By Dayan Jayatilleka –
Obviously, Surendra Ajith Rupesinghe (SAR) has never met a metaphor. When I wrote that “ There is first hand evidence of the explicitly fascist nature of the organization, which turns out to have been not merely fascist in a generic sense, but explicitly Hitlerian and Nazi, from its genesis and in its very DNA”, it would be quite plain to all but the illiterate and irrational that I did not mean that every member of the LTTE, let alone every Tamil, has fascism in his or her DNA in any physical sense. How on earth could an ideology be embedded in a genetic coding? It is blindingly evident that I meant- and actually wrote- that the Tigers were a fascist movement from the inception, from its origins, in its roots and very essence. I based this on the first hand testimonies of two founder members of the LTTE, Ganeshan Iyer and Raghavan. Ganeshan Iyer’s testimony has been reiterated and reinterpreted by a respected scholar, Prof Michael Roberts, on this website.
The point is simple and indubitable. However horribly oppressed, no liberation movement, social or national, anywhere on the planet, adopted the Hitler salute, and no leader of a liberation movement and struggle ever had a positive view, let alone a fascination, with Hitler. For any leader of a liberation project, Hitler and the Nazis were precisely The Other. Furthermore, only one kind of leader ever took Hitler as a model and only one kind of movement ever adopted the Nazi salute: neo-Nazi, neo-fascist movements! That is precisely what Prabhakaran and the Tigers were and that movement (in exile) still is.
Surendra Ajith Rupesinghe’s excuse for the LTTE’s fascist practices is that these mirrored the brutalities of the Sri Lankan State. This is a disgusting excuse which is easily proven false. Prabhakaran’s embrace of Hitler as a role model took place at the inception of the movement and before the commencement of the armed campaign. What pray, were the Nazi-like atrocities committed by the Lankan state by that time, which were mirrored in Prabhakaran’s embrace of Hitler? And pray, which liberation movement in the world mirrored the atrocities committed by an oppressive bourgeois state, by admiring Hitler and adopting the Nazi salute?
Prabhakaran practised what he admired and adopted, quite irrespective of the conduct of the Lankan state. As Ganshan Iyer confirms, he initiated internal executions quite early, ordering the murder of Sundaram in 1982. In Surendra Ajith Rupesinghe’s reckoning, this probably mirrored the brutalities of the Sri Lankan state. To prove this disgraceful cover-up of Tiger fascism, he must tell us which Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister was murdered by which Sri Lankan leader and when.
All those who owe loyalty towards and mobilise politically (especially in the Diaspora) under the Tiger symbols and insignia, are witting or unwitting participants in neo-Nazi, neo-fascist, neo-Hitlerian events.
All Sri Lankan governments have been elected by their citizens. Let us not waste time with the argument that Hitler was elected, because there were no multiparty election once he assumed power, which has not been the case with Sri Lanka.
In a stark choice between bourgeois democracy, however flawed and truncated, and a neo Nazi movement, any Marxist, social democrat, liberal or simply a decent person, would and ethically must choose to defend bourgeois democracy. This was the basis of the Popular Front of Dmitrov and the Comintern. This has been my choice when I supported Premadasa, CBK and Mahinda Rajapaksa against the JVP’s Pol Potist (‘red fascist’) second uprising and Hitlerian LTTE.
Rupesinghe makes much of Karuna et al, who broke away from the LTTE. What of their DNA he queries elaborately. My answer is that they belong to the same category as those who broke away from Pol Pot’s ‘red Fascist’ Khmer Rouge, fought against it together with the Vietnamese Communists and formed the government of Cambodia. Heng Samrin and Hun Sen are examples. The same goes for the Northern alliance which fought as Mujaheddin in a counter-revolutionary war against the Afghan revolution and the Soviet Red army, but played a progressive role by fighting against the Taliban. Everyone is capable of political and ideological redemption, even former fascists, so long as they make a rupture with fascism, rebel against it and resist it.
Surendra Ajith makes much of my re-iteration of Gen Vo Nguyen Giap’s formula of ‘the annihilation of the living forces of the enemy’, accusing me of ideologically justifying war crimes. His earlier argument was that Giap meant it for use against imperialist enemies, and my counterargument was and is, that according to Marxist strategy and theory, fascism was a far worse enemy than imperialism ( hence the alliance with imperialism and the domestic bourgeoisie against fascism). As for my use of the formula itself, I explicitly meant it in the sense that Giap did. Giap did not mean the killing of every member of the imperialist state, society or even its invading army. He meant the destruction of the fighting forces of the enemy; the destruction of its military apparatus. Some Marxist-Leninist is our Comrade Rupesinghe! When Marx, Engels and Lenin called for the smashing of the state apparatus, they did not mean the execution of every functionary of the state and when Stalin called for ‘the liquidation of kulaks as a class’ he did not mean the murder of every rich peasant! I wrote: “If an enemy is fascist, it is all the more valid that the war against it should be one aimed at ‘the annihilation of the living forces of the enemy’, with the enemy defined, not as the unarmed, non-combatant civilian population, but as the fascist armed forces”.
The destruction of the LTTE and its leadership as a military entity is indeed what the Sri Lankan armed forces and State did – notwithstanding certain individual episodes of excess which must be criminally prosecuted by the national judiciary to the fullest extent of the law. If not, and if the state and its armed forces were hell-bent of physically liquidating every LTTE fighter, member, supporter and sympathiser, how on earth could there have been 11,000 prisoners of war, and how could so many thousands, including trained ex-combatants, have been released?
The Politics Of Fascist Terror: A Sociological Analysis By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
Hitler’s Rejuvenation Of Germany As Inspiration For Prabhakaran By Ganeshan Iyer
Answer the question Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka ! By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
Prabhakaran, The LTTE And Fascism: The Evidence ; By Dayan Jayatilleka
Theoretical Sophistry, Political Sycophancy And Craven Careerist Apologetics Of Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka Continued ; By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
FASCISM, SOVEREIGNTY AND THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TAMIL STRUGGLE ; By Dayan Jayatilleka
The Theoretical Sophistries And Political Sycophancy of H.E. Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka ; By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe