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The Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Island has bared its Sinhala chauvinist fangs at the prospect of meaningful peace talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Government.
That Sinhala chauvinism which masquerades as 'Sri Lanka nationalism' was angered by the presence of the LTTE flag at the negotiating table at the Peace talks in Jaffna on 13 October 1994 was ofcourse understandable. But that anger appears also to have confused the mind.
The Sri Lanka Sunday Island, once owned by the late Upali Wijewardene and now run by Mrs.Bandaranaike's brother, (and for which ex PLOTE ideologue TARAKI is a regular paid columnist) appears unable to decide whether the LTTE flag in the conference room was an 'ominous sign' or whether the whole episode was a 'childish prank' by the LTTE and its leader.
On 16 October 1994, the Sunday Island declared editorially:
One week later the Sunday Island continued to vent its spleen
One week later the Sunday Island continued to vent its spleen - but this time, not on the Sri Lanka delegation but on Velupillai Pirabaharan and the LTTE. It fumed editorially on 23 October 1994:
The 'ominous sign' that had put the interests of the nation at risk on 16 October had become a mere 'childish prank' by 23 October! Again if it was all a 'childish prank' why did the Sunday Island pontificate on 16 October:
The abusive tone of the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Island's diatribe reflects the unbridled chauvinism that runs deep in sections of the Sinhala body politic
The abusive tone of the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Island's diatribe reflects the unbridled chauvinism that runs deep in sections of the Sinhala body politic. It is a Sinhala chauvinism which is running scared at the prospect of a peaceful resolution of the conflict on terms which recognise the inherent equality, of the Tamil people, as a people, with the Sinhala people, as a people.
But in the same way as President D.B.Wijetunga's denial of the 'ethnic conflict' served only to unite the Tamil people behind the LTTE, the Sunday Island's intemperate attack on Tamil Eelam leader Velupillai Pirabaharan will serve only to increase Tamil support for the Liberation Tigers.
The Tamil people know only too well that it is the determined resistance led by Velupillai Pirabaharan and the LTTE that has moved Sri Lanka to the negotiating table. The presence of the LTTE flag at the negotiating table was no childish prank. It was an open assertion of the equality of status of the two parties to the talks.
But, as always, form and content go together
Again, the arrangement of the tables for the negotiations made clear that LTTE did not come as supplicants for favours or concessions at the Sinhala master's table, but as representatives of a free people seeking to negotiate a just and lasting peace. The arrangement of the tables also marked an end to the long running round table farce.
At the Paris talks for peace in Viet Nam there were several months of discussions about the shape of the table- round, square or rectangle. Nobody suggested then that either the United States or Viet Nam was being childish. After all, as always, form and content go together.
The vituperative attack launched by the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Island serves as a timely reminder to the Tamil people, of the political reality that the late Sathasivam Krishnakumar spoke about, some three years ago: