Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Remembering ‘Tharaki’ on the 17th anniversary of his assassination

Journalist and a leading Tamil intellectual Dharmaratnam Sivaram who was also known as Tharaki was abducted and shot dead in Colombo on the night of April 28, 2005. The assassins had dumped his lifeless body near the ‘Kimbula Ela’ near Parliament. Sivaram was born in Batticaloa on August 11, 1959.

Sivaram had succeeded in bringing the Tamil struggle into the light in a world dominated by big media. This was a sensational achievement in a world dominated by media spin, where the voice of the oppressed had no chance of being heard.

It was a special sadness because Sivaram was at the peak of his powers and surging forward with all aspects of his work. He combined the exceptional analytical skills, lucid writing, acute understanding of media, a deep grasp of the cultural base of the oppressed Tamils to whom he was giving voice, understanding of economic, political, and military forces at play in the world, together with a familiarity of the technical possibilities offered by new media like the Internet.

He made an incalculable contribution to the success of the website Tamilnet. This website is a model for all oppressed people in the world. His work had many facets. His weekly column in the Sri Lankan mainstream daily English newspaper The Daily Mirror, had, like its editor said, a massive following. He was one of the best military analysts in the world. Most of his articles were miniature classics, profound but written simply and lucidly.

The fact is that in recent times there have been very few pioneering intellectuals in Sri Lanka who can match Sivaram in the fields of politics, strategic studies, and geopolitics, as well as Western philosophy, sociology and literature, and history and the Tamil language.

Here is the song composed and sung by Jayatilake Bandara at a Sivaram commemoration.

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