They are in fact the anti-forces to reconciliation and peace in Sri Lanka. We certainly do not want a Tamil mafia to develop, even more to turn our homeland into a mafia land, which in my view, was the ultimate motive of Velupillai Prabakaran. We have to confront the activities of the diehard LTTE groups in Canada and bring about an end to them.
I was happy to meet you and your colleague David in the offices of the Canadian Tamil Congress in Toronto and share with you some of my concerns but even more, the hopes that we can achieve racial reconciliation and peace in Sri Lanka.
In the pursuit of this ideal, the Canadian Tamil Congress can play a key role among the second largest Sri Lankan Tamil community in the world provided it stands clear of the diehard elements that propagate politics of distrust and hatred.
Firstly, we have to accept that we are at the crossroads of hope and despair; more the former and we have to hook ourselves to it and march onwards even if it appears hopeless at first after having been trapped helplessly in terror politics for over five decades.
Secondly, since such cannot be a perpetual problem with partisan politicians pandering to the base and petty passions of people and call the tune as they have done for too long a time, we must have the courage to take a strong stand in the quest for reconciliation and peace in Sri Lanka.
We must have the guts to ignore the politicians who fail us and lay the foundation to determine our destiny ourselves and demand them to take heed and serve us. We are too much of a tame and timid people and this nature must change and strengthen ourselves with values that are laid firmly on integrity befitting our rich unique and shared traditions and culture.
In a state like Sri Lanka it is the people who decide the form of government they desire. They should be enabled to make the right choice.
The Canadian Tamil Congress, familiar with the Canadian democratic traditions, must bring this to bear on our people avoiding the pitfalls of being dragged into sheer emotion-fired terror politics. Even remaining silent and feeling helpless is unacceptable once committed as you are, to serve the best interests of our people. You should have a stamp of utmost integrity.
Thirdly we must identify forces of dissensions that corrupt racial relationships, and search for ways and means to ensure harmony among all the communities in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans wherever they are in the world.
When we reach out in peace even the hearts of the diehards will begin to melt towards reconciliation unless their humanity has been totally terror-oriented and deeply damaged.
In Canada we are placed in a situation of having to reckon with a few diehard groups that still advocate violence as a means to solving the communal crisis in Sri Lanka. Essentially, this is not the correct position. These groups need unrest in Sri Lanka to thrive. There is an underworld network that was initiated by the LTTE under the cover of seeking solutions in Sri Lanka and now grown into a major mafia style global organization controlled by a few from the smuggling fraternity.
These are the people who are dwelling on the emotions of the community and stirring up violence as a means for Tamils to fight for their rights.
They are in fact the anti-forces to reconciliation and peace in Sri Lanka. We certainly do not want a Tamil mafia to develop, even more to turn our homeland into a mafia land, which in my view, was the ultimate motive of Velupillai Prabakaran. We have to confront the activities of the diehard LTTE groups in Canada and bring about an end to them. We owe this to Canada, a country that opened her doors to us when we were in dire distress; even more to our generations to come.
We have to demand from the LTTE diehards in Canada to reveal the millions of dollars they have amassed in the name of our people which is common knowledge expressed unashamedly in their beyond-believe ostentatious lifestyles and the habits they have developed for themselves. Canadian Tamils are fully aware of who these people are, allowed unbridled to exploit their own community often with threats of calamitous consequences. These funds were collected, as they claimed, to support armed struggle pointed towards utter destruction. Whatever left of these funds, known to be considerable and in all kinds of hands, must now go towards reconstruction.
The Wanni in particular has been utterly devastated and the people there are badly in need of help. LTTE funds have bought mansions in Markham, built malls and markets, enabled holidays in splendour, oceanic cruises, pleasure trips to Caribbean hot spots and showy family functions at which thousands of dollars are excessively expended but the people of the Wanni still have to contend with tarpaulins. Yet this very Diaspora, not even a generation ago, were mere refugees.
No one should be allowed to get away with these funds that belong to the people and no one should be allowed to appropriate them for their personal benefit.
Why are the Canadian Tamils not raising this question? Are these people who hold these funds not rogues? They used the excuse of a political issue in Sri Lankan to amass wealth for themselves.
In our conversation both you and David told me your membership is tending to be in decline. This did not surprise me because you are unable to cater to the diehards caught as you are at the crossroads of hopes and despair.
You are unwilling to single out the spades that shovel the shekels and call to task these folks who have been cheating the community.
The tame and the timid are not sure of your position and there are people who prefer to be left alone to get on with their own lives. Essentially these are the cash collectors, cowards and the selfish.
What we need now is a dynamic stand that identifies the statesman in you. You have to take a stand that will give hope; not with guns and missiles but through talks across the table.
We have to recognize that Sri Lanka is a multiracial and multicultural country where unfortunately things have not gone well for over fifty years now.
Today we stand as a nation totally devastated by terror wars and the worst suffered are the people of the Wanni whose rich agriculturally productive land was hijacked as the theatre of destruction. The devastation caused to people and property is indescribable.
The entire region bears evidence of what armaments of all kinds from the sophisticated to the conventional can do to a country and its people. Who benefited from this, the people who wanted solutions in the west for peace or those who wanted unrest and perpetual hatred?
Your answer to this should indicate the position of the Canadian Tamil Congress.
You have a challenge and opportunity to lay the foundation towards reconciliation and peace.
The Canadian Tamil Congress should advocate, to begin with, to help bring back the Wanni to what it has been as a rich agricultural region. It should not be a piecemeal effort but a major plan carefully outlined to reconstruct ad rehabilitate.
Among the major needs is an educational input, not just a school, but one that will train and educate people in developing the rural, social, economic and cultural potentials of the people towards development. I have seen what the College of Agriculture of Xavier University in the Philippines has achieved following the destruction caused by the Second World War not only in the Philippines but in several of the South and Southeast Asian countries.
We need trained personnel in the Wanni fired with the ideal to develop this region.
Should the Canadian Tamil Congress take up this challenge you would have made the beginning towards reconciliation ad peace in Sri Lanka. It will be tough for you to begin with but very soon the Diaspora will recognize it as the ideal means we have to help our people.
When you take a stand the diehards will demonstrate with their threadbare slogans and flags and call you traitors. If today’s heroes are tomorrow’s traitors as has been in Tamil politics, today’s traitors will be tomorrow’s heroes, an incentive that should inspire you into positive action.
I will share this letter with a few friends and hope they will respond to us with their observations and ideas.
If there is a chance we can talk on this further before I leave for Sri Lanka, I will be delighted.
One final observation: We must eschew all forms of violence and also avenues that breed hatred.
Wish kind regards