Is it a crime to be a Tamil in Sri Lanka?

“In the end anti black, anti female, and all forms of discrimination equivalent to the same thing- anti humanism”
Shirley Chisholm- American Politician, the first African-American to win a seat in the United States Congress

I like to share the daily experience of being a Tamil in Sri Lanka. The Tamils who are living in North and East of the country are subjected to various forms of discrimination. They feel utterly helpless due to fear. The civilians in these areas lead a horrible life beyond our imagination.

Tamils who are living in Colombo for decades are not exempted from discrimination by various walks of life; may it be security forces or fellow workers or neighbours.

Recently I drove to a five star hotel in Colombo to meet a foreign friend of mine. I was stopped at the main entrance of this particular hotel. The security guard who stopped me asked “where I was driving to?” I replied that I was going to see a friend of mine who is a guest of that hotel. Then he asked me for his room number. I told him his room number. As I approached the next entrance of the hotel, I was stopped again and asked the same question by the door man. I replied the same and moved on. I went and had a seat in the lobby of the hotel. As soon as I sat down, a lady waiter of the bar came and asked me “why I was waiting?”. Then I repeated my reply to her. I sent a text to my friend to inform that I was waiting in the lobby, and I continue to wait despite the spreading of suspicion. After few minutes another male waiter asked the same question, when I repeated the same reply, he said that I have been waiting there for long time. I wondered for a while and asked him whether there is any time restriction imposed to be in the lobby. He did not answer my question and he left the place. When I told about the incident to my friend, he was shocked and confused. He said that, “it is an absolute discrimination, which cannot be tolerated”.

I was dressed in pants and t-shirt; I was not dressed as a Tamil- wearing a saree or shalwar kameez and keeping a pottu on my forehead; but I was not dressed glamorously; I carried a back-pack. If I was dressed glamorously and lavishly I may have got a special treatment such as helping me to walk with my high heel shoe to the ball room.

Another day I was waiting for a local friend of mine in another five star hotel in Colombo. The manager of the hotel asked me in Sinhala “why was I waiting?”. I told him that, I was waiting for a friend of mine. Then after some time another security person of that particular hotel came and asked me the same question. The reply was the same. Later he brought another four males and kept asking the same question. They were rude in their language; and they were uncivilized in their looks. It made me annoyed and angry. I had no choice, except to complain the matter to the Chairman of the hotel.

Some of my Tamil friends who left the country twenty years ago have come to Sri Lanka recently on holiday. When I met them after two decades, they mentioned to me how the attitude has changed tremendously. They also mentioned to me that, they do not look Tamils because they are fair. Most of the Tamil Diaspora who visits Sri Lanka does not want to show their national identity cards, because it can cause problems. The birth place is mentioned in Sinhala and Tamil in the national identity cards of the Tamils, where the foreign passports have the birth place is in English. They feel comfortable to show their passports instead of identity cards wherever and whenever it’s needed.

It reminds me of few incidents taken place recently, where if a Tamil person is dark in complexion he or she is suspected of a LTTE cadre. They go through the mental torture of answering and repeating the same reply to various people, who question them with suspicion.

Another recent experience was at a well-known restaurant in the city of Colombo. When asked politely about the parking space. I was told that, there is no parking space available for that restaurant. Then I had to park the car at my own risk. But later on I witnessed the customers for the particular restaurant was provided with parking. When inquired he tried to give many unrelated answers.

The first question asked at the checkpoints now a days is “are you a Tamil?” If a Tamil is topped, he or she gets a different treatment, such as where was he or she born?, and can he or she speak Sinhala? If he or she was born in North or East of the country, then they get completely different treatment.

Nobody can be astonished by such behaviours, because discrimination had been in existence for several decades in Sri Lanka. Discrimination led many Tamil men and women to take up arms in their teenage to fight for their rights and of the fellow Tamils.

I do not dare to loose my identity, which I am proud of. As Martin Luther King Junior says “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

  • http://dhanaisat.blogspot.com Curious Yellow

    My personal experience with security forces in Sri Lanka have been mixed, but I certainly feel that some of them would have tried to make life harder for me had I not spoken any Sinhalese.

    I personally do not understand why my place of birth is important information to the person stopping me at a checkpoint but they persist in asking me anyway so I tell them. They certainly don’t ask you what your place of birth is if you speak to them in Sinhalese, but they always ask you where you’re living for some reason even if you are Sinhalese, and if you’re driving late at night they also want to know where you’ve been and where you’re going. Maybe they’re looking to find out where the party is?

    It also now seems ludicrous to me that I am forced to carry ID when in my own country, but in a land in which I am a foreigner I do not have to. However, the ID carrying mentality has now become so firmly entrenched in our mindsets now that people will leave their houses naked before they leave it without their IDs. It is truly bizarre.

  • Tissa

    No it is not a crime to be a Tamil in Sri Lanka.
    More than 75% of the Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka live amicably in the areas where the majority is Sinhalese. In the capital Colombo the Majority are non Sinhalese. Most of the shops in all the cities and towns including the capital are owned by Tamils and Muslims. There is no problem for Tamils to live in any city, town or village in the island. It is the Tamil tettorists who are killing the Sinhalese and Muslims in the areas they control. There are no Sinhalese or Muslims in the areas tha Tamil Terrorists control. This is the fact.
    Thank you

  • Harry

    This writer is trying to get gain out of the common myth on Sri Lanka that Tamils are treated unfairly. This security gurd stupidity is common to anybody weather he Tamil or Sinhalese. I as a Sinhalese had to face this mistreatment many times. The writer thinks it only happend to him because he is a Tamillian. That is a big lie. Workers of most of these highend places dont know how to treat Locals; that is a true. Ask your friend to make a formal complain to the head of that Hotel.

  • lankanova

    Its not a crime to be a tamil in Sri Lanka, but all of the tamils must remember that all suicide bombers that take innocent live have been tamils. So its natural to suspect a tamil person. I agree that every tamil is not a terrorist, but most tamils, some openly and some secretly help LTTE. If ordinary tamils are more helpful in weeding out terrorits, then things would change. But unfortunately we never see ORDINARY TAMILS helping security forces. As long as these things change tamils may have to face such problems. You cant expect these privilleges while there is an ongoing war in a country. That is the bitter fact. Its up to tamils to recognise LTTE as terrorits and agree to a reasonable politiclal solution.

  • http://justmal.com JM

    There’s no question that many of these allegations of ethnic profiling are in fact real, but it is dishonest and bigoted to suggest that this is simply a continuation of the “systematic discrimination of Tamils” that supposedly caused this war. The reason you’re being targeted is simpler – it’s because the probability of a Tamil person being a terrorist is greater. This is the same reason why these Imams got grounded from a plane [1], and why Blacks and Hispanics are paid special attention in Macy’s stores [2], and perhaps even why waiters here don’t like to serve Indian customers.

    Does ethnic profiling disturb the delicate sensibilities of some? It probably does, but it also is efficient and effective in achieving its objective, and that is an important consideration when we are talking about an enemy who could strike anywhere at anytime, and when we cannot afford a margin of error.

    There was none of this during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s regime, but that did nothing to moderate LTTE’s terrorism nor the insatiable fascist totalitarianism of the Tamil nationalist polity. If Tamils perhaps spent their time more productively and proactively instead of holding “Pongu Thamils” in our face, the situation today would be much more different.

    I feel sorry for the innocent people who have to suffer, but this is the unavoidable cost of ensuring the safety of a greater number of people. As Tissa and Harry have rightly said, it not just the Tamils who are being singled out anyway. Throughout my school years, I was checked every day before entering the school premises as if I were a potential terrorist, we were surrounded by soldiers holding loaded guns and our school was one of LTTE’s prime targets due to the fact that many of the military top brass and their children studied there. If I don’t have a persecution complex, why should you? Does the writer think she should be exempt from what we all have to go through merely because she happens to be Tamil?

    1. http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/stay_mum_over_imam/
    2. http://www.jrrobertssecurity.com/security-news/security-crime-news0004.htm

  • Ari DeAndrado

    This is sheer LTTE propaganda and should be blasted effectively. Has the writer ever been exposed to security checks in the US and Western European airports?

    Sri Lanka is under terrorist threat and needs to respond by all means possible. If it means hurting the writer’s pride a li’l bit, Oh just shut up and sop it up, would ya?

    Note that Tamils have not been thrown in internment camps like the US did to Japanese Americans during the 2nd world war. Perhaps the writer does not have time to read these things, what with hanging out at 5 star hotel lobbies all the time.

  • Election Rigger

    Dear writer,

    Many plain clothed tamil suicide bombers have killed thousands of civilians (Tamils, Sinhalese & muslims) along with the politicians/security forces. If you could find ways of identifying a suicide bomber in the streets of Colombo, it would be wiser; this would save all of us.

    Furthermore, if you can make Jaffna a cosmopoliton district as in Colombo, with Sihalese & Muslims being able to buy properties in Jaffna etc; you are bound to be the next Matin Luthur King Jr.

  • Haritha

    This article doesnt on any way justify the existance of racial discrimination.
    Clearly what happened to her was routine. She in her report states clearly that she was not dressed as a tamil and was dressed in jeans and a T shirt.That it in self proves that the questioning was not secondary to discrimination but rather due to the hotel having to protect it self from shady looking characters walking in with large napsacks in to a lobby. Now this bag could possibly have contained a bomb and the security needs to assertain the potential risk with greater good of theie guests.
    Another point to consider is that 5 star hotels are patronised by the undesirable elements such as pipms and hookers who solicit business in these establishments and is totally objectionable for its genuine guests.
    Even though there is no written code you need to dress in a smart way before you enter a hotel to avoid suspicion along the above lines. This in no way indicates discrmination along racial lines, but rather one could argue is not equality in terms of dress code.
    The auntor may find that totally unacceptable however is not clearly discriminatory.
    Now let us look at the flip side. Can a sinhalese go to kilinochchi. Even with a strip search can a sinhalese go there and be gauranteed to come out alive.
    You need not look far very recently the LTTE detonated a claymore mine targetting a civillain bus. Not only that when the injured were trying to get out they sprayed with bullets to finish them off. Now that is racially targetted killing.
    The reporter has certainly got her facts totally wrong interestingly by her own submission. The 80% majority can not go to some parts if the island where as the minority tamils enjoy the whole island. The 10 % claim they want 1/3 of the land mass and 2/3 of the seashore , and cite childish arguments such as what the author has written to justify the unjustifiable. GOOD LUCK, KEEP TRYING HARDER

  • Haritha

    YELLOW I am so surprised at your sentiments. The birth place is ever so important for a country which is ravaged by the Tamil Tigers who decide now and again to strike at soft targets such as the recent Bombings in Nugegoda targetting innocent civillians. Now to answer your question.
    Whilst NOT ALL TAMILS ARE TIGERS , ALL TAMIL TIGER TERRORISTS ARE TAMILS. So you work it out.
    If you were born in killinochchi and could not communicate well in Sinhalese then you are at a HIGHER risk of being a terrorist than some one born in Matara and is Sinhalese.
    This is called targetted profiling and happens very frequently in the west. I am a Sri Lankan Passport holder and a Permenant resident (green card holder) of the US and travel very frequently between London and NY. My pass port is taken in to a room and checked by senior security expert before giving me clearance to check in. This is because a lot of Sri lankan jump ship/seek asylum and travel on forged passports. YOu can’t take these security measures personally. These measure are essentiall to protect the masses even though it may be a pain in the behind for a few of us.

  • RE USA

    I am a foreign-born child of SL Tamil parents. I thankfully do not have a SL ID card, which leaves security people in quite a quandry, for they think if you are brown you should have one. I also don’t speak Sinhala, so they get nowhere in questioning me. When I am in Colombo, I travel around with my brother-in-law. He is fluent in Sinhala and an attorney, so we normally are sent on our way. That is certainly not the case for most people, as I have witnessed first-hand.
    The place in SL where one cannot escape the rude, discriminatory behavior of government workers is the airport. There, if you don’t have the “correct” last name or qualifications, you are treated as if you are in a police line-up. This is probably why you have to fill out that ridiculously long immigration card. I even had to do one for my infant! In the US/UK, the card is only 4-5 lines long. The only ones treated better than Sinhalese are of course the white tourists. For them, the agents immediately bow down and are ready to crawl into the visitor’s backside. Such is the backward thinking in SL-treat your own people like dirt and the strangers like gods.
    As for facts, the majority of people in Colombo are non-Sinhalese? Even some of the govt propoganda makes more sense than that statement. If we are to look at the facts, no Sinhalese were evicted from the city because they had no “reason to be there”, and no Sinhalese have been arrested without charge by the thousands because they happen to be in Colombo. Therefore, it is quite easy to see that but for the supreme court, the law, and other things trivial to this govt., it is a crime to be a Tamil in Colombo, if not in SL as a whole.

  • RE USA

    Just for information to the author, blacks were first elected to the US Congress in the 1860′s.

  • Plain Truth

    Can a Muslim be expected to be treated fair in USA after 911?
    Tamils of SL can ask the same question. These are very real questions.

    The ugly truth is that when irresponsible criminals of a minority declares a war against a society, the good minority of that society suffers. Yes, we can whine all day and blame the society and the majority.

    Do Muslims in US or Tamils in SL feel glorified after a terrorist attack?
    Some people play at the both side of the court. Not only they cheer secretly after a terrorist attack, they complain the repercussions.

    We have all these problems when we are not sincere and not true to ourselves.

  • Rohana Arambewala

    It sounds like this article has been written by an unknown Tamil lady. Usually donot read or reply to article where there is no name. I believe what she says, but there are many questions one has to ask themselves with the situation in Sri Lanka . These are some of the questions we have to honestly ask ourselves before complaining. Sinhala people lived in harmony with all races in Sri Lanka before this so called liberaters of Tamil terrorism came to Sri Lanka. Sinhalese should complain about the inconvenienced caused by this situation and the fear that has been implimented in them by the Psycopath LTTE. No one in Sri Lanka knows whether they will be coming home in the afternoon after school or work in Colombo and many parts of the country because of the terrorism. That fear is going to damage most of the Sri Lankas psychologically in the years to come irrespective of the race. That is also known as “psychological descrimination” inflicted by the LTTE terrorists maninly among the Sinhalese.
    1. Is this situation in the article apply only to the Tamils?
    2. Has any other Sinhalese or Muslim gone through similar situations?
    3. WHy these security or as she says discriminating measures taken by the government of Sri Lanka and other organisations including Tamil oerganisations?
    4. Has Sri Lanka “discriminated” like this before the cancer of terrorism embedded in Sri Lanka?
    5. Is this situation of high security checks unique to Sri Lanka only?
    6. What are the other alternatives any government or country has to protect its population from the menace of terrorism and its deadly suicide bombings of innocent civilians?
    7. Has the Sinahalese being discriminated by the Tamils or Muslims in Sri Lanka?
    8. How other countries coped with ethnic terrorism in the world?
    9. Has Tamils really been “discriminated” in Sri Lanka by the Sinhalese?
    10. When LTTE targetting Sinhala villagers and innocent Sinhalese in Sri Lanka to be killed, is it “discrimination”?
    11. How many Tamil people being targetted and killed in the past by the LTTE in their bombings in the capital Colombo?

    These are only a very few questions needs to be answered before answering this particular writer. It is easy for us all to complain about anything and everything without alternative solutions. We all are not happy about many things in life and that includes and starts with the restrictions put on us by our parents. But when we become parents we put the same or worse restrictions on our children as things around us have changed. Then our children complains. Being not happy and complaining in life is not uncommon. Important factor is to logically look at things and suggest better alternatives or solutions to the issue. We complain about our workplace and practices, when we drive a car etc. etc.

    That is Life and it is upto to us to make the best out of a worse situation rather than moan about things that we can’t change.

    MERRY x’MAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR WITHOUT THE FEAR OF TERRORISM TO ALL SRI LANKANS AND THE WORLD.

  • galleblogger

    i’ll tell you this:
    1-i have to “register” our tamil helper/houseboy at the cid in galle afetr i have registered him at the akmeemana plice h.q., complete with photographs. yes, because he’s tamil. he’s SRILANKAN. (human rights anyone?). murali doesn’t need to register when he bowls/works in galle tho’!??!??
    2-plus all the hassle he got when he wanted to get his national i.d. racial discrimination?
    3-in boossa there is/has been for a while a special guantanamo for tamils. (human rights?)

    draw ur own conclusions.

  • Ange

    Yenmozhi, I’m sorry for your experiences. I can identify with your feelings.

    Looks like everyone can do with a good reading of “real” historical facts concerning this issue. I believe that digging up the past is no way to forgive and move on. And so I continually try not to make generalizations that all Sinhalese are racist just because they chased me from my home when I was four years old or told me I wasn’t qualified for a job because I didn’t speak Sinhalese (fortunately I managed to convince them that I had an excellent command of Tamil and English and could speak and read Sinhala fairly well) or that I don’t “look” Tamil because I’m fair and I speak English.

    But I find it increasingly difficult to be objective when time and time again I hear that I am not the only one who feels like an alien in a country I hope I belong in (having been born and brought up in Colombo)

    The truth is that it is going to be difficult to openly voice the grievances of Tamil speaking people (who are unable to communicate well in Sinhala and as a result face all kind of harrassment & discrimination). It is also true that “Terrorism” in Sri Lanka is a very old devil that the governing powers have used time and time again to lead the poor Sinhala majority to feel threatened for their safety. This is a global phenomenon. (Read Arundhathi Roy’s political essays)

    Instead of getting all defensive and throwing around bad arguments that the brutality of some is justified due to the recent (and forgetting the cause of all this) if we could just listen to someone’s grievances and if not address them ourselves atleast admit they are real we would be half way towards ending this war which has gone on for long enough.

    I’m terrified at what our children are in for when we are so hard and happy to let this problem go on.

  • hari

    Its the acts by Praba and his terrorist gang that bring the misery on us tamils.i ve been a succesful tamilian businessmann in Colombo for many years and i never had such different treatment than sinhalese at the check points.A suicide bomb does not discriminate tamils and sinhalese,it kills all.So we should understand the security threat and that the police are just doing their job.and carrying an ID makes it easier for them to do their job,even sinhalese have to carry their IDs.

  • Sham

    thanks you hari

    you have resored my faith in human kind. here i was thinking is there no person of tamil origin here with courage to call a “spade a spade”. i mean is no one of tamil origin with courage to crtisise the terror of LTTE, even in a hidden forum llike this..

    i mean as most authours above show, what if ur hassled a bit. what if actually a bomb went off in that hotel, wouldnt you Yenmohizi (authour above) complain that adequate security was not provided.

    also, why dont you come out first and condem the LTTE terror in your own word and then say about your discomfort.

  • Bitter truth

    when sirisena commits a crime and remanded by the police there is no issue. However, when Rangasamy commits the same crime the issue of discrimination will come into the scene.
    Unfortunately this is a fact and as cloloured people living in european countries this happens all the time. This is not unique in sri lanka.
    I have been stopped at many ports since september 11 simply because of the skin colour. I questioned this many times prior to sept 11 but since then I have come to realize that this is a paranoid reaction to the effects of
    terrorism.
    Security people stop people randomly or if there is any reason to suspect someone. Unfortunately in Sri lanka, innocent Tamils are paying the price for the murderous work of Tigers.
    I am sure the writer of this article being a person living in a western country
    ( assumption made on analysing the article) is well aware of this yet, tolerates this situation all the time outside sri lanka.

  • Bala

    The answer for the problem in Sri Lanka lies in comments made by Sinhalese friends in this forum. THINK ABOUT IT, IF TWO PEOPLE LIVE IN THE HOUSE CAN`T LIVE TOGETHER THEN, SEPARATE PEACEFULLY LIKE CZECOSLOVAKIA. Let the Tamils go their own way. Only thing Tamils know at this stage, after what they have went through the hands of Sinhalese, get away from these people. It was Sinhales who forced every tamilian to create and support the LTTE by their actions.

    “The truth is that it is going to be difficult to openly voice the grievances of Tamil speaking people (who are unable to communicate well in Inhale and as a result face all kind of harassment & discrimination). It is also true that “Terrorism” in Sri Lanka is a very old devil that the governing powers have used time and time again to lead the poor Sinhala majority to feel threatened for their safety. This is a global phenomenon. “

    Angie has pointed out something that is very important for Sinhalese to realize.

    At the same time certain people compare Muslims in USA to Tamils in lanka shows, the mentality and the understanding of the conflict by Sinhalese.

  • Sham

    hey bala, your free to go anywhere you ant. try malaysia , as there some tamil demonstrations there and also its seems tamil populations is 12.5% of the total population. so why dont you there try for a 2/3 stake of the land for a 12.5% population..

    but please dont expect sri lankans to give you a homeland as there is only one homeland here, being srilanka the full island, and if your not happy, please leave.

    as the saying goes, learn or depart………..

  • TheTruth

    The author has to understand that discrimination within the 5 star hotels is not restricted to Tamils. Shamefully, these locations have now become out-of-bounds for the local population. Indeed, last Sunday’s Lakbima reported how hotels within the Galle Fort had refused service to local customers after the cricket match and it further alleged that there is an organised programme by the foreign property owners within the fort to make the area out-of-bounds for the ‘natives’.

    I can empathise with the Tamil community when it comes to the ordeal they must endure at security checkpoints when they are faced with the inevitable question – “Are you Tamil?”. Indeed, there should be better training offered to these security personnel to improve the interaction with members of all 3 communities. However, it is important to bear in mind the words of one of the commentators here! What Sri Lankan civilians (Sinhala/Muslim/Tamils with no knowledge of LTTE’s misadevntures) fear the most are suicide bombers, and these are always Tamil!

    I live in the UK. Over here there is an on-going debate in parliament about offering the police stop and search powers as part of new counter terrorism laws. After the London bombings, I was stopped and treated as a suspect in view of other commuters inside the underground network because of my obvious foreign complexion! Bearing in mind the current state of affairs, I complied with the security personnel who were trying to protect innocent civilians despite my utter humiliation! The question I would like to pose to the author is whether they genuinely understand the purpose of the strict measures that have been forged as a result of decades of senseless violence directed at civilians and is he/she willing to endure it for the greater good?

  • Bala

    As Sham said if so called Tamil origin like harri criticize Tigers, that will mean nothing the reason being, as Harri said, he is a successful business man in Colombo. but the other 99.99% are regular hard working and at one point in their life hoping the Sinhalese will one day let us live in peace. See if you can make them criticize Tigers, you can’t, because they knew, if it weren’t for Tigers they would have been wiped out from Sri Lanka by now. I am pretty sure if people like harri are in this 99.99% people, he will be singing a different tune.
    Please my Sinhalese friends realize something, the Tamils can be a good neighbour for sin hales in our country of eelam, but refuse to live in same country waiting for some thing good to happen. I know it will be hard in the beginning to swallow that Tamils have their country and living next door. Well friends you brought that upon on your self. Think back to 1958, Tamils was only asking for SAMASTY (50:50, equal rights).

  • TheTruth

    Bala,
    Can you please tell me what rights the Tamils don’t have but are accorded to the Sinhalese for you to state that the Tamils need equal rights? By the way, 50:50 doesn’t mean equal rights!

  • sham

    well bala , you may ask for 50, or 60 % but look at what you have. earlier ur capital was jaffna, then trinco, now both are lost to you, earlier you wanted from puttalam to batti, but now u dont have any eastern assets…

    surely , you must be feeling the pinch? you will notice if you walk in wellawatta that most of the young tamil girls and boys going to tution classes , movies and other fun things.
    the war wont last another generation as the LTTE wont have a troop force. so we just have to last out this praba’s generation only and we will have our full country back.

  • http://justmal.com JM

    Bala, how could 50:50 be equal rights, when it effectively reduces the voting power of a Sinhalese citizen from 1.0 to 0.67, and increases that of a Tamil from 1.0 to 2.0 or even 2.7 . Tamil communal aspirations, as seen by 50:50 proposal and the writer’s absurd demand to be exempted from standard security procedures, is one of special and exclusive rights and privileges that Sinhalese would nor should ever grant.

    Excellent point about Malaysia, sham, because I’ve lived there, and despite the significant Tamil minority, their language is never used in administration or commerce, and most of them remain in the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder. This is the perfect control to scientifically prove that the Sri Lankan Tamil problem is not a result of discrimination, but was a creation of our enemy nations. I only wish that our politicians had the courage of Malaysian leaders to tell the great poet to butt off.

  • RE USA

    Those commenting here that the current measures being taken against Tamils are the result of LTTE terrorism, and also wondering what rights Tamils do not have in SL, obviously were not on the receiving end of “Sinhala only”, 1958, 1977, and 1983 the way my parents and grandparents were. Their library, filled with ancient and irreplaceable items, was not burned to the ground by people wearing the uniforms of their own govt.
    It is quite clear that Tamils are not fellow Sri Lankans in the minds of the average Sinhalese person. Even when speaking with my Sinhala friends, I find it sadly humorous to note how they refer in conversations to “the Sri Lankans” and “the Tamils”. The inference doesn’t even occur to them. And it is this mentality, be it deliberate or not, that keeps the LTTE alive and unfortunately necessary. I have never been a supporter of Tamil militancy nor of partition, but I have to begrudgingly say that without the threat of action by the LTTE, the gang of thugs that is the current SL govt could easily sway the Sinhala population to agree to the elimination of the Tamils.

  • http://justmal.com JM

    RE USA, what happened in 1958 was a result of Tamils’ inflammatory and provocative opposition to changing the official language of the country from one spoken by a tiny elite minority (most of them Tamils) to that understood by the overwhelming majority of the population. Again, using Malaysia as the control, they went through the same change (and some), yet there was no separatist militant movement by either the Chinese or the Tamils. At least in Sri Lanka you can identify as Sri Lankan Tamils, but in Malaysia you remain to be Malaysian born Indians. More SLFPian Sinhalese suffered in 1977/78 than Tamils.

    What happened in 1983 stopped in 1983, and let’s not forget that more Sinhalese were killed in the following year (Dollar/Kent farm massacres etc) anyway. LTTE”s existence cannot but justified by these abstract historical incidents including the destruction of your family library, but these security measures are well justified by LTTE”s existence.

    It is the Tamils who have not made an effort to integrate themselves with the rest of Sri Lanka, although they have timidly undergone assimilation in Western countries they’ve migrated to. If they choose to retain a separate identity shared by our natural enemy across the straits, is it any wonder than they are considered outsiders?

    Elimination of Tamils, even if considered desirable by the GOSL “gang of thugs”, would not be feasible once the LTTE is annihilated. It is extremely difficult to even legitimately detain a few thousand people for a few days, despite the very real threat of any one of them being a terrorist, so how could millions of people be eliminated in this day and age when the whole world is watching? If the Sri Lankan government restrains itself in fear of retaliation, why would they go and try to assassinate LTTE’s top leaders?

  • Bala

    Once again my Sinhalese friends you proved my point, especially JM`s, you are the driving force of LTTE and the eelam Tamils. Keep up the good work. It is very funny JM`s argument that “Elimination of Tamils, even if considered desirable by the GOSL “gang of thugs”, would not be feasible once the LTTE is annihilated“, the reason why Tamils lasted this long in Sri Lanka is LTTE as most of Sinhalese always fail to realize. The way you try explain away the riots which have killed lot of Tamils and destroy their belongings which they work hard for is, pure ignorance. Blaming Tamils for, didn’t put in much effort to integrate with Sinhalese and blaming 1958 riots on Tamils because changing of the official goes against each other and absurd. I don’t have problem with any harsh security arrangements and I believe it should even harder for Tamils in government areas because that will be reminder for them as who they are where they belongs in sri lanka as whole .
    Sham, yes; we Tamils are feeling the pinch not because we lost the real estate as that comes and goes, because our brothers, sisters and our future generations are suffering under the occupation. I just want to remind you some thing, in 1995 when LTTE retreat to Wanni, the whole world including me counted them out. I don’t have to brag about their achievement since then. If Tamils ever going to get eel am that will, only under the present leadership, as you will say “It’s in Praba`s time“.

  • Plain Truth

    For the most part, Sinhalese faces the same problems and challenges faced by Tamils. However many Tamils are very vocal about them and it gives the impression only Tamils are facing problems in Sri Lanka.

    The plain truth is that all Sri Lankans face similar challenges and they have their own reason to start a private war.

  • Plain Truth

    It is possible some Tamils can’t move forward by forgetting some past baggages.
    They often talk about 1957, 1983 etc even though LTTE has killed many Sinhalese and Tamils with Muslims than what happened to Tamils during these times.

    I wonder what the contribution by Tamils to Sri Lanka beside whining and the war?

  • Plain Truth

    Tamil society is more caste polarized than the Sinhalese society. Higher caste Tamils treat their lower casters like TRASH. Yet, they like to highlight whatever Sinhalese have done to them in the past, not what they have done to lower caste Tamils.

  • Bala

    It will be foolish to compare apples and oranges like how Tamils treat fellow lower cast Tamils badly and killing and destroying lives because they are Tamils. I am not saying Tamils were perfect people; they have a lot to blame themselves. One of the reasons the international community is not in our favour is the successful exploitation by the SL government of our division within us. The contribution by Tamils to sri Lankan society not as much as the Sinhalese but if you take per capita wise it would have to be more than Sinhalese, considering the limited resource they have under the occupation or economic embargo. How can we contribute to you when the season in Tamils area are for rice or onion SL government import them from India deliberately to sabotage the Tamils.

  • Plain Truth

    My point is when a Tamil decides to write against a Sinhalese, on one hand they become sort of a hypocrite. On the other hand, you create more animosities. I understand the problems have to be aired. However if one listens to the other side, they have a story to tell too.

    We are a discriminating nation. That discrimination exists at every possible level. Sinhalese discriminate against Tamils and vice versa wherever they dominate. Usually the majority doesn’t write against a minority fearing that they will be labeled as racists.

    I agree the wealth distribution within Sinhalese is more even than within Tamils. However there are more Tamils in the upper income bracket than Sinhalese as a percentage. I have a feeling that this unfair wealth distribution within the Tamil community is caste related and nothing to do with the government.

    Well, I am not familiar with government import export practices. However the market in SL is pretty much open and if the government can bring stuff from outside cheaper, it can be seen as sabotaging Tamil farmers. I have a feeling that this is more of a trust issue than something actually happening. I am sure if there is good relationship between Tamils and Sinhalese political leaders, things will be different. Open market will drive opportunities for everyone.

    There are many Tamil vendors in Sri Lanka and their biggest customer base is Sinhalese. Majority of the people don’t care the nationality of the vendor rather the price of the good and therefore there are some good things about Sinhalese.

  • Pingback: Global Voices Online » Sri Lanka: Being Tami

  • nandasena

    http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=16663

    All the commentators who think that “tamils are well treated in Sri Lanka” need to listen to the above radio talk. It does not help to be in DENIAL MODE. The truth will come out.

    Regarding the comment “It is possible some Tamils can’t move forward by forgetting some past baggages. They often talk about 1957, 1983 etc even though LTTE has killed many Sinhalese and Tamils with Muslims than what happened to Tamils during these times”

    I wonder if this commentator has lost any of his loved ones or lost their livelihood due to violence from the other community, he would forget the “baggage” Accept the fact the Sinhalese started the violence first against the unarmed Tamils. The Sinhalese governments created the LTTE!!

  • Plain Truth

    When you talk about unfair treatment, you have to specify the context. Otherwise you are sending out wrong signals.

    Who created violence against who is a chicken and egg question. All I am asking is let bygones be bygones or forgive and forget.

    There is no such thing called Sinhalese governments and therefore your claim that they created LTTE is invalid. Does it really matter who created them after 30 years?

    Why the future generations have to suffer just because some people have baggage?

  • http://justmal.com JM

    What the likes of Bala show us is that the primary cause of the continuation of war is this absurd self-centred persecution complex of Tamils, their hell-bent drive for revenge for trivial historical wrongs, and their naive steadfast belief of being entitled to special privileges and rights not enjoyed by any other community. It must also be noted that most such proponents of this war are the upper class Sri Lankan Tamil elite, who had lost their colonial perquisites as a result of independence, and the economic migrants to Western nations who have exploited the war back home to seek asylum, and then kept in a perpetual state of anger and hatred by LTTE’s propaganda. The ordinary Tamils in Sri Lanka have greatly suffered by this war, and Sinhalese have prospered and progressed in spite of it, while these Tamil migrants have done the same because of it. No wonder they want the war to go on, if only to avenge the burning of their grandfather’s private library.

  • JP/JP

    It is not a crime to be a Tamil in Sri Lanka and we all know that. The author uses the incident unfairly. Perhaps, she did not know about the 70s JVP insurgency.

    I am a Sinhaleese and gone through the hell during the 70s insurgency period. I was young and worked in Tea/Rubber plantation. I was stopped at gun point by police and army several times and questioned me and some of those officers were very rude. Yes, I was discriminated, because I was a young Sinhaleese (my early 20s) at that time. I was instructed be in the Bungalow by the company HQ. They asked me not to go to the field visits after a similar incident in the field. No one talk about JVP insurgency and what happened to Sinhalese boys/girls at that time. I know it, I was young and fit to the profile of JVP. Once, I was single out from the bus and questioned me about half an hour. The fear was going through my entire body, my knees were shaking and I thought this was it. The policeman almost shot me. Luckily, I was able to convinced him that I was not a JVP cardre.

    Even in USA, you have to carry an ID. The police ask you an ID when they stopped you. Also, every work place you have to wear ID and the security guards ask the questions if you do not have an ID. These line of questionning is very inconvenient but it is a necessary eveil in order to protect the others.

  • nandasena

    In the US and other democratic countries the police may ask your ID, but they will not arrest you without any reason. They will not keep you in “Boosa” indefinitely without charging you! Nor will they torture you. The family members will be notified of the arrests. People do not go missing, or end up as corpses. Atleast they will make inquiries and the findings will be made public.

    There is no point in defending a failed state. The fact that they did all these things during the JVP time is no excuse for doing it now! You may say that these things happen in other countries. Even if it happens in other countries, it does not make it right!!

  • RE USA

    It seems my statement needs some clarification. “Their” referred to the Sinhala community, not my family, and the library in question was the Jaffna library, one of the finest in Asia. It was destroyed because the forces had nothing else to amuse themselves with that day.
    The change of the official language, especially in education, to one that the majority of people understood, is the main event that explains why SL is well behind India and Singapore economically. Otherwise, given the literacy rate, all the outsourcing done in Bangalore should have been in Colombo. I guess SL got what it deserved out of that move.
    JM, you say that genocide in SL is not feasible because the world is watching? Where have you been? Cambodia, Bosnia, Croatia, Rwanda, Sudan – all happened and the world barely yawned in response. Fears of Tamil genocide are not unrealistic. SL is not high enough on anyone’s agenda (except maybe the Norwegians, aka nobody).

  • Bala

    Nanadasena hats off to you. I couldn’t have said better. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    JP in the case of JVP they want to overthrow a elected government and replace with Rohana Vijayaveera but in LTTE`s case it was created for one and only reason, that is to protect Tamils from extinction in Sri Lanka.

  • G

    Thankyou for the article.

    Whilst I do empathise with what has been written I would like to draw your attention to a more pressing issue which I feel has not been addressed – the constitution’s impartial approach toward “discrimination”.

    Sri Lanka’s constitution has sought to emulate that of a modern democracy – one that guarantees equal rights. However, the Sri Lankan constitution blatantly cages society within racial and religious dimensions – this is not democracy but a subtle form of discrimination! I do not need to elaborate on what forms of discrimination exist because I am sure you all already know them – and most probably either vehemently disagree with them or wholeheartedly approve of them. This form of constitution only cultivates a culture of fear and anxiety – a tool which many developing governments wield so powerfully – even against those that they are supposedly protecting (I am sure we have all witnessed the recent spate of kidnappings and political assasinations). The constitution has successfully been able to make society view their problems in terms of race and/or religion!

    As a neo-liberal economist with a social conscience; this is called inefficiency. By discriminating, a country will never realise its full potential. The fear and anxiety culture it creates stifles the creative/entrepreneurial/innovative minds the country has to offer. The result – market failure! To balance a hopeless Current Account Deficit Sri Lanka sends her daughters to the Middle East to act as domestic servants (slaves). This situation is so pathetic that in Lebanon all domestic workers – regardless of caste or creed – have been nicknamed ‘Sri Lankans’. This is just one way in which Sri Lanka’s market failure manifests itself!

    The solution is simple – “Let the best man get his rightly deserved opportunities – regardless of whether we are speaking politically, economically, financially etc”. The culture isn’t going to die – however, it will if we fail to act now and put an end discrimination! If you want proof of this – obviously you haven’t met Sri Lankans living abroad who despise Sri Lanka or visited Sri Lanka in the past 10 years and had to sit through 3 hours of family and friends telling us how lucky we are to be in the West!

    I do apologise for evading the topic but I so wanted to see a bigger picture debate! By identifying the root causes of discrimination (which I believe to be embedded in the constitution) then maybe we can better understand the current issue at hand!

    If anyone would like to work out how I got to this point – please have a look at works by Natan Sharansky and Milton Friedman!

    Thankyou
    -G

  • punitham

    Folks
    Please ask your grandparents what happened in the 50s, 60s and early 70s.
    Ask your parents what happened in the 80s and 90s. As to what happens now, learn to know the difference between biased and unbiased reporting in a climate of oppressed press/journalists.

    Bala
    In the 50s and 60s and early 70s the Tamils asked for Federalism and not 50-50(and firmly opposed separation) at the polls. 50-50 was put forward by a few Tamils before the Soulbury Commission before independence.

  • Proud Sri Lankan

    The writer says she was not dressed as a Tamil would, so how can the hotel staff identify her as Tamil and discriminate her as such?

    What the hotel staff were more likely to be concerned about and would have mistaken her for is a prostitute that would have been hanging around in hotel lobbies trying to solicit customers.

    When you enter somebody else’s premises, you are there at the owner’s discretion, and not being a patron, but simply a member of the general public, can be treated in any manner the owner or the people entitled to be there chooses. If you don’t like it you are welcome to leave.

    The treatment received was more likely dished out due to loitering in hotel lobbies. As no mention was made that identification was asked for, it is very unlikely that the treatment was given due to the fact of being a Tamil.

    It is easy to shout discrimination at every given opportunity, but it should be done only when it actually occurs, rather than naming every unpleasant incident as racial discrimination.

  • Bala

    Hi Punitham, as I know it was Chelvanayagam who was asking for the SAMASTY. I could be wrong. Anyways if what you are saying is true, that gives a lot to think for Sinhalese, who thinks Tamils never made real effort to blend in with Sinhalese and as for Tamils they can be reassured them that they haven’t rushed in to this struggle without giving Sinhalese an opportunity for coexistence.

  • Plain Truth

    For those who are exposed to US law and order after 911, what you find is that whatever happens to Tamils after a suicide blast in Colombo happened to Muslims and people like Muslims in USA.

    Were there arrests without a reason – yes.
    Did they keep people indefinitely without charging indefinitely – yes
    Did they torture people – yes, perhaps not as bad as in Sri Lanka.
    Were the family members informed about the arrests – no.
    Did people go missing – yes (later found and never end up in corpses).

    A person with lot of sorrow and anger carrying on their back can see things very negatively and call Sri Lanka a failed state. Bottom line is, we are not a failed state rather state with failed people. We blame government too much without thinking we are the government. If we promoted good morals within our family and neighbors, we would have translated that into the government and government wouldn’t have corruption.

    Sri Lanka consists of mostly hypocrites, whiners, and parrots. The hypocrites on one hand write about freedom rights, on the other hand write checks to LTTE. The hypocrites can be wearing a yellow robe as well. The whiners do complain about what happened in the past like 1957 and 1983 all the time and unable to escape that framework. According to them, Sinhalese are the mother of all problems. The parrots always sing the same song to the international community like lack of civil rights in Sri Lanka assuming we are a perfect democracy like Canada.

    Therefore no wonder we have no progress. We have created a culture to make it impossible to create visionaries and effective leaders.

  • Plain Truth

    Trying to describe the mother of all problems ……..

    The fact that there were higher percentage of Tamils among SL professionals and in HE support the fact that Tamils did not make an effort to integrate with Sinhalese. In fact there have been stories by Sinhalese in this era that Tamils discouraged them seeking higher education. There was a great desire to include more Tamils in this club by powerful Tamils repulsing Sinhalese by whatever means. That culture made the job of SWRD easy by introducing misery for Tamil people.

    What if there were Tamil visionaries saw that coming?

    The bottom line is, when we have the cake, we must share that with bread eaters otherwise they too will want to eat the cake by themselves.

    The overall happiness of a nation is much more important than the happiness of just one ethnicity.

  • Tamil Sri Lankan

    Its a terrible experience to be ‘profiled’ and discriminated in the place of birth and where one has lived life long. Its pointless to keep going on a blame circle of history, while Yenmozhils alike face this kind of situation. Will the majority community of Sri Lanka ever get rid of their minority complex? Give me a break, Sri Lanka is always going to be at the tip of South India.

  • punitham

    G, thanks for the clarification.
    Bala, there were lone voices for separation from the early 50s but were ridiculed by most Tamils who most enthusistically supported federalism. What was offered in Banda-Chelva pact(1957) or Dudley-Chelva pact(1965) was no decent devolution and Tamils were unhappy about them but Chelvanayagam accepted them only because he was extra-careful to avoid more riots like those of 1956 and 1958(which were maliciously created because Tamils stood for federalism) and believed that Sinhalese might begin to understand what federalism means once the meagre devolution began to work. But alas! that never happened with the UNP opposing the first one and the SLFP the second one. I was told that ‘ethnic outbidding’ is explained in one western university Political Science Department by reference to Sri Lanka.

    Folks
    There is a myth that the Tamils were favoured by the British. With the development of Colombo as commercial centre in the colonial era and the development of tea and rubber plantations in the upcountry and surrounding areas and the difficulties presented by nature in the dry zones of the Northeast – saline water table and sterile land – made the Tamils embrace the Christian Missionaries’ educational facilities eagerly. So there was more than a proportional representation in the lower administrative service but not in the higher administrative service(1983 Holocaust, L.Piyadasa).
    Discrimination? what discrimination?? make me mad.
    1. From 50s onwards there has been utter discrimination in government employment, economic development and colonisation schemes(there are statistical data in government departments up to the 90s but I don’t find any for recent years – I need help from some to find them).
    There were some Sinhalese in the 50s and 60s who didn’t accept scholarships because they should have gone to Tamils.
    Sinhalese teachers visiting Jaffna schools in the early 70s were shocked to find the lack of facilities even at the most prestigious schools(I was teaching at one of them) in the peninsula.

    2. Even when ‘amedments’ are brought in the parliament, they aren’t implemented in the government offices or by the armed forces: some examples: i. Official Language Act – Use of Tamil: lay people in Northeast get government letters in Sinhala, no translation of brochures/pamphlets nto Tamil(not even to English, the so-called link language – I couldn’t get brochures in Tamil or English from Ministry of Forestry produced by departments when I tried to do Environmental Education in Northeast in the 2000s) ……….
    ……………………………..

  • Plain Truth

    I like to give a different perspective for what punitham said about giving preference to Tamils by British. He says the tough terrain made Tamils embrace missionaries. I’d like to go to the peal below and say the typical characteristic of Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamils perhaps played the role in that decision. Is it fair to say Tamils are more comfortable in wealth creation than Sinhalese Buddhists? The wealth gathers always look for opportunities. The person who likes the wealth always become an entrepreneur or positions himself on the right path to become wealthy. The Sinhalese Buddhists perhaps were more interested in spiritual development. If you actually take Sinhalese and Tamil out of the equation, the clash or crisis in Sri Lanka should be to find the right spiritual and physics (material or wealth) balance of people having different life missions. I think Hinduisim or Christianity accommodate wealth than Buddhism. Often people say Sinhalese in SL and Malays in Malaysia re less motivated. It should be said they are less wealth motivated, if my argument holds.

  • hari

    sri lanka police beats everyone,not just tamils.anyway a country like sri lanka needs rules,just because my tamil brothers dont feel at home in their european enclaves,u dont have to take it on all innocent civilians who are fighting hard to survive these days.it is a matter of how the people comply with the SYSTEM,dont respect the government,but respect the constituition.at least it keeps the country moving,or it will be stateless like sudan or somalia.

  • punitham

    1. There was a great revival of Buddhism in late nineteenth century and early twentieth century and there was particularly more opposition to Christian missionaries among the Buddhists than among the Hindus.

    2. Buddhism is considred as part of Hinduism by many Hindus and all JTamil primary schools used to(when I was small) teach about Jesus, Buddha and Allah in those days out of schools’ choice and now as part of National Curriculum there is an input on Buddhism and Islam in Hinduism classes.

    3. Buddhism is a highly respected philosophy all over the world. What shocks many is that some(not all) Buddhist monks have been very racist which is just the opposite of Buddhist philosophy. Can anyone believe that a Buddhist monk killed a prime minister for trying to be considerate(by having Special Tamil provisions in this case)? …………

    4. As far as wealth motivation is concerned it’s difficult to make generalisations. Maybe majority ethnicities don’t have to worry too much about themselves as the governments will look after them more than the minorities – there have been many too many intrastate ethnic conflicts in this world.

    5. Many political analysts have been warning many countries with intrstate ethnic conflicts to learn lessons from Sri Lanka. Political analysts have just said that Sri Lankan ethnic crisis is a good lesson for South Asian countries.

    6. I wish to see hordes and hordes of people to leave their religions to embrace HUMANISM.

  • G

    There are two criticisms of the comments I have read so far:

    1) When we compare the state of security between the US and Sri Lanka we are comparing a relatively developed democracy to a struggling democracy. This distinction is important. Whilst we can accuse the US of many evils – at least their justice system will deliver justice and; at least they are free to criticise the relevant authorities. Just look at the legal quagmire that the US government finds itself in today; with regard to the usage of torture and Guantanamo bay. In addition to a justice system that delivers justice – they have a media that is able to criticise and keep the US administration on their toes. Thus I don’t think it is fair to compare Sri Lanka with the US.

    2) What does race or religion have to do with the potential of the individual? What does race or religion have to do with the direction that the individual makes in life? Nothing. I know there are alot of elaborate theories but they flatly deny the individuality of the human being.

    Thanks for reading!
    -G

  • Plain Truth

    Buddhism was evolved out of Hinduism since there is greater human discrimination existed within Hinduism. Just because someone wearing a yellow robe doesn’t mean that person is a true monk. Religious leaders or priests in many religions have done lot of criminal activities and they are not just restricted to Buddhism. The person killed the prime minister was not a Buddhist monk, rather pretending to be a Buddhist monk. True monk can’t kill anyone.
    True Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka have done a tremendous contribution to the world and the good work out number the poor contribution by a rotten few. LTTE followers have destroyed the nation and Tamils and it is interesting some don’t want to talk about them and instead focusing on isolated incidents by monks.

  • suntzu

    Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.
    The Buddha

    Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
    The Buddha

    To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.
    The Buddha

    ps: Food for thought eh?

  • Plain Truth

    Preaching Buddha’s word without following them is commercial Buddhism.

  • suntzu

    Plain Truth…what the Buddha preached was the ‘PLAIN TRUTH!’ The so called Buddhism that is preached by the tele evangalist buddhist priests in Sri Lanka is ‘Commercial Buddhism!’

    Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
    - The Buddha -

    ps: Doesn’t devolving of power agree with reason and isn’t it conducive to the good and benefit of one and all who live in Sri Lanka?

  • Plain Truth

    Dear suntzu

    I don’t know much about you. Today NGOs and pro LTTE media have started preaching Buddhism to Sri Lankan Buddhists including “tele evangalist buddhist priests” that you mentioned. Which is also known as ‘kakkutu bana’, the preaching of a crab to tell other to walk straight.

    What you simply posted was timeless Buddhist wisdom came out of Kalama Sutta. Please ask the question how many people understand (rather realized) that?

    If you practice Buddhism or whatever religion dear to you whole heartedly, you will connect with another good Buddhist spiritually.

  • http://deleted Sam

    I find it incredible how certain Tamil Hindus point accusing fingers at Buddhists with a holier-than-thou attitude. Many use the term “Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist” as a catch phrase and accuse all Sinhalese Buddhists of not following the Buddhist religion to the dot. However, let’s turn this around and ask: are all Tamil Hindus following Hinduism to the dot? Does not Hinduism, like Buddhism teach ahimsa? Surely suicide bombings, child soldiers, bombs on buses and trains and massacres of entire villages are not things sanctioned by the teachings of Hinduism? Hinduism is a religion that preaches respect to even plant life so what can we make of the current situation? Would it be fair for the Buddhists to point fingers and say “Look! These Tamil Hindus are not practicing their religion!”

    It’s not only the Sinhalese Buddhists who should practice their religion better, but also the Tamil Hindus. Let’s be clear on that.

  • http://deleted Sam

    BTW I am NOT the “Sam” who contributes articles to groundviews. Just realised there is another Sam.

  • Plain Truth

    Sam
    WOW, I want to applaud you for what you just wrote.

    Let’s hope you will not be called a chauvinist or banned your views here.

  • Don’t spread hatred

    People, stop taking sides and denying the realities. Just look at the suffering of innocent people. Both Tamils and Sinhalese alike suffering, maybe one side more than the other. We as civilians, should only see the war on a humanitarian basis. All people want the war to end. So stop being politicians, and be emphathetic to another human suffering whether tamil, sinhalese, muslim, or any other. One person’s small difficulty could be a big difficulty to another, and vice versa. So, please stop spreading hatred to present and future generation with your unthoughtful and smart aleck comments. None of you seem to know the history of the war fully, and what is to be like in the other person’s shoe. Work toward peace by befriending your neighbour, classmate, collegue, peer and standing up for any unfair treatment against them.

  • incurable aethist

    Eelam is a wonderful concept and VP will make a wonderful leader. I only hope all the Tamil diasapora will join VP to build a wonderful nation. Then at least ( hopefully)the rest of us can live in peace.

  • incurable atheist

    To RE USA

    The longest and the most ridiculous immigration form is the one they give just before landing in USA. After a long list of questions where you have to tick boxes – it says …. if the answer is yes to any of the above questions, please contact the nearest US embassy…”

    ‘ None so blind as those who can see but cannot comprehend’
    LD

  • incurable atheist

    So Punitham

    It was okay when the English sent letters to Sinhalese villagers in English?