Posts Categorized: Book Reviews

Review of ‘Gota’s War’

The cringe-worthiness continues as Chandraprema strays even further away from the plot to discuss the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunge, The Sunday Leader editor, and the unsuccessful eviction of non-resident Tamils from the city of Colombo; incidents that had nothing whatsoever to do with the course of the war. Unfortunately, Chandraprema’s strategy of distancing the Rajapakses from the more negative incidents that took place under their watch is quite transparent when he suggests that Gen Sarath Fonseka was responsible for the killing of Wickramatunge, and that Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapakse were nothing more than helpless bystanders. He even claims that Gotabhaya’s reasoning for the eviction of the Tamils was quite sound and based on military expediency.

Review #2: “A Fleeting Moment in My Country

Impressive social changes occurred in the Vanni under LTTE. What Gandhi, Ambedkhar, and Periyaar failed to achieve in India, the LTTE achieved in Vanni. The pervasive caste-consciousness of South Asia was eliminated. Vanni held the promise of progressive ideals for women in the society and of a government oriented toward the well being of the people. Infusing people with the spirit of struggle, it united them as one people. Indeed, it held the promise for many more social changes that would have benefited Tamils and perhaps even the whole of South Asia. This powerful example has now been destroyed. Even if an independent Tamil Eelam state is miraculously born in future, it will not bring back that hope and that promise that Vanni once held.

Impressive social changes occurred in the Vanni under LTTE. What Gandhi, Ambedkhar, and Periyaar failed to achieve in India, the LTTE achieved in Vanni. The pervasive caste-consciousness of South Asia was eliminated. Vanni held the promise of progressive ideals for women in the society and of a government oriented toward the well being of the people. Infusing people with the spirit of struggle, it united them as one people. Indeed, it held the promise for many more social changes that would have benefited Tamils and perhaps even the whole of South Asia. This powerful example has now been destroyed. Even if an independent Tamil Eelam state is miraculously born in future, it will not bring back that hope and that promise that Vanni once held.

Impressive social changes occurred in the Vanni under LTTE. What Gandhi, Ambedkhar, and Periyaar failed to achieve in India, the LTTE achieved in Vanni. The pervasive caste-consciousness of South Asia was eliminated. Vanni held the promise of progressive ideals for women in the society and of a government oriented toward the well being of the people. Infusing people with the spirit of struggle, it united them as one people. Indeed, it held the promise for many more social changes that would have benefited Tamils and perhaps even the whole of South Asia. This powerful example has now been destroyed. Even if an independent Tamil Eelam state is miraculously born in future, it will not bring back that hope and that promise that Vanni once held…

When it comes to the ideal of living free and prosperously, the Eelam Tamil-speaking people have at least learned to never say never.

Review of “A Fleeting Moment in My Country”

This is the first memoir of that momentous period that started with the heady hopes following the ceasefire, continued through the efforts to build a new society in the Vanni and areas of the East, and ended so tragically with the killing of untold tens of thousands in 2009 and the incarcerations of hundreds of thousands in internment camps.

Readers of news in English will be familiar with the narrative of 2002-2009 from the perspective of Colombo. Almost nothing has been written in English from the other side of the Omanthai checkpoint that separated government-controlled territory from that controlled by the LTTE. Those who lived there, Tamils who visited and those who read news written by Tamils are very familiar with the narrative that Malathy tells, but nobody in the rest of the world will be.

Re-reading a Saint

Karen Pechilis Prentiss was the guest of honor at the Sangam annual general meeting in November 1999.