30 May, 2023


North & East Sri Lanka: A New Political Force Is Necessary

By TU Senan

TU Senan

TU Senan

The TNA leaders have begun to show just how far to the right they have travelled. It appears their every action demonstrates further their inability to both understand and respond to the developing political situation. Party members have been disciplined for not supporting Maithri in the election and the diaspora has been condemned for organising protests against that war criminal.

In fact the TNA seems to be on a ‘protect Maithri’ mission. Conflict also exists within the TNA and the proposal to ‘discipline’ dissidents adds to the discontent. However, the problems that the TNA faces go much deeper than a quarrel between some of its members. It is worth remembering how its predecessor Federal Party (TULF) demise begun.

The march organised by Tamil Manavar Peravai (TMP) in November 1970 against the standardisation was the first biggest demonstration to be organised by Tamil students. The Federal Party (FP) leaders were prevented from either leading this march or even speaking at the final rally. Then the TULF leader Amirthalingam stood behind the stage and insisted that he speak. Navaratname, another leader, also demanded to speak.

However, they were resisted by the student leaders and sent home. Many leaders of the ‘militant’ organisations that were formed later have their political origins in this TMP. At that time the popular student magazine ‘Tamil Youth’ wrote: “We must teach a lesson to ‘great’ leaders and Commanders” – a direct attack on then Tamil Congress leader GG Ponnambalam and FP leader Amirthalingam.

Wigneswaran MahindaIt must be noted that what the FP leaders’ stood for in terms of national rights for Tamils then is more advanced than what the current TNA leaders advocate. Even then the youth expressed their dissatisfaction with these ‘moderate’ politicians who planned to drown them in endless ‘diplomacy’.

These so-called ‘moderate’ political leaders create an enormous gap – between what they claim to represent and what they do; between what is possible and what they are prepared to do. They show willingness to compromise for a parliamentary position – but do not show similar conviction when it comes to standing with the masses. Those leaders (often on the left) who take a bold stand to be on the side of the exploited and oppressed are often side-lined by the ‘moderates’. And of course they declare all protests and youth activities as reckless, pointless, useless, and so on, with other ‘immortal’ names. Those who demand rights and are prepared to struggle, and those who are looking for a comfy seat in the parliament or aiming to gain from the continuing oppression and exploitation against the masses, don’t even share the same vocabulary, let alone actions and tactics. They differ fundamentally – they are diametrically opposed to each other.

While effigies are burned by the protesters the leaders are prepared to sit at the table of compromise. Leaders throw names at the protesters and try to silence them with whatever means they have, while protesters look for a new political vehicle to express their interests. It is from this vacuum sometimes that a new force emerges. How far this new political organisation can advance the interest of the masses will also depend on the far-sighted perspectives of the new leaders and the ability to involve workers, young people, the oppressed.

The TNA hides behind ‘diplomatic’ rhetoric. They have gotten away with this for a period, partly due to the low level of political participation that has been a feature of Tamil society. All sorts of rudimentary arguments are floated. Ludicrously it has been claimed that ‘One only needs to be a ‘devout Hindu’ to lure the Indian state to support Tamils in Sri Lanka. Similarly some argued that the Indian state will have to rely on Tamils to keep its interests in Sri Lanka. So we could play that to our advantage by being extra friendly to the Indian state. Now that China may be in opposition to the new regime will they argue that they should be used as a playing card by China? These sort of black and white absurdities are very common among these ‘leaders’.

Every time they stand for election the TNA leaders create an illusion that the west and UN can be won to support the Tamils, as they do with India. Now they need a new spin to justify the actions of Modi and the inaction of the UN. When news of the six-month delay in publishing the UN report came, Sambanthan’s reaction was telling. He declared that he was neither happy nor sad about it. Now consider how a young man whose family lost everything in the war would respond. It is therefore no surprise that protests are emergent in Jaffna and in the diaspora – not just against the Sri Lankan government but also against the TNA leaders.

Sumanthiran, a practicing lawyer, seems to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to come with arguments to stop the UK protests against Maithri. He claimed that the president is making some good gestures towards Tamils and we should not react badly. He warned that a protest would send the wrong signal to the Sinhala masses in the south – they might think: ‘look our president is doing something good for the Tamils, and even then the Tamils are not happy. So there is no point in giving anything to the Tamils’. What a laughable logic!

Why then did you pass the so-called ‘genocide resolution’? Leave aside the point that none of the promises made are delivered, since when did winning the Sinhala masses’ support become so important? None of the TNA leaders put forward this as a strategy. Sivajilingam who supported Siritunga in the last election is called an ‘unruly maverick’ by the defenders of the moderates. Such is the state of affairs among the TNA on this issue.

If the TNA really cared about winning the support of the Sinhala masses they should oppose the attacks on the Sinhala masses perpetuated by the Sri Lankan state. They could effectively use their parliamentary positions to defend the free education, free health service and many other gains that the Sinhala masses care about. Will they stand against the privatisation initiative proposed by the Bank of Sri Lanka or will they oppose the move to drawn Sri Lankan masses interest payment to IMF? That’s how you win the support of the Sinhala masses – stand with them in their suffering and fight with them to change it. You will not win their support by welcoming the ‘president’ and stopping protests against him.

Some journalists have written cynical reports of these protests. A significant number of the young people who participate in political activities now are not in any way linked to the LTTE in the past. Their actions are denounced as “London antics”, they are called a “lunatic fringe” and many other names. One piece concludes that: “It is important therefore for saner elements in the Tamil community to realise that “moderate”sections of the polity despite their shortcomings should be supported against the Tamil lunatic fringe… This is the time to shed silence and speak out against those political extremists in Tamil society within Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and the Global Tamil Diaspora”. Where does the urgency to defend the ‘Tamil moderates’ came from? Contemptuous name calling and framing students and youth as extremists will not be enough to remove the conditions that are forcing a new layer of youth towards struggle. As long as these conditions exist the frightened ‘moderate’ should continue to live in fear.

Protests would have continued, even under the Rajapaksa regime. Yes a little breathing space in the light of Maithripala’s seeming conciliatory approach could add to the confidence of the masses to protest, but the world is filled with history where the mass of people bravely stood up against all sorts of tyrannical regimes. The will of the masses can be, particularly in the period when mass struggle is emerging, expressed by a smaller section of society who can help the masses to see the need for their participation. But it must also be said that if significant majority support is a precondition for forming a government, then the majority of the governments in the world will have to fall.

The attempt to dismiss protest because only a ‘small’ number of people attend is invalid. And short-sighted. At this stage it is true that a minority understand that the delay in the UN is not by an accident but a consequence of the intentions of western capitalist governments. Their interest is not in justice for the Tamils who suffered so horrendously but securing big business interests in the pacific region. And it is this small minority who understand that the delay of the UN report – is not just a delay – but will result in a rewrite with insistence that Tamils follow the ‘internal justice’ delivered by the war criminals themselves.

Can anyone explain why a ‘breathing space’ is required to publish an already written little report regarding such blatant and well-documented human rights violations? Will Sumanthiran as a lawyer and Wigneswaren as a judge accept the argument that the murderer who committed crimes under one regime should be given breathing space and impunity under another regime?

In the face of brutal repression, there is an overwhelming yearning among Tamils for unity. The need to stand together is felt strongly. The TNA has used and abused this desire; behaving as though they are the ‘sole representatives’ of Tamils. But who are ‘Tamils’. Can the urge for unity overcome the gap between what different sections of the community need – young people, workers, women, the exploited and the poor? Apart from the Tamil Solidarity campaign none of the diaspora groups has come out with direct criticism of the TNA leaders so far. But that utopian view of uniting competing forces is now burning to dust along with the effigies. This situation begs for a new political organisation to emerge.

Interesting times lie ahead.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Excellent piece Senan, you outline the looming threats that will take us back to square 1.

    But in your consideration future , wonder of you would consider a non-ethinisied condition in which the Tamils reflect on their own gory past – of supporting the most horrid and racist organization that killed so many Sinhalese while they cheered on and the over educated expats supporting and justifying their actions as the Sinhalese nit wits are seen doing ?

    Is there relay a different between the two ? Will not wisdom that sees the commonality emerge after so much blood has been spilled ?

    Does not the condition for permanent peace rely solely on that realization ?

  • 10

    The Tamils of Sri Lanka overwhelmingly voted for Sirisena. They earlier voted overwhelmingly for the TNA. If Senan does not like that, let him contest the upcoming parliamentary elections and present his ideas for the electorate to decide.

  • 10

    This bloke sure is no Sri Lankan resident. He has picked political info from somewhere and has definitely not even checked them.
    His info is confused and wrong. There was no TULF in 1970. In 1970 it was ITAK known as FP led by SJV. Uni standardization was not in 1970. That came after 1972.
    Clueless he is in trying to be more Tamil than Tamils living in Sri Lanka. Wonder how he assumed what FP leaders stood for in terms of Tamil national rights in the old days were more “advanced” than what TNA is standing for.
    Completely confused with a rabid desire to be anti TNA and thinking he is a political theorist.
    Feel utterly sorry for this guy.

    • 1

      A modern day ‘Moses’, but quite willing to lead the Tamils down the garden path.

  • 18

    TU Senan,

    You are unusually harsh in delivering judgement on the TNA leadership.
    I am amiss to know if you are on the side of democracy or not.
    The TNA are the legitimate representatives of the Tamils at the moment winning a resounding majority. They must be respected for the decisions they make.

    I myself don’t agree that the UN should have postponed the release of the report.

    But realistically Senan, what do you expect to happen when the report is released. If you think that mass arests will follow with a great many soldiers and politicians being thrown is jail, you need to think again.

    I do agree with you protest is a tool that must be permitted to be used by the disaffected and the suffering. After all it is one of fundamental rights of the citizens in a democracy. However we must admit the ground has shifted a great deal since My3 has come to power. Please do visit the Tamil areas and see the new freedom with which the Tamils are going about. So let TNA achieve what they want to achieve the best way they could.

    We must find a peaceful way to coexist. The militant path the LTTE chose ended up with so much tragedy to the people that were promised liberation.

    Seething with anger and getting pumped up with vengeance is a sure way of returning to the bad old days. So walk responsibly my friend.

    • 14

      “” You are unusually harsh in delivering judgement on the TNA leadership”
      he is far left class wing problem having grown up in the east end.for his English language and lefty worker parents from lanka north!!

  • 18

    This is a silly article by a ultra Tamil nationalist which is completely lacking in understanding.
    Its clear once again that Tamils are our own wost enemies – unable to unite to advance peace and rights for Tamils within and outside the community.
    Tamil leaders and TNA need to think BIG for Sri Lanka, and work for the rights of ALL MINORITIES in the country – and eschew narrow Tamil Nationalism and the politics of BITTERNESS and VIOLENCE.

    The TNA blundered and missed a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to advance Rights of Tamils and minorities in refusing to accept the Ministry of National Languages and Reconciliation.
    Sumanthiran could have led from the front the program for rights of ALL Minorities and to Promote MULTICULTURALISM, equal opportunities and inclusion for peace in Sri Lanka.
    TNA needs to work with the Sinhala regime and CIVILIZE it and ensure rights for Minorities, including Muslims, and stop listening to short sighted pups like T.U Senan!

  • 5

    Wiggles has lost the plot like Vasu the unethical dead leftist!

    Wigneshwaran like his Machan the corrupt clown Vasudeva Nanayakkara is a doddering dodo who need to be RETIED and put in the Asylum immediately.
    How can this senile fellow be CM?

    • 12

      he thinks therefore he is. non muslim to play in justice.
      Jayalalitha did not heed his advise and she spent life drinkingb moru 3 times a day at karanataka her roots.

  • 14

    “The TNA has used and abused this desire; behaving as though they are the ‘sole representatives’ of Tamils. But who are ‘Tamils’. Can the urge for unity overcome the gap between what different sections of the community need – young people, workers, women, the exploited and the poor? “

    Tam`ill`you are more of caste class extreme left background that landed in the UK when Maggie opened the door to city dwellers of colombo.
    30 years with the gun trotting fisherman controlling british charities , housing, funds you have no dum, dumbo.
    When the first socialist government came to power independent Ceylon the British left back northern eastern intelligentsia even Brahmans were disgusted, disenchanted- it was just the last straw first- the beginning of the end. Colvin, Bernard, N.M. Banda J.R.- all on religion/language smash.
    You can never frighten judges or barristers with pipsqueak talk but
    may be convince another lefty who has lost both shoes at lanka.

    Old labour UK is fu**ed and buried. All thieves that spawned bLiar war criminal and now the nasal sounding Jewish fool who stopped the Syrian bombs.
    Time to change your music now that you have space given by the velle suthu, you can never buy class as your stinking fishermen in new found business have realised.
    (it takes 10 generations for outdoor plant to become indoor variety)

    ◕。be realistic not by the gun for the gun with the gun.
    Irish(gun+legal) are still reeling for freedom even today inquiry – Belfast it’s the 2nd largest after Florida yacht manufacture port of the world-
    the oranges would never let go.the oranges of maratha never let anyone rule india but finally sanskrit & hindu- sivaji at tanjavoor. first maratha English paper 1817.
    oyu you are porriki passan like vaiko!!
    meen karan ke varrada pu padidipu- every man his duty and god for all morals are for humans.

  • 1

    TNA is not belong to Samphanthan or Sumanitharan, it belongs to Tamil people and it is the last stance may be.

  • 9

    Mr. Sennan,

    It seems you are young and impatient. To be young is a very good thing, but not to be impatient.

    Demands for radical change in Sri Lanka has always led to violence and bloodshed, and very sadly to a lost generation of youth – whether it was the JVP in the south or the LTTE in the north. It is time to learn the lessons of our recent past and be cautious about what you advocate. In countries where radical change took place following revolutions, as in the case of Russia or China, this led to authoritarian or fascist regimes, which oppressed the poor, young people, workers and women as much as, or more than liberal “democratic” regimes. Do you want another authoritarian/fascist regime for Sri Lanka? Or for Tamil Eelam? A little wisdom would go a long way.

    Wherever you look in the world, it is always “moderates” who have brought about sustainable change that works best for the majority of people. Mr. Sumanthiran is one of the cleanest, most intelligent and principled politicians in Sri Lanka, a rarity and beacon to all Sri Lankans, whether they are Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim, Malay, Burgher or Vedda. Thank god for Mr. Sumanthiran!

    Some Tamils have had a propensity to commit political suicide by trashing (and, in some cases, murdering) their ablest leaders – with catastrophic consequences. People who burn effigies do not deserve anyone’s votes. They will always remain a marginal force – in Sri Lanka and in the eyes of the international community. I hope enough people see the light in the upcoming elections, as they did in the previous one!

  • 2

    Good one Senan!

    Indeed there is need for a new formation to work of the rights of ALL the minorities and change dominant attitudes that discriminate against: Women, religious, linguistic, other class/castes, and LGBT communities..

    There needs to be education and the media needs to stop pretending the Sri Lanka is the Wonder of Asian and rather help change people’s mindsets and attitudes regarding other communities..

    Tamils should stop thinking that they are just “victims’ and also introspect about how Tamils oppress each other and women in the community in particular…

  • 8

    T.U.Senan…. What force youy need? EllLAN FORCE??

    Living outside Sri Lanka and enjoying greener pastures, do not create trouble for the Tamils living in peace after the war……..
    You di9aspora and certain Tamil politicians are attempting to thrive on innocent Tamil blood.

    Leave us alone as we can take care of our destiny.

    • 1

      thondamannar havent you being distilling much vinegar these days-

      We all love Miami Mice.

  • 4

    This article reveals that the section of Tamil Diaspora needs a force like LTTE. TU senan is looking a new Tamil armed force in North and East of Srilanka. What was the different between FP and TMP? Or what is the different between TULF and LTTE? All were/are Tamil nationalists. Nationalistic movements split always as several groups. Then they blame and kill each other. Tamil extreme nationalists murdered the moderate Tamil nationalists. UNP is able to accommodate TNA because both are pro imperialists. LTTE was defeated, but Tamil extreme nationalists still survives.

    • 7

      old man lingo you take it at face value in the 21stCE- like Babushka??

      he is sponsor of kurrumitta_juice uk.

      he is aspiring to become an `opinion writer` for the far left tamilnet opinion.
      he writes same as sihal pseudo in perceived fear of invasion by india because he is in cockney neighborhood.

      Tom Tit Ruby Murray Orchestra stalls (shit curry balls: english)

      like Coön tunes but no military takers- stupidity is well known for fear of guns.

  • 6

    This Racist says about Mr Sumathitharan, That;

    “He claimed that the president is making some good gestures towards Tamils and we should not react badly. He warned that a protest would send the wrong signal to the Sinhala masses in the south – they might think: ‘look our president is doing something good for the Tamils, and even then the Tamils are not happy. So there is no point in giving anything to the Tamils’. What a laughable logic!.

    Yes We Moderate Sinhalese feel very bad about that ,
    Because We have Experiences How Tamizar Suffered during the Your so called PEE LAM WAR.
    You Racist Lot do not want to Compromise and Start a new beginning.

    Let our Thamizar people to live peacefully and Die peacefully in their mother land, SRI LANKA.

    Do not try to drag them again to you dream land and Finish them in a place like NANDHI KADAAL.
    Do not Bellow about Tamizar Unity, What unity You Morons are talking about?.
    Like US SINHALESE no Unity among Us, So the Same, There is no any unity AMONG YOU ALL THAMIZARS.
    Remember First that,
    But to all of Us.

  • 1

    I would like to clarify a couple of errors in the article. Although I used TULF in an attempt to clarify the situation for the new reader it was factually wrong to use it in that context as TULF was not formed in 1970. I should have said FP. Also Amirthalingam was a key leader of the FP then – not the leader.

    • 8

      If only you say nothing at all!!
      If only and UK could have a proud son


      our cat is seated on Iron Pillar ND. but not on Nelson’s head anymore

      Churchill was never a peace time man but a school drop out- fanatic and a danger to society- very cocky indeed.

  • 1

    There is plenty of comments to make on TU Senan’s Article and there is nothing to comment as the article itself has its comments which some parts can be accepted and some cannot. It has been the tradition of the Tamil leadership and the Tamil academics not to agree and bring split in the parties and among the Tamils. The position of the Tamils in Sri Lanka is completely in a critical stage. Always it was and always will be for various reasons. The TNA consists of several parties with different views and opportunism and different ideas. The forthcoming parliamentary elections may be one of the reasons for the differences between the leadership and others in the party recently. Therefore the Tamil parties are not interested in the current situation of the Tamils but in the forthcoming elections. It was wrong for Sampanthan and Sumanthiran to participate in the Independence Celebrations without the consent of the party and on the other hand it was harsh on the Tamil diaspora to burn the effigy of Sumanthiran. The Tamil diaspora should not take everything in their hands and they should leave the decision making with the Sri Lankan Tamils. If the diaspora wants to support the Tamils they can and if they do not want to, stay away. The Diaspora should not impose on the Tamils in Sri Lanka as they have no right to do so. How many groups one could find among the diaspora Tamils? Eight groups with different views. What help would it do for the Tamils in Sri Lanka as they are the people who are facing the ruthlessness and flaunting of the military might.

  • 1

    It is very sad to see person like Sennan who has no clue about the Sri Lankan or Tamil politics who pretends to show that he is a leftist writing rubbish. When he says Sivajilingam as progressive merely because he supported Srithunge, shows the political understanding of this gentleman. Sivajilingam and Premachandran are bankrupt politicians who are piggybacking on TNA and they are neither progressive or democrats. He thinks if some one protest they become leftist. Tamil leadership totally failed to lead the people to a better environment and continue to trap in their narrow nationalist agenda. Tamils need a alternative leadership but that has to understand the potential in the Sinhalese community which can tap to move forward in finding solution by winning over the majority of the Sinhalese people rather than legitimize ordinary Sinhalese fear. Yes, TNA is right wing and its narrow nationalist ideology came out with rhetoric slogan which gave birth to fascist outlet such as LTTE. Those diaspora elements who are protesting are the people who supported the LTTE which destroyed the community and forced large number of children from the poor to become sacrificial lambs. After all these tragedies Tamils have a major task of rebuilding their community and taking stock why they allowed a movement like LTTE to take control of their political and social life in such a way to bring a massive tragedy to them. Unfortunately persons like Sennan who are pretentious to be progressive are incapable to think in that direction but come out with their naive ideas about politics which will continue to misguide the younger generation.

  • 2

    Senan is an ardent totalitarian supporter always criticise the country where he found refuge for chronic reasons. He pretends to support democracy too. He is nobody, where he lives and his political colour is described as chronic. He always condemns Tamils as stupid and want to teach them lessons for supporting TNA.

  • 0

    It looks that this guy is a militant and a run away from any Tamil militant organisation in Sri lanka. After successful asylum in the UK he wants to stir racial tension in the North and the East from a Starbuck coffee shop in London. He is living in an Utopian world. Let him dream until he passes away. Do no bother much about these kind of trouble makers.

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