Feature Article

Australian ‘Sri Lankans’ test conscience of international Tamil writers

[TamilNet, Sunday, 22 August 2010, 02:06 GMT]
Creative writers are conscience keepers of humanity. They are neither bound by nor are contributors to authoritarian forces. They don’t need ‘sponsors’ whose ‘sponsors’ have bloodstained hands. In the name of ‘International Tamil Writers Forum’, some Australian Tamil individuals donning ‘Sri Lankan’ identity want international Tamil writers to meet in Colombo, January next year. They promise passage, boarding, lodging and even a tour around ‘Sri Lanka’ for those who come forward. The sponsors say they have been organizing the international meet hitherto in Australia for the last ten years, but this time they want to have it in Colombo. What is the message these conscience keepers want to give to international Tamils and to the world of creative writers, asks a writer in Colombo who has no freedom to reveal name.

Edited version of the comments received from the Tamil writer in Colombo:

“Do the organisers want to say that they have found new freedom in Colombo to hold the meet, which they couldn’t find in the last ten years?

“How many Eezham Tamil writers and for that matter even Sinhala writers have the freedom in Colombo to say what they want to say? How many exiled writers holding Sri Lankan passport could go to Colombo, speak freely and come out again? How many Tamil writers of foreign nationality could speak freely in Colombo and escape expulsion?

“The proposed writers meet at this juncture in Colombo is nothing but an exercise to prop the image of Rajapaksa government and even a Sinhala writer with self-respect will not have any regards for it.

“Immediately after the genocidal war, Sri Lankan government that has sinister plans for the Buddhicisation of the Tamil land convened a ‘World Hindu Conference’ in Colombo and there were some senseless people in Tamil Nadu who were prepared to come. The Australian ‘Sri Lankans’ are targeting a similar group.

“From cricket matches for ‘Sri Lankans’ in the diaspora to International Tamil Writers Meet in Colombo are organised by the same few elements orchestrated by the same force behind them.

“Those who could not find space in their own society earlier now flaunting with vengeance their newly found space in the company of devil dancers is not the healthy way to serve a war-torn society. It will only justify the earlier ostracism of them in the society.

“In 1974 when Tamils wanted to have the Fourth International Tamil Research Conference in the Tamil land, Jaffna, the then government of Srimao Bandaranayake and some ‘Tamil Sri Lankans’ opposed it and wanted to have it in Colombo with ‘State’ assistance. Their aim was to hoodwink the world of what they had done to Eezham Tamils under the 1972 constitution, declaring the Sinhala Buddhist republic of Sri Lanka.

“Do we see the same ‘State’ of affairs and ‘Tamil Sri Lankans’ back again?

“Organisers behind the proposed international meet in Colombo started with the publicity of providing tutorials for the imprisoned youth to write public exams. It was indeed a good job even though no one thought of doing such charity in the past in the case of the thousands of youth who were made to abandon various other militant groups.

“Now if they have money let them spend it quietly on the education of the war-affected children. There are many ways to promote literary activities quietly. Their efforts of meeting and promoting writers’ forums at the grass root level are appreciable. But, flaunting money in Colombo is politics of the subordinates for the benefit of their masters.

“The organisers may be aware how government men threaten Tamil literary circles in Colombo to leave the island, saying it doesn’t belong to them. Those who worry diaspora polity harming Tamils at home should not expose the Tamil writers remaining in the island by holding a meet in Colombo.

“Besides, The Australian ‘Sri Lankans’ writing in Tamil have much better job to do at home as many of their children don’t speak Tamil with them and don’t read what they write in Tamil.”


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