National Unity

In a welcome development for the Palestinian people and its aspiration for a separate independent State, the two main factions, the “secular-minded” Fatah and the “Islamist” Hamas, on April 27, 2011 have decided to form a government of national unity and hold elections. Analysts believe that this could be a “dramatic game-changer in the long-stalled Middle East peace process”—i.e. if it actually does happen as agreed. There are always inimical forces at work to stall something as important as peace and reconciliation as it goes against the status-quo of the divide and rule policy, which is one of the covert tools of powerful States. Hopefully Palestinian leaders will remain true to their people’s aspiration for peace, progress and the goal of a Palestinian State. Nothing should be allowed to come in the way for this noble vision of a national unity government and one that will be able to represent the Palestinians in a permanent peace deal with Israel. Naga people should also work in like manner by coming together so that in unity, an honourable settlement can be arrived at, one that respects the historical and political rights of the Nagas. For this to happen, the Naga political groups should speak in one voice to the Government of India. In the past, the Joint Working Group (JWG) of the signatories to the Covenant of Reconciliation (COR) has not only expressed reservation over a ‘common Naga platform’ but it has also taken a public stand to reject any kind of ‘package’ being offered by Delhi. These were ground breaking collective decision taken by the NSCN/GPRN, GPRN/NSCN and FGN. But all of us know that nothing positive has come out of the JWG. This is utterly disappointing for the Nagas.
All options must be explored
Time is running out for the Naga political groups. After the initial euphoria and great display of public camaraderie (through the joint statements, Chiangmai peace summits, football matches) people are losing hope once again. There appears to be ‘conflict of interest’ among the signatories over control of territories and resources, which is stalling the forward movement. Further if personal or tribal differences are coming in the way of Naga reconciliation, this is very unfortunate and it should not be allowed to continue. The Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) should tap into whatever options are available so that no stone is left unturned to resolve all outstanding issues including personal or tribal conflict. It also makes sense for the FNR to open a separate window of dialogue involving some of the tribal hohos who can be used to help mediate a difficult situation, which obviously seems to be the case. All options must be explored. Once the outstanding issues are resolved, the next step should be not just one but a series of highest level meeting and later an inclusive national unity government. These are the outcomes which we should expect from the reconciliation process. Many attempts to reconcile the Naga armed groups failed in the past. The process currently piloted by the FNR is a golden opportunity for the Naga political groups to sink their differences and work for the common good. If we fail this time, we will fall collectively as a people. The historical and political rights of the Nagas that we so often proclaim may never be accomplished during this lifetime.