A remarkable story in today’s Daily News

There was a remarkable story that appeared today in the government run newspaper, the Daily News. The lead was:

“There wouldn’t have been a war today in this country if the three languages Sinhala, Tamil and English were made official languages, said the Minister of Posts and Telecommunication Mahinda Wijesekera.

He said we should work according to the teachings of the Buddha and when all sections of the people are treated equally there wouldn’t be conflicts and then there would be prosperity and peace in this country.”

This is a remarkable statement from a high government official. From an outsider’s point of view, this statement seems exactly correct. That is, from what I have learned, both the Sinhalese and Tamil sides of the conflict bear responsibility for the conflict. What is remarkable is that this is the first time I have heard an official on the Sinhalese side admit that their side might bear some responsibility. It is even more remarkable coming at a time when the LTTE is about to lose all of its conventional military capability, when the temptation for the Sinhalese side might be to gloat.

So, good for Minister Mahinda Wijesekara. As I mentioned once before, the government is saying all the right things these days. As in any political process, the tough part is doing all the right things. I pray they will do so.

Tim

Note added March 10: I was saddended  to hear that today’s bomb blast in Matara has left Minister Wijesekara in critical condition. In initial reports, the government has, not without reason given the tactics, reflexively blamed the LTTE. But the attack occurred in the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka in the heartland of  those who would find the Minister’s remarks quoted above to be offensive. However, the Minister was processing with a group of ministers, so it seems unlikely that the attack was intended to single him out personally.

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2 Comments

  1. March 10, 2009 at 6:53 am

    […] even more remarkable story than the one in my previous posting is  in today’s Daily Mirror. US envoy Richard Boucher has been quoted as saying that the US […]

  2. mew_lobo said,

    March 12, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Actually, both Sinhalese and Tamil are now official languages in Sri Lanka. And I don’t think Mahinda Wijesekera’s statement regarding the cause of war will be found offensive by anyone. Most people would agree.


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