Former Tamil MP Ponnambalam puts it simply: “I think it’s dangerous for us to think about what is possible. If we start thinking about that, it only means assimilation. We must stop talking Tamil, we must give up our religion. We must be Sinhalese and Buddhist.”
OVER AND above the geopolitics and domestic Tamil politics that directly affects India, the Sri Lankan Tamils’ story raises a disturbing question. Can the desperate and continuing plight of a people be explained away by terrorism alone? For now, more than 22 lakh Tamils within Sri Lanka and an estimated 10 lakh in the diaspora, are asking this universally perplexing question. As their story also serves as a warning to other displaced people without a nation — while the world and the UN plays a double game, your idea of nationhood could be the next to disappear.
But even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils.
Many among the Eelam Tamils continue to fall for the “China card” claims of Sri Lanka. These claims serve, however, as a smokescreen for the realpolitik of the region vis-a-vis Sri Lanka. A critical analysis of this is helpful for Eelam Tamils to develop a more nuanced approach. China is of no help to Sri… Read more »
Commentary on Accelerated Programme on Solving Post Conflict Land Issues in the Northern and Eastern Provinces In January 2013 the Government issued a new circular titled Accelerated Programme on Solving Post Conflict State Lands Issues in the Northern and Eastern Provinces- Land Circular 2013/01 (herein referred to as the Circular), which is the most recent… Read more »
Sri Lanka has long had a problem with disappearances. Accordingly, the LLRC sought to address this issue in its final report, which includes the following two recommendations:
Recommendation 9.46: Investigate allegations of abductions, enforced or involuntary disappearance; bring perpetrators to justice.
Recommendation 9.51: “…the Commission recommends that a Special Commissioner of Investigation be appointed to investigate alleged disappearances and provide material to the Attorney General to initiate criminal proceedings where appropriate.”
Yet the GoSL’s record on disappearances continues to be a concern. Appallingly, 25% of TSA survey respondents have had a family member disappear. And that individual was usually the principal incomer earner of the family.
The government’s talk about a military drawdown lacks merit, especially in the Northern Province. “We are living under military occupation,” notes one community member living near Jaffna. Even though several checkpoints have been removed, a large number of them have been converted into shops – such as grocery stores and cafés – that are run by the military. The ubiquity of military personnel does not leave people feeling safer; ordinary citizens feel more vulnerable and the country’s continued militarization has contributed to a host of widespread social problems including alcohol abuse, sexual violence and rape.
“The fisheries sector is the third most important contributor to economic growth in Sri Lanka. It is second only to agriculture and tourism. That is the main reason the President wanted to kick off this project. According to the ongoing investment and development projects in the industry in post- terrorism Sri Lanka, the fisheries industry will become the main contributor to the economy within the next few years. I hope to provide a 50 percent contribution to Sri Lanka’s economy at the end of this year by doubling fish exports” Minister Senaratne said.
Many of those displaced during the war are now gradually being resettled at their original residences by the Vanni security forces headquarters. Residents are pictured acclimatizing themselves to their old abodes and environment after a lapse of several years. Pix by Romesh Madushanka
Women-headed families: no husband, no home and no future for their children In the Eastern Province, some women head their household all alone without a job, sometimes without a home, or without doors and sanitary facilities, unable to send their children to school. Their husbands died in war or disappeared into the hands of police…. Read more »
Seasoned Washington observers say not to freak out because they think there will be no deadlock, as lawmakers will be thinking about their own fate first, if blocking a deal leads to the collapse of the economy that leaves people suffering, and it rebounds on them at re-election time.