by A. Nillanthan, October 21, 2023
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the armed struggle of the Tamil people began to gain momentum, Tamil movements like EROS, EPRLF, PLOT etc. received military training in Palestine. Those who received such training were called “PLO Rainies” in the homeland. Some of them – Suresh Premachandran, Douglas Devananda – are still active in Tamil politics. Palestine was an ally of the Tamil people during the early stages of the armed struggle. In those days, a collection of Palestinian poems compiled by poet Nukuman was loved by Tamil militants. The book influenced many young poets. At that same time, Israel provided military equipment to the Sri Lankan government. It was a period of brutal war.
In 1992, Viktor Osrovsky, one of the spies of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, published a book. The book, called By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer, caused great controversy. Victor Osrovsky, who published the book, took refuge in Canada. The book revealed information about how the Mossad helped both sides of the war in Sri Lanka. There are details in the book that troops from both sides were trained in two different areas of the same military base.
And there are parts of the Sri Lankan government that are poorly portrayed. When a Sri Lankan government official shows a scanning screen attached to a “vacuum cleaner” in a harbor and asks what it can tell, a Mossad officer tells him that it shows all the details, including the blood type, of people secretly squirming underwater. When asked why he lied, the officer replied that the Sri Lankans had just come from the forest. The LTTE translated this book under the title “The Way of Deceit” and distributed it to its fighters. Then President Premadasa tried to file a lawsuit against Victor Osrowski claiming that the book insulted the Sri Lankan government forces.
The year after this book was published, in 1993, Norwegian-sponsored peace efforts resulted in the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestine. According to the agreement, an autonomous power structure was created for the Palestinians. This structure was seen as very productive by Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka. Mahinda has been a friend of Palestine since the beginning. In 2014, he visited the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority, where he was awarded the country’s highest award, the “Star of Palestine”. A street there was named after Mahinda. The Tamil people accused Mahinda of defeating the armed struggle of the Tamil people through genocide. In a political environment, at a time when resolutions against Mahinda were being passed in the UN, Palestine honored Mahinda as mentioned above.
In such a historical background, what kind of stand should the Tamil people take in the war between Israel and Palestine? If you say it in terms of religion/morality, if you say it in terms of a struggling nation, we should support Palestine. What is happening now in Gaza is the same thing that happened here in the NorthEast. There is only one big difference., however. Most of the Arab countries are in favor of the Palestinian, while no country openly raised their voice in support of the Tamil people that day. The Tamil people were isolated, a situation where they were surrounded by almost the whole world. There are Arab countries to give food, medicine and moral support to the Palestinians. But who helped the Eelam Tamils?
On the other hand, Western countries, which are its touchstones, continue to provide moral support and weapons to Israel. Especially in the Asian region, India has expressed its support to Israel immediately after the start of the war.
Now let’s summarize the above. Palestine, once seen as a supporter of the Tamil people, later awarded the highest award to Mahinda Rajapaksa, while providing training to the LTTE, which supplied arms to the Sri Lankan government, says Victor Osrowski.
Now the Western countries that support Israel have a position in favor of the Eelam Tamils in the UN Human Rights Council. So whose side should the Eelam Tamils stand on?
On the basis of religion, it is on the side of Palestine. In terms of diplomacy?
First of all, let’s see if there are positions based on dharma in politics. Regarding modern politics, there is no such thing as virtue, dharma, or justice. There is only a disgusting bargain related to political, military, and economic interests.
Let’s take the Jews for example. The longest diaspora people in the world are the Jews. About two thousand years of diaspora, so they became the most Europeanized Asians in the world. In the last century, the Jews were massacred all over Europe. Around 6 million Jews were massacred during World War II. The child is Israel. In other words, Israel is the child of the Jewish diaspora. But the Jewish state, which was formed as a result of a genocide, caused another genocide. A group of people who have suffered the most genocide in the world are genocidating the small Palestinians. If Israel has not learned from the largest genocide in the world, who else can we expect virtue, righteousness and justice from?
Western countries that use democracy and human rights as political tools are Israel’s touchstones. When the American representative started speaking at the Geneva Human Rights Council on the 18th, the representatives of most of the countries present there stood up and showed their backs to the American representative. It is the same Western countries led by the United States that are bringing resolutions against the Sri Lankan government in the UN Human Rights Council.
Turkey, an Islamic country, is a member of US-led NATO, but Turkey is one of the countries that support Hamas.
Cuba stands on the side of the Sri Lankan government in the UN Human Rights Council. It is a country that fought and won. At the beginning of the Eelam struggle, Cuba was also praised as an ideal example. Some of the Eelam fighters named themselves Khazro. But Cuba did not side with the Tamil people in the UN.
So Dharma is not a criterion here. Any country in the world, whether it is small or big, takes decisions based on its own interests and maintains only beneficial relations, not dependent on virtue.
What kind of decision should the Eelam Tamils, who are a small group of people without a government?
If the Elamites can ask for justice only from the righteous, they cannot ask for justice anywhere in the world. Or you can perform yagya like the late Malayalam leader Sowmiyamurthy Thondaman. As far as modern politics is concerned, the earth does not revolve around the axis of Dharma.
M. Thalayasingham, a spiritualist, writer and scholar who appeared among the Elamites, used a word. That is “Sathya Tantra”. M. Thaliyasingham is one of the pioneer writers of the Eelam War. His spiritual friends will say that his novel “Eru Tani Veedu” prophetically expressed the struggle for a separate country. What is Sathya Tantra? That is what Krishna does in the Mahabharata. The Pandavas won the Bharata war not only by force of arms, but largely because of Krishna’s intellect. In other words the Mahabharata can be called Krishna Tantra. I don’t know if that is what Thalayasingham said is the trick of truth. But that is the only way for the Tamil people not to abandon the virtue that is the heart of their struggle and to behave in accordance with the world order. In the words of Christ, to behave like “doves without hypocrisy in one’s heart and as cunning as serpents in action”.