Sunday May 19, 2013
Former Sri Lanka President's Children 'Reacted With Anguish' to Tamil Genocide ProgramTim King Salem-News.com
Big changes are underway in Sri Lanka.
(SALEM, Ore.) - In the United States there is a standing rule between presidents that they should not be publicly critical of the sitting president, and that the importance of that exceeds the public's welfare.
This is not the case in Sri Lanka, where past President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (Sinhala: චන්ද්රිකා බන්ඩාරනායක කුමාරතුංග), who was the 4th Executive president of Sri Lanka, has come out in strong opposition to current President Majinda Rajapaksa, considered to be the mastermind and driving force behind a Genocide carried out against Tamil citizens in Sri Lanka's northern coastal regions, culminating two years ago in the brutal, senseless deaths up possibly more than 100,000 human beings, most of whom were civilians.
A military group that has fought for the rights of Tamil people, the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) or 'Tamil Tigers', was designated as a 'terrorist' organization during the George W. Bush era and that effectively halted the Tamil people's ability to politically negotiate for themselves.
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga served from November 12, 1994 to November 19, 2005, and her leaving office led to the massive attempt to eliminate the Tamil culture. The Sri Lanka Times quotes her saying:
“I still agonize over this, over and over again as to whether I should have used full presidential powers or authoritarian rule to implement the proposed constitution (which had then been blocked by Parliament).”
Her speech, full of anecdotes about her tenure of office, the history of the conflict in this island nation, and the faults and weaknesses of past leaders and the ruling UPFA was made before a distinguished audience in Colombo, including judges, politicians and civil society dignitaries.
She said that if the draft constitution was promulgated and presidential rule ended, Sri Lanka may not have faced the current rejection of the international community, that prevails today. “At the time I didn’t want to do this (to be a dictator).”
The daughter of two former Prime Ministers, she said her own children had reacted with anguish to the Channel 4 TV documentary 'Sri Lanka's Killing Fields' on suspected war-time atrocities committed against the Tamils.
The former president alleges that as a result of the terrible fallout, members of ethnic minorities are leaving Sri Lanka, which badly needs economic sustainability.
Mrs Kumaratunga has been critical of her successor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, at different times in the past, but The BBC's Charlie Haviland, suggests in the article, Chandrika Kumaratunga berates Sri Lankan government, that these remarks are perhaps her strongest yet.
Mrs Kumaratunga said the government was not committed to sharing power with ethnic minorities and warned that if it continued its "winner-takes-all" policy, large numbers of minority people would continue to leave the country - referring to Tamils, Burghers, as well as people of mixed descent.
During her political career, Mrs Kumaratunga was also the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party through 2005. She is Sri Lanka's only female president to date.
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