30 September, 2022

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On The Eve Of 39th ‘Black July’ Anniversary – A War Cry! Sarath Weerasekera’s Warning To TNA

By Karikalan S. Navaratnam

Karikalan S. Navaratnam

Israel ! Israel ! When will your thirst for Palestine blood end?” (Sunday Times, Mauritius, Sept. 25, 2018)

Sri Lanka is in the grip of an economic crisis and political turmoil seen as likely to tear down the country’s fabric. The population at large is seething with discontent and boiling with anger. “GotaGoGama” campaign has gained renewed momentum. Gotabaya-Ranil administration may soon grind to a halt. Country is officially bankrupt. In the face of impending starvation and famine, UN has launched a worldwide appeal for Sri Lanka humanitarian assistance. Looming in the horizon is a huge humanitarian catastrophe.

In this backdrop, some of the ‘Aragalaya’ activists may think this is not the time to discuss divisive and distractive ethnic or sectarian issues. But then, even during better times and propitious circumstances the Sinhala Buddhist (SB) intelligentsia haven’t ever had the inclination to dispassionately discuss / deal with pressing ethnic issues. On the other hand, SB ethno-nationalists have no such compunction in continuing their racist rantings. Rain or shine, it’s business as usual for them.. Come what may !

‘Black July’ to Mullivaikkal

This month, the Tamil fraternity living across the globe will painfully commemorate the in 39th anniversary of the orgy of violence – bloodbath and brutality of ‘Black July’ 1983 – killing, maiming, rape, arson, looting and assorted acts of savagery, including theofficially-orchestrated Welikada massacre of 53 Tamil prisoners, committed by a legion of lynch mob led by saffron-robed brigands in liaison with sections of the police/security officialdom. ‘Black July’ pogrom was by no means the first of its kind perpetrated against the Tamils in this blessed isle. Neither was it the last.

Commencing June 1956, initially in Colombo and Gal Oya locales, periodical anti-Tamil pogroms enacted by virulent racists have become part of Sri Lanka’s ‘proud’ heritage!

Sri Lankan landscape bears the ravages of such recurring carnage and pillage and the soil is soaked with lot of Tamil blood. Recently, our people commemorated the 13th anniversary of the slaughter of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians at Mullivaikkal in May 2009.

They perished in the “No-Fire zones” at the hands of the Sri Lanka ‘War Heroes”. Feeling unsatiated, it appears that the SB bigots again want to see more butchery and bloodletting.

Weerasekara’s war cry

Warning issued to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) recently by ex-Minister Sarath Weerasekara, sounds like a war cry – a clarion call issued to the rabid SB nationalist forces to re-enact the horrors of 1983 ‘Black July’.

“Weerasekera warns TNA not to test patience of Buddhists”

Former Minister Sarath Weerasekera today warned the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)  not to test the patience of Buddhists. Speaking in Parliament today, Weerasekera said that the TNA was making defamatory statements towards Buddhist monks and Buddhist  teachings…..The former Minister of Public Security said that there is a limit to the  patience of Sinhalese Buddhists.” (Colombo Gazette, 21 June 2022 )

The Rear Admiral has rarely chosen his words carefully and has earned a reputation for firing from the hip. When delivering the warning Weeraekara did not spell out what would happen if the “Sinhala Buddhists” lost their patience. Will it be anything worse than what the Tamils have hitherto experienced / endured — and which a discerning world had distressingly witnessed –or will it be anything new? At the end of their patience, do they – Sarath and the SB Terminators – intend doing something more dramatic and devastating like waging a nuclear Armagedden to destroy the entire Tamil humanity? Further, were their past acts of barbarism targeting Tamils, including the burning of Jaffna Public library (1981), the outcome of ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ impatience?

Oh, come on Mr. Ex-Minister, are you thirsting for another “Black July”?

Resist domination

For over 70 years in the post-‘Independence’ milieu, Tamils have faced up to State terrorism, oppression, unmitigated violence and persecution and have endured traumatic experiences and tragedies. Despite all the trials and tribulations, they have demonstrated their steely resolve to resist majoritarian domination and repulse SB bigots’ onslaughts on our peoples’ legitimate rights/ claims.

The mainstream media owned / operated by SB nationalists has not carried any report on Weerasekera’s war whoops or belligerent noises. Why? Not due to any concern that the contents would be offensive to Tamil sensibilities; but, in order to cover up and suppress the whole nasty narrative of ongoing aggression and encroachment at Kurunthoor Malai in Thannimurippu , Mullaitivu district, involving the army, police, monks and Archaeology Dept. officials.

Nasty narrative

At the instance of Buddhist prelates, the Archaeology Department has declared 500 acres of land surrounding Kurunthoor Malai and the vicinity, including 63 acres of cultivated lands belonging to Tamil villagers, as archaeological sites, a.k.a., Buddhist heritage sites. Militant monks covetously set eyes on Kurunthoor Malai in 2018 and initially planted a Buddha statue on the Hindu Aathi Sivan Iyanar temple site, which was in ruins by end of the war.

Acting in concert, SB warriors continued to invade the place, vandalizing idols of Hindu deities and wiping out religious symbols and relics on the hillock. Local villagers who protested against the intrusion and Tamil journalists were forcibly shut out from the site while the construction of a massive Buddhist Stupa proceeded without any letup.

Mullaitivu Magistrate’s Court and, subsequently, Colombo High Court had made Orders prohibiting construction of any structures on the site until the Courts made final Orders on applications pending before them. In defiance of the Court Orders, in May 2021 in the presence of State Ministers, monks and police/army personnel. the site was consecrated as a Buddhist shrine named Kurunthavasoka Rajamaha Vihara.

Mini-Kurushetra war

Last month, elaborate arrangements were made to ceremonially install a large Buddha statue at the site on 12 June 2022. The huge gathering included the military/police men, busloads of monks and ‘pilgrims’ brought down from the South for the occasion. Scores of Tamil protesters from the locality led by two Tamil M.Ps were present with placards denouncing the aggression and attacks on their religious rights. Archaeology Department officials also were present. The scenario gave the uneasy feeling that battlelines were drawn for a mini-Kurushetra war, with the army and police personnel, militant monks, Buddhist ‘pilgrims’ and Archaeological department officials arrayed on one side and Tamil villagers led by two M.Ps on the other. The confrontation would have likely caught global attention with a negative message further sullying Sri Lanka’s image. It appears that on instructions from Colombo, police and the officials have negotiated a temporary truce between the rival parties and put off the evil day of a final showdown.

Buddhist heritage

TNA M.Ps had quite legitimately raised the matter in Parliament and demanded compliance with the Court Orders. Weerasekara and the jingoists of his ilk expect the Tamils to shut up and meekly put up with SB incursions into and take over of Tamil places of worship and their habitats. Weerasekara’s allegation against the TNA is based on his own garbled version of the views expressed by TNA M.Ps in Parliament.

It may be the Rear Admiral’s rearguard action intended to stir up ethnic tensions and deflect the mounting pressure from the “aragalayas”. Tamils haven’t ever had any quarrels with Lord Buddha and the good Lord knows it. Buddhism had once flourished in the Tamil kingdoms of South India, under Pallavas and Cholas and we cherish our heritage. Of course, we have problem with the local brew, ‘Sinhala-Buddhism’, a toxic mix which is abhorrent!

Mixed-up priorities

BTW, who said Sri Lanka is bankrupt and the people are under threat of starvation? Who said “No food, No fuel, No gas, No medicine, No electricity, No transport, No schools ” etc.. etc. ? Thanks for the munificence of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, the elaborate and spectacular ceremony organized at Kurunthoor Malai on 12 June belied all claims of an economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

Dayan’s platitudes

It is not strange, that the “aragalaya” activists have made nary a murmur about SB aggression against Tamils. After all, the protestors have rallied round the Lion Flags, seen fluttering all over !. Incidentally, let us hear the pious platitudes of Dayan Jayatilleka:

A New Sri Lankan society and consciousness is being born in The Aragalaya. It is non-racist, indeed anti-racist; it is mutually tolerant and pluralist; it is solidaristic and inclusionary…..There is a new Sri Lankan family, multiethnic, multireligious, multilingual, multicultural that has come into being in and through the Aragalaya…. On this island, there’s no “these people” and “those people”. There are only the Sri Lankan People. An authentic Sri Lankanness has been born in the vortex of the struggle, the Aragalaya.” (The Island, 27 April 2022, “The Aragalaya, North and Sumanthiran’s stereotyping” ). Excellent ! But, what is your track record Dr. Jayatilleka? “Physician,

Heal thyself” We won’t believe a word you say until you take care of what ails you.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    12

    US- Backed JRJ, Yankee Dickie, and the UNP was in power when Black July happened, just like the worst attacks on Muslims in 2019 when Bondscam Ranil was in Power. Ranil Wickramasinhe, the bigger curse than the LTTE on this island, is implicated in the biggest financial fraud and is deeply unpopular but is hanging onto power today and destroying the economy and society with American Backing!

    This is the history that needs to be written – Cold War history and the US and its corrupt puppet and dictators role in- the Central Bank Bond scams of 2015 and 2016, that ruined the reputation of the country’s highest financial and oversight institution, and opened the door to US and EU based Vulture funds like Black Rock to lend recklessly and enable the accumulation of “Odious Debt” and Default, so US can colonize Sri Lanka with the IMF. How can Bondscam Wickramasinghe represent the people of Sri Lanka in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which wants to bail out the same International Sovereign bond traders RW invited to loot the county in order to fund his political party campaigns?!! Black July is a distraction!

  • 7
    19

    Karikalan S. Navaratnam,
    “Sinhala Buddhist (SB) intelligentsia haven’t ever had the inclination to dispassionately discuss / deal with pressing ethnic issues.”
    —-
    Can you please tell us what are these ‘Pressing Ethnic Issues’? I raised this question several times in this forum but no one responded. Is that because this is ‘Higannege Thuwalaya’ (Beggar’s wound) of Tamils that never heals.
    If there are ethnic issues how come the number of Tamils and Muslims keep on increasing in Colombo? Tamil and Muslim politicians who talk about marginalizing minorities live in Colombo with their families amongst Sinhala Buddhists without facing problems.

    • 19
      4

      Dear Eagle eye, The fundamental Problem in Srilanka can be trace back to mixing the Religion and Politics where as Tamil people never fought on the religious reason. It was all about the discrimination based on language that morphed into created the Ethno- Religious lines.

      Why A Multi language countries like Singapore, and Switzerland and Bilingual countries like Canada can thrive and prosper on the basis of Meritocracy while Srilanka declare bankruptcy.

      If any country that not mix the religion while respect the rule of law while only allow meritocracy, It will succeed and can develop par with Singapore or Switzerland.

      Until such time and unless a leader who can take us to that level by eliminating all religion based political decisions and only Meritocracy to thrive, Srilanka will not come out of the bankrupted state, You can dream of a prosperous Lanka .

      • 2
        3

        sn
        ” where as Tamil people never fought on the religious reason”
        Can we ask one Ratnajeevan for his views on this?
        *
        What is it that goes on between Tamils and Muslims?

    • 11
      6

      Dear Eagle Eye, Buying a property in Colombo based on Market Price is not equal to State is uprooting and forcefully taking away someone house or land from them.

      A Jewish man buy a building in Dubai is different from Chasing palatines and taking their building in Gaza or west bank.

      • 2
        0

        S.N
        You are talking to the deaf. This is Eagle’s favourite question, which he keeps repeating.

    • 7
      4

      “Can you please tell us what are these ‘Pressing Ethnic Issues’?”
      You think you can grasp even if he explains? You know the people we call “Atta Pass”.

  • 5
    2

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 4
    2

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 4
    1

    I cannot figure out why Dayan Jayatilleka feels so offended by the use of phrases like “these people” and “those people”. The phrases are quite innocuous if you ask me as they do not contain any offensive adjectives. When translated into Sinhala these terms may sound offensive because “Mehe Minissu” and “Ehe Minissu” may have some kind of culturally objectionable connotation. I suggest that DJ not interpret these words in the same linguistic context in which the Sinhala speakers do.

    • 5
      0

      “People” can be translated in several ways in Sinhala, some of which are very polite.
      DJ must be having his ‘classless society” in mind.

  • 3
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 4
    1

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  • 8
    4

    PS:
    This piece was sent for publication a couple of days back. Significant events have since rapidly altered the political landscape, generating serious constitutional issues in SL. There is something unseemly that this article appears now. Sorry about it – KSN

  • 5
    1

    “a mini-Kurushetra war”
    Is it?
    In the Kurukshetra war I know of, both sides were well armed to match, with highly trained fighters equipped with high speed missiles and multi-rocket launchers.

  • 5
    6

    Hello Karikalan S. Navaratnam.
    You say:
    ‘Sri Lankan landscape bears the ravages of such recurring carnage and pillage and the soil is soaked with lot of Tamil blood’

    A correction is needed:
    ‘Sri Lankan landscape bears the ravages of such recurring carnage and pillage and the soil is soaked with lot of Sri Lankan blood’.

    The largest number of deaths occurred in 1971 and subsequently in the 1987 to 1989 period. There was a well organised campaign to eliminate the young people who were even remotely associated with the JVP during R Premadasa’s presidency.
    I would not speculate what Sri Lanka would have been if such killings did not occur. The same comment is valid for Tamil youth who lost their lives.

    • 0
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      Sunil
      1987-89 exceed 1971 by a factor of more than four, as the JVP also indulged in killings.

      • 0
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        SJ
        Thanks.

      • 2
        1

        It is so irony that even in this day and age in 2022 there are some people still talking about ethnic lines, religious priorities, invasion and occupation while rest of the world are moving forward away from the fundamentalism but we are still breeding the fundamentalist.

        Unless and until Srilanka adopt

        1. Constitution based on market economy
        2. Constitution based on rule of law where executive and legislative branches seperated from judicial branch
        3. Elections are free and fair
        4. Freedom of expression is not under threat
        5. Meritocracy based selections on jobs
        6. Transparency in all government transactions with independent auditing department not control by executive or legislative branches
        7. A welfare system for the lowest 10 % of the income
        8. Freedom of movement with no state sponsored land grabbing or colonization
        9. All MPs to declare income publicly when entering to the politics and yearly thereafter while in power
        10. Elimination of draconian laws

        The fundamentalism and chances of prosperity won’t prevail.

        We will be talking the same S++t again and again.

        The brain drain will continue to happen and the people who didn’t even have GCE O/L will run the finance and judiciary in the country.

        Wake up people

  • 4
    5

    Hello Karikalan S. Navaratnam,
    I was very happy to note the participation of Tamil youth in the Aragalaya articulating the issues that led to the general uprising of the people of Sri Lanka.
    I question if the issues your article raises are aligned with the views of the Tamil youth who actively participate in the Aragalaya.
    Are we all fighting yesterday’s battles?
    OR are we still promoting confrontational politics notwithstanding the awakening?

    • 2
      0

      Sunil
      Tamil participation is very small. Whatever is has been despite the Tamil leadership.
      Even the ones who make supportive voices when in Colombo do little to mobilize mass support.
      The Tamil media are miserable and promote the idea that this is a problem of the South.
      Only the Tamil Left has been openly supportive and participated in the protests.
      *
      “Are we all fighting yesterday’s battles?” Some of them need them very badly for political survival. That is what kept the kitchen fire alit for the ‘leaders’ for seven decades.

    • 1
      0

      If we don’t get our act together, yesterday’s battle will continue as tomorrow’s battle. Momentarily Aragalaya youth (not just Tamils) seems to have understood and accepted this long standing issue of ours. Doesn’t systemic change include correcting the wrongs.

      • 0
        0

        SJ and chiv
        (1)
        I was wrong in thinking that the Aragalaya would dissipate.
        The outcome of the Aragalaya, for now, appears to be limited to replacing Gota by Ranil. The status quo has not changed apart from deploying the security forces for a brutal suppression. The present crop of MPs would be instructed (induced!) to vote for Ranil by the Rajapaksha clan.
        (2)
        One of my friends who is also resident outside Sri Lanka sent the following link.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XztgOqEhQkA

        I would imagine that there is nothing new in this link for those who are resident in Sri Lanka.
        There is no logical link between her performance and how different communities relate to each other. But the comments are indicative of an emotional connection, which is very desirable.
        A cynic may argue that such comments reflect the expectation that Tamils are acceptable only if they learn Sinhalese.
        Readers will obviously form their own opinions.

  • 5
    0

    KSN, Why not agitate for the total elimination of this useless and meaningless Presidency. It means one less dictator tyrant. Then make Prime Minister totally responsible to Parliament and clip his wings. The judiciary is expected to be above board anyway and needs to be accountable to each other. Otherwise, same battles will continue. When these things are sorted out, Ranil has no place here, nominated by a non existent president. Not wise to restart SB ethnicity battles, JVP and LTTE. Aragalaya has equated all.

    • 3
      0

      Dear David
      All the Blame Goes back to two people
      1.SWRD Bandaranayake

      2. JR Jayawardana .

      Rest of the clowns are just following those head clown like Sheeps.

  • 5
    9

    The racist writer knows full well that the only person to ‘thirst for another Black July’ was his leader VP, who carried out massacre after massacre to provoke the Sinhalese.

    • 6
      1

      Svenson

      “The racist writer knows full well that the only person to ‘thirst for another Black July’ was his leader VP, who carried out massacre after massacre to provoke the Sinhalese.”

      Alright I understand he (VP whoever that is) carried out massacre after massacre to provoke the Sinhalese that was after 1983, how did the Sinhala speaking hoodlums provoke before 1983 in 1956, 1958, 1961 , 1977, …… ?

      Did your mother feed you with pure unadulterated stupidity and racism?

  • 2
    11

    ‘Sri Lankan landscape bears the ravages of such recurring carnage and pillage and the soil is soaked with lot of Tamil blood’
    .
    Far more Sinhala blood than Tamil blood. You have forgotten that Tamils have been invading and occupying Sinhale for centuries.

    • 11
      0

      S
      But how can you tell S blood from T blood when more than half the Sinhalese are Tamil immigrants in the past millennium, and many Tamils other than settlers in the past century or two could be Sinhalese or Aththo.
      Many ‘invaders’ themselves became Sinhalese in the Polonnaruwa period.

      • 0
        3

        “when more than half the Sinhalese are Tamil immigrants in the past millennium”

        The latest genetic studies show stronger affiliation between Sinhalese and Muslims than Sinhalese and Tamils: “. According to the research findings, Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka were shown to have a subtle but statistically significant genetic subdivision from Sinhalese and Moors. However, Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, and Moors are highly mixed. Interestingly, Sinhalese and Moors are genetically closer to each other compared to Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils as indicated in the figure below.”
        https://science.cmb.ac.lk/ethnic-reality-of-sri-lankans-eng/

    • 5
      0

      Svenson

      “Far more Sinhala blood than Tamil blood. You have forgotten that Tamils have been invading and occupying Sinhale for centuries.”

      Please give us detailed quantity analysis of Tamil and Sinhala blood.
      By the way in case you don’t want to know, Tamils of Sri Lanka, Tamils of Tamil Nadu and Sinhalese share the same DNA.

    • 2
      0

      Making comparisons of this sort is unnecessary and odious.
      .
      Reconcilliation is possible only when we acknowledge that the other person probably knows more on certain subjects than we do.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

    • 6
      0

      Dear Mr. Svenson, Let me educate this fact from Encyclopedia Britannica.
      The original people of this island are called Vedda, everyone else here are immigrants to this island from various parts of India.

      http://www.britannica.com/topic/Vedda
      Vedda, also spelled Veddah, people of Sri Lanka who were that island’s aboriginal inhabitants prior to the 6th century BCE. They adopted Sinhala and now no longer speak their own language. Ethnically, they are allied to the indigenous jungle peoples of southern India and to early populations in Southeast Asia. They have now been largely absorbed into the modern Sinhalese population; in 1911 they were reported to number about 5,300, by 1964 the government estimated their population at about 800, and by the 1970s they had virtually ceased to exist as a separate community.

      I am Posting this to all those claim their land, our land etc to understand that this island does not belongs to any one of us.

      Like the native Indians in America and Canada or Called first nations People or the aboriginal people of Australia are the natives.

      I hope hereafter those who claim or use the word ” invasion” “Occupation” should realize that they too are in the same group in a different generation.

      • 1
        0

        Correct. My original comment was disallowed, so will reword it. What is Sinhalese or Tamil blood or ancestry when DNA has proven that both people including the island’s Muslim or Moor population are very closely related to each other and they are all very closely related to the South Indian Tamil population. Proving we are all more or less descended from South Indian people who migrated to the island from prehistoric to fairly recent times. If there is any other genetic input, either from north India or western Asia it is minor.

        • 1
          0

          Most of the South Indian/Tamil invasions, migrations and occupiers from the time of mythical prince Vijaya and his band of 500 merry men, who were supposed to have married Pandian Tamil women and founded the Sinhalese race, to all other South Indian invaders, migrants, occupiers in between until the large scale importation of largely low caste South Indian indentured labour during the Portuguese/Dutch colonial era, have all been mostly been assimilated into the present day Sinhalese identity and ethnicity and far less into the Sri Lankan Tamil ethnicity. This reflects in the present-day Sinhalese genetics/DNA, culture, food habits, and names.

    • 5
      1

      Same rubbish excuse posted again and again about incidents that happened around 1000 years ago or more to justify the current state-sponsored Sinhalese racism and marginalization of the island’s Tamils. The so-called Tamil invaders from South India were close relatives of the so-called Sinhalese kings, as most Sinhalese kings were a branch of the Pandian Tamil dynasty. later the Madurai Naicjer dynasty. They were the grandson, son-in-law, brother-in-law, or first cousin of these South Indian Tamil dynasties and many of these so-called invasions were actually not an invasion but an invitation by local one contender to the throne or another for their Tamil relatives from South India to come and settle the dispute. Remember the story of Kasypapan and his half-brother Muglan who ran to South India to his close relatives and came back with an army to settle the dispute? 90% of these so-called Tamil invaders and immigrants, settled amongst the Sinhalese and gradually took on a Sinhalese identity.

    • 1
      4

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  • 3
    0

    Dear Karikalan S. Navaratnam,
    .
    We owe a lot to the committed young people who made the Aragalaya possible. This man is typical of them:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao-Kmz_0W7w
    .
    It is all in Sinhalese, because that is the only language that he is familiar with. That’s all right, because he doesn’t aspire to State Power for himself.
    .
    Of course, it would have been better if he were more versatile, but have no doubts about people like this. I have listened to all 21 minutes. He makes no special mention of ethnic issues because such toxic ideas had never entered his head.

  • 0
    14

    The average IQ in Sri Lanka is 79. If you divide the country along ethnic lines, it does not mean one group will suddenly start outperforming another. There was a time when a handful of Jaffna Tamils outperformed the majority of Sinhalese due to easy access to English education. This loss of privilege is the beginning of the fake freedom struggle, although some might disagree. This privilege no longer exists, since anyone with money can now study at a foreign university. The problem facing the country is perhaps the low IQ resulting in diminished productivity (GDP, GNP, etc). The economy has to move beyond tourism and foreign remittances. The lower IQ stems from a brain drain. The solution is not to divide the country, but to integrate Sri Lanka into the global community via FDI and technology transfer, thereby increasing the average IQ, leading to a higher GDP. Now some terror supporters will argue, 79 = stupid. This is an average. If you go to the mathematics department of a university, the average IQ will be well over 100.

  • 7
    1

    Many of the present-day Sinhalese, now beating the anti-Tamil drum and this South Indian invader story, are their descendants, their family names are dead give away. What have all these Invasions and invaders from South India =. the vast majority of them became Sinhalese, got to do with the native indigenous Tamils from the north and east, who have been living on the island continuously, in their homeland for more than 3000 years, especially when 90% of the descendants if these South Indian invaders and occupiers are the present day Sinhalese and make up the vast majority of them and not the ancestors of the Sri Lankan Tamils from the north and east. It is these South Indian invaders and occupiers who enriched and gave most of your culture and built many of these great historical monuments.

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