Monthly Archives: September 2012

Kudankulam: Sri Lankans Should Learn to Run and Swim

reprinted from The Island LK

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Koodankulam Nuclear Plant –


The potential mind boggling Fukushima, Chernobyl type disaster, from India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant, has begun to count down. Currently nuclear fuel (supplied by US & France) is being fed in to the plant, built by the Russians, at the southern tip of India, just 220 KM from Kalpitiya.

But don’t panic. Sri Lanka’s Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) will be setting up Nuclear Early warning system in Navy camps in, Kalpitiya, Delft Islands and KKS. Later such detectors will be installed in Colombo. Galle, Trincomalee and Kandy – covering almost the entire Island. According to AEA, the alarm would be raised if the radiation from Kudankulam nuclear reactor, increase by three fold in Sri Lanka. My domestic help (a victim of 2004 Tsunami) asked me whether we should run and jump in to the sea, if the alarm is raised? I replied, the AEA plans to evacuate the people or advise them what to do (see Daily Mirror of July 21-2012). The setting up of the early warning system and plans to evacuate people is by itself an admission that a nuclear radiation disaster affecting the entire Island could happen anytime after the Kudankulam plant is commissioned. My domestic help’s second question was whether the authorities were planning to evacuate all of us and take us to Swaziland?

The Indian P.M. Dr. Manmohan Singh sent a letter in August 2012, to the Indian Dept of Nuclear Energy, asking the question “who would be liable in the event of a mishap” at the Kudankulam reactor. He added, Russia had asked for a waiver from liability and if the waiver is given to Russia, both US and France would ask for a waiver. Thus Indian PM has acknowledged that a ‘mishap’ could happen, causing harm to people in India. Could anyone believe that our authorities – Ministry of Environment, External Affairs Ministry, Presidential Secretariat, AEA – have so far not even dreamt of raising that vital question from India. Instead we are installing early warning systems. Is it that the powerful multi-national corporations lobbying for highly profitable nuclear reactor installations and supply of nuclear fuel, transport, etc are having a hand in the deafening silence? Yet a planeload of our guardians of the environment flew in a specially chartered plane singing all the way to Rio de Janeiro to save the planet!

Specially built tankers carrying nuclear fuel had reached Kudankulam. Didn’t they go throughout territorial waters without Sri Lanka’s permission as required according to International conventions? Who cares in Sri Lanka?

When I proposed to a group of concerned intellectuals to organize a forum, seminar or a public discussion and debate on this issue, I was asked “Why didn’t our authorities use our sovereign right to raise objections to the high-handed action of India?

Our media performed their duty in enlightening the public on the life threatening disaster, which could happen due to natural (earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons) technical (like Chernobyl) or even a terrorist attack. But nothing can wake up our guardians of the environment. They are sleeping like the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.

After installing early warning systems, authorities may be advised to acquire a fleet of passenger vessels to take people (from KKS to Galle, Colombo to Kandy and Kalpitiya to Trinco) to the South Pacific Islands Vanuatu, Nauru etc where the External Affairs Ministry wants to establish embassies!

W. David Soysa

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An Open Letter to The TNA

Dear Members of the TNA,

I was livid to read what P.K. Balachandra had reported of your concerns about the “Sinhaleseinflux into North Lanka ”.  Let’s get this crystal clear to all you shadows of the late Velupillai Prabhakaran, NORTH LANKA IS NOT A NO-MAN’S LAND FOR US SINHALESE.  It is our land as much as yours.

What is indeed your problem TNA?  What is it in your genes that you feel that you have the right to seek territorial purity for Tamils in the North and yet you think that you men with three finger stripes of ash across the foreheads have the Hindu Trinity rights to invade the South and claim 41 percent of the population of the capital Colombo and own 75 percent of the prime real estate of its suburb Wellawatte, and yet,  keep out the Sinhalese from the North who have every God given right to own and occupy real estate there, especially in Jaffna and live and work there and to be happy ever after like you Tamils living happily ever after in the South and the Hills.

You TNA Tamils have the gall to flood Sea Street in the Pettah with business sign boards hanging from the roofs promoting your “–iah” clan in Tamil calligraphy– the Selliahs, Thambaiahs, Nalliahs, Suppaiahs  and Rasaiahs, but have immense difficulty to accept the signs of the Silva Bakery, Perera Grocery Stores and the Sumana Kopi Kade in Sinhalese calligraphy in the heart of Jaffna.  That is a hell-of-a-how-do-you-do, isn’t it TNA?  My knife cuts both ways and not one way and that is where you lot and I differ!

Well…well….well… Premachandran, Sambandan and Sridharan lets cut out this crap once and for all.  Lets not go through another 30 years of violence killing each other just because you think that your blood is more crimson and purer than my Sinhala blood.  Rubbish!  And let your Tamil kids be kids enjoying ‘hide-and-seek’ and  ‘hop-scotch’ and not play ‘cops and robbers’ in Tiger fatigues cradling Kalashnikovs which are heavier than most of them and get killed in the battle frontlines because you adults feared to face the army bullets. I hope you TNAs have learnt a lesson from the past 27-years.

The army has about 40,000 troops now in the Wanni.  Very soon, the troops’ families will join them” you griped to Balachandran.  What’s wrong with that may I ask?

That is what we call “Family re-unification” in Canada .  Like, when one of your Tamils get on a plane with a legitimate Sri Lankan passport at Katunayake airport on the way to  Canada’s Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, and then mid-air this Tamil does an ABRACADABRA and destroys the Sri Lankan passport, and when he/she lands on Canadian soil claims with crocodile tears welling in the eyes to be a Convention refugee fleeing persecution and discrimination in Sri Lanka and have no valid document.  The person goes through the normal Immigration Refugee determination procedures to get permanent residency (PR) and a Canadian passport.  Once he gets the PR, then the “Family reunification” act kicks in immediately. So this Tamil brings over the mother, the father, the brother, the sister and the whole family caboodle and later all of them become jet-setters travelling to Sri Lanka often, the country that they ran away from saying that they were persecuted and discriminated. This is a classic case of “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the liar of them all!’

If such ‘Family reunification’ is good for you Tamils, it certainly should be good for the Sinhalese army personnel who are legitimately guarding the Sri Lankan territory, especially the North and the sovereignty of Sri Lanka .  If the families are not reunited, they will have a legitimate right to grieve as much as you Tamils have complained to the Human Rights Commission that your rights have been violated by the Sri Lankan Government.  It is as simple as that.  So what is your gripe TNA?

“Once a settlement comes up, infrastructural facilities like Sinhalese schools and Buddhist temples will come, and the cultural character of the Wanni will change,” gripes, Suresh Premachandran who is contesting from Jaffna District.

Really, Suresh!  Isn’t that the normal sociological phenomena?  Come to Canada ’s Ontario ’s Scarborough .  Within the past 20 years, the Tamil refugees have turned the place into a Little Jaffna.  There are Tamil Grocery Stores, Sari stores, Restaurants, Shopping Malls, Vadai and Thosai boutiques, Tamil Curry Huts, Hindu Temples you name it, and they have it.  Added to all that they also have gun-totting and knife-wielding Tamil gangs to claim their patch of  Canadian territory.  Isn’t that a natural phenomenon in an evolution of a new society?  So let’s cut your whining as the Sinhalese are no different from you Tamils.  Perhaps they are a bit lighter in complexion and talk English with a slightly different accent.

It is time that you Tamil ‘Eelam’ dreamers accept that you are a minority in Sri Lanka  which is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and  multi-religious society and that you Northern and Eastern Tamils should learn how to live peacefully together with the majority Sinhalese as the Tamils do in the South and the Hills who have been doing it for donkey’s years.

And your claim of a “Tamil Homeland” in Sri Lanka ’s North and East has created a problem in my mind, because that’s a bunch of baloney.  Is it why you ethnically cleansed the Sinhalese and kicked 27,000 of them out of the North between 1971 and 1981, by killing and terrorizing.  Then of course, in October 1990 you all kicked out 100,000 Muslims out of the North giving them 24 hours to move out.  After those dastardly acts, and now you all think that the North and the East are purified and are yours and for the Tamils alone, and portray such legitimacy internationally.  Ha! Come again. Give me a break TNA.

Remember how you Tamils ethnically cleansed the Jaffna University campus.  Let me tell you what happened and after 33 years my blood still gurgles with resentment.

On 22nd July 1977, the United National Party (UNP) formed the Government after an overwhelming victory.  Three weeks later on 13th August, in Jaffna , Tamil extremists attacked the government buildings and Sinhalese shops, and you guys still spit about the July 25, 1983 riots when the Tamil shops were attacked by Sinhalese mobs in Colombo.

There were around 400 Sinhalese lecturers and undergraduates at the Jaffna University at that time.  The Vice Chancellor on hearing of the anti-Sinhalese disturbances closed the University.  While Tamil students went to their homes, the Sinhalese students had no place to go.  The staff met and decided to move them to the Third Floor of the Main Building .  While some Tamil staff members went to their homes a few stayed back to protect their Sinhalese colleagues and students, (Well…all Tamils are not bad and so are the Sinhalese who took in thousands of Colombo-Tamils into their homes to keep them away from being harmed during the July 83 riots).

Around 10 o’clock that morning a group of Tamil Tigers tried to force their way to the Third Floor, but were prevented by the Tamil staff members.  Tamil Tigers went back, threatening to return.  The Tamil staff members stayed on.  At about 2 o’clock in the afternoon an armed gang of Tamil Tigers forced their way in.  The Tamil lecturers again did not allow them to go up and at this point, a professor informed the Government Agent (GA) of the situation.

The GA arrived around 5:00 PM and provided meals to the Sinhalese students and lecturers who had not eaten since morning.  By 7:00 PM he arranged the Army and Police to escort the 400 students and lecturers who were taken south out of Jaffna in buses all lying on the floor out of  the line of a hail of rocks and stones.  Just a note for you TNAs.  The July 1983 riots didn’t flare up suddenly.  This ethnic cleansing of the Sinhalese was part of the powder-keg that you Tamils started stuffing for it to explode one day and it did happen on July 25, 1983.

You griping TNAs, should note that while the Sinhalese undergraduates were stoned out of the Jaffna University Campus not a single Tamil undergraduate was touched by the Sinhalese in the Peradeniya and Colombo University campuses.  My TNA friends, why are you hiding this incident to your western cronies?  Admit to them that you guys are no paragons of virtue.

“Tamil nationalists point out that the predominantly Tamil Wanni has been substantially denuded of Tamils by the war which had gone on for 30 years,”  you TNA Thambis were crying to Balachandran. Don’t we all know it!

The Tamils had a choice and they were the architects of their destiny, don’t you think so TNA?  You Tamils got on your mythical train of Eelam which wasn’t going anywhere other than burying children under 12 inches of soil because you all abducted them and sent them out to war to be killed by bullets.  The smart Tamils placed their palms together, looked up and thanked God for providing them an opening to get out of Sri Lanka in search of greener pastures bypassing their Motherland India and in countries further west.  So they got on planes to fan out, and so they paid volumes of money to ship captains to take them by sea and dump them near a western shore.  That was the choice of your people TNA, so let’s not gripe.

Here are the facts about the North and East which you claim to be your ‘homeland’.  If it was a joke then I just didn’t get it.  You can read this, absorb these facts and if you don’t like it roll the paper into cigars and smoke it if you wish to but my facts will not lie.

Let me roll back to the pre-development days of the east of Sri Lanka in particular of the Gal-Oya project initiated by the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) after Independence, D.S.Senanayake, as some of you may not  have yet been born, thus the false claim of the “Tamil Homeland”  by the older generation may deem true in your naiveté eyes.

With his vision the 62 mile long Gal Oya (river) rising from the Badulla range in the Central Province was dammed in 1949 for the welfare and prosperity of all Sri Lankans.  Let me repeat for the welfare of all Sri Lankans which includes your Tamil people.  The repository of water left after damming now forms the lifeblood of the peasant farmers of the historic region of Digamadulla, who some of them were massacred by your Tamil Tigers for purposes of ethnic cleansing.

Prior to this project, contrary to what you Tamils would like us to believe that it was predominantly a Tamil area, on either side of the Gal Oya River grew relentless jungle.  The actual denizens were Veddahs (aboriginal people and not Tamils) and wild animals.

It is still recalled by a few old Veddahs how their parents trekked a few miles along the jungle trail to visit the dam site overlooking the Inginiyagala rock, which still stands as a giant sentinel and never met a Tamil woman or a man along the way.  Those days only foot paths and animal tracks criss-crossed that vast amphitheatre which was entwined by dense jungle.  I wonder where the hell the Tamils were hiding  in this area as you TNA claim that it was your Tamil country (homeland).  Your claim for this land is an egregious nonsense.

Thus the ‘state aided colonization’ in the Gal Oya project refers to the process by which largely unoccupied and unutilized land belonging to the State which was ‘traditional homeland’ of the aboriginal people, the elephant, the sloth bear, the leopard, the monkey, the deer, the mynah and the jackal were colonized by peasant farmers.  They were given meagre financial assistance to enable them to gain both a livelihood and feed their fellow citizens with the fruit of their toil.

With these facts you better tell us where your Tamils were and at what point did they join the Act?

These are the facts TNA and I don’t believe your fairy tales and nor would many thousands of others.  So lets stop whining about the “Tamil cultural character of the Wanni will change” with the“Sinhalese influx into North Lanka ”.

Let’s not start another fight.  Let’s not kill each other with another 30-year war. You Tamils in the North and East better learn to live peacefully with the majority Sinhalese as they do in the South and the hills of Sri Lanka .

You all should better get used to seeing the business signs of Silva Bakery, Perera Grocery Stores andSumana Kopi Kade in the heart of Jaffna, as much as we have got used to seeing and patronizing  Selliah Thosai boutiqueRajaiah Pharmacy, Suppiah Sari Emporium and Nalliah Jewellers in the heart of the capital Colombo.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe

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