Tamil mytho-maniacs heading towards Nandikadal again
Dost thou know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed – Count Oxenstierna, 17th century Swedish statesman.
After attending the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, 2012, Dr. Noel Nadesan, novelist and Editor of the Australian Uthayam, and I were hanging around at the airport waiting to catch our flight back to Melbourne. As we had oodles of time on our hands we decided to have a coffee, more to dispel the boredom than for the need of a stimulant. On the way to the nearest coffee bar we bumped into amiable Gary Anandasangaree, the son of V. Anandasangaree, the veteran Tamil politician who survived the horrors of mono-ethnic politics of S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, the father of the Vadukoddai children who killed more Tamils (including his lieutenant, Appapillai Amirthalingam) than all the others put together.
Gary too was waiting to catch his plane to Canada. And, like us, he had time to kill. Gary then was a practising lawyer, aspiring to be a parliamentarian in the Canadian Parliament. Since then he has advanced to the next level of an MP, representing the Scarborough-Rouge Park constituency. It was a pleasant meeting. We spent a little over an hour debating the Sri Lankan situation. We both stuck to our points of view and neither was conceding anything to other. This is typical of the debates that engage the expatriates in the diaspora. But I must confess that Gary was suave, polite and having imbibed strands of the democratic Western culture, sparred with me without the fanaticism of some of the Tamils abroad. We covered many aspects of the Sri Lankan crisis and one single aspect that is relevant to this essay was his denunciation of the Sri Lankan political culture which he said would not open space for a Tamil to become a prime minister. This accusation is a part of the litany of complaints which they repeat ad nauseam.
In the main, the Tamils argue that all governments have been “Sinhala governments” which had consistently denied the Tamils their rights. The known facts, however, prove that practically all governments consisted of Tamils and Muslims, including, at one time, S. J. V. Chelvanayakam’s representative, M. Tiruchelvam. In fact, the Citizenship Act, which they say was a discriminatory piece of legislation to deprive the Indian Tamils their citizenship, was passed with the consent and vote of the then Tamil leader, G. G. Ponnambalam who was a member of D. S. Senanayake’s cabinet. Ignoring this, they blame only “the Sinhala governments”.
Besides, the cry of “discrimination” was raised and taken to the violent extreme only by the Jaffna Tamil leadership and not by the other two minorities, the Muslims and the Indian Tamils.They also spoke Tamil. The discriminatory issues raised by the Jaffna Tamils should have affected them too, if they were valid. But they resolved their differences without resorting to brutal violence. Nor did they join the Jaffna Tamils in their campaigns against the Sinhala-Buddhists. So why did only the Jaffna Tamils resort to violent fascism, abandoning the democratic mainstream? What did they achieve?
Getting back to Gary’s accusation, my answer was that the issue of a Tamil becoming a prime minister was within the realms of possibility, if the conditions are ripe. In any case, I pointed out that the chances of a Tamil becoming a prime minister were much better than that of his father getting a “visa” to enter Jaffna. It was a time when Velupillai Prabhakaran was ruling the roost in the Jaffna and targeting Tamil leaders who were a threat to him. I quoted his father who had said that he was given the freedom to protest in Jaffna when Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike opened the Jaffna University but the Tamil thalaivar, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who claimed to be the “the sole representative of the Tamils”, would not let his father even step into the north. I said that his father, like most of the old guard in Jaffna, could live under the protection of “the Sinhala governments” but not in the place which is called the “homeland of the Tamils”.
I also reminded him that in the past the Sinhalese had opted to have Tamils as their kings and there was nothing to prevent a moderate and rational Tamil becoming the prime minister. In fact, Lakshman Kadiragamar, who had won the confidence of the Sinhalese, was on his way to become the prime minister when he was assassinated (2005) by a Tamil Tiger terrorists, I said. Even the latest developments prove the possibility of a Tamil becoming the prime minister. If a Tamil can become the Chief Justice what would prevent a politically qualified Tamil to be the prime minister? Besides, both A. Amirthalingam and R. Sampanthan had been appointed as the leaders of the opposition without the requisite numbers in the House to hold that position. If a minority Tamil can beat the majority Sinhalese and become the leader of the opposition isn’t there the possibility of a Tamil becoming the prime minister under favourable conditions?
In an attempt to drive his point home, Gary cited the example of Barack Obama, a member of the black minority becoming the President of white America.
I countered by saying that Obama was elected not because he was black but because he was white. Obama made himself acceptable to the white majority by articulating and defending their values, their aspirations, and their interests. He went all out to identify himself with the greater America. He succeeded because he was more white than Bush. Available statistics prove that he had killed more civilians than Bush in “protecting the national interests of America”. In fact, when his family pastor in Chicago, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who baptised his children, declaimed America, crying out loud from his pulpit : “Not God bless America but God damn America!”, he quickly dissociated with such anti-American politics which he considered blasphemous. Besides, how many votes would he have got if he followed Malcolm X or Louis Farrakhan who advocated a separate state for the Afro-Americans? Clearly Obama won not by identifying himself with the Afro-Americans but with the White Americans. Of course, he is with Afro-Americans like the way white liberals are with this minority groups. But, in essence, Obama succeeded because he decided to work meticulously and unerringly within the white framework.
Gary too can succeed only if he gets out of Tamil ghetto in Toronto and embraces the greater Canadian community. How far can he go if he demands a separate state in Toronto? Even the French Quebecois are finding it difficult to get ahead with their separatist agenda. What are the chances of Gary succeeding if he adopts the politics of Prabhakaran and Wigneswaran in Canada?
The basic flaw in Tamil politics is that they prefer to believe in their myths and not the realities facing them. They blame “the Sinhala governments” at all times because that is the only diversion they can provide to cover up their inherent failure to serve the socio-economic needs of the Tamil people. For instance, Tamil propaganda machine had blamed “the Sinhala government” for every Tamil leader killed by the Tamil Pol Pot, Prabhakaran. They never accepted responsibility for their criminal activities. In their heart of hearts they hero worship Prabhakaran – the most efficient mass killer of Tamils after Sankili. But they abandon him when they can’t defend his Pol Potist fascism and accuse “the Sinhala governments” of creating him. As usual, they want to have it both ways. The Jaffna Tamils prefer to hide in their myths because there is no hope in the grim realities facing them. They fear that the advancing realities will drag them to Nandikadal again.
The “Sinhala governments” have become the scapegoat for their failed politics. They even accused “the Sinhala government” of assassinating Neelan Tiruchelvam (1999). And, believe it or not, some pro-Tiger elements in the West, had swallowed that lie hook, line and sinker. For instance, at a Geneva session I openly accused the Tamil Tiger terrorists of planning and executing the cold blooded murder of Neelan. Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the Opposition in UK Parliament, a pro-Tamil Labourite, was seated next to me. When I finished my presentation he turned towards me and asked why I blamed the LTTE. I replied: “Simple! Only the Tigers produce suicide bombers. No one else. The Tiger footprints were all over Neelan.” He turned away with a sour face.
These remarks are written as a prelude to the latest news item published in the Indian Express (8/10/2016) extolling the achievement of Gary in getting a resolution passed in the Canadian Parliament declaring January as “Tamil Heritage Month”. The news item did not elaborate as to what form or shape this would take. It merely stated : “Come January, when Tamils around the world will celebrate Thai Pongal, the whole of Canada will celebrate it as Tamil Heritage Month. Festivities for the inaugural Tamil Heritage Month across Canada will commence in January 2017, which coincides with the Canada 150 celebrations…..”