6 December, 2019

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The Presidential Election Must Trigger A Movement If It Is To Help Tamils Win Their Rights

By TU Senan

TU Senan

On the surface, this election looks like one that Tamils just have to get past and then think about how to fight the decades old repression they face in Sri Lanka. But beneath the surface, the frustration with the failure of the Tamil parties to offer a way forward is leading to discussion and debate on what is needed. Lesser-evilism is all that the TNA can offer but that still means evil for Tamils – and for all those at the sharp end of government policy, from war to chauvinism to privatisation. Only a new approach, based on removing not just individuals but the whole gang at the top, is necessary.

Although seemingly an unusual event, the endorsement of the United Democratic Front’s (UDF) candidate Sajith Premadasa by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) – the main Tamil party in Sri Lanka – did not come as a shock to anyone. It reflects the lack of a way forward in the fight for the rights of Tamil-speaking people of the TNA and all the Tamil parties. However, while the TNA are long-time allies of the UNP, (which is the main component of the UDF), the decision this time was less of a straightforward matter.

There was an attempt by other Tamil parties to make the TNA adopt a position where they would stand for the core demands of the Tamil-speaking people. All six main parties (1) came together for a discussion and agreed 13 key demands. These included the basic democratic demands over which the Tamils have been protesting for years, such as land rights, the release of political prisoners, answers to their questions about missing persons, and also the national rights of Tamils and a war crimes inquiry into the genocidal slaughter of 2009.

As on many occasions in the past, despite all the Tamil parties signing up to this agreement, the common position didn’t last even a day. The Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) rejected the 13 demands on the basis that the proposed new constitution was not included. The other five parties signed up to the 13 demands and pledged that they would only support a presidential candidate who supported these demands. But soon after, the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), which is the main component of the TNA, made a unilateral decision to support the UNP candidate Sajith Premadasa and announced it even before the other two parties that are part of the TNA – TELO, PLOTE – were ready with their public statement. Of course, these parties succumbed to the ITAK’s pressure and now the TNA as a whole has endorsed the pro-capitalist UNP candidate. It barely needs mentioning that Sajith Premadasa does not support any of these 13 demands.

The attempt to make the ITAK take a principled position failed again – as expected. It is now clear to many that if it was up to the ITAK leaders, the meeting to agree the 13 demands would not even have taken place. They took part in this meeting with the aim of channelling everyone towards supporting the UNP. The TNA’s self-imposed “theoretical” guru, Mr Sumanthiran, said that he asked the meeting: “Will you agree to vote for Gotabaya if he agrees to these demands?”(2). He explained the rationale behind this question with his usual Machiavellian arguments. He explained that Gotabaya could get away with agreeing to these demands but the UNP cannot – hence, there is a greater chance of Gotabaya agreeing to them. One cannot but wonder at his political shallowness. Of course, Gotabaya, in no time at all, not only rejected all these demands but also stated that he would not even bother to meet with Tamil leaders to discuss them. It is absolutely clear that neither Gotabaya nor Sajith, who compete to be the most credible “Sinhala Buddhist nationalist – pro military” candidate, will agree to these demands.

Getting this agreement, though, was not the ITAK’s aim, it seems. Sumanthiran claimed that the discussion was actually about choosing one of the “winnable” candidates (and from the start, by default, all rejected the question of a boycott). From their point of view, there is no way any Tamil leader can come out endorsing Gotabaya – so the obvious choice is to support Sajith. But their attempts at such covert manipulations were thwarted by some of the organisers of this meeting of the Tamil parties. The organisers, rather, hoped to pull the Tamil parties towards a principled stand, using the election as an opportunity. Their aim was to set the parties on a different path: towards mobilising, and building up a fight. As the plan of ITAK leaders to surreptitiously manipulate all Tamil parties into supporting Sajith was failing, they made a unilateral decision to stick with their original objective and overtly declared their support for him.

There are two main reasons for this decision that are cited by the key leaders of the TNA. While they aim to ride the mood of ‘lesser evilism’ that has developed among Tamils, they also argue that the Tamils will benefit from the new constitution proposed by the UNP. The UNP’s manifesto states that “devolution and the electoral systems begun by parliament will be completed without delay”. But contrary to the TNA’s claim that this is accepted by all parties in Sri Lanka, even the UNP could not come to an agreement on this in the last parliament. The Sri Lanka People’s Front (SLPP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have already rejected the proposals. The UNP manifesto also claims that devolution will protect the “unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of our motherland” and that the final decision will be made via a referendum. Those who follow Sri Lankan politics will know well what that means. All the UNP-led changes to the constitution are aimed at securing their own voter base and setting the ground for further liberalisation of the economy in the interest of the big capital. And the so-called change in electoral system is a form of gerrymandering that has already been exposed by many. In addition, the UNP manifesto already stands for establishing more free economic zones – which are already proven to be areas of super-exploitation. Their so-called labour reforms are a cover for further curtailment of labour rights, including raising the pension age by three years.

Responding to the UNP’s not-so-new proposal, the Mahinda clan made its usual claims: “Like the draft constitution, the UNP presidential election manifesto also aims to turn Sri Lanka into a loose federation of virtually independent provincial units.” (4) While rejecting the UNP proposal, the SLPP manifesto says nothing new about the constitutional change that they are planning, except for re-stressing that the “unitary state” will be preserved and a “foremost place to Buddhism” will be given. The TNA’s full endorsement of the UNP proposal for the constitution led the TNPF to insist on its rejection as part of the 13 demands. However, it should be noted that both the TNPF and the TNA are disingenuous in their arguments. The TNPF knows well the position of the TNA and only concentrates on “nailing them” in the discussion. The TNA, in turn, knows well that a demand such as the right to self-determination stands in contradiction to what they openly endorse with the UNP. Neither want to reveal their true intention – which is to promote their own party’s position within the Tamil community.

Bizarrely, Mahinda Rajapaksa, writing on this issue of the constitution, claims that even the former Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, “rejected such devious and dishonest attempts to play around with words” in relation to the use of the term “unitary state”. But Wigneswaran rejected the UNP’s proposal for a totally different reason from that cited by Mahinda. C.V. Wigneswaran’s objection, despite being a former judge, is not about constitutional aspects but is an attempt to expose how the Tamils are being fooled, as no real benefit is being proposed.

Wigneswaran and his relatively new party, Tamil Makkal Kootani (TMK), have taken the strong decision to reject all the main candidates standing in the election. The official statement released by the TMK identifies Siritunga Jayasuriya of the United Socialist Party as the only exception and welcome Jayasuriya’s acceptance of the 13 demands. While all other candidates rejected these demands, Siritunga Jayasuriya made clear in a press statement that these demands were already part of the USP’s manifesto and the political programme on which he is standing. He asked why Tamil party leaders have, so far, ignored this fact. Wigneswaran, considered to be the most popular politician in the North, did indeed recognise this.

However, the TMK statement will have left Tamil voters unclear on the question of who they should actually vote for. It asked the Tamil voters to choose, taking into consideration “objective and subjective factors”. While correctly pointing out that Tamils cannot vote for any of the main candidates, it fails to indicate what factors Tamil voters should consider. But this may change in the coming days. At the time of writing this article, further meetings between Siritunga Jayasuriya and the TMK and EPRLF are being organised. Apart from the TNA leadership, almost all the Tamil parties are in favour of voting for Siritunga Jayasuriya. Even Sivajilingam, the only Tamil candidate standing in the election who is in favour of Siritunga, has publicly stated that he voted for Siri in the past and that Siri is the Tamils’ best ally.

This is unprecedented in history. While this development may come as a shock to many, it is important to understand why this is taking place. Political representation for Tamils is supressed to the extent that it is virtually non-existent. As Siritunga himself put it, the election is all about the south – and about who is the real “Sinhala leader”. Gotabaya is reported to have said that he doesn’t need Tamil votes; that he can become president with the Sinhala vote alone. Tamils cannot bring themselves to vote, either for someone who is known as “the butcher of Tamils” – or for the other candidate, who is the son of a “murderer” and defends all that the Rajapaksa family did in the Tamil genocide.

This is not to claim that the Tamils have all turned to socialist policies, but they have been pushed into a corner and therefore forced to examine their strategies and perspectives and to ask how they can advance their interests. Siritunga and his party, the United Socialist Party, have an unshakable history of standing firm for the rights of Tamils. Their recently-published book, “The Tamil Eelam People’s Struggle – A Marxist View”, had a shock effect upon those who read it. It is a collection of Tamil translations of articles written in Sinhala, over the past three decades, at every crucial historical juncture. The uncompromising position put forward by the USP has won enormous respect not just from Tamils in Sri Lanka, but also in Tamil Nadu and in the international diaspora. It is important to note that this position does not compromise on any of the rights of the oppressed Sinhala population. Siritunga strongly rejects the idea that the whole population in the south are inherently racist, as some of the hard nationalists claim. Instead, he explains how the leaders of the Buddhist clergy and capitalist politicians whip up Sinhala nationalism to establish and embed their own support base. They are offering no road to better living conditions for ordinary workers and youth. But while standing firm on the rights of all oppressed peoples in all communities, Siritunga shows it is also possible to stand firm on the democratic rights of Tamils, including their national rights. This is their position – and their lesson, which the “left” in general has so far ignored and failed to adopt. The USP is the only party that attracts activists from all communities in Sri Lanka.

This process – the gradual shift in political positioning – should not stop with the election. The TNA does not enjoy the mass support that it did between 2009 and 2013. Its leaders can no longer walk in the streets of Jaffna unprotected. The hatred that exists for Gotabaya may push significant numbers of Tamil voters to register their protest by standing with Sajith. But Tamils choosing the lesser evil does not equate to a direct endorsement of the TNA leadership. It is only the brutality and repression of the Sri Lankan Sinhala nationalist government since the war that has allowed the TNA to maintain its support on the electoral plane. They do not command real support. This is for good reasons. The majority of Tamil workers and youth now understand the lies and bogus political nature of the TNA leadership. The TNA’s close collaboration with the UNP has helped to expose their class nature, i.e. the interests that they really represent. Most Tamils – particularly the politically active layer of society – are in search of a better alternative, a search that will lead them to an uncompromising fight for their rights. This is driving them towards a more progressive perspective and strategy.

The Russian Revolution in 1917 saw the power to run society in the interests of all not just the elite taken into the hands of the working class for the first time in history. Leon Trotsky, one of its leaders, recognised that the fight for national rights had to be linked to the fight for the rights of all oppressed workers and young people and explained that “nationalism was only the outer shell of an immature Bolshevism”. This outer shell needs to be broken so that the people can embrace a real strategy to advance all demands for Tamil rights.

What Tamils demand now may look ‘utopian’ in the eyes of those who consider themselves ‘practical thinkers’. But it is not practical for Tamil-speaking people to live a life of repression and exploitation with the future of their young people in jeopardy. It is, of course, ‘unachievable’ while the Sri Lankan state is maintained in the interests of the richest in society and on the basis of pandering to ‘Sinhala Buddhist nationalism’. Without breaking the capitalist Sri Lankan state, no advancement in Tamil rights is possible. Wining Tamils’ rights and breaking with capitalism are intertwined – an understanding that is not new wisdom in the Tamil struggle. Almost all the militant organisations formed during the late ‘60s and ‘70s put forward this position in one way or other. However, the position was not developed into a clear strategy with a far-sighted and internationalist perspective – and the price that the Tamil youth paid for it was too high. To achieve what now looks impractical and unachievable, we must come together to strengthen our struggle with a clear programme and strategy. A campaign to build a mass organisation of all workers, youth, farmers, Tamils and all oppressed sections of society must be initiated without delay. We must appeal to the trade unions, to the members especially, to take up a clear position of class struggle. Despite its history, the union that is increasingly taking a militant direction is the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union (CMU). Student unions, fishing community organisations, farmers, workers in free trade zones, and all those who have been waging a brave battle against privatisation and horrendous conditions, should come together as one force. A mass organisation, democratically organised, with a federal approach, would enable all organisations that agree on a basic programme of struggle to come together on one platform. It is this alternative that will provide a real choice for all those oppressed in Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    2

    While it is of paramount importance to provide a political solution to the ethnic issue that resulted in a 30 + year war, we have a more important issue currently at hand. That is to save Democracy in our motherland. There is a candidate (NGR) who is a threat to Democracy we have grown accustomed to cherish. First he needs to be defeated and sent back to where he rightfully belongs (USA) – but before that he needs to be tried for all criminal activities for which he has been indicted and punished , if found guilty.

    Voters, please use your valued vote to save our motherland by defeating NGR’s candidacy. He is an alleged criminal, bigot, blockhead, dimwit, despot, barbarian, ruffian, hooligan, thug and goon. Do you want such a character to lead our Nation? Please wake up!!

    • 4
      2

      My dear Gamini

      I had to laugh outwardly but with sadness when I read your comments “While
      it is paramount importance to provide a political solution to the ethnic issue that resulted in a 30+ year war”
      The Tamils have been fighting for favourable solution since 1947, with so many loss of lives and properties and was a failure.
      The NGR or Premadasa or anybody else for that matter would solve the Tamil problem.
      Again the Tamils and their leadership have completely changed since the war ended. They are not for the people but for themselves. They are not interested in governing and concretely the Tamils cannot govern themselves. This is my polite view.

      • 3
        0

        Sellam,
        You are right and wrong. It is true that Tamils have fighting since 1947 for a political solution that ensures the safety of Tamils, identity of Tamils. In this approach we tried various ways and almost everything was not successful. Political opportunism in the South plays a key role in reaching an agreed solution. Democratically based on Elections we cannot get our rights because we are a minority and the majority have the power to block any reasonable solution. After the end of armed struggle, we are politically weak and the political parties have to change. So the TNA has to change. However, for our future struggle we need a democratic situation in this land. When there is a threat to democracy we have to support to save the democratic system. It is a well known truth the Mahinda Rajapakse regime is a threat to democracy and they explicitly demonstrated they will bring back the same level brutality as they did during 2009 to 2015. That is the way all their actions shows. Therefore Tamils should participate in this election and they should do whoever stands for democracy and freedom. Do anyone think that they have any alternative way we can get a political solution by bringing Gota to Presidency. Tamils can bargain only when parliamentary election come when we can elect our members who are honestly fight for finding a political solution.

        • 1
          1

          BJP policy on Tamil issue was articulated clearly by Modi when he visited Sri Lanka a few months ago. He openly told Sri Lanka to implement 13th amendment fully and go beyond, against which none of the Sinhala cardboard weerayas opened their mouths. Even in this election campaign both major contenders have never spoken against this BJP position to settle the Tamil demands. India is waiting till election aftermath settles and whoever wins will be frog marched to fall in line.

          • 0
            0

            Gnana,
            You are seeing day dreams here. All Sri Lankans will come under One Law, One Country.
            All the problems are same for all Sri Lankans and no specialroblems to anybody.
            hatever Tamils leaders have envisaged as special roblems are settled down in the banks of Nanthikadal in May 2009.
            Your so called Tamil Leaders will never ever able to deceive Tamil masses anymore.

        • 3
          0

          Ajith;
          I am a Sinhala and a Buddhist who left the Island when Sinhala Only (and Tamil also), was Introduced, 50 odd years ago! We Were allowed to retire ‘Under the language issue’ with Full pension if we were not proficient in Sinhala/Tamil.
          I did not have enough Knowledge of Sinhala, to Continue in my chosen Profession!
          I feel sorry also, for the Tamils who choose to emigrate, leaving their Motherland Behind!
          Why do the Present Sinhala and Tamil Educated Young People, choose to emigrate to Western Countries? They are at a Disadvantage in Countries where the Main Language is not their Mother Tongue!
          The Only People who seem to be happy with Education in Sinhala and Tamil are the Politicians, Who have captive Audiences!
          The solution seems to be to bring back English or at least Improve the Standard of English, so that Sri Lanka can keep up with the rest of the World!

  • 4
    12

    “The Presidential Election Must Trigger A Movement If It Is To Help Tamils Win Their Rights”

    What Rights?
    Sambandan also talk about ‘Tamil Rights’.

    These guys who talk about Tamil rights have forgotten their history in Sinhale. Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo are the Native people in Sinhale. All the others are ‘Para’ (foreign) people who came from other countries. The people who claim as Tamils are Dravidians from Hindusthan. Sinhalayo call them Demalu. A large majority of them were brought to Sinhale by colonial parasites from Malabar.
    All these people were given citizenship in Sinhale by Native Sinhalayo under the category called ‘By Registration’. As such they can live in this country as citizens enjoying the same rights as Native Sinhalayo but have no right to demand anything more than that such as ‘Separate State’, ‘Federal System’, ‘Devolution of Powers’.

    ‘What is it that the Sinhalayo are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala?’

    • 6
      2

      Eagle Eye. We are all immigrants. Including the Veddhas, Balangoda man, Anaicottai man. We, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, migrated from Olduvai or from further South. But we remained here in the Island though some have gone to North America, Europe and Australia. Let us learn to accommodate and live together instead of loading one another’s language or religion over each other.

      • 2
        1

        my friend, you should to yell this one to American and European.
        Second if want to feel secure in Sri lanka Tamil have to detach from American and European, And if Tamil get Westerners involved Sri lanka, then Sri lanka automatically feel suspicious on Tamil, which is natural

      • 3
        3

        N.Ethirveerasingam,
        Native Sinhalayo accommodated the slaves brought by Portuguese, Dutch and British parasites from Malabar and abandoned in Sinhale and gave citizenship to these Stateless people in Sinhale. But unfortunately, the racist Wellala Malabaris want to grab a part of the country on the basis of a bogus claim ‘Traditional Homeland’. Native Sinhalayo are willing to live together if these racist Wellala bigots stop coming out with unacceptable demands. It is up to the ordinary Demala people to reject these Wellala racists and learn to live as Sri Lankans if they want to live with Sinhalayo.

    • 1
      2

      The country belongs to natives called ‘vedda’.

      Sinhala came from overseas mostly from india and neighbouring countries, south america etc.

      The surnames indicate it clearly. Adhihary, De silva, Fernando etc.

      The tamils came from South india.

      The two races were ruling the country at different times, history says.

      Sinhalese are majority and the tamils minority.

      Its easy to round up a single tamil by seven sinhala.

      Birds first make the nest and then breed and take complete responsibility of brood themselves.

      For humans breeding is only a choice, whereas birds etc., breeding is basic instinct!

      The whole trouble is the land is not multiplying like people.

      Then war starts.

      No one will die without breeding.

      So if one is capable of looking after ones’ brood at their own expense, let them multiply.

      Then land grabbing, stealing, vandalism, discrimination etc stops, for good.

      • 2
        5

        Anne Hopkins,
        Your knowledge about history of Sinhale is outdated. Archeologists who investigated pre-history have discovered evidences that support Sinhalayo evolved from Homo-Sapiens who lived 125,000 years ago in this country.
        Veddas came to this country about 40,000 years ago. While the ancestors of Sinhalayo moved away from hunting and gathering to agriculture, Veddas continued with hunting and gathering.
        Some people that Sinhalayo call ‘Demala’ are the remnants of Dravidian invaders. A large majority of Demala people are the descendants of slaves brought to Sinhale by Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial parasites. Their history in this country is about 500 years old.

        • 1
          4

          Eagle Eye; “Your knowledge about history of Sinhale is outdated.”
          Homo Sapiens did not Originate in Sri Lanka, and evolve into Sinhalayo!

          According to the latest research, Homo Sapiens evolved in Botswana 200,000 years ago. See below:-
          “It has been clear for some time that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago,” said Prof Vanessa Hayes, a geneticist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

          • 2
            2

            Hamlet

            Prof Vanessa Hayes may be right however you also should consider the facts presented by Attirampakkam discoveries first made some 150 years ago:
            Please update your knowledge of human evolution:
            These Tools Upend Our View of Stone-Age Humans in Asia
            https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/01/india-stone-tools-human-evolution-archaeology-science/

            • 0
              0

              NV; ‘Quote’:-
              “These Tools Upend Our View of Stone-Age Humans in Asia
              The discovery in India supports the idea that multiple waves of ancient humans left Africa well before 60,000 years ago.”
              As I maintain, The Earliest Homo Sapiens Originated in Africa, 200,000 Years ago, not in Asia!

  • 2
    3

    Senen. ITAK has a grassroots organization developed by Its founder. Now they have most of the Pirathesia Sabai in their control to organise meetings as one can see this in the past two months. None of the other Tamil parties have such people support.
    The other two TNA parties have to toe the line if they want to continue as MPs. If they leave they will be out on a limb like EPRLF and Tamil Congress.
    The SLPP and NDF rejected the 13 request because it was put out by a union of the 5 parties. Acceptance by the two leading candidates of such a union would drive away their supporters who do not want to encourage such unity among Tamil parties.
    Sajith’s front page advert in the Tamil dailies show there is a lot of the 13 that Sajith want to do. GR’s spokesmen offer similar support. ITAK realizes the candidates inclinations and have stepped up their campaign in the North to give their support to Sajith. Such support may push the South’s undecided voters towards GR. If GR wins ITAK will have to change their strategy to face parliament election in March.

    Your wish for the Tamils to support socialism etc etc reminds of Karl Popper’s two volume, “Enemies of the State.” Vol I. Plato and Vol II Karl Marx. Both advocated social development Based on Blueprint. I am in no way saying that the inequalities that exist within each of our community and within Sri Lanka should not be addressed. It should be as soon as possible before we repeat recent history in the South and North

    • 0
      3

      Mr.Ethirveerasingam

      I think you are living in wonderland. Leaving aside the problem with the majority Sinhalese , talk about the never ending problems with the Tamils and their leadership and among themselves.
      1. The Tamils and their leadership are united.

      2. The situation in the North is very different after the war. Dog eats Dog attitude prevails in the North. People are afraid of each other and do not trust each other. Robbery, cheating, fraud, rape and murder prevails and in abandons.

      3. There is no proper leadership for the Tamil nation. They are all humbugs who could talk and convince the illiterate Tamil people and better their lives. Example the Trio in the TNA.

      4. The Tamils cannot rule themselves, they have to be ruled by someone other than their own.

      5. In the 40s, 50s and the 60s, one could see at the law courts in Jaffna, hundreds of people with their lawyers mitigating for lands, boundaries and other land disputes and spending their money on lawyers and creating enmity among themselves

      6. after the war the same problems have started in the North when the army has released the lands.
      7. The diaspora too had created problems in the North by sending money and materials to their kith and kin and made them criminals.

      8. There are so many ills and evils prevailing in the North. Curtail them all and then speak of the Tamils. There is no Tamil nation as of now.

      • 0
        1

        Sellam. I agree with all your observation. I am in Mankulam land now. It is not a wonderland but have the potential.
        During the past 25 years I have tried to help with all the issues you pointed out Full-time not from wonderland but from Kilinochchi and Jaffna and Trincomalee before 2009 and after 2010.

        • 2
          2

          You need some intelligence to decipher some of the happenings. Think deeply how Tamils who were timid for the last ten years have suddenly become bold. It is clear to an intellectual that there is a powerful foreign agency behind it. Those vociferous Sinhala racists who are going about against granting of land to USA, are woefully silent about handing over Palaly airport to India, where no planes can land without the permission of India and when India wants the airport during a crisis it has to be handed over for their exclusive use. There is a rumour that Indian agents had come to Jaffna and during this airport opening and have taken the details of all security establishments in the peninsula. Will there be another parippu drop in the near future if the next President acts funny.

          • 0
            1

            Dr. Sankaralingam,

            Are you sure about the conditions India is said to have imposed on the operation of Palaly ?
            I saw some of it on some Tamil news sites, but haven’t seen it in the mainstream media and I have my doubts.

            • 0
              0

              There is no smoke without fire. Wait till planes start landing and if there is none from a country inimical to security interests of India, then we could say for sure. Will China allow any ship not authorized by it to use Hambantota harbour. Has anything like it is written in the lease agreement with China.

          • 2
            2

            Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

            -“There is a rumour that Indian agents had come to Jaffna and during this airport opening and have taken the details of all security establishments in the peninsula.”

            The presence of Hindian agents has been a permanent feature of this island. They never leave nor they retire.

  • 3
    2

    The Tamil representatives can at least sit down and talk with Sajith Premadasa about the problems facing the Tamils. With Gotabaya Rajapaksa they will not be able to do so because he will not even acknowledge that the Tamils have special problems. He will behave rather dismissively by saying, ” What is the problem the Tamils are having?” (a la “Who is Lasantha Wickremathunge”) or by replying, “Not only the Tamils have problems, everyone has problems.” And the meeting will be over!

  • 3
    0

    (1) Lesser-evilism is all that the TNA can offer but that still means evil for Tamils – and for all those at the sharp end of government policy, from war to chauvinism to privatisation. Only a new approach, based on removing not just individuals but the whole gang at the top, is necessary.

    Answer – It is easier to say than do. What is the alternative to the UNP/NDF? Support SLPP? Supporting SLPP will be disastrous to the Tamils. The Rajapaksa clan have rejected outright the 13 points demands put forward by the 5 party leaders? It has rejected land powers to Provincial Councils? Gotabaya in his days banned even the singing of National Anthem in Tamil. What about the foul murder of those LTTE cadres who surrendered carrying white flags on the morning of May 18, 2009? What happened to Elilan, Yogi, Balakumar and others (About 100) who were taken in CTB for ‘short inquiry’ in the presence of the spouses/relatives and friends?

    (2) Without breaking the capitalist Sri Lankan state, no advancement in Tamil rights is possible.

    Answer – This is daydreaming. It is the capitalist cat that is catching the mouse. Look at China; it is a socialist country only in name. Economically, it is a full-fledged capitalist country. If you want to compare capitalism Vs socialism just visit Cuba. People live in abject poverty with minimum basic needs. What is ailing Sri Lanka is not capitalism but lack of democracy and rule of law. The TNA is not a capitalist party. The TNA leaders are not landowners, shareholders, entrepreneurs. They don’t fit into the definition of capitalists.

    The ITAK/TNA made an informed decision after weighing the pros-cons of the UNP and SLPP. That was the tactic used in the 2010 and 2015 presidential elections. Whether you like it a not ITAK is the dominant party representing the Tamils both in the North and East. In the Jaffna electorate, the TNA won the first 6 slots out of which 5 are ITAK nominees!

  • 4
    3

    If Lanka is the homeland of the Tamils. Why only claim 1/3 of the island. What prevented Tamils from settling in the center, south and west of island. And why don’t they have any planned infrastructure like anuradhapura , polonnuruwa and sigiriya ? These cities took thousands of years to build and Tamils we’re never around that long to build anything.

    • 3
      3

      niro

      The Tamils who settled in the center, south and west of island. had converted to
      Sinhala, Buddhism then Sinhala/Buddhism and now being converted to Sinhala/Buddhist fascism.

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        Tamils are claiming only lands where they can prove archaeologically that their ancestors lived. This consists of northern, northwestern, northeastern and eastern parts of the island. First immigrants to Sri Lanka are the ancestors of Veddhas who came from Africa, which is proved by the stone and iron tools found in Sri Lanka resembling those found in Africa. These Veddhas lived in eastern and and south eastern parts of Sri Lanka. While some of those Veddhas are still continuing the customs of their ancestors, Veddhas living in the eastern coastal areas from Mutur to Kumana have become Tamils and Veddhas living in hinterland of Polonnaruwa, Mahiyangana, Bibile, Lahugala, Buttala, Udawalawe and Kattaragama have become Sinhalese. The next set of immigrants are Dravidians who lived in north, north west and northeast parts of Sri Lanka. They spoke Elu (Precursor of Tamil) or Tamil. They had a glorious civilization around Mantai, which is gradually coming to light. They had several tribes with their chieftains in Poonagari. Vanni. Mantai. Puttalam and Trincomalee. Several urn burial sites discovered in these areas (last in Ibbankatuwa) proves of their Dravidian connection, and several potsherds found in these areas (last in Naanaatan school play ground) similar to those found in Tamil Nadu proves that they were one and the same people who lived in both sides of the divide. There is no archaeological findings of that antiquity found to show the existence of Sinhalese in those ancient times. It is told that Sinhala relics lie superficially (Built at later date) while Tamil relics are lying deep (built at an earlier date). It is intellectual dishonesty of Sinhala archaeologists and historians that is preventing the truth to be exposed. Genetic studies have proved that Sinhalese are in fact descendants of Tamils mixed with other south Indians, Bengalis, other north Indians and Veddhas. When genetic composition of Sinhalese and Tamils are the same albeit with slight variation in the proportion, it is only racism to say that Sinhalese are entirely locals and Tamils are entirely foreigners.

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      Read history bigot , everything was destroyed in the north and east by the Portuguese . They destroyed the palace over 550 Hindu temples Saraswathi Mahal which had all the archives and a huge library. They did the same thing in the Sinhalese coastal areas down south. Anuradhapura , Polonaruwa , Sigiriya at that time were buried inside the jungle and were part of the Kandyan kingdom and never came under the Portuguese or Dutch rule so were spared. What makes you thing these are Sinhalese ? Polonaruwa was built and founded by the Tamil Cholas and all the ancient buildings/ruins. both Hindu and Buddhist were built by them and now the Sinhalese are deliberately and incorrectly portraying them to the world as part of ancient Sinhalese Buddhist civilisation, which is not true , just like the ancient Tamil Buddhist archeological ruins in the north and east are now being claimed as Sinhalese. Anuradhapura and Sigiriya were built , long before a people called Sinhalese or the Sinhalese language came into definite existence. It may have been their ancestors but they were not Sinhalese , Many of these kings during this era never called themselves or identified themselves as Sinhalese or Aryans as they were neither. They were Hindus or Buddhist but originated from South Indian dynasties or from local Nagas who were Dravidians. This why like prince Mugalan who ran back to the South Indian Tamil country , to get help from his close relatives , to oust his half brother . King Kasyapan. As they were part of these South Indian Tamil dynasties. All these buildings and relics were built not by local craftsmen but from craftsmen/artisans imported from Tamil South India. Just like they do now. Stop distorting history and lying to suit your extremist Sinhalese Buddhist Fascist doctrine. Even according to your Mahavamsa fairy tale many Tamil kings ruled Anuradhapura and built huge monuments .

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        Hik Hik about history of Sri Lanka written by a kallathoni?

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          Nimal Tissass Wijethunga

          “Hik Hik about history of Sri Lanka written by a kallathoni?”

          Of course the Mahawamsa was written by a Tamil speaking Kallathonie from South India. Mahanama the compiler of the mostly myth was thought to be a Pallava prince.

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      Niro,

      That is what the LTTE wanted to do. After getting their “independent state” (1/3 of the landmass) they would have demanded more, using military means of course. Eventually they would have taken over the entire North and East, then started going for the South. The reason for Tamils plight today is their own stubbornness. First they wanted 50-50 representation in the Parliament (no country in the world gives this privilege to a minority), then they opposed Sinhala as the only official language (even though 90% of people speak it), then they opposed standardisation (even though it discriminated against affluent Sinhalese as well). They also rejected Indian attempts at peacekeeping; India was ready to give them a federal state. When the IPKF came here, Sri Lankan troops were confined to the barracks. CBK and Neelan Tiruchelvam were ready to negotiate constitutional reform; LTTE tried to blow up the former and assassinated the latter. Kadirgimir, Sarojini Yogeswaram, Amirthalingam and anyone else who cooperated with the Sinhalese were killed in cold blood. How did the LTTE justify its terrorism? By creating the myth of a fake homeland that never existed. This is the reason Tamils lack a worthy political leadership today.

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      Planned murders, planned destruction, rewriting history etc are preventing freedom, dignity and uprooting people.

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    “From their point of view, there is no way any Tamil leader can come out endorsing Gotabaya – so the obvious choice is to support Sajith.”

    Why are Tamils always choosing losers; SJV Chelva, Prabhakaran, Fonseka, Sumanthiran, Wigneswaran, now this bugger Sajith. Look at the Muslims, they reached an agreement with Gotabaya, despite the anti-Muslim stance of SLFP. UNP has not won a Presidential election since 1993, that is a pathetic state of affairs. It is all due to the weakness of Ranil. Weakness equals bad leadership; voters can sense that easily. Tamils should learn from the failures of the UNP and choose a fresh leadership. That means getting rid of the old fossils in the TNA. Find a leadership that is willing to embrace the mainstream, not one that pushes impossible demands like a ” war crimes inquiry.” Right now Tamil politics is in a state of weakness, therefore, do not try and negotiate from a non-existent position of strength.

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      Lester

      The answer is simple. Because in Sinhala lanka the Winner has to have the following qualities. THUG , CRIMINAL CROOK, THIEF and a LIAR . Gotha ticks every box. But when Gotah is elected Sinhala Lanka wil be the loser for a change. Sri Lanka will become a Paraiah state.

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        Kali,

        You are mistaking Gota for your terrorist hero Prabhakaran. Gota did not forcefully conscript children or women to fight against grown men. If you want losers, Nanthikadal is full of them.

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          Just like VP Gota too terrorised people irrespective of their race , religion, region, gender, …..

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      What you say ineffect is to pick one from the bad batch, just for the sake of ‘ looking good on surface’ despite bad being buried under!

      Choose one that is blood stain free.

      For dead can not return at any cost.

      Murder and rape are irreversible and not a cent worth at all.

      So whoever is responsible for those two sins should look up to heaven without trying to lead a nation.

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    timely and very well articulated piece on current state of tamil politics.
    only achievemennt of Tamil politics in the past 10 years has been depoliticization of the Tamil people. even the mobilization around the disappeared, militarization, and land grabs that was there initially has been reduced to small protests here and there with the budding of farcical commissions – a result of both TNA politics and a lack of a direction in the alternative. it is time they mobilize and build solidarity with other oppressed peoples who recognize Tamil rights – there is no liberation for one without the other. there is no point waiting for those who are busy safeguarding the ruling sinhala buddhist establishment and the imperialist interests to fight for the rights of the oppressed.

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    Senan:

    On the surface, this election looks like one that Tamils just have to get past and then think about how to fight the decades old repression they face in Sri Lanka. But beneath the surface, the frustration with the failure of the Tamil parties to offer a way forward is leading to discussion and debate on what is needed. Lesser-evilism is all that the TNA can offer but that still means evil for Tamils – and for all those at the sharp end of government policy, from war to chauvinism to privatisation. Only a new approach, based on removing not just individuals but the whole gang at the top, is necessary.

    *** Beggars cant be chosers and all we can do is sing the song ” Pichai Pathiram Enthi Vanthen” and hope there is a force driving us all and one day we will reach the promised land. This election is all about saving Gotha and dumping Sri Lanka and even Sajith has joined the Chorus when he declared the he will save Shavendra with his life paying scant regard for Accountability and Reconcilitiation. Dont blame the Tamil Parties as we are just Pawns and I am pinning my hopes on what was discussed betweem TNA delegation and Mr.Modi. From the 13 demands put forward by the TNA it is certain the Modi had some input into this as it is also in the interest of India to maitain a permanent presence in Sri Lanka such as developing the Jaffna International Airport in defiance of GOSL to deal with the China menace under Gotha. Every Cloud has a Silver lining and I can see the Rainbow over the Horizon.

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    Whoever comes to power, they got more liability than perks.

    The thrill of chasing after power blinds the cost of it.

    There are the ones who watch the race with bottles, bets and anything else that goes with it and enjoy the fight, the most.

    Each one should stand up for themselves or others will sit on one.

    Oppressed ones and ones who oppress are in the same boat but with different destinations to reach. So one must focus on their destination carefully and not to unload oneself at the other’s destination under stress.

    Leadership races are a waste of time and resources and only the mischieve makers make a real fun out it.

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    So long as +50% of Tamils ( all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their caste, religion or the date of arrival) who presently live outside NE are not prepared to relocate themselves into a separate Homeland for ALL Tamils defined within NE in proportion to the their total numbers a ‘solution’ as envisaged by Hindu/Christian political class to the the so called ‘Tamil Problem in Sri Lanka’ will remain a mirage
    forever.
    THERE IS NO CONCEIVABLE SOLUTION WITHOUT PHYSICAL RELOCATION OF TAMILS ( all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their caste, religion or the date of arrival). A ‘permanent solution’ to the Tamils cannot be a ‘permanent problem’ to the Sinhalese.

    Soma

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      somass

      Where were you last few days?
      Are you in the process of starting a profitable riots in case if your poster boy loses the elections? Most probably the Assgiria would have blessed you in advance for such patriotic act. Helass will give you a helping hand from Wellawatte where he has his three meals, mostly Dosa, Vaddei, Idly, Sambar, ….

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