The video that begins with the Sri Lankan air force bombing of Vanni shows people, including school children in white uniforms, huddling in bunkers. A few seconds’ later, people are seen pulling out dead bodies from amidst the destruction and the bloody images are interspersed with patients in hospitals lamenting their fate and bemoaning that if India forsakes them they have no option but to die en masse. The refrain is, “Can you hear their lament? Does their plight move you?’ A little later the voice-over states, “They are punished for the only reason that they are Tamils. They carry a cross because of their Tamil identity.” … “They are hounded because they are Tamils, because they have worked to uphold Tamil.”
The stress on the Tamil identity in the video seems to have an irresistible appeal to the Tamil media, and the popular Tamil magazines are lapping it up. As the English language press continues to warn the State government against extreme emotional reactions to the Sri Lankan Tamil issue and the situation there, the Tamil popular magazines in the State seem to have embarked on a mission to whip up emotions over the issue.
Even as The Hindu and The Times of India are into hard news reporting and reproducing the Sri Lankan Defence authorities figures of death toll in the North East of Sri Lanka and recounting how the Sri Lankan Army is almost poised to storm the last bastion of the Tigers, the Tamil press seem to be outdoing each other on presenting soft news stories on the ground situation in the North East of the island.
The neatly edited video is the latest weapon in the communication armoury. The pleas are phrased thus:
“They are seeking refuge in their motherland? Before being exterminated they are longing for a word in answer from their motherland.”
…“If you stretch your hands it should suffice, you will be able to hug us.”
… “They had their own life much like you.”
… “How long can your relatives go on like this?”
…“A request for them, a plea for them, a tear for them is expected of you.”
… “And who are they? Are they people in the African continent? No. They are in your neighbourhood, within earshot. They are your kin. They were people who lived in the hope that you were there to support them.” And it all ends with the question, “our Tamil kin, what are you going to do for them?”