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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Selected Writings -  Fr. Chandiravarman Sinnathurai

Ol� Man River
He just keeps rolling along�

10 March 2006

Nothing seems to have altered since the first Round of Geneva Talks in February. The killings have not ceased; the abducted TRO workers have not been released either alive or dead? The suffering of the Tamil people is continuing. The conditions are appalling. Round and round it goes�in circles. Each set of problems is given new set of explanations or expositions. But the problem; the issue remains the same. As long as the Tamils remain aggrieved the Talks may move to different venues but the Talks will go nowhere in terms of a pragmatic solution to the fundamental issue. It�s like the old Spiritual in which the lyrics run:

Ol� (Old) Man River,
that Ol� Man River,
He must know something
But he don�t say nothing
He just keeps rolling along�
I get sick of trying;
Cause I�m tired of living
And scared of dying
The Ol� Man River
Just keeps rolling along�

The Rumours of Peace
December 17, 2005

ALONG WITH a bundle of Christmas cards; in came through my letter-box a Sri Lankan Aerogramme. I hurriedly opened it. It�s a letter from an ex-journalist friend. Among other news, he cryptically notes the current atrocities by SLA in Jaffna and other parts of North East. He worried: �The troubles have started again here. The talk of peace in Sri Lanka is increasingly becoming problematic [in Tamil � Villangam]; we have been severely affected by rain and strong winds; many people are suffering from flu and other weather related illnesses�In Thamil Eelam the hero�s Day celebration was a great success�

The thing that one struggles to grasp, like my friend is that, while there is �talk� of peace there seem to be juxtaposed a plan to collectively punish the Tamil-speaking public and to undermine efforts of peace and prosperity. The Thugs and mercenaries in the state-sponsored Para-militaries including the armed forces of the state are behind such subversive actions. People in the North East know that. They are conveying that message loud and clear in their collective protest.

Both Tamils and Sinhalese want peace. The latter want peace, tragically at the expense of the Tamils � there is nothing novel about that. Proposal for a federal state to the Sinhalese is anathema. This has been the case in the past 50 some years; Now and never. There are no verifiable signs to believe otherwise.

Through public protests, in the recent months, the Tamil-speaking people have spoken. They have high-lighted the following:

� They want their lives to improve
� They want a clear-cut ending of Military occupation.

When these fundamental need-satisfiers first become ground-reality, the common person in the North East would interpret that to be peace. Colombo cannot talk peace while at the same token go for the jugular.

It is against this background, that the peace process will have to be viewed. The State is adamant on suppressing the Tamils economically, culturally and politically. Furthermore, continuing its intimidation and occupation militarily in the North East. When such grand design of oppressive mind set is well entrenched, what is left to �talk� perhaps is only tactical retreat and buying precious time. That must give only the �appearance� of peace!

The spokes person of Colombo Government, Nimal Siripala de Silva said yesterday to the BBC, �What is important is to have talks with the Tigers at the earliest. We are willing to discuss anything � it can be the ceasefire or the peace talks itself.� The official line for the world is that the Ball is in the Tiger court.

The Tamil Tigers may be pressurised by the International Bodies to engage in such talks for the interests of �peace�. On the other hand the Tamil Tigers have a moral obligation to express the desire of the people whom they represent. The Tamils do have a non-negotiable goal at heart when they are voicing their protest about �brutal occupation�.

I wish to ask, in terms of priority, at which juncture of the dialogue, the fundamental grievance of the Tamils will see the light of day? The Tamils have experienced this rigmarole numerous times before. If the State is willing to discuss �anything� as they say, will they tell the Tamils in the North East as to when they will end their occupation and pull out SL troops in to the Sinhalese territory? Demarcation lines may have to be drawn.

One also wonders whether this time round, the Peace interlocutor will deliberately express to the world that they are facilitating negotiations between two nations; two territories with two standing armies; and two Governments.

Two wrongs can�t make a right out come � that is common sense. In the context of such pragmatic dialogue, further delays, continuous ceasefire breaches; duplicitous promises; geo-political sleight of hand � all these would be averted: Depending solely of course, if and when the Sinhalese are willing and able. Like my friend in Jaffna, Tamils are not against honorable diplomatic settlement.



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