Colombo, Human Rights, Human Security, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Vavuniya, War Crimes

Parallel Governments: Living between terror and counter terror in northern Lanka (1982-2009)

Authors note: Article derived from paper first presented at the conference, Globalizing Religions and Cultures in the Asia Pacific, University of Adelaide, 1–5 December 2008 and developed version published in Journal of Asian and African Studies. Download this paper as a PDF here.

Introduction
It was Thomas Hobbes (1651) who first pointed out that behind the veneer of states is the spectre of vio­lence and threat of terror that is used to control and rule the subject populations; for example, through the police or, increasingly in the modern ‘security states’, through intelligence agencies and other covert operations. When this control and rule is challenged, comes under question or is weakened, the covert violence becomes more overt, manifesting as techniques of terror. When the power to rule is contested by other parties, they may vie for control, loyalty and legitimacy through terror and counter terror tactics on the populace.

The ongoing ethnic war in Lanka was a good example of the modern use of terror on a mass scale. All parties to the conflict have resorted to a ‘dirty war’ (Nordstrom, 1994) with the use of terror tactics in the bitter contest for power. The Sri Lankan state, the various Tamil militants, who for over two decades fought to create an independent state, the Sinhala Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP), an ultra leftist militant group that made two attempts to violently overthrow the govern­ment, and India, during its short intervention in the north-east part of the island (1987–90) to impose peace, have all used mass terror to control the population, compel obedience and suppress dissent. But in the scale, duration, sheer numbers of victims and in the vast resources, national and international, available to it, it is the Lankan state that is most guilty of the misuse of power and the privileges that accrue to it as a state. Though critical at times, the international community (IC), its many organizations, diplomatic missions, the UN, and aid agencies giving technical support, military hardware, training and the global network of socioeconomic ties and mutual relationships that give covert recognition, legitimacy and tacit sanction, are also indirectly implicated in what is actually going on in countries like Lanka (Nordstrom, 2004). Some, like the former Australian Foreign Minister, Garret Evans (2007), have advocated through the International Crisis Group for the right and duty of the IC to intervene when the state fails to protect its citizens, a principle called Right to Protect (R2P). Between the terror and counter terror of the Lankan state, paramilitaries and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) existed the shadow world (Nordstrom, 2004). This was the grey area beyond the legal, formal, overt world where civilians have to survive when the official government collapses around them.

An extraordinary situation has developed in the north-east where, since 1983, the writ of the official government no longer runs. Various Tamil militant groups have been contesting the state and between themselves in internecine fighting for power, control and the legitimacy to rule. For a period between 1987 and 1989, the Indians attempted to establish military and administrative control in the north-east but even then, the situation was muddled with the Lankan state, Indian proxy paramilitary group, Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), and the LTTE contesting each other for different aspects of power. Among the Tamil militants from over 36 groups post-1983, the LTTE emerged as dominant, ruthlessly eliminating other contenders by 1986 (Hoole et al., 1988). However, the other militants have retained some power by aligning either with the states or the LTTE. The LTTE also managed to establish at different times, varying degrees of absolute military control over different territories, so called ‘uncleared areas’ by the Lankan state which continued to pay government salaries, provide rations and materials as well retain a modicum of administrative control. But the LTTE established a de facto govern­ment, a mini state, of its own with police, army, navy, air force, legal codes, courts, prisons, taxes, customs, immigration, administration, local government, planning, development pro­grammes, social services, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), financial system, trades, shops, commercial ventures, medical services, educational services – trappings of a counter state in the uncleared areas. It also continued to have considerable control and power over the local population in state controlled, ‘cleared areas’, through sympathy, terror and infiltration of most institutions and organizations. The Lankan state managed to deliver a mortal blow to the LTTE by May 2009 following a long, brutal military campaign against the LTTE which tried to hold onto civilians as human shields, that left 20,000 civilians dead, perhaps 60,000 injured, and over 300,000 displaced, with many confined in internment camps (Philp, 2009; Philp and Evans, 2009; UTHR-J, 2009; Wax, 2009). Thus the power and control in the whole north-east was under intense, violent contest on a daily basis through terror and counter terror. Extra judicial revenge and reprisal killings, abductions, disappearances, torture, intimidation, threats, assaults, extortion and robberies are daily occurrences that the civil population faces. Often it is not clear who is responsible for what within an overall reign of terror. There were economic blockades, sanctions, embargoes, restrictions or quotas for essential and other goods, transport barriers, frontier closures, wholesale battles, curfews, hartals or strikes, hoarding, shortages, lack of food, water, electricity, shelter, exorbitant prices, multiple taxes, extortion, economic paralysis or poor quality services and chronic understaffing.

Counter Insurgency (CI)
It becomes somewhat easier to understand what was going on in the north and east of Lanka from a framework of counter insurgency strategy (Whitaker, 2007). Current CI doctrine start from the colonial masters’ experience of administering their far-flung empires. Native populations often rebelled against the imperial powers using insurgent methods and they were met with counter insurgent techniques. According to Sivaram1 (Whitaker, 2007), the original CI manual was by Frank Kitson (1971, 1977) who had been the British army commander in charge of CI operations in Kenya, Malaya, Cyprus and Oman. Kitson described the use of penetration agents, the mounting of psychological operation (or psyops – i.e. propaganda, misinformation, PR), the making of fake political concessions to split the opposition, the wielding of army counter terror, the cordoning off of communities, the deployment of hooded informers,2 and, somewhat less forthrightly, the rough interrogations and ‘wetwork’ (that is, the hooding, torture, ‘turning’, disposal, or dispatching of captives) that are being used in Lanka by the state in its CI operations (Whitaker, 2007). The most current and state-of-the-art CI manual is that of the US Army (2006) which is being ‘successfully’ implemented in Iraq by one of its authors, General Petraeus. After emphasizing the essentially politically component of CI, all these experts assert that CI when practised properly is effective (Amato, 2002; Kitson, 1971, 1977; US Army, 2006; Vijayasiri, 1999; Whitaker, 2007). Malaya and Kenya are trumpeted as success stories in the practice of CI. However, apart from temporarily suppressing the immediate rebellion, it is not clear how far CI is effective in solving the underlying problems that are the source of the insurgency in the first place. As recent uprisings in Kenya and stirrings in Malayasia show, the underlying inequities are left simmering in the post colonial situations. Amato (2002) and Vijayasiri (1999) are quick to point out that CI was not carried out properly in Lanka and if used correctly it would be successful. They mention lack of clear political will or policy as the cause of failure of CI in Lanka but suggest how to improve the CI operations. Perhaps President Rajapakse with his brothers, advisors and General Sarath Fonseka took these admonitions to heart to mount a more successful CI campaign against the LTTE in 2007–09.

In the post 9/11 world with the consequent global war on terror, terrorism and counter terrorism have become very closely associated, if not synonymous, with counter insurgency discourse. Other similar terms are asymmetrical warfare where a less resourced and weaker force will use uncon­ventional, guerrilla, or subversive techniques in the conflict with stronger and more established states and those helping them. Essentially it is a struggle for power, for legitimacy to rule from the target populations. Both parties will vie for the support and allegiance of the civilian population using whatever techniques they think will work. Thus, though officially denied, terror and counter terror become one of the accepted methods of the dirty war, of trying to win over, frighten or coerce the population to their side. Instead of the traditional violence, it is now thought more effective and efficient (cost-effective) in the long term to use the ‘stick and carrot’ method to psychologically win over the population. Sivaram reports a discussion with a retired Lankan army general who said,

that a population targeted by C-I is actually like the body of a prisoner who has been taken under the Prevention of Terrorism Act … So you treat the target population as a prisoner: break its will, reduce its expectations to bare minimum, so Tamils who set out to demand a separate state would end up just argu­ing for not being tortured. So your aspirations are depressed from separatism to being allowed to travel without being shot. And then the nice guys – the NGOs, the paramilitaries are the nice guys who come and talk to you and you start giving them intelligence and you become pliant. And you start learning the lesson of just being grateful for being alive. (Whitaker, 2007: 153)

Sivaram himself finally became a victim of covert CI operations, being eliminated extra-judicially in 2005, for his forthright writings.

Fundamentally, CI is aimed at re-establishing the legitimacy of the state while cutting of the target population’s support and sympathy for the insurgents (US Army, 2006). According to Sivaram, ‘ … Another aim of counter-insurgency is to induce war-weariness in the target population … the state is always focused on destroying the political will of the target population, and the art and science of doing that is counter-insurgency’ (Whitaker, 2007: 153) and the way it does that is:

Massacres and terror; Arrest, detention, torture, all indiscriminate, and interrogation to destroy the basis of civil society; Checkpoints, constant checks; Promote vigilante groups [who] create an atmosphere of terror and collapse the social fabric (Patricia Lawrence’s thesis becomes important here [see Lawrence, 2000]): people lose their psychological moorings and so become unable to make any kind of politically cohesive statement, so the vigilante groups become a regime of terror within a regime of terror; Promotion of numer­ous political and interest groups from within the target population to dilute and obfuscate the basic issue in question that in the first place gave rise to the insurgency. (Whitaker, 2007: 150)

Massacres (see Table 1) of innocent civilians by all the parties to the conflict became rela­tively common. Apart from individual, targeted political abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings (Human Rights Watch, 2008), these mass executions can only be called crimes against humanity that keep the population in abject terror. They easily qualify for persecution under criteria set out for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (2002). The various con­tending authorities, the state, paramilitaries, LTTE and even the Indian army for short periods, believed, against all the best advice of CI expertise (Kitson, 1971; US Army, 2006), that judicious use of these terror tactics would keep the population under their control and counter the appeal of the opposing party by winning over ‘hearts and minds’ through fear.






Sources: Tamil Centre for Human Rights – TCHR ( www.tchr.net) http://www.sangam.org/2007/11/Killed_1956_2007.php?uid=2619

UNHCR http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/news/opendoc.htm?tbl=NEWS&id=44523f134 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/53A197CF6F0A92E3C1257362002C1F9A/$file/Sri+Lanka+-September+2007.pdf

Table 1 gives a few, illustrative and representatives examples of unambiguous cases of civilian massacres involving more than 15 civilians with a clear, planned intent carried out in a deliberate, organized way to cause terror or as a lesson. Disorganized mob killings or where soldiers have gone ‘berserk’ or where the action could be argued to be accidental, unintentional, or ‘collateral damage’ have been left out. Numbers injured have been left out (not available or reliable in most cases).

Sivaram had described ‘levels of terror’ during a lecture on CI at Palmerstone North, New Zealand in 1999 (Trawick, personal communication) as something that can be turned on and off, and increased or reduced as the situation necessitated. It would be like a fine tuning to keep the popula­tion under control, like the use of the friendly and ‘bad’ interrogator, where the population will start yearning for periods of less terror and do anything to avoid an increase in terror levels.

In relation to abductions and disappearances, a recent Human Rights Watch report (2008), gives a very clear description of what is happening:

Hundreds of enforced disappearances committed since 2006 have already placed Sri Lanka among the countries with the highest number of new cases in the world. The victims are primarily young ethnic Tamil men who ‘disappear’ – often after being picked up by government security forces in the country’s embattled north and east, but also in the capital Colombo … Most are feared dead. In the great majority of cases documented by Human Rights Watch and Sri Lankan groups, evidence indicates the involvement of government security forces – army, navy, or police. The involvement of the security forces in ‘disappearances’ is facilitated by Sri Lanka’s emergency laws, which grant sweeping powers to the army along with broad immunity from prosecution … Also implicated in abductions and ‘disappearances’ are pro-government Tamil armed groups acting either inde­pendently or in conjunction with the security forces … The LTTE has been implicated in abductions in conflict areas under the government’s control.

As part of the CI and counter CI, the various authorities vying for the loyalty and subservience of the community have ruthlessly eliminated what they have perceived as obstruction to their power and control. Apart from the abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings by the state and its allied paramilitary forces, the internecine warfare among various Tamil militant organizations competing for the loyalty of the community have resulted in the elimination of many of its own ethnic, more able, civilians – a process of self-destruction, auto genocide (Hoole, 2001). Those with leadership qualities, those willing to challenge and argue, the intellectuals, the dissenters and those with social motivation have been weeded out (‘Pullu Kalaithal’ or weeding – those eliminated are labelled as ‘anti social elements’ or ‘traitors’). They have either been intimi­dated into leaving, killed or coerced into silence. At critical nodal shifts in power, recriminations, false accusations, revenge and retribution were very common. It happened in 1987 (IPKF, the Indian intervention); in 1990 (LTTE takeover), in 1996 (SLA control), after 2005 with the col­lapse of the ceasefire, and is happening from May 2009 with another shift in the power balance. The loss of leadership and the talented, skilful, resourceful persons, the professionals, technocrats and entrepreneurs, from the community has had devastating consequences. Many left over the years due to increasing difficulties, traumatic experiences and social pressure from family and colleagues, the so-called ‘brain drain’. Those who remained have been targeted by those aspiring to rule the community.

Bronfenbrenner (1979) warns of the destructive consequences to a society which experiences the systematic degrading and debilitation of its richly talented members. This is the loss of vital resources (Hobfoll, 1998), the destruction of social capital, the nodal points of vibrant relationships and essential networks which is a prominent cause of ‘collective trauma’ (Somasundaram, 2007). Without leadership and organization, vital networks and functioning relationships have collapsed, leaving the community easy prey to competing propaganda, authoritarian control and suppression. Many have observed that ordinary people in Jaffna have become passive and submissive. These qualities have become part of the survival strategy passed on through the socialization process, where children are taught to keep quiet, not to question or challenge, and to accept the situation, as assertive behaviour carries considerable risk. The creative spirit, the vital capacity to rebuild and recover is being suppressed.

Torture was used as a routine CI procedure carried out on Tamil detainees (Doney, 1998; Somasundaram, 2008). Apart from in the attempt to obtain information, it was used to break the individual personalities of those who tried to resist, as well as an encompassing method to coerce a community into submission. Many individuals did not survive torture, but those who did were released in a broken condition; or when dead, their maimed bodies were conspicuously exhibited to act as a warning to others. It became one aspect of institutionalized violence and laws were passed which legitimized the use of torture and death in custody (Amnesty International, 1986). Thus torture became institutionalized as an aspect of state terror. It was similarly used by the militants but without the legal veneer. The Istanbul Protocol for the Investigation and Documentation of Torture Project team speak of community trauma by the creation of a ‘repressive ecology’ based on imminent, pervasive threat, terror and inhibition that causes a state of generalized insecurity, terror and rupture of the social fabric (Baykai et al., 2004).

Another CI technique was mass displacement of people from their habitat and home environ­ment (Table 2) as a way of cutting off support for the insurgents but also cutting the sustaining roots of resident populations. Displacement from familiar surroundings cause a fundamental disruption in life and relationships, a disorganization and confusion that breaks the cohesiveness and spirit of communities. There had been mass displacement of Tamils after each episode of the anti-Tamil violence in the south, that is in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. During the war, people belonging to all three ethnic communities, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, have been displaced. However, the overwhelming majority of those displaced have been Tamils. Over a million have fled abroad through precarious and devious routes as refugees to India, Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and other countries, seeking asylum there and forming a worldwide diaspora. The current population of the Jaffna peninsula in the north is 400,000, while the projected population for 2004 was 1,200,000. This indicates the level of depopulation of one of the areas. Similarly, all the outlying villages in Trincomalee, 52 in all, have been emptied of their Tamil inhabitants by the security forces. A similar fate awaited the Manal aru Tamils in 1985 (UTHR-J, 1994). The 2009 military campaign displaced the whole Vanni population of over 400,000, many of whom had already been displaced several times.

It seems to be a Lanka army strategy to empty an area of its inhabitants before launching an attack, perhaps to reduce civilian casualties and make it easier for military action where it becomes more difficult for the guerrillas to merge and hide within the civilian population. However, once the area has been secured, the CI strategy appears to be a long-term policy of denying a base for the LTTE and preventing infiltration by having large Tamil civilian no-go High Security Zones (and eventual colonization with Sinhala settlers), saturating the area with army camps, posts (the Indian army had a post every hundred yards or so!) and ‘points’, establishing a detailed list of residents, with entry and exit procedures, ID papers, frequent checking, arrests, assaults, detentions, disappearances and paramilitary and home guard surveil­lance, along with the simultaneous promotion of hearts and minds operations by distributing relief items, settlement programmes and other activities aimed at winning over the people. Exactly this CI strategy is currently being enacted in the east (UTHR-J, 2007) and is being planned for the Vanni with international funding.

The mass exodus of 1995 engineered by the LTTE as a counter CI strategy was another type of experience (UTHR-J, 1995). Apart from the forced breaking of the bonds with their homes and village, the trek of over 400,000 people in the middle of the night through rain and shelling effected great change in people.

They left in terror and not by choice, with few possessions, roads clogged with crowds moving slowly, step by step, the less able, the elderly, falling by the wayside; and finally arriving in makeshift, inadequate accommodation with very poor facilities or none at all. People lost their identity, pride, dignity and hope. (Somasundaram, 2007)

The total eviction of nearly 100,000 Muslims from their traditional homes in the north in 1990 by the LTTE, ostensibly as a counter CI exercise to eliminate an alleged fifth column in their areas for which there was scant evidence, is an example of ethnic cleansing (Clarance, 2007). Many of these Muslims still languish in refugee camps, a forgotten and rejected people. When the frequent mass displacement of people from their natural habitat is looked at from the CI perspective, it appears to be a strategy to remove the support base, the sustenance, information and assistance given to the opposite forces. It would also appear to be a policy designed as a method of punishment for aiding and abetting the ‘enemy’, inducing weariness, hopelessness, helplessness, rootlessness and despair that would make people ready to accept any conditions and break their cohesion and fighting spirit – a form of pacification. It is a destruction of the vital resources of a community, their homes, property, traditional way of life, occupation, employment, earnings and source of livelihood so they become completely dependent on handouts, at the mercy of authorities and under their power and control. It is also about ethnically-based territoriality, seen for example, in an Israeli CI strategy to retain land under one ethnic group by driving out another or creating resettlements under tight military controls, as was done in Manal aru (UTHR-J, 1994) and is being done in the east (UTHR-J, 2007) and planned for the newly ‘conquered’ Vanni.

A consequence of ongoing CI security operations was the complete militarization of every part of ordinary life. Armed uniformed men with all the paraphernalia of war were everywhere: terse, intimidating, with foreign verbal and body language. Mass arrests, assaults, executed bodies in public places, being searched, humiliated and pushed around were normal. Females constantly faced sexual harassment, abuse and violation. There were spies, informers, intelligence agents, paramilitaries in civilian clothes, unscrupulous elements and constant surveillance. In Jaffna, the atmosphere created a feeling of entrapment, of being besieged. The conditions were compared to being in an ‘open prison’ by some of the community leaders, the Bishop of Jaffna (Savundaranayagam, 2006) and Surgeon of the Jaffna Hospital, Dr Thayalan Ambalavanar (Partners, 1999) among them. There was also the more pervasive ‘counter-control’ by the Tamil militants through social pressure, intimidation, killings, abductions and internal terror, trapping the civil population between the two forces. This atmosphere and tense situation created a sense of apprehension, a constant state of alertness, a ‘low intensity panic’, a pervasive background of terror that did not allow people to relax and go about their ordinary life. Despite all this, people learnt to manage their terror and life went on in the surreal atmosphere so well described by Trawick (2007). On the one hand there would be massive killings, disappearances, ‘encounters’, search operations, while at the same time there would be school with children in uniforms, festivals, weddings, celebrations, village markets, entertainment, sports meets.

In the war zones violence and militarization gradually permeated all aspects of daily life and family and community processes (de Mel, 2007). It was not certain a person going out to work, would return in the evening. A home could be suddenly searched, someone brutally killed, a mother raped or father taken away. A shell could land anywhere destroying everything around. Sounds of gun shots, machine-gun fire, exploding shells, diving plans and rounding helicopters were ever present. People had to adapt to frequent checks, getting down from bikes, showing ID cards, wait­ing while the military looked you over, body searches, the pushing and slaps, intimidation, women taking the sexual overtones and harassment as part of their daily ordeal, all in the atmosphere of possible arrest. This kind of pervasive atmosphere of violence, rather than breaking down the resis­tance and spirit of the population, in time creates resistance and defiance (Nordstrom, 1994), par­ticularly in the youth. There is also the daily experience of profound humiliation during the searches, arrests, detention and beatings. Thus within each breast would grow, small at first, a rage, a hate which could be transformed into a militant and suicidal cadres (Hassan, 2008). Thus these kinds of CI policies and strategies would spawn a whole generation of rebellious youth.

People were caught between multiple powers competing for legitimacy and their obedience, allegiance. It became a risky, nuanced game of going through the motions and play acting for the benefit of each side. When one side called for a hartal or strike, the other side would want the shops open and transport operating. Shopkeepers would compromise by keeping one door open, or some­times loosely closed which could be pushed open. When the state wanted their Independence Day or the LTTE their Heroes Day observed, people would comply by hanging out flags or cleaning their compound.

Sarvananthan (2006) estimates that the informal economy formed 30 per cent of the Provincial GDP of the north-east. The PGDP for the north is the lowest in the country (the east being also low) due to lack of economical activity, but compensated by the informal economy. Thus, as Nordstrom (2004) maintains, the informal economy is vital to sustain a civilian population during hard times in war zones. It is estimated that due to fighting and the collapse of most traditional occupations and income, people in the north-east have become dependent on outside remittances. In the north, it has also been migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Western countries sending back part of their earnings or meager welfare payments through ‘hawala’ that have kept the home fires burning. It is said that each fam­ily has at least one member, if not more, abroad who then supports their family back home. For asylum seekers their families would have sacrificed considerable finances in payments to human smugglers, unscrupulous agents (transactions where they are easily cheated), and to meet the expenses involved in complicated passages through inhospitable routes to get their family member to safety.

A dominant part of the informal economy of the north and east was the LTTE’s financial empire. Although it is difficult to estimate the extent of their finances, Jane’s Intelligence Review (2007) and Sarvananthan (2006) have estimated the LTTE generated around US$200–300,000,000 per year through their earnings in Lanka, both uncleared and cleared areas including Colombo, and abroad. Locally the LTTE earned through numerous direct and indirect taxes, commercial ven­tures, extortion, siphoning from GO and NGO sectors, and various other sources and means. In the formal economy of Lanka the north-east is allocated the lowest regional amount while the defense budget has been soaring, reaching 166.4bn rupees ($1.48bn) annually. However, this is but the tip of the actual expenditure. Defense spend­ing is often done under other headings and votes. There are no large-scale development programmes comparable to the south, no industrial or economic investments, infrastructure development, market access or circulation of money. The economy of Jaffna has been in a frozen state except for the remittances from aboard. Thus the Jaffna popula­tion is a deprived area from the state economic point of view and people learn to survive on low or absent incomes.

  • Tmama

    Mr Somasundaram’s story is incomplete without going back into the rise of caste and race ridden politics in Jaffna from 1920s.

    THe famous lawyer, GG Ponnambalam is said to be the forerunner of creating the evil Sinhalese incapable of deocratic government, who have usurped the land of the Tamils. THere were many representations to British political parties to delay the process of British withdrawal from what was then a colony.

    What was the reason for setting up Thesawalame law for Jaffna. I have heard that Mr Ramanathan wanted the rights of higher castes specially enshrined in law.

    Numerous activities to drive out the Sinhalese from the North and the East – that led to many murders and suicide squads in the 70s and 60s including the closure of Jaffna University for Sinhala students in the 70s.

    What is less known is undercurrents in the 50s and 60s regarding the University administration the way papers were corrected, practical exams were conducted at the time for the entry into university Science faculties at the time. Dr PPGL Siriwardena recounts some aspects of the in his autobiography.

    The Kovil entry by low castes that were fiercely resisted by the enlightened Oxford educated menfolk in the 60s is another case the Tamil historians must go into in detail so that a false story of a ‘Paradise’ is not created by failed diaspora elements..

  • TT

    Thank you groundviews for this. Of course you can’t exact numbers but even an estimation gives an idea of the ferocity of the battle. I don’t classify these as war crimes or even possible war crimes unless done by the LTTE which is a terrorist organisation in 33 countries.

    Whatever it is such horror must be avoided at all cost in future. Enough of this is enough.

    However certain known errors are there above.

    e.g. 1958 anti-Tamil riots is a wrong description. It was an anti-Sinhala and anti-Tamil riots. many Sinhalese were affected, not to mention putting tar on Sinhala letters by (ir)responsible senior Tamil politicians belonging to Tamil race based political parties that was totally unnecessary.

    e.g. General Sarath Fonseka, Sisira Fonseka, Peter Fonseka, Mrs Fonseka and Ms Fonseka family was also affected by Tamil mobs during the 1958 anti-Sinhala riots in then Batticaloa district. Did it mould this young boy who was only 7 years old then? I don’t know but possible. his war heroics in the batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts are well known.

    So it was 1958 anti-Sinhala riots, too.

    As “Tmama” said, this analysis is incomplete without analysing the Tamil Elam project’s humble beginings in 1923, increased into racist demands in 1931, first race based political party in 1944 and “Tamil Arasu Kachchi” in 1949.

    LTTE had no brains, only guns and bombs. It was the brains of racially prejudiced politicians that created a reason for the LTTE to fight.

    Mr Somasundaram avoids mentioning of the genocide of Sinhalese in 1983 (21,000 people) and genocide of Muslims in 1990 in Jaffna (15,000 people). Total = 35,000 and 100%.

    How can he miss that?

    This may be one of the very few TOTAL genocides in the world. Even Nazis couldn’t wipe out the entire Jewish community in Germany but LTTE and Tamil Elamists did it. Not once but twice.

    These are facts and not easily missable.

  • TT

    Correction: What’s wrong with my addition! 21,000 + 15,000 = 36,000.

  • Anonymous

    Tmama,

    I am touched by your concern for the low caste Tamils.

  • Burning_Issue

    Tmama,

    I do accept and condemn the evil cast system that was being practiced in the Northern region. However, I must point out that, it was not just endemic in the Northern Region alone. The Gavigama cast is a testament of that!

    “What was the reason for setting up Thesawalame law for Jaffna. I have heard that Mr Ramanathan wanted the rights of higher castes specially enshrined in law.”

    Please tell to this forum as to the source of the Thesawalami Law. Do you know exactly when it was codified and by whom? When it was codified, was the Northern Region part of the United Ceylon? If you know the answers to all these questions, you would have written the above comment!

    This leads me to question your concerns for the lower caste Tamils whether it is genuine or not!

    “The Kovil entry by low castes that were fiercely resisted by the enlightened Oxford educated menfolk in the 60s is another case the Tamil historians must go into in detail so that a false story of a ‘Paradise’ is not created by failed diaspora elements..”

    Notwithstanding the gruesome nature of the caste system, the fact that the Sinhala Buddhist majority shunted the Tamils into a Second Class status is not excusable. The fact that you attach the Caste System that treated the lower cast people as not equal is exactly what the Sinhalse have rendered the Tamils to become! How can you point your finger at one and not at the other?

  • Burning_Issue

    TT,

    At last, you have begun to reveal your true colours! My assessment of you at the initial stage is completely vindicated!

  • The Mervyn Silva

    Hello the double T,

    When I am reading your posting abut 21,000 Sinhalese victims of the genocide I am getting very worried. My blood that is comiong all the way down from the Dutugemunu begining to boil and boil like the kettle on the fire, thinking you are talking of 21,000 Sinhalese killed by the other double T – Tiger Terrorist. Then I am realising, double T not talking about killing but chasing. Terrorists chasing 21,000 Sinhalese from the Jaffna and double T calling it the genocide.

    I think it is very smart way to be putting it. Everybody think you are talking about killing and getting boiling blood like me. But they are stupid people not thinking deep, the kind of people we are wanting in the country. You ae smart man or woman and we are needing more smart man and woman like you to be twisitng the truth to boil the blood.

    You are also helping me with your twisting. For many years in the Kelaniya side I am not allowing the Tamil or the Muslim man or woman to have business, especially in the town area. This is because the Kelaniya side is sacred side, Buddha himself coming down and polishing up. I am only trying to keep it clean. But I am always thinking what is this I am doing? There must be good name for this. Now when I am reading your posting I am getting the answer like light going on in the head. Genocide! That is what I am aslo doing geting rid of the Tamils and the Muslims in teh Kelaniya side like the Tiger terrorists getting rid of the Muslims and the Sinhalese from the Jaffna side. I think what I am doing is also genocde but more business like.

    I am also thinking it is very interesting you are talking about the Nazi Germany. It is very big pity you are not living in the Nazi Germany. I am sure they are giving you big post in the Nazi Germany if you are living there. In the Nazi Germany they are liking the people who are liking to be twisting the facts to boil the blood.

  • TT

    Burning Issues,

    Shooting the messenger as the last resort?

    Face facts and home truths. Who says it is not important as much as facts are.

  • wijayapala

    Dear TT

    this analysis is incomplete without analysing the Tamil Elam project’s humble beginings in 1923, increased into racist demands in 1931, first race based political party in 1944 and “Tamil Arasu Kachchi” in 1949.

    Please explain the “Tamil Eelam project” in 1923, 1931, and 1944.

    It was the brains of racially prejudiced politicians that created a reason for the LTTE to fight.

    You are speaking of JR, correct?

    This may be one of the very few TOTAL genocides in the world. Even Nazis couldn’t wipe out the entire Jewish community in Germany but LTTE and Tamil Elamists did it.

    You are saying that the murder of 6 MILLION Jews was peanuts compared to 21,000 Sinhalese leaving Jaffna of their own free will? As a Sinhala I am so happy to hear how superior our race is to everybody else.

  • TT

    Lets see all possible outcomes.

    1. Carrot & stick

    (As now. Army camps, EPDP, show of force, reward pro-Sri Lankan behaviour, economic incentives not to restart the Tamil Elam struggle, military deterrents not to restart the Tamil Elam struggle)

    2. No carrot and stick and Tamil Elam struggle restarts.

    (Tamil race politics won almost the entire Jaffna district in 1947 and at every election thereafter. It is the natural tendancy in the Tamil only north.)

    This means war again.

    In this case, if not war, it will be Tamil Elam with permamant wars for everything, everyday.

    3. No carrot and stick but guns and bombs

    (A highly undesirable way to maintain the status quo.)

    As you can see options are very limited. However, there is a 4th option.

    4. No carrots & sticks, no guns and bombs. Peace and goodwill only. Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim settlements in the north.

    Not many army camps, no EPDP needed. No carrots (to encourage people to give up Tamil Elam). No sticks to beat Tamil Elam supporters. No Tamil Elam either, because there is no way to create a Tamil only nation where there are people of other races in large numbers.

    When the north has many races, they have to work together, not against each other.

    e.g. From 1947-2010 in all elections Tamil race political parties won in the north. It takes a small percentage of Tamils to tip the balance.

    The more the diversity, the more difficult it is to push a race agenda.

    Government should replace every army soldier in the north with 4 Sinhalese and 4 Muslim civilians. No guns. Replace every AK47 with an acre of farm land to the needy of all races.

    If not army camps, EPDP, AK47s, etc. will continue or war or Tamil Elam. All undesirable outcomes.

  • SD

    Dear TT,

    Burning Issue is right. You are a racist individual.

    RE: “e.g. 1958 anti-Tamil riots is a wrong description. It was an anti-Sinhala and anti-Tamil riots. many Sinhalese were affected, not to mention putting tar on Sinhala letters by (ir)responsible senior Tamil politicians belonging to Tamil race based political parties that was totally unnecessary.”

    Your biggest issue is that a few rogue Tamil politicians blackened the letter Sri using a bunch of hooligans, and in retaliation, there is a wholesale retaliation by hordes of racist Sinhala people against innocent Tamils? And therefore, you come to the conclusion that the Tamils are more racist?

    And what about 1983? An extremist minority called the LTTE kills 13 soldiers, and again, hordes of racist Sinhala people massacre innocent Tamils in the thousands, sanctioned by the government, therefore the Tamils are more racist than the Sinhalese?

    I’m sorry TT, I am a Sinhalese but I will not allow racist people like you to rewrite history so that Tamil people are portrayed as evil villains while the Sinhalese people were nothing but hapless bystanders. You are a racist for doing this, because you consider it necessary to whitewash the crimes of other racists due to your own racial affiliations. If you were not a racist, you would not have the need to defend one race over another, instead of looking at this tragedy in a detached light.

    If you think the Tamil eelamists are portrating the Sinhalese in a villainous light, and are trying to counter-balance that, why do that by downplaying the role of the Sinhalese and only vilifying the Tamils? It makes you no better and no less racist than they are.

  • wijayapala

    Your biggest issue is that a few rogue Tamil politicians blackened the letter Sri using a bunch of hooligans

    There was more than that, although it doesn’t redeem the fallacies in TT’s re-definition of “genocide.” In 1958 (though not other years, to the best of my knowledge) the violence went both ways, affecting even young Sarath Fonseka of all people:

    http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2008/07/20/sec05.asp

    “I can still remember how the villagers used to run to a rocky cliff when Tamils attack our village. We spend two to three days there until the situation comes back to normal”, says the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, recalling his bitter experience as a five year old who was caught in the web of communal ill feelings some decades ago.

  • wijayapala

    TT,

    Face facts and home truths.

    It would be nice if you presented facts instead of loaded language like “genocide.”

    No Tamil Elam either, because there is no way to create a Tamil only nation where there are people of other races in large numbers.

    Yet again you have not addressed the contradictions in your own arguments. If there was “genocide” against Sinhalese in Jaffna, then clearly having non-Tamil ethnic groups in Jaffna did not prevent the Tamil Eelam movement! Bringing Sinhalese into Trincomalee did nothing to stop the LTTE from taking Sampur.

  • TT

    Dear SD,

    So I am a racist for stating the facts? I tell you that you are a bigger racist for not accepting the facts.

    The “few” politicians belonging to a racially prejudiced political party were elected. They were highly popular.

    Sinhala racist reaction for Tamil racist action is undeniable. They too were responsible. No denying. But the fact that Sinhalese were persecuted by Tamil racists in the north and east is also a fact. Refer to the indisputable example I gave.

    There is absolutely no whitewashing crimes. No one gets clear of crimes just because others committed the same crime.

    If you are against ethnic integration, you are part of the problem and not the solution and is a communalist just like those who did the 2 genocides in the north.

    The choice is simple – a mono ethnic Tamil only north and large army camps, paramilitaries, mild terror, etc. or a multiethnic north with lesser number of camps. There is no room for racist homelands, racist aspirations and other racist nonsense in Sri Lanka. We all MUST accept it. Otherwise nothing will improve in the peace front.

  • BalangodaMan

    TT,

    Whilst strictly speaking the word ‘genocide’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘killing’ most people including the international new media associate with it as they do ‘homicide’, ‘suicide’, ‘patricide’ and many other gruesome things on the criminal ‘wildside’. Like the man said, unnecessary blood boiling results.

    The point is, the country is racist on all sides, and people too narrow minded to understand what that means, while the politicians use that fact to their advantage.

  • TT

    At the momenet there is effectively military rule in the north. The governor is a military person (former). Many other posts are held my former military officers. Members to LG, UC, MC, etc. bodies are appointed by militarymen! This is unacceptable. This military rule must end.

    However, the other is racist rule which is worse. Since 1947, in every election racially prejudiced TAMIL political parties won in the north.

    e.g. All Ceylon TAMIL Congress
    Ilankai TAMIL Arseu Kachchi
    TAMIL United Liberation Front
    TAMIL National Alliance
    Liberation Tigers of TAMIL Elam (de facto rule)
    (plenty more)

    If elections are held in the mono ethnic Tamil only north, these parties will win those elections and we are back to square one. Although they win in general elections, they have no real power.

    Look what they scream day in and day out.

    TAMIL homelands
    TAMIL grievance
    TAMIL aspirations
    TAMIL self determination
    TAMIL nationality
    TAMIL soverigty
    TAMIL discrimination

    etc., etc.

    If these guys replace the current military rule in the north it is much worse.

    So the question face the government is military rule verses racially prejudiced political party rule.

    However, there is a third option. It is multiethnic communities in the north.

    If the north is sufficiently multiethnic as the east, racist politics cannot dominate it. So the nastyness of the second option disappears.

    Better still, it creates a multiethnic civilians front against military rule which is what we need.

    Today the dislike for military rule in the north comes only from Tamil only sections. No point people who are not living campaigning it as they don;t really feel the pain of it. They have other agendas. If Sinhalese and Muslims live in the north in hundreds of thousands, they will team up with their Tamil brothers can campign to change the military rule. Then it will no longer be a race based campaign. This is the way to do things.

    When Sumanthiran, MP launched a fantastic attack against the 18 amendment, I predicted it will die a natural death and it did. That is because he didn’t reach out to others because he was framed into TAMIL National Alliance effective shutting out Sinhalas and Muslims.

    It is the same thing in the north against military rule. If the military rulers need to be chased away (or replaced with civilian rulers), the north must be multiethnic.

    Those who are against a multiethnic north actually support military rule by their stupidity.

    As long as they are opposed to a multiethnic north, they are opposed to establishing complete civilian rule in the north.

  • TT

    Wijayapala,

    1. So you agree that the 1958 riot was anti-Sinhala as much as it was anti-Tamil. Good. Thanks for the link.

    2. Genocide

    Do you agree that Jaffna district had 20,000+ Sinhalese in 1971 and over 15,000 Muslims in 1981?

    I’m sure you do because statistics show that. Do you agree their numbers are near zero today which is a drop of almost 100%?

    That is genocide. Genocide can be limited to a district, a province or an area. There is absolutely no need to kill everyone for it to be genocide. In addition, violence was there against the Sinhalese in the north and the east and you know that.

    3. “If there was “genocide” against Sinhalese in Jaffna, then clearly having non-Tamil ethnic groups in Jaffna did not prevent the Tamil Eelam movement! Bringing Sinhalese into Trincomalee did nothing to stop the LTTE from taking Sampur.”

    It does prevent it as it did in the east. But the key thing is sufficient numbers.

    Look at the census data.

    1971 – 20,000+ Sinhalese
    1981 – 4,000 Sinhalese

    War started in 1983. Drastic reduction of non-Tamils in Jaffna lead to the most violent and effective phase of the Tamil Elam movement. Then in 1983 Sinhalese population dropped to zero. Then the Tamil Elam movement took to the skies!

    In 1991 Muslim population fell to zero from 15,000 (or 100,000 according to some). Did not the Tamil Elam movement escalate after that? Not to mention violence!

    Talking of Sampur! LTTE’s hold of multiethnic Sampur was very brief compared to its hold of monoethnic Tamil only Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mulaitivu and Mannar districts which ran into years and decades! Agree?

    It worked against Sinhala racists too. After 1983 Tamils in Colombo dramatically increased as they were fleeing the war. Then there were no riots. 1983 was the last major race riot in Colombo because today there are sufficient number of Tamils in Colombo. There should be an unreasonably large number of hooligasn to overpower them and the authorities. So it will never happen again.

    Don’t disagree for the sake of disagreeing. Look at the facts.

  • TT

    For the knowledge of readers I give a list of race based Tamil and Dravida registered political parties of Tamil Nadu and “Tamil Elam”.

    1. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
    2. All India Latchiya Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
    3. Anaithinthiya Thamizhaga Munnetra Kazhagam
    4. Dhiravida Thelugar Munnetra Kazhagam
    5. Dravida Telugar Munnetra Kazhagam
    6. Dravida Vizhipunarchi Kazhagam
    7. Dravidian parties (numerous)
    8. MGR Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
    9. MGR-SSR Latchiya Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
    10. Makkal Tamil Desam Katchi
    11. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
    12. Tamil Arasu Kazhagam
    13. Tamil Desiyak Katchi
    14. Tamil Maanila Congress
    15. Tamil Maanila Kamraj Congress
    16. Tamil Nadu Forward Bloc
    17. Tamil Nadu Makkal Congress
    18. Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham
    19. Tamil Nadu Peasants and Workers Party
    20. Tamil National Party
    21. Tamilnadu Toilers’ Party
    22. Tamizhaga Dravida Makkal Katchi
    23. Tamizhaga Janata Party
    24. Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam
    25. Tamizhaga Munnetra Kazhagam
    26. Thamilar Bhoomi
    27. Thamizhaga Munnetra Munnani
    28. Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam
    29. Nam Thamilar Party
    30. All Ceylon Tamil Congress
    31. Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi
    32. Tamil United Liberation Front
    33. Tamil National Alliance
    34. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam
    35. Tamil Elam Liberation Organisation (TELO)
    36. Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Elam (PLOTE)
    37. Democratic Tamil National Alliance
    38. Tamil Elam Makkal Viduthalai Pulikkal (TMVP)
    39. Akila Ilankai Tamil Congress
    40. Thamizhar Chuyaadchik Kazhakam (TCK)

    Is this what we want for our future?

    I would also add,

    Sinhala Urumaya
    Sinhala Maha Sammatha Bumiya Puththiraya Party
    Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
    Muslim United Liberation Front.

    Is this what we want?

    NO!

    We don’t need race politics anymore. We need peace.

    We also have the world’s only (possibly) large (more than 3,000 students) mono racial university – Jaffna University. All its students are Tamils. Interestingly it’s financiers/donors are,

    Tax payers – 74% Sinhalese people
    Tax payers – 8% Muslim people
    Tax payers – 1% Other people
    Tax payers – 17% Tamil people.

    Is this peace and harmony, non-discrimination, equal rights? I don’t think so.

  • TT

    Dear Groundviews,

    Appreciate for letting me write facts as they are and not censoring these facts just because some may disagree. I can never write these facts to the government media or any other media under personal control. They can’t handle the truth. That too is a fact.

    We must face these not so pleastn facts if we are to find a cure to the problems facing a nation/region.

  • SD

    Dear TT,

    RE: “So I am a racist for stating the facts? I tell you that you are a bigger racist for not accepting the facts.”

    Facts are always welcome, but putting a “spin” on it to make it sound like the Tamils were some evil villainous race here and the Sinhalese were mostly victims is not welcome! The “facts” do not bear out such a spin. It’s no different from those Eelamist people who demonize the Sinhalese and shout and scream about genocide.

    The facts are that the majority of Tamil people did not react severely to these issues although I agree with you that there was a vocal racist minority continuously pushing a racial agenda. However, these extremist groups simply could not recruit enough people for any major armed militant uprising despite instances of persecution during that period. A major reaction from the Tamil community was prompted only after that appalling persecution of ’83. You cannot belittle that tragedy or wish it away by highlighting the crimes of petty hooligans and some extremist elements.

    Your interpretation of Tamils as being extremely racist is no different from those who interpret the majority of Sinhala people as being severely racist. That’s not true either. If they had been that severely racist, the number of deaths in ’83 would have been countless, given that the Sinhalese outnumbered the Tamils at least 4 to 1.

    It is an unfortunate truth that racial prejudice is a pretty natural human trait. It requires training and upbringing to overcome the natural affinity one forms towards one’s in-group. That’s why you get people who are “loyal” to their families, “loyal” to their school, “loyal” to their race, “loyal” to their country etc. at the expense of other out-groups. We are all psychologically ill-disposed to think beyond such primitive in-group/out-group dynamics.

    That does not mean however, that the majority of people are villainous racists who would kill and disembowel those of the other race at the drop of a hat! This is why you should refrain from painting entire communities with a uniform brush. Blame mentalities, not races.

    These primitive impulses cannot be eradicated, as there is no country in the world that is free of racial prejudice. But they can be controlled, through training and social norms. Ideally, upbringing and training since childhood is best, but where that fails, social norms and the law must kick in and prevent other people from indulging in racist acts. Clearly, we as a country have completely and utterly failed in this regard!

  • wijayapala

    Hello again TT, I have some facts to share:

    Sinhala racist reaction for Tamil racist action is undeniable.

    You missed the fact that what you call “Tamil racist action” did not involve any violence until the 1970s but the “Sinhala racist reaction” was wholly violent.

    a mono ethnic Tamil only north and large army camps, paramilitaries, mild terror, etc. or a multiethnic north with lesser number of camps.

    Let me ask this- how will you plan to convince any Sinhala to move to the north if they will have no protection?

  • Krish

    TT,

    You are trying to club too many things as racist! Frankly, you are reading too much into the issue without any logical reason.

    1. The usage of the world TamilNadu doesn’t constitute a race representation at all. For example, TamilNadu Toiler’s Party. It is just a party of Toilers in the state of Tamil Nadu. Same thing goes for Tamil Nadu Forward Bloc. Tamil Nadu is name of the state, that’s all.

    2. In the first two parties that you mention, you see “India” before “Dravida”. So, they are more national and less racist?

    3. Tamil Manila Congress was a break-away faction from Congress Party (which currently rules India) that opposed Jayalalitha. The name “Tamil” in this case effectively refers to TamilNadu.

    4. Some parties in this list have been dissolved or merged with other parties. Tamil Manila Congress formerly merged with Congress Party about 10 years ago.

    BTW, you seem to have some problems with the very usage of the word “Tamil”. Tamil is a language not race. Dravida refers to race. Seriously, what’s your problem with Tamil that you seem so much upset about? Care to explain? 🙂

  • Burning_Issue

    Keish,

    It is easy to counter when one is honest; TT is not honest. He under plays the Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism and over plays the Tamil Nationalism. He uses the term “multiculturalism” liberally and obscures his real intentions; he knows that the 70+ % majority Sinhala will be the dominant force; he recklessly ignores the minority rights and perceptions.

    He terms anything Tamil is racism; he does not stop to think as to why the Tamils are insecure; why they form the wall “the Tamil”. The issue is that, addressing such concerns of the minorities means giving into them! It is much easier and convenient for him to push for artificially altering of demography; he knows at the end of the day, the Sinhalese will be secure and to hell with the minorities.

    Both Wijayapala and SD are Sinhalese; we have difference of opinions on certain issues but centre our approach on anti-racism. One can hide his/her racist views up to a point, but it will stick out like a sore thumb at some point!

  • AJ Perera

    TT,

    I am not sure if it is ignorance or an intentional spin, but I will be charitable and let that go undecided.

    Let me just take a single illustration of your arguments, which you obviously present as a glaringly obvious statistics in support of your view:

    “Interestingly it’s financiers/donors are,

    Tax payers – 74% Sinhalese people
    Tax payers – 8% Muslim people
    Tax payers – 1% Other people
    Tax payers – 17% Tamil people.”

    Your argument is like saying it is not fair that 100% of the students benefiting from the School for the blind are blind, but 99.9% of taxpayers who ultimately finance the School are not blind?

    The appropriate way is to compare what % of SL population is blind, and what Share of our Education spending is directed at the blind.

    Would you care to find out and report what % of the Min. of Education’s University funding got allocated to the Jaffna Campus in the last 10 years – and how that share has trended in that period? Then, you will indeed make a legitimate comparison.

    Also, consider who makes decisions on University admissions? Faculty appointments? Decide on medium of instruction? Wasn’t it established essentially as a Tamil medium campus, defended, genuinely or not, as a necessity to serve the Tamil speaking areas – given that, isn’t it natural that it will be so mono-linguistic?

    AJ Perera – (the civil-type that DJ loves to hate!)

  • Arosha Bandara

    TT,

    While I agree that a multi-ethnic Sri Lanka is a worthy goal, the end does not justify the means. My view on the process for integrating communities is that it needs to be initiated by individuals *not* the government. As villages, towns and communities lie in ruins in the North, the priority of the government should be to normalise the lives of the people who have been displaced from the area since the start of the war, irrespective of their ethnic background. In particular, this resettlement programme should give precedence to the wishes of the displaced individual rather than any “master plan” for engineering ethnic diversity. So while I have no issue with the government helping Sinhala and Muslim families who were displaced form the north to return, it is important that this is done in a way that is fair to everyone – including the Tamil families who have been displaced.

    My understanding of your position is that you want the government sponsor migration of people from the South to the North, even if those people have not been displaced by the war. You claim this is already happening and that it is a good thing. Have I understood your position correctly? If so, could you explain why you don’t see anything morally wrong with your position?

    Finally, could you please post your views on the following scenario:

    Sri Lanka is hit by another tsunami which leaves large swathes coastal areas of the Hambantota district in ruins with thousands of families made homeless. When the government provides land for these families to rebuild their lives, they also use some of the tsunami relief funds to sponsor Tamil/Muslim families from the North and East to come and occupy these lands in order to dilute the 97% Sinhala population of the Hambantota district and make it more ethnically diverse. Since the government’s resources are finite, the tsunami displaced families end up getting a smaller share of the resources available for reconstruction.

    In the above scenario, would you tell the tsunami displaced people of Hambantota to accept the external migrants and make do with less reconstruction aid because it is for the good of the country to have Tamil/Muslim people living in the area? Would you be surprised if the Hambantota residents were reluctant to accept your argument?

    Look forward to hearing your views on this.

  • billy

    its a realy funny argument that any thing agaist the tamil racism equate to sinhala nationalism..
    according to these tamil racists, solution for the so called sinhala domination is to create tamil enclaves so that they can act like oppressive singahalese!
    one thing that these people should understand is that no where in the world that communities enjoy equal rights as communities as like equal rights as individuals!

  • Arosha Bandara

    @ billy

    “one thing that these people should understand is that no where in the world that communities enjoy equal rights as communities as like equal rights as individuals!”

    I would agree that it is only possible to establish equal rights for individuals. But what should happen when the government discriminates against individuals based on characteristics such as language (which is a characteristic that also identifies a community)? What should the government do if private individuals also discriminate against individuals based on such characteristics?

  • Arosha Bandara

    The following interview with the Rt. Hon. R. Sampanthan (Leader of the TNA) is quite interesting: http://bit.ly/bCQ8KO

    Note that he says “Any solution has got to be within a united country. The unity and territorial integrity must be preserved.” It seems the TNA is coming around to a position that will be give them a chance to discuss things with the government.

  • Burning_Issue

    Please; what people think about this incident?

    http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2010/10/31/jaffna-public-library-comes-under-attack-again/

    Will this incident be brushed under the carpet or an appropriate action will be taken to give confidence to the Tamils?

    If similar approach were to be taken by the Tamils or Muslims, would the Security Forces be as lenient?

  • billy

    if these so called born again tamil humanitarians are realy what they pretending to be, they should be fighting for a more secular and accommodative center, and not some exclusive tamil area so that they can enjoy acting singahalese.

  • Belle

    Burning_Issue,
    History repeating itself, eh? And so it will go on repeating until lessons are learned.

  • Burning_Issue

    billy,

    “if these so called born again tamil humanitarians are realy what they pretending to be, they should be fighting for a more secular and accommodative center, and not some exclusive tamil area so that they can enjoy acting singahalese.”

    Where is your fight for more secularism? Don’t you see that the Tamils are completely insecure, frightened, and feel destitute? What possibly one can expect from such a situation? Do examine your stance first before pointing finger at the other!

  • Burning_Issue

    Bella,

    “History repeating itself, eh? And so it will go on repeating until lessons are learned.”

    None of the mainstream papers reported this story other than the Sunday Leader; I may be wrong on this. It is unfathomable totally; it is like treading on a fallen man! They broke in and why then ransacked the place; what protection did the SLA with guns offer? Is there any justice to this?

  • SD

    Dear Burning Issue,

    Well, the secretariat denies it.
    http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca201011/20101101sunday_leader_report_based_unverified_unauthenticated_information.htm

    Guess it’ll be brushed under the carpet, if it’s true.
    However, it would be prudent to wait for more concrete evidence, perhaps pictures of books strewn about and so on, before we jump to too many conclusions. Surely, a mobile phone image or something similar should emerge?

  • Belle

    billy,
    “if these so called born again tamil humanitarians..”.

    Wow, you also racialise huumanitarianiism! Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

  • SD

    Dear Wijayapala, TT

    RE: “There was more than that, although it doesn’t redeem the fallacies in TT’s re-definition of “genocide.” In 1958 (though not other years, to the best of my knowledge) the violence went both ways, affecting even young Sarath Fonseka of all people:”

    Wijayapala, thanks for the interesting information as usual.
    TT, perhaps stating facts like the above, without demonizing races, would be far more productive? I think you do raise interesting issues, but I fear you are going too far with your generalizations. Don’t you think the problem and its background are a bit too complicated to be reducible to “Tamils are more racist than Sinhalese”?