Is this the end of the Tamil struggle?

by Vasantha Raja

For reasons I shall explain later I don’t think what we see at present marks the end of the Tamil struggle for independence. The popular perception may well end up in a mirage.  Clearly, a new chapter of the Tamil campaign is in the making, and the signs are that the next episode is going to be even more formidable than the Tamil Tigers’ mini-state project.  With South India’s full backing – also, with the international community’s blessings – the Tamils are going to press for just two options: either a confederation or total separation.

Ironically, Sri Lanka’s ruthless war aimed at crushing Tamil separatism seems to have triggered a phenomenon that has strengthened the Tamils’ resolve for independence as never before. In other words, if the Sinhala leaders’ target was to save the country from splitting into two, the war has set a process in motion that may bring about exactly the opposite result.

Quite apart from adding one more to the list of examples that expose the global institutions’ hypocrisy and the resultant impotence in tackling barbaric wars by ‘state-terrorists’, this war has demonstrated before the world in no uncertain terms why Tamils cannot live under the Sinhala rule. In other words, the war has unambiguously legitimised the Tamils’ demand for independence.

The terminology and the logic Sri Lankan leaders used in public to justify the war to the world have unwittingly betrayed the chauvinist mindset behind the government’s war strategy. Sri Lanka’s military chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka said: “I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese; but there’re minority communities and we treat them like our people….They can live in this country with us, but they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things.”

[I wonder what the Scots would have done if the British Prime Minister said something similar about the English majority…oops, I’m sorry, British PM, Gordon Brown, is a Scotsman!]

The Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said: “In any democratic country the majority should rule the country. This country will be ruled by the Sinhalese community which is the majority representing 74% of the population.”

[Ironically, the London parliament had to offer a separate parliament to the Scottish region precisely for a similar reason. The Scottish people kept on voting the Labour party while the English majority continued to put Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative party to power. Scots became furious and their campaign for a separate state began to strengthen in leaps. The separate Scottish parliament was the result.]

How could such politicians replace a supremacist system – that produced Tamil separatism in the first place – with a new constitution that respects individual and national rights? I don’t think they can – particularly not in the present context when the rulers’ toxic mindset is mixed with soaring war hysteria.
Thus, I predict, crushing of the Tigers’ mini-state solves nothing. With or without Prabakaran, the Tamil struggle is bound to move forward in a far more sophisticated form – this time with an explicitly separatist agenda whole-heartedly backed by people all over the world, more relevantly by millions of Tamils in South India. And, the Tamils will not need a mini-state to convince the world of their campaign’s legitimacy.

The war’s sheer brutality has created new realities:

Rising rage among Tamils all over the world, particularly among the Tamil Diaspora’s second-generation youth, seem to surpass the Muslim anger over the dragging middle-east wars.

The South Indian Tamils now support the Tamil case for separation as never before. Jayalalitha’s unprecedented rhetoric during India’s election campaign – to militarily intervene in Sri Lanka and help Tamils get an independent Tamil Eelam, like India did in Bangladesh – is the clearest indication of this new phenomenon. Remember, this rising mood in India coincides with Indian ruling elite’s increasing awareness of China’s strategic schemes in Sri Lanka. India knows why China went to remarkable lengths to assist Sri Lanka’s war effort financially and militarily. [Read the Times-On-Line article in the Sri Lanka section of http://www.lankaeye.com under my heading: Who was behind Sri Lanka’s dazzling military success against Tamil Tigers.]

Quite apart from the changing Indian politics, the Sri Lankan government has definitively lost the propaganda war internationally – not just among global leaders but ordinary masses in general. Sri Lanka’s image is likely to remain tarnished as a rogue state for the foreseeable future. And, from now on the world’s perception of the Tamil struggle could become far more favourable than ever before.

Tamils living inside and outside the so-called welfare camps in Sri Lanka will be quiet for the time being for obvious reasons. But, their rage will continue to fester jeopardising the chances of winning Tamils’ hearts and minds for a very long time.

The crux of the matter is this: These new realities have emerged at a time when 95% of the Sinhala army is stuck in Tamil towns for the foreseeable future and the Sri Lankan economy is facing nightmarish prospects in the midst of the worst global economic downturn since 1930s.

If the government thought it could end the security nightmare that stifled Sri Lanka’s economy for so long by militarily defeating Tigers’ conventional army and occupying the ‘Tigerland’, they are mistaken. Unless there’s a substantial transformation of the post-colonial state structures – which the present government (as I argued above) is incapable of carrying out – the situation would deteriorate further in the coming months. Cosmetic devolution of power to provincial councils – while the centre remains firmly in the “Sinhala hands” – will not tackle the problem.

The most likely post-war scenario would not, in my view, be a peaceful one. Economic calamities, labour unrest, attacks on media institutions and political dissent, rise of “urban warfare” and state-terrorism and disappearances are likely to be the hallmarks of the foreseeable future. It is with this kind of tragic picture in mind I wrote my last article “A Common Programme for a United Left Front in Sri Lanka” [www.groundviews.com], in which I pointed out the importance of all Sri Lanka’s socialist parties forming a united front under the banner of a clear political and economic programme for fundamental change in the country.

However, it is important to realize that none of what we leftists promise in the south is going to impress the Tamils in Sri Lanka or abroad – and understandably so. They have undergone too much oppression since independence under chauvinist regimes.

Under Ceylon Tamil Congress, the Tamils of newly liberated Ceylon looked for an equality-based solution within a unitary state. When that failed, the Federal Party launched non-violent campaigns for a federal solution which were violently crushed by chauvinist regimes. Finally, the LTTE-led separatist armed-struggle emerged to challenge the Sinhala establishment militarily. This led to decades of destructive war which culminated in the present war effort inflicting untold sufferings on Tamils in order to destroy the separatists’ mini-state.

Now on the Tamil side a worldwide campaign for a separate state is in the making and nothing we say is going to convince them until they see the change in the flesh. Thus, it will be the duty of the left to respect the Tamils right to self-determination as the first step towards winning their hearts and minds – which the chauvinists have ruined – and tirelessly work to rebuild the lost trust and achieve a socialist republic of Sri Lanka & Tamil Eelam.

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5 Responses

  1. Congrats to the SL govt. for those tamils living abroad in the comforts of their homes and for those tamils living in colombo or any part of SL other than the north…U HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN…question is…would u have left ur comforts and go to the north if prabah won the war? Doubt it very much….
    Appreciate the fact that your lives were made better than the actual poor soles who had to endure the hardships coz of a ‘so called tamil leader.’ If any tamil living abroad or anywhhere in SL other than the north has any sympathy for the death of prabah…why didnt u do something about it before and help the poor man by joining him in the actual struggle….hypocrisy at its best…isnt it? 🙂

  2. Congrats to the SL govt for killing Prabah and bringing an end to the civil war. For those tamils living abroad in the comforts of their homes and for those tamils living in colombo or any part of SL other than (EX) conflict affected areas…U HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN…question is…would u have left all ur comforts and go to the north if prabah won the war? Doubt it very much….
    Appreciate the fact that your lives were made better than the actual poor soles who had to endure the hardships coz of a ‘so called tamil leader.’If any tamil living abroad or anywhere in SL other than the north has any sympathy for the death of prabah…why didnt u do something about it before and help the poor man by joining him in the actual struggle….hypocrisy at its best…isnt it? 🙂

  3. Article of this type is a verybig eye opener. Thanks to all those who involved in this episode.

  4. I fully support yr views in the article.It is very unfortunate that the Tamils living in SL HAVE BECOME A PAWN IN THE HANDS OF GEOPOLITCAL MOVEs OF CHINA ,INDIA and other rouge states. There seem to be no human sympathy or observation of international laws by the SL Govt. ably aided & abetted by some international communities under the pretext of wiping out terrorism. Killing innocent civilians and then sending aid will not solve the problem. Stop the war and then settle the problem once and for all.Let sanity prevail.

    • Why is the Sri-Lankan Tamil genocide being ignored by the International Community?

      The overt reasoning for the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils is covered in the resent UK Daily Telegraph article of Monday May 4, 2009 with the title Sri Lanka: A Paradise turned into Kingdom of Vultures ! (Please see: http://my.telegraph.co.uk/chandradavid/blog/2009/05/04/a_paradise_turned_into_kingdom_of_vultures)

      In my opinion there is a covert reason for the plight the unfortunate Tamil people in SL and this is the Neoconservative policy for global domination by stealth (in order to protect their interests globally – and this is not necessarily the interests of the USA nor the other western countries these people have influence over)

      (Please see article from http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/index.html for a sanitised view of these people, in the USA ).

      The Tamil struggle in SL was like a fly caught in this web – The predicament the Tamil people in SL are in, is due to a much bigger (much more sophisticated) geopolitical web the SL Tamils were/are caught in.

      Why the Tamils of SL didn’t have a chance (once they, the ‘Neocons’, had decided rightly or wrongly, that the Tamil struggle in SL will be an impediment to their designs) is:

      · The Bush Administration in the USA was a stooge of these guys in implementing the ‘Neocon agenda’ – In the Tamil context, see who orchestrated the banning of the LTTE (answer – USA) and see whose strategies have brought these victories to the Singhalese/ SL Government (Answer – Israel’s) –
      The current Obama administration has been forced not to do anything about helping the Tamils, as it is advantages for USA , for geopolitical reasons, to eliminate the Tamil voice in Sri-Lanka. i.e. by doing this they only have to deal with one person/group (they are also scared to do anything against core Neocon policies) –
      See below re India also

      · Tony Blair (UK) and his cabinet, seems to have been brainwashed by these people (you can see it from the way he was backing/ prosecuting the Iraqi invasion – and see who actually gained from this war – The ‘Neocons’ and Israel)
      Although the current administration of Gordon Brown knows that what is happening to the Tamils in SL is unethical and immoral, they too are turning a blind eye to the issue for similar reasons as the Obama administration in the USA.

      · Harper – Canada (and his government) is actively working to their (Neocon) agenda

      · Nicolas Sarkozy ( France ‘s current president) and John Howard (Prime Minister of Australia from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007) are cronies of this organization

      · The present Indian administration has been conned into working to their (Neocon) designs (by making them believe that, for them to control Sri-Lanka, the Tamils as a power in the island have to be eliminated and the country needs to be run by corrupt dictatorial hoodlums like the Rajapaksas (similar to Marcos in the Philippines, Sukarno/Suharto in Indonesia, Mobutu in Zaire etc etc etc – You can find ample examples of how this method was used by the USA to control countries covertly, in Asia, Africa Europe and south America )

      From the Sri-Lankan (Sinhala) viewpoint, what happened to the Armenians in Turkey in 1915 (see http://www.ourararat.com/eng/e_1915.htm as reference), is what they want to do to the to Tamils in Sri-Lanka, in a secretive way – Traditional Tamil (Nation’s) Lands are being grabbed systematically by state terrorism / state sponsored terrorism (and state sponsored colonisation) by the Singhalese in power to make the island a Sinhala-Buddhist State – Eliminating the Tamils from their homeland (Tamil Ellam) – This fits in well with the ‘Neocon’ agenda (for excreting American influence in the Indian Ocean)
      What is happening in Sri-Lanka cannot be termed as anything other than Genocide – but in this case the perpetrators of this may getaway scot-free as the G7 nations and India are also culpable.

      Even though the people who were genuinely struggling for SL Tamil rights had made tactical errors, it is wrong to blame them for the predicament the Tamil people of SL are now facing – The main mistake of the people who were spearheading the ‘Tamil Struggle’ possibly was that they didn’t fathom this geopolitical dimension to the Tamil struggle and due to them being too arrogant in sidling India (i.e. not being sensitive to India’s regional aspirations).

      What we have to understand (come to terms with) is (that it seems), what the Neurons want in SL is one leader (corrupt and dictatorial) who can be manipulated to pander to their (Neocon) designs (this is where India is being taken for a ride) – A second voice (power) on the island would have been an impediment to their designs and hence the global effort to silence that voice under the guise of “war on terror” –
      India will be the looser (geopolitically), the day SL Tamil struggle is silenced, as the Tamils as a power in the island would have safeguarded India’s interests in the Indian Ocean (and brought about some balance) – the Rajapaksas (Singhalese) will prove to be unreliable bedfellows (which is what the Neocons want)

      India should take note that the Tamils of SL have always been (and always will be) categorically supportive of (and safeguard) India ’s regional aspirations and security. As long as Tamils are a power in the Island, India need not worry too much about its wellbeing along its southern flank.
      On the other hand, the Sinhala Nation has never been (and never will be) willingly supportive of India ’s wellbeing and if the Sinhalese are the only power in the Island, India ’s security in the Indian Ocean will never be guarantied!

      Neocon 101

      (Neoconservatives – a sanitised view from – The Christian Science Monitor – http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/index.html)

      Some basic questions answered.

      What do neoconservatives believe?

      “Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through pre-emptive military action.

      Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defence and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Since the 1991 Gulf War, neocons relentlessly advocated Mr. Hussein’s ouster.

      Most neocons share unwavering support for Israel, which they see as crucial to US military sufficiency in a volatile region. They also see Israel as a key outpost of democracy in a region ruled by despots. Believing that authoritarianism and theocracy have allowed anti-Americanism to flourish in the Middle East, neocons advocate the democratic transformation of the region, starting with Iraq . They also believe the US is unnecessarily hampered by multilateral institutions, which they do not trust to effectively neutralize threats to global security.

      What are the roots of neoconservative beliefs?

      The original neocons were a small group of mostly Jewish liberal intellectuals who, in the 1960s and 70s, grew disenchanted with what they saw as the American left’s social excesses and reluctance to spend adequately on defense. Many of these neocons worked in the 1970s for Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, a staunch anti-communist. By the 1980s, most neocons had become Republicans, finding in President Ronald Reagan an avenue for their aggressive approach of confronting the Soviet Union with bold rhetoric and steep hikes in military spending. After the Soviet Union ‘s fall, the neocons decried what they saw as American complacency. In the 1990s, they warned of the dangers of reducing both America ‘s defense spending and its role in the world.

      Unlike their predecessors, most younger neocons never experienced being left of center. They’ve always been “Reagan” Republicans.

      What is the difference between a neoconservative and a conservative?

      Liberals first applied the “neo” prefix to their comrades who broke ranks to become more conservative in the 1960s and 70s. The defectors remained more liberal on some domestic policy issues. But foreign policy stands have always defined neoconservatism. Where other conservatives favored détente and containment of the Soviet Union , neocons pushed direct confrontation, which became their raison d’etre during the 1970s and 80s.

      Today, both conservatives and neocons favor a robust US military. But most conservatives express greater reservations about military intervention and so-called nation building. Neocons share no such reluctance. The post 9/11-campaigns against regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate that the neocons are not afraid to force regime change and reshape hostile states in the American image. Neocons believe the US must do to whatever it takes to end state-supported terrorism. For most, this means an aggressive push for democracy in the Middle East . Even after 9/11, many other conservatives, particularly in the isolationist wing, view this as an overzealous dream with nightmarish consequences.

      How have neoconservatives influenced US foreign policy?

      Finding a kindred spirit in President Reagan, neocons greatly influenced US foreign policy in the 1980s.

      But in the 1990s, neocon cries failed to spur much action. Outside of Reaganite think tanks and Israel ‘s right-wing Likud Party, their calls for regime change in Iraq were deemed provocative and extremist by the political mainstream. With a few notable exceptions, such as President Bill Clinton’s decision to launch isolated strikes at suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, their talk of preemptive military action was largely dismissed as overkill.

      Despite being muted by a president who called for restraint and humility in foreign affairs, neocons used the 1990s to hone their message and craft their blueprint for American power. Their forward thinking and long-time ties to Republican circles helped many neocons win key posts in the Bush administration.

      The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 moved much of the Bush administration closer than ever to neoconservative foreign policy. Only days after 9/11, one of the top neoconservative think tanks in Washington , the Project for a New American Century, wrote an open letter to President Bush calling for regime change in Iraq . Before long, Bush, who campaigned in 2000 against nation building and excessive military intervention overseas, also began calling for regime change in Iraq . In a highly significant nod to neocon influence, Bush chose the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) as the venue for a key February 2003 speech in which he declared that a US victory in Iraq “could begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace.” AEI – the de facto headquarters for neconservative policy – had been calling for democratization of the Arab world for more than a decade.

      What does a neoconservative dream world look like?

      Neocons envision a world in which the United States is the unchallenged superpower, immune to threats. They believe that the US has a responsibility to act as a “benevolent global hegemon.” In this capacity, the US would maintain an empire of sorts by helping to create democratic, economically liberal governments in place of “failed states” or oppressive regimes they deem threatening to the US or its interests. In the neocon dream world the entire Middle East would be democratized in the belief that this would eliminate a prime breeding ground for terrorists. This approach, they claim, is not only best for the US ; it is best for the world. In their view, the world can only achieve peace through strong US leadership backed with credible force, not weak treaties to be disrespected by tyrants.

      Any regime that is outwardly hostile to the US and could pose a threat would be confronted aggressively, not “appeased” or merely contained. The US military would be reconfigured around the world to allow for greater flexibility and quicker deployment to hot spots in the Middle East, as well as Central and Southeast Asia . The US would spend more on defense, particularly for high-tech, precision weaponry that could be used in preemptive strikes. It would work through multilateral institutions such as the United Nations when possible, but must never be constrained from acting in its best interests whenever necessary.

      Who is Nicolas Sarkozy?

      By Raanan Eliaz (check -http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0507/sarkozy.php3?printer_friendly)

      What to expect from France ‘s new president, scion of one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika , Greece

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