||A letter of unity by Mohan
||I write this with a lot of sadness, relief and hope, form what has happened
in the past few months. As a Tamil, (and proud to be one) I deeply feel that
together, we can build the burnt bridges and pave a path to peace,
happiness, equality and prosperity for us and for the future generations to
We cannot forget what happened for the past three decades, however we need
to put aside our emotions, despair and remember those lives, which were lost
in bloody war in the name of “equality”. We (Tamils) have to now reconcile
||and win the trust of the nation. For decades, we have been secretive,
unpredictable and uncompromising. Sure enough, we were discriminated in the
past, deprived of our equal rights and treated unfairly. Now we have to give
the nation a chance to prove that, it is not the case.
We have to let go of the past and not react to our feelings in an irrational
and selfish way. We talk about the 1953 era, of the riots and how the Tamils
were discriminated and treated badly. In 1953, the whole world was a
different place and had a different attitude. In America blacks could not go
in to a restaurant or a supermarket or attend a white school, the aborigines
in Australia did not have any rights. Now America has a black president, and
the Aborigines have equal rights; we Tamils now have to give it a chance for
change to happen in our motherland. We are hanging on to views and
ideologies, which formed thirty years ago, which are not appropriate
anymore. I think that, in the past 20 years we have created a doubt in the
minds of the Sinhalese and the nation, making them wonder whether every
other Tamil is a Tamil Tiger or not.
Prior, to 1988, before I left to Australia, I remember after a rugby game at
Longden Place and a few (in my context) drinks at the club, going home in
the early hours of the morning, my only fear was whether I will be stopped
and breathalysed and charged for DUI. In the later years in my many trips to
SL, the fear was whether I would be subject to harassment because of my
Tamil name. Why do you think it is so? Is it not because of the war, the
suicide bombings? All of this distrust of Tamils started after the war
began. So, did we not create this for ourselves? This is not only happening
to the Tamils, in fact If you send money to the US or visit the US bearing
an Arabic name, you are scrutinised vigorously, which began after “9/11”.
The Arabic world calls it “discrimination”.
In 1983, the news of the death of 13 soldiers sparked an organised riot, and
over 2000 Tamils lost their lives and over 100,000 Tamils were displaced.
The nation soon realised that it should not have let it happen, and the
wider community shared the same sentiment. In 1996 a raid on a Military camp
in Mullaitivu by the Tigers, 1,500 soldiers were killed, yet there was no
repeat of 1983, or for that matter since 1983 several thousand soldiers
have lost their lives and we did not see a repeat of 1983.
We talk about “Genocide”, which is a very powerful and compelling word. No
doubt, that many women and children have lost their lives, but one has to
remember in every war, innocent people loose their lives. There is blame on
both the armed forces and the Tigers. Let's not be the judge of that, let the
appropriate organisations investigate and report the findings.
The Tamil Diaspora and number of organisations are having protest marches
and their websites are relentlessly publishing calls for the IC to intervene
about the mistreatment and harassment of the civilians. However much we are
angry and anxious, we must have patients and let the government, UN and the
other aid organisation to embark on the huge task ahead of them to relocate,
resettle and reconcile the civilian casualties.
We have been having protest marches for decades around the world. Has one
head of state or a member of a parliament took a flight and gone to Sri
Lanka and discussed the problem with the authorities? I do not think so. The
IC will mention our plea in their speeches, or talk about it when the next
election comes around.
Does the IC know the differences between Jayasinghe and Jayasingham? It is
up to us reconcile and rebuild friendships. What has happened in the past
has happened, we cannot turn back the clock. The truth of what happened in
the battle zones will only surface, if the victims have no fear in reveling
the truth. From this point, onwards it is up to us to make sure that this is
possible. We should regain the trust and the sympathy of the grater
We Tamils started this war his was never an option. For thirty years, we
have fought a bloody war with no results. Are we going to continue this for
another thirty years? No. We, have lost too much, the nation has lost too
much. It is time to take a step back and think sensibly putting aside our
emotions and pride.
The Tamil Diaspora and community leaders, spokespersons and organisations
are calling for the Tamil community to “re-group and realise our leaders
dream”, after three decades of war, is it not the time now to wake up from
that dream? They say now that the Tigers are defeated that we will be
systematically eradicated, as there is no one to protect us. We should stop
speculating of what the future holds for the Tamils in Sri Lanka and need to
get these myths out of our heads and win the trust of the nation we should
responsibly publish and circulate articles and news items, or even refrain
from doing so until the displaced civilians are settled. Now we need to
concentrate and work closely with those who are in SL to help the refugees.
In the past, few days there are reports that, during the celebrations
following the governments victory over the Tigers, that may Tamil business
were forced to give money towards the celebrations, and this news is from
“Reliable sources”. This may be true may not be true, however when we hear
such news we need to think rationally and responsibly before we spread it
around, Sometimes, in times of sadness, desperation and anxiety the, truth
is often exaggerated and taken out of context. We all remember, back in SL
at a big match we generally have a “hat collection” to pay for our
celebrations. This has been a culture. Every Christmas, New-year, Vesak or
during Vel Festival, the garbage collectors, the posties etc go
house-to-house collecting money for celebrations. It is not an unusually
thing to happen. The people who have not experience this should not be
alarmed and portrait such incidents as “discrimination and harassment”.
I ask those who receive this mail, to support me in achieving a united and
equal Sri Lanka for all who were born there. One day I wish to return to the
country of my birth and live as an equal citizen in peace and harmony.
How can you help? Tamils should reach out to the Sinhalese and speak about
the grievance you have, and ask them to help you achieve security and
equality. My, Sinhalese friends should reach out to a Tamil and
unconditionally trust them and help them achieve security and equality.
We, Tamils have to realise that this is the only nation that Sinhalese is
spoken, and we should respect that, win their trust and respect in return.