கவனிக்க: இந்த மின்னூலைத் தனிப்பட்ட வாசிப்பு, உசாத்துணைத் தேவைகளுக்கு மட்டுமே பயன்படுத்தலாம். வேறு பயன்பாடுகளுக்கு ஆசிரியரின்/பதிப்புரிமையாளரின் அனுமதி பெறப்பட வேண்டும்.
இது கூகிள் எழுத்துணரியால் தானியக்கமாக உருவாக்கப்பட்ட கோப்பு. இந்த மின்னூல் மெய்ப்புப் பார்க்கப்படவில்லை.
இந்தப் படைப்பின் நூலகப் பக்கத்தினை பார்வையிட பின்வரும் இணைப்புக்குச் செல்லவும்: Tamil Times 1998.12
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2 TAMIL TIMES
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The Challenge O3 News Review O4 Doors for Peace Open O8 Peace Talks Again 10 Whither Peace Hopes 13 Govt Should Grab LTTE Offer 16 At Century's End 19 BJP Bites the Dust 21 Justice for Mujib's Killers 23 Scarred Minds 25 Cry the Beloved isle 27 Classified 30
The recent S Eelam(LTTE) ha tween the Sri La paharan in his " doors for peace. through rational cal negotiations. political dialogue Some of the been pressing th Pirapaharan's sp ciprocate. Even most Succeeded devolution and ( Stated that the G offer. Peace grou Even those who tiations have take to call what they The Governr LTTE. In fact rec talks With the LT having gone thro place between S tion is that the agree to enter ir frame. These pre the Government between the part
in the same Cal dialogue with litical negotiation: military aggressic nomic life of our gage in initial talk Out a basic frant their day-to-day Over an indefinite is discussed, res to Come to an e draw and their u have described t the LTTE'S OWn to begin. It was t LTTE talks in 19 Conditions to be chances for pea The presenc economic blocka ple, the death of rights and the in direct consequer teen years. The settlement to th faced by the peo is of utmost urg being set by eith to reaching politi lenge that faces ship of the LTTE
TAMIL TIMES 3
peech by the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil s raised the hope of a resumption of negotiations bekan Government and the LTTE. The LTTE leader V PirHeroes Day" message stated "We have not closed the We are open to the civilised method of resolving conflicts dialogue. ...and we favour third party mediation for politiBut we are not prepared to accept any pre-conditions for ." non-LTTE Tamil parties which have in the recent past e Government to recommence talks with the LTTE saw in eech a window of opportunity for the Government to rehe main opposition United National Party, which had alin thwarting the efforts of the Government to progress its :onstitutional reform proposals through parliament, has overnment should positively respond to the LTTE leader's ps have advised the Government to grab the opportunity. are cynical about the LTTE leader's offer of peace negobn the view that the Government should respond at least
describe as "Pirapaharan's bluff". nent itself has not set its face against talking with the :ently the President herself expressed her willingness for E. She was also not averse to third party mediation. But ugh the experience of the aborted negotiations that took eptember 1994 and April 1995, the Government's posiTTE should drop its demand for a separate state and to political negotiations to be concluded within a time-conditions are certainly unacceptable to the LTTE, and if is to insist on these conditions, the prospect of talks ies resuming in the near future is remote. speech, the LTTE leader qualified his readiness for politiout pre-conditions by stating, "We hold the view that pos cannot be free and just if the Government utilises the on on our soil and the restrictions imposed on the ecopeople as political pressures. We are prepared to encs to discuss the removal of such pressures and to work e-Work for political negotiations. ...... Our people want urgent problems resolved immediately. They cannot wait time until the peace talks resume and the ethnic conflict olved and the solution implemented. They want the war nd and the occupation army that torments them to withrgent existential problems addressed immediately." Many he issues raised by the LTTE leader in this statement as pre-conditions to be satisfied before political negotiations hese issues that led to the breakdown of the Government94-95, if the LTTE persists in raising these issues as presatisfied for political negotiations to begin, again the ce talks recommencing in the near future are remote. e of tens of thousands of troops in the north-east, the de, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of peothousands of combatants, the gross violations of human olerable day-to-day problems faced by the people are a ce of the ongoing war which has continued for over fifwar continues because of the failure to reach a political unresolved national question. Hence if the problems ble are to come to an end, it must be self-evident that what 2ncy is to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions 2r side with third-party mediation or facilitation with a view cal settlement to the national question, That is the chalhe Government, the main political parties and the leader
4 TAMIL TIMES
The PA presented its fifth Budget in Parliament in the first week of November. Although Deputy Finance Minister Peiris presented the budget in Parliament, there was speculation that he had not in fact been deeply involved in its preparation. This was fuelled by conflicting reports and photographs that appeared in the press regarding the involvement of the President in preparing the budget.
The budget was not viewed with favour by many supporters of the PA although some sectors of the business community expressed their satisfaction with it.
Several controversial items, such as the increase in rail fares and the reduction of the duty free allowance to Sri Lankans who worked abroad, were later withdrawn. This allowed space for opposition criticism of the budget, on the basis that some of the proposals had not been discussed in detail within the Cabinet and that the budget figures could not now be taken at face value.
Following the budget, there was an uproar in banking circles regarding a circular issued by the Inland Revenue Department asking for information regarding all those persons who had over Rs. 100,000 in their savings or fixed deposit accounts. This circular was later withdrawn.
There is also controversy brewing regarding the proposal to increase MPs and Ministers’ allowances by 70%. MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara has launched a lone campaign against these proposals.
Conflict between the government and the UNP continued to fester, despite repeated appeals for bi-partisan approach to peace from within the country and abroad. At the Galle District Convention of the SLFP, the President said there was one last chance for the UNP to join the PA in seeking a solution to the ethnic conflict. However, Wickremasinghe, the UNP leader, has been adamant in rejecting any such overtures and stating that the UNP would not agree with the PA’s proposals for devolution.
The visit of th of State for Fore wealth Affairs, Dé Lanka saw a ren about the propos Foreign Secretary year, which focus approach and con However, Mr. Fat emphasise that Bi tion of forcing a on Sri Lanka. The by a group of Pai the Commonwea Association.
Adelegation fr Board of Denma Refugee Council a in November, to with regard to tho are being deportec lowing rejection o The mission was i amine the veracity by the governm been restored and turned with no d
In November, gan to intensify South African go' firm commitment LTTE. This was i lation that the LI its base in Southe ing pressure to b ments within the ernment to exten LTTE's cause. T ernment media ha lative stories ab cating in South 1 in the UK was be to the new laws tivity in Englan cials engaged i. regarding this si of representativ African mission Sri Lanka in earl gency with whi viewed the situa when Foreign M made a rushed in mid Novembe government, whi
15 DECEMBER 19
e British Minister
gn and Commonrek Fatchett, to Sri wall of discussion l made by former liam Fox earlier this 2d on a bi-partisan mitment to peace. hett was careful to itain had no intenny form of solution :re was also a visit liamentarians from lth Parliamentary
om the Immigration rk and the Danish lso visited Sri Lanka study the situation se Sri Lankan who i from Denmark folf their asylum pleas. In the country to exof statements made 2nt that peace has asylum-seekers reinger. the government bepressure on the vernment to make a of rejection of the n response to specuTE was developing in Africa and bringear on friendly eleSouth African govil its support to the ne Sri Lankan govs been full of specuut the LTTE re-lofrica since its base ing undermined due against terrorist ac. Government offideep discussions uation with a team es from the South in Delhi who visited November. The urh the government ion was confirmed iníster Kadirgamer sit to South Africa The South African e reassuring the Sri
Lankan government of its friendly intentions towards this country, has not made any clear commitment to proscribe the LTTE or prohibit its activities on its soil.
Many of the Tamil political parties had expressed their deep disappointment at the remark attributed to the President while in South Africa a few weeks ago, that the Tamil people are not the original people of this island. ACTC leader Kumar Ponnambalam, who took upon himself to share the videotape of that particular interview with his colleagues, came in for a great deal of criticism from all sides for his role in denouncing the president's comment.
At month end, Mr. Ponnambalam was being sought for questioning regarding his links with the LTTE, by the CID.
Representatives of the Tamil political parties met with the President several times during November, to discuss matters relating to the government’s devolution proposals and the present stalemate at the level of the Parliamentary Select Committee, as well as to discuss concerns repeatedly voiced by the Tamil political groups regarding the situation of food shortages in the Vanni. However, these talks have proved to be disappointing, and as a consequence, the TULF voted against the PA when the time came to vote on the budget.
The businessmen’s peace initiative floundered in the face of the intransigence of the UNP. Following meetings with the group, it had been agreed that the businessmen would try to mediate between the PA and the UNP to support a bi-partisan approach to a resolution of the ethnic conflict. In keeping with this understanding, the government nominated four eminent persons to pursue the peace initiatives put forward by the business community. However, the UNP has refused to cooperate in this initiative, which remains stalled as a result.
November 21 to 27 saw the LTTE's celebration of their Heroes Week which commemorates one of the first suicide attacks by the LTTE. On the birthday of LTTE chief Prabhakaran he issued a statement declaring thẽ readiness of the LTTE to begin a prox. ess of negotiations for peace. Although security was tightened islandwide in expectation of an LTI -
15 DECEMBER 1998
attack, no incident took place.
On November 6, the People’s Alliance government presented its fifth budget.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Prof. G.L. Peiris, who presented it in Parliament called it a budget that would take Sri Lanka forward to the 21st century and beyond, saying that the government had identified Information Technology (IT) as a major thrust area with a view to encouraging the exploitation of IT for national development,
In the preamble to the budget, the Minister said that the country had seen 6.4% growth in the past year, with a narrowing of the fiscal deficit. The total public debt (as a share of the GDP) had fallen, inflation and interest rates were down, and national savings had increased, with foreign reserves being maintained at a healthy level. Declines in international prices of crude oil, sugar and wheat had also led to reduction in expenditure.
The budget announced largescale development in urbanization, regional industrialization, relief for pensioners, programmes for employment generation and skills development. New job opportunities for 150,000 to 225,000 youth would be made available during the next two years, the Minister said. He also announced grants to protect school children from malnutrition, and an increase of Rs. 80 million for the issue of Special Food Stamps to families receiving Samurdhi Assistance, aimed at encouraging mothers to breast-feed their infants.
Extension was given for tax relief and incentives permitted to the private sector for regional industrialization, till 31st December 1999. A fiveyear tax holiday was announced for institutions providing training in priority fields such as Apparel, Jewellery, Gems, Electronic and Computer Software.
The estimate fore defence expenditure in the budget for 1999 is Rs. 47 billion. The Defence levy was increased by 1% - from 4.5% to 5.5% - and the stamp fee for an ordinary letter by one rupee from Rs. 2.50 to RS, 3.50.
The budget also raised the prices of both local and foreign liquor by 10 % and the price of cigarettes of all brands by 50 cents.
The budget while it was bel the Minister wit increase of 25%
This meant a lion in terms of Other proposals tion of the duty f to Sri Lankan v also withdrawn
The UNP cl during the readin displaying plac PA within the P& The session had half an hour for The budget was with the TULF, ing against it.
The War in the
There conti clashes betwee! and the LTTE i throughout the although no maj An attack c escorting the s ITHA from Kai peninsula to Tri l7 naval perso missing in action warded in hospit ever, the ship w turned to Jaffna There were a reported by th LTTE bases and aitivu area. The reports of sighti northern skies, that the LTTE for its military Lanka Air Forc by the loss of 1 the past two ye mishaps, in a
tion. These fea
an LTTE broadc which stated t to scatter flow their fallen co, commemoration
Within the created by the tinued to pose a war effort. The created by the flights to the n ated many log problems for th while, continu corruption anc
TAMIL TIMES 5
underwent reforms ore Parliament, with hdrawing a proposed increase in train fares.
loss of Rs. 300 mil
he envisaged budget. , such as the reduc"ee allowance granted forkers abroad, were following criticism. eated a controversy g, by bringing in and ards denouncing the rliamentary chamber. to be suspended for order to be restored. passed in Parliament TELO and UNP vot
North and East nued to be sporadic n the security forces in the north and east month of November, or clashes took place. in the Naval convoy hip LANKA MUDmkesanthurai in Jaffna ncomalee resulted in nnel being listed as while a further 9 were al with injuries. Howas not hurt and it re
without damage. also several air strikes e Air Force against i camps in the Mullre have been repeated ngs of air craft in the fuelling speculation has acquired aircraft This placed the Sri 2, already beleaguered most of its aircraft in ars due to a series of very precarious posiis were confirmed by ast in late November, at they used aircraft ers on the graves of leagues during their
of Heroes Week. military, the problems ack of manpower conmajor obstacle to the transport bottleneck suspension of civilian orthern peninsula crestical and personnel e army. In the meaned exposures about mismanagement of
funds in the military led to the President taking charge of all matters relating to the purchase of arms and accessories to the security forces. She also appointed a special investigation to look into these allegations. The President also ordered the dissolution of the Tender Boards functioning under the Ministry of Defence to decide on tenders for the supply of accessories.
Civilian Life in the North
During the budget debate, TULF MP Tiruchelvam stated that food assistance to the north and east had been cut by 57%. He quoted figures for Jaffna saying that 416,000 persons were receiving food aid, that there was 60% unemployment in the peninsula and that 90% of the school buildings were in a state of disrepair.
Following intelligence reports about an impending attack by the LTTE on the Jaffna peninsula, security was tightened in the area. Fishing was banned in the Southern part of the Jaffna lagoon and in the areas from around Point Pedro to Pannai to Grunagar from November 5, as a safety measure. The military offered food assistance to those fishermen who were affected by this ban.
Following months of negotiation, on November 27 the government finally announced that it would give permission for the communication equipment requested by the UNDP's landmine clearing team to be taken to Jaffna.
However, given the transport problems, it remained to be seen exactly when the equipment would actually reach the peninsula. The mineclearing team however remained optimistic that they could start work in the early part of 1999.
The assassination of Rev. Sridharan in Jaffna in early November while at prayer sent another strong message to the civilian population of the peninsula that they should not try to defy the LTTE in any way. Pressure on public officials continues, and although schools continue to function, there has been a lot of pressure on them to close down. In the meanwhile, Secretary of the Chavakachcheri Pradesheeya Sabha, V. Arunanthy, resigned from his post, alleging threats.
The situation of food shortages in the Vanni areas continued to be a
6 TAM TIMES
controversial issue. At meetings with the President on November 6 and 13, representatives of the EPDP, PLOTE and EPRLF brought to her attention that the figures of people needing food aid in the Vanni was 350,000. The President rejected these figures. The government insists that the figures being presented by government officials in those areas are incorrect and inflated. For example, the Government Agent for Kilinochchi gives a figure of 36,000 while defence sources say there are only 13,000 persons in the area, for Mullaiitvu, the GA's figure is 28,000 while defence figures state 8,300. In all, according to government figures, the state supplies food assistance to 137,967 persons in the uncle-ared areas of the Vanni.
Restrictions imposed on the distribution of fuel in the Vanni have severely affected nearly 200,000 farmers. The Defence Ministry permits the issue of 700 barrels of kerosene each containing 210 litres per month in the Mullaitivu District. Kerosene at present is being issued only on family cards in the Mullaitivu District.
With the price of a litre of kerosene oil being Rs. 180/- in the area, farmers are unable to start their cultivation activities though the rainy season has already set in. This was brought to the notice of the authorities at the conference of G.A.s of Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar Districts held recently. Farmers who had made all preparations for the cultivation of nearly 100,000 acres of paddy in areas not under the control of the armed forces in the above four Districts have now abandoned their activities due to the fuel shortage.
Violence in the areas close to Vavuniya town have continued to terrorise the population. On November 13, a PLOTE member, Chandramohan, was shot dead while riding his bicycle. On November 14, President of the Vavuniya Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, Mr. Veerasingham, was brutally attacked and badly injured.
Civilian Life in the East
Batticaloa continued in darkness for the second month, with no signs of the electricity being re-installed.
Following numerous reports of public protests against the abduction of young children by the LTTE, this practice was called to a halt. However,
the LTTE presence tinues to be felt st mate of fear preva Restrictions of and other essential areas not under an east continued to obstacle to normalc Vakarai area, for ex with the fact that t a minimum amou the border betw. trolled and LTTE Certain items such milk food are totall creates many diffic with young childr In Trincomale sons who had s camps waiting for to Jaffna have bee early passage. O over 500 persons Post Refugee Ca launched a fast del be sent back to Ja The strike was on intervention by so: ers of the area.
At present, t LANKA MUDIT between Jaffna a which transports goods to the nort people are strand unable to travel, the monsoon eff halt to even the THA’s trips. The voy escorting the vember heightene frightened off allo owners from taki ment’s offer to pri the north. Civilia the use of these armed forces per only the military passengers at r present, the milit but to utilise this Estimates sa sons are strande waiting for trans while similarly wait in Jaffna f south. Soldiers a home on leave, report to school workers unable expatriates stranc out being able homes, schools
15 DECEMBER 1998
in the area conongly, and a cli
S. ransport of food items within the ly control in the present a major I. Villagers in the imple, have lived ey can only take t of food across en military concontrolled areas. as polythene and i prohibited. This ulties for families
2. , displaced perpent months in heir turn to travel 1 agitating for an November l l at the 3rd Mile mp in Uppuveli nanding that they ffna immediately. ly called off after me political lead
here is only the HA which plies nd Trincomalee, both people and h. Thousands of ed at both ends, and the onset of :ctively means a LANKA MUDattack on the conship in early Nothe fear, and has ther possible shipng on the governavide transport to ns complain that ships to transport onnel places not but also civilian sk. However, at ury has no option mode of transport.
some 5000 perd in Trincomalee port to the north, ver 1500 persons transport to the e unable to come udents unable to and universities, report for jobs, 'd for weeks witho return to their und jobs outside
the country. However, the resumption of air service to the north has been ruled out, say Defence Ministry sources, because of fears of an LTTE attack.
Human Rights in the North and East
In the face of mounting criticism locally and from abroad about its lethargic handling of the investigation into the allegations that there is a mass grave located near the Chemimani check-point in Jaffna, the government issued a statement reiterating its commitment to the investigation. However, in practical terms, nothing has happened. Jaffna Commander Balagalle has placed the area under Police guard and made it out of bounds to other than authorised persons. He has also welcomed comments and suggestions from the human rights groups in Jaffna that have been agitating around this issue, such as the Guardians’ Association.
In November, Mutur Magistrate R.M. Jayawardena committed the accused in the Kumarapuram massacre case to trial at the High Court. At the non-summary proceedings presided over by him, he said that there was sufficient evidence to take this action.
In this case, 6 soldiers and 2 civilians stand charged with the murder of 24 Tamil civilians (including 2 infants, 3 children under the age of 10 and 8 persons between the ages of l l and 20) and the attempted murder of 26 more Tamil civilians on the 11th of February 1996. The accused were indicted on 103 counts, and there were 54 civilian wit
The massacre occurred in February l996, after the bodies of 2 members of the security forces were found at the 58th millepost junction on the MuturKiliveddy road. The men had been shot dead. Their colleagues then went on rampage in the village nearby, and killed 24 people. Since the village was in close proximity to the army camp, many of the villagers who testified had identfied the accused quite clearly as having been among the group who entered the village that day.
The case in which several members of the armed forces are charged with the massacre of 35 villagers in Mylanthani, following the deaths of Ger. eral Kobbeakduwa and several others has been assigned to the High Court L.
15 DECEMBER 1998
Colombo. The case will begin on March 17, 1999.
The Search for Peace
The space for developing a peace initiative within the mainstream political parties of Sri Lanka remained extremely limited. At a meeting with representatives of the TULF on November 13, the President said she was willing to open negotiations with the LTTE within a stipulated time-frame, and discuss a cease-fire thereafter. On November 22, Mannar Bishop Joseph said he felt that the LTTE would consider returning to the negotiating tables if the Thimpu principles would form the basis of the discussion. The LTTE also issued a statement calling for negotiations to mark the birthday of their chief Prabhakaran on November 26. However, the response of the government to this overture remained unclear, while the UNP remains committed to a policy of non-co-operation with the government in this regard.
At the Puttalam District Convention of the SLFP, the President went on record as saying that even if the UNP did not join the PA to push the proposed Constitutional reforms through Parliament, we have found alternative methods of enact Constitutional reform. This has refuelled speculation that the PA will continue to explore extra-Parliamentary means of bringing about Constitutional reforms and should send off alarm bells in the ears of all democratic forces in Sri Lanka.
In the meanwhile, Britain is prepared to act as a facilitator to find a solution to the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka if the Sri Lankan Government extends an invitation to it to do so, said the members of the British Parliamentary delegation in Colombo on a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association sponsored tour. However, the government remains literally paranoid regarding external intervention or mediation in the Sri Lankan cont flict and Opposition Leader Wickremasinghe has rejected any offers made by the President out of hand. Speaking at a series of UNP rallies throughout the island, Wickremasinghe has gone on record as saying that the UNP had decided not to support the political solution presented by the PA Government.
However, the Foreign Minister
continued to reit is not willing to a mediation as a m ethnic conflict. Sp rica, Mr. Kadirga saying that Srí Lí third party media lems had croppe ments arrived at mediation. Acco; ter, talks with th had only product
The Ven. Mali Thera, the Ven. T) Thera, the Ven. M Thera, the Ven K Nayaka Thera, th Vipulasara Thera Nanda, the Bisho olm Ranjith, Mr. amy, Dr. Radhika ular actress and e nganie Serasingh who attended the of the Alliance fo on November 11. the meeting, a f monks and laym anti-peace slogan sued.
Those presen the National Mo rorism was invol In the past mon been extremely v of all those who and mention ne; LTTE. In leaflet c liance for Peace called for the arr make this appea eral individuals f statement issued this incident, the government, opp par-ty or group c ise the security ( ple and the Sinl heading irrespor destructive peace minate with the b try, we the peop separatist terroris observers see til portent of more COC.
The Presiden Missing Persons ponement of its Jaffna, on the gro not trace many C
TAM TIMES 7
erate that Sri Lanka ccept any third party ans to resolving the beaking in South Af
mar was reported as.
anka has no faith in tion as many probd up in past settlethrough third party rding to the Minise LTTE in the past ed negative results. watte Wimalabuddhi halalle Dhammaloka Madithiyagala Vijitha Kumaragama Vajira e Ven. Mapalagama , the Ven. Batapola p of Colombo MalcYogendra DuraiswCumarasvamy, popnvironmentalist Irae were among those 2 inaugural meeting }r Peace in Colombo Towards the end of ew young Buddhist men began shouting Ls and a scuffle en
it have alleged that vement against Terved in this incident. ths, the NMAT has 'ocal in its criticism speak out for peace gotiations with the listributed at the Almeeting, the NMAT est of all those who l, singling out sevor arrest. In a press a few days prior to NMAT stated . If osition or any other ontinues to jeopard»f the state, its peohala race by spearsible, Suicidal and talks that will culreak up of this counle who are against m will rise’. Political his as an ominous such altercations to
tial Commission on announced the posts intended visit to unds that they could of the complainants.
Most of the complainants, it was found, had left their former places of residence, and attempts made to locate their present addresses through G. As and the ICRC have not been adequately fruitful. A spokesperson for the Commission said that the would now take action through newspaper advertisements to request these persons to notify their present addresses to the Commission.
The Commission held sittings in November, Trincomalee and Batticaloa during November. Their mandate was to inquire into those complaints made to the previous Commissions which had not been investigated by that Commission.
There were 12 such cases on record for Trincomalee, 150 for Pollonnaruwa and 34 for Batticaloa.
The South African Connection
In what government media described as a pre-emptive strike against the LTTE Foreign Minister Kadirgamer flew to Pretoria on November 15, to plead the Sri Lankan case before the leaders of South Af
Although the publicly adopted stance of the government is that it fears that the LTTE will move its international operations to South Africa once the situation in Europe becomes difficult, in fact, what seems to have disturbed the government is the growth of pro-Tamil and pro-LTTE sentiments within South Africa including within the South African government, and speculation of possible interventions by South Africa to call for a negotiated peace in Sri Lanka.
Reports from South Africa state that several Tamil organisations that work in solidarity with the LTTE are already well established there. Among them are : the People Against Sri Lankan Oppression (PASLO), Dravidians for Peace and Justice(DPJ) and Tamil Eelam Support Group.
Following the settlement of the strike on the Passara plantations, the Badulla Magistrate on November 27 ordered the arrest of 37 persons allegedly involved in the incidents in which the Superintendent’s house was set on fire. Trade union representatives have alleged that the fire was set by the owners of the planta(continued on next page)
8 TAM TIMES
(Continued from page 7) tion themselves to bring the trade union to disrepute.
Among those whose arrest has been ordered are MP T.V. Sennan and former Provincial Councillor, Velayutham.
A clash between two rival student factions at the Kelaniya University on November 19th left injured, 3 of them seriously. The clash was between the United Student Front and the Student Solidarity Foundation and arose over disputes regarding the forthcoming Student Council elections.
Following the clash, the University was declared closed.
Civil Society Actions
Several civil society actions marked the month of November. A broad network of peace groups calling itself the Alliance for Peace held its first public meeting at the Public Library in Colombo on November ll. The meeting was extremely well attended with representation from different sectors of civil society and members of all ethnic, linguistic and religious groups being present. During the course of the meeting, some persons allegedly from the National Movement against Terrorism (NMAT), which has been actively denouncing any calls for peace as being pro-LTTE tried to disrupt the meeting and an altercation ensued. Later on, the Ven, Sobitha, a well-known Buddhist monk who is also linked to the NMAT, denounced the attack and distanced himself from this action.
On November 17, a coalition of NGOs organised a demonstration and public meeting against the Voluntary Social Service Organisations (Registration and Regulation) Act and in particularly recent Amendment to the Act which empowers the Minister of Social Services to intervene directly in the internal affairs of a voluntary organisation. The demonstration was well attended and a petition signed by over 500 non-governmental organisations from all parts of the country and from all sectors of society was released. The original of this petition is due to be handed over to the Minister in charge.
“We have not peace. We are o method of resolvi rational dialogue leadership lacks sincerity to reso favour third party cal negotiations, eration Tigers of Veluppillai Pira annual "Heroes I ered on 27 Noven
The followin Tamil Tiger lead leased by LTTE tariat, 21 1 Kather
“While the w cally transformed path of peace, pr and preparing it new millennium S up in a turbulent national question
Displaced Musli On Novembe placed Muslims parts of the isla Puttalam to com niversary of thei peninsula and calls for a negoti ethnic conflict a atmosphere with return to their which was orga ern Muslims' R sation, brough sessed Muslims tres in and arou
November Day against Vic The Sri Lanka Y carried out a nouncing viol and announced cember 8 as par the global camp tivism again: WOI.
15 DECEMBER 1998
Have Not Closed Doors for Peace”
slosed the doors for en to the civilized g conflicts through Since the Sinhala le political will and ve the problem we mediation for politileader of the Libamil Eelam (LTTE), aharan, said in his Day” message delivber 1998.
are extracts from er's message as reInternational Secreine Road in London: hole world has radiand moving on the ogress and harmony self to embrace the ri Lanka is still caught conflict. The Tamil continues to torment
s: r 22, over 5000 disfrom the northern nd came together in memorate the 8th anexpulsion from the o put forward their ated settlement of the ld the creation of an in which they could omes. The meeting, nised by the Northhabilitation ()rganit together disposrom 66 Welfare Cend Puttalam.
t Women: 5 was International ence against Women. "omenos NGO Forum oster campaign dehce against Women public rally on Deof its participation in iġn of 16 days of acviolence against
the Island as a burning issue fuelled by war and violence. Why is it that the Tamil ethnic conflict, with a prolonged history of more than half-a century, continues to be an insur mountable problem while the world i undergoing change, resolving tensio ns and conflicts?
The Tamil people are demanding none other than their inalienable rights. Therefore, political justice is on their side. What are we demanding? What are we struggling for?
We aspire to live peace fully with freedom and dignity, without the interference of anyone, in our own soil. in our Motherland where we are borr. and bred; in our own historical homeland which belongs to us. We too, are human beings. We constitute ourseves as a human society possessins the basic rights of human beings. We are a national formation with a distinc
language, culture and history. We
therefore, demand that we should be recognized as a community of people as a social formation with distinct characteristics. We have the right to determine our political status. On the basis of the right, we aspire to choos: freely a political model suited to us . govern ourselves.
This is what our people are de - manding and fighting for. The Sinhai: nation has been denying this just ar. civilized demand. It is precisely forthreason that the Sinhala state has bee oppressing and suppressing our pe: ple. Successive Sri Lanka Governm: - nts have neither integrated or assi: lated our people within the unita - system nor allowed our people .. right to secede.
Instead, they have always atter. pted to repress and subjugate our pe ple. It is for this reason we have bes compelled to fight a political strug for the last fifty years. Though forms of our struggle have ch. in accordance with the historical call - pulsions, we continue to fight for r - litical rights, for our right to live in fs. dom. Now the Tamil struggle has ev.
15 DECEMBER 1998
nded and escalated into a war between two nations.
It is none other than the anti-Tamil attitude of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism that has turned Sri Lanka into a blazing cauldron of violence. The Tamil national question arose as historical product of this racist oppression.
The world has changed with the passage of time. Similarly the politics of the world also has changed. But the politics of the Sinhala nation has not changed. It is unfortunate that the Sinhala politicians have not realized this fact. Fantasies that arose from ancient mythology have grown and developed into hegemonic ideas which exert tremendous impact on the Sinhala political and intellectual world. As a consequence the Sinhala nation lacks the ability to comprehend objectively the very basis as well as the rationale behind the Tamil issue and to deal with the problem humanly.
Over the years our people have been shedding tears of blood under the oppressive grip of sinhala chauvinism. We are deeply saddened by the fact that their long standing suffering has not yet touch the conscience of the world community. Apart from this apathetic attitude shown by the international community towards the problems of our people, the massive financial and military assistance provided to Sri Lanka by foreign countries has also exacerbated their tragic plight. The assistance provided by foreign countries has also encouraged the rigid, irreconcilable and bellicose attitude of the Sinhala chauvinists. The world community has always fought for the cause of the oppressed and it has always raised its voice of protest or intervened whenever there have been incidents of human rights violations, crimes against humanity or repression of minority nations in any part of the world. But we are dismayed to note that the international community is observing a muted silence over the colossal tragedy faced by the Eelam Tamils. Encouraged by the economic aid, military assistance, political, moral and diplomatic backing gained from international countries, Sinhala chauvinists have been adopting a genocidal policy against the Tamils with single-minded ruthlessness and arrogance. We are aware of the fact that the international community is misguided by the sophisticated misinfor
mation campaign Lanka. It is unfortl community has un ed the preposterol ed by the Sri Lank peace) to legitimiz paign against the less, facts about til mills have also fou international arena justices committec people for the la: have been well do mitted to internati national human r have expressed se the state oppressio has reached genoc is well known inter than sixty thousa civilians have bet death over the yea violence unleashec in the Tamil home more than eight Tamils, who flec sought refuge all c testimony as living baric nature of th pression. The wo these facts. Yet, w deeply saddened t numental human aroused the concer nity.
We are well present world orde sues its own natio interests. Yet, the always given prim values of human r What dismays us which lead the civ luctant to raise the uncivilized forms leashed against th less, we have not the truths that are mass graves of Tan from slumber and of Sinhala chauvil tragic story of ou the heart of the wo Eelam Tamils livir should continue th lessly about the tr ditions of our peop. land with the obje conscience of hul So far, not a si ality is heard from against the war. N a plea to put an
TAMIL MES 9
carried out by Sri
unate that the world
critically assimilatus theories advancan state (i.e. war for te its military cam
Tamils. Neverthene plight of the Tand their way to the . Atrocities and inagainst the Tamil st several decades cumented and subonal forums. Interights organisations rious concern that in against the Tamil idal proportions. It nationally that more nd innocent Tamil 2n brutally done to rs by the terror and 1 by the racist state land. Further more, hundred thousand il the country and over the world, bear witness to the bare Sinhala state oprld is aware of all 'e are surprised and ) note that this motragedy has not yet n of world commu
aware that in the revery country purnal and commercial civilized world has acy to the universal ights and freedoms. is that the countries ilized world are reir voices against the of oppression une Tamils. Neverthelost hope. One day buried deeply in the il Eelam will emerge reveal the true face hism. Only then the r people will touch rld. Until such time, gall over the world eir campaign relentagic existential cone in the Tamil homextive of arousing the manity. ngle voice of rationthe Sinhala national one so far has made 2nd to the war and
resolve the problem by peaceful means. From politicians to the monks, from intellectuals to the journalists, every one calls for the intensifications of the war. The Sinhala nation wants to continue the war to subjugate the Tamil nation.
Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, a nation that follows the teachings of the Compassionate One who preached the noble ideals of love, truth and enlightenment. We are surprised as to how the evil of racism and militarism has raised its ugly head in a Buddhist society that thrived on the philosophy of dharma”.
Today the war has expanded and escalated into a full-fledged conflagration in which armed forces of the two nations are confronting each other. The Sinhala nation is engaged in war of aggression to occupy Tamils land and to subjugate the Tamil people. We are fighting to protect our people and liberate our soil from alien aggression. The Sinhala nation is engaged in a war of injustice where as we are engaged in a liberation struggle in which justice is on our side.
Chandrika's government, which has reached the peak in oppressing the Tamils is determined to escalate and continue the war. Her government is bent on prosecuting the war through the military campaign have demoralized the army, brought massive destruction of life and property and shattered the economy of the country. Chandrika's military project has crumbled and failed to achieve any of its strategic objectives. The fundamental objective of the war is to defeat and destroy the Liberation Tigers. But the LTTE has not been defeated but rather has grown immensely in strength acquiring wider experience in the art of modern warfare and turned out to be an invincible force. The wanni battles caused a serious of debacles and massive casualties to the Sinhala armed forces. The Jayasikuru battles, which was undertaken with the grand design to open the road to Jaffna, has prolonged for more than a year and half and reached an impasse with the fall of Killinochchi.
Chandrika’s political project of establishing Sinhala state administration in the occupied Jaffna peninsula with the help of the Tamil quislings is also being shattered. We cannot allow the Sinhala aggressive army to occupy (continued on next page)
10 TAMIL TIMES
(continued from page 9)
even an inch of our homeland nor will we permit Sinhala state administrative functions in the occupied Tamil lands. We are shedding blood and fighting a deadly struggle with the primary objective of liberating our motherland which is the very foundation of the national existence and economic life of our people. Therefore we cannot permit the foot print of the Sinhala aggressors to remain embedded on our sacred soil.
We do not believe that Chandrika, who has become the author of the most blood strained chapter in the history of oppression of the Tamils, will bring peace to the country by resolving the Tamil national issue by peaceful means. She is a firm believer in a military solution and lives in an illu
sion that political conflicts can be
solved by military means. She is also a prisoner of the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic ideology. One cannot therefore expect a leadership dominated by such thinking to be humane and compassionate enough to do justice to the Tamils.
We have not closed the doors for peace. We are open to the civilized method of resolving conflicts through
rational dialogue. Since the Sinhala
leadership lacks the political will and sincerity to resolve the problem we favour third party mediation for political negotiations. But we are not prepared to accept any pre-conditions for political dialogue. We want the political negotiations to be held in an atmosphere of peace and normalcy, free from the conditions of war, military aggression and economic blockades. We are not stipulating any pre-conditions for peace talks. We are suggesting the creation of a climate of peace and goodwill to hold peace talks, a congenial environment in which our people must be free from the heavy burden of suffering imposed on them. We hold the view that political negotiations cannot be free, fair and just if the Government utilizes the military aggression on our soil and the restrictions imposed on the economic life of our people as political pressures. We are prepared to engage in initial talks to discuss the removal of such pressures and to workout a basic frame work for political negotiations.
Our people are facing unbearable suffering in the form of death, destruction, displacement, hunger and star
n his annual ad roes' Day, the LI llai Prabakaran, to solve the Sri Lan manner of a civilisec sed societies matt rights would be se tions based on princ nate example of Sri I and ambition havi over rights. Mr. P. offer to negotiate a ethnic conflict may in this light.
Those who are destruction and su the 15 year war wo LTTE leader's offer government. It was er that President C tunga had told the le
vation. They live a
own homeland, fac forms of military a ple want their daylems resolved imm not wait over an ir the peace talks rest conflict is discusse solution implemen War to come to an pation army that withdraw and thei problems address Chandrika's Gove take a bold step to diate essential pro ple and resume pe in a congenial cli goodwill? If not, peace and a peac litical settlement ti will become remot We do not a hawkish and racis chauvinism will u transformation. If not take place Sinl bear the responsib concrete historica birth of independe
15 DECEMBER 1998
RANKA READY EACETAKSAGANO
ress to mark HeTE leader Velupilpoke of the need can conflict in the society. In civilirs of contending ttled by negotia
ple. The unfortu
anka is that power ; often prevailed abakaran's recent settlement to the also be analysed
concerned by the ffering caused by ould rejoice in the talk peace with the only a week earlihandrika Kumara2aders of the Tamil
prisoners in their
sing daily, various trocities. Our peoo-day urgent probediately. They candefinite time until me and the ethnic l, resolved and the ed. They want the end and the occutorments them to urgent existential 'd immediately. Is nment prepared to leal with the immeblems of our peolitical negotiations mate of peace and the possibility for ful negotiated po
the ethnic conflict
ticipate that the attitude of Sinhala dergo fundamental such change does la chauvinism will lity for creating the conditions for the t Tamil state. O
parliamentary parties that she was willing to negotiate with the LTTE. Both Mr Prabakaran and Mrs Kumaratunga need to be applauded, and supported, if their offers to talk peace to one another are genuine.
But peace is still, alas, a considerable distance away. As several analysts including the JVP spokesman Wimal Wimalawansa have cautioned, the peace offers of the two leaders should not be viewed in isolation from their strategies to promote their interests. The LTTE and the government have their own goals which they seek to achieve through a multiplicity of means. Offers to talk are one of these means. Military operations are another means,
From the viewpoint of those who want a less violent society, it is pref. erable that the two leaders should try to obtain a more advantageous position through words than by bombs. They should be encouraged to switch channels from bombs to words in their conflict with one another. The international media gave considerable publicity to Mr Prabakaran's peace offering. This should not be grudged. It is certainly preferable that the LTTE should pile on the pressure on the Sri Lankan government in this manner through political means (words) rather than through the more accustomed military means (bombs) which has led them to a position of strength in the country. The change in tactics may herald the dawn of a more civilised search for a long lasting solution to the country's ethnic conflict.
But to be realistic a peaceful solution itself is still a while away. For there to be a solution, it is essential that the conflicting parties should be willing to respect the rights of the other side, while fighting for their own With its ban on the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, and its continuing efforts to have it banned internationally as well, the government has de
15 DECEMBER 1998
nied legitimacy to the LTTE. There can hardly be any question of rights to an illegitimate organisation.
On the other hand, a distinguishing feature of the LTTE leader's Heroes' Day speech was its lack of concern for the other peoples who inhabit this country. There was only a concern for the Tamil people in an island that is also home to Sinhalese, Muslims and Indian Tamils. The black and white portrayal of the conflict also demonstrated a terrible lack of selfcritical awareness. Any community that seeks justice must first of all be self-critical about its own conduct in the past. Second they should be concerned also with the rights of others, and not be so self-absorbed that they are only concerned with themselves. In particular the black portrayal of the Sinhalese may be natural to a man who has spent most of his life keeping alight the flames of Tamil nationalism. But it was not at all helpful, or accurate, for Mr Prabakaran to say that "So far not a single voice of rationalism is heard from the Sinhala nation against the war. None so far has made a plea to put an end to the war and resolve the problem by peaceful means. From politicians to monks, from intellectuals to journalists, everyone calls for an intensification of the war. The Sinhala nation wants to continue the war to subjugate the Tamil nation.' This would create a demonised image of the Sinhalese people in the eyes of Tamils, especially those of the younger generation who are cocooned in the northeast and do not know better. If Mr Prabakaran's intention was to foster Tamil hatred against the Sinhalese then it would seem that real peace is still far from his mind.
The Sri Lankan government's ban on the LTTE and policy of making it
difficult to comm would have much fortunate frame o LTTE. But it als Prabakaran, as th leader of the LTTE of his time to fight Lankan military w. step. There is a ne consider setting up litical organisation. IRA-Sinn Fein arr through the civilist cal negotiations is this time, however, credit that it does ofTamil civil socie the hatred and div war. The Bisho Rayappu Joseph, h right in stating that give up the idea o while stating that uld be prepared to tary constitutional ᎾᎢIn8anᏟe .
For many year 1980s, there have from among the Sin have opposed the w for genuine power Tamil people in the autonomy or federa not strong or num stand up and halt war. But in more voices for peace in society have growr In the past two mo country's business an Alliance for Pe one hundred organ tivated themselves Among those who that public meeting of pro-war agitatatic were Sinhalese inte monks and journal
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TAMIL TIMES 11
nicate with them o do with this unmind within the
may be that Mr supreme military
is devoting most ng against the Sri ich is at his doored for the LTTE to a fully fledged poon the lines of the ngement, if peace d means of politio be a reality. At it is to the LTTE's ermit some voices y to emerge out of sion of the ethnic of Mannar, Dr s been quite forththe Tamils should a separate state, he Sinhalese shorelinquish the uniramework of gov
s, from the early been many people halese people who 'ar and have stood sharing with the form of regional lism. They were erous enough to the juggernaut of recent times the the Sinhalese civil | Ofrec fllSTOS, nths, not only the leaders, but also ace of more than isations have ac
to end the war. braved assault at by a smaller group rs, and prevailed, ectuals, Buddhist
er Is Inapplicable
is to the total value
More scientific evidence of the change in the consciousness of the Sinhalese people has also emerged from the results of the public opinion survey carried out by the Centre for Anthropological and Social Studies of the University of Colombo. As many as 77 percent of the respondents said that they did not believe that a military solution could bring about a solution to the ethnic conflict. But the problem is that they do not know what the political solution should in fact be. They have not been provided with an alternative vision of a governmental system that could satisfy Tamil aspirations while restoring peace.
The task of the peace movement is to take more and more Sinhalese in the direction of accepting the basis of the political framework that could satisfy the Tamil people. One such basis would be the Thimpu principles on which all the Tamil parties are agreed, including the LTTE. A large enough number of the Sinhalese intelligentsia and opinion leaders would need to support negotiations on those principles as a legitimate basis for peace talks.
Without the backing of a large sector of public opinion, the government cannot be expected to deliver to the Tamil people the genuinely federal framework that would do away with the rationale for the war. It was only when hundreds of thousands of Israelis were prepared to come to the streets to support the principle of an exchange of "land for peace” that the government got the courage to reach a new level of agreement with the PLO. Thus, it becomes evident that a great deal of work on both sides of the divide still need to be done if peace talks between the LTTE and government are to yield a political settlement. In the meantime, the government can take up the LTTE leader’s challenge of talks with foreign mediation. They could talk first about creating a conducive environment for peace talks as requested by Mr Prabakaran.
There is a pressing need to humanise the war. The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict has been a very cruel one,
especially to the combatants. Hardly
any of them are taken prisoner, being killed instead. This can be seen in the very high ratio of those killed to
(continued on page 13)
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ixteen years ago on Nov 27th S Sathiyanathan alias Shankar of
Kambarmalai in the Vadamaradchy division of Jaffna passed away at a hospital in Madurai in Tamil Nadu. He had been injured when the movement he belonged to the Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam (LTTE) launched an assault on the Chavakachcheri Police Station and taken across the sea to India for medical treatment where he succumbed to his injuries. Shankar was the first member of the Tigers to be “martyred” for the cause. Today by its own admission the LTTE have sacrificed more than 3,300 in the struggle for Thamil Eelam. Shankar’s memory particularly the date of his demise has now become etched in the annals of contemporary Tamil politics as ”MaaveerarNaal”or”Maaveerar Thinam” meaning Great Heroes Day or Martyrs Day.
It was in 1989 during the time when the Indian army was occupy
(continued from page ll) those injured. Usually the ratio is about one to nine, but in Sri Lanka it is one to two. Interntational law and the Geneva Conventions do not permit the killing of those who are surrendered, even if they wear uniforms. Second, the government can take steps to lift the economic embargo, especially on kitchen fuels and fertiliser. Even the government soldiers at the front say that this severely affects the civilian population, while not really hindering the LTTE from getting its supplies. The LTTE gets all its wants from the armed forces themselves, either by overrunning army camps or by bribing the soldiers and by smuggling from India. The economic embargo inevery senseis a counter-productive exercise in futility.
Third, the LTTE can agree not to launch specific and targeted attacks against civilian establishments. The suicide bombings of civilian targets have confirmed its terrorist image and
ing North-East S LTTE first observ Day”. LTTE leader haran decided tha should be the day the fallen fighter, Shankar was the fir on behalf of the m such observance v fair with meetingst tinely in the Wanni land. The highlight was the address LTTE chief to a g Tiger cadres. The : taped and circulate
The next year 1 in control of most ern province and sı of the East as the II ted from Sri Lanka former President great heroes day w on a wider scale. A ered by Prabakhar
made it easier for de-legitimise the L. the world. Such act difficult for ordinar represent the legitin liberation struggle the country. They work among the Si cult. It is sad that warfare have been level of aspiration: to come near enou for them to be wec third party mediato conflicting sides s apart. More year warfare is too dre contemplate. By er nary talks to pro environment for n three areas give ab sible for the goverr come closer toge surely. The return to lcy will be a step b a once and for all e
i Lanka that the ed “Great Heroes Velupillai Pirapat November 27th
to commemorate of the LTTE as st to die in combat ovement. The first as a low-key afeing held clandesor northern mainthen as it is now delivered by the athering of young speech was videod widely. 990 saw the LTTE areas of the northubstantial portions ndian army deparat the request of Premadasa. The as commemorated speech was delivan in Jaffna. The
he government to TE in the eyes of also make it more Tamil civilians to lacy of the LTTE's or Tamil rights in also make peace halese more diffiso many years of necessary for the of the two sides sh to one another ded together by a But still the two em to be too far of unrestrained dful a thought to gaging in prelimiuce a conducive gotiations on the ve, it may be posment and LTTE to her, slowly but peace and normastep process, not ent.
TAM TIMES 13
next year saw the entire week preceding November 27th being declared” Maaveerar Vaaram” or "Kilamai” (Great heroes week). A variety of eve nts including meetings, processions, exhibitions, special rituals of worship etc. were held in honour of the fallen LTTE fighters. By this time the LTTE had also begun building memorials called “Maaveerar Thuyilum Ilangal” in their honour too. Special burial grounds were set up as “Maaveerar Mayanangal” also. Great heroes day however was to commemorate exclusively the LTTE fighters who had died. Neither the ordinary Tamil people who had died in this long conflict nor members of other Tamil groups who laid down their lives for the ideal of Thamil Eelam were considered eligible for the label of “Maaveerar’. Not even Kuttimani Thangathurai and/or the others who died in the Welikade masSCC.
That year saw the official function being held at Chavakachcheri. It was the last official LTTE function where Pirapaharan and his erstwhile deputy Mahathaya were seen on the same platform on amiable terms.In fact the idea of commemorating a great heroes week was said to have been introduced by Mahathaya. It so happened that the LTTE leader was born on November 26th in 1954. Mahathaya's decision on a commemorative week saw the leader's birthday too coming under the same week (November 21st to November 27th). It must be noted however that the LTTE does not make any special mention of the leader's birthday although Tamil expatriate LTTE supporters used to do so. In recent times presumably on a directive from the LTTE hierarchyy the practice has virtually ceased abroad too. The LTTE however has continued with the practice of commemorating annually the Great Heroes Week with special emphasis on the last day or great heroes day. It has also become a custom that on this great heroes day the LTTE leader, Pirapaharan, delivers an annual address. Depending upon military circumstances it is either rendered in person at a public meeting or broadcast through radio. Since the LTTE leader is an elusive personality who is seldom seen or heard by the public at large, the Great Heroes Day address has become perhaps the solitary opportunity for the world to know at first
14 - AMIL TIMES
hand what the LTTE line of thought is on current issues. Hearing or reading Pirapaharan himself articulating the latest Tamil Tiger position has assumed greater importance of late because of the established belief that the LTTE leader is the sole and determining factor on what LTTE policy is. Sometimes the address turns out to be empty rhetoric shedding more heat than light on the situation. On other occasions it has served as a straw in the wind pointing to the direction in which the LTTE is proceeding.
This year's Great Heroes Day the tenth in the series was looked forward to with eager anticipation. The main reason for this was the expectation that the LTTE leader would explicitly state his position on possibilities of resuming negotiations with the govenment. It was quite obvious that the LTTE displaying tremendous military resilience had stymied the military advances of the army in the Wanni. It had also destabilised the situation in Jaffna. With the opposition United National Party(UNP) sabotaging the Peoples Alliance (PA) government's efforts to introduce Constitutional reform it seemed clear that no new
political packagi National and in was veering arol of the ground re had not been co lised politically n ened militarily. opposition UNP upon the PA go talks with the LT ential western n
non-governmen were exerting inc government to re Tigers. Thus the ternational and I flowing heavily it What was ex at this juncture w it was amenable the LTTE which position of stre situation an expr tion was not do It was this ho haps led to man cians, commenta cording very pc this year's speec initially. For a euphoric expecta
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was in the offing. ternational opinion nd to an acceptance ality that the LTTE nsiderably marginaor significantly weakMoreover the chief was openly calling vernment to initiate TE. Also many influations and powerful tal organisations lirect pressure on the sume talks with the political tide of inlational opinion was n favour of the LTTE. spected of the LTTE 'as a clear signal that or talks. Since it was | seemed to be in a ngth in the present ession of such intenabted. peful mood that pery journalists, polititors and analysts resitive responses to h by the LTTE leader few days there were tions that peace was
round the corner because the LTTE leader had expressed that their doors were not closed for the resumption of negotiations with the government. Sober reflection upon the content of the whole speech would not have justified such expectation.
The LTTE held the main rally of the Great heroes day commemoration at Mulliyawalai in the Mullai Theevu district. A remarkable feature of the rally was the personal appearance of LTTE supremo Pirapaharan who lit the traditional lamp at 6.06 pm and commenced his speech a minute later. Twc other highlights of the day were the formal inauguration of the LTTE air wing and the observing of similia: meetings in other parts of the Wannu It has been the long cherished dream of the LTTE and its leader to acquire and deploy aircraft in its war agains: government forces. In recent times there have been media reports tha: the LTTE possessed at least two hellcopters and two small planes. The great heroes day saw LTTE aircraf showering flowers from the air in homage to the fallen comrades. The LTTE anti-aircraft unit with its deadly arsenal was present in full force on gro
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und to counter attack any Sri Lankan air force planes that may have ventured into “Tiger airspace”. But no such manouevre occurred.
The second highlight was the staging of commemorative rallies in other places in the Wanni region. This was the first time after the fall of Jaffna that the LTTE was commemorating great heroes day on such widespread scale.
Velupillai Pirapaharan read out from a prepared text. The LTTE leader is a man of military action and not a platform orator. His delivery was not strikingly impressive. But what was impressive was the "confidence” manifested in his tone. This was not artificial bravado aimed at boosting sagging morale of cadres and supporters. On the contrary it was more representative of a man sure of his goal and assured of his motives. Although much of what Pirapaharan said was a replay of previous great heroes day addresses two differences were visible or audible. One was that the speech had been crafted cleverly with a lot of political sagacity.
Thus the address on this occasion conveyed an initial and superficial impression that the LTTE was ready for a meaningful settlement this time. Instead of rejecting matters outright as in the case of the devolution proposals the LTTE leader this time confused readers, viewers and listeners by appearing to be amenable to peace negotiations without preconditions whereas in fact he had really imposed stipulations. He also avoided reference to contentious issues. The other was that the speech had also a lyrical quality about it giving rise to speculation that the poet laureate of the LTTE “Puthuvai' Rathinadurai may have had a hand in “polishing” it.
The LTTE leader in his speech expressed once again his willingness to engage in dialogue. He stressed that the LTTE was still keeping the doors for talks open. Pirapaharan reiterated that the LTTE was always amenable to peaceful negotiations and blamed the Sinhala governments for not responding accordingly and unleashing war on the Tamils. He also stated that he was not stipulating any preconditions for peace talks. He said however that the Tamil people had no faith in the government. Therefore negotiations should commence only
with the aid of facilitator or mec preconditions shc the LTTE. On a pr utterances of Pir indicated a willin gotiations.
The problem his insistence tha tions should be c uisite for peace ta It was the F. Alphonse Karr \ "The more thing they remain the sa a truth with a twi haran's speech w; ough parts of it that the situation 1 tiny of the address gested that thir changed as ever. points emphasi: evoked a sense ol tle nuances of th contradictory ele any realistic hop commencing shor
Because the L ally imposing se indirectly while ( talks without pre calling for the cre conditions for t stated, “We hold t cal negotiations c or just if the gove military aggressi the restrictions in nomic life of our pressures. We are in initial talks to of such pressures basic framework f tions*.
Although th seem innocuous server would detet is aiming at. By ri aggression on our of pressures' etc. actually asking fo armed forces anc economic embarg trolled Wanni. P: sised in his speec people could not settlement to mate lems to cease. Th lems had to be a overtones of this r that it was a dem complied with b
a third party as iator. Moreover no uld be imposed on ma facie level these apaharan certainly gness for peace ne
however was over t congenial condireated as a prereqlks to begin. rench philosopher who observed that change the more ne”. It was certainly st as far as Pirapais concerned. Althseemed to indicate had changed a scru} in its entirety suggs remained unIn fact some of the sed by him only deja vu. The suble speech retained ments that negated be of negotiations tly. TE chief was actuvere preconditions calling directly for :conditions. While 2ation of congenial alks Pirapaharan he view that politiannot be free, fair :rnment utilises the on on our soil and posed on the ecopeople as political prepared to engage liscuss the removal and to work out a or political negotia
se points would he discerning obit what Pirapaharan ferring to "military soil' and “removal the LTTE leader is the removal of the
relaxation of the on the LTTE conrapaharan emphathat the suffering wait for a political ialise for their prob2 day to day probldressed first. The quest made it clear and that had to be :fore talks began.
TAM TIMES 15
While there certainly is humanistic merit in asking for a lifting of the embargo it is unrealistic to expect the government to lift it before real negotiations commence. Likewise insisting that the army withdraw from captured areas too is an impossible demand practically. It is as unrealistic as the government insisting earlier that the LTTE should lay down arms as a prerequisite for talks.
The call to create congenial conditions for talks is a modified repetition of the preconditions that the LTTE set during the abortive GovtLTTE talks between January to April 1995 in Jaffna. The LTTE insisted then that “makkalin andraadappirachinaigal” (the day to day problems of our people)had to be addressed before “adippadaippirachinaigal” (fundamental problems). Kumaratunga obliged and the 100 day dialogue saw no discussion of substantive political issues relating to the conflict. The four conditions outlined by the LTTE were removal of economic embargo, lifting of fishing ban, removal of Pooneryn camp and the right for LTTE cadres in the East to carry arms openly. The government went a long way in agreeing to the first two demands. As to the latter two demands, the government agreed to review them in three months depending on the progress of talks on issues relating to a political solution to the conflict. However, as the government did not agree to all the demands in their totality within the time frame specified by the LTTE, the talks were broken off and war erupted. The Tamil people whose suffering was so high that their immediate problems had to be redressed first was the LTTE credo in preliminary talks. But when war was thrust on the people a far worse situation was imposed. It continues still. In todays context the “removal of military aggression on our soil” can mean a number of things. If the Northern and Eastern Provinces in their entirety constitute “Thamil eelam” then the army has to withdraw from quite all these areas. Even if it is a return to pre-1995 positions it means the whole peninsula and a segment of the Wanni. Given the experience of past negotiations, no government in Colombo would agree to these LTTE demands before a framework for a political solution has been agreed (continued on next page )
16 TAMIL TIMES
(continued from page 15) between the parties. It is a case of being once bitten twice shy. If the government is really convinced that the LTTE is genuine then it can take the risk of commencing talks under the conditions set by the LTTE. Since that is virtually impossible the possibility of talks remain quite remote. One option is for some preliminary low-key exploration of talks to begin abroad while the war continues. But that too is not likely because of the constraints on the government.
The government is unlikely to take the risk of beginning a dialogue that may end in another collapse as such a development would make it vulnerable to political defeat. Also taking such a move may even cause convulsions within the army. As mentioned in these columns earlier the government too is caught in a war trap. It's two pronged politico-military strategy to marginalise the LTTE has so far failed to show meaningful results. In such a context it would be regarded as suicidal for it to abandon or put on hold the current military campaign and start talking to the Tigers. Such a move is possible only if the government is absolutely sure of the LTTE's readiness to arrive at a negotiated political settlement. But in the absence of such trust talks now seems out of the question. If it starts talks now which ends in another failure resulting in the resumption of war again, the government will face a great political storm that it can ill afford to.
Under these circumstances it is hardly a surprise that the so called peace hope that began with a bang after great heroes day has now turned into a whimper. Although “Jayasikurui” has been suspended another operation codenamed “Rivibalaya” (Sunpower) has commenced. The goal seems to be the capture and consolidation of the Mankulam-Mullaitheevu road instead of aiming for Kilinochchi that seems so near and yet so far. Already Oddusuddan has been seized. Anuruddha Ratwatte had a narrow shave when LTTE shells landed within yards of him while the minister was visiting the newly captured area.
The real danger posed by this new development is that once the Mankulam-Mullaitheevu road is captured and consolidated the quadrilat
ower and au ment in the where peace, national integratio willing to be brol egocentricity and take the driver's st tinue to deafen e campaign chang “Sure Victory” (Je tning Forceʼ(Rivi l ther bloodied pha War continues edly, though the r the conflict hav their willingness litical settlement. usual political vit Chandrika Banda nge, the Presiden Velupillai Prabak premo, stated ul'
they belief in a | -
eral Zone known be fully under an
More than fift "grabbed” and chased away in Weli-Oya zone. tlers were brough Sinhala area. A 1 tary camps were ther retain control were changed. M ample became Ja ter General Jana tional Tamil nam has become “W erate strategy to contiguity of th ern Provinces. A has helped driv from the northe posed “Weli-Oy Weli-Oya becor cal reality the T “Eelam” as we want a north-ea reality on the g formidable to su session is nine in law.
15 DECEMBER 1998
Should Grab TTE's ferto Negotiate
K T Rajasingham
hority warp judgar-torn Sri Lanka, harmony, unity and are unable orunght to the fore, as craving for power at War drums conirs, when military is infinitely from a Sukuru) to “Lighiala), heralding anose of antagonism to rage on unabat|val protagonists of e openly declared or a negotiated poIrrespective of the uperative rhetoric's, ranaike Kumaratut of Sri Lanka and aran, the Tiger Sunequivocally that, negotiated political
as Weli-Oya would
Tamil villages were the inhabitants order to create the Armed Sinhala sett in to turn it into a rge number of miliestablished to furTamil village names ankindimalai for exnakapura named afa Perera. The tradi: “Manal aaru” itself i-Oya'.It is a delibbreak the territorial Northern and Eastready “Jayasikurui” Tamil people away n areas of the proagain. If and when is a firm geo-politinil hawks who want as the doves who merger will face a pund that would be nount. After all posenths of ownership O
settlement, instead of a military solution. Yet, the scourge of war ravages on, uninterruptedly. Longing for Peace
War and peace are the two contradictory catalytic elements, in the active turbulent landscape, that transform the political scenario in Sri Lanka. Political and militant leaders, earlier believed in the military campaign to bring about solutions to the ethnic conflict, Asboth warring parties poised equally, perceived their strength and weaknesses relatively in the same ratio, none of them was able to bring about militarily solution, to end the stalemate. The war, without end in sight, continues to intensify unabatedly.
Peace, perceived the elusive element in the Sri Lankan politics, demands' statesmen like qualities, valor, courage and sacrifices from those
who play the lead role. No one was
ready to give, peace a chance, in the political make-up, but, people are longing for it. In the second week of September, Social Scientists’ Union of the University of Colombo, carried out an opinion survey, to ascertain, “Whether people favour military or a political solution?” The poll was conducted in all the provinces across the Island, except in the North, revealed that, the majority of the population belief that, a military solution to the conflict is not possible. Professor S.T.Hettige, of the department of Sociology, in the University of Colombo. organized this survey revealed that. in reply to another poignant question. “Do you think that military option alone can solve the problem?', tota of 77.4 percent of the respondents said “No,” while 20.7 percent saidi “Yes” and l.9 percent said “do ne: know.” Survey reveals that, more that three quarters of the population, believed in a political settlement. Declarations
Earlier, a glimmerray ofhope emerged, just after the South East Asiac Regional Conference (SARC - a sever
15 DECEMBER 1998
nation grouping) held in Colombo, when Chandrika Kumaratunga, in a significant announcement, expressed her willingness to accept a third party facilitation, to negotiate with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). She added that, she was ready for talks, provided, the Tamil militants agree to give up the demand for a separate state of Eelam.
Again, Chandrika Kumaratunga, the President, reiterated that, her Government was prepared for talks with the LTTE, within a stipulated time frame, irrespective of a cease-fire. She stressed that, a cease-fire could only be decided on the basis of progress in the talks. President Kumaratunga told this to the senior members of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), when they met her on November 13, at the "Temple Trees,” her official residence.
“Our Government believes in a negotiated political settlement for the ethnic crisis. But, we cannot rush to talks with the LTTE. We are prepared to talk to them within a stipulated timeframe and then decide on the ceasefire, depending on the progress of the talks,” the President was quoted.
Consequent to the Sri Lankan President's declaration for talks, on November 27, Velupillai Prabakaran, the leader of the Tiger movement, declared that, the LTTE too is ready for a negotiated settlement, if talks are mediated by a third party.
In his address to mark the anniversary of the “Maveerar Naal” (Heroes Days), he declared,” We have not close the doors for peace. We are open to the civilized method of resolving conflicts through rational dialogue. We favor third party mediation for political negotiations. We are suggesting the creation of a climate of peace and goodwill to hold peace talks, a congenial environment. We are prepared to engage in initial talks to discuss the removal of such pressures and to workout a basic frame work for political negotiations.”
The declaration by the leader of the LTTE, considered a welcome sign, to set the stage for negotiation, to end the protracted ethnic conflict, to restore normalcy and peace. Political analysts, who studied Prabakaran's speech, in conjunction with the announcement made by the President on November 13, expressed hope that, the platform for the future political
negotiation is erec the hands of the w come to terms with the negotiation.
Earlier, the lea
tion and the leader
tional Party (UNP)
sinhe, expressed, move by the Tigers ve one, to which must respond. The He continued, “Th dilly-dallied too m and now they have leader of the opp “Their (Tigers) gen ter to be tested. It in everybody's mi hold back an oppo those grounds.” Bl is maintaining a st yet to formally res Prabakaranos spee In the meantim ers of the main opp as A.C.S. Hameed, Foreign Affairs ar. who has met Prab, for political discu time of President dasa's tenure of of aranaike, the forme brother of the Sri and Tyronne Fernal former foreign mini ernment in the flool to take serious no peace talks by the ing the committee on Ministry of For shman Kadirgama. high ranking gove) reply to the offer m on December 1, in t liament, stating tha pared to answer s the run. He said “I time in trying my group as much as begin talks. I am n this question, bec question is a bear He however acci should be some fo with the LTTE, but advancing the war When both the clared publicly, th settle the ethnic co civilized form, pol declare a studied mism. They have outside chance, th
TAMIL TIMES 17
ted. Now, it is in arring partners, to the modalities, for
der of the opposiof the United NaRanill Wickrama“This is a major and it is a positithe Government cant stay silent.” e government has uch on this issue to take it up.” The )sition also said, uineness is a matmay be a concern nd, but you can't tunity like this on it, the government udied silence, and pond officially to ch. e, few other leadIosition UNP, such former Minister of ld the only leader akaran personally, ssions during the Kanatunge Premafice, Anura Bandr minister and the Lankan President hdo, who was also ster, urged the govof the parliament, te of the offer for Tiger leader, durstage of the votes eign Affairs. Lakr became the first nmental leader to ade by Prabakaran he floor ofthe part, he was not preuch questions on am going to spend est to contain this possible, before we pt going to answer ause, that type of -biting question.” pted that, there rm of negotiation not at the cost of
rival parties deeir willingness to nflict, in the most tical pundits also nd cautious optinot ruled out, the ut both these dec
larations may be for the international consumption and not to be taken seriously. Any how, it is being viewed that, both the warring partners, the President and the Tiger Leader, have already tested through their military campaigns, that neither of them were able to subdue the other, nor to arrive at any military resolutions. Also, they are fully aware of the high cost of the war, that is going on for years and years. Cost of war
In 1977, the defence budget allocation was a pittance of only, Sri Lankan Rupees (Rs.) 750 million, when compared it with the present annual defence expenditures. In 1986, it rose to Rs. 5.84 million, and from then onwards, military expenditures began to rise steadily. Each year's allocation on defence spending, by the People's Alliance government, began te increase astronomically. In 1995, the allocation was Rs. 24 billion, but the actual amount spent was Rs. 34 billion. In 1996, the allocation was Rs. 34 billion, but the actual expenditure was Rs. 46 billion. In the meantime, Marga Institute of Sri Lanka, revealed that, Rs. 165 billion was spent on 1996, which was 21.3 percent of the GDP, in their report on the cost of war, released at the National Peace Council convention, on 5 January 1998. Similarly, in 1997, actual allocation was Rs. 44 billion, whereas the total expenditure rose to Rs. 46.6 billion, and for the year 1998, the allocation is Rs. 44 billion, but the actual expenditure, up to now, exceeds Rs. 56.2 billion. Recently, the government allocated Rs. 47 billion for the fiscal year 1999. These amounts do not reflect the money collected, for defence expenditures, under the government's defence levy.
On the other hand, several thousands of rural Sinhalese youths who joined the Sri Lankan security forces, as an alternate opportunity to solve their unemployed status, have lost their lives. The leader of the opposition, Ranil Wickremasinghe, said in parliament, on October 10, that, since the war resumed in 1995, the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) had lost 11,548 and 23,057 wounded. During the period of 1983 to 1988, the SLA lost 1, 187
killed and 843 wounded, between 1989
and 1994, total of 2,679 troops were
18 TAM TIMES
killed and 5,565 wounded. Up to date the government had failed to contradict these figures and provide any new set of figures, regarding the SLA causalities.
More than 27,000 army deserters were reported in the national media, which clearly indicates that, in the midst of the Sri Lankan armed forces, reliance on the armed campaign is a subject for a serious contest and by deserting, the army personnel had given a serious warning to the government, to stop the campaign forthwith, for a negotiated political settlement.
According to The Voice of Tigers' radio broadcast of 28 November 1998, the total LTTE cadres martyred since 1982, to date, is l3,233.
On top of all these losses, government troops and the Tamil militants, nearly 60,000 civilians have died since the outbreak of the ethnic conflict in 1979. Other than the ethnic conflict, when the Janata Vimukti Perumuna’s (JVP) insurrection started in 1971 April, nearly 15,000 Sinhalese youths were killed mercilessly and again between 1988-90, nearly 50,000 Sinhalese youths were hunted down
and killed by the s
were alleged, activ North and Eas under the Emergen 1971, except for a respites. Nearly at held captive incom any indictment, in tention centers, at ties in the North inces, under emer considered an ext of the supreme l Tamils youths la high security prisc country, arrested u held under the Pr. ism Act (PTA), t law, ever adopte country. Despite iu rights groups cc ports continue to disappearances an ings.
In real sense, ern provinces are rule, administered, Sri Lankan armed other side, by the situation that pla constant dilemma,
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curity forces, who
JVP members. ern provinces are y rule, since April few irregular brief ousand Tamils are municado, without the make-shift deeveral army faciliand Eastern provgency regulations, a- legal extension tw. Nearly 1,500 nguish in several ns, throughout the nder suspicion and :vention of Terrorhe worst draconian in any civilized ternational human indemnations, re'merge regularly of extrajudicial kill
he North and Eastunder a diarchical
on one side by the forces and on the LTTE, horrendous ces the people in unable to serve the
two masters satisfactorily, for their very survival.
Prabakaran in his address has stressed, “ Is Chandrika's government prepared to take a bold step to deal with the immediate essential problems of our people and resume political negotiations in a congenial climate of peace and goodwill. If not, the possibility for peace and a peaceful negotiated political settlement to the ethnic conflict will become remote. -If such change does not take place, Sinhala chauvinism will bear the responsibility for creating the concrete historical conditions for the birth of an independent Tamil state'.
Accordingly, Prabakaran has said that, in case, his offer is not made use of, they will getback to their demand of a separate state. This means, presently, Prabakaran and LTTE are not going to consider the issue of “a separate state of Tamil Eelam” when they sit down with the Government's representatives to negotiate about peace. This offer directly coming from the Tiger leader, therefore, the Government should not hesitate to grab and make perpetual peace, a reality. O
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At a Century's
Closing Rema On the Natioma Qu
he National Question, as I understand it, concerns and comprises of the relations within a state formation, between nations and the state, and therefore with each other.
There is a faintly discernible parallel, which needs to be theoretically worked out, with the contradiction between the forces and the relations of production. Just as forces of production come into conflict with relations of production, nations seem to come into conflict with the existent framework of their relations with the State and therefore with each other. Therefore these relations are not permanent, and the National Question you always have with you'.
Endless as the war may seem, it is the Tamll National Question in its modern sense that is the oldest political question in the country. It may be argued that it is one of the two oldest political features or phenomena in the island, the other being universal franchise.
The Tamil National Question is not only the oldest, but also the most fundamental or deepest political problem. The other major one, the Constitutional Question, that of the Executive Presidency versus the Westminster model, is not only of far more recent vintage, it is also to do with the form of Government rather than with the suructure of the state. The National Question is, however, bound up with the questions of the form, structure and 'extent or reach of the State. These are:
(1) One state or two independent ones (secessionism)? (2) One state but more political space at the periphery, different relations with the centre? (devolution/autonomy)? (3) One state, but consisting of two or more states sub-units (federalism)? One state but consisting of two or more roughly equivalent states in a loose overarching relationship (confederalism)? Now that the issue of the funda
mental class natu question of revo and not yet - on National Questi fundamental pro into question th State.
The debate o Question has sc ised by mirror i cal claims of vic cist deviations Sinhala sides mained prisoner we need is to a from a problemone that is, fina tive. Quadraphenic C Sinhalese are nority complex'( ne) while 'Tamils majority complex cited by Michael in fact the reality tical. The Sinhal jority and a min (we are 76% an nowhere else to g too have both an ity consciousnes: ssed minority at million brethren nal consciousne: dualistic.
Each nation's Two schizoid nat ture of what the E Who, titled their after: Quadroph schizophrenia). multiple persona known in psych The Tamils v less than federal The Sinhalese ca federalism. Inde ford to grant it til sequences of it latter is less risk is needed for saf tled sovereignty ventions. Sinha
re of state power (the ution), is no longer - he agenda, the Tamil n becomes the most olem in that it calls basic shape of the
the Tamil National far been characternages, by symmetritim-hood, by histori. Both Tamil and have resolutely res of the past. What nalyse the situation solving perspective, lly, policy-prescrip
ountry a majority with a miLeslie Goonawardeare a minority with a (K. M. de Silva as Roberts). True, but is even more dialecese have both a maority consciousness il we Sinhalese have o') while the Tamils inority and a major(we are an oppred 'we have over 50 . In short two natioses which are each
identity is schizoid, ons add up to a picritish rock band The lmous l970's album nia (i. e. quadruple he phenomenon of ity disorder is well logy. ll settle for nothing m (of a loose sort). not afford to grant i they can less af. nto suffer the connon-granting. The A centralised state guarding an embatnd for social interviews have to be
TAMIL TIMES 19
taken into account if any ethnic accord is not to be a settlement under siege, i.e. if it is to be durable.
The Sinhalese - and the island as a whole, or the Lankan state as a whole - cannot afford to grant more than a full blooded (augmented) provincial autonomy i.e. 13th Amendment plus - which the Tamils will not accept. Thus, there will be a permanent “deficit”. This deficit can be sought to be reduced, but never eliminated. Reduced by means of a trade off more powers for smaller (i.e. provincial) unit(s) or vice versa.
But the powers in a trade off will either be too few for the Tamils or too dangerous for the Sinhalese. Similarly the unit will always be too small for the Tamils or too big for the Sinhalese. Thus the Tamil ethnic/ National question can never be resolved.
It can only be addressed and managed i.e. partly co-opted, partly accommodated, partly contained.
Much will have to be left to the vagaries of the electoral marketplace (i.e. what the Tamil voters/parties can extract from the Sinhala parties/candidates). Conjuncture is (almost) all. Geo-strategic continuum: The Longest Duree
The jury is still out - and one suspects will remain so for quite some time - on the Continuity vs Change debate on Lanka's ethnic question (and ethnicity in general). Is the ongoing war sourced in the modern era, i.e. is ethnonantionalism a quintessentially modern phenomenon or construct? Or does its roots run back through millennia? Or is it a combination of the two - and if so, what is that specific articulation of change and continuity?
The continuity thesis has been propounded for the most part, by the Sinhala chauvinistic writers - and their historicist version has been justly faulted. However, a cooler geo-political view, in the best Western realistic tradition of international relations, would also yield a picture of a strong patterning in the tapestry of the island's history, a patterning in which the preponderant motif has been rise and retrenchment of marvellous developmental civilisations at the hands of military invasions from the Northern plain. (The indispensable text on the island’s history is Prof K M de Silva's History of Sri Lanka 1981)
These incursions have had sev
20 TAM TIMES
eral variants. They have been launched either from across the horizon i.e. by this or that Dravidian power centre, or by the descendants of the Tamil settlers in the North of the island. Sometimes there has been collusion between the two, sometimes contention. Sometimes the invasions from across the North have been by either of the Tamil players (indigenous or South Indian) autonomous of the other.
There is, significantly, another variant: the project or resultant of the military thrusts has, at times, shifted from incursion/invasion to the establishment of Northern domination over the island. (It is during one such effort that there were raids on Panadura!).
Thus, ethnicity apart, the geo-political pattern is clear:
1) A constant (or constantly recurrent) military threat to the South (or the Greater South, since we are speaking of the Anuradhapura period as well) emanating from the North (or the Greater North, encompassing South India).
2) The permanent potential and recurrent phenomenon of Northern invasion i.e. from a Southern vantage point, invasion from above' (and of ten from without), from a Northern vantage point, a downward thrust.
3) The Southern developmental civilisations always had this Sword of Damocles over their heads.
It is this long persistent geo-political pattern that renders intelligible not only Prabhakaran but the strategic responses of Jayewardene and Premadasa: the former, deploying the Far North (IPKF) against the Near North (Tamil Eelamism/LTTE) and Premadasa, the reverse.
Both were attempts to exploit the contradictions between the two Norths, breaking up/pre-empting a Northern bloc or compact. Both efforts succeeded at the highest cost - Rajiv Gandhi and Ranasinghe Premadasa. But was a greater historical cost averted, by these costs at the highest level?
This geo-strategic pattern was reactivated, not by Arunachalam, Ponnambalam, or Amirthalingam, as the primitivistic Sinhala chauvinistic ideologues claim - but specifically and precisely by Velupillai Prabhakaran. The reason is simple: the geo-political pattern is one of military invasion, of
warfare. Not poli arithmetical black vinists put it), co ing or ideology
subversion. It is
he reactivated tha tern. (A loosely a been made by T ago in the Lanka
to the traditions, Dravidian militar lising Prabhakara backdrop. The poi different and diff on this island's m
The politics in th economy of develo
Development it also tends to b ved.
Ernest Gellner registered and am the unevenness ( opment generates identities and col agreeing with this gument is slightl that even policies at evening up policies that mate perceived as ethn thermore such pe erate responses v velopment proce Developmen fashioned in such ticipate and pre-e may undermine th ess and of course ate those conflict to do so. Such c socio-economic caste/region), bu tity and identity ness. These inclu cultural identities of a cross class/ Development blind, because in religious society munity, the per ment is not alw development is as identity-ladel opment policy pl tity-sensitive.
Of these ider tant from a deve are those upon bilisation with for organised vi
15 DECEMBER 1998
cs, Parliamentary nail (as the chauIstitutional lobbyr even economic he enormous hisf Prabhakaran that process and patalogous point has raki, some years Guardian, referring largely Indian, of sm and contextua/LTTE against that it I seek to make is 'rently focused i.e. ilitary history.)
pment s not only uneven, e unevenly percei
and Tom Nairn have plified the point that f capitalist devel/regenerates ethnic nsciousness. While thesis, my own ary different, namely consciously aimed development, even rially do so, can be lically loaded. Furrceptions can genwhich derail the de
policies must be a way that they anmpt conflicts which e development procaddress and allevithat do so/threaten nflicts are not only and spatial (class/ also those of idendriven consciousde ethnic, religious, collective identities on class kind. cannot be identitymulti-ethnic, multiwith a majority comeption of developys identity blind. If kely to be perceived then surely develnning must be iden
ties the most imporpment point of view hich collective mosignificant potential ence can take place.
(Gender is obviously is not one such). Development policies must therefore be evaluated for such conflict potential before they are deemed sustainable. This is specially so in a society such as Sri Lanka in which the minorities - in contrast to the majority - draw on religious systems whose myths place a high premium on violent forms on self sacrifice and martyrdom.
In a polity in which the state is not perceived as neutral as between the communities and is seen to have inscribed within it, the dominance of any one community (ethnic, religious or a combination), then the development programmes of the state run the risk of being viewed with circumspection if not suspicion by the nonhegemonic communities. The private sector is the mirror image of this. Thus in a multi-ethnic society, all economics is - or risks being perceived as - ethnoeconomics.
Development strategy has therefore to be definitely a matter of political economy. And the “political” in political economy in any multi-ethnic society is fundamentally the management of the national/nationalities question(s). It is a question of a development contract or compact which entails, in the first instance, a negotiation with the primary identity blocs (i.e. communities with conflict potential) - which means negotiations with the given, organically evolved dominant factions (leaderships) of those blocs. In short a united front from above. At a latter stage, when the development process and consciousness have matured and when the former has provided a material basis for such differentiation, a policy of : united front from below may be adopted, reaching out to people as poor, have-nots etc. The first stage cannot be skipped over and development cannot proceed unmediated tu an undifferentiated people - becauss such a people exit only in the abstract. while the premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can be made only in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and their materia conditions of life, including thos - which they find already in existency and those produced by the activity. (The German Ideology-Mar and Engels) O
15 DECEMBER 1998
The Arrival of S as BPBites the
T N Gopalan
in a stunning blow to the BJP's prestige and morale, the party was trounced in three of the four states which went to polls in November. And Congress under Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was the victor in all the three states. The Congress did lose though in Mizoram in the North Eastern region, but then it is a small state with its own peculiar features and so the developments there rarely affect the political situation in the country as a whole.
The most important message from the elections is that Sonia Gandhi has at last arrived, perhaps in her own right, and it is her strategies which should dictate the future course of the Indian politics.
The drubbing that the BJP received in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh has a stonished even the most ardent of the Congress supporters.
While the exit polls and most opinion surveys did indicate that the party would stand to lose in both Delhi and Rajasthan, it was tipped to make it in Madhya Pradesh vanquishing the ruling Congress there. (Though one opinion poll did predict victory for the Congress there too and some others talked of inconclusive results.)
Such predictions did make the BJP jittery, but it tried to put on a brave face, saying after all it was perhaps anti-incumbency factor at work. If the ruling BJP in Delhi and Rajasthan was going to be defeated, it was going to turn the tables on the Congress at Madhya Pradesh.
And more important, Madhya Pradesh is a much bigger state than the other two sending as it does 42 MPs to the parliament. Put together Rajasthan and Delhi send less MPs.
In the circumstances it was argued that “it’s nothing more than anti-in
cumbency. Peopl their respective are voting them c do feel bad that o too should not h expectations of th it in our stride. A off we only stanc Right throug polls everyone fi Vajpayee downw insist whatever th could not be tern on the performa coalition.
They were af of the lack-lustr things were drift of the general sta of the fact that t not really excitec ate to a point wl to forgive the ru omissions and ci it simply, a big d BJP high comma was readying its tuality.
But none wa sheer scale of th which hit the BJP bly seats in Raja bagged as many the BJP a paltry 51 of the 69 seat way, the BJP havi a mere 15 - a hu standards.
Only in Madl gress juggernau bagged 172 seat the BJP. Still the of the three states was the sweetes gress, and terribl In both Raja Congress was stic after a decade. Ir
2 just unhappy with state governments but. Even though we ur own governments ave come up to the Le people, we'll take anyway in the trade
h the run-up to the om Prime Minister yards took pains to le outcome, the polls ned as a referendum nce of the BJP-led
er all acutely aware e reign, of the way ng beyond control, te of discontent and he Hindu bomb had the Hindu electorhere they are willing tlers for their other ommissions. To put 2feat was staring the nd in its face and it lf to face the even
is prepared for the e electoral disaster Of the 197 Assemsthan, the Congress is 150 seats, leaving 3 and in Delhi itself s went the Congress ng to be content with miliating rout by any
ya Pradesh the Cont wobbled a bit. It : against the 119 of victory in the largest which went to polls ofall for the Con| bitter for the BJP ithan and Delhi the ming back to poWer Delhi especially the
TAMIL TIMES 21
Congress was thought to have been consigned to the margins permanently. What with the memory of the horrendous anti-Sikh riots of 1984 still vivid in that community’s mind and the culprits yet to be brought to book no one would have imagined even six months ago that it could recapture the people's imagination.
The India Today, a leading English weekly, generally pursuing a proBJP line came out with a screaming cover story a week before the polls, UNFIT TO GOVERN - “As the BJP faces a rout in the state elections, its ability to rule comes under scrutiny, reviving prospects of a mid-term poll.” It also carried an opinion poll which pointed to such a rout.
One of its editors, a frothing rightwing commentator, summed it all up, after narrating the various instances of bungling by the BJP regime, “Vajpayee was a great communicator. He could sell any idea, any dream.
Tragically he lacked the audacity. He got bogged down in minutiae, pettiness, intrigues and plain incompetence. The mandate was squandered. The man India awaited is now a man waiting to depart. The anguish of such hard-core supporters is all too understandable. From the time it came to power in March last, the Vajpayee regime has been lurching from one crisis to another without any let up whatsoever.
Barring that dubious achievement of exploding nuclear bombs in Pokhran in May last, there is nothing much to show up for its track-record, on the positive side, that is.
Easily it is the inflation, skyrocketing prices, which seem to have turned the tide against the BJP. Especially the much talked about hike in onion prices on the eve of the elections had angered the electorate no end in the northern region where onion is almost a staple food item.
That apart Delhi itself reeled under recurrent power-shortage and near-complete break-down of law and order. Sensing there could be danger ahead, in a belated move, the BJP high command chose to replace an apparently complacent and callous Sahib Singh Verma as the Chief Minister by a more suave and media-savvy Sushma Swaraj. But the resulting factional bickering showed the party in an uglier light.
And in Rajasthan the BJP could
22 TAMIL TIMES
simply not reap a nuclear harvest, the people there were not taken in by the pyrotechnics, they were more concerned with their day-to-day problems. Not that the Congress could deliver the goods. But simply they have had enough of the BJP’s divisive agenda which, while only serving to stir up more troubles, has nothing else to offer by way of better governance or economic progress.
Rajasthan has figured in the national newspapers time and again gang-rapes and the politician-criminal nexus. With no other option but the Congress to fall back upon, the voters have done so, overwhelmingly.
If that is so how could Digvijay Singh could be returned to power in M.P? Is it the case that he is a paragon of virtue or he had provided an eminently likeable administration? Some talk about some innovations on the grass-roots level democracy and some populist measures.
Yet others would like to believe that the verdict is a resounding slap on the Hindutva forces. “The central message from the electorate is that
India and its swayed by the p bigotry. That ger peace are non-n faith and that m by the nuclear e. goistic aftermat the Indian psych the country, nota dle classes vho about everythin the benefits tha offer, may subs cious agenda, people, even wh under the burde prices, will not moorings. Their processes remai these are the pec vote once again
The argumen resents everythi cal to the idea of the Congress, fi misdemeanours, rogance, represe reality.
The Congres of hubris, corrup
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;ople will not be litics of hatred and line secularism and gotiable articles of (tarism, as reflected losions and its jin, is not inherent in . Some sections of ly the well-off midcavil and complain while sucking up the system has to ribe to these perniut the mass of the 2n they are crushed n of absurdly high e shaken from these faith in democratic ns unshakeable and ple who came out to last week. “ t is that the BJP repng that is antithetiIndia and conversely, or all its crimes and its stupidity and arnts the larger Indian
sman can be accused tion and even ineffi
ciency, but the party's ideology and culture have always been inclusive, an aggregate of every aspect and diversity of Indian life. Whenever it has deviated from that path, it has paid a heavy price: Its flirtation with rightwing Hindutva during Narasimha Rao's regime cost it the elections af. ter five years of unprecedented and path-breaking economic progress. The voters were simply unimpressed with the story of liberalisation because they had seen the Congress jettison its, and the country's, sacred values. Such an argument does have a modicum of truth, but there is a lot more to Congress defeat under Rao and its revival under Sonia. If people punish a party for swerving from secularism, what explains the Congress defeat in 1967, 1977 or 1989? And why would people vote in BJP government in so many states and plump for it in so many seats spread all over the country in the last Lok Sabha elections?
A dissatisfied electorate, first and foremost concerned with their dayto-day problems, try one party after
(continued on next page)
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(continued from page 22)
another in sheer desperation.
And there is a lot of scope for the charisma factor among a gullible people like the Indians.
And so more a plausible explanation for the BJP's rout would be that its budget failed miserably, the situation only aggravated by global recession and this was compounded by the way the poor Prime Minister was buffeted around by the likes of Jayalalitha, his image thus taking a battering that could never have been anticipated even by the more sceptical among the observers. The able Prime Minister stood exposed as someone who was unable to do anything decisive on any front, a prisoner of his allies on the one hand and all the time having to fend off the Sangh Parivaar breathing down his neck.
With the very same media which projected him as the leader for whom the nation was waiting for too long badly mauling him, the word went around even to the remotest corners. Add to this the way the RSS hardliners were trying to somehow or other promote the Hindutva agenda and the arrival of Sonia Gandhi. As Sonia began assuming complete control of the Congress, those sections which had deserted the party only nine months ago started coming back. As Mr. Krishna Ananth, a noted commentator, told this correspondent, “The power-brokers who thought the Congress was a sinking ship came back with their tails between their legs. They could not be happy with a party like the BJP Besides under Sonia the old upper castes-Dalits-Muslims axis stands reinvigorated. The BJP with its exclusivist agenda can never hope to become Congressized as many of its supporters were predicting it would.
That Sonia has been restrained in her hour of triumph and is not in a tearing hurry to topple the Vajpayee government by roping in the disparate elements who would like to do so at the earliest for their own reasons do offer some comforting picture, of a relatively decent political scenario. For a nation that would be burdened with a population of nearly a billion as it steps into the next millennium, millions of whom would remain mired in poverty, such cosmetic changes do not offer much hope. O
23 years after Sheikh Muj family mem perienced a definir tory last month wł president-liberat were finally triec death. A Dhaka ( day-long trial, co accused to death squad. All of the officers. Only thre Syed Farooq Rahu Shariar Rashid Muhinuddin Ahm and the others we The only civilian Teheruddin Thak minister for inform sassinated leader. ing armymen als Abdul Wahad ZC Shah and Abdul H Bangladesh V chapter of its bloc gust 15, 1975. Thá dawned blackish r. Begum Mujib, tl Kamal, Sheikh Jar Russel (named af ish philosopher), R tana Kamal (wive Mujib's younge Nasser, one cabin relatives and close gunned down. A were massacred a curity guards burs dence in the pre pumped bullets it The only surv where Mujib's Hasina and Sheil were out of the co the attack. The tw decades in exile.
Well, other co continent have w tions starting fron Gandhi. And some have gone scot free have become a fami
TAMIL TIMES 23
the mass murder of burRahman and his bers, Bangladesh exg moment in its hisen the killers of the or of that country and sentenced to ourt, after an 148hdemned l3 of the by an open firing m are former army e of them - Lt Col man, Lt Col Sultan Khan and Lt Col ed are in custody re tried in absentia. o be acquitted was ar, who was state lation under the asThree lower ranko acquitted were: barder, Marfat Ali Hashem Mirdha. wrote yet another ody history on Auit morning, the Sun 'd. President Mujib, ree sons - Sheikh hal and 10-year-old er the famous Britosy Jamal and Suls of the two sons), brother Sheikh st colleague, many political allies were otal of 26 persons armymen and seinto Mujib’s residawn attack and to all and sundry. vors of the family aughters Sheikh h Rehana as they untry at the time of had to spend out
Intries in the subnessed assassina
that of Mahatma imes, the assassins in what could well arlegal drama. Yet,
in Bangladesh, there was not even the familiar legal drama. For 21 long years, no initiative was taken to bring the Mujid killers or the murderers of four other top national leaders inside the Dhaka central jail, the same year, to trial. This was because the murders formed part of a coup d'etat which established another rule of another set of laws in Bangladesh.
Yes, the new government of Khaindekar Mushtaque Ahmed, who could have been one of the accused but for his death several years ago, gave the assassins immunity from prosecution by promulgating an infamous ordinance. Successive governments abided by the ordinance and let the killers go scot free till Sheikh Hasina came to power in 1996 and repealed the ordinance in a determined effort bring the killers of her father and family members and others to justice.
Even the First Information Report on the murder of the president and his family and friends could be recorded in a police station only after the repeal of the immunity-ordinance.
The genesis of the assassination lay in the birth of Bangladesh: those for liberation led by Sheikh Mujib and the army sections which saw the need for Pakistanisation of the country were against each other. The president was almost too liberal, and the fundamentalist sections wanting him out backed the army brass ready to kill him. The president could not out-manoeuvre the army brass out of office and the latter took swift revenge on him for liberating the country with India’s help. The successive governments in Bangladesh ruled almost by martial law with some of them even giving the Mujib killers plum diplomatic posts abroad
Eleven of the accused sentenced to death are still abroad and the present government has requested the Interpol to locate them. Another accused, Major Bazlul Huda, was extradited, soon after the verdict, from Thai
24 TAML TIMES
land where he had been lodged in prison for shop-lifting in Bangkok. The fugitives are reportedly hiding in various countries including the United States, Canada, Germany, Libya and Zimbabwe and some of them are on the run, according to the Bangladesh government.
The deep chasm that the assassination created in Bangladesh politics is responsible for its bitter and traumatic history. The no-holds-barred tussle for power between the two Begums, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, is well-known and the extent of the bitterness between the two is beyond grasp. One of the women had lost her entire family and the other her husband, Zia-Ur-Rahman, the martial law administrator, in political coups, but the two are unrelenting in their quest for power. At one stage, the Commonwealth had to step in and monitor the elections held two years ago and the transfer of power from Khaleda to Hasina.
For Begum Khaleda, Sheikh Hasina is no more than an Indian stooge, like her father. Khaleda's Bangladeshi Nationalist Party (BNP) led a massive demonstration against Sheikh Hasinas regime on the very day the verdict against the Mujib killers were passed. The BNP termed the verdict politically motivated and dubbed Sheikh Hasina as an autocrat. All agreements made by Sheikh Hasina with India are documents of servility and submission, according to the BNP.
The seventies certainly were a decade of suspicion and intrigue for the subcontinent. On June 25, 1975, Mrs Indira Gandhi had clamped the infamous emergency in India. Reports spoke of her having heard the deteriorating situation in Bangladesh even in February that year. Sheikh Mujib was fast losing control over the situation, the nickname Bangabandhu given to him was fast giving way to abuses from political enemies. Mujib had responded to this threat using a totalitarian tactic: he pronounced Bangladesh to be an one-party state. This led to proliferation of news reports about plots and conspiracies to eliminate him. Of course, Mujib never believed them. Even when Mrs Indira Gandhi sent a personal emissary to meet him, Mujib told him that those getting ready to revolt against him were “his own children”. The emissary was R N Rao, India's chief intelligence
officer, and he report worried Indira Gand The assassins h day by accident or gust 15, 1975 was In India which was to re tired tryst with dest India in 1975 was st facing its first exper torship. Some of its cluding Jayaprakash jail and Mrs Gandhi to address her cust speech when she wa ghastly coup. A stur got convinced tha could get at her an liver a tough and so Emergency was unri years later, she lifte and lost the election: still on, she even r However, her assass proverbial moment 1984, by her own gua anger over the army den Temple of the S earlier that year.
History had a we self, said Georg Hege
I appreciate Dr am's comprehensi review of “Discrim son?” in the Novem Times, but hasten tc tion.
The book cove) and reverse discri United States, Ind and, therefore, do “Standardisation”.
As I have statec tled “Standardisati ited - Clarification ( tion” published in lombo) of 27 Octo was called Standa Lanka was an attel performance of di groups (in effect, et on the ratio of stu which is a concep American affirmativ American Constituti action permits vario characteristics to
15 DECEMBER 1998
ed this back to a hi. ad chosen their utmost care. Audependent Day in new its now-veryiny. Unlike now, ll young and was ience with dictaallest leaders inNarayan were in was getting ready omary Red Fort s informed of the ned Mrs Gandhi t similar forces il went on to dembre speech. The alenting, and two d the restrictions s and, three years 2captured power. ination came at a on October 31, ards seething with action on the Golikhs at Amritsar
ty of repeating itl, and added dis
ciple-turned-rebel Karl Marx: “the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce”. In the subcontinent, one could well say that the genres of farce and tragedy coexist in political life. Every contemporary assassination in the subcontinent is a tragedy, despite the belated realisation sometimes that the assassinated leader could well have been a tyrant or on his or her way to becoming a tyrant. The wouinds of the tragedy almost never heal in a climate of suspicion and hatred and a new politics of atonement, thus, is nowhere in sight. However, the elements of farce add a new dimension to the whole macabre event of assassination: the real history of people, of their drudgery, their misplaced hopes, their fears, suspicions and insecurities - remain the same as ever. And the cycle infinitely plods on. This is what a farce is: it is as if the whole thing never happened or is waiting to happen once again, almost anew, to another set of leaders leading this hopeless equatorial region of the earth, its faceless millions engrossed in daily toil when they are not escaping from ethnic strifes and cyclones. O
y C R M KO KONZEKAT AND ON (TC REASON
S Narapalasingh ve and scholarly (nation with Reaber issue of Tamil make a clarifica
is discrimination mination in the ia and Malaysia es not deal with
in my article tion Debate Revisof Affirmative AcThe Island (Cober 1998, “What yrdisation in Sri mpt to equate the ferent linguistic hnic quotas based lent populations) t totally alien to e action and to the on. ... Affirmative us disabilities and pe taken into ac
count in deciding on admission or recruitment. e.g., if a student is from a severely disadvantaged school (such as, in the Sri lankan context, illequipped, or ill-staffed school in a remote village or estate) this handicap could be taken into account, i.e., such a student could be selected ahead of a student from an elite school (such as, in the Sri Lankan context, Royal, Visakha, Trinity or Jaffna Hindu) who may have had a marginally higher test score. On the other hand, to discriminate solely on the basis of ethnicity (such as, in the Sri lankan context, to discriminate between Sinhalese medium and Tamil medium student of Royal College, as was done under “Standardisation”) is not affirmative action but plain racism.ʼ
Devanesan Nesiah 5/4 Asian Court 19 Milagiriya Avenue Colombo 4
15 DECEMBER 1998
SCarred Mim An Insider's S
Review by Marwaan Macan-Mar
Colombo has been a comfortable place to live in. And I make that observation in relation to some of the other villages and towns scattered throughout the crescent of the war zone in the north and the east. For it is only in the capital that such a spectacle as this could have been possible: the pulse of night life barely skipping a beat soon after a battle that resulted in over 1,500 young men being mowed down in 36 hours. Conduct a survey of the night clubs in the city and you would realise this. Recall the scenes on the streets during the week of September 28 and you would have more proof. And daytime was no different. The cityscape throbbed with a festive energy. It was something that would have hardly been the case between Pottuvil and Point Pedro, between Trincomalee and Talamannar. For those who live in such areas would have had no respite from coping with the footsteps of war walking through their lives. For them, the freedoms of Colombo would have been but a dream during that period.
This, of course, is not something novel, this distinction. Anyone who has followed the tragic course of this war would have noticed how time and again this disparity would have been played out. It has assumed the proportions of a cliche, in fact. And naturally, it would have been understandable if one came across people who chose to migrate to the comforts of the capital from their scarred homes, their destroyed neighbourhoods. It would have been a decision needing little explanation, such a flight. History has offered us ample testimony. If not from Jaffna to Colombo, then from Batticaloa to Paris.
There are, however, those who, despite the temptations of such comforts, despite the ample chances that
have come their chosen not to. women who hav wave of such a ti made a conscious their dismal surrc their calling. Herc they do so at trem and their familie rare breed is a 1 Somasundaram, t. in the Jaffna peni Those who ha tact with Somasui would, no doubt, his decision. For man with his pro most wanted? For calities in this ( scarred, the most ( And given his ul would have been sea of trauma. But ism of Somasunc been unknown. A standable.
Yet that, I feel, ity of changing, demic from the J faculty of medicin book of the world in. For Scarred M logical Impact Of Tamils is an insid dous sensitivity wounds that have geography of th hearts of hundr threads together t dinarymen and wo who have had to erings of a war th control.
Within the pag ds, then, you com Mrs. T, for instanc in an excitable sta the psychiatric un that she had been
TAMIL TIMES 25
way to move, have here are men and : gone against the e. People who have choice to remain in undings and pursue es, in a sense. And 2ndous risk to them ... And among this nan such as Daya he only psychiatrist Insula. ve come into condaram in the north have appreciated where else could a }fessional bent be Jaffna is, of all loountry, the most lestroyed of places. hique position, he like an island in a to many, the heroaram would have fact quite under
has every possibilLow that this acaaffna University's has brought out a e lived and worked inds: The PsychoVar On Sri Lankan r’s tale of tremenIt lays bare the ccumulated in the minds and the ds of people. It narratives of ormen, boys and girls endure the sufft has gone out of
s of Scarred Minacross those like aged 65. She was when admitted to “The history was normal up to 10
days back when she had been travelling by boat from Delft in May, 1985. The boat had been stopped by navy personnel and all those aboard had been cut up with swords and knives. She had seen her son and close kinsmen cut to death in front of her and had herself received serious cut injuries.”
Then there is also the middle-aged engineer whose three children and mother-in-law had been forced out of their homes by soldiers and shot dead on the street. “He spent his days in deep sorrow with attacks of crying spells, the pangs of grief buffeting him like waves. His mind was preoccupied with thoughts of his children. He complained of loss of purpose in life with suicidal ruminations. His nights were particularly bad with recurrent nightmares about his children and their suffering, specially his pretty daughter. The soldier had lifted up her frock and shot her through the groin. She could not walk and had to drag herself along the road and finally bled to death for lack of medical attention.
And there is, further, the account of Mr. K., aged 22, who had been a helper in a local militant group. “Af ter his group had been proscribed, he had been arrested by the dominant group. According to his history, he had been tortured for two weeks and detained for three months. He had been beaten all over the body with hands, legs, knees, poles, iron rods and stepped on till he lost consciousness. He had been hung by his two thumbs and also upside down by his ankles and beaten on his soles ... Two needles had been driven through his fourth finger.”
They are but a few of the people that Somasundaram has encountered, treated and written about, victims of a cruel political tide that has battered their lives. But this book, though, does not limit itself to spotlight such individual narratives only. It goes beyond. It uses such accounts to build up a case that is, essentially, a powerful critique against the war. It attempts to develop an argument from its early pages to show why those who have taken to the gun to resolve their political differences have often ignored what Veena Das, in her foreword to the book, has identified as
26 TAMIL TIMES
the 'excluded third party in the conflict, the ordinary people caught between the fighting forces, people who literally have had little say against the bullets raining down on them. After all, what they have wrought - those who subscribe to a violent creed - have, in Somasundaram's words, contributed significantly to the permanent pain of this third party.
As he puts it: “We are not, after all, dealing with a disease that enters the body as an alien organism and then leaves it after running its course. We are dealing with a situation in which the conditions of violence have led to chronic feelings of fear, despair, pain and grief apart from functional impairments of a wider variety. Therefore it is only through discussions with all sections of the population including members of militant groups, their supporters and ordinary civilians caught between the different warring groups, that a new way of resolving the problems may emerge.”
Furthermore, given that this work in the main is the product of an aca
demic, it does in go beyond a simp sonal narratives a of scientific analys rich literature of p chiatry that exists domain, Somasunc plaining and inter mind of his society he offers hope to lives, he suggests they can cope wit that they may mo
Where he stan militarisation of Ja runs through the ( He has been troub Hence the armies state and those o dia in the form o force come acros; the perpetrators c sive acts, rape, fc
And the Tamil not spared, either, wrought. They, to asundaram's critic tes of them in a m geous, stating wł
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:lude sections that le chronicle of perld enters the realm is. Drawing from a sychology and psyin the international Laram sets about expreting the state of . It is here, too, that those with broken manners in which n what has been so
VEC, O. ds in relation to the |ffna is a theme that 'ourse of this book. led endlessly by it. of the Sri Lankan f neighbouring Inf the peace-keeping s as oppressors, as if a score of repulir instance.
militant groups are for what they have ɔ, come under Som:al eye. And he wriLanner that is courahat he knows with
out resorting to the charade of an apologist. He writes with the spirit of a humanist. And indoing so, he conveys his own reading of their activities in a manner that has, till now, been only available in fragmented forms, in sporadic reports, by drawing upon his knowledge in the field of mental science.
During the LTTE-TELO clash in Jaffna, he says that “the militants were evidently in a disturbed state. They appeared glazed and not quite oriented, their grim faces darkened with eyes bloodshot and staring and their movements were stiff, jerky and mechanical and the speech terse. As they moved to pile up the bodies at road junctions and set them on fire, they were inhumanly cold, like automatons carrying out a prescribed action.”
But before it reached such a boiling point, Scarred Minds spends some time delving into the early years of the Tamil militancy, the manner in which it became a draw among sections of the youth and, most impor(continued on next page)
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15 DECEMBER 1998
By Prof. Ernest Ariasingam Cham
Perrysburg, Ohio, USA
ama 71 year old Sri Lankan with many physical ailments including arthritis which makes walking very painful. But none of these hurt me as much as what my countrymen and women have done for the pastfifteen years.
Ileft SriLanka in 1966 with my wife and children because I sensed the dark clouds approaching, but I never thought the dark clouds would remain so long hiding the beauty of this serene and bounteous land. A land lapped by the oceans and kissed by gentle breezes.
Yet the tragedy of it all is that we people of colour, Asian or African never thought about crossing the oceans in search of other lands to
conquerand subj even humiliate. V ropeans who gav slavery, two inst birth to racism as On the contrary years expended money and our i ing each other, u bounty equitably We have destroy our young men a CS.
We have for ple ofcolouraretl of three of the g the twentieth ce. lives and deeds
even from foreig
(continued from page 26)
tantly, the kind of extreme clannishness that took hold, resulting in members of one organisation pledging "total and blind obedience”. This, according to Somasundaram, resulted in the Tamil groups showing a greater amount of "intolerance, hatred and cruelty towards each other”. And its effects on the civilians, the ones not involved in the tussle for power, the excluded third party', was severe. It could have been a matter of life and death. Of safety or suffering.
One of the most moving chapters of this book, though, was not written by Somasundaram; rather by Anna Doney, a clinical psychologist. And she opens up the world of torture, the manner in which this form of physical and mental pain was forced on civilians by, largely, the two armies that did control the peninsula over a period - the Sri Lankan forces and the Indian Peace Keeping Force. The LTTE, too, gets a mention here.
Doney also goes into the world of
the people who hoods and play th And among th woman. Here, in who found himse: woman noticed paraded before h moved,” he said, peering through of a woman and t These are the tions that Scarred on to drive home years been left c psychological cos thority comes fro1 product of a man first hand experie counts, that few ble to chronicle a insider’s tale of spread within the and children. At turb. A tale thath ing us in the sola may know after a has been like to the fire offear stil
gate, to exploit and le left that to the Euus colonialism and tutions which gave we came to know it. we have over the our energies, our genuity in destroylableto share God's and with goodwill. 2d cities and turned nd women into kill
otten that we peohe heirs to the legacy eatest statesmen of ntury who by their saved their people n subjugation, gov
were forced to wear le role of informant. em was a young fact, is what a man fbefore this hooded on the day he was er, "I became very when I saw the eyes he sack were those hat she was crying.” some of the situaMinds has touched a point that has for n the margins: the of this war. Its aun the fact that it is a who has the kind of hce, eye-witness aclave taken the tround analyse. It is an a plague that has body of men, women le that seeks to diss the power ofstrikplexus. So that we these years what it ve in a land where burns. O
TAMIL TIMES 27
ernmental oppression or plain subjugation and purposeful humiliation and grinding poverty, Irefer to Mahathma Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King Junior and Nelson Mandela. The genius of the three men was that each saw clearly in their struggle that the most potent weapon of the weak in their battle against the mighty is the moral weapon. The gun is always the weapon of the weak.
Gandhi facing the might of the British Empire sat quietly by his spinning wheel preaching a gospel of non-violence realising that if the Indian people resorted to violence they would lose the high moral ground they occupied as the oppressed. Very early in his life in South Africa Gandhi facing the harsh cruelties of a racist South African government which was essentially a British administration, gave voice to words of wisdom which all minorities, for that matter all people, all governments would do well to remember. On one occasion a young Indian in South Africa protesting the harsh pass laws declared angrily "I will kill the first policeman who lays a handon my wife.” The young Gandhi got up and calmly told the young man "There are causes in this world for which I am prepared to lay down my life, but there is no cause on earthfor which Iam prepared to kill.” I call this the distilled wisdom of the ages. The foresight of a man who saw clearly that his country must come out of this struggle with clean hands and heads upheld in the knowledge that the might of the British Empire had no weapons to fight against a people who held the high moral ground. The killings in India as in Sri Lanka started only after the British leftand the Indiansfinally killed their great apostle of peace. It is said on one occasion during the British rule Gandhi was brought before the court charged with sedition. In a crowded courtroom as the accused was brought in the Judge of the Supreme Court rose from his bench in deference to the high moral stature of the accused.
In the end we saw the Union Jack being unfurled at a midnight hour in August 1947 and the Indian Tricolor rise in all its glory, a new nation had
28 TAMIL TIMES
been born with hardly a shot being fired. The great lesson to be learned is that the weak are not bereft of weapons to fight the mighty but they are not weapons wrought of iron but weapons that derive power from the human spirit in defence of good against evil.
When I came to the United States in 1970 I already knew a good part of American history, but what I did not realise was how bad race relations had been. I came at the tail end of the civil rights movement when the Civil Rights Bill had been passed which made segregation illegal and the Voting Rights Bill gave blackpeople the right to vote without fear of intimidation or violence. However it is what I saw in documentaries and read in books about what actually happened for 200 years to black people I was amazed how they ever overcame the extreme deprivation and humiliation that slavery and racism brings.
The cruelties of slavery are well documented and as one reads through history one wonders whether like Lady Macbeth there will ever be water enough to wash the stain of slavery which America inherited. After slavery was abolished racism flourished. Black men were lynched for so muchas lookingatawhite womanand the final act of lynching was to cut the genitals off the man hanging from the tree as though those genitals were a threat to the white race. Blacks had to sit in the back of the bus and use separate toilets in public rest rooms.
Then came the day when a poor seamstress Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and since the bus was empty took the first seat available. As the bus filled with white people the driver asked her to move to the back. She sat stubbornly weary and tired of years of humiliation. The driver summoned the police and she was arrested and taken to jail for violating the laws of segregation of Montgomery, Alabama. Word spread rapidly and the black community decided to take a stand and boycott the buses. But who would lead them? They knew the white establishment would destroy any black leaders and brand them as agitators and commu
nists. It was thent munity turned to a young preacher King Junior and he A meeting was ca churches and p( flocked in large nu the documentary that night portray series "Eye on th that once again C moral weapon int weak to Smite th Luther King's firs wded church were Then he went on wrong the Constit States is wrong, i Supreme Court of wrong, if we are W. is wrong”. With words he placed th movementon such and challenged an Wrong.
More importa door to well mean join him in a crusa and many did. So their lives. Well m sitting in the com rooms saw on tel evil against good. exposed to the wol and it was nota pl out raising the ba though some blac do so Martin Luth ple to the “pro though he himsel But before he died homage by conf highest accoladev for peace. Ameri apostle of non-vi because as he h "America should these truths as SI men are created lenged America t recited each day "I pledge allegiar United States of republic for whic tion under God in and justice for all Liberty and jus concept not easil
15 DECEMBER 1998
hattheblackcomrelatively unknown Dr Martin Luther reluctantly agreed. illed in one of the oor black people imbers. Looking at of what happened 2d so vividly in the e Prize' I realised god had given the o the hands of the e mighty. Martin it words to the cro“Our cause is just”. to say "If we are ution of the United f we are wrong the the United States is rong God Almighty those few simple le whole civil rights a high moral plane ybody to prove him
ntly he opened the ing white people to de of righteousness me even paid with leaning Americans fort of their living evision a battle of Saw their country ld with all its warts easant sight. Withirrel of a gun even ks were itching to er King led hispeomised land' even f did not get there. the world paid him arring on him the with the Nobel prize ca owes this great plence a great debt imself once said rise up and hold 2lf evident that all
equal.” He chal) live up to its creed by schoolchildren (ce to the flag ofthe America and to the h it stands, one nalivisible with liberty
tice for all is a moral y killed by guns.
When Nelson Mandela finally walked out of his prison in Robyn Island, saints in heaven and on earth metaphorically held his hand as he walked out unbroken and proud.
For fifty years the racist regime in South Africa had crushed the human spirit by implementing the laws of apartheid. When the British left South Africathey left 90% of its people without the right to vote. The British therefore are as much culpable as the Afrikaners in the subjugation and humiliation of blacks, Asians and people of mixed origin in South Africa. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan until the very end gave comfort and succour to this most Vile and vicious system ever devised by man. But as Nelson Mandela was sitting injail and the years rolled by, 22 in all, he knew that his people poor and despised as they were held the high moral ground while the government of South Africa was slowly sinking into the morass of political and social infamy. They were expelled from the United Nations and the Olympic games. No nation would even play cricket with them. They were forced to carry their badge of shame, and many of them did so gladly, quite oblivious of the terrible fate that would befall their children if sanity did not prevail.
Alan Paton that great South African wrote a novel of the travails and fears of both black and white South Africans and gave as its title "Cry, the beloved country”. Fortunately well meaning South African leaders such as DeKlerk realised their nation will perish in rivers of blood and released Mandela and gave the black people their birthright, the right to vote.
Today Mandela stands tall almost of mythical proportions. This son of a Chief held his high moral ground and led his people to the promised land.
It is one of the greatironies of history that when the British finally granted independence to the people of Ceylon, they took the high moral ground that the time had come for the people of Ceylon to be masters of their own destiny. But Great Britain once again as they did in South Africa left
15 DECEMBER 1998
(continued from page 28) the minorities atthemercy of themajority believing that the majority would realise that their prosperity depends upon the morality of their actions towards the minorities. Sadly enough this did not come to pass. On the contrary succeeding Sinhala governmentschose to alienate the minorities by appropriating to themselves all the power that was given to them. The final act being when the Bandaranayake Government passed the 'Sinhala only Act. Rising in Parliament as a lone figure the late Dr Colvin R deSilva uttered the prophetic words "Mr Speaker one language two nations, two languages one nation'.
When Velupillai Pirabakaran and his band of young men took up the gun in what they believed was an act of last resort in defence of a Tamil homeland, Tamils held their heads high because here were our youth finally challenging the might of the Sri Lankan government. There was released a genuine feeling of pride and TamilsfromNewYork, California, London, Paris, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne not only cheered but opened their purses and millions poured into the “movement' as it came to be known. The answer of the Sri Lankan government was not to negotiate but to crush what they believed was a challenge to the unity and well being of the Country.
Fora while weTamils held the high moral ground because we were per
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ceived as the op outside. But then with all revolutic by well meaning trained not only enemy but also
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The legacy Luther King and forgotten and SW history. Both sid the high moral gr ists and chauvini Will Chandrika Kumaratunga há unite our people? bakaran ever real ofkilling will také to the promised la Sanga rise to its s plement the great Prince of Peace the well meaning Sinl nally say enough blessed land retur Will there everbel Sinhalese and Ta be called sons anc
I lay awake a an answer, before mine is turned in lamenting like A beloved country”
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TAMIL TIMES 29
ressed by the world a day came when as ns the guns paid for Tamils began to be against a common gainst any and all ... We began to kill : by little those who gan to leave. Docnd teachers fled by the Tamils are not people they are also
class which is the nation
f Gandhi, Martin Mandela have been ept into the dust of es have abandoned ound and opportunsts have moved in. Bandaran-ayake lve the courage to Will Velupillai Piraise that no amount him and his people and? Will the Maha acredduty and imideals of that great Lord Buddha? Will halese and Tamilsfiis enough? Will this n to its great glory? beace makers among mils who can truly | daughters of God? nights hoping for this aching body of o dust or will I die lan Paton "Cry the Ο
Tamil Language Made Compulsory
The State government of TamilNadu in South India has announced its decision to give recognition only to those nursery and primary schools which taught the Tamil language as a subject. This step is regarded as a measure that would ensure that all children attending these institutions are taught the indigenous Tamil language.
Additionally, under the directive issued by the State government, the schools should teach subjects such as geography, history, mathematics and social studies through the medium of the Tamil language from the academic year 1999-2000.
In order to encourage nursery schools to adopt the Tamil language as the medium of instruction, the State government would reduce by 50 per cent the fee for recognition and also to obtain State assistance including the supply of text books free.
At present, those studying in unrecognised schools are not allowed to be admitted to recognised educational institutions. There would be not change in this practice. There are nearly 20,000 unrecognised nursery and primary schools in the State. Of these, the recognised institutions accounted only for 2,100.
In the State, there are 1,008 primary and middle schools where presently the Tamil language is not a subject of study and students were taught in English and in their mother tongue. In announcing the government's measure, the Chief Minister of the State, Mr M Karunanidhi said that steps would be taken to appoint language teachers in all these schools so that students could learn the Tamil language besides their mother tongue and English.
委突ミ INTERNATIONAL 翁 கான அதிர்ஸ்ட லாபச்சீட்டு 臀 ான ரிக்கட் ஒன்று இலவசம் RF RLDWIDE DESTINATIONS ESTABLISHED SIZES & WEIGHTS 1966 KING & CRATING SERVICE LECTION & DELIVERY 0ಣ್ಣAS
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First 20 words £10, each word 60p charge for Box No. 23. (Wat 17 12% extra). Prepayment essentia
The Advertisement Manager, mil Times Ltd, PO Box 121
Sutton, Surrey SM13TD წწX Phone 0181-64.40972 FAX: 0181-241. 455
Jaffna Catholic doctor seeks educated partner, with a good sense of humour, for son, 32, Ph.D. (Engineering) in employment in UK. Send details. M 1063 C/O Tamil Times,
Jaffna Hindu parents in US seek professionally qualified bride below 25 in UK or Sri Lanka for accountant son, 26, 6. Send details. M 1064 C/o Tamil Times.
Tamil Auntie seeks kind and sympathetic professional groom less than 40, prepared to work in Malaysia, for Sri Lankan origin doctor niece, 36, working in Malaysia. Send horoscope details. M 1065 c/o Tamil Times.
Jaffna uncle seeks professional bride in UK for nephew, 29, M.Sc., (Computer Engineering) working as software engineer in UK, Mars eighth house. Reply with horoscope,
details. M 1066 C/o Tamil Times.
Jaffna Tamil brother in
Malaysia seeks professional or graduate partners in UK, Europe for sisters 38, 5'6" and 37, 5'8", both fair, beautiful, London educated in excellent employment in Malaysia. Send details. M 1067 C/o Tannil Times.
Jaffna Hindu parents seek doctor groom for their doctor daughter, 25, working in London. Please send horoscope, details. M 1068 C/O Tamil Tinnes.
Professional uncle seeks for niece, doctor's daughter, 34, Executive, Insurance Company after University in Australia, innocent divorcee, partner, Hindu professionally qualified doctor, accountant or lawyer under 38. Willing move from Australia. Please forward horoscope, photograph. Will
be returned. Confidentiality assured. M 1069 C/o Tamil Times.
Hindu parents seek professional groom for fair, attractive daughter, B.Sc., 26 Canadian citizen, doing dentistry in US. Send horoscope, photo, details. M 107O C/o Tarnil Times.
Jaffna Hindu parents seek qualified bride for son, 32, computer software engineer in US. Mars eighth house. Send horoscope, details. M 1071 c/o Tamil TimeS.
Sri Lankan Hindu Tamil parents seek for their pretty daughter, 25, slim, medium complexioned, British born, British University graduate, Post Graduate training in teaching, professionally qualified groom of similar background, British born or British educated. Send details M
1072 C/o Tarnil Tines.
We congratulate the following couples on their recent Wedding.
Vanathi daughter of Mr. & Mrs. K. Nithiananthan of 4a Syon Park Gardens, Osterley, Middx. TW7 5.NB, UK and Suriyakumaran son of Mr. V. Nadarajah and the late Mrs. Kausala Nadarajah of 5/35 The Crescent, Homebush, NSW 2140, Australia on 28. 11.98 at Brent Town Hall, Wembley, Middx, UK.
Sri Sundar Son of Mr. & MrS. A. Veluppillai of 7 Oldfield Court, Ajax, Ontario L1T 3S6, Canada and Sugan niya daughter of Mr. & Mrs. A. Sothinathan of 360 Frank Street, Apt 502, Ottawa, Ontario K2P OY2, Canada on 29.1 1.98 at Sri Ganesh Temple Hall, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.
Mr. Thamboo Thuraisingham (Tom) (63), son of the late Mr. & Mrs. N. ThambOO of Urelu, Jaffna, beloved husband of Pathmasani; loving father of Naresh Arjuna and Dinesh Nagulan, father-in-law of Asha, brother of late Ethirmanasingham and Ratnasingham (Canada) passed away in London. On 16th November 1998 and was Cremated on 21st November.
The members of his family Wish to thank all friends and relatives who attended the funeral, sent mesages of sympathy and floral tributes and assisted them in Several ways during the period of great sorroW. - 2 Fullers Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 7TE. Tel: O181 391 9147.
Maragathavalli, beloved wife of the late P. Kanapadhippillai J.P., Attorney-at-law and N.P., Uduppiddy, Jaffna, Sri Lanka; beloved mother of Mahadeva (Colombo), Kamala (Zambia), Mahendran (Colombo), late Sarojini (Jaffna) and Gowri (Jaffna); loving mother-in-law of Triveni, Manikavasagar, Saradha, Dr. Keetheeswaranathan, sister of the late Ramalingam, the late Sivagurunathan, the late Subramaniam, the late Senathirajah, the late Mylvaganam, Mrs. B. Maheswaran (Colombo) and Mrs. M. Sankarakumaran (Kandy); sister-in-law of Mrs. M. Subramaniam (USA), Mrs. N. Mylvaganam (Jafna), Mr. S. Maheswaran and Mr. C. Sankarakunnaran passed away in Uduppiddy on 5th December 1998 and Was Cremated on 6th December.
The members of the family thank all friends and relatives who attended the funeral, sent messages of sympathy and assisted them in several ways
during the period of great sorrow. - Box 34939, Lusaka, Zambia. Tel:(01)224807
in loving memory of Mr. Karthigesu Balasingam, Retired Station Master of 105 Palay Road, Kanthermadam, Jaffna on the second anniversary of his passing away in Scarborough, Canada on 15th December 1996.
Greatly loved, deeply missed and always remembered by his beloved wife, children, daughters-in-law, son-in-law and grandchildren. - 5 Empringham Drive, Scarborough, Ontario M1B3Y1, Canada.
Fifth Death Anniversary Mrs. Gnanambikai Peruma Pillai
(4th July 1924 - 12th Dec. 1993) MVife Of late Dr. C. Perurnal Pillai.
Five years have drifted by since you were taken from our midst. Your loving care and gentle guidance still strongly missed. In your peace we find SOlace.
Your children, Ravi, Usha, Jeeva and Ranjit sons-in-law Desmond and Michael, daughters-in-law Shanti and Vasuhi. grandchildren Rajesh, Shahila. Meera, Arun and Arjun.
15 DECEMBER 1998
FORTHCOMING EVENTS Jan, 7
SLTWG Women. Front
Jan. 1 Full Moon, Feast of meets. Tel: 0181 542 3285. Solemnity of Mary, Mother of Jan. 13 Eekathasi.
God. Jan. 14 Thai Pongal; Jan. 2 South London Tamil Pirathosam. Welfare Group (SLTWG) Drop Jan. 16 SLTWG Thai Pongal
in. Tel: 0181 542 3285.
celebrations. Tel 0181542
Jaffna College Alumni Association, New South Wales. The tenth anniversary of the association was celebrated on 14th November 1998 with a Dinner-Dance, at the Ryde Civic Centre, Sydney. This year also marked the 175th anniversary of Jaffna College and it turned out to be a dual celebration.
The Alumni in Sydney were especially happy as the function coincided with the visit of Rt. Rev. Dr. S. Jebanesan, the Bishop of Jaffna and past Principal of Jaffna College. The proceedings commenced with a prayer followed by the welcome address by the President Dr. S. Satkunarajah. After welcoming the guests, he extolled the contribution of Jaffna College to the people of Jaffna and extended a special welcome to Rt. Rev. Dr. Jebanesan, the chief Guest. Dr. Jebanesan detailed the long history of Jaffna College, its achievements in the past, the role it played in Jaffna society, the trials and tribulations of recent years and explained how the school was still serving the children of the area in spite of enormous difficulties. He exhorted the Alumni to help the college in any way it could. The speech was followed by a flute recital by the brothers Mugunthan and Kannan Indrarajah and a music recital by Brian and Christine Lal. SOOn afterwards the Band Struck up and dancing went on with breaks for dinner and the raffle draw. The Vice-President of the association Dr. A. Balasubramaniam thanked the organisers of the function and extended a special welcome to the Chief Guest. National Heroes Day to remember the men and women who had laid down their lives for the Cause Of Tamil Eelam was observed on 28th November 1998 at the Ukrainian Youth Centre, Lidcombe, Sydney. The Tamil flag was raised, followed by the singing of The Tamil Eelam National Anthem. Speeches were made and members of the public lighted lamps to honour the dead.
Croydon Tamil Community Centre (CTCC)
1524 London Road, Norbury, London SW16 4EU. The centre was inaugurated on 14th April 1998 by the Mayor of Croydon and is actively functioning between 10am and 4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tamil Television, Sri Lankan Newspapers, updated internet news, Magazines, books etc are available. The Croydon Council assists in the running of CTCC.
On Wednesdays, between 11am and 2pm Seminars and discussions with lunch are being arranged. Cultural programmes are held during weekends.
For further details, please contact Mr. Srinivasan. On 0181 763 222.
Amuthavani daugh Anpananthar, owners house, Vanee Agenc E12 has conne out w recent A level examin 25 candidates with Obtained 4 A 'S ii Mathematics and Ge Sion to do medicii Hospital. She contin liant academic recor of which 6 were A" a back. She was a pu School for Girls and of the school by Ti Lord Mayor of Lond 98, received The l Science and The DC non academic Servic Amuthavani is also in September last arangetram at which, mer Dean of Fine University applaude to be a professional
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of St. Paul. Jan. 26 Karthigai Jan. 27 EekathaSi. Jan. 29 PirathoSam. Jan. 31 Full Moon, Thai Poosam, Feast of St. John BOSCO.
ter of Mr. and Mrs. of the pioneer business y of Manor Park, London with flying colours at the lation ranking among the the best results. She Biology, Chemistry, rman and gained admishe at the Royal Free ues to maintain her brild having obtained 10A's t the G.C.S.C. two years pil of the City of London at the Prize Distribution he Right Worshipful the on held on 14th October Marcella Ellis Prize for brothy Malone Award for e.
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Renuka's Bharata Natya Arangetram
The Bharata Natya Arangetram of Remi Renuka daughter of Mr. Shanmugam and late Mrs. Rani Shanmugam of Ennapetal, Germany took place on 4th October 1998 at “The Haus Ennapetal”.
Renuka is a student of "Natya Shanthi' Pavithira Selvakanthan of Pavithira Kalalaya, Dortmund, Germany. Pavithira has been a disciple of Mrs. Kirupa Ratneswaran and Adyar K. Luxmanan of Madras. Renuka is the third student to graduate from her school. It should be mentioned that two years back Adyar Luxmanan visited Germany with his musicians to conduct Pavithira's dance performance in Dortmund.
Renuka's debut commenced with the traditional Nadarajar Anjali, Alariippu, Jathis Waran, Gowth van and went on to the well known Warnam Ni Intha Mayam' in Danyasi ragam which was performed very Weil.
After the interval came the pathams; Asai Mugam', 'Neela Malar" and “Velli Swaram’. The highlight of the second half was the patham "Mahishasura Marthini" in Revathi Ragam depicting the Goddess Sakthi as a destroyer of evil. The performance concluded with the Thillana in Maduvanthu Ragam. It was observed that a lot of importance was given to costumes as Renuka exhibited six of them with the result that guest speakers delivered lengthy speeches. The Chief Guest was Mrs. Rajani Suresh Kumar from London. The programme was compered by the former SLBC presenter Mr. N. T. Jegan. The Orchestra consisted of NattuVangam: Pavithira Selvakanthan, Vocal Ambika Thanotheran (London) & Pathmalojani Kumarachandran, Mirdangam; S. Pranavanathan and Violin: M. Devaraja (France).
Dr. Nagalingam Sivasubramaniam
- An Appreciation
Any person who met Siva even for a very brief period could not but like him, Siva was a sincere friend, a guide, a philosopher, a visionary and a doctor in every sense of those terms.
Known endearingly to his close friends as 'Sivasuppan', a name that he often enjoyed being called, and which went well with his puckish humour and sometimes mischievous behaviour, Siva e Vinced remarkable brilliance both in his secondary School Career and as a student of medicine at the University. As a student, his days were not merely confined to his books, he had a full round career enjoying every moment of it - this was later to be reflected in his attitude to life and to those With whom he interacted. Even at the pinnacle of his career as the physician to the royalty of Malaysia, Siva kept in close touch With his friends both at horne and abroad,
When he came over to Australia, although a Member of the Royal College of Physicians, Siva opted for general practice. Over the years he was adored and respected by his patients and his staff. His diagnosis was spot on, and his treatment appeared incredibly simple, unceremoni. ous and transparent. He believed in the miraculous powers of the human system to heal itself. At the end of the day, the patient went back home positively confident - it was all part of the good fun. Siva was intrinsically kind hearted, understanding and extremely sensitive to the feelings and susceptibilities of others, His warmth which was evidently sincere and spontaneous. yet when it came to a fight, he was unrelenting and uncompromising. He fought his battles both silently and articulately, Many Viewers in Australia Will recall the nanner in which he took on the mighty and the wealthiest media magnate and tycoon, culminating in a public apology being unreservedly offered on television, when the viewers watched the pathetic spectacle of the presenter eating humble pie. The propriety of Siva's professional conduct was thus vindicated. Perhaps, even Providence had to first make him unconscious for a brief spell before his life could be snatched a Way,
Siva eschewed and despised creature cornforts. He was most confortable while in a discussion on politics, world affairs, community matters, people, literature and above all philosophy, whether it be ancient, modern, western or eastern. Having been a self tutored student of philosophy, he retained an abiding interest in its continuing study. Siva was indeed a great person, Many a definition has been proffered for greatness. Not that we say that Siva was great because he did great things. It is just that he did great things because he was great.
On the night of 16
action of being of serv, community in the ende thern with a modern lib, Scious and went into Which he neverawoke, Sivais reminiscent of dearest friend and p Prince of Denmark:
"Now cracks a noble sweet prince
And flights of angels:
Murugan at N Chess R
Although most chess the truly gifted ones : and make rapid prog. very young. in recent produced and nurturec and one who has beer lines is Murugan, 9 yet Mrs. Thiruchelvarn off both of whom are accc At the age of 3-1/ brother and sister, 6 a him considered Murug with them, their moth chessboard, the Che moves and he started the age of 4. Muruga was just before he wa in the Under-8 Rap (each player is allowe minutes, as opposed player in normal to Elmbridge Chess Fest place. Soon afterward month, he won first p Under-8 Rapid-play children over 2 years years he won first priz (1 point for a win and in the Under-10 B Federation) gradings play tournament at Go ers of all ages. Murug that age is a British re 10 months Murugan boy, who was nearly prize in the all-Englan tion. A nonth later 1 London Under-12 COn
In October 1998,
May 1998 while in Ce to the Strathfield avours of providing rary, Siva fell uncona deep sleep from Our final farewell to hat of Horatio to his hilosopher, Hamlet
heart, Good night,
sing thee to thy resti” S. Jayahanthan,
line Breaks ecords
players start young, show great promise ress when they are years England has i many such players hitting recent headarold son of Mr. and Wew Malden, Surrey, Diffar S. 2, when Murugan's and 5 years elder to an too young to play er ShOWed hin the ss pieces and the playing the gane by in's first tournament s 5, when he played id-play competition ld only a total of 30 to 2 to 4 hours per urnaments) at the ival and tied for third is, at 5 years and 1 rize in the Kingston competition, beating alder to hirn. At 6-1/2 'e on 5-1/2/6 points 1/2 point for a draw) CF (British Chess ection of the Rapidlders Green for playlan's achievement at cord. At 8 years and shared With another f1 years old, the first d Under-11 competihe won outright the petition.
15 DECEMBER 1998
months, Murugan has broken two records, as discussd by Malcolm Pein in his chess column in The Daily Telegraph of 20th October. In the open section of the Maidstone Congress, Murugan held the top-seeded Croatian, Grand Master (GM) Bogdan Lalic, to a draw. By doing this Murugan became the youngest Child ever to avoid defeat by a GM, beating the world record held by India's Surya Ganguly who defeated a GM in 1994 at 10 years and 3 months, it is interesting to note that Lalic is in fact Murugan's coach. We should be pleased that Murugan has upheld our tradition of not exceeding one's Guru. As to whether this was by choice or not is something one has to ask the youngster. The previous record was held by Luke McShane, who drew against a GM in 1994 at the age of 10 years and 8 months,
At the Maidstone Congress, Murugan tied for the fourth place on 4/6 in a strong field which included international Masters, in addition to GM Lalic. The other recent record was also earned in this Congress when he reached the BCF grading of 225, equivalent to the international rating of 2400. Previously, in March 1998, at 9 years and 3 months, Murugan was admitted to the International grading of 2020, breaking the British record held by Luke McShane, who gained his first international rating at 9 years and 6 months. In late October/early November 1998 Murugan, as the strongest British player in the category, was chosen to represent England in the Under-10 section of the World Junior Championship in Spain. He scored 6-1/2/11, a good score considering the strength of the competitfors from all over the World. The Section was won on 8-1/2/11 points by a Russian boy. بر
Murugan's next main goal would be to become an International Master. At his present rate of progess he will probably achieve this, breaking another record. But it is relevant to note the word of Caution given by British GM Jon Speelman, who has devoted the whole of his chess column in the Observer of 25.10.98 to Murugan. He writes 'Chess development is not linear but rather goes in steep ascents inter. spersed with plateaux and even some dropping away. One shouldn't burden Thiruchelvam or any other junior with expectations which can become a millstone impeding their progress. Nevertheless, there is every prospect that he will become a truly fearsome player', Speelman should know because he too started Very young.
It is quite a responsibility for the parents of a talented child to strike the right balance. Murugan would spend many weekends and some week days participating in chess congresses. His parents have to take him to the various venues, in the UK and abroad, see that his needs are met and at the same time ensure that he does not fall behind in his school work and other development. As is often the case with chil
continued on page 33
at 9 years and 10
continued from page 32
dren gifted in chess, Murugan is doing well in school, is particular about completing homework assignments and, like any other boy, plays football, badminton and other games. He has been learning the Mridangam as well, but has suspended his lessons at the moment and hopes to take it up later, Mr and Mrs. Thiruchelvam should be congratulated on their guidance and the hard work they are putting in.
Leonard Baden, the veteran Chess-writer and journalist, who contributes to The Guardian and the Financial Times, has predicted that Murugan will be in the England team for the 2008 Chess Olympiad and readers would no doubt
Dr. S. Sriharan.
Called to the Bar in Canada
Somanader Attorney-at-Law Sri Lanka, A.l.l. Canada, has been Called to the Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor in Toronto, Canada. She was a legal officer in the Bank of Ceylon prior to migration to Canada.
She is the daughter of Mr. Sam Somanader and the late Olive Somanader of New York, U.S.A.
Western Jewellers Sivasundaram Honoured
The British Government has for the last several years secured the assistance of the business community to promote the arts. The Association for the Business Sponsorship of the Arts has been actively performing the function of bringing together business donors and arts associations through the Pairing Scheme. Mr. V. Sivasundaram, of Western Jewellers, 230 Upper Tooting Road, London SW17 was honoured with a Pairing Scheme Award by The Rt. Hon. Chris Smith M. P, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports, at an impressive ceremony on 28th October 1998 at Lancaster House, London SW1; for sponsoring the Tamil New Year Festival organised by the London Tamil Centre. The picture below shows those present at the ceremony L - R Dr. Ratnam Niththyananthan, Director of Studies,
London Tari! Sriskantharajah, Tamil Centre, The M.P and Mr. V. Siv Jewellers.
The annual featur Lalgudi School of A Day - was celeb, Kingsbury High Sch of Muthuswamy Dik by the students oft of other music teac
The proceedings group recital of Bhajeham. Around school, starting W. ending with the ve played the Violin in Offour violinistS Pir Ramdass, Nirsha Parthiban Nagaraja five minutes and p Ordinated Classical dard with impc Narendran, the si sang with excellent ringing voice and neous applause of max of the eveni Arvind Jayans solo of an elaborate Poo and the Kriti 'Meen He excelled in his Sweetness of the pi
The Chief Guest,
Dr. N. London
Rt. Hon. Chris Smith asunderan of Western
e in the Calendar of Music (UK) - Dikshithar rated On 31. 10.98 at lool Hall. Compositions Shithar were presented he school and students herS.
Commenced with the “Vatapi Ganapathim f 30 Students of the th the beginners and ry advanced students groups. The final group yah Sivagnanam, Ravi than Nagarajah and h played for about forty resented very well comusic of a high stanrovisations. Aparna 2hool's vocal student Sruthi alignment and a received the Spontathe audience. The Cling was reached with violin recital consisting rvikalyani raga alapana KShime Mudan Delhi. onal quality, Clarity and
Prof. S. Swaminathan,
Manager of the London Tamil Sangam and Lecturer, London University distributed the certificates and prizes to the winners in the Music Examinations of the School held in September. He congratulated the students on the high standard of the performances that day and complimented the good work done in the school for the Cause of authentic carnatic music in England. The hall was filled to capacity in spite of the bad weather that evening.
Merit Award for Dr. Saba
Dr. Ophthalmic Surgeon, Stobhill General Hospital, Glasgow has been presented with a Greater Glasgow NHS Merit Award in Ophthalmology in recognition of the provision of particularly innovative health service to the people of Greater Glasgow.
The Glasgow Lord Provost, Mr. Pat Lalyt, while presenting the certificate of merit and a cheque in the City Halls referred to Dr. Saba's dedicated Work within the National Health Service, which had earned for him the appreciation and gratitude of the people of Greater Glasgow for his outstanding work in caring for fellow citiZenS.
Australian National University Asian Studies WWW Monitor
has given its top five star rating to the tamilnation website....
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