Lasith (lasith) wrote,

A British Canadian speaks about Sri Lanka (Ceylon) "Of all base passions, fear is the most accursed"

I am not going to write about how beautiful Sri Lanka is or how wonderful the cuisine is.  I will however put down some of my political observations in regards to the country's civil war.

I've never really discussed Sri Lankan politics but I guess a lot of people are more interested in it than me.  I've always thought I've not been very educated in the subject but I guess I have some interesting perspectives and opinions so I will share them.   To start a proper discussion you must go back to the history of Sri Lanka and discuss how did Tamils and the Singhalese (The two major ethnic poulations) get there in the first place.  The Singhalese are most likely descendants of fisherman from Northern India, I enjoy calling myself a punjab.  They are the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka.  With time this population became primarily Buddhist

On an unrelated note on the same tangent this is how Mr Myagi's father brought karate to Japan AKA Karate Kid 2, If you get this analogy then you deserve my respect!

The Tamil population has also had a prescense in Sri Lanka for thousands of years as Tamils came from the Tamil Nadu in Southern India to Sri Lanka and Tamil Kings battled Singhalese, I have walked the ancient Sinhala capitals and read in the inscriptions in museums how capitals were moved to avoid invading armies.  So to say that this civil war is only 27 years old is somewhat ignorant.  As a British Canadian I can attest that Canada has had it share of problems with it's French and English ancestors and as I Englishman I can say that Religion has been a wedge that has caused strife since Henry the 8th wanted a divorce.  Wars like Lanka's don't end easily because they started before Christ was born.

This conflict has been a genocide for thousands of years, but as an Englishman I must say that we must take some blame for this ethnic upheaval as Sri Lanka or Ceylon was a British Colony until 1947.  Now the British are not as bad as the Belgians in the Congo but the Hutus and Tutsis of Sri Lanka had different roles in administration of Sri Lanka and just like when India gained Independence there was a resentment among the ethnicities that was sometimes caused by the Colonial prescence.   Many Singhalese were unhappy that the British brought large numbers of Tamils to work in Sri Lanka.  An interesting sidenote is the Tamil population centralized in the hill countries of Sri Lanka in the middle of the Island brought to pick tea. Us British love our Tea!

So when this resentment was poliitisized by the UNP government of Sri Lanka in 1983.  This was an actual act of brutal racial targeting of Tamils in Colombo and the burning of their businesses.  This was the instigation that caused the LTTE (Liberation Tamil Tigers of Elam) to be formed.  As someone of Sinhala background I think that it must be accepted and understood that the Sri Lankan government at that critical time placed a match on the stick of dynamite that was Sri Lanka's Ethinc conflict.

The LTTE however have been and is still however one of the world's most ruthless and predatory terrorist organizations.  I know from first hand experience how traumatic it is to not know where your relatives are when images of an exploded bus are flashed across the TV screen.  The frantic phone calls to ensure that everyone is still alive.  When that bombing happened in Colombo on my last visit there I found it eerie that I had actually shopped at the store where the bombing happened.  Suicide bombings including the assasination of Rajiv Gandhi were Tiger methods of propaganda and intimidation for many years.  But it was all for not " a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth

So when the Tigers are eradicated I will not shed a tear.  But we must learn from the past, understand the brutal ways that both sides have behaved, understand the duty we have to each other.  For I worry about the propaganda, the harassment of journalists and the silence that eminates from the notthern tip and pray for everyone's souls.  It can be a dawn of a new day or just a continuation of the nights of terror.  But what do I know I'm just a British Canadian...Thank God and God Bless the Queen!

Gunships in a storm sinking to the Ocean Floor
And with them goes the cause we all were fighting for
Fire on the Door as we wash up on the shore
The Colours we have worn only left our nation torn

I hear it coming through the wall
is that another rebels call
Lost out in a lovers squall,
And there wont be no right or wrong.
And we won't sing no victory song.
For a ntion that was torn
In a lovers civil war
[ Bedouin Soundclash Lyrics are found on ]

So is this grace's last stand?
And will i see your face again,
Or can we find no common land?
And through the windows that got blown,
Comes the thought of the unknown,
And was that six years coming past?
in the shrapnel of the a blast

Drawing lines in the sand...
Has the ship sunk fast?
and was that Six years coming past,
In the bullet and a blast?

Tags: politics, sri lanka

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