19 April, 2019

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The Ashes Of My Father: The Voice Of The Son Of A Freedom Fighter

By Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan

Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan

Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan

My name is Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan. I was born in the midst of the Black July, the ignis fatalis for the civil war starting in 1983. My father, named by his comrades by his nom de guerre Vannai Ananthan, was one of the most prolific and charismatic speakers of the Tamil Youth movement.

The post-colonial history, the ethnic conflict, decades of hate and ignorance, shortly: the tragedy of this country -despite its beauty- became my invincible sibling. However, I would not say that the tragedy of Sri Lanka overshadowed my childhood and youth. It became a constant reminder for hope.

Imprisonment

The imprisonment of my father, ‘appa’, for seven years in Welikade did not leave him without scars – visible and more worryingly, invisible scars. He was beaten up, tortured, spit at, cigarettes of prison guards were stubbed out on the skin of appa. And what was more distressful: he was denied the right to conduct the funeral of his mother, my grandmother, according to the Hindu rites, being the oldest son in a Hindu family. My grandmother died during his imprisonment. A woman that loved him so much; he was the first male child after three girls, my aunts. She and my grandfather had fasted and prayed to God that they will be given a son- given the unfortunate patriarchal perception. As he went to prison, my grandmother’s life came to an end, she was a walking dead. All she wanted was to see him once again before she died. But both, neither my appa nor my grandmother, were able to see each other ever again.
And yet, my appa never taught me to hate the Sinhala people. He taught me love those who humiliated him. He said: “Only because of one or two persons who carried so much hate in their hearts, I shall not hate the Sinhala people and scapegoat them. They have not done anything wrong. Neither should you. Forgive those who have acted wrongly towards you.”

A project in Maskelya

Appa was a civil engineer – his actual profession. He was dispatched to Maskeliya, back then a jungle in Sri Lanka. I am not sure if things have changed. He was assigned to construct bridges and pathways.

Appa was a heavy chain smoker and for that reason he went outside his provisional office to have a cigarette. He saw an older Sinhala lady with -presumably- her grandchild. She sat by the river and washed that child that was very loud and crying. She hit that child and said in Sinhala: “Demala aya vage, mata karadara karanna epa” – which is translated as: “Do not trouble me like the Tamils do!”

My appa told me this story. But not for the reason to hate the Sinhala. But to depict what we are teaching the next, growing generation, the future leaders of our country: hate and ignorance. This happens in Tamil as well as Sinhala communities, in Sri Lanka and abroad. Hate and ignorance were the key ingredients that deepened the division.

Our state of soul

We are confronted with a country of scattered lives, broken dreams, constructed identities and painful memories. The fog of war is still dense, the silent squalls of the dead drown out the melody of peace. While a country like Germany was divided by the wall during the Cold War, we are still confronted and separated by a wall of ignorance, apathy and despair. Willy Brandt, the famous German Chancellor said after the fall of the Wall: “What belongs together, grows together.” It was the fulfillment of his sincere hope he had kept for years after the end of the Second World War.

I also have the hope that Sri Lanka will not only grow in statu nascẹndi, but also together. As a nation, not as an assembly of indifferent communities. I am hoping for a nation as one coherent structure: that derives its strengths from its diversity; e pluribus unum: out of many, one.

The Sri Lankan history

The Sri Lankan history shall not be solely seen through the Sinhala narrative. It must be narrative that assembles all communities and interprets the past, present and the future together in the context of nation-building. Otherwise, we will be reduced to a continuing vacuum of the construction of identities. We need, instead, embrace the narrative of peace.

A common history is undisputedly an important element in forming a group out of individuals. Conceptions vary as to further relevant elements. One line of research suggests that the perception of common group membership is only possible with positive, emotional bonds: a “We” requires that people — pointedly — “like” each other. Socio-psychological research, however, attributes little importance to such bonds: the formation of a group and the corresponding identity depend on the perception of belonging to a single social category, not on an emotional disposition. The mental mechanisms of perception, not their positive evaluations, are the basis of group formation. Collective identity requires identification with one’s in-group and dissociation from out-groups.

Like an “I” needs and implies a “You,” a “We” needs a counterpart group. A group must be cognizant of its own peculiarity. This does not suggest that a group necessarily defines itself as opponent of other groups, much less as enemy, as Carl Schmitt influentially postulated in regard to political communities. Other groups are not “the Other” but are merely differentiated in certain respects. The untenability of the radical position is proven by successful cooperation among self-cognizant groups or by the regular functioning of multiple, social identities.

To be short: the value of one’s own diversity can be of benefit for the larger society.

A focal point for identification

The narrowness and animosity with which social identity keeps being defined and defended impairs efforts to imagine new possibilities. The Sinhala have been portrayed as a “majority with a minority complex,” seeing themselves as being threatened by the huge Tamil presence in the south of India.

For Dharmapala, the island was not only the dhammadipa but also the sihaladipa, in the ethonationalist meaning as the “island of (or for) the Sinhalayo”, excluding the Tamils and the colonials. In accordance with this concept, in 1908 Dharmapala stated “To these rulers nothing appeared more supreme than this religion . . . and was thus completely identified with the racial individuality of the people.”

However, the vision of an inclusive society is not the brainchild of the modern world, any more than Sinhala-Buddhist fundamentalism is a new entry within the past century. The generosity of spirit and open-mindedness, combined with pragmatic good sense, may be found in the 12th Rock Edict of the Emperor Ashoka in the mid-third century BCE. The words in that proclamation provide a deeply humane and Buddhist perspective and are in contrast to the sectarian position of Sinhala-Buddhist fundamentalism. This is what John Holt means when he talks of the “remarkable inclusivity and assimilations” which have been a part of Sinhala- Buddhist history.

Current state of affairs

Intense militarization and continuing rights violations, along with a lack of any meaningful participation in their political future, have the potential to create a fertile ground for militancy. In this context, the government has the dual responsibility of not only bringing truth, justice and reconciliation to all the communities in the country, but also ensuring that devolution of power to minorities is real – and meaningful. Empowerment at the local level means enforcing dignity and underscoring the belonging to the nation.

We must introduce compulsory bilingual exchange programs from the North to the South –and vice versa. It is compelling that minorities will be promoted to visible administrative positions. Furthermore, a genuine reconciliation commission needs to be established to reveal truth, as truth is the first victim of war. As a son of man that has committed all of his life to Sri Lanka, being aware of the suffering that was caused to him, I write these lines: I unclench my fist and offer my hand for cooperation and genuine will to restructure the country. All communities must be involved in the process of building the bridge of dialogue, brick by brick.

Conclusion

In 2012 I had the privilege to scatter the ashes of my father in Sri Lanka. He died in 2003 and his last wish before his departure was that his only child may bring his ashes to his home country.

Already during my time at high school he affirmed to me this wish and said: “I was born on that soil- I want to return to that soil. I want to return home. Only when I am back in Sri Lanka, I will be free, son.” We waited for the harrowing war to be over and kept his ashes in a cemetery in Germany. Bringing his ashes finally to Sri Lanka and to scatter them in Keerimalai was an act of liberation and catharsis. I brought him home. In the moment when I scattered the ashes -I am fully convinced- I have heard the breeze whisper: “I am finally free.” My consciousness was pure, his soul was free.

In his outstanding work, War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy writes: “(…) consciousness is a source of self-cognition completely separate from and independent of reason. Through reason a person observes himself; but he only knows himself through consciousness. (…).”

Humans believe themselves to be free in their choices and action until they are confronted with necessity that offers them neither choice nor action. It is at this moment when humans can come to the realization, which humans either can accept or reject, that their preconceptions of freedom are illusionary because of the insurmountable separation between consciousness and cognition. Freedom, therefore, is that moment of human acceptance or rejection of life’s infinite plentitude. History becomes nothing more than a narrative of this perpetual struggle between, on the one hand, consciousness and its belief of freedom, and, on the other hand, cognition and the recognition of necessity. It is this dynamic rather than a circular or eschatological one that drives history.

We are at the point of dynamics: our memories are vehicle for change. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

Let us begin to walk the way of peace.

*Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan, LLM. (Maastricht University) is a PhD researcher at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway and where his work focuses on the UN Human Rights Council.

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  • 14
    8

    Hello Venthan,

    When I wasn’t yet 10, I attended TULF public election meetings where your father, Vanni Ananthan, was a star speaker, along with Kasi Anandan and Mavai Senathirajah, all of whom had spent significant time in prison for their political views and therefore deemed ‘heroic’ by the Tamil public.

    He would frequently say, “Iluppam Pazham Pazhuthal Wowaal Varum” (When the Mahua fruit is ripe, the bat will descend). What he was trying to imply was that, when the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka was ripe, India would come in give the people freedom. This was in response to skepticism among many about the TULF’s then stated goal of “Tamil Eelam.” Even as they were talking about a separate country, the TULF was contesting elections for Sri Lanka’s parliament, implicitly accepting the then constitution and its unitary character. Some youths felt it was a futile exercise and only an armed struggle would do.

    In hindsight, such speeches were misleading the people, especially the youths.
    India had never given any assurance they would support an Eelam, and in fact was opposed to separation as they feared its impact on Tamil Nadu. So it was irresponsible to imply that the TULF had a serious plan and that India would come in and support them.

    But within a few years, as violence grew, your father was among the first batch of Tamil activists who sought and were granted asylum in Germany. I don’t remember hearing anything about his political views thereafter. Perhaps he was preoccupied with making a living in Germany, and perhaps he was disillusioned with the LTTE and wanted to be quiet.

    • 4
      2

      Agnos, your memory as a nine-year old is astonishing!

      And Vanni Ananthan must surely have made an impression on you for you to remember, not only what “he frequently said”, but also that he was “..was among the first batch of Tamil activists who sought and were granted asylum in Germany”.

      Were you an idealistic fan or are you a critic to realize “..in hindsight, such speeches were misleading the people, especially the youth”??

      Amazing!!

      • 2
        0

        I don’t know whether you are being sarcastic. A grand uncle of mine was an ITAK MP, so politics came naturally to me from an early age. But you could also say I was idealistic at that time.

        I am not making a value judgment about Vannai ( not “Vanni”–it comes from Vannar Pannai in Jaffna) Ananthan; I am simply stating facts that I observed at that time, so that his son can have the unvarnished truth. Let others interpret it in the way they want.

        Vannai also had a choice word for those who disagreed with the TULF and its advocacy of Tamil Eelam: “Kodaari Kaampu” ( the wooden handle of an ax). Since the wooden handle aids the ax in chopping wood, it is traitorous to its co-ethnic “wood.” Hence Kodari Kampu = traitor.

        But despite such speeches being irresponsible and rabble-rousing, as I came to realize in my 20’s and 30’s, neither he nor Mangayarkarasi made blatantly racist statements against the Sinhalese, such as the allegations about making slippers out of skins. That allegation is a canard, and I can confirm that I never heard anyone say that.

    • 10
      1

      “But within a few years, as violence grew, your father was among the first batch of Tamil activists who sought and were granted asylum in Germany. “

      Leaving behind everyone else to face the result of spreading racial and religious hatred.

      Nice.

  • 23
    35

    thamil,
    It is not Buddhist “fundamentalism” that is working in Sri Lanka. It is the politicians who use Buddhism as their weapon to grab and stay in power using the majority group. This kind of “fundamentalism” is well apparent in the Bible belt of the US. As far as I know rarely any Buddhists live by the teachings of Buddha or would die for any Buddhist cause. If you say so about the Islamists I may agree with you.
    You need to do some research on this aspect before you conclude that Buddhist fundamentalism exists in Sri Lanka.

    • 23
      19

      Nonsernse:

      What rubbish are you talking about. Politicians dont operate in a Vaccum. There is a Fertile Ground to exploit in a sea of 22 Million RACISTS you included.

      • 4
        9

        kooli – you must be one of these RACISTS (ultra, at that!) as well, right?

        • 12
          5

          Sinkalam;

          It shows you cant spell anything Tamil.
          As for your RACIST label not as bad as the THUG Mahintha the CRIMINAL Gotha the THIEF Basil and rest of the 22 Million.

          You are born RACIST and we have been made to Fight RACISTS.

          • 3
            4

            koli – I agree with you 100% about the THUG, CRIMINAL and THIEF, but you have to revise that 22 mill number – or be living proof of your blind racism.

            You are giving us Thamilians a bad name, so keep your kool!

    • 18
      1

      Eusense,

      Very hardly I agree with you. But “It is the politicians who use Buddhism as their weapon to grab and stay in power using the majority group.”

      I agree with you 100%.

      Since independence, (may be before independence )both UNP & SLFP they brain washed the sinhalease population in sri lanka.

    • 10
      1

      Eusense
      Thank you for confirming a fact about Buddhist fundamentalism which we all know never did and doesn’t exist, unlike in the religions of the books. Buddhism never relied on zealatory methods to gather adherents.
      As you rightly point out in SL it is used by politicians in the majority community to hold on to power and to continue to stay in power merely because of the way the voting system has been geared in such a way to perpetuate that type of politics to weild power by divisive means with a majoritarian bias.
      The presence of a Tamil majority in the adjacent sub-continent twenty miles across the sea is a facilitating factor for that purpose and that would not have made a difference even if they were Buddhists.
      To cite a pithy example, the difference between the S’s &T’s is like an orange and a lime.
      Only a good botanist can graft both on the same tree. Politicians cannot.

    • 7
      5

      Eusense,

      Sri Lanka is a country that is highly steeped in religion. And like many other countries emerging from a war, Sri Lanka confronts a legacy of ethnic division which has religious overlay. Some have argued that the real motivation behind so-called religious violence is in fact economic and political, not religious. Others will argue that people who do violence are, by definition, not religious. A member of the Bodu Bala Sena is not really a Buddhist, for example, because he or she doesn’t really understand the meaning of Buddhism . Neither of these arguments works. In the first place, it is impossible to separate religious from economic and political motives in such a way that religious motives are innocent of violence. How could one, for example, separate religion from politics in Islam or Theravada Buddhism, when Muslims and Theravada Buddhists themselves make no such separation? In the second place, it may be the case that the Bodu Bala Sena has misappropriated the true message of the Buddha, but one cannot therefore excuse Buddhism of all responsibility. Buddhism is not primarily a set of doctrines, interpretations or stanzas that need chanting, but a lived historical experience embodied and shaped by the empirically observable actions of Buddhists.

    • 5
      2

      Eusense did you really say this? I must be dreaming! So now you have reformed! I do NOT want any fundamentalism, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim or whatever. Religion should be kept outside politics.

      • 5
        15

        shrikharan,
        I always said so. You can check all my past posts where my model was separation of church and government as in the US. Even our gov. schools should stop teaching religion. Teaching religion and moral shaping of our young should be the responsibility of the religious entities.

        • 12
          3

          Buddhist! you cant hoot and toot when it comes to western missionary education the world leader for over 500 years.

          Buccaneering English created America but it is not the best for upto secondary education. New York Quakers Ivy League Cornell University
          (you see the English heritage or what is religion with the Quakers??)

          Its the missionary schools that still perform the best in the west and worldwide.
          American’s working at China prefer to keep their kids at Chinese schools because it is any day better for all round development, and take them over to USA for undergraduate studies.

    • 1
      8

      Nuisance is a damn curse and a pest. Oh yeah Buddhist fundamentalism does not exist in SL? hahahahaha…………………………..haahahahahahahaha.

      • 4
        3

        Tamil from the north

        “Nuisance is a damn curse and a pest.”

        You have Maya on the other side.

    • 3
      0

      Buddhist Fundamentalism is what I’d call an oxymoron, what exists in Sri Lanka is “Political Buddhism”

  • 3
    1

    Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan,

    You have narrated your thoughts on what confronts us as peoples.

    Just a couple of observations, for sake of brevity:

    You say: Other groups are not “the Other” but just another.
    I ask: Could it be said of every other group?

    You say: The Sinhala have been portrayed as a “majority with a minority
    complex,” seeing themselves as being threatened by the huge
    Tamil presence in the south of India.
    I ask: Should I accept this simplistic portrayal?

  • 12
    1

    What a wonderfl piece of writing!

    ”I unclench my fist and offer my hand for cooperation and genuine will to restructure the country” must be heard by all Sinhalese, Muslima & Tamils, This is the beginning of equality, justice, peace, reconciliation, …. …… ……..

  • 14
    0

    It is refreshing to read the thoughts of a truly liberal young Sri Lankan academic. I am deliberately avoiding the term Tamil academic noting the author’s preference to the expression of “the other”.
    The young man is fortunate to have had an enlightened father who had groomed his son in the path of peace and reconciliation.

    Kettikaran

  • 3
    0

    ”Hate and ignorance were the key ingredients that deepened the division”:

    Peacebuilding-in-Sri-Lanka-Needs-UNESCO-to-Supervise-Revision-of-School-Textbooks
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/211491454/Peacebuilding-in-Sri-Lanka-Needs-UNESCO-to-Supervise-Revision-of-School-Textbooks

    CT, please allow the weblink to appear along with the title of the piece that has many links to important sources of information.

  • 5
    12

    Thamil,

    The core of the Sri Lankan mind is rotten.

    No matter how much you shine the skin of the apple the rotton core will keep rotting.

    Peace is not the way chosen even in the land of Gandhi. Modi knows his strength lies in the hate that the majority Hindus harbour against the Indian Muslims. And the world applauds Modi.

    So there you are.

    • 5
      0

      “”Peace is not the way chosen even in the land of Gandhi. Modi knows his strength lies in the hate that the majority Hindus harbour against the Indian Muslims. And the world applauds Modi. “”

      Where is your bearing `crusader` but the same English pirates stone!!
      populate like …polygamy…

      Yes I_slam humanity clear out the infidel from Hindu Kush onwards .

  • 15
    8

    A cry from the depths of his soul and the reasoning of a thinking and rational mind penned in penetrating prose.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 14
    7

    Thamil Venthan

    I support your idea of programs to bring people, especially young people from the North and South together. It should involve more than just a visit, but an actual long-term stay, where they experience daily life with the “other”.

    The Native Americans say walk in another’s mocassins, before you judge him. Had we all had the opportunity to do that, perhaps we could have avoided all that shameless violence.

  • 9
    0

    If we dont live together in peace we will certainly become a colony of India. It is not that I think India is imperialist but the world no longer likes to tolerate violence against innocent civilians. If there is violence against Tamil civilians living in Colombo India is very likely to intervene for globalization is bringing people closer unlike in the past. So let us live in peace with other. It is only a fringe of Sinhalese nationalists who can be easily controlled if laws against incitement to disaffection as put in place and the Police are allowed to do their job without interference from politicians

    • 6
      2

      The mere thought that we could one day become a colony of India is quite alarming. We all should work towards preventing such a catastrophe.

      Sri Lanka is big enough a land for both Sinhalese and Tamils. All what we need to do is to forget about our meaningless quarrels over who came from where or who was here first, and shower a little bit of love towards each other. Is that too much to ask for?

      I don’t want our children to live under India, or anybody else, for that matter. Do you?

      • 2
        1

        Dear Nathan,I am a tamilian in Chennai. We don’t aspire for your country’s territory. As long as you dont treat Tamils equally problems will be there.give equality to Tamils you can live in peace.

      • 8
        1

        “”I don’t want our children to live under India, or anybody else, for that matter. Do you?””

        everyone agrees that it was far better before 1948. Now having said that where did the administration permeate from – royal seepage from madras presidency the first British mounted police post in British Raj.

        Sirisena requested the princess of Thailand to adopt lanka quite recently because it has almost $400 billion foreign exchange reserves even with 55 years of military rule of 80. Both buddhist but that is where emotion ends while culture, race DNA and way of doing things is different.

        You are close to Hindian DNA that the Americans will not accept another to rule

  • 9
    27

    there are no tamil freedom fighters, they are tamil terrorists

  • 20
    8

    The poor lad is doing his duty to his father: he’s trying to white wash his dad’s record by making up stories. Vannai Ananthan was one of the firebrand speakers used by TULF in the 70s to brainwash the Tamil youth with anti-Sinhala racism and Tamil fanaticism. He along with the other madman Kasi Anandan and Mrs. Amirthalingam provoked the Tamil youth into violence by their venomous, blood-curdling speeches demonising the Sinhalese. This deranged man at several TULF youth wing meetings cut his finger and put a blood pottu on Amirthalingam’s forehead, pressing the youth to follow suit. While many of the youth indoctrinated by him later perished taking up arms, Vannai Ananthan escaped to the west and enjoyed the ‘good life’ raising his son in a safe environment and providing him with a good education. The son should indeed be grateful to his smart Jaffna father.

    • 0
      1

      The son bears a message of peace. Let him not be tainted by his father’s sins.

    • 1
      0

      Ah off-the-boat .. have to criticise even the most liberal – so typical of a sinhala nationalist!

  • 22
    20

    Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan

    The Ashes Of My Father: The Voice Of The Son Of A Freedom Fighter:

    *** You sound very amateurish and at least your father was lucky to be alive to tell the tale. Many perished in Welikada and in other Jails.

    Let me give you some lessons by going through some of your ill thought out and ill conceived ideas which dont stand up to scrutiny.

    1) Only because of one or two persons who carried so much hate in their hearts, I shall not hate the Sinhala people and scapegoat them. They have not done anything wrong. Neither should you. Forgive those who have acted wrongly towards you.”

    *** You are talking a lot of Cobblers. It is not one or two. My friend 22 Million of them. They have done everything wrong for the last 67 years. They have butchered us with no respite.

    2) My appa told me this story. But not for the reason to hate the Sinhala. But to depict what we are teaching the next, growing generation, the future leaders of our country: hate and ignorance. This happens in Tamil as well as Sinhala communities, in Sri Lanka and abroad. Hate and ignorance were the key ingredients that deepened the division.

    *** You as a Tamil not born to rule but to take orders from your Sinhala Master.

    3) We are confronted with a country of scattered lives, broken dreams, constructed identities and painful memories. The fog of war is still dense, the silent squalls of the dead drown out the melody of peace.

    *** The above is an account that only applies to Tamils.

    4) While a country like Germany was divided by the wall during the Cold War, we are still confronted and separated by a wall of ignorance, apathy and despair. Willy Brandt, the famous German Chancellor said after the fall of the Wall: “What belongs together, grows together.” It was the fulfillment of his sincere hope he had kept for years after the end of the Second World War.

    *** Germany was a Country of Germans divided after the 2nd World War. They were born as one ( belonging together) and so after reunification growing as one was a natural progression. But Sinkalams and Tamils are born to different parents with different Culture and Heritage. We have been at each others throats for 2500 years.

    5) I also have the hope that Sri Lanka will not only grow in statu nascẹndi, but also together. As a nation, not as an assembly of indifferent communities. I am hoping for a nation as one coherent structure: that derives its strengths from its diversity; e pluribus unum: out of many, one.

    ***No you are wrong. United as one Country we “FALL” divided under at least a Federal Structure we “STAND”.

    6) The Sri Lankan history:

    *** Is littered with atrocities by the Majority on Minorities and you cant get away from that.

    7) The Sri Lankan history shall not be solely seen through the Sinhala narrative. It must be narrative that assembles all communities and interprets the past, present and the future together in the context of nation-building. Otherwise, we will be reduced to a continuing vacuum of the construction of identities. We need, instead, embrace the narrative of peace.

    *** It is an alien Language in Sinhala Lanka.

    8) The narrowness and animosity with which social identity keeps being defined and defended impairs efforts to imagine new possibilities. The Sinhala have been portrayed as a “majority with a minority complex,” seeing themselves as being threatened by the huge Tamil presence in the south of India.

    *** Stop having fanatsies. What makes you think that they have a Minority Complex.

    9) However, the vision of an inclusive society is not the brainchild of the modern world, any more than Sinhala-Buddhist fundamentalism is a new entry within the past century.

    *** Sinhala Fundamentalism is GENETIC. It is not a new Phenomenon.

    Current state of affairs

    10) We must introduce compulsory bilingual exchange programs from the North to the South –and vice versa. It is compelling that minorities will be promoted to visible administrative positions.

    *** You will be subservient to the Master Class and wake up my friend. You will not be making or dictating Policies.

    11) Furthermore, a genuine reconciliation commission needs to be established to reveal truth, as truth is the first victim of war. As a son of man that has committed all of his life to Sri Lanka, being aware of the suffering that was caused to him, I write these lines: I unclench my fist and offer my hand for cooperation and genuine will to restructure the country. All communities must be involved in the process of building the bridge of dialogue, brick by brick.

    *** You sound like the ” Almighty”.

    Conclusion:

    Hopless and futile Gesture in a Country ruled by Liars and Pretenders,

    • 14
      19

      Kali, your very first comment reveals the extent of your stupidity and blindness to reality.

      This, in itself, disqualifies your comments from being accepted by any rational individual.

      I’m sure that Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan is far too smart to pay any attention to your bigoted views.

      • 14
        8

        Siva:

        I dont take lectures from Sinkalams and Idiots. I dont know which Category you fit into
        Sinkalam: Even if you were born Tamil your message is Sinkalam and that is enough fo me to justify attacking you.

        Idiot: I am preapred to take a second look and teach you something. But then again it is difficult to teach a Born Stupids.

        1) Kali, your very first comment reveals the extent of your stupidity and blindness to reality.

        My first Comment was
        “You sound very amateurish and at least your father was lucky to be alive to tell the tale. Many perished in Welikada and in other Jails”

        Stupidity is

        behaviour that shows a lack of good sense or judgement.

        The writer wrote the following which led me to call him amateurish which is a Sound Judgemnt based on his ill conceived ideas. You might not agree but you are no body so who cares.

        1) Only because of one or two persons who carried so much hate in their hearts, I shall not hate the Sinhala people and scapegoat them. They have not done anything wrong.

        *** The writer claims to be the “The Voice Of The Son Of A Freedom Fighter”. So what did his father fight for( was one of the most prolific and charismatic speakers of the Tamil Youth movement). The writer is 32 years of age and not a Toddler.

        Is he telling the World that only One or Two ( Mahintha & Gotha )Sinkalams carried the hate and the rest of the 22 Million are Not Guilty.
        So the question is who killed so many thousands of Innocent Tamils starting from 1958.

        Can you answer it you Siva IDIOT.

        He claims that Sinhalese have not done anything wrong. That leads me to doubt as to why his father spent 7 years in Welikade. Did he commit any other Crimes.
        As for this Toddlers claim that the Sinhalese have done nothing wrong it is a DAMN insult to all those Tamils who gave their lives fighting Sinhalse Tyrrany.

        He owes an apology to those who laid their lives.

        2) This, in itself, disqualifies your comments from being accepted by any rational individual.

        *** Do I take it that this is the Domestic Court( The CRAP) giving its Verdict. No mate the CRAP Court has no Jurisdiction over me. Now or Never.

        3)I’m sure that Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan is far too smart to pay any attention to your bigoted views.

        *** In my view Thamil Venthan is not far too Smart but thinks he is a Smart ASS.

        • 6
          12

          kali – my mistake! The comment I was referring to was ” You are talking a lot of Cobblers. It is not one or two. My friend 22 Million of them. “

          If you can’t see the idiocy of such a statement, it doesn’t speak much for your IQ.

          I won’t even bother to read the rest of your crap (beyond the 1st para) as it will be a waste of time reading bigoted and twisted views from a proven racist.

          Get a life!

          • 13
            6

            Siva

            Good. Dont read as your understanding is very poor and very biased which is understandable.
            But the writer despite his pretences has TARNISHED his fathers Image and has insulted the Thousands who died at the hands of the Sinkala Mobs and in Combat.

    • 7
      10

      “Let me give you some lessons” – KALI

      This is the congenital idiosyncrasy of Kali.

      • 11
        6

        CHANAKYAN the Alien:

        I am not prepared to take lessons from Aliens from the Planet of the APES. NO NO NO.

  • 2
    7

    My father was my making.

    I am still hurt when people called him scratchy lion in Tamil.

    I sacrificed my life for my people to the extent of supporting the armed struggle based on the inner most gut feeling my father infused on me.

    But all in vain now.

    I am disheartened and a rubbing sole in many forms of manifestations to keep myself occupied.

    I regret being born a Tamil.

    • 2
      8

      What a great and honest comment.
      Please don’t do my mistake of leaving Tamil people.
      Guide them with your wisdom.
      Don’t abandon women. Prabakaran gave you that responsibility.

    • 5
      2

      Nirmala, forget your past. Avoid Tamil, Sinhala, definitions. Your life consists of the current moment alone. Remember your humanity and forget the rest.

    • 0
      4

      Nirmala:

      I am sorry that being a Tamil had deeply anguished you. Even before you were born you should have demanded that the Creator should not have pigeon-holed you in the Tamil “soul” but alas…..

      If you still have the guts, get on with your life. When we leave, we carry with us what we have inherited from our parents, some sound and some baggage. A lot of us supported the armed struggle be we also criticised when it was necessary. Remember, the world never told us we were wrong in our claim that we victimised. There was a time when an armed struggle appeared necessary, to defend what was left of us but clearly but when the time came to negotiate and move on, the leaders were not smart enough to understand this. And you have a right to say this as I do. We should not hesitate to draw the line. You have just done that. That is courage. So, let us move on.

    • 11
      2

      “I regret being born a Tamil. “

      Does it mean like `hoover` for `vacuum cleaner` or ipad for tablet??

      there are many communities worldwide. RBI , Google is Tamil not Sinhalese.
      Its just that you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and drank that poison. Tomorrow is Krishna pooja day and he does not kill but takes away the venom.

  • 0
    7

    I just have one question for ‘Colombo Telegraph’. On the top left of the page below ‘Colombo Telegraph’, is the phrase ‘IN JOURNALISM TRUTH IS A PROCESS.’ Does it mean that truth can evolve?

    A process takes something from point A to point B. Is truth a process, can it change from point A to point B in time, I mean on a timescale?

    Interesting piece of writing, interesting in the sense that in 1983 I was already out of the country seeking new vistas, in the manner I perceived freedom, not necessarily out of necessity. These positions of consciousness become murkier only after you are out of the circle and looking from a different vantage point in place and time. Time, yes, time makes a big difference.

    (Yes, the selection was biased, granted, but!) – Is it correct to say that those the country could not AFFORD to give a free education – became the ‘freedom fighters’? I don’t mean to pick a fight here! Just found the argument that an ‘I” implies a ‘You’ and so ‘We’ needs a counter group. This is why the English language is such a beautiful language, because the ‘I’ implies a ‘You’ but the ‘We’ does not implicate a counter group . There is only one ‘We’. The necessity of it is our perception .

    • 9
      0

      As a result of dehumanised logic we have dehumanised truth.

      timescale!! Is there a logical necessity in human affairs?

    • 4
      2

      Jeyarany,

      “Is it correct to say that those the country could not AFFORD to give a free education”

      Education was denied to them.

    • 0
      2

      Jeyarany Wijeyesinghe , You ask CT, ‘Is truth something that can evolve’.

      I am not sure if CT will come to your rescue. Let me give it a try.

      My answer is an emphatic, YES.

      Truth is a proposition that agrees with existing facts. Facts evolve with time and knowledge. Today, we all accept that planet earth, which we once believed was flat, is spherical. Protons are no more the tiniest/lightest particles possessing mass.

      • 0
        4

        Nathan,

        “Truth is a proposition that agrees with existing facts. Facts evolve with time and knowledge. Today, we all accept that planet earth, which we once believed was flat, is spherical. Protons are no more the tiniest/lightest particles possessing mass.”

        Your examples are not facts, they are findings. There is stuff that one knows and then there is stuff that one is not sure of. ‘I am up at 6am’ – is a fact; ‘the investigator decided that the man had to have been up at 6am’ is a finding. The truth in the first relies on the speaker. In the second, it is second hand information and there is room for more questions.

        Thanks for your response. I just found this an interesting riddle.

        • 6
          1

          “”I just found this an interesting riddle. “”

          ha ha.
          Any artist knows `Illusions` that is what we see on the walls of UCL London latest building and yesterday radio 4 discussion on books about perception.

          Master of definitions- truth is the daughter of time- Francis Bacon.
          a white bore and bacon.
          However, truth is not the authority.

  • 14
    4

    “Sinhala-Buddhist fundamentalism”

    Do have a look at Tamil-Hindu fundamentalism which gave rise to:

    – caste discrimination, the barring of low caste Tamils from temples in Jaffna
    – Suicide bombers and child soldiers
    – The depiction of Prabhakaran as a Hindu God “Surya Devan”
    – The justification of bomb attacks and massacres as well as ethnic cleansing of Tamil speaking Muslims from the north of the island
    – The murder of Buddhist monks, including novices
    – Attacks on Buddhist places of worship and iconoclasm

    Tamil-Hindu fundamentalism is not a new phenomenon. Study the history of Sri Lanka and you will see that it is one of the major reasons for Buddhist nationalism in Sri Lanka. Tamil Hindu attacks led to the binding of Sinhalese consciousness with Buddhism.

  • 13
    4

    Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan:

    *** I am incensed by what you have written and has TARNISHED your fathers Image.

    Freedom Fighter fights to liberate his people from Tyranny and the atrocities on innocent Tamils started during 1958.

    What incensed me was the following:

    1) My father was one of the most prolific and charismatic speakers of the Tamil Youth movement.

    *** If youf father was a ptrolific speaker. What was the topic of his speech. Did he stand up and say to the audience ” Love Thy Neighbour” despite all the atrocities.

    1983 we had the major riots and how many members of your family di you lose and did you father also spoke passionaltely and uttered the word ” it doesnt matter how many they kill we should hate them ” because it is only 22 Million who hate us and we are much bigger than them at heart.

    What a Load of Rubbish. GROW UP MAN.

    2) Only because of one or two persons who carried so much hate in their hearts, I shall not hate the Sinhala people and scapegoat them. They have not done anything wrong. Neither should you. Forgive those who have acted wrongly towards you.

    *** The above is beggars belief and either your father was not a FREEDOM FIGHTER or you are a Liar. Both cant be true.

    You owe an apology to those Tamils who lost their lives. Your father died peacefully in Germany and if it was me I woukd have flushed the Ashes in Germany down the Sink in memory of all those who perished.

    • 6
      4

      I found it interesting how Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan tries to portray his father as a “freedom fighter.” It goes to show that one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist.

      When he refers to his father being “one of the most prolific and charismatic speakers of the Tamil Youth movement” what he really means is that his father was at the forefront of spreading ethnic hatred and promoting violence. These speeches were by no means benign and included talk of using the skin of the Singhalese as slippers. And we know where all that rhetoric and hatred led…

      I also found it very interesting that he states “We waited for the harrowing war to be over and kept his ashes in a cemetery in Germany.”

      What? So they had to wait till the so-called “freedom fighters” were destroyed before they stepped foot in Sri Lanka? Now that is quite funny. Clearly the family feared the “freedom fighters” rather than the Sri Lankan state.

  • 2
    3

    You are brilliant Thamil Venthan you have stressed the need to reverse our thinking You have taught that the future tamil and singhalase muslim youth that hatred and ignorance have been the main cause for all the killing and violence among the Singhalese and Tamils. Reading all the comments
    as is the culture of Tamils to run down your father,s past mistakes and not that he had turned around to preach his son love and join with the Singhalese to create a peacefull Srilanka.
    Now I wish to go back to the past to think how differently it would have been how srilanka could have been a peaceful country. The first mistake srilankan Government (Bandaranayaka)made was in bringing Singhalese only. What all the parents in Srilanka Singhalese and tamils wanted was their children learn English and become Doctors Enginers etc. To make it short if only Tamil people and their socalled leadres requested the Gonernment that Tamil people demand English to be language of education in tamil areas It would have been a Brilliant stroke,. All the Singhalese would have joined the tamils and demanded English education for their children also. The Government could easily have accepted the tamil demand for English. please note That the Tamil leadres were the first to send their children LONDON .The Tamil people were fooled to learn in tamil.This is a brilliant trick played by our tamil leaders to be Member of Parliament for life. Note Tamil MP,s Who became elected at age 25 cannot be defeated till late eighties.
    No where in the world have any MP started age 25 elected till in the age 80 continue to be elected again and again. I have a feeling Tamil People have DEATH WISH.

  • 7
    1

    “”All the Singhalese would have joined the tamils and demanded English education for their children also.””

    When there were no local politicians life was better they say.

    If there are no politicians there won’t be strife in the island of yakkos.

    to take over the wealth of plantation and industry the politicians wanted the suddha and lanssi out so came the langauage Appe Anduva Appe Ratte.

    then to keep both sinhala and tamil as fools in a well while the new dynasties from politics blossomed with oxford,Cambridge and Harvard without passing but honorary degree.
    democracy is not yakkos because yakkos are heartless.

  • 5
    0

    Venthan,

    There are two things.

    One no-one knows that your father was a Civil Engineer.

    Two, it is a shame to read what Vannai Ananthan’s son is writing here. Is this you learn from your father, who advocated violent path and justified armed struggle.

    Demanding for fundamental political rights doesn’t mean that one has to forget and forgive the aggressor.

    Reconciliation and accountability goes along the same path.

    No wonder, the Junkies have brain washed you.

    If you can write this article in Tamil, people may laugh at you.

    Are you submitting this article to win a peace prize?

    Come on boy; learn from the past that world has experienced it.

  • 4
    0

    Vannai Ananthan,
    I was postponing my comment in writing as your father is no more to defend himself. I am so made about him. Truth will hurt you but you should not have made this futile attempt to paint a saint picture of your father. However, having read all the comments, let me also commit the sin of commenting about a dead man.

    Like SWRD, Federal Party also capitalized on nationalism, language rights etc. SJV, unlike GG, tolerated all these nonsense and let his boys to arouse the feelings of the innocent fools, the Tamils. Thereby the FP secured its seats at elections and that was enough to SJV. The boys include Mavai Senathirajah, Kovai Mahesan, your beloved Vannai Ananthan, Kasi Anandan, Eela Venthan etc. etc. You may notice that all these ‘freedom fighters’ have a pseudo name in front of their name and nothing after their name like you, LLM. I am shocked to hear that your father was a civil engineer. Was he holding B.Sc. in Civil Engineering or a JTO. If he was B.Sc then, he would have studied at Colombo or Peradeniya university and it was a quiet a feat. Then, I wonder how and why he became associated with other pseudo intellectuals of the Federal Party?

    In any event, what all these ‘boys’ did were making fiery speeches on the FP stages arousing communal feelings and built up hatred against Sinhalese and they succeeded in that. As you put it he was one of the ‘most prolific and charismatic speakers of the Tamil Youth movement’. Velu Praba was one of those casualties.

    I am surprised that your father mentioned that Maskeliya incident to you and advised not to hate Sinhalese. If that is true, why he did the opposite in political stages and asked us to hate the majority community of this country. Kovai Mahesan ran a tabloid called ‘Suthanthiran’ and did the same, including running down GG Ponnambalam as many do now to Sumanthiran. Kasi Anandan, the poet, made heart wrenching poems and did the same. He settled down in Tamil Nadu, India and continued his political gimmicks while educating his children. Lately his poems were aimed at youngsters asking them to take up arms and join the movement. Those poems were really convincing and helped the LTTE to recruit child soldiers. While doing his services to the freedom struggle, he fell flat at the feet of Indian politicians, secured seats in medical colleges to his daughters and made them medical doctors! In 2008, one of his medical doctor daughter sang few of these songs of her father in a fund raising function held in London by MIOT (Medical Institute of Tamils) and did the same like her father. But as to her children, she was sending them to private schools in the land of the queen. Your father did the same to you.

    All theses Federal Party stalwarts could have been mislead but when it came to their own family, they were brilliant and intelligent. They migrated at the proper time and educated all of their children but the sad part was that while living abroad they continued to commit the sin of destroying the Tamil community here in Sri Lanka.

    You and or your father was upset that he could not attend his mother’s funeral. But we are upset that thousands of innocent Tamils did not even have a proper burial! Your father suffered at Welikade jail but finally secured his release. On 25 July 1983, 53 young Tamils were butchered to death at Welikade and you also know that. So relatively, you, your father and family were better off and there is nothing to write about it.

    I could go on on on but let me conclude saying, with all due respect to you that your father was never a freedom fighter. He could be an innocent fool, emotional donkey or something like that. I wish you do not make the same mistake but endure in fulfilling your father’s dream and become a Ph.D.

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