30 November, 2020

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UNHCR: Sri Lanka Remains Ready To Share Its Experience

By Ravinatha Aryasinha

Ravinatha Aryasinha

Statement by Ravinatha P. Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the 63rd Session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – 02 October 2012

At the outset Mr.Chairman,Sri Lanka wishes to congratulate you for your able leadership, and welcomes the new members of the Executive Committee.  We also extend our sincere appreciation to the High Commissioner for the Opening Statement which provided a detailed overview of the work undertaken and the challenges faced by the UNHCR over the past year.  We also acknowledge the insightful remarks made by the Executive Director of the WFP in her Keynote Address.

Sri Lanka recognizes the important role played by the UNHCR in providing assistance and solutions to people the world over. Sri Lankais particularly grateful to the UNHCR and its donors for the support extended during natural disasters such as the occasional floods, through the 2004 catastrophic Tsunami, to help mitigate the effects during the thirty-year-long terrorist conflict and in supporting the post-conflict resettlement programme, including through the provision of shelter grants and basic household items.  We look forward to our continued engagement with the UNHCR even as Sri Lanka’s operational environment has shifted from humanitarian relief, through early recovery, to full-fledged sustainable development.

In contrast to the considerable difficulty and gloom in the humanitarian crises that continue to engulf many parts of the world today, you would agree that Sri Lanka’s achievements in post-conflict development, provides confidence and hope. These developments lend credence to the position that even the most severe and insurmountable of challenges could be overcome with the political commitment and dedication of the concerned country, and the requisite support provided by the international community.

As many in this audience will recall, in May 2009, as the terrorist conflict in Sri Lanka came to an end and the caring of nearly 300,000 IDPs became necessary, much fear was expressed in some quarters that malnutrition, disease and death would be rampant in the IDP villages; that the Government would not be interested in de-mining; that IDPs would be “incarcerated” indefinitely.  The Government’s intent regards the ex-LTTE combatants was questioned with the claim that “they would not be released and that their lives would be in danger”.  It was also said that the high security zones would not be disbanded; that the Government would not be able to undertake the massive investment that was needed to restore livelihoods and ensure infrastructure development in the previously conflict-affected areas, and that no effort will be made towards post-conflict reconciliation.

Given this backdrop, the verifiable facts on the ground today have proven that these fears were misplaced:

  • The socio-economic, nutritional and mortality indicators in Sri Lanka’s IDP villages which at its peak 295,873 IDPs were deemed commendable by international standards, to that of a normal population of this magnitude. Access to education, health and recreational facilities were provided to children living in the welfare villages.
  • With the resettlement of IDPs displaced at the end of the conflict over three years ago, the final IDP village ‘Menik Farm’ was closed down last week, and Sri Lanka remains committed to addressing the remaining challenges of the returnees, including some who still live with host families. The UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Subinay Nandy, has noted that ‘The closure of the camp is a significant sign of the transition from conflict to sustainable peace and the commitment of the Government to resettling tens of thousands of people back to their homes’.
  • The resettlement process has gone hand in hand with the demining and demilitarization of the former conflict-affected areas.  Of the estimated 2,061.53 sq.km. contaminated with landmines and UXOs, less than 116 sq.km. remain to be cleared. It is noteworthy that 75% of the demining work has been carried out by the Sri Lanka Army.
  • The former high security zones have ceased to exist, and the Security Forces presence in theJaffnapeninsula has been reduced from 50,000 at the height of the conflict, to 15,000 at present, and the military is no longer involved in civil administration in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Of the approximately 12,000 ex-LTTE combatants who surrendered or were arrested at the end of the conflict, 10,981 (which included 594 child combatants), have been rehabilitated and re-integrated with their families and society.
  • With extensive government investment in infrastructure and livelihood development, the former conflict-affected Northern Province which recorded a growth rate of 22% in 2010, continued the trend recording a 27.1% growth rate in 2011, which was by far the highest growth rate among all provinces. The Northern Province has continued to increase its share of the national economy driven by an expansion in agriculture, fishing, construction, transportation and financial serves.
  • Following the submission of the report of Sri Lanka’s domestic reconciliation mechanism – the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in November 2011, the Government of Sri Lanka in July 2012 released its strategy for the implementation of the recommendations, under the direction of an 8-member Task Force headed by the Secretary to the President.  ‘Land return and resettlement’ comprises, inter alia, an important sub-theme in this Action Plan, with resettlement already at an advanced stage of implementation.

Mr. Chairman, those who seek to downplay the significance of these achievements and constantly keep shifting goal posts, show disrespect not only to Sri Lanka and its international partners whose steadfast commitment to this task has made these achievements possible, but also to those who have at last emerged from the suffering caused by 30 years of terrorist conflict.

In conclusion,Mr.Chairman,Sri Lanka remains ready to share its experience and best practices in post-conflict resettlement and rehabilitation with the international community.  We also look forward to strengthening the ongoing cooperation between the UNHCR and member states.

I thank you.

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Latest comments

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    A beautiful speech, but the reality is very different according to sources citing those who toured the nothern areas,spoke with returnees from Menik Farm & other internment camps,met with them where they have been ‘dumped’, and spoke with them.
    “Former security zones have ceased to exist” is not completely true,NEW smaller zones where civilians cannot go have been established by the army,for its own purposes,private land and homes have not yet been vacated by the army.
    The army controls most aspects of civilian life – civilians have to obtain permission from the army for private family functions including funerals,for worship times in temples,times and type of boat engines to go fishing,farming and to commence business.
    Released ex-LTTE combatants are visited and papers confiscated and again interrogated,those remaining in custody have not been indicted in courts.
    Thousands of war widows are practically starving & falling prey to predaters,child abuse is rampant.Public health mechanism,infrastructure & staff are grossly inadequate.
    To ‘share this experiance’? With whom?

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    Once a Premadasa sycophant now turned MR slipper licker says, ‘Mr. Chairman, those who seek to downplay the significance of these achievements and constantly keep shifting goal posts, show disrespect not only to Sri Lanka and its international partners whose steadfast commitment to this task has made these achievements possible, but also to those who have at last emerged from the suffering caused by 30 years of terrorist conflict’.

    It is a’ pathetic to see a Body as UNHRC being used as a tool to cover the misdeeds of the very culprits as above and their God Fathers who finance the UN, misleeding the whole world and silencing the very members like Navi Pillai, Louis Arbour who raise voice of concern within.

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    International humanitarian standards are a joke! So called UN humanitarian standards are low indeed and have a low base. UN Humanitarian standards institutionalize and normalize gross economic inequality the world over, and the poverty, misery and human debasement of the poor in the third world. UN Humanitarin standards are based on notions of “charity” rather than HUMAN RIGHTS about which so muc hot air is realsed – the UN “standards” a meant to normalize inequality and the hideous looted wealth of the western Capitalist nations that benefited from looting Afric’s natural resources in post-colonial period

    The UN humanitarian standards take abyssmal living conditions in some African famine hit countries as the norm. Sri Lankan people and Asia have different and better standards and norms for decent living and can teach the UN.
    According to Sri Lanka’s norms of welfare democracy, the people at Manik farms were treated abyssmally and inhumanly and today their so-called “resettlement” has also been absymal – they have been simply dumped in the forest in order that Ravinatha can tell the UN UPR that the camp is closed and there a no more IDP – this is the ultmiate SPIN by a regime famous for its lies and infamous DICTATORSHIP. Ravitnath stop conning for you pay masters and tell the truth about IDPs in manic farm – past and present.
    The UN Humanitarian standards are far too low and a scandle because most of the massive funds raised in the name of IDPs and victims are consumed by the UN and its staff for five star hotel living while preaching HR. The UN is a huge joke and a pile of hypocracy but this does not mean that the Corrupt and brual Rajapakse govt can violate Lankan citizens to suit abyssmally lwo UN standards of economic rights and justice..

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      Quite right the UN humanitarian “standards” are for sub humans and an insult to humanity. Sri Lanka (obviously not Rajapakse who is incapable of setting examples except in crime and corruption) must set a better example in humaniterian standards.
      Three years after the war ended the situation of IDPs in northeast should be compared with those in the SOuth of the cournty and the post-tsunami theme of BUILD BACK BETTER TO HELP WAR TRAUMATIZED COMMUNITIEs
      Of course the Indian Govt which is supposed to be building housing is also to blame for the pathetic plight of homeless IDPs since GOI has with it usual bureaucratic bungling delayed housing consutruction and prevented other donors.

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    I’m gutted by the equation “closure of IDP camps” with “settling down”. Dear Mr Aryasinha are you aware that people are simply forcibly transferred from one location to the other, thrown in wild areas without basic services like sanitation, deprived of all land rights, under the constant abuse of arbitrary decisions by military officers. I’m sorry but do you call this “successful resettlement”?
    By the way: almost 300 000 people “found themselves IDP”. Was it by mere accident or a governmental army chased them out for hundreds of kms, by shelling and starvation. Forget the number of the victims: this conduct alone is criminal.
    Enjoy your success with your conscience all along your karma.

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    UN or UNHAR or what ever is run by global MAFIA..This is the way they control poor countrys,, with human rights …..ect….They will never speak against Chinese who has worset Human Rights Record. It is time Srilanka get rid of all Tamils just like IDI AMIN did in Uganda in late 60 or 70 ….There country is Tamil Nadu not Srilanka. So Sinhalese can live peacefully..

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      Lakshman:

      ” It is time Srilanka get rid of all Tamils just like IDI AMIN did in Uganda in late 60 or 70 ….There country is Tamil Nadu not Srilanka.”

      It is a good idea, I am all for it. Sri Lanka has been doing a fantastic job since its independence, getting rid of people.

      I congratulate your leaders.

      However, I also want to get rid of all Sinhalese from my ancestral land. When are you taking your kallathony back to your mother country India. You too share genetic marker M20 with Tamilnadu Tamils either you can go to Tamilsnadu or Sinhapura in Bengal. The choice is yours.

      I am sure you would remember to take rest of your Sinhalese brother and sisters with you.

      We can negotiate with UN for your painless repatriation back to your mother country.

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        Native Vedda
        You say “However, I also want to get rid of all Sinhalese from my ancestral land.”

        Can you tell me: which community you represent in Sri Lanka?
        Because we can see you are talking for Tamils on behalf of defeated LTTE camp having severe mental agony blend with rival mentality. As neither you nor anybody can say Tamils are the ancestral people in Sri Lanka compared to Sinhala, you are trying to show there is an older community than Sinhalese in this country. Bringing that FAKE point, you are trying to portent Sinhalese are also not owners in this nation like Tamils. Likewise in a foolish and rival manner you are indirectly say both Sinhala and Tamil communities don’t have ownership of this country hence Tamils also can ask separate land !!!!!
        IF YOUR POINT IS THAT, I WILL CHALLENGE YOU. Because I can remember a writer(s) called ‘Sri Lanka Api’ few months ago disprove your point but you have not replied to them (I can still remember their point).

        To bring their point again, I need to ask following mentioned preliminary questions.
        1) Which community you represent in Sri Lanka?
        2) How did you receive ancestral land in Sri Lanka?
        3) In which way?

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          Sarath Silva

          Please refer to all my previous comments.

          “we can see you are talking for Tamils on behalf of defeated LTTE”

          Where the hell did you get this stupid idea?

          “As neither you nor anybody can say Tamils are the ancestral people in Sri Lanka compared to Sinhala, “

          I am not in the business of comparing two very stupid self destructive people. For me both of you are same and both are stupid.

          Who came first to my ancestral land is not the issue here. This island does not belong to both of you. If you prefer, first in first out.

          ” Can you tell me: which community you represent in Sri Lanka?”

          I neither represent Sinhalese nor Tamils, as I am not that stupid to be a Tamil or Sinhalese.

          “having severe mental agony blend with rival mentality.”

          Seriously are you a psychiatrist?

          “you are trying to show there is an older community than Sinhalese in this country.”

          I am not trying show anything, I am merely stating the fact that this island is our ancestral land. Both your Sinhalese and your brethren the Tamils came to my island by Kallathonies and grabbed it from my ancestors. This is what the Mhawamsa says. Buddha cleansed the island for Vijaya and his thugs to colonise my ancestral land. If you haven’t read it please do read it as it has fantastic stories about Vijaya.

          “you are trying to portent Sinhalese are also not owners in this nation like Tamils.”

          I am simply saying Sinhalese and Tamils are not the rightful owners of the island. If you cannot understand tell me how would you like me to explain?

          “Tamil communities don’t have ownership of this country hence Tamils also can ask separate land”

          All what I am saying to both stupid people is please go back to your mother country India.

          “‘Sri Lanka Api’ few months ago disprove your point but you have not replied to them (I can still remember their point).”

          Please ask him to forward the same comment and rest assured he will not be disappointed.

          1)Which community you represent in Sri Lanka?

          I don’t represent any of your community. I am Vedda, Native son of the soil.

          2)How did you receive ancestral land in Sri Lanka?

          I did not receive any land in Sri Lanka but we have lost it to two stupid peoples. According our tradition the land belonged to no one until you people came down to our land and grabbed it from us. My people have been living in the island as far back as 30,000 years ago.

          3)In which way?

          What do you mean?

          Please go back to your mother country Sinhapura in Bengal whnce came Vijaya and his thugs. When you go please take your Tamil brothers and sisters with you and drop them in Tamilnadu.

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    Guys like Justice will never see the truth because they are wearing Tiger brand glasses.Last July I was touring North and met the friendly Tamil residents.They are provided with many facilities and more are being provided. When India constructs 43,000 additional houses housing problem will be no more. Justice still prefers Prabakaran era it appears.

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      Views of yours and your ilk rather help further sinking the state than helping it to be rebuilt.

      How can it be – just leaving contradictory comments means not necessarily that they support Ltters. Along within lanken coalition, there are various thought bearers.

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    Dear Tissa Jayasinghe,
    So sorry.
    I forgot to mention ongoing huma rights violations,also highlighted by the media – assaults,abductions,disappearances,dead bodies being found,rape of women living alone,kidnapping of children for ransom,deaths in custody,stoning of houses of judiciary etc.
    Are you aware of the new law in the process of approval by the provincial councils which will enable the state to divert the wealth of the people in secret to unapproved projects?
    This is the first time,legislation of this kind is being passed, in any democracy.
    The judiciary is under threat,too.
    Your tamil ‘friends’ dare not tell you the truth – they know the comsequences.

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    ……….and I have been visiting the North not only last July , but over 10 times over the past 3 years, 3 to 4 days on each visit and to villages that Tissa Jayasinghe probably does not even know exist. I too have met friendly Tamil residents. But the stories I hear from these friendly Tamil residents are far from the happy stories that he may have heard. Certainly there is no shooting war and people don’t have to deal with the harsh rule of the LTTE nor keep on dodging the bullets, shells, mines, rockets and bombs of the Tigers and the SL forces. But, apart from road building, a priority for quick military movements, but with a spin off advantage for civilians as well, I haven’t seen much that would make the day to day life of civilians even moderately happy. The vast majority of persons are still living in the temporary shelter provided by NGOs, UN tents, churches etc. The drought over the past several months have hit them very hard. Fishing continues to be a problem on the North East coast, the interference of the Army on day to day civilian life is heavy, as I have seen for myself. ……. and I don’t wear Tiger brand glasses either.

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    i tell you i just can’t stand this b*****d. i have never seen an annoying b*****d like him. his looks, his name and everything about him is so annoying.

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    Dear Native Vedda,

    1) You clearly say that you are representing Native Vedda’s community in Sri Lanka. In other word you are from Dambana and your community leader is “Uooruwarige Wannila Aththo”. Isn’t it? If you are representing really them I am happy because you are one of the very few people among Vedda’s community who was able to civilize (stop killing animals as the key job) and obtained the school education. This was a result of the incessant efforts have been making by of all governments in Sri Lanka.

    However I am sorry to say that I cannot personally accept your drama and believe you are representing them due to reasons I mentioned in my previous comments.

    i.e. You are continuously saying ‘both Sinhala and Tamil communities were migrated from India hence both parties don’t have rights to declare the ownership of SL, unlike me (Native Vedda). Applying this point, you are trying to craft a case in fact both Singhalese and Tamils are in the same level. Based on that, you further outlined an argument; Tamils also can request separate nation.

    When you represent Native Vedda’s, it is self explanatory that they cannot obviously be a controlling or threatening body against other communities in the context of political (local or international) hence your efforts WOULDN’T bring any damage for LTTE camp than giving relatively better position to justify their separation. Hence you stand on that point and continuously commenting in favour of LTTE camp pretending like real Native Vedda which is misleading only fools not us.

    2)& 3). Your reply is clear. Please read above section for my reply.

    ******** How to disprove your point as Sinhalese came from India ????

    The community called Sinhala was NEVER lived in another nation in the world including India.

    How did they originate? – 1000’s of years ago a set of MALE people led by King Vijaya arrived to Sri Lanka from India in a boat. At that time there was a lady called Kuveni who was weaving cloths in this land. Afterward, gradually King Vijaya’s team was mixed up with Kuveni’s people and they produced children (new generation). The said generation (community) was named as Sinhala. Similar to other communities in the world, Sinhalese were also originated in this world.

    If anyone is having common sense, he should understand the fact that, King Vijaya’s team comprised with 100% MALES hence they cannot produce children alone.
    Therefore don’t try to say, Sinhalese came to Sri Lanka like other communities LATER. Likewise, everyone should accept and respect the said truth like we respectfully and truthfully say Tamil community was originated in India.

    You say ; “All what I am saying to both stupid people is please go back to your mother country India”

    From my realistic point, your fake argument backfired against Tamils not Sinhalese. But as Sinhalese, we are not racial to ask Tamils to go back to India like you though they came later. NOW COULD YOU REALIZE HOW STUPID AND RACIAL NATURE OF YOUR POINT?

    *** Furthermore I should say; White people went to Australia and killed 1000s of owners of the country called Aborigines and grabbed their soil. Same people did same act against Red Indian’s in America and grabbed their nation. Did Sinhalese do that? Absolutely we didn’t do. Are we not treating Wannila Aththo and his community bad?

    NOTE : Actually I am NOT a racial minded person like ‘Native Vadda’. In fact he is highly unethical because he has been misleading the readers bringing Fake arguments and putting his Falk everyone’s write-ups whilst giving wrong definition to his name. Without bringing said definition to his name if he writes under the name of ‘Native Vadda’ like “Kapuru Hami” (Kapuru represent good smell though his mouth is having bad smell) it is acceptable.

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      Sarath Silva,you say,i quote”f anyone is having common sense, he should understand the fact that, King Vijaya’s team comprised with 100% MALES hence they cannot produce children alone.”,unquote.

      The mahavamsa clearly states that vijaya after banishing Kuveni to the forests,brought down women for himself and his begali crowd from tamilnadu. So there is a heavy tamil element in the sinhalese race.Native veddha is right when he say that the veddas are distinct from the sinhalese,though over the centuries many of them may have gone to sinhala and tamil schools and now call themselves tamils or sinhalese nowadays,but probably could trace their roots to the original inhabitants.

      So don’t try to twist history to show that the Vijaya mob consisted of only men and therefore the veddhas are their descendents. DNA analysis on different parts of srilanka you has found that the low country sinhalese match the DNA of tamils and south indians and the upcountry sinhalese have a 25 percent component of bengali DNA and the rest south indian.The veddas too will have the same DNA alleles as the south indians because srilanka was at one time a part of india before it broke away as a seperate island.The DNA proves that the people of this country are dravidians and not aryans as they claim,albeit though there is a 25% component aryan in the upcountry sinhalese.Some people will have european genes because under 300 years of colonial occupation without their women and no birth control it was bound to happen that our colonial masters would not have been masturbating.

      Native vedda is quite right when he says that if the sinhalese say to the tamils to go back to tamilnadu,then the sinhalese also should go back to south india and bengal and some of them to europe.

      Just because a sinhalese language evolved here that is not in india,does not mean that your origins were not from india.For example many of us are now going to western countries and the children are learning the language there.Does that mean that there origins are from those western countries?language is merely a means of communication and does not convey identity because it can be learnt by anybody.The DNA of course cannot be changed and is conclusive scientific proof of identity.

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        shankar

        There are few points in your comment which contradict available evidence.

        Aryan is a myth created by Max Muller and others to justify colonial rule. Indo Aryan languages exist not Aryan people.

        Dravidian language family exist not the Dravidian race.

        Sarath Silva and his people have problem with their identity. So are the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

        I am sorry I am unable help them as both people are born stupid for generations.

        Their teachers never thought them how to “live and let live”

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    Mr. Sarath Silva

    We salute your factual point.
    ‘Native Vedda’ never can counter attack against your truthful point. He should realize his racial stand at least now…………

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    Ranasinghe

    “Native Vedda’ never can counter attack against your truthful point.”

    I don’t need to counter attack, my people stand witness to the truth.

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    Ha..! Ha..!

    “..I don’t need to counter attack, my people stand witness to the truth…”

    It looks this mischievous brat bundle Native Vedda has finally been hunted down! He has been a pain in the ass for eons poking his nose to comments of others and deflecting the attention form the real issues in the country. He has been trying to sever the link between the ground reality and the inhabitants. As his very assumed name suggests he is a vedda species from the original inhabitants of this country. He tangled with me too in a war some time back but he never answered my questions. Can you answer these questions at least?

    Can you name a few others of your community in Sri Lanka, where they live, what they are doing?
    If as you claim you are an original inhabitant of Sri Lanka how have you discovered it? Have you done a DNA analysis on you to prove that fact–the link between you and “the original native inhabitants”–and what are the findings of the test?
    There are various theories as to the origin and place of origin of human race in the world but none is conclusive. How and where does your native theory fit in that of the world’s theory and are you a different species of humans having a different origin as against the original humans on the earth?

    How practical and sensible is your moronic demand asking all the Tamils and Sinhalese of this country to leave and settle in India because they have no right to stay here? If you and your “natives” are asked to leave Binthanna or whatever place you reside in and settle in say Jaffna Galle or Colombo how practical or sensible is it or are you prepared do that?

    Supposing your argument as true that you belong to the original inhabitants of this land and who were very good, law abiding, truthful, non-violent and one with nature and all that sort of civilized and advanced aspects which you have tried to suggest to us throughout your harangues, what is your response if one were to suggest to you that your people were a quarrelling and warring nation killing each other while India had an advanced, enlightened and civilized culture when considering the fact that India had the cultural moral and spiritual background to produce a Buddha and such a Buddha came to Sri Lanka to resolve disputes and wars between ruling king brothers and other warring factions in your country?

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      Silva

      Have you ever considered reading materials outside Sinhala/Buddhist Mahawamsa history?

      If you are familiar with the writings of scholars who have gone beyond Mahawamsa parameters to explore the historical truth you would not have raised incomprehensible stupid questions glorified by fellow stupid Sinhala/Buddhist Ranasinghe.

      I have took it upon myself to educate the stupid Sinhalese and stupid Tamils on their own history. In the process I have quoted several books and research articles which you people never would have heard or read.

      Please quote reference when you want to categorically argue your historical point.

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    Native [Edited out],

    Who the hell is it who has crept under the petticoat of Sinhala/Buddhist Mahawamsa history except you? I have never mentioned a single word about your morbid Mahawamsa hallucination! You [Edited out], you say, “..I have took it upon myself to educate the stupid Sinhalese and stupid Tamils on their own history..” And I have asked about your credentials, right and identity to embark on such a mission because of your claimed “Native” concept to which you keep on supplying moronic replies! You are like a monkey frolicking on the tree tops exposing its testicles! You better realize at least now in this late stage that it is due to your conceit, poking, dubious and dualistic approach that you have had to face all this insults from other commentators. We feel really sorry for you because you have some valid points which you have messed up when presenting. I suggest that you change your style of presentation which would surely earn you benefits to be happy about!

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