Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Response is Called For

by Wakeley Paul, Esq.

While no one is going to hand us our destiny on a silver platter, there is no reason for us to be misinterpreted and misunderstood. That has been the role of Sinhalese governments, who have adopted the type of 'anti-Semitic' attitude toward us that some nations have been guilty of elsewhere. Our people have been denied equal opportunities for employment, equal opportunities for higher education, equal opportunities for landownership and any opportunities to have our political rights fulfilled under the current political structure.            

The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister’s statement comparing the LTTE to El Qaeda and making the LTTE sound even worse, calls for an immediate response from all of us to Condoleezza Rice through President Bush and to our respective Senators and Representatives. This can be done through the web site:

Even more effective is to contact these US government officials by mail or telephone.

Four significant features need to be emphasized, though everyone is free to exercise his own freedom in refuting this absurdity. They are:

[i] That the only enemy the LTTE has had are successive SL governments and their armed forces,
[ii] That they have never been involved against anyone outside Sri Lanka
[iii] That suicide bombings against armed forces as opposed to civilians does not make them a terrorist organization and
[iv] That the U.S. government has branded the LTTE as a terrorist organization without any justification whatsoever.           

Suicide bombings against civilians per se can be regarded as terrorist, but suicide bombings to counteract the attacks of a superior army certainly cannot be. Governments love to so categorize even attacks against their forces as 'terrorist,' because they have great difficulty in handling this technique used by a smaller armed forces to combat theirs.            

The LTTE have on occasion used suicide bombers against civilians while responding to brutal and uncalled for attacks against civilians by the SL armed forces. An examination of all the suicide attacks will show that the vast majority of such attacks were against the SL armed forces, not against civilians.            

For anyone in his right mind to suggest that the the LTTE is not fightingto free the Tamils from the unceasing discrimination by Sinhalese governments is farcical beyond belief. What else is the LTTE reacting to? Has the Foreign Minister turned a blind eye to the persecution that has plagued us? Has he forgotten the government violence that was used tocombat the non-violent protests of the prime proponent of non-violence, Mr. Chelvanayagam, on behalf of the Tamils between 1952 and 1977? Has he failed to understand that the gap between Sinhalese and Tamils has become unbridgeable? Does he not recognize that our dreams of equal treatment within the Sri Lankan state have long been relegated to a distant memory? Does he not realize that our discouragements, disappointments, doubts and concerns cannot be hidden from the world at large any longer?            

It is time each of us in our own way emphasized these and other problems that have caused the LTTE to fight for freedom, after all efforts at Equal Treatment and Federalism have failed . Is not that what motivates the LTTE to fight the SL governments and armed forces?           

It is most unfortunate that the American Ambassador, for diplomatic reasons, has to swallow the SL government propaganda hook line and sinker, while at the same time rejecting the very creditable Tamil claim that the disturbances in the East have been stimulated by the SL army using the Karuna group as their agents. He has even gone to the extent of threatening the LTTE by stating the SL army, with American help, is far stronger than it ever was. This is hardly consistent with his other claim that they want t o see the CFA fulfilled, forgetting that it is the government and not the LTTE that does not wish to honor it. in its present form.