“Is the LTTE really finish and the War Over?”

Sinhala
This video with Prof. K.Sivathambi interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.
This video with Mr. Amal Jayasinghe, Head AFP Sri Lanka interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.
This video with Mr. Sunil Wijesiriwardane interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.
This video with Prof. Rohan Samarajeewa interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.
English
Sinhala
English
Sinhala
This video with Mr. Nishantha Warnasinghe, Spokes person of Jathika Hela Urumaya interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.
Sinhala
This video with Mr. Wasudeva Nanayakkara, interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.

This video with Dr.Wickramabahu Karunarathna, interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.

English

Sinhala

This video with Mr.S.G.Punchihewa, interrogates the current situation in Sri Lanka, where we are told the war is at its end, and the LTTE defeated. This video, and others in the series by Vikalpa, seeks to understand what this really means and whether we should believe the simplistic logic that the end to war, or even victory in war, is a guarantee of peace.
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One Response

  1. Historical background
    “The right is more precious than peace.”
    -Woodrow Wilson
    When a country is being ravaged by war, an account of the events and reasons which caused it is topical and calls for no apology or explanation.
    There appears to be a general misinformation concerning the civil war in this island. It is often repeated, particularly in the information media that the Tamils are fighting for a separate state because they are discriminated against in education and employment opportunities by the majority Sinhalese. It is not true. No people ever have recourse to such a serious remedy as armed warfare against the state to correct discrimination in education and employment. While it is true that such discrimination provoked discontent and unrest among the Tamil youth, the real causes which led to their taking up arms and fighting a war for their separate state lie far deeper in the political and social history of the island more particularly in the Tamil-Sinhalese conflicts which surfaced during the last few decades of British rule and intensified after its withdrawal.
    The dawn of the 17th century saw the ships of the seafaring nations of Europe appear in the Indian Ocean waters. They were attracted to the island by the cinnamon trade of Ceylon. They found a prosperous Tamil kingdom in the North and East of Ceylon which has existed for more than five centuries. According to Prof. G.C. Mendis, a Sinhalese historian, “It survived the conquests of the Pandiya, the Sinhalese and the Vijaya Nagara rulers, and came to an end only in 1621 when it was conquered by the Portuguese. The same invasion compelled the Sinhalese to move southwards leaving the ancient centers of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa as no-man’s land.”
    The Portuguese rule over the Jaffna and Kotte kingdoms was short lived. The Dutch conquered them from the Portuguese and established their rule until the close of the 18th century when the British ousted the Dutch. For the entire duration of the Portuguese and Dutch occupation of the Jaffna and Kotte kingdoms’ territories the occupying powers had maintained separate administrations in the respective territories. The people were contained in their respective territories and the Tamil –Sinhalese animosity had no chance to show up. The British continued that system in the beginning even with regard to the newly annexed Kandyan kingdom territory.
    Soon after the Colebrook unification of the conquered territories in 1833, the British divided the island into 9 provinces for their administrative convenience. In so doing, they recognized the Tamil ethnic character of the territory and population of the old Jaffna Kingdom and ensured its continuity by carving out 2 separate provinces out of the territory where the population would not be mixed but entirely Tamil speaking. They are the northern and eastern provinces, now recognized as the NorthEast province consequent to the Indo-Sri Lanka pact of 1987, which among other things, took cognizance of the historical contiguity of the Tamil habitat and paved the way for the current provincial councils set up. Ironically, the provincial council system which was principally introduced to provide an asymmetrical devolution to the Tamil habitat, is now effectively functioning in all parts of the island with elected representatives save the NorthEast which is defunct.
    From the time British contemplated full independence to Ceylon commencing from mid 19th century until the mid of the 20th century there always were haggling between the Tamil leaders and their Sinhala counterparts in arriving at a consensus in sharing power in the new formation.
    In the 1920s Sir. Pon. Arunachalam laboured hard to bring all the splintered Sinhalese political groupings and the Tamil associations under the umbrella of one common national organisation called the Ceylon National Congress(CNC) to press for constitutional reforms from the British Government on the understanding that the benefits of the reforms would be shared by both the peoples in an equal partnership. When the time came to formulate demands, the Sinhalese leaders went back on their undertaking and used their majority in numbers to force the Tamils and the Congress President Sir. P. Arunachalam to leave the Congress.
    A Sinhalese delegation of prominent leaders went all the way to Jaffna to meet with Tamil leaders and negotiate for an agreed common demand to be presented to the British concerning the basis of legislative representation. The resulting agreement was called the “Mahendra pact”. It was repudiated in due time by the Sinhalese leaders on the ground that the name of their organisation has since been changed.
    Important leaders representing the pan- Sinhalese CNC entered into a similar agreement with Sir. Pon. Ramanathan, leader of the Tamils, to be placed before the Royal Commission under the Chairmanship of Lord Donoughmore which was due to visit Ceylon. While giving evidence before the Commission, however, noting that the Commissioners were inclined against the principle of communal representation advocated by the then Tamil leaders, the Sinhalese leaders went back on their agreement and told the Commission that they should not be held bound by that agreement.
    In the 1940s, after the conclusion of WW11 when the Soulbury proposals for a new Dominion Status type of constitution were being opposed by the Tamils, and the British were insisting as a pre-condition that all the communities in the island must accept the new scheme, Sinhalese leaders in their speeches in the legislature promised the Tamils to work the new scheme fairly and not to the detriment of the Tamils and pleaded with a credulous set of Tamil leaders to trust their word of honour and help them to take advantage of the British offer. The Tamil leaders trusted and voted for the acceptance of the Soulbury scheme. When the first Prime Minister under the new scheme was negotiating with the British to advance the Dominion Status into complete independence and the British again insisted on a consensus of all the communities. D.S. Senannayake made the same promise on behalf of the Sinhalese and persuaded a friendly and trusting minister in the cabinet(C. Suntharalingam) to join in the unanimous request to the British. Suntharalingam trusted his friend and Ceylon became fully independent. After independence all these promises were thrown to the four winds and laws after laws were pushed through by the Sinhalese dominated governments hitting the Tamils.
    Soon after the transfer of political power to the Sinhalese majority, national chauvinism reigned supreme and fuelled a vicious and violent form of state oppression against the Tamil people. It assumed a multi –dimensional thrust, attacking simultaneously on different levels of the conditions of existence of the Tamil people. It imperiled their linguistic rights, the right to education and employment; it deprived their right to ownership of their traditional lands, endangered their religious and cultural life and as a consequence posed a serious threat to their very right to existence. As an integral part of the genocidal program, the state organized periodical communal holocausts, which plagued the island, resulting in mass extermination of Tamils and massive destruction of their property.
    The first victims of the Sinhala racist onslaught were the Tamil plantation workers. A million of this working people, who toiled for the prosperity of the island for more than a century, were disenfranchised by the most infamous citizenship legislation in Sri Lankan political history, which robbed these people of their basic human rights and reduced them to an appalling condition of statelessness.
    The most vicious form of oppression calculated to destroy the ethnic identity of the Tamils was the aggressive state aided colonization, which began soon after independence, and has now swallowed nearly 3000 square miles of Tamil territory. The worst affected areas are in the Eastern province. The Eastern province became a hot-bed of communal strife because of this.
    The state oppression soon penetrated into the sphere of language, education and employment. The ‘Sinhala only’ movement spearheaded by Mr. S.W.R.D. Banadaranaike brought him to political power in 1956. His first Act in Parliament made Sinhala the only official language of the country. This Act demanded proficiency in Sinhala in the civil service. Tamil public servants, deprived of the rights of increments and promotions, were forced to learn the Sinhala language or leave employment. Employment opportunities in the public service were practically closed to Tamils.
    In the sphere of education a notorious discriminatory selective device called ‘standardization’ was introduced in 1970, which demanded higher marks from the Tamil students for university admissions whereas the Sinhalese students were admitted with lower grades. State oppression also showed its intensity in the economic strangulation of the Tamil nation. Tamil areas were totally isolated from all national development projects for nearly 50 years. Major racial conflagrations that erupted violently against the Tamil people were inspired and master minded by the Sinhala regimes as part of a genocidal program (1956, 1958, 1961, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1981 and July 1983).
    The cumulative effect of this multi-dimensional oppression threatened the very survival of the Tamil people, aggravated the ethnic conflict and made reconciliation and co-existence between the two nations extremely difficult. It stiffened the Tamil militancy and created conditions for the emergence of the Tamil armed resistance movement. It paved the way for the invocation of the Tamil right to self determination and secession.
    The following turn of events, inter alia, contributed largely to the hardening of attitudes in the Tamil thinking.
    • The Tamil Federal Party protested against the Sinhala only Act, demonstrated passively and performed a Gandhian non-violent Satyagraha on 5 June 1956 opposite the parliament on the Galle Face green. Sinhala hooligans stoned and assaulted the peaceful picketers and the rioting soon spread to several parts of the island.
    • Responding to the Tamil demand for federal form of autonomy Mr. Banadaranaike entered into an agreement with the Federal Party leader Mr. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam(B-C pact). J.R. Jeyawardana of the UNP and Buddhist monks protested and the pact was abrogated.
    • Anti Tamil riots of 1958 resulted in thousands of Tamils being killed and the rest who were made refugees had to be shipped to the northern and eastern provinces for safety.
    • The Federal Party organized mass civil disobedience movement (Satyagraha) in 1961 which paralyzed government activities in all the Tamil districts. The government moved in the military and repressed the agitation which went on for 3 months.
    • In 1965 the UNP assumed political power and the Federal Party entered into an agreement (D-C pact). UNP too abrogated the pact when confronted with the pressure of Sinhala opposition.
    • Sinhalese youths rose up in rebellion against the government of Srimavo Bandaranaike in 1971. Sri Lankan armed forces launched a brutal counter offensive and brought the situation under control killing more than 10,000 Sinhala youths.
    • The Constituent Assembly of 1972 amended the 1948 constitution, repealing the minority protection clause 29 which brought an end to Tamil participation in the sharing of state power and created a condition of political alienation of the Tamil people.
    • Killing of 8 Tamil youths in Police violence during the Fourth International Conference of Tamil Research held in Jaffna on 10th January 1974.
    • Burning by police of the Jaffna library.
    The political structure of the Federal Party and its successor the Tamil United Front, founded on a conservative ideology, could not provide the basis for the articulation of revolutionary politics. It became very clear to the Tamil people and particularly to the militant youths that the Tamil national leaders, though they fiercely championed the cause of the Tamils, had failed to formulate any concrete practical program of political action to liberate the oppressed Tamil nation.
    The resistance campaign of the Tamil militant youth against the repressive Sinhala state, which manifested in the form of disparate outbursts of political violence in the early 70s, sought concrete political expression in an organizational structure built on a radical political theory and practice. Neither the Tamil leadership nor the Left movement offered any concrete political venue to the aspirations of the rebellious youth.
    The reactive violence of the Tamil youths against the terrorist violence of the racist Sinhala state assumed the character of an organised form of armed resistance movement with the birth and growth of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
    The emergence of the Tamil Tiger guerrilla movement, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) marked a new historical epoch in the nature and structure of the Tamil national struggle extending the dimension of the agitation to popular armed resistance. The LTTE under the leadership of its leader Mr Veluppillai Prabaharan soon developed a political and military structure that provided organizational expressions to the aspirations of the rebellious Tamil militant who had become disenchanted with non-violent political agitation and resolved to fight back the repressive state through armed struggle. Demonstrating extra ordinary talent in planning military strategy and tactics and executing them to the amazement of the enemy, Prabaharan soon became a symbol of Tamil resistant and the LTTE he founded evolved into a revolutionary movement to spearhead the Tamil national liberation struggle.
    Having been able to successfully evict the occupying Sinhala military from major parts of the Tamil homeland through well organized military offensives the LTTE while doing so, did organize a well structured administrative pattern that would meet the needs of the people almost parallel to the civil administration in other parts of the country. Thus came up the present administrative structures including the judiciary, the police and discipline military and naval units which functions as the bulwark of the Tamil people against state discrimination and oppression. The special feature one sees in the LTTE administered territories is the freedom and ease with which people go about in their day-today life without military subjugation and coercion.

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