Colombo Telegraph

Godahewa’s Speech At UNHRC: Truth Or Myth

By K. Anaga

Dr. Nalaka Godahewa’s speech, delivered at the 36th secession, of the UNCHR in Geneva, on 27th September 2017, as reported in various newspapers contain half truth and untruth. In short it is devoid of facts.

I would like to refer to some matters stated there in and give my views and clarification there to.

The Prominent Tamils

Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar was considered a ‘good bat’ by the then government for defensive batting, to distort facts to the world with regard to the discrimination heaped on the minorities in general and the Tamils in particular. This he did well to the satisfaction of his masters. However, Kadirgamar would have been respected by the Tamils too if he brought to light the problems faced by the Tamils as well, in the hands of the successive Sinhala Governments. Instead he was keen to satisfy the Sinhala people only. In appreciation, suggestions were made by certain individuals in the government to ‘appoint’ him as the Prime Minister. He was never a contender. He was only an intended contender, but tenderly dissuaded from doing so, because he was a Tamil. Mr. Kadirgamar, never had the capacity to fight his way through or demand, for fear of hurting the government.

Mr. K. Sripavan was a Chief Justice of the Country by fortuitous circumstances. The President and Prime Minister had to take oath under him due to the unfortunate situation created by the Rajapaksa government. Mr. Sripavan was a good choice as he would never have gone against the government’s thinking.

Mr. Indrajit Coomarasway appears to be good choice but what about his predecessor Mr. Arjun Mahendran? Mr. Mahendran was appointed as governor of the Central Bank, but it appears that the reigns were held by his friend the Prime Minister, which resulted in a pathetic situation.

Bar Association is not a government institution to talk high of Mr. Geoffery Alagaratnam’s appointment as its President.

Muthaiah Muralitharan’s world record was not bestowed by the government. It was an achievement by him through his efforts, supported by his team mates, especially by Arjuna Ranatunga. However, according to recent press report, moves are a foot to remove his name from the Pallekelle Stadium. Why?

The opposition leader Mr. Sambanthan took this position not by right. He was appointed by the government to shield them from the onslaught from the joint opposition. True to the government’s expectation Sambanthan is flirting with them, forgetting the purpose of his election by the Tamil people. He has amplified his faithfulness by his actions including the failure to attend the recent UNHCR secessions’ in Geneva for fear of antagonizing the government. Mr. Sampanthan. would have been very comfortable with Mr. Godahewa in Geneva, if he had gone there. In effect he is not a trustworthy leader of the opposition even for the Sinhalese.

It will be waste of time to write about the private companies who have grown up on their own despite obstacles placed by the government. Most of these companies were remnants of the British Companies. Due to sheer hard work they have been able to continue successfully. Nevertheless it may be prudent for people like Mr. Godahewa to analyze and ascertain the ethnicity of the senior executive staff in these so called Tamil Companies.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

National Flag

In the national flag, the Sinhalese are not represented by the maroon back ground but by the Lion holding the sword and the four Bow Leaves in the four corners The Srilanka flag was originally designed only with a lion and the sword in the flag. However, when the Tamils and the Muslims protested, they were given two stripes (Popularly referred to as amude). You will note that the sword held by the Lion is pointed at the Strips as a warning to the Tamils and the Muslims. The need to give recognition to the minorities in the National flags of other countries did not arise as their National Flags did not depict any ethnic divide. In the recent past too there were moves to erase the strip and sing the national anthem in Sinhala only.

Thesavalamai

Thesavalami does not prevent any Srilankans buying land in Jaffna. This is deliberate misrepresentation of facts. Please refer the article written by Mr. Vivekanadan under the caption “The Myths and Misconception of the Thesawalmai Law” which appeared in the Sunday Times of 30th.January 2015. Notwithstanding this, Thesawalamai is a proof of an existence of a separate Kindom.

Further, please note that the Tamils are not opposed to Sinhalese buying properties in the North and East individually. But, they naturally fear the state aided colonization so as to change the texture of the existing population, which was the hallmark of DS. Senanayake. This was/is continued unabatedly by others, with the ulterior motive of reducing the Tamil representation in the Parliament and elsewhere. Even a part of the 75% of the population colonizing the 25% of population may result in completely destroying the identity of the Tamils.

Caste System

Caste system prevailed not only in Jaffna but almost all parts of Srilanka and Asia. Even among the Sinhalese caste system prevails. Karavas, Goviyas, Dhobis etc. Late Mr. CP de Silva, Mr. Colvin R de Silva and even the late President Premada suffered immensely because of their caste. In fact, subtle efforts were made by the so-called high caste MP’s to prevent Premadasa becoming the president. It is said that Premadas lived in constant fear of being ousted by his own party men, because of his caste. If you will go through the matrimonial pages in the press, you will see the caste being mentioned as Karawas, Goviyas, Bodu Govi etc. as a prerequisite.

Sinhala Only

Mr. SWRD.Bandaranaike, advocated Sinhala Only as the official language. This was the breaking point. This was the beginning of the end of the cordiality, between the Sinhala and Tamil people. The UNP too supported it. Even the LSSP stalwart Colvin R de Silva who once stated “two languages one nation and one language two nations” subsequently caved in and supported the Sinhala only act and Buddhism be given the foremost place. If the discrimination was a myth why was it necessary for Bandaranaike and Dudly to enter into pact with Chelvanayakam, at different times and later unilaterally abrogate the pact? Is it because the discrimination had ended?

Blood Donation

It is an outright lie to say that that the blood bank in Jaffna would have gone dry if not for the blood donation made by the Sinhala soldiers. It is another publicity stunt to artificially enhance value of the army to be stationed in Jaffna. It is a shame to say that the army donated blood during the war. Only the army was able to move about in Jaffna during the war freely. Naturally, they may have donated blood at the Jaffna hospitals, to assist the injured soldiers. Logically the injured terrorist would not have been there. The donation of blood by 200 soldiers was a good move, but it was not due to the refusal of Tamils to donate blood but due to the soldiers wishing to donate blood and publicize it for political reasons. The press report on this matter was clarified by the hospital.

Thanks to Prabaharn the caste system in Jaffna has been kept at bay. Today no one is prevented from entering the Hindu temples, or restaurants or schools. In fairness to The Tamil Christians, it must be said that they never prevented any one from entering their Churches or schools.

Terrorism

Sri Lanka, you say has wiped out terrorism but who was responsible for its creation? A mass hysteria was created by the government by introducing the standardization of marks for the university entrant’s examination, which resulted in the Tamil boys/girls being pushed to the wall resulting in the younger generation taking up arms. Even the parents could not control their children. War may be over! But has the reason for the war eliminated?.

Public Documents

All public documents carry both Sinhala and Tamil Languages it is said. Please go to police stations and try to make an entry in Tamil. I was at the Traffic Court No7 recently to assist a friend. I was called upon to sign a bond in support of my friend. The bond document was in Sinhala only. Neither Tamil nor English documents were available. Hence I was reluctant to sign this document as I did not understand Sinhala. But, if I did not sign the bond my friend would have been in great difficulties. Hence, I had to sign the document to assist my friend; despite the fact my knowledge of Sinhala is questionable.

In the Sunday Times of 1st October 2017 carried a news item which states “the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) last week charged that the Ministry of Education (MOE) from the beginning of this year failed to issue circulars in Tamil language to schools”. This situation has been prevailing for quite some time.

Development Funds

The development funds diverted to the north and east are a drop in the ocean. It is an eye-wash, to cheat the north/east population and the world. If the government can release acres and acres of land held by the army, the people there can look after themselves and mitigate their sufferings to a great extent.

The JVP detainees were been released by JR without hesitation, but why not the Tamil detainees? Why is the government reluctant to allow free flow of funds from Diaspora through recognized Banks to organizations involved in helping the Tamils?

Discrimination in Dealing with the Dead

Even in death there is discrimination. When the beauty queen from Hambantota, Prema Manamperi was raped and murdered during the JVP ‘insurrection’, the army men responsible for it was taken to task and punished. Of course, the then CMU leader late Bala Tampoe sphere headed the agitation successfully to ensure justice, But what a about Isai Priya the TV presenter of the north during the war, who was raped and killed by the army at the end of the war. She was paraded naked like Premawathi Manamperi and tortured, but no action has been taken. Why?

Constitution

You may have enough and more constitutional provisions with regard to language rights, but is it being implemented?  Marriage certificates and death certificates are invariably issued in Sinhala and the Tamils have to go behind sworn translators for translations. Even when a few of the public documents are in Sinhala and Tamil there are no officers who understand Tamil in most places. Try your luck at the post offices to send registered letters addressed in Tamil and you will realize the difficulties.  Almost all the Commercial Banks both private and government has various different accounts titled in Sinhala only. No translation is provided- only transliteration is given. In Canada all public documents are in English and French.  All items put out for sale has to carry labels in both languages. What is the difficulty in doing so here?  The Canadian embassy in Srilanka greets you in both languages (English and French) when called .I understand that the Canadian government funds the implementation of the language policy to a certain extent in Srilanka.

Thank You.

Finally, Dr. Godaheva needs to be thanked for prompting a reply with observations/clarifications for the Sinhala people to understand the trials and tribulation under gone by the Tamils at every turn. Facts are sometimes stranger than fiction.

Back to Home page