Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Evicted

by Professor Aaron Rajah, San Diego, California

When they came to Malayga Indian Tamils

I was partying at the Colombo Hilton,

When they came to take the transient Jaffna Tamils

I was still partying at a Royal dinner dance,

When they came for me,

There was no one left to speak out for me even though I was partying at the Blue Elephant.

The Gestapo regime, with their ruthless evictions of the Jewish in Germany, inspired some modern day dictators and police forces throughout world history. Sri Lanka has learned its lessons well as the organized killing fields of ethnic Tamil minorities continues unabated. Leading up to the killings, mass evictions took place, thus Sri Lanka has now become the poster child for ethnic cleansing. In this article we have compiled some striking similarities and differences between the Gestapo regime 's actions and those of the current armed forces of Sri Lanka, as well as a much-needed warning to the Colombo-based Tamils.

New Gestapo regime

SS General Heinrich MuellerIn early May of 2007 the Sri Lankan Police Chief announced that  so-called 'loitering' Tamils in the city had to be evicted from the fatherland. Earlier, the same Tamils had been evicted from their motherland due to the government forces' illegal occupation of the High Security Zone (HSZ) in which the evicted Tamils have lived from their ancestry days. For the minority Tamils, it was a transient stop-over in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, in which they pay high rent at motels as a temporary hiding place from the violence of the security and paramilitary forces.

The action of the police chief came with a justification - to stop the “terror” attacks in the city by suspected Tamil forces.  He, however,  but failed to justify why the citizens of the country can be evicted from their own country for simply staying in motel rooms - in this case he claimed extended stay in motel rooms.

The scenario is simple. Assume that you have decided to go to a Los Angeles motel for a few more days than you anticipated but the Los Angeles Police Department decided that you may be a threat to the local area and decided to kick you out. If my memory serves me right, this happened when the SS army of Nazi Germany, with the help of the Gestapo, decided to evict the Jews, even though they were German citizens.

Sri Lanka Gestapo Chief and the SS army congratulating each other on the first step of the eviction of Tamils in Sri Lanka

But interestingly enough, there are some sharp differences between the Gestapo and the Sri Lankan police force. The Gestapo regime claimed the Jews did not belong in Germany as they were not legal citizens of the country.  The Sri Lanka Police claims that Tamils are citizens of the country but simply do not belong in the country.  This brings the age-old question in this land dispute: can a legal citizen be given a “fix it ticket” for loitering in their own country or, more simply, can a citizen be evicted from their own country for being at the right place at the right time?

In this case, minority Tamils had searched for a safe place from the violence in their original homes and were then evicted to that same violent location by a ruthless state police. This is by exactly the Hallmark of ethnic cleansing: first the eviction and later the killing of the displaced in a different location. The capital of Sri Lanka is now facing the early stages of this ethnic cleansing.  Now we know as the famous poem goes,

“When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.”

All in all, this is the first step for the so-called Colombo Tamils to make their voice heard and fight for their rights. If they do not speak up now, they will be the next to be evicted from the capital and then we can all sing a new poem:

When they came to Malayga Indian Tamils

I was partying at the Colombo Hilton,

When they came to take the transient Jaffna Tamils

I was still partying at a Royal dinner dance,

When they came for me,

There was no one left to speak out for me even though I was partying at the Blue Elephant.