Last Sunday, I got to participate in a discussion that took place in person. A student born and raised in Norway presented his youthful study entitled ‘Liberation Struggle in a Divided Tamil Nation’.
The student was a second-generation student born and raised in Norway. The speech and the comments made by the student in the ensuing discussion provided a basis for the younger generation of Eelam Tamils living in the diaspora to understand how they view the liberation struggle of the Tamil people.In the discussion that followed the speech, the first generation who participated also presented their views. In this discussion, two important points were observed.
First, there is a very long gap in the diaspora community between our older generation and the younger generation that cannot be filled.
Second, 12 years after the end of the war, the majority of Eelam Tamils are not ready to accept criticism or self-criticism about their actions. Against this background, this article seeks to address some of the fundamentals.
Times have changed; But the sad truth is that for many who emigrated from Sri Lanka in the 1980s and 1990s, Sri Lankan history froze with the time of their emigration. They look at the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict within the framework of the Sri Lankan context at the time of their emigration; They are also looking at today’s Sri Lanka. Their solutions and suggestions are as follows. They present obsolete ideas as core.
America is with the Tamils; Western nations, are with us; Like the Jews, the Tamils will have a solution; Ideas such as not being able to live with Sinhalese were put forward in this discussion.
These are outdated thoughts. We can move beyond these, pitifully set aside. But whatever the origin of these ideas, it is deeply ingrained in the ethnic history of Sri Lanka.
There are four national races in the country namely Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim upcountry Tamil and the minority communities of Parangiyar, Malayar and Vader. As a result, the country remains a multi-ethnic country. Although Buddhist Sinhala chauvinists refuse to accept this reality, history records this fact.While British colonialism practiced divisive maneuvering, it was the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim elites who trampled on such colonialism.They were proud and privileged to have been enslaved by white supremacy and enjoyed great wealth. At the same time, through their class and caste status, they oppressed and dominated their own ethnic, linguistic and religious peoples.
By dividing the people and keeping them from interacting with each other, they maintained their property comforts. This is our history. It is in the continuation of this history that the caste, regional and religious differences deeply planted among the Tamil people. The products of this are the thoughts of the immigrants that emerge today.
Sinhala chauvinism in Sri Lanka and the emphasis on the legacy of the old Sinhala monarchs and the building of their national history by Tamil nationalism from kings such as the Kingdom of Jaffna, the rule of the Nagas, and the Vanni Kingdom are based on the connection with feudal thinking.
Sri Lankan nationalists have failed to establish national capitalism in order to establish capitalism and build a national economy. They were unable to confront imperialism in its neo-colonial form.
Thus, chauvinism was used to divert popular opposition as a result of their defeat and the struggles they had waged with imperialism to destabilize the country’s economy.
Similarly, the petty nationalism that resulted from chauvinism was in the interests of its elites, avoiding anti-imperialist and identifying the problems of the people from a purely nationalist point of view.
As mentioned above, it was necessary for both sides to highlight the doctrine of racial hatred on the issue of national race. As well as culture, religion, linguistic purity, caste and many more are remnants of landlordism that continue to be an important part of the dominant ideology among the people. They are seen to dominate Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and upcountry Tamil nationalities.
Such a trend is widespread in South Asia. The development of national races and their national identity is an important factor in the inability of landowners to identify with the class interests of their leaders. This is the origin of the beliefs of the United States and the West today.In the discussion, the comments made by the research student along with the evidence on how the internal contradictions of the Tamil community weakened the liberation struggle are important.
In particular, he said that the differences that existed in the Tamil community from that day to date, both caste-wise and region-wise, needed to be addressed and that the liberation struggle for the Tamil people was not possible without eliminating them.
Reactions to this, ‘Come read history’; ‘Tamils have no country; ‘That’s the problem’; ‘Sinhala state is the reason for everything’. The message of these reactions is that they are not ready to talk or criticize the internal conflicts in Tamil society.
It has become customary to leave out what we have done wrong and put the blame aside.
An important question was asked by someone in the discussion. “If the Palestinians organize a demonstration, will hundreds of foreigners attend? But why don’t they come if we do ’?It should be noted here, however, that Palestinians are taking part in other struggles for justice; Stand on the side of the oppressed people; Through a series of long interactions, they have created a support base for themselves in various domains. During the protests, they did not carry the banners of Bata or the banners of Hamas. They have taken the need of their struggle to the people of their respective countries.
We must first decide who we identify with. Some who participated in the discussion compared Tamils to Israelis. The question of whether we identify ourselves with the oppressors or identify ourselves with the oppressed is not the answer to the question of who our friends are.
The second generation who participated in the discussion also exemplified the importance of anti-democracy in the Tamil diaspora. We need to think deeply about whether these are the ideas that the next generation will have about our community.
An illusion has been created among Tamils living in the north and east of Sri Lanka that everything is possible by the diaspora community. That illusion, however, will continue for some time to come; It will be led by the ‘family members’ in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.
There are a lot of ‘talking about Palanquin but brother do walking’ variants in the diaspora community. That’s why they spend time looking for solutions outside, not inside. More than a decade has passed, with the voice of ‘we have suffered’. It will be used for a few decades today. Because it’s like scrabing their healed rash again and again. If we want to, we can think of ‘skyrocketing Vaikuntam’.