VIDEO: Mandela’s struggle similar to that of Sri Lankan Tamils - Mano

VIDEO: Mandela’s struggle similar to that of Sri Lankan Tamils - Mano

December 16, 2013   05:27 pm

The Democratic People’s Front (DPF) says that Sri Lanka is the most appropriate country in the world today to discuss the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela and that his history has many similarities with the Sri Lankan Tamils’ struggle.

 We need Nelson Mandela’s policies and principals to guide us more than any other country in the world, DPF leader Mano Ganesan said.

He stated that this is also the most appropriate time as Sri Lanka, in the post-war era, needs more and more sense of reconciliation.

Therefore we need a Nelson Mandela more than anybody else in the world and we need him right now in this era, he said, addressing a ceremony commemorating the anti-apartheid icon and South Africa’s first black President.

“Nelson Mandela’s history and legacy has many similarities with the Sri Lankan Tamils’ struggle,” Ganesan said.

He stated that many people tend to begin Mandela’s story right after he became President or after he took up arms, but Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) believing in a peaceful struggle within the democratic framework.   

However, when the then South African white regime responded with state terrorism, he had no other option but to start believing in an arms struggle, he said.

He took up arms against the white regime because he thought only the language of arms would be understood by them, he said.

Similarly the former leaders of this country’s Tamil National Alliance fought against the governments of Sri Lanka democratically in a peaceful manner, however, the government responded with state violence, he said. “And they had no other way but to give into the state violence.”

Then a sizeable number of Tamil youths started believing in violence and an armed struggle, he said, adding, “Of course the TNA and DPF do not approve of violence in any form but a sizeable number of youth in our community started believing in an armed struggle.”

So we have similarities between the struggle of nelson Mandela and the national struggle of Tamil people in this country, he reiterated.

Possibly referring to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the DPF leader stated that people travelled from Colombo to Johannesburg to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela and that he could only hope and pray that they come back taking a few lessons from South Africa, “at least in extending the hand of friendship to minorities.”

If not for the national issue I believe that at least they should understand that Mandela did not amend the constitution of South Africa to extend his term of office as President, Ganesan said.

The DPF believes that a peaceful, reasonable and fair discussion between Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim communities would only pave the way for peaceful coexistence and the sharing of political power, he said in conclusion. 

The Chief Incumbent of the Kotte Nagaviharaya, Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, and TNA leader R. Sampanthan also attended the event.

Sobitha Thero, addressing the gathering, stated that Nelson Mandela, who retired after just one term as Presidnet, should serve as a great example for all world leaders who are greedy for power.

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