26 February, 2020

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Tamil Diaspora Never Misses The Chance To Miss The Bus

By Rasika Jayakody

Rasika Jayakody

It was the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC), a Tamil organization operating in London in the late 1970s that brokered a deal between the Tamil militants in Sri Lanka and the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. As a result of that cloak-and-dagger agreement, Tamil militants were trained not only in South India, but also in North India, with the consent of the Indira Gandhi government.

This, in other words, means that the Tamil diaspora was not just the tail of the LTTE. It was an integral and very essential part of the LTTE, since inception. Although India and the Tamil Nadu government financed the LTTE at the incipient stage, the organization’s primary line of funding, for more than three decades, was the Tamil Diaspora mainly based in Europe and North America.

However, it is important to understand that as much as the Tamil Diaspora contributed to the rise of the LTTE in various ways, it also contributed to the downfall of the organization, by failing to identify the monumental blunders the LTTE made in its bloody past. Had the diaspora identified its position and role in the Eelamist struggle, they could very well have made a difference as far as the final outcome of the struggle is concerned.

The general perception was that Prabhakaran was uncontrollable. It’s true that he was not willing to listen to India as he was not depending on India after the late 1980s, in terms of money or arms procurement. He was not willing to listen to ITAK or the TULF, as they were always under the LTTE’s jackboot. ‘International community’ or other super powers were immaterial to him as he knew his ability to manipulate and influence them, in the blink of an eye. But, he was never in a position to avoid the voice of the Tamil Diaspora as he relied on them, in terms of money, arms and managing perception among the international community.

In the aftermath of the July 1983 riots there were two paths before the LTTE and Prabhakaran. The first path was to wage a Guerilla war while adhering to “guerilla ethics” and refraining from civilian targets, akin to the liberation struggles carried out by Fidel Castro or Sandinista guerillas led by Daniel Ortega. Such a struggle would have positioned LTTE in a better position,  in the international domain, especially with the outcome of the July 1983 riots.

But Prabhakaran, being the quintessential terrorist he was, chose the second path, which was bestrewn with blood, sheer terror, violence and pernicious crimes against civilians. This was quite evident when he chose to massacre hundreds of Buddhist civilians and monks in the sacred city of Anuradhapura, in May, 1985, approximately two years after the infamous “Black July.”

The Tamil Diaspora, failed to see the far reaching consequences of Prabhakaran’s decision. They failed to realize that the Tamil militancy should have taken the moral high ground, instead of resorting to sheer terrorism and approaching civilian targets. What really happened was the Diaspora happily chose to become the unconditional partner in crime of the LTTE, turning a blind eye to Prabhakaran’s monumental blunders.

The killing of Rajiv Gandhi, as many believe, is another glaring mistake made by the LTTE. However, it took 11 years for the LTTE to admit that Rajiv Gandhi’s killing was a blunder. During the LTTE leader’s press conference in 2002, its Chief Ideologue Anton Balansingham, in Prabhakaran’s presence, indicated that it was a “mistake” on the LTTE’s part. Until then the Tamil Diaspora did its best to justify the LTTE’s disastrous decision, at any cost. As a result of this, India banned the LTTE and was never willing to trust Prabhakaran or any other top level leader of the organization.

After Karuna broke away from the LTTE in 2004, with a considerable number of  battle hardened cadres, the LTTE made another blunder by intensifying conscription in the Eastern Province, particularly in Batticaloa. After 2004, there was a spiraling increase in the number of child soldiers recruited by the LTTE. This earned the ire of the people of the North and East, and the LTTE, who claimed to be the sole representatives of Tamils, lost the people’s support to a large extent. When the LTTE intensified the recruitment of child soldiers, plunging innocent Tamils from frying pan into the fire, the diaspora hardly spoke a word against it. They saw children in the North and East as cannon fodder for the LTTE. This rupture between people and the LTTE made a serious debilitating effect during the period between 2004 and 2009. Not only did it earn the ire of ordinary Tamils, it also filled the LTTE battalions with less-trained and ill-spirited soldiers.

Another deadly blunder the LTTE made out of desperation was holding 150000 civilians in captive during the final phase of war. That transformed the military onslaught against the LTTE into a humanitarian operation and a rescue mission to protect civilians from the LTTE. At the same time, the move did not produce any positive result for the LTTE. At the last stage of the war, they provided very brief weapon trainings to civilians and fielded them to fight the SL Army who had restricted the “world’s deadliest terrorist organization” to a tiny strip of land in the Mullaitivu district. The LTTE thought the move would help them win the ‘PR War’ vis-a-vis the Sri Lankan government but it actually turned the tables on the LTTE, playing into the hands of the government!

The Tamil diaspora failed to understand  the ground reality. They were never hesitant to call the fleeing civilians traitors and vowed to refrain from extending any help to them. When they had to make a choice between Tamils and the LTTE, they chose the LTTE over ordinary Tamils in the North.

Even today, the diaspora is spending a colossal amount of money on a yearly basis to stage protests and demonstrations against the Sri Lankan government. It would be interesting to see the amount of money they have actually spent to upgrade then living standard of the Tamils in the North vis-a-vis the amount of money they have collected for demonstrations, protests and lobbying. They haven’t shown any willingness to bridge the huge gap prevailing over many matters and cooperate with the Sri Lankan government when it comes to welfare issues of Tamils in the North. The reason for this is quite understandable.

The Tamil diaspora has missed many buses in the past. And it keeps on missing. They turned a blind eye to atrocities against civilians. They never had the courage to speak on behalf of the innocent Tamils, when necessary. They never saw a world beyond the LTTE. And that led to the disastrous end of the very LTTE and its leader. And now, in the same way, they turn a blind eye to the ground reality in the North. And that will further alienate them from the Tamils and make the ‘Diaspora’ look like a set of clowns in eyes of the people in the North.

*The writer is a Sri Lankan journalist who may be contacted at rasikajayakody2@gmail.com 

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Latest comments

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    Prabhakaran was a devil. NO DOUBT. But successive governments from 1948 have been only worse. This government is proving that they are interested in eliminating any harm done to Sinhalese and will go all the way to trample the Tamils(and Muslims) for that. It’s only in medieval times that the people got the treatment the Tamils have been receiving from successive governments: periodic pogroms and the dirty behaviour of the rulers during those times(and political, economic, social, cultural and now environmental degradation).

    “world’s deadliest terrorist organization” was created by the world’s deadliest ”leaders” of ethnic majoritarianists.

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    An excellent, straight from the shoulder, analysis which begins to tell the truth about Western Tamil supporters of the LTTE and their role in endorsing and supporting the criminal use of Tamil Sri Lankans as cannon fodder while their own lives remained secure.

    As well as the outright proponents by some Western Tamils of terrorist violence against civilians, there were also apologists and fellow-travellers of the Tigers who refused to speak out against them, no matter how vile and brutal their activities became. Tiger fellow-travellers such as Suren Surendiran, Fr S J Emmanuel and many others.

    However, it is misleading to blame the entire so-called Tamil diaspora for supporting the terrorist ideology and conduct of the Tamil Tigers. There were noble and sturdy Tamils in the west who did much to try to break the hypnotic spell that the Tamil Tigers held over so many Tamil people of Sri Lankan origin.

    Many of us look forward to seeing the day when Tamilian Sri Lankans , both in Sri Lanka and in the West, themselves chase out these poliical gangsters and their apologists from their midst and Westerners no longer have the shocking experience of seeing the fascist flag of the Tamil Tigers carried by Tamil people on the streets of their cities.

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    Diaspora blunders seem to continue.

    Backing , the LTTE proxy Senathiraja over the well credentialled candidate who neither carry LTTE baggage nor Blood on his hands ,is another.

    In addition,the racist nature of the reasons which were given for ditching Vigneswaran show that the Diaspora has learnt nothing about racial discrimination.

    Because Vigneswaran has two in laws who are Sinhalese, he is not a Tamil in the eyes of the Diaspora and its 14 stooges in the TNA.

    This is the same Diaspora , where their girls who were born overseas or spent most of their lives there date or and marry non Tamils, including Sinhalese.

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    I hope the writer of this piece tells us in his next article about the blunders the Sinhala governments have made regarding the ethnic strife since Sri Lanka gained independence. I hope he also tells us about the terrible blunders Rajapaksa is making now that is likely to prolong the strife for a long time to come.

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    K.A Sumanasekera

    “where their girls who were born overseas or spent most of their lives there date or and marry non Tamils, including Sinhalese.”

    Do you disapprove of Tamil girls dating non Tamils?

    If you do, do you expect their parents to keep their daughters’ virginity under guard or lock and key? In other words parents become guardians of their daughters’ private parts.

    It is a good idea.

    Could you write a paper on “Neo Guardians of Daughters’ Virginity” and publish it here in CT.

    • 0
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      Very good comment. thanks

    • 0
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      Dear Native,

      Apparently that task was performed by the poosaris according to the old Hindu traditions.

      The parents used to keep the brides with the poosaris to purify them , a few days before matrimony.

      Things have changed a bit nowadays , especially in the Diaspora and who would know better than you my friend.

      The Kids there have adopted consumerism , big time,

      And say How can you buy before you try?

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        K.A Sumanasekera

        “The parents used to keep the brides with the poosaris to purify them ,a few days before matrimony.”

        How come my elders never told me this, otherwise I would have become a poosari myself nevertheless I wish poosaries well for their services.

        Did your mother find blood on the white sheet the morning after your wedding night? If she didn’t, was yours an arranged marriage?

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          “…… was yours an arranged marriage?”

          Could be a ponna Binna union.

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          Natts,

          Maybe Kumanasekara meant:

          “The parents used to keep the brides with the psoriasis to purify them, a few days before matrimony.”

    • 0
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      Observing the rites of Vesta may payoff well:

      A 20-year-old Brazilian woman has auctioned off her virginity for $780,000. Just count how much a pimpy guardian may earn their commission in this selloff.

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        SinAvesta

        “Just count how much a pimpy guardian may earn their commission in this selloff.”

        You mean in this case K.A Sumanasekera’s windfall income would be about $780,000 X 10%.

        Not bad for a person who believes in Sri Lanka’s middle income status. This is how this island achieved parity with other Middle income countries.

        By the way where would you find virgins in this island given that the fathers have been raping their daughters?

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    A good analysis on the LTTE and sections of the Tamil Diaspora ( the emphasis is on the word sections). Sections of the Sinhala Diaspora have not been any better, although their efforts are limited to rabble rousing and is sans any financing efforts of the Sinhala rabble and their cohorts in the government.

    Both the Tamils and the Sinhalese have missed the bus repeatedly, because they have had persons drunk on power driving the bus recklessly.

    Both communities are cursed with bad leadership .

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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      Absolutely true, nobody can deny this. Power hungry, corrupt leaders have led, and still lead, the nation from one disaster to another.

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        Taraki, I view that our politicians are playing to the people, it is our people who don’t want the Tamil people to live in peace.

        Even the mighty Rajapakshas are helpless, their best friends the monks will throw them out at best and destroy them at worst, as it happened to SWRD, if they approach the problem politically.

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          I take the opposite view. The politicians could bring peace and equality if they wanted to. They would have many monks in the Sangha on their side(one of the Mahanayakas wanted the late Lakshman Kadiragamar to be made PM). If politicians act with generosity and magnanimity to the Tamil people, then all things are possible.

          The people will follow them. Remember the generosity of the Sinhalese after the Tsunami. Most people are generous and kind hearted, but they are misled by their leaders and certain monks.

          The politicians encourage the rantings of racist monks and use the resulting passions of the people for their own ends.

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            Your comment gives me hope. When will we have a leader who will be above it all ? His/Her time will come.

    • 0
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      Here Here Doc.

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    Tamil diaspora syndrome, the Tamil struggle henceforth in Sri Lanka were all reactions to systematic misgovernment, lack of ethical governance, unjust ruling, reckless politicians from the majority, oppression and systematic discrimination among reasons…so the majority successfully duelled the birth of the most ruthless and effective terrorist outfit. Alas, the majority politicians have yet to learn from the past!!

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    Those who “negotiated” the deals with the Indians were unelected and unrepresentative of Tamils, even in Sri Lanka… remember that they killed off and/or terrorised all credible Tamil opposition into silence at the beginning of their rise to power.

    Ex-LTTE activists continue to discredit the Tamil community in the UK and elsewhere through their use of LTTE insignia at demonstrations and so on. So it may be an over-simplification to bundle the entire Tamil diaspora with the more prominent activists.

    There is also an element of fear that still exists amongst many in the Tamil diaspora to such an extent that we dare not speak out against the activists.

    Many of us have simply resigned ourselves to the fact that we and our descendants will never be able to return to Sri Lanka other than as tourists; a loss to Sri Lankan Tamils as well as the nation of Sri Lanka.

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    The LTTE diaspora are not interested in a solution or better living conditions for the Tamils in the North and East. They are only interested in their well being and maintaining their standards.So they need to keep the money machines running.It may not be blunders a but blessings in disguise in the case of the LTTE diaspora things went the way they went. They need no Eelam they only needed to keep the troubles continueing and so it has.

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    Remember that the tamil diaspora is there to stay and will be a formidable force. Gota knows it and that is why he has put a hold on
    dual-citizenship. No long-term planning by those interested in
    investment on business etc will be considered in the present set-up.

    If you want to see the jaffna peninsula overtake all other areas,
    take the MOD hands on it out in full is the challenge.

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      Punchi Nilame has Loku ( Big ) ideas.

      Are they in consort with the Diaspora wish list?

      If so the great majority will welcome them with open arms.

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      Punchi Nilame may or may not know that VVIPs in the regime have billions of their dollars invested recently with Diaspora jewellers and
      Real Estate interests. This is no different to Gamini D, a leading Sinhala leader in the 7/83 history, had entrusted large sums of his own Mahaweli loot with two leading Textile shops in the Pettah in Colombo. The saving grace in both stories is the Sinhalese trust the Tamils when it comes to big bucks. Sure – there is hope for reconciliation.

      Senguttuvan

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        The Tamils, are the Scots of the Brits, better keepers of the Financial House.

        Btw, recently a very devoted Buddhist friend of mine was looking to rent his property and was only looking for Christians to rent his place. He viewed his property and his mental happyness he seeks lie with the Christians.

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          Not necessarily a Christian, but laying with anybody could comfortably frisk em in follies.

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    Rasika Jeyakody,

    I have serious doubt about your honesty in regard to your interest towards Tamils and your advise for Tamil Diaspora? A single fact identifies your motive clearly.
    Please read the following: “Another deadly blunder the LTTE made out of desperation was holding 150000 civilians in captive during the final phase of war. That transformed the military onslaught against the LTTE into a humanitarian operation and a rescue mission to protect civilians from the LTTE.”

    First, the number of civilians you quoted was 150,000 instead of over 300,000 .
    Secondly, LTTE did not keep civilians captive during the final phase. Those civilians are mostly families of LTTE and those who support LTTE against the liberation struggle.
    Thirdly, military onslaught is not only against LTTE but also those against civilians and it is not a humanitarian operation or rescue mission to protect from LTTE. Civilians were the target and over 40,000 civilians were massacred by the Sinhala military.

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      Ajith

      “Secondly, LTTE did not keep civilians captive during the final phase. Those civilians are mostly families of LTTE and those who support LTTE against the liberation struggle.”

      I am in a good mood, I forgive you.

  • 0
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    Again Rasika jeyakody seems to be interested only on post 1970 history.
    He did not respond to this comment
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/eelamism-as-livelihood/comment-page-1/#comment-629880

    If Sinhalease govts have governed the country properly we would not have had LTTE and Tamil Diaspora.

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    A One sided write up about the LTTE and it’s supporters.

    It conveniently ignores how we the majority successfully took away the Tamils of their rights; continue to take away their lands for Golf courses and When they peacefully protested, we attacked them, we unloaded successive ethnic progroms on our own, raped their women, killed their men, forcing them to take up arms.

    We are still missing the bus, our recent Tiruchelvam- GL Peiris ( man with many tongues ) agreement, our APRC report, the LLRC report and now we want to have another meeting.

    We have shown the world that we don’t care. Our past weighs us down. It is our destiny to let events unravel as it should. When it does, let us write, how we missed the bus.

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      Tamils have a State in India since 1964. Yet, What did the Tamils as individuals achieve except making two very rich politicians in there.

      What is what exactly they are asking in Sri Lanka too.

      What is the political solution for Tamils living outside North and East. Do tamils live in Colombo, Wellawaththa and other areas have a Political solution ?

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        Jim softy

        “What is the political solution for Tamils living outside North and East. Do tamils live in Colombo, Wellawaththa and other areas have a Political solution ?”

        Send them back to North East (voluntary repatriation).

        In the fullness of time we will repatriate both the stupid Sinhalese and stupid Tamils back to their homeland in India.

        A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

        Nothing personal Jimmy.

  • 0
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    .
    So what’s your point?
    Are you ‘sad’ by the diaspora behavior that caused LTTE’s downfall?
    Srilankan government must be happy with diaspora’s actions.
    :-)

  • 0
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    Really a good write up Rasika !

  • 0
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    They did not miss the bus , but the train the plne and the bullock cart too.. lol

  • 0
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    A careful study of the contemporary history of this island post-1956, in particular, establishes it is not the Tamil political leadership that missed the bus. It is more successful the Sinhala political leadership that failed the country – and in most instances due to the disruptive role of the Buddhist hierarchy. This is conceded by all frontline from then to now – academics, social scientists, historians and political leaders as well.

    We are now faced with the ignominy where almost most crucial political decisions concerning the country – and, all its people, have to be made in concurrence with India. But the gullible people are told different stories as that cantankerous Rambukwella now fools himself speaking simultaneously inb several tongues – the latest being “India did not make us change our position on the 13th Amendment” This modern Andare must have a 2nd look at the Communique issued by the Indian High Commission on the eve of the departure of Mr Shivshankar Menon. Clearly, it does not get in to his system in the first read. Fortunately, there are mjultiple thousands of Tisaranee G’s in the Sinhala side that cannot be fooled.

    Senguttuvan

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      Here Here.

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      establishes it is not the Tamil political leadership that missed the bus. It is more successful the Sinhala political leadership that failed the country – and in most instances due to the disruptive role of the Buddhist hierarchy.

      Of course. How could the highly educated, the most intelligent, extremely hardworking, high class, upper caste, elite Tamils make mistakes???

      Nonsense. It impossible, improbable, unthinkable!

      It never happened, is not happening and never will.

      It is only through computer jilmart that one could come to such a frivolous conclusion that the Tamil Nation could ever have made mistake.

      This whole bloody conflict was, is and will be the mistake of the stupid, idiotic, low caste, uneducated, uncultured, racist Sinhalese Buddhists peoples’ fault.

      Tamil Nations aspirations are right, justified, deserving and reasonable. Stupid racist, uneducated Sinhala Buddists should listen to educated elite Tamils and give them what they fancy.

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    What are these Tamil Rights people keep on mentioning???
    Can someone spell out please >…..

    We are very happy in Thondamanaru as long as there is less politics in the area.
    Our fishing industry is not doing that well due to Indian poachers and as a result Karaveddy industry is hampered & not much sinhala traders visit these days purchase Karadevddy.

    Its time diaspora stop stirring the racial pot. If they are having a good life overseas they must enjoy as that is what they sought and not bother about Yalpanam as we are contended in Thondamanaru & elsewhere in the peninsula.

    Infact, we are least interested or has no interest in Northern Provincial Council elections.
    Whether Mavai Senathirajah former batman of the Amirthalingams or Hon. Vigneshwaran does not really matter and/or makes no difference.
    Let Senathiraja come our way, we shall ask who killed our Durraiappa, Amirthalingam, Yogeshwaran ? Why the LTTE whom he was supporting killed them? he will have to find many answers………….

    We want the Diaspora to enjoy life and leave us alone and will punish pro-ltte Mahavi Senathirajah with our ballot for creating a Dog eat Dog situation among Yalpanam subjects.

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      I am surprised people in Thondamanaru can write in English!
      :-)

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    Rasika Jayakody – Please read and comment
    “What is more, a military occupation of the country’s north and east will require the Tamil people of those regions to live eternally as second-class citizens, deprived of all self respect. Do not imagine that you can placate them by showering “development” and “reconstruction” on them in the post-war era. The wounds of war will scar them forever, and you will also have an even more bitter and hateful Diaspora to contend with. A problem amenable to a political solution will thus become a festering wound that will yield strife for all eternity. If I seem angry and frustrated, it is only because most of my countrymen – and all of the government – cannot see this writing so plainly on the wall,” says late Wickrematunge, in an editorial penned before his death; he adds “It has long been written that my life would be taken, and by whom. All that remains to be written is when.”
    “And they came for me” – Lasantha Editorial – http://tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=27986

    To be fare you should start from 1948 not from 1970. This article starts from 1948
    http://sangam.org/sri-lankas-war-eelam-tamils/

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    An excellent article that attempts to expose what appears to be the warped mindset of Tamil Diaspora spread across the globe. However, I see this saga differently. I would submit that the true goals and intents of the Tamil Diaspora Enterprise (TDE) have nothing to do with the well being of Tamils in Sri Lanka, it is just a very convenient camouflage that has fooled many western governments and INGOs. In my view, TDE it is ALL about executing their business model of financially profiting from this conflict. Many others who tag along with TDE also profit handsomely from this venture. It is just an evil business empire pretending to be a liberation movement.

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      If you read the article carefully you’ll see that it’s diaspora who spoiled the creation of Eelam……therefore please support them.
      :-)

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    The Tamil Diaspora needs to be exposed in the exact manner described by Chandra~ an excellent and accurate analysis inasmuch as the overall portrayal by Rasika Jayakody.To the joker Ajith who tries to be a spoke in the wheel of his analysis it needs to be said ~ where is your sense of patriotism? Where were you when the LTTE were at their rabid worst? The Tamil diaspora are indeed the same lot that funded the LTTE for decades and still are a powerful entity when it comes to fundraising as all the attrocities committed by dissenting Tamils such as those during the Champions Trophy in Cardiff Wales UK recently are directly linkable to their network which needs to be sought out and destroyed completely.
    Despite there being bo likelihood they will ever gain a foothold in Sri Lanka again they are capable of influencing gullible western powers and causing unrest in overseas Sri Lankan communities despite the LTTE being outlawed wherever they have tried to re-surface. Ajith spins a sad tale and drags in Lasantha Wickrematunge’s name and points of view as a prop for his laments but all was not kosher in Lasantha’s attitude towards resolving the ethnic crisis from within his mindset as there were hidden agenda’s involved that went far beyond the common eye and he allegedly dabbled in treasonous undercurrents which could have made him a target from any patriotic perspective from any source.
    What needs to be emphasized is that there is a sizable Tamil Community in Sri Lanka today that wants no part of the Diaspora surge towards the surreptitious Eelam they still seek(TNA better take note! as they are part thereof too!) and these are Tamils who accept the Rajapaksa policies towards their well being as the freedoms they enjoy today are a far cry from the mendacities of Velupillai Prabhakaran.Surely a show of courage and intelligence.Thank you Mr.Rasika Jayakody Sir! You’ve done very well.

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    Very good article Yes Tamils should have had non violent struggle. But its the Sinhalese who turned violent against the Tamils in a violent way! But past is past both communities and its leaders have to make bold new direction. Importantly not being the captive of The LTTE terrorist organisation or the Bodu Bala Sena the Sinhala Terrorist organisation in the making. Mr C V Wigneswaran is a perfect choice to be the Governor of Northern province, is his in laws being Sinhalese is indeed great but that has nothing to do with his credibility. I am hoping for fully implemented 13 A and an undivided united Sri Lanka or Elangai.

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    The writer talks about the diaspora, but didn’t talk about the power behind the diaspora who push its agendas. It is not simply the diaspora, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government; there are others involved as well, and they are more powerful than the diaspora, the LTTE or the Sri Lankan government.

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    Grow Up Rasika, The Tamil leadership (Diaspora or Local) have been trying to get in the bus for 60 years now, initially with their feeble hunger strikes and later by pimping on the despicable thuggery of the LTTE. But the Sinhala Supremacist governments(including the present one) won’t let them in. It’s very clear that that the Sinhala elite is not willing to share the loot. They are hellbent on driving the bus themselves and run-over anybody that get on their way, may it be the Sinhala youth, Tamil youth or the working class in general.

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