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27.11.10 Heroes Day – 2010

[TamilNet, Saturday, 27 November 2010 20:03 No Comment]

At the height of the Vanni war, a representative of the Biafra struggle sent a message to TamilNet. He wanted the Eezham Tamils to remember that they were fighting not merely for them, but for the cause of many peoples like them all over the world. If the Eezham Tamils fail they fail the world of liberation, he said. He wanted the message and his best wishes to be conveyed to Vanni. That is the international dimension of the heroes of Tamil Eelam. They fought for the liberation of their nation and at the same time fought for a missing point in contemporary human civilisation. Many thought that Biafra could never be repeated in contemporary times and that too in ‘civilized’ South Asia. But there were people who adamantly wanted to prove that it is possible. Remembering the heroes in 2010 should remind us of the duty ahead of us towards ourselves and towards human civilisation.

TamilNet Editorial Board

The idea of Eezham Tamils observing a Heroes Day on 27th November every year was first initiated in 1989 at Ma’nal-aa’ru in Mullaiththeevu district when the LTTE was fighting a war with the Indian forces.

The date of the death of the first LTTE combatant in 1982 was chosen to mark the Heroes Day. The day subsequently remembered even non-LTTE members like Kuttimani and Thangadurai who were massacred in Colombo’s prison in 1983. It showed the initiation of a tendency for inclusion, even though the process needs completion. A national and international significance became attached to the observation of the day in the later years.

Over the years many have studied the evolution of its observation positively and negatively. But no one can deny that the day provided meaning and consolation to hundreds of thousands, as every family had some one to remember in the decades long struggle.

The 2010 Heroes Day comes with a new paradigm: Remembering the Heroes, even in a religious way by the kith and kin, has been strictly oppressed in the island. The oppression has gone to the extent of ordering temples not to toll bells on that day. The burial grounds of the heroes are razed down. But those who criticized the memorials of the sons and daughters of the soil as a ‘cult’ have now built huge memorials for the military of Colombo and New Delhi. Visiting Indian dignitaries pay homage there.

On the beginning of the Heroes Day Week this year Mahinda Rajapaksa told N. Ram of The Hindu that he had defeated terrorists and not freedom fighters. During the week the Indian government announced the extension of the ban on the LTTE.

Above all, while Eezham Tamils should be welcoming the international recognition of having the first-ever diplomatic mission in their land, the choice of the day – 27 November – by the Indian foreign minister S. M. Krishna to open a Deputy High Commission in Jaffna cannot be a coincidence.

Is there a message on who actually fought the war against the liberation of Eezham Tamils?

A few days ago, a high-ranking former intelligence official who is still on the ‘job’ told the Tamil diaspora that India will never support Tamil Eelam, Mahinda Rajapaksa knows well that India views Tamil Eelam as a security threat, India will not support war crimes investigation and India is not in a position to stop either the militarization or colonization of Tamil land. He also sounded challenging in saying that if they want Tamil Eelam they should think of it counting India out.

The mighty Indian Establishment should be ashamed of treading on the fallen and challenging in these ways a small ancient nation of people who have long been heroically struggling for nothing but for their life of self-respect like any other nation of people. Their struggle was only with the state of Sri Lanka and they never even dreamt of a confrontation with India.

But the picture that emerges is a combination of classical colonialism and neo-colonialism of the Cold War times.

On one hand Colombo is allowed to play the role of a classical colonial power of the era of conquistadors: in genocide, militarization, land grab, demographic changes and in keeping a nation oppressed and exploited.

On the other hand, the militarized, dictatorial and family regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa is sponsored by India and China, just like the USA sponsored military dictatorship regimes during the times of the Cold War.

The only difference, and a dangerous difference, is that both the powers pin hopes on the same dictator.

The struggle of Eezham Tamils is not an aggressive one for world monopoly like that of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, for the people to forget their fighters and to concentrate on the ‘development of the defeated’ as some try to advocate.

It is a liberation struggle – politically unfulfilled not even partially, and the need of continuing it with new vigour is constantly reminded of by the acts of Colombo.

How could Sri Lanka that considers Puran Appu a hero and India that eulogises the Sepoy Mutiny and Bagat Singh, could expect the Eezham Tamils to forget their heroes unless the new masters are in the old colonial garb?

A silver lining that still exists is that Eezham Tamils could vent their sentiments for the heroes at least in the diaspora. But that too is restricted in many countries, as they can’t claim it a Heroes Day due to the continued tag of ‘terrorism’.

It is unfortunate that such a situation prevails even after the world clearly witnessed the fact that who actually committed naked terrorism.

When 40,000 people were brutally massacred in the last phase of the war alone as estimated by a former UN official, and when the military personnel accused of that war crime are received as diplomats by the UN and by several governments in the West, the continued vilification of the victims even in venting out their sentiments will not contribute to civilized world polity.

As a first step the world has to bow down to the fact that an international war crime has been committed on a national liberation struggle. The world should come forward in seeing that the victims don’t lose faith in humanity, that they structure their struggle in healthy ways contributing to world polity, and in seeing that their aspiration like any other nation in this world is fulfilled.

The West has to take the first step in setting the trend, as it was responsible for the blunder of branding a national struggle as ‘international terrorism’. The Co-Chairs and the peace brokers have an obligation in this regard.

In the past, the Heroes Day was always awaited by some sections, which tried to read policies in between the lines from the speech of LTTE leader Mr. V. Pirapaharan. One cannot expect that in the shifted paradigm and there is no substitute to that model.

Various shades of opinion circulate now within the nation on the course to be followed.

Paradigms have changed, but the plane on which the Eezham Tamils are oppressed has not changed. If they are oppressed on the plane of their national identity then they have no option other than meeting that on that very plane.

Therefore, in all existing realities the struggle for the national liberation cause has to continue.

Collaborationists have only one shade of opinion and that is collaboration with Colombo, which they have been doing over a hundred years without any reward. They may play a role but this shade of opinion doesn’t deserve discussion.

“What we refused to give Pirapaharan, we won’t give to others”, Mahinda Rajapaksa categorically told Mr. Ram of The Hindu.

It is an indirect recognition of the power of Mr. V. Pirapaharan and the need for his movement. It is also a clear message to the collaborationists, a message to those who envisage a solution of ‘internal self-determination’ within a united Sri Lanka and is also a message to those who brag that they had a solution up in their sleeves while brokering peace.

Among those who are committed to the national cause there are sections that think Ezham Tamils have to take the side of some chosen powers to achieve the goal. There is also an East-West polarisation in this regard. There is also an opinion that Tamils having their own foreign policy on their own strength and based on the merit of their own cause is not feasible.

While all alliances could be made, Tamils having their freedom of foreign policy is of utmost importance. Once committed a stooge of any single power they cannot come out of it. Two decades back Tamils had the bitter experience arising out of keeping the struggle in the backyard of a power, which they all trusted to the core at that time.

Eezham Tamils need not discourage any shade of politics that is genuine to the cause, as now the authority is collective to the nation. If anything could bring in fruits that should be welcomed. All shades of efforts for the cause are to be perceived to become complimentary to one another.

But in our humble opinion, one-person dictated or junta-run outfit is not ideal to the democratic struggle of Eezham Tamils and keeping the polity in the backyard of one power alone may not bring in sufficient strength to the struggle in the unfolding paradigm, especially in South Asia.

Eezham Tamils cannot afford to think of a political line ending up like that of Dalai Lama in Dharmasala for half a century.

Eezham Tamils need to realise their own geopolitical strength, enhance it with the support of the Tamils of Tamil Nadu and keep that card negotiable with anyone of mutual interest.

In mustering support what is needed is a real transnational movement of the whole nation of Eezham Tamils, with a positive thinking that they are not ‘minorities’ but an ancient nation of the island.

A line has to be always kept open to the alternative sections of the Sinhala nation. That is more important than collaboration or negotiation with the ruling chauvinists of Colombo in which the Tamils were deceived for nearly a century.

The anger on the ruling class of Colombo should never be directed towards the common public of the Sinhala brethren. The Tamil restrain was so far a strength that differentiated the struggle of Eezham Tamils from that of what the abusive state of Sri Lanka did and is doing to Eezham Tamils, even though the Tamil moderation was never rewarded or reciprocated.

Multinational corporates have to be dealt with at another wavelength. It should be remembered that in China the state controls the corporates but in India and elsewhere the corporates control the state.

Meanwhile, there are nations like Eezham Tamils in the world to make solidarity. For instance, some nations elsewhere in South Asia could able to understand Eezham Tamils better and could able to practically help better than the elite of neighbouring Tamil Nadu or Kerala who have no national question to face and are busy with ‘development’. Concerted efforts in South Asia will press right buttons at right places in setting changes in perspectives for the benefit of the entire region.

At the height of the Vanni war, a representative of the Biafra struggle sent a message to TamilNet. He wanted the Eezham Tamils to remember that in his view they were fighting not merely for them, but for the cause of an array of nations and peoples like them all over the world. If the Eezham Tamils fail they fail the world of liberation he said. He wanted the message and his best wishes to be conveyed to Vanni.

That is the international dimension of the heroes of Tamil Eelam: They fought for the liberation of their nation and at the same time fought for a missing point in contemporary human civilisation.

The outcome of the Vanni war made the Deputy Chairman of the International Commission of Jurists to point out the lacuna in the international system.

Many thought that Biafra could never be repeated in contemporary times and that too in ‘civilized’ South Asia. But there were people who adamantly wanted to prove that it is possible.

What is more shocking is that the current international system not only allows them to continue with the genocide but also allows them to brag about their success as a model.

“Both India, in Kashmir, and China, in Tibet, have shown in their different ways that it is possible to keep a resentful local population in check for decades,” The Economist said Thursday, hinting at what inspirations could work in Colombo’s outlook towards the nation of Eezham Tamils and what realities are unfolding in the island.

Remembering the heroes in 2010 should remind us of the duty ahead of us towards ourselves and towards human civilisation.

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