Ilankai Tamil Sangam

25th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Kumar Ponnambalam's Eighth Death Anniversary

You have sent a clarion call to all your "Tamil brothers and sisters" with outstretched hands of friendship. This shows your stark insincerity if one only recalls your speech made many moons ago, when you inaugurated the Sama Tawalama at Anuradhapura, with the unacceptable posture that this island is a Sinhala land and Buddhist country.

Kumar Ponnambalam A 1998 TV interview with ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunge in South Africa given to Sangam by Kumar Ponnambalam in which she asserts that the Tamils are not the original inhabitants of the island.

Chandrika Kumaratunge in South Africa - A Video Clip

[requires Real Audio Player or Windows Media Player]


Your Speech Reveals Your Hatred

(last public letter of Kumar Ponnambalam, written after Chandrika's re-election in 1999)

I refer to your Victory Speech of 22-12-99 on your election, once again, as President.

I write as a Tamil Eelavan. But more importantly, I write as an unalloyed, unrepentant supporter of the political philosophy of the LTTE and as one who, with that conviction, lives in the South. I write as one who has publicly stated this position of mine not only within this island but also without, and both verbally and in writing. I write as one whom you have recognized in your speech. And, I write as one who refuses to be deterred by the naked threats that dot your speech.
Permit me to tell you that your speech reflects the hatred that you have, only too readily, recognized in others.

Your speech is nauseatingly replete with one word - "peace". But the tenor of your speech is anything but one that is, in any way, conciliatory or given to peace.

You have sent a clarion call to all your "Tamil brothers and sisters" with outstretched hands of friendship. This shows your stark insincerity if one only recalls your speech made many moons ago, when you inaugurated the Sama Tawalama at Anuradhapura, with the unacceptable posture that this island is a Sinhala land and Buddhist country.

You refer to 18 December 1999 as "the night that will go down in history as the night this land was touched by the hand of darkness one too many times".

You indulge in this rhetoric because it happens to concern you. Do you not realize that there are thousands of widows in Tamil Eelam to whom certain nights have gone down, in their own lives, as nights that have been touched by the hand of darkness which is yours, as Commander-in-Chief of your armed forces?
You have challenged "those who doubt (your) resolve to lift the curse of hatred and death that has fallen upon (this) land" to look you in the face now and voice our doubts about the sincerity of the desire to forge permanent peace. I hasten, with this letter, to say just that to you with all the vehemence I command. I am fortified in this statement by your victory speech itself.

Y ou want to finish the LTTE. Please do so, if you can. With that will go, for all times, any prospect of permanent peace in this island. Your election results shows ruthlessly that all Tamils, not only Tamil Eelavar but also the Upcountry Tamils, not only do not want you because they do not trust you anymore, but also do not want a political solution from you. This is an indictment on all your postulations of wanting to forge permanent peace.

Just take your peace packages. There were three in as many years, during the first three years after the commencement of your tenure. For the next two years, there was not a murmur about those packages. Even those three packages were diluted with each subsequent appearance! Surely, anyone who has a genuine desire to bring about a political solution will not trifle with packages every summer? One stands or falls with just one.

You say that you see very clearly "the enemy that walks so freely" in this island, and you identify that enemy as "hatred". No, the enemy you see are the Tamils in this island. Thank God this is reciprocated by every Tamil worth his salt. This has also been evidenced by the election results.

You boast that "the entire LTTE terrorist enterprise will fail" against you but, in the same breath, you contradict yourself pathetically by wanting the Tamils to bring Pirabaharan to the negotiating table. You have played ducks and drakes for far too long about whether you want to talk to the LTTE or not. Political maturity demands that you and your Government finally state whether you want to talk to the LTTE, unconditionally, or not. It is only when this is known definitely will anybody move in this matter.

If talking to the LTTE at the negotiating table is your honest position, then your outburst about "cowards of the LTTE" and "terrorist cowards" or your urge to wipe out the LTTE, must surely be counter productive.
By all means "clear away the culture of terror and death", which has become the way of life in this island thanks to the Sinhalese who first showed everybody the way in June 1956. But you will realize immediately, as everybody in this island realizes, that you will have to start doing so at your very own doorstep in the first instance, before you decide to go anywhere near the LTTE!

May I close by referring to your constant refrain about bringing about peace. If you are hoping to bring about peace through any one of your packages, please forget it. The Tamils have shown unmistakably that they are not interested in you or in your peace packages.

In fact, if the Tamils are worth their salt, they will not want anything dished out by you, or for that matter, by your adversary. Why should we? We Tamils were not born to depend on the "benevolence" of the Sinhalese or on what they choose to dish out to us. A part of this island rightfully belongs to the Tamils, in as much as the other part rightfully belongs to the Sinhalese. This must be appreciated by the Sinhalese.

As far as the Tamils are concerned, they in turn, must appreciate that if their aspirations hold that as a Nation they have the right to self-determination and that that right is inalienable in that it is born with them, then they must have the political wisdom, strength and sagacity to exercise that right and decide their own political future themselves. They have, for far too long, looked to peace packages, negotiating tables and anything offered or dished out by the Sinhalese. This beggarly attitude must go. The sooner it goes, the better it is for the Tamils.
The Tamil Nation has, through the Delegation of the Tamil People, solemnly informed the world about its aspirations in August 1985 at Thimpu. To go back on that position will be tantamount to compromising future generations of Tamils yet unborn. The present generation does not have the right to compromise future generations. Any signal that would give the Sinhalese the idea that the Tamils are not serious about their aspirations, or that they are climbing down, will be an act of treachery. The present generation does not seem to tolerate such treachery or to take kindly to traitors.

May I end by saying that, on the basis of what I have just stated I, personally, have got disgusted and tired of talks, third party intervention, etc. My considered conviction is that a political solution to the Tamil Problem is in the hands of the Tamils themselves and only in their hands and that the Sinhalese and Tamils can continue to live in this island and in peace only if they live in two definite and distinct compartments each minding their own business unfettered by the other. Only such an arrangement will prove relevant that great quotation on peace you have used in your speech:

"Peace is a battle. Peace is never given freely, never acquired. Its conquest is the result of courage and of respect for others. It demands awareness and commitment from everyone. Peace is not the law imposed by the mighty, but that which is founded on equality and dignity of all peoples."


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