If you happen to attend any large gathering of Eelam Tamils, they will have you convinced that Eelam Tamils are not united. If you stick around longer, you will be convinced Tamils around the world, not just Eelam Tamils, are also not united.
I am not sure how this falsehood came to dominate the Tamil thinking. If not addressed, this has the danger of becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.
Eelam Tamils should be very proud of their unified struggle against a Genocidal state for so many decades. If we were not a united people, the struggle would not have lasted for 3 generations. And rest assured, this struggle will continue until Tamil’s safety and security are in Tamil hands and until Tamils own their economic future . Doomsayers will be proven wrong.
Dissent should not be confused for disunity. Tamils have always been united in their vision of securing the safety and security of Tamils. Of course, there have been exceptions as you would expect from any large society where few Tamils actively worked alongside the Genocidal Sri Lankan state to undermine the Tamil cause. But Eelam Tamils have identified and rejected them at every turn. And they will continue to do so.
Tamils have a proud and long history of dissent. Rightly or wrongly many Tamils have paid for this with their lives. Self-criticism makes a society better when it is embraced as a worthy quality. It was the dissent of Thanthai Selva, Navaratnam, etc that set the Tamil struggle in the right course.
A cost-benefit analysis of dissent can yield different results under different contexts. For example when a society is nurturing a secretive, and guerilla insurgency campaign vs. when the society is engaged in a transparent political struggle. In the former, dissent can be costly and the enemy can exploit it as a counter insurgency tactic. In the later, dissent can be a big asset. But under both contexts, the society itself should see and be convinced of the trade offs.
As Joseph Nye argued in the book (pg 106), Future of Power, toleration of dissent and presence of self-criticism enhances credibility and creates attraction to the society in a global narrative.
As Eelam Tamils transition from an armed campaign to a new phase of political struggle, set on a world stage, we should adapt to use dissent and self-criticism as strengths rather than weaknesses, and more importantly not to confuse that with disunity.
We should be glad to see Tamil organizations occupy every band of a wider political spectrum. thus denying that space to the Sri Lankan state. The diversity of diaspora organizations, each operating in different spaces but united in the end goal is a strategic asset. What is needed is open collaboration and communication between them to avoid disunity in the future. Not an endless discussion about the mistaken need to work as one a single organization.