| by Helasingha Bandara
( April 09, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) If an 87 year old Tamil, whether a politician or a publican, can die feeling that his ashes will be deposited or floated in a Tamil country, that indeed is a dream worth realising. The ludicrousness of this dream lies in the fact that Karunanidhi is daydreaming to have this so called Elam established in someone else’s country rather than in his own. Sri Lanka is a sovereign state that remained so since its creation over two thousand five hundred years ago except for a relatively short period of British rule. Unless the people on this side of the Palk Straight badly treat their minorities for the parayas (foreigners) to intervene or the people on the other side of the Palk Straight invade Sri Lanka the dream of Karunanidhi is likely to remain a dream. Indeed Karunanidhi is not a lone dreamer. There are millions of Tamils of both Indian and Sri Lanka origin, share this dream for the sentiment that they do not have a Tamil country in the world. This sentiment was first publicly expressed by the then all mighty Prabhakaran in his hero’s day speech in 2008. He said “although 80 million Tamils live all around the globe, the Tamils do not have a country of their own”. It is well known that people of the South of India feel that they are not considered full citizens within their own country. They have been made to feel India is the country of Hindi speaking people. This writer has seen people of South India being asked to show some ID to be eligible to pay the local fee to enter tourist attractions in North India. Hindi speaking people were allowed in without questioning.
Southern Sudanese wave flags and cheer at the Republic of South Sudan’s first national soccer match in the capital of Juba on Sunday, July 10, 2011 Photo: AP
Tiny Sri Lanka has become the initial target to establish Elam in, with the hope of enlarging it later. Indeed 80 million Tamils cannot be accommodated in a few square kilometers of North and East of Sri Lanka. It is obvious that Sri Lanka has been chosen as the spring board to create a larger Tamil country because of its close proximity to India and its vulnerability being small, powerless and having no relatives around it to support its survival.
The facts in the favor of Elamists are many and varied. The Tamil electorate of the South has become a deciding factor in Indian politics for its large number of voters. South Indian politicians of whom many entertain the ideal of a Tamil country would support any effort to create an Elam. The central government cannot remain indifferent to the demands of Southern politicians for the fear of losing power.
Tamils have managed to plant large communities in European countries, the USA and Canada. Politicians in those countries have played into the whims of Tamil communities of those countries just for the vote. Had they been genuinely interested in the welfare of the people around the globe they should have pointed the finger at themselves first because the Europeans and the Americans have been the worst human rights abusers.
The appalling governance of Sri Lanka by its own people is becoming more favarouble to the Elamists. Throughout history it is manifest that the country had succumbed to foreign powers when its own people were divided and did not support the rulers of such times. Top to bottom of the government machinery today is corrupt and 50% of the GDP is misappropriated by the politicians and the bureaucrats for their personal gain. The general public is thus left to suffer from enormous economic hardships. Despite the orchestrated rallies and pageants to show the strength of the government and the distorted stories of the state media, people are disillusioned by the day and alienate themselves from the government. The solidarity that people showed in defeating the LTTE is fast disappearing.
The most important fact in favour of the Elamists is that the minorities of Sri Lanka are not given the equal opportunity for their development, dignified living and the freedom to participate in transparent and independent democratic politics.
A political solution
Despite the hackneyed term ‘political solution’ the minorities indeed need a social solution. Adding police powers to the current provincial government system would not make any difference to the ordinary Tamil. A political solution is desired only by Tamil politicians to exploit ordinary people. Would the Tamil politician of the North and East be any different to the Singhalese politician of the South in governing? ‘No’ is the loud and clear answer because so far no Tamil politician has shown that they are for the people and not for themselves. So far no individual Tamil politician has shown that they are any different to the Singhalese politicians. All politicians fall into the same category of suckers of blood of the ordinary people be they Singhalese or Tamil. They will go to any extent to remain in power or to gain power because politics is the most lucrative business in Sri Lanka.
The ordinary Tamils need to be given equal opportunities for their economic, social and educational development. Their right to live a dignified life and the right to participate in civic engagements should be genuinely upheld and promoted. If the Sri Lanka government takes this matter seriously and act upon it, then it would not take long to turn the tide. If not, Sri Lanka will soon have a South Sudan.