In my line of work one often has to travel. Mostly short distances. [Pointing to the map of Thamul Eelam] From Tontaimanarru to Yarlpannam. Back to Vanni; from there to Tirrukonamalai and to Mattakkalappu upto Amparaui. Occasionally one has to journey long-distances either by auto-rickshaw, car, coach, or even a Jumbo jet. My traveling circuits have some times taken me far and wide. It has taken me less time to travel up here [to New York] than to negotiate shorter distances within Elam through various check points, death squads and danger zones! Most of these travels take me to all sorts of meetings, congregations and gatherings.

Some are utterly boring and pointless; yet others are thought provoking and useful. Conferences; academic seminars; even talk shops and silent retreats. There is however always, one thing in common in all of this human interaction. People come up with intelligent questions most times except a few. Incidentally, they also reveal their received opinions by giving nearly always second-hand answers. One very quickly finds that there is a yawning-gap between their answers and the actual reality. People are often lead � �lead to believe� this that and the other; lead by the nose as it were, in order to arrive at a manufactured consent (a Chomsky term).

Pre-cooked Thinking

People find it much easier to not think. In all walks of life computer does the job for us today and put us on a sleep mode. In this regard Fallaci ─ a controversial, but dangerously honest figure, I know from this city puts it succinctly. quote:

�Because the brain is like a muscle. And as any other muscle it needs to be exercised. If it is not exercised, it becomes lazy. Sluggish. It atrophies like my legs when I sit at this desk for months, for months I don�t walk. And while atrophying, the brain becomes less intelligent. Worse: it becomes stupid. Becoming stupid it loses the ability of reasoning, of judging, and delivers itself to the others� already-taken decisions. To the others� already-taken solutions. It surrenders to thoughts already processed and wrapped like pre-cooked food. Recipes, by the way other than thoughts. Indoctrination�s formulas, rather than ideas�� [Oriana Fallaci, The Force of Reason, NY: 2006; p.255]

My journeys have taken me to the West: to the U.K, the US, Canada and Scandinavia etc. I find these places sophisticated and well-lit. People are living a rat race and sometimes one finds them to be too stitched up both in temperament and in temperature. Once these folks perceive that you are from South Asia they ask whether I am a South Indian or Sri Lankan. One finds it slightly irritating by their subtle enquiries and alarming ignorance of all matters Tamil particularly among �educated classes�. Often I find my self chuckle and respond �I�m a Tamil: I�m from Eelam.� Each time this response brings identical reaction. They frown and puff their lips. They perceive instantly where I stand spiritually, politically and philosophically. They do not know where to put me; or which compartment to consign to. We try to size people up don�t we? You will find this uniformed reaction intriguing! The concept of Eelam � a country in the making, becomes unmistakably an icebreaker and always a good conversation point. The [Tamil] Tigers have certainly placed the Tamils prominently on the world map. Recently a Sinhala solicitor (incidentally he goes as Bala instead of the longer version Balapitiya) told me that when he was in London [UK] he replied to some one that he originates from Sri Lanka. Bala was promptly asked by that English person whether he was a Tamil Tiger. Of course, what an irony!


At a seminar in Kensington, London, a German philosopher was my lunch time companion. Hans was enjoying the �Today�s Special� in the menu: steaming Basmati rice with mild chicken curry at the university canteen. Yours truly of course, as an easterner, wanted to taste something Western. So I was served with fish and chips (or �freedom fries�) with a piece of lemon. It reminded me of fried cassava chips, dash of lime and a sprinkling of Jaffna chilli powder we used to buy as school kids from the road-side vendor named Serta � a Malayali [A man from Malayalam]. Uh! Mouth watering that�

At the table our conversation circled around the Tamil struggle for liberation. He queried: �In these situations which principle takes precedence � Human rights or religious rights?� Should we interpret the latter to be civil right and the first to be natural right? I should leave these questions to be dissected by a competent legal mind. Nonetheless I responded by saying, if we go down the �religious rights� path then the State religionist � in Sri Lanka it is the Buddhist Maha Sangha and its supreme Thero-monks which would have the �right� to exert negative influence over the state and inspire state terror against the Tamils. Such an argument would spiritualize and justify violence/force/aggression/terror against Tamils!

State religious theology does undergird their violent rationale and fans the belief that the Sinhalas are the sole sons of the soil (Pumi Putras). So it is contrary to the inclusiveness of Woody Guthrie�s unofficial US anthem: �This land is my land; this land is your land�. In fact Sri Lanka is solely a Buddhist land; Period. Sinhala is the sole official tongue. Unfortunately, Sinhalas are stuck in that mind-frame. Any thing other than the state religion [Theravada Buddhism] is alien and only to be �tolerated� with great discomfort � to put it mildly.

One finds the PC word TOLERANCE is an offensive description. It emanates negativity. You tolerate something when you don�t really like its presence. If you like something you accommodate and even embrace. The Sinhalas don�t have to tolerate the Tamils per se. That is condescending nonsense. Tamils are an indigenous people. The Anglo-Australians or the Anglo-Americans/Canadians do not have to put up with or �tolerate� the original people having stolen their land and slowly plundered and pushed them to the brink of extinction!! The word tolerate subtly differentiates between the �in crowd� and the out castes. The notion is that it is the duty of the state religion (legal) to influence the power structures. The non-state religions which are tolerated for the sake of �civilized decency� -- what an absurdity.


[Israeli exchange student-Kibbutzim majoring on international relations stood up to ask a question. YR] He said �my grand parents witnessed the depravity of humanity in Poland during Nazi reign of terror. My mother told us, until my grand parents died they couldn�t help but would always peep through the window before they went to bed each night to make sure that the Nazi guards are not coming to consign them to the gas chambers�� [As he spoke he melted into tears; his voice choked. YR] �Even though they knew in their mind they were living in New York and that experience was past�still they lived through the trauma each night. They would recite the Torah with faith yet with shriveling fear. It has left a deep scar�� He asked, �Don�t you think there will be similar experiences in your community as well?� [The response was choking silence: �Umm, umm�� YR]:

Why is it that we humans refuse to learn from our past mistakes? Sadly the slow genocide of the Eelam Tamils is a reality. The tactic of the Sinhala state since the 1940s� is ethnic cleansing! I wonder why the world wishes to remain silent about it�

[This gathering became very solemn like a religious worship service. It was quite moving. YR]

Suddenly it dawns on us all that pain, grief and suffering - it is a universal language and it unites people who have sensitive hearts and minds. Truth is both subjective and objective. It is not purely academic. One has to encounter, feel, experience and explore truth. It is like music. Music can be academic and wooden. It is however, meant to be much more than that isn�t it? They always ask how Beethoven could produce such divine music even though he was increasingly becoming tone deaf. Recently Daniel Barrenboim asked: �How could Wagner write sublime music even though he was anti-Semitic?�

Music is amoral. It�s like a knife on the table he explained. You can slice bread with it and feed the hungry. You can also cut some body�s throat with it. What we do with the knife is the question. It is in that we make the judgment whether the act is moral or otherwise. Music is physical, ethereal, and even cerebral. It transports us from the temporal into an eternal realm. Like music; truth also has to be enjoyed. It unlocks our prophetic imagination and expands our horizons.

It churns our spirit and moves us emotionally. It takes us to inexplicable heights from which we perceive boundless vistas of possibilities. In a lecture given out side the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem (meaning ironically the city of peace = both Hebrew Shalom and Arabic Salam) when asked about the �Divan� a music-project [inspired by Palestinian intellectual Said and Jewish Barrenboim] to bring the Israelis and Arabs play together as an orchestra Barrenboim replied �Divan cannot bring about peace; what it can do is to awaken curiosity and then perhaps the courage to listen to the narrative of the other and at the very least to accept its legitimacy.� That is of course a spiritual and intellectual experience. Easterners would call it Rasa. Out of that root up shoots the word Rasika. One, who perceives it subjectively and also able to stand back, peel layer by layer, look, observe and analyze objectively.


Eelam cause is primarily ethereal as much as it is political. One has to be objective not strictly in a clinical sense. In human realities; in life and death situations; one cannot but be affected by fellow-human emotions and painful articulations � that is human nature to be affected by the subjectivity and the experientiality of the context or the situation. In midst of it one strives to be an objective witness to truth. Christ went through a subjective experience of human suffering on the Cross and became the God-witness of truth. It is inaccurate to believe that God is not affected by human suffering, grief and pain. The incarnation of God in Christ questions that trend of thinking. To his disciples Lord Jesus said, I am the truth. Yet when asked before his crucifixion by Pilate � who �thought� he had the life of Christ in his hands, �What is Truth?� he asked, Christ�s� response was profound silence. It is good practice in hermeneutics not to interpret from silence. To remain silent is not a lie. Everything begins in silence and ends in silence. Pilate was irritated or even might have felt insulted by Jesus� silent response.

Music is perceived sound. Not just to be heard and entertained; but essentially to be listened to and to be refreshed in sprit, soul and mind. Then there is silence. In the beginning there was sound; then the magic of sound � music then follows eloquent silence. Silence precedes and follows harmony. It is difficult and almost impossible to be objective in the midst of subjectivity some might say. This is not a precise science. We must uphold all liberation struggles as a moral cause.

The reason for struggle is not party-political; the reason is purely deeply spiritual because there is intrinsic discord; a break in harmony in the community; people express their pain and suffering through soul music, poetry, liberation anthems, resistance literature etc; People are striving to cut fetters and emancipate. The suppressor will not like it and will call these expressions �subversive� etc; in this very human struggle things cannot be expected to be perfect. There might be moral lapses. It is unrealistic to expect perfection. There will be human fallibility. Mistakes can and will happen. But none can use this as a justification to be duplicitous. If we stoop to such levels, then we loose sight of our moral compass. We like the terror state are bound to loose the moral weight. We should not compromise our integrity just to win a battle. No; no, in the end the war of independence has to be won. Interestingly again it is Oriana who points out that, in democracy votes are counted not weighed. Which is why it�s argued, in democracy, quantity ends up with being more valuable than quality.


Humans are born to be free! When our freedom is threatened or curtailed it is our God-given moral right to fight for that inalienable right to be restored. As much as we combat with physical forces we should not fail to perceive that our battle is supremely spiritual. The battle is both without and within � secular and deeply spiritual. In other words, Eelam struggle is equally or if not more a spiritual warfare as much as it is secular or political. Having said that I want to stress that there is really no distinction, or compartmentalization of spiritual and secular. Realistically speaking one merges the other. One influences the other. There is really an over lap. If we approach it only on a secular plane we may stall the fruition of liberation in its scope. Liberation is not limited to be political only. St Paul had a brilliant take in this regard. He said �Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places� [Greek Testament, Ephesians Ch. 6:10ff]. These words speak for it self.

In the Old Testament, we find in the Hebrew text of the Bible, a hint of this hidden reality � I call it �reality� because St Paul says that what we see with our naked eye can be deceptive; but the veiled reality, that which we don�t see at present is more real than that which we can comprehend. I read from the Old Testament: �Then he [Angel Gabriel] said [to Daniel] �Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall return to fight against the Prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince� [Guardian angel of Israel YR].� I don�t wish to read too much into it except to say we shouldn�t discard these as useless superstition when it does not fit our rational thought. I suggest that there might be more to it than it appears on the surface. Perhaps, we ought to be mindful of that; enough said.


In my communications regarding the Tamil Tigers with a Western academician, I put some simple questions and asked him to throw some light. He wrote back rather impatiently �suspend your theology.� I put to him �You can�t take Theo out of the Tamil people.� His later responses contained much heat than light! Tamils are not merely a religious people - Only interested in the �external form of religion�. Solely occupied with rituals. All these rites are pregnant with spiritual meanings waiting to be revealed and grasped. Tamils are, one can safely conclude, essentially a deeply spiritual people. That is where our real strength lies.

When asked whether the Jews kept their Sabbath during their exiles and exterminations, it was replied: It was the Sabbath that kept the Jews. Strength and power. Barrenboim explained this beautifully in the context of music. �The brass members of an orchestra are capable of particularly powerful sounds, but within an orchestra they must constantly be aware of and listen to the other members, and ensure that their strength is used as part of the whole ensemble�.

Power is a matter of trying to control; strength shows what can be built up together in the tensions between the various components. This requires Barrenboim reasoned � �listening; painful listening�. If scholars fail to perceive these nuances, they will with their �puffed up heads� unavoidably mislead their readers and misinterpret the Tamils and their struggle. I think sadly it is such misplaced politics, human greed and misunderstood reasoning that has made some countries including the US, Canada and the EU to proscribe our struggle! Very painful that. This morning a French Canadian brother � a close friend of mine e-mailed the response he had received from the Canadian minister of foreign affairs. Claude out of his deep spiritual conviction, a sense of moral rage, and incisive intellectual insight had penned a protest letter on Canada�s stand against our struggle. I shall now read to you the response he received from the minister Mr. Peter MacKay: Quote

�On April 8, 2006, the Government of Canada listed the LTTE as a
terrorist organization pursuant to the Canadian Criminal Code. The LTTE
was already listed pursuant to Canada's United Nations Suppression of
Terrorism Regulations since November 2001. Canada's decision to list the
LTTE as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code was based on its
commitment to protect Canadians by taking firm steps toward combatting
terrorism and, at this stage, it also emphasises Canada's commitment to
call on all Parties to renounce violence and focus their energies on
negotiations leading to a peaceful settlement.�

�Canada has played an important role in sustaining the fragile Sri Lankan
Peace Process through both political and diplomatic interventions. The
Government of Canada has also provided funding to the Forum of
Federations to supply the Parties with technical information and expert
advice regarding options for political power-sharing which could form
the basis of a permanent settlement to the conflict.�

�I wish to reiterate Canada's commitment to supporting a negotiated
settlement to the conflict which satisfies the legitimate aspirations of
all Sri Lankans, regardless of language, religion or ethnicity, while
preserving the country's unity and territorial integrity.� - Unquote [Dated 31st May 2006]

O! Why won�t the West �Listen� to our legitimacy? Don�t the Tamils have �right to exist� with honorable peace? The Tamil Tigers have never questioned the Sinhala nation of their right to exist. But the Tamils feel and think that in light of our blood-soaked history it is only right that we co-exist � but not under the same roof, as it were. We are struggling for the human �right to exist� in our historical homeland. What is so immoral about that? From when did the struggle for self-determination was interpreted as terrorism? Why it is that no one wants to talk about state terror? When the �new world� fought for its independence engaging in an armed struggle, the freedom fighters were branded as terrorists and executed as traitors to the Crown. It�s interesting to see how history repeats itself�

A bright young student asked me here during a poetry reading at Fantabulous whether the Diaspora have a Tamil Lobby like the Israel Lobby or the Jewish Lobby in order to counteract against the Sri Lanka state propaganda. I�m not politically well-connected to answer that legitimate query. Is there a distinction, he asked between the Tamil Lobby and the Eelam Lobby. I can perhaps put it this way - in Elam there is only one legitimate voice for the Tamils. And that is the Tamil Tigers. They are our sole representatives. As for the Diaspora my perception is there might be many voices � probably saying the same thing without playing as an orchestra. Please don�t take my word for granted on this matter. I might be wrong. But it is always good to play together with insight, self-less spirituality, camera-shy strategy. Any lobby, as we know, should be trained to choose words effectively. That is their weapon.

Part B

An Assassinated MP�s spouse weeps in protest in Toronto against the EU proscription of Tamil Tigers.

We spoke about Tamils being essentially a spiritual people and our struggle is first and foremost a spiritual struggle. A longing to be free. A deep spiritual hunger for emancipation. It is therefore less precise to engage in peace talks without taking in to account the vital element of spirituality [as opposed to religiosity]. Gandhi obviously understood its significance. This �half-naked-fakir� as he was impolitely described by Churchill, toppled an empire not by talks only. Mahatma adamantly refused neither to compromise his goal nor more importantly Satya � the truth. He won the �war of independence� by sheer spirituality and truth. The whole liberation/independence project was an experiment with truth! I am not at all surprised that the Sri Lankan peace talks are fraught with duplicity and serial folly. It is just talks without any meaningful actions.

I picked up the following quotation from the website. It reads:

'Sri Krishna, when he was being requested by Yudhistra to go as a special envoy to the Court of the Kauravas, was asked by Draupadi what his purpose was in undertaking so hopeless a mission. He replied, 'I shall go to the Kaurava Court to present your case in the best light; to try and get them to accept your demands, and if my efforts fail and war becomes inevitable we shall show the world how we are right and they are wrong so that the world may not misjudge between us.' All the secrets of diplomacy are contained in this statement of Sri Krishna... 'If my persuasion fails', said Krishna, I shall proclaim to the world your innocence and their crime. I shall make the world understand that you are fighting only for your rights'... [Principles and Practice of Diplomacy by K.M.Pannikar Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1956]


I return to the Mahatma. E Stanley Jones [An American Priest], a close associate of Gandhi wrote, quote:

"Mahatma Gandhi had left the Ashram at Sabarmati on 12th March, 1930, to go on �The Salt March.� He proposed to March to the sea, 150 miles distant, to Dandi, and there make salt, which was a Government monopoly, and thus civilly break the Salt Law and precipitate a crisis and go to jail, to be followed by tens of thousands of others�It was made more dramatic by the announcement as he left that he would not return to the Ashram until he had gained independence for India. It seemed completely absurd. Here was a man in a loin cloth and with a lathi (Bamboo walking stick) going out to do battle with the greatest Empire that ever existed [this is of course before the US expansion], and promising not to return until independence has been gained. Never were two sides more unequally matched�After a struggle seventeen years from the time he left the Ashram the battle was over." [ Stanley Jones, Mahatma Gandhi , First Edition September1948:London]

Tamils are an ancient people. Yet sometimes one can feel that we almost have renounced our essential roots and we might be holding on to token symbolisms of our rich heritage in the mighty rush to appear as �moderns�. Don�t get me wrong! I�m not saying we should remain archaic; being stuck in the stone-age past. But we can run the risk of having thrown the baby with the bath-water, can�t we? Or even more dangerously we might have kept the bath-water and thrown away the baby.

One discards the truthfulness of calling a spade a spade in order to be �sophisticated�. Truth is reality � Nijam - ground reality if you prefer. In order to obfuscate reality, you then acquire skills to garnish a lie as truth. You learn to beat about the bush and loose precision and sharpness and call it diplomacy. There is nothing wrong with being diplomatic; being polite, courteous; but for heaven�s sake be honest.

Don�t pawn the goal and loose the aim, put your foot in your mouth and dare to call it diplomatic victory! We take refuge behind �isms�. Euphemism � you take the sting out of the word and make it synthetic, sanitized and impotent. Being economical with the truth is not a good thing. Your conscience tells you that it is a lie. You can apologize for not telling the truth and accept it as human fallibility. To say sorry is not a weakness but it is an honorable thing to do. I take offense however, when state officials or elected politicians or power wielders with diplomatic inclinations are pretending to be infallible�O, what hypocrisy!


In response to state terror Tamil struggle has followed Netaji�s path; however the Tamils have not fully forgotten the potent Gandhian principles. The side opposite determines the mode of the struggle. Our struggle accommodates both armed resistance force and soul-force as strategies.

Recently I read the following words of the assassinated bright young journalist Taraki from Mattakallapu - in the scholarly Tamil Nation website, excerpt:

�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�

In living memory of Taraki I wish to recite a poem from the Purananuru:

�When she heard the many voices saying, �That aged woman with dry,
veined arms where the soft flesh hangs down, she whose belly
is wrinkled like a lotus leaf ─ her son was afraid of the enemy army
and he showed them his back and ran!� then rage overcame her and she said,
�If he fled in the furious battle, I will cut off the breast
at which he sucked!� and she snatched up a sword and she
turned over every body lying there on the blood-soaked field.
And when she found her son who was scattered
In pieces, she felt happier than she had been the day she bore him.
[278; Translated by George L. Hart and Hank Heifetz]

Let us hold silence for a moment please�


Not too long ago, I found my self conversing with an Indian Columnist about the Eelam cause. Of course, he is entitled to his views as a journalist. He comes across as a gentleman and a humble person. That combination, it must be said, is a rare commodity among political writers. I might strongly disagree with some of his views and refuse to see eye to eye. Accommodation of opposite views instead of tolerance is civilized decency. He has filled considerable amount of column inches on the Tamil struggle. Having courteously encouraged him to �think out side the box� (to mean out side the Brahmanistic Madras mind-set) I privately urged him to give a genuine answer to an honest query. I asked him as to why the Chennai Brahmin media persistently opposes the Tamil Struggle. Is it a caste issue? He responded in writing with the following analysis. Because it was a private communication, with his permission I quote:

�As regards the Madras Brahmins, they are at the same time a ruling class and a deposed class! And they suffer from the complexes that afflict both these categories! They had lost their political and official power in Tamil Nadu due to the Dravidian movement, and are therefore a deposed class nursing a deep grievance.�

�But they made it in the private sector, independent professions and in Central government service. With the result, today, they are very much a member of the Indian ruling class. Despite the Dravidian movement, they are influential in Tamil Nadu also, though they are absent in the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly, Jayalalitha being the only Brahmin member.�

�Their propensity to acquire an education and migrate in search of employment (like the Jaffna Tamils) gave them new avenues of mobility to compensate the loss in Tamil Nadu.�

�However, despite the obvious progress they have made, they still feel deprived and always talk of the past when they were the "top dogs" in Tamil Nadu.�

�As members of the ruling class in India today, and like all ruling elites, they do not want any movement that upsets the existing order.�

�They fear that a resurgence of Tamil nationalism will accentuate their political marginalization in Tamil Nadu and therefore do not like the Eelam movement.�

�But they would like a Hindu movement in Eelam because then they can play a lead role in it given their high status in Hindu society the world over.�

These sessions will be hardly complete if I didn�t draw to a close without the reading of a Kasi Poem. It is entitled Koil. Temple.

Ceruppukalai veliya vittu
Ullai pogurathu
Alluku. [Kasi Ananthan narukkukal. Chennai: Naa. Arunasalam, 1999.]

We leave our sandals ─ our foot wear out side and we enter the temple for worship [A worshipper entering a temple is shown in the sketch by Vira SandaNam for the poem on power point YR]. Now the �dirt� has entered the temple.

I�ll encourage you to think about it. My concluding remark is � action is the natural articulation of thought. WE should avoid the danger of falling into the category of thoughtless actions. Think we must; and let others to think and act. That is freedom, liberty�

Now let us hold silence in our hearts; minds; thoughts. And listen. Meditate. Shalom! Vanakkam!

Music is played�

[At the Court of the Chera King, Water Lily Acoustics. Track: Coming Home; Vocal: Shweta Jhaveri (considered the foremost student of Pandit Jesraj) � Khyāl, a form of Hindustani vocal music. In the sleeve-notes producer Kavichandran writes: �The Cathars, who espoused the ideal of love, were decimated not because they posed a temporal threat, but for their spiritual beliefs�. YR]

Part C

Friends! I wish to begin this final session with silent reverence - in honor of my sisters and brothers � true heroes, women and men of courage and self-giving, who have fallen as seeds of life in the battle field for the cause of Munn Meetpu - freedom, liberty, justice and peace.

All Stand. SILENCE

Poem: They slept with a dream

As victors;
Whispering in their spirit
A song;
They did not lament
When they gave up their youthful life
For the freedom of many�
I lay Karthigai poo at the Nadukal
Soaked in tear- drops in memory of Maveerar
They have become parts of living history.
We shall re-member them; they are part of us.
In my spirit there is a prison-break
A bursting forth of a redemption song;
A ballad soaked in blood, sweat and tears
Awake! Awake!! Break the fetters
Touch the breeze of freedom
Sing my beloved�
Turn to the hills of Tirrukonamalai
Cry free at last! Thamil Eelam!


Mr. Richler mentioned in the discussion this evening that without tackling the constitution of Sri Lanka there is hardly any point in advancing the peace talks. Being an academic in jurisprudence and a radical intellectual he must be absolutely accurate in his analysis. I�m not a lawyer but have consistently held a dim-view on the Norway-initiated peace talks. My hunch and my pastoral instinct was that this was not genuine attempt of peace making. Only very recently, in discussing these matters with some EU affiliated English senior clerics have I warmed up to the idea perhaps; the Brits who gave Lanka the constitution in the first place could probably help us sort this mess out. In order for that to happen some one has got to politely invite them in order to sort the mess they left us in. We need not of course tell them that�The Tamil exquisite approach can gently convict their conscience. They ought to respond to that.

Remember it is the Labour Government who in the end sealed the independence deal with Gandhi. Labor PM Blair is looking to finish his term with some honourable legacy. Why doesn�t the �Tamil lobby� gently persuade him to seal the independence of Tamils? Why not ha!

In regard to Mr. Richler�s point my readings on the subject has given me the following information. Many scholars and expert practitioners in the field of constitution seem to be of the mind that the current constitution of Sri Lanka is really an obstacle to peace. I have even heard in conversation a British liberal politician question the legal validity of the Sri Lankan Constitution. Many point to both Articles 9 and 18 as problematic.

�9. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster the Buddha sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).�

�10. Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his/her choice�

14(1) (e) every citizen is entitled to - - - the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching�� (Certified August 31.1978)

The Sri Lankan strand of Theravada politico-Buddhism holds a foremost position and Sinhala is the only official language. Please do not interpret that I am being anti-Buddhist. I am specifically speaking here of politico Buddhism. The Buddhist Mahasangha makes therefore a �legitimate connection� between state religion with social and political control. Hence the Sinhala state has a selective interpretation of the constitution. Some scholars have opined that no political solutions can eliminate the concept and practice of political Buddhism which seem to have clear fascist traits. The state however will protect only the interests of Buddhism and the Sinhala majority. Hence the Unitarian constitution is nothing but an instrument of suppression. Very much akin to the apartheid South Africa. All efforts of peace are sadly based on flimsy grounds. As one senior diplomat observed the Sri Lanka peace talks �at best would be gravely a tactical exercise; and at worst a cosmetic farce.� The West has aided and abetted the Sinhala state in its dilatory tactics. And in the end it is the [Tamil} Tigers who get the blame.

Sri Lanka has signed up to the UN universal declaration of Human rights. The violations of these above articles are also clear violations of Article 18:

�Every one has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

In light of this article 18, the anti-conversation bill which Sri Lanka tried to push through parliament was a direct violation to this principle. In a Buddhist majoritarian state there is no liberty for the minorities, principal minority in particular. The Sinhala state while terrorizing the Tamils have almost managed to convince the international community that it is the [Tamil] Tigers who are trying to divide the country.

One has to be reasonable and ask is why that the Tamils are struggling for their self-determination? Initially the Tamils struggled non-violently for a federal set-up soon after the independence [in 1948]. Why are they now asking for an autonomous region? I have said before and I say hundred times again. [Tamil] Tigers are a consequence of Sinhala hegemony and ruthless state terror. What is happening today, even as I speak now in many parts of Tamil territories? Multitudes of Tamils are being slaughtered like sheep. The international community has chosen the �safe� option of silence. That is a deliberate sin of omission. Despicable act of double-standards. A blatant breach of human rights!

New Constitution

If Talks are held to discuss a new constitution for Sri Lanka that will be the day truly we can shout and be glad and say �Today we are tackling the crux of the problem�. We do not want to scratch the surface when our people are facing the danger of extinction. It is too late for that. If the Norwegian envoy Mr. Erik Solheim is truly interested in getting some acceptable solution to the crisis he should perhaps exert pressure and put forward such a suggestion to President Rajapaksha. I think he knows only too well what answer he would get. It must be noted however that Mr. Solheim�s diplomacy miserably failed to achieve any thing �substantial� in the Palestine-Israel conflict. The road-map to peace has turned out be doom and gloom for the Palestinians. It is all a dilatory tactic! Every one knows what is happening to a democratically elected government in Palestine.

Talks on a new constitution to Sri Lanka! Will that day come is the big question? Will the Buddhist Mahasangha permit that to happen? Any other moves are just an international eye-wash. Plutocratic piffles and so-called "diplomatic victories" to pin on the lapel of your tail-coat; false starts and ego-trips. Phew! I�ve got that off my chest.

Mr. Prabaharan must have seen through these optical illusions of the rainbow. Many experts believe the removal of [above mentioned] article 9 together with article 18 in the �new constitution� is the beginning of the end of Buddhist Sinhala hegemony. It will be seen as a great improvement and a humongous achievement. An Armstrongian one step towards a giant leap! Then of course, politico-Buddhism will be unseated from it mythological status of claiming every inch of Sri Lanka to be solely a Sinhala Buddhist Land - a private estate! (trespasses will be electrocuted).

Will such genuine talks be kick started? Will the international community propose such a move? Will the West drop the proscription on the Tamil struggle?  Britain has a moral obligation for having ruled Ceylon as a former colonizer for over 100 years. Would Britain take up this moral challenge? Will the Labor government initiate the process of genuine change in Sri Lanka? Perhaps it will.

A host of scholars have reasoned that the new constitution will have an explicit declaration of Sri Lanka as a multilinguistic, SECULAR, united, not Unitarian Republic. If none can urge the Sinhala Buddhist to change their �legal� instrument which legitimizes the suppression and oppression of Tamils in the name of Buddha then it is utterly and completely immoral to threaten the Tamils to drop the demand for Tamil Eelam. In essence the fracture of the island is already a spiritual and mental and even a political reality. The late Professor Wilson foresaw that so many years ago.

The ground reality demands us to taking into consideration the defacto state of Tamil Eelam. The Tamils currently have legitimate armed forces including the police, law courts etc to protect the land, sea and the air and most importantly the dispossessed people. What is immoral or �illegal� or �terroristic�about that when the Sri Lankan State is systematically liquidating its principal minority? Does the international community want us to be slaves? Why should the Tamil leadership in Vanni face restrictive posturing of the international community? Do we call that the stance of the Free world, the liberal West?

Peace is not just a theory. Peace must become reality in praxis. The redrafting of the constitution has to be experimented and experienced. Let us therefore stop engaging in theoretical conjectures and political verbosity while multitudes are dying daily. If Sri Lanka needs to be at peace with the Eelam people a new constitution have to be instituted. Only then in this process can the institutional racism, politico Buddhism, terrorism and fascism can be toppled, dislodged and dismantled. Let�s tackle the bull by its horns. Will the Sinhalas see that as a red rag to a bull? Gottcha!

The Tamils in Eelam are not blind to supra national, and geo-strategic political realities. There are positive signs to believe that Eelam will be a democratic secular state. And the ancient port-city Tirukonamalai shall be our capital. Enough said. Now I must switch the subject for health reasons.

Mother land

Let me read to you from Kasi Ananthan short stories. These are little golden nuggets written in beautiful prose in Tamil. I can only give you the gist of it in English.

The first nugget is entitled in Tamil Tayi Agam = Mother land.

In the sea shore a crab asked the resting dingy boat �These people are catching beautiful and colorful fish why?� The boat was motionless and silent. After a while the boat replied: �All these colorful fish are kept in glass tanks�it seems.� �O, then?� pondered the crab. The boat said: �These fish leap out from the enclosed glass tank looking and longing for the waves��

Friends, the poet has captured in a few words the longing of the people in exile.


Rain. Heavy shower. The frogs began to raise their voices. The river tortoise looked at the frogs and said: �Why are you all raising your voice? Shhh... Having heard your cry if the snake happens to feed on you what will be your plight?�  The frogs had a throaty laugh! From the crowd a frog replied: �We will not be worried a bit.� Another frog said: �We might loose our life; but we ain�t willing to loose our right to speech.�


The snake peeled its skin and went into the fields where a flock sheep were grazing. The old Cockerel told a sheep that was alone: �Look, the snake is going towards your flock; watch it! It�s a dangerous snake. Even one was to touch its teeth its enough to kill. It�s poisonous.� In a short while the screams of the sheep was heard in the field. So, the Cockerel and the lone sheep went towards the place where �the fatal incident has occurred�. They saw two sheep were dead. The Cockerel said: What is the point of the snake shedding its skin or taking off its rattling tail? The point is the snake has not removed its poisonous tooth.


I think the story of the snake says it all. That is the genius of poet Kasi. I am left only to say to say a big �thank you� -- Nandree to Dr Yakov. A warm thank you to one and all for listening. 

The exilic Jews believed and looked for their emancipation with great anticipation and expressed each year for many, many years �Next year we shall be in Jerusalem.� Like wise I shall with faith say �Next year we shall meet in Tirukkonamalai, Thamil Eelam.� Our spirituality is our strength. God bless! Salam; Shalom; Vannakam!