Voting

This year promises to be a decisive one for Lankan Tamils. Events that take place this year will considerably determine the future trajectory of Tamil politics. It is only a beginning where the end of the LTTE’s totalitarianism gives the Tamils opportunity to evaluate their nationalist politics that has brought only tragedy so far. Failure to do this would have tragic consequences.

The concluded UNHRC sessions and the proposed CHOGM make up the list of key international fixtures. Efforts of the TGTE – like the formation of Tamil Eelam Freedom Charter – and other such diaspora groups will provide much entertainment, all to no avail. Apart from these events, the continuing struggle between Tamil Nadu and the Indian Central Government will also be of significance for India’s need to wake up from her long slumber in trying to wish away an explosive situation on her doorstep.

However, local political (and economic) developments are what matter most. The climax, no doubt, will be the promised Northern Provincial Council election to be held in September (or August, according to the Elections Commissioner).

Despite the fact that Provincial Councils, in their present form, are powerless[1] organs and of little consequence in determining the national political discourse, Tamils simply cannot afford to lose come this September. There are three prime reasons for this. First, to lose in a free and fair election would, foremost, delegitimise everything Tamils have fought for in the past thirty years, and effectively spell doom for the Tamil cause[2]. Second, it will legitimise the regime’s post-war dynastic project, consolidate Rajapaksa power, and significantly undermine internal democratic resistance against the incumbent regime. Third, calls for justice and accountability from human rights defenders, too, will – at least partly – be rendered meaningless. Therefore, the election is of immense importance for both Tamils and, indeed, for all Sri Lankans who desire justice and democracy. A Tamil – and thereby, a TNA – victory is an utmost necessity.

Connected to the NPC election are several matters that demand careful analysis.

Militarisation and Sinhalese Colonisation

Sinhalese colonisation schemes that are being carried out in the North (and in the East) will, in the long run, undermine the political power of Tamils. When viewed in relation to the NPC election there are at least two immediate concerns.

First, given that the present regime is a master at the electoral game, a sizeable Sinhalese population – coupled with heavy military presence – in the North will be an important weapon wielded by the government. As Tisaranee Gunasekara noted in her incisive analysis of militarisation in Sri Lanka:

“Militarisation in the North is aimed not only at imposing a non-consensual peace on Tamils but also at implementing a project of demographic re-engineering…military cantonments would break the contiguity of Tamil villages in the North and act as control centres and as symbols of dominance. They would form expanding Sinhala islands in a contracting Tamil sea…And the Sinhala soldiers and families can become an excellent first line of defence against any Tamil struggle for political rights and democratic freedoms.”[3]

The primary concern, then, is the manner in which the military and the Sinhalese population will be used by the state during the election. During the days leading up to the Eastern Provincial Council elections last year, a group calling itself the ‘blue force’, threatened Tamils who came to place a vote for the TNA. Given the significance of the NPC election, a rise in such activities can be expected.

The second concern is related to the electoral numbers game. There is a distinct possibility that the government will resort to ballot stuffing and other forms of election rigging techniques. While moving enough Sinhalese to the North before the election to independently effect a substantial electoral gain is unlikely, the Sinhalese vote could nevertheless be decisive when combined with the Muslim vote in these areas. The rapid pace at which new Sinhalese settlements are being created only validates such fears. The result would spell disaster for the colonisers and the colonised alike, possibly leading to anarchy and bitterness: resources are scarce, and the Government’s plans neither go beyond grand promises to the Sinhalese populating the North, nor evince any long term plans or means for their welfare.

Implications of TNA’s Internal Conflicts

The internal politics of the Tamil National Alliance also adds an interesting dimension to the NPC election. An article that appeared in Thinakkural sums up the matter in detail:

“TNA’s internal conflicts are not ideological clashes: they are strictly related to power. It is evident that Suresh Premachandran wants to become the leader of the TNA, after Sampanthan. However, Sampanthan, and thus the ITAK, is pushing Sumanthiran as the next leader. For Suresh, it is securing public opinion in his favour [that] is crucial. Therefore, becoming the Chief Minister of the Northern Province is an essential component of Suresh’s game plan. However, in the existing administrative framework of the TNA, it is the ITAK that nominates candidates; unless the alliance is registered as a separate political party before the NPC elections Suresh stands no chance of being nominated. The real intentions behind the constituent parties’ demands to register the TNA will come to light when the Northern PC elections arrive: if the nominee is someone else, Suresh will break away from the TNA to test his luck.”[4]

The reality is such that the ITAK and the constituent parties can achieve very little as individual political entities. Here, the role of the Indian Central Government is also worthy of attention. When the TNA visited India last October, the Central Government reportedly emphasised internal unity.[5]  As for the Indian Central Government, the primary factors that underscore the need for a coherent strategy as regards the Lankan Tamil question are Tamil Nadu and China. If protests in south India rage unquenched, it will cause many headaches for the Central Government. The last thing the Congress needs is a fully hostile Tamil Nadu before the General Election next year. China has already become the principal foreign investor in Sri Lanka, and the influence of the Asian giant is tangible. China’s growing power over Sri Lanka clearly undermines India’s role as the regional super power. Additionally, for India, the 13th Amendment carries an emotional dimension to it as well.  A split in the TNA will land India in a rather precarious situation: that is, it will be pushed to take sides.  In light of India’s recent track record with regard to Sri Lanka, it can be assumed that it will back the ITAK. The damage a split will cause, domestically and internationally, will be horrendous. Domestically, the Tamil vote will split up and cause severe harm to (what is left of) Tamil political power; internationally, it will give the impression that Tamils are divided and their aspirations distorted. It is, therefore, only logical that the constituent parties, including the ITAK, somehow stay together.

The smaller constituents of the TNA have gained much ground over the past few weeks. Leaders of the four smaller constituents, in late February, unanimously agreed to register the TNA by the end of March, with or without the consent of the ITAK. In effect, this was an ultimatum. The decision, naturally, forced the ITAK to reconsider its stance on the matter and prompted several compromises from its hierarchy.

But, if the appraisal of Thinakkural is correct, registering the TNA now might not be an optimal step as far as the future of Tamil politics is concerned. Suresh Premachandran is a very ambitious individual, and his political history suggests that he is capable of taking extreme measures to meet his personal ends. The manner in which Suresh pushed the issue of registration last year provoked a senior citizen from the Tamil diaspora to describe him by the idiom ‘bull in a China shop’. The post-Sampanthan era will, no doubt, pose major challenges. Tamils can only hope that Sumanthiran and Premachandran work together and complement each other. The Northern PC election will set the precedent for the future.

The Role of the Governor and the Future of Douglas Devananda

The Northern Governor has, in the absence of a Provincial Council, established himself as a powerful individual. It is reported that he has his eyes firmly set on acquiring the powers of land distribution before the elections. If the TNA wins it will have to come up with a strategy to curb the Governor’s powers.

Douglas Devananda, who is seen by most Tamils as a partner-in-crime of the Governor, has proclaimed his desire to become the Chief Minister. Yet, there are rumours that the government may consider KP as the candidate for the CM portfolio. If that happens, Douglas’ standing as a leader will diminish. He is already a spent force. The very fact that Douglas is considering competing in the PC election goes to show that his Ministerial portfolio is meaningless. However, if Douglas secures the UPFA’s nomination, the NPC election will make for a violence-filled denouement.

Re-emergence of the TNPF as a Major Political Force

Re-emergence of the TNPF, headed by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, as an influential political force is a factor that must not be underestimated. The TNPF demonstrated its opportunistic instincts when it, unwarrantedly, condemned Sampanthan for comments the TNA leader had made with regard to the LTTE’s conduct. Furthermore, Ponnambalam’s political agenda is not Tamil nationalism, but rather Tamil-Hindu nationalism. Ponnambalam has defined the Tamil nation as a people of the same religion in his interviews with TamilNet.

The TNPF also wields significant power over Tamil university students. This coupled with strong diaspora backing can cause substantial damage to the TNA (It is worthy to note that the TNA has done little as regards creating opportunities for young Tamils to engage in politics). The manner in which the TNPF approaches the NPC election will set the tone for future TNA-TNPF confrontations.

Conclusions

Sinhalese settlements and the military must be handled with foresight. The Tamil side must demand intense international attention and monitoring mechanisms for a long period, starting well before the actual day of the election. Token presence of monitors on Election Day will only serve to legitimize the election carried out under conditions of threat and intimidation. It must also be noted that there are reasons why the government may still conduct a relatively clean election: first, in all probability, the victory margin of the TNA will be too overwhelming to erase by fraud; second, given the stakes of the election there will be considerable international, especially Indian, attention.

The political reality of Tamils is such that it is of immense importance that the TNA decidedly wins the NPC election. However, the leaders of the TNA must recognise the weight of their responsibility and act accordingly. Suresh Premachandran, in this regard, has a lot to learn. Informed sources claim that the Chief Minister candidate, in all probability, will be Mavai Senathirajah. Premachandran, we can assume, knows better than to defect from the TNA, lest the fate of Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam befall him. He will be very reluctant to show himself as someone hindering Tamil unity, especially since he is keen on leading Tamils in the future. However, there is a very dangerous possibility that Suresh may stay within the alliance and continue to cause internal headaches.

If Premachandran is serious about leading the Tamil people, he must first reduce his appetite for petty quarrels, and prove that he is committed to principles of fairness, justice and equality. Tamils cannot afford to have another leader in the mould of Prabhakaran. He must set his focus on matters that concern the Tamil cause, as opposed to trivial issues. Sumanthiran, on the other hand, must develop his politicking skills and improve his public relations. He cannot be seen as an introverted and arrogant lawyer, if he is keen on engaging in competitive politics and, more importantly, playing a key role, as many would like, in leading the Tamil cause into the future.

India, on the other hand, must force the Sri Lankan government to implement its own promises, and recommence negotiations with the TNA. Delhi must deal with Colombo on strictly bilateral terms; passing resolutions in the UNHRC is of little value.

Tamils will vote for the TNA – for tactical purposes, if not out of conviction. But, TNA leaders will do well to remember that they have, historically, failed the Tamil people multiple times, by failing to build up bridges and by blindly endorsing the LTTE. It is, then, right for the Tamils to expect a thrust from within the TNA for principled politics and internal democracy. The best thing that can happen to Tamil politics is cooperation between the five constituent parties. Compromising the Tamil cause for personal ends will go down in history as an ‘unforgivable’ sin.

The TNA must develop a coherent strategy to curb the detrimental role of the NP Governor: calling for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment may be the first step in this regard.[6] The NPC election will be a ‘make-or-break’ battle as far as Douglas is concerned. A loss – either in securing the UPFA nomination or in the election – may well be the final nail in the coffin for Douglas’s political career. If that happens, Douglas Devananda will join the growing list of those who have been used and later dumped by the Rajapaksa regime. He will be in most distinguished company.

Finally, it is essential that the TNA gives careful consideration to an electoral strategy to counter the TNPF. Even though the TNPF is not yet a potent threat when it comes to elections, it could still push the TNA into adopting neo-nationalist politics. The TNPF’s emergence as a major political force, at least in decibel terms, will alienate Tamils of other faiths and will seal-off all possibilities of Tamil-Muslim cooperation in the future. However, Tamils have in the past distanced themselves from religious partisanship – ironically G.G. Ponnampalam Senior failed to impress the Tamils with his call for a Hindu University in Jaffna. It would also silence the few remaining moderate Sinhalese voices. That would mean revisiting the days of the LTTE, and getting trapped in a hole from which there may never be redemption.


[1] Unless there is will in the executive, no state institution can be effective in Sri Lanka. The government of Sri Lanka looks at the PCs as a hindrance to their political project. Therefore, the PCs are powerless.

[2] Broadly refers to the Tamil struggle for political equality.

[3] Tisaranee Gunasekara, Militarisation, Lankan Style, Economic and Political Weekly

[4] Maravarman, Dirty Secrets behind the TNA’s Internal Conflicts, Thinakkural (New Tradition) (November 10 – P2)

[5] A matter the TNA failed to mention in its official statement after the visit.

[6] Tamils have lost much in their quest for the ‘ideal solution’. It is important that they treat the struggle as one made up of different phases.

  • warforpeacehypocrite

    This doesn’t seem like an honest interpretation but an endorsement of TNA line of politics, to put it at best.

    Tamil people’s political future cannot be determined by electoral politics within Sri Lankan (ethno)majoritarian democracy.
    How can Tamil people democratically express their political aspirations when the Sri Lankan constitution makes it illegal to talk about a separate state?

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear warforpeacehypocrite,

      You say “How can Tamil people democratically express their political aspirations when the Sri Lankan constitution makes it illegal to talk about a separate state?”

      Then the 61+ million of Tamils in India must be plain dumb.
      Separatism has been illegal in India since 1963.

      The convoluted ideas of Democracy inculcated in the Tamil polity by separatist racist like G. G. Ponnambalam (GGP) has been the biggest obstacle for peace in Sri Lanka.

      You say “Tamil people’s political future cannot be determined by electoral politics within Sri Lankan (ethno)majoritarian democracy”

      Probably you would have preferred to subjugate the majority with the type of democracy GGP espoused. Half the Parliamentary seats for the minorities led by the Tamils (a total population of 25%) and the balance half of Parliamentary seats for the Sinhalese who form 75% of the total population.

      This type of perverted thinking still lives within Separatists minds.

      What Sri Lanka needs is an “Ethnic Integration Policy” like in Singapore, with a proven track record of success. Proven for three decades and still going strong, which prohibits Ethnic Enclaves.

      • warforpeacehypocrite

        offthecuff
        i dont know about singapore but i like your idea of ethnic integration. let us first not have any sinhalese enclaves or sinhala majority regions in any part of the country. will this idea be possible given the demographics?

        • Off the Cuff

          warforpeacehypocrite,

          You say “i dont know about singapore but i like your idea of ethnic integration”

          You should learn about Singapore’s Ethnic Integration Policy.
          That policy dictates that the National Ethnic Ratio is maintained throughout Singapore. It does not allow the sale or purchase of any housing unit in any housing development that infringes the Policy. This means that if I want to sell my flat I can do so only as long as the sale does not infringe the National Ethnic Ratio within that housing complex.

          This policy has ensured a healthy mix of the different ethnicities and intermarriage has been on the increase.

          You say “let us first not have any sinhalese enclaves or sinhala majority regions in any part of the country”

          The above statement is made out of lack of knowledge of the “Ethnic Integration Policy”. Please note that this Policy has been in operation for the past 30 years and is still in operation. Singapore has a Majority ethnicity and minority ethnicities. The percentages of which are similar to that of Sri Lanka. It has been an outstanding success in Singapore. Hence there should be no difficulty in applying the same policy to Sri Lanka.

          You ask “will this idea be possible given the demographics?”

          It is not just an idea. It is a proven and a very successful policy that has a working history of three decades. The demographics of Lanka are very similar to that of Singapore. Hence yes, it is possible and workable in Lanka too.

          • warforpeacehypocrite

            in that case, the policy is nothing about removing ethnic enclaves or majority regions. it only works in favour of establishing sinhala hegemony in all parts of the island. all it does is disperse populations into even smaller pockets creating ethnic enclaves than doing the opposite. this is why we can’t expect solutions from the ethnic majoritarian democracy.

          • Mapa

            Off the cuff,

            Today there is the ghost of a majoritarian separatism in the name of the Sinhala Buddhists. It is haunting us in different ways. Its present in the North by making the people of that part of the country feel insecure about thateir identity, by making them fearful of a cultural invasion due to the actions of the government and some civil organisation. That is in the north. The administration in the north is carried out in a different way . Yes, there was a war, there are concerns about security but if there is a separate administration even three and a half years after the war isn’t there a separatism there? Isn’t the central government creating the mentality of a separates state?

            Thanks!

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Mapa and warforpeaceH,

            @WFPH

            As I said before, Singapore has a Majority and several minorities.
            Chinese form 75.2%,
            Malays form 13.6%,
            Indians form 8.8%,
            Eurasians and other groups form 2.4%

            As you can see the percentages are similar to the Demography of Lanka.

            The Ethnic Integration policy has been strictly implemented for over 30 years and is still being implemented.

            Has it established a Chinese hegemony?
            Can you provide a reference from the minorities stating so in parliament?
            Has all that the EIP has done is to “disperse populations into even smaller pockets creating ethnic enclaves than doing the opposite”?

            To those who are brainwashed with GG Ponnambalam’s ideas everything looks racist even when confronted with Real Life success stories.

            What the EIP has done in Singapore is the creation of a Singaporean Identity instead of the Chinese, Malay, Indian, Tamil and Eurasian identities that existed before.

            The last race riots in Singapore occurred in 1969. Thanks to Ethnic Integration, 45 years has been without strife.

            You need to counter the actual reality of Singapore, instead of falling back into racist rhetoric.

            @ Mapa,

            Of course there are Buddhists who are Sinhalese as much as Christians who are Sinhalese. Probably there are Sinhalese who are Hindus as there are Sinhalese who are married to Tamils.

            There are Tamils who are Hindus, Tamils who are Christians and Tamils who are Buddhists.

            I dont recognise the categorisation that you use in an attempt to divide the Sinhala Polity. I don’t know your ethnicity or your religion but I have no interest in looking at these subdivisions unless it becomes necessary. Please read my post here to Burning Issue who is also spewing hatred against a group called Sinhala Buddhists.
            http://groundviews.org/2013/04/11/the-empty-findings-of-sri-lankas-military-court-of-inquiry/#comment-52250

            You need to prove what you say.

            Twentieth Century Racism was Fathered by the Tamil Politician G.G.Ponnambalam who catalysed the first Sinhala Tamil riots of 1939. I want Lanka to go back to Pre 1939 harmony that existed between races.

            Attacking the majority of 75% unjustly will not bring about that.

            I have posted a series of posts in response to
            Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah, Senator of the Trans Nat Govt of Tamil Eelam, Yasmin Sooka of Darusman Panel and Jansee.

            You could read it up at this link and other posts by me in that page. http://groundviews.org/2013/04/11/the-empty-findings-of-sri-lankas-military-court-of-inquiry/#comment-52242

            http://groundviews.org/2013/04/11/the-empty-findings-of-sri-lankas-military-court-of-inquiry/#comment-52253

            http://groundviews.org/2013/04/11/the-empty-findings-of-sri-lankas-military-court-of-inquiry/#comment-52202

          • Mapa

            Off the Cuff,

            “I dont recognise the categorisation that you use in an attempt to divide the Sinhala Polity. I don’t know your ethnicity or your religion but I have no interest in looking at these subdivisions unless it becomes necessary. Please read my post here to Burning Issue who is also spewing hatred against a group called Sinhala Buddhists.
            http://groundviews.org/2013/04/11/the-empty-findings-of-sri-lankas-military-court-of-inquiry/#comment-52250

            You need to prove what you say.”

            Thank you for the reply.

            I forgot to say, what I posted earlier was alomst a verbatim translation of part of Dr. Dayan Jayatileke’s presentation at a recent seminar organised by the young journalists association in Colombo. I thought it was a good speech even though it was easy to see that, as usual, Dr. Jayatileke was doing a bit of grandstanding. Your reply is good because it points to some defincies in his reasoning, but maybe he thought it was necessary to introduce those subdivisions. But in any case as you say, he needs to prove what he says.

            Next time I meet the good doctor I will tell him. Or you can do that yourself. In the meantime I will see if I can send more of his writing for you to have a look at and comment on. You are so good at this.

            Thanks!

          • Off the Cuff

            @Mapa,

            My responses are not dependant on your sources.

            Dr. DJ is a person I respect but that doesn’t mean that I agree with everything that he says.
            He is Pro 13A. I am pro devolution but against 13A in its current form. I have questioned him about it in the past.

            However a person who quotes a source, should be prepared to defend what is quoted. In your case you did not quote him but deceitfully attempted to showcase your intellectual capacity by presenting it as your own.

            Parroting the source shows a lack of understanding of the source material. Hence after quoting a source and being questioned on what is quoted, attempting to take refuge behind the Original writer and trying to pass the buck, is cowardice to say the least.

          • Mapa

            Off the cuff,

            This is true. I am not a very courageous person. Not like you.
            Is it also cowardly to take refuge behind a pseudonym? Please let me know. I love learning from you.

            I am glad you had a chat to Dayan Jayatilaka about 13A. That would have been something to behold! What did he say?

            Why are you opposed to the 13A in its present form? Please explain. Feel free to be asdetailed as possible. As I said there is much to learn from you.

          • Off the Cuff (M.N.I.N. Perera)

            Dear GroundViews,

            What happened to the following post?

            http://groundviews.org/2013/04/11/northern-provincial-council-election-and-the-future-of-lankan-tamil-politics/#comment-52741

            That post is designed to discourage the questioning of Pseudonyms instead of debating the contents of a post by emphasising the foolhardiness of doing so. It emphasises the fact that even a normal name such as Mapa may turn out to be a dishonestly used pseudonym.

            I am reposting it for your moderation.

            [Editors note: What you’ve said above captures the point you wish to make very well. The original comment got unnecessarily personal. As explicitly noted in our guidelines, “If you find a particular article – or a comment by a fellow poster – to be silly or stupid or ignorant, please do the extra work required to make your assessment without using such labels. The idea is to foster discussion among colleagues with different points of view not to win debating points with clever put-downs. Sarcasm usually appears far more clever to its author than it does to its audience.”]

  • Chandra

    While state-sponsored settlement in NE will reduce Tamil representation, there are clusters of Tamils in the South who can elect Tamil MPs. I read a comment from Mano Ganeshan somewhere that only a small fraction of eligible Tamils voted in the Colombo municipality / Western Provincial elections. SL now has a proportional representation system, so it must be possible for Tamils to secure representation in parliament through this. Indeed there are MPs from the plantation Tamil community as a direct result the PR system (which was not the case in the 60’s and 70’s). It is time for Tamils to grow out of the “Tamil = North + East” formula and think along a bigger, and more realistic, picture.

    Having MPs in parliament is not the issue — it is more one of what these elected chaps actually do?

    Sumanthiran (TNA appointed Tamil MP) does a superb job in parliament (in arguing generic Sri Lankan issues as well as issues specific to the Tamil community). Has the Tamil electorate got the maturity to vote him in, should he contest in Jaffna?

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Mr Concerned,

    You say “Sinhalese colonisation schemes that are being carried out in the North (and in the East) will, in the long run, undermine the political power of Tamils”

    Why should it undermine the democratic political power of the Tamils?
    Please remember that Indian Tamils, exceeding the TOTAL population of indigenous Tamils of Sri Lanka, colonised the Sinhalese Hinterland of the Kandyan Kingdom and they were settled on Land MISAPPROPRIATED from the Sinhalese, who owned the land. Whereas Gal Oya and the Mahaveli projects utilised Govt owned Land (Public Land).

    Gal Oya commissioned in 1952 (800 000 acre feet).
    An Investment of Rs 75 million (exclusive of downstream cost), 10% of the annual export earnings from tea.

    Accelerated Mahaveli Development Project, commissioned in 1978, with the intention of utilising the 7 billion acre feet of water that flowed in the Mahaveli river to irrigate the dry zone.
    Cost was Rs 55 billion (up to 1989), more than twice the annual export earnings from tea.

    The per capita burden of all these developments is as follows
    75% by Sinhalese
    11% by Lanka Tamils
    9% by Muslims
    4% by Indian origin Tamils
    1% by the rest

    How do you propose to keep out the other stake holders?
    Shouldn’t the benefits accrue to the investors in some justifiable proportion to the investment?

    Do you expect the 11% Lanka Tamils (most of who reside outside the North and East), to be the sole beneficiary of development investments that exceeds the earned contribution of the National Budget?

    This is the type of self centred selfishness that has caused ethnic strife.

    There are Tamils in Singapore, where Tamil is a National Language.
    It has an “Ethnic Integration Policy” which prohibits Ethnic Enclaves.
    Singapore had ethnic strife before and today there is none.
    Singapore has developed to what it is today due to this “Ethnic Integration Policy” which has been aggressively followed by the Singapore govt. The Ethnic Integration Policy has a proven track record of three decades and is still actively pursued.

    All your arguments of Tamils losing political power falls flat, as Tamils in Singapore, who are not allowed to form any Ethnic enclaves (the National ethnic proportions are maintained throughout Singapore in every housing complex and residential area), have not lost their political power.

    • Anpu

      Singapore is in this state – becuse they copied CEYLON as it was before independance.
      “Sri Lanka at the time of independence from British rule had the best development indicators in all of South Asia. In the fifties when Singapore was formed, Lee Kuan Yieu, as its new leader, proclaimed that his aim was to develop his country to become like Sri Lanka. Instead what we see fifty years later is that it is Singapore that has become the model for the developing world while Sri Lanka has turned into a Rwanda. A once plural, progressive, democratic and highly literate country is today carrying out genocide against its Tamil population for daring to demand the right to self-determination. ” http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/peoplesaarc/message/984?var=1

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Anpu,

        You say “Singapore is in this state – becuse they copied CEYLON as it was before independance”

        Sorry to disagree with you Anpu, Deceit seems to be inbuilt within you.

        Do you seriously think that you can contest what I have written (verifiable by looking at Singapore govt Web sites) by posting extracts from specious Eelamist web sites?

        Please provide a reference from the Singapore govt that shows that their Ethnic Integration Policy which prohibits ETHNIC ENCLAVES did not prevent ETHNIC RIOTING and had nothing to do with their present development.

        In the alternative You could provide a quote and reference from a TAMIL member of Singapore’s Parliament criticising the Ethnic Integration Policy with reasons.

        Your Eelamist writer also states this

        “refugees killed in the course of displacement and those dying due to abject poverty fostered by the conflict the number of dead has probably reached over a million in the last 30 years”

        A million plus Dead Anpu!!!
        Only an Imbecile will accept that.

        You have posted the following within quotes and included Lee Kuan Yew’s name and a well known remark from him, in a clearly DISHONEST attempt at gaining credibility, to the rest of the trash, written by someone called Satya Sagar, posted by someone called Meena, within a yahoo group of Eelamists like yourself.

        In future, I hope you would not try such deceit and would engage in honest debate (that is if you can maintain honesty.

        This is the putrid quote that you produced, written by an Eelamist, who even had doubts of Prabahkarans death.

        “Sri Lanka at the time of independence from British rule had the best development indicators in all of South Asia. In the fifties when Singapore was formed, Lee Kuan Yieu, as its new leader, proclaimed that his aim was to develop his country to become like Sri Lanka. Instead what we see fifty years later is that it is Singapore that has become the model for the developing world while Sri Lanka has turned into a Rwanda. A once plural, progressive, democratic and highly literate country is today carrying out genocide against its Tamil population for daring to demand the right to self-determination”

    • Burning_Issue

      So many Sinhala intellectuals have tried to tell this Specious Gentlemen that the Tamils in Singapore and the Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka are incomparable. Yet, he recklessly continue to paint that the Sinhala Buddhists (Equal to the Singaporean Malays in the Sri Lankan context) are the owners of the Island. Hence, the rest should put up or shut up!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Burning Issue,

        You say “So many Sinhala intellectuals have tried to tell this Specious Gentlemen that the Tamils in Singapore and the Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka are incomparable”

        1. Please link to the advise purported to be given by these Sinhalese.

        2. If my arguments are Specious then breaking them down should be a simple matter for an intellectual such as you. So why don’t you try?

        3. You have a thing about what you call “Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism” and made an argument supported by a reference written by Tessa J. Bartholomeusz and Chandra R. De Silva, ridiculing Jayalath.

        You also challenged Jayalath with the following braggadocio “You need to understand the distructive phenomenon of Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism for what it is then you may attempt to counter my reasoning. Good luck!”

        I took up your challenge and read your reference and made a counter argument on 04/09/2013 • 12:36 am which still remains unanswered at the following URL http://groundviews.org/2013/04/03/a-tolerant-sri-lanka-how-far-will-we-go/#comment-51941

        Since you have now been cured of your long Palsy, let’s see your intelectual prowess in countering that specious argument of mine!
        Should be easy no?
        So why delay any longer, counter what I have written.

        You say “….. the Tamils in Singapore and the Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka are incomparable”

        That is a prize statement.
        Since the Sinhala intellectuals could not show the difference, would you, as a Tamil Intellectual Gentleman, of Lankan Origin, explain to us non Tamils, what this INCOMPARABLE difference is?

        Are you a PROUD DRAVIDAYAN like GG Ponnambalam and the Singapore Tamils, issue from a lesser stock?

        You say “Yet, he recklessly continue to paint that the Sinhala Buddhists (Equal to the Singaporean Malays in the Sri Lankan context) are the owners of the Island”

        Now now Burning Issue, your dishonesty is again resurfacing. Where have I said that Sri Lanka is owned by Sinhalese Buddhists? What I have consistently said is that ALL of Sri Lanka is owned by ALL her Citizens. And the word CITIZEN has no qualifier such as Ethnicity or Religion.

        What I have consistently argued is against Historical homelands based either on Ethnicity or Language. Don’t you have a counter argument?

        You say “Hence, the rest should put up or shut up!”

        Oh please don’t shut up and deprive us of the fun.
        Put up your counter arguments.

        But make sure of the facts and don’t make silly mistakes such as emphatically claiming that the former CJ, Sarath Silva, has become a Buddhist monk, which you did, some time back.

        In a couple of days we celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. This is the ONLY common Cultural celebration between any two Ethnic Communities in Sri Lanka. Further proof that the present differences are creations of Nationalist. Though we talk different Languages we have a common cultural and genetic bond. Only the Tamils and Sinhalese share this. So why not help integrate? Why clamour for pieces of this Land?
        Let’s put an end to ethnic strife.

        Wish you and all the Sri Lankans reading GV, a Happy and prosperous New Year.

    • jansee

      Implicit in your argument emerges two salient points. The leaders of SL have never been as “intelligent” and charismatic as Singapore’s former leader, Lee Kuan Yew. SL leaders exhibited and practised narrow-minded exclusive policies. Unlike the statesman stature of Premier Lee, the ethnocentric and mahavamsa mindset have dragged down SL to deep pit. Where does SL fare in the corruption index as compared to Singapore? And if it may appease you, the scathing remarks of Lee about SL and its leaders have been profound. If you are keen, I can reproduce them so that you may continue comparing the incomparable.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Jansee,

        When you respond to a post, please have the curtsey to either address it or use the reply link. Cowards don’t do either.

        Firstly, Lee Kuan Yew was not charismatic or democratic. Singapore under him was a Police State. He was a Dictator. Hence I doubt the Tamils of Lanka would see him in the light you see him, if they had to live under him.

        However, that does not mean that all his policies were wrong. The Ethnic Integration Policy was a wise one, though implemented under a dictatorship. Probably he could not have it implemented otherwise. It achieved it’s goal of Ethnic Integration and ended ethnic strife that existed. It’s success can be gauged by the fact that even after three decades the Policy of Ethnic Integration is still being aggressively implemented. The National Ethnic Proportions are strictly enforced in every Residential locality.

        If Sri Lanka had the courage to implement the identical policy, we would not have seen an Ethnic war or a megalomaniac such as Prabhakaran. But we would have towered above Singapore and would be boasting the highest per capita income in the region.

        You say “SL leaders exhibited and practised narrow-minded exclusive policies”

        Yes I agree with you there.

        The worst of them was GG Ponnambalam who started this Racist BS by stating in Parliament that He was a PROUD Dravidayan (Year 1935 Hansard, column 3045).

        You say “….. the ethnocentric and mahavamsa mindset have dragged down SL to deep pit”

        The Mahavansa mindset is a creation of the Tamil Nationalists.
        It is they who have dragged down SL to a deep pit.

        “The Ceylon Tamils had no written document on the lines of the Mahavamsa to authenticate their singular and separate historical authority in Sri Lanka, a fact which Ceylon Tamil communalists found very irksome” (Communal Politics under the Donoughmore Constitution, Tissara Publishers, page 131 by the British historian Dr. Jane Russell).

        The Dutugamunu-Elara story was used by “Ceylon Tamil agitators as historical justification for the sense of grievance which they were so carefully nursing, and it was used to suggest that Sinhalese perfidy in the name of Sinhalese Buddhism would be the accepted practice in the future as well as in the past” (Russell, page 154).

        Tamils insisted that they are effectively a majority community (Morning Star, January 2, 1934).

        Ponnambalam began to attack the Mahavamsa at political meetings claiming that the Tamils have always ruled the Sinhalese, and that the Sinhalese were “a race of hybrids” and an offshoot of the Tamils.

        Ponnambalam commenced delivering Hate Speeches at Public Meetings. the first one was at Nawalapitiya in 1939.

        The hate speech of Ponnambalam at Nawalapitiya was reported by the Hindu Organ (of June 22, 1939, page 4) under the Headline “Mr. Ponnambalam’s N’pitiya speech” and beneath it was the strapline “Mr. Bandaranaike’s challenge.”

        Clear evidence from the Tamil Press in Jaffna, pin pointing GG Ponnambalam as the source of communal politics and the originator of Ethnic Strife in Lanka.

        In an editorial titled, “THE WRITING ON THE WALL”, The Hindu Organ, said:

        “Communal differences, though there existed hardly any during the time of the last generation of leaders, have now been multiplied and intensified, thanks to the hot-heads and irresponsible talkers in the country who care more for the plaudits of the mob than for the welfare of the people. Ceylon today is seething with petty problems which have been created by thoughtless gas-bags, and which threaten to poison the peaceful conditions in the country…….A verbal bombshell dropped unwittingly by a Tamil politician at Nawalapitiya appears to have set the South on fire…….A slander against a community by an individual, though unintended, is inexcusable…. “ In conclusion the editorial stated “Let us hope that wise statesmanship will prevail among leaders who should realize the imperative need for the welding of the communities into a Ceylonese Community for the political and economic salvation of the country. The writing on the wall is too clear to be ignored.”

        Prophetic pronouncements from the Tamil Press in Jaffna.

        Unfortunately Jansee, the hope expressed by the Tamil Editor, of the Tamil newspaper, in Jaffna, in his concluding paragraph was a hope in vain.

        “Let us hope that wise statesmanship will prevail among leaders who should realize the imperative need for the welding of the communities into a Ceylonese Community for the political and economic salvation of the country”

        The power hungry racist in GG Ponnambalam ensured that.

        Dr Jane Russel puts the Tamil demands in perspective with the following words “the more and more rapacious demands of the Tamils” (page 240)

        GG Ponnambalam’s hate speech at Navalapitiya in 1939 catalysed the first Sinhala Tamil riots in 1939. It is reported in full by the Hindu Organ of 1 Nov 1939.

        You say “Where does SL fare in the corruption index as compared to Singapore? And if it may appease you, the scathing remarks of Lee about SL and its leaders have been profound. If you are keen, I can reproduce them so that you may continue comparing the incomparable”

        My post dealt with Ethnic Integration as successfully practised in Singapore, not corruption (Lee being corrupt, though a fact, is besides the point), which is a Red Herring that you are trying to draw, as you are unable to justify the claim made by Burning Issue, that Tamils of Singapore are incomparable to the Tamils of Lanka.

        So please try again and compare the incomparable and tell us how Tamils of Sri Lanka are incomparable to the Tamils of Singapore?

        We will then have a Tamil female viewpoint and a Tamil male viewpoint differentiating between Tamils of Lanka and the Tamils of Singapore.

        Are you, like GG Ponnambalam, sourced from Proud Dravidayan stock?
        Is that why you seem to think that the Tamils of Singapore are beneath you and hence incomparable to Lanka Tamils?