26 September, 2020

Blog

War Euphoria Waning, Minorities And Dissidents Targeted For Electoral Gain

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Speaking Up Together

My bishop, the Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, did us proud declaring today that there has been a complete collapse of democracy in the CJ’s impeachment and that we “as a Christian Church cannot remain silent in this situation. Such silence will be dishonoring to our Lord and a betrayal of our identify as His people.” Similarly UNHCR’s  Navenetham Pillay described it as a “calamitous setback for the rule of law” and warned that Sri Lanka would have serious repercussions at the UNHCR in March. Many Tamils saw these as hopeful signs of escaping from the clutches of the Rajapaksas. When the US dropped Maj. Gen. Sudantha Ranasinghe from a US military programme because of his being in command where war crimes occurred, the Government’s impolitic response that they will go to China, also gave hope that riling the US so would make retribution in Geneva more likely.

The Matale mass grave from 1987-89 with 70 skulls, it is hoped, will convince the Sinhalese that that the massacres 70,000 in Mulivikal and 60,000 from the JVP by our government are but different sides of the same coin and until there is accountability and punishment of those responsible, no one is safe.

Ruki remarks in her chapter on the disappeared cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda that Sandya Ekneligoda has shown increasing concern about Tamils’ problems, and is working with several families of disappeared northern persons. Her efforts have also exposed the new purported CJ who was forced to withdraw before at court his statement to the UN Committee against Torture that Prageeth was living abroad. For her efforts a Deputy Solicitor General has accused Sandya of the “crime” of bringing the country into disrepute! Let us all then be criminals like her. With minorities under attack, Tamils need to make common cause with Sinhalese and Muslims. For minorities include not just other communities but also Sinhalese in exclusion.

Information

We need think-tanks to gather and analyse information and create opinion, whereas now on matters like multi-storey buildings in Jaffna and water from Iranaimadu, opinions we like are stated as fact. The TNA’s website tnapolitics.org is to be welcomed but it needs improvement – news is stale, links do not work and that to donate by bank transfer has no SWIFT code. At the university, holding arts faculty midterms has forced students to return although only two of the four arrested students were released. These students remain adamant that they will not attend lectures after the exams. Their talents may be productively tapped when given trust and autonomy.

Kabir Hashim

Kabir Hashim, Senior VP-UNP, says the Government is turning on minorities and whipping up communalism for electoral gains because the euphoria from winning the war is running out. Again on Tuesday TNA MP Sritharan’s Kilinochchi office was searched and a computer confiscated. TNA sources attribute this harassment to EPDP organizers in Kilinochchi who are vying with him for votes. The name of EPDP MP Chandrakumar repeatedly comes up.

The Sinhalese language is thrown around freely in Jaffna, even by commercial establishments. Advertisements by banks targeting women, children et al. use words like Sisu, Kantha, Jeyasiri. When banks do not care whether their target audience understands, the real message is not commercial but that the Sinhalese are our rulers.  Most offensive are the popular Gunasekera luxury buses from Colombo to Jaffna carrying Sinhalese slogans by Buddhist Sakthi Force proclaiming, “This is our Sinhalese Empire.”

There is also a move to give supposedly historical names to all Tamil villages and they have begun in the East, renaming villages while gerrymandering boundaries to create Sinhalese majority local government councils.

The US-based International Policy Digest, advocating for NGOs, has listed 367 Hindu temples destroyed in Sri Lanka and gives a translation of a notice in Sinhalese by “Sathumeya Communication Mathumeya” that is terrifying the people of Kantharodai. It claims that “Kathurgoda” is the burial site where 60 Buddhist monks died “under” Sankilirajah, that Tamils are forcefully occupying land belonging to the Archeological Department and “It is our utmost duty to reclaim this place” in order to “safeguard Sinhala Buddhist heritage.”

Gunatilleke and Daily News Attack Tamil Academics

A most offensive tirade has been launched by Susantha Gunatilleke (CDN 21st), and an editorial (CDN 22nd), attacking Jaffna academics. They claim that northern academics are complicit in the falsification of archaeological discoveries that cast light on ancient place names; they went into paroxysms of feigned righteous anger against the restoration of law and order in the North; and they never tire of talking of the army seeking to regiment the views of the intellectual community.

The Daily News and Gunatilleke do not want any academic discussion on Tamil Buddhism. Their goal is to suppress knowledge of Tamils having been largely Buddhist and Jain (until  the Saivite crusade of the Thevaram period from the seventh century, vitalized by the Cholas), with our own Epics Manimehalai and Silappathikaram. For then they can argue that anything Buddhist in Sri Lanka is Sinhalese. Gunatilleke is against autonomy for Jaffna’s SLAAS and instead wants Jaffna social scientists to present in Colombo where Gunatilleke and cronies can harangue them into silence.

Their complaints about LTTE thought-police and a few academics joining the LTTE to advance LTTE hegemony are legitimate. But recall that the vast majority of Tamil academics were disengaged and many went so far as to help UTHR gather information and sheltered them as needed. Many others saved Federal Party archives and Amirthalingam’s documents and photographs when the LTTE went about burning these. It is absolutely vulgar for a national newspaper to editorialize as if all Tamil academics worked for the LTTE when many were heroic and some paid the supreme price.

Eating Tamil Meat and Neelan

The Editor and Gunatilleke become exactly like the LTTE when they call Neelan Tiruchelvam an “alleged ‘moderate’,” because in Finland Gunatilleke was asked “at dinner why Sinhalese Buddhists ate Tamil meat,” which he traced “to a book published by the TULF.” That is evidence against Neelan? Mano Ganeshan in a Lakbima interview (15.11.2009) has said there are Sinhalese government politicians who had “gone to the level of eating Tamil flesh,” and certain “Tamil politicians wanted to swim” in Sinhalese blood.” Hijacker Sepala Ekanayake was seen at Welikada  running around with a massacred Tamil prisoner’s head. Other reports say the prisoners were feasted on. There were many savageries in that war with Muslim infants having their heads smashed against a wall by the LTTE and 70,000 civilians directed to shelters and massacred. Photos indicate Sinhalese troops engaged in necrophilia. But what I find unbelievable is that Finns are so insensitive as to ask Gunatilleke if Sinhalese eat Tamil flesh. They are too well-mannered for that; I do not believe him.

Tirade on SK Sitrampalam

Professor Sitrampalam is also virulently attacked for remarks of polemical value he made such as Prabhakaran wanting what Chelvanayagam wanted. Senior VP-FP, he has written extensively on Tamil Buddhism. As an academic he will condemn iniquities whatever their source. Today since it is Rajapaksa who is doing terrible things to Tamils, he will attack Rajapaksa. Likewise in 2006 he was a rare person standing up to the LTTE. When I was appointed VC and LTTE stooges moved a resolution at Jaffna’s University Teachers’ Association to condemn my appointment, Sitrampalam stood up and explained why mine was a legitimate and desirable appointment. The resolution failed. His house was stoned that night and his name-board at the university broken. It is men like Sitrampalam with backbone who hinder the government’s oppressive intents. Hence the attacks.

Elephant Pets

In the midst of these calamities, a farmer in the Mankulam-Mallavi area who has not lost his humor grumbled about his new problem added by the government “as if the war atrocities he suffered are not enough.”The Wildlife Department has released some 18 domesticated elephants with the intention of returning them to the wilds. But they trample his fields and fell his coconut trees and even when he lights crackers to chase them off as he does with wild elephants, they lumber into his compound for food.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    I wonder if another violent Tamil resistance is needed to protect the interests of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. The Rajapaksa regime is on an unstoppable mission to sinhalise the North and the East. Tamil heritage is being slowly but surely destroyed in these areas. As you suggest Prof Hoole the Tamils should join the Muslims and the oppressed sinhalese in overthrowing this racist Rajapaksa dictatorship.

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    Sri Lanka belong to everyone and Sinhalese boards should not offend Tamils.This does not mean Sinhalisation.If Tamils and Muslims can live in any part of the country why a different law for Jaffna.

    Matale mass grave means nothing. It does not have the sexyness of ethnic issue.So all the NGO’s are keeping mum and human rights groups cannot make money on this issue.Still there is no reliable account of how many died during 1988-1989 period.Who cares!

    • 0
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      Dubdoc

      “Still there is no reliable account of how many died during 1988-1989 period.Who cares!”

      I do care for the stupid people of Sri Lanka.

      In this forum and elsewhere I have been demanding independent war crime investigation covering the period from 5th April 1971 to date.

      We have been told or seen rivers of blood flowing in my ancestral since the arrival of asylum seeking Vijaya.

      Enough is enough.

      Relying on foreign NGOs for handout and justice will not help you to dig out the truth.

      It is for you to get up and get out of your cosy room and demand justice for all people. It is your responsibility that you seek truth in NGO’s interest to find it for you.

      The moment NGO start showing some interest in extrajudicial killings, persons like you always glamour for their blood.

      • 0
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        Dubdoc

        Correction:

        It is for you to get up and get out of your cosy room and demand justice for all people. It is your responsibility that you seek truth and not in NGOs’ interest to find it for you.

        • 0
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          Dear Native Vedda,
          I admire you if you demanded justice for the people who died during 1988-1989 period.Many of my friends and colleagues died during that evil period.Some are still missing.
          All my carrier I demanded justice for my patients regardless of their ethnicity.I am not a politician. I did voluntary work for an NGO as a A level student many years ago.I was ashamed by the corruption in the organization and left.
          I am happy to help decent people who work for justice not opportunists (NGO people who thrive on human misery).

      • 0
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        thanks native. if you have any other suggestions pls contact me [Edited out]

        Please don’t share your emails here, some people use others email to place comments. – CT

  • 0
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    The government has lost any semblance of order and direction. Everything is in such a mess. No wonder when the head dabbles in all types of subterfuge, thuggery and corruption. His minions are having a field day making hay while the sun shines. The common factor is that all these crimes are being committed in the name of race and religon.

    How and why race and religon should be used as a weapon against minorities is a good question. Can religon be supported by crimes against humanity. Is religon protected by usurping the rights of others? Can evil beget good? Can a country develop by dividing and enstranging 35% or more of its population?

  • 0
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    I cannot, for the love of … fathom what Hoole is writing here about. It is not an essay but a journey into this, that and the other with no relevance or connection. Is the man losing his marbles?

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    The survival of an extremly unpopular Government depends on creating communal hatred against each other, Looking for evidence of a lost Buddhist heritage in prdominanyly Tamil and Muslim areas to whip up mass hysteria among the majority Sinhalese is one such example.Tamil politicians and academics should foresee these developments of rabble rousers before they flare up into largescale porgrams.Even the most rational of the Sinhalese fall prey to mass hysteria.Under these circumstances the minority tamil and Muslim political leaders have a bigger role to play to counter these bizzare developments.
    1)Not to antoganise the Sinhales by demands of Eelam which is a term associated with the LTTE as it helps the Govt to drive fear into the minds of the Sinhalese easily and make the STATE a military state.
    2) Prevail upon Tamilnadu politicians not to play political pandu with Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem again for the same reason of driving fear into the minds of the Sinhalese.
    3) Prevail upon the Tamil Diaspora to understand the roused emotions of the Sinhalese by cruel utterances of Bodu Bala sena which is only a hidden arm of MR gestapo .
    4)Not to depend much on the INTERNATIONAL community as this attempt once again pushes the Sinhalese towards the Government making attempts of fair minded Sinhala Politicians to resolve the ethnic problem more and more difficult.
    Then what is the alternative path?
    A)TNA,SLMC,Manoganeshan should act as National parties and not communal parties.
    B)Start a dialogue with the Poltical parties in the Opposition.May Day celebrations in Jaffna with the UNP was an enlightened step.Likewise get other opposition parties on board.Join them in protests against the misdeeds of the Govt.
    C) Leave aside the agitation for devolution of power for a moment.This is a question which is made use of to agitate the Sinhalese.These can be taken up after taming of the SHRUE.
    D)Take up common issues of murder not only of the Tamils but also of Sinhalese and Muslims.
    E)Media freedom for all three communities.
    F)Make use of aid that the Tamil and Muslim parties receive to help a few poor Sinhal farmers or fisher folks as token of fair treatment.
    Above all stand up for a COMMON OPPOSITION with a common minimum programme which will bring benefits to all communitie oppressed by this REGIME.
    G)Go for an election with a common agenda signed by Academics, Lawyers,Judges,Teachers and other professional bodies with integrity like the Friday Forum etc.GOOD LUCK

  • 0
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    Prof Hoole, what you have exposed is only few of what is really going on. People are now fade up with this government on the following grounds as you rightly pointed out in your piece of article.

    It is an excellent piece of writing mirroring most of the people in this country

  • 0
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    Professor Hoole’s 10% is already against the Govt.

    UNP Akber is turning his 10% also against the Govt by false allegations of planned programs.

    Add the Elite, the JVP and the non Muslim UNP, it will be at least another 10%.

    That is already half of the total votes at any election in the motherland.

    And the ex General, and ex CJ cheer squad is not even tallied to the total.

    Isn’t it unfair for the Proffessore to accuse Pasiakothis and Dhanapalas for not doing enough.

    Haven’t they been busting their balls in the last two months in particular?.

    Besides why would he want the Geneva MK 11, to take Rajapksa there when our own CJ can try him and get the ex General to punish him.

    Killing 70,000 innocent Hoole’s people is serious stuff.

    And we still have death penalty in our rule book, where as it is taboo in Geneva.

  • 0
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    When I read the Anglican Bishop’s call, I was glad I am a Catholic.

  • 0
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    I would like to make a factual correction to a point asserted by Hoole. He mentions that ‘…Tamils having been largely Buddhist and Jain (until the Saivite crusade of the Thevaram period from the seventh century, vitalized by the Cholas), with our own Epics Manimehalai and Silappathikaram’. This is incorrect.

    Buddhists and Jains never comprised the majority of the Tamil population even prior to the Saivite resurgence of the 7th century. Jainism had deep roots in the Tamil intelligentsia but was still confined to the urban milieu and in scattered monastic communities in rural Tamil Nadu. Buddhism was even more urban in its setting unlike in Sri Lanka where it had deep rural and agrarian roots. Buddhism, unlike Jainism moreover, largely used Pali, Sanskrit and Prakrit in its intellectual discourse, a point witnessed in South Indian commentators on the Pali canon of Sri Lanka. This is not to deny the Buddhist presence in cities such as Kanchipuram and Uraiyur.

    Rural Tamil Nadu in the early centuries of the common era was not ‘majority’ Buddhist or Jain if one were to explore the Sangam era literature. The Jain intellectual imprint can not be denied though given its scholarship in the Tamil Language.

    This said, Dr. Hoole, do continue to deconstruct Susanta Goonetilleke given the latter’s intellectual legitimization of the Rajapakse agenda. You are both academic scientists – so that debate would be a worthwhile one.

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