Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Truth in Sri Lanka

by Sabesan, Melbourne, Australia, January 21, 2006

The US should take to task the government, which is responsible for this problem and is committing state terrorism against innocent Tamil civilians. How can you realistically expect a solution for a problem when you label the aggrieved party as “terrorists”?

This article is a translation of the analysis broadcast on Melbourne's 3CR Tamil Voice on January 21, 2006. The full Tamil version is published in The translation is by Arvalan.

Sri Lanka is on the brink of war as evidenced by the escalation of violence.  At the same time anti-peace and pro-war cries could be heard loud and clear. Further, some statements made by the international community are creating more problems.

We have argued that the Mahinda Rajapakse government is endeavoring to find a military solution to the ethnic conflict. To strengthen their resolve to find a military solution the government of Sri Lanka has embarked on a false propaganda campaign aimed at the imposing of a ban on the Tamil Tigers.

The fact that countries like the USA have fallen prey to this false propaganda does not augur well for the Tamil community’s struggle for “peace with justice.” We expect the international community to consider some historical facts in this context.

'What is the core reason behind the current conflict?, 'Who created this conflict?' are some of the questions that need to be answered to understand the real truth behind this conflict.

Since gaining independence from the British, successive Sinhalese governments have not adhered to the principles of democracy. Democratic rights belonging to the Tamils have been continually denied over the years. Peaceful struggles launched by the Tamils were oppressed with the force of violence. Sri Lankan governments continue to dish out military violence, constitutional violence, economic violence, educational violence, ethnic riots at the Tamils.

Tamils took up violence because of the continued denial of their democratic rights at the hands of successive Sri Lankan governments. Tamils successfully countered the denials of their democratic rights through an armed struggle, leading to the Sri Lankan government to agree for peace talks.

The acts the Sri Lankan government committed to deny the democratic rights of the Tamils amounts to State terrorism. The armed struggle launched by the Tamil Tigers to save democracy and protect the Tamil people amounts to a liberation struggle. However, the fact is that current governments in countries such as Australia and USA have labeled the Tamils' armed struggle as terrorism and Sri Lanka’s state terrorism as the democratic way.  This is unfortunate and defies the principles of democracy these countries preach.

It is rather ridiculous that these countries, which turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed against the Tamil community by successive Sri Lankan governments, are now labeling Tamils' defensive struggle terrorism.

Recent comments made by the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jeffrey Lunstead are a disgrace to the democratic values held by his country.

"If the LTTE chooses to abandon peace, however, we want it to be clear, they will face a stronger, more capable and more determined Sri Lankan military," Lunstead said. "We want the cost of a return to war to be high," he added. He  said the US remained committed to the peace process in Sri Lanka, and in helping the legitimate governing bodies of the island to prepare for their roles in developing and protecting their citizens.

If the ambassador and the US want peace, then they should apply pressure on the Sri Lankan government. The US should take to task the government, which is responsible for this problem and is committing state terrorism against innocent Tamil civilians. How can you realistically expect a solution for a problem when you label the aggrieved party as “terrorists”?

Sinhalese people have never risen against their own government, even when they know their government is at fault.  However, the American public has always risen against their government, like they did during the Vietnam War. American governments have never oppressed these protestors violently. The reason being, they want to protect the democratic rights of their people. However, successive Sri Lankan governments have suppressed democratic protests, resulting in the outbreak of an armed struggle.

If it is true that the US is trying to deny the same democratic rights which are being enjoyed by its own citizens to the people of Sri Lanka, than that demeans the US public and the high regard they hold for their democratic rights.

Tamil people did not launch their liberation struggle with the expectation that they will earn the recognition and support of governments like the US. This may be because, when the Tamils suffered at the hands of the successive Sri Lankan governments, these countries did nothing to stop it. The attempted pressurizing tactic used by these international forces at the Tamil Tigers may not work beyond a certain point.

Even after pointing out these facts, I would like to state that there is still time available for the US and other international forces to change their attitude towards the Tamil liberation struggle.

The nternational community should come forward to establish a peace with justice in the island of Sri Lanka. If it is true that the international community does not want a war in Sri Lanka, they need to take certain actions and accept the truth behind the ethnic problem.

  • It is the Sri Lankan government which is responsible for all the problems created since independence from Britain.
  • It is the Sri Lankan government which responsible for the escalation of the Tamil liberation struggle.
  • Successive Sri Lankan governments have failed to propose a concrete solution for the ethnic problem, including the current regime
  • Sri Lanka’s current constitution is not only anti-Tamil, but is undemocratic.

The international community must accept these assertions explicitly to prove to the Sri Lankan community that they are impartial mediators in this conflict to earn back lost confidence. Further, this will also earn the respect of their country people in regard to the foreign policy they pursue.

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