14 April, 2024

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If Prabhakaran Had Been In Sri Lanka Now….? A Counter-Response To Ranil’s Terrorism

By Rehan Fernando

Rehan Derrick Fernando

The title of this article looks like a complicated and sophisticated issue, but it is not, because the title is on the stage at times while it also exists behind the screen. A careful study of Prabha’s terrorism (as the majority of Sinhalese name it) would reveal some positive facts compared to the terrorism and nationalism that is being promoted by the so-called president Ranil Wickremesinghe. Here comes a question: What is the terrorism of Ranil? Or is he a terrorist? Answering these questions in the case of this discussion rely on the primary arguments. Therefore, this article aims to begin a constructive discussion among people. 

Reading between the lines

At the very outset of this sub-topic, it is apt to see through one essential explanation of Dr. Jude Lal Fernando, a senior lecturer from Trinity College, Dublin. He mentions in this regard “During the 20-year war in Sri Lanka between 1983-2002 the Tamil national leadership built their state in the North and East of the island, which is called Tamil Eelam with the people’s power, both local and diaspora. It is like North Korea building its state under the Juje philosophy. The Tamil state was a secular state, not a religious state like the Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lankan state. It was not anti-religious like in France or the former USSR. It was religiously pluralist and respected the humanist versions of every religion and opposed fundamentalist versions of religions. It had military, political and civic administrations like any other state, but free of corruption and malpractices. It had very progressive social reforms like gender equality. This state was becoming stronger, and the Sri Lankan state and its society were becoming weaker even though it was backed by the major powers in the world. The Sri Lankan state lost many areas to the LTTE and lost many of its soldiers. Its economy was becoming weaker. The Sinhala people were becoming tired of war. In 2000 and 2001, the LTTE declared unilateral ceasefires demanding political negotiations, but the Sri Lankan state continued to wage its war and lost many soldiers. By 2002 due to the military balance of power between the two parties there came a ceasefire and a peace process.”[1] Since I have worked in many parts of the Northern part of Sri Lanka, I have seen how Prabha began his struggle to face the crisis of Tamil civilians. I am not here to justify what he did, but I would still take one minute to admire his gesture on behalf of Tamil civilians at the beginning of his thought. Considering Jude’s argument, I think, we need a contextual rereading for us to reconcile with one another and learn some better qualities of a state. 

When the central government blows its trumpet to sing its nationalism and Buddhist-Sinhala superpower structure instead of our beautiful national anthem, I don’t think a Tamil civilian like Prabhakaran would ever observe silence. How about if the Sinhalese had gone through such an immense violent era? Then, there would have been thousands of “Ghanasara Buddhist monks” to run the game. 

A motherland without a title

In 2010, Manjula Wediwardena, a great Sri Lankan poet of our time wrote a poetry book titled මාතෘකාවක් නැති මාතෘ භූමිය හෙවත් දෙමළ කවි.”[2]The book primarily speaks about how we have lost a sense of true unity since we opted for a civil war in killing innocents, especially Tamil civilians. It also reveals the buried truth of innocent Tamil civilians and some unrevealed stories of men and women. My argument does not fall in line with Wediwardena’s piece of writing but with the content of his title. He nailed it at the right point. Sri Lanka is a country without a proper title; in other words, Sri Lanka will never achieve any type of peace and harmony for it struggles with burning issues and events every decade. 

Ranil Wickramesinghe is a key political leader who has been caught in such a notorious process. Ranil plays a game as a cunning fox[3]. His purpose is not to serve the country but to remain in dirty power. For such a mechanism, he would do/play any type of dirty political game as he is playing the same type of role at present. Ranil does not have a proper vision and a title for his chapter in the field of Sri Lankan political history. He either uses men to bark as dogs or he barks like a dog. Isn’t it a stupid sense of political game? Where can we find genuine people like Dudley Senanayake or Mr. Wijayananda Dahanayaka? Isn’t it a crisis for the whole nation? 

Counter-response

The only solution to the crisis in this country is a village-level effort. Prabhakaran and his team had done such community works at the beginning of their movement. Instance, the farmers were given bank loans for their cultivation and no burdens put on their shoulders in paying back their loans. They also promoted home-garden methods among ordinary Tamil civilians while providing necessary things freely. This is only a tiny example that I provide in the field of agriculture. Also, I have come across many Tamil civilians who talked about the basic security provided by the LTTE movement. 

Therefore, I would call Ranil’s defense mechanism of dirty politics a process of terrorism that is dangerous and violent more than Prabha and his movement. Ranil’s dirty political desires are very threatening to the ordinary civil societies in the country. He is peacefully riding a dirty political boat on innocent blood. He is a man for division, but not for unity. Such a diplomatic man cannot dream of a balanced society with good ideologies. And, he has been well trained to move by some other dirty political waves. 

If Prabhakaran had been here in the country, I would have surely gone through a negotiation to work for a peaceful state though Prabhakaran had no proper educational background. Yet, I would never negotiate with Ranil whose educated foolishness has ruined this country. 

Conclusions

The Tamil word தலைவர்(leader) is quite suitable for Prabhakaran though we cannot accept some of his approaches to the ethnic issue of this country. In my opinion, however, Prabha is much better than Ranil whose leadership has paralyzed the whole structural body of this country. We would have surely opted for a developed country if Prabha had been the leader of this land. Instead of being superfluously victorious with war victory, I would still ask: why did Sinhalese kill Velupillai Prabhakaran?

[1] NCCK Interview with Professor Jude Lal Fernando – Freedom, Dignity and Asia (freedomasia.org), Accessed on 26th October 2022.

[2] මංජුල වෙඩිවර්ධන, මාතෘකාවක් නැති මාතෘ භූමිය හෙවත් දෙමළ කවි (ශ්‍රී ලංකාව: සූරිය ප්‍රකාශකයෝ, 2010).

[3] It was Prabhakaran who gave this title in 2005 as he was addressing a gathering on Mahaveerar Naal (Great Heroes Day). 

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Latest comments

  • 18
    2

    I am in disbelief!
    I never thought that I’d live to read such an honest article.

  • 6
    5

    Rehan Fernando

    “We would have surely opted for a developed country if Prabha had been the leader of this land. Instead of being superfluously victorious with war victory, I would still ask: why did Sinhalese kill Velupillai Prabhakaran?”

    You are right, it was Velupillai Prabaharan (VP) who won the war for Mahinda and his clan. Therefore the war victory should have been attributed to VP.

    “I would still ask: why did Sinhalese kill Velupillai Prabhakaran?”

    The answer lies in the psyche of both Sinhalease and Tamils, both suffer siege mentality, mutually reinforced by their thoughts, words and actions.
    You failed to ask yourself why did Velupillai Prabaharan kill so many people irrespective of their race(?), religion and region, including Tamils? The answer to your question is that Prabaharan was a psychopath so is Gota.

    “[3] It was Prabhakaran who gave this title in 2005 as he was addressing a gathering on Mahaveerar Naal (Great Heroes Day).”

    Not so dissimilar to Sanghas, Universities, ….. Prabaharan too gave out numerous titles to many, such as Maweeran, Thesathin Kural (Voice of the nation), Maamanithar (great human being), …….. and Methahu (Right Honourable) to himself – and declared one week in November as Heroes Day coinciding or overlapping with his birthday.

    • 4
      13

      Native
      It useful to compare Velu and Wijeweera. Both were bloodthirsty psychopaths. But VP, burdened with sanctions, managed to produce homegrown submarines. His subjects ran tractors on cooking oil. What did Wijeweera do? Beats me.

      • 4
        4

        old codger

        ” What did Wijeweera do?”

        Wijeweera didn’t have a vibrant diaspora whereas VP had a sizable cornered and naive diaspora, thanks to a virulent strain of Sinhala/Buddhism. Tamils also must thank Wijeweera and his sidekick Somawansa.

        My friend told me during 1987/1990 their supporters in London couldn’t find more than 5 Sinhala speakers to protest opposite Sri Lankan High Commission in London. However according to my friend there were about 15 Tamils joined hands in solidarity with JVP supporters (Sinhala speakers), not just once but more than once.

        By the way how many submarines did float, leave alone worked as submarines should? Cooking oil must have been too expensive. Forget all their “INVENTIONS” for a second, what was the total cost to Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and others over the 30 years of war, including lost opportunity and production?

        Sinhala speakers still believe their armed forces won the war.
        Tamils believe if not for the intervention of 30 countries VP would have established a functioning Tamil Eelam.

        • 9
          1

          “Tamils believe if not for the intervention of 30 countries VP would have established a functioning Tamil Eelam.”

          Above is not something with certainty but there was a very high probability.

        • 5
          2

          “what was the total cost to Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and others over the 30 years of war, including lost opportunity and production?”
          And finally (?) getting Gota as President.

      • 3
        0

        old codger,
        You are lumping up two men our political leaders created. Both were products of their times.
        Contrasting, yes; comparing, no.
        Many more we would see unless we mend our ways.

  • 12
    1

    Rehan, it may be one man’s opinion but today many realize or agree, with Jude’s statement, not just Tamils but Sinhalese, Muslims and few Indians. (I spoke to ). Thanks for writing this article which most avoid or not dare. Violence in any form should be condemned but the truth / facts needs to be told.

  • 8
    1

    chiv,
    It is not only one man’s opinion. It is the opinion of many. The author has clearly compared the administration of both Sri Lankan leaders and LTTE leader V Pirabhaharan who administered North East for many years. He or none of their leaders ever considered or went on propaganda against any other religions or any other communities. There was no corruption at any level. Even the Military commanders admitted that his army are deciplined no one complained about a rape case against his military. It is true that not only Pirabaharan but also other militant groups involved with forced recruitments, killing of opponents, politicians and he had more enemies than any Sinhalese leader inside and outside Sri Lanka and finally he did not run away like Gotabaya. He is much better than any other Sinhalese leader.

    • 5
      0

      Ajith, the comments seems to be made much earlier to the end of war. At the time few would have agreed. I do not disagree mostly with your opinion, especially about CORRUPTION.

  • 9
    0

    The mentality of the sinhalas is that ceylonese tamils should lick their boots as was manifestly evident by a sinhala minister’s action against imprisoned tamils!.

    This mentality has resulted in a country that exports sinhala women who volutarily or by force lick the appendages of foreigners.

    NO SHAME SINHALAS !!! OBVIOUYSLY!!!

  • 2
    1

    Dear Rehan,
    .
    A few days ago, I had noticed your article and the accolades it had attracted from of the discerning commenters, but it was only today that I read it, and that carefully.
    .
    From the beginning I had dissociated myself from the War, but I hadn’t really bestowed much praise on Prabhakaran. Yes, most of the time the average Tamils felt more comfortable with him than with the government. He didn’t tolerate dissent by high profile Tamils, but those who toed his line were safe. and his cadres were disciplined.
    .
    He probably did use civilians as a human shield during the end game, but at that stage government strategies were even worse. When Prabhakaran was finally declared dead, I felt relieved that there would be no more arbitrarily placed bombs bombs, but I remember outraging some of the English teachers whom I was teaching at the NIE, Maharagama.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

    • 2
      0

      This is how that came about.
      .
      The news had come about noon, and was being shown on T.V. I had to start teaching at 1.00 p.m. There was a television set in the room, and some in my class who were wives of Army Officers wanted to have no lesson, but watch T.V. They said that they had always been in a state of tension, and that they were so happy that the “monster” was dead. I said that I was also relieved but that there also were a number of Tamils in the class, and that to them Prabhakaran was probably a hero. Besides, we had gathered there from all parts of the island to do some work. So, I said, five minutes to confirm the news, but after that we had to get on with work.
      .
      That lesson went off all right, but the Sinhalese in the class had complained, and that was the end of work at the NIE as a guest lecturer.

    • 1
      0

      That sot of thing wouldn’t have mattered too much, had there been a peace dividend.
      .
      But what we now see is ever greater expenditure on armed forces and weapons, and now the Police. I hear all sorts of comparisons. This week I heard that there is to be further recruitment, which will bring their strength up to 80,000 from the current 60,000. That would be more than the Police in France and the UK combined.
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_military_and_paramilitary_personnel
      .
      and
      .
      https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/military-size-by-country
      .
      I googled just now, and got the above. Too complicated to analyse, but it looks as though all countries are arming. Do the people want it? I will only say that I don’t want this. Nor did Gorby:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYVsKoQXATY
      .
      That’s just 8 minutes; this is 21 minutes:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYjRJ1h6N6E&t=67s
      .
      How do we get our messages across? I’m ready to depart.

  • 1
    0

    I have asserted in many comments that I am a steady supporter of the NPP today. That won’t easily change, but it is active and critical support. I have no real reservations about the top leadership, but I have found a problem relating to Gorby among the average members. About three weeks ago I found myself in Maharagama and there was a very well attended meeting of the Teachers’ Trade Union affiliated to the NPP at the National Youth Centre. Rather than listening to major speeches, I sat on the steps outside and got talking with teachers now in service from a variety of areas. On Gorby, we couldn’t agree. This is so even with NPP members in Bandarawela. They all seem to hold (like most Russians) that Gorby let everybody down by dismantling the Soviet Super Power. When they have the time to listen, I present my view on the Arms Race.
    .
    Those then are the views of the “genuine villagers”. Will there be successful protests today? These reflect the views of the by now corpulent schoolmates I sometimes now meet.
    .
    https://economynext.com/sri-lanka-business-chambers-call-to-cancel-nov-2-protest-amid-growing-public-anger-101644/
    .
    What hypocritical drivel. Protest we must! The bogus patriotism of the “City” for those less fortunate!

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