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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2404

Lalin’s Column: The Jaffna Corporals

By Major General (Retd.) Lalin Fernando

Then they were the TNA. Now they are ITAK. Then it was about Tamils being victimized. Now is it about religion too. Then it was being a LTTE propaganda unit. Now it is about being the darlings of the ‘International order’ (of the USA) and the UNP. Then the North voted for them. Now some of them are providing shooting practice for the same voters. They talked about reconciliation then but are following policies that will surely divide the people again. Were they at any time sincere representatives of the Tamils or did they mislead them and pursue their personal interests?

The TNA that were the mouth organs of the terrorist LTTE is now in the advance guard of the US financed effort to set fire to the 1978 constitution. They support efforts to produce a replacement with greater fervor than they supported the LTTE. Thanks to the Armed Forces, there is no duress now or threat of lamp posting that was meted out to other Tamil leaders who opposed the aims of the LTTE. Instead there is much encouragement from those who also ridiculed the Forces covertly from Grandpass, Madawachchi and Thoppigala and cattle farms. All this encouraged the LTTE that demanded Eelam- a separate state.

The present ageing TNA leaders, one wobbler closing up to Zimbabwe’s finally deposed Mugabe’s age, and who the Chief Minister in the North wants them retired, say they want federalism. This we believe. They also say they are for ‘a united, undivided and indivisible country in the future’. This is unbelievable especially for those who remember the TNA’s flirtations with the LTTE terrorists throughout the conflict. They are past masters in piling pious verbiage and making grandiose but empty gestures.

These calls comes not from statesmen but politicians long known for playing to the gallery using any ethno religious differences for their selfish ends. Even if it did cost 100,000 lives. They love to shadow box with invisible opponents to show how brave they are now. Today they utterly lack credibility even among the people who foolishly voted for and were deceived by them. They intriguingly enough say they speak for the Tamils. Does their Chief Minister Wigneswaran believe or curse them? Why is one of them being ‘shot’ at even when he is not in Jaffna? Neither does the EPRLF leader or Douglas Devananda trust them. Anandasangaree who courageously and almost single handedly opposed the LTTE excoriates them.

The TNA members by supporting the terrorists were as culpable as the angel of child suicide bombers Adele Balasingham, in the deaths of innocent Tamils including children in the baby brigades of the LTTE and the executions of Northern political leaders like Armithalingam (1990s) and Alfred Duraiappa (1970s).

Did these TNA leaders do anything to persuade the LTTE in 2009 to release the 300,000 Tamil hostages who were being forcibly used as human shields in Mullativu for many months and later when they were corralled in the suppurating Tiger’s den at Nandikadal in a non binding NFZ? Whatever figure for deaths is given they too share the responsibility. Ironically and famously and to its eternal credit it was the SL Army that rescued 295,000 of the hostages. That effort cost the lives and limbs of many hundreds of soldiers.

Sampanthan in the role of a self-appointed Sheppard of a minority opposition in parliament may have forgotten that in 2012 he told his sheep that as terrorism failed they should now bide their time as the international community would give them what the terrorists failed to do. He is casting around impervious to the fact that he has no base. NGOs love him.

One Sumanthiran (Sum) talks loftily about conditions that have to be met to make ‘our people’ overseas say they are Sri Lankan Tamils. Who wants them to? They do much better when they form ghoulish slavering mobs to demonstrate their frustrations there. When they were here, were they deprived of anything that other Sri Lankans including Tamils who consider themselves Sri Lankans, did not have? Did they who aren’t ‘proud to call themselves Sri Lankan’ not benefit from having free education from nursery to university and totally free health care among other things? Did they not do very well abroad because of what SL gave them free? Why did they not choose Tamil Nadu to push their Tamilian roots?

Many of them sadly left SL after 1983 ‘because of violence’. But the majority who followed was economic refugees. How were Sumanthiran and Sambandan (Sam) and the nearly 17% of the SL population who are Tamils who survived 30 years of conflict, spared violence? Was it because of the LTTE or SL and its constitution however flawed and its selfless armed forces and the often derided but effective police and the non-Tamil people that secured them?

‘We are promoting catastrophic policies, for only catastrophe- that is, the collapse of the ….. System- will clear the way for the new social order… every weakening of the system is good, very good for us and our … revolution (Gregor Strasser –Nazi Party radical 1929)

Most of them, whatever makes them ‘proud’ or not in the West do come back regularly to visit relations , claim property, do business, invest, some even to rob the Central Bank (almost by invitation) and the EPF. A few did carry back false horror stories to entertain the gullible British. Were ‘our people’ who went to India, the very poor, not happy to return to SL and be called Sri Lankan?

Significantly those who would now lead ‘our people’ post ‘violence’ and in times of complete peace have shamelessly allied themselves with the leaders of those very people who violated them mercilessly and declared ‘war’ on them during th

Sam has been anointed ‘leader’ of the SL Parliamentary Opposition by RW. The TNA however is outnumbered by the Joint Opposition. He must thank the constitution he wants changed for such privileges.

Sumanthiran (Sum) now smoothly adds ‘I am not a Buddhist (that is his unfettered freedom of choice) and can’t be told that I am second class’. Did any one person ever say so? He says that he is therefore against ‘a constitution that provides a particular religion with the foremost place’. He goes on to say it therefore ‘can’t be a Constitution that treats all of its citizens as equals’.

We must be ruthless. We must regain our clear conscience as to ruthlessness (Hitler -speech 1932)

Sum, a lawyer to boot, must know that it is the politicians and not the constitution that decides on ‘treatment’ of citizens- every time - from North to South. The ‘foremost place’ given to Buddhism is certainly not connected to any religious bigotry or power base. Did Sum, who with Sam have done exceedingly well in life, ever suffer a 2nd class encounter because of his faith? Is he pushing with the GTF and Emmanuel, the reincarnated false messiah now in Germany?

Buddhism amongst many other things does not recognize class or caste or even race. Are Buddhists supposed to be first class? Who mentioned it before Sum? Surely it’s the Buddhists whether ‘first or no class’ or ‘foremost’ who are at the butt end of the majority of all government punishments, virulently so especially after elections.

Who has heard of anyone, even a Buddhist, being excused for any villainy caused or given privileges because of religion? Has lawyer Sum? Look at the prisons. What more could starkly show that by law there is no first class gets out of jail pass for anyone, far less Buddhists? Are Buddhists not like African Americans in being disproportionate government guests in prisons?

In 1988-9, 60,000 Buddhists were killed during the JVP rebellion. Were they 2nd or even 3rd class? No Mr. Sumanthiran there is no First, 2nd or 3rd class for any one in SL whatever his religion or race, however much anyone wishes to coddle up with the ‘white eyes’ community, mislead himself, use it as a beggar’s wound or suddenly in old age hump imaginary crosses.

It is politicians who are exempt from all harassments that the people in the North and South whatever their religion faced and face daily ever since independence. Are politicians not ‘first class? Who told first class Sum belatedly in 2017 to exhibit a 2nd class badge from his bag of political tricks?

However there were innuendoes such as ‘Muslims are traitors to the Tamil cause’. Who said this? Not the Buddhists. This led the LTTE to kill Muslims in the East. What class were they? Did S&S who say there were ‘helpless’ to stop those killings in the East ever even condemn the killings? Was the TNA ‘helpful’ in stopping the LTTE religious or race killings elsewhere? Earlier 600 policemen in the East, less Tamils among them who were set free, were butchered by the LTTE in a Nazi SS Sonder Commando type killing in the East and disposed of in graves dug by the victims themselves. Were the Tamil, almost all Hindu policemen, ‘first class’ for the LTTE that the TNA supported?

There is nothing first, 2nd or 3rd class in SL except when travelling by train. Did Sum mistake the SLGR for SL’s constitution?

Sum should have a look at the caste system that ‘our people’ in the North follow. Is there no high, middle, lower and out castes in the North? Are there not separate caste based bathing and even burial grounds in the North? Sum may know why Velu P’s decimated cadres were almost exclusively ‘low’ caste. Was this why the LTTE lacked total support from ‘our people’. Some high caste Tamils waited like vultures on the wings but not in the jungles of the Wanni, to take posts in what the LTTE promised- a separate state – Eelam. Astoundingly the complete destruction of the LTTE and 100,000 deaths have now fortuitously given them a glimpse of Eelam on a plate. It is supported by a post 2015 South Africa type ‘rainbow’ government’ many of whom are now acting like Ali Babas.

Many of ‘our people’ know this fact of Northern life. That too may be a reason for ‘our people’ abroad not to call themselves Sri Lankan Tamils. Can anyone who is not a Vellala by caste become the Bishop of Jaffna? A pity that 6 foot tall radical Father Stanislaus is no more. He could have shed more light on this even if the redoubtable Bishop R Joseph will not. So where exactly do these separate ‘classes’/castes exist except in the fetid imaginations of people like Sum and his ilk in the North? Certainly the SL constitution does not recognize any class/caste even if Vellalas do. Will the proposals of S&S change the diehard habits of ‘our people in the North? Velu P failed. Detailed examples of such discrimination are too distressing to trot out here.

Have S& S forgotten how the LTTE that the TNA supported massacred over 150 ‘foremost Buddhists’ at prayer at the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, another 50 odd at the Temple of the Tooth’ in Kandy and the nearly ‘lesser most’ 100 Muslims at prayers in Kattankudy in the East ? Was the constitution to blame? Can S&S recall any attack on kovils or churches? So what did this ‘foremost place’ that he opposes do for ‘a particular religion’ except to exist as a cipher in the constitution? Is it that what non conformist religious radicals/extremists wish to exorcise from the constitution? Or is it Sum’s position that he is 2nd class also because he is a Tamil? How can S&S ever be reconciled or peaceful?

Maybe Sum has forgotten why and how his ancestors changed their religion. The colonial conquerors of the Island encouraged treachery. S&S need to be reminded how the Portuguese converted the Island people with sword, knife, pike and axe, destroying temples and kovils, bayoneting infants and committing other bloody horrors to promote their religion. They were only equaled in barbarity by the LTTE and the Nazis especially the SS. So was it not prudent that this clause about the ‘foremost place’ was preserved in SL’s independent constitutions from 1947? Could it not have prevented repetitions? Did it help the people to keep the LTTE at bay? Or do we have to recall more examples of blood and lust of colonial rule? Is this a western plan like Balfour’s in Palestine to create a minority enclave by stealth and skull drudgery?

Do S&S think the majority of the people who are not Christian will ever forget? True it was Sankily from the North and never anybody else that put the Christians to the sword. Should ‘our people’s’ Christians therefore be given a special status? Their origins as recipients of diverse gifts of colonial rulers and heirs of forcible and bloody conversions should be considered with sympathy.

S&S should also remember that Pope Pius XII did not condemn the Nazi’s extermination of Jews and other atrocities during WW2. His organization helped Nazi war criminals flee justice after the war. Is it possible that just with a little bit of caution and knowledge of history that the foremost place given in the constitution to Buddhism not be over turned? The consequences if it is could be politically unsettling.

Politicians seeking blessings from the Mahanayakes may have agitated Sum even belatedly. He is not alone. Neither are the Mahanayake’s or Buddhists amused by such ostentatious displays.

S&S have laboured to recall other cries for federalism at desultory meetings at Pettah bus stand mainly because ‘all know what happened before’. Not surprisingly there is no call by a present day Ponnambalam as in the pre independence days for a 50-50 sharing of government rule between the then 12% Tamils and 70% Sinhalese forsaking the Muslims, Burghers and Malays. But it cannot be forgotten. S&S should now at least come clean on the following for the sake of truth, permanent peace and reconciliation that everyone should desire constitutionally as well as politically:

What was the actual death roll at Nandikadal?What did the TNA promise the LTTE over the years of conflict? Why S&S were never in danger from the LTTE. Details of LTTE identities, atrocities, victims and punishments LTTE tortures executions etc and experiments on prisoners. Were hangings of SL military prisoners used for research purposes?Were military prisoners bled (to death) to provide blood for wounded LTTE cadres? Were military prisoners eyes disgorged while they were alive?

What support was received by LTTE from Southern politicians including arms, ammo, cash, cement, radio transmitters etc? Why after accusing General Sarath Fonseka of being a war criminal did the TNA/ITAK vote for him at the Presidential elections in 2010? Why were Northern voters encouraged to desist from voting in 2005?

From the response their sincerity can be gauged. The chances are the ITAK/TNA will never respond. Their duplicity has been exposed by the very Chief Minister North they supported. Is there any reason for people in the North or South to trust less tolerate them? The exception is the UNP that started the conflict in 1977 but needs them only to win elections.

Let there NOT be another 'Eelamkrieg' by silly posturing of obsolescent politicians.

- Asian Tribune -

Lalin’s Column: The Jaffna Corporals
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