2 October, 2020

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On Rudrakumaran’s Opportunistic Hypocrisy Of Reconciliation

By Amjad Saleem

Amjad Saleem

A recent post in the Colombo Telegraph by the ‘PM of the TGTE’ expressed solidarity with the Muslim community whilst “extending our fullest support to the Muslim people, we also extend our solidarity to the Muslim community, as a community whose mother tongue is also Tamil, asking them to join the Tamils in their struggle to build a secure future for all in the Tamil state”.  The article was written on the back of rising incidents of attack against the Muslim community by extreme Buddhist groups.

I not only found this article laughable but highly delusional in the assumptions that the Muslim community would entertain any notion of an alliance with the TGTE, whose singular premise has been to extend the LTTE mantra and campaign on a separate Tamil state.  Making this statement, the TGTE was not necessarily ‘concerned’ about the Muslim community per se, but it was aimed at showing the ‘intolerance’ of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism.  At quite a crucial time for Sri Lanka, during the anniversaries of the Black July pogroms 30 years ago, the article aims to draw parallels with then and now and to show that nothing has changed.  Yet interestingly it seems to have taken the TGTE 4 years since the end of the conflict (and the occasions of these incidents) to publicly reach out to the Muslim community

At one level, it is rather presumptuous  and hypocritical of the PM of the TGTE to call for solidarity with Muslims and to suggest that there is a secure future for them in a Tamil state.  The experience of the Muslims with the Tamils has far from been the case.  Without acknowledging let alone at least apologising for what took place in Jaffna and the north in 1990, with the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim community by the LTTE, the TGTE’s sincerity will be questioned and the notion of the safe presence of Muslims in a Tamil state is merely academic.

However it is not just the expulsions from the north that needs to be discussed.  There are other elephants in the room that need to be acknowledged between the Tamils and the Muslims. Whilst the end of July was the anniversary of Black July, the beginning of August brought about two poignant yet painful memories for the Muslim community of the 30 year old war which apart from discussions on facebook, didn’t elicit much of a public response.

The horrific shootings at the mosques in Kathankudy, Batticaloa Province, in August 1990 by the LTTE is a painful reminder that the sanctity of religious places of worship is a stain on inter community relations in Sri Lanka and is not something that has been only violated by today’s proponents of Sinhala Buddhist extremism.  Visit Kathankudy today and the physical scars of that day are just as visible as the mental scars.

Fast forward to August 2006, and the precursor to the start of hostilities between the government and the LTTE which led to the end of the conflict in 2009, triggering international protests around the world for the way it ended, the killing of civilians and treatment of displaced people. Almost 50,000 mainly Muslims were displaced once again by the LTTE  from the village of Mutthur in the Trincomalee district, after leaflets were sent around the town  by the LTTE in April of 2006 warning Muslim residents to leave,  in a scene almost reminiscent of what happened in Jaffna in 1990.   Despite this mass exodus of people from the  town and being kept in refugee camps, the international outcry and remembrance will be for the 17 aid workers who were killed in Mutthur during this time.  What is also little talked about apart from the actual displacement and the refugee crisis that ensued are the eyewitness accounts that talk about how LTTE cadres intercepted evacuees from Mutthur and separated youth from the group, executing them,  with some dying as a result of government shelling.

Without such acknowledgements and recognition of such incidents, the rhetoric of TGTE and many other Tamil representatives (both outside and within Sri Lanka) ring hollow as they opportunistically ‘reach out’.

Of course the opportunistic hypocrisy is not just one sided.  There are those in the reconciliation movement who will have to ask themselves some serious questions as they fail to address the trajectory of Sri Lanka currently.  30 years ago when the mobs came hunting for the Tamils, many Muslims were warned that their time would come. It seems recent incidents involving the Muslim community seem to be proving this statement to be true.  In the week of the commemoration of the Black July anniversary, there was a lot of naval gazing and hand wringing as people  not only openly apologised for the sins of their community but also spoke eloquently about the need for lessons to be learnt.

Yet a few weeks afterwards in the wake of an attack on a mosque in Colombo, seeming to put into action the threats from 30 years ago, it was evident that those laments were nothing more than just rhetoric.  The deafening silence of many prominent Sinhalese activists (a large number of them Buddhist), especially those involved in reconciliation work, a large number of them friends (from the UK),  has not only been disappointing, but frustrating and disheartening.  In the height of the real challenge for reconciliation for the country, it was met with silence and inaction.

Thus in that light, the premise of the article the PM of the TGTE could be interpreted as right:  The actions of the minority extreme Sinhala Buddhist elements actually reflect the sentiment of the majority. If that is the case, then there is no hope for any united Sri Lanka where anyone who is non Sinhala Buddhist can hope to live peacefully. One can argue whether that would also exist for non Tamils in the TGTE, but again that is academic.

There are many who argue that had they been able to, they would have spoken out or tried to help during Black July as lessons were learnt  The opportunity that they missed then presents itself now.  In the absence of any real effort to tackle ethnic and faith problems now, all the rhetoric of reconciliation (by all stakeholders) smells just of opportunistic hypocrisy.

If we truly want reconciliation, then we have to be consistent and at least speak out against any injustice perpetrated in our name.

*Amjad Saleem is the Head of Communications for The Cordoba Foundation, a Muslim-inspired ‘think and do’ tank which provides an alternative communication channel for thought leaders and policy makers on intercultural and religious dialogue, social justice issues and peacebuilding between communities. He is their lead on the Conflicts, Development and Faith Programme and on subjects including South Asia, conflict reconciliation and interfaith dialogue. Prior to this, Amjad was Country Director for British NGO Muslim Aid in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He has an M.Eng from Imperial College, London, an MBA from U21Global, and is currently pursuing a part-time PhD at Exeter University on faith in post conflict reconciliation. He has lectured part time at the University of East London and Lawrence Tech University in Michigan, and regularly contributes to online journals, websites as well as other media

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    The Tamils community at home or a abroad are notorious for being fractious. Solidarity building should first be done among themselves before attempting it with other people.

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    Mr Saleem is spot on.

    Nobody has ever put out a piece like this to expose the hypocracy of the Tamil Diaspora Leaders and their current proxies the TNA,leader Sambandan’s attempts to portray them as the Caretakers and Guardians of the Lankan Muslim community.

    PM Mr Rudrakumaran asking the “Lankan M uslims to join him and Sambandan to build and live in a future Tamil State” is very interesting.

    Isn’t this a repeat of what Mr Sambandan said soon after Nanthikadal?.

    ” Please leave the Muslims to me “.

    And it was when the UNP nominated ex Genral was hoping to roll Rajapaksa , with Sambandan as the third party of the Troika.

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      Muslim extremists like Amjad Saleem see only one side of the story. They refuse to open their eyes and see the Tamil point of view. They want the world to sympathise with the Palestinians and the “poor suffering Muslims” but cannot sympathise with other oppressed people. This is absolutely disgusting and hypocritical. Mr Saleem would do well to look within and get rid of his hatred towards the Tamil people. The Tamil people are ready to extend their hand of friendship, a hand that has been bitten multiple times by backstabbing Muslim politicians and leaders.

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    Saleem you can laugh much you want but look what is going on in Sri Lanka now against the Muslims and I never see you ever raised voice against the government
    Oh you won’t do it you are in the MR circle to get benefit yourself
    Your leader Hakkeem is a flip flop and you are blind fold follower
    One day you will wake up and at the time is too late to raise voice about Muslims

    • 0
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      It is not the point saleem to go against the Government What saleem is talking is opertunistic Rudra telling muslim people to join Sambadanathan to create their mythical state.

      Those diaspora people having good life in overseas countries and try to drag innocent muslims for another trouble

      muslim people still remember the way how LTTE killed muslim people in north and east , and chased them out from their lands that time LTTE wanted entire north and east look what this joker Rudra is telling now

      Well said Saleem

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      Pasel,

      But the BBS and some Sinhala Buddhists say they have problem to practice their religion because of Muslims. what you say for this?
      The hatred against minority is nothing to do with muslims, it is the responsibility of the democratic government to solve it. but muslim politicians are opportunist but not only muslim politians are opportunist today all are same in the island. But I don’t feel any democracy exist in Sri Lanka now. This should be decided by majority Buddhists.

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        This article alright, no debate about it.
        But, these types of articles wouldnt help the Muslims at all right now. MR & JHU/BBS will use these views for their benifits.
        LTTE was an enemy of the Muslims 100%. BBS is also doing the same what LTTE did ofcourse with the support of the regime.
        Can we condone the BBS foul play, just because LTTE did in the past.
        Amjad Saleem – Rudra was wrong then, now he is extending a hand as both the communities are facing difficulties from some small but powerful number of racists. Why not think about it as we have no one to help us including SLMC & Muslim MPs who are polishing Rajapakse shoes.
        LTTE ex leaders are ministers today. If they are good for Rajapakses why not we too make hay while sunshines. After all there is nothing to lose.

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          All are boot lickers of Rajapaksha…….

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      Yes. This is the time to Muslim to decide,No hope with Rauff Hakeem or Opposition UNP. Because they are silent for majority vote & Already hakeem got caught.muslims are force to go behind Mr. Sambanthan because when the Muslims attack in south TULF rice the voice.Today minority need the international help to live peacefully. All shines are there very soon international monitors or force will land to Srilanka. Muslim scholars made the mistake blindly went to Geneva for against same language speaking communities.Otherwise long before peace will approach to minority.

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      Amjad Saleem’s arrogance will receive its due comeuppance. Scorning the Tamils will not end well for Muslims priding themselves on their “strong” position in Sri Lanka. Prior to the census Muslims were boasting that they would outnumber the Tamils but this is far from reality; the Tamils are still going strong and are a resilient people.

      Sri Lankan Muslims should not play the victim card here, especially when they have benefitted from the Tamils and Sinhalese killing each other. They stood and watched while thousands of Tamil and Sinhalese youth died while exploiting their position in society to gain all the benefits. Now they want to pretend to be victims, wanting pity from everyone else.

      The Tamils are not a people who will bow their head to anyone for a shilling or two. This is something that Amjad needs to understand. If Muslims reject the Tamil hand of friendship they will be the ones who will regret it later. Amjad Saleem can boost his ego in the meantime.

  • 0
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    Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

    Saleem a very timely WARNING. These are facts which are not publicised and virtually unknown outside of Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    The Writer ignores the frantic efforts of Muslim leaders like Azath Sally to ride on the back of the Tamil political leadership to benefit from their influences with India now they have no place to run. While the Tamil nation does not wish the Muslims ill in their time of difficulty, it is clear there can be no space for cooperation with
    the Muslims presently in the light of what happened in the recent past. Kattankudy Mosque incident and the evictions are projected to place the LTTE and Tamils in bad light but little is said of what caused both terrible incidents where the Muslims have much to explain.

    Rudra and TGTE made a mistake in making this announcement now. Rauf Hakeem and other Muslim leaders are going all out to come into an arrangement with the Tamils. It is best Tamils first solve their urgent issues and bring security and normalcy to their own people before they seek to help others.

    Thamilthambi

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      “Rudra and TGTE made a mistake in making this announcement now,Rauf Hakeem and other Muslim leaders are all going to come into an arrangement…..it is best Tamil solve their urgent issues and bring security and normalcy…”T.Thamby.
      Green Card holder Rudra must take the cue, talk to Azath Sally and KP,Karuna,Daya Master& Co to get an introduction to Gota also a Green Card holder.After that,no worries about a mythical state of Eelam. Because the whole island can then be renamed by the winner if Gota and Rudra would climb their elephants hired from the Pinnawala sanctuary and decide with their lances.

      • 0
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        RUDRA has a US passport and citizenship.

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      We never hated Tamil as we are Tamil from India following Islam so we became Muslim by race. If rudrakuar is asking for help, yes at this moment Muslims will support for sure as Praba made mistake which they feel as Hindus are still God fearing people than Budhist whom belive No god but time and Bloody myth Karma. still we speak the same language, i belive its a good move by Rudrakumar. We dont trust Budhist…. frankly .. specially after what happned.. broke 24 Mosques and waiting untill we act and to chop our heads off. Well Jihad is already started, if Tamil Nadu said that some pakistanis are coming to Attack them.. actually its not for them, its coming to Attck the Temples .. if one Mulsim dies, 100 Budhist will die ,,, this is a challange..

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    I don’t agree.

    Many mistakes were made by LTTE and they sufferred terribly for that. TGTE is not responsible for the way VP conducted his affairs. Many LTTE members who are still alive must have done a lot of soul searching with regards to the treatment of Muslims by their heirarchy. Muslims must not spurn the TGTE hand that is extended and best to grasp with both hands. Muslims have little choice. The government sponsored goons in saffron robes are thursting for blood. Muslims have no one to turn to for support or help.

    It is no secret that a second Black period is about to descend on Sri Lanka and it is also no secret that Muslims will be the target. When the hoardes descend with their crude barbarian weapons such as the ‘Manna’, ‘Kaththa’ and ‘Kaduwa’ screaming blood curdling slogans to split open Muslim hearts the Tamils would be the only ones who could provide some sort of escape if at all.

    So Saleem, as there is no one willing to extend a hand of support or friendship to Muslims in Sri Lanka even holding the hand of an old enemy is the only solace available.

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      Jihad is on the way….. Better Join LTTE, Enemy of Enemy is a Friend. :) [Edited out]

  • 0
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    Saleem gotten us what we have forgotten.How come the PM of the TGTE expressed solidarity with the Muslim community, he calls Muslim community now but its was ‘THULUKAN’ then. Rudrakumaran must recollect the past reading Saleem’s notes.

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      Ramzadeen

      ‘THULUKAN” went out of fashion long ago.

      I am told that Soni and Mukkaal are currently being used by fewer Tamils to describe Muslims.

      Both the self hating Tamilan and self hating Sinhalavan don’t like Muslims. If necessary they will join forces to cleanse the land and then fight each other or among themselves.

      Both know their mistaken priorities.

  • 0
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    Bravo, Amjad Saleem!

    • 0
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      Why dont you take a break….

      • 0
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        J.Muthu

        “Why dont you take a break….”

        Why? Do you need a break from him?

        We all need a break from him as well.

    • 0
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      Birds of the same feather flocked together. Racist- Chauvinist-Extremist- and supporters of State Terrorist and War Criminals.

      All are aware that Muslims are also cunning, greedy, and above all totally UNRELIABLE. VASSI PATHETTA OOYA.

      THIS [Edited out] ia no different and has the command of the English language. Where has this bugger been for the past 30 years? Is this Muslim NGO funded by Muslim Terrorist and extremist group. That needs to be investigated and researched of what they are up to.

      As for the [Edited out], just sit back and enjoy the ride.. Now it is the turn of YOU B………..s while you benefited from the Race Riots of 1983 Island Wide, and stole Tamil property and even cattle/goats from the poor Tamil dairy farmers during the civil war.

      [Edited out] thinks that the Tamils are Konde Batthapu Chino!!!
      You have something else coming.

      Thank God this [Edited out] is a nobody in Sri Lankan politics and TNA and SLMC will sort out political differences immaterial of the provocative opinion of this moron. I support the initiatives of the elected Tamil representative. Rudrakumar will ignore the barking of these types of stray dogs.

      I have to TRY to be polite in this Public Forum, but if I happen to meet this idiot anywhere I will certainly give him a freaking Mouthful.

      BTW the war in Jaffna was over in 1995 and why didn’t the Muslims get back to Jaffna? The last chemical weapon war was over in 2009 nearly 5 years ago, where these bloody Muslims cheered the killing of 100,000 Tamil civilians being murdered and 310,000 incarcerated under cruel and inhuman conditions in illegal concentration camps. Thousands of civilians were tortured, beaten and raped/molested. Both very old women and very young girls.

      On this Muslim -Sinhala issue I fully support the BBS and Gotha [Edited out Go fight them without picking on the Tamils.

      Donald Gnanakone
      Tamils For Justice.
      USA.

      teneeds@hotmail.com

  • 0
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    Mr.Amjad Saleem,

    I realise that the global LTTE organisations TGTE and GTF; as well as the North American NCCT and USTPAC have not yet apologised for the terorist actions of the LTTE in massacreing the Tamil speaking Muslims who had taken shelter in one of the peaceful mosques in Kathankudy. Even if some of those Tamil speaking muslims were members of the Sri Lanka Army homeguard and other militias, they would have left their lethal weapons outside the prayer room – this prooves that the prayer room was non-violant.

    So on behalf of my family and friends and the global Tamil community, I hereby apologise for this act of terorism by the LTTE.

    Even thought I was very active in several LTTE organisations since the time I was in univeristy in Sri Lanka, I have recently realised that the LTTE comitted a huge number of acts of terorism; and I am no longer part of any of those organisations.

    In my current hometown New York City, I am now engaged in non-violent and reconciliation activities such as reaching out to my fellow Sri Lankan brothers and sisters; Singalese and Tamil speaking muslims.

    sincerely,
    Elias. T. Jeyarajah

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      This is not the real Elias Jeyarajah from the USA.
      Editor . please check and confirm…

      Donald Gnanakone
      Tamils For Justice.

      Elias cannot apologize on behalf of the LTTE.
      He had nothing to do or any connection with the LTTE, whatsoever.

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    I will add one more to highlight this hipocritical discourse.

    30 Buddhist monks were shot and hacked to death in Arantalawa by Tamil terrorists.

    Is there any commmemoration in any of these ‘alternate’ websites? Are Navi Pillay or Ban Ki Moon concerned? Did we hear any NGO talking about it? What are crimes against humanity? Are only killing terrorists constitutes crimes against humanity? Is that why wives of dead terrorists can meet UN officials and provide false evidence while skeletons of those dead Buddhist monks & others are swept under the carpet (in narrowing the discussion to ‘last phase of war’)?

    It seems discussion of deaths and distruction to Sinhalese and Buddhists are not good for ‘reconciliation’ while commemoration of any other death supports ‘healing’…….(this portion is deleted by me).

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      Hela

      Lets start commemoration for the

      Victims of 1915
      Victims of 1958, 1977,1983 riots
      Victims of 1971
      Victims of 1987-1991
      Victims of 30 Year war
      Victims since 2009
      Victims of periodic riots in the up country

      Victims of 2500 years of colonisation.

      When do we start?

      • 0
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        Now
        forgotten the white van ones

  • 0
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    We, muslims have lived so long peacefully with all communities(except with LTTE).So far so good. The Majority community of this Island treated us in the best manner for generations. Though certain issues surfaced in recent times it should not be a case for exploitation.There is a problem with the BBS.They have their reasons.With proper mutual understanding muslims should take necessary steps to eliminate the doubts of the BBS though they are not right in some issues.

    We should not assume that we muslims are or for that matter any community is right all the time.If we accommodate each other and live as human beings, leaving our religions and races aside(it is personal) then we could build a better place for all. There is still an opportunity. Let us not miss it.

  • 0
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    Two wrongs are not equal. LTTE is terrorist organization.State terror & state funded (BBS) Buddhist organization also terrorist group & The difference is Ltte is minority Tamils.Sri lankan muslims are in crucial stage,my opinion is going behind professional & democratic leader Mr. Sambanthan is safer than all. TNA learn lot from LTTE. They killed lot of professionals.Amirthalingam, Sivasithambaram,Yogeswan are valuable & spent the most of life time for Tamils. this poor pirabakaran never faith in democratic values & dialog s. CBK & Ranil is the best leader for negotiation. He took the ransom & avoid the voting in north.

  • 0
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    @1} Amjad Saleem harps back to an act of ethnic cleansing by the LTTE – in Jaffna in 1990. I agree that this was ethnic clensing and condem it. But the LTTE did not kill any Jaffna muslims or rape their women and girls during the eviction. One of the reason for this eviction was that, some of the Jaffna Muslims were spies working for SL Army. The LTTE had no way of weeding the spies out from the rest.

    @2} The SLA killed Tamil men and boys, and raped Tamil women and girls in the Eastern province with active help from Muslim terrorist Jihad groups funded by Saudi Arabia and Muslim terrorist “Home Guard” groups funded by SL army. This happended when the SLA was violently ethnically cleansing Tamil villages in the East.

    @3} I also condem the massacre of 147 Muslim men in Kaathaankudi Mosque, by LTTE, as a Terrorist act. But some of those Muslim men in the mosque were Muslim Jihadi or “Home Guard” terrorists, who were taking a break from their own raping and killing missions of aiding the SLA and STF terrorists. The LTTE should have weeded them out, and not harmed the civilian moslems.

    @4} From Feb 4, 1948 to August 1, 1983, how many Tamil civilians were murdered by Sinhalese, since the Brits gave independense and total power to the Sinhala Budhist leaders, whom they viewed as more loyal than Tamil or Muslim leaders? Lets consider a rough estimate of 5,000. Whereas, in the period Tamils would have killed less than one hundred Sinhalese!!! This is the reason Tamil youth joined the LTTE in large numbers after the July 1983 massacres of unarmed Tamils.

    This happened after Tamils tried and failed in parliamentary and non-violent methods up to 1983. Even the 1956 non-violent protest by Tamil politicians outside the Ceylon parliament, were, on the orders of Prime Minister SWRD. Banda (who was murdered by a Sinhala Buddhist terrorist-first act of political terrorism in Ceylon) attacked by Sinhala Buddhist thugs and policmen.

    It just so happened that some of the advisors of Bill Clinton and George Bush were desperately searching for non-Muslim armed groups to demonize using the “terrorist label”, so that they would not be perceived as labeling only Muslim groups as terrorist. So the LTTE was labeled as “terrorist” but not the 99% Sinhalese military!!!

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      Susna, We never hated Tamil as we are Tamil from India following Islam so we became Muslim by race. If rudrakuar is asking for help, yes at this moment Muslims will support for sure as Praba made mistake which they feel as Hindus are still God fearing people than Budhist whom belive No god but time and Bloody myth Karma. still we speak the same language, i belive its a good move by Rudrakumar. We dont trust Budhist…. frankly .. specially after what happned.. broke 24 Mosques and waiting untill we act and to chop our heads off. Well Jihad is already started, if Tamil Nadu said that some pakistanis are coming to Attack them.. actually its not for them, its coming to Attck the Temples .. if one Mulsim dies, 100 Budhist will die ,,, this is a challange..

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    This is one of the biggest challenges facing all Tamil leaders, not just the TGTE: how do they rise above differences between Tamil/Muslim communities to become true statesman that both communities respect? Both the TNA/TGTE have consistently maintained that they support secularism. To his credit, Sumanthiran always prefaces his comments on Muslims by apologizing for the LTTE eviction of Muslims from Jaffna. Mr. Sambanthan even talked about the unique heritage of the muslim people in the island by crediting “the Islamic golden age”. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam says that although Tamils can articulate a vision for the entire NE, they cannot speak for Muslims. It’s up to Muslims to decide on their own identity. I think all of this is positive, but Tamil leaders need to be consistent. I really hope Justice Wigneswaran reads this article, and reflects on the fact that he is campaigning to be the elected leader of both Tamils and Muslims. Therefore, everything he does as a candidate must be secular – from the way he dresses to the content of his speeches.

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    The other naturally unifying issue in the NE other than secularism for both Tamils and Muslims is security and the economy. There are certain things that are beneficial to everyone that can only occur if the NE is independent:

    Demilitarization and an end to Emergency Law. Authentic Civilian
    Administration. Citizens will never see armed troops outside their barracks ever again.

    Economic empowerment in the NE. Opening up airports in Trinco and Jaffna. Opening up the port in Trinco.
    Private schools, universities and hospitals. Private banks and lending formed in the NE and operating for the benefit of the NE. An expressway running along the coast linking Jaffna, Trinco, Batti, Mannar and Puttalam.

    The GOSL will never allow the above to happen. It can only take place in an independent NE. The TGTE should take the lead in
    articulating a vision for the NE in economic terms, so that Muslims also see the potential benefits and genuinely become excited about the dawn of Eelam.

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    @1} This Amjad Saleem tries to gain credibility simply by claiming that He has an M.Eng from Imperial College, London, an MBA from U21Global, and is currently pursuing a part-time PhD at Exeter University.

    @2} I am the 1st CT reader to find out what atrocious article was posted under Amjad Saleem’s name in the Guardian on October 24, 2009!!!

    I will leave it to other readers to compare and contrast the two articles, supposedly written by the same Amjad Saleem!!!

    Being the so called Communications leader of this Global Muslim group with unknown and mysterious backers and funding, he has just pasted his name to an article written by a couple of Islamic scholars.

    Once again, Dr Dayan Jayatilleka has made a public fool of himself by writing the above comment: Bravo, Amjad Saleem!

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/24/sri-lanka-reconstruction-peace#start-of-comments

    Sri Lanka’s path to peace

    The Sri Lankan diaspora, especially Tamils, must consign conflict to the past and work together to build a collective identity
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    •◦
    Amjad Saleem

    ◦theguardian.com, Saturday 24 October 2009 06.00 EDT

    ◦Jump to comments (71)

    After 26 years of war that cost thousands of innocent lives, the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has brought Sri Lanka to a crossroads. Yet despite the government’s victory, there has been widespread international criticism about how the war was handled.

    Success has come at a price in terms of destruction, death and the displacement of civilians. The number of actual deaths during the conflict, particularly in its last days, will never be known, despite many international attempts to hold the Sri Lankan government to task.

    Despite the LTTE being widely praised in the Tamil diaspora as a “freedom fighting” organisation, it was one of the world’s worst terrorist groups. It had perfected the art of suicide bombing and assassination, as well as engaging in the massacre of civilians from all communities, including Sinhalese and Tamils, and the ethnic cleansing of Muslim civilians from the north in 1990.

    Reconstruction, resettlement and rehabilitation will be the immediate postwar challenges and will have to be expertly handled. Reconstruction of infrastructure will be the easiest and most attractive option for donors, but creating an environment of equity and social justice could be relegated to the bottom of the list. There must be a separate effort to ensure reconciliation between people. Many barriers have been erected between Sri Lanka’s communities and special programmes to build bridges, facilitate interfaith interaction and regain intercommunity trust are urgently required.

    This is the role that the Sri Lankan diaspora as a whole will need to play to bring about a reconciliation that combines human values with an understanding of the need to move away from apportioning blame. Rebuilding trust will mean honouring unity and celebrating diversity, working towards equity and justice and ensuring the eradication of social prejudices in building a collective identity.

    Elements of the Tamil diaspora, in particular, have been active in sustaining the conflict. Some are still trying to keep the cause alive by exerting pressure on the international community to instigate war crimes proceedings or cut back on trade subsidies such as the EU’s generous tariff preference, the GSP+.

    However, they fail to realise that this will not harm the government and will be detrimental to the overall development of the country. Cutting tariff preferences, for example, will affect industry – which will in turn affect the livelihoods of all communities. Ultimately, taking a government to task should be done through a normal democratic process, which can only work if all elements within the country work towards that goal. The focus now has to be on the future development of the country.

    How Sri Lanka handles the current displacement crisis is likely to determine the confidence of its minorities and the diaspora. Pressure is mounting for quick resettlement and to give Tamils a share of power. To this end the government will have to work to ensure that all people feel they are equal citizens with equal rights.

    Addressing the Sri Lankan parliament last May, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said: “We have removed the word ‘minorities’ from our vocabulary.” Sadly, people seemed to have brushed aside the president’s statement as a gimmick, claiming that he himself does not believe in it and has no clear plans for the future. Without denying past grievances, there should now be a move to hold the government to task in terms of building confidence among the various communities and giving ownership to the minorities in rebuilding the country.

    The Tamils believed that they were fighting for an identity and to control their own affairs. Such feelings cannot be blotted out by eliminating the LTTE but they can be made irrelevant by the treatment Tamils (and other minorities) receive in the new Sri Lanka. There should now be an active and systematic campaign for celebrating coexistence among Sri Lanka’s diverse communities – and the Sri Lankan diaspora can play a big part in it.

    @3} The LTTE’s terrorist nature is caused partly by the structure of Jaffna society: The badly broken and backward and superstition filled hindu Ceylon Tamil culture, caused Tamils to be passive, and unquestioning of the LTTE’s violent methods. They were feeble and were unable to prevent Karaiyaar Tamils like LTTE Sungod Chief, and Karaiyaar/Nalavar people like Global LTTE leaders Visvanathan Rudrakumaran and Elias Jeyarajah from grabbing leadership slots.

    Vasuki Nesiah, Neelan Tiruchelvam, Arjuna Mahendran are all high caste Vellalar.

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      Susan, Are you LEELA , JIM SOFT and Sumanasekare? DODU please veryfy as I see that started the same ntelectual subject of Islam. Go Home and Have sex with someone, your mind will be cleared.

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      LTTE is long gone you are trying to do the same old business even now. Sinhalese are not going to pay anything now. They dont need you. Pray for another LTTE now then you will be back in business. Until then you have to find something else or wait for the next war. Middlemen too go without work you must understand.

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    Whatever happened in the past between Tamils and muslims, please bury the difference and unite as minorities, look at India , where muslims and Christians unite and vote against BJP to ensure that congress comes to power(In fact congress is a cheater, which is altogether a different matter). Now it is time to unite else you will have to face a black july.

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      I agree. No point talking what LTTE did. Its the past and done and dusted. BBS and JHU are too another LTTE supported opnely by the regime. So why support such a appalling regime at this stage. Get together and work against, vote against the regime to show the power.
      Tamils have a leader in Mr. Sumanthiran but the Muslims dont have one in the calibre of Sumanthiran. At least Muslims should vote for UNP or JVP. The aim to chase this rogue regime along with all Muslim MPs supporting the tyrant. None of the decent peace loving educated Sinhalese would vote for the regime.
      When you chase Gota along with the despot all these racist rogues JHU/BBS/Rawana and other Virathus will be gone forever.
      Lets make a common opposition forum. SLMC must be rejected. They havent done a bit for Muslims.

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    For the benifit of my fellow CT readers, I thought of writing a few short points about my previous posting with time-stamp:

    Susan – August 21, 2013
    3:44 pm
    Reply

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/24/sri-lanka-reconstruction-peace#start-of-comments

    #1} In the above 2009 article to which was attached the name, Amjad Saleem, the sub-tittle after the tittle is:

    The Sri Lankan diaspora, especially Tamils, must consign conflict to the past and work together to build a collective identity

    We can very easily see that Mr. Amjad Saleem is being Opportunistic Hypocritical!!!

    If Tamils must consign conflict to the past in 2009 (He was siding with the Sinhala Budhist racists!!!),

    why is he not consigning to the past today, the LTTEs 1990 eviction of Jaffna based Tamil speaking Muslims and 1990 massacre of 147 Kaathaankudy based Tamil speaking muslims?

    In 2009 Amjad wanted the Tamils to “work together to build a collective identity”. So why doesn’t he tell the same today, to the North and East based Tamil speaking Muslims?

    #2} In 2009, the last sentence of Amjad’s first para is:

    The number of actual deaths during the conflict, particularly in its last days, will never be known, despite many international attempts to hold the Sri Lankan government to task.

    So Mr. Amjad Saleem is being Opportunistic Hypocritical today!!!

    Because he wants the Tamils to just forget about 40 to 70 THOUSAND civilians who were massacred in 2009 in the Vanni!!!

    Today, he keeps glibly parroting the figure of 147 Muslims killed by LTTE in Kaathaankudi!!! Which he very strangely, does not want to consign to the past!!!

    #3} Instead of my listing all the other items which clearly show that Mr. Amjad Saleem is INCOMPETENT, OPPORTUNISTIC AND HYPOCRITICAL, I will allow other CT readers to tear apart all articles to which the hapless Mr. Amjad Saleem has attached his name!!!

    I feel that he would at least have some average civil engineering skills, which he would have learnt at Imperial College. So, as the first baby step, I would like to encourage him to assist road crews to resurface and re-build smaller roads in North Eastern SL. After a few years, he could learn from engineering crews, how to install modern street lamps, telephone poles etc etc etc.

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    Standard ploy of separatists. Write long blogs, manufacture allegations and make disparaging comments about the author. Saleem’s article seems to have alarmed some people.

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    It is sad that an educated muslim Srilankan who himself identify as a lead in the reconciliation to come of with this opportunistic response. He never attempted to analyzed what are the causes for the painful dis integration between communities including Tamils and Muslims in SriLanka since independence. What was the role played by Muslim community lead to the removal of Muslims from Jaffna and attack on Muslims in the East by LTTE? No one is going to argue that LTTE did the right thing but were the Muslims right when the Tamils were targeted by Buddhist Sinhalese? Can Saleem deny the facts that attack on Tamil Villages in the East by armed Muslim Fundamentalists. Muslims offered unconditional support to Sinhala Buddhist extremists in the elimination of Tamils. They used this opportunity to get rewards from Sinhala Buddhist states at the expense thousands of Tamils. Even today when the muslim community is targeted by Buddhist extremism, Muslims politicians cannot speak for their people because Sinhala Buddhist extremists know that they are opportunistic and prepared to give up their rights for personal rewards.

    Tamils can play a similar role in collaboration with Buddhist Sinhalese against Muslims as they did against Tamils but Tamils do not support the oppression of minorities and dominance by Majority Sinhala Buddhist. Tamils always stand for true democratic principles and true reconciliation.

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    Imagine if Nelson Mandela took the approach taken by the writer! Where would South Africa be today?

    I think Saleem takes a rather a parochial view of the challenges faced by the minorities in this country.

    While Muslims will never subscribe to separation of the country, what is required is a pragmatic approach that offers equal opportunities to all citizens and is above narrow divisions based on political, religious, caste and race based claims.

    A secular constitution with adequate safe guards for all citizens is the need of the hour.

    If we are to work with our Tamil speaking brothers, Saleem should have set out deal breakers with emphasis on a separate state being a no-no together with any concept that recognizes special rights and privileges attributed to past grievances.

    Thus meaningful devolution to the periphery,with secularism at its core is what is required. I am sure if we put all our heads together we can arrive at an equitable solution.

    There is no point in questioning the past, and the motives of the Tamils. If we do, should we not allow the Sinhalese and Tamils to question our motives as well?

    I think the article is ill timed and does not reflect the views of the majority of Muslims who feel under siege. The collective voices of all peace loving Sri Lankans must be heard, being judgmental and taking sides is not what we ought to be doing.

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      Well said Nabil.
      This article, ill tamed or not the writer doesnt give a solution to the current problems that we face.
      What he saying was LTTE did this and that. Its immeterial at this point to talk about that or its lame argument to put forward and say no to Rudara. We Muslims never supported the LTTE or we would never support for any element to devide the country.
      How many ex LTTE cadres are with the regime, holding ministries.
      A reformed Rudrakumaran suggesting the Muslims to come to a common forum. When the Regime directly attacking the Muslims from every sides what is wrong of we join another minority community to defend us or rather protect us. None of the Muslim Ministers/MPs in the regime is openly accusing the regime for what its doing.
      LTTE is dead and gone. Minorities must get together whenever there is prejudice. I have a hunch that the regime and its Think-tanks hire paid Muslim writers to publish such article to show the world that the Muslims are not badly treated/effected. A moron called Rifai Halim once wrote a comical article to justify the deliberate lie of Ponnampalam Ramanathan. Today another so called Dr. wrote some jargon to justify the BBS rowdism. Muslims must be very vigilant. What Muslims must do now is like Gota does, monitor everything.

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    Ajith

    georgethebushpig found this link and informed us about it on another thread:

    Ahem…. Tamil speaking veddas of Vaharai…
    http://youtu.be/HeFCuZwexRw

    Listen/Read the clip and come back to us so that we can discuss a few issues.

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    If TGTE’s view of solidarity with muslims is unwelcome,are the latter going to continue to depend on the muslim leadership – who are totally under the Rajapakse Regime,and who are mostly silent,for freedom from future attacks on mosques?
    About the kattankudy massacre by LTTE:-
    At that time,large numbers of muslims joined as Home Guards and commited many human rights violations on tamils of the eastern province,especially in the border villages.
    They were under the command of the STF.
    This was the provocation for the Kattankudy Mosque attack by the LTTE,to whom tamils had complained.
    This is not to say that it was justified,but in that previling climate of war between LTTE and lankan armed forces,this amounted to a counter-attack.
    Batches of tamils had been massacred earlier,by the armed forces since 1954 as recorded by the North East Secretariat Of Human Rights.

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    TGTE or any other LTTE tails never prepared to make peace with Tamils who opposed the LTTE terror.

    LTTE killed more Tamils than Muslims.

    LTTE and their foreign masters think bringing Muslims in the anti-government corner is beneficial for their interests.

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    There’s no question he is spot on. There are many Tamils who feel Rudra doesn’t represent them (believe me I know some of them in London who don’t want anything to do with Rudra or his TGTE). Again, there are many Sinhalese (mainly Buddhists, including myself) who strongly believe Gnanasara (and his NGO funded lot) has nothing to do with us. Gnanasara is a puppet controlled from outside Sri Lanka. Some day it will be exposed the same way the CIA coup in Iran in 1953 to overthrow the democratically elected government came to light recently.

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    *Amjad Saleem is the Head of Communications for The Cordoba Foundation, a Muslim-inspired ‘think and do’ tank which provides an alternative communication channel for thought leaders and policy makers on intercultural and religious dialogue, social justice issues and peacebuilding between communities.”

    ReallY?

    Saleem! Can you disclose your salary and total benefits you received from this Muslim NGO?
    How long did you work there?

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      Not a good idea. The Tamil propagandists in the ‘international’ NGOs will demand a higher salaries if they find Saleem’s getting more than they. Diaspora will have to up their contributions to the INGOs

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    Interesting that some commenters have taken to attacking Mr Saleem personally rather coming up with a coherent response. Truth hurts I guess.

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      Coward MO! What is your real identity Bayagullah!
      Truth needs to be exposed. This [Edited out] is more a FRAUD and now silent about the TRUTH about the subject and himself.

      May be BBS UK is looking for him? LOL.

      So is “Spotlight” another Bayagullah!

      Who are the Tamils you are bloody talking of? Name names without such fraudulent innuendos. They are not like Dayan Jayatileke or Rajiva Wijesinghe FYI.

      Donald Gnanakone
      Tamils For Justice.
      Founder.

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    Tut tut… such language sir. A course in anger management may be a good idea!

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    Muslim extremists like Amjad Saleem think that they can denigrate the Tamil struggle and get away with it. Little do they know that the Sri Lankan Muslims will have to make peace with the Tamils if they are to live in peace in the Northeast of the country. The Muslim leadership of Sri Lanka have been anti-Tamil for a long time, spreading hatred amongst the Muslims towards the Tamils and exploiting their position in the Sri Lankan government to steal Tamil lands and give them to Muslims. Tamils in eastern Sri Lanka have lost thousands of acres of their land to Muslim encroachers, at the hands of Muslim politicians who work with the Sri Lankan government, and many have been threatened with death and expulsion by Muslim thugs. People like Amjad Saleem have not spoken a word against this, and yet they have the temerity to attack the Tamils.

    Amjad Saleem should have a good hard look at the way his community has behaved for the last 3 decades. Not one Muslim politicians stood up for the Tamils, and neither did Muslim civil society speak against the atrocities inflicted on the Tamils by the Sri Lankan government. Instead, the Muslims were busy trying to gain benefits while the Tamils died in their thousands. Is that Islam?

    Despite all the double face and backstabbing the Tamils have extended their hand of friendship to the Muslims and folks like Amjaad Saleem ridicule and demean it. There is a reason Muslims are called Thoppi Piratti in Tamil and this article is a fine example of this.

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    Dear Mr. Saleem and other readers,

    I first want to complement you on writing a piece that grabs attention and generates so many comments.But, I have to say that it is also a rather polarizing point of view. The comments by the readers are interesting, on the surface seemingly just rantings on the part of some and blind defence of Mr. Rudrakumaran on the other. But let us look at this closely, together, and with a clear mind.
    On the question of being opportunistic ,I do not believe that being opportunistic is necessarily a bad thing ( all of nature is !)if the leaders and the people have a vision for the future and use this as a tool along that path. When do you think there will be an opportunity to rally all Tamils and ask for justice? If not now ,then when?
    I am saddened by the vitriolic rhetoric spewing from many commenting on this article, not taking the time to first look at the many valid points Mr. Saleem raises especially the one where he asks whether the Muslims will have any assurance of safety in a Tamil State. At this point in time the answer is definitely a “no”.
    But, I would venture to state that if that is all he wanted to get across, the exercise of his writing would be a waste of time. There is more that needs to be said and done, because , using his own metaphor there is another elephant, the biggest yet, in the room that is not being recognized. Where do we, Tamils-all, go from here on, in that small island? Isn’t that the biggest elephant of them all?
    I feel that Mr. Saleem in this article only raises questions but does not feel it is his duty to suggest any solutions. That is why I feel there are so many angry comments. Perhaps, he was testing the waters. I would expect more from one who is in the field of intercultural and interfaith dialogue as well as conflict resolution.
    Perhaps Mr. Saleem you want to and will suggest solutions in a subsequent piece.
    If not, you would be deluded to think that Muslims and for that matter non-Budhist Sinhalese would be safe in a country where intolerance and bigotry have been the State mantras since independence, along with the silent acquiescence by the majority Sinhalese (of all faiths), which has led to the approach of not just the LTTE but also of many visionary Tamils, that the only viable alternative would be a separate Tamil Eelam ,which many did not initially even consider peri-1948. At this juncture, I present to you the great visionary Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his plan for his people as food for thought.
    It is up to the Tamil leadership both within and without the country to build bridges and create an atmosphere of trust between the Tamils who are Muslim and the Tamils who are not. I use the term Tamil leadership in this case for both Muslim and Non- Muslim alike. This task is also for the average person who should not wait till some leader from some alphabet soup organization or party ( be it SLFP, UNP, SLMC, TNA, TGTE etc etc) comes up with ideas but needs to start thinking for themselves. We have suffered and lost much for too long, and cannot keep silent anymore. Our children and our children’s children demand more from us.
    There is no resolution to the existing problem on the island, that you propose sir, and that saddens me, and makes me ask the question aloud; what is the purpose of your piece if not to improve the conditions on our island?

    Dr. Gerard R. Francis

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