Whose Problem Is Sri Lanka To Solve: Sri Lankan Tamils Or All Tamils – OpEd

By Shenali Waduge

A country of 20m people, a majority of close to 15m people (the Sinhalese) is into its 3rd year having militarily eliminated 30 years of LTTE terrorism. What has confused matters is the manner in which elected Tamil leaders have claimed that the LTTE terrorist demands and those of the Tamil people are one and the same on the grounds that the LTTE was the sole representative of the Tamil people – something that the Tamil people did not deny or disassociate from and nothing that the Sinhalese can be blamed for quoting. Now that terrorism is no more, several questions emerges – whose grievances are to be solved, how internal are these grievances, are these grievances exclusive to Tamils and whether Sri Lanka is in a position to solve the grievance that All Tamils of the World have. It is not Sri Lanka but India that holds the key to unlocking what the World Tamils really desire.

India - Sri Lanka Relations
India – Sri Lanka Relations

Over the years Sri Lanka has been inundated with voices all lining up to be “speaking on behalf of the Tamils” – our question is – which Tamils are they referring to? If it is Sri Lankan Tamils, our next question is what are the grievances of the Tamils that are exclusive to them and denied to them legislatively and constitutionally? Is there any grievances that are not common to Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers and Malays – does the world think that these people do not have grievances themselves or are their grievances not important and only those of Tamils that should matter? We cannot get anywhere unless these fundamental questions are answered. With 15m Sinhalese no one can deny they will have more grievances than any other.

No wonder even Sri Lanka’s Government is confused – Karunanidhi and Tamil Nadu politicos are calling for an Eelaam for all Tamils, the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is also making different calls that one wonders why they would need to have so many different organization names if they are all asking for the same thing, then they have managed to rope in Tamils of different citizenry, then some cyberspace e-Government has been set up known as a Transnational Government….we really don’t know who is wanting what and for whom. These calls are perfect reasons for nothing to be done except to be dragging issues hurling accusations at different times all part of a game in politics called delaying tactics – unless this really is the modus operandi and explains why these parties are in existence – which doesn’t give much benefit at the end of the day to those who really matter. As for those who really matter – did they ever matter? To Prabakaran, they didn’t. The reasons are simply enough.

Here was an organization making USD300m profit annually and througout 30 years Prabakaran and his LTTE did not make a single road, did not construct a single house for poor Tamils, did not create a single bright child except teams of child killers, did not put up a single school, did not build a single hospital or health center but Prabakaran did make a magnificent swimming pool deep in the jungles, an amazing underground house going 3 storeys underneath with tiled toilets and all the amenities – he was even served restaurant style food…. This is not how the Indian Maoists carry out their rebel movement, that’s for sure. The Tamil people need to know that Prabakaran did not aspire for any Tamil Eelam – he did aspire for an LTTE Eelaam where he and his stooges and their families would reign over all other Tamils and the rest of Sri Lanka.

In reality Prabakaran and the LTTE dug a grave in the pursuit for a global Tamil Eelaam drive because what he did was to ensure that no such Eelaam would ever be given and who better than India to realize this, because whatever India’s faults India is one nation that will not take too kindly to being broken up. That is why India will never allow a Tamil Eelaam which is why Tamil politicians in Sri Lanka, Tamil Diaspora the world over are slowly distancing themselves from verbally using Eelaam as a reference alongside their grievance malady because they know it will not get them anywhere. More so because Sri Lanka is in a position to prove statistically that hardly 500,000 live in the North (which includes the 300,000 the Sri Lankan military rescued) negating the “we can’t live with Sinhalese because of discrimination” chant because over 1.2m are presently living and working amongst the Sinhalese – and not one can claim genocide if according to the BBC Channel 4 Sinhalese have nothing to do but ethnically cleanse Tamils! Let it not be forgotten that it was these very Tamil leaders who were against poor low caste Tamils enjoying education when the Government brought legislation in 1957.

What is presently obviously clear is that the Sinhalese people have stopped waiting for its Government to be putting the story straight internationally. It is because Sri Lanka’s representatives have failed to address questions with proper answers that we find ourselves humiliated and not meeting the challenges head on. People are welcome to ask questions and they must also be prepared to accept the answers. We are getting a little tired with all these fancy words and notions flung at diplomatic discussions all to make merry-go-round type solutions that would be detrimental for the sovereignty of a nation and realistically speaking having nothing to do with any Tamil grievance either.

We do not need to continue to remind that Tamil Nadu people and politicians made numerous attempts even appeals to the British to consider allowing a separate Tamil state at the time of independence to India which was denied by both Britain and Indian leaders. This was the first “self-determination” attempt for Tamils to have a separate Tamil Homeland in Tamil Nadu – Tamils remain the ONLY significant minority race without its own homeland especially when the state of Tamil Nadu – (land of the Tamils) is 95% Tamil, Tamil is the official language and Tamil culture, heritage and religion enjoy greater Tamil freedom than anywhere else in the world). Therefore no sooner Tamil Eelaam is referred to we are only going to be directing that solution to India and Tamil Nadu – therefore it is best that if Tamils really want anything to stop the fairytale Eelam in Sri Lanka and get down to the real issues if any.

When asked direct questions the defence has been to quickly say that the demand for Eelam in Sri Lanka has been forced because of bad rule…I think it is the Sinhalese containing 74% majority who would have first grievance over bad rule because being the majority everything affects them first. The most unfair observance is that it appears to be perfectly agreeable for Tamils to go atop international platforms, use electronic media, lobby politicians and decision makers and promote falsehoods and lies all associated with Tamil grievances and when any Sinhalese puts the story straight with facts – it is described as being racist and tantamount to causing greater animosity and distancing any forms of reconciliation!

The continuance of bringing up riots is outdated because no such event has happened in over 30 years and quoting such is irrelevant in the present context. If some of the arguments are applicable to the Black Americans then they should be asking a separate state in USA as well! Then there is reference to Mahinda Rajapaksa promising not 13 but 13plus – the country is not run by only Mahinda Rajapaksa, he is elected by the people to ensure that the sovereignty and integrity of the country remains undivided and undevolved.

Then those apologists of TNA say that they are not demanding a separate state – please read their 2010 election manifesto which is the most credible reference to what the TNA is all about – what does the TNA want :

a) a Tamil Nation in the island of Ceylon (Ceylon is being used in 2010 when it should be Sri Lanka)

b) The Call for a Federal Constitution – reference to “self-determination”

c) Abandoning the unitary model – shared sovereignty

d) Our Lands and Our People exploited – aspiration “for genuine autonomy”

e) the Tamil people are entitled to the right of “self-determination”.

f) Power-sharing in a unit of MERGED Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure

g) Devolution of power over land, law and order, socioeconomic development including health, education, resources and fiscal powers.

h) Direct foreign investment in the North and East

i) De-militarization – removal of armed forces, military apparatuses and High Security Zones from Northern and Eastern provinces.

This is the TNA manifesto of 2010 with TNA appealing to the Tamil people for the “right to self-determination” which clearly indicates what the wishes of the Tamil politicians are, therefore when to whitewash this others say “we are for a united Sri Lanka … as Sri Lankans.. and we don’t want separatism” … we want to know who is saying what and who are we to really believe? Unless that assurance comes the Governments of Sri Lanka are not going to have it easy from the majority people –the Sinhalese for under no condition is the country to be divided or devolved – the simple logic to this is what Tamil Governance in the North – when the majority of Tamils are living amongst the Sinhalese including the TNA politicians! What Tamil Eelaam when 72m of the worlds 77m already live in a state where Tamils are the majority, Tamil is the official language – isn’t this what the Tamil people want, or do they still not know what they want?

However, the Sri Lankan Tamils can change this scenario – they must finally stop putting one foot here and another foot there. If the Tamils can firmly say that they are not for any division of the country – we can finally get rid of these leeches out to divide the country. The call must come from the Tamil people. The Tamil people of Sri Lanka must finally realize that Tamil Nadu is not concerned about them nor is India – they have enough of issues to resolve. More importantly, Sri Lanka is not part of India, we have different cultures, different beliefs and certainly different behaviors. The Tamil people must also realize that the Tamil Diaspora most of whom are today involved in fisticuffs amongst each other are doing so only to gain greater control of the LTTE illegal kitty – they were no where when the LTTE was running the show. The Tamil people must also realize that just like the Sinhalese and the Muslims we all agree that politicians are the same whatever party they belong to.

But what is true is that the Sinhalese, the Muslims, the Malays, the Burghers and the Tamils do have problems – their problems are no different from the other and they are all related when one looks closely to administrative fallacies and administrative hiccups which can easily be addressed if we, that is the people stand together and demand actions from the people we have elected to office irrespective of any politics… this is the only way to move forward, for in aligning with the selfish games that politicians play we are simply being used to advance their agendas.

It is up to the Tamil population living in Sri Lanka to decide…. If they continue to go with the Tamil Eelaam theme – the road leads to Tamil Nadu, if they go with the Tamil Diaspora confusing rhetoric – they are losing the opportunity to start a new chapter with the Sinhalese – the people must come together for a country to prosper.

The views expressed are the author’s own.


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15 thoughts on “Whose Problem Is Sri Lanka To Solve: Sri Lankan Tamils Or All Tamils – OpEd

  • October 22, 2012 at 11:06 am
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    I am tired of reading this racist propaganda of this Singhalese -Buddhist majoritarionist.After all the sufferings undergone by the Tamil minority in Srilanks who form the majority of the population of the north and east of the island ,this writer is saying that they should have no power to govern their people in the regions where they form the majority..Are you telling the world that the Tamils do not have a political problem.Just recall what your leaders were willing to offer to the LTTE when they were active.They promised everything to them so long as there is no division of the country.Now you are talking a different story.Look at other countries with a multiethnic societies. One good example is Malaysia which has opted for a federal form of governement which has taken care of the interests and rights of ethnic minorities.In fact Srilanka got its independence a decade before Malaysia.Just compare the progress made by Malaysia against that of Srilanka.If Srilanka has not learned anything from its history then it is doomed forever.

    Reply
    • October 23, 2012 at 5:26 am
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      Of course Malaysia is a better country. Here are the reasons.

      1. Malaysian Tamils never wanted a seperate stae in Malaysia. They are fist malaysians. Secondly tamils. They did not have one foot in India and one foot in Malaysia.
      2. Malaysian Tamils never confronted the Bumiputhra policies. Just to remind you, majority Malays in Malaysia are only 55% compared to 75% Sinhalese. Where as in SrI Lanka there is no previlidged group of community.
      And there are many more. Please fellow Sri Lankan Tamils, Stop being cry babies and integrate with other fellow Sri Lankans.Be, Live and die Sri Lankan.

      Reply
      • October 23, 2012 at 9:44 am
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        The Indians and the Chinese only emigrated to Malaysia less than 100 years ago and yet you a Chinese chief minister and A Tamil deputy chief minister in the State of Penang .Compare that staus with the Tamils of whatever religious affliations in Srilanka ,they are natives of the North and east of the Island and yet you are not willing to devolve power to them.
        Next,it is gross travesty of truth to say that the Tamils in Srilanka have a foot in India ,they are the natives of the land and have every right to govern themselves.

        Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm
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    Well said Shenali. Tamils have to make a move. India is the one who use Tamils to unsettle Sri Lanka in early 70s to to Please Russia, when JR was leaning towards US “Open economy”. India has to take full responsibility of Tamil issue in sri Lanka.. Let us see what will be the final result of the Tamil issue after next 20 years.. Im sure, that US will use the same Tamils to disintegrate Great India into pieces ( Tamil Nadu , Kashmir …etc). If it happens, India will finally learn a lesson of what It did to Sri lanka in 40 years ago. Time will tell ….

    Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm
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    HATS OFF TO SHENALI FOR HER WONDERFUL ANALYSIS. WHY IS IT THAT TAMILS ARE MORE IMP THAN THE SINHALA IN SL . DONT THE SINHALA,MUSLIMS .BURGHERS TOO HAVE THE SAME GRIEVANCES .WHO TALKS ABOUT THEM ?

    Reply
    • October 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm
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      Well written, I wish this message will get to all Tamils who are in the dark or knowledgeable of what is happening. We in Sri Lanka have been and still living in harmony. We have no difference. These politicians, have to divide us.
      I WISH THIS WILL BE PUBLISHED IS SOME SORT OF MANNER THAT ALL CAN READ OR HEAR.

      Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm
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    Tamil Nadu, the home to 700 million Tamils is the real ‘eelam’ of Tamils. Tamil Nadu tried, violently, in the 1960’s to establish eelam, and was crushed by the Indian govt.

    Opportunistic and morally-bankrupt ‘politicians’ like karunanidhi and jayalalitha continue to distract their people from the real issues of corruption and poverty in Tamil Nadu, by raising racial tensions against Sri Lanka.

    They can establish their hallucinated eelam-land in Tamil Nadu, but never in Sri Lanka. They also can try Toronto or a part of Australia for eelam………

    Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm
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    My solution to the problem is to federate Eelam with the Indian Union. Eelam should have a Chief Minister and a Legislature with proper Rule of Law. Eelam will be another state of India like Tamil Nadu and Pondicheri.

    Singhalse problem is to continue to be a parasite exploiting the Tamils

    Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm
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    One of my close friends who thought the Sri Lankan Tamils have legitimate grievances visited Chennai first week of October 2012. During a conversation with an Indian Tamil LTTE supporter the Indian Tamil explained why Tamil Nadu politicians support LTTE. A quote from a Indian Tamil in Chennai “Our main purpose of supporting LTTE for Eelaam is to establish a foothold and a starting point for greater Tamil cause, that is to break away from North Indian domination and create a country for Tamils. We miss that opportunity” For the Indian Tamils independent struggle Tamil Nadu politicians used Sri Lanka as an experiment ground and supported killing over 70,000 human beings, brought 30 years of misery to over 20 million people and provide a playground for West. My friend, who was a true humanitarian never, expected this statement. There are many who could not see the agenda behind this so called Eelaam slogan. Thanks Shenali for this analysis.

    Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm
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    I cant still understand that why Sri Lankan Govt is not telling India to hand off from Sri Lanka and mind their own business

    Reply
  • October 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm
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    “… Tamil Diaspora most of whom are today involved in fisticuffs amongst each other are doing so only to gain greater control of the LTTE illegal kitty – they were no where when the LTTE was running the show” – S Waduge.

    I agree with this statement totally and I myself have been mentioning this probability, over and over again. It is logical to believe that the vast wealth collected by the Tiger Terrorists, would have gone back to the Govt of SriLanka, had the Foreign Tamil Citizens of other nations, failed to form various bogus Tamil Welfare or “liberation” associations to take control of these funds, though not a cent spent to benefit Srilankan Tamils living in SriLanka. Where does these black money millions go? To private pockets of the Tiger diaspora leaders and to bribe corrupt politicians and journalists, both SriLankan and Foreign?

    Reply
  • October 23, 2012 at 2:36 am
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    This is an unbiased analysis by the writer ,who has
    endeavoured to put in a nutshell, a not so complex problem, facing the country . The selfish LTTE
    Leader and his clan paid a heavy price for the
    Eelam he desired by militarily challenging a lawful
    Government.The cost on both sides ,was indeed high !
    The lesson to be learnt is that the majority in this
    country will never permit the dismemberment of any
    part of this nation ! Period ! There is no requirement for any Tamil to run to India or any other part of the planet in support of a cause to
    separate. All are Sri Lankans . Just look at the city of Colombo ,without blinkers ! What you see
    is a fact and the truth !
    The same exists in the rest of the country .There
    is PEACE among all communities . It is the bankrupt politicians of all hues who do not wish to see , what they see, Peace within the communities ! That is the problem , if any; not
    with the people of any community . The sooner the
    people of all communities realise the game played by the selfish politicians , the day of PEACE will
    dawn on this nation . She is now mature ,strong and intelligent enough to stand on her own two feet. It may mean a new set of of legislators .
    If so , let it be so !!!

    Reply
  • October 23, 2012 at 10:17 am
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    This is Sri Lankan defence establishment talking. So who cares.

    Reply
    • October 24, 2012 at 1:33 am
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      We must all care for the SriLankan defence establishment, just like patriotic citizens of other countries.

      Reply
  • October 24, 2012 at 4:17 am
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    The S.L. Defence Establishment paid a very heavy price to enable you ,me and our progeny to live in peace .It is no doubt ,a pity indeed that they were
    constrained to fight some of our own people who were misguided by a megalomaniac . Yes , it is in our ethos to have pretty short memories ! To forget
    the havoc to lives and assets caused by the terrorists .
    Let us as decent human beings be grateful to those
    who gave their lives and limbs so that you and I
    and our progeny may live in peace . And let us
    continue to remember the fallen for the rest of our lives !!!

    Reply

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