Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Time to Transcend & Transform

by Arvalan, May 20, 2009

The guiding principles for the TNC should be the Thimpu principles, which are

  • Recognition of the Tamils of Ceylon as a nation
  • Recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils of Ceylon
  • Recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation
  • Recognition of the citizenship rights of Plantation Tamils [ All those who want to make this island their home must be given all democratic and human rights.]

Opportunity often comes in disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” 
Napoleon Hill

The armed liberation struggle waged by the Tamils have come to a “bitter end.”  The defeat at the hands of the Sinhalese regime has shaken the Tamil community all over the world.  Tamils all over world, irrespective of their political affiliations, feel the pain of defeat and their pride has been hurt. However, this is not the time to mourn the defeat and acknowledge “condolence messages” from the international community. 

  • It is time for the Tamils to reignite their struggle for freedom with more vigour and commitment.
  • It is time for the Tamils to learn from the mistakes of the past and march forward towards protecting their homeland.
  • It is time for the Tamils to mobilise their global resources to launch diplomatic & economic offensives against the Sri Lanka.
  • It is time for the Tamils to bring the Sinhala Buddhist regime which isattempting to destroy us to the courts of justice.
  • It is time for the Tamils to act, act immediately and act wisely.

The Tamil struggle was initiated and lead by the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in the late seventies until the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) became the sole representatives in late Eighties.  The LTTE negotiated with the Indian & Sri Lankan governments from the late eighties for the next 20 years.  The 30-year-old struggle has resulted in Tamils losing many of their political leaders who are astute, articulate, committed, diplomatic, knowledgeable and visionary.  Further, during Eelam War IV, the LTTE not only lost their military leaders, but unfortunately and tragically lost many of their front line political wing leaders in, Balasingham, Tamilselvan, Nadesan and Pulidevan.

It is time for a new band of leadership to take the struggle forward.  I believe some of this new leadership should originate from the Diaspora, which has been blessed with individuals who are experts in politics, diplomacy and international relations.  We need these media savvy and committed individuals to come forward to lead the struggle for liberation from a diplomatic and political front.

I believe that umbrella organisations already exist in Canada, Britain, parts of Europe, the USA, Australia, etc., such as the Canadian Tamil Congress and the British Tamil Forum, and have been demonstrating their strength and popular support by organizing and sustaining what HELP and PEARL have called "one of the biggest worldwide civic movements of this century." I suggest these organizations and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Sri Lanka, which won overwhelmingly in the NE in an unrigged election without intimidation, need to come together to form a global body for the Tamils.  This new global body for the Tamils could be called the Tamil National Congress (TNC) and should be tasked with pushing for a political settlement which recognizes Tamil rights. The TNC should be entrusted with the task of lobbying the international community and negotiating with the Sri Lankan government. 

The guiding principles for the TNC will be the Thimpu principles, which are

  • Recognition of the Tamils of Ceylon as a nation
  • Recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils of Ceylon
  • Recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation
  • Recognition of the citizenship rights of Plantation Tamils [All those who want to make this island their home must be given all democratic and human rights.]

Efforts should be made to join hands with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Western People's Front and other Tamil political organizations to work in unison for the benefit of all Tamils.

The TNC should lobby the International community, particularly India, US & EU to endorse the Thimpu principles. The TNC need to embark on “classical lobbying” in their respective countries which is vastly different from the lobbying carried out in the past. I believe some of the lobbying techniques used in US by PEARL and Tamils for Obama will be good examples of effective lobbying methods.

It is also equally important the legal experts of the TNC should actively pursue the Sri Lankan leaders in war crime tribunals.  TNC will need to bring the cream of the Tamil legal minds to prosecute the Sinhala leadership in the courts of international justice for crimes against humanity.

Whilst pursuing the diplomatic & legal offensives against the Sri Lankan government, TNC should also take the lead role in alleviating the sufferings of the Internally Displaced People (IDP’s).  IC should be successfully persuaded by the TNC to allow it to run the rehabilitation and resettlement efforts in North East of Sri Lanka. This will amount to the beginnings of an interim administration. 

In the event of TNC not seeking a lead role, the rehabilitation and resettlement efforts will be managed by Karuna and Douglas, catering to the interests of the Sri Lankan government.  The danger in allowing Karuna and Douglas to manage the resettlement program is it will result in Sinhala colonisation of the North East and the aid fund being diverted to South (as evidenced with Tsunami reconstruction).

Therefore, it is vital for the TNC to pursue a short-term strategy to address the immediate problems of our people whilst pursuing the long-term political solution to our conflict.  The TNC will be launching offensives in three major fronts, political, legal and economical.

I believe there will be resistance from some quarters for any moves to form a new organisation. However, the concept of TNC is not about compromising the LTTE or providing a substitute.  At this critical juncture in our history Tamils need global action, which the LTTE is unable to provide at present (they have done so effectively in the past).  The TNC is all about providing leadership for that action and exploiting the support and visibility we have harvested in the international arena with our demonstrations, rallies and lobbying.

As symbolic step for the formation of the TNC, mass gatherings should be organised in Sydney, Chennai, Geneva, London and Toronto on the same day. Tamils should participate in these rallies in mass numbers wearing the traditional dress. The purpose of these mass gatherings are to announce to the world that

  • We are proud to be Tamils & We are united
  • Tamil Eelam is our homeland and we want it to be liberated.
  • Declare the President of Sri Lanka a genocidal War Criminal

The end of the military phase of the Eelam war IV has opened many doors in the international community. It is critical we exploit these opportunities and contacts for our benefit to achieve a permanent solution for our legitimate grievances.  If we miss this opportunity, the future generations will continue to suffer in our homeland and overseas. 


We are not done yet!