11 December, 2017

Blog

Election Fever!

By Elilini Hoole

Elilini Hoole

By Sept. 22, 2013, the day after Northern Provincial Council elections, we will know who will be elected to fill the 38 seats (Jaffna 16, Mannar 5, Mullaithivu 5, Kilinochchi 4, Vavuniya 6, and 2 bonus seats). A good turnout is expected this season. As the first Provincial Election for the Northern Province after the EPRLF’s Varadaraja Perumal was elected Chief Minister of the then merged North-East Province, the province has a chance to design actively its future and choose its leaders.

Talking to my friends and colleagues, I realize that many are excited to vote, but many more are dejected, and wonder what difference it will make if politicians care about little more than power.

Nonetheless, voting is a responsibility. Each vote is a voice. Votes are cast to show support, and yet disapproval as well. During the parliamentary elections of 2011, many voted for the TNA, not because of faith that the TNA would bring change, but merely because they wanted to express their disapproval of the Betel Leaf. I hear the same sentiments echoed this year as well. Sadly, no politician has yet taken responsibility for the poor and impoverished communities that dot the Northern Province. I wonder, who is truly worthy of our votes?

In the past, typically turnout in the North had been 70% – 80%. Since the war, turnout has dropped. During the parliamentary elections in 2010, only 28% of registered voters turned up, and in the 2011 local government elections 32%. I remember the EPDP, in 2011, exploiting war victims and transporting busloads of paid rural villagers to polling booths hoping for large voter turnout in their favour; but the villagers voted for the TNA anyways. In one of the villages I visited just weeks after resettlement, EPDP candidates visited the severely impoverished villagers. After many speeches, the candidate wrote several cheques for over 1,000/= (which is quite a lot for families with no income living in stick hovels). But it turned out the cheques were consistently written with invalid dates so that they could not be cashed. This year, similar events are being reported.

Bribes, promises and false hopes are used to corral voters. Furthermore, among the government’s women candidates is Geetanajli Naguleswaran from Kilinochchi. Naguleswaran, like many other widows living in the Vanni, is the widow of an LTTE member who surrendered in 2009 and has not been heard of since. Yet Naguleswaran is now campaigning for an NPC seat under the UPFA. She insists that those who have received appointments from the UPFA as preschool teachers and civil guards (without advertisement of course as a bribe) should campaign and vote for her. One such person, a day or two ago, was urged to take to a campaign stage and give a speech for Naguleswaran. However, she had instead urged voters to vote for the TNA. As a result, she was taken aside and beaten.

Elections in the North

Politicians have long forgotten to serve the people in the Vanni, yet every season they return to make political speeches to raise hope and gain votes. Like with elections across the country, promises of jobs, electricity, permanent housing &c undermine the true democratic spirit. 

Unlike the previous elections the public is enraged by stories from Wikileaks (as reported in Colombo Telegraph) of Douglas Devananda dealing in the slave trade of children, and the Bodu Bala Sena threatening to take over the North for Buddhism within 2 years using 200,000 volunteers.

Two cables from the US Embassy dated 2007, reported in Colombo Telegraph, by the then US Ambassador Robert Blake have emerged over the past 3 days. These cables have proven to be very relevant to the NPC elections on Sept 21.  The first implicates the EPDP in forcing young women into prostitution, servicing 5 to 10 Sri Lankan soldiers a night for 100/=. The cable also implicates the EPDP in working with corrupt officials in order to sell kidnapped children to international buyers in India and Malaysia. Government agent K. Ganesh partially confirmed these allegations.

The second cable indicated EPDP head Douglas Devananda’s penchant to murder those he dislikes. It revealed that President Rajapaksa was concerned for the safety of J. Sriranga of the Minnal TV program, warning him that Douglas Devananda “Will kill you,” and that he should, therefore, leave the country immediately taking on a diplomatic position in Norway that he would offer.

Knowing all this as the President does, I am pained to see him continue his alliance with Devananda, even appearing on the same platform and asking us to vote for the EPDP. Although, I personally am not keen to take sides as each person should choose his own candidates, the abhorrence I feel at these revelations makes me ask these questions: Why should the President want us to vote for such a candidate on Saturday? What does it say about the President? My confidence in the political system further deteriorates when murderers lead the nation and when the head of the state allies himself with, in his own opinion, a man capable of murdering Sriranga who belongs to the President’s own group.

In the past the LTTE and the GoSL have taken extreme pains to stifle democratic diversity. However, it is refreshing to see that, after years of abuse by successive administrations, the people are refusing to be intimidated this season. Youth are said to be ready to challenge EPDP thugs and military intelligence officials – as happened on Sept. 18. Intelligence officers in Meesalai, smashed a vehicle of a TNA candidate. Even in the face of violence, the youth were courageous enough to photograph the incident and file a report.

With little action being taken against election irregularities, people in the North, and across the country, have little confidence in the Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya. Certainly doubt is deepened by the still unexplained gap in his whereabouts while the votes from the last presidential elections were being ‘counted’ and the allegations about what happened during that time. This year, 70 cadets have been brought into Jaffna supposedly to learn how to count ballots. There is suspicion as to what really they are being brought to Jaffna for.

The public is therefore relying on the Chief of the Elections Monitors from SAARC, N. Gopalaswamy, who is a former Indian Elections Commissioner. The public have a chance to report directly to him. Gopalaswamy has been alerted about the cadets and to where and how rigging will be done by the UPFA – i.e. the islands (particularly while the boxes are being transported by boat), bush areas like Manalkaadu and rural areas surrounding Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu towns. Unfortunately, Gopalaswamy is not familiar with the geography of the North and that raises worries about how effective he can be.

Even still, a good turnout is expected. The Gajendrakumar-Kajendran group, which opposed the elections, has released a statement that even though they have no confidence in the system they are asking the people to go out and vote for the TNA. This too will increase the turnout. The TNA says that they are expecting at least a two-thirds majority.

While I wish the TNA were more effective and involved in assisting displaced persons, given the alternatives, I too feel a vote for the TNA is a better option. I am also impressed by TNA MPs, like Sumanthiran, who speak openly and coolly in parliament against the injustices faced by the people and openly apologized to Muslims for the ethnic cleansing they faced in the North. If more strong, principled candidates like this are voted in to the NPC, the future looks good for the North. 

The Responsibility of a Vote

Whether voting is a privilege or right, it is certainly a responsibility. Voting with care for candidates informatively selected is essential to safeguard the future of our country. When we vote for a candidate, we select a candidate whom we believe is responsible enough to promote our interests and secure our rights.      

Our vote is our voice.

Go out and vote!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    I don’t know who this Hoole lady is?Sounds like a burgher lady.No problem.When our fellow citzens of the north were displaced in the month of May 2019,where was this lady?Where was the TNA?Most probably having a ball in Colombo,London,Paris etc.Same goes to the likes of Waliamuna,Paki,Jehan etc.It was the Srilankan cricketers,artists and ordinary folks who dispatched the essentials.Not the so called HR activists or so called journalists.In fact i am wondering where was this Wingeswarn character at that time?Most probably lavishing in five star company in Colombo with his Sinhala and Tamil friends!MIss or Mrs Hoole are you really concerned about our citizens of the north?If so have you done anything for them?At least a bottle of water?My guess is you are making money out of the situation.

    • 0
      0

      I don’t know who is this Max Silva ma, sounds like a Portuguese idiot. Have you given a water bottle??
      Read what she wrote; I learnt from witnesses, while working in the Vanni, how the military enforced this land decision (though how the military is involved in civilian matters beats me!), mocking Tamil resettlers in Sinhalese, calling them dogs and asking what right they had to ask for that land.
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/recapturing-the-tamil-vote/

      • 0
        0

        I note that the defeated Tamil terrorists are after me.The defeated Tamil terrorists identify themselves as the diaspora,HR activists,journalists etc are having a field day making money.How about the so called “respected judge”one Mr Wingeswaran?I just don’t have much time answering to lunatics.But keep on dreaming!Dreaming of Ealam!A bloody set of idiotic dreamers!

        • 0
          0

          .
          I think Tamils are so smart, that they used Sinhala soldiers to get rid of Ltte and now they are back with TULF (TNA).

          :-)

    • 0
      0

      I do not know about 2019 but after 2009 this lady worked on a local salary living in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi for 2 years, lived with the suffering people, identified their needs and based on those needs wrote reports/proposals which raised a few million US dollars for their relief. What did you do, Max Silva? Write comments like what you have written here without any facts, shooting from the hips?

    • 0
      0

      she is Prof Hooles daughter and worked in Sri Lankas North East for a long time post 2009 when the family returned to serve the country and had to leave in fear due to your buddies Maxi boy!

    • 0
      0

      Max Silva, Ms. Hoole was working in Sri Lanka all over the North, especially the Vanni.Fortunately, instead of commenting negatively on the articles of people who are trying to help, she is actually helping by writing articles like this that call attention to the problems.

    • 0
      0

      This Max Silva belongs to a certain category of CT commentator who resorts to ad hominem remarks but has nothing useful to say about issues. That is, he flings insults at the individual author, but is ignorant of the topic under discussion. CT readers should despise all ad hominem commentators of whom there are several.

  • 0
    0

    Total Registered voters in the North are 710,000.

    Take out the Vellala visitors from Colombo, and the total is lot less.

    Among them at least half are the ex captives, whom the writer has categorized as poor rurals.

    These poor were were totally detached from the Vellalas from Colombo for three decades.

    They went without even the most basics plus losing their loved ones especially their children to the liberation..

    These Vellalas now parading as the protectors and saviours of these non Vellalas and garlanding their late Leader didn’t miss out on anything.

    Even if the Vellala Wiggy and his team poll the whole lot , lock stock and barrel. it is still less than than 5 % of the total voter base of the country.

    Can it be considered as a mandate for Vellala Wigneswaran and his LTTE proxy TNA lead by Sambandan to their own Police Force with the Titles to the whole land mass in the North?.

    • 0
      0

      my my your losing sleep Leela (KA SUMANASEKERA and NOW FaTHIMA) over that wiggy uncles impending victory

      well now that poya day is over have a shot of Gal with some roast chicken (as you might not like to eat beef in public lest they call you names!) and chill out Leela ooops sorry KA sumansekera oops fathima fukushima haahhahahahahahaaha

    • 0
      0

      Oh Sumana!

      I think you need to go to a “kathadaya” to drive out the “Vellala spritis” out of you!

      Can’t you think of anything else; at least talk about terrorists, if you like, that would be better?

      • 0
        0

        when suma’wathie (leela of leepotter) has run out of words like ‘diasporians’sambandan,TNA,a dollar a day etc he coins a new phrase like vellala ;-) afterall his pay depends on the no of posts he makes online !

    • 0
      0

      KAS,
      Your harping on “vellalas” is idiotic.These caste divisions are now disappearing, though people like you use them to discredit nothern tamils.
      Have you visited the ancient “purana” villages in the deep south – I have,as a public servant – they are people engaged in traditional arts & crafts and totally dispised by the affluent sinhala society.
      Not many election candidates too,visit them.
      When I consented to consume a mug of tea with jaggery offered by them,they were astonished and delighted.

      • 0
        0

        When was this my friend?

        Arent the affluent Sinhala Society ( K Caste) are now only on the same Turf as the Anglicans and the Vellala TNA in the leafy suburbs in the new Harbor City?.

        They only venture into “Purana” villages now only as Digital camera toting tourists on their way to cut price “all you can eat buffets” at coastal Tourist pads during the off season..

        I will have a cup of single origin leaf tea with a chunky piece of good Kitul Jaggery any time rather than those high calorie Lattes and cappuchinos,unlike our Diaspora brethren.

        • 0
          0

          .
          It is sad that poor up country Sinhalese are sent to north as slaves (soldiers) while Low Country Sinhalese are enjoying the Chinese money (new harbour, new airport, new highways).
          :-)

  • 0
    0

    Lovely to see young people taking such an interest in their country. Wonderful article, poignantly true.

  • 0
    0

    Why are the singhala south so uptight and playing the Vellala caste drum.Its like a kids game.No one in the north and east talk about the caste system.
    Suddenly after Wigneswaran was picked by TNA,the singhala south started the ‘vellala caste drum’.

    Talk about your own caste system in the south.It might help you guys.

  • 0
    0

    Elilini Hoole is Proffesor Ratnajeevan Hoole’s daughter.Up and coming young Tamil woman residing in the north/Sri Lanka.Good article.

    • 0
      0

      HR,

      It this learned Professor who enlightened us how the Vellalas are dominationg the Tamil minority after the demise of Prabakaran.

      Didn’t you yourself say that one of Praba’s core aims was to demolish the caste?.

      Not only the Southern Sinhala polity but the Muslims and Bhurgurs also probably didn’t realise how strong this caste system is in the North?.

      Wonder whether CM Wiggy has plans to re introduce the ban on low caste people entering Vellala Kovils?.

  • 0
    0

    I realize that many are excited to vote, but many more are dejected,…..WHY DO YOU BLOW HOT AND COLD WITH THE SAME BREATH…….

    Unlike the previous elections the public is enraged by stories from Wikileaks (as reported in Colombo Telegraph) of Douglas Devananda dealing in the slave trade of children,….. TO WHOM ARE YOU REFFERING TO? YOUR TIGER TAIL IS EXPOSED FROM UNDER YOUR SLIP.WAIT FOR THE ELECTION RESULTS AND SEE HOW THE PEOPLE HAVE VOTED AND ONLY THEREAFTER IF THE GOVT COALITION HAS FARED BADLY THEN YOU COULD COMMENT & YOUR COMMENTS ARE VALID. NOT UNTILL THEN. AS OF NOW YOU TOO ARE A TIGER SYMPATHISER IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING.

    Knowing all this as the President does, I am pained to see him continue his alliance with Devananda, even appearing on the same platform and asking us to vote for the EPDP…… ARE YOU NOT PAINED TO LEARN WIGNESHWARANS TNA WERE THE PROXIES OF THE MURDEROUS LTTE & NOW COMING FORWARD IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING BEFORE THE MASSES AS IF THEY WERE SAINTS.THE TNA WITH LTTE AND THE DIASPORA DESTROYED THE TAMIL YOUTH & CHILDREN IN THE NORTH. WAS IT A CONTRACT GIVEN BY THE DIASPORA TO THE LTTE & TNA TO CONDUCT AN ETHNIC CLEANSING OF THE LOW CASTE TAMILS FROM THE NORTH BY PROMOTING A SENSELESS WAR.

    HOW DID YOU ESCAPE?????? That tell the story of your DUPLICITY.
    If you are overseas, leave SL alone to find their own devices.

  • 0
    0

    In this age of cyber technology and instant transmission of video and voice data, there would be many volunteers who would submit their recordings of events at polling booths, counting centres etc devoid of tampering for these to be available publicly for any interested parties. Commentators would do well to wait and examine such evidence of how well (or otherwise) things go on polling day…

  • 0
    0

    Thunder-mannar – prey tell us where you are hiding.
    You are running in cirlces fishing in shallow waters of Thndamannaru water- that is if you are living in that area asking ‘whether the diaspora,took a contract with TNA etc to eliminate the L.caste in the north and east?
    Take a break and go for a swim in the M.aru and cool yourself off.

    What rubbish are you suggesting?Never heard that was on anyone’s mind- example – after the last elections they all voted en masse for TNA?

  • 0
    0

    Thank you for the kind words about M.A. Sumanthiran. I am very impressed by him as well on so many levels. He is far and away the one of the top tier of Sri Lankans in public office. Thank you for noticing.

  • 0
    0

    Elly: I lost touch with you over the years after you moved to Jaffna and to see this article warms my heart. I am glad to hear that you are safe and well and still continuing the cause.

    To her detractors: Elilini is a person who left a comfortable life in a western state to come and serve the people of the North East. Having schooled with her not only am I patently aware of her intelligence, courage and charisma, but also her deep-rooted empathy for her people. This is the kind of tamilan that deserves praise. This is the kind of Tamilan that I hope to one day see take to the political stage. A true lady of the people.

    Elly – more power to you.

  • 0
    0

    hannah.Rajaratnam…….. I am hiding at the spot when the Late Uma Maheshwaran (they Surveyor – Do U know about him?) was the Leader of the PLOTE, he used to take the boat to India at the fish wholesale place.You are wqellcome to join us for a chat over a glass of good toddy.
    In fact I do not hide there but whenever, I attend mass at the convent chapell I used to visit my old friends there who are yet surviving my son. Most of the 60s baby boomers yet grieve for the loss of Jaffna youth & children.

    To add insult to injury, your Wigneshwaran has run out of political steam and is attempting to convince us by equating Prabakaran to Keppetipola………
    This coward of a Prabakaran forgot the Cyanide Capsule he gave our brave fighters and some of whom who actually bit it to avoid capture.
    Wigneshwaran forgot them all and in a haste to garner votes masquarading & promoting a coward named Prabakaran. I will never forgive him for the loss of Late Alfred uncle.
    I hate the catholic Church’s priest, clergy, religious and nuns who attempted to form a Eelam for catholics. However, I attend church to speak to God to ask for a favour to get rid of our TNA politicians & change the thinking of the Catholic Clergy and cast a spell of Clergy such as Rayappu, S.J.Emmanuel, deogopillai, Singarayer and all those yet suport the Eelam cause silently be it sinhala or Tamil clergy.

    You people are out of step with Sri Lanka. You diaspora only wanted our blood for you to enjoy the spoils of eelam if ever it was achieved.

    ELILINI HOOLE IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNISTS ATTEMPTING CARVE A GOOD FUTURE FOR HERSELF AT OUR EXPENSE.

  • 0
    0

    New found democracy of Tamils!

    Nice to see Tamils have dropped their guns and bombs and now voting.

    Tamils are 82 years behind Muslims and Sinhalese in SL. They started doing this since 1931.

  • 0
    0

    Hooles [Edited out]

    Turning to the other opinion expressed by the caste divisions amongst the Tamils I have this to say. Sinhalese have an anal fixation with the Tamil caste systems which they mistakenly believe exists even now or it is part of their anal fixation and wishful thinking that it should exist so that they can divide and rule the Tamils. In reality the Tamil caste system has died a natural death during the LTTE days and the Sinhalayas even if they daydream can’t bring it back. The palatable rata minisu who consist of karava, dura a and salangama are all recent Tamil settlers from south India whom the udarata people or the kandyan govigama people despise. Govigama are the higest caste among the Sinhalese
    I have many relatives amongst the Kandyan raddalas. The low country Sinhalese are anally fixated as they use their anuses to earn forgiven exchange for Rajapakses from European tourists on the southern Srilanka beaches like bentota ,beruwala, hikkaduwa etc . Their children use their anuses and their wife’s go to do the usual toilet cleaning all over the world ie middle east, fareast, Europe to earn the valuable forgiven exchange to their mother([Edited ou] Lanka .not to mention[Edited out]. Sinhala culture is truly a sophisticated world class culture that may make the gorillas to be proud of their advanced stage in evolution.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.