Final solution should safeguard ‘just’ rights and aspirations of Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese – Wimal Weerawansa.

The speech given by Wimal Weerawansa

The speech given by Wimal Weerawansa, MP, Leader of the JVP Parliamentary Group at the Inaugural Meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Peace and Reconstruction

The most venerable high priests, the venerable priests belonging to different religions, Her Excellency the President, Hon. Prime Minister, Hon. Ministers of the UPFA government, Hon. Members of Parliament, the leaders of the political parties, ladies and gentlemen representing different organizations,

Today, at a time, as a government, when we are endeavoring to seek advisory assistance to find solutions to the most serious and challenging problem of our history, first of all I would like to extend my thanks for giving me this opportunity to express our views on this occasion, which is held in connection with the establishment of the National Advisory Committee on Peace and Reconstruction. I would also like to express a special tribute to Her Excellency the President and the Organizing Committee, who pioneered this event and are totally dedicated to it.

Method of ‘divide and rule’, which was introduced to this country by the colonial rulers, continued even in the post independent era as we could not correct it due to some reason or the other. As a result of this failure, the legacy of ‘divide and rule’ that was left behind from the colonial times has remained and has evolved into a very serious ‘national question’. There has not been any similar problem of this nature in the pre colonial period of our history. Ours is not a country that is inhabited by a large number of ethnic groups. Primarily there are only three such groups in this country. We believe that ethnic diversity is a factor that adorns a nation. However, sadly, that factor which is there to adorn this nation has turned into a factor that is conspiring to separate this nation along cultural boundaries. Therefore we believe that it is the responsibility of all of us to prevent our cultural and national identities from becoming the factors that divide our country. However, sadly, what we have faced today is that these very factors which are there to beautify this country’s cultural and ethnic identities have turned into factors that separate us, that obstruct the progress and development of the entire nation, and to divide us along new cultural boundaries.

In our recent history, there have been many attempts made by different political leaders and governments trying to overcome this challenge. Perhaps, some of these attempts were relatively successful. However, many of them were failures. As we believe the main reason for this was that, by and large, these attempts failed miserably to protect and safeguard the aspirations of Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and Malay, the communities that live in this country. That is why the UPFA government under the leadership of Her Excellency the President, while providing the pioneering leadership to the efforts of finding solutions to this historic problem, has given the maximum consideration to the ideas that have come up from the different aspirations and expectations that are there in the society.

The ideas of all of us who are here at this meeting are not the same. The ones that we agree upon and those we don’t, that diversity is there even at this meeting. But there is one important factor that brings all of us together. That there is an important agreement between all of us - that is - these different ideas should not be a hindrance to our genuine attempt to find a solution. We strongly believe that this important agreement would be helpful in bringing about justice to our future generations. Facing this challenge is not a responsibility of an individual or of a group of people or a government. What a government could do is only to mediate pioneeringly in this effort. Whatever the steps that are taken wining this challenge that history has left behind for us, they should essentially bring about justice to the society that is made up of different social groups, different ethnicities and religious identities. Our attempts should be able to safeguard their expectations, their heritage and the positions that they are holding historically.

While the UPFA government is fully aware of the complexity of this problem - and as it thinks that this is not an issue to take forward based on stubborn decisions, it also believes that the agreements made secretly are not going to bring permanent solutions. It also believes that the agreements that are made by putting the state’s existence at stake, by sacrificing state security, by putting state’s future pathway at risk, are not going to provide solutions to any problems either. That is why it is agreed to form this advisory committee, which is made up of the people of immense diversities and by religious leaders.
At the same time as the JVP, we would like to emphasize strongly that in order to overcome this challenge – the national question that we are faced with, if it is possible to solve it through discussions, then we believe that it is very important and necessary to involve ourselves in a genuine effort to do so.

However, at the same time we would also like to emphasize that our dedication to peace should not be construed by any one as a fear of the bullet. The ‘peace’ should be acceptable to the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, and all ethnic communities of this country. But we do not believe that the peace to a country is to be attained just for the sake of putting power in the hands of any one group or an individual. We believe that it is the most important lesson there for us to learn through the failure of the so called ‘peace’ process that started a little over two years ago. We do not believe that there is any thing to be won by sacrificing the sovereignty of our state. We strongly believe that the only boundary that our country could have is the ocean that surrounds us. We strongly believe that our national security, our sovereignty are factors that cannot be valued at any price. We are dedicated to assist any attempt that is made for finding a peaceful, permanent, correct solution to this problem which is based on these minimum requirements. At the same time I would like to emphasize that we also have the responsibility to reject any attempt that does not regard these minimum requirements that destroy the state’s sovereignty, national security and its historically uninterrupted ownership.

We do not believe that separatist terrorism is some thing that is faced only by us in Sri Lanka. Very recently the Chechnian separatist terrorists in Russia through a barbaric terrorist act that horrified the entire world showed all of us the extent of brutality of separatist terrorism. By separatist terrorism, people belonging to all ethnicities in this country, Sinhalees, Tamils, Muslims - all have suffered. They continue to suffer even today. Therefore the solutions that we ‘build’, instead of satisfying separatism, should be the solutions that unite Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim ethnic communities to live in peaceful coexistence. We strongly believe that the final solution that will be arrived at through the diverse ideas of this Advisory Committee that we are ‘building’ will identify the different reasons that are responsible for the creation of separatist terrorism. We will also find answers for those reasons, and will have the ability to liberate our motherland from the gruesome grip of separatism, and that should be made the final solution. Especially, we believe, that this final solution should necessarily be able to equitably safeguard the ‘just’ rights, the aspirations of the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalees who cohabitated for long times in the North and Eastern provinces in this country. We believe in the importance of a ‘discussion approach’ that is aimed essentially on arriving at a final solution, a final solution that would not ‘liquefy’ our ‘state’, and would not ‘liquefy’ the national heritage of our state, and would not let loose the sovereignty of our state. What we should strive at would not be to push for whatever solution, and to relive ourselves from the timely responsibilities. We have to emphasize that whatever the solution that we are seeking for this problem, which has created an internal war within a country, should not turn into one that create a war between two countries.

If the solution we ‘build’ to settle an internal war within a country will subsequently be the reason for a continuing destructive war between two countries, then no one of us would be able to relive ourselves from that responsibility forever. Therefore I wish to emphasize the fact that it should not be a mere attempt of relieving ourselves from today’s responsibility, but an attempt that would also allow the children who are to be born many centuries from now, to enjoy the benefits of the solution that we are bringing. At the same time it has to be the final solution that safeguards the important principles of democracy, equity, and territorial integrity. We do not believe that finding this kind of a solution, which protects all the basic and necessary requirements, is an easy task. We have clearly understood that it is a very difficult and a complex task. However, history has indicated to us that instead of complicating this matter further through easy and wrong decisions, although how difficult and tiring it may be, this problem has to be solved through a correct decision.

Through establishment of the National Advisory Committee on Peace and Reconstruction the UPFA government has made a fair, transparent and genuine attempt to arrive at this. While hoping that we will be able to contribute effectively through productive participation towards achieving this end, we wish that this attempt, which is undertaken with the leadership of Her Excellency the President, will be a permanent success. I thank you all.



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