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This time Jehan Perera has something important to say.

“They should be made to understand that the financial contributions made to the Terrorists, is only to make the terrorists fight relentlessly massacring all those opposing them including the Tamils themselves, to realise the dream of just one man –Prabhakaran.”

by Charles.S.Perera

(September 02, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Commemoration of events perpetuate the memories of them either to enrich human relationship, or make unity and cooperation impossible through hatred those memories invoke.

Year in and year out commemoration of the July,1983, only distances the communities. Every nation in the process of its evolution go through painful periods. But for that matter they do not hinder the enemies of the past, from forgetting the enmity to build new relations of partnership.

In the holocaust, six million Jews, 10 million Poles, 20 million Russians, and 2 million Gypsies were massacred , but for that matter, today the Israel, Poland and Russia maintain good relations with Germany. The two Atomic bombs one in Hiroshima and another in Nagasaki killed quarter of a million civilians, but for that matter, to-day the Americans and Japanese are not enemies. In Vietnam, and Cambodia, both the French and American had killed enumerable numbers of civilians, but for that matter Vietnam and Cambodia have good relations with France and America.

These sad events in history are now commemorated not to perpetrate hatred to one another but to remind that those events should not happen, not again not any more. Therefore, it is not necessary to commemorate the July 1983, to keep flames of hatred alive, to distance the communities from one another.

The Sinhala people for that matter, are showing today, a tremendous patience, despite the awful murders committed by the terrorists in the past- 84 civilians were massacred in Kebitigollawa, 31 Buddhists Monks were massacred in Awarantalawa, 146 civilians praying at the Sacred Bo tree in Anuradhapura were assassinated, 103 Muslims praying in a Mosque in Kathankudy were shot dead, the list is long. Each one of these incidences could be commemorated to arouse hatred.
It was only last month that a young 22 year old Sinhala Student was assassinated at the Jaffna University. These are matters that could have enraged the Sinhala (or the Muslim) population to take revengeful action. Bu the Sinhala people will not let July, 1983 be repeated again , despite the continuous commemoration of it by the Tamil diaspora to kindle hatred towards the Sinhala.

It is time to stop the commemoration of the July,1983 in the interest of the re-unification of the Communities.

It makes us happy as Sri Lankans to see that our people be they Tamils, Muslims or Sinhala,

having left the country, are doing well in foreign lands. In case of those Tamils, who left the Island as a result of the events of the July,1983, the memories are certainly hard to bear, but life has to continue, not with hatred towards those who brought them the sadness of separation from their motherland in mind, but with the intellectual awakening of the necessity to pardon those who had erred, without revenge in mind, but compassion and goodwill to the people of their motherland.

This should be the mission of intellectuals like Jehan Perera, to build a bridges between the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities in Sri Lanka, and the Tamil diaspora. In that reconciliation of the Sri Lankans, and the Tamil diaspora who still harbour grievances because of the painful memories of the past, it should be made clear to them that the war against the Terrorists is not a war against the Tamils.

They should be made to understand that the financial contributions made to the Terrorists, is only to make the terrorists fight relentlessly massacring all those opposing them including the Tamils themselves, to realise the dream of just one man –Prabhakaran. That is not the dream of the ordinary Tamil people who only want to live peacefully together with the other communities.
July,1983 is the past and nobody wants to repeat that event once again, therefore it should not be made an occasion to commemorate, but an occasion to forget and forgive, because the Sinhala people have since then shown exemplary patience, tolerance, peaceful generosity. In their continued support for the " idyllic vision " of a homeland, the Tamil diaspora only alienates themselves from the motherland and its people.

The motherland which they were forced "on their own" to leave, is still there as it was when they left, as an un-mutilated whole, for them to return and feel at home. A 54 percent of the Tamil population of Sri Lanka is living in the South, without the " notion of a Tamil Eelam" to be a barrier to live with the Sinhala and the Muslim Communities, peacefully and in security. They can participate in its governance, and develop it, as it is the common heritage of those of us who live here, and those of the diaspora. The Tamil diaspora is part and parcel of the motherland it inherited and no body should be allowed to separate the Tamil diaspora from what is theirs- not even the LTTE..

Jehan Perera is certainly a good hearted man who feels the pains of others, and specially those who had been denied or believe to have been denied to have a say in what is exactly going on in Sri Lanka. Therefore he sympathises , and tries to understand why they contribute to a group of terrorists whose armed struggle is to break up the motherland to set up a Tamil Homeland. The idea of course is attractive specially to those who still carry the rancour for the past events that drove them away from their motherland.

But intellectuals like Mr. Jehan Perera, should attempt to show that this notion of a separate Tamil homeland is a grievous mistake on the part of the terrorists. Living in foreign lands, the Tamil diaspora sees how the political issues are solved in the countries which they have made their home, democratically without resort to arms and terror.

Mr. Jehan Perera ofcause understands this and he does not seem to be the paid agent of the LTTE I believed him to be, for he says, "………………..This means that if the Tamil diaspora wishes to come to the aid of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, they need to be prepared to engage constructively with the Sri Lankan state, and find ways to do so. It also means that the Tamil diaspora has to reconsider its separatist option and be prepared to accommodate themselves to the reality that the LTTE's military force ( I would say LTTE terror), will not win peace, happiness and prosperity for the Tamil people in the homeland."

The point is how to reach the Tamil diaspora to turn them away from the confidence they had placed on the LTTE terror group. I have seen one or two Tamil journalists writing to the Sri Lanka Guardian, who could perhaps change the attitude of the Tamil diaspora. One of them is Dr.Noel Nadesan, the Editor in Chief of the Uthayam, the Tamil Community News Paper in Australia.

In my opinion the time has come when we should bury our cudgels and stop bashing the President of Sri Lanka who is without doubt a good man who is able to accept all points of view and unite the Communities. We have to unite without further division and bring in all factions to build our motherland to be a peaceful happy place for all of us to live together.

In saying that I wish to quote from what Mr.Jehan Perera says in conclusion, "……….wherever there are members of the Indian diaspora, India has its loyal. proud and willing representatives. So must we make it happen for Sri Lanka, with our own Tamil diaspora. Increasing the number of Tamil officers and diplomats in the foreign service and stationing them in Sri Lankan embassies abroad with the specific mandate of reaching out to the Tamil diaspora could be a first step."
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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