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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 74

Rebellion in the Diaspora?

[b]Rebellion in the Diaspora?[/b]

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

[b][i]"He was patient and though, perhaps, he protested inwardly, he was
obviously more careful of his own interests…. But with loss of patience – with
impatience – begins a reaction which can extend to everything that he
accepted up to this moment…"[/i][/b]
[b]Albert Camus[/b] ([i]The Rebel)[/i]

Sri Lankan Tamils have traditionally been law abiding citizens; their innate conservatism and deep seated respect for authority meant that they were slow to oppose the establishment, even when it acted in a manifestly unfree and unfair manner. The Lankan state took the Tamil people for granted precisely because they were slow to oppose the established authority. Since the Tamils were generally patient and acquiescent, the Sinhala establishment thought that it could heap any indignity, any injustice on them, with near total impunity. And it did work, in the case of a majority of Tamils, until the Black July of 1983.

The Black July transformed a majority of Tamils from silent sufferers to determined rebels against the Sinhala establishment. But when the dust settled, it became increasingly clear that the Tamils, instead of becoming free, had merely exchanged one unjust and intolerant dominator for another. Once their moment of rebellion was over, the Tamils settled to a life under this new master, with as much patience and acquiescence as they had previously displayed towards the Sinhala establishment. And the Tigers, like the Sinhala establishment before them, thought that they could subject the Tamils to any tyranny, with impunity.

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