4 December, 2020

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GSL Constructed A War Memorial In Pudumattalaan, Its Purported Design Is Similar To Maaveerar Naal

By MA Sumanthiran

M. A. Sumanthiran MP

November 27, 2012 was a busy day for the Government of Sri Lanka. Government agents prohibited routine rituals in temples across the North and East, attacked and arrested peacefully assembled university students, invaded a female hostel, beat a newspaper editor, vandalized the vehicle of a Member of Parliament, abused political prisoners in captivity, injured a journalist and several University Media students, patrolled a cemetery, and found time to scout private properties so as to extinguish lamps lighted for the Hindu festival of lights Karthiaai Vilakkeedu.

What could spark such drastic measures? On November 27, 2012 all it took was a lamp.

This year the religious holiday Karthiaai Vilakkeedu and the Tamil remembrance day Maaveerar Naal both fell on November 27. Both occasions are traditionally commemorated by the lighting of lamps. The Karthiaai (Karthikai) lamps symbolize peace and harmony and mark the full-moon culmination of the Festival of Lights.

The Maaveerar Naal lamps pay homage to those Tamils who died in the War and symbolically mark the day of the first Tamil causality. Both annual activities are non-violent. This year both activities were forcibly or violently suppressed.

Both holidays were deemed guilty by association –Karthiaai Vilakkeedu for its association with lamps and Maaveerar Naal for its association with the LTTE. Under those pretenses the government determined that the activities of the day, namely the lighting of lamps, were unacceptable.

The Law of the Land

The Constitution enshrines the fundamental right of all Sri Lankans to the freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 10) and the freedom of speech, assembly, association, and movement specifically the “freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice or teaching (Article 14(1)(e)”. Thus, to ban an ancient Tamil Hindu tradition demands a higher standard than symbolophobia.

To ban the ancient Tamil Hindu tradition of lighting lamps for Karthiaai Vilakkeedu requires a Constitutional rewrite.

The Government attempt to legally justify their action on November 27 relies on a perverse hermeneutic. The Government relies on the provided restrictions on the fundamental rights of speech, peaceful assembly, and association described in Article 15, specifically that these rights can be restricted by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony. On its face, it is apparent that this restriction can not be used to limit a non-exclusive, non-violent and non-adversarial religious practice. One cannot protect religious harmony by inhibiting religion.

The fully realized right to peacefully exercise religion is religious harmony’s most basic sine qua non. In fact, Article 14(1)(e) which protects the right to manifest religion is not specifically subject to the restrictions as pertaining to law in the interests of racial and religious harmony. Instead this Article is subject per citation to the more general restrictions of Article 15(7) which include the priority “interests of national security, public order and the protection of public health or morality, or for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, or of meeting the just requirements of the general welfare of a democratic society.” Of these, the Government appeals to the broad interpretation of the general welfare clause to justify their actions.

The same Articles that vindicate the religious practice of lighting lamps also vindicate it as a cultural practice and the same aforementioned restrictions need not apply. Article 14(1)(e) guarantees each citizen “the freedom by himself or in association with others to enjoy and promote his own culture and to use his own language.” In similar fashion, racial harmony is impossible to achieve if people are prohibited on racial or ethnic grounds from commemorating the loss of their loved ones. Even so far as these fallen family were soldiers in a separatist movement, their enduring posthumous identity remains primarily ethnic and familial.

It is important to remember that the conflict itself was drawn along similar demographic lines. The cultural practice of honoring the dead by lighting lamps can not be legitimately described as a threat to national security and the Government must appeal to the same General Welfare Clause found in Article 15(7) to which Article 14(1)(e) regarding cultural expression is indeed subject.

Suppression as Self-Destruction

The crux of the matter both legally and otherwise is whether the lighting of lamps in the tradition of these two holidays meet “the just requirements of the general welfare of a democratic society.” (Because Karthiaai Vilakkeedu was condemned soley by association to lamps, the real issue is as applied to Maaveerar Naal.)

This question can be answered theoretically and demonstrated practically. Absent the ‘Thought Police’ of an Orwellian dystopia, every person enjoys a de-facto right to remember what they want. An organic extension of that memory is the memorial. If a community or culture posses collective memories, it will be reflected in their desire to express these memories collectively. This expression can threaten those who are insecure about the past and the effect those memories might have on the future.

In the modern Sri Lankan context, certain memories are suppressed out of fear that these memories will rally people to a previously suppressed cause. The tragic irony is that the act of suppression removes the painful memory from the past and places it firmly in the present. We will never forget our past, but suppression insures that we will also never escape it.

The suppression of memories and memorials is similar to commanding someone not to think about a particular thing. The command and every reiteration of it generate the very thoughts the command seeks to preclude! Similarly every time the memories of past political realities are suppressed they are only displaced from the public to the private imagination where they can be neither checked nor measured only stirred.

Furthermore if violence is used as means of suppressing memories of violence, then not only does that memory get internalized, it gets updated. It is no longer confined to the past. In this manner whenever the Government uses violence inappropriately, as they did on November 27, 2012, they are replacing scars with fresh wounds.

Two Hands

The Government constructed a war memorial in Pudumattalaan in 2008. Its purported design is similar to Maaveerar Naal in that it seeks to commemorate fallen soldiers albeit through a more imposing and persistent method. The immense Government fixture features a soldier in uniform hoisting a gun in his right hand and the Sri Lankan flag in his left. As an enduring symbol of civil conflict, this image is troubling.

Open conflict may be over but the current battle for national identity cannot be won with a gun in one hand and flag in the other.

If Sri Lanka bought peace with violence only to sustain it with more violence then perhaps what Sri Lanka purchased wasn’t peace but a mere pit stop. The government is at a crossroads. If Sri Lanka is to realize something better than what we all remember the Government must take their finger off the trigger and leave their gun hand empty, open and outstretched.

No matter who we are we cannot disown our dead. We should not forget their mistakes, grievances, victories, defeats and sacrifices. Instead we should hope for ourselves what they hoped for us: that Sri Lanka will realize something better and brighter.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Hi Sumanthiran,
    Thank god, we got a brilliant thamil leader hope in you. Not to worry we will behind you in future when sampanthan gone…take thamil leadership..god bless you…We thamils need intellectuals like you. Fight for us we will do rest…..
    I have so many natives support our course….i mean thamils not…

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      R.Kovian says:

      “Thank god, we got a brilliant thamil leader hope in you.”

      Please don’t start your periodical ritual.

      First you praise them as Brilliant,

      When they become ineffective they are stupid

      When they don’t agree with your agenda they are known as Tamil traitors

      Which in the past was punishable crime, assassination.

      You say:

      “Not to worry we will behind you in future when sampanthan gone…take thamil leadership.”

      Lot of people remember you were behind VP & LTTE and eventually buried him in Mullivaaikkal.

      There are other old hands, Premachandran, Mavai and others are waiting in the wings.

      Please leave him alone.

      By the way Tamils are not natives, like their Sinhalese brethren they too are Tamils from Tamilnadu.

    • 0
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      Judging from Sumanthiran’s views of various subjects, he will not only be a good leader for the Tamils but for all the communities in Sri Lanka and the country as a whole. Best wishes to him.

  • 0
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    Sumanthiran is fighting Tamil liberation in the North and East as a Colombo Tamil. HE promotes LTTE tribalism.

    IT is very intelligent to country’s freedom of expression and your culture to promote LTTE ideology again.

    Soldiers killed terrorists who were both in military and civilian uniforms. On the other hand, Terrorists while fighting the army killed most of the time civilians and slaughtered villages.

    How can you, as a decent human being, compare terrorist celebration with memorials for soldiers who died for the country ?

    You clearly show your Tamil Tribalism and disregard for lives of non-tamils.

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      black monkey army have sex with corpses.

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      Hold your horses; do you have the thinking cap on, do not just babel without any verified facts.Who are these terrorist, was it not the state? which did terrorise its citizens since 1956 creating the freedom fighters. Keep saying lies does not become the truth. You clearly show your Tribal mentality- barbarism, and have no regard for lives of tamils. get your facts corrected. do not exhibit your ignobleness.

  • 0
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    At the end of the article, Sumanthiran insists that recruited child soldiers, suicide bombers, and these killers who blew central bank, buses, trains, religious places of non-tamils can not be neglected, their lives should be celebrated and he sees that as a sacrifice for Tamils.

    What a racist and barbaric claim is that. You people are still showing your barbaric sentiments even though you live in the modern world.

    When that is the case, why should non-tamils think about you tamils ?

    The article is excellent for other Tamil barbarians who think the samw way as you.

    • 0
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      Hey man July 83 you did rape and kill Jaffna tamils but anyone who did not know sanyaka layana- I mean anyone who had lived in Colombo before independence but you are so uncivilized that you have not even cared to say sorry as a two legged.
      4 legged good 2 legged bad.
      Therenawa neda malli ape asdeken deka dey.

  • 0
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    “No matter who we are we cannot disown our dead.We should not forget their mistakes,grievances,victiries,defeats and sacrifices…”

    The question of disowning or not would depend on why they died.
    It is better to forget them than ressurect their memories if they died causing immense damage by hijacking the righteous case that the Tamils had in gaining their place as equals with the majority community in Lankan society.
    The LTTE spared no one in their lust for power,taxes were levied,freigt movement into the peninsula on even essentials like,soap,asprin,medcines, asbestos,cement,and even agricultural products.People were forced to contribute to the war effort in cash,kind,and personnel,so much so people left Jaffna in droves to Colombo and from their to foreign climes.

    It was never the intention of the LTTE to have sincere negotiations with the government.
    When India entered the scene as a neighbour to bring about a just settlement,they initiated an armed combat against the Indians on some flimsy excuse and helped to strength the hands of the hardliners in the GOSL when an elected leader of the Tamil people in the TULF claimed that if his party’s proposals for autonomy were accepted by the GOSL a large mass of the Tamil people would settle for the arrangement.But any neotiation for that possibility to materialise was shot down by the LTTE because it’s leader stuck to the position that the real aspirations of the Tamil people is an independent Eelam and nothing else.
    Parents were deprieved of their children in the name of a Eelam.
    A generation of misguided young Tamil youth died in vain.

    That is why while rejecting and condenming the high handed brash action of the government in ordering the police to invade the Jaffna University students hostel, it is my believe that it better to forget unpleasant memories and not indulge celebrating the consequences of the foolish adventurist project initiated by the LTTE in which we as Tamils today stand defeated and humiliated.

    “There was the door to which I found no key:
    There was the veil through which I might not see:
    Some little talk of ME and THEE,
    There was—-and then no more of THEE and ME.”

    • 0
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      Uthungan,

      You are absolutely right. What is the benefit the Tamils derived from the Tigers? They would be largely remembered by history for the state to which they left the Tamils. whatever good some may perceive them to have done were interred with their bones, in Shakespeare’s words. The evil overwhelmed the good,as it did Ravana!

      What we should have annually is a ‘ Lessons learned day’, on which ponder the past, the present and the future as a people. This will be the best tribute to all the lives sacrificed in this war and those managed to just survive. It will also be the best service to the generations to be yet born.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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        @uthungan and Narendran. It was the contention of SJV Chelva that the wall had to be retained so that the fresco could be drawn. What of this concept? Is land essential for a Sri Lankan Tamil identity? Could this not develop without the political control of the historic area of habitation of the Tamil people?

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          Bedrock Barney,

          It is not the land but the people who matter. As long as there are Tamils in Sri Lanka and they want to be and insist on being Tamils, the will be fresco. The thought process that made land the centre piece of the so-called Tamil struggle for liberation, almost destroyed the Tamils- the people, devastating even the land. The Muslims have kept Tamil alive and yet kicking in all parts of Sri Lanka, during the worst years, without waging a war for land. What do the Tamils in say Jaffna have that Tamils living in other parts of the island do not have. Tamils everywhere in Sri Lanka , can speak Tamil, follow their cultural practices, worship their Gods , send their children to Tamil schools and teach their children in Tamil. They also find employment in various spheres. What historical experiences dictate is that their security should be assured every where they live and they should not be discriminated any where, in any sphere, in any way. The LTTE and GOSL fought wars have proven above doubt that Tamils will not be safe even in the north and east, when it comes to a push and a shove.

          As I have said, devolution/ power sharing is required between suitably defined peripheral areas and the centre to make way for greater and more responsive management of the political and development needs of all people.

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0
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    What can this man do except be concerned because the time is not right!

    Governments that block the aspirations of their people, that steal or are corrupt, that oppress and torture or that deny freedom of expression and human rights should bear in mind that they will find it increasingly hard to escape the judgement of their own people, or where warranted, the reach of international law.– William Hague

  • 0
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    It is encouraging Sumanthiran, in addition to being a very good lawyer, is also well versed in matters philosophical. What troubles me is the external dimensions of this incident. It is learnt Vaiko,
    Nedumaran and MK Stalin were in the London TGTE Conference held within the British Parliament premises. Any desecration of the right to observe the ancient Kaarthigai Vilakku (Oil lamps during the month of Karthigai) festival will be blown out of proportion in Thamilnadu.
    I can see the Sinhala extremist will decry this comment demanding what the hell TNadu has got to do with all this.

    Sumanthiran educates us the denial of lighting Kaarthigai Vilakku last week is in direct violation of our own Constitution re. the Freedom of Worship. If the Rajapakses are a law-abiding ruling set they will offer unreserved apologies to the Tamil people for the discourtesy done to them by an over-zealous army and Police presence manned by
    men with little learning and suspect imagination. If the whole exercise was engineered by mischievous elements on the LTTE side, as alleged by some quarters, it is clear the army/Police fell into the trap – hook, line and sinker.

    Senguttuvan

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      What you say would be true only if ordinary Hindu Tamil citizens were prevented from observing Villakeedu in their homes and temples. Did this happen? If it did, to what extent? If it did not happen, then what is our grouse?

      To the extent I know the Villakeedu was celebrated with the usual fervour all over Jaffna . Can anyone deny this?

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 0
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        Omnipresent Dr Rajasingham – he knows what is happeneing all over Jaffna!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • 0
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          Anpu,

          If you happen to know more about what is happening all over Jaffna, please educate us. I particularly have no mental blocks that prevent learning.

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 0
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        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran –
        What about learning this? Another example of army rule in Jaffna http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=67488

        • 0
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          Anpu,
          Answer the question I asked instead quoting someone who has not been in Jaffna recently and is writing about things he has only heard. Sometimes even learned men like Prof. Laksiri Fernando inadvertently get trapped in well designed propaganda traps

          Dr.R.N

    • 0
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      Also what’s apparent here is a lack of understanding of each others cultures and sensitivities.

  • 0
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    Remembering the dead does not necessarily mean that one subscribes to their ideology or thinking. As a human being one has the right to remember ones ancestors and bereaved relatives and pray for their forgiveness and redemption. We all do it, so why not the tamils. You cannot police the hearts and minds of people bu you can win them over by treating them as human beings.

    “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,”— in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease. “He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,” — in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule. – Dhammapada

  • 0
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    Blowing up innocent mums and dads in their work places, blasting school children on their way to school ,hacking babies ,their lactating mums and their elderly grand parents in their own villages are just MISTAKES.

    And the LTTE leader who committed these mistakes has the constitutional right to receive birth and death anniversay greetings from his beloved followers,says Mr Sumanathiran, the legal luminary.

    And the LTTE followers must have the constitutional right to conduct these anniversary celebrations at public gatherings, extolling these heroic deeds.

    Just imagine what the great majority of inhabitants can expect if Mr Sumanathiran and Co get hold of one third of land mass and two thirds of the coast as depicted and highlited in the map of Srilanka, prepared by the Trans National Government of Tamil Eelaam and displayed at the recent funeral of one of their seniors.

    • 0
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      K.A Sumanasekera,
      Please roll back to 1956.
      From that point, Sri Lankan government and army are doing worse than the above said on Tamils.
      Mistakes started there mate.

  • 0
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    Maveer Naal cannot be a constitutional right. It celebrates violence & killings perpetrated to destroy the constitution.

    While the the soldiers died to safeguard constitution and the constitutional rights of the citizens.

    • 0
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      Hela says:

      “While the the soldiers died to safeguard constitution and the constitutional rights of the citizens”

      Soldiers died because of Sinhala/Buddhist stupidity.

      When did you become a constitutional expert?
      You have been a Sinhala/Buddhist bigot all these years but have become a self appointed “Law Giver”.

      Where does it say people cannot remember their kith and kin who died for one reason or another?

      Please refer me to the chapter and verse of the constitution that prohibits the mourning of kith and kin.

      Why are you sitting on your brain?

      When did the Sri Lankan state, its rulers and their cronies respect and comply with constitution?

      • 0
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        Soldiers died to protect the right of all Sri lankans including veddas (& the amude) to live anywhere in the country.

      • 0
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        Veddo,

        Sri Lankan state, it’s rulers & their cronies have been largely following the constitution. That’s why there have been so many changes of govt since 1948 through the ballot and not the bullet.

        • 0
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          Hela

          “Sri Lankan state, it’s rulers & their cronies have been largely following the constitution.”

          You haven’t answered my questions:

          Where does it say people cannot remember their kith and kin who died for one reason or another?

          You say:

          “Soldiers died to protect the right of all Sri lankans including veddas (& the amude) to live anywhere in the country.”

          We decide where we want to live, in our natural habitat, ancestral land. The constitution itself does not prohibit this but the subsequent laws enacted by the majority stupid Sinhala/Buddhists reorder our life style, livelihood, what we eat, wear or when we ease ourselves.

          Whether I wear Amudey or G string its none of your business nor its state’s business.

          Please stop telling my people how to live their lives.

          Leave my people alone.

  • 0
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    Apologies for not mentioning Rubiat of Omar Khayyam as the source of the verse at the end of my comment and the many spelling mistakes etc.

  • 0
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    While it is comforting the Karthigair Vilakku activities took place in most Jaffna homes, it is also true many efforts at collective rememberence was discouraged by the Army/Police. There are reports the uniformed men warned the public and, even temples, not to light lamps on VPs birthday. It is not suggested the President is behind the matter. It is just aberrations by lower officials on the ground who cannot distinguish between an ancient ritual and the birthday of VP, which falls around the sametime. Paranoid instructions from Colombo to look out for signs of the re-emergence of the Tigers could have confused uniformed men in the streets. Equally, there was no lack of effort by tiger interests to try and gain maximum advantage in the accompanying confusion. Predictably though sadly, ordinary Tamils had to meet the brunt of the harrassment and inconvenience.

    As to the many incidents of coercion by policemen in tne road on passing motorists, while the pressures of the CoL bites the ordinary cop who also preys on those of other races, it cannot be denied the moment he notices – from the dress and accent of the man in the vehicle stopped for checking he is a Tamil – the cop is rarely in wanting to take undue advantage of this “legitimte target” The more “interior” and far-removed the place where the incidence occurs the more vulnerable is the Tamil-speaking man in the vehicle. This can only be reduced and eventually removed by the
    Police Dept strenghtening its own policing and training system. This should form part of regular lectures to PCs, Sgts, SI’s and IPs that the Police heirarchy must conduct.

    Senguttuvan

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    If Tamils in Jaffna had no cause for complaint against the army/Police
    during last week’s Kaarthigair Vilakku period, clearly someone is calling Sumanthiran, Saravanapavan and others – who are in record having made public statements against the desecration – as being economic with the truth? It will not be long before the leadership of the Tamil Nation make official statements in Parliament and other appropriate fora. I wish the many Tamils from Jaffna and elsewhere in the readership also will join in the discussion.

    Senguttuvan

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      The individuals you mention have been exposed before for their questionable truths/ facts and exaggerations, even in the floor of the parliament.

      There is no alternative to your coming to Jaffna and spending at least a month there. The other alternative, which is yet inadequate, would be read a cross section of the Tamil web media in Tamil.

      Very few in the north and east read /access the web and the few who who do are mostly not capable of comprehending English adequately. Even the minuscule numbers who are computer and English literate are not courageous enough to express their views or report events as they should be- without bias. This opens the way for the rare few who. dare to report what they see as the truth to be damned by the vociferous few, domiciled abroad.

      The media and journalists thus have the freedom to create, distort, magnify and invent news. The media in Sri Lanka is not a pillar it should be in a vibrant democracy. The Tamil press in general is probably the worst, because the Tiger shadow yet envelops them in a substantial way. It is at best a harlot or a keep of those who wield power or wish to wield power. The truth is not what they seek or tell.

      The COLOMBO TELEGRAPH seems to be evolving to be an exception by accommodating multiple viewpoints and promoting discussion in the manner it should. I have learned much through the Colombo Telegraph and it is definite that it has in a very short time found a niche market amongst it readers. I take this opportunity to wish the CT the best in pursuing its vision and mission.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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        Well said Dr Rajasingham….

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    Senguttuvan
    You are absolutely right Sumanthiran and Saravanapavan have been economical with the truth,because they have a TGTE diaspora dog’s tail in their hand which wags them.

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    A prolonged stay in the Tamil Homeland has been a matter of much fondness to me. My last visit to Jaffna was brief as it was an official one. But I got a sufficient feel of the concerns, the in-depth feelings and some idea of the hopes of the ordinary folk there.
    My wife, who joined me and who usually keeps out of my socio-political leanings, became a convert after listening to the harrowing tales of the middle-aged person who was assigned to take us around. She now takes a keen interest to join in to help where she can – although she has a wide circle of long-time Sinhala friends. It was nice to see some of her Sinhal friends contributing resources to the needy in the Tamil areas – one the Sister-in-Law of a senior SLA Maj. General.

    The empirical reality is one does not have to be on the spot 24x7x365 to get an entire feel of things on the ground on any given issue – although this is ideal. I get my information from reliable sources in the Peninsula, in Colombo and from the diaspora that also includes the Virakesari and Thinakkural. Some leading men in the Tamil political formation too inter-act with me. I find diaspora periodicals are deeply one-sided and reflect the views of the concerned parties. There is, I agree, hardly any shortage in the Tamil side of journalists engaging in twists and turns depending on who their own patrons or financiers are.

    In a recent visit to Britain and Canada I could not help but feel saddened how polarized the diaspora is.

    While one of the men I referred to is tainted on a finance-institution deal that cleaned up a lot of middle-class Tamil investors, the other shows much promise and, I believe, maintains a honourable reputation. It will be good if the former pays up some of those whom he swindled – now that we are told even opposition MPs have many sources of making big bucks??? But then there are many outside the political landscape in the Tamil Nation whose names are murky in rackets of many forms, which is not a secret either within or outside the country. So here too it is more the case of “let he who is free of sin cast the first stone”

    Senguttuvan

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    Uthungan,

    Even you will concede, despite many alleged faults the diaspora has and continues to serve besieged Tamils in many ways. If not for them as well, we would have hardly any Tamils left post-5/09 with men like
    SF in charge of a modern super-equipped Army of nearly 400,000 going after a ramshackle outfit of about 12,000 (Govt figures) Diaspora interests too have a role to play in getting the Rajapakses to yield justice to the Tamil Nation – long denied. Rajapakses have proved over and over again they do not have the mindset to help Tamils to get back on their feet although, now, there are many in the Sinhala South – both in the polity and civil society – who admit the Tamils have been wronged far too long and much more should be done to get them back to the fold – and very quickly too.

    Senguttuvan

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    Yes, Senguttuvan what you say is true about the many murky rackets in the Tamil Nation outside the political landscape.But those who run them must have some sort of approval or understanding from the powers that be, otherwise it is not possible.
    The Rajapakses will only help such Tamils and not others.That may apply to the one with tainted reputation with a political clout as well(there are many in the diaspora) to carry on regardless.

    The diaspora periodicals you refer to are very often given free to customers who vist those grocery cum wine shops to purchase food products imorted from SL and only a diehard supporter of the LTTE would bother have glance.

    It is my conviction that unless well meaning people of all communities in the country sincerly commit themselves to solve basic issues of importance to all of us on the basis of a common programme and put words into action like the protesters in Thahir Sq. in Egyt nothing good will ever materialise.

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    Bedrock Barney,

    On the innocent side is misunderstanding and on the opposite side
    is the likelihood of collusionalism, which by now, the Tamil side
    has become far too aware of.

    Anpu,

    One does not have to be on the spot always to learn of what is happening. A well-known Reporter, now living in Canada, assembles
    often reliable and upto date information of the Tamil struggle
    even before those in Colombo become aware of it. I cannot accept the fact only one man and what he perceives is right and everything what others say or write is wrong. This is the very essense of nonsense.

    Senguttuvan

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      Many thanks Senguttuvan. I am in full agreement with you.

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      DBS.Jeyaraj ( the journalist in Canada) through,y investigates to seek facts, before he writes. This is reason his writings carry weight and stand the test of time. He does not write on the basis of hearsay and second hand news.

      The ‘Udhayan’ newspaper owned by Saravanabawan MP is trash. It does not know the maxim ‘ Facts are sacred, but comment is free’. U fortunately, it is the best sold and read newspaper in the north. This tells more of the people than this paper. Apparently, it markets the type of news that is expected by a large number of people.

      Since many of us who write and comment do don’t have the skills and contacts DBSJ has, we have no alternative to being on the scene to understand the big picture. This big picture would give us the ability to judge the news from particularly the north based on logic and common sense.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    Land – together with language, culture and historically-long habitation in the disputed areas concerned – shall be integral for the legal claim of the Sri Lanka Tamil Nation, if it is allowed to come to that. Those are features of the main criteria for the recognition of a “Country” by the UN. The Catalanians are working on this now,as we read. In the early 1950s Land was not in the discourse of the Tamil agitation as much as Language, because it was not a factor that it became after 1956. By then forced Colonisation, calculated to demographic change, was set in motion by State interests. Tamils in Batticoloa District are no more the majority they were for millenia before 1970s. The demographic-change centric endeavour continues in a much more pronounced manner today as it did for some years now under both SLFP, UNP, PA and UPFA administrations. Land, without people, is an argument in the context of our national debate is based on sophistry, diabolically calculated to harm the Tamil people.

    Surely even you should know Muslims here do not have a valid and tenable claim for a land-based Self-Governance unit. I must add in haste I have no objection if some arrangement is made to them in a contiguous area so long as it does not prejudice Tamil, Sinhala and other interests in the areas concerned. There is little doubt your reference to Muslims here is to befriend them to your line of thinking in these columns. It might come as education to you that political carpetbagger Badiu-din-din, consumed with power in 1970, asked Muslims to give up Tamil and speak in Sinhala in their homes. Many of them took the advise, while most gave this up later there are many Muslims to whom Sinhala is the language at home/school.

    As to your claim Tamils everywhere in Sri Lanka now can talk in their language freely, please note even today Tamil girls/women in the Colombo District, the South and Central Hills are uneasy wearing their “Pottu” in buses and trains. A lad of about 15 (student of Hindu College?) – travelling from Wattala to Bambalapitiya not long ago, was brutally killed thrown out of the train merely because his knap-sack had Tamil school books. This is only one instance. I do not want to revisit the sad past as I wish to see things change. Such a change is not merely a function of the State but of the general public. This, I fear, still remains highly polarized.

    I am entirely with you “their (Tamils) security should be assured everywhere they live and they should not be discriminated any where, in any sphere, in any way” This is more wishful thinking – the reality of which is absent in much of the South and Central Hills where Tamils speak generally in whispers in a majority environment. Have you chosen to ignore or forget the killing of some Tamils and the destruction of their entire village in the Galle District recently because “the ParaDemalas there refused to address an army recent recruit as SIR”? This is but once instance in recent times – many in the Hill country, where, it is common knowledge, Tamils there had nothing to do with Separatism.

    I don’t believe in an eye for an eye in our context and am very much for early and genuine reconciliation. But since this has not emerged in the past nearly a decade, it is prudence that tells one this is not in the Agenda of the rulers – both lay and cleric. As Emerson commented “if 10% of what you advise others to do is practiced at home this will be a far better world”

    Senguttuvan

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    Anpu – Thanks to you I had a glance at the article. I usually don’t read anything by her now. The venal woman is now a has-been. I was in a diplomatic function a few years ago when she came. There was hardly anyone going to talk to her. Lasantha W, who was with me, slowly moved towards her and a few others followed after a few minutes. Yet, in fairness to her, I must say she was ready to move towards justice to the Tamils but was kept at bay in the fear of the Buddhist Mullahs.
    The UNP also did their share of placing blocades on her way. That is a reflection of the sinister sources controlling the apron strings of all Sinhala Govts since 1956. We will have to release ourselves of this corrosive influence if Sri Lanka is to move towards sustainable reconcilitation.

    Senguttuvan

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    It is nothing but trivia you obliquely suggest others than you “write on the basis of hearsay “2nd hand news” “unlearned” and so on in your pathetic rage when your facts are challenged. It might interest you the journo you refer to – who probably reads these pages as well -speaks to me and has interacted with me in the preparation of some of his feature pieces. It is for his attention to detail he is also read and relied upon in India among Lanka-watchers as well – where both have common friends in the academia.

    I have discussed the rights and wrongs of the LTTE in matters of land and other, it requires no further clarification momentarily, if you don’t mind.

    Senguttuvan

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    Sumanthiran wants to commemorate the dead.What about the living?Isn’t it better to focus on them than those who have passed away?For example the people whom he wants to commemorate are those who have filled the land with land mines.What about kids in the future when they get their legs blown up by those mines.Will he light a lamp for them too.Thankfully the government is demining and he better thank the government if civilians don’t lose their limbs in future due to those he wants to commemorate.

    Sumanthiran is a typical example of a Colombo Tamil who wants to live in the comfort of the capital city and worship those who ruined the north east and gave a miserable life to the people there.Colombo tamils have to decide what they want.If their hearts are in the northeast fuck off there without keeping their feet in colombo. No wonder the sinhalese get upset because how can they ever trust the people who are living among them if their hearts are elsewhere.My advice to tamils is move your feet where your heart is.Let sumanthiran take the first step and move to the north permanently and light the candles for the dead LTTE 365 days of the year if he wants to.

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