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Rajapakse speaking in Tamil was like Hitler speaking in Hebrew




From Mail Box

(October 06, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Rajapakse’s reading of a transliterated passage in the Sinhala language at the UN calling it a speech in Tamil, has the same effect of Hitler having spoken in Hebrew or Yiddish, if he ever did, on the Jewish people, whom he was annihilating. We are not questioning President Rajapakes’s right to speak in Tamil whenever he chooses to do so, but the exercise undertaken by the President considering the circumstances, the occasion, the manner and the cynicism with which it was done interfaced with the nightmarish plight of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka today amounts to adding insult to injury, to use a cliché that aptly applies to the situation.

We believe, that this was a cheap device used to gain cheap popularity by a chauvinist Sinhala politician, more appropriately done in a Sri Lankan forum. This futile tactic had been adopted by Sinhala leaders whenever they visited the north or the east of Sri Lanka taking the Tamil people for suckers, but the Sri Lankan Tamil people are made of stuff sterner than to fall for such cheap jibes. What the Tamils will not understand is why this hypocrisy should have been internationalised, to the extent for it to have gone up to the level of the UN general assembly in taunting the Tamil people and making the hallowed forum look a circus or a comic opera.

His speaking in Tamil though was less fluent than in English, apparently intended to deflect the international attention on him for his increasing reputation as a war criminal responsible for the rapidly escalating destruction of the lives of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians in his War for Peace, an euphemism for the regular aerial bombardments of Tamil civilian targets by the dropping of bombs by the thousands per day, should have given comfort to those players in the international community, said to be monitoring the Sri Lankan peace situation to continue with their policy of masterly inaction to make out that Rajapakse loves the Tamils to death, and justify their attempts to force the Tamils into accepting the devolution proposals of the APRC which will, no doubt, be further watered down.

Despite the numerous Tamil civilians killed, maimed and disabled, not a single mainstream newspaper has highlighted this. All the Tamils killed are made out to be LTTE cadres based on the rationale that all Tamils are terrorists and deaths of thousands of Tamils do not matter as long as there is victory over the LTTE in the long run. Rajapakse speaking in Tamil was hailed as a record for this was the first time that a speech was ever delivered in Tamil in the UN. Yes indeed. It is a record because this was the first time that a leader ever ventured to make a mockery of the adversity of the Tamils.

To make things worse, Rajapakse made out that he was speaking in Tamil because Tamil is also an official language. In the present context in Sri Lanka, it is of no consequence to the Tamil people as to whether Sinhalese is the Official language and /or whether Tamil is also an official language, with racism and discrimination having taken the centre stage transcending the question of language. And further, the question is where, when and how can the Tamil speaking people employ this provision of Tamil also being an official language.

We were told that by some Sri Lankan newspapers, that the Tamil people both in Sri Lanka and in South India were jumping up in joy on hearing that for the first time in the UN General assembly, Tamil was spoken and that they were grateful to Rajapakse for doing so. Are we to take it that the 300,000 Tamils unimaginably traumatized in Vanni facing near annihilation were jumping up and down for joy in their nightmarish stupor upon hearing that their President, who was going to liberate them, had spoken in Tamil at the UN and that their lives would soon be spared?. Are we to believe that the starving men and women and the under nourished and brain damaged children in the government controlled Jaffna peninsula were celebrating the event with a sumptuous dinner? Are we to accept that the tens of thousands of Tamil men, women and children, while standing in queues for hours to register their presence in a place claimed to be part of their own country became euphoric upon hearing this news over their portable radios? Are we to imagine that the Tsunami victims still languishing in the makeshift sheds showed their glee? And are we to imagine that the thousands of displaced people in the east, including those in Sampur and Muttur lit crackers in appreciation? When we see photographs of thousands of those marching on the roads of Tamil Nadu, are we to surmise that those people are celebrating Rajapakse’s Tamil speech in the UN?

While Rajapakse was extolling the virtues of the Tamil language and giving a brief lesson on its ancient literature, his army Commander, treating Sri Lanka as a piece of real estate, states that Sri Lanka is owned by the majority Sinhala people and the minorities have been graciously given permission to live in the country but only as tenants making no noise: ”I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people…We being the majority of the country, 75%, we will never give in and we have the right to protect this country…We are also a strong nation... They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things." While he does not define what “undue” meant, he makes it very clear that the minorities, therefore, should accept what is offered to them and not be noisy tenants. In other words, if you exercise the democratic right as a Tamil to even ask for anything more that what is intended for you by the majority, you will be doing it at your own peril. It was such an attitude by the Sinhala chauvinist majority that led to the various state sponsored pogroms orchestrated against the Tamil speaking people from 1956 to 1983.

We are however grateful to the army commander, not for the same reasons as the parliamentarian in the saffron robe, but for being candid and forthright in the typical military fashion though lacking in finesse and discretion, for giving us the final insight into the true thinking of the Sinhala polity, his commander in chief and their hypocrisy. We do not blame him for he had to show his superiors and the chauvinists constituting the Sinhala majority, while reassuring himself, that he had the proper motivation to accomplish the objective and the mission that that he has been entrusted to complete -- the genocide of the Tamil people.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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