Sri Lanka is currently being pressured by various foreign powers to devolve political power to the Sri Lankan Tamil minority in what they prescribe as "the political solution" to Sri Lanka's "Tamil Problem". This effort is being orchestrated by the Eelamists of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora under the leadership of the residual LTTE terrorist network who have reconfigured themselves into various pseudo-democratic political organizations such as the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF). As we all know, this snail-like shedding of one shell for another is a time-honored tactic of LTTE front organizations, designed to keep one-step ahead of the law.
The demand is for Devolution of Political Power on the basis of Ethnicity. This is in all-but-name the same demand the LTTE separatist terrorists made for the creation of a Tamil-only apartheid racist Bantustan in Sri Lanka prior to their complete military rout in 2009. It is a demand to divide Sri Lanka on the basis of ethnicity that attempts to resurrect the lost struggle for a separate monoethnic state that claimed tens of thousands of innocent lives in the last thirty years, largely due to the inaction and failure of successive Sri Lankan Governments that heeded the flawed advice of foreign powers, neglecting their bounden duty to preserve the Nation whole, and protect the lives of their People.The Tamil separatists hope to win by Stealth in "Peace" what they failed to win through Violence in "War"!
In a recent news article an Indian journalist reports that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has in mind a "Political Solution" for the Tamil Problem subject to the will of the People of Sri Lanka. In response I am writing to present the arguments why no power should be devolved to any separate ethnic community in Sri Lanka, and to identify the dangers posed by such devolution to the integrity of the Nation and the lives of its People.
I am presenting below the text of an Article that I had written and published over a decade ago opposing the Devolution of Power to the Tamil Minority that the Government of India wanted to impose on Sri Lanka.
India first initiated Tamil separatism in our country, trained, armed, delivered, funded and supported the Tamil terrorists in that quest, creating the very problem for which they now propose to dictate a new "political solution." The reasons presented in that Article against Devolution of Power remain as valid today as they were then.
I still oppose any Devolution of Political Power to Regions of Sri Lanka on the basis of Ethnicity, or any other Communal Attribute. One person having the right to cast one vote for a political leader of his or her choice for election to parliament, is both necessary and sufficient franchise for any citizen. No further regional powers should be granted on the basis of ethnicity.
Let all citizens enjoy equal rights subject to an equal responsibility to love, protect and serve our country. Let there be no special rights in our country for anyone, in any region, embedded in the laws of the land on the basis of race, language, religion, sex, caste or wealth. Let all regions of the country be open to settlement by any citizen, without let or hindrance. Let culture and religion prevail, and be treasured, in all their glory in the personal sphere; not in the public domain.
Since incurable separatists, driven by prejudice, intolerance, excessive racial pride and a perception of assistance available from abroad, will try all overt and covert means to destabilize, undermine, and divide the Nation, let the Government of Sri Lanka adopt and implement a National Policy of Ethnic Integration (EI) with the goal of achieving a uniform demographic distribution of the different communities of Sri Lanka. This is the ONLY CERTAIN MEANS of PERMANENTLY banishing communal separatism from the Nation: The total eradication of the regional concentrations of different ethnic communities that form the very basis of their separatist demands for regional devolution of power.
ONE Nation of ONE People sharing ONE Destiny should be our Permanent National Goal!
Devolution - A Recipe for National Suicide
National Integration, not national disintegration, is the key to peace and prosperity.
Peace and prosperity cannot be won by appeasement of terrorists and bargaining away our country, our security and our future.
Sacrifice and eternal vigilance have always been the price of freedom.
Under the threat of terrorism, Sri Lanka is poised on the threshold of being dismembered into regions based on ethnicity. All patriotic Sri Lankans, whoever you are, wherever you are, act now to prevent this disaster. In particular, the Sinhala people must overcome their differences, join hands and organize to let the government know that devolution in any form will not be tolerated because our country, our heritage and our future are inalienable, non-negotiable. National integration, not national disintegration, should be our goal.
The Front for National Integration has been formed to coordinate this effort. Join us, your country and your people need your support now!
National Integrity is The Key to Survival
We believe that appeasement of terrorists and separatists-in-waiting, through devolution of power to regions along ethnic lines, would be an unmitigated disaster for all people of Sri Lanka and for generations yet unborn. Foreigners who advocate the balkanization of our country do so having nothing to lose and everything to gain. Many countries that now urge Sri Lanka to dismember itself, have fought long hard civil wars to preserve the integrity of their nations to ensure that their citizens would inherit the blessings of peace and prosperity.
Indeed, Abraham Lincoln, the Union President during the US Civil War, said that if the unity of the country can be preserved by keeping all states free of slavery he would do that; or if the unity of the country can be preserved only by keeping some states slave and others free of slavery, he would do that; but if the unity of the country can be preserved only by letting all states be slave states, then he would do that; but whatever the circumstances, he would keep the country united. He placed the value of a united country above that of his cherished dream of abolishing slavery, fully recognizing the danger posed to his people by competition between two aggressive nations born in war in the same land. The partition of British India into two countries, for example, solved nothing and condemned the populations of both countries to permanent insecurity, regular wars and staggering defense expenditures which have arrested their economic development. The wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi's unsuccessful struggle to prevent the division of British India, and Abraham Lincoln's successful campaign to keep the United States whole, is evident for all to see. The wisdom of Lincoln's vision for the future of his country, and his iron-willed determination to keep the country whole, is today obvious to all who enjoy the peace, prosperity and global respect it has brought the United States.
The people of Sri Lanka deserve and yearn for no less. We owe too much to the memory of our thousands of honoured dead, soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians alike, who have given the last full measure of their devotion to their country, to abandon what they sought to preserve. We owe too much to our forefathers, who fought and died to keep this land free of invaders, and who preserved our heritage through millennia, to give in so easily to terrorist threats. Indeed, in the 12th century A.D. a Chola prince arriving in Sri Lanka inscribed in stone "....the illustrious Codagama Deva having arrived in the unconquerable Lanka, the forehead ornament of the earth to the Lord Siva" at Gokanna (Trincomalee) in recognition of the commonly held belief among the people of South India that despite continued invasions, Sri Lanka could not be conquered. I believe that the unconquerable spirit of the Sinhala people shines unabated, still endures, deep within our hearts.
India's Awful Legacy
India, our giant neighbour, has been a disappointment to the Sinhala people. India bears the primary responsibility for the violence and destruction unleashed in Sri Lanka since the early 1980's. Driven by the need to garner political support from Tamil Nadu, and by erroneous assessments of imagined threats to India from Sri Lanka's attempt to develop its economy through free market economic policies and regional collaboration with all of its neighbors, the Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi governments of India planted the seed of militant separatism in Sri Lanka, and aided and abetted its growth. India, with the enthusiastic collaboration of the Tamil Nadu state government, first provided military training and equipment, massive funding, political support and encouragement to separatist groups in Sri Lanka, next intervened to prevent Sri Lanka from rooting out the LTTE when its defeat was imminent, violated the air space of our sovereign nation, threatened to militarily invade Sri Lanka on a massive scale, and finally forced the Sri Lanka government to accept intervention by Indian troops to oversee a de-facto partitioning of the country in favour of the Tamil separatists.
This invasion of Sri Lanka by Indian troops on behalf of the Tamil separatists, is now falsely represented to the world as having been at Sri Lanka government's invitation, and in response to a request for 'help' from the Sri Lanka government. Nothing could be further from the truth. This shameful episode in Indo-Sri Lankan relations can be compared to Hitler's bullying of Czechoslovakia (and the Allies) into accepting partition, and then total occupation, on the eve of World War II. To its chagrin, India found that instead of gaining an ally in the LTTE in Sri Lanka while "cutting Sri Lanka down to size," it had instead harbored a venomous snake in its bosom, a snake that had uncoiled and was striking at its own national integrity. The LTTE, India found, was espousing separatism in Tamil Nadu and, towards that end, was assisting separatist groups everywhere in India to destabilize and weaken the federal government and cause disintegration of India itself. Incredible as it may seem, this agenda of the LTTE and the potential threat it posed to India, obvious to all in Sri Lanka, was not appreciated by the leaders of the Indian government, overly confident of their own strength and power. When the Indian government finally woke up and sought to bring the LTTE to heel, it found a costly conflict on its hands and beat a hasty retreat back to India. Today, Sri Lanka is still coping with the awful legacy of the Indian government's interference in our sovereign country. More recently, however, India has been assisting Sri Lanka to interdict LTTE's gun-running activities at sea and has resumed its original much appreciated role as a good neighbour.
The Sinhala people have a continuing love, affection and friendship for India as the land of our origin, our culture and our religion, our comrade-in-arms in the struggle for independence, our partner in regional security and trade, and take great pride in the accomplishments of India, and Indians, all over the world. Sri Lanka and the Sinhala people will never threaten the security and the integrity of India, and wish to maintain good relations at all times. However, it is abundantly clear that Sri Lanka, as a small vulnerable country, cannot expect our friendship, respect, and non-interference in India's internal matters, to be always reciprocated by Indian governments. Sri Lanka must anticipate, and plan to defend itself against misguided, even stupid, Machiavellian policies of isolated, but powerful, Indian politicians, at both state and federal levels. Politicians whose immediate temporary needs to remain in power often overwhelm their good sense, and their nation's long term interest in having a reliable inoffensive neighbour and ally in the majority community of Sri Lanka. As the near-fatal wound inflicted on Sri Lanka by India's recent actions show, the belief that inoffensiveness alone would guarantee the security of Sri Lanka is patently false and naive; good neighbourliness must be supplemented by the military strength and broad-based military organizations required to defend the country against all domestic and foreign aggressors.
Consequences of Devolution of Power on the Basis of Ethnicity
Our long history abounds with numerous examples of how internal regional divisions, that invited foreign invasions, led to the destruction of our civilizations and the lives of our people. It is not the alleged discrimination against the Tamil people that spawned the Tamil separatist movement, but their recognition of the military weakness of Sri Lanka, the availability of support from Tamil Nadu in India, and possibility of obtaining aid from a suitably manipulated federal government of India. The federal government of India has now recognized that the LTTE and Indian Tamil separatism is a far greater threat to India than any imagined threat from the government of Sri Lanka. Given the strained feelings between the people of Tamil Nadu and the North India, the Tamil community in Tamil Nadu will always be more susceptible to manipulation by the LTTE. Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka recognize this fully; they will make every attempt to exacerbate and exploit separatist tendencies in India, and gain assistance from Tamil Nadu.
Given this indisputable fact, no amount of concessions by any Sri Lankan government can satisfy the demands of the LTTE. Their territorial demands in Sri Lanka will not end after the realization of any initial Eelam, or any other unit of devolution on an ethnic basis, in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the full scope of the LTTE agenda will inevitably bring about a Tamil separatist movement and conflict in India, with Eelam territory in Sri Lanka as the springboard for that effort. The result will be the spillover of an unending war onto Sri Lankan territory, as in the case of Cambodia and Laos in the Vietnam war. There will be massive uncontrolled influxes of Indian Tamil refugees into Sri Lanka, encouraged and aided by the LTTE, and further de-facto annexation of non-Eelam territory in Sri Lanka to accommodate these people. We have already seen the willingness of the LTTE to engineer mass displacements of "their own people" both within Sri Lanka, and from Sri Lanka to other countries, when it suits their political purpose. Any such massive influx of Indians into Sri Lanka, would further compound Sri Lanka's security and economic problems and would irretrievably change the demographics and the essential character of Sri Lanka as a Sinhala Buddhist country.
Have we forgotten the importation of millions of Indian laborers into the hill country, against the wishes of the Sinhala people, the last time Sri Lanka lost control of its borders and its sovereignty to the British? Have we forgotten how, contrary to the provisions of the Kandyan Convention of March 2, 1815, the Sinhala people lost political power, were gradually ousted from their lands, were relegated to the bottom rung of the citizenry, and lost the protection and government patronage for Buddhism, their religion? Have we forgotten how in the ensuing 150 years speaking Sinhala, being a Buddhist, and using our ancestral Sinhala names became disqualifications for economic and social progress of Sinhala people in Sri Lanka? The re-emergence of these indignities, and creeping alienation of our fundamental rights, will be among the inevitable consequences of the loss of control of the coastal border, and any territory within Sri Lanka, to a group that is both ill-disposed towards the Sinhala people and has established a common cause with a foreign ethnic community.
Reject Defeatism, Organize to Win
It is clear that successive Sri Lankan governments did not recognize the full scope of the short and long term threats to the country posed by military weakness, and the penalty of allowing the separatist threat to survive and grow. That this separatist war could not have been avoided by any concessions, that it can be prevented only by early national integration and military strength, and that it was made inevitable by Sri Lanka's military weakness, cannot be over emphasized. Furthermore, the Sri Lankan government has not yet mobilized all human and material resources that are available to combat and eliminate this threat, thereby allowing a defeatist "this war cannot be won by military means" mentality to grow and pervade the entire Sinhala population. This lack of vision, lack of recognition of the mortal danger that confronts the nation, even at this late hour, is inexplicable, inexcusable.
If the United States and Britain had faced the trials of World War II in this way, they would still be fighting it. Fighting a war with shackled limbs, without focus or full commitment, without the iron-will and determination required to win, leads to prolongation of the war and the onset of war weariness in the population. As in the Vietnam war, this war weariness is what the LTTE, and the separatists-in-waiting in the Tamil political parties in Colombo, count on to gain their ends. However, there is an essential difference between this war and the Vietnam war. This war is not being fought on foreign soil by the Sinhala people, nor is it being fought by an unrepresentative minority government without the support of the vast majority of the people of the country. This war can be won because the Sinhala people live in this country and have no where else to go. Unlike the Tamils who have a 'homeland' in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka is the only 'homeland' in the world that the Sinhala people have.
A country can be secure only if its borders can be controlled and defended. Sri Lanka cannot be defended without complete control of its coastline; in this respect it is similar to the island nation of Britain which successfully fended off invaders from the time of William the Conquerer to the present day. Therefore, this war must be won without any form of devolution, and all of Sri Lanka's territory and its entire coastline must be secured. A broad-based peoples defense establishment must be setup and permanently maintained to assure the security of the nation in the future. The choices are crystal clear: we can win, end the war, keep Sri Lanka whole and achieve peace and prosperity for all, or we can give up and re-enter the dark days of servitude from which we emerged in 1948. No community in Sri Lanka stands to lose more than the Sinhala people by acceding to devolution. The Sinhala people, who are just beginning to recover from the effects of a long period of colonial domination, stand to forfeit all progress made in the last fifty years. It is preposterous that a 75% majority population cannot summon the will to protect itself against the unreasonable demands of a few thousand terrorists on behalf of a 12.5% ethnic minority. It is very clear to me that the Sinhala people yearn for decisive leadership, a full military mobilization of the country, rapid execution of the war to a speedy victorious conclusion, without any devolution of power that would ultimately lead to the loss of everything we have as a people. As in World War II, there must never be negotiations with aggressors and mass murderers; they must be held accountable for their crimes when this war is ended.
False Allegations of Intolerable Discrimination
Contrary to LTTE propaganda, every statistic on Sri Lanka speaks volumes in praise of the egalitarian virtues of the society that has taken root in Sri Lanka since independence. Let us note that India, which attained independence one year before Sri Lanka, has yet to achieve this level of equity for its people. In Hindu majority India, discrimination on the basis of caste and creed is endemic. Indeed, the government of India has instituted affirmative action programs to uplift the so called "untouchables" and these programs have been violently opposed by people of the higher castes. In the United States, only in the 1960's was progress made on enfranchising and bringing african americans and other minorities into the main stream of society - a goal that has not yet been fully attained.
When Sri Lanka became independent, the Sinhala people were the disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and suppressed people in the country who needed affirmative action. Yet, in Sri Lanka, the programs instituted were not directed towards the Sinhala people only, but towards all disadvantaged communities in the country, Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslim alike. Because of their initial advantages stemming from colonial days, Tamils as a community have benefited mightily from these programs instituted by successive enlightened predominantly Sinhala governments; benefits they would not have had if they had lived in Tamil Nadu in India. Indeed, we recall the struggle by the lower caste Tamil communities in Sri Lanka to gain access to the brahmin-run Hindu temples of the Tamil community - a struggle that would have been unnecessary had they been Buddhists. I also recall that many of my Tamil colleagues at the Engineering Faculty of the University of Sri Lanka in Peradeniya could not obtain class notes during vacations from their upper caste Tamil colleagues by going to their homes in Jaffna - they were barred from visiting the latter's homes and were afraid to do so - and preferred to come to my house in the South to borrow from me! Yet, at this national university, we were all equal. No such discrimination was ever practiced by any Sinhala person against any Tamil, whatever his caste or creed.
What, then, is the reason for the much greater progress towards social justice made in Sri Lanka compared to India? An analysis of this disparity between Sri Lanka and India has made it clear to me that the great strides made in Sri Lanka are due to the general environment of compassion and tolerance engendered by the Buddhist traditions and values of the majority Sinhala community. In every country, it is the majority community that sets the tone for social progress and economic equity. The Sinhala Buddhist community has established an enviable record for social justice in Sri Lanka as documented by both domestic and international bodies (e.g., UN, ILO). Today, Sri Lanka enjoys a literacy rate above 90%, compulsory education for all its children, a children's mortality rate comparable to those of developed countries, free universal healthcare, affordable rail and bus transportation, electricity in most rural homes, widespread land ownership, full representation of women and minorities in the labor force and in government, a system of labor laws acknowledged to be a model for developing nations, the highest per capita income and lowest birth rate in the South Asian region.
This broad-based record of a caring society, and a system of laws that treats all citizens fairly within the confines of resource limitations, is inconsistent with the claims of intolerable discrimination made by the LTTE. How can it be that the Sinhala people who created a society that treats all of its people equally and well in every other respect fails to treat only the Tamil people badly? How can the Tamil people claim discrimination when they are represented in every professionally and economically rewarding field in far greater proportion than their numbers in the population? Certainly, that proportion has decreased from the early days of independence to the present as the formerly disenfranchised people of all communities gained equal access to the opportunities for advancement in the country.
The answer is that the charge of "intolerable discrimination" is simply a false allegation unsupported by objective statistical analyses and facts. This is a fictional allegation, a gross distortion of the truth, a molehill magnified into a mountain, engineered and crafted by the separatists to prevent the Sinhala community from defending their rights; designed to defame, demonize and isolate the Sinhala community in the eyes of the world, and to provide a basis for making unreasonable demands in the belief that Sri Lanka's military weakness, and support from abroad, would yield fruit. What the separatists are really saying is that they mourn the loss of the special privileges the Tamils enjoyed under British colonial rule in return for their collaboration in suppressing and dispossessing the Sinhala people. Emboldened by the assistance from India, they are saying that when they can carve out a large part of Sri Lanka solely for themselves, why should they accept co-existence as mere equals!
The Sinhala people cannot be held responsible for the ambitious racist aspirations and imagined grievances under the Pan-Tamil agenda in India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world. Pursuing the agenda, in Sri Lanka they have followed the time-honoured formula, to wit: first - engineer a series of violent incidents that invite retaliation to alienate your own community from the others, to establish a captive constituency, and to create a basis for a claim of intolerable discrimination; second - create a mass exodus of people to go abroad as refugees, elicit sympathy, spread propaganda, and form a tax base for funding terrorism derived from criminal activities and exploiting the welfare programs in the unwilling host countries; third - defame the home country to alienate, demonize and isolate it from the world community; fourth - either hoodwink/blackmail a neighbouring country into lending assistance and/or militarily invading and partitioning the home country, or carry out mass bombings and exterminations at a heightened pace until the home government caves in; and sixth, if all else fails and the terrorists are in danger of being wiped out - appeal to the United Nations for intervention and recognition on the basis of a need to prevent genocide. This, then, is how the LTTE hopes to get a lion's share of Sri Lanka through terrorism, following a well known blueprint for such landgrabs recorded in recent history.
The Sinhala people, mindful of their own history, have always reacted angrily to demands to dismember Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, we recall that it took many years of hit-and-run terrorist attacks against the government officials and innocent civilians before the pot boiled over with communal riots in 1983. Unfortunately, this was just what the separatists had planned and engineered in order to alienate the Tamil community from the Sinhala people and to justify their continued terrorism. This retaliation by the majority community is not a response unique to Sri Lanka; such unfortunate incidents have occurred in almost every nation (India, US etc.) where volatile elements of majority communities have been goaded into action to protect their essential interests. While any violence against innocent people should be condemned and prevented, such aberrations cannot be used to condemn an otherwise caring society as discriminatory, or to engineer the dismemberment of the country.
As in all other countries of the world, small minorities must adjust their thinking and aspirations to accomodate the essential interests of the preponderant majority, to live under one system of law with equal rights for all. When a minority community supports the values and goals of the majority community, it wins for itself a secure place in that society. However, if it attempts to set itself up as a special privileged group without loyalty to the society at large, then it incurs the wrath of that society. This is merely common sense that applies to getting along with any group of people in a workgroup, in a small village, or in a country. In Sri Lanka, in spite of rabble rousers such as Chelvanayakam and Ponnambalam, the Tamil and Sinhala people had developed an amicable relationship prior to the events precipitated in the 1980s through Indian interference. Therefore, Sinhala people must not become brainwashed through well orchestrated domestic and international propaganda to accept that fighting in self-defense against politically motivated terrorism, to prevent the disintegration of one's own country, is discrimination against a minority. If the Sinhala people acquire such a mind set through listening to the chanted mantra of alleged intolerable discrimination, without closely examining the facts, then this war and this country will be lost. All of the hard won gains made by our long suppressed people in the last fifty years will vanish without a trace. Without security and the rule of law, there can be no peace, no prosperity, no future. That peace, that prosperity and that future will not come easily; it must be fought for with iron determination and single minded focus on preserving the integrity of Sri Lanka.
The Front For National Integration
The Front for National Integration has been formed to organize opposition to the disastrous concept of devolution that would embed and institutionalize ethnic divisions within the country which, as our history teaches us, would irretrievably compromise the security of the nation. The Front for National Integration rejects the allegation that intolerable discrimination has been systematically inflicted upon the Tamil people, or any other minority community, in Sri Lanka. We maintain that it is the Sinhala people who are emerging from centuries of discrimination practiced upon them. We reject the self-serving destructive concept of separate 'homelands' for each minority that alleges discrimination to the exclusion of the right of the Sinhala people to their only 'homeland' of Sri Lanka with its natural defensible border along its entire coastline. The Front for National Integration maintains that the solution to any alleged discrimination against any minority is not to compound one set of ill-perceived wrongs with new blunders and wrongs against the Sinhala people, but to integrate the country by restructuring the Sri Lanka government, and the laws of the land, to foster the growth of one united people within the framework of one indivisible nation.
We say to the Tamil people: You are our countrymen, our neighbors and friends. Sinhala people wish you no harm and are not in any way your enemy. We invite you to live in harmony among us as citizens with equal rights, with equal protection under one system of laws, in a primarily Sinhala Buddhist country, without demanding special privileges or separate homelands. This is, for example, no different from the minorities within the European-Christian society of the United States, who co-exist in complete harmony and safety, without demanding separate ethnic homelands. The social gains made in Sri Lanka by all communities in the last 50 years is ample evidence of the Sinhala people's committment to a just society.
However, you must accept that the Sinhala people will not accede to any demand for breaking up Sri Lanka into separate "ethnic homelands" or into any form of "ethnic administrative units" that would jeopardize their security, or hinder the development of all resources of the country for the benefit of all of our people without regard to race or creed. There has never been, and never will be, an exclusive Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka. Nor can "special aspirations" of Tamil people, that are different from those of other communities in Sri Lanka, be accomodated on the basis of manufactured "grievances." It must be clear to you that communal violence has erupted only when the security and integrity of Sri Lanka is threatened, invariably by the violent actions of members of your own community, and the historical fears and survival instincts of the Sinhala people are revived. As a practical matter, you must also recognize that until the frequent terrorist activities by members of the Tamil community end, it is unreasonable to expect that the lawful security measures and searches experienced by the Tamil community will end. Tamil people are subject to these inconveniences not just because they are Tamils, but because all acts of LTTE terrorism are committed by members of the Tamil community. These security measures are unfortunate, but necessary under the circumstances. The best way of bringing this to an end is for the large majority of law-abiding people in the Tamil community to discourage and work against those who engage in terrorism. We must all stop thinking of ourselves as Sinhalas, Tamils, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians but only as Sri Lankans who want to live and prosper free of fear and suspicion.
We believe that the devolution package, and indeed the concept of devolution in any form, is misguided, dangerous, defeatist, and foolish in the extreme. The country is already strained to its limit to maintain security in the land. Imagine then, how much harder it would be to do so with a weak central government and semi-autonomous ethnic regions. The LTTE's ethnic cleansing activities in the past give ample notice that LTTE's racist view of Eelam as a "Tamil only" monoethnic region would create an apartheid state within Sri Lanka; a concept alien to Sinhala Buddhist philosophy. Furthermore, Sri Lanka is a tiny country which must not be burdened with multiple layers of tax supported regional administrations and unnecessary government bureaucracies that would stifle commercial activity and economic growth. At a time when other nations are streamlining their governments, paring costs and gearing up to efficiently compete in the global marketplace, we are asked to proliferate minor satrapies, interminable elections to local government offices, and pave the way for an explosion of corruption and bribery that would make life impossible for all.
The devolution package should be rejected in its entirety by all patriotic Sri Lankans. Contrary to current propaganda by misguided people committed to devolution, and former separatists clamouring for power, we believe that the LTTE and their minions can be and should be militarily defeated, that the country should marshal all of its resources now to achieve this goal, that devolution should be abandoned as undesirable, unworkable and fraught with danger, that separatism in all of its forms should be declared treason and outlawed, and that all regions of the country should be made equally accessible to all Sri Lankans so that they can travel, settle and live wherever they wish in the country under the protection of one system of laws.
All existing political and administrative entities based on ethnicity should be dismantled, and programs should be instituted to homogenize existing ethnic concentrations of population, and to discourage the growth of ethnic regions in the country. The system of education should be revised to eliminate the segregation of children of different communities from one another, and to promote interaction with and understanding between children of different communities in their early formative years. Political organizations with names that reflect separatism in any form should be outlawed. Collusion with foreign countries and powers to precipitate their intervention in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, without lawful authority granted by parliament, should be declared treason punishable by death. Citizenship of the country should be jealously guarded and restricted to people of only Sri Lankan origin and their first generation descendants. Given the huge disparities in wealth between Sri Lanka and other countries of the world, land ownership in Sri Lanka must be restricted to only Sri Lankan citizens and their first generation descendants (as in most nations of the world); failure to do so will in time convert the people of Sri Lanka into a nation of landless renters in their own country. When the land is alienated, citizenship is a meaningless concept.
The laws of the land should be strictly enforced through massively and permanently stationed military forces that are provided all amenities to live and settle with their families where they are stationed, and to integrate into and contribute to the local economies. The land resources of the country should be developed to encourage the growth of a homogeneous population for the benefit of all people of the country.
The entire adult population of the country should be trained and mobilized in the defense of the country (as in Israel, Taiwan, Switzerland etc.) through impartial and uniformly enforced universal conscription into the armed forces with appropriate safeguards against any degeneration into ethnic units. Military training and service should be maintained on a rotational compulsory basis. Such a defense force, that involves the entire population in the defense of the country, can bring this war to a speedy conclusion by denying every opportunity, and every sanctuary, to the terrorists and separatists through massive permanent presence throughout the country - a goal that cannot be achieved by the limited manpower currently available to the armed forces. It is only through such a peoples defense strategy that the cost of aggression can also be made sufficiently high to give pause to the most powerful of external aggressors - as Switzerland did in deterring Hitler during World War II, and Taiwan did in holding China at bay since the 1950s.
Sri Lanka must also transform itself into a seafaring nation with a powerful navy and coast guard, a large merchant marine, and a large fishing fleet. The naval and coast guard institutions should also serve as training institutions for civilian marine officers and seamen. Such a dual purpose naval establishment would exploit Sri Lanka's strategic location that straddles international shipping lanes, and would contribute to both Sri Lanka's coastal defence and its rapid economic development.
These military organizations and administrative structures should be made permanent features of the defense of our country to convert this island again into a Fortress Lanka - the "unconquerable Lanka" of old. They should be made into instruments for inculcating and maintaining a high-level of national conciousness and patriotism among the people, and service in the Sri Lanka Defense Forces should be elevated to an honoured preferred credential - a red badge of honour - for gainful employment in civilian life (as in Israel).
To attain these goals, the Front for National Integration asks the Peoples Alliance and the United National Party to forget their differences and the internecine jockeying for personal power, and to join hands with all other patriotic people to form a National Integration Government. Such a government, would be free of the blackmail they are currently subjected to by the separatists-in-waiting in Colombo. These separatists-in-waiting now determine who remains in power, and confound every attempt to keep the country whole. With impunity they invite other nations to intervene on their behalf in Sri Lanka, militarily and otherwise, without any lawful authority; these are treasonable actions punishable by death in most other countries such as the United States.
However, if the two main parties cannot reconcile their differences to save the country at this critical hour, then the people of Sri Lanka must vote all of them out of office, and form a new national government that is committed to the integration of Sri Lanka into one indivisible nation without devolution of power or dismemberment of the country into ethnic regions. It is not the survival of political leaders that is at stake here, it is the survival of Sri Lanka and its People. It is the sacred duty of all leaders to set aside their petty differences and protect the motherland. I do believe that if the leaders fail in their duty to assure the integrity and security of Sri Lanka, the rage of ordinary people would rise up in a firestorm to engulf and destroy them.
National Integration is the key to peace and prosperity. Peace and prosperity cannot be won by appeasement of terrorists and bargaining away our country, our security and our future. Sacrifice and eternal vigilance have always been the price of freedom. I urge all patriotic Sri Lankans to join and support the Front for National Integration now to help save our country and our people from destruction.