“The majority of Tamils live in the Sinhalese areas and the hill country without any problem. I grew up in Jaffna, in the North, under the oppressive discrimination of the Tamil caste system, and them moved from Mannar to Hatton (in the hill country), and finally to Colombo.”
By Sebastian Rasalingam
(October 23, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Canadian Tamil organizations have moved into a level of high ``uchchaham" (excitement) with the arrival of a clandestine boat of illegal immigrants to Victoria, BC. The highly organized and well funded Tamil-Tiger terrorist organizations still have many front organizations. Many front organizations have moved into high gear giving press releases and media conferences. They have suddenly found an opportunity to go back to the 1980s and pretend to be the underdog that got bashed by the Sri Lankan authorities.
Roy Ranavale, a businessman who has attempted to follow the footsteps of the New York based Raj Rajaratnam and become rich has claimed that "his memories as a Sri Lankan teenager tossed into a violent jail made him understand why 76 of his countrymen have risked their lives to reach Canada aboard a rusty freighter." He is the vice president of a Tamil front organization.
He claims that the conditions that prevailed in the 1980 or even 1990s, when the Tigers eliminated individuals like Dr. Neelan Thriuchelvan in broad daylight, still exists today. Does he not realize that four or five changes of government have occurred?
Does he not know that democratic elections have been held in the country?
He knows all that. But he is a master of the art of spinning tales. Ratnavale has the audacity and the mendacity to say: "travel, from north to south (in Sri Lanka), is probably more dangerous than getting on a boat and coming to Canada."
Ratnavale knows very well that the A9 main road is fully open. Buses and trains connect the north and the south. Mail bags as well as vegetables, men and women go back and forth. I myself and two other Tamils traveled to the IDP camps as well as to other parts of Sri Lanka during the summer when we were there. Indian members of Parliament have been there. Then UN undersecretary as well as ordinary people, Tamils as well as non-Tamils, have been there.
Bob Rae, and another Canadian member of parliament wanted to pay a "private visit" to Sri Lanka, armed with a set of contacts and guidelines formulated by types like Ratnavale and other separatists living in the Toronto electorates. It was this ill association with the Tamil extremist lobby groups that was the Achilles heel of Bob Rae and others. The Sri Lankan government probably reacted too nervously and prevented those Members of the Canadian Parliament from visiting Sri Lanka. Instead, I urge the Sri Lankan government to invite these same Canadian MPs on a State Visit and show them the facts, just as the Tamil Nadu MPs were invited to do.
What will happen to these illegal immigrants if they are admitted to Canada? They will be immediately ``swallowed" by the well funded, well heeled pro-Tiger diaspora organizations. The anti-Tiger diaspora will not be allowed to even communicate with them. These 76 new arrivals would also find it extremely convenient to claim that they were harassed or battered by the Sri Lankan authorities. That is exactly what is needed to claim refugee status. They can feign ignorance of English, and request a Tamil translator. A Tamil translator psychologically beholden to the LTTE will appear, even if he is an ``official translator" of the government. Then the outcome is obvious.
I know of an immigrant, Bala, who paid a police office to arrest him several times, repeatedly. That enabled him to create a set of files showing that he was being harassed by the Sri Lankan Police . Bala was able to successfully use those files to support his
refugee claim. But that level of easy manipulation cannot fool the Canadians any more.
Now they have moved into the big criminal league.
These illegal immigrants are victims of crooks who are in the business of human trafficking. They tell them that they can ferry these people to Australia, Canada or Europe. Although they do not qualify as immigrants, they can thus sneak in.
These are not "boat people" of the sort who came from Vietnam. If the problem is just running away from the claimed "oppression" in Sri Lanka, then why not just go to India, where there are other Tamils? Individuals who can pay "Captain Bram" a sum of $45 000 for arranging a clandestine passage can hardly be like ordinary Sri Lankans. If they
could save so much money in Sri Lanka, things could not have been too bad there, at least for them. An ordinary Sri Lankan, Sinhalese or Tamil, earns just a few dollars a day.
The majority of Tamils live in the Sinhalese areas and the hill country without any problem. I grew up in Jaffna, in the North, under the oppressive discrimination of the Tamil caste system, and them moved from Mannar to Hatton (in the hill country), and finally to Colombo. At least in Colombo I found a more equitable, multicultural society where I could lift my head in dignity. Western journalists do not know that many ordinary Tamils cannot even draw some water from a well to quench their thirst as all that is controlled by the hight caste Tamils. They now man the front organizations of the Disapora. It is these Tamils who discriminated against the ordinary Tamils. They want us to be cannon fodder to achieve their separatist aims.
The claims of Ratnavale, or the various Tamil political organizations sympathetic to Separatism in Sri Lanka are false and purely self serving. While there indeed were vicious race riots in Sri Lanka in 1983, triggered by the killing of Sinhala policemen by the Tigers, there has been no retaliatory riots since then. That is, for at least 25 years.
But Ratnavale and his clan of hate mongers would like to continue to flourish their old beggar's wound.
The Tamils now living in Sri Lanka are trying to forge a multi-ethnic, multi cultural society instead of the society based on Tamil Apartheid (i.e., exclusive pure Tamil homelands). This was a doctrine followed by the Tigers and their predecessors who promulgated the so called Vaddukkoddai doctrine of 1976, and the Maradana declaration of 1949. These men were more extreme than the FLQ of Quebec which assassinated just one minster. The Tigers killed dozens of minsters, a president, several prime minsters, and hundreds of eminent Tamils. The oppression and terror came from the Tigers. The retaliation by the Sri Lankan state, accompanied by attacks from the air, certainly led to a horrific dimension trivialized by Americans as ``collateral damage''.
But now the war is over, and Canada should help Sri Lanka to build a multi-ethnic, multicultural nations instead of the separate Sinhala and Tamil racist states that the Tiger Diaspora has been asking for. The Tamils who have settled down in Canada have to leave off continuing to fight the wars of the lands that they left when they immigrated here. Bob Rae and others should stop giving solace to these extremist groups.
Canada should deal gently and fairly with these illegal immigrants who are certainly not poor. They are sneaky individuals who have become victims of international cooks. Canada should ensure that these people do not become victims of the pro-LTTE Diaspora who have converged around them with false friendships based on race hate and ant-Sri Lankan rhetoric. -Sri Lanka Guardian