Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Tamils Not to Reason Why

But to Obey and Die?

by J.P. Santhiapillai

After years of struggle, people of Sri Lanka sighed with relief when the Cease-Fire Agreement was signed on 22/02/2002, as it sprouted a streak of hope of a lasting solution for the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. All of a sudden, like a bolt from the blue, Karuna, one of the most trusted members of the LTTE militants, turned into a renegade and slipped into the hands of the Sinhalese armed forces.

In flagrant violation of the Cease-Fire Agreement, the Sinhalese armed forces decided to exploit the situation to extract the inner secrets of the LTTE from Karuna to wreak vengeance on the LTTE. They pardoned Karuna and gave him refuge to function in their paramilitary group.

It is evident that scrutiny of a chronological list of crimes and violations which took place subsequent to Karuna's betrayal that any allegations leveled against the militants could be construed as consequential or retaliatory. It would be gravely unjustifiable for anyone to blame only the militants and pay no attention to the crimes and violations committed by the armed forces and the paramilitary groups.

The European Union and the rest of the international community raise only a lukewarm objection or are very indifferent to the atrocities, oppression and tyranny wielded over the Tamils by the Sinhalese armed forces with the contention that it is an internal affair in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, to the contrary, contending that it is within their purview, they vehemently condemn when the Tamils rise in armed revolt against their suppression.

Further, they shed crocodile tears alleging that the LTTE is recruiting child soldiers, ignoring the fact that by the prolongation of the ethnic war without a lasting solution, men, women and children are killed, maimed or mangled with the destruction of their properties, besides leaving children orphaned  and men and women widowed in tens of thousands.

Article 1.2 of the Cease-Fire Agreement emphatically stipulates that, “Neither party shall engage in any offensive military operation” which includes a large number of specifically designed forms of “offensive activity.”

In view of the above article, when the  Cease-Fire Agreement is effective and in force, severally or jointly the armed forces and the paramilitary groups should not have embarked on violent activities impelled by the arrival of Karuna into their camp and shattered the peaceful atmosphere that existed in the country.

In any instance, the LTTE had never joined hands with the armed forces of any country to suppress its rival groups. As against that, it is ironic that, brazenly the rival groups are always all out to cut the nose of the Tamils to spite the face of the LTTE by being aided and abetted by the Indian or the Sri Lankan armed forces.

They ignore the fact that the LTTE is struggling against the Sri Lankan governments to safeguard the rights of the Tamils. Here, the difference is that when the LTTE prioritizes the rights of the Tamils before anything else inclusive of themselves, the rival groups prioritize themselves before anything else inclusive of the rights of the Tamils and endeavor to crush the LTTE and their supporters.

According to the international community, while the non-participation by boycotting in an election by the Tamils in Sri Lanka is undemocratic, the participation by voting in an election by the Palestinians in Palestine is also undemocratic because the election results are not favorable to them, in Palestine.

There are certain international or regional superpowers, which vie with other countries in lobbying support from Sri Lankan governments to defeat any proposals forwarded at any international forums or conferences detrimental to their self-interests, with the assurance that they would not interfere when they crush the Tamils who struggle for their fundamental rights, in Sri Lanka.(e.g. The most recently reported promise by US official Burns of $500 million dollars in aid in exchange for Sri Lankan support to the US proposal in UN against Iran's nuclear programmes.) 

A community is free to determine its political status by virtue of the right to self-determination and it has the right to pursue its economic, social and cultural development and safeguard its own traditions and language in conformity with the United Nations Resolution, together with the accepted International norms and standards.

Look at India, which is a multi-linguistic and multi-cultural country. There, anyone could become the President or Prime Minister of the country or the Chief Minister of a State, irrespective of his or her language, religion or state. Even the national anthem of India is in Bengali. Would there ever be a situation like that in Sri Lanka?

Federal unity is a system of government in which several states or provinces unite but keep considerable control over their own internal affairs.

Even when the Tamils are prepared to accept a system of government under federal unity, the Buddhist Sinhalese governments, who are well versed in maneuvering successfully to prejudice the international communities by foisting on them the misconceived idea that the Tamils are only for a separate state, hoodwink and camouflage them by sidetracking the fact.

Merely a mirage of equality is feasible, the longer racial, linguistic, cultural and religious dominance prevails in Sri Lanka.

It has to be borne in mind that democracy prevails in any country only as long as the rule of the people, for the people and by the people survives without being subjected to any racial, linguistic, cultural or religious dominance.

Population-wise, in Sri Lanka, the majoritarian Sinhalese community is the mightiest and the Tamil community is the weakest. By the saying “Might is right,” politically it does not mean that the “mightiest could always be righteous.” It refers only to a country where there is no dominance of any race, language, culture or religion over the other.

In spite of any opinions or proposals from the Tamil community for or against the decisions of the governments, the Sinhalese community by virtue of their majoritarian status and voting strength could arrive at any decision of their own, against the Tamils disregarding their aspirations and fundamental rights.

Further, their representatives in the legislative assembly can enact any law or frame any constitution unilaterally at any time to the advantage of the Sinhalese community only, by their voting strength surpassing the opinions or proposals put forward by the Tamils. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the Republican Constitution of 1972 robbed the minorities of even the scanty safeguards against discrimination provided under Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution introduced at independence in 1948.

In view of this, it would be comprehensible to all that, the laws that govern the country are partial and replete with full of flaws and snags and the rule by the Sinhalese community over the Tamil community is not democratic. However, even if it is peremptorily a requirement that the constitution and the laws of Sri Lanka should undergo a complete restructuring to satisfy the aspirations of the Tamils and the need of the day, it would not take place unless and until the international community looks into it! Nevertheless, for the heartless in the Sinhalese community, who did not allow even humanitarian aid reaching Tamil victims of the tsunami disaster, only tough talk and tough measures by the international community can bring relief and redress.

"We shall have to repent in this generation not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people." – Martin Luther King Jnr.

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