By Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

To ‘Fool’ is to deceive. A ‘Fool’ is a person lacking in judgment or good sense.

(April 25, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) If some one fools any one the first time and gets away with it, he is cleverer than the one fooled. The one fooled may have been trusting and thus become vulnerable to being fooled. If the same person succeeds in fooling the same victim a second time, the victim is definitely a fool. However, if this person tries to fool the same victim a third time, he is the fool, unless the victim is an imbecile. This analogy applies rather aptly to describe some aspects of the relationship between the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam) and the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

The LTTE fooled the Tamils into believing the Indians were wrong and had motives other than the welfare of the Tamils, when they intervened in Sri Lanka in 1986-1987. This episode involved the Indian government, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Presidents Jayawardene and Premadasa, and led to the deaths of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President Premadasa. The Tamils were made to believe everyone else involved in this episode were wrong and the LTTE was right. The Tamils, who initially welcomed the Indian intervention as manna from heaven and the end to their miseries in Sri Lanka, though utterly disappointed at the out come – the first missed opportunity, yet continued to believe in the infinite wisdom of Prabhaharan and the LTTE. This was the first major instance of the LTTE making wholesale fools of the Tamil people, including me.

The LTTE had proved itself cleverer than the Sri Lankan and Indian governments, the Tamils and to some extent the world. The Tamils were made fools, without their grasping the significance of the perfidy they had become victims of. The worst tragedy was the Indian government and the IPKF fell blindly in to the trap the LTTE had meticulously laid and became the villains of the piece. The LTTE engineered this perfidy very cunningly and through tactics that were yet unfamiliar to the Tamils and even the Indians. The Tamils were yet innocent and had a deeply ingrained trust in the LTTE as the only true and trustable bulwark against the machinations and brutality of the Sri Lankan governments. The late 1980s were yet close to the black July of 1983 and the short sighted and filthy political and military maneuvers of J.R. Jayawardene and the likes of Lalith Athulathmudali since. Memories of the horrible events of 1983 and the filthy tactics of the J.R. Jayawardene government were yet quite fresh. The Tamils were highly vulnerable to the devious tactics of the LTTE and were hence fooled. The Sri Lankan governments were made willing partners in this perfidy. President J.R.Jayawardene, the sly fox, was provided the space to wriggle out of the corner he had been trapped by the Indian intervention and pursue his pernicious agenda. President Premadasa forged a marriage of convenience with the LTTE, was taken for the now familiar ‘Tiger ride’ and paid for this folly with his life.

President Chandrika Kumaratunge who was perceived as a breeze of fresh air in Sri Lankan politics, agreed to a ceasefire with the LTTE in 1994 and initiated peace talks with the objective of resolving the ‘Tamil problem’ through decentralized constitutional arrangements- the nearest to a federal system of governance for Sri Lanka yet proposed. Chandrika Kumaratunge during her election campaigns and in the preceding years had helped build a consensus among the Sinhala masses about the need to decentralize power in Sri Lanka and had marginalized the extreme elements in the Sinhala polity. However, she was frustrated at every turn by the LTTE, which also provided fodder in abundance to the chauvinistic elements in the armed forces and the extreme fringes of the Sinhala polity, to create conditions to derail the peace process. The foolish and short sighted ‘War for Peace’ president Chandrika Kumaratunge waged following the ceasefire break down, played into hands of the LTTE and showered the worst misery on the Tamils, pushing them back several decades in every parameter- social, economic, health and education, that matter to human societies. Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam and Minister C.V.Gunaratne lost their lives and President Chandrika Kumaratunge lost an eye as a consequence of this peace initiative and its aftermath.

Although the Tamils were beginning to smell a rat and sense the LTTE was playing a ‘Dirty’ game, they yet persisted in believing the LTTE was their only saviour and had to be supported against the forces of Sinhala chauvinism and militarism now spearheaded by the Chandrika Kumaratunge- Anurudha Ratwatte-Ratnasiri Wickremanayake trio. This was the second time the LTTE fooled the Tamils and made their lot worse than what it was before. The LTTE was ably aided and abetted by the shortsightedness and idiocy that befell the Chandrika Bandaranaike government in the wake of the failed peace initiative. The LTTE however, failed to realize the Tamils were waking up to the reality of being fooled and had not been totally taken in or convinced by their antics and tricks. The forced evacuation of Jaffna, added to the increasing disillusionment with the LTTE. The LTTE had assumed that the Tamils are incorrigible fools and persisted in its efforts to fool them more. This was a second missed opportunity for the Tamils and one more blow to the trust the Tamils had reposed in the LTTE.

The general election win by the UNP (United National Party) and the assumption of the office of prime minister by Ranil Wickremasinghe under the Chandrika Kumaratunge presidency, resulted in the Norwegians playing an active role as facilitators in the Sri Lankan peace process and the on-going ceasefire agreement being signed in 2002.

The ceasefire agreement was widely welcomed by all peoples in Sri Lanka. There was general relief and a palpable sense of euphoria that the bad times were finally behind us as a nation. The involvement of the international community, particularly Norway, assured the Tamils the ceasefire will be durable and the peace process will lead to a permanent end to the misery and turmoil that had become their lot. They believed they could not be cheated once again by the Sri Lankan government or fooled by the LTTE. However, the LTTE once again deliberately failed to grasp the opportunity to harness the general good will and the newfound international involvement to pursue permanent solutions to the problems of the Tamils. In this instance their tactics were dilatory and deliberately diversionary. The primary focus was on consolidating their power base. The overall objective was to lay the foundations for an independent Tamil Ealam and their dictatorial, fascist and undemocratic rule, under the cover the peace process provided. The Tiger was taking the Tamils, the Sri Lankan government and the International Community for a ride of their lives!

Chandrika Kumaratunge, the JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) and the JHU (Jathika Hela Urumaya) stupidly and very shortsightedly provided the conditions for the LTTE to shift the blame for the stalemate. The Sinhala polity had once again fallen into the trap laid by the LTTE, being of course blinded by parochial political ambitions and rank political opportunism. The policy of appeasement followed by the Ranil Wickremasinghe government and the Norwegians, on the assumption that this would help win the confidence of the LTTE and firmly commit it to the peace process, was hijacked by the LTTE to pursue its own self seeking goals, and give a new lease of life to the chauvinistic elements in the Sinhala polity. The LTTE had gained the confidence it can fool the world too, at this stage. The most important victim of this episode in the peace drama in Sri Lanka was foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

However, the presence of the SLMM (Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission), the active involvement of International Organizations such as the Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UNICEF, and the close watch being kept by the International Community, have exposed the blatant manner in which the LTTE has breached the provisions of the ceasefire agreement; used it as a cover to establish elements of an independent Tamil state; harass, fleece and murder the Tamil people; and brutalize Tamil society. The relative peace that has prevailed in the North and East over the past four years has also permitted the Tamils to see the LTTE for what it truly is – a liberation movement turned criminal, fascist and self-seeking. The large mass of the Tamils have now realized the LTTE is ‘THE’ major impediment to peace. The Tamils now understand how dangerous the Tiger is! The Tamil people have become wiser to the antics and tricks of the LTTE and cannot be fooled any more. The Tamils are cognizant of the true face of the LTTE and the ground realities. The Tamils cannot be taken for a ‘Tiger Ride’ by the LTTE any more. Unfortunately, however, the Tamils may have to once again pay the price for having taken the ‘Tiger ride’ this long. It is beholden on the Sri Lankan government and the International Community to ensure the Tamils do not pay the price for the criminal follies of the LTTE.

The suicide bomber attack on the army headquarters in Colombo a few days back and the events leading to and following it are once again a scenario pre-planned and executed by the LTTE to disengage from the peace process and convince the Tamils it is not a viable option, because of the genocidal intentions of the Sri Lankan government. This is the repetition of the tactics followed by the LTTE in 1986-1987 and in 1994-1995. We can only hope the Sri Lankan government and the International Community have become wiser and do not fall into the traps being laid by the LTTE. This is the third effort of the LTTE to fool the Tamils and foist another missed opportunity on them.

The LTTE should not be permitted to have its way this time. This attempt should be a leap into the grave for the LTTE. The Tamil people have to seek an alternate leadership immediately and give the LTTE a decent burial. It yet deserves a decent burial in gratitude for its memorable role in Sri Lankan Tamil history. Ingratitude will be unbecoming of the Tamils, however much they may abhor the LTTE and its ways now. We have nothing more to prove with violence, especially the type of senseless and meaningless violence that has become the trademark of the LTTE. A permanent peace and acceptable political solutions have to be pursued, negotiated, finalized and implemented with international assistance starting immediately. The present opportunity should not be missed. If we miss it, we will be the biggest fools (imbeciles!) living on the face of this earth. I would rather prefer the LTTE to be recorded in history as the fools for having missed the bus and not the Tamil people. The Tamils have to make it clear by every means available; they will not be fooled this time around or at any time in the future. The International Community should also by word and deed demonstrate they will not condone the ways of the LTTE any more and they too cannot be fooled.

The following extracts from the ‘Arab News’ editorial (27/04/06), clearly portray what the world at large thinks of the current situation in Sri Lanka and may help open some blinkered eyes:

“ Hard-line Sinhalese politicians and military men had always believed that peace negotiations based around power sharing and an autonomous region in the Tamil-speaking north of the island, were only a cover for the Tigers to regroup. Recent events seem to justify their skepticism”. (Please note the reference to the North only).

“After the 2004 tsunami, the appalling failure of the Sri Lankan authorities to disperse international aid quickly to stricken Tamil as well as Sinhala regions, reinforced the view that the government was pursuing a bigoted and highly biased policy”.

“ Two years on, views have changed. The Tamil rebels have fought amongst each other and dealt ruthlessly with anyone in the community who had the temerity to question their aggressive policies”.

“ Though the Norwegian peacemakers have not admitted it publicly, privately some have said that most, though not all the obstruction in the peace process has come from the Tamil side”.

“It has been suggested that the Tamil Tigers have established a gangster-style regime enforced by terror among their own people”.

“ The leaders of the rebellion would lose power and influence, were there to be a real peace”.

“ When all is said and done, 60,000 people have died in this terrible conflict. The international community has worked hard to find a settlement and, as it looks now, it is the Tamil Tiger leadership that has done the most to disrupt it”.

( April 28,2006)

24th April' 2009 : A POST-SCRIPT

The LTTE that had made a fine art of fooling others has become the victim of its own foolishness at last. President Rajapakse and his government have finally outwitted the LTTE. However, it is yet unfortunate that a significant number of Tamils both in the island and in the Diaspora are yet being fooled by the LTTE. I wonder whether the prolonged influence of the LTTE, has made a once intelligent, down to earth and 'no nonsense' people, absolute imbeciles! Tamils demonstrating in the streets of western capitals at present are demonstrating the power of brain washing in all its ugliness. It is time these Tamils realize they have been made imbeciles by the LTTE and wake up to the reality around them.

What is galling is the attempt by some western countries, news media and organizations such as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to prevaricate. Have they been made imbeciles too by the LTTE? The US has the satellite technology to monitor exactly what is happening in the war zone. Even the number plates on motorcycles below can be identified by these satellites! Use this information to tell the truth and demand the LTTE let go of the Tamils it is holding hostage.

Let the international agencies move with the army to see what is going on. They want a ceasefire for their own safety. Until there is a mutually agreed ceasefire, they will not risk going into the war zone. When they go in during a ceasefire, can they find out the truth as to what is happening? Talking to the innocent victims of this war in refugee camps will reveal more. The recently shown satellite photograph where armed LTTE cadres are holding back hundreds of civilians surging to escape is a significant piece of evidence. Why is this not commented upon in depth? The LTTE invited this war and deliberately blurred the lines separating its cadres from the civilians. The Sri Lankan government is the enemy for all intents and purposes. Is it right to hide among helpless civilians to conduct this war and thereafter accuse the so- called enemy of brutality and inhumanity? Where is the morality in all the nonsensical accusations, including genocide, being made?

Where was the conscience of the western world when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were atom bombed? Where was the conscience of the western world, when Cologne was reduced to rubble? Where is the conscience of the world when 80,000 odd people have been killed in Iraq after the US intervention? Were all these acts justified in the name of greater good? I am not asking the world to be blind to the human tragedy unfolding in Sri Lanka. Demand that the civilians kept hostage in the midst of war be released, but state unambiguously who is holding these people hostage and for what reason. Do not use the unfortunate circumstances to buy time for a nasty, immoral and evil outfit masquerading as a liberation movement. The sooner the LTTE is eliminated lock, stock and barrel, the better it will be for the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the world at large.

I have recently visited the refugee camps in Vavuniya as part of a Diasporan delegation and seen the reality. No one tried to influence me and I had the freedom to walk around and talk to these hapless refugees. I am not a stooge of anyone or in the pay of any body, as some have seen fit to accuse. The plight of these refugees is an indictment of the LTTE and not of the Sri Lankan government or the Sinhala people. These displaced people are holding their body and soul together because of the efforts of the government. Whatever grievances we as Tamils may have against Sri Lankan governments, truth should not become the victim of this bias. The LTTE has made the Tamils ' Sand bags' (in the words of David Chater of Al Jazeera TV), in their final stand against the Sri Lankan armed forces. The self- proclaimed defenders of the Tamils are displaying how they have turned depraved predators over time.

There are LTTE operatives within these LTTE camps. We were approached by one who warned that the whole of Sri Lanka would burn soon ! There were several others- men and women- who could be easily identified as LTTE operatives. I am sure there are hundreds of LTTRs roaming free (the silent cells) outside these camps. Is there an alternative to high security and vigil being maintained in these camps? Who will be answerable, if people get killed in these camps,? If it happens, would not the government be accused of mass murder by the very same people who are complaining about the barbed wire fences and high security?

A UNICEF officer (a foreigner) working in this camp tried to encourage us to be critical of the government, when everything we saw and heard suggested otherwise. His Sri Lankan counterpart – a Tamil, was aghast at what he was attempting. It is at this moment that I understood why the government was suspicious of INGOs.

Let us Tamils, at least now recover our common sense, intelligence and moral values. Let us not continue to be fools or pretend to be fools. Let us also not be fooled any more. We have a lot to do, to recover as individuals and as a people. The tragedy in human terms unfolding around us demands the participation of the Diaspora in meeting the dire needs of the hundreds and thousands of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) , their re-settlement and rehabilitation. These IDPs are the principal responsibility of the Tamil Diaspora that has blindly supported the LTTE. They are our fellow men, women and children who were victims of our folly. Pl ease open your hearts and wallets to them.

The memories of a three to four month boy I saw in the Gamini Vidyalaya camp yet haunts me. He was stark naked and was being put to sleep by his grandmother, in an over crowded classroom. On seeing me, he burst into the most beautiful and radiant smile I have ever seen in a child, and attempted to lift his body up, demanding that I carry him. I returned several times during my stay, to see this child and his reaction every time, except the last when he was asleep, was the same. I would have liked to carry away this child with me, but that was not possible. I related this incident to several of my friends, and their interpretation was that it was God's message that ' The Bad' is coming to an end for the Tamils. Whether this interpretation is valid or not, what is true is that there is an opportunity for us Tamils to come out of a long nightmare, rebuild our lives and take our rightful place within Sri Lanka.
-Sri Lanka Guardian
Chris Ekanayake said...

WOW! This article is so thorough, I am very happy to read and digest all the mentioned facts. I do hope everyone who is demonstrating all over the world and asking for a halt in the war, make this article a compulsory read. It sure shows the LTTE for exactly who they are. Thank you for this very accurate, sensible and whole essay about the current hostilities in Sri Lanka.

Saj said...

Dear Dr. Narendran,

Well written analysis of the degeneration of the LTTE into a band of bandits.

However, the Tamil people in Sri Lanka will have to continue peaceful agitation to obtain their rightful place within Sri Lanka. Firstly, the Tamils will have to subordinate their tamilness to Sri Lankaness, so should the Singhalese.

As a Singhalese, I will do my bit and teach my children also the beuty of diversity that will enrich society than impoverish it through petty differences.

Unknown said...

1983 July riots & Sinhala only act still seem to be very cardinal factors in support of the so called Tamil discrimination.In the same token or even greater than that 140,000 ethnic cleansing of Sinahlese & Muslims from North with enormous torture, history has recorded & sinhala only act was amended later by giving equal status to Sinhla, Tamil & English languages.So the argument is are we to capitalise only a section of the episode, not the big picture for the betterment of a peaceful future.It is time for Tamil intellectuals to accept that down the line as a result of monoethnic Tamil cry another set of irrevocable, undestroyable forces emerged in the SL political arena such as Muslim congress, Hela Urumaya, Wimal Front of JVP, that will fill a huge vaccum which both big parties, UNP & SLFP could not address due to international pressure at certain critical junctures of negotiations & decision making that will act very strongly agaist partial Tamil platform.With the eradiaction of LTTE base which is almost nearing to the end, these new forces will not evaporate but will remain more & more stronger in their power.This would be a clear signal to reckon with for who ever moderate Tamils to attempt to arrive at a long lasting peace in SL, fully adhereing to a GIVING IN POLICY at a reasonable scale on top of their historic one off policy.

Helaya said...

"A UNICEF officer (a foreigner) working in this camp tried to encourage us to be critical of the government, when everything we saw and heard suggested otherwise. His Sri Lankan counterpart – a Tamil, was aghast at what he was attempting."

I greatly appreciate Dr. Rajasingham Narendran's honest, impartial views. However, I have to point out that, by failing to report that Foreign UNICEF Officer to the camp authorities, he has failed to perform a civic duty which would have helped the government to rid the country of at least one NGO bastard, and helped the government in exposing to the world who these NGO people actually are. Dr. Narendran's words would have carried a lot of credibility.
Most NGOs are not interested in solving the problems that they are here for. They want to prolong the problems so that they can be in Sri Lanka drawing exorbitant salaries and leading a good life in our tropical island.

manuri said...

Dr,Narendran.Not only we are all fools but all of us a bloody stupid idiots too.

All of us and that means the whole Asia and the Asians.

USA knows exactly what's going on,their intelligence and all the resources have given them the very picture of the story but stangly and disgustingly they keep quite and keep the human tragedy going.

WHY?they want this terror to continue and keep a market for them .Do not we see this?

Including Norway who is after oil in other country's backyards to get hold of it as Norway has nothing of value in their own except fishing wants to keep this terror to sell their weapons to asia.

It is been forcasted that china and India are going to be superpowers in the future and the western world in unable to sleep with this thought.

All of us a bloody stupit idiots and when are we going to see this through?we will be free only when we unite as whole asia against this organized terror from the west.

Western world sees things in the terms of dollars or hourly rates.They are been trained as such they do not know anything other than that.