1999 ம் ஆண்டுDBS Jeyaraj உடன் நான் (நட்சத்திரன் செவ்விந்தியன்) பேசிய நீண்ட தொலைபேசி உரையாடலில் DBS Jeyaraj மனந்திறந்து
பேசினார். புலிகளின் அனைத்துலக பொறுப்பாளராக
லண்டனில் இருந்த கேணல் கிட்டுவிடம் அனுமதிபெற்றே தான்
ராஜீவ் காந்தி கொலைகாரன் ஒற்றைகண் சிவராசன் பற்றிய
Profile விபரங்களை Frontline(The Hindu)இலும் Lanka Guardian இலும் எழுதினார் என்பதை ஒப்புகொண்டதோடு அந்த சனவரியில் கிட்டு
கொல்லப்பட்டபின் திலகர் அனைத்துலக பொறுப்பெடுத்த
பின்னர் பெப்ரவரி காதலர் தினத்திலேயே திலகரின் மிரட்டல்களுக்கு பிறகே தான் தாக்கப்பட்டதை ஒப்புவித்தார்.
2011 Fake memoirs Tamil Tigress வெளிவந்தபோது நான் அதனை அம்பலப்படுத்த அதனை மொக்குத்தனமாக நியாயப்படுத்தி
பரிசுகெட்டார். மதிப்புக்குரிய சமூகவிஞ்ஞானிகளான
முத்துகிரிஸ்ணா சர்வானந்தன், மைக்கல் ராபட்ஸ் ஆதியவர்களின்
ராடரில் அகப்பட்டு மூக்குடைப்டார். ஊத்தை புரட்டஸ்தாந்து வெள்ளாளன், கஞ்சிக்கு பாடும் உடுப்பிட்டி துன்னாலை சண்டியன் என செவ்விந்தியன் எனக்கு அவரைப் பற்றி எழுதவேண்டிவந்தது. பின்னர் 23 வருசமா சிங்கன் Jeyaraj கனடாவில வேலைசெய்யாது மனுசி தர்சினி அக்காவின் சம்பளத்தில் வாழ்ந்து ஒருகையில் பியர் கிளாசோடு மறுகையால் தட்டச்சு செய்து எழுதிய அவர் வாரவார ஆங்கில பத்திகளின் செய்முறை வெளியானது.
பின்வருவது மகத்தான பெண் ஆய்வாளினி மீனா நல்லைநாதன் Ryerson கனடிய பல்கலைக்கத்து ஆய்விதழில் (http://www.journalism.ryerson.ca/m4074/) ஜெயராஜை பகுத்தாராய்ந்தது. இவ்வரிய கட்டுரை இலவசமா இன்றில்லை. செவ்விந்தியன் சுட்டது. அதான் கேள்விக்குறியுள்ள இடத்தில மேற்கோள் குறி இருக்னு படிங்க. முடிஞ்சவங்க காசுகுடுத்து படிங்க.
It is Valentine`s Day 1993, and Tamil journalist D. B. S. Jeyaraj, who has both supported the Tigers and criticized them, and his new bride exit a local movie theatre. They stroll through the parking lot after seeing a Sinhala film. Three friends walk ahead to give the newlyweds some privacy; no one has any reason to be afraid. Then two young Tamil men approach Jeyaraj. They ask if he is the editor of the newspaper Senthamarai, and if he had written a story against the Tamil Tigers.
“Yes, I got the information and wrote it,?” replies Jeyaraj.
“That`s against our leadership”
says one man.
“This is not the place to talk about it,” says Jeyaraj. “Why don`t you call me tomorrow?”
“No, no, give us an answer here,”
insists the other.
In the shadows Jeyaraj can see two other men, brandishing baseball bats and metal rods. The sight paralyzes him. His mind spins. His first instinct is to protect his wife, but he can`t decide how best to do it: fight or run? He puts his arm around her, then pushes her away as he walks, shouting to his friends, “Where is the car?”
One friend yells in Tamil for the men to back off. They don`t. They walk intently toward Jeyaraj and begin to batter him with their bats and rods, breaking his leg and inflicting significant head injuries.
Undaunted, Jeyaraj continues to write for and edit Senthamarai, a Toronto weekly, which he had been doing since 1990. Four months after the attack, a still not intimidated Jeyaraj starts his own publication, Muncharie. Two years later, more violence: Tamil gangs go after shopkeepers who sell his paper ? one is beaten; another`s van is burned. Advertisers, distributors and newspaper carriers are threatened, leading to the closure of Muncharie in 1996. The abusive phone calls and death threats from Tiger sympathizers, however, keep coming. As a result, Jeyaraj seldom answers his phone.
But he did agree to talk to me. I wanted to investigate the little-known world of what some call the ethnic press. I wanted to discover more about how journalists in a country as diverse as Canada cover the tensions and fears that are exported with newcomers from such places as Sri Lanka, which, appallingly, has devolved from paradise to hell in my lifetime. And I wanted to meet some of the journalists in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora who, by deciding to stand up to the Tigers in order to decrease their influence in my community, are doing what journalists everywhere are supposed to do: investigate, dissent, be a catalyst for change and support democratic free speech.
Worldwide, the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora numbers more than 800,000, with close to 250,000 living in Canada, and approximately 200,000 residing in Greater Toronto. A map of the world may show orderly and controlled political boundaries, but there are invisible lines demarcating guerrilla territories and trade routes for weapons, with money moving from Toronto to Sri Lanka. This intricate web of alliances speaks volumes about the impact the Canadian diaspora has on politics there. The Toronto community is a captive audience for Tiger propaganda and a critical fundraising base in the fight for a Tamil homeland.
The catalyst for the war came in 1983, when an estimated 3,000 Tamils were butchered, torched or beaten to death at the hands of Sinhalese mobs all over the country. The riots occurred after the Tigers killed 13 soldiers in Jaffna. But it is the strength, influence and ferocity of the Tigers that has forced the Sri Lankan government to take seriously Tamil charges of state discrimination and oppression.
In April 2006 Ottawa labelled the Tigers a terrorist organization, making it illegal for Canadians to join or support the LTTE. Prior to this ban, Tigers and their sympathizers were able to systematically invade the public sphere of local Hindu temples, media outlets and businesses such as the ones that dot the landscape of Scarborough in Toronto`s east end.
Among the myriad Tamil travel agencies, insurance companies, lawyers, grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries is Spiceland Super Market on Sheppard Avenue. Its metal shelves overflow with Tamil groceries: mango jam, uppama mix, lentils, sesame oil, dried chilies, shark meat, whole coconuts and pumpkin. For sale at the long checkout counter, pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses: Lord Ganesh, Sarasvathy and Lakshmi. Until a year ago, next to the Hindu gods were DVDs featuring another kind of deity: Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Tamil Tigers.
Farther west on Sheppard is Babu, a popular take-out joint. The fast-food outlet thrives with men and women lined up to buy hoppers, fish cutlets, kothu roti and mutton rolls. The aroma of spices and steam rising from curried dishes fills the air. Amidst the usual bustle, though, is one detail the non-Sri Lankan might miss: an outdoor sign that states: ?For Taste and Flavour of Thamil Eelam.? In northern Sri Lanka, Tamil Eelam is the de facto state the Tigers rule. When the ban took effect, LTTE flags disappeared from Tamil stores.
This Scarborough neighbourhood is also home to D.B.S. Jeyaraj, who left Sri Lanka in 1988 after being threatened by the government for being sympathetic to the Tigers. Jeyaraj spent a year at Harvard University as a Neiman Fellow in journalism before coming to Canada in 1989.
I meet him on a lazy, hot, July afternoon in 2006 at a Coffee Time outlet in a local mall. We talk for three hours. For someone who has endured such a brutal beating, there is a softness to him I do not expect. I also don`t anticipate his intense emotional attachment to Tamil nationalism, which he describes as ?reactive, not proactive. If the Sinhala majority had not tried to thrust certain things down, Tamils would have been very docile.? He says he`d always planned to return to his homeland, and at the end of the Neiman Fellowship he contacted the editor of a Sri Lankan paper he had worked for. ?We have enough corpses here,? the editor told him. ?We don`t want another one. Don`t come now.?
Starting Muncharie after the beating was his way to respond to the Tamil community`s need to know what was happening in Sri Lanka ? many who came to Canada after 1983 spoke only Tamil. ?Since I was supportive of the Tamil struggle, there were many articles I wrote that would have been interpreted as pro- LTTE,? he says. ?I was sympathetic to the LTTE, but not with these fellows,? distinguishing between Tiger leadership in Toronto and Sri Lanka. But in 1995, Jeyaraj criticized the Tigers in Sri Lanka for breaking away from peace talks, saying so openly on Tamil Osai (Sound), a local radio station. ?That created pandemonium within Tamil circles here,? he says. His friends in the World Tamil Movement, a Tiger front, were upset with him, yet he still wanted to publish his radio talk in Muncharie. His friends suggested he had better print a softer version, advice he ultimately rejected. ?Something snapped,? he explains. ?I said this, this is what I feel. Why should I cut it?? The article was one of many critiques Jeyaraj penned. Among them: describing the Tigers as a ?neofascist intolerant organization claiming to fight for the Tamil cause?; writing about the murderous expulsion of Muslims from northern Sri Lanka; and criticizing their tactics of child recruitment and suicide bombers.
Over coffee Jeyaraj also talks about the solitude that comes with speak-your-mind journalism. ?It`s a long, hard, narrow journey,? he says. ?At the end of it, all you have are your very close relatives and a few close friends.? Criticizing the Tigers certainly has cost him friendships. On many occasions people he knows turn and walk in another direction when they see him. ?Within the Tamil diaspor…
…..the powers that be are the LTTE,? he says. That?s because in 1986 the LTTE began eliminating other militant Tamil factions that had also formed to stand up to the Sinhala state. They massacred Tamils who did not support them, emerging as sole representatives of the Tamils. There was no one else for the diaspora to support, and if they tried to, the kind of intimidation Jeyaraj experienced would follow. As a result, most Tamil-language papers in Canada ignore the diversity of Tamils and the pluralistic views of the diaspora.
Jeyaraj goes on to tell me about the current fighting in northeast Sri Lanka. ?You cannot underestimate the impact of the Mahinda Rajapakse phenomenon on the Tamils,? he says, referring to the hard-line tactics of Sri Lankan President Rajapakse against Tamil civilians, who are suffering because of the bloody fight between the government and the equally hard-line Tigers. Jeyaraj openly admits to being unsure of how to respond, of what to write. He describes the mental agony of going against the Tigers: ?Am I doing wrong? Okay, they may have made a mistake in intimidating me, but I?ll be doing something wrong if I go against them. After all, they?re fighting for us.? As I listen, he looks up, often, wary of any Tamils wandering into the coffee shop. At one point, a young Sri Lankan man sits at the next table. Jeyaraj stops talking and suggests we grab a bite to eat in the food court, where he continues to criticize the Tigers.
In 2000, he tells me, Anton Balasingham, right-hand man of Tiger leader Prabhakaran, called Jeyaraj from London. He told Jeyaraj that he had come to accept some of his criticisms. Now, said Balasingham, he wanted Jeyaraj?s help in steering the Tiger organization away from the hardliners. Jeyaraj agreed to assist, and began writing articles demanding the Sri Lankan government negotiate with the Tigers.
?As a human being,? Jeyaraj explains as we sit at an isolated table in the food court, ?I felt flattered that, after all these attacks on me, they were now coming to me for some kind of help.? Balasingham was convincing, he says, sympathetic to the recent deaths of Jeyaraj?s parents, but also emotionally manipulative. According to Jeyaraj, Balasingham said, ?Our people need peace in a settlement. Help me to fight the demons within the movement, and I will slowly persuade Mr. Prabhakaran.? For the first time, the Tamil Guardian, a Tiger paper published in the U.K., reproduced Jeyaraj?s articles critical of the government. But by 2002 Balasingham no longer accepted phone calls from him and Jeyaraj finally realized he had been seduced and co-opted. ?I?ve now lost all faith in the LTTE,? he tells me. ?The brief period that I thought the LTTE was capable of transforming and coming into the peace process is gone. The justice of the Tamil cause is being diluted, undermined and distorted because of LTTE methods.?
Our conversation over, we leave the mall together. I had no way of knowing it would be our last meeting. Since then he has been elusive, at first responding to my emails and calls, agreeing to interviews, then cancelling. Then nothing.
When I think back on our conversations, I remain puzzled by his murkiness. He seems to make a distinction between the Tigers and their methods. It is as though he sees the Tigers as a delinquent band of brothers-in-arms who have the right idea ? Tamil nationalism ? but the wrong plan of attack. In December 2006 the man who told me he had ?lost all faith in the LTTE? wrote articles that betrayed a tacit respect and admiration for the Tigers?s military prowess. And when Balasingham died the same month, he wrote articles glorifying the man?s intellect and life?s work, even though he was a diplomatic face who provided theoretical justification for murder. I have no sympathies with the Tigers, a view that came across in the questions I asked Jeyaraj at the mall. After returning home, he must have decided he wanted no more part of an article written by someone who wasn?t as torn as he was.
Jeyaraj is emblematic of the complexity of the Tamil diaspora.