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Home > Tamil National Forum > Selected Writings - Victor Rajakulendran > An Open Letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Selected Writings - Dr. Victor Rajakulendran

Comment by tamilnation.org:

Whilst we understand the concerns expressed by Mr.Victor Rajakulendran and agree with his condemnation of the actions of Sri Lanka President Rajapakse (and the need to place on record these genocidal actions), we ourselves do not take the view that the international community has been 'hoodwinked' by Sri Lanka or for that matter Sri Lanka is engaged in an attempt to 'hoodwink'.

Sri Lanka is simply using the political space provided by the international community and to use that space to continue its fifty year effort to assimilate and 'digest' the people of Tamil Eelam within a Sinhala Buddhist Deepa ruled by a permanent Sinhala majority. The international community has ample resources (as well as the expertise) to sift the facts from President Rajapakse's propaganda efforts - and Tamils do not gain much by adopting the approach spelt out in 'Black Pebbles & White Pebbles'.

We will confuse our people if we lead them to believe that all that needs to be done is to wake up the international community to the facts and all will be well. The international community is not stupid. The international community is not asleep. It only pretends to be asleep because it is intent on advancing its own strategic interests in the Indian ocean region. Here, we find ourselves in broad agreement with the views expressed editorially by the New Democratic Party -

"The attitude of the ‘International Community', meaning the big powers, has been highly cynical. The EU ban on the LTTE this year was neither a miscalculation as the Norwegians would like us to believe nor an act of approval of the actions of the Mahinda Rajapaksha government. The imperialist West has its global agenda and its policies are not based on the interests of the Sri Lankan state or of the LTTE, and even less the plight of the Tamil people or for that matter any section of the Sri Lankan population. The peace process has been used by the imperialists to manipulate the country into total submission to the process of globalisation, while the Indian hegemon finds in the conflict a tool to assert its dominance over Sri Lanka ."

Though we ourselves may have avoided the pejorative 'imperialist' tag we are mindful of John T. Flynn's definition that  " Imperialism is an institution under which one nation asserts the right to seize the land or at least to control the government or resources of another people." We are also mindful of the briefing paper by George Kennan, Director of Policy Planning of the US Department of State in 1948 -

"...we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.... We should dispense with the aspiration to “be liked” or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism....We should cease to talk about vague and - for the Far East - unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better..."

We believe that there is an urgent need for the Tamil diaspora to move away from the 'hoodwinking' syndrome and first study and then openly address the strategic interests of the so called  'international community', New Delhi, and China in the Indian Ocean region. At the sametime, we also need to address (and address in depth) the international legal frame in which the political attempt is being made to suppress the struggle of a people for freedom from alien rule. We need to raise the question whether there are any circumstances in international law where a people may lawfully resort to arms to resist alien rule of their homeland - and if so what are those circumstances. It is by doing so that we believe that the Tamil diaspora may  meaningfully contribute to enlarging the political space in which the struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for freedom may progress - and here, let us remind ourselves yet again that our struggle for freedom is not simply just but that it is also lawful and that its legal roots are to be found in the succinct declaration by the Gandhian leader S.J.V. Chelvanayagam Q.C., some 30 years ago in 1975 -

"Throughout the ages the Sinhalese and Tamils in the country lived as distinct sovereign people till they were brought under foreign domination. It should be remembered that the Tamils were in the vanguard of the struggle for independence in the full confidence that they also will regain their freedom. We have for the last 25 years made every effort to secure our political rights on the basis of equality with the Sinhalese in a united Ceylon."

"It is a regrettable fact that successive Sinhalese governments have used the power that flows from independence to deny us our fundamental rights and reduce us to the position of a subject people. These governments have been able to do so only by using against the Tamils the sovereignty common to the Sinhalese and the Tamils."

"I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free."

An Open Letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

10 January 2007


His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa
President of Sri Lanka
"Temple Trees"
Colombo 3
Sri Lanka

Your Excellency,

Re: Your attempt at hoodwinking the international community

Your Excellency, the whole world knows that the cease-fire agreement signed between the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe (RW) and the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran (VP) in February 2002 brought a respite in the two decades old military confrontation between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the armed forces of the LTTE. Although there were 6 rounds of peace talks with Norwegian facilitation between RW administration and the LTTE, RW’s administration failed to fulfil its commitments regarding the major clauses in the agreement, particularly those that were included with the intention of bringing relief to the civilians in the North-East who were affected by the two decades of war.

Your Excellency, plight of these people was worsened when the then President Chandrika Kumarathunka (CK) dissolved all of a sudden RW’s government and formed a government of her party the SLFP in coalition with the extremist Marxist Singhalese chauvinist party the JVP. You became the Prime Minister in this government and you did not take any attempt to revive the peace talk that was stalled at that time. When RW was removed from his office of Prime Minister, LTTE has just submitted a proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) for the troubled Tamil Homeland and RW was about to negotiate with LTTE to establish an interim government for the North-East. As the new Prime Minister at that time, you not only did not make any effort to continue that negotiation but also under your administration your security forces started using the Tamil paramilitaries to target unarmed LTTE leaders who were involved in political activities in government controlled areas, as permitted by the cease-fire agreement. Every one knows in Sri Lanka that these Tamil paramilitaries are ex-Tamil militants who are opposed to LTTE and harboured by the security forces for intelligence gathering and operates out of security force’s camps.

Your Excellency, at this stage, your predecessor CK had to leave the office of Presidency as she has served two terms. You contested against RW for the Presidency in November 2005. You decided to form a pact with the extremist, Marxist, Singhalese chauvinistic party the JVP and the Singhalese extremist, chauvinistic party of Bhudist Monks only, the JHU. You agreed to the conditions laid down by these parties that included; not to accept the North-East as the Tamil homeland, no solution under a federal constitution but only under the existing unitary constitution, no talks with LTTE until they lay down their weapons and Norwegians have to be expelled from the facilitation role.

While you campaigned on this platform, your arch rival RW knowing the importance of the peace process for the stability and hence the economy of the country, campaigned on a platform to continue the peace process with the Norwegian facilitation. However, RW wanted to assure the Singhalese voters that he is not inferior to you in imposing a solution to the Tamil National problem. Therefore he had to reveal in public the so called "International Safety Net" that he has been building up simultaneously while talking to LTTE if in case the LTTE does not agree to what his administration wanted to impose on the Tamils as the final solution.

Your Excellency, at this stage the Tamil leadership, {LTTE and the Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians, (22 of the 23 Tamil parliamentarians from the North-East the Tamil Homeland)} decided that the Tamils have to let the Singhalese decide whom they want out of the two as the President, and let the world knows that. In the past, in all the presidential elections the candidate who got the majority of the Tamil votes only was successful in coming to power. Willingly or unwillingly (this is still debated by many) the Tamils decided to exercise their democratic right, not to vote, in the presidential election. Majority of the Tamils living in the Tamil Homeland, including those who lives in the Jaffna peninsula which is under government control, did not participate in the presidential election. As a result of this only, you got the opportunity to become the President, that also with a razer-thin margin.

Your Excellency please touch your heart and tells the world the truth. Didn’t you change all the top military top brass with hardliners soon after you became the President? Didn’t you appoint your own brothers, Gothabaya Rajapaksa as the defence secretary and Basil Rajapaksa as an adviser? Does this not demonstrate that you want to keep your secret military agenda closer to your own family and also that you do not trust either the senior members of your own party or the newly gained coalition partners?

Your Excellency, although you agreed to your coalition partners’ demand to eliminate the Norwegian from their facilitation role before the elections, after you became he President you could not fulfil this promise. This is because you realised that if you did so your country will be isolated from the international community and deprived of the economic aid it receives, and depends on, for balancing its budget. Instead of doing that, you decided to put stumbling blocks to their efforts in restarting the stalled peace talks.

Your administration continued from where the late foreign minister Kathirgamar of the President Chandrika regime left, in his campaign of banning the LTTE by western nations. Your administration succeeded in making the European Union (EU) to ban the LTTE even against the advice of many European nations including Norway. As a result LTTE could not accept members from the EU member nations continue to be part of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). This made the monitoring of the cease-fire almost impossible for the SLMM due to lack of manpower.

Simultaneously, you and your military strategists schemed to make use of the Tamil paramilitaries to carry out terrorist activities against unarmed Tamils including unarmed LTTE local leaders. Your security forces colluded with these paramilitaries, that were conveniently named after the defection of the LTTE Eastern commander "Karuna" as "Karuna group", to abduct Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) volunteers and execute them and way laid the vehicles in which LTTE leaders were travelling unarmed under the cease-fire agreement, and shoot them at point blank range. Most of these incidents happened just after these vehicles passed the security force’s checkpoints indicating that the security forces have colluded with these paramilitary groups.

Your Excellency, even after experiencing all this misdemeanours in the hands of your administration the LTTE agreed to sit down and talk to your administration and did in Geneva. At this talks your administration agreed to put an end to all the armed activities of the so-called "Karuna group" from the government-controlled areas. However, even before your delegation left Geneva the "Karuna group" intensified its operations. The Australian SBS Television crew travelled to the area from where this group has been functioning and proved beyond doubt through the program they aired, that these paramilitaries were operating from camps situated next to the SL security force’s camps.

As a result of these covert operations of the paramilitaries, the peace talks could not continue and the LTTE was forced to retaliate by striking at the heart of the Sri Lankan defence establishment. When the Army Commander escaped a suicide attack on his life inside the head quarters, you ordered air strikes on Sampoor an LTTE controlled area adjacent to the Trincomalee harbour, which resulted in heavy civilian casualties. Then using a civilian water dispute near Tricomalee, you ordered ground operations in the Mavilaru region with the intention of taking over Sampoor. Your forces even shelled at the SLMM chief who went to open the sluice gate of this waterway. After few weeks of fierce fighting for control of the area, LTTE withdrew with their heavy guns from Sampoor after the civilians moved south to Vaharai area. During this battle, your security forces also opened hostilities in the northern frontier at Muhamalai and justified the closure of the A9 highway, the only highway linking the Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the country.

Your security forces were alleged to have killed 17 Tamil relief workers of a French relief agency in an execution style killing in Muttur town during this offensive operation. An investigation involving the international community is yet to establish the perpetrators of this inhumane act although the SLMM has ruled that no others other than Sri Lankan security forces could have committed this crime.

Your Excellency, even after you have ignored the fundamental principles of the cease-fire agreement by all these military activities, you, your defence spokesperson Kehelia Rambukwella and the former Australian DFAT employee and your own Secretary General of the Sri Lankan Peace secretariat, Palitha Kohana has been eficiently hood winking the international community by saying that all these military activities are retaliatory operations against LTTE offensives. Whether the international community believes your justification or not they seem to ignore the plea from the UN, ICRC and the UNHCR to safeguard the civilians caught up in your military offensives. The international community does not seem to understand your unscrupulous schemes.

For example you started an offensive along the northern frontier to close down the A9 highway, so that under the pretension of supplying and transporting the civilians of the peninsula, to guarantee safe transport and supply to the 40,000 troops stationed in the peninsula via the sea. But you failed to fool the LTTE to provide this guarantee. You are doing this only at the expense of the sufferings of the civilians in the north and heavy losses to your troops in the north. The other day your army commander confessed in public in Washington that in a 20 hours operation at the northern frontier your forces lost more than 300 soldiers. For more than 4 months the people in Jaffna have been kept in an open prison without their basic supplies provided. Realising the plight of these people and pressure from the Tamil Nadu politicians, India has started to send supply direct from Chennai to the port of Point Pedro in the Jaffna peninsula.

Your Excellency, in the east you are continuing the efforts of all your predecessors very efficiently and secretly. That is to ethnically cleanse the East of the country from Tamils. Particularly the Trincomalee district where successive Sri Lankan governments have tried to colonise the Tamil areas with Singhalese, your administration is terrorising the Tamils to flee south towards Baticaloa district with the idea of colonising these areas vacated by Tamils with Singhalese. You have planned out a strategy to create an Economic Trade Zone in Trincomalee to facilitate this colonisation. As part of this ethnic cleansing of the Trincomalee district, first your security forces chased all the civilians from Sampoor area to Vaharai area down south. Now for the last 3 months your forces have bombarded this area which had around 40,000 displaced people while blocking the A15 highway passing through the area on both ends of this coastal strip.

You have used food as a weapon of war to flush out the displaced people from this area too. Only 15,000 people are left in this area now and UN has now warned that these people are undergoing starvation. From August 2006, in your military agenda, you have ordered indiscriminate aerial bombing of Tamil civilian targets. First you ordered the bombing of a residential camp of High School children killing about 60 children, then several villages and hospital areas. The LTTE is strictly adhering to the cease-fire agreement and patiently tolerating all your provocation without going into an all out war, restricting themselves to repulsive attacks only. Because of this you are able to continue these war crimes and portray your armed forces as stronger than the LTTE to Singhalese people and the international community. Even if the poor Singhalese masses believe you, I do not think you could fool the international community forever.

Your Excellency, while you your brothers, your adviser Kehalia Rambukwella and your Peace Secretariat chief Palitha Kohana are trying to justify to the international community all your military offensive are retaliatory attacks against LTTE offensive, your army commander has spilled the beans now. The independent Daily Mirror recently quoted the Army Chief Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka as saying in Kandy that the East would be totally rid of the LTTE in two or three months. "After eradicating the Tigers from the East, full strength would be used to rescue the North," he added.

Earlier, in an informal year-end interaction with the local and foreign media in Colombo, General Fonseka had said that the Security Forces would be able to take the strategic eastern coastal towns of Vaharai and Kadiraweli in about a month. Only the rains and the slushy terrain were preventing the tri-services from launching an offensive to capture the two objectives, he said. These statements from your army commander amount to declaration of war by your government. If the LTTE takes his words seriously, full-scale war is inevitable in the near future and all your attempts to hoodwink the international community will be exposed.

Your Excellency, whether your army commander’s rhetoric is achievable or not everyone knows that you need to go for a parliamentary election to bolster your party with a parliamentary majority to avoid the dependency on extremist coalition partners. We all know that all the military offensive in the East are meant to show a quick victory in the battleground and use that victory to lure the poor Singhalese voters to your side and secure the parliamentary majority you badly need. You do not care whatever the hardship the Tamils may have to go through for you to achieve this end.

Your Excellency, the recent political history of Sri Lanka teach us that the election results in Sri Lanka are decided by the actions of one man. He is no one other than the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran. Therefore even at this last hour I would like to quote what the Rt, Rev. Duleep de Chickera Bishop of Colombo appealed to you on the 9th January 2007. He declared that,

"I consequently appeal once again to the President to act for the greater good of all people of all communities. I urge the President to counter the violence of the first week of 2007 by declaring this year as the year of peace; and to immediately declare an unilateral truce, provide relief and humanitarian aid to all trapped communities, and initiate a wise and sincere course of action towards peace conversations. The nation and the world will rally round this healing initiative and make it work."

Your Excellency, finally I appeal to you from this great Southland to speak the truth and only the truth and if you are keen on a negotiated settlement, as you profess frequently, to show this by your deeds. I earnestly appeal to you to give up all your military agenda and avoid facing a war crime tribunal in the future, as many leaders followed your path have recently faced, and save your country from the brink of a disaster.  

Yours truly

 

Dr. Victor Rajakulendran

Sydney

Australia

CC:

Hon. Jonas Gahr Store, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Hon. Erik Solheim, Minister of International Development, Norway

Hon. Dr. Condolleeza Rice, The Secretary of State, USA

Her Excellency Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, UE Presidency, European Union

Hon. Taro Aso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan

Hon. Margaret Beckett, The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom

Hon. Pranab Mukkerjee, External Affairs Minister, India

Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia

Hon. Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand

Hon. Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada

Hon. Erkki Tuomioja, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finland

Hon. Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden

Hon. Micheline Calmy-Rey, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland

Hon. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Foreign Minister, Germany

Hon. Minister Massimo D’Alema, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy

Hon. Philippe Douste-Blazy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, France

Hon. D. Miguel A’ngel Moratinos Cuyaube’, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Spain

Hon. Bernard Bot, Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

Hon. Karel De Gucht, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Belgium

Hon. Dr. Ursula Plassnik, Foreign Minister, Austria

Hon. Per Stig Moller, The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark

Hon. Dermot Ahern T.D., The Secretary of state for Foreign and commonwealth Affairs, Republic of Ireland

Hon. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa

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