Review of the Mr. Kajan Ponnampalam’s address at SCOT’s annual lunch

At this well attended meeting Kajan spoke at length about the future of the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka, no doubt in fluent English but telling only what everyone knew and had heard many times before. People who came to listen to him went home disappointed and empty handed.

I put two pertinent questions to him.

1. My first question: You said that the right of Tamils in Sri Lanka to self-determination is a legal right. Three independent experts in international law and post war reconciliation visited Sri Lanka about 2 years ago and held a seminar on post war reconciliation and lessons of international experience at the Public Library, Jaffna. One from Switzerland, one from South Africa and the last one was from Canada. When I posed a question on the Right of Self Determination to Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Swiss expert said in no uncertain terms that the International Law recognizes right to self-determination only to colonized countries and that it does not apply to ethnic communities within independent sovereign countries. Such rights have to be negotiated separately and democratically within the country concerned w/o invoking an international law, which does not exist.

Right to self-determination to oppressed nationalities including right to cession was first put forward by Lenin to mobilize all the different oppressed nationalities in the newly formed USSR after the Russian revolution in order to create this voluntary union. As far as I know this right to self –determination is not even in the Soviet Constitution. In light of these historical and current facts, I asked Kajan to explain his position.

He said from the existing international law applicable to colonised countries he can deduce through appropriate interpretation that Tamils have the right to self-determination. Then he went on to say that in any case Tamil Eelam is a colony of Sri Lanka!

Clearly his understanding of law is flawed and also his premise that Tamil Eelam is a Sri Lankan colony is childish. You have to be really naive or someone living in the cookoo land to believe all this. His whole political agenda and program is based on these false premises. With this kind of arguments he is intending now to get our rights through the UN like Mr.Vykunthavasan, who turned out to be joker and a laughing stock.

I personally like to see an international law recognizing the right of all oppressed nationalities to self-determination including the right to session. If this right was already in law our struggle for a separate state could have been a simple matter indeed. Mr. Satyendra, being an imminent lawyer, would have used to this full advantage. The fact is that no such effort was taken by anyone. So Mr. Kajan, living in a dream world, was simply letting out hot air only.

Mr. Kajan is misleading the Tamil people and once again attempting to entice and rouse our people to take the road to disaster. He is prescribing the same medicine which weakened and destroyed our community.

2. My second question: You have described the problem which everyone here knows already. What is missing in your talk is the solution and how you propose to achieve it.

This is where he stumbled and came out worse. His political bankruptcy became nakedly obvious. Having been badly rejected by the people at the last General Election (I think he lost his deposit like Dr.Vickramabahu, whose political credentials are far better) he said now he is going through the UN route to secure the rights of the Tamils. He is now on a globe-trotting mission, which he can afford to do with the amassed wealth of his father and grandfather, who voted with the UNP in the parliament to disenfranchise the plantation Tamils.

What surprises me is that nearly 100 professionals present at this meeting fell prey to Kajan’s killer medicine. The same failed “wine” in different bottles! Our people must speak their minds out. Otherwise we will always be taken for suicidal rides by our politicians.

People were swayed simply and easily by Kajan’s language skill and style of presentation in spite of the fact the content was disappointingly irrelevant – no depth, no substance, no facts, no philosophy, a lot of myth and there was in fact nothing. I was sad that I wasted a lot of time (half a day) in total vain. He did not talk anything about real issues faced by people.

He is part of the Colombo elite, living in a mansion in Colombo 7. He studied at Royal College. His family were aligned to the UNP, which have always been pro-imperialists and anti-people. They will not and have no reason to understand real issues faced by people.

The real issues are poverty, unemployment, education, development, attack on trade unions, how the legal profession is screwing poor people, attempt by IMF and Sri Lankan government to dismantle step by step our hard fought and won free NHS and free education system, setting up of private inferior universities to cater the rich and affluent, landlessness, homelessness, disappeared people, rule of law, good governance, large scale corruption, temporary labour contracts through agencies to replace permanent employment contracts (similar to Zero hour contract by the Tories here) and many other issues are not in Kajan’s political program. Kajan is hailing CM of Northern Province, who has done nothing for the people during the 3 years as CM of Northern Province except living in luxuries provided by the government.

Let us not be fooled by self-serving politicians all the time. Enough is enough!

In my opinion Kajan is not in this planet!

M.Sooriasegaram

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About noelnadesan

Commentator and analyst of current affairs.
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