A cartoon that appeared in Lakbima newspaper of Sri Lanka, on Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, has awakened the masses in India on the sexist side of the genocidal culture encountered by Eezham Tamils over several decades, said South Asia watchers in New Delhi noting responses from different parts of India. The impact of the cartoon in India in realising the nature of the genocidal culture that is not checked, not boycotted like the apartheid, but is always pampered, is many times more than the impact evoked by seeing images of the sexual abuse of even corpses of Eezham Tamils, the South Asia watchers said. The cartoon found condemnation in Colombo too, by Women and Media Collective (WMC).
The WMC on Monday urged the Lakbima newspaper and its editor to apologize for the cartoon, as it is derogatory to women and women politicians.
But the acting editor of Lakbima, Ranga Jayasuriya, said on Monday that he would stand by the cartoon.
“The cartoon by my colleague Hasantha Wijenayake should be treated as a matter of artistic expression,” Ranga Jayasuriya said, adding that “vulgarity, like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”
Last month, three French tourists to Sri Lanka were fined and were sentenced to 6 months suspended prison term, for a woman tourist among them kissing a Buddha statue in Kandy and taking a photograph of it.
When the tourists were printing their holiday pictures at Galle, the studio employee alerted the police, who in turn arrested the tourists, The Asian Age reported on 22 August.
But the scale used for ‘culture’ was different when a number of Hindu temples were desecrated, vandalised and destroyed. It was different when the Tamil women were raped, killed and even the dead bodies were displayed with vulgarity.
Sexual assault by the occupying Sinhala military as a way of terrorisation and genocide-intended sexual abuse, making Tamil women pregnant by the occupying soldiers, now come to light in media reports. But the culture of getting pleasure in seeing Tamils naked has a long legacy in the island.
Those who had portrayed the LTTE as the worst ‘terrorists’ in the world and pampered the genocidal SL military never appreciated the absence of sexual violence on the part of the LTTE. Once again the scale used was different and the eyes were jaundiced.
On the issue of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister sending back Colombo footballers, and a group of political activists harassing Sri Lankan tourists, a group of some prominent writers and social activists in Tamil Nadu have also now come forward to condemn the CM for harming ‘people to people’ relationship, following the stand of the CPI-M and The Hindu. Many of the members of the group are of Marxist-Leninist or other Leftist political background.
A State, as a policy, stopping political sports is different from activists harassing tourists. The latter is of bad taste.
But those who jump at upholding ‘people to people’ relationship in the given context of Sri Lanka provide only more confidence to that State and institutions like Lakbima in their display of genocidal culture.
The signatories of the statement have forgotten that India in its campaign against apartheid had banned all people to people relationship between India and South Africa for a very long time. The people of Indian origin in South Africa were the worst affected, losing all linguistic, religious and cultural contacts with their motherland. Yet, the boycott was needed to establish a universal point of international polity and human civilisation.
Why the scale is different on Sri Lanka, even in the eyes of the group of Marxists? Is it because ‘people to people’ relationship had to be banned in one instance but promoted in another instance for the imperial interests of the State they aspire for India? Or, perhaps, as Lakbima’s Ranga Jayasuriya was defending the cartoon, genocide, like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.