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Anger and violence okay for Tamils but not for others -- UTHR

(July 17, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardain) The authors of UTHR boast that it “is always impeccable in citing due processes, principles, norms of conduct etc.” This implies that UTHR means to uphold the high moral principles in judging the conduct of all actors in the national crisis. But if UTHR is serious about this claim how can it twist and turn its arguments to justify the inhuman violence of the LTTE by blaming it on the Sri Lankan government – the cheapest trick in the book of all the fork-tongued Tamil intellectuals who are finding it increasingly difficult to justify the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Tigers though they are not averse to bask in the glory of political gains of Tamil Tiger violence if any should happen to come their way.

The incurable malaise of the Tamil intellectuals has been their failure to the grasp the moral dimensions of a crisis in which they continue to blame only one side (i.e., “the Sinhala-Buddhist state”) and not the other side (i.e., the northern racist Vellahala caste which openly declared war against the rest of the nation in the Vaddukoddai Resolution, 1976). Their moral, ideological and political tactic has been to drive hard the accusations against the Sinhala south withou taking any responsibility for the crimes emerging from the womb of Jaffna. One of their biggest industries was to manufacture numerous theories of victimology (aided and abetted by NGO pundits) to project themselves as the underdog to win the hearts and minds of the international community.

This tactic enabled them to deny any responsibility for “the narrow ideologies” and the violent turn of events that flowed from peninsular politics which culminated in the racist Vaddukoddai Resolution. The significance of the Vadukoddai Resolution is not only in the wording (all of which were endorsed by the bogus Gandhian, S. J. V. Chelvanayakam) but also in encapsulating the anti-Sinhala ideology that unleashed the subsequent violence against the nation. Sweeping under the carpet their responsibility in provoking, financing, directing, criminalizing inter-ethnic politics they assume, without any moral justification or credible historical evidence, that they alone are the pure, the noble and the saintly victims who should be rewarded with a separate paradise which should be given to them on a platter by the collective effort of the global community.

Besides, they proclaim proudly that they have already established a de-facto state with a judiciary, police, army, navy air force. But this is a state that has failed so far to provide a piece of bread, a drop of medicine, an education, social services or justice for that matter to “the prisoners” of Velupillai Prabhakaran’s one-man regime. Prabhakaran and his financial backers abroad can provide bullets, planes, guns, landmines – in short, all weapons needed to perpetuate a needless war -- except the essential requirements for day-to-day living, peace of mind and normalcy for the Tamils to live with some dignity. Those essentials have to be provided by the Sri Lankan Government and if there are any shortages they are blamed for that too. Like all political myths of the Tamils concocted to boost their racist politics and egos, they publicize the fake glory of running a state without having to fulfill the obligations of a state. The tendency of Tamils to believe in their political myths has been one of the primary causes of their misery. Only a gullible and desperate community of blinkered Tamil expats and intellectuals, refusing to accept responsibility for the collapse of the most sacred threads in their tradition, would hail its destroyer as their “Sun God”!

The slow but steady destruction of Tamil society has been documented by the authors of UTHR who, ironically, blame all the crimes committed by the fascist oppressive regime of Prabhakaran on the Sri Lankan government. Take a look at the list of miseries that bedevil “the prisoners” of Prabhakaran, as documented by UTHR:

· Life in the Vanni is something between outright fascist repression and a horrid joke gone too far. The LTTE used to be ambivalent about university ragging of the freshers during the 1980s. Sometimes they would oppose ragging, and at other times support it when students opposed to them were against it. Vanni is one gigantic rag.

· For some time after the outbreak of the current round of war in 2006, old men in their late sixties and mid seventies were forced to do home defence training. Men who could barely walk were forced to train, tottering in an attempt to run, carrying poles (made at their expense) as substitutes for guns. Standing continuously on guard duty was unbearable torture.

· An aspect of the militarisation and regimentation of life in the Vanni is that persons are allowed to work only if they have a card certifying that they had taken home-defence training. As most work is controlled by the LTTE, full salaries are paid only to those from martyrs’ families – i.e. ones where a member died fighting for the LTTE – the others get half salaries. All able males are forced to do border security duties five days a month or pay Rs. 5000 a month for exemption.

· Life is thus made almost unbearable for those who do not fall in line with the LTTE. For those who do not fully conform, it is very difficult to leave the Vanni even for urgent medical treatment. Consequently the extreme bitterness against the LTTE also expresses itself in willingness to act as saboteurs and to set off landmines provided by the Sri Lankan Army.

· Vanni is a place where there are intelligence units everywhere. (In other words, it’s a Stalinist gulag). There are intelligence units for education, for distribution of rations and supply, for agriculture, and for photography – all persons are photographed – besides the regular Pottu Amman’s intelligence. The Police do their own intelligence work.

· If people are heard complaining or saying something that hints at criticism of the regime, often a policemen would walk up to them, warn them not to walk abreast and that if they want to talk they could come to the police station and talk.

· There are hardly any services but mainly extortion. The LTTE has virtually taken over all enterprises except those of dhobis (washermen) and barbers. Everyone selling something or doing a service must issue a receipt so that tax could be collected. The combined intelligence services prevent evasion. Receipts must be issued whether it is fixing a punctured bicycle tyre or selling a dried palm leaf pyramidal basket for steaming pittu. When the LTTE took over houses, and if the owners were lucky enough for the LTTE to agree to return them, they were given huge bills for fictitious improvements.

· Another function of intelligence is to prevent people from listening to the Ithayaveenai Tamil programme broadcast by government radio, just as people outside browse TamilNet because they don’t believe the Defence Ministry’s propaganda. The LTTE punishes offenders by sending them to dig bunkers.

· The LTTE’s control hinges on poruppalars (persons-in-charge or divisional heads). The official may be in charge of a political, administrative or a security division. They are the virtual maharajahs or fiefs. Many of them live in luxury houses amidst so much drabness and poverty. While ordinary people could hardly afford the highly inflated prices at which the LTTE sells cement, the poruppalars frequently have garden walls with well-shaped black stones. Anyone peeping inside would see a well-maintained garden.

· The poruppalars duly acquire the mannerisms showing off their absolute power and the lowliness of anyone else besides them. They grow into the habit of commanding by grunts and a non-vocal economy of gestures, such as thrusting the thumb behind over the shoulder or ordering a person to come by lightly flicking the forefinger.

· Of course, the people resent these impositions and curse the plundering poruppalars; peeping, eavesdropping and harassing intelligence officials and LTTE-appointed bureaucrats. But strangely they don’t blame the Leader. The typical remark is, ‘if only the Leader knows what the others do in his name, he will not permit it.’ The LTTE too encourages this game of good cop-bad cop. Similarly there was genuine grief when Tamil Chelvan was killed in an aerial attack on 2nd November 2007. Criticism of the Leader is confined to peripheral matters like his marriage to a high caste girl while denouncing caste. The really grave issues like the thousands of Tamils he has murdered are taboo subjects.

· We (UTHR) reliably understand that it is actually LTTE dropouts and other Tamils working under Military Intelligence, who are responsible for the overwhelming bulk of the killings. Some of the figures are quite well known in Jaffna. One called Yarl Nambi was during the last ceasefire attached to the LTTE office in Kayts. His score is reputed to number several dozens. Another was Gunaratnam Suhatheepan, a former medical student of the University of Jaffna. He was earlier with the LTTE and left after a quarrel with Paapaa, its former deputy political leader for Jaffna. He later worked for Military Intelligence and was shot dead in Potpathy Rd., Kokkuvil, on 30th April 2008. That is a comment also on the political emptiness that characterises the LTTE.

· The pro-LTTE stance of a large section of Tamil expatriates has been callous without any real concern for the people and morally repugnant….. They may in fact make life worse for those at home…. But they can and will damage the State and the country quite effectively at every opportunity.

Is there anything in this list drawn up by the UTHR that could blame the Sri Lankan government? So by what twist of logic does UTHR blame the Sri Lankan government? The LTTE, on the contrary, claims to be the sole representative of the Tamils. It is an autonomous body run by the whims and fancies of one-man who dictates the policy of the de-facto state of Ee(vi)laam. It has the power to act and not to act, especially in brutalizing its own people. It has the power to wage war and wage peace. It has the power to negotiate and also withdraw from negotiations.

With all these powers and more, UTHR twists everything around to say: “The manner in which the LTTE manipulates Tamils cannot last without the seemingly unyielding malevolence of the Government.” This tendency to blame the government is the common ploy of the intellectuals who have exhausted all excuses, especially excuses to justify the violence of the LTTE. The common tactic of the pro-Tiger supporters is to make the LTTE look good by blaming the government.

The UTHR argument of blaming the “malevolence of the Government” for all the evils of the LTTE smacks of intellectual dishonesty and even a callous disregard for the consequences endured by the helpless “prisoners” of Prabhakaran in the Vanni. Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that the government goes back to the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) and hands over the north and east to the LTTE: will that put an end to the crimes committed by the LTTE against its own people? Can UTHR guarantee that if the CFA is restored the LTTE will participate in elections and stop killing their Tamil rivals?

After writing 46 Bulletins, documenting horrendous brutalities of the war, UTHR has a duty to pause and identify the one single message that comes out of its reports. Doesn’t the outstanding message reveal that the path to peace has been blocked by the autonomous and armed group of deadly terrorists who had engaged in a futile war, refusing to observe basic humanitarian laws and show the slightest inclination to negotiate peace except under its own terms?

In its own devious way, UTHR goes along with the Tiger violence when it says: “The pro-LTTE stance of a large section of Tamil expatriates has been callous without any real concern for the people and morally repugnant. Even without the LTTE, the present Government’s course would drive many Tamil expatriates to act in anger and feel justified in so doing. They may in fact make life worse for those at home. But they can and will damage the State and the country quite effectively at every opportunity. By not resolving this problem, lots of people who should be batting for Sri Lanka would spend their energies advancing its ruin for generations to come. The country will remain condemned to perpetual anarchy.”

The contradictions, the dishonesty and the moral bankruptcy of UTHR are expressed succinctly in this paragraph. The bottom line in this argument is that though the funding of Tamil expatriates fuel the fires of war they have the right to act in anger and feel justified in doing so. So should this justification be limited only to the Tamil expatriates? Why can’t other communities and/or the Government “act in anger and feel justified in doing so” against the Tamils for ruining lives of other communities? UTHR admits that this funding is going to “make life worse for the Tamils at home.” But UTHR is quite content that it will also “damage the State and the country quite effectively at every opportunity.” Besides, isn’t this action of funding terrorism an illegal act condemned and forbidden by international law? UTHR has not invoked the righteous international laws, which it does on every opportunistic occasion, in preventing the Tamil expatriates from funding the death and destruction of their own people.

What is more, the Tamil expatriates, NGOs (UTHR included) act to prevent the Government getting aid from abroad saying that it perpetuates the war. But the UTHR argument extends in a subtle way to assert that the Tamils have a right to wage their war with funding from abroad and “feel justified in doing so” while the State and other communities should not act in anger or feel justified in waging a war against the Tamils. The overall attitude of this paragraph is to let the violence happen and drag the bleeding crisis for generations to come until the Tamil get their pound of flesh. This then is the distorted concept of justice that prevails among the Tamil intellectuals.

In other words, the LTTE can go on dragging everyone to the depths of despair and misery, until “a just settlement for the minorities” is granted. According to UTHR report, there is legitimacy in the eyes of the Tamils “prisoners” in the Vanni to crown the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamils in the north and the east. This is one of the meanings of a “just settlement for the minorities”. The fact that “a just settlement” means different things to the Muslims, the Sinhalese and others is not even mentioned in passing by UTHR. Yet this is the mantra that is chanted by all the political pundits who assume that by some magic formula the LTTE will disappear from the political landscape once “a just settlement for the Tamils alone” is put in place.

The fact remains that the LTTE will continue to haunt the landscape, as signaled by the Army Commander, Lt.Gen. Sarath Fonseka, even after they are defeated as a conventional force occupying territory. The current reality demands two main requirements for peace: 1. get the LTTE out of the political equation lock, stock and barrel and 2. cut out the funding of the of Tamil expatriates who are making life worse for the Tamils. UTHR ignores these requirements as moral and strategic imperatives for the restoration of peace. At a time when genuine peace activists are attempting to douse the fires of anger UTHR justifies the Tamil anger even if it means that it will spillover to the next generation by which time the Tamils would have disappeared as a viable demographic entity from the map of Sri Lanka.

UTHR is fully aware that the LTTE is not waging its dehumanizing and de-populating war to achieve what the wooly-headed intellectuals call “a just settlement”. It is carrying arms to carve out a mono-ethnic enclave under the jackboot of a fascist leader. Against this dismal background it is rather disheartening to find that UTHR has failed to embrace its “impeccable due processes, principles, norms of conduct etc.” in dealing with critical issues of the day. UTHR should know by now that chanting the mantra of Jaffna-centric racism for a mono-ethnic enclave will neither be moral nor valid as a solution for lasting peace.
(To be continued)
- Sri Lanka Guardian

1 comment

karl said...

There he goes again!Everyone seems to be after the noble Sinhala-Budhhist Nation.The NGO's, INGos, various traitorous jounalists,UN agencies,TheBBC,Amnesty International,Human Rights watch,the British government,the US congress(have i left out anyone?)ah yes Bishop Tutu...Now it is the turn of that intrepid organization the Uninversity Teachers for Human rights.They all don't seem to anything right.
Poor Sri Lanka... No frinds, no supporters, no funding sooner or later fron international orgs. except for remittances from hardworking and long suffering maids in the middle east...
We will get angry and yet overcome, Mahindapala can sing.
One bit of advice:Examine the historical roots of the conflict and the you will get it right and may even develop some understanding that all the troubles that the Tamils are facing is NOT the result of the LTTE moves and you may even develop some karuna and metta..

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