Even as some diaspora groups who went to Geneva have unwittingly welcomed the US resolution and ‘constructive recommendations’ of the fundamentally flawed LLRC set-up to cover the protracted genocide of the Eezham Tamils, Dr. Andrew Higginbottom strongly affirmed that the LLRC will only entrench Sinhala state rule over Tamil territories and provide it a fraudulent legitimacy to do so. Speaking at Geneva last Monday, Dr. Higginbottam, lecturer in Politics and Human Rights at Kingston University, London, criticized the injustice of the powers that are pro-LLRC. “The debate should not be whether the cup is half full or half empty, which is the debate taking place between the two blocs at the UN. The problem is that what is in the cup is poison, it really does not matter so much if it is a bit fuller or not,” he said, noting that what drives the US is not humanitarianism but power politics.
Criticising the support given by countries like Cuba and Venezuela to Sri Lanka, he said that “The socialist tradition is to support the right of nations to self-determination and to see national liberation as a progressive force. The right of nations to self determination applies to peoples and their right to form an independent state, not to states as such,” and appealed to socialist countries to support the Eezham Tamils.
Likewise, he came down heavily on the UN for being “a system has proven worse than useless, totally morally bankrupt because it cannot be independent of state power politics” and said that the slaughter of the Tamil people was a shame to the UN system.
He also appealed to the Eezham Tamils to move beyond lobbying to popular mobilization. “Get articles in local and national newspapers. Go to the social movements. Talk to the people in the classroom, at work, in the neighbourhoods, go onto the streets again and again,” he said.
Excerpts from his speech follow:
“I start by honouring the memory of Marie Colvin and recognising the contribution of Channel 4, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka and TamilNet for reporting on the terrible truths of what has been happening. I also commend the brave stands taken by Tamil civil society groups who remind us that Tamils as a nation are entitled to national self-determination, as well as that of the Jaffna University Students Union speaking out against the LLRC. They have shown us the lesson to learn. The lesson is that only a genuinely independent international inquiry will do, nothing less.”
“The debate should not be whether the cup is half full or half empty, which is the debate taking place between the two blocs at the UN. The problem is that what is in the cup is poison, it really does not matter so much if it is a bit fuller or not. We refuse to drink the poison of victor’s justice! The LLRC will entrench Sinhala state rule over Tamil territories and its fraudulent legitimacy to do so.”
“An international independent inquiry must address the ongoing assaults on the Tamil people. The accusations to be brought to an international inquiry concern the rape of Tamil woman by occupying forces; the continued detention and torture of Tamil militants; the grabbing and colonisation of Tamil lands; the threats to life and disappearances of Tamils. All of these continuing human rights violations are taking place behind a veil of national and international impunity.”
“Sivaram was right when he said ‘the Tamils unfortunately occupy the area that is very important’. The US and its competitors covet Trincomalee harbour, they know that Sri Lanka’s strategic location overlooking the Indian Ocean sea lanes is crucial to keeping control of the shipments of Middle Eastern oil. What drives the concern of the US, or for that matter India or China? Their concern is not humanitarianism but global power politics.”
“We oppose both the terrorism of the Sinhalese state and the imperialist powers that have been its principal ally, both historically and in terms of the proximate cause, the steps that triggered the final solution onslaught on the Tamils from 2006 onwards. That is why it was right that at the Dublin Tribunal raised alongside the charge of genocide the charge of crimes against peace. The US and UK broke the peace process and ensured that Sri Lanka turned back to war against the Tamils.”
“The shock is not the posturing of the imperialist powers, it is position adopted by the socialist countries left in the world today. The socialist tradition is to support the right of nations to self-determination and to see national liberation as a progressive force. The right of nations to self determination applies to peoples and their right to form an independent state, not to states as such.”
“We have exhausted to possibilities of the international state system and while there remain decent people working with it, the UN as a system has proven worse than useless, totally morally bankrupt because it cannot be independent of state power politics. We have to go outside the state system, we have to go to the people and to social movements that might respond to the sufferings of Tamil civil society.”
“What is our lesson? The spirit of Tamil Eelam is inside every one of you. You know it! Take your knowledge, your suffering and go out to the people of world. You have the power to bring about the inquiry.”
“No more human rights violations! End the occupation!
Forward to an independent international inquiry!
Mobilise the people for truth and justice!
Long live Tamil Eelam!”