The court of international public opinion
During the last stages of the war, the Tamil diaspora did organize demonstrations in a historic way, but they were confined to Tamils and did not have the support from the rest of the international public as was the case with anti Vietnam-war protests or even in the case of recent anti Iraq-war protests, writes TamilNet Economic and Geopolitical Analyst in the Asia Pacific, stressing on the importance of mobilizing solidarity and public opinion of the Fourth World, compared to lobbying within the Establishments and filing futile court cases. As the May 17 movement has recently stated, the ICG representatives had spent 5 hours on him asking him not to raise the issues of genocide, war crimes and independence, but could not succeed, whereas certain international forces could convince our nominated politicians over a cup of coffee, he writes on the dependability of grassroot.
Full text of the article by TamilNet Economic and Geopolitical Analyst in the Asia Pacific:
Understanding Geopolitics and History is for the purpose of planning the move forward. Having seen that globalised Establishments destroyed the LTTE through the CFA and are in the process of disarming the diaspora by the UNHRC resolution, we know what to expect from them at least in the near future. Still we cannot effectively move forward unless we define our role in that future movement.
The just concluded visit of Indian parliamentary delegation has demonstrated that collusion game for sharing of spoils of war continues along with the genocide of Tamils. Also Tamil Nadu has demonstrated what public opinion can achieve.
The ideology of Eelam liberation remains the same and common to the homeland Tamils and the diaspora though homeland Tamils earlier gave leadership and in the present difficult circumstances, diaspora may take that role of ideological leadership at least temporarily. However, being removed from the ground reality, the diaspora cannot play any leading role in organisation of resistance.
Though the homeland Tamils are somewhat subdued, it is history that oppressor never gives up oppression voluntarily and it is law of nature that resistance will develop in due course just like friction developing whenever there is motion.
Naturally the homeland Tamils will play the leading role, and they will also be in a better position to decide on the form of resistance to match the technology adopted by the enemy. The diaspora can only assist in whatever way possible.
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The diaspora’s role is not diminished in anyway if we realize that the 60+ years of our struggle (both peaceful resistance and armed resistance) were crushed because of the lack of external support.
During the last stages of the war, diaspora did organize historic demonstrations, rallies etc. but they were confined to Tamils and did not have the support from the rest of the international public as was the case with anti Vietnam-war protests or even in the case of recent anti Iraq-war protests.
Since the end of the war, diaspora made many appeals to key western and Indian governments and also lobbied parliamentarians (both from the government side and opposition side) of the same governments.
Some in the diaspora even compromised on principles, refusing to call what is happening in the island of Sri Lanka as genocide. Some even repeated, parrot like, the IC/ICG position that both LTTE and GOSL are to be blamed, without even pointing out the very serious differences between the two.
The net result is the UNHRC Resolution, which is being celebrated as a ‘first step’ by some but exposed by others for what it is.
The other route taken by the diaspora is “court cases”, which are being undermined by the Western governments under various pretexts.
The SL commanders who committed the worst war crimes with impunity are exempted from trial due to immunity or allowed to escape back to the land of crimes where they can continue with further crimes with impunity.
It is the lawyers who gain the money of the diaspora by way of appearing for cases and appeals. It is difficult to find a court case where the political victims have been ordered reparations. The main point to remember is that law and order are there only to maintain the status quo and hence political victims will be denied justice under one pretext or another.
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Apart from it being right or wrong, during the earlier days of the cold war it was possible to align with one power or another and some protection could have been gained but since then imperialism, through various transformations has evolved into the present stage of globally linked Establishments when it is no longer possible to align with any power and receive protection.
It is a homely example that we ourselves have aligned with the West and India but let down by all of them. It is a self-defeating tragedy that those who expose these powers also drift towards making some appeals to the very same powers.
The only option available is the appeal to the Court of International Public Opinion and that means developing solidarity with the other Nations without State and the oppressed peoples who together constitute the 99%. We need them and they need us although such solidarity is new, not only to us but also to others in the 99%.
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Some of those accepting Fourth World Solidarity as conceptually relevant seem to feel that it would take a very long time to produce results and therefore other options for shorter-term results should be considered and acted upon. Such feeling is basically due to the lack of balanced objective thinking.
When you think of the ‘Long’ term only, you get divorced from the ground reality. Equally when you think of the ‘immediate’ or even ‘short’ term only, you can be easily pushed around by the enemy.
The right balance is to act on the immediate within the framework of a long-term ideology. Equally the right balance is required between the local demand and the wider global perspective.
Any action or even thought without the ‘space time context and balance’ will certainly lead astray. It is worthwhile remembering Einstein’s description of the Universe as a ‘four dimensional space-time continuum’ of ‘cause and effect related’ events.
It is again to be noted that the dimensions of space and time provide only a frame and are not determinants of change. The ‘cause and effect related’ implies that actions only lead to change. Knowledge and determination are only aids to action.
This Understanding is very relevant even to politics in this “globalised world”. When time is not a determinant, long-term or short-term is irrelevant and only right action that will lead to the desired end is required.
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Solidarity whether it is that of the Fourth World of nations without state or whether it is that of the oppressed peoples and nations without state is a consequential need of the oppressor’s ‘globalisation’.
Solidarity is simply mutual support for mutual benefit. The 1% has realized this long ago and all their actions whether it is in the Iraq War, Afghanistan War or Eelam War are based on this principle of solidarity among the ‘globalised Establishments’.
So it is imperative that the 99% also develops solidarity among them. The globalised Establishments are all natural allies to one another of their kind. So all belonging to the 99% are also natural allies to one another among the 99%.
The author learnt of the concept of natural allies from George Armitage, who advanced the concept in formulating the alliance of the 1%.
It is never suggested anywhere that the 99% or the Fourth World or even the Eelam Nation solidifies itself as one entity before starting any struggle. Even if the 99% wants to, the 1% will not give that time. The Reality is that the 1% is oppressing 24 hours every day and the 99% needs to resist.
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Before LTTE’s resistance and after the end of LTTE’s resistance as well as before the UNHRC resolution and after the UNHRC resolution, the GoSL is continuing with the genocide of Tamils with or without resistance.
It is unfortunate that sections of the diaspora do not want to even use the word genocide presumably at the behest of the ICG or its masters in the IC.
As Thirumurugan Gandhi of the May 17 movement in Tamil Nadu has recently stated that the visiting ICG representatives had spent 5 hours on him asking him not to raise the issues of genocide, war crimes and independence, but could not succeed, whereas certain international forces could convince our nominated politicians over a cup of coffee.
The genocide by the GoSL needs to be resisted and stopped and the homeland Tamils are resisting to the best of their ability. What the diaspora can do and should do is to develop solidarity among Tamils of the world, among the members of the Fourth World, and among the 99% in support of the resistance of the homeland Tamils, in whatever way they can.
It is not always ‘long-term politics’ to talk about Fourth World solidarity or even solidarity of the 99%.
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Solidarity at any level could be developed for long term as well as short term and immediate issues.
Solidarity could be developed even around immediate issues like call for the withdrawal of the armed forces from the homeland or for stopping the structural genocide as well as around longer term and wider issues like right of self-determination of nations.
We should know with whom to call for solidarity around which issues. Obviously on the question of withdrawal of armed forces from the homeland, we cannot expect solidarity from the Establishments that have sent armed forces to Iraq or Afghanistan or from the Establishments that oppress Nations without State inside their arbitrary borders of countries under the cover of state-sovereignty, like India in Kashmir or China in Tibet or Russia in Chechnya.
Agent Imperialistic countries also will not support the right of self-determination of nations.
Thus we cannot expect any support from the former imperialist countries or the agent imperialist countries, which together constitute the Globalised Establishments and their club called the UN.
So what are the options if we accept the argument that solidarity with the Fourth World or solidarity with the 99% will take a long time?
The only but unrealistic option is to appeal to the same forces that oppress us. We have seen earlier that Time like Space is not a determinant but Right Action is.
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The Right Action is the one that leads to the desired end by development of solidarity with the Fourth World and Solidarity with the 99%. It should always be remembered that solidarity can and should be developed for immediate, short term and long-term actions and hence the reasoning that solidarity with the oppressed Nations and oppressed peoples takes a long time in all circumstances is a lame excuse.
Another lame excuse is based on the assumption that development based on solidarity with the Fourth World or with the 99% is an ideological position and that ‘Pragmatism’ requires us to be ‘flexible on the ideological position’ and ‘compromise (with the enemy?) on issues’ to achieve something for the suffering people here and now.
The Ideological position is the vision of the destination and while everyone is ‘free’ to have his or her own vision of the destination and nobody needs to compromise with that vision except based on experience.
But since nothing happens without collective action, united action fronts need to be established on specific issues with all those who are sincere about those specific issues. Use of words like pragmatism, flexible, compromise, incremental etc., arises from or means to cause confusion.
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Also it is important to note that ‘agreement on other issues’ is not necessary for united action on specific issues. For example, if we are thinking of a United Action Front for withdrawal of the occupying armed forces from the country of Eezham Tamils, it does not matter whether the participants agree on right of self-determination of nations so long as they are sincere on the question of withdrawing the occupying armed forces from the Tamil homeland.
Further, we need not look at ‘external’ support with suspicion. When we are struggling for national liberation, peoples and organisations interested in socialism will support us because they know that it is not possible to achieve socialism without completing national liberation.
Even spiritualists, who are aware that social and economic liberation is a prerequisite for ultimate liberation, will support national liberation.
It is in our interest to mobilise all forces that are likely to benefit from the completion of national liberation. Sinhalese genuinely fighting for socialism just like spiritualist Desmond Tutu should be considered as our ally.
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There are others (probably due to ignorance or enemy propaganda) think that ‘solidarity’ is a campaign word of the socialists and say that national liberation cannot wait till socialism is achieved.
Little do they realize it is socialism that has to wait for the completion of national liberation and that solidarity is the campaign word among all those who understand the imperative need of collective action to achieve anything. As stated before, the Enemy has understood the importance of collective action but the oppressed peoples and oppressed Nations without State are still learning.
There are those (who due to impatience or selfishness) say that “solidarity with our natural allies cannot be achieved in our life time”.
The essence of cause-and-effect relationship (call it Karma to sound spiritual) is that we enjoy the fruits of labour of our previous generations and the fruits of our labour will be enjoyed by our future generations. This applies to all scientific inventions and social changes. Nobody ever grumbled of not going to heaven in his lifetime. Are we not going to the temples and churches from childhood to death without seeing any result?
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It is not the intention to paint a fairy tale about solidarity among the oppressed Nations without State or even among the 99% because solidarity depends on collective action and neither the Nations without State nor the 99% have understood the importance of collective action, although experience pushes them towards that.
It is to be noted that the oppressor is taking all possible pre-emptive measures against collective action. For example the individual agreement in the work place instead of trade union action is a subtle measure to deny collective action.
In spite of all the loud noises, the human rights groups are also concerned with only individual human rights but they never speak of collective human rights like the right of self-determination of nations. It is a pity that many of us confine our campaigns to the ‘Internet’ and are reluctant even to think of demonstrations and rallies. If not for temples and churches, many of us will not meet one another except at workplaces and even that is being denied by ‘working from home’. It is not only desktop work but many goods are produced from homes. Even in sports, individual performances are given greater prominence. Honours are given to individuals and rarely to groups. It is a pity that even in communist parties, the leaders steal the credit.
So it is very important to understand the imperative need for collective action and solidarity is to facilitate that collective action. It might appear that we are very far from achieving these objectives. But as in Nature, it is a slow movement (and rarely seen) towards Social Change, till reaching the Critical Mass, and once the Critical Mass is reached, it is prairie fire.
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It is important to realize that there is no other way in the cause-and-effect related events, and even any lobbying, applying pressure etc., with the enemy for temporary relief will be ignored if we stand alone. Hence we need to balance our action for immediate relief with our action for solidarity with our natural allies without giving lame excuses.
With the world economic crisis and the environmental crisis developing very fast, there is no other way other than for international public opinion to protect the international public. This is the overall way forward, but priorities will be determined by the developments of the ground reality.
India, being the Home of 1/3rd of the Nations without State in the world and also being the home of most antagonistic contradictions in the world, is likely to be the gateway to a New World.
So the priority for the Eezham Tamil nation is the alliance with the Tamil nation of Tamil Nadu, within the framework of the solidarity with Nations without State and the oppressed peoples.
Solidarity within smaller groups is not in conflict with solidarity within larger groups and vice versa so long as the objectives of solidarity are not in conflict. Equally solidarity for immediate objectives is not in conflict with solidarity for longer term objectives and vice versa so long as the objectives are not in conflict.
Withdrawal of the occupying armed forces from the Tamil homeland, stopping the genocide of Tamils, focus on Tamils sovereignty and the right of self-determination of nations, a new world order for the 99% are all complementary and not at all conflicting.
It is time to mobilise international public opinion for the removal of occupation forces out of the Tamil homeland.