UN, a tool of Western colonialism
Posted on April 14th, 2013

Chaminda Perera (This interview was given before the UNHRC vote in Geneva) Courtesy The Daily News 

Professor Nalin Kumara De Silva is a well known analyst and theoretical physicist who has expressed his candid views on many controversial issues ranging from the Arsenic issue to terrorism. An opponent of what he calls Western cultural dominance, Professor Silva says that members of the Tamil community do not have any problem merely because of being Tamil. He insisted that there should be cultural interaction between the Sinhala and Tamil communities.

While stressing that there is no language barrier, Professor Silva insisted that no one can be forced to learn the language of another community. Allowing the communities to mix with each other will enable them find their common language, he said.

Professor Silva added that the British sowed the genesis of racism in the country by discriminating against the majority community “”…” the Sinhalese.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q: How do you see the problem of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka?

Professor Nalin Kumara De Silva. Picture by Ranjith Asanka

A: There is no problem for the Tamil people merely due to their being members of the Tamil community. The Tamil people have been facing problems due to their own leaders for over two centuries.

Q: But the Tamils have been permanent settlers in the country for centuries and they say that they receive step-motherly treatment from successive governments. What do you have to say?

A: The Tamil people were not permanent settlers in Sri Lanka. The Tamils in Jaffna today are really descendants of people who were brought from India by the Dutch for Tobacco cultivation. When the Dutch began tobacco cultivation in the country there were no Sinhalese people to work for them. The Sinhalese people by tradition did not work for any body. The Sinhalese were used to the Rajakari system and they never worked as labourers for wages.

After harvest these Tamils went back to South India. Because of that they introduced the Thesavalami law which encouraged these people to stay in the island.

This Thesavalami law is not a Tamil Law. According to late Gamini Iriyagolla, this law was brought in for the Muslims in South India.

There were no permanent Tamil settlements in any part of the country before the 12th Century. The same goes for the Muslims. This was stated by a Professor of the Jaffna University presenting a thesis to the University of London.

By 1505 the majority community in the Jaffna peninsula were Sinhalese and this fact has been mentioned by Portuguese historians(16th Century). There were certain groups of people who were brought from Kerala and they spoke Malayalam. They were called Vellakkara or mercenaries by the Sinhalese Kings.

Q: How can you prove that they were not early settlers of Sri Lanka?

A: I am ready to prove that Tamils are not early settlers of the country. I challenge anybody to go and read the Land Register and titles (Thombu) in the Jaffna Kachcheri on the families of Vellala Tamils in Jaffna, particularly the Tamil leaders. I challenge Parliamentarian R Sumanthiran to go and read the thombu at the Jaffna Kachcheri and have a better understanding on how they came and settled in the country. These are historical facts. These people claim that they have been here from the Gemunu – Elara era. There were Tamils during that time but they were not permanent settlers.

During the British era, the Tamil Vellalas were brought from the Poonamandal coast in India. They were agricultural labourers.

Q: Why do you say that British sowed the genesis of racism on Sri Lankan soil?

A: The American missionaries were chased out of Colombo with the arrival of British to the country and they started schools in Jaffna. Some of the Tamil Vellalas came to Colombo and their children received education in schools in the Colombo Academy (which later became Royal College), S. Thomas’s, St Peter’s.

By that time there were more English speaking Tamils than English speaking Sinhalese.

The British sowed the seeds of racism by allocating a single seat for the majority community – the Sinhalese, who had been living in the country for more than 2000 years – in the State Assembly under the Donoughmore Commission. The composition of the Assembly was three Europeans – one Burgher, one Tamil and one Sinhalese.

This is the first racist step taken by the British government in the Legislature. Sinhala people with a history of more than 2000 years are the majority community in the country while the Tamils who were brought to the country by the Dutch, represented only 10 per cent of the population.

The British wanted to bring the English speaking Tamils such as Ponnambalam Arunachalam and Ponnambalam Ramanathan to power.

In the Legislature, Tamils enjoyed the majority compared to the Sinhalese or they were equally in number.

This injustice done to the majority community changed with the establishment of the State Council and the introduction of Universal Franchise.

With that the number of Sinhala representatives increased in comparison to the Tamil representatives in the council. That was a mistake done by the British from their(Tamil) point of view.

From about the end of the 19th Century, the Tamil leaders have been agitating for more representatives in the Legislature.

Q: Why do you say that the Tamil community in the Northern Province were not represented by leaders?

A: The Vellala leaders who identified themselves as saviours of the Tamil people did not represent the people in Jaffna and other parts of the Northern province.

Their aspiration was to become the leaders of the country at the expense of the poor Tamil masses. The ordinary Tamils were not affected by any of these things. They did not have any aspiration to be leaders of the country.

They were cultivators and toddy tappers. The children of these ordinary masses did not have schools. It was worse than in South Africa. These low caste Tamils had no aspirations and all perks and privileges were enjoyed by the Vellalas.

After the first Parliament was elected in 1947, S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, a Tamil Christian who was a follower of the South Indian Church realized that they could become leaders of the country.

He formed his own party in 1949 called Illangai Thamil Arusakachchi or Ceylon Tamil State Party in order to carve out a separate State in the North and the East. That was the beginning of the problem.

He organized a massive campaign in the North and the East and the plantation sector too. The Muslims were also organized under the umbrella of Tamil Speaking people.

In 1976, the Vadukkodai Resolution was brought in. Almost all Tamil parties including Former Muslim Congress Leader A.H.M. Ashraff supported it.

Q: How did the Separatist organization originate in Jaffna?

A: The low caste people in Jaffna wanted liberation from the high class Vellalas and some of them rallied under Prabhakaran and some other leaders.

There were some Marxist tendencies among the Tamil youth at that time. Almost all of them wanted Tamil Eelam. Prabhakaran was fighting against the Sinhala people as well as the Vellalas.

Prabhakaran was cruel though he was a good organizer. He became the sole armed group representing the Tamil people and the Tamil Vellalas had to give in due to various reasons. Prabhakaran started his killing spree with Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah. By this time India had extended training to these terrorist outfits against a sovereign country.

Q: Tamil leaders extended support for the independence of the country. How do you see their involvement in the independence struggle?

A: It was always only the Sinhala people who fought against the British starting from Keppetipola, Gongalegoda Banda, Kudapola Hamuduruwo. It took a cultural form during the latter part of the 19th Century. People like Anagarika Dharmapala fought against the British.

But Tamil leaders were never involved in the struggle against British. There was no resistance from anybody except the Sinhalese.

The British started some schools where they taught English and everything else. Tamil racism introduced and nurtured by the British is still continuing. There were Catholic priests smuggling arms to the LTTE. The Bishop of Mannar allowed the LTTE to carry the Madhu statue.

In some churches the national anthem was sung in Tamil during the last Independence Day. They have a grudge against Sinhala Buddhists. There is no injustice as such done to the Tamil people.

Q: Tamils say making Sinhala the official language was an injustice done to them?

A: The English speaking Tamil Vellalas were affected due to Sinhala being made the official language. This has been construed as a discrimination against the entire Tamil community. Our language was English before Sinhala was made the official language of the country. When Sinhala became the official language the ordinary Tamil masses become familiar with Sinhala more than English.

I think the ordinary Tamil man is benefitted by this move even in an indirect way.

The English speaking Tamils (Vellalas) and Burghers were affected by this and the English speaking Sinhalese (the elite class) too were against Sinhala being made the official language.

Q: How do you see the contribution of the SLFP led governments to the country?

A: Through various SLFP led governments the independence struggle continued. It is a process. We had some independence in 1948.

Former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike made the country a Republic in May 22, 1972.

I do not know why the government does not celebrate this day (May 22). I suggested to all SLFP led governments to mark May 18 to May 22 as a sort of independence week because it is in 1972 that we became a Republic by declaring that the English King is not our king.

In 2009, we were able to defeat Tamil terrorism fostered by the British English and the West. Tamil terrorism and the racist ideology was defeated by us within the country but it still continues in the UK, Canada and the United States.

Q: Why is the Tamil Diaspora so strong in the West?

A: I do not use the word “Diaspora” it is a Biblical word referring to the Jews who were chased out of the Middle East and were living in other parts of the world. These are dispersed Tamils. The English speaking dispersed Tamils in many Western countries had the upper hand like their ancestors had the upper hand in Sri Lanka two decades ago. They do not want us to live as an independent country. The NGOs, the scattered Tamils, Catholic and Christian churches are used against all Afro Asian countries including Sri Lanka.

Some Marxists are financed by the Westerners to act against the Sinhala people. There are no Tamil leaders to lead the ordinary Tamils together with the Sinhala people against Western colonialism.

A part of the UPFA government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa can do this. I say this because there are various rogues in the government who when the time comes will betray the President.

Q: How do you see the government’s development drive, the reconciliation and reconstruction effort?

A: The government is on the correct path. The country needs reconciliation. It is not a reconciliation of two groups of people who were against each other.

They have never been at loggerheads.

The country had a problem because the Tamil and Sinhala communities were living separately. The Tamil and Sinhala people were separated by the the UNP governments.

There should be cultural interaction between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. I think that the Tamil community has not been given an opportunity to improve their culture. Cultural troupes from the South should visit the North and vise versa. Sinhalese have been living in the country from the very beginning and their influence can be found in the Tamil culture.

That is why the Sri Lankan Tamil culture is different from that in South India.

The government should allow the Tamils to evolve by their own methods. They should be encouraged to practise their traditional medicine and traditional method of cultivation.

The government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa has initiated a massive development drive in the Jaffna peninsula. It should extend assistance to the farmers in the Jaffna peninsula.

Q: Don’t you think that the language barrier hinders reconciliation efforts?

A: There is no language barrier. Let the people mix, they will find their common language. The common language cannot be forced. You can’t force Tamil people to learn Sinhala while the Sinhala people cannot be forced to learn Tamil.

Q: Do you think you can achieve reconciliation through learning three languages?

A: I know how I hated to learn English when I was forced to learn it. You should never force anybody to learn anything. Whether its maths or language or physics or anything. The moment you force, you hate. Let the people learn it if they want.

Tamil public servants coming to Colombo have to learn Sinhala while the Sinhalese public servants should have to learn Tamil when they work in Jaffna.

Learning is by necessity not by force. That is reconciliation, our way. We should not follow the British and Americans.

Sri Lanka Cricket should organize school cricket tournaments between schools in the North and the South with the aim of promoting interaction. I am not a fan of Cricket as it is a Sudda’s game (Colonial). But still it should be used to promote reconciliation.

The Cabinet of Ministers have differences of opinion about the 13th Amendment. Several Ministers say that the 13th Amendment should be fully implemented while others say it should be done away with.

Q: What do you think of the 13th Amendment under which the Provincial Councils were set up?

A: My view is that there is no necessity for the 13th Amendment. It was forced on us by India. It is an Indian type of solution for non existing problems.

If there are problems among the Tamils, those problems cannot be solved by establishing Provincial Councils. In India, more than 90 per cent of Tamils live in Tamil Nadu but 50 per cent of Tamils in Sri Lanka are living outside the North and the East.

Only 35 per cent of the population in the Eastern province are Tamil. There is no problem for the Tamils by merely being Tamils. That is a pseudo problem.

There are problems of poverty which can be found in many parts of the country including Hambantota, Moneragala, Kandy, Colombo and even in Wanathamulla.

How can you solve their problems (if they have any) If more than 50 per cent of Tamils are living outside the Northern and Eastern province. Even if you go by their definition, Provincial Councils are not a solution which was evolved by India depending on their experience. The 13th Amendment is not an Act of Parliament and it was not passed in Parliament legally.

To be an Act of Parliament, there are various other procedures that have to be followed.

The 13th Amendment was a regulation forced by JRJ using the 2/3rds majority. We have to question the legality of the provincial councils. These should simply be thrown out.

According to Former Supreme Court Judge Raja Wanasundera, the 13th Amendment was not passed in Parliament legally. The Marxists in the government who are clamouring for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment have no power basis.

The Left is left out.

Q: The United States has already announced that they would bring in another resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session next week? What would happen to Sri Lanka if such a resolution was passed in the council?

A: The power balance that existed in the United Nations Organization is no more with the collapse of Soviet Union. The UNO has become an instrument of colonialism. In addition to NGOs, Christian and Catholic churches and dispersed Tamils, the UN is also promoting colonialism.

These forces are being used against many Afro Asian countries which have States and governments that are not in the good books of the West. The Westerners are ready to teach a lesson to the countries which are not to their liking, under cover of good governance, freedom of speech independence of the judiciary and human rights. These are nothing but rubbish. They cannot be found in any country in the West.

The English speaking people in Sri Lanka think that there is freedom of speech in the USA. There is no freedom of speech. How many people in the US read newspapers? The national newspapers are not read by the people in the USA. The people in the USA have no interest in the government as they know by their experience that they can do nothing to change the policies of the government. The ordinary people in the Western countries are passive observers. They do not take part in elections and voter turn out at US elections are very low. The United States has no democracy at all. Most Americans have not even heard of Noam Chomsky. All top secrets are hidden by the White House though they boast of good governance and transparency. No average person has access to any of this.

Sri Lanka is the reverse. All the Cabinet decisions are leaked out immediately. There is no secret in Sri Lanka. Everybody knows what is happening. Paikiasothy or Nimalka Fernando and their NGO bandwagon can live in the USA. They can go to Hyde Park and make a speech, but these will never be reported in the national press.

In contrast our media is giving prominence to Pakiasothy and Nimalka though they do not have any power base in the country. These elements in connivance with their Western masters are promoting colonialism and acting against the country.

Can we try Paikiasothy Saravanamuththu for treason? The moment we do that there would be agitation from the Western countries. But what will happen to Paikiasothy in London if he is engaged in treachery against that country. He will immediately be taken into custody, put in a jail and dealt with. That is the good governance that exists in those countries.

We are an open country. The colonials are using these crooks. The government will be under pressure by various UN organizations even NGOs like Amenesty International and so called watchdogs. The government should ignore these people and the organizations as in the case of the Human Rights Commission.

Whatever you do they will always bring in resolutions against the government. There are human rights reports against the United States but US media does not give any publicity to them. Almost all Western countries ignore these reports against their countries. Israel does not even go before the Council.

Why do we give so much prominence to these people and this useless summit. The media should give more prominence to the Sri Lankan women’s cricket team. They should be given more prominence than the Geneva council. It is an organization used by Westerners to continue their colonialism.

The so called representatives of Western countries and so called organizations including the UN meet Paikiasothy, Nimalka Fernando et al and the members of NGO bandwagon. Because they do not want to listen to the voice of the other side.

Why is that they are always meeting Paikiasothy Saravanamutthu not Nalin De Silva. Doesn’t Nalin De Silva represent the Sinhala voice of this country at least to a certain extent. Is he not an opinion maker of this country? I have a voice and represent a certain group of people.

They do not want to listen to the other side. They call themselves impartial observers and open minded people but the truth is that they do not want to listen to the voice of other side. None of the Sri Lankan post graduates scholars in Western countries write a column to their national papers. That is the asymmetric. We are still dictated to by the IMF – this is colonialism.

One Response to “UN, a tool of Western colonialism”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    United Nations, European Union and NATO don’t bring peace, but they are war mongering institutions. These institutions don’t work in the interest of the population. They protect interest, they protect lobbies, financial interests. They are in the hands of big international companies and today citizens are forgotten.
    European Union put Greece, Spain and Portugal into trouble. There’s impoverishment of European populations and this is shocking to see to which extent it’s possible to reduce benefits and put a whole population into poverty. And all that because of a crisis that was created by financial interest.

    China is a threat to current big powers. China is more and more present in Africa and they need natural resources. Obviously it’s an economic threat. China is seizing economic resources, it’s legitimate, there’s no problem about that. China in Africa can do whatever it wants with natural resources in exchange for services given to the population. What is positive is that at least there are services given to the population. This is a change from the western logic that we saw during colonization, with them taking advantage of Africa without benefiting to the locals. This is what explains that former colonial powers such as France or other countries intervene today in North Africa to take back some natural resources. This is the case of France in Mali where France is only the hands of the US in that story. This is also the case in all the northern African countries in the so-called Arab Spring. Those are not real revolutionary movements. It was directed from abroad and it’s always to put their hands on natural resources such as gas, uranium. This is a race. This is an economic war that we’re seeing now. Africa today is the attic of the world. It’s very difficult to imagine that Africa will one day be owned by Africans. It’s sad but it’s true. I prefer that they are partnerships where everybody is in a win-win relationship, than a unilateral exploitation. I can’t stand anymore to see Africans starving when under their ground is full of natural wealth which is crazy! All that wealth doesn’t bring anything to the local population. They just benefit industrial companies, to international companies and their managers.

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