Voldemort Rising

August 25, 2007

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By Sanjana Hattotuwa 

“If humanitarian intervention is indeed an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of human rights that affect every precept of our common humanity?”

                                          – Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General

At the time of writing, news of the liberation of the East and the resulting celebrations have captured headlines and the public imagination in Sri Lanka. Not much analysis though as to what it all means and answers to questions such as what now, and whether the fall of Thoppigala is any guarantee of animating a hitherto non-existent capacity of this government to articulate an enlightened approach to the ethnic question. Careful to not arouse the wrath of those who in power volubly state that to call to question the liberation of the East is to defile those who died for the protection of national sovereignty and undermine the morale of the troops, many analysts tread a cautious line.

Recognizing on the one hand the valour of troops, they have maintained that military victories are no measure or any guarantee of a lasting solution to a significant ethnic divide that unfortunately continues to widen. Many have also pointed out that there is a clear incompatibility between the government’s avowed interest in economic development in the East and the draconian regime of oversight, directly under the gaze of the President, of all actors so involved in the East. With the depletion of State coffers and the Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarianism that informs the Mahinda Chintanaya’s approach to and understanding of conflict and peace, it is fairly clear that liberation of the East is essentially the imprimatur of a single community over and above the aspirations, identity and history of others and replacing the violent hegemonic control of the LTTE with that of the State and its allied paramilitaries.

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