| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(July 26, 2013, London , Sri Lanka Guardian) July ‘83 pogrom was conveniently avoided in mainstream newspapers in the South on the front pages for the past three days. This is uncannily reminiscent of the day when Colombo and the rest of the South where Tamils lived harmoniously with Sinhalese, Muslims and Burghers were burning and Tamil homes and business were looted and burnt and well over 3,000 Tamils massacred.

Sinhalese are such a gullible ethnic majority who would swallow hook, line and sinker that LTTE and NE Tamils are one and the same and the war which ended brought prosperity and peace. The governments made sure the North and East did not communicate with the South.
Many thousands of Tamils were herded into makeshift refugee camps for several days. President J.R. Jayewardene refused to declare curfew for three days. He watched in glee as his government-orchestrated massacre of Tamils under the then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa and his cabinet of ministers Cyril Matthew (a Tamil by descent) and Gamini Dissanayake among others who instigated mobs and school boys to wreak havoc and destruction on their properties which took the form of a maniacal killing and looting spree with a vengeance to erase the faces of Tamils from history of Sri Lanka.

The media blitz begun by leaving the front pages of the newspapers blank and classical music played instead of news in the electronic media 30 years ago is repeated today when the government is up for world scrutiny of its treatment of minority Tamils since Black July 1983. Co-incidentally, EU delegation, UK parliamentarians and other human rights representatives too are in the country to take stock of post war developments.

UNHRC chief Navy Pillai is due next month and she will leave no stones unturned.

Much like the proverbial cat closing its eyes and drinking pilfered milk believing nobody is watching it, this government believes that if it shuts down media exposure of its past crimes amounting to eugenics, it could send off the visiting Western dignitaries with a hail-fellow-well-met salute and Lankan hospitality and rest easy that all is hunky-dory in the new Sri Lanka since it wiped out the entire LTTE outfit.

The government spares no speaking opportunity to tell the West that peace has finally dawned on the isle. Ergo, from FM G.L. Peiris to disinformation counsellors who were erstwhile journalists in state media are despatched to the four corners of the world to impart the good news that Sri Lanka is the beacon of democracy following the eradication of terrorism now that the LTTE were cornered and annihilated in Nandhikadal in May 2009.

The horrendous truth that between 40,000 and 100,000 Tamils were massacred was obfuscated with the blarney that the government soldiers conducted humanitarian rescue of Tamils from the clutches of the LTTE.

‘East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet’ catchphrase by Rudyard Kipling was not uttered in vain. Kipling might have given his name to English cakes which are still popular and sold in supermarkets but his racism against Asia which gave him his colonial comforts still reverberates in our own microcosmic world of Sinhala Buddhist leaders.

Sinhalese are such a gullible ethnic majority who would swallow hook, line and sinker that LTTE and NE Tamils are one and the same and the war which ended brought prosperity and peace. The governments made sure the North and East did not communicate with the South.

They murdered some 37 messengers aka media workers since 1990 who dared to tell the truth and leak out what the governments were doing to annihilate the minority Tamils.

Tell it to the world that Sri Lanka does not know the meaning of democracy or that it is but a jot on the Southern of India. The world is not its oyster although the populace think Buddhism and Sinhala racism can make it a unique island bereft of foreign intervention.

In this global village it cannot remain an ostrich burying its head under Sinhala chauvinism. Sri Lanka still needs to suck up to the West, China and even India for its economic survival. And in turn they will set their conditions. Which way will the government swing?

(The writer has been a journalist for 24 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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