Is the Sri Lankan Tamil nation moving towards extinction?

By Satheesan Kumaaran

(June 12, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Although many countries around the world urge the Sri Lankan government to fulfill the political demands of Tamils through peaceful means, these countries have shown little interest to jump into the conflict to make a deal between the warring Tamils and Sinhalese. All question the legitimacy of the global governments who once said that Sri Lanka should be brought to court of justice, but then changed their tone saying that Sri Lanka should embrace the Tamils, leaving aside what has happened during the military operations against innocent Tamils in the guise of fighting the LTTE.

Global governments still have failed to acknowledge the fact that the Tamils have grievances and they were up in arms not just for fun, but because of the Sri Lankan state’s continuous violence against Tamils who protested peacefully for thirty years to attain their political demands. The de facto Tamil state was perceived by the Sri Lankan terrorist state as a state run by a terrorist organisation, which for the Tamils was a resistance movement with a credible ideology.

Rajapaksa and his coterie took advantage of the post 9/11 global war on terror, a phrase invented by George W. Bush to fight the Al Qaeda and to justify his invasions on Iraq and the attacks on Afghanistan, a war against the Taliban that cannot be won. Consequent to the debunking of this term, Rajapaksa called his terrorist war a humanitarian operation, which for some members of the international community was convenient to accept. These countries should realise that no other country would launch military attacks through aerial and heavy artillery bombings, not to mention wanton deliberate attacks on hospitals and inmates, on whom they call their own citizens.

A false façade

Sri Lanka having been ranked as a failed state and a red hot genocidal state has emerged as a fit state to be congratulated on its defeat of “terrorism” even after the subsequent massacre of 30,000 innocent civilians, thanks to the UN. Rather than treating Sri Lanka as a terrorist state and dealing with the country accordingly for its genocidal war on Tamils, it is rather pathetic to note that those countries that now, after the LTTE were defeated militarily in May 2009, have found it expedient to abandon the Tamil people.

The Diaspora Tamils in Europe, as well as many other human rights and civil activists hailing from many other countries, collected generous gifts with the aim to reach the displaced Tamils in Vanni under the banner ‘Mercy Mission’, and they dispatched them in a Syrian registered ship named ‘Captain Ali’ along with the medical and food items, but the Sri Lankan navy seized the ship on June 4 when it entered the Sri Lankan waters, and then it found nothing other than the basic supplies such as food, cloth and medicine after 101 hours of search of every nook and corner. Yet, the Sri Lankan government authorities ordered the ship to leave the island on June 8 without unloading. This is clear evidence of the callous and murderous attitude of the Sri Lankan government towards the Tamils.

Despite all the crimes of the Sri Lankan government, some of the countries who were critical of them have metamorphosed in chameleon-like fashion to holding talks with the foreign minister of the failed terrorist state and legitimizing its actions. We are aware that these acts are necessary in diplomacy where lies and deceptions are the norm.

Most countries fail to recognize, or pretend not to, the gimmicks of Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka is doing its best to cover its record of being a failed state and from being considered a war crime state.

Many countries in Europe and elsewhere continue to call on the United Nations to bring the perpetrators of Sri Lanka’s war crimes to book. Over 30,000 Tamil civilians were killed within a few days and many thousands are still held in unidentified camps. Many hundreds are facing torture in Colombo on the fourth floor of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CID), while over 280,000 Tamils are put in Nazi-style internment camps in Vavuniya and denied access to international organizations and the media. So, the government is desperate to show the world that it is not a rogue to obtain monetary aid of $ 1.9 billion pending from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and thereby escape from war crimes.

Tamils need a singular political movement

Tamils direly need a political movement to mobilize what has been put behind by the Resistance movement of the LTTE. After global governments urged the LTTE to give up the military struggle, the LTTE surrendered in order to save the civilians and the Sri Lankan government won the war. The political initiatives should be taken forward to fulfill Tamil aspirations.

However, the Sri Lankan government in their undeserved triumphalism does not appear to have the slightest inclination negotiate with the Tamils. Rather, they are planning their rigged elections in the North to have their own mercenary candidates loyal to Rajapaksa and claim to have won the “hearts and souls” of the Tamils, and thereby show the world that they have upheld their shameful democracy on the island.

Further, Rajapaksa is trying to showcase to the world that his administration is doing its best to end the conflict through a political dialogue. It is planning to invite anti-LTTE Tamils to lead a delegation and thereby offer a political package with less power than the federal structure existing in India. So, Colombo is planning to bring in Indian leaders to Colombo. Rajapaksa has invited the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu chief minister recently turned 86, M. Karunanidhi, to visit Sri Lanka to ease the uprising among Tamils around the world. As a self-proclaimed world Tamil leader, Karunanidhi then would call upon the global Tamils to remain calm as he is satisfied with the initiatives taken forwarded by Rajapaksa government and also happy with the outcome of his political manoeuvrings getting his sons and daughter a political and financial future. A continuing tragedy for the Tamil Nadu people with democracy denied for at least another generation. In their political ignorance little do they realise this. The question is whether Rajapaksa has failed to do his homework because his home-grown political package would not work to fulfill the demands of Tamils who have been struggling for the last six-decades.

Also, the Sri Lankan government has failed to realize the fact that tens of thousands of potential freedom fighters will emerge unless Sri Lanka ends the conflict through peaceful means by fulfilling the demands of Tamils. The Tamils are not warmongers. Their demands had been peaceful before the advent of militancy in asking for autonomy.

Sri Lanka should follow the Vaddukkoddai resolution of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1976 and 1985 Thimpu principles. All these demand greater autonomy for Tamils. The Tamils want something better than the federal system existing in Canada and prefer the Swiss model of confederation which is worth discussing for the Sri Lanka conflict because Tamils and Sinhalese are different nations with totally different identities in culture, history, religious, ethnic and linguistics.

Further, the division based on Tamils and Sinhalese have deepened through such a bitter violence since early 1980s, and the wound, after losing more than 100,000 Tamils in addition to over 25,000 LTTE fighters and billion dollars worth of properties damaged and such a massive displacements created uncomfortable for the civilians in the last 30 years, will be in the hearts of Tamils forever. It is unimaginable to ask the Tamils to live in a untied Sri Lanka.

In this context, Tamils globally need to reach consensus to be united rather than falling prey once again as they did it in 1970s and 1980s where Tamil youths came as a united force to fight the Sri Lankan state with the demand of a separate Tamil Eelam where each militant group acted against other that weakened the Eelam freedom struggle for more than two-decades. So, the time now is ripe for the Tamils globally to unite to show their unity and thereby save their brethren living in Eelam.

Tamils could remain a forgotten nation in the eyes of the world unless these governments come forward to proactively support to keep the cause of self-determination for the Tamil nation alive. The glaring abrasiveness and the blatant aggressive behaviour on the Tamil people are becoming increasingly evident after the defeat of the military leadership for Tamil resistance. Therefore, the Diaspora Tamils have to play a leading role through a unified movement to save the Tamil nation from moving towards extinction.

(The author can be reached at e-mail:
-Sri Lanka Guardian

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