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Along the Path of the One Who Followed Those Who Went First…

Eelam War III

by T Valuthi, Puthinam, June 10, 2009

With SJV peaceful struggle for Tamil Eelam, Tamil Eelam War I, came to an end. With Prabakaran the armed struggle, Eelam War II, came to an end. But the Tamil struggle has not come to an end. The sovereignty we lost 500 years ago and the political rights we lost 60 years ago have not been won back.

Note: This is a shortened English translation of the two part article written in Tamil by Valuthi and published in the Puthinam website (www.puthinam.com) on 10 June. This translation was done because none of this kind exists in English and is meant for those Tamils who cannot read Tamil.

Part I

Many of us are still unable to believe it has happened. We are suffering a psychological block because we are unable to accept what our intellect says is true. Many refuse to believe that the body shown by the GoSL was his. The respect we gave to the man during his lifetime, equating him to God, has been now further strengthened. We should not research, like we would about God, whether he is there or not. Neither should we be hoping that he has gone somewhere and that one day he will come back. The truth is he is not going to come back. Our duty is to travel the path he showed us.

Eric Solheim & Prabakaran PrabhakaranHe fought for 37 years carrying the dream of Tamileelam. He believed that is the only way to obtain the freedom for the Tamils. He chose the path he believed was the best way. He led thousands of fighters, who joined him, along that path without compromising on that goal, dedicating his life for that goal. He sent each fighter who came behind him, along that path. He sent all his lieutenants along that path. And he too fought and left us along that path.

He has become the crown of Tamil history and he will be our spiritual strength and live forever in Tamil minds. I saw those photos. The 500 year long history of the Tamil nation was lying there. The political victories of the Tamil struggle belong to Bala anna. The military victories belong to Deepan, Balraj, Soosia, Pottu, Banu, Raju, KP…and a few more. The energy that fuelled the struggle belongs to the Tamil community and the fighters who came from it. But the driver who ran the chariot of the struggle through coups, defeats, deception, and sell outs is Prabakaran.

I could not help wonder what he would have been thinking during his last days.

Would he have thought that though justice is on the Tamils' side, why is their struggle being destroyed?

Would he have thought that had he accepted Bala anna’s advice: that justice does not rule this world; that it is the interest of the superpowers that does; and therefore we should adjust ourselves to this fact; would we have avoided this situation?

Would he have thought that Tamilselvan on his return from his overseas trips had failed to convey to him accurate information on the changing world?

Would he have thought that he should not have relied entirely on the military machine without a political base and now - when that military machine is being destroyed - the entire future of the Tamil people is going to be crushed?

Would he have thought that he should have avoided certain things that he did or done certain things that he should have avoided?

Would he have thought at all about these mistakes but only thought that everything he has done was right?

I don’t know.

However, I am able to gauge that during his last days he was without confusion and very clear in his actions. He had continued to live in the same soil and had not run away. He, who asked for one child from each family to the struggle, sent all his children to that struggle and they all died. Without taking on any disguise, with his hair blackened, with a clean shave, he has remained till the last. By wearing the same uniform he designed for all his fighters and wearing the same cyanide capsule on his neck he died on the battleground with a gun in his hand.

The Tamil Eelam regime that he built with care over 30 years was breaking up, flattened to the ground, in front of his eyes. Prabakaran’s achievement is not what he built on top of the soil because what is built on top the soil will always be destroyed. His real achievement is the Tamil regime that he built within the heart of each Tamil person. He gave the confidence that Tamils can live in freedom and hold their head high. In reality what the world, the Sinhalese and India, is frightened of, is this regime that Prabakaran had built in the heart of each Tamil along with the conviction and courage to achieve it on soil. Before his time Tamils only read and watched on screen such conviction and bravery.

He made this world accept that the only lasting solution for the Tamils is self government. Beyond rights and wrongs, that man lived with a sacred dream and walked a path to fulfil that dream without any confusion. He made some mistakes. Others which are considered mistakes today will be shown to be not mistakes in the future by history. It is true he failed to see some of the other issues because he was so focused on the huge struggle to achieve his sacred goal. In his sacred goal, he was always flawless.

It is disrespectful for us to fail to give him the final farewell because we don’t have the courage to accept that he is no more. In a way, to continue like this, is letting down the people for whom he lived and died. We should pay our last respect to him, gain clarity about the freedom struggle, come together to fill the vacuum he has left behind in leadership, and with unity move history to the next phase. With SJV peaceful struggle for Tamil Eelam, Tamil Eelam War I, came to an end. With Prabakaran the armed struggle, Eelam War II, came to an end. But the Tamil struggle has not come to an end. The sovereignty we lost 500 years ago and the political rights we lost 60 years ago have not been won back.

In this new environment with new thoughts, with new ways, without being divided as Hindu, Muslim and Christians and without being scattered as parties and organisations, with an open mind, we must come together with a single identity as Tamils. With the conviction he showed, with the perseverance he had, and with the discipline he followed and with the love he showed for his people, under the flag he raised with 30,000 fighter,s we should come together. We should take forward Tamil Eelam war III with resumed urgency.

Part II

There are many rumours that Prabakaan is not dead, rumours that KP has been sold out to someone. People are forced into a dilemma of having to view some of the media that they believed always told the truth are now spreading rumours. I leave it to the future to clarify the truth behind many of the stories. With the future necessities in mind and as a person who took part in some way in this, I will attempt to give the explanation for one such rumour.

One rumour is that Prabakaran had been deceived by someone who had promised to come down at the right time to save everyone. As a person who took part in some way in the final stages, with the endorsement of Nadesan anna, I wish to say that a lot of effort was made since September 2008 to: stop the Vanni war, save the people, and move the leader and the head office to a safe place. There were communications between the LTTE, some Western countries, Sri Lanka and India over that last 9 months.

There is no truth in the above rumour. The LTTE had been asked to silence weapons and cooperate with a third party during those 9 months, especially since the start of 2009.

Norwegian government, especially Eric Solhiem, was directly involved in this and took a particular interest in this. He and KP were adamant that lives should be saved but the LTTE leadership did not need anyone’s help. The leader was not waging his battles trusting that someone will come in the last minute to save him. The LTTE expressed its confidence until May 2009 in continuing that war. They had their confidence for some reason. But it was not given by someone from outside. On May 14th Thursday, Puleedevan told me by telephone, that they can continue to withstand the onslaught for some more time. He had said the same thing to KP on the same day. The LTTE leadership came forward to silence weapons of Friday 15th afternoon. When Nadesan anna phoned me then, he said that they are ready to give up their weapons, and that the concerned people should start to come down and rescue the people and the leader was ready to cooperate fully. I carried out the roles allocated to me.

The same information was given to KP by Soosai. KP and Ruthara anna took the actions allocated to them. A few other friends started their efforts in few other fronts. However, when the LTTE came forward to silence the guns, it was too late. I believe the people involved will publish the communications and the exchanges and other supporting evidence when it is needed in order to put history right.

It is not my intention to flatter KP. I have never seen him, and until Nadesan anna told me to, I have never communicated with him. There are many rumours about KP - that he is a traitor, that he is a man who had sold out and that he is a man who had deceived. There are many others, too. What he did for the last 30 years, and his relationship to the leader is known only to him, to the leader and to the fighters who operated the long distance communication equipment. It is good for the rest of us not to imagine things. The fact is that KP, who was given rest for the sake of his own safety from arms purchase and handling finance for the last 4 years, was asked to, at least partly, fill the role of Bala anna at the start of this year.

Nadesan

Most of the leadership of the LTTE living in the island were killed. The remaining few are in detention. In this environment, as far as I am concerned, there are four reasons to believe KP, to ask the rest of the fellow Tamils to believe KP, and to accept him as the umbrella under which all Tamils could gather together.

1) Nadesan anna has told me that if I was to lose contact with Nadesan anna I should make contact with KP.

2) In the last communication from Vanni, Soosai anna said everything is being done through KP now.

3) There are only 2 people alive who have been with the leader through the past 30 years and have nurtured the struggle. One is KP, the other is Adele aunty.

4) All communications by anyone inside to anyone outside had said that we should operate under KP annas direction.

Thus in the current environment, we should stop throwing mud on that man and attempt to do something constructive.

The armed struggle for Tamileelam has come to an end. The environment for an armed struggle does not exist in the homeland. It is all empty talk to say Ram anna is preparing in the Amparia jungles. It is also rumour that 1000s of fighters are hiding in the Vanni jungles. It is unrealistic to expect that they will launch a guerilla warfare.

Pulitheevan Pulithevan

Please understand what guerilla warfare is. Whether it is in jungle or in countryside, a guerilla fighter cannot live where there are no people. There is no guerilla-warfare without people. People should live in their villages; even if the do they should be ready for the struggle; even if they are ready, they should come forward to help the fighter. In Tamileelam, at present, none of these exist. People do not have the strength to wage or stand the effects of such a guerilla war.

At the same time the environment in the whole world is not conducive to get support for an armed struggle. The period to take forward a political struggle, with the armed struggle as its backbone came to an end on September 11th 2001. On May 18th 2009 it also came to an end for the Tamils.

While we conducted an arm struggle without any modification for the last 25 years, this world has gone through four world orders.

1) Cold war period: …till 1990. In this period with two superpowers it was suitable to lean on one of the two to gain support for the armed struggle. It was a conducive period for the Tamils. The South Asian geopolitics made our armed struggle intensify.

2) Post cold war period (1990 – 2001). Communism dissolved away. World came under a single superpower, the USA. Armed struggle that were useful for the west won. South Asia was unimportant to the superpower. India distanced itself after Rajeev's murder. Thus the period was conducive for Tamils and our armed struggle grew further.

3) Post September 11th 2001. Like the cold war, the world again divided into two, but this time all the states were on one side and non-state armed actors on the other. They were called terrorists. And nothing justified an armed struggle.

4) The new cold war. 2005 onwards. The new superpower, China, needs the Indian Ocean. It helps Sri Lanka. India, which wanted to destroy LTTE, needed a war. USA needed India to resist China. In the end the west did not want move a speck in the South Asian region without India’s consent. All these lead to an end of the armed struggle for the LTTE.

We now have to look for other ways. Tamils are now in their weakest position for the last 60 years. The Sinhalese are over-confident with their victory. It has swallowed the land which is the basis of our economic welfare. The concepts of Tamil homeland, Tamil nation and our political rights are all facing destruction at the hands of the Sinhalese. The battleground spread in front of us is mysterious. It cannot be won with weapons made of iron. Intelligence is needed acutely.

We have had differences of opinion, we still do. But these are about the path we should follow, and not about the goal.

We were confused, we still are. But it is about whether Tamileelam is possible or not. Not about whether Tamileelam is needed or not.

There is no difference in opinion among us that Sinhalese will never give justice to us. It is through some form of struggle that Tamils will win their political rights. It is with this conclusion and clarity that 30,000 fighters with the leader gave their life. The enemy is waiting for us to be dispersed into factions. They are presently active in destroying our unity, our political capacity, and making us permanent slaves. Without unity, none of us will have anything in the island. Open mindedness, sharp intellect and clarity about the future, these are the weapons we must take in our hands. The struggle is entering this new force.

In terms of international relations, there is something called Smart-Power.

Hard-Power is military power. Soft-Power is other non-military powers. Smart-Power is exploiting international relations. It is the intellectual power a country or a nation has to achieve something that cannot be achieved by Hard-Power or Soft-Power. Even superpowers are applying this kind of power to come on top of the other. Even Sri Lanka used this type of power to destroy the LTTE.

Because we took our struggle through Hard-Power in a time when it was incompatible, we lost. There is nothing the Tamil nation has that it can claim as Soft-Power. Today, what we have and what we can use is Smart-Power. The same geopolitical interest that brought an end to our Hard-Power, will also help us reach our goal. We too have to do our role in creating an environment to reach that. We have to exploit the conditions which already exist for it. Our final goal is Tamileelam. But the way is long and it has many hurdles. We have to give up our old vehicles and choose new ones. We may have to gain new friends. Subtle changes in the struggle should not be interpreted as we have changed from our goal.

Our neighbour, India, is a superpower. It has gained a geographical importance now. Nothing can change without the consent of India in South Asia. We have to go forward by taking India on our side. We must consider gains for both of us.  Many powers have today understood the depth of the Tamil issue. However, their interests and the form of our struggle have in the past been in contradiction. In the new form of our struggle, we must gain their support.

The people who lived with pride are today behind barbed wire. The fighters who fought for our freedom are in prison camps of the Sinhalese. Many fighters, who were sent all over the island, are now living in dangerous conditions.  We have to rescue all of them and pave the way for their decent life.

The TNA that remains in the island to represent the Tamils are forced to work within the Sri Lankan political system. Whatever we do from the outside should not create problems for them. Two long-term plans are in their early stages now. 

Transnational Government of Tamileelam

Global Tamil Forum.

The first aims to gain international recognition. It is a government. GTF is a civil society movement.  First is a leadership that conducts society. The second is a civil society made of people. One supports the other. Both have to travel in the same direction.