Sections of the Tamil Diaspora are on a virulent campaign against the TNA. Most Tamils abroad are not engaged in politics, because it is dirty and dangerous. Slanderous stories are put out against those not in agreement. Fear of being labelled, leaves the field open to virulent sections of the Diaspora to speak on behalf of all others.
In the US this mantle of Tamil leadership has defaulted to Tamils for Obama. As fair-weather friends, they were Tamils for Clinton when Hilary Clinton seemed likely to win the Democratic Party nomination in 2008 and then, when Obama did, they re-Christened themselves as Tamils for Obama. Now, in 2015, as Obama’s term is ending and Hilary seems likely to be the Democratic Party nominee and ultimately president in Jan. 2017, they wrote shamelessly to her on 10 May 2015 signalling their willingness to turn-coat again: “We are Tamils for Obama. We would like to remind you that before the nomination was settled in 2008, we were Tamils for Clinton. We are still here and eager to offer our support again. We were among your supporters before, and we haven’t changed our minds.”
6,151 Candidates from 21 registered political parties and 201 independent groups are contesting the Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections scheduled for August 17th 2015. Of these 3, 653 are from the 21 parties and 2,498 from independent groups. Predictably the spotlight in general has been on the major political parties both nationally and regionally in g. However a particular group of independents contesting in the north has also attracted much attention. This is because the group comprises former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday cast her lot against her party’s candidate and presidential successor Mahinda Rajapaksa, indirectly urging Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) supporters to vote against him at the 17 August election.
“Valvettithurai is a place that has figured prominently in the politics of Sri Lankan Tamils. Valvettithurai is a coastal town along the Vadamaratchy littoral region of the northern Jaffna peninsula.VVT as Valvettithurai is generally referred to acquired a notorious reputation at one time as the hotbed of smuggling. In later years Valvettithurai became known as the nursery of Tamil militancy. A very large number of VVT youths have been at the forefront of the Tamil armed struggle launched to achieve the secessionist ideal of Tamil Eelam. Chief among these was Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) leader Thiruvengadam Velupillai Prabhakaran.”
“Election mania spreads rapidly in the country with Parliamentary polls being scheduled for August 17th 2015 and the Tamil inhabited areas of the Northern and Eastern provinces are also afflicted. Currently the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils is the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) consisting of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front(EPRLF), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization(TELO)and Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam(PLOTE). The TNA contests elections under the House symbol of its chief constituent ITAK. At the 2010 Parliamentary elections the TNA contesting as ITAK won 13 seats in both provinces and was entitled to a national list seat also.The TNA hopes to increase its parliamentary tally in the 2015 poll.”
Keynote address delivered at the opening night of ‘Watch this space‘ exhibition at the Park Street Mews. The exhibition runs till the 16th of August. Details of the event and the associated public talks, keynotes and theatre here.
“The time will come in the near future where we in Sri Lanka will have to think of memorialization in greater depth. The armed forces would have to find a way of commemorating those who died and communities have to find a way to remember those who were killed, whether at the national or local level. To do this we must go back to Daniel, Nietzsche and Peirce; we must remember the important role of art in this whole process. If we are to have any reconciliation, the artistic community must be fully involved and if I may say so, perhaps take the lead. It is up to all of you to remind us of our humanity, in a way that only you can, and to help take this country forward. I hope this talk will inspire you in that direction.”
‘Nearly 40 percent of voters surveyed at the end of the last month said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was the best man for the job and only 27.5 percent chose Rajapaksa, the Centre for Policy Analysis, which conducted the poll, said.’
“Even as neo-liberalism attempts to trans-nationalize the globe, the nation continues to be popular among many communities in both Europe and the postcolony. For Marxist postcolonial thinkers like Neil Lazarus (1999:48) and Timothy Brennan (1999:25 – 26), the nation and the nation-state function mainly as communities of resistance to globalization and American-centered global cosmopolitanism. But in places like the UK, Spain and Belgium and in many parts of the postcolony such as Somalia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the nation exists as a vibrant political entity primarily because it refuses to tolerate the character of the state under which it lives and due to its desire to have a state exclusively for itself. Nations in these places predicate their demand for self-rule on historical claims over territory, the differences that they draw between themselves and other nations in terms of culture and language and the ripening of their collective self-consciousness into nationhood. The dominance of one nation over others in these places intensifies the marginalized nation’s thirst for national liberation. Claiming to resist the hegemonic Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist project of the Sri Lankan state, Tamil nationalism invokes many of these arguments to legitimize the Tamils’ right to self-determination in the north-east of Sri Lanka which the nationalist narrative inscribes as the historical habitat of the Tamils.”
“What has happened to the land of the people? Why is there a navy camp in Mullikulam? Why are the people of Mullikulam displaced? What is the environment? Are the displaced people of roughly a 100 families in the contested area actually destroying the forest? Or are they helping in nurturing it? Whose environment are we talking of?: that of people in Colombo and other urban areas or that of the displaced? Why aren’t we asking these questions? ”
“There is a) an urgent need for a national policy on resettlement of the displaced, a solution acceptable to the people b) a need to check the retrenchment of military bases that has taken land away from the people, c) and the need to focus on the concerns of co-existence of the people of the area. The rights of the Tamils of Mullikulam who have been displaced by the establishment of a large navy camp, the inalienable right to return of Muslims of Musali South and the landing rights of seasonal fisher people, mostly Sinhala, from places such as Chilaw and Negombo, have to be reinstated and reassured.”
“The election campaign of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF: Gajen Ponnambalam’s new outfit) in the North-East has re-animated the discussions on the political solution to the national question. While the major political parties in the South have rejected federalism, the federal solutions presented by these two fronts include the recognition of the Tamils as a nation or a nationality, their right to self-determination and the merged north-east of Sri Lanka as their homelands.”
This is for the refugee mothers whose second name became I-yearn-to-die post-flight.
This is for the refugee mother who could never become a mother because she died too early in transit. This is for the refugee mother who saw her children swallowed by borders. This is for the refugee mother who had a miscarriage because of the stress of fleeing.
Suren Karththikesu remembers the cheers when migrants on board the MV Sun Sea first spotted the Canadian flag. The 492 Sri Lankan Tamils had been at sea for three months, on a dangerous voyage across the Pacific Ocean. The flag, hung from a navy vessel that would help escort the Sun Sea to the British Columbia shore five years ago this week, offered the passengers new lives away from the civil war that had ravaged their home country.