14 July, 2020

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Sri Lanka & The US: A Pogrom & A Black Death At The Hands Of A White Policeman: Salutary Lessons

By Lionel Bopage with Michael Colin Cooke

The Scene

The morning of July the 25th 1983 is etched in my brain. I saw a group of people running or walking very fast away from the environs of Colombo. On enquiring I found they had shut up their shops and were escaping the riots that were taking place. Later in the day I saw the suburbs of Borella and Maradana ablaze. I witnessed mobs looting and burning properties belonging to Tamils and assaulting the inhabitants of those properties with impunity. Lorries and cars were being set ablaze and the passengers and drivers were being set upon. Many of the bystanders were gleefully applauding the activities of the frenzied mob.

I was saddened and shocked to see many of these thugs were enjoying their sadistic and murderous activities. I saw security personnel who instead of intervening were just bystanders to the carnage and barbarity taking place. Whilst driving along Kiribathgoda Mawaramandiya road, I was forced to stop by a mob roaming on a CTB depot service truck. They approached me shouting obscenities, brandishing swords and crowbars. I yelled back in Sinhalese asking them if they had gone mad. On hearing my fluency in the language, they left me alone.

By the end of the July 1983 tragedy between 2,000 to 3,000 Tamils had been killed, many had been burnt or hacked to death. Many Tamil women had been raped before being killed. Thousands of homes of Tamils had been burnt, about 100,000 people had been made homeless and became refugees.

Black July 83 – Boralla | Photo – Chandraguptha Amarasingha

Fast forward to May 25, 2020. In the city of Minneapolis, a black man arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store. His death at the hands of a white police officer was captured live, with his three colleagues looking on. George Floyd was handcuffed and was lying face down on the street. Floyd was completely compliant and pleaded for his life, said he could not breathe and called for his mother. Passers-by also pleaded to Derek Chauvin, the officer in question, to take his knee off the dying man’s neck, to no avail. Chauvin had his knee on Floyd even after the breath of his life had been extinguished. This was one of the latest in a long list of extra-judicial murders of black people, who are statistically more likely to be arrested, jailed and harassed by the police – reflecting a long history of discrimination against Afro-Americans since the advent of slavery in the 1600s to the present day.

There was no outcry within the country or internationally on the complicity of the JR Jayewardene government and the indifference and participation of the security forces in the Pogrom. The immediate result of this Black July pogrom was a full-blown civil war that lasted for over a quarter of a century.

Floyd’s murder brought together tens of thousands of people, black and white in hundreds of cities across the United States. Anger spread across the globe, including Colombo and especially in the mother of colonialism, the United Kingdom.

The Aftermath

The government of the day in Sri Lanka in 1983, headed by the creator of the executive presidency, JR Jayewardene, and his coterie of senior ministers, blamed the victims for their plight and air-brushed away their nefarious role in the killings, lootings, rapes and the torching of properties, falsely accusing their political opponents, including me, who had no role in the Pogrom. The movement for democratic rights of the Tamil people had started off peacefully but was met by a series of riots and repressive measures state – sponsored. Further curtailment of their rights and pogrom scaled up their peaceful agitations into a full-blown civil war, that lasted 26 years. Meanwhile in the South the JVP was forced to go clandestine. It escalated the JVP’s political paranoia against the state and resuscitated and reinforced their politically futile and deadly insurrectionist tendency. This situation developed into an armed uprising which engulfed the south six years later, resulting in tens of thousands of illegal executions committed by both the state and the JVP; the great majority of those executions committed by the security forces, whose activities were subsequently rewarded.

In 2020, we have more of the same. A President who, instead of tackling the looming economic crisis and the corruption that permeates every layer of society (many belonging or related to the political class and some of the bureaucrats being alleged to be major beneficiaries), is busily deflecting attention. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, like J R Jayewardene, is finding convenient scapegoats under the guise of nationalism: minorities, journalists, human right activists and the political formations that are critical of his activities. Like all authoritarian leaders, he is busily making himself less accountable by militarisation of the bureaucracy, securitification of society and sidelining the parliament.

The crimes of July 1983 | pic by Chandraguptha Amarasingha – A Tamil boy stripped naked and later beaten to death by Sinhala youth in Boralla gustation – 1983 July

The United States have a President Donald Trump, whose attention span is less than that of a gnat and who seemingly spends all his waking hours twittering his prejudices, when not watching Fox News and basking in the praise of his followers and those whose livelihoods depend on him. Meanwhile in the country he presides over, the number of those infected by COVID-19 and dying of it is the largest in the world. In his parallel universe, he is actually presiding over the most successful program against the pandemic. Inconvenient facts are blamed on his Democratic opponents, the World Health Organisation and China. So, it comes as no surprise that, just as in Sri Lanka, the victims of systematic racial abuse and police brutality are blamed, rather than the perpetrators of injustice.

There has been widespread condemnation of George Floyd’s death from all sides. Republican grandees like George Bush and Mitt Romney, Democratic representatives, Governors of many states, countless grassroots organisations – all have come together in an attempt to change the political debate on race. It is too soon to tell how it will play out, but the signs look good.

In Sri Lanka there is hardly any discussion about the 1983 pogrom, apart from a few brave individuals and community groups across the communal divide and some in the international community. The same is true of the two insurrections in the South and the long civil war mainly in the North and East. Nobody of the state apparatus has yet been brought to book for their crimes, and no compensation has been offered to victims. And the institutions involved – the security apparatus and the political establishment – have not been reformed.

After George Floyd’s death, the demand for equity and reform of policing methods became loud and clear. Numerous statues and monuments, honouring figures from the white majority community, associated with colonisation or slavery are being defaced or removed. Prominence was given to the right of minorities to be brought back from the margins of history, to the chagrin of supporters of the Confederacy and British Imperialism, and especially when the statues and legacy of Winston Churchill were called into question.

Conclusion

The ’83 pogrom and George Floyd’s murder offer us a sobering political lesson. The initial protest movement for the rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka started off peacefully but resulted in a number of riots and a pogrom against the Tamil community, leading to a full-scale civil war. On the 9th of June a peaceful protest in Colombo held by the Frontline Socialist Party in support of the demands of fairness and equality of the black people in the US and to condemn the discriminatory policies implemented against them was brutally broken up by the police. This was done on the pretext that the protestors were not observing social distancing regulations. The participants and witnesses refute the “pretext” the regime has offered. This ruthless action of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime is nothing but an expression of sympathy towards the discriminatory policies of the Trump presidency and past US regimes in their treatment of minorities.

In the United States, many in the white community have come out in support of their black comrades. Nothing equivalent has happened in the majority community in Sri Lanka. In the US, more racist elements amongst the whites have been emboldened, with a resurgence of neo-Nazi groups and the Ku Klux Clan. In Sri Lanka also, we can see similar social media and mainstream media manipulations by militant Sinhala ultra nationalist groups. They continue to slander the Muslim community, helped by the complicity or indifference of the authorities, with tragic consequences to the social cohesion and national unity of Sri Lanka.

Progressive people around the world have become aware that not to protest has ethical and political consequences. George Floyd is serving as a catalyst to question racism, slavery and colonialism. We should remember not only Floyd’s needless death but also the lessons from Sri Lanka’s own blood-stained past. We hope it can also serve as a political trigger for the masses to question the scapegoating of minorities and the persecution of the government’s opponents, journalists, civil society actors, human rights activists and the Trade Union Movement. We can do no less.

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Latest comments

  • 21
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    SALUTE to the authors . There is not many left in Lanka who are honest and willing to tell the facts. This and the article written by Harsha Gunasena sums up the past and the future of Lanka. Ganasara told PCol , extremism can only be eradicated by banning. Arent we lucky to have an extremist among us advising on how to get rid of it. ?????

    • 3
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      Even as the United States is devastated by the United Nation’s World Health Organization’s COVID-19 panicdemic and Black Lives Matter protests spiral against militarized police brutality, Washington’s War Machine is in high gear — stepping up flights of drones and nuclear-capable strategic bombers threatening Iran, Russia and China. As the

      US empire implodes and its latest project to Make America Great Again backfired, the war machine with its 800 plus bases and lily pads is being unleashed against the world.
      Imperialism never sleeps:
      IN South Asia and Sri Lanka we need to protest against militarization and COLONIZATION of the Indian Ocean by US, UK and France– P3.
      These countries are non-Asian and African countries that do not have borders on the Indian Ocean and do not have a right to be colonizing the IO.
      The US hybrid war against Sri Lanka apparent in the CIA, Saudi and Israeli owned ISIS Easter Sunday terror attacks in April 2019 to weaponize religions and destabilize ECONOMY & SOCIETY in the country, and in the Covid-19 attack on the Sri Lanka Navy in 2020 in order to colonize Sri Lanka and set up military bases in the strategic island in their great game against China must end.

    • 0
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      Dr Lionel Bopage’s witness and experience of the July 83 pogrom against Tamils is even today, after 37 years a painful read. Bopage captures the deep racism and Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism that is entrenched in Sinhala political culture. Prior to 1970, the labour movements and socialist parties articulated and reflected equality and solidarity across all communities.
      The authors also making reference to the demonstration in the United States around Black Lives Matter and reflect on the lack of solidarity for Tamil and Muslim lives in Sri Lanka. Expecting thousands of young people to march carrying banners reading Tamil and Muslim lives matter is a sadly a pipe dream. Post-1970’s, the political culture in Sri Lanka is identity and ethnic politics. Lack of human rights and fairness for minorities fail to register in the Sinhala political mindset. Unfortunately, Sinhala and Tamil political campaigns focus only on their respective social justice concerns and are completely indifferent to the pain, suffering and injustice of the other.

  • 3
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    The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis cannot be compared with what happened in Sri Lanka where the allegations are against the government in power. In Minneapolis, the Head of Police, the Mayor and the Governor were all Democrats. Inadequate focus on the training and development of the police force is partly responsible for the death, which may turnout to be a premeditated murder, if it is proved in court that Floyd and his killer knew each other as they both worked in the same night club.

    President Trump has issued an Executive Order to bring the following reforms.
    1. No chokeholds, except when the life of the policeman is threatened.
    2. National register of repeated police offenders.
    3. End the repeated transfer of offenders in the police force.
    4. Financial incentives for police units meeting compliance standards established for the police, based on training and development.

    • 7
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      Lal de Mel, By any chance, did you skip the first two paras of the article. You probably were one of those who were applauding the activities of that frenzied mob.

      • 2
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        Nathan and Lal:
        Yes we need to CONNECT the Dots as Bopage and Cooke have done very well, but ignored the American War machine that is in HYBRID WAR mode with Covid-19 attacking global Economy and Society at this time: Please see this link by Columbia Law Prof on COUNTERREVOLUTION and the US war machine

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KhGyhFIhgg

      • 1
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        Dr Lionel Bopage’s witness and experience of the July 83 pogrom against Tamils is even today, after 37 years a painful read. Bopage captures the deep racism and Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism that is entrenched in Sinhala political culture. Prior to 1970, the labour movements and socialist parties articulated and reflected equality and solidarity across all communities.

        The authors also making reference to the demonstration in the United States around Black Lives Matter and reflect on the lack of solidarity for Tamil and Muslim lives in Sri Lanka. Expecting thousands of young people to march carrying banners reading Tamil and Muslim lives matter is a sadly a pipe dream. Post-1970’s, the political culture in Sri Lanka is identity and ethnic politics. Lack of human rights and fairness for minorities fail to register in the Sinhala political mindset. Unfortunately, Sinhala and Tamil political campaigns focus only on their respective social justice concerns and are completely indifferent to the pain, suffering and injustice of the other.

  • 21
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    A great article at this juncture. I don’t know whether this will open the eyes of many Buddhist Sinhala people as they are ignorant and under fear. Most of the Sinhalese are poor in this country and fallen to the propaganda of those Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists Monks and the politicians who rob this nation using their ignorance. There is no difference between JR Jeyawardena or SWRD Bandaranaiyake or Rajapaksa family. For them the lives of poor Sinhala or poor Tamil or Poor muslim is not important. Those soldiers and youths who died in the war are poor Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim families, not from Rajapakse family or SJV or Rauf Hakeem family.

  • 6
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    Lal, you are wrong. President Trump was forced by congress to issue such orders and individual states may add further restrictions to his.(beauty of democracy). President Trump has encouraged such violence against minority , in public. Even today he issued a warning to protesters who may be planning to disrupt his public rally in Tulsa, OK which also happens to be the birth place of white supremacy. It is not the police force as such who is at fault but a few bad apples in the force and the politicians who encourage to do such things. It is not just in Minneapolis alone , it happened elsewhere too where republicans are in power. Regardless, to add to my above comment today Karuna claimed he had killed 2000 to 3000 army personal in Elephant pass and more in Killinochi. If elected soon he will be sitting next to MR in the parliament. Arent we lucky to have such people in our government ???

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    Lol. I wonder Trump would care what couple of thirdworld clowns have to say about him. He wouldn’t give rat’s ass. These people overestimate their own importance.

    • 2
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      Trump also does not give a rat’s arse on the views and feelings of the people of colour, the views of the scientific community on issues such as climate change or of the medical fraternity on COVID-19. The catastrophic results are there for everybody to see. Like the buffoon Trump, you and your fellow cohort of clowns have either ignored and downplayed decades of communal disharmony, the abuse of the rule of law, accountability and the looting of the public purse and Sri Lanka is still paying the price for that.

  • 4
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    Re 1971 April:
    Sanmugathasan and Vasudeva were detained for several months. Sanmugathasan’s Marxist Leninist party, a strongly critical of the JVP, was more strongly critical of state oppression. The LSSP was reluctant to speak up not just for JVP victims of state violence but even its member Vasudeva. Both factions of Shan’s party (split in 1978) took a stand similar to that in 1971 about the 1987 event. Also Bala Tampoe.
    The UNP and FP were most cynical in their stand.
    (Not may know that under Emergency 1971 members of Marxist Leninist Party were witch hunted for their campaign against untouchability (1967 — 1972). Several were arrested; many went underground, with several protected by Jaffna Muslims.
    Except the old left, left parties and factions denounced state violence on each occasion.
    *
    Thank you for reiterating: George Floyd’s “was one of the latest in a long list of extra-judicial murders of black people, who are statistically more likely to be arrested, jailed and harassed by the police – reflecting a long history of discrimination against Afro-Americans since the advent of slavery in the 1600s to the present day”.
    Middle class Asians in Europe, US and Australia are insensitive to White racism.

    • 10
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      The truth is left movement today is part and partial of Mahinda family supporting anti minority propaganda and full support for dictatorship. I can remember both Rohana Wijeweera and Bopage were hiding in North in a house during 1970’s. It is sad JVP also became a party against devolution of power to Tamils. The truth is no one is there to challenge against Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism.

      • 2
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        A
        If that is what you want to believe that is what you will continue to believe. There is no serious Left aligned with MR & Co. The LSSP and CP are effectively dead.
        The genuine left is weak but has kept active. In the North it had to survive state tyranny as well as LTTE tyranny.
        The rise of narrow nationalism was a handicap. But not forever.
        Fairy tales about foreign powers coming to the rescue of Tamils will not work for long in the North.
        In the South no amount of communalism will solve the social and economic issues.
        If what you say is true, why are a section of the people clamouring in the South for release of political prisoners?
        *
        If you think about the parliamentary route, you are right: that was shut on the left over 50 years ago.

        • 0
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          ” If you think about the parliamentary route, you are right: that was shut on the left over 50 years ago.
          Why cannot they go to parliament? Is there a legal limitation in Lankawe that Parliament is only for 8th graders and Communist Invalids (Valathu Kuraingcha Idathukal) all are PhDs? Or do they have a resolve if the people elect them they hide under wives’ Munthanai; will not go to parliament?
          What kind of game are you playing? Shedding lot of Crocodile tears lefts?
          “50 years ago”? What was the government that time and after what incident?
          Where is that statistics is recorded?
          Is that also your version of tricky-no-matte?
          JVP had 40 seats in 2005. What happened to that? Sold it to Mahinda Mama for arrack and Jaffna Kudu? If JVP is not left, why your lefts could not steal at least a 25 seats of JVP? Because “birds of a feather flock together”?
          “Irapanai Pidichuthaam Parai Piranthu!” Lefts are employing you as their advocate?

      • 0
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        [Edited out] Persistent trolling will not be tolerated. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.
        For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 6
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      Lionel Bopage with Michael Colin Cooke

      Thanks for your article.
      I am told since advent of and under the guidance of Mao and his Maoism the Chinese people have been free from racism, especially they are in love with African.
      There has been not a single hate crime that was committed against the black people in China.
      I may be wrong.

    • 5
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      “Middle class Asians in Europe, US and Australia are insensitive to White racism.”

      Not all middle class Asians. There have been many who have supported the protests and spoken out. They recognize that if South Asians today don’t feel too much racism, it is because the black civil rights movements fought in the past and made many sacrifices with their lives, and Asians benefited from that. I have seen Sikhs, Vietnamese and SL Tamils participating in recent marches.

      But there are many, even among SL-Tamil Americans, who support Trump with weaselly arguments. These people, mostly doctors, engineers, economists and mathematicians, have not opened up their minds to obvious realities. Apparently, no amount of formal education can impart the right sensibility, values, judgement, etc.

      • 1
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        Agnos
        Thanks.
        Mine was a general statement.
        I had in mind typical attitudes on issues of race. For example, a White Australian can be more understanding towards the aboriginals than his Asian counterpart.
        The kind of politicized progressive Asian that you refer to is always there. But like left ideology (not just Marxist) it is uncommon.
        *
        You need not remind me about SL-Tamil Americans, who support Trump with weaselly arguments. You have seen enough on these pages. I personally know quite a few.

  • 8
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    Mr. Lionel Bopage & Mr.Michael Colin Cooke:
    Thank you for presenting an excellent piece. They have conjured up painful
    memories of the pogrom. State-sponsored Welikade massacre (on 25 & 27 July )
    of 53 political prisoners, represented by Senior Lawyer M.Sivasithamparam
    & me, was another savage chapter in the ‘Black July’ narrative. The memories are
    emotionally traumatizing. Incidentally, the same day, my house at Cotta Road, Borella was attacked and I was rendered destitute. Until I fled the place, I had remained a source of support to my poor Sinhala/Muslim neighbours!. Tamil people have since 1983 encountered/endured worse things at the hands of the Sinhala-Buddhist tribal forces – the clergy, military, media and politicians. Sinhala political class, like the Bourbon dynasty of France, have “Learnt nothing and forgotten nothing”. Tamil people may neither forget nor forgive the perpetrators!.

    • 4
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      KSN
      Will the Muslims ever forget or forgive what they suffered under the LTTE?
      What kind of tribal forces killed innocent villagers? What kind of tribal forces attacked worshippers in mosques?
      Will those oppressed by caste forget what they suffered for centuries?
      Let us be a little measured in our criticism of injustices by others. A bit of self criticism will make one sound a little credible.

      • 3
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        Karikalan S. Navaratnam

        Only now SJ questions LTTE’s share of crimes committed against humanity…..
        I am interested to know what exactly was his honest opinion about LTTE before May 2009 and if he had the b***s to express it publically.

      • 4
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        SJ, FYI
        Ref: “Remembering May 18, 2009” (CT- May 19,2020)

        “Abuses by Rebels:

        After all is said and done, some of the heinous crimes committed by the LTTE continue to haunt my memory. Let me reflect on a couple of them. The rebels had no legal, moral or strategic justification for committing these crimes.

        *July 1989-Killing of my leader Amirthalingam and my friend Yogeswaran is still hurting me.

        *June 1990- The massacre of over 600 Policemen who had surrendered to the LTTE in Batticaloa was a dastardly act. The excuse that that it was carried out by Karuna, the LTTE honcho in the East, does not absolve the LTTE of the crime.

        *Oct.1990- Mass expulsion of Muslims from Jaffna. I have heard LTTE apologists rationalizing the atrocious act. I could not find them convincing.

        *May 1991- The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was an insane, evil enterprise which had drastically changed the dynamics of our political discourse. It had not only wrought the LTTE’s eventual undoing, but had also critically undermined the Tamil struggle.

        • 3
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          Karikalan S. Navaratnam, I am troubled by a part of your response.
          *Oct.1990- Mass expulsion of Muslims from Jaffna.
          I find it disgusting that you would accuse me as well, indirectly, – because I don’t agree with your assessment -, an LTTE apologist.
          1) What do you find wrong with that particular decision of LTTE.
          2) The Muslims were left with the option to return on a later date.
          While responding, if you do, please take into account that the times were not normal.
          3) Why anyone with a different thinking is an LTTE apologist.

        • 2
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          KSN
          I wish that the memories that haunt you will come to the rescue in your writings. Worse things have escaped your short list.
          *
          The LTTE did not tolerate dissent in the North when they were in control. They detained and tortured some and killed others. The leader of a left party was forces to escape from Jaffna and breathed his last in Kandy.
          Times were hard for any critic of the government or of the LTTE.
          It was incorrect to denounce one without commenting on the crimes of the other, and the genuine Tamil left earned the wrath of both sides.
          *
          RG’s murder was particularly stupid because it brought the Congress back to life at a time when a third secular front was on the rise.
          Have you wondered who could have paid the LTTE to kill and produce the evidence?
          The RG murder trial was a farce. And you should know more than I do.

          • 3
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            SJ, It is easy to be eloquent and leave details hanging!
            “The LTTE did not tolerate dissent in the North when they were in control.”
            What was the objective of LTTE. Was there room to allow for dissent in public. ( I am sure you were in dissent. Were you detained?)

            • 2
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              N
              Please do not personalize issues, and let us keep this a civilized exchange of ideas.
              *
              Kindly ask the apologists about the objective of the LTTE.
              Check with people from the North if political activity other than that of the LTTE was tolerated. Not even rival Tamil nationalists were disallowed.
              Some who were denied room for dissent found room under the topsoil.
              If you want a few names of LTTE victims of dissent, see “வட்டுக்கோட்டை முதல் முள்ளிவாய்க்கால் வரை” authored by SK Senthivel, also in Sinhala translation recently.
              *
              Your “It is easy to be eloquent and leave details hanging!” sounds eloquent but lacks substance.
              Eloquence is secondary to being truthful.
              With a little honesty one can learn how much dissent found expression in the North under the LTTE. (Even a fraction of the valid allegations by critics of the LTTE should tell you something.)

              • 1
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                CORRECTION:
                Even rival Tamil nationalists were disallowed.

              • 2
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                SJ,
                You splash words around instead of confronting an argument.

                • 2
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                  N
                  Whatever argument was there was confronted fairly and squarely, but for the uncalled for personal remarks, which were no argument.
                  I think that it will be too polite to ask you to get lost.

                  • 1
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                    SJ,
                    Your sordid upbringing is showing in the language you use and in the shameless lie you call a response. Good bye.

              • 0
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                ” If you want a few names of LTTE victims of dissent, see “வட்டுக்கோட்டை முதல் முள்ளிவாய்க்கால் வரை” authored by SK Senthivel, also in Sinhala translation recently. ”
                Who is Senthivel? Did he forward this to UNHRC? Did they acknowledge and ask him for additional support? Why anyone of them not reading the resolution 30/1 but braying only?
                Don’t be Modaya for not being able to understand what happened and keep braying. Every war related matter was presented to UNSG Expert Panel. These experts evaluated what happened between LTTE and Aanduwa & based on it, said there were possible war crimes committed by both parties. Then UN investigated itself and found it had made mistakes in protecting Tamils from Aanduwa. Latter UNSG Ban-Ki-Moon said in Mali matter, based on the UN’s experiences and its internal investigation of Tamils matter, it had corrected the procedures. Further latter UNHRC appointed through OHCHR the OISL investigation. After this America leading, Britain, France and Burkina Faso and Lankawe signed the resolution 30/1 to investigate the War Crime, Transitional Justice, Solution to Tamils and a T&RC was proposed. Why you have to now bray for civilized debate but not implying the resolution> Tell me some something: Why are carrying Pantham to Aanduwa and distracting the IC investigation, what do you Senthel is right Resolution 30/1 is wrong?

              • 0
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                The resolution specifically asks Lankawe barbaric government to investigate all crime commissioned by LTTE. The requirement t is in clean, simple English and signed by 49 countries.
                Here:
                GE.15-17355(E)*1517355*
                Human Rights Council
                Thirtieth session
                Agenda item 2,
                Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 1 October 201530/1.Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka
                Preamble:…..
                Resolution:……..

                5.Recognizesthe need for a process of accountability and reconciliation for the violations and abuses committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as highlighted in the report of the Office of the High Commissioner on its investigation on Sri Lanka;

                This is the resolution we are here spending days asking Tamils leaders and honest Sinhala activists and IC to go ahead and implement. Do you need any help in understanding the English of section 5 of the resolution? So from September2015, though we feel this resolution is extremely weak, we have been asking Tamils leaders to agitate IC to go ahead with an international investigation (, but no development, no Secret Solution, no referendum…… ).

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                Why this Senthivel and you, in the name of great civilized arguments, are braying only but not asking even one country who signed the resolution to have it implemented? China, Russia, India and Cuba signed this resolution. If one atom in you is honest, you can to write an open letter in CT to Cuba, China and Russia to encourage Aanduwa to implement that provision (S5) at least?
                Please don’t keep bringing back these “Chameleon is the witness to fence eating the crops” story. Entire world knows What Dr. Varatharajah said to ITJP. Entire world knows what was in “Lies agreed upon”. Entire world suspects Tamilini was forcefully married to an EPEP by Rapist Army and kept in constant watch to write fake accounts about LTTE and poisoned to die by cancer.

                Stop your Cholera game of throwing up through the bottom and excreting from your mouth. Be honest; will you stop distracting the calls for IC investigation with your fake witnesses, or if you think that is important, will you start to call for international investigation.

            • 2
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              Nathan

              “What was the objective of LTTE. “

              I am still wondering.
              Over a period of time you should have realised VP worked for everybody else except for the people.

              Ultimately VP made sure the the Tamil speaking people are left with no friends, in fact more enemies than when they started demanding equality and power sharing, more enemies than in 1956.

              • 1
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                Native Vedda,
                We lost the struggle when he put himself above the cause itself.

      • 5
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        SJ,

        Tamil and Muslim leaders can acknowledge that Tamil-Muslim relations suffered during the LTTE years; the sudden expulsion of Muslims in the North by the LTTE, the atrocities committed by the Muslims in the Home Guard, military and paramilitaries against Eastern Tamils, as well as LTTE’s attacks on mosques, alleged land-grab my Muslims in the East, Wahabist violence, etc. But this relationship can be repaired if the current leaders sincerely acknowledge the past atrocities and commit to prevent it in the future and work together on a secular platform.

        • 5
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          Agnos

          I saw a social media clip yesterday in which a lone Tamil campaigner displaying many billboards opposite UNHRC office in Geneva depicting Sri Lankan state’s atrocities. However, that occasion should have included Muslims, Tamils, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, ………………. demanding a public apology and compensation where appropriate from the respective perpetrators.

          Is there a group of people or individuals who can mount such a campaign against all human rights violations.

          Since we have a self proclaimed strongman in power it’s high time he set up a genuine Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with all atrocities committed between 5th April 1971 and todate.
          This is possible only if he has b***s.

          Alternatively this can happen if the powers that have protected the war criminals changed their course of action and prepared to “catch them by the b***s, and make their hearts and minds to follow”.

          • 4
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            NV,

            It will probably take a new generation that doesn’t want to be stained by all this sordid business of the past. But GR appears to be taking the country toward a more militaristic future where any criticism of the military won’t be tolerated, so new generations may not have a chance to heal the wounds. Unfortunately if that continues in an intolerable direction, external intervention may be the only option.

            I see an article in this Sunday Island by Tissa Vitharana seeking support of Tamils for his SLPP/LSSP coalition. In it he argues according to UN rules, external intervention is not possible and so Tamils should try to work with his all part conference committee.

            He is lying about his capacity to do anything given his abject failure in the previous MR regime. He is also lying about the UN in that big powers have always ignored the UN when it suited their interests. Russia annexed Crimea and the West imposed sanctions but it didn’t change the facts on the ground. India did something in Kashmir that violated UN agreements but nobody did anything serious. Major powers can get away with certain things that small countries can’t.

            • 3
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              Agnos

              As I see it this island is going nowhere.

              This strongman is a prisoner of various brigades namely the Khaki, Olive Green, …. saffron and aryan suit.

              There is no way he can assert himself as an independent leader with a thinking head, the strongman manoeuvred himself into this corner. This stupid man was conned into this unenviable position. Like VP this man is taking the people for a ride and eventually to a drunken stupor.

              By the way Dayan is desperately looking for job – I “saw” one or two of his typings..

          • 1
            2

            well said NV. We can start the ball rolling in Jaffna with our Ex Hon Chief Justice investigating PLOT/TELO/LTTE (fill in the gap where Broken Palmyra never had a chance to account). Look at all the killing of Tamils by Tamils and all other combination and have them recorded first. Then the rest of the country to follow the same footsteps.

            We also need to record all killings that was condemned by the TULF to TNA today, the funerals of their opponents the TULF members attended to tell the killers that violence and killings are not acceptable and the articles and interviews they wrote to stand up for human dignity in their own community (we will find it is not the armed forces who should be tried but these so called Tamil Politicians who committed the hideous crimes in the first place??? records of their offers of help as lawyers to the respective family who lost their family member to the guns of Tamil kids who were poisoned and trained in India. What did they do then will reflect and record the nature of beast/bench mark what we were dealing with in 1977 and 1983…..provcation and ugliness is met with bigger ugliness that killed more innocent people. None of this will ever be buried……

            • 1
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              continued
              Peace and Reconciliation is not between Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims but between the perpetrators/killers and the victims. The journey starts here. We should also include and document all the name of the camps in India and respective trainers and their masters to be part of the Peace and Reconciliation so we can begin the healing between the Nations too,

              The foreign boots were brought into Mother lanka by the JVP first and we need to record our own history correctly for ourselves. We hardly touched the tip of the iceberg even to analyse what did kill so many Mother Lankan children for the past 40+ years and we should do this whilst most of the killers are still alive??

        • 6
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          Agnos
          Tamil-Muslim relations were strained since Muslim politicians realized that the FP was not fighting their corner. Their national problem is complex; and they are a badly divided community, which Tamil politicians never recognized. The militants were successors to that tradition and took the Muslims for granted.
          That is no excuse for the opportunism of the Muslim politician, who was as keen on looking after his vote bank as his Tamil counterpart.
          *
          Whabism is recent and troubles the Muslims more than any other.
          Land questions go some way back, and we hear only the woes of the Tamils.
          I have no faith in politicians eyeing parliamentary seats. They whip up parochial attitudes for a fistful of votes.
          Remember what happened to Sumanthiran when he apologized to the Muslims some years ago about the expulsion. Those who denounced the expulsion were ‘traitors to the Tamils’ for long and not much has changed. Did any of the TNA colleagues of Sumanthiran, with the slight exception of Sampanthan, come to his defence?
          *
          By the looks of what we have on these pages, we have some way to go.

          • 0
            1

            “Tamil-Muslim relations were strained since Muslim politicians realized that the FP was not fighting their corner. “

            Could you tell me when SJV left congress how many of the Muslims leaders followed the suite? Could you tell me how long Badiuddin waited for SJV cheat Muslims leaders not attending Muslims’ problems but only attending Tamils’ and thus he joined SLFP brought some worthless Standardization PhDs to destroy Lankawe?

            • 3
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              There were no Muslims in the ACTC at the time.
              The ACTC did not have any MP from B’caloa district for the matter.
              *
              The rest of the comment is the usual bunkum

              • 0
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                Whose question is that about Muslims in ACTC? Anyway, could read my question also and try to answer to that Please?

                This entire comment is bunkum.

      • 5
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        SJ,
        I don’t know what do you mean by tribal forces killed innocent forces. Tamil and Muslim relationship is weakened over time not because of LTTE, it is because of the conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese after the first episode of violence in 1958 that continued in 1960’s, 1977 & 1983. Sinhala Buddhist governments played a game to divide Tamils and Muslims. The introduction of language based standardisation by A Muslim minister is one of the main factor that lead to armed struggle. Muslims were used as informers to Sinhalese forces. LTTE was formed after 1970’s and until 1990 there was no conflict between LTTE and Muslims. I am not going to defend LTTE for removal of Muslims from Jaffna but Muslims home guards also killed many innocent Tamils in the East. You may know now that Kathankudi mosque is considered as the birth place of Islamic terrorism in Srilanka (Easter bombers are from there) for a long time. In general, it is Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism played and play even now (using Kauna) in destroying Tamil-Muslim relationship.

        • 4
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          Ajith
          My question was:
          “What kind of tribal forces killed innocent villagers?” (not ‘innocent forces’)
          *
          The LTTE killed Sinhalese villagers in the East without provocation. Its attacks on civilians in the South should also be known to you.
          *
          Let us stop making excuses for the ugly deeds of the LTTE and other militants.

          • 0
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            “What kind of tribal forces killed innocent villagers?”
            Where your list of the innocent villagers killed & certified by court that this happened without rowdies’ provocation? When, under jackboot of Rapist Army (Who is certified as rapist by UN) Sinhala Buddhist prisoners and rowdies’ colonialized Tamils’ land and Tamil’s fighting force vacated those took protection of Rapist army to land grapping. North East is Tamil Land and it is accepted in Indo-Lanka Pact. Every Sinhala Buddhist rowdy & prisoner allotted land there did know it was for their past crimes they were getting lands in Tamil villages.
            The repeated pogrom celebrations of innocent Sinhala Buddhist villages from 1958 substantiated of vacating Sinhala Buddhist rowdies from Tamils villages from their land grapping schemes. Don’t pretend like you are blind or don’t think EPDP working with Aanduwa is forgetting by all Tamils. If EPDP was not there or didn’t take money from UNP & SLFP, LTTE need not to have had to do less than half of its weeding.

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          Ajith

          You should revisit history.

  • 2
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    Can someone with any insight into psychology, mass psychology or whatever related explain me how Tamils became unwavering supporters of UNP and how JVPers became pro UNP. ( I suspect even the co-author Lional Bopage)
    With 1983 and 1989 etched in my brain I am unable to find a way out of this intricate psychological paradox.
    With 1983 and 1989 etched in my brain I will NEVER raise my hand to vote for UNP, EVER.

    Soma.

    • 1
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      As a matter of fact, I have never been a pro-UNPer or pro-SLFPer. If Soma has any evidence to that effect, it is time for him to make it public knowledge.
      Every time there was an authoritarian trend, to stay in power by hook or crook, we have opposed such trends. It was the right thing to do and we are proud of doing that. People talk about a socio-cultural change, a system change, which is what is really needed. However, it is not something that could be imposed upon. People need to come forward to do that change.
      In the meantime, anyone who is against authoritarian tendencies needs to agitate against such trends, despite been seen or interpreted as supporting whoever remains in opposition.
      Soma, also appear to have selected memories. His brain is etched only with the memories of 1983 and 1989. Memories about state sponsored riots in 1958 and 1968, state repression in 1971 and state repression that ultimately led to 2009 memories appear to have escaped his brain. In fact, Soma by his own admission has supported the authoritarians once again to grab power.

    • 3
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      More ex-JVPers joined the SLFP andc one was even a cabinet minister under Chandrika.
      Why the minorities prefer the UNP is not easy to answer. But part of it lies in the failure of the SLFP to appeal to them. It relied a little too much on middlemen.
      Alfred Duraiappa was popular and reliable. He did not need the SLFP to be popular. But the credibility of the SLFP/SLPP spokespersons in the North is pathetic.

  • 1
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    In the mean time, don’t forget that Lional Bopage has a big confession to make , before he reminds us about other people’s sins.

    Soma

    • 4
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      somass

      “In the mean time, don’t forget that Lional Bopage has a big confession to make , before he reminds us about other people’s sins.”

      Alright hope he makes his confession at the appropriate time.
      When are you going to make yours?

      Are you supporting Hindians or Chinaman in the forthcoming great war?
      Do you know whom do you want your Ranaviruses to support in that war?

      • 2
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        Dr Lionel Bopage’s witness and experience of the July 83 pogrom against Tamils is even today, after 37 years a painful read. Bopage captures the deep racism and Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism that is entrenched in Sinhala political culture. Prior to 1970, the labour movements and socialist parties articulated and reflected equality and solidarity across all communities.

        The authors also making reference to the demonstration in the United States around Black Lives Matter and reflect on the lack of solidarity for Tamil and Muslim lives in Sri Lanka. Expecting thousands of young people to march carrying banners reading Tamil and Muslim lives matter is a sadly a pipe dream. Post-1970’s, the political culture in Sri Lanka is identity and ethnic politics. Lack of human rights and fairness for minorities fail to register in the Sinhala political mindset. Unfortunately, Sinhala and Tamil political campaigns focus only on their respective social justice concerns and are completely indifferent to the pain, suffering and injustice of the other.

    • 3
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      Soma
      Bopage has made a serious self criticism, of himself and the JVP, some years ago.
      He parted company with the JVP in the early1980s.

    • 2
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      I presume what Soma is slyly/maliciously referring to is my role in the 1971 insurrection. I have over time acknowledged my mistakes and jailed for my role in the insurrection – unlike did those in the armed forces, the ruling elite and the state apparatus who were responsible for thousands of extra judicial murders and torture. At least he acknowledges the sin of those who have repeatedly committed in violating human rights. The question I pose is what will he do to help them atone for their crimes and the people who suffered under their criminal hands to get justice?

      • 1
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        Lionel
        You are perhaps one of the few (if not the only) remaining active leaders of the ’71 insurrection.
        The JVP failed to learn and paid a heavy price in 1987-89. Not many may know of your attempts to rectify its past errors. I disagree with you politically on several issues, but I think that you have been true to your beliefs.
        *
        The present JVP does not have any leader who is truly answerable for the 1987-89 fiasco.
        To criticize the JVP for its views, inconsistencies and opportunistic stands on issues is one thing, but many who use the insurrections as a stick to beat it are being dishonest as they are supporters of parties that had been even more murderous.
        What is important is a sound analysis of the situation. Personal attacks only divert attention.

  • 3
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    IT IS NOT ACTION OF PARTY OR VOTING OR NOT VOTING IT IS THE MAJORATARIAN ACTION WITHNESS BY THE GLOBAL THAT APPEARED TO BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE BY A MAJORATARIAN MIND SET. MINORITY LIVES MATTER EQUILITY FOR ALL

  • 1
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  • 3
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    Dear Sir

    Thank you for the article.

    However we have not documented the PLOTE/TELO (component parties of the TNA) killings of Tamils, Police Officers, Politicians yet allowed into the parliament to date. All we have is the GOSL documented LTTE killings and we only discuss this as the killings.

    All this took place before 1977 after 1977 to 1983 in Jaffna???? General public (politicians, teachers and police officers….)/Armed group members killed each other?? The gun trotting kids picked on things as they deemed fit having been to the training camps in India. People were killed in the most gruesome manner even the 1977/1983 riots could not match. The terror that has silenced the Tamils from shaping their own destiny was taken away for good by our own children poisoned by the FP/TULF goons who used them to do the dirty work for them the Indians happy took part in this misery. Many of them were my classmates killed each other some were hung/lynched on trees and posts too. None of you writers even write a single article on what did really happen in Jaffna…..just the same old narrative…..1956/1977/1983 riots……they all happened for a reason you have not even bother to analyse because none of these are documented nor in the interest of GOSL or India?? It matters to us the Tamils of Jaffna when GOSL/India discuss our future with TNA?? we people of Jaffna awaiting to put these people on trial soon for all their crimes.

  • 3
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    TV
    No news and views website is neutral. CT is no exception.
    Participation in CT is limited with predominance of certain political standpoints.
    Racism is strong: explicit in some and lying under the skin in others.
    There are secular voices, with an over-riding pro UNP, pro West bias in several.
    The issues are Tamil v Sinhalese v Muslim (in all combinations).
    Among Tamils it is much driven by pro and anti LTTE views, because others matter little. There is covert FP politics and its converse. There is also religious politics.
    In this melee who cares about any history that does not challenge or endorse one’s loyalties.
    What you say can be summed up as
    FP/TULF = LTTE – gun; LTTE = FP/TULF + gun.
    It is hard to come to terms with the reality that one has been taken for a ride for too long and too far.
    When reason fails, abuse takes command.
    At least some people take note of serious views (not shown by the swinging thumb).
    CT is least of all the forum to determine the course of Tamil politics.

    • 2
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      Thank you SJ. All I wanted was to for us all come together DIVERT ALL OUR ENERGY to do good to each other now we are more enlighten than before of all that happened in our Nation …..what to do and what not do if we have problems we need solutions to etc. We are no more frogs in the well but world wise and access to lots of real life events just as what the authors of this article has correctly pointed out regards to what is happening in America.

      What is stopping TNA and Muslim parties to loose identity and form National Parties with National policies for all and field candidates throughout the Nation given they do not like the main parties?? I respect JVP not for their past but for their futuristic and progressive nature forming a National Democratic Party that speaks for all???

      • 0
        1

        Continued
        The Security services should ensure that free and fair elections are held in North and East where no one is intimidated/patronised/terrorised from their choice of parties/candidates………even Mr Sumathiran can not speak out freely exercising his right in a democracy what are the chances struggling/grieving families have to get their rights back to choose their destiny?? The 1977 mandate was through intimidation/hate speeches/foreign hands and now the Tamils have lost all their standing/dignity the same mafia run the show??? 1981 Development elections were the same where you have to kill your opponents to ensure the Tamils democratic rights curtailed???? We yet to discuss what happened in Jaffna and to the Tamils dignified future in SL….I wonder why GOSL allow these folks to the parliament….even the opposition leadership position to sit along with JVP was a blessing for our Nation then and what a blunder this was too??

  • 1
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    Like many here I too struggled for years in identifying the primary causes which lead us to this state. The answers are confusing in that every answer lead to more questions. So in the past ten years or so, when ever I had opportunity in meeting people who were born before independence I ended up asking for their personal opinion by asking a simple question. Though the question was simple many were taken back. I requested them to consciously ignore LTTE and insurgencies (as though it never took place,) and give their opinion on the course of our country ,predictable history and expected outcome. I provided them with three answers 1)better, 2)same or 3)worse (dont know was not provided as an answer and people who I thought will give that answer was not asked).Believe it or not many thought we will be same if not worse. People who answered worse are mostly minorities. Very few thought we may be in a better situation. I think I got my answer to my long standing question.

  • 0
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    Dear Sir

    Black life matters meaning Black Life Matters As well. The amount of killing that even Late Mr Flloyd was concerned made some recording of his concerns were all about the the “blacks killing of blacks” that yet to be addressed as a separate issue taking away so many blacks life’s every hour.

    This is the same story in our land where we went about killing each other “JVP uprising south followed by North since 1970’s”. After 1956 there were no race riots until 1977 elections the TULF begged for some killings (hence the river of blood election victory speech by the TULF leader in Colombo) of the innocence so they can benefit politically from the ugly events…….1983 is the same. All that happened in Jaffna was also the same…….this was the beginning of the Foreign involvement in our Nation in a scale none of us had any control over resulting in where we are……..we still do not ask the question what if the GOSL allowed anyone with a gun run the country/calf the country as they pleased in response to the above events?? where would all be??? ….all be good and we would have happy lived thereafter at gun point???????

  • 0
    3

    Two great warriors are fighting for one Vice Chancellor position available in down rotten university, perhaps. There was great Diaspora Doctor (true PhD- not Badiuddin PhD) competed for this. But Aanduwa used rowdy barbarian acolytes to chase him away by hooting obscene words during the discussion meetings, and put in another guy. Then it fired that guy too to suit with its election propaganda. Aanduwa is showing this teeny weeny carrot job to whip many donkeys for that position. The Modayas are grinding & grinding only on Tamils problem which Solomon West Ridgeway Dias and Siri Ma-o created by removing 75% of the work force of government by Sinhala Only, a Stalin Grade Martial Law (It was said an equivalent for that was not found even in Pretorian South Africa) . By firing 75% of real workers from government service, now country is pushed in bankrupt. Remember Peter Hall and Air Lanka? Mangala said the Western market is expecting Asian Miracle, Indian Ocean Japan, Appe Appe Si-tee Si-tee Lankawe may declare bankruptcy next year. Platinum Jubilee of the freedom was the October 2018, Revolution. Should we call this semi sesquicentennial jubilee or Debt Jubilee?

    • 0
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      CT
      Your man at the troll gate is nodding off.
      Time you thought seriously about CTM**

  • 1
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    Mavai Senathirajah is saying 20,000 Sinhala Buddhist spies are working in North. CV has been blaming about 130,000 to 150,000 Rapist Army soldiers are deployed in North. Many of them in plain cloth moving within people like tourist or employees. 15 out of 17 camps are in North East.
    Does America doing this to Blacks?

  • 1
    1

    Dear

    We were so free in Jaffna and studying in Tamil leading a very normal life. That is apart from the local thuggery from those who lost the elections in 1970 (to become TULF later) because they could not comprehend that the Tamils have said no to them in a democratic country. The Suithenthiran paper (FGP party political paper) went on an over drive stirring up the local emotions and asking the kids to kill/assassinate their opponents/held Tamil Conferences inviting Indians without even the Jaffna Mayors approval and killed Police officers hoping for reactions so more hate can be propagated. They were living freely/doing all the thuggery (will capture on a separate book)/publishing papers and meeting without any GOSL objections as democracy was very ripe in our country then. There were never any secret services nor armed forces in the North and East to protect the Tamils and their political leaders opposed to the FP/TULF then……..the question how did we end up having the current scenario…..Marvin Senathirajah can explain (will be explaiing) to all the Sri Lankans himself as to how and why we are here and why the above scenario is so?? I hope he will also travel each and every village North to South snd east to West meet up with families who lost their loved ones (including the armed forces) and ask for forgiveness too under Truth and Reconciliation.

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