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Home > Tamil National Forum > Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha > Human Rights Barkers and Me - A Personal Note
Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha
Human Rights Barkers and Me - A Personal Note
18 February 2009
In response to my Indo-LTTE war anthology, one of the correspondents from Sri Lanka had sent the following note about my writings. The criticism was as follows:
I thought that it deserves a response, in the form of this brief note. Though it may tickle my funny bone that the expressed sentiments like the “might” of my pen may bring a positive change of heart among the so-called world leaders, I’m not that optimistic.
First, who are these stupid “world leaders”, who play possum? The political heads may be counted as Barrack Obama, Dmitry Medvedev, Gordon Brown, Nicholas Sarkozy, Hu Jintao, Manmohan Singh, Aso Taro, Stephen Harper and Kevin Rudd. Each of them are too busy with the happenings in their own backyards, slipping poll numbers and slumping economy.
Guys like Brown, Medvedev, Singh and Aso are doubly worried about their intended usurpers sharpening their knives. Don’t these alpha males have any of their ‘ambassadors’ and spooks in Colombo, from whom they would get an ample dose of feedback on the events happening in Sri Lanka? I can only answer with the sentiments expressed by cartoonist Bill Waterson (whose alter-ego is Calvin) in a cartoon strip presented nearby.
Secondly, isn’t it sheer naïveté of a highest degree to think that what I write about the ground situation in Vanni (the last time I visited Vanni was in 2004) would change the minds of these stupid ‘world leaders’ positively than what they were served by their designated ambassadors and spooks?
Thirdly, I leave the stage to a certain category of folks who have identified themselves with the human rights issue for decades. These folks, I wish to tag with the label ‘human rights barkers’. Here is a select list.
Have any of the above-mentioned human rights barkers visited Vanni region lately? If there is any positive evidence for their foot-traces in Vanni, I’d like to hear. More than what I’ve written on the boon and bane of human rights in Sri Lanka, these human rights barkers have polluted the journals, print media and the pulpit with their briefs and shed copious tears on the less fortunate folks living in the island. One common denominator I noticed among the above-listed personalities, when you read their bio-data posted in the net, all of them have been showered with awards, citations and honors. This makes one wonder whether that hanging a human rights activist label in one’s neck is an easy racket for awards and honors of all kinds.
So, what has been the purpose of my writings? Among the few bouquets I have received in the past from my mentors and peers, I’m proud of the designation James T. Rutnam once gave me. While introducing me to one of his colleagues (a Tamil academic who should remain nameless) in 1981, he called me ‘Meet one of our young archivists’. Apart from being an archivist, for which passion I have spent a fortune from my meager earnings since I began to work in 1976, I have gained professional training and recognition as a teacher, scientist and musician. I also have extended my range as a historian and a memoirist.
Now I should reveal my limitations. I’m not an artist, not a businessman, not a fiction writer, not a poet, not a politician and certainly neither a spokesman nor a sportsman. One should know his or her strengths and limitations in any undertaking. I’m not Rajan Hoole or D.B.S. Jeyaraj who (while not living in Sri Lanka) write prolifically and pontificate about events in Sri Lanka from primary, secondary or tertiary sources. I cannot do this and consider this talent of Rajan Hoole and Jeyaraj as my limitation. Merely because one has learnt to drive in the road, one cannot pretend to be a jet pilot or a submarine navigator. All I can do is to function as an archivist of Tamil culture, and in contrast to the stand taken by my critic, I believe firmly that there is some benefit in giving historical records at this point in time.