Editor’s Note: This feature appeared in the Subidcham website three years ago. It speaks for iteslf as to how Tamils living in Sri Lanka have themselves felt about the Tigers and been terrorized by them. We have discovered a whole series of features through the years since 1958 that speak the true story of the anguish of the Tamil people caught between Sinhala racism and Tamil terrorism, two different faces of terrorism. Unlike in the years gone by, these two faces have now become one and brought the country to its knees. This is no more a Tamil problem and as the Lt General Sarath Fonseka said in his Army Day message, the entire country must be freed of the terrorists and peace redeemed for our motherland.
by Satchi Sithanandan
(October 10, Frankfurt, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have shown to the world that they are only herders and the Tamils of Sri Lanka, their source for milk and mutton. They have taken them for a ride as their champions in their struggle for liberation against Sinhala oppression. This is the only liberation organization in the world, perhaps even in the entire history of the humankind, that has no concern for the best interests of the people they purport to represent. They get their primary succour from the very people who deserted the Tamil community and live in splendour overseas.
All along the Tigers have had their own agenda to create a mafia state for themselves with Valvettiturai as their port. In this, they found the ethnic crisis that grew out of racial discrimination the Tamil community suffer, quite an advantage for them to exploit. Their callous and cold blooded campaign began with the senseless assassination of Jaffna’s popular Mayor Alfred Duryappah July 1975 and from that day onwards, they have engaged themselves in ruthless activities and forced the Tamil community along the road of utter bloodshed in the name of liberation.
Today they are attempting to set the final fuse to Sri Lanka’s tragic ethnic nightmare by creating the perilous and treacherous impression that the people of Jaffna have created a Peoples Army and are readying themselves to declare war on the state forces. Denying LTTE involvement in this despicable and disgraceful conspiracy, the Tiger spokesman Daya Master had the daring and impudence to tell the BBC that the Peoples Army was not a part of their organization.
There is a popular adage that those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make them mad. The Tamil Tigers, it appears, have finally arrived at the threshold of insanity. Following the Oslo talks under the ceasefire agreement reached, the LTTE was allowed to carry guns and to do political work in government-controlled areas in the north and east. Contrary to the trust placed on the Tamil Tigers, instead of carrying out political activities, they proceeded to attack unarmed Tamil civilians, intellectuals and whoever was conceived as their political opponents. It is reliably learnt that over 500 Tamils perished from the guns and grenades of the LTTE as a result since the signing of the ceasefire agreement.
There are absolutely no evidence of any political activity except the LTTE personnel being engaged in extortion, kidnap and murder.
It must be emphasized very emphatically that the LTTE only wanted a region that they, and they alone could autocratically control otherwise the ethnic problem would have been set on the path of a good solution in 1987 itself. They were not for any form of decentralization where they had to exist as a democratic force or even to share the responsibilities and obligations of governance.
Much as the southern racists were opposed to a federal solution fearing that it may lead to separation, the northern terrorists, namely the Tigers were opposed to it because they only wanted a fascist empire of their own.
Once the Tigers got the opportunity to be among the people of Jaffna, they tried their very best to organize them as a force to support their sneaky plans for covert actions of terror. But, they soon came to the realization that this was not possible because the people of Jaffna would have no truck with violence. They are passive folks and their only passion in life is to educate their children and have them settled in stable life. They will go to the ends of the world to ensure this facility for their children.
Hardly anyone in the LTTE leadership has reached secondary education and the whole get-up was founded on a series of bank robberies and murders. Such a band proved ideal hit men for certain politicians who found them useful allies. The LTTE was not founded on any political ideology whatsoever but since the Tamils were getting hit by Sinhala racists, there came a situation where a retaliatory force against Sinhala goondas and racist politicians attracted much attention and even acceptance. This is how the LTTE became a force among the Tamils.
Since the northern families encouraged their children to stick to their schools and pursue higher education, most of the young people who got enlisted in the fighting cadres were from the east, areas that did not have good schooling facilities. During the last three or four years, conscription of children into the fighting force cast the Tigers under the floodlights of shock and revulsion.
Following Karuna’s rebellion and the lack of recruits for their fighting forces even children, the LTTE devised the evil scheme to force the civilian people into the amphitheater of war by staging all kinds of assaults and attacks in civilian attire that may be called the Sarong Battalion. Once they had carved a few niches here and there on the peninsula under the guise of political workers, they began to give the impression to the world outside that it is the people who have now become armed as a Peoples Force, not at all concerned that in case of a major assault by them, and should the army react likewise, it would be thousands of civilians who would be massacred. Their ultimate determination was to have the guns of the state turned on the people hoping that there would be a genocidal attack on the civilians.
This is exactly what the LTTE wanted and why they have been indulging in some vicious and horrible attacks including the brutal and 'merciless killing of Jaffna's affable and good-natured Superintendent of Police and a popular sportsman. He was a gentleman who went in civil with the intention of sorting out a dangerous situation that was brewing in that locality at that time.
The Tigers tried their very best to get the undergraduates of the Jaffna University involved in violent activities but out of the 6,000 of them only about a hundred or a little more showed interests in their crafty and deceitful plans. Angered by the slap they got from the undergraduates they forced-close the Jaffna University altogether by sheer threat. They are also aware when a university campus is not friendly to their ideas, they are bound to be challenged sooner or later, the Tigers being allergic to intellectuals.
The Tigers claim that there is a Peoples Army that has begun to flex its muscles against state terrorism. In other words, according to them the killings of officials, principals and individuals, attack on the police and army were the work of the people of Jaffna. But, unfortunately for them, some smart individuals have been diligent enough to take photographs of these so-called Peoples Army activists. They must be the EPDP personnel and that is why the LTTE’s anger is so intense against this unarmed political entity. This is also perhaps why some senior members of the EPDP have defected during the last few days through sheer fear for their lives.
If there are indeed Peoples Forces among the Tamils, where are their camps and from whom do they get their guns, mines and grenades and other weapons of terror? Unlike in the US and Middle East, there are no gun dealers in Jaffna to sell arms to the people and the only source that may be available to them is through the Wanni Tigers who are a party to the Ceasefire Agreement.
It is utterly disconcerting to find that the Tigers are not in the least readying themselves for the Geneva talks as a new opportunity to seek a solution for the ethnic nightmare. They cannot fool the people anymore. Every Sri Lankan who does not subscribe to the jungle law and many discriminatory practices, wants a peaceful resolution to the ethnic crises. It is also evident the LTTE will do anything possible to scuttle the talks if they suspect that these may go against their ultimate goal of setting up a mafia state in the north where they and they alone will be the masters.
Should the LTTE continue to behave in this manner, the future of the Tamils will be in serious jeopardy. Just as any citizen in Sri Lanka, the Tamils are entitled to carry on with their lives without any harassment of any kind. It behooves the Government of Sri Lanka to bring back law and order in the north and east. The LTTE is certainly not a liberation movement; pure and simple it is a terrorist contraption.
The Tamils have been caught between two demons for too long a time, the Southern Racists and the Northern Terrorists and they are crying to be liberated. The LTTE has a heritage of smuggling, violence and drug trafficking. In fact, historically and culturally, they are relatively recent migrants to the northern coast attracted by an activity that is traditional to them. Even their lifestyles and homesteads are quite different from that of the people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
The Colombo government must re-assert its total authority over all the districts of Sri Lanka and ensure that all the people share a land that belongs to all of them as a fundamental right giving adequate recognition to regional and traditional aspects and aspirations of the various communities. - Sri Lanka Guardian