Jaffna Teaching Hospital (Project)
The ordinary Tamil people do not hate the majority Sinhala Buddhists. But it is an artificial hatred that has been created by the Tamil politicians, Tamil business community, the Tamil journalists and the Tamil intelligentsia.
It is they the Tamil journalists, politicians, and the Tamil intelligentsia who should come forward to bring the communities together, and persuade the Tamil people that it is only by accepting the Sinhala majority as compatriots, and working together with them that their problems could be solved.
It is not an aggressive dialogue with the Sinhala majority that will make it possible to end whatever ethnic problems there is between the communities. It is only through peaceful dialogue , tolerance and compromise, that all the Communities in Sri Lanka could find solutions to their “ethnic” problems.
But what is prevailing is the contrary, every Tamil person who has become a sort of a spokes man for the Tamils, moving with the Sinhala people start by calling the Sinhala, chauvinists and supremacists, and criticises them and all their actions. All websites run by the Tamils such as the Sri Lanka Guardian, Transcurrent are not in favour of a friendly coexistence of the Sinhala Buddhists and the Tamils. They continue to campaign for a Tamil Eelam separated from the Sinhala majority.
Pakiasothy Saravanamuth stated in a recent dialoguer that he would ask the President if he were to meet him to work for peace , reconciliation and unity. But reconciliation and unity are possible only if the Tamils accept the Sinhala as their compatriots without harping on their majority status, and show their willingness to work together.
But how could it be possible if educated Tamil people like Narapalasingham wants to rewrite the History of Sri Lanka to prove the existence of an ancient Tamil homeland ? These are the fear mongers, the dark angels of doom that have become barriers for reconciliation and unity. It is the likes of them that keep the Sinhala and the Tamil people apart. Why cannot they emulate great people-like Ghandiji, of the past who were prepared to sacrifice their lives to promote unity among the people, the communities. ?
Anandasangaree in his old age should come forward to speak to his people for the much needed communal unity, without disowning their compatriots the Sinhala just because of their numerical majority. It is working together without having complexes that we could build our country from being a developing country, to a developed country.
It is time that Douglas Devananda too speak out for the people as a whole without identifying himself as a Tamil- the leader of the EPDF. The President Mahinda Rajapakse made a start by stating clear and loud that there is no majority or a minority in this country but Sri Lankans who are either bad or good.
Coming back to Feizal Samath’s article of the Inter Press Service, he quotes Arul who had been invited by the IPS to discuss the future of the high school children, “……..
Most of them want to go abroad for studies and live there permanently. "There is no future here. We will always be second-class citizens," said Arul. “
Perhaps Arul thinks that by going abroad he could be a first class citizen somewhere. Of course he assumes that the expatriates, who spend a lot of money when they come to Sri Lanka, and “fight” for a Tamil Eelam from abroad are already first class citizens in the respective countries where they live. They never tell the truth that even with qualifications they will never be, even second class citizens in those countries as long as their skin is black.
Arul probably does not know that the expatriate Tamils want to keep the ethnic problem going in Sri Lanka, so that they can continue to stay in those countries as political refugees. They are not any happier in those countries except that they have no responsibilities, and could educate their children to be people without roots any where. Arul’s problem is that in his mind he has made himself a second class citizen in his own motherland.
The Sri Lanka Tamils unfortunately carry with them the stigma of terrorism, with the expatriate Tamils back in foreign countries keeping terrorism alive, and TNA in Sri Lanka advocating self determination and a Tamil Eelam. Arul if he gets to a Western country, the police of that country will open a file for him from the day he lands in that country. He will like all Tamils, be under constant surveillance to see that he is not a terrorist sympathiser.
The Norwegian Police recently arrested seven Sri Lanka Tamils as terrorist activists. In France too there are arrests of Tamils and their identity checked . The Sri Lanka Tamils are treated with suspicion in foreign countries.
The following is a quote from a report that appeared in “hinduonnet.com”… IN the first week of April, the French law-enforcement authorities conducted a series of well-planned and coordinated actions against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Fourteen Tamils of Sri Lankan origin, suspected of being linked to the organisation, were produced at a special counter-terrorism tribunal in Paris and placed in judicial custody under a preventive detention order on April 5. A special four-member panel of examining magistrates filed preliminary charges and ordered that they be held in detention for 120 days pending further investigation.”
Things are not as bad as this in Sri Lanka. So when the “disappointed” Tamil youths would like to migrate to countries abroad, they should keep the above matters in mind. The Tamil youth in the North and East are not aware of these.
That is because no one, not even the IPS of Feizal Samath tells these youngsters, that there is no better place anywhere else in the world other than where they were born. They have to give time for development to come to Sri Lanka and there is a formidable future for the people of Sri Lanka, provided every one is prepared to work with that future in mind.
Even if Arul has no sympathies with the LTTE, once he is abroad, he will be in the clutches of the terrorist sympathising expatriates. Hinduonnet.com in its report mentions, that “One young Tamil who told a TV interviewer that he was forced into giving money to the LTTE had to go into hiding after that as the Tigers began gunning for him. There is a Tamil restaurant that dissident Tamils often frequent. Its owner, a Tamil film producer, was assaulted twice for letting anti - LTTE people patronise his establishment.”
Development has to come to North by way of tourism, infrastructure development, and industrialisation. It need not be repeated that there has to be a preparative stage of development when nothing positive would materialise. The Tamils in the North have lived for thirty years in utter misery and it is not understood why this impatience now. It appears they have short memories. Even before the hotels are being built, they turn out to be extra religious and look for loop holes not to appreciate the development work undertaken by the government, but to blame it.
Feizal Samath’s article shows the difficulties the government has to face in its attempt to develop the country to give the people a better living conditions in the future. The article states , “ Few Tamils from Jaffna were invited to the event ( laying of a foundation for a Hotel complex) and all the speeches were delivered in English even if the majority of the 700,000 people speak only Tamil. Furthermore, local residents questioned the location of the hotel as it is close to a sacred Hindu temple, visited by millions of Tamils every year.
"How can you sell alcohol or meat in a sacred location?" asked Arudpragasam Sivathamby, a taxi driver. Outside the same temple premises, dozens of Sinhala traders are doing business, in some cases displacing the Tamil merchants, causing resentment among the minority ethnic group.
"This is causing a huge problem," said Tamil parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran. ”
In the South there are more Tamils who have set up their commercial enterprises in certain areas , than the Sinhala. But the Sinhala people do not complain. Therefore , how could it be a different if dozens of Sinhala traders are doing business in Jaffna. Is this a minority ethnic problem or a problem the Tamils in Jaffna are trying to create?
The crux of the problem is in the last paragraph of Feizal Samath’s article, which reads, “Tamils are hoping for a greater role in power sharing. However, Dr. S. I. Keethaponcalan, a political scientist from the University of Colombo, said that is not a priority for the government at the moment. "The government won a commanding majority at the recent parliamentary polls, and trying to appease the Tamils is not the biggest priority at the moment," he declared. “
It is people like Dr.Keethaponchalam, who have to step in to pacify the people in Jaffna and ask them to be patient and allow the government to proceed with development projects which are in fact meant for the ordinary Tamil people. Power sharing is a big word and it is for the rich and the powerful, which will not help the ordinary people. This goes to show that the educated well to do Tamils are seizing the opportunity to benefit from the situation for their own self aggrandisement, to lord over the less educated and the illiterate.