15 December, 2017

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A Tamil President In Sri Lanka

By Jagath Asoka

Dr. Jagath Asoka

I am writing this article to find out whether the Sinhala-Buddhists in Sri Lanka would elect a well-educated, suave, Sinhala-speaking Tamil—someone similar to Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar—as our President in Sri Lanka.  Whence comes this hatred; this mistrust? To an outsider, most Sri Lankans—unless your ancestors had intimate relations with the Europeans—look the same: dark-haired, dark-skinned, talkative curry-munchers. Sri Lankans do not hide their racist and bigoted remarks. Some of my friends have told me that they do not want their children to marry African Americans, Tamils, or Muslims. We always label Whites as racists, but what about Sri-Lankans: the proud members of our Sinhala-Buddhist clan and the forever-suffering Sri Lankan Tamils? Once upon a time there were Tamil-Buddhists in Sri Lanka. If we were to find out that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ancestors were Tamil-Buddhists, would our BBS zealots continue to support him? Relax! Mahinda is not a Moses-like figure. He is not going to take the Tamils and cross the Indian Ocean and settle down in Tamil Nadu. We have killed our Sri Lankan Tamil Hitler; where is our Sri Lankan Tamil Obama?  Would the Sri Lankans who support African American Obama, support a Tamil Obama in Sri Lanka?

Until Obama was elected in 2008, I never thought an African American would be President here in the USA; my feelings were based on my own experience that I had had in the Midwest while doing my graduate studies.  In 1992, one of my friends made a facetious remark: She said to me, “You are a sand-nigger.” Two months ago, I was having dinner with my Sri Lankan friends. A middle-aged Caucasian woman who was sitting at the adjacent table said, “These Blacks are so loud.” Thanks to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, a dark-skinned Sri Lankan like myself can go to any restaurant here in the USA, but it does not mean that I would get the same treatment as Caucasians. So who is worse, the lady who called us Blacks or the Sinhalese who do not want their children to marry African Americans, Tamils, or Muslims? I will let you figure that out.

We have killed Prabhakaran, his wife, and his children—I hope Prabhakaran did not have any children out of wedlock, because I do not want to see a movie similar to Da Vinci Code in 4000 CE. We have killed Prabhakaran, but have we killed the dream of Elam? If you are a Tamil, would you say that you have given up the dream of Elam?  Based on the events in our history, can we blame the Tamils for dreaming of an Elam?  The good thing about this website is that you can be anonymous and express your virulent, blistering opinions openly and honestly. I do not mind your poor syntax, but be gentle with your diction; nobody is going to send a white van to pick you up. So don’t worry; say whatever that comes to your mind, but be gentle with your words. I do not know anything about you, but my ten-year-old son reads your comments to me.

Recently, the Tamils cashed a check: Tamils elected Tamil politicians who are not associated with the ruling party or the leading opposition party in Sri Lanka—Sinhala Buddhists are the majority in both parties. So, if we were to hold a referendum, would the Tamils in Sri Lanka say no to Elam?

I have the luxury of asking questions because I do not live in Sri Lanka. I sincerely understand that people are scared to ask questions. Not only the hoi polloi but also our ex-ambassadors and intellectuals who live in Sri Lanka are scared, especially of the bogeyman that sends white vans to pick them up. People would openly mention names of virulent monks such as Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara thero, but they would not openly accuse Gotabhaya Rajapakse, let alone Mahinda Rajapaksa, even when they firmly believe and convinced that Gotabaya Rajapakse is the person who is behind their miseries and privation: Gotabaya Rajapakse, the man who can make you disappear in a jiffy. God, what has happened to our country? The current regime would have given Navi Pillay their white van treatment if they could have gotten away with it. Only the hapless get the white van treatment in Sri Lanka. I salute Navi Pillay for her courageous spirit. If I were Navi Pillay, I would come to the following conclusion: The current regime will always pretend to cooperate while using henchman to ridicule me—you can hire a henchman in Sri Lanka for less than ten dollars a day; all you need to do is to give them a bottle of local liquor and a packet of rice and curry, and they will even curse their own mothers and their children while eating milk-rice. I think our artists have to figure out a way to make fun of these untouchables in Sri Lanka: What is common to all dictators is that they hate parody, because they think it makes them appear namby-pamby.

When you read or listen to people, pay attention to what they avoid. They have a tendency to circumambulate and avoid mentioning certain names and events. Basically when people talk, they talk about four things; these are the Four Noble Truths of our verbal and oral communication: Ignorance, Malice, Pride, and Love.  When you read this article you will find that every statement that I have made comes under these four categories as well; every comment that you are going to make comes under the same four categories as well. If you were to combine pride and love, the Four Noble Truths of communication becomes the Holy Trinity of communication: Ignorance, Malice, and Pride.

My dear BBS zealots, stop treating our scurrilous politicians as if they were salvific figures, like the Buddha, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. Dayasiri is a good example in our recent politics.  What Dayasiri did was an anathema to people who would sacrifice their lives to keep their promises. What was the impetus? Is it money or the greed for power? Our politicians would say anything to get votes. Mahinda Rajapaksa declared Prabhakaran a hero; Wigneswaran added another adjective and called Prabha, a mahaveera (a great hero). People do not sell their souls for nothing. Remember, Judas did it for 30 shillings.

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Imagine if Sinhalese were the majority in India, then there would have always been a Sinhalese President. Every other ethnic groups would have been discriminated against.There would be no Chief Ministers. Sinhala only policy in India!

    • 2
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      Ragavan,

      Well said

  • 1
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    Thank you Jagath for writing this article. But I fear that unfortunately, the ultimate view of Sri Lanka being a “Sinhala Buddhist State” sets the precedence and nullifies all such attempts at discourse for racial and religious harmony. Even prominent figures I personally admire and oppose BBS extremism, and talk of SL as a country tolerant of other races and religions seem to still insist that the ultimate umbrella that is held over the country is one of “Sinhala Buddhist”.
    Therein lines the problem. If you are a Sinhala Buddhist, it is engraved in you to have a sense of entitlement to the country. There is nothing wrong with that but it should be for being Sri Lankan. Not for being a Sinhala Buddhist. What other Sri Lankans that gets marginalized by just that statement “Sinhala Buddhist State” which is so prevalent in the tongues of the current set of leaders?
    Myself, like Jagath reside outside of Sri Lanka and can see things from a distance. I know that when you live in Sri Lanka, you go about your business and don’t see that things are so bad when it comes to racial disharmony or such issues. People of different ethnic groups live together just fine. But the sad truth of the matter is that it is not all fine. My children, and Jagath’s children will have a better chance in becoming leaders of our respective countries that we now call home than someone that is not a “Sinhala Buddhist” becoming the leader of Sri Lanka. At least those racial and religious boundaries doesn’t quite exist here on principle.
    In closing, it boggles my mind that defence.lk would publish articles by people like Shenali Waduge (who writes articles almost exclusively with a certain degree of Sinhala entitlement that I spoke of earlier):
    http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=If_Tamils_can_live_in_the_South_why_20130822_04
    Which in my humble opinion is a hateful rant, and laughable as she dates Sinhala Buddhists back 120,000 years in Sri Lanka.
    It boggles my mind as to the direction the leaders of Sri Lanka are taking SL as their views are quite clear through the material they present through their official channels.

  • 0
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    I just have one question from all the Sinhala Buddhist lunatics if one if you can answer i would appreciate it, Which part of the two words Sinhala Buddhists belongs to Sri Lanka from what i know the word sinhala came from Wijaya singha The guy was banished from India and came over here and you know his history…..and Lord Buddha is from India as well ,( Wijaya….the guy married a sri lankan women kicked her out and married a Indian women, the children which he has with the sri lanakn women are waddas…so we re from completely of Indian blood, as well not don’t forget he was banished and a convict so what can you expect from Sinhalese except this behavior)

    …..when lord buddha came before Wijaya who were here sinhalese???? In ramayana who is Rawena? as well i don’t get it can guy in kandy get to Colombo before a guy in Kaleniya??? so south India is closer to SL than The north so if any one knows numbers and can count i guess they know the answer….

    • 0
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      Well said Roshan. Sri Lanka has a rich and wonderful history that dates back more than two millennia. But these people would like to have everyone believe it solely belongs to the Sinhala Buddhist. Indian settlers, indigenous tribes, Muslim traders, European conquerors to name a few… have all contributed to the Sri Lankan DNA. Anyone that tries to believe otherwise is kidding themselves or simply delusional. Celebrate the diversity that makes up Sri Lanka as it has always existed!

  • 0
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    Thank you Jagath for an excellent and very illuminating expose.
    All too often, we highlight the minute differences between our two cultures, rather than building on the commonalities that can bind us together. Well, in hind sight, we never fought for our independence as one people, and now we ‘reap what we have sowed.’ Opportunists, racists and the greedy have filled that void since 1948. What a tragedy!

  • 0
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    What the writer of this article writes and proposes is very correct. And for a Tamil to come to lead the country has to be a long process. First there must be restoration of democracy, establishment of value system, subduction of racism and emergence of Sri Lankan identity, building of trust, confidence and mutual respect among ethnicities and many more… When this ground is firmly established there would come a time in our future generations era where they would venture out to engage in such a system. Our responsibility is to get rid of the racist and destructive Rajapaksha criminal regime and restore true democracy in the country by electing Ranil Wickramasinghe as the leader of the country. Anyone else, I guarantee the total destruction of the country like under MARA.

  • 0
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    Dr Asoka,
    You are not a Sri Lankan citizen any more, why are you still….concerned about my country?
    Do you feel alien and unwanted……

    We in Sri Lanka:
    Have eliminated the terrorists(ELAM).
    In the process of developing the country.
    Will take care and preserve all cultures, religions and traditions of the country.
    And one day your son can come to my country and find total tranquility…

  • 0
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    This topic should be: A LOW CAST TAMIL PRESIDENT IN SRL LANKA??
    My question to all high cast Tamils?? Can you be under a low cast Tamil president in SRI LANKA??

    • 0
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      Oh right.. the Sinhalese doesn’t dwell on Caste system do they? That must be why except for Mr. Premadasa, all others hail from govigama caste. Or have you not had a look at the proposals section on your local news paper to see what’s important to people other than race and religion?
      Ignorance and prejudice is a pretty common among all races. As soon as someone starts pointing the finger outwards, more often than not, the problem is within.

  • 0
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    Disgusting.

    Even India didn’t have a Tamil prime minister. The president is a puppet in India. Even Malaysia didn’t have a Tamil prime minister.

    Why SL? NO WAY! Go to hell.

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