The Second Session of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka held at Bremen has clearly indicted the Sri Lankan State for the genocide and continued genocide committed against Eelam Tamils as a national group in the island. The recognition of continued genocide and the identification of the affected party as Eelam Tamils as a national group, are very significant parts of the verdict. What are next steps the civilised humanity in general, and Tamils in particular, are going to take; and how to wage a peoples’ struggle of non-violence and non-cooperation, ask naïve sections of Eezham Tamils. A people’s struggle in fact begins from their households, first by consciously deleting the words Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan from usage, writes a Tamil activist for alternative politics in the island.
The term ‘Sri Lanka’ doesn’t have any historicity at all. There was no usage of it before 1940s.
The phrase with the ‘Sri’ was an invention of the Sinhala nationalists and it was constitutionalised along with the Sinhala-Buddhist State constitution of 1972.
Thus the term Sri Lanka became the conceptual identity of the genocidal State.
People of the North and East of the island have categorically rejected the concept of such a State and the constitution in the general election of 1977. Before that, people of Kaankeasanthu’rai constituency gave their verdict in the by-election of 1975.
In the later decades, Tamil militancy was using the word Sri Lanka only to denote the State in Colombo, as they have conceived their country as Tamil Eelam.
Yet, some sound academics among Eezham Tamils, tried their best to find a compromise by coming out with a discourse on “Being Sri Lankan and Being Tamil.”
However, those who carefully read the writing of Professor K. Sivathamby and the critique written on it by A. J. Canagaratne could see that they were only conditional in their optimism for the success of the discourse.
Events of 2009 and later, have proved beyond any doubt that a point has now come that Sri Lanka is only a synonym for the genocide of Tamils.
Genocidal Sri Lanka’s ‘victory’ at Mu’l’livaaykkaal and the structural genocide it is waging thereafter are not conquest of the spirit of Eezham Tamils. But the Eezham Tamils naively or unconsciously using the terms Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan is a conquest of the spirit, imperceptibly conceded by Eezham Tamils to the genocidal State and to the partner culprits in Washington and New Delhi.
Those who are in the forefront in conceding such a victory to their genocidal conquistadors are largely and conspicuously the diaspora Tamils.
They come out with excuses such as usage in English, acceptability by others, understandable communication with others etc., but many concede that they use the terms as they have been unconsciously conditioned.
Apart from the conditioning engineered by the international community of the Establishments in complicity with the genocide, there are also conscious operatives among diaspora Tamils such as the Datos of FOMSO, who come out with ‘Sri Lankan’ identity for the old diaspora in Malaysia and Singapore.
It is shamelessly not un-common to see the diaspora households using Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan without any inhibition in their Tamil, half-Tamil or non-Tamil conversations among them, even after the naked genocide. Children are never educated about the connotations of the terms. They go to ‘Sri Lanka’ for holidays. Former members of the militant groups are no exception and they get angry if the matter is raised, as it pricks. Older members of the diaspora say that they have now forgotten that there is a Tamil word Ilangkai for the island, accepted even by the constitution of the genocidal State.
What is in a name, some may argue. We have all the feelings in our heart and need not to show them in ‘trivial’ matters, some say. They fail to understand the importance of linguistic symbols in the conquest of spirit. They should not complain about Colombo changing Aanai-I’ravu, the gateway to Jaffna, into Sinhala either.
There is a section among the Eezham Tamil diaspora that is forced to use the terms Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan in official communications with the Establishments, their immigration counters etc. Use the terms on such occasions with full consciousness that you are using synonyms for genocide. But, what is the need to use the terms in other instances and in ordinary communication?
Eezham Tamils in the island also have to be fully conscious about the usage of terms. Even the space available to use the Tamil historical term Ilangkai should not go obsolete. There are other countries in the world that use more than one name. Even the genocidal partner at New Delhi that thrusts ‘Sri Lankan’ identity on Eezham Tamils, uses two official names: India and Bharat.
A large section of the diaspora has no compulsions. It has all the space to educate the other peoples and the rest of the world on Eezham Tamils denouncing Sri Lanka because of the connotations behind it. But the free diaspora is not doing that.
As a show of their typical timidity in the name of moderation, or as a fancy show of ‘inclusivism’ and ‘non-narrow-mindedness’, if the Tamils in the diaspora want to avoid the use of the Tamil terms, Eelam or Ilangkai, in their geographical reference to the whole of the island, let them use the Austro-Asiatic term Lanka, which most of the Sinhala brethren ordinarily use. They may even use the colonial term Ceylon or even the term Hela, a cognate of Eezham. Those are not conceptually dangerous.
But the identity called ‘Sri Lanka,’ coined to become conceptually genocidal, and is buttressed by anti-people Establishments of the world, is dangerous not only to Eezham Tamils, but also to entire humanity, and it has to be consciously challenged and erased.
This is within the means of a people’s struggle. It begins within our homes, within our social interactions and within our interaction with the other peoples of the world.
A people’s struggle should not take such leads is the ‘concern’ of those who have installed Tamil ‘leadership’ in the island and have engineered outfits to idle on the struggle in the diaspora.
Proving against a myth that Eezham Tamils are incapable of any deep-rooted people’s struggle is in the hands of the present generation.