03 August 2009

"Letter to the Editor from Vanni/Sri Lanka" in Kalachuvadu

I felt sad and angry.

It is not easy to tell you how sad I was and how angry I was.

It would be a tad easier if you were a Tamil; if you had a taste for “Kalachuvadu” (“Footprints on sands of time”) the Tamil magazine; if you read an anonymous letter to the editor on what happened in Sri Lanka in the recent past. The letter was 14 pages long and was written by an inmate in a refugee camp in Vanni that holds civilians caught in the war theater. The vivid description of the the last days of the war are very disturbing.

The anonymous writer says:

The Sri Lanka Government, in acquiring control over its territory, has been unmindful of the death of thousands of uninvolved civilians detained in the war theater by LTTE.

LTTE fought for a noble cause; its leaders and cadets gave their lives for the cause. But LTTE made several mistakes including: forced recruitment of "volunteers" to its cadets; forced retention of uninvolved civilians in the war theater as a protection; seeing everyone as either a friend or a foe; elimination of all opponents in Sri Lankan Tamil politics; elimination of any form of dissent; alienation of Tamil Muslims and alienation of India.

The Tamils in Sri Lanka were caught between Schylla and Charybdis; between an unfair majority and ruthless freedom fighters. (Each makes the other a supportable candidate!) Both were successful in creating a setback for the Tamils.

As an Indian, I am not a fan of any freedom fighter movement that kills a leader of my country. (He may or may not have my vote; but he is a fellow citizen and his life is protected by my country).

As a Tamil, I expect the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka to be treated in a fair manner; the same fair treatment I would expect India to provide its minorities.

I am sad and angry.

I hope a leader who understands inclusive politics, who can understand and use international opinion and who can institutionalize the striving for fair treatment emerges to handle the Sri Lanka/Tamil issue.

If that happens to be a Sri Lankan Prime Minister, even better.

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