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Knowing Is One Thing; Doing Is Another Matter...

| by Chandi Sinnathurai

( September 14, 2014, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The whole world knew about the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Tamil tigers were waging a war of attrition against the Sinhala state. A nascent state of Tamil Eelam was embryonic. The tigers were convinced that they were getting stronger. However, the sad truth was that the rug was being pulled under their feet slowly but surely...May 19th 2009 the world knew about the demise of the tiger leader Vellupillai Prabaharan. The tigers fell like a pack of cards!

During the whole struggle from the 1950s until 2009 – The plight of the poor Tamils – I mean the POOR, the dispossessed, the internally dispersed were struggling to free themselves from abject poverty - not having a roof over their heads, no protection, no voice, no basic human rights. Many of the children from such communities lost their childhood to the war – to fight in the front lines of the war. Many were abducted or forcibly recruited into the struggle: Such a despicable plight is not unique to such a struggle; that is of course horrid nature of war. But it is always the poor who get the worst hit.

The whole world knew what was going on...The Tamils – the “educated” ones really knew what was happening on the ground.

The whole war machinery on both sides, the Sinhala state and the Tamil liberation industry, was running an economy empowered by the wealthy.

Some Tamil MPs who belonged to the Liberation Movement were surreptitiously cutting deals with the Sinhala State. They managed to accumulate wealth and send their daughters and sons abroad for private education and yet speak out for “liberation” in order to attract votes. Yet again, this is not unique to this context.

Since the demise of the tigers, the liberation industry has focused its attention on Rajapaksha – the War President. They want Rajapaksha charged as a war criminal. The errors of the past and the present simply cannot be rectified by supplanting focus.

The plight of the poor Tamils remain the same.

When the tigers took their last stand in Mullivaikal, the World knew that thousands of civilians were trapped with them while the State forces were planning to decimate the tigers. The Church hierarchy in the West knew – In Britain, the Church of England and the Methodist Church knew that there were potentially thousands of innocent civilians who would be victims. They too were happy to be silent.

The world stood and watched simply mouthing platitudes. Even today, nothing is done to the Tamils – the plight of the poor has worsened in spite of the economic upturn in Sri Lanka.

The greatest violation is not to do something to alleviate the plight of the poor. They are the ones who have been truly betrayed and discarded by the whole industry of war.

Chandi Sinnathurai is a peasant priest.

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