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Silent victims

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A result of insincere politics

A German national who was involved in a hydro-electrical project in this country, in 1980s, said, “In Sri Lanka I see one people divided by two languages and two cultures”. As a foreigner, he could not see any difference between a Singhalese in the South and a Tamil in the North. Although he said it by chance, and his identity may not have any relevance, we cannot ignore what he said as it is the truth.

Beginning of the end
The peaceful transfer of power from the British Rulers resulted in an aimless political progress that shifted attention to the Singhalese majority. Initially, it did not look out of place as some Tamil politicians served in the ruling party, while the others enjoyed being listened to at least to a certain extent.

Although the Tamil people had their voting rights, they never had opportunities to elect leaders who could concentrate on developing those regions economically. Singhalese elected governments. The absence of far thinking and sincere political leaders among Singhalese, resulted in no efforts made to manage the National Resources to develop living standards in an equal manner. That was how the resentment started.

The biggest allegation raised by the Tamil extremist politicians was that the Tamil people would never get a fair deal by the Singhalese-dominated governments. It became the main cause for the call by such leaders to seek autonomy, and in fairness, no one can and should find fault with them for taking such a stand.

The Tamil political leaders started agitating for changes and the governments in the South gave them enough reasons to justify their action. The most significant changes that affected the Tamil people was the language policy and we all know how it affected the sentiments.All of a sudden, the Tamil youth had no way of furthering their education, and the facilitation that allowed them to study in Tamil medium got them paper qualifications, but no job opportunities in the South like before. In other words, even the educated among Tamils could not be sure of their future here. The whole social systems started collapsing, as Tamil youth had less opportunity. But, it was a malady that made even the Singhalese to suffer.
It was not an encouraging picture, the parents of such youth saw. Although their political leaders were elected regularly, they could do practically nothing to improve conditions in their constituencies. The ultimate and inevitable outcome was the frustration that started growing among the youth. That ended up in some politicians being hated for their support given to governments in the South. That became the signal for the need to have hardliners taking over. That led to the emergence of the militant youth, who did not show any interest in parliamentary politics but had the hardliners elected.

Without their feeling it, they became passive supporters of militant movements and the adventurous policies of the successive governments made India hostile enough to support Tamil Militants who became a new hope for the people.
It was not what the ordinary Tamil people wanted but inherited a reputation which became inseparable. The absence of a proper political vision turned the matters to go out of control.
Although the ordinary Tamil people were at the bottom, being affected, it was not from among them the energy came to support the LTTE that evolved as the strongest militant group. The Tamil extremists wished to see a country of their own, and Sri Lanka became the most convenient location for their objective. It was not because of the overflowing sympathy for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, the LTTE was supported but for their only goal. When other factors got linked to such a development, the support base also naturally became more diversified.

What happened cannot be undone. But such can be prevented from happening again. By showing and consolidating differences we cannot get people together, as we shall be reminding them to be different all the time. This geographical land is enough for all the people. What the people need is a country without corruption. If law and order can be guaranteed, all the others requisites  will fall in place.

All those developments made the ordinary Tamil people to suffer and if it gives any consolation, they were not alone as even the ordinary Singhalese were subjected to a similar fate.
The silent victims are the people. At least now, all those who matter should deviate from their old guidelines and start addressing the actual needs. Those needs are there because of the mistakes committed in the past. Rather than creating additional problems to solve the existing, they should try to make this wonderful land a better place in the world considering all the citizens as the same human beings who deserve a better deal.

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