Howard got it wrong!
Howard Debenham’s article on Sri Lanka in The Age (Australia) of the 16th March, which was reproduced in The Island on March 18, contained a number of questionable assertions which warrant further elucidation for a fair analysis of the issues involved.

While Debenham says that Tamils were deliberately demonized from the early days of independence of Sri Lanka, history proves that some Tamil political leaders from the North and almost all Tamil leaders and the Tamil people from the East and other areas of Sri Lanka played an active role in the affairs of the country including the handling of senior Ministries. The first racist political party was formed by a group of Jaffna (Northern) politicians in 1949 named Tamil State Party after a group of Jaffna politicians failed to convince the British Constitutional Commission in the mid-forties that Parliamentary representation should be based on ethnicity. Debanham focuses exclusively on Sinhala –Tamil differences while ignoring the demand of some Northern politicians for a separate state, which would have included 1/3 of the land area and 2/3rds of the coast of Sri Lanka -25,000 sq miles- which is smaller than Tasmania. It is not understood how Debanham chose to ignore this unreasonable demand in commenting on Sri Lanka.

Ranjith Soysa

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