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Holding grounds is fundamental to everything

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The Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu N. Ram's questions or rather ‘leads’ and Rajapaksa’s elucidations that appeared in The Hindu for three consecutive days are not an ordinary media interview. Timed with the interview came the statements of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and External Affairs Minister of India S M Krishna.


The whole exercise orchestrated by the Colombo-Chennai-New Delhi axis was primarily meant for nullifying the liberation struggle of Eelam Tamil nationalism.


Shielding the guilty party and victimising the victimised for the war crimes, imposing post-war subjugation on the ‘defeated’ people, waving aside the seriousness of the crime of keeping people perishing in the concentration camps and pretending no solutions as fantastic solutions, echoed in the orchestrations are the workings of fascist and Stalinist minds in collaboration.


Mahinda Rajapaksa, the most explicit among the lot, rules out federalism, even rejects the existence of minorities and envisages ‘ethnic mix’ for what he thinks reconciliation.


He wants the UN, which he was keeping out during the war, to certify de-mining for resettlement, talks of the need of increasing the number of military and wants his re-election to implement what he is having in his mind – a ‘home-gown solution’.


Karunanidhi rules out Tamil Eelam, envisages struggling for regional autonomy and advocates appeasement with the Sinhala state.


In a statement in the Indian parliament last Thursday, Krishna is convinced of the ‘closure to the cycle of violence and terrorism’ in the island, viewed the crisis in the island not as a national question but ‘aspirations of the minorities’ and wanted the full implementation of the 13th amendment and go beyond.


It is clear Colombo and New Delhi have nothing new to offer, after what they see as ‘end of terrorism’, but are at a dangerous track of proclaiming a new phase of war against Eelam Tamil nationalism, covertly conducted through structural genocide and annihilation of the Tamil homeland in the island.


As privately revealed by certain diplomatic circles, India has no positive or innovative programme of its own for Eelam Tamils beyond allowing Colombo’s agenda with superficial restrains and gaining its interests in the island.


Whatever the feelings of the Eelam Tamils to look upon India as the ultimate ‘deliverer’ of their legitimate aspirations, the Indian Establishment is consistently not convinced of the need to identify any overlapping interests with Eelam Tamils, thanks to the docility of the leadership in Tamil Nadu.


Hitherto, in waging the war against Eelam Tamils, neither Colombo nor any of the powers abetting Colombo had the guts to say that they do it against a national liberation struggle. They had to go for the smokescreen ‘terrorism’.


As they now claim ‘terrorism’ is over, nothing should actually prevent them from recognizing the legitimacy of the concerned people upholding their national liberation struggle.


What the Eelam Tamils have to understand is that the war was not against the LTTE or terrorism, but against the national liberation struggle of Eelam Tamils. The Tamil struggle was found conducive neither to the geopolitical interests of powers eying on the strategic island in order to have a hold on South Asia and the Indian Ocean, nor to the interests of India in defending its surroundings.


While time will tell whether India was right or wrong in its modus operandi, the reality for Eelam Tamils today is that both Colombo and New Delhi have come open in waging a war on the nationalism of Eelam Tamils and they have found a suitable person in Karunanidhi to inaugurate it.


What is at stake is even the democratic right of Eelam Tamils to open their mouth and tell what they want.


Tamils have to carefully note that even the West, which in contrast to India, belatedly show hostility to Colombo, talk about war crimes and human rights, once again for its own interests, has not come forward after the war at least to recognize Eelam Tamils as a nation – leave apart the national liberation struggle.


Tamils don’t have the folly of expecting political solution from the rogue imperialism of China, but are concerned of Japan reassuring faith on the ‘vision’ of Rajapaksa.


All make mistake in looking at the issue something like post-war Germany or Japan for everyone to poke nose to make ‘economic miracles’. Neither the Tamils were fighting for aggressive empires nor the war ended like the Mikado surrendering after the two atom bombs.


It was a humble liberation struggle of people oppressed for ages who are now hardened than ever in the consciousness of their identity, thanks to the collective oppression of all the powers.


The important point is that the war didn’t end in surrender.


Perhaps the most memorable act of the LTTE under Pirapaharan that will be remembered forever is that other than running a de-facto independent state, it didn’t surrender the liberation struggle of the Eelam Tamils to anybody at anytime.


The struggle needs to continue from that point, as it has become clear that ‘reconciliation’ is only an honourable term used by Colombo and abetters to mean a suicidal course set for the Eelam Tamil nation.


But continuing the struggle in ways anew, now perhaps through democratic means, could neither begin nor could sustain itself with the masses, by professing defeatism or by surrendering the basic grounds.


Talking on the need to continue the struggle is not to rule out the need to negotiate.


But negotiation is not collaboration.


Negotiators need a firm platform supported by the hearts of the masses on behalf of whom they negotiate. Negotiation cannot take place when the platform is surrendered.


We don’t live in feudal times when a group of Muthaliyars of Jaffna signed a document with the Portuguese or the chieftains of Kandy signed the convention with the British, in renouncing sovereignty and confirming the setting in of colonialism.


It is to safeguard the platform for struggle and negotiation the Tamil circles are now keen in re-affirming the democratically mandated Vaddukkoaddai Resolution of 1976 that upholds independence, sovereignty and self-determination of Eelam Tamils, at least in places where there is freedom of expression. They have already demonstrated that in Norway and France and it is set to take place in the rest of the diaspora. But it is with sadness the Tamil circles note that exercising such a basic freedom is not possible today for Eelam Tamils in India, the greatest democracy in the world.


It is again impelled by the same need the Eelam Tamils think of a transnational government of them. The diaspora need not be apologetic of it as their issue is actually international but refused to be addressed as international even by the apex international body, the UN.


However, transnational governance is a novel democratic exercise. It needs firm theoretical basis to function as a transnational body, needs firm adherence to principles such as independence and sovereignty found in the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution to achieve the goal at home, needs a popular participatory structure beginning from grass-root democracy in the diaspora and the initiation of it needs to be above controversy for convincing the participation of people.


There are some efforts in the diaspora to begin this exercise country wise.


Transnational government is not merely for the immediate need of international negotiation, but to sustain the struggle that may take years and to look after the well-being of the people in the diaspora and at home for long times to come, in the context of unfolding global scenario.


The West should think of regaining its international credibility by recognising nations such as the Eelam Tamils and promoting their democratic moves struggling against genocide and oppression. This will bring in more durable acceptance of it and its civilization than what petty geopolitics could bring in.


A Tamil housewife in New Zealand was recently heard saying that she stopped buying Sri Lankan tea as a protest possible within her means for what the Sri Lankan state did to her people. Another person in the diaspora said that he will never claim himself a Sri Lankan hereafter and will stick only to his Eelam Tamil identity.


Such individual sentiments and protests may look insignificant but when organized they can become something like Mahatma Gandhi’s Khadar movement. Imagine global Tamils deciding not to buy Chinese goods and they joining hands with Tibetans and others affected, in campaigning against Chinese economic interests!


The diaspora, especially the younger generation, is sure going to tell the West to stop hoodwinking and to come out with substantial solutions, beginning from the recognition of Eelam Tamils as a nation and their struggle a national liberation struggle.


India is a unique issue for Eelam Tamils. They always look upon the country and its people. Its Establishment wouldn’t have dared to embark upon betrayal, had there been an intelligent show of strength and solidarity in Tamil Nadu. But forces of deception were at work from media to political parties. India has to be addressed internally by Eelam Tamils. Much anger is simmering in Tamil Nadu but it expects the Eelam Tamils to come out with their position on the national question.


The Eelam Tamils, especially the diaspora need to play the cards carefully.


Let there be negotiation on all fronts. But the national grounds for negotiation should not be lost, just because some ask for it. If it is lost it can’t be regained even if there are going to be favourable geopolitics.


Even after 2000 years the Jews were able to regain their land because they never lost their nationalism or the thought of Israel. 

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