A majority with an inferiority complex?
Posted on July 24th, 2009

Ramanie de Zoysa

It was Samuel Taylor Coleridge who said that “Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming”; this would be a visionary statement for Sri Lanka post- Prabhakaran with key words being “ƒ”¹…”weak minds’ and “ƒ”¹…”excess’.

 The Sri Lankan military created world history by comprehensively defeating the world’s “ƒ”¹…”most ruthless terrorist organisation’ (so baptised by the US State Department) and cleared the way for the country’s development. The manner in which the most treasured sons and daughters of Mother Lanka fought for her self-respect and swept clean the entire island inch by inch until the last terrorist scum was wiped out for good will be a revered epic which will no doubt be recited by poets of the future long after Ban ki Moon and Tissaranee Gunasekera with their stories of “ƒ”¹…”triumphalism’ have bitten the dust in anonymity.

 No sooner than the demon of Vanni was put out of his misery by our heroes and Tamil extremists and their shopping compatriots got their heads around as to what hit where, the next phase of fear mongering began in earnest. All too familiar “ƒ”¹…”goni billas’ of the past are being resurrected and Sri Lanka is once again being threatened with a new round of terrorism if this, that and the other is “ƒ”¹…”not given to the Tamils’.

 If one thought that the majority Sinhalese and perhaps a large proportion of the Muslims and other Sri Lankans are by now thinking to themselves “ƒ”¹…”can we for once listen to something other than “ƒ”¹…”poor Tamils’ and their hard luck stories,’ one may well be right! The common man is fed up with Tamil terrorism, Tamil grievances, Tamil greed, Tamil lies, Tamil myths, Tamil homelands, Tamil aspirations, Tamil hard-luck stories and Tamil demands which had filled the airwaves in Sri Lanka for the past 60 years as if everyone else’s lives were a veritable bed of roses. The average citizen wants now to get on with their lives; their imperfect, under-privileged, hardworking but precious lives. They care not about 13th Amendments, 13th Amendment plus and “ƒ”¹…”13th Amendment for starters’. When the common voter in Sri Lanka said to their President “ƒ”¹…”we will put up with the soaring cost of living, the body bags bringing home our loved ones and the largest cabinet on earth; please go ahead with the war and decimate the terrorists’ he gave an important signal- a signal that most proponents of 13th Amendment (“13A”) invariably miss. The majority of commoners, the grass-roots people signalled that what mattered to them most was their beloved country- they grieved for their flesh and blood perishing in their youth, they bore the astronomical COL and scarcities with dignity but they indicated that Sri Lanka was not negotiable. The common man’s wish became a command and that command prevailed! Any further attempts at dismembering Sri Lanka under any name will be met with the same stern response from the average Sri Lankan- those who can not understand this simple fact will continue to write trash in the media and talk rubbish on podia.         

 Those whose bread and butter were provided by the “ƒ”¹…”war’ naturally lament the end of “ƒ”¹…”war’. The priority now for them is to find an alternative income source. These vultures are losing no time in picking at the 13A carcase for a stomachful of decaying flesh to keep their body and soul together.

 13th Amendment (13A) and the fear culture

 Those who said not so long ago that “ƒ”¹…”invincible LTTE’ will punish Sri Lanka severely unless self-determination in a Tamil Eelaam consisting of 1/3rd of the land and 2/3rd of the coastal belt of Sri Lanka was handed to the Tamils under the cover of an arrangement such as PTOMs or ISGAs, are now saying that the LTTE will resurrect and punish Sri Lanka for another 30 years unless Sri Lanka hands over police powers plus and more to so-called “ƒ”¹…”Tamil areas’ under the cover of 13A.

 Observation number one here is that these misguided pundits or Eelaam acolytes were wrong in their earlier demands; LTTE never was invincible. Invincibility was in the false image of the LTTE built up through a cult of fear generated by the marketing and promotion department of the LTTE, which is also home to many a free-lance Sinhalese intellectual. Second observation is that Sri Lanka needs to watch out for Trojan horses attempting to plant LTTE replenishments on the ground in Sri Lanka under the cover of “ƒ”¹…”Tamil administrations’ in the North and East (or anywhere else) that has police and land powers that will legitimise the possession of arms and ethnic cleansing respectively.  

 This is the second chapter of Eelaam war “”…” the political chapter. Installation of the international rogue, gunrunner and common thief Sivanesan Pathmakumaran alias KP as the new head of LTTE, should signal to anyone that Sri Lanka’s enemies are far from dead. While the fact that the resurgence of LTTE is taking place outside the Sri Lankan soil is an immense relief to us it nevertheless serves us as a stark reminder never to let any separatist elements back on the soil in any shape or form.

 The fear culture is being cranked up once again demanding a “ƒ”¹…”traditional Tamil homeland’ by any other name while failure to do so is said to slide the country back to another thirty years of racist terror. Here’s a typical threat. Lyn Ockersz writing to the Island daily newspaper of 23 June 2009 said that “Tiger terror blight grew out of the unresolved National Question” (ie we didn’t give into 50-50 so we got our comeuppance!). Ockersz continues; “Right now, many among the influential and powerful sections seem to be allowing themselves to be lulled into accepting the misleading notion that the National Problem has consigned itself to the Limbo of forgotten things with the elimination of “ƒ”¹…”terror’ or the smashing of the Tiger leadership. This is wishful thinking which may prove fatal for the country in the long “”…”term.” That’s a death threat to the country at large””…” I do not see a vast difference between such a threat and the one issued to the author of Satanic Verses by the Islamic Fundamentalists. Here’s another one. APRC Chairman, Minister Tissa Vitharana cautioned Sri Lanka against the possibility of the once-disarmed Tamil groups taking to militancy all over again if the Thirteenth Amendment was not implemented. Of equal importance as far as he is concerned is that the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment was only an “ƒ”¹…”interim solution’ for finding a political solution to the ethnic issue. Now, here is the man who is charged with finding a “ƒ”¹…”solution’ for the country- he is the chief threat issuer to the country as well for which service he charges no fee.

 Joining in the chorus are the voices of yester years’ communists, communalists, failed socialists, foreign funded NGO crows, communal minded Tamil politicians, Eelamist scribes, the Tamil Diaspora and certain colonial minded foreign governments including India “”…” a group mostly characterised by resentment of Sri Lankans being predominantly Buddhist. According to them the mantra is, as one intellectual put it, “ƒ”¹…”devolve or die’!

 This clan follows up death threats with the awarding of derogatory titles, insults, outright abuse and intimidation to those expressing a view denouncing 13A The derogatory titles are boundless for such people- “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala extremists’, “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala Nationalists’, “ƒ”¹…”racists’, “ƒ”¹…”chauvinists’, and the latest, “ƒ”¹…”rural idiots’ coming from a failed communist. We have played this game before; over the last sixty years in fact. During the last three decades the build up of the might of the LTTE and the marginalisation of local State military was such that there was a time when a mere rumour in the streets that the “ƒ”¹…”Tiger is coming’ (kotiya enawa) caused even the policemen to run.

 This is the sad situation this crowd is hoping to re-create. For whatever their agendas are, whether its done though misguided intellect, outright antipathy towards Sinhala-ness or to create a “ƒ”¹…”racist homeland’ for oneself- it should not matter. The end result of their actions will destroy Sri Lanka and wipe out the Sinhala race over time. Their hope is that the fear culture will paralyse the populace once again so that they can run with the hare and hunt with the hound getting right back on the gravy train while opportunistic urban Tamil secessionists walk over with ease to their Eelaam. We need the Sri Lankan Government to spearhead the message that threats against the country will not work in Sri Lanka. As I said earlier, we have traversed this path before for thirty years. We almost surrendered to the enemy by handing over ISGA or PTOMS. We tried appeasement, “ƒ”¹…”confidence building’ and “ƒ”¹…”winning the “ƒ”¹…”Tamil rebels’ over to “ƒ”¹…”our side’ after signing a greatly flawed and illegal Ceasefire Agreement in 2002. What did all that achieve? I’ll let the reader decide. For the country’s good fortune it took just a few individuals with immense courage and clarity of mind to see through the smog caused by the fear culture. They saw the woods for the forest; realised their own strength and saw through the puffery, enhancement, and outright fraud of the claims that LTTE was invincible and the “ƒ”¹…”war was unwinnable’. The result is that Sri Lanka won the war- it was a whitewash!

 13A will be as good as waking up Prabhakaran and handing over a gun to him. The Amendment seeks to entrench a racist form of federalism in Sri Lanka. Much of the 13A provisions such as the creation of Provincial Councils have already been implemented. What has not been implemented are the clauses relating to handing over land and police powers to the periphery. Handing over police powers to Eelaamists in sheeps’ clothing like Douglas Devananda, Anandasangaree, TNA LTTE proxies or any other present day Tamil leaders would be a disaster when they have not renounced Tiger emblems, racial rhetoric and the desire for a ethnically pure “ƒ”¹…”Tamil homeland’ YET.  

 The 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord is based on falsehoods and half-truths such as clause 1.4 that says “also recognising that the northern and the eastern provinces have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples.”

 13A provided that in addition to Sinhala, Tamil ‘shall also be an official language’ of Sri Lanka, with English as a ‘link language’. While I have no objection even if Chinese was also an official language in Sri Lanka, the fact remains that this is an unwarranted burden imposed on the State of Sri Lanka. (In fact our Chinese Sri Lankans have been exemplary citizens and I would love to see a resurgence of their language in Sri Lanka). Not all the great democracies in the world have made languages spoken by minorities on par with the language spoken by the majority. United States did not legislate for the African dialects to be on par with English but the African Americans learnt to speak English. Chances of the US making other minority languages such as Spanish, Indian, Chinese etc “ƒ”¹…”also official languages’ do not seem to be that great. The story is exactly the same with other great democracies such as the UK, EU members or even Canada. This is why at least some of us feel that an unfair standard has been imposed on Sri Lanka,

 Indians themselves breeched 13A as in clause 2.9 India undertook to disarm the terrorists in exchange for the Sri Lankan Army getting back into their barracks in 1987; on the contrary SLA got back into their barracks abandoning the Vadamarachchi onslaught but India did not remove a single rifle from the terrorists.

 Ironically the theory of federalism is a political theory originally developed against the Lutheran Provincial Lord and the Catholic Emperor by Althusius (1557-1630). The purpose of this political system was to safeguard the individual civil liberties from the invasive hegemonistic dictates of the church. Later it was applied mostly to collections of individual Provinces that joined to form one State rather than to break up a State into several mini-States. In essence, devolution of power runs contrary to democracy. To quote Stanford Encyclpeadia of Philosophy which further explains this incompatibility- “The power that sub-units wield in federations often restricts or violates majority rule, in ways that merit careful scrutiny. Federal political orders typically influence individuals’ political influence by skewing their voting weight in favour of citizens of small sub-units, or by granting sub-unit representatives veto rights on central decisions. Minorities thus exercise control in apparent violation of principles of political equality and one-person-one-vote- more so when sub-units are of different size.”

 13A is proposing a form of devolution based on ethnic or communal lines- a sure fire way of institutionalising racism and communalism. When this discussion is extended to sub-units headed by leaders with proven sectarian, secessionist and communal interests backed up by resumes showing periods of employment as arms-wielding terrorists such as today’s Tamil leaders the result should be self-evident. Credentials of the Tamil and some Muslim leaders we are dealing with makes full implementation of 13A arguably one of the most risquƒÆ’†’© projects Sri Lanka can undertake right now. Remember the appeal by the Leader of Upcountry Peoples Front C. Chandrasekaran to the Sri Lankan President Mr Rajapakse to “ƒ”¹…”urgently consider appointing Tamil officers, either Tamils of Indian Origin or Tamils from North East, to important administrative posts in the (Hill country) District to avoid nurturing resentment within the Hill country Tamils’ indicates the dangers of handing over police powers to the types of people we are dealing with. Mr Chandrasekeran’s lament was that “Nuwara Eliya, the tea growing hilly district of the middle of the country, dominated by Tamils of the Indian origin and also the only predominantly Tamil district outside of north and east has no Tamil officials for the key positions of administration.”

 Sri Lanka is a predominantly Sinhalese country with 74% of the population being Sinhala. It is inevitable and nothing but fair that the higher percentage of people in any District will consist of Sinhalese. An unfair and undemocratic desire to be mono-ethnic in their surroundings is a malaise inherent in the Tamil psyche that needs to be taken into consideration when tinkering with the constitution of Sri Lanka. 

 To resolve a “ƒ”¹…”conflict’ the solution must please the parties to the conflict. Then, who is the 13A pleasing? The “ƒ”¹…”majoritarian chauvinists’ are not pleased; the Eelaamists are not pleased because it does not go far enough; “ƒ”¹…”alternative Tamil political parties’ such as TNA are not pleased for the same reason. Which “ƒ”¹…”conflict’ then is the 13th Amendment resolving? On the other hand it will create an environment where race or ethnicity is the criteria for political appointments in the North and East on whom powers including land and police powers are vested. They in turn will need constant pull-back from the centre if the country is not to be ceded along racist lines which indeed will be the Eelamist “ƒ”¹…”remainder later’ part of the “ƒ”¹…”solution’. Where then, will be space for the country to focus on its development both materially and spiritually? 

 This is where I feel that Sri Lankans, especially some in charge of the administration of the country, need to change their thinking and more importantly change their way of expressing own views. They need to be forthright, confident and unwavering in their beliefs and must engender a culture of calling a spade a spade where they see one.  

 Saga of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)

 Taking just one example, Human Rights and Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told Parliament on 22 July 2009 that “resettling of the displaced people now living in welfare camps would be delayed till all LTTE cadres among them are apprehended and separated from them”. This unambiguous, forthright reply by Minister Samarasinghe took place at the adjournment debate on the plight of IDPs moved by JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Minister Samarasinghe further elaborated that “the security forces have detected LTTE cadres who entered the welfare camps and live among the displaced people. They believe some more are there and with the information obtained from those under interrogation further apprehensions have to be made. There is no way of commencing resettlement until this process is over,” MP Dissanayake’s shameful humbug moving the above motion was that the “Tamils living in these camps are also fellow brethren and they should be set free immediately. They are also citizens of this country and have the same rights. Detaining them any further under inhumane conditions should be ended”.

 This is the first time since end of May that anyone in the Government spoke the truth about these IDPs. It is no secret that the last of the 300,000 human beings that had the misfortune of being with Prabhakaran during his last couple of weeks were no saints. At the very least the bigger majority of them were cadres and their extended families. Prabhakaran’s mother and father were among them. Goerge and Daya Masters were with them. Area leaders of the LTTE were with them. Key terrorist who planned the Aunradhapura base attack was apprehended from among the IDPs. Five con-doctors who supplied false information to the interested human rights watchers were with them. The last 75,000 people who “ƒ”¹…”escaped’ deposited into the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and Peoples Bank coffers a staggering Rs 1bn in cash and jewellery within a matter of two days! Innocent civilians? – LTTE remnants with the last of Sri Lanka based LTTE blood money, more likely! Bank of Ceylon, Deputy General Manager, Product Development and Branches, Sam Samarasinghe was quick to provide an explanation for the loot as being the result of “saving power of our Northerners”. I do not know of any civilian villager anywhere in the world who can save 1bn of his currency in his life time however hardworking or thrifty he may be!

 Minister Samarasinghe’s honest response deserves commendation. There is no reason why the Sri Lankans should feel that they can not openly say “ƒ”¹…”these are criminal elements- we can not release them without proper care and caution regardless of whether they are men, women, pregnant, lactating, menstruating, with children, sterile, old, young, cute or extremely soft spoken.’ The catch cries of “release them “ƒ”¹…”now'” must be treated with the contempt it deserves. What is the point in fighting a war at such cost to life and limb only to “ƒ”¹…”release now’ the criminal elements’ caught? Why can not we say that rather than being compelled to offer timelines of their release? I appreciate the frank letter Sri Lanka’s British freelance writer  Kath Noble wrote to the Island newspaper asking the critics to cut some slack for the Government to enable a through screening of the IDPs.  

 Investment in the newly cleared Provinces

 Take another “ƒ”¹…”small’ issue for example. Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka recently canvassed vigorously among the Tamil expatriates overseas asking them to invest in the Jaffna District. Is this a moral proposition? Why are we Sri Lankans luring exclusively the Tamil ethnic group to invest in Jaffna? Are we saying that Jaffna is a Tamil homeland “”…” therefore no one other than Tamils must invest in Jaffna? Why wasn’t this worthwhile business proposition put forward to all Sri Lankan expatriates irrespective of ethnicity, colour or creed thereby signalling the country’s desire to treat all citizens equally? Would it be tenable for the BOI to travel to England and canvass only the Sinhala people to invest in Galle? Such an exercise would have raised hell not only within the Tamil expatriate community but would have been another glaring example of a “ƒ”¹…”denial of basic human rights of the Tamils’ by the “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala chauvinist Government’ which would have had the likes of Yolanda Fraser and Brad Adams of HRW wailing and beating their chests for a UNCHR office to be located in Colombo. Local and foreign NGOs would have had a field day with it earning more foreign currency into their coffers. Madame Pillay would have stuck another needle into her rag doll named the “ƒ”¹…”Human rights violations case in the Hague against President Rajapakse’. No one uttered a whimper at the proposition for singling out only Tamils as suitable candidates to invest in Jaffna. Why does entrenched, systemic reverse discrimination against the majority in favour of the Tamils in Sri Lanka hardly raise an eyebrow within or outside Sri Lanka? 

 There is really no reason to isolate BOI as the only culprit in this type of behaviour; President Rajapakse “”…” arguably the only honest, competent and forthright Head of State Sri Lanka has ever had to fortune to have at its helm in my opinion- himself is guilty of the same. No sooner than Prabhakaran was dead (not by natural causes) the President entertained a group of expatriate Tamils to discuss how they can help kick start the development in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Why only the Tamil expatriates? Why couldn’t a collection of Sri Lankan expatriates regardless of ethnicity be invited to attend?

 This type of behaviour coming straight from the top makes a wrong statement to the world. It is re-affirming the myths of yore that brought Sri Lanka to its costly, devastating, debilitating war. We are re-affirming the myth of a “ƒ”¹…”Tamil homeland’ in the North and East through questionable acts like these. The acid test for relevancy, morality and appropriateness for any action towards Tamils must surely be whether that action would be legal, legitimate, moral, humane, tenable or beyond reproach if undertaken towards another ethnic community.

 Winning the hearts and minds of Tamils

 “ƒ”¹…”Winning the hearts and minds of Tamils’ is another aberration chanted by a vast array of people who offer unsolicited advice on peace-building and that elusive road to perfect inter-racial harmony and brotherhood in the post-terrorism era. To my mind, it is a one way street; and, surely would a one way track by rights lead to anywhere but into wilderness? “ƒ”¹…”Winning the hearts and minds of Tamils’ assumes a guilty party and a wronged party in the sense that the need to win the hearts and minds must arise from a loss of hearts and minds at a previous stage through some previous action or inaction. It is the Tamil hearts and minds we are trying to win; so by analysis it is the non-Tamil who have lost the Tamil hearts and minds. This particular saying, thus, is immensely loaded. It assumes a lot; reminding us of the adage that “ƒ”¹…”to assume is to make an ass of “ƒ”¹…”u’ and me both’. It is assumed that only Tamil hearts and minds are wounded in this whole sordid saga of thirty years of death and destruction whereas the culpability for the wounds rests with the non-Tamil – by implication the Sinhala. I personally believe in wining the hearts and minds of the Tamils but not to the exclusion of reciprocity by Tamils. The thirty year span of atrocities committed by Tamil Tigers have wounded the Sinhala, Muslim and others perhaps much more than any real or perceived wrongs done to the Tamils by Sinhala that have wounded the Tamils. In this situation it is no good that Tamils may attempt to wash their hands off culpability for Tiger atrocities towards non-Tamils via a notion of “ƒ”¹…”not every Tamil is a Tiger’ especially when the Tamils (presumably non-Tigers) demand that Sinhala in general “ƒ”¹…”make amends’ for their culpability in “ƒ”¹…”causing Tamils to take up arms’.

 Such a proposition constitutes “ƒ”¹…”talking down’ to the non-Tamil, is insulting, and takes away the need for Tamil people to be accountable for their part in the thirty year violent pogrom the non-Tamil has been subjected to. A large part of grief counselling is accepting responsibility for ones actions; one sided claims and exonerations are never helpful in the healing process. We need to win the hearts and minds of each other as a nation and the politicians, need to get the wording right when they speak. Should Sinhala people be so timid that they themselves would repeat such insulting statements propagated by the Tamil extremists? 

 Tamil youth took up arms? No sir!

 Tamil youth did not take up arms either in frustration with the “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala Government’ or as a result of “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala intransigence’ in reneging on “ƒ”¹…”promises’ as claimed by those who do the shopping for Tamil extremists. Tamil youth were brain-washed and given arms by Tamil extremists in Parliament who belonged to the educated, elitist and privileged class of Colombo and they were well past their “ƒ”¹…”youth’ at the time. The “ƒ”¹…”war’ Tamils declared against the Sri Lankans, mainly the Sinhala, did not arise at the grass-roots through rural Tamil youth. To say that, is to completely deny the contribution of Tamil Nadu factor and the Colombo factor to Tamil terrorism. The “ƒ”¹…”war’ germinated in the racist, separatist gutters of Thamil Nadu and piggy backed on a few Malaysians and Tamilians from Thamil Nadu into the bosom of Sri Lanka. The ideology followed by arms found a receptive audience in the urban Tamil elite who by then were resenting the advent of universal franchise to Sri Lanka which threatened to erode their personal power and glory base. They in turn found a captive audience in the Tamil youth in rural areas in the North and East; areas which were completely under the governance of Tamil parliamentarians who by then had done absolutely nothing to develop their areas or to improve the lot of the rural population instead of which they were jostling for more power in the Colombo executive circles under the race card. G. G. Ponnambalam who opposed universal franchise proposed by the Donoughmore Commission, racist elites Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, Appapillai Amirthalingam, Samuel J. V. Chelvanayagam who founded the Tamil State Party, even our so-called modern day “ƒ”¹…”moderate’ Veerasingham Anandasangaree who was part of the Vadukkodai clan that vowed to carry out an arms struggle to see that Tamil Nation is wrested free of the Sinhala domination were mostly Colombo based Parliamentarians who had been through the free education system in Sri Lanka and perhaps had further education in the affluent West. The Tamil “ƒ”¹…”youth’ of the North and East at the grass roots level hardly had any contact with the outside world and had very little first-hand knowledge of the real ground situation regarding Sinhala “ƒ”¹…”chauvinism’ and the alleged attendant sins. Rather, they heard what was preached to them by the overseas educated Colombo based Tamil politicians and took up arms and the cyanide capsules handed over to them to become bullet stoppers in an elitist war. Prabhakaran was no exception; he received his brain washing from the elitist Colombo Tamil secessionists and surpassed them all in the subject of hatred and killing of Sinhala. The phrase “ƒ”¹…”Tamil youth took up arms” was coined to give respectability, an indigenousness and justification to the Tamil terrorist movement.

 This is relevant when treating root-causes of terrorism. The so-called “ƒ”¹…”Tamil areas’ in the North and East both pre and post universal franchise were more often than not represented in the Government by Tamils or Muslim ethnics due firstly to the desire of the British Colonial Governments to have ethnically compatible representation in Parliament and latterly due to the deeply rooted ethnic voting habits prevalent among these two communities. Had these Parliamentary representatives concentrated on developing areas under their patronage and ably represented the concerns of the rural Tamil people in Parliament they would not have been talking in Parliament about 50-50 power sharing deals. Had they talked instead more about full employment, housing, education, industries and agricultural development programs in their localities and lent support for water based development schemes like Mahaweli instead of sabotaging it for fear of “ƒ”¹…”Sinhalization’ “”…” a gross racist notion in itself- the rural Tamil youth may not have been available and willing to take up arms that were handed to them by the urban and imported Eelaamists. This is why at least part of the remedies and rehabilitation for Tamil extremism and terrorism must be directed at both ageing and senile Tamil parliamentarians and other leaders just as much as the Tamil “ƒ”¹…”youth’.

 Undertaking not to change demographics in the North and East

 President Rajapakse handled this question admirably in a recent media interview where he was asked if he intends to settle Sinhalese in the “ƒ”¹…”Tamil areas’. Although he side-stepped the issue to a certain extent the correct response came through in his elaboration where he drew a parallel with the migration of Northern & Eastern Tamils (and other ethnicities) to the other Provinces including Colombo. The President stated that he will not plot and scheme to install Sinhalese in the North and East simply to alter demographics of those areas; yet, he commented that the natural migration of all ethnicities to the North and East can not and should not be interfered with as much as there is no such interference to the migration of Tamils southwards. According to 1981 census the North & East had 1,358,188 Tamils (65%), the 7 Sinhala majority provinces had 828,812 Tamils (35%) and Colombo District had 165,952 (8.9%) Tamils. This 8.9% Tamils in Colombo has become 33% in 2009 (yet to be confirmed by a census). No one is decrying this increase as “ƒ”¹…”Tamil colonisation’ of “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala areas’. So, why should the reverse be “ƒ”¹…”oh so naturale‘ and legitimate?

 The Sri Lankan Government has a duty of care to install non-Tamils in the North and East not only because there is a shortage of land resources in the other much smaller Provinces but also because the Sri Lankan Government has a duty to right the injustices faced by one time Sinhala and Muslim residents of the North. It is a pity that President Rajapakse has not yet made a statement on the ethnically cleansed Sinhalese from the North up to the 1980s whose descendents must now be re-united with their family lands in the Northern Province. Recognition must also be made at the Presidential level regarding the ethnic cleansing effect the Thesawalamei law has had on the Northern Province and justice meted out to the affected non-Tamils. You see, equality is all about having one rule for all and having everyone playing the same game in a level playing field. It is not right that the Sri Lankan Government goes pussy footing around real issues denying justice to the majority. 

Fear of India

 India has many faces. One of those faces wears a permanent scowl towards Sri Lanka due to the Tamil Nadu secessionist pressure. However, we should not forget that India has other faces too. Tamil Nadu wields the power over the centre simply because of its enormous population. The entire Tamil Nadu population are not active secessionists; but if cessation were to come their way I do not feel that many Tamils will refuse it. The only reason Tamil Nadu is not ceding from the Centre is because of India’s military and intelligence might. It is one of the greatest frauds to say that India’s devolution and impeccable treatment of its minorities is keeping all its citizens content. The boundary clashes and racial disquiet in India are a nightmare that the Indian Executive battles at great cost.

 Smallness of Sri Lanka is mostly in its inhabitants’ psyche. Simply because a country is “ƒ”¹…”small’ geographically it does not have to think small. Singapore is a small country but it does not live in fear of bigger neighbours. It is the fear psychosis that Sri Lanka must get rid of. India makes contradictory noises when it comes to LTTE and Eelaam ambitions but these depend on who is talking, who is listening and whether an election in the South is around the corner. What matters is that the old Gandhian agenda of controlling the neighbours is no longer that relevant to India in the scheme of things mostly due to the emerging China factor.

 The only deterrent to another’s aggression is one’s own strength.  It was JVP leader Mr Somawansa Amarasinghe who said that “ƒ”¹…”you can not win peace by being afraid of the war’- a very quotable quote for generations to come. We must have it inscribed in stone all over the country to remind us of the fact.

5 Responses to “A majority with an inferiority complex?”

  1. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    This is a remarkable effort made by Ramanie to bat straight. To start with my comments, I say that there are no Tamils in Lanka and Tamils owe nothing in Lanka. What we find is Tamil speaking migrants who took shelter under difficult circumstance trying to encroach someone else’s land holy to them with vital historical links that runs deep inside them beyond their grasp. The concerns raised in your article clearly illustrate the dilemma faced by the X-tribe though native Sinhala people may not necessarily have the same thoughts. What you see is the inferiority complex of the X-tribe. Anyway, they were never superior. When I say X-tribe, I am referring to a group sitting in the front taking the ownership of Sinhalaness but with an undeniable history of alien origin (I mean they came during happy and prosperous times) and poisoned by strong collaboration with colonial occupiers, specifically with strongly links to English occupation. To further clarify this X-tribe, I can draw a parallel with the fact that there are outsiders considering themselves to be English living among English and original English who are truly English. This X-tribe is the benefactors of English departure in 1948 and continues the same path with two faces, one to the Sinhala people and the other to the outsiders. They live in fear of both sides and are dangling on a thin rope to enjoy the benefits of their X-character. They were installed as leaders by retreating English. Given your esteemed comments, I assume that you can differentiate between leaders, and servants acting as leaders. As leaders, English had their own agenda and followed under the strictest rules set by their monarchy during their reign. But, these X-tribalists do have only their personal interests driving their lives. Being X-ed, they have no other attributes to call human. I do not think that we can expect any good from them. In fact, their Sinhalaness is as good as my Englishness. Tamils by their own commissions and omissions have proven to the whole world what they are worth and even predicted their future very accurately. It is very likely the reference you made to by “ordinary Sinhala people” may be to those watching outside the X-tribe. As someone who has learnt a lot about Sinhala conscience, I can say that Tamils are a non-entity in their minds and if needed they will tell exactly who owns what. The widely publicised view that you refer to, is that told by the self-appointed Sinhala faced X-tribesmen trying to stay in power and enjoy the personal trappings that come with it who do a lot of acrobatics during recent times.

    The current events apparently playing in past mode has a long history and may be a past rerun of events going beyond the known times, even before the start of Hindu civilisation. Though many X-tribalists do have little idea of the past, I see that Sinhala civilisation was the first of the modern versions and originated in Lanka though we have an artificially devised history in the public domain promoting a religious entity coming form the subcontinent. If you study the behaviour and response of the ordinary Sinhala people, or more preciously real Sinhala people, they could be seen as very ignorant, as I know, because the problems that drive us mad are not that big for them. They also exhibit all the ingredients of the truly indigenous ethnic community (quite contrary to X-tribalist view supported by vested religious interests) that moved from jungle to modern life outside the wild. There is no other ethnic group in the world with those vital ingredients required to come out throwing out natural life including voluntary determination required to sever such a strong bond linking to the nature that goes in fixed cycles. As a matter of fact, we are yet to see any other form of life doing this splendid act.

    If things get worse, we will soon see the end of X-tribe opening the way for these extra-ordinarily ordinary people. As a direct beneficiary of their intellectual values, I can say that no power how big they are is a super power to an array of their leaders who are watching on the sidelines. What holds them back is their distaste to take life, especially in huge numbers as people who once saved the humanity from extinction under natural conditions. You know very well how much they suffered before responding to the Tamil terror in kind during recent times. This recent event was just a response coming from the lower echelons of their community structure that joined the lower echelons of the security apparatus backing the X-tribe in power, to meet the needs of the hour. As you know, the recent Tamil aggression towards Sinhala people and their land was totally a collective effort made by all the sections of the Tamil speakers from the so-called top level intellectuals to the worst who even offered their lives for the cause. If they could not sustain their campaign whole heartedly supported by some sections of the X-tribe and inadvertently supported by the rest of the X as a result of their incompetence, any further attempt will demand a much tougher response to make them really regret. At that stage, I am sure the X-tribe will come to its very predictable end. I hope the current regime is the last of the X-tribe and am not much clear about their agendas that seems to move north, south, east, west and even underground, though you seems to be happy with them. I believe we are witnessing a change for the better times for those desiring to live and the worst for those who oppose living (The greatest of Sinhala values). Change is not necessarily smooth even for the better given the worst possible current situation. What happens may look like rabbits and rats taking the first shots to come up with new medicine to cure all our diseases that held us back for a long time, nearly seven thousand years according to my thinking. Refer to the comments on the northern part of the country, it was the land of the Sinhala kings and their servants starting with King Maha Sammatha who ruled the known ancient world (The first ever use of consent to select a leader that has come a long way to end selecting an unleader to plunder the society, also called English Democracy, which is taking its last gasp). Anyone who vies for that land should behave like Tamil migrants living in that part of the country, being driven mad seeking death by committing senseless acts of savagery because only then they can expect a solid Sinhala response. No one with any common sense would ever challenge the ownership of that land if they know the historical outcomes associated with that land. It is the very reason why ordinary Sinhala people stayed away from that part though they are bound by conscience to protect it at all cost. I should say that Sinhala history is their conscience, but nothing else. Not even they have the capability to give up this inner bond even if they wish to do so. This may explain most of the known history and also give an insight to the future.

  2. cassandra Says:

    An excellent article and a timely reminder to all of us that the amount of time and energy we have expended on the ‘Tamil problem’ over the last more than thirty years is totally disproportionate to what the Northern Tamils represent as a percentage of the island’s population. Let us now get on with the really important issues that concern ALL Sri Lankans, not merely an unduly noisy minority. As someone observed, just because a small number of crickets kept an incessant chirping going on through the night, while a herd of noble cows silently grazed beside them, it would be a mistake to think that the crickets were the only ones occupying the field. In similar manner we have allowed a small part of the population to overwhelm us with their extreme demands and put us on the defensive. This should never have been allowed to happen.

  3. Samson Says:

    One of the best ariticles on the subject.

    Things are simple and logical when you look at things without the race spectacles.

    This is how our leaders should be looking at things.

    Very well said Ramanie. Thank you Lankaweb for publishing it. Patriots may be outnumbered but never outmaneuvered. Sanity and logic are on our side.

  4. skpnawaratne Says:

    Wellsaid Ramanie! Thank you and keep the good work and educate all including the leaders of our mother land who needs timely refreshments of the truth. Thank you for the lankaweb too.

  5. dharmasiri Says:

    Excellent article Ramanie !
    The best part is the last one fear of India.
    Singapore uses “Fear of Muslims” to discriminate races other than Chinese ( 75% majority). It has built substantial armed forces and all males have gone through “National Service”, Malay Muslims excluded. Racial balance in always justified openly, using this excuse. But, Singapore has mighty ally, the US.
    Sri Lanka should build up wealth gradually. The way Mahinda is handling in OK at the moment , but he should not have mentioned 13 plus stupidness at all, what he must have stated is “ we will bring constitutional changes to make all races equal.” That is all. Full stop. Keep India guessing and talk to China more. China shall be our ally. Once we have developed enough we should have proper security treaty with China, not India. This is the only way out. Until that, get help from every one.
    But the major problem is our stupid political system grown in to a law-less monster. We must design a new ingenious political system that automatically keeps out uneducated hooligans entering politics.

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