Mahatma in Yalppanam – November 27, 1927
9 to 10 a.m. Visits Jaffna Hindu, Parameshwara and Manipay Hindu
3 to 5 p.m. Visits Puttur, Achveli, Velvettiturai, Tondaimannar,
Point Pedro, Chavakacheri and Chiviateru.
I have received numerous e-mails from various and varied corners of this
global village since I wrote
Satya-Lobby –‘Take up the white man’s burden’. All e-mails were positive
except a few with a negative tinge. Some have asked me questions. One
journalist based in Washington DC wrote: “I think stories like these show
that the real terrorists are the Sri Lankan government and their sponsors in
Some priests, a few Sinhala Reverend Fathers with the old-school Marxist
social theory bent have raised some issues. I shall attempt to answer some
of those queries in this short piece. A few questions could be answered by
simply quoting a few lines from
Ben Okri’s poem –
An African Elegy:
We are the miracles that God made
To taste the bitter fruit of Time.
We are precious.
And one day our suffering
Will turn into the wonders of the earth…
Do you see the mystery of our pain?
That we bear poverty
And are able to sing and dream sweet things...
We bless things even in our pain
We bless them in silence.
And there is surprise
In every thing the unseen moves.
The ocean is full of songs.
The sky is not an enemy
Destiny is our friend.
Our sky is Tamil Eelam. Our land is Tamil Eelam. Our sea is Tamil Eelam. It
is for that cause alone, with the rationale of freedom in their
blood-stream; multitude of precious young lives have perished and are dying
as living seeds today but with that sweet dream. One cannot betray one’s
mother under international pressure, can you? This is much more than theory;
international trend; it is about our mother-land and our inalienable rights
and responsibilities. It is with that fervency, deep commitment, pain and
suffering that Satya-Lobby is advanced. One thing is for sure. Our goal
should not be diluted owing to international pressure or national duplicity.
The division of the land is already a spiritual, mental, psychological and
more over a political reality. No doctrinaire should try and subvert that
true position even in the name of sophisticated arguments.
Tamil Eelam is our goal. The sky is not an enemy; destiny our friend. Such
is our conviction and prophetic imagination. What is meant by ‘prophetic’ is
not a matter of foretelling; imagination – yes it is; that is not a “pie in
the sky” but has firm footing on ground realities yet believing that the
dream is at hand. A mountain is not a hindrance it is only a stepping stone.
Imagination is a gift of God and it is not to be pilfered. Instead, it has
to be harnessed. It is the imagination that took man to the Moon. It is not
rocket science for any one to grasp the idea.
bombings over Vanni, Mattakalapu, Tirukonamalai and
are acts of deliberate genocide. The secret agenda of the state with the
possible complicity of the IC seem to be sinister. While these murders are
occurring in the Tamil territories the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister is
presenting a picture of Sri Lanka in the heart of London at Trafalgar Square
as a tranquil island for tourists. One still cannot understand countries
like Sweden and its adjoining nations who gave unstinting support to the
Apartheid struggle are on reverse gear now when it comes to the Eelam
emancipation. When the Sinhala state is engaged in an orgy of violence some
Western states are pushing, less openly perhaps for the disarming of the
Tamil defensive force.
Satya-Lobby is an off-shoot of an indigenous movement that operates with a
two-pronged approach. The need for an armed struggle is far from being
diminished. Both non-violent and armed struggle are viewed as strategies.
The West therefore should not try to water-down our struggle by
misrepresentation that the Satya-Lobby is in effect a change of tactics. No,
no. That is being economical with the truth. It is the state that dictates
the mode of the struggle. The oppressed have the right to its defense. The
West must first break its studied silence and stop the vicious cycle of
state-sponsored genocide of the Tamils.
Satya-Lobby in the West requires to be led by men and women of high calibre,
character, gifts and community visibility with moral weight who could truly
identify with such a struggle and articulate and gather the masses, not just
the Tamils but all [not just a few voted-needing politicians] for the cause
of freedom and liberty on a global scale. Should the mission be poorly
understood or explained then there will be much noise and fanfare but not
the orchestration of music, so to speak. Satya-Lobby does not claim monopoly
on truth. It does not sit on a high moral perch. It however, rises up as a
truth-witness. In that sense, Satya-Lobby has the markings of a mass
movement in the Global North.
The power of imagination is limitless. Our imagination has to be an
articulation of theoretical praxis. Simply put: Applied thought under girded
by practical theory. And that thought ought to have a considered
motivational rationale. The actions of the communities must be under girded
by persuasive logic. It must venture to expose the coercive nature of the
opponent in the simplest format. People must get the idea and catch the
vision. That was the power of mass-appeal in Gandhi.
shares a story:
While working in the quarry, gang members began to sing songs mocking
the political prisoners, such as ‘What did you want at Rivonia, did you
think you would become the government?’ The political prisoners
responded by singing freedom songs. The singing contest went on for
several weeks and gradually the political prisoners out sang their
rivals. Eventually the authorities became concerned about the political
content of the songs and banned all singing. Walter was angered by this
and complained: ‘We must have been the only prisoners in the country who
were not allowed to sing while working.’ [Sisulu, 2002]
The genocide of the
Tamils has to be told and re-told to the world until it is ready not
just to hear but to painfully listen. State terror is another urgent matter
the religious forums in Eelam will need to voice to the world in strongest
possible terms along with the Satya-Lobby. One would think why there is a
reluctance to form in the North-east an Inter-faith Forum for Human Rights.
Such groups might not have ‘power and clout’ but that is to only underplay
its influence. An articulate, intelligent and vibrant multi-faith group will
be able to advance cogent reasoning in the context and be influential in
shaping opinions on grass-roots to a supranational level.
An old priest has written to me with a patronising air chiding me for not
taking into account the separation between Church and politics. I do not
know whether to laugh or cry. Papa! Having witnessed the suffering and
blood-letting at your door step how could you say that? I wonder why it is
to the oppressed that the Oppressor always wants to lecture. The application
of the Gospel always seems to narrowly escape the Rulers of this world!
Complacency should worry and disturb us! Sin and evil cannot be condoned.
Another correspondent of priestly nature quoted
Maimonides: ‘One may never wage war with anyone until one has first made
an offer of peace’. Splendid; Peace-making is not mainly about the avoidance
of war. Without justice there can be no honourable peace. This is not just a
fashionable cliché. This is indeed the ground reality. Obfuscation of core
issues is not peace talks. That is why I consistently hold a dim view of the
Oslo-initiated peace process.
Satya-Lobby has strategies in place to avoid clashes of personalities. I am
reminded of the Ceylon Crab-story. There was an international competition
for athletic Crabs. Each team of crabs that represented their respective
countries were brought in baskets and put before the judges. Now the winning
team must get them selves out of this tall basket in shortest possible time.
Most baskets were becoming empty and crabs were sprinting out of the baskets
with an idea to win for their country. But the Judges by now were becoming
suspicious of the Sri Lankan Crab team. No crab seems to come out of it. So
they sent a security person to see what was happening. He went near to see
what was happening and he was lost for words! When each team member was
sprinting out to exit out of the Basket the other crabs were pulling the one
down who had gone to the top. Hence no crab showed up victoriously in the
This is of course a caricature. In Tamil there is a phrase: “Nee munthi;
Nann munthi”. Who gets out first is NOT the nature of this particular
competition. None can wriggle out of team building and team-work if one is
focussed to win in the end! Each building block is absolutely vital to the
The Ceylon crabs missed the whole point.
Finally, Satya-Lobby should be clear in its aims and purposes. It works to
convince minds and convict conscience of both the masses and the respective
governments. This requires considerable skills. It cannot be therefore
headed by an “invisible force” with ad-hoc name droppings. Such a masked
technique will fail to convince let alone convict any one. Satya-Lobby is a
dynamic public movement; hence it needs to be effective in its visionary
focus and be dynamic in its approach. With out that, protest communities
will become noise but not a voice. A heap of stones but not structured
building blocks. The impact will be lost and the momentum will not be
gained. In other words we will be found to be “doing” some thing but missing
the whole point!
There was a Prophet named John – forerunner of Jesus. He was called: A voice
in the wilderness. A voice that shook the conscience of the Religious
establishment of his day; convicted the State of its moral lapses and human
rights breaches; and made the masses to awake from its spiritual slumber. Of
course, in the end that cost his head.
Quite frankly, it is for such a collective Voice of intellectual integrity
and spiritual conviction we plead. [The post is still vacant]