– by Shenali D Waduge –
A country that has become the 1st to eliminate a terrorist movement should not have to look at or copy models of other nations when what prevailed in South Africa is totally different to the scenario that prevailed in Sri Lanka. South Africa’s issue was apartheid – invading colonial settlers taking control of all that rightfully belongs to the indigenous blacks. It was a clear case of black-white discrimination. Sri Lanka’s case as proven beyond doubt was one of TERRORISM. Terrorism meant that though LTTE fighting force were all Tamils, its supporters and other aligned were people were of all ethnicities even foreigners. Therefore, there is no common enemy for Sri Lanka except all those directly or indirectly taking part or supporting terrorist activity. Why should Sri Lanka have to reconcile with Terrorists, when the truth of their terrorism can be proven with facts. Sri Lanka need not reconcile with those that wish to disturb and destabilize the nation using terror to advance their agendas. If at all we need to have ONLY a TRUTH COMMISSION to bring out all the facts into focus. It is unacceptable to plug “RECONCILIATION’ for Sri Lanka defeated Terrorists and not Tamils. It is a ploy the Sri Lankan Government should not fall prey to.
The TRUTH is
- Eelam originated not in Sri Lanka but in Tamil Nadu, India and thus Tamil Eelam is and was always meant to be in Tamil Nadu – the Eelam in Sri Lanka call is simply a whitewash
- Tamil militant groups including the LTTE were first clandestinely trained by India in India (Jain Commission report gives training details including camps)
- 1983 was an Indian-planned riot to establish LTTE and other militant groups as legitimate promoters of the Eelam cause and bring them out into the open from hiding. (Politicians both Sinhala and Tamils were equally responsible – agitating people for their own personal gains)
- The initial Indian-trained gangs did not receive the blessings of the Tamil people thus ending up robbing banks etc. It was in using the ‘Eelam Homeland’ bid that allowed Tamil militants to demand ‘donations’ from Tamils.
- LTTE hijacked the idea of eelam after 1983 riots to showcase its legitimacy and India helped with providing the false propaganda.
- The Eelam bid was not a collective Tamil bid but a situational drive in order to keep those Tamils who were not in agreement silenced while forcing all Tamils to contribute towards a ‘cause’ that was supposed to be for them.
- All communal riots were initiated by Tamils
- The first killings were carried out by LTTE to provoke the Sri Lankan army.
- LTTE’s first killing of army personnel was on 15th October 1981.
- LTTE’s first killing of a Tamil was in 1972 with the assassination of Jaffna Mayor, Alfred Duraiappah – a Tamil, followed by killing scores of Tamil policemen on duty (this nullifies claim that LTTE represented the interests of ALL Tamils).
- A ‘Tamil Eelam’ call would help LTTE hide from arrest for their international criminal networks. This is why Prabakaran chose to walk away from partial devolution bids because then he and his outfit would not have been able to carry out their illicit activities (human smuggling, narcotics etc)
- LTTE’s killing of both Tamils and non-Tamils was meant to show that people were either with the LTTE or would face elimination (LTTE crimes would reveal the statistics on the Tamils and non-Tamils killed)
- LTTE also killed off other militant leaders trained and established by India
- Tamils in particular high class/caste benefited by LTTE because they left Sri Lanka to be domiciled overseas whilst LTTE used the low castes to generate their cadres.
- Illegal immigration form a key historical factor contributing to the change of demographics and the attempts to raise the populations of minorities. Both Tamils and Muslims are guilty of this factor ignored by politicians of present and past for their own greedy benefit but creating the problems over time. The act of compassion and benevolence has turned against the majority populace.
- The correct perspective of Sinhala Only act – marketed erroneously to project an anti-Tamil stand which needs to be corrected with facts.
- It was the Tamil politicians who instigated the Tamil people to seek independence from the Sinhalese (Vaddukodai resolution seeking a separate state)
- International players, foreign governments, religious entities and their associations, international organizations were assisting LTTE (in some form or the other) over the years to advance their own agendas.
- Locally – even some politicians, local entities, people in public and private sector, members of local organizations, some members of the police and armed forces had on numerous instances even collaborated with the LTTE for various remunerations. A Truth Commission will expose all these traitors.
- A Truth Commission would show how Tamils were deceived and fooled by both the LTTE terrorists and India and continue to be.
These are just a handful of examples given to showcase that the conflict was no straightforward one and over the years numerous players jumped into the bandwagon on the pretext of wanting to help the ‘problem’ without identifying the problem because no one wanted to identify the problem but wanted to push ‘solutions’ that would realize their interests ONLY. So we had a situation where no one knew what the problem was but enough of solutions were being offered.
This was how the conflict dragged on for 30 years without identifying LTTE as a terrorist outfit and then applying the same principle that US and world applied to the Al Qaeda ‘war on terror’.
We seem to be enveloping 2 issues together unnecessarily which the present Government must have the pluck to disjoint.
It is true that the LTTE hijacked the bid for an eelam and used it as a cover to legitimize and forcefully acquire for itself a platform across the world stage but in so far as the question of what ailed Sri Lanka vis a vis the loss of life, destruction of property and the anarchy that prevailed, the answer is TERRORISM. That Tamils were killed especially all Tamils who were learned and had the capacity to become future leaders by the LTTE showed that LTTE desired to silent all Tamils who went against them. Where was the democracy in bumping of one’s own people?
The aspect of Eelam cannot be solved by Sri Lanka alone. We cannot escape the reality that Eelam bid was launched in India against the Hindi hegemony. The anger against Hindi rule remains very much alive. India has not given half the privileges that Tamils enjoy in Sri Lanka to Tamils in India.
The Eelam or the initial Dravidastan bid started as far back as the 1920s. There were movements like the ‘We Tamil’ movement that was crushed by India before it would gather momentum and it served India’s interest to pass the pillow of Eelam across the Palk Strait and to facilitate this drive further it clandestinely trained militant groups to do the dirty work marshaled by Indian intelligence – a courtship which even the Indian military did not know of and resulted in issues when the IPKF came to Sri Lanka.
What needs to be clearly said is that there cannot be self-determination for the same ethnic group in all corners of the world. It would signal a bad precedence. What if Chinese called for self-determination in Australia, UK or America, what if Sikhs did the same in UK?
If Tamils numbering 75million or more have not been lucky to have a nation to call their own that is not the fault of Sri Lanka. The calls for a separate state for Tamils at independence in India did not generate the welcome that the Southern leaders expected. Therefore, in any discussion or debate on Eelam we cannot omit that the Eelam bid was first launched in Tamil Nadu and should rightfully be in Tamil Nadu and not elsewhere. In a small area such as Sri Lanka, wherein the Tamils themselves live outside of the enclave they refer to as ‘Eelam’ it is virtually impossible to put 75million even for a Tamil AGM! Eelams cannot be created in every country that Tamils end up calling for self-determination (even if it is masked as internal or external and within a united Sri Lanka – these are just lose words without any meaning)
Therefore, for any eelam to realize both India and Sri Lanka must consent to it. If India desired to create an Eelam for Tamils it would have done so no different to how it created Bangladesh. That India has not given independence to either the Punjab or Tamils despite calls for such goes to show that India is not interested in agreeing to a glasnost/perestroika type solution that Gorbechov fell for instrumental by the Americans. However, with America playing a key role behind the scenes in India, India is well on track to be balkanized by its own folly without the interference of any western powers.
The issues faced by different nations have their own histories and whatever models they have applied it becomes of no relevance for Sri Lanka as our problem is nothing experienced by them and their problem was not experienced by us. South Africa faces a black-white discrimination problem called apartheid. The examples of atrocities in South Africa never took place in Sri Lanka.
The tragedy in Sri Lanka is that the same players who had been contributing through advice and steering policy in the wrong direction detrimental to the nation continue to be kept in the policy making decision process raising concerns of the type of advice being given considering their past record of folly.
Simply to get foreign governments off the backs of Sri Lanka’s leaders it is childish to agree to proposals brought forward through these same advisors which are likely to lead in catastrophic consequences.
Those that promoted giving to India all that India demanded including ignoring advice not to go forward with giving India access to Trincomalee and not to sign the Sampur power agreement will now realize that India’s interests cares nothing about whether it is suitable or agreeable to Sri Lanka. Translated this should mean that Sri Lanka’s leaders are not elected to please foreign leaders, foreign governments or foreign natives but to put the interests of the country first and decisions taken to ensure that the territorial integrity, sovereignty and the Constitution of the country is not compromised.
Returning to the topic of the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission along the model of South Africa what needs to be said is that while we certainly need a TRUTH COMMISSION we do not need a RECONCILIATION COMMISSION for Sri Lanka defeated a Terrorist Movement and not Tamils and Sri Lanka does not need to RECONCILE with terrorists.
Moreover we need to learn from the follies of the LLRC which omitted mention of or even reference to scores of submissions made by patriotic nationalists and none of their sentiments and concerns have been addressed or taken cognizance of. It is no suitable a time than to publish all these submissions for the rest of Sri Lanka and the world to realize that a major portion of people’s thoughts have been left out of the LLRC which diminishes its credibility.
In so far as solutions go we need to ask how far a country needs to back to please a minority to a stage or period of time wherein the minorities enjoyed undue privileges while the majority was pushed to a corner and denied all rights. This period was during the divide and rule policy of the British. While in the present scenario no Tamil is denied anything that is exclusively enjoyed by only Sinhalese this was not the case in the period that Tamils wish to return to. How can such a situation bring satisfaction to the Tamils and what would that mean for the Sinhalese Buddhists in this new proposed scenario. More importantly is this the proposal that government and politicians are agreeing to accept at the cost of the nation though it give them bogus applause globally but what would their future be thereafter?