There were many different views, for and against, in terms of the NPC elections and whether Tamils should participate in it or not. We have passed that stage, and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) entered the fray having transcended all the debates about how the Tamil nation should handle the Northern Provincial elections in the event of these being held. As a political formation elected through due democratic processes to represent the diaspora Tamils, and as body committed to struggle for the creation of a free and sovereign State of Tamil Eelam through political and diplomatic means, we feel it is the responsibility of the TGTE to clarify its own position with regards to the Northern Provincial Council elections.
The TGTE is of the firm conviction that the 13th Amendment as well as the idea of Provincial Councils have expired long ago. The TNA leader, Mr R Sambanthan himself, once said in a BBC interview after May 2009 that the 13th Amendment was a “dead corpse for many years now”. Rather than recognize this fact and offer a decent burial or cremation to this corpse, some international actors with their vested interests have embarked on resurrecting the 13th Amendment. Meanwhile, the Sinhala regime, well aware that such resurrection efforts have no meaning whatsoever, is still going through the motions of pretending that it is threatened by the 13th Amendment, just in order to destabilize the freedom struggle of the Tamil people.
We believe that the TNA has launched into the NPC elections with the clear knowledge that the Provincial Councils are a meaningless void, yet they are in it only to win over the support of the International Community. It is only appropriate at this juncture that we place on record our own position with regard to engaging the international community. The term International Community invariably refers to governments in power. It is often said that States do not wear clothes and as such they are never embarrassed to behave in any manner they want in order to ensure their own interests are served. Therefore, it is our comradely appeal to the TNA that they should always work in order to align our political interests with that of the international players, rather than compromise our interests just for the sake of winning their support.
The Sri Lankan State is terribly afflicted with the malignancy of Sinhala Buddhist racism. The Tamils should not expect any justice to be delivered by the Sri Lankan Parliament, the State Executive machinery, or for that matter even the judiciary. There is no willingness to accept the Tamils as a Nation or as a People who deserve equality and dignity. We cannot sustain hopes of winning over our rights from the existing State agencies through the mechanism of the PC or through other forms of struggle, even with the support of the International Community. The SL State has transformed itself into an irreparably racist State, and it can never think of redeeming itself out this predicament. The Eelam Tamil Nation could win over its rights only by liberating itself from the bondage of the Sri Lankan State. We believe that the TNA leadership is taking cognizance of this reality.
We do wish whole heartedly that the TNA reaches an unprecedented victory at the NPC elections. We, therefore, call upon our people to cast their ballots accordingly in very large numbers. None of our calls should be construed, however, as acknowledgment of the PC or that we are in agreement with the political approach of the TNA. Our decision to appeal to the people to vote for the TNA arises out of our concern that the Tamil votes should not go to any party working with the Government or any other Sinhala party.
The Sinhala polity and its constituent parties are all bent on denying the Tamils their own Tamil national identity, and on submerging that identity into a greater Sri Lankan identity. Upholding the distinct nationhood of Eelam Tamils and expressing our desire to establish a State of our own are absolutely essential to protect our will to struggle for that freedom. We appeal to our voting public to solidly back the TNA also because it is of paramount importance at this juncture that the outcome of the PC elections becomes the clearest expression to the world of the Tamil people’s aspirations for their distinct nationhood, despite the very limited political space these people have in the island of Sri Lanka to exercise that right. Our position with regards to the PC elections expressed here is the outcome of a debate in the parliament of the TGTE.
It is our conjecture that many of the candidates and a majority of the voters in this election are of the same mind set as ours. The mere fact that the people in the North will be casting their votes at this election should not be interpreted as an acceptance by them of the PC system or that they were in agreement with the demerger of the East and the North. The plight of our people at present is one of very limited choice. At the same time, they look upon the TNA as a continuation of the liberation struggle at the domestic front and therefore offer support to them. Hence, it is incumbent upon the TNA to uphold the will of the people and be true and faithful to their desires, while being mindful of the enormous sacrifices that have been made already by the thousands of martyrs in the name of freedom for the Tamil people.
We predict that following TNA’s victory at the elections, the Sri Lankan government will do all it can to cripple the functioning of the PC using the Governor and the State Executive machinery. We should not harbor dreams of achieving much through legal means, because after all it is the Sinhala parliament that enacts the law. There will be no relief coming from a Sinhalized judiciary. It was the Supreme Court that demerged the North and East. Let us not fool ourselves believing that the Sinhala parliament will allow for the re-merger of the North and East. Furthermore, the International Community will run out of means to pressure the Sinhala State because its various instruments are able to parade themselves as democratic bodies. We also need to take cognizance of the political reality that the Tamils would be simply abandoned, if and when the present government transformed itself to meet the desires of international States or if there was a regime change in a manner that suits the interests of those states.
Given this backdrop, the TNA should make the decision now itself that a likely failure of the Provincial Council system could be used to propel our freedom struggle to the next level. They should take up the lessons of being part of the PC, to make it known to the world that a solution to the Tamil National Question could not be reached within the State structure of Sri Lanka. We should harness the mass support in our homeland, the Diaspora, the Tamil Nadu and in the many countries where Tamils live throughout the world, and re-launch political and diplomatic struggles, joining hands with friendly forces throughout the world who believe in justice. History has this expectation from us. We believe the TNA will give weight to this call on behalf of history.
‘The Thirst of Tamils is the Freedom of Tamil Eelam’
*Visvanathan Rudrakumaran – Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)