Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Is War Imminent?

by K.Mylvaganam, December 21, 2005

The cry for war has been there loud and clear since the campaign for the presidency election commenced. The  Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) were beating the war drums from all the platforms they stood on. Their main slogans were "Unitary State," "Dump the Norwegians," "No Talk of Federalism," "No Tamil Homeland" and "Review the Memorandam of Understanding (MOU)."

Our present President like a parrot echoed all the above utterances of his partners. His only goal was to win the election, irrespective of the consequences.

With the great hope of roping in India as the facilitator for the peace process instead of the Norwegians, the foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera took wings to New Delhi following the election. Unfortunately for the new government, India not only refused to accept their offer - or should I say fall prey to their tactics or unscruplous plan - they recommended that the government request Norway to continue to facilitate as before.

Now the President, the JVP and the JHU have swallowed their own words and dropped their “Unitary State” rhetoric. They are now in accord with what Ranil Wickremasinghe always advocated. None of these leaders have realised that they were whipping up the communal feelings of the Sinhalese masses and at the same time antagonising the Tamils.

No one seems to have realised or learnt from the colossal mistake committed by S.W.R.D.Bandaranayake in 1956 when he used the dopey slogan "Sinhala Only in 24 Hours" which sowed the seeds for all the evils and destructions Sri Lanka is facing today. It took several decades for the Sri Lankan government to revoke that policy. The bill has been removed alright, but the prejudices in the minds of both the Sinhalese and the Tamils are still there fresh and alive. I wonder whether it will ever vanish from their minds.

They say that the JVP has come into the democratic stream. But the truth is they were forced to it by the Sri Lankan army in 1989. All their military cadres were annihilated completely and their leader Rohan Wijeyaweera was killed. They were left with no other alternative but to enter the democratic path.

But the war mongering attitude has not deserted the JVP even now. They think or dream that the army could be trained to face the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in three months' time. The million dollar question is whether they have got the three months. Will the Tigers let them have the three months?

Successive Sri Lankan governments have always under estimated the Tigers. They are making the same mistake now. The Tigers have not only built up a formidable force amongst their cadres, but have also enrolled several thousands of volunteers who are properly trained militarily and supposedly armed to the teeth in order to rise up to the occasion when the need arises. The recent attacks and killing of the army personnel by the "People's Force" or “Makkal Padai” should be an eye opener for everybody.

If my information and inferences are correct, the dreaded war - if it were to erupt - would not be confined only to the NorthEast as in the past, but will be spread all over the country. Presently the already fallible and exhausted army will then have to be disbursed all over the country, making it still weaker. With a reduced number of forces in their camps, their bases will be easily run over by the Tigers. One should not forget the Unceasing Waves of the Tigers that ran over the Mullaitivu, Mankulam and the Elephant Pass camps in the past, killing thousands and thousands of soldiers.

When the above camps were overrun, I was told that Mr.V.Pirapakaran always left an outlet for the soldiers to escape. Not necessarily to save the soldiers, but he wanted to avoid an "Animal Brought to Bay Situation." When Jaffna is attacked now, there will be no outlet for the soldiers to escape. If another bloody war were to break out, I dread to think what will happen to those 40 000 soldiers.

Recently I saw in the Leader a picture of a grieving family of one of the 15 soldiers killed in Jaffna. It was a heart-rendering sight. Do we need tens of thousands of such sights within the next few months?

Is a war necessary? NO. Is it avoidable? YES. The dirty war is unnecessary, unwanted and not inevitable, provided the Sinhalese masses rise up in their thousands and demonstrate their hatred and dislike for the war, just like the Americans did during the Vietnam conflict.

But if the Sinhalese masses are carried away by the eloquent orations of war-mongers, I, as a person who has experienced the ferocity and the brutality of the war in 1990 and 1995, can only pray for their souls. When one hears the sound of a bomber, the blood will freeze. You will not know when and where the bomb will fall. I slept under the bed, hoping to save myself from the artillery shells that were fired from Palaly. I have seen mutilated bodies in pieces strewn over 50 to 70 sq. metres. Both the Sinhalese and the Tamils have lost over 150 000 loved ones, including the army personnel and the Tigers. The Tamils have always been agitating for peace as it was they who bore the brunt of the war for over two decades.

I was surprised to see nearly 250 000 people in Jaffna recently holding the Pongu Thamil (Rising Tamil) demonstrations demanding the army to vacate and for peace.  The Sinhalese brethrens should follow this example of peaceful demonstrations. People of the calibre of Dr. Ariyaratne, Dr. Jehan Perera, Dr. Mendis, Mr. Rohan Edrisinha, Dr. Wickremabahu Karunaratne, Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakara, Mr. Nihal de Mel and others like them should hit the road and mobilise the masses against the war. The people in the south have not felt the pinch of the cruel war physically. If they want to try it out, I am certain that they will regret it. I would not want even my enemy to undergo that perilous situation.

A pertinent question to the reader of this article "what have you done to bring PEACE in this country and what do you propose to do"? If the war were to break out, apart from the loss of lives and destruction to properties, a division of the country may be the consequence. Let us live peacefully under a federal set up in a United Sri Lanka, but definitely not in a “Unitary State.”

You deny the Tamils the Bread and they will get the Cake for sure. The state of Tamil Eelam will be the ultimate result of the war...