The Norway Debate

Bandula Karannagoda, UK

"Why are these people demonstrating against us? Should they not be demonstrating against their Government? We are there simply because their Government wants us there and if we are asked to go we will go."

As Victor Gunasekera states in you column, this is what the Norwegians would be saying to the Colombo protestors and to people like Mahindapala, Susantha Gunatilleka and others who went to Oslo for a conference with PLOTE, EDPD and other groups who are all anti-Norwegian. I agree with Shyamon Jayasingha's lucid analysis.

Susantha has described Norwegians as 'colonial intruders' whereas the patent fact is that Solheim and his team have come merely as invitees of the GOSL. Mahindapala now denies they went to Oslo to protest. He says they went to read conference papers. However, all conference papers read out and other things that transpired at the conference in Oslo (showing tapes etc) were they not protest? One has to be honest. Surely they did not make it to Oslo to just read academic papers? If we want to throw out Norwegians , we cannot do it by reading papers at a conference. Lankaweb readers are intelligent and do not want to be fooled.

My sister in Norway tells me that not a single Norwegian newspaper had published anything about this event. This shows that Norway remained unaffected. The reason is simple.The Norwegian government will ignore everybody except the GOSL.

As facilitators, they are accountable only to the two warring parties and not to anyone else. Solheim and others have a hard role to play. They got to be friendly with both sides. Obviously two successive SL governments had nothing seriously to complain about.

This two decade-old conflict cannot be sorted out without resort to some facilitator. If Norway is not doing a good job then GOSL must try and find another. Previous attempts at peace talks failed one reason because the government went about without the use of a facilitator.

Peace is urgent if we are to rebuild our country and improve the lot of our miserable people. Because of the war, SL has gone back a century. Where is the future? If we go on like this we will bring more and more hardship. The rich will somehow go abroad . What about the poor masses? We must therefore support Chandrika and her team to go on with the talks. Ranil,too, should give up old rivlaries and join in the peace process. JVP should give up their double-dealing. Then our country will be blessed.



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