Monday, April 11, 2016

"Tamil terrorism" in the Sri Lankan press

Pardon me for being rude. Pardon me for being negative. What's wrong with me that I have to stay on a negative path, that my train of thought goes round and round in a room of negativity? Reverberating negativity. Why can't I get out of it? Is it me?

Forgive me I'm just a foreigner. I don't want to harp on bad things about your country. I don't speak or read the majority language of your country. I don't know any of the minority languages either. My work is guess work. My gleanings from an English-language newspaper that I suppose represents a "liberal" view in your country. 

Not a very liberal place, Sri Lanka, is it, when it comes to minority relations. Or do I read things wrong? Is it my bias? Are they my expectations that are not being met? Do I expect something from "journalists" in the 21st century that they just can't deliver? At least here. Can you give me a reason why they can't? Can you tell me "their side" of the story? Who they're aching to appease, who they're kowtowing to, as they are known to do?

Can you tell me please what's the matter or better, tell me what's NOT the matter when I read about the almost three trillion rupees spirited out of your country over the past decade? No! That's not the bad part! That's just a bunch of funny money. Probably matches with the amount of "aid" your leaders received on behalf of your people. Some might proffer the opinion that your leaders deserved to make off with this money, thanks to the great job they were doing. No. Three trillion is just some billions in USD no biggie. We throw out that amount in a year, sometimes in a day, depending on the "investment community" and their dysfunction. 

Pardon me I'm just a foreigner. So all I have to go on is what I read. I have to build my story from that, at least today. The story tells me about the outflow of X amount in 2010, "the year after the war against Tamil terrorism ended." That's all. That's what I'm after. It's that little poisonous appendix after the news of the USD 2.63 billion outflow, the part about "Tamil terrorism." 

What. Am I too sensitive? Was 2010 really the year of a year after the war against Tamil terrorism ended? Was that your bloody thirty years' civil war--a war against Tamil terrorism? Is that what I'm to understand? That this was a war against Tamil terrorism? Am I too delicate a reader, too politically correct, to want to read a different sentence that paints things in a different light, like, "the year after the conflict ended," or "the year after the defeat of the LTTE," or "the year after world markets collapsed?" Am I and are your people, your readers, doomed to swim in the murk of this poisonous substance your papers keep spewing? "The year after the war against Tamil terrorism ended" sends a message doesn't it? Doesn't this add to the landscape of enmity so lovingly refreshed whenever a politician or monk opens his mouth? The collecting up of a new set of freshly baked roti stuffed with hatred neighbor for neighbor?

I throw down, actually softly fold up the paper in disgust. What's wrong with this country? The universities promulgate lies about the past, about the criminal, can I say criminally insane, behavior of people here. The RDA, your Road Development Authority paves over the truth and widens roads where the truth sticks out, pardon me, inconveniently. I came to learn that this was how universities function here, and for that I assign them to the rung of hell shared with politicians. The worst garbage your country has barfed up. The Road Development Authority I expect to do their job. They're men at work. They're men doing a task. If they're told to pave they pave. If they're ordered to widen they widen. This is how men on a work team move forward. 

So what is it, this thing I have with your press? Tell me, am I wrong in assuming it's an insult to mark 2010 as the year the war against Tamil terrorism ended? Should I get over it? Get over myself? Just ignore it? Forget I read it? Have a nice day? Not think about JVP terrorism or paramilitary terrorism or terror tactics of the "Defense forces?" Was this, at its heart, a war against Tamil terrorism? Is this supposed to tell me that the Tamils are terrorists, were terrorists, and that we can expect to see more terror from these people who are inclined to terrorism? Are your readers to believe that 2010, the year that came after the war against Tamil terrorism, actually brought a new light to the world or actually ended something or actually had any connection to the USD 2.63 billion that were "spirited away that year?"

So I'd like if you don't mind one of your brave author-journalists or their shining editor to get back to me and answer. Why label 2010 as the year after the war against Tamil terrorism? Let's have a discussion, if your writers are intelligent enough, to take apart, we call it parse in English, their statement and what it really means. I look forward to learning something about Sri Lanka from them. After all I'm only a foreigner. 

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