03 June 2020
The Virtual Jaffna Library
On 31 May, the British Tamils Forum in the UK released a communiqué headed ‘Burning Jaffna library, an intent of Genocide’ . The message presents the following picture:
[Today is the 39th anniversary of the burning down of Jaffna library on 31st May 1981 by the Sinhala mob brought from the South of Sri Lanka by senior ministers of the Sri Lankan state.
This is a key event in the history of the Sri Lankan state’s genocide against Tamils, as the library was attacked in an aggressive act of biblioclasm, the deliberate destruction of books. By intentionally burning one of the oldest and respected collection of ancient Tamil manuscripts in the whole of south Asia, Sri Lankan state deprived Tamils of their immeasurable treasure of cultural heritage.]
It is true that the above happened. Who caused it and why they did it are internal indicators known to believers. One example is as follows:
[This was intentional as there was no provocation in the area in which the library stood. The Jaffna district Police Headquarters was in the vicinity of the library when this occurred which shows intent as they were led by former ministers Gamini Dissanayake and Cyril Matthew. These are evidence that the burning of Jaffna Library was an intentional act of cultural genocide as the Sri Lankan government purposefully wanted to erase parts of Tamil history.]
About Mr Cyril Mathew, Wikipedia presents the following picture:
[Mathew was the author of the book Sinhalese! Rise to Protect Buddhism, which urged Sinhalese to stand up for their rights and protect their values. He also issued a pamphlet Who is the Tiger, a collection of his inflammatory speeches made in 1979.
Mathew was elected at the 8th parliamentary elections, held on 21 July 1977, representing the Kelaniya electorate for the United National Party. He was known for his hard-line position against the Tamil's political aspirations. He was appointed as the Minister of Industry and Scientific Affairs in July 1977. He is widely regarded as one of the key ministers responsible for instigating the anti-Tamil riots of July 1983, which subsequently resulted in the outbreak of a 26-year civil war. Mathew was expelled from the cabinet and the governing United National Party by President J. R. Jayewardene in 1984 after publicly criticising a conference called by Jayewardene to redress grievances of the Tamil minority. Jayewardene's successor, Ranasinghe Premadasa, subsequently reinstated Mathew's party membership. He died of a heart attack on 17 October 1989.]
The above confirms that the burning of the Jaffna library happened between (1) the 1977 elections in which Tamils became the leading Opposition in National Parliament and (2) the 1983 pogrom in Colombo and other multicultural parts of Sri Lanka.
We did not have the parallel of USA’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement nor the De Facto National Guards. Even now we do not have one. The communiqué claims as follows:
[70 years of acts of genocide against Tamils calls for the need of justice through an international judicial mechanism and a process to protect the Tamils in the North-East of Sri Lanka.]
If Jaffna library is believed to be of heritage value to the believer, the intellectual pathway that Tamis followed including or Conflict Resolution in politics such believers need to maintain their independence including from armed rebel groups. Gandhi said:
[“They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me. Then they will have my dead body, but not my obedience.”]
How many believers in the intellectual pathway remained independent of internal suicides of the intellect when the LTTE recruited from schools? Even today – most members of the Tamil Diaspora who participate in public discussions get excited about blaming the Sinhalese but not so involved in intellectual analysis of the problem? My book ‘Naan Australian’ found its way to the National Library of Australia but the Jaffna Library does not hold it as a treasure. One of my clients donated one to the University of Jaffna – as a ‘thank you’ gesture for helping him with understanding of the law. No member of the Tamil Diaspora has so far asked for a copy. Non-Sri Lankans and non-Tamils have. Yesterday, fellow Australian Tamil George Thillainathan wrote to me to ask nicely to take him off the email list. The only ‘intellectual’ reason could be to show that he had ‘authority’ over me – over a topic – China in which he had very little interest. I believe that I merge my experiences as a Sri Lankan with those as an Australian before interpreting world events that come to my attention. I believe that I am already of heritage value to many Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka. Some of my work in fundamentals of the Justice system through Theswalamai Law applicable to Jaffna Tamils is codified intellectually in the book ‘ Jaffna is my heritage and not dowry’. My husband included the Jaffna Library in our distribution list.
Knowing the lack of current investment in intellectual justice by Tamils – my interpretation of British Tamil Forum’s message is that we are yet to feel ownership in the intellectual pathway to claim that our belief that the intent was ‘Genocide’ rather than ‘Fear’ of our intellectual capacity.
If fear was the reason – then the more intellectual we demonstrate to be – the more we win. On 01 June I wrote under the heading Constitution - The Intervenient Petitioner? - challenging the heirs of the UNP that is being blamed for the burning of Jaffna Library:
[The fundamental rights case before the Judiciary is about elections. But there was already an issue with the SJB candidates being in two parties when submitting their nominations. Article 91(1) (b)(ii) of the Sri Lankan Constitution – under chapter headed ‘THE FRANCHISE AND ELECTIONS’ - states:
[91. (1) No person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament or to sit and vote in Parliament –
(b) (ii) if he - stands nominated as a candidate for election by more than one recognized political party or independent group in respect of any electoral district, ]
Basically, membership with a political party is through belief. As political parties – SJB headed by Mr Premadasa is independent and Equal to UNP headed by Mr Wickremesinghe. The Sunday Times Political editorial presents the following:
[Whilst an SC ruling is expected, political activity is heating up between the two main Opposition political parties – the United National Party (UNP) and its offshoot, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB). In a surprise move, notwithstanding the awaited ruling from the Supreme Court, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam issued a news release on Wednesday about the cancellation of party memberships of those whom he says have “violated the party constitution.” In effect, he is referring to SJB leader Sajith Premadasa and his backers who have handed in their nominations as Balavegaya candidates. It appears that UNP lawyers had wanted the move done before June 2, the date by which the party says the proclamation of March 2 dissolving Parliament expires.]
Wikipedia presents the following timeline about SJB:
· 30 January 2020 - United National Party working committee approves Sajith Premadasa as leader of the new alliance and its Prime Ministerial candidate.
· 11 February 2020 - Election Commission has accepts the appointment of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa as the leader of Samagi Jana Balawegaya and Ranjith Madduma Bandara as General Secretary.
· 13 February 2020 - Jathika Hela Urumaya, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Tamil Progressive Alliance announce its support to the new alliance.
· 19 February 2020 - United National Party working committee approves the swan as the symbol of the alliance.
· 2 March 2020 - Party was officially launched at Nelum Pokuna Colombo.
· 9 March 2020 - SJB opens its Headquarters at No 815, E.W. Perera Mawatha, Ethulkotte.
· 10 March 2020 - SJB select Telephone as its election symbol.
· 19 March 2020 - Party handover nominations for 22 districts for 2020 General Elections.
It was in breach of ethics of the Universal Franchise for the Election Commission to accept the registration of a new party (SJB) headed by someone who was holding a seat in the then (11 February 2020) current parliament under the grouping of another party (UNP). ]
If there was at least one intellectual Tamil of Sri Lanka – s/he would have either agreed or opposed the above. Instead I was asked to disconnect myself from someone who as per my search was more interested in money and the status that money can buy.
Neither the money driven nor the status driven will have my obedience because I am the virtual library that my heirs inherit – each as per their need.