Monday, January 05, 2009

Come Gather Round People Wherever You Roam

by VK Perera

Facebook was one place that disillusioned me of the future chances our island has. It is a place that informed me that peace, for this island, is a journey through a moonless night without a single match in your pocket.

I'm sorry. But, I have seen extremist, non-compromising racist assholes. I've seen them on the road. I've seen them in the market place. I have seen them in govt offices. I've seen them in academic chairs. I have seen them disguised, half-disguised and i have seen them naked and proud about it too. I have seen them on Facebook too. I have, in fact, seen that non-compromising, chauvinist, uncritical and -- in that sense --- ignorant psyche going haywire on Facebook. Education doesn't change people, dudes. Computers, internet, exposure doesn't change these people. They are, in their depths, no different from the noisy lumpan elements, for whom, the capture of Killinochchi is heaven with the pearly gates all open.

This island has failed to cultivate a multiethnic consciousness. Of course, people entrusted with power have successfully faked a multy-ethnic ethic for their thin political agendas. Surely, the President made his address at the UN in Tamil. Coming on TV, after Kilinochchi was entered, he played a contained sequel of the same -- a couple of lines in Tamil contrived. But, in a 70% Sinhala majority any achievement / development that is groomed in the absence of a naturalized multi-ethnic consciousness would ultimately / inevitably translate into being a victory of but the Sinhala Buddhist. That is how power operates. Where consciousness is absent power does not facilitate the minority or the marginal. Isn't this what the Tamil liberation struggle --- (the basis of the struggle, and not necessarily the means of it) -- was all about , leading upto the 1982 violent break out?

One cannot dismiss the pre-LTTE attempts by the TULF that pressed for a recognition of Tamil sovereignty. These attempts, often crushed with state violence, was because a multi-ethnic consciousness was of want in the post-independent Sri Lanka. This was because the Sinhala extrimists sidelined the numerically minor ethnic identities in their policy-making and their act of "nation building".

Dudes, the Tamil community in this island lost their socio-cultural richness in this prolonged military crisis. It was, alongside their economic and political "sense", drained away worldwide. And, today, they have come the full circle... Cos, the forces (NOT cosisting of, but) backed by an island's racist mob has entered Kilinochchi. They have entered this town, but the multi-ethnic consciousness is of want in the armoury which the people carry. The celebrations down in Southern Sri Lanka, to me, spelt more the celebration of a "Sinhala victory"...than a "Sri Lankan victory".

Perhaps, "Sri Lanka" is just a label we use for convenience. Maybe, it is simply used to fake it all the more. It was ironic how the president made a bilingual speech on TV (well, the speech was in sinhala...but a bit of heavily contrived Tamil was inserted just to show that "multiculturalism rocks") that ended with the national anthem....which is purely and totally monolingual: Sinhala.

Dudes who cracked fireworks yesterday, dudes who changed their profile pics into three-legged lion flags when Pooneryn fell, dudes who are now happy and think that the worst is past, dudes who think that the "ethnic issue" is now settled, dudes who now sigh sighs of relief........ do yourselves a favour: marry, if you must, but DO NOT have kids. Cos, this ain't over. This will not be over. Your kids will have to pay for this utter ignorance we display...the utter ignorance which the politicians sponsor, so as to flourish their parochial agendas.

Do not be fooled... Pirabaharan or whoever is just an individual. The struggle is a part of a consciousness. And a consciousness does not necessarily require an individual to live and to breed.

Teach yourself to be compromising. Teach yourself to be informed. Teach yourself to be critical. Teach yourself and your loved ones the history of this issue. The present. The future to be.