By S. V. Kirubaharan –
British naval historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson (July 1909 – March 1993) said: “Delay is the deadliest form of denial”.
Since independence in 1948, frequent name changes and periodical constitutions have created the fictitious beauty of the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka. In the island, the poor are getting poorer, the rich are growing richer and the Tamil nation is gradually losing its identity, territory, land, economy, culture, population, etc. These are the achievements of this progressive Sinhala Buddhist country.
Donoughmore, Soulbury, Sirimavo – Colvin and J. R. Jayewardene’s constitutions did not do anything good for the Tamil nation. Nor will Jeyampathy’s new constitution! If by changing the constitution any good were to be achieved to the Tamil Nation, this would have happened at the time of independence in 1948 or soon after. How can one believe in Jeyampathy’s remedy, when the present constitutional council has not even acknowledged that there is an ethnic issue in the island? As usual this is all bluff by smart politicians from the South. To be honest, when it comes to the question of converting Sri Lanka into a Sinhala Buddhist country, all the Southern politicians are united and moving swiftly to achieve their aim.
Non-violent parliamentary struggle, civil disobedience struggle, armed struggle and presently diplomatic struggle – have any of these brought fruitful results to the Tamil Nation? Land grab, colonization, Sinhala settlements and eventual change in demography, have reduced the North and East, to the North and to the Jaffna district alone. Terminologies like the Tamil Kingdom and the Tamil homeland have already disappeared. So what is happening in this island while under the scrutiny of the international community?
A group of some short-sighted Tamil politicians misled Tamil voters in the North and East during the last Presidential election campaign. In the run-up to that election, my point was that if Tamils want the international community to remain committed to addressing the grievances of the Tamils, Rajapaksa should win the Presidency. Having said that, I never motivated anyone to vote for the dictatorial Rajapaksa. However the current President who won because of Tamil votes is now playing hide and seek regarding anything concerning Tamils. Nothing surprises us! This has been the pattern since 1948.
Since independence, only two Sinhala political parties, the United National Party – UNP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – SLFP formed governments, sometimes in coalition with small political parties.
At the end of the war in 2009, Rajapaksa talked about ‘13 plus’ – which should have been better than the 13th amendment which was included in the Indo-Lanka accord. Dictatorial Rajapaksa managed for six years with his bogus promises, taking Tamils, India and the international community for a ride. He used these six years to settle Singhalese, to establish Buddhist temples in every nook and corner of the North and East and to grab more civilian lands.
Tamil paramilitaries closely associated with the Rajapaksas’ regime and other regimes, in maintaining their hard core policy of wiping out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – LTTE, could not achieve any viable political solution to the Tamil question even after the six or seven years, since the fall of the LTTE. Every government (including Chandrika’s and Rajapaksa’s) led Tamils who are anti-LTTE to believe that there would be a political settlement, once the LTTE was wiped out. Today these groups and individuals are disappointed and stunned by empty promises given by every government of Sri Lanka. To be noted, the international actors were also hood-winked by the Sri Lanka governments and they too are stunned.
When we talk about the history of the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka, there is no need for anyone to go back thousands of years. The colonial period of the island started 511 years ago and the Tamil Kingdom started to lose its identity only within the last 183 years.
When the first colonial master, the Portuguese landed in 1505 on this island, there were three Kingdoms. One of these was Tamil, and was known as the “Jaffna Kingdom”, covering the area of the North East, the Tamils’ hereditary region. The other two Kingdoms – Kotte in the South and South West and Kandy in the Centre were known as Sinhala Kingdoms. The Portuguese ruled Ceylon from 1619 to 1658 followed by the Dutch until 1795. Both rulers maintained these Kingdoms separately, recognising the differences between the two distinct peoples’ cultures.
The British took over from the Dutch and ruled until so-called independence in February 1948. During the British period, in 1833, all three Kingdoms were amalgamated into one, under the pretext of easy administration. This is the true history of the Island.
The British, who now speak about their unique and separate identity, were the cause of Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka, losing their unique and separate identity. Therefore, the present government of the United Kingdom has a duty to help the Tamils re-establish Tamil identity and self-determination.
Every Sri Lankan government systematically manipulates their opposition party or parties, Buddhist monks, extreme institutions and the people of the South in their favour, pretending that they intend to settle the ethnic problem. But there is huge opposition in the South to granting any political solution satisfying the aspirations of the Tamils. So whenever the international community grants time and space to the government, it uses this time and opportunity for more Land grabbing, colonization, Sinhala settlement and eventually the total demographic change of the North and East. This is the pattern of tactics used by every government in power since independence.
Federal solution is a myth
The political leaders in the South, as well as the international community should turn the pages of Hansard of the Sri Lankan parliament, to familiarise themselves with what was said by leaders of leftist parties in the past. They warned that in the absence of a viable political solution to the North and East, the country may face a disaster. This is not a threat, but a reminder.
The sweet terminology ‘Federal solution’ is today supported in the South by the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga whose father advocated and rejected the same in 1957. To be noted, Chandrika’s father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was one of the Sinhala leaders who sowed the seeds of rampant racism in Sri Lanka.
However, the SLFPers within the present government have already rejected any federal solution for the ethnic issue. Today, the understanding of the majority of the Sinhala politicians is that, federalism is equal to separation. In such a scenario, the present government cannot cheat the Tamils anymore, because they have ample experience regarding the myth of political solutions since 1948.
In fact, the present government is also taking the international community for a ride, until Sinhalisation, Buddhisation and militarisation is fully implemented in the Tamil homeland – the North and East.
Since the war ended in May 2009, they talk only about Minority, the North and in another few years they will talk only about Jaffna and Sinhalese. This is the progress within the last 68 years since the independence.
In my article published in May 2016, “Since 1948 – Sri Lanka’s deceptions continue”, I mentioned the following: “……When stage one and stage two had been successfully completed, their third stage began to take shape in the Tamil homeland, the North and East. While settling Sinhalese and establishing Buddhist temples, they initiated cultural genocide within the Tamil homeland.”
The incident which took place in Jaffna University on 16 July 2016 is a typical example of the third stage. Now Tamils are attacked by Sinhala civilians with the help of the Sri Lankan security forces, even in Jaffna and elsewhere in their homeland. This is the progress one can see within the last 68 years of independence. Regarding the incident in July, mentioned above, a Jaffna-based senior journalist said that “because of the language barrier, the Sinhalese students either stick to their own ethnic group or mingle with the predominantly Sinhalese army and police. And the Security Forces, who have traditionally been at odds with the Tamil students of Jaffna, could have instigated the Sinhalese students to make an issue of the inclusion of Kandyan dancing at the welcoming function”.
This is the best time to re-visit what Pirapaharan, the Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – LTTE said in his Heroes Day’s speech on 26th November 2008. Whoever you assume Pirapaharan to be, consider the sentiments he expressed to the international community just a few months before the genocidal ending of the war. Consider his thoughts as if they had been expressed by a person of the calibre of your own choice.
The Sermon on the Mount is the longest pragmatic and widely accepted element of Jesus’ teaching in the New Testament. It is widely accepted by Christians all around the world. During Jesus’ period, terminologies like ‘Terrorism’ never existed. Otherwise Jesus also would have been branded as a ‘Terrorist’, and the smart oppressors would have made the world believe that Jesus was a ‘terrorist’. Fortunately, Jesus’ preaching laid the foundation for Christianity to come into existence.
Some excerpts from Pirapaharan’s speech – 26 November 2008
This land which the Sinhala state is trying to occupy and enslave has never belonged to it. This land is ours. Ancient Tamil civilisation stood long and firm on this land. Our ancestors lived and belonged here. Our ancient Kings built Kingdoms and dynasties and ruled from here. On this land where the roots of our Nation have sunk deep, we wish to live in peace and with dignity and make decisions on our lives without the intervention of foreign rulers.
In the beginning, it was a peaceful and democratic struggle by our people for justice. The racist Sinhala state resorted to armed and animal like violence to suppress the peaceful struggle of the Tamil people for their political rights. It was when state oppression breached all norms and our people faced naked terrorism that our movement for freedom was born as a natural outcome in history. We were compelled to take up arms in order to protect our people from the armed terrorism of the racist Sinhala state. The armed violent path was not our choice. It was forced upon us by history.
Even at a time when we had produced spectacular achievements in battle fields and broken the back-bone of the Sinhala armed forces, we participated in the peace negotiations facilitated by Norway.
Sri Lanka made use of the opportunity of the peace talks to attempt to weaken the LTTE and hoodwink the Tamil nation and the international community. Using the talks as a masquerade, the Sinhala state made preparations to wage a major war on the Tamil Nation. Making use of the cease-fire and the peace environment, the Sinhala state resuscitated its devastated economy and rebuilt its military might that was in shambles. It concentrated on heavy recruitment, refurbishing its arsenal, strengthening the armed forces and conducting military exercises.
The cease-fire agreement facilitated by the international community was abrogated unilaterally by Sinhala Sri Lanka. Strangely no voice of protest was registered by any peace sponsor.
In truth, this is not a war against the LTTE as the Sinhala state professes. This is a war against the Tamils; against the Tamil Nation. In short, a genocidal war. By turning the heat of war on our people and by burdening them with immeasurable sufferings, the Sinhala state is aspiring to turn our people against the LTTE.
Our freedom movement, as well as our people, have always wished to maintain cordiality with the international community as well as neighbouring India. The positive change in environment gives us courage to seek renewal of our relationship with the Indian super power. The racist Sinhala state, with its intrigues, conspired to bring enmity between our freedom movement and the earlier Indian administration. The conflict arising out of this environment aggravated into a major war.
However, at no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question.
No great changes have taken place in the Sinhala political panorama. Politics there has developed into the form of a demonic war. In a country that worships the Buddha who preached love and kindness, racist hatred and war-mongering vie with one another. We can listen only to the throbs on war-drums.
Successive Sinhala regimes have hoodwinked the international community with a series of deceptions. Commencing with the round table conference, the list of deceit has now stretched to include the All Party conference of late. During this period the international community remains cheated. The Tamil national question was also left to drag on with no positive resolution offered.
Meanwhile, the Sinhala nation has used its armed forces to set the Tamil land, ablaze. It has wiped out peaceful life on Tamil land, making Tamils destitute, displaced and wandering. Sinhalam has refused to offer the basic rights of the Tamils, split the Tamil land into two, installed anti-Tamil armed groups in the seat of administration while conducting a tyrannical military rule. It is now continuing with the war, offering to submit its plan to offer a solution only after the LTTE is defeated. Does Sinhala nation want to offer a solution only after the Tamils are suppressed and killed?
Does it want to wipe out the true representatives of the Tamils and their bargaining power before offering a solution? The Sinhala nation is refusing to acknowledge the historic homeland of the Tamils. In such a situation, how will it offer a just solution to our people?
When it comes to the Tamil national question, the Sinhala nation is adopting only one policy. It is obviously a policy of suppression. Even the tinge of hope our people had that the Sinhala nation will abandon its path of violence and offer justice, has now evaporated.
No political transformation has taken place during the last sixty years in the Sinhala nation. Therefore, hoping it will happen in the future is futile. Our people are not ready to trust Sinhala nation again and get cheated.
It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a Nation with great potential. It is a Nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. Sinhalam seeks with its military might to destroy all these. It seeks to destroy Tamil sovereignty and replace it with Sinhala sovereignty. (Excerpts)
The war that ended in May 2009 was waged with the backing of the international community. However, nobody from the theatre of war in May 2009 – neither the former President nor the former Military Commander nor the former Defence Secretary nor any others shunned or refuted an interview, given last September by Prof. Emeritus M. Subramaniam, former Indian Naval Marine Commando, also known as ‘Kargil’ Subramaniam. He said that the body photographed and telecast to the public of the man exposed as LTTE leader Prabhakaran was in fact not him! There is nothing secret about this statement – his interview was published in the Colombo print media.