6 October, 2022


The Assault On Freedom, The Debasement Of The Soul & The Cult Of Suicide

By Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Tamils & The Political Culture Of Auto-Genocide –IX

We now return to the theme we had begun with, which from our experience strikes us as the main element which enabled the society to connive with the Black Tiger cult – the assault on freedom. We begin with the romanticisation of suicide from the July 1999 issue of the pro-LTTE expatriate journal Hot Spring. It said in an introductory note on Socrates, “He taught people to think about good and evil, in order to improve their own behaviour. Some people did not approve of his ideas and he was forced to commit suicide.” An attempt is then made to link Socrates, Ponnuthurai Sivakumaran and today’s Tigers: “Since 1974 [when Sivakumaran committed suicide by taking cyanide to evade capture], hundreds of young Tamil heroes and heroines have demonstrated their mental courage by standing up for their beliefs and following the footsteps of Socrates and Sivakumaran.”

This description of the modern Tigers is important for the Tamil elite in order salve their consciences. Surely, when the young commit suicide for a cause that is unashamedly totalitarian and has no pretensions of offering anything tangibly human, we should be instantly driven to condemn those responsible for inflicting this outrage.

Let us begin with Sivakumaran. His death took place a year before the first Tiger organisation (Tamil New Tigers) was formed. Sivakumaran is described by those who knew him as having been a good human being and a good student at school. He was a militant, and though from the high caste, he fought against caste. He campaigned against the slaughter of goats at the Urumparai Vairavar Temple. He was poetically talented and published a hand- written newspaper.

It would be a grave distortion to compare Sivakumaran with Prabhakaran’s Tigers. Sivakumaran was an active reformer, trying to politicise the people and build a mass base. The Tigers were quite the opposite. Prabhakaran did not believe in politicising the people – he had a contempt for them. His model for the movement was drawn from the mafia cult and secret societies of the smuggling fraternity in Valvettiturai – his hometown. Sivakumaran valued freedom, lived a free man, died of his own free will and wanted his people to value freedom. Prabhakaran has no place for freedom or self-criticism within the movement. Rules were there to be obeyed by his cadre and the cost of breach was death. Sivakumaran was a popular youth in his area who inspired others to selfless ideals. Prabhakaran was ambitious in a secretive and withdrawn manner, and his politics brought out the lowest in people.

Sivakumaran died aged 24, at the height of youthful idealism, and had he lived, society may have corrupted him. While young Prabhakaran cannot be said to have been devoid of ideals, the manner in which he and his society interacted with each other changed both for the worse. While the LTTE professes some token reforms to impress the naive, utility alone governs its social ethics. If two neighbours were simply jealous, by creating conditions where they could hope for gain by informing on one another, the LTTE made them homicidally jealous. If one could satisfy one’s greed through acquiring someone else’s property by informing on him, one was encouraged to do so. If one could get a pass from the LTTE to get out of its miserable regime and join a cousin in France for the price of hosting a bomber in Colombo who may destroy dozens of other lives, one was pushed into it. In effect, the politics of the LTTE found freedom in its nobler forms completely abhorrent and thus its social influence became loathsome.

It was this tortured society that produced the “Black Tiger” phenomenon. It would be wrong to give uniform reasons why young men and women are willing to blow themselves up for a cause that promises only misery to the people. Occasionally there are some intelligent persons going into it. But they are mostly persons broken internally and in need of release. Many distressed youths who were disillusioned with their organisation, bit the cyanide capsule when a pretext arose, and were conveniently commemorated as martyrs. We give below the case of a youth killed in the late 1980’s, who, had he lived, would have been a good candidate for the Black Tigers (our Report No. 6):

An LTTE area leader killed by the IPKF was described by his brother as having been a ‘lamb’ before he joined the organisation. The brother came to know what he had been through from confessions made to his aunt before he died. This area leader was very loyal to the LTTE leadership and never questioned their orders. This obedience was put to maximum use. He was occasionally given secret instructions to kill certain comrades in the organisation marked out by internal intelligence as having dissident, and therefore dangerous, tendencies. The method often adopted was to get into a conversation with the intended victim, take him on a motorbike ride, and do the deed in a lonely place. Having done this several times the area leader felt deeply disturbed and poured out his mind to his aunt. After about a year in the organisation, he developed some maniacal tendencies. He said that when he faced someone, he simply felt like pulling out his pistol and putting a bullet into the person’s head, even into his father’s head, just to see how the victim suffered.

He had also told his aunt, that secret instructions had been given from time to time to trusted individuals, to surreptitiously finish off a comrade on the battle field, so as to put the blame on the enemy. This practice had long been talked about, so that the deaths of many LTTEers were not taken at face value. Now close relatives of this deceased area leader work hard for this organisation abroad not knowing the truth about their ‘martyr brother’.

Over the years, one could pick out several such experiences. One of the four LTTEers who on 21st October 1987 fired at the advancing Indian Army column from the balcony of the Jaffna hospital doctors’ quarters and ran away, broke down in later years. As the immediate consequence of their action the Indian Army stormed the hospital, treating it as an LTTE fortress, and seventy civilians were killed. Many LTTEers were regularly asked to perform actions that were deliberately aimed at creating civilian causalities for propaganda purposes. During the Indian Army’s advance again, the column led by tanks had come near Kokkuvil junction, carefully avoiding hitting Kokkuvil Hindu College, which was a refugee, camp. As a tank passed the school gate, unknown to the refugees, the LTTE fired at the Indian Army from the top floor of the main school building. The tank gunner swung the barrel 120 degrees and fired at the building, killing over 30 innocent civilians (see The Broken Palmyrah). Well known is the case of the brainwashed 12 year old in the group sent into Eravur to massacre civilians. He smashed the head of a Muslim infant against the wall and stabbed its wailing mother. Many were broken through being made to inflict terrible tortures on prisoners.

Among the routine dealings of LTTE cadre with civilians is that of placing a mine in a residential area in the expectation that once one or two soldiers in a patrol are killed, the Army would run amok in the area. A civilian discovering that a mine has been placed near his house is allowed to go away with his family. But if he warns one or two neighbours as well, he is considered a traitor deserving punishment. Imposing such a selfish morality on civilians affects the cadre as well.

Being made to act in such an abominable way in a variety of situations, the organisation progressively destroys the moral fibre, mental well being and the souls of its members. Of course owing to the experience of state oppression, a number of new recruits come into the organisation wanting to do things with great enthusiasm. But once inside, particularly those with a high degree of perceptiveness are driven to suppress their ordinary moral sense. They adopt as an article of faith, the belief that the inhuman and immoral things they do are necessary evils on the road towards the ultimate good – Tamil Eelam, the inexorable goal of the organisation.

Some can drown their doubts in total dedication and worship extended to the Leader. But more often, it is only human to doubt, become disillusioned, and then become cynical about everything. Ending one’s days as a Black Tiger frequently comes as the last act of waning faith and a merciful release. Those who have encountered Black Tigers did not see persons bubbling with enthusiasm for their cause, but rather subdued persons, almost apologising for inflicting their presence on this world. They are in need of counselling and rehabilitation. But many members of the Tamil elite rather, find in the exploding atoms of their bodies, the elixir to drive their expanding egos.

There is thus a huge chasm, which separates today’s Black Tigers from Socrates and Sivakumaran. The latter were zealous for their freedom. But the Black Tigers represent the pathology of a society that has all but snuffed out freedom. It is easy to see why the expatriate lobby finds it necessary to muffle the difference.

In the course of extinguishing freedom for his fellow Tamils, Prabhakaran himself ceased to be a free man. He has bound himself in a faith he himself wove. To force the society towards his dream destiny, he is throwing in everything he has, the life, sanity and the well being of his people, along with all the destructive hardware his expatriate network has placed at his command. He has condemned himself to carrying on as he has done, and the society to pay the price for his vanity, until mortality performs its act of mercy.

*To be continued..

*From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power – Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for giving us permission to republish. To read earlier parts click here

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Latest comments

  • 3

    I have just glanced at this only. The journal “Hot Springs” commences with a slight inaccuracy. Socrates did not really commit suicide. He was put on trial, defended himself, but was sentenced to death.

    Socrates refused to cooperate with those who tried to smuggle him out of jail. He said that the laws of the state had to be obeyed. He had no wish to die. He was ordered to drink the hemlock, and he obeyed the orders of the state.

    That was a sad and unnecessary death for a man of peace.

    • 2

      The state that drove Socrates to clasp the vase containing the hemlock poison-drink and tilt it down his throat was of the the same destructive suicidal mindset as the leader of the LTTE VP who inculcated it into the minds his followers. It was aided and abetted with the help of the excesses and the commissions and omissions by a racially motivated regime.
      A misguided unthinking section of the conservative political elite in Tamil society played hide and seek by swallowing VP’s bait with hook line and sinker and ultimately saw to it’s own destruction and demise.The general editorial theme of the Hot Spring periodical would be an eloquent testimony of that and what finally happened at Nandikadal is now history which the Tamls have to live with.

  • 2

    “The Assault On Freedom, The Debasement Of The Soul & The Cult Of Suicide

    The Cult of-Rajan Hoolie, Devananda, Karuna, Pillaiyan…..

    The black in the blackest sheeps. Really reasonable to be concerned about the black tigers.

    Hoolie twisted many history with the hope of becoming VC in both governments. Remained as unpaid witness to Appe Anduwa. These days he is too active because the IC investigation seems to be going to come true. Millions of Appe Anduwa and it’s paramilitary Coolies tortures has been recorded in the asylum sought countries.

    JaffnaHistory.com will go away with Hoolies History Writing.

    • 3

      War warps the line of sanity. In the whole story of the war there are two extremists. The Tamil extremists and the Sinhala extremists both sound blood thirsty. If you don’t agree with the one, they will say you belong to the other or are in their pay.

      There is a middle line many have failed to understand or learn. Human Rights is a sort of reflection of that, where religion has failed. Rajan Hoole was awarded the Martin Ennal’s award for Human Rights in Geneva, sort of Nobel Prize for Human Rights. He has a right to be heard too.

      The people who stand for Human Rights must be defended. They may infuriate sometimes this side and sometimes the other at great cost to their safety and even life. To attach motives to their heavy sacrifice and their boldness in the face of death, is ignorance of the Rights of all mankind guaranteed under the UN charter to every individual. Often their critics have their own agenda or show trauma symptoms.The common Tamil man is sorry whether the people killed are Tamils, Muslims or Sinhalese praising King Paari who cut his own thigh to save a pigeon for his compassion.

      Human Rights education must be part of the curriculum and all education as mandated by the UN.

      • 1

        Not just Hoolie, even his old boss was recommended for Nobel Prize by America for “Manal Kollai”. They both are such clean chaps! Hoolie Broke up with his boss only after losing the VC chance. Great humanitarian deed!

        OISL heard 6000 people and came out of a conclusion of War crime. They too committing suicide for couple of pennies or becoming a carnivorous eating its own race to earn a prize? There are lot more people to be heard. There is going to be confirmed cases out of UNHRC. That time I can read that history, instead of Hoolie’s writing. (You may notice, I did not read Hoolie’s essay, just commented how his cult eat his own race)

        You may know Anandasangari too awared some price. Yes, once there was a time if you had called a Tamil “a LTTE tiger”, then you was awarded Nobel price. You may know Appe Anduva carried out “War for Peace” and “Humanitarian Rescue mission”. All of these are well honored and even twenty countries fought along for the Humanitarian Rescue mission. The man who sold the country to Chinese dollars is the one saved the sovereignty of the country! Isn’t it?

        OISL heard 6000 people and came out of a conclusion of “War Crime”. They too committing suicide for couple of pennies or becoming a carnivorous and eating its own race to earn a prize. I would like to hear the rest of the one to be heard before Hoolie.

  • 1

    To join the movement a big cause among the poorest of the poor was the food given to the cadres in an era and the areas of extreme poverty. This food was taken home to share with their siblings. Even when the Tiger kids were rehabilitated by INGOs the need for a meal a day for the family was a big lure for many children to go back to the movement. Often their parents would go from place to place looking for harvest jobs and a kid would stay home from school just to look after a couple of pots and a couple of other things they kept in their door-less hut. Many schools were miles away out of reach of public transport. 6,7 year olds would walk 3-5 miles to school when they could. Jaffna Tamil people had little idea of the poverty of their brethren in the outposts and the upcountry. Few surveys if any reached them. Moneragal was to be the underprivileged. The problem there was not resources but teacher and student willinglness and sometimes because of poor transport. The Tamil politicians may have thought themselves to be Shakespears judging from their rhetoric from the early days. The masses were/are not moved by them but by the tales of Murugan’s spear and valor and Veeman’s blood-letting revenge for the assault on Paanjali’s honor.

    I guess the movie “veerapandiya katta bomman” with Sivaji Ganesan, old tales of bravery about not running away from the enemy in battle even if death was the only outcome, Parathiyar Tamilan songs etc taught in the very school text books for Tamil language such as the Thamil Malar we all had to use among others, contributed to joining such movements. This world view and this idea of manly honor drummed into the very young ones from primary school days became standard even before the poor children reached the age of discretion as agreed by Child Rights and other UN documents.

    Also, from Sivakumaran to Prabakaran, isn’t there a gap in your piece Sir, on the “geneology” of the movement and the progression of “circumstances”? Weren’t there others such as Thangathurai and such with old generation names? What was their philosophy?

  • 0

    All these crooks are still working for raja hora. These bastards are being paid in millions to cover up his his illegal activities and corruptions happened in during previous government. All these bastards must first shot alive if they want to have any fair investigations in to previous regime corruption ,rape ,money laundering ,drugs and murder

  • 2

    Colombo telegraph is to be congratulated in publishing these extracts from the writings of Rajan Hoole. It is encourging to know that more and more Tamilian Sri Lankans are beginning to look honestly at how it came about that northern Tamil society got hijacked by a gang of psychopathic killers and criminals. As a result the important and difficult process of critical self-examination is beginning, particularly amongst the younger generation of Tamils, to find means to prevent such a disaster ever happening again.

    • 1

      It is good, now, the Northern Tamils starting to realize how the most peaceful, I mean until 1970 who have been consecutively winning without others getting a chance, the prize for best crime record province, descended into freedom fighting People. NPC Chief Minister’s speeches many times have indicated how the 5:1 occupying army has molested the culture of Tamils into drug addicts and short money makers like Deva, Hoolie… who devastated the superior education structure(those days even Sinhala Intellectual Ministers and their children came and studied there before Hoolies and Devas started to show up their heads) by appointing coolies to job and putting professional teachers out of works.

      Too sad! the Southern Sinhala Intellectuals still could not figure out where the country has gone from 1956, the time it was equals to South Korea.

      Candies some teachers, like Hoolies, without know their lesson preaching to others.

  • 1

    This article is a good start to the type of introspection the Tamil community needs into the war. More discussion should open up in the coming years with a view to making things better. This is certainly what the TNA promised.

    As for the Sinhala state, we need to see much much more – so far we only have Mr Samaweera’s pleasant overtures at the UN.

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