18 September, 2020

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Prabhakaran Paraphased

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Professor Urmila Phadnis the late doyenne of Lankanology in Indian academia was utterly discerning when she concluded over two decades ago in her last book (‘Ethnicity and nation-building in South Asia’) that Lankan Tamil ‘sub-nationalism’ was unique in the region in that it alone displayed an ‘autonomist-secessionist continuum’.

It was with shock and dismay that I found that the keynote speech of R Sampanthan at the 14th Convention of the ITAK in May 2012, echoes in significant respects those of Velupillai Prabhakaran, to the extent that that there are near-identical passages. Here is a single sample:

“The world does not revolve around the axis of justice. The freedom struggles of persecuted communities are not measured on the scales of justice. Global powers that preach of Democracy and Human Rights are themselves not the epitome of justice. We do not expect governments around the world and international organizations that support them to take pity on us, sacrifice their interests, and ensure that our rights are given to us.” That’s Mr. R Sampanthan, at the ITAK 14th Convention, May 2012.

Now ladies and gentlemen, here’s Mr V. Prabhakaran: “We are fully aware that the world is not rotating on the axis of human justice. Every country in this world advances its own interests. It is the economic and trade interests that determine the order of the present world, not the moral law of justice nor the rights of people. International relations and diplomacy between countries are determined by such interests. Therefore we cannot expect an immediate recognition of the moral legitimacy of our cause by the international community.  That’s from the Maha Veera day Address of November 1993.

Mr Sampanthan, the most prominent local leader of the Northern Tamil community, which exists a few miles away from the sub-regional landmass, reiterates his party’s commitment to achieving with the support of the international community, the same ‘soaring aspirations’ that could not be achieved through armed struggle. He asserts—some would say confirms—that ‘the international community’, through its current stance, may open the space for the achievement of that goal: “…The current practices of the international community may give us an opportunity to achieve, without the loss of life, the soaring aspirations we were unable to achieve by armed force.” (R. Sampanthan, speech at ITAK 14th Annual Convention, Batticaloa, May 2012, Colombo Telegraph)

Plainly the ‘soaring aspiration’ is that of Tamil Eelam. He calls for the restoration of the degree of sovereignty that the Tamil people are said to have enjoyed over 500 years ago, prior to the advent of colonialism.  This refers to a completely independent political existence. “…Up to 500 years ago, the Tamil people established their own governments, and governed themselves.  Our party symbolizes a time in history…during which our people had their own sovereign Tamil governments…Our fundamental objective is to regain our community’s Home, its historical habitat and its sovereignty. The symbol of the House symbolizes this unshakeable aim…”  (Ibid) 

If the world were to be re-ordered by restoring the status quo ante of no less than half a millennium; if every minority of roughly a million people or a small fraction of a country’s citizenry, were to demand this right and seek its exercise, the world would be plunged into anarchy, chaos, bloodshed. This project cannot be entertained.

Mr Sampanthan’s transparent declaration of tactics could have been critique or caricature penned by a Sinhala chauvinist, and had it been authored by a Sinhalese, would have been dubbed ‘racist stereotyping’ (even by me). “…The softening of our stance concerning certain issues, and the compromise we show in other issues, are diplomatic strategies to ensure that we do not alienate the international community. They are not indications that we have abandoned our fundamental objectives…In other words – we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka… Although the issue at hand is the same, the prevailing conditions are different. The struggle is the same, but the approaches we employ are different. Our aim is the same, but our strategies are different. The players are the same, but the alliances are different. That is the nature of the Tamil people. Although we still have the same aim, the methods we use are now different…” (Ibid)

It is one thing for Tamil politicians to be pessimistic about the possibility of a solution within a united Sri Lanka, but quite another to regard as a strategic goal, proving to the international community that it is not possible to do so! The latter is precisely what the ITAK/TNA leader’s speech says: “we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka.” With such a strategic objective in mind, it is logically inevitable that Tamil nationalism will reject, discredit and undermine any solution proposed or arrived at within a united Sri Lanka. This is true twice over with regard to any solution within a unitary state (such as the 13th amendment).

If this is the opinion of a moderate – and there is no doubt that Mr. Sampanthan is one, within the Tamil spectrum—it is easy to imagine what the rest of Tamil nationalist opinion is.

How then is one to apply the policy of containment to the Tamil secessionist temptation? It is far too risky to transfer provincial powers through an election to a party which openly declares that it not only dismisses the 13th amendment as solution; but also dismisses the unitary state as a framework and actually believes that a solution is not possible within a united Sri Lanka. It strategizes to convince the world community of that fact. In short it hopes to convince the world community that a solution for the Tamils is possible only outside a united Sri Lanka, i.e. in a separate, independent state. If such a party takes power in a Provincial Council it will doubtless feel impelled to push for more from the outset; to create situations of tension and confrontation while it uses the Council as a base for external recognition, which it will doubtless obtain from some quarters and to some degree. The Council may become a beachhead for external forces. If Colombo dissolves an adventurist provincial administration some external elements (such as a legislative assembly of co-ethnics in the sub-region) may recognise the boundaries/borders of the dissolved provincial unit as a basis for an independent state or transitional administration. This is how the former USSR and Yugoslavia broke up.

Similarly and conversely, it is imprudent in the extreme to abolish the existing Constitutional provisions for autonomy, unless it is as part of and superseded by an agreement with all parliamentary parties, including crucially, the main Tamil party. Here we are speaking of a successful outcome of the hoped-for Parliamentary Select Committee process. Unless that happens it is imperative to retain the status quo and avoid the deadly mistake that Milosevic was tempted to make, namely the constitutional revision that abolished the autonomous status of Kosovo which the Tito Constitution had provided. The Serbian ultranationalists regarded Marshal Josip Broz Tito as a (Croatian) Communist who had given away the historic rights of the majority Serbs. In pushing through the reversal of the autonomous status of Kosovo as a province of (within) Serbia, they lost their country a few years later and experienced the state of Yugoslavia forcibly shrunk through externally supported secession and military intervention, to Serbia alone.

The doctrine of containment of Tamil proto-secessionism has necessarily to consist of strong positive reforms. There must be a serious change in the nature and functioning of our state and society through a purposive shift to a policy of integration (not assimilation), the recognition and practice of pluralism, equal rights, non-discrimination, multiculturalism and meritocracy. Enlightened self-interest dictates enlightened reform.

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    Actually, Tamils were once a proud sovereign nation and they have all qualifications to be such nation again. However, They must leave Sri Lanka alone and must start their struggle from Tamil Nadu which means (Tamil Country). Until they base their struggle from Sri Lanka, They will be a nation without their own country forever.

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      Mr. Hemakody

      Tamils can stay in SL but not the tamil terrorists.

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        Thanks for your permission, Mark Webber!

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    There are 14 million Singhalese according to the latest census, mostly living outside the NE province. There are 3 million Tamils or more, and nearly 2 million live in the NE. 1 million have been forced out of the country with the exodus starting from the murderous race riots of 1983.

    The NE province is considered the Tamil homeland, whether the Sinhala racist and chauvinist likes it or not, and have been desperately trying to change the demography since 1952 Gal Oya colonization scheme and other schemes. Tamils have no hallucinations that there will be any negotiated political settlement with the Sinhala racist-chauvinist-extremist jingoist. After nearly 60 years, the Tamil problem has been fully internationalized after May 2009.

    The Sinhala racist-chauvinist had lost the great opportunity 3 years ago to arrive at a political settlement with the moderate TNA. But the arrogance of the Rajapakses and Fonsekas thought that they can treat the Tamils like the estate Tamils and get away with it like they did in 1949, after they disenfranchised 10% of Sri Lanka’s entire population.

    But the world has changed in 64 years, and it is a new century. India too has now begun to realize what a bunch of liars the GOSL and their diplomats are. Tamil Nadu position also has changed after the downfall of Karunanithi and the Maran brothers, although MK is stirring up the issue for political reasons. Only GOSL takes MK and DMK statements seriously. Sampanthan as the leader of the TNA has every right to aspire for any thing he wants and anything his people of the NE wants. That is exactly what Lee Kuan Yew did in 1965 with Singapore and the Malaysian Government.

    The racist chauvinist extremist jingoist will give all kinds of excuses why there cannot be serious devolution of powers to the North East. PSC is not the solution except for delay tactics and tricks of the racists. Tamils have zero faith in a PSC solution. If they (Sinhalese) do not devolve power to the NE province, then all options for the Tamils would be foreclosed in Sri Lanka internally, and they will have to do, what they have to do with the State Terrorist who are accused internationally of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Moderate leaders like Sampanthan has no obligation whatsoever to spell out what different actions the Tamils would take in the future. Tamils need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. They also need to prepare Tamil Nadu, India and the international community, especially Sri Lanka’s main trading partners EU, UK, India, and USA. Commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand too will form good allies of the west.

    The 1 million strong diaspora, 66 million strong Tamil Nadu Tamils, GOI, and the Tamils of the NE have exhausted all avenues of patience with the GOSL and the other extremist, and are virtually at the “Point of No Return: These Sinhalese need to remember that the war they won in Vanni using chemical weapons and other banned weapons is only defeating the small 4-5,000 Tamil youth of LTTE. The rest of the Tamils are alive and recovering and despite the overwhelming military strength they will not be cowed down and put away, like they did to the estate Tamils.

    So prudent Sinhala leaders are needed to save Sri Lanka from certain disaster, and not the current kleptocrats who are stealing the country blind and bringing disrepute to everyone in the Island.

    Go ahead GOSL and just say NO to the Tamils and the TNA.
    Then see what happens without wasting any more years. But remember the whole world is watching you very closely, like they did with Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Timor, Libya, Syria and Lebanon. You fellows cannot cry and say this is internal affairs of the country. Sri Lanka is already on the agenda of UNHRC and it will soon get on the agenda of the UN. Take a close look at what is going on in London and just be glad you are in Paris, Mr. Jayatileke.

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    Donald Seeya

    Time to collect good merits I can see you you are on the way to join your blood sucking leader VP podian in the hell where he deserved to be.

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    @Webber.. Don’t try to be a Pandithaya.
    Don’t worry where I will go after I die.
    You better worry about those war criminals who murdered 100,000 Tamils in 2009. They have to answer for the crimes on earth before they all go to hell. I have no idea WT……. you are.

    I know you are a coward to use someone else’s name. Bayagullah.
    Well that begins with all the war criminals….and liars…

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      If you think you are not bayagullah, step in to Sri Lanka for a warm welcome

      Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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    Sampanthan is spot on when he said,

    “Our fundamental objective is to regain our community’s Home, its historical habitat and its sovereignty.”

    Until the 10th century AD, the people in the island irrespective of their racial background were scattered all over the island with the Tamil settlements more towards Rajarata (North of Anuradapura and close to Polonnaruva). According to the historian Dr. M. Gunasingham, from around 10th to 13th century A.D, (Subsequent to the Chola domination of Sri Lanka in the 10th century A.D), people who identified themselves as Buddhists and Hela/Sihala shifted their seats of rule from the ancient kingdoms of Anuradapura/ Polonnaruva (ruled alternatively by both Sinhala and Tamil kings) towards South, West and Central Sri Lanka while the people who identified themselves as Saiva and Demela moved their ruling structures from these same regions to the North and East of the island. For many centuries from then, until the Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom from the Tamil king Cankili 11, the Tamils and the Sinhalese were living in two separate regions in Sri Lanka. Tamil people established their own kingdom/government, and governed themselves. Even after the European colonialists (Portuguese, Dutch and British) arrived, until the British united the North to the South in 1833 for their convenience in administration, the Tamil speaking areas remained a federal region. This uniform administrative structure and the idea of a “united Ceylon” spelt doom for the Tamils’ distinctiveness, again, something the Sinhalese rulers had failed to achieve.

    When the European colonialists arrived, what all of them clearly observed and experienced during their period was that, in the island of Sri Lanka, there were two different Nations (Sinhalese and Tamils) having two different languages, religions, cultures, and living in two well defined and clearly and naturally demarcated (thick jungles, lakes, river, etc) land areas with their own kingdoms within their traditional lands. The Tamils lived as a majority within their separate land area (North & East) and the Sinhalese also lived as a majority within their land area (South, West & Central). The British, on seeing the naturally existing borders of the two ethnic groups used their technology to demarcate them as two separate regions (occupied by two separate races) and created the maps for the first time somewhere in the 1880s. Later, the British created one government with one centralized, unitary form of administration under a governor in Colombo without the consent of the people, and in doing so ended the hopes for a Tamil nation as a distinct political entity, something that no conqueror had managed to do – to stifle the flame of an independent existence. The introduction of a unitary form of government (creating a single majority) was a tragic step in the wrong direction which led to the Sinhalese hegemony over the Tamils.

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    With silly arrogant extreme views like this, we can never have peace. Yes, there were racist Sinhalese who started race riots in 1983. We are sorry about their actions. Let’s live in harmony as we did 50 years ago.

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    See how long, how many decades it took a former Provincial councillor, a political science lecturer in Colombo University, a diplomat to realize that Tamil Tribalism meant by all means a future separate country. Now, Dayan Jayathilake understands that the 13th amendment is just a stepping stone in that direction.

    How about the more kallathonis coming to Sri Lanka, both during the LTTE time in Wanni and now as labourers on traveller visa and settle in Sri Lanka ?

    Is it unjustice when Sinhala-buddhists or if Sinhala people show their insecurity ?

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      No the 13th amendment is NOT a stepping stone to Tamil Eelam but it CAN BE so in the wrong hands, just as a knife or gun or even a hammer can be either useful or harmful depending on who wields it.

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        Could you also suggest a way to divide the people into wright and wrong hands so that we could give 13th amendment to the former and a 13 plus (or minus) to the rest.

        Dr, how many more years you need to understand that there cannot be 100 percent consensus under the democracy and the idea of PSC is just only a time buying tactic in politics?

        On a personal note, please take a double dose of sugar tablets, because your brain is not as sharp as it was before.

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    Donald Seeye,

    [Edited out]

    U & Ur In-Famous Bro had been Funding pussy-tigers to Kill Innocent Tamils & U’ve Even Gone to the Extent of Writing to UN to let pussy-tigers to Use Child Solders !!! In that Sense U Too a War Criminal…

    Let Alone Ur own 2 Kidds Fighting for ealam+elaam Cause, I Know that Both of Them were Tired of Ur Antics & Even Do NOT Want to be in Touch with U as Their Dad !!!

    Whom Do U Think U are Trying to Fool as a Human Rights Activist ???

    Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/
    In short:
    • If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems.
    • Don’t be unpleasant. Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom and humour we know you possess.
    • Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this an intelligent place for discussion and it will be.

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    Podi Putha kahapola,
    You are showing your sa……….. mentality.
    What my kids do is none of your Freaking biz.
    One of them is still living with me, and the older one lives close to her work 1 hour away.
    Stick to the freaking subject and not go on personal attacks on those who register comments.

    I am a single parent for the last 10 years and one of the less than 1% of the fathers who received the responsibility of 90% of legal/physical custody of the two children who at that time was 12 and 14.
    BTW, The mother was …… Sinhalese.

    As for war criminal, please feel free to file your complaints to Silva from the LLRC, the US DOJ,(FBI), and when they investigate the other US citizens and residents, they can investigate me as well, since I founded the Tamils For Justice in 2007 and hired Bruce Fein as the attorney.

    We are fully experienced about war crimes allegations and crimes against humanity.

    Rajapakses/Fonseka has killed thousands of children (under 18), may be even more than ten thousand, that might be a world record, and attempted
    killings via violent and non violent methods such as starvation, denying medicine, shelter, water and fuel. Those children who had to run from the army from January 2009, to May 2009, and then placed in concentration camps will never forget the ideals.

    @Editor. Why do these Sinhalese extremist believe they can make personal attacks about children, sons, daughters, wives and sisters when someone comments about Tamil leaders like Sampanthan and Prabhakaran or the GOSL and their leaders who have been alleged for war crimes.

    There should be a stricter policy on the website, and such low grade personal attacks should be eliminated. I know it reflects on their breeding and upbringing, but they should do that in Sri Lanka or the middle east where they are housemaids, houseboys or doing some other job slaving for the Arabs.

    The comments should stick to the subject matter.

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      Donald Gnanakone

      Thank you for your tireless effort for bring justice for thousand upon thousand innocent Tamil children, women and men killed, starved to death by brutal Rajapaksa Regime !!

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    No matter… whether it is Prabaharan or Sampanthan… or any other tamils…
    All strive to achieve one goal.. A home land to live our life with dignity and safety..

    The tamils don’t like to be ruled ( actually enslaved) by the Sinhala Majority community…

    We have the right to have our freedom..

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    Dayan, it is interesting to note how your writing has changed since your last visit to Colobo, Sri Lanka.

    I am sure you had some very interesting “Brain storming”, sorry “Brain cyclone” session by Rajapakasas gang. May some Buddhist must have join this session.

    Please dont loose the respect that you have earned as a person who stood for the Tamils – 13th, 13th PLUS, 14th, 14th PLUS continues.

    Hope you will a Pipe piper for any government which continues Sinhalaisation; Buddhisation, Militarisation; Colonisation; and the latest PLUS+SISATION.

    Well done Dayan.

    You are smart lobbiest. Did that DICTATOR fideral castro books gave you these lesson, rajapakasasism.

    Please dont fool the world tooooooooo much

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    Dear Freaking Donald Seeye,

    U Better Get it in Ur Freaking Head (If U’ve Got One) I am NOT a Freaking Fan of Rajapakses… Yet I am Sure Rajapakses had to Kill Freaking Child Solders as They were Forcibly Recruited with the Help of Freaking Diaspora Members Like U & Ur Freaking Bro Charles !!!

    Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/
    In short:
    • If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems.
    • Don’t be unpleasant. Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom and humour we know you possess.
    • Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this an intelligent place for discussion and it will be.

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    If full federal devolution is denied, to the Tamils then there would be serious consequences.
    A continuous conflict with international community participation.
    13th amendment has been part of the constitution for Sri Lanka for 25 years. -Yes a quarter century.

    That is not a demand or stepping stone for a separate state.
    It is the actin by the Sinhalese or denial of legitimate Tamil demands will be the springboard (not stepping stone) for a separate state.

    Lack of development of the North East is another.

    Rajapakses cannot fool the world that they have spent 1 billion dollars in roads, bridges, and culverts in the NE. All those roads being reconstructed and expanded are only to connect the military camps which are now in the hundreds. The same for the railways, ports, and airports.
    Palaly, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Amparai and the new one in Killionochchi are all for the military and airforce.

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    Dear
    dyan,
    Have you not read this link http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/19231-i-am-prepared-to-compromise.html. Please comment on this.

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    Last time when DJ was summoned to Colombo just because he was writing against the JHU patriots, he lost his jobs. This time also he was summoned to Colombo by the present Anti-Tamil government and warned not to write anything against the Sinhala ultranationalists but write everything against the Tamils. The change in his writing indicates the degree of warning that he has received from his masters to whom he was anyhow singing day and night for his supper.

    I only feel sorry for his parents (wonderful people) who spent all their hard earned money to educate this fellow. I am sure Mervyn would have never expected even in his dreams that his son would butter the regime so badly to earn his daily bread. He is a disgrace to his parents and to everyone who knew him. Shame!!!

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