Victory to Sri Lankans, and The National Anthem

A Sri Lankan Tamil devotee offer prayers while holding a lighted oil lamp during Diwali, or the festival of lights, at a Hindu temple in Colombo on November 5, 2010. The Hindu festival of light, Diwali, marks the homecoming of the God Lord Ram after vanquishing the demon king Ravana and symbolises taking people from darkness to light and the victory of good over evil. - File Photo

 "The personal insult directed to Rajapaksa may have been the psychological springboard of the discussions about the Tamil version of the National Anthem. If all attempts at reconciliation are rejected in this manner, why continue this pantomime of two languages, two national anthems etc? Is it not true that Sri Lankan official events are run in all tree languages, with painstakingly lengthy programs, even though very few Tamils in the west choose to come to such events?"

by Gam Vaesiya

(December 19, Ontario- Canada, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. Lenin Benedict is a noted anti-LTTE activist and Sri Lankan Patriot living in Toronto. In an article entitled "Greatest victory to Sri Lankans" published in the Sri Lanka Guardian ( Read Dec. 17th guardian ) and elsewhere, he has expressed his chagrin and amertume at the alleged attempt to scrap "the National Anthem sung in Tamil in the North and East by Tamils living in the area for decades". He alleges that this is a result of Mahinda Rajapaksa "just trying to portrait himself as a Hardcore Sinhala Nationalist and a savior of Sinhala language in the south as a measure to save his popularity eroding...", resulting from the cancellation of the address to the Oxford union.

Nothing can be far fetched than this. The average Sinhala voters does not care a damn, and probably has not even heard about the Oxford Union or the machinations of British Tamils.

However, the Tamil version of the National Anthem came into being during the last stages of the Sirimavo era, without the sanction of that government. The Tamil version of the anthem was the brain child of a number of more "moderate" activists in Colombo who managed to rope in several people including Nanada Malini and even Amaradeva. This was to "appease" the very militant Eelamists who, however, had their own "Eelam National Anthem". In fact, leftist intellectuals in Colombo had always advocated such a policy within the early LSSP language policies of the 1960s.

J. R Jayawardena and Tamil activism.

J. R. Jayawardene was a politician who accepted anyone, Tamil or Sinhala, as long as the abiding philosophy was making money. He was ready to give ample opportunity to the Robber Barrons of the Tamils, or the Sinhalese, as long as Nationalism was subjugated to Mercantilism. Thondaman Sr. quickly seized the opportunity to come on board and resolve the needs of his people, with no slogans of separatism or Arasu. However, the Tamil Nationalists were less interested in their own people and more interested in the hubris of "Arasu", a kingdom of their own. The likes of Canagaratnam and Amirthalingam who tried to get on board with J R. Jayawardena were assassinated. Although J. R. gave parity of status to the Tamil language, and there by made the national anthem valid in two languages, the Eelamists were NOT interested.

They had tasted Blood. They had created a Tamil quasi-Christian Carnivore which could manipulate the Tamil-Hindu-Vegevore of the North and East.

Although J. R. granted all the requests of the Tamil Nationalists, he found no compromise coming from the Carnivore. It has been suggested that the resulting hardening of J. R's attitude was reflected in his government's "let the Tamils have it" response to the 1983-July violence. After that J. R. acquiesced to the dicta of the Indians to set up a merged North-East under a single governor, implementing the
Prabhakaran-Rajeev Gandhi accord. In fact, J. R. did everything to appease the Carnivore, as did Premadasa, Chandrika and Ranil.

Rajapaksa, from appeasment to attack.

Even Rajapaksa began with his hand extended to Prabhakaran, and tending at VIP-level to Daya Master's illness and implementing the Cease-Fire Agreement.

Thus, Rajapkasa has never been the Hard-Sinhala-Hawk that the West has wanted to portray. No doubt he is a native Sinhalese from the south who understands that no politician who short-changes the 75% of the population could succeed. He has not been poisoned by the mongrel minds of Colombo intellectualism, and he could see clearly that the Tamil Nationalist movement had morphed into a terrorist movement. In fact, when he began to successfully crush the terrorist movement from 2006 onwards, Tamil dissident writers like Sebastian Rasalingam, Thomas Johnpulle, and activists like Lenin Benedict took courage and came to the fore. The writings of more independent journalists like D.B.S. Jeyaraj had also paved the way, showing that the defeat of Prabhakaran was indeed a greater blessing to the Tamils than it was for the Sinhalese. Prabhakaran had set up the machinery to successively annihilate the poor Tamils and their children living in Sri Lanka. It also furnished the the more resourceful Tamils an excellent excuse for immigration. The would-be immigrant Tamils found that the claims of torture, rape, genocide etc., often perpetrated by the LTTE itself, provided a free access card to unsuspecting Western democracies which employed these very same immigrants as official Tamil translators at refugee-claimant hearings.

The Diaspora and its vested interest.

The consequence of all this is a diaspora which has a good reason to continue to claim that they cannot return to Sri Lanka where there is continuing "genocide against Tamils", and that "Tamils are routinely "tortured and discriminated" simply because they are Tamils". A lucrative industry and fund-raising net has been set up to denounce Sri Lanka's government, discredit its leaders and smuggle Tamils into the West as "refugees" from "terror".

The so-called Transnational Government of Eelam" (TGTE), the "British Tamil Forum" (BTF), and other organizations are like a multi-headed hydra nourished by the anti-SriLankan venom of the diaspora. The Sri Lankan government's hand of reconciliation has been bitten and rejected by this Hydra.

The reclamation of the heavily-mined North and East, the successful return of most of the 300,000 "internally-displaced people" (IDPs) to their land, the holding of elections after an interregnum of four decades, the restoration of civil society, the rehabilitation and education of child soldiers etc., are ignored. The enormous deployment of resources for road and infrastructure building, re-construction of ports and fishing facilities, salterns and neglected industries in Trincomalee etc., are slighted. The palpable betterment of the living standards of the Tamils that has occurred under the Rajapaksa administration is reposted by claims of genocide, plunder and colonization of Eelam.

Just as the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) worked in the 1940s-1970s with the express objective of polarizing the Sinhalese and the Tamils into two opposing factions, the Diaspora organizations are working to stop ANY RECONCILIATION between the two ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa's vision and the Oxford speech.

It is in this back drop of Rajapaksa's attempts to forge friendships between the two communities that he hoped to go to Oxford and present his vision. This would have been a strong antidote for the venom of IR-RECONCILLIATION spewed out by the Diaspora. The BTF, and also students agents like Deluxon Morris of the TGTE, worked relentlessly to personally embarrass the President of Sri Lanka who has been elected not only by a 77% vote from the south, but also with a ~30% vote from the North.

It should not be forgotten that the BTF had invited Wickramabahu Karunaratne at the same moment as Rajapaksa's visit, to address its celebrations of suicide killers and "Maaveers". Karunaratne is a dead-end politician who got 0.07% of the Tamil votes in the North. Thus the friends of the BTF in Sri Lanka, like Karunaratne, have no support even of the local Tamils.

The personal insult directed to Rajapaksa may have been the psychological springboard of the discussions about the Tamil version of the National Anthem. If all attempts at reconciliation are rejected in this manner, why continue this pantomime of two languages, two national anthems etc? Is it not true that Sri Lankan official events are run in all tree languages, with painstakingly lengthy programs, even though very few Tamils in the west choose to come to such events?

That is a valid question that may have been in the mind of the President and some of his disillusioned advisers. Do we not remember S. W. R. D. Banadaranaike's effort to find a neutral symbol, the letter "sri" for the car registration plates of the 1956 era. Chelvanayagam and others haughtily rejected even the use of a Tamil version of the letter as the Sinhala "Sri" was a useful and immediate tool for agitation, and the "anti-Sri" tar-brush campaign came out.

The Tamil diasporas in Britain and elsewhere are self-serving organizations which pointedly have no representatives from Tamil Nadu, the true homeland of the Tamils. The Sinhalese today have the strength and the confidence to let the National Anthem be sung in Sinhala, and in Tamil as well, when it is appropriate to do so.

There has never ever been an "anti-Tamil Anthem" movement in the same virulent form as practiced by the ITAK against the Sinhala language and its official uses in the country. Wiser council has always prevailed in the Sri Lankan government, then and now. Indeed, there has never been a serious attempt at "scraping the Tamil version of the National Anthem", as would have been welcomed by the Tamil Diaspora, and feared by Lenin Benedict.

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