As a member of the Sinhala nation, for me, this is a moment of shame: Bashana Abeywardane

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Social activists have strongly decried the Sri Lankan state and their international backers who claim Tamils taking umbrage under the genocide plight because it offers them certain privilege in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Bashana Abeywardane of the Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka participating and delivering a speech on ‘Remembering Mullivaikkal’ via online organised by the Tamil National People’s Front questioned this demeaning stand of Sri Lanka and its supporters.

The Sinhala exiled journalist was commenting on the criticism that Tamils are taking advantage to seek asylum in Western nations citing genocide-which by all standards is true of what happened to Tamils in Sri Lanka.

“Is Genocide a privilege, which surviving members of a nation desperately fighting to win”? he questions.

While the Sri Lankan state marks its victory day since 2009, on the streets of Colombo, the war-affected Tamils continue to suffer immensely to date, he observes in his poignant message.

“Nearly four hundred thousand traumatised and starving population, who were deprived of medicine, deprived of food and sleep, cornered into a diminishing small patch of land and attacking them from the sea, air and land are what marks the ‘inglorious Victory Day’ of the Sri Lankan state”.

He continues, “As a member of the Sinhala nation, for me, this is a moment of shame, a moment of guilt, and a moment of pride. The shame and the guilt are connected to my inability to deny and brush off my individual responsibility, just like many of my comrades, to prevent the monstrous atrocities committed against the Tamil nation. The pride is owning the trust of the surviving members of the Tamil nation to the extent of being invited to remember and commemorate those who died in Mullivaikkal”.

Recalling what happened at the end of the war he says survivors were summarily executed, women raped, and making hundreds if not thousands disappear including children.

“So-called rehabilitation camps were the preliminary steps taken towards building a “one-country-one nation. What underlies this newly found ‘One Country – One Nation’ is piles and piles of skeletons of the generations whose will to freedom and equality was crushed with the military might of an ethnocratic genocidal state”.

Reiterating what happened in Mullivaikkal was a ‘Genocide’ Bashana says it encompasses and extends beyond Ethnic cleansing, War crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Criticising the opinion among some that the Tamil nation shouldn’t insist on calling the crime by its true name-Genocide, he says that it is not for those in power to decide what’s genocide and what’s not.

“The crime of genocide is not a proposal that needs to be voted and endorsed unanimously by those who hold power. No consensus is needed among the powerful to accept and name the crime that the Tamil nation has been subjected to for decades”.

According to him, there was a coordinated plan carried out with the intent to dismantle the essential foundations of the collective national life of the Tamil nation

“Proving the crime of Genocide is a matter of investigating, examining, analysing and exposing the historical process, that in essence intended to destroy the national identity of the Tamils and to impose the national identity of the oppressor, the Sinhala Buddhist nation”.

Mullivaikkal massacres should be investigated thoroughly and the guilty brought to justice Basha of JDS said in his message.

Naming the crime fearlessly, withstanding the pressures that come from the global powers, is the first step to win that justice-Bashana emphasized.

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