By Malinda Seneviratne –
Imagine the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which few would describe as anything other than a terrorist organization, running around in the jungles of the Vanni, occasionally blowing up a bus or carrying out a suicide attack inColombo. Imagine the LTTE ambushing the occasional Army patrol, stealing uniforms, guns and ammunition.
Imagine also a Tamil population of expatriates made of people who had the wisdom to see that something that begins in Vadukkoddai with a nod to armed insurrection ends in the Nandikadaal Lagoon ; a Tamil community living abroad that eschews violence and would have no truck with terrorism. A brave Tamil community, let’s say, that said no to extortion and abhorred those who would not think twice about making bucks out of illegal activities such as credit card fraud, human and arms smuggling, drug trafficking etc., in order to fund terrorist activity; a set of individuals who as a community or in their majority even if they supported the idea of a separate state would give up on the ‘liberator’ the first time he recruited a Tamil child to be deployed in military activities including suicide attacks, never mind the first time he sent a bayonet through a baby’s chest. Assume too that the lie of unbearable discrimination, both relative and absolute, was not referenced by those who needed to justify ‘refugee status’, and that it need not have been buttressed by the reality of the clash of arms and therefore fed the need for perpetual war.
No, we didn’t see a ‘Tamil Expatriate Community’ which was marked by the characteristics stated above.
I am convinced, though, that the majority of Tamils living abroad did not identify themselves with the LTTE, even if they were not averse to the idea of a separate state for Tamil people. Sadly, though, the decisions to support in one way or another did not ensue from a secret ballot on the particular issue. Sadly too, even a small minority and one that is not beholden to anyone nor constrained by fear of reprisal, legal or otherwise, can harm, can aid and abet. And that, ladies and gentlemen was a key factor that impacted the conflict and its perpetuation for three decades.
Let us be clear: every single person who supported the LTTE and every single person who supported the Sri Lankan armed forces were in fact raising their hands to ‘War’; every single person who misread the LTTE, believed it was invincible and therefore advocated strategies that strengthened the terrorists also said yes to ‘terrorism’, to death and destruction. There are no ‘guiltless’ in times of war. And ‘degrees’ of guilt is not salve enough for the aggrieved, who, one must remember are also culpable, one way or another.
But let’s come to January 2009. By this time it was abundantly clear what the outcome would be. The LTTE would be defeated. Now, if the expatriate Sri Lankan Tamils and their foreign friends truly believed their self-propagating claim of a genocide-pursuing Sri Lankan Government, then they would have had to envisage a carnage amounting to at least 300,000 Tamils being slaughtered in the event that the LTTE, which held these people hostage and as a human shield, refused to let them go free.
It is now revealed that as late as April 17, 2009 (as recorded by the then US Ambassador, Robert O Blake who can be described as the quintessential Meddling Yankee who actually spared no pains to save the behinds of the LTTE leadership right up to the Nandikadaal Denouement) the movers and shakers of the expatriate Sri Lankan Tamil community ‘refused to persuade the LTTE to release its (sic) civilians’.
There can be no ‘Tamil Struggle’, just or unwarranted, without Tamils, and the possible slaughter (as per perception of the Sri Lankan armed forces) of 300,000 Tamils shows up these Tamil expatriates and the true dimensions of their supposedly bleeding hearts (for the ‘Tamil Cause’).
Under these circumstances and given the clearly horrendous and unpardonable politics of these Tamil expatriates, it is not surprising that they’ve continue to decorate the edifice of lies that justified refugee status and lined bank accounts. What is as unpardonable is the fact that the word of these anti-Tamil ‘despicables’ still has currency among certain ‘world leaders’ and UN officials, never mind Channel 4 (proved beyond a shadow of doubt to have absolutely no regard to media ethics, civilized and balanced reporting and general human decency).
Those who funded and armed the LTTE, who waxed lyrical about Tamil civilians and made careers out of espousing a ‘Tamil Cause’ wanted the Tamil civilians held hostage by the LTTE killed and if those civilians can count anyone as ‘saviour’, it is the Sri Lankan armed forces.
There is no ‘deadline’ for self-deception. The pro-LTTE sections of the Tamil expatriate community can believe their own lies to their individual graves. As for the others, well, silence is easy but culpability is not dished out to only those who object vocally.