Get your humanitarian paws off my country

By Dayan Jayatilleka

(April 28, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian)
It is heartening that the Tamil Tigers have retained a sense of humor under extreme pressure. It is a lesson to us all. The Tigers have declared a unilateral ceasefire and promised not to engage in any offensive military operations. The joke is in two parts. Firstly, they are in no shape to engage in any offensive military operations. In the second place these clowns have pulled this on us and the IPKF on more occasions than I can recall. The first ceasefire in 1985 saw the Tigers under Kittu ringing Sri Lankan army camps in Jaffna with landmines. The IPKF’s stop-go campaign -- its rhythm and inconstancy influenced by Tamil Nadu and electoral considerations -- enabled Prabhakaran to survive, escape and turn the tables on them, culminating in the suicide bomb murder of Rajiv Gandhi on Tamil Nadu soil in 1991.

Let’s be crystal clear on this. The only deal that must be on the table is “hands up or feet first”. The Tigers, starting with the leadership must surrender themselves and their weapons to the Sri Lankan armed forces, not some Third Force which it can manipulate through the Diaspora. There must be NO amnesty for the leadership, which has committed war crimes.

Anyone anywhere who cares for the Tamil civilians trapped in the no fire zone should recognize that over a hundred thousand civilians came through to safety precisely during a brilliantly surgical military operation, and NOT a humanitarian pause or ceasefire. It was not the product or by product of an international appeal. It was the direct product of the actions of the Sri Lankan army, and in particular, the sacrifices made by the Special Forces and Commandos.

None of those who are urging from afar, a humanitarian pause /ceasefire, amnesty and talks with the Tigers, are going to live in Sri Lanka when the suicide bombers strike again, the parcel bombs go off in shops and at bus stops, promising leaders are assassinated, and dead and disabled soldiers start coming back to our villages when the war resumes as it will if we stop operations now and the Tigers survive.

What awaits us if operations are halted before the Tigers are decisively defeated? Anita Pratap, the journalist who has known Prabhakaran from before July 83 and has had access to him virtually on demand since that time, let us know a few days back, in an article for the upcoming months issue of The Week. In a special Report for the May 3rd 2009 edition, entitled Crouching Tiger, she exudes confidence that “Prabhakaran still has enough grit to continue the fight”. Here is her scenario:

“…Prabhakaran has lost wars before. He had created a de facto Tamil Eelam with its own army, police, courts and taxation system not once, but several times in the past-only to have it all smashed and wiped out. And he had to start all over again. At 54, Prabhakaran still has enough grit to start again and continue for another 20 years.

In the meantime, he will be watching the Indian elections closely to see which dispensation takes charge in New Delhi. He will be watching to see if there is a popular upsurge of support in Tamil Nadu for the plight of Tamils across the Palk Strait. He will be watching the disastrous impact of war on Sri Lanka's economy. He will be watching Hillary Clinton who said there should be a 'nuanced' approach to dealing with terrorism. He will be watching President Barack Obama who rightly analyzed that conflicts stem from our perception of 'the other'.

Today, Prabhakaran's situation looks dire. But the wheels of fortune are not static. Things change. America has changed. The world is changing… As new winds blow away many certitudes of the recent past, new opportunities, alignments and paradigms take their place on the world stage. And they will inexorably weave their impact in remote corners of faraway Sri Lanka...” (Anita Pratap, The Week, May 3, 2009)

Then there is the far more scholarly and analytical assessment of Shyam Tekwani, no sympathizer of Prabhakaran. A photojournalist earlier, Tekwani has been studying the Sri Lankan conflict since 1983 and has met the LTTE leadership on several occasions on battlefields and elsewhere. Currently he is an Associate Professor in NTU, Singapore, teaching Journalism and International Relations. In the Hindustan Times, he offers this prognosis:

“…A strategic withdrawal to live to fight another day and ensure he [Prabhakaran] is not relegated to a footnote in the history books has guaranteed his endurance and longevity.

The war, it would seem, is over. Not for the LTTE. ..

…He has once again successfully rallied the international community behind his cause. The global outcry in support of the remaining 50,000 civilians cornered in the last strip of the battle zone and the increasingly insistent calls for an immediate ceasefire play perfectly well into his plans to save what is left of his dream and the group.

The dream of Eelam has evidently become an even more distant fantasy – but his unswerving loyalty to it will ensure the fight will continue. Having lost the support of over 100,000 Tamils who challenged his diktat and abandoned him to flee for the safety of the army camps, his hope will now reside largely with the Tamil Diaspora. The 800,000 Diaspora, who he specifically appealed to in his Hero’s Day address when he launched the ‘Final War’ in 2006, has been the group’s lifeline. Prabhakaran has mobilized the Diaspora like very few other insurgent groups ever have. Providing the mainstay of his support (funds, networks, lobbyists) the Diaspora has unwaveringly stood by him and kept up the sustained pressure for the Eelam ‘cause’ alive across the capitals of the world.

…It has become a truism that the only way out is a political solution, not military. Having thrust a very local issue into the international limelight, Prabhakaran has consistently reneged every opportunity to seek a political solution. Every attempt at one – that did not mention Eelam - during the last two decades was doomed to failure. A lasting solution is extremely unlikely with him heading the group. As long as he endures, so will his cause. Therefore, any talk of a lost cause and an endgame in Sri Lanka would be premature.

The military victory could well become another pause in the history of the conflict if the same degree of effort is not invested by the Rajapaksa government to set right the wrongs of previous administrations. And the international community would need to ensure it sustains its campaign against groups branded as terrorists.

None of which would amount to much if Prabhakaran continues to be out there, somewhere.”
(Shyam Tekwani, ‘Don’t Write the Tigers Obit Yet’, Hindustan Times, April 25, 2009)

We must take these scenarios with the utmost seriousness. It is always wiser to prepare for the worst case scenario. This also provides the best argument why Prabhakaran must not be given the time and space to escape and the operations must go on uninterrupted until the Tiger leadership is eradicated. Some months ago I quoted and commended the words of General Colin Powell during the Gulf War: “first we cut it off, then we kill it.” We have cut it off. Now we must kill it.

As Ronald Reagan, no favorite of mine, once said “the problem with playing your last card is that once you’ve played it, you no longer have it”. The so-called international community played its last card in 1987 when a coercive external intrusion, catalyzed at least partly by sub-regional electoral compulsions (MG Ramachandran “air dashing”, as it used to be called, to prevent “that boy” Prabhakaran from being killed). It is not that other forces in other, more impressive combinations are incapable of doing a larger version of the same thing. The point however, is that the Sri Lankan state and citizens have been through this before and will not be deterred this time around, from defeating the secessionist-terrorist enemy, reclaiming sovereignty and restoring territorial unity. Sri Lanka’s spirit this time around is one that will resist intervention “by whatever means necessary” as Brother Malcolm X used to say. There is a gross asymmetry of tangible material strengths, against Sri Lanka, but as for the intangibles, Sri Lanka has the advantage. Sri Lankans have demonstrated their willingness to fight and die in pursuit of their cause. How many others are willing to do the same in order to prevent us, and for how long and at what financial cost will they be willing to do so?

No other country, institution or leader will share our fate. Therefore we alone must shape that fate, decide our own destiny. This is our country, our borders, our land, our peoples, our future. No one must be allowed to dictate to us or pressurize us. We must go ahead and do what we have to do to end our 30 years war in a manner that it cannot be easily re-started. This means eliminating the Tigers and following up a decisive victory with a generous and wise humanitarian and political policy.

(These are the strictly personal views of the author).
-Sri Lanka Guardian
Get your humanitarian paws off my country Get your humanitarian paws off my country Reviewed by Sri Lanka Guardian on 03:09 Rating: 5


Asanka said...

Praba is witing for a new Indin goverment and put presure on SL to stop this military opertions. Until that he need Tamil diaspor to shout out at western countries and put presure on SL goverment to slow down this opertions. This is very critical to both sides even very minute during next few weeks. LTTE & its suporters maximised their media propganda campaign to fool international comunity at this point as they know how vitral to hold as much as possible this last perioed of current military opertions. This reality must undestand SL government and act FAST to beat all LTTE fronts specialy its media propgnda until wipe out LTTE top leders from this earth. SL forign ministry and embasis are doing nothing to beat this overseas LTTE activities specialy in western countries.

vithanage said...

Mr.D.Jayathilaka, It is really a need at this moment to remind world community to mind their own business. It is our motherland and our people suffered for more than 30 years. We all nation lovers are with our government and there is no military in this world than ours who have sacrificed their lives to save innocent civilians.

Mobo2007 said...

Well said Dayan.
You are an inspiration to Sri Lanka. Keep flying our flag high!

We must crush the LTTE and then provide a just political solution that will bring all communities together. I have faith in Mahinda. He will unite this country.

Pragma said...

I am glad to see people like Dayan speak out and expose the lies and the misinformation campaigns of the Tiger sympathizer diapora who really kept this terrorist campaign going for over 25 years. The SL government should tell all NGOs, INGOs and others who are now offering to make peace, to get the hell out of SL. Except for a few, most INGOs are part of the global disaster industry and they meddle in internal affairs to profit from all conflicts.

prasrod said...

think of this. a man without any proper education and never before been abroad builds a global terror empire on his own and continues a protracted conventional war against a conventional army. if you beleive this you will beleive any fairy tale.
the assumption that the LTTE is a brainchild of the international tamil diaspora is more plausible. this megalomaniac is an inflated puppet who is serving its master's call.
the people of the wanni have lost their families to satisfy the blood thirst of the international tamil diaspora. they have succeeded in sacrificing the low class uneducated poor tamils of the wanni as a pathway to affluence. how many relatives of these diaspora are in the LTTE? how many are relatives of suicide cadres? almost none. they are the educated selfish higher class who migrated to western countries sailing on a boat of bullshit in the sea of the wanni people's blood.
if you are running from the army why not to india? well the salary is less and not too many luxuries. so go to a country which is stupid enough to beleive their lies. If tamil eelam is granted how many would leave their luxuries and return to the north to become farmers and fishermen? One feels sorry for all of the hardworking western citizens who have to pay taxes in order to support these opportunistic "refugees"

rasike attanayake said...

LTTE clearly had all its life lines. Once the High ranking morons been captured we should rehabilitate educate these un educated young men & women who put their live in this mess.I have been thinking why expat tamils take charge on well been IDP.
Why Amnisty & human rights watch seielant over LTTE atrocities & why not demand immediate release of cevillians which are held by LTTE.

Ravindra said...

Tamil diaspora knows how to manipulate and keep doing their level best to mislead international community and people in the west. They paint a very bad picture about the GOSL. TamilNet still keep saying that SLA uses heavy weapons and kill people. It is time for the government agents to tell the world what really is happening. Tamils are showing various video footages of the bad side in this war but nobody sees the good side of taking care of the refugees and helping them by sinhaleese. What is happening with all the english news clips? Why aren't they showing to the people in the west? Someone please tell the world that these people are in mal-nutritional condition due to LTTE stolen their consumer goods over the years. Otherwise mal-nutrional condition does not happen within a day. According to the Tamil diaspora refugees are suffereing. Then what about all the hard work our sinhalese are doing?

justice said...

I love to read your article always. Well said and looking forward to reading more from you.

Harry Pereira said...

Your article is excellent.

The LTTE (Tamil Tigers) in Sri Lanka is trying every trick in the book to save themselves from total annihilation.

They have sacrificed so many innocent Tamil lives by indoctrinating them into their “freedom fighter” movement.

The LTTE may have started off as freedom fighters but they have now turned out to be nothing but brutal murderers, smugglers and extortionists.

They have murdered thousands of Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim civilians including Tamil and Sinhala leaders and an Indian Prime Minister.
The Tamil population in Sri Lanka and abroad will be well advised to sacrifice the LTTE leadership and negotiate a just political solution with the Sri Lankan government.

The Sinhala people in Sri Lanka respect the rights of all Sri Lankan citizens, Tamil, Muslim and others. A just and equitable solution for all communities in Sri Lanka is important and completely necessary.

But the Sinhala, Muslim and a part of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka despise the LTTE and have absolutely no trust in the LTTE. The Sinhala population in Sri Lanka will NEVER negotiate with the LTTE.

The LTTE leadership is using thousands of innocent Tamil civilians as human shields in their last stand against the Sri Lankan army. If they were genuine freedom fighters, why don’t they come out and fight without endangering the lives of thousands of innocent civilians?

My appeal to the Tamil Diaspora as well as to the Tamil population in Sri Lanka is to give up those cowards leading the LTTE.

The LTTE is a terrorist organization and has been labeled as such after many years of scrutiny by law enforcement agencies all over the world.

The LTTE is not the solution to Tamil grievances in Sri Lanka!

H. Perera

WIKIBA said...

American have two faces not sure how Obama will deal with other countries one policy to iran another policy to south asians?

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