Tamils should make their position foolproof said Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam in an exclusive interview to TamilNet on 17 May in London. The problem the Tamils face is two fold. The first is geopolitics and the International Community’s reasons for not wanting to recognise Tamils nationhood and sovereignty. The second is our own problem, where we have a party that claims to be the democratic representatives of Tamils, but deliberately chooses not to put forward positions that make Tamil sovereignty the fundamental basis for any political discourse. Giving a brief account on continuing oppression and militarization of the Tamil homeland and talking about manipulation of Tamil political opinion by international powers both in the island and in the diaspora, Mr Gajendrakumar called for a stronger network between Tamil Nadu and the Eezham Tamils to prevent such deviations.
There is no democracy in the ranks and files of the TNA. There are a few individuals being backed by certain powers who run the affairs. In the diaspora also there are organisations that are not answerable to the masses, being propped up in post-2009. There are elections held in the homeland, but the TNA is not democratic. In the diaspora there are no elections to have the masses connected to the organisations that do the politics, the TNPF leader said.
The people should come forward to create a situation to force the TNA to change its current course, he said.
“No solution that does not recognize our own sovereignty and our own nationhood will we agree to,” TNPF leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said, adding that recognition of Tamil sovereignty and nationhood was the basis on which any solution can be found.
Criticizing the weakness of the recent UNHRC resolution in Geneva, Mr. Ponnambalam said that the ground reality in the homeland was getting worse. Oppression and persecution intensified, as have land-grabs and militarization and Sinhalicisation.
The ban of diaspora groups also affects homeland, because it has an impact on the remittance that they send to people in the homeland.
The Sri Lankan military is deployed to aid Sinhalicisation and that geopolitical reasons warrant militarization, he said, referring to Sri Lanka’s increased tilt towards China. Likewise, Sinhala nationalist agenda is also a primary cause to the accelerated structural genocide against the nation of Eezham Tamils.
“This particular government has taken Sri Lankan foreign policy into a different direction. It is very clearly taking on a very pro-Chinese tilt” he said, adding that this has caused concern in India, the USA and in the general West.
When asked about his opinion on how along with Beijing, New Delhi and Washington and international organizations that work for these Establishments refuse to accept the historical, earned and remedial sovereignty of the Eezham Tamil nation, he said “The Tamil people are very clear that it is through the recognition of the Tamil nation’s distinct sovereignty that any solution could be found… for their very existence that is fundamental.”
The problem was two-fold, he continued. One was geopolitics and the international community’s own reasons for not wanting to recognize it. Second was our own fault, he opined, referring to the TNA, who deliberately do not put Tamil sovereignty as their fundamental basis for the political discourse.
When questioned that whether this was not the same problem among some diaspora organizations who, despite having their freedom of expression, were not willing to place Tamil sovereignty as the centre of their discussion, Mr. Ponnambalam said: “I see what is happening in the disapora much the same way as what is happening in the homeland. You have the people who are very clear about what they want. And you have an organization that goes before people saying exactly what they want to hear, gets their vote and does something else.”
In the diaspora, he continued, organization with no mass support which emerged post-2009, had been propped up and heavily promoted by their governments.
He called for Tamil people to be more vigilant, as this would be the only check against international powers that would use contradictions within the Tamil community for their own purposes.
“If you take Geneva, if you take any other forum, when the Tamil issue is the justification for ‘Sri Lanka’ being discussed, but at the end of the day the Tamils actually have nothing there.”
“Our party has been very clear that we need to build a close rapport with Tamil Nadu. I think our biggest strength is Tamil Nadu.”
He drew a contrast with the TNA who would not work with Tamil Nadu and would work only with New Delhi.
If a good working relationship between Tamil Nadu, the diaspora and the homeland could be created, it would check those forces who are trying to manipulate Tamil opinion, he said.
When asked whether he was willing to give a practical leadership to the TNA, he was of the opinion that it was almost impossible to have an open dialogue and debate with them.
“Very unfortunately, the TNA is not a political party that is democratic. The party consists of certain key individuals who are backed by very strong, powerful countries and essentially do the bidding of those powers that be.”
Talking about undemocratic tendencies in the TNA, referring to the nomination TNA’s NPC CM Wigneswaran, he said that only Sumanthiran and Sampanthan had proposed his name, whereas the other coalition parties actually supported Mavai Senathirajah.
IF TNA has to be brought back on track, he said: “There has to be an alternate leadership that is created, that can actually stand for the truth, that exposes the TNA when it cheats the people, to a point where we become strong enough that the TNA’s own existence and its own popular support base becomes called into question.”
He also talked about how the 6th Amendment to the Sri Lankan unitary constitution prevented people from talking about the creation of a separate Tamil Eelam state.
He explained that in the limited political space available in island, his party was uncompromising on the fundamentals of nationhood and sovereignty.