27 October, 2020

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If We Are Emotional So Be It, Is It Wrong If Emotionally We State The Facts?

By Paul Newman – 

Dr. Paul Newman

The whole discussion between Kusaliah arguing on the side of the Sinhalese, Ms.Usha arguing on the side of the Diaspora, Pon.Chandran and me on the side of the Human Rights fraternity in India (thanks to Kusaliah who branded both of us as Tamil activists from his earlier stand of Human Rights activists) centered around the main theme of “Referendum” Call For “Thamil Eezham” Could It Serve SL Tamils in Sri Lanka ? The whole phrase was coined by Kusaliah who had circulated his ideas to me in Bangalore, Chandran in Tamilnadu and other friends. After many years of intellectual friendship he has realized that all of us here on the other side of the Palk straits are emotional, till we responded we were all intellectual, I presume!

The two articles I wrote in response to Kusaliah were focused on the words he had used to describe the students movement as ‘riffraff’s’ and the mainstream political parties as ‘fringe groups’.

The principle laid down by Kusaliah is that we should not talk about kingdoms of the past, if that is agreed upon and if the Sinhalese have accepted the British set up of amalgamating the Tamil homeland into the Sinhalese, they should also accept that the Indian Tamils who came to enrich Sri Lanka and boost its economy are its citizens and take back those who have been ‘returned to India’ after the Sastry-Sirimavo agreement of 1964. Is Kusaliah ready to accept that proposition?

To him the Tamil diaspora is a non-entity and only the TNA should voice its concern. Without giving the context in which Mr.Sampanthan spoke Kusaliah just quoted him as saying. ‘Diaspora should not dictate to us’. All of us recognize that the TNA is the genuine voice of the Tamils and I have asserted that in my previous article. Today TNA has started support groups in London and Toronto, when TNA as the genuine representatives of the Tamils want the involvement of the Diaspora who are also daughters and sons of the soil, who is Kusaliah to snatch that right from them?

To all the Sinhalese who have a mindset that the world should not interfere in their affairs, let me tell you that just last week you sent the barbaric Sri Lankan army as part of the UN peace keeping force to Haiti. Let me also tell you friends that ‘Human Rights have no boundaries’, it is the new religion of the world. We have to raise it even when mass graves are found at Matale or any place in the south.

Chandran and I have raised the issues of Referendum and Self Determination of Tamils in the North and East. We never imagined that Kusaliah would be such a conservative thinker confining his thinking to only the solutions put forward by the Sinhala rulers. The proposals for the solution to the ethnic problem should come from the victimized Tamils rather than the Sinhala perpetrators.

Kusaliah cleverly deviates by equating Prabhakaran and Mahinda Rajapakse. I would say it is absurd to bring in Prabhakaran and equate him with Mahinda which is nothing but justifying the great deeds of a democratically elected leader of a state to that of a leader of a non-state actor. In the name of ‘war against terror’, the sovereign state of Sri Lanka with International help wiped out the Tamils at Mullivaikal and later we have Kusaliah justifying it saying Prabhakaran is equally responsible for it!

One must remember that the large scale blood bath took place after LTTE had no control over the Tamil civilians during the last few days of the war and more than 150,000 Tamils had already crossed over and the rest were trapped in the so called ‘No Fire Zones’, where the Sri Lankan armed forces had a field day. All along I thought it was the duty of the state to protect its citizens whatever be the provocations.

I must remind him that International law is applicable to States as they are signatories to International Covenants and Instruments and are part of the UN structure and non-state actors are tried according to the constitution of the law and that is how you have many Tamils still elusive on the pretext of being part of the LTTE. We must realize that Prabhakaran is no more where as Mahinda and his family is still at the helm of affairs.

Easily Kusaliah plays into the hands of the Chauvinistic Sinhalese by saying, “Prabhakaran failed to deliver and instead left them without houses, without land, without proper income and most of all, without justice to their loved ones gone missing and dead.” Who destroyed the 160,000 homes of the Tamils? Who has taken over 7,000 sq kms of their land? Who is getting employed in the north and east? Who is not rendering them justice? Who is not accounting for the 146,679 missing and dead?

It is also wrong to say that Tamilnadu, keeps your hand off the Eelam issue, the Tamils in the North and East of Sri Lanka have had relationship with us for thousands of years, where as it was a forced wedding with the Sinhalese since 1948, which never took off, if divorce is inevitable the decision of one of the partners is more than enough in a court of law. It is here that political reasoning has a lot to do with ancestral rights of the Tamils as defined by Kusaliah. I wonder where there is fiction in my previous article as stated by Kusaliah?

A couple of stray incidents against Buddhist monks by hooligans who have ashamed the Tamils in Tamilnadu should not be generalized. Everyday hundreds of Sinhalese land in Chennai, Trichy and Madurai. We should also remember that no Tamil leader justified these attacks like the way Rajiv Gandhi justified the attacks on the Sikhs after the death of Indira Gandhi and JRJ during the 1983 genocide.

It is a pity that Kusaliah compares the democracy of India with that of a banana republic and compares the out of context impeachment of the Chief Justice of SL. We are a democracy that is the reason even the two most condemnable attacks on the Buddhist monks were telecast on the Television unlike the bags of denial of rape of Tamil women, shockingly exposed by the Channel 4.

Kusaliah also had the luxury of getting his article published in ‘The Hindu’, in India, a Newspaper known for its pro-Sinhala stand, a former Editor N.Ram, being a recipient of the ‘Sri Lanka Rathna’. This is the only Newspaper which has a ‘policy’ to give space to Dr.Subramaniam Swamy who’s help was solicited by the ruling regime in Sri Lanka to talk to the Indian Government and the US.

If Kusaliah only wanted a discussion with ‘Sri Lankan citizens’, he should call for a discussion of the likes of Mervyn Silva and Wimal Weerawansa for they would be the only people who can be assured of living another day!

Let me remind Kusaliah that the Tamils had not accepted the constitution of 1972 nor were they part of the constitution of 1978. The APRC too did not have any Tamils from the TNA, if that is the case why should they accept it? The Tamil representatives in the APRC were from the para-military forces of EPDP and TMVP, interestingly the LLRC wants them disbanded, so how can you take the opinion of groups which are recommended to be disbanded as the voice of the Tamils? You cannot push the APRC through the throat of the Tamils.

If at all an iota of fairplay left among the Sinhalese intellectuals, they should allow the Tamils of North and East to decide their future rather than trying to push their agendas.
Dr.Paul Newman

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Latest comments

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    Dr Paul,

    “If at all an iota of fairplay left among the Sinhalese intellectuals, they should allow the Tamils of North and East to decide their future rather than trying to push their agendas.”

    Tamils ruled the North for about 300 yrs of the 2500 yrs old history of Sri Lanka. They have never ruled the East in history. Eastern province was created by the British by amalgamating relatively thickly populated Tamls speaking areas (Including the Muslim areas) with sparsely populated Sinhalese puran villages. The whole foundation of Eastern province is false. This whole territory within East was part of the last Kandyan kingdom

    If you tamils have such a justifiable cause for a seperate state, give evidence to the UN (Historical facts etc) and get it recognized. Why do you want the consent of the sinhala intellectual.

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      “This whole territory within East was part of the last Kandyan kingdom”

      That Kandyan kingdom employed an immigrant Tamil as its King :-)

      When will we get tired of these “who came first”, “who owns what” rubbish debates — and get on with addressing the real problems?

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        Karai Nagar

        “That Kandyan kingdom employed an immigrant Tamil as its King “

        To be precise he was another Kallathoni from India just like his Sinhalese Tamil brethren.

        “When will we get tired of these “who came first”, “who owns what” rubbish debates”

        The question of who did come first is irrelevant. When are they taking the next boat to their homeland in India would be the right question.

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        Kandyans having a NOn sinhala (not tamil) king speaks volumes abt the tolerance and level of acceptance of other races by the sinhala people then, which is unheard elsewhere.

        Of course talking abt historical boundaries is stupid and serves no purpose. But if u actually read the article, u will see it is this man who is bringing historical boundaries (which is wrong) into discussion.

        When Robert Knox landed in Trinco, he was brought to the Kandyan king, becasue that part was ruled by Kandyan king. So this opinion that East was a Tamil part is rather hollow.

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    This is how a modern day young SL Tamil poet Theepachelvam understand Tamil Nadu. The whole interview in The Hindi reproduced in CT.

    # You have been in Tamil Nadu for two years. But you have not written much about it.?

    I have written only two poems about Tamil Nadu. One is about a visit to the Marina Beach. Every time I write I can only think of my land. For many people, Tamil Nadu is like another home as people speak the same language but not for me. I am a displaced person. The country is alien to me. Other writers have overcome these inhibitions but not me. I don’t feel at home here. The language I speak is different and the culture is alien.

    AS

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    By demanding a referendum which would lead to a separate state the whole issue is blown out of proportion. It would be more acceptable to all communities to have equal rights and live harmoniously within a pluralistic state.

    Just as mistakes have been made in the past it is not a solution to keep flogging a dead horse. Both communities should get together and resolve this pressing issue through dialogue and reconciliation.

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    For Indian Tamils their eelam is the tamil Nadu State.

    For the Indian Sinhalese, their Eelam is the Sri Lanka State.

    Therefore, stop all this nonsense of Eelam for Tamils in Sri Lanka.
    There is no room for other nationalities in Sri Lanka to live seperately other than sharing amicably with the Indian Sinhalese.

    Ravi Perera…. there is no question of allowing any particular minority group to decide.
    Its not necessary to allow them to place historical facts to the UN as they have already falsified the facts.(it will be like the foul cage being handed over to the Jackals)
    If they did not do that, how do they claim Eelam.

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    Another excellent article Paul.

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    Re, ‘Both communities should get together and resolve this pressing issue through dialogue and reconciliation.’

    That is exactly what the political reps of the two communities did since the majority community commenced tightening the screws on the Tamils. Some independent observations here will elucidate why it failed:

    • A study captioned- ‘Sinhala Buddhist Nationalist Ideology ‘-published in 2007 by the East-West Centre in Washington.

    “This study argues that political Buddhism and Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism have contributed to a nationalist ideology that has been used to expand and perpetuate Sinhalese Buddhist supremacy within a unitary Sri Lankan state; create laws, rules, and structures that institutionalize such supremacy; and attack those who disagree with this agenda as enemies of the state.

    “The nationalist ideology is influenced by Sinhalese Buddhist mytho-history that was deployed by monks and politicians in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries to assert that Sri Lanka is the designated sanctuary for Theravada Buddhism, belongs to Sinhalese Buddhists, and Tamils and others live there only due to Sinhalese Buddhist sufferance. This ideology has enabled majority super-ordination, minority subordination, and a separatist war waged by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).”
    http://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/stored/pdfs/ps040.pdf (full report)

    • “One of the essential elements that must be kept in mind in understanding the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict is that, since 1958 at least, every time Tamil politicians negotiated some sort of power-sharing deal with a Sinhalese government – regardless of which party was in power – the opposition Sinhalese party always claimed that the party in power had negotiated away too much. In almost every case – sometimes within days – the party in power backed down on the agreement.” – (Professor Marshall Singer, at US Congress Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Hearing on Sri Lanka November 14,1995)

    • B. H. Farmer with extensive research experience in Sri Lanka must be considered. “Since those saddening days of 1958 Ceylon has had its share of trouble…..The truth, though unpalatable may be to some, is simply that nobody unacceptable to the present Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism has any chance of constitutional power in contemporary Ceylon”
    Ceylon: A Divided Nation. B. H. Farmer (Issued under the auspices of the Institute of Race Relations, London.) London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1963.

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    Dr.Paul,

    Do not waste your time trying to convince the Singhala intellectual. Being on the wrong side of justice they have a harder time ‘fishing ‘for evidence in support of their difficult position. The Paranavithanas did try with archaeological ‘evidence’ interpreted with lopsided logic to support the Singhala contention that the North had been Singhala territory or some such thing. There is no need to go that far back. India and Sri Lanka have accepted as recently as 1987 that the Northern and Eastern provinces are traditional Tamil territories. Where is the need to go back hundreds and thousands of years to establish ownership?
    You only verify title of the current owner when negotiating a simple real estate deal. Of course, the SLG is squatting on Tamil Territory and attempting to forge title and claim encumberance. This is a different matter. We all know how the Courts settle matters of this nature. The squatter should leave empty handed. But then, the courts are manned by judges who dare not dispense justice lest they do not see the next sun rise!. Here is the problem.

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      The thing u dont understand is machan, Tamils are not the owners of north and east same as sinhalese are not the sole owners of the island. It is the property of Republic of SL. The funny thing here is, a non SLn from a different land argue with a sinhalese on the ownership of this part of SL.

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    Writers like Kushal perera are for Sri Lankan Nationalism! that is nothing but what Rajapakse and the likes pursue to establish their constitutional model, which mandates them to make Sri Lanka a buddhist state, where Tamils or their language or their tradition or religion does not have any place. that is the reason their temples and churches destroyed and Buddha vikars are constructed. Knowing well, any ordinary person would say Tamils need to establish their home land. the email of Sri Lankan ambassador Prasad Kariawasom reinforce the fact of 2 nations and nationalities in the island of Lannka. One nationality came from eastern india and settled which is sinhalese and the other one the native of the island that is Tamils. So the fight for Tamil eelam is the natural historical result.

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    Dr Paul Newman claims that “1 million Tamil civilians were killed and 70,000 children killed” in 2008.

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-07-03/bangalore/29732561_1_tamil-civilians-human-rights-human-shields

    Does Dr Newman stand by his utterly bonkers (and undoubtedly emotional) claim that “1 million Tamil civilians were killed”? And if 1 million were killed, where are the 3 million wounded Tamil civilians that would be expected to survive? Are they in Dr Newman’s back garden?

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      Check the nos. properly, the article not written by Dr.Paul Newman states 1,00,000 deaths, the nos. should be 1,46,679! Charles Petrie report of UN claims the death of about 70,000 to 1,00,000.

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    @Paul Newman

    I don’t think Kusal Perera would answer to this rhetoric. It is a shame that these days anybody can become a ‘dr’ even though they don’t have an iota of intellect and wisdom.
    About the article, the problem is not you being emotional but spreading made up propaganda and total lies as FACTS. That is the absurd thing here.
    The reason many object to what u say is simply because allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing are simply wrong and baseless. I know these can become very romantic and emotional for the ones who are in TN who have no grasp of reality in SL, but it is STILL wrong and baseless.
    About SL army, they haven’t targeted civilians on purpose most of the civilian deaths were a result of LTTE holding a human shield which many Tamil activists in TN tend to forget. This is not something new as if u ask from any IPKF soldier or officer they will tell u how LTTE kept human shields for their own safety. If u still doubt go and look there are videos of LTTE holding civilians holding a gun. Also there are reports and eye witnesses of LTTE shooting at the fleeing civilians. These are facts and a war crime.
    About Indian tamils, they are now SLn citizens, not indians. And asking Kusal why Sirimavo repatriated them back to Ind, is stupid. Also they were not brought here by the Sinhalese but by British as labor. I too agree with Kusal that relating historical kingdoms to todays world is not right. As I said before East was under the Kandyan kingdom until colonial powers took it, so what this man is stating here is a lie.
    And it is laughable when this doctor says they can interfere in SL affairs because SL sent an army to Haiti. Are u speaking with ur other end or are u incapable of comprehension? About barbaric army, well no army is a saint and SL army acted the same way LTTE acted towards it. Also the fleeing Tamil civilians had to cross to the army’s side to save themselves. It is because of the army that terrorist supporters in india and around the world have been able to become human rights activists.
    The funniest thing that I see in what many TN fools write is they seem to think they can poke their nose in our affairs simply because tamil speakers live in this country. Machan, North and east are parts of our country. They belong to the republic of SL and SL has the sole right to defend its territory like any other country has. You ppl in TN has no right to question that. Also about a referendum, well u ppl start a fight and get beaten heavily and the other party wins it, and finally u ask, ‘k, now give me what I want’ U have to realize the world doesn’t work that way.
    About Sinhala perpetrators, they own this country as much as tamils and others so they have a say on the direction this country should take. It is the foreigners who don’t have. I see u like to masquerade ur self as a human rights activist but ur very wording and the tone in article reveals u are another LTTE apologist racist tamil. So how much u try to sneak Matale mass graves in ur article to make u luk nice wont work.

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    And abt democracy in India, democracy is not indicated by what u show on TV men! U ask y SL gov didnt show CH4 video on TV, the same reason Indian gov didnt show “Kahmir death trails” in ur TVs. :)
    And footage attacking monks were shown mainly in TN only to satisfy the racist anti sinhala whims of the TN people there. Even ur ‘HR’ orgs or JLO didnt condemn them.

    After all I never thought i l find a doctor who argues on democracy based on what he sees in TV. If u ppl were not interested in SL, u r ramblings look very funny and entertaining.

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    We Sinhalese don’t care about peace or human rights. We are proud Indo-Aryans, despite being black, and we are proud of our great culture and civilization. We have built many great things and have contributed in the progress of civilization! Our hero Rajapaksa is the 2nd Aryan hero after Hitler! The whole of Sri Lanka belongs to us alone as we are a mighty and noble race!

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