Today a new liberation struggle has arisen before us says the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka. He said this at the main rally of the ‘Brotherhood Day’ celebration organized by the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) held at Ananda Samarakone Outdoor Stadium yesterday (23rd).
A large number of people including members of mass organizations, leaders representing all religious, university lecturers and professors, lawyers, artists were present.
Speaking further Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, “The incidents that occurred in July 1983 did not happen as isolated or accidental happenings. They were not incidents that were committed by any group due to sudden fury. It was really the result of communal politics that was continuously nourished. Also, it was a crisis of those who were involved in administering the country at that time. Communalism that develops minutely could end in massive destruction. Also, it has been shown that any ruler whose existence is in crisis would transform his politics into communalism to get over the crisis. The occurrences in 1983 tell us how destructive such politics is. Lives and property were destroyed. Many fled the country and these incidents were not the results of that day’s happenings. Communalism that gradually spread throughout the island suddenly erupted on 23rd July 1983. What is the story that unfolded thereafter? A type of hatred, suspicion developed between the Tamils in the North and the Sinhalese in the South that could not be cured. We continue to feel the consequences of the occurrence. A new history was written about the politicians and communities in the country. Prabakaran was able to create suicide bombers not without reason. The politics in the South developed into a civil war not as a coincidence. The communalism that intensified due to the incident soaked the earth with blood and tears. Those who try to interpret the incidents as mere occurrences cannot be considered as human beings. Humans must learn through experiences. However, what does the politics that open up before us indicate? Have we, as a society, learned a lesson from the history that has taken us backwards as a country, where thousands of lives were lost, a colossal amount of property was destroyed and had experienced the result of the suspicion that had been created among the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities? The politics that spread out tells that even today the most extreme division is communalism.
Gradually, Sinhalese communalism is becoming the politics among the Sinhalese. The politics of the Muslims is becoming Muslim communalism while Tamil communalism is becoming Tamil communalism. What has been created in the country is a political environment to gain short-term needs that would pave the way for a destructive future.
It is in such an environment that the SYU and many other organizations are carrying out a struggle against communalism to protect the cultural identity and build a truly civilized Nation. It should be completed with victory.
What is the struggle that exists before us? Is the struggle to liberate the South from the North? Is it to arm the South against Vijayakala? Is it a struggle to save the Muslims from the Sinhalese? We have a struggle for liberation apart from differences between the Sinhalese, Tamil and the Muslims. This new type of struggle is common to all Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, whether they are from the North, South, East or West and whether they are from urban areas of remote areas. This struggle is for economic freedom, political freedom and to liberate the country from destructive rulers. It is a struggle that should be carried out without any partiality. We believe this new liberation struggle would unite all communities in the country.
Are we an independent state economically? We are not independent economically. Hambantota Harbour was not constructed for our own economic requirement. According to the economic requirement of the country, Hambantota Harbour should have been built as a harbour that provides services. The function of the harbour should have been supplying water, fuel, food and repairs to ships. However, according to the economic requirement of China Hambantota should be a cargo port. The harbour was constructed according to the economic need of China. China builds its economic nerve centres in other countries. Are we economically independent? India couldn’t bear when China was given Hambantota Harbour. What did the government do? It said India would be given Mattala Airport.
The new Inland Revenue bill was presented in Parliament. Within two days the Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka said the IMF has praised the new Inland Revenue Bill and has agreed to release the latest tranche of the loan to Sri Lanka government. Despite there are people’s representatives who are expected to pass laws in Parliament, the laws are compiled according to the wishes of the IMF. Whose need was the Singapore trade agreement signed recently? It was according to the wishes of the World Trade Organization opposed by the people of the world. It is the same with ETCA. Are we independent? As such, the struggle that we have before us is a struggle to win economic freedom.
Are we politically independent? The higher political authorities are being manipulated by embassies. When the President and the Prime Minister quarrel with each other, it is the US Embassy that is asked to pacify them. This shows that we are not a Nation independent politically. As such, we have a struggle before us to win political freedom. The ruler has become a big plunderer. Today, frauds and corruption exist in palaces and mansions. When the top has been deteriorated what would be the future of the country? It was the President of the country who took money from China. The Prime Minister of the country has been accused of the Central Bank bond scam. The country should be liberated from the thieves in palaces. Hence, the liberation struggle would also build unity.
We were unable to build a successful struggle against the British imperialists. Like in India we build the National Congress. However, in a short time the National Congress breaks down and various other organizations representing on a communal basis are built. Even then there was no struggle carried out united by the Sinhalese, Tamils and the Muslims. What existed was a struggle to ask benefits from the British. As we were given so-called independence, we become a divided nation. The UNP brought the citizenship act to deny rights. Our rulers, instead of thinking as national leaders and giving leadership to all communities, carried out a kind of politics that opposed such sentiment. After independence, the roadmap of politics was laid separating the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims. As such, we need a national politics and a national leadership now. The most necessary struggle to achieve this is the new liberation struggle. However, reactionaries attempt to build in the South myths about armed movements in the North.
We are fully confident that no armed movement could be created in the North in the near future. However, the reactionaries attempt to build suspicion in the South about the North. When a grenade brought by a soldier explodes media announcements are published in the South regarding a ‘return of the LTTE’ has begun. Even after the correct incident was revealed, the channels that telecast the wrong news about the ‘return of the LTTE” never corrected their versions. It is because the politics in the South is bent on creating a fear and suspicion about the North. Then the ‘Ava’ clique came to light. There were such cliques in the South as well. Kaduwela Wasantha, Wambotta, Ratnaweeras of Sooriyawewa were some of them. Our society always looks for an enemy. The real enemy is concealed and the false enemy is put forward. It is the masses in the North who would become the biggest obstacle for the creation of another war. It is the people in the North who were severely hit by the war. There were conflicts between the LTTE and PLOTE, LTTE and TELO, LTTE and EPDP. These struggles killed a large number of Tamil youths.
Even today there are houses in Jaffna that had been subjected to attacks by the Indian Army. The war continued for 30 years. There are 45,000 war widows, 2500 children who have lost both their parents in Jaffna. There are families without proper houses and children who do not have a school to go to. They live a life of misery. Do you believe that the masses in the North would get involved in another war?
The wishes of the parents in the South for their children are a good education, to find them good employment, to give them is marriage, to build them a good house. This is the same as the parents in the North as well. There is no difference in their love for their children. However, a picture is created in the South by reactionaries that children in the North are brought up to do war.
Today reactionary politicians in the North too want a communal politics. The provincial council in the North has not done anything for the North. Communalism is spread to get back the power they have been denied. As such, national unity should be built without allowing communalism to spread its wings.
Communalism is not a mere thought that was born in the brains of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim youths. Communalism is politics. As such, the struggle against communalism too is politics. The JVP and the SYU and other organizations that have rallied with them are prepared to bring victory to the politics against communalism. We are not men if we allow incidents to be buried in the past without as mere incidents. The characteristics of men should be to get experiences from incidents. We have had numerous experiences. There have been tragedies that have occurred before our eyes. As people who have learnt lessons from these incidents we should come forward to bring victory to the struggle against communalism and establish national unity.”