My intention here is to analyze a probable emerging scenario that could have the most consequential effects and decide our future for decades to come. This is in order to alert all concerned that unless serious and principled steps are taken to address and resolve the National Question on a democratic basis, we may be faced with some such eventuality as described here in the case of East Timor. It is to alert all concerned that if the government fails to act resolutely in all good faith, and if the chauvinist-fascist forces get command of the situation, such a scenario as in East Timor could very well be at our doorstep. The dynamics shall be different, and no doubt the case in Lanka is different from that of East Timor. But the lessons are there for those who care to learn. I personally do not favor separation and have consistently advocated a negotiated political settlement that would honor the dignity, equality, security, autonomy and democratic freedom of the Tamil nation- that is, the right of self-determination, within an undivided country. This is the only basis for a voluntary union that could withstand all obstacles and enemies-internal and external. The politics of division has always played into the hands of foreign powers. I do not wish for the Tamil nation to be played by foreign powers and become another puppet neo-colony. Nor certainly do I wish for the Tamil Nation to be held hostage to the geo-political strategic agendas of either the US, India, Britain, China, Russia, Japan, EU or any other foreign power to function as a military outpost. This is as much as I do not wish for the Land and the people of Lanka to become a hapless geo-strategic pawn in this deadly game of imperialist chess for world supremacy.
The Politics of Supremacy and Duplicity
I do not have much faith in the government to act accordingly to meet the national-democratic rights and aspirations of the Tamil people. That would require exceptional leadership and statesmanship, which no leader, ruling party or government has displayed in our sordid legacy of sheer duplicity and betrayal. The present government is an integral part of the feudal-colonial status quo, although now tempered with some new constitutional gimmickry to appease the UN and the US and stay afloat somehow. There is also so much diabolical wheeling and dealing going on between these rival fractions of the ruling class. Or else, how could Mahinda Rajapaksa, in cahoots with Basil Rajapaksa and Tiran Alles, who are alleged to have bribed Prabhakaran to the tune of some hundred million to have him demand the Tamil people to boycott the presidential election, not be prosecuted under the PTA? This was even obliquely referred to by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe at the recent UNP Convention. Is this not an act of ‘national betrayal’ by the self-appointed sole savior of the ‘Motherland’ and the sworn liberator of the Sinhala-Buddhist nation? Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka was simply and ingloriously hauled in jail for some relatively minor crime of corruption! How could Mahinda Rajapaksa not be prosecuted for plotting a coup to retain power when he had clearly lost the presidential election, and there is so much damning evidence and witnesses, including the Attorney General, Elections Commissioner, Chief Justice, Wimal Weerawansa and Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had arrived at the scene later? Are these not crimes of high treason? How could he not be prosecuted when there are so many well-grounded allegations of astronomical corruption and naked abuse of power? Is this the Rule of Law under the so-called government of ‘good governance’? What a travesty of justice and criminal reneging on the pledges made to the people! There is both contention and collusion between these rival fractions of the ruling class as they all cater to the chauvinist-supremacist aspirations of the masses in their respective electorates, which they have themselves whipped up! Nor do I have any faith that the chauvinist-fascist forces shall have any regard whatsoever for the unity and integrity of the people and the independence of the country, let alone for the national-democratic rights of the Tamil Nation, since they are driven by a supremacist political agenda simply to seize power, at whatever cost. This former regime had mortgaged the country to China and international lending agencies for endless generations. Such is the nature of their deceiving, diabolical ‘patriotism’. That despicable regime institutionalized graft and corruption throughout the length and breadth of the entire state apparatus, including the judiciary, bureaucracy and law enforcement agencies.
As always, it is the ideology and politics of chauvinist supremacy and hegemony practiced by the Lankan State and intensified by every successive government that have fuelled the separatist agenda – inasmuch as the politics of terror was parented by the State. If the Mahinda Rajapaksa camp, with saffron-robed goon squads at the head such as the BBS, persists in fuelling communal tensions and violence as a means of destabilizing the government and seizing state power, and if the government persists in its policy of opportunist vacillation and appeasement of the dominant status quo and betrays the Tamil nation once again, then the door may be wide open for external intervention.
It should be clear that the US took up the issue of human rights in the UN simply to get its fangs into the political lifelines of the country, in order to advance its geo-political strategic agenda. Why else should the No 01. nuclear super-power state in the world, with a horrendous record of genocide internally and throughout the world, be concerned about human rights? This strategically planned intervention could ultimately take the form of a UN sponsored referendum in the North-East, if things turn to their disadvantage. This is the core lesson from East Timor. Furthermore, the Lankan State shall be held internationally accountable for any reneging and invite such external intervention, since it had co-signed the US sponsored resolution at the UN, and the majority of the UN General Assembly may support it. If this results in an independent state of Thamil Eelam, all political parties that comprise the ruling class, including the government and its opposition that have played this dirty game of chauvinist supremacy and national betrayal, shall be held accountable and responsible to the people.. As for the Tamil nation, it is their right to seek independence by whatever means, if there is to be no acceptable democratic solution coming forth. No nation would remain politically subjugated, militarily occupied and physically degraded forever! This would be the ultimate price that would have to be paid for all the abominable crimes this State and its ruling class agents of all hues and shades have committed against the Land and people of Lanka, including the Tamil nation.
The Case of East Timor
I shall begin by providing a background section as noted in “East Timor: Political Dynamics, Development, and International Involvement; Rhoda Margesson Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy Bruce Vaughn Specialist in Asian Affairs June 17, 2009 Congressional Research Service. 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL33994”
“On May 20, 2002, the Democratic Republic of East Timor (Timor-Leste) gained its independence, and on September 27, it became the 191st member of the United Nations. With the help of the United Nations transitional administration, East Timor’s independence marked the end of three centuries of Portuguese rule and 24 years of Indonesian control.
In the 1640s, the Portuguese began to assert control over East Timor. This colonial presence would last until 1975 when the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) gained ascendancy over the Timorese Union Party, pushed them out of East Timor in a brief civil war, and declared independence on November 28, 1975. Indonesia invaded East Timor on December 7, 1975, and began a period of occupation during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 East Timorese died. Indonesia’s annexation of East Timor as its 27th province was not recognized by the United Nations. Under the supervision of the United Nations, a national referendum to decide on either autonomy within Indonesia or on independence from it was held, under U.N. supervision, in East Timor on August 30, 1999. Seventy-eight percent of the 98.6% of registered voters who voted opted for independence. This led to widespread retaliation and destruction by pro-integrationist militias backed by elements of the Indonesian military who were in favor of integration with Indonesia. More than 1,300 East Timorese were killed, and the displaced included more than 260,000 in West Timor and 200,000 in East Timor. Seventy percent of East Timor’s economic infrastructure (such as housing stock, public buildings, and utilities), eighty percent of the schools, and virtually all medical facilities were destroyed by the militias. To quell the violence and restore order, a U.N.-authorized peacekeeping mission International Force East Timor (INTERFET) was established (under Australian command) and deployed on September 20, 1999. Australia has continued to play a leading role both in U.N. operations and on a bilateral basis with East Timor since 1999”. (my emphasis)
The Resurgence of Tamil National Aspirations
Read the writing on the wall! The recent peaceful protest in Jaffna organized by the Tamil People’s Council which mobilized around 20,000 people from the North and East gave a resounding voice to the demand of the Tamil people for truth, justice, accountability and democratic freedom and for a political solution based on a federal framework. This protest was backed by powerful sections of the International Tamil Diaspora, which are fully equipped with the documentation and evidence to hold the State accountable and form the basis to claim the right to independence, if the government fails to deliver. Any attempt to denigrate or suppress this show of popular force or to counter it with chauvinist mobilization will be noted and exploited by the UN and the US. Any attempt to fan the flames of chauvinist violence shall justify and fuel the demand for independence, inasmuch as any all attempts to hoodwink the world by the government. The UN shall customarily play according to the tune of the US.
Global Politics and Game of Strategic Duplicity
Those who feel convinced that both India and the US will remain committed to an undivided country or to the unitary state, or for that matter remain loyal to the Sirisena-Ranil government, may be in for a rude and shocking surprise. The world is set ablaze by genocidal wars being waged through proxies by rival imperialist powers. The stage is being set for a re-division of the world through world war – as had happened in two world wars already! Both the US and India are locked into a deadly political rivalry with China to assert strategic dominance in the Asia Pacific-Indian Ocean Region. Control over the vital sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean is pivotal for gaining decisive strategic leverage for all these powers. This is why the declining US empire has declared ‘Pivot of Asia’ as its overriding strategic policy. This is its primary concern and both the US and India are upgrading and intensifying their strategic partnership for this purpose. The escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, which could end up in a tactical nuclear confrontation, is also fertile ground for further manipulation and penetration by these rival powers. The invasion, carnage and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen by the US and its allies have turned the entire Middle-East into a cauldron of genocidal violence. China is seeking dominance throughout the region aggressively, as in its open and brazen contention and militarization of the South China Sea. Intensifying tension between North and South Korea is yet another nuclear powder keg, ready to explode, involving rivalry and contention between US, Japan and China. These are the global strategic stakes being played out in the world.
In this escalating global context, if there is to be continuing destabilization of the Lankan state where the oppositional forces backed by China may return to power, or if there is be any decisive challenge to the prevailing strategic balance of power in the Region, then both the US and India may very well exercise their option to work in favor of an independent state of Thamil Eelam, to be gripped within their effective stranglehold – economically, politically, diplomatically, strategically and militarily. Indeed, the constitutional gimmickry and the proposed national referendum may fall flat on its feet, with the Tamil people boycotting it and the chauvinist-fascist forces on the rampage to subvert it. Indeed, this may end up in an explosive political crisis much worse that it sought to resolve and state power may go up for grabs. In this critical scenario, the US and India may opt for some form of a con-federal arrangement with Tamil Nadu that would favor India and lock the fate of the Tamil nation irrevocably to India’s strategic policy. This way, they would gain effective control – if not undeclared sovereignty – over Trincomalee and all the military-strategic facilities of the North-East in land, sea and air, and hold the Land and the people of Lanka as a bleeding hostage. All such military/strategic facilities in the whole country have already been given to the US under the “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement” entered to by the ‘patriotic / anti-imperialist’ Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, and sovereignty over the Trincomalee oil tank farms snatched by India under the Indo-Lanka Accord. But a military / strategic outpost in the North-East through an independent state of Thamil Eelam would be that much more internationally sanctioned, legally secure and brought directly under control. Such an eventuality will be far more disastrous than all the destruction and devastation of nearly five centuries of direct colonial domination. Recall that the US backed Indonesia to the hilt until the tide turned when it decided to back the independence of East Timor. Recall that the CIA engineered the massacre of nearly one million communist forces in Indonesia in order to encircle China when it was a genuine Communist State led by Mao. The future of the nations, countries and peoples of the world shall be decided by the intensifying rivalry and contention between and among the various imperialist and regional powers out to gain strategic advantage and superiority, as a matter of their survival. The Land and the People of Lanka, whether Sinhala, Tamil or Moslem shall be no exception.
The Path to Liberation
We have but one chance and one path to achieve genuine national unity, independence and democratic freedom for the people of Lanka. This requires a clear strategic perspective guided by a scientific, internationalist and universally liberating ideology that transcends all narrow nationalist interests. This would require a political vision, line and program that could mobilize all progressive-democratic-revolutionary forces across divided and enforced borders to struggle for an independent people’s democratic state – a People’s Republic of Lanka. This will be a revolutionary State representing the invincible unity of all oppressed nationalities and people of Lanka that shall together stand against all reactionary-chauvinist forces internally and all foreign expansionist predator forces that are out to divide and conquer us. The time shall surely rise when such radical-revolutionary solutions become eminently feasible and justified and appear with force and fire upon the historical agenda, perhaps in the not too distant future. Is this not worth striving, living and dying for?