1 July, 2022

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Eelam Tamils Struggle For Self-Determination 

By Kumarathasan Rasingam 

Kumarathasan Rasingam

The idea of “self-determination” continues its hold on the hearts and minds of peoples yearning to breathe free. Kosovo, for example, established its independence in 2008, making it the world’s second-youngest country (after South Sudan, officially established in 2011). The landslide winner of Kosovo’s parliamentary elections in February 2021 was the Self-Determination Party (Vetëvendosje), which made Kosovo a rare Muslim-majority, leftist-governed country.

Self-determination is the freedom to choose one’s own acts without external compulsion. The term is generally associated with the freedom of the people of a given territory to determine their own political status. It is the power of a nation to decide how it will be governed without the influence of any other country

The ratification of the United Nations Charter in 1945 at the end of World War II placed the right of self-determination into the framework of international law and diplomacy. The following are a few examples.

Chapter 1, Article 1, part 2 states that purpose of the UN Charter is: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace”

Article 1 in both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) read: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 15 states that everyone has the right to a nationality and that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of a nationality or denied the right to change nationality.

Tamils of Ceylon by virtue of their great language, their religions, their separate culture and heritage, their history of independent existence as a separate state over a distinct territory for several centuries … and above all by their will to exist as a separate entity ruling themselves in their own territory, are a nation distinct and apart from the Sinhalese.

The longest struggle for self-determination in post-independence Sri Lanka is that of the Ceylon Tamils. It began in earnest in the mid-1950s as a response to discriminatory language policy and was fuelled by further discrimination in access to state employment and higher education. Between the mid-1950s and the mid-1970s, the Ceylon Tamil national movement sought self-determination within the framework of the existing state. The principal objective was to establish a federal government structure through which the Ceylon Tamil nation could defend its rights in a power-sharing arrangement with the Sinhalese.

At this stage, the Ceylon Tamil national movement focused on non-violent resistance and launched a series of satyagrahas (peaceful protests) in the Gandhian tradition. The coalition government (1960-1965), led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), struck the first violent blow against the Tamil national movement when the predominantly Sinhalese armed forces were deployed in the Jaffna peninsula in 1961 to repress these peaceful protests.

After the non-violent struggle for self-determination was crushed by the mighty Sinhala Military Tamil leaders unanimously adopted the Vaddukoddai Resolution calling for the “restoration and reconstitution of the free, sovereign, secular, socialist state of Tamil Eelam “.

The Eelam Tamil people endorsed the resolution at the 1977 parliamentary elections and voted en masse for the TULF to fight for independent Tamil Eelam.

Meanwhile, a new generation of young Ceylon Tamils, economically marginalised by discrimination in employment and higher education and brutalised by state repression, saw no way forward without armed resistance. The militants formed five major guerrilla organizations in the middle to late 1970s, including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and launched their campaign to establish Eelam throughout the Tamil-speaking majority districts of north and east Sri Lanka.

Sinhalese-controlled governments have refused to concede the national rights of Eelam Tamils. Moreover, their obstinacy has contributed to the emergence and reproduction of the armed conflict.

The Tamil claim to self-determination is one of the strongest in the contemporary international scene. The three main elements of a claim to self-determination

  • Historic self- governance in an identifiable territory,
  • A distinct culture and
  • A national will and capacity to govern

The Tamils community have shown their competence in all the above areas. They are more learned than the rest of the Sinhalese people since they believe that at least one of the children in a family must attain the university level of education. They can therefore be termed as competent enough with that level of education. Further, they have already shown their capability in the past by organising the strongest and best organised terrorist group in history. They have further made a Tamil government [de facto] with a well-organized police and judicial system within the region they occupy.

What the Tamils ask for is not division but freedom. Why they ask this is not because of narrow thinking. What Tamils hope to achieve is not only the emancipation of the Tamil people but the greater good of the Sinhalese people themselves. Why? Because, thereafter, the so-called Tamil problem will cease to be a livelihood for opportunist Sinhalese politicians. That will provide a chance for the Sinhalese people to free themselves from the political, social and economic shackles that bind them today and realize where their true slavery lies.

*Kumarathasan Rasingam –  Secretary, Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.

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  • 2
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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    • 5
      2

      Eagle Blind Eye

      Have your relatives collected their entitlements from Hindian High Commission?

  • 2
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 2
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    A Tamil home land in Sri Lanka will never happen because big brother India will not allow it.

    End of story.

    • 5
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      Sargent,
      Big brother now already bought Rajapaksa family and much of Sri Lanka.

      • 2
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        Yes it seems to me that SL
        Will be another state of India
        That is more likely than me Sinhala apage rati or Tamil home land.

        • 2
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          If India did not support Srilanka in the Eelam war., Eelam would have been born, and the whole of Srilanka would not be standing in ques.

    • 1
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      Sargent Nallathambi,
      “A Tamil home land in Sri Lanka…”

      Why Tamils need two ‘HOMELANDS’; one in India and another one in Sri Lanka?

      • 4
        4

        Eagle Dumbo Eye

        “Why Tamils need two ‘HOMELANDS’; one in India and another one in Sri Lanka?”

        Why Sinhala/Buddhists need two homelands, one in Tamil Nadu and the second one is in this island?

      • 5
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        Eagle ‘dingdong’ Eye and a full time clown, this land belongs to the Veddahs, not to the Tamils or Sinhalese or anyone else. If you think the Tamils don’t belong in SL, then when the Tamils get back to India, please pack your sack full of old Bata slippers and sarongs and hold hands with the Tamils and you can bugger off from there. Idiot!!!

        • 0
          4

          Tamil from the north,
          “…this land belongs to the Veddahs…”
          —-
          According to latest archeological finding both Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo evolved in this country from Homo sapiens lived in southern part of the island about 125,000 years ago. However, contribution of Veddas to develop the country is negligible. Sinhalayo moved from South to North East and developed massive man-made water bodies (wewa) and one of the most advanced irrigation system in the world. Therefore, Sinhalayo have every right to claim that Sinhale is their country.
          Dravida (Tamil) invaders from Hindusthan who invaded this country from 3rd Century BC destroyed most of the achievements of Sinhalayo. As invaders who destroyed this country Dravidians (Tamils) have no right to claim Sinhale is their country.

          • 1
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            Sorry ‘Eagle Eye’, The country belongs to all who were born and will be born in it! If one leaves it for whatever the reason, sorry, they have no claim to it. (Including GR & BR), one cannot have the cake and eat it too.

          • 1
            1

            This land belongs to the people born in it and the people who will be born in it. People who have left are not included. Good bye and good luck to them.

  • 3
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    People are free to express their opinion, but this is preposterous.
    Today is an age when racism is frowned upon an is politically incorrect. This author is a remnant of a generation who has no place in modern society. Countries should not be divided based on race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. SL Tamils did well in the post colonial era. However, there was a hidden reason nobody would like to talk about: favoritism. Tamil students packed the university , because test papers were leaked in very ingenious ways. Tamil students were helped by the Tamil professors to enter the university in unjust devious ways.
    For example, I personally know what Prof. Mylvaganam (Physics) did. It was obnoxious that at the practical exam in Physics, he knew the racial background of each student. He terrorized the non-Tamil students and encouraged the Tamil students. He in his very devious ways helped them to complete the assignments successfully. This went on with in all other tamil professors. The quota system brought-in to proportionally equalize the U entrants, destroyed these practices to the envy of the Tamil students who formed the early LTTE combatants. That was the reason and the beginning of the 30 year reign of terror.

    • 1
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      Yes it seems to me that SL
      Will be another state of India
      That is more likely than me Sinhala apage rati or Tamil home land.

      • 2
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        Yes that if that happens, most probably under linguistic reorganization they will merge the Thamizh North and East provinces sans the Chingkalla Amparai and Seruvila and Puttalam area and Nuwara Eliya districts which again are predominantly Thamizh speaking either with Thamizh Nadu or create a separate Thamizh state for these areas. Just like Telangana and Andhra or the various Hindi-speaking states. This will make sense and will strengthen India’s strategic hold on the island, as the people here will never want to separate from India, and will always want to be part of it, as they benefit(even the Thamizh Muslims) that being part of racist Chingkalla state, that only wants to destroy them and their identity. The Chingkallams will always agitate to be out of India but not the Thamizh speakers. The rest of the island can become the Chingkalla state of mother India. Lovely. I rejoice and cannot wait.

    • 1
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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    • 2
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      Another Mahavamsam fairy tale? How were these test papers leaked? Please give details and explain? We all know that they were leaked to prominent Chingkalla Buddhist schools, as the questions final test papers that were set in these schools, just before the Advance level exam. Were identical to the Advance level exam questions. One very well-known anti-Thamizh minister, who was responsible for the burning of the Jaffna Library was the one who started this fairy tale about exam papers leaked to Thamizh students before exams and their answers were marked very leniantly. This was proven to be a blatant lie. However, Chingkalla racists still continue with these lies and fairy tales.

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 1
    1

    Jaffna should emulate Singapore as an independent and a prosperous State where the dignity of the citizen is 100% guaranteed. It is terrible to be fighting pangs of hunger.

    • 5
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      hanchopancha

      This is a land of greedy people.
      People being driven by jealousy, hatred and racism.
      .

      • 1
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        Native Vedda,
        .
        Not only being driven by jealousy, hatred and racism, but also very stupidier than appeared to be – I REALLY DONT KNOW IF BUDDHAGAMA made them eternal fools.
        .
        Lester the clown is the best example
        .
        God bless srilanka !

  • 3
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    Cannot agree more NV.
    We are destroying our selves.
    No need of an external enemy to destroy SL.

  • 2
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    “Further, they have already shown their capability in the past by organising the strongest and best organised terrorist group in history.”

    Finally, a Tamil admits the fake freedom struggle was only possible using terrorism. At least he is honest. On the other hand, one cannot justify terrorism on the basis of political grounds.

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