Impervious and Insular members of Tamil Diaspora: M.I.A. and the Bogey of Genocide in Sri Lanka

MIA

I listened to the interview of Tavis Smiley of the Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) with Mathangi (aka Maya) Arudpragasam; a hip-hop artist (stage name M.I.A.  – Missing in Action) who has been nominated for Grammy and Oscar awards for 2009 (this interview was telecast on January 28, 2009 but I listened to it only in mid-February). Maya was born in Sri Lanka, so she claims, (though I cannot confirm this fact but give her the benefit of doubt) but lived most part of her life first in India and then in the UK and currently a British citizen, to the best of my knowledge. It is imperative to know the background of M.I.A. in order to comprehend the motivation behind the views expressed by her during the foregoing television interview.

Maya’s father, A.R. Arudpragasam (aka Arular), is a pseudo-Marxist and was a founder member of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), which was founded in the early-1970s in the UK by now deceased Eliathamby Ratnasabapathy. Arular is reported to have been living in India since 1978 and received military training in Beirut in the early-1980s (1) from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) of George Habash, another pseudo-Marxist. Arular and Veluppillai Balakumaran (another founder member of EROS) deserted the EROS and merged with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, popularly known as Tamil Tigers) in 1990 (after the exit of the Indian Peace Keeping Force, IPKF, in 1989) under the leadership of Veluppillai Pirapakaran. Arular was largely involved in translation (English to Tamil and vice versa) and propaganda works for the LTTE in Jaffna and Vanni (LTTE-controlled areas in Northern Sri Lanka those days) during 1990-1995 and 1996-2002 respectively.

To the best of my knowledge, Maya was brought up in a single parent household in India and later in the United Kingdom since the late-1970s, as her father was busy with the armed struggle against the Sri Lankan state, albeit largely on a non-military role. Maya’s mother largely depended on social security benefits of the British government for survival of herself and her three children. Hence, M.I.A. was a welfare baby; a breed of the British welfare state, and has hardly visited Sri Lanka ever since her family migrated to India in the early-1980s (and later to the UK), to the best of my knowledge.

Most of what M.I.A. said about the civil war in Sri Lanka during the course of the aforementioned interview was misinformation at best or blatant lies at worse, either due to ignorance or deceit. I presume the latter; during almost the entire duration of the interview she was holding or caressing her bulging stomach (she was in advanced pregnancy) presumably because of the misinformation or lies flowing out of her mouth pricking her conscience.

“It is ironic that I am the only Tamil, turn out to be the only voice for the Tamil people in the western media” thundered M.I.A., a claim that smacks of self indulgence and echoes the claim of the LTTE that it is the sole representative of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka; a claim accepted by very few Tamils in Sri Lanka or in the diasporas.

“There is a genocide going on………systematic genocide since 1983…. Tamils being twenty percent of the population getting wiped out…. 350,000 stuck in the battle zone getting wiped out…. one-sided, one hundred percent…. there are 4,000 Tamil Tiger soldiers but the Sri Lankan government, a million soldiers big, wants to wipe out the whole Tamil population” claims the self-appointed spokesperson and saviour of the Tamils in Sri Lanka (2). I can forgive M.I.A. for her lack of understanding of the meaning of ‘genocide’ because she is not educated enough to understand such terms. However, whether M.I.A. is able to comprehend the meaning of ‘genocide’ or not, I can vouch for the fact that she has certainly mastered the art of deception. I can refer her to an elaborate recent interview with Dr. Franklin Lamb by International Lawyers Without Borders (3). According to a statement issued by the United Nations on February 16, 2009, the LTTE is (ab)using Tamil civilians in the conflict zone as human shield and shooting and killing civilians attempting to flee the conflict zone. The UN also highlighted the fact that children under the age of fourteen are continued to be forcibly recruited by the LTTE to fight this futile war (4). Is not the sacrifice of the Tamil children for lost cause genocide of the next generation of the Tamil community?

When and how did M.I.A. count 350,000 Tamils in the battle zone? How did she know that there are one million soldiers in the Sri Lankan armed forces? As a person who has undertaken post-conflict needs assessment in the conflict zones in early 2003 and post-tsunami needs assessment in early 2005 for the UN (mostly in LTTE-controlled territories), I can authoritatively say that there are only about 100,000-150,000 people in the battle zone (i.e. LTTE-held area in the Vanni) as of mid-February 2009, which amounts to a mere 0.50 – 0.75 % of the total population of Sri Lanka (circa 20 million) (5). So, how on earth she claims that Tamils accounting for 20% of the population are being wiped out? Of course, unacceptable numbers of innocent Tamil civilians are being killed in the past few weeks by both sides of the war, which is certainly a cause for grave concern. To the best of my knowledge, there are only about 300,000 personnel in the police and three armed forces (army, air force and the navy) of Sri Lanka, and not a million as M.I.A. claims.

M.I.A. also claimed that there are “two ethnicities – majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils” in Sri Lanka, which is factually incorrect. There are, in fact, several ethnic communities living in Sri Lanka – Sinhalese, Tamils of North & East, Muslims (though bulk of them speak Tamil they prefer to be identified as a separate ethnicity), hill-country Tamils (migrants from Tamilnadu state in India during the British colonial rule), Malays, Burghers, Chinese, Veddahs (indigenous people), Sindhis, Bohras, Memons, etc.

The self-professed “only voice for the Tamils in the western media” left out some other “truths” of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Perhaps, because she has been traveling around the world as a “refugee” she has not been in touch with what was happening in her homeland. Cannot she remember the truth that LTTE massacred hundreds of Muslim worshipers in two mosques in Eravur and Kattankudy in the Batticaloa district (Eastern Province) in 1990? Cannot she remember the truth that innocent Sinhalese villagers were hacked to death by machetes and swords by the LTTE throughout this nasty civil war in the Eastern and Northern Provinces? Could not she remember the truth that nearly 100,000 Muslims were forced out of their homes in the Northern Province by the LTTE in 1990? Muslims were given only seventy-two hours (in many cases only twenty-four hours) notice to vacate their historical habitats and were not allowed to take their furniture or consumer durables along with them. Was not the massacre at the mosques genocide? Was not the forcible eviction of Muslims from the North ethnic cleansing?

“Tamil civilians do not have the right to speak or right to think, right to live” so goes celebrity untruths of M.I.A. who has hardly visited Sri Lanka in the past twenty-five years or more to make this sweeping claim. I myself (a Tamil from Northern Sri Lanka) have been criticising the Sri Lankan Government on matters of economic policies, human rights violations by the armed forces, corruption, transparency and accountability of public finances, etc, in public forums such as the media. Of course, I am fortunate to be still alive, but not many other critics of the government were, particularly media personnel, in the past three years.

Whether M.I.A. wins the Grammy and/or the Oscar or not; certainly, M.I.A., an epitome of the art of deception by the impervious and insular members of the Tamil diaspora, deserves a naattu patrallar (person affectionate to the country or patriot) award from the demon god of the Vanni. In any event, poor civilians caught up in this vicious civil war would have never heard of M.I.A. or hi-hop music, nor are they interested. This kind of celebrity untruths will boomerang on the worldwide Tamil community as liars of the first order. Even the actual truths will be construed as untruths or at least suspected by the international community. As an ethnic Tamil myself, while on the one hand I am proud of M.I.A. being nominated for the Grammy and Oscar awards, on the other hand I am disgraced by her blatant lies on television on behalf of “all Tamils” in Sri Lanka (and beyond), whereas nobody has given her permission to represent all Tamils.

As a learned person I have bit of advice for M.I.A. and the like impervious and insular members of the Tamil diaspora around the world; “It is preferable to tell the truth, small in its dimensions, than a large lie artfully embellished.” (Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, 1985, Guerrilla Warfare, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp146)

References

  1. Sabaratnam, T, Pirapaharan, Volume 1, Chapter 31, pp5-6. http://www.sangam.org/Sabaratnam/index.htm
  2. Reiterated by Bruce Fein in The Boston Globe on February 15, 2009 http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/02/15/genocide_in_sri_lanka?s_campaign=8315
  3. http://www.sott.net/articles/show/175370-Israel-s-Attack-on-Gaza-Legitimate-Self-Defense-or-War-Crime-
  4. http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=76378
  5. In 2004 there were 378,000 people living in LTTE-controlled territories in the North, almost 90% of which have been taken over by the Sri Lankan security forces in the past fourteen months of fighting. (See Sarvananthan, Muttukrishna, 2007, “In pursuit of a mythical state of Tamil Eelam: a rejoinder to Kristian Stokke, Third World Quarterly, 28 (6), September, p1187)

Author

Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Ph.D. (Wales) M.Sc. (Bristol) M.Sc. (Salford) B.A. (Hons) (Delhi), hails from Point Pedro, Northern Sri Lanka, and is the Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development http://pointpedro.org and a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington, DC, U.S.A.

Editors Note

This essay is is a slightly expanded version than one has already been published in print, and includes citations.

  • http://www.groundviews.org Sam Thambipillai

    An African proverb says ” One who lies with dogs shall rise up with fleas”. This explains in short the recent history of the Sinhalese. Junk talk, junk state propaganda, and junk politics on Tamil matters, Tamil lives and Tamil freedom by the politicos became a norm than an exception from 1948. Sleeping with them have made the Sinhala populace to “rise up with fleas”.

    Though politics is not warfare, it is not so in Sri Lanka(SL). Turning politics into warfare comes from autocracy or lack of wisdom. The politics in the South started to build a Sinhala Buddhist cult cocoon in 1956. And now the cult advocates, engages in and condones violence contrary even to the basic Buddhist principles of kindness and compassion to others.

    The Sinhala law makers abused the legislature and the “constitution” to change the politics of legitimate rights of the people of North East(NE) for self governance and self determination into hate, military warfare and the present brutal acts of genocide. They extended the draconian Emergency Laws, repeatedly on a monthly basis, knowing fully well the acts of genocide.

  • Velu Balendran

    The moment the author got really personal and started attacking below the belt, literally too, in paragraph 4, it became clear that this article will not enlighten us with a considered opinion of an academic. “It is imperative to know the background of M.I.A. in order to comprehend the motivation behind the views expressed by her…” says the author leaving us perplexed as to what his own motives may be, considering the outrageous, condescending and patronising statements he makes. I am sure no serious peer reviewed journal would be willing to publish what is essentially propaganda, lacking academic rigour and dispassionate/unbiased analysis demanded by them for publication.

  • Kumar Nadaraja

    This is a factual report on MIA and the very independent analysis on teh lies M.I.A said on the television. It is a disgrace for the whole tamil community since the whole world now knows that what M.I.A said was a big lie. I think if there was any sympathy left for innocent tamils who really suffer from the war was destroyed by M.I.A with her stupid comments at the interview.

  • Kumar R

    Dear Dr. Muttukrishna,

    Your article titled “M.I.A. and the bogey of genocide in Sri Lanka” (which also appeared in the Sunday Leader dated March 1, 2009) was quite illuminating, in more ways than one.

    Rightly or wrongly M.I.A. expressed her sentiments based on the information available to all, including you, if only you have access and an inclination to read material outside of the Sri Lankan news media and State sponsored propaganda disseminated through its embassies. If you at least glanced at such other information sources, you will find it is not difficult to come to the very same conclusions that M.I.A. came to. So, being an educated one, it may be useful to be open to the idea that your accusation of M.I.A. as the misinformed one may in fact be quite misplaced.

    In this regard, perhaps you can explain the rationale behind the various gatherings in almost all of the World’s capitals in the recent weeks protesting against, yes you guessed it, “Genocide” — 125,000 protesters in London, close to 100,000 in Toronto, similar proportionate representation of Tamil Diaspora in Washington D.C., Paris, Geneva, Oslo, and Sidney, to name a few. Are they all less “educated” than you are and less informed than you are? Is that your conclusion?

    Doctor, I must admit it was an excellent try on your part to cast doubt about M.I.A.’s claim to being Sri Lankan born, thus leaving a suspended suspicion in the reader’s mind that she could indeed be a liar. Incidentally, that tactic to demonize before destroying mirrors the recent attempts of Barak Obama’s political opponents in the U.S. You, a copy cat? No, it is possibly just a convenient coincidence, especially if you are as educated (not merely book-learned) as you yourself reiterate in your passages in case the readers happen to overlook the “Dr.” in your title.

    I must record my humble observation on your need to write such a scathing retort to a recently recognized, global celebrity, hardly passed the teen years and possibly several decades your junior.

    Sri Lankan Government has an urgent need to neutralize the increasing accusations of genocide from all corners of the world, not just from the desk of Tavis Smiley at PBS. The Government recognized the futility of openly challenging the international leaders, reporters and witnesses, the hundreds of thousands of the Diaspora that includes a large segment of internationally recognized and respected professionals, perhaps some a bit more “educated” than you.

    So the Government decides to go after the weakest and the most visible one — M.I.A. Weakest, in the Government’s mind, given that she is young, and not as educated as you, as you want to emphasize. Further, the Government decides it will be most effective if the retort comes from a notably educated professional from the Tamil ethnicity itself – not much unlike how the Government leveraged the education and ethnicity of Kathir and the Hoole brothers. And, indeed you fitted in perfectly: ethnicity, education, and above all, willingness. I must also note that, just as much as you were gracious enough to give M.I.A. the benefit of the doubt on her claim, I am too willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on both your claims to education denoted by the subtle “Dr.” title and the surname you use to un-mistakenly pinpoint your ethnicity.

    Doctor, it is worth examining M.I.A.’s motives, even if she was as misinformed as you suggest.

    * From the vast amount of non-state news media she has gathered that the Tamils have suffered and continue to suffer substantial unfair treatment by the Sri Lankan Government’s “majoritarianism” that has only intensified over time – her conviction results from the displacement of her own family and the knowledge that countries such as Canada, Australia and several European countries officially recognized and opened up immigration specifically for “Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka”. What more proof does she need to believe that Tamils were not treated equitably in Sri Lanka? If they were, why would these foreign nations open up “refugee” status immigration for them? Obviously you would defend parroting the Foreign Service that it happened in the early eighties and has no significance now. Can you tell us what the Government has done politically since then to give Tamils the confidence that what happened periodically and repeatedly between 1957 through 1983 will not be repeated if Tamils are unable to defend themselves as they did after the shameful and tragic slaughter of Tamils in 1983?
    * M.I.A. further sees that the Tigers are banned, with no funds allowed for them to support or protect themselves or those in their care. Yet, Sri Lanka continues to purchase more and increasingly lethal weapons in vast quantities to be used within the country; a situation unique to Sri Lanka — conventionally, these weapons are used by countries only to protect the borders from invading foreign countries, not to intimidate and subjugate their own citizens. M.I.A. justifiably fears for the lives of the helpless Tamil civilians trapped and is rightly apprehensive of the Governments callous indifference to the civilian casualty, as long as the civilians were not Sinhala Buddhists. Remember the then President J.R.’s suggestion that the more he crushes the Tamils, the more support he will get from the Sinhala Buddhists? Coming from the President, in your learned opinion, would that qualify as at least bordering on a genocidal concept? Perhaps M.I.A. has read that in the BBC archives, and that may have escaped your inclinations.
    Now that M.I.A. has the World stage, perhaps she thought it appropriate and perhaps even duty bound to use her god-given fame and fortune to alert the world to the incivility of “majoritarianism” practiced in Sri Lanka. A check on the regressive trend in Sri Lanka will not only be an immense, immediate relief for the 300,000 suffering minority in the short run, but will also stem the whole country from racing stupidly towards a total failed-state collapse in the longer-run. In case you don’t believe the Tamils, just take a moment to listen to the leaders of the L.S.S.P. on what they think of Sri Lanka’s prospects, should it continue in its chosen current path. Or read what the Singapore President Lee Kwan-Yew wrote recently about his impression of Sri Lanka’s performance prompted by its discriminatory policies.
    * In effect, M.I.A. decided to use her fame and fortune that she earned based on her own talent and hard work to do something that she earnestly felt would induce the internationals to intervene in Sri Lanka for the betterment of her own community that she left behind, and also to keep the whole country on-board in a progressive, rather than regressive, trend in line with universally respected policies such as those mandated in the U.N. She did that selflessly; she had nothing to gain personally, except perhaps a few cheers and lots of blessings from those affected.

    One should therefore admire, rather than admonish M.I.A. for her continued selfless concern and commitment for the helpless suffering in the Sri Lankan north, and her willingness to go beyond basking in her limelight and attempt to bring some suffering to an end. If she was mistaken, it wouldn’t take the internationals long to find out first hand, if only they would be allowed.

    You don’t think M.I.A. is educated enough, and further that she is misinformed. If so, she should be inconsequential. Yet, you see the necessity to vilify her so harshly. You must then think that if not for your unique wisdom, somehow, the rest of the world will be swayed by this misinformed, uneducated and lying individual.

    Now, therefore, in the same breath, let’s examine your likely intentions – please correct me if I am wrong.

    What made you want to bash M.I.A. who is merely asking the Internationals to take a closer look at Sri Lanka and its policies? What is wrong with that call for attention, given that (a) the country’s economy has been dragged down from above that of Singapore to below that of Bangladesh within a couple of decades, (b) the political status has been degraded to the levels of the worst and long-forgotten cases in the most destitute parts of the African continent (c) the social life has been strained beyond what happened behind the iron-curtain in the Soviet Union at its worst, with Sri Lankan events contributing to an exodus of foreign and local journalists if they are lucky enough to escape death or incarceration – with both of Lasantha’s wives cases in point, (d) health, nutrition and education rated at equivalent to that of Ethiopia, (e) income and labour standards that promote exports of local mothers and maidens as near-slaves on a Governmental priority project to the Middle-East, East Asia and even to Chennai, that not even Ethiopia thought fit to do. What other democracy could boast of all this “development”? Yet, your concerns surround M.I.A.’s place of birth, her education and her lapse in intellect. Well done Doctor!

    If the Internationals were to take a closer view of the happenings in Sri Lanka as M.I.A. promoted, who would it hurt? It seems only the despotic Government, controlled by three brothers, stand to lose. Can you name another democracy that would stand for such family-power at the helm? It seems the Government is pursing the war-mongering as a ruse to divert attention from all of its failings and improprieties that Lasantha along with several other now-late journalists strived to expose. One must thus conclude your objection of M.I.A.’s call for international alert is to help protect the Government from its possible misdeeds – kind of an “amude” Muthukrishna to the fore to cover the shame of the Government. Right? If there weren’t any shame to cover, then why are you so vehemently objecting to an international scrutiny? Can you name any other negatives that could result from M.I.A.’s call for international attention? If not, one must also assume that you are being rewarded handsomely by the Government for this “amude” role – or perhaps an “amude” undertakes its duty just for the sheer privilege of caressing the family jewels, figuratively speaking of course!

    Or, are you doing this to assert to your other Sinhala-Buddhists friends, colleagues, bosses and the like that you are on their side of the fence to ensure continued support, protection, employment, and whatever.

    In either case, unlike M.I.A’s selfless act, what you are doing is just self-serving, never mind the implications to the hundreds of thousands of affected civilians in the north now, and to the whole country in the longer run.

    Perhaps, you want to take the high road, convincing us that you do not tolerate lies and unfair accusations, and M.I.A.’s statements are just that. If that is so, could you please let us know of such “objections” to lies and unfair accusations that you have written and published previously? Did you find any of the interviews, publications, statements of the Sri Lankan officials, agents and other Sinhala-Buddhists propagandists which were either misinformed statements or lies, intentional or otherwise, which you would consider prejudicial to the Tamils as a community? If you would send us such a list of your previous interventions to substantiate your credibility beyond the ‘amude” role, then perhaps we could judge you kindly despite your lengthy harangue that I believe Lasantha would hardly have approved for publication in his esteemed News paper, if only he was alive!

    It will not surprise me if you take the convenient “LTTE apologists” excuse to dismiss my response. Let me make two things very clear.
    * First, M.I.A.’s statement was not a call of support for LTTE, but rather merely a call for international attention to the civilian tragedy taking place in the North – if the cause of the tragedy is LTTE, let the internationals come to that conclusion after a scrutiny of their own. That will go a long way towards correcting not only M.I.A but the whole Diaspora’s view of the situation, if in fact they were misinformed — nothing you say or the Government says, at the exclusion of independent verification, can achieve that.
    * Second, my response, similarly, is not in support of LTTE but rather an indictment of your undue belittling of a tragic situation that has placed close to 300,000 Tamils in total despair in the North, and hundreds of thousands of Tamils worldwide in enormous emotional turmoil over the fate of their loved ones. All you can think of doing under such circumstances is to castigate the selfless act of a young, up and coming, now world renowned young girl trying to bring international attention to this horrendous tragedy. You go beyond that, attacking her personally, casting doubt on her credibility and denigrating her intellect just because she does not have a “Dr.” title that you proudly carry. Is that what they taught you at the school that decorated you with the doctorate?

  • Muru

    When talking about the of Tamil expatriates’ habit of ‘selecting’ local politicians to voice the LTTE cause, surprisingly most of their champions can be categorised as eithe Naive or Crook.

    This week’s revelations about LTTE’s UK lobbyist MP Keith Vaz, proves again that he is a man of no policies but is ther to be bought. That’s why a crook lawyer chose Mr Vaz as his lobbyist to pressure British Judiciary investigators to drop multiple cases against his firm. It has been already proved that MP Vaz was ‘rewarded’ by the theiving law firm , in many ways for his services.

    Through out his chequred history as a Labour MP, Vaz was famouse for sleaze but mysteriously Blair Government not only decided to forgive him, but kept rewarding him variouse Select Committee chairmanships.

    Definitely he is not with the Naive lot.

  • Tamilan

    Nice storytelling may be the Editor should start writing children’s book. It will make more money then getting paid by SL government.

  • http://www.groundviews.org groundviews

    Tamilan, your advice well taken as it is quite evident that you’ve not progressed very far beyond children’s comprehension.

  • chris g

    I’m a 25 year old sinhalese Sri Lankan who grew up in colombo, while I don’t condone her view of the current situation I admit I love her music. The poor girls cousins dead and her dad’s in LTTE, so it doesn’t require a Ph.D. to tell she’s biased in her opinion.

    Kids these days love freedom struggles and so called revolutions, so maybe she is spreading this story to sell more CD’s. She is a great artist loved and respected by many for her style of music and her music is played on radio and in clubs across the world. It makes me proud to hear music made by some one who shares my roots in a foreign country.

    Finally I think it’s sad to see so called “Well learned people” walking around calling people welfare babies. I’m not usually fond of my tax money supporting bums who don’t work for a living, but success stories like this makes me wonder.

    BTW,
    its hip-hop

  • zilinrio

    Hi MIA come to sri lanka and see how tamils in wellawatta live in most comfortabloy. See TV tamil lines and underst5and how they enjoy.
    U just pour words without knowing anything. We sinhalese as Sri Lankans like to love u too as a person who has polulerise in the western countries. So dond be mislead with lye of Tigers who made the hell for tamils.

  • ashan

    goes on to show , when a person like M>I>A become in her own words the only tamil spokesperson for the word (monkey praising its own tail) no wonder the tamils are worried,

    oh where are your intelectuals , ah yes -killed by your own LTTE…
    when MIA said she is the only sopkesman, neelan would have turned in his grave lol///

  • Ruwan

    Do we need to prove how much she lied in order to support the cause of the LTTE, her father prove her completely wrong only a few weeks later. He was in Sri Lanka recently and was lile. If there is a genocide, how come especially a person like that survive in Sri lanka, wandering among Sinhalese people. He surely felt safe to go to Sri lanka after all these false accusations to the Sinhalese people by her daughter.
    Perecentage of Tamils she is concerned is only 12%. The rest of the Tamils are the Indian Tamils live in the central part of the country. The LTTE never represented them. They were counted towards the total percentage only when they wanted. Do some simple math. Population of Sri lanka is only 20 million.12% is only 2.4 million. over 50% of those Tamils live mingled with the sinhalese in th south of the country. That makes only about 1.2 million Tamils living in the areas demarcated by the LTTE. Does she mean that 25% of them are in an area of 35 square kms? I

    f the so called liberators of Tamil people use the innocent civilians as human shields. They may obviously get killed. It is not genocide. If it is, it is by the LTTE Tamils them selves and the Sinhalese should not be accused.
    Ruwan K.

  • Dinesh

    Why should we be listening to M.I.A (the so called daughter of a terrorist).

    She was so mis-informed and ignorant to the thousands of innocent Tamils murdered by the LTTE if only they opposed them.

    M.I.A do the entire Tamil Community a favour and help us to destroy the LTTE and save the TAMIL population. You were right about one thing, there is Genocide going on Sri Lanka, but not by the Singhalese Govt, but by the Ruthless terrorist group called the LTTE that have taken thousands of innocent Tamil Lives. Ashamed to hear your rubbish on Television M.I.A. I only have one parting word for you, please learn from this and help the Tamil people by destroying the LTTE.

  • Joanne

    I can understand the editor wants to stay away from the white van. He is doing the right thing to secure himself.

  • Sundar

    Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Ph.D. (Wales) M.Sc. (Bristol) M.Sc. (Salford) B.A. (Hons) (Delhi), hails from Point Pedro, Northern Sri Lanka, and is the Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development

    looks like this bloke was mising in action for long time. we had experianced state terror
    and that is what she explained to the world as a single person.
    we should salute her. not degarde her.
    in tamil there is a golden word padicha mutal , and it looks like it suites this auther.

  • http://www.esteem.com Justin

    The author said “I can forgive M.I.A. for her lack of understanding of the meaning of ‘genocide’ because she is not educated enough to understand such terms. ”

    Madam, do you know what genocide is and the plolitical and physical process it goes through?

    Any genocide, be in Bosnia, Germany, Rwanda or any other country started first with Discrimination. With acute discrimination, there is dehumanisation of those discriminated. Dignity of those discriminated is taken away and finally, destruction of lives by murder, disappearance and rights violations take place.

    Has this not happened to Tamils of SL in stages? If you cannot understand this please understand now firmly that it was and what exactly is going on in SL. It is unequivocally genocide.

    Genocide does not depend on the number killed but on the intent to destroy a people or a group of people.

    We forgive you for your ignorance.

  • Nicolai

    Well I have put in a comment already in another thread re: my views on whether I think the state is a sponsor of Genocide against the Tamils. Having read comment after comment, some of them so long that I had to skip them, the message is pretty clear that it is unlikely anyone, no matter how logical the others side’s argument may be, is not going to change his views on this emotionally charged subject. If anything the emotions just get stronger.
    MIA is probably the sole young Western “celebrity” representative of the Tamil diaspora elements living abroad, but certainly does not represent this Tamil. By the way I do love to sleep with beautiful women. But Dogs? No thanks, I’ll pass.
    MIA’s views don’t appear to be much different from many who have commented here.
    Now I must say I had never heard of MIA until she became this so called spokesperson for the Tamils, but it is too bad that her celebrity status probably has effectively influenced many and It certainly won’t do anything to help us get to get on with our lives as Sri Lankans.
    I agree with many things said by Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, but I really don’t believe that MIA and many like minded diaspora members are lying. They are saying it as they believe it to be, for all the reasons mentioned in the article. There is not much that can be done to change that, unfortunately.
    To Final Things:
    1) I think people need to look up the word “genocide” and understand what it means.
    2) The second thing is that if Muttukrishna Sarvananthan is being arrogant as many have accused, more power to him. Look at his credentials? He has the right? He has spent much of his life doing research and gathering real information for himself and guess what? He probably came up with his conclusions all by himself. Imagine that? He has also surrounded himself with intellectuals most of his life and he probably just can’t suffer fools.

  • Observer

    I have always been concerned of this willy nilly usage of the word “genocide”. It is doing more harm to the genuine and legitimate grievances of Tamils than it does them any advantage. Because end of the day rational people with access to some accurate information knows that there is no genocide occurring. Academics who has done the research stop listening to the parties that throw the word “genocide” after a while. And I’ve seen it happen. This is even backed by most humanitarian agencies. It is a sad case of when the sheep cried wolf.

    At a time when there is so much to achieve in terms of reconciliation, the reckless propaganda machinery of primarily expat Tamils who still live in the “Ceylon” they left in 1983, they’re robbing the fed up Tamils who are caught between a rock and a hard place to voice their own concerns. Instead of helping them, they still try to seek vengeance on past injustices that may or may not continue to haunt them. Maybe in their own way they think that this limitless blood letting in order to gain an eelam is the only justice Tamils in Sri Lanka can get. I just hope that they open their eyes and embrace the alternative paths. I can gurantee that road to redemption is not a road but a red river of Sinhalese and Tamil blood flowing into an endless ocean. So stop for a moment and ponder who is causing the real genocide of Tamils, at least the architects and investors. What’s the value of blood?

  • Kumar R

    Perhaps it will be useful to distinguish two concerns here. Is Sarvana trying to establish (a) there is no genocide in Sri Lanka or (b) that M.I.A. is not a credible person? In view of Sarvana’s noted credentials, I must, like most others, assume, he is addressing the first and not the latter. If he wants to challenge that issue, given his education, experience, intellect and what have you, why not challenge some other worthy opponent – Dr. Boyle, Bruce Fein, Dr. Shander, Mrs. Navaneetham Pillay, or any one of the other countless prominent persons who write or present the genocidal concern regularly and in multiple forums? Isn’t it at the least cowardly to selectively take on the weakest of the bunch. Further, the method he chooses to counter her genocide claim is also underhanded — merely attacking her personal credibility. Grossly unbecoming of a refined researcher!

  • Westerner

    FACTS:
    There are many among Sinhala population that are against the government due to so many reasons.
    Higher percentage of the Tamils in Sri Lanka is against LTTE.
    Sri Lanka being a colonized country suffers from economic hard ships as expected.
    Common difficulties faced by an average Sri Lankan irrespective of the race is often misinterpreted as discrimination by certain minorities.
    There is a huge demand for western VISAs in the whole region (south Indians migrate to other countries in huge populations not due to discrimination by their government.)
    This gives a business model for the Diaspora to earn by supporting others to get the VISAs and collect money in return. The term “GENOCIDE” supports this business model very well.
    There is a crystal clear difference in intellectual ways of those who migrate with political asylum and the author of this article.
    Anyone can easily understand the above by reading some of the comments here and the host article.

  • maximus

    Glorious Doctor Sarvananthan’s PhD, double-MSc, Bsc, and Fullbright scolarship don’t come close to MIA’s talens, skills and beautiful music. Pundit learned Doctor, don’t you have any shame to insult another human being with condescendance like “buging stomach”, “pricking conscious” and “wefare baby” – or is it that you are simply jealous that you could never make it to the level of success that a woman two or three decades younger has achieved? Perhaps you wish it was you who would be interviewed by Travis? Sorry Doctor, it won;t happen in this lifetime – and a bit of advice – if you truly wish to be respected by other similar peers, stop insulting others, especially ones who can easily be your grand children.

  • http://www.cnn.ca Kannan

    Your a Disgrace to tamils!!! simple as that

  • Friendly Advice

    Sam Thambipillai states: “An African proverb says ” One who lies with dogs shall rise up with fleas”.

    That’s nice but please keep your posts relevant mate!

  • http://www.groundviews.org Sam Thambipillai

    To; Friendly Advice

    Don’t you see “fleas” sticking? Just look at the opinions here of those who have “slept” with Sinhala culture of anti Tamilism and brutalism for the past several years and the present genocide ! Why are the Sinhalese so inhuman? What has gone wrong? Is it not the sticking “fleas” from politicos!!

    Even amongst the Tamils, there are people with “fleas” , contacted from Sinhala political masters. A reason for the present genocide. They even argue against the established fact of genocide.

    Education, even a Phd cannot nullify it. A less educated such as AMI can be truthful and offend such people with “fleas” to be disgracefully uncultured and descend to very low level.

    That is the relevancy here.

  • tmorgan

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090604/wl_sthasia_afp/srilankaunrestshipcivilians

    Verdict is in; Government of Sri Lanka wants Tamil civilians dead. Sending aid away while there is not enough milk powder for babies or medical supplies for the injured.. hiding behind paper work when their UK embassy and other officials were notified of the mission..

    If they followed Buddhist precepts (they claim Buddhism is their official primary faith), Sri Lanka would not be in such a mess & they would be an Asian economic tiger. The kind of tiger which benefits all!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4UcKxF7rSY

    There won’t be peace in Sri Lanka until they have freedom of the press, embrace the federal idea, take steps to reform their military/police Re: ethnic tolerance and allow NGO’s access to all the IDP camps.

  • pemma

    Bravo Dr Sarvananthan. However much the truth hurts, it must, it must be said..

  • chinthana

    gosh
    reading these comments from the tamil diaspora, i fell really v v sorry for them. Please come home to sri lanka, stop fantasizing and look at how many Tamil people are being killed in Sri Lanka. And i used to think tamil people were a brainy lot! Sad to be so mistaken.

  • Nilster21

    Sri Lanka is a rich cultural melting pot, MIA has never mentioned in her interviews anything about the positive side of Sri Lanka’s diverse past…due to colonialism the Portuguese,Dutch,English and other European countries all been to Sri Lanka…sinhalese and tamils are so diverse..it was was the english who in th first place brought the small tamil population from the southern part of India “Tamil Nadu”..years on it is the Tamil Tigers(LTTE terroist group) who want to divide Sri Lanka all that ignorant people such as MIA do is stirr up more political problems for Sri Lankans all over the world…if MIA actually talked about something positive, for example the fact that Sri lankans are united, even through civil war, in Sri Lanka (sinhalese/tamils/buddhists/catholics/christians/muslims all live & work together on that tiny island together) sri lanka has so much beauty in its rich artistic history due to all the different ethnicities which have been there…every country has political struggles, the middle east is far worse off than Sri Lanka…or in Australia, the indigenous aboriginal tribal communities have been ruined due to Europeans interference…right now if u read the current sri lakan news the country has worked hard to finally reach peace, but off course this is not good enough for MIA ,she just a one-sided, narrow minded brat who just makes noise always about the bad, plus if she really wants to help Sri lankans instead of complianing so much she needs to actually go to Sri lanka and help the people, there is no good in her jus shouting about some comments in a newspaper..she is a classic attention seeker making noise to get more popular..she is bad representation for the Sri Lankan people..it is mostly westerners who support her because they know little abt the true struggles of the sri lankan people/history…In regards to her music, she always samples and rips off other artists, for example tht song paper planes is only a catchy tune because she took the music from the song “Straight to Hell” by the Clash..i have no respect for wannabe artists tht get credit from other artist’s genuine talents…originality in the arts is soo rare these day its very diappointing :(

  • Heshan

    Genocide need not occur in a few years or even a dozen years or even two dozen years. Look at what Israel is doing with the occupied territories; as the settlements grow, the Palestinians will be gradually reduced in numbers until their % is miniscule in proportion to the % of Jews, demographic-wise. This is a form of genocide, although the time period cannot be specified, and the mass graves, rape camps, crematoriums, etc. may be missing.

    Phasing out the Tamils from their traditional homelands and replacing them with Sinhalese colonizers from the South is the next phase of the Sinhala-Buddhist master plan, the one envisioned by Dharmapala, D.S. Senanayake, Cyril Matthew, the orange-robed Nazis in the Sangha. As far as implementation goes, what is lacking now is not the motivation but the resources. Genocide is an expensive proposition; not only are the financial stakes high, but one runs the risk of becoming a pariah state. For well-developed, self-sufficient states like Israel, the risks are manageable. Sri Lanka is a different story, however – it is essentially a welfare state whose primary earnings come from the remittances of diaspora in the Gulf, and of course, tea. Revenue from garment exports and tourism also contribute. It is clear how sanctions would sink the Sri Lankan economy overnight. Imagine if tea, which, on average, makes up 25% of the GDP were hit. Or the GSP+ loans were permanently eliminated.

    It is interesting, then, how the aspirations of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism are constrained by policy considerations. The Royal Brothers at Temple Trees and their uber-nationalist allies on the fringe – JHU, JVP, etc – must be racking their brains for a way around this.