Lessons learnt, and schoolboys
It could be China that is the cause of it, or any other reason, but the belligerence of the United States is beginning to tell. Our sources say that the US has every intention of following up on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tough letter to the Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris, when the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) sessions begin in March.
The president was very vocal in telling his Parliamentary group that he would never give in, even though he would send a delegation to the US to ‘clarify matters.’ This was something that a minister in his Cabinet, coalition partner Wimal Weerawansa objected to (‘if they threaten us, boycott them’ …), but the president said that this is not a case of caving in but an effort to put the record straight.
Clarifications on some of these issues have been long coming, even of Sri Lankan audiences.
Europe and the US have collectively taken up the cry that the LLRC report must be implemented, but at a meeting with newspaper editors earlier in the week, the president said that there has hardly been any time after the document was released, to talk about implementation.
He also added that the evidence must be in, to proceed on some of the investigations that have been recommended.
However, in his Independence Day speech the president has now promised full implementation of the LLRC, and said that there would be no executive interference with matters of good governance or the independence of the judiciary.
This completes yo-yo swings that have been a hallmark of the various government pronouncements on the issue of post-war reconciliation and Tamil politics. At the editors’ meeting the president said that the TNA is bettering the LTTE at unreasonable tactics by insisting on preconditions for negotiations.
Using the local idiom he said, “hondakarana beri ledeta koduru tel beth hattpatthuvak genava vage” – i.e.: that the TNA’s brinkmanship is akin to lugging ‘seven suitcases of medicines for a malady that cannot be cured.’
The gut essence of his verdict on the matter is that the TNA continues to up the ante and ask for the impossible in order to avoid reaching any kind of solution, as their only goal is a separate state.
However, the president says in the same breath that 30 years of war is enough and that we are not going to fight another war – ‘no way.’
It makes it difficult to guess whether the administration really means something with 13+ and the Parliamentary Select Committee, or whether any realistic devolution of power is off the table?
The position of the UNP and the TNA is similar on the 13+ promise — both parties ask the government, where is the beef in the argument?
The leader of the opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe meanwhile goes around making the Sirikotha attack a beggar’s wound, squeezing every ounce of sympathy that he can get, showing that the attack was a diabolical scheme against party interests.
It makes people wonder what Ranil Wickremesinghe would have done if Sirikotha was not attacked? Talk about playing into people’s hands…
However, the rebel group hijinks have not stopped, and now their antics are beginning to resemble those of schoolboys playing truant.