2 December, 2023


Engaging The State At These Elections

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Tamils for Obama

Sections of the Tamil Diaspora are on a virulent campaign against the TNA. Most Tamils abroad are not engaged in politics, because it is dirty and dangerous. Slanderous stories are put out against those not in agreement. Fear of being labelled, leaves the field open to virulent sections of the Diaspora to speak on behalf of all others.

In the US this mantle of Tamil leadership has defaulted to Tamils for Obama. As fair-weather friends, they were Tamils for Clinton when Hilary Clinton seemed likely to win the Democratic Party nomination in 2008 and then, when Obama did, they re-Christened themselves as Tamils for Obama. Now in 2015, as Obama’s term is ending and Hilary seems likely to be the Democratic Party nominee and ultimately president in Jan. 2017, they wrote shamelessly to her on 10 May 2015 signalling their willingness to turn-coat again: “We are Tamils for Obama. We would like to remind you that before the nomination was settled in 2008, we were Tamils for Clinton. We are still here and eager to offer our support again. We were among your supporters before, and we haven’t changed our minds.”

Anti-TNA, Pro-Violence Videos

I have received two videos from the tamilsforobama address this past week as the Sri Lankan elections near. They promote the LTTE and its defunct vision at the expense of those who engage with the Sinhalese state.

MahindaThe first video, for 5 min 50 s, is from the extremist www.pathivu.com. With a catchy tune, the words are by Kasi-Anandan who received the LTTE title Maamanithan. His politics is best summed up by his words at a political meeting in 1972: “Mr. Duraiappa, Mr. Subramaniam, Mr. Arulampalam and Mr. Anandasangeri are enemies of the Tamil nation. They do not deserve a natural death. Nor do they deserve to die in an accident. The Tamil people, especially the youth, must decide how they should die.”

The words in the video by this now elderly Kasi-Ananthan (born in 1938 but who looks quite young and chic in a black ponytail), are directed at young Tamil males with repeated references to thamby, younger brother. The phrases are few, and repeated with images of M.A. Sumanthiran, R. Sampanthan and Mavai Senathirajah flashing, as some claim of being a traitor or betrayer is sung. They are accused of betraying S.J.V. Chelvanayagam while having his portrait at their meetings, of calling meetings in the name of Prabhakaran while drawing phlegm from the throat and spitting it out on the faces of great heroes (i.e., dead LTTE-ers), of shamelessly boasting that they would be ministers (as an image of Sumanthiran is flashed), and of waving the Sri Lankan flag opposed by “Father Chelva” (as an image flashes of Mr. Sampanthan waving the flag).

Needless to say, the statements and images of these three respected Tamil leaders are propagandist and out of context. For example, the flag was Wickremesinghe’s which he had suddenly invited Sampanthan to hold up with him on May Day. It was not a case of Sampanthan going about with a flag as suggested. In fact, Sampanthan has explained that the TNA is for national unity, and that he cannot disrespect the flag when he is asked to hold it.

That the second shorter video is of the same provenance as the first is seen from the use of the very same images. It is more focused against Sumanthiran using a hot speech by Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran who comes across as taking LTTE positions and rejecting any engagement with the Sinhalese. Although elected by the TNA, Wigneswaran sounds angry and out to undermine the TNA.

Smiling at Sinhalese

The point about engagement with the Sinhalese is forcefully put across by the videos with the three smiling TNA leaders greeting or being seated next to Mahinda Rajapaksa, or Ranil Wickremesinghe, or Sarath Fonseka, or Chandrika Kumaratunga. The point is similar to the LTTE’s complaints against Mr. A. Amirthalingam for having tea with JR Jayewardene during the District Council deal in the 1980s.

The position of the videos’ authors is that no one for Tamil rights should engage with the Sri Lankan state, have tea with Sinhalese or smile at them – all of which, to be sure, “Father Chelva” did. Short of the failed method of going for an armed struggle (which brought out the worst in all of us), how does one gain Tamil rights without talking to Sinhalese leaders?

Participatory Governance

Or are we to say, as this motley crew seems to want us to, that we will not take anything from the Sri Lankan state, not use Sri Lankan passports with the lion seal, and be happily administered by Sinhalese? That position is shallow and suited only to those on foreign passports who live abroad. Tamils in Sri Lanka need our police, our soldiers, our lecturers, our ministers, our government agents, and our Chief Ministers, Governors and MPs, all drawing salaries from the state. For that we must talk to the Sinhalese and, yes, smile at them too when we meet them to discuss power sharing. Sustainable development is participatory governance.

We badly need that power sharing. The Sri Lankan state is very racist and it is easy to see why those abroad want none of it. But engagement does not mean endorsement. Not war, but engagement is the civilized way of winning rights and living on in Sri Lanka for those who want to do so, or cannot afford people smugglers to flee. We must all vote for engagement, and against corruption and those whose ways are violent.

Full Agreement with Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa in a recent interview told us “Not to be fooled by what is being said. It’s all just mud slinging, my hands are clean. I have not robbed nor have I murdered.”

Yes, I fully agree with Rajapaksa on not being fooled. A person most dear to me was working for an INGO when the tsunami struck in 2005. Her foreign managers were away for Christmas. As the senior-most person on site, she was asked to give the leftover budget to tsunami relief. She personally carried the cheque – as I recall, for US$ 2 million – which ended up in the helping Hambantota fund. A few months later, when newspapers raked it up, the INGO issued a statement that it had indeed been intended for that Hambantota fund. For an INGO to buckle down like that, imagine the fear of those days. That is the tip of the iceberg as the body of Wasim Thajudeen is exhumed.

Surely, no one wants to return to those days. All voters must direct their destiny through the power of their ballot. For Tamils, engagement is critical to winning Tamil rights. We must vote only for parties that are for democracy and against corruption. The preference vote is there to choose the most democratic elements from our party of choice. We need to consolidate the gains of Jan. 8 as the only means of securing a safe Sri Lanka. It is only in a safe Sri Lanka that minorities can be happy and feel secure.

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Latest comments

  • 2

    Am I correct, this young looking LTTE dude Kasi Ananda.didn’t say the Tamil youth must decide how Vellala Sambandan, and Abraham should die this time…

    If that is the case it certainly is a a sea change, I guess.

    But what about poor Andadasagaree ? Is he still around,

    Because my elders tell me the others in Kasi’s original list are no more..Is that Right

    What worries our great majority of the inhabitant population is the deteriorating security situation in the country, mainly in the South under this Yahapalanaya.

    Tamil man who brought a Tamil woman , murdered her in a Colombo Hotel and carried her in a suit case and left in the Pettah Bus stand is still at large.

    Despite full on CCTV coverage of the operation has been seen by anyone with a Television or has heard it on FM.

    Remote control Bomb is defused in Benthota, but no arrests.

    Pathalaya Political activists who were distributing Galleon Ravi’s how to vote cards get shot with AK 47 s.

    But the culprits are still at large.

    Although the Victims are give Million LKR apartments from Government Funds.

    12 Pathlalaya Big Honchs have migrated back under Yahapalana amnesty, to work for well know UNP politikkas in Colombo and Wattala.

    Yahapalanaya Police were stopped from stopping the Bloomendahl shooters emigrating back to their overseas hiding places.

    The word is the Pathalaya Politico from the Bible Belt now controls the IGP

    In fact the people Colombo, who are in the know calls it John Police..

    In the midst of all this, can the TNA control the Crusaders and the Ponna Party Politikkas getting up to mischief, if the tide does not to turn their way?.

    • 1

      You are trying the old tricks to devide the Tamils on caste lines. The time has past for such sentiments. It shoos that you neither have any clue of how the Tamils conduct their affairs nor what you are writing about. Old slogans will not take you anywhere unfortunately there is no body on whom you can try this now. Just wake up.

  • 7

    Dear KAS,
    Truly You were in deep sleep, during your favourite MARA – prachanda – MARA was in power that is why you are seeing all the above crimes listed by you as new to Yahapalanaya only, wake up from those dreaming days and SEE FROM YOUR OPENED EYES what had happened those 8 years…… there were plenty still not opened to inquiry,but fortunately for the Sri Lankan population even those are surfacing one by one, like that of Thajudeen’s Death.
    Do you know who perpetrated the murder for what purpose? Do you Know who covered the entire process until now? let yahapalanaya court deal every mystery of MARA – prachanda – MARA rule one by one.

  • 2

    “The Sri Lankan state is very racist……………………….”
    This is a very drastic pronouncement.
    Actually, some politicians, like K.M.P.Rajaratna and others like him, who had power and influence, and, have had racist bias/views ever since independence, and, who had the armed forces & police under their control, carried out massacres of tamils, which led to tamils taking up arms for sheer survival.
    Sinhalese youth who rebelled against elected governments in 1971 and 1987-89, too, were slaughtered.

    Tamils abroad are too intelligent to be fooled by scurrilous videos.
    If some of them, court up and coming politicians, of countries where they reside, to make their voices heard, this is a quite acceptable activity in those countries.
    There is nothing ‘dangerous’ about politics in western democracies where Rule of Law is paramount.
    Whether it is ‘dirty’, depends on individual views.
    This is evident in the ongoing campaigns for selection of a president (USA) and prime minister (Canada).

  • 2

    World over Fedralism (Federalism is a system of government in which entities such as states or provinces share power with a national government – Dictionary) has been very
    successful and is in keeping with 21st century democracy. The 2 year National Govt. will work towards this, supported by IC, UN, India etc. Veto holders Russia and China will not disagree. The Sinhala state too will benefit in the long-run. Peace will be born in the

  • 1

    Professor Hoole has written well. This is indeed crunch time for Tamils everywhere. In Sri Lanka, it is absolutely vital that our Tamil brethren engage in every facet of our national life. The smarter Sinhalese are gradually coming to realise that a Sri Lanka where every race, and every community contributes, will make a much, much, stronger, peaceful and prosperous country. Yes, we have our fair share of racists, but only if we of all communities get together, can we start to weed them out, one by one. The road will be long and winding, with many a pot-hole, but unless we march together, we will not go anywhere.

  • 3

    “We need to consolidate the gains of Jan. 8 as the only means of securing a safe Sri Lanka. It is only in a safe Sri Lanka that minorities can be happy and feel secure.”

    We have to forget our past and delegate it to the archives and history books. It is our burden now, however bitter the past was. there should not be any preconditions for reconciliation. It is time to forgive the transgressors and move forward towards a future that will make the north and east productive, provide employment and make them prosper. If Sri Lanka does not progress we will not. Sri Lanka will not prosper, without the north and east prospering.

    It is the pride and dignity of the poor and wanting we have to restore. This is the immediate challenge and need. All other political considerations are secondary. A large chunk of the Tamils in the north and east are poor, dirt poor and are burdened with want.

    What Mahakavi Bharathiyar said should be our ringing slogan for the future, “Thani Oruvanukku Unavillai Enil, Jegathinai Allithiduvoem”( We will destroy the universe even if one man is hungry amongst us).

    There are two hands needed to clap. As the ones in need, let us stretch our hands in friendship first. There is no shame in this. We will exalt ourselves with this single gesture and regain the moral high ground we lost due to the foolish terrorism of the LTTE and similar outfits.

    We have to join the political mainstream in Sri Lanka and behave as citizens on matters of national interest. Mahatma Gandhi sided with the British in the Boer war, despite his demand for independence from British rule!

    Good governance and the rule of law will provide us the climate to live without fear. Good governance should deliver us our share of the national pie. Good governance should provide a stake in governance. Good governance should address our grievances.

    These will not happen the day after Aug 17th. It should go forward in small, but deliberate steps. We have to push the process forward in a manner that is wise and visionary. Incendiary words, speech and actions will not take us forward, even if circumstances are provocative. We have to be patient , but persistent. We have to win the confidence of the Sinhala masses as a first step. This step was never taken as a mission. Without their goodwill to help us move forward, we will remain where we are forever. Let us remember this like a mantra.

    Let us become a part of the next government as the first step. Sumanthiran has already paved the way for this. Sambanthan is respected and held in high esteem by even MR. He has to become our wise, visionary and bold leader. Let him cast out the garbage that has accumulated in the TNA without any compunction. Let him constitute a think tank for the Tamils and be guided by their knowledge, experience and wisdom.

    Let him put the noisy Tamil Diaspora in their place. They can help us go forward, but cannot be a hindrance any more. They cannot be absentee land lords in our affairs and dictate terms. We are the land lords and they will be our welcome visitors when they come here. That is the only relationship that is feasible, in view of what is transpiring since May’2009. They can have an opinion but no say in our affairs.

    Let this be the last election the TNA contests with the type of persons it has presented as candidates. I hope the people will make the right decision for the TNA, by electing only those who can serve them intelligently and wisely. Let them be persons who can serve the people and not hector them. Let them be persons who can shine in parliament, make friends in parliament, present our case logically in parliament and raise their voice on behalf of other communities and this country.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 3

    Sampanthan’s chickens are coming home to roost.

    This despicable politician sucked up to Prabakaran to save his own life and kept silent when the fascist killer was slaughtering thousands of innocent people including his own Tamils. He stood up in the parliament only to proclaim the fascist monster Prabakaran as the sole leader of Tamils thus betraying the people who believed in democracy and voted for him. He went along with Prabakaran when he branded the moderate Tamil leaders, who wanted to ENGAGE (yeah…that’s the operative word now) with the Sri Lankan government to work out a power-sharing solution, as traitors and eliminated them.

    When Chandrika made what has been widely regarded as the best offer to Tamils so far by a Sri Lankan head of state, Sampanthan, after promising his support, pulled the rug under her feet at the last minute at the behest of Prabakaran.

    Soon after the war ended in 2009, the political climate in the country and the international situation were very conducive for reconciliation and finding a genuine solution. But what happened? Sampanthan is just as much as guilty as Mahinda in thwarting the people’s desire for peaceful co-existence for their thirst for power. Without learning the lessons of the deadly 30 year war that had brought so much suffering to the people, both of them continued their racist politics to keep the two communities polarized so that they can further consolidate their vote banks.

    Instead of building trust and understanding among the communities, Sampanthan was back to his old sinister game. He was running frequently to India and the Diaspora with his minions Sumanthiran and Senathirajah and making very ambiguous and even provocative statements about Tamil demands in order to create suspicion and resentment among the Sinhalese and thereby preempt any reasonable solution.

    Now you, sir, are a dumbass in just endorsing the TNA for the upcoming elections without subjecting them to a proper critique. Yes, the Tamils need to engage with the government and for that they have to go with the TNA as the other Tamil parties are even worse. For precisely that reason the TNA and Sampanthan deserve a good dressing-down….come on…you can’t just go to kade for them. Or have you made some deal with the TNA?

    What’s Up, Doc?

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