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Unified Tamil voice is the need of hour for independent Tamil Eelam

[MISC, Saturday, 1 August 2009 21:57 No Comment]

By Satheesan Kumaaran

While the Sri Lankan state and its allies are relieved that the war is over in Eelam, the Tamils and their allies are in deep shock as to what will happen in the next phase of the LTTE proclaimed political/diplomatic struggle.  After the LTTE leader’s decision to silence their guns, the LTTE leadership has not come out publicly to speak in front of the Tamils. However, its International Relations Chief, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, has announced that he will lead the LTTE in the political/diplomatic fronts to seek freedom for Tamils. Recently the executive committee of the LTTE has said Mr. S. Pathmanathan has been entrusted with the task of leading the movement.

However, the LTTE’s recent events show that the LTTE leadership has put its political wing in the forefront while keeping the military wing hiding.  The question is whether the LTTE would resume military struggle?  But, Pathmanathan clearly said that that the LTTE would not make a blunder, but as per the LTTE leader’s earlier statement in 1987, the LTTE will change strategies until they obtain freedom for Tamils. As of the wisdom of the LTTE leader’s words, the LTTE has to change its strategies because it has brought the Eelam struggle to the attention of the world community and it has to go with the flow since the international military and geo-politics have changed, especially after the 9/11 attack on the twin towers in the U.S.

Political analysts and columnists who are on the payroll of the Sri Lankan State are trying to portray that some sections of Diaspora Tamils do not extend support to Pathmanathan and also try to brand him as a wanted man by Interpol as well as by Indian and Sri Lankan governments.  All these descriptions are to show the world Pathmanathan as an illegitimate person to lead the political activities of the LTTE and again a ploy to create divisions among the Tamils in order to weaken the activities to be carried out by the leadership of Pathmanathan.

The Tamils have suffered enough and yet they will no longer suffer the same in the future, so that their political demands should be fulfilled, especially after Sri Lanka claims that it defeated the LTTE militarily in May 2009.  Although the war is over, the Tamils are yet to get rid of their plights. The ground realities do not show that the Sri Lankan government is making any pragmatic effort to offer autonomy for the Tamils, rather it is rejecting Tamils’ genuine demands and further is trying to colonize Tamil homeland with Sinhalese.  Instead of accepting Tamils’ legitimate demands for the sake of lasting peace, the Sinhala government is engaged in how it can make Tamils more subservient to them.  So, the Tamil organizations globally entered into a series of talks to form a united global Tamil movement, Global Tamil Forum (GTF), to spark the spirit of independent Tamil Eelam, for which the LTTE fought militarily for the last three decades and is now forced to enter into political/diplomatic paths to adopt.

United voice for Tamil Eelam

Unlike the past, world Tamils are yearning to see a united Tamil front in order to win the rights of Eelam people by shedding all religious and political differences.  By setting aside all petty differences, we strengthen the possibility for a united and independent Tamil Eelam, unlike in the past where over a dozen Tamil militants formed with the same goal that they should carve out separate ‘Tamil Eelam’ from Sri Lanka, but failed as they fought each other over trifle matters or to establish dominance over Tamils. In fact, foreign intelligence wings managed to create divisions among the Tamil militants in order to weaken the Tamil Eelam struggle. However, the leaders of each and every Tamil militant came up with many differences and they fought each other, weakening the Tamil Eelam cause. And eventually, some militants turned as supporters of Sri Lankan military to defeat the LTTE.  Instead of fighting for the cause of Tamils, they worked as an auxiliary force of Sri Lankan military. However, the situation changed as of May 2009, as the Sri Lankan government claims that it crushed the LTTE militarily and captured all the areas controlled by the LTTE previously.

In this context, the question of forming a united Tamil front emerged.  As per the earlier discussions, local Tamil organizations around the world discussed and formed a new global body named “Global Tamil Forum”.  Necessity of forming of such a body has been intensely felt in the post-war days, because of Sinhala government’s step-motherly attitude towards Tamils. So, this announcement didn’t come as a surprise to many Tamils, but it is necessary to keep the spirit of Tamil Eelam alive.

The GTF will face colossal duties despite heavy pressure from the Sri Lankan State because there is no denying that Sri Lanka will do everything possible to disrupt its activities through various means.  However, the question is whether the global community will listen to what the Sri Lankan State does to punish the individuals involved in this project.

GTF has to make the way clear for sovereign Tamil Eelam

The global body will also have to help the political/diplomatic initiatives taken forwarded by the proposed Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (PTGTE).  In other words, it has to help the government in exile. Government in exile is not a new concept for the world, as it has been happening for centuries.  What happened in Paris and Tibet are great examples.  After Paris fell to the Nazi army, the French people did not give up, the Free French government in exile was established, Paris was redeemed, and the Nazis were defeated in world War!

Charles De Gaulle crossed over to Britain to seek help.  Then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill asked what help he needed. He sought one hour air time in BBC broadcast, and by fiery speeches he created the Free French Government in exile, rallied the whole of France behind him, and rubbed shoulders with American President Roosevelt and Soviet President Stalin. In spite of many hurdles to belittle him, he rose in stature, and liberated France.

Another example is Tibet, where fleeing the Chinese occupation of Tibet, led by Dalai Lama, reached India and formed the Tibetan government in Dharamsala in India in 1959 with the help of many countries around the world.  Although Tibet has not gained independence from China despite its peaceful protests for the last five-decades, it has gained enormous global support against Chinese occupation.

Similar to events in France and Tibet, the Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka fell into the hands of the Sri Lankan armed forces.  Tamils around the world need to follow suit of France and Tibet in forming an exile government in order to keep the spirit and struggle of Tamil freedom and moreover, Tamils need such an organization at a time when nearly three million in Eelam and around a million Diaspora Tamils along with nearly 78 million Tamils in India, Malaysia and South Africa are shocked and grieving in the aftermath of fall of LTTE militarily.

Roles of the PTGTE

Many roles are at the feet of the global Tamil organization, as the military fall of the LTTE has created such a big vacuum. 

First, it should put pressure upon the global governments in support of Eelam Tamils;

Secondly, it should create pressure on the governments to lift the ban on LTTE;

Third, to grant free movement of access by the media and global organizations to the

internment camps in Vavuniya as well as provide immediate needs;

Fourth, pressure the governments across the world to ensure safety and security as well as

create normalcy after abandoning the Nazi-style camps and allow the civilians to settle in

their homes;

Fifth, it should put pressure upon the governments to urge Sri Lanka to release all the

Tamil detainees from the jails. Thousands of Tamil youths have been taken into

unidentified camps where they are being held without the knowledge of their relatives

and hundreds of LTTE members and their supporters are taken into the Sri Lankan

government’s Central Investigation Bureau (CID) fourth floor where they are being

tortured;

Sixth, pressure the governments to force Sri Lanka to pull back the Sri Lankan armed

forces from Tamil homeland;

Seventh, it should ask the global governments to recognize the 1977 Tamil Eelam

mandate and 1985 Thimpu peace talks principles, which clearly state that the Tamils are

a unique nation and they have the right to self-determination;

Eighth, it should put pressure upon the global governments to mediate a peace talk and

find a permanent negotiated settlement;

Ninth, it should put pressure upon the global governments to help rebuild Tamil

homeland;

Tenth and finally, it should create pressure on the global governments that all these

should take place parallel in order to ensure a peaceful atmosphere.

The proposed GTF should take the leadership role by embracing all the sectors of Tamils by setting aside all differences in order for the freedom of Tamils. Otherwise, the sufferings of Tamils in Eelam since early 1950s will be wasted.  The martyrdom of the Tamil freedom fighters will vanish without fulfilling their last wills.  Tamils the world over have to keep up the spirit of the Eelam cause, and while setting aside confusions after the defeat of the LTTE in the recent past military overtures, the Tamils have the responsibility to wake up from their shock and grief to liberate the Tamils.

Tamils numbering around 80 million around the world have the moral obligation to stand behind the struggle of the Eelam Tamils.  The Diaspora Tamils have a golden opportunity to raise a unified voice to lead free Tamil Eelam from Sinhala occupation.  The Tamil Nadu cinema producer and the staunch supporter of Eelam Tamils said nearly 140,000 Tamils have been missing in the North, and the Sri Lankan State is trying to bring in tens of thousands of Sinhalese into Tamil dominated areas and settle them with the mindset to colonize Tamil lands after driving the Tamils through the military operations to refugee camps.  So, the GTF should embrace the Tamils around the world whether they are Indian, South African, Fijian, Singaporean, Malaysian, Canadian, British, or Australian Tamils.

The aim of the GTF should be a unified voice of global Tamils to keep the spirit of Eelam Tamils and to help the LTTE to win Tamil Eelam through political/diplomatic means with the global support.  Tamils in Sri Lanka do not want to sacrifice anymore lives through violence. So the global community should pressure the Sri Lankan State to grant reasonable autonomy for the Tamils.  The talks about 13th amendment of Sri Lanka’s constitution, solving the ethnic conflict through home grown solutions and solve the conflict within the framework of existing unitary form are nothing but to hoodwink the global community and Tamils and thereby satisfy the Sinhala general public in order for the politicians to stay in power.  However, all these events will further distance the Tamils and to make the Tamils believe that they will have no choice but to support the LTTE’s agenda to achieve independent Tamil Eelam.  And until such a meaningful political solution is found fulfilling the demands of Tamils, political and security unrest will remain active on the island, taking heavy toll on its economy and lives.

(The author can be reached at e-mail: satheesan_kumaaran@yahoo.com)

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