LTTE band of ‘murderous cutthroats’
Feb 6, 06 3:53pm
Copyright © 1999-2005 Malaysiakin Dotcom
Prof P Ramasamy appears to suggest that “indiscriminate killings will be brought to end” if the international community accepts that the LTTE should are allowed to rule over the north and east of Sri Lanka. He laments about how the international community has merely misunderstood the objectives of the LTTE.
I must begin by stressing that I am in complete agreement with Ramasamy for the need to reform the Malaysian political system and the need to revamp the Malaysian tertiary education system. However, as a Malaysian who has had the benefit of living in Colombo for four years and has both Sinhalese and Tamil friends, I cannot begin to express my utter disappointment with Ramasamy’s latest attempt to recast the murderous LTTE as a heroic organisation.
In May 2001, I responded to his article Sri Lankan mission skittish over Tigers under the pseudonym of A Concerned Malaysian. I can only reinforce my concerns of five years ago.
Let us review a small sample of the litany of terrors unleashed by the LTTE over their 20 years of armed resistance. The LTTE reputedly pioneered the now pervasive technique of suicide bombing and utilised suicide bombers to murder Indian president Rajiv Gandhi and on another occasion, Sri Lankan president R Premadasa. They attempted to murder Sri Lanka’s former president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, and recently succeeded in killing Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, Lakshir Kadirgamar (himself an ethnic Tamil).
They have murdered Tamil political rivals and also murder civilians that stand in their way – be they Sinhalese, Muslim or even Tamil. Their bombings (such as at the Sri Lankan Central Bank) murder and maim indiscriminately. They have consistently broken ceasefires negotiated by third parties and regularly field child soldiers. There exist Asiaweek reports dating to 2000 that speak of several countries accusing the LTTE of obtaining funding through the drug trade. In short, the facts show that the LTTE are a deceitful band of murderous cutthroats who have no qualms about killing anyone who disagrees with them.
Ramasamy must realise that he wins no sympathisers for Sri Lankan Tamils by claiming that the LTTE is the “champion and guardian of the Tamils”. I am compelled to ask why he persists in defending the LTTE in spite of their murderous activities? If the allegations I bring forth are untrue, then I urge him to provide us with contradictory views from reputable media organisations.
I do not begrudge the Tamil people of Sri Lanka their legitimate right to oppose unjust policies but as I have said before, whatever noble ideologies they may have spawned, they were washed away the moment the LTTE took the first life. Sri Lankan Tamils must be freed from the iron grip of the LTTE and categorically reject violence. They must be allowed to emulate the strategies of one of the most beloved and successful sons of South Asia, Mahatma Gandhi. It is only through peaceful dissent that their grievances will receive the international attention they deserve.
Ramasamy has recently joined a political party that has epitomised peaceful political dissent in Malaysia for decades, the DAP. My mind immediately associates the DAP with principled men and women I greatly admire such as Lim Kit Siang, Teresa Kok and Lim Guan Eng. I commend Ramasamy for the brave stance he has taken against injustices in Malaysia. Rather than rooting for the LTTE, perhaps Ramasamy should reflect on how the peaceful political tactics of his new party can be utilised by the Sri Lankan Tamils in their struggle for justice.
Regardless of the reasons, unnecessary violence either by legitimate governments or rebel movements whether in Palestine, Iraq, Sri Lanka or in any other conflict must never be condoned, let alone praised.
Violence not LTTE’s natural choice
Prof P Ramasamy
Feb 8, 06 4:44pm
Copyright © 1999-2005 Malaysiakin Dotcom
The letter LTTE band of 'murderous cutthroats' written by Umran Kadir, suggests that I condone and support the criminality and violence of the LTTE. Furthermore, he states that my political involvement in the DAP and my support for the LTTE is contradictory since both the organisations pursue different political methodologies. In other words, while the DAP pursues democratic solutions, the LTTE pursues violence, killings and other diabolical acts.
First, I think Umran's understanding of the Sri Lankan confict situation is extremely biased and one-sided. He might have lived in the country for four or five years with many Sinhalese and Tamil friends, but he simply or conveniently forgets to understand that the ethnic conflict in the country was a direct outcome of the Sinhala racist policies towards Tamils.
In fact, the LTTE was the product of the Sinhala Buddhist state chauvinism. If only the Sinhala state had accommodated the moderate demands of the Tamil political parties organised within the fold of the Tamil United National Liberation Front, there would not be an LTTE today. It was the failure of the Sinhala state to accommodate the genuine grievances of Tamils that led to the armed struggle waged by the LTTE from the early 1980s and onwards.
Second, Umran totally fails to consider the nature of Sinhala state violence against innocent Tamils and their families not only in the south but also in many other parts of the country. Has he forgotten the anti-Tamil riots that paved he way for the Indian government's intervention in the conflict? In this respect, when other Tamil organisations failed to provide hope and future for Tamils, the LTTE stepped in to counter the Sinhala state racism. Violence was not the natural choice of the LTTE, but violence was used to counter violence.
Third, while I support the LTTE to find a peaceful solution to the plight of Tamils in the country, I have not to date condoned the practice of violence by the LTTE. Discussions about violence in Sri Lanka should not considered in abstraction. The dynamics of the ethnic conflict and how it has engendered violence in every aspect of the society should be considered. Umran should not just blame the LTTE, he should also examine the conduct the Sinhala extremists, the armed forces, the police and recently the paramilitaries.
Fourth, ground reality suggests there is one organisation that seeks to represent the Tamils in the country, particularly the traditional Tamil homeland of the north and east. This party is none other than the LTTE. If the LTTE is not representative of the Tamils, then there is no reason why the government of Sri Lanka has to discuss peace with this outfit. Despite the ban on the LTTE in countries like India, UK and the US, there is an implicit recognition that peace in Sri Lanka would not materialise without the involvement of the LTTE.
Fifth, Umran simply and naively jumps onto the anti-LTTE bandwagon like many others. I don't support the LTTE because of its "murderous" activities. I have worked tirelessly for the past few years, including participating the Constitutional Committee, to find a permanent solution for Tamils in the country. I am all for peace, but not at any cost. This means among other things working closely with the LTTE so that Tamils would obtain a dignified solution and not become second- or third-class citizens in the country.
Sixth, my support for the cause of Tamils is predicated not on any chauvinist cause, but because they have been uprooted and marginalised in their own country. Dignified solutions for the Tamils would never come by adopting the Gandhian ways, it might not be appropriate to Sri Lanka. In fact, early Tamil organisations used the Gandhian philosophy to gain rights for the Tamils, but they were trampled upon by the Sinhala state.
While I thank Umran for appreciating my political struggle in Malaysia, I must caution him in taking a very myopic view of the Sri Lankan situation. I am a strong supporter of the LTTE because in the final analysis, it is the only organisation with dedication, pride and commitment to truly serve the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka.
For it to move away from violence, the Sri Lankan state must offer something substantial to the Tamils. If not, the only solution to me is a separate independent state for Tamils on the basis that the northeast is their homeland, that they constitute a nation, and that they have the right to self-determination, a principle that has been universally accepted and endorsed.
I really wish that Umran had visited the LTTE controlled areas. They are the safest places on the island of Sri Lanka. In other words, the LTTE has other more noble objectives to pursue rather than engage in mindless violence and killings.
And finally, the DAP knows of my involvement in the peace process not only in Sri Lanka but also in Aceh. Well, if they had suspected that I am supporting violence, they would not have accepted me in the first place.