15 December, 2017

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A New Strategy For Post-War Tamil Politics

By M.A. Sumanthiran

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

Vickramabahu Karunaratne once told me that I would have no problem making speeches in Tamil, but that it is only if I, like Raviraj, start making speeches in Sinhala that I would have to be careful. The Sinhala political leaders, he said, did not want to tell Sinhala people the truth. They feared that if the people came to know the truth, it would become dangerous for them.

Sadly, the reverse is also true. There are Tamil politicians who wish to keep the Tamil people ignorant. According to some analysts, this is the cause of our ethnic conflict – Sinhala political leaders only addressing the Sinhalese people, and Tamil leaders only addressing the Tamil people.

I have been asked to speak on the relevance of soft power in today’s globalised world. Both hard and soft power seek to influence countries in the world to take a particular course of action. Hard power uses either military force, or money to induce a country to adopt a course of action that it dislikes. It is ‘carrot and stick’ power. Soft power by contrast, is where one changes the course of action of a country by changing what the country desires.

For hundreds of years in the international political arena countries adopted the use of hard power. But since the Second World War and the founding of the United Nations, soft power has come to play a central role in global politics. Moral power, as opposed to force or money, has often succeeded in persuading people to change their views, and ultimately their actions. Ideas have been sold to people, and people in turn have bought them. I will very briefly outline a few cases where soft power has led to victory for oppressed peoples.

A good example of soft power is the Dalai Lama. Look at the Tibetans, do they have arms or money? No. But they have moral power. It is this that garners for them international support. They have no arms and no money but their goal is just, reasonable and therefore supported. Another example is Martin Luther King. Today the United States of America has a black President – but when Martin Luther King began his non-violent struggle all he had was moral power. He was able to bring people together through the force of his convictions and the justice of his cause. Closer to home, Mahatma Ghandi – who lived and worked in slightly different times – is also an example. We all know how he changed the fate of a nation through the development and exercise of moral power.

But I would like to dwell on the example Nelson Mandela. Mandela differs a little from the previous examples I discussed. He employed the use of hard power to the extent that he headed the African National Congress’ military wing. When given the opportunity to speak at his trial he said that at the time, the African National Congress took the decision to take up arms because the situation then was such that the black South Africans had no other way of protecting themselves. He said that he didn’t think the Court would understand this decision – and that he didn’t expect it to.  However, when change finally came to South Africa it was with the “Free Mandela” movement employing the use of soft power.

Mandela’s experience is very relevant to us today. We can learn a few lessons from him. Today, in our situation, there is no space for hard power. No one should misunderstand what I’m saying. I am not saying that there was no role for hard power in the past. It was employed – and employed to the maximum. I’m not saying these attempts were wrong. Those who lost their lives in these attempts, gave their lives for us, not for themselves, and thus we will always remember them. This aspect of our history can never be disparaged. But today we only have soft power. Even if one wants hard power, it is not available. That is the truth.

Do we have the characteristics of soft power? The first characteristic is one that we have – a leader respected the world over. I generally avoid praising the leadership of the party. I was thus reluctant to say this today, but will do so because it is necessary in order to make my point.

I have known Mr. Sampanthan for a long time, and it is only out of respect for him that I entered politics. I have observed him closely since 2010. In 2011 we visited the United States for a set of meetings. It is after these meetings that the international profile of the Tamil struggle changed. It is after these meetings that that the US government brought resolutions concerning Sri LankaAt an important meeting with a Deputy Secretary of State Mr Sampanthan spoke for 45 minutes without interruption on the grievances of our people. When he ended, she stated “your people must be a privileged lot to have such an eloquent voice speaking on their behalf”. In that one meeting he was able to convince her that the United States of America  – a global super power – had a moral responsibility to assist the Tamil people. He told her, ‘if even you let us down where else will we go?’. Upto that time the only resolution had been the resolution of 2009, which praised the Sri Lankan government. There had been nothing that was critical of the government.

Our soft power is that we are able to convince countries like this, who have hard power, to act on our behalf. The reason this is necessary is that at present we don’t have enough soft power to convince the Sri Lankan political leadership of our cause.

When we met the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, he gave us some advice – including suggestions to build international support, and also to build support locally among the Sinhalese people. Mr. Sampanthan began to say that we accepted his advice when he interrupted saying ‘these are merely my thoughts, not advice. You are the most respected leader in this region. How can I advise you?’

We possess the first necessary characteristic of soft power – that of a leader respected the world over. It is our duty to make the most of this by making it clear to the world that he has the support of his people in treading the political path he is leading them on. Unfortunately, we are often sabotaged in this endeavour not from outside, but from inside – we ourselves sabotage our efforts by sometimes seeming to undermine the mandate and support of our leader.

Secondly, soft power requires sincerity and credibility. It should be something all people can relate to. If we only struggle for the rights of our people and ignore the oppression of other peoples, we will not be seen by the world as sincere. Of course, our voice must first be raised for our people. But if we ignore the oppression of others, our voice will never be heeded by the rest of the world. Soft power requires sincerity. If our actions do not match our words we will be easily found out as hypocrites. The reasoning we adopt for ourselves should be true for others as well.

Sadly, this is not a characteristic of soft power that we possess. If we give voice to other oppressed people we are questioned. ‘Why are you speaking on behalf of the Sinhalese; the Muslims; the Upcountry Tamils? You are here to represent us, aren’t you, to speak for our concerns, not theirs?” For example, a year ago I participated in a rally in Colombo protesting against the abuse of women– many women’s groups were present. A week later I addressed a meeting in London, and an elderly lady asked me why I participated at this protest alongside women’s organisations that were silent when Tamil women were raped and abused in the North. I asked her if she considered the silence of these groups at that time right or wrong. She said it was definitely very wrong. I then asked her why she wanted me to commit the same wrong.

It is true that we may feel betrayed by those that did not speak on our behalf, but what we feel is not what is important here.

The third requirement of soft power is that our actions should be, as described by the Tamil word, ‘nithaanam’. I am not aware of an English word that fully encapsulates it’s meaning. Perhaps there is no western concept that means exactly the same thing as ‘nithaanam’ but it is akin to acting reasonably, soberly, cautiously, in a measured manner, etc.

The Sri Lankan Government has invited us for peace talks several times, and every time we accept this invitation and go. The President similarly invites Mr. Sampanthan for talks and he too goes every time he is invited. Each time this happens we are questioned. Why is Mr. Sampanthan going for talks? Why are we going for talks? When I talk about this to Mr. Sampanthan he says ‘Why is everyone getting agitated? I am only going to talk. What is wrong with talking to him?’ And I realize that he is right.  If we refuse to talk, the whole world will call us terrorists; extremists, rash, unreasonable. So no matter how many times the Government acts deceitfully, we will go and talk when we are invited. And there is some justification to this.

Just because they are unreasonable 10 times in a row does not mean that the 11th time they cannot change their mind. This does not mean that we are being deceived. It is only deception when one goes with some expectation. We know that this is merely the Government playing a part for the world to see. We have to play along, because it must not be said that we are the reason for the breakdown of talks. Even today, no one can point a finger at us and accuse us of any wrongdoing in this regard. For the last three years we have not gone to the Parliamentary Select Committee and no one has asked us to go – not India, not the United States, no one. This is because we have been able to demonstrate to the world that our behaviour is reasonable, and the world has been convinced. So I am not saying that one needs to go for everything we are called for; only that we need to be aware that when we do not go, we need to have an explanation as to why that behaviour is reasonable and not extremist.

The final characteristic of soft-power is one we lack. That is the ability to attract the people of our country – the Sinhala people – to our way of thinking. It is for endeavouring to do this that Raviraj’s life was brought to an end. If we are able to do this successfully, change will come easily.

This change will not come overnight. It will take time, but when it comes it will be long-lasting.

A steadfast kind of change is what we should work for. The obstacles to this endeavour often come from within ourselves; our people. We must begin to act with political maturity. It is only then that we can truly experience the benefits of employing the use of soft power.

*The Relevance of Soft-Power for Tamil Politics: An authorized summary of M.A. Sumanthiran MP’s address at the Raviraj Memorial Lecture (November 2014).

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Latest comments

  • 8
    52

    You started with Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther Kind and finally came to “Tamil Struggle” as if it belongs in the same category.

    What is your “struggle” exactly? Seeking 50% of political power, not just symbolic but actual half of the pie when you are just 12% of the population. You then Label is connivingly as struggling for “equality”.

    When you made your case to the US state department, did you mention your case had been turned down even by the Queen of England? You are a fraud. Stop wasting everyone time anymore. However much you sugarcoat you never had a cause.

    • 34
      2

      Why this brainless imbecile is allowed to put the first comment?

      • 18
        3

        There is no statesman of Sumanthiran’s caliber in Sri Lanka today or even over the last 66 years since it gained independence from Britain.

        • 7
          3

          Pls don’t send him over the moon action speaks for itself.

        • 11
          9

          Sumanthiran has come out with a home truth so precisely and very candidly,throwing the searchlight on his own side.

          “THERE ARE TAMIL POLITICIANS WHO WISH TO KEEP THE TAMIL PEOPLE IGNORANT”

          Never has such a statement been made in 66 years.

          • 5
            0

            With all due respect, Mr. Sivathasan, while there are some unfortunates in the Tamil leadership is it not a question
            more of the larger number. In that regard, I believe, our
            truants are far less. Admittedly, we have been out of the
            vortex of power for long. I must also add, the only 1 or 2 of our lot who have some political power certainly shame all of us.
            But the latter are rejects of Tamil society, aren’t they – for the want of a kinder description.

            R. Varathan

          • 6
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            Sivathasan

            He was referring to Douglas, Ananthasankari & Karuna and what is there to gloat about. That is why they were all humiliated at the last election except Karuna who was appointed by MR to lie.

      • 8
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        “Why this brainless imbecile is allowed to put the first comment”?

        Because he is a bilious imbecile prone to wickedness.

      • 1
        1

        M.A. Sumanthiran –

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FYcJeh-MRTs

        listen to what Anura K Dissanayaka of VVP is saying

        Hope you know enough Sinhala to understand what he is saying..

    • 5
      14

      “A good example of soft power is the Dalai Lama. Look at the Tibetans, do they have arms or money? No. But they have moral power. It is this that garners for them international support.”

      You seem to have a pretty superficial knowledge of international affairs thalaivar. Dalai Lama was courted by the US until they realised that they could not divide China using him. He is no longer received warmly in the West.

      In your case thalaivar, as a national list, never elected member trying to represent the Tamils, you need to remember that the US and British efforts to help you divide Sri Lanka was in return for the role of the Tamils played in colonising Sri Lanka (like the Kosovos during the second war), mainly through spying. That is why they built all the schools in Jaffna.

      Now that things have changed, you will be dropped like hot coals too.

      My experience after introducing my late good friend and devotee Taraki to Sinhala-owned media is that Tamils can’t be trusted. Taraki met his fate because he passed on information to the LTTE to get in to their good books.

      So, soft or hard power, the best you can do is to integrate to keep the Muslim threat away.

      • 8
        1

        “”“A good example of soft power is the Dalai Lama. Look at the Tibetans, do they have arms or money? No. But they have moral power. It is this that garners for them international support.””-
        well said Suma – the only man who stood closest to purity.Mandela was helpless and had to accept whatever was on the table in good faith which he did as a civilized man. Gangu is a farce just his doctored words i prefer other poets with humour.
        ________

        Gandu Kakka Absolute Scum,

        Yes the best of the 3 he has quoted. I have met him (political head) along with Karmapa (Rin Poche A giant in size and stature) back 1990 Geneva at a gathering of Tibetans and other Europeans.

        The Tibetans true to our Asian traditions of offering in Gold bought baskets of 24 caret gold biscuits and placed at his feet.

        “He said this is not what we are here for”

        This is enough for the west to keep on going to the schools of teaching by the Tibetain monks.

    • 13
      3

      Vibushana a classic example of Sinhala people who cannot be won over by soft power.

      • 10
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        .
        The problem is, many Sinhalese think or feel like Mushrooms. They think they are not originals, and they are a by-product and they are going to be wiped out soon.
        If they can get out of this inferiority complex, they’ll make the right decisions.
        :-)

        • 10
          2

          aratai

          “The problem is, many Sinhalese think or feel like Mushrooms. They think they are not originals, and they are a by-product and they are going to be wiped out soon.”

          They are paranoid. They need mass counselling over a long period of time.

          VP suffered the same disease and ended up in Vellaimulivaaikkal. Karuna had treatment outside this island when he visited foreign countries and got out of VP’s bunker mentality hence he didn’t end up with his Thesia Thalaivaru.

    • 5
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      Vibhushana,

      You are the typical swine to whom applies the following well known saying:

      THROWING PEARLS BEFORE SWINE.

      When are you going to become a productive member of society?

    • 8
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      Your comment Vibhushana is a stupid comment. You have not understood what Sumanthiran is saying, how can you when you appear to have a cloak over your eyes. He was not asking for 50% political power, he was asking for “EQUAL RIGHTS”.

    • 6
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      Vibhushana,

      Its because of racists like you that we have an ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. Its better to keep your much shut than display your ignorance in a public forum like this.

    • 4
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      M.A. Sumanthiran

      RE:A New Strategy For Post-War Tamil Politics

      Do NOT Openly Support The Common Sense Candidate or Medamulana MaRa.

      Tell the Tamil People,tey have Common Sense and make a Common Sense Decision.

      Translate Thomas Paines 1776 47 page Common Sense Phamplet into Tamil and Sinhala and Write Comments in Tamil and English for the People to make it relevant..

      Most Tamil politicians are Madus and Muttals… but the Tamil people are wiser..True for Sinhala and Muslims as well.

      Tamil Vote: Is it 2005, Again? There have been a lot of Tamils in 2005 who were Madu, Muttals, Fools. Were you part of that group that survived?

      Many of them, Muttals, are gone. Still in 2014 there are many Tamils who are Madu, Muttals, Fools. They need to think short term, Get Rid of Mara. Then they can figure out the long term.

      #Lanka Story of the modern Hitler…creative and widely viewed video clip
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IKHJG5ztL68 … … … …

      The Downfall (Der Untergang) in German ORIGINAL ENGLISH SUBTITLE, NOT A PARODY!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YTePIi4arg

    • 6
      1

      This imbecile has been endeavouring to falsify history even to go to new heights in telling absolute fibs. He even quotes equally preposterous web links! I think he is extremely dangerous as there has many racists followers.

      The present Tamil leadership is primarily focused on Tamil rights, but at crucial times demonstrated that they recognise that good governance is important to the entire country. It is absolutely right for the Tamil leadership to move the Tamils towards mainstream. The Sinhalese must recognise this and support autonomy for the North and East provinces.

    • 6
      1

      Vibushana:

      It is not for you to say and decide what ought to be the “Tamil Struggle”. Today, the Sinhalese politicians are going for each others throats, and the landscape is so fluid that one wakes up with not whether there are cross-overs but the back-stabbing going on and something that should be your utmost concern. The Tamils neither bother nor care if they murder each other.

      If your brain gets twisted and wish to lump everything into the same category, that is your problem. Nowhere has Sumanthiran mentioned that the Tamil Struggle may or should be categorised in a manner you had stated. He did not even draw parallels. So, instead of jumping like a monkey that has bitten the ginger, you need to be cautious in your unwarranted adventures.

      With only 12% Tamils on the island, where did you get or cook up the figure of 50% political power? Do you really understand what is meant by “political power”? You should be heavily indebted to your lunatic mind that can even suggest an impossible 50% political power by any minority group in the island. Now you know why there is no point talking to half-baked lunatics who believe that being lunatics is a profession. Thanks to that, the Tamils’ problem has been largely internationalised and the you just poke the finger at your nose for making this possible.

      Look Vibushana, I can understand your frustration that there has been concerted effort to pin down SL, and rightly so, for being cheats and liars. Sumanthiran is talking about the discussion with the US but you aimlessly drifted to talk about the Queen of England. Now you should have known why the large Sinhalese population are ignorant and invalids. Figure out who is the fraud here. It is the likes of you who is wasting everyone’s time and the Tamils are faced with low IQ Sinhalese leaders.

    • 2
      1

      As I wish to show an example of SOFT POWER that will decide the PE,
      the 18 Sinhala Contestants can easily implement it, by following my
      request here:
      This PE is being finanaced by China in a subtle way by inflating the
      Contract charges for Highway development. Public Officers in the
      Treasury and the Central Bank should be well aware of the modus-
      operandi. Only the incumbent Candidate benefits from this.

      With all the regulations re the Declaration of Assets Form, I wonder
      if there is any prohibition in all the 18 Candidate VOLUNTARILY making
      public of its contents. The very aim for this provision in the
      Election laws, was as a precaution against corruption?

      Will not this simple and elementary tactic not bring into the open the incumbents and his family assets! A much needed information prior to
      endorsing a 3rd term, which 10 of his Judges agree to. This is SOFT
      POWER. Readers, please endorse this plea.

  • 9
    1

    Dear Mr. Sumanthiran,

    This is a pragmatic approach to advancing the legitimate grievances of the Tamil and other minority communities. The way forward is to articulate a message of fairness and justice that any person will find hard to disagree with. There will always be those exceptions but by and large most Sri Lankans do relate to fairness and justice if presented in the right manner.

    However, I have been rather perplexed as to the silence the TNA has adopted with relation to the upcoming Presidential election. I can understand why some may argue that it is better not to muddy the waters of the campaign to abolish the Presidency, by giving the UPFA opportunity to criticize (nonsensically) the opposition, saying that it is aligning with pro-LTTE forces for carving up Sri Lanka etc.

    The silence of the TNA at this juncture however IMHO is an opportunity lost for articulating the common struggle of Sri Lankans, whether Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher etc, against unchecked raw power, corruption and injustice. The very same issues that form the basis of a soft power argument. Here is an opportunity for the Tamil community to once again regain its rightful place within the progressive discourse of Sri Lankan politics and to craft a message that what’s good for the Tamil people certainly isn’t bad for the rest of Sri Lanka but that in fact, helps elevate the common good of all.

    Best regards
    GTBP

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

  • 10
    2

    Thank you very much, Sumanthiran.

  • 4
    14

    Let Tamil children learn Sinhala and Sinhala children learn Tamil. Let the Jana Sabha concept implemented at village level. That is soft power.

    Contribute thus to remove the crook Tamil politician from the separatists game.

    If you think of a new round of Chelvanayagam Satyagrahas you will be in trouble.

    • 16
      2

      C. Wijeyawickrema

      “Let Tamil children learn Sinhala and Sinhala children learn Tamil.”

      Tamil children have already started learning Sinhala.

      Why is it the state couldn’t find resources to teach Tamil to Sinhala children?

      I smell something fishy.

      • 2
        18

        Tamil children learnt English through private schools.
        Same goes for Sinhala children as well, largely speaking.

        What has the private sector done? What has the church-school sector done?
        It is always easy to blame the “state”

        If the Tamil people suffer because official proceedings and forms are in English (or only in Sinhala), why cannot a private group offer translation services at the courts or admin centers (“Kachcharies” of yore) and charge a small sum to keep it going? Instead, the Tamil politicians opposed any such use of the official language.

        We need less government and not more. So don’t wait for the state to do every thing and merely complain.

        It was the ITAK leaders who lead a movement against Tamils learning Sinhala, while they themselves had their children learn Sinhala using private tutors as they were all wealthy lawyers living in Colombo.

        If Mr. Sumanthiran wants to tread the high moral road of the Dalai Laama, then, he should begin by distancing himself from the LTTE record of assassinations of people all the way back to Mr. Amirthalingam, Thiruthelvam, Kadirgamar, Thiranagama and others.
        The LTTE was as barbaric as the Islamic caliphate, but Sumanthiran and sampanthan embraced it. The TNA and Mr. Sampanthan presented themselves as the poltical mouth piece of the LTTE.


        It is time to distance themselves from the actions of the LTTE, and from the allegience to the LTTE given by the TNA then, at least now. Instead he says the people “gave their lives” and he understands it. But peoples lives were also taken, not given. He makes no comment about that.

        Mr. Sumanthiran speaks about how he stood with the women’s rights groups. How about the rights of those who were crushed by the LTTE? he did not stay by them and he did not say anything in support of them because his moral compass is/was distorted by the Eelam vision. The TNA has to first WIN THE TRUST OF AT LEAST THE EDUCATED SINHALA people.

        • 7
          0

          You have never done your homework to start with to know how blessed you are!

          Never say die! Three monks decided to practice meditation together. They sat by the side of a lake and closed their eyes in concentration. Then suddenly, the first one stood up and said, “I forgot my mat.” He stepped miraculously onto the water in front of him and walked across the lake to their hut on the other side.

          When he returned, the second monk stood up and said, “I forgot to put my other underwear to dry.” He too walked calmly across the water and returned the same way.

          The third monk watched the first two carefully in what he decided must be the test of his own abilities. “Is your learning so superior to mine? I too can match any feat you two can perform,” he declared loudly and rushed to the water’s edge to walk across it. He promptly fell into the deep water.

          Undeterred, the yogi climbed out of the water and tried again, only to sink into the water. Yet again he climbed out and yet again he tried, each time sinking into the water. This went on for some time as the other two monks watched.

          After a while, the second monk turned to the first and said, “Do you think we should tell him where the stones are?”

          overtone-singing- No words can describe the power and the mental picture for what is achieved here while this holy monks chant.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf22JS9IGFs

          Do not speculate on the nature of freedom.

        • 15
          1

          Bodin

          “It is always easy to blame the “state”

          The state is the one to be blamed forits failure to deliver public goods and services. Trilingual is government’s baby. The state has the overarching monopoly on policies, manpower, institutions, ….. and other resources.

          “why cannot a private group offer translation services at the courts or admin centers (“Kachcharies” of yore) and charge a small sum to keep it going?”

          Why should the Tamil speaking people pay for it while the Sinhala speaking people get their services in Sinhala free of charge? As usual you tend to forget the constitution which confirms that Tamil language shall also be the official language of this island.

          The constitution is very clear about state’s obligation. It is the faceless little Sinhala/Buddhists people behind desk who refuse to implement the constitutional provisions.

          I take it that your bigoted racist views should supersede the constitution in every aspect of human endevour.

          “The LTTE was as barbaric as the Islamic caliphate, but Sumanthiran and sampanthan embraced it.”

          No doubt LTTE was a terrorist organisation and the actions of so called caliphate supporters are barbaric.

          So is the Sinhala/Buddhist state as events unfolded since 5th April 1971 stand witness to state’s barbarity towards its own people.

          By the way this island is ruled by Sinhala/Buddhists, elected by Sinhala/Buddhists and all its institutions including the armed forces are maned by Sinhala/Buddhists, and the first ever terrorists were from Sinhala/Buddhists whose barbarity has been well documented.

          Whats your problem?

          • 0
            4

            Why should the Tamil speaking people pay for it while the Sinhala speaking people get their services in Sinhala free of charge? As usual you tend to forget the constitution which confirms that Tamil language shall also be the official language of this island.

            I think Native Vedda’s racist and venomous attitude, narrowly wrapped in the mentality of stubborn, inflexible Tamil racism has been the downfall of the Tamils who are now rapidly becoming reduced to being the third minority. My own brothers, the Muslims will soon be the second minority in Sri Lanka. As a follower of the Imam of the Nizari- Ismailis sect, I can take a neutral view of the Sinhala Tamil quarrel and say that the Sinhalese should never have made Tamil a national language.
            It is the largess or the folly of the Sinhalese. IN the USA the Hispanic population is 18%.In France the Arab population is 12-15%. In each country the only national language is English or French respectively. if you are an Arab or a Hispanic in those countries, you learn the language of the country, buddy.

            Here in Sri Lanka, a mere 10% Tamils are trying to impose their will on majority 7 or 8 times bigger. being a tamil is your privilage, and we don’t have to pay for it.

            The Sinhala speaking people get their services in Sinhala free of charge, and the Tamil people also can get it free of charge by learning sinhala. I speak Sinhala and I get it free. Why can’t you learn it?
            A country cannot give you special privileges because you are Tamil or a Chinese. Some special privileges will be given to you if you are deaf, dumb, or handicapped. Being a Tamil or a Chniese, or an Ismailii Muslim does not qualify for special treatment.

            If the tamils don’t want to help themselves, they will become extinct little by little, as they have done unto themselves in the last 40 years.

            LONG LIVE شاه کریم حسینی، آقاخان چهارم

            • 0
              0

              Bedouin,
              ¬¬I think Native Vedda’s racist and venomous attitude, narrowly wrapped in the mentality of stubborn, inflexible Tamil racism has been the downfall of the Tamils who are now rapidly becoming reduced to being the third minority. ¬¬

              this is an ill conceived mal construed sentence from your koooorun!

              try spinning in your getto, you are no arab camel even the romans had to follow the silk route to chola land for their silk. even at bali it is chola with buddha.

              Stop raising your butt moron and go back under the rock pipsqueak.

              You never seen the mummies – that is the best mankind has known not koo..run!

            • 0
              0

              Bedouin,

              ¬¬In each country the only national language is English or French respectively. if you are an Arab or a Hispanic in those countries, you learn the language of the country, buddy.¬¬

              You heard the word – land with immigrants all thos nations that you mention are immigrant like usa; kallathoni moros and algerians in france are immigrants,
              muslims are immigrants to india and lanka.

              Tamil is a language older than islam and the buddha (indian)

              You have no say no more.

              for 66 years you have being enjoying the fruits of all tamil speakers be they christian hindu muslim- the time has come to play the democracy that all are yearning.

              Your 4 marriage is a stinking version of a pedophile called mamu.

              I speak hindi too and this would ultimately be a sihala buddhist state of Hindia- no dharia law no halla but nalli cut – popultion control; lungi hato

              Nalli Cut- Bevakuf (fool)

              Sivaji!!(maratha)

      • 1
        10

        We thought you would have got used to that smells something fishy, Vedda.

        Strange, after smelling it every second you are awake, you haven’t got used to your own smell yet!

    • 5
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      When Chelvanayagham was protesting the world was not watching; you were able to set thugs on them and beaten them in daylight. This time round everything that you do will be under the guise of the world!

      • 0
        3

        Has the world got nothing better to do than to keep it’s gaze fixed on Sri Lanka.?

  • 6
    5

    A speach relevant for the present, retrospectively analysing the past and in contemplating the future. We have to regain our moral high ground as Tamils and convince the Sinhalese that we have problems, disabilities and disadvantages imposed on us by the State. We have to realise that we cannot have solutions without the backing of the Sinhalese. Like Robert Bruce, the King of Scotland we have struggle (but peacefully), till our grievances are addressed to our satisfaction. We have to also convince the Sinhalese and others that we are also cocerned about their welfare as fellow citizens. We cannot rise up on their ashes. Neither can they.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 1
      0

      I do not know whether to cry or laugh on Mr Sumanthiran’s speech and your comment thereon.

      He was speaking about the Soft power and Hard power. Since Independence of Sri Lanka, the Tamils who jointly fought for independence, were using Soft power for nearly 70 years to achieve their demands and failed and instead they were cheated, murdered, raped, burnt alive and subjugated right throughout. At that time the Tamils were not worried about their status much in Sri Lanka as long as they held Government positions and control of Govt. departments.
      Then the use of Hard power came in but that too failed because of the arrogance of the leader who took to Hard power. What is the alternative, the use of Soft power did not work and use of Hard power did not work for the Tamils. Mr Sumanthiran’s speech was good one with many loop holes when he said that the Soft power will work and cited, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, the Tamils have to wait for another hundred years. I cannot suggest a solution except the demand for a referendum for the Tamils to determine their fate under the auspicious of the UN.

  • 4
    1

    This is the first time I have heard a Politician of any colour speak Rationally and convincingly. Listen to him, and learn from him, how an intelligent man speaks.

  • 2
    2

    FIRST AND FOREMOST THERE IS ALREADY SOFT AND HALF HARD POWER INSIDE T.N.A IT IS THE FAULT OF TNA LEADERSHIP TO HAVE GIVEN NOMONATION TO HALF BAKED PEOPLE LIKE SIVAJI(ganesan)LINGAM AND AANANTI TO CONTEST FOR PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS AND PEOLPE LIKE SABRA BAVNAN(double agent)TO PARLIMENT.IF SENATHI CAN BE BOUGHT FOR MONEY BY SABRA AND THAT WAS THE END OF HIS IN-LAW VIDIYADARANS(VERY GOOD SOFT POWER)POLITICAL CAREAR.

  • 8
    2

    Mr Wijewickrema,

    Mr Sambandan and Mr Sumanthiran have on many occasions made it clear to the Sinhala people that the TNA is for an undivided Sri Lanka but the Sinhala racistoliticians including Rajapaksa are still using anti tamil rhetoric to whip up the Sinhala masses for their narrow political ambitions. Removing these crook Sinhala politicians from the political scene of Sri Lanka will go a long way to unite the country. Make it your mission to do this, Mr Wijewickrema.

    • 3
      19

      “Mr.Sambanthan .. many occasions made it clear to the Sinhala people that the TNA is for an undivided Sri Lanka”

      Obviously the making it clear was not so clear, but ambiguous. If not, why would the editorial writer of the Hindu, and also the Sunday Times, write claiming that the TNA is on a secessionist Path? This was not so long ago. And, only a month ago, a well-informed Peradeniya Professor wrote an article to the Island newspaper pointing out that the TNA has be secessionist. This was Challenged by Nirmala Chandrahasan, and this was challenged by other writers who followed, with quotes from Sampanthan and others of the TNA that did not focus on one spot.

      So, clearly, that matter has to be re-stated, and types like Ananthi should not be in the TNA pushing another agenda.

      • 14
        4

        “And, only a month ago, a well-informed Peradeniya Professor wrote an article to the Island newspaper “”

        He was unfit for a better job so he sluggishly joined as a school teacher.
        We all respect Bill Gates don’t we moron CD??

        You are no professional in your own right to match to talk bollocks.

        Rather than “implementation” of any treaty from 1948 Sihal Buddhist, thought they were from heaven because of their new found attire the Satayaka

        And refereed the minorities and working class (jvp) to “execution”

        CD modda meehark putha.
        You have shown to the world with CJ affair what you are worth.

        Sun. Sil…Mon.Kill…Kill the Veddha…Rob the Buddha..Blame the Suddha.

        Carbon foot prints, Carbon dating testing.

      • 6
        0

        Prof. Gam Vasiya

        Everybody know that you are a cunning manipulator, very harmful to the civilised society. Please do not utter rubbish. Pissankottuva is the right place for people of your ilk. The inmates will at least applaud after listening to your nonsense.

        • 3
          0

          My response above was to Kautilya aka Prof CD the word twister.

      • 0
        0

        Hindu in India is as good as the daily News in Sri Lanka. It says what the powers to be want to say. As long as SL is in turmoil India can act as a big brother, and when TN is concentrating on Col it has less time to look at Delhi with its own problems. So who cares what the Hindu Says.

  • 7
    1

    Very rational presentation. Agree more soft power approach should be made by Tamil leaders. I also feel addressing parliament in Sinhala by Tamil leaders is another good approach and they also should speak on economic and other issues affecting the entire public to show a sign of integration. It is very useful for Tamil leaders to make more friends with the Sinhala politicians and public.

    It is not the ordinary Sinhala or Tamil citizens who brought the division among the people but politicians on both sides to satisfy their bankrupt policies to survive in politics. Now time is ripe that this should be corrected by the politicians themselves. Gentleman politicians like Sumanthiran should give a start so that the conflict type approach could be replaced with friendly approach.

  • 6
    0

    Moral persuasion of those who oppose a just cause because of religious, language and political illusion is difficult in todays world.
    The examples of Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela do not work successfully now.
    Why a state denies complete equality in every sense of the word to minorities may be because, the immorality of such action has crept even into the thoughts of clergy.
    Disciples of the one of the greatest religious leaders have subverted his teachings with considerations of political and worldly welfare.

  • 2
    0

    I believe Mr Sumanthiran Knows the History of Moriori People Of Chatham Island.

  • 5
    2

    Mr,A.Sumanthiran,

    Thank you for articulating the current direction of TNA and Tamil politics in general.

    I have great respect and admiration for Mr.Sambanthan, Mr.Summanthiran, Mr.C.V.Wigneswaran and Mr.Sennathiraja.
    These are some of the best educated and sincere Tamil leader on par with any international leaders such as Obama,Cameron,Modi etc.

    Yes,Tamil politicians should stand up for all wrong doings including corruption,Nepotism,Cronyism and violence against other Minorities etc.

    Good Governance, rule of law,independence of Judiciary and depoliticizing state institution is important for every one including Tamils.

    Just like the TNA stood up tall against 18 th Amendment when UNP didn’t vote and When Shirani Bandaranayake was impeached.

    TNA should have a TV and Newspaper in sinhala and english language to bring their message close to Sinhala speaking people.

    This can be done and there are plenty of well wishers,willing to help with this endeavor within and outside Lanka.

    If there is a will there will be a way.

    I would ignore the likes of Shivajilingam etc.(This speech was made before Shivaji’s outburst anyway.)

    Ananthi is misguided,lacks world view can be forgiven and guided properly.

  • 1
    10

    Vibhushana asked a very pertinent question and all the tribalists began to beat him.

    I don’t know whether Sumanthiran is Christian or Hindu.

    We should not comment on what Sumanthiran says because that will not go well with the Tribalists.

    • 5
      1

      Jim,

      Do you only tribalism in Tamils? Vibhushana is as tribal as any you could see along with you if I may add!

  • 10
    0

    Mr Sumanthiran

    Why don’t you demand to live broadcast the parliamentary debates over the national radio. Whether you speak in Tamil or Sinhala the simultaneous translations provide the opportunity for citizens to listen to what you say in either of the languages. Don’t you think that it will enable Sinhala listeners to hear the view points of Tamil MPs while giving the opportunity for Tamil listeners to understand Sinhala MPs view points.

  • 3
    12

    I would like to avoid words which common man may misunderstand the wording soft power, instead to use soft aproach.

    The people of Sri Lanka who is living day to day life in Sri Lankan politics, so I beleave we need to focus in their expectations.

    Main focus is to talk to all politicians and get a common ground What the mass of people want and What is possible to achive short term and long term.

    1. Security ( live and work without any fear )
    2. Food and work available to all citizens without discrimination.
    3. Own property, buy and sell without any discrimination.
    4. Religious and Cultural Freedom to practice and maintain the identify without discrimination
    5. Social and cultural heritage to be equaly preserved all over The island.

    6. people say education quality to children in rural area needs to be uplifted equaly.
    7.All University students Must learn to communicate internaly in the mother tung and externaly example english.
    Singelease will get Advantage to learn tamil so they could understand south Indians and extend commercial activity.
    Language skills Are good Even Hindi, Chinease,Spanish etc.
    8. Equality to govern the resources localy and give power to make choices and decitions by local community within the countries Laws, Regulations and Best practice.

    Can TNA propose a vision based on these points where highlighting the equal rights missing for Sri Lankan Citizens and specific communities with factual statistics in all languages. This Can be a basis for dialog in grassroute level awareness.

    • 6
      1

      Q: What happens when a Buddhist becomes totally absorbed with the computer he is working with?
      A: He enters Nerdvana.

      Patience rome oh rome is burning!
      and nero is not necessary anymore its usb3 nowadays.
      Don’t be ahead of your time

      bogi..(^|^)

  • 6
    16

    “There are Tamil politicians who wish to keep the Tamil people ignorant”

    Mr.Sumanthiran,who do you mean by “Tamil politicians”? What about TNA?TNA also want to keep the poor Tamil people ignorant.

    “But I would like to dwell on the example Nelson Mandela”.

    Come on Sumanthiran!.Mr.Mandela genuinely sacrificed himself for the liberation of the black people and underwent immense hardship when he was in the prison.What did you do when our people were dying every day .Forget about the armed struggle. Have you ever participated in any Satyagraha or any other struggles?.You were a living a lavish life in Colombo(Karuvakkaadu) and minting money by appearing even those who were involved in rape.
    Mandela’s experience is very relevant to us today.
    Yes,it is true.Like you and your leaders thundered “we will give pain to those who gave us pain,we will show Tamils’ solidarity to the Sinhalese,Sinhalese wont give us anything” during the last elections,just to bag the votes,Mr.Mandela never resorted to cheap politics. Instead ,Mr.Mandela shook hands with the white regime which imprisoned him for more than two decades.Mr.M was committed to peace.As far as the TNA is concerned,they don’t want the Tamils problem solved.In their political business,Tamil issue is the capital.
    Mr.Mandela was elected by the people,you were not even elected by the people.You are a national list MP.

    “I have known Mr. Sampanthan for a long time, and it is only out of respect for him that I entered politics”

    Respect? What do you mean?Do you remember what happened to madam Chandrika’s peace proposal in August 2000?Did Sammanthan support it?Did Sammanthan have the foresight to make the temporarily merged North and East permanent? Sumanthiran,can you say even an iota of service sammanthan has done to the Tamils in the last 60 years?

    At an important meeting with a Deputy Secretary of State Mr Saof mpanthan spoke for 45 minutes without interruption on the grievances of our people.

    Great!….What is the outome?Even Amirthalingam,GG Ponnampalam spoke hours in the parliament ?Doesnt matter how long they speak.What matters is ,what they achieved to the Tamils.Nothing,zero.
    So no matter how many times the Government acts deceitfully, we will go and talk when we are invited.

    Excellent.As long as Mahinda remains in power,he wont give anything to the Tamils.But,we should engage with the government in power.

    • 14
      4

      Aiyo, Aiyo you have a dalit friend in K.A. Suma (our lokka on board at Wella)
      Freedom is plucked – smart win-win
      Yennai Theriyuma – Kudiyirunda Kovil
      He was born there too and has his people on the national list – the world is small lets not forget.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlhaOQSgD_M
      remember politicians come and go- all men lie I lie too!

    • 5
      0

      Ramanan K
      Coming from a pro LTTE diaspora half wit freak, your comment is commendable for the palpable frustration it contains.

  • 2
    9

    Abraham sort of confirms that at least one of the My Threes has signed an IoU with Sambandan , to neutralize the anti TNA anti LTTE vote in the South.

    Elections are all about strategy… Right..

    But, the way My Three have stitched up these deals will be tragedy of unimaginable proportions, if Sira manages to hoodwink the poor Dalits in the South.

    Abraham naturally or purposely avoided Libya , Syria and Egypt, where his Hard Power friends fooled the inhabitants to use their soft power to dig their own graves.

    Watch 24 News to seen how many graves are dug every day.

    Our South couldn’t help, if My Threes give Abraham and his Mentor the North, with TNA Police and full Titles to the Public land.

    But our Southerners will have to worry, about Police forces and Govt lands controlled by JHU, JVP, UNP , CWC, SLMC and even Azath Sally and Abraham’s friend Bahu..

    Isn’t that what 13 A is all about ?.

    Or My Threes have agreed with CC Sira that they will be happy with one Police for all the rest, as long as they have the controls.

    Interesting times ahead…

    Abraham mentioned Up Country Tamils..Right

    Aren’t they in this 13 A?..

  • 4
    4

    Dear Mr Sumanthiran, thank you very much for articulating these views. There is no doubt that the TNA must engage in National politics and take issues that concern all people of Sri Lanka head on. The components of an ‘Integrated whole’ can be protected and nourished only by protecting and nourishing that ‘whole’……this is a very fundamental truth in nature and failure to understand this was one of the major failures of the traditional Tamil leadership in the bygone era……please, please do not let us fall into that trap again. While I understand the pain and suspicion amongst the Tamil diaspora on this matter, we cannot isolate ourselves into a position that does not have the wider support within the Region and the wider world……merely based on sentiments and empty words. The ‘Raman aandal enna……Ravannan aandal enna’ mentality (it does not matter whether the ruler is Rama or Ravana) will not help our people. This type of talk- far too common in the living rooms of the diaspora…..usually after a sumptuous meal to celebrate their own Children’s successes, amounts to political isolation and eventual marginalisation of the Tamils living in Sri Lanka who you represent. In evolving a suitable solution to our problems, wider Sri Lanka and all it’s people must be engaged as no external force (US, UN and India included) can deliver a sustainable solution to the problems of Sri Lanka. A sincere approach within……working towards fairness, equality, justice, and the rights of all communities to protect their own cultural identities……wherever they live in the country is absolutely pivotal and this message must come from the TNA in ALL THREE languages. The 13a is a convenient and pragmatic starting point towards this goal. In achieving these goals the TNA must be prepared to talk to anyone – including the incumbent. In fact my own view is that, an efficient and result oriented bunch, salvaged from their present predicament from a forgiving adversary, may be a better option than an unknown bunch representing diametrically opposite views and mindsets…….but I will accept your judgement on this as I do not know all the relevant facts.

    Good luck but please be mindful of your own personal safety. Sri Lanka and ALL it’s people need your intellect and services for decades to come.
    Best wishes
    Dr Mahesan Nirmalan
    Manchester Medical School

  • 0
    1

    “Mr Sumanthiran Why don’t you demand to live broadcast the parliamentary debates over the national radio. Whether you speak in Tamil or Sinhala the simultaneous translations provide the opportunity for citizens to listen to what you say in either of the languages. Don’t you think that it will enable Sinhala listeners to hear the view points of Tamil MPs while giving the opportunity for Tamil listeners to understand Sinhala MPs view points.”
    This is an excellant Idea. Many countries do live Telecast. Under the Democratic governance it is right of the people to have live Telecast of The Parliamentary Proceedings. Why can’t you all emphasis it to the presidential Candidates to promise the Live telecast without sensor.

  • 6
    1

    I have listened to Mr.Sumanthiran’s speeches which were made in Parliament debates. We must impartially listened to them. He is a gentlemen.

    He belongs to Tamil nationality. He definitely talk about Tamils. No one can deny or criticise it. Unfortunately Sinhala so called politicians even do not talk about their party members. In the morning their belong to UNP and in the after noon they migrate to not SLFP but Mahinda’s Robbery party.

    But this gentleman does not do it and still did not do that. Because of this excellent and remarkable quality I respect him.

    I know very well how he talk about Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake in the parliament after uneducated thugs fabricated a impeachment against her.

    Mr. Sumanthiran I respect you and salute you.

  • 2
    0

    I have followed Mr Sampanthan’s speeches within the Parliament and
    outside, during his trips abroad. He feels & knows where he is steering the Tamils. His arguments are well balanced, even when he is confronted
    by some in the audience.Never changed his positioning – post LTTE silencing.As Mr Sumanthiran details, the Tamil speaking people have
    to use to our maximum the only opportunity we have. Behave with “NITHANAM”. And Mr Sampanthan has all the atributes to deliver what
    is BEST for the Tamil speaking people. We have to give him & the TNA
    time & space without confusing the Tamil speaking voters or unnecessarily antoganising the Sinhalese masses. Give them also a clear
    picture of what we want; perhaps in the future organise the TNA to
    engage on introducing TV & Newspaper in sinhalese media. Any effort taken in this direction would be very productive.

  • 4
    1

    As we all know Mr. Sumanthiran articulates with facts.
    I have listened to his many parliamentary debates which enlightened me on relevant departments and domains.

    During the parliamentary debate of unethical, unscrupulous,and unprofessional impeachment of illegally expelled Chief Justice ( Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake) Mr. Sumanthiran made a very incomparable speech which I regard as a classic example of his impartial and unbiased presentation.

    Thank you Mr. Sumanthiran for that wonderful remarks which educated people of this country always appreciate and respect.

    Thank you.

  • 3
    0

    I wish to add to what Mr. Sumanthiran has said here of Mr. Sampanthan’s abilities as a speaker and political leader.

    Stephen Sacchur is known as a tough Senior BBC interviewer who usually gets the world’s leading Statesmen and leaders in his programme. I note he is thoroughly informed of the subjects for his interviews. On the occasion he came to Sri Lanka where Gothabaya made a fool of himself, Sachur also interviewed Sampanthan in the same programme. He asked him a few questions and addressed him as “Mr. Sampanthan” After about the 3rd question, he began addressing him as “Sir” This does not often happen in Sacchur’s programmes.

    Recently, Syed Akbaruddin – that impressive Spokesman of the Govt of India, referring to Mr. Sampanthan had this to say “Let me first of all acknowledge that Mr. Sampanthan speaks with lucidity and with a felicity that I cannot even compare with”

    As a Sri Lankan first and Tamil second, in these times when the standards of our political leaders is atrocious – being somewhat kind to them, we must consider ourselves fortunate to have someone like
    Mr. Sampanthan in our polity. His addresses both in English and Tamil are a delight to listen to. The quality of his prose is splendid – to say the least. I hope he will be with us for a long time.

    Tragically, the last time I was with Mr. Sampanthan was when
    Raviraj came around and spoke to him – addressing him as “Aiyah” (a highly respected form of addressing seniors – in Tamil)

    R. Varathan

    • 0
      0

      Lol we have seen what sort of a leader he was recently, when he met the Tamil political prisoners.
      Coming back to the main article, looks like TNA does not have a clue what soft-power is. Tamil soft-power will take time to build unless we understand it well and exercise it with a strategy.

  • 1
    0

    Excellent well articulated and timley thinking that can help pyll both the Sinhalese and Tamils out of thr Racist rutts that the inhabit in a potty lillte irrelavant place renamed Sr Laka know for its great dumbness.

  • 3
    0

    I fully agree with Sumanthiran that it is through soft power we can hope to improve the plight of the Tamils however gradual it may be at the start. In any case we have to sort out the problem with the Sinhala people one day or other. The Sinhalese are haunted by history both recent and over the centuries.

    Tamils will have to TOTALLY give up the idea of separation for at least two reasons. In the current world set up, it is not achievable and even if achieved is not sustainable.

    We have to explain to the Sinhalese that what we want is a fair degree of autonomy which is achievable through devolution. Devolution means wider and greater democracy extended to the periphery. If properly implemented not only the minorities, even the Sinhala community would stand to benefit a lot. If proper devolution is implemented the Northern Province could become a showcase to the rest of the country and the rest of the country could easily emulate same.

    We have to patiently and properly explain to the Sinhalese that autonomy or devolution are NOT synonymous with separation. It will take but there is no other way. No country on earth whether from the West, North or East is going to help us create Eelam and we can’t achieve it on our own either for if we were to achieve it we would have achieved it in Prabakaran’s time which is now past.

    Sengodan. M

    • 8
      4

      as long as 40k beggars have the power over who rules there wont be a panecea?

      They are used to the plums of the economy and possess vast amounts of wealth which is not in public view.

      Thats where IC can give some solid kick to these mega animals to reform or commit suicide.
      There is Buddhism and Buddhism but this filth in yellow sareepota.

  • 2
    8

    Javi

    Garbage

  • 2
    1

    Soft power will not work against animals. {people born to lion]

  • 6
    7

    Mr.Sumanthiran:

    A New Strategy For Post-War Tamil Politics.

    Sadly, the reverse is also true. There are Tamil politicians who wish to keep the Tamil people ignorant. According to some analysts, this is the cause of our ethnic conflict – Sinhala political leaders only addressing the Sinhalese people, and Tamil leaders only addressing the Tamil people.

    Both hard and soft power seek to influence countries in the world to take a particular course of action. Hard power uses either military force, or money to induce a country to adopt a course of action that it dislikes

    You are wobbling and I don’t have to tell you that the only power the Sinhalese understand is the HARD power. We tried it internally but failed and only the Hard power from outside in the form of Sanctions will bring about the change.

    *** The final characteristic of soft-power is one we lack. That is the ability to attract the people of our country – the Sinhala people – to our way of thinking. It is for endeavouring to do this that Raviraj’s life was brought to an end. If we are able to do this successfully, change will come easily.

    I find the above quite amusing. We have been at each others throat for the last 2500 years and can you enlighten me on the following.

    How are you going to bring Sinhlala people to our way of thinking.

    1) Would it be by dropping leaflets through the letter box.
    2) Would it be by advertising in papers with words like ” Love thy Neighbour” and if so how would you get permission from the GOSL to print what they would call anti state propaganda.

    OR would it be by holding meetings in Sinhalese heartland like Anuradhapura without being LYNCHED.
    It is a tough call isn’t it and I doubt whether you will live to tell the tale. You will be swimming to safety through “Rivers of Blood” if you are lucky.

  • 2
    1

    Good stuff from Mr Sumanthiran the worthy and even better in being in touch with the rest as the successor without paternal heritage to the once Thruneelakandan Thiruchelvam, later fondly called Neelan. Now that greater brain and the least of brawn is once again at the helm may you come more and more into and be your own truer self and prepare and groom yet another and more others with greater and greater “nithanam” honesty and an ongoing leadership trail with the least of psychopathic leanings and tendencies that bedevil almost all aspirants to power and prestige. Does one need to be a Singhalese or Tamil speaking demagogue to get the message across when translations could be made available with written words and modern multimedia?

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