Friday, May 22, 2009

The Eelam Virus by Sebastian Rasalingam

The Eelam Virus*


Thousands of protesters gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 21, 2009, to ask for the Canadian government to intervene in what they are calling a genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. (AP)

I have cringed with pain and clutched my head in anguish, watching my grand children's friends in Scarborough, Ontario, going out, with their friends, to join protest marches in the streets of Toronto. These young people are given the Tiger flag which is an insult to the best traditions of Hindu society or the Christian values taught by the prince of peace. These young people shout slogans and talk of the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Most of them actually believe that they are doing the "right thing". They think they are demonstrating for a "just cause". They think "Our people are being shelled, bombed. Those who escape are locked away in concentration camps and probably gassed like in Auschwitz. We have to pressure the Canadian government to demand an immediate ceasefire". They have seen movies and videos showing exactly that, and they need no other proof. After all, "there are young Tamils immolating themselves in London and Geneva. So all this must be true. Every Tamil grocery has these newspapers telling what is going on". Oh, what a delusion!

These slogan shouting people take me back to another era. In the 1950s, when we were relatively young, the political demonstrations launched by the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi were an attractive line of political action. I certainly felt that "Sinhala ONLY" was utterly unfair by us Tamils. But then, I somehow felt that the cry for "driving out the invaders from the Tamil homelands" was a dangerously racist, extremist cry. I went to live in Hatton and then Colombo. The society that I found in the Sinhalese areas was much more just and equitable than the social ethos of Jaffna and Mannar that I had already seen. The Tamils in Colombo had a dominant position in commerce, banking, professions and every walk of life. I felt that we, too, could easily prosper in Sri Lanka, even with Sinhala only or virtually no Tamil, just as the Jews have done in New York, with no Yiddish recognized as a national language. I began to understand the evilness of individuals like S. J. V. Chelvanayagam and E. M. V. Naganathan. The latter's pride in announcing that he was a descendant of the Chola aristocracy was particularly repugnant to me as I had seen the hard side of the Manu Dharma. Why didn't the Tamil leaders support the socialists who supported "Parity of Status" for the two languages? Why are the Tamil
leaders living in Colombo instead of relocating to the "Traditional homelands"? Would the Tamils in the North and the East be able to settle down in the south if the "Tamil homelands" policy were achieved? Would the Tamils living in the south be deported to the North if Arasu were achieved? Surely, Sinhalese discrimination against Tamils is nothing compared to what I and my wife, an estate Tamil, had to face within the Tamil society.

I could doubt the political programme that was gaining ground among the Tamils because I happened to be an educated low-caste Tamil with Estate-Tamil connections. The Tamil politicians worked very hard to polarize the people and drive a wedge between the two ethnic groups. The Arasu Kadchi people were actually happy that the Banda-Chelva accord was torn asunder. Ethnic division was necessary for creating the exclusive "Tamil homelands" Given such an inflammatory extra-parliamentary objective, the final struggle had to be war.

Looking at the young men going out to demonstrate in the streets of Toronto, I see them as just a continuation of the delusion initiated by the Chelvanayagams and Naganathans, already in 1949. Communist intellectuals and their young student activists blindly supported Stalin even when overwhelming evidence was presented to show that Stalin was a mass murderer. Today, the Tamil Diaspora is similarly blinded by its own beliefs and fails to accept the truth.

Instead of joining with the Sri Lankan government to defeat and decapitate Prabhakaran, instead of coming forward to help the displaced Tamils, the LTTE-conscripted children, and hostages who have managed to flee, the Diaspora is waving the Tiger flag. If 10,000 Tamils all over the world demonstrated for a week, even at the minimum wage of $8 per hour, this is a capital investment of over $6 million dollars totally wasted. According to Jane's Intelligence, if we aggregate the collection made from the Diaspora over two decades, there is enough money to
pension all the Sri Lankan Tamils, 3 million or more, at a standard of living never dreamed of. Instead, we used that money to supply the Tigers with claymore bombs, RPGs, AK-47s and the likes. Even the Tsunami aid was diverted for war. Meanwhile we created a Mafia to plague us.

Is there NO LIMIT to hate based on this "Eelam Virus"?

The IDP camps in Vavniya are far better than the IDP camps in India. The Diaspora has not risen to help our Tamils in the IDP camps in Sri Lanka or India. Instead, it chooses to wave Tiger flags in western capitals and use political blackmail by "fasting unto death", immolation and such undemocratic methods.

The Tamil Diaspora has to cure itself of the Eelam Virus. Then and then only can it help the Tamils.


Nik said...

I'm just a random reader...I had a question, if I may. I was just curious what kind of planning went into your trip around South America? How much did you need to save, did you have jobs lined up for your return, etc? I have been wanting to do something similar for a while and wanted to know how you pulled it off.
Thanks for your time

A Sri Lankan of mixed ethnicity said...

Hi Nik,

We did a lot of planning for our trip, essentially we started being serious about the plans for about 6 months in the run up to leaving. I went with my boyfriend, so to save cash to afford the trip we lived on one salary for about 4 months and the other person's salary we put straight in the bank. It meant we had to be a lot tighter on spending etc, but it was totally doable and we had a nice chunk of change ready to use in SA.

We lived on about GBP 1100 a month for the two of us when we were in South America, (accom, food, travel) of course that variated here and there because for exampls Argentina was cheaper than Brazil. Venezuela was the cheapest but most dodgy in terms of getting cash thanks to Chavez's inflated currency plan.

It was quite an effort to pull off but it wasn't hard, we were so desperate to get out of London and just go for it that things like quitting our jobs, packing up the flat, cancelling post etc wasn't too stressful. We were away for 6 months so it was SO WORTH IT. I would highly recommend doing it. I went on a Sri Lankan passport too which was a real treat, because I had to get visas for each country and that was hell on earth.

Let me know if you need further info, good luck! Are you Sri Lankan by the way?

Nik said...

Thanks so much! Actually, I am Sri fact I went to CIS with Tasha...I think I found your blog coincidentally when I was googling travel blogs a while back. WEIRD huh. I've actually met you once, years ago, when you came to one of the Parent Teacher's days.
But I appreciate your thoughtful answer. Did you use any online resources when researching your trip?