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TAMIL NATIONAL FORUM
Selected Writings - Fr. Chandiravarman Sinnathurai
Where Do We Go From here?
22 June 2008
“I am not worried about the opinion of the Tamil people. Now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion. The more you put pressure on the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here. Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy”. (President JR Jayawardene quoted in Daily Telegraph, UK 11th July 1983)
The first Executive President of Sri Lanka, the late Hon. JR Jayawardene’s vision was to create a dharmista (righteous) Sinhala society. But unfortunately, the word society, in his mind was too narrow in its definition - in that, it meant Sri Lanka is exclusively for Sinhala Buddhist. This thematic progression has not changed one iota, if not increased in its emphasis - particularly in the mind of the Sinhala Buddhist State. In the back drop of state-sponsored racist pogroms against the Tamils, JR spoke the brutal truth - perhaps it was a Freudian slip: “Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy”. How truly profound these words are!
Presidents may come and go, power will change hands, governments will come up with spin doctored rhetoric. But the fact remains constant. The state of Tamils hardly ever change. Even the armed struggle for freedom and self-determination of Tamils have been clouded by the terror theme.
It was only a few days ago, this writer had a telephonic conversation with a woman who had returned from Yarlpanam (Jaffna). She related many horror stories of human rights abuses perpetrated by the state forces in the peninsula.
But there is one thing that disturbed this writer’s sleep. She said, there are those who have lost their livelihood owing to the state enforced restrictions - say for instance, the fishermen are tabooed to fish in the Tamil waters! Why not?
When there is hardly any decent social security or unemployment insurance available for such as these to fall back on…when human rights organisations including social action charities have been ordered to pull out…what is left is STARVATION. In the midst of starvation in society, survival instincts kick-in with vengeance.
Young women, including underage girls are forced to practice the age-old profession. Despicable it might be, but at least it feeds the family! These women fall prey to the feeding frenzy of the Sinhala military men…
Dharmista society. What an irony.