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What does the future hold for Sri Lanka and all its citizens?

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Hello Friends

Can the Tamils Seize a new opportunity” ? was the heading given by Ajith Ratnarajah to his well-written piece on the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Though lengthy the post evoked a lot of constructive discussion and debate on this blog.

Ajith had written it from a Tamil perspective and outlined certain ideas and proposals envisaging a bright future for the Tamils of Sri Lanka who at the moment face bleak prospects.

Another person of Sri Lankan origin now resident in Britain has sent an interesting , thought provoking article on what the future holds for Sri Lankans in general and Sri Lankan Tamils in particular.

Gus Mathews the writer in an e-mail sent to me says:

“I am of Sri Lankan origin and as my name suggests I do not belong to either of the major communities. My extended family embodies all the racial elements in Sri Lanka today as well as races from other parts of the world”.

Mathews in this piece argues eloquently for what I would term a paradigm shift in Sri Lankan Tamil attitudes and approaches towards the rankling ethnic crisis.

Delivering many home truths to the Tamils ,Mathews goes on to view the Sinhala position sympathetically and above all realistically.

In this there is some resonance with the earlier views of Mohan Segaram posted on this blog. Mohan too urged Tamils to try and view the problem from a Sinhala point of view also.

What Mathews says may not go down well with Tamils of an ultra-nationalist outlook but much of what is said here seems pragmatic.

Thanks to the LTTE’s suicidal course the Tamils are in a deep morass today. We need to extricate ourselves from this diligently and prudently.

The need of the hour is solid realization and awareness that Tamils are in dire straits.

There is a need to “unlearn” much of the past and adopt a realistic approach based on international, regional and national realities.

The situation cannot be remedied by bellicose, bombastic slogans and demands. Tamils need to seek practical ways and realistic means to better their lot.

Needless to say I am in agreement with a lot of points stated here by Mathews.

As I keep on saying reconciliation is a process. It is a necessity and not a luxury.

The Sinhalese and Tamils of Sri Lanka are inextricably inter-twined and share a common destiny.

Against that backdrop the views expressed cogently by Gus Mathews would I am sure provide much food for thought.

Once again I request readers to engage in an amiable, constructive conversation revolving around the points stated by Gus Mathews.- DBSJ ~ I can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

Trinco

[in Trincomalee-pic: indi.ca]

What does the future hold for Sri Lanka and all its citizens?

By Gus Mathews

The comprehensive vanquishing of the Tamil tigers by the Sri Lankan forces has left the Tamil Diaspora in a dilemma. Will the untold billions of dollars collected during the past twenty six years be utilised to continue the insurrection in a covert form however unlikely the outcome or will the Diaspora face reality and engage in the political process that is unfolding at present? The answer to both these scenarios is a resounding negative.

Armed struggle as pursued by the tigers came to a devastating and ignominious end and its revival is now a distant memory. In addition the victorious Sri Lankan establishment will not accept any political overtures from the Tamil tigers’ representatives as exhibited by the Defence Secretary a few weeks ago. Even the newly formed Eleam government in exile will be another ghost government that will wither on the vine of international expediency. What would unfold in Sri Lanka is a unique indigenous political solution for which a model already exists in the Eastern Province.

Where did it go wrong for the Tamil populace? The strategy that has been followed by the Tamil Diaspora has not yielded the results they envisaged-the elusive dream of Eelam was a non-starter as regards the majority Sinhalese.

The Tamils for the last 61 years since Independence have been redolent and insensitive in the appraisal of the Sinhalese aspirations. Unlike the Tamils who are culturally, linguistically and spiritually connected to Tamil Nadu in India, the Sinhalese do not have a spiritual home nor do they have any direct linguistic connections elsewhere. They derive their spiritual and cultural existence in the knowledge that they are the sole guardians of Theravada Buddhism and Sri Lanka its temporal habitat.

Even to this day other followers of Theravada Buddhism in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand consider Sri Lanka in the same analogous manner as the Roman Catholics consider the Vatican in Rome. Their language Sinhalese is only spoken in Sri Lanka by 17 million in comparison to Tamil that encompasses over 65 million in Tamil Nadu and in other parts of the world that harbours an ex-patriate Tamil population.

Since around 274 BCE Sri Lanka has been a citadel of Theravada Buddhism and successive invaders from south India have not been able to dislodge it or extinguish its flame, unlike in India the birth place of Buddhism where it was ruthlessly expurgated from its prominent position. It is in this context that the federal setup demanded by the Tamils was doomed to failure. Unlike all other minorities who have in some way even reluctantly acknowledged the importance of Buddhism and the unitary nature of Sri Lanka in protecting this guardianship, the Tamils have continued to play the separatists card disguised in the form of regional autonomy. Any attempt at regionalism that threatens the unitary nature of Sri Lanka is anathema to the Sinhala Buddhist majority.

Equating the conflict in purely cultural and religious paradigms is also too simplistic. The perceived discrimination that is the raison d’etre for the conflict as permeated in disinformation by the Diaspora is also misleading. The Tamil population enjoyed all the fruits of the socialist revival of the fifties like free education up to tertiary level, free health and even the rice rationed at affordable prices. While it is acknowledged that the Sinhala only legislation enacted in 1956 prevented Tamils gaining employment in the civil service and caused immense feeling of ill will, it must also be acknowledged that the original legislation also encouraged the reasonable use of Tamil in the northern and eastern provinces.

However the ‘reasonable use of Tamil’ was only given lip service due to the opposition Sinhalese parties at that time playing the ‘race’ card. It must also be noted that the English educated Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims and Burghers also fell foul to this legislation and many in the civil service who were nearing retirement age took early retirement while others emigrated to Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and some of the British African colonies where they utilised their English language skills with alacrity and aplomb. This action was enacted across the whole racial spectrum of Sri Lanka. The language issue that caused umbrage and untold hardship to non-Sinhalese where Sinhala was the sole language of communication since the mid fifties has also been dealt with presently-Sinhala and Tamil are both official languages of Sri Lanka with English as the link language.

Since the nineties all civil servants must have a working knowledge of Tamil to be accepted into the civil service. Those minorities who took on the challenge of learning Sinhalese did benefit and it is not surprising to see many Tamils who held high positions like IGPs, DIGs, Government ministers etc. In the commercial field where language was not much of an issue many of the Colombo Tamil elite have held influential positions of CEOs and CTOs etc. In the field of cricket (the other religion of Sri Lanka) Tamils have played a prominent part. The Tamil Union Cricket Club in Colombo had many prominent Sinhalese, Muslim and Burghers in its membership and by contrast at the Sinhalese Sports Club (another cricketing club) many prominent Tamils played their cricket with the Sinhalese and other Sri Lankan ethnic groups-one of the great Sri Lankan cricketers, Muttiah Muralitharan is of Tamil descent. Even today the national Sri Lankan cricket team embodies all religions and races of the colourful spectrum that is Sri Lanka.

Many Tamils hark back to the periods when communal riots engulfed the state. These periods of communal riots were a malign blot on the political landscape of Sri Lanka. It is also evident that some of the politicians of the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties unscrupulously played the communal card for political gain. They have since learned that playing communal politics is tinder box that raises unbridled passions and culminates in the loss of innocent lives. It does not take an Einstein to fathom that the trigger point of these riots were either some political act by either Sinhalese or Tamils, or as in 1983 a terrorist act that precipitated the murder of thirteen service personnel by the Tamil Tigers. Since the last communal riots in 1983 where an estimated 2000 Tamils lost their lives, the Sinhalese have become more circumspect and have not reacted adversely to any provocation by the Tamil tigers even after they killed 1500 service personnel in 1986.

It is also very easy to blame all Sinhalese for these riots. These riots were engineered by a minority of Sinhalese with a mob mentality and had some tacit support from the police and unprincipled politicians for their own political gain. There is ample anecdotal evidence that many Sinhalese sheltered their Tamil neighbours from the riotous mobs with great risk to themselves. The Sinhalese have also latterly learnt that the Tamils are not homogenous by any stretch of the imagination. There are vast differences in attitude, education, culture and amiability between the Tamils of the north, the Tamils of the east, the upcountry Tamils and the Tamil elite of Colombo and the suburbs. Hence tarring all Tamils similarly for actions of the northern Tamils is not only counterproductive but is immensely damaging for any semblance of dialogue between the two communities.

Unfortunately the Tamil Diaspora have not come to terms with these ugly incidents of the past and many have wanted revenge for these riots however unpalatable it may seem to many sensible and law abiding Tamils. What better way to wreak revenge on the Sinhalese by supporting the terrorists who had a military advantage over the Sri Lankan forces in the eighties and nineties. The Tigers utilised these feelings of retribution to their advantage and collected enormous funds from the Diaspora-funds that enabled them not only to buy sophisticated arms but also indulge in criminal activities to enhance their wealth. It is not surprising that many moderate Tamils too supported the Tamil tigers as revenge is the sweetest aphrodisiac.

However the writing was on the wall from the inception of this unwinnable war for the separatists. The best the Tamil tigers could have achieved was a stalemate with the incessant killing by suicide squads of the innocents. The Tigers could never subjugate the majority seventy five percent Sinhalese and also hold onto to one third of the country in any realistic fashion. Also as events have unfolded the changing political attitudes in the world that contributed to the inability to finance and supply the arms rang a death knell to the movement as a whole. The Sri Lankan forces in the meantime became very professional and the political will to a military solution superseded any doubts for a political accommodation with the Tigers.

This thinking was further enhanced by the inane obduracy of Tamil tiger leadership who were incapable of compromising on any of the political agendas that was proposed by intermediaries and politicians from time to time. In the final analysis they lost everything they aspired to and set back any political settlement for the Tamils forever. In addition the misery and suffering they leashed upon the Tamils themselves was a suffering too far for any political cause. The leadership of the Tamil tigers also became introspective during the dying days of the conflict and they killed and maimed many of theTamil civilians that they held as a human shield for the protection of the leadership.

The Sri Lankan government also learned the lessons of media and diplomatic management from the Americans, British and Israelis and applied it with ruthless efficiency that the Americans, British and Israelis could only envy. They also formed political alliances with powerful countries with disparate political ideologies such as India, China, Pakistan and Russia. These countries were broadly supportive and with their help Sri Lanka was able to crush any international opposition to the military solution that they undertook.

Sri Lanka is also masterful in playing the international politics for the benefit of Sri Lanka as a whole. It has kept the Western powers on their toes by forming alliances (some only interim) with many countries in Asia. Recently it has been accepted in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) as a dialogue partner. The IMF loan of $2 billion dollars will not be necessary as China and certain Middle Eastern countries that are cash rich will certainly come to Sri Lanka’s financial aid.

Where does that leave the poor Tamils who are in the IDP camps, who suffered under the yoke of the Tamil tigers and are still suffering the ignominy of languishing in the camps? What sustenance can the Diaspora give to these poor souls for this vast tragedy that has befallen their kith and kin other than be mere onlookers as the drama unfolds? What would be the political expectations of the minority Tamils for their existence? By all accounts the Tamil politicians have committed political suicide by backing the Tamil tigers as the sole representative of the Tamil people. To retrieve the current situation they must develop new thinking. The Diaspora Tamils should take a leaf from the actions of the Jewish Diaspora and strive for inclusiveness in a unitary state of Sri Lanka. Regionalism based on ethnicity is not a solution in the 21st century of mass communications and mobile labour forces. We have only to discern from the atrocities and the pogroms that befell the former Yugoslavia to veer away from such solutions.

Just like the African Americans who acknowledged the majority but fought for equality based on sound principles of individual rights is a paradigm that is worth considering. What better way to enmesh your rights with that of the majority community based on human rights legislation? Tamils should engage with many moderate Sinhalese parties and push for such legislation that would ensure that all the peoples of Sri Lanka will have the protection of the law irrespective of their racial origins. Similar to the ‘European Court of human rights’ the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka should be given the sole power of arbitration in matters relating to individual rights. They could go even further and set up a body similar to the British ‘Commission of Racial Equality’ where matters relating to individual rights based on racial discrimination are taken to task by the commission.

The question remains whether there are any Tamil politicians who would forego the elusive regionalism of Eleam and work with the other political parties based on the rights of the individual irrespective of their racial origins. They should abandon regionalism based on ethnicity and instead embrace that Sri Lanka belongs to all its citizens irrespective of racial, cultural, religious and ethnic origins. The choice they have is limited and their aspirations of a Tamil homeland is unachievable as events have proved and the poor Tamils in the IDP camps are paying the price of failure of all the Tamil parties of the past 61 years.

In these times of modern communications and travel nationality is not based on ethnicity but on citizenship-you just have to look at Tamils and other Sri Lankans of differing ethnic origins who are citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and the European Union today. Many of the second, third and fourth generation of these original Sri Lankans would intermingle with the host nations by marriage and their children and grand children will be citizens of the adopted country rather than citizenship based on any pure ethnic group.

The Tamils should also dispel the notion that the north and east are their homeland and state that all of Sri Lanka belongs to all Sri Lankans irrespective of their racial origins. This veracity of this statement is not false as 53 percent of Tamils live outside the Northern and Eastern provinces. Colombo the capital itself harbours 30 percent Tamils in its population. The Eastern Province consists of twenty five percent Sinhalese and twenty five percent Muslims-the rest being Tamil. It is only in the Northern Province that there is a dearth of Sinhalese and other significant ethnic groups. The Eastern Province Tamils are well used to the Sinhalese and Muslims in their midst and have worked amicably with them for decades. It is not surprising that the Eastern Province Tamil tigers were the first to break away from the hegemony of the Tamil tiger movement led by the North.

It seems that this isolation and the lack of social intercourse of the Tamils in the Northern provinces had also partly contributed to the radicalisation of the Northern Tamils. The blame also lies with the Sinhalese politicians in the south who have starved the north of investment. The Tamils in the Northern Province should now accept that with the Sri Lankan army entrenched in the Northern Province the Sri Lankan government will now incentivise Sinhalese settlement in the North. Instead of opposing such settlement the Northern Tamils should use it to their advantage and push for a larger slice of the investment that is required to build the war ravaged north.

They should also welcome with open arms and strive for Jaffna to become a rival to Colombo in terms of commerce, investment and national integration with a multi-communal population that will reflect the 30 percent population of Tamils in Colombo with 30 percent of Sinhalese in Jaffna. The other two towns in the Eastern Province of Trincomalee and Batticoloa will also be able to rival the likes of southern cities of Galle and Kandy. The prospect of any Sri Lankan of any ethnic origin should be able to live and work safely without any discrimination adhering to his religion and culture anywhere in Sri Lanka should be the mantra of all Sri Lankans irrespective of race.

The current Tamil politicians who have tacitly supported the Tamil tigers should radically change their political agenda. Instead of wasting another 61 years based on separatism they should integrate and work closely with the other Sinhalese parties and strive for the commonality in protection for all of Sri Lankans. These Tamil politicians have a mountain to climb to persuade the majority Sinhalese that they are for a unitary Sri Lanka based on individual rights. They have to proclaim that regionalism based on ethnicity is dead and separatism will never again be resurrected.

The prominence given to Theravada Buddhism in the Sri Lankan constitution should not be a hindrance to any minorities-accepting the fact that the majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhists is the reality of the situation and as other minorities have done. The Tamils should also affirm that reality. Unlike Britain where Anglican Christianity is enshrined in the unwritten constitution as state religion, the Sri Lankan constitution only acknowledges the importance of Buddhism to its majority citizens. Britain goes further in the enmeshing of state and religion by declaring the Queen (the head of state) as the temporal head of the ‘Church of England’ and ‘Defender of the Faith’.

Even today all Bishops appointed to the ‘Church of England’ must have approval of the Prime Minister. Until recently the Bishops of the Church of England had the automatic right to sit in the ‘House of Lords’ (the second legislative chamber). If a pluralistic democracy like Britain can have perceived discriminatory adjuncts to religion in its constitution, then the prominence accorded to Buddhism in the Sri Lankan constitution is in keeping with the majority aspirations, and cannot be perceived by any sane person as discriminatory to the other religions in Sri Lanka.

The solution to the future of Sri Lanka must also fall heavily on the Government of Sri Lanka. It has a duty to be inclusive of all races and creeds and must enact legislation to bring such events to fruition. It must also be disdainful of any political party based on race, religion and regionalism and moot the alternative in the constitution-the alternative based on the rights and responsibilities of the individual.

Finally the individual cultural, religious, linguistic aspirations of all communities from Sinhalese, Tamils, Malays, Moors, Burghers and the other smaller minorities must be enshrined in the constitution and must be promoted ensuring that there is no detriment to the other interacting communities. Political parties based on communalism must also be further vanquished from politics and should be treated with disdain as the British National Party and other right wing organisations are perceived in Britain and in Europe.

Sri Lanka has now the opportunity to become a pluralistic, tolerant and law abiding nation state and to abandon the mistakes of the past. All it needs is the political will and leadership similar to what Nelson Mandela achieved with a disparate state such as South Africa. As with South Africa this is a strong possibility as Sri Lanka is a mature democracy. However it will take time, understanding, patience and mostly importantly the political will by all the major parties to enable Sri Lanka ‘the pearl of the Indian ocean’ to regain its shimmering political lustre based on the aspirations of all its people.

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90 Comments

  1. A very timely, thought – provoking article.

    I sincerely beg my Tamil brothers and sisters to read and digest the valuable thoughts expressed here with an open mind

    Please dont reject it out of hand but put yourselves in Sinhala shoes and reflect

    DBS, Thank you for this. May you keep up your good work

  2. Thirumihu Jeyaraj

    You are trying to do a noble thing here by posting articles explaining Tamil point of view to Singalase and Singhala point of view to Tamils.Unless both sides learn to look at the problem from each others point of view there can be no redemption or reconciliation. To your credit you have understood this and in your own way are trying to promote better understanding of each others perspectives by posting articles such as these

    Sadly many people will not understand what you are trying to do. They will only perceive it through a particular ethnic prism and use this forum to lambaste each other. You will also be blamed. They will not see it from the “other” angle but will only remain stuck to their ethnic moorings. All attempts to convey the others point of view will be treated as an imposition. There wont be an amiable conversation but only an acrimonious confrontation

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Thank you for understanding my purpose in posting articles like these.As you correctly observed we must learn to look at the problem from each others point of view. One has to walk in the other man’s shoes.

    True, many misunderstand what is being attempted here in this blog and despite my entreaties engage in hostile confrontation. But there are also many who understand the spirit of the thing and post comments here. Many write private e-mails to me that are positive.

    There is always the inspiring myth of Sisyphus and his rollng boulder. There is also my credo about lighting a small candle instead of cursing the darkness.

    Lets see and hope for the best

  3. Thank you Mr Mathews and DBS for the very insightful article. Quite approprate for the evolving global world. This is my wish for Sri Lanka too. Thank you.
    KV

  4. While reading the article it came to my mind that-

    Diaspora now eagerly clamors around the idea of Trans National Tamil Government, which is not bound to any certain geography in anyway. But it doesn’t occur to them that, if we apply the same in Sri Lanka, Tamils can achieve much more regarding the equal rights within whole Sri Lanka without scaring any community. In fact open minded majority of the country may even help in such an endeavourer. And it could inspire various sections of the Sri Lankan society to demand their just rights.

    Only obstacle would be the Western powers who at the moment handles Tamil affairs would not like such a progressive work out.

    But I am sure most Tamils who suffered during past three decades will be glad to take that path.

  5. DBSJ is quite capable of making matters very plain for all the tamils and with the help of friends like Guy Matthews and unite the whole lot to embrace the reality. This is exactly what the President our saviour is having in his mind and that dream of creating the one people and one country will be the challange all Sri Lankans should unite to achieve immediately.

  6. .
    Tamils in Srilanka has no voice. They could not even organize a peace protest in Srilanka during Vanni war.

    Right now, it’s all in Sinhala rulers hands: they control the power, they control (?) the military, They are the Kings of the Island.
    Are they ready to treat Tamils as equal citizens or are they going to treat them as ‘visitors’?.
    Are they ready to accept that North and East is Tamils’ homeland or do they want to occupy with military force?
    Mahinda is the KING and he has the ball.
    Tamils are nothing but IDP’s.
    🙂

  7. By far the most balanced far reaching comment in DBSJ blog. I salute you Mathews. Thanks for reproducing it DBS.

    This article is a classic peace simply because it’s looking at the future with a ‘to do list’. Mathews has largely desisted from punching the history and becoming a prisoner of it.

  8. I am not sure whether Diaspora tamils are able to stomach these kind views as most of them still waiting till sun god shows up on 27 of November and work towards taking revenge from Sinhalese people(They still don’t differentiate between SL government Sinhalese people).

    I think first thing Diaspora Tamils must learn to do is differentiate SL government with Sinhala people.

  9. So far the most ignorant and naive analysis I have even seen. One thing is for sure, Sri LAnka would be a doomed country for years to come. They don’t even realise that they have alresday sold their country to China & India. Poor Sinhalese…..

  10. The long and short of this insensitive article is Tamils should bend over and stop acting like Tamils and allow the poor majority, who has no other place to go to have their way with us.

    Shut up, kiss up and make up or else we will suffer. We should not demand, but beg for basic rights to progress and develop economically and culturally. After all we Tamils have Tamil Nadu, which is just as foreign to SL Tamils, like Africa is to American blacks.

    The author even goes to the extend of blaming the plight of the IDPs who are now, purely under the control of the Sinhalese army, on the Tamils politicians of the past 61 years.

    After reading you article, I should honestly say, as a Tamil, I’m more and more convinced, that another resistance movement, which can act smarter politically than the LTTE is the only hope for Tamils.

    If a so called moderate Sri Lankan thinks like this, I don’t see any hope in talking and kissing up to the majority will allow us to live in our traditional homeland with freedom and dignity. We need another resistance movement that can speak a language that the Sinhalese will pay attention to.

    The solution proposed here is like telling an abused wife, that she needs to be more understanding of her husbands feelings and try to get along. Sounds like a solution from the medieval ages.

    Has Gus Mathews in this article said the things you accuse him of having stated?…….DBSJ

  11. The article suffers from many assumptions, a few inaccuracies, and above all, the comparison of apples to oranges. I don’t have time to comment on all the issues, but the issue of religion and its basis in the article is flawed.

    “Since around 274 BCE Sri Lanka has been a citadel of Theravada Buddhism and successive invaders from south India have not been able to dislodge it or extinguish its flame, unlike in India the birth place of Buddhism where it was ruthlessly expurgated from its prominent position. It is in this context that the federal setup demanded by the Tamils was doomed to failure.”

    Why would a federal setup threaten Theravada Buddhism in Sri-Lanka? There are hosts of nations around the world with federal setups. Just look at India. India is a federal setup and a secular nation. All the religions of the world exist there and have existed for centuries. No religion, not even Hinduism, the religion of the tamils in Sri-Lanka, has a special place in the constitution of India. So let me ask you this, since the majority of tamils in Sri-Lanka are Hindus, and no constitution of any country in the world gives a special place to Hinduism, should the tamils be given a separate unitary state of Eelam to protect and be guardians of Saivite Hinduism just like your argument that the Sinhalese need a unitary state to be guardians of Theravada Buddhism?

    “The prominence given to Theravada Buddhism in the Sri Lankan constitution should not be a hindrance to any minorities-accepting the fact that the majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhists is the reality of the situation and as other minorities have done.”

    The simplicity of the situation as you pose it makes one wonder if you have ever been to Sri-Lanka. Let me put it this way: If the Buddhists, especially the majority of the monks in Sri-lanka followed even 30% of the Buddha’s teachings, the issue of Buddhism in the Constitution would not even arise. What makes this issue arise is quite blatant to even most of the moderate Buddhist Sinhalese. Just turn on your TV in Sri-Lanka to one of the channels featuring a high-ranking monk giving a talk and chances are you will get a good dose of why the issue arises. These “honorable” monks spew filth and racism to such an extent, that one wonders if they have ever really studied proper Buddhism. One of the major fuelers of this ethnic conflict have been these monks, not because of their zeal for Buddhism, but because of their zeal for racism and the annihalation of any religion other than Buddhism. Now, not all monks are like this. There are those that are strict Buddhists and have taken up the ochre robes for proper renunciation, but you will not encounter many of these, again because they are proper renouncers and not the nut-jobs you find protesting with placards that have filth written on them. The tradition of Buddhism espouses the order of monks to take to renunciation to emulate the Buddha and achieve enlightenment. Can you imagine the Buddha behaving like these monks in Sri-Lanka? So much for being the guardians of Theravada Buddhism. Ask yourself this: If the Buddha were alive today and was confronted with the current situation in Sri-Lanka and he had the authority and power to advise the leader of the nation to act in a certain way, what would he have advised? After you have figured that out, ask yourself if even 5% of what the Buddha would have advised would be advised by the majority of the monks in Sri-Lanka today. Exactly. This is why the “Prominence of Theravada Buddhism” has been an issue with the tamils. And its been an issue even before independence. Here is an example as to why the tamils have grown to be wary of the “Prominence of Buddhism” through the years: In 1897, Swami Vivekananda, the famous Hindu monk arrived in Sri-Lanka after his first trip to the west where he had gained considerable fame. His biography details his visits to various parts of Sri-Lanka and the newspaper clippings about his visits. Swami Vivekananda, though a Hindu, considered the Buddha to be his idol and hero. In the chapter, “Through Ceylon and South India”, the biography details Swami Vivekananda’s visit to Anuradhapura and his worship at the Bo tree, and then, quoting from the biography:
    ” Under the shade of the sacred Bo tree the Swami gave a short address to a crowd of two to three thousand people. As he proceeded, interpreters translated his words into tamil and Sinhalese. The subject was “Worship”. He exhorted his hearers to give practical effect to the teachings of the Vedas, rather than pay attention to mere empty worship. When the Swami had got thus far, a large crowd of fanatical Buddhists, Bhikshus, and householders-men, women, and children-gathered round him and created such a noise by beating drums, gongs, cans, and so forth, in order to stop the lecture, that he obliged to conclude abruptly. There might have been a serious clash between the Hindus and Buddhists, had the Swami not urged the Hindus to practice restraint , although they had been provoked.”
    This happened in 1897. You know the “beating drums, gongs, etc.”? That’s exactly what you see at today’s political protests by nut-job monks. Not much has changed since 110 years.

    “The Tamils should also affirm that reality. Unlike Britain where Anglican Christianity is enshrined in the unwritten constitution as state religion, the Sri Lankan constitution only acknowledges the importance of Buddhism to its majority citizens. Britain goes further in the enmeshing of state and religion by declaring the Queen (the head of state) as the temporal head of the ‘Church of England’ and ‘Defender of the Faith’.
    Even today all Bishops appointed to the ‘Church of England’ must have approval of the Prime Minister. Until recently the Bishops of the Church of England had the automatic right to sit in the ‘House of Lords’ (the second legislative chamber). If a pluralistic democracy like Britain can have perceived discriminatory adjuncts to religion in its constitution, then the prominence accorded to Buddhism in the Sri Lankan constitution is in keeping with the majority aspirations, and cannot be perceived by any sane person as discriminatory to the other religions in Sri Lanka.”

    This is an instance of comparing apples to oranges. Firstly, as indicated by your previous statement that I had commented on above, you seem to think that the majority religion should be given due prominence. Who or wherefrom did you get this standard from? I am of the opinion that the antiquity of a religion should be given due prominence, and this is how it is done in most of the world including your example above. The “Church of England” is given prominence because of its antiquity to England, long before Britain became the pluralistic society it is today with its myraids of religious adherents. The demographics of Britain is today fast changing and it is forecast that 40 years from now, Islam will be the majority religion in Britain. Now, do you think the British will change their constitution to give Islam prominence once that happens? If so, if the demographics in Sri-Lanka changes such that Buddhism loses it majority, will the new majority religion be given prominence in the Sri-Lankan constitution? Hinduism in Sri-Lanka is just as old if not older than Theravada Buddhism in Sri-Lanka. Sri-Lanka is even part of one of the major Hindu epics, the Ramayana. Hinduism has just as much antiquity in Sri-Lanka as Buddhism so just giving Buddhism prominence based on majoritarianism is not valid.

    “Unlike all other minorities who have in some way even reluctantly acknowledged the importance of Buddhism and the unitary nature of Sri Lanka in protecting this guardianship.”

    There has been no proper argument given as to why the unitary nature of Sri Lanka is required to protect the guardianship of Buddhism. It’s a flawed argument.

  12. It is true that the Tamils should give up arms. They should look at the Jews. They had lived without a state for hundreds – if not thousans years. They did not develop their military capacity but their financial capacity. Instead of developing an army, they invested in mass media and produced movied with muslim/arab hijackers. They did invest in political parties of powerful nations. Then one day the world gave them a plot. With the infrastructure already in existance, it took them less time to become a nuclear power than Srilanka to become “NO” power.

    Tamils everywhere shoul gettogether and build powerful economic and political instituations – not to intimidate – but to gain the respect of the majority community as an equal. Thats where solutions would start to happen.

  13. Nice window dressing for creating utopian state where all ethnicities of the Island live as equal citizens; Nice try and continue to live in the dream world like the way the LTTE hardcores lived in utopian TamilEelam dream. Sri Lanka is Sinhala-Buddhist supremacist state for last 60 years and it will remain that way unless constitutional guarantees are provided for the Tamils. Sinhalayas will never digest that like the way LTTE hardcore never digested living in one country. Sri Lankas ultimate destiny will rest in foreign hands as it happened in Balkan by force. Sinhalas will never able to do by themselves to agree that fact Lanka cannot stay peacefully as unitary state. When India invade Lanka and occupy NE like the way Russia invaded Ostesia it will be too late for Sinhalas to negotiate the federalism similar way it was too late for LTTE in 2009. Sinhalas can think of playing China card with India, but it will ultimately leads to total destruction South Sri Lanka because China card is anathema to everyone including Russia, US & Europe.

  14. The problem is majority of Sri Lankans are buddhists. If it had been otherway round there wouldn’t be a single sinhalese left in this country. That is the mentality of greedy, never contented, vengeful tamils.

  15. The commentator Rajah is unloading tons of horse shit on the issue of religion. Compared to the critical issues on hand such as the political status of Tamils today and the suffering of IDPs this is not significant. It was a mere formality which many constitutions in the world include; neither Christians, Muslims nor Hindus did protest at the time. They simply understood. No one is facing any hardships due to this. The true issue worth discussing is the language issue. Tamils are going through enormous hardships for not being able to communicate with the state. I am very serious about this as a Sinhalese. I wish to see that PRACTICAL steps are taken to alleviate this debilitating situation. Words in the constitution will not satisfy me. Reconciliation will start with the Sinhala politicians understanding this critical issue.

  16. “Sri Lanka has now the opportunity to become a pluralistic, tolerant and law abiding nation state and to abandon the mistakes of the past.”

    This makes it sound as though the LTTE and Piraphakaran were all that prevented Sri Lanka from “become a pluralistic, tolerant and law abiding nation state”. I do not think that this reflects the reality of the situation. Sri Lanka could have “become a pluralistic, tolerant and law abiding nation state” from day one 61 years ago and then there would have been no LTTE or Piraphakaran. If there was a separatist platform it would have been a marginal entity that could easily be contained within the democratic process.

    So what is it that has suddenly emerged to ensure that Sri Lanka “become a pluralistic, tolerant and law abiding nation state”? My guess? The co opting of the Sinhala Buddhist National Ideology and its vision of itself as “The Light of Asia” and protector of Theravada Buddhism to form the legitimizing myth that covers the lynchpin that holds together the global strategic equations as they impact upon the Indian Ocean Rim Countries, South Asia and South East Asia. The anglicanization of the islands people under the slogan “Be English. Become Rich” may help make a space for pluralism, tolerance and to some extent the rule of law. Political expediency however will be the real ruler to whom – as in every part of the world – even the law will have to bend.

    The project for a separate Tamil State is finished. The conflict now is between those who want Sri Lanka to be a regional center that is tolerant, pluralistic and democratic and a global player, and those who want Sri Lanka to be a xenophobic backwater of little interest. The demands of the global economy have already determined who will be the winner in this contest. So my dear Tamils and Sinhalese, “Be English and Become Rich”, and by the way please do it quickly, because the winds of change are growing stronger by the day and you may be swept away like you know who.

  17. Dear Mitt,

    Well it looks you can’t stomach the hard realities mathews had revealed. You desire to revenge from Sinhalese, Your desire on your Mono ethnic Home Land, Your desire on forming so-called political force and a struggle with a language that Sinhala’s understand mentality will only bring more misery to the innocent Tamil people. You have tried all your strategies aforementioned for the past three decades and failed. What else could you try? Think wisely. Give a chance for innocent Tamils in SL to have a life..

  18. Dear Rajah,

    I think you are insulting Buddhism by saying Buddhism should not be given its due prominence.Simply because popular Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka and over whelming majority of the Buddhists have given Hinduism more than its due place. Each and every temple in Sri Lanka has separate shrine room for Hindu pantheon of gods.Of course Buddhist given different twist saying they are protectors of Buddhism. But for all the practical purposes if there is concept , place or practice considered sacred in Hinduism never looked down upon by majority of the Buddhist. Of course there are people who want to practice most purest form of Buddhism which I do not have any problem and they opt not to warship Hindu gods. And there is still a very few go to the extreme of ridiculing warship of deities.

    Just because they exist you should not paint every body else in one stroke. Thats not right. You seemed to be a knowledgeable person and you should build bridges between peoples not divide them even further. Good example is the movement by Ven Gangodawila Soma. A lot people take his views out of context and made divisions not only across communities within Buddhist as well. In my view by giving Buddhism its due place and accept as it is never under undermine other religion definitely not Hinduism.

  19. Hello my friend, it is not important that what we tamils should do but what is important is what the Rjapakse brothers and Srarth wants to do with us! If you want to see some real change, please adivise someone who have the power to change things! Quiet simply, even if we tamils take your advise, lthough it is unlikely as we have too many advisors, nothing will change as Sinhala leaders decide our fate. If you disagree, please look back in the history. Irony of our ssituation is we contnueed to be beaten up and also blamed for it. All we have to do is simply shut our mouths, only scream (calling racism and genoside) if one wants to, and fasten our belt and ready for the ride by Sinhala politicians!!! Only Sinhalas, can change their politicians, not Tamils!!
    By the way, I am not a pesimist, simply a realist…

  20. I understand Theravada Buddhism is part of the Sinhala identity, but bringing it into the political context is troublesome. But I guess the Sinhalese cannot seem to escape from it and always seem to creep into the discussions.

    During the last weeks of the war, while innocent Tamil civilians were being slaughtered, even the young, supposedly moderate Sinhalese bloggers (Colombo based) started to write about Buddhism to join the Buddhist bandwagon frenzy to subtly show they are also patriotic. I was shocked!

    I mean, pathetic things like, oh me too, me too, I am an atheist, but I come from a Buddhist family, please count me in, etc. I am obviously paraphrasing here and being harshly judgmental, but reading this kind of stuff at that time felt kind of awkward, while most of the Tamils were praying and hoping GOSL would go easy on the slaughter.

    I think a true Buddhist blogger would have gone nuts blogging about Buddha’s compassion and begged GOSL to go slow to minimize the slaughter of civilians. Instead, somebody was actually saying towards the end, it would be ok to kill 50,000 Tamil civilians to finish off the LTTE!

    Now we are keeping the maimed and the rest in the IDP camps for long periods of time and most of the Buddhists seem to be ok with it too. Initially, GOSL was planning on keeping them in the camps for three years, but now they are saying six months.

    I may be completely wrong here, but it seems like under the pretext of weeding out the remaining LTTE, GOSL is buying time and busy engineering for resettlements mixed with large colonies of military families on large tracts (around 2000 acres ?) of arable land (around Iranaimadu tank etc., to benefit a few Sinhalese families?). I am sorry, if my assumption is offensive, but if it is true, it is worrisome.

    Culture is fluid and especially in a multi ethnic society like ours, we need to let it flow naturally. Even if well intended, trying to engineer the social mix of Tamils and Sinhalese in Vanni may cause issues in the long term. We no longer have the threat of terrorism, and the Tamils no longer have the stomach to pick up arms.

    To put this is in the spiritual context, we have already killed too many civilians in a hurry, and now we have Lord Buddhas wheel of Karma to deal with. No one can escape from this wheel of Karma. Everyone must pay the price. But he gave us the free choice to pick the course to work out our bad karma in the future.

    I think the quick and easy way out is to feel Buddha’s compassion and release the innocent Tamil IDPs ASAP; this will allow the people to go back to their relatives, cry, heal, and put a closure to their loss and move on. We can quickly diffuse our bad karma this way.

    I know I have been a pest here like many other Tamils, agitating for the release of the IDPs. But I think as long as we have the IDPs in the camps, we are going to have this dark cloud hanging over our heads that is not going to allow us to reconcile fully.

    With respect to being the saviors of Theravada Buddhism, to give my perspective, let’s first look at the size of Sri Lanka and compare it to the rest of the world; then let’s look at the size of the world and compare it to the size of the cosmos. This whole cosmos belongs to Lord Buddha. He has a lot of real estate and lots of other people! If he wanted to, with a blink of an eye, he can take his Theravada Buddhism to some place else, couldnt he? Why does he need the Sinhalese people’s help to preserve it? The best way to make sure he keeps it in Sri Lanka is to show compassion the Buddhas way, don’t you think?

    With respect to Sinhalese being this special race on the planet, don’t we know Lord Buddha has let many special beautiful species and cultures go completely extinct in the course of time? Same goes for the Sri Lankan Tamils; why do we need separate real estate (a separate state) to preserve our culture?

    I see the pursuit of preserving Theravada Buddhism and Sinhala ethnicity in Sri Lanka making some of the Sinhalese the vainglorious patriots. It can also manifest as a form of terrorism. This is a dangerous trend.

  21. The Majority of the Sri Lankan Tamils who live among Sinhalese have the same view as expressed by Gus Mathews. I do not think all diaspora Tamils should embrace the same concept. What is needed is the ability to see beyond the communal view point and approach the issue in a pragmatic way.

    After all LTTE could be defeated because majority of the Tamils who live in Sri Lanka did not support its strategy based on regionalism and race.

  22. Tamils are in a very weak position now. IDPs are going through great suffering. Tamil Diaspora (at least the vocal ones) have acted irresponsibly for years. For them cause is more important than people.

    Regardless of this background, I am very dissapointed at the introduction DBSJ gave for this article. This article is mainly written around a theme that supports Tamils becoming a minority in all parts of Sri Lanka. Even though “organic” population shifts driven by economic factors are great for everyone, the Sinhala nationalists will take these concepts to continue the government sponsored settlement programs to change the population mix in the North and East. Tamils will become a minority in all parts of the country.

    To me the 1956 language act or the 1972 educational standardization are not huge issues. The language act did break the class barrior and provided ordinary Sinhala people a level playing field to advance in life. The 1972 standardization really helped many Tamils who are from Vanni, East, and upcountry in addition to the rural Sinhala students. These should have been implented in phases over a ten year period while implementing counter balancing development programs in the Tamil areas. The execution, rather than the concept of these acts were the main causes of past problems.

    Land and security are different issues though. Tamils living in Colombo can not be compared with Sinhala settlers in North and East. If a Tamil is attacked in Colombo there is no one to protect. If a Sinhalese is attacked in Northeast, whole truck loads of soldiers will arive to harrass the neighbouring Tamil villagers. Tamils in Wellawatte have Hindu temples, but they did not and can not change the name of the place to a Tamil name. However, when Sinhala settlers arrive in a Tamil area, Tamil village names are changed to Sinhala names.

    Any reconciliation attempt should be based on the understanding and acknowledement of a Tamil homeland within a united Sri Lanka. This won’t lead to separation. India is the ulitimate insurance policy aganist division of Sri Lanka. Intergrate the communities using economy and sports, while reconizing the Tamil homeland concept within a united Sri Lanka. I hope reasonable and respectful people in the Tamil Diaspora like DBSJ do not give up all Tamil demands because of the current situation.

  23. Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks DBJS for doing this mamoth service to educate educated Tamils around the world. recently lots of educated Tamils are talking about what has happened to them in this 30yrs long war. It is such a waste of time & lives.Most of them are really frustrated with the outcome. Some how they need to understand the real truth behind this issue. I think Sinhalees Tamils & all the other ethenic groups can live peacefully in this beautiful island. Its no point of arguing for another three decades. We must get to gether to rebuild the Island. We tamils must understand the reality of this issue & should work accordingly. If we manage to collect millions of millions of dollars to support the war, why can’t we do the same to rebuild our people life again. Then we all can live in peace.

  24. I think this is one of the most realistic articles ever written on the Sri Lankan conflict. It does not have the wooly headed unrealistic NGO doctirnes spewed out by wetern educated Colombo 7 types. In any case the comments posted by most of the Diaspora Tamils only show how unrealistic they are and still continue with there illusions. Keep on halucinating even after your opium which was the LTTE has been wiped off the face of the earth. Prabhakaran realised his follies in three years and the Diaspora too would realise the truth in a few years time.

  25. How come these diaspora Tamils do not behave like
    Tamils although they are fighting for a homeland.
    Just for example look at the way they dress at the protest marches. All the men are wearing pants and not vertis.
    Even the ladies are wearing pants and not sarees. Most of them have cut their hair short instead of having beautiful long hair which makes them so pretty. I mean the long hair makes them so pretty. This behaviour
    itself shows the hypocrisy of these people, as they change
    their behaviour when it suits them, but in SL they want their homeland, language, religion the lot. Some of them have even changed their religion to apeace the locals.

    I rest my case.

    God bless all.

  26. As expected the ‘venom’ is being sprayed all over…

    Sad indeed. I suppose a lot of Tamil readers here still needs to understand that reconciliation can not happen one way.

    We Sinhalese, (a majority of them) are trying, trying and trying very hard to be moderate, accomodating and sympethetic. We are even trying to keep our ‘sinhala / culture/ beleiefs thoughts & practices’ down to help accomodate the process and not to alienate the minority.

    But similar to Prabhakaran, some Tamils seem unable to shift from their stance and view things differently.

    Welldone to Gus Mathews for the fresh perspective of things..!

    This will disturb a lot of Tamil people (the same way reading DBSJ disturbed a lot of Sinhalese before) but as with everything else in life, we have to meet in the middle.

  27. It is really sad to read perception and attitude of some of the people submitted their comments. Do we need to live in the past ever or should be willing to move to the future with lessons learned. Both sinhalese and tamils have learned their lesson during the past. It is essential we all understand that access to right information is the knowledge and in this modern era we do have access to right information.
    Ajith ratnarajah’s and Gus Mathews articles although written in opposing perspectives have highligted the need of the day.
    DBSJ, thanks for presenting these articles and please keep continue on the good work. It is not far before radicals understand the universal truth that nationality is not based on ethnicity but on citizenship and learn to fight for equality based on sound principles of individual rights.

  28. I wish all sri lankans , whether timils, muslims or sinhalese should think the way you think

  29. The failure of the Tamil polity is really tied to what Tharaka identified – the inability to distinguish between the GOSL and the Sinhala citizenry. More Sinhalese than not would agree that the government is a corrupt, venal, violent entity that has done wrong not only to its minorities but to all its citizens. The goal should have been to co-opt members of Sinhalese civil society to drive reform to make the state more accountable, instead of pursuing a separatist agenda that alienated a large segment of the population. It is not too late for that strategy even now. The case for devolution is not to split Sri Lanka along ethnic lines but is based on the necessity of diluting the power of the center which has spent every single moment since independence perverting & corrupting the instruments of governance be it the bureaucracy, police, armed forces, judiciary. A prosperous united Sri Lanka will only emerge with government that is representative and accountable at a local level.

  30. This article is not representing the reality in Sri Lanka. Jeyaraj, i don’t understand what you are trying to get at?

    You are well informed man and after seeing all kinds of mistreatment by the Singalese government, do you think Tamils can live together with Singalese. If what Guy Matthews says true, I see in 50 years there will no more Tamils. The identify will be erased and the entire Tamil population will become the way Colombo Chetties are.

    Please write some sen able articles.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Vaithilingam,Tamils have to live together with the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. As I often state it is not a luxury but a necessity. And the reality is that they are living together.In actual terms 52% of Sri Lankan Tamils are living outside the North and East. This is a reality that one cant wish away.

    As for losing identity and all that. Again this is only your fear. But if hopes are dupes then fears too may be liars.

    If we do strive to re-make the country into a “NEW” Sri Lanka where justice and pluralism prevails I think all of us can retain our ethnic identity while having a national identity as Sri Lankans. The new Sri Lankan hopefully would be trilingual like the new Singaporean.

    As WS Senior envisaged if the races do blend and a new ,overarching Sri Lankan identity evolves I have no problems with that. My regret is that such a process would take several decades and I will not be around to see it.

    There was a time when retaining identity was an important value for me. But after living abroad and seeing the Diaspora Tamil identity eroding (notwithstanding the Eelam demonstrations and all that)or transforming into something else I dont mind a new identity evolving (not imposed) in Sri Lanka.After all Tamils have a lot in common with the Sinhalese than the host populations of countries with Diasporic concentrations of Tamils.

    I am not advocating assimiliation into becoming Sinhalese but evolving or metamorphosing into a “NEW” Sri Lankan identity. National integration may very well lead to that.

    Our voice would be Sri Lankan but our accent will be Tamil

  31. In reply to 15-Rohana

    “Compared to the critical issues on hand such as the political status of Tamils today and the suffering of IDPs this is not significant. It was a mere formality which many constitutions in the world include;”

    My response was to the article that was posted, not a generic post on what are the critical issues at hand. You are not even aware of the context of the posting. Go take some lessons in comprehension. The article, from where I have clearly quoted in my post, uses the argument of the “guardianship of Theravada Buddhism” to support a unitary state. It then goes on to wonder why the tamils have been anethema to the prominence of Buddhism in the constitution. It was to these arguments that I was responding to.

    “The commentator Rajah is unloading tons of horse shit on the issue of religion.”

    Alright. Why don’t point out exactly where the “horse shit” is in what I have written and then an exchange of facts/views can occur. Quite frankly, given your half-baked statement, I don’t think you have the forthrightness or gumption or even the knowledge to counter what I have written in a civilized, articulate manner. Moreso because you know aswell as I do that what I have written is the harsh truth. For those such as youself, the adage: “It is best to keep one’s mouth shut and feign ignorance, than open it and remove all doubt” is well worth following.

  32. Highly appreciate DBSJs impartial attitude promoting an open dialogue. Well Matthews, It is the most encouraging communication seen in months /years. The points taken for discussion are very relevant and you have explained them in an impartial, practical, realistic and in a most commendable manner. Let us all bury the past and help to build a United Sri Lanka once again, the same we had when we were schoolboys, where Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Burghers, of all faiths existed together with no differences or any discrimination and all were friends. North or South, East or West, this beautiful country belongs to all and let us and our children move all over freely. I am also in a different country now, but looking forward to going on a holiday and meeting with old friends in various parts of the country without any fear or anxiety, I am sure all of us feel the same.

    May not a trace of Anger, Hatred or Illwill remain, May the Mind, Body and Hearts be filled with Love, Compassion and Goodwill.

    We all should be in a position to say “All are our friends and None is an enemy”

    Let us bless All concerned parties to get together and build a Peaceful Sri Lanka.

  33. For all the talk of Buddhism as a component of the Sri Lankan state and the Sinhalese identity, I simply have one question:

    WOULD THE FOUNDER OF BUDDHISM SANCTION THE ACTIONS OF THE SRI LANKAN STATE OR THE SINHALESE MAJORITY?

    or, What is the relevancy of protecting Buddhism when there is a total lack of comprehension on mass scales?

  34. With due respect to you, Mr DBS. leave the Tamils alone.
    As a Tamil I would prefer a Sinhalese person lead the Tamils.
    I am 80 years old and I have seem many a Tamil politicians in my life. They are all hypocrites. They all prosper in the name of the Tamil people. Now there are no Tamil poiticans left except a handlful of hooligans.

    I am a Tamil. How can you ask me to disassociate myself from my people?………DBSJ

  35. Brilliant piece of writing Mr.Mathews.

    I would like to add to that by hoping Srilanka some day might have a President that comes to office through popular vote who is of Tamil, Moor, Burgher or Malay decent.

    A point to ponder in terms of numbers is,

    people of chinese and indian origin are living all over the world and are the two biggest ethnic groups living in the planet, its only a matter of time before all races and ethnicities are diluted and mixed with them. may be in another 500 years there will be no sinhaleese, tamils or any other race you will be either chinese or indian or indochinese, who knows after all evolution causes revolutions in genetics.

  36. #31, Rajah,

    I think you are unduly harsh on Rohana, #15. In any society, the majority’s views and practices permeate the society and a level of acceptance to this is implicitly expected of its citizenry. Why should the president of a secular country like the US take oath on the Bible? What is a religious text doing in a secular country’s constitutional function? In India, again a secular country, every witness in a court of law is expected to swear on Gita that what he testifies is the truth and nothing but the truth. Likewise, in almost all govt functions, it is common to find the inauguration marked by lighting of lamp (kuthu viLakku), a Hindu tradition. All other communities, though they may not relish it, quietly accept it because they understand that the majority’s customs seep through all walks of life. This is a psychological thing. You can’t expect it to vanish. If you were a member of a majority community you would know what I am talking about. I know it’s hard to accept but so long it doesn’t affect the common man’s rights in a civil society it can be tolerated. The concentration should be on strengthening the system to secure equal rights for every citizen. Even the West is not free of this majority mentality. In the West, the euphemism for this is integration into the society. You are expected to ‘conform’. It’s subtle but nevertheless there. In Asian societies, it’s somewhat stark but with time and more democratization this will also become subtle. I guess ‘be pragmatic’ is the message Mathews wants to convey.

  37. Dear DBS and Gus:
    The underlying problem with the people who fuel the suffering of the innocent northern tamil people is…….HATRED, RAGE and REVENGE of the diaspora.

    You can take any cross section of the community from Rich –> Poor, Educated –> Uneducated… it is all about taking revenge, creating hatred and the rage.

    The people who are currently fuelling this are not Sri Lankans so therefore they wouldn’t feel the suffering of the IDP’s in Sri Lanka. What they are interested in is taking revenge from the government, talking about concentration camps etc…. which are vain.

    I know some sensible people sent a ship load OF aid……. but this too was sent with rage, hatred and to take revenge in a passive way.

    The current government is already very paranoid (I would be the same if I were), about all what’s going on around them. The amount of political pressure internally as well as externally, the media war and the hate / rage / revenge campaign by the diaspora.

    I never felt that the diaspora has any interest in getting the best for the displaced innocent people (created by the diaspora) but are mourning the loss of the NEVERLAND with hate / rage / revenge .

    I think the solution should come from within Sri Lanka (from Tamils) and the diaspora should facilitate the process if interested.

    Jaffna could become like a port city, if the SETHUSAMUDRAM becomes a reality or even if it didn’t. The harvest should go to all who paid the price of Pirabaharan’s and diaspora’s fun ride; who are currently paying Rs 1000 for a litre of kerosine or living in the camps.

    The politics of Sri Lanka will always remain as politics of Sri Lanka. We liked to be ruled by thugs and murderers and I think this is in Sinhalese and Tamil blood or is it our destiny?

  38. The reasons to be sensitive to Buddhism in Sri Lanka can be understood. But in these modern globalised ideologies, shouldnt the Sinhala Buddhist also learn to look beyond this religiosity?
    Giving prominence to the church can be dangerous if given to wrong people and it should be removed in England, not copied in Sri Lanka.

  39. It is disgusting to see some people still try to promote the homeland concept which is the biggest barrier for anykind of reconciliation.It is a dead body.Dont try to give Oxygen to it.

    Instead of promoting a Sri Lankan homeland,these people try to demand a tamil home land.The moment you accept a tamil homeland all other races are discriminated as it deprives 1/3 of country and 2/3 of coast to Sinhalese and Muslims.

    Please drop this bullshit before any reconciliation.

  40. Hi

    I am a keen reader of DBS article for long time. I like the way his writing and analysis. Today I am so disappointed to see the article written by Mathew with DBS’s endorsement on DBS’s blog. My point of view Mathew’s article is not acceptable and great insult to the Sri Lankan Tamils. I do not want to waste my time to write about his article. I hope DBS keep encouraging the process of reconciliation with understanding within two communities. I agree the fact in DBS’s respond to Vaithilingam (Comment 30) and I think Tamils have no problem to living with Singhalese within the united new Sri Lanka but political destiny of Tamils should be decided by Tamils and Sinhalese should accept Tamils as nation from the North East of Sri Lanka. Until Sinhalese accepting this there will be no peace in any part of Sri Lanka. No chance to be become like Singapore. Both communities should respect each other identities, cultural values and political aspirations. Then only we could build TOGETHER new Singapore in United Sri Lanka. If not we can only build IDP’s. Today in North; Tomorrow may be in South….??

  41. #25. Nissanka | asked…
    “How come these diaspora Tamils do not behave like
    Tamils although they are fighting for a homeland.”

    I have the same question to you. How come the Buddhist monks and devote buddhist like the Rajapakses’ are not behaving according to the teachings of buddha? Everyone claims this war is partly about protecting Theravada Buddhism but the actions of the leaders are anti buddhist.

    Like years of bombing civilian areas, mass killings, disappearances, rape of women, starving IDPs, etc.

    Will Buddha approve of these things?

  42. DB let the readers judge whether the article is balanced or not but let me ask him this question Bob Rae is the first poltician who announced in the TV that the Sinhalese are not the majority the tamils are the majority in tyhe world now if Bob Rae had been treated with a vengence undiplomatically what do the Tamil diaspora when the Sihalese accept the Tamil home land then peace would automatically come

  43. In 1956 had SWRD was allowed to introduce the Reasonable Use of Tamil Bill, the Tamils would have been satisfied. The necessity of an LTTE would not have been necessary. It was not to be, one Thravada protecting Buddhist Monk saw to it..
    It is doubtful if any of the present crop of Buddhist monks will permit anything other than the complete subgugation of the Tamils and eventually the Singhalese Christians. They will not touch the Muslims, they learned their lesson in 1910 and will not want to repeat it, besides Arab nations can shut off the spigot. Until Sri Lanka enforces the prohibition of Child /soldiers/monks, there will not be a mature society in Sri Lanka.
    Buddhism places all monks on a pedestal, they are supposed to have renunciated, no wants, no greed. This renunciation is possible only by one who is at least a bit mature, not by a kid who is 4 or 5. These 4 year old are usually donated to the temple by poor villagers, as most cannot even feed themselves. Have any of you met a Buddhist Priest from a middle-class family? They are mostly from the abject poor.These children grow-up not experiencing normal childhood. As adults they are very resentful and possibly envious of others. Their only outlet, which seems legitimate is dabble in politics, as followers, not as leaders as most do not have the interlect. In civilian life, they would have been a thug, not even as a clerk working in an office. In 1953, I became friendly with a man who was the sweeper in our company. He was a goloya from the age of 4 and ran away from the temple at age 17 to his uncle’s place. He was not sure that his parents would have accepted him. My opinion is, until Sri Lanka stops this practice of Child Monks, adopts minimum age of 16 for independent thinking, Sri Lanka will be cursed with yellow robed thugs preventing any meaningful political accomodation.
    Without political accomodation or equality for all, regardless of ethnicity or religion, the Tamils will feel subgugated and resentful and if Sri Lanka permits China to take a foothold, who knows, India will keep quiet?

  44. The Sri Lankan ethnic problem has always had its many dimensions. Today, what is keeping the fire burning is no longer discrimination or parity of status between Sinhalese and Tamils. These issues were dealt with in the 1980s and issues like language are not unique to Sri Lankan situation. If there is any difficulty on part of Tamils to carry on their day to day life I doubt very much that there would be any opposition on part of Sinhalese in rectifying that.

    Today, the thorny issue is none of these. Instead, its about the current constitution not been reflective of the balance of power between the two communities brought about by globalisation. All other issues, ranging from the unitary status of the constitution to Theravada Buddhism, must be evaluated in this context. Though Sinhalese Buddhist are the overwhelming majority community in the country with a vibrant history, unlike Tamils, they find themselves isolated in the new world. The minority on the other hand has become more powerful by making bridges with their mother community in Tamil Nadu. Naturally, it now has new aspirations– the aspiration for more political power inspired not by their population or historic role in Sri Lanka but by their powerful mother community in Tamil Nadu. This is why the Tamils have no problem coexisting with Muslims in Malaysia but finds it unbearable to coexist with Sinhalese in spite of all that has been done to make them feel equal. This is also why though everyone talks about Tamil aspirations but no one dares to enumerate them. There is no point in arguing with people like #11. Rajah for when they say X, Y, Z is not right, X, Y, Z are just flimsy excuses to start a different fight with a different agenda. For them, coexistence with Sinhalese as Tamils have done in the past is no longer a necessity. Gus Mathews touched on this subject in his article but he does not seem to appreciate its full contribution to the present state of affairs.

  45. # 39. PP | said:
    “It is disgusting to see some people still try to promote the homeland concept which is the biggest barrier for anykind of reconciliation.”

    I fully agree with you PP. The Sinhalese should stop promoting the Sinhalese Buddhist homeland concept in Sri Lanka, and recognize that there are others who have lived in the Island for hundreds of years. If people want to have a unitary Sri Lanka, then the country can’t be a Sinhalese Buddhist homeland and expect to be in peace.

    If they want to create a Sinhalese Buddhist homeland and expect to be in peace with the world, then they should carve out their traditional Sinhalese areas like the 7 provinces and allow others to be in the other part of the country.

    I know it’s hard for many to stomach, but that’s the ground reality.

  46. DBSJ I’m thoroughly disappointed that you endorsed such an article…an article that is nothing but an excuse for the continuation of the statue Quo.

    Is this the “reconciliation” you were waxing so much about?? Ajith’s article was all about making compromises and reconciliation;on the other hand the core of Gus’s article is all about defending the status Quo and the prominence given to Buddhism. A lot of Tamil poster’s welcomed Ajith’s letter, including me, especially the call for non-violence and an end for the armed struggle. We were all willing to make drastic compromises, to work towards a unitary state, while Gus’s letter does just the opposite.

    Is this the lanka you envision? in what way would it be different from the previous one we had for the last 61 years. Hell… if the Sinhalese are not even willing to make the country secular…why would the Tamils be willing to go all out to pander to their wishes. I’m sick and tired of preaching reconciliation and equality while all i see here are Sinhalese posters defending the prominence given to Buddhism.It’s not just this issue alone but it shows the mentality of those who mouth words like “peace and reconciliation” n times a day…words does not mean anything! especially when they lay bare such serious ethno-racial prejudices.

    what do we see now in return? a guy writing a letter ( as Rajah #11 rightly posted) without any idea about the stuff he is writing about, especially when it comes to the part about religion. I do not see why this would even merit discussion. The only thing it seems to have done is to show how “willing”(or rather “unwilling”) a lot of Sinhalese in this blog are to even bringing forth the most basic kinds of reform. it seems that mediocrity and ethno religious identities are the one they care about while merely paying lip service to “being Srilankan”.

    Look at Tharaka’s post (#18)

    ////I think you are insulting Buddhism by saying Buddhism should not be given its due prominence.Simply because popular Buddhism practiced in Sri Lanka and over whelming majority of the Buddhists have given Hinduism more than its due place. Each and every temple in Sri Lanka has separate shrine room for Hindu pantheon of gods.Of course Buddhist given different twist saying they are protectors of Buddhism. But for all the practical purposes if there is concept , place or practice considered sacred in Hinduism never looked down upon by majority of the Buddhist. Of course there are people who want to practice most purest form of Buddhism which I do not have any problem and they opt not to warship Hindu gods. And there is still a very few go to the extreme of ridiculing warship of deities.

    Just because they exist you should not paint every body else in one stroke. Thats not right.
    ////

    ^^^ That’s post clearly underlines the lack of even basic understanding about this issue amongst the Sinhalese populous. Who cares if Buddhists worshiped Hindu deities or vice versa? is it a concessionary price? What Rajah(#11) talked about is the prominence given to Buddhism, a religion that was brought by Missionaries. (It’s ironic that the very same converts now rant against other missionaries..but that’s beside the point)

    all we are asking for is the removal of Buddhism from the constitution. Take note that we are not asking for Hinduism or any other religion to be put on the constitution either. Democracy should be secular. Otherwise it�s a theocracy. Tharaka pls don�t pass crumbs to us by saying “hey even though we give prominence to Buddhism alone in the constitution. We do respect your religion”. As I always asked…how can there be shades of equality.

    And why does Buddhism need �special protection�. Special protection from what? What threat does it face that�s not faced by other religions in this island? Seems like that a lot of Buddhists who advocate for this �special place� have an inferiority complex. Its akin to some African tribes practicing female genital mutilation. Instead of trying to �protect� the religion; teach your kids to be more aware of it. That’s the best protection any religion or ideal can have…not blind obedience or illogical protectionism. This �special protection� business is nothing but a sham.

    DBSJ you said
    //What Mathews says may not go down well with Tamils of an ultra-nationalist outlook but much of what is said here seems pragmatic.//

    Will that statement apply to me? Now that I�ve disagreed with the letter you posted and your endorsement of it? Anyone who supports certain ideas and explanations put forth by Gus are none other than those who don�t want reconciliation…or rather those who want to support the status quo.

    Gus and the posters who supported his take on the prominence given to Buddhism should take some time to read up on history/religion and anthropology lest they want to remain in their tiny little wells.. after all Ignorance is bliss!

    Ps: If those who read this post assume that I’m annoyed? yes they guessed correct.

    I am so sorry that I am a thorough disappointment to you. Please pardon the likes of us…….DBSJ

  47. reply to #44 Navin

    Navin you need to get ur history right. Tamils in Malaysia and Tamils in Lanka are very different. The Tamils in Malaysia are not its natives while the Tamils in Lanka are its natives. The Tamils and Sinhalese have equal claim to this island. so enough of your “Tamils are from Tamil nadu” insinuation. its annoying

    Ive already replied to this claim of urs in a previous thread

    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/784#comments
    my reply it on post #47

    Sinhalese are an identity created due to religious diffusion.and the cultural diffusion that came along with it. Genetic studies have clearly shown this to be the case. Lankan tamils, sinhalese and Tn Tamils are genetically almost identical.

    and If the Sinhalese somehow find themselves isolated in the new world, as you claim, then its doubly important for them to get out of their tortoise shell rather than closing up tighter than a clam by furthering such protectionist and undemocratic practices which will only serve to widen the gap and mistrust between communities.

  48. Gus Gus

    I don’t like the lion simple in the Sri Lankan flag because it takes so much space and looks ugly too. Can you write something on how we can get rid of that?

    One more thing, can we not pick on Diaspora anymore rather do something useful to bring about peace?

    Thanks buddy

  49. ////I am so sorry that I am a thorough disappointment to you. Please pardon the likes of us…….DBSJ////

    Thank you for the condescension.

    I did not expect such a condescending reply to a valid question i asked.
    I too am thoroughly sorry to have wasted my time posting in this blog.

    anyways thank you for giving me the opportunity for such an “Die hard Tamil nationalist” (using your words, according to your own classification..after all anyone who questions a letter endorsed by you must be one right? ) to post dozens of posts about true reconciliation and a unitary Srilanka in this blog.

    this will be my last post here. I would like this opportunity to say farewell to the people i have come to know and interacted with in this blog.

    Adios friends
    Ulysses

    It was very kind of you to have contributed your comments here.Thank You and all the best…..DBSJ

  50. Ulysses, I hope you will come back. I mean it because i really do value your comments.

    I agree with what you said before as well but it is up to the blog runner to decide what ever they want to post. All you have to do is question which is what u did.

    Take care buddy

  51. It is carefully penned article by Mr. Mathews. Yet the ever widening gap between human values and current geo political realities has created incoherence in the article. It is some what similar to a situation, mother saying to the children do not give evidence to the police of the murder that you have witnessed, because those people are powerful as a cautionary note to her children, in order to protect her children. Children may go silent but not their conscience.

    They (Sinhalese) derive their spiritual and cultural existence in the knowledge that they are the sole guardians of Theravada Buddhism and Sri Lanka its temporal habitat.
    Even to this day other followers of Theravada Buddhism in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand consider Sri Lanka in the same analogous manner as the Roman Catholics consider the Vatican in Rome.
    The above does not go well with
    Regionalism based on ethnicity is not a solution in the 21st century of mass communications and mobile labour forces. We have only to discern from the atrocities and the pogroms that befell the former Yugoslavia to veer away from such solutions
    In these times of modern communications and travel nationality is not based on ethnicity but on citizenship-you just have to look at Tamils and other Sri Lankans of differing ethnic origins who are citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and the European Union today.
    And
    Finally the individual cultural, religious, linguistic aspirations of all communities from Sinhalese, Tamils, Malays, Moors, Burghers and the other smaller minorities must be enshrined in the constitution and must be promoted ensuring that there is no detriment to the other interacting communities.
    The sprit of equality in SriLanka only can be achieved through enshrining secular principals in the constitution devoid of religion and race to create a common Srilankan identity in a pluralistic society. For Regionalism based on ethnicity to be not a solution a country should be identified by its religion and ethnicity, which is not true in reality.
    However the reasonable use of Tamil was only given lip service due to the opposition Sinhalese parties at that time playing the race card.
    Those minorities who took on the challenge of learning Sinhalese did benefit and it is not surprising to see many Tamils who held high positions like IGPs, DIGs, Government ministers etc.
    These two statements create an illusion that the language issue had been solved. Even recently in 2008 there had been statements from the Government ministers that the language that policy recognizing Tamil as an official language had not been implemented. Few Tamils would have benefited and held high position, but Tamil community as a whole did not benefit any thing but rather than got alienated due the lack of implementation of the language policy.
    It is also very easy to blame all Sinhalese for these riots. These riots were engineered by a minority of Sinhalese with a mob mentality and had some tacit support from the police and unprincipled politicians for their own political gain. There is ample anecdotal evidence that many Sinhalese sheltered their Tamil neighbors from the riotous mobs with great risk to themselves.
    No one blames Sinhalese for the riots. Tamils always had blamed the Sinhalese governments that were in power that sponsored and carried out the riots. The riots in Srilanka is not a natural outburst of Sinhalese people against Tamils, that is why Sinhalese sheltered their Tamil neighbors, In such a caring Sinhalese society single communal violence would take place, if not engineered by the government or people in power or it would have an easy task to the government in power to rule out the communal violence with such majority Sinhalese masses who cared for Tamils.
    Since the last communal riots in 1983 where an estimated 2000 Tamils lost their lives, the Sinhalese have become more circumspect and have not reacted adversely to any provocation by the Tamil tigers even after they killed 1500 service personnel in 1986.
    What better way to wreak revenge on the Sinhalese by supporting the terrorists who had a military advantage over the Sri Lankan forces in the eighties and nineties.
    Does this mean, in another way, military advantage of LTTE over the Sri Lankan forces in the eighties and nineties have prevented Sinhalese mob (not the Sinhalese people) to react adversely? Author should understand that the communal violence in SriLanka is not expression of the angry Sinhalese masses. In that context it could be that Tamils by supporting LTTE wanted to safe guard them from the Government sponsored mobs. During that time LTTE was seen as a formidable Tamil force by the Government of Srilanka which would have naturally made Tamils to rely on them.
    The Sri Lankan government also learned the lessons of media and diplomatic management from the Americans, British and Israelis and applied it with ruthless efficiency that the Americans, British and Israelis could only envy.

    Such efficiency does that mean indirectly the gross violations of Geneva conventions, bombing the hospitals, indiscriminate usage of chemical weapons, white van rides and human carnage. Such is the expression of incoherence to the human values.

    Where does that leave the poor Tamils who are in the IDP camps, who suffered under the yoke of the Tamil tigers and are still suffering the ignominy of languishing in the camps? What sustenance can the Diaspora give to these poor souls for this vast tragedy that has befallen their kith and kin other than be mere onlookers as the drama unfolds? What would be the political expectations of the minority Tamils for their existence? By all accounts the Tamil politicians have committed political suicide by backing the Tamil tigers as the sole representative of the Tamil people. To retrieve the current situation they must develop new thinking.

    This is the part that similar mother saying to the children do not give evidence to the police of the murder that you have witnessed, because those people are powerful.

    The Diaspora Tamils should take a leaf from the actions of the Jewish Diaspora and strive for inclusiveness in a unitary state of Sri Lanka.

    Does this mean, wait patiently like Jews who realized their dream statehood of Israel?

    Just like the African Americans who acknowledged the majority but fought for equality based on sound principles of individual rights is a paradigm that is worth considering. What better way to enmesh your rights with that of the majority community based on human rights legislation? Tamils should engage with many moderate Sinhalese parties and push for such legislation that would ensure that all the peoples of Sri Lanka will have the protection of the law irrespective of their racial origins.

    American Democracy strived hard to accommodate the African origins. How much Srilankan Democracy had strived to accommodate minorities, from school books to Parliamentary politics? The past history of Srilanka shows no evidence in that direction.

    The way the war was conducted to bring the fall of LTTE and treatment of IDPs, witnessed by the Chief Justice, if one would argue that it is against terrorism, it is a folly. The greater danger is any meaning full agitation by the Sinhalese with or without the collaboration of Tamils can be quelled in the same manner. The fear expressed by the Chief Justice after meeting with the IDPs hold true.

    The Tamils should also dispel the notion that the north and east are their homeland and state that all of Sri Lanka belongs to all Sri Lankans irrespective of their racial origins.

    It seems that this isolation and the lack of social intercourse of the Tamils in the Northern provinces had also partly contributed to the radicalisation of the Northern Tamils.
    The blame also lies with the Sinhalese politicians in the south who have starved the north of investment. The Tamils in the Northern Province should now accept that with the Sri Lankan army entrenched in the Northern Province the Sri Lankan government will now incentivise Sinhalese settlement in the North. Instead of opposing such settlement the Northern Tamils should use it to their advantage and push for a larger slice of the investment that is required to build the war ravaged north.
    These very statements shake the very principals of Democratic representation in the Srilankan context. If Tamils are made minorities in their home land there parliamentary representation would dwindle, whether they represent ethnic parties or national parties does not matter. There is a stark difference in between natural demographic change and forced colonization.
    If author implies that movement of Sinhalese to North would bring economic benefits, it indirectly mean that that Government will not develop if North is populated by Tamils. How one could understand such is not a racial treatment but a democratic process?
    Sri Lanka has now the opportunity to become a pluralistic, tolerant and law abiding nation state and to abandon the mistakes of the past. All it needs is the political will and leadership similar to what Nelson Mandela achieved with a disparate state such as South Africa. As with South Africa this is a strong possibility as Sri Lanka is a mature democracy.
    Nelson Mandela represents the majority community who suffered in the hands of white minority community of South Africa. What a contrast in Srilanka, the author is supposedly preaching to the minorities who suffered by the broken promises of the majority community politicians to act as Nelson Mandela. It is a more appropriate modicum of advice to the Sinhalese Politicians.
    The current Tamil politicians who have tacitly supported the Tamil tigers should radically change their political agenda. Instead of wasting another 61 years based on separatism they should integrate and work closely with the other Sinhalese parties and strive for the commonality in protection for all of Sri Lankans. These Tamil politicians have a mountain to climb to persuade the majority Sinhalese that they are for a unitary Sri Lanka based on individual rights. They have to proclaim that regionalism based on ethnicity is dead and separatism will never again be resurrected.
    Definitely Tamil politicians will change the political agenda to suit the ground realities. But proclamation regionalism based on ethnicity is dead and separatism will never again be resurrected to its true sprit now depend upon in the hand of majority community politicians who has to do away with their racial politics.
    But even in the distant future I do not see any signs in that direction, because the global economic norms and political and diplomatic manures do not embody the human principals of life. Deception, ruthlessness, selfishness, any extent of human disaster and carnage to achieve goals will not bring about the meaning full life endeavored by the author.

  52. 1.Is Mr Mathew entertaining forced cultural diffusion in the name of pluralism, which can not be explained as reconciliation. Direct or indirect cultural diffusion is inevitable in human history and be welcome.
    But forced cultural diffusion is counter- productive for reconciliation.
    2. It is not an accident that secular countries are prosperous in the world. Religion can give opinion on “moral direction” but heaven and earth should be different provinces.
    3. Nation building since 1948 has been conflict driven and reactive- JVP, LTTE are product of it.
    Unless we change this, it is going to be status quo- I can not agree more with Ulysses.

  53. Here we go again, another letter sympathetic to the Sinhala viewpoint.

    Gus, the Tamil homeland in what we know as Sri Lanka is indisputable. The Sinhalese, just because their language, religion & culture is unique, do not have a veto over the Tamil homeland.

    To say 53% of Tamils live outside their homeland nullifies the Tamil homeland argument is rubbish. For various reasons ( and this has been articulated by others a lot better) Tamils migrated from their traditional homelands in the North and the East. The Tamils migrated on their own accord, at their own expense unlike many of the Sinhalese who were given government financial assistance to settle in the East.

    The reason Tamils hark back to the days of the anti-Tamil riots and pogroms is that this is the true nature of the Sri Lankan state. Just like LTTE terror that gave rise to the horrific levels of violence and human rights violations of present-day Sri Lanka, it is the anti-Tamil violence of the pre-LTTE Sri Lanka that gave rise to the LTTE. Don’t you know that? Have the Sinhalese changed? Have they learnt any lessons?

    The anti-Tamil violence was a like tap that the SL government of the day can turn on or off. If the Tamils demanded too much, like equality, it will be turned on. But if they are down and out like they are now, it will be turned off. Although the tap probably won’t get turned on for awhile, if at all, the SL state has a replacement strategy .

    And that strategy is the powerful military combined with the pro-govt Tamil terror groups to keep the Tamils oppressed, terrorised and silent. This is the future for Tamils in SL under the MR regime.

    So there is no point in calling for the SL government to be “all inclusive” etc or mention Sri Lanka needs a Nelson Mandela (the current SL govt is not fit to polish the shoes of this great man) because it will never happen. The Tamils have to look after each other.

  54. The author does not sound like a racist, nor does he advocate discrimination against the minority. But he has following comments that equal the views of a racist:

    ///Unlike all other minorities who have in some way even reluctantly acknowledged the importance of Buddhism and the unitary nature of Sri Lanka in protecting this guardianship, the Tamils have continued to play the separatists card disguised in the form of regional autonomy. Any attempt at regionalism that threatens the unitary nature of Sri Lanka is anathema to the Sinhala Buddhist majority.///

    In other words the author says that the protection of Buddhism and a Sinhala Buddhist president to provide the protection should be enshrined in the constitution of a unitary state of Sri Lanka. Is he different from JHU and radical Buddhist monks?

    ///The Sri Lankan government also learned the lessons of media and diplomatic management from the Americans, British and Israelis and applied it with ruthless efficiency that the Americans, British and Israelis could only envy. They also formed political alliances with powerful countries with disparate political ideologies such as India, China, Pakistan and Russia. These countries were broadly supportive and with their help Sri Lanka was able to crush any international opposition to the military solution that they undertook.///

    Did the author realize that such ruthless efficiency has resulted in the death of around 20,000 Tamil civilians? Is he different from JVP and other so called patriotic war mongers during the later stages of the war?

    ///They should also welcome with open arms and strive for Jaffna to become a rival to Colombo in terms of commerce, investment and national integration with a multi-communal population that will reflect the 30 percent population of Tamils in Colombo with 30 percent of Sinhalese in Jaffna.///

    Did the author realize that the population of the minority in the capital Colombo was voluntary where as what the Rajapakse brothers are trying to achieve is a forced colonization in the North similar to what JR and Cyril Mathew tried earlier in Manal Aru?

    Overall this article is sugar coated racial venom in the name of national reconciliation.

  55. Most philistine article in this blog. Please realise it is not only hatread and chaunism which has resulted in Rajapakshes and Prabhakarans it is also philistinism on both the side.

  56. Sigiriya, sinharaja forest are world heritage sites. any sane leader of SL, regardless of race, will be proud of them and do their best to protect them. in the same contest, any educated broad-minded leader, even if tamil or muslim, will understand the uniqueness of Theravada Buddhism in SL and try to protect it. Prominence for Buddhism came to constitution few decades back. until then Buddhism was established in SL for almost 2500 years despite some trying times and whoever who owns the Sacred of Tooth Relic was considered the king or the ruler of the territory. there have been times when tamil kings ruled the country and they owned the Sacred of Tooth Relic and they safe guarded it. even today i don’t think any tamil wants to destroy these Buddhist monuments. but where did they (or we) go wrong? from various comments tamil friends make it is evident that their problem is not the unique nature of the buddhism or the will to protect it. their problem is with the followers of buddhism, be it monks or laymen.
    Regarding Buddhist monks, they were an integral part of sinhala society and from ancient times they were in a position to advise the rulers. some of them even deviated from teachings of Lord Buddha and helped the kings to fight with invaders and present day some are even engaged in politics. but in the recent history our sinhala leaders made a lot of wrong decisions which led to discrimination of tamils and our buddhist monks were behind these decisions. any follower or priest of any religion is inherantly bound to protect their respective religion, but in the name of protecting one’s religion, there shouldn’t be descrimination of any other race or religion. but short-sightedness of Buddhist monks backing our then rulers led our country to this disaster. those days Buddhists were largely supporting these decisions of then rulers. the tamils’ rage towards Buddhism is really towards these Buddhist monks and followers.
    even today there are Buddhist monks backing MR. upto now they haven’t been able to convince MR & co anything. JHU doesn’t have Buddhist monks as MP’s anymore due to their internal conflicts and their political survival is only until they remain with the gov. the large scale support they got from the Buddhists at the beginning was lost due to their wrong doings. even today if they contest for an election alone as a party, i wonder whether they will win atleast a single seat in the parliament. after east was liberated from LTTE, JHU has advised MR to settle sinhalese in the east. but MR has neglected it. none of us can assure or predict what our politicians are upto. but upto now it doesn’t show that anybody can influence MR’s decision. now Buddhist monks hail the president and give him various titles, he’s also bowing down very obediently and win their hearts, but i wonder if he can remember any good advice they gave once he set foot out of the temple. this is true not only to our politicians, but also to these so called Buddhists who try to protect Buddhism.
    their theory is that there are a lot of Buddhist monuments and archaeological sites in the north and east (some are yet to be uncovered) and if any other race get land power over these areas, these sites are in danger of destruction. they are partly true because it is proven throughout our history and even today the threats are there. this holds true for Hinduism also. but i don’t think it would make any difference who has the land power if rule of law is correctly applied.
    today the constitution has given prominence to Buddhism, but has it made any difference? how many archaeological sites are looted and exploited? is there any muslim or tamil behind these robberies? how many people are forcefully converted? our problem is that we always catch the serpent from the tail. every religion is sacred. but nobody is following the principles of their religion. there is no argument that all these Buddhist sites should be protected, so does kovils, mosques and churches. but there should be correct law enforcements that is bound to protect all religions, its followers and these places. all the religions in SL have their own ministries. they can take care of these issues. nobody should be allowed to foul-play. but there is one aspect we have to be tolerant of. if the leader is a buddhist, he will go to buddhist temples, buddhist monks will bless him. if the leader is a catholic or a hindu they will do the same with their respective religions. but any religious leader is bound to speak and bless anybody regrdless of their behaviour. even murderers, thieves, rapists can go to them. what else can the clergy do other than advise them and bless them? but that necessarily doesn’t mean these clergy approve what they do.
    as one tamil friend suggested all the Buddhist monks are not from rural poor families. nobody is forced to become one. but there is no age limit. there’re enough Buddhist monks who became monks at young age and remain so for the rest of their lives, but there are those who leave after sometime as well. nobody is forced to go or stay. if you think the Buddhist monks who shout in the TV and political stages are all the monks in the country, you are mistaken. there are enough monks who mind their religious affairs and quite a lot are based on forests. there are enough doctors, engineers and foreign graduates among those Buddhist monks. they are vegetarians and won’t advise anyone killing of any animal. so all the Buddhist monks can’t be catogerized as an ignorant, brutal lot.
    today despite protests from JHU and JVP, the gov strongly speaks about a political solution. the UNP is helping the gov on that issue. with all my heart i wish the gov will have the strength to implement it. as some one aptly said a lot has to be done from sinhalese side. but in the mean time, what can we ordinary people do? just as sinhalese should be able to identify that every tamil isn’t an LTTE supporter, tamils should be able to identify that all the sinhalese are not gov supporters. everyone have good points and bad points. nobody is totally black or totally white. just because a tamil highlights a plus point of LTTE he’s not a supporter. in the same way, just because a sinhalese highlights a plus point of the gov, he’s not a supporter. the truth is none of us can’t be responsible for the acts of these politicians. they have their own aspirations. by arguing with our selves to justify wrong doings of our politicans, we become jokes.
    let’s not generalize people based on race or religion. just because a buddhist descriminate you, don’t blame all the buddhists. then you lose the help of moderate people as well.
    as ordinary people we have to build trust among ourselves. past events have led us to suspect each other. there were enough incidents in the past that makes tamils apprehensive of trusting sinhalese anymore. in the same way, there were enough incidents where sinhalese were betrayed by tamils. the good tamil neighbour withwhom you associated with was found with explosives after sometime. there were enough LTTE members who were among sinhalese acting as civillians. even post-LTTE, sinhalese are still apprehensive to trust that tamils have given up hope for a seperate state. politicains use that fear against giving police and land powers to provincial councils. we have to build up trust. peace won’t come with a change in the constitution only.

  57. Excellent comment I think with the people like
    you we can win back the Glory of our mother land
    Sri Lanka I am proud of you and Infolanka.
    Dr Nallaratnam,
    Founder The Sri Lankan Crusaders International
    and The Scottish Sri Lankans.

  58. I can see Gus Mathews is trying to put-over an objective assessment, not being from either of the two parties to this conflict he is well positioned to do so. But I think he is merely summarising the case for Sinhalese hegemony. I was born into a Sinhalese family and always thought of myself as Sinhalese. Let me raise a simple issue noted by Ulysses #48.

    Ulysses touches on the one basic fact that negates this whole Sinhalese-Tamil conflict from the beginning.

    Every word said in anger, every shot fired, every political argument and territorial claim put forward, every lost life, everything about this conflict assumes that there are two sides. The two sides are defined by having different ancestory. Especially, the Sinhalese people think of themselves as ‘not-Tamil’, tracing their ancestory to a place other than South India where the Tamils originate. This is based on ancient texts.

    However, (and please someone correct me if I’m wrong) recent scientific genetic research shows that the ancestory of all Sinhalese people is nearly 70% Dravidian (Tamil). This means that every Sinhalese person – this includes all the extreme racist nationalists, the monks, the government, the war mongers, and those opposing concessions to the Tamil people – is actually predominantly Tamil. This is proved in the DNA in every cell in our bodies, presumably including that of President Rajapakse as he is of the indegenous population. Anyone can check this themselves with a simple DNA test.

    This means that there are no two sides. There never was.

    How many centuries will it take for the people in Sri Lanka to accept this fact? It cannot be swept under the carpet. It will not go away. Do we teach future generations what we now know about who we actually are? Or do we continue to teach them what our ancestors, who didn’t have the benefit of modern science and DNA, thought we are?

  59. Thank you Jeyaraj for responding to # 31:

    I see your points especially regarding the way Tamil Diaspore changing identifies and the importance of living along side with Singalese. However, the quarrel of these two communities is going on for several hundred years and politicians will always create more problems for their selfish purpose. Think about Tamils as an ethnic group and we are the indigent of this land (Eelam & Tamil Nadu) yet we don’t have a representation at United Nations. When I read stories of Cholas and Pallavas, I wonder what went wrong with us. Once in a time, Tamils ruled the great part of South East Asia but today we don’t have a piece of land. I think our identity must be restored and we should have representation at the United Nations. The problem on our side is that we don’t have unity, this is what we must develop. Irrespective of whether you are an indigent of Jaffna, Batti or Tamil Nadu, we must unite as Tamils until that happens I don’t see Tamils ever going to prosperous. Singalese and bureaucrats in Delhi will make sure Tamils never rise up again and I believe this will continue for next one generation. I personally feel that if current phase of Tamil nationalism among young Tamils maintained and certain geo-political events in next 25-100 years may result in forming a Tamil nation.

    Thank you.

  60. Thank you both DBSJ and Mathews

    I have been reading your articles and comments in this site for some time now. It is a disguised blessing that people like you got the guts and courage to address an area, which most of us want to hide and bypass to just avoid confrontations and counter arguments.

    I belong to the Sri Lankan diasporas in Australia. I am a Sinhalese, Buddhist who grew up in Sri Lanka when the issue was at its peak (during 1983 to 2007). I am proud to be a Sri Lankan, proud to be a Sinhalese and proud to be a follower of Lord Buddha. Thats my identity.

    To me, Tamils are the most welcomed and warm hearted people any Sinhalese could be dreamed of. My dear Sinhalese friends, do you know how much charming these people are? How friendly and thoughtful? How cooperative and give you a hand when you mostly need it? We look like same .. We dress like same .. We all love hot food .. We share a similar culture .. We respect same values .. Can we think about someone else when we have these wonderful people in our side?

    When I meet some Aussie people in past few months, it is heartbreaking to hear some of the comments made by these mis-informed people on Sri Lankan Tamils. When they came to know that I am from Sri Lanka, the next obvious question was whether I am a Tamil terrorist or not??? I knew that they were trying to make a joke, but it was a clear indication of how seriously the Tamil values and identity being tarnished in the pace of the civil war. I tried my best to convince them about the issue in a more realistic manner than in a Sinhalese perspective and explained them about how rich the Tamil culture is and their history along with their well behaved social life.

    I am against 100% devolution solution to the Sri Lankan issue for two reasons. I feel that any of this 100% devolution ideology will make further separatism ideas in the minds of people and it could make doubts in the minds of Sinhalese about minorities. It is important to establish a reasonable political solution to the issue at the same time it is needed to reach out to each ethnicity to understand their certain aspirations. We might need a political line to recognize this situation, but need a more warmhearted and more realistic approach to get Sinhalese and Tamils closer as never before. I would recommend that the latter option will be more productive as a long lasting solution because it really addresses the root cause of the issue and it provides a good platform for co-existence.

    Jaya we Sri Lanka!

  61. # 48. Ulysses:

    Oops!, You seem to be in an awfully bad mood Any how, I do value your opinions and I sincerely hope that you would return to this blog.

    Did I say anywhere in my post that Tamils have a lesser claim to this island? My post is all about Tamils trying to claim more than their share of things due to their new found friends in Tamil Nadu. Sinhalese are a hapless ethnic group unlike Muslims so Tamils smell blood here. Now the conflict is not about what was taken away from them in the mid 90s but what (right or wrong) they can grab by exploiting their political clout with India. You may not hold this view but the way Tamil polity is acting in Sri Lanka its pretty evident.

    Also, notice that I used the term mother community when referring to Tamils of Tamil Nadu. I understand that Sri Lankan Tamils would like to identify themselves different from those of Tamil Nadu and I have no problem with that. So when I say Tamils are from Tamil Nadu what I mean is that Tamils of Sri Lankan origin are the descendants of Tamils of Tamil Nadu. I will be explicit about this since this too seem to be a contentious issue.

    I also did not reject your claim that Sinhalese are an identity created due to religious diffusion the cultural diffusion that came along with it. You argument seems logical considering the geographical location of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, but I have told you before, that according to what I have studied the people who inhibited this island at the time of Vijaya’s arrival were never identified as been Tamil nor as practicing Hinduism. So I cannot take your point of view as fact. I also do not believe that we were taught some doctored version of history to suit someone’s agenda. However, it is quite possible that there exist disputed material. I would be happy to read any scientific evidence that you can provide me but I’m sure comparing Sinhalese to Tamil would not provide any more a different result to comparing Sinhalese to North Indians or Tamils to North Indians.

    Most importantly, all this is irrelevant to what I have been arguing about. Lets assume for the sake of consensus that Tamils were here when Vijaya came and at that time that there were no Sinhalese or Buddhist in this country. Now look at what happened thereafter. Over 2500 years, was is not Sinhalese who were Buddhist who build up the civilization in the North? Does that not form the bulk of our history be us Tamil or Sinhalese or Muslim? Why is it that Tamils cannot be proud of what those Sinhalese Buddhist did to this country just because they are not Sinhalese Buddhist?

    Does that contribution not justify giving Buddhism a special significance in the country’s constitution? Can we not say without insulting Hinduism that Buddhism has played a more significant role in this country’s history?

    Besides, this argument that Buddhism was given a special role in the constitution in the aftermath of independence from Britten is completely WRONG. Ever since the sacred tooth relic was introduced to the country, the guarding of the tooth was regarded as the heir to the throne. That is why you see even to this day after the Dalada Perahera, the Diyawadana Nilame going and reporting to the president that the pageant was carried out successfully. Hence isn’t it cultural robbery to repeal the special status given to Buddhism in the constitution? That is why I keep saying you cannot construct a Singapore out of Sri Lanka. Yes, we can have equality in terms of human rights but that where it ends. Sri Lanka is part of Sinhalese and Sinhalese are part of Sri Lanka. So you cannot sever this bond and try to identify Sri Lanka as been separate from Sinhalese. It is robbing Sinhalese of their history! They built this country, they defended it against invaders— and those are facts as much as it is a fact that Tamils were also here all a long and thus the land belongs to them as well, as much.

    Tamils and Sinhalese have played asymmetric roles in the history of Sri Lanka and whatever status quo that has result as a consequence cannot be undone by constitutional change but by evolution itself.

  62. DBS, I truly appreciate you for giving space on your blog for these discussions. I don’t believe in stifling any discussion.

    As a Tamil, I very much apprecited your insightful articles in the past the atrocities of the LTTE. I too didn’t like many of their tactics and actions.

    But articles like this will only help to push moderate Tamils to support the extreme solutions. These are not realities that Tamils should learn, but these are the realities that make the Tamils want to fight for a separate state. If someone can’t differentiate this, then there is no point talking about reconciliation.

    The gap is only wider after this article.

  63. To # 63 Navin

    Kalama Sutra

    “Rely not on the teacher/person, but on the teaching. Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words. Rely not on theory, but on experience. Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

    – the Buddha

    Navin, to you clearly the Tooth Relic is central to who owns the country. In that case shouldn’t we do scientific tests on the Tooth Relic to establish it’s authenticity? The Turin Shroud turned out to be a fake, and the shroud meant a lot to millions of devotees.

    To us, sadly Buddhism seems to be just a cynical way of validating an ethnic identity and to justify territorial claims in favour of one section of the indigenous population over another. We have used Buddhism to divide the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. We ignore what the Buddha taught. Which is why I have posted the passage from the Kalama Sutra above.

    I recon the DNA evidence I mentioned in my earlier post #60, and this, is what the Buddha meant in that famous Sutra. Just think of all the misery and death we have caused by not stopping to listen to what the Buddha actually taught?

  64. If majority of sinhalese hold the views of the author, not only the reconciliation will be a distant dream but it will also start new forms of conflicts with all other non-buddhist minorities.
    I am certain that progressive sinhalese who have key for reconciliation,will not subscribe to the views of the author.
    In my opinion that political Buddhism in sri lanka will be a liability for authentic Buddhism which will thrive not by force but love and ideals of the of the great teacher.

  65. #65 Haroon
    This is from wikepedia.
    A genetic admixture study found the sinhalese had the greatest contribution from South Indian Tamils (69.86% +/- 0.61), followed by Bengalis (25.41% +/- 0.51). Similarly, Sri Lankan Tamils have a greater contribution from the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka (55.20% +/- 9.47) than Indian Tamils (16.63% +/- 8.73).[10] Another study also found close genetic affinity of the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan tamils.[11]
    This is also supported by a genetic distance study, which showed low differences in genetic distance between the Sinhalese and the; Tamil and Bengali volunteers.[12] D1S80 allele frequency (A popular allele for fingerprinting) is also similar between the Sinhalese and Bengalis, suggesting the two groups are closely related.[13] In addition, the Sinhalese and South Indian Tamils have similar cultures in terms of kinship classification, cousin marriage, dress and housing.[14]
    Two studies on blood genetic markers found no significant genetic difference between the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan tamils.[15]. A study looking at genetic variation of the FUT2 gene in the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan tamil population, also found similar genetic backgrounds for both ethnic groups, with little genetic flow from other neighbouring asian population groups.[16] Studies have also found no significant genetics difference with regards to blood group and single-nucleotide polymorphism between the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamil population.[17][18]Thus, the evidence suggests that the legend of the sinhalese being the descendents of Prince Vijaya and his companions may not be true, or that the genetic contribution by Prince Vijaya and his companions has been erased by the contributions of other population groups, such as the Tamils and Bengalis, over 2000 years.

  66. #65. Haroon:

    For the love of god Haroon have some respect for people’s beliefs. Sinhala people need no scientific proof of the authenticity of the tooth relic. It is very disrespectful of you to even suggest that. They have worshiped it and protected it for over 2000 years and will continue to do so for eternity. These are things which are near and dear to people’s hearts and if you love those people, if you respect them, you would not go on crushing their world like a bull in a china shop.

    I’m not in anyway using Buddhism to deprive Sri Lankan Tamils of their rightful claim to Sri Lanka but humbly asking you to respect the history, culture and traditions of Sinhala people. Its easy for people to say why dont we tear down this house and build a new one when they have not cherished its existence for many years.

    Instead of trying to get rid of these traditions, why don’t you try to introduce Hindu traditions also into the constitution? I’m sure Arya Chakravarti must have had some Hindu customs that he had to adhere to while he ruled Jaffna. So why not transfer those to the presidency and get them institutionalized as well? That way, you can protect your own identity and also claim state sponsorship for Hinduism.

  67. #65 Haroon, #67Fran,
    The Population Geneticist Spencer Wells and his group has done extensive survey and study, which he explained in a very accessible popular book ” Journey of man”.

    As per his survey and findings, the entire humanities ancestry is traced and established to have come from Africa.

    As per this survey the first migration into india is from the south and from Sri Lanka. He also quotes the Paleo climatic evidences and states that till 500 yeras ago the sea level is lesser than today by about 100 meters. He says If the sea is 100 mtrs lesser deep the Indian Penisula and srilanka will be connected by a land bridge as the sea coast will extend by about 100 kM.

    There was a second migration from the north much before the third migration ( Aryan ). The present dravidian race is a mixture of the first migration from the south and the second migration from the north. So a strand of the ancestry of Tamils of Tamilnadu is from SriLanka.

    (Numbers are from my memory but i recommend you to read the book. It is an eye opener in many ways.)

  68. Kumar #37 and few other friends,

    In trying to accommodate the Sinhalese point of view, I feel unwittingly you are giving wrong hope.

    First of all going to the melting pot of US or Canada for example of multi racial multi national society and practice is not appropriate. Comparatively young civilization with lesser burden of history. India can be a better example. An old civilization with burden of history but a young country as Srilanka. When quoting about India, you are trivializing the problems of Srilanka with your example of lighting Kuthuvilakku. In those kind of issues there is hardly going to be any difference at least between the Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus.

    In India in the first list of cabinet ministers, 7 out of 15 made it a point to take the Oath, not in the name of GOD and only solemnly sweared. Ministers took the oath in different languages too. You are telling that in the courts eye witnesses are swearing on Geeta. It is only a choise. You can swear on Bible, Koran or simply swear solemnly. Well Tamilnadu is an extreme example. Here a popular chief minister like MGR is unable to openly declare YES I believe in GOD. The present chief minister though reported to (at least) accommodate the temple visiting rituals of his wife(s), not ready to do it openly. Whether Hinduism is in Danger in India or in Tamilnadu?

    MGR who is a Malayalee had been the most popular chief minister of Tamilnadu. He being a Malayalee is a fact. But Tamil people have repeatedly rejected when Karunanidhi made that as a point against him. In the 60 years history of Tamilnadu, how many times the chief minister is from any one of the large caste? Has this any way altered or changed the social demography of Tamilnadu?

    Though not in enough numbers, Muslims and Cristian chief ministers like A.K. Antony, Mohammed Koya, A.R.Antulay and YSR Reddi are happening. A Gujarati, A Telugu, a Kannada, a Hindu Punjabi and now a Pakistan born Sikh are in the list of Indian Prime ministers. Mother tongue of The President, the vice President, the prime minister, the congress president, No 2, 3,4,5,6 & 7 of the cabinet is not Hindi. Can any one say Hindi is in danger in India?

    Well we Indians are not free from any prejudice and we are much more racial, casteist and much more intolerant than you. But I believe the system our forefathers have wisely adopted despite its all lacunae is ensuring a fairly working democracy with a fairly accommodative society. Our history is as long as that of Srilanka with much more burden of history on us. But still if this kind of system can work for us, what prevents both Sinhalese and Tamils to give a try?

    52% of Tamils living outside the North & East will not make some sort of autonomy and some kind of federal structure irrelevant. There are more Irish people in US than in Ireland. But this will not make the existence of Ireland as a nation illegitimate. Non Tamil population in Tamilnadu is more than the total population of Srilanka. Other southern states of India have sizeable Tamil Population. No one has lost anything. All these states has flourished and developed accomodating others and benefitted by others too.

    Danger for Buddhism from Tamil identity is the most indigestible argument for a Tamil like me from Tamilnadu. Probably our sinhala friends were not told of our history and society. Tamilnadu was predominantly a Buddhist and Jain country for more than 4 centuries. Still Buddha is considered as an avatar by the average Hindu Tamil. On the other hand all the streams of intellectual thought which has made the Tamil Consciousness, the Dravidian Movement, The Left and the modern Dalit movements all keep Buddhism especially the Theravada school in a much higher esteem then Hinduism. Periar used to give names like Goutaman and Siddarthan. In our school days boys with these names will be asked Are you. From a DK family? The first Indian Communist, who presided the first communist congress in Kanpur, the legendry Singaravellar is instrumental for Anagarika Dammapala to establish the Maha Bodhi society in Chennai. This is still the entry point for thousands of Sinhala Buddhists in their pilgrimage to Budhagaya. In fact all these streams are considered anti Hindu. If at all the sinhala Buddhist believe that the damma chakra will start rolling once again in India it can not be from any where else other than Tamilnadu. But even then in all probability we could be only Tamil Buddhists if the literature of the earlier period of Buddhism is an indicator.

    We can understand and empathize the Sinhalese people standing against splitting the country. We can even empathize with their attachment with Buddhism. But any attempt on their part to drive and hoard all the Tamils to get dissolved in the Buddhist Sinhalese identity is not going to happen. Their euphoria only reminds me the same arrogant sentiment displayed by their nemesis when they are in a position of strength. International geo politics is very fluid. Tomorrow if their interest is better served, the ruling classes (Including that of my own country) will ditch and turn 180 Degree. Yes the IDPs are the first priority and Tamilnadu Govt too thro Indian Govt is also trying to do something. Iam sure people of Tamilnadu will also contribute whole heartedly when asked. Please do not try to use IDPs as an emotional tool of blackmail. It will be counter productive. Please do not try to justoppose IDPs against the struggle for justice. It is like blaming Soviet Government and Stalin for the misery and destruction caused to the soviet people in the II world war. It is only an attempt which white washes the atrocities of Hitler. Stalins other guilt will not justify Hitler. IDPs will be part of history soon. IDPs are not guarantee for the welfare of ordinary Sinhalese people.

    Guarantee for the welfare and honorable and peaceful life for ordinary Sinhalese is in the guarantee for an honorable and peaceful life for the Tamils and vice versa. No one has helped either one of you in a genuine sense of justice or friendship (Including the govt. of my own country). Only you have to help each other in your mutual interest. You do not have any other go.

  69. Thanks for posting #67 Fran, #69 PK Rajan.

    What I mean about ‘there are no two sides; just one’. A baby is born in a Sinhalese family, and another baby is born in Jaffna. Genetically the two babies are the same. Predominantly Dravidian. Tamil. The same. When they grow up why does society tell them that they are different?

    To #68 Navin

    Oh dear. Looks like I wasn’t clear. No, I wouldn’t tell a child that there is no Father Christmas either. But your comment in response to Ulysses is not about your desparate need to believe that the relic is real. Your point, if I understand it correctly, is that the relic is the basis on which one faction of a conflict legitimately claims superiority over another – meaning it’s in Kandy and not in Jaffna. You seem to be saying it’s an acceptable basis on which we should run a country in the 21st century, going forward, so it’s an important constitutional issue. Tell me, if the one who has possession of the relic is deemed the rightful ruler of the land who does have the real relic? (no don’t answer that) And shouldn’t we seriously look into it? (Kalama Sutra)

    You see? You’re using Buddhism to divide.

    The people in Sri Lanka have a good chance of living in harmony if society doesn’t tell one section that they are better than the other section (based on a relic or any other story).

    The people in Sri Lanka have a good chance of living in harmony if society doesn’t tell one section that it’s their ‘duty’ to uphold such division from another.

    The people in Sri Lanka have a good chance of living in harmony if we first acknowlege the commonalities. Only then can we celebrate the diversity.

  70. To #69 PK Rajan cousin!

    Yes thanks for reminding me. I’m also a great fan of Spencer Wells and I took the DNA test he launched with the National Geographic Society.

    In Sri Lanka, we seem to be stuck in the mindset of Carleton Coon – that the races followed separate evolutionary paths – which makes us regard each other almost as different species! Of course, this theory is much discredited now, probably Hitler was it’s last adherent? And in fairness to Coon, his work started before the discovery of DNA and the Human Genome Project. We have no such excuse though … (Navin note)

  71. Hello Sir,

    Thanks for expressing your views and your desire to see us all Sri Lankans live peacefully in multicultural, democratic society and respect each other. We can only HOPE for such ILLUSION. I can only agree a couple of points from your article. They are, the World is becoming a global village and we shouldn’t be crazy with ethnicity and the people live in any Nation should fight for their rights through bodies like Human Right Organization, Commission of Racial Equality, etc without resorting to violence.

    Although many of the bloggers have already pointed out many flaws from your views, I couldn’t refrain from writing the following.

    BUDDHISM IN SRI LANKA

    I am not going to elaborate on this as it has been already nicely pointed out by many specially, by Rajah, Kali R, and by Ulysses. To remind you again and other fellow Sri Lankans, may I ask you the following.

    1) Who shot SWRD and for what?

    2) What happened at the peace procession organized by Clergies from all religions in Colombo in 2005?

    Wasn’t it the most hilarious event of the year in SL?

    3) What do you think of recruiting children as young as 5 years in to monastic orders which is actively campaigned by MR and his Prime Minister?

    4) Tamils would have NEVER asked for a separate state if a proper federal set up with proper power devolution is put forward. Do you know who is against for that? Monks can’t even stomach up that 13th amendment bill with provincial council setup which doesn’t have any power devolution, but just an eye wash.

    5) This is my favourite. What do think of having public holidays on each Poyas? Do you know SL has more than 27 public holidays in a year? Do you know what it would do to the economy of SL?

    Lots of Tamils never wanted separate state but we always campaign for a proper federal system which doesn’t need to be exclusively ethnically oriented. Proper federal setup is necessary in SL for not solving ethnic problems, but to compact corruption and to promote democracy and economy. It will help the country with healthy rivalry between provinces. I lived in Australia for a few years and I currently live in Canada. I know how well Federal set up works. During elections voting turnout is more in Federal election than in National election.

    What I have thinking lately is some politicians and Clergies in SL should put forward a plan to create a MONKDOM in ancient cities like Anuradhapura or in Polanaruwa for Buddhist Clergies and make it as a Sovereign Country (just like the way Vatican operates in Rome) and give them all the power to do whatever they want in their Monkdom and leave the rest of SL to be a secular democratic country. In their Monkdom, Buddhist Clergies should concentrate on promoting the principles of Buddhism, the language of Sinhala and Bali, art and culture etc. In that way SL can eliminate the involvement of Buddhist clergies in state politics. Someone should advice our president plus Religious Affairs and MORAL Upliftment minister that the quality of Monks that matters not the quantity. He wants more monks to discipline SL that’s why he is on a mission of child monk recruitment.

    NORTHERN TAMILS

    I am copying below what you have written Mr. Mathews.

    “The Sinhalese have also latterly learnt that the Tamils are not homogenous by any stretch of the imagination. There are vast differences in attitude, education, culture and amiability between the Tamils of the north, the Tamils of the east, the upcountry Tamils and the Tamil elite of Colombo and the suburbs. Hence tarring all Tamils similarly for actions of the northern Tamils is not only counterproductive but is immensely damaging for any semblance of dialogue between the two communities.”

    Are you indirectly suggesting that Sinhalese finally realized that all Tamils are not as BAD as Northern Tamils? Have you ever lived in Northern part of SL?

    From the start Sinhala majority has been threatened by the achievements of Northern Tamils. That’s why they systematically curtailed Northern Developments. I am not claiming any superiority of Northern Tamils, but it is a fact that the dry climate forced Northern Tamils to work extra hard and considered education as the only option to go forward. There was no harbor or any import/export facilities in Jaffna.

    Both my grandfathers suffered heat strokes, one died on the spot in the paddy field and the other suffered heat stroke while farming and died after two years. Both my grandparents encouraged their children to take up farming because they were under British colony and knew the importance of being independent rather than under some rulers. It helped my father as he retired at 48 under early retirement policy and took up farming. He just couldn’t simply pass the Sinhala test, not because of any racial intention, but he was not smart enough to learn a new language at later age. So imagine the people who affected by this policy and not having a land for farming like the way my father did. Mind you farming in Northern part is never profitable. We never had proper irrigation systems. We only relied on seasonal rains. So coming back to Northern Tamils, being ambitious and hardworking is not bad compared to being lazy. Am I again coming back to my Poya holidays point? What we all need is good work ethic, not corruption. Perhaps SL should learn work ethic from China leaving the corruption part out.

    We have Northern, Eastern, upcountry, Colombo Tamils etc., and we also similarly have Kandy, Galle, Matara, Colombo Sinhalese etc. Only the circumstances have made us behave a little different. We both S and T have same genetic material after all. I used to hate the caste/class perception of Jaffna Tamils, but when I lived in Kandy for 6 years, I noticed that Kandy Sinhalese are even worse than Jaffna Tamils in that regard. Jaffna and Kandy were the only main cities I lived in SL. If I had lived in other major cities, I would have found more similarities among people than otherwise.

    You blame Tamil politics for most of the troubles. JVP insurgence was no less than LTTE. Who made Upcountry Tamil stateless overnight after independence? I have met many elderly upcountry gentlemen who simply abstain from drinking Tea because they cursed tea plantation which brought them to SL and made them stateless.

    TAMIL DIASPORA AND BILLION DOLLAR QUESTIONS(?)

    TD has been criticised a lot lately for supporting LTTE and for demonstrating against SL all over the world. I think people still carry LTTE flag should get shock treatment. Thank god there wasn’t any tribute paid to VP by TD for whatever the reasons.

    But we should also look into the behaviour of TD a bit more in-depth. Lot of our Sinhala friends in this blog commented that TD live cosily overseas and support LTTE to wreck SL. Living comfortably overseas is far from reality especially for the people who left SL on refugee status. They have to work all week all day to support their family, and to bring the rest of the family overseas paying lot of money to the agent. They do all sorts of work and live in harsh conditions. These were the people easily got exploited by LTTE in the past thinking that if we had good life in SL we wouldn’t have to gone through this hardship. There were also people who migrated with skills but under-employed, they also got frustrated and supported LTTE. But after LTTE messed up with the peace talks in 2005, financial support to LTTE by TD had been greatly reduced. However, demonstrations by TD in the past few months were mainly due to the result of aggressive war tactics of GOSL killing many civilians.

    Personally my family missed near death and our house was shelled to ground zero twice by the hands of SLA, first in 84 and then in 96. But we never supported LTTE. Most my relatives live overseas in big cities and they have never been asked to support or been intimidated by LTTE supporters.

    I am not sure when Mr. Mathews mentioned untold billions of dollars still exist with LTTE. I may be wrong. I am also not sure of his assessment on IMF loan of $2billion dollars isn’t necessary because China is going to SAVE Sri Lanka from its hardships!

  72. Very interesting peace to read but it is taking Tamils 100 years backward. The simple reason is the author is neither a Tamil nor Sinhalese. Therefore, he doesnt understand the real issue here and where the Tamils stand, as many have indicated this kind of thoughts and promotions only will distance the minorities to seek separate state, no reconciliation will result. Sri Lankan Tamils are not Malaysian Tamils or Burmese Tamils, they are sons and daughters of the soil. For Tamils to live together or live alongside Sinhalese is very easy, because there is not much of a difference, but expecting Tamils to lose their identity as Tamils is not possible and it will never work. Talking about genetic make over of Tamils and Sinhalese is excellent, it shows how close they are, but there are differences. It is like a family, there are differences between husband and wife, between siblings. Husband has to treat wife as an individual with respect, and so is the relationship between siblings, each has his or her own individuality and that has to be respected for the relationship to move smoothly and strengthen. The parents have to make sure all children get their share equally. The idea of one country, one people is a very simple in Sri Lanka. If the Tamils get their due share, it will realize the dream of one country one people. Some people even without the basic knowledge of colonization are talking about Tamils in the south, many Tamils have already explained the difference between colonization and migration. This article has made many Tamils mad, this I know for sure, but blaming DBSJ for endorsing it is not right. Endorsing it is not Acceptance, he endorsed it because in his opinion, it is worth reading, we may differ but he has the right to say what he has to say, no one can deny it. As far as I know, DBSJ never offended anyone. If Ulysses happens to read this comments again, I am requesting him to continue to be a contributor to this blog. As for me I learned a lot from people who contributed in this blog, especially Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan, Dushy Ranetunge, you and few more. Tamils and Sinhalese need you.

  73. History is both subjective and objective. Above all, it has been rehashed to suit the reducted perspectives and slanted agendas of interested parties. If both sides of the debate on the veracity and sacrosanctity of the immaculate conception of Christ could confine the issue to the realm of academics and move on why not Lankans do the same? Let’s just digest the (Sinhala) Mahavamsa version of history as well as the (Tamil) Kumari kandam one. Let each side write books and poems, make movies and art works as per their believes. This will just enrich our (already rich) culture. Now, the more practical and serious people can just get on with the business of peace making, nation building, economic development etc. Let’s move on. Please.

  74. #75 Rajiv

    That everyone wants to get on with peace making is not in doubt. But on what basis?

    There are 3 agendii here.

    Gus Matthews, in his article, basically says ‘Tamils have to expect to be subservient to the majority Sinhalese because they are the majority, rightly or wrongly’. This is also the agenda of the extreme nationalist Sinhala-Buddhists. This way Tamils will never have equal status or have their dignity restored.

    or

    The moderate Sinhalese say the Nazi-like rhetoric of the Sinhala-Buddhist side is what created the problem in the first place and so we need to repair that first. The Tamils would largely agree with that.

    or

    We have separate regions for the two main ethnic groups to develop and manage themselves separately.

    Rajiv, while 2 and 3 can co-exist agenda 1 cannot accomodate 1 or 2.

    This discussion thread, and others you come across, show the strong determination of the proponents of each of these agendii.

    The country cannot start the healing, reconciliation, building process we all want while these conflicting loose-ends exist. Otherwise the problems will continue to re-emerge for decades more. Hence the need for dialog. Hence the need for understanding now.

    You’re saying, ‘let’s start building (say) a house before deciding what sort of house, who is to build it, and where is it to be built.’ Ultimately the foundation has to be able to withstand the arrogance of all the factions involved.

    Has Gus Matheswa really said what you claim he has stated?……….DBSJ

  75. Mr. PK Rajan(#70) says ” 52% of Tamils living outside the North & East will not make some sort of autonomy and some kind of federal structure irrelevant.”

    This is where I am totally confused. So whatever solution you bring forward to address the so called discrimination by Sinhalese will not solve any problem for majority of Tamils except of course they will have a holiday destination.

    Is it true that only 6% of the total population (excepting Sinhalese and Muslims) live in Nort and East?

  76. @ 77 – Dear Friend Daya,

    We Indian tamils constitute only 7% of Indian Population. We have our state. I think i have to be carefull. The terms ‘State’ and ‘Nation’ are used as substitutes in your discourses. When we say state in India we do not mean a separate Nation. It is only a federal unit within the Indian Union. More like the states of Texas, California in US. There are even much more smaller states like Sikkim, manipur and others. It gives us all some sense of existance of home and our realisation our home is also an unit in the larger Indian Union.

    As i said there are large number of non Tamils in Tamilnadu and large number of tamils in other states. Despite minor irritations (which some time even flare up as more than an irritation) people are living by and large peacefully. All are fairly aware of the situation. This ensures certain amount of accomodation in all the populations. Some of the sections are largely absorbed in in the majority population. Telugu, Kannada speaking people in Tamilnadu are largely absorbed. Marathi, Sawrastra speaking population also to a large extent absorbed. Malayalees are our closest cousins historically, linguistically, culturally but surprisingly they maintain a separate idendity. No complaints. similarly Tamils too in places like Mysore are fully absorbed in few other places still maintain their idendity. This natural course is going on..

    Presence of our state gives me much much more than a “holiday destination”. It gives me a sense of belonging. Me along with people like me, the fellow Tamilians democratically have a large say the way in which the future of my state is being shapped. We along with other Indians democratically have a say the way in which the future of our country is being shapped. Problems are there. This frame work itself is under constant attack from various angles. Money power, casteism, religious bigotry etc etc are there. But still there is hope to fight and rectify within the democratic sysytem. Sucessful examples are many.

    In Srilanka, you do not have as much diversity as in India.I beleive, with our example with some changes sinhalese, tamils and others in Srilanka can do better.

  77. #PK Rajan I quote
    In Srilanka, you do not have as much diversity as in India.I beleive, with our example with some changes sinhalese, tamils and others in Srilanka can do better.

    PK, my observation is it’s the other way round. Growing up in an insular society like Sri Lanka we were conditioned to believe there is only one valid ethnicity, ie. ‘us’. Everyone else is ‘them’. This, I think, is the source of our narrow-mindedness, racism, jingoism. In a land with greater diversity like India the people can see they are not the only people – much easier than Sri Lankans can. However, if we can become less ignorant, lose this idea that we’re god’s chosen people (every insular tribe has thought that) then yes I agree, it should be much easier for us in Sri Lanka to become a harmonious peaceful society.

    DBSJ: I may have paraphrased Gus too harshly. What I meant was, Gus’s point of view is one that resonates well with the extreme nationalists.

  78. #76 Haroon.

    Dear Mr. Haroon,

    Mr. Mathews said what he said. Whether we agree with him or not we, as civilized persons, are duty bound to defend his right to air his views and to be listened to. If I may pontificate a bit: IMHO had this basic edict been adhered to in the Lankan society from the outset most of our problems would have been solved without a single gun shot being fired.

    As you alluded to, we all aspire for a peaceful life with self-respect, dignity, fundamental rights and equal opportunity assured. That is precisely why many of us left the land of our birth and may never return. May I add that I am acutely aware of the daunting challenges involved in the process of reconciliation and integration given the current ground realities. Thats why, in response to another article in this forum, I postulated mass migration or exodus as a “no other option” solution.

    We all need to graduate to another level of thinking and approach vis-a-vis the ethnic conflict. When we collectively decide to not even consider taking to violence in any circumstance what so ever new avenues will begin to open up. I may be the perennial optimist. But I believe in the fundamental goodness ingrained in everyone.

    Yes, as you say, building a house requires a lot of planning. But I am just trying to put up a small hut. Just imagine, if everyone endeavoured to do just as much we all will be sheltered from the elements. Hope you got the metaphor.

    Wish you all the very best.

  79. to all the people who talk about homelands….

    lets see now in the north and east the tamils are the majority and have been for quite some time , So then that must be there homeland right?

    Now if v consider Srilanka as a whole the sinhalease are the majority and have been so for quite some time so then that must be there home land right?

    now dont think that “no thats wrong only southern part of SL is homeland of sinhalese coz tamils r the majority in the north”

    wel if u go in to that then what about sinhala or muslim villages in the north and east? v shud consider tamil homeland without them coz in those villages the sinhalese or the muslims are the majorities right?

    so i was looking only at the big picture.

    hmmmmm……………….

    now this may be a case of 2 homelands where one is inside the other……

    or one came 1st and the other followed ?

    Now then its like who came 1st , hen or the egg?

    hmmmm…………

    Sounds like crap doesnt it?

    wel it is crap, so please stop this bullshit about homeland myths…. or we’ll never go forward…..

  80. #71. Haroon:

    Your point, if I understand it correctly, is that the relic is the basis on which one faction of a conflict legitimately claims superiority over another – meaning its in Kandy and not in Jaffna. You seem to be saying its an acceptable basis on which we should run a country in the 21st century, going forward, so its an important constitutional issue. Tell me, if the one who has possession of the relic is deemed the rightful ruler of the land who does have the real relic? (no dont answer that) And shouldnt we seriously look into it? (Kalama Sutra)

    I do not proclaim in anyway that the man who is in possession of the relic ought to be considered the rightful ruler of Sri Lanka today. Even if Sri Lanka was a mono ethic Sinhalese society that would be an inappropriate way to choose the political leadership in these times. However, what I advocate is whoever rules this land be he, Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim pay the same courtesy to the relic that his predecessors did throughout history and the traditional prominence give to the relic be continued. The tooth relic is not only part of history of Sinhalese people it is also part of this country’s history and to disrespect it in anyway is equivalent to disrespecting the country. It has nothing to do with the fact that tooth relic is tied to Buddhism. I would apply the same argument against anyone who would try to change in anyway the Hindu Tamil heritage of Jaffna. This is the whole point of my argument. People, especially in a multi-ethnic society need to respect the history of other communities in the same way they respect their own. I believe people of this country are more intelligent than Taliban that demolished the Bamyan Buddhas. The Sri Lankan equivalent of course been LTTE bombardment of Temple of Tooth. See the kind of vibrant acts VP has committed on behalf of SL Tamils!

    Is this so difficult to understand? Why is it that the British PM pays a visit to the Monarch immediately after been elected– is it to formulate government policy? Hell no! Its just continuation of the tradition. Why is it Monarchy is continued by the British? The prominence given to Buddhism and Tooth relic are similar. They are historical artifacts that have symbolic value and does not play any role in governance or policy formulation.

    If the Tamils are not happy to accept these artifacts, then that indicates they have trouble accepting this country’s history. (e.g. #11. Rajah) Which of course is a serious problem.

  81. Dear DeePee 73

    Your Blog is very interesting and about ninety percent of it correct. Although I am a Buddhist, I am not very happy
    about Monks getting involved in politics. Politics in SL is really a dirty game.

    By the way you sound like those nice Tamil gentlemen
    whom I used to work with in 1960s.

    God bless you.

  82. #83 Navin

    I totally agree with your sentiments in #83 with regards to traditions, the continuation thereof, the respect it deserves.

    However, when I read your earlier post #63 I automatically put you in the category of the extreme nationalist camp. Let me explain why.

    I am glad you mentioned the British traditions. The difference between this and the SL scenario is that, unlike the British people, the masses in Sri Lanka are massively influenced by superstition, religion, black magic. The British masses in your example can, and do, easily differenciate between tradition and the reality of the present. To the SL masses this crucial distinction is blurred. Successive governments were elected to power on the basis of how well they abused this emotive factor, on both sides of the political spectrum. For example, in the mid-1960s the elected government promised to change the calendar of SL to the traditional Buddhist calendar – so for 5 years we had a calendar out of synch with the rest of the world! (those born later find this hard to believe, but it’s true!). Even today all Poya days are public holidays. The present leaders also play the same tactics. The racist elements in our society do this also.

    So when you bring concepts of tradition, such as the Tooth Relic and the Mahavamsa, into an argument concerning present day realities (your #63 mainly) two things happen. (1) You mislead the masses into continuing to confuse tradition with the truths of the moment thus ensuring that they remain ignorant and (2) you place yourself within the racist camp in the eyes of your audience and (3) conspire to deny the masses from acquiring the objectivity that will enable them to (someday) enjoy the traditions in the same way the British enjoy their traditional pomp and ceremony (taking your example) without the danger of it fuelling ethnic unrest.

    In SL we have a long way to go in this regard. Our leaders (including you Navin as a thought leader) are denying the masses the education, because maintaining the blur assists the job of manipulating the masses (remember Oscar Wilde?).

  83. Navin #83 when you say, “what I advocate is whoever rules this land be he, Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim pay the same courtesy to the relic that his predecessors did throughout history and the traditional prominence give to the relic be continued.” you have reached a broader understanding of the situation, and I don’t see any reason why people shouldn’t continue to give traditional prominiance to Buddhism, when you accept the right of the Tamils and Muslims to rule the land. After all there were Tamil Buddhists in North & East, and Buddhism is not a sole property of Sinhals Buddhists.

  84. Sakthi #86

    We’re getting slightly away from the original topic, but you do raise an interesting point.

    I remember reading about some 10,000 people in Tamil Nadu converted to Buddhism en masse, in one day. Would Sri Lanka be their homeland too? If so, how does one prove a valid conversion?

    If religion is what one chooses from conviction, at least one hopes it is, wouldn’t the demography of ethnicity-to-religion change over time? Quite drastically – the more free our society becomes and more aware people become of other religions or ways of thinking and the benefits of a secular society.

    To return to Gus’s topic, perhaps the answer for the future is to ban changes of religion, at least for the majoriy ethnicity.

    As you say, I suppose it is possible that a government of Tamil politicians could be elected to parliament, Sri Lanka being a democracy. Unless of course we ban voting across ethnic boundaries …

    I predict, in 50 years time our future generations will be laughing at us. The whole world is likely to be secular. People around the world are more likely to cherish the common origins of all Human Beings, and race will be invisible. Our children will learn at school that the ‘invaders’ Navin speaks of were the same as we (the Sinhalese) are – predominantly Dravidian – they were therefore our own people, despite what our ancestors thought (see #60). I wonder if our descendents in 50 years time will look back on us like the present day German people look back on 1930-45?
    If I could I’d like to spare them the embarrassment.

  85. I have seen an overwhelming Singhalese welcoming this wrtiters analysis of what tamils need to do. Obviously if you are a tamil what the writter suggest is a complete surrender of our freedom and live in Singhala hegomony.

    I have argued in the past there is Singhala Chauvunism and Tamil Chauvunism. The latter was defeated by eliminating the LTTE. However the big elephant from the post independence era has only risen to new hights. The way the Tamil refugees are now treated and imprisoned in their camps in no new model for reconcilliation.

    We Sri Lankans are great at living in a dream land are only great at creating nightmares for the future generation.

    Ladies and Gentlemen we are not going to be the next Hong Kong of India or Singapore of the far east but we are moving towards another Sudan of the Indian ocean under China. Worse a Kosovo with concentration camps.

    Lets stop illusinating and face reality democracy is being erradicated all over the country. I urge my Singhala brothers and Sisters to join with their Tamil brothers and sisters to restore democracy for this nation. Dont forget what Lasantha wrote before his death. When they came for me there was no one!!!.

    We Sri Lankans whether we are Singhalese or Tamils owe a lot for the next generation. We have destroyed their future. Today we will surrender our rights not to home grown terrorist but to China and India. With that we will lose our independence too.

    Wake up!!.

  86. Dear Mr.Dee Pee 73,what you have said is absolutely correct lke you monks are the big problems in Srilanka . Itis stuoid to convert children as monks and it is acrime like kidnapping child soldiers.One day a srilankan leader said must put the monks and politicians in a boat and send out of Srilanka , there willnot be any war in the country

  87. well ,malayalees although speaks malayalam,which can be identified similar to tamil.but genetically they are closer to north indians(west coast).it is a tamil issue of getting excited to find such correlation.WRONG!malayalees are a different community compared to kannadigas,tulus,telugus .they have lot of different bloods inside.

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