15 October, 2019

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Towards Citizenship In Thāmilīlam: The Tamil People Of The North, 1983-2010

By Michael Roberts –

Dr Michael Roberts

Abstract

As the rift between the majority Sinhalese and the Sri Lankan Tamil minority in Sri Lanka widened from 1956 onwards the spatial centres of Tamil leadership moved by the 1980s from those who combined roots in Colombo and the Jaffna Peninsula to those firmly positioned within the Peninsula. The LTTE became both agency and master of this process. The exigencies of war led to a further shift in nodality from Jaffna town to the Kilinochchi-Mullaitivu complex from 1996 onwards. Population shifts were part of this transformation. The essay outlines the complex paths of Tamil migration and the principal factors generating these changes. War and nationalist sentiments were at the heart of the tale. Despite its own forms of oppressive authoritarianism, the LTTE’s record of resistance to state terror and its effective martyr-propaganda meant that the majority of Tamil people in the northern reaches were subjectively aligned as citizens of Thāmilīlam. To see them, in 2008, as citizens of Sri Lanka is an imposition.

You can read the full article here

Makkaal padai – civilians training in the Vanni in 2007  sourcearuchuna.net &telavison.com

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    The road from here to the sand strip on the shores of Nathi Kadal lagoon was a long and bloody one. I do hope that every Sri Lankan patriot; Tamil, Sinhalese, Moslem or Burgher, shares my fervent wish that lessons will be genuinely learned and acted upon.
    We must not repeat these mistakes, but one cannot heal wounds by hiding the truth about the atrocities committed by everyone.
    Unfortunately, reconciliation can never happen while the bloody hands of Rajapakse clan are on the tiller.

    • 0
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      Wow Look at ALL those CIVILIANS!!!!!!! what a sight no doubt these are the very champions of the Human Rights Cause. Onnu, rendu,Onnu, rendu, Onnu, rendu, Onnu, rendu, Onnu, rendu,

    • 0
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      Thurai,
      People like you think Rajapakse is a war criminal because he ordered the Sri Lanka army soldiers to shoot Makkaal padai (the civilians with real T56 in hand). Perhaps you wanted soldiers to fight gun-totting civilians with candy pops. When Makkaal padai were killed, you cried to the world that they were civilians. Tamils like you have to reconcile with yourself by accepting the truth. You have to accept that the real culprit is the one that put arms in the hands of innocent people.

  • 0
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    It would have been better if VP had saved these innocent people instead of thrusting them into the battle.

    • 0
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      Safa,
      What do you mean by “it would have been better ….?” You should have been honest to yourself and describe and criticize the cowardice and madness of Pirapakaran and his gang in sending these girls and old women to the battlefront to fight the advancing battle hardened professional soldiers more eloquently. However much nuts Pirapakarans were, they should have known certain death awaits for them in the front. But they couldn’t care two hoots of civilian death. Now those who financed the mad lot and their buddy writers and commentators here are shedding crocodile tears and crying for Rajapakse blood.

      Terrorist nuts should have let all civilians move in to ‘no fire zones’. If terrorists were brave as they rendered themselves, they should have kept away from ‘no fire zones’ and demanded the government to let civilians leave the hellhole. But Pirapakaran had no plan like that; he not only ordered civilians stay put in the hellhole but ordered his guards to shoot anyone trying to flee. Indeed, Pira’s strategy had been to use the misery of civilians to buy time and convince neo-colonialists to save him and his family to fight another Eelam war another day. So not only LTTE moved in to ‘no fire zones’ but placed their heavy canons among civilian huts and fired it at the advancing army.

      Pirapakaran had always been mad. But he must have reached the zenith of his madness when he ordered to put guns at the hands of these women in the few pictures we have here. We have seen images of old men in their slippers being trained to shoot as well. Such images reminded me the comedy, ‘Dad’s army’ of the British. The joke is; Thurai and co, I mean, the so-called Tamil Diaspora cries from rooftops for Rajapakses blood for giving orders to kill civilians.

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    The sad fact, @Safa, is that VP was himself a symptom of all that happened before him. His type of “liberation” would never have been espoused by Tamils had the country learned the lessons from the events that led to the 1958 riots.

    The country is being steered on the same course, yet again, with the BBS and their ilk pressing hard on the accelerator. The moderates and the intelligentsia are either imprisoned, in exile or dead.

  • 0
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    There is no and will never be Tamil Eelam. Its only a dream. Sri Lanka is one country and will never be divided. If its divided the Tamils in the North and South will suffer more. Having said that there is definitely a case for equal rights. There should not be any race differentiation. We are all SRI LANKANS. The Govt of SL Should immediately stop using the terms Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers etc and use only Sri Lankans in all publications and usage.

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      You can’t rule anything out because of the way the Rajapaksa regime has behaved towards the Tamils during and especially since the end of the war. Tamil Nadu is boiling and domestic and regional political considerations by India will play a big part in how things evolve with regard to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka unwisely moving close to China at the expense of India in bugging India very much. Sri Lanka under Rajapaksa is taking a big gamble not realising that India is an economic and regional giant and it can and will dictate to Sri Lanka or interfere in Sri Lanka if Rajapaksa does not change track.

      • 0
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        Indians better remember that IPKF could not catch the killer of their Prime Minister and bring him to justice. Indians must be grateful for Sri Lanka because we did the job for them. If only Indians remember how their IPKF had to fight LTTE, they would know that terrorists who kept civilians as cannon fodder could not be fought with candy pops. Consequently, civilian causalities are unavoidable.

        Indians had better know that the desire of Karuna, Jaya and co is separation of Tamil Nadu from Indian union, as they wanted in 1962. Remember, 1962 state election was fought on a separatist platform and separatist DMK increased the vote base tremendously. Then they had a mass rally and demanded a separate country for Tamils. After 1967, separatists have won the control of Tamil Nadu state assembly at every election. After the 16th amendment, however Indian separatists have shifted their emphasis for an Eelam in Sri Lanka and not a one in India to start. That project is still on the cards.

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          Indians could not win over LTTE for two reasons, one they were fighting in a foreign country and two they did not have the powers or orders to eradicate LTTE, only orders they had was to tame the tigers and bring them in line.

          Sri Lankan forces, unlike any other country in the world gathered the civilians in a no fire zone and bombed them. This is what the whole world is talking about.

          If SL Government is to say they did not do that, then they should not have an issue to have and inquiry. When Sri Lankan Government is also accusing the LTTE of attrocities, they can bring the remaining LTTE to justice. Who are the remaining LTTE, KP, Karuna, Pillayan and we also should include EPDP Devananda, Daya Master etc.

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            Go to lankaweb website you can see images of LTTE heavy cannons placed in between civilian huts in the ‘no fire zone’. Ere those cannons to fire lolipops to civilians or to fire at army position?

            To save their skin, LTTE acted as true gangesters. We’ve heard a desperate Tamil women complaining at the time that LTTE had shot those who tried to escape. Had LTTE not used the civilians as cannon fodder but allow them to decide their future no civilian would have cought in the fight.

            • 0
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              Noble,

              Your are right, although it is impossible to avoid civilian casualties in a war. According to a Tamil. Journalist who was among the displaced and survived Nanthikadal, with whom I had a long chat, there were heavy artillery units of the LTTE placed among the civilians in the final safety zone. This was subsequently confirmed by satellite imagery. He described the typical exchange of fire in the final stages in the vicinity of the safety zone was as follows:

              The LTTE fires heavy artillery at the army positions. The army retaliates with light weapons. The LTTE fires back with heavy artillery . The army retaliates with heavy artillery. The people are injured and die in the crossfire. The LTTE stops firing and the army also ceases fire.

              A similar story was related to me by the IDPs in Settikulam in 2009. These narrations contradict those of the NGOs in the war zone, which have found much credence now.

              Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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              Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
              It looks as if many a rump LTTE are mum about this important fact. It is pity the government couldn’t use it to project the truth.

        • 0
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          Noble:
          Your opening lines betray your ignorance. The IPKF was long gone from the shores of Sri Lanka before the LTTE assassinated Rajiv Gandhi.
          Starting on that basic historical inaccuracy, the rest of your contribution constitutes matter of even less accuracy!

      • 0
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        Does not matter what India will do – knowing their track-record in
        dealing with SL affairs, because the Regime has a hidden agenda
        of wiping out tamilism for good. If the worse happens China will
        provide refuge to the MR clan – arrangements are in hand?

      • 0
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        Let’s hope and pray, what happened in East Pakistan does not happen here in Sri Lanka.

    • 0
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      @Park, “There is no and will never be Tamil Eelam. Its only a dream. Sri Lanka is one country and will never be divided”

      I am not sure if everyone would agree with you on this. If you said “we should never create conditions for separatism or Sri Lanka is one country and we should never divide it”, I am sure everyone would agree.

      We have to move towards a Sri Lankan identity where all citizens are equal and discard untenable ideas of a few which says that minorities are second class citizens

      • 0
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        Nabil

        The Sinhala/Buddhists are bent on creating something that VP could not achieve in 30 years.

        Tamil Eelamists Diaspora, LTTE rumps need not to fight for their dream, Tamileelam will be served on a silver platter.

      • 0
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        I never want Sri Lanka divided. If you see some of my comments in earlier articles you will find it. My point was different.

    • 0
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      Park

      “Sri Lanka is one country and will never be divided. If it’s divided the Tamils in the North and South will suffer more.”

      You are absolutely right. We wholeheartedly endorse your view.

      • 0
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        In the great partition more hindus died at the hand of the minority muslims because the naked fakir. 1.6million were killed.
        Tamils will not suffer moron if the division is set by the IC- no one country or people live alone its only seeming.

  • 0
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    RULE BY LOVE AND COMPASSION AND TOLERANCE . This is what the Buddha preached . This is what all religions preach . REMOVE THE MILITARY FROM THE NORTH of SRI LANKA AND SHOW YOU LOVE AND TRUST THEM . SHOW TAMIL NADU THAT YOU ARE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION TO RE-BUILD THE WAR TORN AREAS .SRI LANKA, PLEASE REMEMBER HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF AND YOU DON’T NEED ANOTHER PRABAKARAN NOR DO YOU NEED ANOTHER MOVEMENT FOR THE TAMIL CAUSE TO BREW IN TAMIL NADU – ( population 72 million ) . THERE ARE ALREADY SIGNS OF THIS IN TAMIL NADU AND THINK OF THE IMPACT OF MR. KARUNA ITHI PULLING THE PLUG FROM THE RULING CONGRESS COALITION. This meant that five federal ministers also resigned from the Indian Cabinet . All influential ministers. Twenty one COUNTRIES THAT VOTED AT GENEVA ARE AGAINST YOU . If you make a careful study of the report you find that the western powers are Pointing at Sri Lanka to be accountable for missing persons and disappearances of journalists and war crimes . RAJAPAKSE SAMAGAMA SHOULD GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER AND SHOW THE WORLD THEY ARE A TRUE DEMOCRACY AND ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO GOVERN THE COUNTRY WITH TOLERANCE , LOVE AND COMPASSION .

    • 0
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      Irony is yet they will all meet at meharktota with the blessings of the queen the woman with german blood.

    • 0
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      ROGER KUMAR

      Please leave the Tamils living in Sri Lanka alone. We will work out our differences with the other communities. Please don’t aggravate our situation by your disinformation campaign while you live comfortably in the diaspora. Show love, compassion, tolerance and trust to all Sri Lankans. Then history will not repeat itself.

  • 0
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    The photographs accompanying this blog tell the part of the story that many seem to conveniently ignore.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0
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    Well . . .Well . . .
    Do not start a war unless you are 100% confident in winning.
    Everything is fare in Love and War.
    All Tamil people can now return to Sri Lanka and live in peace.
    Attention all. . .please cancel the refugee visas. . !

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