The last time the people of this country awoke and arose to fight for this ancient birthright with a clear awareness of what they were fighting for was in 1818. We must be grateful to the rebels of Uva Wellassa for re-igniting the spark of freedom before it would lie forgotten for nearly another 200 years.
Sovereignty is inalienable and it is continuous. It is a natural expression of human co-existence. So long as a body of people cohabit a particular territory they have the right to exercise it. In doing so they are claiming the substance of what their forebears or predecessors had (whether they exercised it or not). What we have to fight for today is essentially the same thing that an illustrious line of liberators on this island fought to maintain for the last 2500 years. Freedom is the same all over the world but through the course of time it acquires certain characteristics which are unique to the particular territory over which it is asserted. Here it should be noted that the connection between a particular race and the soil is coincidental. It is simply foolishness to assert any kind of racial purity because inter-marriage between settlers and voyagers has been taking place from time immemorial on this island.
Starting with the British in 1818 sovereignty in this island was suppressed; then turned into a neat legal concept in 1972 and finally given up by acquiescence to the dictatorships of Jayewardene and Prabhakaran. The periodic insurrections that occurred from time to time since 1948 indicate that not all the people have forgotten their birthright and that some of us have even been willing to die for it. Unfortunately these insurgents never got the leadership they deserved as they were pursuing dualistically framed problems and solutions.
As noted above however sovereignty is never lost. It flows in the life blood of the people, and if harnessed and channelled with wisdom and compassion it can explode the structures of ignorance and re-create a just and humane society. This will not happen overnight. But as a result of sustained application the people will finally come home – having been for over two centuries strangers in their own land. Lacking our own roots to stand our ground we are still being moved around like potted plants at the whims and fancies of illegitimate powers driven by avaricious grasping, self destructive aggression and moral confusion.
We are a nation that withstood 153 years of cold blooded terrorism at the hands of the then global superpower – the Portugese and emerged victorious to finally chase them out of this island in 1658. How is it that the current State has capitulated after just 20 years of LTTE terrorism? (It would be an insult to link the noble Tamil race with the LTTE which is simply using their noble birth to dominate – not liberate their brothers. The LTTE has divorced itself completely from the ancient values of Tamil and Hindu culture. This is a point we need not labour. A true liberator on the other hand would have won the love and respect of all Lankans irrespective of his race.)
The reason for this capitulation is that this is the State the British left behind. That over dressed State with its Excellencies, Lordships and countless Honourables is crumbling away before our very eyes. It made us weak so that we would be ripe for exploitation – not strong and independent. The values of selfish competition it taught are being taken to their logical destructive conclusion by the southern politicians who are now vying with each other to become the faithful puppet of their overlord in the Wanni.The yoke of sovereignty has now moved out of the hands of all those who pretend to rule us today.
It has reverted to its source – the good people of this country who will ultimately win back their genuine freedom in their own time. Till such time the killing and deceiving will go on. In the meantime let us have patience and tolerance. Only fools stand before a raging locomotive. We need to step aside let it pass and roll on towards destruction. All that we can do is to have no truck with this madness. We have to build a new civilization with our bare hands. That is sufficient work to focus on.
What has been characteristic of the freedom struggle in this land has been our staunch refusal to accept foreign domination. This comes today in the guise of a truly criminal global economic order driven by the unholy Trinity of the World Bank, IMF and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and their local lackeys. The key to freedom from their tentacles is simple but hard to put into practice. It is to stop being enslaved to our senses. There is no alternative. In the coming years we will face more natural disasters, the drying up of resources and environmental challenges. It is only stupid not to steel ourselves as human beings to face future adversity.
Thus the real issue in Sri Lanka today is not who shall be the petty king of which part of the country. Rather it is under what economic and social conditions should we and our children live on planet earth as responsible and dignified human beings. While we sleep, while we kill and deceive each other these fundamental questions are being decided by irresponsible foreign and local agents who have robbed us of our sovereignty. Until we fight and win it back we will all be chasing the mirage of ‘development’ till cows come home. Sons of the soil go back to your roots. Leave your potted plants. Let us unite to face our true enemy.