Thursday, 28 May 2009

Bringing Foreign Wars To Canada's Shores Is Part Of The Cultural Mosaic (and don't act like you didn't see it coming).

Canada is no longer perceived as a country having been reshaped into the world's suburb, a "nation of nations". It should come to no surprise when conflicts in foreign lands between warring ethnic or national tribes finds its way here. The myriad of ethnic and national colonies, what we euphemistically refer to as "communities" or "enclaves", that have taken root on Canadian soil are more or less land claims by foreign nationals of Canadian soil and thus de facto extensions of foreign national territories into Canada.

Also, since multiculturalism has killed the Canadian (because the Canadian is an enemy to multiculturalism since it would mean that there is something to assimilate into and distinguish who is and who isn't a Canadian) Canada has lost a means to unite disparate people into a singular national identity that will hopefully do away with past ethnic grievances since one is born anew, if you will, by becoming Canadian.

Being Canadian has now been reduced to citizenship claims, entitlements, and acts of civic responsibility. It is no longer a national character. This way one can call himself or herself a Canadian without actually being one. Calling oneself a Canadian is telling someone what part of the world you live in and not necessarily who you are. If you call yourself a Chinese-Canadian you are saying that you are Chinese who lives in Canada. If you call yourself an Italian-Canadian you are saying you are Italian and live in Canada.

The multicultural model does not ameliorate ethnic, racial, or national relations. It can make things worse by nurturing grievances even to future generations. With a weakened or destroyed national identity Canada is raising a generation of citizens who identify with a particular ethnic tribe and their ancestral homeland creating solidarity with the members of the tribe at the expense of fostering unity with fellow nationals.

Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Sinhalese call themselves Canadian yet are at odds over a conflict in a country they left. If they truly were Canadians then there should be no animosity because their adopted Canadian identity should unite them. Yet that is not the case and that's because they are not Canadians just citizens of Canada. They are Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Sinhalese living in Canada and both groups identify with a culture and people in another country. They live in the established Sri Lankan Tamil and Sri Lankan Sinhalese colonies of Canada, de facto territorial extensions of Sri Lanka, and what happens in Sri Lanka inevitable makes its way here.

The multicultural harmony of Toronto is superficial. Just because people are not at each other's throats doesn't mean they get along. There are no bridges between the Jamaican community and the Chinese community, the Indian community and the Ukrainian community, the Italian community and the Somali community, the Muslim community and the Gay community. These communities do not care to live with each other. So long as "the other" stays on their side of the fence then every thing is all right and it seems that's how it is preferred since there is no Canadian identity to unite them nor is one wanted.

Civil wars never end, they just move to Canada

How the conflicts of the 21st century are being waged by other means right here in the mosaic
May 23, 2009 04:30 AM
Olivia Ward
Foreign Affairs reporter


Toronto's recent Tamil demonstrations, protesting the killing of civilians in a Sri Lankan military operation against the Tamil Tigers, ignited new controversy over the limit to which diasporas can continue their struggles in Canada. The burning of a mainly Sinhalese Buddhist temple sparked fearful and furious reactions from those who declared that "foreign conflicts" had no place here.

The media, too, have been caught up, as cyberspace sizzles with angry diatribes from both sides.

The Sri Lankan conflict is not unique. As electronic communication burgeons, so have journalists' email baskets and Twitter lists, overflowing with complaints or entreaties from pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups, Serbian and Kosovar exiles, Iranian dissidents and advocates for Armenia, Tibet, Burma, Afghanistan, Somalia, Darfur and Haiti – to name a few.

While some diasporas have been actively engaged in reconstruction, development and peace-making in their original countries, others are more hardline than the people they left behind, and the polarized debates they arouse make it more difficult to find accommodation or peace.

"Politics these days is often acted out by populations who are geographically removed from the sites of conflict," notes a paper by Camilla Orjuela of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. "But although politics is to a large extent `deterritorialized' – it can be carried out (no matter) where you are – it has not ceased to be about territory."

link

10 comments:

Sunil said...

I do not see what Sinhalese have done to be also blamed (as is always the case) for the actions of Tamils with regards to their violence.

Sinhalese in Canada are not attacking Tamils, nor are Sinhalese attacking Tamils in other Western countries -yet we are branded as "bringing our wars to the West", when Sinhalese are not doing any such thing.

What Tamils, and Tamil "stuff" (buildings, property etc) in the West have been targeting by Sinhalese??

Tamils have held dozens of protests everywhere in the West. We have not interrupted them or threatened them

When Sinhalese held a counter protest in Australia (asking Australia to ban the LTTE and stop LTTE activities -not Tamils), the Tamils came in cars (even though the police told them not to) and disrupted the protest. They then attacked 50 Sinhalese after the protest (picking them off when they went home and were by themselves etc).

A charity event in France run by Sinhalese to help war displaced (the Tamils) was almost attacked by Tamils in France. Thankfully the French police stopped a suspicious car circling the event location and upon inspecting it found weapons (knives, machetes, batons, bricks even etc).

PaxCanadiana said...

I do not see what Sinhalese have done to be also blamed...It wasn't blaming the Sinhalese for anything. You are right. Sinhalese Canadians have been passive during the civil war and it is the Tamils who are pushing Canada to get involved.

I used the situation in Sri Lanka to illustrate the negative consequences of encouraging immigrants to retain their cultural identity and allegiances over assimilating and effectively being "born again" by becoming Canadian. This has the power of uniting people and letting them start anew by adopting a new national identity however the multicultural model doesn't allow for that and the problems are predictable and have become obvious.

I used the Sri Lankan situation since it is fresh in everyone's minds but I am aware of past examples where communities were at odds with each other over foreign grievances while calling themselves Canadian at the same time. If these people were not just Canadian in citizenship then there should be no animosity.

To be clear I take no side in the Sri Lankan conflict. I, and I am sure most Canadians as well, would be irate with any foreign power interring with the Canadian political landscape. In all frankness I find myself irritated with the Sri Lankan government and fault it with creating the environment in which a separatist war could ignite. In other words I do acknowledge the grievances Sri Lanka's Tamils harbour. But that's something for Sri Lankans to settle not Canadians.

Sunil said...

<<"In other words I do acknowledge the grievances Sri Lanka's Tamils harbour">>

And what are those "grievances" do you know them?

<<"I find myself irritated with the Sri Lankan government and fault it with creating the environment in which a separatist war could ignite">>>

You clearly to not understand the underlying causes of this. There was nothing SL Government could have done to stop this other than subject the Sinhala Buddhists to an apartheid regime, where Tamils rule all. Sorry that was not going to happen and will not happen.

Sunil said...

Tamils were imported to Sri Lanka by first the Dutch to cultivate tobacco -settled them in the Wanni

Then the British imported them as coolie force, to pluck tea as well as military tool to crush Sinhalese with during the massacre of 1848, which saw Sinhalese cleared out (200,000 murdered) of Kandy, homes destroyed, paddi fields turned to swamps and converted into tea plantations(now our people starve). Tamils who fought for the British were settled in the East, thats how the East became a "traditional Tamil homeland". The million imported to pluck tea were put in the Central province on the land inhabited by the Sinhalese prior to the massacre.

The British rewarded the Tamils servitude with potions of power and wealth. They brought in millions from India because of their sub-servant nature to the British as a way of altering ethnic ratios. They created this "minority" to do their bidding.

Sinhala culture and language were surprised, our philosophy banned, our heritage and culture almost successfully replaced (thankfully we resisted).

When Independence came the British system of favouritism and buttressing Tamils ahead for simply being Tamil calm to an end. Tamils no longer ran the Government (when they made up 10% of the population) or anything else for that matter. Of course the Tamils did not like this, they view Sinhalese as inferior (because Tamils were after all the Britishs "chosen ones") and the idea of being equal is something they cannot stomach. Their "grievances" or "discrimination" is the loss the system of privilege and dominance the British gave them.

My people after Independence in 1948 restored our rights, for as a nation 14 out of the 15 million Sinhalese live in Sri Lanka. That is not the case for Tamils as you and i both know. They are bloody everywhere in the millions.

Our civilisation, people and identity formed here and there is plenty of archaeological proof to back it up, nothing of the sort for Tamils to claim SL as a homeland.

In your previous blog post someone has put the statistics of what Tamils held in 1981- hardly "discrimination" or "grievance" to warrant war and domination of Sinhalese (something they in fact advocated way back in 1948).

For many Tamils, complaining about Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese by using the "minority" card opened doors for, enabled access to economically better of Western countries as well as the ability to project themselves as the perpetual victim, never do they take responsibility for their actions or express guilt or sorrow.

They tried to subjugate the Sinhala people and it blew up in their face, of course it doesn't mean they will not stop trying nor stop exploiting the Sinhala people.

They tried their separatist domination crap in India and Malaysia to only be beaten down by the North Indians and the Malays back in the political agitations campaigns in the 1950s and 1960s -where they provoke the majority populations in hope of retaliation. Sinhalese never stopped them in the political agitation campaigns they carried out here during the 50s and 60s, which is what emboldened them to resort to the next level -the military stage. Setting up diasporas is part of that.

Sunil said...

To conclude that rant all i can say is: watch out Canada, you have failed to stop them in the political agitation stage and demonstrated tremondous weakness (under the guise of "freedom of expression" my people fell for the same trap, see where it took us). The next stage will come to you soon, better be ready.

PaxCanadiana said...

And what are those "grievances" do you know them?

The grievances that the LTTE capitalized on to curry Tamil support. Do you think that if the Tamils were well treated in Sri Lanka's post colonial history that the LTTE would have gotten any where? There would have been no wind in their sails.

But I'm sure you've read my blog entry about why I don't think Canada should be accepting Tamils as refugees. There may have been problems in the past but I think Sri Lanka is past that and now there is something workable for them in the country. Tamils need to grow and stop fixating on perceived past injustices and work with the Sinhalese instead of resurrecting the 1983 Colombo riots.

You clearly to not understand the underlying causes of this.

I'm not going to pretend to either.

I am aware, and this is from impartial commentary and not Tamil propaganda, that the Sinhalese post independence restoration of their "rightful place" involved Tamil oppression to some degree or another, a kind of "getting even" after decades of British Tamil favourtism. Were this not so I don't see how the LTTE could have received the kind of support it needed to organize and survive to the extent that it did.

Tamils were imported to Sri Lanka by first the Dutch to cultivate tobacco -settled them in the Wanni

Then the British imported them as coolie force...


I have heard this account of Sri Lanka's history before so I am familiar with it. But what does focusing on the past going to do for Sri Lanka in 2009? Sri Lankan Sinhalese have a right to protect their culture, history, and language. But what about the millions of Tamils who are Sri Lankan citizens? What's to be done with them?

I do believe the "oppression" described by Sri Lankan Tamils were over exaggerated to get into Canada. I do believe they exploited the refugee system for immigration purposes. But my irritation with them over this isn't going to cause me to celebrate the Sinhalese side and take Sinhalese interpretation of events at face value.

I am neutral and I think you'd be irritated with me if I started to stick my nose into Sri Lanka's internal affairs much like Canadians are bothered when France shows favourtism to Quebec or when Sri Lankan Tamils demonstrate on Toronto's streets and obstruct traffic as a means to dictate Canada's foreign policy.

Sunil said...

Pax, i do not expect you to be Sinhala cheer leader, but i have to tell you that there is absolutely nothing more the Sinhalese could have done other than unquestionably subjugating ourselves to the Tamils. In fact they will not STFU till that is done. We have in the past given to many concessions which only emboldened them.

Admittedly I see your point of view (and frustrations if that is an acceptable term), over Sri Lanka "creating this" however I must reiterate there is nothing we could have done about it other than total subjugation and return to British/European inducted humiliation and suppression.

Tamils may have felt "marginalised" because the British provided privileges were over but that is not really our fault and to c+p what someone wrote earlier (and I have seen this many times before, stated by a bunch of Tamils in fact!) in 1981 Tamil population was 12-15%. In 1981 Tamils held 30% of Government jobs,30% of professional jobs,30% of top university positions(including 2 out of SLs 6 universities –at the time- were exclusively for Tamils) while all the time since even before Independence they screamed "discrimination" and beat war drums. So what kind of raw deal did they actually get?

Sunil said...

Just to say in 1959 (after the Language Act of 1956 which many Tamils complain about and spin with propaganda into "Sinhala Only Act")
Tamil was used as an administrative language in the Tamil "areas" as part of the 1959 Special Provisions Act.

Furthermore under the Special Provisions Act of 1959,Tamils were provided special rights such as Thesawalamai(Tamil) law, also stipulated only Tamils could buy land in Jaffna & were to be favoured ahead of non-Tamils for jobs etc.Settlement of non-Tamils in Jaffna was to be decided by Tamils.

They just latch onto some "grievance" and never let go of it.

Anyway today Thesawalamai(Tamil) law is still in practice. In the 1970s Tamils was made an Official Language (with Tamil still the Administrative Language of the North and East, so tough shit to any Sinhalese/non-Tamil speakers going there). We gave into their stupid demands (they were and still are unreasonable) and they just asked for more and more. The district council system had just been introduced (there was the much whined about devolution answered) but it turned into shit when they launched their armed struggle at the same time. Since then we gave them: provincial councils, then regional councils, then federal. Each time we offered something they killed us more and pushed further, now they have lost it all.

My point being they are not genuine. And I am really sick of the same old BS being slapped in my face, being branded the spawn of satan and goodness knows what else because Tamils refuse to speak the truth for once.

Thankfully now I finally do not need to worry (much) of my children being blown up in busses and trains and can for the first time in a long time travel my country without fear of marauding Tamils.

Anonymous said...

From Canada Free Press:

Holes in the multicultural quilt

By Klaus Rohrich
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The five-day blockade of one of Toronto’s major north-south thoroughfares and the threatened protest in Toronto by some 100,000 Tamils to stop the Sri Lankan government from definitively ending the Tamil insurrection in Sri Lanka is an example of just how terribly Canada’s official policy of multiculturalism has gone wrong. It seems that every week some rag tag bunch of hyphenated Canadians are marching up and down Toronto’s University Avenue to protest in front of the US consulate about something happening somewhere in the world; as if the US had any power to do anything about anything happening anywhere.

The problem with this big boarding house we know as Canada is that it is so devoid of any values that define us as a nation, that those who come here to rent rooms for a while wind up defining who we are by the struggles they support and the policies they oppose elsewhere.

There is nothing wrong with being an immigrant or with caring for what happens in the old country. But when individuals and groups within Canada define themselves as being “something-Canadian” that “something” precedes the word Canadian and emphasizes the other, rather than the Canadian.

One can’t really blame hyphenated Canadians for identifying more with their pre-hyphenated selves than their post hyphenated identities because this country has expressly encouraged them to cling to their ancestral roots, rather than become Canadian by stressing that what happens here is much more important to them than what’s happening in the old country.

If it weren’t for the official Canadian government policy of multiculturalism, then it’s very likely that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam would not have been able to raise millions of dollars here in Canada to support a terrorist insurrection in their homeland. In that sense Canada is complicit in prolonging the bloodshed in Sri Lanka.

Similarly, the internecine contretemps between various Indian factions might be better left at the border and possibly could have been, had the government of Canada encouraged immigrants of Indian origin to focus on becoming a part of Canada and leaving their disagreements at home. An official policy of adopting a predominant Canadian identity could very likely have prevented the Air India bombing of 1985 and thus spared 329 people a horrifying death. But, as they say, that’s all water under the bridge.

What Canada needs to do in order to survive with some semblance of identity is to encourage the assimilation of its immigrants into the community at large. Rather than pushing newcomers to Canada into becoming balkanized among the various ethnic ghettos found in Canada’s urban centers, they should be encouraged in the strongest possible form to learn one of Canada’s official languages and to assimilate into the overall culture.

Rather than form their own separate culture, as so many newcomers to Canada are in the habit of doing, immigrants could contribute to Canadian culture, so that it becomes more than American culture 2.1.

While the idea that Canada as a vast, inclusive cultural mosaic might have some poetic appeal, the reality is that that the mosaic is rapidly falling asunder. A trip through some of Canada’s “multicultural” urban ghettoes will quickly convince any skeptic looking for more than an exotic lunch that official multiculturalism is a huge, expensive and divisive mistake.

Original article

PaxCanadiana said...

Sunil:

You know more about the conflict than I do and I am not going to pretend that I do.

Your comments are appreciated. If anything I am more likely to believe you more than Tamils in Toronto who need to maintain a veneer of persecution to sustain their refugee status and import more Sri Lankan Tamils into Canada for political leverage. I have heard, albeit anecdotal, of a refugee scam by Sri Lankan Tamils who used the same story to get into Canada until Canada's border guards found it to be fraudulent in which case the story changed literally over night. But I will keep an open mind.

anon:

Thanks for the link. Interesting read.