Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Tamil blamelessness?

Editorial, Oru Paper, 19 May  2006

[see also The Role of Tamil Expatriates - S.Sivanayagam, March 1999]

Today it is clear beyond all reasonable doubt that the Tamils in Sri Lanka are facing another major war. Already a well planned low intensity war is slowly leeching our people of their futures.

People are daily being injured, intimidated and killed by Sri Lankan institutions, while the moral and ethical guardians of the world, India and the US-European-Japan Bloc are trying to politically stabilise and militarily strengthen the Sri Lankan state in order to promote and consolidate their respective strategic and economic interests. Again and again we see the carrots of political recognition and economic assistance being dangled and verbal and diplomatic threats splayed before the Tamils.

While all this is happening in the land of our fore bearers, we, the barefoot colonials, the educated, skilled, suave, connected, or whatever else we like to call ourselves, are in an ethical and moral slumber. �The Norwegians would not let the Tamils down, the Indians will save them, the Japanese will sort it out� we say.

Exactly three years ago, the very much missed Taraki lamented:

�We should remember the developments which led up to the Indo-Lanka Treaty and the arrival of the Indian Army. Then influential Tamils (fools and there are many of the educated variety among Tamils, Taraki fumed) propagated an illusion that �Mother� India would save the Tamils as she did in Bangladesh. In the end what did the Tamils get? They got no political recognition or legitimacy from the Indians for their political resistance and no security guarantees for their lives from Indians or anyone else. Even if we are to discuss peace with Colombo for the next 100 years an acceptable political solution is not going to be possible�

If Taraki was here today, surely he would say that even a doddering dullard would find the deja vu inescapable.

So with all our past experiences, surely we should be opening our eyes to the problems and not passing them continually onto others, surely a period of self reflection is needed. We are living in the West in relative comfort and prosperity. Our lives are generally stable, we are working hard, saving money and going up steadily in our quest of middle class ideals. Our children are becoming part of a global generation and the majority of them are doing well.

What has helped us achieve so much? What is the one most important external factor that has contributed to all our achievements? Is it not the security we have, from living in our �adopted countries�, in life and economy. Do not our brothers and sisters from the same villages and towns we came from, deserve the same? At least, surely, they deserve the right to life, to live.

The Sri Lankan Institutions failed Tamils a long time ago. The reasons? Simple, we are different, a different language, different gods and we decided to vote and support different political parties. Surely this is an old story, a story much repeated in history books across the world, and the outcome from these tales, people always resist, people always fight back against such injustices. We Tamils, are no different, so when the inevitable happened and we stood against this institutional racism, the Sri Lankan state turned nasty and quickly violent. Fifty years have passed in this story, and up to one hundred thousand Tamils, young, old, men, women, skilled and the unskilled were murdered, and almost a million of us ran away to foreign lands.

And in this fifty years what has changed?

The ones who decided to stay, bonded themselves to our lands, language, culture and the way of life. They continued to put up resistance against land and cultural colonisation and political and military pacification by the Sri Lankan nation state, while that same State gained support from almost every other nation state and their allied non governmental organisations in this murderous effort, up till this day.

We admit that the Tamil resistance was not according to every ones tastes. They did not adopt Voltaire, Kant or John Stuart Mill as their gurus. They did not paint their mud walls with Che. But who are we to criticise, they were defending themselves against overwhelming odds. To them Bagavat Geeta was an inspiration not Amnesty International.

But still during their life or death struggles in the late 90s while their backs were against the wall, we were their umbilical cord. Then the new millennium came and we all wanted them to talk peace. In 2002 they decided so, and we hoped that the Europeans, Japanese and the Americans would sort out the problem and we went to sleep. But the peace did not hold, no miracle solution was found and now the people we left behind, are at a cross road.

So, what is our next move? Indeed what should we do next?  The question is do they deserve the right to live? Should they carry on with their fight for their lives? Should we take any responsibility at all? Do we support them or abandon them? Or is it still the White (and Japanese and Indian) man�s burden?

For the fools and the Hooles among ourselves we say this. That is, when the existence of our people in their own land is safely established and their security is guaranteed by THEMSELVES,  they will teach their then fat and spoilt children Voltaire, Kant and John Stuart Mill. They will criticise, pontificate, quarrel and tongue lash each other while making lots of money. And we shall call their tiny little nation 'free, liberal and democratic' and go back to sleep.


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