More things change, more they remain same
The burden of the past pursues us, as it is
both a burden and an inspiration, for it drags us down and at the same
time pushes us on - Jawaharlal Nehru
The events of last week connected with the President’s visit to
Britain could best be described as a throwback of our colonial past: a
nation struggling to get on its feet after having risen from 433 years
of colonial rule and its aftermath.
Protesters from Kilinochchi demonstrating against the UK
We always maintained that Prabhakaran was only a front and the real
enemies of the nation are those who ‘white washed’ that criminal in the
name of ‘Tamil grievances’. Those are the insidious forces that crated a
behemoth that killed all Sri Lankans indiscriminately destroying
billions worth of country’s property.
The irony however is that there simply cannot be a human grievance
that is worth redressing by taking away the very lives of humans. Yet it
did happen in this country, in the name of human rights and in the name
of ‘grievances’, people were killed like flies and the more people the
murderer killed, the more his deeds were spoken of as heroics.
Let a member of the Tamil community tap his conscience and ask
himself as to who did the most damage to his community since
independence: read the reports of UTHR (J) to realize that the worst
human rights violator of the Tamil community was none other than this
‘liberator’ who took the law in to his own hands. What made Rajini
Thiranagama, that patriotic Tamil professional, write the ‘Broken
Palmyra’? Palmyra tree can withstand adverse weather conditions and even
in a cyclone or a thunderstorm it can survive by bending and bellying.
It is only when the Palmyra tree is rotten inside that it will soon
decay and perish.
That then is what happened to the Tamil community of Ceylon. The most
privileged, educated and wealthy community in colonial Ceylon has now
become a victim of its own success by trying to cling on to its
privileges against the inevitable forces of social evolution.
If at all if one can hold somebody responsible for this plight of the
Tamil community today it has to be none other than the Tamil expatriate
community who exploited the violence in their country of origin to
migrated in search of greener pastures abroad. For once they are out of
the country is in their interest to ensure that the violence continue so
that they can justify their presence in the country of adoption. Thus a
symbiotic relationship was formed between their scope abroad and the
violence at home. The Tamil expatriates wanted peace in Britain and for
that they were prepared to sacrifice peace at home.
Britain set the pattern to rule this country like a commercial
property. They used the Ceylon Tamils to rule and the Indian Tamils to
labour. And the Sinhalese to just be, as they could not kill them all
like they did to the Aborigines in Australia, Maoris in New Zealand,
Inuits in Canada, the Incas in South Africa and the Red Indians in
America. What happened to all their human rights at the hands of the
European invaders? Does human rights count only when it suits your own
The world changed and the time came for the British to leave colonies
because of ‘communist fears’. They left Ceylon leaving ‘Ceylon Tamils’
demanding apartheid minority rule, the Sinhalese demanding their
rightful place and the Indian Tamils just stranded in their line rooms
with hardly any space even to stand. But to compensate for all that they
had created the Brown sahibs who were only ready to say that
‘colonialism was the best thing that ever happened to Ceylon’.
That mental derangement they instilled over the 433 year rule with
language and religion was so powerful that even after 62 years of
independence the moment we feel that we need development we start
teaching English instead of developing, for we know of no development
without English. This is, as if the most prominent development projects
that have stood the test of time in this country such as Parakrama
Samudraya, Abhayagiriya and Sigiriya were designed by English architects
and constructed by English engineers?
For 62 years we learnt English and got more and more mired in that
colonial mindset. After independence the Russians gave us industry and
the Chinese gave us arms to defend ourselves while the English funded
those who unleashed the worst terror on our soil. But we continue to
learn only English as if it is the panacea for all our ills. Countries
that developed themselves during the last 50 years, like China, Japan
and Korea should thank their stars that they had no English elite to
teach them English and hold down everything else.
If English is the barometer of development how come that Britain with
all that ‘Queens English’ is sliding down the economic path to be come
just Britain, no longer Great, since they lost the empire? No wonder
Britain has a grudge against its former colonies because they still
entertain nostalgic memories of the past ‘glorious exploitations’.
Last time they invaded and killed us because they wanted to
‘civilize’ us. We were not civilized because we did not have an industry
to make arms, slaughter animals and to brew liquor. This time they are
campaigning against us because we are ‘violating human rights’. That
again must be because we do not invade other countries like they do in
Iraq and in Afghanistan and kill innocent women and children to maintain
The more things change the more they remain the same.