Broader Vision of the Massacred Political Detainees

[On 24 February 1983, Nadarajah Thangathurai, one of the first Tamil freedom fighters incarcerated by the Sri Lanka government, was sentenced to life imprisonment. On the first of March 1983, he made a statement from the dock of the courthouse, which to this day remains one of the best testaments to the Tamil sentiments in Sri Lanka He was later killed along with Kuttimani in the Welikada prison massacre on July 25, 1983.]

Since the prison massacre 20 years have passed and 60,000 Tamils have perished. Has the majority's fundamental mind set changed? Is it capable of changing to a higher perspective?

 

Excerpts from the testimony by the detainees:

"When our vision is so global how can it fail to take into account the future good of the Sinhala people?"

When the British government entrusted the fate of the Tamils to a group of Sinhala politicians, the Tamil people did not clamour for freedom for themselves. They did not suspect that they would in course of time be made second-class citizens of this country. But some Tamil leaders did perceptively ask for bigger representation for the Tamils in the legislature. This was justified by later events when the plantation Tamils were deprived of their franchise. What the next 25 years saw was not only the erosion of Tamil rights but also the erosion of the Tamil homeland. For 25 years, the Tamil leaders expressed their protest in Parliament and outside, adopting the principles of ahimsa and Satyagraha. But what happened?

...

To those noble souls who keep on prating "terrorism, terrorism" we have something to say. Did you not get frightened of terrorism when hundreds of Tamils were massacred in cold blood, when racist hate spread like fire in this country of yours? Did terrorism mean nothing to you when Tamil women were raped? When cultural treasures were set on fire? When hundreds and hundreds of Tamil homes were looted? Why in 1977 alone 400 Tamils lost their lives reddening the sky above with their splattered blood - did you not see any terrorism then? Did your thoughts and feelings become deadened when it concerned Tamil lives and Tamil property or are your minds unable to conceive the very idea of Tamil suffering?

There is nothing that prevents two neighbouring nations living in co-operation. You must not run away with the thought that our sole objective is to establish Tamil Eelam. Tamil Eelam certainly remains an objective because we have learnt through bitter experience over the past several years that it is only by establishing a State of Tamil Eelam can Tamils live with self-respect.

But our vision is broader than that. Our vision is global. Wherever there is oppression, wherever there is violation of human dignity, whether in Africa or in Latin America, we are prepared to link hands with the oppressed and the under dog. When our vision is so global how can it fail to take into account the future good of the Sinhala people?

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Posted July 27, 2004