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Sri Lanka Goes Pop

C.V. Vigneswaran – The New Pop Star

by NILANTHA ILANGAMUWA

Let us remove the mask and without them let us look at the people who live on this rough soil. Where are we? What we are? Who has left us with nothing of value? Despair and hopelessness has been a part of our daily lives through the heritage of anger and stress due to rude, senseless, lawless, unjust power. One after another, time and time again the same thing in different modes is repeated over the years.

Our inability to learn from history, unwilling to accept wrongdoings, disobedience to the heart and minds of victims are the major strategies with which to find loopholes in order to run away from inescapable reality. We use the same mirror to look at the new pop star of politics in Sri Lanka, and on that basis we are refreshing our past agony to diagnose the present dispute. In our hands, crackers are exploding; fireworks are in the sky of the people who, with empty stomachs, yearn for change. On the other hand, wealth and power are centralized with those who abet tyranny. But unfortunately, we are yet to realize that the formal theory has no room to play when everything underneath is a manifestation of cynical power.

There is much ado on the selection of former justice C.V. Vigneswaran, as the chief ministerial candidate by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for the Northern Province in the forthcoming provincial council election if, indeed, it is held as scheduled by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The dream is ongoing and a fresh topic of debate has arrived.

Things are moving so fast in our imagination but in reality nothing is moving except the expansion of the power and wealth of the panoplied ruling family. But according to many so called critiques, the angel has arrived. He was discovered by the most senior cowardly leader in the history of the TNA which was formed as the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi, a year after we claimed independence from the British, R. Sampanthan, who was one time a bird in the cage of the Tamil Tigers. It may be the wisest decision that the leader of the party ever took, but the general point of view is something very different and it is too early to predict the future of the party, or even the entire political multitude in the peninsula.

Recent discussions on Justice Vigneswaran, have restarted the debate on the Tamil Political struggle that lasted until the Tamil Tigers were killed, one time their advocate but later an opponent in one sense – Dr. Rajini Thiranagama. After that politics was nothing and was buried underneath the order of the militancy (the Tamil Tigers). There was of course, minor attempts by those moderate Tamils who tried to reveal nudity of the failure of their non-violent Tamil politics which became a puppet of militancy. Love letters continually written by Veerasingham Anandasangaree of the TULF to Velupillai Prabhakaran did not produce much effect but helped to burn the myth that many politicians were floating in. But no one dared to take his ideas up to the find a solution or have a serious dialogue on it; eventually President Rajapaksa sidelined him following the total elimination of the militancy power of the Tamil Tigers, to make them his own yes men out of the debate to manipulate the real soup that Tamil politics has become.

Rise up the new pop star, Justice Vignaswaran who has taken the whiteboard marker pen to describe the rights of Tamil based on history, culture, literature, and diplomacy obtained over the last thousands of years. But he has forgotten to take a white board with him, perhaps hanging in the air. Since he was nominated for the position of CM to the North, he has not, yes, unfortunately, described the gravity of the problem, instead engaging through very biased, popularized topics of the failed debate to grab votes from Tamils in the area. He has forgotten that the winning the election is just opening of a Pandora’s box, if the winner does not have real wisdom to address the problems at ground-reality. Alas, his simple theory has been exposed in his recent interview with a New Delhi based daily. When the husband is beating the wife, neighbours should intervene, and then you can’t say that is internal matter anymore, was his simple theory.

But in reality, the crisis in the area is beyond the militarization issue; it has grown beyond the boundaries of the cultural, linguistics and historical arguments that we have had in the past. Those boundaries were assassinated by the Tamil Tigers in their militant campaigns just after Thimbu peace talk in late 80s. If Justice Vignaswaran is going to reprint the alternatives to the Mahawansa, which seems to be his idea, to be the dominant source of the Sinhalaese developing an inability to accept the rights of Tamils, then there will be fewer differences between him and the demon that evaporated the last milestone of the personal liberty of Sri Lankans. It will give an enormous opportunity to the ruling party to crackdown the flowers that produce the seeds of freedom.

What do we need? We need not the worms that are clinging from the failed and poisoned arguments that the last generations suffered, but the man who can understand the difference between fanaticism and realism; the man who can cure the fanaticism. In other words, the man who can understand the problems that we suffered that led to the killing of thousands of innocents; a man who can accept the painful reality. Neither Sinhalese extremists nor Tamil extremists can contribute towards a real solution. They are more likely to burn the eyesight of peace. If Justice Vigneswaran’s argument had enough strength to change politics in Sri Lanka, then it would have happened much earlier when General Sarath Fonseka entered politics, or even later during Chief Justice Shrani Bandaranayake’s justice revolution due to the pinch by Rajapaksa. They also had similar arguments as individuals at their personal levels but unfortunately, like Justice Vigneshwaran, they also did not have a clear-cut picture of the reality of the tyrant whom they helped to gain strength and also the process of the general mindset of the public. There is no point in asking the help of neighbours when your house is burning if you yourself purchased the fuel with which to burn the house. Here is where we, of all communities, need to change the ideology of fanatic fatalism into accepting the real painful reality.

Nilantha Ilangamuwa is journalist and editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily news paper based in Colombo Sri Lanka. He can be reached atilangamuwa@gmail.com or editor@srilankaguardian.org