Thursday June 20, 2013
'SILENCE BREAKS' by Nadarajah Kuruparan - Part 1Nadarajah Kuruparan for Salem-News.com
First part in a series by Sri Lankan journalist Nadarajah Kuruparan who witnessed history time and again.
(LONDON) - I was thus far milling around silently shouldering whatever I got, learned and realized in each and every stage of my life. Having had the fortune to live longer enough amidst perpetual dangers, I am breaking my silence now.
A media person as I am, I recognize it as my duty to wipe the dust, and many a time ashes, off whatever memories that time has imprinted in me and to put them before you before the very same time may wipe them out.
The days of anxiety and cocooning as to what and what not to say have passed off. Now that I am standing at the junction of the wisdom path, I am impelled to say everything.
Breaking the silence of our time is like disrobing. As a first step to get rid of the long-borne agony, I break my silence. I hope to continue to do this, and with the hope of your continuous support, I rise up to the probable responses.
When I joined flanks with the thousands of younkers who, renouncing the regular pleasures of their age, set out their ideal journey towards national liberation, I hadn’t anticipated that I would have to bear this much of silence.
Three decades… It is no surprise that each had its own unique dimension.
The Eighties (The Period of Liberation Organizations)
As a fighter of People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE)
As a scapegoat brushing the brinks of death on account of the rivalry between the liberation organizations
As one among those engaged in the in-group struggles of the PLOTE
As a prisoner of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
As an exile during the occupation of the Indian army
As a university student
The Nineties (The Period of Personal Life and Struggle for Existence)
As a print media person (Sarinikhar)
· As teacher of a private educational institute
· As proprietor of a printing press
The First Decade of the 21st century (The Period of Becoming a Fulltime Media Person)
· As a radio reporter for Suriyan FM
Having become a radio reporter in 2000, I had the opportunity to report the peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Rather it was my own effort than an opportunity befallen. I was also a reporter at the following events:
· Tokyo Doners Conference
· The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe’s visit to the White House
· The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe’s Visit to the British Prime Minister’s Office
Following perpetual life threats after I was abducted in Colombo by ‘unidentifiable persons’ in 2006, I had to emigrate to UK by the end of 2007. It was only a physical movement; my mind, however, stuck back to my native land. Today I am a founder of Global Tamil Media Network and my profession has come to be media person.
Of all the experiences I got in each of these stages of life as fighter, struggler and media person, I had to swallow many and could speak out only a few.
Now, not only mine but also the experiences undergone during the three decades by all the Tamils belonging to various sections should be spoken out.
The long silence I have endured now breaks as a commencement of the collective expression and in support to those who dare to break their silence. My breaking stretches as a serial here.
To make it relevant to the present, let me begin with the 2000s and then go back to the eighties and the nineties.
The 2000s (The Period of Becoming a Media Person)
The year 2002 witnessed many changes in the politics of Sri Lanka. This year was important in that in the twenty two years of governance after the second Constitution of the country was made, the President, the executive authority, was elected from one party whereas the Prime Minister with parliamentary majority was from another party.
It was in this year that the two decade long civil war came to an end giving way for a long term peace. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran signed a peace treaty.
In addition to this treaty, there also began talks outside Sri Lanka with the mediation of Norway. This brought in many changes in the politics of Sri Lanka and in my own life as well. I had the opportunity to take part in all those talks as a reporter. This helped in the broadening of my outlook, which was until then confined to the limits of Sri Lankan politics, to the international diplomatic level and also to the international media level.
After joining Suriyan FM on an annual contract, my life began to be interesting and challenging. When the armed conflicts between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE were at their culmination, I happened to join the popularly renowned and well established Suriyan and it became a turning point in my life. Though I had already had experience in the print media, working in the electronic media was a new challenge.
Three days after I joined Suriyan, the president of Sri Lankan Tamil Congress and notable attorney, Kumar Ponnambalam was assassinated on Vivekananda Street, Valvetti. This news reached me from my friend and auto-rickshaw driver Gamini through mobile phone. Within five minutes of the assassination, this was aired as breaking news in Suriyan FM. It was through this news that even Kumar Ponnambalam’s wife, his son and daughter came to know about his assassination.
Though I had been working at Suriyan FM just for three days, this incident made me more visible to the management. (Let us see about my life at Suriyan FM in a separate article under the heading: ‘My Abduction and Perpetual Life Threat’).
Because of more such breaking news and the way I collected them, my value as a media person increased. This was what I got as compensation for whatever losses I underwent from the political life that started from the beginning of the eighties and for the perpetual dangers I endured – the invaluable political as well as personal networks.
My networks at various levels of society added strength to my performance as a media person. This strength led me to the responsible and notable position of Tamil News Division In-charge. Through this, I got the opportunity as a reporter to participate in the peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE.
During the 2000s, our organization had some affinity with the United National Party of Sri Lanka. I too had my own links with some of the top brass of that party. This helped in getting the opportunity to take part in all of those peace talks, particularly in the White House Visit of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and his meeting with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Further, through the broadcasting of the three-stage peace talks during November 2003, we could make our organization more notable to the Tamil listeners worldwide. This rendered that I got the full support of our management.
These constituted the background factors of my participation in the event of Ranil Wickramashinge’s White House Visit.
Ranil Wickramasinghe’s White House Visit and the Concealed Truths
Sensational details about the United National Party leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, his previous government, former minister Milinda Moragoda, and minister G.L. Piries are now coming out through WikiLeaks. In particular, the activities of the United National Party government and some of its leaders are brought out by WikiLeaks. But what WikiLeaks is bringing out are only the cable exchanges between the US government and its embassies world over. In my opinion, little light has been shed on the shocking details of those direct meetings and the agreements made thereof. So I intend to start from the now sensationally talked about matters and go back in time.
One of the reporters during those diplomatic talks was Ameen, a senior Muslim media person. Ameen and I were the only Tamil-speaking reporters whereas there were many Sinhalese including the assassinated Vasantha Wickramathunga. Ameen was working at Lake House and nobody had any suspicion about him. But when the Sinhalese reporters saw me there as a reporter, they worried that the details of Ranil’s visit and the secret agreements might be leaked out, and that would affect the peace talks. As a result, only a few chosen reporters were taken to the important meetings.
However, those specially invited reporters would later talk about the happenings at the hotel and I had the opportunity to register those important matters leaked in their talks. I didn’t have any intention or even thought at that time that I would have to write about those things as I am doing now. So I didn’t record any video. I didn’t even register them date-wise. Now looking back, it is really sad that I failed to document them properly at that time. However, let me retrieve whatever was registered in my mind.
Those memories will stream out in my next piece as ‘Mahinda Rajapakse Would Kill on the Day, Ranil Wickramasinghe Would Await the Day’.
Articles for July 25, 2012 | Articles for July 26, 2012 | Articles for July 27, 2012
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