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Friends, Sinhalese, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears

2013 Jul 24

By Anandaraj L. Ponnambalam -

Anandaraj L. Ponnambalam



Friends, Sinhalese, countrymen, lend me you ears;

I come to bury the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni, not to praise them.

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni.  The noble Sri Lankan government and the noble Sri Lankan military

Hath told you the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni were ambitious, separatists and terrorists;

If it were so, these were grievous faults,

And grievously hath the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni answered it.

Here, under leave of the Sri Lankan government and the rest,–

For the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan military are honorable men;–

So they all, all honorable men,–

Come I to speak in the funeral of the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni.

They were my people, faithful and just to me:

But the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan military say they were ambitious, separatists, and terrorists;

And the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan military are honorable people.

They (the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni) worked with diligence and honor

Whose bountiful resources the general coffers did fill:

Did this in the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni seem ambitious, separatist and terrorist?

When that the Singhalese have cried, the Tamils have wept;

Ambition, separatism, and terrorism should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan military say that they were ambitious, separatists, and terrorists;

And the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan military are honorable men.

You all did see that for 30 years and more, the Tamils took all the slings and arrows without a qualm or retaliation for their just cause of equal citizenship

Through this all, the trust they placed in the solemn agreements, the Banda-Chelva, Dudley-Chelva Pacts and all were broken

Yet the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan military say they were ambitious, separatists, and terrorists

And, sure, they are honorable men.

I speak not to disprove what the Sri Lankan government and Sri Lankan military say,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did live with the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni once, not without cause:

What cause withholds you then to mourn for them?

O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason.  Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

 

But yesterday the de-facto Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni might

Have stood against the world; now lie they there,

And none so poor to do them reverence.

O masters, if I were disposed to stir

Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,

I would do the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni wrong, and the International Community wrong,

Who, you all know, are honorable men.

I will not do them wrong; I rather choose

To wrong the dead, to wrong myself, and you,

Than I will to wrong such honorable men.

But here’s a parchment with the seal of the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni:

The Vaddukoddai Declaration by which the Nation of the Tamils and the People of the Vanni stood and died, and not in vain but to rise again, as the day will most certainly follow the night!

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