Letter from an Uncle to a nephew

Dear Grand nephew,

(June 11, Colombo,Sri Lanka Guardian) I have omitted your name, because the purpose of this letter is not to embarrass or humiliate you. However, my attention has been drawn to the triumphalist and jingoist remarks that you have posted on Facebook. I do not intend to repeat them here but it is obvious that you have been swept by the chauvinist fever following the military defeat of the LTTE. I would have expected a young man of your education and intellect to exercise a more critical analysis of the events of the past few months in Sri Lanka.

Firstly, your trumphalism and jingoism does not accurately reflect the reality. Claims such as ‘Sri Lankan Army is the Greatest in the World’ are obviously inaccurate. According to the government, the operations in the last few months have resulted in the death of over 6000 soldiers. Many more have suffered serious injuries. If we compare this to what the Indian peace-keeping force [IPKF] incurred during a two year operation, the figure of 6000 is extremely high. At the time the IPKF were ordered to leave Sri Lanka by president Premadasa, egged on by the JVP and some elements of the SLFP, they had surrounded the LTTE leadership and were about to deal a decisive defeat on the LTTE. Yet the IPKF lost just over 1000 soldiers. If one compares other theatres of war such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the casualty rate of the Sri Lankan security forces is extremely high. This of course does not detract from the role the armed forces played in defeating the LTTE and many people may be relieved by the fact the ethnic conflict has at least, for the time being, come to an end. That is impermissible, however, is to go overboard in assessing the outcome of this armed conflict. Furthermore, this triumphalism fails to recognise the enormous destruction of life and property this conflict engendered, including thousands of civilians who lost their lives.

Secondly, your triumphalism fails to consider the deep-rooted problems that gave rise armed rebellion by a section of the Tamil people. It deleted from history the anti-Tamil riots of 1977, the burning down of the most valuable libraries in Jaffna in 1981. The pogrom of 1983 which resulted in wide-spread attacks of Tamils all over the country and the systematic torture and disappearances that many Tamil activists were subjected to by the security forces. If we are to resolve this problem what we need today is magnanimity in victory and not trumphalism. We must extend our hand of friendship to those who we do not necessarily agree with. We must seek reconciliation and not further confrontation. We must listen to their grievances and go half way in meeting their demands. Besides, your trumphalism is alien to our culture, for instance, after defeating Elara, King Dutugemunu ordered that every horseman must dismount when he reached the tomb of Elara as a mark of respect to very man Dutugemunu had defeated in war. That is the spirit in which we must approach the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

Thirdly, we must not believe that simply because the LTTE has been defeated today, other armed rebellions will not occur in the future. You cannot repress and deprive the rights of any group of people forever. As long as people feel that they do not enjoy equal rights and justice, there will always be people who will organise armed rebellions. It is important to note that there are substantial number of Tamils, in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nad, South Africa, Europe and North America who feel that Tamils in Sri Lanka are second calls citizens, that their life and liberty are at risk. While some these claims may be exaggerated, the importance is that there is a substantial body of very wealthy people around the globe who would be prepared to bankroll other armed actions to achieve dignity and equal rights. You cannot keep an ethnic minority suppressed permanently by armed force. You can see that from the history of the Palestinian struggle. Despite the superior fire power, arms and support of the West , each day, month and year more and more young Palestinians come forward to lay down their lives to achieve justice. Israel can never achieve secure borders or peace by sheer armed might. In any even we cannot afford another costly war. Therefore, what we need is not triumpalism but an attempt to understand the grievances of the Tamils and creating an institutional framework for ensuring fairness and equal rights to all communities. Your triumphalism does not recognise the importance of this monumental task facing us.

I was saddened by the nature of the messages you had posted in the Facebook. I thought that you had the strength of character to withstand the chauvinist hysteria that swept through the country after the defeat of the LTTE. Sometimes it is important to swim against the current in order to stand by your moral values. I hope you will reconsider your views and adopt a more sober attitude. After all equanimity in the face of both triumph and disaster is the essence of our culture. Our culture and tradition teaches us to adopt an attitude of equanimity in the face of profit and loss, wealth and poverty, disparagement and praise and happiness and unhappiness (Labho Alabho, Ayaso yasocha, Ninda prasnsa, sukancha dukkham).

Yours affectionately,

Podi Seeya (Grand uncle)
-Sri Lanka Guardian
d4duke said...


Dear Great Uncle (Seeiya)
I am not sure where you are coming from and where you intend to go to.
But you make it clear that you are a supporter of LTTE and division of Sri Lanka.
For three decades the LTTE ran amok in the Island. They killed not only the security forces but brutally murdered unarmed civilians, including the elderly and infants. These amount to in excess of 70,000

You say that 6000 soldiers died, it is much more and if these barbarians were not eliminated there would have been many more deaths.

Seeiya, please do not try to equate 'Great Elahara' with this mindless killing machine, Prabhakaran and his goons. Please do not expect our Brave Armed Forces to bow down to this despot.

From time immemorial the victorious forces all over the world have celebrated the defeat of the enemy. The Brave Armed Forces of Sri Lanka too deserve that Glory. The innocent civilians of Sri Lanka also have reason to celebrate this great event.

This event should be celebrated every year. That way no one will ever think of dividing our little Island into bits and peices.

Your loving Grandson

lutronman said...

Thank you very much for your long sighted obsrvations. Over to you Sri Lanka.

Rajitha said...

Dear writer,
I woould like to thank you for the advise that you have given to the Generation 'Y'. As an individual who represent Gen Y, I believe that we should understand the responsibility lies within us for the future of our beloved Country. Facebook is a social network, therefore when we post comments we also must understand that we have a social responsibility as well. We should learn how to be humble & control our feelings at the same time which may do great to the community than been a triumpalist. As Gen Y we should march forward with others dispite their race, culture, or ethnic background together as otherwise we will not go forward but backwards. If we do not use our heads (specially educated young people) now when we have the golden opportunity to make our country a better place we will regret in another 30 years time. Podi seeya might not be there for us at that time but his great advise will be. So I would like to appologise onbehalf of our Generation & I beleive goingforaward educated yound people will keep this advise on their mind!.