Prof. Hudson McLean

Those who are perturbed by the MoU between UNF and LTTE, should treat the entire content with a pinch of salt and look at the basic objectives of this document, in the broadest possible perspective.

One might look at the MoU from two different angles. For the LTTE it was more like a "shot-gun" wedding. The Sept 11th gave them no options. For RanilW, this was a marriage of convenience. With an eye on the Presidential seat, peace, even until the Presidential elections are over and done with, RanilW, as any politician would, grabbed the opportunity.

RanilW is fully aware of the consequences of a "sell out" to the LTTE and the LTTE objective is to take a short break to replenish their coffers and rearm themselves for the "last showdown". The LTTE is painfully aware of the consequences of a Jaffghanistan scenario and will equally deliver devastating attacks throughout the Island. The LTTE "sleepers" are already in place and all one can hope is that the Sri Lankan intelligence is not going to do a FBI/CIA fiasco.

At least every Sri Lankan should be grateful to RanilW for his bold and positive initiative which gave a "temporary" respite to bloodshed. Yes, "temporary" is the operative word, since events leading upto today only confirm that the LTTE Tigers are unable to perform any kind of transparent political activity, now or in the future, other than their wild acts of terrorism.

The main stream Tigers are bubbling beneath the cosmetic calm, specially created for the benefit of the foreign political audience. But as long as RanilW stretches the hope of having peace negotiations in Thailand or any other venue, Sri Lankan masses will enjoy the peace and a quiet nights sleep.

LTTE never had any intentions of running the NE as a democratic political administration, for two simple reasons. First, they do not have the capability to provide a democratic government. Second, even if they did find sufficiently amiable human resources, the hardcore will find that running a political structure is "a lotta work for a little and less money". It is far more lucrative to either run the NE as a dictatorial fiefdom, or a service centre for international terrorism, narcotics, human trafficking etc.

The September 11th put an end, albeit a temporary one, to the ambitions of a few hardcore LTTE'rs who dreamt of being little Hitler's in Jaffna, but most of them still dream in hope.

Let us be realistic. Many of the Tamil refugees who are currently in the West, claiming political refugee status, and who are largely under control of the local LTTE henchmen, as a revenue stream, would like to return to a less hostile NE.

Similarly, the Tamils who took refuge in their own Motherland, TamilNadu, are hoping to return to their demolished huts and shanties, which may offer them, a better life than surviving as third class beggars within their own Tamil brethren.

This presents an even greater problem for the LTTE if ever they get the responsibility of an administration in the NE. Although the world may offer assistance, aid, handouts in the immediate short term, without the drama of a war, CNN or the BBC would have nothing to write about. The plight of the poor Tamil refugees who returned from their Motherland to Jaffna will not generate even a press snippet, when millions are dying in Africa under worse conditions.

Publicity with a distressing human story of a war victim creates public sympathy and the lack of it blocks the revenue bandwagon rolling in. Therefore, one may expect, even under an interim administration in the NE, for the LTTE misfits to take up arms in order to rejuvenate the revenue stream.

None of the Tamil Diaspora enjoying the luxury in the West would dream of returning to help their starving kith and kin suffering in the dusty, dry, desolate NE, especially under a fascist dictatorship of LTTE. But under present conditions, most of them would prefer to keep their nose to the grinding wheel and let Erik Solheim take care of the Top Cats and the rest can only hope for the best.

Meanwhile one subject which has received a great deal of concern and publicity is, that of the security of the President of Sri Lanka, and the snobbish treatment afforded by RanilW.

Even amongst thieves, there is a secret code of honour. The politicians in Sri Lanka are direct descendants of the founding fathers of the modern Sri Lanka. Most of them, including some of the leading Tamil politicians such as GG and SJV are in the same league as DS, SWRD, JR, CBK, an educated, well bred and a cultured lot. The current Prime Minister, as the Bandaranaike family, hails from a highly respected, educated, wealthy and a upper class Sinhala clan.

Therefore one might expect from RanilW, as the head of the government, to ensure that civility and protocol are adequately maintained and observed, and that the Executive President is given due respect and granted all due facilities awarded to a Head of State. This is not a mere political matter. This is civilised culture in any democratic system. RanilW must not set a precedent which may bounce on him one fine day in his political future.

Another disturbing aspect which has simmered since the Portuguese dropped anchor is, the infighting between the coastal Sinhala and the central Sinhala over matters of religion. A parallel may be drawn by taking the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as a case in point. Either the Buddhist or the Christian / Catholic clergy must take the first step to initiate a civilised dialogue and, preach peace and harmony amongst the fellow citizens, whatever their Faith. Now that there is peace in the horizon in the beautiful Island, the present generation, should team up, cooperate, pull the cart together, in the same direction, set aside personal differences, as Sri Lankans, to rebuild the country and the shattered economy, once again.

This is a common problem in most countries. If there is no reason to create a conflict, then find one to create one. Religion is one subject I personally do not wish to enter into. It is a mine field. It is a personal conviction. Leave it at that. Let each individual find his or her own saviour and pray to attain Nirvana or Heaven, in their lives after death.

On a more practical level, the government and the peoples of Sri Lanka should pull together and pull in the investment. That should be an urgent priority. There are a host of countries willing to come over to Paradise. For investment. Simply on holiday, which creates employment and service industries. Furthermore, foreign investment tags along multiple benefits such as security, a benefit pro bono.

However, all these rose gardens need professional security. The government must never forget that the Tiger, however tame he may look, can revert to his natural instincts to attack. One can never trust a Cat. (With apologies to feline lovers). This delicate matter of security, should be left to the professionals at the two Ministries, Defence and Interior, to ensure that highest levels of security are maintained, at all times. A close defence tie-up with USA and India should be given utmost priority.

One still cannot draw any conclusions on the role of the Scandinavian peace monitors. So far, largely due to the aftermath of WTC disaster, the terrorists are maintaining a low profile. Over the next months, the Scandinavians will probably close shop and seek other opportunities to expend their tax payers funds. Hopefully, the world opinion will play the role of the guardian and maintain a shadow over any thoughts of renewed terrorist actions.

But in the meantime, the present government can only try to maintain what they have started and "Carry On Regardless", over a watchful eyes of the ever-so-vigilant Buddhist clergy and the patriotic Sri Lankan public.


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