| by I. S. Senguttuvan
(December 03, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Even the more savvier of watchers of the contemporary Lankan political scene are likely to be stumped with the story of a friend – a man of letters living in Canada – who shared with me on our regular telephone tete-a-tetes. He said with the Nediyavan and Vinayagam Groups in the diaspora engaged in a slugfest this year’s November 27 to the point it would have been a low key affair than those staggering shows when the Sun God was around. The cancellation of the big event at Excel in London (Cash advance alone Stg. Pds 50,000) and the continuation of the battle for the mantle and assets of the LTTE residuals was further evidence the battle for supremacy continues unabated. The Tamils in the diaspora were portrayed as divided and weakened by GoSL sources. The larger concentration of Lankan or Eelam Tamils – take your pick, in Canada too were split into about 4 different wings planning to hold Mahaveerar Day separately and in varied ways. One section wanted to hold the event under a different name – to openly distance themselves from the charge of being identified with the dreaded Tigers. This may have been to allow sufficient leeway for KP go gain some concessions for the Tamils from a helpless regime under threat from a hardened Sinhala-supremacist cabal.
Then came the news back home President Mahinda Rajapakse was once more planning to gain the attention of the Sinhala mass – after several setbacks in the political and economic areas.
The loss of the prestigious Colombo Municipality – where Milinda Moragoda failed to deliver despite the massive injection of funds and the weight of the government juggernaut – was a particular rub in the nose of the ruling trio – desperately looking for an exit clause. The loss of face by the 3% devaluation of the rupee after many sunshine stories from Econimic Czar Nirvard Cabral about “a buoyant economy – the strongest in South Asia” and the still rising cost of essentials was biting. Therefore, it was left to what is loosely called Think-tanks close to the ruling elite to go into action requisitioning the spin doctors within to secure a propaganda Coup. It was then decided to open the Southern Highway – or the Wonder of Asia as the President wishes to refer to it – on the same day viz: November 27 to counter the Maveerar Day.
No expenses were spared in making the Expressway on November 27. In the pre-2009 years
the South heard the Tiger Chief announce, from the safety of his jungle hideout in the Wanni, his thoughts to the embarrssment of the Colombo government and the shared consternation of the Sinhala mass. Rajapakse said the Sinhala people no longer fear the return of the dark days thanks to him. He added his regime has made certain the Tigers and the sting of the diaspora are now history.
This factor alone proved a uniting factor for peace-makers in the diaspora to counsel the quarrelling young among them to prove to Colombo they cannot be easily written off . They decided to close ranks by agreeing to one single gathering of the different factions in Canada – home of the largest concentration of Tamils. It was held at Markham Fair Grounds – in the vicinity of Toronto.
The idea was to show the Tamils in the diaspora, within the Island and the world although VP and his chief lieutenants are gone, the struggle for justice to the Tamils and the call for what really happened in May 2009 has in no way dimmed. In spite of inclement weather – cold, windy and snowish – a crowd estimated to be between 70,000 to 100,000 braved the weather to declare their support to the two sessions (8/30 – 11/30 am and 3/00 to 6/3)
It is also reported the diaspora also in different major cities in the UK, USA, France, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Malaysia have gathered in larger numbers on November 27 adding their support seeking the global community to pressure the Rajapakse GoSL to hasten justice to the Tamils of Sri Lanka.
To put this in soccer parlance, the score is clearly Diaspora -1 GoSL – 0