1 October, 2020

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Leaders Like Sumanthiran Are A Rare Breed

By Suren Surendiran

Suren Surendiran

Is Unqualified & Uncritical Support For The Armed Struggle Of The Past, A Must, To Play A Leading Role In Tamil Politics Today?

The former Parliamentarian and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson M. A. Sumanthiran’s recent Sinhala-language interview (“Truth with Chamuditha”) and a selectively distorted presentation of this interview in Tamil by the Capital TV (controlled by interests close to the present Sri Lankan government), seemed to have stirred a hornet’s nest. While such controversies are often viewed as unfortunate and unwarranted, they also provide unique opportunities to reassess one’s thoughts and positions on the continuing Tamil struggle for equality and justice in Sri Lanka. 

Many others and I have had extensive interactions with former MP Sumanthiran over the years as he is the key contact person for the TNA for international engagement. Our collaboration covered meetings in various capitals around the world, UNHRC sessions in Geneva, The United Nations in New York and conferences aimed at amicably resolving the Tamil problem. We always found Sumanthiran highly knowledgeable, articulate, hardworking and honest, and we reiterate our utmost confidence on him.

It is elven years since the war ended in Sri Lanka and the conditions for resolving the Tamil problem have irreversibly changed. Without the support of most of the Sri Lankan people, achieving political and constitutional outcomes that satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people has become near impossible. It is crucial therefore the difficulties and aspirations of the Tamil people are unambiguously and diplomatically communicated to Sinhala and Muslim communities, and Sumanthiran is the only Tamil Parliamentarian from the North-East attempting to do this even in a limited manner.

It is in this context that the provocative interview, in a format of short and sharp questions and answers, need to be viewed. It may be the intention of the interviewer was to create a wedge between Sinhala and Tamil communities, and within the Tamil community, as general election approaches and with the commencement of preliminary discussions between the TNA leadership and the government. It appears Sumanthiran’s focus was not to fall into the interviewer’s trap of sharpening the misunderstanding between Sinhala and Tamil communities. However, we believe the interview format was not the most suited to cover a complex and emotive issue such as this, and a lot more could have been achieved with a more elaborate and nuanced discussion.

Several answers in that interview provoked varying responses within the Tamil community. However, the core controversy dealt with Sumanthiran’s response that he never accepted or condoned armed struggle as a political project, consistent with his overarching pacifist philosophy. Though not discussed in this interview, we are fully aware of other interviews and speeches where Sumanthiran has articulated his clear understanding on the rationale behind the origin of the armed struggle, his respect for the immense sacrifices made by the militants, and his caution against using those to derive political mileage particularly in the context that he never personally agreed with any political approach involving violence. 

Tamil community suffered enormously from the time of independence and the heroic struggle waged by the Tamil militants from an integral and inseparable part of the Tamil history in Sri Lanka. The fact that the armed struggle, started as a local insurgency eventually evolved into a fully-fledged civil war, necessitates a clear understanding of this phase of the Tamil struggle from all budding political aspirants. However, does that also necessitate unqualified and uncritical acceptance and support of the armed struggle of the past, for one to play a leading role in Tamil politics today?

We believe the answer is conscientiously and categorically in the negative. 

More than a decade has passed since the war ended, and the Tamil community must embark upon honest self-reflection and learn valuable lessons from its successes and failures of the past. In this journey, inclusivity of different political viewpoints is fundamental. There are many who fully support the origin and conduct of the armed struggle, while solely attributing its defeat to external factors. There are others who concur with the cause and effect of the origin of the armed rebellion but believe not everything was done right to prevent its catastrophic end. Yet for some, politics by violent means is unacceptable, without exception. 

Our well-considered position is that holding any of those viewpoints does not automatically disqualify anyone from playing an important role in Tamil politics. A whole suit of other qualities – honesty and consistency, ability and hard work, and commitment – are also critically important for one to be effective in political leadership.  Ultimately, it is the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, in all their wisdom, will make such calls through their election ballots.

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Latest comments

  • 20
    7

    “Is Unqualified & Uncritical Support For The Armed Struggle Of The Past, A Must, To Play A Leading Role In Tamil Politics Today?” – Suren
    No. Similarly Unqualified & Uncritical Support for any struggle or any government or any military or any political party or any leader is wrong. Similarly, a leader should not surrender himself to the tactics played by media.
    Sumanthiran is a leading lawyer but not a political leader. Among the Tamil politicians, Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are lawyers, others are not lawyers. Both are fluent in Sinhala, not others. So, they have some advantages compared to others because of these advantages in dealing with Sinhalese politicians. However, other politicians have talents in getting the support of the Tamil people.
    Sumanthiran has the right to give his opinion about LTTE and armed struggle. Similarly, other politicians have the right to give their opinion about Sumanthiran. The fact is Tamils are deprived of their rights under Sinhalese rule for the past seven decades. This deprivation and biased approach of the Sinhalese governments lead the unarmed struggle and armed struggle. Both struggle failed not because of the wrongs in this approach but due to many other factors as well. We have no right to tell right or wrong of the past as long as you got it right now.

    • 9
      16

      Ajith, the deprivation of rights of the Tamil People arose under the ACTC, FP, ITAK, and the TNA – if you do not know their history in subjugating the Tamil people under their command then you are not qualified to make any judgements on the matter. Evidently, you have no idea who Suren Surendiran is, either.

      • 4
        3

        Walter,
        If you know the history can you please show some lights in the matter? Is Siuren is your cousin?

    • 9
      7

      Ajith,

      “Both struggle failed not because of the wrongs in this approach but due to many other factors as well.”

      For the benefit of the readers can you list the other factors that you talk about. If you dont want to thats fine, if you are not sure, talk to the embassies in Colombo (Preferably the ambassadors of the respective countries). They will tell you.

      • 10
        4

        RAVI PERERA, ….. talk to the embassies in Colombo, preferably the ambassadors. I have.
        Listen to what an Ambassador of a highly respected country told me:
        You may be able to convince the politicians, not the men in yellow robes!
        Are you satisfied.

        • 7
          5

          Nathan.. I have spoken to many ambassodors in Colombo… They have told me that they could support some sort of power devolution, ideally Jaffna Peninsula and may be a part of the Vanni. They all accept that historically Sri lanka is the homeland of the sinhalayas but due to the fact the tamils also have lived in some part for many centuries we should give some sort of devolution. But as long as you tamils take a non compromising stand like North east merger, Federalism etc we are safe.

          • 5
            2

            RAVI PERERA, I am glad that you did not dispute my story. We will discuss further when you tell me what they ‘told’ you, not how they reacted when you told them whatever you had told them.

            • 2
              4

              Nathan, I think I have very clearly told you about the outcome of the discussion.
              But anyway it is time for action now. Convince the International community about your concocted history to get what you want… if they genuinely believe in your crap they wont worry about the men in yellow robes.

              You have been defeated man. Accept and move on old man

      • 4
        2

        Mr Ravi,
        I spoke to embassies in Colombo but they referred me to look at the UNHRC resolution and speak to UNHRC. They said they have enough evidence the over 40000 Tamil civilians were massacred by Srilankan Sinhala forces and they murdered thousands of LTTE surrendees by the order of Gotabaya.

        • 3
          3

          Mr Ajith,

          The embassies have given you a very evasive answer. Do you honestly believe that things shown on Channel 4 are correct. The LTTE propoganda machine is still strong, and the money collected have to be used for something. Obviously the LTTE has bought over some politicians and in these countries as well as journalists.

          actual number killed in the last stages are more likely to be far less than this number of 40000. There is a tamil woman who does a bit of acting in Hollywood (Forget her name). She herself told on TV how she was told by villages in Mullativu how the LTTE fired RPG’s on their own civilians. Sri lankan Army did not intentionally fire at the civilians. There was a lot of casualties on the army in the last stages due to Army not using heavy weapons. Shavendra Silva told during a TV interview that most of the individual cases of accusation , they were able to prove that they were false with the help of Satellite pictures

          • 2
            1

            YOu asked me to contact embassies and now you say they are giving evasive answers. I honestly believe that Channel 4 are correct and also the murder of those who surrendered. Your government said they have won the war and now you say LTTE propaganda is still strong. I spoke to many of those who were in the field and in the detention camps and they confirmed the rape of women by Sinhala regime. There is enough evidence that Sinhala military purposely used heavy weapons including cluster bombs inside the no fire zone. The former military commander Sarath Fonseka confirmed that Gotabaya ordered to kill Surandees. He was superior to Shavendra. Recently Gotabaya released a murderer military commander who was jailed in Srilanka courts. This clearly an example about the ruling regime and the military. Sadly, you are supporting a regime that was illegal and immoral. If you are doubt, it is better always to have an independent international body to investigate and give justice.

            • 2
              2

              Ajith,

              LTTE has been destroyed only in Sri Lanka. There network is very powerful overseas. The politicians overseas don’t care a Damn for 3rd world countries. These guys will do and say anything if money is thrown at them. Sarath Fonseka said all what he said after he fell out with MR. May be the White flag thing was true. If it is true, then it does fall under war crimes. But We do not believe, the military purposely targeted civilians. Civilian causaulties were part of collateral damage. What Gota did recently was incorrect. He is following the Americans (They released a soldier who killed many civilians in Vietnam). That is wrong. There is a reason why an independent inquiry can not be held. The fear we have is that it will not be independent. We did not listen to West when they asked us to stop. So we have a fear the inquiry will not be independent. Ss to my support for the present regime, what choice do we have. We can not support the back boys of UNP. Unfortunatle we do not have leaders in the Calibre of Lalith, Gamini and Ranjan Wijeratne any more. They were taken away from US by LTTE. Another man who would have been a good administrator was Kobbekaduwe. Unfortunately he too was taken away (Ltte or….)

              • 1
                1

                Ravi Perera,
                You cannot destroy LTTE as long as the problems remain unresolved. Don’t blame politicians overseas for the failure of Srilanka or 3rd world countries. Both UNP and SLFP (SLPP) are corrupted and racist leaders. Srilankan politicians are worse than overseas politicians and you can simply by every Sinhala politicians by throwing money. Gota is not following the Americans. The whole of Mahinda Family are corrupted and all of them have blood on them. It is Gota who was massacred thousands of Sinhalese in 1989-90. Your military is one of the worst in the world and myself had several experiences with Sinhala military. Don’t justify a nation under Buddhist Fundamentalism.

                • 1
                  1

                  Ajith,
                  LTTE cannot be destroyed because of hypocrisy of Western Countries who are interested in destabilizing countries like Sri Lanka. They think LTTE can be used for that purpose. That is the reason why those countries tried hard to stop the military operation and rescue megalomaniac Piripakaran and take him to a safe haven. For them LTTE are ‘GOOD TERRORISTS’ and turn a blind eye to their activities although banned as a Terrorist Organization.
                  Second reason is there are politicians over there who lick the *** of Tamils to get their votes.

                  “You cannot destroy LTTE as long as the problems remain unresolved.”

                  • 3
                    1

                    Mahindapala, LTTE cannot be destroyed because of racists like you, who are denying archaeological proofs of presence of Tamil civilization, genetic ancestry of Tamil origin of Sinhalese and geological connection with Tamil Nadu as one homeland of Dravidians, due to which you are refusing to concede to the legitimate demands of Tamils of sharing land and power in a fair manner. Western countries who believe in truth and justice, have said that Tamils are on a moral high ground ever since LTTE was disarmed, and feel that LTTE agitation for the rights of Tamils is within law. This is why despite barking of Sinhala racists and braying of High Commission, LTTE is able to fly their banner high in UK.

                    • 1
                      3

                      Siva Sankaram,

                      “Mahindapala, LTTE cannot be destroyed because of racists like you”

                      LTTE has been destroyed locally. May be they will start a war again, then we can pack another million overseas.. Your demands may seem fair to you, but bulk of your demands seem unfair to us. As long as there are Tamil racists like you, there will be sinhala racists. Pls give all the archaeological proofs of presence of Tamil civilization to the IC and get what you want. I don’t think if the west is 100% convinced Gandhi’s ghost will be able to prevent. Keep flying the LTTE flag high. This is what we hardliners want.

    • 14
      13

      Father Emmanuel, an ardent promoter of Tamil cause and a vociferous critic of Sinhala atrocities, when in financial and ageing problems, somersaulted, threw his principles in the wind and surrendered to the past regime. Now he is unheard of. Is Surendiran going the same way by clinging on to Sumanthiran’s tail. Sumanthiran is a successful lawyer but a failure in politics. He has no leadership qualities and plays a double game, similar to Ranil Wickremasinghe. Sumanthiran is a coward and a crook who will never participate in any agitation by Tamils for justice. He will let others to struggle and if the going is good will get in to take the credit, while if it turns bad, he will never sight the place. It is said that power will never grant anything without a fight. If you do not like violent approach, it has to be non-violent method. Sumanthiran can condemn Tamil youths taking up arms or LTTE chasing Muslims out, but he has to equally condemn the use of arms by Sinhalese government to suppress Tamils as well as ethnic cleansing done by Sinhalese and Muslims. When he is silent on those atrocities, it is clear that he wants to be in their good books. There are several Tamils who run down fellow Tamils to please Sinhalese in order to curry favour.

    • 7
      4

      Talent in gathering votes is not good enough to lead a party in critical times.
      Have you read the texts or heard the speeches of any other TNA leader?
      *
      I gave up on the FP in 1965 when it joined the UNP in power after consistently denouncing the UNP from 1949 and pledging not to accept cabinet posts.
      But it had at least a few people who could clearly state the position of the party in public. Fluency in Sinhala or English is not more important than content, as text can be translated.
      *
      Rabble rousing is not leadership. The rabble rousers of Vanni are at loggerheads with their counterparts in Jaffna. Why?
      The TNA has a leadership crisis. Otherwise Sampanthan will not be leading it today. There are talented rivals, one a little too old for the job. But what serious alternative do they offer?
      Sumanthiran is perhaps there by default. So were the Colombo based Neelan and M Thiruchelvam.
      If Sumanthiran says things inconsistent with the stand of the TNA, then the TNA should pull him up.
      *
      One cannot blame the Sinhalese or the SL government for all the wrongs that the LTTE did to people of all communities. Attacking the armed forces in combat is no issue. Even ambush of armed forces can be legitimate.
      But blaming others is no defence for murderous crimes.

      • 2
        3

        ” I gave up on the FP in 1965 when it joined the UNP in power after consistently denouncing the UNP from 1949 and pledging not to accept cabinet posts. ”
        Pls don’t tell me that you read in news what FP said in 1949. How old were you in 1949? Did you support FP members when they were in TC? Here is a substantial vacuum is present from 1949 to 1965 because you didn’t put forward here to discuss what FP said in 1949 why it would not accept a minister position with UNP or FP explanation in 1965 for why Thiruchelvam (Not an elected MP of FP) was accepting minister post, unless you purposefully avoiding that discussion. SJV had signed Dudley Chelva pact. But no others, including EPDP, could sign any pacts with Sinhala governments, so far. As you are reluctant to provide, in 1949, GG was forced accept minister post against the will of the other TC leaders. Don offered CJ position to SJV, provided he should quit politics. SJV didn’t accept CJ but quit TC and formed FP.

        • 3
          1

          M
          You always succeed in asking not very clever questions.
          The claim is about what I did in 1965.
          Keep on amusing me, but remember to wash your hands.

          • 0
            0

            S…V…M….S
            “The claim is about what I did in 1965.”
            I know the difficulty you face in reading. But still if you can please, one more not very cleave question, in what line in my comment I was accepting or rejecting it?
            Do you need me also to amuse you while you are self indulged in Curfew? Double dosai.
            It is not any longer that I could see the doc yet, it seems to be possible you never saw the Docs.
            Please don’t treat others like idiots because you are possibly one; it hurts, Being like a humanbeing please back again my questions and answer it.

            • 0
              0

              I do not treat anyone like anything.
              People behave the way they are.
              I should admit that I have much difficulty in making sense of what you say. It is good that you know it.
              *
              “one more not very cleave question”
              What cleave please?
              *
              You have always effortlessly amused me, and answering you spoils the fun.
              But others are catching up.
              Watch out!

              • 0
                0

                I don’t have to watch out others because they will take care of them and they will not catch up your cholera for you to treat them with your whole sale drugs. You are not a real Doc to treat anybody, anyway.

                By your overdose you write your name as Savam and you in high hallucination, you reply to SJs. Don’t think you don’t show your naked shame or others have seen them. But my company is not interested in watching you when you show off.

                I put out the elephants painted in gray. The blinds cannot see the elephant. I know your vision. Others are watching, for sure. But I don’t have to watch them

        • 0
          0

          1965 – I think he was in uni

          • 2
            0

            He is an anti-Tamil. He seems to exhibiting a family problem with Sampathan Aiya’s family. If that is correct, the main division occurred between Tamils freedom & him near to or after the event caused to that split within the families.

            I have no interest in anybody’s ages. I wonder why somebody hates Tamils. I am just curious about the truth behind this guy’s strange Anti-Tamil nature.
            Thanks for your info.

      • 2
        1

        In 1949, FP resolved until they get a solution, not to accept UNP’s positions, seeing how GG was forced to accept Indian Pakistani citizenship act. As Dudley promised them the pact they accepted the minister position that was not for an FP MP, who all would be free to oppose Dudley on anything anytime. When the pact was aborted, they quit the ministry. In 1970 election it was expected TC to support UNP. But Thiyagarajah accepted minister post from Siri Mao. You are talking both ways. You say you quit FP in 1964 for accepting minister post. But adoring Thiyagarajah as rock in policy for change the party and accepting minister in the next government. Thiyagar never had a policy and his voters were fooled like Sothern voters, unless you want to explain me why you quit FP when Thiruchelvam accepted ministry FP changing policy but you adore Thiyagar for quitting party and accepting ministry, unless you are trying to talk both ways.

  • 5
    9

    Ah yes, what better apologist does Sumanthiran need than Suren Surendiran, long time head of the “British Tamil Forum” who spent years fruitlessly lobbying Westminster on “tamil genocide”, whitewashing the LTTE, and promoting Velupillai Prabha as a true god on earth. Now he is crawling out of the woodwork to prop up the TNA and that wolf in sheep’s clothing Sumanthiran – the TNA wishes progress of the tamil people in the N/E about as much as the Thondaman stranglehold in the interior – which means, continue to ensure they cannot function independent of these parties and thus keep themselves in power forever.

    Those who would like a better understanding about how Tamil politics is all about caste and communal division would do no better than to read Jane Russel’s “Communal Politics under the Donoughmore Commission” that traces well the roots of this madness.

    What a farce. Awaiting Kumar David and Sinhala Man to come rushing to Surendiran’s side singing hosannas of agreement.

  • 20
    6

    Rare indeed… And we are the luckier for it.
    /
    Hope he won’t venture in to constitutional law.
    That will be a worse disaster.

  • 11
    8

    Who would have thought the Jaffna man, the most calculating and down to earth and practical and rational of all beings, would turn so drastically romantic? His nationalism was – and mostly still is – romantic and so was his fascination with violence and militarism. So the whole thing was destined to be self-destructive. Now that a heavy price has been paid, I think most people in the north have returned to their senses and are looking for a real and pragmatic solution to their problems. Something doable. It may be anticlimactic and boring, but unfortunately that’s how the ball bounces. And I think that’s what Mr. Sumanthiran represents.

  • 5
    7

    This essay is not archiving anything better than the interview Sumanthiran gave to Sinhala Mass on a bigotry Sinhala Buddhist Channel. Suren Surendren, GTF is blindly attempting to resurrect Sumanthiran by flatly denying what the diaspora believes about Sumanthiran. This is a common negative leadership trait in Lankawe by which leaders joins & covers each other’s crimes and frauds, but doesn’t clean prepare each other for an endurable, successful journey. Sumanthiran is repeatedly failing to stay in path or purpose. We understand and value the multiple opinions & do welcome. But there is place and time to debate them, discus them, conclude on them and present the final form to the audience, including to the Tamil community. Tamils cause is not over. Armed struggle is not decided by an, or by few insurgency groups. Some of the early 1970’s Bangladesh example was drawn into Tamils freedom fight. There was no noticeable civil disobedience after the use of Army by Sirimavo in 1961. Everybody’s attention started to focus on a different way rather than on passive disobedience. As part of the team of the leadership of TNA, Sumanthiran should limit exploding with his private opinion to public & should understand he is a representative of the people and the peoples’ option is first for his party. He spends time to listen, accept and when in need, educate them in mature way.

  • 5
    4

    Suren Surendren explains us that the interview’s cunning object was to divide Tamils & Sinhalese, mainly, & then with in Tamils too. Sad is now he is explaining this bliss to us, but appears failed to do that in one of his earlier meeting with Sumanthiran. Or is Suren didn’t do that because he thought a TNA spoke person might have known a fact when the opposition partiers were calling for an interview it would for destruction to the base of the Sumanthiran’s supporters? Why could not Sumanthiran skip the controversial questions? In any case, Let’s explain one thing to Suren that Sumanthiran went to the interview hoping to keep the head above the water, while he negotiate his adamant Secret Solution with the Sinhala mass, over their TV. But the interview successfully proved to Sinhalese that Sumanthiran is a calculated liar, not reliable by Sinhalese. There is amount of Tamils seems to be thinking TNA is double tonged, says one in North and another in South. I don’t see anything wrong in politics presenting one for opposition channel’s interview and the candidate explaining his side of the story. But sad part is Sumanthiran attempted to sell pork Secret Solution and Ekka Rajya, in Muslims’ lane. A politician, a party leader should have judgement what can be achieved and what to expect from bigotry TV. You can sell Secret Solution in Tamils land for your life time. But now Sumanthiran has found out he cannot do it in a Sinhala Buddhist TV channel for an hour. Instead of covering up with lies and blames on Tamils, Sumanthiran should share his experience with his constituents, the Tamils.

  • 6
    3

    We agree Sumanthiran is very intelligent lawyer, but politically portray undemocratic and intolerant, to create, establish & expel dissidents from his own team. Suren need not accept, but the fact is Sumanthiran caused policy line splits in TNA, which at this time, may need more support to present Tamils cause as only single Tamil’s request. Sumanthiran refused to agree that there can be other opinions in TNA other than his impossible “Secret Solution”. Sumanthiran has no brotherly mentality to tolerate a fellow member in his team. He has many times indicated that there can be no way any shared leadership in TNA. When TULF was chaired by SJV, GG & Thonda and on another round by Amir and Siva, its recognition with in Tamils was excellent. TULF was wiped out when it went to one person, especially to Sangari. TNA will face a serious blow in many more palces, like the smart, learned, lawyer Sumanthiran faced on the hostile interview controlled by Sinhala Buddhist racists, if Sumanthiran fails to understand this.

  • 3
    3

    I know there is a drawback recently within few Tamil Diaspora corners, they are quick to stretch out the hand fist, as their tongue is seems to be stuck by pudding they swallowed. I myself have explained that this paramilitary format is a serious damage for the current Tamils’ format of freedom fight, the diplomatic agitation. The problems are the membership deprived leaders are not ready to guide the members against their will and risk of losing them. Because of these few members’ behaviors, many old members are leaving the organizations. Leaders are failing to recognize that not disciplining members only delaying the progress. Sadly, in few past visits of Sumanthiran to Western countries, these organization and members failed to show disciplined behaviors in the way that interview took place.

    ( “The fact that the armed struggle, started as a local insurgency eventually evolved into a fully-fledged civil war “ I do not want to debate a lot on this a lot. There is mountain and valley difference in the birth of Tamil freedom movements and JVP’s birth. What they both did in their course of their life time indicates their difference in birth. )

    • 11
      1

      Malli Uran,
      /
      Judging by the time you seem to be spending writing your varied ‘comments’ on CT, you seem to have lots of …hm ..hm. ‘free time’ in your hands.
      /
      Though sponging on ill-gotten gains of micro financing by someone who is near and dear may be alright, global experience suggests that human dignity at a personal level requires gainful employment. In short, find a frucking job.
      /
      Start sending some job applications to media organisations (to what is functional), failing which a noose in the backyard woul not be too bad an option.

      • 1
        0

        Heli Thanks for your consultancy & advice.

        I don’t want to apply the noose, if that too fails, real shame. So that is not even in my last option.

  • 4
    7

    All guys who are attacking SUMANTHIRAN from former MPS to village council members are doing this to GAIN their own political benefit and publicity.there is a saying in tamil that dog is looking at the moon and barking thinking that the moon will run away.this is what these half baked guys are doing against SUMANTHIRAN.HOPE JAFFNA VOTERS WILL ACT WISELY AND ELECT SUMANTHIRAN IN THE FUTURE ELECTION.

    • 2
      2

      Paragon this is exactly what Sumanthiran was doing. To gain political benefit, he was running down Wigneswaran because he thought CVW will be a threat for him to get the leadership of Tamils in case Sampanthan dies. He joined Ranil Wickremasinghe in giving trouble to CVW. To gain publicity he was appearing in TV discussions and running down the sacrifices made by Tamil youths and to sabotage Tamil struggle for justice. He pretended to take the issue of Tamils in Geneva but did nothing and instead stealthily sent his catchers to paint a picture that everything is rosy for Tamils. This is what that half baked guy Sumanthiran had been doing against Tamils. Hope Jaffna voters will act wisely and reject Sumanthiran at the future election.

  • 8
    4

    Suren Surendiran,
    You have not earned the right to tell Tamils how they ought to react to the position of Sumanthiran. Sumanthiran is a representative of Tamils, you are not. It is for them to accept or reject how Sumanthiran handled his interview.
    ____________________
    Tamil community suffered immensely from the time of independence and the heroic struggle waged by the Tamil militants was a response to repression by a majority that manipulated history.
    ____________________
    To say that the armed struggle is an insurgency displays a shallow understanding of the Tamil struggle. As such, it is not surprising that you ask if that necessitates an unqualified and uncritical acceptance and support of the armed struggle.
    ____________________
    You may qualify your opposition to the manner in which the struggle was launched, you may criticize the manner in which the struggle was conducted, but that doe not in anyway deny that there was a genuine reason behind the struggle.
    ___________________
    The struggle was not a political project; start on the right premises.

    • 3
      4

      N
      Can you kindly name the licensing authority that allows “the right to tell Tamils how they ought to react to (anything)”?

      • 3
        0

        SJ, Don’t try to play smart all the time. The answer you are looking for is in my comment itself!

        • 1
          1

          N
          Frankly, I cannot identify the licensing authority that allows/disallows the right of one to address a people.
          The attitude should be “Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend.”
          One earns the right to represent. The right to comment and appeal is always there in a democracy.
          Any objections?

  • 5
    6

    Thanks Suren,

    LTTE had a clear vision – establishment of a separate state for Tamils in Sri Lanka through armed struggle. During the last struggle 2006-2009,

    LTTE declared that this is their final battle and mobilized all resources and fought with utmost dedication but was finally conclusively defeated at Mullivaikkal in May 2009.

    Thereafter all Tamil nationalist political parties renounced violence and wanted a federal solution within a United Sri Lanka.

    All present Tamil political parties and alliances without any exception subscribed to this viewpoint. The only difference among them is the degree of involvement of international community in the settlement..
    The experience with India, Norway and the Co-Chairs clearly demonstrated the futility of having total faith in the goodwill of these countries at the expense of our own dear brothers and sisters..

    However it will be a prudent act to have good relations with these countries as well but at the same time build up trust and confidence with the Majority Sinhala Community and with Muslim Community because the final solution is within the country.

    The best leader for this historic task in none other than MA Sumanthiran.

    We should not make a ball-by-ball commentary and expect him to send every ball to the boundary, but to build up his innings slowly and steadily.

    Slow and steady wins the race.

    • 2
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      What Sinhalese are prepared to concede is powerless provincial councils under unitary state. They may concede traffic police power to say that they are prepared to go further, but no more. They are not going to grant any land power. They need both land and police power to change demographic pattern. As for Muslims they may agree for more powers but they have tasted rule in eastern province and will not let go even if Tamils get more seats. This is why Sumanthiran is unable to score a single run. Only branch that Tamils have to cling on without being drowned is 13th amendment. Sinhalese want to get rid of it, but cannot do because of India. Last government cunningly wanted to have a new constitution simply to get rid of 13th amendment. Despite this Sumanthiran was giving support for it painting rosy picture to Tamils. Fortunately it did not materialize. Sumanthiran also helped past government not holding provincial council elections by agreeing for delimitation of electorates. Tamils must forget about new constitution and insist on implementing 13th amendment fully with police and land powers. With new world order in place after the pandemic, Tamils must make use of it wisely. It is better for Sumanthiran to get out hit wicket without scratching around, for others to score the runs.

      • 2
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        Dr Gnana,

        We need not be always pessimistic.

        If you go through the Indian Constitution, powers given to States in India is word to word almost the same as in the 13A.

        Provincial Council No 42 of 1987 is another matter. It that must be completely thrown out to the dust bin.

        Police Powers, I believe we can come to some arrangement-traffic offences, minor crimes and legislative matters in respect to 13A to Provincial police.

        In any negotiation, we must be ready to compromise if absolutely necessary.

        If you negotiate hard, you will have a win-win situation.

        Regarding land powers of course, south will not compromise, we have to wait for another day.

        Be positive

        • 1
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          Srikrish, do not be naive. Powers given to states in India may be the same as in 13A, but there is an important difference. In India devolution was implemented voluntarily, while in Sri Lanka devolution was forced by India. JR wisely accepted it to sabotage it later, while Prabaharan foolishly rejected it without building on it later. Are you aware that 13 the amendment has been tampered with, despite according to international law, Sri Lanka cannot do that. Administration in the province came under the council, but Premadasa without tampering with district government agents, created assistant government agent divisions and brought them under home ministry. Local councils in the province came under the council, but Premadasa created pradesiya sabhas and brought them under ministry of local government. Since the north-east merged council was dissolved in 1990, there was no election held to form the council and in 2005, it was de-merged by supreme court which has no jurisdiction to pass judgment on a matter legislated under international agreement between India and Sri Lanka. (CONTD)

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            Police and land powers are devolved subjects, which all successive governments have refused to give it to provincial councils. Giving traffic and minor crime subjects to provincial council is not a great compromise. With remaining police powers government will interfere with even Traffic offences and minor crimes. If Sinhala persons commit them on Tamils, and if government wants them to be let off, will Tamil police be able to say no. With all these truncated powers, 13th amendment has fallen short of devolution powers enjoyed Indian states. Indian states can solicit direct foreign investments and carry out mega development in their states without waiting for permission from Center. Education and Health are fully devolved in 13th amendment, but government is bringing some of them under their control by designating them teaching hospitals and national schools. When I told Sinhala friends, let Tamils devolop their area as they wish with mega projects and allow Tamils to prosper, one said we do not want white elephants and another said we do not want another Hongkong there. This reflects the mentality of Sinhalese, and you need foreign intervention to get justice.

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              Dr Gnana

              “Indian states can solicit direct foreign investments and carry out mega development in their states without waiting for permission from Center. “

              This again is incorrect.

              On the contrary, Indian states enter tripartite agreements. all three parties, the state government, the central government and the center signs the agreement and the charge is on the consolidated funds of the center as w ell as the state.

              If your Sinhala friends are racist and ignorant why not educate them. For instance white elephant is entirely wrong!

              • 1
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                Srikrish you are wrong. Tripartite agreements are made only when loans from foreign agencies or countries are involved, firstly as center controls monetary policy and secondly guarantee for foreign loan has to be given by government. States can woo foreign investments and sign memorandum of understanding with investors without central government approval. Type Tamil Nadu foreign investment in google search for details. To woo firms wanting to relocate to India after pandemic, they have formed a team of their officials, and experts from Singapore, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and USA, and on 27th May Tamil Nadu government has signed memorandum of understanding with 17 foreign investors, without involvement of center. White elephant remark came when I said about constructing an international air port for north similar to Colombo, and not just a slipshod upgrade of Palaly. But Sinhalese will not hesitate to put up white elephants for personal or political motive. I will take a safe bet that if Sajith Premadasa comes to power, he will construct an international airport in Hingurakgoda, which was pet project of his father, which was not fulfilled due to his untimely death, though it would be another white elephant.

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            Dear Dr Gnana,

            I disagree almost totally with your comments, I am sorry.
            ,
            In India it was not devolution, but power sharing, whereas devolution accepts higher and lower hierarchical governance structures, Power sharing lay down equality.There is no higher or lower hierarchy..In India Center and the states are equal entities.as far as the constitution is concerned.

            International Law cannot interfere about a local law-13A, It was formulated by the Sri Lankan Parliament in terms of Sri Lankan constitution. International Law has no jurisdiction, Whereas Indo-Sri Lanka agreement entered by India with Sri Lanka may have international dimensions.

            Dr Gnana further says that “Administration in the province come under the council” How? and Why? 13A is silent.
            However Premadasq almost cunningly brought in , “Transfer of Powers(Divisional Secretaries) Act No 58 of 1992” whereby Assistant Government’s Divisions were replaced by Divisional Secretary’s Divisions with enhanced powers transferred from District Secretaries(Government Agents) to Divisional Secretaries.

            Pradeshiya Sabhas Act No 15 of 1987 was brought in April 1987 even before 13A was enacted in November 1987.
            It prescribed enhanced powers to this local government and it is almost fully devolved to the Provincial Council -Vide Provincial List in the 13A.

            Why you say The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in respect of demerger?
            it has nothing to do with international jurisdiction.

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              Srikrish, You have every right to disagree, but your reasons for doing so displays your ignorance. India is a quasi-federal state and therefore what has happened in devolution under unitary state. In India center is always superior and can dismiss any state government. Fortunately in recent times it has not been resorted to. To be equal, state government should be able to dismiss center. Secondly Indo-Lanka accord specifically states about establishing provincial councils as a solution for Tamil demand for autonomy. Amendment was passed in parliament to give effect to this agreement. Therefore 13th amendment is bound by this agreement, which SL government has to uphold. In the case of demerger granted by SL courts, India turned a blind eye for its selfish reason of not antagonizing Sri Lanka. In the case of leasing Hambantotoa harbour to Chinese, India brought up the clause in Indo-Lanka accord which states that Sri Lanka will not be used for purposes inimical to Indian security interest and SL government had assured India that it will not be used only for trade. (CONTD)

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                (CONTD) Regarding administrative powers, the first secretary to the merged north east provincial council Late Sivarajah was my second cousin who was tenant in my house in Colombo from 1972 to 1978, and used to discuss what happened during his provincial council days. He was appointed to the post by government but once in his post he worked under chief minister and not the government. He had control over all GAs and AGAs. After provincial council was dissolved following exit of IPKF, he sent his retirement papers on the grounds of loss of post which was accepted. Pradeshiya Sabhas established before accord, was under provincial council, which Premadasa brought under center later. Sinhalese are not against decentralization of administrative powers to provinces. Premadasa a virulent opponent of devolution feared to do anything while IPKF was present and did all dirty work only after they left. Merger is mentioned in section 2.3 of the accord and spells out how it could be de-merged. Because of this, merger issue is part of an international agreement, and SL courts cannot deliver judgement on it unilaterally. TNA wanted to make representations against the case brought by JVP to de-merge, but were not allowed by Chief Justice Sarath Silva.

    • 1
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      Srikrish, in cricketing jargon, Sumanthiran is at the crease for long and has not scored a single run. He is ducking bouncers without hooking then for six. He is beaten all ends up by fast pace and swing. He is just dangling his bat around for slow balls without making any contact. Is this the way to build up his innings slowly and steadily scratching around zero. In this process, he has deliberately run top batsman out, hoping that he can dominate tail enders. Unfortunately he has hit his wicket, but is refusing to leave the pitch like a gentleman. His sycophantic gang want him to remain there and continue his innings. Spectators however want him out, to give clever and committed batsmen to take over and score the runs. Umpires are deliberating with TV replays, and will give their decision soon to send him home.

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        Dr Gnana,

        Just look at this fomula -food for thought!

        TNA- Sumanthiran-Zero.

        Why not have international umpires?.

        • 2
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          Sorry for the Typo error

          It should be TNA-Sumanthiran= Zero
          TNA minus Sumanthiran equal to Zero

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            No one is indispensable in the world. Was FP zero without Chelvanayakam or TULF zero without Amirthalingam. The same applies to TNA. TNA solicited votes from Tamils on certain policies. If Sumanthiran is not in agreement with them, he should honourably leave and seek a mandate from people for his policies.

            • 1
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              Dr G nana,

              It was my sarcastic comment about the present status of TNA, A set of vision less,rudderless, back boneless individuals,

              They have no idea of What next?

              They are happy to merely remain as members of Parliament.

              Do they have any plan, strategy or tactics.?

              What is the mandate they seek from the people?

              Is it achievable in 5 years.10 years or ever?

              • 0
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                Srikrish, TNA MPs say that Sambanthan, Senathirajah and Sumanthiran trio had told them when UNP government came to power, not to agitate because in two years a new constitution will be in place which will fulfill aspirations of Tamils, all lands occupied by army will be handed back, all displaced Tamils will be resettled in their original places and Tamil political prisoners will be released. Despite the cooperation extended to government no tangible outcome was seen in any of them. It took three years to set up the office of missing persons, but since then hardly any progress has bee made. With this poor track record Sumanthiran was jumping in front to save the government. So is it not unfair for other TNA MPs to be angry about conduct of Sumanthiran. Few days ago constituent parties met and resolved to continue their struggle for the rights of Tamils. Is this to get votes and to be forgotten once elected.

        • 1
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          What can international umpires do if a batsman is unable to make contact with the ball. Can they tell the bowlers, please put full tosses to him, for him to score. Person like Sumanthiran cannot survive in a hostile environment and wants an easy way out to retain his place. For that he is manipulating saying that we must change our approach. For the past five years he hoodwinked Tamils and now he wants to take them for a ride further. His appeasement to Sinhalese and Muslims have brought more harm than good to Tamils. He sabotaged the successful struggle of Kalmunai Buddhist priest on behalf of Tamils. When he could not get Kalmunai north pradeshiya sabha upgraded, Muslims were able to get Saintamaruthu pradeshiya sabha created, and it was Karuna who stopped that. Despite his accommodation of Muslims, Hakeem gave funds to Muslim dominated Kalmunai MC, the aim of which was to take over properties belonging to Tamils under guise of development and it was again Karuna who stopped it. We need brave and honest persons to take up the struggle especially when a new world order is to emerge after pandemic.

          • 1
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            It is the usual blame game.

            Blame everyone other than ourselves.for all misfortunes

            They have done it so far, doing it now, will do it in the future as well

            Grow up! We are not doers,

            A pathetic situation. How long?

            • 1
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              Dr Gnana.
              You blame for everything not done solely on Sumanthiran not on any other TNA member.
              Your argument itself confirm my declaration that TNA and Sumanthiran are one and the same.
              Others are all fellow travelers-imbecile and impotent. The inference is that if you are a TNA supporter you have no choice but to support TNA with Sumanthiran playing a leading role

          • 2
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            “…Hakeem gave funds to Muslim dominated Kalmunai MC, the aim of which was to take over properties belonging to Tamils…and it was again Karuna who stopped it. We need brave and honest persons to take up the struggle especially when a new world order is to emerge after pandemic.”
            See what kind of a leader is prescribed for the Tamil race:
            Our own Karuna Moorthi Gandhi Mahatma!

          • 2
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            It is best to bat from the pavilion I would say.
            You will never be bowled out.
            But there is the risk that a stray ball may strike you or a bird may **** on you.

  • 4
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    Sumanthiran is rare breed. Arrogant shit not for to be politics.
    As Sinhalese,.I think giving unconditional support to roquefort opticians like Ranil,.Sajith,Gota,Mahinda will not solve the problems Tamil community faces. They will have to use the racist card to hide their inefficiency, corruption, nepotism and win votes.
    Tamils will have to.build relationship with a third front – not JVP which is also an racist ineffective party – in the south who understands how these politicians have ruined the country.
    It may be another 30 year struggle. It will be less harder than Pirapaharan’s struggle. He had everything except international political expediency that cost Tamil people their freedom. Is there such a resilient, committed farsighted Tamil politician who can identify genuine and robust third group in the south and start the long journey.
    Neither Sumanthirans nor Wigneswarans can help Tamil community

  • 5
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    Sadly we are not going to solve the Tamil problem without Indias help. 13th Amendment is the key. Now that India has completed the stranglehold and Gotha has succmbed it is time for India to implement it.

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      Take it to your dicky heart that the 13th amendment has about three months to go.
      /
      It will be out of our law books after whenever the elections are held.
      /
      Thats why cheats like you don’t want an election. We know.

    • 1
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      Kali, I have been saying in these columns for the past several years that Tamils should forget about a new constitution and agitate for implementation of 13th amendment in full, and despite this you say that I have no clue about politics. Sinhalese know that they cannot get rid of 13th amendment unless India agrees to it or turns a blind eyes to it. Attempt to make a new constitution by any government is purely to get rid of 13th amendment and nothing else. Sumanthiran without understanding this gave support to last government. Modi has told Rajapakse brothers three times, to implement 13th amendment to address the demands of Tamils. If Rajapakses refuse and Modi does not take action, then reputation of Modi as no nonsense man is at stake.

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    GTF,
    How big are you? except for the word global. What have you done over the last few years?

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      GTF was finished when Father Emanuel somersaulted and surrendered to the government. BTF is financially and politically bankrupt. When BTF was formed several years ago several Tamils contributed to it, but now they have stopped it. Surendiran is a lackey of Sumanthiran since 2015, and is no surprise that he has jumped for the defence. In 2015 after UNP government came to power, Sumanthiran accompanied Samaraweera to UK and met Surendiran. There Sumanthiran asked Surendiran not to apply pressure on war crimes and missing persons, in exchange for a new constitution which will give the rights of Tamils. After the meeting Surendiran hosted Samaraweera, Sumanthiran and few others for dinner on 4th October at his house in London. There is allegations against BTF of financial irregularities and promotion of his yes men. A few years ago BTF was found fault by UK courts in a case filled by a lady member alleging discrimination, and had to pay compensation to her. Now abandoned by Tamils in UK, Surendiran who wishes to be in the limelight has joined as a fellow traveler to Sumanthiran in misleading Tamils. What the duo are doing is for their personal benefit and not in the interest of suffering Tamils.

      • 1
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        Thank you Dr GS. These Suren kind of people – who elects them?

        According to http://www.globaltamilforum.org/about-us.aspx
        “It is the largest Tamil diaspora organisation with members drawn from across five continents. “

        Can Suren provide any evidence for this claim?

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          No body elected them. One person for his personal glory starts an organisation, like GTF by Fr. Emanuel and BTF by Surendran and they self appoint themselves as leader and spokesperson. Then they canvass among people who want to jump into the bandwagon to join, and those people rope in their friends and relatives. At the beginning people believe them and contribute money, but later realize the folly and back out. Now GTF is dead and BTF is dying as no one cares for them. There are several other Tamil mushroom organisations in the world. Problem is those who come to the forefront to take up the cause of Tamils have baggage to carry. Have you heard of any decent Tamil in any of these. They are involved in organisations doing charity and keep away from political ones.

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    Mr. Suren & Mr. Sumanthiran have traded the rights of the Tamil people for their own personal gain. Mr. Sumanthiran is fully integrated with the Colombo Mafia.

  • 2
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    “has articulated his clear understanding on the rationale behind the origin of the armed struggle, his respect for the immense sacrifices made by the militants”

    *****How did he show his respect?******
    I am not a supporter of violence and I am not asking Mr Sumanthiran to support violence.

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      After the elimination of LTTE and the intransigence of Sinhalese to move forward to grant justice, Tamils are on a moral high ground. They only have to struggle using peaceful methods, like how the people are doing regarding returning of their lands and information about disappeared. Tamil political leaders have to do the same, but they are at a risk of arrest, assault and imprisonment without trial. Problem is big talkers like Gajendrakumar or Sumanthiran are not prepared for it, but instead of quitting politics like gentlemen, they want to remain to have glory and hoodwink Tamils. I feel that what happened to Amirthalingam has happened to Sumanthiran. When JR threatened Amirthalingam of imprisonment, he started to mislead Tamils. Similarly Sumanthiran knows that he cannot confront Gota and is misleading Tamils. Kumar Ponnambalam was promoted by JR against TULF and was tolerated, but when Premadasa came to power and Kumar tried his tricks, Premadasa blocked water supply to his house, and down came Kumar who begged it to be restored and went into silence after that. It is only after Premadasa’s death he came out.

  • 2
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    It is often said TNA is following Gandian way. What did Gandhi do? What TNA has done?

    • 0
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      Good suggestion.
      It will be good to start with the FP declaring for itself the Gandhian way?

  • 2
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    Mr Sumanthiran says that he is the first one to speek about Tamil Genocide in the parliament. After that speech he said that they are collecting evidence. Could you please publish those evidence?

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      Anpu

      “Mr Sumanthiran says that he is the first one to speek about Tamil Genocide in the parliament. “

      True.
      However did Sitha (PLOTE), Adaikkalam (TELO), Mavai (FP), CV Wicky (?), Prema (EPRLF – Dayan’s favourite terror separatists), G G Ponna’s grandson(ACTC) ever have the b***s to accuse the state and its armed forces of committing genocide?

      • 0
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        Thanks Native. As far as I know CV passed a resolution on Tamil Genocide when he was CM. Not sure about the others. I think some of them did.

  • 3
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    Part1
    Tamil political community appears to be turning against Sumanthiran; even the TNA politicians. Vocal overseas tamil groups never accepted him as a Tamil leader. Their reasons were not clearly outlined in any communique. Sumanthiran also had not issued any clear policy statements stating how he will provide leadership to the people. Though he is a clever smart person with the ability to get things done, he has not exhibited the ability to articulate his thinking and win over the people. Earlier on he made many statements he shouldn’t have made if he had aspired to be the Tamil leader. Sambanthar and him turning against Vigneshwaran has also worked against both of them. Many people believed that instead of flexing his power muscle Sambanthar should have called for a closed door meeting with Vigneshwaran, Sumanthiran and others and decided on a common platform. Sambanthar lost the goodwill of people by his high handed approach. Sambanthar further lost the goodwill of people when he arm twisted the 16 MPs to actively participate in the main stream politics ignoring the Tamil issues.
    Except for the articles that appeared in CT, no one has ever specified why he is not acceptable as leader. According to these articles the main reason is that he criticised the LTTE. This may be an issue. Sri Lankan Tamils must eschew violence for ever.
    People are not happy with Sambanthar and Sumanthiran mainly because they have not empathised with people’s suffering. This applies to many Tamil MPs. If there is a viable alternative to TNA, it will not win many seats in the coming election

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      I have clearly stated that he has no leadership qualities and is playing double game like Ranil Wickremasinghe. Just like RW is destroying UNP, Sumanthiran will destroy TNA or FP. Leader has to lead from the front and not to push others to do the work undergoing suffering, for him to reap the benefit. Have you ever seen Sumanthiran in the past ten years taking part in agitations, marches or sit down protests. He will watch the situation about its progress and if it is good will enter it to take credit and if the going is bad he will never sight the place. People are angry because what he did for the last five years is only to prop up UNP government and did nothing about suffering of Tamils. Because he is afraid of President, he is singing a different song.

  • 2
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    Part 2
    TNA politicians are now worried that they may lose the election if Sumanthiran is in the leadership position of TNA. What they don’t realise is that Tamil people also don’t have a good opinion of Sambanthar and most of the TNA MPs for not showing concern about their problems. Sambanthar and many other Tamil MPs also have shown a lack of ability to articulate their policies.
    We hope our politicians will sit down and look at all the problems tamil people have how it can be handled.
    LTTE as Tamil representatives annihilated by the government forces who were helped by 30 other countries. Therefore we have no say how the country is run. From this we can also infer that other countries won’t come to our aid in any situation. Northeast Tamils only have 12% of the votes. As they are concentrated in the Northeast. Therefore as a decider of the outcome of parliamentary election, other two minority ethnic groups have a greater say in the outcome of the election. But the large numerical superiority of the majority community(MC)will ensure that majority ethnic community will only run the country. Sri Lanka is middle income country with high literacy level and high human development index. This should lead to improvement in Sri Lanka’s treatment of minority ethnic groups as you find in western democracies.
    Northeast Tamils are shackled with another difficult issue. They have a long history in Sri Lanka. They don’t have a history associated with any other county even though we have a common language with Tamil Nadu. It’s like the difference between Switzerland Germans and German Germans.

  • 2
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    Part 3
    India fully understands this. India has many laws to protect overseas and non- resident Indians. Northeast Tamils are not included in that. Imagine what will happen if India or any other country open their doors to Sri Lankans.
    Northeast Tamils can’t undo their history because of overseas Tamils. Their dependents are already searching for their roots. It won’t go away. It is a big irritant for the Sinhalese. Northeast Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka can come to an agreement with Sri Lankan government to downplay their history. I hope some Tamil leaders can handle this matter better to improve relationship with Sinhalese.
    Reinhold Niebuhr’s wisdom of “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” is more appropriate to us now.
    There is a Tamil saying to the effect that a shrub will withstand a storm better than a big tree. Tamil leaders must learn to be like the shrubs if they want to serve them during this difficult period.

    • 3
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      SR
      Tamil leaders must learn to be like the shrubs if they want to serve them during this difficult period.
      Shrubs like Douglas, KP and Karuna, I wonder?

      • 0
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        SJ
        Tamils are in a very difficult situation. There is a probability that Tamil people may be wiped out from Sri Lanka in the not too distant future. This Tamil proverb says that a weak and bending shrub will survive a strong wind like a cyclone better than a tree. I was not recommending this proverb to renegades and traitors. It is meant for genuine Tamil leaders. Genuine Tamil leaders would have already come across this proverb because they know Tamil. They will understand the gist of this proverb. In the aftermath of the defeat of Tigers, though more than 10 years have passed the meaning of the proverb is relevant. Tamils had brave fighters and one of the most capable leaders world had produced and they still lost at a very large cost to the Tamils. A tree in this proverb is analogous to Tigers and similar strong minded Tamil leaders. A very good example of following the example of the shrub are the upcountry Tamil leaders and how they are relating to the rulers. I believe that Northeast Tamils must learn a thing or two from them.

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