17 November, 2018

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To The Tamil Students In The Recent Fight At Jaffna University

By Thisuri Wanniarachchi

Thisuri Wanniarachchi

Thisuri Wanniarachchi

I write this fully aware of my privilege. I’m aware of the advantages, and the ease of life that is granted to me simply for being born to a Sinhalese Buddhist family. The moment I step outside of my motherland I am a woman of colour, a minority and I’ve seen the the clear contrast of the life of a majority and a minority; an unpleasant truth people are often scared to discuss, easily shoved under the carpet. I’m aware that you live amidst all kinds of everyday microaggressions and the petty egomaniacle superiority complexes of majoritarians. I can only imagine your anger towards the injustices that many decades of unfair conflict has left you with. I’m aware that crimes were committed against our own people, and I’m ashamed we blindly cheered on while it happened. For my ignorance then, I’m sorry. If by writing to you I’m overstepping, thinking I have a right to speak my mind to you after all that we’ve let happen to you; I’m sorry. But at the end of the day we are both Sri Lankan and we cannot let our parents’ and grandparents’ generation’s mistakes belittle the future we have to rebuild.

Violence is not the way. You must laugh, who am I to say that to you, right? After keeping quiet all this time while we let them violate you, your people and several international humanitarian laws, here I am telling you not to be violent. You’re right to laugh or be angry, I can smell the entitlement in that statement too. I know you’re just a group of students who rightfully share built up resentment against what happened in the past thirty years and the consequences of it that led to certain entitled, privilege-driven actions by the Sinhala students you clashed with. I know that there are many structural injustices that make life difficult for you. That is understood; if I were you I would be angry too. But I say this to you honestly, as someone who knows how sinhalese people think: violence is not the way. In 1983 a few tamils launched Four Four Bravo and killed 12 sinhalese and we retaliated by wiping a good portion of your ethnicity off our map in the next 30 years. This is how we think. In the average extreme Sinhalese mind you are expected to live subservient to us. Like a woman in a domestic violence ridden marriage. The moment you raise a finger towards the sinhalese they feel entitled to raise a hand towards you. A majority of the majority race in sri lanka are programmed to think in ‘us against them’.

This reality is ugly. No matter how many reconciliation offices we set up, cultural concerts we organize with foreign aid lent to stereotype our ethnicities in the most gaudy way possible, this reality doesn’t change. In this maze of injustices what we can do may seem unclear. But from the past we’ve learnt what we most definitely can’t resort to: violence. There are two reasons why I tell you violence is not your answer. One is because it could rekindle old fires; and you and I both know the social and political dynamics at play here, you will lose more that we would. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For us to resort to violence to solve our problems would be insanity; been there done that. The second reason I believe violence is not your answer is because we need you. You are state university students, a rare species in Sri Lanka. And as the creme dela creme of the Sri Lankan Tamil community, there’s immense responsibility on your shoulders. There’s much that needs to be done to revive and continue the history and legacy of Sri Lankan Tamils; much of which has been destroyed in the past decades. Resorting to violence could take the ability to fulfil this responsibility away from you. You don’t belong on the streets, in hiding or in jail cells, you belong in positions of power: in places you can influence policy. You might sometimes forget that you’re not the only political minority in this country, there are so many others. Take women for instance, although we account for over half of the population we are barely represented in places of power. The country’s policies don’t reflect our needs. There are so many structural injustices deeply entrenched within are our system that violate us constantly. Women get harassed in broad daylight and people turn a blind eye to it. The war against women doesn’t involve shelling, bombs or war tanks, but it most definitely is violent. It happens on the streets, within households and workplaces. Our anger too is quite heavy. But we know violence is not our answer. Remember the one time that a woman bravely responded to catcalling by physically attacking the man who harassed her on the street? (Better known to most as the Wariyapola incident) People turned against the woman instantly. We live in a world with social and political systems rigged against political minorities. People expect political minorities to live subservient to the majority. In today’s society a man who justifies rape to be the fault of a woman gets less backlash than a woman who speaks up against misogyny. But women are slowly changing things. Despite the the structural sexism and male privilege they are patiently making it through state universities (in which they constitute almost 55% of the undergraduates) into places of power where they can influence changes in policy.You might not be able to change the way people think, but by changing policies progressively you may be able to change the way the system works and the way people behave around and within it. Get your degrees, come join the system, and fix it from within: so our children won’t have to see what we have seen. Violence is not the answer.

*Thisuri Wanniarachchi, 22, is the author of nationally acclaimed novels The Terrorist’s Daughter and Colombo Streets. She is Sri Lanka’s youngest State Literary Award winner and the world’s youngest national nominee to the prestigious Iowa International Writers’ Program. She is currently an undergraduate student and full scholar of Bennington College studying Political Economy and Education Reform.

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  • 58
    12

    “”Take women for instance, although we account for over half of the population we are barely represented in places of power. The country’s policies don’t reflect our needs.””

    Ha ha the weeping widows dynasty and a first in the world…now the brigadier’s daughter preaching the gospel rather than expressing the cause and banning the of no value celebration.

    BTW the Tamils have nothing more to lose and that does not make Lankan life cosy and especially for the military and economy. The winner has to pay more than his fair share of dues.

    Debt 78% of GDP so unless the land is bombed like Libya there can never be sinhala satisfaction.

    “But at the end of the day we are both Sri Lankan and we cannot let our parents’ and grandparents’ generation’s mistakes belittle the future we have to rebuild.”

    Sinhala Buddhist Winner takes it all? That is not human dignity.

    • 9
      34

      Dear Thisuri Wanniarachchi

      RE: To The Tamil Students In The Recent Fight At Jaffna University

      1. “I write this fully aware of my privilege. I’m aware of the advantages, and the ease of life that is granted to me simply for being born to a Sinhalese Buddhist family”

      2. “This reality is ugly. No matter how many reconciliation offices we set up, cultural concerts we organize with foreign aid lent to stereotype our ethnicities in the most gaudy way possible, this reality doesn’t change. In this maze of injustices what we can do may seem unclear. “

      Thank you for the write up. Yes, expose the Paras and their idiocy.

      Even though you are born to Sinhalese Buddhist family, you do not show the Para-Sinhala, Para-Sinhala “Buddhists” Characteristics generally shown by many who claim to the Sinhala “Buddhists”.

      Your, Para-Tamils counterparts are no different, as shown by the Jaffna university incident and what has happened over the past 40 years. Bow they are hanging onto their Para-cultures. What a bunch of Para-idiots.

      So, what should you do? Expose, Expose and expose the Paras of various hues in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

      Keep referring to the Sinhala “Buddhists” as Para-Sinhala, Para-Buddhist, or Para-Sinhala “Buddhists”, as it is cult , that came illegally by Illegal Boats, Hora-Oru and Kalla-Thoni.

      Will Hindia accept the Paras from the Land of Native Veddah Aethho? A new Sirisena-Modi agreement like the Srima-Shastri Pact, to sen All the Paras, Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils and other Paras back to Hindia?

      References:

      The Vedda Tribe

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f89NuukY32U

      Tamil-speaking Veddas of Vaharai await war recovery support

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeFCuZwexRw

      Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations

      Journal of Human Genetics (2014) 59, 28–36; doi:10.1038/jhg.2013.112; published online 7 November 2013

      Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.

      http://www.nature.com/jhg/journal/v59/n1/full/jhg2013112a.html

      • 28
        14

        Few comments to an otherwise thought provoking article.
        1. 1983 riots was not the result of killing of 13 soldiers. It was a well pre-planned action with that incident as an excuse. I am a witness of this as a resident in Borella. On sunday night a stone was thrown to my house breaking glass of a window. Next morning my Sinhala neighbour told me that it is a sign that the house belongs to Tamil and helped me to quickly board up the broken window. How can mobs roam the streets with iron rods and petrol cans and voters lists, if it was spontanoeous. It is sad that RW who was a part of that governmental action is silent.
        2. Sinhalese Buddhists who migrate to other countries feel that they have suddenly become minorities. While most accept it and adapt themselves due to finacial benefits and a higher quality of life, some supremacists fail to do so and get back to Srilanka. Even of those who remain some continue with their supremacist ideology albeit subdued, which could be encountered in Srilakan associations and functions in those foreign countries.
        3. I agree that violence is not the answer to anything. Please impress upon the government to address the legitimate grievances of Tamils immediately and effectively. For six years after end of war, Rajapakse did nothing about it. It is one year since this MS/RW government came to power and nothing tangible has happened. All the atrocities that were committed on Tamils are continuing such as indiscriminate arrests, assaults, land grabbing, ethnic cleansing, building of Buddhist temples etc. Tolerance by Tamils is not acceptance and unless and until these are corrected, such flash points occuring is inevitable.

        • 4
          16

          Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

          “2. Sinhalese Buddhists who migrate to other countries feel that they have suddenly become minorities. While most accept it and adapt themselves due to finacial benefits and a higher quality of life, some supremacists fail to do so and get back to Srilanka. Even of those who remain some continue with their supremacist ideology albeit subdued, which could be encountered in Srilakan associations and functions in those foreign countries.”

          Good comment.

          So, need to tell the Truth, call a spade, a spade, a Para, a Para, a Para-Sinhala, a Para-Sinhala, a Para-Tamil etc.

          Drill the truth into the heads of the Paras just the same way Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler tried to drill into the Catholic Church. We are talking about the Para-Sinhala Cults and the Para-Tamil Cults, and it is the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” cult that is worse, when compared to Buddha’s teachings. However, the Para-Tamil cults are not any better.

          Remember Para-Sinhala “Buddhism” has deviated so much from Buddha’s teachings, that it is a cult, following Mara, just like the Wahhabi-Salafi-ISIS cults following the Devil and Satan.

          They all seem to love death and destruction, as show by their actions.

        • 3
          1

          What about the FOSL UK which I call it Sinhala supremacists UK , the Economic migrants settled in UK over 40 to 60 years ago.

          They have curry loving Suddhas as Patrons to keep Tamils in the Tiger terrorists category.
          They will never let Native Srilankans ! The Sinhala , Tamils and other minority to live happily.
          Will always find ways to marginalise the minority .

          They’re the FOSL the Racists group may be the Lions in Sheeps Clothing ! May be the Friends of Medamulla too.

          Just to be aware!!
          Srilanka will always be in turmoil because of these Racists abroad too.

  • 25
    45

    Beautiful! Thank you daughter

    • 19
      14

      Love you Thisuri Wanniarachchi and very proud about you. Keep going. You are a leader of new world.

      • 31
        14

        the SL brigadier must be very rich to afford 2015-2016 Tuition & Fees only
        $48,220 per year. and baby on board.

        • 8
          21

          simon,

          She is a full scholar – no fees.
          Probably a Merit Scholar among International Students.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennington_College

          Her advice is sincere, but one sided.
          She should advise Sinhala students too.

          • 25
            2

            not a boot church scholar in an arts faculty.check the financial aid for locals in this `private institution`.
            At Bennington College, 71.3 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $24,475.
            don’t expect reply from writer- is it gold from north east??
            http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/bennington-college-3682

          • 11
            1

            “”She should advise Sinhala students too.””

            Justice gone bonkers! are first year students at jaffna parents with newborns?

            gave birth at end of first year- the very expensive part- who pays for child care??

            • 0
              0

              Perisappu,
              I meant that both sides should be advised on tolerance of racial and religious differences in this joint attempt to welcome freshers.
              This will set an example to students of other universities.

              • 0
                0

                If the Pres can ban Enrique then this unwanted american culture must be banned- its all about trade union activity and nothing to do with knowing.
                At IIT there is nothing like it but there is Madi Gras.

                Neither the tamils nor the sinhalese are nomads to involve in this type of activity.

        • 1
          14

          What connection has this comment with the issue. Does it help to heal the wounds?

          • 13
            1

            stupid settler in the island.

            “I write this fully aware of my privilege. I’m aware of the advantages, and the ease of life that is granted to me simply for being born to a Sinhalese Buddhist family.”

            does not mention my father is a brigadier in the sinhala buddhist army and I am out to tell the tamils how to live.

            brownie points : the school is going to give her distinction because as a young mother at campus she is advising. 200 years of yuppie culture knows only religious/ethnic wars.
            can she advice settlers KKK??
            can she advice settlers Sinha Le botte le how to behave??

        • 0
          2

          Thisuri your thoughts are indeed thought provoking and greatly admired.

          Young open minds are most welcome in this country. Skewed minds do not see the value of living in peace, harmony, brotherhood and happiness.

          One can see the extreme minds destroying world peace and do we need to put more fire in to this area?
          All the religions preach peace and in this scenario some wish to sow hatred.

          Hope more peaceful approaches will fill our country, as the leaders of all religions have taught us.

          Be bold Sri Lanka and face reality, we need to move forward as Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans. Let us all commit towards this.

  • 20
    36

    First time hearing about the author. My eyes shed tears of happiness while reading through the article. We need progressive thoughts as such..Good luck sister.

  • 28
    36

    Sincere words and wise advise. Let us not do to others, what we accuse others of doing to us, is the lesson we have to remember as Tamils.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 7
      5

      We have 16 thumps up and 14 thumps down at this time. Where are we going? Why would 50% of the clickers hate this???

  • 52
    17

    This is the actual fact:

    The Sinhala military-backed Sinhala students numbering more than Tamils at the Science Faculty of the University of Jaffna attacked the Tamil students after violently staging Kandyan dance opposing the usual traditional Tamil cultural program at the welcoming ceremony to new students in the faculty.

    The episode quickly escalated into a clash between Tamil and Sinhala students for more than one hour. Tamil students from other faculties mobilised to defend their fellow students at the Science Faculty and Sinhala military intelligence personnel in civil clothes entered the premises brutally attacking Tamil students. More than 10 students were rushed to hospital with injuries since the clash started.

    The real culprits behind the Jaffna University clash is the Sinhala Army. It is they who urged the Sinhala students to create trouble. There is talk in the town that the SL military personal loyal to Gotabaya Rajapakshe were involved in instigating the Sinhala students to go ahead with the Kandyan dance and attack the Tamil students if they protest. This is an attempt by the joint opposition to create an island wide ethnic violence or rather another black July to destabilize the present government.

    The government should be commended for controlling the situation without giving it unnecessary publicity which would have only benefited the Rajapakshes and their cohorts.

    • 27
      22

      Quite possible. We all know the Rajapaksa’s are the curse of the country and Gota is right in front of the line with his brother Basil.

      • 5
        25

        let me guess.. you hate Rajapakskas because they eradicated your terrorist hero Prabakaran and gang?
        let me ask you a question, do you ever call Prabakaran as a “terrorist”?
        When Prabakaran and gang killed thousands of innocent people with thier cowerldly suicide attacks, did you ever call him a “curse”?

        • 11
          3

          Shan:

          What a stupid donkey you are> What are we discussing and what are you writing/talking about? You are really off-tangent. I believe this lady has written a great article. Some may agree and yet some may not but a shallow donkey like you with a rotten brain wants to run wild. May be the jungles of SL can provide you some sanctuary.

          • 2
            10

            who brought the Rajapakskas in to this discussion?is it me? may be you can call him as donkey if you wish… I asked a simple question. was Prabakaran a terrorist or not? why you get so offended by that? may be you can answer that question.

            • 3
              1

              Shan:

              See, you are off-tangent again. May be you should write an article based on your question “Was Prabakaran a terrorist or not?” Then we can discuss and “punch” each other for all you may want. The instant subject is entirely different, so why add flames?

              “why you get so offended by that? may be you can answer that question.”

              Only donkeys talk like this. All I said was that this young lady) I believe she is only in her 20s) had written something for all of us to think about – something that could put all of us to shame. The way she articulated right from the beginning is something I appreciated. It may be different for you or any other but I have nothing against you holding a different view. I just wondered where does Prabhakaran figure in this? If someone with a dumb brain had raised it and you follow holding the tail, then what kind of donkey’s brain do you have?

            • 6
              2

              Shan tea,

              Prabhakaran was not a terrorist.

              What’s your point?

        • 8
          3

          Let me guess when SWRD sent thugs to kill innocent Tamils did you cursed him. Or when SWRD encouraged 58 riots which killed thousands of Tamils did you curse him. When JR encouraged 1977 riots you cursed him. Did you curse black July did you curse him. Total number of Sinhalese civilians killed by LTTE is not even one tenth of Tamil civilians killed upto 1983 state terrorist.during thirty years number of Tamil civilians killed state terrorist is fifty times more than LTTE. In the last days of war did you curse the murderous army for killing 150 000 innocent civilians. You war criminal needs to be hanged in Hague.
          If the author like Sinhalese do not increase in number be assured Sri Lanka will be doomed as you can see no descent people both Sinhaleese and Tamils keep on migrating

          • 2
            13

            hay Raja so you upset that we killed youd fat terrorist leader like a pig.. I get it man..
            So you mentioned Black July and forgot to mention the Ranil’s murderous UNP is behind all those crimes. ohh I forgot you joined hands with the same murderous clan to defeat Rajapakskas.
            so ltte is/was the only representatives of the Tamil people who killed great Tamil politicians like Neelan Tiruchelvam?
            where did you get that 150000 majic number? If we wanted to kill the Tamil people we wouldn’t have rescued all those Tamils who were kept by ltte terrorists as hostages in Nandikadal.

            you might be so sad because there’s no war now and nobody is deing now with your cowerldly suicide bombs. If you want hang someone in Hague then start with Batalanda Ranil.

    • 17
      29

      Some one is reading tamilnnet

      • 24
        3

        drowning??
        Obama said no to Brexit but would not like the same for America.
        He is getting out and hurting.
        Americans love preaching the gospel but would never practice that gospel.
        ragging, initiation are a KKK `white supremacy trait`.
        you must be reading tamilnet upside down

    • 29
      4

      If you look at the tape the Tamil kids were moving peacefully in the procession until that procession was attacked. It is very clear that the military backed Sinhala students instigated it and finally ended up in hospital. Things went wrong when the Kandyan dance which was not in the program agenda was imposed in an arrogant manner by the Sinhala students to show their highhandedness and the power they possess due to the occupied Sinhala military.

      There are certainly some vested interests by some Southern political groups in exaggerating the clash in order to benefit from the troubles thus created. However, this time the statements from the government and its ministers aim to appease the situation (unlike JR who was arrogant when he said “If you want war, you’ll have it”).

      A Jaffna-based senior journalist said that because of the language barrier, the Sinhalese students either stick to their own ethnic group or mingle with the predominantly Sinhalese army and police. And the Security Forces, who have traditionally been at odds with the Tamil students of Jaffna, could have instigated the Sinhalese students to make an issue of the inclusion of Kandyan dancing at the welcoming function. There are also rumours that this can be a conspiracy by the Rajapakshe loyalists within the Army to create another island wide Anti-Tamil pogrom.

    • 8
      14

      Liar………

    • 13
      23

      Kumar

      Have you seen any army intelligence people involved with this attack

      Don’t spread the lies telling “There is talk in the town “

      “This is an attempt by the joint opposition to create an island wide ethnic violence or rather another black July to destabilize the present government”.

      Look at the above statement You F—-king don’t know anything but spreading lies

      If I say this is Diaspora people behind this attack would you agree with me?

      This why last 30 years you all have fight for nothing. what did you gain

      • 1
        1

        Looks like someone is making an attempt for another BLACK JULY. Who could it be? Of Course who else other than the Joint Opposition. Isn’t it obvious? They are making every effort to topple this government. The Rajapakshes and their cohorts still believe that by promoting racism and by creating racial violence in the country, they can send Maithree – Ranil home before their term ends.

    • 16
      29

      If Army backed Sinhala students attacked tamils, then why only Sinhala students got injured and hospitalized? don’t lie you LTTE terrorist sympathizer.

  • 9
    11

    Well put and sincere. The problem lies with the older generation not the young.

  • 16
    21

    class article -as a tamil ,let me apologise to the sinhalese students affected by the violence -we as tamils should not do to the sinhalese what we experienced in life even under provocation

  • 13
    16

    Thisuri,
    Your message is quite clear. Violence is NOT the answer! Lot of cool headed ness and sober thinking is necessary to tackle this type of emotional problems. The teachers and other elders should give a proper lead!
    Sengodan. M

  • 33
    9

    “In 1983 a few tamils launched Four Four Bravo and killed 12 sinhalese and we retaliated by wiping a good portion of your ethnicity off our map in the next 30 years.”

    Dear Thisuri Wanniarrachchi,

    I understand your motive. I would like to give some advice about the importance of use of language. The above sentence hurt me. It may be probably due to purely ignorance or immature innocence of yours. It is absolutely incorrect to say that few tamils killed 12 Sinhalese. The 12 killed in the ambush were military personal. The attack was targetted military personal, not ordinary Sinhalese. The attackers were not ordinary Tamils, they are LTTE fighters. If you had a military personal of 50% Sinhalese and 50% Tamils on that vechilce, will you say that Sinhalese are killed. When JVP attcked military personal,will you say Sinhalese killed Singalese.

    Not only in 1983, even before, the use of language by those who wanted to create a bloodbath caused 30 years horror in this island. Jaffna University incident was a minor compared to earlier incidents in the past in southern universities for Tamil student. The violence is wrong, similarly inducing violence is also wrong.

  • 7
    10

    Thisuri

    You have written well, and no doubt sincerely. The conclusion is spot on; Violence is NOT the answer. As bad the event, just as bad those trying their best to get mileage out of it. Similarly, no one (in the all-powerful University administration) has seen fit to do the ‘honourable’ thing for failure to be ahead of the curve and prevent matters getting out of hand in the first place.

    All this at an University of little consequence, if I may respectfully say so. 99.95% of academia would not have heard of Jaffna University. IF the government can do anything it can and should hold an impartial inquiry, identify the culprits and mete out justice. But, that is a tall order just now in our Miracle of Asia so I should not hold my breath.

    We are looking forward to day when you, Thisuri, learn your lessons, and return to help us build the NEW Sri Lanka. Mother Lanka needs the likes of you to tilt local thinking to the inalienable truth that together we are stronger, and happier.

    • 9
      0

      why don’t the free education scholarship kids of government servants return??

      quality of life- gammayata magic yakko’s.

      every government servant aspires for foreign post.
      every politician aspires for a vip passport.
      they all like to run casinos and substance dens.

      Nonis only got clobbered but he has his Mackwoods.

  • 10
    5

    A very similar incident happened just two weeks ago in University of Peradeniya, where a group of pro-rag students beated some students who are against raging (Anti-rag) while doing a Shramadana organized by the Faculty of Science. About 11 students were hospitalized. When a case was filed against those pro-rag students, finally the judge closed the case by saying that as it’s just another fight between two groups of university students and taking severe actions against those students will ruin their future, and if only they repeat such acts in future they will be punished. And regarding this issue very less media coverage was there, I think most of the people may not no this incident. But when the same incident happened in University of Jaffna, the whole country has an opinion about it. Does this mean it’s because the two students groups are of different ethnic groups? So it’s not just another fight between two groups of university students.

    • 3
      0

      Why there was no Kandyan dance at Peradeniya university to invite the new students?

  • 9
    23

    “SL military-backed Sinhala students clash with Tamil students in Jaffna University – Tamilnet”

    These so called sanhidiya people like this so called author will never criticize thier LTTE friends.

  • 3
    15

    Very sensible writing in younger age giving us a hope on younger generation. Yes, violence against other another human beings not only morally wrong but also stargical and tactically self-destructive.

  • 2
    14

    2009 – 1983 = 26. If it ha started in 1983, why she is talking abbout 30 years. some impotant facts have been ignored.

  • 5
    14

    Thisuri Wanniarachchi is someone with a good head on her shoulders.

    There is genuineness in her commentaries. I hope that she’d tell me why I would be wrong to think the way I do.

    It is not easy to maintain a level head while under constant threat.

    Thisuri, You say to young Tamils that they don’t belong on the streets, in hiding or in jail cells; that they belong in positions of power: in places you can influence policy. Do they? When will that be?

    You also say that they forget that they are not the only category this country ill treats; that there are so many others in similar situations. Take women for instance, you remind them.

    Although I am not a woman, I somehow believe that it wouldn’t be totally irrelevant to point out that your comparison is oversimplification of a national tragedy.

    Even though it is out of immense kindness that you are pouring your love towards a capitulated section of our society, it is difficult for me to understand why you are not directing your words of wisdom to the section of the students who could bring about a change in the national dialogue.

    Wouldn’t that produce a far better yield? ( I have one more question to ask, but that’s for another day. )

  • 7
    16

    Beautifully written article Thisuri.
    I sincerely hope it was a sincere one.

    “But at the end of the day we are both Sri Lankan”

    Thisuri do you accept that majority of Tamil people do not want to identify themselves as Sri Lankan? It is an identity that is being forced on to us.

    Do you agree?

    Do you also agree that it is up to the individuals how to identify themselves? Do you think we Tamils have that right in our own country?

  • 1
    15

    This incident is not isolated one. roots goes back to 1557 where all the sinhalese lived there killed by self proclaimed ruler called sankilii I and made jaffna only Tamil area. vaduk kodai declaration urged Tamil youth to do same in north and east provinces that LTTE did. this is an extension of that theory. now Tamil net fabricated false story. now it goes around and rounds. dragged even MR and Gota Into it. they are the ones who created atmosphere free for all student to continue education in this university.It is great sin to defame them in such way. killed their beloved leader prabakeran as he was not in favour of any negotiated settlement. that benefited Tamils immensely rather than other communities. no cyanide capsules but pens and pencils.No military training but schools even for juniors as well as seniors.these students should know in south like katharagama all the cultural events and rituals performed are Tamils not sinhalese but sinhalese love to see them and love to participate in them. kavadi dances performed by sinhalese as well as Tamils. together. veils carts sticked to back by hook carried by elderly Tamils Hindus are supported by young sinhalese. as young student i supported them when i was in pilgrimaged to kataragama with my family members and village people.All these unity destroyed by separatist idealism.it is nothing to do with MR or Gota. Ruins of three decades of war still visible. That is what I can see from this unfortunate incident.

  • 7
    0

    “In 1983 a few tamils launched Four Four Bravo and killed 12 sinhalese and we retaliated by wiping a good portion of your ethnicity off our map in the next 30 years.”

    Above is nothing but glorification.
    Someone in your position should know the power behind words we choose.

  • 16
    4

    It’s not a problem for us to let sinhala students to have kandiyan dance in welcoming, as a person who was born and lived in north for 20 plus years, my fear is if we allow this time , in 10 years time , they will say they must have kandiyan dance *** ONLY*** in welcoming ceremony. that is, they will destroy the identity of the place completely and there will be no sign of tamil traditions in future.

    Sinhala guys may ask why do you guys have such fear? Well, Because it’s not just solely based on the recent incident. It’s a history that has been happening over fifty years, that is, It’s a systematic colonization sponsored by different gov of srilanka who ruled this country over the years.

    Do you know what is happening in kokilai, mullaituvu? How tamil dominated kokilai (tamil name) is changed to kokilawa(sinhala name), and how fishermen who has no land in that place, accupy tamils’ land(it’s their legally owned private land) in that places with the help of SOME(HOPE EVERYONE KNOW WHO THEY ARE). Tamils in that place have documents for their lands, still Sinhalese illegally occupy that land and build permanent houses and fishing in that area with the help of (SOME). THIS IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE. Our fear is justifiable and we have enough grounds to justify not to have kandiyan dance to welcome freshers.

    In other universities such as mora, pera, UOC and etc, there are tamil cultural associations and they do conduct tamil cultural events on their own. If sinhala students want to visit as a viewer, they can. In Jaffna uni also, sinhala students celebrated poya last year as a grand occasion. But in a major events like welcoming freshers (please understand welcoming freshers or convocation in an educational institution is a major event). In that event, you cannot bring your tradition to change the tradition which has been followed by a university for ages.

    Let me give you all one example by translating what one of my friend wrote in tamil. He was a mora uni student, graduated last year. He said we were welcomed by kandiyan dance on convocation held at BMICH. We tamils did not bat an eyelid. We accepted their tradition because mora is located in sinhala dominated area and they follow their tradition. We did not even ask they have to bring our tradition too.

    So learn to respect a tradition of a university which has been followed by a university for ages. You can have your cultural events on stage if you want to.

    • 6
      2

      Admire the young writer’s good intention. Definitely, violence will not help sort out issues.

      Parker hits the nail on its head.

      Was able to speak to a few students and all what they say is some Sinhalese students’ attempt to include Kandian dance into the agnda which wasn’t scheduled originally was trigger to the incident. It is a democratic country and the majority rules, at the same times ensuring minorities’ rights are being protected. All major ceremonies (opening, convocation, etc.) in all but the universities where Tamil students are in majority in the island have been held following Sinhala Buddhist cultural traditions. Did Tamil students who had studied here all these years questioned as to why bharathanadiyam along with Kandiyan dance wasn’t included as Tamil students have also been in these ceremonies?. Or, will they question in future going by the lead that a few Sinhalese students leave here?. It is common sense that the agendas of these events are being prepared for the consumption of the majorities of the participants and, in the case of University of Jaffna, the majorities no doubt are Tamil students. Those students who chose these universities for their higher studies should accept the fact that things being done here too, as with other universities in the island, are catered for the majorities. Those students who fail to understand or recognize this difference are the ones who are not prepared to be minorities even in this short period, may be three/four years. If these students came with a good intention to mix with Tamils students and learn better things than a Sinhalese student who would learn in a university other than in the North or East, one more thing they are to learn here is, getting the taste of being minority in these days. To try turn things that had been in place at these universities around forcefully will create tension and conflicts if not riots among students.

      For Tamil students, you should exercise more caution, rather than resorting to violence, try and build lasting friendship, to make life easier for both sides. Your prime focus should be on education, not to be side tracked by some who want to create problem. Leave to Admin to deal with these issues, if they are not up to the task, just boycott these type of events rather than resorting to violence.

  • 3
    11

    The Young writer’s contribution is a Sensible drop in an otherwise muddled and prejudiced ,jaundiced viewing. Reporting has been slanted .We are yet to know what has happened on that opening day -the truth.All responsible men and women must rein in the misguided youthful exuberance which shrouds their judgement as the intellectual cream of the country. This is not time to take sides .This is the time to sort out problems .

  • 5
    12

    Thisuri,

    Thank you for your refreshing views. Very much applicable
    to all Sri Lankans at this point in Sri Lanka. If you could get this reproduced in all major Sri Lankan News Media English/Sinhala/Tamil in South/North it may be a start. Hope all MPs also get to understand your points on way forward. Your parents should be proud of you- Such mature understanding at your age.
    M N Rajah

  • 10
    3

    You have the LTTE ambush of Army personnel wrongly described; but other than that this is a refreshing opinion from a US educated student who sees what I see. I too am a minority. I was hauled into a police car in 1994 in Missouri for no reason and he did not tell me why except after he radioed in my license and described me as black and then after getting me to sweat it out in his Mustang Cruiser then told me it is because I had a temporary tag. The Tag was by AVIS the rental car company who had given me a brand new Oldsmobile Achieva with less than 25 miles on it for my cross country tour. With so much animosity and so many unexplained and controversial police shootings and now sad shocking anti police hate here in the US, I too am very aware of my privilege when I lived in Sri Lanka. I could get away just by talking to check point guards or dropping a name. Imagine the plight of innocent Tamils if they did not have their national ID cards.

    This July. 23rd of July is the day Black July started and heinous crimes were committed. Rumor mongering and hate speech can lead to misunderstandings. I do not know why incoming Freshmen have to be subjected to parades rather than seminars on adapting and perhaps language classes. But having said that, if that is the norm please let the UGC and each campus have a PROTOCOL spelling exactly what will be permitted and what will follow what in order of it happening. So this will stop last minute suprises and it will stop people from forcing one custom or the other. I can say from experience at Royal, our amazing Principal at that time continued the tradition of reading from the teachings of ALL religious every week at assembly despite the school being overwhelmingly Sinhalese; it did have Tamil and English stream classes too and therefore we had Tamil Hindu and Muslim students and a few burgher students too. Every week at Assembly readings from Dhammapada or some other teachings were followed by readings from Hindu Scriptures, followed by both Islamic and Christian verses. This was great because we go to listen to common themes of the main religions found in Sri Lanka. But at University level, one way or the other cannot be forced on young adults. Could this be another case of clashes between student groups rather than putting a race angle to it ?

    When I taught at Univ of SJpura, we constantly had clashes between JVP types and non JVP and UNP types(at that time UNP had strong unions before the 1987-90 dooshana period). We had to turn around and go back home some days because campus was closed. It happened frequently and most of the trouble makers were from the NON-Science faculties or what we called Arts and Commerce streams. Could this be one more of that from predominantly young men ?

    Sad to read this. They have a FREE education and they cannot relish that and get along? Why does everything have to be about race now?

    So stop this please before people with ulterior motives and those who are interested in fomenting unrest will capitalize on this unfortunate incident. Hatred begets hatred. LTTE rump will twist and lie and BBS types will rabble rouse.

  • 6
    2

    A good article trying to strike a balance. However, I would kindly ask the Sinhalese readers to imagine this scenario. Imagine your village is predominantly Sinhalese. You are so proud of its Sinhalese traditions, culture, food, and way of life. However, there was a bigger neighboring village of predominantly another ethnic group. They used their power to design new irrigation systems into your village, which is good, but settled people from the other village in the new farm lands. You felt threatened by the new settlements. Add to this, you felt marginalized in several other areas like school systems, opportunities to get into universities etc. Tensions built up and a bloody battle erupted. You had a bitter fight for 30 years and literally every night you heard gun battles, shells flying above you, your young ones wanted to get involved in the fight, the mighty air power in the other village bombed some areas, and your houses got cracked walls as a result. You also launched attacks on the other village from time to time and many died. That battle came to an end just six years ago. You still have deep wounds in your hearts, but silence of guns is a big relief.

    Now, the administrative authority of schools which is common for both villages pump students from the other village to a school in your village to make the student mix in one class (science faculty) to something like 65% from the other village. The sudden change of ethnic proportions naturally lead to cultural changes in the school. Irrespective of ethnicity, student clashes in your village and in the other village have been very violent in the past. Sometimes they crack each others’ bones over political views, disputes between different classes (NDT vs BSc, Government Medical students vs Private medical students) for instance, that have nothing to do with ethnicity. Now think, will a reminder of how people were settled through clever irrigation schemes not build up tensions that can erupt violent students clashes?

    For me, given the nature of student clashes in Sri Lankan universities, what happened is not very surprising, though it is utterly disgusting. Adults in the UGC should know the history of Sri Lanka’s conflicts, what led to ethnic tensions, and not go into hallucinations about how ethnic harmony should be brought about. It should be done gradually with constant re-calibration of methods. The approach UGC has taken by forceful change of student proportions by large numbers over a short time has apparently led to violent reactions. This will create another generation of youth who will graduate from universities with ethnic mistrust and hatred. Polarization of the middleclass is the most dangerous pre-runner for lasting conflicts. So, I urge the UGC to be more careful and thoughtful in the future.

  • 9
    7

    Funny how you know the story better than I, and I was in Jaffna at the very time of this fight!

    If you think this was a result of the high handedness of the Sinhalese students, why do you think all the Sinhalese students had to be evacuated from the Jaffna University?

    I agree with your conclusion that violence is not a solution, but using the Jaffna clash as an example by distorting the facts is unethical.

    Do you know how many Tamil students study in Sinhalese majority universities? Can you give one example for any major incident where the Tamil students were harassed in the last 60 years?

    In my University, in 2008, an LTTE claymore hit a bus killing many. Among them were two university students (Sinhalese). Some of our own Tamil students were suspected of having supported the terrorists. However no one blamed or harassed the Tamil students of the University of Moratuwa but instead the majority cared for the Tamil students an ensured their safety. That is how the Sinhalese majority University students have operated historically.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Moratuwa_bus_bombing

    Thisuri, You need to come down to Sri Lanka, live among normal people and get a feel of the reality before writing about things like this, otherwise your conclusions might be based on embarrassing assumptions, that might hinder your progress as an activist!

    • 5
      1

      Indika, since you ask …….Can you give one example for any major incident where the Tamil students were harassed in the last 60 years? ……..

      Try the University of Sabaragamuwa,not so long ago.I think it was 2014.

  • 3
    19

    Thank you Thisouri, for your mature words of wisdom and advice. We are living through a time when we cannot afford emotions to overtake reason and sanity. The students from the Universities, south or North, have a unique Chance to witness and learn about the post-war Problems faced by their surrounding People.
    In the case of the Jaffna University, the Sinhala students can become direct witnesses of truth about the post-war Problems Tamil face. Similarly the Tamil students in some southern University about the Problems the sinhalese face.
    We Need Young intelligent People from both sides of the divide to become messengers of truth and peace-building.

    • 11
      1

      “” Thank you Thisouri, for your mature words of wisdom and advice.””

      most youngsters go to campus for a better life in the future.
      Why does one go to campus to get pregnant??
      like you going to church to become holy but end up as a terror prescriber??

  • 6
    5

    The young lady have gave out the verdict that Tamils proved and fought. She is not mentioning the provokings of Tamil International Research Meeting incidence, Chavakachcheri Carnival, burning of Jaffna Library but drawing a lesson for the soldiers ambush in Jaffa which followed even after opposition leader Amirthalingam was beaten up by Army in Jaffna. She has nothing to say to the Sinhala Students!

    She has no idea of how Stephen Don fooled the Britain with the trinco naval base and captured the power. Has no idea of how the Old King fooled Ambassador Blake with Trinco Base and Blake confessed in Congress that he was fooled. Secretary Kerry threatened with US force. Rajiv sent IPKF. But British, American and Indian they all went to the same cemetery and cremated in the same coffin.

    Tamils are not left with two options. Comparing the violence against women or comparing the racial prejudice existing West are sheepsh attempt to downplay the Genocide took place in Lankawe which refusing to investigate that even after IC pressure. I ask this lady is that how the West handled the German Genocides? Didn’t they even formed the UN to protect people from it after that?. Can Lankawe Sinhalese fight against the Sinhalese like the Western whites fought against their white brethren. Will Sinhalese sacrifice like America did in the civil war, where 1/10 of the white American perished on the way to release the black slaves.

    This is how people start to preach when they see freedom in the west. But it will return back as “Palaiya Kudutdi Kathavai Thiravadi” when they return to Lankawe.

  • 8
    3

    What is the author implying here? That the Sinhalese will go on anti tamil riots again because Tamils agitated against them?
    Then what is the explanation for the anti-muslim riots in 2014? Muslims always sucked up to the Sinhalese and were still attacked.
    Tamils have no options. If they live subserviently, they will still get wiped out, just a slower pace. We can see what is going on with Sinhala colonisation in the north and east. Much of the East has already been turned into a Sinhala area. Building viharas, army camps, buddha statues, changing places name to Sinhala, refusing to give Tamils their land back etc.
    SL is only collecting more and more bad karma

  • 9
    2

    Might i also remind the author that 1983 was not the start of violence. I have heard this totally incorrect assertion from too many Lankans. As a way of blaming the LTTE.
    LTTE came into existance because of the numerous riots that occurred from the 1950s and onwards. Not to mention land grabbing too. The process of genocide was already well under way LONG BEFORE the LTTE appeared on the scene.

  • 3
    19

    Thank you Thisuri Wanniarachchi for your brilliant observations. One so young and with a mindset to die for, the future of this country looks bright. Sadly, there are prats, as noticed in these columns, with a mind similar to that of a hen-pecked husband, working as a traffic warden. He has no power at home, which he thinks he is entitled to because of his Sinhala-Buddhist superiority, but vents his frustrations at the hapless motorist he comes across in the street.

  • 7
    1

    Thusuri

    Our people have to look at what is not reported in the South – just look at the military websites to see they are doing in the North.
    Ohhhh, they are breathing down the mecks of the people in the North and imposing a culture overload on the people who themselves are already addicted to a bit of culture overload.
    Did you hear about the 5-day Vesak imposed by the military on Jaffna when the South was disabled by landslide?
    I would like to see Sinhalese and Tamil freshers to share their ideas, thoughts, dreams, etc….. to get good relationships.

    Too much of Tamil drums and Sinhala drums get in the way of friendships.

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