21 September, 2020

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Long War, Long Book

By Padraig Colman

Padraig Colman

Reflections on Long War, Cold Peace by Dayan Jayatilleka.

Varied Career

As well as being a diplomat, Dr Jayatilleka has been an urban guerrilla, political activist, active politician and academic political scientist. His book on the political thought of Fidel Castro was published by Pluto Press in London. His latest book  brings much inside knowledge to  a detailed narrative of Sri Lanka’s war and links it to issues of global significance.

Realism – Justification of War

Other reviewers  have drawn out a particular emphasis on the ethics of violence and the concept of a just war. Jayatilleka  argues that violence is common in the real world and it is  often necessary for the state to sanction  violence to protect itself and its people. This does not justify ‘‘terrorism targeting unarmed, non-combatant civilians; torture and arbitrary execution of prisoners; executions within the organization; and lethal violence against political prisoners’’.

When he was Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva he was able to fend off international criticism of the way Sri Lanka had won its war. In the book he rehearses the argument he made in Geneva.

“Sri Lanka was fighting a war within its internationally recognised and uncontested borders. Sri Lanka was not founded on occupation, dispossession and disenfranchisement of the indigenous. Both major Sri Lankan communities had been present on the soil for millennia. Sri Lanka had not economically embargoed the Tamil people and had not merely sent food but run schools, hospitals and paid the salaries of public servants in separatist terrorist occupied areas.”

Hearts and Minds- Myths about Insurgency.

Many repeated the old mantra that a guerrilla insurgency arising out of genuine grievances and nationalist aspirations could not be defeated by military action. This view was reinforced by vague memories of Michael Collins in Ireland and Collins’s ‘pupil’ General Giap in Vietnam.

General Westmoreland did not share this view – “Grab ‘em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow”. His notable lack of success has somewhat discredited the military option.  The Vietnam War was not ended by negotiation. It was ended by the USA being defeated militarily by the Viet Cong. The LTTE had gone beyond guerrilla warfare and possessed an effective navy and a rudimentary air force. It was no longer relying on small-scale attacks and suicide bombers but (and this is one of the factors contributing to its defeat) was fighting large-scale conventional battles.

Why Not Negotiate a Peaceful Settlement?

Jayatilleka supports my own Irishman’s view that, despite well-intentioned visits to Sri Lanka by John Hume and Martin McGuinness, there was no useful parallel to be drawn between Northern Ireland and the fight for Tamil Eelam.  The Provisional IRA had Sinn Fein as a parliamentary proxy but successful candidates did not take up their seats at Westminster.  TNA MPs did take their seats and served as a parliamentary proxy for the LTTE. They  did not  emulate Sinn Fein and negotiate with the Sri Lankan government. Dr Jayatilleka notes that in the 2004 election, EU observers were highly critical that  TNA members had  the protection of the LTTE under the slogan that the LTTE was the sole representative of the Tamil people

The LTTE left no room for negotiation. “Tamil Eelam was an axiom, thus non-negotiable. His [Prabhakaran’s] commitment was absolute, fundamental. No alternatives were admitted as possibilities. Philosophical and psychological closure had been effected from the outset. The mindset was hermetically sealed…Only the modalities of secession were up for genuine discussion. The talks , the negotiations, the third party mediation, the path of peace that Prabhakaran mentioned … was just the small change- to buy time, to neutralise opinion, to divide and deceive the enemy, to secure the withdrawal of troops…”

Consequences of concessions

When the CFA was signed on February 22 2002, there were no pictures of a shared signing ceremony. “Mr Prabhakaran treated himself to a separate table, a separate office, a separate signing ceremony, and as conspicuous wall decor, a separate map showing his projected separate state on it in a shade of colour separate from that of the shrunken Sri Lanka depicted there…”

The CFA was lopsided because it disarmed those Tamil groups that accepted the unitary state but did not even entertain the issue of phased, internationally supervised demilitarisation of the Tigers. Unlike Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka was not to have its General de Chastelaine.

Under the CFA, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe conferred legitimacy on the LTTE, as did President Kumaratunga, and allowed them to operate a de facto state in the aftermath of the tsunami. The Tigers continued to kill SLA soldiers after an accord was signed but were allowed a preponderance in the regional committee set up to deal with the tsunami. “No state could afford not to monopolise the means of significant armed violence, and therefore the Tigers had to be disarmed as well as rendered bereft of the capacity to re-arm.”

Why Not Allow Secession?

Jayatilleka argues that allowing the LTTE a separate state was never an option. “Colombo could not trade Tamil Eelam, i.e. the North and East, for peace, because, even if such a Faustian bargain were struck, peace would not be the result. The Sri Lankan state would not have been able to withdraw into its southern cocoon and lived in tranquil prosperity.”

He continues: “An independent state of Tamil Eelam could legitimately secure any kind of weaponry it wished to and build up one of the strongest fighting forces in the region, thus upsetting the entire power balance and strategic environment. The geo-strategic salience of Trincomalee, which would have fallen within Eelam, would have endowed a Tamil Sparta with a military and economic value of extra-regional significance, again a seriously destabilising prospect”.

Sri Lanka’s Strengths

Dr Jayatilleka writes that Sri Lanka was not powerful or influential, but it had strengths: “One of these was the resiliency of its multiparty democracy under conditions of extreme duress, its eschewal of military rule and totalitarianism of the Right or Left. Another was the maintenance of comparatively decent labour standards and social indicators. Yet another was the synergy of civil society and state that made its recovery from the tsunami more impressive than those in Indonesia (Aceh) or post-Katrina Louisiana (according to Joel Schumacher of Refugee International).”

Devolution

The story goes that, although Jayatilleka was a success in Geneva, he was rewarded with removal because he was too vocal in his support for the 13th amendment and devolution. He still maintains that it is necessary to have a Sri Lanka “which remains unitary but contains an irreducible autonomous political space for the Tamil people of the North and East”.  This continues to draw fire from some critics who choose to regard him as a puppet of India. In this book, he does not hide India’s complicity in the growth of the LTTE but recognises India’s difficulty in coping with Tamil Nadu.

Human Rights

Jayatilleka argues: “Human rights are not a Western invention or booby-trap, to be decried and shunned like the devil. Though there is a constant attempt to use human rights as an instrument to undermine national sovereignty, the answer is not to shun human rights or to pretend that these are intrinsically inscribed in our culture and therefore automatically observed, but to protect them ourselves and to maintain verifiably high standards of human rights observance nationally”.

The Future

Towards the end of the book, Jayatilleka declares that Sri Lanka’s future is “best defended by a Sri Lankan state which represents all its peoples, acts as neutral umpire guaranteeing adequate space for all ethnicities on the island. Sovereignty is secured by a Sri Lankan identity which accommodates all the country’s communities, paving the way for a broadly shared sense of a multiethnic yet single Sri Lankan nationhood.”

Conclusion

Other reviewers have taken issue with the author’s gratuitous tagging on of profundities from Marxist writers. I did not find the Marxism too much of a distraction. Indeed, the author comes across as protean and pragmatic. His brand of realism stresses the world as it is rather than the world as it ought to be.

In this book Jayatilleka claims that his position has been consistent, even though to an outsider it looks as though he has  changed direction a number of times. After being associated with revolutionary politics, the SLMP, the NEPC, the Premadasa government, he served with distinction as ambassador for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is now writing articles critical of aspects of the Rajapaksa government and seeing virtues in Premadasa’s son. It will be interesting to see where the author goes from here. Quo Vadis, Dr Jayatilleka?

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    To Northern Ireland Americans send George Mitchell.

    To Srilanka Americans and other countries send arms to kill innocent Tamils.

    “Both major Sri Lankan communities had been present on the soil for millennia.”

    Then DJ is fast forwarding to 1970s. What happened in between
    – Millenia and 1970s.

    “Sri Lanka had not economically embargoed the Tamil people and had not merely sent food but run schools, hospitals and paid the salaries of public servants in separatist terrorist occupied areas.”

    This is not 100% true.

    This is what happened before 1970

    – depriving a section of Eelam Tamils of their citizenship,
    – declaring the Sinhala flag as the national flag,
    – colonising parts of the Tamil homeland with Sinhala people,
    – imposing Sinhala as the official language,
    – discriminating against Tamils students seeking University admission,
    – depriving Tamil language speakers of employment in the public sector,
    – dishonouring agreements entered into with the Tamil parliamentary political leadership,
    – refusing to recognise constititutional safeguards against discrimination,
    – later removing these constitutional safeguards altogether,
    – giving to themselves an authocthonous Constitution with a foremost place for Buddhism,
    – and changing the name of the island itself to the Sinhala Buddhist name of Sri Lanka – appropriately enough, on the ‘tenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Vesak in the year two thousand five hundred and fifteen of the Buddhist Era’.

    tamil2020.wordpress.com/page-27/

    What is going on in Sri Lanka is Tamil Genocide says Prof Boyle and I agree with him salem-news.com/articles/june252013/lanka-genocide-fb.php

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      “depriving a section of Eelam Tamils of their citizenship”.

      Should you not make it clear that this refers to plantation workers who were not supporters of Eelam?

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        Please visit the link I have given.

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          Shouldn’t you also mention that the Jaffna Tamils were in collusion with the disenfranchisement of the Up Country Tamils?

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        At that time (1948/1950) no one asked for Eelam. These plantaion workers are third/fourth generation. I got my permanent residence in UK after working for four years and my british citizenship after living in UK for ten years. Sareth Fonseka, Rajapkse brothers got USA green card even much quicker I am told.

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          @ Anpu, if you really care for the Tamils in SL, can you explain why the pro-LTTE diaspora has turned its back on released ex-LTTE cadres in SL?

          According to DBS: “An unfolding human tragedy in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is the pathetic plight of former Tigers. Though rehabilitated and released most of these ex-LTTE cadres and leaders find it difficult to reintegrate into society. Economic opportunities are scarce. Families are reluctant to accept them. Dominant sections of the social fabric treat them as outcastes. Tamil politicians and Diaspora activists take no note of them.’ http://tinyurl.com/oqwpfou

          Why are they being treated as “outcasts” by the very people on whose behalf they were risking their lives and limbs?

          Why does the pro-LTTE diaspora, which can organise and fund anti SL cricket team demonstrations at the drop of hat, ignore the plight of these brave cadres?

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            Fear could be one reason, Mango. The released warriors continue to be monitored by the TID to see who their friends are and what they do after release. So people are scared to be seen to associate with them. An outright amnesty similar to the one granted to JVP rebels is the answer. With their leadership wiped out, these guys have no chance of causing any trouble. Indeed many of them were forcibly recruited. But then, unlike the JVP, these guys are Tamil, so our government treats them differently. (That is not to portray the Jaffna middle class and diaspora Tamils in a positive light. Their selfishness knows no bounds.)

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              Mango is asking why the diaspora is abandoning these ex-Tigers, not the NE population. What could the diaspora be afraid of?

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              David Blacker and Mango:

              Diaspora support for the war had four components:
              (a) revenge for being thrown out of SL (1983 in particular, but also a large number who left in early 60’s in the wake of the Sinhala only policy);
              (b) getting a kick out of the excitement of Eelam (with no serious thought going into how viable it was);
              (c) true ideological belief that a separate country was the only way — perfectly justified by the treatment by the post 1948 political process; and
              (d) Prabhakaran and his gangsters knew how to extract money from even those who wanted to keep quiet and get on with their lives.

              These are not in equal proportions. 30-30-10-30 is a good guess.

              None of the above would favor a post-war continuation into supporting ex-LTTE fighters. You must also remember that bulk of the LTTE fighters are likely to be from a social class different to much of the diaspora. So, in the absence of war, there is no motivation to support them.

              In fact this social class separation, between bulk of the foot soldiers and the political class that kept itself excited and entertained by the war, is much the same for the Sinhala side — check out how much support is on offer from Sinhala expatriates towards ex-servicemen. Very little! Yet they have time and energy to wave the lion flag at Oval.

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              Jeevan,
              I have no doubt that there’s still a lot of fear, mistrust and GoSL post-war behaviour doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, right? But my point is why those who left/escaped/ran away to live in safety and comfort in the West do so little for the surviving cadres.

              If they really appreciated the sacrifices these cadres made, they’d be moving heaven and earth to help them. Instead, they spend a lot of the money and energy on the human rights cocktail circuit – and yes, I’m talking about you, Mr Kirubaharan.

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            Mango

            “Why are they being treated as “outcasts” by the very people on whose behalf they were risking their lives and limbs?”

            Most of the surviving Pottu Amman’s boys are now working for Gota, directly answerable to him at his ministry. They snitch on the mighty military in the North East.

            For them the business is as usual only difference is the master.

            So Mango man the ordinary people like to keep themselves away from these old boys of Amman and the former members of LTTE.

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            Thanks Mango indirectly you are saying “(why the pro-LTTE diaspora has turned its back on released ex-LTTE cadres in SL?)” that the govt is not looking after sri lankan citizens. Diaspora is trying our best to help.

            I have not yet visited the link you have given – so I cant comment on what is written on the link.

            We are doing our best to help our people as much as possible. But the govt and its supporters are blocking what we are trying to do. I myself contributing to charities more than £100/month.

            Regarding cricket demo – we need to do that as well. Wales demo was bigger than Oval. You know why – because peaceful demonstartors (including a small girl) were attacked at oval by thugs.

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              Looks like the Tiger habit of putting small children in the line of fire is still popular ;)

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              “peaceful demonstartors (including a small girl) were attacked at oval by thugs”

              Is that really how it went down Anbu? Because video evidence tells a different story:
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BHMgBz5xPk

              Skip to 3:40 to see the action kicking off :-)

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              Anpu,
              If the Govt is blocking help, just bribe them. The LTTE still has millions salted away in various bank accounts, so let Basil and Gota take their cut (10%?) and send the money to the fighters. Hell, you could really embarrass GoSL by giving the LTTE money to a UN body (e.g. UNHCR) and ask them to administer it directly to these communities in Sri Lanka. Do I have to give you constructive ideas on how to financially assist the ex–cadres?

              As for exploiting children, as Blacker’s already pointed out, in the good/bad old days, you were happy to use children to clear SLA minefields, so it’s not surprising that you find it hard to break the habit of a lifetime by using kids to front your demos in the UK. The WTF (superb acronym) even used Jimmy Savile to bolster the flaccid cause of Eelam…
              http://tinyurl.com/d6k3748

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              “I have not yet visited the link you have given – so I cant comment on what is written on the link.”

              You expect me to read all your links.

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              Anpu, this is a most unfortunate ploy, talking a about your misplaced charitable donations and bringing children into the discussion. The fact is that large numbers of tamil men lifted their vertis and ran, not to the closest land of safe refuge but to a land of economic opportunity – preferably english speaking. To assuage their feeelings of guilt they made their contributions from afar. Alas, VP who despite his limited cerebral capabilities, had cojones, took charge of a community that for centuries was famed for scholarship and erudition and gave our land doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors and professionals and hard working men and women of the soil. VP had no option but to recruit women and children to take the place of the cowards and others who ran away. Now these people of the diaspora make a spectacle of themselves, to the consternation of the natives of the foreign cities they inhabit, bleating on about a cause they were not willing to stay and fight for.

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          Why do you bring the plantation workers into your argument then?

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          The plantation Tamils were disfranchised by the UNP with the collusion of Jaffna Tamils. What have green cards for Rajapaksas got to do with that?

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            @PadraigColman
            I thought with your experience, you would understand what I am trying say.
            These plantaion workers are ****third/fourth generation***** (their parents/grandparents/greatgrandparents lived in CEYLON and had their citizenship).
            When the British left they lost their citizenship.

            I have highlighted third/fourth generation for you to see

            ****How long it took*** Sareth Fonseka, Rajapkse brothers to get USA Green card?

            Compare the time taken for these Sinhalease to get the Green card to the time Plantation Tamils lived in Ceylon before they lost their citizenship, their voting rights.

            I hope you can follow what I am trying to say.

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      Anpu, you do make some valid points but may I suggest that you will find that more tamils live outside the ‘homeland’ than within. The tamils, as indeed others, should shy away from mythical homelands and ghettos and try to work towards a new homogenous SriLankan order.

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        Spring,

        “..homogenous SriLankan order.” – Tamils tried that for several years from 1948 peacefully. Sinhalease leaders cheated the Tamils and now cheating every one.

        “mythical homelands” – for you it may be mythical. For me it is not. We have the right to determine our destiny.

        Directly after independence the Sinhalese started exercising their control in every sphere of activity. Discrimination in employment, education, development, and state-assisted colonization of the Tamil homelands by Sinhalese became state policy. Discrimination and efforts to change the demography of the Tamil areas continue to this day. The Sinhalese population in the Eastern Province, an important part of the Tamil homeland, a little over 4 % in 1924, is currently estimated to be over 30% and growing due to the latest maneuvers. Tamils make up 12% of the island’s population, but hold only 5% of government jobs.

        Tamils tried to get redress after independence by democratic and parliamentary methods, as well as by Gandhian satyagraha [non-violent protest].

        Over the years Tamils have regularly been the victims of pogroms by Sinhalese hoodlums either aided by, or watched in silence by the armed forces, who are 99% Sinhalese and the police who are 95% Sinhalese.

        Tamils first tried to live together in a unitary form of government with the Sinhalese community. When the Federal Party stood for elections in 1952, Tamils overwhelmingly voted for the Tamil Congress which supported a unitary state.

        After much discrimination and oppression, Tamils voted overwhelmingly for the Federal Party in 1956. Two parliamentarians who stood for separation in that election were soundly beaten. At that time, therefore, Tamils preferred a Federal form of government to separation.

        In 1956 a bill to make Sinhalese the only official language of the country was passed in parliament over Tamil protests. This was followed by island wide pogroms against Tamils in 1956 and 1958. The Prime Minister described the permanent posting of the armed forces in the North East after 1960 as an ‘army of occupation.’ The national flag was chosen with a prominent Sinhala lion and the national anthem is in Sinhalese.

        Two pacts to provide autonomy to the Tamil areas, signed between the Tamil
        Federal Party and the Sinhala party in power at that time, were abrogated unilaterally by the respective governments following protests by the Sinhala party in opposition in 1957 and 1965.

        In 1972 a new constitution was enacted without Tamil participation. The new constitution made the country a Republic, made Buddhism the foremost religion and eliminated the Senate, appeals to the Privy Council, and Section 29 which had given some protection to minorities.

        Due to their inability to obtain any redress, and continued discrimination and numerous anti-Tamil pogroms, in 1976 all Tamil parties joined together and passed a resolution asking their Parliamentarians to seek the formation of a separate Tamil state in the Homelands of the earlier Tamil Kingdoms. This was the Tamil people’s mandate to their representatives.

        At the next elections in 1977, and ever since then, this mandate has not been changed.

        The Government enacted a new Constitution in 1978 creating an all-powerful executive president. Again the Tamil representatives did not participate in the constitution’s drafting. President Jayawardena said that under this constitution he had the power to do anything except change a man into a woman. The UK’s
        Daily Telegraph quoted Pres. Jayawardene as having said “I do not care what the Tamils think, but my Sinhalese people will be happy.” He also introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act, described by International Jurist Paul Seigart as the worst act of its kind in the world, including apartheid South Africa.

        The majority Sinhalese government passed the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution in 1983 which made even speaking of separation an offence. Following this, any reference to the Government of Sri Lanka refers to the Sinhala majority government. The Tamil representatives in Parliament went into exile in India.

        The years that followed have made life intolerable for the Tamils of the island with the security forces doing whatever they want with impunity. The country has been under emergency rule for most of the time since the early 1980s, with almost unlimited powers given to the security forces to terrorise and subjugate the Tamils.

        A third of the Tamil population has fled the island and another third have been displaced from their homes, often many times. A hundred thousand Tamils have been killed or disappeared. The Tamil areas are now the poorest on the island and are ruled by military or ex-military governors with the help of the armed forces.

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        Spring,

        I thought you and other readers would be intersted in this.
        JAYADEVA UYANGODA http://www.india-seminar.com/2007/576/576_jayadeva_uyangoda.htm

        I am copying the first and the last paragraph from the above article.

        First para
        “ACCOMPANYING Sri Lanka’s elusive quest for a political solution to the ethnic conflict is an equally elusive goal: consensus among political parties about a broad framework of a constitutional settlement to offer regional autonomy to the Tamil minority. The two main parties, the United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), that have alternately ruled Sri Lanka for the past six decades, despite a number of attempts to reach such a consensus, have at crucial moments backtracked to return to what has been described as ‘acrimonious competition’.”

        Last para
        “Does this sound utopian? Of course it does. But it tells us that to get out of the multiple predicaments which Sri Lanka and our South Asian neighbours find themselves in, we need to search for a democratic utopia. Paraphrasing Lenin, we may say that a good democratic utopia will have the capacity to become a material force, capable of mobilizing the people into action for ethnic peace through democratization. This is where a fantasy of democracy is more useful for political transformation than a mere academic theory of democracy.”

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    It’s always refreshing to read pieces by tis author.

    Right, this has nothing to do with the book:
    LTTE were wiped out because Sri Lanka is an island and the supplies to the LTTE were cut off by the help of the countries that have the science/technology to detect any supplies venturing towards the island.

    Post-war much more vicious things are happening: the Tamils(and to increasing extent Muslims) are being macerated politically, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally in a medieval fashion. UN and ICRC have very limited access to the North and the East. UN Humanitarian side is folded. Only the Development side is functioning well outside the North and the East.

    Had Sri Lanka been a country attached to the landmass of one or more countries, Tamils might have been moving in large numbers across land borders in 50s/60s and the problem would have taken a different path.

    The fate of Tamils is so unfortunate to have been lumped with an ethnic majority with a poisonous mythology paving the way for ethnic outbidding between the UNP and the SLFP. ……..:

    ” …In each, the party previously in opposition gained decisive power on a platform that promised fundamental change. After each election, there were missed opportunities for initiatives that could have addressed many concerns of Tamil community members, while simultaneously respecting the concerns of all but the most radical Sinhalese nationalists. In each instance, however, Sri Lanka’s political leaders chose not to expend their political capital in this way but instead, to accede to demands of the radicals. … it will be useful to seek lessons from periods when Sri Lankan political leaders, like President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had such overwhelming political support that they were in a position, if they chose, to expend political capital by taking concrete steps toward communal reconciliation. …” – Prospects For Post Conflict Reconciliation And Development In Sri Lanka: Can Singapore Be Used As A Model? Prof John Richardson, Text of a presentation at Global Asia Institute Speaker Series (2010), National University of Singapore, Prof John Richardson, http://groundviews.org/2010/11/05/prospects-for-post-conflict-reconciliation-and-development-in-sri-lanka-can-singapore-be-used-as-a-model/

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      Thank you for the link to Professor Richardson’s address. I found his book very helpful.

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    Padraig, have you received a response from senator Mrs. Usha Sri Skandarajah to your previous article?

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      You may find the answers in the articles she has written. You can find the links by google searching – i.e go to google and serach for “By Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah -” https://www.colombotelegraph.com

      This will list all the articles she wrote on CT.

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        That is not the same as a response to me. She gave David Blacker a lot of links leaving all the hard work to him. Most of the links were not supportive of her arguments.

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      Navin- in a word “No”.

      Anpoo, aney, Agnes, Dev and others too numerous to mention have also failed to respond to my challenge to provide links to articles in which I support or defend the government or the Rajapaksas.

      No surprise there!

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        Mr Colman,
        Respond to the comments that I have made on this page. Then I will respond to yours. To understand the problem better I have also added links. Please visit them to understand the problem Tamils are facing from 1948.
        Thanks you.

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          I have responded.

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          I will show you mine if you show me yours!

          I will follow up the links you gave me.

          Will you ever respond to my challenge to prove your contention that i am a supporter of the Rajapaksas! Put up or shut up!

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            Sorry Mr Colman.

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    Mr Colman you must read
    Sri Lanka : The National Question and the Tamil Liberation Struggle
    by Satchi Ponnambalam – published jointly by
    the Tamil Information Centre and Zed Books Ltd, London – 1983
    Copyright Satchi Ponnambalam, 1983
    http://www.tamilnation.co/books/Eelam/satchi.pdf

    From a review “Satchi Ponnambalam is a Sri Lankan lawyer who was educated at the Universities of Ceylon and London. Now a judge, he is the author of Dependent Capitalism in Crisis – The Sri Lankan Economy, 1948-80 (Zed Press, 198l) which was published simultaneously in Sri Lanka, India, and the United Kingdom.”

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      I will.

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      Someone sent me this comment by e-mail: “The ‘who was here first’ argument is the kind of thing that keeps this country in the stone age.”

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    I have a feeling this the criticism of thr Rajapakse;s might be stop if a plum diplomatic post doled out.

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      Your punctuation needs more care. “Rajapaksas” is what you should have written.

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    Hi friends,

    I got to know this lately, please help them with your contributions.
    This sounds to be a great project that we can keep the faith on.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLFuCKqkKEk

    This kind of workshops are the best to achieve peace with NE youth for the better future.

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    1.”His brand of realism stresses the world as it is rather than the world as it ought to be”:

    In another article on this website sometime ago he said that the Sinhalese would never accept federalism but failed to say why federalism is good or not for Sri Lanka.

    2.Jayatilleka argues that allowing the LTTE a separate state was never an option. “Colombo could not trade Tamil Eelam, i.e. the North and East, for peace, because, even if such a Faustian bargain were struck, peace would not be the result. The Sri Lankan state would not have been able to withdraw into its southern cocoon and lived in tranquil prosperity.”

    So that’s why the Tamils have been oppressed politically, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally and almost are living like sub-human species.

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      “Tamils have been oppressed politically, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally and almost are living like sub-human species.”

      Tell that to my Tamil friends.

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        Who are your friends? How many friends you have got? Are these your friends Douglas Devananda, Karuna, KP?

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          My friends are none of your business but I can tell you that I have never met any of the people you have named. My friends are ordinary decent people who would not like your description of them as subhuman. I would never deny that Tamils have grievances. Their case is not helped by ridiculous talk of genocide and sub-humanity.Do you live in Sri Lanka Anpoo?

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            Mr Colman –
            Sorry about the friends comment.
            “Do you live in Sri Lanka Anpoo” – we could not live in CEYLON.

            Tamil Genocide started in Srilanka long before Geroge Alagiah’s(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Alagiah) ( “…Up to when I was six, we lived in Sri Lanka, then my father got a job for the government in Ghana. It was when ***legislative discrimination against the Tamils was beginning in Sri Lanka****”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/17/george-alagiah-family-values#history-link-box ) family left Ceylon (i.e. what it was called at that time).

            “Their case is not helped by ridiculous talk of genocide and sub-humanity.” – Have you read the article by Prof Boyle? I am sure you would not have had time to read all the facts given in the two links I have given you in my first comment. Please read Prof article first.

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              I have read this before. Just because Boyle says it does not mean it is true. If the Sri Lankan state was intent on genocide would it not have taken the opportunity granted by its victory over the LTTE to wipe out the Tamil race in Sri Lanka? There were 350,000 Tamils in IDP camps. The government did not slaughter them, it fed them and educated them. You do not further the cause of addressing legitimate Tamil grievances by using extreme language and ludicrous arguments.

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            “extreme language and ludicrous arguments” – Is there anything extreme than GENOCIDE? IC community knows what is going on in SL is TAMIL Genocide. They are not saying this in public.

            You are making statements without knowing the facts and does want to find out. Not only Prof Boyle says it is Tamil Genocide. Many Sinhalease including Jude Fernando agree with me
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db2noLcizG4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31BzRZ4f7vY

            The problem is many countries are run by corrupt politicians and the UN is corrupt.

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              It is extreme to loosely bandy about serious terms like genocide. Genocide is serious. Your use of the term is irresponsible.

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              I read Jude Fernando’s articles with great interest. However many people say genocide is occurring it does not make it true.

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        What do those Tamils say to this:

        ”Conflict-affected areas remain highly militarised, which has made progress towards achieving durable solutions more difficult. The military has become an important economic player and a key competitor of local people including returnees in the areas of agriculture, fishing, trade, and tourism. It has also been involved in areas that would normally come under civilian administration. It continues to occupy private land, thereby impeding IDPs’ return. The government has failed to make durable solutions a priority, and humanitarian organisations have faced funding shortages and restrictions on programming and access” – Sri Lanka: A hidden displacement crisis, *Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 31 October 2012, http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/0F7746546306FCB3C1257AA8005845A6/$file/srilanka-overview-oct2012.pdf

        ”Because of government restrictions, no comprehensive assessment has been conducted in conflict-affected areas, and there is no comprehensive data on the needs of the most vulnerable groups. No IDP profiling has been done since 2007. The government, UNHCR and the UN Office for Project Services launched a survey of protracted IDPs in 2011, but the project was abandoned in December 2012 due to obstacles placed on it by the PTF” – Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 29 April 2013, http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/DB8A259305B071A8C1257B5C00268DDC/$file/global-overview-2012.pdf

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          Davidson Panabokke,
          You raise a good and valid point. Guess what! The SL security forces, having sacrificed lives and limbs, are taking the opportunity to secure for alltime a firm grip on the kingdom. They aim to never allow again the rise of any nascent group, tamil, sinhalese, muslim, or other. To further strengthen their hand they have moved into commercial ventures to keep their large numbers busy. Not dissimilar to the current Egyptian army model.
          How can you blame them for learning their lessons well.

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    Is there any translation of this book ?

    Who are the targeted audience for this book ?

    I truly believe majority of our people need to know the facts about where they are standing today AND why some trying panicking about any form of devolution of power. Majoritarian folks have no idea about regional administration within a state. Those folks should be fed with the facts showing them the rapid growth of those countries through such administration. Sure, it will be not easy to compare those successful European states (Germany, Switzerland)with Sri Lankan model, but it is worth making comparisons.

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    eureka and (Anpu)

    “Tamils have been oppressed politically, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally and almost are living like sub-human species.”

    Over 100,000 British tourists per year visits Sri Lanka. How long do you think you can carry on with this lie?

    Here are some of my friends: want an introduction?

    Commercial Bank:
    Jagan Durairatnam – Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer
    S Swarnajothi – Director
    Rohan Muttiah – Chief Information officer

    DFCC / VARDHANA Bank:
    J E A Perumal – Director
    R B Thambiayah – Director
    M A Tharmarathnam – Director
    S R Thambiayah – Director

    Hatton National Bank:
    Rajendra Theagarajah – MD / CEO
    J R P M Paiva – DGM S&C
    L L C C Thambiah – DGM NM
    M Asokan – Head of Int Audit
    S Gnanapragasam – AGM Risk
    R Thamirajah – AGM NM

    Aitkenspence:
    R.N. Asirwatham – Director
    Ranjan Casie Chetty – company Secretary
    Nilanthi Sivapragasam – Chief Financial Officer

    John Keells Group:
    Sithie Tiruchelvam – Director
    Indrajit Coomaraswamy – Director

    Ceylinco Life:
    R. Reganathan – MD/CEO

    Sri Lanka Insurance:
    Noel Selvanayagam – Director

    Colombo Stock Exchange:
    Krishan Balendra – Chairman

    Brandix:
    Ken Balendra* – Chairman (up to may 2013)
    Ajit Johnpillai – Director

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      Peter,
      What % Tamils you find in armed forces?
      All what you have listed are in private sector.

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        Not bad for an oppressed person?

        *Balendra began his career in 1963 as a planter at Finlays, an independent tea and horticultural product trader. He joined John Keells Holdings in 1969 (then known as John Keell Thompson White Ltd) and following a successful stint as a tea broker he was appointed as a company director in 1974. From 1990 until his retirement from the company in 2000 he served as its chairman, the first Sri Lankan to hold the position, overseeing a period of rapid growth and diversification.[5] He has served as chairman of the Bank of Ceylon (2000–2002),[1] the Ceylon Tobacco Company (2003–2008),[7] the Securities and Exchange Commission (2000–2002),[8] the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka, and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.[2][3]
        In April 2000 Balendra was appointed as the first president of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors.[9] He was a director at Chevron Lubricants Lanka until his resignation in 2011, having served over 10 years.[10]
        In 2011 The Sunday Leader named Balendra as one of “The 20 Billionaires of Sri Lanka’s Stock Market”. He was featured in 11th place, with holdings said to be worth nearly 2.5 billion Rupees.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Balendra

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        Anbu

        You fail to ask an important question:

        Could Peter Ratna name secretaries & directors to all ministries?

        Name the ministers and their importance in their ranks

        All High Commissioners and Ambassadors.

        All governors of provincial councils

        All directors and chairman of semi government cooperations.

        ……….

        ………

        Supreme Court judges

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          Thanks Native Vedda.

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            Anpu

            “Thanks Native Vedda.”

            This doesn’t mean that you are genetically related to me.

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              Native Vedda – we all are related. i.e if you believe we all came from africa.

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              Anpu

              “if you believe we all came from africa.”

              Your ancestors came from South India by Kallathoni whereas my people walked and walked all the way from where human races had originated.

              Stupid Tamils and stupid Sinhala/Buddhists are related to each other not to my people.

              Both of you should go back to the island history as to how the North, East, West and South was won by the Kallthonies from India.

              We are a pure race.

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              Native Vedda

              I am distracted by this nonsense you spew about your racial purity and your wish to see off all ‘recent arrivals’ in your island paradise. Your ancestors did bugger-all when they had the opportunity to put a stop to the hordes streaming in from northern parts. What did they do then? Now after years of incest you still amuse yourselves going round in circles and contemplating your navel. Dr R L Spittel indulged your lot and gave you all your fifteen minutes of fame. To those of you who will seize the times, great! Welcome to century 21. For the others, merciful extinction couldn’t come sooner. For you personally, enjoy the free speech we give you till the second coming of ‘sudu hura’; or the inevitable.

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        There you go again , sliding the argument off in a different direction. The point Peter is making is, if the government were intent on exterminating the Tamil race, how come there are so many Tamils who are successful in business rather than dead?

        There should be more Tamils in the army and the police but that does not undermine Peter’s point that Tamils hold responsible positions in Sri Lankan society.

        At lunchtime on Easter Sunday, I was enjoying a cold beer when my garden was invaded by policemen who had climbed over my fence. The reasons for this will require a lengthy explanation which I will give elsewhere. The leader of this invasion was a plain clothes officer called Sergeant Prabhakaran. I must do some research on recruitment of Tamils into the police force.

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          padraigcolman

          “The leader of this invasion was a plain clothes officer called Sergeant Prabhakaran.”

          I have heard of Captain Prabaharan, a film by Vijayakanth, the present opposition leader in the Tamilnadu state.

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            What is your point?

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              Padraig Colman

              “What is your point?”

              It is for you to find out and for me to sit back and relax.

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              Yes, Jungle Boy, it is always a good idea to ask others to find what you cannot.

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              Native Idiot comes from the school of debate that thinks when one has no response instead say something so off the point, long-winded, and/or vague, that one’s detractors will somehow be mystified into thinking that one is so wise that they cannot get one’s point and therefore will not realize that there is no point. Instead Native Idiot comes across as simply ignorant and largely pointless.

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            Naughty nutty Native fellow

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              The Naughty Native is a like broken pencil. Pointless.

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              manisekaran thangavelu & Mango Man

              I am only trying to fit in with the crowd.

              You enjoy your freedom to be pointless, why cannot I?

              Bloody racists.

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              David Blacker

              This is what you wrote as an informed comment:

              India keeping Kashmir majority Muslim isn’t out of love for Muslims. Kashmir is important as a Muslim state in India’s image as a secular nation and not a Hindu one.

              David Blacker – June 26, 2013
              11:24 am

              It is always a good idea to ask others before you type.

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              NV,

              what is there in my post to call me racist? I just said your naughty reference of Vijayakanth.

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              manisekaran thangavelu

              “what is there in my post to call me racist? I just said your naughty reference of Vijayakanth.”

              This is one of those things I casually say, I don’t mean it.

              David Blacker always accuse me of being a racist. It was like saying Vannakam, Aiybowan, Asalamu Alaykun, ….sort of thing and useful warm up act before the spitting match.

              Actually he doesn’t mean it. Have notice he has a lot of brotherly affection and respect for minorities?

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            Yes, Native Idiot, I have had to educate you numerous times. The instance you quote above is just one of many. But what has that got to do with the fact that you are too big a fool to even find your own point when questioned? :D

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              David Blacker

              “Yes, Native Idiot, I have had to educate you numerous times. “

              I am still thick. Had you stopped educating me I would have been much wiser than at present.

              “The instance you quote above is just one of many. “

              This proves your stupidity once again.

              “But what has that got to do with the fact that you are too big a fool to even find your own point when questioned?”

              It has got everything to do with your ignorance, stupidity and arrogance. Smart ar..s cannot see the point. Its sad they are the ones who find stupidity all around, but not in them.

              Go read about water, food and other securities which are directly linked to Kashmir.

              Why aren’t you discussing about Matale pit?

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              “Had you stopped educating me I would have been much wiser than at present.”

              Sadly, this is not true. A lifetime free of my influence hasn’t provided you with much sense or education.

              ‘This proves your stupidity once again.”

              No, it proves your inability to benefit from education.

              “It has got everything to do with your ignorance, stupidity and arrogance. Smart ar..s cannot see the point. Its sad they are the ones who find stupidity all around, but not in them.”

              You mean the way the ignorant cannot see the emperor’s clothes. In that sense, Jungle Boy, you certainly are very smart :D

              “Go read about water, food and other securities which are directly linked to Kashmir.”

              Oh, I have. Have you? Reading the back of a book isn’t enough, Jungle Boy.

              “Why aren’t you discussing about Matale pit?”

              I discuss what interests me. If it interests you, begin a discussion, and I might join in.

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          @padraigcolman
          ” sliding the argument off in a different direction.” – you are the one doing that. You have not responded to the points I made. You or Peter have not answered our questions.

          I am told – Tamils make up 12% of the island’s population, but hold only 5% of government jobs.

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            Which points have I failed to answer? I have been meticulous in trying to answer your points. I am still waiting for you to come up with some links to demonstrate that I am government lackey.

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        I have just been reading a feature in the business magazine Echelon. The feature is about 40 successful Sri Lanka entrepreneurs under the age of 40. Eight of them are Tamil.

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        My Tamil friend Skanda recently visited Killinochchi and wrote this: “I am aware that there have been mixed reactions to the role of the army in areas recovering from the war……what we saw in our limited stay told us that there is a sincere and committed effort being made to win hearts and minds. The progress was there for us to see.”

        Michael Tissera was part of the same party and wrote: “an interesting point is that 104 out of 109 applicants by Tamil girls to join the army have been successful and they are making use of them to help other Tamil girls to be self-employed.”

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      The crafty Sinhalam is carrying out ‘selective genocide’. It only affects Tamils who aren’t successful.

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        “Selective genocide” must be a concept similar to “almost a virgin”.

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    Why do people continue the fruitless pursuit of trying to nail the jelly that is Padraig Colman to the wall of honesty?
    The very fact that this man continues to insist that he is not a journalistic lackey to our current regime says it all!

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      Here we go again Aney.

      Please provide a link which supports your contention that I am a government lackey. PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

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    Why do I continue to try to nail the jelly that is Aney Apochchi! to the wall by repeatedly asking him to provide links that support his contention that I am a government lackey?!!!

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      Aney is a typical Sinhala modaya. Lots of allegations without proof and then make a tactical withdrawal when asked to substantiate his claims.

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    @padraigcolman – it looks like you do not know much about Ceylon/Sri Lanka history.

    If you know these facts, please forgive me.

    Directly after independence the Sinhalese started exercising their control in every sphere of activity. Discrimination in employment, education, development, and state-assisted colonization of the Tamil homelands by Sinhalese became state policy. Discrimination and efforts to change the demography of the Tamil areas continue to this day. The Sinhalese population in the Eastern Province, an important part of the Tamil homeland, a little over 4 % in 1924, is currently estimated to be over 30% and growing due to the latest maneuvers. Tamils make up 12% of the island’s population, but hold only 5% of government jobs.

    Tamils tried to get redress after independence by democratic and parliamentary methods, as well as by Gandhian satyagraha [non-violent protest].

    Over the years Tamils have regularly been the victims of pogroms by Sinhalese hoodlums either aided by, or watched in silence by the armed forces, who are 99% Sinhalese and the police who are 95% Sinhalese.

    Tamils first tried to live together in a unitary form of government with the Sinhalese community. When the Federal Party stood for elections in 1952, Tamils overwhelmingly voted for the Tamil Congress which supported a unitary state.

    After much discrimination and oppression, Tamils voted overwhelmingly for the Federal Party in 1956. Two parliamentarians who stood for separation in that election were soundly beaten. At that time, therefore, Tamils preferred a Federal form of government to separation.

    In 1956 a bill to make Sinhalese the only official language of the country was passed in parliament over Tamil protests. This was followed by island wide pogroms against Tamils in 1956 and 1958. The Prime Minister described the permanent posting of the armed forces in the North East after 1960 as an ‘army of occupation.’ The national flag was chosen with a prominent Sinhala lion and the national anthem is in Sinhalese.

    Two pacts to provide autonomy to the Tamil areas, signed between the Tamil
    Federal Party and the Sinhala party in power at that time, were abrogated unilaterally by the respective governments following protests by the Sinhala party in opposition in 1957 and 1965.

    In 1972 a new constitution was enacted without Tamil participation. The new constitution made the country a Republic, made Buddhism the foremost religion and eliminated the Senate, appeals to the Privy Council, and Section 29 which had given some protection to minorities.

    Due to their inability to obtain any redress, and continued discrimination and numerous anti-Tamil pogroms, in 1976 all Tamil parties joined together and passed a resolution asking their Parliamentarians to seek the formation of a separate Tamil state in the Homelands of the earlier Tamil Kingdoms. This was the Tamil people’s mandate to their representatives.

    At the next elections in 1977, and ever since then, this mandate has not been changed.

    The Government enacted a new Constitution in 1978 creating an all-powerful executive president. Again the Tamil representatives did not participate in the constitution’s drafting. President Jayawardena said that under this constitution he had the power to do anything except change a man into a woman. The UK’s
    Daily Telegraph quoted Pres. Jayawardene as having said “I do not care what the Tamils think, but my Sinhalese people will be happy.” He also introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Act, described by International Jurist Paul Seigart as the worst act of its kind in the world, including apartheid South Africa.

    The majority Sinhalese government passed the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution in 1983 which made even speaking of separation an offence. Following this, any reference to the Government of Sri Lanka refers to the Sinhala majority government. The Tamil representatives in Parliament went into exile in India.

    The years that followed have made life intolerable for the Tamils of the island with the security forces doing whatever they want with impunity. The country has been under emergency rule for most of the time since the early 1980s, with almost unlimited powers given to the security forces to terrorise and subjugate the Tamils.

    A third of the Tamil population has fled the island and another third have been displaced from their homes, often many times. A hundred thousand Tamils have been killed or disappeared. The Tamil areas are now the poorest on the island and are ruled by military or ex-military governors with the help of the armed forces.

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      “If you know these facts, please forgive me.”

      I forgive you.

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      Anpoo thinks I am more ignorant than him about Sri Lankan history. That may well be true. I have a lot to learn and I try to educate myself with every waking breath. I may be less ignorant than he thinks.

      I have written several long articles about the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka. As a result, I received an e-mail saying: “You crazed Irish monkey. You should be in an asylum or a zoo. No wonder the LTTE are strong in the east with an IRA fugitive like you living where you do. I will report you to the authorities”. Someone else accused me of “regurgitating terrorist propaganda”.

      Dear Anpoo, if you could find time in your busy schedule, I would appreciate it if you could read these articles. I am open to correction of factual error and civilised debate on interpretation of facts.

      The Agonist website has done some peculiar things to the typography.

      See:

      http://agonist.org/the_tamil_question_in_sri_lanka_part_1/
      http://agonist.org/the_tamil_question_in_sri_lanka_part_2/
      http://agonist.org/the_tamil_question_in_sri_lanka_part_3/
      http://agonist.org/the_tamil_question_in_sri_lanka_part_4/

      Thank you for your attention.

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        @PadraigColman.
        Thank you for the links and I am going to read them.

        I am sure you are going to write more articles, I think it would be useful if you could add the links to your articles including these.

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          Waiting for your response.

          Rather than clogging up the feed here you can e-mail me at spikeyriter@gmail.com

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          Any response?

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    Please sign this
    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/burma_the_next_rwanda_uk/?bFlIJab&v=26546
    “Most people didn’t know who the Rwandans were until it was too late, and 800,000 of them were dead. Right now, the fate of Burma’s Rohingya people is hanging by a thread. Racist thugs have distributed leaflets threatening to wipe out this small Burmese minority. Already children have been hacked to death and unspeakable murders committed. All signs are pointing to a coming horror, unless we act.”

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      I have long been on avaaz’s mailing list.

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