Reply to an Offensive Tribute

by Roy Ratnavel

Mr. Gunaratne,

No doubt, to lose a friend in this manner is a tragic event.  I never met Mr. Kadirgamar.  However, reading all the tributes tells me, despite my opposing views about him, that he was an intellect, splendid orator and would have been an interesting person to sit-down with, and have a stimulating conversation over couple of pints.

As I read your tribute, I vacillated between outrage and pity ("You were our hero" - Sunday Times, Colombo, August 21, 2005).  The absurd generalization and offensive characterization of the Tamils' plight seemed more indicative of a visceral self-loathing than a tribute to a friend.  What I find ironic about the emotional outpouring of your grief over your friend's demise was that you made it sound as if he was the first Tamil in Sri Lanka ever to die in such brutal manner.  By all means commemorate this tragic event.  But also commemorate the killing of tens of thousands of other Tamils during this tragic epoch.

Your clever attempt to draw some equivalence between Hitler's Nazi revolution and the Tamil freedom struggle is disingenuous.  A troubling and continuous process of ethnic disenfranchisement and displacement underpins the latter.

To Kadirgamar's credit, armed with his colourful verbal deception and fake evidences, he successfully backed up Sri Lanka - a basket case of a country, at best can be described as a failed state run by thugs.  To keep up with your "Nazi theme," in that process he had become a "little Adolf Eichmann" of Sri Lankan tyranny.  Given your extensive knowledge of Nazi history, I am sure, you are familiar that Eichmann did not have his hands directly in the killing of the Jews, but he ensured the smooth running of the efficient killing infrastructure that enabled the Nazi genocide.  Likewise, Kadirgamar has indirectly facilitated the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.  This feeling is definitely widely shared by Tamils.

His blatant refusal to acknowledge the butchering of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka - especially children, is legendary.  With this backdrop, you portraying him as a guardian of children and the defenseless is a slap on our collective Tamil faces.  To kill the innocent in a vast scale is horrifying; to deny the horror is simply inhuman.

Mark Twain once noted that "The only very marked difference between the average civilized man and the average savage is that the one is gilded and the other is painted."  I actually believe that Kadirgamar was a beautiful green parrot for the Sinhalese nationalist agenda.   He did not squawk like a parrot or have beautiful plumage, nor was he able to fly.  Yet, in his heart and mind, he was a parrot.

May god bless his soul!


Comment from another reader of Gunaratne's article:

Malinga H. Gunaratne is around Kadigama's age, and is a very long-time Sinhala Buddhist supremist.  Around 1988, he wrote a book whose title was For a Sovereign State, Sarvodaya Book Publishing Service, 41 Lumbini Avenue, Ratmalana.

In this book he champions the colonization of Tamil districts by Sinhalese thugs and convicts.  I remember a photo of J.R. Jayawardena's son, Ravi, and probably his own son, teaching a Sinhala convict or thug in a Sinhala Buddhist colony in a Tamil district, how to use an automatic rifle!


Posted August 25, 2005