. Wijeweera’s son Uvindu is planning to jump-start the party with a new political formation, but adding ‘Nava’ (new) doesn’t make for the shaving off of decades. Neither does it erase history. Its potential though remains to be assessed. Maybe a decade or two from now.

So, after 50 years, are we to say ‘we had our first taste of revolution or rather pretend-revolution and that’s it’? The future can unfold in many ways. A half a century is nothing in the history of the world. It’s still nothing in the history of humankind. Systems collapse. Individuals and parties seemingly indestructible, self-destruct or are shoved aside by forces they unwittingly unleash or in accordance with the evolution of all relevant political, economic, social, cultural and ecological factors.
People make their history, but not always in the circumstances of their choice. The JVP is part of history. They were in part creatures of circumstances and in part they altered circumstances. Left a mark but not exactly something that makes for heroic ballads. Time has passed. Economic factors have changed. Politics is different. This is a different century and a different country from ‘Ceylon’ and the JVP of 1971.

The JVP is not a Marxist party and some may argue it never was, but Marx would say that a penchant for drawing inspiration from the past is not the way to go. One tends to borrow slogan and not substance that way. April 4, 1971. It came to pass. It was followed by April 5. The year was followed by 1972. Forty nine years have passed. A lot of water has flowed under the political bridge. Good to talk about on anniversary days so to speak. That’s about it though.

malindasenevi@gmail.com. www.malindawords.blogspot.com

 

[Malinda Seneviratne is the Director/CEO of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute. These are his personal views.]

Continue Reading

Trending