Mohan Pieris: On the urgency of reconciliation for lasting peace
Somebody somewhere is talking about divisiveness, discrimination, and narrow politics, but people wanted to live with peace and harmony. That is the choice.
The government is more than ready to reconcile. We know that reconciliation is the only way to a lasting peace for generation to come, said Mohan Pieris, the former Attorney General of Sri Lanka .
On an exclusive interview with the Asian Tribune, Mohan Pieris, the former Attorney General of Sri Lanka and presently the Special Advisor to the Cabinet of Ministers & Chairman, Inter Agency Commission to Implement the Interim Recommendations of the LLRC said, “The present TNA and others will be no more due to national causes. If you are thinking of future and future generation, you have to be little selfless and rise above from narrow nationalism. “
Given below the full text of the interview Asian Tribune had with Mohan Pieris:
Asian Tribune: It seems that Tamil National Alliance is not interested in nominating their representatives to the Parliamentary Select Committee.
Mohan Pieris: I am not too sure, but I think I could be generous in saying, that who is not interested in reconciling and talking peace and working out and engaging in a constructive manner? I think that is the common ground. For reasons best known to the TNA, which I don’t think will help the reconciliation process.
We know that lot of discussions going on but TNA is yet to nominate its representatives to the Parliament Select Committee.
Their nominations are being delayed and there seems to be some kind of dissent amongst them. I suppose that they have to fix their dissenting views amongst themselve and come to a common stance and join hands with the government as a matter of urgency. That is very important.
Asian Tribune: Whatever you say, they are not going to come as far as I am aware.
Mohan Pieris: Well.. well .. well, if it gets to a stalemate, then Government will have to do the next best thing. There are other right thinking people in the Tamil community who will join with them and will come with a formula which we think is the next best. This is the only way one can approach the issue, isn’t it ?
Asian Tribune: You may be right, but why don’t the Government try to persuade the TNA to nominate their representatives to the Parliamentary select Committee?
Mohan Pieris: You can take a horse to water, but you can’t get it to drink?
Asian Tribune: Why don’t the Government talk with the TNA?
Mohan Pieris: What is there to talk.. There is a quantum of dialogue. We are just talking, talking and talking. We are very good talkers you know? But when it comes to action, you know everybody backs off. Nobody wants to rise from narrow nationalism to being a statesman.
Asian Tribune: There are reports that UNP also is not joining the Parliamentary Select Committee?
Mohan Peiris: So that is because none has the country at heart. None of them has their community at heart. None of them are genuinely interested in reconciliation. They are playing petty politics at the cost of the country. What else we can expect.
Asian Tribune: I think it is the issue of confidence?
Mohan Peiris: It is not the issue of confidence, but I think it is being selfish. I don’t think it is not known to this world the confidence you and I are talking about. What is the confidence? They are enjoying all the perks of their offices they hold. They enjoy all the material benefits every other government members enjoy. What is the confidence they talk of.
Asian Tribune: Confidence building is the very important thing in this reconciliation process?
Mohan Pieris:The government is bending over backward trying to do whatever they want within the power of the government. It takes two to Tango. You need two hands to clap. Reconciliation is a two way process. I can only reconcile with someone who wants to reconcile. If there is a reluctance to do son - it is no difference t - may be a family break up. If there is a problem between the husband and wife, then there again the husband and wife should want to reconcile.
Asian Tribune: Both Parties should be ready to do that?
Mohan Pieris: No … No, I will repeat this in no uncertain terms that the government is more than willing to do so. The government has bent over backward and I feel that the Government will bent over still backward, because we know, that is the only way to a lasting, true peace for generation to come.
Sooner or later the present TNA and the wholeb existing political outfits will be no more due to natural causes. But on the other hand, if you are thinking of the future and the future generation, then I think you can’t be selfish, but you have to be little selfless, rise from narrow nationalism , narrow communalism to statesmanship and if you want to see new horizons of freedom and progress. That’s the way to it.
Asian Tribune: What they say is that Government has failed to live up to its words at any given time.
Mohan Peris: That is an old.. old.. old.. hackneyed canard, isn’t it? This an old story.
Asian Tribune: According to them it is still valid, no? Even recently TNA had several round of talks with the Government, but nothing happened they say?
Mohan Peiris: That is what I said that we are good talkers. We just talk and talk and talk. Nobody wants to bell the cat. Nobody is willing to take bold positions. But the Government itself is willing to do lot of things. You see, to free ourselves from the bondages of old thinking, old antagonism, that I can’t see.
Asian Tribune: What is the future holds for the Tamils?
Mohan Pieris: What is the future TNA offers to the Tamil community? There is a vibrant young Tamil community out there and what can these people offer? Communalism? What are you talking? They are doing a greatest disservice to the community to come.
Forget about them. They have ventilated their time in terms of their life in this planet.
See it is really a wakeup call. It is matter of urgency,energize and empower younger folks…. New thinking.
Asian Tribune: Why don’t the Government talk with TNA Leader Sampanthan on all these issues?
Mohan Peiris: In that case, then we will add to another round of talks. Why don’t we sit and agree to some of the basic positions. The whole problem with the Tamil community is that they have too many lawyers there. They just talk law. They are enjoying themselves talking constitutional jurisprudence, when in fact people are dying for peace.
You go to Galle Face Green in the evening, there you see the community living in peace.
They are talking, laughing and enjoying themselves. There is no Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or Burghers over there. Nothing.
The other day I was walking across the Gall Face Green and I was wondering what we are talking about. I was asking a question to myself whether I am out of step on what I saw in the Galle face Green.
You go to any part of the country, there Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims are living quiet well, integrating very well.
Somebody somewhere is talking about divisive, discriminate, and narrow politics, but people wanted to live with peace and harmony. That is the choice. So no wonder we have terrorism, whether it is southern or northern origin, where it comes from, but the fuse blows at some point.
The government is more than ready to reconcile. We know that reconciliation is the only way to a lasting peace for generation to come.
The present TNA and others will be no more due to natural causes. If you are thinking of future and future generation, you have to be a little selfless and rise from narrow nationalism.
- Asian Tribune –