"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
 
- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Selected Writings by Nadesan Satyendra
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Sathyam Commentary
12 May 1998

Why Division?

A visitor to the tamilnation website from the University of California, Riverside wrote:

"I recently visited Colombo University with some Sri Lankan friends. I was happy to see some peace in the city. In Katubedda I met Tamil engineering students. After speaking to many of them I came to realise that all campuses in Sri Lanka have Tamil students. Why such a small beautiful country needs a division, I fail to understand."

Response:

The search for tranquillity and peace is something with which many Tamils in the diaspora living as wandering nomads without a land, will relate. Indeed, so do the Tamils struggling in Tamil Eelam.

In 1984, a few months after Genocide'83 , a British M.P. visited Colombo and found a 'smiling Tamil people'.He remarked:

'It is only when you walk among the people that you realise the truth. I saw a smiling people going about their daily duties in the fullest confidence. I saw children playing wherever I went. In predominantly Tamil areas where I went, the evidence of normalcy was the same.'

Here, you may find the article written in 1984 about the ten questions that the British M.P. may have asked, of some interest.

On the matter of finding Tamil engineering students at Katubedde, you may find it useful to examine the International Commission of Jurists report on standardisation of admissions to the Universities in Sri Lanka.

As to the question ' why division?', the article 'A Simple Question' examines the reasons why in Sri Lanka, we have always had a Sinhala Buddhist as the executive head of state - and what alien Sinhala rule means to the Tamil people.

The conflict in the island is perhaps not so much a question about  'division' but about 'association' - about the structures that may have to be set up where two peoples speaking different languages, tracing their roots to different origins, and living in relatively well defined and separate geographical areas, may associate with each other  in equality and in freedom.

Again, the struggle for Tamil Eelam is not unique and here, you may find the page on fourth world nations  relevant and I quote:

"It is sometimes said that to accord international recognition to these separate national formations will lead to instability in the world order. The argument is not dissimilar to that which was urged a hundred years ago against granting universal franchise. It was said that to empower every citizen with a vote was to threaten the stability of existing state structures and the ruling establishment. But the truth was that it was the refusal to grant universal franchise which threatened stability ... Self determination is not a de stabilising concept. Self determination and democracy go hand in hand. If democracy means the rule of the people, by the people, for the people, then the principle of self determination secures that no one people may rule another - and herein lies its enduring appeal."

We thank you for the interest that you have taken in the Tamil struggle. As David Selbourne, formerly of Oxford University remarked in 1984:

"Everyone who possesses an elementary sense of justice has no moral choice but to acquaint himself fully with the plight of the Tamil people. It is an international issue of growing importance. Their cause represents the very essence of the cause of human rights and justice; and to deny it, debases and reduces us all." (Please see generally: Struggle for Tamil Eelam )

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