God help the Tamils

By Kumar David –

Prof. Kumar David

Rajavarothiam is an honourable gentleman and Abraham is bright, maybe one of the best in Hulftsdorp though competition in recent decades is crummy. I know both personally and I like them. But the FP and its many subsequent avatars survived for years in lockdown mode and today’s TNA is in the pits! What necromancy, what death-wish persuaded it to grovel to President Gotabaya’s All-Party Confabulation (APC) and to bring humiliation on the heads of the Tamils? Why did it choose to hug a corpse when the cortege was on its way to final burial? Ranil had good reason for attending; he may be in line for a lolly in the rumoured National Government.

The whole world is reporting the catastrophe in Lanka; the New York Times of 25 March said:

“Sri Lanka’s economy is experiencing multiple organ failure, and sepsis has set in,” said Murtaza Jafferjee, the chairman of the Advocata Institute, a think tank in Colombo. Ratings agencies have downgraded Lanka’s debt by several notches, and investors are betting on default. The government responded to the downgrades and dour analyses with indignation, disbelief and denial, initially resisting calls to seek help from the IMF. It has been forced to relent.

This is the background in which the TNA decided to undertake another bout of a***licking. It has been begging the President for a small meeting to present, again, its 100-times ignored case. It has often been told again to go jump in the well; but it is tone deaf and still grovels. Why? Radical Tamil friends say contemptuously, that as an animal without a backbone, “What the hell else is the TNA to do?” On 18 March a penniless government promised to set up a North-East Development “Fund” and undertook for the umpteenth time to look into landgrabs and missing persons. The TNA yet again fell for the bull.

The Tamils are said to be clever and persevering and I daresay that’s true. However, the middleclass and Colombo elite genetic-variant has earned for itself a reputation of abject cowardice. This variant is caught in an existential bind; either push off back to Jaffna or be burnt at the stake by racist mobs. A huge number of lucky ones have emigrated since 1983. The FP-to-TNA entity had two alternatives to a***licking big business. Cut these links and throw in its lot with progressives, radicals and the left in Sinhalese society, or engage in an armed struggle for secession (Thamil Eelam). A many in the younger (15-30 year) generation were pushed by mass Sinhala chauvinism, SWRD-JR-Rajapaksa Sinhala leaders (where does R Premadasa fit?), discriminatory policies and, the straw that eventually broke the camels back, the racial carnage incited by saffron-robed blackguards and khaki-uniformed patriots, to throw in their lot with the LTTE.

I undertook a book project with the redoubtable Silan Kadirgamar in late the late 1980s when we conducted a large number of interviews in the Northern and Eastern Provinces including Killinochchi then the seat of the LTTE “state”. Our estimate was that about a quarter of Tamil males of the aforesaid age group were engaged in or sympathetic to the LTTE at its peak. Just before the arrival of the IPKF it seemed that a goodly one third to half the Tamil population had some degree of admiration for “the boys” though a referendum for Eelam in the NP-EP region would have been roundly defeated. Every Sinhalese and all but a minuscule number of Muslims would have said “Go fly a kite; perish the thought!” Evidence shows that there was no substantial support for Eelam among the Tamils even before Prabaharan murdered it by killing Rajiv Gandhi along with it. In any case the Eelam option is now well and truly buried.

Thereafter the TNA has never again found its feet or stood up and worked out a new strategy to follow after this debacle. It is unwilling to bury its illusions about the established Sinhala parties, or stop dealing with the leading Sinhala racist leaders, or forge ties with the political opposition. God help the Tamils, but my schoolmasters at STC dinned it in to me that “God only helps those who help

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