By S. Sivathasan –
The interview given by Muralidaran to Channel 4, has rustled many a feather. Words apart, is the ease with which he has fallen a victim to the orchestration of the powers that be. Without remorse a whole community has been slandered as being without sense or any sensibility. This has earned him the wrath of everyone, severely affected by the government onslaught, not for days or months or years but for decades.
Having accompanied the UK Prime Minister and being in Jaffna for a few hours, he ventures to set aside all the considered representations of the most responsible spokesmen of the Tamil Community. Who were they? The Chief Minister and political leaders. In one sweep he trashes the agonizing words of the grief stricken mothers and says “these people also can mislead things”. What does Miller say? “Women pleading about the whereabouts of their loved ones, who are still missing”. Miller sees “The distress of these women crying. The unresolved disappearance of their loved ones”. Murali queries nonchalantly “Because of 20 0r 30 mothers crying to me, that means that is the truth”?
So much has he got tethered to the government, he treats the British Prime Minister as trifle. Tell him anything and he will believe. Muralidaran was telling reporters so, says Miller. When pressed he says yes, he was misled. Can a credulous charlatan ever go near Downing Street? He also suggests “anything could happen. So we also doesn’t know the answers”. If it is unknowable, why talk?
The following is a transcript of excerpts from an interview that Jon Snow of Channel 4 had with Muthiah Muralidaran.
Prime Minister David Cameron visits the Colombo Cricket Club. After a few doosras by Murali, Cameron, Miller and Murali walk into a group of boys and girls, purported to be players. Miller says, these young cricketers are drawn from across Sri Lanka. Then he identifies one row seated in pre- arranged order by ethnicity and religion. What we have here – Tamil, Sinhala, Sinhala, Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim (a girl), Tamil, Tamil! Murali affirms
Jon Snow ( JS) Muralidaran had a few things to say about current issues. He was telling reporters that Mr. Cameron was being misled about the condition of Tamils living in the North. …..
JS He (Muralidaran) says that David Cameron is being misled. I went to talk to him further. Muralidaran was in Jaffna with Mr. Cameron. We were besieged by women with letters, pleading about the whereabouts of their loved ones, who are still missing. You think Mr. Cameron was misled?
MM War is a two side battle. Anything could happen. So we also doesn’t know the answers for that. Something nobody will find out. Mothers they coming and crying to you.
JS You think he was misled?
MM What do you mean he was misled?
JS that is what you felt
MM YES IT IS MISLED. (MM’s emphasis by raising his eyebrows and tone)
MM He never came to Jaffna. He never came to Sri Lanka. I don’t know because whether he has come in his younger days. He never came to. He is being told by other people what is happening and what is happening and that is why he wants to go and see Jaffna. Because of twenty thirty mothers coming crying to me, that means that is the truth? You don’t know. Because these people also can mislead things. So it is the truth, very difficult to find. ….
In conclusion Muralidaran said why should we think of the past. Let us talk about the future. He alluded to the loss he suffered in 1977 and how he was able to rebuild.
This statement too has caused ripples. One person’s loss can never match a community’s. A day’s suffering and decades old are not comparable. Collective memory is not erased with the same ease as that of an individual.
Farmers and Cricketers
DS Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of Ceylon was known for his cunning ways. In the late forties he wanted to take Lord Soulbury, the Governor General for a right royal ride. He wanted to impress upon him, how learned even the country’s farmers were. So he took the GG for a drive from Colombo to Kandy, in the same vehicle. At Kegalle as per prior arrangement, the car stopped at the appointed spot. DS clapped his hands and beckoned a farmer tilling his field and clothed in mud to come. He came and DS said GG would like to speak to you. You can speak in Sinhala and I will translate. The farmer said he knew English and spoke to him in fluent English about his genealogy and relatives. GG was greatly impressed. The ‘farmer’ was Sir Edwin Wijeyaratne.
For a nation nurtured in such a culture, composing a purpose built, multi ethnic cricket team comes all too naturally.