Misguided Sri Lankan politicians flogging a dead horse

dead-horseFlogging a dead horse is an idiom that means to continue a particular endeavour is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided. If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they’re flogging a dead horse. This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will not make it do any more work. There are a handful of misguided politicians in Sri Lanka, who are stirring up indifference on the dangers faced by the nation and the prospects of the country being divided by the new constitution and many other much needed progressive activities of the Yahapalanaya government.

The new Constitution for Sri Lanka is still on the drawing board with inputs never done in the past coming in from the people. Both the President and the Prime Minister have assured the nation that under no circumstances they will allow the country’s territorial integrity to be compromised and this view is shared by the Leader of the Opposition, who is the novice leader of the minority Tamils of North and East provinces. Furthermore with the assured foremost place for Buddhism in the country under true democracy, the Yahapalanaya government needs only to include clauses in the new Constitution to enable the followers of other religions to practice their faith without hindrance in any part of the country. To resolve the ethnic problem that began when many safeguards provided in the first constitution for the minorities were systematically removed to the present constitution and certain obnoxious features that are bluntly discriminatory to the minorities included in subsequent amendments be omitted in the new constitution. The 13th amendment was introduced to devolve power to the peripheries with the Provincial Council System intended mainly to protect the rights of the Tamil speaking minorities; it was never implemented properly. Tamil speaking people are expecting the core of the 13th Amendment to be drafted into the new constitution in full, excluding the concurrent list that provided overlapping responsibilities between center and the peripheries making it difficult to implement the provincial council system.

The other fear in the minds of these misguided politicians flogging a dead horse and the Sinhala leadership from the days of independence is the two nation theory that may lead to partition of the country. If the Sinhala rulers had pursued an inclusive programme with the urban Tamil leadership who wanted to keep the unitary status, the country would have by now become a top developed nation in Asia. Understandably, elite rulers to gain power adopted the Sinhala only policy that isolated the urban Tamils from the main stream of things. The formation of Tamil Nadu in neighbouring India, increased the fear of partition in the minds of Sri Lankan rulers and as a precautionary measure took action to change the demography of North-East region of the country, then considered homeland of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. This over cautious policy adopted by the Sinhala rulers prevented the urban Tamils to actively participate in the nation building process, in fact the two communities drifted apart as years passed from one riot to the next leading to the civil war. The Sinhala rulers since then pursued with the colonization programme first in the east and of late in the north of the country, this isolated the rural Tamils too from being part of one country concept.

Every Sri Lanka will agree that military is an integral part of national security, since there is no war the size of the security forces could be reduced considerably. After seven years of ending the war the tri-forces are still intact with no effort made to de-mobilize. The past rulers were blamed for using the forces which are concentrated in the North-East region of the country to assist in the state colonization programme. The new Sri Lanka Air Force chief has said air force was ready to recruit Tamil youths, it is encouraging with already young men are women have been recruited into the Sri Lanka Police that celebrated this year its 150 years of operation. This trend needs to be extended to the Army and Navy.

Sinhalese leadership has failed to understand that Tamil Nadu is an integral part of India and there is no way India would allow it to go separate and tie-up with part of Sri Lanka to form Tamil Nation. India has demonstrated many times over the years of their position, clearly seen during the civil war period. Any involvement India has had with the internal matters of Sri Lanka was by default, annoyed by misrule in Sri Lanka. Furthermore there are many countries in the world like Singapore with larger neighbor Malaysia, Switzerland next to France and Germany, Austria next to Germany, Luxembourg neighbouring France and Germany, where the smaller country has minorities in their country who speak the language spoken in the large neighbouring country, yet they have all retained their identity without any delusions of independent statehood claim of the minorities, because of the inclusive policies adopted in those smaller nations.

In Sri Lanka, nationalism exclusive of the minorities was the cause of all ills. Early Tamils leaders refused to consider federalism when it was first suggested before independence by the upcountry Sinhala leaders. Latter after gaining independence, because the Sinhala leaders pursued an exclusive policy with Sinhala Only, Tamil leaders demanded for federalism as an alternative to overcome the exclusive policy and the Sinhala rulers with a minority complex fearing India rejected it. They continued to rule with more discriminatory policies that resulted in youth uprisings eventually leading to the civil war. What happened after that is history and now these misguided politicians are saying sufficient is being done to the Tamil minorities, but in reality the state while attending to the needs of the rest of the country, has started addressing the grievances of the people most affected by the three decades of bloody civil war, neglected by the previous regime during the six negative peace years that followed the end of war.

It is plain even to a child that the overruled politicians are flogging a dead horse only to keep the topic of hatred on the boil to regain their lucrative position as a government parliamentarian and are only misguiding the people until the next elections. It must be noted that during the countrywide consultation with the people initiated by the state, majority have indicated and are expecting the proposed new constitution to cater to the demands of the modern age. The proposed new constitution has given an ideal opportunity to redress the situation as there are many features in the present constitution that are outdated particularly in relation to human rights and are reflected in the legal system that discriminate the minorities. If the Sinhalese leaders have learnt from experience, they should create a federal system of rule for North-East combined; this will unify the divided nation and Sri Lanka will become a leading nation in Asia in no time. The new Constitution expected to be an all-inclusive multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural to reflect the pluralistic character of Sri Lanka is still in the making and it will be placed before the people at a referendum before passage in Parliament.