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View Diary: Thoughts ahead of Independence Day: A patriot is a rebel, not a bootlicker (69 comments)

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  •  The Tamil Tigers are an (7+ / 0-)

    an oppressed group that are painted as terrorists.

    What I read about them in mainstream media reminds me of how First Nations Peoples are portrayed in our media. Especially at the earliest advent of film. We have Buffalo Bill Cody to thank for that.

    The victors write the history is a disturbing concept to me as there is much lost in the process.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 01:26:58 PM PDT

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    •  Yes, but why not both? (0+ / 0-)

      Oppressed into terrorism. Meanwhile they lost the war, and Wikipedia tells me that meanwhile the victorious Sinhalese Buddhists have taken up a campaign against Muslims (they're Tamils too), desecrating their shrines and so on. It just sucks permanently.

      What did you do in the class war, Daddy?

      by Yastreblyansky on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 02:06:30 PM PDT

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      •  Do you know how that got started? (0+ / 0-)

        There was a savage gang rape of a Buddhist village woman by Muslims and the backlash got out of control.

        This is more about competing ethnic/social groups than the fact either is religion A or B; in fact, the actions of these people goes against the teaching of their respective religions, so I'd suggest it's rather a failure to practice than a result of doing so.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 11:31:14 PM PDT

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        •  This happens all the time with religions . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marleycat, koNko
          the actions of these people goes against the teaching of their respective religions, so I'd suggest it's rather a failure to practice than a result of doing so.
          If patriotism is the last [or first] refuge of scoundrels, religion is the last [or first] of hypocrites.

          When it all goes wrong hippies and engineers will save us. -- Reggie Watts

          ----- GOP found drowned in Grover Norquist's bathtub.

          by JimWilson on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 02:29:56 AM PDT

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          •  It happens all the time with humans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JimWilson

            Sometimes in the name of religion, other times it just happens that religion is one label that can be applied to the protagonists.

            Hypocrisy is never in short supply. How many people have died for the noble cause of Democracy they didn't ask for? Or, whatever?

            I happen to know a lot about the ethnic strife in that part of Asia, much of which was imposed upon them from the outside by colonialism that cobbled together separate nations into plantations to profit foreign nations that left behind a mess.

            Particularly in the case of Myanmar (Burma), were there are groups that strongly self-identify as "nations" or "people" who have been at odds for centuries and now struggle to make a modern nation out of the mess. I wish them peace, prosperity and a way out of ethnic conflict that has been suppressed for years by dictatorship. Not a simple task.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:52:32 AM PDT

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    •  They were suckups (0+ / 0-)

      The Tamil aren't even native to Sri Lanka.  They were shipped in by the British and enjoyed a privileged status due to their docility.  That's why when the Sinhali (who happen to be Buddhist) majority kicked the British invaders and occupiers out, they had a deep resentment against the Tamil.

      The Tamil were not persecuted, particularly.  They were just pissed off about having lost the privilege they enjoyed under the Brits.

      To compare them with Native Americans is an affront.  

      I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

      by CharlieHipHop on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 02:38:52 PM PDT

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      •  Holy crap. Way to spew garbage. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        for 6 too

        I collaborate with a Sri Lankan scholar (Sinhalese, pro-Tamil rights, liberation theology Marxist), and your version is off-the-charts inaccurate and anti-Tamil.

        While I agree that the situations of the Tamil and of Native Americans are not comparable in many regards, there's no doubt that the Tamil are, and have been, oppressed and persecuted. The complexity of ethnoreligious nationalism in Sri Lanka is apparently beyond you, so I suggest you do some reading.  Here's a good start:

        The Political Economy of NGOs: State Formation in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

        "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

        by hepshiba on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:48:14 PM PDT

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        •  I didn't say... (0+ / 0-)

          ... that the Tamil haven't been oppressed.  They absolutely have.  But before that, they were suckups, and they are not native to Sri Lanka.

          What happens after oppressors get thrown out is that the oppressors' collaborators assume a much lower rung in society.  The Tamil didn't like that, and that's why they became terrorists.

          Behind every terrorist act are legitimate grievances.  This stuff doesn't just happen.

          In sum, the Tamil have been oppressed, but the reason they were oppressed should not be ignored if there is ever to be peace and justice.

          I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

          by CharlieHipHop on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:54:19 PM PDT

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          •  If you're going to set arguments like this forward (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Meteor Blades, for 6 too, marleycat

            you need to provide sources:

            >What happens after oppressors get thrown out is that the
            >oppressors' collaborators assume a much lower rung in
            >society.  The Tamil didn't like that, and that's why they
            >became terrorists.

            It wasn't that straightforward, and pretending it was simply propagates anti-Tamil rhetoric.  Tamils had inhabited northeastern Sri Lanka since at least the 10th C, so I'm not sure what you mean by claiming that they aren't indigenous.  The British also brought Indian Tamil laborers to work the plantations, and also used the Tamil as coolies, under extremely oppressive conditions, which accounts for the anti-British sentiment of the general Tamil population. Most of the imported Tamils were sent back to India. (They were not, as you claim, suckups, but an exploited class.)  There was also an elite class of Tamil who worked in the colonial government.

            Plenty of Sinhalese collaborated with the colonial regime -- in fact, that's what the Dutch and British colonial system was based on -- the forging of an administrative class that included Buddhist, Muslim & Tamil elites. There was no revolution in Sri Lanka -- the British handed over control in 1948. Defining the Tamils as "the oppressor's collaborators" conveniently erases the history of Tamil resistance to colonial rule -- they formed the first organizations that agitated for independence. In fact, the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula was the heart of anti-British activity. So one can hardly call them British collaborators.

            Remember that national boundaries were drawn by the British, not the native peoples, and the Tamil regions of Ceylon considered themselves separate from the Sinhalese regions from the beginning.  When the nation of Sri Lanka was formed, the Tamil were a minority, and they naturally didn't like it when, in 1972, the Sinhalese institutionalized Buddhism as the state religion in the Constitution and declared the official language to be Sinhala. It's a lot more complicated than you make out.

            So your simplification is simply incorrect.  I suggest you do more reading before you try pitching it elsewhere.

            "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

            by hepshiba on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 07:39:30 PM PDT

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    •  The Tamil Tigers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades

      started out as a liberation group, but eventually embraced tactics that were insupportable, holding their own population hostage.  The reasons for that shift were many and complex, but the result is that the Tigers lost the moral high ground, despite the war crimes committed by the Sinhalese-controlled Sri Lankan state.  I posted a link to an excellent book that discusses the conflict and current political situation in Sri Lanka, below.

      Unlike in the States, Sri Lanka's politics are dominated by ethnoreligious nationalism in a post-Colonial context.  The comparison to Native Americans falls flat because colonialism is a continuing reality for Native Americans -- there's nothing "post" about it.  The portrayal of the Tamil in mainstream Sri Lankan media is very different from the portrayal of Native Americans in North American media -- for instance, the "noble savage" mythology that is so central to U.S. prejudices is entirely absent.  

      But your point that the victors write the history is certainly true in both cases.....

      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

      by hepshiba on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:55:17 PM PDT

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      •  I thought the nobility (0+ / 0-)

        was inherent in the name.

        Or do I have a cultural misunderstanding?

        Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 07:47:27 PM PDT

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        •  Cultural misunderstanding, I think... (0+ / 0-)

          I was using "noble savage" in the sense that it's understood in the humanities and social sciences -- as a myth that crystallized in the Enlightenment.  The term has its own meaning, and when you break it down into its two components (either "noble" or "savage"), you lose the context.  Rousseau was its most "generous" interpreter.  He juxtaposed "civil society" against "the natural man," and attributed traits (good and bad) to each.   The positive points of the noble savage were that he possessed "natural liberty" (remember, this was an age of challenging monarchies) and that he was strong (there was a lot of worry that "civilization" made men "weak" in those days -- that it was feminizing).  The negative points, well, you can imagine:  no impulse control, aggressiveness, no intellect, no creativity.  So the term denotes a particular European cultural mindset which, in the New World, was embodied in the arguments between those who insisted that the culture and person of the "Indian" had a particular value, and those who were for complete extermination.  (The Native Americans, of course, were never consulted about this -- they were a subject of the discussion, not a participant. Both frames were racist.)

          The Sinhalese didn't share that European frame. Instead, they framed their conflict with the Tamil very differently -- it was a civil war, not a colonial war.  That's why "noble savage" doesn't apply.  It doesn't mean that there is nothing noble about the Tamil liberation effort, or that the acts of the Tigers (using civilians as human shields, for example, or barring aid workers from the region) were not "savage" (though I don't use that term generally, because of its denotation).

          "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

          by hepshiba on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 05:39:35 AM PDT

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