by Sachi Sri Kantha
I was tempted to compile this list after I read an essay penned by R. K. Narayan entitled, ‘The Enemies.’ First I quote an excerpt from this humorous essay in which Narayan introduced his motivation for a list of the ‘enemies of society’:
"…I was once on a committee of All India Radio, the agenda at a particular meeting being to commemorate regularly the services and achievements of national heroes. As a first step we tried to compile a list of names, and realized soon that we had before us over six hundred names to honour, which meant six hundred hours of broadcasting even if we allotted one hour a day for this programme. The proposal seemed unpractical and was turned over to the care of a sub-committee and was lost sight of.
Later my thoughts proceeded in another direction. Why not compile a directory of enemies of society? This enemy does not rob or shoot, but invents something which causes damage and destruction, unintentionally though…" [in R.K.Narayan/ The Writerly Life – Selected Non Fiction, edited by S.Krishnan, Viking Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2001, pp.443-445]
Taking a cue from the Indian master of letters, it struck me why not toast to General Pirabhakaran’s 50th birthday by openly identifying Pirabhakaran’s critics who have been engaged in Pirabhakaran-bashing since 1983. The reasons for their Pirabhakaran bashing are manifold; these include crypto-racism, dyspepsia, financial bonanza, hogging the limelight, inferiority complex, jealousy, paranoia and political survival. Narayan used the ‘enemy’ word. Maybe it is apt. To avoid unwanted implications, I prefer the word ‘critic’ to ‘enemy.’ Pirabhakaran’s critics include (1) individuals, (2) individuals masquerading under the cover of ‘organizations,’ (3) institutions and (4) the information industry. Of the second category, the University Teachers for Human Rights-Jaffna (UTHR-J) and the World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) are spurious in existence, serving as a convenient mask for a handful of individuals. In such cases, I identify them as individuals and not as an ‘organization.’ As far as individuals are concerned, for reasons of propriety, I have opted to list only those who are living now.
Since I have chosen spread out these critics in the 26 letters of the alphabet, I have taken a little liberty with the first names and last names. Some are better known by their first names than by their last names. Quite a large segment of critics – especially the foreign hacks and those servicing the Intelligence gumshoes for a charge - remain anonymous. Since there are more than 26 individuals who revel in playing an adversarial role to Pirabhakaran, some have to be grouped together into conveniently identifiable clusters. In some of the homepages and web-postings of Pirabhakaran critics of all the four varieties, half truths and vainglorious blurbs are being promoted unabashedly. To scale them more objectively, in my thumb-nail sketches, I have taken the task of reviewing the credentials of Pirabhakaran's critics and their fabrications, in alphabetical order.
A – Asian Tribune blogger [aka, K.T.Rajasingham]: Bangkok-based journalist who prides himself as a ‘family friend’ of the Bandaranaikes, having functioned as the SLFP organizer of Point Pedro in the 1970-77. But he contested the 1977 general election as an independent and was drubbed resoundingly by the Tamil voters of Vadamarachchy for his sin eating credentials. A loose cannon, who opened his website to coincide with the Government of Sri Lanka-LTTE peace talks in September 2002 and thus alleged to have been sponsored in spirit (if not in form) by the skunks and weasels of underground diplomacy; true to the skunk agenda, he now plays the role of ‘Karuna’s Balasingham.’
B – Buddhist extremists [aka JVP]: Second generation of half-baked Communists who mutated into Buddhist extremists and fetishists of Indian diplomats, hacks and skunks. This turn-around was necessitated by circumstances, following the violent death of their leader Rohana Wijeweera and the advocacy of Communism going out of fashion and covert petty cash from the Soviet Union [and a few other ‘evil states’ – in the words of President Reagan] drying up in 1991.
C – Chandrika Kumaratunga: A vulture who wore the mask of a peace pigeon for her vote-catching dance in 1994. Also the one who called Pirabhakaran ‘a megalomaniac’ and lived to see the same epithet stick to her perfectly. The lying madam who wanted to abolish the Presidency within an year [That was her pledge to the dumb folks in 1994!], still clings onto the same power-pole like a leech, after ten years.
D – Devananda, Douglas: The ‘me-too militant’ and foremost charlatan of Eelam Tamil militancy, whose only international news-worthy achievement in the past 20 years was to kidnap the American couple Stanley and Mary Allen of Ohio in 1984 and release them for fear of his life.
E – Economist magazine (London): One of the leading critics of Pirabhakaran in the information industry; still peddling colonial bias and condescension to a greater degree in covering the interests of non-whites. The Economist was born in 1843, when the British empire was the biggest bully and a ranking terrorist in the world. Its editorial policies towards non-whites haven’t changed a bit even after 160 years.
F – Fabulist human rightists [ Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and assorted ilk]: Amnesic and semi-blinded human rightists who can see only the violations committed by the LTTE, but not those by the Sri Lanka’s state-sponsored goons, homeguards and paramilitaries. Then, quite a segment act as front organizations of Intelligence skunks of the Superpowers. They also act as an arm of ‘non-violent diplomacy’ of these Superpowers, while the same Superpowers engage themselves as leading armament producers and peddlers to despotic rulers in the Third World. None other than Nelson Mandela has exposed the dirty game of these fabulist human rightists. To quote Mandela, "Even during the bleakest years on Robben Island, Amnesty International would not campaign for us on the grounds that we had pursued an armed struggle, and their organization would not represent anyone who had embraced violence." [in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, 1995, p.612].
G – Gunaratna, Rohan: The prominent temple drum [kovil melam] of the terrorism industry, who has been peripatetic since September 11, 2001. Having been caught in vita-enhancing bombast, having been exposed as a ‘fear dispenser’ by a few journalists and having been forced to swallow dead rope by the sharks of the Intelligence world, Gunaratna’s sheen has dimmed. Nevertheless, from Pirabhakaran-bashing, Gunaratna has shifted these days to Osama bin Laden-bashing, for monetary gain.
H – Hoole, Rajan: A morally-blind mathematician, who was one of the four co-authors of The Broken Palmyra, and who has hidden behind the spurious label ‘University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna)' to churn out anti-LTTE drivel. He also authored singly, Sri Lanka – The Arrogance of Power; Myths, Decadence and Murder (2001). The less said the better of this guy’s partisan reporting.
I – Interpol: The international policing agency, currently headquartered in Lyon, France, which issued a ‘Red Alert’ Notice for Pirabhakaran’s arrest in late 2000, allegedly on the petitions from the gumshoes of India’s underground diplomacy. Those who check Interpol’s homepage [ www.interpol.int ] would find in its ‘Introduction to Interpol’ the following opening: "Interpol is the largest international police organization in the world. It was set up in 1923 to facilitate cross-border criminal police cooperation." This factoid is only a half-truth, and hides quite a few dirty skeletons in its closet. The International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC – the predecessor of current Interpol) was set up in 1923. In the 1930s, "the Nazis took over the ICPC and moved the headquarters to a town near Berlin. Under the command of Reinhold Heyrich, the Nazis used ICPC files, which recorded a suspect’s religion and sexual orientation, to track down European Jews and homosexuals." [source: Foreign Policy magazine, Jan/Feb 2001, pp.31-40]. The miserable track record of an international policing agency which allowed itself to be hijacked by the Nazis shows how much its bureaucrats dance more to the predominant political winds than to the need for apprehending real criminals.
J – Jeyaraj, D.B.S.: The foremost ‘Tamil pen for hire,’ who can churn out hosanna for his hosts in Colombo and Chennai, while posing as an impartial pleader for the Tamils.
K – Kadirgamar, Lakshman: Foremost servile sin-eater to the Bandaranaike clan, who came to politics through the backdoor in 1994. His hopes of becoming the Secretary to the Commonwealth Assembly (2003) and prime minster of Sri Lanka (2004) have vanished into thin air. But this guy has the stamina to eat a ton load of sin for self glory.
L – Lake House Publishers (Colombo): The racist mouth-piece of the ruling Sinhalese party in power for decades, whose published statistics of ‘Tamil terrorists killed’ in the 1980s and 1990s would exceed the number of Tamils actually living in the island.
M – Muralitharan: Not the foremost Tamil cricketer of our era, but his namesake who was once known as Col. Karuna of the LTTE. After deserting the organization from which he gained his name and fame, he lives by foul-mouthing Pirabhakaran, who was his ‘God’ as late as last March. Have any reporters seen his face and frame since his Easter Sunday’s "run-a-thon for life" to Colombo?
N – Narayan Swamy, M.R.: Author of two books on the LTTE; the first one Tigers of Sri Lanka (1994) was a useful source. But his second work, Inside an Elusive Mind Prabhakaran (2003) is a hatchet job for the RAW gumshoes.
O – Overtly Racist Quartet [ H.L.D.Mahindapala, Susantha Goonetilleke, Dayan Jayatilleka and Tisaranee Gunasekara]: The brains behind the ‘Warped Aryans Against Peace in Sri Lanka’ (WAPS) pressure group. Pirabhakaran torments these four even in their dreams and their nauseating bleatings in the partisan media are proofs of their agony. Reason: General Pirabhakaran has turned Sri Lankan borders into a rump of what existed in 1983.
P – Perera, Jehan: Nothing but a crypto-racist who walks in the cloak of an NGO label and contributes banal commentaries to the Colombo press on the LTTE’s intransigence.
Q – Quack Quartet of Chennai [S.C.Chandrahasan, Cho Ramasamy, Jayalalitha, and Subramanian Swamy]: An assorted clique of literate loonies who are pretentious pretenders of a few greats. (1) Chandrahasan is a proverbial parrot which waited for the cotton fruit of Eelam Tamil leadership to ripen for his tasting; thus his personal grudge against Pirabhakaran. He pretends to carry the legacy of his illustrious father, S.J.V.Chelvanayakam. (2) Jayalalitha is the political dominatrix of Tamil Nadu whose fortunes have waxed and waned since 1989. She pretends to continue the legacy of her mentor and LTTE benefactor, M.G.Ramachandran. (3) Cho Ramasamy is a jack of all trades, who pretends to be an amiable cross between Bernard Shaw and Charlie Chaplin. (4) Subramanian Swamy is the pretender to the title ‘India’s Bertrand Russell’; but in deeds, he has turned out to be a ‘Bertrand Russell without a brain.’
R – Ram, Narasimhan: The hideous hypocrite from the House of Hindu, with Communist sympathies, who switched to ‘human rights’ advocacy and back-door diplomacy for vanity. One who perenially suffers from ‘foot in the mouth’ disease. An admirer of anti-Tamil racist Gamini Dissanayake, Ram’s notoriety in tagging his favorite epithet [‘Pol Potist’] on Pirabhakaran is despicable. That Pol Pot was a Communist sympathizer like him, in addition to being a self-professed Buddhist doesn’t click in Ram’s addled mind. Furthermore, Pol Pot received succor from post-Mao Chinese ideologists and covert support in diplomatic recognition from Uncle Sam’s Poo Bahs. Guess who receives similar succor and support in Sri Lanka – not Pirabhakaran.
S – Somasundaram, Daya: A psychiatrist, who was one of the four co-authors of The Broken Palmyra (1990) and the sole author of Scarred Minds – The Psychological Impact of War on Sri Lankan Tamils (1998).
T – TULF President, V.Anandasangaree: Abandoned by the Tamil voters as a phony, and facing the dilemma of an address-less future, this fence-sitting fox yearns for some respect, which is hardly forthcoming. I opted to place him in this alphabet, rather than in alphabet A (for Anandasangaree), since the title, ‘TULF President’ seems more dear to him now. But what is in his hand is the equivalent of a ‘steering wheel’, while the chassis, engine and the wheels have drifted from him lock, stock and barrel.
U – Uncle Sam’s Poo Bahs; the job for these guys is to re-cycle diplomatically the following six sentences "We do strongly support the peace process in Sri Lanka. We're encouraged that the ceasefire continues to hold. Both sides have stated that they want to reopen formal negotiations as soon as possible. And there is, in fact, a request from the President of Sri Lanka to Norway to resume active efforts. And that's a request that we welcome. So we'll see what we can do to get it going." [US State Department/ Daily Press Briefing, May 12, 2004]
V – Varadaraja Perumal; Once he played the role of India’s pet political poodle perfectly, but now languishes in quasi-retirement like a zombie unwanted by anyone. Will he has a chance of being resurrected?
W – Weerakoon, Gamini; the editor of the Island (Colombo) newspaper, who earns his salt by cranking out anti-Pirabhakaran editorials, riddled with factual twists and fantasies.
X – Xenophobic Pundits of the Terrorism Industry [such as Bruce Hoffman, Peter Chalk, Walter Laqueur and John Burns]. Barking dogs who make easy money by chanting ‘suicide terrorism of the LTTE’ to the media.
Y – Yellow robed Buddhists; the barks of these Buddhists have been stronger than their bites. But since April this year, their barks seems to have lost the ‘scare quotient.’ The elected ones among these have been performing like circus clowns rather than as meditators in monasteries. Even the fence-sitting fox Anandasangaree turned his back on their facile offer to be anointed as a ‘National List MP’ of their Jathika Hela Urumaya party.
Z – Zany Nuts of RAW: The only army which has been in covert war with Pirabhakaran since 1986, and even attempted to assassinate the LTTE leader more than once. These nuts have won a few battles [by causing desertions and treacheries], but mostly have gotten black-eyes from Pirabhakaran.
Coda on Critics
One of my favorite Tamil proverbs is, Kaayaa marathukku kal eri vizhuma? [translation: Will the barren tree get bombarded with stones?], which refers to critical darts aimed at a fruitful life. Down the ages, from the times of legendary Tamil poet Nakkirar, Socrates and Julius Caesar, any high achiever worthy of his or her efforts has had their share of critics. Thus, General Pirabhakaran being criticised by many from four corners is not unusual. In my opinion, another Tamil proverb impresses on who these critics are; Naaiku velaiyum illai – irukka neramum illai [translation: The dog is devoid of work – it’s idling time is also nil.]. Majority of the above-mentioned critics are hardly different from the dog implied in this proverb. That until now, General Pirabhakaran has treated his critics with the disdain they deserve is in tune with five of other high achievers who had put their critics in their mangers with such thoughts. Here are those selected five.
Bob Dylan: "Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pens – And keep your eyes open, the chance won’t come again – And don’t speak too soon, the wheel’s still in spin – And there’s no telling who that it’s naming" [in, lyrics of song ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’, 1964]
Johnny Carson: "You can’t let an audience run your show for you. If you do, soon you won’t have any audience." [in, Playboy magazine interview, December 1967]
General Vo Nguen Giap: "[General] Westmoreland was wrong to expect that his superior fire-power would grind us down. If we had focused on the balance of forces, we would have been defeated in two hours. We were waging a people’s war. America’s sophisticated arms, electronic devices and all the rest were to no avail in the end." [to Stanley Karnow, in New York Times magazine, June 24, 1990]
James Michener: "Critics are invaluable in advising me how to spend my money. They are not qualified to tell me how to spend my talent." [in, The World is My Home – A Memoir, 1992]
Nelson Mandela: "As a leader, one must sometimes take actions that are unpopular, or whose results will not be known for years to come." [in, Long Walk to Freedom, 1995]
One can provide fifty quotes like these as garlands to Pirabhakaran’s 50th birthday. But five will suffice. As attested by the trail-blazing wisdom of these five high achievers in their chosen disciplines, my birthday greetings to Pirabhakaran are: ‘Let your caravan march, while the dogs keep barking.’