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, Part IV

by R. Cholan

If we dream about an international boycott against Sri Lanka, we need to start somewhere, and the first place is our own homes.

Part 1 of series

Let us for a moment (or for a while) forget the grand scenario of an ‘International Boycott of Sri Lanka.’ If all right-thinking people in this world boycotted Sri Lankan goods and services,the GoSL would cede Tamil rights in no time. But, we are not there at this utopian, ideal situation yet, and so forget this for now.

What I would like for each of us to think about right now is our own personal contributions.

I have in my discussions with many in the diaspora discovered a dual mindset about this issue. Most agree with me on the facts outlined in the earlier chapters of this series. The facts here are not in dispute. But, regrettably, as individuals most of them still buy Sri Lankan groceries.

The attitude seems to be “Yes, we need to cripple the Sri Lankan economy”, but “my little serving of MD Brand Seeni Sambol just tonight is not going to make a difference”.

“You see, other Tamils are eating it tonight. Why should I deprive myself of this simple pleasure?”

It is easy for us expatriates, now ensconced in the safety of the western world, to think in these terms. A harder task is to search our inner souls about how our own individual actions are harming our kinsmen back home.

I agree that a ‘tablespoon of MD Seeni Sambol just tonight’, is not going to make one bit of difference to the GoSL in its billion dollar war machinery, at least for now.

The real question for each of us is not about this. It is a moral question, of expatriate Tamils contributing anything at all, even one-hundredth-of-a-penny, to the GoSL. How our pennies kill our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka is something that we need to think about, at every second in our daily lives.

I understand that only a few amongst us read these articles and a large majority of us expatriates don’t. Most of the ‘non-readers’ will continue with their shameful purchases of Sri Lankan goods for the next several months or even years to come. In this scenario at this particular moment, a personal sacrifice by any one of us may not seem insignificant.

What we need to think about first is the moral issue here on an individual basis. Can we as individuals, knowingly and willingly send even miniscule sums of money to a murderous regime that wantonly kills our kith and kin?

If you and I can answer this question honestly, we need to start acting on what our own consciences dictate. If your conscience says to you that it is okay to send a few pennies to Sri Lanka to satisfy your taste-buds, then please do continue. That is your prerogative.

The rest of us with clearer consciences must start to act. The first step for us is to throw out any Sri Lankan made item in our fridges and pantries. We should do this even though we have already paid for it. Throwing them out may seem like a waste, as we have paid for it already, but this single act has psychological value.

The next step is to swear never to buy Sri Lankan exports ever again. Once we have taken the first step, this second step will be real easy.

These two steps, which may seem like sacrifices, are not really onerous. There are convenient alternatives, like buying products made outside Sri Lanka. Many of them are really tasty!

I have personally taken these two steps of weaning myself of Sri Lankan goods and services and I must say – it feels real good. I have a clearer conscience now. Now that I have reached this stage, I go to bed every night with the thought that I have not contributed even one penny to GoSL to kill my brothers and sisters.

I am sure many of us are at a place where I am, and I am also confident that all of us in this group feel the way I do.

Once we in this group with scruples and a conscience get to this point, we are ready to spread the message.

Talk to our family and friends about not buying Sri Lankan exports. Once we have set an example for ourselves, we can claim the moral high grounds to preach.

If we dream about an international boycott against Sri Lanka, we need to start somewhere, and the first place is our own homes.

Continued...Part V

No Sri Lankan Ingredients