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Archive for November 30th, 2007

Malaysia told Karunanidhi on Thursday to mind his own business after the official complained about Malaysia’s treatment of its ethnic Indians.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to intervene and protect the rights of Tamils.

He made the request after the minority community’s biggest anti-government protest in Malaysia at the weekend, sparked by anger over policies they say prevent ethnic Indians from getting decent jobs or a good education for their children.

“This is Malaysia, not Tamil Nadu,” Malaysia’s de-facto justice minister Nazri Aziz said by telephone. “This has got nothing to do with him … lay off.” He said he had not seen a protest letter from Karunanidhi.

In the letter to Singh, Karunanidhi said he was ‘pained’ at the way Malaysian police had treated Tamils when they organised a rally to complain of racial discrimination.

The rally, which drew more than 10,000 people, had triggered sporadic protests in Tamil Nadu, witnesses said.

Karunanidhi said Tamils were the largest group among Malaysia’s 1.8 million ethnic Indians and added that the people of Tamil Nadu were disturbed by the events there. He sought Singh’s intervention ‘to end the sufferings and bad treatment of Malaysian Tamils’.

Karunanidhi’s DMK party is an ally in Singh’s federal coalition.

Multi-racial Malaysia has brushed aside claims that it mistreated its ethnic Indians, saying that they were better off than those in India. But ethnic Indians complain of a lack of educational and business opportunities, saying government affirmative-action policies that favour majority ethnic Malays had marginalised them.

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In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and Tamils lived in harmony for many centuries. They shared customs, cultures and traditions which helped to maintain a harmonious lifestyle in our country.

In Buddhist temples there was always a place of worship for Hindu devotees. The Buddhists even believe that the God Vishnu is the protector of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. God Subramanium or Skandha who is supposed to have resided in Kataragama is respected by most Sri Lankan Buddhists.

In fact all Sri Lankan Buddhists, when they perform any religious service, transfer merit to these deities.

During King Mahanama’s reign in Anuradhapura some monks who belonged to the Abhayagiri Vihara were exiled as they accepted the Vaitulya Vada tradition. The monks who lived in Danakataka Vihara in Southern India were supported by Tamil Buddhists. It is also stated that during the Anuradhapura period, Sinhalese monks have lived in Danakataka Vihara. Ven. Buddhagosa the well known Buddhist commentator who composed, The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga) may have been a Tamil from South India.

Ven. Anuruddha, another Buddhist scholar who wrote Manual of Abhidhamma was a Tamil monk too.

In recent years Professor Ananda Coomaraswamy, a distinguished Sri Lankan Buddhist Tamil scholar, taught Buddhism at Harvard University. He can be introduced as one of the pioneer Buddhist propagators in the U.S.A. It must be mentioned, that a few of the Sinhala Buddhist monks, who turned out to be world renown scholars learned English in Colombo and Jaffna from Tamil scholars.

Some notable facts that I wish to state here, are my own. Before 1983 the majority of students in the Colombo and Peradeniye Medical College and the Engineering Faculty were Tamil. In Sri Lanka, there were numerous Tamil doctors, engineers, and civil servants. We had a beautiful rapport with everyone, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burghers. So why is it different now?

It is obvious the root cause is due to the ruthless, terrorist organization led by Velupillai Prabhakaran. The LTTE cadre forced the educated professional Tamils to flee the country. The terrorists did not leave the families of the immigrants alone. They were harassed, ransoms demanded, jewelry and property taken by force. The children were kidnapped, forced into army training camps. It did not end there; the Tamils who remained were tortured by the LTTE. As a result, anyone who could afford migrated to Europe, Canada, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, etc. We are sad that over three million innocent people, left their motherland reluctantly due to the atrocities of the LTTE.

The LTTE killed not only the Sinhala politicians such as President Premadasa, Gamini Dissanayaka, Lalith Athulathmudali, but also killed Amirthalingum, Kadiragama, Tiruchellum and many other distinguished, educated politicians. The LTTE killed the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi, an international figure in May 1991. This resulted in a no faith attitude towards the Sri Lankan Tamils by the Indians. Moreover due to the LTTE terrorist activities the world has begun to shun not only Sri Lankan Tamils, but all Tamils.

Even though the Tamils are a religious and non-violent group of people who try to preserve their ancient traditions, yet the world has come to view them in a different light. Today, some Tamils who fear the LTTE have come to Colombo, the capital to live with the Sinhalese. In fact, now in Colombo the majority are Tamils.

The Tamils who live in the North and East of Sri Lanka are in an unfortunate situation. They cannot escape from the North to go anywhere. They are controlled by the LTTE, during the past 25 years most of the Tamil children were not allowed to study. They were trained to kill non-believers of the LTTE. They instilled anger, hatred and ill will in the children. The Tamils, were mostly Hindus and vegetarian, they were a non-violent group. Unfortunately the LTTE destroyed their culture. However, Prabakaran’s children are studying in the U.K. along with the children of the leading LTTE cadres.

For human beings, the most valuable period in life is their childhood. At this time they should be nourished, have parental care and love, be allowed to play and think freely without fear, and be given a good education. None of the above was given to the children in the LTTE controlled areas.

As teenagers, they should have the freedom to socialize, in maturity they should be allowed to marry. The youth in these areas had none of these opportunities.

Why aren’t the Human Rights Organizations condemning the LTTE’s activities? Why do they blame those who try to liberate the innocent people?

In world history, we cannot find a single organization that has destroyed a great Sri Lankan Tamil culture and civilization. Yet because of fear, the average Tamil is turning a deaf ear to the happenings.

In the past there would have been instances of wrong doings due to lack of spiritual understanding, due to the greediness of politicians and a lack of vision. However in Sri Lanka the situation is different now. This generation has mutual respect, problems can be solved by discussion and negotiations. Lives have been lost needlessly on both sides, due to a lack of communication and a lack of commitment to peaceably solve our problems.

This is the time to close the chapters of the past and open new avenues. We must respect each other and strive to live in peace as one nation.

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The comments by various people show how foolishly we, Tamils continue to glorify violence, suicide and terror. We began all this in 1939 with G.G. Ponnambalam attacking the Sinhalese in a virulent speech in1939, resulting in the first Sinhala Tamil riot.

After the war SJV and others used every chance to gore the government instead of building bridges. They spurned the left leaders who stood for parity and preferred to hob-nob with their Colombo-7 capitalist leaders.

Our Colombo, Tamil leaders arrogantly started the ball rolling, and even claimed that they are “ready for state terror”. The local militants realized that they were being bamboozled by the Colombo set, and they captured control, killed those leaders, our best men and women, and made cannon fodder out of our children.

Look at this partial list:

1. The JR government in 1977 granted all the demands on language etc. that the previous Tamil organizations had asked for. But we could not profit from it, because by then we were under the gun of Prabakaran.

2. India came in and merged North and East two provinces, and provided an honourable framework. But we reengaged the whole thing and started another war. Prabakaran would have been annihilated by the IPKF if not for Premadasa.

3. Further accommodation was possible under Premadasa. But we reengaged him and killed the 600 police who surrendered.

4. Under Chandrika we had the far reaching constitutional proposals by Neelan Thiruchelvan, but we replied by assassinating him.

5. Incredible concessions were made by the Ranil Wickremasinghe government with the Cease Fire agreement. But we used it to stock up arms, get ready for another war and made sure of such a war by preventing Ranil’s Victory.

This list of 5 does not include the innumerable other chances that had been offered. Why would any politician think that a political solution is possible with Prabakaran?

So, why are were talking of a political solution?

LTTE has always worked for a military solution. This Anuradhapura attack is the same old Killinochchi wine that Bishop Chikera is now peddling and desecrating even the Eucharist. The LTTE does NOT want a political solution. It wants a military solution from the barrel of a gun. In the process it will destroy the Ceylon Tamils by destroying the future generation. How many Tamils are now left in the Vanni? What is the percentage of Tamils in Sri Lanka today? The CIA world fact book says that there is now only about 5% Tamils in SL!

Instead of executing this attack on the Anuradhapura military camp, if Prabakaran had declared that HE IS FOR A FEDERAL SOLUTION and that HE WILL PEACEFULLY CONTEST ELECTIONS EVERY WHERE IN SRI LANKA, do you think ANY SINHALA POLITICIAN of any worth could OPPOSE IT? Even the most extreme “unitary man” would have to take up this chance. Even many Sinhala might vote for Prabakaran if he had the capacity to the right thing. But a “Venkai” does not change its spots.

Instead, for 30 years, he has led the Tamils on the path of destruction and suicide. Foolish Tamils, drunk with the venom of hat sing in his praise. I lay the whole blame on Prabakaran for destroying the Ceylon Tamils. He is the biggest friend of Sinhala Chauvinists. Prabakaran has done what no Dutugemunu could ever do – reduce the Tamil areas to a prison for the Tamils, reduce the reputation of Tamils all over the world, kill our next generation and convert the remainder into war-mongering youngsters unfit for civilian life. The adults have been reduced to displace persons.

School principles and Temple dignitaries have been assassinated. Only the Tamils living in cozy comfort in the foreign lands can continue to rattle their swords, mesmerized by Prabakaran’s war games which have destroyed the Tamil people, and impoverished the Sinhala as well.

Nothing is possible for the Ceylon Tamils until Prabakaran is a factor in the balance of power. Tamils need educated leaders with a vision fit for today’s global village.

Dr. C. Rasalingam
Canada

(http://mawbima.blogspot.com)

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Despite increased international protests against Sri Lanka pursuing a military victory over the LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government is set to go all out against LTTE strongholds in the Vanni.

The ongoing skirmishes on a wide front across the Jaffna frontline and west of Omanthai are widely believed to be precursor to a massive military onslaught on the LTTE.

The MP reiterated that the government would be willing to sit down for fresh round of negotiations with the LTTE but not be under pressure. In fact, many conveniently forget that the LTTE quit the peace process in April, 2003 during the UNF administration of Ranil Wickramasinghe, and since then spurned several attempts to bring them back to the negotiating table, he said.

Budget and toppling the government

He expressed confidence that the administration would come out stronger once it secured the vote on the third reading of the budget.

“They (the opposition) won’t easily give up their attempts to politically overwhelm us. But we have the strength and capacity to meet their political moves as well as the LTTE’s military challenge.”

He urged the UNP to abandon their efforts to undermine the government. “Now, they have lost the vote on the second reading on the Budget, they must give us peace of mind to govern the country for at least another year,” he said.

“Continuing political uncertainly would be detrimental to the economy and the war effort.”

Influence by external forces

Blaming the LTTE for triggering Eelam War IV, he said that the second achievement of the government was its decision not to be influenced by external factors.

“Have we ever taken a major decision purely on domestic reasons? We were always guided by external players. But in this instance, the president had the courage to decide an appropriate military response to the LTTE challenge. If we were guided by the CFA and remained committed to it in the face of LTTE action which at one point threatened to overwhelm the government, we would have been deep trouble.”

Rajapaksa faulted successive governments for giving up large extents of territory thereby allowing the LTTE to set up its own administration. “But now we have changed that attitude.”

Accusations of corruption – commissions, houses, luxury cars

“We have been accused of robbing the nation, collecting commissions, buying houses, super luxury vehicles. The opposition regularly repeats these allegations. Let them prove their allegations.”

He said that they have earned their money legitimately. “Recently we were accused of paying a princely sum out of our ill-gotten money to acquire a building formerly owned by a high commission in Colombo. In fact, a senior member of the judiciary inquired about this from me. But subsequently he had met the person who bought this building.”

This is just one such example, said, referring also to the recent controversy alleging that the president’s son, Namal, had acquired a super luxury Aston Martin.

He accused a section of the media for being partial to the opposition but acknowledged that similar allegations have been made against the state-controlled press. “People are being misled. They are being taken for a ride,” he said.

“Take Gota’s case. He served the army for 20 years before migrating to the US where he worked as a computer systems UNIX administrator at the prestigious Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He had everything but he sold almost all he had in the US to take over the Defence Secretary’s post in late 2005.”

President’s leadership

Basil said that he worked with Mahinda for several decades. “I am not a novice in politics,” he said, asserting that he has the capacity to meet challenges. Commenting on the president, he said that his brother had the knack for handling people.

“All of us work under his directions. He is the president and party leader and make no mistake he knows what is good for the administration.” He dismissed the assertion that he was the power behind the throne. “The president is a natural leader and people may see me as a trouble-shooter and a decision maker. But as far as I am concerned, I may implement things, carry out orders and generally make myself useful to the president.

Bribing LTTE to boycott elections

He said that nothing could be more ridiculous than the UNP claim that the Rajapaksas bribed the LTTE to engineer presidential election boycott in the Northern and Eastern Province. The LTTE couldn’t be bribed that way. Their decision making process wouldn’t be guided by financial gains or any other privileges, he said.

“I don’t know why they acted against Ranil Wickremesinghe. But one thing is clear. Participation of Tamils in the presidential election process wouldn’t be to their (LTTE) advantage. Even if Wickremesinghe won, they wouldn’t have been able to manipulate that victory to their advantage given the fact that the Tigers quit the peace process during Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Prime Minister.”

Also the LTTE wanted to ensure that no one could boast of receiving a mandate from the people of the North and East.

Rajapaksa said that if anyone bothered to read the EU report on the last parliamentary election, the Tamil National Alliance would be unmasked. The EU revealed the LTTE-TNA manipulation of the entire process which facilitated the election of TNA MP who accepted the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people.

Officials accused by COPE

He assured that the government wouldn’t shield officials and politicians accused by the Committee on Public Enterprises on waste, irregularities and corruption. “But, as a government we won’t operate in Gestapo style. If we do that, there would be other allegations. So let the investigations their take course,” he said.

He emphasized that he didn’t want to take over COPE from colleague Wijedasa Rajapakshe, MP or obstruct investigations conducted by the two parliamentary watchdog committees.

(www.island.lk)

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Sri Lanka is trying to make use of grazing lands freed from the grip of Tamil Tiger rebels in the island’s east to increase domestic fresh milk production.

The initiative would help meet domestic demand and reduce imports at a time when global milk prices have doubled owing to shortages.

The government has raised the price of milk it buys from farmers and wants to improve collection, said A O Kodituwakku, additional secretary of the Ministry of Livestock Development.

Better Price

“The ministry is encouraging dairy producers to retain their cows and invest in improved productivity by raising the price of milk by 10 rupees per liter,” Kodituwakku told a meeting on efforts to improve the island’s dairy industry.

“We are also working to strengthen the mechanism for collecting milk.”

The Ministry of Livestock Development said some 140,000 families in the eastern province alone engage in some sort of livestock farming.

Helping small farmers improve livestock farming would also help revive the local economy in the eastern region that had suffered from two decades of conflict.

Much of the area had been under the control of the Tamil Tigers fighting for a separate state in the island’s north and east.

But government forces drove out the Tigers from their jungle strongholds and coastal settlements under their control in a series of military campaigns earlier this year.

Rebecca Cohn, director of the USAID aid agency which organized the meeting of diary industry and government officials, said they want to start a project next year to revive milk production in the east.

“We have all read about doubling of the price of imported milk powder in the last year indicating a huge demand for milk due to short supply worldwide,” Cohn told the meeting, according to the USAID statement.

“Energizing the local dairy sector would not only help meet this great demand and bring down prices, but also give a much needed boost to local economies long suffering from more than two decades of conflict.”

The project, called Connecting Regional Economies (CORE), will improve rural value chains in the eastern and north central provinces.

Imports

Sri Lanka imported 70,000 metric tons of milk powder at a cost of 17 billion rupees last year, a figure expected to double in 2007.

Ariyaseela Wickramanayake of Pelawatte Dairies said that owing to poor productivity, small producers often find selling the cows for beef is more profitable than milk production.

“But if the large amount of land available for dairy production that exists in the east is utilized effectively, and feeding practices are improved, we have the potential to improve production by up to 300 percent.

“In addition to natural grasses, rice bran and crop residues are available as feed.”

The USAID said coordination between small-scale farmers and larger farms could also potentially help rural households improve income and employment, and give access to technology and dairy management practices.

Large Sri Lankan processors working on a national scale collect only just over half of the total amount of milk produced in the country, with the balance either consumed or processed locally.

Uncollected milk is consumed at village level, while collected milk end up as flavoured milk packs, butter, yoghurt or cheese.

Structural Issues

Yields from Sri Lankan milch cows have been poor in the past as high-yielding cows from temperate regions do not thrive in the hot tropical island.

Efforts have been made to cross-foreign breeds with local ones that can stand the local climatic conditions but are yet to have a significant impact on local herds.

Feed is also poor in much of the island. High yielding cows have been raised with some success in the island’s cooler and wetter hill country.

The food giant Nestle ran an extensive program in the 1980’s to improve feed and stock but the firm found it difficult to compete with cheaper imported milk powder. But now milk powder is at a historic high.

Milk prices are also a political issue and politicians point fingers at the dairy products import bill expounding on the need to ‘save’ foreign exchange each time the government prints money and creates balance of payments problems.

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With the theater or war shifting towards the North troops are involved in almost daily fierce battles with the LTTE.

The War shifts North

The War shifts North

 

The War shifts North

 

The War shifts North

 

The War shifts North

 

The War shifts North

 

The War shifts North

 

The War shifts North

 

(http://www.dailymirror.lk)

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