Editorial

In the eyes of foreigners

The views and judgements of foreigners, far removed from the horrors and anguish of war, are very much different to those in the actual theatres of human carnage. Foreigners can take detached and rational decisions free of sentiments and emotions and make recommendations or even participate in implementation of policies which the people or a section of the people may strongly oppose. However, crises of nation states, even in this Twenty First Century are very much a part and parcel of sentiments and emotions that have prevailed for generations and cannot be separated from what foreigners may conceive with clinical detachment as the real issues. In fact, sentiments, emotions, history, culture and myths are more of less the problem itself.

Be it Kashmir, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Angola, Zaire and other West African countries, not forgetting Palestine, western nations now known as the ‘international community’ have come out with solutions but to no avail. Only military intervention such as in Serbia have diffused crises—or resolved them—in a manner as desired by interventionists.

When the Kashmir issue is discussed, foreigners, particularly westerners and even many South Asians consider the problem as one of mere bigotry gone out of control to reach proportions threatening a nuclear Armageddon. Why can’t the Kashmiri people decide for themselves and hold a plebiscite in accordance with UN resolutions? Why can’t it be annexed to Pakistan? Why should the status quo be changed when Kashmir has been and still is an integral part of India? These are some of the simplistic solutions suggested by foreigners but for over half a century the Kashmir problem has defied resolution despite the wishes and hopes of foreigners and foreign nations. There are so many complicated and sensitive issues the indigenous people are concerned with that horse deals in the interests of political parties and foreign nations could never provide answers to.

Today, over Iraq, there are many ‘solutions’ forwarded. The United Nations, the real international community, is also involved but the solutions aired by foreigners and foreign nations as well as the UN appear not to be working. Invade Iraq; throw out Saddam Hussein; divide Iraq into three parts, are some such suggestions that have been made for the past ten years but the problem remains. Today, most nations do not want Iraq to be invaded and ask President Bush to call off his threat of invasion. But President Bush is deeply concerned about the security of America and the western world. He firmly believes that Saddam Hussein posses Weapons of Mass Destruction which may be passed on to the Al Queda that is threatening the US and Europe. Whatever the view foreign nations or even the UN may take, President Bush has unequivocally said he would act in the interests of his country.

Little Lanka is faced with a similar predicament. Most of the rich and powerful western nations and now the Johnny- come-lately, Japan, are not only telling us what to do but also funding what they approve of. All this has been done on the invitation and approval of the Sri Lankan government but has not been presented to parliament. The president approves the main proposal of federalism but is objecting to some procedures. What the majority of the people think is not known.

The government and the LTTE—the terrorist organisation that has never even contested a democratic election—have agreed to a solution based on federalism and foreign nations numbering about forty are backing it to the hilt. What seems to be conveniently ignored is that for 52 years, despite two to three feeble attempts to introduce federalism, no government has dared to go before the people and seek a mandate. Why?

That is the question that these foreign nations should ask themselves before going on their billion dollar spending splurge. Are they so sure that the Muslims and Sinhalese resident in the Eastern Province will agree to a federal state amalgamated with the Northern Province and under the fascist LTTE? Are they so sure that the majority, and even some minorities will accept a federal solution? Evidence to the contrary is staring in the faces of our foreign do gooders.

More important is that the LTTE is openly violating human rights in areas under their control but the democratic west and Japan are with their eyes closed, prepared to pump in money for reconstruction and rehabilitation, which will most probably go towards the reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the LTTE!

This is a ridiculous situation. It would have been as ridiculous as the United States pumping in Marshall Aid into Germany while the Nazi regime was in control.


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