COLOMBO: US-based Sri Lankan writer and social activist, Ruvani Freeman aka Ru Freeman, has slammed Arundhati Roy for the strident pro-Tamil Tiger view that the Indian author-activist had projected in a recent syndicated article on the plight of the Tamil war refugees in the island country.
The young author of the still to be released novel A Disobedient Girl (Simon and Schuster and Viking) accused Roy of being both ill-informed and hypocritical in a statement issued through the Sri Lankan government on Thursday.
While agreeing that there had to be a “transparent and humanitarian” way to deal with people fleeing from the LTTE and reeling under misery, Freeman pointed out that Roy had failed to bring out the fact that these people had lost their children and family members to the LTTE, which had been indulging in forcible recruitment to its ranks. The government, she said, was “doing its best” to assist the civilians who had had to live for the past 25 years under the LTTE.
“What people who care about Sri Lanka ought to do, is to support the government in figuring out a way to provide for the civilians who have escaped from the LTTE-held areas, and, as quickly as possible, move them back to their homes. They should also participate in the reconstruction of the North and the rehabilitation of people who bear the psychological scars of decades of abuse and neglect,” Freeman suggested, in opposition to Roy’s confrontationist stance.
On Roy’s hypocricy, the Sri Lankan writer said: “Arundhati Roy is certainly an iconic presence in the progressive world I inhabit, but I am inherently suspicious about people who make public pronouncements but act differently in private. Her one visit to Sri Lanka was in the aftermath of the The God of Small Things when she stood on a podium in the British Council to scoff at the Booker.
I wonder, did she return the beaucoup bucks? If not, she is no better than Palin talking about refusing federal funds and then taking the hand out.”