30 September, 2020

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The Myth At The Bottom Of Our Problem

By Shyamon Jayasinghe –

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Ever since its political independence Sri Lanka has never been able to solve its central national crisis in relationship between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil speaking communities. The  souring relationships began with a veneer of cordiality between leaders like DS Senanayake, Ponnambalam Ramanathan and GG Ponnambalam. The veneer was removed at the stage when SJV Chelvanayakam, in reaction to visible signs of obduracy on the part of Sinhala leaders, demanded Federal Government. It became an obvious chain reaction on both sides of the now growing divide in the national fabric of our society. Mutual suspicions between the communities sprouted and a struggle ensued with demands and counter demands. SWRD Bandaranaike brought the process to a head with communal riots unfolding and stances on both sides hardening. The culmination was represented by the rise of the LTTE and the consequent civil war that put the clock of progress back and diverted invaluable national resources away from infrastructure development, agriculture, health and education towards the killing fields of destruction.

The war now technically over, has not put the problem to rest. The old process of demands and rebuffs have strangely resurrected itself in a different milieu and context with mounting internationalization of the national conflict. The LTTE Diaspora is out there very active and India is increasingly restive under Tamilnadu  pressure.  These are all new developments not present during the early phase of conflict referred to above.

There are fresh demands for ‘self-determination,’  or autonomy  under the current new order of Tamil  leadership. It is doubtful that such political proposals would be successful considering the experiences of the recent past. To the Sinhala people Prabhakran had been a bitter experience when innumerable attempts at peaceful mediation had come a cropper with Prabhakaran giving his word and later breaking it all utilizing the pauses just in order to regroup his forces. To many Sinhala leaders the suspicion is real that a proposal for some kind of autonomy would likewise be utilized by the Tamil leadership to launch a separate state. Both the demand for self-determination, whatever that may mean, and its rejection are thus equally racist phenomena and the issue will not be settled because of that. These futile exercises will only help to harden identities and to entrench the very myth that lies at the bottom of the problem.

I like to examine this whole issue of failure in relationships in a totally different light:  The rancorous dispute between the two communities have been sourced on a terrible myth. This is the myth of race and its accompanying manifestation-racism.  “Almost everywhere one looks among present societies, race and racism make angry welts and deep wounds on the body politic. It is an irony that although racism is a reality, and a harsh one, race itself is a fiction. The concept of race has no genetic or biological basis,” points out British philosopher, AC Grayling.

DNA analysis dismantles the whole idea of race completely. ‘Race has no biological reality,’ says Professor Jonathan Marks of Yale University; ’the human species simply doesn’t come packaged that way.’  Race is a social, cultural and political concept construct based on superficial appearances and historical conditions, largely those arising from encounters with other peoples as Europe developed a global reach, with the slavery and colonialism that followed, concludes Professor Jonathan Marks.

It is suggested here that we can get over our relationship problem only by going beyond racism. To advance beyond racism we must go beyond race. One cannot reach this goal by resorting to something akin to the ‘Black Power,’ campaign. Satre called the Black Power an ‘anti-racist racism.’  As a community Tamils have been, no doubt, subject to all kinds of discrimination in the past. They believe also that the war was won by killing many of the Tamil innocent civilians. In this context, therefore, one can empathize with them when they develop prejudices toward “the Sinhala Government” and the Sinhala people.

On the other hand, responsible Tamil leaders must try and correct such an ant-racist racism. The media as a whole must play a catalytic role in helping both sides of the divide to advance beyond racism and thereby find accommodative solutions.  A change of regime is a necessary prerequisite for reaching this higher plane of consciousness. The current regime is seriously suspect and has lost credibility to lead the proposed new revolution in social engineering. The UNP has also a suspect past but could yet manage to make a genuine change of perception. On the other hand, here is a new philosophy that the invigorated JVP can incorporate because the party’s  Marxist roots are in line with the concept of going beyond race.

We can see the end of racism only when individuals learn to see others only in individual and human terms. The doctrine of equality must be enforced. This would include equality in the use of Tamil and Sinhala languages. With such radical changes the question of ‘homelands’ will not arise and the need for self-determination will not arise. The length and breadth of the island must be perfect home for the Tamils and Sinhala. The rule of law must be firmly in place for grievances to be addressed without prejudice.

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  • 7
    8

    The veneer was removed at the stage when SJV Chelvanayakam, in reaction to visible signs of obduracy on the part of Sinhala leaders, demanded Federal Government.

    I suppose in a few years time Shymon will say the Army deliberately killed 40,000 Tamil civilians. FYI, the number of innocent civilians killed in last 6 months is around 2000 no more.

    “Disenfranchisement of Tamils” was the first SJV Chelvanaygam cannard. It got progressively worse.

    At Independence Ceylon needed a citizenship policy. Anyone who lived in Ceylon more than 5 years were eligible for citizenship. In comparison Tamils who lived in Tamil Nadu more than 20 years still haven’t been given citizenship. The bulk of plantation workers were migrant workers. They were shipped here and kept in squalid conditions without giving consideration to anything but commercial interests of the Colonial tea business.

    These Indian Tamils did not have a franchise in the first place to be “Disenfranchiesed”. The next canard of SJV Chelvanagam was “Sinhala Colonisation of the East”. Everyone of his campaigns were racial and narrow minded in nature.

    Jaffna Nazi habit of making mountains out of molehills is quite an extra ordinary feat. Somehow what is preserved in history is the mountain not the molehill. The Jaffna Nazi have no justifiable cause, they never had.

    • 3
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      Quite. The ONLY people disenfranchised were the British imports, the Indian labourers in tea estates. Some of them did become Sri Lankans legally after the Sirima-Shastri pact. Till then, they were deemed ‘stateless’ as India had not wanted them back. The ONLY reason the leaders of the ethnic political parties in the North supported them was to further their own ethnic demands boosted by the increased numbers, and NOT for any love of the looked-down upon Indians. Till then, they were mere ‘dalits’, as they still are to most of them, if you analyse the comments.

      • 2
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        Conscientious-Sinhalese-Tell-LLRC

        In a face of a deluge of lies and misinformation some do get taken for a ride unfortunately.

        • 4
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          Are you referring to yourself about being taken for a ride?

        • 1
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          Vibhushana,
          “misinformation” – Why don’t you tell the correct information you liar.

    • 2
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      This comment shows that youngsters don’t know what happened in the 50s/60s/70s:

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

  • 10
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    Shyamon Jayasinghe,

    Your arguments of racism and anti-racism are scientific and fine until the last paragraph is reached where you introduce your vision, which is the same in most Sinhalese minds.

    In the last paragraph you say:

    “The doctrine of equality must be enforced. This would include equality in the use of Tamil and Sinhala languages. With such radical changes the question of ‘homelands’ will not arise and the need for self-determination will not arise. The length and breadth of the island must be perfect home for the Tamils and Sinhala.”

    This is a subtle argument to make the island eventually to become Sinhalese the diffused majority society thereby in no region the less numerous Tamils or Muslims will be in the majority. This amounts re-engineering the historically established demography of the island. However enlightened the Sinhalese individual, the goal for them is to make the island where Sinhalese become majority everywhere: It is a simple math for anybody to figure out. Tamils know enough Math to see the hidden deception.

    It is not racism or anti-racism it is identity as a community: Tamils want their historically established identity for 3 millenniums in the North-East of the island to be preserved under any political set up: That is the only way for a smaller nation to ensure its physical security against pogroms by the majority community, which in our case is the Sinhalese.

    Self determination for the long persecuted Tamil community is a democratic right that nobody can deny, and the concept of Tamil homeland is historical and endowed on us by our ancestors.

    So if Bill Clinton were to say it, he would have said: It’s not racism, It’s the identity stupid!

    • 4
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      I was impressed with Shyamon’s article and started reading you comments with negativity.. But as I going through with your case, I believe you are more correct than Shyamon. Shyamon’s part of view you pointed out is too narrow, it is not just the language…. I agree..
      Anura

      • 3
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        Anura,

        Thank you for your comment: Shyamon’s type of arguments are used by many majority community intellectuals all over the world for gullible people to believe.

        Ukraine, Georgia, Cyprus, former Yugoslavia, East Timor and in many more instances similar arguments were put forward until freedom dawned on oppressed people.

        • 0
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          Shyamon Jayasinghe claims that there is “The Myth At The Bottom Of Our Problem”.

          It is definitely not true:

          Sinhalese want the whole island to be identified with Sinhala Buddhists while bringing cunning if creative arguments to achieve it either in the short run or in the long run.

          Tamils want want the identity of Tamil speaking people preserved in the North-East irrespective of whether people are Hindus, Muslims or Christians there.

          Therefore there is no myth that Shyamon is talking about craftily: It is a very real clash of Sinhala-Buddhist and Tamil identities.

          Tamils accept the South-West as Sinhalese in identity while insisting that North-East should preserve the historical Tamil speaking identity that existed before independence.

  • 3
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    Good one mate!
    Problem is that there is systematic discrimination against minorities lack of Tamils who are underrepresented in all Govt. institutions.

    The concept of hiring people for jobs based PURELY ON MERIT does NOT exist in Sri Lanka where political stooges always get preference. Focusing merely on individual MERIT is a good idea but will not really solve the problem of Sinhala Majority Racism.

    In the universities too qualified and independent Tamils are NOT recruited because of most of the staff are ENVIOUS of qualified English speaking Tamils..
    Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam proposed long ago an Affirmative Action Bill based on a study of the under representation of minority Tamils in State sector. This bill needs to be passed in the national Parliament, along with a Bill on prevention of Incitement to Religious Hatred and Hate Speech.
    There also need to be a Ministry for MULTICULTURLISM and Social Justice. The corrupt clown Vausdeva Nanayakkara (minister of National Languages and Social Disintegration whose Ministry is a family business run by Vasu’s son) needs to be RETIRED to a geriatric home for dead leftists…

  • 1
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    Writer says ‘…JVP can incorporated because that party’s Marxist roots inline with concept go beyond race.. new philosophy invigorated by JVP…’ No need say writer is out of touch with Marxism and history of JVP’s origin and it development since 1965 last 49 years.
    JVP played more negative role of Democratic Revolution of our era.
    It has undermine stage of Democratic revolution as well as Marxism-Leninism by practicing Anarchism and Terrorism by anti-people’s movement. It has not replace Old Trotskyist movement led by LSSP politics of Reformism and CPSL of revisionist politics.
    For background of Origin of JVP Terror leader PND Wijeweera or Rohan or last Attnake was chauvinist-narrow racist and conspirator of coup d in politicians of politics of JVP. Hope and well very few of them knows that JVP was RACIST POLITICAL PARTY FROM THE VERY INCEPTION.
    In fact 1966 January PND Wijeweera join demonstration against Tamils and 1966 as ‘Dr Tissa’ he secretly involve 1966 Coup d supporting given assurance 500 navy combats can support even Coup going take place in at that time. The discussion was held at Segment Hodamuni resident’s at Homagama. By represtaitaive of Navy soldier call Gunatilke who had assured to support on behalf of ‘Dr Tissa’ know as PND Wijeweera.
    JVP leader or its leading carders majority of them that since beginning 99% were Racist and Chauvinist in politics of anarchist of terrorism, basically ignorant of Marxism teaching.
    History of JVP had been not finds real facts by its practice since it came into being since 1965.Marxisim has no relationship with JVP, but that they used Marxist ‘words’ to cover up petty-bourgeois anarchist politics and anti-democratic task ahead our nation and people of tiny Island.
    Present leader of Dr Somawansa Amrsainghe position has been relinquish by DR Anura Dissnayake the new successor JVP leader but no any policies change by old path by new anti-people movement support by Foreign forces.
    JVP leader are cannot lead our Sri Lankan PEOPLE; Why? leaders of JVP are politically, philoshylly and orginizaially far lagging behind our nation Democracy and development of Capitalism is concern.
    NO doubt more or less is JVP politically will be play reactionary role in future the Politics of anarchism of Democracies to encourage splitting our country and PEOPLE.
    If not that JVP will undermine Territorial Integrity, Sovereignty Independence and democratic revolution as whole. Only way in and out of JVP had been on proved in their history that work such situation like of Lumpenisation of democratization era similar to 1988/89.

  • 6
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    A Sri Lanka represented by the “Rata, Jathiya, Agama” creed promulgated by Anagarika, and preached by the Yellow Robes and implemented by Ratwatte, Wijewardena, Senanayake, Bandaranaike and similar families, buttressed by majoritarian democracy, is the root cause of the racial conflict. It is the fascist Sinhala obsession with a Sri Lanka “ONLY for the Buddhist Sinhalese” that will in due course DESTROY Sri Lanka. The message to minorities, both religious and racial, is “live here if you want to – but this is our country and don’t try to take more than what we are ready to give you”. The destruction of Sri Lanka can come in many forms. For example what will Sinhala weerayas like Gothapaya do if India simply annexes the country? Of course he will find the US passport a great convenience. Generally speaking the Sinhalas are a bunch of bullies/cowards. They act like heroes when conditions are favourable, and run away in the face of adversity. So, an Indian annexation – ha – there wont be many gothapaiyyas who will be ready to stand and fight!!

    • 2
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      Indra,

      “A Sri Lanka represented by the “Rata, Jathiya, Agama” creed ..”

      Rata:( Country): Veddah Aetthho Rata, Native Veddah Land

      Jatiya (People): Veddah Aethho, Native Vedda

      Agama *Religion): Vedda Aethho Agama, Native Veddah Eglatarian religion.

      ALL the others are Paraseshis, Paras from Native Veddah Terminology.

      Para-sinhala, Para-tamils, Para-Muslims, Para-Parangios, Para- Holland, Para-inglish and other Paras.

      • 0
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        Dear Amarasiri Veddo

        The context here of “rata jathiya agama” as used by the Sinhala Buddhist parayas, is that Sri Lanka is in their exclusive ownership. By choosing to remain in the Stone Age and powerless you are helping them. You will get screwed by the gotha paiyyas.

        • 1
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          Dear God Indra,

          You say: “The context here of “rata jathiya agama” as used by the Sinhala Buddhist parayas, is that Sri Lanka is in their exclusive ownership.”

          “By choosing to remain in the Stone Age and powerless you are helping them. You will get screwed by the gotha paiyyas.”

          Reply:

          The “rata jathiya agama” used in your prayers is fine, BUT, that applies to India and South India, and not to Veddah Aethho land. Why?

          1. The country, “rata” the Paras, Para-Sinhala came from is India and South India.

          2. The people, “jatiya” the Paras, Para-Sinhala came from is India and South India. The DNA proves it.

          3. The religion, “agama” the Paras, Para-Sinhala Buddists follow came from is India and East India. The Tipitaka and history proves it.

          “You will get screwed by the gotha paiyyas.”

          Yes, all the Para Paiyyas have screwed the Native Veddah Aethoo, ever since the Paras came uninvited, by Illegal boats, Hora-Oru and Kalla-Thoni. Yes, the “gotha paiyyas” are screwing the native Veddah as well as ALLthe PARAYAS to maintain their Family Hegemony.

          ALL Paras, Please go back to your “rata jathiya agama”, where it originated, SOUTH INDIA< BIHAR< KALINGA< AND INDIA, THE MAHA BHARATAYA.

          God Indra, can you help the Paras to go back?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra

          Indra, also known as Śakra in the Vedas, is the leader of the Devas or gods and the lord of Svargaloka or heaven in the Hindu religion. He is the god of rain and thunderstorms.[1] He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as vajra and rides on a white elephant known as Airavata. Indra is the supreme deity and is the twin brother of Agni and is also mentioned as an Āditya, son of Aditi. His home is situated on Mount Meru in the heaven.[2] He has many epithets, notably vṛṣan the bull, and vṛtrahan, slayer of Vṛtra, Meghavahana "the one who rides the clouds" and Devapati "the lord of gods or devas".[2] Indra appears as the name of a daeva in Zoroastrianism (but please note that word Indra can be used in general sense as a leader, either of devatas or asuras[3]), while his epithet, Verethragna, appears as a god of victory. Indra is also called Śakra frequently in the Vedas and in Buddhism (Pali: Sakka). He is known in Burmese as သိကြားမင်း, pronounced: [ðadʑá mɪ́ɴ]; in Thai as พระอินทร์ Phra In, in Malay as Indera, in Telugu as ఇంద్రుడు Indrudu, in Tamil as இந்திரன் Inthiran, Chinese as 帝释天 Dìshìtiān, and in Japanese as 帝釈天 Taishakuten.[4] He is celebrated as a demiurge who pushes up the sky, releases Ushas (dawn) from the Vala cave, and slays Vṛtra; both latter actions are central to the Soma sacrifice. He is associated with Vajrapani – the Chief Dharmapala or Defender and Protector of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha who embodies the power of the Five Dhyani Buddhas. On the other hand, he also commits many kinds of mischief (kilbiṣa) for which he is sometimes punished. In Puranic mythology, Indra is bestowed with a heroic and almost brash and amorous character at times, even as his reputation and role diminished in later Hinduism with the rise of the Trimurti.

  • 1
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    Dear Shyamon Jayasinghe,

    RE: The Myth At The Bottom Of Our Problem.

    It is the myths of the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils in the Land of the Native Vedda.

    Thank you for your succinct description of the underlying desires of the Para-Sinhala to exert their hegemony over the Para-Tamils, and the desire of the Para-Tamil leader SJV Chelvanayagam to come up with a Federal Solution, the resulting failures, and the birth of LTTE, with the goal of forming the Para-Tamil Eelam in the Egalitarian Sacred Land of the Native Veddah Aethho, who walked over 25,000 years ago when the sea levels were low.

    Yes, the PROBLEM between the PARA-SINHALA and PARA-TAMILS is still there, AND NOT RESOLVED. The PARA-SINHALA, with the current leadership of the current PARA PRESIDENT is not solving the problem, like his former Para-predecessors, Para-DS and Para-SWRD. In fact, to make matters worse, the current Para President, Rajapaksa, has added the Para-Muslims as well to the Para-conflict pool, adding an international dimension, and put the land of the Native Veddah very noticeable globally as a Pariah State.

    You say:” To the Sinhala people Prabhakran had been a bitter experience when innumerable attempts at peaceful mediation had come a cropper with Prabhakaran giving his word and later breaking it all utilizing the pauses just in order to regroup his forces.”

    You say: “The rancorous dispute between the two communities have been sourced on a terrible myth. This is the myth of race and its accompanying manifestation-racism.”. I say, Yes.

    Yes, but the Para-Tamil VP and the Para-Tamils learned from the Para-Sinhala, people like Para-DS, Para-SWRD, and a host of other Para-Sinhala, on their dealings with the Para-Tamils, that the Para-Sinhala cannot be trusted. While there is debate for the intransigence of the Para-Sinhala, there is general agreement that the root problem goes back to the Para-Sinhala Monk Mahanams who wrote in Pali ( Imported from India), the Mahawansa, his lies and his imaginations, which the Para-Sinhala believe. This is like the Jews claiming that the land of Canaan and Philistine, where the original Natives lived, was given to the Jews by their “God”.

    You say: “We can see the end of racism only when individuals learn to see others only in individual and human terms. The doctrine of equality must be enforced. “.

    I say: Yes. This is called Egalitarianism.

    Unfortunately, the Egalitarian parties, LSSP, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Communist Party, all sold their Egalitarian principles, to the Para-Sinhala Buddhist Racists, for ministerial portfolios, and was expelled from the Fourth International. The current crop of Para-Sinhala “Egalitarians” are in bed with the Para-Sinhala racists, like their predecessors.

    Later that year, 1964, the LSSP joined the coalition government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Three of its MPs became Ministers; Dr N. M. Perera (Finance), Cholomondely Goonewardena (Public Works) and Anil Moonesinghe (Communications). The LSSP was expelled from the Fourth International, and the membership was passed on to LSSP(R).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanka_Sama_Samaja_Party

    The question the Native Veddah Aethho keep asking from the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils is, when will you go back to your native Land South India? The DNA in your bodies is proof and is sufficient to establish your kinship in South India.

    Here is a poster that must be put up all over the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

    ********** POSTER- PARAS GO BACK **************

    PARA FOREIGNERS GO BACK TO SOUTH INDIA
    PARA-SINHALA, PARA-TAMIL, PARA-MUSLIM, FOREIGNERS
    TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR, GO BACK TO SOUTH INDIA
    YOUR DNA IS PROOF

    LANKA VEDDAH PEOPLES INHERITANCE LANKA PEACE PEACE FOR VEDDAH PEOPLE. GOOD ENVIRONMENT

    ********** POSTER- PARAS GO BACK **************

  • 5
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    Facts must be faced. As far back as in in 1944 SWRD Bandaranaike had advocated a federal setup not to divide the country but in the interests of unity.
    For the information of some, it must be stated that the Indian Plantation workers before they were disenfranchised did enjoy the exercise of franchise in that they voted at the 1947 general elections. Even before they were disenfranchised the xenophobic leaders like DS Senanayake, through legislation made sure that they could not be alienated any land. If at all there was a veneer it was paper thin. Bensen

    • 3
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      Mr Burner,
      “that they voted at the 1947 general elections.”
      Thank you… I didn’t know this… But I knew that upcountry Tamil/Hindu issues in SL are inhumane..
      I know number Sinhalese people who got refuge status in 1990s in the western country I live…. what ever their parents did or forced to do by external forces, children are not responsible.. Those children live here feel/know that they are part of this country… But those upcountry Tamils in SL migrated or forced to move more than 200 years back.. What is there children’s children’s children have to do with what happened 200 years back with fathers.. Those upcountry Tamils are more Sri Lankan’s than Karawa/Salagama/Hetties like groups in SL….

  • 0
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    It amazes me that those who usually blame SWRD, more than anyone else, for communal politics in SL and for ‘dividing’ the country, see fit to quote with approval how he advocated a federal structure for SL, in the 40s. Surely, the man cannot be both a disaster and a great visionary at the same time.

    The trouble with SWRD was that he was voluble – always saying something. And he said so many different things at different times. So, if you wanted to find something from what he had said to support your argument, you’d have no problem. The real question is not what SWRD had said about some issue but whether what he said was sensible and whether it continues to be sensible in today’s context.

  • 2
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    Yes, it is a hidden agenda to wipe out the Tamil identity and not a
    case of racism, which the Tamils desire to resolve involving the I/C –
    which may take years, by when the present Tamil leadership will be no more and an eventual death of the tamil identity in the long run.
    CAN THIS BE REVERSED???

    Tamilnet reports on 2-5-14 as:
    “Colombo has established 54 new military camps in Batticaloa district. 650 acres of lands have been appropriated for the occupying SL military, said Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian P. Ariyanethiran addressing May day rally in Batticaloa. Within the last 5 years alone, 145,885 acres of lands belonging to Tamil workers have been seized, Mr Ariyanethiran further said. The major land appropriation has taken place through the SL ministry of tourism seizing 122,063 acres through gazette notification within the last 5 years, the parliamentarian from Batticaloa said.”
    “While Sinhala settlers have appropriated 5,030 acres encroaching into lands owned by Tamils, Buddhist monks have seized 8,576 acres in the district.” These are facts?

  • 3
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    For the enlightened who follow CT, this is my two cents.

    1. Make English the language of government in 10 years. Create the mechanism through education to make that a reality.
    2. Equality means just that. There will be no Tamil, Sinhalese or anyone else – JUST SRI LANKANS.
    3. IF you do not choose to speak your mother-tongue, it is on YOU. The government will not do your job! If you educate your children in only Sinhalese, English or Tamil, be prepared to face the consequences of it.
    4. There will be no STATE RELIGION. Absolute separation of State and Religions. Lets see the how the Mahanayakes, Cardinals, Swamis and Ulemas fare after that. Buddha Dharma only needs protection of its own adherents NOT from other religions. The recent case of the British Tourist is a case in point. She is probably a FAR BETTER follower of the Buddha’s teachings that the MAJORITY OF Buddhists. By the way – The Buddha did not create a religion and he fiercely protested when some of his disciples tried to make it such. He, by example, wanted people to changes their values and attitudes so they would lead enlightened lives free from want of any nature. Try informing today’s ‘enlightened’ about that!

    As I said – This is my two cents!

    • 0
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      “Make English the language of government in 10 years”.

      What a great idea Upul. Hovewer let us not burden ourselves with this target date. How about ‘within 10 years after Japan, Russia or China – whoever does it first- change Government language to English’.

      That way we have the momentum of quarter billion to a billian and a quarter others moving with us.

    • 0
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      why not all 3 languages but only English.

      Sure, English should be given the highest priority here. As it is the case in Switzerland, scandinavian countries, learning several langauges than the mother tongue (be it sinhalese or tamil) must be made obligatory. At the beginning, it will not be easy for govt to provide each and every school with well trained English/tamil/sinhala teachers, but this projects should be given the highest priority than any kind of physical structure building development projects. Current regime is clearly sending a message across the country and globe that they are only one-sided in terms of the nation/country building, like only 90% for physical structure building programes while just 10% are for nation building.

  • 1
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    I agree on one point: regardless of who’s the perpetrator and who’s the victim (we can see both groups in both roles), the only way forward is authentic reconciliation.

    Triangulating the conflict with the West and/or India is insufficient. Even if an Eelam were to be established on the island, there won’t be genuine and long-lasting peace, until there’s people-to-people dialog and relationships.

    A good start would be to develop programs meant to build empathy among the various groups. Bringing Tamil children from the north to live among the sinhalese in the south and sending rural southern Sinhalese (who provide the majority of military personnel) to the North to live among ordinary Tamil people would be a good start. Let people live in each others shoes for a while and understand each others’s fears, anxieties, truimphs and cultural pride. When one does that, one sees the world in a whole different light – we recognize that the similarities of circumstance, culture, and yes, even language, is much more than the differences. That empathy, the recognition that the other is nothing but oneself can yield peace in one’s heart and mind.

    where are the Mahatma Gandhis of Sri Lanka, the Tagore’s to lead popular movements for inter-ethnic harmony?

    Some would call this idea naive. But “political” settlements do not have long-lasting impact unless the people affected take it to heart. And i doubt that the separation of the island to 2 different countries would result in any long lasting peace. Kosovo, South Sudan, and even Cypress are STILL not success stories.

    Singapore? Well it is a small city after all, and malaysia did not fight to keep it. And I dare say Singapore is a true democracy?

    So if, as the Western powers preach, if the communities in Sri Lanka are to live in a democratic nation in peace, then we have no alternative but to learn empathy by getting to know each other in each others “homeland”.

    • 4
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      Dear Sinhala Buddhist,
      A wonderful comment that reminds me of the environment in which I grew up. I was in the Tamil medium at school until the 8th standard. However , after school I played with the Sinhala children in the neighbourhood. We were in and out of each other’s homes. The games with marbles, foot ball and rounders we played are etched in my mind. We called each other nick names, fought , wrestled and climbed trees. We went for river baths and caught guppies. We did not look at each other as Sinhala or Tamil. They were my Sinhala teachers. Unfortunately, they did not learn Tamil. A few years back i went to see the house we had lived as children. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the house was owned by one of the girls- who we had addressed as Loku Acca- was the owner occupant and a grand mother to a teenager. When I introduced myself and my family, she started to cry. We felt the warmth and experienced an emotional welcome. We were friends and playmates, who had the opportunity to see each other after 40 years and reminisce ! What a get together it was!

      I became what I am because of such interactions. I am blind to the communal identities of people I deal with. My long innings in Saudi Arabia was a success because of this blessing.

      You are right. You have prescribed the right medicine for this country,

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran.

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    Shaymon,

    Your vision is fine as an eventual long term outcome, but the reality is that this country has seen horrendous racial violence against minorities, and they cannot be assured of their physical security by resorting to idealistic visions that will not be realized in our lifetime.

    Neither the JVP nor the UNP can win enough votes in the South if they take a genuine equality approach, and the rule of law cannot be upheld when the judiciary, the police and the armed forces come from the same society at large that doesn’t have any commitment to the values that you propose. The society being what it is, minorities cannot have any confidence in the rule of law, until gradual changes in the society’s outlook bring about such confidence in the long term. That will take several decades and will be a generational change.

    So what can a Tamil individual do, even if he shares your vision for the long term? Should the Tamil people hold their lives and freedoms in abeyance while the Sinhalese society goes on its endless search for a collective shrink/leader who can soothe their psychological fears of Tamil separatism, even when innocuous constitutional arrangements like Federalism that have been successful in other countries are proposed?

    Why should a Sinhalese man’s fears be privileged over a Tamil man’s needs and basic freedoms to lead a normal life?

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    Hmmmm…….JVP…..now that sounds about correct. But a Neo-JVP ; a modernized JVP that has learned from the mistakes of its past, and knows how to deal amiably with the other radical groups like UNP who tortured and killed many of JVP-younglings, is what is needed.

    But we hope that this JVP drive is nothing to do with the push by the West to kill the China-Connexion. You know, funding for CT……etc.

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    The writer’s vision is spot on. Let us go beyond race and racism and only then will wee see the light of day. Birth Certificates should not have provision for race. The idea of race should be obliterated from all documents. This kind of thinking is seen in practice in the modernized West. We are all one

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    How about the Tamil homeland myth?

  • 2
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    Those Jaffna Tamils should read and understand the contents of this article well. Majority of Jaffna Tamils, that is more than 50% of them living side by side with the Singhalese is testament to the racial tolerance of Singhalese. Perhaps Syamon should get this translated to Tamil and publish in Uthayan for the easy understanding of Jaffna Tamils.

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    Hi Syamon, why not accept that ours is a racist culture and the negative value of its racism for out weighs the value of its culture and it is best to give up both – because other than us, no one belies that we have progressed beyond bestiality.

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    This is yet another article that is completely detached from reality; that pretends the last four decades did not happen; that May 2009 did not happen. I would encourage the author to read the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka and the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka that was released this year. Whether or not “race” is a “biological reality” is not the question. The question is “Has the Sri Lankan state committed mass atrocities on a group of people within its territory because of a race based ideology that the State subscribes to”. The reason that there is an international intervention on SL that’s underway is I write this, is because the civilized world believes the answer is yes.

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    Dr. R.N.

    I appreciate your comments here. Furthermore, I have read your autobiographical essay, and recognize that unlike most who write here, you have real life experience of living in both homelands within Sri Lanka and understand the nuances of culture and language. In my opinion we need more people like you to save Lanka.

    I grew up in Colombo in the 80’s and like you, had many friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. I broke bread with muslims at Ramazan and had relatives who were Chritians. I had Tamil friends at my school and had pen-friends from the hill country whose grand parents were Indian Tamils. Unfortunately my family had to cancel a planned trip to Batticaloa due to the insurgency in the mid-80’s and thus I never got to travel to the North and the East of Lanka.

    My grandmother was from a major town in the South and was a devout buddhist. And the young man she rented a house to and provided food for was from Jaffna. Even after he got married and moved to a place of his own, he not only remained a close family friend, but his new family became our family. She refered to him as her “son’ till the day she died – he came back from Canada to visit her one last time in the mid nineties, before her death.

    My great grandfather perished in the early part of the last century as a result of injuries sustained during the muslim-sinhala riots. Yet his son, an erudite and well respected man in our greater Colombo suburb, helped our Tamil neighbors during the riots in the late 70s by standing up to the thugs. I was a small child in 83, when our Jaffna Tamil uncle’s family and property was saved by his fast-thinking sinhala neighbor. We defied the curfew to go check in on them and help them in any way we could. I remember a wonderful chritmas service I attended at my friend’s house in the hills of Nuwara Eliya, surrounded by Tamil Christians, feeling the warmth of their welcome, despite the chilly december day. As a child I taught English to a servant woman who was Tamil, and she taught me to read and write Tamil. Later yet in life, I, who’d been trained in ball room dance in Colombo, learnt bharatanatyam.

    I have recalled these vignettes here not to glorify my family or boast about the Sinhalese, but rather show how human-to-human contact makes a huge impact on people’s understanding of the “other”. My family and I are NOT the exception. Many people in Sri Lanka have similar experiences to mine.

    As people argue here and scream and insult each other, I hope they remember that the time they spend yelling at others might be better spent trying to physically meet and spending time with those who are different from them.

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    even if the myth of race wernt there humans will find something to fight over . it is in our nature .

    Cheers

    Abhaya

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    Dear Sinhala Buddhist,

    Thank you very much for telling us an aspect of your life story. I am remineded of Padmini Dahanayake, W.Dahanayke’s neice learning Bharatha Natyam and become an accomplished stage performer. She helped introduce the music that accompanies the dance ( Natuvangam) in the Sinhala words, but in Carnatic ragas and talas. I too volunteered to learn Kandyan dancing while in the 6th standard at school and my father enthusistically encouraged me.

    There are many stories and experiences like ours. I hope they are recalled and publicised. We need to hear the ‘good and Beautiful’ side of our story as well, intead of always harping on the ‘Bad and the Ugly’.

    Best regards,

    Dr.RN

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      I think sinhalese and tamils can live together with peace and harmony, if many of the majority folks are taught to tolerate their fellow minority folks. This should be passed to them in their primary school education, as Australians, Scandinavians have been doing (this means not that some white australians are not racial towards their migrant communiteis). I have been to Australia for a visit, lived in Europe longer to distinguish people’s way clearly and got to know that many in that part of the world is more familiar with coloured people than anywhere else, because almost everyone in the current generation there are learnt in the school that they are all equal regardless of race, religion and skin colour. So do the swiss and scandinavians more than any other european countries today. Of course there will still be racial minded ones among them, as it the case among our people in the srilanka. However, what matters is the percentage of them – in Germany, nazi minded ones are still there, but they have been marginalised to few thousands to this by the ruler’s rigorous implementation of law and order.
      Media and Education play the greater role here. Apart from that the political will should be equal to everyone, which is unfortunately not the case for the lankens right at the moment.
      Also considering what the commentator – Sinhala buddhist pointed out above,I feel, it is the fact that many among the sinhalaya feel that they as the majority are the ones to who should have more rights than their minority folks. Latter view can only therapeutised by healthy kind of awareness programs.
      Recalling my own exp, in the europe (Frankfurt, Germany), once I was invited to a tamil wedding by the bridal pair as my acquaintances ( me being only sinhalaya), but many of tamil attendees to that wedding looked as me as if I could be their number one enemy. I was almost like unwelcome person there. Anyway, my attendance convinced me not only sinhalese, but the tamils in general have their own prejudices against the sinhalaya. That is why I think only healthy awareness programs could do the job.

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    If the Singhalese and theTamils cannot live together in peace and harmony wouldn’t it better to be separate.
    We have tried to live together from the time of independence,but unfortunately it has not worked. The Tamils have been at the receiving end from 1957 to 1983. Countries smaller than Sri Lanka have separated and are living in amity. So why don’t we live in amity and in harmony separately. This is the only right solution considering that the Singhalese and
    Tamils have not been able to live together in one country. It is then that we will have perfect,peace between the two
    communities.

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    TO UPUL
    Your ‘two cents worth’ is worth more than a billion Ruppees!
    This is exactly what my presentation is aiming at. A nation of Sri Lankan citizens. Birth Certificates and other documentations requiring the mention of race and religion must be done away with. My plea is for the modernization of Lankan society. As long as we continue to be racist in thinking this national crisis will never be settled. Race and religion may be a private fascination of feeble minds.

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      Shyamon Jayasinghe,

      Let’s call a Spade, a Spade. Let’s call a Para, a Para.

      Thank you for bringing to notice to ALL these facts. So, in order to create an Egalitarian Society, where beliefs and myths are private personal issues, the facts pertaining to Lanka need to be pointed out.

      What are the facts pertaining to Lanka? So, this is Amarasiri’s Poster, which Amarasiri wants on every wall in Lanka. Those Para who cannot live as Egalitarian members of society, in keeping with the Native Veddah culture and Ethics, are requested to leave for their Native Land, South India, as proved by DNA analysis of the Paras.

      ************************************
      PARAYANI PALAYAW DAKUNU INDIYAVATA
      PARA-SINHALAYO, PARA-DEMALO, PARA-MUSLIMO, PARAGIO
      VADDANOVI INNA NAM, PALAYAN INDIYAVATA
      NUBALAGE DNA THAMAI SADAKA
      LANKAVA VEDDI AETHHO URUMAYA

      *************************
      PARA-SINHALAYO, PARA-DEMALO, PARA-MUSLIMO, PARAGIO
      PALAYAW DAKUNU INDIYAVATA
      AETTHO VEDDI URUMAYA. LANKAVATA SAMAYA.
      VEDDI AETTHOTA SAMAYA. HONDA PARISARAYA.
      **************************************

      ***************ENGLISH TRANSLATION: *******************

      PARA FOREIGNERS GO BACK TO SOUTH INDIA
      PARA-SINHALA, PARA-TAMIL, PARA-MUSLIM, FOREIGNERS
      TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR, GO BACK TO SOUTH INDIA
      YOUR DNA IS PROOF
      LANKA VEDDAH PEOPLES INHERITANCE
      LANKA PEACE. PEACE FOR VEDDAH PEOPLE. GOOD ENVIRONMENT

      ******************************
      PARA-SINHALA, PARA-TAMIL, PARA-MUSLIM, FOREIGNERS GO BACK TO SOUTH INDIA LANKA VEDDAH PEOPLES INHERITANCE

      *************************** L

      Lanka will be peaceful, and the Native Veddah can live in an environmentally friendly manner. No more Para Wars.

      REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS AND QUOTES FOR
      1. DESIGNING THE ABOVE POSTERS IN SINHALA, TAMIL AND ENGLISH
      2. PRINTING OF 100,000 EACH POSTER IN EACH LANGUAGE
      3. POSTING ON 300,000 WALLS IN SRI LANKA NEXT TO OTHER POSTERS.

      PROPOSAL DUE DATE: 30 DAYS FROM NOW MAY 20, 2014.

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