TNA Habitually Bums Sinhala Chauvinists
By Kumar David –
Rajavarothiam is an honourable gentleman and Abraham is bright, maybe one of the best in Hulftsdorp though competition in recent decades is crummy. I know both personally and I like them. But the FP and its many subsequent avatars survived for years in lockdown mode and today’s TNA is in the pits! What necromancy, what death-wish persuaded it to grovel to President Gotabaya’s All-Party Confabulation (APC) and to bring humiliation on the heads of the Tamils? Why did it choose to hug a corpse when the cortege was on its way to final burial? Ranil had good reason for attending; he may be in line for a lolly in the rumoured National Government.
The whole world is reporting the catastrophe in Lanka; the New York Times of 25 March said:
“Sri Lanka’s economy is experiencing multiple organ failure, and sepsis has set in,” said Murtaza Jafferjee, the chairman of the Advocata Institute, a think tank in Colombo. Ratings agencies have downgraded Lanka’s debt by several notches, and investors are betting on default. The government responded to the downgrades and dour analyses with indignation, disbelief and denial, initially resisting calls to seek help from the IMF. It has been forced to relent.
This is the background in which the TNA decided to undertake another bout of a***licking. It has been begging the President for a small meeting to present, again, its 100-times ignored the case. It has often been told again to go jump in the well, but it is tone-deaf and still grovels. Why? Radical Tamil friends say contemptuously, that as an animal without a backbone, “What the hell else is the TNA to do?” On 18 March a penniless government promised to set up a North-East Development “Fund” and undertook for the umpteenth time to look into landgrabs and missing persons. The TNA yet again fell for the bull.
The Tamils are said to be clever and persevering and I daresay that’s true. However, the middle class and Colombo elite genetic variant have earned for itself a reputation of abject cowardice. This variant is caught in an existential bind; either push off back to Jaffna or be burnt at the stake by racist mobs. A huge number of lucky ones have emigrated since 1983. The FP-to-TNA entity had two alternatives to a***licking big business. Cut these links and throw in its lot with progressives, radicals and the left in Sinhalese society, or engage in an armed struggle for secession (Thamil Eelam). Many in the younger (15-30 year) generation were pushed by mass Sinhala chauvinism, SWRD-JR-Rajapaksa Sinhala leaders (where does R Premadasa fit?), discriminatory policies and, the straw that eventually broke the camel’s back, the racial carnage incited by saffron-robed blackguards and khaki-uniformed patriots, to throw in their lot with the LTTE.
I undertook a book project with the redoubtable Silan Kadirgamar in late the late 1980s when we conducted a large number of interviews in the Northern and Eastern Provinces including Killinochchi then the seat of the LTTE “state”. Our estimate was that about a quarter of Tamil males of the aforesaid age group was engaged in or sympathetic to the LTTE at its peak. Just before the arrival of the IPKF, it seemed that a goodly one third to half the Tamil population had some degree of admiration for “the boys” though a referendum for Eelam in the NP-EP region would have been roundly defeated. Every Sinhalese and all but a minuscule number of Muslims would have said “Go fly a kite; perish the thought!” Evidence shows that there was no substantial support for Eelam among the Tamils even before Prabaharan murdered it by killing Rajiv Gandhi along with it. In any case, the Eelam option is now well and truly buried.
Thereafter the TNA has never again found its feet or stood up and worked out a new strategy to follow after this debacle. It is unwilling to bury its illusions about the established Sinhala parties, stop dealing with the leading Sinhala racist leaders, or forge ties with the political opposition. God help the Tamils, but my schoolmasters at STC dinned it into me that “God only helps those who help themselves”: QED
Kumar David is an arm-chair critic. He lives in a world of his own making oblivious to the ground situation in the Northeast. Tamil people are facing grave problems on multiple fronts. Tamils are under occupation by the armed forces. Sixteen out of 22 Army Divisions are deployed in the North. Two Divisions are stationed in the East.
When the war came to an end on May 18, 2009, the armed forces occupied a total of 118,233 acres of land in the Northeast, mostly in the North, Out of this 28, 998 acres of land still remains occupied by the armed forces. This includes 3,300 acres in Valigamam North, the most fertile land in the peninsula. The owners of the land are living in refugee camps since 1990!
To add insult to injury the Navy is trying to acquire 18 acres of private land in Mandativu to construct a camp. President Gotabaya pleaded ignorance when this subject was brought to his notice when the TNA met him on March 25.
Mothers who handed over their sons and daughters to the army immediately after the war ended are staging fasts, rallies and roadside protest meetings for the last 3 years with no end in sight. Tamils arrested under the PTA are languishing in prison for more than 10 years. Shortages of foodstuffs, rice, fertilizer, diesel, petrol of course are common in both North and South.
Since the end of the war, Buddhist viharas and Buddhist statues have sprung up where there are no Buddhists. Hindu temples have encroached and Buddhist viharas have been constructed. Hindus have been prohibited by the army and the police from worshipping in some temples. Cases are pending in courts.
The Archeological Department, the Presidential Task Force on Buddhist Heritage, the Wildlife department etc are playing havoc in the Northeast mostly in the Trincomalee and Amparai districts. They have grabbed thousands of acres of land belonging to poor peasants to build viharas.
The Northern Provincial Council remain dissolved since October 23, 2018. Journalists and human rights activists have been arrested and jailed under PTA. Others are under constant surveillance by the military and police sleuths.
Urging by the international community is the major reason why the TNA wanted to meet President Gotabaya for talks, It makes sense to talk to the government in power to solve pressing problems faced by the Tamils.
Kumar David does not want to give credit to the TNA for internationalizing the human and political rights of the Tamils. The various resolutions passed at the UNHRC in 2012 and thereafter against Sri Lanka were due to TNA interacting with the US and India.
India has told Sri Lanka that it is in its own interest that the expectations of Tamils for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united country are fulfilled. New Delhi has consistently called upon Colombo to fulfil its commitments in protecting the interests of the Tamils.
Kumar David turns a blind eye to the statement made by the US Undersecretary of State for political affairs Victoria Nuland, who was in Colombo last week, that the US welcomed the proposed meeting between Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the TNA, She said that the move to set up a truth-seeking mechanism as part of the country’s rights accountability is a good step and Washington will support it.
The TNA has also urged the government to fully implement 13A including law and order and land powers. These are no mean achievements. Today, the Tamils are left with no alternative but to find a solution acceptable to all three communities by engaging with the government in power notwithstanding its chauvinistic stance in the past.
Suffice to say, the Colombo based David Kumar cannot comprehend what it means to remain under the jackboot of the army since 1979.