23 October, 2020

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Is July Still Black? – Sinhalese Factor In The Aftermath Of Black July

By Rasika Jayakody

Rasika Jayakody

Thirty years ago, there was a July that turned out to be black. The blackness of that July was made up of discriminate and indiscriminate violence against Tamil civilians, state-sponsored terrorism coupled with the inaction of armed forced, impunity and immunity seamlessly enjoyed by goons and killer squads all over the country etc. Reasons, consequences, ramifications and repercussions of the infamous black July have been discussed over and over again for the last three decades with great fervour and enthusiasm. Good!

Some argued the ‘Black July’ was a well-orchestrated plan while some claimed it occurred on the spur of the moment. The general perception was that the Jayawardena regime triggered the anti-Tamil violence by arranging the funeral of the 13 soldiers at the General Cemetery, Borella, in the vicinity of President J.R. Jayawardena’s residence. However, there is a flip side to this argument. Had the government sent the dead bodies to the hometowns of the slain soldiers, it would have taken the risk of anti-Tamil riots in thirteen different parts of the country. Instead, the UNP government decided to hold the funeral ceremony at the heart of the capital city of Colombo, which was one of the safest areas during the previous anti-Tamil incidents and the 1971 JVP insurgency. Nevertheless, things didn’t quite work that way. Anti-Tamil riots erupted in Colombo and spread across the country. But this does not mean that the Jayawardena regime should be exonerated for not being able to bring the anti-Tamil violence to a halt. Moreover, some of its ministers and some members of the armed forces went on to sponsor it, overtly and covertly. President J.R. Jayawardena, in my view, went by the mood of the moment.

The Black July, however, brought victory only to one man i.e., Velupillai Prabhakaran, who sparked off the anti-Tamil violence by killing 13 Army soldiers in Thinnaveli, Jaffna. The Black July brought him money, arms, fame, cannon fodder and legitimacy in the eyes of some. That transformed the LTTE from a hit-and-run military group to an organized guerrilla army. More than anyone, Prabhakaran knew the benefits he reaped from the ‘Black July’ in 1983 and tried his best, again and again, to trigger a similar pogrom at the expense of the Tamils who lived outside the Northern Province.

Two years after the Black July Prabhakaran carried out a massive attack on civilians in Anuradhapura which claimed the lives of 146 Buddhist monks and devotees. It was the first time Sri Lanka experienced a gruesome terrorist attack of that nature against civilians. The chillingly brutal attack, launched on May 14, 1985, took everyone by surprise. The LTTE cadres hijacked a bus and entered the main bus station, opening fire indiscriminately at civilians who had no clue of what was going on! Then they stormed the Sri Maha Bodhi shrine, located at the heart of the Anuradhapura city, and gunned down Buddhist pilgrims and monks who were worshiping inside the Buddhist shrine.

The sole purpose behind the attack was obvious. Velupillai Prabhakaran wanted a similar carnage in Colombo and its outskirts where a sizable proportion of Tamils were still living. Any pogrom similar to that of July 1983 would have further buttressed Prabhakaran’s notion that the Tamils in Sri Lanka had no alternative other than secession. It would have drawn him more money, more arms, more resources and more cannon fodder. But, the carnage which took place at the heart of a sacred city did not provoke the Sinhalese into a similar riot. Although Prabhakaran was able to accomplish the numerical target of the attack, its intended denouement was not achieved because the Sinhalese, as a community, acted with great self-restraint.

From 1985 to 2009, until the LTTE heaved the last breath, it never failed to display sheer brutality whenever they carried out an attack outside the battle-field targeting civilians in an indiscriminate manner. Bomb blasts targeting Dalada Maligawa (one of the most sacred sites of Buddhists all over the world), Fort Railway Station, Central Bank, public transport services, tourist hotels and crowded roads speak volumes of the sheer brutality unleashed by the LTTE on civilians. Even during ceasefire times, the LTTE never bothered to stop the activities of black tigers (the suicide squad) and the Pistol Wing which was instrumental in hunting down Army Intelligence Unit officers during the 2002-2004 ceasefire period.  One should be mindful of the fact that each attack provided potential flashpoints for the Sinhalese to take revenge from ordinary Tamils who were living outside the so called “Tamil homeland” of the North and East. But that never happened!

The LTTE, needless to say, was gambling with the lives of ordinary Tamils. The Tigers desperately needed another ‘Black July’ and were constantly attempting to elicit one. But the Sinhalese, much to their disappointment, acted with prudence and sensibility. Even when the heads of state, presidential candidates, senior cabinet ministers and other political leaders were targeted by the LTTE, at times successfully and at times unsuccessfully, not a single Tamil shop in Colombo was attacked by mobs. In the face of such adversities, Tamils living outside the LTTE held areas were guarded and protected by the Sinhalese.

It is true that the Sinhalese, as a community, should accept the responsibility for the ‘Black July’ in 1983. At the same time, they should be honoured for their commitment to prevent the repetition of any such incident for nearly three decades, despite constant provocations by the LTTE. If the Sinhalese are responsible for one, they are also responsible for preventing 200 odd anti-Tamil pogroms over a period of three decades. That is the reality to which the so called critics of the “Black July” are still oblivious. Had it not been for the great deal of self-restraint exercised by the Sinhalese in the aftermath of the 1983 violence, the black July would have been blacker and blacker vis-à-vis the LTTE’s brutality.

*Rasika Jayakody is a Sri Lankan journalist who may be contacted at rasikajayakody2@gmail.com 

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    The LTTE repeated Black July many times over. The diaspora should be very proud of how their money was spent.

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    Rasika Jayakody

    “The sole purpose behind the attack was obvious. Velupillai Prabhakaran wanted a similar carnage in Colombo and its outskirts where a sizable proportion of Tamils were still living. Any pogrom similar to that of July 1983 would have further buttressed Prabhakaran’s notion that the Tamils in Sri Lanka had no alternative other than secession.”

    This is another Sinhala/Buddhist revisionist history.

    Prabaharan was persuaded to carry out the Anuradhapura massacre by his Hindian handlers. Being a stupid mercenary he obliged the Hindians. The very act of brutal attack on unarmed civilians made him and his LTTE, Hindian’s favourite terrorists.

    The objective of Hindian’s attack on Anuradhapura was to bring JR to the negotiating table. Precisely that is what happened couple of months later.

    Thimphu Talks took place between July and August 1985.

    VP delivered what the Hindians desired.

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    Mr. Rasika Jayakody:

    Did you notice the Selfish and Tamil – superiority side of that ?

    They talk about what happened to Tamils for just a few days.

    How much they talk about who instigated it and how many times they wanted it repeated.

    How far they have been honest about their violence for thirty years and their tactics such as suicide bombing, cyanide capsules, false propaganda and so on..

    Those days, they talked about political solutions and not about the lives lost from the other sides and how they destroyed both private and govt properties.

    Now we understand that Christian/catholic priests were at the forefront in propaganda against the govt and the Sri Lankan army, Priests were transporting suicide jackets, Priests were hiding bank loots, and Catholic/christian priests and their associates (NGOs) were every where helping the violent cause.

    See how they hide every thing thing with black July thing.

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      Rasika Jayakody

      “At the same time, they should be honoured for their commitment to prevent the repetition of any such incident for nearly three decades, despite constant provocations by the LTTE.”

      There is no honour in lynch mob attack on civilians. The 1983 riots was not an isolated incident. A pattern of behaviour which has been recorded in the shameful history of this island. Since 1915 there have been riots many times over, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981 and so on. LTTE was mostly absent during those riots.

      Why should anyone honour the Sinhalese for not rioting as if rioting is second nature to Sinhalese?

      I wonder what Rasika Jayakody is trying to convey in this piece. Is he threatening the minorities in his own way? Is he suggesting that even a slightest protest by minorities would be construed as provocation which would be dealt with severely by a series of riots, resulting in murder, rape, arson,…..etc?

      Not rioting in the first place is what is expected of human behaviour which is normal. Therefore those who did not riot were observing the norms hence no need to honour them.

      Logic gone mad.

      • 0
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        Considering the recorded history of riots given and there has been no other major change than LTTE fighting back one can conclude the LTTE put an end to communial voilence against Tamils.

        So if some one Tamils should thank it should be the LTTE as Sinhalese did not change their habit for the love of Tamils but as they knew there were consequence for their action.

        “I wonder what Rasika Jayakody is trying to convey in this piece.”
        Nothing other than a racist trying to justify a horrible act and insult the same people that suffered during the time they are moaning.

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          ‘one can conclude the LTTE put an end to communial voilence against Tamils’

          …and started communal violence against Muslims, Singhalese.

          • 0
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            Taraki

            “…and started communal violence against Muslims, Singhalese.”

            Of course he learned it from his Sinhala/Buddhist brethren, be it communal violence or terrorism (from Sinhala/Buddhist JVP terrorists).

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          Burt

          Moaning is not a preserve of one community. Other communities of Sri Lanka faced many black months at the hands of Tamil terrorists. If we start on that path, the whole year would be black. The other communities moan it privately while Tamils want to use it for their political purposes.

          Indeed, Sinhala people need to be commended for the great restraint they exercised during the ensuing 26 years. It also demonstrates that communal violence is an aberration at the larger community level among Sinhalese.

          Tamils should thank LTTE for their destruction.

    • 1
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      Mr Rasika and JimSofty,

      Both of you prove that those tribes (Sinhala, Tamil) can not coexist in SL. Because, not just for 2 people, but what you both says represent 80% of Sinhalese perception of supremacy or GOOD Sinhalese and BAD minorities…… But If the majority do not know how to respect minority, they can’t coexist.

      In the past, when physical masculine power ruled the world, minority to survive, they have to worship the majority. Not any more, if majority wants a bigger family, they should learn to respect all minorities..
      Anura

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        Anura

        “Both of you prove that those tribes (Sinhala, Tamil) can not coexist in SL.”

        Then please leave.

    • 0
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      When it comes to honesty and truth you cant beat the Sin Ha lease. The whole world knows it. Humanitarian operation sun stroke nobody died in the war the Sinhalease soldier carry books not guns rings any bells.

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    July 1983 will also be remembered by different people for different reasons. The Tamil leadership, both in Parliament and elsewhere in public fora, have thanked those many Sinhalese and others who offered
    protection to thousands of Tamils under threat of attack in that darkest week in the recent histor of the country.

    However, in the area of governance by law, Police and Army secutity matters and the Courts system the fact not a single significant conviction was secured – although multiple thousands were murdered in cold blood, properties of several hundreds thousands of Tamils were destroyed, business establishments were looted and burnt. This will remain an ugly blot in the name of this country and its system of governance and rule by popular Constitution – for a long time.

    The noted brilliant Civil Rights lawyer S. Nadesan QC – speaking in a Seminar to discuss a Bill to protect the people from torture said
    it is superflous to expect the people to thank the State for not subjecting them to torture. This is a right of the people and must be upheld by the State and its relevant limbs. I expect this comment will meet the Writer’s insistance the Sinhalese people should be “honoured” – meaning for not attacking the Tamils – for various latter alleged excesses by the LTTE.

    Pandaranayagam

  • 0
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    ”sparked off the anti-Tamil violence by killing 13 Army soldiers”??

    This had to be denied 30 times in 30 years:
    i.Minister Cyril Matthew had been planning it for months – ordering dept vehicles, preparing plastic cans and tubes, groups of thugs, voters’ list, …. after rehearsals of mini-pogroms in Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Peradeniya in May and June
    ii.In an interview with the correspondent of (UK)Daily Telegraph on 8 July, which was reprinted in (Sri lanka)Sunday Observer of 17 July President Jayewardene said: “I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people now . Now we can’t think of them. Not about their lives or of their opinion about us.”
    iii.Public Security Act, The Sri Lankan Gazette, 3 July 1983: Security forces are permitted to immediately bury or cremate dead bodies without post mortem examination, inquest or judicial inquiry of any kind.
    iv.On July 23, parliament voted for the extension of the emergency rule. Despite the promulgation of the harsh anti-terrorism law, the government kept on renewing the state of emergency monthly to license the armed forces to instill terror in the minds of the Tamils, as well as to shoot and kill them.
    v. The news of the early morning of 24 July spree of shooting by the army in Jaffna leading to nearly 50 deaths wasn’t allowed to get past Elephantpass for a few days.

  • 0
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    1.”If the Sinhalese are responsible for one”?
    There had been pogroms before Black July: 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981,…

    2.”they are also responsible for preventing 200 odd anti-Tamil pogroms over a period of three decades”
    Massacres of villages of Tamils by army/navy and indiscriminate detention of thousands of Tamil youth under PTA-cum-Emergency was taking the place of pogroms. Political and economic suppression and nearly zero intake of Tamils into government service complemented PTA.

    • 0
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      Aerial bombing of Tamil areas was part of the answer to LTTE violence.

      Court cases of Tamils were unduly dragged on or not even taken up.

      Militariation of the North had started and progressing well with intensely grabbing land for HSZ and sinhalisation.

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        Sinhalisation in the East

  • 0
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    Agree, totally !!

    • 0
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      Rifkha Roshanaara

      “Agree, totally !!”

      Agree with what?

  • 0
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    As in all cases concerning Tamils, this is a side which most critics fail to see or refuse to see.. !

  • 0
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    USA PResident Is a black man. Yet, he could not stop the Justice system acquitting the Man who shot that Unarmed Teenager who went home with a Drink and some food from a Fast food outlet ?

    DO you say, Obama supported it ?

  • 0
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    The Black July was started by goon squads nurtured by some government politicians of the day. Later criminal elements joined the `free-for-all as looters and killers. It transpired later that there were even some non-Sinhalese among the criminal elements who took advantage of the situation to go on a looting, pillaging and killing spree. In a sense the Sinhalese should take the blame for having elected to Parliament uncouth rascals who were behind the riots! It is a pity that the Sinhalese continue to vote for criminals at national elections!

    • 0
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      The guy who led the group down our road was part tamil,he was a irc and a known thief who would steal stuff from surrounding houses.The people who came to attack the houses were from outside our area, they combined with groups of opposition supporters and people of the area.NO GOVERNMENT WANTS UNREST.JR COULD NOT HAVE STOPPED IT UNLESS HE HAD FULL SUPPORT FROM OPPOSITION AND HIS OWN PARTY-HE DID NOT HAVE THAT.THAT IS WHY HE SACKED THE MINISTER AFTER THAT.
      NOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? HAVE ANY MINISTERS KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN….NAME IT…. HAVE THEY BEEN REMOVED.SRI LANKANS ARE A DIFFICULT LOT TO GOVERN.WE HAVE TO HAVE A BENEVELONT DICTATOR. WHO WILL IT BE?

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        Nelun Gunasekera

        “The guy who led the group down our road was part tamil,he was a irc and a known thief who would steal stuff from surrounding houses.”

        Perhaps he was looking for his absentee father.

        “JR COULD NOT HAVE STOPPED IT UNLESS HE HAD FULL SUPPORT FROM OPPOSITION”

        JR was the executive president who was also commander in chief of the armed forces and was UNP party leader. If he was unable to command his armed forces and his party, the honourable thing to do was to resign from both.

      • 0
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        What opposition are you talking about Nelun?there was no oppostion in 83 and what ever there was left of it JR did’nt care a damn.
        He could have stopped it only he if gave the orders to stop. But he did’nt.
        He waited for seven days before deciding to intervene and that too after threats from India that they will if he did’nt.
        I do not know of any minister being sacked but I know the ministers were busy trying to establish their own Sinhala wholesale trading post to replace the Tamil 4th cross street wholesale market.

    • 0
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      There were even Tamils from Slave island rampaging through sea street. I know because one of them worked under me then.
      Untill 83 riot there were no killings (at leaest not on the 83 scale)only looting.
      By 83, the government was not an elected one but an illeagal one for which the people can not be held responsible.
      But,the most important question is why did president JR did not deploy the security forces to quell the rioters. A friend in the navy told me that they were deployed all over but no orders were given,so they had to be just by standers.They only recieved orders after seven days.
      Why Did’nt president order the forces to quell the rioters?
      There could be two reasons. One,he hated the Tamils so much,he wanted to teach them a lesson. Two,Some unseen hand forced him not to,for it was very clear even at that time this was playing direct in to pirabaharans hand.
      The second phase was much more interesting. Australia,Canada and other western countries opened their doors for Tamils to emigrate as refugees enmass. All one needed was to be Tamil and a one way ticket to the desired country and the passport to stamp the visa.The line for refugee visas at the Australian embassy at Albert cresent was about 1km long ending near the Dutch Burgher union at Thunmulla.
      And they eventually became the DIASPORA. Prabhalkaran got his wish list fulfilled,men,money and International support.
      The question remains unanswered to date,why Didn’t PRESIDENT JAYAWARDANE stop the carnage.

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        NAK

        “There were even Tamils from Slave island rampaging through sea street. I know because one of them worked under me then.”

        Why didn’t you report him to Police?

        “Prabhalkaran got his wish list fulfilled,men,money and International support.”

        International support for what?
        Free to kill innocent civilians?

        “why Didn’t PRESIDENT JAYAWARDANE stop the carnage.”

        The pertinent question should be “why didn’t the Sinhala/Buddhists stop carnage ever happening?”

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          jungle boy,

          Sinhala Buddhists ensured it never happened again……

          Agree JRJ failed in his responsibility in protecting part of country’s citizenry.

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            Hela

            “Sinhala Buddhists ensured it never happened again…”

            The point is that the series of riots should not have happened in the first place.

            You mean the Sinhala/Buddhist have restraint themselves from their normal being.

            I got the idea of honorable Sinhala/Buddhist.

            Once they did bad things and now they have stopped doing it therefore they have become honourable. But no one knows when they will start it again.

            The pattern of their behaviour clearly shows there is no evidence to suggest that they have been completely “rehabilitated” or in fact they have become good honourable people.

            On the contrary 2009 saw mass killings.

            Hence one assumes that the state had replaced the hoodlums on the street. Therefore no need for periodic riots.

      • 0
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        “The question remains unanswered to date,why Didn’t PRESIDENT JAYAWARDANE stop the carnage.”
        The only way to stop the carnage was to declare an emergency (which was done too late)and put the military on to the streets.
        From the experience of the Army running berserk in Jaffna after the killing of the 13 soldiers, JR was scared to use the Army suspecting that the Army itself will create trouble.

    • 0
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      Saman Wijesri,

      You are absolutely right, the majority Sinhalese society keeps electing criminals to power. So, criminality continues. SLFP in power (SWRD) let loose anti-Tamil riots, so did UNP in power. They are the opposite sides of the same coin.

      This is a cancer which has spread widely. Now not only Tamils everybody is subjected to criminality with impunity, not even foreigners are spared. The society is rotten, it’s lawless. There is no justice, let alone peace.

      Most of the writers don’t consider this basic problem at all. They go off at a tangent with their pet ideas superficially.

      Dozens of MPs elected by people on party principles cross over to the government party for money, positions and perks. This is betraying electors’ trust. Sri Lanka needs ethical leaders with integrity. Who will straighten Sri Lanka society? Revolution?

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        Thiru,

        Tamils ensure they elect terrosists who once threatened in parliament to send 30,000 body bags to the South.

        The issue is not communal. So don’t bring in a communal angle to every problem in the country.

        There are larger number of issues in the prevailing political culture which need to be addressed by all people of Sri Lanka in a common approach for their own benefit.

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          Hela

          “Tamils ensure they elect terrosists who once threatened in parliament to send 30,000 body bags to the South.”

          One nutter TNA MP said 40,000.

          The fact that he is still alive shows that he is very close to Gota.

          “The issue is not communal. So don’t bring in a communal angle to every problem in the country.”

          Every aspect of life and history of Sri Lankies have been either communal or criminal.

          “There are larger number of issues in the prevailing political culture which need to be addressed by all people of Sri Lanka in a common approach for their own benefit.”

          Why haven’t the state, its rulers, its institutions and their cronies done anything about it, being the morally superior majoritarian Aryan Sinhala/Buddhists?

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    I cannot say that the Tamils were treated that well. However, Praghakaren was a Marxist terrorist. Sri Lanka is going to heal and it is not going to lose its democracy. People like M.A. Sumanthiran are helping to lead all Sri Lankans out of the darkness. Sri Lanka is going to be great again. You just wait and see….

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      Wyatt K

      “However, Praghakaren was a Marxist terrorist.”

      This is news to me.

      No doubt he was a psychopath and terrorised the people.

      When did he become a Marxist?

      Whats wrong with being a Marxist?

  • 0
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    Rasika Jayakody
    from your story we can see one side of the coin and you missed the big part , sri lankan government failed to protect it’s citizens (Tamils) during the riots

  • 0
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    “If the Sinhalese are responsible for one, they are also responsible for preventing 200 odd anti-Tamil pogroms over a period of three decades.”

    This kind of reasoning conveniently ignores several facts–
    1. Sinhalese being the overwhelming majority held the reins of State power in Sri Lanka. Tamils were at the mercy of the State Armed forces.

    2. Through draconian laws imposed by the State, Tamils were arbitrarily arrested, tortured, disappeared and murdered.
    In other words, knowing well that large scale violence against Tamils would draw international opprobrium and affect the economic lives of the Sinhalese majority, the violent extremists among the Sinhalese joined or instigated the armed forces, home guards and paramilitary forces to do the dirty work for them. They learned the art of killing the Tamils in small numbers, and there were a large number of small-scale massacres by the SL forces for many years. They also knew that the LTTE had become equally extremist and would sooner or later retaliate by attacking innocent Sinhalese somewhere in the South, thus taking away the pleasure of being the sole perpetrator of pain on defenseless people.

    3. When the lives of thousands of conscripted children, innocent old men and women were on the line in the Vanni in 2009, Sinhalese society–even many so-called liberal progressives–demonized all of them as LTTE and argued that they were simply defending the State. Baying for blood, they egged on the Hiroshima-like mass slaughter,which eclipsed any pogroms that came before, July 1983 included. They then embarked on a course of vigorously denying and minimizing the pain inflicted on the Tamils, vastly understating the number of civilians slaughtered. There is no significant support within Sinhalese society to conduct an impartial inquiry of all atrocities in the country, whether committed by the LTTE, the armed forces and the State, or the JVP.

    Of course there were commendable exceptions– Many Sinhalese protected Tamils in July 1983, or continued to argue for equal rights for Tamil people; Sinhalese society elected CBK with a mandate for peace (which was genuinely commendable, and which the LTTE should have used to transform itself by accepting a solution that came close to Federalism); a small minority of Sinhalese people objected to the final war’s scorched earth tactics. But outside such exceptions, I don’t see why Sinhalese society–let alone the violent group of extremists within it–deserves any brownie points for not carrying out further pogroms between July 1983 and May 2009.

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    Let us all bow our heads in gratitude to the Sinhalese for their ability to refrain from unleashing mob violence once again on a minority community despite the ULTIMATE provocation at least according to this writer. Let us all be grateful the Sinhalese did not once again give into their baser instincts. And let’s assume the current onslaught against the Muslim community with stark and disturbing undertones of communal hatred have nothing whatsoever to do with this honourable sinhalese race.
    Oh, what a race. Such self-restraint and magnanimity.
    The writer would have done better to recall the way Sinhalese people provided sanctuary to Tamil families for weeks, chased mobs away from Tamil homes and saved thousands of lives in July 1983 in the great empathy that is our common humanity. That murderers and saviours both hailed from the Sinhalese community. And that one lot of bad eggs does not define an entire community of people.
    That would be a better portrayal of the Sinhalese race than this absurd almost supremacist argument that they should be patted on the back for not behaving like a pack of hyenas again for three whole decades.

  • 0
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    LTTE was responsible for many atrocities against Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. However it does not serve to justify what happened in July 23, 1983.

    The author does not consider the background conditions that led to the ethnic conflict. Same type of attacks and discrimination have begun against the muslims instigated by a section of the Buddhist Clergy.

  • 1
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    Rasika Jayakody-how old are you? Were you there, in the midst of the carnage in 1983? I was.If you care to read Rajan Hoole’s well-researched analysis on Black July, you will find the evidence that the riots were well planned. We do NOT expect all Sinhalese to accept responsibility-there were many who helped their Tamil friends and neighbours; they were drops in the ocean but we are grateful, nevertheless.
    My sorrow is that people like you who quote LTTE atrocities (which came after that July)-are still blind to what really happened then, and to what is certainly happening now.

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    The author conveniently forgot to mention the riots of 56, 58, 77 and 81 which were all important milestones on the way to the 83 pogrom. To isolate just the 83 riots is to exonerate the active and passive participants of this most horrendous massacre. And most certainly the uprising and terror activities of Prabhakarans cohorts cant be equated with the sufferings of the tamil people ever eince independence. But its alright. Articles such as this which somehow make it alright for the sinhalese mob to have committed the massacre in some imaginary punishment for future terrorist activities only proves that you can never expect understanding or empathy for the sufferings of innocents in this country.

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      Savyasasin

      “The author conveniently forgot to mention the riots of 56, 58, 77 and 81 which were all important milestones on the way to the 83 pogrom.”

      You conveniently forgot to mention the riots against Muslims in 1915.

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    Rasika,It is true that Prabhakaran tried his best to create another 83 many a time but failed. What it proves is not the restraint of the Sinhala people but the non participation of the sinhala masses in 83 riots. It proves that 83 was a well orchestrated well,conducted government sponsored goon attack.There were opportunists who took advantage of the police inaction and too must have been part of the plan.

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    Dear Rasika Jayakody,

    It is very simple to understand your philosophy to prove that Sinhalese (sorry JRJ) made a mistake in July 1983 and after that they are innocent victims of Tamils (VP).

    It is true that after July 1983, Sinhala masses attacking or involving the killing of innocent Tamils stopped and it was replaced by the 100% Sinhala military sponsored by Sinhala state supported by Sinhala massess. You are trying to make fool others by limiting the history of state sponsored violence to July 1983 but the fact is it is a continuous process never stopped before 1983 or even after your state sponsored wholesale massacre of Tamils in May 2009.
    The Black July 1983 is the day the whole world come to know that Sinhala brutality.
    The May 2009 is the day it proved that it is a genocide of Tamils sponsored by Sinhala.

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    You are an absolute moron, and it explains why our beloved country is in such a bad state and getting worse. A pathetic Sinhala Nationalist.! Shame on you

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    Some of you have touched on the years before ’83.From ’56 ’58.There are Tamils who have gone through this horrible times and still alive.Some of these Tamils never left the country and went through all the attrocoties perpetrated on them.Yes, some singhalese helped.For the ones who helped it soon passed away.for the Tamils who saw their houses and shops being burnt,seing family members mudered and women raped continue to live in horror.As someone said on this thread at least the mob violence and race riots against the Tamils had been put a stop for a period of 30 yrs by the brave Tamil youth who defended their homeland without pay lack of food and water.Food and water trucks did not follow them.
    Sri lanka has a history of bashing the Tamils from 1986 without any provocation.

    The Muslim riots were also started by the Singhalese.Pity the singhalese cannot co exisit with other races in rhe country.

    After the riots in ’83 the Tamils were packed off to the north in a ship.There lies the seperation.Done by the GOSL.So why are the singhalese crying when they themselves identified that the Tamil’s homeland is in the North and East.
    So we need to wake up and think hard.

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      “Women raped”
      It is true that the mobs were responsible for many atrocities. It is not fair to blame the Sinhalese as a community for all that. Similarly the Tamil community cannot be held responsibilities for the crimes committed by the LTTE.

      Women raped? This is an accusation to give a different twist to the riots. Never heard of it.
      Can Rajaratnam give one example?

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        Vichara

        “Women raped? This is an accusation to give a different twist to the riots. Never heard of it.”

        In a few years time the Sinhala/Buddhist revisionist historians are expected say deny atrocities committed by their Sinhala/Buddhist hoodlums under the protection of their state institutions.

        Riots against Muslim 1915 – never heard of it

        Riots against Tamils from 1956 to 1983 – never heard of it

        Burning down of Jaffna library – never heard of it

        War crimes perpetrated against people since 5th April 1971 – never heard of it.

        Genocide against my Veddah people – We never heard of Veddahs, who are they?

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    If any one needed reminding as to why reconciliation is not possible in Sinhala Lanka the comments above confirm this beyond reasonable doubt. It is 63 years since Independence we are still talking about right and wrong and who was to blame. Except for a tiny minority the vast majority of the Sinhalese will never accept that they are at fault. They talk about the last 30 years of terrorism which has blighted the country but they never talk about what brought this on and that was the Sinhalese atrocities on innocent and defenceless Tamils during many race riots. In the Modern World Sri Lanka has the enviable record of so many race riots.
    Mr.Jayakodys observation that the carnage which took place at the heart of a sacred city did not provoke the Sinhalese into a similar riot is intended to give the impression that the Sinhalese had some how to be applauded for this. But for his information I would like to say that by then the mob attacks have been replaced by State sponsored terrorism. By that I mean the security forces were rounding up young boys from the North and if you read the account of the soldier who did not want to be identified they were being brought in trucks every night and summarily executed. So there was no need for the mobs to attack any more as the security forces had taken this role on their shoulders .
    I put the blame for the state the country is in today fairly and squarely on the shoulders of successive Sinhalese Governments since Independence for failing to address the Tamil issue.
    Now unable to withstand the pressure from the big brother and the forth coming CHOGM offering no escape route penny is beginning to drop. Just imagine if any of the following would have been possible without the pressure.

    1) Calling of the election for a Northern Assembly
    2) Issuing visas to all the Journalists including Mr.Callum McCrae
    3) Making it possible for Mrs.Pillai the so called thorn to visit the country with unrestricted access.
    4) Arrest of the killers of the young boys in Trinco so many years after the killing despite denial.
    5)Arrest of the killers of the British Tourist.

    So the conclusion is that any change in Sinhala Lanka is not going to come from within but only with outside intervention and pressure which is to be welcome although it was long overdue and too late for many. No one denies there were no excesses from the LTTE but that was a freedom struggle and one expects different standards from the so called terrorists and elected representatives and in that respect the current rulers have fallen well short of the civilised standards.

    By succumbing to pressure and agreeing to every demand from the outside World the Current Rulers have lost any respect and honour ( it is debatable whether they had any) and therefore should resign and go into recluse but they wont as they are power hungry and fully understand their fate once out of power. Poor souls the saying goes As you sow so you Reap.

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