DBS Jeyaraj, on dbsjeyaraj.com published a blog post with the same title.

I have been a follower of his blog for sometime and always thought that he presented a balanced view of the problems facing Sri Lanka.

In this particular post, after lamenting  about what he claimed is vulgar triumphalism of the Sri Lankans (after the total annihilation on the LTTE in LK) he posts what he claimed to be a letter from a Mr. Upali Cooray- who he says is a well known trade unionist and human rights activist who also happened to be a former stalwart of the Ceylon Mercantile Union and an active member of the Lanka Sama Samaaja Party (LSSP).

Mr. Cooray has written this letter as a response to a Facebook posting by his grandson.

This unnamed grandson had, according to DBSJ, being ‘engulfed by the triumphalist‘ tide and had made some ‘jingoist and triumphalist‘ remarks on Facebook.

The  grandson had done an about face and thanked his wise old grandpa for opening his eyes and had urged the grandpa to publish his letter as widely as possible.

This is what DBSJ had done.

Now, after reading this letter I saw a lot of points that I disagreed on.
So as a good web citizen, I posted a comment on DBSJ’s blog.

Dear Mr. Jeyaraj,

Please tell me,
What is ‘vulger’ about celebrating the fact that:

1) Innocent, poor, un-educated Tamils in the North & East of the country not having to worry about their children being abducted by the LTTE to be used as child soldiers after a few weeks training.

2) Sinhla, Tamil, Muslim, and other ethnicities in the rest of the country not having to worry about not being able to return home in one piece because of a LTTE bomb on a bus, train, or some other public place.

3) The whole country being united under one flag after a very long time, under a very strong leader.

4) Being able to look forward to a bright future for Sri Lanka where all nationalities live as one ethnicity called Sri Lankans and fight the war against poverty.

Be honest and please tell me which part of these celebrations are VULGER.

Let me tell you somethings that ARE vulgar.
a) Tamil diaspora sending money to LTTE from UK, Australia, Canada etc. and funding terrorism.

b) Celebrating the fact that Sinhalease have died in a bus bomb, or a train bomb sponsored by your money. The boys have done it again, ah?

c) Approving the deaths (maybe u think it is for a greater good) of brainwashed tamil children as human bombs.

d) Giving your respect to a white tiger (yes, I mean Mrs. Balasinghem living in UK with Tiger money) who garlands child soldiers with cyanide capsules and send them to their deaths.

I hope the Tamil Disapora either comes to their senses or be forever alienated from Sri Lanka!


There is a difference between celebrating and vulgarly celebrating just as there is a difference in vulgrar display of wealth and displaying wealth.

Like beauty even perceptions of vulgarity depend upon the beholder I suppose. Your interpretation of Vulgarity differs from mine

Meanwhile try reading Upali’s letter with an open mind. You may get answers there

This got published along with his usual addition at the end “DBSJ Responds”.

Several other commentors  also expressed simillar sentiments, but the vast majority of commentors seemed to agree on what Mr. Cooray was saying.

So I wrote an another comment- a longer one. I took the whole of Mr. Cooray’s letter and pointed out what was wrong with it, line by line.

This didn’t get posted.
I tried again- thinking maybe DBSJ didn’t see my comment or it got lost on the system.

Still he didn’t approve my comment.

So I asked him:
Why are you not posting my comment?

And he said on the blog:
“I am sorry but I am not posting your unfair ,nasty attack on Mr.Upali Cooray……….DBSJ”

So, I posted another comment, which I assumed he wouldn’t publish as well.
—— Comment —————-
What I said was not unfair, or nasty or even an attack.
Why don’t you publish and let the other readers decide for themselves.

What I wrote was a sentence by sentence answer to your Mr. Cooray’s letter, thereby exposing the hollowness in what your Mr. Cooray is saying.

I am disappointed in you DBSJ!

I thought you are mature enough to entertain opposing points of view.

In fact, I intitally thought that DBSJ is a balanced voice among the Sinhalease hating Tamils living outside Lanka.

But now I feel like I have to revise that opinion.
You are just another sulking tiger in dove’s clothing.

Very diplomatic yes, balanced? No.


No need to publish this comment.
I just wanted to tell what I think about you.
—— END: Comment —————-

And now, since I have my own blog, I realized that I can publish the whole thing here, and let the people from whose eyes DBSJ kept this opinion away, see it after all.

This is the comment that DBSJ didn’t want to be seen by his viewers:

—— Comment ———–

Most of you here are harping on how great this Podi Seeya character and saying how we need more of these type of people.

Let me walk through his letter and point a few facts out…

>> Claims such as ‘Sri Lankan Army is the Greatest in the >> World’ are obviously inaccurate.
Or is it?

The SLA completely defeated the “invincible” terrorist LTTE in less than 3 years, when the world super power USA + UK + their allies are still behaving like “a cat who shit on a rock (translation of a Sinhala saying)” after over 6 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and thousands of civilian and military deaths.

Do you know that one of the main reasons that the US military get into wars periodically is to keep the fighting skills of their soldiers sharp, and to shake up their economy?
You use it or you loose it!
That’s true for military skills as well.
The ultra capable invincible US armies you see in Hollywood movies are not real!
When it comes the time for hand-to-hand combat any novice in the first few weeks of fighting is easy bait. Doesn’t matter how hard you practice inside the camps.

But SLA is not like that!
Because of the high intensity fighting during the last few years, most of the soldiers in the SLA is in the top form.

We do not have troop careers and nuclear missiles and spy satellites yes, but we DO HAVE a committed brave fighting force. For at least another 20 years, no body, including USA or India or even China would be able to fight a ground war with the SLA because we would have commanders who have seen tough action available to command the armies.

Of course bombing the whole country to the stone age is not an option- because, well that would go against the “supposedly high moral standards” of the west.

So yes, Sri Lankan army is the GREATEST IN THE WORLD!

>>  According to the government, the operations in the last few months have
>> resulted in the death of over 6000 soldiers.
>> Many more have suffered serious injuries.

Most of these causalities happened because the SLA fought responsibly. If SLA fought like the US or UK armies do in Afghanistan- bomb the hell out of the suspected rebel villages using remotely controlled drones with complete disregard for civilians (of course Madame Clinton can later look meek and say ‘extremely sorry’)- SLA causalities would be much less.

And DBSJ who writes so knowledgeably about the past fighting between the SLA and the LTTE would know that a lot of these causalities happened during the last stage of the fighting because the SLA wanted to minimize civilian deaths.

If you think that these deaths are wasted, go talk to the parents and wives of these dead soldiers. They are sad at their private loss, yes. But they are happy as well. They are happy that their loss is not in vain.
They are PROUD that their sons, husbands were part of the force that brought Sri Lanka under one flag.
And they know that the future history of Sri Lanka will forever remember their deeds.

>> If we compare this to what the Indian peace-keeping force [IPKF] incurred
>> during a two year  operation,
>> the figure of 6000 is extremely high.

Well, the LTTE in 1980’s and the LTTE in 2008 are completely two different animals.!

>>  At the time the IPKF were ordered to leave Sri Lanka by president Premadasa,
>> egged on by the JVP and some elements of the SLFP, they had surrounded the
>> LTTE leadership and were about to deal a decisive defeat on the LTTE.
>> Yet the IPKF lost just over 1000 soldiers.

Well before the IPKF arrived, and before the Indians violated the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka by dropping Parippu (Dhal) on Jaffna, the SLA itself had surrendered the LTTE and was about to deal a decisive blow to the LTTE!
India rescued their “Made in India LTTE” and then in their turn had to take their errant brat of a son under heal.

>> If one compares other theatres of war such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the casualty rate of the
>> Sri  Lankan security forces is extremely high.

Really? Check the facts!
And add the civilian causalities as well.

>> This of course does not detract from the role the armed forces played in
>> defeating the LTTE and many people
>> may be relieved by the fact the ethnic conflict has at least,
>> for the time being, come to an end.

“Many people may be relieved” – so Mr. Cooray himself, is not relieved, is he?

“For the time being”- so you want it to start it again?

Is Mr. Cooray a real name or is some Tamil Diaspora soul who thinks that since their boys (the LTTE) is no more as a fighting force and that the fight for the “Mythical Tamil rights” are best propagated by other means, play acting the role of the Seeya and the fooldhardy grandson?

>> That is impermissible, however, is to go overboard in assessing the outcome of this armed conflict.
>> Furthermore, this triumphalism fails to recognise the enormous destruction of life and property this
>> conflict engendered, including thousands of civilians who lost their lives.

What fighting doesn’t result in  “enormous destruction of life and property”?
And doesn’t the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan cause any civilian causalities?
How about the sanction on Iraq that resulted in untold suffering on civilians?

>> Secondly, your triumphalism fails to consider the deep-rooted problems that gave rise
>> armed rebellion by a section of the Tamil people.

Here we go again…

>> It deleted from history the anti-Tamil riots of 1977,
>> the burning down of the most valuable libraries in Jaffna in 1981.
>> The pogrom of 1983 which resulted in wide-spread attacks of Tamils all over the country
>> and the systematic torture and disappearances that many Tamil activists
>> were subjected to by the security forces.

Jaffna Libray was rebuilt and the opening was prevented by the LTTE
I can understand the LTTE’s sentiments. After all why wouldn’t they want to keep on harping on that old wound for the end of time….

Of course. This war wouldn’t be here if not for some of these incidents.
But after 1983, has any act of racism towards Tamils occurred in Sri Lanka.

DBSJ, I challenge you to list at least a few of them!

Despite the LTTEs best efforts to get the Sinhalease to kill the Tamils living in the South- why do you think they attacked the Temple of the Tooth and the Sri Maha Bodhiya, killed a bus load of monks in Aranthalawa, blew up several coaches in a train at Dehiwala- the Sinhalease stood firm and didn’t resort to communal violence!

It is not pretenders like Mr. Cooray (if he really exists) that stood firm and resisted provocations to communal violence, but the ordinary Sinhalese people LIVING IN Sri Lanka.

It is not difficult to live in UK and preach understanding.
But imagine, the father who sees the son who miraculously survived the blown up bus (courteously of a LTTE Cleome Bomb in Kebitibollawa)  only to be gunned down as he run away from the bus by the LTTE. Now imagine his villagers sending relief to the displaced Tamils in IDP camps to help the Tamils.

This is compassion.

>> If we are to resolve this problem what we need today is magnanimity in victory
>> and not trumphalism.

I addressed this in my previous comment and I say again. We have a right to celebrate.
If you (the Tamil Disapora who sent money so that the LTTE can kill Sinhalease and Tamils in SL) are upset that your horse has lost the race- Go Fly  a Kite.
Seriously, please Go Fly  a Kite

Don’t come here preaching magnanimity.

>> We must extend our hand of friendship to those who we do not necessarily agree with.
>> We must seek reconciliation and not further confrontation.
>> We must listen to their grievances and go half way in meeting their demands.

We are doing that. We were doing that since 1983.

Those who left SL over two decades back are still harboring animosity towards Sinhalease and have poisoned the next generation.

Look what MIA is saying.
Seeing her blogs, twitter feeds etc. it is plain that she hates Sinhalese to the core.

It is the Tamil Diaspora represented by the likes of MIA that should  “extend a hand of friendship” to the Sinhalese.

Tamils living in Sri Lanka are already in good terms with the Sinhalese.

I speak from experience. I have many Tamil friends from all walks of life.

>> Besides, your trumphalism is alien to our culture, for instance, after defeating Elara,
>> King Dutugemunu ordered that every horseman must dismount when he reached the
>> tomb of Elara as a mark of respect to very man Dutugemunu had defeated in war.
>> That is the spirit in which we must approach the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

In the historic chronicles that mentions this story, it is also mentioned that “Elara was a just King”.

Is Prabakaran a just leader?

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

If Mr. Cooray (if he really exists and is not an imaginary character of some Tamil Diaspora keyboard warrior) says that Prabakaran should be respected for all the deaths and harms he caused his country, his head should be seriously examined.

>> Thirdly, we must not believe that simply because the LTTE has been defeated today,
>> other armed rebellions will not occur in the future.

In your dreams.

SLA would crush any arms rebellions at its inception- nip it in the bud, so to speak.
Like I said, for at least 20 years we would have battle hardened commanders rising up from the ranks. They would crush any armed rebellion as soon as it raises its ugly head.

>> You cannot repress and deprive the rights of any group of people forever.
>> As long as people feel that they do not enjoy equal rights and justice,
>> there will always be people who will organise armed rebellions.
>> It is important to note that there are substantial number of Tamils, in Sri Lanka,
>> Tamil Nad, South Africa, Europe and North America who feel that
>> Tamils in Sri Lanka are second calls citizens,
>> that their life and liberty are at risk.

Mr. Cooray says that many foreign Tamils feel that “Tamils in SL are second class citizens” !
I will tell you who the second class citizens are:
Jaffna Tamils treat the Eastern Tamils as second class citizens.
Both Jaffna Tamils and Eastern Tamils treat the Hill Country Tamils as third class citizens.
And there are different casts of Tamils as well, where you have a chain of N classes of citizens.
All these among Tamils.

Do you know that on average Sinhalease treat Tamils better than how Jaffna Tamils treat Hatton Tamils?
In fact Hill country tamils are more comfortable with the Sinhalease than with the Jaffna and other high cast Tamils.

I bet you knew!
Maybe you yourself feels the same.

>> While some these claims may be exaggerated, the importance is that
>> there is a substantial body of very wealthy people around the globe
>> who would be prepared to bankroll other armed actions to
>> achieve dignity and equal rights.

“may be exaggerated”?
Blown out of proportion is more like it!

And to those vulgar wealthy communalists around the globe,  who Mr. Cooray says is willing to bankroll another wave of terrorists- I say, BRING IT ON!

SLA will increase it’s strength by another 100,000 troops. We are getting more equipment.
We are ready.

>> You cannot keep an ethnic minority suppressed permanently by armed force.

Like I said, Tamils are not suppressed in Sri Lanka!

Challenge to Mr. DBSJ:
Write down a list of at least 10 items that indicate how “Tamils are suppressed in Sri Lanka today”.
I am sure you can’t even find 1 item.

What the F**K was the LTTE fighting for?

Is Sri Lanka Sinhala only?
Hell NO. Both Sinhala and Tamil have equal status.

Can’t Tamils buy land in Colombo?
Hell No. In Colombo Sinhalese is a minority!

>> You can see that from the history of the Palestinian struggle.
>> Despite the superior fire power, arms and support of the West , each day,
>> month and year more and more young Palestinians come forward to lay down
>> their lives to achieve justice. Israel can never achieve secure borders or peace
>> by sheer armed might.

Palestinian in not an Ealam and Sri Lanka is not an Israil.
Those  vulgar wealthy communalists around the globe, who Mr. Cooray says is willing to bankroll another wave of terrorists, wouldn’t find brain washable Tamil kids in Sri Lanka to carry their guns and bombs. They certainly wouldn’t find any Tamil kids willing to lay down their lives for a lost cause.

>> In any even we cannot afford another costly war.

Actually  the next war, if Mr. Coorays wealthy bankrolling friends do manage to materialize it, wouldn’t be costly at all.
SLA gets intelligence from the Sri Lankan Tamils. In fact, we had that support for some time. That is one reason we were able to crush the LTTE completely.
This next hypothetical rising would be nipped in the bud. The treasury wouldn’t feel it at all.

>> Therefore, what we need is not triumpalism but an attempt to understand the grievances
>> of the Tamils and creating an institutional framework for ensuring
>> fairness and equal rights to all communities.
>> Your triumphalism does not recognise the importance
>> of this monumental task facing us.

Well when we say that Tamils have equal rights- what we mean is EQUAL- not MORE and not LESS.
So there is no need to single out Tamils and give them special constitutional rights.
Every single Sri Lankan citizen would have the same rights!

And that institutional framework is already there.

The real monumental task is to fight poverty and corruption.

That will be done in couple of years.

Like the president said, Sri Lanka will be the pride of Asia soon.

>> I was saddened by the nature of the messages you had posted in the Facebook.
>> I thought that you had the strength of character to withstand the chauvinist hysteria
>> that swept through the country after the defeat of the LTTE.
>> Sometimes it is important to swim against the current in order to stand by your moral values.
>> I hope you will reconsider your views and adopt a more sober attitude.

“chauvinist hysteria” is a big phrase!
Does this Mr. Cooray know what it means?

In fact the Tamil Diaspora has switched their catch phrases:
Now “Genocide” is out- it is “Inhuman conditions in internment camps” and “Chauvinist Hysteria”

I know of people who  “swim against the current ” just to show to the world that they are different, special. They want to show that they understand what other do not. Most leftist and liberals in Sri Lanka are like that. “I know more than you… I am better … ” is their motto.

>> After all equanimity in the face of both triumph and disaster is the essence of our culture.
>> Our culture and tradition teaches us to adopt an attitude of equanimity in the face of
>> profit and loss, wealth and poverty, disparagement and praise and happiness and
>> unhappiness (Labho Alabho, Ayaso yasocha, Ninda prasnsa, sukancha dukkham).

And now this guy preached scripture.

How do you think the Tamils in Colombo and the rest of the country survived amidst the LTTE’s attempt to engineer communal backlashes against the Tamils by the Sinhalease?

Like I said, after 1983, not a single incident of a communal violence against Tamils by Sinhalease have occurred. How magnanimous do you think we have been.

I hope DBSJ publishes this comment.

—– END: Comment ——


“ … The leader of a victimized race after fighting a valiant fight standing shoulder to shoulder together with his brave comrades died on his feet- a soldiers death, a death that will be remembered for generations …”

Can this be said of Prabakharan?

Well, first of all, is he the leader of a victimized race?
Are Tamils really victimized in Sri Lanka?

Let’s see: can a Tamil enter a University in the South without any discrimination? Can a Tamil get a job in the government service? Can a Tamil walk on the street of southern Sri Lanka amongst Sinhalease and feel safe?

I live in Colombo, and I see Tamils doing all that!

Did Prabakharan stand shoulder-to-shoulder together with his brave comrades and fight?

He most certainly did not!

He hid in his underground luxury bunker and asked the children of his “Eealm” to do the fighting. He asked teenagers to strap explosives on themselves and go blow-up the Sinhalease.

Prabakharan didn’t sacrifices anything for Ealam- he just got others to do the sacrificing for him. Meanwhile, he munched his way through the finest desserts of “Ealam” to the biggest pot belly that a “rebel leader” ever owned.

Prabakharan could have accomplished a hero’s death; if only he had freed all the civilians that he held as hostages.

If only he had announced that his bloody armed struggle for “Ealam” had finally failed in Sri Lanka and requested the Sri Lankan government to grant amnesty to his remaining fighters.

If only he had asked for forgiveness from the Sinhalease and Muslims for all the massacres that he engineered.

If only he had asked for the forgiveness from the Sri Lankan Tamils for failing them and for the lost generations of Tamils that he consumed in his failed attempt at “Ealam”.

He could have had a hero’s death.  He certainly could have had a hero’s death if after his announcement he had put a pistol to the side of his head and shot himself- a soldier’s death.

A honorable death.

But he did none of that.

He chose to hole up underground like a rat and surround himself with hundreds of his loyal but misguided, yet brave fighters of Ealam.

He let them, these battle hardened fighters waste away so that he can prolong his miserable existence on his fantasy “Ealam.

To the very end, he betrayed the Tamil race.

So will he be remembered for generations?

Yes. That at least he have accomplished.

But alas, so has Hitler.

Bruce Fein, the Career Lier

Bruce Fein, the Career Lier

Mr. Bruce Fein is a career lier.

His current project is to conjure up a “Genocide of the Tamil People” where non exists.

He is paid well by his employer, the organisation called “Tamils Against Genocide”, probably another front for the banned terrorists outfit LTTE,  for this filthy task.

He has prepared a 1000-page indictment document to prove the “intent” of genocide of the Sinhala people and he says he plans to try Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the defence secretary (a US citizen) and Mr. Sarath Fonseka, the army commander (a US Green Card holder) for this crime in US courts.

Mr. Fein is a classic example of the depth to which a lawyer looking for easy money can sink to.

The 1000 page model indictment. Can there be any use for this other than as paper weights?

The 1000 page model indictment. Can there be any use for this other than as paper weights?

He knows perfectly well that this fictitious case of his would never stand in court. Any child who can read and who is not brain damaged can understand the veracity of his outrageous claim. But he also knows that he doesn’t need to take it to courts to get the propaganda mileage that he is really after.

Propaganda for the LTTE is what he wants. After all, he is saying what tamilnet.com has been saying for years.

LTTE being a banned terrorist organization needs a “white mouth for sale” like Mr. Fein’s to do their bidding.

According to him, the Sinhalease as a race has been pre-programmed by the history book Mahavamsa and the Buddhist religious book Dhammapadaya to genocide Tamil people.

What a lie.

Although there has been some serious and some satirical responses against his tactics by individuals, it is high time that the relevant sections of the Sri Lankan government takes legal action against this obvious defamatory campaign by Mr. Bruce Fein. It must be shown that one can’t act with such impunity against our country and religion yet get away with it.

After all, if Mr. Fein were to preach that “Christians are pre-programmed by the Holy Bible to kill Muslim people” what sort of response would he attract from the world Christians?Would he be allowed to continue his lies?

Judging by his actions, he is not morally confused, he doesn’t have any morals.

A well dressed weasel, looks like a gentelman, indeed.

A well dressed weasel, looks like a gentelman, indeed.

Like a weasal.

A well dressed weasal with old connections in the US government.

He says that it is simply not possible for Sinhala and Tamil people to live together and that the only solution to prevent the “Sinhala people from genocoiding Tamil people” is to create a separate state.

LTTE’s words, from Mr. Fein’s mouth.

Get real, Mr. Fein. Don’t feint it!

Come to Sri Lanka and see for yourself.

Come to Colombo and see how Sinhala and Tamil people are living in complete harmony and brotherhood.

Is any genocide occuring in the streets of Colombo?

Do you even know the meaning of the term genocide?

Save the women and children – said the sinking ship’s captain.
And the captain of terror said – go woman, kill the children.

Women and children?

Women and children are the future; they are the continuity of the race, the survival of the clan, the mother and the child of the next generation.

They are life.

We are genetically programmed to protect our women and children.

Hence the special sadness when we see the massacred school children with their innocent lives sucked out by the cruel hands of LTTE terrorists- the promise of a life yet to be fully lived, lost, for ever.

Is simple misunderstandings.
The root cause of the conflict in Sri Lanka is just that- one big misunderstanding.

You take something embarrassingly simple- co-existence of two races in harmony on shared land- and add layers upon layers of complexity that you no longer see the core issue.

I will be so bold (you may say naive) as to summarize the conflict in Sri Lanka in a few simple annotated statements/claims.
(s1) The minority Tamils in Sri Lanka were (claimed to have been) discriminated against by the majority Sinhalease.
After independence from the British, in addition to English, Tamil’s have had to learn the Sinhala language.
I hope this list can be more ably filled by some Tamil reader friends with first hand accounts of such discrimination …

(s2) There have been several violent Sinhala-Tamil riots which strengthened the separatist cause.
Most notably, the one in 1983, where over a thousand Tamil civilians were massacred by organized Sinhalease thugs.

(s3) LTTE terrorists (supported by donations from expatriate Sri Lankan Tamils) are fighting a bloody terrorist war against the government- at terrible cost to both Sinhala and Tamil civilians- with the end-goal of carving out a separate ethnically pure Tamil state.
The LTTE started small as a group of organized Tamil thugs, but now is the “self-proclaimed sole representative of the Tamil people” by virtue of killing most of the moderate Tamil leaders.
The LTTE have killed more Tamils than, the total number who died during the 1983 Black July and since.

(s4) Expatriate Tamils, who support the LTTE, believe that in a unitary Sri Lanka, sans LTTE terrorists (as a balancing factor), Tamil civilians will continue to be discriminated against.
But Sri Lanka of today is not the Sri Lanka of 1983.

(s5) The party politics of Sri Lanka, where the concept of national solidarity is alien to the opposition, has created a favorable situation for the separatist cause.
Terrorists can “bora diye malu banna”, or “fish in murky waters”- this is the saddest part of all.

Above 5 statements/claims summarize the layers of complexity surrounding the core issue.
But the main problem that need to be solved is:
If possible, to establish the political, administrative, and judicial structure so that the “peaceful co-existence of Sinhala and Tamil races on shared land” is possible.

Contrary to what the international community believes and what some expatriate Tamils believe, IT IS POSSIBLE.

Proof: Colombo.

If there are any doubters come down to Colombo and talk to ordinary Tamil and Sinhala civilians.
Observe how Sinhalease and Tamils interact in work-places, in Schools and Universities.
Observe Sinhalease and Tamils who are neighbors.
Observe Sinhalease worshipping shared deities- God Kandasamy, God Visunu, God Shiva, God Ganesh…
Observer life as it is.

Because the root of enlightenment is true understanding.

News is a story, it is all in how you tell it. News First tells it so that the government is the villain while the most ruthless terrorist organization in the whole wide world is …, … well the hero!

Here is a recipe for proving this: (requires some volunteers with a considerable amount of time and effort)

Step 1)
For at least two weeks, listen to/view the main News First program.
Record the news items related to the LTTE terrorists problem; note the exact wording used, visuals displayed, time assigned to each news item.

Step 2)
During the same period, in a similar fashion, record the news items of:

The primary state controlled media channel (to get the official government version of each news item)
– Rupavahini (because it is somewhat more moderate than ITN)

The three other leading news channels (to act as a base in reviewing News First)
– Swarnavahini
– Derana

Step 3)
Compare the reporting.
For the same news item, compare how each channel has presented the story.
These are the parameters:
Dedicated airtime, statements made on the story.
Write down the subjective observations on the tone of the presentation and implicit political angle of the reporting.

Get answers to the following:

  • What news items are not reported in News First but are reported in other channels?
  • Is their anything special about those stories?
  • In the same news item, are their parts that News First doesn’t cover?
  • Is their a pattern in this selective coverage and omission of reporting?
  • Is their a pattern in the nature of news items getting more airtime versus items that don’t?
  • How does News First refer to the LTTE terrorists?
    – Do they ever use the word ‘terrorists’ against the LTTE at all?
  • Compare their use of titles and honorifics to the President and Ministers (or the lack of it) versus LTTE terrorists (or the abundance of it).

Step 4)
Compile the findings in to a short report.
This would be a statistically and factually valid report verifiable against the actual physical recordings of the news programs.

If the report indicated that News First is definitely not pro-terrorist but a truly neutral entity, then good for them and a huge apology would be in order from all the foolish conspiracy theorists.

On the other hand if it indicated that Sirasa News First might, just might be inclined towards furthering the course of the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit, then action needs to be taken.

Not violent (and ultimately counter productive) action but peaceful and democratic action.

Legal action against them wouldn’t work because they are not doing anything illegal.
Since LTTE is not currently a banned organization in Sri Lanka, because of the outside hope of them returning to peace talks, News First does not have to call those terrorists, ‘terrorists’. And they do not have to make a distinction between Mr. Nadesan and Mr. Rajapakse at all. And unlike the other private channels, they do not have to “not prominently feature the terrorist leaders’ heroes’ day speech in their program”.
It is all just un-patriotic, but none of that is a crime.

So what action is available?

Simple, just copy the strategy from News First’s own “Action TV news segment” (This actually is excellent- News First is good in every way except being possibly pro-terrorist)
Bring the facts to the open- by doing so, embarrass/force the responsible parties to remedy the situation.

The responsible parties are:
1) News First director.
2) Government media minister
3) Defense secretary
4) President’s secretary

The content of the report (described above) and results of further investigations arising out of the interest created by that first report, can be: published online and in news papers, spread across the blogsphere, and used as material by anti-terrorist lobbyists such as the National Movement Against Anti-terrorism, JVP, and the JHU.

If this is done properly, the best case scenario is:
News First gradually reducing their pro-terrorist inclination (They would never admit to being ever pro-terrorist).

I hope that there are at least some result oriented patriots out their willing to join this fight against “media support for terrorism”.
And please remember that this fight of words and ideas is every bit as important as the fight done with guns and motors.

Read part 1 of this post

At least one political party and many people have alleged or expressed suspicion that the popular news program “Sirasa News First” supports the LTTE terrorists.

Is there any truth in this?

An allegation as serious as this must be based on fact, not on mere suspicion.

There are several ways of investigating this ‘suspicion’.

One, very unwise way of investigation would be to question the News First editing team and the people they take orders from.
This approach is very unwise because this would be interpreted as a serious violation of media freedom.

There is a simpler and more effective approach, which does not violate media freedom yet would get the job done. I will describe this approach in part 2 of this topic, hopefully, tomorrow. But first, let me try to describe the context of this issue.

Sirasa TV is arguably the most popular TV channel in Sri Lanka.
And they, as a media channel, is, very good.
Good in the sense that they are very talented in what they do- not in the sense of moral goodness.

They are pioneers in the field and hence the most copied; they have an excellent team, and their brand marketing is superb.
They have captured the ladies with the likes of “Maha Gedara” and “Praveena”. They have captured the youth with programs such as “Sirasa Super Star”. To top it off they have a strong line-up of many other very popular programs, in Sinhala, English, and Tamil.

They are an indispensable part of the Sri Lankan people’s “infotainment mindscape”.
Without them Sri Lankan media would be very different.

Enter Sirasa News First.

Definitely a phenomenon to behold!
The news casters are excellent, presentation great, and the script like a finely edited drama.

And they do not lie, period.

In fact they are more truthful than the news programs of state controlled media.
Over the years, they have built a good reputation as an excellent news program.

What then is the problem?

The problem is that although they do not lie, unfortunately they do not tell the whole truth either.

News is a story, it is all in how you tell it.

They tell it well, in such a way that it aligns with some as yet undisclosed agenda of their own.
It is done so subtly and so artfully that without realizing it, the viewers’ thinking is gradually adjusted to whatever shape they want it to take.

This might look like speculation.
It is.
I will discuss how this speculation can be verified or negated in part 2 of this topic.

Of course the state media is and has been feeding the general population with what the government of the day wants them to see and hear.
But everybody already knows this and they always take the reporting of state media with a grain of salt.

But Sirasa TV is not state controlled. It is supposed to be independent.

If it does in fact, have a sinister pro-terrorist agenda- who is holding the strings?

If the President Mahinda Rajapakse holds the strings of Rupahavini and ITN, who is holding the strings of Sirasa News First?

I do not know about you, but I am seriously worried.

Read part 2 of this post

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