Lack of honest intellectual discussion in Tamil Nadu is the reason why the Tamil Eezham cause has not been taken up for intense intellectual discussion at a larger All-India level, said Thirumurugan Gandhi, coordinator of May 17 civil society movement of TamilNadu in an interview to TamilNet earlier this month. Such intellectual discourses usually dominated by Marxist Communists and Brahmanistic sections in Tamil Nadu failed the Eezham Tamils. But the biased sections that theoretically opposed Tamil Eezham, opposed the LTTE, pushed back the cause and contributed favourably to the Sri Lankan state now find themselves sidelined in Tamil Nadu due to civil society awakening, Thirumurugan said, adding an appreciating note on the support of Muslim civil society in Tamil Nadu.
Visiting London for the British Tamil Forum conference, Thirumurugan was interviewed by V. Kohulan for the Palaka’ni programme of TamilNet.
Rejecting ‘step-by-step’ approach for solution to Eezham Tamils, Thirumurugan said that it would have worked in the 1960s when the question was in the initial stages, but not now in the context of genocide and after Tamils paying a high price. He cited at the creation of Israel within a couple of years of the WWII pogrom.
Step-by-step after genocide is suicidal, he said.
In his opinion, the talk of the steps that war crimes investigation would lead to prove genocide and would pave way for independence is a fraud, as there is no commitment or guarantee of political nature for the goal of the steps.
When the International Community has explicitly precluded that it would oppose Eezham Tamil independence why should the Tamils be guided by that International Community, he asked.
Keeping the island as a whole, they want a mercenary state there. They want to treat the entire island as a real property estate.
But they also need the Tamil support. Patch-up and delay are the tactics to handle Tamils. What the IC wants is to deceive Tamils.
It is not that there should be no war crimes investigations. War crimes will cover only the small fry. War crime was only one of the crimes committed. Punishment for the crimes and justice to the victims are two different things. Both have to be together in the delivery of justice.
Tamils have to be clear in their demand. Ask straight to the face.
Only a society that has the guts to tell the IC that we would be with you only when you give us what we ask, will be successful. This is what the Sinhalese did, saying that take our country, take our resources, but make it a Sinhala island.
Eezham Tamils should not think that they are weak and compromise with the fundamentals. People who are weak and fluctuating need not come into the scene of politics.
The IC cannot abandon a de facto state it created by an internationally backed peace process.
Tamils do not realize their international potentiality, Thirumurugan said.
On LLRC he said that LLRC implementation, seeking solutions within unitary Sri Lanka has to be rejected in toto. SL constitution being anti-Tamil is a proven fact. Reconciliation is a tactic to destroy a struggle. Reconciliation is meaningful only when there is parity. Those who have committed the crimes can’t be judges. LLRC recommendations come from a panel headed by an internationally discredited Chief Justice. The IC is corrupt and has no credibility in this regard.
Genuine reconciliation will take place only when Sinhalese and Tamils have their own governments.
* * *
When asked on the stand of media in India on the question of Eezham Tamils, Thirumurugan said that the mainstream media in India are either in the clutches of intelligence agencies or are purchased by the Sri Lankan government.
He came hard on The Hindu.
The Hindu received many benefits from governments in Colombo, he said, adding The Hindu was instrumental in finding connections for Colombo with China and higher-ups in New Delhi.
Posing a progressive image, such a media finds recognition even from people like Chomsky, he cited.
The Hindu has agreements with The Guardian in London for news exchanges. The Hindu did not take up the cables on Sri Lanka when the Wikileak cables became available through The Guardian, Thirumurugan said. He urged the Londoners to handle such matters with The Guardian.
Thirumurugan also commented negatively on the stands of Times of India and Deccan Chronicle. The Economic and Political Weekly never discussed Tamil Eelam as a serious issue, he said.
* * *
On Indian foreign policy, India lost its grip on the island of Sri Lanka long back, is the opinion of Thirumurugan.
Foreign policy of India cannot be a monopoly of the Congress and the BJP. The other parties have a say, but they don’t exercise it.
The DMK and the AIADMK never asserted them to have a say in the foreign policy.
But there are political parties in India, prepared for it. North Indian politicians like Ram Vilas Paswan proved that non-Congress and non-BJP parties could come to speak for Eezham Tamils and influence India’s foreign policy.
Mass-based parties have a say in India’s foreign policy. Border states in India have a say. States have to assert themselves to that responsibility. May 17 movement will move towards to work on it, Thirumurugan said.
India is basically imperial. Oppression is a common problem for Eezham Tamils as well as Tamils in Tamil Nadu, he said.
Tamils in their long history have never faced genocide before, but they face a planned one now.
Never think the mainstream parties will do anything for Tamils. Only the grassroot could do it. There is progress now.
The mainstream political parties in Tamil Nadu, both the DMK and AIADMK were forced to respond only when there was a civil society awakening after May 2009, and when the question of Eezham Tamils has become an inevitable election issue, Thirumurugan said.