26 May, 2019

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Boycott Sri Lanka Till Tamils Get Justice

By Meena Kandasamy

Meena Kandasamy

A visiting football team sends out the superficial message: all is well in Sri Lanka. It does not reveal that 4,000 university teachers have been striking for the past two months demanding better wages and greater spending on education, or that the government ordered the closure of all universities last week. It conceals a genocide that claimed 1 lakh Tamil lives in 2009 and a structural racism that marginalises minorities. In enthusiastically supporting the sporting spirit, even sections of the media fail to note that the football team had no permission to play in Tamil Nadu.

Instead of mutely following the dictates of the Central government, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has stood up for the people of her state. When she sent the football team packing, she showed how far the autonomy of a state could offer resistance to the Indian government, which has repeatedly disgraced Tamil aspirations and sentiments. While we were smarting from the wounds of a genocide that wiped out Tamils in the Vanni, New Delhi added insult to injury by inviting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse as the chief guest for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The Tamil Nadu Assembly’s unanimous resolution last year demanding investigation of war crimes and imposing economic sanctions against Sri Lanka has been met with absolute inaction. The immediate trigger for Jayalalithaa’s stand-off with New Delhi has been the manner in which the Centre has handled the issue of military training.

In spite of her strong objections against the training of nine Sri Lankan defence personnel at the Tambaram Air Force Station and her request to send them back immediately, the Centre relocated them to Yelahanka near Bengaluru to complete their course. The Centre went a step further, and two more defence personnel were admitted to undergo 11 months training at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, near Ooty, a fact that Jayalalithaa states “has been mischievously concealed from my government, showing scant regard for the views of my government as well as for the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu”. Any self-respecting leader would not have behaved differently.

Those who lament the return of the Sri Lankan football team and the stray attacks on pilgrims maintain a guarded silence about the hundred-odd unarmed Tamil Nadu fishermen who have been shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy in the past decade. In fact, the first call for snapping cricket ties with the island came from the Tamil fishing community, which has faced increasing violence whenever Sri Lanka lost a match to India.

Perhaps, New Delhi has forgotten, as it often happens in the case of Kashmir, the Northeast, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, that the people of Tamil Nadu are Indian citizens. By failing to take into account the misery that has been systematically inflicted on the Tamil people by Sri Lanka for the past several decades, and by showing scant regard for the demands of the Tamil Nadu people and its democratically-elected government, India is sowing the seeds of its own disintegration.

If the people of Tamil Nadu begin to feel disenfranchised and disrespected by the Centre, it will not be because of an overnight reading of the Marxist-Leninist position that India is a prison-house of nationalities; it will not be because of any regional or linguistic chauvinism; it will not be because of any rebellious and irrevocable attraction to the Tamil Tigers. It will be the result of outrage that New Delhi treats Sri Lanka as a friendly neighbour while it treats the Tamil Nadu government like a suspicious enemy nation suppressing information and clandestinely imparting military training to trigger-happy Sri Lankan Navy officers within its own territory. The breaking away will arise from the heartbreaking awareness and realisation that they are being treated as second-class citizens in their own country.

In a classic twist, it is New Delhi’s mollycoddling of the 21st-century Hitler Rajapakse and his armed forces that is going to implant the idea of self-determination and the national question indelibly in the people of Tamil Nadu, much more decisively than the LTTE or its struggle for Tamil Eelam. If the Centre has any shred of belief in the parliamentary democracy that it espouses, it has to also believe the necessary corollary: the Jayalalithaa-led government and the Tamil Nadu MLAs represent the 60 million people of the state. Their unanimous demands reflect the demands of the people. India, already complicit in the mass killings of Tamils in the Vanni, should ideally restrain itself from doing further harm to the Eelam Tamils.

The Hindu, a staunch critic of anyone who criticises Sri Lanka, termed Jayalalithaa’s action “myopic” and went on to say in an editorial that she was asking for, and peremptorily imposing, a “virtual embargo on sporting and cultural ties” with Sri Lankans. On the contrary, such a boycott is one of the solutions to the continued oppression against Tamils by Sri Lanka. Statistics are being reeled out of the 2 lakh Indian tourists who visit Sri Lanka in a year, and Indian business elites and corporations are gloating over the fact that bilateral trade is expected to hit $10 billion by 2017. In this context, it must be remembered that even though India’s ruling establishment yearns for a privileged access to Sri Lanka’s markets in return for military training and other imperialist collaborations, any call for a cultural and academic boycott, coupled with economic sanctions, can prove to be a very costly affair for that island.

There is no denying the fact that massive international pressure alone can halt the ongoing cultural and structural genocide against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions successfully worked against the South African apartheid State. Those who seek to support the Palestinian State have enforced a cultural and intellectual boycott to expose Israel’s policies of exploitation. It is time to apply the same yardstick to the authoritarian Sri Lankan State, a country with a Constitution that explicitly treats Tamils as second-class citizens.

Politically, even as we stand in solidarity with the striking Sinhala students and teachers, activists and working class, the people of Tamil Nadu should make it clear that an all-out boycott is the only manner in which the rogue State, which butchered tens of thousands of its own Tamil citizens, can be challenged and its war criminals brought to book. Without encouraging a culture of intimidation and stone-throwing, and without degenerating into gimmicks that run the risk of being written away as electoral/political stunts, this position advocating a boycott of Sri Lanka should not merely be limited to military training or football matches. Not only should the people of Tamil Nadu press upon New Delhi to change India’s foreign policy with respect to Sri Lanka to sever all diplomatic relations with its island neighbour, but they should call upon foreign governments, international movements, cultural artists, intellectuals, universities, revolutionary organisations and ordinary citizens to boycott the genocidal Sri Lankan government and suspend interaction in every possible form until this failed State delivers justice to the Tamils.

The views expressed in the column are the writer’s own. Meena Kandasamy is the writer of a collection of poems Ms Militancy. meena84@gmail.com Courtesy Tehelka

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBKLJMzkcHI&feature=related

Interview with Meena Kandasamy

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcKtfq0Jbcs

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Latest comments

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    Well said Rohana you penned lot I had in mind to write.Iam surprised the Telegragh lets some one like Meena calling herself a writer state utter lies like the DMK and the Tamil die ass poda.Even Donald G exposed where his loyalties are, must be a former TRP holder who is now a citizen.Why don’t these militants have their Elam in toilet nadu ?where there is no competition from other groups and celebrate your Dravidianness to high heaven than constantly battling it out every where you jokers go to.You guys are a curse on this planet and where ever you go you have such a primitive inferiority complex that you blow your horn as to how smart you guys are.Unfortunately we got sidetracked,Meena’s background seems like a child of Tamil refugees who has been brainwashed in utter hate of the Singhalese, with no background knowledge of all the pieces of the puzzle. This way we will never achieve any commanality but play in to the vulture politicians to constantly stir the pot of race relations.

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    @Banda and Pandu.
    Don’t burst your spleen like the racist-chauvinist do……..s who attacked innocent Tamils, raped, killed and stole from 1958, 1977 and 1983 race riots.
    We do not care a shit whether you accuse us as Jokers, and TRP holders. You all better bloody remember that Island belongs to us as well, and our fight still remains, the cause endures, the work goes on, the hope still lives and dreams never die.
    Tamils have equal rights and the Rajapakses cannot deny that with the gun and spread terror raping the Tamil children and girls.
    Unlike in 1983, when I was forced to leave Sri Lanka, the Tamil diaspora has grown from strength to strength worldwide and still growing over a million Tamils. They are also united most of the time on set goals and to help their fellow Tamils to live in dignity and pride, or escape at any cost. That is also why they send over 2 Billion dollars a year to their friends and relatives, schools and temples, and very soon the North and East will be thriving, despite the new military camps and roads to connect each other are built, and GOI helping to rebuild the military port, airport and railways.

    If the unemployed Sinhala children at 17 keep joining the armed forces and serving in the North is the goal of Sinhala life, go for it and see where it is going to take them after another 5-10 years. Middle East labor force like the 1.5 Million housemaids, who unfortunately lose their family life as a daughter, mother, sister and aunt. My point is they should not be exposed in such a manner and not exploited by the Sinhala government.

    The GOSL (and UDA) also stole my land in Colombo, The container freight station and converted it to the Sugathadasa Stadium Parking lot in 1983, without any compensation, yet. They also burnt 25 trucks and machinery. You buggers think that my friends and I will keep quiet for bloody 30 years, and just watch the Sinhalese slaughter the Tamils, rape our women and torture our boys? I don’t care a F………….k what the racist bastards call me with names, but as I said half the Sinhalese leaders know the value of Tamils like us, immaterial whether the Tamil militants are dead or alive.

    LTTE was one stage of the Tamil struggle of 35 years.

    Like in South Africa and other nations, like even Singapore the fight can go on to win the Tamil rights, and the right to develop their homeland in the North and East, and work in the upcountry and own land there in Colombo will continue.

    You guys have NO Fu……………g idea what goes on, but just bark like stay, rabid pariah dogs.
    Meena Kandasamy, Thamarai both very proud Indians have come forward like proud Tamils to speak up for the long suffering Tamils. Thanks to CM JJ’s bold action against the GOI, and GOSL the boycott of Sri Lanka action has finally come to the fore. This is despite the fact that the Tamil diaspora themselves are reluctant to boycott the Rajapakse groceries or Sri Lankan airlines or even under garments. We cannot check the labels !!!! lol.

    The action in India, is just the beginning of direct action against Sri Lanka as written eloquently by Meena. So without attacking the author, better ask your racist government and friends to be fair and just to the Tamils, and not rob, rape and steal their lands, women, and homeland.

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      Donald, I acknowledge the unreasonable acts committed by a few rabid Sinhalese under the false notion of being Patriotic. This is not Patriotism, but simple lunacy. I believe all sensible people should voice their concern and say enough is enough. When we can all live happily, only a few corrupt Politicians and their goons are enjoying life and the majority masses are suffering.

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      Seizing the property of terrorists is a legitimate tactic recognized under international law. Summary execution is not, though your side sure did it plenty, so your complaints fall on deaf ears. Maybe you should ry to bring a “taking” case (seeking “fair compensation” for property taken by the state using the power of eminent domain) in US courts LOL

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        American Lanka Lover says:

        “Seizing the property of terrorists is a legitimate tactic recognized under international law. Summary execution is not, though”

        Yes of course we must universally accept your principal that “Seizing the property of terrorists is a legitimate tactic recognized under international law.”

        So when are you planning to seize properties of JVP terrorists, TMVP, Karuna,… don’t they have plenty? One should not apply one’s principle hypocritically.

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        You coward Lover!!! Then the bastards need to say why they took over property by letter if the Sinhalese have the freaking Ba…………..s to do that.. Don’t write like a stupid ……..Hole that you undoubtedly are.

        Absolute idiot and moron…

        Now worry about State Terrorist and War criminals who lied, cheated and went to bed with the so called LTTE terrorist to be installed in power.

        Old habits don’t change, the State Terrorist and war criminals are in bed with the same terrorist like Karuna, Pillaiyan and Douglas and steal the elections during the 30 minute power cut, and “computer jilmart”.

        No worries you moron, Truth and Justice will prevail oneday and Sinhalese-Buddhist cannot continue stealing, and robbing tamil lands, property and homeland for ever. 15 Million Sinhalese will have to continue to pay a heavy price.

        There are 1 million Tamil diaspora and 1.5 Million Sinhala house maids ill treated by the Arabs..

        You can justify the stealing and robbing but you coward will be exposed soon. I know who you are.. Coward… And your email address.

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    Meena, where were you when Prabhakaran & his LTTE murderers killed thousands on innocent Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils in Sri Lanka? Were things Ok in Sri Lanka during his killing spree? I think many unscrupulous politicians, smugglers, extortionists, drug dealers, arms dealers and lots other living on LTTE money are angry with the Sri Lankan government for eradicating the LTTE menace in Sri Lanka.

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      Kumar says:

      “Were things Ok in Sri Lanka during his killing spree?”

      LTTE killed innocent people therefore the state and its rulers must kill more people in order to match the LTTE’s score.

      Keep up your logic with action, country will benefit tremendously.

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    More on Boycott Sri Lanka.
    It is difficult to quantify the losses of Sri Lanka, other than allow the fools to dream or think if they have the brains, to calculate the losses due to the economic onslaught as admitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs the great high jumper.

    Sri Lanka recognizes the economic war -Minister G L Peries in London, admits. Quote “

    The groups I am talking about are resorting to a different kind of onslaught against Sri Lanka. It is an economic war. It is an economic campaign. The purpose of which is to discourage investment into Sri Lanka, try to diminish volumes of international trade and discourage tourists from coming to the country, the minister pointed out.

    Prof. Peiris said that today tourism is the most visible growth area of the Sri Lankan economy. So, it is an economic onslaught that is intended to weaken the economy. Unquote.

    Now India and especially South India headed by Chief Minister Jayalalitha herself leads the Tamil Nadu people. GOSL reacted stupidly by issuing a travel advisory for the Sinhalese not to visit South India, agreeing to what Jalalalitha and other political parties wanted in TN. Do not come this way, and NO PLEASE.

    Most affected party are the Buddhist pilgrims traveling to Buddha Gaya via Chennai and Sri Lankan airlines. Wit even a loss of 10%-15% of the passengers in every flight, the profitable operation of the flight turns into a loss, and one step closer to further bankruptcy.

    The crises also discourages Tamils to visit Sri Lanka, and trade union action against Sri Lanka. There is no escape for Sri Lanka… Period.

    Writers like Meena Kandasamy cannot be silenced and she will espouse the cause of the suffering, harassed and terrorized Tamils in Sri Lanka

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      Dear Donald,
      Who knew that you were such a talented lyricist? “…and our fight still remains, the cause endures, the work goes on, the hope still lives and dreams never die.”

      Can you please explain exactly what sort of “fight” and “cause” you’re fighting for? Is it,

      a) the fight for equal rights of all SL citizens, irrespective of their so-called ethnicity and religion, or,
      b) the fight (militarily if necessary) for a separate state for some of SL citizens?

      I hate to break bad news to you, but hope can be crushed and dreams most certainly do die.

      Can you also detail any financial assistance given by “Tamils for Justice” or any of the other alphabet soup of pro-LTTE groups to 140,000+ Sri Lankan Tamil refugees still languishing in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu?

      Surely the Tamil Nadu politicians are treating them like royalty and showering them with cash, housing and other material goods, no?

      I’m shocked and appalled to learn that ” …India has not signed the international convention for refugees, the plight of the Sri Lankan refugees in India is not brought to the scrutiny of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and no other major human rights organization has taken note of the suffering of the Tamils languishing in the “special camps” in India.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lankan_Tamils_in_India

      “..some kind of agreement between the two countries is long overdue. However, clearly neither party is keen – the refugees are never even mentioned when Indian ministers or officials visit. Even Tamil Nadu politicians pretend that they don’t exist. As usual, the Government [GoSL] doesn’t appear to have a plan.”
      http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/7124

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    Rohana,
    You say “Even when the Psychopath killer Prabha the coward who is famous for hiding behind children killed thousands of innocent Sinhalese children, women, old people and Monks over a period of 28 years, can you name how many Tamils were even hurt by the Sinhalese”.

    When did we get independence from Britain?
    Who was responsible for VP form a rebel group in early 80’s?
    (True it went a little far in killing innocent civilians. But it was a rebel group not elected, unlike tha SL Govt. supposed to be responsible for protection of every citizen irrespective of ethnicity).

    Which Sinhala Govt. did not discriminate against Tamils.
    Was disenfranchisment of UP country Tamils fare?
    The Sinhala Only Act, Standardisation for entry into Universities,
    Colonisation of Sinhalese in the name of development, and State sponsored pogroms against Tamils– all these actions were the “cause” and LTTE was the “effect”.
    There are records of massacres of Tamil civilians by state forces
    even before :TTE came into existance, which you may not be aware or do not care to study.
    You are invited to go online and see this record (from 1956 to 2001)
    visiting link : http://www.nesohr.org/files/Lest_We_Forget.pdf

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    from HLD Mahinda, true Patriot..

    The Tamils are in this game of human rights not because they are committed to these values at any cost. The Tamils are in it to exploit the clichés of human right for political gain. There is no other weapon in their armoury, first, to hit back at the GOSL which has crushed their Vadukoddai violence, second, to cover up their war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the name of liberating the Tamils and, three, to white-wash the cult of Jaffna violence that dehumanized their own people. It is the degrading cruelty of socio-religious violence inflicted on the Tamils outside the Vellahla fold by the Tamils inside the Vellahla fold which condemns Jaffna as the hell-hole of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

    The Tamils are in this game of human rights not because they are committed to these values at any cost. The Tamils are in it to exploit the clichés of human right for political gain. There is no other weapon in their armoury, first, to hit back at the GOSL which has crushed their Vadukoddai violence, second, to cover up their war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the name of liberating the Tamils and, three, to white-wash the cult of Jaffna violence that dehumanized their own people. It is the degrading cruelty of socio-religious violence inflicted on the Tamils outside the Vellahla fold by the Tamils inside the Vellahla fold which condemns Jaffna as the hell-hole of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

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    Yalpana Vaipava Malai, the first official history of Jaffna, described the cult of violence that held the Tamil community in thrall as “insane fury”. If Tamil violence was not turned inwards against its own people it was turned outward against the “other”, the “asangha” (outsider). In the 20th century this violence is captured in one symbolic horror recorded by Amnesty International (AI). This incident is one of the most chilling episodes of the Vadukoddai violence that still sends a shiver runs down my spine as I write it. The AI report on Children in South Asia documents the case of “Raja” — a pseudonym to cover the real name of a 15-year-old Tamil boy — who joined the LTTE at the age of 11. He was brainwashed and trained in LTTE camps. AI found him wandering aimlessly and when he was taken to the hospital he was somewhat incoherent though he could recall his role in the violence that was unleashed by the LTTE. AI report said: “Soon afterwards (i.e, his training) he was involved in attacks on several Muslim villages near Batticoloa. When recounting one attack he described how he had held a child by the legs and bashed his head against the wall and how he enjoyed hearing the mother’s cry. He said they deserved to die.” (AI Index ASA 04/01/98 — April 22, 1998),

    The obscene horror in this mind-freezing episode is unbearably surreal. How could a mere teenager commit such a crime and enjoy it, one may ask? This is not a case of adult American soldier burning the Koran, or urinating on Afghan civilians they had killed. This is a case of a brain-washed kid acting on the impulses of a violent culture based on the dictum that the “other”, the “asangha” “deserved to die”. But are we to blame a teenager who was manipulated by his Tamil minders? No. He is not responsible for the crime he committed. His crime was predictable in that he came out of the womb of the violent culture of Jaffna which, in the Vadukoddai Resolution, urged the youth to take up arms and fight the enemy without flinching. The Vadukoddai Resolution enunciated the deserve-to-die ideology for the cause. Simultaneously, and more importantly, it implied that others, including babies, deserved to die for their cause.

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    Donald, Gamini and the female Tiger spokeswoman are paradigms of why you can neither negotiate nor reason with recalcitrant terrorists. Hopefully the IC will wake up to the fact that a tiger can never change its stripes. Accordingly, the only way for the lion to protect its brood is to kill all the tigers. You cannot coexist with them as they are merely biding time and regrouping until the launch of Ealam war V. They must be eliminated.

    An interesting irony is that their refusal to compromise makes the continued need for a hardline GOSL like the Rajapaksas apparent to the Sinhalese (and Muslim) majority. Ranil and those who are true believers in the dream of peaceful coexist with Tamil nationalists will never come to power in SL precisely because of the intransigence of the Tamil leadership. It is a symbiotic relationship, but it is also a vicious circle which continues to increase in inertia making any meaningful change well nigh impossible.

    If the Tamil moderates could ever marginalize the extremists, there would be hope for true reconciliation in SL. As long as the Ealamists remain predominant, militarism by the Sinhalese is inevitable and extremist organizations like the JVP are emboldened.

    So until the Tamil masses develop the courage to say NO to the LTTE and its deluded dream of Ealam, their plight in SL will never markedly improve (barring an invasion by the Indian army AKA IPRK2). And most Northern Indians despise and distrust the Tamils; PM Singh is not going to invade SL despite the pressure from the Dravidians. It would cause a civil war within India which is preoccupied with Pakistani terrorism,. Kashmir, and the threat posed by China on its Northeastern border.

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      @Coward Lover!
      The IC, UN, US have been woken up already and they are now wide awake.
      The UN panel of experts, UNHRC resolution, US sponsorship and leadership, removal of the GSP, reduction of foreign aid/grants, concessionary loans and a lot of diplomatic snubs are some signs, the stupid state terrorist and their moronic cheer leaders are too dumb to realize it.

      Robert Blake is arriving in Colombo with a very strong message.

      Last week, Richard Armitage and a few other leaders from EU, US and India were in SL giving a suttle and strong message. Too bad Karma of SL is so bad, things will have to get worse before it can get better. The poor people are all getting punished, and even the weather gods are not kind.

      The tanks, lakes and Parakrama Samudra are drying up. There is power cut, and coal plant is breaking down. Sanctions on Iran affect SL badly and there is no escape, with the oil prices going up and the rupees depreciation has reached 40 % in 7 years…

      What a freaking mess???

      Screw around with Accountability, Truth and Justice and see what is in store for the State Terrorist and the poor….
      There is will be a heavy price to pay!!!!!

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    india pot calling the kettle
    india should get it house in order before telling others

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    “STUPDNESS is very stupid”

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    Reading through all the comments given I dont see any point of throwing insults and mud at eachother. What Ms.Meena Kandasamy has written and said in her article in a free press is there to be debatable in a free democratic society and as educated intelligent people we must act in a civilized manner, but I find hard to comprehend this amoung certain section of the sri Lankan sinhalese to abuse and mud slinging. I am a sinhalese who left my homeland in the 1955 due to the political and culture changes that was taking place, and I know nothing of the present political setup, but keept in touch of what was going on in my beloved country. All the good Politicians the country had are dead and gone, some been assassinated, and now as I understand the country is run by some uneducated thugs slinging abuse and the house of Parliament run like a fish market.

    The most important question we must ask ourself is who created this war and the reason that brought about economy failure and chaos to the country by 30 yrs of war and civil unrest amoung the Sinhalese and Tamil people who had lived in harmony for centries in this Island of Sri Lanka and has caused this divide. Its time that the people of all ethnic group join to bring peace and help to rebuild the country for the future betterment of our children and the nation, and bury the past. Sinhalese and Tamils must now find conciliation put back your hate and try to live in peace as we have done before this war as good neighbours.

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    Reading through all the comments given I dont see any point of throwing insults and mud at eachother. What Ms.Meena Kandasamy has written and said in her article in a free press is there to be debatable in a free democratic society and as educated intelligent people we must act in a civilized manner, but I find hard to comprehend this among certain section of the sri Lankan sinhalese to abuse and mud slinging. I am a sinhalese who left my homeland in the 1955 due to the political and culture changes that was taking place, and I know nothing of the present political setup, but keept in touch of what was going on in my beloved country. All the good Politicians the country had are dead and gone, some been assassinated, and now as I understand the country is run by some uneducated thugs slinging abuse and the house of Parliament run like a fish market.

    The most important question we must ask ourself is who created this war and the reason that brought about economy failure and chaos to the country by 30 yrs of war and civil unrest among the Sinhalese and Tamil people who had lived in harmony for centries in this Island of Sri Lanka and has caused this divide. Its time that the people of all ethnic group join to bring peace and help to rebuild the country for the future betterment of our children and the nation, and bury the past. Sinhalese and Tamils must now find conciliation put back your hate and try to live in peace as we have done before this war as good neighbours.

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    Kandasamy Thangatchchi !!!!!!!!!!!

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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