Why Sri Lanka is Fucked Up

The right to security

“No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any such grounds” – The Sri Lankan Constitution

Coming on the heels of my last post about why this country is so great and why I don’t want to leave Sri Lanka, this post is devoted, ironically, to what I think is the single largest cause of this country’s problems. The root of Sri Lanka’s problems is disregard for human rights. For me, it really is that simple.

If respect for human rights came naturally to Sri Lankans, we would never have had a North-East war in the first place. The two main contributing causes of the war were the 1956 Sinhala Only policy and the Anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983. These were both events in which the human rights of non-Sinhalese speakers, in general, and, in the second case, Tamil Sri Lankans, in particular, were grossly violated.

Apart from the policy being utterly misplaced from a long-term economic point of view, in 1956, the government – newly-elected with support from racist Buddhist monks – chose to ignore the right of part of its population to learn and work in their own language. By making the Sinhala language the only official language, they effectively denied most Tamil Sri Lankans, Burghers and Muslims the right to work in the government which was, and still is, by far the largest employer in the country. Despite subsequent steps to reverse the extent of this decision, the damage had been done, and the minorities had realized that under the government’s constitution at that time, their rights would be subservient to the Sinhalese Buddhist majority’s democratic dictatorship.

1956 set the background; the catalyst came later. In 1983, the government ignored the right of its Tamil Sri Lankan citizens to personal security when they allowed mobs to attack, loot and burn Tamil Sri Lankans out of house and home. I remember clearly, even though I was only four. Government ministers like Gamini Dissanayake and Cyril Matthew were undeniably involved in the riots and provided support to the mobs. These two instances of extreme disregard for the rights of a people to be free to live in safety, to practice and be employed in the language of their birth, is why we have this war today.

I am a Sinhalese. If I was a Tamil adult in 1983, I would have probably been moved to join the fight for a separate state. For, is it surprising that I should want to live in a separate state, when my right to live in freedom is not recognized in practice by my own state? So, some Tamil Sri Lankans adopted countries that have greater respect for human rights and others decided to stay and forcibly create a state in which they themselves could be the dictatorial majority.

You may argue that 1983 was an outlier, a blip in the radar, never to be repeated. The chances of 1983 happening again, you may say, are slim to none. Some might even say, it is inconceivable that 1983 could ever happen again. And, this was also my point of view until recently. And, while I think that, in a certain sense, my belief still holds true – the scale and manner of 1983 will not happen again – the type of human rights violations that occurred during 1983 are happening again today and I feel fairly certain that there is direct government involvement, tacit approval, or at the very least, a lack of will to bring the perpetrators to justice. This is the reason for this post.

Two stories caught my eye recently. Both occurred in the Pettah / Fort area in the heart of Colombo’s business district. The first was about a directive by the police ordering Tamil tenants from the North and East, currently living in fifty-six lodges in the Pettah area to return home. I could not believe it when I read that article. How can you ask a citizen of this country who is legitimately living in rented accommodation to leave on the basis of his ethnicity, without any evidence of wrongdoing at all, in fact, without even making an allegation of wrong-doing? Just an unconditional order with no legal grounds whatsoever, purely on the basis of ethnic and geographical origin? I mean, seriously, WTF?!? The police have not denied the reports.

Article 14.1(h) of the Sri Lankan constitution says, “Every citizen is entitled to the freedom of movement and of choosing his residence within Sri Lanka” and Article 12.2 says, “No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any such grounds.” Are the police even aware that their action is a gross fundamental rights violation? Or, is there some law point that I am missing here?

While there may be a possibility that an LTTE cadre might stay in those lodges in Pettah, the government cannot just assume that all Tamil Sri Lankans are terrorists. The police force exists to uphold the law, to protect the well-being of the collective, as well as protect the rights of the individual. They do not exist to protect the political power of the president and his immediate family. If there is no legal basis for asking these people to return to their homes in the North and East, the police force is violating the law, and, at the same time, perversely undermining the very reason for its existence. The police must not be allowed to violate the constitutional human rights of citizens so blatantly.

The second story is about two Tamil Sri Lankan Red Cross workers from the East who came to Colombo for a Red Cross conference, and were waiting to catch a train at the Fort Railway Station. This was three days ago, on Friday, June 1st. They were on railway platform 4 when they were approached and questioned by people claiming to be from the Criminal Investigation Department of the police. They were arrested. They could not speak Sinhala. The license number of the white van with tinted windows that took them is known. Their bodies were found in a tea estate in Ratnapura yesterday.

The thing is, the victims and their other Red Cross companions were approached inside the Fort Railway Station, which is probably one of the most highly secured areas of the whole country. This is why I think it is likely that, despite the police denying any involvement, that it is the police, or an alternative government agency, that is to blame. It is unlikely that any other group would act this confidant in such a tightly controlled security area. I get stopped and searched all the time when passing through the Fort area, sometimes as much as three times on just a ten-minute drive. As much as I am reluctant to admit it, I think the most likely conclusion is that these men were taken by the government and killed by the government. Who else would have the motive and the balls to abduct people in public in the Fort Railway station? Two incident reports in PDF format are attached below. One is from the Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC), the other is from, I think, the Coalition of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), but this is yet to be confirmed. The latter has more details and is more damning.

The sad thing is many in the Sinhala majority are not bothered by these human rights violations. Even if they are willing to admit that it is the government that may be behind the incidents, they seem willing to accept it as part of the price of winning the war militarily. Yes, these are the same misguided bulwarks that believe that a purely military strategy against the LTTE is a sustainable and productive course of action. For many reasons, this strategy is not sustainable, and for many more reasons it is unproductive in a country where Tamil Sri Lankans are yet again starting to experience the insecurity of the 1980s. This government is destroying the international goodwill and the trust of Tamil Sri Lankans in the credibility, legitimacy and good intentions of the Sri Lankan government that Kumaratunga and Wickramasinghe had built up from 1994 to 2004, through increasing respect for human rights. In one and a half short years, the utter incompetence and callousness of the Rajapaksa government has destroyed this invaluable positive image at home and abroad.

What the architects and the proponents of the current policy do not understand is that you cannot treat this disease by simply treating the symptoms as they appear. The root cause must be removed. Protect the Tamil people, ensure their security, and you start removing the root cause. The success of a guerilla organization depends on the support provided by the population around it. Take away the reason for the LTTE to exist and you weaken the LTTE. Fuel the reason for the LTTE to exist and you make them stronger.

Like I said above, it really is that simple. The fundamental reason for the Sri Lankan problem is that Sri Lankans are not secure, because their basic human right to security is not provided or protected by the government. Worryingly, more and more often in cases like the two above, human rights are violated by the government itself – the very entity that is supposed to protect it. Let us not forget that the government exists to provide, among other things, basic security for its citizens, not the other way around. And yes, sometimes the well-being of the collective may be at odds with the well-being of the individual and in these cases there is a conflict, and a choice that has to be made. However, in no way, should those choices impede on the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Sri Lankan constitution, because those laws exist precisely to give clarity when there is a choice to be made, and the law, if nothing else, must be held sacred, for all our sakes.

batticaloa-red-cross-killing-incident-report-4-june-2007-_3_1.pdf

deaths-of-two-of-our-red-cross-volunteers-_2_1.pdf

209 thoughts on “Why Sri Lanka is Fucked Up

  1. i respect u for coming out and saying this, especially as u are sinhalese ur self…i’m amazed at what this govt gets away with, and i’m embarrassed to call myself sri lankan.

    recently, MR was interviewed on al jazeera. he said that the war was not an ethnic war and it was not against the tamils. he stressed that it was a war against a terrorist organisation made up of tamils, muslims and sinhalese. but then why were only tamils ordered out of pettah?

    the fact that politicians are two faced is a given, anywhere in the world. however, the fact that fundamental rights are being abused by the govt of our nation irks me no end. but in our own words “what to do men?”

  2. That’s mostly peacenik BS mate. Tamil wasn’t an official language before 1956 anyway. English was the only official language and most Sinhalese couldn’t speak it. Did they not have a “right to learn and work in their own language”, or is that only applicable to minorities and the Anglophone Sinhala elite? Where in the world do such small minorities get their language to be an official language anyway, especially when over 85% of the population speak one language as is the case in Sri Lanka. Neither Tamil nor Mandarin is an official language in Malaysia – only Bahasa Melayu is. Don’t the Tamils timidly and obediently learn the language of the native majority in other countries (Norway, Germany and even India), so why all this hot air in Sri Lanka? Tamil was given regional language status in 1959. Sinhalese to Sri Lanka are what French are to France and English are to England. Languages and cultures

    The source of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka is the divide and rule policy of the Brits, which discriminated against the native Sinhalese and favoured colluding minorities. 1160 out of 2958 people eligible to vote in 1911 were Ceylon Tamils, although they were only 13% of the population. In 1923, the Sinhalese got 16 seats in the constitutional council, while Tamils got only 8 – but the Sinhalese were almost 70% of the population. In 1945, Sinhalese and Tamils had an equal number of government department heads.

    Naturally, Tamils didn’t want to lose these priveleges. Under the lazy eyes of the British overlords, they were the moguls in the Isle of Ceylon. This is why the Tamil leaders opposed universal suffrage and demanded 50:50 representation. They knew they’d lose their favoured position once come the democracy. As a famous Tamil politician once said, they’d rather have a British Raj any day than a Sinhala one.

    What they call discrimination and great injustices are simply reasonable affirmative measures taken to redress the imbalance. The Tamil elite could not bear seeing their privileges being eroded. They stirred up the Tamil youth and indoctrinated them with hatred and chauvinism, and their provocations led to the riots in 1958 and 83. Sinhalese were not going to continue to be second class citizens in independent Sri Lanka, after being victimised by Tamils and their colonial masters for hundreds of years. The massacres and systematic genocide of Sinhalese by Europeans assisted by Tamils (eg: 1818, 1848, 1915), were firmly etched in collective psyche of Sinhalese. They would of course respond in kind to Tamils obstructing their progress. Tamils had the Tamil chauvinist movement in Tamil Nadu and the Soviet allied Mother India behind them, and that was how the armed movements were started. Tamils were armed and trained in South India in order to destablise US-allied Sri Lanka. This is not a civil war but a proxy war.

    Today, the Tamil movement is funded by the Tamil refugee diaspora in the west, who need Sri Lanka to be at war to justify their residence in those countries, and a group of Northern European countries who are interested in the oil, fish and other resources in the would be Tamil Eelam. Tamil seperatism was never the result of discrimination or injustice. Tamil has been made an official language, minorities in Sri Lanka have been given rights and privileges unseen in any other country in the world, the North has been made virtually monoethnic while Colombo is continuing to be populated by Tamils, and yet the war hasn’t stopped. The war is against a terrorist group with a fascist racist ideology. They should not be negotiated with and must be militarily annihilated at any cost.

  3. All of us can argue about this and the theories are many. The facts as given by justmal are;
    1. There are 50 million Tamils living in Tamilnadu who would love if a Tamil eelam would exist in Sri Lanka. It is in their interest. Finally they would have a country to really call their own. This should never be allowed to happen. But the truth is that the LTTE power and their operations receive direct support through the Tamils in Tamilnadu.

    2. Language was never an issue. Again, the french speak french. The italians speak italian, sri lankans speak sinhala. Part of the British citizenship criteria now is that one has to sit a citizenship exam in ENGLISH. And the exam is about british values, customs & laws.

    3. No one talks about all the tamil sri lankans who live in wellawatte, kotahena, and spread all over sri lanka. Actually some of the richest men in Sri Lanka are Tamil. Do they want a seperate state? Bullshit.

    One last point, just because you were born in the late 70’s or early 80’s does not mean you were any part of the bloody conflict. I know many friends who served in the Armed Forces from the early 80’s. One of them, one of the finest boxers that Royal College Produced now live’s without both his legs. They are the ones who made true sacrifices. Go try to preach your human rights shit to Denzil Kobbejaduwa’s widow and children. True Sri Lankan hero’s.

    And all the so called peace keeping/conflict resolution/human rights expats; why don’t you leave behind your air conditioned chauffer driven luxury suv’s, stop your visits to Colombo’s nightife (especially R&B) take the bus and really understand how Sri Lanka works? And those of us who live and have lived in the west know what pathetic lives you live in your own countires. Recently I met one while on holiday in Colombo, I let him talk for awhile before letting him know I lived, worked and studied in West London. Rest assured, he was in shock and hardly engaged in any conversation for the rest of the evening. And yes we went to R&B!

    So lets crap the bullshit. There is one solution – which is military. Sri Lanka needs to win the war against terrorism. Our armed forces can and will do that.

  4. Just a point regarding Federalism, which I think is essential to bring peace to Sri Lanka I just read the first paragraph of Broken Palmyrah and discovered an interesting fact. Federalism was actually suggested pre-Independence and was supported by the Left (I think it was Colvin De Silva and N.M.Perera though I have to double check). The Tamil parties led by G.G.Ponnambalam actually rejected the idea in favour of 50-50 representation, unreasonable to say the least. With the historical context the LTTE struggle seems to be very similar to the JVP one as a class struggle against the elites shrouded in ethnic undertones.

    Also when the government did the unthinkable and disenfranchised the Indian Tamils, the majority of the Tamil Politicians of the time either voted for the bills or didn’t vote at all.

    While the Rajapakse regime is fucking up right royally right now I think there is a need for ALL sides to admit responsibility for the state of affairs now instead of pinning everything on the chauvinist Sri Lankan Government. Also there is a need to prosecute the war against the LTTE because that is the only language they understand.

    Whether the price we pay in the GOSL trampling on human rights is worthwhile is a dicey one, in principle no. But then principle and reality rarely run the same path, and when they collide one must be chosen. Remember how the JVP rebellion was crushed?

    Unfortunately though the short term solution worked nobody seems to have thought about a long term solution of fixing the disenfranchisement everybody suffers in the country and that in the end gave rise to both the JVP and LTTE revolts. ie. to include more transparency in government procedures, battle corruption, education with a motive to provide employment in the broader global market (instead of giving government jobs willy nilly), etc.

    At the end of the day we can argue and protest until we are blue in the face about morality and how important it is but make no mistake reality is very different. What is sad is that things that are in my opinion so very important to uphold that morality are cast aside and not given as much attention. Because as you said Ravana root causes is all its about.

  5. it is pity that you chose to back up some of your arguments using speculations based on above two pdf reports. one of them ( ‘more damning’ according to you) unsigned and without a certain source ( again according to you ).
    can you explain the discrepancies between the two reports ? how was additional; information obtained?
    you take the exact circumstances of so called abduction as facts. on what authority may i ask ? who exactly saw the white van ? do you know? you should bc you are so certain that ‘abductors’ were so confident, in white van, etc.
    based on such imperfect data you speculate it must be the government. you so ready to believe that government is all ready to abduct and kill two low level sri lankan red cross workers from batti in colombo with so little attempt at concealment just before sri lanka related hearings in european parliament? they must be real stupid huh? too stupid to use a black/blue/etc van too? almost asking to be labeled human rights violators?
    ever wonder why such incidents happen so often close to un hearings , eu hearings, aid conferences, co-chair meetings etc? of course not ! why wonder. ltte propaganda is so primitive huh?. abductors were so ‘confident’ and were in a white van ( as good as you saw the color with your own eyes) , so must be government no doubt in you ?
    same with false report on expelling of tamils in colombo.
    btw ltte front tro is a full member of cha, with same personnel working for both. yes it is the same tro that staged the false abduction of 17 of its workers last year.(one of the first of so called abductions).

    anyway this is free country, as such you free to be naive and to engage in speculations without examining details.🙂

  6. That’s an excellent point Ravana. The attitude of indifference towards human rights, coupled with classism or racism can lead to the disastrous consequences we have seen here. I think the disrespect for human rights is largely due to the structure of the state, that concentrates power in one group and in one executive institution. Human rights struggles have always been rooted in the idea of curtailing the divine right of kings. The uncurtailed, unfettered power of the executive, due in part to the Constitution and in part to the disrespect towards the meagre protections in the Constitution and the collapse of institutions like the judiciary who are supposed to be guardians of those protections is completely antithetical to the flourishing of human rights. It is clear leaving even the ethnic issue aside that the SL state is in need of radical restructuring.

  7. hey,don’t think everything is about racial discrimination.There are terrorists ,government has to take some steps for protecting civilians against terrorists,if that 1000kg bomb exploded people like you will be screaming against government for not taking necessary steps,but some people were against those road blocks.Likewise this step of removing Tamils from lodges is a good idea,for some it could be discrimination,or could be against human rights but what about those who get killed by bus bombs and stuff,they are people too

  8. I have read much worst bullshit on Kottu, but this one is not second to any of those! I suggest everyone to take print outs of this post, and make compost fertilizer out of it.

    To agree with you, I too believe making Sinhala “only” was a mistake. But, no one can blame “giving priority” to Sinhala. Cuz, this is the only country where Sinhala is spoken as a language, and majority speak it. So, if you say giving high prominance to majority spoken language is “violation of human rights”, ay that US and Canadian governments violate the human rights too, by making English the “only” state languages, but not Spanish or French.

    Be thankful for being a minority in a country like Sri Lanka. You get public holidays on each of your religious festivals, and there are special laws enforced based on ethnicity (Jaffna Tamils, Muslim). Equal opportunity in job interviews, university entrance bla bla bla. I’m talking about 2007 you moron. Not 1956. Open your eyes, and see the reality. Then speak. You guys just can’t keep pace with the capeabilities of the Majority. So you simply blame it on 1956 and 1983.

    Talk about the human rights of minorities in Middle east countries, Pakistan, Western Eurpoe and Americas. Do they get all these benifites? But yet, how many of them go and blow themselves up in a public place, like some members of the the so called “depressed minority” in SL does?

  9. ravana – good post but imo i would of stuck to the two events that have recently occurred.

    justmal – you should check out the Swiss constitution and the guarantees it gives to minorities. Federalism in Switzerland has been around for awhile…

  10. According to todays Daily Mirror the Sabaragamuwa Province DIG Sarath Perera has claimed that the Red Cross workers were killed by the Karuna faction.

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/2007/06/05/front/02.asp

    Karuna’s faction has denied this, and if the denial is accepted at face value it leaves open the question as to who did it.

    Just one of the many mysterious things that seem to happening in the country.

  11. All heads working as one, I’d say, Ravana.

    I was amused to find some one trotting out the Malaysia example, like a latter day Cyril Matthew. Malaysia is a country that’s really one half of a partition – Singapore is the other half. And Singapore has many offcial languages, including Tamil. Now, I don’t think of it as model for very much — but its an important, little understood separation. If not for Singapore, the Malay Bhumiputra model would have imploded pretty fast.

  12. “Language was never an issue”

    Possibly because you went to Royal College, where everyone (probably) could speak English anyway. It’s a bit different everywhere else. Language WAS the issue, Dsome.

    “the french speak french. The italians speak italian, sri lankans speak sinhala”

    France is a French country, Italy’s an Italian one, so obviously they’ll have one language. Sri Lanka is NOT a Sinhalese nation, just as Switzerland is not German, French, or Italian. It’s Swiss, and the official languages are (you guessed it) German, Italian and French.

    “Part of the British citizenship criteria now is that one has to sit a citizenship exam in ENGLISH. And the exam is about british values, customs & laws.”

    Exactly. Because the English are the natives and the immigrants are foreigners. Tamils are not foreigners or immigrants to SL.

    “So lets crap the bullshit. There is one solution – which is military”

    Your lack of military history is letting you down, Dsome. NO guerrilla/PF force which has popular support and foreign safe haven has EVER been defeated in the 20th century. Not once. I doubt the Tigers will be the first.

    The first mistake you and many others make is to see the Tigers as the disease. The Tigers are the symptom of the desease of racial discrimination. The symptoms always return if you don’t cure the desease. The best you can do is control the symptom (like Panadol for a fever), but you’ll never get rid of the symptoms if you ignore the desease.

  13. Every good leader is consumed by power and money. Everyone waiting in line is greedy for power and money. Everyone around these leaders are there to catch the spoils that fall off the edge of the plate. We can list them out yet no one uses names? Why? Why because we’re afraid of discrimination. The constitution states that we should not be discriminated due to political opinion, but it doesn’t state that we won’t be discriminated for taking the side of “good against powerful” Think about it.. leave politics aside.. can we stand against someone who is corrupt? A company that is corrupt? Can we set ourselves against a country where every opportunity is taken from the weaker mans grasp? We all talk day in and day out, but no one hears us. One of these days the younger generation should all just chose to die.. & shoot themselves in the head. There is no fair future in this country. Hate among people just keeps rising. Remember Nigeria. We’re headed there..

  14. The most learned person in this blog is the one who wrote it. The common sihalese,tamils etc are all good people. The problem in Sri Lanka starts from the fake leaders who are malayalee like Mahina,CBK,SWRD and Tamil mudali chetty from India like Ranil, JWRD. Mahinda hides his christian name Percy. Solomon Wesely Ridgeway Dias is no sinahala name who introduced the sinhala only act.

    The fake leaders wanted power. They and their forefathers were Christians so that they would benefit. Why did SWRD not give away his 1200 hectares of estate before he joined politics. How did such wealth come to them.

    The Tamils Hindus worked hard and they did use the advantage they got from English education to rise up the ladder. However English is not the mother tongue of the Tamils. Hence when they took it up and succeeded, don’t blame them. The fake Sinhalese leaders who prostituted themselves could not bear this and use the ignorance of the Sinhalese masses to benefit and they are still looting Sri Lanka.

    In Malaysia, before the British left, most Jaffna Tamils used to dominate the government service. Top officials to the kings were also Jaffna Tamils. Fake Malays who were Indian Muslim, Indonesian like Bugis lied and brought Malay as the official language. The Chinese who were businessmen did not have a good grasp of English during colonial times. However when Malay was adopted as the official language, they started do better then the Malays in Malay. This forced the government to have 2 grading curves for Malays and Non-Malays and they introduced standardization. Malaysia have a 1983 style riot in 1969 between the Malays and Chinese.

    The removal of Jaffna Tamils who were mostly government servants resulted in them moving to the private sector. This resulted in some becoming businessmen. The richest person in Malaysia and the builder of the tallest building in the world at one time is Ananda Krishnan. He is the son of Jaffna Tamils. It’s called PETRONAS Towers because the Malay government took a share as they did not want a significant icon like that to be having a Non-Malay name. Today Ananda Krishnan is buying Sri Lankan Telecoms and Power.

    In Singapore Tamil is one of the Official Languages. So Tamil is in all forms like Malay, Chinese and English. When Singapore’s first Prime Minister visited Sri Lanka, he wanted Singapore to be like Sri Lanka. 25 years later Jayewardene wanted Sri Lanka to be like Singapore. This shows the decline.

    The Jaffna Tamils dominated the government and government services in Singapore. Rajaretnam was the country first Foreign minister and the PM’s right hand man. After the first riots between the Chinese and Malays, he wrote a pledge. It reads as

    We the citizens of Singapore,
    Pledge ourselves as one united people,
    Regardless of Race, Language or Religion,
    To build a democratic society,
    Based on Justice and Equality,
    So as to achieve peace prosperity and Happiness.

    All students in Singapore need to recite this everyday. He was also responsible for bringing Prima which is the sole supplier of Flour in Sri Lanka today.

    JYM Plllai is the man behind Singapore Airline, the number one in the world. Concurrently he was the head of the Development Bank of Singapore (one of Asia’s largest today). Now he is the chairman of Singapore Stock Exchange which is aiming to be Asia’s best.

    Dr Vijayretnam is the man behind Singapore Airport and Seaport which both were at many times number 1 in the world.

    SS Retnam who studied in Hartley and whose grandfather set up the Hindu college was the first to do Sex change and Test tube baby procedures in Asia.

    The first Acting commissioner of police, High commissioners to Malaysia and Britain, Speaker of House, Election Commissioner, Top lawyers, Judges, Doctors, Engineers and many others were Jaffna Tamils. The first opposition MP after independence was a Jaffna Tamil. His son today is the youngest president of the law society (a society dominated by Chinese lawyers today and the post is by elections)

    The Chinese who were also not fluent in English before independence, picked it up and hold most of the senior post. However Jaffna Tamils due to their hard work still hold top positions like the present prime ministers right hand man Tharman is a Jaffna Tamil. He acts on behalf of the PM as the defacto central banker.

    Intelligence has nothing to do with race. It has all to do with hard work. The Chinese is Singapore have no special mark scheme to go into University or racial Quotas. The fields once dominated by Jaffna Tamils and other Indians today are held by Chinese. They came up because of working hard. That’s how you come up in life. That’s how Japan recovered after the First World War and how Singapore overtook Sri Lanka.

  15. //France is a French country, Italy’s an Italian one, so obviously they’ll have one language. Sri Lanka is NOT a Sinhalese nation, just as Switzerland is not German, French, or Italian. It’s Swiss, and the official languages are (you guessed it) German, Italian and French\\

    This is a very funny joke I’ve heard after a long time. Even the Swiss, French and Italians might have a good laugh at this.

    David Blacker,

    have you ever thought of this?
    When you say “Switzerland is not German, French, or Italian” You got to know that there’s a Germany for Germans, France for the French and Italy for Italians. But, is there any other country other than Sri Lanka, for Sinhalese? Tell me? So then how can you say “Sri Lanka is NOT a Sinhalese nation”

    IT IS (In block capital)

    Sri Lanka is THE Sinhala nation, and it is not (and should not be) a SINHALA ONLY nation. Tamils can (and are) live in this country. If they give up their aggression and terror, they could be better off in this country. They could use their brains to build this country, rather than to blast this country. Other ethnicities can and should co-exist in this country. But they should respect the “building blocks” of this nation. It is the Sinhalese culture and Buddhist philosophy which nursed this civilization. Of course the other cultures contributed a lot to the “Sri Lankan culture”. But you can’t move forward without respecting the core of this nation.

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  17. VIC, you seem easily amused:)

    “You got to know that there’s a Germany for Germans, France for the French and Italy for Italians. But, is there any other country other than Sri Lanka, for Sinhalese”

    Yes, Hitler used those very words to exterminate the German Jews, claiming Germany for the Germans. Congratulations, I do hope you find that a good laugh as well. To follow your logic, I have every right to tell my brother that I will run our common home my way because I’m bigger than him and have no other home. That is the law of the wild beast, VIC, not of democracy and civilization.

    “Tell me? So then how can you say “Sri Lanka is NOT a Sinhalese nation””

    How can you say that it is? Sri Lanka is populated by Muslims, Burghers, Moors, Malays, Veddhas, Tamils, and Sinhalese.

    “Tamils can (and are) live in this country. If they give up their aggression and terror, they could be better off in this country.”

    How generous of you. They can (and will) live here because you can’t get rid of them (though you tried pretty hard in ’83). There was no Tamil aggression & terror in the ’60s & ’70s, but what there was were pogroms, racism, and discrimination by the Sinhalese that created the aggression & terror of the LTTE and other terrorist groups.

    “But they should respect the “building blocks” of this nation.”

    WHAT building blocks? Our road & rail system was built by the Brits, our law is Dutch, our music is Portugese & Indian, our religions are Middle Eastern and Indian, our food and language is all descended from other countries.

    “But you can’t move forward without respecting the core of this nation.”

    What “core” is that? You Sinhalese think the core is Sinhalese Buddhism, but isn’t. That’s YOUR core, not ours.

  18. Sri Lanka is a migrant nature way more than a ‘Sinhalese Buddhist’ nation. That identity, especially the Buddhist part, is actually a modern confection. Our national dress didn’t exist before colonization, and modern flag-waving Buddhism was formed by Colonel Alcott. Our constitution is based on the British, and all the examples that David cited.

    I think what Ravana is getting at is that at some point the Sinhalese community needs to get some real courage and say ‘sorry’. It’s hard, and railing about terrorism and war feels good, but it’s not especially brave. Sri Lanka is fucked up because we haven’t done right by the Tamil people. Tamil people are fucked up because they chose nihilistic violence. We all fucked up and we should just say sorry and try to move on.

    There are abductions, there is child conscription, etc, etc. Denial isn’t patriotism. Patriotism is a Sri Lanka that respects all its citizens and faces up to its faults.

  19. //What “core” is that? You Sinhalese think the core is Sinhalese Buddhism, but isn’t. That’s YOUR core, not ours.//

    This is a concise answer to the question “Why Sri Lanka is fucked up?”. Thnaks DB, for answering Ravana so concisely.

    This is the exact way Prabhakaran wanted Tamils to think, and renew the hatred. I refrain from further comments.

  20. //I think what Ravana is getting at is that at some point the Sinhalese community needs to get some real courage and say ’sorry’.\\

    Indi,

    I’m not so convinced whether this is the point that Ravana tried to get at, but what you say is correct from one angle.

    But the problem is, Tamil community is not ready to satisfy with a “sorry” from the Sinhalese community. They want a seperate country, to pay back the wrongs done by Sinhalese in 56, and 83. Question is, even if Sinhalese say “sorry with courage”, are Tamils in a possition to satisfy with it?

    I’ve discussed many times in my blog about the “applogising” to the wrongs done by Sinhalese. CBK declared an official appology for 83 incidents, as the president of this country. But what Tamils are after is not a simple “applogy”. They want a seperate country. Or “special rights for being a minority” ( no other minority on this earth enjoy such special rights for being a minority) in the same country. And you all are justifying it.

    You all talk about 56, and 83 when debating this issue. Why don’t you see the problem as at now? Who holds Tamils back? Why the lodges in Pettah was closed by Police? Because those lodges were the “dressing rooms” for sucide bombers.

  21. The comment by VIC is one of the most important I have seen in the many online debates on this matter. It reveals a clear line of thought among many Sinhalese (especially proponents of the current government):

    1. This our country, based on our civilization
    “It is the Sinhalese culture and Buddhist philosophy which nursed this civilization. ”

    2. Ethnic minorities are just guests here. They may be long-stay ones but they should never feel at home. After all – the CORE is specific to one ethnic type, language etc.
    “Other ethnicities can and should co-exist in this country. But they should respect the “building blocks” of this nation…Of course the other cultures contributed a lot to the “Sri Lankan culture”. But you can’t move forward without respecting the core of this nation.”

    Therefore SRI LANKAN means a “Sinhala Buddhist” nation, with some ethnic influences based on the goodwill of the majority. Not a melting pot nation as liberal and and other suspect types perceive it🙂

    It the naked admission of this which is interesting given how some many of these closet race based nationalists tend to avoid explicitly stating their feelings.

  22. If the “core” of our great nation is Sinhala-Buddhist then why is the biggest problem of Sri Lanka the lack of respect for human rights?

    So much for basing the nation’s “core” value on a religion which asks its adherents to even take the life of a mosquito. Lets not bullshit ourselves by calling ourselves Buddhists coz its merely a signifer. This war is ethnic and racial.

    The LTTE has monopolized the Tamil part of this war but lets not forget that this government (and the people that elected it) are not doing anything to make the Tamils feel Sri Lankan.

  23. “This is a concise answer to the question “Why Sri Lanka is fucked up?”. ”

    Never a truer word spoken, VIC, except you misunderstood the answer. It’s your core that’s fucked up, and it’s fucking up our country. Well I say eat the apple, fuck the core.

    “This is the exact way Prabhakaran wanted Tamils to think, and renew the hatred.”

    Well I’m not Tamil, so I don’t give a toss, but there’s no need to renew the hatred. It’s always there, be it the unjust throwing out of innocent Tamils from their homes in Pettah, or the noise pollution of the Buddhist monk moaning on at 5am.

    “BK declared an official appology for 83 incidents, as the president of this country.”

    You can’t just say “sorry” and walk away. You have to make ammends.

    “But the problem is, Tamil community is not ready to satisfy with a “sorry” from the Sinhalese communit”

    First you have to say the words. Are you sorry, VIC? CBK didn’t apologise on behalf of the Sinhalese; she apologised for the UNP in a political move.

    “Question is, even if Sinhalese say “sorry with courage””

    There’s no such thing — there’s only “sorry”.

    “They want a seperate country. Or “special rights for being a minority”

    No, they’re not. They’re asking for equal rights. And if you can’t give it to them in this country, let ’em have their own.

    “Why the lodges in Pettah was closed by Police? ”

    Because the police are too dumb and inept to find their arses with a map and a torch. Their solution is to chuck everyone out. Why not get rid of all the Tigers by getting rid of all the Tamils?

    Anon, the reason you’re seeing this clear articulation of a misguided sense of history is because VIC is anonymous and caan spout any sort of rubbish he likes without people seeing him for the racist moron he is. I guaraantee you wouldn’t hear him saay it if he had to put his name to it.

  24. Actually the building blocks of this nation, or the fundamental historical truth behind the Sinhala and Tamil people, is the fact of migration and invasion from India!!! Those are our building blocks. I’m not really interested in perpetuating that reality. Are you VIC??? Stupid cunt…

  25. Indi, I just noticed your comment. While I agree that the problem is largely a collective personality clash between two races, the manifestation of that problem has reached these proportions because of the structure of the state. While it’s important that there’s reconciliation, apologies and the like, we risk these problems being manifested in different ways in the future if we don’t realise that there is a deep structural fuck up. That has got to get fixed.

  26. Indi..
    //You are correct. Sinhalese community needs to get some real courage and say ’sorry’.// I guess they did. They seem to fix mistakes they have made over the time.

    Question is, is Tamil community having courage to ‘forgive’?
    I dont think so. They dont have to.

  27. The greatest wars have been spilled in the name of religion and country. Eliminate them and perhaps you will have peace. What is the big deal about being a Sinhala Buddhist nation if you are going to break every rule in the philosophy. Stop the charade and stop calling Sri Lanka a Sinhala Buddhist nation, if so, then Sinhala Buddhism is fast becoming as violent a religion as fundamentalist Islam.
    Someone somewhere said that the Sinhalese are a majority with a minority complex and it is nowhere more evident than these days. What is with this obsession with ‘tolerating’ the minorities. The minorities should not have to be tolerated as they too are Sri Lankans, the day the Sinhalese people learn that lesson will be a great step forward.
    And finally the Sinhalese leadership needs to stop hearking back to the Dutta Gamini -Elara conflict as a backdrop to this current war. Elara was as much of this country and an even better being than Dutta Gamini. I would rather see more Elaras than even one more Dutta Gamini. All I can say is that we are on the road to hell and we certainly deserve it!

  28. Exactly, Aadhavan. By extension, you could say that a federal structure with a separate police force is necessary.

    I think some of the reactions to the post actually prove my point. What a bunch deluded lunatics.

  29. Ravana, I think a federal system with devolved police powers will be crucial. Fiscal control will also be an important factor. But the restructuring this system of government needs goes far beyond trying to solve the ethnic conflict. If we need to have an effective human rights regime, we need to have structures that balance power whereby no one gets to do whatever they want. Where as many as possible have access to the levers of power. Plenary executive powers with almost no judicial control to the most popular politician as determined by a popular vote in a country where voting is primarily on racial and sometimes religious lines is asking for trouble. If and when the Constitution changes, I hope it will not be just a sop to the LTTE or a convenient devolution of power to put an end to the war. It has to be a much deeper and fundamental change if we want to prevent further conflict. We have to be cautious however that people don’t claim that it’s a structural problem and ignore the ethnic manifestation of the problem. Both have to be addressed.

  30. Actually, Sam, the Sinhalese have not said sorry; CBK has. For something she didn’t do, so it’s meaningless.

    Meanwhile, the average Sinhalese is perfectly happy to blame ’83 on politicians/thugs/JVP, and take no blame for it as a community.

    Sort of like the Japanese vs the Germans when it comes to taking responsibility for crimes committed in WW2.

    That is not to say that the Tamils are blameless for the rift. The buggers are just as racist as the Sinhalese, except that they’re outnumbered so they got the crap end of the stick.

  31. some observations

    curious how some ppl ( including ravana) identify ltte with tamils and their interests ( sometimes without even realizing it ). such identifiers are the real racists ( and believe exactly what ltte propagates).

    are such identifications justified? if they think so, may be they should not complain about the sinhala racists who adapt the other side of the same position – all tamils are terrorists. if you believe the first, you cannot escape second. if you justify and believe one set of racists , you open the door for and justify all racists.

    nothing justifies terrorist acts – not sinhala only act, not 83, not alleged ( only alleged so far if above pdf are any guide ) human rights violations, nothing. ( but some here seem to believe they do). may be they should ask themselves whether they will justify or apply the same arguments if victims of those terrorist acts want retaliation too?
    such arguments and justifications if admitted must apply to all sides. or you should reject them completely


    another question they conveniently forget to ask themselves – why a small caste based group of one minority adapted terror while other minorities did not, even after suffering worse discrimination? in fact other minorities are doing pretty ok ( i am half a one myself ) by adapting the democratic process prevailing here to their own ends, as they have a perfect right to do .

    i (unlike the racists i mentioned above) believe that north east tamils do not identify themselves or their interests with ltte. they are prevented by ltte from doing what upcountry tamils, muslims, etc. have done ( fighting for, compromising, and winning their interests through democratic process. hard, messy, and even corrupt but the best way nevertheless )

    that is one of the main reasons why defeat of ltte ( by whatever legitimate means including violence and its consequences ) is the only moral choice available. it is also the only pragmatic choice given nature of ltte.

    anyone who support tamil interests ( and is not a racist) should support such an effort to defeat ltte. as should all others.


    as for so called human rights violations, i am yet to see any evidence of intentional policy by government or military to violate the human rights of tamils. ( individual criminality there may be , accidents there may be. those are inevitable consequences of violence. it was so in every war everywhere. if you want to defeat ltte ( and it is the only moral and pragmatic choice available ) you cannot run from the consequences. you cannot say you want to defeat ltte and forgo violence ( unless you are living in a cocooned fantasy ).such criminality and accidents should of course be kept to a minimum as far as possible. but they will not be zero in the real world.

  32. snut, shit man there have been a hell of a lot of isolated acts of violence don’t you think, none of which the government is responsible for of course. I’m just wondering, where you come from is the government some abstract Martian entity?? I always thought government action meant the actions of government officials(who you say are only individually criminal). Silly me.

  33. Why should the Sinhalese take the blame for 1983 and apologise? Tamil militants started it by killing 13 Sinhalese soldiers. Sinhalese have never initiated violence, they’ve only responded to Tamil provocations. I don’t think any ordinary Sinhalese (except for the cocooned Colombo peacenik elite like Indi, Ravana et al) would think they have anything to apologise for. 1958 and 1983 should be seen in the context of Sinhalese having been subjected to worse pogroms by Brits in 1818, 1848 and 1915 with the assistance of Tamils. The ethnic problem didn’t start when Sinhalese began “discriminating” against innocent Tamils all of a sudden just out of nowhere. Even if SLFP didn’t exist, everything would have happened the exact same way, perhaps even sooner. What happened was bound to happen, similar backlashes could be seen in many other new nations (again I could cite Malaysia as an example) against minorities who were previously favoured by imperialists.

    I simply can’t see any logic behind the peacenik dogma. How could 1956 be such a great injustice because it disadvantaged an elitist plutocratic minority, but 70% of the people not being able to study and work in their own language is perfectly just? Tamil wasn’t used in governance or administration before 56 anyway. It was made a regional language in 59, then a national language and now an official language.

    Why do the peaceniks think it’s reasonable to compare Switzerland with Sri Lanka but not India, Malaysia, Norway, Australia, England, France, Italy, Germany or any other country? Are any of the ethnic-linguistic groups in Switzerland unique and native to that country as the Sinhalese are to Sri Lanka, English are to England and so on?

    Aren’t there any Malayalis, Kannada or Telugu speakers in Tamil Nadu? Do they have the rights that Tamils demand in Sri Lanka? Certainly not, because they’ve got their own homelands, ie: Kerala, Andra Pradesh and Karnataka. Sri Lanka is the homeland of the Sinhalese. Period. It doesn’t mean that minorities cannot live in Sri Lanka. If anyone’s intolerant, it’s the Tamils, who don’t allow anyone else to live in the North – while the Sinhalese have no objection to naturalised Tamils living in the South, whose numbers have only increased during the civil war. Clearly, Tamils are the bigger offender here.

    Indi and David say that Sri Lanka is more of a migrant nation than a Sinhala Buddhist nation. Does the same not apply to other countries we’ve mentioned? Why don’t the minorities in those countries get any of the privileges that we’ve already granted to the Tamils in Sri Lanka, yet none of them have a civil war.

    Take Australia or United States for example – both young immigrant nations. By the peacenik logic, shouldn’t Spanish be the/an official language in US? Blacks and Hispanics have undergone far worse (real) discrimination there for centuries, but would Americans consider ethnic devolution (think: autonomy to ghettos) as a solution? Descendants of Germans and other Continentals outnumber the Anglo(+Celtic)s in US by a wide margin. Same is the case with Irish vs English immigrants in Australia. Why do the new immigrants to both these countries have to learn English? The new Australian citizenship requires all immigrants to agree that Judeo Christian values are the basis of the Australian culture [1]. Australia has officially renounced the decades old multicultural experiment, and a top government official recently declared that Anglo-Australian culture has primacy over minority cultures in Australia. Isn’t this similar to what VIC has said about Sinhala culture being the building blocks of this nation?

    Sinhalese are justifiably a majority with a minority complex because we live in the shadow of our millenia long enemy – Tamil Nadu. Tamils in Sri Lanka have more in common with their brethren across the straits than us, and historically, they’ve been more loyal to India than to Sri Lanka. The peaceniks expect Sinhalese to behave like the liberal Whites in Europe and bend over backwards to placate and accommodate the minorities. They don’t realise that Sinhalese are still substantially disadvantaged compared to the minorities and we’ve got reasonable insecurities about being swallowed by India/Tamil Nadu, which make such an expectation premature by centuries.

    This war was not a natural phenomenon. It was immaculately conceived (ie: we didn’t fuck ‘em) by India/Tamil Nadu, and is now being orchestrated by the Tamil diaspora and a few Scandinavian nations. The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka could not be solved by further appeasement of Tamils. We’ve done enough of that to no avail, and that hasn’t got rid of the problem nor the symptoms – so perhaps the prognosis was flawed from the beginning.

    Both individually and communally, humans are selfish by nature. Tamils, Sinhalese and the Nazi-era Germans are no exceptions. Ceteris paribus, of course Tamils wouldn’t mind having more rights and privileges for gracing us with their presence as VIC says. It doesn’t make those demands just or fair, particularly when they come at the expense of the indigenous majority – the Sinhalese. Just like the British public approved of British imperialism, the German people condoned Nazi fascism, Tamils would support Eelamist nationalism [2]. Chamberlain couldn’t stop Hitler, and we cannot stop LTTE by negotiating with it. It must be annihilated and the Tamil nationalist movement must be crushed and destroyed. That is the only way to preserve Sri Lanka in any form (federal or otherwise).

  34. The point that destroys your argument is that the Tamils are as entitled to share in the governance of this country as the Sinhalese are. Sinhalese, Tamils, Moslems and Burghers- all invaders and colonisers. Only as unique and native to the country as the others are. The idea that preference must be given to Sinhala and Sinhalese just because it’s the only place in the world where it is spoken is based on the ridiculous idea that states are homogenous and homoethnic alliances. Very rich coming from an Asian guy living in Australia! Come back home Blackie.

    P.S- you might want to go a little into the history of the construction as it were of the Sinhalese language. Gananath Oberysekere and Sudharshan Seneviratne have dealt with this extensively. Basically, just like Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada etc the Tamil spoken by South Indians was Sanskritized. In SL, Pali and Sanskrit influences came through Buddhism and you mix it up together and spice it a little and you get Sinhala. What does this mean? One people, one race, one blood, two religions and therefore two languages. Of course, the Tamils, Malayalis and Kannada speaking people have their own little devolved ghettos. Brilliant. By your own logic federalism will be justified for the Jaffna Tamils Your arguments are cool….some of them…don’t stop. I like you.

  35. Blood is a difference that means fuck all in the final analysis. There are no valid genetic differences that let you distinguish races like the Sinhalese and the Tamils. This country would be a much less interesting place without the Tamils and the Muslims and the Burghers (damnit I want to assimilate some of those Burgher chicks) .

    Let’s not forget that the language changes were meant to help those who couldn’t deal with English. It should have been multilingual if not for SWRD and his hunger for power. Let’s also not forget that as a result of misguided economic policies we Sinhalese killed our unemployed youth while the unemployed Tamil youth became the LTTE.

    Fuck the LTTE and their fascism and fuck the “hatharawaram” Rajapakses and their racism. Our conflicts are still far more resolvable than most of the other fuckups on this planet.

  36. NKR, the Burghers are 80% Sinhala or Tamil, so your well meaning attempts to further assimilate them are quite redundant.

    “It should have been multilingual if not for SWRD and his hunger for power.”

    That’s a common misconception. It wasn’t like everything was hunky dory and multi-lingual before 56 and SWRD suddenly made everything “Sinhala Only”. Tamil language had no place before 56, and it was given Regional Language status by SWRD in 59 under the Tamil Special Provisions Act. Are you suggesting that the cause of war is Sinhala being the sole language for 3 years from 56 to 59? Give us a break.

    Even if SWRD didn’t do it, UNP would have done the same. Sir John Kotelawala and JRJ went for elections to obtain a mandate to make Sinhala the official language. The Sinhala Only movement had little to do with oppressing or discriminating against Tamils. Tamil related issues aren’t as important to Sinhala polity as vice versa.

    Ravana says that 1983 was the other major cause of the war. I admit that I wasn’t even born then (neither were most of the LTTE fighters), but I can’t help but think that this whole farce has been vastly exaggerated beyond proportion. 1983 was a godsend to Tamil economic migrants, who used it as an excuse to get into Western nations. LTTE and other Tamil terror groups were already there before before the Golden July. The real number of dead couldn’t be more than a few hundred, and more Sinhalese have been killed by Tamils in subsequent years (eg: Kent Farm massacre, Anuradhapura massacre).

    The police has rejected that they have ordered lodge owners to send back people from the North. Even if they have, what’s the big deal? Australia routinely refuses to allow in any Muslim even remotely associated with Islamic militancy. Islamic priests who speak up are regularly vilified in the media. Remember those Muslim priests who were grounded in US because other passengers found them suspicious? How about people not allowed to fly wearing anti-Bush tee shirts. There is a much bigger threat from terrorists in Sri Lanka, and it’s common knowledge that many of them operate from these lodges, but yet it’s so unfair and racist to send them back home if they can’t show a valid reason to be here? Why, duh, because they are not foreigners so it’s illegal!

    But aren’t they? First of all it’s perfectly legal under the Anti Terrorist/Emergency regulations so let’s not even go there. On the one hand, we’re told that Tamils have a de facto state so we must accept it and grant it legitimacy, but when they want to come to Colombo they could suddenly change colours and become Sri Lankans.

    Let’s not forget that Tamils don’t allow any Sinhalese civilians to live among them in Tamil majority areas. Unconstitutional Thesavalamai laws even prevent non-Tamils from buying land. The reason that suspicious Tamils get arrested is because there’s a clear and present threat of Tamils blowing themselves up in Colombo. It’s not to discriminate against them or to victimise them but to protect the majority of the innocent people in the city. US Army does the same with suspicoius Iraqis and Afghans. Israel does the same with Palestinians. LTTE certainly does with any Sinhalese, suspicious or not. If that doesn’t make this right, then what does?

    If Tamils want freedom and equal rights they should give similar rights to Sinhalese and stop blowing themselves up. You cannot expect any sympathy from Sinhalese for whatever happens to you in the South, when you don’t allow them to live in the North. Sri Lanka has a right to defend itself and it will.

  37. Jmal, i noticed you dodged the liberal, peacenik implications of your rather simplistic analysis of the Indian structure of government and its federalism. I also have a couple of questions based on this last, rather long and tedious rant.

    just out of curiosity what sections of the PTA or emergency regs give the Police the right to kick people out of their chosen accommodation.

    also, what gave you the impression that it was not permitted for non Tamils to buy land in Jaffna. If you are referring to preemption, it is not a ban at all It just makes it easier for your neighbours to buy your land. Btw, the Tesawalamai is not unconstitutional. It’s protected by Article 16 of the Constitution. Maybe parts of it need to be gotten rid of, but you need to get rid of Article 16 before. But guess what? if you get rid of 16, the PTA and Public Security Ordinance also get screwed. You can’t have the cake and it. Next time, do your reading before you embark on a comment about a legal issue. The practice might help you stay out of trouble in Ozzie, what with anti terror racial stereotyping and all….

  38. The language change and introducing Standardization are what marginalized Tamils from Sri Lankan society. A few tweaks to those policies could have ensured that Tamils got a fair share of government jobs and university slots.

    It’s amazing that you can’t understand the impact of 1983. There were riots before but the fact that an incumbent government orchestrated those events and stood idly by while the Tamils burned, changed this country forever.

    And as for the lodges thing, its really just a case of the police not being bothered to do their job properly. Finding out if a Tamil person in a lodge is legitimate or not shouldn’t be an issue, but they can’t be bothered so hey just kick them all out.

    The flip side to your ‘Sri Lanka has a right to defend itself’ argument, is that if Tamil people feel they have no rights then they will fight for their own country.

    And clearly you no have no clue if you can’t separate the LTTE’s aims from those of the Tamil people.

    Twits like you are why we are in this world of shit.

  39. The problem in Sri Lanka starts from the fake leaders who are malayalee like Mahina, CBK,SWRD and Tamil mudali chetty from India like Ranil, JWRD. Mahinda hides his Christian name Percy. Solomon Wesley Ridgeway Dias is no Sinhala name who introduced the Sinhala only act.

    The fake leaders wanted power. They and their forefathers were Christians so that they would benefit. Why did SWRD not give away his 1200 hectares of estate before he joined politics. How did such wealth come to them.

    The Tamils Hindus worked hard and they did use the advantage they got from English education to rise up the ladder. However English is not the mother tongue of the Tamils. Hence when they took it up and succeeded, don’t blame them. The fake Sinhalese leaders who prostituted themselves could not bear this and use the ignorance of the Sinhalese masses to benefit and they are still looting Sri Lanka.

    In Malaysia, before the British left, most Jaffna Tamils used to dominate the government service. Top officials to the kings were also Jaffna Tamils. Fake Malays who were Indian Muslim, Indonesian like Bugis lied and brought Malay as the official language. The Chinese who were businessmen did not have a good grasp of English during colonial times. However when Malay was adopted as the official language, they started do better then the Malays in Malay. This forced the government to have 2 grading curves for Malays and Non-Malays and they introduced standardization. Malaysia have a 1983 style riot in 1969 between the Malays and Chinese.

    The removal of Jaffna Tamils who were mostly government servants resulted in them moving to the private sector. This resulted in some becoming businessmen. The richest person in Malaysia and the builder of the tallest building in the world at one time is Ananda Krishnan. He is the son of Jaffna Tamils. It’s called PETRONAS Towers because the Malay government took a share as they did not want a significant icon like that to be having a Non-Malay name. Today Ananda Krishnan is buying Sri Lankan Telecoms and Power.

    In Singapore Tamil is one of the Official Languages. So Tamil is in all forms like Malay, Chinese and English. When Singapore’s first Prime Minister visited Sri Lanka, he wanted Singapore to be like Sri Lanka. 25 years later Jayewardene wanted Sri Lanka to be like Singapore. This shows the decline.

    The Jaffna Tamils dominated the government and government services in Singapore. Rajaretnam was the country first Foreign minister and the PM’s right hand man. After the first riots between the Chinese and Malays, he wrote a pledge. It reads as

    We the citizens of Singapore,
    Pledge ourselves as one united people,
    Regardless of Race, Language or Religion,
    To build a democratic society,
    Based on Justice and Equality,
    So as to achieve peace prosperity and Happiness.

    All students in Singapore need to recite this everyday. He was also responsible for bringing Prima which is the sole supplier of Flour in Sri Lanka today.

    JYM Plllai is the man behind Singapore Airline, the number one in the world. Concurrently he was the head of the Development Bank of Singapore (one of Asia’s largest today). Now he is the chairman of Singapore Stock Exchange which is aiming to be Asia’s best.

    Dr Vijayretnam is the man behind Singapore Airport and Seaport which both were at many times number 1 in the world.

    SS Retnam who studied in Hartley and whose grandfather set up the Hindu college was the first to do Sex change and Test tube baby procedures in Asia.

    The first Acting commissioner of police, High commissioners to Malaysia and Britain, Speaker of House, Election Commissioner, Top lawyers, Judges, Doctors, Engineers and many others were Jaffna Tamils. The first opposition MP after independence was a Jaffna Tamil. His son today is the youngest president of the law society (a society dominated by Chinese lawyers today and the post is by elections)

    The Chinese who were also not fluent in English before independence, picked it up and hold most of the senior post. However Jaffna Tamils due to their hard work still hold top positions like the present prime ministers right hand man Tharman is a Jaffna Tamil. He acts on behalf of the PM as the defacto central banker.

    Intelligence has nothing to do with race. It has all to do with hard work. The Chinese is Singapore have no special mark scheme to go into University or racial Quotas. The fields once dominated by Jaffna Tamils and other Indians today are held by Chinese. They came up because of working hard. That’s how you come up in life. That’s how Japan recovered after the First World War and how Singapore overtook Sri Lanka.

  40. Just Mal – The difference is that the Sri Lankan government is elected by its citizens and is, therefore, accountable to them. If the government counts Tamil Sri Lankans as citizens then they must treat them like they treat everybody else. The government has a duty to protect its citizens in accordance with its own constitution. If they don’t do that, then they have no credibility or standing as a government, and the constitution is not worth the paper it is written on. If you don’t count Tamil Sri Lankans as citizens, then that’s different. In that case, you don’t have an obligation to protect them, and you should just let them be a citizen of another country, like Eelam, for instance. Are you just thick or what?

    The rest of you – I am not trying to justify the actions of the LTTE. The LTTE are a terrorist organisation and they must change their ways before a final peaceful settlement is reached. I am also not against a sustainable military strategy to force the LTTE to accept a specified political solution, while endeavouring to protect the well-being of the population.

    However, the current military strategy is not sustainable, and is alienating the very people that the government claims it is liberating, while strengthening the LTTE’s cause nationally and internationally, and weakening Sri Lanka’s position diplomatically and economically. We need to win the peace, as well, after we win the battles, because otherwise we cannot have a sustainable victory. Alienating the Tamil Sri Lankans now is not going to help.

    Apart from this, we do not have the finances to fight this war like this. Inflation is at 17.4% (12 month average CCPI). This is becuase the government is borrowing more money and increasing the budget deficit. This cannot go on for very much longer.

    Having said that, this post was not about any of the above. This was was about basic human rights, and the plainly obvious statement that if Sri Lanka had respected the human rights of its population we would never have had a war. Nothing anybody has said on this forum has contradicted this view.

    Sittingnut – I do not equate all Tamils with the LTTE. Are you on crack?

    The more damning PDF document report on the incident is, in fact, by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies of which the TRO is a member, along with a lot of other international and local humanitarian agencies. The list is below. You may have noticed this morning’s headlines which report that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, among others, have demanded a probe into this incident. Before anybody makes any comments about international meddling in national affairs, may I point out that a government that is not seen to be protcting its own people’s fundamental rights (as given in its own constitution) is not worth respecting.

    Action Contre la Faim
    ADRA
    All Ceylon Hindu Congress
    Ampara District NGO Consortium
    CARE International
    CARITAS (SEDEC)
    Centre For Human Development
    Christian Children Fund Of Canada
    Christian Children’s Fund Sri Lanka
    Community Trust Fund
    Consortium of NGO Mannar
    CORDAID
    Council of NGO s Jaffna District
    Danish Refugee Council
    ETC Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd
    Family Rehabilitation Centre
    FORUT
    Habitat for Humanity ? Sri Lanka
    HELVETAS ? Sri Lanka
    Handicap International
    International Federation for Red Cross
    Institute of Human Rights
    LEADS
    Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya
    Methodist Church – Department of Social Responsibility (MCSL)
    Mines Advisory Group (MAG)
    National Christian Council
    National Peace Council (NPC)
    Oxfam Australia
    OXFAM GB
    Peace & Community Action (PCA)
    Practical Action
    Puttalam District Consortium
    Rural Development Foundation
    Save the Children Sri Lanka
    SEEDS
    SEWA LANKA Foundation
    Survivors Associated
    Swiss contact
    Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation
    Trincomalee District Consortia
    Vavuniya District NGO consortium
    Voluntary Services Overseas
    World University Service of Canada
    World Vision Lanka
    Y-GRO Ltd
    ZOA Refugee Care – Netherlands

    N / Child of 25 – You made a point about how the JVP rebellion was crushed. I think you must realise the differences in circumstances between now and then if you are going to justify human rights violations now on that basis. When Premadasa came in to power he had two wars on his hands – one in the South with the JVP and one in the North and East with the LTTE. It might be argued that drastic measures were called for to prevent the country from descending into the abyss. The situation with the Rajapaksa brothers is entirely different. They have made the country like this in one and a half short years after inheriting the country during a time of PEACE.

  41. Ravana, another thought provoking post (welcome back!)

    I agree that a federal system is probably the best political and institutional guarantee for the protection of human rights. But this cannot be done in isolation without legal and social remedies for past human rights violations (and to some extent guarantees against them for the future). Legal remedies would include accountability by both sides for their wrong doings- sort of what CBK was trying to achieve,compensation and remedies -to both sides. But this has been said in previous posts.

    What is new are social remedies which are a little more complicated and haven’t been mentioned, I apologize if they have. Amongst a number of things they require that individuals actually identify and accept ‘the other’ as closely as they can to themselves. Where the victim at the railway station isn’t merely a tamil, but a father of 2 boys, a brother, husband etc. (akin to the overused ‘if you prick us do we not bleed’ Shylock plea).

    I often wondered why I found it easier to sympathize with any victim of the war- which ever side. The truth is I haven’t had reason to hate ‘the other’. Hence the challenge of my seeing them as human is not that great as it is to someone that has lost family etc. The best ways to evoke and re-establish human sentiment is through the media, but the process of acceptance is entirely subjective.

    Also,If you haven’t seen it already you should try and watch the Rajini Thiranagama Story. Its entitled “No More Tears”.

  42. “Why should the Sinhalese take the blame for 1983 and apologise? Tamil militants started it by killing 13 Sinhalese soldiers.”

    Oh, I see. So instead of taking out the Tamil militants who carried out this act of war, you kill and burn the innocent Tamils of the south. Makes perfect sense to me.

    “Sinhalese have never initiated violence, they’ve only responded to Tamil provocations.”

    What Tamil provocations, as opposed to LTTE ones?

    “1958 and 1983 should be seen in the context of Sinhalese having been subjected to worse pogroms by Brits in 1818, 1848 and 1915…”

    Ah OK, so since you can’t burn London, you burn Wellawatte. Brilliant compromise, that.

    “…with the assistance of Tamils.”

    Any evidence of this, Malcolm?

    “How could 1956 be such a great injustice because it disadvantaged an elitist plutocratic minority, but 70% of the people not being able to study and work in their own language is perfectly just?”

    So instead of insisting that the whole country study and work in a language that would level the playing field and enable the workforce compatible with the rest of the world, you disadvantage 30% of the country, and make sure that the other 70% are educated in a language that is in fact useless to them in the workplace.

    “Why do the peaceniks think it’s reasonable to compare Switzerland with Sri Lanka but not India, Malaysia, Norway, Australia, England, France, Italy, Germany or any other country?”

    The reason is that except for India & Malaysia, the natives of the other countries are mono-ethnic.

    “Aren’t there any Malayalis, Kannada or Telugu speakers in Tamil Nadu? Do they have the rights that Tamils demand in Sri Lanka? Certainly not, because they’ve got their own homelands”

    So then isn’t it reasonable for Sri Lankan Tamils to ask for their own Sri Lankan homeland?

    “Sri Lanka is the homeland of the Sinhalese. Period.”

    Yes, and it’s also the homeland of the Moors, Malays, Burghers, Tamils and Veddhas. When you use punctuation, it’s unnecessary to also use the word for that punctuation, Mal. Gives the impression you doubt your own articulation.

    “Indi and David say that Sri Lanka is more of a migrant nation than a Sinhala Buddhist nation. Does the same not apply to other countries we’ve mentioned?”

    Neither Indi nor I said that. What we said was that SL is peopled by immigrants. Countries like the UK and the USA contnue to take on a steady stream of immigrants who therefore keep changing the culture and demographic of those countries. SL does not have a continuous influx of foreigners. All the immigrants arrived here a few centuries ago, and now have equal rights to the country. Hope this isn’t too complicated for you, Malcolm.

    “Take Australia or United States for example – both young immigrant nations. By the peacenik logic, shouldn’t Spanish be the/an official language in US?”

    You’ve answered your own question. SL isn’t a young immigrant nation. And yes, Spanish is being considered as an official laanguage in the US. It’s unlikely that’ll haappen in Oz ‘cos no one immigrant group is large enough to change the core ethnicity. Plus, since they have idiots like you coming over to stay, they’re naturally resistant to immigrant influence.

    “Why do the new immigrants to both these countries have to learn English?”

    Because they’re new immigrants. Tamils aren’t. How many times do you have to lose this argument before you get it, Malcolm. The fact thaat everyone in Oz treats you like a “fuckin’ darkie” doesn’t mean you have to take it out on the Tamils.

    “a top government official recently declared that Anglo-Australian culture has primacy over minority cultures in Australia. Isn’t this similar to what VIC has said about Sinhala culture being the building blocks of this nation?”

    What Sinhala culture? it’s all borrowed from India & Europe.

    “They don’t realise that Sinhalese are still substantially disadvantaged compared to the minorities”

    That’s because the govt is voted in by the majority who then steal from the as many people as they can — guess who are the many?

    “This war was not a natural phenomenon. It was immaculately conceived ”

    Mighty big words from someone who hadn’t been conceived back in ’83 (immaculate or otherwise).

    “The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka could not be solved by further appeasement of Tamils.”

    What appeasement? Can you name any effective steps undertaken by the GoSL to undo the discrimination of minorities prior to ’83?

    “Just like the British public approved of British imperialism, the German people condoned Nazi fascism, Tamils would support Eelamist nationalism”

    …And the Sinhalese, ’83, right? I must say you argue most excellently, Malcolm.

    “the Burghers are 80% Sinhala or Tamil”

    I think you mean the Sinhalese & Tamils are 20% Burgher😉. Also, there’s no genetic diffference between the Sinhalese & Tamils.

    “It wasn’t like everything was hunky dory and multi-lingual before 56 and SWRD suddenly made everything “Sinhala Only”.”

    No, it was English-led, making it equally easy/difficult for everyone (except for the Burghers). It may not have been a level playing field, but it had the potential to be so within a generation. Basically, an English-speaking Asian nation with two secondary ethnic languages. There would have been more foreign investment today, more opportunity for emmigration and foreign employment, and very likely no war.

    “The Sinhala Only movement had little to do with oppressing or discriminating against Tamils.”
    🙂 I see. Telling a part of the population that it’s language can no longer be used in aadministration and that it must learn a new language if it wishes to educate its kids or hold government jobs isn’t discrimination, is it? What is it, then –facism?

    “The police has rejected that they have ordered lodge owners to send back people from the North”

    Really? Got a link? Or is this more fantasy?

    “Even if they have, what’s the big deal? Australia routinely refuses to allow in any Muslim even remotely associated with Islamic militancy.

    But Australia doesn’t deport Australians who don’t have a job do they?

    “First of all it’s perfectly legal under the Anti Terrorist/Emergency regulations so let’s not even go there.”

    Really? Pls quote the regulation that makes deportation of Tamils legal.

  43. “The reason is that except for India & Malaysia, the natives of the other countries are mono-ethnic.”

    Are you sure about the above? Especially Australia?

  44. Man, i really love this srilankan born aussie fed joker Justmal. Really knows how to make an ass of himself. Cant wait for ur next comment man

  45. Ravana, a good post and touches on some issues that are integral to the peace-building and pluralistic process. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which large parts have been drafted into several national constitutions including the Sri Lankan one—also verbatim in the portion you quoted, was written at a time when man had seen the animal that he had become, the worst of mankind— deranged, bloodthirsty, unaccepting and vile. They stood up and made a pact that civilised nations, born in an age of unmatched darkness and violence, will strive to do better, will try to accept each other, that military retribution should no longer be the single instrument to keep violence in check, that a delicate balance of terror was a state of unsuccesful equilibrium. Through all of these, through the rise of civilized and pluralistic nations Sri Lanka took its independence, turned around and disenfranchised an entire people. That a generation of sinhalese and some tamils were so cynical, that there was not a shred of remorseful indignation, that we went to sleep that night to me epitomises the birthright of this nation. A successful colonial model, divisive and cruel and generations of Sri Lankans who stood by while these divides were perpetuated. Someone said the other day “You Sri Lankans, you have lost your idealism.”, I think we never had any.

  46. Me, I’m pretty sure. In the case of Australia, the non-Anglo immigrants (like the Italians) mostly arrived while Oz was a Brit colony or dominion. They learned English (cos it was the language of the country they were emmigrating to) and settled in, and are now considered native Australians, as opposed to later immigrants who arrived in the late 20th century.

    In the other countries Malcolm mentioned, the natives are mono-linguistic, if not mono-ethnic. The term “ethnic” is pretty much obsolete in northwest Europe anyway.

  47. Good guess, but actually interestingly enough that isn’t true. These greeks, Italians and other postwar europeans who quite often of hard working peasant stock still maintain their language and culture. In fact you will see recent arrivals from asia speaking better english. Anyway, cities such as Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne are pretty multiethnic. Australia had an explicitly multicultural policy in the 1970s till now and is now reaping the benefits in my opinion.

    Lately, the already conservative govenment is making use of the momentum post war against terror created by “moderates” such as Tony Blair et. al. to reverse multiculturalism. Resistance is high due to the origins of many immigrants and prime minister John Howard was lying low waiting to strike…and the war against terror appears to be an opportune time. Thanks to these post war immigrants, as well as the evident success of the multicultural policy, there is still a high resistance. So the wimp is still hovering around waiting to pull the rug from under our feet as we speak.

  48. “What Tamil provocations, as opposed to LTTE ones?”

    Tarring the Sri letter and burning the Lion flag, demanding undemocratic 50:50 representation, violently opposing any concessions to Sinhalese to redress the manifest economic/social imbalance, driving out Sinhalese from the North, discrimination against Sinhalese in the government civil service, joining with India/Tamil Nadu to bully Sinhalese and so on. LTTE crimes are Tamil crimes, so there’s no “as opposed”.

    “Yes, and it’s also the homeland of the Moors, Malays, Burghers, Tamils and Veddhas.”

    Only the Sinhalese and Veddahs are unique and native to Sri Lanka. Others have their own homelands, ie: Middle East, Malaysia/Indonesia, Netherlands/Portugal and Tamil Nadu.

    “you kill and burn the innocent Tamils of the south.”
    “Ah OK, so since you can’t burn London, you burn Wellawatte.”
    Me?

    “Because they’re new immigrants. Tamils aren’t.”

    Aren’t they? Were there any border controls during the colonial rule? Wasn’t Sri Lanka more prosperous than South India. So is it not likely that hundreds of thousands of Tamils migrated during this period? The older Tamils have already been assimilated into the Sinhalese community.

    “It’s unlikely that’ll haappen in Oz ‘cos no one immigrant group is large enough to change the core ethnicity.”

    Really? Have a look at the ethnic suburbs in Melbourne, Sydney or Perth. As they say, you won’t see a skip in Springvale or Brunswick. Why aren’t Italian, Greek, Mandarin, Russian or Arabic at least regional languages then? Heck, why isn’t Irish the official language – there are more Celtic-Australians than there are Anglos.

    “The reason is that except for India & Malaysia, the natives of the other countries are mono-ethnic.”

    Really? Take another look.

    Why isn’t Irish or any of the other Gaelic languages an official language of England then?

    “So then isn’t it reasonable for Sri Lankan Tamils to ask for their own Sri Lankan homeland?”

    They’ve already got one – Tamil Nadu. It’s not a long swim. You could even hop across the Adam’s Bridge.

    “What Sinhala culture? it’s all borrowed from India & Europe.”

    Yes and we have all evolved from primates and our cultures share much in common with theirs. Your point?

    “What appeasement? Can you name any effective steps undertaken by the GoSL to undo the discrimination of minorities prior to ‘83?”

    What discrimination? Was there a situation where Tamils could not sit in the bus with Sinhalese or were made to use seperate toilets? Were there Sinhala only zones where Tamils needed a pass to enter? Were they enslaved and sold like cattle? Were they in any way a disadvantaged group – economically or socially?

    All you’ve got to say is that Sinhala was the sole official language for three years. Even that was corrected in 1959.

    Compare us with the two million Tamils who live under the Bumiputhra system in Malaysia. They were never as affluent or privileged as are the Sri Lankan Tamils – in fact they are the poorest and most backward ethnic group in that country. They are forced to use Malay at school and work. They are treated like untouchables by other groups. Why haven’t they revolted then?

    “And yes, Spanish is being considered as an official laanguage in the US.”

    Still being “considered” Well, Jose, we’ve already done it almost two decades ago. That hasn’t done any good, has it?

    “No, it was English-led, making it equally easy/difficult for everyone (except for the Burghers).”

    Equally difficult? Not for the Tamils! After all, they were the clerical caste of the British Raj. Tamils dominated the English speaking elite plutocracy and they would make sure that ordinary Sinhalese aren’t allowed to climb through the glass ceiling.

    “”It may not have been a level playing field, but it had the potential to be so within a generation.”

    Why didn’t it happen in Fiji then? It ended up being swallowed by Indians, as my Fijian friend says. Why hasn’t it happened in United States with Africa-Americans? How about the Dalits and other marginalised groups in India?

    Impirical evidence shows that affirmative action is essential to assist a historically diadvantaged group such as the rural Sinhalese.

    “Basically, an English-speaking Asian nation with two secondary ethnic languages. There would have been more foreign investment today, more opportunity for emmigration and foreign employment…”

    Sinhalese were not going to wait. Here they are – newly independent after centuries of victimisation, discrimination and servitude under the Europeans and their Tamil faithful – still nothing has changed. They needed reparation – and they needed it quick. Fair enough, I say.

    “…and very likely no war.”

    The war was started by India. It was never a natural occurance. Everything would have been fine except that they realised they could bully Sinhalese with the clout of Tamil Nadu and Mother India.

    If it weren’t for these changes, more Sinhalese youth would have picked up arms as they had done in 71 and 88/89. So there was going to be war either way.

  49. For all the debate on this post, few seem to have addressed Ravana’s core point; that we as a nation have little regard for human rights and it is this failing that underlies the continuation of the country’s problems. I agree with Ravana. If any of the debate on this blog is meant to suggest that human rights are only applicable subject to the broader social/political issues, that would be an exceptionally dangerous suggestion.

    Unalienable human rights are a protection against the vagaries of majority rule. Anyone who believes that the rights of a group of people can be denied because this group is a minority, presumably believes that they (i.e. those who wish to constrain the rights of minorities) will continue to be in the majority. This is unlikely. To put it in a Sri Lankan context, if you are NOT a rural, sinhalese buddhist with less than two o’levels earning below 8000 rupees a month, then you are in a minority. And in a society based purely on majority rule, there is a very good chance that you will soon face the business end of a machete.

    I don’t support the universal availability of law and order and respect for human rights because I have some saintly concern for the well-being of others, I do it because I’m concerned about my own well-being. A lot of the chaps commenting on this blog may want to consider doing the same…

  50. lol…Sinhalese and Veddhas are unique and native to SL!!!That’s one of the better ones I’ve heard for a long time and I’ve heard a lot of really outrageously hilarious claims about history…

  51. he’s an interesting sort of bloke, pity he’s not more intelligent. A lot of what he says can be used to justify conclusions that are completely antithetical to the central point he’s trying to press. He’s stopped responding to any comments I make now so he probably realizes this anyway. You have to give him that bit of credit.

  52. The language debate rages in Sri Lanka, while even the anglocentric, conservative australian government due to economic pragmatism encourages multilingualism among school children through the education system in recognition of the reality of globalisation.

    The De Kretsers are members of a burger family who left Sri Lanka after the passing of the Sinhala only act and have distinguished themselves for example in prominent research and academic institutions. Prof. David De Kretser was made governor of victoria.

    Sri lankans of all races are making significant contributions to Australian society.

  53. …did I also say that his life experiences, some of the sordid details of which were readily available on his blog some time ago make him a fascinating anthropological specimen for studying human prejudice and bitterness induced racism. In the light of those experiences, not only do you have sympathy for the bugger, you kind of understand what makes him tick and I don’t mean to be disingenuous at all. I don’t understand why he offends some people, he’s much nicer and softer than people think. Just the victim of circumstance. Ravana and Blacker know all about it but let’s not go there shall we…🙂

  54. GehanD – I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I’m thinking of permanently blocking Just Mal. He talks cock and I don’t thinjk he beleieves it himself. What do you think?

  55. Well…I can imagine from the sort of stuff that is being kind of invented or improvised!

    My comments appeared to be getting chewed up.

    Point I wanted to make:
    Even the anglocentric, conservative australian government due to economic pragmatism encourages multilingualism among school children through the education system in recognition of the reality of globalisation.

  56. The other interesting about JM is how he is the ultimate chicken hawk. His debates with Blacker (someone who served in the SLA and is currently living in SL), while he himself is a student living in Melbourne, are particularly illuminating.

  57. After reading David Blacker’s comments here, I’m glad that most the Burghers left Sri Lanka. Yes, that may be racist, but if he is representative of the Burgher community, well so long, good riddence! Luckily for Sri Lanka, people of his ilk are are tiny itsy bitsy minority and will sooner rather than later be assimiliated into the majority. The elites can scream and shout but Sri Lanka is essentially (1) Sinhalese and (2) Buddhist. Don’t like it? Have a cry.

    And Indi, it’s the “Sinhalese” bit that is the relatively ‘modern’ confection. Are you seriously this ignorant? The Buddhist bit has been the basis of the island’s identity for thousands and thousands of years, and even accepted by Tamil rulers who were Hindu. That’s how many South Indians were assimilated into the island’s population — through Buddhism, not through the idea of a Sinhalese nation state. Anuradhapura had numerous Tamil Buddhist monks and teachers. It is the idea of a “Sinhalese” people that is a relatively new term in comparison to the Buddhist identity. Go learn history instead of spouting your ignorant, clueless crap.

    And by the way it’s Olcott not Alcott.

  58. “These greeks, Italians and other postwar europeans who quite often of hard working peasant stock still maintain their language and culture.”

    Yes, but I referred to late-20th century immigrants (the ones you’ve mentioned above) as being distinct to the ones who caame before who formed the native Anglo base. In other words, new immigrants keep their individuality while the old ones assimilated to form the core which is now considered native.

    “Tarring the Sri letter and burning the Lion flag, ”

    The Sri letter was a joke, and a short-lived one (I remember my father reading out a number once as “14 crab 5464” or whatever). No one misses it. Flag-burning’s a legit sign of protest. House-burning isn’t.

    “driving out Sinhalese from the North, discrimination against Sinhalese in the government civil service, joining with India/Tamil Nadu to bully Sinhalese and so on.”

    Any evidence of these fantasies, Malcolm?🙂

    “Only the Sinhalese and Veddahs are unique and native to Sri Lanka”

    The Sinhalese aren’t unique to Sri Lanka. They are genetically the same as Tamils and are all classed racially as South Asians. The only thing unique to Sri Lanka is the Sinhalese language. Which was never threatened.

    ““you kill and burn the innocent Tamils of the south.”
    “Ah OK, so since you can’t burn London, you burn Wellawatte.”
    Me?”

    When I say “you”, I’m referring to the you who condones and attempts (rather futilely) to justify those actions.

    “Were there any border controls during the colonial rule? Wasn’t Sri Lanka more prosperous than South India. So is it not likely that hundreds of thousands of Tamils migrated during this period”

    So since you can’t find any evidence of such migration, you assume no one saw it?🙂 It’s also possible hundreds of thousands of martians arrived and impregnated all the Sinhalese women. No one saw it, but let’s assume it happened.

    “Why aren’t Italian, Greek, Mandarin, Russian or Arabic at least regional languages then?”

    Did you not understand this sentence, Malcolm: “no one immigrant group is large enough to change the core ethnicity.” Did you study in Sinhalese, or is the idea of one immigrant group too abstract for you? Since when did Italian, Greek, Chinese, Russian and Arab comprise one immigrant group?🙂 Since no one of these groups were large enough to change the demographic, Christian/English remained the core of the populace.

    “Heck, why isn’t Irish the official language – there are more Celtic-Australians than there are Anglos.”

    Because most Irish speak English, like the Tamils.

    “Really? Take another look.”

    I did. Nothing’s changed.🙂

    “Why isn’t Irish or any of the other Gaelic languages an official language of England then?”

    Why should it be? Ireland isn’t part of the UK. All Irish living in the UK speak English. However, Wales is part of the UK, and Welsh is an official language in Wales.

    “They’ve already got one – Tamil Nadu.”

    Tamil Nadu is the homeland of the Indian Tamils, and SL Tamils are asking for a homeland in SL. You don’t hear the Swiss saying that since German is spoken in Germany they shouldn’t have the language in Switzerland, do you?

    “Yes and we have all evolved from primates and our cultures share much in common with theirs. Your point?”

    That’s exactly my point. Saying that Sinhala culture is unique from Tamil culture is as silly as saying that German culture is unique from French. More or less same religion, music, food, dress, etc.

    “What discrimination”

    The Sinhalese took away the rights of other Sri Lankans natives to work in their own language or in a link language as they had for centuries. They also undertook periodic pogroms. I think that’s discrimination. Apartheid isn’t the only definition of racism and discrimination.

    “Were they in any way a disadvantaged group – economically or socially?”

    They were disadvantaged economically because they no longer had the ability to be in government service, which was the biggest and most lucrative form of employment to the common man.

    “Compare us with the two million Tamils who live under the Bumiputhra system in Malaysia.”

    The Malayan Tamils aren’t native to Malaysia. The SL Tamils are native to SL.

    “Still being “considered” Well, Jose, we’ve already done it almost two decades ago. That hasn’t done any good, has i”

    It’s being considered because the Spaanish aare immigraants. You shouldn’t have to consider it with the tamils. It should be taken for granted. And no it hasn’t done us any good because the Sinhalese never implemented it. A Tamil still cannot go into a government department and have a Tamil speaker there to help.

    “Equally difficult? Not for the Tamils! After all, they were the clerical caste of the British Raj.”

    That’s because the Tamils were hard-working and smart and educated themselves in the lingua franca. The lazy and dumb Sinhalese sat on their arses under their jak trees. So instead of saying let’s educate our poor dumb brethren so that they caan be aas good as the tamils, the Sinhalese leaaders said let’s screw the Tamils and take away their advantage. at the same time, let’s make sure the rural Sinhalese will never learn the English they need to take our jobs or children’s jobs.

    ” It ended up being swallowed by Indians, as my Fijian friend says.”

    Well, I think Fiji would be a bettter place with Indians in the civil and govt service, so it’s not a bad thing.

    “Why hasn’t it happened in United States with Africa-Americans?”

    African-American problems weren’t language but colour-based. I doubt we’d have had that problem🙂

    “Impirical evidence shows that affirmative action is essential to assist a historically diadvantaged group such as the rural Sinhalese.”

    Since Sinhalese historical disadvantage has been a natural bone idleness, I doubt affirmative action was the route to go. And affirmative action is necessary for disadvantaged minorities, not lazy majorities. Missed that in impirical-101, huh?

    “Sinhalese were not going to wait.”

    The only true word you’ve said. They wanted it on the cheap and easy. Laziness again. Well, there’s your reason for the war. Sinhalese laziness. You’ve convinced me, Malcolm.

    “The war was started by India. It was never a natural occurance. ”

    India added fuel to the fire, but no foreign power can create a people’s uprising. If that was needed therre would’ve been no insurrections in ’71 and ’87.

    “If it weren’t for these changes, more Sinhalese youth would have picked up arms as they had done in 71 and 88/89. So there was going to be war either way.”

    Yeah, but since the Sinhalese couldn’t run a rebellion out of a paper bag, no worries there, eh?

  59. “In other words, new immigrants keep their individuality while the old ones assimilated to form the core which is now considered native.”

    Yes the native core in Sri Lanka is (1) Sinhalese and (2) Buddhist.

  60. What bullshit ravana? The idea of a “Sinhalese” people is relatively modern compared to the Buddhist identity of Sri Lanka. Do some research into when the term “Sinhala” came into being. Do you find it on any of the ancient inscriptions? Let me know. The Sinhalese people are a mix of so many immigrants from India as well as the Veddhas. It was BUDDHISM that provided them with a uniting force, not the idea of a Sinhalese nation state. To be the ruler you had to respect and protect Buddhism, not be Sinhalese. Might be uncomfortable reading to a Buddhist hating individual like yourself, the truth can be bitter sometimes.

  61. David…post war is mainly the mid rather than late 20th centuary. The 1950s in particular, during which time some “white” Burghers also manged to pass the white australia restrictions.

  62. “You don’t hear the Swiss saying that since German is spoken in Germany they shouldn’t have the language in Switzerland, do you?”

    But there is no unique “Swiss language” per se. Whereas Sinhala is unique to Sri Lanka; it is not spoken in India. It developed entirely in Sri Lanka and reached its present status in Sri Lanka. Tamil on the other hand is spoken in a large area in Southern India – especially in its homeland Tamil Nadu. Immigrants from Tamil Nadu brought it into Sri Lanka in its current form.

  63. “That’s exactly my point. Saying that Sinhala culture is unique from Tamil culture is as silly as saying that German culture is unique from French. More or less same religion, music, food, dress, etc.”

    I don’t think the Germans or French would find that silly.

  64. ‘lol…Sinhalese and Veddhas are unique and native to SL!!!That’s one of the better ones I’ve heard for a long time and I’ve heard a lot of really outrageously hilarious claims about history…”

    Are you going to claim that the Sinhalese and Veddhas as a people are NOT unique to Sri Lanka?

  65. Well..Snoo Snoo, Australians have certainly gained from having some of those burghers. For example the De Kretsers who left Sri Lanka after the passing of the Sinhala only act and have distinguished themselves for example in prominent research and academic institutions.

  66. Well good for the Australians then, comment. If David Blacker is representative of the Burgher community then Sri Lanka is better off without them.

  67. “That’s bullshit Snoo Snoo. Where are you getting your information from? The Mahavamsa? Hah!”

    Hah! Here we have Ravana, a Sinhalese who’s styled himself after an ape slaying king no less, passionately arguing that Sri Lanka is not the homeland of the Sinhalese, at least not exclusively so.

    Ever seen a Tamil standing up to fellow racists like this?

    Here’s the typical Tamil response: Umm… I live in Colombo and I don’t support terrorism and I’ve never been discriminated against, I’d still like to have a Tamil-only homeland for us anyway – not that I’d go and live there or anything, oh no!

    Go see:
    rambling-ramesh.blogspot.com/2007/05/would-i-go-to-eelam.html

    Bah… come give us some (of your) head, what!

    PS

    Aadhavan, I didn’t notice that you’ve responded to any of my comments. I certainly would have replied. I still love you, so there.

  68. David I must say reading your comments are a treat, especially when I’m not debating you. I was nodding in agreement and laughing most of the time but I’d disagree in relation to one point. The Sinhalese weren’t lazy. The Brits basically had two centres of education. Colombo and Jaffna with Kandy and Galle filling in. Most of the Colomboites were Sinhala and all the Jaffnites were Tamil. So you got a disproportionate amount of Tamils in the civil service because one of the centres was in Tamil heartland and half of the civil servants got chosen from there. The remedy to this should have been to create more centres in Sinhalese areas in the South and elsewhere and Tamil areas, like the Vanni and the East for instance that the Brits ignored. Instead we had this chronic Sinhala only and swabasha nonsense together with a super fuck up standardization policy that leaves the once world renowned universities of Sri Lanka churning out unemployable graduates who are well versed in Pali and little else…

  69. Sri Lankans of all races are making significant contributions to Australia while people like S.S. man advocate a pol pot like fossilisation of Sri Lankan culture as the rest of the world hurtles into the future.

  70. Someone ought to bring up David Blacker’s racism towards the Sinhalese the next time he presents himself at something like the Galle Literary Festival.

  71. Actually, it is also to do with the American Christian missionaries (some Lebanese Christians from Beruit also benefited from them around the same time) who were banished by the British Anglican hierarchy from the more prosperous and fertile south to the barren north. Schools in the north were built by them. They deliberately taught science and reasoning skills to counter the “superstitions” and “myths”. The Tamils flocked to these schools. The schools also gained an island wide reputation. If you talk to some Burghers from the older generation they will tell you they deliberately sent their girls to boarding schools in the north due to the disciplined environment.

  72. It was a good thing Arumugam Navalar came into being in northern Sri Lanka. He countered the anti-Hindu activities of the various Christian missionaries and provided a fresh impetus for the development and promotion of Tamil Hindu culture.

  73. Yes, you are right. There were many who due to nationalist sentiments and pride in their heritage, reverted back to hinduism.

  74. Remember Aadhavan they were disciplined I would translate that to strict…thats why they were sent there by their mothers🙂

    I might be wrong, but the nice thing about the nationalism at that time was it was mainly idealistic and went against the hierarchy at that time. Also the Christian church in the north, more than the south was also inspired by this nationalism…especially what was going on in India with the Gandhian movement.

  75. The British based Anglican church has not played a big role in the Tamil areas for quite awhile, though I think they are trying to change this.

  76. I am glad you used inverted commas to describe the words “superstitions” and “myths” comment. It was a feature of the colonials to look down on Sri Lankans and their religious and cultural traditions, whether they were Buddhist or Hindu. The condescending attitude towards Dharmic religions and their followers, and the amount of oppression metered out to followers of these religions is quite startling when you begin to do some research into the area. While the schools run by missionaries did offer a good education, they were often inaccessible to students who were Buddhist or Hindu and often times families were required to convert in order to give their children an education. Then at the school itself they were taught to glorify Christianity and look down upon their ancestral religion whether it was Hinduism or Buddhism, and scorn the practices of the aforementioned traditions.

  77. Snoo Snoo…you might be aware that some christians in India and in Sri Lanka…particularly in the North and East, formed christian “ashrams” for instance or incorporated aspects of the indigenous culture in their christian rituals due to Gandhi’s leadership and inspiration and broke away from the British Anglicans. Gandhi’s nationalism embraced all religions.

  78. Comment your comments are partially true. The American missionaries did have a few schools (Uduvil, Jaffna College) although the (British) Methodists (Hartley, Central, Vembadi) and Catholics (St Patricks) also built a few schools. The British presence was unmistakably felt though. St Johns and Chundukili were proper Anglican schools.

  79. That “some Christians” is a very small number, comment. And the reasoning behind the “indigenisation” was to make it easier to convert Buddhists and Hindus to Christianity as opposed to trying to impose a western type of Christianity. For example, an unsuspecting Hindu on hearing the word “ashram” will automatically think it is a Hindu place of worship. In southern Sri Lanka Christians began using Pali terms (associated with Buddhism) to describe their doctrine. So Dhamma became the Gospel and the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha) became God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Colonial ‘indigenisation’ did not have, in my opinion, a noble cause.

  80. Of course, no doubt about that Snoo Snoo. Especially after 500 years of colonisation. I think the Dutch were reputed to be quite a brutal lot. Someone told me that people in Jaffna used to keep the household gods hidden up in the thatched roof for no particular reason….well after the colonials had gone, since it just became part of the custom.

    Maybe the northern Tamils got slightly less of a raw end of the deal from the Americans, though I am sure they would have had their own share of western prejudices, since the americans might have been more genuine in their desire to convert people. Thats the sense I get speaking to elderly people.

  81. That’s interesting, comment. In the south, there is a perception of the Portuguese being the worst of the colonials. Then the Dutch, and the most ‘benevolent’ (if one can use that term’) are the Brits. I had always thought that just as in the south, it was the Portuguese who were considered the most rapacious in the north, among the Tamil community. The Dutch, by the way, actually did not recognise marriages in the South unless they were Christian. So people had to convert to Christianity from Buddhism just to get married. Talk about discrimination!🙂

  82. Well…its a mixture I think. The missionaries were quite sophisticated and clever in this. However, there were the native christians themselves who also felt that by completely rejecting their Hindu heritage they were rejecting part of themselves (see if you can find a book by Rev. Isaac Thambiah called Foregleams of God). So they also had a part to play in this. I am sure there must have been Sinhalese Christians who felt the same. Gandhi made this more acceptable by himself openly drawing on all religions while remaining a devout hindu.

    in the words of Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest champion of peace and understanding of religions, which Gandhi also supported : “If any one hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one religion and the destruction of the others, to him I say, ‘Brother, yours is an impossible hope.’ Do I wish that a Christian would become a Hindu ? God forbid. Do I wish that a Hindu or Buddhist would become a Christian ? God forbid … The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.”
    http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Comp/CompBaru.htm

  83. Look…don’t quote me on this…I am sure the portuguese must have been brutal too. Just that they were the earlier colonisers so the wounds must have not been as fresh.

  84. Interesting, comment. Gandhiji on Christianity, missionaries and conversions:

    Christianity in India has been inextricably mixed up for the last one hundred and fifty years with British rule. It appears to us as synonymous with materialistic civilization and imperialistic exploitation by the stronger white races of the weaker races of the world. Its contribution to India has been, therefore, largely negative. (Young India: March 21, 1929)

    Only the other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple, and demolished it. This is outrageous. (Harijan: November 5, 1937)

    If a person through fear, compulsion, starvation, or for material gain or consideration goes over to another faith, it is a misnomer to call it conversion. Most cases of conversion have been to my mind false coin. I would therefore unhesitatingly re-admit to the Hindu fold all such repentants without much ado. If a man comes back to the original branch he deserves to be welcomed in so far as he may deem to have erred, he has sufficiently purged himself of it when he repents his error and retraces his steps. (Collected Works: Vol. 66, pp. 163-164)

    http://www.stephen-knapp.com/mahatma_gandhi_on_conversion.htm

  85. Death don’t talk cock. The Gospel has never been called the dhamma and the trinity has never been referred to as the triple gem. The ashrams in the North were not to convert people but were places where people went to contemplate, meditate etc. When you try to twist facts to suit your conclusions you distort the truth, and when you can’t distort the truth elegantly, you look stupid. Like JM.

    Btw, Sinhalese are not native to SL. Their language is as unique as the hundreds of Sanskritized Dravidian languages and dialects in South India. Not all of them claim to be masters of a state because their village is the only place where the dialect or language is spoken. Sorry to burst your bubble but the syntax, grammar, structure and script of Sinhala is almost identical to all those half Dravidian languages. You should travel around In South India and you’ll realise Sinhala culture is not that unique to SL. Every single facet of the Sinhala culture can be traced to India.

  86. Just imagine how primitive they would have been…500 years ago. No declaration of human rights no UN🙂. Plus ignorance of people beyond their shores or other religions.

    If you talk to the arabs about the Crusades…thats one thing that is still fresh in their minds. Not just the arab muslims, but the Jews and the Arab Christains were massacred by these ignorant crusaders. There is even a written account of bizarre acts of canibalism carried out by these european crusaders. Not sure if it was propaganda though.

    Anyway, in my opinon true nationalism is open to growth and change for the better.

  87. Gandhi was once asked, why, with his admiration for Christ, he did not become a Christian. He replied: “I came to the conclusion that there was nothing really in your scriptures which we have not got in ours, and that to be a good Hindu also meant that I would be a good Christian. There is no need for me to join your creed to be a believer in the beauty of the teachings of Jesus or follow his example (Harijan, Oct 14,1939).”

  88. Aadhavan, in some cases the missionaries did adopt indigenous practices…not the Ashrams…but other practices such as learning the language and incorporating certain aspects of hindu ritual etc. to make Christianity more palatable to the natives. One negative aspect was the caste system, which wasn’t condemned openly.

  89. Thing is Uncle Johnson, you just can’t look at these things as purely good or purely evil. I think Gandhi recognised that and wanted the people of India to recognise the importance of unity in diversity. So even completely rejecting the Colonial culture, or the religion of colonisation which happened to be Christianity goes against Gandhian principles I think?

    By the way if you go into Thamil Nadu, in a place near the Bay of Bengal called Mahavelipuram with ancient sculptures, I saw some reclining hindu gods. My friend explained that there is a theory that they were actually Buddhist statues disguised as Hindu gods to protect the places of worship from desecration by Hindu invaders.

  90. If they tried to make Christianity more palatable by building schools, building hospitals and medical schools, learning the language and doing yeomen service to the study of Tamil as a scholarly discipline then I say let’s have more of the same…

  91. Aadhavan, true re: the strong Anglican presence in terms of St. John’s and Chundukili. Actually even those two were formed by another branch of the Anglican church which is quite intersting…I think something to do with Wesley? I can’t remember. Someone was explaining it to me a few months ago.

  92. Ok….I think it is the Church Misssionary society that operated in Jaffna. It is the evangelical branch of the Anglican church at that time. It had an interesting group of founders…eg. William Wilberforce and John Newton who were the founders of the anti slavery movement. It was founded in 1799 by a “small group of thinking evangelicals, who had met as the Eclectic Society for three years at the Castle and Falcon pub in London”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Missionary_Society

  93. Just looked it up. It was founded by a group called the Eclectic society. Included famous founders of the anti-slavery movement like William Wilberforce and John Newton, who started this group by having regular meetings in a pub in London. This is the Evangelical branch of the Anglican church.

  94. Uncle Johnson…I think your comments are not comming through when you cut and paste a chunk of text. It just happened to me.

  95. Actually I was told that unfortunately a number of these historical records about conversion etc. were kept in the Jaffna library and well… they are no more.

  96. Not another branch. The CMS, a global developmental arm in modern parlance. Trinity and Ladies are also CMS schools. S. Thomas’ and Bishops aren’t.

  97. Yes…sorry I didn’t mean another separate branch. I think there was some politics there. Wilberforce’s group was a bit radical…but the Anglican church did a compromise to prevent a split. I didn’t read this someone told me so i don’t know how accurate it is.

  98. aadhavan
    do advance any evidence for any intentional government or military policy, plan, or pattern of actions to violate human rights of tamils.
    you are of course free to believe that very few isolated criminal acts carried out by very few people employed by government without any orders or knowledge from others is ground for accusing all the other thousands in government and military. as you say ‘silly you’ 🙂 do you believe in ‘white vans’ too ?

    after all you are in the habit of accusing whole sinhala race of such crimes. in doing so, you are also justifying sinhala racists who accuse all the tamils of terrorist’s crimes. if you want to be a racist that is your choice.


    may be all those in this thread ( including ravana ) who think ltte terror is the result of sinhala only act, 83, etc. may join you.

    after all there are ppl who think poor hungry ppl are justified in stealing. even though vast majority of poor hungry ppl never steal and are repulsed by such acts.

    in the same way vast majority of tamils condemn ltte and its acts, and want it to be destroyed. you are free to disagree. racists always do (especially ones like you who are reluctant to admit they are racists while holding racist positions identical to ltte or extreme sinhala racists)

    anyway as i said from the first , bc this is a free country you,ravana, etc are free to hold and express such racist opinions. unlike in austria, ref fate of racist david irving – thanks palmyra for pointing that out🙂. some of you due to muddled thinking or deficiencies in ‘understanding’ ( as jane austen might say) may not even realize that those positions are racist. just make sure you do not engage in criminal acts. it is after all a short step from holding same opinions as ltte and acting as they do.

    government should however defeat all those who act as ltte do. to defeat them ( with use of violence if needs be ) in not a violation of human right it is simply enforcing the law against a bunch of thugs who violate human rights.

    in other words since this is free country you, ravana etc. are free to believe in and give expression to same sort of warped logic that motivates ltte suicide bombers, as long as you ( being the ‘prudent’ ppl you are, who leave that kind of thing to others) do not strap explosives to yourself ( if you do, you are likely to get shot legally in order to protect the right to life of others ).


    or you can dump that sort of warped logic of ltte racism altogether. as i said its your choice.

  99. “The reason is that except for India & Malaysia, the natives of the other countries are mono-ethnic.”

    David, what I understand/undestood from the above was, that you were referring to the aborigines.They are the natives of Oz. Even then they are not mono-ethnic.
    I don’t know what JustMal said, ‘cos most of the time (if I am pressed for time) I don’t read his posts but that of others whom I feel can enlighten me.
    So yes, I do read your posts,Ravana’s,Jack Point (now he is a character :))

  100. Sittingnut, I’ve been going through some of your older posts, and I cannot help but notice a marked paradigm shift in your way of thinking.

    For someone who predicted a Wickremesinghe victory, and clearly subscribed to the peace-at-any-cost school of thought that you now so passionately deride, you’ve made quite the U-turn. I’m sure Ashanthi is mightily disappointed.

    I speak on behalf of the Sinhala far right, so naturally I say a lot of racist things. It doesn’t mean that I necessarily have to believe in what I say. I’m studying law so I think of myself as a defence attorney *laugh*. I acknowledge my racism and make no excuses – I think I need to say these things when the blogosphere is filled with fascist pundits from the other extreme. As you said, many of them do not realise that they are as bad as me, if not worse. Just have a look at David’s anti-Sinhala rant. I’ve never seen you (unlike me) saying anything that’s even remotely racist, and yet they call you an extremist and fancy themselves as being moderates.

  101. Comment: “David…post war is mainly the mid rather than late 20th centuary.”

    I won’t argue with you on terminology. I generally see WW2 as dividing the 20th century and refer to pre-WW2 as “early” and post as “late”. Anyway, I think you understand my meaning when I differentiate between the early and late immigrants.

    Snoo Snoo’s Johnson: “But there is no unique “Swiss language” per se.”

    And there is no unique Sri Lankan language either. There are three — Sinhalese, Tamil, English.

    Snoo Snoo’s Johnson: “I don’t think the Germans or French would find that silly.”

    They don’t, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t. For instance, when most people think of German culture, they actually mean Bavarian culture, which is distinctly different from the rest of Germany. German culture is very similar to its closest neighbours — in Hamburg it’s similar to England, in southwest Germany it’s similar to the French, in Pomerania it’s similar to Poland, and so on. The only real difference is language.

    Me (as opposed to I): “David, what I understand/undestood from the above was, that you were referring to the aborigines.They are the natives of Oz. Even then they are not mono-ethnic.”

    No, I didn’t mean the original indigenous peoples (Red Indians, Aborigines, Veddhas, Montagnards, etc), who of course are the real natives. What I mean are the original immigrants (Europeans in Australia and the US, Indians in SL, etc) who formed the core base of the population and are now seen as native. These natives/invaders dictated what became later the respective national culture. Hope I’ve made myself clear.

  102. Ravana, a good post and touches on some issues that are integral to the peace-building and pluralistic process. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which large parts have been drafted into several national constitutions including the Sri Lankan one—also verbatim in the portion you quoted, was written at a time when man had seen the animal that he had become, the worst of mankind— deranged, bloodthirsty, unaccepting and vile. They stood up and made a pact that civilised nations, born in an age of unmatched darkness and violence, will strive to do better, will try to accept each other, that military retribution should no longer be the single instrument to keep violence in check, that a delicate balance of terror was a state of disastrous equilibrium. Through all of these, through the rise of civilized and pluralistic nations Sri Lanka took its independence, turned around and disenfranchised an entire people. That a generation of sinhalese and some tamils were so cynical, that there was not a shred of remorseful indignation, that we went to sleep that night to me epitomises the birthright of this nation. A successful colonial model, divisive and cruel and generations of Sri Lankans who stood by while these divides were perpetuated. Someone said the other day “You Sri Lankans, you have lost your idealism”, I think we never had any.

  103. JMal, are you sure you’ve chose the right profession? Judges and opposing counsel are very unforgiving on logical slip ups you know…

    Snut, I don’t just believe in white vans. I know a couple of people myself who were abducted. One was released after a couple of weeks and the other paid a 20 million ransom to a certain office in Kirullapone as the cost of freedom. There are scores of others. Don’t be daft.

    You want to know what the discrimination is. How about the fact that Tamils find it impossible to conduct affairs in a language that
    they understand with their government. How about the fact that only a handful of sometimes innocent privates have been punished for thousands of killings while the govt wages a multi billion rupee war on the Tigers because they are killers. How about the fact that the while the govt claims to fight terror it supports and protects a terror group that is terrorizing Tamils. How about the fact that Tamils in lodges are kicked out of their choice of abode purely because they are Tamil. How about the fact that government is not interested in power sharing with the Tamils and is interested in perpetuating a constitution which is based on another thoroughly unjust constitution that dispensed with the sole provuision that protected minority rights which was judicially pronounced as the solemn promise on which independence was given and which gives Buddhism the foremost place although Hindusim predates Buddhism in SL. How about all the countless unofficial acts of discrimination and oppression by government officers on account of race that go unchecked because making a police entry to the station in which you were tortured kind of sucks.

    I know you’ll try and characterize anyone who does not support your view as being a Tiger supporter. It’s an old trick and it’s spurious. It’s based on some mistaken notion that being too intelligent to possess the simplistic ‘us good, them evil’ kind of thinking is unpatriotic. Yours is the patriotism of the hillbillies, the blind believers, it’s the vacuous ideology that got us into this muddle in the first place and the kind of thinking that makes change impossible. The irony is that the Tigers get the little sympathy they have from the IC and the Tamils because of people like you. You are the real Tiger supporter and you’re too stupid to realise it.

  104. “How about the fact that only a handful of sometimes innocent privates have been punished for thousands of killings”

    Not too sure what you mean, Aadhavan.

  105. I don’t think anyone was convicted for Chenmani where a few hundred bodies were found, 2 cops were convicted for Bindunuwewa and then released, and all the other massacre that I have listed put in debate with you have not been punished at all. Not a single conviction for all the killings after Rajapakse came into power and there have been a few don’t you think. Even the international investigators have been given a hard time. Hell, not one person was convicted for everything that happened in 1983. No one was punished for burning the Jaffna library etc etc. The list goes on. Do you now know what I mean?

  106. One solitary conviction that I know of that still stands was the Krishanti conviction where some small fry guy got into hot water and then blabbed about the mass graves in Chenmani. Do you know of any other convictions? I don’t.

  107. I just heard some shocking news. It is unconfirmed. The residents of the Pettah lodges (600 of them) were being transported back to the North and East in buses. They have instead been taken to prison and have been remanded. I repeat, this is the story as I heard it from a usually reliable source. It is unconfirmed. He is also trying to get a clearer picture of what is happening.

  108. Tamilnet has a report on the story also. I got to know from a personal source that the evacuations have already begun. It was only a matter of time after the European development conference…

    It’s pretty sad. The LTTE must be licking their lips in anticipation…disillusioned, angry, discriminated Tamil youth with no jobs, no place to stay. Do the math.

  109. SL Police expel Tamils from Colombo lodges

    [TamilNet, Thursday, 07 June 2007, 04:47 GMT]
    Despite the assurances by the Sri Lankan Government Information department last week citing the Head of the state, Mahinda Rajapaksa, that all citizens would be treated equally, Sri Lankan Policemen in Colombo Thursday launched search operations and entered the private lodges to forcefully evacuate the Tamil tenants, initial reports from Colombo said. A large number of policemen have been deployed on duty since 4:00 a.m. on the roads in Wellawatte and Pettah areas. Hundreds of civilians have been packed in busses to be sent away, initial reports said. The Police raid was going on in four police divisions, Wellawatte, Kotahena, Pettah (Peaddai) and Wattala.
    47 Tamils were forcefully taken from a single lodge located in Station Road in Wellawatte. Another lodge in the area reported 35 persons were taken away by the Police. Many lodges have been raided in all the four police divisions.

    Eyewitnesses said four buses full of Tamil civilians from NorthEast were parked in front of Kotahena Police Station.

    Reports further said more than 3 buses were to be sent to Vavuniyaa and a similar number of buses to the east port town.

    Last Thursday, the Police Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Pettah Police division, Chief Inspector Jayaratne, summoned lodge owners and gave instructions to immediately expel around 5000 Tamil tenants from Northeast and Upcountry staying in 68 lodges in Pettah Police division.

    Later, the Information department of the Sri Lanka Government denied the reports of the instructions reportely given by the Police OIC.

    The Sri Lankan Police IGP Victor Perera who launched a new Tourist Police Unit last week had said everyone having a valid reason to stay in lodges were free to stay.

  110. hey davy

    sorry been busy and haven’t had time to surf around.

    my apologies. agreed on your point.

    sri lanka is for sri lankans.

    however, it is the only country sinhala people have. they are the majority. so any other race need not be subjugated to this fact but everyone must learn to live with each other.

    as for the ltte, the only answer is military. you know that, i know that, we all know that.

    d-some

  111. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6729555.stm
    Police evict Tamils from Colombo

    One man forced to board one of the buses called the private local radio station Sirisa FM from a mobile phone.

    “The police came and took us and put everyone on the bus,” he said, saying the bus was about 32km (20 miles) outside the capital, heading northeast.

    “We don’t know where we are being taken.”

  112. “as for the ltte, the only answer is military”

    Good luck to that.

    Just keep holding on to that thought.

  113. “and all the other massacre that I have listed put in debate with you have not been punished at all.”

    While I agree that prosecution of war crimes has been woefully inadequate, to say that there has been NO punishment is incorrect, Aadhavan. For instance, the platoon commander (a lieutenant) responsible for the Kokkadicholai massacre in the early ’90s was cashiered out of the Army after facing a court martial. This one springs to my mind because I met the guy in question. There have been others.

    Simultaneously, I don’t think there have been any punishment by the LTTE of its members responsible for similar crimes.

    ““as for the ltte, the only answer is military”

    As I’ve told you before, Dhammika, no PF army with safe haven has ever been defeated in the 20th century; not one. Do you seriously believe the LTTE (one of the more efficient of the world’s terrorist groups) will be the first?

  114. To put it crudely, if this were a betting game, two groups I would put my money behind are the LTTE and the Hezbollah.

  115. “It’s pretty sad. The LTTE must be licking their lips in anticipation…disillusioned, angry, discriminated Tamil youth with no jobs, no place to stay. Do the math.”

    Aadhavan, ur comment says it all. This will just end up with more tamils discriminated, jobless and finally joining LTTE. Dont know why the stupid government cannot understand it.

  116. David, I didn’t say there were NO punishments. I said you could count them on one hand. In fact, I provided one example. Also, cashiering some one out of the army and letting them live a undisturbed life after that seems a really cool punishment to have for someone responsible for massacring people. I’d settle for that if I were involved in a massacre. But lets not dance on the end of this needle, the fact is that thousands of killings including those in 1983 have gone unpunished.

    No doubt the LTTE does not punish the culpable in their ranks. Maybe they do a few. I don’t know of any. I don’t think this in any way detracts from the point I was making.

  117. “as for the ltte, the only answer is military”

    Whether or not the LTTE can be dealt with militarily is one question. Whether or not the war can be won militarily is quite another. Defeating the LTTE does not mean the same thing as winning the war. This war cannot be won purely by military means. The Tamil population must feel assured that they have access to a safe, secure future in this country and they must feel Sri Lankan before this war can be won. This government clearly does not understand that simple fact.

  118. Ok, Aadhavan, when you said “haven’t been punished at all”, I thought you meant none.🙂

    You’re right, ending a promising career isn’t enough for the crime of murder, but it was at least a positive action.

    I agree though that not enough is being done to curb human rights violations and war crimes.

  119. Ravana, if the LTTE can be defeated militarily, the war will have been won. Militarily. Which is the only way to win a war. If it can be won in other ways it isn’t a war. I think you mean “Can the ethnic conflict be dealt with militarily?” and the answer is no. The war is a result of the ethnic conflict.

  120. Okay, it depends on how you define war, and I’ll concede that mine was a broader than accepted definition. I don’t want to get into a semantic argument, especially with you, David.

    The LTTE is just one militarised Tamil group. Now we have two others: the Karuna group and the Pillayan (?) faction. (Let’s ignore the EPDP, shall we?) At the moment, both these support the government. Karuna has even talked about joining the government two days ago. (This is rich coming a day after the police said that they thought the “white van” used in the Fort Railway Station abductions was one known to be used by the Karuna group). Even if the LTTE is defeated militarily (which I doubt very much), what’s to stop other military groups from carrying on the fight? Could it be said that the war had been won then, just because the LTTE had been defeated, hypothetically speaking of course? Oh no… semantics.

  121. The semi ethnic cleansing that occurred today has most right thinking Sri Lankans in a state of depression. “What next?” is the question on our minds. This move is a slap in the face of any movement that believed in integration and reconciliation between the two communities. The thing about Colombo is that it has always had two dimension to it. On the one hand, it’s the seat of power concentrated in one group and one man, but on the other it has been a cosmopolitan hub where even the most extremist politicians like to point out, the racial groups live in relative harmony and peace.

    Today’s move is based on a separatist ideology. It is based on the idea that the North and the East are the only places where the Tamils ought to live. It is based on the idea of a Tamil homeland. It’s based on the idea that Tamils do not have the equal right to live anywhere other than the North and East. It’s based on the idea that Tamils live in Colombo not by right, but by permission. “We’ll let you stay if we want you stay” is what the government seems to be saying, “you have no right to be here unless we want you here.” The only conclusion I can draw is that the government believes in separatism, in division and in the perpetuation of conflict. As a Tamil, I have had to come to terms with the idea that this will never be home. Home is a place you have a right to live in, not where you are ‘permitted’ to live. I hope the reality changes soon. The separatists won today, and all those who believe in a united Sri Lanka have just been handed down a severe beating.

  122. isn’t it curious how racists like ravana aadhavan etc continue to spew out pure racist rubbish like the above, while believing they are not racists.

    they are always ready to believe ltte propaganda and white van conspiracy theories without a shred of evidence. always believing that ltte is committing its terrorist acts ( including the very real ethnic cleansing of north) on behalf of tamils, and that interest of tamils are identical to ltte. in spite of all the evidence from other minorities and vast majority of tamils who do not engage in terror acts, they hold that 83, sinhala only act etc. results in and justify ltte terror. they probably believe, as i said above, that when a person is poor and hungry he will inevitably steal. in spite of the fact that vast majority of poor hungry ppl will not steal and will condemn stealing . they probably believe that arresting such thief is wrong and is a human right violation, in the same that they seem believe efforts to defeat ltte terrorists (using violence if needs be) is wrong

    while giving expression to that kind of warped muddled logic and racist opinions that are in all respect identical to those that motivates ltte suicide bombers they are nevertheless unable to be honest and admit their own racism. they condemn sinhala racists but hold the same opinions, that tamils believe in and support ltte’s acts.

    such hypocrisy, dishonesty and muddleheadedness will not clarify anything. any analysis of sri lanka by some one like ravana who cannot be honest himself and think clearly will not help anyone.🙂

    ravana
    yes un sec general wants a probe. and i have no objection to that ( don’t imagine one ) .imo probes are ok but convictions before examining evidence not so.

    what i objected to was your ( since you missed this, i repeat ‘your’) conclusion that it was done by government based on unsourced ( according to your own post ) and unreliable pdf ( most ‘damning’ one according to you ). you are yet to explain the other objections i made with regard to those pdf. tro is a ltte front according to fbi. and may i know who actually wrote the cha pdf ( actual ppl i mean. not by tro personnel? as is usually the case with cha) who actually saw the white van? why did you discard alternative explanations based unknown accounts ? and why the differences between two pdf?

    based on such sources you positively conclude that government is so stupid as to openly use a white ( as opposed to blue/black/etc suv or something ) van, to abduct low level red cross workers from batti in colombo as opposed to batti ( and at fort railway station of all places, – btw are you aware that some ppl who blame this on government are trying to change the location ? do you know why ? ) and kill them and dump the bodies in a place that does not conceal them even for a day. all this just before eu parliament hearing on sri lanka.

    as i said this being a free country you are free to be naive or indulge in your racist prejudices when using such sources to blame it all in government.🙂


    just mal:
    you are requested to look again at my older posts and point out any place where i said peace at any cost is acceptable.

    as for other predictions i have given details as to why i thought those outcomes were likely. for instance you might have noticed while you are checking them that while i predicted a ranil victory i also predicted a week before election that if ltte prevents voting ( even though there was only few rumors of that then ) he will lose and we will have a war ( and that means war is exactly what ltte wants ) and we should support whoever is elected to defeat the ltte.
    btw that shows i do value democracy ( as well as human rights, freedom, and justice)over peace .

    your observation that lot of ppl here ( including ravana , david blacker, aadhavan) hold racist opinions identical to some of your own, and ltte’s opinions without admitting to being racist, is correct ( as i have pointed out in detail in my above comments). it is called hypocrisy.


    aadhavan:
    so you are convinced about white vans? and you have an alleged personnel experience about a criminal ransom incident to support that belief? in other words you believe that bc crimes take place they are all committed by government? (is that generalization only valid to sl btw ? or do you believe that of all countries? ) bc that is what your sloppy logic amounts to 🙂

    then you go on to catalog discrimination. you miss the point altogether. my point was discrimination does not justify ltte terror or result in ltte terror and only a racist like you with muddled logic can believe that they do. you also believe that ltte is committing terrorist acts to correct those discriminations and tamils support that . that is also a racist position. in fact the other side of the coin from what sinhala racists believe. your opinions are identical to ltte and sinhala racist opinions.

    then instead of making an attempt to disprove that your own opinions are racist as i say, you go on to call me names.🙂 typical

    i did not say it is ‘us good, them evil’ or anything about patriotism. i said your opinions are racist by any rational examination. prove me wrong if you can, instead of calling me names. i also said you are free to hold your opinions this being a free country. so why are you acting like a hypocrite and pretending that your opinions are not racist?


    since you have some difficulty in ‘understanding’ i will repeat my arguments as questions ( other racists like ravana etc can answer them too)

    do you believe that real or alleged grievance of tamils (sinhala only act, ’83, ‘white vans’, etc.- take your pick ) results in ltte’s terror? do you believe that ltte is committing its terrorist acts to correct those grievances? do you believe that interests of tamils are served by ltte? do you believe that any lessoning of power of ltte is perceived by tamils as a defeat for tamils?
    finally don’t you think all such beliefs are racist and those who hold them are racists? if not why not?

    do answer. be clear and honest in your thinking and logic for change. bc if you are dishonest about your own think process it wont help anyone
    as i said there isn’t any law here against holding racist opinions like yours ( problem arises only when you try to act on such opinions like ltte suicide bombers do. you are too ‘prudent’ to ‘act’ like that, i am sure ), so be honest.🙂

  123. Snut, unfortunately for you, the knowledge that the length of a post and the quantum of repetition of the word ‘racist’ do not in themselves constitute a valid and logical argument has not been grasped by your esteemed self. I get this nasty feeling that you believe that assertions repeated enough times must make the assertion right. I also get the feeling that you use the word ‘proof’ without an understanding of the varying epistemological connotations that the word carries in different contexts. Perhaps the product of a mind spoiled on a steady diet of cheap American and Hindi legal dramas.

    As for your questions.

    1. I believe the LTTE’s rebellion is caused by the governments discrimination of Tamils. I wish to draw the philosophical distinction here between cause and responsibility. There may be multiple equal causes for an event or a series of events, although the primary responsibility for an act may be attributed to the most proximate actor in the chain of causation. If you can’t wrap your head round this idea, you are out of you league.

    2. I believe one of the operative factors that sustains the LTTE’s motivation may be the desire to establish a bargaining chip with which to negotiate certain political objectives that favour the Tamils. Of course, that may not be the sole operative factor, but I believe your question admitted a certain ambiguity on this point.

    3. I believe certain interests of certain Tamils may be served by certain acts of the LTTE. This construction also admits of the possibility that certain interests of certain Tamils may be deleteriously affected by certain acts of the LTTE. Again your question was ambiguous and it deserves the answer given herein.

    4. Refer answer 2.

    5. No, I don’t think my answers are racist although I’m amused you would contemplate asking me whether my answers are racist before you had even heard the answer. These questions are going from bad to worse.

    6. My answers do not satisfy any accepted definition of racism except perhaps by the application of a skewed standard, itself the product of racist mind.

    Glad to be of help and teach you a thing or two about logic.

  124. “I believe one of the operative factors that sustains the LTTE’s motivation may be the desire to establish a bargaining chip with which to negotiate certain political objectives that favour the Tamils” – Aadhavan, what bargaining chips did the LTTE lack at the beginning of the 2002 ceasefire? I’m just curious because it seems to me that they pretty much had the upper hand on all counts (apart from maybe the LRRP’s hammering them prior to the ceasefire, but then the exposing of them took that away).

    I personally believe that the sole aim of the LTTE is not to negotiate political objectives that favour the Tamils but a separate state that VP can play king in.

  125. Since JustMal asked, yep, linguistic minorities have fairly strong rights in Tamil Nadu (which, incidentally, was the first state in India to grant rights to linguistic minorities, and has been described by the Government of India’s Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities as being in the “vanguard” of the movement to give equal rights to linguistic minorities). Under the Madras Official Language Act, 1956, and the rules made thereunder, all important rules and regulations are translated into minority languages (Kannada, Telugu, Urdu, Malayalam and more recently, Saurashtri). The government translates electoral rolls into the minority language in areas where it’s spoken. People have a right to communicate with the state in their own language. You need to know either Tamil or English to get an official job (nope, Tamil isn’t mandatory), and the government’s policy is to let minority candidates appear for official exams in their mother tongue (and they’ve been taking steps to ensure that this is possible all over the state – there’ve been issues with exams to become a policeman in some areas). The Government holds meetings at the district level with linguistic minorities every few years to check how things are going with them. The implementation of these rules isn’t perfect, but there’s an independent audit of that every year which the government takes on board.

    It’s also worth noting that there’s not a single district in Tamil Nadu where minorities are more than 60% of the population – and nearly every district has a solid Tamil majority.

  126. wtf and this has escaped the Sri Lankan government’s notice? We have what seems to be a relatively good model for minority rights on our doorstep since 1956 and noone has thought about trying to incorporate this model into Sri Lankan legislature? bloody hell…

  127. N, I do not claim to be able to read minds so I can only describe a situation. I cannot judge motivations, sole aims etc etc without any access to the minds of the individuals in question, so the questions in itself is ridiculous.

    The bargaining power the LTTE had during the ceasefire was not sufficient to get the govt to fulfill the promised PTOMS and discuss interim structures for rehabilitation and rebuilding of the NE.

  128. Interim relief has been granted by the Supreme Court to stay the evacuations in lieu of an FR application that the order to evacuate violated Articles 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the Constitution. The Chief Justice was not present.

  129. You have to win the majority of the battles to win the war. The armed forces can win EVERY battle (which they won’t) and still not defeat the LTTE. And even if they do defeat the LTTE, there’ll be a new terrorist group in decade or so unless the ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamils is solved.

  130. Sorry to burst your bubble Aadhavan, but Sinhala is not a Dravidian language. It’s an Indo-Aryan language. You might like to believe it is a Dravidian but language experts thing otherwise. And Sinhala is unique to Sri Lanka, while Tamil is not. Sinhala developed and matured entirely in Sri Lanka. Tamil did that in South India.

    Sri Lanka is the homeland of the Sinhalese people and Tamil Nadu is the homeland of the Tamil people.

  131. “And there is no unique Sri Lankan language either. There are three — Sinhalese, Tamil, English.”

    Yes there is – Sinhala.

    Tamil and English came from and developed overseas.

  132. I suggest you have a good read of this Aadhavan:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinhalese_language

    Sinhalese or Sinhala is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese, the largest ethnic group of Sri Lanka. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages.

    The oldest Sinhala inscriptions were written in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE; the oldest existing literary works date from the 9th century CE.

    The closest relative of Sinhala is the language of the Maldives, Dhivehi.

    All the basic words in Sinhala are of Indo-Aryan origin. Parts of the body, numbers, basic nouns such as the sun, moon, sea, sky etc.

  133. Aadhavan – I’m not asking you to read anyone’s minds, I’m asking you to back up your two part statement. One that the Tigers didn’t have enough bargaining chips and the second that the Tigers want to negotiate political objectives that favour the Tamils.

    Firstly the PTOMS has nothing to do with it, I’m talking about the first two years of the ceasefire. The Tigers had all the chips and concessions yet without engaging in any meaningful negotiations they postured and eventually ended up with a suicide bombing in the Capital mid 2004. If they had any bargaining power now why should it be any different?

    Also with regard to political objectives that favour the Tamils I assume you mean increased “self determination.” What I find sick about the Tigers is they claim to fight for self determination but they kill any Tamil that “self-determines” against them, even if it is in a non-violent way. Hence my assumption that the Tigers are not fighting for a Tamil homeland where all Tamils can run around and smell the daisies but an LTTE country where VP can be King.

    You made the original statement, feel free to back it up with evidence. I don’t see how that is ‘ridiculous.’

  134. An unconfirmed report from a source says that the President has criticized the Police action of deportation and ordered the deported people back. Congratulations, civil society. If it’s true, he’s an idiot, it shows, and it also shows that he’s scared of strong public and international reaction.

    Same source also says that AFTER the supreme court ruling civilians were still loaded onto boat(s) and shipped off to Jaffna from Trinco.

  135. N, weren’t there 6 rounds of really meaningful peace talks? also wasn’t the bomb after the ptoms failed? I think all of the troubles really escalated after the PTOMS rejection and the govt’s harboring and assisting Karuna. I know you’ll disagree but if you look through the dates of the incidents as I once did, you’ll see that what I’m saying is credible.

    Look, one of the many things I hate about the Tigers is that they suck at negotiating. They are really bad at politics and are too paranoid to get help from the Tamils who have the capacity.

    The other thing I hate about them is their lack of tolerance for dissent as you’ve rightly pointed out. They kill brutally and I hate them for it. But none of this really detracts from the point that in negotiations with the GoSL, they represent the Tamil political aspirations more than the GoSL does. That’s a sad fact of life for all Tamils.

  136. PTOMs was in response to the tsunami which occured in Dec 26, 2004. The suicide bomb went off July 8, 2004 (which ironically is said to have targetted a Tamil politician, Douglas Devanda). I’m not sure what you mean by 6 rounds of ‘meaningful’ peace talks, the Tigers didn’t even bother with any confidence building measures. They continued violating the ceasefire, knocking off intelligence and non-LTTE Tamils and then proceeding to suspend peace talks in April 2003. Karuna broke away in March 2004 and far from being harboured by the GOSL, they stood by and let the LTTE hit them (I forget what river they went across) Hardly what I would call meaningful actions or negotiations by the LTTE.

    At the end of the day Aadhavan I’m not a supported of the GOSL, I don’t think Sri Lanka should be for the Sinhalese. I believe SL should be a secular federalized state with everybody having equal amounts of empowerment (yes idealism but I can’t help it)…but the way I see it the main opposition to that right now is the LTTE and their unwillingness/inability to engage in any type of negotiations that does not involve the granting of Eelam. And that is down to who VP is as a person, he has to be eliminated before talking peace with the LTTE.

  137. aadhavan :
    the silly personal insults you start off with to cover up your muddled thinking is pathetic as usual. were you afraid that in spite of your attempts at ambiguity your racist opinion will be bared?

    btw when someone believes that tamils support ltte terrorism, as you do, he/she is a racist. when someone believes discrimination against tamils results in ltte terror, as you do, he is a racist.
    as long as you hold such beliefs and claim you are not a racist i will point out your racist beliefs and call you a racist in spite your silly insults🙂 .

    i was laughing no end after reading your answers to my questions. muddled hypocritical thinking like yours can be entertaining to observe even though you probably did not intend them as such. why do you run from your own opinions so much and get in to such contortions in the process of running away?🙂

    i will publish both question and answer together so that ppl can read them together ( that increases the mirth). and bares your purpose in answering the way you did

    1/
    in answer to my question
    “do you believe that real or alleged grievance of tamils (sinhala only act, ‘83, ‘white vans’, etc.- take your pick ) results in ltte’s terror?”
    you say
    “1. I believe the LTTE’s rebellion is caused by the governments discrimination of Tamils. I wish to draw the philosophical distinction here between cause and responsibility. There may be multiple equal causes for an event or a series of events, although the primary responsibility for an act may be attributed to the most proximate actor in the chain of causation. If you can’t wrap your head round this idea, you are out of you league.
    🙂 i don’t think i need to explain what is wrong with this. your intentional muddle is probably a good example of you own normal thinking process. your real beliefs peeps through from the word ‘rebellion’ down

    btw i am never out of my league. i never stoop🙂

    2/
    to my question
    “do you believe that ltte is committing its terrorist acts to correct those grievances?”
    you answer
    ” I believe one of the operative factors that sustains the LTTE’s motivation may be the desire to establish a bargaining chip with which to negotiate certain political objectives that favour the Tamils. Of course, that may not be the sole operative factor, but I believe your question admitted a certain ambiguity on this point.”
    🙂 yes you do live in a fantasy world. (just like all racists)

    3/
    “do you believe that interests of tamils are served by ltte?”
    you answer
    “I believe certain interests of certain Tamils may be served by certain acts of the LTTE. This construction also admits of the possibility that certain interests of certain Tamils may be deleteriously affected by certain acts of the LTTE. Again your question was ambiguous and it deserves the answer given herein.”

    lol🙂 do be ambiguous. only we can see that you re stretching hard to be ambiguous, so we ask why is that? and all the ambiguity disappears . your very desire for ambiguity reveals your real beliefs.

    4/
    “do you believe that interests of tamils are served by ltte? ”
    “Refer answer 2”
    you prefer not to make the distinction?

    4b
    “do you believe that any lessoning of power of ltte is perceived by tamils as a defeat for tamils?”
    not answered by you

    5/
    “finally don’t you think all such beliefs are racist and those who hold them are racists?”
    you answer
    “No, I don’t think my answers are racist although I’m amused you would contemplate asking me whether my answers are racist before you had even heard the answer. These questions are going from bad to worse.”
    you forget what i said before asking them🙂
    anyway your answers as far as words can go are intentionally mean to be ambiguous, but as i said that very desire for ambiguity says a lot about your beliefs and your muddled thinking, and let the cat out of the bag

    6/
    “if not why not?”
    you answer
    “My answers do not satisfy any accepted definition of racism except perhaps by the application of a skewed standard, itself the product of racist mind.”

    unfortunately for you, your own obvious ( ultimately unsuccessful) efforts to create answers that are ambiguous, coupled with your all too clear previous comments with their muddled logic makes your racist beliefs clear. your very choice of words betray you.

    “Glad to be of help and teach you a thing or two about logic.”
    if that kind of remark help you to get over the realization that your were unable to conceal your racism in spite of your best efforts by all means indulge yourself.🙂

  138. Snut, while you may be entitled to think that using the word ‘racist’ against someone is terribly smart, it’s a word even a fool can use. When your definition of racism includes acceptance of the theory of blowback, something even the CIA has started talking about, it’s time for people like me to realise that perhaps there are ideas and theories that not all can grasp. I’m sorry for not providing you with the Bushesque division of the world into good and evil forces with Armageddon only a few years away. I’m a little too thoughtful for that kind of thing….Cheers

  139. N, so you accept the bomb was after the Karuna split. Karuna crossed the Verugal with a small band of followers and were sheltered by the forces as far as most reports are concerned. The nature of these things are such that we will never know what really happened but there is a fair amount of consensus that this is what happened. There was no serious fighting either, the Eastern cadres who didn’t escape with Karuna were co-opted back into the main LTTE. Before the Karuna split, the LTTE officers and the Army officers used to have a practice where they use to meet weekly I think and discuss issues on the ground. Also, the LTTE temporarily suspended participation in talks until the government agreed to DISCUSS the ISGA. Like I said, they suck at politics and they allowed the extremists in the South to project the move as the LTTE cancelling talks and going for war. But the fact is that the demand was a fair one. They and many other Tamils didn’t see a point in going for pace talks after peace talks without the ground situation in the NE changing and the peace dividend being shared equally across the country. I agree that suspending talks was stupid, but it’s impossible to infer that they were moving out of the CFA.

    I think serious progress was made in negotiations with the significant breakthrough being the Oslo Declaration where the GoSL and LTTE agreed to explore a federal solution and the LTTE for the first time spoke of the principle of internal self determination, i,e- self determination within a single country. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

  140. The LTTE suspended talks in April 2003, the ISGA proposals were released in October 2003, why suspend talks before the release of the ISGA? What rationale was there? For that matter you stated the “troubles escalated” after the Karuna split and the PTOMs failed, patently untrue. Again begs the question as to why the LTTE suspended talks in 2003. As for giving up Eelam in 2002 that was mainly a product of Balasingham’s influence. From what I recall when VP was questioned whether he still stands by his demand that his cardres shoot him if he gives up Eelam, his answer was “yes.”

    That the LTTE ‘sucks’ at negotiations is a poor excuse. Its almost as bad as excusing what happened with the eviction of Tamils from Colombo simply because the powers that be are stupid. Stupidity on either side is no excuse.

    Nothing changes the fact that it was only the LTTE that continued to provocate during the first few years of the ceasefire and did nothing to engage in confidence building measures. Making a statement is not confidence building, stopping shooting people in the streets is, which the LTTE did not do.

    My position is not that the LTTE has to be crushed militarily but that with VP at its head nothing will ever come of any negotiations. If you can somehow show me some evidence to the contrary please do so. Kill VP, provide a federal solution and then negotiate with the LTTE. Everything else is fruitless because VP uses negotiations tactically, he appears to have no interest in the wellbeing of the Tamil people, if so why does he kill so many of them?

  141. Punjab = homeland of the Punjabis
    Gujarat = homeland of the Gujaratis
    Orissa = homeland of the Oriyas
    Maharashtra = homeland of Marathis
    Karnataka = homeland of the Kannadigas
    Andra Pradesh = homeland of the Telugus
    Kerala = homeland of the Malayalis
    Tamil Nadu = homeland of the Tamils

    &

    Sri Lanka = homeland of the Sinhalese

    …and it’s a Buddhist country.

    So yeah, it’s a essentially a Sinhalese Buddhist country.

  142. Sinhala a Dravdian language? BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! Where did you pull that out from Aadhavan? Your ass? Go and talk to the experts; you know, the people who study languages for a living? They will laugh at your silly Tamil chauvinistic claims. Sinhala has never ever been classified as a Dravidian language, it has always been classified as an Indo-Aryan language. The world and all lingusitic academics accept it as such because it *IS* an Indo-Aryan language, not some “sanskritised Dravidian language.” I would love to see you totally embarass yourself by trying to argue otherwise with them. Good luck with your total ignorance!

    LOL!

  143. N, the immediate cause for the LTTE’s suspension of talks was the failure of SIRHN and their exclusion from the donor conference. The condition for the restarting of talks was the discussion of ISGA. Those two issues are both related to the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the NE.

    I can claim no knowledge of the LTTE to know that VP is the only problem and that everything will change when some one else steps into his issues. To me, the government’s bona fides was equally suspect given that they really didn’t deliver on either posy CFA rehabilitation and rebuilding or post tsunami aid. I think it’s a little simplistic to pin all the responsibility on one individual who we know so little about.

  144. Vagrant Sun, was that an attempt at logic there? Try again.
    I would say that Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country.
    I’d like to point out that Hinduism has been around on the island for longer than Buddhism, not that that should make any difference. Plus, lots of Buddhists pray to Hindu gods, and most Buddhist temples have Hindu shrines in them, so in actual fact, considering the half-Buddhist half-Hindus who call themselves Buddhist as half-Hindu and adding them to the number of pure Hindus, I think one may argue that it is actually a Hindu majority country.

    My point is that choosing an arbitrary criteria to justify your viewpoint does nothing for your argument. The only way is to look at the population statistics by religion, and there you will find that according to the 2001 census, 7.5% of Sri Lankans were Christian/RC, 9% were Muslim, 14% were Hindus, and 69% of people were Buddhists. So, it’s really pretty clear that it’s not just a Buddhist country isn’t it? It’s a multi-religious country.

    Does it really matter?
    http://www.rootsweb.com/~lkawgw/slstats-religion.html

  145. I didn’t know people get so defensive about Sinhala being an Aryan language. It’s no big deal in my opinion but its a nice little academic point.

    The belief that the Sinhalese are genetically distinct from the Tamils has been thoroughly discredited, I wonder whether anyone wants to contend that?

    Languages are not some kind of monolithical structures that never change. They evolve. The Dravidian people in this island who became Buddhists adopted and mixed the languages of Pali and Sanskrit(Indo European) with the prototype Tamil that they already spoke to create Sinhala. It’s what happened with the hundreds of South Indian languages and dialects that are essentially Indo Europeanized Tamil. The more Sanskritised ones are Telugu and Kannada which are so close to Sinhala, it’s scary. Dhivehi may also be such an example.

    Modern scholarship supports this. Actually two Sinhala scholars, one from Peradeniya, Sudharshan Seneviratne an archaeologist and Gananath Obeyesekere an anthropologist from Princeton have basically come to the same conclusion that the Sinhala people and the Tamil people are of the prototype Dravidian race and speak languages that were derived from the prototype Dravidian language. I don’t think there’s any academic debate on this, it’s now the prevalent view among academic circles. The issue is not whether Sinhala is Tamilised Indo European or Indo Europeanised Tamil. That’s just semantics. Getting to the root of how it evolved is interesting.

    I don’t know why there is such antipathy towards this view. Sinhala is a beautiful language and those of you who are privileged to be native Sinhala speakers should be proud of its roots.

  146. I dipped into Gananath Obeysekere’s book. It’s available at Barefoot. In it, he de-bunks the myth of the Aryan-Sinhala race. There is some misunderstanding he was pointing out, but I can’t remember what it was. He was making a distinction between language and race though. I think he was saying that basically the Sinhalese and the Tamils are both Dravidian stock, but that the Sinhala language has Indo-Aryan influences. I think. I may be mistaken.

  147. The world is screwed. The whole world is screwed.

    Can we share the bloody dirt we call home & live side by side without bombing each other out?
    Jesus Christ!

  148. how did such a constructive post become so useless? human rights should be conferred on human beings irrespective of where their ‘origins’ are from. it really is as simple as that. unless we begin to accept that for ourselves we’re all guilty of supporting their violations!

  149. To be precise, a linguist would say that Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan language with a strong Dravidian/Tamil substratum. If you can find it (which is not an easy task), Dr. C.E. Godakumbura’s work from the 40s and 50s on how mediaeval Sinhala grammaticians and writers based their work on Tamil models, such as the Virasoliyam, Naladiyar, Thirukkural etc. He also points to evidence that a number of Sanskrit loan words in Sinhala have reached the language through Tamil, and that Tamil was studied in the great centres of learning in mediaeval Sri Lanka.

    This is part of the tragedy of Sri Lanka. There’s so much of a shared heritage Tamils and Sinhalese have, which could so easily be drawn upon to emphasise the island’s unity, if only folks would care to look for those, instead of raving about “the eternal other” or “two nations since the dawn of time”.

    And, FWIW, anyone who thinks that Tamils from Sri Lanka “have more in common with their brethren across the straits” than others in Sri Lanka (hiya JustMal) has obviously never heard the contempt your typical Jaffna Vellala can inject into the word “Vadakathayan.”

  150. N, you asked about the Tamil Nadu model: “wtf and this has escaped the Sri Lankan government’s notice?”

    Actually, it didn’t. The Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact wasn’t a million miles away, and I’ve read that Chelvanayakam’s proposals were consciously influenced by what was happening in Madras. If that pact’d been implemented as intended, you’d have had the space for a nice, functioning system to evolve as it did across the straits.

  151. This apparent fear of the sinhalese of being a “minority” is not unique. I was reminded of similar fears that have been around in Australia over decades, of being a white minority in the asia-pacific region. The fear that Indonesians can walk into Australia and take over has been around for quite a while. The white Australia policy ended only a few decades ago.

    It has taken leaders with vision, and courage to work against the fears of the masses and overturn these insular policies and look outwards towards the rest of the world. So by 1988, when the current prime minister John Howard made a statement that “the rate of Asian immigration into Australia was too high.’ It damaged his credibility and he lost his position as oposition leader. He wouldn’t dare make such a statement now. The average australian has begun to reap the benefits of multiculturalism and is not ready to revert back to the old ways.

    Int Migr Rev. 1995 Spring;29(1):207-28.
    From ‘White Australia’ to ‘part of Asia’: recent shifts in Australian immigration policy towards the region. Jupp J.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12319613&dopt=Abstract

    While the White Australia Policy was quietly dismantled after World War II by various changes to immigration policy, the full political introduction of official policies of multiculturalism was 1973.

    As I mentioned earlier, Howard is trying to sneak in some changes to this policy.

  152. Linguists deliever sharp slap across aadhavan’s ugly face:

    Indo-Aryan languages spoken in South Asia

  153. “I think one may argue that it is actually a Hindu majority country.”

    Ravana – you are obsessed with a myth and entangled in it. You are confined to your own beliefs and drawn to material that support it. Anything else – kaput – not worth reading – not an iota of truth!

    It’s a psychological condition reached by many a learned man when they are blind to all but their ideals. It is very common in both sinhalese and tamil chauvinistic morons and you seem to follow the trend though started out in good steed. You are not alone here my pal, lots of other peacenik liberal-radicals ended up here.

    Solution? Take breather – come back afresh. Start destroying your own arguments for a while and (re) start from there.

    Aadvaan on the other hand is more stable as he is not drawn to the trap of provocateurs. He’s more matured in this game.

    What game? The game of argument as to how fucked up this country is .. Ravana and others (including yours truly) are not even willing to post on what could you, me, we can do – what glimmers of hope lies ahead. Instead we elect to argue about which portion of blame goes where. And on silly and obscenely ridiculous (and dug out of no where) points about origins of our languages without paying scant heed to the present context of the country.

    Where do David’s, Aadvan’s and Ravana’s think they live? Do you sanely believe that this country is limited to you and your bunch of cohorts that you dilly-dally with? Do you think that your western (aka open) minded thinking and pseudo liberalism strikes a note with the masses of this country? And does this bullshit have any capability to shape, mold or even touch the thinking feeling beast that is the common people. This country ‘is’ common people – your isolated thinking would not even be able to shift that mass even an iota if you ignore the facts about majorities and minorities in that mass, the nature of humans in that mass.

    You may well comment about inconsideration of sinhalese and the racism of the monks and the opportunism of tamils – but they are the ones who has the confluence to trample you underfoot if you put them out of the equation and stick to your isolated theories.

    Open your eyes guys – we are talking about a tamil minority rebellion in a sinhalese majority country. Now talk about forthcoming avenues in the horizon.

  154. Imalka – you pulled one sentence out of context, misrepresented me, and have run with it. If you read my comment as a whole it’s pretty clear that what I’m trying to say is that this country is not simply a Buddhist country, but a multi-religious one, by showing how any arbitrary way of ascertaining the religious identity of this country other than looking at the census figures objectively, is bogus. Thus, when I said, “I think one may argue that it is actually a Hindu majority country”, I was merely pointing out that such absurd-sounding conclusions can be reached if you ignore the facts.

    Get it?

    As far as the discussion of the origins of language goes, I’m enagaging in that discussion simply out of interest, since that is the way this conversations has evolved, and I am interested in history and liguistics. It has no bearing on my political views.

    And, of course, the majority of this country is not going to read this blog, and the internet will be an alien medium to the vast majority of this country for a long time to come. This is not news.

    Er… I just went back and re-read your comment and I’m not sure what else to say. The rest of it just and vitriolic rant, isn’t it?

    As far as your allegation that the majority rules and therefore people like David, and Aadhavan and myself can never influence the majority is concerned, I think that’s a load of bull. Many of the political leaders in this country have come from extremely niche backgrounds. All the heads of government before Premadasa, save Dahanayake, in fact. Recently, we’ve had GL Pieris (a Rhodes scholar), Lakshman Kadiragamar (Oxford grad), Milinda (married to an American Brazilian). Sajith Premadasa was educated in England. Lalith Athulathmudali was head of the Oxford Union. These are people who were intellectual and open-minded and Western-influenced. They could argue subtleties with eachother when required, and speak the common lingo inh a way the masseswould understand when required. Chandrika was a master of this. Everybody thought she had a fishwife’s mouth, but actually she was highly intellectual, very well read and interesting to talk to in person.

    Just cos we talk like this here, doesn’t mean we can’t talk to the masses, kapiche?

  155. Leaders – that lot? Phew, none except Sajith can go anywhere near the masses and drive any thought! Man, so bloody hilarious (and suitably fitting) that you can (only) think of that lot. LOL

    Ravana, it’s not leaders who drive the mass thinking – not in this country. We have never remained faithful to any single leader who swayed too much in to niche .. as you say. We have not even tolerated pseudo chauvinists – the treatment MR is getting from the hordes (he’s not exactly Mr. Pop now is he?) is an apt example. Leaders aside, spare a thought as to how a common tamil, a sinhalese or a moslem would live in their day to day environs. Leaders you talk about have never proven to be anything more than figureheads – only one – Premadasa has been a true driver.

    Your above post just indicates how isolated your thinking is – you have a touch with masses?? wow .. when? how? I can talk about this whole lot of bull to the man next to me and he would just go “duuh?”.

    Oh, btw – I did not run with above quote alone – I’m talking about your ideology and if it is a rant then this whole post is .. your myth .. is also a rant. Learn to live with it.

  156. We’re not talking about the quality of political leadership or oratory. What we are talking about is whether open minded, Western-influenced intellectuals can ever hope to influence the masses of this country and the answer is a resounding yes. I would argue that Lakshman Kadiragamar, Lalith Athulathmudali, CBK, SWRD, Sir John, D.S. Senanayake, Dudley, J.R. Jayawardeana, Ranil Wickremasinghe, Milinda Moragoda, G.L. Pieris, Sajith Premadasa all fit into this category, for better or worse. I’m not arguing about the correctness of their actions or their policies, but it is undeniable that this type of person has had a huge influence on Sri Lanka for better or for worse and will continue to do so in future.

    It would be nice if you could back up your counter assertions with at least a semblance of an argument, preferably with some facts. I hope this is not asking too much.

  157. “It would be nice if you could back up your counter assertions with at least a semblance of an argument, preferably with some facts. I hope this is not asking too much.”

    It is sir – did you not read my post? I was saying that this ‘argument’ is taking us no where and the masses are definitely not feeling it!
    So to argue would be counter-intuitive to the point I was making.

    But don’t mind me – pls do continue.

    Just bear it mind that reality overwhelms argument.

  158. Imalka how does your little intervention here, thoroughly welcomed of course, speak to the rural masses? Do you have a clever little argument deduced through your own reflections on anthropology that compel you to come to the conclusion that a certain class that is lacomfortable with Western liberalism cannot have an influence on the larger mass of people?

    The undeniable fact is that ideas do have consequences. The condition we find ourselves in SL can be traced back to ideas that were just bandied about by intellectuals that have obtained common currency among the masses, some for the better, some for the worse with plenty of debate on what was positive and what was not. The notion of caste based social structuring, the notion of Sinhala Aryanism, the notion among the Tamil polity that a nationalism asserted through an armed struggle is the only path to liberation, the notion that free education and free healthcare are entitlements the public are entitled to, the notion of the sovereign state, the notion of a unitary state, the Tamil demand based on the notion of self determination… all complex ideas, all of grave import for the common man. What really are you trying to say?

  159. It seems to me that comparisons of how other countries treat members of minorities is irrelevant. We should not care if Italians in Australia do not have Italian as an official language or what ever. What matters is how we treat our own. And how we do so leaves a lot to be desired.

    What we should ask is;

    * What can a Tamil reasonably expect from the current political structure, despite all the supposed safeguards in the constitution. I think a majority of Sinhalese people think of Sri Lanka as a Sinhalese-Buddhist Nation, with minorities living in it, minorities to be “tolerated”. To me, the answer is obvious. They can expect nothing good, they cannot expect to feel secure in their own country and nation because at any time the Sinhalese could and have changed laws to discriminate against them. If all political power and the mechanisms of the state rests only with the majority, then, as in any statist system, since the state as exclusive rights to legally use power, can use that power against a minority any time it wants to. So, for all citizens of Sri Lanka to have a reasonable expectation of security and a sense of control of their own destiny, the centralized political structure that we have today needs to be changed. This means either a federal system of government or an independent state.

    There are many compelling reasons for a federal system, even if we set aside the Sinhala-Tamil conflict for the moment. The question is, what is the best form of human organization, a centralized system or a decentralized system where power and responsibility is not concentrated in one power centre? We have seen from our political leaders the kind of corruption that occurs when power is so concentrated in one power centre. I don’t think that we Sri Lankans a special in this regard, I think it is human nature. A federal system is not the only way to distribute power, but it could be very efficient at allocating and using resources and addressing local concerns. But in the context of a multi-ethnic character of Sri Lanka, it gives the minority political power within their own regions. I think that this would lead to a stronger Sri Lanka than what we have today.

    I think that we are wasting time, we are spending a huge amount of “blood and treasure” as the rest of the world passes as by. Human civilization is at a crucial place right now. Global warming and other environmental problems, population, energy crisis are all things that will impact us all. We do not have the resources nor can we afford to waste precious time not resolving this war.

  160. Sinhalese or Sinhala (සිංහල, ISO 15919: siṃhala, IPA: [ˈsiŋhələ], earlier referred to as Singhalese) is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese, the largest ethnic group of Sri Lanka.

    It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages.

    Sinhala is spoken by about 16 million people in Sri Lanka, about 13 million of whom are native speakers. It is one of the constitutionally-recognised official languages of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil. Sinhala has its own writing system (see Sinhala alphabet) which is an offspring of the Brahmi script.

    The oldest Sinhala inscriptions were written in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE; the oldest existing literary works date from the 9th century CE.

    The closest relative of Sinhala is the language of the Maldives, Dhivehi.

    Contents

    1 Etymology
    2 History
    2.1 Stages of historical development
    2.2 Phonetic development
    2.3 Western vs. Eastern Prakrit features
    2.4 Affinities to neighbouring languages
    2.5 Foreign Influences
    3 Dialects
    4 Diglossia
    5 Characteristics of spoken Sinhala
    6 Notes
    7 References
    8 External links
    9 See also

    Etymology

    Sinhala (actually Sanskrit) and the corresponding Middle Indic term Sīhala have as their first element (siṃha/sīha) the word “lion” in the respective languages. According to legend, Sīhabāhu (“Lion-arms”), was the son of a Vanga princess and a lion. He killed his father and became king of Vanga. His son Vijaya would emigrate to Lankā and become the progenitor of the Sinhala people. Taking into account linguistic and mythological evidence, we can assume that the first element of the name of the people means “lion”.[1]

    As for the second element la, local tradition connects it to the Sanskrit root lā- “to seize”[2], as to translate it “lion-seizer” or “lion-killer”, or to Sanskrit loha/Sinhala lē “blood”, to have it mean “lion blood”. From a linguistic point of view however, neither interpretation is convincing[citation needed], so that we can only safely say that the word Sinhala is somehow connected to a term meaning “lion”.

    History

    About the 5th century BCE, settlers from North-Western India reached the island of Sri Lanka, bringing with them an Indo-Aryan language. (This first group of settlers is referred to as prince Vijaya and his entourage in the chronicle Mahavamsa.) In the following centuries, there was substantial immigration from North-Eastern India (Kalinga, Magadha) which led to an admixture of features of Eastern Prakrits.

    Stages of historical development

    The development of the Sinhala language is divided into four periods:

    Sinhala Prakrit (until 3rd century CE)
    Proto-Sinhala (3rd – 7th century CE)
    Medieval Sinhala (7th – 12th century CE)
    Modern Sinhala (12th century – present)

    Phonetic development

    The most important phonetic developments of Sinhala include

    – the loss of aspirate stops (e.g. kanavā “to eat” corresponds to Sanskrit khādati, Hindi khānā)
    – the shortening of all long vowels (compare example above) [Long vowels in the modern language are due to borrowings (e.g. vibāgaya “exam” Sinhala Prakrit viṭṭa > Modern Sinhala viṭa)
    development of /j/ to /d/ (e.g. däla “web” corresponds to Sanskrit jāla)

    Western vs. Eastern Prakrit features

    An example for a Western feature in Sinhala is the retention of initial /v/ which developed into /b/ in the Eastern languages (e.g. Sanskrit viṃśati “twenty”, Sinhala visi-, Hindi bīs). An example of an Eastern feature is the ending -e for masculine nominative singular (instead of Western -o) in Sinhala Prakrit. There are several cases of mixed vocabulary, e.g. the presence of the words mässā (“fly”) and mäkkā (“flea”) which both correspond to Sanskrit makṣikā but stem from two regionally different Prakrit words macchiā and makkhikā (as in Pali).

    Affinities to neighbouring languages

    In addition to many Tamil loanwords, several phonetic and grammatical features present in neighbouring Dravidian languages, setting today’s spoken Sinhala apart from its Northern Indo-Aryan siblings, bear witness to the close coexistence of the two groups of speakers. Some of the features that may be traced to Dravidian influence are

    – the distinction between short e, o and long ē, ō
    – the loss of aspiration
    – left-branching syntax
    – the use of the verbal adjective of kiyanavā “to say” as a subordinating conjunction with the meanings “that” and “if” (e.g. ēka alut kiyalā mama dannavā “it new having-said I know” = “I know that it is new”, ēka alut-da kiyalā mama dannē nähä “it new-? having-said I know not” = “I don’t know if it is new”)

    Foreign Influences
    Due to centuries of colonial rule, contemporary Sinhala contains many loanwords from Portuguese, Dutch and English.

  161. ~ 75% of Sri Lanka ‘s population are Sinhalese and ~ 70% of Sri Lanka’s population is Buddhist. Sri Lanka is by and large a Sinhalese and Buddhist country. Just like England is by and large an English and Christian country.

    Deal with it.

    You can call it “multi-religious” if you want, but it’s not going to change its Buddhist identity. Your ancestors were Buddhist too, Ravana, before they converted to Christianity for money and political gain.

  162. “2001 census, 7.5% of Sri Lankans were Christian/RC, 9% were Muslim, 14% were Hindus, and 69% of people were Buddhists.”

    Wrong.

    According to the 2001 census:

    76.7% is Buddhist, 7.9% Hindu, 8.5 Muslim and 6.9% Catholic/Christian

    http://www.statistics.gov.lk/census2001/population/text_tabe.htm

    Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country Ravana, and nothing you say is going to change that my friend. It’s something that you will have to come to terms with. You can carry on with your hate attacks aagainst Buddhists and Buddhism (you are Christian aren’t you so no surprise there) but like Imalka said it’s not going to change anything on the ground.

    You can argue that India is a multi-religious country and yes, it has people of various religions but there is no denying that it is a Hindu country, along with Nepal. Indonesia has Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians but it is a Muslim country. Malaysia has Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians but it is a Muslim country. Similarly Sri Lanka has Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians but it is a Buddhist country.

  163. I don’t think there’s any academic debate on this, it’s now the prevalent view among academic circles.

    Hilarious. Aadhavan, I suggest you talk to linguists. The “prevalent view” is that Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan language.

  164. Personally what I see is we are dividing among ourselves and will be ruled by others. (History repeating the 16th to 19th centuries)

    Our population is ageing. So being Sinhalese or Tamil is going to be moot.

    The industries will be run by Koreans, Chinese or Arabs (under patronage from the whoever gets the kickbacks to support the ongoing war).

    The Sri Lankan women will be working as “slaves” in the middle east to provide much needed foreign exchange for arms purchases for the “war”

    The Sri lankan Tigers will be dealing in drugs and engaged in arms smuggling to provide much needed foreign exchange for arms purchases for the “war”.

    And we as proud holders of the the Sri Lankan passport can breeze thru
    customs and immigration because everyone recognizes we are from a proud and ancient country that holds its own in the world.

  165. Of course, Sinhala is Indo European. It’s been influenced at formation by Pali and Sanskrit, which are Indo European. The question you have to ask is how Dravidians in an island ended up speaking a language which is heavily influenced by Tamil, Pali and Sanskrit.

    Passport, so true.

    Btw, I think Ravana is a skeptic so I guess there’s no place for him anywhere right. Perhaps Denmark or somewhere…

    Does the fact that all Sinhalas are of Tamil Hindu heritage mean that Sri Lanka is a Hindu language. If numbers through conversion, high birth rate etc can change the nature of a country, it’s going to be a Muslim country by the turn of the century by all predictions.

  166. Aruna, as far as figures are concerned, the 2001 census excluded Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, and most of Mannar, as well as parts of Batticaloa and Trincomalee (and an insignificant bit of Vavuniya). These are districts where Hindus and Muslims are in the majority, so it’s obviously skewed the figures quite a bit. If you adjust the census figures with estimates from the excluded districts based on projections from the last figures, you’ll get figures somewhat closer to those Aadhavan set out.

    But anyway, this is beside the point. It’s clearly beyond argument that Sri Lanka has a solid Sinhala Buddhist majority; yet even so, there is an obvious difference between calling it “a country with a Sinhala Buddhist majority” and calling it “a Sinhala Buddhist country,” and it’s a difference in terms of what sort of a vision you have for the country.

    It seems to me that Sri Lanka has an amazing indigenous tradition of pluralism which goes far beyond what any western-style liberal could dream up. It’d be a pity if the people who were the backbone of that tradition – the Sinhala Buddhists of the countryside – turn their backs on it, as people in other countries with traditions of this sort – India, Malaysia, to an extent even Indonesia – have been doing in recent times.

  167. Its pretty obvious to me that our country was divided by the various europeans in such a way that would cause its people to fight amongst themselves. If our ancestors (tamil and sinhalese) stood together as sri lankans, the attrocities we have witnessed over the last 50 years would never have happened. All we can do now is hope that the next generation will come together as Sri lankans, and work for the good of the country, rather than fill their own pockets, which is what the govt and the ltte are doing right now.

    War = Money

  168. LTTE is nothing but mass murderers. give what ever definition but they love to kill and thats their way of life. LTTE never want a true peace but war crime and arms and drug smuggling. this is the truth behind them. Tamils and Sinhalese people can solve this without a war but LTTE never let that happen. when ever theres true intentions and peace talks progressing, they start mass murdering villages or start attacking army posts or detonate bombs at Colombo and suburbs. this has been happening for tha last 30 years. LTTE will never allow peace and harmony to blossom. Thats why this country is fucked up.

  169. WHY IS SRI LANKA FUCKED UP?

    1. BECAUSE OF NUMEROUS INVASIONS
    Sri Lanka had always been an important port and trading post in the ancient world. The islands were known to the first European explorers of South Asia and settled by many groups of Arab and Malay merchants. A Portuguese colonial mission arrived on the island in 1505 . The Dutch arrived in the 17th century. Although much of the island came under the domain of European powers, Kandy remained independent. The British East India Company established control of the island in 1796. The fall of the kingdom of Kandy in 1815 unified the island under British rule. This erradicated the 3 Kingdoms that were historically established, and this meant that there was a large scale of intergartion that was not ever witnessed before. Taking away power from each Kingdom, unifying it; and then appointing the minority to have equal power to the majority is like allowing the Wesh and the Scots to have equal power in government as the English- NOT GOING TO WORK.

    2. BAD DECISIONS IN GOVERNMENT, POST- INDEPENDENCE
    Once the Brits leave, the Tamils and the Sinhalese want their power back. But there is only one kingdom now, so what happens; majority takeover, makes sense; BUT then discrminates against the minority by making Tamil people second class citizens. Policies brought into government reducing the power of the tamils mean reduced political power for the Tamils in Parliament and less scope for Tamil freedom. So what happens next…

    3. THE INTRODUCTION OF THE LTTE
    There was still some political scope despite the Sinhala Only Policy and other similar reforms; but the tamil youth helped by the the South Indians; prepared themselves for unjust war. However, the Sinhalese were in the wrong as well, by killing innocent tamils and creating hatred against the minorities which was one clear cause for such outrage by the tamil youth. LTTE were so brutal, they even killed their own people to fend off competiton from fellow freedom fighters, meaning that they adopted harsh and mindless tactics, with the introduction of the suicide bomb. This had caused obvious unrest among the Sinhalese, leading to war from 1983 to 1994.

    4. LTTE BEING TOO GREEDY
    The peace treaty was signed by the two divisons and scope for Tamil freedom was put on a plate for the LTTE. But they rejected the offer of a separate state since the offer meant LTTE would have insufficent politcal power and had the option of it being revoked. This is what the tamil politicans begged for years before, BEFORE they were all killed by their own people (LTTE) to take matters into their own hands.

    5. THE FALL OF THE LTTE
    LTTE understandably wanted a separate state (due to violations of Human Rights by the government) and rights of tamils being taken away. However, despite terrorism efforts by the LTTE to scare the government, the reign of Rajapakse brought in a new front which will enable the erradication of LTTE. This was successfully achieved by Rajapakse with the help of the international community. Stability now exsists in Sri Lanka, no more soldiers walking the streets of Colombo in fear of terrorist attacks, and no more fear among the people, be it Tamil or Sinhalese; of being mauled by bullets. The country at last comes to rest, atleast thats what the West thinks….

    6. THE ERA OF WAR CRIMES
    War Crimes was an issue before the fall of the LTTE, however not on such a big scale. Although I undertsand Rajapakse’s efforts to totally wipe out the LTTE; the way he has gone about it just about breaks every article of the UN constitution. Hitler would sure be proud of Raj, holding civilians in make shift camps, with no healthcare and minimal food all sounds to familiar. Why show so much hate against the tamils, why would you hold them in camps, especially women and young children; and why would you not allow the media to see what is really going on- well thats obvious. Such approaches taken by the government not only spoils the reputation of a war hero who liberated his people, but also dents his relations with the international community; not that China and India care. Under great scrutiny and investigation from the UN, the world can now see what the tamils have gone through over the past 30 years, and hopefully there will be justice in Sri Lanka, a better democracy and a peace loving country.

    It is a shame to see such a beautful country collapse under international influence and domestic chaos. Sri Lanka needs reform in government, there needs to be change, change, change…..

  170. I THINK THE TAMIL PEOPLE OF SRILANKA HAVEEQUAL RIGHT TO LEAVE IN SRI LANKA AS THE SINHALI TOO HAVE AS WE DONT WANT ANOTHER PRABHAKARAN

  171. Veddha’s are the original people of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese came from Northern India, and Tamils from South India (both of whom were Hindus, only later Sinhalese embraced Dalay Lama).

  172. What an amazingly truthful and courageous blog. I have just spent 2.5 years in Colombo and many people choose to ignore the issue or justify it in some way. Despite the war having ended it still carries on , unfortunatley. It’s time for all of Sri Lankans to stand up and respect human rights.

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