Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Massive Tamil Colonization of Colombo Threatens Security and Sustainability - a Response to Those Who Cry Sinhala Colonization of Jaffna

Colombo was known as the garden city sometime back. However all that splendour was lost within a few decades as massive Tamil colonization rapidly changed the city. To make matters worse they settled down mainly in the Greater Colombo area which was already crowded. In order to house this massive Tamil population that flocked to the city suddenly, many unplanned dwellings were built. However, the drains, roads, garbage collection and other infrastructure could not handle this sudden influx. Greater Colombo area gradually degenerated into something similar to a South Indian city.

Having done so, shameless racist elements within the Tamil community protest when Sinhalese and Muslims settle down in the north. This is outright racism and must be condemned by all. If the Sinhalese and Muslims cannot settle in their hundreds of thousands in the north, Tamils have no right whatsoever to settle down in Colombo. It is time to end this racism and aggressively create multi ethnic peace communities in the war ravaged north. Otherwise it is a matter of time since the Tamil Homeland struggle restarted.

Recently a prominent Tamil news website published an article alleging military fortresses and colonization in Jaffna choke Tamils, Threaten India. [http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=33025]. This article is in response to that rubbish claim. These false allegations by Tamil homeland theorists are an attempt to cover up the truth.

People must learn to live in multicultural districts right throughout the island nation. Those who cannot do so should find alternative places of adobe abroad. The purpose of this article is not to arouse any communal feelings but to highlight the hypocrisy of Tamil racists and their apparently innocent supporters (including some members of the clergy) who cry over alleged “Sinhala colonization” of the north. They must first take a hard long look at Colombo - the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Here it goes, if you have not seen it before. 

Tamil Colonization in Colombo and Security Issues
All entry points to the Colombo City are choked-up by Tamil colonization. Peliyagoda/Wattala from the north, Dehiwala from the south and Wellampitiya/Kolonnawa from the east are colonized by Tamils within the last two and a half decades according to people living and lived in these areas. That is however, is only part of the story. All strategic locations within the City are also colonized by Tamils. The Colombo harbour stretches from Fort (Colombo-1) to Mattakkuliya (Colombo-15), through Pettah (Colombo-11), Kochchikadde/Kotahena (Colombo-13) and Hettiyawatta/Modara (Colombo-15). Except for Colombo-1, all the other areas bordering the Colombo harbour are occupied by Tamils making more than 90% of the population in these areas. During the war, this posed a huge security threat. LTTE made good use of this very high Tamil concentration to conceal suicide bombers especially in Colombo-13 and 15. Armed forces were deployed only in entry points to the harbour and the other 4km were saved only by a wall running alongside the harbour. Tigers twice attacked the Colombo port in 1998 and 2007 but both failed to cause any major damage.

Now is the time to plan the City to meet future national security threats. LTTE is still active in the Diaspora. Small scale subversive activity against economically important places by frustrated Tamil Elamist elements is still a possibility.

Bridges over the Kelani River were also targeted by the LTTE. However, stringent security measures saved these. The high Tamil resident population sympathetic towards the Tigers around this area was a decisive factor in harbouring terrorists.

Oil refineries and storage tanks in the outskirts of Colombo and in Colombo-15 became the targets of terrorist activities. Once again it was the large Tamil population around these areas that proved valuable to the LTTE to spy on these installations, hide sleepers in the vicinity and eventually attack.

Huge Tamil colonization of Colombo meant LTTE could very successfully maintain sleeper cells in the heart of the City! No other capital city of a nation faced such a huge terror threat from within. LTTE used it to the maximum by carrying out close to fifty bomb attacks within Colombo. The Central Bank attack (1996) showed how easily strategic economic targets could be reached by terrorists as they were residing just a few kilometres from the target for a while awaiting instructions.

Security establishments within the Colombo City limits must stay contrary to myopic thinking of a few. Colombo faced grave security threats time to time. A resident army is many times more effective than an army that could be deployed in the city from outside. In the last century Colombo faced dire security challenges coincidentally every 18 or so years. When Elam War-4 broke out in 2006, threat to the Colombo infrastructure was most threatening in 2007. By 2008 and 2009 it gradually reduced with the decline of LTTE’s capabilities. In 1989 JVP terror brought the City to a standstill. JVP carried out a number of assassinations within Colombo. Another 18 years ago JVP’s first insurgency threatened Colombo security. Insurgents unsuccessfully planned to abduct the Prime Minister in Colombo. A further 18 years ago there was a major strike in 1953 when the army had to be called in resulting in a number of casualties. Before that in 1939 and 1915, there were riots in upcountry that threatened to spread to multicultural Colombo. Going by these events, it is only prudent to retain security establishments within the City.

Further National Security Issues of Tamil Colonization of Colombo
Tamil colonization of Colombo had far worse long term national security threats. Since 1994, Mano Ganesan was elected from Colombo to parliament at every election. In 2004 another pro-Tamil Elamist MP by the name T Maheswaran was elected. These two individuals stood in the way of many security operations in Colombo. They did everything they could to stop search operations and counter insurgency operations. One of them made a rowdy display of thuggery in parliament against inspection of lodges. The other admitted to keeping LTTE cadres at his residence during the ceasefire. He was indeed the contact point of the LTTE.

The ability to elect two MPs to parliament with pro-Tamil Elamist tendencies shows the damaging long term impact of Tamil colonization of Colombo.

To cater to the huge Tamil population in Colombo, a number of Tamil TV stations, Tamil radio stations and Tamil newspapers emerged. Most of these including a very prominent TV/radio station owned by a business tycoon, openly supported the LTTE. Had there not been so much Tamil colonization in Colombo, it would have been unprofitable to run these, especially when they had no access to the north. The Eastern and Upcountry segments were not very lucrative financially.

Wholesale and retail trade of the City came to be dominated by Tamil merchants. Some of them paid scant regard to price control and were powerful enough to arbitrarily increase the price of imported goods and blame it on the war. Today
Dam Street
Moor Street
Armour Street
and Bodhiraja Mawatha which are considered areas of high business concentration are totally dominated by Tamils and are Tamil only.

Cultural Changes
Unseen to many, a massive process of cultural degeneration has taken place in Colombo. Old Sinhala, Moor and Burger names have been changed to Tamil. Sinhala place names have been turned to Tamil. Examples include Wellawatta (meaning sandy gardens) has been turned to Wella’wat’tai. Kotahena has been turned to Kottan’chennai; Kollupitiya to Kollu’piddi; Bambalapitiya to Bamblapiddi; Hettiyawatta to Chettiyawattai and Mattakkuliya to Mat’tak’kooli. As happens in the north, self styles Tamil Elamists ‘scholars’ will soon find creative etymological evidence in these new names to claim ancient Tamil homelands.

Buddhist and
Catholic street
processions that were unique in the past have drastically gone down giving way to Tamil Nadu style Hindu processions. Ancient Buddhist temples in the City dating back to over 200 years have reduced in grandeur and attendance. In 2003 there were even attempts to hold Pongu Tamil in Colombo! Such is the degeneration of Colombo’s rich cultural heritage. Overcrowded apartments and flats in the City are heavily occupied by Tamils. Surrounding these crowded complexes, a Tamil Nadu style subculture has developed. Severe lack of social discipline, every imaginable pollution, immoral activities including prostitution, smuggle in of South Indian pornographic materials, drug use and other social cancers thrive in the vicinity of these overcrowded apartments. 

Colombo has become the venue of choice of Tamil Elamists and other highly anti-national elements to hold their functions and events. None of this could have been possible if not for the massive Tamil colonization in Colombo.  

Severe Setback to Sustainability
Sudden and massive influx of Tamils into the Colombo City had a huge impact on sustainability. Flood control, water supply, drainage and sewage systems, electricity and telephone infrastructure, the road network, recreational and sports facilities, waterways, schools, Hindu places of worship and hospitals are some of the structures that stretched beyond their sustainable limits. These structures simply could not keep up with the influx and growth. Today there is very little scope for expanding these facilities.

Water shortages are a regular occurrence in many parts of Colombo. This is solely due to the massive influx of people and unplanned apartments. Roads are overcrowded and there is no room for expansion.

Massive Tamil colonization had another longer term impacts. CMC elections returned municipal councillors who were sympathetic to the Tamil Elam cause instead of competent persons. They turned a blind eye to sustainability concerns, illegal constructions and cheap apartments. Improving the drainage system was certainly not in their agenda at all. Instead they would blame the government in power.

It is in this context Tamil racist elements cry Sinhala colonization of Jaffna when a handful of Sinhala families evicted from their homes in Jaffna try to return home after more than 30 years. Hypocrisy and racism are a very lethal combination and unfortunately they go hand in hand in northern politics. The only way to change this is to change the ethnic composition of the north not letting racist political parties any hiding place in the island. The good news is it is sustainable and economically immensely productive! What should happen is to encourage more multiculturalism in Colombo and Jaffna while maintaining sustainability, not the opposite.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Lying Racist -by දේශපාලුවා

"A lying racist", is what African American politicians call Mr. Bobby DeLaughter, the Mississippi prosecutor who prosecuted Mr. Byron De La Beckwith a former Klan member for the murder of civili rights activist Medgar Evers. But Mr DeLaughter was not lying nor was he a racist, he managed to secure a conviction of a white man for the murder of a black leader, which the state of Missipii failed to do for several decades. Elegantly depicted in the movie Ghost of Mississippi.

J. S. Tissainayagam the "journalist" who was sentence for inciting communal violence , has provided an interview for "Reporters Without Borders" (RSF), and the term used to initially describe Mr DeLaughter came to my mind.

In December of 2006 Mr. Tissainayagam writes in his "North Eastern Monthly" " Such offensives against the civilians are accompanied by attempts to starve the population by refusing them food as well as medicines and fuel, with the hope of driving out the people of Vaharai and depopulating it."

When the army secured Vakarai in January of 2007 they found stock piles of medicines in the Vaharai hospital and sacks of rice being used to reinforce LTTE bunkers.

The Island newspaper reported, the deputy chairman of the Human Rights Council called as a witness by the defense lawyers of Mr. Tissainayagam in his defense stated that " he had been visiting the Vakarai area and meeting the divisional secretary for the area and that the World Food Programmer had been distributing food through this divisional secretary and that there were government hospitals and governments doctors even though it was an LTTE controlled area in 2006". So the defense attorneys themselves have proven that Mr. Tissainayagam has lied. When shown what Tissanayagam had written about Vakarai, this defense witness had agreed that the statements were indeed incendiary.

Incarcerating journalist for not abiding by the law is not unheard of. In 2005 New York Times journalist Judith Miller was sentence to Jail for refusing to testify in a grad jury investigation. Many other examples can be provided.

Journalists should use their privileges responsibly and above all truthfully, it has been several years since it was revealed that Mr. Tissainayagam lied about the situation in Vakarai , but he is yet to issue an apology to the public. Mr. Tissainayagam's writing, as his own defense witness accepted, clearly and indubitably, had the tendency to stir racial tension and violence. It is the responsibility of the governmnet to secure peace and harmony in the country, where possible when a war was raging.

Mr. Tissainayagam received the Peter Mackler Award for journalistic courage and integrity in October 2009. The hypocrisy and hidden agenda of these awards have been reviewed elsewhere.

Many Sri Lankans are distrustful of NGOs and INGOs, and with good reason. It is clear to any laymen that Mr. Tissainayagam was factually incorrect in his reporting and would have incited racial violence. Yet in this interview with RSF, the interviewer fails to question Mr. Tissainayagam about the factuality of his writings.

The NGOs and INGOs failure to acknowledge the true facts and their rewarding of irresponsible behavior adds to the public mistrust of those organizations.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Poddala Jayantha and The Transparency International Award- By දේශපාලුවා

Poddala Jayantha a journalist for the Associated Newspapers (Lake House) was abducted and brutally assaulted by an unidentified gang in June of 2009. Later he was given asylum in USA and now lives in USA.
Poddala has been awarded the integrity award by Transparency international, and it is befitting.

A similar award was given to Mr. Mano Ganeshan by US ambassador to Sri Lanka. Ganeshan was a front line speaker at the LTTE rallies, a group classified as one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world by FBI along with HAMAS Hezbollah and al Qaeda. What kind of an award will USA send to a speaker in rallies of the latter three groups? Supposedly nothing short of a visit by a predator drone. Such is the hypocrisy of such international awards.

Poddala had an ideology and he used his journalistic privileges to steer governments towards his ideology.

A letter he co-authored titled "Mahinda" published during the 2005 election is a good example, it is everything that Mahinda Rajapaksha is not, it defines Rajapaksha as a liberal progressive and attempts to steer Rajapaksha towards that viewpoint.

When he failed, he used his journalistic privileges to the political disadvantage of Mahinda Rajapaksha administration.

All governments are corrupt, and its the same government officials who continue even when the ruling political party changes.

How many exposes has he done on the previous governments, which aligned with is ideological view point?

Why did his exposes on government corruption rapidly increase with surge of war and when the LTTE seemed to be vulnerable?

Is it heresy to ask those questions?

It is clear that Poddala used his journalism for his ideological interests but not for the benefit of the people.

It becomes glaringly clear by him aligning with Lankanewsweb.com, a political hack job run with complete secrecy of the owners, believed to be assisted by an opposition politician in Sri Lanka. Lankanewsweb is famous for its utterly false, wild accusations of Gotabaya Rajapaksha buying Apollo Hospital and Basil Rajapaksha buying Swarnawahini TV station, and carried out vile attacks with false accusations against journalists like Manoj Abedeera of Divaina news paper and Iqbal Athas of Sunday Times.

What is the integrity of a man , who writes to a political hack job of a web site, run by a group in secrecy, supposedly controlled by an opposition party politician, openly supports the United National Party, publishes utter lies about government officials and carries out vile attacks against fellow journalists?

Poddala was an office barer of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists association, an NGO funded by other NGOs and foreign governments . SLWJA does not want to reveal their donors to the SL public instead want to keep it in secrecy.

SLWJA is in the cabal of Sri Lankan NGOs who try to steer Sri Lanka towards a liberal ideology. A small group of people control all these NGOs, many are officials of many NGOs, and draw salaries from most of them.

NGOs are the most corrupt institutes in Sri Lanka, C.A. Chandraprema of the Island exposed how money is being used for personal benefit of NGO officials in transparency international Sri Lanka, the watch dog agency that is supposed to watch over corruption in Sri Lanka. The Editor of Ravaya Victor Ivan exposed how this tightly bound group of NGO officials misuse their funds and prevelages as NGO officials to achive their personal goals.

The head of Transparency International Sri Lanka J.C. Weliamuna is not a neutral man, he is the attorney for the Editor of Lanka Irida Chandana Sirimalwatta, the unofficial newspaper of Marxist political party JVP.

And what is the response by the amnesty international head office on those allegations? They promote Mr. Weliamuna. Reminiscent of Mr. J.R Jayawardana promoting IP Udugampola after the Gatambe Temple Fiasco.

Such is the hypocrisy in NGOs and INGOs

It is natural for Poddala's friends in Transparency International Sri Lanka to nominate him to this award, so he can write a favorable review on them, or help them with their "liberal cause", or with their personal ambitions.

Poddala's integrity is not towards truth, but towards his ideology, he has proven that however vile the path that he would have to take to achieve his ideological ambitions he will take it.

And the NGOs and INGOs operating in Sri Lanka and their funding governments have repeatedly shown that however naked and ugly the path they would have to take to steer Sri Lanka to a liberal , pro separatist government, they would take it.

The Island newspaper reported that US government attempted to evacuate Prabakaran during the final phases of the war, apparently they couldn't get to him, but they got to Poddala.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Open Letter to Editor, AsiaTimes

Simon Gnanapiyasena

Dear Editor AsiaTimes:

I earnestly bring to your notice the concerns I have around the one-sided, racist article titled “Vandalism at library frightens Tamils” by your writer Sudha Ramachandran.


Clearly, this writer’s intent appears to be to the arousal of communal hatreds between the majority Sinhalas and the minority Tamils of Sri Lanka and ensure that Sri Lanka will never achieve ethnic-reconciliation between these two main communities and move the nation forward after the horrific civil war that ended last year – after 30 long years of immense death and destruction.

What is concerning here is the fact that this writer’s apparent goal appears to be completely in-alignment with the goal of the internationally banned terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was the main protagonist against the state of Sri Lank in that ugly civil war.

Clearly this writer’s anti-Sinhela racist, baseless ranting is evident when s/he uses such terms as “Sinhalese-Buddhist supremacists” to attck carte-blanc the Sinhala community and amusingly quotes even unnamed “a professor at the Jaffna University” and pick on alleged quotes only from well known Sri Lanka bashers such as Tisaranee Gunasekera (an avowed racist-communalist from Sri Lanka).

It is truly pathetic to see the writer’s credibility being blown sky-high when, while dabbling in Sri Lanka’s ancient history which the writer appears to have zilch knowledge of, when s/he said
“Both the Tamils and Sinhalese came from different parts of India at roughly the same time – 2,500 years ago.” !!!  

Even the ancient Hindu Mahabharata literature refers to the “Sinhala Kingdom” being the island of Sri Lanka and a simple Google of “ancient Indian kingdoms” will bring up enough academic material to show the incredulity of this writer’s falsehood.

However, what is more concerning here is the well known fact that the vast sums of money the LTTE amassed, through narcotics dealing, smuggling weapons for other terrorist groups, Bank frauds in the west, extortion of Tamil Diaspora, etc. that ran into multi-$Billions, are today being used lavishly by LTTE agents to “ink the pen” of many a self-professed “journalist’ or “researcher” and that this, too, could be the case whereas your AsiaTimes is concerned?

Simon Gnanapiyasena

Originally published in Lankaweb.