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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
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Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Sri Lanka's Broken Pacts & Evasive Proposals > The Thimpu Talks - July/August 1985 > Introduction > Initial cease fire proposal by Eelam National Liberation Front in April/May 1985 > Terms of cease-fire proposed by Indian Government Agencies > Joint response by Eelam National Liberation Front to cease-fire proposals, 18 June 1985 > Tamil Liberation Organisations refuse to participate in talks with Sri Lanka, 29 June 1985 > Diary of Phase I of Thimpu Talks, 8 July 1985 to 13 July 1985  > Joint Statement by Tamil Liberation Organisations on cease-fire violations by Sri Lanka, 9 July 1985 > First Proposal by Sri Lanka Delegation, 10 July 1985 > Joint Statement by Tamil Liberation Organisations, 12 July 1985 > Response by Sri Lanka Delegation, 13 July 1985 > The Thimpu Declaration,13 July 1985 > Opening statement by Sri Lanka delegation - Phase II - 12 August 1985 > Joint Response of Tamil Delegation, 13 August 1985 > Statement by Nadesan Satyendra on behalf of Tamil Delegation,14 August 1985 > Joint Statement by Tamil delegation on recognition of representative character, 15 August 1985 > Response of Sri Lanka delegation on recognition, 15 August 1985 > New Proposals by Sri Lanka Delegation, 16 August 1985 > Joint Response by Tamil Delegation to new proposals, 17 August 1985 > Joint Statement by Tamil Delegation immediately prior to walk out, 17 August 1985 > A Brief Note on the Thimpu Talks - David Selbourne, Oxford, August 1985 > S.Sivanayagam on the Thimpu Talks - The Sinhala- Tamil Conflict & the India Factor > Thimpu Declaration: The Path of Reason - Nadesan Satyendra, 1987

Thimpu Talks - July/August 1985

A Brief Note on the Thimpu Talks
David Selbourne, Ruskin College, Oxford

- from the Tamil Times, August 1985

It is evident that one of the most difficult points for commentators to grasp - and large numbers of Tamils also - is that the Sinhalese, as I have maintained since I first began to write on Sri Lanka, have no intention whatever of reaching a 'negotiated' settlement with the Tamils.

So that not only was it a folly for Tamil representatives to take part in the Bhutanese charade with the absurd and scoundrelly Hector Jayawardene in the first instance; it is also humiliatingly wrong for Tamil spokesmen, now, to be wringing their hands over the 'military solution' which Colombo allegedly prefers to the path of a political settlement of the Tamil problem.

Such analysis is based on entirely false premises, (and entirely understandable wishful thinking). For the bitter truth is that a military solution - that is the random butchery of Tamil civilians, men, women, and children - is the politics of Colombo; they have, and intend, no other. Of course, the rationalist Tamil and non-Tamil alike, finds it hard to credit that this could be so; we would not be human ourselves if we were unable and unwilling to attribute human instinct and intentions even to our most intransigent and pitiless enemy.

Yet, I state as an axiom, based on my knowledge of the parties - cheap criminals and pariahs beyond the pale of morality - that the Sinhalese politicians who presently misgovern what used to be Sri Lanka, do not intend, cannot embark upon, and will not concede, any real measure of devolution to the Tamils.

A hoax and pantomime

So that the first elementary steps to understanding the meaning of Colombo's actions (and they are as crude as their authors) are to recognize that even Sinhalese talk of negotiation, let alone its substance, is a hoax; that the cycle, or circus, of inter-ministerial visits and jaunts between Delhi and Colombo has throughout been a pantomime, comic if it were not so tragic; that there is no real distinction to be made between the intentions of the melancholy Jayawardene and the intentions of the mafioso Athulathmudali - with his bottle of acid hidden among the many Tamil skeletons in his cupboard - or any of the other third-rate crooks and liars who preside over the suicide of the island; and that disenfranchising, terrorizing, disqualifying, looting, expelling, and killing the Tamils are the governing purposes of Colombo's realpolitik.

There is no need to put any finer point upon it; indeed, in order to match Tamil realpolitik to the demands of the moment requires that there be no illusions about what the Tamils are facing. Liberal sentiment and the liberal media, self-serving Congress acrobats in Delhi, the cynical Sinhalese working towards their final solution, and Tamil 'leaders' dreaming of the presidency of Eelam, will of course go on talking in solemn terms of negotiation, shuttle diplomacy, devolution, Annexure C, the bona fides of the parties and the rest of it. But the whole of it whatever its form, does not have the meanings which normal expectation seeks to attribute to such activity.

What, then, you may ask, is real in the situation? Three things: - the need of Colombo to fill its begging bowl (for alms and arms) at the servants' back door of the Western mansion; - the need of Colombo's bankrupt politicians to preserve their skins and their offices, and to keep their hands in the till of the island's exchequer; and - above all, the insatiable urge to punish the Tamils for their past and present 'misconduct.'

And if you can fit a 'negotiated settlement' of Tamil demands (for a sufficient degree of self-determination to protect their own lives, liberties, and properties) into such a context, you deserve an Olympic medal for the gymnastic effort, or honorary membership of the Magician's Circle.

The truth is quite the other; but, unhappily, only those who are free of humane illusions can know it. In such a terrible circumstances, the agony of the Tamils, and the self-destruction of the Tamils will continue.

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