A response from a Sri Lankan friend: Priya Thangaraja
January 29, 2010
By PRIYA THANGARAJAH
The last two days have left me like I have just come from a storm and I dont even feel the tingling of rain drops on me. But this began long before. The state media I hear showed movies of Idi Amin and Hitler and a constant barrage of pro Mahinda Rajapakse propaganda. “they were brainwashed” is what I am hearing. I agree with everyone that its not like we had a better option. A military man who got rid of many when asked to get rid of one cant be the harbinger of a new era.
Write something says a friend but I really don’t know what as writing seems redundant, talking is just not working. Crying clearly didn’t do it because if it did then maybe we would have stopped this 30 years ago. Two days ago on fluke chance I ended up on a panel to talk about India’s international relations. sharing that table was a Burmese activist and a Tibetan activist. The only way we seem to be able to provoke India’s interest is to show them that China might sneak in and take over power in South Asia if India didn’t get its act together. But India already has. From IPKF to now congratulating the president for his master theatrical performance.
We the “progressives” have too much to fight. Clearly the burden of a thinking India seems to outweigh the burden a thinking Sri Lankan has. We never will have nuclear power. We don’t have terrorists anymore. How many fights will we all fight. But then if we don’t fight all of them we will lose all of them. These are the same fights and the same monsters. They have but different names.
I am not positive that this will end in six years. Was that not what we said 30 years ago. But my friend says yes it will and we should start getting our act together. I agree pessimism isn’t going to help nor will ‘slitting wrists’. But my worry is how much we give up. As we keep giving up the State, the corporates will take. We have seen this every where. The giving must stop. The shutting eyes and hoping tomorrow will be better has to stop.
I spent my initial activist days worrying that there were not enough young people given that we lost them in the 70’s , then in this war, displacement and emigration then I suddenly found through facebook a hundred young people who cared. We may disagree but we care and that I must say has sustained me. And today as we light candles in street corners evading arrests and threats and silently light the flame of dissent I am hoping we will revolt in every street corner for we dont have six years and I am done waiting for the terms to stop, the war to get over. I am done and I frankly dont care about whether India or China are creeping in but I care if the Indians, the Chinese, Nepalis, Bangladeshis and the Pakistanis are. If democracy everywhere leads to violence, brainwashing. If it leads us to say just wait another six years then wither democracy.