21 October, 2020

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Sumanthiran Comes Within Slapping Distance

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

‘Moderate’ is a subjective tag.   Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran may call himself a moderate but not everyone will go along with his self-perception. The same holds for any moderate, self-labeled or labeled as such by others.  Politicians, in particular, are notorious for self-labeling and crafting speech with particular audience in mind.

Despite all these truisms and some contentious assertions Sumanthiran’s intervention in the budget debate has to be labeled ‘brave’.  It is not easy, after all, for a Tamil politician to admit that wrong was done in the name of the Tamil people.

One can argue that he hasn’t done enough, for example that he cannot be taken seriously until he acknowledges the pernicious role of pro-LTTE elements of the expatriate Sri Lankan Tamils.  Indeed, Sumanthiran’s ‘acknowledgements’ sound bland compared to the listing offered by Rajan Hoole (‘A flawed liberation Struggle: Massacres of Sinhalese civilians,’ in www.colombotelegraph.com).  When he says ‘We are in refugee camps for 23 years’ and asks ‘Why is that?’ he could be asked also to ask himself whether the question is less valid for Tamil politicians and militants.

On the other hand, reluctance to acknowledge crimes done in the name of a particular community is not the preserve of Tamil politicians.  Exchange of barbs and listing the crimes of the ‘other’ has been the order of play for several decades.

This is why, despite serious silences in Sumanthiran’s speech, it has to be seen as a brave intervention.  In all probability he would have been the recipient of much flak from his party colleagues, behind closed doors of course.  While it was not exactly an ‘own goal’ it was certainly a kick in the ‘wrong direction’ in terms of the general practice of political football, one might say.

When he acknowledges that was done in the name of Tamils to Muslims was unjust (and adds, albeit as an afterthought, that the Sinhalese also suffered), he puts himself within slapping distance of both friend and foe.  This is not courage but double courage.  It appears that he at least has understood that few Sinhalese would be interested in listening to any litany of woes uttered by any Tamil politician who pussyfoots around the vexed issue of atrocities perpetrated in the name of the Tamil community.

He is only saying part of the story when he states ‘Only when David Cameron spoke, the world heard; otherwise our voices are stifled’ for he cannot be ignorant how Cameron’s ignorance and cheap politicking.  And yet, he is correct that certain grievances fall on deaf ears in Colombo.  He probably understands that the identity of grievance-articulator is part of the problem.  What is important is that name of messenger and his/her past history should not cause listener to turn away.  Even if there is frill and inflation as per the dictates of expediency, there often is a core that is real and big enough to warrant complaint and therefore redress.

Sumanthiran, let us repeat, has come within slapping distance and this constitutes opportunity and warrants applause. This is why.

About a year ago, Bishop Duleep de Chickera during a thanksgiving service for the former Vicar of St. Paul’s Church, Kandy, Rev Fr James Amerasekara, said that Fr James’ ministry was governed among other things by Jesus’ extortion ‘If a man slaps you on your cheek, turn to him the other also’.  Bishop Chickera explained that it had taken him a long time to realize that what Jesus meant was ‘stay within slapping distance, don’t move away; because that distance is also the distance for an embrace’.

Embrace a member of a party that was once the mouthpiece of a terrorist outfit, a Tamil whose party turned the other way when in the name of the Tamil community thousands of Sinhalese and Muslims were slaughtered in cold blood?  Yes.  ‘Yes’ because perceptions aside there was a ‘real’ that happened in the other direction too.   Humility is the cornerstone of any edifice of co-existence and inter-communal harmony.  Sumanthiran is not always humble and his humility even here leaves out large parts of a very violent text, but that’s not reason enough to dismiss. Rather, it is reason enough to turn searchlight inwards.

For several decades we have had people speaking on behalf of various collectives choosing to react to slap with slap.  Someone must start by refusing to slap-back.  Someone has to come within slapping distance.  For now, it might be pointed out that Sumanthiran came within slapping distance but took care to hold a shied in front of his face.  Still, it is better than what others of his political persuasion has done and better than what his detractors have done and do.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 14
    1

    You always write like there was nothing bad you people did. The atrocities your people committed on Tamils is 1000 times more than what Tamil did. further, you are the people who started violence over tamils first. Moodidu Pooriya pannadai…

    • 8
      0

      Mr Sumanthiran who is a brave man has a lot of work ahead of him. He needs to EDUCATE THE SINHALAYA MODAYAS against the SPIN of Rajapakse regime supporters like Malinda, the bullshit of the UNP opposition..
      The moron Sajith Premadasa has told a news conference that all political parties in the country need to form a process to face and defeat any resolution against the country at the UNHRC.. Sajith as usual has got things upside down and inside out! 1. UNHRC resolution is NOT against the people of Lanka, but against the corrupt and criminal Rajapakse regime. 2. A UNHRC resolution against the Rajapassa military dictatorship is essential to prevent Gota the Goon further destroying democratic institutions and the JUDICIARY which is headed by an ILLEGAL and criminal de facto Chief Justice today. 3. Sajith Premadasa lied about getting a degree from the London School of Economics and is intellectually and morally unfit to lead any party, and is covertly supporting the Rajapakse regime.

    • 7
      0

      Mr Sumanthiran who is a brave man has a lot of work ahead of him. He needs to EDUCATE SINHALAYA MODAYAS against the SPIN of Rajapakse regime supporters like Malinda Seneviratne, and the bullshit of the UNP opposition..
      The moron Sajith Premadasa has told a news conference that all political parties in the country need to form a process to face and defeat any resolution against the country at the UNHRC.. Sajith as usual has got things upside down and inside out! 1. UNHRC resolution is NOT against the people of Lanka, but against the corrupt and criminal Rajapakse regime. 2. A UNHRC resolution against the Rajapassa military dictatorship is essential to prevent Gota the Goon further destroying democratic institutions and the JUDICIARY which is headed by an ILLEGAL and criminal de facto Chief Justice today. 3. Sajith Premadasa lied about getting a degree from the London School of Economics and is intellectually and morally unfit to lead any party, and is covertly supporting the Rajapakse regime. Madam Chandrika Bandaraniyake is the only viable joint opposition candidate to finish of the corrupt and criminal Mahinda Rajapakse. She needs to come out of retirement and SAVE MOTHER LANKA FROM THE MAJORITY SINHALAYA MODAYAS, NOW!

  • 13
    0

    at least he has come that far, however, bootlickers of the MR regime as well as any sinhala politician haven’t come close to that!!! sad to say milinda’s article is just another episode of verbal diarrhoea !!

    • 9
      0

      This so-called editor MS needs two good hard slaps!
      If he has nothing to say, as he clearly has NOTHING TO SAY and nothing new to add, he should spare us his “faint praise” and covert hate speech against Sumanthiran – should be slapped!?

      “Damn with faint praise,
      assent with civil leer.. “
      Get a life MS and stop babbling!

  • 16
    1

    “‘Moderate’ is a subjective tag.” – What about Modaya Malinda? What kind of tag is it? If all Diaspora Tamils are for justice and if you wish to call us we all are Tigers, that is fine. Modays call David Cameron is a white tiger. Modays call Milliband is a white tiger. ….We all are tigers. You are bloody stupid.

    • 3
      9

      Justice? Justice is done. The LTTE criminals are no more!

      • 0
        6

        Mentors & financiers are still active.

        • 4
          0

          M.Sivananthan & hela …………………

          War criminals are still out in the open, when will see justice done to the ordinary people who lost their loved ones from 5th April 1971?

          • 0
            1

            War criminals should be given priority over the ordinary criminals. They are special people.

      • 2
        0

        I LOVE TO SEE How you all, malinda and other Fleas talking from your hind quarters.

      • 1
        0

        I like to see, how you all, Malinda and other Fleas talking from your hind quarters.

    • 5
      0

      what is not subjective in terms of their expplanations ?

      MS is a joke, will be like that so long Rajapakshes would stay in power. That is it. But he should slowly realize that people of the country are not modayas forever.

  • 8
    0

    “He is only saying part of the story when ..” You Malinda – you are telling part of the story. Why don’t you start from 1948?

    • 0
      4

      Anpu,

      Yes, 1948……the time when Lanka Tamil State Party (ITAK) was formed and the Eelam project was formerly initiated.

      • 0
        0

        Wrong please go back to the drawing board!

        • 0
          0

          Burning_Issue ……… Both you and Hela are wrong. It was three thousand years ago Tamils formed the IATK for the sole purpose of driving my people away from this island………

    • 7
      0

      Asking him to write from 48’is asking too much. Before he can write anything meaningful he has to get his hed out of MR’s A.

    • 0
      4

      Why NOT go back to 1923 ? Have you NOT heard of ‘Equal Representation’ when every Tamil was portrayed as being the equivalent of 7 of the rest.

  • 10
    0

    Yes, my man, you are right. It is not easy for a Tamil politician to admit the wrongs but can you tell me how many Sinhala politicians have admitted the wrongs they did to the Tamils? The Tamils where at the receiving end of various Sinhala politicians for thirty years since independence before they took up arms. You have the cheek to make this statement. Starting from Banda to Rajapaksa all the Sinhala politicians needed to be slapped hard for their atrocious deeds against the Tamils.

    • 1
      8

      Banda made the Tamil language as the “compulsary” school language but the Christian dominated Tamil politicians did not welcome it because they were crying for the lost status of English!

      • 0
        0

        You are talking nonsense as usual. Banda allowed a reasonable use of the Tamil language even that was not fully implemented. What is your source of history?

        • 0
          0

          What kind of history you know? in 1957 the schools were nationalized. Do you know that history?

          • 0
            0

            Are you an imbecile or what? Vernacular education system does not mean anything. Can a Tamil conduct his/her civic duties in the Tamil language? Please have reasonable intelligence before writing on public forums.

  • 5
    1

    Malinda, I like your title and article showing the attitudes of both sides of the divide and the importance of humility for coexistence. In the context of the prevailing situation I know all Sri Lankans and the rest of the world expect all differences reconciled and all communities happy ever after. It is great of Sumanthiran to have initiated a call for making Sri Lanka work like in South Africa in the wake of the world praising Nelson Mandela. Again if this call fall on deaf ears all Sri Lankans and the rest of the world will be very disappointed and sad.
    The sad thing happened to Sri Lanka was the Journalists just like politicians incessantly supported the division instead of unifying the country.

    • 3
      0

      I don’t think South Africa is a model to follow.

      The only big thing happened in SA is that blacks got the political power. But beneath the surface nothing much has changed. It is still very much a police state.

      SA is one of the most violent societies in the world with much higher murder rates.

      SA’s black labour is still treated as shit. Labour uprisings are met with bullets.

  • 5
    1

    CT – I am sure now that you publish this guys rubbish to get a point out or get the talking happening within the community. This chief ediot has to be number one in the game of writing shiete to make a dollar.. I do love his smile though. Malinda, you have got a great smile.. It’s a dimwit smile but i would love to talk to you about it.. give me a holla when u got some time..

  • 8
    0

    .
    Malinda, I understand your position. You cannot say more than this without getting permission from your bosses.
    :-)

    • 0
      5

      Aratai,

      May be similar to Sumanthiran’s position. Sumanthiran had gone to the furthest (according to Malinda) that is permitted by the LTTE rump.

  • 11
    0

    Sumanthiran was “brave” and he need not be humble.
    Only lackeys of the terror regime need to be humble lest they are taught the lesson.

  • 8
    0

    This writer is racist and sucking up for gvmt suck well u fool…!!

    • 0
      2

      hay hay, who is Malinda Seneviratne compared to–
      Usha Sri-Skanda-Rajah, G.K. Nathan, TU Senan, S. V. Kirubaharan, Krisna Saravanamuttu, Brian Senewiratne, Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Veluppillai Thangavelu,—- a pretty motal cabal no eh?

      • 3
        0

        Navin ………. All what I know about Malinda Seneviratne is that he is a saint comparable only to Mother Thresa, Buddha, Jesus, Mandela, Ghandi…………

  • 4
    0

    Malinda, While your “Nation” online venture you fuel the Sinhala Buddhist hallucination, in Colombo telegraph you find yourself naked and have been gradually changing your posture while others like me try to expose your consistent Sinhalese Buddhist bigotry taking increasingly sophisticated forms. But Malinda, it is known to many and for some time now that you are the amongst biggest Sinhala Buddhist racist with a sublicense from BBS – to impress upon the bilinguals in forums like this.

    What about practicing what you read in the Bible for a change. What about slapping yourself silly?

  • 0
    3

    Sumanthiran’s limitations (as may be imposed by his constituency, financiers and mentors) illustrates the distance the so called Tamil ‘moderates’ have yet to travel in order to create the confidence among rest of the population to arrive at a workable solution without the involvement of security measures or agree to devolve more powers to the periphery.

  • 3
    0

    Mr Malinda It is all started by-you and your leaders even before Independence by settling others among us (Tamils)DID ANY ONE OF YOU OR YOUR LEADERS ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO US ??? From 1956 It is you medias call Mr.Sumanthiran is a moderate But him.

  • 3
    0

    Sumanthiran is a thorn in the flesh of the Sinhala extremist wing – of which Malinda is a known and willing cog. That is clearly the reason that established Buddhist Sinhala hawk Dinesh Gunawardena questioned the Speaker why MAS was given 50 mts in the 2nd reading last week. This Sinhala supremacist Minister is worried the more Sumanthiran speaks the more he would tell the country and the world of the planned
    genocidal intentions of the Rajapakse regime. Little does he know the world is assembling sufficient material to present the world’s case to come to the defence of the Lankan Tamil Nation now being gradually liquidated.

    I was told just now award-winning Canadian journalist
    Rosie di Mano, who was in Sri Lanka during the NPC elections, carries a 2-page article in the influential “Toronto Star” titled “For Tamils, a death by assimilation” bringing to the notice of North American audiences the plight of Lankan Tamils – the fate of nearly 200,000 held in Govt captivity is a mystery – in what they fear to be a program to physically reduce their presence in their own land.

    R. Varathan

  • 0
    3

    Malinda Senevirathne also either did not have guts to talk straight forward or he wanted to be polite towards these cowards, terrorists or politicians without any integrity, honesty or accountability.

    Otherwise, How come Malinda Senevirathne portray that as braveness. It is just cowardice and shamelessness.

    If not tell, how long Sri Lankan Tamil politicians continue this game of lieing, exploitation and manipulation of Sri Lankan voters as well as readers.

  • 3
    0

    Someone please slap this idiot Malinda and wake him up from his absurd nightmares….!!

  • 2
    1

    It is an undeniable and irrefutable fact that the Tamils in Srilanka including theEnslaved nation of Eelam are not free. Sumanthiran has to speak the way he did to survive. He cannot speak his mind out even if he wanted to because the majority Sinhalese will lynch him. The constraints on the Tamil leaders are enormous and they cannot speak freely. Remember what the Sinhalese parliamentarians tried to do to the former tulf leader A.Amirthalingam in parliament. Only an idiot will say the speech made by Sumanthiran was a free speech from his heart. We know that if Sumanthiran speaks freely what happened to Kumar Ponnampalam is what will happen to him.

    I do not believe In the Sinhala sate for the protection of Tamils, we need to look at the other options for our own protection. What is happening in Eelam following the absence of the LTTE is an ethnic genocide of the Tamils . Let us tell the whole world about it.

    • 1
      0

      What are you trying to say? Sumanthiran is like you but cannot say it? How pathetic! Are you a Tamil moderate?

  • 3
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    4

    The Heading is funny… Isn’t it, Even when we used to make cheeky jokes to our Srilankan Chicks, the response was “I will slap you”…Sumane would have been Pistol whipped with the 38 calibre,by Prabakaran, personally with the one he was wearing on the belt around his Diaspora type girth… before handing over to Pottu Aman .for “Mahattaya treatment” if the Supremo was around… Sumane became the Gun Lawyer that he is, studying and working among the Genocidal Sinhalese as they are now called by the Diasporians and their Western Backers.the likes of Cameron , Jonathan and Harper….Sumane didn’t have to do Compulsory Service either, unlike the ex captives and their youngsters, because he was born with a sort of a silver spoon in the the mouth….The sad part is,Sumane is still is trying to push the barrow for the LTTE proxy Sambandan and his Terror friendly Colleagues, to keep the poor Northern inhabitants in enclaves with the possibility of them becoming captives or ex captives again….If living among the genocidal Sinhalese was good for this Sumane and many others , how can it be bad for the Northern inhabitants??….

  • 3
    0

    Be careful, Malinda – you are slowly but surely approaching the depths of Rajpal… Sad for a person whose writings were pretty independent upto a couple of years ago.

  • 3
    0

    still sweet Mahinda’s shit, isn’t it Malinda? What are u going to when government change? You want lick the different ass.

  • 3
    0

    Such a pity this man Malinda doesn’t have the wisdom to match his academic qualifications.

    One can cram, pass exams and win certificates. But not wisdom!

  • 4
    0

    Nobody will slap M.A.Sum. On the other hand you are begging to be slapped by the Pakses but they are not willing to do that dont know why? Keep trying. But as a senior Editor of a news paper you have to grow a lot. try eating more vegetables.

  • 3
    0

    This shitty beggar MS is writing this shitty muck because shit is an integral part of his life. Sumanthiran’s was a historical and brave speech done in parliament against all odds. And brave in the sense that he attacked the very foundation of all the corruption, misery hate and violence in the country which is the Rajapaksha family and familial rule. But look at how this [Edited out] the left overs of the regime is interpreting MAS! The problem with MS typed [Edited out] is their [Edited out]. If one were to ponder and analyze there is not a single politician in the whole of Rajapaksha regime, cabinet and familial rule arena who can match the talent, brilliance, oratory skills and brevity of that of MAS. The Tamils are gaining in education, application, principles and democratic traits but the regime happy [Edited out] like MS are doing down the drain like pigs. This shit eating pig MS is a disgrace to the true moderate Sinhalese and must be disposed of at the first opportunity the country gets after liquidating the Raja-fuck-sha rule.

  • 5
    0

    Malinda Seneviratne is one of the top class Racist Journalists in our country. He is only good to write articles for a blog like lanka web where a closed circle of racists of his calibre is allowed to womit all the racist venom. Since he started bum sucking the racist elements of the regime, they have made him the Cheap Editor of a rag owned by the relatives of the regime. There are hardly any people who read this news paper (racist rag) for obvious reasons.

    Sumanthiran is light years ahead of people like Malinda. It is absolutely helarious to see a man not worth the dust on the shoes of Sumanthiran trying to judge him.

  • 4
    0

    You are talking about the part of the speech, a full analysis would have been much appreciated. Sumenthiran goes further and alert the all sri Lankan about the danger of having ONE FAMILY rule. That should have been WHITE VAN distance for you right? you write what suits you or what is premised?

  • 2
    1

    My dear Malinda Seneviratne, Chief Editor of THE NATION,
    I congratulate you for the excellent investigative report : http://www.nation.lk/edition/latest-top-stories/item/23492-bribery-chief-under-‘bribery-probe’.html Please continue to publish such frauds.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Malinda, I am having difficult trying to decide if you are Masochist or a Sadist. Can you please help me figure this out ? I overhead this conversation between a masochist and a sadist

    The Masochist said – “ Slap me” .
    The Sadist said – “no !” .

    Which one are you ?

  • 2
    0

    Malinda or Mahinda?
    The difference is L & H

    L = Liar
    M = Murderer

  • 0
    0

    There is an internationally wanted LTTE Colonel, a mastermind of recruiting child soldiers and also mastermind of various heinous acts of terrorism, including hacking to death of Buddhist monks , including novices right in the parliament not only within slapping distance but also within the distance of bringing him to justice or handing over to international courts for his heinous crimes. Instead, the Defence Minister has arranged a false diplomatic passport for him. Well the defence minister is also within the slapping distance. So is the President who has appointed the LTTE butcher as a minister. The President is also within the slapping distance. Unfortunately after all blatant violations of law and making nepotism and lawlessness the law, the real culprits not even being mentioned in essays from those like Malinda. Well he has started with a quote from Bertolt Brecht, in fact it was also Bertolt Brecht who wrote: “Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.” The problem with Sri Lanka is when a person, specially a democratically elected member of Parliament, representing the Tamil population speaks bravely the facts and truth, everyone is trying to be a hero by talking how close one is in “slapping distance” but the same heroes seem to be starkly blind the very LTTE butchers , not elected but appointed by the Nepotistic, lawless and corrupt government. We have plenty of those the heroes of hypocrisy!

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