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Let’s not miss this golden opportunity to solve National Crisis!

Below is a remark on President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s intervention of providing a political solution to the Ethnic Crisis faced by the Tamil communities of the North and the East by initiating several rounds of discussions having all political parties involved as stakeholders.

It would be an unavoidable fact that the National Crisis facing Sri Lanka, which at one point heated the arena in the form of a political crisis and at another an armed struggle for three decades, has taken a drastic turn influenced by the economic meltdown affecting the lives of the people of Sri Lanka regardless of their ethnicity. In the backdrop, the island nation is suffering from its worst economic crisis since independence, a scenario that can only be solved by the help of the International Community and more importantly, the Sri Lankan Tamil Community living overseas.

The extent to which the Economic Crisis facing Sri Lanka is solved will be decided by the extent to which the International Community wishes to extend their support to us, and the scenario of Sri Lankans being compelled to suffer further and for how long will be on their hands. The fact that many Sri Lankan regimes throughout the course of time breaking the promises made before the United Nations Human Rights Council and India during and after the thirty-year war leading the International Community to grow negative towards the island nation remains intact, and it is only fair that they may hold doubts about the sincerity of the Government of Sri Lanka catering especially to the National Crisis.

Sri Lanka being the paradigm of being relentlessly divided against the Political Crisis in the eyes of the International Community may give them no pleasure to support us to solve the Economic Crisis, unless the political leaders step up sparing differences. The International Community may have no interest in supporting a nation that has no willingness to settle its own political grudges. We, therefore, must open the door that provides solutions to the National Crisis by ourselves first, are we to solve the Economic Crisis.

Be the fact that the incumbent President of Sri Lanka is a person who is capable of leading the mission of solving the crisis true, Ranil Wickremesinghe has always been in the political view of providing solutions to the National Crisis by ‘power devolution’, against every backlash of him being labelled as a pro-LTTEer.

During the presidency of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, she also tendered the resolution of power devolution, which at the time did not receive the support of the United National Party (UNP) led by Wickremesinghe. On another occasion, political streams like the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) opposed the peace establishment process initiated by Wickremesinghe. Despite the history being arguable, today Wickremesinghe does hold the position of Executive President of Sri Lanka and is administering the country alongside the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), or commonly known as the ‘Pohottuwa,’ a faction that unplugged itself from the SLFP mainstream after the 2015 Mahinda Rajapaksa defeat. The combination would be very crucial at this time, given that Sri Lanka may have been left with no more options.

Notwithstanding what is laid down above, there is also a standalone fighter in Parliament who is very much capable of boosting the process of solving the National Crisis by becoming a bridge between the Tamil political parties of the North and the East and the political parties of the South. He is none other than Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, a senior politician representing the Parliament of Sri Lanka for decades who has always been a huge voice for the minority communities of the country. His vision has also stood for providing a political solution to the National Crisis, despite his decisions to switch parties from which he contested throughout the years. During his tenure as a Cabinet Minister in the out and loud racist regime led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, Dr. Senaratne never changed his belief of providing a political solution to the National Crisis. The former Health Minister may have been ridiculed by the nationalists and their overwhelming followers, but Senaratne had never betrayed his vision towards any force that had stood against him. Needless to say, that the Tamil political parties can lay their trust upon him.

Almost every occasion on which a political solution was sought to solve the National Crisis, racist political powers of the South called it an attempt to divide the country. Contradictory to what the vast majority devoted to the South-led political stream believes, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by R. Sampanthan has made it very clear that they have no intention of dividing the country at all, but the implementation of power devolution, especially in the backdrop that there is no more LTTE separatism in the island nation. The TNA’s stance easily debunks the South-led political forces’ argument of dividing the country.

Reminiscent of the famous catchphrase by John Dickinson, the founding father of the United States, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall,” us the Sri Lankans too have to make a very unpopular decision as to whether we should stand up together to solve the Political and Economic Crises of the country by sparing our prejudice for the sake of the future generations, or should we continue to divide ourselves losing this golden opportunity once and for all.

*Adapted by original article, “ජාතික ගැටලුවට විසඳුමක් සෙවීමට මේ ස්වර්ණමය අවස්ථාව මඟ නොහරිමු !” published on 11.12.2022

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