By Shenali Waduge
It is easy to be asking solutions but when asking for solutions that relate to human beings it is not something that can be hurried. The international propaganda of the LTTE has left out crucial components that reveal exactly how divided Tamils in reality are. Not many have cared to question why LTTE did not use its USD300 annual earnings to uplift the areas it aspired to control over its own people. Absolutely nothing had been done except to build sophisticated bunkers and homes for the LTTE and their families. Even the food and medicines were sent by Sri Lanka’s Government to the North throughout the LTTE’s rule. The world needs to know that there is a major difference in what the Tamils (who controlled the Tamils during the hayday of the LTTE) aspire and what the Tamils need (the Tamils who suffered at the hands of the LTTE/Tamil politicians and the Tamil Diaspora).
The few incidents given below were given hardly any space in the Tamil/English mainstream media though they would have been jumping up and down if a non-Tamil had been involved and the World Wide Web would have been inundated with such clippings. We question the reason for the silence.
1 July 2012 – a 7 year old Tamil girl from Kirulapone had been raped by her Tamil uncle and 2 males and dumped into a drainage canal. http://adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=18653
It has emerged that she had been sexually abused for over a month by the accused.
26 July 2012 – Lover informs that 31 year old Tamil businesswoman was hanging from a fan in a Vavuniya hotel. The lover a Tamil domestic who had been working for her parents too has a series of robbery cases against him. Her parents had married her to a wealthy businessmen 15 years her senior and both had a daughter though later she had discovered he was a father of 3 from a previous marriage. After their separation, she had reunited with the former domestic
29 February 2012 – a 48 year old Tamil woman found dead with stab wounds inside a hotel room in Kollupitiya. She had been visiting Sri Lanka from UK.
May 2012 – Kayts Police arrested a Tamil man for tying a stone round his 80year mother of two and pushing her into the well because she was an inconvenience to him. The suspect was a member of the LTTE armed units.
19 August 2012 – Tamil kills 58-year old father, mother and 23 year old sister in an apartment complex in Wellawatte. The son is suspected to have fled the island.
Furthermore, while the Sri Lankan security forces are going to great lengths to disarm all armed groups that had taken arms for their protection against the LTTE, several tiffs between these Tamil groups have resulted in deaths/injuries.
The incidents of Tamil gang violence in all the countries that Tamils have been given refugee is certainly alarming as well. It is no exaggeration to say that in some towns traditionally ruled by the “Blacks” it is the Tamil gangs who are now involved in mugging, looting, shoplifting, credit card scams and other such nefarious activities.
With a million Tamils now living in foreign shores it is not difficult to fathom how financially their lives have changed. Anyone doing marketing in Wellawatte will agree that it is the most expensive place to shop and there is no bargaining not even for vegetables and vendors have even stated gleefully that some shoppers do not even wait to take their change! Translated this simply means that practically all the Tamil families in Colombo and suburbs have at least one member of their family now living overseas and what many of them cannot forget is that it is the LTTE that they have to be thankful for.
Here is the catch. While Tamils whatever caste or class they belong to feel happy that Sri Lanka’s conflict is now over there is an inherent gratitude that they cannot shrug off towards the LTTE for their financial and social status quo though it does not necessarily mean that they are for a separate state. We need to comprehend this dilemma.
Confusing the situation is the fact that the LTTE was a terrorist organization generating profits of USD300annually and its international co-activities meant that a large number of Tamils had become rich and acknowledged internationally in view of being LTTE’s foreign representatives. These people do not wish to give up 30 years of perks and privileges they had been enjoying. This is the reason why they wish to keep flagging the Sinhala-Tamil discrimination theme and using their illicit money to create stories, buy foreign politicians and make up some bizarre senate with former senile war criminal lawyers.
From overseas these Tamils most of whom have not set foot in Sri Lanka or sent a penny to uplift the lives of ordinary Tamil people cry to remove Sri Lanka’s military presence in the North while the Karaveddy Tamils are requesting the Jaffna Commander to continue the military as the Tamil people feel far safer. This same sentiment was expressed by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy when he was visiting Sri Lanka as a Guest Speaker. So are we to believe people who have not come to Sri Lanka or the Tamil people themselves who are living amongst the Sri Lanka military? If one goes deeper into the Northern terrain in places like Mullaitivu the popularity of the Sri Lankan army would make any international anti-Sri Lanka speak squirm with envy!
Unknown to most especially those that seek to champion the cause of the Tamil people, is the reality that Tamils are far more divided than they promote themselves to be. The divisions are many – there is the caste where a handful of the Vellalas continue to want to dominate over the entire Tamil population. You will find them among the ruling Tamil politicians and their election victories can be compared to the Gandhis continuing to win votes. Some say that even if Gandhi’s dog stood for election, he too would win resoundingly!
Why is it that only we question the silence of the TNA politicians throughout the LTTE reign where not a single dared to walk into the North, not a single even appealed to the LTTE not to kidnap the Tamil children to make them into child combatants. Why were the TNA politicians silent – because the children who were kidnapped were not Colombo Tamils or high caste Tamils but poor low caste children. The same is true of the 297,000 Tamil civilians who were rescued by the Sri Lankan army. The caste difference is such that you will not find any high caste sharing the same cup with someone belonging to the low caste and you can be sure that there will be separate cutlery and crockery to be offered. Alarming too is the fact that the blood to Jaffna hospital is supplied by the Sri Lankan army because Tamils do not want to donate blood due to their caste differences! How many would even care to acknowledge this fact?
Nevertheless, 30 years is a long time and the Tamils that have gone to make a home overseas are now ready to compete with their own having the power of money to gain the position they were denied because of their caste. It is easy to pick the expatriates that arrive now to Sri Lanka. The male youth wear earrings, the young girls are in micro mini’s, the once shy Tamil women are not shy to wear shorts and all speak in incomprehensible English with equally incomprehensible accents!
Whatsmore the extent of the freedom Tamils now enjoy thanks to the Sri Lankan forces is something they are unable to control. The police statistics will reveal the rise in rapes among Tamil families with fathers raping their own daughters, there are also cases of unwanted pregnancies and Tamil girls once preferring to wait till their parents matched their horoscopes now not shy to start affairs.
What is not difficult to conceive is that the new generation of youth are first of all unlikely to follow the traditional thinking patterns of their older generations while the older generation who are comfortable with the existence of the divisions that helped them dominate their own are doing whatever they can to maintain that status quo. Obviously there is a major mismatch.
Bridging these divides is nothing a war victory can achieve. Acknowledging the divides that exist among Tamils is more important. Our dilemma is all about whose Tamil aspirations are being denied and a Sri Lankan Government cannot be drawing up reconciliation programs simply to please a handful of high caste/class Tamils knowing that the majority of the other Tamils would end up suffering by their own people. In this modern day and age this is not how things should work.
The international community needs to comprehend the fact that there is a major disparity in what some Tamils want and what most Tamils need. By demanding solutions from the Sri Lankan Government without knowing the ground realities they are not helping the Tamils who had been excluded by the Tamils for 30 years – unless this is the gameplan!
The views expressed are the author’s own