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Reconciliation: A Sinhala “middle-class” point of view

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Hello Friends,

Opening up this Blog for people to express their views on national reconciliation, ethnic amity and inter-racial justice seems to have created a vibrant forum.

I am particularly heartened by the positive responses of so many people from different walks in life.

Of course a web – based forum in English is naturally confined to a particular socio-economic background. Nevertheless many people of this strata too have been estranged due to recent events. So let them converse too.

As I have said before this Blog has no illusions about current realities but will continue to provide space at this juncture for a conversation where people could express their views on reconciling and moving forward.

As I have said again and again reconciliation is not a luxury but a necessity.

This is just a simple attempt to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.

I have been greatly encouraged by a lot of personal mails addressed to me by concerned people.

One of these was by a Sinhala lady who has revealed her identity but would prefer to be known publicly as Tamara.

As she herself states she is not an analyst or journalist and has simply written a heartfelt account just as some others did earlier.

Tamara is no Sinhala supremacist or hegemonist and feels strongly about our unjust society.

Based on her personal inter-action with a close Tamil friend she wants to try and express what the average Sinhala person feels currently.

She is trying to reach out to Tamils in her own way by trying to explain a few things from an ordinary Sinhala perspective.

Tamara also wants to learn more from Tamils about their grievances, aspirations and about how they view the LTTE and Prabhakaran.

I do hope that readers will keep in mind the fact that this letter is not a thesis on the subject but simply a sincere attempt by an ordinary person to reach across the ethnic divide.

Just like Mohan Segaram’s letter this too is of the heart speaking to heart genre

I am posting it on this blog with the hope that Tamara’s letter will be received in the right spirit and the consequent conversation would shed more light than heat.-DBSJ

Dear Mr. Jeyaraj,

I am an active follower of your blog and have contributed some comments as well (see my post No 54 to Mohan Sekaram’s letter under the name Tamara). I would like to contribute to the very interesting, timely and vital discussions that you have initiated on your blog on Tamil Sinhala reconciliation.

I am not a journalist nor a political commentator but a Sri Lankan who believes in the strength of diversity, minority rights, their dignity and security. It is a given. We can only flourish if we accept those elements and I fully support any and all moves towards that end. I am presenting a point of view heard in the sitting rooms of Sinhala middle class homes which I believe also need to be heard and understood by the Tamil community in the spirit of reconciliation. I hope that it would not be misunderstood. My attempt is to seek the understanding of our Tamil friends of what we feel.

A week or so ago I had a conversation with a very dear childhood Tamil friend of mine. We have closely associated for nearly 40 years, yet this was the second time that the “issue” was broached (the first time was very painfully in 1983). I truly appreciated the conversation for it was an attempt on both our parts to bridge the divide. This is exactly what we all need to do; talk to each other. I felt that our conversation merited a wider discussion and was thus propelled to write this letter. My friend came from an affluent and influential background in Colombo. My father was a government servant and we lead a comfortable but a simpler life. What astounded me and what I would like your input on and that of your readers is my friend telling me that with VP’s death they felt that they had lost their voice. What voice could VP have possibly given my friend?

I cannot think of any opportunity that they did not have nor anyone in government or elsewhere that they could not reach. In what way would Eelam or VP have improved their life? This is mostly true of all my Tamil friends. This conversation is not isolated but illustrative of many other instances where many Tamils from the highest echelons of Colombo society have expressed in one way or another their sympathy, support or attraction to the cause and a sense of loss at the death of its leader. Sinhalese find this very painful to hear, are unable to understand it and are resentful of it.

While all right minded people agree on the impact of 1956, 1977, 1983-and I don’t mean to be exhaustive-(I was with this same friend on the streets of Colombo on the worst day of the riots of 1983 and we saw Colombo burn as we stood in silence at each others side), we would like to hear our Tamil friends acknowledge that being Tamil had not necessarily prevented them from succeeding, that they have all not been deprived, marginalized and discriminated against.

Many ordinary Sinhalese while struggling to get through their day are not able to understand or relate to the accusation of racism, discrimination and certainly not genocide. They themselves don’t feel very privileged. It would greatly help understanding between the communities if it is accepted that a strong well established middle and upper class of Tamils in Colombo could not have been established if there had been the kind of discrimination and marginalization that we hear of so often.

In this context I think there is little acknowledgement of the role of caste and class embedded in this problem but these elements also have to be explored in fully understanding the trauma that our country has gone through and in preventing its recurrence.

I do hope that you see this as another contribution in the spirit of constructive dialogue. I do not intend to be divisive but to create understanding. The more our misgivings are aired the more likely they could be discussed and the healing can begin. One blogger said that unless the Singhalese (like the alcoholics at AA) accept that there is a problem there can be no solution. I certainly accept that there is a problem and there continues to be serious problems that the country at large is facing and the Tamils in particular are facing.

Some of them are a consequence of a 30 year war and others are deeper feelings of mistrust and alienation that we absolutely need to face and address. This is not in any way meant to belittle or be dismissive of these larger issues. As a member of the majority community I fully accept that it is up to us to reach out and reach out further but I also think it would help if our Tamil friends would also acknowledge that Sri Lanka in general and the Sinhalese in particular have not been all that bad to them.

Similarly, I would like to raise briefly the issue of celebrations that engulfed the country on the news of the demise of the Tigers. Our Tamil brothers and sisters should not interpret this as triumphalism (unless there was talk of triumph against Tamils). Apart from the immense relief from the unbearable weight of a 30 year war being lifted from all our collective shoulders, the spontaneous celebrations were mainly by those who take the train and bus every day, twice a day.

They were those who had to mingle in crowded railway stations and bus depots. They went through the daily fear of bombs. Their fear was not misplaced. It is also they who contributed their parents, siblings and children to the military effort, many of whom, 6000 of them, never returned. They in particular and the country as a whole is entitled to a sense of relief for we never thought this day would come. Allow for that moment and lets move on.

I am simply raising a single issue and explaining a second. I totally accept the bungling that has been done by successive governments that have brought us to this point. I am filled with shame for the atrocities committed in 1983 and hope that the Tamil community would find it in their hearts one day to forgive. I mourn for the thousands of young Tamils and Sinhalese who died in the last few months and all those who died while going about their daily routine. I am particularly reminded of the basketball team coming home after having won their tournament, the last tournament they would ever play. We have lost so much.

I grieve for those 300,000 in the camps who have already suffered so much and pray that they can go home soon. I reject those who do not understand the joy and strength of a multicultural country and hope they remain at the two extreme ends and that the middle ground will grow in numbers and strength.

I particularly despise the hatred spewed out by the Tamil Diaspora and I do not know how to build bridges or engage with them. We need conversation, discussion and this is all that I am doing. I hope this will be read in that spirit.

Thank you

Tamara

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113 Comments

  1. very greatful to Tamara for writing and thank you to DBS for publishing

    Thoughts of Tamara are like what I think

    I hope our Tamil brothers and sisters understand the spirit of Tamara correctly

    We Sinhala people made terrible mistakes but we regret them

    Accept our hand and put out your hand for us to hold

    Together we can walk to bright future

  2. Tamara,
    Very warm and graceful thoughts.Being a Tamil living abroad I truly share your concern ,relief and jubilation that the blood letting is over atleast for now.There are hundreds of thousands of Tamil diaspora who feel the same way I feel.
    A life lost can never be replaced. Be it Tamil,Sinhalese,Muslim or any man made ethnic devide.Be it an SL Soldier ,An LTTE person or a civilian who was caught in the middle.I for one who believe that I should not harm even my enemy.
    All though there are times I have felt angry and upset,These were out of shear frustration than out of any inherent desire to hurt any body or out of shear hatred.
    Inherently we are all the same in our makeup and thinking.
    Now people like you and me are the silent majority. We hope and pray that sanity will return.We share our joy in satisfying each others wishes and be happy at one and others happiness.The belief that give an inch the other would want a yard is out of complete mistrust.
    We the silent majority has to make our voices heard where policies are articulated. Tell us a way we can influence this change of heart .Lets work towards winning each others hearts and minds and build trust in each other.

  3. Hi Tamara,

    How true are your words !!!! We feel despised and rejected by mainstream Sinhala Govts. We lived and grew up in Jaffna and were not lucky to have uncles and aunts as ministers henchmen and had to work hard for a place in the Sun.Please dont judge Tamil’s success by the success Middel Class Colombo and Urban educated Tamils who always had the best even during the white mans rule. Tamil is an equally great language and culture and should be given a due place in SL society and interaction between comunities should be developed but not restricted only to the Upper Middle class.Tamil must feel they really belong to the Land of their birth.Humiliation & Violence directed at every turn against them will not build trust and Sri Lankeness !!!!

  4. I feel sorry for your pain Sathees but why condemn thousands of others to the same pain ? I don’t know where you are living right now but am prepared to bet not in Sri Lanka. Well settled in another country with your kids attending good schools, eating 3 square meals a day, partying, etc ?
    Please let the Sri Lankans living in Sri Lanka going through the same stresses and encountering the same problems sort themselves out. It should be upto them.
    A dialogue between Tamils, Sinhalese and others living in Sri Lanka is a must. Let us recognize the problems and try to reach a consensus which while not everything we want but but which will allow all of us to live together and try to reconcile. Anything is possible if all of us work together and accept that it is going to take time. 30 years of wounds will not heal in a day. Outsiders should keep out of it. You have made your choice let us make our own choices.

  5. Tamara,
    I am from the Tamil diaspora who never approved of the Tigers. I have never given one cent to it. Yet, when the Tigers were defeated and VP killed, I felt sad. I want to explain to you (and to myself) why I felt this way.

    My family in Singapore still have relatives in Jaffna and Colombo. They are middle class but only because their sons and daughters escaped from the violence in the villages and went abroad to study as refugees. Because of that, they have been able to financially help their families back home. None of my family are middle class in Sri Lanka because of opportunities given by Sri Lanka. Although very talented, they had to flee their country to get their education. You say they have not been discriminated against. Are you not aware that it is much harder for Tamils to get into universities than Sinhalese?

    But I also have contact with another class of Tamils–the poorer Tamils, who my family has employed as maids since the late 1980s, sometimes for no other reason but as our way of helping this community. Instead of contributing to the Tigers, we helped to provide an income for these families. As such, for two decades now, I have been familiar with how the poorer people live in Jaffna. Many of them disliked the Tigers. One helper of mine was widowed by the Tigers when they shot her husband for betrayal. But every year, she received money from the Tigers (maybe it was guilt money, I don’t know). But much more scary was the SL army and the Indian peacekeeping forces when they were in SL in the 1980s. Military violence was experienced often and with no provocation whatsoever. One maid told me how she would come out of her house and see scattered limbs hanging from trees after army shelling. She practically lived in trenches before finally coming to Singapore to work. Many Tamil women were raped during these long decades. One domestic helper gave up her employment in order to be in Jaffna so as to protect her daughter from rape by the army because she was very beautiful. (However awful the Tigers may have been, I never heard reports of rape by them.) In December 2005, when another of my helpers returned from a visit home, she told me that she saw the SL army beating up innocent storekeepers and breaking their limbs just to terrorise the Tamil community. When she got to the airport, the airport authorities announced a sudden increase of airport taxes, but only for SL Tamils. She had to borrow money to return to Singapore. All my maids put their children in convents because that was the only way to ensure their safety.

    So really, when you say that there is no discrimination against Tamils in SL, I am shocked. What do you call the incarceration of innocent civilians in camps? You think it is justified to incarcerate hundreds of thousands of people just because there are a few (disarmed) Tigers in their midst? Is that your idea of civilized life? In Singapore, we would not do that even to dogs.

    I felt upset when the Tigers were defeated because, however horrible they were, they were the ONLY protection the poorer class of Tamils stuck in the north had against a chauvinist and ruthless state. If the Tigers were around, Tamils would not be living in camps today. Do you understand this? Please don’t say the Tigers caused this. Long before the Tigers existed, Tamils have been massacred by the Sinhalese state, and their temples, churches and libraries burned or shelled.

    You talk only of middle-class Tamils. Are the poor Tamils not citizens of SL? Is it ok to shell them, kill them, maim them for life by the thousands, so that the Sinhalese in Colombo can feel safe taking buses and trains? After celebrating the defeat of the Tigers, how many Sinhalese have shed a tear for the innocent dead Tamils and those caught in camps? How many have organised demonstrations to protest the treatment of these poor Tamils, their fellow citizens?

    I don’t worry about the middle-class Tamils caught in the camps. Did you know that for US$17K, relatives can get SL army to escort their family members out of the camps to Colombo? Who will help the poorer, destitute ones? is their life worth nothing?

    Why is it that when I go through the lists of names of ministers and SL diplomats, I don’t see Tamil names there? Why is it that whenever the world complains about unjust treatment of Tamils, it is Sinhalese people who say there is no such human rights abuses against Tamils? Why is it that there was only ONE Tamil appointed in the committee that was supposed to look after the distribution of Indian aid for reconstruction in Tamil areas?

    No discrimination? This is why I continue to maintain that peace and civilised life can only come to SL when the majority Sinhalese come to a reckoning of the gross damage they have done to Tamils, when they stop wearing their blinkers. A massive moral re-education of Sinhalese is required for Tamils to live as true equals in SL. Otherwise, all I see is the re-election of the Rajapakse tyrannical regime because, right now, Sinhalese see nothing wrong at all with innocent Tamils living in camps like animals.

  6. Well said Tamara!

    I am a Tamil!!!!!!!

    What are we expecting from Sri Lanka ……. to live in a free country…. to go out our houses, travel in a bus without the fear of getting shredded in to peaces. not ever to migrate to another country searching for better a life……….

    Lets forget about the past……………………we must get together & help to build our beautiful Island !!!!!!!

  7. I’ve been reading the letters posted in this blog and the comments of various people, both Sinhala and Tamil, for sometime now, and greatly relieved to see that there are many people who really wish to make bridges between two ethnic groups.
    Dear Truth, I totally agree with you and am of the same view that it is very few people who are priviledged in our society. Unfortunately it is same for Sinhalese too, as many Sihalese people in rural villages do not have even their basic needs fulfilled. They too are marginalized by the English educated Sinhalese who belong to upper middle class.
    Dear Sathees, Yes, you must forgive but never forget, because if we tend to forget what happened in the past there is a chance that the same mistakes will be repeated by us.
    As a Sinhalese I’m glad that I have the opportunity to share your thoughts and for that once again I thank Mr. Jeyaraj for creating this flatform for us to converse amicably with the hope of reaching to each other and accept each other as we are.

  8. Very well expressed, Tamara.

    I am a Tamil from Jaffna and I went through the horror of 1983 but was fortunate enough to be saved by my Sinhala friend who had put his own life at risk to protect mine.

    I understand there are many Sinhala people with your kind of thinking. I hope you could initiate some actions to bring such people to the mainstream.

    At one time I too believed the LTTE are our Tamils sole protectors. However, ever since LTTE assassinated Tamil Leaders such as Mr. A. Amirthalingam and so on and started indulging themselves in suicide bombing of innocent civilians, I have changed my attitude towards them.

    I have the same kinds of concerns you have over the Diaspora whom are further engaging on hatred and misguiding even the younger generation of the Tamils Diaspora. It frustrates me as well. However, I believe, if the government of Sri-Lanka starts aggressively addressing the resettlement of IDPs to their original place as soon as possible, it will certainly be a big stepping stone towards reconciliation. If you were to put it this way, if there is some filthy water in a cup, how do you cleanse that water without touching it? One way is to keep pouring clean water into the cup until the filthy water flows out. Same concept, if GOSL keeps on addressing the concerns of the Tamils whilst taking constructive actions to rectify it, then, over the time, the hatred of the Tamil Diasporas will eventually flow out from their minds.

    On the other hand, the Government should also embark more aggressively to dismantle all arms from groups such as EPDP, TMVP and so on. We have had enough violence and seen too many sufferings. Let?s just rally towards peace.

  9. Tamara, you do not know what it is to be a Tamil in Colombo. The humiliation, the racism, the threat of violence and actual violence. All this existed long before the LTTE even came into existence. Why do you think we left the country in vast numbers? We were felt unwelcome, as if we didn’t belong to the country.

    You say, you are ashamed of what you call the “atrocities” of 1983. But the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983 was government-sanctioned, government- backed. Did you vote for the UNP at the first elections after the July 1983? If you did, you probably were not ashamed after all and gave your affirmation for what they did.

    Mini versions of July 1983 happened in 1977 and 1981. Not a single person was prosecuted for the crimes of those two anti-Tamil events. No one protested either. Maybe if the Sinhalese had protested and the culprits prosecuted, July 1983 may not have happened.

    And very few Sinhalese are protesting and demanding your government to release the 300 thousand IDPs interned illegally. Instead you organise food and clothing to be handed to them. The IDPs do not need Sinhala charity, they need their freedom.

    Many Tamils like me are happy to see the end of VP but what we are not happy to see is the victory of the Sinhala version of VP. That to me is the end of the road for Tamils in SL. That was probably what your Tamil friend was attempting to voice rather than be saddened by the death of VP.

    The Rajapaksa regime and the LTTE are two sides of the same coin. Violent Sinhala nationalism vs violent Tamil nationalism. Sinhala nationalism won the battle and they are celebrating. Why do you think we Tamils are not celebrating? Why do you think Tamils are not celebrating the death of someone who decimated our youth, killed off all our leaders and made many in our community destitute? The answer to that is your “dear” President, the “Sinhala VP” and the mafia that now runs the country.

    Your Presidnent has no plans for Tamils other than to keep them as a suppressed and silent minority that will be at best tolerated by the Sinhalese. He plans to install puppet pro-government terrorists such as EPDP and TMVP to run the Tamil affairs in the North and East. There will be no respite for the Tamils of the North and the East as these groups will continue where the LTTE left. Of course there will be peace in the Sinhala areas and “enlightened” middle-class Sinhalese like yourself can continue with your life. You will feel sorry for the Tamils at times and raise food and clothing for them like you are already doing for the IDPs but you will say nothing (like you did in 1977, 81 and 83) about the state terror that they will have to endure at the hands of your government.

    You talk about the “hatred” of the Tamil diaspora, but isn’t the murder of over 3 thousand innocent people in July 1983 hatred? Has that hatred gone away?

    You say 6000 soldiers will never return to their families but say nothing about the thousands (some estimate at 20,000) of innocent Tamil civillians who were killed by your government bombardment in the last few months of the conflict. Your government is one that can kill thousands of their own countrymen without blinking an eyelid. Do you think the British would have killed thousands of Northern Irish Catholics to defeat the IRA. They had the might to do that, but quite rightly didn’t have the will. See the difference?

    I believe you are being sincere when you say that you want to build bridges and engage the Tamil diaspora. But your views are in the minority amongst the Sinhalese. The majority view is plain to see in the lion-flag-waving crowds cheering on the violently anti-Tamil regime. A regime that keeps winning elections with increased majorities. No self-respecting Tamil will engage this regime.

  10. Hi Tamara,

    Can tamil say that Sri Lanka is their home when Singalese believe that this land belong to them only.

    Tamil has become the landlord turned tenant in Sri Lanka.

    How can you imagine just for one second that any tamil worth the name will accept ?

    Barlen

  11. Hi Tamara & Jeyaraj

    You are doing a wonderful job. Must start “Twiiting”” too!
    Yes I accept everything Tamara had said.Would also like to add to the comments about the Middle class Tamils in Colombo.
    The so called people are the type “I am all right Jack” It is sad but is a reality of life. Some people could not bother or care a hoot about their country mens’ suffering whether Sinhalese or Tamil.
    I speak for the majority of the people from the both side of the political , ethnic,social and cultural side. There is goodness in all these people. Let us all harness this power of the human soul and sprit which is more potent than all the armies of the world and the associated weaponary.
    In this money cracy ,materialistic world we need people from all walks of life to have the freedom to speak their mind. Fear and ingnorance I believe are the root course of all conflicts.

    Note to DBS-Mr. Jeyaraj

    You are doing a good job on your Blogg. Let me briefly please give you my background. I always followed your articles etc on the Sunday Leader etc.
    I am Ratnam Nadarajah a Tamil born in Kandy lived my early life that part of the world,educated in Colombo University . I left Sri-Lanka to the UK to furter studies some 45 years ago and still live in the UK.
    I visit Sri-Lanka atleast once a year since most of my folks still live in Sri-Lanka. This is the country of my birth and I can not forget my roots! Some of my best mates from college/university days are Sinhalease. Few of them are captains in their own fields, business, commerce and some politics too.
    I strongly feel in peoples’ power. This is the solution. United we stand divided we fall.

    Lets all work hard for the good of the all the people of Sri-Lanka

  12. In Sinhala consciousness they do not see Tamils as a minority. They see them as a huge ocean of 90 million prowling to gobble them up any moment. They see Elam as a bigger project than what it is claimed to be. Take Prabakaran’s map of Elam. Mark that in red. Then mark Colombo suburbs in rose color. Then color the upcountry in a hue in between red and rose. Now put yourself in the position of a Sinhalese and look at the map. You can understand how a Sinhalese feel. They feared Prabakaran would drive them into sea. When they saw the aeroplanes and submarines and whole lot lot arms security forces had captured they talked among themselves ” If they had just six months more we would be finished” . That is why they celebrated like mad when LTTE was destroyed.

  13. Tamara,

    I too used to believe that all Tamil grievances could be explained as secondary to the evils of war and the only primary evil committed by the state were the ”83 riots, which have been, dealt leave no raison dtre for continuing armed Tamil violence in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This is a familiar refrain I hear from middle class Sinhalese again and again.

    Unfortunately the specter of racism in the state goes deeper than that. The number of Tamils, particularly middle class affluent Tamils such as your friend kidnapped by state sanctioned goonsquads over the past three years rivals the violence committed against Tamils during the ”83 riots. This cannot be explained away as either a necessity or the collateral damage of war. There are terrible fears that similar acts are occurring in the camps.

    Most Sinhalese I have met push this to the back of their minds. It is shadowy to them they are unwilling to acknowledge the significance of these happenings, which is that the ordinary Tamil person in Colombo does not feel secure and that they have no rights that cannot be arbitrarily taken from them by the state, including the right to exist. How much have things changed if this exact same sentiment of insecurity felt by Tamils in 1983 is felt today in 2009?

    The watermark of this trend of kidnappings and killings is the assassination of Tamil leaders and journalists such as Raviraj, Pararajasingham and Dharmaratnam over the past 3 years.

    This issue of kidnappings and killings is not a small random fringe one. It was enough for the US to sever its hitherto growing military links with Sri Lanka in 2007.

    Upali Cooray made the point that more than 6000 soldiers died in the recent offensive, making Eelam War IV the bloodier than American travails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and far bloodier than the Indian misadventure fighting the LTTE in Sri Lanka in the 1980’s.

    Similarly many Sinhalese who are celebrating do not grasp that if 20,000 (out of 350,000 rescued) Tamils have perished as the UN claim (and this is a conservative figure) then proportionately this war has destroyed 2-3 times the number of civilian lives taken by direct combat operations in Iraq. War is not a numbers game but this context should give you sober pause to reflect on the celebrations.

    The Iraq War was the subject of 2 UN investigations. So far Sri Lanka has been subject to none, and the government is busy whipping up the curse of Sri Lanka’s modern history – nationalism, to deflect international scrutiny of its conduct.

    To be fair the LTTE were never a solution to the problem of state racism. If they were ever a voice for the Tamils (some considered them bargaining power) they misspent that through disastrous decisionmaking and miscalculation. Their bloodthirst showed they had far fewer limits than other so called liberation movements.

    Somehow because of events in the closing stages of the war, I have the uncomfortable feeling that the ledgerbook is not square for the government and it’s side is covered with red, but not ink, that will demand hard questions and harder answers in the time to come.

    In spite of this the silent majorities who want peace must keep reaching out to each other at levels outside the state, in the spirit of amity and brotherhood and understanding.

  14. Dear Friends
    Today is the first day of the rest of our lives…

    So, lets not waste a minute longer.

    The quicker we forgive each other the quicker the healing will begin.

    Please lets all get together and help the folks who are currently homeless.

    Trust has to come from within our hearts. And this will happen as we go forward, if we make a personal determination to forgive each other.

  15. Hi Tamara,

    I too share the same sentiments as you! You are absolutely right when you said: “until Sinhalese accept that there is a problem there cannot be a solution” How true! Thanks DBS for publishing this.

  16. What ever the acceptance the sinhalese have of tamils is because they welcomed the tamils amidst themselves in southern areas. One time they were living as good neighbours, good collegues and good friends.

    True there were few incidents when minority of sinhalese (politically instigated) created untold harm to tamils. After 1983 incident tamils all over sri lanka and overseas totally alienated themselves from sinhalese even though some sinhalese people went to great risk in saving tamils from harms way. If not it would have been worse.

    The fact that sinhalese people never resorted to such violence during past 26 years was not due to lack of reasons. It was because even the worst of sinhalese were willing to learn from their past mistakes. They even accepted the tamils fleeing north during those 26 years, as a result more than 50% of tamils live in south now out of harm way. Really living.

    I am sorry to say It can not be said the same for the Tamil people in north.From day one they never accepted any sinhalese amidst themselves and even the few that were there were chased out or massecred later on. They consider North is only for tamil people, and south is also theirs when it suits. It is a malady among the well educated middle to upperclass tamils whether they live in north or south or over saeas. Then they looked forward to the utopia brutal VP would create for them with their help where they can all live happily ever after. A perfect country without any discriminations what so ever!!!!

    When tamils everywhere can answere these questions truthfully they will understand where the problem is. First one has to be true to oneself and then he can be true to others. If the root cause is their unwilligness to welcome sinhalese people in to their lives and their “aspiration ” of an eelam on Sri Lankan soil, even with all the political solutions sri lanka will remain divided. Even more so.
    KV

  17. Having read every comment I am still disturbed as to
    what GOSL means by taking care of the IDPs they
    created with an agenda – not LTTE and the rejection
    of aid by the diaspora to its own kind -” Vannagaman
    Mercy Mission”
    It will require a psychologist to analysis the mind of
    that one person who made the decision to turn down this
    Aid – then all what is written in the comments above are
    not worth the reading.
    The past-time of bloggers will not solve the ethinic
    divide unless and untill the Majority has a change of
    heart in Sri Lanka for good.

  18. Well even after 30 years of bloody war, if Tamara hasn’t had the time to even research a bit to understand what the Tamil grievences are. This is the basic attitude of a general Sinhalese. I am greatful to my Sinhalese friends to save me and my family. I don’t want to live at their mercy I want to live equal to them. I want to speak loud in Tamil in a bus in Colombo and don’t wanted to be looked upon. I want to see my language to get the the same importance as Sinhalese. I want to go to a police station or hospital and get things done in my language not bring somebody who knows Sinhalese with me to get these basics done. At last I want equal rights in the Lankan flag. I think these are basic human rights. If Sinhalese can accept this then they should speak about reconcilation otherwise they can continue to celeberate until another VP is born.

  19. Tamara;
    lovely thoughts, these are often spoken words well meaning and appreciated here.
    However I truly believe that RS Wickremasinghe is more correct and has stated the issues that require addressing. These would take great courage on the part of the Sri Lankan people than there appears to be at this time. If the people would stop talking about Sinhalese and Tamils and speak instead as Sri Lankans, much more progress can be made.
    Let us see the populance get on the streets and demand the release of the people in the Camps. Then there will be true reconciliation. Will this happen?. I do not think so.
    At least let the old people, women and children free.
    This will turn the tide of international opinion and bring the much needed aid.
    According to the MOD figures prior to the great battle most LTTE were dead. So what’s the problem?.
    What are they trying to hide?.
    The new friends SL has cultivayted; China, Libya,Burma,Iran and cap that with Hugo Chavez., what a gathering of Human Rights violators.
    This new King of SL sure knows how to choose his friends.
    Take care people that another lot of militants under a more astute commander does not rise from the ashes.
    Work to rid yourselves of this regime.

  20. Hi Tamara. I think trying to live like each other could help understanding.

    Why don’t you get some artillery shells to destroy your house and join fellow Tamils in internment camps?

    See, you can even write on DBSJ’s blog. Yet your government won’t even allow access for UN, ICRC, aid agencies, rights groups or media to the 300, 000 Tamils it has locked up behind barbedwire.

  21. Dear Tamara, DBJ, Thanks for your effort in trying to build bridges betwee two communitie. Yes dialogue is the only way to improve relations by minimising distrust.

    But we have to equally aware there are people with wested interests who do not want this country to unite as one and provide breathing space for people to rebuild their lives even after ending bloody thirty years of war.

    These pelople will repeat same like manthra to spread hatered among communities for thier own personal gains.People like RS Wickramasinge, Rose, Truth are just few examples to mention.

    As a person from the socalled majority community, I would like to mention the reason why I chose to leave the country. I am well educated not because my parents had money or they had any influence to put me in good schools. I attended very ordinary school with no or minimum facilities but managed to socre makes that enable me to enter the university. But after years waiting for a job, I realised nothing is coming in my way unless I change my cause. So I decided to apply for a labour job in the middle east. I got it. And worked as an unskilled worker for two years. Then, thanks to my employer I was able to get a respectable job based on my education. After few years I applied for Migration to Australia where I am currently working as a manager. Yet can I hate the socalled majority or Sinhala government for not gving me a job for three years? Yes there is a problem. Does that affect Tamils only? This is the truth all should understand. Leave you ethnically coloured galsses. Than you will see the truth.

  22. We do not forget is
    Singhales Nation have Only SRI-LANKA
    All who living in srilanka must accept that
    it is not so complicated
    think twaice when you moved to a westercountry
    who predicates HUMANRIGHTS,EQUITABLE,JUSTICE mm.
    Can you work with your owne Language,religion,trediton mm, Answer is NO… NO…. NO….
    First you must convert to tha language, Low and order of that country,
    Then isnt it strange that we do the oposite,
    That is the first mistake our Leaders done.
    And now is the time we have to change our scene.
    You see the political situation in western countries,every where the nationalistic parties are rising,why is it

    I hope you can count it the rest
    pardon, Mother Lanka
    What you have Gone through

  23. Mr Jayaraj,
    Thanks a lot for the barrage of “PERSONAL OPINIONS” during the last couple of weeks.

    Can we please have some grass root level news from the north?

    Why?……DBSJ

  24. I am a Tamil living in the South and having been educated in a leading Roman Catholic Private School in Kandy, we never ever thought in terms of ethnic and religious lines.

    The 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom was state sponsored. Our family was sheltered for three days by a Sinhala family of Matara origin. True, Tamils have been massacred by the state, and their temples, churches and libraries burned or shelled. In the same breath, what about the massacre of the innocent Sinhalese in the border villages, killing of the Buddhisit clergy and children, by the LTTE. So the blame lies with both communities.

    Lets forget the past, build bridges, and march towards a glorious future, maintaining a Sri Lankan identity.

  25. hi,

    Even if I left the counttry 13 years a go, I have been always in tocuh with what is happening in SL.

    What I cab say about the presnt atpostphere in SL is this is the best chance that everyone could have onnce in a blue moon to forget the past and go foward as a one nation. My hats off to heroic solgers and leasders who gave their true soul to the cause of rescuing our mother land from menacing terrorism.

    I see a bright future for SL. But everyone need to forget the petty racial or releigous favours and treat one another with same respect regardless their cast or creed. Then SL will become better than Singapore before long.

    Best wishes for my mother Land.

    Lionel Hettiarachchi

  26. DBS,
    Is this engagement of the middle-classes an attempt at unifying them to overthrow the Rajapaksa regime?

    As Billy Bunter of Greyfriars chuckled “heh,heh,heh,……..DBSJ

  27. We have so many unarmed VPs within Diaspora and who are not allowing Diaspora to thing freely. Lets stop them spreading hatred and March towards peace.

    Encourage and give full support to politicians and other activities who are genuinely working hard to rectify the fast mistakes and bring the trust and peace again in Srilanka.

    Lets forget about the past. Today and tomorrow is real, so lets we unite to achieve it.

    RESPECT EACH OTHER
    SUPPORT FOR PEACE
    REJECT RACISM AND NATIONALISM

    PEACE!PEACE!PEACE!PEACE!

  28. Tamara, Thanks for expressing your thoughts.

    The main problem is the politicians who want to be in power – as long as the voters continue to help them the problem will continue.

    To be in power they used the Tamil issue in each of the elections – unfortunately.

    The Tamils tried all PEACEFUL means for a united country, with the opportunity for the Tamils to continue in development, and opportunity for success.

    The three agreements with the Sinhala polity, after each of the elections, was torn apart, once they formed the government.

    IS IT NOT AS A RESULT OF THIS, THAT LTTE AND OTHER GROUPS FORMED, WHEN THE POLITICAL LEADERS GAVE UP???

    If the political power at the time, had been honest in the upliftment of the country – would this have happened?

    Has the LTTE done that much of atrocity faced by the Tamils – killed. robbed and discriminated? Think of the 1983 crisis, and the burning of the Jaffna library, apparently monitored by two cabinet ministers in Jaffna.

    Can you name any ‘Freedom fighting movement’ that is peaceful? Look at the IRA, South Africa, Palestine, East Timore, and many more – how much worse is the LTTE. Yet all those have been “brutal” during their movements.

    I am a vegetarian, and would not even kill an ant – if I see it in the house. I feel extremely grieved at the knowing of some ‘bomb blast’. But is that not wanted by the government in power?

    I worked for nearly 10 years in the sinhala villages, in absolute honesty (not even one cent given or received). Yet every time I do some thing that the worker is angry, I am called a “pariah tamila”. However, the average sinhalese is so helpful and friendly. They have been spoilt by politicians by four or more election canvassing and wrong messages to them about the Tamils.

    Fortunately, much to my dislike, I resigned from my job, and left the country in 1973. I had never sought any – not even one favour from any politicians – though I moved very closely with them – from my position of work. However, to accept my resignation and leave the country I had to get a ‘favour’, from my Minister at that time. Thank god I left in time, with a position of absolute honesty.

    Do you know how many families (- at least about 30% to 40% Tamils of Jaffna) had to leave their houses in the night with only short bag they can carry, but leave all their things behind, an run away. Finally they moved to Colombo and live in small rooms – though they lived in houses and gardens in Jaffna. They went through untold misery.

    If you visit Jaffna, you will see many houses destroyed and in shambles. The house I grew up, only the floor remains. I went to see it in 2002, but only from the gates. I dare not enter the compound, full of bush, not knowing what unexploded bombs are there. It was very sad, for all of us.

    You should visit Jaffna peninsula and move around to see this.

    I went to see my mother, the day before the IPKF offensive – taken only five days leave. I could not move out for five weeks. My wife could not contact me or know if I am living or dead – for nearly four weeks!

    Think of the IPKF soldiers entering the Jaffna hospital with two guns in open fire – killed so many doctors, nurses, patients and civilians! Only the LTTE is blamed for all attacks!

    Most Tamils have gone through this – why? This is the reason they want to have their own power and manage it to their liking. If we had formed a Federal system of government in the sixties – we would have reached a peak almost to best country in the world!

  29. Hi Tamara,Mr.Jeyaraj and all the Bloggers,
    I agree with most of what Tamara says and the fears the Colombo People had and still have.
    Let me also explain that I have little experience of living in Colombo Since 1983. I live in the UK.
    And before anyone dismisses me as living a luxurious lifestyle in the west, I work 6 days a week 9 to 10 hours a day all year and take a holiday once every few years. My wife has to work. I have many friends including SL tamil people, they too work very hard some times doing more than 1 job and still look after the family too. When I visit SL I see the masses in Colombo going about their life in a mad rush in cars that cost nearly 10 times what they would cost in the west living in houses that cost more than mine in the west.
    So to the current issue, it was always the poorer people of SL that was pushed around and discriminated against,it applied to all the poor people Tamil Sinhala,Muslim, etc.etc. It must have been easy for the LTTE to tell the dirt poor masses of the Wanni that all their suffering was due to the Sinhalese racist gouvernment.
    The southern poor masses are still being told the lie that their suffering is due to the faults of the so called upper amd the middle class people of Colombo and the cities. Recently the all the southern hardships have been attributed to the war!
    The real answer to reconciliation and peace is empowerment of the poor masses, economic, and otherwise.
    The money that we can invest to make real peoples real lives better applied without political goons being involved would go much further than waving a flag in Colombo or outside the Parliment in Londan etc,
    I did shed tears when I saw injured children and people of the wanni during the last days of the war.I do not want that to be the land that gave me birth, never, I hate seeing the camps in Vavunia full of proud people made to live like beggars. I accept the war had to be fought, now it is over, lets look to peace with dignity, the people in the camps must be returned to their homes, they must be allowed to live in peace and dignity without fear in the liberated lands that they belong in. Our police and other civil defence organisations must be dis armed and allowed to patrol the peace where the muzzle of a gun is not needed to keep order.
    The silent majority should ensure that fairness and justice prevail, not hatred and bigotery.
    Ratnam, like you say divided we fall!-Let’s unite, we must fight the demons as Sri Lankans and not as tamils, Sinhalese etc.etc.

  30. Every one lives in Sri Lanka are the Sri Lankans weather they are belongs to Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims. They all Sri Lankans. Now this is the time to go for long term solution what ever happen in the past is history now. I strongly feel there is no need to go back and talk about the things happened in the past. The key solution is that the Sri Lankans should live in mix. This means no any ethnic group should live exclusively in a region. This type of scenario had brought success to many countries. For example, Australia there are many ethnic groups living mixed with everyone there are no problems between any groups. Think about some countries have conflicts over ethnic groups the main reason is for the conflict is that they are not mixed. I hope all Sri Lankans will look forward to have united Sri Lanka. I wish them from the bottom of my heart

  31. I have nothing to add except congratulate all the bloggers for maintaining some sort of decorum.

    Maybe, I can make one comment on the issue of the celebrations that took place after the defeat of the LTTE.

    I sincerely do not agree with Tamara’s comments that this was by a group of people that travel by train and buses.

    If Rajapakse was killed today, will it be ok for the IDP’s to celebrate?…will it be ok for the children who have lost their limbs to celebrate?…..

    I can assure you that will not be the case. On the same principle, will Tamara be able to say that they have every right to celebrate cos’ they probably feel safer now?

    A note to Mr Jeyaraj….I may have misunderstood you. You come across as a vociferous critic of the LTTE. But, I would like to know a bit more of your views on discrimination of Tamils, The IDPs, The killing of Lasantha and massacre of civilians (number unknown) during the last days of the war.

    cheers!

    Please read what I’ve been writing in the past before jumping to conclusions………….DBSJ

  32. General comment

    I appreciate Tamara’s article.Now it is time to build a country where all can proudly say that they belong to Sri Lanka.I want to see one day a tamil leasing our cricket team and the nation.

    Regarding discrimination,tamils dont see that the majority of the Sinhales are also at the receiving end when it comes to employment,education etc.

    Tamils seem to think that they are a divine race and should not face any kind of discrimination.They only see thier side.This is a myopic view.

    Majo.of Sinhalese do not think that this country only belongs to them.Any body who was born as a citizen has a claim for that.

    But the problem arises when tamils claim a particular area is their homeland and only belong to them.That is the crux of the problem.

    Also why there are no tamils in top positions or in committies.LTTE killed them in the past,threatened.TAlso most tamils want a share of the country so they opt out.That is the reality.

    Many tamils are well known for clinging to myths like traditional homeland,superior race etc.This claim about 20,000 is also a smillar myth spread by a UK news paper and thrown out to tamils who happily grabbed it to discredit the SL Gvt in order to regain the lost pride due to loss of LTTE and VP.

    It is an unsubstantiated claim.

    If there was a loss of lives the LTTE and tamil diaspora is more responsible than the GVT.

  33. Dear Tamara, Thank you for opening your doors to explore and to understand the polarized views/perception of our communities. First of all, let me say this, I am sure all Tamils feel the same way, that Sinhala people are very decent and humble people when we, Tamils, come to contact with them on a personal level. I do think majority of the Sinhala people have helped and will help any Tamil they come to contact on a personal level in any way they can. Where the problem is, with the administration and people in power. We, Tamils are confronted with state machinery which systematically, makes us feel like the 2nd class citizen. This is not as a result of the war over the 30 years; meaning stop and search, need to get several level of clearance to visit your mother in the north or east if you are a Tamil or get permission to live outside North and East etc.. Tamils are alienated by successive govt. and administrations from 1950s. So, Tamara, please understand, that is not the Sinhala people as individual that Tamils have any quam, but collectively as presented by the Govt/rulers, that make us feel alienated.
    You wrote: “ What astounded me and what I would like your input on and that of your readers is my friend telling me that with VP’s death they felt that they had lost their voice. What voice could VP have possibly given my friend?”
    You were puzzled and bewildered by this sentiment from your affluent Tamil friend. For some, LTTE is a terrorist organisation, for few others freedom fighters, for others protector of Tamils. But for all Tamils, LTTE symbolise the aspiration of Tamils, for freedom and dignity. Overwhelming majority deplore the methods used by LTTE and kept our silence in the hope the organisation will reform itself. In this believe, we didn’t question the vision, strategy, conduct and execution by LTTE leadership over years. That was a monumental mistake by us, Tamils, all over the world. The causes that created LTTE and their original demands of equal rights and equal status for Tamils are all remains to be addressed.

    Because of all the state violations against Tamils (physical or otherwise) over the years, we put up with LTTEs methods and practices. We have to understand, ordinary Tamils were sandwiched between the rock (Sri Lankan Govt) and the hard place (LTTE). We choose the hard place and actively supported or kept our silence. So, until, May 16, we had a voice and we, Tamils, felt there is balance of power. Therefore, May 16 2009 is a sad day and feel that we have lost our voice.

    You wrote “It would greatly help understanding between the communities if it is accepted that a strong well established middle and upper class of Tamils in Colombo could not have been established if there had been the kind of discrimination and marginalization that we hear of so often.”

    It is true that there are Tamils in Colombo are doing well. But to reach to this level they have to work twice as hard as a Sinhalese with the same background. What we are looking for is equal opportunity. We want the state to treat us as equal in every aspect; that’s all.

    I agree with your comment some of these could be related caste and class embedded culture.

    Tamara, let me say, where I think, we, Tamils, feel let down by the ordinary Sinhala people. On a personal level, very helpful and understanding. But, collectively, the voice of people like you is not heard to chance the actions and behavior of the administrations. Take for example, I can understand with the calibration on May 17 and after, for the reason you stated, as long as the Administration and people like you acknowledge the suffering of the people of North and East, particularly the IDPs and demand for an enquiry/ investigation/probe/Truth of Reconciliation, what ever you want to call them. When we see a witch hunt is going around, Tamils feel that these calibrations are triumphalism and not a joy for the start of peace and reconciliation.

    When we see there is congutaulations and rewards for those who may need to answer many questions while innocent people are put in concentration camps like conditions, with families separated. There is huge sympathy and rehabilitation program announced on a daily basis by the Rajapakja brothers to the arm forces, while ordinary civilians linger in the camps needing treatment and rehabilitation. Anyone question ( including few Sinhalese), considered as a traitor or LTTE. Why there is no mass protect from the ordinary Sinhala people? How come large crowd gather to protest about David Milaband, British Foreign Sec. and against Canadian Govt. and not in support of these voiceless people in the camps? These are the things make us feel that these celebrations are tasteless and showing the Sinhala hegemony and majority power.

    When the state arrest, interrogate and possibly threaten the 3 medical doctors who risked their lives to serve the people who were trapped in the final stages of the fighting, we haven’t heard any descending voices or outrage from people like you. Tamils have no voice in Sri lanka. For that matter, anyone who disagrees with the regime has no voice.

    We are looking for people like you to be the voice of these people who are under iron fist of the regime and their every right is being violated, in the name of Unitary state, national security and safe guarding the national interest. The plans put forward by the military are frightening.

    Lets start a dialogue on another issue which is also at the heart of the matter.
    If a race with a clear identity wanted to have its own nationhood for whatever reason, that aspiration will be realized as long as the cause is not addressed and the people feel there rights are not protected and they are not part of the larger community. Tamils feels they are alienated and only way they can live in dignity is having their nationhood. The right for Tamils to have there nationhood in Srilanka to be accepted by Sinhalese. This is an important aspect of reconciliation. THIS DOESNOT MEAN SEPRATION. The acceptance of this basic right by Sinhala people will bring trust in Tamils to start a constructive dialogue in what are the basic aspects that need be addressed. These are on both sides. Not just Tamils. Sinhalese have many issues too.

    When you give the right for self determination to the people that put a huge responsibility on their shoulders. When people are entrusted with this responsibility, they always choose against separation. There are many examples in the world. Name a few; Great Britain, Canada. In actual fact, such a declaration by the majority community is a catalyst for healthy debate and give and take on both sides on very difficult issues. Then, it is up to the people like us to reason out why a united Sri Lanka is good for both communities and why we should live as one multiethnic, multicultural and religious country enjoying equal rights for all.

    But, if you refuse that right and insist that you have to first relinquish this right, for Tamils to get dignity and win back the basic rights, then this would be the catalyst/seed for separation.

    So, lets give a voice to all those people who are now being ruled by the iron fist of the regime.

  34. Hats off to Tamara for attempting a dialogue.
    However, it is sad that the overwhelming view expressed by Tamils commenting on internet blogs such as these is of never forgiving and forgetting grievances and expressing a lot of hatred. I wonder…It seems that there is no point in Sinhala people like myself expressing sorrow and regret for actions, 1983 and otherwise, that they neither engaged in nor condoned (those thugs are not my representatives)…the hatred continues – many Tamils express it… On the otherhand I have still not ever heard of regret or sorrow expressed by a Tamil for the terrible violence unleashed by Tamil armed groups particualrly the LTTE, upon innocent Sri Lankans of all ethnicities. The people who treated tamils badly, attacked them and their homes, who burnt the Jaffan library, who raped or murdered…these are not my representatives. But still Tamils still say the LTTE and VP are their voice, their representatives. Then that innocent blood of thousands of Sri Lankans is on your hands isnt it? I watched as the Tamil diaspora and some local Tamils vented their feelings…and felt that only now have I understood the racism and extremism of the Tamils, supporting a racist and terrorist movement. I felt really sad….I hope I am mistaken….It does not help towards reconciliation and creating trust. – how can we trust people who supported a group that was killing innocent Sri Lankans? The justification that it was done on behalf of the entire Tamil people, to give them a voice…how can that be a justification? ..I wonder how we can rebuild if there is no forgiveness…ALL sides must both accept their guilt AND must forgive in order for us to move on and build a Sri Lanka for all of us. The Tamils also have blood of tens of thousands of people on their hands. I still have hope that there are Tamils who love Sri Lanka, who do not look to India or Tamil Nadu or the West as their home and strength, but want to build a strong, proud and free Sri Lanka hand in hand, in equal status with all other Sri Lankans. No country is perfect – that is because the people are not perfect. Each of us must do our role, our duty to make our country better. ..I want to still have hope in Sri Lankans who build and create instead of burn, kill and destroy.

  35. Dear Readers,

    I am a Ceylon Tamil by birth(according my birth certificate) living in Europe from 1985. I learned Sinhala in 1965. I have many Sinhala friends from my youngest days.

    When I was 24 years old(1972) I left my country in the hope of making my (family) life better. I have been to all over world working as a seaman. I was a student in UK for a year. But I returned back to my country in 1976 to work politicaly to win the basic rights of our people.

    I am one of the eyewitness of the Welikkada Prison masscare in 1983 where 53 of my inmates were killed.

    In my experience an ordinary Sinhalese and Tamils never had any problems. The true problem is the rulers and their states Each and every time the anti tamils riot was organised by ruling political parties and their govts.

    The politicians on both side use the race for their own benfits. I would like to give one example. Between 1988 and 1990 the LTTE was supported by Srilankan govt for the war against India. No one neither govt nor LTTE worried about the people. The power and the money are the basic objectives for all political manipulations. Manipulations can be in any form like race, caste(particular within tamils), religion, region and etc. Even within one family of any race or any religion there are manipulations.

    Though there were many organisations took up arms and fought against the state, only LTTE took control of the struggle on behalf of the tamils (not tamil speaking people). The LTTE is a mental projection of the tamils(not tamil speaking people)

    There were many many artrocites carried by both sides. Both sides waged the war for their own benefits and will continue the same in the future if we, the Srilankans rest doing nothing.

    Dear Readers,
    The ordinary people on both sides don’t know the story of others. If they don’t don’t know and understand each others then the situation will be the same. This victory of the Srilankan State will cost much more price for the Sinhala people than tamil speaking people in the future.
    I just want to know only one thing. Can we, the true Srilankans, bring about a bi-language daily news paper in Srilanka? If we talk about amity – reconciliation – mutual understanding – eguality – friendship – brotherhood and solidarity, this is must.

    Thanks for reading.

  36. Tamara: “I particularly despise the hatred spewed out by the Tamil Diaspora and I do not know how to build bridges or engage with them.”

    Its almost funny how some Sinhalese who proclaim that they are for peace and reconciliation somehow always choose to interpret the calls of Tamis call for justice etc. as spewing hatred .

    As long as the likes of Tamara cannot see the point of view of the ‘other side’ and only choose to see hatred being spewed, Tamara’s confession that “I do not know how to build bridges or engage with them” will alwys remain true for her and those who see things as simplistically and superficially as she does.

    So, Tamara just can’t see what the fuss is all about:
    ‘Let them eat cake’!!

  37. thank you very much jeyaraj for posting this on your blog. Its very important that the moderate tamil voices (even moderate sinhala voices for that matter) are heard rather than the racists (tamil and sinhala).
    most of the comments on your blog during the last few weeks were from the racists (usually from the diaspora) and its heartening to read a moderate sinhla/tamil view. i had come to think that there were no moderate tamils-Only terrorists and the supporters of terrorists.
    I only hope that the moderate voices on both sides are heard louder than the racists and terrorists who have ruined my country over the last 30 years.
    the terrorists have been crushed and its time for the country to move forward. at least this time around i hope the sri lankan tamils as a community (the diaspora terrorists supporters seem to be a lost cause-may they enjoy what the sun god has given them-a mythical eelam in toronto), can show flexibility, foresight and common sense to forge ahead as SRI- LANKANS (that goes for the sinhalese and muslims as well).
    The eelamoid dream has been a nightmare for us ordinary sri lankans (the fools in the diaspora can keep dreaming but the sri-lankans living in sri-lanka need to rebuild and get on with our lives).
    as a sri-lankan affected by the monstrosity that the diasporas’ sun god created let me just say that i’m glad that the terrorists have been crushed. over the last few years when a tamil got into the bus i had a justified fear that this tamil might blow up the bus…(does that make me a racist? maybe it does). I no longer have that fear thanks to my president (who by the way,the sun god made president by selling the tamil votes for Rs 180 million)….i hope that a time will soon come, that a tamil will not fear being harrassed at a check point or have any fear of being arrested by the police…i hope, that time is closer now that the so called sole representatives of the tamils have been crushed…maybe we can move forward as sri-lankans….and not be afraid or suspicous of each other.
    As for the diaspora tamils who eternally whine on these columns….let me just say-life’s tough isn’t it? YOU became TERRORISTS, YOU lost, now bugger off and let SRI-LANKANS get on with their life. IF tamil SRI-LANKANS are put into trouble us MODERATE SINHALA SRI-LANKANS will protect them….what can you diaspora guys do living as refugees in Toronto? SRI-LANKANS will take care of SRI-LANKANS….About the IDPs…unfortunate situation, but the terrorist filth needs to be weeded out, after all these IDPs followed the LTTE and it was their relatives that fought for the LTTE…GOSL cannot just let them go….life’s tough isn’t it? This is what happens when people become terrorists….my apologies if i hurt any moderate tamils but the diaspora needs to learn some hard truths….eventually the IDPs will be let go….tough situation but I don’t want a bunch of terrorists blowing up civilians again…..eventually life will turn to normal in the North and we can get on with our lives as SRI-LANKANS, if you diaspora guys can’t deal with that and forever whine on about 1983 and NO Forgiveness and Reconciliation-well have fun as refugees in Toronto.
    Just imagine how different things would have been for tamils if they’d been NON-VIOLENT or if they had shown some flexibility and common sense in the mid 90s and early 2000s…..TERRORISM lost, now deal with it….Once again my apologies to the moderate Tamils but i’m speaking to the Tamil Racists (The ones who think that they are superior to us Bandas).
    The South has learnt the lesson when negotiating with TERRORISTS doesn’t work, crushing them does. So let me repeat…life’s tough, so what’s the Tamil community going to do? Become terrorists again or FINALLY become SRI-LANKANS….

  38. After reading a few tamil versions I can see what they are talking about. They feel insecure because of the gove treatment and the policing by the military. I am so upset to hear that tamil girls were raped by military personnel and nothing is done about it, and an airport tax simply for the tamils should be illegal as that is open discrimination. Obviously ordinary Singhalese don’t know anything about these event and that’z why they couldn’t understand what these grievance were(including my self). I’m deeply sorry and believe me if I know something like that was happening I would be the first to join the LTTE if it was for a just cause. Believe me my friend would join me. there are a lot of good singhalese who would gladly join such a cause. so the primary problem here is that the people have-not know what had really happened up north. there fore we need to educate the people of the injustice that was placed on this community, you will have plenty of support. majority of the majority community will not tolerate things like that. so it is the job of the tamils to come out with their grievances and talk to our country men. instead of going to UK,US Canada you should have told the southerners what happened.
    I have been saying this a long time, tamils can’t get anything without the support of the majority community and other minorities. I am so sorry for the 83 riots and many of my relies are too and they are so a shamed that they couldn’t do anything to stop it. The worst is it was all organized by the biggest tamil of all the (thambiayar family descendent) JR jayawardnar, my spelling of course is wrong but u get the idea that he descended from tamil ancestors and that they held high positions with the king of kandy.

  39. It is reassuring to have views of women expressed so sincerely and objectively.We cannot evade providing answers to Kaz(above) who in fact confronts us with the truth about many facets of our conduct in the past as well as the present with respect to speaking up and standing up for our fellow citizens in their hours of need. We failed in my estimation as the majority since gaining independence to hold our leaders accountable for protecting our fellow citizens and promoting the harmonious co-existence of all communities in preference to playing politics with us pitting one community ,class and religious group against the other .Consequently we have all lost sixty years post independence playing war games and reducing our country to this parlous existence devoid of human values .We must never repeat this folly again.It is time to identify the issues and speak up and if need be agitate by constitutional means if need be most vigorously to prevent a repetition of this type of mutual destruction .The President has clearly and sincerely stated his wish and promised to take the nation forward as a one people.It is now up to us the people to ensure that he delivers on the promise and help him on the way if and when he falters.It must be the highest priority that the necessary constitutional and legal framework be put in place to make Discrimination unlawful and and Equal Rights the prerogative of every citizen.if communal politics could be banned we would all be better off for it.It is the bane of of our country.

  40. # 6 Rose
    “” A massive moral re-education of Sinhalese is required for Tamils to live as true equals in SL. Otherwise, all I see is the re-election of the Rajapakse tyrannical regime ”

    I believe this massive moral re-education is required for few of tamils also to understand the power of vote which they did not understand at the time of election.

    Your claim of not giving a cent to tigers can not be verified but the extended moral support is very clear through the message.

    In another post # 10 Kaz asks..
    Did you vote for the UNP at the first elections after the July 1983? If you did, you probably were not ashamed after all and gave your affirmation for what they did.

    Prabhakaran, who’s ambush of 13 military men sparked the pogrom of 1983, was hand in glove with Premadasa (UNP) . Did you know that ?

    Three men are responsible for the whole carnage happened in Srilanka in 30 years –

    JR Jayawardene, the crooked ignited and flared .

    The rascal Prabhakaran carried it.

    The blood thirsty Rajapakse bros acted as a single body& mind finished it with innumerable murders.

    To blame each other is now waste.

  41. Thank you, Tamara for your thoughts. Being a Sinhalese, I tried to put myself in the shoes of a Tamil. Even though, I hate the Tigers, I think if I were a Tamil, I would be a supporter of them. They were ruthless, violent etc. But they have been the sole voice of the Tamils for a quite few years. (Sure .. they eliminated every other group) So when they were defeated, it is natural I think for Tamils to feel sad.

    I read the comments written by “rose”. First I was very dismissive of her views; I thought to myself these accusations can’t possibly be true. She is exaggerating. But, then we know the status of SL media. So it is quite possible that these incidences of abuses could have gone unreported. If you try to put yourself in the place of a Tamil person she is talking about, your views will be quite different too.

    I agree that during a war things are different. See even how the so called humanitarian western world is treating Muslims after 9/11. But now that the war is over, we all need to change if we need to sustain the peace.

    We need to educate our people. We need to try and understand what it has been like to be a Tamil in Sri Lanka and also what it means to be a Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.

  42. Hi Tamara, yes, we need to build bridges, but when you say particularly despise the hatred spewed out by the Tamil Diaspora and I do not know how to build bridges or engage with them.. It is same for the Tamils whether in Sri Lanka or the Diaspora, when the government shows hatred to them by keeping the 300 thousand tamils under incarceration in order to find out a few LTTE members and kill them? I never supported LTTE or any armed group. Yes, we all need to live together, but the same applies from your side too. You can not blame one side and forget the other. Even the recent expulsion of Canadian Parliamentarians at the airport is due to some wealthy Sinhalese Diaspora. So please do not throw stone while sitting in a glass house.

    see some recent actions by your government:

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/06/18/tigers-under-bed

    http://new.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=15561

    if you can influence your government to stop these attrocities, then you are sure there is no hatred from anyone from anywhere.

  43. just a reply to the diaspora rose who lives in singapore and has “contact” with “poor” tamils via employing them as maids-Comment 6 who said ” Why is it that when I go through the lists of names of ministers and SL diplomats, I don’t see Tamil names there? ”

    Your “Sun God” blew up the tamils who could have been ministers, even a Prime minister (Kadirgamar)….that is why you don’t see tamil names when you read the papers in Singapore.

  44. Thank you Mr Jeyaraj for creating this platform.

    Tamara, thank you for taking the time to pen your thoughts and feelings. May the dialog continue.

    I hope and pray that we can move towards reconciliation and rebuilding of our great paradise.

    Bless you

  45. Tamara,
    You have raised some interesting points. In my view the word “discrimination” is used by extremist Tamils in the same manner as the word “genocide” used by the Tamil diaspora.
    In my view Tamils in SriLanka are enjoying equity more than any minority in any other country.
    My sister is married to a Tamil and living in Colombo. He has never come across any discrimination to the extent he feels.
    Just to take a few issues;
    University entrance – if there is a discrimination – it the Sinhalese who have suffered most!!! In the faculties mostly in demand, Eng, Medicine- the % of Tamils far exceeds their representation in the population. While Tamils can freely attend Uni’s in the South, the Eastern & Jaffna Uni’s have access only to Tamil students. Who is discriminated ? Is it Tamils or Sinhalese.

    In the business circle in the south, it is known that Tamils & Muslims do better than the Sinhalese. Gnanam and Captain family are the leading employers of the country next to the State!! In the private sector there are more non Sinhalese and non Buddhists at the top than the Sinhala Buddhists !!

    If there is discrimination on the roads and at check points – it is due to the image that the LTTE has created for the Tamils.
    It is time for Tamils to forget the unfortunate past created by the LTTE and work together with the rest to develop the country.

  46. A new era should begin in our beloved Sri Lanka where all the people could live in harmory and equally in all aspects of life. It is nececessary that people should come out openly with their feelings and views so that one and another could understand each other. This is the need for peace and reconciliation. Your blog is serving this purpose. Wish you well in your good efforts.

  47. Thanks Tamara for writing this great reconciliatory story. I only wish if you could translate this into Sinhalese and publish in popular Sinhala papers for the ordinary person to read. Already people in the south are helping the IDPs but this sort of article will encourage them more. As you are a voice for many thousands of us, and also as you are apolagising for what happened in the past, a Tamil translation should be published in popular Tamil papers too.
    From your writing I can gather that you belong to an upper middle class family who has attended to an exclusive Colombo school. That makes you belong to a very small high class society in a population of 20 million people who are mostly working class poor.
    This message of reconciliation should be sent to these
    ordinary working class people of all ethnicity.
    It is only then we can have harmony in this island.
    I congradulate you for getting started, and let us hope that everyone gets this message of peace.

    Peace for all.

  48. Hi All,

    I do agree, we have start reconciliation and as a northern Tamil, I will take this reconciliation talk seriously when the following happen,

    Urgent: Those people in the camp should have freedom of movement and when people in the south fight sincerely for this.

    Urgent: Surrendered LTTE members are treated like human being and have access to RED CROSS and courts system.

    Accept Tamil are discriminated (government employment/promotion, university entrance, Tamil area development and stop taking Tamils private land for other use).

    No more government organized colonization. Singhalese are welcome to North East only if they choose to come for their own reason.

    Trust Tamil to share power with provinces (Federal system something close to Canada)

    Make sure that the minority language and culture is also protected under constitution(no point is saying that there is no minority in Sri Lanka anymore, dont make us feel invisible)

    I think Tamil should also have to make sure that Singhalese understand that Tamils wont split Sri Lanka.

  49. Tamra,

    I’m sorry but this goes a lot deeper than the three pogroms that you mentioned, 1983 being the most recent. I’m sorry that the average Sinhalese person lives in fear of taking the bus or the train, but the average Tamil person fears the white vans, Tamil mothers are in constant fear of having their children disappeared and their husbands murdered. The fact is the Sinhala nation whether they be politicians or the average man that votes for the hardliners has endorsed this current genocide against the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

    If there really is to be a new era of peace and harmony in Sri Lanka, then there needs to be truth and reconciliation commissions formed similar to those of post-aparthied South Africa. Unfortunately this will never happen because the Sinhala governments, both past and present, will never admit the wrongs that they have committed against the Tamils. This will just result in the re-militarization of the Tamils and a further downward spiral into the abyss of war.

    Best,

    Raj

  50. peace in terrorist country, where more than 80000 with corps burried, or burnt? lots and lots named as tigers and gets arrested, murdered, woman and including underaged gals in mass amount getting rapped and murdered, in out of prisons. more than 80000 dead, continuing to die, of these bomb, churches/temples, schools , hospitals, in no fire zone area. jurnalists , and humanatarian aid personals, politican murdered, these ruthless, barbarines of the government forces continue to murder in mass amount, children with amputed legs, hands, with shattered body parts all over the place. blocking all medical aids, food, to the affected area. These forces trying to solicit underaged gals in haiti and got caught by the media. they thought they could get away like the do in there homeland. these evil forces even dont mind killing their own kids to hide the truth. lots of their own people , jurnalist murdered who were exposing the truth. childrens being raped and murdered, more 300000 living in overcrowded camp,
    people dying everyday,childrens, pregnant womans, seniors living in poor condtions., no food, begging for food and water, clothing, other sanitazaion, people are abducted and disappered, ships with food and other aids sent to
    those innocents being sent back without unloading, you
    call these people are saviours, disgraced/worst criminals in the world. hope these people have a place in hell.

  51. It’s an interesting article, not only Tamara’s article. Every comments seems to have a very strong examples, experiences.

    Do we just write on this Blog, just because we can sit down and write? Or are we taking some action towards a solution?

    There are thousands of Tamils in needs of all basic needs. Besides, I’ve even heard, in IDP camps, even their Toilets are over flowing.
    Comon guys, this is not a time to argue. Every minute, there are people die because of lack of medicines/foods. And Younge children are getting disappeared on a daily basis. Can you do some thing to prevent this.
    Can we do a Protest in Colombo demanding for IDPs safety?
    I think it’s time for Sinhalese to act and save tamils from the Rajapaksa family!!!

  52. Dear Tamara,

    I am a Tamil who studied in Sinhalese and have 98% sinhalese friends. I grew up in the hill country and have no experience of living or trying to pursue studies or a career in Jaffna (North/East)

    With all my knowledge of sinhala I had so much trouble getting work due to my name and I started to think what it will be like for Tamils who did not have any or little knowledge of Sinhala.

    Also think of the situation in 1971 or 1989. If the JVP had managed to take some area of our country and rule it . If they had enforced the law of the gun and mandated that every family should give up one child for the revolution.

    Say 5 to 10 years later if the government overpowered them should the military hold all those sinhalese in internment camps to weed out the revolutionists who were forced on by the JVP. Is it fair to be terrorised by one armed group and to be “liberated” and find youself being terrorised by the state?

    Put yourself in the places of those who are in the camps. Think what they do day in and day out and if they desrve it?

    When you wake up in the morning you probably have running water, clean toliet facilities and food for consumption. When you do use your clean water, toilets, eat breakfast/lunch & dinner think of the 300,000 people and what caused them end up there.

    While I apprececiate your efforts for reconciliation, there needs to be a massive effort by the majority sinhalese and the Rajapakse regime to bring an end to the holding camps and accelerate development that could generate jobs.

    Prosperity of the contry with an emphasis on North/East is the only way out!

  53. Tamara/DBS,

    This is a wonderful idea to promote dialogue between the two communities. Far too often we seem to shout past each other instead of talking to each other to understand each sides emotions, histories & perspectives. Forums such as these are a good step on the road to reconciliation.

    Tamara, to address your question: for me the grievance has not just been one against the State which many have noted here, but one also against Sinhala civil society. Growing up in Colombo many of my Sinhalese friends were rightfully very condemning of the Tigers atrocities. But raise the issue of the rapes, disappearances, murder, torture of Tamil civilians at the hands of the security forces and the complete immunity for the perpetrators, and most would either go silent or have all manner of justifications.

    You would see government ministers and the Sinhala press falling over each other to rush and offer condolences and publicity to Sinhalese victims of Tiger brutality. But when the victims were Tamil and the perpetrators Sinhalese, both the press and the government would be shamefully silent or go into full denial mode, slandering the victims, intimidating witnesses etc.

    Its hard to feel like you are a valued citizen of the country when the institutions that are supposed to protect your rights ignore you when you are of the wrong ethnicity.

  54. Tamara,

    I am a Sinhala speaking Tamil from Colombo. Actually I have a Tamil Father and Sinhala Mother. I call myself Tamil because thats what my ID states.

    This might help you… during the last 30 years has any Sinhalese been brought to justice for committing atrocities against Tamils? Strange for a so called democratic county isnt it? Irrespective of the political party in power the GOSL has always had two standards for Tamils and Sinhalese. Literally if you are Sinhalese you could murder Tamils and get away with it. Do you honestly think that if it was the JVP in the South that the current regime would have made 300K Sinhala people homeless and incarcerated them like animals? You are privileged because you are Sinhalese. This privileged has been sanctioned by the State. Its this unfair concept that all Tamils resent. Given the last 30 years do you honestly think that the Tamil will trust the GOSL?

    You say we all should be Sri Lankans. Yes, then treat us equally and we will all be Sri Lankans. If you look in to your heart honestly, you will have answers to your questions…

  55. Dear Tamara & DBS,

    I too count many sinhalese as good friends in Canada. Even my father [forced out of job for passing sinhala exam 1 year too late] will volunteer that some of his sinhalese friends as amongst the best people. Not so much for the government/civil administration. I don’t think this is enmity between two races but rather desperation against such governments repetitively elected by the Sinhalese majority.

    What my parents and others have experienced is systematic chauvinism because they are Tamil. This is from the governments elected by the majority in Sri Lanka. I am sure that amongst those who elected these governments, many were moderate Sinhalese with no axe to bear [unfortunately, I mean this literally], against Tamil people.

    However, it pains us to note that successive platforms [save for Chandrika’s first] were elected with specific benefits targetted towards the sinhalese majority blatantly.

    Indeed, the fact that you have Buddhism as a specal place engraved into the constitution speaks miles about this attitude. I don’t even have to mention actual quotes from past presidents and ministers who feel the entire island is for the majority community’s prosperity and enjoyment only. And that the rest of us are foreigners who must abide by the majority’s whim.

    So, how can we hope for anything better from a Sinhala government given this long history of systematic chauvinism. It seems that a chauvinist platform is the only successful one for a sinhala politician. I’d love to be an optimist like Mohan Segaram and others. Unfortunately, I have a failing in that I read history too much. And history in Sri Lanka in the last 61 years has not been kind to Tamils.

  56. I wholeheartedly agree with Kaz’s (post 10) comments. With Rajapkase and his goons in power, fair-minded Sinhalese such as Tamara’s views are only academic.

  57. There is a crying need in the country for united political movement made up of progressive, liberal Sinhalese, Tamils and Moslems. The one requirement for membership should be that members should not have indulged in politics with any other political party in their past and be completely untainted. A fresh set of faces with a fresh set of values.

    They need to wean the people away from the religious jingoism thats sweeping the country. Outline an honest proposal based on equality and reciprocity that will allow Tamils to run their own affairs in Tamil majority areas with no interference from politicians elected by Sinhalese in the south.

    The country could be redemarcated into 3 new provinces whose sizes are proportionate to their populations. One in the North, one in the East and another comprising of the rest. The two provinces in the North and East get full fiscal control for tax and spend over their respective populations and collaborate with the Sinhalese only in matters such as Foreign relations and Defence. Each state getting a quota of diplomats and recruits into the forces.

    To solve the current impasse amicably we need to enable Tamils to manage their own affairs as much as possible short of complete separation. A skillful politician can easily convince the Sinhalese majority that this is not a threat to the unity of the country and it is only a threat to the Sinhalese dominance.

    Personally, I believe this is just an excercise in marketting. We just need the correct formula to sell the idea to the people who are really quite malleable in my opinion. It wasnt very long ago when people lined the streets from Katunayaka to Colombo and cheered Ranil in support of his efforts to make peace with the LTTE. Then Mahinda comes along and changes the tune. Demonises the Norwegians, UN, West and basically everyone on the planet except perhaps the Chinese and the people swallow it. Today it is difficult to find a Sinhalese who doesnt believe that all Ranil, NGOs and western nations like Canada and Sweden are helping the Tigers. They are either paying the Tigers or are receiving payment from the Tigers. This is the power of effective public relations. Ranil, for everyone is a traitor or even an LTTE cadre receiving orders from Prabakaran. Sweden, Norway and Canada, are paraiah states that are plotting to destroy Sri Lanka. No one remembers the generous Tsunami relief, the houses built with their money, the Maduru Oya and Kotmale irrigation schemes that were entirely funded by these countries or even the domestic fisheries industry the Red Barna and SOS childrens orphanages that were funded entirely by Norway. Politicians who stay in the most expensive suites when they go abroad are great patriots but the Norwegians who have provided the only decent housing and care for Sri Lanka’s orphans are the worst villains on the planet…

  58. It is very easy to say in words forget and forgive. There may be a day that can happen, but definitely its not tomorrow. I graduated from university of jaffna in one of the hardest times. I studied without electricity, even paper was very hard to find. I cannot forget that in my entire life. I love my home country very much, but I will never visit if someone is going to stop me in the road and intimidate me. Over the past 30 years it became a culture to the police and armed forces that they can do anything to the tamils without being questioned. If it does not change, we will never have the day which we are talking about.

  59. I understand you Tamara but I could only agree with the following guys 100%.

    Rose #6

    JaffTam #10

    Kaz #11

    Tamil diaspora is longer an excuse for the majority Sri Lnakans to show their support for the oppressed Tamils..so Why are you waiting?..Get down on the street and demonstrate.

    Where are you Sinhalese moderate diaspora?

    Isn’t about the time to “Walk the talk…”

    All the best Tamara.

  60. Tamara should understand that Tamil Diaspora feel sick to thecore of their body and soul on hearing on what has happen and happening to the Tamils in wanni. Why the GoSL is not allowing aid to go into the prison camps in the North. Sinhala Nationalists and the Monks should realise that we are equal to the rest of the population in S.L.
    How often do we hear ‘para themala’, kallathoni’etc.
    The GoSL distrupted the International Tamil conference in early 1970s. Athulath mudali burnt the Jaffna library which had ancient valuable Tamil books.
    If only, the Sinhalese did not impliment ‘Sinhala only’ andswabhasha education, Sri lanka would have been a prosperous and peaceful Country.We lost our Colombo property in the 1983 riots and Jaffna property later on. We were never compensated for the loss. It is time GoSL armed forces to behave like an ‘occupying force’ and start to help the incarcerated Tamils. The world did come to the assistance of the oppressed Tamils but aided the GoSL. TRUTH will prevail, gods’ willing!!!!

  61. 14. RS Wickramasinghe
    ——————–
    I agree 100%
    People on this blog do not talk about the core issues. Neither does DBS. I dont know what his agenda is but he is going off on tangents all the time.
    Not only is there the problem of ethnic systematic oppression, but we have a very dangerous looking set of people running the country. All the clues pointing to Burma style Junta regime in the making.
    Sri Lanka already tops the list of Journalist oppression in the world. Sri Lanka only nation on earth to use heavy artillery on its own population.
    Something is seriously wrong with this country and where it is heading at the moment.
    All i see here on this blog is talk of ‘love’ ‘peace’ ‘friendship’ etc.
    Thats all very nice. But that is not going to change the rulers of the country. SL govt is aiming to recruit over a 100,000 soldiers. Does this not ring alarm bells for the country? To me it says that the plan is to cover the entire island with soldiers pointing guns at every single household. The entire Island will become one big concentration camp.
    In the near future it wont be a problem of tamils or sinhalese. Everyone is going to experience the tyranny of living under this regime.
    The ignorance of the Sri Lankan population in general makes me think that only divine intervention might save the nation from joining the ranks of Zimbabwe and Burma.

  62. Tamara!
    I missed this answer part in my above post.
    “As a member of the majority community I fully accept that it is up to us to reach out and reach out further but I also think it would help if our Tamil friends would also acknowledge that Sri Lanka in general and the Sinhalese in particular have not been all that bad to them”.

    I studied in a southern University and worked in Colombo. I can speak Sinhalese very well. Many of my professors and mangers were Sinhalese. Still I have contacts with many of them. I never say or agree that people are bad. It is the politics. We should agree that. British people were never treated Sri Lankan bad during late 1940’s. But that does not mean they agreed our political rights. We needed the freedom from British to exercise our rights.
    Similarly, Tamils and Sinhalses can sit and discuss and live together. But when Tamils raise the voice to on rights, it become political. Disagreement and mistrust etc. arises. If I told my Sinhala boss that SLA had bombed my school, I would be in trouble. Still, I fear that our relationship will take turns. A good example is Mano Ganesan, a Tamil political leader. He is against tigers but still fears for his life. Simply because he talked about the truth. Is there a supporting voice for him? Can any Sinhalese ready to save him and listen to his voice? Sit down and discuss with him?

    If you see the whole world and countries who succeeded and failed. You can notice one thing. If you let the people govern themselves, they become better. They face their problem and they correct it. It does not mean separate the country, I mean share the power enough. Countries like Swiss, Canada, Australia etc share the power to the regions even though they have same race, color etc. but different regions may have different challenges.
    But if you talk about power share in SL, you are traitor. You are a supporter of tigers. This is why many people who were against tigers finally supported them. Because no one want to listen the alternative voice. People like me, are Tamil, against tigers act, but who support us? If we need support we should accept SL totally? Is that correct?

  63. 46. Shan
    In my view Tamils in SriLanka are enjoying equity more than any minority in any other country
    ————————————————————————–
    You must be joking right?
    I hope you are. Because people with your level of ignorance is very unhealthy for any nation

  64. 59. dingiri
    ———————
    This comment is more like what i like to see.
    But this idea is very difficult to implement but i wish it happens

  65. 35. Wondering | June 19th, 2009 at 7:32 am
    ———————————-
    You are correct to some extent but you are trying to imply that LTTE inflicted as much death to Sinhalese as vice versa.
    This is false and please dont try to indulge in that.
    Overwhelmingly it is the tamils that have suffered at the hands of the SL govt and to some extent the LTTE. LTTE have done their share of atrocities.
    But if you play a numbers game you will find who has suffered over 75%.

  66. dingiri !

    Your idea is great. but have very remote chances in Sri Lanka. Already many would have neme you as a tiger. I would say SL should be divided more then 3 provinces/states. People in Matara and people in Anuradapura are facing totally dfferent issues. Their voices to be heard seperately. It should be a highrachey of management.
    If there is a situation comes like that. SL will lead south Asia in an year or two. Diaspora around the world will boost the ecconomy into sky roketting. Then you do not even teach about reconcile. People will realise it.

    Problem is who is going to do it and when is that possible?

  67. #40
    Sunil Gunasekara,
    Accountability of politicians in office is the core issue in the SL history.Be it non implementation of Selva- Sennanayake accord,Banda- Selva accord,District coucil proposal or the India- SL accord .None of them were fully implemented and were thrown away by successive GOSL.
    Tamils want to live with dignity , honor ,Equality and want to be treated as equals.Those who think this is absurd, it’s them who are the problem.

    Any one who thinks that tamils should live with what ever given to them by Majority community out of their goodness of their heart have a very patronizing view.

    I hope that a benevolent dictator would come (Or should I say has come) and deliver these values that are very common in any civilized population.But what is the guarantee that successive GOSL won’t revert back to it’s old ways of thinking.
    That is why it’s important to educate and respect all the Srilankans and make every one a stake holder in the well being of each other.Once we understand the interdependence then we can move on.Until then it’s talk time and blogging only.
    Good luck every one.

  68. Ms. Tamara writes

    We would like to hear our Tamil friends acknowledge that being Tamil had not necessarily prevented them from succeeding, that they have all not been deprived, marginalized and discriminated against.

    Although a supporter, indeed proponent, of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence I couldnt help but take issues with a number of comments made by Ms.Tamara, in particular the one quoted above. With all due respect, the statement is a stark example of well-meaning Sinhala brethren being oblivious to the legitimate aspirations of us Tamils as fellow citizens of Sri Lanka. I do sense a patronising tone in her epistle. For someone as well-intentioned as Ms. Tamara is a bit more understanding of the Tamil perspective would have certainly helped.

    In their research paper titled Success under tokenism: Cooption of the newcomer and the prevention of collective protest Stephan Write and Donald Taylor observe that tokens will serve as an additional barrier to collective actions by the disadvantaged group, because they will serve to reinforce the dominant social belief that individual merit is the criterion for success and will be used as `proof of the nonexistence of discrimination.

    There are two very important points to be noted here, in the Sri Lankan context: standardization and other measures implemented by successive governments to enhance the majoritarian entitlement by relegating merit to a second tier norm indeed constituted discrimination against the minorities; however, tokenism was practiced to give an illusion to the contrary. The acts of deception failed with the Tamils, yet many well-meaning Sinhala brethren were, and continue to be, taken in. This sad state of affairs is hardly surprising in a country where intellectual life and independent thought have been stifled by oppression, thuggery and mass propaganda.

    My job entails travel all over my adopted homeland Canada and occasionally to USA. In the airport lounges more often than not I run into fellow Tamil expatriates, mostly young professionals travelling on business. Habitually, I initiate conversations and share stories, experiences and perspectives. These are educated (in western universities, I must emphasize) and highly talented people who work for multinationals like Google, Microsoft, RIM etc. to name a few. They utilize their skills to do well for themselves and in the process enrich their employers and their adopted homelands.

    They recount life experiences with similar themes; lives destroyed and opportunities denied due to the prevailing state of affair in Sri Lanka; migration in search of a safer life; struggles to establish in a new country; material and professional success through education and hard work; above all they are very grateful to their adopted homelands for the opportunities afforded, and rights and freedoms guaranteed. They know they wouldnt have achieved the successes had they not left.

    They will never return. For them Canada (USA, Australia etc) is home. They couldnt care less about LTTE or VP or Elam. All they are concerned about, at this point, is the safety and welfare of their relatives and loved ones still living in Sri Lanka. If they get a chance they would just bring their relatives and loved ones over.

    So well-meaning Sinhala friends like Ms. Tamara will do well not to view the actions and reactions of the ordinary diaspora through the LTTE prism. We are victims of persecutions on several fronts; asking us to deny that fact is an insult. We welcome reconciliation but not assimilation. Our communities in Canada, UK, Australia and in all the other (western) countries have proven how well we adapt to, and integrate into, new environment where fundamental rights are guaranteed and hard work pays.

    The Tamil diaspora are not LTTE apologists so it is not fair to expect them to apologise for, or provide explanations to, the actions of that outfit. LTTE never really voiced the true Tamil concerns. Quite the contrary, they just drowned out and destroyed all voices of reason. That organisation existed for the welfare of certain group of people who were not really affected by the discriminatory polices pursued by successive regimes. Does anyone honestly think standardization would ever have affected VP and his guys who started the LTTE? What do they care? While we were kids they tried to disrupt our education by calling frequent hartals and boycott of classes. This insurgency was their experiment that went horribly wrong. They lost. Now move on. Do not equate the ordinary Tamil with the LTTE. The average Tamil (expatriate included) is much more of a victim of LTTE and VP than anyone else.

    Reconciliation is not a necessity for the expatriates. They are happy where they are. But it is essential for all those who are still in Sri Lanka. Otherwise that island will regress into a permanent beggar nation status. IMHO the initiative in the reconciliation process needs to come from the majority community. Otherwise as Moses asked the Pharaoh Ramesses LET MY PEOPLE GO

  69. Tamara! Great start. Thanks for being honest about your doubts about what the real issues are with the Tamils.

    I’m not sure if I can explain that here adequately. But the bigger point is, if you with some contact with Tamils, feel this way, we are far from a resolution to this nasty problem.

    My humble view is even if all the Sinhalese understand the Tamil issues, and feel they are willing to treat the Tamils fairly and if all the Tamils, forget and forgive and are willing to move on, the problems will not go away. That is why I have a problem with the reconciliation talk at this time. It’s a bit premature.
    (I know DBS doesn’t like to hear that, and I don’t suspect his motives, just an honest disagreement )

    We cannot find a solution based on the good will of the people on both sides. We need to make legal, and structural changes that will form a system that will preserve the human dignity of all Sri Lankans, recognizing their difference and not covering it up like the President said (No more minorities etc. ) .

    The new systems should allow people to decide their own destiny and give them choices in their own progress.

    We need a very de-centralized federal system like what you find in the USA, Canada, Switzerland etc. .

    After growing up in Jaffna for 20 years, where it felt like a 2nd class citizen, throughout all of the 1970s, and long before the LTTE, I was very suspicious when I moved to the US.

    I was always used to being treated like a foreigner in my own land of my birth by the military and police who were mostly or almost all Sinhalese.

    Surprisingly I felt very much at home and feel free living in a foreign land half a world from Sri Lanka. This didn’t happen because people here in the US are honest and fair, but the system, after many years of struggle has guaranteed my rights. We need the same in Sri Lanka.

    After being humiliated in Colombo on many occasions for not knowing Sinhalese, I was pleasantly surprised, the first week after I arrived in the US, I went to take my written driving test, and they asked me if I wanted a Tamil translator and apologized for not having a Tamil test on paper. (The test is offered in 14 languages in my state) I didn’t need it as my English was good, but the attitude made me feel at home. This is just one example.

    I too was never a supporter of LTTE’s methods of operation, but they gave me a voice, when they stood up to the terrorist government of Sri Lanka.

    I had mixed emotions when the LTTE was wiped out. I feel like the Tamils in Sri Lanka have no real strong representation that can stand up to the GOSL.

    Our leaders from the past who followed all democratic methods got no where, and same will be true of the present Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka. The LTTE was an imperfect group, but they were the only Tamil group that made the Sinhalese think twice about the Tamil issues. Even they have failed, due to terrible leadership. If such a powerful group couldn’t achieve the goals of the Tamils, our future looks very bleak in a united SL. That’s another reason why many Tamils around the world feel despondent.

  70. Dear KenDR.K

    I am sorry that you underwent so much sorrow and frustration in your early years. If I understand correctly you must be in a western country and I wish you and your family well. I also fully understand your fear of being subject to security checks which is alien to you if you do come back. I also know words such as forgive and forget have little meaning to you.

    See if you can find in your heart some good things Lanka has given you. Education perhaps your time at the Jaffna Uni. Your views of 30 years of SLArmy and Police doing what they will is the same as of the LTTE in what they did. Maybe you have not seen the full atrocities of the LTTE against ordinary sinhala villagers. Your frustrations are the same as mine.

    But I am moving on doing what I can to help re conciliate. Doing something in my own little world surrounding me. I sincerely pray that you will have someday no pain in your herat when you think of Sri Lanka.

  71. If you do not mind I would appreciate the accommodation of a madmans point of view:

    I woke up today
    I was crying
    Lost in a lost world
    So many people are dying
    Lost in a lost world

    Some of them are living an illusion
    Bounded by the darkness of their minds
    In their eyes it’s nation against nation against nation
    With racial pride
    Sad hearts they hide
    Thinking only of themselves
    They shun the light
    They think they’re right
    Living in their empty shells

    Oh, can you see their world is crashing?
    Crashing down around their feet
    Angry people in the street
    Telling them they’ve had their fill
    Of politics that wound and kill

    Grow, the seeds of evolution
    Revolution never won
    It’s just another form of gun
    To do again what they have done
    With all our brothers’ youngest sons

    Everywhere you go you see them searching
    Everywhere you turn you feel the pain
    Everyone is looking for the answer
    Well look again, come on my friend
    Love will find them in the end
    Come on my friend
    We’ve got to bend
    On our knees and say a prayer

    Oh, can you see the world is pining
    Pining for someone who really cares enough to share his love
    With all of us, so we can be
    An ever loving family

    Have we forgotten we’re all children?
    Children from a family tree
    That’s longer than a centipede
    Started long ago when you and I
    Were only love

    I woke today, I was crying
    Lost in a lost world
    So many people are dying
    Lost in a lost world

    So many people, so many people, people
    Lost in a lost world
    So many people, so many people, people
    Lost in a lost world

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhNl6wIkVs8

  72. Ranjan #22
    You accuse me of wanting to spread hatred in order to prevent SL from uniting. May I say unequivocally that I do not support Tamil separatism and the Tamil Eelam cause. As someone from Singapore, I believe the highest achievement any society can attain is the ability for various ethnic groups to live together in peace, and their drafting of legislation that guarantees equal rights.

    Pramod #41
    Yes, I agree that Tamils too need re-education. My focus was on Sinhalese because, as the majority, they can wield tremendous political energy in bringing ethical governments into power.

    I am sorry you read support of the Tigers in my post. Perhaps that is because you equate Tamils with being Tigers. The thrust of my post was to argue the importance of Sinhalese in exerting their political will in changing the situation in the country. Does that sound like a Tiger position to you? Have the Tigers ever appealed to the Sinhalese to help them? They chose violence. I don’t believe in violence but in education and cultural development as key to bringing about peace. But I have no doubt that you will still think that I am pro-Tiger. This has become an easy solution for recalcitrant Sinhalese to discredit any Tamil quest for equal rights.

    Asoka2#42
    I thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. The women my family employed were always widows and single mothers living in Jaffna. They had no Tiger connections, and in fact, always tried to stay out of the way of the Tigers.They lived in terror that the Tigers would take their children. Whatever they told me was of what they saw with their own eyes and what they personally experienced. That’s how I know that it wasn’t Tigers propaganda or mere gossip.

    Citzens #44
    You mention Kadirgamar. The only two Tamils I am aware of who were ever ministers in Sri Lanka were both working to destroy the LTTE. The other is Karuna. Do you think maybe that was the reason why Kadirgama and Karuna were even admitted into the hallowed circle of power ? Were there any more than these two? In an equal rights situation, shouldn’t there be at least 20% of Tamils in parliament and appointed as ministers and diplomats?

    You say that it is the Tigers who are responsible for no Tamils being Ministers and diplomats—that they killed everyone who had the potential. If Tamils had had equal rights in getting into the highest echelons of government in the first place, the Tigers would never have even come into existence. There would have been no need for them.

  73. Thamara, i don’t agree with most of your views, but thank you for penning your ideas which initiated this discussion.
    i’m a sinhala buddhist from a middle-class family. even though i had my secondary education in colombo thanks to the free education in sri lanka, most of my life was spent in my village away from colombo. so i have the taste of both communities. i left sri lanka very recently, therefore i hope my thoughts will not be viewed as coming from somebody who doesn’t have any idea of the ground reality in sri lanka.

    regarding your claims that sinhalese were celebrating freedom from terrorism, to me it is a gov and media backed celebration with an underlying political agenda. truly people may be happy in their hearts that LTTE is no more but without a media backing such huge celebrations can’t be expected.

    i see a lot of tamil friends accepting that sinhalese are not bad in personal level but they are still electing and supporting governments who continuosly suppress the tamils. the moderate sinhalese who really care for the tamils don’t protest when it is reported there are human rights violations against tamils.

    i can think of only one reason for this. in my opinion, there is a huge communication gap between tamils and sinhalese. very few people are hungry for EXTRA information. common men always listen, read or watch media of their respective languages and accept the news as truth. most of them don’t really bother to explore what lies beneath. unfortunately, for every incident in sri lanka there is a sinhala version and a tamil version. sinhalese don’t know the tamil version and vise versa. for example, even today sinhala media reports how 13 soldiers were killed in early 80’s which paved the way to riots. but tamil media reports these soldiers were involved in a rape case hence killed. i was a 4 year old when these incidents happened, so i have no idea what was discussed those days. but to this day i haven’t met a single sinhalese who says these soldiers were rapists. had they knew, more than 90% of sinhalese would agree that they have no right to live. this is a small example of the ground reality. in this blog, i have seen a lot of sinhalese asking what rights tamils couldn’t enjoy due to their race. this is the ultimate result of the communication gap. when i was a teenager, i had the chance to read Tigers of Lanka by Narayan Swamy and i was surprised to read the behaviour of sri lankan armed forces who are respected by sinhalese so much. but the reality is how many of us sinhalese read these books or have access to this kind of information? even today when i speak with my family back home, they don’t know 1/2 of the information we know about the situation in sri lanka. how many have access to internet or bbc or cnn? what ever is told to them by the media is the truth to them. politicians, armed forces with the help of the media provides logical reasons for all the questions and doubts in the minds of the common sinhalese. sinhalese don’t know that tamils feel threatened that 100k more are recruited to the army. according to what is reported in sinhala media we need more army personnels so that the existing ones can have 7 days holiday each month. so obviously sinhalese see this as an attempt targeting welfare of the army who rescued our nation. while every incident in sri lanka is given a sinhala version by the media, if there is any news sweeping from the western media regarding human rights violation in sri lanka, before that news reaches the common man, politicians or their spokesmen provide reasons to reject these allegations and brainwash the common man. now sinhalese know that there are claims against government against human rights violations, but media has done the job superbly that the common man doesn’t believe such allegations. there are few people who know extra information and are very angry with the government for what they did and doing, but they are just like some of my tamil friends who claim that they didn’t like the LTTE killing civilians but couldn’t speak up. this gov is no different than LTTE.

    therefore, dear tamil friends, don’t think sinhalese are an insensitive lot to the grievances of the tamils. those people really don’t know or made not to believe such incidents. as rasika # 39 correctly said, the sinhalese also would have joined the LTTE had they knew. our politicians with the help of our media has made us believe their hopes and aspirations of political gains as the way for betterment of our country. MR with the help of media has convinced the sinhalese majority that for the betterment of our country he should be the president for the next 6 years. similarly, tamils think that if tamil politicians are given more power than already given to rule north and east they can prosper. but what is the assurance that tamil politicians will be any different than the sinhala ones, who are concerned about the welfare of their family, taking commisions from the foreign aides, doing all the crimes to stay in power.. the list is endless. isn’t the need of the hour to enforce law and order, providing equal opportunites regardless of race or religion, establishing democracy, development of all the areas of the country, not only their electorate? are you not made to believe that if tamil politicians rule your areas with more powers, your lives will be better? if true democracy and law and order are prevalent in sri lanka, do you need a tamil politician to transfer a police man or to prosecute those who did crimes agains tamils? i’m not denying here that tamils shouldn’t have power to rule their areas, i’m truly for the devolution of power but what i’m trying to say is that behind all our politicians say, there is a hidden political agenda. we foolishly believe them. unless democracy, law and order are established in sri lanka, lasting peace will be a dream.

    i can’t help commenting on # 6 rose. you say that it is very difficult for tamils to enter sri lankan universities. i’d say it is very difficult for anyone regardless of race to enter uni in SL. with few intakes each year with private universities practically non-existant, it is a tough competition. due to lak of distribution of facilities, teachers, or what ever they say, there are cities and remote areas in SL. therefore the gov has implemented a district basis for uni entrance where a certain number is selected from each district. i find this rather unfair and i have first hand experience on that matter. when around 900 students are taken to study medicine each year, i wasn’t selected for medicine even though my island rank was 450, because i was 1 mark below the district quota. that is the price i paid for studying in the colombo district. when i was studying dentistry, there were students from remote areas who had scored about 50 marks less than my total marks in A/L’s. (true enough they stuggled in exams and some even missed batches.) but unfortunately i couldn’t claim it discrimination since i’m from majority but i don’t think ultimately sri lanka is benefitted with this district quota system either. ideally those with high marks should be taken regardless of race or district. but without good teachers and facilities in all areas such policies can’t be implemented. it is a vicious cycle. therefore rose, it is not the race, but degree of development in each area that makes it difficult to enter sri lankan universities.

  74. senadhi,
    Thank you for shedding light on the university situation in SL. I did not know all that about the district-based entry system. Also, you effectively convey the way the majority population can be caught within the government-misinformation system.

    I agree with you that in the end it doesn’t matter whether the politician is Tamil or Sinhalese so long as there is rule of law and legislation that ensures the representation of the interests of the various groups.

  75. Dear Tamara,

    I certainly understand the feelinigs of the middle class sinhalese.
    No is no argument that majority of the tamils were not harmed during the various anti tamil riots in the south because of the fact many sinhalese people helped them. This fact is well recognised by most of the tamils.
    You wanted to know the problems the tamils faced in srilanka. this is actually is the problem.Some shrewed politicians and some senior sinhala administrative officers were and still are racists and anti tamil . they along with some monks were responsible for poisoning the minds of innocent sinhalese instead of telling them the common problems the tamils in the North east had.
    They made sure everything administrative had to be in sinhala in majority tamil areas. You go to a police station in the North , the police man cannot understand what the poor tamil was saying and just writes something in sinhala expecting the person to sign this . Even now , can you show me where in colombo and other places you have things written in BOTH sinhala and Tamil.
    A tamil officer working in the south took it as his responsibilty to speak in sinhala where as the sinhala officers in tamil speaking areas . even now expect tamils to speak to the in sinhala.
    you may say these are simple things but these are the thinks that made tamils to think , that only in his own state he can work in tamil and would not feel that he is living in someone elses country.

    You should not compare the colombo tamils to north east tamils.Their problems are different.
    To me the most important thing is that the administrative functions in the tamil majority areas should be in tamil and the tamils should feel that they control their activities in the tamil majority areas and not by the people in colombo.

    Unles and until this is done and implementd properly, i doubt it very much srilanks can have real peace

  76. Hi Tamara,

    Thanks for your effort on “bridging communities”. It is always appreciated.

    So much has been discussed by many bloggers by both sides on various issues. So I am not going to repeat those.

    Let us all forget about issues like, freedom of speech, freedom of press, democracy, rights of Tamils, rights of anyone, human rights, war crime, workers rights, National anthem, Flag, Language etc., etc.. all these countless dilemmas.

    Let me ask you and all these bloggers the following:

    1) In all these Blogs and comments, how many Tamils introduce them as Tamil Hindu or Tamil Christian? None. How many Sinhalese introduce them as Sinhalese Buddhist? Many of you, Don’t you. You yourself introduce you in your original comment # 54 to MS as Sinhalese Buddhist. Why do you like to have that appendage? We all agree that we all should call ourselves Sri Lankans instead of Tamil or Sinhalese. So are you still going to call yourself as Sri Lankan or Sri Lankan Buddhist?

    This is very apparent when we compare Sri Lankans and Indians. India has many races and religions but they all call themselves as Indians, no appendage behind them. Why? India is a secular Country

    2) What did Sri Lanka achieve since independence in 1948? Nothing but corruption and killing under the ruling of Chauvinists and religious fanatics and opportunist leaders of both sides. Why? As Mr. Cooray pointed out that we didn’t earn our freedom. It was just tossed on us by the British after the independence of India.

    3) Which is morally worse? Recruiting children as young as 5 years in to monastic orders which is actively campaigned by MR and his Prime Minister to cope up with the shortage of monks? Or recruitment of child soldiers by LTTE carried out of desperation? I am not defending LTTE by any means anyway. Do you think just because Buddha ordained his son Rahula at very young age DOES make child monk recruitment morally correct?

    By the way for those who don’t know, besides being President of SL, MR’s cabinet post is Minister of “Religious Affairs and MORAL Upliftment”.

    MR and his PM defend child monk recruitment saying that they are saving these young children from poverty by providing them food and lodge! Can they do this to their children or to their grandchildren?

    4) If majority of people in any country fall into “middle class”, that would be a paradise. There won’t be many problems in any Nation if the country is economically sound and treats its people morally and equally. SL should give priority for developing the economy of the country instead of promoting Buddhism. Literally we all should do actual work with body and brain instead of chanting and pan handling. In other words, no Rugby playing on Poya days! I bet there won’t be any lunatics on Poyas if they do actual work with their arms and legs!

    If anyone thinks that I criticize Buddhism, then you have to read my previous blogs to see that I criticize ALL religions. It is my passion by the way!

    Whatever we do this is the hard reality.

    1) SL economy is in very bad shape, not to mention the world economy. Whenever possible GOSL will blame the LTTE and the war they won, for its bad economy and turn the majority of (even moderate) Sinhalese against Tamils.

    2) Tamils in SL have no voice. They will become more and more submissive. Right now they are just relieved it is all over and happy to be just alive and do their day to day activities. They wouldn’t even know or want to know what their rights are. By the name of eliminating the terrorism Tamils will be systematically marginalised. Whoever Sinhalese voice for Tamils will be also wiped out.

    3) The most troubling factor is the trend among youngsters. Young Sinhalese know only the terror caused by the LTTE but doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to know or aren’t allowed to know the root causes of all these fights. Just like the way Mr Cooray’s grand nephew and his friends behaved. I bet more than 80% of the Sinhala youth wouldn’t even know Jaffna Library was burnt in 81. On the other hand Tamil youths are also not as informed as we were but emotionally and morally tarnished by terrorism and gun culture.

  77. Answer to Kaz
    You seem to know something about the IRA and British government response to it. What you didn’t mention is that the objective of the IRA was not to kill civilians in order to get them on their side. So whenever a bomb was to be detonated they would call the police and give them enough time to clear the area of everyone. I should know because I worked in the city of London when many of these bombs went off. Whereas the LTTE were gleeful the more singhalese were killed.

  78. Answer to Rose re. university entrance
    (following up on Senadhi’s comment).

    Look at the UK when it comes to University access. Children from state schools with much lower grades have been chosen over children from private schools with 4 straight As, into Oxbridge. Many middle class families (a lot of Asians possibly even Tamils) had deprived themselves to send their children to these schools and were denied the big prize. Sri Lanka had a similar policy, rightly or wrongly, to get better representation from the more remote areas at the universities. Any Tamil who did not get in could go to India and get educated in their mother tongue and return. However, a middle class singhalese child who did not get in could go nowhere to get educated in sinhalese.

  79. A general comment on education in Sri Lanka

    There was a time when you could study either in Sinhala, Tamil or English in state schools. But those of sinhala parentage like myself were not allowed to study in English. Since I could speak no sinhala having studied in french until age 11, I was doomed to fail academically. Furthermore, the teaching was bad and textbooks were outdated. I envied my Tamil friends in The English stream. In general, at the school I went to, the sinhala stream kids were looked down on and bullied by the English stream kids who were usually of Tamil, Burger and Muslim backgrounds. Funny isn t it?
    Things are different now I believe. But it shows that we shouldn t harp on the past

    Whats needed is reform of the education system in Sri Lanka. Make the pie larger!!!
    Sri Lanka needs to have people able to work productively in the 21st century: workforce readiness; entrpreneurial skills; and financial literacy.
    Better educated people also vote more intelligently!!

  80. To Fran and others who may wish to answer

    Dont Tamils have very close ties to Tamil Nadu? Language, education, marriage partners, other family, religion etc…

    Since there are many more of them there should they not take comfort from that? There’s always Tamil Nadu if they wish to be surrounded only by their culture.

    At the height of its power 16/17 century, the Ottoman empire extended to Southeastern Europe. That doesn t mean to say that the Turks can claim part of Southeastern Europe for themselves.

  81. #82: Chantal,

    Get your facts straight. Only Burghers or Muslims could study in English. After 1972 the Tamils and Sinhalese had to study in their respective languages. The Tamils who went to Schools in the South that did not have Tamil medium classes had to sudy in Sinhala. For example the leading Boys schools in Galle (Richmond. St. St Aloysius, Mahinda) had no Tamil medium classes and Tamil had to leave the English medium and join the Sinhala medium.

  82. Chantal,
    I envied my Tamil friends in The English stream. In general, at the school I went to, the sinhala stream kids were looked down on and bullied by the English stream kids who were usually of Tamil, Burger and Muslim backgrounds. Funny isn t it?

    In the private schools (STC, Trinity, St Peters) etc anyone could study in the English medium. The issue was what was the choice for SL university entrance. if you were Sinhalese or Tamil you had to have taken your A/L in Sinhalese or Tamil. If you were a Burgher or Muslim you could take the A/L in English. Mixed race (e.g. Tamil father and Sinhalese mother) were also allowed to take the A/L in English and be eligible for University entrance.

    In my case based simply on documentation I was a Tamil. i.e. Father and Mother were both Tamil. The reality was little different, my mother was half sinhalese (her mother was sinhalese) and she was a English/Sinhalese speaking. I guess my parents decided to send me to Sinhala medium though for most purposes we spoke in English at home. I also had a couple of relatives from my fathers side (Tamils) who opted to study in Sinhalese. (Yes, we did enter University too).

    Tamils (or for that matter Sinhalese) who opted to go into the English medium had parents who had decided SL university was not an option for their child. More than likely that were thinking of careers in Private sector or Law or a University abroad. For some reason Law college did not have this A/L medium constraint.

    As you can see, parents who dismiss the SL University option and are thinking of careers in Private sector or Law or a University abroad for their children are well off. So its probably class issue and a not a race/language issue where “sinhala stream kids were looked down on and bullied by the English stream kids” if it happened in your school.

    “sinhala stream kids were looked down on and bullied by the English stream kids” was not the case in the school I went to (STC) and know it was not the case in Trinity either.

  83. Perfect reconciliation
    I had an opportunity to work with a well known tiger commander’s widowed wife. She moved out of north after her husband’s death and continued working as a doctor . she was adored by sinhala and tamil patients. I heard that she is married to a sinhala doctor now. Former Government let her go freely instead of harassing her for her previous association with tigers. Look what they have gained by doing it- positive contribution to the society.

  84. ron#84,
    There was a Sri Lankan Tamil kingdom. You seem to have forgotten that. The home of Sri Lankan Tamils is Sri Lanka, not Tamil Nadu. SL Tamils have lived in SL for more than two millenia. Indian Tamil and Sri Lankan Tamil language and cultures are different. Would you ask the Quebecois people in Canada to go back to France?

    chantal#82
    I agree that education should be emphasised. It is a pity that the current and past SL governments all preferred to play up issues of race and religion instead of developing education and the economy. Perhaps they did not want an educated population because it would protest against their policies. It is because of lack of education facilities and opportunities that all the SL leaders have come from the conservative social elite, from long-established political families who were not ready for modernity. It is time this situation ended. Now the SL diaspora, both Sinhalese and Tamil, are far more educated and progressive than those in SL itself. What a waste of talent for the country.

    Personally, I believe that education should be in English because the reality is that more knowledge can be accessed by knowing English. It makes people more economically and culturally mobile. Also, English-stream education will bring together the various ethnic groups and cement them as a society. Tamil and Sinhalese and other languages should be studied as mother tongue. However those who still wish to study in the Tamil or Sinhalese streams should be allowed to do so.

    In Singapore, we had Chinese, Malay and Tamil stream schools when we attained independence. But our government encouraged people to go to the English-language stream, and it was later found that those in the vernacular streams had more difficulty getting jobs. So gradually the vernacular schools closed shop, and now, everyone goes to English-language schools. But the government has made it mandatory for everyone to study their mother tongue also.

    However, I don’t agree with your point about forgetting the past. It is important to know the past so that we can avoid repeating the mistakes of history. That is why Tamils want an international inquiry into the SL situation, and why people are talking of Truth and Reconciliation committees. Tamils want to know exactly what happened. Otherwise, they will become victims again out of ignorance.

    Sinhalese people want to forget the past because the war is over for them. It is not over for the Tamils. The SL government won’t let it be over for the Tamils.

  85. Reply #84
    I think you got lost, you got to read the link (#84)again. It is long but worth it. It has nothing in there to prompt same old rhetoric we heard in the last 6 decades.

    A short answer to your question is that the tamils in SL are much closer to Sinhalese than tamils in Tamil nadu, even genetically.
    Only people we are trying to distant ourselves from, are the chauvinistic elements hijacking our shared destiny.
    Historical example you try to give based on
    ill-understood history of SL, but it is complex .
    If we go back in time, we will find the same parents, after all we are sharing the same gene pool. aren’t we.

  86. Hi Tamara,Irangani,Dingiri

    I put forward a solution which could even Satisfy the JVP,JHU and Vimal. Which is only a small modification to Dingiri’s. In President Mahinda’s language it is a home grown solution.

    When the federal party started what they told to us was if we let the Sinhalese colonies to spread throughout the North and East we will not be speaking Tamil (because of fear) like the Negombo Tamils do and finaly our race will be wiped out. That is the real fear of the Tamils.

    When we got independent North central province, North western province and Monaragala districts were having less population than the districts of Eastern province. When they started the Gal oya project Tamils lived even at the place where the Inginiyagala reservior is built. Now 100% of Nothern Ampara is Sinhalese area. Nothern Ampara is about 25% of Eastern province. Nearly 50% of Trincomalle district and about 10% of Batticaloa district is occupied by Sinhalese. The Sinhalese always complain that the Tamils living in the Eastern cost has more fishing area than their population ratio. To satisfy the Sinhalese create some pockets of fishing villages along the Eastern cost. This will stop the North east Tamils thinking of carving out a Tamil state even in the future. These colonies shouldn’t reduce the political strength of the Tamils in the East. To do that the electorates in the east or in the Vavunia district has to be separated as Tamil electorates, Sinhala eletorates and Muslim electorates. Muslim congress proposal also asking for a Ponichery like solution. Two pockets of land in Tamilnau and one piece of land in Andra and another piece in Kerala formed the Pondichery state.
    The Trincomalle harbour too has to be devided as three parts for all three communities.
    During colonial time if they would have built a road connecting the North and East through only those province the population would have got naturally spreaded through- out the north-east and a question of self rule would’t have arised. If you have to travel to North from Trinco you will have to go through North central province and if you want to travel from Trinco to Batticaloa you will have to travel through Habarana.
    Feeling this reality only the Indian army wanted to build a road connecting north and east.
    Between 1977 and 1983 many Tamils Travelled to Colombo or travelled between North and east were burnt with buses or attacked and at the Railway stations also they were attacked.
    During JR’s time between Mullitivu and Trinco Tamils were driven out from their villages and the Sinhalese were migrated. All these Sinhalese colonies created after 1977 has to be removed and the Tamils has to be brought back. The pockets of Sinhala Fishing colonies shouldn’t break the continuity of the Tamil, Muslim interier lands.
    More power you devolve to the Tamil/Muslim provinces will benifit the Sinhala province. You don’t have to share the Hydro electricity with them. Only for generating electricity or Transport the Muslim/Tamil provinces has to be allowed to mine gas or oil. They should’t be allowed to export gas or oil. Expensive minerals like Thorium or Illmanite could be taken by central government but the employment has to be given to the perticular area people only.
    Estate Tamils also has to be given a Pondichery solution but without the land power. They are connected as a Tamil province with only political power. Land of all estates has to be owned by the Central government ( not by Sinhala province), like the Podichery is directly controled by Delhi and they can create Sinhala colonies in the estates but those colonies shouldn’t be connected with the Tamil electorates. To build factories or housing some state lands has to be allocated to the estate Tamil province.

  87. I know as a fact, until 1984 Sinhala business community lived in north and they were not a threat or mean to the tamil community.

    From our friends in north I want to ask two questions and I expect honest and true answers
    Why is there not even a single Sinahal person living in north? Why have they been killed and chased away?
    Are you going to accept them into your community, if they come back to north?

  88. trying to find answers

    My classmate’s mum is sinhalese, still living in Jaffna.

    My aunt’s domestic worker is sinhala, has been living with us for 30 years. Despite she can’t speak proper tamil she never faced any trouble- by the way she goes out on her own.

    I can still remember what happened in 1984. Following a roadside bomb blast army destroyed a catholic church , beautiful St Peters church , as a punishment. Also burnt 3 story salusala building and many shops in the town centre. Then Angry catholic community attacked sinhala maha vidyalaya, the buddhist temple and shops near Ariyakulam.

    Do you think sinhalese would live in a place where you face aerial bombing and shelling every day. There was no electricity and transport and most of the items were banned including medicines ,soaps /sanitary pads and kerosene oil. During my A/Ls-1991, we bought a bottle of kerosene oil for Rs 350. Therefore, I had limited time to study at night. Jaffna students face same cut off as Colombo students despite all these difficulties. In 1990 the Government used unreasonable selection method for north students. In the end they had to change it as the court ruled against the government.

    Tamils only opposed systematic mass settlements in north and east. Because we are worried that the government would use altered demography against tamils political achievement..

  89. Re #79 Deepee:
    I don’t find anything wrong in mentioning the race since here we are speaking about an ethnic issue. added to that there is a huge communication gap between sinhalese and tamils and it is rather helpful to understand each other when comments are made mentioning the race. i personally mention my race and religion because sinhalese buddhists are attacked by so many tamils as racists and nationalist, hence to prove that all don’t think the same. on the otherhand nobody mentions sinhalese christians or sinhalese catholics when discussing racial issues, it is totally sinhala buddhists vs tamils, regardless of religion. infact, this is a discussion among fellow countrymen. I never mention my race or religion to a foreigner when introducing myself, i call myself sri lankan. but the same is not required here.

  90. Thanks Tamara for a very organised and collected article. I share all your sentiments. I could have written here until I bleed from the nose and still the message would not have been any clearer.

    Well, reading the responses it seems like we have a very very long way to go. Anyway, thankfully, we have started it. Still I hear a lot of racist Tamil voices here too.

    I just wanted to tell one thing, I do recognise and understand the Tamil sentiment of loosing their voice with the death of VP. But it is because VP is dead and LTTE is gone that a lot of moderate Sinhalese are now trying to understand, think and reach out.

    If VP LTTE were still here I would not even bother to read this blog. Instead, I would be supporting SL armed forces to destroy the evil. But DBSJ is doing a fantastic job at this. At least, with him the moderate Sinhalese are listening.

    I think the Sinhalese have paid dearly for their mistakes. So lets move forward no need to forget the past, but lets learn from it.

    Tamils: Forget the LTTE is it time for yuo to build a new voice. Some one who is more humane, intelligent, diplomatic than VP ever was. Building this voice will show the true unity of the Tamil community.

    Sinhalese: Lets accomodate Tamils in everything. Lets recognise what they went through. Lets reach out not as much as we can but as mich as we require.

    DBSJ: Thank you very much. Please keep up the good work. One day you will be remembered not just by the Tamils.

  91. UKG #67 – I was not thinking of a numbers game. Nor did I say LTTE killed more Sinhala People than Government killed Tamils or something like that. All Is aid is that I would like to see the Tamils also ask forgiveness for the killings and supporting the Tamil killers who murdered and maimed thousands ofInnocent Sri Lankans. It is not a competition about who killed more or who deid more. I am jsut sad that Tamils never show remorse for the massacres of the LTTE upon innocent Sri Lankas (including other Tamils)…but yes, if you want to highlight it – I have not heard any Tamil express remorse for the innocent Sinhala people hacked tod death, blown in bombs or the Muslims massacred in mosques, chased away from Jaffna etc…all I want to say is that the Tamils also have to apologise as much as SInhala people have to. But the continued support for the murderous LTTE…how can there be reconciliation, if Tamils like only you see yourselves as victims, when you have condoned terrorism, massacres etc?…admit that both sides have done horrible things, thats all. An expression of remorse is too much to ask for, I see…

    And to Selva #90 – your views reminds again of the ethnic cleansing of the north when the Sinhala nad Muslim people were chased away. Sri Lanka is for all people to live freely. That is what I think. You want racist ghettos and ethnic cleansing?? Sinhala people have a right to live anywhere, as do Tamil people and Muslim people. Sinhala people cannot “colonise” the north and east because it is also part of our own country. So you can live in Colombo, Kandy but I cannot live in north and east? I am a coloniser if I decide to live somewhere in my own country?!!? Your views ar very intolerant and racist as it seesm you cannot bear to see Sinhala, tamil and Muslim people living together as neighbours and associating with each other. Your views are liek apartheid South Africa and nazi germany, where the policy was that races should not mix and ghettoes and bantustans should be made so people of different races cannot mingle with each other? What is next? Ban inter-racial marriages also, like in Nazi Germany and United States (where anti-miscegenation laws were only declared unconstitutional in 1969 and some southern States kept it on statute books till 1990s) ? There cannot be ethnically pure enclaves and ghettoes in my country!! You want to destroy Sri Lanka further to make it horrible place. I pray that racist views like yours will never suceed and people can live together as friends and neighbours and defeat such racist ideology.

  92. # 76 by Senadhi

    and to others talked about education syatem.

    Thanks Senadhi for shedding info. regarding how general public is manipulated with media.

    Lot of us talked about university entrance system in SL.

    I think overall it is a good system giving opportunities to students from rural areas. It not only benifits Sinhalese but it also benifits Tamils from rural areas. Being an engineering graduate entered from Jaffna, I saw firsthandedly, how some students from rural areas progressed to being excellent graduates at the end of their course. Many of these students from rural areas didn’t even know a few basic words of English when they entered the uni.

    However, as always in our corruped country, I also see many parents (including S & T) exploited this system and somehow got their kids entered through rural quote but educated them in big cities.

  93. # 91 Trying to finf answers

    We had two sinhala families lived around our neighbourhood in Jaffna. One a car driver taking kids to school and the other worked in the bakery at Kandy road Kachcheri. We never had problems. In fact they still live in Jaffna and they talk fluent Tamil too.

  94. Good post and good comments (at least most)
    The tamils living in SL in fact have no issue with sinhala people, it is the diaspora that spread hatred? Why? They are scared of their refugee visa. They dont suffer, but they dont want to come back, lets face it, SL is a developing country, u dont get what u get in the UK, so they have to keep a story going, thats what they are trying to do. But majoirty of tamils dont fall to this. In fact there is no ethnic hatred between sinhalese and tamils. As mentioned by many, sinhala ppl saved tamils in 83, and to date work and live happiliy with them in south. In north, LTTE killed and kicked out sinhalese, but before that they lived happily together. At uni and everywhere we worked together with tamil ppl. Sometimes its sad to see the guys who were together with us studying or working and helped each other go to Canada and get involved in Diaspora. By expereince I can say ppl do tht either bcos pressure by ppl around them or refugee visa related issues. If not sinhala ppl have always treated them well. even today, it is sinhala ppl who treat IDPs, while diaspora strategise their savior plan and doesnt even send a cent to IDPs. This country is for both. Murali and crickerters play with sinhalese and we are near another world cup now, and we won one before as well, and the country is a juncture where we can be the Singapore in the South Asia, and we can do tht together. Resposnisbility lies with both groups to engage each other, and be friendly to each other. Creating a politcal leadership for tamils is a must which was runied by ltte.

  95. Selva

    I can’t see how theTamils could be worried of extermination when there are 60million of them across the Palk Straits. There are much fewer sinhalese.
    Sure the Tamils must hang on to their culture and so should the sinhalese. At the end of the day though economic development should come first so that both Tamils and Sinhalese enjoy better lives. For that what is needed is English, the universal language of business and science.

  96. Gone-With -the -Wind

    Don t you agree that the Rajapakse government was able to come into power because the LTTE made the tamils boycott the elections?

    Most business people in Colombo (and don’t brush away their comments because if not for them the entire country would have to survive on aid, not just part of it) would have preferred a UNP or more business friendly regime. They were despairing of the election results and felt that what the LTTE wanted was the destruction of the economy.

    Culture is all well and good but you have to be able to eat and drink, and basically survive, to enjoy culture!

    Instead of working towards a seperate state, which is essentially a selfish goal, why don t the Tamils get together with the Sinhalese and make the government take the correct business decisions for the country as a whole!
    Make life better for the average person throughout the country!
    i find it amazing that the business sector in Colombo has managed as well as it has given the poor economic decisions of the government, the inefficiency of the Ministries, the disruptive suicide bombings of the LTTE, etc…

  97. Indeed, we need conversation. You are of course a very good hearted person. You have elicited equally good-hearted responses that have been open and honest with you in the hope that your understanding of the problems faced by Tamils would improve sufficiently to help bring about a meaningful solution in the medium to long term. But, it would depend how this government that is likely to be in power for a while on the basis of racism it has whipped up and spread behaves itself.

    If it continues to behave as it had in the past then obviously we would drift further apart. Right now, there are 300,000 Tamils from the Vanni in Concentration Camps. Thousands of them keep disappearing and many women and young girls are being regularly raped. This happens because there is no independent supervision, such as by the UN, over the welfare of the internees who are illegally detained, for no other reason than they are Tamils.

    You say that you despise the Tamil Diaspora for the hatred spewed out by them. On the contrary, we are very saddened that no Sinhalese would listen and provide the strength of support required to keep the country unitary. Why is it so important to be so vindictive for the government against those IDPs and internees of those illegal Concentration Camps? All those people, the IDPs and the internees could be easily resettled before this August time for them to have a fighting chance to begin cultivating the September season.

    Instead what we hear about is excuses as how much the government cares for the IDPs and those who are illegally interned. Do you believe that? Of course not. But, in reality there are tens of thousands internees who are afflicted by chicken pox, and hepatitis, with woefully inadequately hygiene facilities and medical care. Spread of such diseases in epidemic proportions was predictable. But, that the government took no steps to prevent it.

    Entertaining romantic notions about this government as though all the mistakes against the Tamils were in the past does not help us have an honest conversation across the ethnic divide. As far as the Tamils are concerned the worst is yet to come. Otherwise, why do think so many Tamils who never in their life supported the LTTE are now very saddened by its demise and fear the future for the Tamils?

    Most Tamils in the diaspora are good-hearted men and women like your good self. They work for the achievement of peace and happiness of their people back in Sri Lanka. They reflect the views held by Tamils in Sri Lanka, as you have found out from your Tamil friends, who would only trust a reliable good-hearted friend like you and not those fascists in government. I sincerely hope you would reflect on these matters long enough and understand the issues involved at sufficient depth without apportioning blame to the diaspora.

  98. Hi Tamara,

    I sincerely appreciate your comments. I am sure they come from your heart.

    It is very hard for you to understand what Tamils going through in Sri Lanka unless you are in their shoes. I appreciate your effort to understand our grievances.

    Killing of civilians whether Tamils, Sinhalese, or Muslims not accepted for whatever the reasons. I feel your pain when you talked about killing of Sinhala civilians. I hope that you will fee our pain as well. We lost more than 200,000 Tamils; most of them are ordinary people just like you and me. More than 30,000 Tamils killed in the last six months.

    Dont judge us by looking at middle class Colombo Tamils. Everything looks fine on the surface. They live in fear every day. One of my close relative married to Sinhala lady, he is in his late 60s. He had changed his name to Sinhala name. Why?

    I never supported VP. I always wanted to see VP dead. But, trust me; it is the invincible image of LTTE brought GOSL to negotiating table. Now, LTTE gone, there are signs from GOSL intending to enslave the whole Tamils in N&E.

    Comments 6- Rose.
    I share the same view.

    R Maran

  99. Re # 96 Deepee

    You are correct. about 50% of the students who enter the uni from rural areas have attended tution classes in colombo suburbs. They do A/L for the 1st time in their respective areas and before sitting for the 2nd time they come to colombo and go to the best tution classes. so they get selected to the uni with less effort.
    another few manage to apply for A/L’s from a rural area while studying in colombo schools. bribery and corruption prevails in education system as well.

  100. In support of comment by WONDERING

    You brought up an interesting point regarding who would be allowed to live in Tamil Eelam. What happens to children of mixed marriages where they bear a Sinhalese name? Or could all people who wish to learn Tamil live there?
    if so, the enterprising sinhalese may wish to move there, learn Tamil, and get into a good technical college in Madras. Eventually getting jobs in the IT sector in India. This may help to solve unemployment of graduates.

  101. #104 – Ron,
    Are you really unable to differentiate between people migrating from one area to another and a govt sponsored attempt to change the demography?
    For your information, Here in Chennai we Tamils are a minority . Some estimates say Tamils may be about 35 % only. But this is not strange in India. Percentage of Tamils in Bangalore may be more than percentage of Tamils in Chennai. Maharastrians are minority in Mumbai, Punjabis may be more in numbers than Hindi speaking UP people in Delhi…
    If Srilanka become atleast as Federal and as inclusive as India (They call Quasi Federal here..) , iam sure Colombo, Trinco etc will be like Chennai or Bangalore.. Probably you may not even have motivation to take a job in Chennai or Bangalore. But you could if you want. Afterall many Chinese guys are working now in IT sector in Bangalore.

  102. # Continuation of 105,
    Also many Indians ( i heard from friends unproportionately Tamils!) are working in China !

  103. #105, Rajan,

    “Some estimates say Tamils may be about 35 % only.”

    konjam adhikamAga UththittInga. The population of Chennai is approximately 7.5 million. Of this, people from other states would not exceed 2.5 million ( a very liberal estimate). I think you are not considering all the telugu speaking tamils like vaiko, vijayakanth etc and muslims. If you subtract them another 2.5 million will go. Then perhaps your estimate is correct.

  104. #107, Kumar,
    I agree the estimates vary. I too presume the estimate do not consider all people speaking Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Urudu as Tamils. Unfair you may say. I agree.
    But is it not a fact and something which Srilankan Tamils, Tamil Muslims as well as Sinhalese should think off. These people (Especially Telugu and Kannada speaking sections) who are among us whose mother tongue is not Tamil but barring minor irritants are living as a single ethinic lot today. Forget Vaiko. Periar who in my opinion is rightly considered as father of Tamilians is a from Kannada speaking family. Well those people should be credited handsomely. But is there not an inherent accomodation in Tamil Psyche too?
    If we have to remember history a large population of the Telugu and Kannada speaking mass came along the Vijayanagar Empire who won the disintegrated Tamil Cholas. They are part of victors! We are part of the Vanquished. But does this historical fact make any sense to day?

    Not every thing is good in India. We are not an ideal example. But is there any other worthwhile example of Multi National, Multi Racial, Multi Linguistic, Multi Religious and fairly democratic society? If we can live with this much of diversity, with some accomodation Tamils and Sinhalese can do better than us. Idealism you may say. But being with little bit idealism is more practical then being a total Zombie.

  105. To PK Rajan

    I think you missed my point which was that in several parts of Sri Lanka and especially Colombo, Tamils live in peace with the other ethnic groups. It seems that the eelamists would not want that in the North and East though. I have read countless blogs where Tamils (admittedly those living abroad) say they do not want any assistence for the IDPs from the sinhalese! If that’s not a racist point what is?

  106. “…in several parts of Sri Lanka and especially Colombo, Tamils live in peace with the other ethnic groups…”

    If the way in which they live in colombo is your idea of ‘living in peace’ there is no wonder they refuse your assistance. Haven’t you heard about a term called ” Self respect” ?

  107. I don t think the Tamils on the ground have any problem with accepting help from the sinhalese. In fact it is being accepted right now. Perhaps the Tamil diapora should put their money where their mouth is and also contribute towards helping the displaced!

  108. Ron,
    I agree. i do not intent to demean your sentiments.But peace, freedom, choise, self respect are inseparable. These are not guaranteed by LTTE. But absence of these is a guaranty for another LTTE in the near future. LTTE and diaspora are not causes.They are products.

  109. The comments made show that many want peace and view matters broadly. But the narrow minded who only see the story from their end still display their inability to see how the pictures looks to others, and show hatred. We must not forget that the few can make misery for the majority…. it happened in the past… the peace loving must stay active and engaged… to prevent it happening again. I congrajulate this column, and the peave loving souls who have cared to write in. JAI to you….. may you shine and help herald in the Sathyuga which is closer at hand than before.

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