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WIMAL WEERAWANSA'S SPEECH

L. Jayasooriya

The whole country is talking about the speech delivered by Wimal Weerawansa not as an item of gossip but as a deadly serious matter that has marked a turning point in the past sordid eleven years of Sri Lankan politics. I for myself am not interested in the personalities involved but only in the country and my cultural heritage which is Buddhism. I will also not comment on this in public because of the nature of the contents of the speech but the purpose of writing this letter is to disagree with the statement that was made by the deputy ministers that Wimal Weerawansa's speech only helped the UNP because it would lead to a break-up between the JVP and the SLFP. If it really helped the UNP he did not have to stress it so many times to the point of making it sickening to the listeners.

For anybody who had eyes to see and ears to hear, the depth of feelings and the sheer strength of delivery of the speech was the clearest indication of the split between the JVP and the SLFP not in a way that would help the UNP but in a way that the SLFP will have to take note of, if it wants to survive and avoid another election which will see its numbers decimated because of the way the country was let down on the promises that were made that resulted in the UNP being thrown out.

Whether the SLFP likes it or not it will have to form an alliance with the JVP if it wants to have a presence in the next parliament. If it does not want to, then the JVP will be forced to form an alliance with the JHU and an MoU for such an alliance will be very easy to make because the monks have no political interest in parliament for themselves personally as the lay people have and besides such an alliance will be far more powerful than a JVP-SLFP alliance because the SLFP destroyed itself by its anti-national stand on all matters that were the core of Singhalese Buddhist feelings. Under those circumstances a two-third majority between them at the expense of both the UNP and the SLFP could not be ruled out.

Not one iota of help was given to the Buddhists by the Buddha Sasana Ministry even to redress their grievances. According to the Divayina two Christian priests have been appointed by the Buddha Sasana Ministry to a workshop for the implementation of the proposals of the Buddha Sasana Commission report. The JHU has been purposely and deliberately not invited and kept out. The Buddha Sasana Commission report was prepared at great sacrifice and expense by the Buddhists to get redress and not to be vetoed by the very people responsible for their grievances. There could not be a worse insult to the Buddhists than this by anybody and this was done by the Buddha Sasana Ministry. This is the last as far as the Buddhists are concerned. Ven. Omalpe Sobita was the first to announce that the JHU was not invited and now the JHU will make sure that the entire Buddhist population is made aware of this so that the haters of Buddhists will reap their own harvest.

Several clear warnings were issued by Ven. Elle Gunawansa and they were ignored. So the speech that Wimal Weerawansa delivered was in language that could perhaps be better understood that the JVP will not tolerate any form of federalism which everyone knows will only pave the way to eventual separation with international help. For the first time the Japanese 4.5 billion dollar envoy had the wisdom to consult the JVP the same way as the IMF did and he heard for the first time from Somawansa the unalterable stand of the JVP with regard to the ISGA. This would have been a shock to the envoy who would all these days have been fed with nothing but poison by all the anti-nationals.

We could assume that Wimal Weerawansa’s speech was only a logical step in a series of steps as we could judge. It has been reported that the JVP has said that if violations of the MoU were to continue like this they will nominate their own candidate for the next presidential elections. That means that the JHU will have to accept an executive JVP president because they will have no choice and the IMF and the World Bank will have to take note of it if they want to continue to do what they have been doing all along. On the surface of it, it would appear that a three cornered fight could help the UNP to divide the country but the influence that the JVP and the monks political and non-political have over the people will ensure a minimum vote for the SLFP candidate. Even if the UNP candidate wins the JVP has the machinery to mobilize the people to prevent any partitioning of the country by the UNP. Wimal Weerawansa’s speech cannot be brushed aside even if he were to say that he was quoted out of context which he knows it was not and we know it was not and it therefore makes no difference whether he keeps repeating it or not. His speech has set the tone for the future because the monks whether in politics or not will give support to the JVP on their anti-UNP and anti-SLFP stand. Even if there is no alliance between the JVP and the JHU Buddhist public opinion will make the next parliament very different with the JVP and the JHU being the key players giving confidence to the people that the JHU will have a controlling influence on the JVP.


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