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The Presidential election, and the politics of the Tamil-minority

by Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

Prabhakaran is no more. Fonseka, an architect of the fall of the Eelam regime has crossed over to the pro-western, seemingly more minority-sensitive UNP led by Ranil Wickremasinhe. That the UNP is in a cabal with the anti-western, minority-insensitive JVP seems to have become as irrelevant as the JVP itself.

While many Diaspora Tamils welcomed all mishaps to the Rajapaksa regime, they don't seem to know which way to turn. What should the Tamils do ? What should anybody do? I have heard this question being debated by expatriates, be they Tamils or Sinhalese living in Canada.

Expatriate Tamils

Most of the ex-expatriate Tamils have been pro-LTTE or sentimentally close to the Eelamists. Unfortunate personal experiences of humiliation and hurt that occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, has fueled an anger in the hearts of many Tamils. They have worked to discredit and fight the Sri Lankan government. Funds, extorted or willingly given have animated these efforts. Many members of the diaspora have embraced the belief that only partitioning the country on ethnic lines will solve Sri Lanka's problems. This diaspora had no hesitation in endorsing suicide bombers, child soldiers and terror as an answer to the anti-LTTE war seen as nothing but "state violence". It suppressed dissent within itself, mis-informed itself, some of the western media, and its own youth. The youth have been goaded into militant activity in Canada and elsewhere. Violence has been idealized and allowed to permeate the whole expatriate society.

The diaspora has ignored that the government in Colombo had changed hands many-times over, and had in all instances included many distinguished Tamils in its ranks. They were dubbed "traitors" and condemned to the bullet or forced to quit.

But that was essentially the tone set by Prabhakaran.

An election is an opportunity for politically engaged groups to make their case heard in a democratic manner. And yet, the political bankruptcy of the Tamil Diaspora is such that it cannot use its funds, power and influence in a useful way. Its main instrument in Sri Lanka, the Tamil National alliance (TNA) rose into prominence as an LTTE-proxy. The TNA cannot possibly support the UNP-led Fonseka without splitting apart, loosing face and loosing Diaspora support. A part of the TNA may be morally concerned and politically upright. They may have bowed to the LTTE only because of the need to survive. They may now have the courage ("tayiriyam") and fortitude ("ormam") needed to announce a new vision for the Tamils. But they cannot do it with its current vision, and its preesent out-dated political program.

The TNA leaders have already met Mr. Sarath Fonseka, ex-general, on Sunday. Apparently they are consulting with Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa's team as well. The democratically minded members of the TNA have a major task in front of them.

They have to announce a new Vaddukkoddai resolution calling for a Sri Lanka where all individuals have equal rights in every part of the country, irrespective of caste and race labels. The "exclusive Tamil homeland" claim must be explicitly expunged and a multi-ethnic concept must be explicitly stated, correcting errors put in place not just at Vaddukkoddai, but already in the 1949 Maradana resolution of Thamil Arasu Kadchi. This "exclusive Tamil-homeland" doctrine was, and is, nothing but the Tamil version of Apartheid. A new vision must include the fact that the basic bio-chemical. economic and psychological needs of all citizens, be they Sinhala or Tamil, are the same. There is no room for race-based, caste-based, or even class-based politics.

Until this is done, the TNA, and the Diaspora which backs it, will not be able to operate democratically in Sri Lanka. The diaspora, with its money and violent traditions based on hate may attempt to finance new youth terror groups. Such militant policies, entertained by some Diaspora groups confirm the bankruptcy of their politics. New Tamil-militant youth will not be confronting a ceremonial Sri Lankan army of the type that existed in the 1980s. It will be confronting a very different, battle-hardened, well-equipped victorious security force.

I believe that the TNA must suffer a split if it is to survive. Putting up a "Tamil Candidate for Presidency" is to follow the same race-based politics that has failed since it was explicitly announced by G. G. Ponnambalam in 1935 (Hansard, Column 3045, 1935). Ponnambalam declared in the State Council that he is "a proud Dravidian" and that, in effect he does not accept the "Ceylonese" label.. The Maradana resolution of the Thamil Arasu Kadchi and the Vaddukkoddai resolutions of 1976 were just extensions of the "non-Ceylonese" concept and specifying the Dravidian label as "Tamil".

Those TNA members who believe in democracy must come forward and support Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, even if it be for the simple reason that a minority is better-off with the winning party than with the looser. There are many other valid reasons to not to support a politically immature Fonseka who, though a distinguished warrior, has now proven to be as unprincipled as the worst of the pack. Although the Rajapaksa regime has been criticized for its handling of the IDPs, it has actually kept its promise to release the IDPs in about six months.

Minority politicians should learn from the greatest and most successful Tamil leader of the 20th century - Mr. Thondaman senior. Thondaman steered his community to full citizenship, and protected them from the attempts of both the Marxists and Tamil extremists to wanted them to take the path of violence.

Will Mr. Rajapaksa win?

I believe that Mr. Fonseka's arrival into the political arena will in fact have the effect opposite to what political schemers like Mangala Samaraweera have been hoping for. The positioning of Fonseka as the opposition candidate will in the end have a disastrous effect on the UNP organization. Many will now clearly see the bankruptcy of the Ranil-Mangala politics of hatching plots and following a policy based on devious deals, personality politics and sleight of hand.

Many UNP supporters will surely cross over to the Rajapaksa campaign.

The Tamils who supported individuals like Mano Ganesan would see that Ganesan is a totally unprincipled politician who cannot understand the thinking of his own voters. When Ganesan was visiting Canada and Europe, he had no hesitation in participating in meetings where Prabhakaran's picture and the Eelam flag were prominently displayed. Today he is endorsing Fonseka. Some of Ganesan's votors wiil feel that their dignity has been severely offended. Those Tamils who may not have voted for Rajapaksa may now vote for him to spite Mr.Ganesan.

The up-country voters, be they Tamil or Sinhala would have little reason to opt for the UNP-backed Fonseka. With S. B. Dissanayake's cross over, there will be others who will follow the trend.

As the steam gathers, support for Mr. Rajapaksa will gather even more, and a momentum that no one expected will come into being. Mr. Fonseka will have to content mainly with larger and larger doses of stories of corruption to support his claim to the throne. Managala Samaraweera will use his artistic talents and past knowledge in constructing new corruption stories. As the campaign sputters, the JVP will begin to blame Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe for mismanaging it. Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe will blame Mangala Samaraweera or the JVP and plan another brilliant exit plot. He will go on a speaking tour in India and Europe while the presidential electron campaign is roaring away in Sri lanka, and go to Phukut to relax.

The Sinhala nationalist voters (SNV) will not forget that the Mavil Oya (Mavil aru) battle was declared and won when Fonseka was in hospital. The SNV will remember that the East and North were de-merged under Rajapaksa who refused to yield to the UNP and TNA demands for an executive remerger. The SNV will remember that the UNP, Mangala Samaraweers and others opposed the Rajapaksa government's early military tie-up with Karuna. The SNV will note that it was Rajapaksa who crafted a foreign policy which was at once friendly with Pakistan, China and India, and levered these countires to Sri lanka's war effort.

The SNV will note that the Rajapaksa government stood firmly against Columnists who continually hounded the administration demanding to stop the war and declare a political package to appease Prabhakaran. The SNV will remember with satisfaction that the British and French foreign ministers who came with a mandate to free Prabhakaran were rebuffed. The SNV will remember that all this was done by a president who had to buttress a minority government by generously laying out the bacon. Irrespective of one's political beliefs, these reveal the hand of a master political strategist at the helm. Thus the SNV will see that the war against the LTTE was not won just on the battlefield, but that it owes its success to a lot of political positioning and a definite vision on the part of the incumbent president.

Fonseka's foray into politics would be a meaningful step if he stays in politics, comes forward as a member of parliament and run for high office after establishing his credentials as a principled politician, be it in the UNP or elsewhere.

As it is, Fonseka is due for ignominious defeat.

Mr. Rajapaksa will win his second mandate hands down.

The Marxist candidate, Wickramabahu and Sirirtunga cannot even convince themselves to agree with each other. They will lose their deposits.

[The author was a Vice-Chancellor of the Vidyodaya University (now Sri Jayawardenapura University) during the time when Mr. Rajapaksa worked there and S. B. Dissanayake was the student leader. The author is currently affiliated with the National Rsearch Council of Canada and the University of Montreal in Canada].

30 Comments

The writer gives the example of Mr Thondaman as some one who has achieved for his community. Looking at it it objectively, what has he achieved. The estate worker is still at the same level he was 50 years ago. Still in the line rooms with a pittance of an income, living in abject poverty and treated as a second class citizen, their children deprived of a proper education. So its easy for people to sit in Canada and write about politics.

The reality on the ground is that people are fed up with Politics and Politicians and will vote for the person who will bring a change to this Nation. After witnessing the Corruption and Nepotism of the current regime which is still continuing they will vote for the Real Hero not the Cutout Hero put up at state expense.

Posted by: SriLankan | December 9, 2009 07:32 PM

Hello Prof,

"MOST of the ex-expatriate Tamils have been pro LTTE or sentimentally close to the Eelamists".How the hell did you arrive at this conclusion?


cheers,
Siva

Posted by: Siva | December 9, 2009 10:12 PM

It is good that a "Sinhalese" academic has taken the trouble to think about the Tamil minority. We should extend this argument and say that the TNA politicians should go and hold meetings in the south, explaining their political position and their political fears to the Sinhalese voter who has NOT really heard what the Tamils have to say. People like S. J. V. Chelvanayagam never campaigned in the south, never explained Federalism to the Sinhalese. Instead, the Ilankai Tamil Arasu kadchi replaced dialog with confrontation, albeit sathyagraha type confrontation. That finally escalated into violence. may be, as Prof. Dharmawardana has pointed out, the Tamils must take their case to the Sinhala voter as well. In fact, today there are many Tamils living in places like Galle.

Posted by: nadesan | December 9, 2009 10:58 PM

He talks of the "Ranil-Mangala politics of hatching plots and following a policy based on devious deals, personality politics and sleight of hand". I wonder what he thought of the Mangala/Mahinda JVP combine that won Mahinda the last Presidential election? Was the sleight of hand good then?

all these theorists who conveniently cook up their own garbage to satisfy their own egos.

Posted by: Jo six pack | December 9, 2009 11:07 PM

There were handful of good performers in CBK's cabinet including GL Peiris/Kardiragarmar/ Fawsie/Amunugama but as far as I can remember MR or SB did not perform well. SB was hopeless in his character and corruption scandals.
Mangala,even though not popular, performed well in Telecommunication and postal areas.
Ranil did a remarkable job in his two years with a record performance bring country's annual growth rate to almost double figures,starting from a negative rate in 2001.
Since then we maintain an average 6% year,despite record inflation during the dense war time.
How do you think a poor economic performer like MR can achieve economic goals with the record level of corruption ?

Posted by: Dananjaya Bandara Dissanayake | December 10, 2009 01:04 AM

The author is currently affiliated with the National Rsearch Council of Canada and the University of Montreal in Canada.
Shame for this institution.
This artcle is good enough to prove that this auther is capable of producing subastandered and biased publications.

Posted by: Dr C Neethirajan | December 10, 2009 03:22 AM

This Prof is the Exact mind set of the mahvamsa sinhala chuvinistic supremacist had been parading the Srilanka and distroying it for decades.claerly articulated by SWRD in 1955, and now confirmed by Mahinda in July 2009

1.In a speech by S W R D Bandaranaike self-rule. According to the Daily News of 8, N, the founder of the Sinhala Maha Saba and the architect of the Sinhala Only policy of 1956 which marked the beginning of the Tamil struggle for ovember 1955, Bandaranaike made the case for the Sinhala Only bill by arguing that " characteristic of their race, the Tamils (if parity were granted) would soon rise to exert their dominant power over us” It was not just With their books and culture and the will and strengththe Mahavamsa inspired notions of 'primacy' that have been the impetus, but also something else-the fear of domination...A political solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka requires re examination of previously held views so that all parties involved in this conflict can realise their goals by agreeing on political structures to enable the two nations in the Island of Sri Lanka coexist as equals and free of the fear of domination of one by the other. "
2.Articulated with clarity in July 2009 by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksha
Now, my theory is: there are no minorities in Sri Lanka, there are only those who love the country and those who don’t... For reconciliation to happen, there must be a mix [of ethnicities]. Here the Sinhalese, the Tamils, and Muslims inter-marry. In my own family, there have been mixed marriages: Sinhalese with Tamils, Sinhalese with Muslims. This is Sri Lankan society. meaning that his theory of reconciliation may be simply stated: kill off as many Tamils as you can and then marry those that you have failed to kill. It is this Sinhala society which President Rajapaksa seeks to pass off as a Sri Lankan society - albeit with a Sinhala Lion flag , with an unrepealed Sinhala Only Act, with Buddhism as the state religion, and with the Sinhala name 'Sri Lanka' which the Sinhala majority gave the island unilaterally in 1972. And This Supposedly learned profesor is telling to the Tamil nation as if he is telling to his Servant or Slave to Submit to his mind set.

Posted by: SJVGGPINGRAVE | December 10, 2009 05:23 AM


Just wonder why Prof created the acronym SNV.

Does that say anything about his own political stand???

Posted by: selvan | December 10, 2009 06:56 AM

Mr. Professor Chandre Dharmawardana,

First of all, we, Tamils, are deeply thankful to you for your time and effort that you have spent here in order to explain to us about our situation in the Post-LTTE era and also for telling us what we have to do in the forthcoming election. We are thankful to you because of your sincere concern for the Tamils.

Any one, who reads your article, could easily see your article as one, which is a pure political propaganda in favour of Rajapakse regime. In your article you are only trying to explain, why we, Tamils as well as Singhalese should vote for the Rajapakse regime and, why we all should NOT give our votes to Fonseka, without whom the corrupted Rajapakse Family Dynasty could not have won their war against the LTTE.

I would suggest that rather than telling us, what we should do, you should use your intellectual capability to teach the majority of the Singhalese that the Sri Lanka does NOT belong to the Singhalese ONLY and the country also belong to it's minorities as well, including the Tamils. You must also enlighten your people by telling them the only TRUTH that they must NOT blindly rely on the mythology of Mahavamsa as a true political history of Sri Lanka and that the North and the East of Sri Lanka has long belonged to the Tamil community.

Please remind them also that the Tamils did not ask you for a Eelam when the British left the country. The Tamils had trusted and treated the Singhalese as brothers and sisters and we had even sincerely given our full effort to live in peace and harmony with the Singhalese people in Sri Lanka within one country and one people concept.

It's your leaders and the majority of your people, who have, because of their narrowed minded chauvinistic views, brought all these miseries and troubles to the country. The Tamils had only asked you for equality and they had even asked it in very peaceful ways in more than 30 years before they had, unfortunately, been forced to take up the arms for their survival as a nation.

You, Sir, are talking about Mr. Thondaman. We have not forgotten that you have kicked the majority of the up-country Tamils out of Sri Lanka through the Nehru-Kotelawala Pact. And the World knows, under what circumstances these people are still living.


The Rajapakse regime had in wartime promised to both the Tamils and the International Society that it was ready to go beyond the 13th Amendment in order to solve the country's longstanding ethnic conflict. But, what has happened since? We all know that the Rajapakse regime has since chosen the wrong way. It has ever since taken every effort towards only one goal, which is to erase the Tamils identity as a Nation.

Even now, the TNA is not talking about separatism. But they are only asking you to accept and respect the Tamils as a Nation and it's right to self-determination. In order to achieve this, the TNA is only asking you a regional autonomy - a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka. Even now, after 30 years of the bloody war and it's followed crises and miseries, you, the majority of your people and your Rajapakse regime are yet NOT ready to give the Tamils, their lost respect and dignity back.

I, as a Tamil, am asking my people NOT to take any steps forward that will keep the Rajapakse regime in power for generations to come. This regime's only goal is to erase the Tamils identity as a nation by integrating the Tamils into the Singhalese community and to build up a Singhalese nation-state with Buddhism, as it's only state-religion.

Posted by: J.Shanker M. | December 10, 2009 08:07 AM

Dear Prof Do you Remember what happened to RaviRaj the Tamil MP who took the message in Sinhala to the people of the south.
"...In the Sinhala language, the words for nation, race and people are practically synonymous, and a multiethnic or multicommunal nation or state is incomprehensible to the popular mind. The emphasis on Sri Lanka as the land of the Sinhala Buddhists carried an emotional popular appeal, compared with which the concept of a multiethnic polity was a meaningless abstraction..." [Sinhala Historian K. M. de Silva in Religion, Nationalism and the State, USF Monographs in Religion and Public Policy, No.1 (Tampa, FLA: University of South Florida 1986) at p31 quoted by David Little in Religion and Self Determination in Self Determination - International Perspectives, MacMillan Press, 1996]
It was the first priminister of Independent Ceylon Don.Senanayake was the begetter of Ceylon Tamil nationalism, the argument that fear of India compelled the Sinhalese to refuse to accommodate Tamil claims was put forward . Of the factors which drive this (Sinhala) intransigence. A clue to this is to be found in a speech by S W R D Bandaranaike, the founder of the Sinhala Maha Saba and the architect of the Sinhala Only policy of 1956 which marked the beginning of the Tamil struggle for self-rule. According to the Daily News of 8, November 1955, Bandaranaike made the case for the Sinhala Only bill by arguing that "With their books and culture and the will and strength characteristic of their race, the Tamils (if parity were granted) would soon rise to exert their dominant power over us” It was not just the Mahavamsa inspired notions of 'primacy' that have been the impetus, but also something else-the fear of domination. Sri Lankan society - albeit with a Sinhala Lion flag , with an unrepealed Sinhala Only Act, with Buddhism as the state religion, and with the Sinhala name 'Sri Lanka' which the Sinhala majority gave the island unilaterally in 1972. Sri Lanka was unilaterally introduced into the vocabulary of international usage in 1972; this was done without the consent of the principal minority, the Tamils, the community to which I belong. The abandonment of constitutional designs to end a soluble internal civil conflict has resulted in cruelties perpetrated by the state on Tamil Nation. The fact of the matter is that under various guises the Sinhalese elites have refused to share power with the principal ethnic minority, the Tamils. The transfer of power by Britain to the Sinhalese ethnic majority in 1948 brought in its wake an unfortunate train of events which can best be described as a loss of perspective on the part of the Sinhalese political elites. Their anxiety for power led to the abandonment of principle. The search for a political solution to over 60 years of conflict has repeatedly foundered as a result of competition between mostly Sinhala parties in the south as well as Tamil demands. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) have never been able to agree on a proposal for power sharing with the Tamil community. Instead, they have engaged in recurring bouts of ethnic outbidding, with each undermining the other’s devolution policies. Opposition from more overtly nationalist parties, notably the left-wing People’s Liberation Front (JVP) and more recently the extreme Buddhist National Sinhala Heritage Party (JHU), has helped sustain this pattern. As the ethnic conflict grew more violent, the UNP and SLFP came to accept the existence of legitimate Tamil grievances and the need for devolution and other constitutional reforms, but LTTE dominance and strength have kept strong currents of Sinhala nationalism alive. But now The LTTE has been defeated militarily and out of the equation, What is there preventing in granting the Tamils the much desired devolution? The professor is trying to invent another excuse to deny or trying to blame it on Tamil polity.

Posted by: pandaravanian | December 10, 2009 08:37 AM

Dear Prof
"The diaspora has ignored that the government in Colombo had changed hands many-times over, and had in all instances included many distinguished Tamils in its ranks. They were dubbed "traitors" and condemned to the bullet or forced to quit" But the diaspora did not ignor the Sinhala buddhist supremacist chinthanya which was constant since
1,Anagarika Dharmapala was born as David Hewavitarana in 1864, and received his early education at Christian schools (not unlike Arumuga Navalar). In 1891 he founded the Maha Bodhi Society to spread Buddhism throughout the world. Dharmapala published the Mahabodhi Journal and the Sinhala Bauddhaya in the 1910s and his virulent attacks on the Moors and Tamils led to his internment in Calcutta by the British in 1915. He died in December 1933 aged 69
2. D.S. Senanayake, Sinhala Leader of the Ceylon State Council (and later the island's first Prime Minister in 1948) on 31 July 1937:
"We must realise that the Sinhalese are the rightful sons of this fair country, and that we must organise ourselves into a determined body and even risk our lives in doing it service. The minorities choose to believe that we are not trustworthy. That is because we, Sinhalese, have been so tolerant and so just. We, Sinhalese, must become conscious of our birthright."
3.Bandaranaike made the case for the Sinhala Only bill by arguing that " characteristic of their race, the Tamils (if parity were granted) would soon rise to exert their dominant power over us” It was not just With their books and culture and the will and strengththe Mahavamsa inspired notions of 'primacy' that have been the impetus, but also something else-the fear of domination.
4. Ven. Walpola Rahula Thero, later Vice Chancellor of the Sri Lanka Vidyalankara University (Monks and Politics -1946):
We believe that politics today embraces all fields of human activity directed towards the public weal. No one will dispute that the work for the promotion of the religion is the duty of the bhikkhu. It is clear that the welfare of the religion depends on the welfare of the people who profess that religion.
4. Cyril Mathew, a Senior Sinhala Buddhist Minister in President J.R.Jayawardene's Cabinet, who was also present in Jaffna on the day that the Jaffna Public Library was burnt - in a leaflet published in 1982, an year before Genocide'83
5.J.R.Jayawardene, Sinhala Buddhist President of Sri Lanka - Daily Telegraph, 11th July 1983
"I am not worried about the opinion of the Tamil people... now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion... the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here... Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy."

6.Gamini Dissanayake, Senior Sinhala Buddhist Minister in President J.R.Jayawardene's Cabinet (later Presidential Candidate in 1995), addressing members of a Tamil Estate Workers Trade Union in the aftermath of Genocide'83 - October 1983

"Who attacked you? Sinhalese. Who protected you? Sinhalese. It is we who can attack and protect you. They are bringing an army from India. It will take fourteen hours to come from India. In fourteen minutes the blood of every Tamil in the country can be sacrificed to the land, by us. It is not written on anyone's forehead that he is an Indian Tamil or a Jaffna Tamil, a Batticaloa Tamil or up country Tamil' Hindu Tamil or Christian Tamil. All are Tamils. We have decided to colonise four districts including Mannar with Sinhalese people by destroying forests. A majority of Sinhalese will be settled there. If you like you also

7.Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka President D.B.Wijetunga (in Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Island, 3 February 1994)
"Our children should be able to claim that this country is the Sinhalese land (Sinhala Deshaya). There are no races according to Buddhism, but every country has a majority race. However much I try I can't become the Prime Minister of England. Neither can I be the leader of Japan, India or even Tamil Nadu. They have their majority races. In our country the majority (Sinhala) race is divided because of elections. The major (Sinhala) political parties trust minority races and pledge to offer them everything, whether it is good or bad.

8.Ven. Walpola Rahula Thero Vice Chancellor, Sri Lanka Vidyalankara University - Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times , 5 May 1996
"Get this straight and quote me. Sri Lanka is a Buddhist Sinhala country. Let no one make a mistake. Seventy percent of the country consists of Buddhists and Sinhala people. Also make this clear that Sri Lanka is the only Buddhist Sinhala country in the world.I got angry with Mr. Premadasa because he chose to call Sri Lanka a multi-national and multi-religious state.
9.Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga - television interview in South Africa, September 1998.They [Tamils] are wanting a separate state – a minority community which is not the original people of the country."
10. Articulated with clarity in July 2009 by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksha
Now, my theory is: there are no minorities in Sri Lanka, there are only those who love the country and those who don’t... For reconciliation to happen, there must be a mix [of ethnicities]. Here the Sinhalese, the Tamils, and Muslims inter-marry. In my own family, there have been mixed marriages: Sinhalese with Tamils, Sinhalese with Muslims. This is Sri Lankan society.MEANING kill off as many Tamils as you can and then marry those that you have failed to kill. It is this Sinhala society which President Rajapaksa seeks to pass off as a Sri Lankan society - albeit with a Sinhala Lion flag , with an unrepealed Sinhala Only Act, with Buddhism as the state religion, and with the Sinhala name 'Sri Lanka' which the Sinhala majority gave the island unilaterally in 1972.



Posted by: sjvggpingrave | December 10, 2009 09:14 AM

Does not the minus points of MR-Rule over-weigh his
plus point when considering one for a Vote?

MR came into existence solely on the 2nd mistake of
VP (the 1st being Rajiv G assasination) and this
chance-win does not augur well for a 2nd time-vote on
the present track-record? The Sinhala Voters deserve
a Lion - this time a different 50-50, with a Blessing
in disguise to the Tamils?

Posted by: ardneham | December 10, 2009 09:27 AM

Dear Sinhala prof,I understand that you are upset by us. Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry.
Today it it is the Tamil diaspora and the Tamil Moderate polity unable to freely do democratic politics in Srilanka.
Yesterday, it wass the "barbarism of LTTE terrorism", before that it was the Federal party, before that it was the "favouritism of the British". It appears that Tamils, who could achieve equality and who, therefore, could live, upset you.

Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset by us. You were upset in 1956, in 1958, in 1961 and in 1977 and went on acts of arson, rape, pillage, murder and plain barbarity and we were scornfully asked to go to the Federal party for help.

Of course, dear Sinhalese prof, long before there was a Tamil tiger, we the Tamil people - upset you. And we go back a long way in the history of Sinhala upset. We upset the "Great" Sinhala King Dutugemunu and you still use his "history" to teach your young ones to be more upset by us.

Reds are upset and monks are upset. The radical Sinhalese are upset and the gentle "Sinhalese moderates" are upset. We upset the Sinhala Hamudawa who massacred tens of thousands of us; we upset the Sinhala police who, collaborated with rioters and killed, burnt and slaughtered untold numbers of us.

And it is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear Sinhalese, that we decided to leave you - in a manner of speaking - and establish a Tamil state. The reasoning was that living in close contact with you, as resident-strangers, we upset you, irritate you and disturb you. What better notion, then, than to leave you (and thus love you) - and have you love us and so, we decided to come home - home to the same land we were driven to in 1983.


Having left you and your pogroms and riots, having taken our leave from you to live alone in our own little state of Tamil Eelam, we continue to upset you.

Well, dear Sinhalese, consider the reaction of a normal Tamil from Tamil Eelam:

In 1956 and 1958 and 1961 and 1977, there was no "Tamil terrorism" to impede peace between Tamils and Sinhalese. Indeed, there was no Kotias (Tigers) to upset anybody. Nevertheless, the same Sinhalese slaughtered thousands of Tamils in Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa, Minneriya and Colombo. Indeed, in 1958 so many Tamil men, women and children were mercilessly hunted down in Polonaruwa Sugar plantation.

Dear Sinhalese, why did you massacre hundreds of Tamils in one day in 1958? Why did you carry out the1977 pogrom and made 75,000 refugees. Could it have been your anger over Tiger terrorism in 2007? And why were thousands of Tamil men, women and children slaughtered in pogroms between 1956-83? Was it because Sinhalese were upset over Tiger terrorism in 1996?

The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of "para demala" (foreign Tamils!) that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream - Sinhala Buddhism only. What you failed to do yesterday, you dream of today.

Dear Sinhalese, you stood by and cheered on when the Sinhala police burnt down our beloved Jaffna library.


You stood by when Sinhala police massacred attendees at an International Tamil Cultural event in Jaffna.

You contributed and stood by in 1983 genocide, wildly cheered by wild mobs in every Sinhala town and city in your land.


You drove millions of Tamils to the North-East, thus suggesting Tamil Eelam is our only Homeland. When we come here to establish Tamil Eelam, alas that upsets you again. It appears that you are hard to please.

And since we know that the Sinhalese dream daily of our extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own homeland. If that bothers you, dear Sinhalese, well ? - think of how many times in the past you bothered us.

In any event, dear Sinhalese, if you are bothered by us, who could not care less and, frankly doesn't give a damn !
coutsey: Tamil nation

Posted by: Dr.s.r.ratnam DIASPORA | December 10, 2009 09:55 AM

Thank you for your many comments. let me reply a few of them. I do not subscribe to the "mahavamsa mindset" or any of the labels that have been put up or attached here to what I wrote. It was G.G. Ponnambalam who brought the attack on the "Mahavamsa mindset" into the political arena, in the 1930s. This has been documented by Prof. K. M. de Silva and Dr. Jane Russell in their publications. Different people mean different things by the term mahavamsa mindset. Most commonly, it is associated with the Dutugamunu-Elara epic and the concept of a unified Sri Lanka, where as under Elara the region north of the Mahaweli, and North of the Kala Oya (Pihiti-rata) was ruled by Elara. Such battles happened, not only between the Sinhalese rulers and Tamil rulers, but also among nominally sinhalese rulers. Ethnicity was not a strong factors those days. However, religion and caste were very important. Thus the kings always married other Kshatryia, even if they were of a different ethnicity. Hence when people talk of the "mahavamsa mindset", they are being very simplistic. Thus the Mahavamsa (part II or chulavamsa) depicts the horrific battles between Parakramabahu and the Ruhuna rulers who were his relatives. The religion of the Sinhalese kings has been some "ecumenical" form involving Buddhism and Hinduism, with Buddhism taking a dominant place. Even today Buddhist temples have Hindu gods. The language of administration of the Sinhala kings has been Sinhala, although several kings issued edicts (e.g., stone inscriptions) in Tamil as well. So the ancient people created a common modus vivendi, and I do not see why the moderns cannot do the same, if there is enough communication between the politicians representing the majority, and the power brokers of the minority.

The objective of the article was to note the difficult situation faced by most voters (Tamil or Sinhalese) looking for change, now that the war is over, and because both candidates are, in effect, very similar in their basic attitudes which satisfy the SNV group. They are also likely to be similar in terms of corruption and nepotism. However, of the two candidates, Fonseka is likely to be more rigid and Rajapaksa is likely to be more open to change. The Tamil-nationalist voters (TNV) have split into various sectors, and one of the question posed here is what they should do, as seen by some one who is not an insider to the Tamil community. .

Siva asks: MOST of the ex-expatriate Tamils have been pro LTTE or sentimentally close to the Eelamists".How the hell did you arrive at this conclusion? It is only a subjective assessment based on the large numbers that took part in demonstrations that took place in Toronto and other cities all over the world, in May 2009. Statistically, each demonstrator may correspond to 5 or 6 non-demonstrating silent supporters. It would be interesting to know what percentage would be set by Siva.

The point about the Estate workers that was uppermost in my mind was that they did not find their children converted to cannon fodder as happened with the Sinhalese children (JVP uprising) or mostly the Tamil children (LTTE wars). Actually, the living conditions in the estate lines are no worse than those of rural people who were pushed out of the hills and now living in Uva-Welllassa, Dumbara, or the slum dwellers in urban suburbs, or workers in some sectors of the garment industry. The quality-of-life index that can be used here includes a weighted average over many variables (housing, health, education of children, job security, capacity to save, demographic growth etc). This index has improved during the last thirty years, while life in the North and the East degraded and became horrific due to the armed conflict.

There is no doubt that Mangala Samaraweera is one of the most competent people behind Sarath Fonseka. His organizational abilities helped Rajapaksa in the 2005 election. However, his political program is based on cabal-strategy rather than any principled stand, as far as I can understand it. GLPeiris and many others have been lured into the Rajapaksa program. The Rajapaksa program is, as I stated, based on the SNV support. But it is a loose congolmerate where many points of view are accomodated. That is, we have individuals like G. L. Peiris and Tissa Vitharana who favoured various federalist solutions, and others who are strongly opposed to such constitutional packages.

S. B. Dissanayaka was the student leader when I was in charge of the Vidyodya University in the mid 1970s as a relatively young vice-chancellor. Indeed, he was a very difficult person to deal with, and I had to do several battles with him as student politics was based on the use of brute force. At that time he was the leader of the communist group of students, and even demanded the teaching of Russian instead of English!!!. He was a very effective and clever organizer and successfully took control of all the student unions of all the universities in the country.

Given current demographic ethnic percentages (e.g., see the CIA fact sheet which is one extreme) where the number of Tamil voters has actually decreased substantially, the Tamil-Nationalist-Voters (TNV) have to craft a strategy that should help re-create peace and prosperity in the North and East where substantial numbers of TNV reside. Also, the TNV have now displaced significantly to Colombo and other southern cities. Think of the USA, where California, southern Arizona and Texas have always been "Hispanic Homelands", with the Spanish as the first settlers. Yet the leaders of the Hispanic community (which includes several governors) have refrained from mounting a divisive campaign although Spanish is highly discriminated and suppressed in the US system. This is of course not good. But the Spanish legislators know that the backlash is not worth it and they will loose much. Thus they are crafting a more subtle form of minority politics, based on the economic strengths of the minorities. Perhaps in Sri Lanka too, minorities need to learn from the strategies of the Hispanic and Jewish minority communities in USA. These groups have acquired a lot of political power without it being visible.
The majority also has to learn that unless it can live peacefully with the minority, economic growth and the arrival of real peace would be retarded.
Chandre Dharmawardana

Posted by: chandre DW | December 10, 2009 11:05 AM

DEAR PROF, MOST OF THE EXPATRIATE DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE EXPARTIATES UNLIKE YOU, WE WERE AT THE RECEIVING END OF THE YOUR SO CALLED SNV MEANING SINHALA CHUVINISTIC THUGS WHO HAVE LOOTED, STOLEN,AND BURNED OUR PROPETIES,RAPED AND KILLED OUR KITH AND KIN IN BROAD DAY LIGHT WHEN YOUR SECURIETY FORCES AND BUDDHIST MONKS WERE CHEERING,PREVENTED OUR EDUCATION, LIVELY HOOD. "Unfortunate personal experiences of humiliation and hurt that occurred during the 1970s and 1980s, has fueled an anger in the hearts of many Tamils" NOT ONLY IN 70s AND 80s WHAT AVOUT BEFORE THAT? WHAT ELS ARE WE SUPPOSED TO FEEL? FEEL HAPPY! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE ABOUT IT BEFORE THE DEVELOPEMENT OF LTTE? RATHER THAN SAYING IT IS UNFORTUNATE. DO YOU NEED OUR PERMISION TO DEVOLVE POWER AND MAKE US FEEL EQUAL AND WANTED? AFTER ALL YOU HAVE CHANGED THE CONSTITUTION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE WITHOUT OUR CONSENT.NOW WHY DO YOU WANT US TO GO AND EDUCATE THE SNV. DON'T YOU SEE THAT WE CAN SEETHROW YOU? DON'T CALL YOUR SELF AS PROF affiliated with the National Rsearch Council of Canada and the University of Montreal in Canada].IT IS A SHAME TO THE UNI. BY THE WAY WHY YOU CALL US AS ex-expatriate Tamils. AND ARE YOU THREATENING THE TNA AND SAYING THEY CAN'T DO DEMOCRATIC PLOITICS IN SRILANKA IN THE FUTURE. AS IF TAMIL POLITY WERE ALLOWED IN THE PAST.

Posted by: TAMIL DIASPORA | December 10, 2009 11:06 AM

The Professor hardly makes any effort to hide he is nothing less than an ardent Rajapakse supporter. Why not? We still live in a form of democracy – though very weak, battered and utterly favouring one family. He has a right to campaign for whomever he feels should get the job. But in the process he leaves room for much debate and contradiction.

To start with Tamils certainly know which way to turn – something that they have for decades. As to the choice before them presently – it is no more than asked to chose between two established evils. A difficult task – but they will sail through. The Prof should learn this new Sinhala obsession of “the diaspora” does not have a single or central leadership although the LTTE did not disappoint in attempting to hoist themselves in front through their usual tactics of arms, intimidation and coercion.

And so his “violent tradition of the diaspora” becomes a non-starter. It might be necessary soon – in view of the growing significance of the Tamil diaspora and its influence in Lankan politics – to hold a credible poll as to what they want, leadership and so on. The Professor suggests Tamils should support MR for their own good future.

Surely, MR had enough time in the saddle – as PM and then as President - to provide his credentials. He did not – or he did not want to do it. Both certainly makes no darling of him in the Tamil perspective. All he did was to subject them to trouble and fear in the North, East and the rest of the country – bombing from the land, air and sea; throwing a third of a million behind razor-sharp wire to be on display animal-like.

A prejudiced majority electorate merely voted for him in the UVA and SPC Elections because they liked what he showed them. The minorities will not share the writer’s projecting the General as a “great warrior” He simply was not. He won because he used grossly excessive uniformed men and fire-power caring too hoots for human lives, HR or laid down norms of modern warfare.

As to the Professor’s new acronym SNV (Sinhala Nationlist Voter) one might ask where does the 3 million plus Sinhala UNP voter (or abt 35% of the average national Sinhala votes so far) stand in his thinking? To him are allese “anti-Sinhala nationalists”??? A blogger has has challenged the writer’s description of the late Minister Thondaman as “the greatest and most successful Tamil leader of the 20th century” and charges the lot of the Estate worker remains the same from the time he came here a century ago.

Here I must stand with the writer. While it is true a fair portion of the workers are in virtual chains still, it is equally true the reins of leadership has now widened amongst them, the community has produced a large number of educated professionals, legislators, wealthy businessmen, industrialists, land-owners in a community that was characterized merely as coolies until the 1970s.

I am sure many readers will disagree with the writer “hatching plots is exclusively a Ranil-Mangala” feature. Without the fear of contradiction, one might say this talent is one that has not escaped any political leader or grouping in this country – or for that matter any other. Intrigue and Conspiracy run in the arteries and veins of politicians all over. In Sri Lanka now one might even add Priests in this business of dirty politics.

As to the Professor’s prediction “many UNPers will cross over to Govt ranks” one has to wait and see. The redoubtable General has done it. And former Minsiter and successful lawyer and former Minister Wijedasa Rajapake (“the good Rajapakses are now coming to us” said Ranil as he accepted him to his fold) As to attacking Mano Ganesan as “totally unprincipled” for being seen around LTTE-related circles the writer may include the late Vijay K, CBK, the late Anura B and many in the frontline of the Sinhala political leadership (where Mahinda R was considered in the 2nd line) They all tried to identity themselves when VP was alive and more than kicking.

It is not only the MR regime but CBK’s Ranils and everyone elses that maintained a balance of friendship with India, Pakistan and China.The difference was the country did not make enemies in the world stage as we hae now done after the Chintanaya came into the scene. Britain and France did not send their ministers here to save Prabakaran – as they already banned the LTTE in their countries signaling to the world where they stood re. the LTTE.

They came here to caution MR’s regime to be mindful of civilian deaths, collateral damage to their homes, schools, places of worship etc., A Govt under the influence of a stubborn, super-egoistic SF foolishly treated them undiplomatically with this "rebuff" The refusal of Canada, Australia and Britain in Barbados recently to stage CHOGM here in 2011 – due to us as routine – is an indication of things to come – as some suggest. US Congress hearings and similar others in the Hague and elsewhere may follow. They will very likely will be no respecter of persons.

It is nice to note the Professor making efforts to learn Tamil. Certainly much better Tamil than that which MR unsuccessfully tried to fool the Lankan Tamils with. I wonder what he meant with the word “ormam” and in the meantime, with all this devious devilry taking place to get their votes the balance Tamil voter will be in a state of “marmam” (suspense-the unknown) until he/she goes to the polls. The result will be “makiltchi” (joy) for one and “thukkam” (sorrow) for the others.

ISS

Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | December 10, 2009 01:16 PM

I don't have substantial disagreements with what Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan has written. What we write often depends on whose questions we confront. Under some circumstances I might write just as he has done. As for the word
"ormam", I should have type something like ormai ஓர்மை and I was looking for a word which might mean something like "fortitude" as "thyirium" is not enough. It seems to me that when these are expressed in local languages, they mean something more because Sinhala and Tamil words converge via their Sanskrit or Pali cognates.!

The claim "In the Sinhala language, the words for nation, race and people are practically synonymous", attributed to K. M. de Silva by Pandaravanian is actually true for most Indic languages to the same extent that it is true for Sinhala or Tamil. So this is not a remark which has any anthropological weight.

The objective of my essay was not because I am upset with anybody, but because I am hopeful that the TNA might metamorphosize and
promote a good dialog with the government. And that would be very good for every body.

I have not commented on the posts by sjvggpingrave, Dr.s.r.ratnam and similar ones because they don't help us to choose between Rajapaksa and Fonseka. They are pessimistic re-iterations of old anguish and do not take account of the new situation in Sri Lanka.
Thanks
Chandre Dharmawardana

Posted by: chandre DW | December 10, 2009 02:59 PM

Both Fonseka and Rajapaksa are wedded to the strongly capitalistic politics, with Rajapaksa trying to move Sri Lanka in the direction of the Chinese orbit of Trade. I think if Fonseka (and Ranil) were to succeed, they will try to move Sri Lanka back to the US-UK-Europe sphere of influence. That might be better for the minorities as they can influence the US and its allies more easily. However, US will NOT do much as long as INDIA is in the lap of Rajapaksa. So, if it is strongly likely that Rajapaksa would win, the best course of action for Tamils is to work through INDIA. This was not easy as long as Prabhakaran was alive because of the Rajive Gandhi issue. So the Prof's thesis that at least a part of the TNA should develop a working relationship with the Rajapaksa administration is good tactical politics.

Posted by: DavidC | December 10, 2009 03:21 PM

ISS has started his mocking&ridiculing here also

Why are you always ranting&raving against well-meaning educated Sinhalese like the professor who is only trying to put forward suggestions broadly sympathetic to the Tamil people?

Why are you mocking his attempts to learn Tamil?

Why are you ridiculing Mahindas attempt to speak Tamil even at prestigious interbational fora?

Has any Lankan Sinhala ruler even tried to speak one word of Tamil at official functions?

Has any Tamil leader from India, Singapore,Malaysia etc ever sopken in Tamil at UN?

Has any Indian leader spoken in Tamil at UN?

Posted by: Gloria Abraham | December 10, 2009 04:47 PM

"Minority politicians should learn from the greatest and most successful Tamil leader of the 20th century - Mr. Thondaman senior"

Despite constantly aligning itself to the government of the day, what has the CWC achieved for its people in 60 years? All the CWC has done for its people is to keep them in a permanent state of poverty and dependency, begging the government of the day for small pay increases. If this is success I hate to find what the Prof considers as failure.

The CWC is proof that Tamils will never progress as long as their lives depend on the goodwill of the government of the day. Yes, the many Tamil leaders have failed their people and good Tamil leaders have been either murdered by the LTTE or the Rajapaksa regime. Yet, self-determination is the only answer for Tamils.

Posted by: Kaz | December 10, 2009 05:46 PM

I guess what you have in Sri Lanka is DEMOCRACY in action.

You have a party in control and power.
Another group opposes that power.

This is excellent. This show that the majority of people in Sri Lanka and majority of Sinhalese are Democratically minded....

We would like to see the vision of ALL candidates on HOW Sri Lanka SHOULD BE managed , their policies...

If they are good we should vote for them trusting that they do the right thing.....

ELSE vote them out at the next election......

Posted by: Sinhala_Voice | December 10, 2009 06:40 PM

Professor,

Does your professed concern for the Tamil people extend to the innocents murdered: those made blind and deaf; those crippled and suffering for life in other ways? To the victims, the Rajapaksa brothers as well as Fonseka are all devils who brought this upon them; no matter how intransigent and brutal the LTTE was, there was absolutely no justification for adopting a deliberate policy of disregarding lives of thousands of innocent Tamil citizens. You want Tamils to think of themselves as 'citizens' of Sri Lanka without supporting 'ethnic' Tamil parties, while at the same time you do everything possible to make Tamils feel they are not citizens with rights at all.

And what kind of people would ignore all that suffering inflicted on innocent civilians to promote war criminals as president? Morally, Tamils really have no choice but to abstain from voting; however, many may wait to decide till the last moment and vote strategically based on how things evolve in the few weeks before the election. A lot of game-changing events can happen before then. And in my view, there should be such strategic voting. But make no mistake, regardless of which war criminal is elected, justice will catch up with them sooner or later. Remember Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic and Augusto Pinochet?

Posted by: Expatriate | December 10, 2009 07:49 PM

"It might be necessary to hold a poll among the diaspora to influence the political directions in Srilanka",according to ISS.

ISS and his diaspora left their brethren in the care of VP and decided to live in luxury among their Western buddies.The Tamil people who suffered in the North are the poor cousins who did not have the money or the influence to grab these Visas Canada,Europe and Australia readily granted thanks to Prabakaran.

Now these long suffering people have a chance to decide their destiny which was denied to them for thiry five years.Diaspora has no moral right to tell them what they should do.

As the writer pointed out geo poltical landscape and the dynamics have totally changed.Srilanka needs a new biggining as far as the minorities are concerned. It should formulate a new system that takes into account needs and aspirations of the population moving foraward in the 21 Century.Old treaties and agreements such as VR, Rajiv pact,PTOMS.ISGA are all history.

Srilanka is too small to have separate.enclaves for different ethnic groups. TNA leader is still talking about separate homelands. There should be only one home land and that is Srilankan homeland,not Sinhala,not Tamil or any other.All should be Srilankans. The diaspora in Canada don not call them Tamils when they apply for jobs or passports.

If the diaspora really cares about the future of the Tamils in Srilanka,they should back leaders like Karuna who is genuinely trying to bring his people to the mainstream.

Posted by: Kalu Albert | December 10, 2009 09:28 PM

Professor,

Your intervention offers much evidence of your scholarly outlook and an accommodating spirit. We respect you for that and believe you have much to offer in our search for peace and unity…...KM de Silva – like Michael Roberts, Nalin de Silva et al – are not the best neutral sources to rely on to settle disputed history.....…If edicts are issued during the A’pura and Polonnaruwa periods by the Kings there in Tamil, it follows Tamil was the predominant language there.

No king is going to issue directives to his people in a language used elsewhere… Tamils who took to the streets in Toronto, London, Sydney and many other capitals in the world are not Tigers. Many who went to the streets - after nearly a 3rd of a million were sent into forced incarceration in the Wanni - had near relatives – civilians who were forcibly detained and made to suffer. They were incarcerated after the Govt encouraged them to flee to the Govt side.

Those in the diaspora could not help them come out from far away. Therefore, they felt at least relieved and many felt it was the only thing they could do to go out and protest in the streets – many for the first time in their lives. Would you not do that for your people if they were unfortunate to be fated in similar situation? …As to Indian Estate workers, you may recall due to the mis-management of the economy during Mrs B’s 1970 leftist era and the revenge TB Kobbekaduwa wanted to exact on Thondaman plus the land-ceiling that destroyed production in many Tea Estates, tens of thousands of Tamil Estate workers lost their livelihood suddenly.

Many of them trekked to the Wanni for subsistence farming and some of them over a period of time merged with the population there….The 1st people in the former Mexican lands now Texas, California, Arizona were not Spanish but native Indians. Conquistodore Cortez came in only around the 16th century and wiped out the natives. It is because the economy in Mexico was ruined in modern times by weak governments and weaker economies many Mexicans swarmed into these States in search of low-paid employment.

Those who managed to get and stay enjoyed a higher quality of life – better education and health for children and their families. They were better off embracing the American way of life and speaking English. One time Presidential hopeful and presently Goveernor of New Mexico Bill Richardson - being a descendent of these
Latinos. Why would they want to create problems by insisting in the Spanish way of life in the very prosperous Texas and California States? ….

I am glad you realize it is in the majority interest to deliver justice to the minorities for the common good of all. I am sure you will use your good influences to educate the majority in those lines. It naturally follows minorities too should respect majority sensitivities. A via medium to harmony and unity through peaceful means and friendly discourse is indeed possible.

ISS

Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | December 10, 2009 09:52 PM

ISS (Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan) says:
If edicts are issued during the A’pura and Polonnaruwa periods by the Kings there in Tamil, it follows Tamil was the predominant language there.
That is simply not correct. There were some Tamil edicts, but the dominant majority of the edicts discovered so far are in Sinhalese. We can also see the paralall Indian records. They are all cataloged and available for study. Thus the predominant administrative language seems to have been Sinhalese. But I think ISS is trying to make subtle and in my view false historical claims when the issue being discussed is Fonseka versus Rajapaksa! Basically, it does not matter who came first - what matters is that every one who is there NOW must have exactly equal rights.

Posted by: ChandreDW | December 10, 2009 11:14 PM

Dear Professor,
Why not preach or influence first your president/ and SNV+anti SNV to change the constitution so that the TNA/TNV +anti TNV can do democratic politics with in the Island of Srilanka.To change the constitution you donot need Tamil's consent as our experience in 1972&1978 has taught.we have learn from our experience. Our experience also taught us much more by living together we are upseting each other mutually why not part as friends. Tamils did do in Ceylon/Srilanka Gentlemanly, consensual. and collaborative politics since 1917.Where has it let us to..? 1958,1961 ......& upteen times broken promises The developement of LTTE and its Destruction, diaspora,Trans National gov, what benifit the up country Tamils got?The Key is in your (SNV+antiSNV) hands, if you want to prevent the brake up of the country.You have to change Donot Tell Tamils did not do collaborative poltics with you.Do you want TNA to metamorphosize so that You can repeat the history (deception, broken promises, pacts,ascimilation,genocide) all over again to the advantage of Sinhala Buddhist majority only.
We (Tamils) are only asking you to be a true Buddhist but your are too greedy to be a Buddhist.If you and your monks can teach the real Buddhism in simple Sinhala to the Sinhala mass rather than trying to learn Tamil.You will do more good to the country. We are not asking you to become a Tamil or asking your land or your possations.Just let us live in peace in our own land minding our own business.

Posted by: Awaken Tamil Voice | December 11, 2009 06:24 AM

If you look at all the blogs, we see all these pro-Eelam types saying that there is nothing else possible except separation because the Sinhalese did this or that since 1965.
It was NOT the Sinhalese who started all this. I am a Malay living in Sri lanka, and I can tell you it is the Tamils who started all this, already in the 1940s, with their claim of EXCLUSIVE homelands. Chelvanaygam in 1949, in founding the Arasu kadchi claimed that the Tamils must drive the invaders (i.e., Muslims and Sinhalese) out of the "exclusive homelands". The method he initially proposed was the sathyagraha method, while not excluding force, just as the British were driven out of India. But you see, unlike the British, the Sinhalese have been in these so called "exclusive Tamil Homelands" for possibly 25 centuries, and the Muslims have been there since the 10th century. You cannot drive people out of their lands. THAT POLICY TRIGGERED THE ANGER OF THE SINHALESE, and RIGHTLY SO. The Professor is right in calling the concept of "Exclusive Homelands" a form of "Tamil Apartheid". As a Malay person living in Sri lanka, i am a minority person, but I disagree totally with the politics followed by the Tamils who have courted trouble and gone on the war path. This was done by the Colombo Tamil leadership, for their advantage, sacrificing the village Tamils who meekly followed the SJV, GGP upper-caste Christian Imperialist boot suckers.
sahul-Beedan

Posted by: Beedan | December 11, 2009 01:11 PM

This is clearly a case of who came first the "chicken or the egg".
Kudos to the Professor for coming out with his own views.
Let's deal with the ground reality and not lament over spilt milk!
ChummyP

Posted by: Chaminda Perera | December 11, 2009 04:13 PM

Beedan the malay still "living" in Srilanka as a "slave". Please read the full history of Srilanka at least since 1833 before making unwise statements.

Posted by: SJVGGPINGRAVE | December 12, 2009 07:07 AM

The comments of Beedan here is nothing but crap. His negative feelings of Tamils is as misplaced as his ignorance of the history of the Tamils and of what he describes himself – “ Malay” The oaf is of Indonesian origin (Battavia) and if he wants to know who he is and how he got here, he might start learning why Slave Island in Colombo Central is named so. It is common knowledge most of these have now forsaken their identity and have willingly merged with the Muslim, Burgher and Sinhala communities with almost all of them not even speaking their original language at home now.

ISS

Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | December 13, 2009 05:50 AM

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