Lakshman Kadirgamar, shot in his home by LTTE snipers
The LTTE are terrorists and they killed Kadirgamar. However, the lapse in security and failure of the peace process is the fault of the SLFP, JVP and Chandrika Bandaranaike. She has sold out the country for personal power, and now Lakshman Kadirgamar has paid with his life. By sold out, I mean that after Ranil painstakingly built up the cease-fire, she rallied the forces of Sinhala Chauvanism (JVP) and seized the ministries and Parliament. Just like her father before her. She made a deal with the devil to hold power, and now the devil has taken his due. Since her election there have been no negotiations and no peace process. With her gone and Ranil back we can maybe salvage something from this mess of inaction.
To start, this is an excerpt from Bradman Weerakoons book ‘Rendering Onto Caeser’ – documenting his life serving 9 Prime Ministers and Presidents.
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Throughout the two year process, what was unhelpful was the non-collaborative attitude that the president took… It takes two to tango as the saying goes and there was much that Ranil could have done by sharing information and more consultation to change her confrontational attitude. Ranil always countered this charge by insisting that she was being informed by their mutual friend Lakshman Kadirgama.
I personally felt that the president believed that the peace process which was rightfully hers, had been now usurped by an outsider. What was most galling was that the outsider, Ranil, was now seen to be making unexpected progress towards a settlement.
Ranil Wickremesinghe set about managing the peace process like a chief executive officer. The vision was clear: there was a strategic plan, there was a road map with mile posts to be negotiated, and so on. There were things to be done within Sri Lanka and things outside. Following this strategic plan, his action was literally based on three pillars: thinking out of the box, having trust in those one was dealing with, and using the support of friends. It proved to be a simple and effective tripod. (pg 338-339)
The heart of the peace process lay in the Cease-Fire Agreement signed between Prabhakaran and Ranil Wickremesinghe, prime minister, on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka. It was the first time in history that we had gone so far as to agree in writing on the details of the cease-fire and the course of future action…
Ranil spent a great amount of his time domestically on the conduct of the peace process. He was occupied, sometimes preoccupied by it, every day on most weekends and sometimes late into the night. The road to peace could literally be said to be marked by a number of illuminated sign posts – Bangkok, Berlin, Oslo, Hakone and Tokyo. In Oslo, between 2-5 December 2002 leading representatives of the two sides – Ministers G L Peiris, Milinda Moragoda and Raug Hakeen on the government side and the leader of the Political Wing S P Thamil Selvan, Anton Baslasingham and Jay Maheswaran on the LTTE side – achieved a great breakthrough. It culminated the historic agreement when for the first time, the LTTE gave up its unwavering and consistent demand of over 20 years, for a seperate State of Tamil Eelam:
Responding to a proposal by the leadership of the LTTE, the parties agreed to explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self-determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking people, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka. The parties acknowledged that the solution has to be acceptable to all communities
This was a massive achievement apparent to anyone who had followed the history of the tortuous road of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict and attempts at resolution. Ranil had won a major victory for his people and his country.
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What he did not win, however, was a victory for Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, and that is the only thing that matters. CBK, under our odd constitution, simply took over the Ministry of Defence on the grounds that there was an ‘imminent threat’ (despite the, uh, cease fire). She then called elections and sold out to every fringe lunatic party in order to cobble together her government. Just as her father rose to power on the tide of Sinhala racism, she went to the dark side and allied herself with the JHU (Sinhala Chauvanist monks – who should not be in politics by the way), and the JVP (who killed thousands, cut of voting fingers, and possible assassinated her husband). Just like her father, she preyed on racism and fear to sell the country out and keep power for herself.
Upon getting power she has done absolutely nothing. To quote AFP via LBO, “Peace talks remain on hold since April 2003 after six rounds of inconclusive talks that began in September 2002”. Any moves she did make had the JVP nipping at her heels, but she couldn’t make much of a difference anyway. She sold out the peace process to keep power, and now Lakshman Kadirgamar has paid for it with his life. She has so lost touch with reality that she now that 6 = 7 (for the Queen). Luckily for us the Elections Commisioner has called elections for 2005. She needs to go. We had a peace process and she exploited every bit of Sinhala Chauvanism to kill it. It’s time for her to get voted out and someone sensible like Ranil to piece things back together. And Mahinda is a Sri Lankan Gap Ad, so forget him.