Ilankai Tamil Sangam

13th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Ditch the 'Cholas,' Dig the Jews

by Satheesh Thadchanamoorthy, May 31, 2009

Let us become the powerful people that we have to be.

Among the million Tamil people that constitute the Tamil Diaspora, an overwhelming majority of us don’t know of a world without the ‘Iyackam’—the LTTE. The past couple of weeks have been surreal to say the least. Like Newton’s rotating colour wheel revealing only white, our spectrum of emotions leaves in us only the pain—immense pain. We are confused, numb and anguished.

Towards the end of last year, some of us were beginning to clandestinely feel, may be our approaches were wrong. “Only if our iyackam in its early days had done things in compliance with western values, maybe our predicament would be different,” was a thought that did cross our minds.  In spite of our understanding of the interest-based politicking of the world, we couldn’t help but to entertain the what-if scenarios. Not any more! Not after the revelations of the past five months.

Our understanding of the world and our doubts are now cemented in by our experience. We thoroughly understand the Human Rights business now. We now understand that in the eyes of the world we Tamils are not even human, and as such, our rights don’t constitute the human rights. Our eyes are now trained to see the ugliness through the cosmetics.

We used to believe that only if we had sent our own to the parliaments of the west, today our predicament might have been better. However, after witnessing last week the impotence of Navi Pillay—the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights—in securing a UN sanctioned investigation on Sri Lanka to prove what we Tamils already know, forgive us if we are sounding pessimistic. We hold very little hope now for the courts of the white-men. (Just sending our own to the parliaments won’t mean anything unless and otherwise we are powerful overall).

Contrary to its deeds, at least in words, the west supports human rights and other noble ideas. China on the other hand, does not even treasure its own citizens. Pakistan is now slaughtering its own in Swat. In India, the fifteen percent who are elites treat the remaining eighty-five percent as objects. Sadly, today it is the China-Pakistan-India types that represent Asia. Given the impotence of the UN Human Rights Commission, no one is counting on China-Pakistan-India to uphold human rights in the region. So, we are anguished.

We Tamils have always thought that we completely understood the necessity of our ‘Iyackam’. However, the past couple of weeks have made us realize that even we Tamils did not completely understand the absolute necessity of our ‘Iyackam’. In light of the behavior of the western world and its ceremonial institutions such as the UN in the past two weeks, every Tamil—even the ones that stood by the sidelines before--now understand that the Iyackam served way more than what we Tamils gave it credit for. ‘Iyackam’ was everything to us. If there are still Tamil people living in Sri Lanka today, that is only because of our ‘Iyackam’. Our ‘iyackam’ were our protector, our representative, our court, our pride, even our identity. Today, we truly feel like orphans.

There are Tamil people--Tamil people that care about the plight of fellow Tamils--in the Diaspora that never provided any support to the Liberation struggle and they know who they are. These Tamils shied away from supporting the cause for reasons including, but not limited to

a) viewing the western ideals as the noble ideals and discrediting iyackam solely based on the fact that the west did not support it,
b) influenced by the cunning Brahaministic/Indian teachings of non-violence,
c) personal egos, and
d) selfishness.

If there is any good that came out in the past couple of weeks, it is that now a consensus has been arrived at among the free-thinking Tamils (i.e: Not the GoSL mercenaries) that we cannot depend on others to win our rights.

In history, the Jewish people ran from country to country for hundreds of years. They too had--and probably still do--infighting, egos and other human fallacies. Yet, there came a point when the Jewish people saw through the petty differences and decided to work for their common cause—their existence.

We Tamils should take the Jewish people as our ONLY role models. We must first get out of our naïve and even selfish idea that we must win Tamil Eelam in our own lifetime. It is time we understand that Tamil Eelam is not about our retirement homes. Tamil Eelam is necessary for reasons way more than we comprehend now.

Like the Jewish people, we must trench in for a long-term struggle—however long it takes to win Tamil Eelam. We must not spend all our energy at once thinking that the struggle will be over in months or a few years. Like the Jewish people we need to diversify our efforts.  We must become rich and powerful. We must diversify our areas of educational pursuit. We must understand the necessity of power, all kinds of it. We shouldn’t think in terms of sending protesting letters to the editors of newspapers that don’t have a clue or are driven by racist agendas—our letters only help them with their ratings. Rather, like the Jewish people, we must grow to levels where the world would think twice before slinging mud at us Tamil people. We must not get hung-up on the meaningless glorification of the Chola dynasty and other “Kalhi” style fiction. After all, the Chola dynasty did not withstand time. Let us look up to contemporary success stories.

In today’s world, we only have one such success story to look up to; namely the Jewish people. Let us learn from the Jews. Let us form friendships with Jewish people. Let us un-learn all the wrong values and ideas we’ve inherited. Let us learn the right things. Let the Jewish people be our role models. Let us become the powerful people that we have to be.


“Thamilarin Thaaham Thamil Eela Thayaham”



Printer-friendly version