26 March 2009 -
passed away in New York on 9 March 2009. That which he wrote
some 18 years ago in the Tamil Nation print fortnightly,
has stood the test of time. Many will regard his reference to a
'Colombo 7 expatriate' who was a 'vociferous advocate of
Eelam, a separate state for the North East of Sri Lanka' as
being semi auto biographical. The reference to the 'foreign
journalist' may be to
Deanne Hodgin, Staff Writer/Foreign Correspondent, Insight
Magazine who presented a paper at the
International Tamil Eelam Research Conference in Sacramento
State University, U.S.A., in July 1991.
Wakeley was one of the main organisers of the conference.
of my relatives in Colombo cast embarassed glances of
disapproval about my stand", said a Colombo Seven expatriate. He
was a vociferous advocate of Eelam a separate state for the
North East of Sri Lanka
"He" they exclaim, "is out of touch." "These expatriates live
in luxury while we suffer." "Why are they supporting these
rebels?" "Don't they realize what they are doing?"
These are the brilliantly critical comments of the so called
Tamil intellectual set of Colombo 7.
They dance their lives away at night-clubs while Jaffna
burns. They sit in the quiet of their homes and discourse ,
while Jaffna is demolished. "Damn it!" they exclaim, "They have
got provincial councils. What more do they want? How ungrateful
can they be?"
They feel for the Sinhalese ruler. "Who are these uneducated
wretches that do not appreciate what is being done for them? We
are all Sri Lankans who want to live together. Why don't these
damn rebels leave us alone?"
They want an immediate end to the present impasse. They want
the country on its feet again. "How can we move forward as long
as these elements keep disrupting our economic progress" "They
just must be wiped out." "Our army must for gods sake do their
bit." "None of this, they have got the people behind them,
nonsense." "Wipe them out." "God, how politicians have ruined
"But how?" says a savvy army commander. "They will fight us
till we find a political solution."
"We've given it to them, haven't we?" says a Sinhalese
thinker. "What the hell are they fighting about? If they want a
separate state, let them go to India. No one is for separation.
Who do they think they represent?"
A foreign journalist walks in. "My god" she says, "do you
realize how determined these people are? Women who hid behind
fences are riding bikes in uniforms with guns toted over their
shoulders, saying 'I will kill one Sinhala soldier before
letting them rule us again.' Children of 13 display their
determination to fight the Sinhala enemy proudly." In tears she
ends. "And I saw a little fellow riding a bike warning everyone
of an approaching heli, only to be gunned down by the pilot".
"Colombo is an island within an island. Nothing touches you,"
she said angrily.
"What does this foreigner know? These are a bunch of
patronizing meddlers. If all of them like Amnesty and these
interfering journalists would leave us alone, we've got it made.
Don't they realize our business potential? We have contributed
as much towards the country's economic development, as these
damn rebels have towards its ruin."
"These first world dreamers walk in with these high ideas for
a third world struggling to develop. They should work for a
living here to know what's good for us."
"I even feel this must be a conspiracy by the industrial
world to keep us subjugated. This way wewill be always dependant
on them economically," butts in a sharp witted chap, sipping his
"Do you think that people fighting and dying for a cause do
it for fun?" asks a Tamil sympathizer of the move for
"Not fun you beggar, those beggars have no entertainment,
like movies and things, so what the hell else can you do? Not
fun, just damn frustration. Must we provide you with everything?
"No: but how about the right to live as equals of the
universe?" asks the Tamil.
"What are we. all equal or something. You must know the
reality of Orwell' s 'Some people are more equal than others?"'
"Are you then saying the Sinhalese have an inherent right to
be more equal than others in Sri Lanka?" the young Tamil
"That's not what I am saying. But how much do you want? You
can vote, you can have your members of parliament, you can
indulge in satyagraha (but not too much). What more can we do
for you guys?"
"How about nothing?" the Tamil Turk went on.
"What, you Tamils want to rule yourselves after all we have
done for you? You don't have the resources to last you two
"How about letting us try?" the young Tamil asked.
"That's the trouble with all of you Tamils. All ideals and no
reality. How the hell are you going to get money to rule
"Probably from more sources than the ones we have relied on
up to now," said the Tamil acidly.
"No wonder people have problems with you Tamils. You are
never grateful for all we have done for you." "And, what is
"What is that, what is that? That's all you ask. Look at you.
All you Tamils here are better off than the average Sinhalese."
"Are we the average? If you gave the average Tamils the
chance, they would be like you or me, don't you think?"
"That's your trouble no, you Tamils want to rule us."
"You think we will accept that? You all had it good under the
British, now it's our turn."
"To do what? Take revenge?"
"Have we done anything to you? How can you talk like this?
All we are asking is for our people to catch up with your
people. The British as part of their divide and rule favoured
"So we are to be disadvantaged while you rise? How long do
you think the average Tamil or Muslim can take this? When will
this ever stop? You think we are willing to be ruled as unequal
citizens for ever?"
"But what choice do you have? You are a minority, no? How can
you do anything about it?"
"Ah, my dear friend, by kicking you out of the NorthEast,
where you are a minority."
"And how will you do that without an army?'"`AHHHHH, we shall
see, we shall see, my friend," said the Tamil dreamily, as he
dosed off to sleep.