Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

We Send Them the Money

So Don't Complain

by R. Cholan, November 4, 2007

[T]he point is – it is offensive and even grotesque, for the expatriate Tamil community to furnish even ‘ONE LOUSY DOLLAR’ to the GoSL to help wage its genocidal war against our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.

The only thing more grotesque, uglier, than the Sinhalese leadership currently celebrating the murder of Thamil Selvan is the fact that we - the expatriate Tamils - send them the money for it.

I just returned from Toronto where I personally witnessed the process. Although this is not the only method by which we Tamil expatriates fund the GoSL (there are others and I will talk about them in the future), it strikes me as the most grotesque.

Visiting a Sri Lankan Tamil grocery store in Toronto, I observed streams of Tamil customers walking-out with loads of Sri Lankan grocery items. During a half-hour I was there on three separate occasions this past weekend, I observed about ten customers each time, spending on an average about fifteen dollars on their purchases. I admit that not all of their purchases are imports from Sri Lanka, but most were.

On returning home, I did some elementary math. These shops are open 12-hours a day, seven days a week. If ten customers in a 30-minute period spend even ten-dollars each, it amounts to a minimum of several thousand dollars a day spent in each store. That adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

That is in one store, and I don’t know how many other Tamil Grocery Stores there are in Toronto, or for that matter, in any of the major metropolitan cities of Montréal, London, Paris, Geneva, Sydney, Melbourne, etc., where Tamil expatriates are concentrated. I am sure worldwide they number in the hundreds. Then there are also restaurants and other kinds of shops selling Sri Lankan goods.

You do the math. For me, my guess is, the amount spent to satisfy the taste-buds of the Tamil-expatriates worldwide is stupendous, perhaps more than a billion dollars.

I concede that this amount is the total-cost of doing business – i.e. it includes local rents, wages, profits, middle-men, shipping costs etc., and is not the total amount dispatched to Sri Lanka. And, of course, the amounts remitted don’t go directly into the Sri Lankan coffers.

But, what the GoSL gains from this whole enterprise is: precious ‘FOREIGN EXCHANGE’.

I am not an economist to figure this out accurately, but my guess is that Sri Lanka gains about a billion dollars a year in ‘foreign-exchange’, or even more, straight from the expatriate Tamil community.

Guess what – this is about the sum GoSL spends each year on its entire military budget, to wage war against its Tamil citizens.

The real kicker is that GoSL doesn’t need a billion dollars in ‘foreign-exchange’ for its armed forces. Their military budget includes expenses such as the salaries and benefits for its soldiers and other expenses within the country, all paid for in local currency. The GoSL needs ‘foreign-exchange’ only to purchase arms, planes and warships from abroad – Perhaps, a hundred million dollars. The rest is from the unlimited supply of local rupees. We expatriate Tamils give them a lot more than they need.

Some of you may think this line of reasoning as a stretch. It may be.

But the point is – it is offensive and even grotesque, for the expatriate Tamil community to furnish even ‘ONE LOUSY DOLLAR’ to the GoSL to help wage its genocidal war against our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.

The next time you buy a bottle of MD Brand Seeni-Sambol or Katta-Sambol, think about it.

Every dollar we give them buys them at least one bullet!

Continued...Part II

[Poster courtesy TamilNation]