The Peace Cannot be Abandoned
in Sri Lanka, Part 4
CAN BE DONE?
At the time of writing, the immediate problem is to get the LTTE back to
the negotiating table and restart the Peace Talks. I suspect that this
will happen if the necessary guarantees are given by the GOSL that the
slow pace of implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement will be
corrected. I think this will be given since the GOSL has too much to
lose if it is not. Whether or not such a guarantee will mean anything is
It is perhaps up to the foreign governments, especially Sri Lanka’s
major aid-giver, Japan, to see that the GOSL delivers on the undertaking
given. The GOSL is so bankrupt that it cannot afford to ignore a strong
‘request’ from donor countries.
The LTTE must be de-proscribed internationally. If the country that has
been most affected by LTTE violence, Sri Lanka, has de-proscribed them
despite fierce opposition by trouble-makers in the Sinhala South, I
cannot see the sense of other countries such as the US and Australia
maintaining the proscription. Going down this senseless track will only
ensure a breakdown of the Peace negotiations and a return to war. Unless
this is the hidden agenda of some countries, the decision they have made
in this regard does not make sense.
International pressure will have to brought to bear on India to change its
stance unless it wants a continuing civil war on its door-step. Such
pressure could even be generated within India. It must be appreciated
that the vast majority of people in India do not support the
ruling clique of Brahmin extremists who are currently running that
country. If any party is likely to remove the proscription of the LTTE,
ironically it will have to be the Congress Party whose leader, Sonya
Gandhi, is the wife of Rajiv Gandhi who was killed by the LTTE. Any
other Party that does so will be electoral canon-fodder for the Congress
Party. It is the complexity of Indian politics that makes the
resolution of the Sri Lankan problem so difficult.
is a potential problem in Sri Lanka. This is the premature dissolution
of Parliament by President Kumaratunga. Barring impeachment, she has the
Constitutional right to do so, and if the Sinhala voters are bluffed or
intimidated to vote for the JVP – SLFP combo, or are driven to do so
because of the abysmal failure of the Wickremasinghe Government to
address the problem of poverty and of mounting inflation in the South,
the Peace process will be scrapped and the country will return to war.
The answer to this problem is in the hands of the Sinhalese, not the
The International community has a responsibility to mobilise international pressure, especially through the crucial aid-donors, on the Sri Lankan Government to address the urgent problem in the North and East.
Pressure will have to be mounted on Prime Minister Wickremasinghe to act. A special administrator with sufficient powers and funds will have to be appointed. (and there are several available) to address the problems in the North and East urgently.
The administrative arrangements of the North and East will have to be fast-tracked with the meandering Peace Talks focused on this rather than on peripheral issues of little importance.
Although this pressure will have to be generated in Sri Lanka, as I have said, the international community has a major responsibility in exerting pressure on the Sri Lankan Government in general, the Prime Minister in particular, to act. We cannot afford to continue wallowing in the euphoria of Peace and then be surprised if War No 4 breaks out and this could well be Eelam War 4 and not a war for a Federal State or even a Confederal set-up.
My guess is that Sri Lankans are aware of the impending crisis. The Tamils in the North and East cannot be unaware of the situation - they are there in the middle of it. Their problem is that they have no power to act. For a start, they have no representation even in Parliament. Those who are there, who are supposed to take an interest are, with few exceptions, either dumb through fear or a lack of genuine interest.
Those in the South even though separated from the North and East by “the tyranny of distance” must surely be able to see the gathering storm as the saboteurs of Peace organise bigger and bigger rallies. Their options are to support the political opportunists, throw out the current Government, reinstal Kumaratunga’s Government and have a ‘re-run’ of 1994-2001 which has been described as the most murderous, corrupt and incompetent Government that Sri Lanka has ever had.
Their alternative is to give the Wickremasinghe Government a massive mandate to change the Constitution, return Executive power to where it should be in a democracy (Parliament) and then to offer a meaningful devolution of power to the Tamil North and East. However, to do this, the country needs a proactive and strong Prime Minister who can expose the duplicity, deception, hypocrisy and disastrous track record of the current Opposition. Unfortunately, in Ranil Wickremasinghe the country does not have such as person and might have to pay the price for this deficiency.
The Tamils have a major problem drawing international attention by raising these issues at the United Nations (not that it does much good given the impotence of that body). The Sri Lankan representation at the UN is a representative of Sinhala Sri Lanka, not of all of Sri Lanka. Some other country such as Australia (not a likely candidate given the current leadership of this country), Norway, South Africa, Canada or New Zealand, could be persuaded do so. But they must be lobbied and this we are not doing.
What the Tamils need are half a dozen more leaders who are prepared to put the interests and problems faced by the Tamils first, rather than their own. It is this single deficiency that has taken such a long time for them to free themselves from the yoke of Sinhala domination. I refer to such people as the so-called ‘moderate Tamil leader’ Amirthalingam and his ilk, including some of the current ‘leaders’ who are in bed, or more than willing to get into bed, with the racist Sinhala Government in exchange for a Ministerial position, a Land Rover, or similar perks. In the 1977 Election Amirthalingam was, in fact, rejected by his own people. Nonetheless he appeared in Parliament, courtesy of Prime Minister J.R.Jayawardene who had him nominated as an MP as long as he kept his mouth shut. To make sure that it would be firmly shut, he was made the Leader of the Opposition, complete with a free house and all the prestige and perks that go with this job.
A recent ‘activity’ in full flood is for expatriate Tamils, and others, to jet in and out of Sri Lanka (and Jaffna) and come back with illusions of how wonderful the place is now that there is Peace. These jet-setters are in for a rude awakening. It is to them and to the Sinhala elite living the high-life in Colombo to whom this paper is targeted as the only contribution that someone who is genuinely concerned about the future of Sri Lanka can make.
I have only one person to thank, my age–old friend Dr Victor Benjamin FRCS, who worked with me in the General Hospital in Kandy in the early 1970’s. It was his absolute insistence that I leave Sri Lanka that resulted in my coming to Australia, possibly a life-saver. Victor has gone through the manuscript and corrected some serious factual mistakes. I can never repay this debt. He now lives in Godooga, NSW, one of the most desolate places in Australia, separated from me by the tyranny of distance in this vast country. He insists that this booklet be translated into Sinhala and circulated in the Sinhalese South. I will try.
1994-1995 disaster with Chandrika Kumaratunga in charge
Are we looking at a re-run in 2003?
In 1994, with violence in both the Sinhalese South and the Tamil North and East, the entire population had had enough of blood shed. Anyone who even breathed the word “Peace” would have been elected to power.
It was in this setting that Chandrika Kumaratunga campaigned in 1994 and was elected Prime Minister and a year later, President. Her election slogan was ‘Peace’. Here was the ‘Angel of Peace’. Mother Theresa could have benefited from a correspondence course with her. The people abandoned the murderous UNP regime of J.R. Jayawardene followed by the even more murderous regime of Ranasinghe Premadasa and voted for Kumaratunga. No Sri Lankan leader had ever had the support that she had from all ethnic groups.
On being elected as Prime Minister, she immediately declared a cease fire and started Peace Talks with the LTTE.
initial scepticism about these talks was markedly increased when I saw
the nominees. While the LTTE sent several senior members and later, even
the Head of their Political wing, the Government sent a lawyer, a civil
servant, a bank manager and an architect (Kumaratunga’s personal
architect – not that it matters!). Later, the Government added two
members of the Armed Forces, an NGO, a university lecturer and, heaven
help us, the Bishop of Colombo. This motley bunch was sent to address
difficult political problems. Not a single politician (for heaven’s
sake there are 225 of them!) was sent by the Government. They were
essentially messengers, and behaved as such.
all this talking was going on, Kumaratunga’s Government went on a
spending spree to beef-up the Armed Forces. They bought new supersonic
aircraft, helicopter gunships, gunboats, tanks, armoured vehicles, heavy
artillery pieces and other war materials. They also recruited several
thousand new recruits into the Armed Forces. (Note the similarity with
the current situation with the UNF Government spending more than Rs 57
billion, 20% of Total Public Expenditure on Defense).
of this escaped the attention of the LTTE. After more than six months of
nonsensical talks, the LTTE called off the talks on 19.4.95 and sank two
naval vessels in Trincomalee harbour. Eelam War 3 had started, mainly
because of the political incompetence, stupidity and arrogance of
President Kumaratunga who had the necessary powers to prevent the
collapse of these crucial talks.
then saw the visible evidence of the invisible beefing up of the Armed
Forces. “Operation Thunder” was launched on 1 October 1995 with
massive artillery and aerial bombardment of LTTE positions in Jaffna
supported by thousands of ground troops. Then came 17 October 1995,
“Operation Riviressa” (Sun Rays) the target being Jaffna city with
more than half a million civilians. This was unprecedented and, in my
opinion, completely indefensibly irresponsible.
a million people took to the road carrying their bare essentials and
dragging their children, the elderly and the sick, to flee the assault.
This colossal human tragedy was unprecedented in the number of human
beings involved. The then UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali,
called on international governments to assist the uprooted Jaffna
The displaced people started trickling back to Jaffna when the assault ended. It is some of these people who were taken into custody at the Chemmani check point under Brigadier Janaka Perera. The bodies of 900 found their way into mass graves in Chemmani. Janaka Perera is now in Australia as Sri Lankan High Commissioner. Interestingly, in a recent talk in Sydney, Perera claims that he has a letter from Bishop Thomas Savundranayagam commending him! Perera’s fellow officers are in diplomatic positions in Pakistan and Brazil – rewards for ‘heroic’ deeds.
Jaffna was taken by the GOSL but at a terrible cost. Damage was done not only to Kumaratunga’s credibility, but, what is even more important, to the credibility of her successors, other Sinhala leaders who might want to make a genuine effort to end this war by political negotiations.
surprised me is that the LTTE (in 2001) decided to trust another
Sinhalese politician, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, particularly
with the immensely distrusted Kumaratunga, still the Executive
President, with sufficient powers to sabotage the peace process and the
political agreements, to say nothing of her being allowed to remain as
the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The Jaffna Peninsula was certainly taken by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces but they have suffered some humiliating defeats elsewhere – in Mullaituvu, the Elephant Pass army base and elsewhere.
The JVP: a brief outline
The JVP was formed in the late 1960s by a rural youth, Rohana Wijeweera, who had been sent to Russia to study Medicine but was thrown out because he had embraced Chinese communism rather than the Russian variety. Back in Sri Lanka, he joined the Communist Party (Peking wing) but after a disagreement regarding the Tamil tea estate workers, was expelled from the Party and formed the JVP.
Having supported the Sirima Bandaranaike-Left coalition in the 1970 Election, the JVP gave the new government a few months ‘to deliver’ and then embarked on a massive armed uprising to overthrow the government. Mrs Bandaranaike crushed this with armed force, assisted by India and several other countries. Wijeweera escaped to fight another day.
The revival of the JVP started in late 1986 with a change of stance from Marxism to the well-worn path of ethno-religious populism. It became virulently anti-Tamil and anti-Indian. The latter markedly increased after the 1987 introduction of Indian “peace-keeping” troops to the Tamil areas under the J.R. Jayawardene-Rajiv Gandhi Pact.
In 1998 the JVP embarked on another murderous insurrection. The slaughter they inflicted in the Sinhalese South was indiscriminate and extensive. The spectrum of those murdered was as worrying as the numbers killed and the damage done to public property. Figures taken from The Commission of Inquiry, which was established later, are very disturbing. 469 public servants and 2,883 members of the general public, some of them very prominent people, were assassinated for little or no reason. Among them was Chandrika Kumaratunga’s husband (a well known actor), two Vice-Chancellors, several Buddhist monks, radio and TV artistes, estate superintendents, and politicians from both major parties. 319 police officers, 178 members of the Armed Forces, and even members of their families, were killed. Some of them were killed with a degree of sadism that beggars the imagination. 1002 public buildings which included 585 post offices, 84 development Council Offices, 65 agricultural service centres, and 52 estate factories were destroyed by these ‘patriots’.
Members of the 1998-version of the JVP are no more than common criminals and thieves. The current Sri Lankan Government has recently auctioned more than half a tonne of gold jewellery, which the JVP had stolen from the still warm bodies of people they murdered. Wijeweera, their Marxist leader, who started as a ‘Revolutionary youth’ crisscrossing the Sinhala areas on foot and in public transport to preach his revolutionary doctrine, ended up in a Mercedes visiting his private estates, visible evidence of invisible income.
uprising was put down and Wijeweera and the JVP leadership, bar one,
killed. The ‘lucky’
one was Somawansa Amerasinghe, the current JVP leader, currently evading
arrest in England. From there he preaches revolution via the net. It is
interesting that this Marxist should choose the heart of colonial
capitalism for self-exile,
rather than a Communist country such as Cuba or North Korea. Such is the
hypocrisy of people who could be the political leaders of Sri Lanka.
Discrimination against the Tamils
This is taken from my book The Abuse of Democracy in Sri Lanka. It is reproduced here to answer the oft-heard question by Sinhala ‘patriots’ who ask “What discrimination did we do to the Tamils?” Here is the answer:-
Discrimination in education
Standardisation of University Entrance Marks (1972)
In 1971, Sirima Bandaranaike introduced what she inappropriately called "Standardisation of University Entrance Marks" which required Tamil medium students to obtain a higher aggregate of marks than their Sinhalese counterparts. This was nothing but a "fiddling" of the raw marks in favour of the Sinhalese and against the Tamils.
The table below - MINIMUM MARKS REQUIRED FOR UNIVERSITY ADMISSION IN 1971 - shows how Sirima Bandaranaike’s “standardisation” raised the high jump bar for Tamil students:
with her “area quota” system, Tamils from the North had to
obtain a higher mark to enter the science-based faculties in the
universities. It was a violation of the UN policy (article 26.1) of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “higher
education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
result was as expected. Tamils entering the Engineering faculty dropped
from 40% (1970) to 24% (1973) and 13% (1976). In Medicine it dropped
from 50% (1970) to 37% (1973) and to 20%
(1975). In Science, from 35% (1970) to 15% (1978). I was at that
time the Associate Professor of Medicine in Kandy and saw it all. I was
appalled and realized the consequences of her irresponsible stupidity.
The Tamils had for generations given education a very high priority. It
was obvious that excluding Tamil youths from the University for the
wrong reason would precipitate a revolt if not worse. It was blatant
undisguised racism, a violation of the Constitution, and of Democracy.
As another Sinhalese and a fellow academic, Professor C.R. de Silva, was to point out later:
“This (standardisation) was therefore a device to neutralize the superior performance of Tamil medium students in Science subjects as depicted by the raw marks."
When this failed to keep out the Tamil students from the excellent schools in Jaffna, a further step was taken - the introduction of an area quota (1994). Under this scheme, weighage was provided for the rural areas. Let me quote Prof. C. R. de Silva again:
impact of the District Quota System was severest on the Jaffna students.
The sense of injustice it generated in the Jaffna Tamil community has
been quite intense and has probably had far-reaching effects inciting
the young generation to militant forms of protest."
I was at the time a senior don in the Medical Faculty in Kandy. I went to see Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike, who happened to be my aunt - hence the ready access - and pointed out that this was blatant racism. I drew her attention to the fact that it violated United Nations policy (Article 26.1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“Everyone has the right to education - higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit."
I pointed out that if Sinhalese students from the periphery (for example the village that her husband and I came from) did not have educational opportunities for them to successfully compete against those from the Jaffna schools, then the answer was to raise the standard of education in the periphery, the so-called "disadvantaged areas."
I even pointed out that keeping students out of University for the wrong reason (because they were Tamils or because they came from Jaffna) would lead to revolt.
I happened to have been correct, the Tamil youth movement was about to be born - and with it, the demand for a separate Tamil state where they can live without discrimination.
employment of Tamils in Government services was even more
1956 and 1976, of some 189,000 people recruited by the public sector
corporations (where employment was at the discretion of the Minister,
not on merit), 99% were Sinhalese!
open letter to the American Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Ambassador Ashley Wills
US Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Dear Ambassador Wills
I refer to the speech you are reported to have made in Jaffna on 3 March 2001. I am not a Tamil, a Tiger or a Terrorist. I am a Sinhalese, a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and a Consultant Physician in Brisbane, Australia. Despite my long absence from the country I have closely monitored the situation in Sri Lanka, a country I am deeply attached to and whose destruction concerns me deeply. I have written several booklets on Sri Lanka, including some on the Violation of Human rights in that country. I have just been invited to London to deliver an address on the Abuse of Democracy in Sri Lanka. The reason why I state all this is that I want to make the point that I am not a new boy in this arena (as you seem to be). I have visited your country (USA) on several occasions to address innumerable meetings in New York, Chicago, California and even Washington, on the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka.
A major problem I have encountered over the years that I have been campaigning for sense in this senseless conflict currently in it's 17th year, is people like yourself who, having been in Sri Lanka for just 6 months, make ex-cathedra statements on the crisis in the country. The Sri Lankan problem is a deeply complex problem involving historical, ethno-religious, political and economic problems, some of them created by the British (1815-1948) and compounded by a succession of Sinhalese-dominated governments who took over from the British in 1947. It is a complex problem which is destroying the country and should not be a plaything for journalists in search of a sensational story or irresponsible comments from diplomats who have been in the country for 6 months and have not the faintest idea of what has gone on over at least the past 150 years and more. I do not intend to be rude or insulting but you simply do not have either the depth of knowledge necessary or the authority to make the statements that you are reported to have made. This is patently obvious on reading your speech in Jaffna.
There is a particular danger in diplomats making such irresponsible speeches. They give an added impetus to extremists both in the Sri Lankan government and in the Armed Forces to settle what is essentially a political problem by military might. It is not a winnable war, as your country realised in Vietnam, and Indonesia realised only a year ago in East Timor. If you cannot do any good, I urge you not to do harm by making irresponsible statements. You are making the job of genuine peacemakers such as the Norwegians and even the President of Sri Lanka whose entire political future depends on solving this mess, that much more difficult. What your speech does is to encourage the activities of those who were running around Colombo only a few months ago burning the Norwegian flag and copies of the new Constitution proposed by President Kumaratunga. Your speech would be music to their ears.
I am writing a series of articles on the evolution of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, the dismantling and abuse of democracy, the devastating colonial legacy left by the British, the violation of human rights, possible solutions to the conflict which is destroying not just the Tamil areas but the Sinhalese South too, the role of sections of the Buddhist clergy and the need for a revival of Buddhism (my mother's family were all devout Buddhists), and the future of that country. I will be sending you copies of these articles. You may well throw them in the dustbin but I would urge you to read them before you make any more public statements on this complex problem.
All I can do here is to outline some very basic points.
Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was, since ancient times, not a unitary state. Several kingdoms (the Jaffna Kingdom in the North and East, the Kandyan Kingdom in the Centre, and the Kotte Kingdom in the South) have existed side by side for centuries. The "unified" entity "Ceylon" was a British construct (in 1833) created for purely administrative purposes and to quell internal rebellion, in particular of the Kandyan people. The people yoked together were not consulted. This British colonial strategy of yoking together disparate people (the Tamil-Hindu people in the North and East, the Kandyan Sinhalese -Buddhists in the Centre and the low-country Sinhalese-Buddhists in the South) and holding the construct together by military force was what the British did in several other colonies. In Asia, examples are India, Burma and Malaya.
After independence, these countries except Ceylon, broke up into their "components" - India into India and Pakistan and later Pakistan into Bangladesh (East Pakistan), Malaya into Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Burma is still in the process of breaking up.
What the Tamils are asking for is a dismantling of the British construct i.e. of a separation of the Tamil areas from the Sinhalese areas - a situation that existed for hundreds of years and which was documented to exist when the Portuguese, Dutch and even the British arrived.
What the Sri Lankan government is trying to do is to keep this British construct together using whatever force is needed, irrespective of the damage to the physical and economic damage to the country (not just the Tamil areas but the Sinhalese areas too) and loss of life , not only of the Tamil people but also of the Sinhalese people too (the Sinhalese soldiers are mainly poor rural people who have no other way to exist except to join the army and get killed in an unwinnable war.
The LTTE is not the cause of the break up, it is the result of a series of discriminatory actions against the Tamil people dating back to just a few months after the Sinhalese majority government took over from the British. Space does not permit me to enumerate the discriminatory legislation that has been passed, but permit me, as a Sinhalese, admittedly less racist than many of my fellow Sinhalese, to say that the Tamils have a very strong case. There has been systematic discrimination against the Tamil people in 1948 when a million Plantation Tamils were de-citizenised and disenfranchised, in 1956 when they lost their language as an official language and hence suffered discrimination in employment, in 1972 when highly discriminatory legislation was passed restricting their entry into the University (I was the Associate Professor of Medicine at the time) and have been at the receiving end of many episodes of unprovoked violence by Sinhalese goons and thugs, most of them under government patronage and more recently the indiscriminate destruction of the Tamil areas by bombing and shelling which has made civilian life in these areas impossible. Areas. A separate State is not what the Tamils wanted. They have been driven to it by a Sinhalese-dominated government bent on crushing the Tamil people - not the LTTE.
It is the Tamil people in the North and East who want a Separate Tamil State (Eelam) as was clearly evidenced by the 1977 elections - the last free and fair election to be held in the North and East. If banning is the answer, it is not the LTTE who have to be banned, it is the Tamil people in the North and East who have to be banned. Mr.Ambassador, let us get one thing clear. The current war is not the Sri Lankan government against the LTTE, but against the Tamil people in the North and East.
It is not a question of banning X,Y or Z or crushing X,Y or Z. It is a question of addressing the underlying problem of generating a solution so that the Tamil people in the North and East of the country can live with safety and dignity and without discrimination. That is what Eelam is all about.
"Divide and destroy"? No. It is to "Divide and Develop". I need only to point to Malaya where the division into Singapore and Malaysia resulted in major developments in all these countries. At independence, Ceylon and Malaya had comparable standards of living, Today, undivided Sri Lanka is light years behind the divided products of Malaya. I have the figures but I will leave it to you to do some homework and get the figures.
When you say "……we reject the idea of an independent Tamil state", may I ask you on what you base this opinion? Have you considered, or are you even aware of, what happened in Malaya? You cannot be unaware of what happened in East Timor which is smaller than the Tamil areas in Sri Lanka and was carved out of Indonesia despite every effort by the military in Jakarta to prevent it. It is now an independent country, albeit devastated, thanks to the unwinnable war that Indonesia fought for more than two decades.
Incidentally, is it your business as a diplomat from the USA to interfere in the internal problems of another country? If it is, from where did you get this authority, or is it just diplomatic immaturity and impropriety? Do Sri Lankan diplomats in Washington advise your government on how you should be treating the Blacks and Hispanics and if they did, what would be your reaction?
Mr.Ambassador, with due respect, you should do some reading and this might result in more enlightened views than the ones you expressed in Jaffna on 7 March 2001.
I am sending a copy of this letter to the authorities in Washington who are responsible for your appointment. I am also making this letter public so that the Tamils in Sri Lanka who are having their lives shattered and property destroyed and the significant expatriate Tamil community (now over a million) will read your speech in Jaffna and lodge their protest with you and the US authorities in Washington.
 Lakshman Kadirgamar, Kumaratunga’s (Tamil!) Foreign Minister cautioned the UN Secretary General not to exaggerate the “minor problem” of an “internally displaced” people that concerns the “internal affairs” of a “sovereign state”.
 “Are Leaders born or made? Reflections on Leadership and Management from a Military Perspective” Try the net www.iozlanka.com?general/quality.htm. If it has ‘disappeared’ from the net (like the people in Janaka Perera’s custody in Chemmani), contact the Institution of Engineers of Australia (Sydney division). I’m sure they’ll be proud to send you a email@example.com Tell them to also send you the flyer. You won’t recognise the Major General. It is hilarious. It made my day. Don’t be a naughty boy and ask too many awkward questions. A poor soul who did was threatened with legal action, no, not in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, but in Democratic (up to a point) Australia. If you really can’t get it let me know. I’d hate you to miss this gem.
 This man is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Jaffna. Read what he wrote “When the people of Jaffna were returning to their homes and villages after their displacement in November 1995, Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera was very helpful to them in settling them in their homes. He also assisted in the early restoration of the civil services and other facilities for the people, and they appreciated this especially at a time they needed them most.” Praise God, the Bishop said nothing about the Chemmani disappearances.
 The Peking Wing was led by N.Shanmugathasan,a Tamil, who wanted the economically crucial Tamil Indian Plantation workers to form the vanguard of the ‘revolution’. Wijeweera, from a Sinhalese peasant background disagreed.
 Somawansa Amarasinghe, the current leader, says that Marx got it all wrong! In 1896, the 2nd International, supported by Marx and Engels, passed a resolution “…this congress accepts the right of self-determination of a nation”. But, says Amarasinghe, “We, in the JVP, do not live in the past. The Right to Self-determination belongs to the past”(!).
 There is a good book on “The JVP (1967-1989) by Justice A.C.Alles, who was on the Commission into the uprising, published by Lake House Investments, 41 W.A.D Ramanayake Mawatha, Colombo 2, priced at Rs 450 (A$10). There is also a well-known article by Fred Halliday, originally published in The New Left Review No69, Sept-Oct 1971,pp515-91 “The Ceylonese insurrection. It is also on the net. There are some inaccuracies.
 His ‘luck’ was that his sister was married to a well-known thug, Cabinet Minister Sirisena Cooray, President Premadasa’s lieutenant and collaborator in thuggery.
 He is wanted for questioning in Sri Lanka on a criminal charge related to his 1988-99 activities.