Tamil diaspora must stop funding LTTE
Feb 9, 06 4:16pm
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Many Tamils seem to support the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) as they tend to believe that a truly Tamil-land (Tamil-Eelam) can be established where the Tamils will have complete self- governance. Tamils around the globe are donating funds generously towards this movement so that it could have the best military equipment to challenge the Sri Lankan army.
In any nation where more than one community live - especially with a majority-minority balance - there is bound to be some perception of bias. Solutions need to be found by peaceful means.
When a movement has decided to take the path of terrorism, it will not tolerate any party in its path. Moderate Tamil leaders have been murdered by the Tamil Tigers, and if there is 'peace' in the areas under its control, it is highly debatable whether this is not due to the 'fear' factor that has been clearly instilled into the hearts of the people there.
If the argument is that the Sinhalese leaders were uncompromising and that this stance had created the need for the Tamil Tigers to choose violence, then the two groups are going to be harder towards each other as is amply illustrated time and again.
In the meantime, young Tamils in the affected areas do not enjoy proper education and many - including the girls - are recruited as 'Tigers'. The scar on their lives is going to be profound with a feeling of hatred and unhappiness throughout their lives.
The LTTE leaders are always safe, leaving the recruits to do the 'valiant deeds'. And the funders are also happily living with their families in other countries.
Sri Lanka is a country, and its citizens - be they the Buddhist, Sinhalese or the Hindu-Tamils - must learn to coexist. This can't happen when one group is steeped in violence with suicide bombings here and there. The international organisations will not be able to play any meaningful role in such a state of conflict. Those living in other countries should not interfere by funding the feuding parties.
No matter how eloquently the supporters of LTTE present their views, terrorism as a means to achieve an objective will only generate more violence and there will be no end in sight. The poor people will continue to suffer.
The promise of a Tamil-Land (Tamil-Eelam) may be very enticing, but the use of terrorism means it will be built upon the skeletons of the thousands killed along the way.
Alternatives must be looked into, and sane leaders must emerge. For that to happen, support in terms of funding for the LTTE from overseas must stop.
Persecuted minorities often alone
Feb 13, 06 4:03pm
I fully agree with fellow K Narayanasamy on the violence of the LTTE. But I cannot agree with the concept of "in order to defend yourself, you need to be defenceless".
This could be apply if the world community or the UN immediately interferes the moment any atrocity is committed on minorities of a country but that is not the way now. Many countries just say these atrocities are their domestic affairs. Which country will listen to outside voices?
The world watches from the outside till thousands of people killed and then only will they start to act. We shall not need to look very far away, the examples of East Timor (Timor Leste) and Aceh can suffice. Where were all the countries and world bodies at that time? How did they defend the innocent minority women and children? The answer is they didn’t.
I do not condone violence by any party but what means do certain people have to bring their plight to the attention of others? How many lives have to be sacrificed and for how many years do they have to fight for their rights in the countries in which they were born?
Trust me, lots of people know how it feels to be treated as a third-class citizen in their own countries.
Sinhala regime the source of violence
Feb 16, 06 3:17pm
In the aftermath of the Sinhala Only Act, my father lost his job in the civil service with seven children to feed because he could no longer work there. The Sinhala regime when on to enact further legislations to harm the minorities.
Half a million Tamils were deprived of their civic rights. Tamils staged non-violent campaign to agitate for their legitimate democratic rights. What did the Sinhala regime do? They simply ordered the Sinhala dominated army to occupy the northeast.
I put it to you that three decades of brutal military oppression of Tamils gave birth to the Tamil militancy. It was the Sinhala regime that first brought violence to the northeast. You ought to ask the Sinhala regime as to why they used their iron fist to deal with merely a political problem.
Only when the demand by Tamils for a federal solution was repeatedly rejected by the Sinhala regime the Tamils opted for a separate state. You need to understand the Tamils do qualify under UN charter to exercise their rights to self determination.
I had been an LTTE-sceptic. But I am now convinced that the LTTE has the military might to liberate the Tamils.
LTTE’s label as terrorists well justified
Feb 20, 06 5:06pm
I commend Prof P Ramasamy on his stance against violence. Indeed, he may have won more to his cause if he had explicitly established this position in his earlier articles.
I have not forgotten the roots of the Sri Lankan conflict and while I abhor violence, I will admit that there are situations in which a community is forced to defend its way of life. There exist of course, many means of defence. However, the actions of the LTTE more closely resemble terrorists than freedom fighters.
Firstly, the LTTE extend their rule by force and terror with no sympathy for dissenting voices. The starkest example of this is when the LTTE virtually wiped out the leadership and cadre of another militant group, TELO, in May 1986. The LTTE does not care to even attempt to establish the illusion of democracy in the areas they control.
A Human Rights Watch report from May 2005 blames the LTTE for the more recent murders of “outspoken members of the Tamil community”. Ramasamy suggests that the LTTE-controlled areas are “the safest places on the island of Sri Lanka”. Has he ever considered why this is so?
Second, the LTTE do not confine their attacks to military targets. Like Nicaragua’s Contra rebels of the 1980s, there are numerous examples of the LTTE attacking ‘soft targets’ with little care as to the ‘collateral damage’ wrought on civilians. The attacks on the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, the Dehiwala train and the attack on the Central Bank are documented examples of the LTTE policy of attacking defenseless civilian targets.
Third, the LTTE have abducted and recruited children for their army. As recently as February 2005, Human Rights Watch issued a call for the Canadian prime minister to “address the Tigers’ on-going recruitment and use of Tamil children as soldiers”. Human Rights Watch has also accused the LTTE of abducting children for use in their army.
Fourth, the LTTE has forcibly expelled residents from areas under its control. “The LTTE has been accused of ethnic cleansing Sinhalese and Muslim inhabitants from areas under its control, including through the use of violence against those who refuse to leave. Most notably, the LTTE forcibly expelled the entire Muslim population of Jaffna on 48 hours notice in 1990.”
Fifth, I must question if the LTTE are truly serious about a peaceful solution, as they have consistently broken terms of the 2001 negotiated ceasefire. The LTTE and Sri Lankan government jointly established the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in 2002. Tasked with monitoring the ceasefire, the SLMM consists of representatives of five Nordic countries and has even been accused by some quarters of being too lenient on the LTTE.
The SLMM recently issued a report on ceasefire violations by both parties covering a period between 2002 and 2005. The report reveals that the LTTE has carried out over 3,100 violations compared to approximately 140 by the government forces. This includes 587 confirmed instances of adult abduction and 1,794 verified cases of child recruitment by the LTTE.
Judging the LTTE by their actions, the international community has very rightly chosen to label the LTTE as terrorists. It is also telling that the bulk of the Tamil diaspora exist in countries that have banned the LTTE. As I said before, it is only through peaceful dissent that the grievances of the Sri Lankan Tamils will receive the international attention they deserve. Yet Ramasamy chooses to lament the decision of the international community and continues to heap praise upon the LTTE as the only organisation possessing the requisite “dedication, pride and commitment to serve the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka.”
Is their dedication demonstrated through the innovation of suicide bombing, thereby linking the Sri Lankan Tamil cause to their heinous pioneering effort? Is their pride demonstrated through the through extortion and harassment of Tamil expatriates? Is their commitment demonstrated by putting the future of the Sri Lankan Tamil community (ie, children) on the front lines? Does the end justify the means?
Ramasamy may choose to label my understanding of the conflict as biased but that does not change the facts I present. In championing the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils, I would caution Ramasamy from blinding himself to the evil acts committed by the LTTE.
Perhaps there may come a time when the international community will have to reticently acknowledge the LTTE as the only means of achieving peace but that will never make the LTTE the best partner for peace.