Traditional Eelamist bongo drummers show support for the LTTE struggle in Germany using the unique Eelamist bongo drum found only in Eelam and 132 other countries of the world.
I think it is time that I, in my humble capacity as the former demon-king of this island, I said something about the pretty shitty situation we seem to have gotten ourselves into. I have been reading some fairly anti-Sinhala posts today, and that combined with the bus bombing in Kebethigollawa this morning, which killed sixty-four at the last count (including women, children and clergy) means that I feel angry and somewhat defensive of the Sinhalese at the moment.
It is time to bring some balance to the blogosphere.
The Sinhalese have properly f-ed up in the past, allowing themselves to be gullibly led by those who opportunistically used communal divisions in Sri Lanka towards their own election goals. Low points were the language policies of the 1950s and the communal riots of July 1983. However, the situation has been turned on its head now. The violence now is clearly being precipitated by the actions of the LTTE, and in my opinion, successive Sri Lankan governments since 1994 have been comparatively restrained.
In November last year, LTTE ruled out the election of a pacifist UNP government, and a stronger chance of peace, by preventing the Tamils in the North and East from voting in the presidential election. They wanted Mahinda Rajapakse and the JVP in power because they wanted to leverage their hardline stance against them in the international arena. They wanted this present spate of violence to occur in order to portray the South and the government as racist warmongers. Thereby, they hope to win back the good opinion of the international community and regain the ability to raise finance for what they have dubbed “the final war”.
Worse than that, many of the LTTE’s actions have been clearly targeted at civilians (for example, this morning’s bus bombing in Kebethigollawa which killed more than sixty-two civilians including women, children and clergy). Their attacks have also been designed to cause a communal backlash from the Sinhalese (for example, the timing of the sinking on naval craft on the eve of Wesak).
In spite of these obviously deliberate acts of provocation, the Sinhalese community has not reacted adversely. It is a far cry from the days of July 1983, when the killing of just thirteen soldiers sparked off communal riots that affected thousands of Tamils. The Sinhalese have learnt their lesson and the majority of them, like the Tamils in the North and East, want peace. The low level of political support for the Jathika Hela Urumaya makes this clear. However, the majority Sinhalese, with the LTTE’s help, did vote Mahinda Rajapakse’s harder stance into power. This, I find sad, but this was because they voted with their stomach first, and not with their heads, which I find sadder. (If you believe the research agencies, the major election issue is cost-of-living, not the war). Apart from this, many Sinhalese were also getting tired of Ranil Wickramasinghe’s pacifism in the wake of the LTTE’s continual violations of the ceasefire, and they wanted a change.
So, give the Sinhalese a break. There are many Sinhalese who mull over the past foolishness and mistakes of their community, while constantly judging the actions of the government and political parties in terms of how much it would promote peace. Despite the fifteen percent or so who vote for the JHU and the JVP (voting JVP is generally due to misplaced economics), the majority of Sinhalese actually detest the JHU and the JVP. Do Tamils similarly question their own community? Do they openly denounce the claim of sole representation made by the LTTE? Do they consider giving up their call for a federal state the same way many Sinhalese now think anything is worth the price of peace? Except for a handful of prominent of activists, politicians and one blogger, I find that as a general rule – they do not. Yes, I am aware that I am grossly stereotyping here, but stereotypes are based on a kernel of truth, aren’t they?
Speaking of stereotypes, I find myself angry at a certain type of Tamil that I have a picture of in my mind. I am angry at the type of civilian Tamil who lives outside the North and East of Sri Lanka, who, while enjoying life outside the fascist tyranny of the LTTE, continues to support them, financially or otherwise, a quarter-century after the 1983 riots. The type of Tamil who has not stepped within a hundred miles of the mines and malnutrition of the LTTE-controlled Wanni, but who continues to refer to the LTTE as “our boys”. Worst of all, she is blissfully blind to the fact that her support of the LTTE only ensures the further suffering and subjugation of her own people.