An Individual Diaspora View

This is just the way I feel and constructive comments/criticism welcome. Apologies in advance for any offence that I may cause. *

I am who I am. I know that I have not had to live through what those directly in Sri Lanka have had to and continue to do so daily.

I’ve read various different articles/comments/blog posts that label the Tamil Diaspora (TD) as supporters of “terrorists”. Though I know that people are aware that the whole of the TD are not like that, it doesn’t change the stigma or some of the sweeping statements.

RD questions whether you can want Tamil Eelam without being a terrorist. Personally – I think so. Not so much Tamil Eelam but a desire to have somewhere that you can call home without the threat of being victimised. You don’t have to support the “terrorists” in order to have a feeling of being safe.

I’ve always supported the cause. The cause (for me) being equal rights for Tamils. Not just for those living in the comforts of the South but for all Tamils on the Island. I don’t believe that it is fair to ask for a separate state in the fashion that it is being asked for. How are they any better than the government that they claim discriminates against them? Isn’t that what they themselves are doing? And I’ve never supported the methods.

I’ve been attending the protests at Parliament Square. Not to support the LTTE but nor to label them as terrorists. I can only condemn all those who are involved in the killing of those that are pawns in this long term civil war.

I know the chants. Changing everyday. I know which ones I chant to. The ones about saving the innocent civilians. Though the voices are not as strong as when the chants are proclaiming who their leader is. Standing defiantly as these chants ring loudly around the square. It infuriates me. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you are waving flags and cheering for those who are not respected (maybe respect isn’t the best word to use) by the world?

He’s certainly not my leader. How can someone who proclaims to want the best for the Tamil people let so many innocent civilian lives be slain in vain? I don’t think the government is any better. Believe me – I’m not advocating for either side. By supporting either – are you just supporting the lesser of two evils?

Before these protests that have been taking over the entire place, what was being done to highlight the plight of these civilians? Were there as many stories roaming around the internet or were they being swept under the carpet? Can you be so sure that despite many of the protestors supporting the Tamil Tigers, without them, the plight of all those caught in the no fire safe zone would have been highlighted to those less fortunate to be in the know? I’ve had to respond to many colleagues/neighbours even friends who’ve asked me why the protests are happening. People who are usually so in tune with civil wars in Rwanda/Sudan/Somalia or that of the situation in the Middle East but who have no clue on what is happening in SL.

But we must remember that history is something that has happened. There has been a time when being Tamil has meant being treated differently. And at that time it was Tamil “terrorist” organisations that shouted the loudest allowing voices to be heard. The majority of the Diaspora left SL when these “terrorist” organisations were at their most influential. They’d left when these organisations were vying for a better future for them. For many members of the Diaspora, these “terrorists” did in fact carry their voices. This is the memory for a lot of them.

Indeed these “terrorist” organisations are not the sole representative for all Tamils but they are the main representative for a majority of Tamils. Sure they may have lost some of their vision along the way and I’m not saying that they aren’t guilty of harming the ones they claim so hard to protect either BUT without them and their actions, who would hear the cries of Tamils?

*Disclaimer: There are probably a hell of a lot of contradicting views in this and it’s a bit of a haphazard post. I’m not advocating anything apart from the obvious peace and end of war. I just want for all those who are suffering unjustly to be given a solution as soon as possible. Nor am I even halfway clued up to write about the situation. But this is just something that I wanted to share despite not being sure whether to publish or not. Oh well. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “An Individual Diaspora View

  1. This is an awesome post, Scrumpy. I’m glad you decided to publish it :-).We both want equal rights for everyone in Sri Lanka, regardless of their ethnic background, religion or address. So in effect, I support your cause. I can even understand people wanting Eelam. I personally don’t think it’s the answer, but that’s just me.What I can’t understand is the belief that the LTTE still has the people’s interest at heart. I accept that they probably did about 30years ago, but a lot has changed since then. You’ve said that you’ve never supported their methods, and that’s what matters to me :-). What saddens me is that there are people who refuse to distance themselves from the violence. They seem to excuse the terrorism just because they feel indebted to the LTTE for giving them a voice. I don’t get that.As for the protests, I’m not against the protests per se. The plight of the civilians needs to be highlighted. What I don’t like is the fact that these protests are being used as an advertisement for the LTTE. The pro-LTTE chanting and flag-waving drowns the chants about the civilians – the ones you chant to. All that’s heard by the Lankans back home is the LTTE propaganda.I dunno, maybe if there was a protest without any flags…with people asking both sides to stop fighting…with no unfounded accusations or propaganda…with focus purely on the plight of the civilians…that would be a sign that the Diaspora is not just a mouthpiece for the LTTE. I don’t know how practical or possible that is – I’m just thinking out loud. As long as the protests are associated with the LTTE, I think there will be some suspicion regarding the Diaspora’s motives.Let’s just hope that development can begin soon with minimal bloodshed.

  2. This is something i've always wanted to stay away from writing about, even after so many one sided opinion n comments.I wouldn't understand supporting EELAM mean the same thing as supporting a terroist(REBEL) org? Being a tamil and living in colombo is hard as it is. Specially when your looked at with suspicious eyes at the numerous checkpoints you get bullied only pushes you to the limit of swiinging to the other side of the fence.I've kept my fingers / mouth tied up and counted on my patience each time some crooked cop wants to ask me a stupid question and give me that look of being a terroist cause your ID is written in tamil and your one too. To start off with, im born for lankan parents who had to run away from the country during the 83 riot to India, was settled there for a good 10 years until everything returned to normal. I was never here when this WAR started, I've never been to Jaffna nor do i have any affliation with any RIGHTS MOVEMENT. Would i be able to explain all this at the check points or is that stupid cop able to comprend or even try keeping up with me.I don't mean disrespect to everyone in the force. Yes its a sense of unsecurity in all of us, so a system is in place for it to protect the innocent. Proctecting the innocent has only become one sided affair where if your a TAMIL – Terroist Suspect & Other ethnicity – Free pass. This is how everything started if im not mistaken about the black history of Sri Lanka. This War is older than im, caught in the middle of different ppl who started it and different ppl who continued it for their own benefit and some other's who want to finish it ANY COST, shrug it all away under the carpet in the name of NATIONAL SECURITY.I think i can just take up the entire page to fill it up with my view or personal experience, but i rather stop at this.GOOD POST SCRUMPY.HISTORY ALWAYS REPEATS ITSELF.

  3. agreed. :(put that official homeland claims to a rest. ‘we have, of course quite lost our way in this home and land’ (sivamohan sumathy)but, our legitimate demand for equality and our own homes (in a more personal sense, as a refugee) is what matters here.LTTE has nothing to do with this.on the other day, i was at the parliament square. felt disgusted, came home, decided not to attend again.i went there for my people, but all i could see was tiger flags and stuff… and this apolitical screaming ‘our leader prabakaran, we want tamil eelam’ urgh

  4. i don’t see a reason here for you to apologize.i mean, while there’s a massive scale of offence going on… is it that hard for them to get offended by a tamil perspective(mere words, not bombs)?part of the reason why i got fed up with writing for the so called lankanosphere is that i had to insert nice disclaimers, cautiously worded and nicely put so that ppl won’t take offence… pathetic indeed. sighno offence to you scrumpy, i just feeling not well at the moment. ;)if i want to speak up, just for me, as a Tamil, why do they expect me to come up with this kind of disclaimers where i swear to god that I’m not a ‘terrorist’. Its an indirect pressure scrumpy and its hard. each time i click new post on my blog, i can almost feel the chillness of its presence.

  5. Remember once you mentioned you had been at a rally, I asked you to be careful..? I wasn’t sure if you were for the LTTE but I just wanted you to be careful. Coz there are a lot of people out there who can be quite violent for a cause. I love this post and i think very highly of you for putting out thoughts like this. Because my Tamil friends don’t like to say anything and I don’t go to ask their views in case I offend.I must sound naïve but I believe a safe home is possible in Sri Lanka…but still the Tamils abroad contribute (are forced to as well) with money to the ltte…but if you see the north, it’s over 30 years behind! No buildings, nothing. The tons of NGOs which were supposed to ‘help and develop’ have left nothing behind. It annoys me so much because it’s the normal Tamils in the North who have been taken for a ride by the gov, the ltte and specially people like MIA. If they care for the people up north, the only way is to stop talking and get your hands dirty. Even Karuna said these people were RICH landowners, and now they escape with just the clothes on their back. Sad…Some very close Tamil family friends of ours has an ironic story. The husband was stopped by a cop and taken in my speeding. He forwarded this to the Canadian high commission, claimed he was harassed and got asylum. He lived there for a bit and got his wife to follow. Once in Toronto they were harassed repeatedly by Ltte ‘tax’ collectors. They had come every day and finally left notes and all that crap. Finally they had to move to Quebec! And Boy has a tamil friend in UK who got asylum by burning his own arm and saying he was tortured. He had had 13 good years of education in a school in Colombo, a fantastic life and now goes around saying what a Shit country Sri Lanka is. People like him don’t deserve asylum. A child soldier would. Then another friend of his went for a rally to ‘speak up for the civilians’ and was seen holding a ltte flag because if he didn’t the pro- ltte people would have come to get him or something… These are experiences of people close to me so I believe it to be true. I dunno..whatever happens in Sri Lanka, I feel the LTTE is deep rooted, specially abroad. I just hope when you and I have kids, there’ll be some sort of development in the north and we can all go to see it.

  6. I usually try and keep away from commenting on these sensitive topics, but really nice post, thanks for sharing. Reading it reminded me of a quote from Gandhi”What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”how true.

  7. excellent post scrump. I completely understand your sentiments. although i am not tamil myself there are factors i can relate to.. The diaspora have some tough collective decisions to make and some strong realizations to come to terms with. Thats why i think the GOSL and the rest of the Sri Lankan people should help them do this. We must overcome our collective mental barriers together.I wrote something on a similar vein herehttp://thewhacksterslair.blogspot.com/2009/04/coming-home-to-eelam.html

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