Friday, December 14, 2007

Uncertain Fate of the Tamil Speaking People in Sri Lanka

November month ended leaving us all with a lingering image of a pretty young Tamil girl blowing herself up, rising the level of unease and despondency among the Tamil Expatriate communities. This is mainly due to (1) the ridiculous captions and commentaries attached by the international media, (2) the propaganda value the Sri Lankan state was extracting from this macabre-show, (3) by the all too public return of assassination politics of the LTTE, and above all (4) the thought that she could have been one our own child, if we hadn’t settled in London, Paris, or anywhere else, other than the killing fields of our homelands.

Opinions differ about suicide-bombers as a weapon; sometimes as weapon of mass destruction, but coupled to assassination politics its use becomes totally reprehensible, irrespective of the provoking circumstances. Assassinations and eradication of Tamil groups have not served the LTTE any favours, nor has it proved to be the way to bring the Tamil national movement to focus, giving a direction and a sense of purpose. This futile strategy may have seen off other groups in the turf-war, but the large portion of the turf has been lost to the Sinhala state, may be permanently.

The same action against the Sinhala leaders only resulted in Sinhaese installing a family in similar vein of thoughts to power to the Sinhala state, the Rajapakses. It is ironic that today the fiercest opposition LTTE faces are from its former comrades in arms and supporters, who were eliminating or justifying the elimination of ‘traitors’ then, and now plying their trade on behalf of the Sinhala state. Neither the appeal from the most ardent supporters of the Tamil course, nor the counter productive results; loss of human resources, i.e. the basic strength, international tide against the movement, alienation of the people away from cause has persuaded the LTTE leadership to desist, and real patriots are left with merely a thought: if only?

India trains and arms the Sri Lankan security forces, and if these are construed as support for the Sri Lankan state one cannot dispute it. The fact India opposes the LTTE’s claim for sole-representation is also noted here. And if the military support it provides were to be exaggerated and extended by other interested parties and the Sri Lankan government, it shouldn’t be a surprise to India.


Now, commenting on the mind of a suicide bomber is far too complex a study, only who pretend can add words to such an extreme form of self-sacrifice. Yet, they are not new phenomena. The Japanese used them as legitimate weapons in the WWII, and the Lebanese against the Americans recently, and Afghanistan, Iraq and now, Pakistan have become countries of ‘martyrs’. Still it raises high degree of alarm among all of us, and we know and feel something is not right with this practice as a whole.

Perhaps, it is our humanity and our incapacity to stop its degradation, which is bothering us more than watching the act on the screens. It is the shock and the knots in the stomachs and the subconscious guilt, which prompt us with a gut-reaction to say that they are brainwashed. If such brain washing is possible in our 21st Century globalising world then the conditions, the despair and distrust, must be more in question. As for our relatives, the despair comes from their distrust of the state, which has mutilated them as communities, forever endeavouring to demean them as a people, and worse, it is still recognised and allowed to impose its Sinhala-will on them by shear brutality bordering genocide, strangely for them with the support of the ‘International Community’, their war-torn surroundings, and their bleak view of a future as individuals and community.

Old beginning

The week also saw the much-waited speech by the leader of the LTTE, Mr. V. Piarabakaran. Much of the text was similar to those in the recent past with the calls to arms and ‘declaration of war’ of sorts against Sri Lanka, and subliminal threat against persons if pushed further into corner. Yet, it was widely seen more as a political and ‘moderate’ speech with more emphasis on the role for the Expatriate communities.

May be the LTTE is coming to the view that what could be achieved by military means have already been achieved. No one can deny its military drive in the 90s, which brought the MOU, its greatest achievement. Though MOU is not a binding treaty it did accept the existence of an alternative power within the island, a form of shared ‘sovereignty’. The sovereignty the underdeveloped small nation-states such as Sri Lanka thrill about amounts to nothing more than the power to control their own ‘citizens’ use the state apparatuses or conduct wars against one section. It is possible the LTTE has understood the need to translate its military prowess into to tangible political processes and institutions. Even for the negative references to the Indo-Lanka Accord, that fact it was referred is interesting, as it is the only piece of political change to the nature of Sinhala state the twenty-five years of civil war has brought.

If this is the LTTE’s way to put a feeler towards India, we feel a good opportunity has been missed. We are not referring to the misreading of Indian intentions as ‘expansionists’ within the speech, but to the real and practical experiences LTTE has had on the ground and its non-existing relationship with the International community. It is this inability or reluctance to read into these realities that is worrying.

It is reasonable to assert that without the tacit Indian government’s consent the military drive against the LTTE, particularly in the East would not have been possible. India trains and arms the Sri Lankan security forces, and if these are construed as support for the Sri Lankan state one cannot dispute it. The fact India opposes the LTTE’s claim for sole-representation is also noted here. And if the military support it provides were to be exaggerated and extended by other interested parties and the Sri Lankan government, it shouldn’t be a surprise to India.

The broken relationship between the LTTE and the International community and the overt support for the Government’s military efforts is giving an impression that many of these countries consider the LTTE as part of the problem and willing to look at the post-LTTE scenario. This spun-out image has given carte-blanche to the Rajapakses and they are willing to take the gamble to force a Sinhala solution to the ethnic crisis through a military solution. Sinhala solution is an ideology put in place by the chauvinists as soon as the island became ‘independent’ to ensure the island is only for the Sinhalese. Colonisation schemes, which had to be pushed through many difficulties, are now forwarded with great pace using the military victories against the LTTE. Now the Sinhala state can clear Tamils from their homes and lands from large regions at will, making them into so called ‘military’ or ‘economic’ zones to bring Sinhala colonisations deep into Tamil homelands. Tamils in the North and East live in refugee-status and the East is a vast refugee camp, and the laws enacted in a Sinhala parliament are being used to confiscate and appropriate Tamils’ historical and personal possessions irrecoverably. One cannot draw a better picture than a parallel with the embattled people of Palestine. The ‘International community’ has done nothing to arrest this course, except for few words expressing concerns for human rights. Yet, it has time to condemn LTTE’s atrocities and add more words to blame it for the impasse and its intransigence. Violation of all forms of rights is committed with impunity by the state but the Co-chair does nothing; Japan keeps on funding the government project, many others still furnishing the state’s forces. Then what can one expect from the ‘International community’, which watched the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda while militarily stationed there as observers and peace monitors, and still cannot gear up to prevent the destruction of the entire population in Darfoor, Sudan? But, what do all these experiences tell the LTTE and the Tamils?

India help

Those who believe India will have the final say on the fate of the Eelam Tamils have been pleading and proposing for help, which is obviously not forthcoming. Great deal of arguments has been poured into years of discussion documents, but we dare not ask ourselves one brutal question. That is, “Why couldn’t the Indian policy makers, especially those in the north allow the Sinhala solution for the island?”

Purely rationally speaking, “Wouldn’t that, though may be crude and inhumane to Indian norms, solve India’s security worries on its southern flank permanently?” “Wouldn’t it be easier for the Indian strategists to deal with the turmoil in the island within one ‘race’ than the cycle of rebellion by the Tamils against the Sinhala state and creating perturbation among its own Tamil population? Instead we keep asking, “Why do they arm our enemies?” Some of us very swiftly come to the conclusion that India has ulterior motives and betraying our course. This form of self-indulgent and simple reasoning is founded on the beliefs that India would not allow the unthinkable and there is always Tamil Nadu to raise the issue at the centre.

Those who can move on with some confidence away from the possible brutal scenario painted above, the natural and rational follow up questions would be about self-preservation and possible engagement with India. Here we need not worry or waste words about how noble the Indian intentions are and how bad they are at foreign policy.

After twenty-five years of deaths, destruction and mayhem we should have realised noble causes do not have divine right to succeed. And if the ‘noble’ courses are in disarray because of wrong decisions and actions of the organisations at the helm, what can one do? Even for that, we should have understood that nothing comes our way because of our pain and endurance level, even if our course is ‘right’. It is time we should come off our phoney high horses to address the real issues. May be we can go one better and bury our heads in the sand like ostrich and pretend nothing has changed, our noble course is still in pristine condition, India and the entire world has gone mad and the realities are exactly what we want to imagine. Our peoples’ struggle has been taken through Pan-Tamilisation and Internationalisation, but their stock has gotten worse, not better.

There is no one among us who will deny that without the assistance from the India and Tamil Nadu, our struggle could not have even started, scaled the International stage as it has done. It is also true without the grit and bravery of the LTTE under the genius military mind of V. Pirabakaran the ‘war’ against the state would not have scaled the height it did.

Do we really have to decide on the emotional issue whether India is a friend or foe? To deny that any power can be devoid of ulterior motives would be na├»ve to say the least. Of course, India and every other country have ulterior motives when dealing with any issue that is why they all have ‘policies’. Are we misreading India’s ‘ulterior motives’ for regional security and socio-political stability as expansionist designs? Perhaps most of us do, because of the relationship between the LTTE and India, and the high-handed way India had intervened in our affairs. We forever find it difficult to approach this question, as we become emotionally entangled with the IPKF atrocities in the Northeast and the murder of Rajiv Gandhi. We lose our bearings and focus on our peoples’ welfare and our deductive powers desert us. We find ourselves separated into groups, according to undying loyalty, and labelled as agents and puritans. We should be more practical in our approach to India with our needs on one hand and a clear knowledge of its expectations from us. We should avoid the customary demand for support and assistance; with doubts and emotional apprehensions believing it is against many of our expectations. How can we tie these two contrary positions together? Consider this. When we ask a stranger for help we expect to pay back with interest. If that were a foe we would have to return it in kind. If that were our friend we would have none of these qualms in our mind. Why, because we will always have a healthy respect towards a friend.

There is no one among us who will deny that without the assistance from the India and Tamil Nadu, our struggle could not have even started, scaled the International stage as it has done. It is also true without the grit and bravery of the LTTE under the genius military mind of V. Pirabakaran the ‘war’ against the state would not have scaled the height it did. It is equally true by forcing the Indo-Lanka Accord on Sri Lanka as much Tamils; India is in a quandary.

But, this is 20-year-old history and, the regional and global positions of India have gone through a sea of change. Instead of just one interested party in our affairs, India, we have many, none of them seriously. It is only the emotions between antagonists remain the same. The conditions that are dictating terms on the fate of our people are no longer the military skills, but resources of men & material, with little prospect of improvement. Fighting against all odds may have become a routine for the LTTE, but the people, even its own supporters, do not have the protection it was promised. Perhaps, the genocidal war against the Tamils propagandised as fighting the ‘terrorists’ might leave the LTTE in tact, but the Tamil speaking people, have less confidence about their own survival.

Globalisation argues regional settlements

The cold war era dictated the regional powers into interventionist policies, which they have to circumnavigate as the wind of changes began to blow through the fields of ‘socialism’. The end of cold war and the defeat of the Soviet ideology at the hand of capitalism in partnership with liberal democracy meant a new dawn. An opportunity provided by the expansion in the global socio-economic relations, the impact of which had been not foreseen by many countries. It is a great boon, feel most among the developing nations as it spells prosperity and possible end to those old colonial issues. Therefore, interventions and destabilisation as strategy and tactics were out and cooperation among the neighbourhood nations became the key policy focus.

The terms regional or global power have acquired completely new dimensions, socio-economic edge and empowerment. It not surprising caught in these tumultuous changes, national liberation struggles encouraged during the cold war era have taken a battering beyond endurance. These fundamental changes demand the leaders of these movements for newer perspective and modulation of political aspirations in phase with the changes. Difficult questions have to be asked and answered. If a separate state seemed the only alternative to eternal suffering at the hands of greater-nationalists or chauvinists, what would suffice now? If a protracted war against an oppressive state is the only means of survival then how do we translate it in action now?

The Provisional Irish Republican Army, the IRA and its political wing Sin Fein understood these possibilities and settled its account with the ‘British Imperialists’. Today we see its leaders working together with their nemesis, Rev. Ian Paisley. One can point out the contrasting disparity in every social indicator between a first world and under developed regions.


Globalising world or what, every community has the right to defend to preserve themselves as people. This fundamental right goes before the arguments about nationhood and right-to-self-determination. No power, regional or global can dispute that inalienable right of the human beings, who bind themselves through history and linguistic development as a closely-knit unit. Equally no group of people, nation or country, have the right to assume that they are an island in the modern world but people with regional and global responsibilities. Regionally, to those in the neighbourhood and immediately next, including to those with whom they have their historical conflict. Globally, to the general principles and conducts to the common norms that provide the structure for everyone’s safety and socio-economical welfare. This is how sovereignty and right-to-self-determination are realised and not in terms of some arcane absolute concepts, which cannot be guaranteed. The established states find their place in these newer arrangements by holding on to their ‘sovereignty’ until they can exchange for economic or social prosperity. What then of the national liberation movements? Aren’t they really disadvantaged in this respect, because they haven’t the established ‘sovereign’ nations? The fact that they are fighting and it is a legitimate fight for the self-preservation of a people, and in possession of legitimacy from the people give them the ‘sovereignty’ which are perfectly exchangeable for the same values within a regional settlement.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army, the IRA and its political wing Sin Fein understood these possibilities and settled its account with the ‘British Imperialists’. Today we see its leaders working together with their nemesis, Rev. Ian Paisley. One can point out the contrasting disparity in every social indicator between a first world and under developed regions. In my last paper (No 2477) published in saag.org we did acknowledge this point through India-to-neighbourhood and China-to-neighbourhood socio-economic indicators and discounted the possibility of direct interventions. Then what does a regional settlement in the South Asian context mean?

It means many things, each according to their own zonal differences. If it is Myanmar, then it would be an understanding between its giant neighbours and others on its borders together with the warring armies and political parties. An understanding how to bring about the socio-political changes that can guarantee the economic changes the vast majority yearn for, without too much upheaval and bloodshed. It is also an unwritten agreement that satisfy the security and strategic implications for India and China. And the same can be repeated for Nepal except here India’s concern and its role are priorities.

As for Ceylon can only be a Tripartite-agreement between India, Sri Lanka and the Tamil-speaking minorities. India as the regional power and with historical relationship with the islanders, the only ‘outsider’ if you will whose concern is pivotal. Again it would be an understanding based on self-interests as much as responsibilities to the regional security and stability, with the socio-economic prosperity of the region as priority. The question isn’t how do we translate these into legal jargons and treaties. It is how much are we prepared to give-up and give-in to each other for the want of peace and prosperity for the benefit of all our people in the region.

(http://lankaguardian.blogspot.com)

Few LTTE Camps Located in Tamil Nadu – Swamy

DMK government is aiding the LTTE - Swamy

Let not Tamil Nadu be another Kashmir - Swamy


Well known political party in Tamil Nadu , the Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has said the DMK- led government in Tamilnadu should be dismissed and President’s rule be imposed in order to ensure that the State does not become another Kashmir.

In a statement in Chennai on Thursday, Swamy said AIADMK general secretary Jayalalitha’s statement that the ‘DMK government is aiding the LTTE’ was true.

He stated that police sources had told him that they had discovered an LTTE camp in the forest area near Theni and arrested members of the banned organisation.

But they were released soon after on orders from the Chief Minister’s office.Swamy further said LTTE personnel, in order to escape from police scrutiny, were flying the DMK’s party flag on their cars