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Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki) > LTTE moves on despite global isolation

Selected Writings by Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki)

 

LTTE moves on despite global isolation

Sinhala Owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times, 22 March 1998


Few people in this country would question the fact that the LTTE has been isolated internationally. But like some systems which function best under duress, the Tigers appear to be expanding their operations internationally on an unprecedented scale precisely in the context of this so called global isolation. Here, we are not merely talking about matters such as the missing mortar ship but about the influence the Tigers are able wield in many countries.

The gloating over LTTE's international isolation prevents people from looking at the increasing ability of the organisation to "fix" things and get on to local influence networks even in supposedly hostile environment abroad.

I shall list four examples of what pro-LTTE lobbies abroad look upon as big and small gains in their endeavours to turn the international situation in favour of the Eelam cause.

This, I hope, might help one form a more sober opinion of the PA government's claim that the LTTE is in a pretty bad shape internationally.

1. British Labour MP Barry Gardner made the following observations, among other things, in a long speech at a conference held recently in Quebec.

"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have established themselves since their foundation years ago as the single greatest representative voice of the Tamil nation and it is with them, therefore, that any settlement must be negotiated."

"Eelam in North and East Sri Lanka is the Tamil homeland. That is not dependent on a parliament. It is not something to be granted-because it is simply a fact. But for peace to come, the Tamil homeland is a fact which must be recognised and acknowledged."

"The flag of Sri Lanka carried the image of a lion bearing a sword. That sword ought to be a sword of justice, but for Tamils it has been a sword of injustice and genocide.

"But the lion is not the only member of the great cat family which stalks the island of Sri Lanka. It seems to me there is also a tiger.

"Presently, it is rousing itself after a long sleep. It is hunting its prey. Not as a small cat does for the love of the kill, but in order to feed her young. Soon, she will be able to return to her own den to live in peace and play with her young in contentment. I pray that day will come soon."

2. On March 19, the Centre for Constitutional Rights, comprising some of the best legal experts in the US, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California charging that the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 is unconstitutional insofar as it criminalizes the provision of material support or resources to the lawful and non-violent activities of any foreign organisation designated as "terrorist" by the Secretary of State. The LTTE's north American representative, V. Rudrakumaran is also a key member of the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

3. Suresh Manikavasagam the LTTE's man in Canada who was facing deportation to Sri Lanka will be released from custody on bail on Monday according to an order enforced by Canadian Federal Court Judge Teitelbaum on Thursday. LTTE activists abroad see this a big victory.

4. Three months ago in December 1997, the Indian intelligence establishment strongly advised the Gujral government to ban a pro-LTTE convention in Delhi, on the grounds that there was evidence that its convenor George Fernandez, the leader of the Samata Party, had received funds from the LTTE in Australia and America through Nedumaran for holding the 'Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka' conference.

Two participants from abroad were turned back at the Delhi airport by Indian officials. Indrajith Gupta who was India's home minister at that time officially banned the convention.

But Fernandez defied the ban and held it at his residence, accommodating more than 300 participants. The convention was ceremonially inaugurated by TULF MP Joseph Pararajasingham, with the slogan 'Thamizh Vazhha' (Long live Tamil).

The following are some of the resolutions passed by the convention which unanimously elected George Fernandez as its current national convenor.

"The convention takes serious note of the involvement of US military in the ongoing operations by the Sinhala armed forces against the LTTE. The training provided to the Sinhala army by the US "Green Berets" is accompanied by a trade off in which the Sinhala government has made concessions to the US forces that will have adverse bearing on India's security concerns.

The convention calls upon the Government of India to take up this matter with both the Sinhala and US governments, and further take necessary steps to prevent any developments in the region that will impinge on India's security interests.

Whereas, since April 1995, state terrorism has intensified with the army capturing Tamil areas and conducting victory celebrations reminiscent of mediaeval times, and aggressively rounding up and arresting innocent civilians, making people flee their homes resulting in over 750,000 internal refugees suffering innumerable hardships due to lack of shelter, food and medicines, with many living under trees and dying due to lack of food and medicines - particularly in areas not under control of government forces;

The convention resolves to appeal to the Government of India, other world governments, and the world community to pro-actively engage and pressurise the Sri Lankan government to:

a) Stop human rights violations such as the indiscriminate bombing, shelling and strafing of Tamil areas; the arrests, torture, rape and killing of innocent Tamil civilians; embargo on food, medicine and other necessities of life to Tamil areas; denial of care of refugees who have fled their homes by depriving them of adequate shelter, food and medicines;

b) Desist from interfering with refugees leaving by boat to India;

c) Permit NGOs to work in Tamil areas so that they may provide help to refugees;

d) Allow journalists, both local and foreign, to visit the Tamil areas and report freely on the conditions there;

e) Cease further colonization and settlement of Sinhalese in Tamil areas;

f) Desist from destroying cultivated and cultivable lands and forests;

g) Repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and rescind the Emergency Regulations;

h) Solve the national problem politically rather than pursue a military solution as the government is doing now;

i) Withdraw the army from Tamil areas; and

j) Negotiate with the LTTE (who represent the Tamil people and who are fighting the liberation war on their behalf) under third party mediation."

George Fernandez is now the Defence Minister of India. There is no doubt that he has to toe Delhi's national security line on the Sri Lankan conflict to some extent.

But the point here is that, for the LTTE activist abroad, the world is no longer the un-malleably hostile environment which the government thinks was created, among other things, by the untiring efforts of Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar.
 

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