News

Appreciation by University Teachers for HR (Jaffna)

May, 2007


“Many of these questions were dealt with in Arrogance of Power. We summarise the essential points and add a few more. Arrogance of Power could not have been written, but for an exceptionally conducive environment prevailing under the early years of the Chandrika Kurmaratunge’s presidency. There was a war and there were serious ongoing abuses, but for all her shortcomings as a leader, she stated unequivocally that there was an ethnic problem and genuine grievances among the Tamils that needed a federal settlement. She repeatedly spoke of July 1983 as an outrage that needed to be come to terms with. One cannot readily see that her appointment of a ‘Truth’ Commission to go into the events of July 1983 was calculated to derive political mileage. Given the quagmire into which local politics had entered, her position as a leader was a major step for this country, as seen by the ease with which her successor has slipped back into primordial Sinhalese nationalism, leading to much uncertainty.

The atmosphere prevailing in the latter 1990s gave unprecedented access to material and to serving and retired officers in the security services, who believed that the ethnic problem had been badly mishandled and were willing to talk frankly about their experiences. An especially important group of contacts were journalists who have been active during the mid-1980s and had informally hobnobbed with key ministers”

From: Scripting the Welikade Massacre Inquest and the Fate of Two Dissidents (UTHR (J) of 31 May 2007