It would not be important to continue this debate, if not for the fact that Dayan Jayatilleka has become the most prodigiously pathetic defender of the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime and of the war of annihilation waged by it against the LTTE. His line of argument is to claim that the LTTE is a fascist force representing the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world. This claim allows him to justify the war of total annihilation of the LTTE waged by the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime. At least we can agree that it was indeed a war to militarily annihilate the LTTE, intended such that it shall never raise its head again.
A war of annihilation of an enemy force has its own internal logic. It requires that the military doctrine, line and strategy would not take account of the civilian casualties involved, the extent of displacement and suffering of civilians. It would not take account of the rules of combat. It would not hesitate to use disproportionate force and the use of weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction. It would require that the enemy is physically vanquished, not simply defeated. It would require that its top leadership and senior cadres be decimated, even if they surrendered. It would not take account of any moral considerations, since the need to annihilate takes precedence over all other humane, moral or civilizational considerations. It would require that there be no witnesses or observers, that all survivors shall be corralled and silenced. It would require a mind-set that would unleash even more unrestrained terror and horror than that of the enemy. It would require that all suspected cadres be held in indefinite detention, until they have been completely rehabilitated –brainwashed- so they become agents of the State in hunting down and rooting out whatever and whoever that is left of the enemy.
It would require also that the entire territory in which the LTTE operated be brought under military occupation and constant surveillance. It would require that the very soil that bred the LTTE would have to be excavated so its ideological and political origins could be mercilessly rooted out. It would require that every memory and monument that remains of the enemy be wiped out. It would require the political annihilation of the status of the Tamil nation. As an irrevocable consequence, a war of annihilation of a political organization that represented the national-democratic aspirations of a nation, would have to eradicate the very notion and existence of that nation. It would have to impose a draconian censorship and repression of the free media and exercise despotic hegemony over all thought and action to ensure that the truth does not get exposed. This is the war and its attendant consequences that Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka defends with such bloated intellectual pomp, utter theoretical sophistry and putrefied moral pontification. This repugnant stance should be compared with that of the UTHR-Jaffna, which has been an implacable opponent of the LTTE and holds it accountable for horrible crimes, yet holds the Regime and the State fundamentally accountable for horrendous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, based on documented facts.
It is absolutely essential to deeply analyse the structural, political and ideological compulsions that led to a military solution, since I believe that it was not inevitable in some mystical karmic sense of fatality. Nor do I agree that the whole blame be put on the LTTE, which the label of fascism intends to serve. This labeling serves to exonerate and cover up for the fundamental responsibility of the State and the Regime in its willful pursuit of a military solution, and serves to justify every evil that has flowed from a military solution. The argument that the vast majority of the people are happy that the war is over and the agenda of ‘separatist terrorism” has been laid to rest is not ground for asserting the issues of truth and justice that led to a military solution, and the horrible consequences it has visited on all of us. Truth does not necessarily lie with the multitude. The military solution, and the attendant credible allegations of horrific war crimes and atrocities, has not only brought shame, indignity and infamy upon our country, it has intensified and polarized divisions throughout society. It has resulted in an even more direct military subjugation of the Tamil people, the liquidation of the political status of the Tamil nation, along with the consolidation of a draconian military-chauvinist dictatorship. As far as the argument that, whatever it is, terrorism has made to rest is as distorted as it is perverse. The terrorism of the insurgent liberation forces is in direct proportion to the terrorism of the State, which is the fundamental generative source of the political phenomenon of terrorism. More importantly, the war to end terrorism has resulted in legitimating a most invidious and pervasive form of State terrorism as evidenced by continuing abductions, enforced disappearances, extra-legal killings, illegal detentions and torture, open resort to armed terror against every protest and opposition, besides serving to delete countless of such violations in the past, which remain unaccounted .
Was there an alternative to the war and a military solution to the Tamil national question? Of course. The war was a result of the failure of every successive government, and the Sri Lankan State, to provide a political solution that would have effectively co-opted the demand for a separate state. The historical fact is that each time the ruling government attempted to provide even a partial solution, it was sabotaged by the Opposition. I do not have to recount this criminal history, and I dare anyone to challenge it. Every successive government contributed towards deceiving and betraying the Tamil political leadership, and ended up in intensifying discrimination, marginalizing and suppressing the national-democratic demands and aspirations of the Tamil people. The case is made by some that there was no possibility of reaching a negotiated political settlement with the LTTE. This is an expression of intellectual dishonesty, combined with karmic fatality, serving the agenda of Sinhala supremacy. The very same argument was made with regard to the IRA, the Morro National Liberation Front, the ANC and elsewhere, where these liberation forces were labeled and targeted as unrepentant terrorists. In all these processes of negotiation, both sides strived to maximize strategic advantage and made maximum, mutually exclusive demands during negotiations. Each time negotiations failed, blame was put on the other. Yet, sheer persistence delivered some degree of peace, based on a political solution, where the international agenda favored such an outcome. The argument that the LTTE was exceptionally intransigent and ruthless is true. This truth is accounted for by the irrefutable fact that the Sri Lankan State has proven to be exceptional and unredeemable in its intransigence in holding on to Sinhala supremacy and hegemony and ruthless in slaughtering nearly 150,000 of its own people in the most unspeakable barbaric manner.
Even though I reject the report of the LLRC on principle for having avoided the central question of systemic accountability of the State and the Regime for alleged war crimes, I stand with the report when it states unequivocally that it is the failure of each successive government to address the genuine grievances of the Tamil people that had led to war! So, an alternative solution was possible. Yet, the Regime was driven by an internally driven logic of a military solution, given that its overriding agenda was to foist a Sinhala-Buddhist unitary, hegemonic state where in the Rajapakse dynasty could consolidate its Dictatorship and perpetuate its dynastic power. The war was necessary also to establish and consolidate a military-chauvinist dictatorship in order to ram through the neo-liberal agenda, given that it would entail a wholesale suppression of basic rights of the masses- as it has proven to be. A militarist dictatorship sanctioned by the cult of a conquering warrior king, enthroned by the halo of the ‘liberator of the Motherland, the race and the religion is the most powerful of all ideological chains with which to deceive, divide and suppress the people. A perverted and inverted sense of patriotism is a binding ideological glue that can blind the masses in fatal illusion and get them to endorse even the most barbaric of crimes against them.
The war was aided and supported by all the imperialist and regional hegemonic powers, precisely because the global imperialist order required to ensure unfettered economic penetration, open access to the plunder and pillage of the land and resources, and political stability, which only a draconian dictatorship could ensure. Mahinda Rajapakse remains the darling of world imperialism and of the regional expansionist/hegemonic powers. He can be trusted to implement the “Regaining Sri Lanka” agenda formulated by Ranil Wickremasignhe, even better, and with far more legitimacy than Ranil himself and the UNP. That is why, Ranil Wickremasinghe and the UNP have become the most loyal and trusted partners of the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime. The whole hue and cry over war crimes raised by the Western Powers is simply to get the Mahinda Rajapakse Regime to tow the line and not tilt the balance of power in the Asian region by allowing access to Chinese strategic penetration into the island and to the vital Indian Ocean sea lanes. Even though I call for an independent and transparent investigation, It stretches one’s imagination to the limit to think that the US and European powers, with a history and litany of the most horrendous war crimes and crimes against nature and humanity would be genuinely concerned about war crimes anywhere in the world. There has been no limitation of US and European aid to the Regime, nor by the World Bank and the IMF. No ‘anti-imperialist/ patriotic’ rhetoric here, just sheer capitulation to the regime of international finance capital to share in the spoils of profit and plunder. This is the agenda that the ambassador-professor defends and justifies with such gloated glee and delirious rapture.
I ask the good ambassador-professor to take on the theoretical challenge to prove that the LTTE was fascist, instead of piling bibliography. I repeat, fascism refers to a historically specific political-ideological formation that arises out of the extreme crisis of monopoly capitalism – imperialism- , based on the need for the re-division of the world that led to the 2nd World war. It is a political-ideological program for world domination that was expressed by the coalition of imperialist powers that felt that they had been denied “ their place in the sun”. I have dealt with this in my earlier article. To label the LTTE as fascist is theoretically false, and is a product of theoretical sophistry and political sycophancy, fuelled by a craven careerist apologetics. It is necessary to debunk the myth of the inevitability of war and a military solution, the myth of a war made necessary by the unilateral intransigence, ruthlessness and provocations of the LTTE, which the label fascist seeks to rationalize. To expose this mythology is to debunk the moral, ideological and political justification of the military solution that has led to an even more intense form of military subjugation of the Tamil people and the entrenchment of an undiluted draconian military-chauvinist dictatorship hoisted by the Rajapakse troika over society. To raise the question of whether a military solution was inevitable is to serve the cause of truth and justice, the foundations upon which alone there could be genuine atonement and reconciliation. It is to bear witness to history. It is a call to all democratic, progressive forces who value truth and justice and cherish freedom and democracy to join forces in the struggle to end the era of dictatorship and usher in a new world of freedom.
Reply to the last disgorge by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, listed as a comment:
Dr. Dayan, You get your facts straight. I was never a member of the Anti-War Front, although I did oppose the war and the pursuit of a military solution. The Ceylon Communist Party- Maoist was indeed a member of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, and we are proud of it. It was our founding leader, Com. Shan who contributed in establishing the RIM, when our party became a founding member. In fact he handed over responsibility for the party to me as Secretary of the Organising Committee at a special congress, before he left for London for health reasons. So, don’t try to drive a wedge between Com. Shan and me, whose legacy I cherish and uphold. The Communist Party of Peru ( Maoist) better known as “Sendero Luminoso” , or “Shining Path’ was indeed a member of the RIM, along with our party. Here again, you take sides with the Peruvuian State and US Imperialism against the people, and revolution. At least you are consistent in defending the imperialist/ neo-colonial status quo. Try to liberate your mind from its “Readers Digest” ideological frame. The Peruvian State attacked the Shining Path and the masses with a form of the most sustained, bestial State terrorism. Hey, did you know that the Peruvian State even filed charges of war crimes against its then president who prosecuted the war against the PCP-M. As for your condemnation of the Naxalite Maoists in India who are waging a just revolutionary struggle agaginst the indian State to liberate the tribals, who are being driven from their traditonal homelands to make way for multi-nationals to plunder the whole region and where the Indian state has been accused of genocidal war- as in Kashmir, it just exposes your political career in siding with Imperialism and the most reactionary terrorist states against the oppressed. masses.
I really don’t care how many references you may pile up, that does not theoretically establish that the LTTE is a fascist organisation. Please take the challenge on theoretically, as opposed to piling bibliography. Fascism refers to a theoretical-historical concept of a particular form of Monoploly Capitalist Dictatorship. Get it? I did not equate the EPRLF with the LTTE ideologically. I pointed out, and you have agreed that the EPRLF too engaged in killings of civilians, with aid of the IPKF. I like the way you just brush this off. OK? You were never a member of the EPRLF, but you were a Minister in its provincial government- if even for three months. You were one time comrades-in-arms with VarathaRaj Perumal of the EPRLF, who made a declaration of independence of the sovereign state of Thamil Eelam, were you not? My point is that you do not have the theoretical legitimacy, nor the moral high ground to target the LTTE as fascist, just to justify the war and suck up to the Regime.
Now, Mangala Samaraweera had confessed to the US embassy of the existence of hit squads delegated by the state- called Lion Cubs and Hambantota Cats to abduct and kill LTTE sympathisers in the South- as exposed in Wikkie Leaks. You have refrained from commenting-typically- on the whole train of State terrorist crimes and wilful violent subjugation committed against the Tamil nation and the Tamil people, which continues even today, unabated. Well, Dayan, I shall not be a part of wiping the blood off this regime. I will let you do that, since you are so good at it. But I shall not betray the memory of Lasantha Wickremetunga , Joseph Pararajasingham, Raviraj, Prageeth Eknaligoda, and all those courageous people who have been abducted and or killed by this regime, not to mention some 40,000 civilians who are alleged to have been killed during the last stages of the war. I shall not justify the alleged shelling of hospitals and civilians in No-Fire Zones, nor the grotesque atrocities committed against prisoners of war, including the mutilation and sexual abuse of women. I cannot prove these crimes happened , but then nor can you prove they did not happen. That is why there is a need to establish an independent investigation. But you have decided that none of these crimes ever happened and you have rushed to the defense of the Regime. If you have any sense of independence and integrity, you too could call for an independent, credible and transparent mechanism to establish accountability- independent of both foreign interests and the Regime, could you not? But then, you would lose your position and status as H.E. the Ambassador, and lose your exalted platform as well.
Looking forward to your next contrived diatribe and linguistic sophistry ,
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