தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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TAMIL NATIONAL FORUM - 2006
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From: Sujay Rao, 27 December 2006

On the Unity of India

While I respect your culture and language,  I cannot agree with some Tamils views that India is an artificial country. Only a fool would call India a homogenous country. However India is an aggregation of inter-related cultures. Therefore why should any Tamil be against India? Some common points of Tamil and Indo-Aryan cultures

• While Tamil is the oldest living Indian language, the present script is clearly related to Brahmi . This is the opinion of several experts. As a matter of fact, the letter arrangement is exactly the same.

• Bhakti , Paatam (lesson) , Sathyam, Jananaakam, Maaverar, Maanagaram, Raja, Rani, ettu (aat, ashta), madhiya, seekram, swargam, narakam and thousands more are clearly related to Indo-Aryan languages. However, the direction of flow is not clear. Different words may have their origin in different sources and some may be of Dravidian origin.

• Tamils are clearly related to other Dravidian people. eg Telegus. Telegus are hybrids. While they are ethnically Dravidians, most aspects of their culture are from North India (eg Vedas: Punjab)

• Again, many people of the Jharkhand, Chattisgarh belt are clearly Dravidians

• The religion of the Tamils has several common points with the religions of the Gangetic plain eg  Siva, Ganesha are worshipped in the north. There is a Thiruppurasundari Temple in Rajasthan

• All Tamils are not ethnically Dravidians

• Many north Indians worship in temples in Tamilnadu

• There have been significant cultural exchanges eg Agastiyar’s visit to the south. Tamil kings mentioned in Sanskrit epics such as the Mahabharata as allies.

• Some more common points: Greeting style, Food habits, Dress . In other words, India is a collection of inter-related cultures.

What we need is a Unity in Diversity model and India is slowly moving in this direction. Although this will take time, we must all chalk out a strategy and make this happen. Please refer the following links

http://www.zeenews.com/znnew/articles.asp?aid=342860&sid=NAT
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200612031140.htm
http://www.business-standard.com/opinionanalysis/storypage.php?leftnm=4&subLeft=2&chklogin=N&autono=268217&tab=r
http://www.indiaenews.com/politics/20061106/27718.htm

Please post this on your site for a debate.

Response by tamilnation.org  The matters raised by Sunjay Rao are important and need to be addressed. He is right to point out that the Tamil national identity has often been linked to ideas of 'race'. If Hitler was wrong to found his political ideology on theories of the 'Aryan' race it seems that it is equally erronoeous to found the Tamil national identity on the basis of a 'Dravidian' race. We take the view that both approaches are 'racist'. A nation is not a race.

In the sense that India was in some ways a creation of British rule, it may be seen by some as an 'artificial country'. But in that sense all states are 'artificial' creations. States do not just happen. It is right that India needs Unity in Diversity. India is not only an aggregation of inter-related cultures but it is also an aggregation of  separate national formations - not dissimilar to the European Union of today.  India is a multi national state. We ourselves believe that the unity of India will be secured only if we take on board the views which Pramatha Chauduri expressed  more than 80 years ago -

"...It is not a bad thing to try and weld many into one but to jumble them all up is dangerous, because the only way we can do that is by force. If you say that this does not apply to India, the reply is that if self determination is not suited to us, then it is not suited at all to Europe. No people in Europe are as different, one from another, as our people. There is not that much difference between England and Holland as there is between Madras and Bengal. Even France and Germany are not that far apart. If some of our politicians shudder at the mention of provincial patriotism, it is because their beliefs smack of narrow national selfishness.To be united due to outside pressure and to unite through mutual regard are not the same. Just as there is a difference between the getting together of five convicts in a jail and between five free men, so the Congress union of the various nations of India and tomorrow's link between the peoples of a free country will be very different. Indian patriotism will then be built on the foundation of provincial patriotism, not just in words but in reality."

Our own views were reflected in Tamil Eelam, Kurds and Bhutan, written twenty years ago in 1985:

"...The growing togetherness of the Tamil people, is but a step in the growth of a larger unity. We know that in the end, national freedom can only be secured by a voluntary pooling of sovereignties, in a regional, and ultimately in a world context. Let us say that we recognize that our future lies with the peoples of the Indian region and the path of a greater and a larger Indian union is the direction of that future. It is a union that will reflect the compelling and inevitable need for a common market and a common defence and will be rooted in the common heritage that we share with our brothers and sisters of not only Tamil Nadu but also of India. It is a shared heritage that we freely acknowledge and it is a shared heritage from which we derive strength."

Sujay Rao is right to question: "why should any Tamil be against India?". The answer is that there should be no reason for any Tamil to be against India. Equally there should be no reason for any Indian to be against the struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for freedom - especially, given the Sri Lanka's  record of ethnic cleansing during the past fifty years and more - a Sri Lanka where the intent and goal of all Sinhala governments (without exception) has been to secure the island as a Sinhala Buddhist Deepa. Rule by a permanent Sinhala ethnic majority within the confines of a single state is the dark side of democracy in Sri Lanka.  There may be a need to recognise that a people's struggle for freedom is a nuclear energy and that the Fourth World is a part of today's enduring political reality. India may need to adopt a more 'principle centred' approach towards struggles for self determination in the Indian region. A  myopic approach, apart from anything else, will serve only to encourage the very outside 'pressures' which may threaten the unity of India.

From: Mathini Sreetharan, மாதினி சிறீதரன்,  USA  29 November 2006

நீதிக்கு இங்கெ பொருள் என்ன?

நீதியின் கரங்கள் எத்தனை நீளம்?
அநீதியை அழிக்கப் போதுமா தூரம்?
நீதியின் காவலா, ஆண்டவா கூறு!
அநீதியோ தமிழனாய்ப் பிறந்தது என்று.

உரிமையைக் கெட்டால் பயங்கரவாதி.
தமிழன் என்றால் இன்னொரு நீதி.
உணவினை மறுத்து மருந்தினை நிறுத்தி
துவக்கினைக் காட்டுது இலங்கை அரசு.

இரவும் பகலும் வெடி குண்டுகளாலே
பரவலாய்த் தூவுது குடிசைகள் மேலே
குடும்பமாய் அழிகிறோம், தனியனாய் அழுகிறோம்.
முடிவெது என்று கெட்கிறோம் நாங்கள்.

அன்னையும் அப்பரும் பந்தமும் பாசமும்
வெடியுடன் சிதறியே முடிந்ததைக் கண்டு
என்ன நாம் செய்து இப்படி நடந்தது
என்றென்று அழுகுது தப்பிய குழந்தைகள்.

பதிலென்ன இதற்குச் சொல்லிவிடு இறைவா,
எங்களின் வாழ்க்கையின் கருத்தென்ன?
பிள்ளைகள் வளர இடமில்லை இங்கு.
நீதிக்கு இங்கெ பொருள் என்ன சொல்லு.

comment by tamilnation.org  "We are fully aware that the world is not rotating on the axis of human justice. Every country in this world advances its own interests. It is the economic and trade interests that determine the order of the present world, not the moral law of justice nor the rights of people. International relations and diplomacy between countries are determined by such interests. Therefore we cannot expect an immediate recognition of the moral legitimacy of our cause by the international community... In reality, the success of our struggle depends on us, not on the world. Our success depends on our own efforts, on our own strength, on our own determination." (Velupillai Pirabakaran, Maha Veera Naal Address - November 1993)

From: அன்புதாசன், வடமராட்சி, 15 November 2006

சாவிலும் வாழ்வோம்

தமிழா உன்; மனதை கீறிவைத்து
விடுதலை என்ற விதைபோட்டாய்-அது
தசாப்த காலம் இரண்டு கடந்து
விருட்சமாய் உலகம் வியாபிக்கிது

சாவில் தோய்த எம்தேசத்தின் வாழ்வுகள்
சாவுமணி அடிக்கும் வல்லாதிக்க பயங்கரவாதத்திற்கு
மனமே ஓ தமிழ் மனமே உரக்க கூவுங்கள்
மரத்துபோன மனங்களுள் (எம்)உண்மையை உணர்துவதற்கு

ஒற்றுமையின் தேசத்தில் நின்று எடுத்துரைத்தோம்
எம்முறவுப்பாலத்தின் ஒரே தெருவை திறக்க
ஒற்றுமைத் தேசமும் சேர்ந்து கப்பல் விடுதாம்
எம்முயிர்களைக்காவும் சிங்களத்தை மூடி மறைக்க

கருவறையின் நிசப்தத்தில் துங்கும் மழழையும்
கருவுடலாய் நிரந்தரத்தில் அங்கு துயிலுது
கல்லறையகும் எம்நோயாளர் கட்டிடம்கூட
கணவான்கள் கண்களை ஏன் மறைக்கிது

சமாதானத்திற்கான தார்மீக போரம் தமிழர்மீது
சர்வதேசத்திடம் சிங்களம் தட்டேந்துது
பயங்கரவாதத்தை அழிக்கும் போராம் சர்வதேசம்
பட்டாயுதம் வழங்குது சிங்களத்திற்க்கு

விடியல் ஒவ்வொன்றும் புதிதாதாய் புலரும்போதும்
விடுதலையாயிராதோ என ஏங்கும் தமிழினமே
சாவிலும் வாழும் இவ்வொற்றுமைப் புலம்பல்போதும்
சாயம் களரும் எம்மீதகிலத்தின் பயங்கரவாதக்கோசம்

உயிர் தாங்கி செதுக்கும் பளிங்குச்சிலையில்
ஒளிவிளங்கும் ஒருகாலம் விடுதலையில்
உளிகொண்டு உருக்குலைந்த உள்ளங்கள்-அதில்
குளிர் காயும் நிலையான சுகம் காண

From: Himanshu B [maleabroad@yahoo.ca] 6 November 2006

So what point are you making by creating the webpage, New Delhi & the Tamil Struggle: For Province Read Nation
Are you advocating separatism?

Response by tamilnation.org  You may find the article Tamil Nation & the Unity of India of interest - and it may clarify the point that we sought  to make by publishing Pramatha Chauduri's essay on 'For Province Read Nation' which he wrote in 1920. We quote here a short excerpt (though we do feel that a reading of the entire article will be helpful) -

More than 80 years ago, in 1920, Pramatha Chaudhuri wrote an article titled "Bengali Patriotism". It appeared in the well known Bengali monthly, Sabuj Patra (Green Leaves), which he edited. Pramatha Chaudhuri spoke as a Bengali and wrote in Bengali, but that which he so eloquently said would apply equally to the Tamils, the Marathis, the Malayalees, and the other nations of the Indian sub continent. 

Chaudhuri described the various people of India as different "nations" entitled to national self determination. According to him the possibility of harmony and co-operation was much more, if this separateness was recognised rather than denied. He declared that the unity of India will not come from the efforts of "minds bred on English textbooks" and insisted that that unity will be built only on the foundation of "provincial patriotism". ..

True inter-dependence will come only between those who are independent. Pramatha Chauduri's writing (in the 1920s)  remains essential reading today for all  us who regard ourselves as Indians and who are concerned to secure and protect the unity that is India... A stable unity will emerge only when New Delhi acquires the vision and the strength to structure a polity where the different peoples of the sub continent (including those in the island of Sri Lanka) may freely associate with each other in equality and in freedom. The price of  failure, will be the disintegration of the Indian state because, in the years ahead, the political awakening of the different peoples of India will continue to gather momentum - and this will be unstoppable...

The real political question is not one of separation or division but one of determining the terms on which different nations  may 'associate' with one another in equality and in freedom - and this is the issue that the 21st century may have to confront...

And, here we need to understand that the growing togetherness of the Tamil people, is but a step in the growth of a larger unity. The words of  Sumantra Bose in Reconceptualising State, Nation and Sovereignty merit attention: "The clash between the ever-increasing clamour of claims to nationhood and aspirations to sovereignty, on the one hand. and the persistence, indeed consolidation, of visions of a monolithic, unitarian, and indivisible statehood, on the other, certainly represents one of the most striking contradictions, and one of the most fundamental moral and ideological conflicts, of our times... Demands for 'national self­determination' are in one sense, therefore, also a struggle for a higher form of democracy....The poetical and philosophical vision that is required today has been eloquently articulated, ironically enough, by radical Tamil nationalists ('chauvinists' and 'separatist terrorists', according to the official wisdom)..."

It was a vision that was spelt out in Tamil Eelam, Kurds & Bhutan in July 1985, and articulated on behalf of  the Tamil national movement at Thimpu in August 1985, more than 15 years ago:"... we are not chauvinists. Neither are we racists. The togetherness of the Tamil people is not the expression of an exaggerated nationalism. We do not say that our language is the sweetest in the world but we do say that our language is sweet to our ears. We do not say that our culture is the oldest in the world but we do say that it is a culture of great antiquity and that it has made a rich contribution to the world. We do not say that our thinkers are the most influential that the world has known but we do say that their thoughts have left the world with a greater understanding of itself. We do not say that we are the chosen people but we do say that we, too, are a people, and that we are entitled to live our lives in the way we choose.

The growing togetherness of the Tamil people, is but a step in the growth of a larger unity. We know that in the end, national freedom can only be secured by a voluntary pooling of sovereignties, in a regional, and ultimately in a world context. ... we recognize that our future lies with the peoples of the Indian region and the path of a greater and a larger Indian union is the direction of that future.

It is a union that will reflect the compelling and inevitable need for a common market and a common defence and will be rooted in the common heritage that we share with our brothers and sisters of not only Tamil Nadu but also of India. It is a shared heritage that we freely acknowledge and it is a shared heritage to which we have contributed and from which we derive strength..."

It  is this vision which has directed our efforts  in cyberspace during the past several months....The break up of India, if it comes, will not come from our efforts. It will come despite our efforts. It will come from a failure of political leaders in India to openly recognise that India is a multi national state - and recognise the enduring wisdom of the words of Pramatha Chaudhuri:

"...It is not a bad thing to try and weld many into one but to jumble them all up is dangerous, because the only way we can do that is by force. If you say that this does not apply to India, the reply is that if self determination is not suited to us, then it is not suited at all to Europe. No people in Europe are as different, one from another, as our people. There is not that much difference between England and Holland as there is between Madras and Bengal. Even France and Germany are not that far apart. If some of our politicians shudder at the mention of provincial patriotism, it is because their beliefs smack of narrow national selfishness." more

From: Chandi Sinnathurai, Tontaimannarru, TE, 3 November 2006

Sir: The line that you have drawn concerning the question of peace is clearly a straight one. Your position is, quite rightly, that the armed struggle of the Eelamites "is NOT about securing peace" (strictly speaking). More over you have succinctly said that "It is not about changing the character of Sinhala rule." So what's it all about? The yearning of the Eelamites boils down to one thing alone, and that is:  To live in peace within "an independent Tamil state" and to live alongside peacefully "with an independent Sri Lanka." That brings me to a perennial question that I have tried to grapple with in my decrepit age:  Why on earth have we not made it clear each time we came around the Table of negotiation chasing for that mirage of elusive peace? Instead we were brought several times to the cliff hanger situations in our Talks and to babble this that but not "this" which you have articulated.  I'm sure the following video would say something seriously important in a humorous way. Thank you! - Video:  Pirates and Emporers

From: S. Suthanthiram, USA 23 October 2006

Sanctimonious predatory "democrats"!

The Eelam Tamils have the great misfortune of sharing the island home with another tribe called the Sinhalese who have the habit of choosing to be governed by politicians whose political platform consists entirely of Tamil baiting rhetoric. What kind of edge does one Sinhala party then have over the other at the hustings? It is the promise by one party to more thoroughly deprive the Tamils of whatever residual rights they might have left after more than half a century of Sinhala "democracy". Inevitably, the Sri Lankan electioning is a sort of bidding war of escalating promises for the scalps of the Tamils. That succinctly is the true nature of what is called democracy by the denizens in the south of the island. Even the last presidential (or pestilential!) election was a replay of this invariant theme, so dear to the heart of the Sinhala electorate. Is this then the unspoken reason why the Sinhala politicians would not let go of us?

Now, we hear laments from some quarters loudest from the Sinhala south, about the lack of "democracy" for the "poor Tamils" in the LTTE controlled areas. In this the Sinhalese are either blithely ignorant of the irony or are willfully cynical in a Mephistophelean manner. I think it is the latter. If the Tamil lambs are getting wet it is because they would rather brave the weather than get eaten by the Sinhala wolves. The wolf is now howling that the lambs are getting wet! Just think about it!

For more than fifty years the Tamils have been subjected to the Sinhala brand of "democracy". Over this period the Sinhalese behavior was by all accounts - predatory. The Sinhala politicians have, up to this very minute, always acted in bad faith towards the Tamils. So, even as they talk about democracy and pluralism for the Tamils that they themselves totally failed to practise, hitherto particularly vis a vis the Tamils, one can be dead certain that it is out of resolute bad faith! During all the years of Sinhala "democratic" governance not a single piece of legislation had been enacted and implemented with the welfare of the Tamils in mind, whereas all have been intended to benefit the Sinhalese and to discriminate against the Tamils. Clearly, therefore, in the view of the Sinhala politicians, the raison detre of the Sri Lankan government is to liquidate the Tamils. They almost succeeded. Remember, anything that the Sinhala politician says or does about the Tamils is with the intent of destroying their collective identity and ultimately individual existence; beware of the ever present ulterior motives. There is, I fear, not a semblance of humanity discernable in them which is the basic ingredient of a democratic sensibility.

It is intriguing to know what construction that Mr. Rajapakse puts on the words "democracy" and "pluralism". Is it the Sinhala brand of democracy like the Sinhala Buddhism totally unrecognizable from the true traditions or some political arrangement to sneak in his hatchet men, "Douglas", "Karuna" and "Sangaree"? Whatever it is, his unsubtle intentions are sinister and fraudulent. It is indeed pertinent to point out that the Tamils have a far better, fairer and efficient government right now under the LTTE than they have in the GOSL occupied areas where murders, rapes, disappearances arbitrary arrests and detentions, arbitrary, unannounced closing of streets, economic blockades, violent crimes of all types committed by Sinhala armed forces and its paramilitary minions are the order of the day.

Does Mr. Rajapakse have in mind this mode of governance, the kind of democracy under Sinhala rule for the Tamils? Or is he going to hedge and say, despite fifty years of history to the contrary, the failed governance is due to the freedom struggle on the part of the Tamils? Then how is it that even under a greater threat the LTTE is able to govern as well as they do? Is he not disingenuous, then, to complain about lack of "democracy" in the liberated areas? The Sinhalese, history has shown, are totally unqualified to talk about democracy to the Tamils. We, certainly have the intellect, knowledge, temperament and sensibilities to practice democracy and wish to tell them hereby, in uncertain terms, to keep their counsels to themselves. It is the very fact of the involuntary nature of the association, with the Sinhala nation that is the singular negation of democracy for the Tamils.

There is no controversy about the desireability of democracy. By God, we have been pleading for more than fifty years with the Sinhalese to practice just that! We deduce from experience that the Sinhala leaders, including Rajapakse, have no idea what democracy is. Thus to go on the bully pulpit at international forums and accuse the LTTE of not practising democracy is abysmal deceit and charlententry. Rajapakse should, instead, sell snake oil or become an evangelist! The LTTE is under constant threat of annihilation by the Sinhala government. The GOSL maintains squadrons of Kfir bombers and attack helicopters that destroy everything moving and otherwise in Tamil areas and does this regularly. For the Tamils in the liberated areas living is a struggle; yet the LTTE runs a government, more just, more responsive and cleaner than the chaotic, corrupt, criminal, failed GOSL.

The liberated areas under LTTE administration is squeezed from the south and north by the land based Sinhala army, attacked from the east and west by the navy and bombarded from the sky by the air force. To add to the woes traitorous Tamil paramilitary operatives armed and facilitated by the GOSL commit attrocities not only in the occupied north/east Tamil areas but also in the liberated areas. Whereas Gemunu, the Sinhala hero par excellence, marched to the north with his army against an elderly Ellalan, the justest ruler on record the island has ever had, for purely Sinhala chauvinistic reasons, the LTTE simply asks the GOSL to leave us in peace so that when the time is ripe and the conditions suitable on the ground and our security is guaranteed we may practise democracy, not the Sinhala variety but genuine, clean, just and fair democracy. If Rajapakse is interested in democracy for the Tamils in the liberated areas under the administration of the LTTE (he would, apparently, rather continue the present state of tyranny in the occupied Tamil areas) just allow for the conditions of normalcy for the Tamils in the entire island, as the LTTE has been beseeching the GOSL for some years now, by not instigating and urging the paramilitary mercenaries and above all, stop the inhumane, wanton terrorism from the sky, land and sea.

A word about "pluralism". I think Mr. Rajapakse means by it a multi-party polity. For the sake of my instant analysis I will ignore the bidding war between UNP and SLFP as to who will do more harm to the Tamils or the JVP and the (serene and compassionate Buddhas) Bhikkus party and their contribution to the great virtue of Sri Lankan political pluralism Mr. Rajapakse obviously has in mind.

Institutionalizing opposition, that is virtually encouraging dissent, is an important tradition of Western democratic polity and an aspect of democratic governance. A successful freedom movement, when an armed struggle is necessitated, on the other hand, borrows many practices from an organized army of a state. An army cannot fight effectively, if at all, if some of the soldiers attempt to conduct the battle contrary to the instructions passed down the chain of command. Punishment for such contumacy is traditionally severe even in highly democratic societies. It will be apparent, then, to an honest observer it is too premature and probably suicidal to incorporate this feature in a governance structure in an ongoing freedom-struggle environment.

When a father debilitates his child by starving and physically abusing and then complains to his neighbors that the child is lazy and does not do enough exercise what does one think of this father?

From: P. Chandra, United Kingdom, 20 October 2006

Thank you for the eye opener on the so called Sri Lankan Democracy. The fight against terrorism is a convenient cloak to cover all sins. The actions of the Sri Lankan  'Democratic Socialist State' is a good example how the West is made to ignore the atrocities. It is clear from the silent rumblings of the western democracies of their dissatisfaction on the acts of state sponsored terrorism but for the fear of giving the wrong signals to the wrong sort of "terrorists" there is a deafening silence on this issue. Turning a blind eye to injustice is worse than acts of injustice itself. We live in hope for the civilised world to rise above petty benefits and call a spade a spade or rather call a terrorist a terrorist even if it claims to be democratically elected government. Sri Lanka should remember that she cannot fool all the people all the time. The time for truth to prevail is round the corner and all fingers will begin to point towards her soon.

Response by tamilnation.org  There is much that we can agree with in your comments and in the Tamilnet News Feature 'Illiberal Democracy'. Having said that, we ourselves do not agree that the West has been somehow fooled by Sri Lanka - and to suggest that is (at best) to adopt the approach of the girl in the pebble story.

Apart from anything else, the pebble approach  is an anuku murai that has signally failed to deliver. US Congressman Frank Pallone's recent statement on the Habarane incident is a case in point. The West is not asleep. It only pretends to be asleep. We may need to pay more attention to the words of Arundhati Roy -

"..Way back in 1988, on the 3rd of July, the U.S.S. Vincennes, a missile cruiser stationed in the Persian Gulf, accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner and killed 290 civilian passengers. George Bush the First, who was at the time on his presidential campaign, was asked to comment on the incident. He said quite subtly, "I will never apologize for the United States. I don't care what the facts are." I don't care what the facts are. What a perfect maxim for the New American Empire. Perhaps a slight variation on the theme would be more apposite: The facts can be whatever we want them to be..."  Arundhati Roy in Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free)

The West knows full well Sri Lanka's 50 year record. The West knows that the President Rajapakse government seeks to pursue the Sinhala assimilative agenda by reneging on the 2002 Oslo Declaration, by refusing to recognise the existence of the Tamil homeland, and by  perpetuating a Sri Lankan state structure within which the Tamil people may continue to be ruled by a permanent Sinhala majority. The West knows that the genocidal intent of the President Rajapakse government is reflected in the war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces under the President's command . The West knows that in the shadow of a ceasefire, Sri Lanka security forces and the Sri Lanka para military have raped, murdered Tamil Parliamentarians, Tamil journalists, executed Tamil students with impunity, arbitrarily arrested and detained Tamil civiliansabducted Tamil refugee workers, orchestrated attacks on Tamil civilians and Tamil shops, bombed Tamil civilian population centres and displaced thousands of Tamils from their homes.

But the actions of the West are directed to stabilise Sinhala Sri Lanka in such a way as to secure and advance the West's own strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region - and the Tamil people are being called to pay the price.


O'.... Do you hear our voices?
 

Operation Seabird spells out some of the features of the uneasy balance of power in the Indian Ocean region - and two geopolitical triangles juxtaposing on the Indian Ocean's background: U.S.- India- China relations and China-Pakistan-India relations. We may want to remind ourselves of the support extended to Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in the Philippines, the Shah in Iran - and indeed, Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Justice always took a back seat.

We may want to avoid confusing the Tamil people by leading them to believe that all that needs to be done is to wake up the international community to the justice of our cause and all will be well.  Unfortunately, the world is not rotating on the axis of human justice. Furthering our understanding of the strategic interests of the international community, will better equip us to engage in the real task of  addressing those interests. In the end, the success of the struggle of the Tamil people to be free from alien Sinhala rule will be a function of the capacity of the leadership of the struggle to mobilise its own people and its own resources at the broadest and deepest level - and this means, amongst other things, broadening and deepening  the understanding of  the Tamil people of the motivations of the international actors in relation to the struggle for Tamil Eelam.

From: Sachi Sri Kantha, Japan 17 October 2006

40th anniversary of the First International Conference Seminar on Tamil Studies

This year (2006)  marks the 40th anniversary of the First International Conference Seminar on Tamil Studies, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between April 16 and 23 in 1966. The Section on the International Tamil Conferences in the Tamil Nation site is a good educational and enrichment source for younger generation of Tamils living in the diaspora.
 
To fill in the gaps relating to the first four International Conference Seminars on Tamil Studies held in Kuala Lumpur (1966), Madras (1968), Paris (1970) and Jaffna (1974), I provide the information available in my files, culled from my handwritten notes made more than 25 years ago. These notes were compiled in long hand, while I was affiliated to the University of Peradeniya. In late 1970s, photocopying facilities were unavailable at the University of Peradeniya library (though at the Medical Faculty, we had one photocopier for staff use). But, the Proceedings of the International Conference Seminars on Tamil Studies were placed in the Reference Books section, and thus couldn't be checked out. For my reference and research interests, I transcribed the information about (a) the participants in the first, third and fourth International Tamil Conferences, and (b) the titles of presented research papers, from the printed Proceedings then available at the University of Peradeniya library."

From: Usha S Sri Skanda Rajah, Canada, 8 October 2006

Mother India?

I have read with interest the fascinating, penetrating and masterful exchange between Mr. Sanmuga Suntharam, the writer of "Atharma Bumi?” (6 October 2006) and tamilnation.org on New Delhi & the Tamil Struggle - An Amoral Role.

Reading the two, we cannot deny what a comprehensive and complete analysis it is of our relationship with India and of the painful reckoning behind our “India (will help us) syndrome” which is an affliction that seems never to leave us. It’s the syndrome that raises false hopes - just when expectations get high that India would help, the opposite becomes true and our hopes get dashed time and time again. It’s one of the shackles that we have to be freed from - but can’t seem to do.

In this exchange, Sanmuga Suntharam writes with bitterness and is justified in describing our relations with India as “a one way street”. He cries: “Let us therefore forget the ‘motherland’ complex and tell the Indians that we are the only people who can be relied upon as friends if they treat us with fairness.”

tamilnation.org in its comment agrees on the one hand with Sanmuga Suntharam that India is truly not the ‘Mother India’ that it’s portrayed to be. But this is where the two part company.

tamilnation.org in its comment puts paid to this fallacy of ours that we must tell India and India must know that we are India’s only most reliable friend in the region. And that in that persuasion lies our emancipation. tamilnation.org  in its comment virtually destroys the myth we hold dear in our hearts that India is looking after us or even entertaining that thought. It drives home the painful truth that India actually has been and is “using” us and our struggle for its own gain and has been nurturing its own agenda:

 " Having used the Tamil militant movement to destabilise Sinhala Sri Lanka, New Delhi then infiltrated the weakened  Sinhala body politic through its many proxies and agents and now its foreign policy is directed to stabilise its hold on Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean region  - and the Tamils  continue to be called upon to pay the price.  It is the weak who usually act amorally.

tamilnation.org reminds us of Velupillai Pirabakaran’s words, more than 10 years ago:

"...We are fully aware that the world is not rotating on the axis of human justice. Every country in this world advances its own interests. It is the economic and trade interests that determine the order of the present world, not the moral law of justice nor the rights of people. International relations and diplomacy between countries are determined by such interests. Therefore we cannot expect an immediate recognition of the moral legitimacy of our cause by the international community... The world is constantly changing and there will be unexpected changes. At a particular conjuncture the international situation might change favourably to us. At that time, the conscience of the world will be conducive to the call of our just cause... In reality, the success of our struggle depends on us, not on the world. Our success depends on our own efforts, on our own strength, on our own determination..."

How then do we remove this shackle that’s India?  Our emancipation from the shackle that’s India, tamilnation.org says, lies in us being able to understand the “motivations” and “strategic interests of the international community” to “better equip us to engage in the real task of addressing those interests” and being able to convince all vested interests (not only India) that our struggle poses no threat to any of their underlying interests:

"In the end, the success of the struggle for Tamil Eelam will be a function of the capacity of the leadership of the struggle to mobilise its own people and its own resources at the broadest and deepest level - and this means, amongst other things, broadening and deepening  the understanding of  the Tamil people of the motivations of the international actors in relation to the struggle for Tamil Eelam.  Furthering our understanding of the strategic interests of the international community, will better equip us to engage in the real task of  addressing those interests - and to show that the emergence of an independent Tamil Eelam will not pose a  threat to many of the underlying interests of all the parties (not simply India) concerned with the conflict in the island."

And it is tamilnation.org's view that it is any attempt to suppress the struggle "which  will pose a threat to the stability of the Indian Ocean Region”:

 "On the contrary, it is the attempt to suppress the struggle of the Tamil people to be free from alien Sinhala rule which will pose a threat to the stability of the Indian Ocean region. see also 1. From "China fear" to "China fever" - Pallavi Aiyar, Hindu, 27 February 2006; 2. China undertakes construction of Hambantota Port, 11 April 2005; 3. China, Sri Lanka Joint Communique, 3 September 2005 and 4. Sethusamudram Project "

This then reinforces the conviction of Velupillai Pirabakaran reflected in his words: “Our success depends on our own efforts, on our own strength, on our own determination.”  Our strength then is our savior - and in our strength lies the emancipation of our Motherland. Thank you to Mr. Sanmuga Suntharam and tamilnation.org.
 

From: Usha S Sri Skanda Rajah, Canada, 29 September 2006

On The debate on the boycott of Sri Lankan goods and services – a presentation of views and concerns....

The Call: A debate on the pros and cons of a boycott of Sri Lankan goods and services has recently become quite intense: “Some how we should control the terror state’s products not to be on the shelves of the Tamil grocery stores immediately” was a clarion call from a member of the Tamil Diaspora who stood fully committed to a total boycott.  

Foreign exchange on a platter: It has become a matter of growing concern to many in the Tamil Diaspora that they have over the years unwittingly given Sri Lanka, foreign exchange, that it badly needs, virtually on a platter, not for its people but to maintain a standing army and wage a war against ironically the Tamils of the NorthEast. 

Sri Lanka has been enjoying a steady, assured and captive foreign market for its goods (and for some of its services – ex: Sri Lankan Airlines). The demand for the products has come from the Tamil Diaspora most of who had to flee Sri Lanka from persecution and displacement due to the racist policies of successive Sinhalese majoritarian governments and the war. The Tamil Diaspora now living in relative comfort have “joined the club” and become avid consumers in a material ridden world. Most are hard working and many belong to the professional or business sector. And for their penchant and craving for goodies and delicacies that they have been used to from home, there is glut of such items never found before in the market to satisfy their every need. And a number of these items are from Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka is making hay while the sun shines! 

We need to learn from them: In February (2006) when Arla Foods, a Danish-Swedish dairy giant said the Muslim boycott of Danish products, in protest over cartoons derogatory of the Prophet, published in a Danish Newspaper was costing the company 1million sterling pounds a day, the chorus heard among many Tamils was “We need to learn from them.”   

Helping to kill our people: “With goods imported from Sri Lanka we are helping the Sri Lankan government (GOSL) to buy arms, we are feeding the Army Navy and Air Force to kill our people” cried a community stalwart who likened Sri Lankan goods coming into Canada to “a horrible Tsunami that’s crushing our people back home. Let us arrest this killer wave by a total boycott of goods made in Sri Lanka.” 

According to a pro-boycott supporter some facts about Sri Lanka’s economy reveal Sri Lanka’s military expenditure accounts for 19 percent of public expenditure, this being higher than for education and health. This we believe could be a gross underestimate.     

Focus on the enemy: The proscription of the LTTE in Canada has resulted in renewed calls for a boycott. Although disappointment and even anger at the Conservative Government is obvious, many felt the focus should be on the enemy and the boycott would provide the rallying point. “The enemy is the GOSL and our focus should be on the enemy, not against Canadian political parties; by taking them to task we are increasing our burden with more opposition. Our people need a moral boost, a rallying point…we are making every Tamil a part of that process…and we will hit our enemy most in the economy. We must encourage our people to boycott Sri Lankan products in the Diaspora; not to buy air lines ticket from Sri Lankan Air; not to invest in Sri Lanka, not to travel to Sri Lanka unnecessarily and we must do this as a systematic campaign.”  

“This would also mean putting on hold the purchase of apartments in Colombo and investment in the Colombo stock-exchange” said another who thought it was the right thing to do. 

Growth of Sri Lankan Exports to the Tamil Diaspora: Statistics show a systematic growth in Sri Lankan exports to Canada from $40 million in 1992 to $137 Million in 2000 and the numbers are growing. Exports varied from Tea, Food stuffs, Garments, Rubber Tires, Clay Construction Materials to Articles of iron or steel. A similar growth could be seen in countries which have a significant Tamil community. Further, Sri Lankan Air Lines is making ‘big bucks’ from the Tamil Diaspora frequently flying “back home” especially during the ceasefire; In addition GOSL is making a fortune in foreign exchange from the foreign currency that’s spent by visitors from the Tamil Diaspora during their travels home as well as from monies sent by them to relatives.   

Damage to Tamil businesses: As the debate over the boycott continues some reservations were expressed; particularly the damage the boycott could inflict on Tamil businesses in the Diaspora which at present may rely on products imported from Sri Lanka. 

 “By avoiding Marketing Department products we would be penalizing the importers and the wholesale and retail industry in the Tamil Diaspora.” The Tamil Diaspora businesses targeting the Tamil consumer would lose; besides some Canadian Tamil business enterprises are selling products manufactured by the Sri Lankan Marketing Department (MD) but under their own label without a trace of it’s origin (very few know that the products are manufactured by MD); some of them have their production centers in Sri Lanka where the labor is cheap and the ingredients are cheaper; also there are Tamil industries in Sri Lanka exporting their products to the Tamil Diaspora; some expressed concern that boycotting Ceylon Tea would adversely affect the plantation workers. The loss to Tamil businesses and to those people relying for their livelihoods on these businesses are factors no doubt that need to be considered.  

NorthEast has not seen development: The loss to Tamil businesses in the Diaspora could not only be minimized but averted by some innovative methods and corrective action but their loss pales into insignificance say many Tamils when considering GOSL’s brutish attitude over the years towards the Tamils. “Let’s not forget the embargo that was imposed on our people; a weapon that may be used again. What about our farmers and fishermen who are getting a raw deal from the heartless GOSL? What about the livelihood of the long suffering people of the Northeast and the GOSL’s non implementation of certain ceasefire terms like dismantling the high security zones and giving back public places and people’s land? What about the restrictions imposed in the NorthEast on cement, steel, fuel and other building materials affecting people’s quality of life and Tsunami reconstruction as well as post war reconstruction and development?. What about the economy of the NorthEast that has not been allowed to prosper for decades and decades without an end in sight?  What about the right to self determination for the NorthEast people and the right to directing their own economy?” You could not find a more convincing argument to go full speed ahead with the boycott to wake up a government that has been uncaring and deliberately neglectful. This is so noticeable when going round the Sri Lankan government controlled areas in the NorthEast.   

Strategic planning to prevent loss to Tamil businesses: The solution to the problem of Tamil businesses losing out may need some strategic planning in the short and long term.  

The solution would lie firstly in finding other sources other than Sri Lanka to import these products. There is an abundance of products and produce of high quality elsewhere which can be imported; there being plenty of choice and variety out there. It’s for the existing wholesale agents to source these products to supply the Tamil wholesale and retail market. 

Secondly the Tamil businesses in the countries where Tamils live can satisfy the demand for delicacies and specialties from home and from Sri Lanka by manufacturing and or producing these in those countries itself; the ingredients and materials that go into making the products if not available in those countries can be imported from elsewhere and not from Sri Lanka. Although it’s being done on a small scale it’s nowhere near fulfilling the currant demand for these products; an initiative must come from Tamil businesses in the Diaspora, old and new to pursue this line with vigor. 

Suggestions of “launching a website listing alternative products available and ensuring such products meet or exceed quality with competitive prices thereby making sure importers/ wholesalers (and manufacturers) do not lose the competitive edge” are some sound ideas coming from a Tamil that should considered.    

Promote NorthEast products: The concerns of some that the boycott would affect goods exported from the NorthEast are without basis. The products that are being targeted for boycott are from Sri Lanka and not from the NorthEast and could be easily distinguishable. And actually speaking the more attractive proposition is to import, yes import these products from the NorthEast. Though at the moment and until as long as the NorthEast is under GOSL manipulation, Sri Lanka would still benefit from the foreign exchange from the NorthEast exports; but the people in the Northeast would none the less benefit from the livelihood and business opportunities arising from these export ventures; which would justifiably go far to alleviating the sufferings of the NorthEast people; barring of course any untoward action from the GOSL to thwart such moves. The ready market that’s out there from the huge Tamil Diaspora should be readily accessible to the NorthEast; it would no doubt help to jump start the NorthEast economy and raise the quality of life of the people now living in dire straights. What’s required is to determine what the consumers want and produce these in the NorthEast; taking a leaf from the Japanese and now the Chinese who are good at finding out what the consumer wants and manufacturing and exporting it to ‘consumers’ where ever they may be in the world. 

Sri Lanka not called to account for human rights violations although in contrast IC hard on LTTE: The Tamil Diaspora is justifiably angered by the Sri Lankan government headed by Mahinda Rajapakse which is using its arsenal on innocent people including children. It’s state terrorism of the worst kind. The fear is that if not stopped state violence could once again turn to genocide of the proportions seen in Rwanda.  

Although bombing innocent people is a war crime under International law Sri Lanka has not been called to account by the International Community (IC) for this or any of its massive human rights violations, whilst the IC has been hard on the heals after the LTTE, a liberation organization involved in armed conflict who most Tamils consider to be freedom fighters and the sole Tamil representatives and party to the peace talks with the GOSL. The LTTE is involved in defending the integrity of the “historical habitats of the Tamils” and wants a political settlement based on self determination and equality for the people in the NorthEast. The final nail on the Tamil people’s coffin was hammered on the 29th of May 2006 with the proscription of the LTTE by the European Union (EU) and by Canada. Many are outraged by this decision to ban the LTTE. 

Sri Lanka Embassy promoting both tourism and Sri Lankan Airlines despite the bombing of civilians: The necessity for a boycott was hammered home to many Tamils in the Diaspora recently when the Sri Lanka Mission in America called Travel Agents to a meeting to promote Sri Lanka to the American people. “We should not support this plan whilst the GOSL is bombing our people. We should blacklist Sri Lankan Air Lines” are few of the sentiments expressed by Tamils reflecting the mood of the times.

The extent of the promotion shows Sri Lanka is focused in its drive to collect foreign exchange. It talks about the Tsunami revival programme ‘Bounce back Sri Lanka’ with impunity (and would you believe it with the help of the ADB), when the GOSL did not part with the funds that should have been rightfully allocated to the worst affected NorthEast to “Bounce Back?”

The Sri Lankan ambassador talks of the violence but hastens to say foreign tourists are safe because tourists haven’t been targeted due to the fact that “the LTTE did not wish to antagonize governments that hosted sizeable Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora.”

There was immediate condemnation from many Tamils to this statement. “Sri Lanka has the gall to say this about us and also about the LTTE as though the violence on innocent people is being perpetrated by the LTTE! Tamils must think again, let’s not help the GOSL earn revenue over the dead bodies of our people and whilst they hold the NorthEast Tamils captive.” 

Sri Lankan embassy’s propaganda ploy against the LTTE: “Is the ambassador there to sell Tourism or there for propaganda against the LTTE. LTTE have never targeted Sinhalese civilians. Where as day to day you hear the news of the butchering of poor Tamil civilians by the army navy and air force”   

Emirates major shareholder in Sri Lanka Airlines: In considering the boycott of Sri Lanka Airlines there are some issues that are worth noting. We hear the airline is owned by Emirates, an Arab airline which holds majority shares in the corporation. Also the way the system works most airlines are now making agreements to work in association. In other words in this arrangement even though the passenger may chose to purchase the ticket from an airline (other than Sri Lanka Airlines) he or she would have to fly Sri Lanka Airlines for the Sri Lanka leg of the journey. In addition Sri Lanka Airlines is offering good rates and bigger luggage allowances. And for those passengers preferring direct flights Sri Lanka Airlines has direct flights to Sri Lanka without having to change flights. This would be an attractive proposition to those who wish to fly direct.    

Strength of resolve of Tamils: And most correctly in the debate whether to boycott or not the onus was put on the Tamil Diaspora; appealing to their strength of resolve in an issue that demands a bit of sacrifice and inconvenience for a period of time until alternative arrangements are made. “My view is not to target the Tamil stores to boycott the Sri Lankan goods. It’s the public who should boycott the Sri Lankan goods which should result in Sri Lankan goods disappearing in the stores.”  

Stop buying items marked Sri Lanka: To say the debate is heating up is putting it mildly. “I came to Canada ten years ago. I stopped buying items marked Sri Lanka. I encouraged others but nobody listened to me. However I rigidly stuck to my policy. I stopped drinking Ceylon Tea, Chinese Tea is far healthier. I am aware of the chemicals sprayed on Tea bushes as I worked in the plantations and I know the leaves are plucked before the effects of the chemicals are gone.” 

There was a fervent cry for people to act now. “It would be too late to do so later. We cannot depend on others to do what we need to do ourselves. We do not need to carry the flag to tell others what we are. Just think beyond you and your family, and then we can make a difference. We should avoid giving foreign currency to a blood thirsty GOSL and let them know we are not paying to ‘Kill’ our own. Also we must frequent Tamil businesses that are not selling Sri Lankan products and encourage other businesses to do the same.” 

Negative publicity for LTTE: There are a few who were worried about the negative publicity the boycott would bring. The concern was that “the GOSL and the media will spin the story ‘Tigers intimidate Tamil shop owners from selling Sri Lankan goods in Toronto’ I think boycotting Sri Lankan Airlines would be more effective.” 

There is also the worry that the boycott could hurt the Northeast people with GOSL taking its revenge on them.  

Use another airline but do not stop sending money: Some expressed pessimism calling the idea not a socially feasible one for our Tamil Community here. We should see other best ways to use our energy. “Will Tamils agree not to go to Sri Lanka and would they stop sending money home?”  

The short answer to that many say is there is nothing to stop any Tamil from the Diaspora from going to Sri Lanka, those who want to go despite the present climate could use another airline and as for sending money no one was asking for that to stop at all. “We cannot stop the lifeline to our people. It would be a crime to deprive sustenance to a people already deprived.” 

Another Sri Lankan promotion at Trafalgar Square: What’s important is whether the Tamil Diaspora should allow Sri Lanka to carry on with its marketing pursuits as normal without a semblance of protest? There is word that another promotion/cultural event by the Sri Lankan Tourist Board has been planned this time in London Trafalgar Square in June. To that an eminent US lawyer suggested “Tamils in the UK should organize their own cultural event at Trafalgar Square complete with photos and signs. You know what photos, not ones of lovely beaches” she added. 

 A Tamil “British Councilor” seemed to agree: “advising tourist of the true situation of Sri Lanka will have greater impact. I will not dream of going to Sri Lanka for a holiday under the current situation. 

Appeal to American conscience: Further an appeal to the “American conscience” is the right way to go was the advice of a veteran of the tourism and hospitality industry. “If Americans are coming then they should be aware …of the plight of the NorthEast people who are undergoing hardships on account of the state’s historic discriminatory policies and consequent neglect of one section of the body polity; they must be aware of the aspect of the ground reality before they spend their dollars. (Boycotting) for the sake of it without a strategy does not help in this globalized era entwined with trade/commerce and bilateral pacts/interests etc.” Admitting that there was an uneven-playing field even in the tourism industry where incentives were given to places outside of the NorthEast he said “perhaps bringing about the structural discrimination that has in fact already taken place since the Tourism Act/master plan of 1966 that resulted in discriminative practices adopted by the state for the virtual ‘non- development’ of the Northeast.”

Buying power of the Tamil Diaspora: A Tamil experienced in the travel and shipping business was advocating a total boycott to “create a ‘psychosis of fear’ on the Sinhalese as they ‘feel’ the nuisance on trade and tourism. More like a psychological war… increased costs in security and insurance as well as the advertising costs on countering bad publicity would bring pressure to bear on the GOSL. Americans and Europeans do not like any conflict or physical danger. Show them the bloody pictures of Alaipiddy, Trincomalee and the Katunayake airport attack. Also caution them that a full scale war may be imminent. The cost of insurance for ships and aircrafts in and out of Sri Lankan ports and airports has doubled. A 10 percent reduction in the sales of seats will make the difference in loss or profit and a10 percent loss in gross earnings as well as reduction in tourism would have Chairman Harry Jayawardene worried. Let them know the buying power of the Tamils; some solidarity among Tamils to push the boycott, except products which have the authentic ‘NorhtEast’ product seal.  Do not listen to vested Tamil interests; we will not go any where.” The Campaign theme against Sri Lankan Airlines should be “Wrong Place, Wrong Time and Wrong Airline’. Slogans should read Sri Lanka is Paradise lost; Sri Lanka is dangerous; Sri Lanka is at war. 

Hurting Sri Lanka’s Tourism; A distinguished sportsmen was of the view Tamils should have a strategy to counter the propaganda by the Sri Lankan Government and its tourist industry and address those who benefit by tourism such as the hotel (and travel) industry and (development funding institutions) such as the ADB; give them a message; a short history on the conflict, the human rights violations of the GOSL and its practice of racism. 

Educating people of the atrocities committed by GOSL: An Australian radio political analyst and Tamil activist was much against boycotting products like Katta Sambal etc from the Marketing Department of Sri Lanka fearing it would affect “our own (Tamil) businesses; We would end up alienating ourselves from the business community who are important to the struggle.” His strategy is to boycott Sri Lankan Air Lines and hurt the Sri Lankan tourism industry; educating people of the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and of the dangers of going to Sri Lanka as tourists by having exhibits in shopping malls etc. 

A Tamil from the Diaspora who is very much on the ground, volunteering his services to the people of the NorthEast commented on this very ‘Katta sambal’ aspect of the boycott that would interfere with the tastes and comforts of the typical Tamil man who wouldn’t be willing to “sacrifice his Arrack or for that matter his bottled Acharu or his instant Ambul Thial.” One couldn’t disagree more for some Tamils are still hooked on ‘Maliban’ biscuits. It’s a known fact. His optimism on the boycott succeeding was sadly nil, his faith in the Tamil man is running at a low ebb! 

Success will depend on the Tamil consumer in the Diaspora: This then is the whole crux of the matter; that the boycott of Sri Lankan products and services would ultimately depend on the Tamil consumer and his attitude. One’s faith and confidence in Tamils has not yet waned; what is envisioned is cooperation and a change in habits and thinking; that involves avoiding Sri Lankan products and services at least for the foreseeable future. It shouldn’t be too difficult for the Tamil Diaspora to avoid the products and services of a country that’s killing its kinsmen. It must almost become second nature. 

Must make the greatest impact where it hurts and make a difference: With apologies to the Sinhalese people but not to those who have taken them on a path of destruction this boycott may well be telling. As one remarked “(Sri Lanka’s) budget deficit is likely to rise to double digit proportions and the trade deficit could reach a mammoth US$3 billion.” He quoted the Sunday Times as saying Tamil expatriates can help worsen the “health” of the economy, one such option “is the ban on Sri Lankan products including tourism.” As to the role the Diaspora could play he believed that (at least) the 600,000 persons in the Diaspora could be spending a minimum of US$10.00 each a month on Sri Lankan items not to mention the amount spent on flying Sri Lankan Airlines and his view was that “we could make a difference.” 

Rajapakse has to be stopped: This is one way to stop the hawkish, Sri Lankan president says a Tamil who believes Makinda Rajapakse is two faced, who says one thing to the IC; i.e. what it wants to hear; but thinks, feels and acts otherwise. Rajapakse’s call to “Expatriate Sri Lankans” (Tamils included) to “contribute” to the “Motherland” with a promise of “equitable distribution” to all communities in Sri Lanka is typical of the way he operates.   

The Tamil Diaspora has the means: “The Tamil Diaspora should know its responsibility; that in its hands it has the means to stop a terrorist state (that’s Sri Lanka) from having the means to harm the NorthEast people; the Diaspora must do everything it can, with all the commitment it can muster to make this boycott a success. Whilst conducting this boycott on a worldwide basis the goal is to show the enemy the GOSL as well as draw the IC’s attention to not only the potential strength and buying power of the Tamils but their solidarity in the struggle for emancipation of the NorthEast.” 

“It’s now or never” seems to be the cry of the majority of those who want a boycott. 

Boycott from July 2006: Having heard the views and concerns of many one cannot but draw the conclusion that a boycott could deliver a powerful message. And in the words of a group calling itself ‘Tamils for Peace’ the Tamil Diaspora is being asked “by the 1st of July 2006 in solidarity and without harm to Tamil businesses to fully commit itself to a total boycott of Sri Lankan products (and services).”  

Will the Tamil Diaspora take heed? 


From: Ragu R, United Kingdom, 28 September 2006 [see also http://www.geocities.com/justice4tamil/]

Media & the Tamil Struggle: What can each one of us do?

"The international media ... play an indirect role in terrorism through a pattern of selective definition and coverage. The media specifically ignores or understates institutional forms of terrorism, preserving the term instead for national liberation movements and their supporters. In such ways the media become agents of ideological control, advancing an inverted standard of terrorism..." The Geneva Declaration on the Question of Terrorism, 1987 - UN General Assembly Doc. A/42/307, 29 May 1987

What can we do to persuade the international media to speak the truth about the Tamil  struggle for freedom  from alien Sinhala rule? We can make it increasingly difficult for those who pretend to  be asleep to continue their pretence with any credibility.

Here are somethings that each of us can do...

* Every time BBC gives an incorrect  report about our struggle for freedom, we can complain to the BBC by calling  08700 100 222 or we can make a complaint on line.

* Every time the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM)  releases an incorrect statement about the Tamil struggle for freedom, we can complain to the SLMM by email or at their website

It should take not more than ten minutes of our time.


From: An Exchange of Letters between an Uncle & a Nephew, 5 September 2006

Dear Mama,

The Government is systematically killing the young Tamil population all over the North-East utilising our Tamil "brothers". What can be done by us to stop these atrocities. The so-called international community  cannot be depended upon for any justice for the Tamils. Only God and a "Miracle" can help us. I wonder what the LTTE's plans are for the future.

Regards, Thamby


Dear Nephew

First, to answer your concerns:

Successive Sinhala Governments have been “systematically killing the young Tamil population all over the North-East”.  This is nothing new. It should have become obvious to us all at least by 1981, if not in 1958, 1977 and 1979, when Inpam and his cousin were murdered by SL Forces and thrown on the beach, as a prelude to enacting the PTA.

“Utilizing our Tamil ‘Brothers’ for killing the young Tamils..” too is nothing new. As you well know, it all started in the early Eighties with both Sinhala and Indian leaders offering irresistible ‘goodies’ to the likes of PLOTE Uma Maheswaran and the EPRLF Varatharaja Perumal. Every time, the ‘price and prizes’ offered become irresistibly higher and higher, and now it stands at the EPDF crown and the treasure chest being bandied in Karuna’s name. The Tamils should expect more “ Ettappans” vying with Devananda and other goons for “..killing the young Tamils”.

India’s non-involvement in the Tamils’ problems, until 1964 (Srimavo- Shastri Pact time – see attachment), and inaction till the late seventies, Indira Gandhi’s hurried interest in strengthening Eelam Tamil handsRajiv Gandhi’s ‘missed’ adventure and aftermath etc., should have made it clear to us all that the so-called 'international community' (fishing in troubled waters) cannot be depended upon for any justice for the Tamils. IC’s impotence or unwillingness to take a firm stand or intervene meaningfully on any issue, over the last 55 months, is well known too.

As I might have mentioned to you before, almost all of IC members who exhibit interest in the ethnic conflict will want, understandably to curry favor with the SL Government, working assiduously towards their own selfish agenda. In addition to the countries that have ‘listed’ the LTTE as “terrorists”, there are Pakistan, China et al waiting in the queue to provide military support to serve their own ends, and here we have Japan and others flooding the Colombo market with second hand motor vehicles and non-essentials.  It is futile for us therefore to expect all these ‘do gooders’ to come to the rescue of the battered Tamils.

I have, however, not given up on the IC, and I press on periodically sending news clips, articles and appeals to selected embassies, international bodies, and even Erik Sollheim, in the hope that these appeals might wake up some and create a guilt feeling, which might prompt one or more into action.

I would not place too much faith in “Only God and a ‘Miracle’ can help us.” Neither would I lose sleep, pondering over “what the LTTE's plans are for the future”. Much can be done by us “to stop these atrocities”. Every bit counts, and little drops can make it all flow. “ REACH Out” should be the motto. “Knock and it shall open” phenomenon will certainly work for all of us.

Look out and find 3 to 4 persons around you in whom you have confidence, who think alike, those you can work with, and those who care for the Tamil people in the North-East. Follow your friends or become their leader/guide in this divine effort. You now have the Miracle in your hands.

Also look for three to four people back at Home through whom you could work the ‘miracle’. Knock at the door and you will notice the hands ‘reaching out’ for your help – the miracle.

Regards, Mama

Attachment: Indian Involvement

• 1948: The Ceylon Citizenship Act, though providing the qualifications to be a citizen, was designed to disqualify persons of Indian origin. The provision said that “only a person born in Ceylon prior to the date of the Act coming into force, of a father born in Ceylon could be recognised as a citizen”. This decitizenized all persons of Indian origin since proof of birth of two generations was necessary.

• 1949: Enactment of Indian and Pakistani (Residents) Citizenship Bill. It laid down qualifications for citizenship as registered citizens (sic). The qualifications inherent in the bill were designed to deny citizenship.

• 1951: 237,034 applications requesting citizenship for 825,000 (90%) persons of Indian origin were made. Majority of applications were rejected as many were unable to produce evidence of birth in Sri Lanka, to provide proof of uninterrupted residency or to provide proof of an assured income.

• 1956: Elections too proved negative to the Indian origin people since they had no strength to field candidates.

• 1960: The government of Mrs. Bandaranaike created a nominated representation for the people of Indian origin and appointed Savumiamoorthy Thondaman to Parliament.

• 1964: Mrs. Bandaranaike moved to solve the citizenship problem in keeping with the Sinhala thinking that persons of Indian origin should return to India. India, then led by Lal Bahadur Shastri agreed to this move by agreeing to accept 525, 000 back to India. Sri Lanka had agreed to grant citizenship to 300,000 persons leaving the future of 150,000 people to be settled later.

• 1974: A further bartering was done under the Sirima (Sic) Indira Gandhi agreement, dividing the balance people between the two countries.

• 1965: The UNP government too nominated Savumiamoorthy Thondaman to Parliament in return for his support to defeat the government of Mrs. Bandaranaike.

• 1977: Savumiamoorthy Thondaman contested the Nuwara Eliya – Maskeliya multi member seat and was elected to Parliament as the third member. After thirty years since 1947 a member was elected to parliament by the people of Indian origin.

• 1978 to 1988: Thondaman made several representations for the expeditious grant of citizenship under the two Indo Ceylon Agreements. He also urged that persons who were left out of the two agreements be granted Sri Lankan citizenship. Only 506, 000 persons applied for Indian citizenship out of the 600,000 envisaged under the agreements.

• 1988: Grant of Citizenship to Stateless Persons (Special Provisions) Act No. 39 of 1988 was presented to Parliament by Premadasa and passed. This was opposed by the SLFP who voted against it. The people of Indian origin who were until then deprived of the rights flowing from citizenship were overwhelmed by their achieving their long dreamed goal.

From: A Concerned Tamil, USA, [in a communication to a visitor of this website] 29 July 2006

Re International Federation of Tamils letter to UNICEF  - I do not know how the IFT can say that  " Enlisting children under the age of 18 years by armed groups is not a breach of the Optional Protocol (and not by any means a ‘war crime’ though armed groups may have a 'moral obligation' to avoid doing so )" when Article 4 of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child reads:  "4(1). Armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of a State should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years."

I think the situation has changed since 2000 when the ICRC made its comment about the Optional Protocol. The International Criminal Court has defined such recruitment as a war crime and has recently indicted the leaders of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army for the crime of recruiting/abducting child soldiers.

The argument that the LTTE can use is that it is not purely an armed group and has a rear area where underage recruits can be protected from direct combat. I think that they are also using the argument that there is a ceasefire, so there is no combat, and so underage recruits cannot be exposed to combat. They also are arguing that the Optional Protocol is not yet customary international law, but I think they are on shaky ground here.

Comment by tamilnation.org  Instead of dismissing the view of the ICRC that the 2002 Optional Protocol created a ‘moral’ obligation as something outdated, (after all the Optional Protocol has not been amended since then) it may be more helpful if we seek to understand the reasoning of the ICRC. One would imagine that the ICRC was well aware that Article 4 Optional Protocol did say that – 

“Armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of a State should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age of 18 years.” 

Why then did the ICRC say it was only a ‘moral obligation’?  The ICRC said so because the Optional Protocol was careful to cast the obligation for enforcement on the State and not on the International Criminal Court which had been set up by the Rome Statute of 1998 - and which Statute has yet to be ratified by the US. The result is that Article 4 of the Optional Protocol is not ‘directly enforceable’. It is this which led ICRC to conclude -

"...Although Article 4 also provides for criminal prosecution under domestic law, this is likely to be of limited effect, because those who take up arms against the lawful Government of a country already expose themselves to the most severe penalties of domestic law, and because the capacity of a Government to enforce its laws is often very limited in situations of non-international armed conflicts..."

 There is nothing to suggest that this position has changed since 2002.  The statement that

the International Criminal Court has defined such recruitment as a war crime and has recently indicted the leaders of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army for the crime of recruiting/abducting child soldiers.”

is incorrect. Nowhere has the ICC ‘defined’ the enlisting of under18s as a war crime. In any case, Courts do not define or create law – they interpret. Courts cannot amend the 2002 Optional Protocol and somehow render Article 4 ‘directly applicable’. Moreover, in the case of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, the accused Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, were charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes and in relation to children, the charge was laid under Article 8(2)(e)(vi) of the 1998 Rome Statute which reads 

 “(vii) Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities” 

The warrant issued by the ICC  makes no reference to the 2002 Optional Protocol. The juxtaposition of the statement “the International Criminal Court has defined such recruitment as a war crime” with the statement that it  “has recently indicted the leaders of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army for the crime of recruiting/abducting child soldiers” is unfortunate as it suggests that the Ugandan warrants had something to do with under 18s and the interpretation of the 2002 Optional Protocol.  

Actually, the ICC warrant in the Uganda case is based on what the International Criminal Court said in the Sierra Leone case – and that was that recruitment of under 15s was a breach of customary international law and was a war crime.  The Sierra Leone court did not hold that Article 4 of the 2002 Optional Protocol codified customary international law. A failure to draw the distinction between under 15s and under 18s will not further understanding of the child soldier issue.

To repeat: the reality is that no Court has ruled that article 4 of the 2002 Optional Protocol is ‘customary international law’ – and, indeed, the fact that the Protocol is not directly applicable, the fact that the Rome Statute has not been ratified by the US, the fact that the Optional Protocol applies a double standard, and the fact that the Optional Protocol remains 'Optional' even for states (who may or may not sign up), may well militate against such an eventuality. And it  is perhaps all this which led the ICRC to conclude that “it is uncertain whether non-state actors will feel bound by a norm which is different from that imposed on States, and thus whether it will be respected”.  

But, ofcourse, all this will not prevent States and their agencies (and career diplomats, concerned to advance their careers in a state dominated environment) to do all that they can to promote and enforce the double standard (just as they do in the case of state ‘terrorism’ and non state ‘terrorism’). States would like to continue to recruit under 18s themselves, whilst crying ‘war crime’ when armed groups recruit under 18s. States would like to offer 16 year olds in  schools ‘ a career’ in the armed forces, produce video games  (given free to 16 year olds and freely seen by 12 year olds)  and in this way encourage the child recruitment process and at the same shout ‘child soldiers’ where under 18 children without schools to attend, and in many cases without families to look after them, join an armed group resisting alien rule.  Here, we may need to recognise the truth of something which Dr.Colin Harvey pointed out in 2000,

"International law is political. There is no escape from contestation. Hard lessons indeed for lawyers who wish to escape the indeterminate nature of the political. For those willing to endorse this the opportunities are great. The focus then shifts to inter-disciplinarity and the horizontal networks which function in practice in ways rendered invisible by many standard accounts of law. This of course has important implications for how we conceive of law's role in ethnic conflict. We must abandon the myth that with law we enter the secure, stable and determinate. In reality we are simply engaged in another discursive political practice about how we should live..."

To repeat: 'in reality we are simply engaged in another discursive political practice about how we should live.' And this is all the more reason why we may need to resist - and resist with vigour - the immorality of the double standard in respect of under 18 recruitment.  A double standard does not treat like equally – and cannot be (and, indeed, should not be allowed to become) an international norm because apart from anything else, a double standard offends against the fundamental principle of equality before the law.  All law is rooted in common sense and when common sense is denied, we do not have the rule of law - we  have political opportunism which sheds crocodile tears for the welfare of children. And to say that is not to stand on shaky ground, but on something more solid – truth and justice. 

One further matter also calls for a response and that is the statement that -  

The argument the LTTE can use is that it is not purely an armed group and has a rear area where underage recruits can be protected from direct combat.  I think they are also using the argument that there is a ceasefire, so there is no combat, so underage recruits cannot be exposed to combat.” 

We cannot, ofcourse, speak for the LTTE. Neither does our remit extend to lending it support. But reason suggests that the LTTE is a politico military ‘organisation' enjoying a monopoly of coercive power within internationally recognized lines of control. This is a characteristic which it shares with states. A state enjoys a monopoly of coercive power within its territorial boundaries - and, indeed, this is the defining characteristic of a state.

Again, states have armed forces, and they  also have administrative services. In some cases like Pakistan, the chief of the army is the political head. In other cases like the USA, the political head is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In both cases the administrative services may include police, training schools, judiciary etc. The LTTE administers a defacto state within internationally recognized lines of control. The state is de facto because it has not been recognized by other states but the lines of control are de jure because they have been set out in an internationally recognized ceasefire agreement. This de facto state is no ‘rear area’ of an ‘armed group’.  The so called 'rear area' is very much the front area of a defacto state with de jure lines of control. The Australian M.P. Ms Virginia Judge was not referring to some ‘rear area of an armed group’ when she declared on 15 September 2005 (after a visit to Tamil Eelam) –

“…I observed that in a remarkable three year period the Tamils developed a virtual state within the north and north-east of Sri Lanka. I visited their judiciary and court, school of law, police station, police academy, medical and technical colleges and small industries, a community bank plus a children's home housing 278 children left orphaned by the war and the recent tsunami. The Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) runs a variety of development, relief and reconstruction projects as well as assisting several non-government organisations with their projects. All this is a tribute to the spirit and resilience of the Tamil people…”

And it was to this political reality  that Sri Lanka President Kumaratunge alluded in April 2003 when she declared that the "LTTE has set up a separate state". And it was to this political reality that Professor Kristian Stokke referred  in Building the Tamil Eelam State: Emerging State Institutions and Forms of Governance in LTTE-controlled Areas in Sri Lanka, 2006  -

"Sri Lanka’s third Eelam War created a political-territorial division of the island with a resultant dual state structure in the North-East. In the context of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement and based on earlier institutional experiments, the LTTE is currently engaged in a comprehensive process of state building within the areas they control."...

Given this political reality on the ground, reason suggests that recruitment by the LTTE  may not necessarily mean recruitment to its armed forces. Such recruitment may be to its police force, training schools and so on. And it is this which many reports (including those by UNICEF)  have failed to address. There is also a further interesting question which may need to addressed - and that is whether Article 4 of the Optional Protocol which does not apply to a state but applies to an 'armed group', would apply to a defacto state with dejure lines of control.

From: V.C.Vijayaraghavan, London, UK  23 July 2006

Sources of Cultural Memory in XXth Century Tamil Country

A critique of Dr.Wignesan's Sources of Cultural Memory in XXth Century Tamil Country  

Dr.Wignesan assumes many historically invalid markers for who is a Tamil. Dr.Wignesan says

"Tamils - though linguistically and ethnically they may be defined as speaking or using Tamil and belonging to the Dravidian race - would appear to want to be thought of as the indigenous people of Tamil-Nadu as opposed to those who reside in their midst and practise and cultivate their tongue and arts and culture".

He does not define anywhere who is an indigene "as opposed" to a non-indigene who merely "reside in their midst and practise and cultivate their tongue and arts and culture". He does not give any historically valid documents textual or otherwise to show who is eligible to be an "indigene" via-a-vis non-indigene.

Instead, he merely throws the names of E.V.Ramaswamy Naicker - whom he calls Periyar, which is his pet name among his acolytes, Annadurai, Veeramani and so forth.

Quoting 20th century authors like Naipaul and dropping political names does not amount to substantiating his main thesis of indigene and non-indigene. From his quotes one gathers -somewhat indirectly that by Tamil indigene he means Tamil non-Brahmin and by non-indigene he means Tamil Brahmins.

One of the quotes he gives says "today that the indigenous Tamils - by which I mean of course the non-Brahmin Tamils " I don't know why he gives so much prominence to Naipaul an occasional non-Tamil visitor to Tamilnadu whose total stay in TN has perhaps not exceeded 2 or 3 months and who does not know any Tamil. Dr.Wignesan is million times more qualified as a Tamil to give his opinions than Naipaul.

Be that as may, he gives as another central thesis

"And this past in Tamil literary achievement is to be found - to give the major reference points of Tamilians’ prideful memory - couched mainly in the Tolkappiyam, in cankam poetry: Ettuttokai and Pattuppattu in the Patinenkilkkanankku, which includes the Thirukural, in Cittalaic Cattanar’s Manimekalai, in Ilanko Atikal’s Cilappathikaram, among others...".

We gather that Dr.Wignesan  gives these literary expressions of ancient Tamils as the collective memory.

Let us see these two juxtaposed i.e. his thesis of Tamil Brahmins as the non-indigene in Tamilnadu and his thesis of collective memory of the "indigenes" i.e. Tamil non-Brahmins' Tolkappiyam, Thirukural, Cilappathikaram, Manimekalai, Sangam poetry and so forth. We can see that Brahmins occur from the earliest historical poetry of Tamils i.e. Tolkappiyam. Not only that -  the position accorded to the Brahmins is the same as that of Arya society and later Bhakti society. Tolkappiyam clearly lays down the four fold division of the society as Brahmins, Kings, Vaishyas and Vellalas.

Tolkappiyam : Marabiyal - Way of Tradition

71, 73 Definition of a Brahmin
[நூலே கரகம் முக்கோல் மணையே
ஆயும் காலை அந்தணர்க்கு உரிய.  &
அந்தணாளர்க்கு உரியவும் அரசர்க்கு
ஒன்றிய வரூஉம் பொருளுமார் உளவே.]

72: Definition of a King
[படையும் கொடியும் குடையும் முரசும்
நடை நவில் புரவியும் களிறும் தேரும்
தாரும் முடியும் நேர்வன பிறவும்
தெரிவு கொள் செங்கோல் அரசர்க்கு உரிய.]

78: Definition of a Vaishya
[வைசிகன் பெறுமே வாணிக வாழ்க்கை]

81: Definition of a Vellala
[ வேளாண் மாந்தர்க்கு உழுதூண் அல்லது இல் என மொழிப பிற வகை நிகழ்ச்சி. ]

83: Brahmins define the limits of a king [அந்தணாளர்க்கு அரசு வரைவு இன்றே]

These are just a small sample. When one goes through the Sangam Tamil literature, available in the original  one can get hundreds of examples of a society where Brahmins are an essential part. Not only that, the life rituals were also governed by Brahmins:

For example take Cilapathikaram, a Sangam book, which Tamils justifiably take pride and which gives a panoramic view of Tamil society about 1800 years ago

[note by tamilnation.org:  Cilapathikaram actually belongs to the post Sangam period and is one of the 5 epics -  five காப்பியங்கள . Professor C.R.Krisnmaurthy has concluded that "unlike other Thamizh classics, there is less confusion regarding the age of SilappathikAram which is reckoned as the middle of the fifth century. However, this matter of dating may not take away anything from the main thrust of  V.C.Vijayaraghavan's critique].

How did Kovalan marry Kannagi, the heroine: according to the Brahminic ritual at the auspicious time of the Rohini star, after going round the sacred fire 7 times under the guidance of a senior Brahmin. Cilapathikaram is soaked with the central position of Brahmins in ancient Tamil society of Cilapathikaram's days. Brahmins have been the most indigene of the Tamil indigenes. I would challenge Dr.Wignesan to deny this with reference to ancient Tamil literature which he rightly says are the collective memory of Tamils.

In the absence of a suitable rebuttal to what I have written, the whole thesis of Tamil Brahmins being non-indigenes falls flat. He is just falling into the 19th-20th century trap set by Indologists and Christian missionaries. The best antidote to Indological and Christian missionary illusions is the reading of ancient Tamil literature in original.

Since his essay deals with "Sources of Cultural memory", I would like to point two things. Memory can be false also. For example it is clinically proven that paranoid schizophrenics fake their memory - except that they don't know they are faking it and take themselves seriously. The entire Dravidian movement of 20th century Tamilnadu displays the paranoid hatred of Tamil Brahmins, with Brahmins being the very axis of evil in the Tamil world.

Hence, the construct of Tamil Brahmin as the non-indigene who has plotted from time immemorial to work for the "downfall" of the "indigene Tamils". This has been retrospectively projected to Sangam times. While the Sangam literature has intimate knowledge of the Brahmins as a member of Tamil society, it shows no such "otherness" towards Brahmins - neither Brahmins or Brahminical rituals. The "sources" Dr.Wignesan quotes are 20th century politicians with vested interest in faking memory so as to gain power.

I am sure many Eelam Tamils are familiar with 'faking cultural memory' in the shape of Sinhala chauvinism to deny Tamils their rightful place in Eelam. Sinhala chavinism is a product of the 19th-20th century interaction with western imperialism and it does not have historical roots within Ceylon itself. Dravidian movements stand in a parallel position in Tamil Nadu.

From: A Londoner, 19 July 2006

Thank you  for your straight-to-the-point response on the child soldiers issue. It elucidates that the LTTE has obviously changed positions, as one does - from denial to conceding that they have indeed engaged children in active duty in the theatre. Whether the recruitment process was voluntary or even forced conscription is not very clear. Perhaps LTTE is not hidebound on this question. One becomes concerned however regarding the rehabilitation of these young people and the impact it does have in forthcoming generations.

Re. the piece on Peace and international intervention by Fr Sinnathurai I read that the international community might be forthcoming to support a "state within a State" solution.

The above tract from the LTTE suggests that if one does go down the path of finding solution under a unitary state [majoritarian in this case] then the LTTE will fight for separate state. No wonder Mahinda Rajapakse is giving the appearance of tinkering with Buddhist-centric Constitution!

As for me, like most Tamils, if there is to be lasting solution one has to support separation - I'm yet to hear a convincing argument or a worth-while intellectual reflection to change my mind on that. Having said that, may I kindly ask tamilnation.org  to out line the merits and the de-merits of the "state within a State" proposal purely from the angle of North East Tamils? How will it differ from Tamil Nadu?

Response by tamilnation.org  On the question of child soldiers, the matter that may have to be considered is whether the law itself has changed on the matter. The Optional Protocol which banned armed groups (but not States) from recruiting those under 18 came into force on 12 February 2002. The Ceasefire Agreement between the LTTE and Sri Lanka, with internationally recognised demarcated lines of control, was signed 10 days later on 22 February 2002.

As we have pointed out elsewhere we ourselves are unaware whether or not the LTTE has denied that it employs children, "from the age 15, for military purposes". But be that as it may, the question in law is  whether the Optional Protocol (which does not apply to a state) applies to a defacto state and additionally, whether recruitment by the LTTE which admittedly administers a defacto state, necessarily means recruitment as a child soldier.

As for a "state within a State" solution, our own view (which as been stated on more than one occasion in the past - please see  Sri Lanka-Tamil Eelam: Getting to Yes; A Question of Peace; What's the Solution; and The Singer Error) is that the demand for an independent Tamil Eelam state is not negotiable but that an independent Tamil Eelam can and will negotiate a political structure where both the Sinhala people and the Tamil people may live in equality and in freedom, yes, freedom.

"The struggle for Tamil Eelam is about giving effect to the will of the Tamil people expressed by the mandate that they had given the Tamil United Liberation Front in 1977.  It is also about reversion of sovereignty. It is about the democratic right of the people of Tamil Eelam to govern themselves in their homeland - nothing less and nothing more.  (It)  is not about securing benevolent Sinhala rule....The struggle for Tamil Eelam is not about 'very moderate devolution' or 'modest devolution' or 'significant devolution'. It is not about devolving power from the higher to the lower. It is not about devolution. Period. It is about freedom from alien Sinhala rule. At the same time, the struggle for Tamil Eelam is also about how two free peoples may associate with each other in equality, in freedom and in peace..."  from the The Singer Error, 2001

If Germany and France were able to put in place such 'associate' structures despite the suspicions and confrontations of two world wars, it should not be beyond the capacity of Tamil Eelam and  Sri Lanka to work out structures, within which each independent state may remain free and prosper, but at the same time pool sovereignty in certain agreed areas. Tamils who today live in many lands and across distant seas know only too well that sovereignty after all,  is not virginity 

From: A Londoner, 18 July 2006

I read the letter written by the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Tamils (IFT) to Ann Veneman. I have a comment and a question.

1) When I met with Castro (LTTE Foreign Secretary) soon after the tsunami I put to him a question about the child soldiers which was then a buzz word for the international media pundits. With a charming smile Castro replied: "We are concerned about our next generation. We are fighting for them in order for them to have a free and fair life. Are these foreigners thinking we don't care about our youths? No, we deeply care for them. The argument of child-soldiers is a cop-out. What have they done to improve the lives of our young people and the Tamil children? Zero."

Arm-chair pundits will talk...dogs bark, the caravan moves...

2) The IFT - where are they based? What is their remit? Do they have a public profile?

Response by tamilnation.org  Whilst it is true that the issue of so-called child soldiers in the LTTE ranks is being used by many not out of genuine concern for Tamil youth but for political purposes, it is also true that the LTTE has engaged with the UNICEF in addressing the issue and has on occasion released child recruits. This would suggest that in the case of the child soldiers issue, the LTTE has not adopted a "dogs bark, the caravan moves" approach. The International Federation of Tamils is based in Geneva, Switzerland. You will find further particulars here - and you may contact them directly at their email/postal address.

From: Rev B J Alexander, London 3 July 2006

I have read with much interest the articles on "Monumental Historical Tragedy" and the accompanying pieces on "The Verdict" along with Rajiv Gandhi's War Crimes. Having reflected on that, I wondered as to why the Tamil legal intelligentsia are still waiting to press charges against the Sri Lanka failed state at the Hague for all the crimes unleashed on its principal minority in the past and currently. I have two questions to ask, if I may.

1) Is the State immune from such action? If so, should the Tamils go for individuals starting from the late President JR to President MR not forgetting SWRD. Can some one be charged for war crimes posthumously?
2) Can Hague refuse to accept such a case other than the point of lack of evidence - if refused do the Tamils have recourse to justice? Will such a case be Eelam Tamils Vs. Sri Lanka State terror?

Response by tamilnation.org: The jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in the Hague may be invoked only by a state. This means that the charge of a war crime against Sri Lanka or India in the International Court of Justice may be brought only by another state.

Apart from the International Court of Justice there is also the International Criminal Court which was established under the Rome Statute in 1998. The Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002. The jurisdiction of the ICC  may be invoked by states as well as by individuals and non governmental organisations. The procedure is as follows:

" The Chief Prosecutor may start an investigation upon referral of situations in which there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes have been or are being committed. Such referrals must be made by a State Party or the Security Council of the United Nations, acting to address a threat to international peace and security. In accordance with the Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Chief Prosecutor must evaluate the material submitted to him before making the decision on whether to proceed.

In addition to State Party and Security Council referrals, the Chief Prosecutor may also receive information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court provided by other sources, such as individuals or non-governmental organisations. The Chief Prosecutor conducts a preliminary examination of this information in every case. If the Chief Prosecutor then decides that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, he will request the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorise an investigation."

Having said that, it is necessary to point out that the jurisdiction of the ICC may be invoked only in respect of crimes committed after 1 July 2002. Again, the roll call of the vote in Rome revealed the continuing interplay between  real politick and human rights.120 countries voted  in favour of the statute, 7 against, and there were 21 abstentions. The United States voted against the statute and refused to  recognise the  jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in respect of individuals who may be charged with crimes against humanity. It also questioned the right of the Court to act independently of the United Nations Security Council [where the US had the right of veto]. That India and China  joined the United States in opposing the Rome Statute reflects, perhaps, the shared interests of aspiring world powers. These shared interests are apparent in the explanations given by each of these countries for their vote.  It is not without significance that Sri Lanka abstained at the vote on the ICC in 1998. The stated reason for the abstention was that the 'crime of terrorism' was not included in the Statute. But, Sri Lanka may have been concerned that  the statute included  genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, as well as the crime of aggression (once an acceptable definition for the Court's jurisdiction over it is adopted). As of May 2004, 90 countries had ratified the Rome Statute but the US, India and Sri Lanka have not ratified the Statute.

Finally even though the Rome Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002, the ICC has stated that  " it will take some time before the Court begins its operations. A number of statutory measures and practical steps still have to be taken before the Court becomes operational. Whereas the two ad hoc Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda could be set up within the framework of the United Nations, the ICC will have to be set up as a completely new international organisation."

From: Swaminathan Palendira [palendiras@hotmail.com] 20 June 2006

I was somewhat annoyed after reading the article Quo Vadis Karunanidhi? by Sachchi Srikantha. I am by no means a fan of Karunanidhi. But what positive purpose would such a negative assessment of Karunanidhi serve, especially at this critical juncture?. Surely Karunanidhi does not depend on the Eelam Tamils either politically or materially. So what would the Eelam Tamil community stand to gain by annoying him? It is not that his present role should not be criticised. But how and when it is done also matters. He for political gain or some other purpose is providing at least the minimum relief to the hapless refugees flocking across the Palk Straits. Should he stop or reduce same because of the annoyance that some intellectuals amongst the Tamil diaspora cause him? We know very well as to what sort of an attitude his predecessor adopted in the case of Eelam refugees in Tamilnadu. Should Karunanidhi be made to follow the same?

Response by tamilnation.org:  Whilst concern about Mr.Karunanidhi's reactions may be understandable, it seems to us that the way forward is to give open expression to the views that Eelam Tamils may have on the stands taken by Mr.Karunanidhi from time to time. It may well be true that Mr. Karunanidhi does not depend on the Eelam Tamils either politically or materially. But it is equally true that there is an underlying broad based support amongst the people of Tamil Nadu, for the struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam to be free from alien Sinhala rule- and it is this 'emotional' feeling of the people of Tamil Nadu, which the DMK has sometimes sought to tap to further its own political advancement. That this underlying support does exist is also shown by the grounds stated by New Delhi to ban the LTTE -

"The LTTE's objective for a separate homeland (Tamil Eelam) for all Tamils threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, and amounts to ceding a part of the territory of India and thus fall within the ambit of an unlawful activity. The turbulence in Sri Lanka is being exploited by pro-LTTE forces to draw support for the LTTE and its cause by taking out processions, demonstrations etc, in spite of the ban, causing disquiet and threat to the security of Tamilnadu....the Tamil Eelam concept still remains as a goal among the pro-LTTE groups in Tamilnadu."

As to the fear that Mr.Karunanidhi may 'stop or reduce' relief to the 'hapless refugees flocking across the Palk Straits' it may be helpful to consider, in this context, the news report about RAW aiding paramilitary recruitment in India -

"Sri Lanka’s Army-backed Tamil paramilitaries are seeking recruits amongst Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, offering hefty salaries ...The recruitment is being conducted with the knowledge of India’s external intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing)..."

It seems unlikely that Chief Minister Karunanidhi will 'stop or reduce' the assistance that he is providing the 'hapless refugees' because of the 'annoyance that some intellectuals amongst the Tamil diaspora'  may cause him. There is also the additional circumstance that Mr.Karunanidhi has always maintained good relations with Mr.S.C.Chandrahasan and his Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabiltation(OfERR)  who continue to make their own anti-LTTE  contribution  from Chennai.

From: Usha S Sri Skanda Rajah, Canada, 19 June 2006

Editor, Tamil Nation - Please could you publish my letter to the Reverend (Chandi Sinnathurai) re: Satya-Lobby in the Tamil Nation? -

Dear Reverend

Here is my most humble submission on your most worthwhile undertaking (naanayam mikka pani), please excuse me for anything I may say that’s wrong. I shall appreciate your pointing it out to me. You have coined two words - Satyam and Lobby to make Satya-Lobby. You could not have found a better name. The word Satyam is old; the word lobby is relatively new (though lobbying must have been a useful tool from time immemorial) Just as the word Truth has “no beginning or end” so does Satyam. Its origin is as old as creation. Swami Chimayananda defines Satyam as “intellectual honesty.” In other words Satyam is “honesty at the level of the intellect.”  It’s more than honesty, it’s Integrity; it’s more than an ideal, it’s intellectual conviction. It’s truthfulness as opposed to falsehood; it’s Satyam as opposed to Asatyam.

The Struggle for Emancipation of Eelam:
Is based on Satyam (the cause is legitimate)
Was born in defense of Satyam (the cause is just)
Is built on Satyam (the cause is steadfast)
Is bound by Satyam (the cause unites those involved in truth)
Is baptized in the Maveerar’s Satyam (the cause is purified by the Maveerar’s oath and selfless sacrifice)

The cause will be won because Satyam leads (the cause will be won because Pirapaharan’s motives and goal are pure and founded on truth). His quote mentioned in your article is itself a Satyam pronouncement – one that is founded on truth:

"We are not chauvinists. Neither are we lovers of violence enchanted with war. We do not regard the Sinhala people as our opponents or as our enemies. We recognise the Sinhala nation. We accord a place of dignity for the culture and heritage of the Sinhala people. We have no desire to interfere in any way with the national life of the Sinhala people or with their freedom and independence. We, the Tamil people, desire to live in our own historic homeland as an independent nation, in peace, in freedom and with dignity."

Satyam is the foremost virtue that an aspirant seeking the spiritual path should possess. This is universal and true of all paths. But the Truth or Reality referred to in (Hindu) spiritual parlance has a different meaning: The true Reality is that the material world is not real or permanent but that which is real, permanent and eternal is the spirit the Atman also the Supreme Spirit. When ignorance (Maya) is removed man’s awareness/knowledge of that Reality is awakened and the falsity of this illusory world and life becomes apparent.

Although we have a lot to learn from Krishna’s “Geeta Ubathesam” and from the “Thirukkural” and many other literary works – pure words of wisdom found in all scriptures - the reality as in the truth of the “ground reality” is that which we must convey to all and sundry.

The word Lobby according to the Oxford Dictionary originated from lobby (n) as in the lobby (hallway) of parliament, lobby (n) as in “a group of people lobbying a Member of Parliament or seeking to influence legislation and to lobby (v) seek to persuade MP or other persons to support one’s cause by interviewing him or her in the lobby or writing letters. The modern version of a lobby and lobbying could provide for endless prospects.

Correct me if I am wrong…  The Satya-Lobby made up of persons acting both individually as well as collectively would, espousing Satyam, endeavor to engage, educate and influence persons about the “Truth of the Tamil Cause from different aspects” individually as well as collectively from the ordinary common man to media personnel to politicians to bureaucrats to governments to world leaders to NGOs including civil societies; to make them understand and learn the Truth behind the Cause removing any doubts and misconceptions that people may have from their minds about it. In this regard your illustration of the Modern Gandhi complete with computer and camera says so much about what the means and strategy of the Satya-Lobby should be.

Reverend there have been others - who have discussed similar ideas with us and have come up with frameworks; yet others who may already be involved in such exercises. Also this is not to forget those who have done so much in this department already. We have to credit those that have achieved so much in this regard. But Satya-Lobby is a good idea and should be pursued.

From: Bertram Veerasingham, Canada, 19 June 2006

Dear Tamil Nation Editor: I wonder whether you could post this letter which I have written to the author of the piece entitled Satya-Lobby.

Dear Fr.Sinnathurai:

I really do appreciate your contribution especially at a time when Christian way of strengthening the moral call for the sacred/just cause as strongly stipulated in the Gospels, is not catching fire especially among the Judeo/Christian West. How much more blood of our people has to spill in the land of our ancestors before the West realizes the ‘Call from the wilderness’?

I would like to make an additional point in this call to wage Satya-Velvi by the Tamil Diaspora of the West. As you know there is a vast spectrum of practically all of our intellectuals/academics who are sitting in the comfort zone and mostly consider this struggle very much as a struggle of the “common man”.

Still it’s the $ 10 an hour man from the factories who tirelessly sacrifices his time, energy and money to this Satya-struggle. Your call, I would think should give priority and urgency for the intellectuals/academics to join in this Satya-Velvi  (Poruththathu Pothum Padiththa Thamilaray!!) at this hour of utmost need. Of course, we do need to have a game-plan, but there is hardly any from the active “Intellectual intelligentsia” for the take. (Padiththa Pandithar Crowd)!

It is my estimate at least here in the White-North, that the ratio between the Ordinary Vs Educated taking part in this Satya-Yathrai is somewhat like 93:7, though we do have enough on the Pandithar Crowd to make it 50:50. Such is the current sorry state of affairs. The educated and the ‘Seemaith' Thamilar’s consciousness need to be shaken vigorously and urgently!! It should be now or never, like the popular W.W 11 propaganda quote, when the son/ grandson asking the dodger – ‘ Papa, Where were you when the Evil almost took over Justice and Freedom and threatened our very existence?’

On a relative note the SL Embassy here do obtain services from at least 2 PR Firms with an annual budget exceeding one  million $which includes the wine-dine entertainment with the ruling elites. On the other hand for years this issue of lobbying has caused so much of debate among us; one side on the defense of the homeland and the other, on the side of offense in the West through lobbying, both sides always missing the middle. The emotional ties were so strong that it was the prevention (or lessening) of blood spilling among our brethren that took precedent in the past. We have come a long way from those days to understand the urgent need for ‘Satya-lobby’ today.

From: N.Muthu Kumar, 30 May 2006    

Recently, I read an article " Forgotten Heroes of Indian Independence"  in The Times of India, Delhi Edition.  The article is about the Indian National Army founded  by  Subhash Chandra Bose and the soldiers who had sacrified their lives in South Asian countries including Burma for the cause of Indian independence.  The author of the article has narrated the plight of those soldiers of Indian independence, majority of them are still stateless people living in shanties in Myanmar and are treated as foreign nationals in Burma for more than 60 - 70 years.  These people are denied equal rights with the natural citizens of Burma for more than seven decades.  When I go through the article, I found many of the persons referred to are Tamils.  Why the sufferings of Burma Tamils  not taken by any one at the political level in India and what are the possibilities for rendering any assistance to the hapless Tamil people of Burma.   Why should a Burma Tamil (including all persons of Indian origin), who sacrificed his life for the cause of India  to suffer.  Did  successive Governments in India take any initiatives to grant citizenship to those people in India or taken up the matter with Myanmar. When will these people get reward for their sacrifice.

From: Adhiyamaan Aadhikkan [aadhikkan@yahoo.co.in ] 29 May 2006

I would like to add to the comments by Sivagaandhan regarding the demands by Tamil political parties for reservations. In the last election which Karunanidhi contested and became is Chief Minister, DMK  campaigned  to win North Indian votes in Tamil Nadu. To do this they printed election propaganda material in Hindi. Is it not really ironic that this very party which claims to be championing the Tamil cause on one hand sidelines the  "forward communitiy" Tamils by eliminating them from the reservation system, and on another hand tries  to appease North Indians settled in Tamil Nadu with election propoganda in Hindi. It makes a mockery of the people who died in 1965 revolting against Hindi imposition. Now reservations for Urdu-speaking Muslims (many of them who do not speak Tamil) is probably is another feather in cap for Karunanidhi's  'Tamil cause'. PMK's implementation of medicine labelling in Hindi and the DMK's implementation of Hindi  road signs in Tamil Nadu are proof of the levels that these parties can stoop to hold power in the Union government.

From: Subramanian Srinivasan [subra51@yahoo.com], 28 May 2006

The comments of Mr. Ravishnakar Arunachalam is absolutely baseless. His argument that Forward Classes who form about 13% of the population get about 31% of the open quota is false and against the facts. For instance In Tamil Nadu in 2004 out 1186 medical seats the so called Forward Classes got only 28 got admission.  In 2005, only 38 got admission. But 914 belonging to Backward Classes and Most Backward Classes got admission thus cornering 77% of the available seats. So where is the question of forward castes cornering the professional college admission. If one makes further analysis, the majority of the admissions would have gone to the more affluent sections of the Backward Classes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Unless the creamy layer is excluded from the reservation, the story of Tamil Nadu will be repeated throughout India. Please see the following link - Reserved classes forge ahead by K.Ramachandran. 

The comment of Mr. Ravishankar Arunachalam that  "Of course, forward castes aren't happy with the situation, in spite of having a larger representation than their proportion in the population" is fallacious. The basic problem is the question of primary education. Unless the foundations are strong, you cannot build a multi storied building. If you see the primary schools in villages they lack the basic infra structure. This has to be improved. For improving the same you require money. But most of the state governments supply free power to farmers, and this goes to Other Backward Classes (OBCs )only not to Dalits. Waiver of agricultural  loans also benefits OBCs and not Dalits. At least in education the creamy layer should not be allowed to reap the benefits, which should go the more deserving  Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

From:  Sivagaandhan.I, Tamil Anti-Reservation Blog 26 May 2006

The logic of Professor Arunachalam's article recommending reservation proportional to % of population,  fails as the number of open seats filled by so-called Backward Classes is susbstantial. Also there is quota for sports people etc. Reservation deserves to be abolished the same way that terms like Brahmin, Backward Classes, Thevar, Nadar etc deserve to be abolished. Reservation is nothing but a legal way to divide society. Reservation defies the cause of Tamil unity.

Pro reservationationists ironically favour Muslims who only speak Hindi at home or Nayudus and Reddys who speak only Telugu at home. At the same time they treat Tamil-speaking Brahmins and Chettiars as foreign invaders by excluding them . They also claim to fight for the Tamil cause....by dividing Tamil society!!? PMK, DMK, ADMK etc reject creamy layer, support the cruel 2-tumbler system of Southern Tamil Nadu and now demand extended reservation.  PMK leader will go Delhi, Hyderabad and Bombay to promote reservation rather than setting up Tamil learning centers in those places. This shows that  Tamil Nadu policitians don't mind loosing their self respect and prefer to  worship their Hindi masters than to work for an integrated Tamil society. Incidently the PMK health minister has made Hindi compulsory for medicine, the the DMK surface transport minister has made Hindi compulsory on national roads even in Tamil Nadu.

From: R. Vijay Kumar, BS, PhD,MD,FACP  [ rvkumar@uic.edu ], 23 May 2006

State Sponsored Terror and Genocide of Eelam Tamil People of the Island of Sri Lanka
- The Indifference of the US and the International Community is Alarming.

The Genocide of Tamil People in Eelam by the brutal Racist Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka Regime and its Military must be condemned by all people who espouse democracy, freedom, and human rights. The utter indifference, to the Genocide of inocent Eelam Tamil civilians in Eelam, the North-East region of the island of Sri Lanka, by the US, India and the (Western) International Community is alarming. It begs the question: Are they complicit in the Genocide of Eelam Tamils to achieve their selfish goals? The sacrifice of 4 million Eelam Tamil lives, it seems, is inconsequential and irrelevant to the US and its proxies in their grand scheme of plans to maintain the so called "world order"

I am on a one-man humanitarian crusade for the emancipation of Tamil People of Eelam in the island of Sri Lanka. The occupied nation of Eelam and its Tamil people of the Island of Sri Lanka are desperate to be freed from the shakles of Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka hegemony and tyranny.

Over the years, I had written to various international, political, human rights, and news organizations regarding the tragedy of Eelam Tamils in the Island of Sri Lanka. I appealed to these organizations to look at the plight of Eelam Tamil people who are being mercilessly slaughtered by the brutal racist military of the racist Southern Sinhalese State of Sri Lanka. The urgency of my plea was to do everything possible to stop the Genocide of Eelam Tamil People by Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka regime and its racist occupation army in Eelam. The International Community had done nothing to halt the Genocide of Eelam Tamil People by the Sri Lanka Regime. The tragedy of this ongoing human slaughter is that the International Community, under pressure from the myopic influences of the US, had not held the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka regimes responsibile at all for their murderous deeds. It is becoming patently obvious that the International Community seem to be acting in unison in their proclamation to place the blame for the death and destruction in Eelam in the North-East of Sri Lanka entirely and exclusively on the LTTE. It is ludicrous and mind boggling that USA, a country that claims to be the beacon of freedom and democracy, has been singularly responsible, by its ignorent policy, in favoring the murderous Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka.

This biased US policy had emboldened the the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka to conduct its mass murders of Eelam Tamil civilians and their elected representatives. As a world policemen, the US had overseen the massacres in Genocidal millions in places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, Dafur, to name a few. The US has no use for the Eelam Tamils.

How much more of Sri Lanka Sinhalese Government Sponsored attacks, pogroms, massacres, and genocide of Eelam Tamils are needed before the US and its proxies, the so-called International Community, can act on this human tragedy? The Eelam Tamil people are at their wits end that the so called great democracies of the world have found it convenient to cricize the puinished Eelam Tamil people and its savior and freedom fighters (the
LTTE)) than the punisher (Sinhalese Sri Lanka Regime and its brutal killing machine, the Sinhalese Military)).

It is of utmost urgency that appropriate actions be taken to protest the US sponsored bias enabling the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka regime and its racist Miliary to prosecute the Genocide of Eelam Tamil people. It is the hope of Eelam Tamil People that world opinion can be mobilized at this most perilous moment in the 3000 year history of Eelam Tamil people of the island of Sri Lanka.

The so-called "peace loving", "patient" President of the "Failed State of Sri Lanka", Mr. Mahinda "Chinthanaya" Rajapakse had ordered the Genocide of Eelam Tamil people that is in full swing at this very momenmt in Eelam Region of the island of Sri lanka. To the dismay of the Eelam Tamil people, he had ordered the murders of the elected representatives of Eelam Tamil people who have stood up to him in protest of the atrocities committed by him and his regime of the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka. The recent actions and proscription by the Western Governments, at the instigation of the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka Government, against the freedom fighters of the Eelam Tamil People of Sri Lanka, the LTTE, is troubling. This had emboldened the Southern Sinhalese "Failed State of Sri Lanka" to unleash, once again, its murderous campaign of State Sponsored Terror against the Eelam Tamil people.

The Genocide of Eelam Tamil people of the Island of Sri Lanka and the Ethnic Cleansing of Eelam is in full swing. It is aided and abetted by the Western Governments who, not too long ago, stoodby and watched the Genocide of nearly a million of the people of Rwanda. They have, as of late, been slow to respond to the Genocide in Darfur. The International Community's attitude toward the Genocide of Eelam Tamil people in Sri Lanka is no different. Clearly, it seems, Eelam Tamil lives and the miscery of the "Failed State of Sinhalese Sri Lanka" are inconsequential in the grand scheme of "World Order", as dictated by the US, in a strategically unimportant region in the backyard of India.

I do not believe, the Western Governments have the desire to demand the truth, under intense pressure from the US, and bring to light the ground reality of the plight of Eelam Tamil people of Sri Lanka. The brutalized, down-trodden Tamil people of Eelam, will be emancipated from the Sinhalese Sri Lanka State Sponsored Terror, Hegemony and Colonial Servitude. That is the reality of human perseverance and human history.

History had taught us that the mighty and the powerful that crushed and massacred the powerless and the down-trodden, eventually fell and disappeared into the dustheap of history and oblivion. The international community, led by its master, the US, have swallowed the misinformation, disinformation and lies perpetuated by the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka, regarding Eelam Tamil people and the Freedom Fighting Force of the people of Eelam, the LTTE. The viciously anti-Tamil, racist, venomous propaganda machinery of the "Failed State of Sri Lanka", via its Foreign Ministry and its Diplomatic missions, as well as via the Southern Sinhalese racist media such as the "Sri Lanka Island News Group", the "Lake House News Group" of Sri Lanka, "AsiaTribune", "SPUR", "WAPS" have no compuction propagating the lie that the Sinhalese Sri Lanka, the real aggressor, as the victim, and that the Eelam Tamils, the truly aggrieved, as the aggressor. These are signs of a sick and psychologically deranged nation.

These are signs of a nation and its regime that is in a psychiatrically deranged delutional mind set. These are signs of an utterly Failed State. Eelam Tamil people, long time ago lost all the confidence of being governed by a foreign, modern day colonialist hegemonic government of the neighboring Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka.

The Government of the "Southern Sinhalese Failed State of Sri Lanka" has brutalized, murdered and massacred in genocidal propotion the people of Eelam. It uses sexual rape of Eelam Tamil women as a horrific tool of terror before murdering these Eelam Women. The people of Eelam have, long ago, rejected their governance by a brutal, racist, chauvanistic, hegomonic, terrorist Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka colonial regime. The LTTE is a freedom fighting force formed by the people, for the people and to serve the people of Eelam. LTTE is not an international terrorist organization. LTTE is the Eelam people. Eelam people are LTTE. One does not exist without the other.

Sri Lanka Government's actions, under the tacit approval of the US have wreaked mayhem, mass murder and Genocide on the Eelam Tamil people of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's Racist, Chauvanist, Sinhalese Budhist, Brutal Military continues to sadisticaly terrorize Tamil women by gang raping them until they are lifeless. Brutalization of Eelam Tamils had been the "modus operandi" of the Southern Sinhalese "Failed State of Sri Lanka". The cowardly Sinhalese Sri Lanka Military had been committing mass murders at will, even as I write this letter. The only crime that the Eelam Tamil people had committed was that they were born Tamils.

The Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka Government had been deceiving the minority Tamil people of Sri Lanka for nearly 6 decades. During this period it has systamatically destroyed this vibrant segment of the population of this island.

The Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka is a nation that had made the great teachings and philosophy of the Hindu Indian Prince, Gautama Budha, into a radical, facist, intolerent religion. The despotic actions of the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka regimes, present and past, had paved the way for the creation of an intolerant, mono-ethnic, mono-riligious, facist, racist, chauvanistic, Asian Pseudo-Aryan, Neo-Nazi type, Brutal Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka. No reason, whatsoever, approved tacitly by the USA or not, justifies the action of Sri Lanka Government's State Sponsored Terror on the people of Eelam.

The propaganda blitz conducted by the "Failed State of Sri Lanka", locally and internationally, to vilify Eelam Tamil people and its Freedom Fighters, the LTTE, as International Terrorists, is utterly false and cannot and, will not, justify the killing of innocent Tamil civilians by the Sri Lanka Government Sponsored State Terror. The frequent and periodic mayhem, mass murder, rape and arson had been occuring under the very eye of the US and all its proxies who constitute the International Community.

The pogrom and Genocide of Eelam Tamils have been occuring ever since the departure of the British Colonial Administrators in February of 1948.

The sentinal event, that paved the parting of ways of Tamils from the treachery and failure of Governance of the Sri Lanka State, was the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka Government orchestrated Pogrom of July 23, 1983. In a matter of two to three days, Eelam Tamil people of entire suburbs, towns, and villages were butchered, immolated alive or burried alive, resulting in the death of several thousand Eelam Tamils and Up-country plantation Tamil Brethren. There were Western visitors who were eye witnesses to these horrors of Black July of 1983. Despite the highly publicised genocide of Eelam Tamil people in July, 1983, the Southern Sinhalese Government of the "Failed State of Sri Lanka" is in a state of denial to this day of the events of July 1983.

The Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka regime had very conveniently placed the total number of deaths of the Pogrom of Black July 1983 at approximately 300 deaths. This was the approximate number of Eelam Tamil Civilians killed along one suburban street (36th Avenue), at a single moment's orgy, during Black July 1983, in the prodominently Eelam Tamil suburb of Wellawatte, in the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka's capital city of Colombo. At the Grand Central "Fort" Railway Station of the capital city of Colombo, every one of the 1500 Eelam Tamil passengers who were boarded and ready to depart for the city of Jaffna on the inter-city express train "Yal Devi" were gunned down, hacked and clubbed to death on that horrible day in July 1983. The Sinhalese Military and the Police had locked up all the Gates around the railway station to facilitate the Sinhalese "Goon Squads" to methodically go about their murderous acts on that fateful day during black July 1983.

These and numerous other acts of beastiality and brutality commited by the racist Southern Sinhalese and its regimes of the past 58 years have clearly demonstrated that the "Failed State of Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka" has no intention of accomodating the needs, desires, aspirations, rights, safety and justice of Eelam Tamil people. The State Sponsored Terror had been committed with impunity, with complicity of the USA and all other Western Governments that are labelled as "Donor Nations" in the proposed reconstruction and redevelopment plans for Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka. The internet and other sources are replete with factual data on the Genocide of Eelam Tamils by the brutal Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka Military and its Goon Squads and Death Squads. I have appended as attachments some of a large body of information concerning the atrocities committed by the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka Regimes of the present and past.

The Eelam Tamil people have endured for far too long, the brutality, the violent deaths at the hands of the Sinhalese Death Squads and the intense fear of harm by the Sinhalese Regimes of the "Failed State of Sri Lanka". The gentle and hospitable Eelam Tamil people have been forced to live as undesirables and as second class citizens in this "corrupt", "Ungovernable", "Lawless", "Failed State of Sri Lanka".

I have experienced first hand the Southern Sinhalese Sri Lanka's racism and chauvanism. I have narrowly escaped death at the hands of the "Marauding Sinhalese Thugs", "Goon Squads", "Death Squads"
and the "Rampaging Sinhalese Sri Lanka Military". I do understand how my people of Eelam must feel. The fear of their lives being snuffed out at the blink of an eye is an unimaginable horror they live with on a daily basis.

I have pleaded with various international organizations, through my letter writing campaign, for help on behalf of the endangered Eelam Tamil people. Mine is a one man crusade to bring freedom and independence to a race of people who are undesired, unwanted, reviled, and despised by the racist Southern Sinhalese people and the government of this "Failed State of Sri Lanka".

When a ruling regime of a State Fails consistently to safeguard the human rights of a segment of its masses, it is then a Failed State. When a ruling regime of a state had authorized and conducted Genocide of a segment of its population, then this state is a Terrorist State.

The collusion of the state with its undiciplined criminally inclined corrupt military and other criminal elements to set upon the powerless minority ethnic community within its state with the express purpose of mass extermination of these minority people, the state, therefore, is engaged in Ethnic Cleansing. The Island State of Sri Lanka, by all accounts had failed the Eelam Tamil people and the hill country plantation estate Tamil people of that country. Sri Lanka is a Brutal, Facist, Racist, Chauvanistic, Budhist Fundamentalist, Psudo-Aryan, Neo-Nazi Type State. It is a Rogue State. It is a Lawless State. It is a Terrorist State. It is a Failed State. It is a state from which the Eelam Tamils have long desired to extricate themselves from the artificial and moribund union forced upon them for administrative convenience 173 years ago by the British. The International Community of Western Nations, under pressure of the USA, is aiding, abetting, colluding and enabling the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Eelam and its people. I urge the law abiding, freedom loving people, who value democracy and life without oppresion, rape and terror, to rise up and take a stand against this state terror.

From: Usha Sriskandarajah, Canada, 23 May 2006

An Ode to Dr Brian Senewiratne

Dear Dr Senewiratne
We hail you
As the voice of reason of the Sinhalese
May your tribe increase
And become the driving force
To bring real unity to the island of Sri Lanka

May your kinsmen heed your call
To bring Peace and Prosperity
Security and Safety
Equity and Equality
To all the people of the island
Sinhalese Tamil Muslim and Burgher

In your quest for Justice and Fairness
May not your critics stop you
For alas!
They do not understand the wisdom of your words
They may rant and rave
And call you names
For all they want is supremacy
Not equality

We laud you for your courage
And for your futuristic vision
You’re not a traitor
For you love your people too much
And they must know
It’s the racists and the religious extremists
Who send Sri Lanka
To the age of savagery and destruction

If people see
That all you want
Is for the Pearl of the Indian Ocean
To regain its luster and beauty
And that freedom for the Tamil speaking
People of the NorthEast
To determine their own destiny
Does not mean doom for the Sinhalese

But rather the advent
Of a bright new horizon
Of hope and glory
Of progress and dynamism
For they would be free
Free from the shackles
Of enmity and intolerance
Of those who spread hate
And those who cannot lead

What’s required
Are statesmen
Of the highest caliber
And of spiritual wisdom
Who are willing and able
Without procrastination
To accept the offer
Of peace and friendship
By Leader Velupillai Pirapaharan
Based on equality of status
And self determination

For both the Tamil speaking people
And the Sinhalese people
Muslim Christian Hindu and Buddhist

Free at last the people would be
Free to pursue their dreams in peace
Free to realize their full potential
Free truly to determine their destiny
And reap the rewards of freedom for all
With dignity and mutual respect
And you Sir shall become
The true emancipator of the people
And be honored as a hero
For your daring and foresight

From:  A Tamil University Student, United Kingdom, 28 April 2006

I have found your website both informative and respectful. Even now writing this e-mail, I struggle to write coherently as I am overwhelmed with great sadness. I have too many questions, although many of those had been addressed by your very great articles, I still find myself asking those very same questions time after time. So to sum it up in a few lines...

"How can the world allow our people to be humiliated, abused and tormented like this? How can the great bourgeoisies of India sit by and let these atrocities occur to the Tamil people, when other nations like Turkey took a stand and sent their armies into Cyprus to protect their kin? We have so very many Tamil people across the world, who in turn have settled and given birth to Tamils born in these new adopted countries, who carry on the tradition of being highly educated. So how can our people being suffering in Eelam if we are prospering overseas? Are our people not alike to the Jews, yet the Jews managed to create their own statehood from the funding of their people living overseas, despite being landlocked by their enemies at every angle. Are we not able to this, even though we have a Tamil Nadu/India right next to us? Why are the paramilitaries (our own people) against our own cause and fighting their own people, shedding more of our blood? Tis' bad enough that the world turns their back on us, but now they ban our resistance and financing of the people in North/East of Sri-Lanka instead of protecting us? Why is this happening to us?"

I have never liked the words Tamil nationalist, nor Tamil pride and so forth. It has always made me imagine our people as obsessed of being Tamil, which didn't correlate with my beliefs at the time. I have never been proud of being a Tamil, for I have never really known what that means to be as such. Growing up in England, taking the typical modern British Asian ideals, not being able to speak Tamil and not meeting others of my race contributed to the previous statement. But, as I grew older and observing the news reports from Sri Lanka, made me realise I wanted to know who I am. I quickly found tamilnation.org, and then tamilnet, amongst meeting other Tamils etc..

I even visited the Sri Lankan Sinhalese websites. I was horrified at the single-minded bias and bigotry - how a majority population in an island justifies their horrid actions on a minority one. My nerves began to become unsettled, for I have never believed in rebellion, terrorism or anything but peace. As I read the struggle of our people, I had now become obsessed with the word Tamil itself. Over the years, reading and discovering our culture for the first time as if I were an outsider - infact that is perhaps what I was at the time. The revelation of being a Tamil hit me like a bolt of lightening. No longer, would I deny to myself as to who I am. I am now proud and angered of being a Tamil. Angered that I feel powerless to help our people in anything, but financing a cause, but proud for the more obvious reasons.

I was astonished to find there are so many Tamils in our own country, even people I knew prior to my revelations were Tamil, but never advertised it. Now, every one of my friends who are Tamil, I have made them realise what it is to be Tamil. Shown them the available resources, shown to them where our parents and parents' parents came from, shown to them our struggle,our endeavour for peace and the right to be a Tamil.

... the Sinhalese have shown that they cannot be trusted nor respected until they give us what was meant for us .. Our own state, our own country for we do not belong to them and they do not belong to us. ..I may not be a true Tamil as those that are born in Sri-Lanka/India, nevertheless it doesn't make me a non-Tamil now does it? I do not expect a reply to my  questions, but I thank you for taking the time to read my frustration.
 

From: Ivan Pedropillai - Editor, Tamil Writer Guild - April 13, 2006

The Spider and the Fly – a cautionary tale

President Mahinda Rajapakse has to be judged by his actions and not his words

It is clear from the recent course of events in the heartlands of northeast Sri Lanka that President Rajapakse has ordered his security forces to terrorise the Tamil population and to cause maximum damage to their properties, in order to repress their demands for self-determination and political autonomy. There is presently a genocidal blood bath unleashed on the Tamils of Trincomalee by the Sri Lankan Army and the Sinhala thugs. The prospect of a federal solution thrashed out in the Oslo agreement between the Sinhala government and the LTTE only a couple of years ago, is now lying disembowelled by Rajapakse and his rabid anti-Tamil chauvinistic supporters. Even the agreement reached between the Sinhala government of Rajapakse and the LTTE only a month ago in Geneva to bolster the main peace agreement has been shot to pieces by the Sri Lankan government continuing to order its armed forces and their paramilitary supporters in the north and east to carry out wanton killings of Tamil civilians in cynical disregard of their own agreement.

In any other walk of life, given the long history of abrogation or non performance of signed contracts by the Sinhala government, the defaulting party would have been legally required to perform or the aggrieved party would have had its rights restored. But in this case, there is no one prepared to enforce the Sinhala government, not even the international community, to deliver on its agreement. The co-chairs to the peace agreement are so fixated on saving their relationships with the Sri Lankan government at any cost, that they are unable or unwilling to persuade or force the hands of the government to honour the terms of the agreements that the co-chairs themselves set out to uphold.

It is a tragedy indeed that the vested interests of governments that underwrite a peace agreement, overtake and supersede the impartiality and moral courage required of them as arbiters of the terms of peace agreements entered into in conflict situations. The attitude of these governments is utterly incomprehensible in that they are prepared to bully and adopt a wholly one-sided approach to ban the LTTE, the sole representatives of the Tamils, in their own countries while at the same time strutting the stage as neutral co-chairs of the peace talks involving the Sinhala government and the very same LTTE. In this farce, the Tamils are served up as mere pawns in the hands of the Sinhala government to be ultimately gobbled up.

I am reminded of the poem, the Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt.I have chosen the following three versus to illustrate my point that Mahinda Rajapakse is the spider that is weaving an intricate web into which he hopes that Tamils will walk in.

Will you walk into my parlour? Said the spider to the fly,
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have a many curious things to show when you are there.
Oh no, no said the little fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.

Alas, alas! How very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With the buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of the crested head, poor foolish thing! At last
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour; but she ne’er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the spider and the fly.

It is not the first time that the Sinhala government and the Sinhala majority have reneged on political and constitutional arrangements to protect minority rights and to award the Tamils their democratic rights guaranteed under the UN Charter, as a historic and distinct nation living in their homelands. It must be clear to Norway, the intrepid internationally renowned peacemaker, that even after three years of its indefatigable mediation in the conflict, that a Sri Lankan government of any persuasion is both unable and unwilling to deliver on its signed promises because of the inherent ethno-religious bigotry of the mass of its Sinhalese supporters.

It is by analysing the facts and accepting hard reality that any successful solution can be reached, in a political quagmire that has been allowed to fester for over 55 years. It is no use pretending that the historically entrenched Sinhala Buddhist mindset, which claims hegemony over the whole country and is brainwashed to believe that the Tamils are intruders in their own country, will ever be prepared to concede the democratic rights of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The Sinhala politicians are all flag bearers and drumbeaters of the Sinhala claim and, after the nearly three score years of parleying with the different Sinhala governments and their leaders, Tamils have come to accept that there is neither the intent nor the mandate within the Sinhala political parties to arrive at an amicable negotiated political settlement within the framework of a single state of Sri Lanka.

It is with such objective thinking that we have arrived at the only viable solution remaining to be explored by both parties. If the two nations of the Sinhalese and Tamil people are to live side by side in amity, then given the long history of the claim of the Sinhala Buddhist masses and their political leaders and the competing rights of the Tamil people, it has to be a two- state solution along the basis of the traditional and well-established homelands. In a world where in recent times East Timor, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been given separate statehood to stop further serious acrimony and where they now exist in concord, the two proposed states of Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam will exist in complete friendship and total respect for each other and for their welfare and traditions. The current and continuing loss of lives and property in an unwinnable war or shadow war will be staunched, and the resources and talent of the two nations will be conserved and directed towards the development and improvement of the lives of the people of both the States.

After all these years of frustrated effort as a result of immutable forces within the Sinhala polity, the co-chairs of the Sri Lanka and LTTE peace talks will have to make an objective assessment of the political situation in the country as well as the fundamental and historic factors that continue to bedevil the current and crumbling peace agreement. It is axiomatic that the Sri Lankan government will never allow even the agreed federalism to the Tamils, because they will continue to be intimidated by the reactionary Sinhala Buddhist forces prevailing in the country. Further talks with the Sinhala government will only entrap the Tamils, just like how the spider dragged the fly up his winding stair.

The co-chairs have the influence and power to stop an inevitable war for separation, which will bring about countless deaths and immeasurable destruction to both nations. The UN and world powers have proposed a two state solution for Israel and Palestine and the situation in Sri Lanka calls for precisely the same solution.

From: A Concerned Tamil, USA 11 April 2006

An Exchange of Letters between a Nephew in Colombo, Sri Lanka & an Uncle in United States about the Canadian Ban on LTTE

Dear Uncle

Is this meant to force LTTE (and Tamils) to accept whatever Rajapakse offers at the next meeting?. Is there any way of getting them to review this decision or is it too late?. Are there "our" people in Canada supporting this decision?

Reply:

Dear Nephew

There are so many things, we as onlookers, cannot comprehend, nor have the clout (financial or political) to change or make a difference in such matters. Therefore, first and foremost,  it should be a person's resolve to continue whatever help one can to help our people over there and not to get too agitated about such developments, particularly in foreign countries.

1) In the Canadian context, the ‘listing’ was not altogether a surprise. The Conservative Party had even during election campaign time pledged that the Party would do this, although in later days they played it down for fear of losing the support of the Tamil Community in a big way.

2) This ‘Listing’ is also a political whack aimed at the Liberal Party, which was accused by the Conservative Party while in the opposition - alleged to have been soft on the pro LTTE support in Canada.

3) In practical terms, there would not be much difference in fund raising or other significant activities, because there are similar restrictions already in vogue under Canada’s Terrorism Act .

4) The LTTE has been ‘listed’ for years in India, USA, UK, Australia et al, but I doubt whether all these listings have changed the LTTE which seems to be working at it its own pace and set Agenda.

5) There is no doubt that the latest news is a reflection of concerted international attempts to prop SLG and stump the Tamil freedom movement.

EU’s move of late 2005, and the recent HRW Report accusing that the LTTE fund raised in Canada and UK through intimidation and extortion etc are not all isolated or unrelated. There has been a concerted and coordinated effort by several countries and groups, each with its own agenda though.

SLG might be hoping that such attempts at strangulation by the international community, the Safety Net arrangements by Ranil, defense pacts with and arms supply from China and Pakistan, and with backbiting by India that the LTTE muscle could be cramped.

6). On the subject of whether our efforts will make any significant difference, I believe everyone should continue doing whatever we feel we should and could, irrespective of how much impact it might have towards the cause of Tamil Freedom.

Personally, I am very sceptical about the real impact of lobbying efforts overseas. Tamils’ experience from Indira Gandhi/Clinton to the present day, should tell us that every Ruler and Group and country has its own selfish Agenda.

We can only hope that the will of our people at home will not abate, despite all the genocide, treachery, killings and assassinations, and international manoeuvres.

Whatever needs to be, and can be done in Canada,  I am certain is  being done by the Tamil friends there. When people talk about the clout of the Tamil Diaspora, that strength is really in Canada and in Continental Europe, and nothing is going to change that. If at all, it will only wake up the sleeping tigers.

From: G.Amirthalingam, United Kingdom, 9 February 2006

Tamil Struggle: The Need for self-determination
[see also Right to Self Determination: Tamil Eelam]

Struggle is not a new experience for the Tamils of North and East of Sri Lanka. From the time the British merged the North and East with the rest of the country in 1833, Tamil Nationalism, political aspirations and the concept of self determination began due to many factors. Most importantly the feeling of neglect by the British rule, interference of Sinhalese politicians in the administration against the Tamil welfare and unfavourable and unconstitutional amendments to the Constitution fanned the fire of Tamil Nationalism.

The struggle continued with the Independence in 1948, even though the Section 29 (2) of the Soulbury Constitution entrenched a special clause to preserve and protect the minority rights, the clause was amended in the 1972 with the new Constitution that transformed Sri Lanka into a Sinhala Buddhist Unitary State.

Soulbury Constitution, Section 29

"29. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Order, Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Island.
(2) No such law shall
(a) prohibit or restrict the free exercise of any religion; or
(b) make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of other communities or religions are not made liable; or
(c) confer on persons of any community or religion any privilege or advantage which is not conferred on persons of other communities or religions; or
(d) alter the constitution of any religious body except with the consent of the governing of that body. Provided that, in any case where a religious body is incorporated by law, no such alteration shall be made except at the request of the governing authority of that body.

In 1956 Bandaranaike government passed the Official Language Act, which made Sinhala the official language, another callous move by the Sinhala nationalist government. The amendment of Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution, and the introduction of Sinhala only Act were unconstitutional and the Tamil Members of Parliament walked out and refrained from voting.

I think it is appropriate to include the following paragraph from a website article written by Niranjan in the TAMIL VOICE (SUPPLEMENT) - FALL 1996 under the heading, “The Broken Covenant”

“By not including Section 29 in the 1972 and the 1978 constitutions, the majority government, which was the Sinhala Nation, broke the sacred covenant between the two nations and returned the Tamils of Ceylon to their previous status as colonial people and subjects of the Queen. If Great Britain is unwilling or unable to accept this status of the Tamil people as its subjects, then the Tamil people become sovereign by virtue of their pre-colonial status as the people of the Tamil Kingdom.”

Every reasonable request for an amicable settlement of the Tamil nonviolent political demand was answered with violence, murder and destruction. Sinhala government did not understand the political freedom and the fervent desire for self rule that the Tamil people aspired. They could no longer tolerate to be subservient citizens under oppressive Sinhala rule. There was no option but to take up an armed struggle to achieve what they could not achieve by peaceful means.

It is no secret how the governments after the independence, subjugated the unarmed, defenseless Tamils. Each and every Anti Tamil riot is etched in every Tamil mind and the scar will never be erased. If the Tamils give up the inevitable armed struggle, which forced the past and present governments to negotiate, defenseless they become turning the clock back to the old state of affairs when the Tamils were oppressed and their demands were suppressed.

Mahabharatha revisited:

“Krishna tried to negotiate with the Kauravas (Duryodana and his 99 brothers and of course their scheming uncle Sakuni) to get an empire for the Pandavas to rule (because they lost everything to the Kauravas in Yudishtra's gambling with Sakuni). The Kauravas refused. Then Krishna asked for a one nation for them to rule. It was refused. Then Krishna asked for a few villages - that was refused. Then Krishna asked for just one village and it was also refused. Finally Krishna asked for some land and a house for them to live in, the Kauravas refused that too. Only after that Krishna asked the Pandavas to go to war.”

Just as in Mahabharatha, whatever the Tamils asked has been opposed by the hardliner monks, the nationalists and now the JVP. Those forces will NEVER give anything to us - that is now very clear. The only way to peace is to first make the JVP and the hardliner monks and hardliner nationalists in Sri Lanka ineffective and non-interfering in the peace process. That has not been done, since the ceasefire began.

Take a look at the American Independence struggle. The American people know the value of freedom and they also know how they got it. Negotiations did not work; it was through war they got rid of the British, the Spanish, the Dutch and the French. This has been the case in every freedom struggle. These wars could have been avoided if not for the educated, matured and the so called wise men did not refuse the rightful demand of the people. Instead they succumbed to the rabid racist elements.

Tamils don’t need the consent of the Sinhalese population to determine their political future. Did the colonizers get the consent of the Tamil people in a democratic manner, when the Tamil homeland was merged with the rest of the country? It was the most undemocratic act to merge two different communities, whose language, religion, culture and customs are different.

In 1505, Sri Lankans gave into Portuguese invasion, in order to oust the Portuguese they invited the Dutch for help, and then the British walked in without any resistance. All in all the country lost 433 years of Sovereignty. Sri Lanka will make the same mistake again, if there is no settlement to the Tamil cause, and lose the country to foreign rule for another 500 years.
 

From: Mathini Sreetharan, USA, 21 January 2006

I wrote this 'kavithai' in 2001 while the conflict was raging. Sadly, the message in the 'kavithai' has again become relevant.

அருகினில் வாழும் தமிழ்ப் பெண் நான் கேட்கிறேன்

கருவினைத் தரித்து. உருவினைக் கொடுத்து.
மகனென அழைத்து. அருமையாய் வளணுத்து.
"அரசினைக் காக்க உயிரதைக் கொடுப்பான்.
இராணுவ வீரன், என் மகன் இவன்" எனப்
பெருமையாயக கூறிடும் இராணுவ அன்னையே.
அருகினில் வாழும் தமிழ்ப் பெண் நான் கேட்கிறேன் கூறிடு!

பெண்ணினைப் பிடித்துத் துகிலினை உரித்துக்
கைகளைக் கட்டி மாணுபினை அறுத்து
பலருடன் கூடிக் காமுகப் பசியினைத் தீணுத்து
அவளது உயிரையும் எடுத்துப் புதைகிடங்கினில்
போட்டவன் உன் மகன் என்றால் என்ன நீ சொல்வாய்?

மாணுபினில் ஊறும் பாலினைக் குடித்துத்
தாய்க்குலம் பேணி வளணுத்ததால் மனிதனாய்
தன்னுருப் பெற்றவன் உன் மகன் என்றால்
இன்னொரு பெண்ணை இப்படிச் செய்து
கொன்றிடும் உள்ளம் எங்கனம் கொண்டான்?

எங்களின் நாட்டினில் எத்தனை வேலைகள்
ஆக்கமாய்ச் செய்யலாம்? தமிழ் மண்ணினில்
வந்து துவக்கினைக் காட்டி. அப்பனை.
ஆச்சியை. அண்ணனைத் தம்பியைத்
தங்கையைக் கொன்று அழிப்பதை விட்டால்
எத்தனை வேலைகள் ஆக்கமாய்ச் செய்யலாம்?

அன்னையே நானொன்று சொல்லுவேன் கேள்!
எங்களின் மண்ணினில் சண்டைகள் நின்றிடும்,
குண்டுகள் விழுவது சட்டென விட்டிடும்,
சிங்கள மைந்தரால் ஆக்கிய இராணுவம்
உங்களின் மண்ணினில் நடந்திடும் அப்போ,
உன்னவள் மகள்தான் வீதியால் போவாள்,
அவளினைக் காப்பது உன்னது பொறுப்பு,

நாங்களும் நீங்களும் வேண்டுவதென்ன?
மாந்தராய் மானமாய் வாழ்வதுதானே!
அழகிய தீவினில் வாழும் சோதரி. தாயே!
உனக்கிதைச் சொல்கிறேன். வேண்டிநான் கேட்கிறேன்.;
பெண்களை மதிக்கும் மைந்தரைப் பெற்றிடு
நேணுமையாய் நடக்கும் மனிதராய் வளர்த்திடு-அப்போ.
ஆயிரமாயிரம் ஆண்டுகள் வாழ்ந்தது போலே
சுமுகமாய் இலங்கையில் வாழலாம் நாங்கள். செய்வாயோ?

மாதினி சிறீதரன்
2001
 

 
 

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