Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Preferring Patience for the Sake of Justice

This article is a translation of the analysis broadcast on Melbourne's 3CR Tamil Voice. The full Tamil version is published in The article is written by Sabesan and translated by Vannijan, January 31, 2006.

The Tamils of Eelam having yearned for peace for quite a long time may be driven to conclude that patience unlimited would only lead to injustice and surge up in revolt.

It has been officially announced that the talks concerning the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sri Lanka government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will commence this February in Geneva, the capital of Switzerland. There was positive anticipation in the air when Eric Solheim, the special envoy of Norway, visited Sri Lanka last week. Media news alsoexpressed the opinion that Peace negotiations related to the Tamils' national issue may begin immediately.

Our readers will perhaps remember that we have already expressed views and arguments contrary to these opinions and expectations. We laid special emphasis, among other matters, on the importance and urgency of the implementation of the [CFA] MoU. We said that the countries of the world interested in this matter and the government of Sri Lanka should show active interest in the implementation of the stipulations in the MoU. We referred particularly to the disarming of the Tamil paramilitary bands; the Sri Lankan army vacating the occupied places; a stop to assassinations, human rights and sexual violence by the Sri Lankan army on the Tamils; all attempts to be immediately made to create an atmosphere of normalcy in the Tamil homelands, as stipulated in the MoU. We urged these measures in our article last week.

We have also drawn attention to another important matter:

If the problems arising from the non-implementation of the MoU remain unsolved, we believe that nothing of worth will result form the Vanni visits of countries like Norway. The countries involved, who claim to have advocated a peaceful resolution for more than the last four years, should hasten to accept the ground reality and act with genuine interest.

As we expected, the Tamil Eelam Leadership has clearly stated that the first stage of the talks should address nothing but the implementation of the conditions specified in the MoU.

We do not refer to this just to boast that our prediction and views are correct. Instead, we wish this reference to afford an opportunity to those who try to understand the personality and foresight of the Tamil Eelam leadership.

We feel it is appropriate to discuss here certain important matters when the sincere implementation of the MoU is to be the initial subject of the oncoming talks.

Readers would certainly recall that we have repeatedly said that the unnecessary pressures exerted through statements and political manoeuvres by the countries involved with the Liberation Tigers would, beyond a certain level, loose validity! Though many nations, including America, have exerted pressure on the Liberation Tigers by means of mere words, it should be noted who really had to bow down to these warnings.

Let us consider the discrepancies between the views expressed by Mahintha Rajapakse on being elected president and the actions taken by him.

• Rajapakse rejected Norway participating in the talks while the Liberation Tigers wanted Norway to be the facilitator.

In the end it is Norway which will be the facilitator.

• Rajapakse insisted the talks being held in Sri Lanka or in an Asian country like Japan.

Now, the talks are to take place in Switzerland, a country in Europe.

• Rajapakse vociferously called for the modification of the MoU, whereas the Liberation Tigers opposed any change in the MoU and demanded the existing MoU to be properly implemented.

Now it is certain that the talks would be about the proper implementation of the existing MoU.

Therefore, we would like to reiterate at this point that the pressure exerted on the Tigers will loose teeth.

At the same time we wish to discuss certain events which we suppose or guess are taking place behind the curtain.

Though the international countries, including America, feigned support for the Sri Lankan governments, they have definitely realised the reality. The countries of the world certainly know what is fair and unfair. Though they have to support those against justice for their own good, they very well know that this duplicity cannot be maintained for long. Basically, the countries of the world do want a resolution through talks. They also know that the Liberation Tigers are not opposed to this. They are also aware of how the Sinhala nation continues to confuse itself and the world. We guess that Sri Lanka's new president may have been proffered some fresh advice in this direction by the world's countries.

We assume that both India and America, considering the reality of the ground situation, have stressed certain matters. This was why President Rajapakse had to return empty handed from India and Mangala Samaraweera from America. Out of pity and to compensate for their stand, they had resorted to feigning warnings against the Tigers.

It is said that the fox living in the palmyra grove is not scared of the rustles of the palm's fronds.

In this context, the rustle had not scared even the fox. How could one expect the Tiger of the palmyra grove to mind the hollow rustles?

It is appreciated that the world's countries and Sri Lanka, having understood the reality and the need to implement the MoU properly, have prepared the ground for talks.

We wish to state a bitter fact at this juncture.

The non-implementation of the MoU is the fundamental reason for an atmosphere of war developing. In the event of a justified consensus not being arrived at in the February Geneva talks, there looms the danger of the situation developing into a severe crisis. We fear this might altogether rule out the chances of future negotiations leading to a rigid no-negotiation stand.

As if confirming our fear, Major Kapilan of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has been assassinated in an ambush carried out by the Sri Lanka army and its paramilitaries in the northern front in Baticaloa. This assassination took place the very next day after the Sri Lanka government had consented to discuss the proper implementation of the MoU. Sri Lanka's honesty has become questionable by this incident, which has also been condemned by the co-chair countries. Incidents of this nature would help only to aggravate the already fragile situation.

It would be apt to mention another matter here. The primary concern of the talks is concerned with the proper adherence to the conditions of the MoU. This understanding is an essential prerequisite for the talks about the memorandum of understanding! The outcome of the talks should be the proper implementation of the MoU. The next step would be to engage in peace negotiations aimed at reaching a Just resolution for the ethnic issue. The Sri Lankan government should come forward to move along this line with absolute sincerity.

We do not believe that either the Sinhala nation or its government will ever honestly attempt to solve the national issue of the Tamils through peace talks. The time may soon come when all will realise the truth that the peace talks held with the Sinhala chauvinist governments are bound to fail. We cannot expect the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to be patient beyond a certain limit.

The Tamils of Eelam having yearned for peace for quite a long time may be driven to conclude that patience unlimited would only lead to injustice and surge up in revolt. This upsurge may exceed their previous upsurges assuming enormous proportions and prove to be an unavoidable phase in their pain filled history.

Certainly there is a limit to patience! This would naturally pave the way for justice to function in a Just manner.

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