He is writing history, where he lives, when he travels,
to Denmark, Singapore, Tamil Nadu, Toronto. Edward Said
wrote about Palestinians, Rudramoorthy Cheran, Tamils.

News that my friend has suffered a mild heart attack
does not surprise me. His muscle has been strained
for more than thirty years. From the Saturday Review

where he reported the first days of rebellion in Jaffna
to more recent sociological study and dramatic writing,
the man, as scientist and poet, has let emotions hang

on strings strummed to a tabla’s beat. Wordsmiths
for Tamilians are as good as our instruments
and words are always enhanced by music. I recall

when we met in 1987 at the International Centre
for Ethnic Studies on Kynsey Terrace in Colombo,
where I moved as a kid when the house was home

and not yet a center dedicated to resolving differences,
the wounds of the1983 “Riots” were still very fresh,
and enthusiasm for resolution of long-standing

grievances strong, and nobody thought
we would allow democracy to fall into tyranny.
Neelan had not yet crossed the hairs of a Tiger,

nor even Premadasa, but the Indian Army were
landing in Jaffna, and resistance came soon after
that brief spring during which Cheran and I smoked

a cheroot and spoke poetry tinged with sadness
still for the murders of Black July and later,
on another visit, the suicide of Sivaramani,

whom we translated before the light
of an oil lamp in a thosai kaddai and thought
that, now we live abroad, let us recognize

at least that our spirits will not present passports
and our children, whom we could not imagine
then, would wander about our new homes and one day

think that to be Tamil is to be well-prepared to write
the essay on expulsion from the garden, and to feed, dream
and compose that other promise too, called the right of return.

  • Chithraleha

    Hope the poet get well soon.

    Indran Amirthanayagam, however you should get the facts straight and right. From 2001 Dr.Cheran has been an unofficial spokesperson for the LTTE. He was seduced by the ailing Anton Balasingham to justfy the LTTE’s Fascist politics. This is why why Cheran paid a visit to Balasingham’s funeral in London 2006.

    Untill 2001 Cheran remained an ardent critic of the LTTE. Suddenly in 2001 he changed camps. The readers in English may not know all the facts as Cheran was mainly perfoming in Tamil justyfying all the actions of the LTTE.

    Until 2010 all those academics submitted and read papers in The Tamil studies conference he organised in Toronto were the LTTE appologists. LIke the late Prof. Sivathamby, Cheran was among other Tamil intellectuals who served the LTTE’s fascist politics. This has undoubtedly tarnished his careeer.

    _Chithraleha

    • Davidson

      When people are oppressed for decades they are bound to try many modes of struggle.
      Here we are 63 years of oppression. First tried unitary government. Then federalism. Then separation. Then armed struggle. Back to the first stage of talks of the 50s. Such is the sense of the oppressors:

      http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/08/outline_of_submission_made_to.html
      Jayantha Dhanapala’s written submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
      Commission(LLRC), August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948 . Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage our own internal affairs has led to foreign intervention but more seriously has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens’’. (Dhanapala was formerly UN Under-Secretary Generak for Disarmament)

      http://www.minorityrights.org/10458/reports/no-war-no-peace-the-denial-of-minority-rights-and-justice-in-sri-lanka.html
      No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka, Report by Minority Rights Group International, 19 January 2011:
      With the end of the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE or ‘Tamil Tigers’) in 2009, normality has returned for much of the population of Sri Lanka. But for members of the country’s two main minority groups – Tamils and Muslims – living in the north and east of the country, harsh material conditions, economic marginalisation, and militarism remain prevalent. Drawing on interviews with activists, religious and political leaders, and ordinary people living in these areas of the country, MRG found a picture very much at odds with the official image of peace and prosperity following the end of armed conflict. …. ”The UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues should be granted an invitation by the government to visit the country in order to report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation of minorities in Sri Lanka. …. In light of the findings of this report MRG calls on the government of Sri Lanka to respect the economic, cultural and political rights of minorities living in Sri Lanka and to ensure that they gain from post-conflict reconstruction and development projects in the areas where they live.’’

    • Davidson

      ”LTTE’s fascist politics”

      Is it less fascist not to publish the reports of APRC(that worked for about 120 sessions over three years) and CoI?
      Is it less fascist to stop investigations into crimes(CoI was aborted as soon as the LTTE was wipe4d out) ?
      Is it less fascist to restrict aid to war-ravaged people;

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6644536.ece
      Victims of Tamil Tiger war hit by Sri Lanka tax on aid workers, 6 July 2009:
      The Sri Lankan Government is trying to siphon off millions of pounds of humanitarian aid by imposing a 0.9 per cent tax on all funding for aid groups, including the British charities Oxfam and Save the Children Fund. Aid workers said that Burma was the only other country that they could remember imposing such a tax — one of several new measures hampering their efforts to help victims of Sri Lanka’s recent civil war.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8142550.stm
      Sri Lanka orders cuts in aid work, 9 July 2009: ‘’The Sri Lankan government has told international relief agencies to cut back their activities in the country. … But it(ICRC) says an estimated 300,000 displaced people still need food, medicine and help to return home.’’

      http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/invoke.cfm?objectid=12EEE5AE-15C5-F00A-259ECDF0EB7BAAFF&component=toolkit.article&method=full_html
      13 August 2009, “We have two whiteboards in our office,” explained Karline. “One with a list of planned activities for the coming weeks: supplementary feeding, surgery, etc. And another is a list of activities waiting for approval, including mental health, basic health care and physiotherapy in the camps… We are ready to start!”

      http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=16332&size=A
      Tamil refugees going home to an open prison, 15 September 2009:“We are living in an open prison,” said Fr Seemanpillai Jayabalan, parish priest in Aripputhurai. “People have no hope for development. They have lost their property and many homes are a total write-off. NGOs are not allowed in the area.’’

      …………
      ……………..
      ……………………

    • luxmy

      ”This has undoubtedly tarnished his career” ?

      http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/K%20Godage.pdf
      K.Godage(former Sri Lankan diplomat) addresses LLRC, 15 September 2010:
      ‘’…. We have persistently discriminated against the Tamil people from 1956…. We have in our prisons over 2000 young Tamil men. Some of them have been taken on suspicion. Just picked up and taken. In detention without charges for years, Sir, for years ….’’

      http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/August2010/Mangala%20Moonasinghe.pdf
      Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe to LLRC, 17 August 2010:
      ‘’… so, who started terrorism – it was we – and then gradually naturally the youth, Tamil youth, went into terrorism in the north. … So terrorism did not come on its own. We created them sir, we created them. ….’’ (Moonasinghe is a former Sri Lankan diplomat and MP)

      http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Prof.%20Priyan%20Dias.pdf
      Prof Priyan Dias addresses LLRC, 07 October 2011:
      ‘’No one is asking now whether it is “we” who are responsible for the LTTE uprising. I think as a society we need to have that sense of guilt, have that sense of blame that we are responsible for this happening and it is only out of that sense of guilt that we can move forward.’’

  • Vikram A. Thithan

    Chithraleha,

    Please can you give us some pointers to his work from which we can judge for ourselves if he indeed made such a transition in 2001.

    Thanks
    Vikram

  • There is a lot I fail to understand in your comment Chitraleya. Phrases like unofficial spokesman, apologist, that he was “seduced by the ailing Anton Balasingham…” suggest that you have left critical thinking based on facts behind in your attempt to, use your verb, tarnish the reputation of my good friend. Just in case you did not know, there are no unofficial spokesmen for unofficial organizations.

    • Kuruparan

      Dear Indran Amirathanayagam,
      Is anything written on a paper is poem as far as u are concerned.
      What you have written here is reportage. This is not poem. Next time you send a shopping list by mistake and groundviews will publish it as a poem. Because you guys are elites, coming from rich families went to private schools. Ur parents sent u foreign universities. You guys have friends in high places.
      If an average Sri Lankan send some good poem to groundviews and he is not known to groundviews, he will have little chance of getting that published it in groundviews. Such is citizen journalism ( Groundviews style)

      Kuruparan.

  • Panabokke

    Chitraleha, what exactly is fascism in respect to Sri Lanka:

    Disenfranchisement of 75,000 in mid-20C when half the world had been stampeding for franchise?
    A series of state-aided pogroms unleashed on ethnic minorities?
    Aerial bombing temples, churches, houses, schools, … over 25 years?
    Army of occupation for over four decades?
    Political, economic, social, environmental oppression ??

  • S.Anandarajah

    As a poet Cheran was known for his opposition to any form of violence against civilians, dissenters and his protested to all the injustices committed by all the armed factions. As a result he has earned the wrath of the LTTE. Cheran left Jaffna in the early part of 1990. He was closely associated with NLFT a Tamil movement whose members were all abducted by the LTTE after 1990 June and tortured and murdered. Many of Cheran’s friends including Pen award winner poet Chelvi and Thillainathan were murdered by the LTTE. Cheran’s Brother in law and sister were active members of the NLFT. Needless to say, had Cheran remained in Jaffna after June 1990 he would have murdered by the LTTE.

    From 1990 to Cheran edited Sarinihar a Tamil newspaper. Until 1997 Sarinihar critizied all the players in Sri Lankan politics without any bias. After 1993, though Cheran was studying his Ph.D in Canada, he controlled the Sarinihar through his Brother in Law S.K.Wigneswaran and his followers. After 1997 Sarinihar gradually became a biased Paper. It criticized only Government and unconditionally supported LTTE’s agenda and paractices and politics (with few exceptions). Anyone read the post 1998 Sarinihar would find it. After 2000 Sarinihar openly supported Pongu Tamil programmes which are actually orchestrated by the LTTE .

    After 2001 Cheran’s advocacy for the LTTE’s fascist policies and practices came to surface.
    1. In Theeranathy(2002) Tamil literary Journal from Chennai he gave an interview saying ” I believe the LTTE is enjoying wider spread support from the people who live under LTTE controlled areas. Because without people’s support armed players like LTTE cannot hold a land for long”.

    2. He wrote in Sarinihar that he didn’t agree with University teachers for Human rights (Jaffna)[UTHR(J)] argument that LTTE is a fascist entity. He went on to suggested that [UTHR(J)]had other ulterior motives.

    3. Cheran interpreted and paraphrased Prabhakaran’s Great hero’s day speeches in positive light after 2004( In a Toronto Tamil newspaper)

    4. After 2002 he visited many times to the LTTE controlled areas and met many senior LTTE leaders.

    5.Tamilnet and other LTTE organs only give prominence to people who advocate for the LTTE. From 2006 Cheran was often quoted in Tamilnet and other LTTE organs. Cheran was invited to many conferences organised by the UK based LTTE controlled “international Tamil journalists association”

    6. The following links are in English which I present as evidence to prove Cheran’s advocacy of the LTTE. Let the readers judge.
    (a) Cheran’s interview to Al Jazeera in 2009 January.Dr. Cheran is the last person talking. The LTTE was in death rows. A delusional Cheran is hopeful of LTTE’s comeback.
    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/insidestory/2009/01/200912715634195224.html

    (b) An article written in Sri Lanka Guardian
    http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2008/12/cheran-vs-cheran-reply-to-professor-r.html

    S.Anandarajah

  • Panabokke

    What is the difference between the violence of successive governments and that of LTTE? Is it only a ”state” violence vs ”non-state” violence?

    State with ”sovereignty” of representation at official intergovernmental bodies Vs non-state ”non-sovereignty” with no representation at ”official” intergovernmental bodies ??

    State terrorism: 1948 – 2011 continuing
    LTTE terrorism: late 1970s – early 2009

    LTTE terrorism is ”proscribed” in some countries
    State terrorism proscribes UN aid/SRs, ie prevents them from entering the country.

    • yapa

      Dear Panabokke

      I think you should not reduce that issue to that simple level. It is a complicated issue.

      What made you interpret complex issues as simple issues? What good it will bring? I don’t think it does any thing other than making the issue more complex.

      Thanks!

    • wijayapala

      Dear Panabokke

      What is the difference between the violence of successive governments and that of LTTE? Is it only a ”state” violence vs ”non-state” violence?

      Mahinda was elected. Prabakaran was not. When Mahinda fought the LTTE he had the public support, but when Prabakaran fought he had no such support. Thus Prabakaran lost.

      State terrorism: 1948 – 2011 continuing

      What was the state terrorism that took place in 1948?

      • Rodger

        http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/08/outline_of_submission_made_to.html
        Jayantha Dhanapala’s written submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
        Commission(LLRC), August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948 . Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage our own internal affairs has led to foreign intervention but more seriously has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens’’.

      • sam

        Being ELECTED does not give the President LICENCE to torture, kill, abduct, deprive food and medicine,arrest without charges, Killing political opponents,bombing and shelling its own citizens, bombing, hospitals, schools, and several other crimes (too many to mention)

        In 1948/1949 SL Government stripped the Indian Tamils of their nationality, including their right to vote. Prominent Tamil political leaders such as S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and his Tamil opposition party opposed this move.

        Since then there had been several STATE SPONSORED pogroms against the unarmed Tamil civilians in which prominent ministers and Budhist monks lead the mob who identified the houses belonging to Tamils with the voting list in hand!!! The government was unwilling to stop these pogroms!! Pirapaharan is the by-product of successive STATE TERRORISM!!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Sam,

        Invite your attention to the post at the following link

        http://groundviews.org/2011/09/28/cheran/#comment-37315

  • Rodger

    ”LTTE’s Fascist politics”

    What do you call this:

    M.Rajapakse, 15 June 2011: ”If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, it will be curtains for me”
    L. Athulathmudali, 4 Feb 1985: ‘’Proposing a federal constitution will be
    political suicide.”
    R. Wickremasinghe, 13 May 1997: “We are a political party. Like any other
    political party, we will not do anything that will not get us into power, nor would we do anything when we are in power to lose power.”

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Davidson,

    You wrote “Here we are 63 years of oppression”

    Are you sure of the numbers?

    Was not the Tamil Vellala High Casts controlling and dominating Govt Bureaucracy for part of that time … a continuation of such domination from the Colonial period?

    During that time only the Low cast Tamils, Muslims and the Sinhalese were oppressed.

    The oppressor then, was the Northern Vellala Tamils. The lackeys of the Colonial Administration.

    Please don’t forget that, the Vellala oppression lasted for Centuries and not just decades and is at the root of the Ethnic divide.

    • Ward

      http://www.buddhistethics.org/10/gunawar-sri-lanka-conf.html
      Roots of the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka- Prof ALH Gunawardene, J of Buddhist Ethics, Vol10, 2003

      Two remarkably retrograde political acts in the modern history of Sri Lanka…..
      The first, which took place in 1936, is represented by the formation of the Pan-Sinhala Board of Ministers in the second State Council established under the Donoughmore Constitution. The exclusion of non-Sinhala members from the Board of Miisters through the manipulation of the Executive Committee system was to make cooperation among the Sinhala and Tamil elites even more difficult than previously. This particular incident should even today serve to caution us that Donoughmore-type constitutional reforms would not by themselves provide for equitable representation and sharing of power.
      The second measure that was undemocratic and socially unjust as it was politically most unwise was the disenfranchisement of labour of more recent Indian origin. This was the outcome of a series of legislation in 1948-49, the Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948, the Indian and Pakistani Residents (Citizenship) Act No. 3 of 1949 and the Ceylon Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act No. 48 of 1949. The three Acts in effect withdrew the voting rights of a large proportion of Indian Tamil estate labour more than 72,230 of whom had voted at the elections of 1947. The series of legislation adopted by the newly independent state of Sri Lanka in 1948-9 represented serious dents affecting the quality of democracy and a significant point in the shift towards limitation of space available to minority ethnic groups within the state.…. Rivalries among the established larger political parties in Sri Lanka have generally posed the more formidable obstacle preventing cooperation in seeking solutions for the ethnic problem. Even agreement on basic issues has not necessarily led to voting and working together.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Ward,

        Banyan Trees have Aerial roots that come down from the branches and grow in to the ground. They are also roots of the Banyan Tree but they are not the ORIGINAL roots. The ORIGINAL ROOTS are those that gave rise to the Banyan Tree in the first place. The Roots that came from the seed and not the roots that came from the sky.

        Though I can sympathise with your position you can hardly point to the Roots that originated from the Aerial Roots and call them the Original Roots of the Banyan Tree.

        The Ethnic issue is similar to a Banyan tree. Just as the Aerial Roots stifled and hid the Original Roots of the Banyan Tree from sight, Subsequent incidents are being used to Hide from Sight the actual roots of the Ethnic Issue.

        The Hill Country or “Kande Uda” as it was known locally, was overwhelmingly populated by the Sinhalese. The British dispossessed this land from the Sinhalese and tried to establish plantations of Coffee etc. This failed mainly due to the refusal by the Sinhalese to work the lands stolen from them by a Foreign Occupier.

        The British circumvented this resistance of the Sinhalese by Importing Tamils from India and COLONISING the “Kande Uda” Lands.

        This was Colonisation within the real meaning of the word.
        It was Exploitation.

        The Immigrants were total Foreigners who were introduced by force by a Foreign Power. The Lands in which they were settled was dispossessed from the Indigenous population who became Landless as a result.
        This Colonisation was against the will of the indigenous population of Lanka.

        Before the advent of foreign Rule, Lanka was ruled by the will of the Indigenous people.

        Types of colonialism (Wiki)

        Settler colonialism involved a large number of colonists, typically seeking fertile land to farm.

        Exploitation colonialism involved fewer colonists, typically interested in extracting resources to export to the metropole. This category includes trading posts, but it applies more to the much larger colonies where the colonists would provide much of the administration and own much of the land and other capital, but rely on indigenous people for labor.

        These models of colonialism overlap. In both cases, people moved to the colony, and goods were exported to the metropole.

        A plantation colony is normally considered to fit the model of exploitation colonialism. However, in this case there may be other immigrants to the colony such as slaves to grow the cash crop for export.

        In some cases, settler colonialism took place in substantially pre-populated areas and the result was either a culturally mixed population (such as the mestizos of the Americas), or a racially divided population, such as in French Algeria or Southern Rhodesia.
        End extract.

        The types of Govt imposed by the British before and after independence was foreign to the political system that was in existence in “Kande Uda” where the will of the Indigenous population took precedence.

        In looking for ROOTS of the Problem this fact cannot be overlooked just because it does not fit in to a specific Agenda.

        Strangely most Tamils categorise the settlement of Sinhalese in the North and East within development projects funded by PUBLIC funds (hence paid for by all citizens, the majority of which are Sinhalese) on PUBLIC land as “colonisation” even though Sinhalese are Indigenous to Lanka. But do not refer to the Indian Origin Tamils, who were foreigners and hence not indigenous to Lanka as colonisers.
        The quotations that you use from Prof ALH Gunawardene overlooks the above and is hence untenable in explaining the Root Causes.

        BTW the link you provided does not work. I could not find the original work by Prof ALH on the web. All I could find were Tamil sources who were quoting Prof ALH and there were many of them. Please give a link to the Original Document by Prof ALHG

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Panabokke,

    Invite your attention to the following post.

    http://groundviews.org/2011/09/28/cheran/#comment-37282

  • Vanthi A. Thevan

    Perhaps Prof. Cheran could be encouraged to read this. Authentic or not, it will help reflect:
    http://www.mercyfortamilprisoners.com/SathaLetter.pdf

    • silva

      How many intrastate and inerstate conflicts have been going on and how far have the UN and the Commonwealth helped to resolve them?
      These intergovernmental bodies have been as effective as the ratio of human rights violating states that are not prepared to accept R2P (Sri Lanka doesn’t accept R2P but sends peacekeeping forces that gets it revenue !!) to states that are prepared to struggle(they may have faults themselves) towards justice and peace for as many as possible around the world.

      When oppression ceases, struggle for justice will cease. The longer the oppression, the larger the number of ways struggle is going to take. Just because one who struggled ”failed”, others are not going to stop struggling – it’s psychosomatic of most living species, not only Homo sapiens.

    • luxmy

      Man’s injustice(on the basis of number or other forms of power) to man continues on irrespective of UN Charter, International Laws, Religious philosophies, etc.

    • eureka

      Many Sri Lankans know that what Minister Samarasinghe spoke at UNHRC on 12 September about what the government is doing in the Northeast are lies the people are under the boots of the occupation army). But only ”states” have representation at intergovernmental bodies. The Tamils who have been fleeing the country in 50s/60s/70s/80s/90s/2000s have to plead with churches, civil societies, parliamentarians, etc to counteract the lies. It has not been effective in the last five decades. It is slightly beginning to have some effect. It may be too late judging by the destruction of the Northeast – most of the coastal areas of the Northeast is being taken over by the Sinhalese with the help of newly formed army/navy camps with the Tamils well caged in.

    • Ravana

      “authentic or not”

      Hik Hik Hik. Looks like it came straight out of the Gulag!
      Who comes up with these ideas! Thankfully, you cannot imprison the mind of a free thinker, …yet.

      But you can certainly buy the services of a script writer.

      • yapa

        Are you sure? (HIk, hik, hik, hik)

        Thanks!

    • silva

      Shouldn’t some of the Commonwealth countries improve? Why should the others cover up the faults and make the countries suffer for ever?

      Will some sense prevail in the forthcoming Perth conference:

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/01/us-commonwealth-rights-idUSTRE7900N820111001

  • Ward

    CMAG needs to be reviewed and strengthened, Maja Daruwala, Executive Director
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, 20 October 2009:
    ‘’…. CMAG is the watchdog body of the Commonwealth. It is mandated to deal with ‘serious and persistent violations” of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values including human rights. It must be able to deal quickly and unequivocally with situations of constant threats to human rights values by Commonwealth states ….
    But 14 years on from CMAG’s birth it is yet to go beyond scrutinising cases where there have been unconstitutional overthrows of governments and fully operationalise its mandate to include situations where there are persistent human rights violations. It has not been able to bring Cameroon which on joining the Commonwealth had made promises of improving its human rights situation up to the mark, nor been inclined to overtly come to the rescue of human rights defenders imperilled in their own countries. Nor insist on benchmarks for the whole Commonwealth by which year on year improvements in governance and human rights can be clearly evidenced.
    …. Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) presently consists of rotating Foreign Ministers of Ghana, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Uganda and United Kingdom.
    …. in the case of Sri Lanka, reports of large scale civilian deaths, impunity and stifling of human rights in Sri Lanka continued to emerge throughout 2008 and 2009 but CMAG has refused to put Sri Lanka in its agenda. The additional irony is that Sri Lanka itself continues to serve as a member of CMAG during this period for a third consecutive (two year) term contrary to the 1999 Durban Communiqué that limits a country to a maximum of two consecutive terms.
    …. Even as we write Sri Lanka still continues to serve as a CMAG member while hundreds of thousands of ethnic minorities remain confined indefinitely in ill-maintained internment camps amidst un-investigated claims of war crimes and reports of widespread danger to human rights defenders and dissenters. CMAG has also been silent on other parts of the Commonwealth, for instance during the post election violence in Kenya in 2007, when freedom of assembly was curtailed in Malaysia in 2007, and for a long while on the Gambia where many basic human rights are heavily curtailed. ….’’

    http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/nl/newsletter_spring_2011/newsletter_spring_2011.pdf
    The Commonwealth as a Human Rights Organisation? Zach Abugov, ProgrammeOfficer, Strategic Initiatives Programme, CHRI, CHRI Newsletter, Spring 2011:”…. CHRI has closely monitored the conduct of the Commonwealth countries at the UN Human Rights Council since its inception in 2006. Most countries pledges include commitments to strengthen the Council and to promote the highest standards of human rights at home. This month, CHRI released the third report in the Easier Said than Done series – the findings of which show that, for the twelve Commonwealth countries that sat on the Council from 2008-2010, these commitments have yet to be borne out. …..”

  • eureka

    Dear Off the Cuff
    I hope Ward comes back to clarify the points you raised..
    Meanwhile:

    War or Peace in Sri Lanka – TDSA Dissanayake(2004):
    ”In 1948, the basic qualification for citizenship for aliens anywhere in the world was five years as a permanent resident. For example Ceylonese who had lived in the UK for five years were eligible for citizenship. The Burghers who migrated to Australia needed permanent residence of five years before becoming citizens of Australia. The plantation labour from South India had lived in Ceylon for 75 years or more. However all except those whose parents were born in Ceylon were disenfranchised in terms of The Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948.The seven Members of Parliament from the Ceylon Indian Congress suddenly lost their right to re-contest their seats in the next parliament.”

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Eureka,

      I too hope that either Ward or any other Tamil or Non Tamil would venture to discuss the points I have raised. I thank you for your response.

      I believe that the following statement is factually incorrect.

      “However all except those whose parents were born in Ceylon were disenfranchised in terms of The Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948“

      Citizenship Act of 1948
      (4) (1) Subject to the other provisions of this Part a person born in Ceylon before the appointed date shall have the status of a citizen of Ceylon by descent if-
      (a) his father was born in Ceylon, or
      (b) his paternal grandfather and paternal great grandfather were born in Ceylon.

      You see, the Father need not have been born in Ceylon to qualify for Ceylon Citizenship.

      It is relevant to ask the question is TDSA Dissanayaka comparing identical circumstances? Is he appealing to emotion rather than discussing hard facts?

      “For example Ceylonese who had lived in the UK for five years were eligible for citizenship”.

      Were these Ceylonese living in Land dispossessed from the British?

      “The Burghers who migrated to Australia needed permanent residence of five years before becoming citizens”


      Were the Burghers occupying Land dispossessed from the Australians?
      Were they not required to show a WHITE Blood Line before emigration?
      Was any other Ceylonese Citizen accepted for immigration by Australia in order to qualify by residing for 5 years? What were the entry requirements, if any

      Were the Aliens Ceylonese in UK and Australia in numbers sufficient to dilute the political will of the indigenous population?
      Were the Ceylonese aliens provided with Land taken by force from the British and Australian citizens by the respective govts?
      Did either UK or Australian citizens suffer any loss of land and livelihood and become destitute on account of the alien Ceylonese?

      In Lanka the aliens (Indian Tamil colonisers in this case) were occupying land dispossessed and plundered from the Indigenous Population, who were rendered destitute and landless overnight, by that act of dispossession and was in such large numbers, that would dilute the political will of the indigenous population.

      TDSA Disanayake was comparing Apples to Oranges and ignoring the underlying causes.

      A simplistic approach will not yield an equitable solution. This is exactly the point I made to Ward. The real root of the problem is hidden away and no one is prepared to address it.

      Today we do not have “Stateless” persons and the Indian Tamil question no longer exists. But we still do have a people who were rendered destitute by draconian legislation of the British and those people are Sinhalese. This is the injustice that has not been rectified for nearly 175 YEARS!!! This is the Injustice that has to be addressed now.

      What you need to recognise is that the former Indian Origin Tamils are residing in Land plundered from the Sinhalese but yet these Tamils have been accepted by the affected Sinhalese.

    • Buddhika

      eureka
      Thank you for the reference book by Dissanayake(2004) – many questions that come up here again and again are answered in it.

  • Vino Gamage

    eureka
    Thank you for giving the reference by Dissanayake(2004).

    • luxmy

      eureka

      War or Peace in Sri Lanka – TDSA Dissanayake(2004):
      ”…. In 1936 D.S.Senanayake brought in Sinhalese from Mirigama and Kegalle into the District of Vavuniya. In 1938 he brought more Sinhalese from Mirigama, Kegalle, Balapitiya and Waskaduwa in to the District of Trincomalee. …. In February 1948, just one week after independence Prime Minister D.S.Senanayake triumphantly announced his dream irrigation project , Gal Oya in the Tamil speaking District of Batticaloa to bring in tens of thousands of Sinhalese peasants when the construction of the dam was finished in 1951. ….”

      ???????????

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Luxmy,

        You are a Brazen Trouble Maker are you not?

        Why did you omit the intervening words between “Battticaloa” and “to” (represented by the dots I have placed) from that paragraph in Page 13?

        “Tamil speaking District of Batticaloa …………………………. to bring in tens of thousands of Sinhalese peasants when the construction of the dam was finished in 1951”

        You have DELIBERATELY PROSTITUTED the meaning by removing the words “It was widely Rumoured”

        You are a typical LTTE activists who has no compunction in stooping to the lowest depths of depravity to inflame and stoke Hatred. You would have similarly doctored all the other quotes that you have placed within your comments on GV and elsewhere.

        That was a VILE trick that you played on the GV Readership.

        Please also note that Gal Oya was developed using PUBLIC FUNDS on PUBLIC LAND.

        The Development is paid for by ALL citizens.
        Your rights to the benefits is identical to mine.
        But I believe that is not the equality that you seek.
        If you want to break it down to ethnic contributions the Sinhalese would be called upon to pay 70%, Lankan Tamils 11%, Indian origin Tamils 11.75%, Moors 5.6% and others 2.25%.

        On what ethical grounds would you want the benefits restricted to Lankan Tamils and Moors?

        Why do you want the 11.75% of Indian Tamils and the 70% Sinhalese excluded?

        Are they needed ONLY to Foot the Bill so that you can enjoy at their expense?

      • yapa

        Dear luxmy;

        Is there anything wrong in that? I don’t understand your “reading”. Can you explain?

        Thanks!

  • luxmy

    eureka

    If you have the book can you please post the whole paragraphs that contain:

    ”…. In 1936 D.S.Senanayake brought in Sinhalese from Mirigama and Kegalle into the District of Vavuniya. In 1938 he brought more Sinhalese from Mirigama, Kegalle, Balapitiya and Waskaduwa in to the District of Trincomalee. …. In February 1948, just one week after independence Prime Minister D.S.Senanayake triumphantly announced his dream irrigation project , Gal Oya in the Tamil speaking District of Batticaloa to bring in tens of thousands of Sinhalese peasants when the construction of the dam was finished in 1951. ….”

    Thank you.

    • luxmy

      eureka
      sorry for the bother.

      Off-the-Cuff
      1. I apologise for having quoted that from notes from a discussion meeting and not stright from the book.
      2. I believe you and take that ”It was rumoured” is in there.
      Practically it happened and that led to one of the most barbaric things the Sinhalese did to the Tamils – the small group of Tamils who were brought there from Trincomalee were butchered and burnt in a sugarcane field(GalOya) in 1956.
      3. Anybody who criticises Sinhalese or the Sri Lankan government is an LTTE activist ? I am a Sinhalese and apologise to the Tamils a thousand times for what the Sinhalese have been doing since 1948 when they have been in control of the country – this has been mentioned by many Sinhalese in different ways to LLRC.
      4. ”Public funds” have been used much more for the Sinhalese than for the ethnic minorities till today.
      5. ”Public land” has been given to landless Sinhalese much more than for the ethnic minorities.
      6.When ethnic minorities move around the country buying properties, they move around on their own expenses.

      Actually speaking I’m ashamed of myself for even talking about this here against a background of the atrocities committed by the government to the ethnic minorities since May 2009 till today.

      There is no sign that it’s going to change for the better in the near future:

      http://groundviews.org/2011/10/03/re-displacement-of-menik-farm-inmates-to-kombavil-mullativu/
      Re-displacement of Menik Farm inmates to Kombavil (Mullativu), 3 October 2011: ”In a petition submitted to the IDP Project Office for the Vavuniya district of the National Human Rights Commission on 29 Sept. 2011, people concerned have stated that “we want to go to our own homes and resettle.”

      This has been happening earlier too:
      http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/10/young_religious_visit_their_ow.html#more
      Young religious visit their own suffering brothers and sisters in Northern Sri Lanka, Rev.Fr.Lasantha de Abrew, 25 October 2010: ”We had an opportunity to visit Sannar in the District Mannar where the people are living in temporary huts donated by the UNHCR. They were told that they would be resettled in their own land but they are relocated in a jungle as their own land has been named a High Security Zone under the Sri Lankan Army.’’

      http://www.groundviews.org/2009/08/01/forcible-resettlements-in-east/
      Forcible resettlements in East, Ruki, 1 August 2009: ‘’Government has started to dump displaced people in the East into remote jungle areas infested with wild elephants, against the wishes of the concerned people’’

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Luxmy,

        You wrote “apologise for having quoted that from notes from a discussion meeting ”

        So you have meetings about the ethnic issue and take down notes? Must be a full time job.

        You wrote “Practically it happened and that led to one of the most barbaric things the Sinhalese did to the Tamils – the small group of Tamils who were brought there from Trincomalee were butchered and burnt in a sugarcane field(GalOya) in 1956 ”

        I am very sorry about that too and that’s why I write here. Why do you think that happened? Indian origin Tamils live amongst the Sinhalese on land dispossessed from the Sinhalese. The Sinhalese lost their livelihood and became destitute as a result. That would have been very aggravating to the Sinhalese to see the lands that they farmed being grabbed from them and settled with Alien Tamils.

        These Sinhalese are still landless. So why would Sinhala settlers do that to Tamil settlers in Gal Oya when neither the Sinhalese nor the Tamils were Aliens? What is the underlying cause?

        You wrote “Anybody who criticises Sinhalese or the Sri Lankan government is an LTTE activist ? I am a Sinhalese and apologise to the Tamils a thousand times for what the Sinhalese have been doing since 1948 when they have been in control of the country”

        No not anybody, but only those who try to defend the LTTE or those who propagate false propaganda or those who do not see the injustices propagated on Non Tamils or those who do not acknowledge the injustices perpetrated on the Sinhalese, Muslim and Tamil peasantry for 200 years before 1948 by the Northern High Cast Tamils or those who do not acknowledge that the Govt Bureaucracy was Dominated by these Vellala High Cast Tamils who attempted to perpetuate the control they had before 1948 well past 1948 or those who try to defend the Tamil Homeland claim.

        You can claim that you are a Sinhalese and I can claim that I am a Tamil but that makes no difference to the positions we take.

        You wrote “”Public funds” have been used much more for the Sinhalese than for the ethnic minorities till today. ”Public land” has been given to landless Sinhalese much more than for the ethnic minorities”

        Making statements is not an alternative to providing proof.
        I can make that claim in reverse myself.

        Prove that what you say is true “per capita”

        You wrote “ When ethnic minorities move around the country buying properties, they move around on their own expenses. ”

        Your Real Feelings are coming out.
        Are you now defending the Tamil Homeland Claim obliquely?

        And how would you do that in Sinhala Majority areas if the Sinhalese do not allow it?

        Do you also mean that the poor should not be helped by a Govt and only those who can pay should be looked after?

        Over 80% of Land in Lanka is Public Land
        Over 50% of that is situated in the North and East
        Over 60% of Coast Line is in the North and East
        75% of the Cost of any Publicly Funded development is paid for by the Sinhalese.

        How do you propose to share the benefits of any Publicly Funded Development?

        Luxmy, it is useless to point fingers if reconciliation is the aim.
        What has to be done is to remove the real causes that give rise to inequalities.

      • yapa

        Dear luxmy;

        “I am a Sinhalese and apologise to the Tamils a thousand times for what the Sinhalese have been doing since 1948 when they have been in control of the country”.

        I am a Tamil and apologise to the Sinhalese a thousand times for what the Tamils have been doing since ………………………. Ha! Ha!!

        Thanks, luxmy for providing entertainment.

  • Ward

    Off the Cuff

    I am amazed by the lot of information you have. If that can be changed into knowledge you will be much more amazing.

    I hope our educators visit these sites and see what change they need to make in education.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Ward,

      Since you seem to possess the Knowledge why don’t you try debating the information that I have provided without trying to side step the issues.

      I did not write about Education Ward but about the real roots of the Ethnic divide. So why don’t you use your superior knowledge to prove us wrong.

  • Ganagaratnam

    Dear Indran Amirthanayagam,

    where are you? are you still defending ur friend Cheran?
    Why are u not answering S.Anandarajah’s critique of Cheran? Come
    on Indran lets settle this.

    • luxmy

      Kanagaratnam
      Most of the issues going on here cannot be ”settled” so easily when what Minister Samarasinghe spoke at UNHRC on 12 September and what the President spoke at UNGA 0n 23 September are contrary to ground reality(as reported in media, including this website).

      • luxmy

        a. What the head of Sri Lankan delegation spoke(http://transcurrents. com/news-views/archives/4026# more-4026) on the opening day(12 September 2011) at UNHRC session is not true, for example:
        http://transcurrents.com/ news-views/archives/4048
        TNA: Experience of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka does not support claims made by Hon. Minister Samarasinghe at UNHRC, 13 September 2011:
        ” LLRC made very modest interim recommendations to the government. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe claimed that measures have been taken to implement these recommendations ‘without delay’. Significantly, this claim comes exactly one year since the interim recommendations were made on 13 September 2010. Yet, not one of the above recommendations has been implemented.”
        http://transcurrents.com/ news-views/archives/2586#more- 2586
        Economic development alone will not satisfy minority grievances – An Interview with Jayantha Dhanapala, 30 July 2011:
        ”In the interim report of the LLRC, recommendations were made which were eminently sensible and humane, and which would have been a step in the process of reconciliation that the government talks about, but we have still not heard about implementation. This, itself, is going to cut at the root of the credibility of the LLRC! What guarantee have we got that a) the report will be published b) that it will be implemented if the interim recommendations, which were very, very simple, are not implemented.’’

        b.
        http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/10/why-president-rajapaksas-remarks-at-un.html

        Why President Rajapaksa’s Remarks at UN General Assembly Were Flawed and Biased ?, 3 October 2011

  • Buddhika

    http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/10/why-president-rajapaksas-remarks-at-un.html

    Why President Rajapaksa’s Remarks at UN General Assembly Were Flawed and Biased ?, 3 October 2011 ??

    The author is too polite – we call them lies.

    • NVN

      Dear Buddhika (aka Vino Gamage, Luxmy, Ward, Panabokke, Davidson, Rodger and Eureka)

      Do try and stick to one identity. It’s quite obvious from the style (!) of your engagement that you’re the same commentator assuming multiple identities. Looking at the evidence above, it’s amusing that in some instances you’re actually having a discussion with yourself in a public forum. The height of inanity?

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear NVN,

        Some have meetings and quote from “notes from a discussion meeting” (vide Luxmy).

        It’s a small wonder that two people have the ability to generate comments that are identical word for word. The Mother must have been in labour for a long time. Poor soul.

        Very good observation on your part but it is not limited to style. Here are two Copy Cat comments, identical word for word, despite the time lag caused by GV’s moderation.

        At least Luxmy and Buddhika are twins.

        Long ago we had similar Tamil twins from Singapore. Like in the present case, Belle and Disgusted were female and male.

        http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/10/why-president-rajapaksas-remarks-at-un.html
        Why President Rajapaksa’s Remarks at UN General Assembly Were Flawed and Biased ?, 3 October 2011 ??
        Buddhika October 4, 2011 • 2:56 pm

        http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/10/why-president-rajapaksas-remarks-at-un.html
        Why President Rajapaksa’s Remarks at UN General Assembly Were Flawed and Biased ?, 3 October 2011
        luxmy October 4, 2011 • 1:20 pm

  • Buddhika

    One core issue. But interpretations and misinterpretations ( and LIES) are so many I’m using a lot of the times what’s being referenced here – they seem to be very handy.
    When you agree with views, you embrace the language, style, … unconsciously.

    • NVN

      That was poorly written, and I’m not sure the basis of your justification for using multiple identities is clear.

      Please try again.

    • Off the Cuff

      Unconsciously?

      Wow must have been Telepathic to generate word for word identical comments.

      Please see http://groundviews.org/2011/09/28/cheran/#comment-37409

  • luxmy

    Indran
    I’m waiting for you to do one poem on how the President has degraded Sinhalese Buddhist culture:

    http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/4443#more-4443
    ”It is important to remind ourselves that every country cherishes the values and traditions, and deeply held religious convictions it has nurtured over the centuries. These cannot be diluted or distorted under the guise of human rights, by the imposition of attitudes or approaches which are characteristics of alien cultures.”

  • Buddhika

    luxmy,
    just try something: ”under the guise of human rights”

  • silva

    http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers46%5Cpaper4558.html

    ”The Rajapakse regime will not grant substantial devolution to the Tamils nor “solve the national question”. More important, and this is the crucial point, the reason is not because the leadership is plain cussed and chauvinist (it is, but that’s not the point), the basic reason is that it cannot make concessions and continue to survive in power. The Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact on regional councils was torn up in 1958 and the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanyagam deal buckled in the mid-1960s not because the two premiers were spineless (which they were) but because racist sentiment whipped up on the streets, in society, and in the temple, was too powerful for the government of the day to withstand. It is the malady facing this regime; damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t. Fate is not kind to leaders who sign contracts with Mephistopheles or dance with the devil; GoSL is a prisoner of its past. ….

    Tamil problem will not be resolved for so long as this government remains in power. Perhaps it may run its full six-year term, perhaps it will become unstable before that (take no notice of the two-thirds in parliament, those who have been bought will just as quickly desert if the ship begins to list), and perhaps there will be a change of government. After that a fresh and more hopeful attempt can be made the sort out devolution for the Tamils. Till then it is more constructive to aim at another set of targets; political education, raising public consciousness against narrow nationalism, exposing the primitiveness of chauvinist ideologies and rejecting the ethno-centric state.”

    This is a corollary of what Judge Weeramantry suggested to LLRC:
    education of law and education of peace.

    This is a corollary of what was suggested by some others too to LLRC.

    Educators should visit these sites to taste the comments from people behind the keyboard (likely to open their minds without fear) – on finding ways of transforming information to knowledge.

    I hope commentators will concentrate on the comments, and not on the commentators, to get us out of the abyss we are in, ie considering all the people, not just those in the South only.

    We should all be saddened to note that recently some countries, including Sri Lanka, have opposed the proposal of appointing human rights commissioner in the Comonwealth – let’s wait and see what happens in Perth in three weeks’ time at CHOGM. Not that UN has been doing anything useful to resolve conflicts around the world.

    • wijayapala

      Dear luxmy/silva

      More important, and this is the crucial point, the reason is not because the leadership is plain cussed and chauvinist (it is, but that’s not the point), the basic reason is that it cannot make concessions and continue to survive in power.

      As I mentioned to you elsewhere, you are basically saying that if you want to change anything you have to convince other people to agree with you. That is how democracy works, no?

      • luxmy

        Quantity of votes, and not quality of principle, has also been ruling the world of biological creatures including man(it’s a pity he isn’t different in this aspect from other living species, Buddhism withstanding) and it will continue to do so judging by what’s going on around the world:

        Ethnic Conflict and Economic Development – A POLICY ORIENTED ANALYSIS, John Richardson(1996) “Democracy alone cannot ensure ethnic harmony. Instead, it may allow freer expression of ethnic antagonisms and legalised persecution of minorities. In Sri Lanka, both S.W.R.D. and Sirimavo Bandaranaike won democratic elections by appealing to Buddhist-Sinhalese nationalist sentiments and denigrating the ethnic Tamils. Slobodan Milosevic, the former Communist Party Chief of Serbia and General Franjo Tudjman of Croatia won their presidencies by appealing to the most divisive aspects of Serbian and Croatian nationalism”.

        http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers46%5Cpaper4558.html
        Sri Lanka: Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, 15 June 2011: ”If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, it will be curtains for me”

        Man doesn’t stop trying to change:
        http://www.worldhumanitiesforum.org/eng/

        Mmhhh….. New Humanism? ”Old” humanism hasn’t been working ??

  • samabar

    Best wishes for Cheran’s recovery – perhaps he should include more nalaenai/thalathel in his diet; and I am being serious here.

    But Indran Amirthanayagam, may I ask what you see as the communicative advantage in writing prose split into groups of 3 lines that have neither rhyme nor rhythm?

  • wijayapala

    Dear luxmy/Buddhika:

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

  • silva

    “Democracy alone cannot ensure ethnic harmony” of John Richardson is nearly a corollary of “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” of Winston Churchill ?

    Agreed.

  • I am humbled that you published Indran Amirthanayagma’s poem “Cheran”. However, I want to express my serious concern regarding comments appearing in the comments section that follows Indran Amirthanayagam’s poem (see: “Chtraleka” and “S. Anandaraja”). These allegations contained in these comments are entirely without any factual foundation and extremely malicious.

    My criticism of the LTTE has been both public and private and for the past twenty-eight years. I have been steadfast in my critique of not only LTTE but also all the Tamil militant groups, the Government of India and the Government of Sri Lanka. All my political interviews from 1985 to November 2006 are available in Tamil in the book, Kadavulum Pisaasum Kavignanum – God, Goblins and the Poet (Kalachuvadu Publishers, 2007). Anyone that reads these interviews will be aware of my criticisms and political position. My latest interview in Sinhala that appeared in Ravaya a few weeks ago is available on the sister website of Groundviews: http://www.vikalpa.org. There are more than 35 of my interviews –mostly in English-published in 2009 alone. Most of them are available online. For a sample of my public statements in 2011 here’s a link: http://www.tvo.org/cfmx/tvoorg/theagenda/index.cfm?page_id=7&bpn=109167&ts=2011-05-24%2020:00:00.0

    The “facts” and accusations in the said commentaries are very similar to those that previously appeared in: http://www.srilankaguardian.org; http://www.defence.lk; http://www.thenee.comwww.thesamnet.net.co.uk

    I have also responded to similar kinds of “lies agreed upon”, and defamatory comments in Tamil and English since 2005. However, these unsubstantiated allegations persist without any credible evidence.

    1. A Canadian organization called the Forum of Canadian Sri Lankans against Terrorism in a statement released on November 26, 2008 has accused me of being a new advisor to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Their statements (referred to by one of the commentators) received wide publicity in the Sri Lanka Guardian and Ministry of Defence (defence.lk) websites. On December 1, 2008, I sent my response to the statement to the Sri Lanka Guardian website and requested them to issue a public apology and retract the news item. The website did publish my response ( http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2008/12/i-have-never-been-affiliated-nor.html) but did not issue any apology. I could not send my response to the Forum of Canadian Sri Lankans against Terrorism, as there were no contact details to be found. They have a blogspot (focsattt.blogspot.com) but no contact details are given. However, an internet search I did at that time revealed that the Forum of Canadian Sri Lankans against Terrorism has the following constituents: See: http://www.slcricket.com/mother-lanka/16319-attention-canadians-forum-sri-lankans-against-terrorism-toronto-canada.html
    1. 1. Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Canada Branch. This is the party in power in Sri Lanka.
    2. 2. SLUNA (Sri Lanka United National Association- http://webhome.idirect.com/~sluna/)
    3. 3. JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Pertamuna), Canada Branch
    4. 4. Tamil Democratic Cultural Association (http://www.lankamission.org/content/view/124/)
    5. 5. National Patriotic Movement- Canada Branch
  • The only time I ever visited Kilinochi in the past 25 years was in 2004 as a part of a multi-ethnic (Sinhalese, Muslim and Tamil) diaspora team that visited various parts of Sri Lanka to assess the potential role diasporas can play in development. We met NGO representatives in Kilinochi but we did not meet with the LTTE or its leaders.
  • I did not attend Anton Balasingam’s funeral in London.
  • The claim, “Until 2010 all those academics submitted and read papers in The Tamil Studies conference he [Cheran] organised in Toronto were the LTTE apologists” is ludicrous. The Toronto Tamil Studies conference is perhaps the only conference where scholars from diverse backgrounds (Tamil, Sinhala, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu, Jewish, Christian, German, Japan, Scandinavian, Dalit etc) participate. Some of the “Tiger apologists” that participated and/or presented papers in the past six years include: Rohan Edirisinghe, M.A. Nuhman, Chitraleka Maunaguru, Sharika Thiranagama, Valentine Daniel, SJ Tambaiya, ARM Imtiyaz, Ratnajeevan Hoole, S. Nandikesan, Vasuki Nesiah, T.Shanathanan , David Shulman, Dennis McGilvray, Sanjay Subramanyan, Bernard Bates along with hundreds of other scholars.
  • I am one of the academic organizers of the conference. The others are Dr. Darshan Ambalavanar (2006-2009), Prof.Chelva Kanaganayakam, English, University of Toronto (2006- present), Prof. Francis Cody, Anthropology, University of Toronto (2008-present), Prof. Sri Lata Raman, History, University of Toronto (2008-present) and Sudharshan Durayappah, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2009-2011). In addition the conference is run by a large and diverse volunteer group. All the details including the names, titles of the papers and the abstracts of the papers presented at the Tamil Studies Conference in Toronto for the past six years are available at: http://www.tamilstudiesconference.ca
  • I have not been quoted “often” by the TamilNet as one of the commentator says. The one and only time I was quoted in TamilNet was when an academic from the University of Jaffna interviewed me on the controversy related to extending Tamil scripts in Unicode system to include Grantha scripts (Sunday, November 7, 2010). Here’s the quote: “Any language policy insinuating into Tamils to make them lose continuity with their long literary heritage is politically divisive and academically inappropriate”. http://tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=99&artid=32954
  • The accusation that I “interpreted and paraphrased Prabhakaran’s Great hero’s day speeches in positive light after 2004 (in a Toronto Tamil newspaper)” is false. In fact the year was 2005 and I wrote a scathing attack on the racist tone of Anton Balasingham’s speech, interpreting the Great Hero’s day speech in November 2005.My article in Tamil appeared in several Tamil newspapers and websites in December 2005. The Toronto Tamil weekly paper Vaikarai is no longer in circulation but available in the archives of noolaham.org. Here’s the link: http://www.noolaham.org/wiki/index.php?title=%E0%AE%B5%E0%AF%88%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%B1%E0%AF%88_69 (Issue 69,page 16)
  • I spoke twice (2010 and 2011) at the annual conference of the International Tamil Journalists Association (ITJA), described by one of the commentators as “the UK based LTTE controlled”. My talk in 2010 was titled “ Perils of Tamil Journalism” and my 2011 talk was titled “Technology and the Alternate Media in the era of Globalaization”. Both were in English and available at: http://www.iataj.org/speeches.htm
  • Some of the other participants at this “LTTE controlled” events were: Mr. Ramesh Gopalakrishnan from the South Asia desk of the Amnesty International, Mr. Amrith Lal, Senior Editor, Times of India, Delhi, Ms. Heather Blake, UK Representative of Reporters Without Borders, Mr. V. Thevaraj, Editor in chief, Virakesari and journalists from the BBC.

    In the current context of Sri Lankan politics these unsubstantiated allegations are potentially very dangerous to me. As someone who travels back and forth between Canada and Sri Lanka on an ongoing basis and with family remaining in Sri Lanka, these allegations could result in life threatening consequences to my family and me. As we all know, in Sri Lanka individuals are often targeted based on suspected “affiliations”.

    Cheran, October, 7, 2011