Dear Mr President Gotabaya Rajapaksa - GR
I doubt whether I need any introduction! In brief, I am still here to write this letter to you!
Regarding your recent victory in becoming the Executive President of Sri Lanka, my conscience does not allow me to congratulate you - it is the same with many of my fellow Tamils.
I am sure you must be aware that in July 2019, I predicted your victory. If you have not gone through my article, “Sarath Fonseka - SF would be the right match for Gotabaya”, do go through it. In that article, I said if SF contested this election, you would be defeated. For Sinhala Buddhist voters, it would be a choice between two ‘cardboard heroes’ and SF would have stood a better chance.
As usual, here too I refer to you both as ‘cardboard heroes’, because if neighbouring India and the International Community hadn’t supported the war efforts of Sri Lanka, by now either the Eelam Tamils would have achieved their external right to self-determination or the war would have been prolonged even until today. Do not twist from what you and your brother Mahinda Rajapaksa – MR, now your prime minister, said soon after the end of the war about the Indian involvement - I mean the involvement of the Indian Congress. Your victory and the path you used to gain your victory require various analyses. However I will cut short my analysis and go straight into what I would like to tell you.
In Sri Lanka, the executive presidential system was introduced only in February 1978. Before that, the parliament was the supreme legislative body of Sri Lanka. In the parliamentary election in May 1970, under the leadership of Srimavo Bandaranayke, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – SLFP’s coalition with leftist parties known as United Front – UF, won the majority of the electorates, especially in the South.
Then again, in July 1977, under the leadership of J.R. Jayewardene, the United National Party – UNP had a landslide victory in the South. Whether one liked it or not, these two parliamentary elections were won overwhelmingly with pure Sinhala Buddhist votes. Therefore, there is nothing extraordinary for you, your family, your party or your supporters to boast about your victory.
Now let me come to your inauguration speech, your first interview with Indian Bharat Shakti TV, your interview with Hindustan Times, Hindu and also your press conference before the presidential election.
In all those interviews, you were inventing a new doctrine that ‘development is reconciliation’. In those interviews, you never accepted that the Tamils including the Muslims in the North and East have long-standing unsettled political issues. The way you speak, some outsiders may think that the people in the North and East are simply uneducated, jobless, suffering from poverty and other social problems. Also, you blame Tamil politicians for ‘taking a wrong path’ since independence.
Mr Gotabaya, the truth is that since independence, it has been Sinhala Buddhist politicians who took Tamil leaders and the people of the North and East for a ride. Don’t you remember that the Banda-Chelva, Dudly-Chelva pacts were unilaterally abrogated by Sinhala leaders; that the government master-minded riots against the Tamils; imposed standardisation in education; abrogated ceasefire agreements; committed human rights violations including colonisation, buddhisation, militarisation, sinhalisation of the North and East etc. You swiftly brush the truth under the carpet, whitewash successive Sinhala governments and underestimate the reasons, why since independence in 1948, the Tamils engaged in thirty years of non-violent struggle and then a further thirty years of armed struggle.
Tell us a single country in the world where there was a liberation struggle or struggle in exercise of the right to self-determination and the political issues were resolved through ‘development’.
You completely ignore the grievances and the history of the Tamils, who had a Tamil Kingdom similar to Sinhala Kingdoms in the island. You bluntly ask us to forget the past. On the contrary, you went all the way from Colombo to Anuradhapura to take oath at an ancient sacred Buddhist temple as the seventh President of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese King Dutugemenu, known for defeating the Tamil King Eellalan, built this temple. If you want us to forget the past, what led you to Anuradhapura to take oath?
This shows that Sinhala Buddhist history is very important for you, whereas you expect the Tamils to forget our history, our hereditary land, war crimes, atrocities, missing people and all sorts of violations committed during your period as Defence Secretary and your brother - MR as President.
You say that the ‘minority should not do anything that disturbs the majority or causes suspicion’. Firstly, we Tamils are a ‘Nation’, not a minority as you opportunists in the South interpret. You all are good in inventing new terminologies to suit your purposes. Your request can be fulfilled by the slave Tamils who are with you, but not the Tamils who sacrifice their lives for their political aspirations, and for truth and justice.
Your other doctrine is that you cannot accept the UN Human Rights Council resolution – UN HRC that was worked out with the earlier government. This is the biggest joke of the century. First of all Resolution 40/L.1 of the UN HRC is a follow up to Resolution 19/2, adopted in 2012 during your brother MR’s period.
Mr Gotabaya, I will explain to you in simple language, how UN member states follow their international commitments. Take your favourite country China as an example. During your brother’s Presidency, Sri Lanka took a huge sum of money in a loan from China. This put Sri Lanka into bankruptcy. The next government in power was compelled to deal with the problem. If your doctrine is correct, that government could have told China that as the loan was given during the period of MR, it would be better to settle with them. The world does not operate in this manner.
When you are advised by people like Prof G.L. Peiris, there is nothing surprising about these new doctrines, which will earn you humiliation and insult in the international arena.
Some think that your political party SLPP has the best academic Prof G.L. Peiris at its helm. He said in your press conference that ‘the Sri Lankan constitution doesn’t permit/accept any UN resolution’. This is a laughable matter. Is the United Nations obliged to see the constitution of every country before it adopts resolutions? I am sure Prof G.L. Peiris has not forgotten the words that he and I exchanged in one of the briefings organised by the Sri Lankan mission during the 6th session of the UN HRC in Geneva in September 2007.
You said in one of the press conferences that reports were written without outsiders visiting Sri Lanka. Sorry, this is not true. Every UN report on Sri Lanka was written only after UN personnel including Special Rapporteurs and the High Commissioner for Human Rights visited the country. Also before the UN publishes any report, an advance copy is given to the country concerned.
Mr Gotabaya, you talk about ‘Buddhism’ and its thousands of years of history, etc. Before you talk about Buddha and Buddhism, shouldn’t you know who this great Buddha is? Without knowing the history of Buddha and history of the Tamils and language, you simply bluff because you have power.
As you are for your language, religion and ethnicity, so every Tamil including Muslims are for their language, religion, ethnicity, as well for their political rights based on human dignity. Yet you simply say ‘forget the past, talk/think about the future’!
Please do remember what Albert Einstein said about the past, present and future. He said, “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion”. In other words, you have already decided what you are going to do about accountability and reconciliation and now you are simply fooling everyone.
Mr Gotabaya, if you are not personally serious about the past, why did you go all the way to Anuradhapura to take oath? If you are a President for everyone in Sri Lanka, this choice of venue to take oath is full of contention, venom, racism and Xenophobia. If you only consider the future, think of this - you would not have won the election without telling how you and your family ‘won the war against the LTTE’. You say let us live as ‘Sri Lankans’. This is nothing different to what your brother MR said, soon after the end of the war. He said that ‘there is no minority as such in this country’.
There are many reasons for you to order everyone to forget the past. For you, personally the past is a problem. Your stay in the army and the period when you left the army, your US citizenship, the war crimes that you committed and the corruption that you and your family were involved in during the period of your brother’s Presidency. These all make you tell others to ‘forget the past’.
You said in your inaugural speech that, “I am the executive president of this country. I will not hesitate to use my executive power for the benefit of the country”. This is a threatening statement, pointed in your term towards minorities.
Be frank, when did you think that development is important in Sri Lanka? If you are a genuine patriot dedicated to your mother Lanka and Buddhism, why did you run away from Sri Lanka and seek US citizenship? Everyone knows that today you are the President because your brother MR could not contest the presidential election for the fourth time.
Mr Gotabaya, now you talk about your neutrality in the region. This comes too late to fool India and USA. This can be considered ‘pretending to close the door only after horse has bolted’. Whether one likes it or not, China has put a permanent base already in Sri Lanka. This was done during your brother MR’s Presidency with you as Secretary of Defence. Today what is happening in the island of Katchatheevu is no more a secret. India may be regretting handing over Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1976. Now with someone’s advice, you have started to shed crocodile tears to please India and USA, giving an impression that you are neutral in the region. Before China took Hambantotoa Harbour on a ninety-nine years lease, it was believed that China was in frequent consultation with you and your brother MR. When you both were not in power, you both made several trips to China. This cannot be denied.
When Indian Congress was in power in India, your brother sought the help of India on a bogus promise that as soon the war came to an end, he would implement not only the 13th Amendment in full, but also 13th Plus. Soon after end of the war, your brother turned his back on India. Sadly, Mr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi could not put pressure on your brother because you both were black mailing India about their involvement in the war.
Then when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, your brother gave another bogus promise to Modi that he would implement the 13th amendment in full. During this period, your brother’s government had a two third majority in parliament and he held executive power. But he did nothing to address the grievances of the people in the North and East. It is believed that one of the reasons was that, he took revenge on the people of the North and East for not voting for him in the Presidential election in 2010. Now it is the same with you!
Then so-called ‘good governance’ came into power. All your good friends and the artful dodgers like Mangala Samaraweera followed your brother’s path with soft voices. To be frank, some inexperienced diaspora Tamils who are for name and fame believed strongly that this so-called good governance was going to settle the political grievances of the people in the North and East. You too can get hold of these people of name and fame easily, if you can greet them on their birthdays, have cocktail parties and rub shoulders with them.
In your inaugural speech, you said you would not hesitate to use your executive power for the benefit of the country. Until you get your two third majority in the forthcoming Parliamentary election, you will be careful in using your executive powers. For the time being, you will use it only to release the war criminals, corrupt security personnel and other members of paramilitary in prison. Later it will be a different story.
Mr Gotabaya, you say that many were politically victimised by the earlier government. Everyone is waiting to see your politically motivated actions. Certainly, this will happen only after you gain a two third majority in parliament. Do not forget that, soon after the Presidential election in 2010, your action against SF and many others were also politically motivated.
The United Nations, neighbouring India and the international community is watching to see how you will be using your executive powers. It is obvious that they will be used to give priority to Sinhala Buddhists.
In your interview to Hindustan Time, you gave the following statement which is confusing not only to the Tamils but to India which is the main arbitrator for the 13th amendment.
“The 13th amendment of our Constitution has certain areas which we can’t implement as they are, so we need certain changes. But why have we always been trying to approach the so-called “Tamil question” from only one angle? Our Tamil politicians have been speaking of devolution and other models since Sri Lanka’s independence.”
Mr Gotabaya, in conclusion, since independence when one says ‘Tamils’, this always refers to Muslims as well. There was no single political party for Muslims. However, since the armed struggle started your smart politicians from the South, applied ‘divide and rule’ and brought divisions among the Tamils and the Muslims. The Muslims were smartly used against the Tamils to achieve your goals. Now you have started to use the foolish Tamils against Muslims. We can witness this change. It will not be a surprise; if there are riots in the North and East or in Colombo between Tamils and Muslims during your Presidency.
If there is another Presidential election in five years - the way you talk about your own interpretation of Buddhism, it may not be a surprise for us to see you in yellow robes during that election. We have already seen that some of your colleagues in the army are now in yellow robes.
By looking at the events and the photos that have come in the social media especially after the Presidential election, I seriously doubt whether your opponent in the next Presidential election will be from your family!
Mr Gotabaya, not only the lovebird / birds in your cage need freedom, every human, especially the people from the North and East also need freedom.
For your information, Subramanian swamy is not India and India is not Subramaniam swamy. We know that your family is good in taking bribes and giving bribes as well.
If you are proud to be a Sinhala Buddhist, we are proud to be Tamils with multi religious faiths.
Now let us see the states or head of states that have congratulated you. China, Pakistan, India and USA were the leading ones. However, you cannot deny that India and USA had conditional greetings. How about other countries like United Kingdom, Canada, European Union and many others?
We hope that you will continue to express yourself in the same way as now. This will ensure the people of the North and East, and also the diaspora will not forget the importance of their political aspirations. Your present approach will make those who are not interested in politics, change their minds and come forward.
For your information, since the end of the war, neighbouring India and the International community have learned a lot about the hidden agenda of Sri Lanka on accountability and reconciliation. Let’s wait and see!
By the way, when someone talks or think about Adolf Hitler of Germany, they immediately think that he is a ‘dictator’. Many do not realise that he was a democratically elected leader in Germany. Later he manipulated the system to be dictatorial. Eventually, the people who had supported Hitler regretted. If you haven’t gone through the biography of Hitler, please do so. I am not insulting you to say that, there are many features that are very similar between you both - even regarding citizenship, etc.
Hope you would have heard the theory of Issac Newton on gravity! His theory proves that ‘what goes up must come down’. I wish you good luck in all your endeavours.
S. V. Kirubaharan