Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Tamil Genocide

Mr. Anandasangaree asked to guide Mahinda on correct path

by Siva Sivalingam, The Morning Leader, Colombo, March 25, 2008

I went to the Trincomalee Police Station in 2005 to make an entry when I lost my wallet. Everything was in Sinhala including the names of officers and their respective positions. Even the entry had to be told to another person who knew Tamil, which had to be interpreted in Sinhala and retold to another lady who took down the entry in the Sinhala language which I could neither speak, write nor converse. At the end of it I was asked to sign the entry which I resented and preferred to submit a statement in English or Tamil duly signed.

The officer said that they cannot take any action other than an official version of it in Sinhala. I realised that the Reasonable Use of Tamil is no more and none to enforce it. However much a government makes laws, unless society accepts them, they cannot be enforced....

The Sinhalese suffer from a phobia which they can cure if they become enlightened with modern developments. This is an age in which the world is one home and there is only one race — the race of humanity.

I have been to Trincomalee where I was born and bred, on a holiday for two months, after a lapse of two years. My impression is that everything has deteriorated to the maximum, except Mother Nature, which is at her pristine best. The sea beach has improved, thanks to the local council. I used to spend at least two hours everyday in the mornings from 7 to 9 a.m. looking at the changing beauty of the blue sky and the gentle breeze, urging the small wavelets to the shore, where they break and dissolve themselves. 

Swami Rock

The wide expanse of blue seas of the Dutch Bay and the white sands of the beach with the Swami Rock in the background present a vivid picture in which a silent observer can get drunk in a state of meditation which can go deep enough in Samadhi.

Now a word of caution to Mr. Anandasangaree:

As you undertake your advice to Pirapaharan, you should also endeavour to guide Mahinda Rajapakse’s regime on the correct path. Where in the world does a democratically elected government kill its citizens, and use multi barrel guns to destroy them? Even in the height of the Irish revolt England never resorted to aerial bombing in order to quell the revolt.

Verbal assurance

Do you deny the fact that the Rajapakse regime with the support of the JVP and JHU, want to establish in Sri Lanka a Buddhist, Sinhala State, where the voice of the minorities will be suppressed?

Is this what we bargained for when D.S. Senanayake, in a debate in the State Council on the Dominion Status Bill said, " Do you want to rule yourself or be dictated by England? We of the majority community will be very considerate of you and will safeguard your rights, religion and culture."

The so called leaders of the Tamils belonging to the Tamil Congress fell for this verbal assurance and being assured of a few cabinet positions, fought for independence with the majority community. They did not even get this assurance in writing.

Do not forget that in the previous year in August when India got her independence Mohamed Jinnah fought tooth and nail to get a separate state for the Muslims and secured it, when Mahatma Gandhi was fasting unto death against any division of India where Hindus and Muslims have lived as members of the same family.

Our Tamil leaders were aware of this and being power hungry and selfish and fearing liquidation of their tea and rubber estates in the south did not agitate even for a federal form of government. In the year following independence, the government which had an ethnic majority flouted the essence of Clause 29 of the Soulbury Constitution, the only safeguard for the rights of the minorities, celebrating the 2500th year of the introduction of Buddhism in then Ceylon.

Rights of minorities

Thereafter it has been a huge deterioration of the minorities’ (chiefly Tamils) rights and privileges. Tamils protested both in and outside parliament, which culminated in a silent protest on the grounds of the parliament which was dealt with most ruthlessly by the government.

The introduction of Sinhala as the official language and standardisation of examinations for entry to university was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The confidence we, the Tamils, had on the goodness and fairness of the ethnic majority community is lost forever. You must be dreaming if you ever think that these two communities can live in love and harmony after all this harassment and harm done on both sides.

With 55 million Tamils of the same language, religion and culture living in Tamil Nadu, the Sinhala community is fearful of preserving themselves in an island which is 240 miles from north to south and 120 miles east to west with a population of 20 million people.

Even if they give equal status to the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese are scared that they will be overrun by the Tamils with their own language and culture. Therefore, they should be kept suppressed by denying equal rights. This will be clear if you care to look at the Census and Statistics Department Annual Report for 2004 on the subject of implementation of the Reasonable Use of Tamil as an official language. The report says that 38.1% of Tamils could read and write the Sinhalese language while only 3.1% of the Sinhalese could read and write Tamil. This is borne out by a personal experience the undersigned suffered.

Sinhala Only policy

I went to the Trincomalee Police Station in 2005 to make an entry when I lost my wallet. Everything was in Sinhala including the names of officers and their respective positions. Even the entry had to be told to another person who knew Tamil, which had to be interpreted in Sinhala and retold to another lady who took down the entry in the Sinhala language which I could neither speak, write nor converse. At the end of it I was asked to sign the entry which I resented and preferred to submit a statement in English or Tamil duly signed.

The officer said that they cannot take any action other than an official version of it in Sinhala. I realised that the Reasonable Use of Tamil is no more and none to enforce it. However much a government makes laws, unless society accepts them, they cannot be enforced. It is now a struggle between the Tamil society and the Sinhala community to live in love, amity and harmony. Luckily I found my wallet and avoided the police station.

The Sinhalese suffer from a phobia which they can cure if they become enlightened with modern developments. This is an age in which the world is one home and there is only one race — the race of humanity. You can travel from Estonia, in the eastern border of the European Union to Lisbon on the western border without a document except the proof of place of birth. France, Hungary, Germany and Italy have fomented into one unit, dropping their separate nationalities. Britain in time to come will join.

Rajapakse regime

If after reading all this your outlook has expanded, please convince the Rajapakse regime that this is the way to look at the world in the future, and to completely disband the concept of a "Buddhist Sinhala State" as portrayed in the Mahawansa as the monks of the JHU claim.

Now let me deal with some of your assertions made in your humanitarian appeal to Pirapaharan. With reference to the international community, you say, "They (international community) all know that yours is a ruthless organization." Do you realise how ruthless the ‘democratically elected’ government is, with its aerial bombing and use of multi barrel cannons to destroy innocent civilians? Then there are the allegations of abductions, extortion, preventing members from attending parliament, silencing them on speaking on national problems and exercising their right to vote, and suppressing those who dare to speak and expose to the public the atrocities committed by the corrupt regime.

Pirapaharan’s thinking

Pirapaharan has thought like a mature statesman and dropped separatism and chosen federalism in the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) concluded by the UNP, the chief signatory of which Prof. G.L. Peiris not only crossed the floor but also said that there could be no form of government based on federalism in Sri Lanka. The leopard cannot change its spots and the ethnic majority community, whether it is in the government or the opposition is still the same, no difference.

Some people can fool some people some time, but the same people cannot be fooled all the time. These are the last kicks of a dying horse and the problems of the Tamils are a hundred year old itch. If one dares to look at it fairly and squarely, the government can solve it by initiating talks on the basis suggested by the LTTE soon after the CFA in 2002, which is now in cold storage in the government archives.

There are possible ways of give and take to arrive at a meaningful solution. The government should invite Norway, India and the United Nations to mediate. Perhaps the latter two may delegate their roles to Norway, which has a better understanding of the problem and should be supported with necessary force.