Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Printer-Friendly Version

Peace Without Rights or Rights Without Peace?

by Sabesan, Melbourne, Australia

Alright. The problems of the Tamils remain unresolved until today. But the question is: 'Will the Sri Lanka regime resolve the problems that remain unresolved even today through peace talks?'

Sri Lanka Speculation rose high that a war may break out following the suicide attack within the Sri Lanka Army headquarters in Colombo and the offensive on the Trincomalee-Mutur regions by Sri Lanka armed forces from land, sea and sky. But Norway has indicated that Geneva talks would resume soon. Political analysts expressed the view that once the LTTE Eastern Commanders' travel to Kilinochchi is finalised, the peace talks would move on to its next stage.

The international countries, expressing various views and condemnation on last week's violence in Sri Lanka did stress one particular subject basically. 'Peace talks should commence,' 'Peace talks are essential,' emphasised the international countries again. We wish to point out here the fact that the importance and need of Peace talks have at least been accepted on principle by the international countries.

The insistence of the international countries on the importance and the need for peace talks indirectly indicates their acknowledgement of the fact that 'the problems of the Tamils remain unresolved until today.'

Alright. The problems of the Tamils remain unresolved until today. But the question is: 'Will the Sri Lanka regime resolve the problems that remain unresolved even today through peace talks?' What is the answer to this question?

The governments of Sri Lanka have never given the Tamils their rights through peace talks even in the past. The ruling president of Sri Lanka, Mahintha Rajapakse will be the last person in the world to give Tamils back their due rights.

We wish to place certain matters for discussion here to establish the above conviction.

Sri Lanka President Mahintha Rajapakse still wallows with delight in the 1958 mindset mud. His newly gilded 'Mahintha Ideologies' are but   thinly coated Sinhala Buddhist hegemony ideologies and his predecessor S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake's Sinhala Buddhist chauvinistic doctrines!

When 'Father of the Tamils' Chelvanayagam led mass protests and Sathyagraha demonstrations against the enactment of   SWRD's Sinhala Only Act, the Sinhala racists were enraged. This racism grew in strength, exploding in genocide of the Tamils in 1958 in which hundreds of Tamils were killed, Tamil women raped, thousands injured and their properties looted and set fire to. When the entire Tamil community was suffering from loss of lives, living places and belongings, S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake, the then prime minister in power, made an infamous statement on the Tamils' suffering.

"Let them (Tamils) get a taste of it!"

In other words, SWRD wanted the Tamils to experience the taste of violence at the receiving end. But, it was he who had to experience the fatal 'taste' of violence the following year. Most Venerable Sinhala Buddhist Monk Somarama Thero shot his prime minister to death, with a revolver he had concealed in his saffron Buddhist robe, on the 25th of September 1959.

A matter of surprise has to be mentioned here. SWRD had ordered 12 jet fighters to bomb and destroy the Tamils engaged in non-violent demonstrations. The jet bombers were due in Sri Lanka on the 3rd of September 1959. Poor Bandaranyake was murdered five days ahead of the delivery without even seeing the jet bombers.

48 years ago SWRD, the then prime minister, said 'Let them get a taste of it' when the Tamils writhed in pain and Mahintha Rajapakse, the present president, has only expressed his predecessor's words in deed, 48 years later!

The fact that Mahintha had ordered his Air force to  bomb Tamil civilians in the Trincomalee- Mutur region proves that he is seeped in the 1958 Sinhala Buddhist chauvinistic mindset of the SWRD era. This bombing of the Tamils is but the translation into deed of SWRD's words: 'Let them get a taste of it!' The BBC, on reporting this violent bombing, said that it was a pre-planned offensive.

President Mahintha Rajapakse should realise that there is no use in harping on the SWRD era and his Sinhala Buddhist chauvinistic doctrines even in the year 2006. If not, a time will soon come when Mahintha Rajapakse will be forced to realise it. Gone are the situations of the SWRD era; the ground realities have changed drastically.

In the same manner, the international countries emphasising the importance of   peace talks should take into account the ground realities and the facts. The Sinhala regime may indulge in illusions. But the international countries should stop at least now pretending as if they are ignorant of the current situation and realities. Otherwise, they may find themselves in a situation they will be unable to actively participate in resolving the problems of the Tamils, let alone being able to be a passive audience.

The international community can no longer air interpretations on war strategy, as they classified the attack on SLA headquarters as a violation of Cease Fire Agreement, while naming the bombing of civilians in Trincomalee as realistic action.

We wish to share one or two things with our readers here. 'War' is violence related. The history of war shows us that in the engagement in a violence-related war, new techniques were invented and applied. The invaders, facing altogether fresh techniques, have been known to ridicule and belittle the new inventions. For example, let us consider the westerners' views who invaded the Ottoman Empire. The crossbows used by the Turks against their enemies had high velocity arrows which were forceful enough to pierce even the metal breast plates of enemies at long distances. The Turkish art of war was different. But the westerners ridiculed the Turkish art of war, describing it as cowardly.

But, new weapons were invented and war techniques developed. History shows us that weapons and techniques were invented with the view to lessen casualties on one's own side, while increasing them in the enemy ranks. We can cite the atom bomb invented by America and its usage as an example.

When the enemy happened to possess powerful weapons and great combat strength, fresh techniques were invented and used to face his violence and defeat him. Instead of losing a thousand combatants to destroy a single target of the enemy, techniques were invented to lose a single combatant to destroy the enemy target.

Suicide attacks entered in the history of war techniques and proved successful not only in facing an attack, but also to completely destroy the enemy's power. The body and the life of the suicide attackers were the weapons themselves used to annihilate the enemy.

We have to consider a basic fact in this context. When a war is forced upon a community through violence, the response to it also is inevitably violence-related. A suicide attack is only a technique in war used to cause greater destruction to the enemy's life and war equipments at the cost of the least number of lives. Everything   here is related to explosives. But it has become customary for the enemy to give gruesome definitions anew when he finds himself unable to obstruct suicide attacks or incapable of confronting them. A combatant should possess a strong will and determinedness to engage in a suicide attack. The term 'brainwashed' is irrelevant in this context. The history of war techniques shows us the fact that a weapon considered invaluable by a combatant is never relinquished by the combatant.

Be it an atom bomb or a human bomb, the combatant will never relinquish it!

The views expressed here are not merely for argument sake. Our aim is not to determine the right and wrong of this fact, but to share the reality which the history of war techniques presents us.

In the same vein, we should also realise the historical reality that the talks with the Sinhala regimes are not going to resolve the problems of the Tamils. The Liberation Tigers leadership has repeatedly expressed this view. Even then, the LTTE, out of their good intentions, have not ruled out peace talks because they want to give a chance for the hope that maybe a suitable solution could be reached through talks. It is good if the peace talks could bring about a proper solution. But the talks would soon break off should the Sinhala regimes act solely on the basis of the 1958 era Sinhala Bhuddhist chauvinistic mindset. Though a shared rule is the minimum that the international community hopes for, Mahintha's regime stands rigid in its unitary rule doctrine.

The international community should condemn the Sri Lanka government for its continuing violence against the Tamils and its actions against peace. If it fails to do this and continue to shut its eyes on the reality in Sri Lanka, war will be inevitable.

We observe that the factors, both internal and external, which caused the talks to break down remain unchanged. Mr. Anton Balasingham, the political advisor of the LTTE, has rightly said that, though the past six round of peace talks failed to pay tangible dividends, they at least created an atmosphere of cordiality where both parties could openly discuss issues.

The present Sinhala regime had shattered even that cordial atmosphere now.

Is this Sinhala regime going to give the Tamils a peace without any rights? Or is the Tamil race going to reject this deceptive peace and choose to live a life of its own with its rights?

The Tamils, denied of a just solution to their livelihood problems and their national ethnic issue, are surging up in struggles in their homeland. Some, at this burning hour, warn that the Tamils would be destroyed if they do not go for talks - we say this is an utter foolish concept.

When the problem reaches a climax, the international community may support the Sinhala nation; it may even impose unnecessary sanctions on the Liberation Tigers.

The fact that the liberation struggle of the Tigers is a role model for many of the world's liberation struggles may have raised apprehension in some of these countries of the world. And this may be the reason for their pressure exerted on the Tigers.

The countries of the world are well aware which forces are against peace in Sri Lanka today. These forces are engaged in a shadow war to disrupt the peace initiatives.

Ironically, these very forces which work hard against any peace for the Tamils are going to usher in a dawn of peace and freedom to the Tamils!

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 the SiberNews Media Team.

  • Publication date: