26 October, 2020

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Re-Thinking The Ethnic Imbroglio

By Izeth Hussain

 Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

It is always difficult to see things as they are. Somerset Maugham, a shrewd observer of human frailty in his best work, claimed that the transcendental geniuses such as Shakespeare and Dostoevsky – I am not sure of the names he actually used – could see through a brick wall, whereas he himself, unlike average humanity, could clearly see what was directly under his nose. Wyndham Lewis was even more scathing about the limitations of average humanity: he wrote that only a few people of very exceptional intelligence can see that the cow is in the field. Many readers will write all that off as misanthropic hyperbole. But most will agree that in general we are usually reluctant to see things as they are when they are unpleasant.

An example is provided by the question of the prospects for a political solution of the ethnic problem. The prospects are nil, or almost nil. The realistic prospect is that the ethnic imbroglio will continue indefinitely into the future. Such is the situation after 25 years of war and four years of peace. Our expectation that peace would lead, sooner rather than later, to noon-tide glory in the resplendent isle, has led instead to what looks like darkness at noon. This is the situation, the horribly unpleasant situation, which most of us, including myself, have been unwilling to face. What this situation demands, above all, is that we rethink the fundamentals of the ethnic imbroglio. It is a process that could lead to our posing the right questions which could lead eventually to the right answers.

What is the problem? It is not just a Sri Lankan ethnic problem, but an Indo-Sri Lankan ethnic problem, as I have argued in an earlier article. The fall-out in Tamil Nadu of what happens to the Tamils in Sri Lanka can never be ignored by the Delhi Government because that fall-out can take the form of restiveness and even a rebelliousness that spawns separatist movements that under certain unforeseeable contingencies could even threaten the very unity of India. It seems to be a unique problem because I can think of no parallel case where an ethnic problem in one country can threaten the unity of another. If Turkey had not intervened in Cyprus and there had been a blood-bath of the Cypriot Muslims, the Turkish Government would have fallen, but there would have been no threat to the unity of Turkey. We must face up to the unpleasant fact that no Government in Delhi can remain uninvolved in what happens to the Tamils here. The external Indian dimension of our ethnic problem is not of an ancillary order but is integral to our ethnic problem. And that fact is not going to change because of unalterable geographical propinquity and the common ethnicity of the two groups of Tamils. General Zia-ul Huq of Pakistan, one of the most sympathetic friends of Sri Lanka, was quite right in advising us repeatedly – not in his exact words: “If you try to solve your ethnic problem regardless of the wishes of India, you will sink into a bottomless pit”.

However – an unpleasant fact that our Tamils have to bear in mind – what I have written above is not meant to imply that our Tamils can rest assured of Delhi’s support no matter what. I must have been the first to try to assess systematically the Tamil Nadu factor in our ethnic problem, in a paper that I presented at a seminar in the late ‘eighties. My argument was that there is an ethnic commonality between the SL and the TN Tamils, but the two groups are not identical, and that fact will weigh in the political realm. My late friend Professor Sivatamby – articulating the views of the other Tamils present – argued that what I was saying was true at an anthropological level but that I was underestimating the importance of the ethnic commonality between the two groups. My argument received substantiation after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi when Delhi and Tamil Nadu to a large extent turned against the LTTE. Later Delhi supported the Sri Lankan Government in the war against the LTTE, probably to a far greater extent than is known to the public at present. At present SL and TN Tamil fisherman are virtually at war against each other. It seems to me that Tamil Nadu and Delhi will support our Tamils only to the extent that their demands are reasonable and fair-minded according to international standards. The Eelam project has no traction in India – though, I acknowledge, the time for that may yet come given the colossal racist stupidity that has always been rampant among a segment of the Sinhalese power elite.

I come now to the present unpleasant situation. Neither the TNA nor the Government wants 13A, and there is nothing else on offer to enable us to start moving towards a political solution. However, there is a difference between the two in that the TNA is willing to give 13A a try – which is why I wrote in the second paragraph above that the prospects for a political solution are nil “or almost nil”. But I cannot envisage the TNA really being in earnest about 13A until after the Indian General elections. If Narendra Modi and the BJP get a clear majority the Indian Government may go in an authoritarian neo-Fascist and racist direction. The new Government could become much tougher with the SL Government than the Congress one. There could be very serious developments over the problems of marauding Indian fishermen and Kachchaitivu. For such reasons we cannot expect the TNA to be really enthusiastic about 13A, unless it comes under serious Indian Government pressure. But we cannot see that happening either. As for the SL Government no one expects it to agree to the full implementation of 13A – inclusive that is of police and land powers – while the Indian Government wants no less than that.

The unpleasant reality is that it is darkness at noon. What do we do? In this article, which is aimed at a rethinking of the fundamentals of the ethnic imbroglio, I have argued that our Tamil ethnic problem is not just a Sri Lankan problem but an Indian one as well, and furthermore, that India is not ancillary but integral to the problem. There are therefore four actors in our ethnic problem: the SL Government, the SL Tamils, Tamil Nadu, and the Delhi Government. In terms of the argument that I have been developing, the concurrence of all four actors is required for a lasting political solution. The two Governments in Colombo and Delhi have to work towards that end.

The suggestion that I am making might seem humiliating and most offensive to our national pride. Why, it might be asked, should two outsiders, namely Tamil Nadu and Delhi, be regarded as integral to our purely internal ethnic problem? The answer to that is that it was not they but we who gave an external dimension to what should have been a purely internal problem. It was the anti-Tamil genocidal State-backed pogrom of 1983 that gave the external dimension to the problem, by shocking and outraging the rest of the world and making it impossible for Tamil Nadu and Delhi to ignore what was going on inside the blood-drenched paradise isle of Sri Lanka.

Is there a way out? More specifically, is there a way of making the ethnic problem once again an internal one and getting the foreigners off our backs? I don’t know but we have to try and we must try. Perhaps the starting point should be for both sides, the Sinhalese and the Tamils, to stop demonizing each other and acknowledge their own shortcomings and errors. The Tamils must acknowledge that the LTTE and the TNA put themselves completely in the wrong by rejecting every proposal for devolution from 1994 to 2000, by making a farce of the peace process, and finally by compelling the Sinhalese to fight the war to its conclusion. They must acknowledge that the Sinhalese side fought a just war in the sense that they had no alternative whatsoever. Both sides must acknowledge that they fought a savage war with no prisoners taken.

The Sinhalese side must acknowledge that the discrimination against the Tamils went to grotesque extremes from 1970 to 1977, and that that was followed by the State terrorism of JRJ which rose to a genocidal apogee in 1983 when the Tamils were treated as worse than pariah dogs. I mean that literally: from British times the pariah dogs were rounded up but they were never burnt alive whereas Tamils were burnt alive in the streets of Colombo and elsewhere with total impunity. Thereafter there was a silence, a criminal silence, from the civil society and the dignitaries of the four great world religions until Anne Abeyesekera broke the criminal silence by writing a letter which was surprisingly published by the disgusting racist paper The Sun. She has conveyed to me that there was also a letter written from a Buddhist perspective by Mahinda Palihawadana. The Sinhalese must recognize that the Tamils had the following alternatives: either be reduced to worse than pariah dog status, or fight. They must acknowledge that the LTTE fought a just war from around April 1994 onwards until the just war shifted to the other side.

It is time for the Sinhalese to recognize that it is ridiculous to regard the LTTE as a terrorist group and nothing more than that. Over the decades I have refused to use the term “terrorist” to characterize the LTTE, and I have written at least two articles on the subject, and must do so again. There are over a hundred definitions of the word “terrorism”, but the consensus about its core is this: the indiscriminate killing of innocent non-combatant civilians. The LTTE was guilty of that through the Pettah bomb, the Maradana bomb, the Sacred Bo Tree bomb etc, but JRJ killed far more through his State terrorism from 1977 to 1983. The accolade of Sri Lanka’s greatest terrorist should go to JRJ and not to Prabhakaran. The latter led a nationalist movement, but most unfortunately for the Tamils his was a regressive tribalist neo-Fascist nationalism, similar to that of the JVP and what the nationalism of the present Government is threatening to become. All the same, it is time for the Sinhalese side to acknowledge the capacity for self-sacrifice, the valour, the fighting prowess of the LTTE cadres. I want the Sinhalese people to rise to the greatness of the ancient Chinese who inscribed on the tombs of their fallen enemies, in recognition of their valour: “May you be born among us in your next birth”.

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  • 3
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    The governance allowed by the governors of other provincial councils,is NOT allowed to happen in the Nothern and Eastern Provincial Councils,by the Military Governors of both provinces.

    Lands and homes of citizens of PCs are not taken away by the army in PCs other than NPC & EPC.
    Day to day lives of citizens – on family occasions including burials and worship in temples too,are not regulated by the army except in NPC & EPC.

    The NPC Governor openly campaigned for the UPFA during the recently concluded election.This never happened in other PC elections.

    Does this not show that the President, whose proxies are the Governors,does not wish equality of nothern & eastern citizens,with all others in sri lanka.

    The excuse is that the LTTE which is dead, may reincarnate if full freedoms are allwed.

    The President,instead of ordering transfer of adequate funds to the NPC,suggests that the CM should speak with PBJayasundera!

    Izeth Hussain chooses to ignore these realities,and embarks on a history lesson.

    • 0
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      All the facts stated by you are very well-known, and I certainly agree with your adverse comments about them. Do you seriously expect that I should bring all that in into an article in which I addressed only certain problems? What makes you think that I deliberately chose to “ignore these realities” when in fact they did not need to be mentioned for the purposes of my argument? Is it your hatred that makes you want to hit out at anything I write?

  • 3
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    So the Tamil terrorists will be born Sinhalese terrorists in their “next birth”!

    I think it has already happened.

    e.g. BBS

  • 2
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    Young BBS monks who threw stones and bombs at a mosque in Grandpass are the “reborn” Tamil terrorists who bombed the Kathankundi mosque in 1990.

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

  • 0
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    Another way of looking at it is that a solution based on 13A by the Sri Lankan Govt would also satisfy the Indian Govt as it is part of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord. So there is no real complexity in the Indo Sri Lankan relationship as the author attempts to make out. The tamils in the north are only asking for a reasonable level of self governance within the ambit of 13A and non interference of the military in civilian affairs.

    Withdrawal of the military to barracks, not complete withdrawal from the province and non interference of the military in civilian affairs can occur without jeapardising the security of the state. There is enough state land that can be used by the military without having to take over private lands.

    It is more a case of trusting and accomodating the tamils to which there is no barrier. It is simply the lack of will and resolve by the Sri Lankan Govt. The Govt chooses to pander to the voices of extremist and facist in the south instead of taking a firm principled stand and solving a national problem.

    • 0
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      How I wish more people around the country will see matters in perspective as regular commentator Safa does.

      Kettikaran

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      I agree with all your adverse comments on the Government’s behaviour. My argument was that neither side had a commitment to 13A. Wigneswaran’s Budget speech in December had this: “It should be understood by all clearly that the present Provincial Council cannot be a vehicle of change for the betterment of the Tamil speaking people of the North and East”.

  • 0
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    “They must acknowledge that the Sinhalese side fought a just war in the sense that they had no alternative whatsoever.” says our ‘wise’ man Izeth Hussain.

    In other words genocide of 145,000 innocent Tamils in 2009 war is just because there was no alternative, and must be forgotten by Tamils.

    Denying genocide of Tamils is a crime against humanity, and must be made punishable after Sri Lanka problem is solved by the international community.

    Sri Lankans other than Tamils deny genocide. Why? Because they were not at the receiving end of the atrocities by the state.

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      I wish to make 2 comments on Thiru’s observations.

      The US Secretary of State, speaking in Geneve 2 days ago – gathered for the Syrian Peace Talks – confirmed denial of food to civilians by Assad and his forces to other parts of Sunni Syria is a War Crime. By this definition Izzeth Hussain has made suggestions of a War crime nature when he wrote years ago the Govt must starve Tamils in the North of food as a strategy to break the backbone of the then Tamil rebellion. He was not talking of LTTE fighters. He now denies this, while it is all there in the archives of The Island newspaper.

      Many Sinhalese deny the genocide because their side entirely perpetrated it – often with much glee. Schadenfraude, if you like.

      R. Varathan

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        “By this definition Izzeth Hussain has made suggestions of a War crime nature when he wrote years ago the Govt must starve Tamils in the North of food as a strategy to break the backbone of the then Tamil rebellion.”

        If this is statement by Izeth Hussain is true as you say archived in n The Island newspaper, then he is culpable for inciting genocide of Tamils.

        I remember reading a newspaper report of Wimal Weeravanse during the war similarly inciting the air force to bomb wholesale Tamil villages to get rid of the LTTE.

        Similar cases of individuals inciting genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda were prosecuted and punished.

        This is a serious matter and should be brought out when international investigations on war crimes starts.

      • 0
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        First the number of deaths is not confirmed. even the biggest critics of SL gover hasnt been able to come up with a confirmed figure of civilian deaths. Some say 40,000, 70,000 and again 140,000 and i have seen some even saying 300,000. I guess thiru picked a figure that can give a marketing edge.

        The fact that the ones who come up with these figures have been partial and the vague mechanism used to find these figures questions the authenticity of the figure.

        Also the injured to dead ratio doesnt help the idea that thousands of them died.

        This argument of blocking food is coming up because the LTTE propaganda units realize the inability to accuse the government for genocide with the evidences available.

        I do not know whether the writer of this article has talked in favour of a food blockage. However there is evidence to say that mal nutrition was no widespread and government did send food items to people. Also there are evidences that LTTE took the food items for themselves even going to the extent of building bunkers out of rice sacks given by the SL gov.

        ICRC has also informed US ambassoder that there is nothing to suggest genocide in SL which were revealed in wiki leaks.

  • 2
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    Mr. Hussain,

    “The accolade of Sri Lanka’s greatest terrorist should go to JRJ and not to Prabhakaran.”

    Were you so outspoken when you were a diplomat while JRJ was president?
    If not, did you at least do something to tell the truth to the world, instead of lying for the state, as is the practice of diplomats everywhere?

    “…the Sinhalese side fought a just war in the sense that they had no alternative whatsoever. Both sides must acknowledge that they fought a savage war with no prisoners taken.”

    You are confusing a “necessary” war with a “just” war. The former may be true, but the latter is not. A decision to go for an all out war in the final stages, after Kilinochchi had been captured and the LTTE had been boxed-in, and the war was pretty much won, knowing well the high cost of civilian lives beforehand, can never be called “just.”

    And until crimes by both sides ( DBS Jeyaraj’s latest article on Ananthi Sasitharan shows how LTTE’s Ezhilan conscripted and killed people, and if true, that too is absolutely a crime against humanity) are fully investigated by a credible mechanism, and the report made public, there won’t be any movement on reconciliation. Given the utter lack of credibility of the Rajapaksa regime as well as the LTTE, it has to necessarily be an international mechanism.

    Indeed, if the LTTE also committed such crimes, exposing that through a credible inquiry may contribute to Tamils reassessing their side’s actions during the war, which can only help in reconciliation.

    • 0
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      No diplomat , in Sri Lanka or elsewhere, has the freedom to criticize the Government and its leader. As soon as I left the Foreign Ministry, I started criticizing JRJ and the UNP, and kept it up until 1994. Some thought that I was risking death in doing so.
      I was using the term “just war” in an extremely limited sense, which I have defined: there was no alternative to either side. There has been no agreed definition on what is a just war. Jean Bacon argued, in a brilliant book, that in reality “just war” is the one term about which there has been total unanimity right along : the just war is always the one fought by your side, an unjust war is always the one fought by the other side.
      Unjust horrors were certainly perpetrated by both sides. Neither side took prisoners. The wounded and the captured were butchered in violation of international humanitarian law. The international community ignored all that for years and years.

    • 0
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      SL ‘s war was just because SL had no other alternative to defend its territory and national intergrity. By 2009 LTTE is truly terrorist organisation while SL gover changed after the early 80s.

      I think the more time it takes the more harm it is for the people in a bloody conflict. The gover may have thought possible disease outbreaks and lack of food could be resulted if SL gov took a longer time to finish the tigers.

      Also the western pressure and their objective of saving prabhakaran might have made the SL gov to go for a quick end.

      And it has been stated by ICRC that SL gov took steps to reduce civilian casualty while sacrificing their soldiers.

  • 0
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    Mr Husain: you write…’There are therefore four actors in our ethnic problem: the SL Government, the SL Tamils, Tamil Nadu, and the Delhi Government.’…to that I would add the Sinhala-Buddhist community within SL, the Tamil Diaspora outside SL and, most importantly of all, the Sangha in Sri Lanka. Know ye this: IF the Sangha does not give the lead, the Sinhala-Buddhist community will NOT change, and the government (indeed the majority of all our politicians) will NOT even think of jeopardising their electability.

    • 0
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      This scroundel only knows to oevesdrop to other people’s conversations for arrack and a few rupees.

      • 0
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        Abuse is not argument. You have no argument. Therefore you abuse.

    • 0
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      The four actors I have mentioned are the main ones. The main responsibility for working towards a political solution lies with the two Governments because they have the weapons. In international relations both power (weapons) and morality count.
      The Delhi Government has to take the wishes of Tamil Nadu into account. The Colombo Government has to take into account the wishes of the SL Tamils and the Sinhalese inclusive of the Sangha. But the Sangha may be the decisive factor and perhaps should be moved to center stage. I must think about it. Thanks for your thought-provoking contribution.

  • 0
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    Whenever I am in one place for extended periods of time in the nature of my work, that involves regular overseas travelling, I log into Colombo Telegraph to study the different views and developments on the Sinhala-Tamil issue – of keen interest to Tamils.

    I note senior Writer Izzeth Hussain (IH) writes regularly and has as many friends as critics to his analyses and views. Having read this piece I am afraid he tries, vainly, to re-invent the wheel and is guilty of serious mistakes, wishful suppositions and a trail of contradictions. Like that hilarious example of statisticians relying on figures like the drunkard leans on the lamp post more for support than illumination, IH in his analys is here and there but eventually gets nowhere. He brings in Maugham, Shakespeare and Dostoevsky with little reason or relevance here weakening his case – even before it begins.

    I am afraid it is quite unbecoming of a political analyst worth his standing to dismissively state the prospects for a solution to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka is nil. Granted, the going is tough and arduous but the issue is not entirely devoid of an early settlement. I am reminded of the 4-6 decades old Language Parity and Citizenship issues, which the powerful Buddhist extremists – lead by influential Mahanayakas – made impossible for resolution. Even a serious public discussion in the matter was virtual heresy and anyone who dared it was condemned as traitors.In spite of all this, both issues were settled in 1987. So in the Lankan scenario, it may be argued, anything is possible.

    As to his bringing in former President Zia to support his thesis, I am afraid it is unlikely Zia would have said anything supportive of India. Zia would have done everything possible to make capital out of our ethnic problem for Pakistan to benefit at the expense of India. Will IH do us the favour of quoting the Statement, where/when it was made.

    IH risks the charge of ego and arrogance when he says he was the 1st to assess systematically the ethnic commonality between Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils in the 1980s. This commonality was recognised and accepted centuries ago by both people across the Straits.

    As opposed to IH’s position there are 4 actors to the issue I would really think it is now 5 – when you add the new entrant – the international community, now more powerful than most of the others.

    TNA, now the voice of Lankan Tamils, may not take too kindly to IH vide “I cannot envisage TNA being in earnest about the 13A until after the Indian General Elections” CM Vigneswaren is a honourable and learned man well versed in the laws. He, together with his lawyer colleagues Sampanthan, Sumanthiran and Kanag-Iswaran have analysed the 13th Amendment to dismiss the claims of IH. They are also well positioned to disagree with IH’s doubt “Tamil demands are reasonable and fair-minded (sic)..” One wonders what international standards IH refers to here.

    While his choice of language “Tamils were treated worse than pariah dogs” is utterly distasteful and not consonant with facts, his subsequent declaration LTTE are not terrorists, is probably aimed at pleasing the Tamils. Sadly, this will only be taken with a pinch of salt.

    IH’s foray into North Indian politics is equally inadequate as he observes “if Modi and BJP get a clear majority the Indian Govt may go in an authoritarian and racist direction” To begin with, no Indian analyst worth his reputation has said Modi/BJP will get to the magic 275 (seats in the Lok Sabha) in the forthcoming Indian General Elections. The best the BJP is estimated to gain is 180 in which case they will depend on regional parties to stitch out a workable Coalition. The growing face of the AAP is expected to eat into BJPs national electorate. And, even if the unexpected benefits the BJP, how does IH speculate they will become authoritarian and racist?

    The article, unfortunately, is structured on so many presumptions that simply may not see the light of day. If the exercise is to please the current Lankan regime the Rajapakses might invoke Voltaire
    “please save me from my friends. I can handle my enemies”

    Pandaranayagam

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      This insulting response merits no more than some brief dismissive remarks.He charges that I wrote that the prospects for a political solution are nil, whereas in the same sentence I wrote “or almost nil”. Furthermore I used that phrase again in a later part of the article giving it importance in my argument. It looks like he has deliberately distorted what I wrote.
      He charges that I claimed that I was the first to assess systematically the “ethnic commonality” between the SL and the TN Tamils, and that in doing so I risk the charge of “ego and arrogance”.I did nothing of the sort.What I wrote was that I must have been the first to try to assess systematically “the Tamil Nadu factor” in our ethnic problem. The ethnic commonality is something known down down the centuries, and it would be silly of any one today to claim that he was the first to assess it systematically.He wants the reader to believe that I am that silly. The “Tamil Nadu factor” is something quite different.
      This fellow deliberately distorts what I wrote. Or may be he cannot understand what I wrote because his mental faculties have been blocked by hatred and rage. Either way I can’t waste my time on such stuff.

  • 0
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    Ethnic issues did not start with the war. LTTE is the result of the eithnic war created from the time we got independence. Ethnic issues were there from the day we got independence and every successive government kept the issue on for their own votes. Until and unless a leader has the guts and the leadership to put a stop to the divisiveness there will be no peace within or from outside Sri Lanka. We might as well remove the “Sri” from the name of the country.

    • 0
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      You are absolutely correct Park, many biased writers like IH starts with the wrong premise that LTTE was the beginning of the ethnic problem.

      They craftily ignore Sri Lankan history of gross injustices against Tamils since independence. Many of the writers are bought over by the regime and we don’t know who is who. Their goal is one; to propagate a false propaganda for the regime and the Sinhalese chauvinists.

  • 0
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    This is a neutral third party observer without prejudice talking.Both the Sinhalese and the Tamils should do well to listen.

    • 0
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      Brief and well-put. Thank you. “Migara” suggests that you are Sinhalese. I am intrigued by the fact that most of the responses to the present and earlier articles expressing hysterical hatred seem to have come from Tamils. I wonder why.

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        This goes to prove that by far the most it is the Tamils who are the most racist elements in this imbroglio, called the civil war in Sri Lanka. The Tamils, are more inclined to be more slavish to their colonial masters than the Sinhalese, who have only a minority of Sinhala Buddhists who are carrying the burden of their white colonial masters of yore. It is the Tamils who precipitated this ethnic strife acting on the instructions of their ex-colonial masters, more than the Sinhalese, who were illiterate and an underprivileged lot when we attained independence in 1948. Any wonder as to why they are the most vociferous critics of your analysis, Mr.Izeth Hussain?

        • 0
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          Thanks for your views. I must think about this problem.

          • 2
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            I would like to make some observations on the on going discussion. 1983 was a dark patch in the history of Sri Lanka. It was a pogrom carried out by the racist government of the time, with a ‘kalu Sudda’ at the helm. However never forget the fact that these barbaric acts of targeting minorities was nothing to do with the majority community or the Sri Lankan nation. Rather this was an act in accordance with a script written by the neo-colonialists and the Zionists, in the post 1956 scenario, to precipitate what we today identify as 30 years war of attrition by the mercenary forces of the Judea-Christian West, the Catholic Tamil Tigers and a minority of their cohorts, among the Buddhists and Hindus, who were outright Westoxicated racists. The vast majority of the Sinhalese or the Buddhists were not to be blamed for the actions of the westoxicated JRJ- the last of the ‘Kalu Suddas’ in our midst then. Rather the majority of Sinhalese were peace loving and magnanimous, then and now and in some respect were indifferent in their attitudes towards the happenings around them, so much so, that it would have even, perhaps resulted in an Elam being proclaimed with their consent by default and even without a murmur of opposition from the Sinhalese. I am not fantasizing; if Chandrika had her way in the late 90’s and early 2000’s this scenario would have been a reality. What is going on today is a witch hunt by the neo-colonialists and their local agents to make the Sinhala nation-comprising patriotic Sinhalese, Tamils and Moors(Muslims) and their patriotic sons pay dearly for its crime of standing up to the Western Judo-Christian hegemony and defeating their proxies led by the mercenary forces of terrorist Prapakaran. The Tamil Tigers or the TNA or their supporters across the Palk Strait could never be classified as freedom fighters under normal circumstances; for if they are they would never equated their struggle with the barbaric Zionists. A real freedom fighter would always find himself on the same side as any other oppressed freedom fighter any where in the world. Rather if they were to be classified as freedom fighters they would be on the same side as Castro’s Cuba, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, Eva Morale’s of Bolivia and of course the freedom fighters in our neighbourhood the Kashmiris. But where do we find these so called freedom fighters find their succor from:hold your breath; from the racists in the EU states, the Neocons and the Zionists in the US, , and all other supremacists preaching white supremacy and hegemony in Canada, Australia, Norway, Denmark and elsewhere. Did any of these so called freedom fighters or their political cousins, the TNA,TULF, DMK, ADMK,Vaikko et al, ever made any statement anywhere condemning the atrocities of the Zionists against the hapless Palestinians in the last 60 odd years? Anything about the happenings in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, or even Vietnam then? If not why not? The sad truth is that the Tamil politicians of Sri Lanka and Tamilnad are all surrogates of the West; specially the empire building powers. So I beg to differ with Mr.Izeth Hussain on this: that is the Tigers or the Tamils never had a just war in their hands. It was and is a proxy war; between Sri Lankan nation and the new world order.

  • 0
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    As another reader points out here, it is more than 5 actors now. He includes the ubiquitous Buddhist clergy as well. When I mentioned 4 in the Sinhala extremist chauvinism, I included this feature under that category as well.

    In responding to readers’ concerns Mr. Hussain satisfies the essential requirements of healthy debate – quick response. I thank him for that.
    Even in this thread, it is not only Tamils responding but the other communities as well. No fear of intrigue there.

    Responding to his other observations, allow me to say, even in our limited governance, there have been several fine gentlemen who fearlessly disagreed with the high and the mighty. IGP Cyril Herath disagreed with JRJ and preferred to go home. The honour and integrity he retained for the uniform was to be restored to be him subsequently, as we were all witness to. There could have been many more gallant examples like that of former CJ Neville Samarakoon, who is remembered with great respect. The judgements at the Nuremberg trials reminded the world illegal orders, even to uniformed men even during War, can be resisted for valid and tenable reasons.

    We look forward to Mr. Hussain’s regular welcome views on matters of immediate interest to the country. Some of them may be subject to strident criticism to maintain the spirit and substance of public debate. But commentators should ensure they are not of a personal nature.

    Pandaranayagam

  • 0
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    I agree with some points with the writer.

    I think solving of the ethnic conflict needs this acknowledgement from both sides. Sinhalese need to acknowledge that tamils were discriminated against and gov didnt do enough for the tamils as a whole to build a truly multi cultural country. SL still needs to acknowledge its multi cultural and multi religious identity.

    At the same time tamils need to acknowledge that the funding of LTTE, racist politics of tamil politicians and the justifying and tolerating LTTE terrorism is a wrong from their side. The day both parties acknowledge this will be a must.

    However this brings to my mind the conversation i had with Burning Issue, a frequent commentator who was extremely reluctant to accept that the only reason for the mayhem, human suffering and deaths was the continuounce of LTTE. That means those who funded LTTE from overseas should accept their responsibility. His arguments and whitewashing has certianly shown how this is not even thought of by the Tamils (mostly overseas).

    The day diaspora tamils (or SL tamils) take the respnsibility for continuing war by funding LTTE will be the beginning of a true reconciliation.

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