Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

TamilNation's Comment on the "Open Letter to Rajapakse"

Sri Lanka is simply using the political space provided by the international community and to use that space to continue its fifty year effort to assimilate and 'digest' the people of Tamil Eelam within a Sinhala Buddhist Deepa ruled by a permanent Sinhala majority... The international community is not asleep. It only pretends to be asleep because it is intent on advancing its own strategic interests in the Indian ocean region.

Whilst we understand the concerns expressed by Mr. Victor Rajakulendran and agree with his condemnation of the actions of Sri Lanka President Rajapakse (and the need to place on record these genocidal action), we ourselves do not take the view that the international community has been 'hoodwinked' by Sri Lanka or for that matter Sri Lanka is engaged in an attempt to 'hoodwink'.

Sri Lanka is simply using the political space provided by the international community and to use that space to continue its fifty year effort to assimilate and 'digest' the people of Tamil Eelam within a Sinhala Buddhist Deepa ruled by a permanent Sinhala majority. The international community has ample resources (as well as the expertise) to sift the facts from President Rajapakse's propaganda efforts - and Tamils do not gain much by adopting the approach spelt out in 'Black Pebbles & White Pebbles'.

We will confuse our people if we lead them to believe that all that needs to be done is to wake up the international community to the facts and all will be well. The international community is not stupid. The international community is not asleep. It only pretends to be asleep because it is intent on advancing its own strategic interests in the Indian ocean region. Here, we find ourselves in broad agreement with the views expressed editorially by the New Democratic Party -

"The attitude of the 'International Community', meaning the big powers, has been highly cynical. The EU ban on the LTTE this year was neither a miscalculation as the Norwegians would like us to believe nor an act of approval of the actions of the Mahinda Rajapaksha government. The imperialist West has its global agenda and its policies are not based on the interests of the Sri Lankan state or of the LTTE, and even less the plight of the Tamil people or for that matter any section of the Sri Lankan population. The peace process has been used by the imperialists to manipulate the country into total submission to the process of globalisation, while the Indian hegemon finds in the conflict a tool to assert its dominance over Sri Lanka ."

Though we ourselves may have avoided the pejorative 'imperialist' tag we are mindful of John T. Flynn's definition that " Imperialism is an institution under which one nation asserts the right to seize the land or at least to control the government or resources of another people." We are also mindful of the briefing paper by George Kennan, Director of Policy Planning of the US Department of State in 1948 -

"...we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.... We should dispense with the aspiration to "be liked" or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism....We should cease to talk about vague and - for the Far East - unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better..."

We believe that there is an urgent need for the Tamil diaspora to move away from the 'hoodwinking' syndrome and first study and then openly address the strategic interests of the so called 'international community', New Delhi, and China in the Indian Ocean region. At the sametime, we also need to address (and address in depth) the international legal frame in which the political attempt is being made to suppress the struggle of a people for freedom from alien rule. We need to raise the question whether there are any circumstances in international law where a people may lawfully resort to arms to resist alien rule of their homeland - and if so what are those circumstances. It is by doing so that we believe that the Tamil diaspora may meaningfully contribute to enlarging the political space in which the struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam for freedom may progress - and here, let us remind ourselves yet again that our struggle for freedom is not simply just but that it is also lawful and that its legal roots are to be found in the succinct declaration by the Gandhian leader S.J.V. Chelvanayagam Q.C., some 30 years ago in 1975 -

"Throughout the ages the Sinhalese and Tamils in the country lived as distinct sovereign people till they were brought under foreign domination. It should be remembered that the Tamils were in the vanguard of the struggle for independence in the full confidence that they also will regain their freedom. We have for the last 25 years made every effort to secure our political rights on the basis of equality with the Sinhalese in a united Ceylon."

"It is a regrettable fact that successive Sinhalese governments have used the power that flows from independence to deny us our fundamental rights and reduce us to the position of a subject people. These governments have been able to do so only by using against the Tamils the sovereignty common to the Sinhalese and the Tamils."

"I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free."