Are you Tamil? Time for some soul searching


I am an ethnic Tamil. My father was born in the northern Jaffna province of Sri Lanka. 30 years ago my family made a decision to move to Sri Lanka’s economic capital, Colombo. The move was more a career move my father thought would assist us. He made a calculated decision to move from his home town to a more urban Colombo for the betterment of his family. Much similar to the vast number of economic immigrants who flock to nations such as the US or Canada these days in search of higher paying wages.

The majority of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population reside miles away from areas under Tamil Tiger control. This is a blessing for many Tamil children as they have had the opportunity as I had to live a peaceful life and learn about other diverse cultures. Most importantly in areas under the control of the democratically elected government of Sri lanka children from all walks of life grace schools and educational institutions as one. The highly popular Buddhist boys school I was educated in taught Hinduism as a part of the religious curriculum. The Tamil language too  was taught by Tamil teachers as a subject.

As a Tamil I faced no discrimination for being Tamil. I am not afraid to say it out loud. There are countless others who share my story as there are others who cry foul and claim discrimination and harassment for being Tamil. If there was one charge I would level against Sri Lanka it would be that of racial profiling, but that charge is a lesser offense when compared to what the Tamil diaspora who migrated to developed nations as refugees are claiming.

MIA in a recent interview on PBS claimed that ‘Genocide’ was taking place in Sri Lanka. She stated that it was her duty as a Tamil holding a high profile position, as a Grammy Award nominated artiste, to speak out.

I am a nobody. But I am a Sri Lankan Tamil. Sri Lanka is mine as much as it belongs to Sinhalese, Muslims or any other. It would be a huge crime on the nation I call home, the nation I consider my mother land, if I was to remain silent.

There is no genocide here. If there was why am I spared? According to the CIA fact-book Sri Lanka’s Tamil population is 8.5% of which less than 3% live under the control of the Tamil Tigers. A group which MIA considers’ liberators of Genocide’. One would think it would be easier for the Sinhalese to kill the Tamils in government controlled areas if they wanted to. And there the Genocide story ends..

So why do Sri Lankan Tamils world over fear the fall of the Tigers?

Amongst the Tamil communities living in Canada; Some of the most successful businessmen share close ties with Tamil Tigers. In Canada when a bank won’t loan you a line of credit to start a  business due to insufficient credit history. The Tigers  would lend you what bank would not. Interest owing is considered donations to the cause. Money laundering and loan sharking is just a fraction of the bigger picture.

The Tigers had an active unit of cadres who were called the political wing. This political wing served no political purpose. It did not breed future parliamentarians or future political leaders. Instead it’s main purpose was to fabricate history and create literature which ran on the parallels of brainwashing.

Members of the political wing were given books claiming to be factual and of historic significance. The texts spoke of how in government controlled areas of Sri Lanka Tamils were facing discrimination. It spoke of fictitious events and horrific crimes against the Tamils by the Sinhalese. Over a period of 20 years the political wing manipulated the minds of many including prominent journalist and authors. Rumours became fact. The gross negligence of the international media is evident even in this day. They choose not to fact check if their source is another reputed publication or a neutral news-wire service.

The political wing of the Tamil Tigers have infiltrated Tamil student groups in universities and colleges across the world. Even to this day the hatred towards the Sinhalese is being preached. Administrators of these universities remain oblivious to these groups.

Tamils living outside of Sri Lanka have a warped view of the conflict. I don’t blame them. It is not their fault. If a man could orchestrate the killing of 13 Government soldiers in 1983 – when the LTTE was in it’s infancy – and subsequently cause ethnic tensions to rise between Sinhalese and Tamils.  It is not incredibly hard to fool the rest of you. 1983 was what it was. It was a small group of Sinhalese thugs who took the law into their own hands and hurt innocent Tamils. But I wont forget what caused them to lash out at Tamils. If I do I would be a useless fool who serves no purpose to society. Both sides have faulted but the instigator must not be forgotten.

The New York times published an Associated Press release on  August 5, 1990 that should forever haunt the next generation of Tamil youth who reside in these developed nations. No propaganda or political wing can hide the scars of those who have suffered. Those who were killed during prayer. Below is a link to the story.

New York Times- Published: August 5, 1990

As the Tigers are cornered more and more high profile leaders of the Tamil Tigers(LTTE) are being apprehended. Senior leaders will be questioned and past activities will be revealed. Thousands of former Tamil Tiger leaders and senior members sought refuge in North America, Europe, and Australia. Some of them have carried out or ordered heinous crimes against humanity. They silenced moderate Tamils as they killed Muslims children at prayer. Some crimes were committed against people the Tigers felt were Army informants, but most of these crimes were committed to drive people out of areas which they wished to control. Surrendered child soldiers have spoken of gut wrenching initiation processes involving killing with machetes to make the ‘kill more personal’.

The UN hopes to investigate and bring these war criminals to justice. Be prepared they could be living in your very home or your neighbourhood. A family member who served as a combatant or leader of the LTTE could well have carried out crimes against humanity.

It’s time for the Tamil youth to start digging up their own facts. Research more and more into Sri Lanka’s conflict. Do not be afraid to find fault with your own. It is no fault of yours – it is the fault of a generation of selfish like minded individuals from all ethnic groups from an era gone by.

It’s time we moved on and it’s time we let go.

The truth is always out there.

Source : Island:Cricket


One Response

  1. Primo
    1. Why did Tamil youth take up arms in the 70s? What made them do it in the first place?
    2. Is it really a ‘small group of Sinhalese thugs’ who were behind the 1983 anti-Tamil riots? This description tends to convey the impression that the devastation of ‘Black July’ was minimal. Is that correct?
    3. When scores of people were killed and proprerty burnt just because they were ‘Tamils’, can one afford to reduce gravity of ‘Black July’?
    4. What about the large number of women and girls who were most brutally subjected to sexual abuse by the Sri Lankan armed forces? What of Tharshini, What of Krishanti Kumaraswamy?
    5. What about mass graves? Chenmani, does that ring a bell?
    6. 13 soldiers in 1983: this was an extremely violent anti state act. I fully agree. But what about 1956 language reform and the granting of a secondary position to Tamil? What of regulations on university entrance based on ethnicity, depriving a bright future to thousands of young Tamils?
    7. What about continuous Sinhala supremacist discourses, and the unwillingness of the Colombo polity to draft an equitable political solution and retain the ethnic question like a sore wound?

    The list could go on. Someone with contrary views could come up with an even longer list. All this is good for argumenting and debating.

    Why can we not say that we are all one, despite our ethnic, religious and linguistic differences and fight strongly against all forms fo facist, nationalist, chauvisnist ethnic supremacist ideologies (especially those espoused by folks such as Jathika Hela Urumaya)…?

    The list could go on.

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