Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Tamil Eelam and the US Declaration of Independence

by Alex Doss

“He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.”

In United States history, it was July 4th, 1776 when Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence for the separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain. This Declaration was a list of grievances against King George III of England. After endorsement of this Declaration of Independence came forth the American Revolution. This list of grievances of the early Americans is parallel to that of the Tamil people of the Northeast of Sri Lanka. The Tamils have similar grievances against the Sri Lankan government which the early Americans went through over 200 years ago. The only difference is that, during the American Revolution, it was a war between Englishmen. In Sri Lanka, it is between two separate distinct civilizations whose ancestry dates back for more than two thousand years.

During the early American Independence Movement, General George Washington was looked at as the equivalent of a terrorist in the eyes of the British, who were oppressing the people he was defending. Likewise, the Sinhala government, which oppresses the people of the Tamil nation, views Hon. General Velupillai Pirabaharan as a threat to them. Therefore, a freedom fighter is a "patriot" to the oppressed and a "terrorist" to the oppressors.

Some people may argue that independence movements are a thing of the past. However, since 1990, thirty-one new countries have been created (1).  The most recent nation to gain independence was Montenegro on June 4th, 2006 (2). Prior to Montenegro was the independence of East Timor on May 20th, 2002 with the blessings of the international community. To those who say that Sri Lanka is too small a nation to have two separate states, there are a well over a dozen countries smaller than the Tamil homeland in the Northeast of Sri Lanka. Singapore is one of them.

There are also those who say that genocide does not happen anymore, like what happened in Nazi Germany during WWI or during the Vietnam War era. However, there are countries at present which are undergoing "genocide in places like the Congo, Chechnya, and Sudan" (3). Sadly, we do not hear of the genocide in Sri Lanka, which has been unleashed upon the Tamil people for decades through the government's state-sponsored terrorism. The following quotes are excerpts from the United States Declaration of Independence, along with the grievances of the Tamil nation.


1. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

“He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. Furthermore, He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.” (4)

Similarly, since the time the British left, the Sinhala government has refused to pass laws to grant the Tamils of the Northeast of Sri Lanka representation and equal treatment. For example, on December 31, 1960, a bill was passed making Sinhalese the only official language of the country (5), thus marginalizing the Tamil population of the Northeast of Sri Lanka. The Banda – Chelva (B-C) and Dudley – Chelva (D-C) Pacts were offered to the Tamils, only to be thrown out by the same governments (6) offering these so-called proposals. 

2. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

“He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.” (7)

Prabakaran & other leadersAs with the Tamil case in Sri Lanka, one year after the 2002 ceasefire, the Interim Self Governing Authority  (I.S.G.A.) was presented to the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), representatives of the people. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga immediately suspended parliament and dismissed three ministers, and the ISGA was ignored, with the help of Kumaratunga’s new allies, the Marxist Sinhala Nationalist known as the Janatha Vimukthi Permuna (JVP), and the Buddhist clergy political party called Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). Similar actions by the Sri Lankan government have occurred during the failed peace talks (8).

3. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.” (9)

Upon Independence from Britain in 1948, the Sri Lankan government denied citizenship to the upland Tamil plantation workers, who went there from Tamil Nadu during the period of 1825 - 1840s (10).


4. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” (11)

Prabakaran raising flagParamilitary groups such as the EPDP, PLOTE, EPRLF, and the more recent Karuna group have been used by the Sri Lankan government to wage a shadow war against the Tamils. Acts of violence and harassment committed against innocent civilians at Sri Lankan Army (SLA) checkpoints, and assassinations of prominent Tamil representatives (12) have been the common activities of these groups. While paramilitaries are being used for the violent part of the government's further marginalizing of the Tamils, other quislings on the government payroll, such as Douglas Devananda of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP), Veerasingham Anandasangaree of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), and Ratnajeevan Hoole of the University Teachers for Human Rights - Jaffna (UTHRJ) are being used to mislead the international community about the situation in Sri Lanka.

During early American history, those who were used by the British government to undermine the American Independence Struggle were called Tories or Loyalists.  Just last year the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) put out an article in regards to the national Sri Lankan elections. In the article, V. Anandasangaree, claiming to know what is good for the Tamils, has even stated that if a solution to the ethnic crisis is acceptable by the JVP, then it is good for the Tamil people!

5. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislature.” (13)


In 1961, the Sri Lankan government declared a state of emergency and for the first time dispatched military troops to occupy the Tamil areas in the Northeast of Sri Lanka. This was in the wake of a mass non-violent protest Satyagraha in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa causing the entire Northeast to shut down (14). Troops have been in occupation of the Northeast ever since.

6. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation. For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.” (15)

Thousands of Tamil civilians have been displaced from their homes, only to have the Sri Lankan military to be quartered in their former dwelling places. Today, there are “over 40,000 government troops illegally residing in Jaffna (16), while at present, 61,000 Sri Lankan Tamils are living in 103 government-run refugees camps in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu” (17).


7. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

“For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States.”  (18)

The Sri Lankan military has been responsible for literally millions of grave human rights abuses equating to genocide on the Tamil civilian population of the Northeast of Sri Lanka. From the raping of our Tamil women and young girls, to the butchering of innocent men, women, and children - all in the name of defending their so-called territorial sovereignty, which was basically handed over to them by the former Crown of England. All these perpetrators have been protected by the Sri Lankan government. A most recent example of this was the brutal executions of the 15 aid workers from Action against Hunger in the town of Muttur on August 08, 2006 and the delaying of any investigations (19).

8. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

“For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.” (20)

They have imposed heavy embargoes on food, medicine, and other suppLTTE memoriallies to the Northeast for over the past 20 years. These embargos have violated the most basic international charters and conventions governing human rights, including the articles of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of civilians during wartime (21). After the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004, the government of Sri Lanka has prevented the flow of tsunami aid to Tamil areas (22). Furthermore, the Sri Lankan military and police have stopped truckloads of aid destined for the Northeast and reverted them to the Sinhala community. Tsunami aid coming in from all over the world destined for the Northeast was even taxed by the government. Container loads of medicine, clothing, and other aid materials were halted for several weeks in the Colombo airport.

The Northeast used to trade directly with India and throughout the Indian Ocean before restrictions which are funneling all trade and movement through Colombo. After these new laws, the seamen of Valvettithurai were termed 'smugglers.' Trincomalee, one of the greatest harbors in the world, has not been developed as long as is was a majority Tamil area. Now that the Tamils are being driven out, there is more interest in developing the region.

9. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury. For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.” (23)

The Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979 deprived the Tamil population of the right of Trial by Jury. Furthermore, this resulted in many abuses by the security forces, such as extrajudicial killings, disappearances, abuse and torture of detainees, and arbitrary arrest and detention (24). Thousands of innocent Tamils have been accused falsely of crimes they have not committed. Many have been arrested without warrant and held for many months (25).

10. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

 “He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.” (26)

The Government of Sri Lanka has waged a war against the Tamil people of the Northeast of Sri Lanka from the day it first deployed its troops in the Tamil homeland back in 1961 till the present. Violent anti-Tamil riots exploded in the island in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1981, and in July 1983 (27). Innumerable homes and shops have been destroyed, thousands raped and butchered, and hundreds of thousands displaced. Many of those have sought refuge throughout the world today. Even during the cease-fire, the government of Sri Lanka has continued its aerial bombardment campaigns in the Tamil-dominated areas of the Northeast. The BBC reported on August 14, 2006 that the Sri Lankan air force had bombarded a girls school in the North, killing 61 schoolgirls and injuring 150 other children (28). This was highly condemned in  Tamil Nadu, with various protest rallies throughout most of the state (29). The Sri Lankan Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, in an interview, has accused the girls of being child soldiers. Rambukwella also referred to a statement by the UNICEF to the effect that the LTTE has conscripted 1,347 children and they were being trained to fight. In his words, he stated that "to us they are terrorists and when they come to kill our soldiers, does the UNICEF expect us to pamper them. What matters is not their age or gender, but what they do" (30).

11. U.S  Declaration of Independence Indictment:

 “He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.” (31)

At present, the Sri Lankan government is stocking up on its weaponry and personnel in the Jaffna peninsula. They are conducting attacks on the forward defense lines from outside of their posts and thus breaching the cease fire agreement signed between the government and the LTTE. The Sri Lankan military are making excuses not to open up the A-9 highway to bring some sort of normalcy to the people of the North in order to continue their military buildup. The A-9 highway is the only major road link connecting the LTTE-controlled areas in the north with the rest of the island.

12. U.S  Declaration of Independence - Indictment:

“He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us...(32)

Since the breakaway of Karuna in 2004, Ranil Wikramasinghe and his United National Party (UNP) government had a hand in aiding the Karuna paramilitary group to stage attacks on the LTTE in the Eastern areas of Batticaloa, Trincomalee, and Amaparai. Unarmed civilians too have been victims of this government-sponsored incitement (33). This was done during the ceasefire! There have also been several assassinations on prominent members in the Tamil National Alliance TNA and Tamil community leaders. The government has done nothing to investigate these murders. One of the promises made by the Government of Sri Lanka during the first round of talks in Geneva this year was to rein in on paramilitaries. So far, Rajapakse’s government has not lived up to its word.

13. U.S  Declaration of Independence – Indictment:

“in every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” (34)

The Tamil leadership under Hon. Velupillai Pirabaharan had petitioned, and warned the government time and again of attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over them. The government of Sri Lanka has been reminded of the Circumstances, and of the Tamils Right to Self Determination.


U.S. Declaration of Independence – Denunciation:

“Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.” (35)

The government of Sri Lanka has deliberately shunned away from the Voice of Justice and has silenced the cries of the suffering through censorship of media over the past two decades. Furthermore, for over half a century, the cries, sufferings, and pains of our Tamil brethren have fallen on the deaf years of the international community.

The Sri Lankan government is heading down the road of destruction in which it shall soon end up destroying itself. In the theological aspect of this, Pharaoh of Egypt was reluctant to let the Hebrews leave his land while keeping them in bondage. Moses was sent several times to warn Pharaoh of the circumstances if he did not let his people go. Several times Pharaoh did not listen, and several times Egypt was plagued with famine. Finally, the last curse on Egypt came forth out of Pharaoh's very own mouth, resulting in the entire first born of Egypt to die, including his own son. It was after that drastic event, the Hebrews were finally set free to the Promised Land.

Since the ceasefire of February 22, 2002, Ranil Wickramasinghe has brought deceit to the Tamil people, and his successor Mahinda Rajapakse has brought about death and destruction.

“The thief commeth not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” – John  10:10

It is, therefore, high time that the Tamil people say enough is enough. Yesterday was the day of sorrows, today is the day of declaration from bondage, and tomorrow shall be the day of rejoicing for the rebirth of a nationof the Northeast outside of Sri Lanka called TAMIL EELAM!

(1) Rosenburg, Matt. "The 31 New Countries Created Since 1990" New Countries of the World. About Geography. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006 <>
(2) Wood, Nicholas. Pro-Independence Movement Leads in Montenegro. The New York Times. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006 < 1305950400&en=3fb61ced943bd2bc&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss>

(3) Responding to Threats of Genocide Today. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved on 29 November 2006

(4) Ellis, Joseph J. What Did the Declaration Declare? Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's.1999. pp. 3 & 4.

(5) Peebles, Patrick. The History of Sri Lanka Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. 2006. p. 113.

(6) Ponnambalam, Satchi. Sri Lanka: The National Question and the Tamil Liberation Struggle London: Zed Books. 1983. p. 110.

(7) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(8) Arivalan. "ISGA Proposals and Precedence." Norwegian Peace Initiative. 28 Dec 2003. Retrieved 29 November 2006 <>.

(9) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(10) Balasingham, Anton. War and Peace. Fairmax Publishing Ltd.: London. 2004. p. 4.

(11) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(12) "LTTE Report on Sri Lanka Paramilitary Forces." Sunday Leader. 5 March 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006 <>.

(13) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(14) Ponnambalam, Satchi. pp. 105 & 106.

(15) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(16) Outbreak of war predicted. The Morning Leader. 18 January 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006 <>.

(17) Sri Lankan Refugees in India: Hesitant to return. Refugees International. 20 January 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2006

(18) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(19) Aid workers' bodies to be exhumed. British Broadcasting Corporation. 14 October 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006 <>.

(20) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(21) Suntharalingam, Dr. Shiamala. "Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01." Indictment Against Sri Lanka.

(22) Peebles, Patrick. pp. 133 & 134.

(23) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 4.

(24) Peebles, Patrick. pp. 174 & 175.

(25) Ponnambalam, Satchi. pp. 201 & 202.

(26) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 5.

(27) Balasingham, Anton. p. 9.

(28) Sri Lanka strike 'hits orphanage'. British Broadcasting Corporation. 14 August 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006

(29) 61 schoolgirls killed, 129 wounded in air strike. Tamil Info Service. 17 August 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006 <>.
(30) Gunaratna, Harischandra. "Govt. dismisses SLMM claim on Mullaitivu bombings" Lanka Web. Retrieved 29 November 2006 <>.
(31) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 5.

(32) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 5.

(33) We trapped and split LTTE, sank their ships, says UNP. Tamil Net. 08 November 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2006

(34) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 5.

(35) Ellis, Joseph J. p. 5.

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