Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Attention Anandasangaree: A Valentine for You

by Sachi Sri Kantha

[valentine – noun. 1. A greeting card or token of affection sent on Saint Valentine’s Day. Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary, First Signet Printing, 1980, p.897]

Dear Sangaree Senior,

Since Valentine’s Day is approaching, I thought that I’ll send a valentine for you. You have been suffering from loneliness and pain for the past two years; the pain of being deserted by the Eelam Tamils, despite you having had a crown with a label:‘President, Tamil United Liberation Front.’ You have been whistling tunes reminiscent of the moanful Blues classic (1928) of Bessie Smith,

‘I woke up this morning with an awful aching head
My new man had left me just a room and an empty bed’

for the past two years. Too bad, I also have called you names. I have called you ‘Sour Grapes Sangaree’ and ‘Fence-sitting Fox.’ As of now, I have received almost no reproach for insulting a senior Tamil politician. Many do share my view that you deserved some rebuke for your silly behavior. To balance the scale, I thought of sending this valentine.

Whoa! what a pleasant political balloon has gone up in the New Delhi air, carrying your name. An unsigned news report originating from New Delhi’s Indo Asian News Service (IANS), dated January 31, 2006, names you as a lead player of a newly budding party. To quote,

“Troubled by their inability to play a larger role in Sri Lankan politics, Tamil politicians opposed to the Tamil Tigers are joining hands to form a new political party. In all probability, the new outfit would be called the All Ceylon Tamil Liberation Party, according to Tamil sources in Colombo. Coming together to herald the venture are V.Anandasangaree of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), once Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party but now a poor shadow of its old self, the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOT) and the anti-LTTE faction of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)….”

Sangaree Senior, if this political balloon does fly in Colombo air, then it will prove again to the Eelam Tamils, that you have indeed perfected one skill shared by quite a number political scoundrels in South Asia; that of party hopping. Now, let me count the number of parties you have been associated with in your political career; Trotskyist Lanka SamaSamajist Party (LSSP), All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC), Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), a half-hearted handshake with the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), and now the All Ceylon Tamil Liberation Party (ACTLP).

Would the JHU Buddhist mullahs have thought of nominating you to the parliament through their National List in 2004 without even consulting you? If that announcement had been made without your consultation, then it shows how lightly the Buddhist mullahs thought of you as a true representative of Eelam Tamils. Think of a corollary, will you? Would the same Buddhist mullahs or representatives of any other Sinhalese party have bothered to even dream of nominating any one of your TULF President predecessors [S.J.V.Chelvanayakam, G.G.Ponnambalam, S. Thondaman and M. Sivasithamparam – while they were alive] on their party’s national list?

I’d suggest that the name of your new political horse, named All Ceylon Tamil Liberation Party, is a mouthful. Isn’t it that you wanted to have some threads to your warped political past? That’s why you have taken the ‘All Ceylon’ from your Tamil Congress days, and ‘Tamil Liberation’ from your so-called TULF days, and have merely added the tag ‘Party’ at the end. Eelam Tamils know well that (a) there is no de facto ‘All Ceylon’ now; (b) there will be no hearts of sincere Tamils in your new party; and (c) the word ‘Liberation’ is just a sham decoration. How about having a more pragmatic, simple name for your new political horse? For me, the name Rascals And Wobblers Party (acronymized as RAW party) sounds true to the origin, and it also honors the prospective patrons of the party properly. Please give some thought to my suggestion.

In the past two years, you have also strained yourself too hard to appear as a Man of Many Letters. Sangaree Senior, will you listen to me? Amongst Tamils, a talented few had distinguished themselves in this category of ‘Man of Letters.’ There was Professor M. Varadarajan, whose letters had class. There was C.N. Annadurai (Anna), whose letters inspired a generation or two. Even the current DMK leader M. Karunanidhi is indeed a Man of Letters, and in this role, his credentials are impressive. But, Sangaree Senior, you are no Varadarajan, no Anna and no Karunanidhi. It seems that you don’t have a clue about what a good letter does to its recipient/reader. First, letters have to be sincerely written from the heart; secondly, the message in the letters should have some worth; and last but not the least, letters should not serve as an overt propaganda schlock of the writer.

I have read from the Colombo press that, during the past two years, you have written to the Election Commissioner of Sri Lanka, LTTE leader Pirabhakaran, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, British prime minister Tony Blair and, lately, to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. By the way, have you received any replies from any of these busy individuals for your so-called letters?

I have a nasty feeling that these individuals have considered you a jobless crank. If such a thought had prevented them from sending replies to you, I cannot fault them, because some of your adopted steps are nauseating and insulting. First, a personal letter is meant to be read only by the recipient. Without the consent of the recipient, you cannot release what you have written to the press, for your own selfish glory. If it is released, what you have written is not a letter – but news release. Secondly, what you write should rhyme reasonably with ground realities in Eelam. If you indulge in writing fiction (that, too, bad fiction), please do not tag it as a ‘Letter.’ Muddy water cannot be passed off as honey, though it may be of the same color. By taste, smell and viscosity, tasters can easily distinguish the differences between the two liquids.

Perhaps I can clear your muddle-headed thinking by citing what one of my favorite American commentators, Andy Rooney, wrote on ‘Letter Writing.’

“A good letter is, in many ways, the exact opposite of a political speech. A politician addressing a crowd has to talk so broadly and generally about the issues in order not to offend any one of the thousands of people listening that he usually ends up saying nothing.” [source: ‘And More by Andy Rooney’, Atheneum, New York, 1982, pp.14-15]

Sangaree Senior, yes Andy Rooney is correct. What you have been passing off in your so-called ‘letters’ are nothing but political speeches. I presume that the ‘letters’ you have been scribbling and sending to various prominent individuals were intended as love letters. But, the problem with your letters is that, it seems that the intended recipients of your letters don’t even bother to open and read your letters in the first instance. Because, true love letters are not advertised to the press, not even mentioned to one’s mother, before the recipient gets them.

One last advice; you may be stepping into a gray zone and on the verge of being tarnished as a letter stalker. You know well that letter stalking is a crime. In the future, if you have any designs of sending your ‘letters’ to female political leaders, such as Sonia Gandhi and Hillary Clinton, I’d suggest, be cautious because they would only be irritated by your bombast and false chivalry.

Even though Eelam Tamils – men, women and children, all included – have deserted you, isn’t it somewhat of a consolation that you do have two sincere admirers among the Sinhalese women journalists/commentators? Tisaranee Gunasekara and Champika Liyanaarachchi (of Colombo's Daily Mirror), who contribute anti-LTTE tripe in abundance, have said good things about your vitality and political skills. At least you are sure of two votes in the future if you contest next time in Colombo. Certainly, two votes are better than zero, aren't they?

Oops, I forgot to mention another woman who seems enamored by you in Colombo; Honorable Nirupama Rao, the current Indian ambassador to Sri Lanka. But, technically, she cannot vote for you in a Sri Lankan election.

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