Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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The South has Spoken

Statement by the Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations

November 19, 2005

By boycotting the presidential election, which pitted the openly chauvinistic Mahinda Rajapakse against the equally anti-Tamil, Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Tamil people have allowed the Sinhala South to have its say. The result speaks for itself. Sans  the votes of the southern minority groups - the 'Upcountry Tamils' and the Muslims, who voted en masse for Wickramasinghe - the vote for Rajapakse by the Sinhalese was indeed a decisive one.

The overwhelming majority of the Sinhalese have thus voted for the man who denies the existence of a distinct Tamil nation, a Tamil Homeland and the Tamil people's right to self determination. Instead, he believes in the inherent right of the Sinhala Buddhists to dominate and rule. His election promises include the redefining of the Cease-Fire Agreement and an emphatic denial of any political power sharing with the Tamil people.

Why then did the Tamil leadership and the elected Tamil representatives call for a boycott of the elections? And why did the Tamil people heed this call?

The answers lie in the duplicity of the Sinhala political establishment throughout the last five decades, including the last three and a half years.  On every occasion that required the support of the Tamils, the dominant  Sinhala parties have courted and wooed the Tamils only to later turn their backs and return to their chauvinistic agenda - an agenda which underpins Sinhala political philosophy and one to which all Sinhala parties have been faithful, without exception!

Wooing the Tamils to win Government and reverting to type on winning has been the Island's true, but sad history.  The war made little difference to the Sinhala political parties. Kumaratunge, who received overwhelming Tamil support in 1994, conducted the grotesque strategy of 'peace through war' - a strategy which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Tamil civilians, hundreds of 'disappearances', and the exodus of half a million Tamils from the Jaffna peninsula.

Then there was Wickramasinghe. Having been elected Prime Minister on the promise of peace, he agreed to a cease-fire in the face of imminent defeat.  Wickramasinghe soon reverted to type through delaying tactics. There was this loud proclamation by him about power sharing with the Tamil people, but it was directed primarily at the international community. More significantly, little was done to explain this concept to the Sinhala electorate. Instead, Wickramasinghe's 'achievements' include: the abysmal failure of SIHRN specifically formed to restore normalcy, the crafty attempt to construct an international safety net and, most tellingly, the cultivation of the renegade Karuna . 

The Tamil people realised that, while Rajapakse  was engaged in the time tested Bandaranaike mode of openly racist campaigning, Wickramasinghe was pursuing the 'all things to all men' campaign. The Tamils were not prepared to be fooled by the man and  exercised their democratic right to abstain.

AFTA supports the decision of their brethren and looks forward to a political arrangement where the Tamil people of the NorthEast of the Island can exercise their  democratic right to self determination.

Ana Pararajasingham, Chairman
Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations
PO Box 215, Enfield NSE 2136