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I hope …

By Hari Narendran

(May 20, London, Sri Lanka Guardian)
Finally, with the defeat of the LTTE, the war is done. A piece of me feels a bit of sadness at the LTTEs demise - only because of the ‘what-ifs’. They were born out of a necessity - the need to counter the violence and terror the state and its goon squads visited upon Tamil citizens from the time of Sinhala only, long before the Tigers came on the scene, culminating in the atrocities of 1983. With the support they initially had from the community and the military machine they built, they could have been a force for good, forcing an unwilling state to make changes to its structures to ensure racial policies would no more handicap sections of the population.

Sadly thats not how it evolved. Instead the Tigers chose to ape the worst behaviours of the state - suppressing dissent, murdering those who criticized it, killing innocents, ethnic cleansing - making what was supposed to be a ‘fight for rights’ entirely meaningless. Lives sacrificed for nothing.

So at the end of the day, I must say I am glad. Glad but apprehensive.

Glad because no longer will someone violate the rights of others in the name of fighting for my rights. Glad because the horrific destruction that has rained upon the north & east for 30 years has finally come to an end. And glad because gone is the excuse the Southern polity has used for far too long to justify the corruption and perversion of the country’s institutions.

Apprehensive because a huge task lies ahead of us to rebuild a prosperous, united country. Apprehensive because in the jingoistic moments of victory I wonder if the powers that be have drawn the right lessons - already in online communities and in statements I get the uneasy feeling that too many see the defeat of the LTTE as the final solution. For too many the problems that befell our country conveniently started with 1983. I hope that we do not forget that the Tigers were the product of a diseased state - and unless the state is reformed to work on the principle that whether Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Hindu we are all equal citizens under the law, we run the risk of continued strife.

Will our politicians pursue the peace with the same zeal that they pursued the war, even if it means giving up the commission lifestyle that they have enjoyed at the expense of the common man?

Will civil society stand up and be counted, holding government accountable to the people, reminding them once again that they are public servants and not the other way around?

Will the Tamil diaspora that blindly bound itself to the Tigers realize that the fight is about the rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and not a fight for the Tigers, and focus their organizing capability and energy into funneling resources to help rebuild the north & east? And will that be accepted in the right spirit by the government?

The end of this war has come at a horrific cost - borne largely by the Tamil population stuck in the war zones of the North & East. 30 years of shelling and bombardment, with both sides claiming all was in the name of their own good.

So many questions, yet for their sake and the sake of the motherland, I hope …

-Sri Lanka Guardian

5 comments

tharaka said...

Well said, Heartening to hear moderate voices of Tamil speaking Sri Lankans.

While agreeing with your opinion, I would like to add one thing we always fail to notice. Initially there may have been discrimination against Tamils under Sinhalese majority rule and against Sinhalese during the British mafia rule.

At the same time it was a discrimination of different sought that existed since independence. Rich against Poor. It was not only Tamils even Poor Sinhalese youth took arms twice within last few decades which were crushed with even more brutality.

I think the ways forward is to learn from our bitter past and work for the future of our nation.

We should work to address political issues and even more the economic and social issues.

One thing I have noticed is , during last several decades both Sinhalese and Tamil youth within Sri Lanka have learnt their lessons and mostly have moderate voices. But the same youth living abroad have developed extreme ideologies..!

We should work together as you said and pressurize political leadership to evolve a political solution that addresses everyone’s grievances

Don Knight said...

Lest the writer start waxing lyrical about his 'lost Eelam", let me pose some questions to him and the thousands of Diaspora around the world and those reading this article who seemed to be in constant state of self-disillusionment - do you actually believe for a second that living in a separate state under the LTTE would have been a paradise? The many articles written by Tamil writers, and the hysterical voices of the Tamil Diaspora chanting for a homeland, interspersed with cries of ‘genocide’, certainly believe so.
The truth is, the so-called, Eelam would be a horror of horrors, and make the recent war conditions seem like a walk in the park. For real feedback on this just ask the Tamil civilians who actually lived under the rule of the Tigers. Just some of the litany of sins visited on them by the Tigers include: the kidnapping of the underage sons and daughters to fight for them, taxed no end, arbitrary ‘justice’ by’ Tiger courts and jails and summarily executions, zero dissent tolerance (Would the Diaspora dared to even hold a one-man protest in ‘Eelam’?).
Even with the many flaws of the Sri Lankan government, these same people who are clamouring for their dreamland, would go on their bended knees and ask the SL Govt. to take them back after only a week’s stay at “Hotel Eelam’. That’s’ reality. “Eelam’, would have been a nightmare. As mentioned, just ask the Tamil civilians who experienced this hell, first hand. Not some bunch of moronic students who have never set foot on Sri Lanka, who if they really believed in the cause that they were shouting about, would have gone back and fought shoulder to shoulder with their Tiger brothers and sisters. But no, it’s easier just living in a delusional world - you don’t have to shed a single drop of blood – just run the risk of having a sore throat from all that shouts of lies.

H said...

This was an honest and just article on the emotions that many Tamil people feel about the 'what's next?' factor. Let's not include the pro-LTTE diaspora; we all know that they are beyond delusional. The only reason the pro-LTTE diaspora is still screaming for an "Eelam" is because a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka seems like a wonderful vacation from their cushy suburban lifestyles in European and North American countries. Scream all you want, you members of the pro-LTTE diaspora; but remember, that it is the quarter-million people who were under LTTE rule that are now suffering in IDP camps.

Much is to follow the recent news, and all eyes are on the Sri Lankan government. I hope that the events of the past 3 decades will be a chapter in our past. This is an opportunity for unity and understanding, it is a time for those in Sri Lanka to practice compassion, and realize that everyone is a Sri Lankan, a title that far exceeds that of race, religion, caste, or creed.

H said...

This was an honest and just article on the emotions that many Tamil people feel about the 'what's next?' factor. Let's not include the pro-LTTE diaspora; we all know that they are beyond delusional. The only reason the pro-LTTE diaspora is still screaming for an "Eelam" is because a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka seems like a wonderful vacation from their cushy suburban lifestyles in European and North American countries. Scream all you want, you members of the pro-LTTE diaspora; but remember, that it is the quarter-million people who were under LTTE rule that are now suffering in IDP camps.

Much is to follow the recent news, and all eyes are on the Sri Lankan government. I hope that the events of the past 3 decades will be a chapter in our past. This is an opportunity for unity and understanding, it is a time for those in Sri Lanka to practice compassion, and realize that everyone is a Sri Lankan, a title that far exceeds that of race, religion, caste, or creed.

sunil said...

This is probably how a great many tamils feel,a bit of nostalgia for the adventurism of the Ltte but fatigue from carnage and a sense of relief that it has all come to an end and a new beginning can commence.Both sides have learnt lessons they must never forget.If we develop love amongst us we will never see experience the carnage we were so unfortunate to witness.Let both communities join hands and learn to work for common good of all peoples of Sri lanka we all own jointly all of it no specific shares all of it together.Long Live Mother Lanka

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