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War crimes and the responsibility of Eezham Tamils

[TamilNet, Monday, 15 November 2010 09:09 No Comment]

Eezham Tamils have made a strategic blunder two decades back in not internationally indicting the Indian Establishment for the war crimes committed by the IPKF. On one hand they allowed the indictment to sink under the din of Rajiv Gandhi assassination and on the other hand sections of them thought that the Indian Establishment should be spared for future benefits. Yet some others thought that it was not as important as Tamils acquiring military strength. The failure, in two decades of time, resulted in those who were a party to the crimes – from politics to military and from diplomacy to media – to boldly commit further crimes on a massive scale in proxy ways. Tamils should not fail again. Now it should be comprehensive indictment that needs own initiation and institutions coming from Eezham Tamils, writes TamilNet political comentator in Colombo.

The commentator writes further:

First of all Eezham Tamils need to be clear for themselves about the dimensions of the crimes and then they have a duty in presenting the dimensions appropriately to the outside world.

What happened was an international war crime. It was not confined to the so-called state of Sri Lanka alone. The war crimes were committed not against the ‘minority’ Tamils but against the nation of Eezham Tamils and their country in the island. The war crimes for the first time became technically international with what the IPKF did in the island.

‘The war is over’, the victorious parties now claim. But every day they make it more and more explicit that the war was waged not against the LTTE but against the nation and national aspiration of Eezham Tamils. This is the fundamental premise from which the war crimes actually stemmed. This dimension and its international criminality have to be clearly brought out in all possible technical ways in any war crimes investigation.

Apart from the genocidal state in the island that could behave only in such a way, there was a US administration that interpreted the national question as ‘international terrorism’, another US administration the Secretary of State of which saw the point before coming to power but did nothing later, there was Britain observing in the UN at the height of the war that the struggle of Eezham Tamils was ‘long blighting’ the Sri Lankan state, there were the peace brokers who went for the job without ‘appetite’ for national questions, there were the Co-Chairs who took no responsibility of the civilians, and above all there were India and China.

Nearly 18 months have elapsed for the actors and abettors of the war to prove or to at least even signal any political justice coming out of the war. But by continued failure in recognizing the justice behind the national question and by allowing the multifaceted genocide to continue in ways of classical colonialism, the perpetrators of the war have only confirmed their naked criminality.

In most of the instances the actors and abettors continue in power. Rather than bowing down to their failure and absolving their crimes by conceding political justice, they are primarily engaged in sitting on evidence, wiping out evidence, silencing evidence and in preventing or blunting internationalisation of the investigation. A clear demonstration of the latter had come from the behaviour of two active abetters, India and China in the UN human rights council. This is another serious international crime added to the war crimes.

Such circumstances make many international observers and human rights groups to think that the war crimes investigations may drag on for decades without any justice coming out of them.

Many Indian analysts repeatedly tell that the tragedy befell on Eezham Tamils is a consequence of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. This is a criminal way of looking at the war on Eezham Tamils that took several thousands of civilian life, incarcerated 300,000 and left a nation exposed to genocide. If there is any truth in what the Indian analysts say then that comes under the purview of war crimes investigation.

“Arms were in the wrong hands,” inferring the LTTE the abetters of the war crimes defend. How justifiable are they in leaving a nation under arms in the hands of an abusive state?

The Island newspaper, citing Colombo government sources, reported Thursday on the extent of the LTTE’s firepower. But unlike Colombo defended by those abetters, the LTTE didn’t use the firepower against civilian population in its enemy territory.

‘Tamils are defeated’. The defeated Tamils should now concentrate only on rehabilitation, patiently wait for political concessions to eventually come from the ‘winners’ and in the meantime generously collaborate with the winners in their colonialism and economic inroads, is the kind of ‘advice’ the Tamils are getting from the ‘emissaries’ of the Indian Establishment paranoid of Tamil liberation struggle and others who abetted the crime.

“Yes we are kneeling down, begging for magnanimity of the winners,” echo some who believe in playing second fiddle and believe in some power bestowing rights of Tamils on a platter.

Such tendencies should never spare exposing any of the war crimes. If spared the parties to war crimes will continue to do the damage. War crimes investigation is an absolute necessity for the next phase of the struggle of Eezham Tamils, especially in the absence of military strength. A thorough and comprehensive record of the war crimes is needed for future international dealings of Eezham Tamils.

In pursuing war crimes investigations no sane person could advice the Eezham Tamils to follow the despicable philosophy of Priyanka Gandhi, as reported in the media during the war that “human beings don’t forgive’.

From the Eezham Tamil point of view the war crimes investigations have to be orientated to the delivery of political justice to their nation. It should serve the orientation of the future politics of their nation, and should be the basis of their moral voice in the international arena. That should be pursued until the political victory is achieved.

But to what extent the present investigative outfit of the UN will serve the purpose or will help the affected Tamils in times when they need the results of the investigation is the question.

They will not serve the purpose of Tamils if the truth is going to be in the vault for years until some power wants to make use of it for its own purposes. The UN has shown no credibility so far on Eezham Tamil affairs.

While Eezham Tamils have to wholeheartedly cooperate in any international effort of investigations, they should also take care that the precious evidences they have should not be lost in the vaults but they should be available to their victimised nation when it needs them for its own benefit.

Eezham Tamils have to think of creating their own credible institutions for this purpose.

In doing so they should also remember that the records an information organisation of Eezham Tamils collected in the initial years of the struggle went into Indian hands for ‘safe custody’ and they were never returned.

If the nation of Eezham Tamils facing genocide and colonial Colombo are the same to India, and such a configuration only is advantageous to the interests of the Indian Establishment, if integration of the land of Eezham Tamils is immaterial to it, if the national question of Eezham Tamils is not that relevant to a developing Tamil Nadu, as some of the New Delhi analysts say, why shouldn’t India and China be the same to the Eezham Tamils? China had a long maritime contact with Tamils and in that sense it was historically much closer than the sultans and the Moguls who sat on the throne of Delhi.

Tamils should not hesitate in their global approach to war crimes investigations, including approaches to China, if that could be of any help to the investigation. China has the necessary intelligence capacity to bring to light a part of the war crimes.

Keeping war crimes investigation under the shadow of any particular power is futile. The efforts of Eezham Tamils should be independent and global. Powers have detente today say some political observers. But détente may come and go and that is only another side of confrontation. Eezham Tamils should have a long-term foreign policy to fit into any eventuality.

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