Posts Categorized: First Person

The War May Be Over But The Idea Lives On

Former Tamil MP Ponnambalam puts it simply: “I think it’s dangerous for us to think about what is possible. If we start thinking about that, it only means assimilation. We must stop talking Tamil, we must give up our religion. We must be Sinhalese and Buddhist.”

OVER AND above the geopolitics and domestic Tamil politics that directly affects India, the Sri Lankan Tamils’ story raises a disturbing question. Can the desperate and continuing plight of a people be explained away by terrorism alone? For now, more than 22 lakh Tamils within Sri Lanka and an estimated 10 lakh in the diaspora, are asking this universally perplexing question. As their story also serves as a warning to other displaced people without a nation — while the world and the UN plays a double game, your idea of nationhood could be the next to disappear.

But even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils.

Vidyananda’s Contribution to Vanni’s Education

I can clearly see a bright future for Vidyananda. The College Anthem refers to Vidyananda as: “Vanni Ninruyar Tharagai” which translates as: The Ascending Star in the Firmament of Vanni. We who take pride in our Adangapattu Heritage, in order to revive our ancient glory that is Vanni, must strengthen and enhance the status of Vidyananda College as the foremost Educational Institution in Vanni.

Travel Article on Jaffna

Sri Lanka, as It Heals from War Amy Karafin for The New York Times Clockwise from upper left, the Keerimalai spring, thought to have healing powers, used to require an armed guard for a visit; an island-bound ferry; the edge of the city of Jaffna; a detail from the Naguleswaram Shiva Temple, recently restored. As… Read more »

Vanni : A Personal Journey

The infrastructure in the North of Sri Lanka has been changed, and the intention is clear. Indeed, there is no need, and no attempt, to hide it. Everywhere, land is reserved for settlement by the army. In the past, the Vanni was able to cultivate sufficient paddy for the entire North; now I met famers turned into helpless beggars, waiting for rations doled by the army-controlled administration. In this area, property, houses and land once belonged to the people. Later, they were taken over and occupied by the LTTE. Now, they are the possession of the Army. I saw land near where my father-in-law lives which belongs to a close relation of ours. She lost her husband, and was delayed returning because she was alone. That land has simply been taken over by the army, and is being cultivated by them.

Survey: Sri Lanka’s LLRC Progress

Sri Lanka has long had a problem with disappearances. Accordingly, the LLRC sought to address this issue in its final report, which includes the following two recommendations:

Recommendation 9.46: Investigate allegations of abductions, enforced or involuntary disappearance; bring perpetrators to justice.
Recommendation 9.51: “…the Commission recommends that a Special Commissioner of Investigation be appointed to investigate alleged disappearances and provide material to the Attorney General to initiate criminal proceedings where appropriate.”

Yet the GoSL’s record on disappearances continues to be a concern. Appallingly, 25% of TSA survey respondents have had a family member disappear. And that individual was usually the principal incomer earner of the family.

What I Owe The People Of The Vanni

Despite all their suffering and deprivation during the war, the spirits and dignity of the people of the Vanni were resolute and indomitable. That spirit was infectious, and I felt for the first time that I could hold my head up proudly and not feel the indignity of a lesser class of citizenship in my own mother country.

Vanni : a Personal Journey

Heinrich Böll said of the Second World War: as long as the pus continues to drain from the wound of war, you cannot say the nation is free from war. I saw that, in Sri Lanka, an unseen war is still being waged, one that seeks to destroy the spirit of a people.

What I Owe the People of the Vanni

Despite all their suffering and deprivation during the war, the spirits and dignity of the people of the Vanni were resolute and indomitable. That spirit was infectious, and I felt for the first time that I could hold my head up proudly and not feel the indignity of a lesser class of citizenship in my own mother country…

There was always one thought in my mind: I was surely in God’s own country with God’s own people and I wished and hoped that I would be able to spend the rest of my mortal life here in the midst of these idyllic surroundings and people.

More Reader Participation on 1983 Riots

by Rajkumar Sivapatham, June 18, 2004 Dear Mr. Sabaratnam, I am a regular visitor to Sangam website to learn about the Tamil history on “Pirapaharan story.” I was encouraged by Mr. Bala’s e-mail and wish to contribute my part as well. From 1979 to December 1983, I was working at Browns Group at Darley Road,… Read more »

Feedback to Mr. Sabaratnam re July 1983

Pathirana Group helps Tamil Students Dear Mr. Sabaratnam, Thank you for writing Tamils History. As you have mentioned in your introduction I feel you are writing this biography without any bias. I also think you are the right person to write this biography. It is very important to write everything for our future generations. You… Read more »

The Children’s Homes of Tamil Eelam

by Rob Bloom, June 5, 2004 They were a focal point during my visit to Tamil Eelam, Sri Lanka and, as described in this article, I found the visits to be very fulfilling yet disconcerting at the same time.Prakash Rajasundram, our hosts, and I visited three Illams: they are named Kurukulam, Senth-Cholai, and Kantharuban Arevuchcholai.In… Read more »

VanniTech Trip Report

VanniTech Trip Report 04, February 2003 – 17, March 2004 By Jey Kumara Surier (Ex-President, Vanni Institute of Technology) Chief Technical Officer, ITTPO San Jose, California April 20, 2004 After spending 13 months and 13 days in Sri Lanka to implement the VanniTech project, I returned to the U.S. a few weeks ago. When ITTPO,… Read more »

Trip to Vanni, Section V Part II

by K. Mylvaganam; Tamil Circle, #3405, April 25, 2004 During my stay in Vanni I had the chance to visit several Institutions, each accommodating a different category of people. I shall describe a few of the “Illams” (houses) as they are called in my subsequent insertions. I have, in one of my earlier articles, made reference… Read more »

Vanni Trip, Section V, Part I

by K. Mylvaganam; Tamil Circle, published April 13, 2004 We are back in the wilderness of concrete blocks and polluted air from the heavenly atmosphere of Vanni. We had a wonderful time with our people there. The place we put up our house is surrounded with hundreds of our boys and girls from the LTTE. They… Read more »

Wedding & Law Convocation in Vanni

by K. Mylvaganam; Tamil Circle, #3360 and #3361, published March 9, 2004 We Attended An L.T.T.E. Wedding In Vanni I have heard of the weddings taking place among the L.T.T.E. cadre, but never had the chance to attend one. This was the first time I had the rare opportunity to attend one personally. While my wife… Read more »

Status of Healthcare in the Vanni

by a Sangam member; originally published December 14, 2003 Many of my friends and colleagues have traveled to NorthEast of the island of Sri Lanka since the ceasefire agreement was signed between the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka. There have been extensive reports of the destruction of 20 years of war, but none to… Read more »

The Present Call to American Tamils

by Father S.J. Emmanuel; originally published November 10, 2003 Keynote speech at the Sangam’s Annual General Meeting by Prof. Dr. S. J. Emmanuel Our Struggle forges ahead around a New Turning Point 1. I congratulate the Tamil Sangam for the successful completion of a quarter century of pioneer service, in bringing and building together a Diaspora community… Read more »

Vanni Trip, Section IV of Part III

by K. Mylvaganam; published November 3, 2003 I have visited Vanni thrice in the course one year. My first visit in September/October 2002 lasted for only two weeks. The second trip in January/February 2003 extended for four weeks and my last trip (May to September) gave me the opportunity to be there for four months. Actually… Read more »

Trip to Vanni, Section II of Part III

by K. Mylvaganam; published October 18, 2003 In my earlier insertion on the above subject I mentioned the development works taking place in Vanni. The worst affected areas are the roads in Vanni. All most all the roads are made of gravel except the main Kandy road that is now referred to as the A-9 road…. Read more »

Trip To Vanni – Section I of Part III

by K. Mylvaganam; published October 15, 2003 I have just returned after being in Vanni for four months. I have come back with mixed feelings. I am overjoyed by noting the positive changes and the peaceful atmosphere that is prevailing there but sad enough in noting the dreadful poverty prevailing among the people in Vanni. Since… Read more »