Original Source: The Imphal Free Press
Respected Naga leaders,
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation writes this open letter on behalf of a beleaguered people – many who are too afraid to speak, many who have stopped caring at all; and many who have turned cynical of our realities – but all, who despite their anguish continue their journey of common hope.
Since the onset of Naga reconciliation, the Naga public has decisively spoken. They have time and again adequately expressed their yearning for consummation of reconciliation among the Naga political groups. Although their cries have been heard, yet they remain unanswered. The Naga people in their own ways do not understand why it is so hard for Nagas to reconcile as one; and so they are demanding answers while fully appreciating and acknowledging your difficulties. Nagas have seen brothers kill brothers, dehumanize each other and the public have seen their support for the Naga historical and political rights being torn upside down by the parochialism of “factional” politics. Nagas have experienced the futility of division and have become weary and tired.
Even as the integrity of the Naga Reconciliation process is threatened by the outbreak of “factional” violence in some of the Naga areas, we implore you; this is the time to forgive one another and to initiate new politics. It is time to turn away from a politics of rage, hatred and exclusiveness and to begin a new politics of mutual acceptance, understanding, respect and common belonging. In the face of the Naga people no amount of justification can legitimize the outbreak of “factional” violence. Not only have these acts of violence broken the pledge you made in the Covenant of Reconciliation, but it has also made the Naga people question your earnestness and integrity.
The Forum for Naga Reconciliation is grieved to say that we are converging much on the pitfalls and discomfort with each other, coupled with apprehensiveness of the other, by reading into situations and thus becoming a story of the hour. Do not allow your hearts to be hardened, but allow it to be guided by God’s will for reconciliation among Nagas. It is time for all Nagas to question our own personal commitment to reconciliation. The longer you delay the highest level reconciliation meeting, the greater the chances of the Naga reconciliation process becoming vulnerable to violence by internal and external forces. The time to decide and act is now.
In the last 36 months of “Naga Reconciliation: A Journey of Common Hope” with the Naga people and in the course of the many public gatherings you have had with the people, it is fair to say that the Nagas after many years were beginning to once again experience new hope. And therefore, in light of the resurgence of the “war-of-words” through the media, we implore the signatories of the Covenant of Reconciliation ‘neither to provoke nor be provoked’ into continuing this violence through words. A vicious cycle of accusations and counter accusation will undermine the pledge you have made to address all outstanding issues through respect, love and non-violence. The Nagas will assess your leadership from the way you overcome this crisis.
In times of difficulties such as the present, you may be tempted to take any one of these four approaches in dealing with the situation: (1) Flee it! (2) Fight it! (3) Forget it! (4) Face it! The first three will end in failure—only the fourth option will open the door to strengthen reconciliation. Your problems will not simply vanish unless it is addressed for what it is in the spirit of togetherness. It is by meeting face to face and honestly talking to each other that rumors, assumptions and stereotypes can be ousted; and only then can the real issues be discussed sensibly. We believe such a forward looking approach will lead to realistic and pragmatic steps to the fulfillment of reconciliation.
Respected leaders, the Naga people need you to be courageous. The people are not only behind you but are with you. They want you to show true statesmanship and political astuteness by decisively acting to strengthen Naga reconciliation. This is the most opportune time to break away from the brokenness of a past filled with bitterness and to embrace a future which provides prospects of possibilities and new hope. The Naga public demands that you must meet to understand each other, to decisively bring and end to all internal violence and to explore a new reconciled political relationship so that with one voice the Naga historical and political rights can be achieved.
The Naga reconciliation process is now in your hands. Please decide wisely, keeping in mind the common interest and shared destiny of the Nagas. The decision you make will decide the fate of the reconciliation process and invariably that of the Naga people. For the sake of your children and our children and their children, we hope you will act and stand up for what you have already chosen through the Covenant of Reconciliation. We urge you to be a beacon of light in this journey of common hope so that we may all be empowered to transcend our divisions and jointly chart the course of our shared future.
The Naga people are praying for you to decide!
Forum for Naga Reconciliation
Dimapur, March 18, 2011