Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Tamils: Anti-Ethnocide Campaign

by Chandi Sinnathurai, Countercurrents.org, December 3, 2007

The International community, the US in particular, has been going on for some years about “a negotiated, political settlement” in Sri Lanka. When there is a deliberate attempt by the Sri Lankan state to exterminate the Tamils, how best can the international community build the trust and confidence of the global Tamil community?

After the 8th India-European Union [EU] Summit held in Delhi a Joint-statement was issued on 30 November 2007. There was nothing particularly ground-breaking in the statement about the conflict in Sri Lanka. But the hypocrisy of the statement betrays any diplomatic subtlety. Both – The EU and India have surreptitiously supplied military hardware to Sri Lanka knowing very well that these weapons are utilised to wipe out Tamil civilians. Having done that, they want to speak about peace, openly.

The statement read:

There is no military solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. A negotiated, political settlement, acceptable to all communities within the framework of a united Sri Lanka, is the goal that all international efforts should encourage.

If the neighbouring India and the International community are genuinely interested, as they claim, in a political settlement, then, what could possibly be the tangible steps towards halting the ethnocentric-war?

1) India ought to be leading the way for an international arms embargo against the Sri Lankan regime.

2) The EU (and the US) ought to be asking serious questions about peace in the context of the current Sinhala-Buddhist constitution of Sri Lanka which runs diametrically opposed to a liberal, pluralistic, democratic society.

3) India ought to be opening doors of communication via Tamil Nadu Government with the political wing of the Tamil resistance movement. Refusal to communicate could be tantamount to shutting doors to peace. India, at all cost must be seen to be neutral.

Recently, a Tamil political scientist from Vanni wrote a succinct analysis, placing Eelam struggle within the international frame. Muna Tirunavukkarasu concluded that, the Eelam Tamils could reach out to Delhi via Tamil Nadu. And the freedom cry of the Tamils could be heard on the international stage via Delhi. In effect, India has a responsible and crucial role to play in the peace efforts. If that were to be true, India should denounce its ‘secret’ unfounded phobia that, the Eelam cry might turn out to be a stumbling block for its geo-political ambitions in the region.

There are however some, who are opposed to an Indo-centric approach. There are, quite rightly, some historical reasons for that. Enough said.

Delhi cannot pretend to be deaf, for much longer, to the loud cry and protest raised on behalf of Eelam Tamils by the Indian Tamils in Tamil Nadu.

The International community, the US in particular, has been going on for some years about “a negotiated, political settlement” in Sri Lanka. When there is a deliberate attempt by the Sri Lankan state to exterminate the Tamils, how best can the international community build the trust and confidence of the global Tamil community?

The Tamils are aggrieved that the West has basically shut its doors to their cry for freedom. Tamil armed resistance has been banned and branded as terrorism.

In this hostile context, the global Tamils have to strive and effectively articulate the counter-point. Such a challenging phase requires Tamils in the Diaspora to push forward with an anti-ethnocide campaign in world capitals. This very human narrative cannot run counter to the world’s democratic space.

This sort of peaceful campaign is not designed to speak to the powers. The powers know the truth. And they conceal the truth to the public.

Anti-ethnocide campaign will reveal the truth to the public. The truth of a slow ethnocide happening in Sri Lanka for over 35 years. This conflict has claimed over 80,000 lives. Let this truth echo in the hearts of the global community.

There cannot be a “United Sri Lanka” when Tamils are systematically denied their right to exist.

One might suggest, that all international efforts should be encouraging the goal of peace in light of justice. Failing that, one might only achieve synthetic peace, as Norway did through its peace trap.

Many believe that there can be unity, ONLY when the Sri Lankan unitary constitution is discarded. All the other efforts, with all the best intentions in the world, can only scratch the surface, while the tyranny continues.

The systemic ethnocentric plague in Sri Lanka has to be tackled first.