International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Paris Conference June 14-19, 2005

by Wakeley Paul

I attended the above conference, which, after a mouthful of pious platitudes in the opening session, became more fiery and passionate at the sessions of the different committees.

The Public Relations chief of the LTTE Paris Office attended the Committee that dealt with U.N.REFORM.  I focused my attention on the Committee on TERRORISM. We were the only EELAM TAMILS at the Conference.

My Committee session was opened with a presentation by an Indian Lawyer, who portrayed the Indian Government as the model in handling terrorism with a Gandhian commitment to NON VIOLENT INTERVENTION in TERRORIST activity.  My blood was boiling with suppressed anger, as was the blood of other delegates, who were fully aware of India’s commitment to violence and torture in their efforts to suppress freedom movements all around them, 

As soon as the speaker was done, a Canadian delegate got up and described this presentation as an insult to this audience.

I then got up and asked the speaker whether he was aware of India’s disgraceful intervention in the island of Sri Lanka in the 1980’s? I followed  this up by saying "Your government first invaded us on the pretext of helping the Tamils by bringing food to prevent the Tamils of SRI LANKA from starving; and then you turned right around and aided and abetted the most violently repressive Sri Lankan governments by sending your troops to support  their sagging army, to try to wipe out the  LTTE which was fighting to save the Tamils from eternal Sinhalese discrimination and violence.  When your troops were humiliated and beaten by the LTTE, your troops resorted to killing women in Temples, children in schools and youth who demanded a separate state.  Far from being proud of your government’s performance, you ought to hang your head in shame,"
I said.  The speaker was silent and embarrassed while the audience applauded.

Another Canadian thereupon accused the Indian government of being one of the most guilty of State Terrorism.  He said their use of torture by RAW to suppress freedom  movements in Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Mayanmar and Sri Lanka are some of the worst examples of STATE TERRORISM in the
region.

This Indian speaker maintained a stunned silence and ceased to attend sessions of our committee thereafter.

Immediately prior to the final closing session, I raised an important point.  I pointed out that we were approaching  the problem of TERRORISM upside down.  Instead of looking at the causes of what inspires anyone to indulge in what everyone views as TERRORISM, we are seeking ways to
define how to punish those who are reacting  with violence to  STATE TERROR.  We should reverse our thinking process and first define STATE TERROR, and then determine whether the response to that State Terror is justified or not.  Instead, we are looking at the problem the other way
around.

The Chairman in concluding the session and summarizing  the situation, referred specifically to my submission and said it will  take time to reverse the thinking process.

I think as lawyers we should lead, and our Sangam and all Sangams should approach what is described as this  TERRORIST problem , on these lines.  We should not take a defensive  position.  We must make those guilty of  STATE TERROR defensive.

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Posted June 18, 2005