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The Talkative Brigade
Some Sinhala political leaders set about Sinhala chauvinism's appointed task of assimilating the Tamil people, without saying too much. In their lexicon, deeds count for more than words. Remember the late Don Stephen Senanayake who masterminded Sinhala colonisation of the Tamil homeland in the East? The late President Premadasa too was not a man of many words. On the other hand, there are other Sinhala political leaders who belong to the talkative brigade.
Remember ex President J.R.Jayawardene? Remember his off the cuff comment to Lanka Guardian editor Mervyn de Silva, when interviewed a couple of years ago, about the burning of the Jaffna Public Library in 1981: ''I had read all the books by that time!''? Remember his equally caring comment to Ian Ward of the Daily Telegraph in 1983: ''Really, if I starve the Tamils out the Sinhala people will be happy.''?
Remember the talkative Deputy Defence Minister, the late Ranjan Wijeratne? Remember his remarks in June 1990: ''(We will) flatten the LTTE. The IPKF got rid of the hard core elements. What is left is the baby brigade of young boys and girls. They will wet their pants when they meet my armed forces.''
Even apart from his oft repeated pronouncement that there is no ethnic problem, President Wijetunga has expanded on the role of foreign aid. Said he recently:
It is always useful to have the connection between Sri Lanka's war effort and foreign aid spelt out in such clear terms. It may even lead aid donors to ponder about the statement made by the LTTE in Zurich recently:
Aid donors may not have been reassured by the words of the newly appointed Sinhala Army Commander Lt.Gen. Cecil Waidyaratne who, too, it seems, has joined the talkative brigade. He declared recently:
In the wake of the recent Janakapura debacle, the DVRO disaster and the Kilali misadventure, some aid donors may prefer to believe a report filed by David Pallister in the London Guardian, some eight years ago, on 19 June 1985:
Others may recall the more recent comments in the Christian Worker Quarterly , in April 1991:
The context which impels the talkative brigade to talk is perhaps, more significant than the contents of their talk.