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‘Going to Geneva’: TNA in the eye of a political storm

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by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) regarded as the premier political representative organization of the Sri Lankan Tamils has been in the eye of a political storm for the past few weeks.

The TNA which contested the 2010 Parliamentary polls under the House symbol of the “Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi” (ITAK) has been mired in controversy over its recent decision of not going to Geneva in Switzerland where the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has been in progress since February 27th.

A wide view of the 19th session of the Human Rights Council. 2 March 2012. Photo by Jean-Marc Ferré

The controversy arose due to a dilemma faced by the TNA.The issue was about whether the TNA should go to Geneva for the UNHRC session or not. It was a case of ‘Vaa Vaa Geneva ” (come,come Geneva)on the one hand and “Po, Po Geneva” (Go,Go Geneva) on the other. A vacillating TNA oscillated between both options and chose not to go. This decision however caused an unprecedented controversy that threatened to tear the TNA’s fragile unity apart.

The controversy brought to light the deep divisions within the TNA as well as the larger Tamil polity. It also revealed the undue and disproportionate influence exerted by the Tamil Diaspora over matters concerning the Tamils living in the Island. More importantly it exposed the prevalent fault lines in Sri Lankan Tamil politics. It was indeed pathetic to see so-called political leaders and sections of the media emitting lots of hot air and ballooning a virtual non –issue into a major crisis.

It must be emphasized however that the conduct of the TNA was very much to blame in causing this crisis.Being a configuration of different political parties the TNA is plagued by inter-party differences.These are further aggravated by intra-party intrigues and petty rivalry of a personal nature.Despite enjoying the confidence and trust of the Tamil people in the Northern and Eastern provinces the TNA displays an unusual diffidence in dealing with vociferous ultra-nationalist sections of the Diaspora. It is also seemingly weak in countering its vocal warrior opponents and critics in Sri Lanka.

The inherent weakness of the TNA both structurally and functionally became manifestly transparent through the “Going to Geneva” crisis faced by the umbrella front.Through inept handling by the TNA,a minor problem assumed proportions of a major crisis. An issue that was essentially a case of “much ado about nothing” has been allowed to engulf the Tamil political landscape for the past few weeks. Although the floodwaters are now receding the final outcome in Geneva may very well unleash fresh torrents of turbulent waters again. Besides some of the cracks that have appeared may lead to greater splits of the TNA in the future.

What then is the nature of this Geneva –centered political storm that has exposed the fissures and personality clashes within the premier political formation of the Sri Lankan Tamils? What is the background to the current controversy surrounding the TNA?

TNA Parliamentarians at a recent meeting in Mullaitheevu-pic: Tamilwin

RESOLUTION

It all began early this year as the UNHRC geared up for its 19th session scheduled to be held from February 27th – March 23rd in Geneva.There was much speculation that a resolution on Sri Lanka was going to be presented in Geneva. Elements of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)and their fellow travellers in the Global Tamil Diaspora began working themselves up into a frenzy of excitement.

The expectation was that an adverse resolution with drastic implications for the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was on the cards in Geneva.This viewpoint was projected aggressively in the media organs controlled or influenced by LTTE and pro –LTTE elements within the Tamil Diaspora.

A bizarre phenomenon in the aftermath of the LTTE military debacle of May 2009 is the transmogrification of tiger activists in the Diaspora as passionate champions of human rights and ardent advocates of transnational justice.In the perception of these sections, the forthcoming Geneva conclave was going to be a political waterloo for Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The mainstream Tamil media in Sri Lanka that faithfully echoes the global Tamil media in many matters began reflecting this line of thought domestically.Thus extravagant hopes of an unrealistic nature about the scheduled Geneva UNHRC session were building up amidst sections of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and abroad.

The Tiger and pro-Tiger sections of the Diaspora forged schemes of creating a spectacle in Geneva in a bid to impress their ”funding” constituency. The competition among rival segments in the Diaspora fuelled these plans further. Elaborate plans to stage demonstrations in Geneva with LTTE flags and Prabhakaran portrait placards were drawn up.

International Human rights organizations were shocked. They pleaded with these elements at a personal level to refrain from going to Geneva. They pointed out that the protests and demonstrations envisaged by Tamil activists had little impact on member states of the UNHRC.It was lobbying in the corridors of power that was crucial.Moreover visible identification with LTTE symbols could prove counterproductive, it was stated.

All these well-intentioned entreaties amounted to playing the violin to a deaf elephant or in this case the tiger. The Tamil Diaspora tiger elements were in no mood to keep away from Geneva. Tamil politics today has degenerated into empty showmanship and games of one upmanship. With prospects of a harsh resolution against Sri Lanka being in the air it was necessary for these outfits to mark a visible appearance in Geneva. That way they could claim a share of the credit and convert that advantage into garnering more funds from the Diaspora.

OVERTURES

Against this backdrop there were many overtures to the TNA that the party should attend the Geneva UNHRC sessions. Almost every TNA Parliamentarian maintains some level of contact with Diaspora organizations and influential individuals. It was at this personal level that approaches were made to the TNA.It must be noted that the invitations extended were unofficial. There was no official invitation to the TNA from circles that mattered.

The Diaspora invitations had an ulterior agenda. Despite all the sound and fury most Tamil Diaspora organizations and groups have very little clout in International fora.Their access and contacts are rather limited. Government officials of Western nations and accredited office-bearers of International organizations prefer to deal with elected Tamil politicians from Sri Lanka as opposed to self-styled community leaders of the Diaspora.

In this situation enticing the TNA into undertaking a trip to Geneva would provide the Diaspora organizations involved in the exercise a thin veneer of respectability. By associating with the TNA in lobbying at international fora such as the UNHRC conclave the Diaspora organizations could bask in reflected glory.Thus the Tamil Diaspora organizations strove diligently to get the TNA visit Geneva in a bid to enhance their credibility.

Not that the TNA required much wooing in this regard. It is now a standing joke among Tamil circles that Sri Lankan Tamil political leaders cannot resist a foreign trip if the expenses are paid for by other sources.Like their counterparts in Tamil Nadu who support the LTTE these politicians are ever ready to go on an overseas trip under the pretext of promoting the Tamil cause.

There was also another motivating compulsion. With the USA initiating efforts directly the chances of a resolution on Sri Lanka seemed inevitable.So like Diaspora elements some members of the TNA also wanted to claim or share credit for it. For that a physical presence in Geneva was essential. It was basically a playing to the gallery scenario. Showing off was the name of the game and many MP’s of the TNA were ready to play it.

SENATHIRAJAH

The TNA parliamentary group consisting of thirteen MP’s met in Colombo on February 9th. The idea of going to Geneva was mooted and discussed. To his credit senior Parliamentarian Somasundaram Senathirajah also known as “Maavai” Senathirajah dismissed the suggestion saying ” what can we achieve by going to Geneva?”Senathirajah’s observation was a candid assessment of the actual situation as there was really no constructive role for the TNA or any Tamil political party to play in Geneva. This was why no Tamil political party had in the past gone to Geneva.

Senathirajah’s position had a mixed reception. While some agreed others disagreed. Many advanced reasons in favour of going to Geneva while some put forward arguments to the contrary.The meeting concluded without any firm decision being taken.It was expected that a final decision would be reached in another meeting.

The TNA’s official spokesperson Kandiah Premachandran however had a different tale to tell the media.Premachandran known as Suresh the nom de guerre he gained as a militant of the Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)was quoted by the media on the 10th that the TNA would be going to Geneva although the decision was yet to be confirmed. News reports also stated that a five member TNA delegation to Geneva would be finalized.

“Suresh” Premachandran’s official version was incorrect and did not reflect the actual situation.It may well have become true subsequently and the TNA could have gone to Geneva but the position was not so at the time it was stated. In fairness to Premachandran it must be said that some other TNA leaders also began speaking of going to Geneva but it was the official spokesperson’s announcement that carried weight.

The TNA hierarchy did not correct the wrong information released by Suresh Premachandran. This has been the case in earlier instances too particularly regarding the talks with the Govt. Although there is a deadlock at present there is no denying that significant progress had been made in many matters in the past. But the TNA official spokesperson would tell the media no progress had been made and undermine the importance of talks. The TNA has failed to check this irresponsible tendency on the part of Premachandran.

ANNOUNCEMENT

News reports stating the TNA would be going to Geneva aroused the ire of Government circles. Media reports critical of the TNA began appearing. Chief among them was one which said the TNA links to LTTE terrorism would be disclosed by the Govt in Geneva.With orchestrated protests mounting in Sri Lanka against the proposed resolution in Geneva the TNA announcement of going to Geneva added further fuel to the fire.

It was at this juncture that two key officials from the US state department arrived in Colombo. They were Marie Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, and Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary in the State Department for Central and South Asian Affairs.

Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, spoke at the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland March 2, 2012. U.S. Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers

Otero and Blake met TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and National list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran on February 12th. Many matters were discussed. At one stage the question of the TNA going to Geneva came up. Both Otero and Blake were not in favour of such a move. They said no useful purpose could be served by the TNA going to Geneva and urged the party to seek ways and means of resuming the stalled dialogue on Constitutional reform with the Government.

After the American duo left Sri Lankan shores the TNA leader Sampanthan aided by Sumanthiran exchanged views with some diplomats stationed in Sri Lanka on the issue of going to Geneva. These were officials from European and Asian nations. They too were of the opinion that the TNA should keep away from Geneva.

The Sampanthan-Sumanthiran duo continued with the task of seeking further advice on the issue from other knowledgeable circles including human rights activists, NGO officials,academics and media personnel familiar with the UN environment in Geneva. Their intention was to obtain as much information as possible before arriving at an informed decision.

After obtaining this input Sampanthan decided that there was no need for the TNA to go to Geneva at that point of time. This did not mean that the TNA had no legitimate basis for going to Geneva.It was Sampanthan’s position that the TNA being the democratically elected premier representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamil people had every right to be present at all venues or occasions where issues concerning the Tamils were being discussed.

GENEVA

The veteran Parliamentarian from Trincomalee district with decades of experience in negotiations and canvassing was also of the view that the TNA had every right to participate in Geneva sessions concerning the human rights situation in Sri Lanka just as President Mahinda Rajapaksa and cabinet minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara had done so in the past during the rule of President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

The reason that Sampanthan was not in favour of going to Geneva was because he could see that there was no worthwhile task for the party to accomplish there. He was opposed to the optical gimmick of being in Geneva without any worthwhile role to play

Sampanthan drafted a statement announcing that the TNA would not be going to Geneva. He intended convening the TNA parliamentary group and seeking its endorsement of the draft embodying the decision of not going to Geneva. There was however was a practical problem as the MP’s were scattered in the Island and abroad.

Finding it difficult to get all MP’s to meet in Colombo , the TNA leader resolved to communicate with them individually and seek their consent.So TNA leader Sampanthan assisted by Sumanthiran began contacting their parliamentary colleagues one by one in terms of seniority.

The senior most MP Senathirajah was not telephoned as he was then receiving medical treatmentat a Trichy hospital in Tamil Nadu.Besides the Jaffna district MP had already indicated his opposition to the idea of going to Geneva.The next to be contacted was Suresh Premachandran also in Tamil Nadu at that time.

SURESH

When Sumanthiran called Suresh in the presence of Sampanthan and conveyed the decision about not going to Geneva, the EPRLF leader was taken aback. Since he had jumped the gun and prematurely announced that the TNA was going to Geneva his personal credibility was at stake.Suresh said that he felt the TNA should go to Geneva and asked Sumanthiran to seek the consent of other MP’s on the matter.

Suresh Premachandran also said that there was no need to issue a statement at that point of time. He pointed out that the UNHRC session would continue till March 23rd and that there would be adequate time to convene a Parliamentary group meeting and take a final decision. Suresh requested that the decision not be announced until the MP’s met in person and decided.

Sumanthiran then contacted Wanni district MP and Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization(TELO)leader Adaikkalanathan alias Selvam who was also in Tamil Nadu at that time and informed him of the decision. Selvam Adaikkalanathan then spoke directly to Sampanthan.The TELO leader was in agreement with the decision but wanted it endorsed by all other TNA Parliamentarians.

Sampanthan and Sumanthiran then contacted the other MP’s one by one.The MP’s were told that there was no direct invitation to the party to address the UNHRC. The only way for an MP to address the UNHRC was to represent an accredited NGO that is given given an opportunity to address the council.Even if that were possible the MP’s could not represent the TNA but only the NGO concerned.Even then the time limit to speak was only three minutes.

Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake answering questions via Twitter on Feb 28, 2012

So there was no useful role for the TNA to play except perhaps participate in discussions organized as side events.Other than that the TNA could only hang out in the UN Corridors or warm seats and palates in the cafetrias , the MP”s were told.

The TNA parliamentarians were also told of the viewpoints of diplomats and officials including Otero and Blake that the TNA should not go to Geneva.

VOLATILE

The situation in Sri Lanka was also discussed. All the MP’s agreed that the situation was becoming volatile as organized protests over Geneva were being widely held. In such a tense climate there was no urgent necessity to go to Geneva and possibly worsen the situation further.

Thus through a series of telephone discussions the opinion of all MP’s were obtained. Twelve of thirteen MP’s including Senathirajah were of the same mind in not going to Geneva for the UNHRC session. Attempts were made to contact Premachandran but the MP busy with a schedule of meeting state level opposition leaders from the CPI (Marxist) CPI and Bharatiya Janata Party could not be reached immediately.

Although it had been agreed that party leader Sampanthan would issue a statement on behalf of the TNA announcing the decision on Geneva,there was a delay as Premachandran was yet to be contacted. Events however began overtaking.

In a breach of party discipline Batticaloa district parliamentarian P.Ariyanenthiran fired off like a loose cannon. He told an FM Radio that the TNA would not be going to Geneva and that all MP”s subscribed to this party decision.

With Ariyanenthiran’s premature announcement the TNA hierarchy was constrained to issue an official statement on the matter before consulting Premachandran a second time. This Sampanthan did on February 25th in a short concise statement that laid emphasis on potential violence occurring as the primary reason for not going to Geneva.. This is what the statement said in this regard–

“The Tamil National Alliance genuinely fears that if the present unstable situation continues, violence could recur and the civilian population could again be the victims.The Tamil National Alliance considers it imperative that in the present situation calm should be maintained, and that nothing should be done which could exacerbate tensions.In these circumstances The Tamil National Alliance has decided not to be present in Geneva”.

The TNA statement that it would not be going to Geneva had a mixed response with some welcoming it and others criticizing it. The biggest bombshell however came from Suresh Premachandran its official spokesperson.

“THAMIZHOSAI”

Premachandran in Tamil Nadu told the BBC Tamil service “Thamizhosai” that he did not agree with the decision. He said that the TNA MP’s had not been consulted on the matter and openly accused Sampanthan and Sumanthiran of arriving at this decision without party approval.He said he would take up this issue after returning to Sri Lanka in due course.

The significance in Suresh Premachandran’s statement to the BBC Tamil service was that for the first time the EPRLF leader had come out in the open and reprimanded the TNA leader Sampanthan. It was an open revolt.Suresh Premachandran’s open criticism sent shock waves down the TNA rank and file and also its overseas support base.

The internal divide within the TNA became more apparent when the Jaffna based “Uthayan” and Colombo based “Sudar Oli” ran simultaneous editorials chiding the TNA for not going to Geneva. Both newspapers are owned by TNA Jaffna District MP E.Saravanabavan.

TNA leader Sampanthan at a meeting in Vavuniya-Feb 2012

TNA leader Sampanthan had earlier come under severe criticism for nominating Saravanabavan on the TNA list as the latter had incurred a bad reputation through his connections to the now defunct Sabra organization. Sampanthan had deflected the criticism by pointing out the benefits to the party in getting support from the local “press baron”.

Contrary to Sampanthan’s expectation ,Saravanabavan’s newspapers have been systematically and shamelessly promoting their owner throughout the electoral campaign and after. The TNA as a party received very little support thougfh a few favourites of Saravanabavan had coverage.Now it was obvious from the “Uthayan” and “Sudar Oli” editorials that the local “Lord Beaverbrook”had a hidden agenda of his own.

WEB SITES

An overseas media attack was also launched against Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. It was initially spearheaded by a Tamil website close to Premachandran.Many of the TNA Parliamentarians have links to Tamil websites operated by activists in the Diaspora. These sites are used to promote some TNA leaders and denigrate others depending upon the partiality of the websites.So several websites started criticizing Sampanthan and Sumanthiran.

In a separate development ,Batticaloa district MP Ariyanenthiran who had said earlier that the party MP’s had resolved not to go to Geneva changed his stance and became critical of the decision. He contradicted his earlier statement to the FM radio and said the MP’s had not been consulted by the TNA leadership.In typical doublespeak Ariyanenthiran also said he was confident that the TNA leader would not commit mistakes.

TNA national list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran was now interviewed by the BBC Tamil service.He refuted Suresh Premachandran’s accusations and stated that the TNA decision was not taken unilaterally and that TNA parliamentarians had been consulted and had endorsed the decision.Despite Sumanthiran’s explanation the attacks against him and Sampanthan continued.

Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries of Sri Lanka addresses High-Level Segment of the 19th session of the Human Rights Council. 27 February 2012. Photo by Jean-Marc Ferré

Government circles welcomed the TNA decision of not going to Geneva.Cabinet minister Mahinda Samarasinghe in Geneva interpreted the TNA stance as a vindication of Sri Lanka’s position. Douglas Devananda chipped in with his own contribution.

The Govt response evoked a predictable reaction amidst Tamil opponents and critics of the TNA. The premier Tamil party was now vilified as betraying Tamil interests and working on the sly to bail out the Rajapaksa regime in Geneva. As usual the vocal warriors of the Tamil Diaspora began blaming India as being responsible for the shift in the TNA stance.

Tamil politicians who plugged a shameless pro-LTTE line at the 2010 Parliamentary polls and thoroughly trounced are now trying to make a comeback by adopting a hawkish stance on issues and berating the TNA for toeing a comparatively moderate line. Likewise certain self- styled civil society activists are also ganging up against the TNA with an entirely different agenda. Extremist elements in the Diaspora are also opposed to the TNA for its soft political approach and want it to adopt a confrontational strategy with Colombo.

ONSLAUGHT

All thes elements now commenced a bitter onslaught against the TNA.Influential sections of the Tamil media within and outside Sri Lanka began to mount a campaign against Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. It was indeed pathetic to see the lack of political knowledge or analytical thinking in the criticism levelled. A lamentable ignorance of international relations and the mechanics of International bodies like the UN HRC was blatantly visible. The underlying theme of this anti-TNA tirade was that the TNA by keeping away from Geneva had scuttled chances of an anti-Sri Lanka resolution at the UNHRC.

The tone and content of the anti-TNA criticism provides a fascinating insight into the lack of pragmatism and rational thinking in dominant strands of Tamil political discourse. The proponents of the politics of confrontation that culminated in the debacle of Mullivaaikkaal now seem to be trying to perpetuate Tamil agony further by adopting hawkish approaches.

The TNA leadership was further rattled by several representations made at a personal level from prominent Tamils in Sri Lanka and abroad. They wanted the TNA to revise its position and go to Geneva.Diaspora Tamils were stridently critical of the TNA.

An immense volume of electronic mails were exchanged among Diasora Tamils comdemning the TNA.As is usual many of these mails alleged that Sampanthan had been bought over by the Government.

The sustained criticism against it compelled the TNA leadership to publicize the contents of a letter it had sent to all 47 member states of the UN Human Rights Council. The letter signed by R Sampanthan on behalf of the TNA urged support for the envisaged resolution on Sri Lanka.The letter concluded with these salient paragraphs –

“We observe that at the upcoming 19th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a Resolution will be tabled that will declare that the government of Sri Lanka has not yet done enough to implement the recommendations of the LLRC, and will comprehensively address the issue of accountability.

You are aware that the Sri Lankan government has consistently failed to abide by its commitments and to implement recommendations made by Commissions appointed by the government.

This Resolution will provide an opportunity for the fulfillment of the commitments repeatedly made by the government of Sri Lanka, and now contained in the recommendations of the LLRC, and thereby for the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people”.

Mavai Senathiraja and M.A. Sumanthiran at a meeting in Jaffna, Mar 5, 2012

SUMANTHIRAN

The publication of the letter sent to member states of the UNHRC helped to reduce the venomous criticism against the TNA to some extent. The criticism however continued.MA Sumanthiran regarded as the rising star of the TNA was also singled out as a target and described as a Tamil traitor..In a crude manifestation of the anti-Sumanthiran trend,an effigy of the National list MP was hung within the premises of the Jaffna university.

Apparently a motley crew consisting of a Professor emeritus, Jaffna dist MP, goons of a half-democratic party and some members of an anti-TNA students organization had been responsible. Diverse sections had combined to “hang Sumanthiran high”.

With the return of Suresh Premachandran to Sri Lanka the Tamil grapevine began to hum with tales of an impending split in the TNA. Premachandran himself began to contact fellow MP’s and canvass support for a trip to Geneva.

A story began circulating that Premachandran would defy party diktat and go to Geneva in the company of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader Veerasingham Anandasangaree and Peoples Liberation organization of Tamil Eelam(PLOTE) leader Dharmalingam Siddharthan.

Meanwhile “Mavai” Senathirajah and Selvam Adaikkalanathan also returned to Sri Lanka. Together with Jaffna district MP Sivagnanam Sreetharan, Mavai Senathirajah began to head a counter campaign in support of Sampanthan. While several MP’s adopted eel like postures,showing their heads to the snake and tails to the fish , both Senathirajah and Sreetharan firmly and openly supported the party decision of not going to Geneva.

BAMBALAPITIYA

It was in such a tense political atmosphere that the TNA parliamentary group met on March 2nd at the party office in Bambalapitiya. All 13 MP’s of the TNA were present. The meeting began at 2.30 pm and went on for six hours till 8.30 pm.There was much speculation that the fateful parliamentary group meeting would result in a fragmentation of the Tamil National Alliance.

The terse press release issued by the TNA did not divulge any information about the schisms and differences of opinion within the party.Instead it simply stated the following-

“The Parliamentary group of the Tamil National Alliance met today. All members if Parliament of the TNA were present. There was a free and full exchange of views.

The parliamentary group of the TNA unanimously resolved to monitor all developments at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting at Geneva and will continue to take all such action as will be necessary in the interests of the Tamil people.

We request the Tamil people to continue to repose their confidence in us”.

If the TNA press communiqué was to be believed the current controversy was of no account and amounted to a mere tempest in a tea cup. Despite the understandable efforts by the TNA leadership to gloss over recent developments and patch up prickly issues in a bid to maintain party unity the reality was starkly different

NEXT: Troubles of the Tamil National Alliance

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at Email: djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com

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38 Comments

  1. Tamils whether individual or as a political Party in Sri lanka have no freedom or safety.Still there are incidious deaths of ordinary and prominant Tamils who voice a little for there people.

  2. DBSJ, Well done.

    TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and National list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran are the Tamil leaders now. Sampanthan knows Tamil issue well from SJV and A. Amirthalingam. One Thing I can say that V.Prabhakaran got the money from Diaspora and listened half heartily these Diaspora and lost his life and left Tamils in the shore of Nanthikadal.

    TNA or TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan and National list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran should not listen to these Diaspora. If they listen, same fate will happen to Tamils and to them as well.

    Kandiah (Suresh Mandian group blood soaked hand) Premachandran can not be ever our Tamils leader.

    Confrontational politics has not worked last 60 years and did not bring anything to Tamils. So learn from mistakes and work with what is practical and when the time evolve we can get almost what we want is to be equal to all the citizen of this country.

    Engage the talk with Sinhala extremists as well other Sinhala political parties to make them understand Tamils issue. (Vera vasanam never help) ( Hope DBS translate this for me )
    Theepan

  3. There is an surprising silence om the news media including Maharaja;s TV channel and in the news papers about the motion against the Rajapakse regime in Geneva in Sri Lanka at this time particularly observed by the UNP under Ranil Wickramaisnghes dictate. No doubt the Rajapakse regime is lying low and has asked all to be silent except a few of their mouth pieces.
    Ranil seems to be supporting the Rajapakse again rather than behaving like a responsible head of the opposition. The UNP should be trying to educate the people on the fact that the US led motion is not against the people of Lanka but against the failure of the Rajapakse regime to restore democratic institutions and reconciliation 3 years after the end of the war.
    An opportunity to tell the people that the Geneva motion is in fact in the best interests of democracy and the people of Lanka in the long run is being lost by a dishonest and undemocratic opposition leader Ranil W at this time.
    The UNP really must be rescued from Ranil if Sri Lanka is to regain any kind of democracy. He has also asked all UNP members not to discuss the subject until the May parliament debate – what a joke Ranil is!

  4. The TNA should tell the Diaspora to take a hike and channel efforts for a amicable settlement through India. India, like any nation, will work towards its own interests, however, it’s in India’s interests for SL Tamils to receive a reasonable political settlement. Following the Diaspora’s political establishment and its carbon copy LTTE mentality will not achieve anything.

    While it’s important for the government to acknowledge and apologize for the massacre it perpetrated on the Vanni Tamils in order to defeat the LTTE, it’s equally important for the TNA and Diaspora to do the same in regards to the LTTE’s terrorism and fascism. Tamils, especially the Diaspora, turned a blind eye to LTTE crimes in pursuit of Tamil Eelam. It was immoral and hollowed out what was a legitimate struggle for political rights. Similarly, the Sinhalese need to admit the crimes against humanity ordered by their political establishment and carried out by the military. It’s expected when the government claims that no or a very few civilians were murdered. Governments regularly lie, power centers use lies for control, but it’s disgraceful when the masses swallow such an absurd claim.

  5. Sections of the Tamil diaspora and certain elements in the TNA who are not of the TULF are trying to outbid each other for leadership of the Lankan Tamil constituency.Tamil parliamentarians understandably when the LTTE ruled the roost had to keep a low profile out of fear for their lives,but now with the the LTTE becoming kaput they have arrived on stage to strut their presence and importance.

    Meanwhile the TNA according to a news item appearing in the Lanka Truth which is JVP oriented is said to be discussing arrangements for staging a mass struggle against the government in conjunction with the UNP against the background of rising prices,spread of lawlessness,impunity,unaccountability and corruption which has become endemic in the country.

    If there is any truth in the said news item then, it only serves to establish the fact that the Tamils nor their leaders they have elected, have learnt the lessons of history and are therefore fated to undergo the same unsavoury experiences they underwent every time they relied on the UNP as they did in 1977 and before that.

    Not that the SLFP is different.Both UNP & SLFP have a substantial sensitivity to the prejudices,fears and proclavities of their majority constituency and should not be misunderstood if pandering to those virtues provide the membership of those parties the desired dividends on being elected to office.This is the story of Lanka in short..let saner counsel prevail, if the TNA is to become a credible force not just for the North & East but the whole country it must be ready to outgrow it’s insularity and speak out boldly on behalf of all people of the island as Sam implied in a recent interview to a correspodent.

  6. The vociferous hard line advocacy of the few thousand expatriate Tamils is hardly the voice of Tamil diaspora. The traditional indifference of well-meaning majority Tamils has taken root overseas also.

    The majority chooses to take a lethargic attitude towards the conduct and advocacy of the fringe Group(s).

    TNA is not under the influence of any of the fringe Groups. I’d say that TNA treads with intelligible prudence.

  7. This is a truly excellent insight into how things go wrong. Trapped between the extremist Diaspora and this extremist gvt, the fate of sober elements in the TNA can be empathised with since the fate of the ordinary Sri Lankans are also similar.

  8. Thank you DBS for a very informative article which sheds light on the politics within the TNA at present. Only you could have come up with such interesting & informative content. This has certainly put things in perspective with regards to the TNA.

    Thanks again for such a well written article.

    Regards Jazz.

  9. This is no surprise for our Jaffna people “Lord Beaverbrook” had a hidden agenda of his own. It is colossus mistake of Sampanthan to nominate Saravanabavan to TNA list. When Sabra organization went busted, Saravanabavan conveniently placed all the blame on his brother in law Balasubramaniam and escaped from any wrong doing although he was the General Manager for Northern District. He was the second man in charge for Sabra.

    If ever TNA fails or the sentiments of our Tamil people change Saravanabavan will not hesitate to distance himself from TNA and join with Government or form NEW party. He is the most influential man among the Government circle. Did we ever think how? & Why?

    Before it is too late, Sampanthan should call the shot. Media tycoon (& real Estate tycoon too) could destabilize the TNA or speculate unwanted news through his media or harm the aspiration of the Tamil people for his personal benefits. He should be removed from TNA at this crucial juncture for Tamil people.

    Weather we agree or disagree with TNA, TNA IS “THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE” for Tamils. Let’s strengthen their hands and stand united.

    Let’s us not forget that when Srilanka achieved it’s peaceful independence from British Empire, Sinhalese Elite told the Tamil Elite, first let’s together get rid of the British Empire and we will give you equal rights. Sixty four years have passed since then.

    This time, after sixty one years in 2009, Sinhalese (not the Elite) told the Co-Chair countries, USA, EU, Norway and Japan let’s destroy the LTTE together and then we offer a Political Solution to Tamils. The promise to resolve the Tamils aspiration is now on international level! Three years have passed and not a sign of any Political Settlement.India should have known this.

    And,once again the Buddhist monk started beating the Tamils.

  10. DBSJ,

    Thanks. I am heartened that there is an on-going debate within the TNA. I hope this debate will lead to an outcome that would be relevant to the circumstances of the Tamils living in Sri Lanka- particularly in the north and east. The TNA should shed expediency and adopt a ethical, objective and pragmatic stance on behalf of a people who have no leadership worth its name at the moment of their greatest need.

    When I heard the news yesterday that three soldiers were shot dead in Chavakachcheri, my heart missed several beats. The ‘Who’ did it question was worrying in terms of possible consequences, until the details emerged indicating inter-soldier dispute as the cause. Three years after the war is not a long time. Wounds are yet healing and can be easily re-opened. There are elements on both sides of the communal divide who will jump at such an opportunity.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    The stance and accompanying noise of some elements in the Diaspora and the media are creating a misconception that the they are larger than life and reflect the opinion of the Tamils here. Thanks for exploding this hot air baloon.

  11. A lamentable ignorance of international relations and the mechanics of International bodies like the UN HRC was blatantly visible.

    ————————————

    This is true to both sinhala & tamil ultra nationalists. Aren’t all of them similar?

    ===========================
    The proponents of the politics of confrontation that culminated in the debacle of Mullivaaikkaal now seem to be trying to perpetuate Tamil agony further by adopting hawkish approaches.

    —————————————–

    Words of wisdom, only men/women with ears can hear !

  12. TNA should remain in SL and be silent.

    The US resolution has a very good probability of passing.

    TNA presence in Geneva will not increase or decrease that probability.

    But the mind set of the Sinhalese on the eve of the resolution being passed by the US is hysterical, similar to the hysterical mind set of the Tamils on the eve of the US listing the LTTE as a terrorist organisation.

    Given the similarity of the hysterical mindsets of the two communities any association with the US or their resolution at the present time will be interpreted as traitorous by the Sinhalese.

    So its best the TNA remains in SL and be silent, as there is nothing they can do or say, that will alter the present trajectory, but the power of silence would stand them in good stead for the future.

    Perhaps they should engage in mass religious activities all over the island, to help lift the fog from Sri Lanka????

  13. I thin in a way it is a blessing in disguise these guys didn’t go to to Geneva.They would have messed things up.
    (a)As Senathirajah said what would they have achieved? when there is their infighting and lack of common policy and approach
    (b)staying away is also seen as Tamils, (terrorist for some)not trying to influence the IC
    (c)Mahinda and co are doing the necessary damage any way
    (d)leave it to the Tamil Diaspora and other non political organizations who can articulate better? guys like Pakiasothy Saravanamutu etc had fringe meetings
    (e)Sumanthiran stayed away as he was not required to represent the GOSL?

  14. A very informative article appropriately timed. Thanks and congrats DBS.It was a wise decision by RS & MAS not to Genevafy for a number of reasons. It prevented a backlash against the Tamils in SL. TNA’s presence in Geneva would have been counterproductive in that this would have embarassed several Govts and NGOs supportive of the US Resolution.TNA itself would have been embarassed to be in the company of Pro LTTE members of the diaspora. One must not forget that six out of the eleven allegations of HR violations have been levelled against the LTTE by the UN’s POE.Moreover, the GOSL and TNA are still ‘talking’; and a lot of post conflict isues that confront the Tamils such as restoration of civil administration, proper resettlement if IDPs are on the discussion table. Diplomacy is one thing and playing politics is another. Defeated candidates out of frustration and leading ‘independant’ Tamil TV stations in Colombo for their survival( OR MALICIOUS MISCHIEF)may unreasonably attack TNA leadership. I think it is a mature well considered decision that should be welcomed by the Tamil people.

  15. ALL THESE BIG TALK AND FIGHTING IS NOT ABOUT GENEVA BUT ABOUT WHO WILL BE THE CHIEF MINISTER CANDIDATE FOR NORTHERN PROVINCIAL COUNCIL.PORAMAI CHANDRAN WANTS HIM TO BE THE CANDIDATE AND OTHERS WANTS C.V.K.SIVAGANAM.AND ALSO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ENGLISH SPEAKING SAMPANTHAR ,SUMANTHERAN AND TAMIL ONLY SPEAKING PORAMAICANDRAN AND ADAIKALNATHAN GROUP AND BROKEN ENGLISH SRAVANAPAVAN AND SRITHARAN.ALL EGO PROBLEMS AMONG THEM.

  16. The splitting of parties is unfortunately a particular feature of SL politics. Particularly when the party is small and not in a ruling coalition. Without power SL politicians go mad. With power, well…..

  17. It is now a standing joke among Tamil circles that Sri Lankan Tamil political leaders cannot resist a foreign trip if the expenses are paid for by other sources.

    Sinhala political leaders likewise cannot resist a foreign trip if the expenses are paid for by poor taxpayers. That is why the Sinhalese do not consider it to be a joke!

  18. “MA Sumanthiran regarded as the rising star of the TNA”

    http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=17263

    He is genius including his diplomacy that “The TNA took a decision not to be present in Geneva because we have no place there… We are political party and we are part of the state structure here… We can canvass certain positions but we did not want to do that because we are part of this country and we don’t want anything against Sri Lanka”.

    Next one year is also challenging for TNA and GOSL to fulfilling Tamils’ aspirations.

  19. Suresh Premachandran might be prompted by his desire to become the leader of TNA in the absence of Mr.Sampanthan.This may be the reason for his targetting Sumanthiran who is a newcomer to politics with a legal background brought in by Sampanthar to fill the gap of Gajendran Ponnampam.This is why I think Suresh wanted to register TNA as a political party soon.However whilst Suresh lacks the all round qualities including an educational level(here I am not talking about the quality of most of the politicians in the majority parties but what most of the Tamils expect), fearing that Sumanthiran might spoil his aspiration.But Sumanthiran too will not fit in the Leader slot since he is more of an NGO type person brought up in Colombo who lacks real knowledge of Tamil politics, Tamil traditions,literature art and culture.

  20. i hope that tamil national alliance stands together despite the differences.world awaits with bated breath on united states resolution on srilanka which calls for accountability during the last days of the war.we tamils where ever we are should be united and await the outcome of human rights council meeting till 23rd march.i beg to differ with you on 2009 parliamentary elections jey.it was not pro tamil tigers sentiment which was running very high rather it was concern for tamils who were killed mercilessly despite the fact that they were assured of their safety in no fire zone.subsequent act of rajapakshe government did not inspire tamils worldwide.rather than embarking on reconcilliation between two communities it fanned the ethnic flame with any eye on elections.if rajapakshe government had been sincere in rehabilitation efforts situation would not have come to pass.parties in tamil nadu irrespective of their ideological orientation even congress which is the ruling party at centre its unit in tamil nadu has called for support to american resolution in unhcr.rajapakshe government should shed its chauvinistic postures and support real reconciliation.it should implement 13th amendment with full land and police powers,stop sinhalese colonisation and building of buddhist viharas.sinhalese have to realise that any resolution or stand against srilanka is not against their community and it should shed its paranoid mindset if not they will only regret at a later stage.

  21. Is there any relevance or influence of the pro LTTE Diaspora faction to the current social and economic situation in Srilanka?.

    Very little and it is also confined to the opportunistic political parties . who are hell bent on ousting the current regime.

    Economic growth and it’s associated growth in employment are the main elements which will deliver social and financial equality to the great majprity.

    Although it will take a considerable length of time , the current trends indicate that it is certainly possible if the programs in place in Infrastructure and Economic develelopment are continued..

    The majority of the Sinhala population , who are rural poor have recognized this reality and they will support these programs to continue without any interruptions , whether they are initiated by local or overseas elements.

    Despite the false propaganda and fear campaigns of the TNA and its alliy the Diaspora ,the poor and the displaced have been getting on with their lives in the East and the North.

    Batti, has become a bustling mini city.And it only took few years.

    Give Jaffna the same length of time, and it will certainly gain the pre LTTE status as a strong Economic and Business centre, although it may not be the same as what it used to be ,as the second richest in the Island. .

    Mr Sumanathiran, who is the only member who does not carry any baggage surely is not oblivious to these developments.

    He has clearly indicated his indipendent thinking in a few areicle in these columns, although he was constrined by the party hierarchy and the LTTE lobby.

    There is no chance that the UN will allow the US and UK to get their own way.

    Siriya is a good example ,and Putin in the Presidential Palace will ensure that UN is no more the lap dog of the English speaking West.

    Mr Sambandan who has to come clean of his pro LTTE past totally, is compelled to use the young ,intelligent members like Sumnathiran to gain credibilty among the inhabitant Srilankans.

    Pro LTTE Diaspora and it’s allies in Srilanka will do their utmost to thwart any attempts of the TNA to cooperate with the current Economic and Social development programs.

  22. It’s better if TNA can ONLY act in the best interest of the local citizens, tamils living in Sri Lanka. In the current situation like many say in the bloc as well Robert Blake, keep quiet and let the UN deal with it. TNA has no power outside of Sri Lanka as well as within Sri Lanka. Just because they have few seats in parliament doesn’t mean they can do ‘super man’ like stuff. All tamils in Sri Lanka must recall this message from Fonseka, ‘tamils can live in Sri Lanka with majority Sinhala, but shouldn’t ask for anything’. This statement pretty much tells the ground reality. I believe hardline section of diaspora do not seem to understand the ground reality in Sri Lanka. If the UN resolution end up harming Sri Lanka, tamils living in Sri Lanka will be made to face the severe consequences. Whole world is well aware of what went down in Nanthikadal Lagoon, anyone came to rescue? Come on, it’s high time that we realize all these countries have absolutely no interest in the betterment of Tamils instead want to make this issue to last so they can make hay out of it. We, as Sri Lankans, can live in the unified Sri Lanka. MAS & Sambanthan Aiya are doing a great job adapting a moderate line relevant to the situation. Hardline diaspora can shout or cry or propagate, but TNA must act in the best interest of tamils living in Sri Lanka as well as unified Lanka. I just pray these hardline section of diaspora stop their nonsense, because i don’t want to see another ethnic riot.

  23. HI DBS
    you are not a good journalist if you dont write about my walking God honorable Douglas Devananda whose picture I hang in my home and worship daily lighting oothuvathi

  24. I can not understand why many people think TNA a political party with men capable of making decision. My honest feeling is that the men who manufactured the TNA are dead(Prabaharan and Sivaram) but also this political party is full of Zombies who were turned towards the direction of self destruction and eventually going to lead the Tamil people not far away from mulivaikal.

  25. Thanks DBS J for posting this item.

    In my view, MAS and RS are doing a great job, given the humiliation they have been going through, on the one hand GoSL invites for a meeting but would not show up at the eleventh hour, and MR invites RS and sent him back with a pleasantry saying this guy is worse than VP, on the other, dealing with the MPs who were too close to LTTE, that lost their seats at the last election and looking for every opportunity to make a come back, and then the Suresh P and his leadership ambition.

    For TNA to stay put in SL is the best thing they could do rather than adding another eight to the 52 already roaming the corridors of the UN in Geneva. An indigenous solution for the problem SL facing in the UN is to talk to TNA urgently and sort out issues as acceptable to every one, rather than going on a safari in Africa and pleading to bail them out. Had this famous “are not we friend” speech by Mohan Peris echoed in UN, directed at TNA MPs in the SL Parliament in the wake of finding a solution to ethnic problem, I am sure all these countries supporting the USA’s resolution would have been happier to know the effort it took to have a meaningful reconciliation. It is confronting to note that GoSL’s attempt to try ridiculing USA, rather than using the diplomacy and finding out what it drives USA to go against it and trying to address them. It is a loss for SL, loosing support of Western world. Even SL won the race, still it stands to loose. Even affects privately, no one going to deposit their money in Zimbabwe, even in China. The patriotic leaders want USA’s green card only not issued by Russia or China. This is the hypocrisy of GoSL, while portraying USA as enemy to the ordinary folk in SL, they do not want to severe the ties they have with Western countries.

    People of SL should think at least now to figure out why all these countries are supporting the USA resolution rather than keep believing what people with vested interest say. Should not we all respect the human rights and rule of law?

  26. TNAs, you are doing a great job! Please continue with what you are doing! You need to be united more than ever to tackle the very tough task ahead of you.

    We have proofed that we cannot achieve anything if we are divided. Although LTTE became powerful enough but they couldn’t achieve anything useful at the end; not because GOSL was strong or international communities were against them, it was mainly because we Tamils were/are not united.

    I don’t know what the issue is, as DBSJ noted in the article, Sampanthan and Sumanthiran have done the required due-diligent by seeking advice from knowledgeable circles. As responsible politicians, this is what they should do; get advice from proper people or group, not from Diaspora. What do we know? Who knows why US is brining this to the table, they may or may not have hidden agenda; next day if something goes wrong who will take the responsibility? Responsible politicians, they could consult anyone, but need to make their own sound decision; at the end they need to stand up for their decision, cannot point finger at US… Sampanthan and Sumanthiran, please do keep all your team members in the loop, make all inclusive and make the statement publicly together to kill the rumors and to build strong team.

    Although TNA made a wise decision not to participate; they should also publicly welcome the US led motion, for those war victims. At the end, those who committed horrible war crimes still need to be punished. TNA is also responsible to bring justice to those victims. TNA should release a public statement outlining their decision why they are not participating at the same time welcoming the US lead motion to bring justice to those victims, otherwise, future will put a big black mark on TNA’s profile.

    “…International Human rights organizations were shocked. They pleaded with these elements at a personal level to refrain from going to Geneva. They pointed out that the protests and demonstrations envisaged by Tamil activists had little impact on member states of the UNHRC…”

    Are we awfully stupid! If US leading a motion then, we should support them behind the scene, why coming up with these stunts? You are only weakening the motion not strengthening, and putting those brining the motion in uncomfortable zone… Please play smart, play diplomatically, play as a group… You are not alone on this (unless you are fighting to build your personal wealth). Play as a team; even if you cannot unite don’t divide the united (TNA and others) with your immature, un-diplomatic, un-futuristic advices…

  27. Winning the necessary and sufficient rights to the Tamil people (or to any minority) in Sri Lanka requires very prudent approach from the TNA. The rights have to be seen as sufficient by the minorities and also have to be seen as necessary by the majority. With the current climate especially with a hardline government having two-third majority in the parliment TNA has to tread very very carefully to maintain its independence as a tamil party as well as to maintain its integrity towards the country, so that it wont be mistaken to be working towards separation. Visiting geneva for a resolution against the country would only have brought bad name to the TNA whilst being of no use for the Tamil rights. Accountability is important but TNA is not the only entity to work for it. Let that be handled in the international arena and it would be wise for the TNA to be completely (at least for the public) out of it. Nevertheless if the TNA has the political mastery to use this threat to the ruling elite towards manipulating them to yield something to the tamil people, may be with the help of India or USA, that would be very clever.

  28. Mr Jeyraj my questions are these; Was this ‘revolt’ targeted at Mr Sampanthan or Mr Sumanthiran? Has the latter’s professionalism in his conduct been perceived as a weakness by his party colleagues, specially when the the TNA is pitted against a govt that responds better to deal-making, than taking a principled stand? Any signs that this was message to Mr Sumanthiran not have ideas about leadership?

    Mr Sampanthan is a veteran politician who has done well to keep the alliance together. Over the years he has been at the forefront of the political struggle(perhaps not during the heydey of the tiger)He has kept the TNA relevant, lucid and not sounding off to please the gallery. There is a strong opinion that Mr Sumanthiran should succeed to the leadership. I wonder if, this was the first salvo against him aspiring to that leadership.

  29. Kalu Albert says:

    “Is there any relevance or influence of the pro LTTE Diaspora faction to the current social and economic situation in Srilanka?.”

    If you accept Uncle Sam’s Green Card holding alleged war criminals and the dirty digger from down under who is holding a top job at the UN can be entrusted with national security and international diplomacy then why cannot the Tamil Diaspora play a role in the affairs of Sri Lanka. Kalu I see double standards all the time but should not be this obvious.

    The Tamil diaspora may not possess the necessary means to establish Tamil Eelam I am sure they may possibly have campaigning ability to stop white van operations in the South.

    If you cannot stop it please let someone else do it for you.

    Your obsession with Tamil Diaspora is understandable. I also sense you want them to disappear from this world.

    They are 100 times obsessed compared to you are. They are not going to go away. You chased them out of my ancestral land and they are coming back to hound you. Please remember the second, third and forth generation Tamils are more sophisticated than the crude LTTE supporting Diaspora or Clan supporting Sinhala/Buddhists.

    They don’t think like stupid Tamils, multi lingual, they have networks with which they can open many doors, they don’t chant “our leader Prabaharan” nor do they wave LTTE flags,they are not narrow nationalists like you or for that matter any LTTE supporter, they don’t judge by your race, ……………….

    What a coincident? Did you hear about the former Guatemalan special forces soldier Pedro Pimentel receiving 6060 years prison sentence for his part in a 1982 Dos Erres massacre? He was deported from Los Angeles to face courts in Guatemala.

    Don’t under estimate Tamil Sinhala diaspora they will come after the war criminals. They can run but they can’t hide.

    Future Tamil and Sinhala Diaspora will chose to work together because the situation back in Sri Lanka is too serious to ignore.

  30. The day after the resolution is passed the government must finally start the full scale colonization of the North.
    At least at this late stage the government should realize the futility of trying to win the hearts and minds of terrorist suporters and fully implement colonization.

  31. maru says:

    “Winning the necessary and sufficient rights to the Tamil people (or to any minority) in Sri Lanka requires very prudent approach from the TNA”

    It is not about giving sufficient rights to Tamil people.

    The wider issue is about restoring the democratic rights of all people including Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, ………… to live with dignity, in safety and security …

  32. Hi DBS. Thanks for writing another informative article. I think should you really write in Tamil as well. Most Tamils living abroad a hopelessly misinformed and mislead all the time. The end of LTTE hasn’t changed this. They depend on various Tamil language news sites. Many of those Tamil language websites have their own agendas and are far from dependable. A friend of mine was furious about the ‘Betrayal’ of Sampathan and concluded that MR must have bribed Sampanthan to stay away from Geneva. Who is going to tell people like them the truth? You could do this couldn’t you? But to reach all those people you really have to write in Tamil as well. I think a Tamil news blog from you would make a huge difference to our people. And if you could get someone to translate you stuff into Sinhala as well that would be great too. Because most of our people seem to prefer to read news in their own languages probably due to their lack of proficiency in English.

    You say “..The tone and content of the anti-TNA criticism provides a fascinating insight into the lack of pragmatism and rational thinking in dominant strands of Tamil political discourse…” But I don’t think our people need a training session in rational thinking. Their only problem is they have been listening to nothing but Pro LTTE propaganda for decades. Every news item is distorted before delivered to them in their Tamil websites. It happens on both sides. There are Sinhala people who have a heavily distorted world view full of grand conspiracies by big powers in the West to revive the LTTE and divide Sri Lanka. They too feel the resolution is a huge threat to the unity of Sri Lanka and is part of this conspiracy. This was simply the result of listening to nothing but Government propaganda for decades.

    You are already doing a lot. But writing in Tamil will help you reach more people. Of course you would be called a traitor. But I would be surprised if they haven’t started calling you names already. Hopefully that shouldn’t stop you from helping our people.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Thank you for this comment

    I began journalism on the “Virakesari”and later moved to English through “The Island”. After I came to Canada I edited Tamil newspapers until the “Muncharie” weekly was “stopped” by the local LTTE goons who are now “human rights”activists

    I am one of the few bi-lingual Tamil journalists of Sri Lankan origin. My maternal grandfather and maternal uncle also engaged in “Tamil journalism” and edited publications

    I am very proud of my Tamil journalistic heritage and would love to resume writing in Tamil again

    BUT I DONT WANT TO DO IT.

    When they stopped my Tamil paper they called me traitor. Even now they call me that. That has not stopped my writing what I want

    So it is not being called traitor that deters me from writing in Tamil

    It is the deep sense of hurt that I feel.It is also a matter of pride.”Mathiyaathaar Thalaivaasal Mithiyaamai Vendum”-Auvai

    Also it is the pointlessness of it all. There is no point in wasting my time &energy in writing in Tamil to these people.

    I dont think Tamils are in this position because they lack adequate information in Tamil

    As for me I would prefer to write in English and reach out to a wider multi-ethnic readership of which Tamils are also an important segment.

    Some of my articles are translated occasionally into Sinhala particularly by Mr. Ayub of “Daily Mirror”

    Some articles are translated into Tamil by others for different websites. Some ackowledge my name as author but many simply plagiarise without attribution as they dont want to admit they are from me who has been dubbed as traitor by them

    Sometimes the Tamil translations are so horrible that I wince but I stop at that and do not let myself be goaded into writing Tamil journalistic articles again

    I do engage in some creative writing in Tamil for my personal satisfaction. I am exhilarated when I write in my mother tongue. I am guided by Appar -“Thamizhodu Isai Padal Maranthariyen”. Perhaps one day I may publish in Tamil

    As for now I am sorry to disappoint you but I just want to do what I am doing

  33. Thanks for the response DBS. I understand your situation.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I dont think you understand at all. So please stop this

  34. I agree with sampanthan’s decision not to go to geneva.Why just irritate the sinhalese unnecessarily.Since independence politicians from the north have been doing that and reaping what they sow.Fortunately sampanthan is from the east and has more common sense.

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