“Mullivaikkal May 19 was a deluge in the history of Eelam Tamils. It has drowned everything. It has overturned all our old beliefs and ideals. We have no other option than to develop new viewpoints in accordance with the new situation.”
I heard an Eelam Tamil elder speak in these terms during my recent visit to North America. He did not even call himself an Eelam Tamil, but identified himself only as a Lankan Tamil.
Not only this elder, but several others have come to the conclusion that such ideals as Tamil homeland, retrieval of sovereignty and Tamil Eelam liberation may altogether be forgotten and that it is enough we do our best to help the suffering people there. A section of the Tamil diaspora has discernibly changed to this new viewpoint. Though we cannot say whether they constitute a majority or not, sure they are not few.
There are still many who believe in the liberation of Tamil Eelam, and are doing their best for the cause. But even with them there is a lot to discuss.
The ideological split among the Eelam Tamil diaspora can also be seen to be reflected to some extent with the overseas Tamilnadu Tamils. No doubt Tamils living in Eelam would also be split along these lines. The extensive and intensive degree of disillusionment is, I fear, likely to be higher particularly among the Eelam Tamils languishing in prisons, barbed-wire concentration camps, and out there in open- air- prison-like circumstances under military watch. My fear was vindicated when I spoke with some who had recently been there.
Talk of setback as self-consolation
It must be accepted that the Sinhalese supremacists have not only succeeded in recklessly exterminating thousands of Tamils and crushing the Tamil Eelam liberation force, but rudely shaken the faith and conviction of the Eelam Tamils in particular and the world Tamils in general in the objective of Tamil Eelam liberation. If without grasping fully this significance of the Mullivaikkal holocaust we just seek self-consolation by describing it as “a small setback”, “a temporary setback”, etc., we shall not be able to take a single step towards emancipation.
If you can feel the distress of the Eelam Tamil people and the suffering they are still undergoing, you will understand that all those who say “no liberation, suffice it to be alive peacefully” cannot be brushed aside as cowards and traitors. Though there are of course a few cowards who fall at the feet of the enemy and traitors who betray the cause exploiting the difficult situation we are in, to dismiss everyone as such will not help. It must be seen that even some who in the past worked with dedication for the liberation of Tamil Eelam have now suffered a loss of faith.
While accepting the justification for the mental depression that all is over with May 19, is what is put forward as the new viewpoint correct? When I posed this question and provoked a discussion it turned out that none of these say they did not want Tamil Eelam, but have only concluded that it was no longer possible.
If all is over, what is it all that is over? Is Sinhalese supremacist chauvinism over? Are its national oppression and repression over? No. Not only have the high security zones established in Tamil areas not been dismantled, but new military camps are coming up. While more than one lakh Tamils are still held in concentration camps, most of those released from these camps are yet to be rehabilitated. Attempts are on to settle Sinhalese in Tamil homeland areas.
Many leading members of the liberation movement have been tortured to death after their surrender. Even those belonging to the art-and-literature wings have not been spared. The world knows what happened to Natesan and Pulithevan. The Sinhalese government is yet to respond to the question mark around the fate of Balakumaran, Pudhuvai Rathinadurai, Yogi and others. Apart from those killed, more than ten thousand young men and women are detained without any judicial trial. UN experts have confirmed the authenticity of the video pictures of Tamil youth, naked, blindfolded, hands tied, kicked down and shot dead. A TV channel of London has broadcast scenes of Tamil youth being brutally tortured to death.
The Permanent People’s Tribunal sitting at Dublin has ruled the Rajapkshe gang to be guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the basis of incontrovertible evidence. Though the UNO failed to stop the 2009 May holocaust, its General Secretary has belatedly appointed a three-member committee to report to him on the war crimes in Sri Lanka. The indecent ways the Sinhalese Government resorted to against this committee showed that it will go to any extent to cover up its crimes. While justice has not yet been done for what happened, nor have the cruelties stopped, what is the meaning of telling Tamils that all is over? It can only be: “Quit the aspiration to live as rightful humans. Get used to live as slaves.”
Some have taken the stand that they would help the people of Tamil Eelam as far as possible without bothering about political rights, liberation and other such things. They have also established some organisations for this purpose. It can never be denied that everything should be done to help the suffering people. Only, it is incorrect to give up political efforts for this purpose. To provide help in a political vacuum is to seek to cook in a vessel with a hole in its bottom.
If it was a deluge it should have drowned everyone and everything. But the May 19 deluge was a disaster only for the Tamils! For the chauvinistic minded Sinhalese it was cause for joyful celebration! How then can it be compared with a natural deluge? If at all, it can be called a man-made deluge. It was a deluge created by the Sinhalese government with the collusion of the Government of India and the help of the governments of China and Pakistan in order to destroy the Tamils.
What are the lessons learnt by Tamils at the cost of losing the lives of many thousands of Tamils? In the first place, it is now too evident that in the island of Lanka under Sinhalese rule Tamils cannot exist, leave alone enjoy their rights. It is obvious enough that united Sri Lanka was the system that massacred Tamils.
The need for a separate state of Tamil Eelam has not lessened a wee bit, it has only increased. Secondly, the illusion of the people of Tamil Eelam in general about India is gone with a bang. The belief that the Government of India would protect Tamils has been belied. The Tamil race has been made painfully to realise that India would kill, not save.
Contradiction to be solved
The question that begs our answer is: how to solve the contradiction between the objective need of the Tamils for a separate state of Tamil Eelam and the subjective condition that many of them are disillusioned and dejected? Whether the dream of Tamil Eelam is going to be realised or not depends on solving this contradiction.
Some propose a simple solution. They say: The National Leader of Tamil Eelam is not dead, he is alive somewhere. He is devising some plan to resurrect the Eelam war. Very soon, after three months or three years, armed struggle will be resumed. Such slogans as “The leader will come and secure Tamil Eelam” and “Eelam War V coming soon” appear to be born of subjective wishes and emotions and not based on an objective assessment of real conditions.
Is the Leader alive? If yes, what is he doing? We are not in a position to answer these questions. To wish, to believe, to think it well and good that he be alive is quite different from asserting that he is alive. Likewise we are not in agreement with those who combine their inner desire with the ‘evidence’ released by the Sinhalese government to indulge in propaganda about the death and also the manner of death of Prabhakaran. We have already put forward our standpoint in this regard.
As far as we are concerned, whether Prabhakaran is alive or dead is not a question of opinion or faith. It is a question of fact, as to what happened or did not happen. This fact like so many other facts drowned in Mullivaikkal will one day come out fully. Let us until then put off this question and do our duties. Without playing the game of speculation on the basis of uncertain data, let us act with clarity on confirmed facts. Let us not fall a prey to the enemy’s scheme of engaging our and the world’s concentrated attention to the question of Prabhakaran’s fate with a view to obscuring a full view of the Mullivaikkal massacre.
It is interesting to note that Comrade Rudhrakumaran, the Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, in response to a question whether the Leader was alive, said, “Time alone shall answer certain questions.”
Will Eelam War V break out?
But whether Eelam War V soon breaks out or not does not solely depend on the question whether the Leader is alive or not. If there be a historical necessity that the next stage of the Tamil Eelam national struggle should be in that form, it must happen so, must be made to happen so, irrespective of whether the Leader is there or not. If that cannot be the form of struggle, it will not happen that way even if the Leader is there. He himself would not try to make it happen so.
The central question is: are the main factors that prevailed in the first four phases of the Tamil Eelam liberation war – the preparedness of the people of Tamil Eelam with regard to their being and consciousness, the strength and cohesiveness of the liberation movement, the relative positions of friendly and hostile forces – still there without a basic change? In the present situation of the Tamil Eelam people a conventional or a guerrilla war relying upon them is unthinkable. As of now even peaceful and moralistic struggles are hardly possible.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which functioned cohesively for nearly thirty years, earned great and rare victories to make an indelible mark in history and rose high in glory to the admiration of the world thanks to the active support of the masses, the supreme sacrifice of thousands of martyrs, and the staunch and able guidance of the leadership – that LTTE, it cannot be denied, seems to have suddenly vanished.
The character of the LTTE
Why so? What were the subjective factors behind this? We do not have sufficient data clearly and categorically to answer these questions. But the objective factors – the world situation, the role of India and other foreign powers – are well-known. Whatever the cause the effect is obvious.
The LTTE is a military organisation with a political objective. Instead of a political party establishing a military wing for itself, here a military organisation established a political wing for itself. Why so? The brutal military repression by the Sinhalese supremacists is the answer.
Whether a military force builds a political movement, or a political movement builds a military force depends on the historical circumstances of the particular nation, not on the likes and dislikes of the leadership. In the Russian revolution the party came first. The Red Army was formed only after the triumph of the political revolution. In China a section of the Kuomintang army broke away and founded the Communist Party. In Ireland it was Irish Republican Army that established the political wing Sin Fein.
Command structure smashed
For any organisation of a military nature the command structure is very essential. The command structure of a liberation force is its heart, just as its political ideology is its brain. During the earlier phases of the Eelam War, whether the LTTE won or lost, its command structure remained more or less intact; it did not suffer a collapse or even a serious damage. But, the painful fact is, this time, the end of Eelam War IV has, in addition to causing a holocaust for the masses, totally smashed the command structure of the liberation force. This, of course, is our reading.
Not only from a military point of view, but even from a political one, the Sinhalese supremacists remain a potent force not just internally but at the South Asian and the international levels as well. The condition of the forces of Tamil Eelam liberation is quite the opposite. No need to panic at this reality. It is also true that it is not everlasting. But only by recognising this to be the present situation and grasping it can we fight for change.
The responsibility of Tamilnadu
Why could not the Mullivaikkal massacre be prevented? In a situation where the people of Tamil Eelam could not protect themselves the responsibility and the capability of protecting them belongs to the people of Tamilnadu. But as one understands it, either the people of Tamilnadu failed to carry out this responsibility, or they were unable to do it in spite of their best efforts.
If the population of world Tamils is ten crores, the Eelam Tamils are only less than half a crore. The Tamilnadu Tamils number more than six crores. Tamilnadu is the first and foremost homeland of Tamils. If Tamilnadu fails to save Tamil Eelam then who else will? In this sense the loss of Tamil Eelam is the loss of Tamilnadu. And why did Tamilnadu lose? Because it is itself a slave nation – this is the correct answer historically.
Tamilnadu sans sovereignty was unable to save the Eelam Tamil nationality. Though there are several factors, such as denial of linguistic rights and denial of riparian rights, to show the subjugation of the Tamil nation under Indian imperialism, it was our miserable inability to stop the war of genocide on Eelam Tamils that was the most telling reminder to us of our slavery.
Why did we lose?
But this should not be mechanically understood to mean that Tamilnadu can help Tamil Eelam only after its own liberation. Even when a nationality is in slavery it can grow strong and powerful and consolidate itself, by realising its slavery and fighting it. A people united and fighting for a just cause can achieve what even a state cannot.
What is the real status of the Tamil nationality that waged a passionate struggle to stop the war on Eelam Tamils. The social division of castes is an old fact. It was in spite of this that the Tamil people fought for their language in 1965, for Eelam now (2008-09). But they could not overcome their division into political parties. Though the treachery, fraud and betrayal of Karunanidhi have so blatantly come out in the open, there has been no rebellion in the DMK against his leadership! Or, the DMK has not broken up into pieces! It is possible to this day for Karunanidhi to enact dramas as if he is toiling for Eelam Tamils!
Jayalalitha, in order to turn the pro-Eelam mentality of the people of Tamilnadu into votes for her harvest, declaimed in her election campaign that Tamil Eelam was the only solution and promised to secure the same; but now she is conveniently looking the other way, busy with something else! She can aspire to take the hand bloodstained from its collusion in the massacre of Tamils! If Jayalalitha, as per her wish, can tomorrow carry the Congress on her shoulders, will the AIADMK disintegrate?
The bitter truth is: the election parties which came together in the Lankan Tamils Protection Movement subjected pro-Eelam politics to power-seeking politics instead of vice versa. Our experience shows that no power-seeking political party was prepared to forego office or boycott elections for the sake of Eelam people.
How in these circumstances can anyone mobilise the people of Tamilnadu for a militant mass struggle and paralyse the Government of India? No wonder the spontaneous struggles of students and lawyers beyond this party sphere, the self-immolation by Muthukumar and others, and the token struggles put up by Tamil nationalist forces failed to bite New Delhi.
The understanding of Tamil Eelam nationalists
Had the people of Tamilnadu rallied in a strong nationalist movement with the single objective of national liberation irrespective of party affiliations – just like the Kashmiri people now – it would have pulled back India from the Eelam massacre, and also created a situation in favour of the Eelam people on the world arena. The Tamil nationality has no sovereignty, nor has it been mobilised into a national movement towards sovereignty. Which is the main reason why Tamilnadu could not prevent the massacre of the Eelam people. The Tamilnadu Tamils and the Eelam Tamils must realise this truth.
Without learning and teaching this lesson written in Eelam Tamils’ blood on the wall of history, the Eelam dream will never be realised. In this respect it is the Tamil nationalist organisations organisations of Tamilnadu that have been very clear from the outset. This cannot be said, without qualification, about the Tamil nationalist organisations of Tamil Eelam. When in 1972 Selvanayagam, the father of Tamil Eelam, came to meet Thanthai Periyar, the latter said, “You say you have been enslaved? We Tamils are already mere slaves in India. What help can a slave render another?” The Tamil Eelam nationalists should then itself have understood the real status of Tamilnadu. Did they? Even if they did, did they work out an approach on that basis? The reply has mostly to be in the negative.
Both the leaders and the public of Tamil Eelam are used to see Tamilnadu as India and Tamils as Indians. Even the intellectuals of Tamil Eelam in general do not recognise the existence of Indian oppression to Tamils just as Sinhalese oppression to Tamils of Tamil Eelam.
The Tamil nationalism of Tamilnadu
The Tamil nationalism of Tamilnadu is older than that of Tamil Eelam. In 1925 Thanthai Periyar founded the Self-Respect Movement. In 1938 he raised the slogan: Tamilnadu for Tamils! Though Bharathiyar, V.O. Chidambaram, Thiru.V. Kalyanasundaram and others of the same kind were basically Indian nationalists, there were strong aspects of Tamil nationalism in their speeches and writings. The Naam Thamizhar party of C. Pa. Aadhithanar, the Thamizharasu Kazhagam of Ma. Po. Sivagnanam and the Thamizh Thesiya Katchi of E.V.K. Sampath contributed to the development of Tamil nationalism upto some extent unto some point. Even the Dravidian movement, before its degeneration due to power-seeking politics, took forward a more or less Tamil nationalism in content though in the perverted Dravidian form.
There is no big indication that the Tamil nationalist movement of Tamil Eelam acted with an awareness of such a long history of Tamil nationalism in Tamilnadu. A few like Poet Kasi Anandhan may have understood the correlation between Tamilnadu and Tamil Eelam due to their direct role in the Tamil nationalist movements here and there. But they are only exceptions.
Only because the Liberation Tigers and Leader Prabhakaran correctly understood Indian imperialism and its interest in preventing the emergence of Tamil Eelam, they could maintain vigilance against its machinations, and were able to break through the vicious net thrown by the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement.
During a press meet in Jaffna, when asked about Karunanidhi and MGR, Prabhakaran replied to the effect: “We are well aware that the Government of Tamilnadu has no sovereignty. Also that the Chief Minister does not have the power to help us on his own accord. But we believe they have a moral responsibility to reflect the sentiments of the people of Tamilnadu.”
This is the correct view.
But did this view and the conclusions derived from it reach all levels of the movement? Especially the political essayists? We do not know. The public of Tamil Eelam were also groomed with illusions about India. There prevailed a narrow understanding of Tamilnadu politics as a Karunanidhi versus MGR affair. Even though a few of the Tamil nationalist leaders of Tamilnadu were popular in Eelam they were identified more as friends of Tamil Eelam than as Tamil nationalists.
The Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987, the subsequent invasion of the Indian army in the name of the Indian Peace Keeping Force and the atrocities it committed dealt a strong blow to the Eelam people’s illusion about India. The sacrifice of Thileepan, the death by cyanide of the twelve including Pulendhiran and Kumarappa, the fast unto death of Mother Bhoopathy … all these clearly showed India’s enmity.
The hostile attitude of India did not stop with the withdrawal of the IPKF. It continued to provide the Sinhalese government with armaments and military training. But even then the policy of appeasement towards India did continue. We need not of course say that we consider India an enemy state. But we need not have hesitated to say that the Government of India treats the Tamils as an inimical race.
Israel and Eelam
It is one thing to reassure that India need not be afraid of Eelam, but another to assure that Eelam will help India’s activities. The line separating these two approaches is clear though thin.
A bizarre consequence of the approach of committing Eelam to the intentions of the Indian state is the assurance that ‘Eelam would serve India as Israel serves the United States of America’. We know how Israel served and continues to serve the US. To bully the oil-rich Arab nations, and, more importantly, to frustrate the liberation of Palestine. In short, Israel is the West Asian henchman of the US.
If Eelam is going to serve India the same way, it means it would serve as India’s South Asian henchman. If Eelam is going to help contain those opposed to India, it means it would serve to oppress Kashmir, the north-eastern nationalities and the tribal people of Dhandakaranya.
To extend this logic to the end, it means it would help stop Tamilnadu’s national liberation. If Eelam is going to work out like this, will not the people of Tamilnadu ask: Why then should we support Eelam?
The correlation of the struggles for Tamilnadu and Tamil Eelam
We do not refute the historical differences between Sinhalese oppression and Indian oppression. Similarly we do take into consideration that the liberation struggles of Tamilnadu and Tamil Eelam are in different stages of development. But there is no justification for failing to understand, ignoring or not taking into account the need for the development of Tamil nationalism in Tamilnadu and its correlation to the liberation struggle of Tamil Eelam.
When as a rejoinder to the question, “What has Tamilnadu done for Tamil Eelam?” I asked, “What has Tamil Eelam done for Tamilnadu?” many of the Tamil Eelam friends were startled. I posed this question only in order to make them sharply understand that Tamil Eelam nationalists should be interested in the Tamil national struggle of Tamilnadu.
View of Tamilnadu politics
Post-Mullivaikkal, of course, Tamil Eelam people hate India. But this is not enough. They should understand the imperialist character of the Indian state, identify the forces fighting it and find solidarity with them. In particular they should come out of the myopic understanding of Tamilnadu politics merely as a Karunanidhi-Jayalalitha contest. Should not be spending their valuable time in trying to solve the riddle: who is going to be the next Chief Minister of Tamilnadu? Should not be yearning for some favourite of theirs to occupy the CM’s chair and deliver liberation by parcel!
Under the present Constitution of India, whoever may be the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, he can only be the Varadharajaperumal of Tamilndu – this should be understood by one and all. When we say that the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu failed to save the people of Tamil Eelam, we do not mean he could have done it by invoking the legal powers of a Chief Minister, but failed to do so. We only mean he failed to fight Delhi in reflection of the sentiments of the people of Tamilnadu. For instance, he could have thrown away his chief-ministership and come to the streets in protest against Delhi’s role in the massacre of Eelam Tamils. He could thus have pressurised Delhi, thereby stopping or curtailing its anti-Tamil attitude. What a Chief Minister can do at the most is to come forward to resign and fight. Without doing so Karunanidhi stuck to office and this was his betrayal. If the maximum utility of a post of office is just to resign, why so much anxiety about such a post?
What is the use of the Members of Parliament resigning their posts? What is the use of Ministers in the Government of India quitting office? What is the use of pro-Eelam parties boycotting elections? All these questions were raised then itself. These steps would have aroused the masses and brought pressure to bear upon the Government of India.
Members of Parliament should have resigned as decided upon by the All-Party meeting on the 14th of October 2008. Even if some parties had backtracked other parties should have carried out the decision to resign. The Union ministers belonging to the DMK and the PMK should have resigned. It was unpardonable to stick to office till the last while at the same time claiming to oppose the war. If those political parties, which purportedly opposed the war of genocide, had boycotted the polls and declared elections to be unnecessary until the war is stopped, it would have isolated the Congress. At least the pro-Eelam parties should have taken this stance, even If the other parties were reluctant.
To shun this path and to insist that pro-eelam parties should have formed an alliance among themselves would lead us nowhere. The explanation offered by the leader of the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi, Thol. Thirumavalavan that only due the absence of such an alliance he had to join the Congress-DMK combo is unacceptable. Why did not his party reject all alliances and fight the elections independently? No convincing explanation from him. He could have simply boycotted the elections? Why not?
Why did not these political parties take such steps as mentioned supra? Because they follow power-seeking politics. The leaderships of these parties are not willing even to put off their power-seeking politics for a brief while for the sake of preventing the massacre of Eelam Tamils.
The composition itself of these political parties from top to bottom is of this kind. After carrying loads all along there cannot be a sudden metamorphosis into war-horses. A clear understanding of nationalism is needed not only for leading, but even for supporting, a national liberation movement. Tamil nationalist phrase-chanting such as homeland, sovereignty and self-rule at the same time as serving Indian nationalism in deeds would help neither Tamilnadu nor Tamil Eelam.
Two liberation struggles
Only when we grasp the dialectical correlation between the liberation struggles of Tamil Eelam and Tamilnadu, world Tamil unity becomes meaningful and useful. These two liberation struggles are distinctly separate, but closely connected; capable of objectively helping each other, but not conditional upon each other. We ought to see this correlation not as existing in a static situation, but as moving in constantly changing internal and external conditions. This understanding is essential in the first place for at least the leading fighting forces on the two fronts. Then this should sink into the collective consciousness of the world Tamils. Intellectuals on both sides should take the initiative for this.
Though both the liberation struggles of Tamil Eelam and of Tamilnadu are historical necessities, they are in different stages of development. Therefore the ways and forms of helping each other are also bound to differ.
Though the Tamil nationalist movement of Tamilnadu is older it has fallen behind. The Tamil nationalist movement of Tamil Eelam has overtaken it. In Tamilnadu we are fighting for making the masses of Tamil people realise the need for Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism will never be able to become a political force for liberation unless it is grasped by the masses. This does not mean that we are in the propaganda stage. Struggles for the demands of the Tamil people are the main means to make the masses realise the need for Tamil nationalism. The Tamil nationalist organisations should be built strong and solid in order to direct such struggles along the direction of the goal of Tamil national liberation. Tamil nationalist media should be strengthened to fulfil these tasks.
The Tamil Eelam national liberation struggle started as a moralistic one, developed as an armed struggle, transformed from a guerrilla war into a conventional war, and eventually met with a huge military defeat. The people of Tamil Eelam should rise again from this defeat and continue the struggle in new forms. In this the world Tamils should help them.
Isolating the Sinhalese state
How? The people of Tamil Eelam stand bereft of any space to fight by any means. If this space has to be created for them severe pressure has to be brought upon the Sinhalese state.
Arraign the criminal who committed genocide! Institute an enquiry through the UNO into the war of genocide against the Eelam people! Set free all the imprisoned militants! Release those still in the barbed-wire concentration camps! Dismantle the High Security Zones! Rehabilitate all the Tamil people! Return all their land, properties and industries! Compensate fully the losses suffered by the Tamil people due to war! Stop Sinhalese settlements in Tamil homeland areas! Secure the democratic rights of the Tamil people! For such demands should the Tamils of Tamilnadu and of the diaspora should fight for. Though this is only a moralistic and peaceful struggle, it should not be a mere token struggle.
If our struggle is to have an impact on the Sinhalese state, we should isolate Sri Lanka on a global scale. We should see to it that economic. Politico-diplomatic and cultural sanctions are imposed on Sri Lanka.
The United States Tamils Political Action Council (USTPAC) is already in the thick of the struggle for boycotting goods from Sri Lanka. Along with overseas Tamils from Tamilnadu and Eelam a Jewish woman Dr. Ellyn Sander is playing an active role in this movement. It is a welcome sign that the European Union is seeking to annul the GSP Plus trade concessions to Sri Lanka.
Hope and encouragement
The role played by the Tamil movie artists, the May 17 movement and Save Tamils in dampening the International Indian Film Festival Awards (IIFA) function in Colombo is encouraging. The campaign for boycotting the Tamil Writers’ Meet at Colombo has gained notable success. Though all these are encouraging they are not enough. We should intensively and extensively increase our efforts a hundred times. The slogan and the campaign BOYCOTT SRI LANKA should be very soon developed to a level where there is none to refute or oppose it. We can mobilise the active support of democratic forces all over India.
The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) democratically elected by the Eelam Tamils at the world level is functioning well, uniting and coordinating various hues of Tamils and Tamil organisations behind the objective of a separate state of Tamil Eelam. The TGTE would hopefully fulfil the task of earning the recognition and support of the international community for the demand of a separate state of Tamil Eelam. The pro-Tamil Eelam forces of Tamilnadu should take the initiative in a planned manner to mobilise support for the TGTE and its endeavours in Tamilnadu and at the Indian level. We should help the Eelam Tamils living here as refugees play their role in the formation and activation of the TGTE.
The TGTE and the LTTE
To consider the TGTE as a reproduction or re-edition of the LTTE and comparing the two with the same yardstick are wrong. In this respect we should be very cautious.
The LTTE was born, grew up and did its duty in a historical stage of the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle, a stage when armed struggle was the main form. In a new stage of struggle – a stage when political struggle, based on the transnational existence of the Tamil Eelam people and the international influence of Tamil nationalism, has emerged as the main form – the TGTE has been born to fulfil the tasks peculiar to this stage.
Separate Tamil Eelam is the objective of the LTTE; the same is the objective of the TGTE. It is in this sense that we can consider the TGTE to be a historical continuation of the LTTE. As the tasks to be fulfilled by them are basically different, they are bound to differ in all respects, namely the forms of organisation, the methods of struggle and the tactics. If we fail to understand this difference the result would be confusion confounded.
Impact on Sinhalese
The campaign to isolate and pressurise the Sinhalese supremacist state should make the Sinhalese people, the social base of Sinhalese chauvinism, think and rethink, and should seek to turn them around against their state, and help the growth of genuine democratic forces among the Sinhalese people. What is more, this would sharpen contradictions within the Sinhalese ruling class. Conflicts would break out. The ruling fascist clique would more and more be isolated. All these would combine to create and expand a democratic space for the Tamil people. The suppressed and repressed Tamil people would utilise this space to take the field.
Like the Intifada of the Palestinian people, like the present uprising of the Kashmiri people, the Eelam people would also rise up and fight. Will this struggle be sufficient to secure victory? Or will armed struggle be necessary once again? We cannot judge at once. Moreover it does not depend merely on the Eelam people or the liberation forces that lead them. One thing is certain: whatever may be the form, it would not be possible once again to brand that struggle as terrorist to isolate and crush it.
We think this may be the future path of the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle. Even if it is different let us approach it with an open mind to grasp it and act. But let us be very clear about what is to be done at present. Let us extensively take forward the campaign to isolate the Sinhalese state!
Let Tamil Eelam understand Tamilnadu just as Taminadu understands Tamil Eelam. If the global Tamil community realises its historical responsibility and acts systematically, on earth will rise a Tamil state; then another. On the world stage will fly two Tamil flags. The contribution of the Tamil race to the progress of mankind will go two steps up.
The author is the General Secretary of the Tamil National Liberation Movement, Tamilnadu. Your comments may be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org