Thirty one (31) years ago on July 24, 1983 Sinhalese mobs executed an orgy of violence that surpassed all other previous pogroms executed in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1979 and 1981.
The events of July 1983 are poignant for the entire Thamil population around the world. Between July 24 and 29, Thamils were systematically targeted with violence in Colombo and many other parts of Sri Lanka.
The pogrom was a backlash by Sinhalese extremists following the mass funeral of 13 Sinhalese soldiers killed in an ambush on the previous day in Jaffna by members of the Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam (LTTE). In a deliberate attempt to inflame racial passions the GOSL gave wide publicity to the killings by televising, broadcasting and publishing the news. On the contrary the reprisal killings in execution style of innocent Thamils went unreported in contrast to the wide publicity given to the killing of the 13 soldiers in Jaffna.
Below is a synopsis of how the 1983 riots unfolded with all its fury:
Sri Lankan Governments officials categorized the violence as uncontrollable race riots instigated by the killing of 13 Sinhala soldiers on the night of July 23. However, history and the course of events during Black July illustrate the Sri Lankan Government’s undeniable involvement in the genocidal acts against Thamils.
July 24 (Day 1): At 1 o’clock in the morning of July 24, the army rounded up hundreds of Thamils in Trincomalee, Mannar, and Vavuniya in the Northeast who had fled the anti-Thamil riots of 1977 and 1981. These Thamils were forcibly taken and left without possessions in the central hills.
Before the riots broke out in Colombo, the army in Jaffna went on rampage in Jaffna. According to the report of the Presidential Truth Commission on Ethnic Violence (1981 – 1984) the army in Jaffna, in revenge for the killing of the 13 soldiers, killed 10 Thamil civilians on Sunday, 24 July 1983. By the evening, the number rose to 51 reprisal killings of Thamil civilians. They were all random killings just opening fire at the whims and fancy of marauding army personnel.
Evidence was placed before the Commission that if the news of these reprisals had been published, the riots may have been avoided. But incredibly, the country’s media went silent on the fact that 51 (Thamil civilians) had already been killed in response to the killing of the 13 Sinhalese soldiers.
In Trincomalee, similar violence broke out as members of the Navy randomly shot at civilians and burnt down Thamil property.
In the evening in Colombo, the state funeral was organized for the soldiers. Thousands of people arrived at the cemetery but the bodies failed to appear. After waiting several hours, the crowd objecting the burial in Kanatte demanded the bodies to be returned to the next of kin. As the large crowd began to leave the grave, a new group of people (identified as government gangs) entered the Borella junction and raised anti–Thamil slogans. As the anti-government cry subsided and anti-Thamil cries became dominant, arson and murdering of Thamils broke out.
July 25 (Day 2): After the midnight lull, mobs were led by people with voter registration lists in hand torched Thamil homes, looted and destroyed Thamil businesses. All traffic was searched, and any Thamils found were killed, maimed, or burned alive. Cyril Mathew, Minister of Industries, was seen directly pinpointing shops to be burned down.
In Colombo, Sinhalese thugs armed with electoral lists and led by Buddhist monks in yellow robes burnt and looted Thamil homes, business and industrial establishments under the very nose of the armed forces. Thamil civilians were hunted down like dogs and killed. Children were thrown into burning cauldron of tar barrels. Clouds of smoke from burning Thamil homes blackened Colombo skies and soon the violence spread to other cities and towns.
Although, policemen were deployed throughout the city they tacitly stood and watched the unfolding mayhem. Witnesses recall lorry loads of armed troops leisurely waving to looters who waved greetings back. Curfew was only declared by the President late in the afternoon after the worst was over. However, the violence continued unabated. Tens of thousands of Thamils, who were homeless, sought refugee in schools and places of worship.
In Welikada prison, 35 Thamil political prisoners who were awaiting trial under the Prevention of Terrorism Act were massacred by Sinhalese prisoners with the complicity of jail guards using improvised spikes, clubs and iron rods.
The violence spread rapidly throughout the country, engulfing towns like Gampaha, Kalutura, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya and Trincomalee. One town was completely wiped out – the Indian Thamil town of Kandapola, near Nuwara Eliya.
July 26 (Day 3): Government imposed strict censorship of media reporting on the anti-Thamil violence. Word spread of Sri Lanka’s state of disorder as eye witness accounts and photographs taken by returning tourists illustrated the scale of violence. They described how Thamil motorists were dragged out of their vehicles and hacked to pieces while others were drenched with petrol and set alight in full view of the security forces. The International Airport in Colombo was closed. The violence spread to the country’s second largest city Kandy on 26 July. By 2.45pm Delta Pharmacy on Peradeniya Road was on fire. Soon afterwards a Thamil owned shop near the Laksala building was set on fire, and the violence spread to Castle Street and Colombo Street. The police managed to get control of the situation but an hour later a mob armed with petrol cans and Molotov cocktails started attacking Thamil shops on Castle Street, Colombo Street, King’s Street and Trincomalee Street. The mob then moved on to nearby Gampola. A curfew was imposed in Kandy District on the evening of 26 July.
In Trincomalee false rumours started spreading that the LTTE had captured Jaffna, the Karainagar Naval Base had been destroyed and that the Naga Vihara had been desecrated. Sailors based at Trincomalee Naval Base went on a rampage, attacking Central Road, Dockyard Road, Main Street and North Coast Road. The sailors started 170 fires before returning to their base. The Sivan Hindu temple on Thirugnasambandan Road had been attacked.
July 27 (Day 4): 18 more prisoners at Welikada Prison were hacked to death just two days after the prison massacre. Their bodies were piled before the statue of Buddha inside the prison. A total of surviving 36 political prisoners were transferred to other prisons. Rioting continued and the curfew was extended. Witnesses of the violence reported that charred and mutilated corpses of Thamil victims lined the streets of Colombo. In the Central Province the violence spread to Nawalapitiya and Hatton. Badulla, the largest city in neighbouring Uva Province, had so far been peaceful. At around 10.30am on 27 July a Thamil owned motorcycle was set on fire in front of the clock tower in Badulla. Around midday an organised mob went through the city’s bazaar area, setting shops on fire. The rioting then spread to the city’s residential areas where the homes of many Thamils were burnt down. The mob then left the city in vans and buses they had stolen and headed for Bandarawela, Hali-Ela and Welimada where they set properties on fire. The riot had spread to Lunugala by nightfall.
July 28 (Day 5): Vigilantes set up make-shift roadblocks in villages across the island, searched cars and buses for Thamil passengers. In one incident, a Sinhalese mob burnt to death about 20 Thamils on a minibus as European tourists looked on in horror.
After remaining mute and deaf for 5 days President J.R. Jayewardene appeared on television and addressed the nation for the first time since the outbreak of the anti-Thamil pogrom. His speech poured oil into the fire or rubbed salt into the wounds inflicted on Thamil civilians. He fanned the flames of anti-Thamil sentiments by stating that legislation would be brought before Parliament to bar political parties that espouse separation from entering the Legislature and to deprive members of such parties of their civic rights:
‘We are very sorry that this step should be taken. But I cannot see, and my Government cannot see, any other way by which we can appease the natural desire and request of the Sinhala people to prevent the country being divided, and to see that those who speak for division are not able to do so legally.’ There was no remorse and no apology to the victims of the violence from the head of state. On the contrary Jayewardene brazenly justified the orgy of violence by declaring that the attacks were “not a product of urban mobs but a mass movement of the generality of the Sinhalese people.” and that “the time had come to accede to the clamour and the national respect of the Sinhalese people to prevent the country from being divided.”
J.R. Jayewardene made good on the promise to bring in legislation to bar political parties that espouse separation. The 6th Amendment was passed on August 03, 1983. The Amendment outlawed support for a separate state within Sri Lanka and required all Members of Parliament to take an oath of allegiance “to the unitary state” of Sri Lanka.
July 29 (Day 6): Wild rumours started spreading around Colombo that the army was engaged in a battle with the Thamil Tigers. Panicking workers fled in any mode of transport they could find. Mobs started gathering in the streets, armed with axes, bricks, crow bars, iron rods, kitchen knives and stones, ready to fight the Tigers. The Tigers never came so the mobs turned their attention to fleeing workers. Vehicles were stopped and searched for Thamils. Any Thamil they found were attacked and set on fire.
A Thamil was burnt alive on Kirula Road. Eleven Thamils were burnt alive on Attidiya Road. The police found an abandoned van on the same road which contained the butchered bodies of two Thamils and three Muslims.
Thamils in Colombo began evacuating by cargo ship to the Northern city of Jaffna. Hundreds more internally displaced persons waited anxiously for the next cargo ship to transport them to Jaffna.
July 30 (Day 7): Violence was reported in Nuwara Eliya, Kandapola, Hawa Eliya and Matale on 30 July. But elsewhere violence began to subside. That night the government banned three left-wing political parties – Communist Party of Sri Lanka, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and Nava Sama Samaja Party – scape coating them for inciting the riots. The banning of the JVP led to another armed uprising between 1987 and 1989.
The orgy of violence continued till August 03, 1983. Although, the Government claimed that the attack on Thamil civilians was a spontaneous backlash by ordinary Sinhalese, but the scale and intensity of the killing sprees belied that claim. There were at least 3 powerful cabinet ministers seen instigating the violence. Some Sinhalese did risk their lives to save Thamil neighbours and friends from the marauding mobs, but the overwhelming majority just looked on.
The 11 days of unmitigated violence propelled Sri Lanka into an era of war and destruction that lasted for 24 years, costing 140,000 lives or more and leaving the economy of the North and East in tatters.
About 3,000 (official estimates 358) lives were lost and more than a 100,000 (75 per cent of them from Colombo) were rendered homeless and ended up in refugee camps. More than 100,000 fled to neighbouring India as refugees. Several thousands more fled the country seeking refuge in the West, including Canada. In sheer scale and intensity the Black July pogrom surpassed all previous pogroms in 1956, 1958, 1977 and 1979.
Thamils fearing persecution by the state on grounds of ethnicity and religion fled the country in droves. They sought refuge in countries like Canada, Europe, Australia and the U.S. The exodus resulting in a million strong Thamil Diaspora perceived by the Sri Lankan government as terrorists and sympathizers of the defeated LTTE. Even after the end of a bloody war in May, 2009 Thamils continue feeling to Australia in boats where they are intercepted and arrested by the Australian Navy in mid-seas.
Today, Northern and Eastern provinces are under the occupation of the armed forces. Sixteen out of 20 Divisions are deployed in the North (14) and East (2). In addition there are 2 Task Forces one each in Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu. The demand by Thamils to withdraw the army of occupation or reduce its presence substantially has gone unheeded.
The government after much pressure held elections to the Northern Province in September 2013. But the Council with a Sinhalese Retd. Army Major General as executive Governor remains largely dysfunctional. A cold war is going on between the Chief Minister and Council on one side and the executive Governor on the opposite side. As a consequence there are two parallel administrations one under the executive Governor and the other under the Chief Minister. In fact there are three, if we include the Government Agent, Jaffna district.
Black July 83 saw the parting of the ways irrevocably by the Sinhalese and the Thamils politically and psychologically. Since then, the polarization between the Thamils and the Sinhalese has remained antagonistic and the divide widened, especially after Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office as president in 2005.
The one positive outcome of the Black July pogrom is the rise of Thamil militancy and Thamil nationalism and the demand for an independent state. Though the armed struggle by the LTTE has been defeated, the causes which led to it in the first place remain unresolved.
Last month, there was a repeat of Black July in a miniature form in Aluthgama, Beruwela, Dharka Town and Panandura. This time the target was not Thamils but Muslims who through out the war years supported fully the government war efforts against the LTTE. Now the Muslims believe the latest attack on Muslim homes and businesses is government backed. In fact, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Representative in Geneva blamed Muslim extremists for starting the riots. Further attacks on Muslims cannot be ruled out going by past experience.
As was the case in 1983, one of the main objectives for the attacks is to destroy the emerging economic clout of the Muslim community.
Tamodaya / July 19, 2014
Unfortunately some Tamils are again begging for another 1983.
What started in 1983 ended in 2009 in victory.
Javi / July 19, 2014
It’s JT’s village jackals using Colombo as a spring board for their terror tactics.
The west opened doors for colombo but 80% went from north east- ask karuna.
Colombo has never needed these village bigots.
It’s stupidity and venom trying it over and over again to start off with drug and arms smuggling and again.
Citizen of Sri Lanka / July 19, 2014
You, d**b id**t Tamodaya, What started on 1983 ended in 2009 in TOTAL LOSE to the whole of our motherland. It all started with/by the narrow minded politician of the country and ended by the most corrupt family oriented regime run government of the day, who they do not see other than Money/cash/favour/ benefit all unto them.
The ordinary people of the country has LOST for generation to come.
PLEASE WAKE UP FROM YOUR SELF INDUCED SLUMBER.
jansee / July 20, 2014
Nothing can beat the begging of Mahinda mama. He begged with Ban Ki Moon and today he is desperately “shooting” blanks on all sides, hoping to get at least one target but almost everything has eluded him. What started as a farce humanitarian operation in 2009 has now landed on the lap of the UNHRC which has slapped Mahinda so hard that he is gasping for breath. Are you still going to talk your stories or seriously thinking of helping him?
Spring Koha / July 19, 2014
These remain the darkest days in the history of our much vaunted ‘civilisation’. Every Sri Lankan who lived through those times should hang their heads in shame. JR for all his braggadocio was a prisoner of his own making. Those who witnessed his ‘leadership’ will remember his pathetic countenance when it became clear that his orders were being ignored by his own evil coterie who had been waiting for an excuse to wreak havoc on our Tamil brethren. The saddest part of all is that we as a people have not learnt from our recent history. Today, just as it was in 1983, there are evil people about, determined to visit mayhem and misery on yet another helpless minority. Whither the next black month?
Ram / July 19, 2014
A passing reference to the trigger event is almost insolent. Remember that it was a similar BUT lesser event, the death of one mere mortal, that led to WW2.
Ram / July 19, 2014
The Aluthgama event is also mentioned, with not even a cursory reference to the trigger events, NOW well known.
jansee / July 20, 2014
Oh boy, are you so insolent that you can’t even mention the butchering of more than 70,000 sinhala youths butchered by your regime??
Marwan / July 19, 2014
This writer states ‘Muslims who through out the war years supported fully the government war efforts against the LTTE’. The fact is they were attacked from both sides and were trapped in-between. They were displaced nay expelled from their homes in Jaffna and all of the northern areas to leave within 24 hrs. with nothing but their basic clothes and Rs. 50/=. Their personal wealth, jewelleries, land ownership documents were all confiscated at exit point guard posts set up for the purpose, and the Muslims felt lucky just to get away with their lives. When you paint the picture, paint it in the right perspective if you want to be considered seriously. Simply painting only one side of the picture – portraying Thamils as the sole victims of the violence whilst blaming Muslims for being anti-Thamil is not the way to go.
Another oft neglected part is the language barrier which was a real disadvantage for both parties to the conflict. The government military intelligence forces were persecuting Muslims accusing them of being in league with LTTE, supporting and providing logistical support to them, simply due to their lack of understanding of the Tamil language. The SL forces were clueless at that time and it worked to their disadvantage. Subsequently a bright spark suggested using Muslims as part of their intelligence team network to eavesdrop and intercept LTTE communications and it was then that the SL army was able to militarily break the back of the LTTE forces. After which those same Muslim officers either got killed in action or were simply purged. So there was a price that Muslims too paid to bring peace to this country. It is only now that army forces personnel are put thru their paces to learn the Tamil language as part of their army training.
Native Vedda / July 19, 2014
Here is another opportunity for you to rewrite history.
The 1983 riots against Tamils through out the island were committed by LTTE, TULF, Amirthalingam, ………….
Naga / July 19, 2014
Polarised Tamils are pro-LTTE diaspora well-to-do Tamils like you who by using all devious means made it to the western countries and now lead comfortable lives. Not the poor and unfortunate Tamils who were left behind. With the funding from the diaspora Tamils, LTTE carried on an unwinnable war and those Tamils left behind faced the consequences.
Those Tamils left in Sri Lanka are now able to live a life without much fear unlike in the period before May 2009. I do not think these Tamils are polarized against the Sinhalese. Among the Tamils who continue to make Sri Lanka home, only the TNA leaders are trying to show to the outside world that they are polarized. Even that is not real but only a show.
It is true that 1983 riots were engineered by Sinhala communal elements both within and outside the then government. It is also true that there was no apology from any Sri Lankan government in power for the death and destruction caused to the Tamils in the 1983 riots. But, one must not forget that the armed struggle of the Tamils youths that was triggered by the 1983 riots caused enough grief to the ordinary Sinhalese that thereafter the Sinhalese never resorted to another race riot like the one in 1983. None of the Sinhala communal forces could instigate another riot even in the face of constant LTTE bombings and mayhem. The Katunayake airport attack, Central Bank bombings, attack on Dalada Maligawa and other Buddhist places worships, and various other attacks targeting Sinhalese civilians did not lead to any mass scale Sinhalese uprising against Tamils. In that context,it is absurd for you to say that Sinhalese and Tamils are still polorised. Sinhalese and Tamils will be living like brothers and sisters if not for communal politicians from both sides and for people like you who are still wanting revenge on the Sinhalese for what happened 30 years ago.
Now, do not shed crocodile tears for Muslims and say that they faced a mini 1983 riots in Aluthgama. There were several such communal attacks between the Muslims and Tamils in the Eastern Province in the past. Aluthgama incidents are similar to these communal tensions between the Tamils and Muslims. Muslim leaders are part of this government and they are dealing with the problems of their people. None of them left the government or called for armed uprising.Government has now managed to bring the situation under control and had tried to cool frayed tempers. Unlike you stupid Jaffna Tamils, Muslims will not take up arms against the government. They know how to play the government and get all concessions they want. Your Prabaharan and the LTTE committed ethnic cleansing against the Muslims. You say that Muslims throughout the war years supported fully the government war efforts against the LTTE. They supported the war efforts against the LTTE because LTTE was engaged in ethnic cleansing of Muslims. They had to seek protection from the government and government forces. What else could they have done in the face of attacks from an organisation that had an Army, Navy, Air Force and Police and was running the writ in Northern and Eastern provinces?
You are saying that today, Northern and Eastern provinces are under the occupation of the armed forces. Yes, armed forces continue to remain there because LTTE is not dead. Diaspora Tamils are trying to revive the armed struggle and make the hapless Tamils youths in Northern and Eastern provinces as cannon fodder while they send their sons and daughters to the best universities in the west to make them doctors and engineers. Presence of the Sri Lankan armed forces in north and east is necessary to nip in the bud any attempts to rearm and wage another stupid war for their stupid Tamil Eelam.
I sorry to see that Colombo Telegraph provides a forum for diaspora Tamils like you who are constantly trying to destablize Sri Lanka and make the lives of its people miserable. Why do you people still harp on the 1983 riots when LTTE had avenged those misdeeds several times over? The facts of 1983 riots and what happened afterwards are known to all Sri Lankans. It is an unfortunate history that is better forgotten. You do not need to write paragraphs after paragraphs about known facts of those dark days. Why do you people still continue to make noises about those dark days? I escaped death during that time. I harbour no grudge against any Sinhalese for that. Sinhalese have learnt the lessons from those riots. All Sri Lankans have also learnt lessons from what followed after those riots. It is time for reconciliation and re-building. The present impasse over Sinhalese-Tamil relations should be broken. Consensual solutions for the problems of the Tamils should be found internally. The so-called international community will not and cannot deliver the solution the Tamils want. TNA leaders who won the overwhelming support of the Tamils should not be running after Jayalalitha,Modi, Navaneethan Pillai,or Michele Sison to solve the problems of the Tamils. Now that Mahinda Rajapakse has again invited them to participate in the Parliamentary select committee process they should attend and see whether anything will come out of it. TNA has captured Northern Provincial government and instead of engaging in blame game they should work it for the benefit of the Tamil people. They should try to do whatever they can with the existing powers before asking for more powers. The so-called international community including India will not get them anything beyond the Provincial Councils. The problem with the TNA is that they are holding on to the tails of the Tigers and cannot let go.
S.Mahendra / July 20, 2014
“None of the Sinhala communal forces could instigate another riot even in the face of constant LTTE bombings and mayhem. The Katunayake airport attack, Central Bank bombings, attack on Dalada Maligawa and other Buddhist places worships, and various other attacks targeting Sinhalese civilians did not lead to any mass scale Sinhalese uprising against Tamils……”
This is for the simple reason that the LTTE took to arms and any civilian
(Sinhalaese or Tamil) protests was engulfed in danger and unwise. This
regime used VP tactics even to control its Mahanayakes when needed!!
Come July, the victims cannot be brushed aside, specially with the attitude of the present Regime that treats Tamils most inhumanely. They keep rubbing the wounds with salt at every turn, as the saying goes.
Nathan / July 20, 2014
Naga, It is not my intention to defend Veluppillai Thangavelu. I haven’t read his article. I have no time for him. I don’t read what he writes. But, I could argue against some of the positions that you have taken.
You say, ‘The Tamils who continue to make Sri Lanka home overwhelmingly supported the TNA’. You also say, ‘TNA leaders are trying to show to the outside world that ‘they’ are polarized’.
Why would Tamils have voted overwhelmingly for TNA who as you claim are deceptive?
Here is a little snippet that you let leak: ‘you stupid Jaffna Tamils’.
Let me ignore your adjective for the time being. I am a Jaffna Tamil. I am proud to be one. I am happy that you are not one!
The Tamil masses see where reason lies. Not you. You cannot see reason for whatever gains you have in mind.
You say, ‘It is true that 1983 riots were engineered by Sinhala communal elements both within and outside the then government. It is also true that there was no apology from any Sri Lankan government in power for the death and destruction caused to the Tamils’.
But, I haven’t heard you being vehement against any government. Go after the government. Let poor TNA alone.
You say that LTTE carried on an unwinnable war. You are wise. After LTTE has lost the battle, it is easy to say that!
When did you realise that it was unwinnable? Were you not one of those Tamils who contributed to that loss?
You say that those Tamils left behind faced the consequences. I hate to agree. But, I do. At the same time, would you admit that you contributed to those consequences.
Native Vedda / July 20, 2014
“Here is a little snippet that you let leak: ‘you stupid Jaffna Tamils’”
As far as I know the entire Tamil population of this island is a stupid lot like their Sinhala/Buddhist brethren.
Give me one example which could illustrate Tamils and their brethren Sinhala/Buddhists were/are not stupid at all.
“I am a Jaffna Tamil. I am proud to be one.”
Why are you so proud of being a stupid Tamil? Pathetic.
“You say that LTTE carried on an unwinnable war. You are wise. After LTTE has lost the battle, it is easy to say that!”
Time and again few of us said it was an unwinnable war not because Sri Lankan armed forces were tough but because as observed Tamils were too stupid to know they are indeed stupid and they didn’t have any friends.
Nathan / July 20, 2014
Native Vedda, It looks like we might have to go back and forth on this exchange. I don’t like it for a bit. But, let me just make a point or two. I hope that you don’t prolong the exchange just for the sake of exhibiting your wisdom.
LTTE was the creation of history, not an individual. I do not blame any individual for the birth of LTTE. But, its death is a different story.
This position of mine may be unwinnable with you and others like you. But, I would fight. Yes, you fight when you have to, winnable or not. The outcome is secondary.
Why LTTE lost is too long a story for this space. However, those Tamils who watched it idly also contributed to that defeat. No honourable man would have stood idly waiting by for justice to be served.
Criticizing LTTE is not wrong. Criticising the struggle is.
Now that LTTE is dead, let us pick up the pieces to make Tamils live. Calling Tamils stupid is not the right approach.
Tamils are not stupid. Tamils are ignorant, selfish, and many other, but not stupid. Choose the adjective that fits you.
In your estimation the whole country is stupid. That includes you and me. I am in no mood to protest. You shouldn’t too.
You would recall that I said, ‘Let me ignore your adjective for the time being’. I would hold on to that even though you tempt me out of it.
I am sad that you thought it fit to challenge my stand, “I am a Jaffna Tamil. I am proud to be one.”.
Every man ought to be proud of his heritage. If you are not one, I feel sorry for you.
Thank you, for the opportunity.
Native Vedda / July 21, 2014
“I hope that you don’t prolong the exchange just for the sake of exhibiting your wisdom.”
If I were a wise man I wouldn’t waste my time arguing with a Jaffna Tamil. As often in the past once again I reiterate I am bit thick. There are those who have made home in CT would vouched for it. Again as a Jaffna Tamil your pride has blinded you from seeing how thick I am. Like most of the readers and writers I love talking to myself. Please do ignore me.
“LTTE was the creation of history,”
My Elders have made this observation many many moons ago and I myself have repeated the same several time while I have been talking to myself or typing comments for my own joy.
The issue was not the historical reason for the origin of struggle against Sinhala/Buddhists state but how that was perverted by one person the psychopath VP. The fundamental question the Tamils from Jaffna should ask themselves is why did they allow the psychopath work tirelessly for the preservation and strengthening of Sinhala/Buddhist undemocratic state, Hindia, the West, …. but not for the people of this island.
“But, I would fight. Yes, you fight when you have to, winnable or not. The outcome is secondary.”
Yes of course very philosophical. However I remember a gem of a quote from my Elders which I like to share with a proud Jaffna Tamil “Live to fight another day”. You will have to first live if you wish to continue your struggle not allowing your supposed enemy to butcher you lock, stock, and barrel in a confined space.
Jaffna Tamils seem still living in a Chola’s feudal system in a caste concious, hierarchical society which never aspire to contribute to a rational civilisation (reconnaissance). Hence a war lord was accorded prominence and unchallenged by Jaffna Tamils who sent their children to safe havens while the unfortunates were forced to fight for the pride of Jaffna Man.
How unfortunate the Tamils are.
I am not finished with the Jaffna man.
“Every man ought to be proud of his heritage. If you are not one, I feel sorry for you.”
What is your heritage? Like your Sinhala/Buddhist brethren you too have been suffering from illusion.
Please feel free to ignore me.
Nathan / July 21, 2014
This exchange may be a pastime for you; certainly not for me. In good conscience, I wish to avoid making a mockery of it.
Uthungan / July 20, 2014
“You say the LTTE carred on an an unwinnabe war because people like Naga contributed to the loss”.
Include me too as a Jaffna Tamil on that pointt , and llet me tell you that the regime that those of us living in the island unlike you abroad are experiencing the same LTTE regimentation which you are hankering after,
So why not come and joi
AVB / July 20, 2014
Sinhala Naga, (you cannot be a decedent of Lanka Nagas, you must be DownSouth new Sinhalese)
For you Sinahla Naga again “LTTE is not dead” and not defeated. Your king and GR, Peris used to say they defeated LTTE by killing and murdering Tamils. What happened to that story… .. You also say “Tamil left SL, live comfortably in West now”… Why don’t you say that Tamils we CHASED away from Lanka now live peacefully in West BUT those Tamils could not forgive or forget terror they experience before they were forced out … and cannot forget their Mamas & Nandas left behind living in fear surrounded and ruled by Sinhalese Army…
For you type Sinhalese, Tamil Eelam is stupid… because British people made federal governing system to manage whole Lanka and handed over to all all Lankan… Then Stupid Sinhalese like you, first chased away Burgers from Lanka because they were part of federal governing processes British made, Sinhalese were envy about burger successes , then Sinhalese chased away Tamils from federal system for the same reason, now these stupids try to chase away Muslims from Lanka… So you stupid Sinhalese want keep sending your mothers and sisters as slaves, maids to Muslim Middle East and donate all those foreign earned dollars to your new royal princes to buy sports cars and do drag racing cities….
S.Mahendra / July 19, 2014
Mr. V. Thagavelu: I was a victim of the the 1983 riots and resident in
Deraniyagala. Your records for the 29th July, 1983 must include the murder
of 9 Jaffna Tamil Merchants at Deraniyagala Town by a raid of armed
individuals from outside. 3 of us from a neighbouring Estate walked 22 miles
at nightfall to reach Parakaduwa in the morning and were rescued by Eheliyagoda Police to be encamped at a Ratnapura Koivl, where news reached us that my son aged 20+ was stabbed & burnt alive.
I am now a part of the State-created Diaspora in Europe – Thank God.
Backlash / July 19, 2014
The Sinhala hero who caused the killings and mayhem on Tamils in the Colombo District was Gamini Dissanayaka’s favourite goon in robes – the racialist mobster Elle Gunawansa. This same rascal was used by the Rajapakses to go to Kandy and threaten the Mahanayakas that rivers of blood of Sinhala monks will flow in Kandy if that Great Meeting of the Maha Sangha – against the Rajapakse Govt – was held. This was about 4 years ago. The Mahanayakas caved in.
alimankada pamankada / July 20, 2014
Was Elle Gunawanse one of those who benefitted from the Mahaveli riches?
Tamodaya / July 20, 2014
What started in July 1983 ended in May 2009 victory.
Truth to be told.
ramona therese fernando / July 20, 2014
Sinhala-Buddhist race must apologize to the poor Thamils who suffered greatly during those times. Sinhalese must also pay blood money to many of the Thamils. Tamil terrorism in the end was nobler than the Sinhala riots.
It would seem that some SB’s want to atone for their personal sins by giving into federalism or the 13A to the Thamils. Also a few SB’s might feel that in splitting the country, SB’s will retain the racial purity Anagarika Dharmapala preached(and now Champika Ranawaka).
However, this is a wrong in interests of the Sinhalese as very soon, Tamils, a very vibrant race, will overrun the land of the Buddha. The best that SB’s can do is work together with the Tamils, purge Anagarika Dharmapala’s philosophy out of their system forever, and move to a modern Neo-SB, integrating Tamils culture and heritage with Sinhalese(although Theravada Buddhism and egalitarianism will endure).
Not sure if that can ever happen, but But Sri Lanka has to keep trying if she desires success as a civilized and wholesome nation, of evolved human beings. If SB hatred gets out of control yet again, then we can kiss goodbye to the Island nation of Lanka.
nizam / July 20, 2014
Lots of articles here waxing philosophical and arguing the pros & cons of the mad July83 pogrom. But not ONE single reader has had the heart to reflect on the fate of the poor, hapless tamil boy stripped naked at the Borella bus stand.It was even mentioned that he was later beaten to death by Sinhala youths. Still, not a tear shed, not a sigh heard for this innocent soul whose only crime was having being born a tamil. And just look at the smirk on the face of that lout, enjoying every moment of the agony of the naked boy at the bus stand. Not one single comment on this hooligan. I shudder to even think that we as a society have sunk to such depths of barbarism that we are so immune to human suffering, especially that sparked through torture of man against man. What good will these academic articles written here serve but satisfy the personal ego of the writer, each of whom is trying to outdo the other with his high-flown theory about the causes and effects of the july 83 mayhem. Poor tamil soul. My heart still bleeds for him.
raj / July 22, 2014
I first saw this picture about 30 years ago. It was a mind numbing one as it is even today. It was also one of the pictures that almost all the Tamil organizations of that time used in other countries to garner support for their cause. The person that took the picture might still be alive. The killers could be in the 50 – 60 years range now. Hope one day they man up and come foward and repent and apologize- to do the least.
ramona therese fernando / July 20, 2014
People have care and concern in different ways. We are not as explicit as you are in looking at the situation. Our sadness is of an implicit sort. For some of us, it is too terrible to look too deeply into the gore that has happened. Our sympathy is yet there, though we avert our eyes from such pictures. We think on a sustainable solution, and we probably contribute more to peace this way.
Dr. Rajasingham Narendran / July 21, 2014
What is deeply polarised in Sri Lanka is the political perception of what is right and wrong. The grey area between the clearly right and clearly wrong has shrunk along with the clearly white over the decades. The shrunken space of the clearly right, has been occupied by what is clearly wrong. This political degeneracy has manifested in many ugly forms in our political and social life. We are country floating in turbulent and putrid waters without a visionary moral anchor. Expediency and opportunism have evolved over the years into every form of political degeneracy imaginable and have led to the current moral crisis. Unless we view issues in a wider context we will be ineffectively treating symptoms instead of the cancer that is devouring our national vitals.
Dr. Rajasingham Narendran
ela kolla / July 21, 2014
What started in 1983 ended in 2009 in victory. crushing tamil terrorism is very sweet. now it’s time to crush muslim terrorism
mike / July 21, 2014
Elu Kolla, now it is high time to crush you with your RACISM!
ela kolla / July 22, 2014
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Thanga / July 22, 2014
Thanks for confessing that the Thamils in Sri Lanka remain “poor and unfortunate.” Had the Thamils were allowed to manage their own affairs, that is political and territorial autonomy, Thamils would have prospered like Singapore. Singapore 2/3 the size of the Jaffna peninsula is a mini super power in South Asia. Its citizens are enjoying a per capita income at 36897.87 US dollars in 2013. The GDP per Capita in Singapore is equivalent to 298 percent of the world’s average. GDP per capita in Singapore averaged 15888.16 USD from 1960 until 2013, reaching an all time high of 36897.87 USD in 2013 and a record low of 2529.86 USD in 1960. (World Bank Report 2013)
And what is the tract record of Sri Lanka since independence? The GDP per capita in Sri Lanka was at 2004.26 US dollars in 2013. The GDP per Capita in Sri Lanka is equivalent to 16 percent of the world’s average. GDP per capita in Sri Lanka averaged 787.84 USD from 1960 2004.26 USD in 2013. In 1960 it was a record low of 336.72 USD. (World Bank Report 2013).
This explains why people, including Sinhalese are fleeing Sri Lanka styled the paradise of the east. When recently a ship carrying human cargo was intercepted by Australian Navy, they found 41 inmates out of which 34 are Sinhalese! Is this not a shame Naga?
The Sinhalese did not repeat the 1983 riots not out of magnanimity but out of fear for the LTTE. In Aluthgama and Beruwela a Muslim woman asked a Muslim Provincial Councillor of the NPC “Where is Prabhakaran?” Though there is a lull now, the BBS is just lying low now to pounce back later. That is the tactic they have adopted since their birth in 2012. I am surprised the government has allowed Gnanasara Thero to roam the streets challenging the almighty President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He used vituperative and choice words to describe the Head of State thus: “President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa a brainless person and asks whether any person with brains would appoint a Muslim to be a Minister of Justice. He tells the crowd that party politics have destroyed us and calls upon the crowd to unite and take things into their own hands.” (Sunday Times) Could anyone other than this monk would have got off after hurling such abuse against Mahinda Rajapaksa? Journalist Tissanayagam was sentenced to 20 years hard labour for writing two articles mildly critical of the government. Lasantha Wickrematunga, editor Sunday Leader, paid with his life for criticising the government.
You claim tongue in cheek that “Those Thamils left in Sri Lanka are now able to live a life without much fear unlike in the period before May 2009” which is nothing but unvarnished propaganda. The Thamil people are living in mortal fear of the army which is intruding into all aspects of their everyday life. Last week two girls aged 9 and 11 in Karainagar were raped by Naval personnel continuously for 12 days. Seven of them were arrested, but they have been given bail by the court. It is news to me that there were communal attacks between Muslims and Thamils in the Eastern Province. I wish you support your claim with evidence. Newspaper reports will suffice. Yes, the Muslims thought they were clever in throwing their weight with the government. But they are paying a heavy price for their stupidity during the last two years from an ungrateful Sinhalese. Again, the LTTE was dead wrong in expelling the Muslims from the North. But the Sinhalese army too indulged in ethnic cleansing by expelling a total of 13,288 Thamil families living in 42 villages for generations including Kokkulai Grama Sevakar Division (1516 Thamil families), Kokku –Thoduvai Grama Sevakar Division (3306 Thamil families), Vavunia North Grama Sevakar Division (1342 Tamil families), Other Divisions of Mullaitivu District including Naiyaru and Kumulamunai ( 2011 Thamil families) were asked to vacate their homes and farmlands within 48 hours on pain of eviction by force in case of default. This threat was issued by the army over the public address system.
Simultaneously land given to 14 Tamil entrepreneurs, including Kent Farm and Dollar Farm, on 99 years lease was also cancelled and taken over by the government. Settlements in the Weli Oya began in 1984 as a dry zone farmer colony under the land Commission, but it was later acquired by the Mahaveli Economic Agency in 1988 and declared as the Mahaveli ‘L’ zone. I can go on and on, but lack of space I rest my case here. Of course through massive state aided Sinhalese colonization in the east (Gal Oya, Allai-Kantalai etc) the successive Sinhalese government has ethnically cleansed the Thamils in the eastern province. They have been reduced to the level of minority now.