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Tamils – Need for an innovative and pragmatic approach

By: Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

Problems are the common burden of the human species irrespective of where we live in this world. In biblical terms this had become our ‘Curse’ the day Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden apple. If not for this ‘Curse’ we will be yet roaming the Garden of Eden, naked and feasting on nature’s bounty, without any aspirations! Problems have made us become what we are. The challenges posed by the problems we face, have made us destructive at times, creative at others and imaginative at all times. We create problems and then struggle to find solutions. This is what has made us different from others in the animal kingdom.

The problems of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, encompassing various grievances, are serious, but not unique. A pecking order or hierarchy- where the stronger dominate the weaker- is the norm in the animal kingdom, of which we are a junior member. However, as humans, we aspire to rise above our ‘Animalness’ and become ‘Human’, inspired by our beliefs in what is divine or transcendent. Violence subsides and remains subliminal among animals when stable hierarchical arrangements fall into place. Violence erupts only when there are challenges to established hierarchical arrangements. In civilized human societies, social contracts, constitutional arrangements and the rule of law are designed to protect those who are collectively weak - because of their smaller numbers -and are likely to be trodden under foot, by an insensitive majority. Minorities within a majority or minorities within minorities- based on religion, caste, creed or other differences- are also protected by such arrangements. These are designed to prevent our inherent instinct to dominate others, becoming a social evil. Irrespective of what is legislated, there should be covenants unreservedly respected by all nations that all human beings are equal in terms of their individual and group rights, and should be provided the environment to achieve their potential. Those who are handicapped for whatever reason should receive a helping hand to overcome their disabilities. This would be the ideal all peoples and nations should aspire. Any disputes and controversies with regard to these issues anywhere in the world should be open for binding international arbitration.

In Sri Lanka, independence from Great Britain precipitated a challenge to the established colonial social structure and the accompanying hierarchical political arrangements. In the absence of an all-encompassing and lofty vision for the newly emergent nation and a wise political leadership, the jostle for dominance and a greater share of the limited economic pie by various interest groups degenerated into lawlessness, inhumanness, violence and a barbaric civil war. We have been singularly incapable of bringing forth a high calibre leadership with a broad all-encompassing vision for our nation, in the six decades since we gained independence. The qualities of politicians we have permitted to manage our affairs have degenerated by the day and in turn they are contributing to the degeneration of society and the people. The missionary zeal required to move forward towards a lofty vision has been replaced in our politicians by a pernicious zeal for personal aggrandizement, accumulation of wealth, grabbing untrammeled power and exploiting the helpless masses. The ability to identify problems objectively and enunciate and implement strategies to deal with them objectively, for the greater national good, has been an elusive commodity. India on the other hand, despite all her inherent problems and built-in contradictions, millions of fold greater than in Sri Lanka, has been able to enunciate a clear vision encompassing the unity of the whole nation and set herself on the path to greatness in the modern world. She is achieving this greatness too.

The non-visionary, narrow minded and sectarian approach to national politics in Sri Lanka is a reality; we will be unable to overcome for years to come, given the trends persisting over the past sixty years. Despite three decades of civil war and the brutality and blood shed it has entailed, we have failed to learn the lessons that should have been well learnt by now. We are proving our selves to be a nation incapable of civilized responses to national problems. Every new government pretends it has to re-invent the wheel with regards to the Tamil issue, while the so-called Tamil leadership continues to sing the same old tune, to of course a new beat. Tamil leadership of all hues and types has been the pied piper leading the Tamils to the deep blue sea, to drown. While the majority of the people, irrespective of their affiliations and predilections are capable of civilized responses to our problems, our political leadership has been incapable of responding in kind. In fact, the political leadership -of the present and the past- has thrived on frustrating the will of the majority nation-wide- through instigating irrational fears and phobias-to seek civilized visionary solutions. This has been the strategy deployed by our politicians to snatch more and more power away from the people, in contravention of the principles on which our democracy was founded. The so-called Tamil-problem has been manna from heaven for our politicians and militants, and they will not easily permit it to be resolved, even if the nation goes to the dogs.

The election of Barack Hussein Obama – a black man and a self described ‘Mutt’ (Mongrel or cross-bred )- as the President of the United States of America, should be a lesson to nations such as ours and people like us. A black man born to a Muslim, Kenyan ’Black’ father and a Christian, American ‘White’ mother is to be the President of the USA- in effect, the most influential leader in the world. The blacks see in him the emblem of their success at being accepted as equals. Their journey from degrading and inhumane slavery, through segregation, barbarity, disrespect, disdain and social marginalization to the ‘White House’ has lasted three centuries and a little more. The ‘Whites’ see in him a man capable of leading the nation in the 21st century and in a time of economic turmoil. Both 'Blacks and Whites' are enthused by his vision, intellect, charm, oratory and potential ability. His humility is as astounding, as his achievements at forty seven years of age. He has come to represent an America that has very largely purged itself from racial bigotry and the accompanying irrationality. By electing Barack Obama to the presidency, the USA has stamped its mark on the 21st century. As much as the statue of liberty in New York symbolizes the liberty, opportunity and hope America epitomized in the past two centuries, Barack Obama will symbolize an America also freed of racial bigotry in the 21st century. Barack Obama by getting elected President has already done more for America than he could do in his one or two terms in office!

The response of the ‘White’ leadership- Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton and even George W. Bush- to the travails of the ‘Blacks’ in America, have made it possible for Barack Obama to become President-elect. The struggle , efforts and success of ‘Black’ men and women of the likes of Kunta Kinte (Of ‘Roots’ fame) , through to Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Theodore Marshall, Jessie Jackson, Andrew Young, Colin Powel and Condoleezza Rice (a few among a multitude), have made the necessary cracks in the ceiling- to borrow Hillary Clinton’s phrase-which facilitated the Obama break through. The achievements of ‘Black’ sports-persons, musicians and actors that made all Americans proud, paved the way for Obama to win the presidency. All ‘Black’ American who proved themselves in their field of endeavour contributed their mite towards this astonishing journey. This achievement was built brick by brick by thousands of blistered and calloused ‘Black’ hands and bruised minds, over several generations. It was a difficult- an almost unbelievable- and long journey for the ‘Blacks’, but they have achieved the ultimate victory, without tearing their nation apart. They as a people have borne the pains of bigotry- whipping, various forms of physical violence, rape, humiliation, arson, lynching and the murderous activities of the Ku Klux Klan- but have finally reached the ‘White House’ and found national acceptance in very large measure. Their struggle has been largely peaceful. The sporadic attempts to stray into a violent path were unsuccessful. The ‘Bus Ride’ of Rosa Parks, the ‘Dreams’ speech of Martin Luther King and the ‘Peace March’ on Washington D.C by thousands of ‘Blacks and Whites’, had a more profound effect on the American psyche than the flashes of violent response seen throughout ‘Black’ history in America. The democratic and republican parties in the US represent the 'Blacks' and campaign for their votes. Abraham Lincoln, a republican, liberated the 'Blacks' from slavery and Lyndon Johnson, a democrat, accorded the 'Blacks' their civic rights.

The journey of the ‘Blacks’ from plantation slavery to the ‘White House’, should be inspiring to all minorities in the world and particularly the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. The acceptance of a ’Black’ man as their President by ‘White’ America and the enthusiasm with which they have done so, should be a lesson for all people who consider themselves the majority in various countries around the world - particularly the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. The Tamils-though a minority- have been a part and parcel of Sri Lanka for thousands of years, stretching back to an unfathomable time. In circumstances where the Tamils are yet not finding acceptance as part of the national mosaic in Sri Lanka and their distinctiveness continues to be under concerted and concentrated attack in the post-independence state, the progress of the ‘Blacks’ in the USA is not only astounding, but an indication of the ascendance of the American civilization over ours.

The Tamils in Sri Lanka have to review their history of the past six decades and contemplate the following realities:

1. The Sinhala political leadership will not grant any significant degree of internal self-governance to the Tamils whole heartedly and willingly, in the near future.

2. In the event significant constitutional arrangements are forced upon the Sinhala polity, concerted efforts will be made to undermine and reverse such arrangements over time.
3. The Sinhala polity as it exists has no respect for constitutions, constitutional processes and rule-of-law. It is divisive by its very nature and incapable of evolving a national consensus on matters of even grave national importance.

4. The Sinhala people will continue to be misled by their political leadership that granting any degree of internal self-governance for the Tamils will lead to partitioning the island.

5. The ancestry of Tamils in Sri Lanka and their claims to areas of traditional habitation will be questioned and unscrupulously undermined by the Sri Lankan government and its cohorts through every means at their disposal using Goebellesian tactics.

6. It was a mistake for the Tamils to have embraced the concept of an independent Tamil Eelam, as a tactic to force concessions from the Sinhala polity. This tactic in the course of time had assumed a dynamic of its own to rebound and bedevil the Tamils.

7. The Sinhala polity, India and the world-at-large will not permit an independent Tamil Eelam to come about in the island.

8. The Tamils will not regain the world’s sympathy, unless they renounce violence and terrorism. The Tamils need the world, more than the world needs the Tamils.

9. The Sinhala people, by and large, are capable of sympathizing with the grievances of the Tamils, provided these are explained to them in a rational manner with respect to their sensitivities and without posing a threat to them as a people. A majority of the Sinhalese yet do not genuinely understand the Tamil gripe.

10. The non-violent struggle the Tamils claim to have waged in the 1956-1976 period, was non-visionary and lacked the ‘Spiritual / moral’ strength to withstand the violent government response.

11. This non-violent struggle was not directed towards winning over the majority of the Sinhalese to the cause of equal citizenship and rule of law, but towards reverting to the status-quo of the colonial era- an impossibility.

12. The Tamil mind-set of the pre-1980s was oriented towards employment in the government services and the prestige and security this entailed. Securing employment in the government services was the pinnacle of Tamil ambition.
Circumstances have since conspired to kill this mindset. This change has also coincided with the national economy escaping the strangle hold of the government.

13. Tamil resistance that progressed into violence, militarism and terrorism, has been counter productive and has caused unforeseen mortal damage to Tamils and their socio-economic-cultural structures. This damage is largely self-inflicted and has surpassed the damage inflicted by Sri Lanka government misrule and Sinhala extremism.

14. Tamil militancy in its various manifestations has alienated a significant number of Tamils, and the Sinhalese who would have otherwise been natural allies in the pursuit of justice, security, equality and opportunities.

15. The so-called Tamil Liberation movements have degenerated into self-seeking gangs and forces of oppression, and hence do not bode well for the future.

16. Tamil militancy and extremism have not brought forth solutions to our problems, but have contributed to entrenching Sinhala extremism and making it more subtle and hence more focused and, vicious.

17. Tamil militancy and extremism will not deliver us solutions –even in an independent Tamil Eelam-that will make us a free people, empowered to determine our destiny.

18. It will take decades for Tamils to throw off the shackles of Tamil militant oppression, regardless of whether or not these militants succeed in establishing an independent Tamil Eelam.

19. The Tamil militancy and the blinkered and immoral approach of the LTTE are very likely to fail, having drained the Tamils of their vitality and resources over the past three decades.

20. To continue on the path of militancy, terrorism and violence, will leave the Tamils, damaged beyond repair as a people.

21. The alternative to the Tamil militancy led by the LTTE, being engineered by the government of Sri Lanka, is a leadership consisting of armed Tamil quislings, collaborators, criminals and other anti-social scum, who have sold their souls to the devil. This so-called alternative to the LTTE will at most times readily and at other times grudgingly acquiesce with the government agenda to marginalize the Tamils further in a more sophisticated manner. Their survival, both in terms of their lives and positions, depend on this type of abject surrender and sell-out. These men and women are not the equivalents of the Theodore Marshals, Andrew Youngs, Colin Powels and Condoleezza Rices- ‘Blacks’, who have served the US government!!

22. The Tamil militancy and extremism have to be renounced fast and a different path
chartered to preserve Tamil heritage and place in Sri Lanka.

A broad vision for the future has to be formulated by the Tamils that would permit them to live in a united Sri Lanka, as a distinctive, distinguished and successful entity, proud of their identity and citizenship, and contributing to the national wellbeing, whilst not posing any threat to their fellow citizens. This would appear impossible to many who have read the realities I have itemized above. However, once broken into components (Eg... Education, health care, employment, agriculture, land use, industry, transport, communications, infra-structure, security, culture, etc.,) that are of crucial importance to the Tamils and subjected to a strategic management approach, involving a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats); it will be possible to understand how this can be done within a decade or two at most. Goals and strategies have to be formulated to give form to this vision and thereafter it should be the single- minded mission of the Tamils to achieve these. A ‘Recovery and National Integration’ movement motivated by this grand vision should replace the Tamil militancy and the LTTE at the earliest.

Tamils should also join the national mainstream by seeking membership of political parties such as the SLFP, UNP, JVP and others according to their personal predilections. These political parties should find a footing in Tamil majority areas and Tamils have to become stake holders in their electoral fortunes. The Tamil issue should no longer be a major factor in the political fortunes of these parties. These parties should also evolve to represent all peoples in Sri Lanka. The political parties bearing the name Tamil, Tamil Eelam, Tigers or other sectarian connotations should not find favour amongst the Tamils any longer. We can be Tamils, as much as we want to be, without flaunting it to the annoyance of others. Sinhala political parties have very largely avoided such sectarian labeling.

Tamils, though badly debilitated, yet have the capacity and resources to do this, mostly by their own efforts. The biggest hurdle to surmount will not be the Sinhala polity, but the Tamil militants who have become their burden. A united stand by Tamils supported by the world will be a moral force these militants will find hard to resist for long. Tamils can achieve all their envisioned goals within the existing set-up in Sri Lanka, without wasting anymore time demanding things that are very unlikely to be granted or gained. Tamils should get out of the rut they are struck for the past sixty odd years and formulate new strategies to survive and prosper as a people in a united Sri Lanka. Do the Tamils have the wisdom and will to do this? How will they do this? These are questions Tamils have to set their minds on immediately. I hope a meaningful discussion, rising above petty name- calling; rancour and baseless accusations will be stimulated following the publication of this article.

I understand the concepts postulated herein will be a red flag to many and considered defeatist and traitorous. I would consider it 'Enlightened self interest' of a people. However, I think a paradigm shift in thinking and modus operandi are needed for the Tamils to survive and prosper as a people in Sri Lanka, having been witness to and victim of what has unfolded in Sri Lanka over most of my conscious life. A people should fight to live and not die! Land is for people to live and not for cemeteries to bury them!

13 Comments

A very good analysis.As a Sinhalese I welcome your views.Yes we ready to listen to Tamils grievances but not at the expense of the integrity and sovereignty of our country.To an extent they should embrace the culture of this country and not try to live like aliens.

We need to have a dialog.

Posted by: Prasanna | November 15, 2008 02:20 AM

As many other Tamil intellectuals of Sri Lanka, you have lot of illusions on singhala mindset. cast a glance on the history from the period of Mahavamsa. You will understand many things and make correction of your sectional vision on what is going in Sri Lanka.

Posted by: Sivaraman | November 15, 2008 04:47 AM

I agree with this author that the Tamils need a new strategy to find a solution. I am not going agree the idea of Tamils joining the Nationalistic parties will provide a reasonable solution to the Tamil problems in the short run. If the Tamil national question in Sri Lanka fails with the defeat of LTTE politically and militarily, then the strategy has to include the world Tamils in one umbrella to find a free and blessed Land for them. If LTTE can not find a reasonable solution to Tamil problem militarily in the near future, it has to change its way of fighting the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

This time the strategy has to be formulated with the participation of world Tamils and political parties of the other nations, including India, China, and USA. The 21st century politics is based on economic power and money. Much concentration should be given to economic stability of Tamils living all parts of the world.

Posted by: dyan | November 15, 2008 04:55 AM

Naren, I do not seem to agree with you.

We were three kingdoms prior to the British, the dutch and the Portugese maintained it so, but British mentality ruined us. At least at time of independence they should have made it federal, like in UK. In India Nehru was able to do so within an year of independence and was able to succeed, and develop the nation.

We have struggled very hard soon after independence, but the motive of the Sinhala nation was different, they had silently walked over us. Creation of cement factory, Paranthan chemicals and Paper mills are typical examples. The Northern peninsula suffered without any amenities.

Our attempts to politically work with the sinhalese was run over by, forming governments soon after elections and the agreements torn aside - this was the loss we suffered in the fifties and sixties.

We made all efforts for the governments to run successfully and worked hard for the nation to build - what did we get in the end. NOTHING.

I do not consider your ideas will ever work with the sinhala nation grown up with bad politics that has gone on. The younger generations are now brain washed with bad politics.

Posted by: Canaga | November 15, 2008 06:54 AM

Dr.Narendran's views offers a fresh hopeful perspective.

Tamils were members of the UNP,SLFP,LSSP,CPSL and even the JVP at one time but they could not survive the currents and trends of change.

The situation in Sri Lanka certainly cannot go on for ever like it has done for these past sixty years. As a small country with minimal economic resources it can hardly make an impact in the world at large.
It is not the Tamils but the majority community which will have to contend with the situation and reconcile itself to the realities sooner than later. The age old myth that the Tamils are enemies and vice versa cannot carry conviction for another sixty years.Change must come. Nothing is permanent. As Buddhists they should know that. Until that eventuality, our wait may take long. Or it can even be day after tomorrow.Who knows?

Posted by: Uthunga | November 15, 2008 01:43 PM

Sri Lanka’s problems historically have been due to our narrow communal thinking; continue to be due to same thinking and our problems will never go away until we replace our outdated thinking with egalitarian ideas that embrace all our nation’s inhabitants as one-people, each with an equal stake to the island. The responsibility to cause a mass shift in national thinking lies first and foremost with each and every one of us, beginning with a shift in our own individual thinking – from one that of “Communal Us” to a “National We”; from “us Tamils” to “we Sri Lankans”; “us Sinhalese-Buddhists” to “we Sri Lankans”; “us Muslims” to “we Sri Lankans” and so on and so forth irrespective of our independent perceptions of what the Sri Lankan identity is, which in reality is non-existent or at best significantly differs from one community's perception to that of another. Yet, aligning oneself to a national identity, however unrepresentative or un-evolved, will be much less divisive than the alternative, continued alignment with narrow ethnic and/or religious backgrounds. [It should be reminded that despite America’s recent democratic triumph in the election of Barack Obama, there was a time in America where “being American” meant – as my college roommate in Washington educated me over three decades ago – “is to be White, male, single and own a Harley Davidson”. The present American identity is one that has evolved over time through much pain and so could emerge in the future a unique and magnanimous Sri Lankan identity.]

While the author’s positive ideas towards ethnic reconciliation are much appreciated, a deeper analysis of his narrative reveals his strong attachment to communal thinking over national outlook – i. e. the “us Tamils” view as opposed to the more inclusive notion of “we Sri Lankans” – throughout his article. For example, the author attributes precedence to ethnic “identity” over national “citizenship” through sequencing in his statement, “A broad vision for the future has to be formulated by the Tamils that would permit them to live in a united Sri Lanka, as a distinctive, distinguished and successful entity, proud of their identity and citizenship, and contributing to the national wellbeing, whilst not posing any threat to their fellow citizens.” Furthermore, by suggesting that the vision has “to be formulated by the Tamils” the author has implicitly disregarded inclusive participation by other minorities as well as the majority, thereby marginalizing their importance to building national goodwill. By specifying “…that would permit them to live …” (implying Tamils), the author has overlooked the natural similar desires of other communities who would also aspire the same privileges. And by suggesting, “… whilst not posing any threat … to others…” the author at least has implied that Tamils could be threatening, a negative pre-disposition. Perhaps a more inspiring and collaborative feeling of national togetherness (at least among Federalidea readers) could have been generated if these sentiments were reflected something like: “A broad vision for the future has to be formulated by Sri Lankans that would permit all minorities as well as the majority to live in a united Sri Lanka, with each ethnic group as a distinctive, distinguished and successful entity, proud of their Sri Lankan citizenship and independent identities, and contributing to the national wellbeing, whilst being magnanimous to their fellow citizens.” [By the re-structuring of the author’s original sentence, no impositions or disrespects are intended towards the author – and presented here only for illustration purposes.]

At the present juncture in the evolution of our society we have a moral responsibility to effectuate positive “change”. Mass progressive change can happen only if each one of us is courageous enough to first look at our own self with a deep personal commitment to first change our own traditional and often outmoded thinking. – N. Dias

Posted by: dias | November 15, 2008 07:48 PM

As a Tamil you have written 22 points for the Tamils, Good.

On the same token, is there a Sinhalese who can write 22 points for the Sinhalese?

Posted by: aratai | November 16, 2008 09:20 AM

Dias

I fully agree with you.

Let some Sinhalease writer or politician come out at least with their ten points for the Sinhalese.

Posted by: Seran | November 17, 2008 02:26 AM

It is age old wisdom that 'If you cannot fight , you have to join'. We have fought, fought and fought to no avail and do not have the energy or the time to fight any more. Dr.Narendran has drawn attention to these 'No longer avoidable truths' in his timely article. Talking of history and the Jaffna kingdom, will not solve our problems. We have been engaged in such futile discussions for a very long time.

There is no one there to listen to these old tales. Let us think of the future on the basis of our present circumstancs and the lessons we have learnt over the past six decades. Why should the Sinhalese list twenty points? What difference would this make? Further, this article is written from the Tamil perspective with relation to Sri Lanka.

It is mainly directed at the Tamils and how the Tamils have to re-think their relationships within Sri Lanka. We are down, but yet not out. Let us find the crutches to help us stand first. Dr. Narendran has raised the call for an innovative and pragmatic approach towards the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka. We should break out of the mind set of the past and concentrate our thinking towards the future. We should stop serving the same old wine in new bottles! The wine we have been serving has proven insipid and it does not sell. Let us make a new wine, which will sell better.

Posted by: Ramanan | November 17, 2008 10:46 AM

You are obviously in a reflective mood, and that is good. Putting forward suggestions on the plight of Tamils in itself is not bad. Besides, it is your prerogative. What I would kindly urge is it should not undermine the Struggle itself now that we are in the middle of it. It should help refine the Struggle and take it forward.

This is not the time to change tack and cannot be done. We are in the 'home stretch' of the Struggle, and all of us involved and that includes the Sinhalese believe so. The analysis you presented in your article is of course good and insightful. I agree that from time to time we should review our thoughts comprehensively, SWOT or otherwise.

The real need of the hour is the restoration of February 2002 Ceasefire Agreement, which was abrogated early this year unilaterally by the Rajapakse government.

Posted by: P Shantikumar | November 17, 2008 06:02 PM

First, I want to see if the Sri Lankan Army can capture and hold Kilinochchi town, Paranthan, and Elephant Pass.
The capture of Elephant Pass will be like a dagger to the heart. Many many Tamil youths sacrificed their lives to capture Elephant Pass. Many died in both the defeat in the first battle and the victory in the second battle for Elephant Pass.

I also want to see whether Prabhakaran can pull a rabbit out of a hat. The army has heavily concentrated its military assets in the north.

After it becomes clear that the LTTE has truly lost Eelam War IV, only then is it time to analyze our options.

Or maybe the LTTE is our fate? Even if it became clear that reconciliation with the South was the best way forward, the LTTE would still choose to mobilize Eelam Tamils against Sri Lanka. And we are powerless against the LTTE. So the LTTE is also our fate.

The LTTE is the only organization that has provided the massive mobilization needed to voice our political aspirations. Any innovation or new approach can only come from convincing the LTTE to change its approach.

The LTTE has in the past killed Sinhalese civilians, and waited for the SL army to murder innocents in reprisal attacks. And then the LTTE takes pictures of these reprisal attacks and posts them on TamilNet. That is how the LTTE mobilizes its support base.

Also their military triumphs have led us to believe that they could deliver Eelam. But clearly this may not be feasible. Today, the army now claims to have taken Mankulam in addition to Pooneryn.

The LTTE leadership has made an irrational decision. It is our duty to bring them to reason.

But for the moment, we need to wait and see whether Prabhakaran has something planned.

Although it appears that the army has won, don't forget that we are talking about the Tamil Tigers.

Posted by: Murugan | November 18, 2008 03:40 AM

A breath of fresh air! A pragmatic approach is exactly what is needed. If we compare the Civil rights movement of the African-Americans to that of the Tamil struggle in SL, clearly the former succeeded and the latter has failed. The essential difference is one of violence.

The Civil rights movement was subjected to beatings, torture, and murder, just as much as the members of the Tamil struggle were, but Martin Luther King Jr persevered peacefully, and won over the opposition to their just demands.

As a Sinhala who supports the Tamil struggle for equal rights within a united Sri Lanka, my protests against the violence and injustice meted out to Tamils is drowned out by the violence of Tamil militancy. Tamil militancy strengthens Sinhala militancy--this is a fact (and it is also true in the reverse of course). Mahatma Gandhi realized early on that their struggle had to be more than just; it had to be noble. That is how he won, and that is how King won.

There are many moderate Sinhala that are ready to join you in your struggle, if it is a peaceful one. On our part, we have to convince or marginalize the racists among us to give up on this stupid idea of a hela-dveepa and embrace a multi-ethnic/multi-lingual/multi-cultural Sri Lankan identity instead.

But it can be done. Come forward and represent your cause without the militancy that is dragging you down, and we will stand with you. Help us to stop this war.

Posted by: The Under Dog | November 18, 2008 05:36 AM

In August 5 2006 under the article titled "Thoughts on a constitution for a united, resurgent Sri Lanka" a section of a sentence really made me to look at a bright side.

See the link below:

http://tamilweek.com/news-features/archives/499

Posted by: thamil | November 20, 2008 12:41 PM

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