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‘Independent civil society activism best tribute to Thamilchelvan’: Tamil Nadu writer

[Telegraph, Saturday, 3 November 2012 11:39 One Comment]

Arguing that Sri Lanka’s genocidal war on the Eezham Tamils and the protracted genocide post-2009 was possible only due to the system of global injustice, Tamil Nadu based writer, poet and civil society activist Meena Kandasamy urged the Eezham Tamils in the island, the people of Tamil Nadu, the Tamil diaspora and other solidarity groups to form a ‘global civil society’ so as to politically and ideologically counter the designs of the establishments, in a commentary sent to TamilNet. Writing on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the assassination of S.P. Thamilchelvan, Ms. Kandasamy opines that such activism would be the best tribute to the legacy of the late political leader of the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam.

Mr. Thamilchelvan was assassinated in a Sri Lanka Air Force bombardment on his bunker in Ki’linochchi, in the early hours of November 2, 2007.

Meena KandasamyFull text of Ms. Kandasamy’s commentary follows:

I personally appeal to Tamils around the world to honour the memory of Comrade S.P. Thamilchelvan by observing the anniversary of his brutal assassination by the Sri Lanka Air Force as the day of Crimes against Peace. His unceasing diplomatic efforts were the backbone of securing ceasefire in the war-ridden island, and, the Sinhala ruling elite running the Sri Lankan state who were keen to scuttle the Tamil struggle for equal rights and self-determination, ensured that he was killed like every genuine emissary of peace.

Five years after his tragic death in a high precision air attack, we are still haunted by the absence of the leader of the political division of the LTTE. Thamilchelvan was targeted and assassinated at his official residence by a calculated air attack. He was slain with his associates inside a bunker which was monitored from the drones, according to eyewitnesses to the tragic assault. The Sri Lanka Air Force had reportedly deployed a specially designed ‘delay-bomb’ that hit his bunker at his official secretariat. It was not a random target by any means.

In hindsight, taking also into account what happened at the final hours of the war in May 2009, especially in the white-flag episode where Thamilchelvan’s successor, Mr Nadesan and the Director of the Peace Secretariat was slain in cold blood by the Sri Lankan forces on the alleged instructions by the SL Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, and the way thousands of civilians were massacred, one can clearly imagine how the systematic genocidal annihilation had been planned by the Sri Lankan military in assassinating Thamilchelvan.

The murder of the political leader, most known for his smiling disposition combined with a clear understanding of local and global politics, was an assassination, an act of crime against peace and a crime of genocide as it aimed at a systematic annihilation of the voice of a nation.

As the person in charge of the LTTE Peace Secretariat, Thamilchelvan succeeded not merely in grabbing the attention of the otherwise inert and inattentive International Community towards the oppression undergone by the Tamils under a terrorist state that killed with impunity, but also addressed issues and concerns raised with regard to the liberation struggle such as the question of Tamil-speaking Muslims, child recruitment, abolition of caste differences and the empowerment of women. He combined his personal charisma with a deep-rooted commitment to peace, witnessed in his engineering of the CFA and the functioning of the ISGA.

Today, as we are faced with a situation where the Sri Lankan Government continues to be in denial not only about the killings of tens of thousands of Tamils in the first five months of 2009, but also where the military state continues to silence the press and the judiciary, where the project of cultural and structural genocide of the Tamils is a part of state policy, remembering S.P. Thamilchelvan’s martyrdom will allow us an occasion to share the reality and the history of the Tamil struggle and sacrifice with the people of the world. Marking the anniversary of his assassination, either as a personal gesture or as a public occasion will allow us to appreciate the need for a just peace and political settlement, even as we remind ourselves of the price that the people of Tamil Eelam have had to pay for articulating their nationalist aspirations.

Given the current scenario where international establishments are trying to take Tamils into blind alleys in the name of this or that temporary settlement, it would be apt if the occasion of his martyrdom becomes a day when the Tamils, in the island, in Tamil Nadu and in the diaspora as well as those who are in solidarity with the cause of Tamil Eelam, can come together stocktaking the progress of the political cause which is fundamental for the survival of the Eelam Tamils as a people with self-respect and dignity.

The Sri Lankan state was able to commit such heinous crimes against Eelam Tamils because of this global injustice against a nation and an evolving nation-state.

The need of the hour, then, is a global civil society activism involving both Tamil and non-Tamil actors that stands independent of establishments, one that can set concepts of the contemporary struggle in the clearest of terms. Only such a force would have significance in a political manner for the people who were subjected to genocide not only by the Sri Lankan state, but also by the global injustice that prevailed at the time of the war, and which is prevailing even now.

The laudatory step taken at the Permanent People’s Tribunal in 2010 urging the International Community to investigate charges of genocide in Sri Lanka and also the complicity of external powers is one such instance where committed intellectuals and independent activists can set a powerful trend. Eelam Tamils and their supporters must initiate and encourage such ventures as a political and intellectual alternative to paradigm set by the establishments.

At the moment, this can be the best tribute to the legacy of the charismatic political leader of the LTTE.

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One Comment »

  • Muralidaran Ramesh Somasunderam said:

    If Sri Lankan Tamils are to be taken seriously in the world from this moment, respective natured Sri Lankan Tamils will never speak about the LTTE, as they were the worst organisation or body for Sri Lankan Tamil, like what the JVP was for the Sinhalese people. Except in the Sri Lankan Tamil situation the LTTE was able to negate the caste factor, due to the ethnic cleansing factor with riots and colonisation of Sinhalese in Tamil regions in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Nevertheless the true agenda of the LTTE came to the fore, which was fundamentally to eliminate and destroy higher caste Sri Lankans Tamils and the issue of fighting for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause was a put up face or exterior. This cannot be illustrated more than key personnel of the LTTE, especially in the Eastern Provinces in Sri Lanka defecting and joining the government of Sri Lanka for their own personal gain. The next point being the LTTE killed the traditional Tamil leadership when the Indian government wanted to establish a devaluation package in 1989, which enabled the Sri Lankan Tamil leadersip based on a traditional background to establish a buffer state between India and Sri Lanka. This was something the LTTE could not tolerate based on the caste factor and destroyed this plan by eliminating and inhumanly killing the traditional Sri Lankan Tamil ldersip. Therefore in the future, including the present, unless a foreign force comes to rule Sri Lankan Tamils, we as a people cannot lead for our self’s, primarily based on the dishonesty factor of most Sri Lankan Tamil political leaders and a god deal of the LTTE leadership, especially in the East of Sri Lanka and the caste factor, which has destroyed Sri Lankan Tamil culture and heritage, as we once knew, with useless lower caste people who cannot present themselves in public, as they cannot communicate in English and behave themselves correctly in civilised company. Therefore celebrating uncivilised lower caste people is pointless and a very shameful and unplasent period in Sri Lankan Tamil history, even though I agree that the terrible human right violations of the respective Sinhalese governments in the past, including the ethnic riots of 1983 and the Indian central government training the LTTE were very unfortunate and even unforgettable chapters in our history. That is for certain. If anyone does disagree with me, they msut be lower caste Sri Lankan Tamils or Sri Lankan Tamils who are facing the truth and facts based on historical events to date. This is my candid views, which come from my heart.