Oct 19, 2017

‘Any National Question anywhere is NOT primarily about discrimination’

Any National Question anywhere (e.g. Quebec, Catalonia, Kurdistan) is NOT primarily about discrimination, says Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka.

If it were, the struggle would be for equal rights and integration, as was the Civil Rights movement of the US Blacks, he says.

In his ‘Daily Mirror’ column, Dr. Jayatilleka takes up remarks made by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara, who has asked “Simply show us how the Tamils are being discriminated against and where.”

In his response, Dr. Jayatilleka says, “So if Admiral Weerasekara wants to fight against Tamil secession or federalism or even autonomy of any sort within a unitary state, he must know what he is fighting against.”  

“The basic point is that communities that collectively perceive themselves a nation or a nationality or a distinct people, ask for autonomy or self-determination in the geographic area that they form a compact mass and are in a majority. That may not be a good thing, and I think it is not in most cases except in those of colonial/foreign occupation (e.g. Palestine), but that’s beside the point. The issue is that the question of autonomy or self-rule is rooted in a geographic area and not defined by the percentage of people of that ethnicity who live outside the area. That is the National Question or the Nationalities Question or the Ethno-national Question.”

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