The bridge between diaspora youth and Sri Lanka

Rather than quoting empirical data, and authors or complex theories, today I will speak to you through my experiences.

As far as I remember, like the majority of my Sri Lankan friends born during the eighties, I have always known my parents’ country as a country in war. And even if the conflict is over since a few years now, I frequently get reminded that there was a war. Especially when I meet someone new, and they ask me where I come from I naturally respond to them – Sri Lanka.

To the majority of people that I have told about my origins, many are clueless, and I just don’t insist. For those of whom are accustomed to living in very cosmopolitan areas of the world or are slightly more aware of the world will ask me, “there’s a war there isn’t it? So are you Tamil or Sinhala? So who are the real bad guys?” All these questions awakens horrid memories that I witnessed as a child during my frequent stays in Sri Lanka. So yes, it makes me upset that this beautiful country had undergone one of the bloodiest wars that even I witnessed, leaving a real meaning to the word ‘gruesome’ in my mind.

Truth be told, I have lived in Sri Lanka, and I go there as much as few times a year since birth, yet I have only been to the Northern part of Sri Lanka during the summer of 2011, and before that the most Northern point I had been was Trincomalee in 2005. It is when I went to Jaffna in 2011 that the feeling that something wasn’t right started growing in my mind. Witnessing all the chaos that ravaged Jaffna and seeing this for the first time gave me chills in my spine. I was then on a family holiday with my parents, aunts, uncles and my grandmother who also lived until the mid-60’s in Jaffna and left like many others during the 70’s. Then I thought to myself, war is certainly over politically speaking, but what if my family background had its roots in Jaffna, and it was the first time I was able to visit my grandmother in Jaffna?

What would one feel coming to visit his or her grandparents or family for the first time and see all the monuments destroyed by bombing or even bullet ridden walls on their family home if not completely destroyed?

How would one feel going back to Colombo and the rest of the country and see the decadence of Sri Lanka after seeing a ruined city by 30 years of war? If it were me, I would indeed have a feeling of bitterness or anger. It is this feeling that can intoxicate the Diaspora, thus the peace between the different populations of Sri Lanka anywhere in the world and that I therefore resent.

I would like to talk about this war in the past tense and talk about the future in the present and future tense. When you are part of the Diaspora, your vision of Sri Lanka is usually distorted. You appropriate your cultural identity through what ties you to the country –your parents, family and peers. Even when you go to Sri Lanka, your visions and impressions are biased by cultural and linguistic barriers. Yet my observation is that the Sri Lankan Diaspora youth is more inclined in keeping in touch with traditions than the ones living in Sri Lanka.

Likewise their will to proclaim their cultural difference or identity is often very visible. We should all be proud of carrying over a bit of our heritage and passing it over to the future generations. But what kind of message and vision has been passed on to us? And as a generation which was born to an era of war? What did our parents and elders go through during this war? How much have WE been exposed to it? Why or how did their opinions shape our point of view? Or at least contribute to it?

My frequent travels to Sri Lanka helped me keep up with my cultural identity, I am lucky enough to have lived there and kept contact with my friends, and meet them ever so often that I can and act like a normal Sri Lankan.

Having the ability to do things to a certain extent on my own has brought me the ability of having a more personal and less biased point of view –at least the illusion of it. Over the years I started contesting and arguing with my parents about topics on Sri Lanka, and I still do, this is thanks to my own point of contacts to Sri Lanka. Saying that the world is moving very fast is stating the obvious, but to the risk of sounding like my parents, I have to admit that even I was surprised to witness the speed of Sri Lanka’s metamorphosis, and its population. There is a gap between how one can assess information and when the information is being delivered to them.

The interpretation of the information will be the key and this will also reflect the involvement to the country of origin. Yet there is a great gap between how Sri Lankans from Sri Lanka perceived themselves and perceive the situation of the country and how the Diaspora perceives the Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka.

There is one upside to being part of the Diaspora I think. That is preserving the cultural identity, which has started to dilute in Sri Lanka. The downside is, maintaining stereotypical viewpoints inherited by people acting like a bridge between the Diaspora youth and the country of origin. So how could Sri Lankan Diaspora youth help?

Changing a mindset is a hard to achieve. Yet change can start but it needs commitment. The Diaspora is indeed a key factor in Sri Lanka’s image, as they are the interface between the country and foreigners. Moreover, it remains a main artery to the peace building process. The Diaspora youth has acquired a certain set of skills through the process of schooling in France or abroad, which is living with each other. The mix of origins in a classroom is often very eclectic. Thus making this generation more inclined to diversity. This is one very positive aspect we should start capitalizing on. And I am persuaded that there are many more.

Likewise to show change, it will need certain commitments and life choices from a group of individuals who are determined to carry on this will to make things better. This will require them to live in Sri Lanka and reach influential positions in society, but they will have to accept that they probably will not see the fruit of their work and choices.

On the other hand the Diaspora can be fearfully dangerous to the current peace process. As mentioned before, the gap between the current situation and the belief of the Diaspora could harm the reconciliation process at this very early stage, and even deepen the current laceration the country is already trying or not, to heal.

“Start as you mean to go along”. Cemal Tosun

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Thisara Devasurendra holds an MBA from Bournemouth University, UK. He currently works as an economic projects manager for an NGO based in Marseille, France. He also runs a research & development business in the field of renewable energies in Brittany, France.

He participated in the French-Sri Lankan Diaspora Youth Workshop “Post-War Reconciliation Dialogue for a Sustainable Peace”, which took place in Paris, on October 27th, 2012, as a panelist on the theme “The role of the Diaspora youth in Sri Lanka’s peace building process”.

The event was organized by What’s Next!, an independent forum comprising of post-graduates and young professionals of Sri Lankan origin residing in France. What’s Next! seeks to promote a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka through intellectual exchange and multicultural dialogue.

  • Dev

    How can the Diaspora esp the Tamil group help Sri Lanka when the govt calls them the LTTE “rump”?

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      1. I rather doubt that anyone calls the entire Tamil Diaspora, or even most of it, the LTTE anything. Which is not to say that there isn’t an LTTE component in the Diaspora, as evidenced by the photos of anti-SL demonstrations featured on this very website.
      2. In any case, why equate Sri Lanka with the government?

      • Dev

        Aren’t you being silly in asking how I can equate “Sri Lanka” with its “Government” ??

        Is this a question coming from the ambassador of SL in Paris? You represent SL in France as much as the government represents SL !

        As for the comment about asking the diaspora to leave SL alone, as long as the kith and kin of Tamils live in SL they will be involved in the affairs of SL !

        As for getting foreign help, some people want the foreign governments to stay out of SL citing “state sovereignty ” Let us cast our minds back to 1989, who pray tell me when to Geneva to plead on behalf of the Sinhalese ?? Percy Mahinda Rajapakse , how short our memories are or is it selective amnesia ??

        • Sadun

          Dear Dev,

          Assume 70% of the popuplation has franchise. then out of that only a 70% actually go out and vote; that gives a 49% of the country’s population. Then this govt has 2/3rd MPs, assume it means 66.67% of votes casted. and that gives a 32.67% of the country’s population which has voted for the govt. The rest is 67.33%, more than a 2/3rd of the population. conclusion, Sri Lanka cannot be euqated to the govt.

          Regards
          Sadun

        • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

          Dev,

          A country is not and cannot be reduced to its government, however good or bad the country or the government.

          I answered your allegation that the (Tamil) Diaspora cannot constructively engage with sri lanka because GoSL equates the tamil Diaspora with the LTTE. It doesn’t. No one does.

          Don’t change the subject, eh? Or the goalposts….an old habit of Anton Balasingham’s…:)

    • rita

      How can they help when Sri Lanka keeps lying, lying, lying, ….. for decades:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/112933232/Sri-Lanka-lies-at-Utah-Valley-University-too

      • Sadun

        Dear Rita,

        Sri Lankan Govt. is not the first one to lie and also it will not be the last to do so. Do you really want to help if they tell the truth. And what do you think will change if they tell the truth. The help is to develop the conditions of the people in the north. They are not asking you to help the govt. to get re-elected again you know.

        And also when you have the option of helping directly to the folks concerned and also through the Indian govt. initiated initiatives, there is no point in your argument unless you are looking to an assurance of govt. with regards to enacting some form of self-rule to the north or a separate state.

        Then your help is not really a help to those poor folks who need help now since by the time your folks and the govt. reach an understanding those folks who need help would probably be long gone. Therefore, there is no point served in beating around the bush. You just state what you mean when you say govt. is lying, i.e. that you need a separate state or some form of self-rule enacted prior to any soliciting by the govt. of your help.

        regards
        Sadun

    • Banda

      The best you can do is to leave Sri Lanka alone . LTTE rump or what ever just leave Srilanka
      Alone. Srilanka will be better off without diaspora input of any form..

      • Jayalath

        Hello Banda.

        Please refrain of giving statements which not suitable to 21 st century . We need diaspora ,as they are part of our country , they are belonged Sri Lanka .infact, the government is responsible for that more than diaspora without incline to clumsy , arrogant ways . We know better who are the sleazy and slimy .

        • Sadun

          Jayalath,

          Pretty amusing that you want Banda to leave alone the diaspora saying they belonged to SL but characterise and judgmental on SL govt. which governs the SL. Which century is that?

          Regards
          Sadun

          • Jayalath

            Ofcouse, they are part of country , do you know how much money pump into the economy , not many people know this . Many diaspora got their some family behind in Sri Lanka and do you think they do not send money ? They do , . We need to be humble and generous . We have to approach wisely to resolve this matter .

      • punchinilame

        Sri Lankans and the Government of the day are two different entities
        as authored by Dayan J.
        As per todays Govt. Dual citizenship had to be put on hold since
        Jany.2011 (Oxford debacle time?) so that Tamil genocide can
        be structured in a hidden way and yet speak of Reconciliation.

        The diaspora will continue to excist and grow stronger with
        the Govts. anti-tamil tactics at every turn. Who is to blame?

  • http://none Laksman

    As far as the so called Tamil “diaspora” (a term used specifically to the Jews)in the west have a stigma or a mind set of a separate Tamil state called Eelam, the majority Sinhalese and their government, will not welcome them to do anything in Sri Lanka. They must not get involved with the state of Tamil Nadu who are anti-Sri Lanka. Thirdly they must not have any hidden agendas to start another war and go backwards. The best way to call the people in Sri Lanka is by the term “Sri Lankans” as one people. The educated young generation “diaspora” Tamils in the west should not have one foot in the west and the other in Sri Lanka. They must be honest in deciding where they wish to settle permanently. All the opposition Tamil parties and the “diaspora” Tamils have to erase from their minds the word “LTTE” and what it implies. Then only the government will never call them “the LTTE rump”.

  • Jayalath

    To Thisara .
    Your regards to the case is impressive . You have delivered a well informative statement . Thank you , and
    Thank you for the epic story.Firstly, we all have to understand the out come of the story . A story of a ful scale war , which was waged for 30 years ,( officially figures of weaponry ) and it seems most people have deliberately forgotten the fact of it , especially these media people . i have realised recently that many medias and Some journalists have released statements regardlessly to full fill own thoughts and benifits . This is has to be stoped .

    why the war was waged for ? , giving a balance statement is always important , as we all have blood in hands . I believe , every body are equally responsible for the woe , not only the state institutions . You may remember the contraversal documentary which had made out of video clips by channel 4 , and it was partial and distorted ., it could have easily misled people who not known about the real grounds of the conflict .

    Therefore, There are lot of things are left to be investigated,the atrocities took place against civilian population . but a fair and wider regard investigation is potentially doubtful to be materialised .
    As you have said , we must seriously take into account of every body ‘s commitments to the reconciliation .
    The diaspora has to consider again with commitment to restore the peace among communities . And we must realise that we all are dealt in a very limited space of so called democracy ,in other word in a zero ground of free of speech. Majority of us are living without regards to a race or religion on the hand of repression .

    So, it is not some thing new in our part of the world . We always raised in a vulnerable situation , unless we should be lunatic .we always victims of politicians And their blunders .
    Therefore, it is indispensable us to unify to defeat the common enemy regardless race ,colour , religion , our goal is a common one . If we failed to understand it at least today the threats to our lives and to the harmony will be surged drastically in the future .

  • JackBoots

    Why do you consider the Diaspora as dangerous to the peace process, when the GoSL along with extremist elements (militant Buddhism) want to sabotage the 13th Amendment that is currently part of the constitution. The 13th Amendment is the governing principle for the peace process. It was a result of the Indo-Lanka Accord signed by two heads of state. -> 13+

    • http://none Laksman

      In reply to jack Boots, the diaspora wants to revive terrorism and antagonise the Sri Lanka Government to bring disunity and hatred among the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The diaspora consists of former LTTE terrorists, their only goal being to set up a separate Tamil state. If the majority of the Tamils in Sri Lanka live outside the north and east and all the Tamil population in Sri Lanka is only 3.9% of the total population,it is ludicrous to even think of such nonsense. The 13th amendment was the brain child of India and specifically Tamil Nadu. India introduced the 13th amendment with a hidden agenda. In order to prevent Tamil Nadu being a problem to India, they brought up the 13th amendment,a stepping stone for separation. The better way is those who want separation there is already an established state of Tamil Nadu they can go to. The millions or may be billions of blood money collected by the outlawed LTTE terrorist organisation wants to bribe their way to pass resolutions against Sri Lanka, with unfounded human rights violations. The LTTE committed more serious human rights violations than any other terrorist organisation in the world. The peace that was achieved after 2009 cannot be bought for all the gold in the world

    • sinhala_voice

      Jackboots,

      Unfortunately, whether you like it or not the 13th amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka was not designed by the Parliament of Sri Lanka, the body that is vested with the duty to legislate….whether you like it or not , whether you think that the Parliament can come up with the right solution or not IT IS UP to the Parliament of Sri Lanka to PASS the Bill which would become an amendment and argue and debate about it…..

      The 13th amendment was a strangulation of democracy for 2 reasons:

      1. Military threat from India
      2. JR holding resignation papers from MPs.

      No matter what the difficulties are in a democracy …there has to be debates , arguments and discussions OPEN to all..This is how you educate the public and make meaningful , workable ,practical legislation…..NOT by ramming it through executive power

  • Christopher

    Thisara Devasurendram, it seems your story is lopsided in favour of Tamils and sounds as if the war was a creation of Sinhala people. Who devastated northern and northeastern parts of the country? If you are to impartially analyse, then you may say that LTTE destroyed most of it and annihilated all the moderate, intellectual and the educated Tamils in order to make the majority that is not so educated masses to follow the doctrine and the views the terrorist villain Prabhakaran. Prabhakaran destroyed many Tamil generations yet to come by killing young people and then also using them as cannon fodder. If at all you people should thank the government for liberating Tamils from the grips of devils. Tamil population in Sri Lanka has now shrunk to less than 4 percent; according to credible statistics in CIA’s World Fact Book, Tamil population in Sri Lanka is 3.9 percent – fallen from one time around 12 percent. In fact Sri Lankan minority Malay population is over 7 percent. The long and the short of it, it is better for Tamils to cooperate with the government and enjoy life no less or no more than rest of the Sri Lankans; because Sri Lanka shall remain as Sri Lanka whether the rest of the world – especially Western countries that are influenced by Diaspora Tamils like it or not. I wonder why you have not mentioned about Tamils live in the South – in Colombo and rest of Sri Lanka that live “peacefully”! Make no mistake! Sri Lanka is for all Sri Lankans and it will remain so eternally. CHRISTOPHER KAY, CANADA.

    • Banda

      Kudos, well said Christopher Kay. You have said it in nutshell.

    • Romesh H.

      Christopher,
      Thisara is fundamentally forward looking. You are looking backward.

      Thisara is stating a fundamental fact: That the Diaspora will play an integral role in the future of Sri Lanka. Whether it is positive or negative remains to be seen as per the below quotes:

      “The Diaspora is indeed a key factor in Sri Lanka’s image, as they are the interface between the country and foreigners. Moreover, it remains a main artery to the peace building process. The Diaspora youth has acquired a certain set of skills through the process of schooling in France or abroad, which is living with each other. The mix of origins in a classroom is often very eclectic. Thus making this generation more inclined to diversity. This is one very positive aspect we should start capitalizing on. And I am persuaded that there are many more.

      Likewise to show change, it will need certain commitments and life choices from a group of individuals who are determined to carry on this will to make things better. This will require them to live in Sri Lanka and reach influential positions in society, but they will have to accept that they probably will not see the fruit of their work and choices.

      On the other hand the Diaspora can be fearfully dangerous to the current peace process. As mentioned before, the gap between the current situation and the belief of the Diaspora could harm the reconciliation process at this very early stage, and even deepen the current laceration the country is already trying or not, to heal”

      How in the world do you come to the conclusion that Thisara’s story is “is lopsided in favour of Tamils and sounds as if the war was a creation of Sinhala people”?

      Perhaps instead of kneejerk reactions, you actually engage with the article?

  • rita

    Balanced/Informed view:
    Any treatment of a problem is to address the root cause- our refusal to address it uabatingly cotinues the problem:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/104705097/Conscientious-Sinhalese-Tell-LLRC

    @rita
    there seems to be a change:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/113007338/Sri-Lanka-lies-at-Utah-Valley-University-too-revised

  • rita
  • rita

    Though all three authors have very good intentiona, this article has much more logic than the ones on:
    http://groundviews.org/2012/11/10/to-be-or-not-to-be-sri-lankan-that-is-the-question/
    http://groundviews.org/2012/11/08/challenges-for-a-sustainable-economic-development-in-sri-lanka/

    I have come across parents who left 25/30yrs ago and even they have a gap in the knoowledge on the ground reality. So naturally the youth that grew up outside the country are very likely to have a gap except those who actively make great efforts to fill them.

    But then the off-and-on embargo on the news coming out of the North in the last 4/5 decades or so has left many in the South in the dark about what has been happening in the North – evident in the workshops in the period following CFA 10yrs ago.

    Our youth, hopefully imbibing New Humanism, must be told the truth about what happened in the last 64 yrs to make their own choices and to revive this country.

  • rita

    New Humanism can only save this country.

    • Jayalath

      To. Rita .

      New humanity ? We all should die and resurrect back , this is only way we can be what you have referred .
      Rita, be truthful , and substantiative .

  • Vin

    I enjoyed reading this article. As a part of the Sri Lankan diaspora that was born in the 80s, I have to agree with many questions asked and points raised. I think this quote resonates with me most.. “Yet there is a great gap between how Sri Lankans from Sri Lanka perceived themselves and perceive the situation of the country and how the Diaspora perceives the Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka.” I definitely felt this when I was living in Sri Lanka recently (something which I encourage ALL the diaspora to do – go back and LIVE there for a while, especially if you left Sri Lanka when you were very young..)

    I think a lot of us are just so confused as to what is happening/what happened there by our distance being outside the country/being too young to understand the problems when we first left…and this quote “When you are part of the Diaspora, your vision of Sri Lanka is usually distorted” IS true. I don’t know how many of us feel we are empowered enough to change mindesets. But I think we need to start using our position of privilege in the West to first educate ourselves as much as possible before we try to change others’ viewpoints.

    There is definitely a positive or negative impact we can have on Sri Lanka’s image. I think it is about firstly acknowledging our ‘outsider’ status but our cultural ties and our heritage at the same time. And read…read read read (all viewpoints) and talk to people that are living in Sri Lanka regardless of their ethnicity or status if possible (and NOT just relatives), and just LISTEN to them. I think this may help the Diaspora be in a better position to help heal instead of harm.

    • Banda

      Great vision by Vinu, who is a Tamil but sees very differently to the standard anti Srilanka band wagon, who only beat the drums of war. War crimes, rape, discrimination, harrassment, these are their standard words propagated all over the word. Just come to Srilanka and try to live for sometime , may be north or south , it’s open. Please don’t carry grudges rolled out in packages by anti Srilanka rumor mill.

      • Vin

        Hi Banda I don’t know if you meant me a Tamil…I’m actually Sinhalese, and I don’t think Tamils as a diaspora are anti-Sri Lankan at all (if that’s what you were getting at..). I think both ethnicities depending on where and who you are have the ability to twist information that may not even be their fault because of the limitations of finding out what was really going on there. As the writer said the ‘interpretation of this information’ will be the key.

        • Banda

          Fine if you are not Tamil. But Mr. Sinhala we never spread misinformation about Tamils . I don’t know from which country you are listening to these. Whether Sinhala or Tamil what I said was come and see for yourself, just what you have requested. I don’t know why the hurt feeling, whether Sinhala or Tamil.

        • Banda

          Another thing Vin, just because you were not here to witness exactly what happened ( because limitations of what was going on here, as you say) may be referring to war and allegations of genocide, it’s no license to spread horrendous bogus fabrications by the diaspora, spending millions of dollars, as bribes and payment. We haven’t done any such thing of twisting information, except defeating a bloody terrorist outfit.

          • Vin

            It’s Ms Sinhala….
            No hurt feelings, but no one should be assuming things or jumping to conclusions, like you’ve done twice now with not just my ethnicity but my gender.. You’ll have to give me the line to where I say it was ok to spread ‘horrendous allegations’ etc as I didn’t say that at all..the information breakdown I speak about and that the article discusses does not point fingers at one group only.

        • Banda

          To vin,
          The line is, “I don’t think Tamils as a diaspora is ant Srilankan”. Then what do we see in all the capitals in the world , those LTTE flag waving , anti Srilanka slogan chanting Tamils, are they not the diaspora. According to you Tamil diaspora seems to be the most Srilanka friendly entity .

          • Vin

            I’m not going to lump a whole community into a silly category like “anti-Sri Lankan” I mean what does that even mean?? How is the Diaspora ever going to help heal Sri Lanka if you start assuming such harmful things like this on a whole group of people?? There are Tamils we know that aren’t ‘anti-Sri Lankan’ so I don’t know why your first instinct when replying to me was firstly to think I was a Tamil that ‘sees very differently’…I’m not sure who is holding the grudges here.
            This is why it is so difficult to start these dicussions within the Diaspora. And you wonder why the bridge is so difficult to cross. STOP accusing a whole ethnicity for something.

          • Vin

            and to respond to your line “Then what do we see in all the capitals in the world , those LTTE flag waving , anti Srilanka slogan chanting Tamils, are they not the diaspora..” every Diaspora around the world has an element of extremism. I’m not denying that. Both Sinhala and Tamil diasporas need to become accountable for what they say and do. Just don’t generalise a whole community, and don’t start with hostility because what hope do we have then in healing Sri Lanka’s image??

  • Bedrock Barney

    As someone in the Diaspora, I feel we should not play any meaningful role in SL. Whatever the circumstances of the departure from SL, the fact of the matter is that we did not endure what those we left behind endured. Having kith and kin in the country is no excuse. We should check what we enter as nationality in respective passports and restrict out politics to those countries. Unless of course your brother becomes president.

    • Vin

      I respectfully disagree..while the diaspora as a whole won’t come to a universal consensus on this, we can’t restrict our politics to our respective countries. Most of us were so young when we left, with no say in whether we wanted to…I’ve grown up in a white settler country which I’d like to think I’m now a citizen in, but will always be an “other”, always an immigrant because of the way I look. Everytime someone asks me about Sri Lanka, I’m not going to remain silent, especially as their comments are usually stereotypical and often quite misguided…
      Certainly we cannot participate in politics in the same way a Sri Lankan living in Sri Lanka can, nor can we ever understand the suffering that those people there went through but we’ve got stories from our parents (and if you were still in contact with relatives there you probably heard all sorts of things from them throughout the war which made you worry) and as the writer said perhaps “horrid memories” from our childhood…you can’t just ignore those things. We must examine them and our own perspectives and use our ‘privileged’ stance as I said above to keep reading writing and talking about this and not just seeing it in black and white.

      • Bedrock Barney

        @Vin, Fair enough. As long as its reading and writing. The fact of the matter is our particular diaspora is more polarized, after the defeat of the LTTE ,than before. The most vocal groups within the diaspora have extremist views. The diaspora groups/youths, should show that they are capable of friendly relations, in their countries of domicile, between the ethnicities. Other than some old Boys/Girls associations of Colombo schools there are never any large scale Sinhala /Tamil joint functions in any of these countries. In fact these communities view each other with aloofness if not outright hostility. It is only proper that Sri Lankans abroad should show that they are capable of unity before engaging in projects that bring about unity in SL itself.

  • silva

    We cannot all go to the North. If we want to talk about the North we need to read reasonably reliable reports. Sinhala media and most English media are reluctant to report the bad things happening to the Tamils in the North – true not only for the present but also for the past several decades.
    Now Tamils have to watch what they say and do in the North – troops are breathing down their necks. Most of them are unable to do what they like to do.
    That’s why many Sinhalese told LLRC that the NPC elections should be held as soon as possible and a systemic plan must be made for sustainable development.
    Sporadic, individual programs are unsustainable in the precarious environment of the North.

    • Truth

      I agree 100% with what silva says. some commentators are saying that Sri Lanka is peaceful and people should not believe rumours!!!

      What happened at the Welikade will show case the law and order situation in Sri Lanka. Nothing will happen about the 27 deaths. More than this god only knows how many more died, how many more were “disappeared” Know one will ever know.

      There is no point in white washing the hopeless situation, Sri Lanka is in.

      Some people are saying that Sri Lanka is not the Government!!! It has come to a PATHETIC situation whereby Sri Lanka is controlled by a handful of people and their “private Army” and catchers!!!

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Thisara Devasurendra,

    “I have only been to the Northern part of Sri Lanka during the summer of 2011, and before that the most Northern point I had been was Trincomalee in 2005”

    The above statement underlines your predicament, which to your credit, you recognise.

    “I was then on a family holiday with my parents, aunts, uncles and my grandmother who also lived until the mid-60’s in Jaffna and left like many others during the 70’s”

    There was no war in the 70’s and hence neither you nor your family seems to have had any personal knowledge of what it was like, to live under the rule of a megalomaniac terrorist, called Prabhakaran.

    “How would one feel going back to Colombo and the rest of the country and see the decadence of Sri Lanka after seeing a ruined city by 30 years of war? If it were me, I would indeed have a feeling of bitterness or anger”

    Neither you nor your family had been able to visit the terrorist dominated areas during the time the terrorists ruled the roost and hence the anger that you feel is conditioned by the information or misinformation fed to you during your entire life and has not emanated from first hand information.

    “But what kind of message and vision has been passed on to us? And as a generation which was born to an era of war? What did our parents and elders go through during this war? How much have WE been exposed to it? Why or how did their opinions shape our point of view? Or at least contribute to it?”

    Very pertinent questions.

    The USA and the UK were racist to the core not so long ago. There were notices in public places that said “ No Dogs and Blacks allowed”. There were the Jim Crow Laws, segregation in public transport and schools. Yet today, no one brings these up as they do not exist any more. Sri Lanka however, is not so fortunate.

    University admissions by media based standardisation was racist and was abominable. Does this exist today? It does not, as the system has evolved. Yet University admissions is still quoted as a discrimination that needs correcting.

    In 1981, an overwhelming majority of Tamils wanted to retain the District based university admission system that existed then and protested changes that were proposed in that year.

    Tamils from the districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara, in short, all Tamils except those from the Jaffna district wanted to retain the existing system of University admission. Tamils from the Jaffna district is a very small fraction of the Tamils of Lanka and does not qualify to be projected as the SL Tamil polity!

    This is just one example of the misinformation fed to the Tamil youth by interested parties, including their close family. Hopefully you would be able to sieve through this minefield of misinformation and get at the truth.

  • Banda

    I can see lot of Tamils writing to the forum in borrowed Sinhala like names and some claim they are Sinhala, after writing what the Tamil diaspora wants. Good for reconciliation tactics. Fantastic if it works. I’m with you.

  • Alex F

    The Diaspora live in liberal Western states and so their only shock for the Diaspora was how the values they understand were not applied in Sri Lanka by the International Community. That is being addressed now as the IC re-evaluates Sri Lanka. The bridges between the Diaspora and Sri Lanka will be rebuilt as the values of Sri Lanka converge to the values of the West (where the Diaspora live).

    • Banda

      Your argument holds ground if the LTTE who fought the war too lived up to those liberal values, just ask the diaspora to team up and start terrorist out fits and start attacking the armies of those liberal countries.then still do you believe that Srilanka should be re evaluated for defeating terrorism. All these allegations are fall outs in defeating a brutal terrorist organization. I think the motive behind the re evaluation has rather different motives. Mainly regime change for not obeying the west and jealousy in SRILANKANS success in combating terrorism.