27 October, 2020

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Lakshman Kadirgamar: Quite A Different Doubt Arises In My Mind

By Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan

A friend sent me a copy of a recent panegyric and lament on the late Foreign Minister, as carried by you, together with his comment, extracts of which I reproduce below. (The LTTE, “the usual suspects” for all things dastardly, are thought to have killed Mr. Kadirgamar though, to my knowledge, there wasn’t a thorough investigation or an official report.) I quote:

“And this is perhaps the most dangerous kind of writing for the cause of justice for the minorities:  suave, liberal humanism, typical of the English speaking middle class, self-righteously “reasonable” and “balanced” and “idealistically concerned” with what matters, though flaunting also its self-professed “realism”. But the slips show. Sri Lanka as victim of the Channel 4 videos episode, with indignities heaped on it, subjected to moral opprobrium, damaged, never mind the innocents who paid the actual price of the victory that ended the war. And the terror and extremism are all on the side of the defeated (though it is conceded that some of the majority show extremism).  It’s exactly the message that it is [name omitted] role to express, though with none of this obfuscating “elegance”.  And the discomfort (we have encountered this so many times before, even from so -called decent, honourable and thoughtful people) with even the possibility of investigating honestly what actually happened is too, too evident.  If at all, it has to be done through ” effective, timely, sensible diplomacy” – presumably this would give more chance that it would be as useless as the kind of investigation that the committees of inquiry which are habitually appointed every time the innumerable criminal activities that are taking place become too difficult to ignore are supposed to carry out, but never actually do (except in the case of the former Chief Justice). The only consequence is that attitudes will be firmed up that will ensure that the real causes of the conflict will never either be recognised or addressed, particularly because none of these people who are putting themselves as spokespersons for the cause of justice and equality will accept responsibility not just for what happened, but for their own attitudes, which allowed it to happen, even ensured that it would.  [It is] dangerous because the “innocent” veneer could well help it claim and assume high moral ground and authority, guaranteeing the permanent institutionalisation of the Jathika Chintanaya ideology across the board, and the permanent transfer of the minority problem to the back burner.

[Lines omitted] Apart from helping conceal one’s own culpability, one can while pointing fingers set oneself up as the new elitist moral and intellectual leaders of the place, preaching justice and  celebrating for public consumption friends and others in the minorities whose positions are so vulnerable precisely because of the stances one has adopted on the issues involved along with all of the many whose responsibility for the tragedy of our land is clearly evident.  There seems to be a great deal of this kind of sanctimonious writing going on in the country at the moment by people whose records throughout the worst of the conflict have been patently dismal, and too many decent people seem to be buying into the whole deplorable hoax..” End of quote.

Quite a different doubt arises in my mind (though I’m conscious that a question in Logic is whether it’s possible to prove or disprove negatives, for example, that unicorns don’t exist). I doubt that, for all the encomiums heaped on the now safely dead Foreign Minister, Mr. Kadirgamar would have won an election had he stood against a Sinhalese Buddhist candidate.  One recalls that Ponnambalam Arunachchalam, the driving force behind the formation of the Ceylon National Congress, left the organization feeling betrayed and disillusioned. (Of his brother, President J. R. Jayewardene, in his Address delivered on the life and work of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan at the Vivekananda Society, Colombo, November 30, 1991, reminded the audience that Sir Ponnambalam was even called the Tamil who was the foster parent of the Sinhalese. In the aftermath of the riots of 1915, the President said, one voice and one alone was heard within and outside the Legislature: that of Ponnambalam Ramanathan. He saved the Sinhala race from destruction, taking on single-handed “the worst exhibition of British imperialism as displayed by the 1915 Martial Law atrocities directed solely against the Sinhalese.”) According to a survey published in the Washington Post, 8 November 2012, as many whites voted for Obama as had for Bill Clinton when the latter was elected. But, given the entrenched majoritarian, as distinct from ‘democratic’, nature of the Island’s politics, and mindful of what I suggested about ‘the silent majority’ (Colombo Telegraph, 6th April 2013), would Sinhalese voters have chosen Kadirgamar as against a fellow Sinhalese Buddhist? Is that why he didn’t try to get his post a more authentic, electoral-based, foundation? We are back with the unicorn, unable either to prove or disprove.

I leave with extracts from an ‘open letter’ (Sunday Leader, Colombo, Oct.26, 1997)  written to the Foreign Minister by yet another victim whose murder remains unsolved, namely, Kumar Ponnambalam (Unfortunately, Mr Kadirgamar didn’t deign to reply, at least, not publicly.)

“Minister Sir,

Congratulations […] for having been voted ‘The Sri Lankan of the Year’ by the Lanka Monthly Digest!

[…] But first, can you recall the day I invited you to attend a meeting of Tamils at the BMICH on March 26, 1994 before the general elections? Your immediate reaction, which still rings in my ears, was “What politics for me, Kumar?”

Tell me, minister Sir, did you go into the Cabinet because, within four months you understood what politics was all about, or was it that this government sought to make use of your name, which happens to be a Tamil name, only to show the world that they also have a Tamil in the Cabinet? Having only lent your Tamil name to the machinations of this government, you described yourself as a representative of the Tamil at the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 1994. Were you being honest in so describing yourself, having gone into parliament through the back door?

Do you remember July 1995, minister Sir, when your dishonesty was shown when you took the ICRCto task for having made public, the bombing of the Navaly church which killed so many innocent Tamil civilians after your government asked the Tamils to go there for refuge? Do you also remember the September of that year when you tried dishonestly to hide the cruel bombing of a school in Nagar Kovil, when so many children were killed during the lunch break?

It is one of the greater tragedies that the countries that have branded the LTTE as terrorists have done so knowing full well that the free media of the world have been prevented by your government from going to the war zone to see for themselves […] What is terrorism?  Cannot political parties and, indeed, governments be terrorists? Is it not the fact that it is common knowledge in Sri Lanka that various Sri Lankan governments have been guilty of terrorism? Is it not a fact that political parties in Sri Lanka are and have been guilty of terrorism?”

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    Well said about the sinhala people’s favourite Demala! May more be written about Kadirgamar and his class of elite Protestant tamils who think they are the people born to rule the tamils.

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      LK was a much loved statesman of Sri Lanka. Show some respect Punchi Banda.

      If your hate is out of control, seek help.

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        Ben Hurling

        “If your hate is out of control, seek help.”

        join BBS.

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          Vedda

          I admit I have a slight anger management issue. With terribly dishonest Ealamists. And with people who insult a non-violent, respected leader such as LK.

          We are not idiots to believe that they are trying to restore equal rights for Tamils. In fact, they are glad we have problems between Tamils and Sinhalese. These racist Ealamists thrive on our problems.

          All they want is a seperate Tamil state called Ealam. Ethnically purified just for Tamils. In multi-ethnic Sri Lanka. Fight for Tamil rights is just front for their racist Ealam project.

          For the record, BBS makes me just as angry.

          Therefore I am thinking about joining Buddhists Questioning BBS. BQBBS.

          Cheers!

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            Ben Hurling

            “In multi-ethnic Sri Lanka”

            If you care to look back the last hundred years Sri Lanka was anything but multi ethnic.

            Though I have nothing to do with them, Eeelmists are the product of Sri Lankan history. So are the JVP.

            The state has been built on the idea that Sinhala/Buddhist are chosen people and the rightful owners of the island and suppose to be the guardians of Buddhism.

            Think about it.

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      Ilankai Tamil Sangam
      Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

      Home
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      Kadirgamar and the Tamils
      by Rajendra

      Many readers will consider this poem and its sentiments in somewhat bad taste because they do not speak well of someone who has passed on. The editor is of the opinion that one must look at a life honestly and acknowledge the good and the bad. The feelings expressed in this article and poem are definitely widely shared. — Editor

      Humanity sees no difference between Harold Agnew, who never regreted helping develop the atomic bomb, and Kadirgamar, the trusted name in Singhalese households because he was a loyal servant to Singhala society, all in the name of annihilating the Tamils. The difference is only in the numbers. Harold Agnew’s bomb killed nearly 80,00 in a split second and at least another 70,000 before the year was out, while Kadirgamar was responsible for 30,000 lives, let alone 7,000 brave men who gave their precious lives to protect the innocent civilians.

      Killing a life is completely abhorent, and one would feel sorry for Kadirgamar’s untimely death. In equal fervor, Kadir’s participation in killing thousands of innocent Tamil lives and inflicting untold misery and pain in Tamil society is vigorously condemned. Kadirgamar was involved in the killings of innocent Tamils, and, most gruesome of all, with the bombing of children in a school and defending this act in none other location than the UN Assembly, where he said they were terrorists. Kadir was an architect behind the already-prevailing refusal of the Singhalese to accommodate the Tamils as equal citizens in the country, and has been all along preventing the Government from looking at a tangible solution to the national conflict.

      Let us all mourn his death with this poem:

      How can that tyrant be forgiven?
      In the ten years be he minister foreign,
      Without being elected to office in Serendip,
      Enjoyed all perquisites to the hilt.
      The cries of thirty thousand killed,
      Though of same ethnicity, he willed.
      Through continued shelling, carpet-bombing sprees
      He ordered buildings split, fishing and crops decreased
      Crowded shelters erased
      As his army battalions grazed.
      Jaffna, full of boundless heaps in ruins
      Wailing mothers for lost children
      Weeping infants treading upon scattered spilt brains
      In anguish and in pain.
      There came numberless, all crying
      For help to save them from slaying
      Relentless Kadir convinced the world body
      The dead cousins deserved not to live tardy
      Tamils are terrorists, God knew who they were,
      And Terrorists are Tamils lying in refuse,
      So Kadir become a Sinhalese for real
      To get a descent burial.

      ###

      Posted August 15, 2005

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    The conspiracy theory is that Chandrika was going to make Kadirgamer the
    Prime Minister of the country.The Sinhala nationalists, who were against
    seeing a Tamil being made the PM, saw to it that this does not happen.
    The scapegoat was the convenient Tigers.We will never know the truth and only those in power at the moment can shed some light on it,which is very very unlikely.

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      MR was made PM in return for revealing the UNP impeachment plan to CBK. MR was to be appointed PM by Ranil W in return for backing the impeachment. Ranil dillydallied so MR spilled the beans to CBK. She dropped LK and appointed MR as PM.

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        Well Blacker, you are certainly better informed. May be true.

        I have heard CBK was planing to appoint LK. That would have kept Rajapassa clan in their righful place as well. And Banda’s dynasty in business even longer.

        However, MR threatend to break up the SLFP into two, unless appointed PM. Rest is history.

        In that drama..LK is the only one I have any respect for anyway.

        All others are terrible people Sri Lanka can do really well without.

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      The assassination of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister

      Under the active campaign of a Machiavellian Tamil Minister, the late Laxman Kathirgamar, Sri Lankan diplomatic missions abroad tried to transpose an internal inter-racial conflict into a global terror campaign. The Sri Lankan Government made use of Kadirgamar’s assassination to impress the international community that Foreign Minister Kathirgamar was assassinated by the LTTE, persuading those governments to ban the LTTE as a terrorist organization. There are reliable pointers, however, that the actual culprits were in the Government itself. In a highly revealing statement within hours of the murder, President Kumaratunga blamed the killing not on the LTTE but on “political foes opposed to giving prominance to Kathir for the Premier’s seat”. Kumaratunga was pressured two days later to make an about face, but she never explained her initial remarks. The failure of the Government to investigate the assassination of Kathirgamar even after these many years shows its total disregard to bring justice to the very person whom the Government was using in its campaign to demonize the LTTE. The Government refused foreign help to solve the crime as long as it had the LTTE as a scapegoat on which to put the blame. Besides, the Government is well aware that any attempt to solve the assassination mystery will backfire on it. All of the publicly available evidence just as readily fits a murder organized by a military faction using Tamil militia. The international community is grossly ignorant of this fact, and it is time it understood the reality on the ground and acted with responsibility.

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    Thanks for this reality check on an individual who had a sad and terrible relationship with most of his family despite and perhaps because of the white wash piled on thick by Sinhala racists on who they saw as an EXCEPTIONAL TAMIL..
    The name of the game that Kadirigamar defended was STATE TERRORISM – seen to be more LEGITIMATE than the violence of non-state actors!
    The fact is that the State which has the LEGITIMATE monopoly on violence in the liberal definition has the obligation to desist from terror, given the moral injunction on the stronger party and asymmetric nature of battle between a state party and non-state party. Sri Lanka has of course reversed the logic in true Rajapassa style: Thus State terrorism is good and desirable, terrorism of the majority (or Baluy Sena against minorities) is legitimate, and hence State terrorism is today practiced openly practiced by the Rajapakse regime on the media and civil society in the absence of the LTTE. Back to square one indeed!

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      Solomon,

      Yes, Rajapssa is turning into a terrible ruler. But, you do not worry. Sri Lankans will take care of it. In due course.

      Sri Lankans have seen worse. Remember now defunct LTTE. Remember what Sri Lankans did to it? So, don’t bother too much about MR.

      In the meantime, cut your BS and relax.

      Let LK rest in peace. He was an essentially decent man. Specially compared to primitive racists like yourself.

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    Shakespeare, Hamlet:

    “Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
    As if increase of appetite had grown
    By what it fed on: and yet, within a month –
    Let me not think on’t – Frailty, thy name is woman! –
    A little month, or ere those shoes were old
    With which she follow’d my poor father’s body…”

    Soon after after telling Kumar Ponnambalam he was not interested in politics, Kadirgarmar did a Gertrude by wedding the government of the time.

    Despite, K’s frailties he was regularly praised for his performance as Foreign Minister, but others, like Charles Sarvan may argue he was prostituted…… and assassinated in the altar of politics.

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      Ha..ha! Right.

      Instead, LK should have hooked up with extremely racist, Tamil natiionalsit monkeys.

      That would have pleased you a great deal.

      Whom did you prostitute for MNZ? VP?

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        BH

        Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!

        Read again!

        I was merely stating two viewpoints, and never favoured any side.

        In school, you may have been made to stand in the corner with your Dunce Cap!!

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    Even Crystal Meth can’t induce the brain to come up with this sort of logic.

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      Tsunamisekera:
      Speaking from experience, are you?

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    Quite eloquently written by Charles Saravan which would be difficult for many to comprehend and respond.

    Thanks for bringing the Kumar Ponnampalam letter to many of the readers who are totally oblivious to such challenge of kadirgamar.

    There are many adjectives that Lakshman Kadirgamar is known among the majority of the Tamils. All are nothing but uncomplimentary. I do not wish to add more abuse to his name which he has successfully earned the wrath of the Tamil people all around the world and in Sri Lanka by his own actions.

    The Rajapakses also hate him with a passion since he was close to the Bandaranayakes and nearly got President Chandrika to appoint him as the Prime Minister of the country on merit keeping the party leadership to be handed over to Anura Bandaranayake. That would have permanently kept the Rajapakses out of power. Unfortunately, that ploy did not work for him and the assassins were never found by the police investigations.

    It was conveniently blamed on the LTTE and my brother also was kept in jail being falsely blamed in assisting in the murder under devious but illegal allegations and without any evidence.

    Wonder what his daughter Ajita Perera is going to write next about dear Dadda, to counter all what is being said about Kadirgamar. That would be such a hopeless mission like now trying to get back the Kadirgamar ashes which has been scattered somewhere in the wastelands of Sri Lanaka by his second wife who is a Sinhala Buddhist. She being a senior attorney has not ventured into any writing to praise her late husband, but will not dare to write. People would not be as kind they were to Ajita Perera and would blast whatever she writes.

    Let us see whether she would dare do so…

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      Here we go again. What a bitter rant by uncle Donald.

      Donald is so heart broken.

      A great Sri Lankan of Tamil origin. LK did not subscribe to primitive, racist, tribal ideology of extreme Tamil nationalist monkeys such as Donald or Kumar.

      Explains why LK is remembered with much respect and pride by Sri Lankans.

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        Noticed uncle Donald has a major issue with LK’s 2nd wife as well. Reason being her Sinhala Buddhist ethnic background.

        Simply proves what a stone age, lunatic this Gnanakone guy is. So, blinded by Tamil racism and ethno-nationalism.

        Sri Lanka needs hundreds of leaders of Kadirgamar’s stature. To unify us. To guide the population away from self destructive ethno nationalism.

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    Those who adulate Kadirgamar are almost exclusively Sinhalese who saw him as a convenient apologist for the Sinhala regimes that committed abominable atrocities against the tamil people. As the foreign minister of the country whenever an atrocity was committed by the state Kadirgamar was there to defend it, put a spin on it or to shamelessly deny it but at the same time highlighted the LTTE’s atrocities to the world. The examples are many and a couple are mentioned in the above article.

    He valued the opinions and the praises of the tamil people’s killers but didn’t care about the opinions and criticisms of his very own tamil brethren. What he failed to acknowledge was the glaring fact that the Sinhala regime he was defending was dead against him being made Prime Minister. That was the gratitude he got for his services to the Sinhala regime and the Sinhala people. His death was blamed, as usual at the time, on the LTTE but I would not put anything past the state killers that he so faithfully defended.

    It was a shame the LTTE killed off many of the able defenders of the tamil cause to counter the propaganda of Kadirgamar at that time. The man did immense damage to the tamils and should be ignored for ever.

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    What kind of people are you to discredit a dead person who cannot speak for himself? Be it Kadirgamar or anyone else.

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      A bird whispers ” death does not make a bad man a good man”

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      Commoner,

      Because he was an apologist for a regime that killed countless innocent civilians. For example, his actions and words after the Navali church bombing by the state forces was shameful and repugnant. What kind of a man was he to deserve praise is my question to you.

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      He did business on dead innocent civilians. He ridiculed denied and celebrated the murder and slaughter of victims of Navaly Church Bindunuwave etc. Now he is killed by his own masters. Anybody is doing business on that. You must point your finger at those who desecrated the cemeteries of those Tamils. Are they not dead. If you cant do that better put your finger into you know what. This man is not a worthy character to be written about. Another KP Karuna Kathirgamar – the 3 Ks

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    The logic of these anti-kadirgamar statements is clear:
    a)Every Tamil should follow the policies of a supremo.No Tamil can have the freedom to follow his own convictions.Otherwise the same fate that befell Amirthalingham will also be that of those who don’t agree with the supremo.
    b)Every Tamil should marry only those whom the supremo approves.
    Other wise…He certainly does not have the freedom to marry a Sinhala Buddhist if he chose at the risk of displeasing the supremo
    This is the logic that was used to govern the NE at one time.Is this the logic that will rule the NE in the future too?

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      Absolutely.

      Extreme ethno nationalists and racists among Tamils hate LK. And always will. But, that is their problem. Not ours.

      Becuase LK stood for modernity and progress. Not barbaric tribalism promoted by LTTE and their ilk.

      That is exactly why LK will always be a hero for us. He had the guts to stand upright against ugliness of racist violence. He made a fealess stand on behalf of us. For our country. He gave his life for Sri Lanka.

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      Karl SingHam: It will be useful to study the facts of the tragic past and the reasons that led to the armed conflict.

      Both Amirthalingam and Yogeswaran vociferously condemned the Government attack on the Tamils and the burning of the Jaffna library, much to the dislike of the government.

      The naked truth is that, while they were living, both Amirthalingam and Yogeswaran worked against the elements, irrespective of ethnicity, who hated Eelam Tamil nationalism and who spew anti-LTTE venom in abandon. That was why the handlers, then working at the Indian agencies of deception, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) scripted their plot to assassinate Amirthalingam and Yogeswaran and lay the blame for the deed on the LTTE. The GoSL had made use of this tragedy to its advantage to nail the LTTE.

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        I can only say LOL to Rajendra!Ha ha ha

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        It is not Sinhala persecution alone but the capacity of the Tamil spokesmen for self-deceptions
        and prevarication and
        fantasizing,abundantly displ;ayed in Rajendran’s comment,
        that has brought the Lankan Tamils to their presesnt sorry pass.
        Read Rajasingham Narendran’s article in CT and ponder its arguments in a dispassionate amd sober manner.

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    The question is, what exactly did LK do to earn the title of hero? Some may consider getting the LTTE banned in various countries to be an “accomplishment”, but it is far from heroic.

    I think LK represents something else – an attempt by the Sinhalese nationalist consciousness to justify its struggle against Tamil nationalism, by latching onto something agreeable on the Tamil side. LK was the ideal target of opportunity – educated, well-traveled, and from Colombo, as opposed to Jaffna or one of its suburbs.

    As for LK’s own motivations, it is difficult to say exactly. In general, it is a dark day when educated men with promising academic/legal careers get involved in politics. They find new and more grotesque ways to defend and justify the evil of their paymasters. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Kadirgamar did.

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    When LK joined the government of CBK, a friend commented that he was the only Tamil in the Cabinet. Back came the remark “That is why he is called the Foreign Minister” !

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    thanks Charles

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    why do you want to talk about a traitor. traitor did enough damage to tamil people by carrying out false propaganda in connivance with sinhala terrorists. anyway who wants to remember this traitor. i hear his second marriage was to a sinhala woman and his daughter ajitha or whoever married a sinhala geeezer. in short he was a sinhalised tamil.

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