Trapped civilians vital for Prabhakaran’s survival, Dr. Michael Roberts

By Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

(April 22, Los Angeles, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the midst of army’s heroic effort to rescue thousands fleeing LTTE gun fire, Dr. Michael Roberts has defended Prabhakaran’s human shield strategy. He believes that “LTTE would not allow the civilians a choice, especially since the latter also provided a labor pool, a source of foodstuffs from the supplies sent by the government of Sri Lanka via the ICRC and a political bargaining chip (a stack of chips really). Thus, he wrote in the Sri Lanka Guardian two days ago.

Dr. Roberts wrote further:” the civilian mass would be one of the ‘bunds’ in their fortress situation, a bund they could never forego (a) because this bund of people was vital to the survival of Eelam as cause and (b) because total sacrifice was deemed to be the duty of one.”

Dr. Roberts’ stretched imagination could not hold the civilians much longer and the exodus began in Wanni. Besides, ship loads of Fish and Chips were arriving from Colombo along with everything else to protect the civilians from LTTE suicide squads.

Meanwhile desperation in the LTTE camp spiraled up to dizzy heights. Shatteringly pathetic to behold was the sight of Prabhakaran’s much vaunted media network crashing and in disarray. It is virtually in shambles. The last nail in the coffin was LTTE’s Mao style long march of the voiceless from Toronto to Chicago to attend Winfrey Oprah’s TV show which went bust.

International observers have watched patiently for a long time while Sri Lanka did the civilized world proud undertaking probably the biggest ever rescue operation in the world to save tens of thousands of civilians taken hostage by a terrorist outfit banned in many countries. LTTE supremo Prabhakaran was, perhaps, eating crow inside a bunker as he was losing the propaganda war-unimaginable that it would match his dismal military defeat in Wanni.

If Prabhakaran is still under the delusion that his backers abroad will manage to extricate him from the mess of his own making on the pretext of saving civilians and bring about a protracted truce, a veiled disguise for a comeback, he is in for a surprise.

His TamilNet is struggling to present the stark truth that things are in mess. As TV screens flashed in unending succession photos of Tamil civilians escaping from LTTE’s grip, fake stories of armed forces trying to harm civilian’s flooded LTTE networks. TamilNet was pathetically false. This was a serious faux pas unworthy of any news network.

All these years, the LTTE tried its best to give a semblance of news worthiness to their statements. Now there is the blatantly false handout from the director of LTTE Peace Secretariat S. Puleedevan: “the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has started to move on two fronts at Valaignar-madam and at Maaththa'lan using a section of the civilians who were caught by the SLA on Monday as human shields.” The story was instantly debunked as the TV footage caught the civilians running for their dear lives away from the LTTE goons.

Stories of concocted tales of armed forces forcing civilians to walk through LTTE defence lines at gun point have become the collectors’ items. Here is one that took the cake: “As the Armed Forces opened up escape routes, they ordered the civilians to flee and in one day nearly 40,000 of them had fled.” Howlers are the ultimate refuge of psychopaths.

While these fabrications were surfacing all over the LTTE web sites in the West, Dr. Michael Roberts, and others labored to provide us a glimpse of the LTTE cadres’ mind-set. Here is how Dr. Roberts made a case for suicide bombers under Prabhakaran’s care: - “the individual -- becomes subordinate to Cause (capital C), that is, to country, people and nation-state (or state-to-be, viz., Eelam). To put it in different words, once the LTTE secured the commanding heights in the struggle for cutantiram (liberation), the Sri Lankan Tamil Individual and the Collective, Tamil Eelam, have been regarded as one.” (Sri Lanka Guardian article).

En mass immolation and ultimate sacrifice of their lives were deemed a cardinal doctrine of the Sun God. Still, LTTE websites spanning the globe could not stem the tide of a terrorist war gone terribly wrong.

Burnishing Prabhakaran’s ethicality even to a presentable caricature level was way beyond anyone’s capacity. Respectability has to be earned and not concocted by some theoretical hogwash. Grabbing at every straw, the LTTE hierarchy is despondent as droves of “log cabin LTTE stalwarts' left the fold all over the world. Even the most over-used cliché of “freedom fighter” seemed wimpy and phony at this late stage. What other lame theory will surface during the post-conflict era to defence Prabhakaran? I bet you, reincarnation would be in the books soon.

Prabhakaran’s plight is very much sealed. Trying to beautify him when torrents of ghastly memories haunt the civilized world, the last one especially, "the human shield for survival"defiles analysis. At least our friend Dr. Roberts gave it his best shot. Time to sing the chorus “Michael broached the human shield, Alleluia!
-Sri Lanka Guardian