Media’s darling diaspora kids become goodwill ambassadors - Sri Lanka Guardian


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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Media’s darling diaspora kids become goodwill ambassadors

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(December 31, 2013, London Sri Lanka Guardian) The sound and fury after Canadian MP Ms Sathsabiesan spoke eloquently in three languages in the Canadian parliament when war was escalating in 2009 in Wanni fizzled out no sooner than TVs and media turned their attention to other events unfolding. Young and beautiful she is, she became the media darling for diaspora Tamils and Tamils living in Sri Lanka.

Then there is MIA, daughter of former Tamil militant Prof. Arudpragasam (comrade of LTTE leader Pirabhakaran in the early stages of Tamil militancy) who used her charms and incredible fashion sense to bring Sri Lanka before the world media with her rap and hip-hop music in almost porn-like strutting on stage. That she went on to earn her living as a pop star is another matter.

Children and youth in the Tamil diaspora raised thousands of pounds and dollars for the Tsunami and war victims with their cultural shows and they really went for it with their parents supporting them.

Having said that, both of the afore-mentioned darlings are welcome in their own sweet and cute ways to do their bit to raise the subject of human rights pertaining to Tamils in Sri Lanka.

But when it comes to action, we need movers and shakers with experience. One could hardly make these two sweet and cute little things sit together with Northern Province Chief Minister Wigneswaran, MPs Sumanthiran or Sampanthan. Certainly these sweet and cute little things would be soothing ointment for ageing and sore eyes but they would hardly comprehend the intricacies of diplomacy and politics no matter how many degrees or accolades they have piled up in their portfolio.

One does not know the purpose of Ms Sathsabiesan’s visit to Jaffna. Is it to garner evidence of war crimes and other issues affecting Tamils or is she here to reclaim some ancestral property? Who is footing her travel expenses? Is it the Canadian Government or the Tamil diaspora or is she footing the bill herself from her own pocket or her family’s?

The young and eager Indian journalist Pirabakaran was mentally tortured and his trade tools confiscated by the TID on his recent visit to Wanni. Actor and poet Jeyapalan too was arrested on blind suspicion by the security forces in November this year. Can Ms Sathsabiesan show the same boldness in Jaffna as she did in Canadian Parliament to record and take photographs to present as evidence at the UNHRC sessions. It is hardly possible and almost impossible. On the other hand she may surprise us all.

But the media loves a bit of sensation just like the actresses who are coming out of the woodworks to contest elections in order to prove they have not only got acting talent and beauty but brains. Bless their make-up and shimmering dresses.

Ms Sathsabeisan certain has grabbed Sri Lanka media’s attention. Enjoy is what I say.

(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