31 October, 2020

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Sri Lankan Olympian Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam On His Hopes For Reconciliation – Video

Diaspora communities can inspire peace in their country of origin, according to US citizen Dr Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, a former Olympian of Tamil heritage who coaches young athletes in Sri Lanka. Though he is sceptical of the government’s reconciliation programme, he says sport can help heal the scars of the country’s long conflict and provide hope to the young. Film-maker Kannan Arunasalam met him in his native city of Jaffna last year as part of International Alert’s Diaspora Diaries film series.

*Kannan Arunasalam, Source: International Alert

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    Remember: He was the first chairman of Global Tamil Forum.

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      Yes I was for 5 months from inauguration in august 2009 until GTF found a more worthy President in Fr Emmanuel in their first meeting in Jan 2000.

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    Sir,
    You say that the national anthem doesn’t mean anything to you but didn’t you break down on the podium when the national anthem was played on that day in 1958.Seeing this our ambassador in Tokyo Mr Susantha De Fonseka also broke down as the story goes.Be that as it may,you are a role model for present day youth,both as a sportsman and an academic.Proud to call you a Srilankan if you still consider yourself that.

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      Well…in the 50s as a young man along with Duncan White he must have shared this proud feelings of brotherhood, coherence and Ceylonese etc., etc.
      Dr.Ethir is our pride, he is our champion but a dejected son of this land ruled by hooligans. The state continues to fail in it’s duty over it’s minorities. The state continues to harass them since 50s and wants the minorities to be loyal to the agenda of the hooligans, and the hooligans expect us to be content with buns and biscuits.

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      No. I did not breakdown. I was happy that I won and took a deep breadth. I had not met met the HC de Fonseka until the next day at the Daiichi Hotel where all male athletes stayed. He brought a telegram from the PM SWRD that congratulated me. De Fonseka also gave me his card with the words Congratulations written on the back. If you check the dates of my winning you will know the 1958 Pogram had started. Neither the HC nor the PM had the courtesy to tell me what was happening to the Tamils in Ceylon. Though at that time the Manager sup of police Arndt was asked to return to help transport the Tamils to Jaffna. Read Tarzie Vitachi who I had the pleaser of meeting inLondon in1952.

      I own my 14 th passport but I stopped calling myself a Sri Lankan after the 1972 constitution which was illegally constituted. I love our Island of my birth and my colleagues and friends from Sri Lanka. Sorry to disappoint you. But I hope I can help bring peace with dignity and justice for all our people, if not now, some day.

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        My apologies to Dr Ethir for the errors in my comment.I got this information from an article written by,if I remember right,Mr T.D.S.A Dissanayake who I think was a member of the Srilankan team.I understand why you don’t consider yourself a Srilankan anymore. However that doesn’t affect in anyway my admiration for you.

        Good to see you imparting your knowledge to the youngsters in Jaffna. Hope you will unearth some talent there like your pupil Manjula Kumara who is doing exceptionally well.

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          Manjula and Susanthika shared our home and love. They are like my sons and daughter. Susanthika and Manjula helps me in the North to train athletes with potential. My grand children love them. Sports is beyond politics. It heals trauma. It releases the Hormone Dopamine that gives us the good feeling after competition or exercise. The Nobel Laureate Konrad Laurence described sports as re-directed aggression. After competition is a period that is deep peace all sportsperson can identify.

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        Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Games. His win is a personal triumph as well as a triumph for the country. The entire country irrespective of race, caste, religion, geography celebrated that triumph.

        Ethirveerasingam was an idol of mine, because I was an athlete too. I have excelled at national school level though did not persue it beyond that. Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna is particularly memorable to me because it was there I firt competed at a national level among schools. It was only after 2009 I was able to re-visit Duraiappah Stadium and re-live my small first steps at national competitions (though I missed the cup of tea from the bakery of a Sinhalese near the railway station. I do not know whether the owner is alive today). Until 2009 it was a forbidden place for me because I am a Sinhalese and a Buddhist.

        I lost that respect once Ethirveerasingam took a communal turn and started working against Sri Lanka while living overseas.

        Hope Ethir can make a contribution towards peace in this country as he profess.

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          “Until 2009 it was a forbidden place for me because I am a Sinhalese and a Buddhist.” Henende!
          Folk born and brought up in Colombo have never had a problem visiting the north before 2009 even though they did not speak the language. Similarly, Tamils of TN have never had a problem visiting north India even though they did not know Hindi. It’s just that you are a southern bigot known to this forum on CT. There is nothing that the American has to prove to bigots like you because he is doing it for himself.

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            Javi,

            Are you the spokesperson of this ‘American’?

            It is a well known fact that after the declaration of war by Tamil terrorists in 1983, and the subsequent massacres and ethnic cleansing of Sinhaleses (especially Buddhists) from the North, it was a forbidden place for us.

            Not only Tamils in Tamil Nadu but Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka could come to the South any time during that whole period. Some of them brought bombs to South and planted them among civilians.

            Duraiappah stadium (named after a Tamil leader who stood for unity of the country as a representative of mainstream politics and paid the ultimate price for it) is a symbol of unity only sports people like us understand. Not the terror sympathisers like you.

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      Migra

      See how you lie. You know why? Because you are a Sri Lankan

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        I never lied.I said something I sincerely believed was true.When Dr Ethir contradicted,I had the courage to apologize.I yearn for the day when all of us,Dr Ethir included,can call ourselves Srilankans.That may not happen in the near future but we mustn’t looes heart as Dr Ethir says.

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    Reconciliation?

    Now reconciliation is DEAD. Think about last rites now.

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      Fuku…why don’t you use your real name ”Gota”!!? Your irrational behaviour is always visible in your writings in this forum.

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      Fathima – Lorenzo of Lankaweb

      Thankfully you dont live in Sri Lanka. The likes of you, LTTE Tamil Diasporas and the Sinhala Diashoras at Lankaweb can scream and shout to no avail.

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      Don’t loose hope. Let us first find a solution to the fundamental problem and then let us work together to reconcile as best as we can. The human spirit has no last rites at least not until the Sun burns out which is millions of years away.

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    I am a dual US and Sri Lankan citizen, I too dont believe in patriotism, I dont feel allied to any nation. Patriotism makes me feel uneasy. I stand for justice and what is right and that is what I feel allied to. We are all brothers and sisters and we must all put humanity above racial, ethnic identity.

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      I agree. In this globalised world today patriotism is the refusge of the scoundrels, as someone said.

      Patriotism breeds racism, division, animosity and war. Dr Ethir is absolutely right in his views on this matter. We all can see how the racists in Sri Lanka – the Ravanas, the BBS and other saffron robed thugs, the JHU and other pseudo patriots – are causing division and violence in the country.

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      Well said. Was it Bernard Shaw who said, “patriotism is the last resort of scoundrel.? I learned that from my English teacher Victor Rajaratnam from Jaffna Central. I do understand the need for some people to belong to a group, linguistic or otherwise and be protective of their territory. It is an evolutionary left over from our animal ancestors. Territorial imperative is a strong survival instinct and hard do away with reason. Some day humans will evolve to be different.

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        “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel- bombastic SamuelJohnson.”
        Patriotism like religion are emotions and an incubator for wars. Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it- George Bernard Shaw.
        Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about- Twain
        Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country- Calvin Coolidge
        Good luck I like the mangoes.

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      That is why in Sri Lanka they do humanitarian operations on brothers and sisters.

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    As Ethir says,vacating homes occupied by the army is the first step to reconciliation.
    Returning lands grabbed,is the second.
    These do not happen in the south

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    ‘Ethir’ stood second only to Duncan White in the pantheon of our 1950/60’s sporting idols. I remember the quiet, well motivated young man working hard to achieve his goals. Underneath his denials I believe he has much love for Sri Lanka, the country where he was born and raised. That he has chosen to return to Sri Lanka to help is ample evidence of that love and he will be among the first to rejoice when we see the first fruits of reconciliation. I join with all those who wish him well.

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      I share Spring Koha’s rhetoric of reconciliation and accommodation.
      Ethir could have spent his last days comfortably in the US. But he chose to return to his native Jaffna and Sri Lanka, in very difficult and hostile times – to give back something to his people, his country.
      I believe we must welcome this instead of reading too much into
      presumptions of all sorts. There are many Sri Lankans, from all communities, living comfortably abroad who wish to spend their last days in the land of their birth; to contribute something to its good
      as it proceeds, hopefully, towards real development, peace and reconciliation. Sadly, the current status of dual-citizenship stands against the realisation of this objective where it appears one single controversial individual insists on personally interviewing all applicants. He is to decide if one gets the dual or not???

      Senguttuvan

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        I am comfortable anywhere I can help those in need that is within my competence. I do miss my wife, children and grand children. Half of each year since 1994. I am fortunate to have such understanding family. My fathers last and only letter he got a cousin to write when i was in a remote area in Sierra Leone in early 1966 before he passed away, had two advice. “Wherever you are if you are happy I am happy.” The other was, “when you leave a place leave it better than you found it.” I know I make him happy most of the time.

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    e4dri. i know you who is arjun ediriweerasingham [Edited out]

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      My name is Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam. My son is named Arjunan Ethirveerasingam.

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    Mr Ethirveerasingham,you brought laurels to our country.Great.

    Was your goal and mission for GTF the same as Fr Emmanuel?
    OR did GTF change its MISSION and GOALS.

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      Why do GTF have to change it mission or vision. They will only change when situation in Sri Lanka change. Has it changed? Or will it ever change?. Salute this true hero of Sri Lanka who has his heart with the people not like your leaders who have their money in overseas bank accounts. Reg Fr Emanual is a humanitarian driven by human values kindness and justice. Dont belief the Sri Lankan propaganda,according to them the heroes are KP Karuna Dogals and a few paid stooges living overseas.

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    GTF constitution was developed by Tamil organisations from 14 countries and has the mission written into the constitution. You may want to see their website to get the details. As I remember, the constitution of GTF specifically states that it is a legal, democratic and non-violent organization. It is those key points that was welcomed by many countries and they are given a hearing in most capitals. I was a key member in the GTF constitution committee that drafted it. The term FORUM was chosen after much debate to inform that it is a forum for discussion, compromise and advocacy. It is not a tool of anyone and means no harm to anyone.

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    Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Games. His win is a personal triumph as well as a triumph for the country. The entire country irrespective of race, caste, religion, geography celebrated that triumph’
    Dear Hela
    Are you sure? Then who Stripped Ethir of his track suit in 1958 – Tokyo. he was saved for standing naked on whilst receving the Gold by UCLA. He Stood wearing UCLA Track Suit if I am not Wrong. It as over 55 years back.

    Ethir on his return From Helsinki was given a place At Maradana St. Josephs College. He Got a Scholarship from UCLA and went to do his degree in Agriculture. He retuned to his native Country in early sixty with his degree and it was post 1`958 and was not acceptable to the Sri Lankan set up. Although his brother also a national Hurdl;er was already a Policeman and married to a politian’s daughter from across the communal divide like the sons of the present NPC chief Minister.

    He went Back to From SL (Sri Lanka) to SL ( Sierra Leanne). Married across Communal Barrier. He retuned to Sri Lanka on retirement to help the Country of His Birth. As a true Son of Sri Lanka.

    What do you expect from him.

    He through his magnanimity has edited out the sad episode at Tokyo. I agree with him. The AAA and the Olympic Committee failed to take a set of Track suit to their Captain who was to arrive from the States. Proberbly they thought that he will never win and that the National Anthem will ever be played then. They Just Thought Why Waste a Track Suite on a Tamil whose kiths and kins were getting Murdered in Colombo and going to Jaffna at that time from Royal College Camp by Ships arranged by V.V.Ghri of India.

    To day The Word Patriotism Has become a Dirty word worse than all other Four letter words put together. let us all forget patriotism and be faithful to the country of our birth and save the Earth.

    Levi-an

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      I am pretty sure, Ethir is considered a hero among all Sri Lankans for his atletics triumphs in the past.

      However, his subsequent involvement in the separatist cause including through GTF made him an enemy. It is well known that the people involved in the separatist cause funded the terrorist carnage inflicted on Sri Lanka.

      They are still treated in the West as legal organisations (as Ethir points out to justify their actions) because they are a useful tool in the Western geo-political strategies.

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