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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 78

Bypassing the Tiger

[b]Bypassing the Tiger[/b]

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

[i][b]“A milder age will follow that of Philip, an age of truer wisdom;
….Then the careful state will spare her children,
And necessity no longer glory to be thus inhuman”.[/b][/i]
[b]Friedrich Schiller[/b] ([i]Don Carlos[/i])

Given the current polarisation in Lankan politics the centrist option – one that is pro-autonomy and anti-Tiger - is conspicuous by its absence. Ranil Wickremesinghe wants to share power, but only with the LTTE; his is a ‘solution’ that will sound the death knell for Tamil democracy. Mahinda Rajapakse is not pro-LTTE; he is willing to work with the anti-Tiger Tamils and involve them in a search for a final solution; but on Tamil autonomy, his stance is almost Neanderthal. This presents a dilemma for those who support Tamil autonomy and oppose the Tigers because a solution that will encompass both these aspects is likely to remain impossible for some time.

Thanks to the two decade long war the North and the East are probably the two most underdeveloped provinces in the country. Even the ceasefire has not resulted in any significant socio-economic development in the Tamil areas as both the government and the Tigers seem to have placed this issue on the backburner. The Tigers naturally do not want the people to get used to normalcy, to enjoy a normal life. The UNF and UPFA governments have a poor developmental record in any case (as their non-achievements in the rest of the country demonstrate); there is also the feeling that doing ‘too much’ in the Tamil areas will anger the Tigers who will call it interference by the Sinhala state.

There is no relief to be had from the TNA parliamentarians either as they limit themselves to whatever the Tigers want them to do; as such they do not engage in even the minimal amount of developmental work other parliamentarians do in their areas for votes; this is natural as the TNA MPs expect the Tigers and not the people to elect them. The end result is the complete neglect of the normal human needs of the North-Eastern Tamil people.

The Tiger attempts to impose their will on the Tamils is exacerbating this general decline and decay even further. Recruitment of children is playing havoc with their education. The recent Tiger killing of two principals of leading Jaffna schools indicate what is in store for those who stand in the way of the LTTE’s agenda. Child conscription and the incessant Tiger demands on school children to take part in this or that public protest seem to be doing much more damage to the educational prospects of the next generation of Tamil children in the North and the East than the Sinhala Only or even the Standardisation did.

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