World Democracies Wake up: Stop Sri-Lankan Terror

By: Dr C P Thiagarajah

Eelamites and the beloved ones of the 21 black tigers who died as martyrs for the Tamil Homeland on 22 October will be crying out for them even though they went out of their own free will on the courageous suicidal raid on Anuradhapura air port. On the other extreme the racist Sinhala government of Mahinda Rajapakse (MR) cried down the black tigers well planned and well executed attack.

First celebrated writer to praise the skills of the tigers was Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai B Raman. He is a war analyst who usually do not credit the LTTE for anything but the terrorism label, in a South Asia Analytical Group (SAAG) Paper no. 2424 of 23-Oct-2007 on the LTTE's Anuradhapura air port attack, titled “Bravery & Precision International Terrorism Monitor--Paper No. 292” admired the LTTE. He went on “it was neither an act of desperation as projected by the embarrassed Sri Lankan military spokesmen nor an act of needless dramatics as suggested by others. It was an act of unbelievable determination, bravery and precision successfully carried out by a 21-member suicide commando group of the Black Tigers---significantly led by a Tamil from the Eastern Province--- with the back-up support of two planes of the so-called Tamil Eelam Air Force”.

He in fact was lost in admiration over the daring attack of the tigers and pointed us to the thorough preparation that would have been made for this onslaught. “It once again underlines the LTTE's reputation as an organisation with a tremendous tenacity of purpose, grit and sophistication in thinking and planning”.

Therefore, one can safely admit that the Black Tigers knew well that they would die in the commando raid and they were prepared for the supreme sacrifice of their precious life for the sake of the Tamil Nation of Tamil Eelam. LTTE are in quest for a homeland for the Tamils in the N&E of Sri-Lanka.

When compared to the many para-military cadres and non committed Tamil leaders who seek refuge in the European Union after committing grave crime against the Tamils Nations these Black Tigers are men of the soil in their own right. Even the TULF politicians Sangarie and his elk who encouraged Tamil youths to fight for Eelam during the last 20-30 years of their political life as MPs enjoying parliamentary perks, now sought the help of the Indian RAW and the lap of the Sinhalese police guards to live in luxury. During their heyday they sent their children overseas to enjoy secured lives but exposed the Tamil nation to aerial attack and approved the Sinhala bombing of poor Tamil electorate mercilessly. This is wicked. Eelam Tamils might adorn the Black tigers for that reason alone. Wonders will never cease.

Any rationalist would naturally search for reasons for the 21 Balck Tiger’s, self sacrifice for the Tamil Nation. In June 2002 a Palestinian suicide bomber killed nearly three scores of Israeli occupants of Palestine. BBC News on Monday, 24 June, 2002 reported that legal luminary and the wife of the former Prime Minister of UK Mr Tony Blair, Mrs Cherie Blair, spoke out her mind when she heard the news “Palestinians felt they had "no hope" but to blow themselves up”. She just highlighted the terrible predicament the Palestinians when Israel and US were violating their human rights, the rights to live in their homeland of Palestine and when the world did nothing about it quickly.

Again, Santhi Fernando M.D. Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry, State University of New York (I presume she is an ethnic Sinhalese) writing to the Tamil Canadian.com on October 24, 2007 suggested a valid reason for the black Tiger’s A’pura destruction of 17 Sri-lankan’s aircraft and some ammunition dumps.

“The recent attack could be a manifestation of the Tamil people's loss of confidence in the international institutions such as UN and nations who appear to be pacifying the war machine of the state rather than understanding the causes of conflicts and address in an impartial manner.

The best example is the recent visit by the UN commissioner for human rights. Instead of putting her own agenda, she humbled to the racist agenda by complying with Colombo rather than being impartial. This made the tigers to feel that they are being cornered and had no outlet to express their feeling and frustration. They could not find a forum to ventilate their concerns. If the world's highest body could not do it, no one can.

Had Louise Arbour forced the Sri Lankan government agree her meeting with tigers or Sri Lankan government allowed Louise Arbour visit Kilinichchi without a fanfair or restriction this recent attack would not have taken place. All what tigers want is a forum that respect them, listen to them and under stand them. At present no country even India has passed the test. If the dialogues, engaging in groups and empathic listening work in individual basis why not it cannot work when a group of pepole are involved”.

It must be remembered that successive Sinhala governments since independence in 1948, sidelined Tamils from power sharing. This was a well-established fact. They all sought a racist (Ethnic differentiation) formula which was to put Sinhalese race on a high pedestal and claim Sri-lanka for Sinhalese alone. Speeches to that effect are plenty in the official Hansard. They all wanted to avenge the Tamils (Japana mahatya as they called Tamils during colonial days) for dominating them during British colonial period.

After freedom in 1948 the cloak of democracy gave the Sinhalese a chance to accomplish this dirty agenda. Outside world were made to believe that all the decisions in the parliament were democratic. What the world was ignorant of was that 80% of the MPs were Sinhalese and that the Sinhala electorate voted on communal (ethnic) lines. UNP’s Industries minister Cyril Mathew never cared to industrialise the N&E and instead closed many industries that were economically viable. This Sinhalzization of Lanka was particularly expedited after the Oxford educated Sinhala aristocrat SWRD Bandaranayake introduced the “Sinhala Language only” cry to come to power forgetting all what he learnt at Oxford on democracy and politics. He adopted the communal card for his SLFP party to win more parliamentary seats. The Sinhala masses were taken up by these deceptions and voted SWRD with a huge majority. However, he failed the twenty four hour time limit to enact Sinhala as state language even though he had a pan sinhala cabinet. That was an emotional deceit by hypocrite, Banda on the sinhala masses.

Using this ruse, successive Sinhala leaders eroded the legitimate constitutional rights of the Tamils. Belligerent and oppressive, Buddhist Sinhalese regimes had time and again successfully hid the core issues for the ethnic conflict from international attention claiming that the oppressed Tamils indulge in terrorism to claim their language rights.

Under democratic guise the sinhalese slowly brought in draconian legislation to neutralise the concept of a Traditional home lands for the Tamils in the N&E of Sri-Lanka. The UN kept silent when the Sri-lankan government contravened all its conventions on HR and rights of the Ethnic minorities. Presumably to preserve a mirage of democracy.

Sinhala Governments tricked the Tamils in the absence of foreign deterrents giving false hopes and assurances from time to time with tiring and boring treadmill of pacts, accords, conferences, talks, agreements, memorandums, appointments of committees etc,etc, which all turned into a complete fiasco, so far. Bandaranayke- S.J.V.Chelvanayagam Pact of 1957 was abrogated because of the UNP protests. Dudley Senanayake - S.J.V.Chelvanayagam Pact of 1965 was abrogated because of the SLFP protest. These two major Sinhala parties ruled the country alternatively coming to power condemning the Tamils reasonable demand for self-determination.

The deathblow was the Republican Constitution of 1972. It robbed the minorities of even the scanty safeguards against discrimination provided under Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution, introduced during independence in 1948. Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 too was abrogated due to extremist demands from ultra left sinhala parties. It was a case of anti-Tamil politics all along. The Tamil areas were economically deprived as well due to restricted /lack of political bargaining by Tamils.

Confronted with grave injustice and the failure of democratic routes to solve their grievances the disappointed Tamil youth took all these trickiness and evasiveness as a travesty of democracy. They held protest meetings. The Sri-Lankan armed forces were used to suppress all genuine uprising of the Tamil youths. There is a time and a place for everything.

The reality was that many Tamil militant groups were raising their heads and indulged in retaliatory attacks in self-defence. The LTTE began its activity in earnest only since 1983. There were many such groups who wanted to be representatives of the Tamils. It was only LTTE through struggle came out as a credible force reckoned by majority of the Tamils. The reasons cannot be explained here as this article deals with only the reasons for the Black Tiger attack.

In the war that ensued between the armed forces and the Tamil militants since 1983 to date, Tamil territories, churches, temples, schools, refugee camps, houses and business establishments were bombed and destroyed killing, wounding, maiming or mangling in thousands including children. Many a child was orphaned and men and women widowed besides the mass exodus of the Tamils to foreign countries. The creation of thousands of road blocks and check points and expansion of old and establishment of new high security zones by the armed forces and expansion of air, naval and army bases prevented legislatively some of the normal day to day farming fishing and other economic activities of Tamils. This reduced many of them to paupers who can beg or wait for dry rations/dole from the government. Thus the independent culture of the Tamils was erased to the ground and a dependent vagrant culture was forced on the Tamils. This incensed the youth more and increased their militancy. There is an adage that the darkest hour is just before the dawn.

Some world intellectuals and human rights workers have expressed their disgust at the present insensitivity and inaction of the international communities and the co-chairs of the aid giving nations to Sri-Lanka. USA, EU, Norway, and Japan could influence Sri-Lanka through proper dispensation of the aid to Sri-lanka and stop HR violations and bombing of Tamil civilian settlements. For no apparent reason they adopted other methods that helped the GSL to severely violate HR heap sufferings on the Tamils as described above.

Luckily for the Tamils, Amnesty Internationale (AI) was in the forefront in raising the human suffering in Sri-Lankan to the world’s scrutiny. Please refer Amnesty International Press Release of 30 December 1985 - ASA 37/20/85. It had called on the Sri Lankan Government to act urgently to stop torture by government forces. “Despite Sri Lanka's claim to being a democracy, the government has often interfered with the media” it observed.

Even after two decades the conflict scenario remained the same. AI media briefing on 5 April 2007 said “Amnesty International is gravely concerned about the rising number of civilians being killed or injured as a result of deliberate attacks in Sri Lanka’s increasing violence. Unlawful killings, abductions and enforced disappearance of civilians are daily occurrences, as is arbitrary detention. Both sides to the conflict systematically violate their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect from harm those taking no active part in hostilities. Tens of thousands of families have lost their property and their means of livelihood, and the number of conflict-affected internally displaced persons (IDPs) nationally has risen to at least 290,000. This adds to the large numbers of IDPs who have been kept away from their homes due to lack of safety there including ongoing fighting and fear of heavily mined areas for over a decade”.

Karen Parker, JD,Chief UN delegate, IED/HLP and of HUMANITARIAN LAW PROJECT, International Educational Development, United Nations Office, 154 Fifth Avenue, San Francisco, California 94118 in an e-mail on 28 June 2007 to His Excellency Dominick Chillcot, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka, wrote “Frankly, I cannot see how anyone could assume that after successive Sinhala regimes have carried out the most atrocious of atrocities against the Tamil people and for so long, that Tamil people would ever trust a Sinhala government again, especially in the face of genocidal acts and when some of the major Sinhala political parties spew anti-Tamil diatribes almost daily and openly aver that their vision of the island is a Sinhala-Buddhist”

Verena GRAF is from the International League for the Rights of Peoples (LIDLIP). She represents the organisation at the United Nations. She said: “LIDLIP has been aware of the situation in Sri Lanka, in particular of the Tamil armed struggle, since 1986 and has ever since taken up the issue in the human rights fora.

Based on historical and socio-political evidence, LIDLIP and other organisations have always argued that the Sri Lankan Tamils fulfil all the criteria to qualify as a people. Not only a common culture, language and religion but also a typical traditional settlement area, a shared history and democratically expressed will characterize them as a nation. Moreover, they share the experience of a people that has been systematically and collectively discriminated against, even persecuted in independent Sri Lanka”.

Dr. Ellyn Shander M.D is an American physician. He went to Sri Lanka and volunteered his services in the North, 6 weeks after the tsunami. He returned 6 months later for a follow up visit. The peace agreement was in force then. But civil war broke out again, he was sad. In a speech delivered at a peace rally at the Capitol Hill-Washington DC on July 23, 2007 he was emotional and questioned the madness of Sinhala government for being so inhuman to the Tamil people. He quoted instances of grave injustices meted out to the Tamils in the N&E.

The Sinhala regime’s closure of A-9 highway to Northen Jaffna peninsular, aerial bombing of Tamil homeland, the abduction, torture and killing of the innocents, starving of the tamils by all means and denial of medical care to them all were madness of the government to him. Those days NGO’s were denied access to the North and East purposely by the government. Tamils were being forced to return to areas that have NOT had low mine clearance. They were forced from one camp to the next as the fighting spread, they had no income and had to depend on food handouts from aid agencies. International agencies were reporting rampant malnutrition in the northern Jaffna district. Children could go to regularly to school as they usually do, medical students in Jaffna the future pride of the Tamil people could not finish their studies, and the youth were being kidnapped and torn from their families. Fishermen were denied access to the sea. Once, two army shells fell and exploded right inside the Puliyankulam hospital in Vavunia disrupting the meagre medical service in this rural medical post.

“What government kills its own civilians? He questioned and answered it himself. The government of Darfur, the former govt of Saddam Hussein, and the govt of Sri Lanka. Consequently Tamil people were dying in the thousands.

Another consultant from the east end of the world, Queensland Pediatrician and Director of Townsville Hospital's Neonatal Unit, Dr John Whitehall, talking with Richard Fidler of ABC radio in the program "Conversation hour" during the fourth week of August 2007 condemned the Sri-Lankan racist attitude towards the indigenous Tamil population. I don’t think it is right to say that they are they (LTTE) are imposing their will on the people, as is said by Colombo. There have been more than 17,000 deaths of soldiers in their military wing. I have been to many of these cemeteries. That is tremendous commitment from a population of only three million people. You can't get 17000 people to take up arms and fight to death unless their hearts are in their cause. They have a Heroes day and the grief was almost unbearable.

He warned the Australian media to be cautious in their publications. He told them that they could not understand the situation in Colombo if they only focus on the terror which is coming from one side, LTTE only. They should also mention the state terror, the terror inflicted by Colombo State. Those did not come out in the media there. Some of which are bombing of a school where 61 girls died. Killing of people, forced refugee status etc. Human rights groups have said that at least 5,000 Tamils have disappeared in the last six months and many of them have later turned up dead with torture marks. He emphasised that “The Chilean dictator Pinochet, whom we all revile, might have only 300 victims to his credit in those years”.

Bryn Wolfe is a person who had worked among the war victims and the Executive Secretary of the NGO Forum on Sri Lanka based in the UK. Mr. Wolfe was in Sri Lanka from 1988-1991 as a member of the Quaker Peace Service. The period was when People's Alliance Government led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga was in power. He was also the Medical, Health and Relief Program representative for Sri Lanka. He voiced his opinion at a International Conference on the Conflict in Sri Lanka:Peace with Justice, Canberra, Australia, 1996 thus “The international community has therefore been reluctant to make any intervention into the ethnic conflict which might result in undermining the authority of the present regime. What the Forum does seek is an end to the apparent international policy consensus of allowing this debilitating and disastrous war to continue. What is needed is a genuine, energetic and determined effort on the international level to foster the conditions that will restore peace to Sri Lanka”.

All these theatrics were being enacted presumably constitutionally by Sri-Lanka. Mr Wilson, an experienced lawyer and an expatriate Tamil in Australia writes “It looks very unfortunate, unreasonable and unethical when Sri Lanka, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country with a diverse and rich culture, has a constitution to impose the will of the majoritarian Buddhist Sinhalese on the Tamil minority. And also, on the sly the past historical records or the archaeological evidences of the country are being reportedly tampered with surreptitious interpolations to be advantageous to the Sinhalese community under the powerful iniquitous Buddhist Singhalese rule. By virtue of the Constitution in effect and force, even the judicature or the judicial system in Sri Lanka is of a bias favourable to the Buddhist Singhalese extremism”.

It was no surprise at all to anybody when the black tigers destroyed the Sinhala arsenal that caused such human misery to the Tamils. Leaders across the globe are now thinking laterally to differentiate between terrorism and fight for freedom. It is a good omen.

In an interview with Guardian News, America, Mrs. Clinton, a US Presidential candidate, says that in her view terrorism is a tool that has been utilized throughout history to achieve certain objectives -- some ideological, others territorial. “The bottom line is: you can't lump all terrorists together. And I think we've got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raisons d'être of terrorists. I mean, what the Tamil Tigers are fighting for in Sri Lanka, or the Basque separatists in Spain, or the insurgents in al-Anbar province may only be connected by tactics. They may not share all that much in terms of what is the philosophical or ideological underpinning. And I think one of our mistakes has been painting with such a broad brush, which has not been particularly helpful in understanding what it is we were up against when it comes to those who pursue terrorism for whichever ends they're seeking,” she said.

Richard Boucher American diplomat said on Sunday, 22 October 2006 that LTTE had aspirations to satisfy some of the legitimate grievances of the Tamil community. They had aspirations to see the Tamil community respected, and be able to control its own affairs within a unified island, and the only way they were going to achieve those aspirations was through negotiations.

Mr Boucher told a press conference and in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 1.2007 “United States disagrees with the LTTE methods. It recognises that the Tamils have “a very legitimate desire ... to be able to control their own lives, to rule their own destinies and to govern themselves in their own homeland, in the areas they've traditionally inhabited.”

New Jersey Congressman, Frank Pallone endorsed this concept of the rule of traditional homeland by its citizens while speaking to the House on 27 Wednesday night September 2006. He told the august assembly “I echo this sentiment and support a solution that retains Sri Lanka's unity. Yet, it should grant a level of autonomy to ethnic minorities like the Tamils.

MR’s predecessor Ranil Wickremasinghe signed the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002 with LTTE accepting fact, the LTTE controlled a dejure government. No one can refute this as it is in black and white as an internationally recognised document and IC accepted it as a basis for future political negotiations. The UN also willingly agreed to this step.

Some with vision say that the situation had gone too far to unite the two nations under one state. Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen of Cambridge and Harvard Universities delivered the Spring Lecture on Poverty, War and Peace, at the Nobel Institute, Oslo, on 21 Monday evening. Having observed the situation in Sri-Lanka he regretted “ ----But, by taking a position of upholding exclusive status to Buddhism and Sinhalese, it isolated other sections of the society from having a sense of national identity. Now, there is no likelihood that the Sri Lankan state will go back from that position”. Karen Parker too in an interview by The Tamil Mirror, Toronto, March 2007 offered her valued legal opinion on the existing state of affairs.

Karen Parker said “We see the kind of genocidal policies that are forcing Tamil people away from more and more of their traditional areas. What is officially, legally Tamil Eelam is being whittled away in a de facto way. It is not legal. If the land is legally your land and you are present and govern in your land, you are the de jure State. They have the right to self-determination, the Tamil lands are those lands attached to that right, they are present in their land and they have a Tamil civil administration governing it.

Colombo University History Lecturer Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri in a seminar at national Library auditorium in Colombo in July 2007 has emphasised that concept of a Tamil Homeland (TH) is not mythology but a fact and he was prepared to prove it.

Professor Sachcheritha Gamlath, a Sri-Lankan sinhalese academic, was right when he pointed out that the root cause of the ethnic problem is the falsification of the Sri-Lankan history by parties with vested interest to rouse communal strife. Sinhala Buddhist concepts that divide the country was the falsehood. Professor Gamlath further stated that the two communities have lived maintaining good relations since prehistoric times (Sudar Oli Editorial Feb 28,2007). Sri Lanka has been the traditional homeland of two distinct age-old civilisations with two different languages, two different traditions, two different cultures and different territorial boundaries.

Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe asserted in the The Morning Leader of Aug 14, 2007 under the headline “Mahinda Chinthana and the case for a unitary state” ‘The Tamil nation living predominantly in the north-east have the right of national self-determination to decide their future, as does the Sinhala nation. Neither the Sinhala nation nor its state has the right to neither determine their future nor dictate their destiny. And so it is with the hill country Tamil nationality and the Muslim nationality and all other ethnic-religious communities’.

There is consensus in world opinion for a political solution based on the UN accepted ‘traditional homelands of Ethnic minorities principle’. However the co-chairs of the aid giving nations appeared to swim against the tide. If as reported in the Tamil Editors.com the involvement of the co-chairs in the 'Three Year Plan' of GSL military solution were true it would be the biggest fraud of the IC. It would be a stab in the back for the Tamil polity. The co-chairs were killing the foetus of Tamil Eelam in the womb. It was alleged that this plan code-named ‘Project Beacon’ was first presented to the Co-Chairs to the peace process in Sri Lanka, namely United States; European Union; Norway and Japan, during December 2005 in the Norwegian capital Oslo. The initiative was to have started on May Day 2006. According to the proposal, the project would be completed by May Day 2009, and an additional two years would be required thereafter for 'mopping up' operations.

Project Beacon divided LTTE administered areas as at December 2005 into three coastal sections. The basic plan was to 'softening up' of sections by means of air raids and multi-barrel rockets; diversionary 'mini-offensives' in parts of other sections, and virtual siege of the area concerned for up to twelve months if necessary.

Project Beacon warned the co-chairs that there may be 'significant' civilian casualties during 'softening up' activities and 'apparent humanitarian crises' during sieges. Consequently, it was feared that the Tamil Diaspora would take to the streets of their host nations highlighting Tamil civilian casualty and genocide. The plan provided the co-chairs with the names of key Tamil activists who may lead such mass demonstrations in some 12 countries. The plan requested that these individuals be arrested on 'charges of terrorism', thus 'giving a clear warning to the Diaspora on the consequences of demonstrating against the government of Sri Lanka'.

Sri Lankan begged that it did not have the financial capacity to procure all the arms and ammunition necessary. It requested that the Co-Chairs to indirectly play a part. They take more responsibility for civil services, in particular in southern Sri Lanka, to ensure that more government money could be siphoned off to the military activity with very little impact on the day to day lives of the Sinhala public.

The Co-Chairs unanimously agreed that the Three Year Plan was viable and 'militaristically sound'. The Co-Chairs agreed to abide by the two pre-conditions and review the plan as per necessary some three to four months following each May Day. Political observers might put two and two together and conclude that the IC’s silence over human suffering deaths and genocide in GSL Eastern war might be due to help the GSL in the project beacon.

Unfortunately for the co-chairs all their hawkish diabolism went up in smoke after the Black Tiger’s assault at A’pura. Man proposes and god disposes.

Regrettably, the calculated silence of the IC has resulted in wanton destruction of valuable Tamil lives. The New York-based Human Rights Watch has reported that between January 2006 and June this year there were 11,000 abductions or disappearances. A number of cases of killings are unresolved. Human rights groups had said that at least 5,000 Tamils had disappeared in the last six months up to 25 August 2007 and many of them had later turned up dead with torture marks. The co-chairs were fully aware of all these but remained mute probably due to strange reasons. They could have put a stop to all these GSL harangue and mass murder by punitive measures, instead of being complacent.

Asantha Sirimanne on Oct 27, 2007 (LBO) reported recently that a subspecies of the indigenous purple-faced leaf monkey found in the suburbs of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo and a loris found in the central hills of the island have been named as being critically endangered and facing extinction. Ha, Ha Ha! It is a pity that the zoologists in Sri-Lanka did not see Tamil Homospiens who descended from the 15000 year old ancient civilisation of MohandeJaro-Harappa is the most endangered species in N&E of Sri-Lanka due to the multi-barrel guns of the racist Sinhala army poachers and DPU.

Please save the endangered Eelam Tamils from extinction by giving them their Traditional Homeland. The International communities have recognised the existences and freedom of other UN Member States created through constitutional procedures. Some of which are Israel, Bangladesh and so on. East Timor was carved out from Indonesia in year 2002, State of Eritrea from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993, Atoll of Atafu the last colony of New Zealand with not even 1500 people in March 2006, and Republic of Montenegro from Serbia and Montenegro on 3 June 2006. If not the woe will prolong and the co-chairs will receive world condemnation.

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Comments (2)
Dear Dr.Thiyagarajah Its' a good analysis you have done and presented with high palatability. Could you please mail/email your article to the heads of the Democracies. Thank you. -Dr. Vivek
Vivek from Canada on Nov 02, 2007 1:14:23 GMT
World will never recognize Tamil Eelam unless Tamil Tigers recapture Tamil Eelam including Trincomalee and successfully defend Tamil Eelam. We unfortunately live in a world that cares more for economic gains than human rights or justice. If an entity controls a country successfully then economic gains can be attained based on the stability. World does not care who controls the country as long as the country is stable.
Kiritharan from USA on Nov 01, 2007 22:04:49 GMT