From Sachi’s Files – Chapter 14

90 Published Letters on Sri Lanka and Eelam

by Sachi Sri Kantha

Long before President Donald Trump promoted ‘fake news’ in 2016, Eelam Tamils suffered from the fake news promoted by the intelligence agencies of Sri Lanka and India, and the infamous Lake House (aptly ridiculed as Fake House) news organization in Colombo, since 1980s.

Many may be familiar with Italian software programmer Alberto Brandolini’s Bullshit Asymmetry Principle that gained prominence in 2013. It says, ‘The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.’ As an apologist for Eelam state for more than 40 years (since the then TULF under the leadership of A. Amirthalingam, M. Sivasithamparam and S. Thondaman asked for a plebiscite vote in the 1977 General Election), ample store of my energy has been spent in refuting the bullshit on Eelam Tamils in the print media.

For this chapter, I have assembled 66 of my published letters from 1981 to 2000 on Sri Lanka and Eelam in the fortnightly magazine Lanka Guardian (Colombo) and weeklies Asiaweek (Hongkong), Far Eastern Economic Review (Hongkong) and Time. The first three have folded now, while Time still survives. Many of my letters did generate rebuttal from other correspondents. For relevance to my expressed point of view, I have included 24 of their rebuttals or supportive comments as well, without any deletion. A total of 90 letters are assembled chronologically and offered in pdf format (70 pages). I need to stress the point that what appeared in published form in the Asiaweek were mangled versions of my original submissions. However, what had appeared in the other three magazines were the same as my original submissions.

Among the 24 letters by other correspondents included in this compilation, two were supportive of my view, while 22 opposed my view. The frequency count of the 11 correspondents (among whom one was ‘Anonymous’) is as follows: Izeth Hussain (1927-2017) – 6 letters; ‘Anonymous’ – 4 letters; Jayantha Herath, P. Kirupananthan and M.A. Nuhman – 2 letters each; and William Corr, Edward Gunawardene, U. Pethiyagoda, V.T.Saravanapavan, H.L.D. Mahindapala and Cuda Bibile – 1 letter each. Among these, I considered Izeth Hussain, ‘Anonymous’ and Mahindapala as irascible ‘bullshitters’. As long as the editors of the magazines permitted me to express my point of view, I did refute their nonsense. The two correspondents who were supportive to my views were M.P. de Silva and Manik Sandrasagra (? – 2008) – 1 letter each.

The title captions of the assembled 90 letters are as follows. It should be noted that these captions were generated at the editorial desk of the magazines, and not by the authors of the letters. Prominent names which appear in these letters include J.R. Jayewardene, Ranasinghe Premadasa, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi, M. Sivasithamparam, V. Prabhakaran, S. Thondaman, Lalith Athulathmudali, Edmund Samarakkody, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sivarajan, Cyril Ponnamperuma, Aung San Suu Kyi and many others. Among these, excluding the two ladies Chandrika and Suu Kyi, others have died. Where the title captions were confusing, I have inserted the names of the individuals to whom reference was made in that particular letter. [Numbered letters with asterisks were authored by Sachi Sri Kantha; Authors of other letters are indicated, following the titles.]

90 Published Letters on Sri Lanka and Eelam [1981-2000], by Sachi Sri Kantha

Ceylon Map in 1796, showing Kandyan Kingdom

1. Observations on the Madurai Tamil Conference* – Lanka Guardian
2. Polls in the US Press* – Lanka Guardian
3. New name in Science* – Lanka Guardian
4. Reply to Shan* – Lanka Guardian
5. Thugs, You Say?* – Asiaweek
6. That Word Again – Jayantha Herath – Asiaweek
7. The Jaffna View* – Asiaweek
8. The Sri Lanka Troubles – Jayantha Herath – Asiaweek
9. The Sri Lanka Troubles* – Asiaweek
10. The War in Sri Lanka* – Asiaweek
11. The Veddah Revisited* – Asiaweek
12. By Invitation Only* – Far Eastern Economic Review
13. Reparation* – Asiaweek
14. Reparation – William Corr – Asiaweek
15. The Big Payback* – Asiaweek
16. Out for the Count* – Asiaweek
17. Sri Lanka and Iraq* – Asiaweek
18. Forgotten Innocents – Edward Gunawardene – Asiaweek
19. Ethnic Identity of Tamils* – Lanka Guardian
20. Two Groups of Tamils – Izeth Hussain – Lanka Guardian
21. Determination of Ethnicity by biomedical evidence* – Lanka Guardian
22. Ethnic Groups – Izeth Hussain – Lanka Guardian
23. Defining Ethnicity: A Reply* – Lanka Guardian
24. Plain Words – Izeth Hussain – Lanka Guardian
25. Separatism – M.P. de Silva – Lanka Guardian
26. Distinct in some senses – Izeth Hussain – Lanka Guardian
27. Sri Lanka’s Tamils – Anonymous – Asiaweek
28. Sri Lanka’s Tamils* – Asiaweek
29. Sri Lanka’s Tamils – Anonymous – Asiaweek

Lt to Rt – M.K. Eelaventhan, M. Kanapathipillai, M. Sivasithamparam, Sachi’s father and Sachi (Aug 1978)

30. Revolution’s Other Side* – Asiaweek
31. Tamil Tigers – Anonymous – Asiaweek
32. Tigers and Founding Fathers* – Asiaweek
33. Sri Lanka’s Tamils – Anonymous – Asiaweek
34. The Other Dicky [J.R. Jayewardene]* – Lanka Guardian
35. Indian Tamil Issue in the 1952 Election* – Lanka Guardian
36. Lalith [Athulathmudali]’s Friends* – Lanka Guardian
37. Whither Parliament?* – Lanka Guardian
38. Whither Ethmology* – Lanka Guardian
39. The etymology of ‘Ceylon’* – Lanka Guardian
40. [Rajiv] Gandhi Assassination* – Lanka Guardian
41. Lincoln’s Definition of Democracy* – Lanka Guardian
42. Edmund Samarakkody* – Lanka Guardian
43. Udupiddy Electorate* – Lanka Guardian
44. Udupiddy – P. Kirupananthan – Lanka Guardian
45. Udupiddy* – Lanka Guardian
46. Udupiddy – P. Kirupananthan – Lanka Guardian
47. Looking for scapegoats* – Far Eastern Economic Review
48. [Rajiv] Gandhi’s killers – U. Pethiyagoda – Far Eastern Economic Review
49. Backed by the President* – Far Eastern Economic Review
50. History supports the Gun* – Far Eastern Economic Review
51. Prabhakaran’s Mentors* – Lanka Guardian
52. Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case* – Lanka Guardian
53. The non-democracy phenomenon* – Lanka Guardian
54. The Mirage of Democracy* – Lanka Guardian
55. Democracies – Izeth Hussain – Lanka Guardian
56. Utopia in Federalism* – Lanka Guardian
57. Suu Kyi’s Burma and Sri Lanka* – Lanka Guardian
58. Greetings from Japan* – Lanka Guardian
59. [Premadasa Assassination]* – Asiaweek
60. Repartee or Ribaldry?* – Lanka Guardian
61. President Premadasa* – Lanka Guardian
62. Federalism – Then and Now* – Lanka Guardian
63. 1948-40 Disenfrancisement* – Lanka Guardian
64. Rule rather than Exception* – Lanka Guardian
65. A Hindu perspective on Bosnia* – Lanka Guardian
66. Explanation or Justification? – M.A. Nuhman – Lanka Guardian
67. Bosnian Muslims – An Explanation* – Lanka Guardian
68. Muslim Perspective on Bosnia – Izeth Hussain – Lanka Guardian
69. Theory of Karma – V.T. Saravanapavan – Lanka Guardian
70. Parody and Profanity – M.A. Nuhman – Lank Guardian
71. Parody and Profanity* – Lanka Guardian
72. Arden on Nehru* – Lanka Guardian
73. Language Use* – Lanka Guardian
74. ‘Truth’* – Asiaweek
75. Cyril Ponnamperuma; Scientist ‘Extraordinary’* – Lanka Guardian
76. Ravana Legend* – Lanka Guardian
77. Sri Lanka Guerrillas* – Asiaweek
78. Political Satire* – Lanka Guardian
79. Prabhakaran Compared* – Lanka Guardian
80. Battle for Jaffna* – Asiaweek
81. Prabhakaran’s Retreat* – Lanka Guardian
82. Caste, Buddhism and Japan* – Lanka Guardian
83. Meaning of Tamil ‘Liberation Struggle’ – H.L.D.Mahindapala – Lanka Guardian
84. Enlightening Mahindapala – Manik Sandrasagra – Lanka Guardian
85. The good and the bad* – Lanka Guardian
86. Secret Network* – Asiaweek
87. Prabhakaran Cont’d – Cuda Bibile – Asiaweek
88. A Priest’s [Rev. Tissa Balasuriya] Ex-communication* – Asiaweek
89. War and Peace in Sri Lanka* – Asiaweek
90. Comeback Commandos* – Time (International edition)

Between Letter 1 and Letter 90, my mailing addresses as indicated in these collected letters had changed: Colombo, Urbana-Champaign, Tokyo, Philadelphia, Osaka, Fukuroi City and Gifu City in 20 years. This indicates my peregrinations as an active scientist, hopefully looking for a permanent position at an institution in Sri Lanka, USA and Japan.

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