Tamil Nationalism becomes The Ethno-Suicide of Sri Lankan Tamils

by Sebastian Rasalingam

(June 05, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The German-Swedish academic Peter Shalk has come forward to present us "Quotes by Veluppillai Pirapakaram", in an article published in the Sri Lanka Guardian ( May 29, http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2008/05/ quotes-by-veluppillai-pirapakaran.html ). It is a known fact that Dr. Shalk has become totally mesmerized by the macabre madness of the "suicidal Black Tigers". So here we see him rehashing the words of Prabhakaran with the reverence of a true devotee. Shalk is not alone in getting religiously misled by the poisonous, violent mono-ethnic nationalism of Prabhakaran. Shalk should know all that from the National-Socialist mesmerism of the 1930s in Germany.

Shalk's Faustian preamble totally fails to reveal the ghoulish, sanguinary sadism of Prabakaran's words, and their terrible consequence on the Tamil people as well as on Muslims, Singhalese and others who have anything to do with Sr Lanka. V. Prabhakaran (VP)'s words reveal how a call for "self-determination for the Tamils" has transformed into its dialectical opposite. VP's talk of education and culture has ended in the suppression of Tamil freedom, killing of leading academics and the closure of schools and universities. His celebration of blood and death as the seed of Eelam for a pure Tamil land, and his celebration of the "unwavering aim for Eelam" and the consequent "short-lived cease fires" are seen as assets in the "Tamil struggle". This struggle is supposed to have arisen, (in the eyes of Shalk as well?) "to achieve violently a state formation as protection and last refuge from the Lankan Government's attacks".

Nothing is further from the truth. The Tamils now need more protection from the killing machines and extortion machines of VP- moe than from the official war machine. Let us look at the dialectical transformation of VP's program, and VP's words as presented by Peter Shalk.

VP's quotes contain several threads, all mixed up in a jumble of invocations. Let us re-order them and look at some representative quotes of VP:

"My spiritual aim is that my people should have calmness, peace and honour in their lives. We have sown a seed for the aim. For that (we) irrigate with the blood of our Great Heroes and raise (it). This seed having grown to a tree will make the dream of our Great Heroes true. I always give low value to talk; only after growing through action we should start talking. Power alone determines the present order of the world. Traitors are more dangerous than enemies."

Here we see how this blood-thirsty leader's thinking will, end the end, raise the need to eliminate "traitors". This is not novel thinking in ultra-nationalist circles.

This kind of fanatical thinking actually existed even in 1948, when S. J. V. Chelvanayakam (SJVC) declared that G. G. Ponnambalam (GGP) is a "traitor" to the Tamils, when GGP called for "responsible cooperation" with the Sinhalese. At that time the "Sinhala Only bill" and other objectionable legislation had NOT happened. The Tamils held a very powerful position in the government and all sectors of public life, commerce etc. And yet, the Ilankei Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK) of SJVC called for a separate state in the North and East for Tamils (Tamil Homelands). The "peaceful struggles" of the ITAK portrayed the Singhalese as invaders in the Tamil Homelands, just as the British were invaders in India. This political misrepresentation was sorely needed by the Karuvakaadu Tamils to maintain their position in the political field where the Tamils have been reduced to a minority. The intense political climate created by the ITAK and its Sinhala-Buddhist counterparts ensured that no type of accommodation, be it the Banda-Chelva pact, or the Chelva-Dudley pact, could be sold to the two ethnic groups. Far from creating bridges between the communities, the ITAK took every step possible to destroy even the existing bridges of understanding. It rejected the "Ceylonese" concept of the anglicized, non-nationalist Colombo class which included the Tamil Congress and the Senanayakes, and proposed a racist solution. As the post-1956 storms gathered, the ITAK went on organizing "harthals", civil disobedience, tar-brushing programs, printing its own postage stamps in the North etc. The ITAK oriented the Tamils for direct confrontation with the Sinhalese.

The Vaddukkodei resolutions of 1976 was simply the moment when a more militant restatement of the 1948 resolution of the ITAK became possible. Already Black July 13th had occurred with the killing of the "traitor" Dureiappah by VP and his gang of assassins. The blood-dripping approach of VP had got into full gear.

Sivakumaran was already a young armed militant who had the support of SJVC. It was Sivakumarn's cyanide-biting suicide after a bank robbery that gave ideas to VP. Let us look at the VP quote:

"The abandonment (from life) of Tilepan has dissolved the illusion of India (helping the Tamils) and awakened the national feeling for TamilIlam. The non-violent struggle of Annaai Poopati became the massive form of this national uprising."

Foreigners like Peter Shalk are not Hindu enough to realize that Tilepan was really a human offering carried out in front of a Hindu Temple. It was nowhere like the "fast unto death" theater of Mahatma Gandhi against the British. Indian leaders like Nehru and Patel who orchestrated the Gandhi fasts would never have allowed Gandhi to really die. But with Tilepan the decision had been taken by VP to sacrifice this human life. Before long, sacrifice of life for his political objective (dressed up as Eelam) becomes a dominant theme. The quotations mention the elevation of women to the same rank as men - they make equally good human sacrifices. The tradition of exploiting women is as old as history.

It is now an easy step to wager the whole Tamil people for the war. The children are the cheapest and most malleable. They can be trained from a young age to become brutal killers. Children become part of the military machine and cadets for Black Tigers. The Tamil people now become subject to a process of "paey-umital".

VP may play with religious symbols, but does NOT understand simple arithmetic. Here we have a minority, a mere 10% or less fighting a vast 75%. VP also bravely states "When I made the decision to confront the Indian Army I have not bothered on the chances of victory or defeat: I have only reflected whether we have the determination and bravery to take up this war. An ethnic community never gives up its aim and rights for the fear of possible defeat."

So we have a single-minded fanatical movement, having the duplicitous support of a largely disgruntled, hate-driven upper-caste Tamil diaspora, driving the poor Tamils of the Vanni to VP-driven ethnocide, by pitting itself against a relentless Sinhala majority and an Indian Goliath. Are "Eelam's Ilattamils" going to fight eternal Mavil Aru battles for water from the Central Hills? Is Eelam going to force the Wellavattai and Kottachennai Tamils to relocate? When Vadukkoddei talked of the "traditional Homelands" did they not immediately exclude the Hill-Country Tamils? The Eastern Tamils had realized, even in the days of Mr. Tambimuttu and GGP, that the Colombo Tamils regarded them as a lower class of Tamils. So this Eelam can be held together only by coercive force. David may have killed Goliath the champion of the Philistines, but where is the Temple of David today? Even if the Tamils win Eelam how long can they sustain it? USA may be there to keep Israel propped up, but there is no superpower to keep VP propped up.

Tamils need a new leadership. Tamils have to take back their political future that has been hijacked by a blood-thirsty desperado. They have to stop looking for a majoritarian solution to the problems of an ethnic minority. Much of our politics suffers from the fact that Tamils killed the liberalizing, secular movements like the Jaffna Youth Congress of the 1930s, and follow the caste written leadership of the Colombo Tamils. This degenerated into the ultra-nationalism of the ITAK and the virulence of VP. Now, most of our competent leaders have been assassinated as "traitors". However, a new leadership could arise around courageous men like Ananadasangaree, or the emerging leadership of Piliyan, Thondaman Jr, Mano Ganesan and others who have still to prove that they have the capacity to become statesmen. Or are they just political pygmies thrown onto the stage by the ebb and flow of events?

If the State were to unleash a terrible and direct assault on VP there would be much bloodshed, well relished by VP, even though many Vanni Tamils would be killed indiscriminately by the air raids and bombs. Such auto-ethnocide would even fit in with the mystical "Great-Hero" "thiyagi-of-life" concept of VP. Even if the government follows a policy of slow attrition, Tamils will continue to get eliminated, while the corresponding losses to the Sinhalese would be marginal (as it is a percentage effect). It is unlikely that the opportunities that presented itself to the Tamils under the Indian Intervention, or during the Chandrika-Thiruchelvam era, or during the Ranil-Solheim-VP cease-fire agreement would ever occur again. We forfeited all that for LTTE's big wager on Eelam. We crushed such attempts at political solutions by killing Rajeev Gandhi, killing Thiruchelvam, and crushing Ranil W at the hustings. Now the Tamil diaspora and the International community have to make amends by eliminating Prabhakaran, and empowering people like Ananadasangaree, so that the Tamils of Sri Lanka are saved from total ethno-suicide.
- Sri Lanka Guardian
Ellil said...

This guy is on crack. May be frustrated with unhappy life

Roshan2007 said...

looking at the bigger picture we Sri Lankans are going more and more towards this madness day by day. And the blame game get bigger and bigger. We had relative peace during ceasefire. then complain about it and wanted war. now war is getting intense then we blame more on terrorists. Where does it going to end.

Time to think. time to do some lateral thinking. See with peace even Pillian ( a former LTTE terrorists) visiting Dalada maligawa and getting blessed by monks.

Would anybody imagine this would happen when LTTE (Pillian was in LTTE) bombed Dalada Maligawa, that oneday that Pillian would be invited by Sinhalese to visit there.

So it is time to do some soul searching.