Rajiva on Sanga’s tour de force … and pointless juxtapositions

Rajiva Wijesinha, in the Island, 14 July 2011

On going through the papers after I got back home, I noticed a letter which compared the talks given by me and Kumar Sangakkara while we were both inLondon. I was honoured by the letter, but I should point out that Mr Sangakkara’s achievement was by far the more laudable. I was responding to questions about facts I have been studying closely for the last couple of months, and with which I have been closely concerned for the last four years. Mr Sangakkara however, whilst talking lucidly about cricket, which is his specialty, and which he has been engaged in productively over the last several months, also talked illuminatingly about the recent socio-political history of Sri Lanka. He was both informative and emotionally compelling, as in his description of what happened in July 1983. Throughout the talk he presented a Sri Lankan perspective that made clear both the essential unity and pluralism of this country, and also the traumas we have undergone. The need for reconciliation is paramount now, and I could only wish there were more heroes in other fields such as Mr Sangakkara who can also contribute inspiringly to the need of the moment.

Web Editor’s Comment The note by Rajiva Wijseinha as “Adviser on Reconciliation to President” was probably prompted by comparisons of his performance on Hard Talk in response to Stephen Sackur and Sangakkara’s Cowdrey Lecture in some bog comments. I insert two comment on my article on “Kumar Sangakara steps forth like Young Ceylon”  in groundviews.org on 12th July by way of illustration.

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka July 12, 2011 • 8:53 pm

May I suggest that the ( neo-Nehruvian?) postwar synthesis that Sri Lanka needs, is indicated by two, not one, performances or discourses by Sri Lankans before a British audience, in the same week: those of Sangakkara’s Cowdrey lecture AND Rajiva Wijesinha’s Hard Talk appearence? Failure to integrate the latter perspective would leave a renewed Young Ceylon discourse and project open to the same critique and failure as suffered by its predecessor in 20th centuryCeylon, namely outflanked by anti-colonial or anti-imperialist nationalism, albeit of a narrow sort.

Rajiva Wijesinghe’s appearance on Hard Talk was like watching spit boil over as opposed to Sanga’s speech, which was a breath of fresh air!

Web Editor: I was surprised that the last blogger thought it was valid to compare a presentation where one called the shots with a Q and A session of a prosecutory kind. But, then, he had fish to fry. In all probability he belongs to the network of migrant Tamils who are in a state of rage and anguish at the total defeat, and thus humiliation, of their talaivar and the LTTE. That SL Tamils were angry, resentful and moved to seek liberation after the mini-pogrom of 1977 and the major one of 1983 in the context of other dissatisfactions at that time, I consider understandable.

But the LTTE regime’s period of rule from 1990 and more particularly the extreme demands it pressed on the mass of their own people in the years 2008/09 suggest that the migrant Tamils in the diaspora need a reality check on their bitterness by attending not to Rajiva W, Michael R or other outsiders, but, rather, by taking measured note of the voices of those Tamils in Sri Lanka who lived throguht the millstones placed on their heads in that awful period. These voices are now telling their tales; but they have been available for some time through the testimnoies recorded by the UTHR and such personnel as Rajasingham Narendran and Noel Nadesan. Yet the latter are cast as “traitors” by Tamil ultra-nationalists who have set upa siege state of mind in enclaves in the west. “georgethebush pig,” clearly, is part of this diehard lobby, a man so embittered and so vicious that there is no scope for debate across the lines. Such extremism of course feeds extremism on the Sinhala side …. and so the spiral of conflict is sustained.

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Filed under historical interpretation, life stories, Rajapaksa regime, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations

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