Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Sinhala Military Occupation and Tamileelam

by Vettivel

Tamils in Tamileelam have shown several times through democratic elections and by using force that they do not want these Sinhala thugs roaming around their neighborhoods. The sad truth is that these Sinhala thugs in the name of the state military have the blessings of the so-called civilized world.

Military occupation occurs when one nation's military occupy all or part of the territory of another nation. Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation military usually does not respect the local resident's rights and dignity; that is why the Geneva Conventions made a point of agreeing on rules to protect the people in occupied land. Part III, Section III of the Fourth Geneva Convention concerns occupied territories and contains provisions on the civilian population of those territories which codified established customary principles with respect to military occupation and spell out, in the light of the experience of warfare, the necessary protection for such persons.

The intention of this article is not to analyze the rights of occupied people, but to understand why Tamileelam can be considered occupied land and what rights people in Tamileelam have under the Geneva Convention.

Tamileelam is located south of India and northeast of Sri Lanka and has been occupied by the Sinhala military. Since the Sri Lankan military consists of 99% ethnic Sinhalese, it is factually correct to call it a Sinhala military. Due to 55 years of struggle for self determination, Tamileelam became a reality and a de-facto state exists. The international community may be reluctant to accept reality, yet the facts stand for themselves.

In Tamileelam, this Sinhala military occupy around 30 % of the territory. The occupation of Tamileelam by the Sinhala military, beginning with the satyagraha of 1961, and the Sinhala military keep insisting that it is their territory. The Sinhala government makes use of the words ‘democratically elected,’‘government,’‘sovereign,’ and ‘multi-party’ to cover up the occupation of Tamileelam. Anyone who investigates will understand that these words do not make sense at all when it comes to Tamils under Sinhala occupation. None of the Sinhala governments in history has had support from the people of Tamileelam, and all the democratically elected Tamil parties have continuously opposed the Sinhala government and its military presence in Tamileelam. Whether one considers ATAK, the TULF, EPRLF or the TNA, they never have accepted the occupation of the Sinhala military.

Tamils in Tamileelam see the Sinhala army as an army of occupation which has been occupying their land and terrorizing their lives. The naked truth is that Tamils see the Sinhala army as rapists, murderers, thugs and butchers, and as racist, barbaric, cannibalistic, bloodthirsty, and the list goes on. In fact, in Tamils' view, the Sinhala military in Tamileelam is not human, and they are blood-thirsty creatures specifically trained by Sinhala chauvinism. All these creatures' activities past and present have proved this fact beyond any doubt. The Sinhala government in Colombo approves and encourages the Sinhala military to commit more violence on Tamils. The Sinhala government, without any shame or regret, spreads false propaganda and lies to cover up state terrorism. The international community, as usual, buys only the government version of the story, and produce their statements based on that.

Tamils in Tamileelam have shown several times through democratic elections and by using force that they do not want these Sinhala thugs roaming around their neighborhoods. The sad truth is that these Sinhala thugs in the name of the state military have the blessings of the so-called civilized world.

Sri Lanka, formally Ceylon, can not be considered as one nation because Tamils have never been a part of the government. Immediately after the last colonial power, Britain, left, the two distinct nations, the Tamils and the Sinhalese, were brought under a single government. However, this amalgamation didn’t last long because the attitudes of the majority nation, the Sinhalese.

No one can deny the existence of two nations in the island of Ceylon. Even the US has insisted that the Tamil homeland and self rule must be accepted, but they do not want to say this loudly because it may hurt their strategic interests. In reality, there are two nations - Tamileelam and Sri Lanka - which exist on island of Ceylon. The Sinhala government or even the international community simply do not want to accept this inconvenient fact. That is why they are trying to figure out ways to cover it up. The easy way they have found is to brand the Tamil liberation force a “terrorist” organization.

Tamils clearly know that the world is not reacting based on truth and justice, but on the demands of ‘power.’ A powerless nation or community or individual will be crushed or put into slavery. This is the basic rule of life on the earth, and it is true for the Tamil struggle as well. The current ceasefire is achieved because of the acceptance of the military balance between Tamil force and Sinhala force. The international community has tried to twist this balance and, because of that, the ceasefire is now entirely collapsed.

The Tamil national question and the Tamileelam struggle can only be solved in one of two ways, either by brutally suppressing the Tamils by murder and ethnic cleansing and imposing the Sinhala solution on the Tamils, or else by dividing the country. The middle ground is evaporating with each atrocity. It would be obvious to anyone that the government of Sri Lanka, the Sinhala government, is trying to achieve the first, and the LTTE that is the present Tamil leadership is trying to achieve the second.

For Tamils, there is only one choice if they want to live with dignity - that is to join hands with the LTTE to form a separate state. The second option is left for traitors who are willing to join with the oppressors and are ready to bring their community under slavery. The past 4 years peace process clearly shows that there is certainly not any middle ground or moderate stage or other options. Traitors are a common phenomenon in human history and especially during military occupation, and every community has these types of elements. Therefore, there is nothing new about it, and it should be expected and handled appropriately if a nation wants to be successful.

The modern occupation military follows “divide and rule” tactics. This is very effective to occupy any nation without really being expending major resources. The British were well known for this tactic, and, in recent history, the US had used divide and rule somewhat effectively in Iraq and Afghanistan. Using some part of the local community to support and be part of the occupational military is a very effective way for invaders or occupiers. In this way, the occupational military reduces its casualties, and further divides the nation that obviously acts according to the occupier’s desire.

This strategy has been used and is being used by the Sinhala government as well. Dividing Tamileelam with Muslims vs. Tamils, eastern Tamils vs. northern Tamils, and based on caste are the strategies so far heavily used. The Muslims vs. Tamils division initially was beneficial and a success for the Sinhala government. However, the other two strategies mostly failed. The Muslims and some Tamils initially fells prey to the Sinhala strategy, but they did not completely fell into this trap. However, it is still an issue, and Tamileelam must address the problem without affecting Muslims' dignity if it wants to be a successful state. The understanding and alertness among the Tamil community made the other two dividing strategies fail. Divisions among local residents, or sons of the land, is the only factor that can prevent Tamileelam becoming a successful nation. In reality, none of the external forces alone , including Sri Lanka, the US or India, can control Tamileelam or prevent it becoming a successful nation. Any external force badly needs some ground support to interfere in this modern world, otherwise they are simply forced to leave. Therefore, if Tamils in Tamileelam are united and strong enough to fight against the Sinhala occupation military, no one can occupy Tamileelam.

History has repeatedly shown that an occupation military will never win or stay forever. The duration of their stay depends on the power of the sons of land. Whether it is a superpower or an average government, the end result of a forcible occupation is that the occupation military will always be defeated or forced to exit.

The sacrifices and courage of the Tamil force freed about 70% of Tamileelam from the evil occupation military. However, even though Tamileelam has most of the structures for a government, it still lacks the top level government structure - that is parliament or some form of ruling body.

In this current era, the enhanced globalization makes every nation dependent on each other, but if one nation can stand without the help from others, they can independently rule themselves. Pressures from the international community, superpowers, and regional powers are all mostly myths. These powers can only pressure to some extent; they cannot really control a nation if it has decided to be free. As long as Tamils have enough power to fight against Sinhala occupation, there is no need to worry much about other players. The international community or any of the individual governments may not accept a new or renewed nation immediately, but eventually they will.

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