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Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha > The Letters that Time & Asia Week were Reluctant to Publish

Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha

The Letters That Time & Asia Week 
were Reluctant to Publish

12 June 2000

[see also Media & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam]

During the past few weeks, Tamil Tigers and its leader V.Pirabaharan have been featured in international weeklies such as Time, Newsweek and Asiaweek.

Since the coverage has been far from accurate, I transmitted short letters to their 'Readers Section' trying to point out the errors in analogy and I wish to share these letters with the Tamil Nation readers, so that it may be of some help for those who are interested.

On May 30, I sent the following letter to the Asiaweek (Hongkong) magazine.

"Your sermon on the current Sri Lankan scene, ending with the statement 'If ruthlessness is allowed to triumph on the island, it will spawn imitations elsewhere' is a joke (refers to the editorial of June 2). Pray, tell me, how did Americans gained their independence? Or for that matter, how did they conquer the Native Indians? And what Pirabaharan, the leader of the LTTE has cultivated among the young Tamils of Sri Lanka is a pride, which is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, stating, 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' What is good for Americans, who preach democracy and lead the world in armament production, should be good for Eelam Tamil rebels too. Any questions?"

To the Time magazine [Sri Lanka: The Tigers Claw Back ], I sent the following letter entitled, 'Pirabaharan's Tamil Tigers'on 1 June

"What V.Pirabaharan, the leader of the LTTE is carrying out in Sri Lanka is nothing new. It was patented by George Washington and his gang 225 years ago. I cannot understand the fuss the American journalists are indulging in relation to Pirabaharan's penchant for guns, when the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights provides the same security to millions of Americans. Also, one of your sources for the story, Varatharaja Perumal, has no credible standing among Sri Lankan Tamils, since he was a puppet of India's Intelligence Agency, akin to Najibullah of Afghanistan who was handled by the KGB mandarins in the not so distant past."

On the same day, I also sent a letter entitled, 'Tamil Tigers' to the Newsweek magazine, which presented a sketchy profile of Pirabaharan by Ian MacKinnon.

My letter was as follows:

"Any understanding of Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger leader V.Pirabaharan's motives is incomplete without a direct meeting of the reporter with 'the man' himself. In this sense, Ian MacKinnon's sketchy profile (May 29) suffers from credibility. Also, being a Tamil who is fluent with the Tamil Tiger literature, published predominantly in the Tamil language, I can assure you  that Pirabaharan has never stated that his inspiration comes from Hitler, though he has acknowledged the influence of other historic personalities such as Napoleon, Mao Ze Dong and Che Guevara as well as movie star Clint Eastwood. Asking Douglas Devananda's impressions on Pirabaharan is akin to soliciting opinion on George Washington from Benedict Arnold."

Of the three magazines, at least Newsweek sent me an acknowledgment for the receipt of my letter. I do not place much faith that the above three letters will get published in the print version of the magazines.

Hence I wish to place them on record via Tamil Nation website. One cannot expect that the editorial members of these magazines will check the authenticity of the 'one sentence'canards dispersed by elements like Douglas Devananda and Varatharaja Perumal. But it is the responsibility of us to discredit the spurious authority of such Tamil sources who claim to speak on behalf of us without any shame.


Time Magazine publishes Sachi Sri Kantha letter

In my June 12, 2000 communication, I informed the Tamil Nation readers about the letter I mailed to the Time magazine on June 1, entitled, 'Pirabaharan's Tamil Tigers', and wondered whether it will appear in the print version. Now, I'm glad to inform that the Time magazine of July 3 carries an edited version of my letter with the caption, "Comeback Commandos" in page 10. The published text reads as follows:

"What Sri Lankan rebel leader Velupillai Pirabaharan and his Tamil Tiger guerrillas are carrying out is nothing new [May 29]. The fight to the death for an independent homeland was patented by George Washington and his gang 225 years ago. And why the fuss over Prabhakaran's penchant for guns, when the Second Amendment provides the same security to all Americans?"

I only wish that the serious students of American history such as President Bill Clinton and his Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering get a chance to read this short letter of three sentences and form an informed opinion on the validity of the cause to which Pirabaharan and his dedicated followers are willing to sacrifice their lives.


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