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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Selected Writings - Dr.Satchitanandan Sathananthan

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Last updated
02/08/07

Dr.Sachithanandam Sathananthan holds a Ph D degree Cambridge University. He is the Founder-Secretary of The Action Group Of Tamils (TAGOT) in Sri Lanka. He was Assistant Director at the Marga Institute, Colombo where he was a coordinator of research on South Asian regional cooperation conducted by the Committee for Studies on Cooperation in Development (CSCD) in South Asia. He is Chairman of Mandru (Institute for Alternative Development and Regional Cooperation) which he co-founded in 1989. His publications and research interests cover national movements, democratization and nation-building in South Asia. He is the principal author of The Elusive Dove: An assessment of conflict resolution initiatives in Sri Lanka, 1957 to 1996 (1996).

Dr Sathananthan is a documentary film-maker and is the Producer of ‘Where Peacocks Dance’ (1992), a one-hour long documentary film on the cultural roots of Sindhi nationalism in Pakistan, and of ‘Suicide Warriors’ (1996), a half-hour long documentary film on the Tamil national struggle which explores specifically the role of women in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka. Both films were broadcast by Channel Four Television, London. ‘Of Mothers, Mice and Saints’ (1994) is a one-hour long documentary film produced by him for ZDF, German Television, which takes a social anthropological journey into the lives of childless women who seek divine intervention at the shrine of the 16th century Sufi Saint, Shah Dauley Shah, in the Pakistan Punjab. He was Visiting Research Scholar at the School of International Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 1999/2000.

In December 1995, Dr.Sathananthan wrote, in a letter titled  Is it a crime to be a Sri Lankan Tamil?  about the visit that he received from the Sri Lankan security forces -

"I was woken up by a loud and persistent banging noise at the gate, a few minutes before two o'clock in the morning of November 22, 1995. Looking out of my bedroom window I saw numerous uniformed men, one of whom stood pounding on the gate. I went down to the gate bleary-eyed and asked who they are; they replied "Police". On opening the gate a uniformed Police officer introduced himself as being from the Narahenpita Police Station. He then introduced another person in civilian clothes; although I didn't catch his name, it was said that he was from the Army..." more


1 August 2006 Third Parties & the Tamil National Movement
26 February 2006 Geneva Talks: A turning point?
4 January 2006 Ethnic conflict: Restructuring the Sri Lankan State to link political citizenship to individuals
3 December 2005 The Day the Worm Turned
11 October 2005 European Union – the Mask Slips
5 August 2005 Tamil National Question: The Next Five Years
1 May 2005 Sivaram - Death of a Warrior
22 September 2004 A to Z of Conflict Resolution in Sri Lanka  

"..At first intermittent "talks" with the national movement are mooted to legitimise the State's military onslaught as unavoidable and indeed made necessary by the "lawlessness" of the national movement. But when a military stalemate ensues, then "talks" become the continuation of war by other means. Having failed to disarm the national movement through force, the State then manoeuvres to draw the movement into "talks" with the principle objective of forcing it to decommission weapons.This continuation of war by other means is the so-called "peace process". If armed conflict is the power struggle at the military level, "peace process" is the power struggle at the political level..." more

8 September 2004 International Community & the 'Peace Process'

"...The spreading political support for the LTTE is rapidly deepening because economic links between the organisation and the Tamil people are expanding. The LTTE is the largest employer in the NEP. .. So, in addition to its undiminished military strength, the LTTE has acquired more political power and set down deep economic roots among the Tamil people. These developments have set off alarm bells among the international community. The four core States (US, EU, Norway & Japan) anticipated the Sinhala government would be intelligent enough to play along with the Oslo Declaration... But the Sinhala leadership, blinded by more than five decades of anti-Tamil hysteria, has been utterly incapable of carrying out this cosmetic ploy... States that intervene in political conflicts employ internal think-tanks that chart out a plan of action, alternative scenarios and contingency moves projected over several years into the future. ..". more

16 June 2004 Kumaratunga Prepares to Unleash the Sinhala Army 

"The current political developments and war preparations in Colombo flow naturally and logically from the Sinhala President Chandrika Kumaratunga's unparalleled anti-Tamil jingoism during her first term (1994 - 1999)... A bizarre twist here is the hilarious advice to the LTTE to educate the Sinhala people. "Talks on core issues" so the argument goes, "present a unique opportunity for the LTTE to enlighten the island's Sinhala community on the progressive nature of a future state structure that would be capable of accommodating Tamil self-rule and power-sharing." The unfortunate implication is that the Sinhala people are abysmally low in intelligence; that they are so unintelligent that they have been utterly unable to grasp the basic features of power-sharing although they have been widely debated for the past half a century.We in TAGOT think otherwise. We are convinced that the Sinhala people are intelligent, that they know precisely what the issues are. And the vast majority of them are clearly opposed to power sharing as demonstrated in the 2004 parliamentary elections... "

19 March 2004 Life After Former Col. Karuna  

"...The LTTE and Karuna have traded allegations. That is to be expected when a member or faction within an organisation breaks away. Time will prove or disprove the veracity of the allegations. It is unfortunate that sections of the Batticaloa Tamil intelligentsia are promoting Karuna's ill-advised cause. The history of the Tamil National Movement contains many such educated but unimaginative groups who were ultimately left behind by the Movement. The LTTE is proving again to be a resilient force able to withstand any storm. The Karuna issue and the associated upheavals seem to be fizzling out. The LTTE is very likely to come out of this trial by fire a much stronger and cohesive organisation..."

2 September  2003 'Discussion Document': Sinhalese Politicians Learn Nothing and Forget Nothing  

"The Action Group Of Tamils (TAGOT) has time and again emphasised that the so-called "peace process" is in fact the political power struggle between the Sinhalese Sri Lankan State and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Up to now the Sinhalese State has not shown any intention whatsoever of acknowledging the national rights of Tamils. Therefore that State is incapable of ensuring justice to Tamils. Peace is an outcome of justice. It is obvious that the Sinhalese State contemptuously rejects the national rights of Tamils and, therefore, obstinately refuses justice to Tamils. It logically follows that peace, as understood by Tamils, is not on that State's agenda. In short, there is absolutely no basis or prospect for a political settlement..."

 9 June 2001 The Politics of Divide and Rule

"The hoopla over the Norwegian initiative to resolve the ongoing armed conflict between the Sinhalese-controlled Government and the Tamil National Liberation Movement is all but dead. The so-called “peace process” has run into the mud.."

9 May 2001 Lessons of Ceasefire 

"...The so-called “peace process” is, to use military jargon, a “counter-insurgency strategy” to arrest the LTTE-led Tamil National Liberation Movement, disarm the LTTE and prevent the independence of Tamil Eelam. The North American and European Governments have a vested interest in preventing new States emerging in Asia and Africa. For with each new State, the balance of international political power shifts against the West. The expulsion, for example, of the US from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of the United Nations on 3 May 2001 are consequences the West is striving to avoid... Moreover, the international community has never raised the question of repealing Article 76 in the current Constitution; nor has it requested President Kumaratunga to remove Articles 91 and 92 from her draft constitution. Instead, the foreign governments have maintained a conspiratorial silence regarding these provisions in order to preserve President Kumaratunga’s mask as “peace-maker”. "

23 April 2001 The Peace 'Soap Opera' 

"...President Kumaratunga needs an extraordinary stroke of luck, if not a miracle, to survive in politics. The only realistic avenue open to her to salvage her political fortunes is to push for an impressive military victory against the LTTE-led Tamil National Liberation Movement. What, then, about the President's alleged commitment to a negotiated settlement? TAGOT has no hesitation whatsoever in concluding that neither devolution of power nor conflict resolution through negotiation figures even remotely on President Kumaratunga's political horizon..."

7 October 2000 'Peace Process' - End of an Illusion 

"....Given, the hegemony of the new military-clerical establishment there is no scope for a political solution in the foreseeable future. Rather, under the garb of fighting the LTTE, the State’s armed forces will escalate the slaughter of Tamil civilians over the next few years. The next government, whether formed by the UNP or the SLFP, will pursue exclusively the military solution. But the inability to defeat the LTTE in battle means that the military solution would now take an overtly genocidal form, including everything from induced famine to a scorched earth policy. The flattening of Chavakachcheri in September 2000 is but one pointer to this gruesome reality. The LTTE-led Tamil National Liberation Movement will continue to resist genocide. On the other hand, what should be the role of Tamils living outside Sri Lanka?..."

27 January 2000 Kumar: the Death of A Warrior 

"A brave warrior and a good man sacrificed his life for the Tamil National Movement. Mamanithar GG Ponnambalam Jnr. – Kumar, to many of us – fell victim to an assassin’s bullet in Colombo on 5 January 2000. The Sinhalese political forces that silenced his fearless Tamil voice no doubt aimed to end the life of a Tamil patriot. But in his death Kumar tore apart their liberal pretensions and exposed their mailed fists and jackboots. By killing him, an unarmed Tamil dissident, the Sinhalese forces conclusively demonstrated the hopelessness of the war waged against Tamils..."

 4 December 1999 Elections, Mediation & the Tamil National Movement  

 "The LTTE is practising an axiom of political economy: a State is politically conceived and militarily constructed.... The rising interest in the west for catalytic intervention, including third-party mediation, especially after Operation Oyatha Alaigal 3 must be seen in the above context. The international community views mediation in Sri Lanka as one way to bring the armed struggle of the Tamil national movement to an end and pre-empt the emergence of an independent State of Tamil Eelam. To de-escalate the armed conflict therefore means the cessation of hostilities and incorporation of LTTEs armed cadres into the armed forces of the Sinhalese State..."

August 1999 TULF Reaps the Whirlwind 
21 May 1999 Sri Lanka: Why a 'Devolution Package' is not workable  

 "The popular mantra of ‘devolution of power’ has been invoked in Sri Lanka (Ceylon until 1972) to resolve the armed conflict raging between the Sinhalese-controlled Government of Sri Lanka and the Ceylon Tamil national liberation movement, led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The discourse is focused predominantly on constitutional reforms and it examines the extent and scope for changes in law that would satisfy the political aspirations of the two nations... The underlying premise is that reality follows law. However, even a cursory glance at history would reveal that law follows reality. Changes in law are dictated by, and are responses to, the evolving reality and legislation at best formalises the transformation that has already taken place in society..."

21 May 1999  Reflections on the Lessons of Kosovo

"In many ways the mode of intervention by the United States (US) - led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Kosovo reveals more clearly the parameters of foreign policy with respect to national liberation movements that are being drawn by the ruling classes of the US and European Union (EU), which together constitute in effect the international community...Geo-political evaluations scrutinised the implacable opposition of many of NATOs (Christian) member-States to Kosovos possible emergence as an independent (Muslim) State in the heart of Europe and exposed the professed humanitarian concern of NATO for the plight of Kosovars as political eyewash..."

20 February 1999 Bi-Partisanship - the Second Big Lie  

The rationale cited for demanding bi-partisanship is the accusation levelled by the SLFP that it cannot put through a constitutional reform proposal because the UNP would not support it in Parliament... The claim is backed up with references to previous instances where a ruling party could not effect constitutional changes supposedly because of obstruction by the then opposition party.The Action Group Of Tamils (TAGOT) is not so gullible. We categorically state that the proclaimed need for bi-partisan support is, firstly, the SLFP's grotesque game of passing-the-buck, grotesque because people - mostly Tamils - are paying with their lives..."

16 January 1999 Sri Lanka  neutralises Nelson Mandela
19 March 1999 External Self Determination, Internal De-Colonisation and Conflict Prevention  

"...As more and more newly independent States took their seats in the United Nations, the balance of voting power within the organisation shifted in their favour. It was in their interest to regularise de-colonisation, and law followed reality...The dominant peoples of the States, whose collective interests was embodied in the Declaration, limited the right to Statehood to the context of external de-colonisation, that is, independence for each colonial territory from foreign colonial rule..."

5 December 1999 Collaborationist Tamil Parties: Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic
1 December 1998 From Operation Leap Forward to Pon Sivapalan : Death of a Strategy  

"It is the fact of Sinhalese internal colonialism that primarily defines as collaborators those Tamils who assist the Sinhalese-dominated Government. Moreover, every war throughout history unfailingly produced its heroes and collaborators; and the armed conflict in Sri Lanka cannot be and is not an exception to this universal rule. Consequently, glowing tributes UTHR(J) bestowed upon Tamils who willingly collaborate in the Vichy-type local "government" in the peninsula - supposedly "out of a sense of duty" and determined "bravely to perform the onerous task of reviving civil life in the face of terror" - are vacuous phrases..."

24 September 1998 PA Plays the Communal Card 

"The Action Group of Tamils in Colombo (AGOTIC) was shocked to read the blatantly chauvinist assertion made by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, during her visit to South Africa between 31 August-6 September 1998 to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. She reportedly said in a live television interview: "They [Tamils] are wanting a separate state – a minority community which is not the original people of the country, etc"..."

26 June 1998 Tamil national movement in Sri Lanka: the next decade  

"...The duplicity of successive Sinhalese-controlled regimes has more than convinced the Tamils living in Sri Lanka that the LTTE-led Tamil national movement is the legitimate struggle for their inalienable national rights. They are firm in their unflinching resolve to defend the movement and confident of final victory...Tamils have drawn considerable inspiration from the British precedence. The British government has recognised the right of self-determination of the Scottish and Welsh nations by the very act of holding the two referenda. The Tamils in Sri Lanka will continue their struggle until the Sri Lankan regime accepted the right of national self-determination of the Tamil nation..."

19 March 1998 Sri Lanka - Rhetoric of Peace, Reality of War
9 March 1998 Self Determination - a Tamil Perspective 

"...While mainstream social scientists have preferred to slur over the right of self-determination and, instead, to focus on ‘conflict and integration’ and ‘identity formation’, political actors have recognised and, according to their interests, stoked or suppressed the demands for self-determination. Colombia opposed the demand of its northern territory, Panama, for external self-determination. But the United States Government, which had already drawn up plans for the construction of the Panama Canal, promoted the external self-determination of the Panamanian people and served as the political midwife for the independence of Panama from Colombia in 1903..."

1 February 1998 Observations on the Basic Principles of the Constitution of Sri Lanka
31 December 1997 Colombo's media insects crawl into Bangkok  
3 December 1997 1997 Draft Constitution - Whither Devolution of Power
20 September 1997 Sri Lanka: Whither a Community of Principled Men and Women? 

 "In a recent article titled "Professionals and the fear of getting involved" (Island, 6 August 1997), Mr Stanley Jayaweera lamented that "the country is in shambles". According to Mr Jayaweera, the primary manifestation of this "tragedy is that society as a whole has failed to throw up a community of principled men [and women] who can stand up to our rampaging politicians and put them in their place." He attributed numerous reasons for this appalling state of affairs. They ranged from educational institutions which "miserably failed", the prevailing "I-don't-want-to-get-involved" syndrome adversely affecting public life, to "[negative] child-rearing practices" in Sri Lankan homes. With much breast-beating he called for "men who can think deeply and feel deeply". The reasons he identified may have some relevance. But his analysis, I would argue, does not reach the roots of the problem..."

18 August 1997 Peace Package - PA's Political Mirage 

 "...The so-called "peace lobbies" in Colombo cynically urged and supported the war. Before the occupation of Jaffna, they claimed the war was necessary to "weaken" the LTTE in order to force it to come to the negotiating table. After Jaffna they claim that the LTTE will not negotiate from a position of weakness and that the war must be fought until the LTTE is totally eliminated..."

5 February 1997 Peace Proposals in Sri Lanka: A Comparative Assessment of the 1995 Basic Ideas and 1996 Draft Provisions
24 December 1995 Is it a crime to be a Sri Lankan Tamil? 

"I was woken up by a loud and persistent banging noise at the gate, a few minutes before two o'clock in the morning of November 22, 1995. Looking out of my bedroom window I saw numerous uniformed men, one of whom stood pounding on the gate. I went down to the gate bleary-eyed and asked who they are; they replied "Police". On opening the gate a uniformed Police officer introduced himself as being from the Narahenpita Police Station. He then introduced another person in civilian clothes; although I didn't catch his name, it was said that he was from the Army..."

July 1995 The Chandrika - LTTE Talks - the Peace Trap  

"The notion that "innocent" Mrs. Kumaratunga was caught unawares by "wily" Mr. Pirabaharan is embedded in the belief that the Sinhalese are simple, honest people who are deceived and exploited by crafty Tamils (and others). This is a dangerous illusion.."

 

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