Ms. Navanetham Pillay
Posted on June 1st, 2009

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada

May 31, 2009

Ms. Navanetham Pillay United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais Wilson 52 rue des Paquis CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Dear Ms. Pillay:

Your insistence of going after the Sri Lankan Government even after the United Nations Human Rights Council had its day during the Special Session dedicated to the Situation of Human Rights in Sri Lanka to haul the Sri Lankan Government in front of the International War Crimes Court for the alleged Human Rights violations during the last phase of the war was defeated, is disturbing. Not to accept the out come of the vote, when 29 nations representing 4 billion people voted against, while only 12 nations representing 0.5 billion people voted for it shows your mean spirited arrogance and the petty mission of the office that you hold.

It looks like you are having difficulty to watch the 12 nations squirming and bleeding on the floor with their bullying prowess over developing countries shattered, and you still want to give these western bloc mainly European nations another chance in the War Crimes Court to have Sri Lanka hung dry. This entire shenanigan by you dear lady, reminds me of a fascinating Tamil Vanakkam Folk Tale.

This is Folk Tale No.27 is from the Collection of Vanakkam Folk Tales published in 1887 by the Ramachandran Press in Madras, South India, and edited by Sundaram Iyer, a professor of Folk Studies at the University of Pondicherry.

“Nivan, the White man’s Darling

Once upon a time, long, long time ago there was a puny island kingdom called Sirilanga stuck right in the middle of a sapphire-blue ocean. To the north of it was a large landmass where some dark people lived. Sirilanga was really a spice garden where at the feet of magical mist-draped mountains were acres and acres of fertile earth in which grew cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, pepper and vanilla, et cetera. The indigenous people in this island were of a handsome people with skins of a polished hue of bronze called Singalayo. And since it was a kingdom it was ruled by a king named Mahindra who was kind, generous, principled and strong and thought a world of his subjects and would do anything to care for them.

This little kingdom was often visited by fisher-sea farers from the northern landmass. One group that liked the island so much decided to stake a part of the sea coast and claim that it was their own country and called it Ellarm. This group of people who brought in hundreds and hundreds more of their people on fishing boats one day decided to form their government and appointed a stocky man called Welu Pillai as their leader. Welu Pillai chose his niece Nivan Pillai as his consort and second-in-command of their community. The name Nivan had a special meaning. It meant ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”heaven’. She indeed looked a heavenly apsara, a very attractive woman with long shiny Indian-ink black hair and perfectly chiselled lips and an upper torso. Nivan always wore a flowing robe which they called sari and she always decorated her face with a crimson sandalwood paste thumb print between her eyebrows. They also stuck deep into the sand their red community flag strung onto a bamboo pole, which had a head of a Bengali Tiger in the middle.

The word went out to king Mahindra that the northern coast was getting crowded with some dark-skinned people and they were building shacks with coconut palm thatched fronds. The King was curious and got his senior courtiers to spy on them and periodically report back to him.

One afternoon, the most senior courtier, Appuhamy, came running to him and informed him,

“Your Excellency, there are 12 sailing ships moored along the coast and twelve white men came on shore each carrying a different flag. One man wore a metal helmet with two horns. And I heard him introduce himself to Nivan saying that, “I am a Viking. I have come from a far away country in search of spices. And my name is Eric the Solyheim.

What is interesting Your Excellency, even though there were a lot of these dark people who went to greet these 12 white men, these white people were only interested in that pretty women who introduced herself as “I am Nivan Pillai” She too seemed interested in all of these men and every one had beautiful green eyes and blond hair, and she was a bit too friendly with all of them, and somewhat flirtatious, I would say.”

“Appuhamy, go and keep an eye on them and report back to me in two days”, the King ordered him.

Two days went by and Appuhamy came to report what he noticed among these white people and the dark people.

“Your Excellency, yesterday there was a big argument between Welu Pillai and his niece Nivan Pillai.”

“What, what? What really happened?” the King asked.

“In the morning when Nivan Pillai came to greet Welu Pillai, he noticed that Nivan had a very white face. He was certain that it wasn’t a mask and got worried that she had contracted some horrible sickness and had turned white. When he asked her “Are you alright, you look so pale and white?”

She replied, “I am alright. I just want to look like one of them white people who look so handsome, gorgeous and fair, so I applied on my face a paste of white chalk powder from the quarry mixed with water.”

And that is when things went wrong as Welu had suspected Nivan’s allegiance shifting towards these white folk as she would spend all day with them until they retreated to their ships for the night.

The following day the white men decided to make a move and claim the land of Ellarm as theirs, and approached Welu Pillai accompanied by a smirking Nivan and said,

“This is no more your land. This is ours” and removed the red Ellarm flag and planted all 12 flags of theirs in a cluster. The stocky Welu Pillai didn’t like it and bopped each one of their heads with his coconut trunk baton.

With one shot on each head every one fell and was bleeding and squirming on the beach. Nivan was hysterical, moving from one man to the other trying to comfort each one of them and trying to clean their blood with the detached flowing length of the sari.

Welu Pillai decided to banish Nivan from his Ellarm and asked his men to carry her with these men into boats and take them into their respective ships to sail away.

Now Nivan had a problem as she had fallen in love all the 12 white men and wasn’t sure to which ship she wanted to be carried to, as every white man wanted her too. So she immediately removed the cowry shelled necklace, snapped the thread that held them together, picked up 12 cowry shells and started to devise a method to pick the man that she would want to be with for the rest of her life.

So she played her game of fortune with the cowry shells – “He loves me, He loves me not….He loves me, He loves me not”, until 11 were eliminated and left with the 12th. And lo behold, the lucky one happened to

be the Viking with the horned helmet, Eric the Solyheim.

While she was carried by the Ellarm men on to the boat, Nivan heard the curses by her dark-skinned brown people, her subjects. “Good riddance…you are the most treacherous woman on earth… you are a traitor, you are evil preferring a white man to our leader Welu Pillai…go away…and never come back,” were the shouts in unison.

So she was kicked out from this dark skinned community for good, and they weren’t sure, not that they cared, whether she lived happily ever after with Eric the Solyheim and also whether she still painted her face with a paste of white chalk to be one of them.

King Mahindra approached Welu Pillai and his people and engaged in a palaver and told them,

“Listen, just don’t create problems for me and my people in Sirilanga, I don’t want to fight you, you all should return to your home country, which is really your Motherland without usurping the land of my Singalayos.”

Welu Pillai obliged and ordered his people to get into their boats and row back to where they came from.

The Singalayos thanked their King Mahindra for saving their land, which was really their home from the dark-skinned fisher- sea-farers and the whitemen, the spice hunters.”

Now you know why your shenanigans reminded me of this Vanakkam Folk Tale. This is an amazing folk tale even though written over a 100 years ago has some semblance to what has been happening to present Sri Lanka.

Navanetham Pillay, it is time that you drop your mean spirited agenda of War Crimes against Sri Lanka. Your Tamil people, 280,000 of them who were saved by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces during the largest human rescue operation in the recent history of the world, from the clutches of the ruthless Tamil Tiger terrorists haven’t had a chance to smell the roses which are out there that you and I have been lucky enough to smell since July 2006 when the Tamil Tigers embarked on their Eelam War IV. You owe it to your Internally Displaced Tamil people in Sri Lanka for them to experience this extraordinary joy.

Back off from Sri Lanka and give its government the space to get on with their agenda of healing, reconciliation, and resettlement, and let them move forward into the future of harmony between all ethnic groups and prosperity. No one should have the right to hinder this progress. Not even you.

As for you my dear Navanetham, let your people wake up tomorrow morning and feel the warmth of the sun, listen to the chirps of the birds, smell the roses, let the kids chase butterflies and exchange smiles with their Sinhalese and Muslim neighbours and let them touch the outstretched palms of love, friendship and harmony of the Sinhalese and Muslims. Let them experience just those precious moments Navanethami, and just drop your mean spirited agenda of your Office towards Sri Lanka, as you are only dragging its credibility to be questioned by the civilized world.

It shouldn’t take much of your honesty to congratulate the Government of Sri Lanka in their victory over the Tamil Tiger terrorists after 30 years of battle, when World War II only lasted 6 short years. Don’t hold back Navanetham, let’s see you do it! I am sure you can.


Asoka Weerasinghe

One Response to “Ms. Navanetham Pillay”

  1. Sanath Jayasuriya Says:

    This Navanetham Pillay is an absolute fraud, in the same way Vijay Nambiar is one too. They both should not be trusted. They have their own agendas I suspect.

    Lanka will not bow to them….

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