Civil Society insists on pre-constitutional recognition of Tamil nation, self-determination
In a set of preliminary points submitted at a conference held in Berlin, 26-27 January, facilitated by the Berghof Foundation, the Tamil Civil Society (TCS) from the island insisted on “pre-constitutional recognition of Tamil nationhood and self-determination” before Tamils could sit down and debate institutional proposals for a constitutional design within a united Sri Lanka. Such recognition “does not mean a separate state,” the TCS added. The Tamil Civil Society or any other party or group based in the island are not free bodies to comprehensively or authentically talk on the issue as they are bound by the 6th Amendment of the constitution of the genocidal State of Sri Lanka. Such organisations should first insist on the IC and its outfits to create conditions going beyond the 6th Amendment to have honest discussion on the issue, commented new generation Tamil activists in the island.
The Berghof Foundation was facilitating the conference convened by the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) on “Exploring Peaceful Options,” and the January meet was Part 2 of the deliberations.
The TCS functioning in the island sent its points in absentia to the conference.
After designing and executing demolition of the military balance of Eezham Tamils, complete occupation of their country by the Sinhala military, ever increasing permanent militarisation in every sphere of life in the occupied land and the actively on-going colonisation to annihilate Tamil territoriality, the International Community of Establishments, through outfits run by them, expecting Tamil representatives from the island bound by the 6th Amendment of the SL constitution to come out with proposals, is nothing but drilling them or prodding them through pre-meditated avenues, the new generation Tamil activists said.
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The Tamil Civil Society in the island, with its constrains, has nevertheless touched certain points such as the need of a “new social contract drawn between the different constituent nations” in the island, and the Tamil polity’s right to be an equal partner in the contract.
The TCS, in arguing for such a new social contract to keep the island together, has also deconstructed the aura behind certain formulas as not suitable to the context. Having the 13th Amendment even as a starting point or reference point under the unitary constitution, or a Federal constitution under the hierarchical state of Sinhala-Buddhist domination, would not work, the points submitted by the TCS expounded.
While acknowledging the distinct politics of Muslims and Up-Country Tamils, and the need to leave their political decisions to them, the TCS called upon the Tamil side to think of solidarity, responses to concerns and to come out with a white paper on its stand.
The TCS, citing the example of the constitutional processes leading to the Scotland Act of 1998, urged the Tamil political parties to come out with a wider forum to facilitate the empowerment of people, articulation of aspirations for political solutions and democratic legitimacy to the aspirations.
As a gradual follow up, TCS advocated a referendum, saying that the Tamil political parties should ‘slowly start building a discourse asking for the Tamils to be given an opportunity’ for a referendum.
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When there is no international mechanism to restore and protect the balance in ground reality and in thought process, models and roadmaps explored within parameters set by a genocidal State and by an abetting International Community of Establishments (ICE), are as futile as the 13th Amendment under a unitary state and a Federal model under an ethno-hierarchical state, the new generation political activists in the island commented.
Further comments from the activists:
Even when there was a military balance, exploration exercises undertaken by outfits such as Berghof Foundation served only a smokescreen for processes leading to the genocidal war and demolition of that balance by the ICE.
The very milieu now directly imposed on Tamils living in the island and indirectly imposed on Tamils in the diaspora tagged behind the outfits of the ICE that Tamils should think only within limits set by the 6th Amendment of the SL constitution, does in no way bring in “equal partner” status to them to freely think of entering into a “social contract.”
Equal partnership, nationhood and self-determination cannot be presented as mere words, having only symbolic values that don’t exist in practice, just to satisfy the Tamil elite ego and to help them to lure the collective ego.
The nation of Eezham Tamils may eventually think of fitting into a EU model in South Asia, but by its legacy and context it cannot end up like the First Nations in Canada or like Scotland, Northern Ireland etc., in the UK.
On the question of Muslims and Up-Country Tamils, the white paper of the nation of Eezham Tamils has to convince them on not only its secular and inclusive outlook, but also on the point that how its status in the island would ensure the existence of self-respect to all the Tamil-speaking peoples wherever they live in the island, like the status of Chinese in Singapore ensuring the status of Chinese in Malaysia.
If all the international forces envisage only a united island, the appropriate process in a post-genocidal war and occupation context is not social contract under compulsion and slow preparation for referendum, but separation first and space cum time for unification contract of nations. Putting oxen behind the cart is acceptance of the colonial process and pre-emption of options in a referendum, if at all it takes place.
Knowing very well the genocidal intent and mechanism of the Sinhala State and the orientation of the powers in complicity, any carelessness on the part of Tamil parties would unknowingly lead them into the lure of long drawn-out ‘non-descript’ processes now being engineered by the ICE.
Making Tamil parties to denounce the separation option and to make them commit on accepting Sri Lanka is the one and only obsession of all the outfits operated by the ICE. Besides that, there is no real interest in ‘exploring options.’ If there was any, by now they should have worked for protection of status quo and provision of ground realities. In other words, the outfits are in their second round facilitating the structural genocide war.
Tamil political parties, activists and civil movements in the island, Tamil Nadu and in the diaspora have to take extra care in committing on anything especially at junctures of engineering such as the Geneva sessions in March.
The demands have to concentrate more on matters practically facilitating ground realities such as an interim international takeover of the situation, complete removal of occupying Sinhala ethnic military and other SL security forces as the SL military now functions in police uniform, ban on colonisation and guarantee to the territorial integrity of Eezham Tamils, and free access to the diaspora to reach out to its people in the island, the new generation activists in the island commented.