Sunday, May 31, 2009



President Mahinda Rajapaksa has, with single-minded determination, destroyed the capacity of the LTTE to wage war in any serious form. Also, by speaking to the Tamil-speaking population in their language on more than one occasion, he has demonstrated his wish to establish a genuine rapport with them. He has said that he does not differentiate between the majority and the minorities but only between those who love Sri Lanka and those who do not. More than once, he has assured the citizens of this country that everyone should respect the Constitution and be mindful of the need to establish good governance and the Rule of Law. He has strongly expressed his desire to get rid of the presidential system of government and return power to Parliament. President Rajapaksa’s statements and intentions on these topics are warmly welcomed by us at the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) and we look forward to seeing these take on a more precise form to guide those who will be charged with transforming his vision into practical reality.

Considering the President’s efforts to communicate with the Tamil people in their language, we should like to see the bureaucracy do likewise in their day to day work. All of us are well aware that the provisions relating to the use of Tamil in state activities have been mostly ignored in the past. Hence, the first priority would be to appoint an effective Task Force which will see to it, in a very pro-active manner, that the bureaucracy does not continue with the lapses and contraventions of the past three or more decades. Moreover, it is of paramount importance that the President allocates substantial additional resources in the Budget for advancing his recent programme to teach IT and English to all schoolchildren. Although the primary object of emphasizing these two subjects was probably in the interests of economic development, we are certain that this will prove to be a measure of monumental importance in facilitating communication between children who are compelled to study in different language streams. Furthermore, promotion of these instruments of mass communication will help schoolchildren greatly by not subjecting them to the additional burden of having to learn either Tamil or Sinhalese as examination subjects. It is difficult to think of a better mechanism to bring together the citizens of the next generation, which is an absolutely vital requirement for political, cultural, social, technological and economic progress.

President Rajapaksa has also undertaken to abolish the presidential type of Constitution and to give power back to Parliament. There would be very few persons who have studied the workings of the present presidential system who would disagree with the President’s intentions in this regard. When the Constitution is being amended, it would be prudent to take into account all the many other constitutional issues which political commentators and civil society organizations have been addressing repeatedly, especially since 1994. Some of the more important issues are touched upon below.

Separation of powers In an efficient democracy, there should be a clear separation of powers between Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary. When President J. R. Jayewardene chose to have something on the lines of a US-French presidential system, he unfortunately retained one of the worst features of the British system, where MPs become Ministers. This leads to a farcical conflict of interests where Ministers of the governing party force through legislation in Parliament to suit their own agendas and, by unscrupulous recourse to their party’s parliamentary majority, block all investigations into their poor performance by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). It is, therefore, essential that an MP who is appointed a Minister should resign from Parliament and let somebody else take his place there. Thus, Parliament can be freed from all executive work and confine its functions to legislation and monitoring the performance of the Executive, including the Ministers, whose job would then be limited to implementing the programmes approved by Parliament.

Ethnic, Religious and other Classifications Unless there is an unavoidable need to do so, references to ethnicity, religion and other differentiating classifications should not be permitted in government or commercial documentation. The onus of justifying a call for such details should fall squarely on the persons who wish to prepare such documentation. This proposal is in furtherance of the President’s implicit position that no one should be identified as belonging to a minority.

Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions The present system of appointing members to the Constitutional Council (CC) should be changed so that they are selected solely on account of their eminence, integrity and willingness to, say, devote two or three years of their time, immediately before or after retirement, to full time work at the Council. The present system of part-time membership will not be adequate to deal with the increased numbers of Independent Commissions which will be necessary to divorce the public service, and nationality- important governmental and other institutions, from political interference. Some of the more critical of these are the Elections Commission, High Appointments Commission, Public Service Commission, Police Commission, Judicial Services Commission, Bribery Commission, Human Rights Commission, Media Commission and Finance Commission. The CC and the Independent Commissions should be financed directly from the Consolidated Fund and not be subject to the whims, fancies and prejudices of the Treasury, Ministers or the even the Cabinet. Parliament alone should be responsible for the reasonable allocation of enough funds to permit these entities to function effectively.

Subsidiarity Parliament must restore to the citizens at the periphery sufficient powers to enable them to look after local problems without reference to the larger units of government. Funding should be directly from the Consolidated Fund. In short, the promotion and widespread application of the principle of subsidiarity needs to be at the heart of democratic, people- oriented government. The Grama Rajya concept is the primary component of this exercise.

Declaration of Assets and Liabilities The public is not aware that there is a huge range of persons who are supposed to declare their assets and liabilities to some specified authority but there no monitoring of compliance. For example, we have time and again addressed the Speaker to tell us how many MPs have failed to make their declarations but he remains silent. Is it a case of "Let the dogs bark; the caravan moves on!"? At the very least, the President should insist that all Ministers, MPs, Provincial Chief Ministers and all state employees who head departments, boards, corporations and tender boards should declare their assets to the Department of Inland Revenue (DIR), and have the law changed accordingly. All Assessors and higher officers in the DIR, should declare their assets to the Auditor- General. In some countries, any member of the public can access this information under the Right to Information Law. We need to have something similar but, in view of our national weakness for groundless vilification, a few basic safeguards may have to be introduced.

International Commitments Sri Lanka has signed a substantial number of international covenants, protocols and other legal instruments but has often failed to produce the necessary legislation to give effect to the undertakings given by it. We are proud of our long history of civilized behaviour and, hence, the failure to act sincerely and honestly in line with our lawful commitments is a dreadful slur on the People of Sri Lanka. This situation must be put right without prevarication. If we do what is right, we can always stand tall in the international community of nations.

Dr A. C. Visvalingam
President, CIMOGG


Friday, May 29, 2009

The world has the right to know and if the Sri Lankan government has northing to hide, they can definitely allow these people to go in..!!!

Prabha only a product of Tamil issue- Kanimozhi

By Jamila Najmuddin

The Tamil Nadu government says that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was only a “product” of the struggle for Tamils and his death would have no effect on the moves to ensure the final solution concerning the Tamils in Sri Lanka is addressed.Lok Sabha MP Kanimozhi Rajathi Karunanindhi, daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanindhi and a member of the DMK which is an ally of the ruling Congress party, told Daily Mirror in a telephone interview yesterday that despite the war being over in the island, the struggle in Sri Lanka had not ended and Tamils would continue to protest till such

Prabha only a product of Tamil issue- Kanimozhi

time a suitable solution was proposed by President Mahinda Rajapakse and his government.

“The war maybe over but the struggle hasn’t. Infact the struggle is now larger than ever in Sri Lanka. Prabhakaran was only a product of the struggle and his death will not change anything,” Ms. Kanimozhi said.

She also called upon the government to allow international observers and journalists into the camps sheltering the Tamil civilians in Vavuniya claiming that the world had a right to know on the true events taking place in the camps. “The government must allow international observers and journalists into the camps to speak to the civilians freely. They must also allow them to visit the sights where the battles took place. The world has a right to know and if the Sri Lankan government has northing to hide, they can definitely allow these people to go in,” Ms. Kanimozhi said.

She also called upon all political parties in Sri Lankan including some key Tamil organizations to come to the negotiating table and reach a political solution to the Tamil issue in order to put an end to the Tamil struggle in the island. “It maybe the Tamil National Alliance or anyone, we will not bother. All we care is that all the poltical parties in Sri Lanka including some key organizations must sit down with the Sri Lankan government and choose what is best for the Tamils. We all know how the Tamils are being treated in the north and we strongly oppose this,” Ms. Kanimozhi said.

Chief Minister M. Karunanindhi in a strong letter of objection wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday demanding for an explanation as to why India had voted in favour of Sri Lanka in the recently concluded UN Human Rights Council sessions. Ms. Kanimozhi said that the DMK strongly opposed the Indian government’s move and would take the matter up with the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile when questioned if Tamil Nadu was on the look out for any key LTTE cadres having fled to India after similar reports emerged in the media recently, Ms. Kanimozhi said that the DMK was unaware of any such incident but added that the concerned departments were looking into the issue.

Kanimozhi Rajathi Karunanidhi

Kanimozhi was born in 1968 in Chennai. She is a politician. Kanimozhi is the daughter of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi and Rajathi Ammal (Third Wife). She prefers to be called Kanimozhi.

She recently created a stir in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, for openly criticizing the blockbuster movie "Sivaji, The Boss", claiming it portrayed tamilians and Tamil culture in a very degrading manner. She appears in the 2008 film, Vaazhthukal starring Madhavan.

Following threats to quit her post as a MP in protest against killing of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka, Kanimozhi submitted her post-dated resignation to her father and party chief Karunanidhi on October 14.

Kanimozhi was a sub editor for The Hindu, and editor in charge of Kungumam, a Tamil weekly magazine. She was also Columnist and conducted programmes in Sun TV and Vijay TV. She has also a features editor for a Singapore based Tamil newspaper called Dhina Murasu. She has also written Tamil poetry and translated Tamil poetry into English of other poets. She became a Rajya Sabha member in 2007. She is strong supporter of Pan Tamil issues in particular Sri Lankan Tamils. She has organised Tamil folk art festivals called Chennai Sangamam.



Saturday, May 23, 2009

Implement a political package that will ensure justice for all...!!! Remember our collective guilt in nurturing the Tamil militancy and the LTTE..!!!

The search for peace must at least begin now


This Friday, May 15, 2009 handout photo provided by Sri Lankan army shows a soldier assisting a wounded civilian in Mullivaikkal, Sri Lanka..(AP)

As expected, the LTTE has now been defeated and conventional military operations have ended – one hopes for all time. Also as expected, there has been an outpouring of triumphalist celebrations with street dancing, lighting of fire crackers, vehicle processions, etc. In sharp contrast, President Mahinda Rajapakse’s address to the nation was largely devoid of triumphalist rhetoric and he showed commendable skill in articulating the direction in which the country has to move forward from here, even though he may have been selective in drawing lessons from the past.

But if the country is to move forward in the new direction that President Rajapakse spoke about, then the kind of celebrations that are being promoted around the country will not help. If we have a real commitment to democracy, peace and justice for all people, now is the time to take decisive steps towards that. The LTTE was not the only fascist entity that engaged in terrorizing all those who challenged their authority or policies. President Rajapakse rightly mentioned the cowardly killing of Alfred Durayappah, then Mayor of Jaffna, purely because he chose to defy the dominant political trend in Jaffna and sought to co-operate with the then SLFP Government headed by Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Since then, several prominent persons and thousands of innocent civilians – Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim – have been senselessly killed: some because they differed in their political thinking from their assassins but the vast majority because they belonged to an ethnic community other than that of their killers. Apart from the LTTE which is responsible for many of the killings, fascist groups now close to the government and the security forces themselves have been responsible for/accused of many of the killings of civilians, political dissidents and non-conforming journalists. And the country and our respective communities are the poorer for all these killings. It has created a culture where we place little value on life and are prepared to glorify death, if it is of someone who is different from us.

Responsibility for the victims of war

Somapala Gunadheera, the retired Civil Servant, in a letter to The Island which the Editor published in the front page referred to a more noble culture that we have valued in this country over the millennia. He said that this ennobling culture was embodied in the Dhammapada stanza: akkocci mam avadhi mam – ajini mam ahaasi me – ye tam na upanaihanti veram tesuupasammati ["He abused me; he beat me; he defeated me; he robbed me" – hatred will cease in those who do not harbour such grudges.] Gunadheera reminded us, as he has done before, that we should emulate Dutugemunu who not only held a state funeral for his fallen enemy but also declared that the enemy’s burial site be sacred ground.

The LTTE has been defeated. But let us remember that military victory does not mean that peace will automatically follow. Let us remember that there are hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons who live as refugees in makeshift camps. It is not only the 280,000 (according to government figures) who have been displaced from the Vanni in the recent conflict. There are still thousands still living in camps in the East who were displaced two years ago in the eastern theatre. There are thousands more displaced earlier, including those Muslims who were ethnically cleansed from the North nearly twenty years ago. In addition to those in IDP camps, there are thousands who have been forced to move out of their homes in the North and East and compelled to live elsewhere – the fortunate few having had the resources to go abroad. Let us hope that the people organising the triumphalist celebrations, involving even young school children, will spare a thought for the plight of these displaced persons who have been deprived of their homes and livelihood. That can happen only if we can imbibe the culture to which Gunadheera referred.

Human Rights

There have been disturbing reports about some of those now in detention centres and IDP camps. When President Rajapakse said in his address that the Sri Lankan Army went into this battle with a gun in one hand and the Human Rights Charter in the other, he was saying that his government was committed to safeguarding human rights. Now is the time to show that this commitment is real. The three government medical officers who opted, willingly or otherwise, to stay behind in the IDP camps and tend to the sick were performing a duty that was in keeping with the code of medical ethics that all doctors are required to uphold. They did speak to the media about the numbers of those who had died or were injured. A medical officer’s obligation is to safeguard life, all life. This has been referred to as a war without witnesses but reports from independent sources indicate that the figures quoted by the medical officers were probably not incorrect. Propagandists on both sides have questioned these figures, some exaggerating them and others lowering them, to suit their own purposes. But these medical officers felt, and this columnist thinks rightly, that it was necessary to speak to the media about the casualties of the war in order to protect the civilians. If they have done or said anything that conflicted with the code that medical officers have on oath pledged to uphold, then the due process of administrative procedures must be followed.

Also necessary to show our commitment to human rights is the way we treat the captured or surrendered LTTE cadres. Some would have joined the LTTE willingly and some would have been conscripted unwillingly. Either way, they should not be subject to summary justice. The government has announced plans to have rehabilitation centres for these cadres. This is commendable. The government must however not allow non-LTTE armed groups to bring the government into disrepute by their own version of the law of the jungle.

The need to curb in extremists

This is also the time for the Government to rein in the extremists and armed groups who have contributed to exacerbating the conflict over the years and who seem to want to continue doing so. If we fail to do so now, we shall be sowing the seeds of another militancy. The southern militancy was bred on our collective disregard for the under-privileged groups in society. The northern militancy was bred on our collective disregard for the concerns of the minorities. Unless we address the issues that have created these militant groups, the country will not move forward, even with the defeat of the LTTE.

Let us not forget our collective guilt in the way the Tamils were harmed and killed long before the birth of the LTTE. In 1956 and 1958, the Tamils were attacked, killed and their homes destroyed. This was done with state connivance. It was unprovoked by any violence. The Tamil leadership were protesting the imposition of Sinhala only. It took several years before that right was restored to the Tamils. In between, the extremists saw to it that two agreements signed between the Sinhala and Tamil leadership was scuttled. Also in between, there were several pogroms directed against the Tamils, the most horrific of which was in 1983. This was again with state connivance.

As we celebrate the defeat of the LTTE, let us not only remember our collective guilt in nurturing the Tamil militancy and the LTTE, but remember that we can ensure sustainable peace in our country only if we resist pressures from extremists and supremacists and implement a political package that will ensure justice for all communities. Such a package may not please the extremists, Sinhala and Tamil, but will undoubtedly be acceptable to the vast majority of our people, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim.




Thiruvenkadam Veluppillai Prabhakaran is no more. The body of the 54-year-old supreme leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) was found on Tuesday May 19 near the Mullaitivu lagoon known as “Nanthikkadal” (sea of conches). He had gunshot wounds in the head and forehead.

Thus ended the life of the man who was once described by the LTTE’s political strategist, Anton Stanislaus Balasingham, as both “the president and prime minister of Tamil Eelam.” Army commander Sarath Fonseka announced the death officially at 12.15 pm on the 19th.


The ephemeral nature of power was illustrated vividly by the death of Prabhakaran who controlled what was perhaps the most powerful guerilla organization in the world and was raised to divine status as “Sooriyathevan” (Sun God) by his sycophantic followers.

The circumstances of his death were, just as in life, mired in controversy. His demise was anticipated before it happened. The discovery of his corpse was revealed in sections of the media even before it was found. Then the LTTE’s chief of International relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP issued a denial of the death of his leader.

This has resulted in a bizarre situation where the Tamil diaspora remains overtly calm and cool while the media in Sri Lanka and abroad are going to town with news of his death as well as obituaries . Ironic indeed !

This piece is neither a biography nor an eulogy. It is not even a critique or analysis. What I hope to do is to try and shed some light at least on Prabhakaran’s death.

I have attempted to piece together the events preceding his demise and compile a brief account of his last days from various “informed” sources on either side of the ethnic divide.


It appears that Prabhakaran and the LTTE had not been unduly concerned about the advancing Armed forces for quite a while. The Tigers were confident that the army would not be able to proceed beyond a certain point.

This assessment got skewered after the fall of Paranthan which was a major turning point. Paranthan was followed by Kilinochchi and then Elephant pass.

The hasty evacuation of cadres trapped in the peninsula through a “mini – Dunkirk” type of operation indicated that the Tigers were indeed caught napping.

Even after losing the Jaffna – Kandy road or A – 9 highway and all areas to its west the LTTE was yet confident of withstanding the army for a much longer period in areas east of the A – 9 highway.

The final option was to “carve” out an area of about 350 - 450 sq km in Mullaitivu district with access to the coast and then defend it strenuously.

But the rapid progress of the Army during this phase took the LTTE by surprise. Within a relatively quick period the various military divisions and task forces had made sweeping strides into Tiger territory.

As a result the LTTE and hundreds of thousands of civilians were boxed into a small space that kept on shrinking as the army began advancing.


It was then that the alarm bells began ringing. The civilian casualty toll also started rising as more and more people were crammed into less and less land while the armed forces intensified operations.

Now the diaspora got into the act. Tamils began engaging in world–wide protests and demonstrations. There was a powerful intensity to these. Tamil Nadu too started boiling. New Delhi was under pressure.

It was here that Prabhakaran made four grave miscalculations. Underestimating in two and overestimating in two.

He overestimated the impact and influence of the diaspora in the west and the pro – tiger lobby in Tamil Nadu. The unfolding civilian catastrophe was his trump card.

Prabhakaran thought the western nations could be made to exert adequate pressure on Colombo and make it call off the war. Likewise he thought the passionate emotions of Tamil Nadu could sway New Delhi into moving against the war.

If these were overestimating errors, he also underestimated badly the Rajapaksa regime as well as the armed forces.

Prabhakaran did not expect the armed forces to keep on progressing relentlessly as they did. But despite heavy losses the military juggernaut kept on rolling forward.

More importantly he expected President Mahinda Rajapaksa would cave into pressure and call it quits. Then again Rajapaksa too did not succumb and went ahead with the military campaign.


But the biggest blunder of all was to believe wrongly that the LTTE could at some point deliver a crippling blow on the battlefront and exact a heavy casualty toll. This would demoralize the army and help reverse the process, he surmised.

The politico – military situation deteriorated but Prabhakaran living in a fool’s paradise was pretty sure that at some point the military drive would come to a halt. Thus he continued to stay put.

If Prabhakaran was so inclined he could have either relocated clandestinely to the Wanni or Weli – Oya/Manal Aaru jungles or escaped by sea to South – East Asia. But he did not do so.

Apparently he was relying very much on the massive counter – offensive being planned to destroy army defences in the Puthukkudiyiruppu region. But the debacle at Aanandapuram resulting in the deaths of 623 cadres including his northern force commander “Col” Theepan soured those plans.

Even as the army drew closer and closer to the beleaguered Tigers the senior deputies began entreating Prabhakaran to withdraw from the war zone. But Prabhakaran, stubborn and obstinate, would not listen.

As the situation became increasingly perilous Prabhakaran’s point man overseas KP tried to salvage the situation. KP the LTTE’s former chief arms procurer proclaimed as wanted by Interpol was now the global Tiger chief.


The DMK and Congress contesting as allies were depicted as traitors to Tamils as they were not concerned about civilians getting killed and injured in Sri Lanka, the Tiger lobby charged. Some newspapers predicted a clean sweep for the opposition.

This resulted in a senior central govt minister from Tamil Nadu initiating a fresh attempt for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. He even persuaded Sonia Gandhi to go along with the plan.

The LTTE was asked to issue a declaration that it was prepared to lay down its arms pending negotiations. Even the Tiger declaration was drafted for LTTE approval. The Sri Lankan govt was also asked to proclaim a unilateral ceasefire.

But the LTTE failed to utilize the opportunity. The Tiger consulted their chief supporters in Tamil Nadu like P. Nedumaran and Vaiko. Unwilling to let the Congress and DMK gain credit the duo advised the LTTE to reject the offer. So the LTTE said “illai” (no).

Even as these moves were on with the concurrence of Muttuvel Karunanidhi the Tamil Nadu chief minister , the octogenarian leader, on a sudden whim, went on an indefinite fast. The situation was volatile.

A frantic New Delhi appealed to Colombo. Appreciating India’s concerns the presidential secretariat issued a statement that combat operations had ended and that heavy artillery or aerial attacks would cease.

Indian Home minister P. Chidamparam ran to Karunanidhi and “convinced” him that a ceasefire was on. “Kalaingar” as he is known created a world record by calling off his fast after 5 hours. The crisis was managed. The war however continued in Sri Lanka.


Meanwhile the Sri Lankan govt had also declared two limited ceasefires. One was for three days from February 1 to 3. The other was for two days on April 3 and 14. The purpose was to facilitate civilians moving out from the war zone.

But the LTTE imposed further restrictions and the number of civilians coming out dropped during ceasefire days.. But the LTTE exploited the ceasefire in February to mount a very effective counter strike on Feb 4. The April ceasefire was used to construct several new “trench cum bund” defences.

Time was running out. The govt resolved to get really tough. Brig. Prasanna de Silva commanding the 55 division was “transferred” to the 59 division stationed in the south of the ‘war zone”.

A three – pronged drive commenced with the 58 led by Brig. Shavendra Silva proceeding north to south, the 59 moving from south to north and the 53 commanded by Gen. Kamal Gunaratne proceeding from west to east.

After intense fighting resulting in thousands of civilians being killed and injured the 55 and 58 linked up along the Indian ocean coast. The 53 hugged the lagoon banks and moved inwards. The people and Tigers were trapped and boxed in.

In a fresh development there was heavy internal pressure on Prabhakaran. The 2002 ceasefire had seen a lot of cadres marrying. Most marriages were between male and female cadres. Many of these families had two or three young children.

The intensive shelling had resulted in a lot of deaths. Apart from those more than 800 Tigers were seriously injured. Around 2000 family members were also injured. The LTTE leader had to do something.

So Prabhakaran changed his mind again and asked KP to negotiate the surrender to a third party. But it was too late. The defence establishment poised to destroy the LTTE was not going to let that opportunity slip. Colombo stood firm.


So, KP was informed that there could be no third party surrender. The LTTE had to surrender “individually” to the Army. KP’s statement of being ready to “silence their arms” and enter negotiations was of no avail.

When told of the situation, Prabhakaran was furious. KP was berated. Prabhakaran and the senior Tigers went into a brain – storming session. A decision was reached to launch a tripartite venture.

One group of Tigers including Prabhakaran was to break out from trapped positions and cross the lagoon and Paranthan – Mullaitivu road or A – 35 highway. Thereafter the Tigers would move into the vast Wanni jungles and operate. Some would move to the East.

A second group of Tigers would contact the army and negotiate terms of surrender. The main objective was to obtain urgently needed medical treatment for injured cadres, family members and civilians.

The third group was to engage in fierce rear guard action. There was an impression among the Tigers that the 58 commander Shavendra Silva was more “humane” than new 59 commander Prasanna Silva. The LTTE wanted to delay the 59 as far as possible to gain time to negotiate with 58.

The Tiger contingent tasked to fight to the last was led by none other than Charles Anthony the eldest son of Prabhakaran. He was to be assisted by special commander from the east, Ramesh.

Since Prabhakaran had often been accused of letting other people’s children die while cherishing his own, the LTTE leader’s first born was to be sacrificed. Incidently Charles born in 1985 had cut his teeth in active combat during the recent fighting. Earlier he was involved with the LTTE air wing and computer division.

The negotiation attempt was to be conducted by political commissar Nadesan and peace secretariat director Pulidevan. KP in Europe had interacted with several officials and diplomats. They in turn had been in touch with Colombo. A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian from the East had also contacted both the President and defence secretary. The LTTE was told explicitly to come out with white flags raised high.


Meanwhile, the LTTE also released seven security personnel in their custody. Four were from the Navy captured by Tigers off the Point Pedro coast in 2006 November when two Dvora gun boats were attacked. Three were soldiers taken prisoner on separate occasions in Muhamaalai and Paranthan last year.

The seven servicemen turned themselves in to the 59 and informed them of the Tiger offer to surrender. They were advised to return and bring the Tiger political leaders. So Nadesan, Pulidevan and Vijitha the Sinhala wife of Nadesan came out with the released prisoners, carrying white flags. The idea was to negotiate terms of surrender with the army.

Subsequently all three were found dead in mysterious circumstances. The LTTE has charged that both were shot dead in cold blood. A Tamil website says that Nadesan’s wife an ex – police constable hailing from Matara district had remonstrated with the army to save her husband and got shot. She had come along for interpreting.

It is alleged that 35 Tigers were following Nadesan a little behind to surrender and were shot dead. But a Govt spokesman has said that some Tigers who disapproved of surrendering to the Army had fired and killed Nadesan and Pulidevan. The truth is yet to be revealed. Also unclear is the fate of those injured cadres and family members and other civilians who intended surrendering to the army.


While these moves were on the LTTE launched a massive attack on the armed forces shortly after midnight on Sunday. This was because of numerology as Sunday was the 17. Once midnight passed it was Monday 18. There was a time when the LTTE would not engage in major operations on 8, 17 or 26. Because No 8 was considered unlucky. Subsequently these superstitions became irrelevant but at this critical juncture the “Eight” phobia was on.

The attack was in three directions but mainly directed towards the Nandhikkadal lagoon area held by the 53 division. After fierce fighting led by Bhanu the three Tiger contingents broke through.

One was led by Jeyam, one by Pottu Amman and one by Soosai. The three contingents together numbered about 250 – 300. Almost all military leaders were part of the three groups trying to break out while the bulk of the political wing stayed behind to surrender.


A very large number of Black Tigers died in the assault as explosive – strapped boys and girls jumped on army positions and blew themselves up . This created the “gaps” for other Tigers to penetrate the military cordon.

Though Tigers breached the 53 defences, the soldiers began an intensive artillery barrage in which many died. Also the army had set up layers of defence with more personnel at the back. The LTTE cadres who broke through were to some extent sandwiched later and cut down.

With the assault resulting in failure and many Tigers being encircled several lTTE cadres began consuming cyanide. Similiary the Tiger” defenders” led by Charles Anthony were also routed and several survivors swallowed cyanide to avoid capture. Charles Anthony was found dead with bullet injuries.

The group led by Soosai was initially successful in breaking out. Prabhakaran, wife Madhivadhani Erambu , daughter Duvaraga (23) and younger son Balachandran (11) were also part of the contingent led by Soosai.

Duvaraga, an exceptionally beautiful girl and accomplished dancer had for a short time been a student abroad. She had returned after a while to be with her family and people. Duvaraga had been a member of the Malathy women’s brigade and had fought in recent battles.

The Prabhakaran family of four and forty – seven others managed to penetrate Nandhikkadal defence ring and move north to the Puthumaatalan area.A message sent on behalf of Prabhakaran to the remaining cadres in Mullivaaikkal stated “udaithukondu poyitram” (we’ve broken through and gone).


This message in turn was conveyed to KP in Europe who was naturally elated. It was expected that the 51 person group would take cover in shrub jungle during day and then move through the night to safety in the jungles. Once this message was sent Prabhakaran and the rest went silent. This was to be expected. Unfortunately this message gave false hopes to KP about the leader being safe.

Though Prabhakaran had at one time hundreds of cadres as bodyguards only 18 elite fighters accompanied him on the flight from Mullivaaikkaal. It has also been said that one bodyguard had a can of gasoline with him to burn the Tiger leader’s body if ever he was killed or committed suicide. This was to prevent the enemy seizing his body.

But all these expectations were belied on that fateful day. Prabhakaran’s body was discovered before dawn on Tuesday May 19 lying on the Nanthikkadal bank. Soldiers of the 4th Vijayabahu infantry regiment led by Lt. Col Rohitha Aluvihare claimed to have found it.

Prabhakaran had been shot at point blank range. Four of his bodyguards were lying dead in the vicinity. Later on it was claimed that the bodies of Madhivadhany, Duvaaraga and Balachandran were found in a bushy patch about 600 metres way from where Prabhakaran’s body was found. Charles Anthony’s body was found elsewhere earlier. The entire family had been wiped out.

Also the bodies of many senior leaders and commanders too were discovered in stages. More than 350 bodies were found. The LTTE was virtually demolished.

Expectations (shared by this writer) that the LTTE leader’s body would never be discovered or found intact, were proved wrong. Pictures released by the Army and defence ministry showed him in uniform and later in his underwear. He was wounded in the head and forehead. Apparently he was not carrying the cyanide capsule. In one picture his open eyes indicated that Prabhakaran was “startled” at the time of his death.


Adding to the confusion was premature news about his death. It was anticipated on Saturday May 16 itself, when the military intelligence received information that Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman had either been killed in shelling or taken their own lives. Both going “silent” during the week –end increased this suspicion.

Then on Monday May 18 there was news about three persons trying to get away in an ambulance. The vehicle was destroyed by the army and the charred body of one person was supposedly that of Prabhakaran’s. Sections of the media went to town with the news that Prabhakaran’s body had been found.

But that was wrong and it was only the next morning that the body was discovered. But news had been published already that it had been found.

On Tuesday former eastern LTTE leader “Col” Karuna and ex-Tiger spokesperson Daya Master identified the body. Some journalists and army officers also confirmed it.

But KP created confusion by claiming that Prabhakaran was safe and alive. This fuelled much controversy about the death. Ultimately Gen. Sarath Fonseka made an official pronouncement that the LTTE leader was dead.

If Prabhakaran is really alive as some allege and he turns up in the future the Army commander’s credibility will be severely eroded. Gen. Fonseka cannot be unaware of this and therefore must have been very certain that Prabhakaran was dead.

The onus now is on KP to either admit the LTTE leader’s death or furnish proof that he is still alive. Meanwhile many Tamils continue to believe that Praba lives.


Using perhaps the wheeler–dealer techniques learnt through hands on experience in the arms bazaars of the world the talented Mr. Pathmanathan tapped into his vast reservoir of contacts. In a remarkably short time-span KP was interacting with many influential people.

The diplomats of at least four western nations, UN functionaries in Geneva and New York, a foreign cabinet minister and a few prominent western journalists were all in touch with KP.

A tentative plan was conceived. Basically it envisaged the LTTE surrendering to a third party namely the UN but with firm guarantees from two powerful nations in the Western hemisphere. The possibility of troops from those countries landing in Mullaitivu to supervise the “surrender” was also not ruled out

A three – tiered formula regarding the future of LTTE leaders and cadres were also mooted. The top leaders not exceeding fifty along with families were to be given safe passage outside Sri Lanka to a secret destination.

The middle–level functionaries were to face trial in Sri Lanka and be given comparatively light sentences. They were to be rehabilitated after being given some vocational training.

The low – level cadres particularly the new conscripts were to be given a general amnesty. They would be on parole for a period of time and be subject to monitoring.

There was a simple rationale behind this plan strongly backed by a very powerful country. The prevailing situation was seen as a “hostage” situation. The LTTE was seen as a ruthless group holding their own people as hostages.


So some form of negotiation was required where a bargain had to be struck in order to get the Tigers to let the people go. This necessitated some “time and space” for protracted talks. Hence, the request for an extended ceasefire known as the “humanitarian pause.” There was no plan to declare a permanent ceasefire.

Needless to say this project was shot down while in its conceptual stage. The defence establishment on the verge of military victory was not going to let the tigers off the hook under any circumstances. This reaction was predictable.

But what surprised some western diplomats involved in the project was the LTTE attitude. Apparently Prabhakaran was infuriated with KP. Prabhakaran rejected the very idea of surrender and reprimanded KP saying, “Unakkum Porattatm vellum endru Nambikkai Illaiyaa”? (Do you also not have faith that the struggle will succeed).

That was that!

But with parliamentary elections drawing near in India another opportunity arose. The emotional climate in Tamil Nadu and incessant propaganda by the tiger lobby made many candidates of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) and Congress jittery. Jayalalitha Jayaram’s new found love for Eelam was another cause for worry.


It is however imperative that the Government issue a comprehensive statement explaining the deaths of Prabhakaran and his family. Otherwise a Prabhakaran dead will be as controversial as a Prabhakaran living.

Prabhakaran who commenced his militant career with a single pistol had over the years built up the LTTE into a powerful movement running a shadow state and acquired the status of being “Tamil national leader”.

Yet his inability or unwillingness to be flexible had resulted in Prabhakaran losing his movement, family and above all his life in a pathetic manner.

What illustrates the poignant irony of this situation was the sight of his former deputy now a cabinet minister standing with army officers and looking down upon his former leader.


From: Charles Sarvan
Subject: International Herald Tribune
Date: Friday, 22 May, 2009, 10:39 AM

The attached cartoon is from the International Herald Tribune, 21 May 2009.

For the one tiger in the cartoon, read hundreds of Tigers; for the many bodies of Tamil civilians, read thousands and thousands.

In other words, to get at a few, the Sinhalese state (with callous disregard - if not worse!), killed thousands of civilians.

Altering the words of the poet Thomas Gray, the government waded through slaughter to victory, shutting the gates of compassion and humanity on innocent human beings -

but then, they don't see Tamils as equal, fellow, human beings. And that has been our tragedy: their victory and our tragedy.

In the accompanying 'Editorial Opinion', James Ross writes (inter alia):

The "government of President Mahinda Rajapakse treated the Tigers' atrocities as a license for its own abuses. Instead of taking the high ground [...] Rajapakse used the war to solidify his support among ultra-nationalist Sinhalese. The government appears to view all Tamils as presumptive Tiger supporters and has locked up in camps all who have fled the fighting but the elderly - now some 300,000 people. Sri Lankan army forces indiscriminately shelled and starved the Tamil civilians trapped by the Tigers, causing several thousand civilian deaths and massive suffering. And in its plans for the future, the administration has [...] given short shrift to the Tamil populations legitimate political concerns."

Friday, May 22, 2009

United States is concerned by the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka..!!!

USUN, PublicAffairs to me
show details 4:44 PM (1 hour ago) Reply

Thank you for your email:

Like you, the United States is concerned by the deteriorating situation in Sri Lanka and are engaging this issue through multiple channels. Recently, the United Nations Security Council held a meeting on the topic. What follows are remarks made by Ambassador Susan Rice, America’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. regarding the situation in Sri Lanka.

We will keep you posted as the situation develops. For more information on this and other issues of international concern, visit our Web site at

Thank you for your active engagement,

Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative, on the situation in Sri Lanka, at the Security Council stakeout, April 22, 2009

Ambassador Rice:Thank you all very much and I want to apologize at the outset. I'm not going to be able to stay to take questions; I'm late to something else.
I had the opportunity to spend some time at length with a number of you yesterday, and I just wanted to share with you briefly what we learned and in the briefing here, and my government's view of this very dire situation.
We had an extensive, and I think very helpful elaboration by Mr. Nambiar of the situation on the ground, his diplomatic efforts, and then the Ambassador of Sri Lanka shared his government's perspective. I spoke on behalf of the United States to underscore just how grave we view this situation. It is dire and we are deeply concerned. We condemn the action by the LTTE to hold thousands of innocent civilians hostage in this so-called safe zone. We think that it is absolutely imperative that both sides cease the fighting and the heavy shelling that is putting many thousands of civilians in immediate danger.
We obviously welcome the fact that a number of-that many thousand civilians have been able to leave in recent days from the safe zone, but we are frankly appalled by the fact that many who have been able to leave are unable to receive life-saving treatment and assistance in the internally displaced areas and camps that they are going to. and we call on the government not only to cease the shelling and the offensive military action, just as we call on the LTTE to do the same, but we call on the government to uphold its responsibility to provide support and assistance and access to the IDPs who are streaming into hospitals and camps. The fact that the United Nations, that ICRC, that the media do not have adequate access to these individuals is unacceptable and is of grave concern.
We also insist that both sides uphold all of the principles of international humanitarian law and the fact that both sides have been shooting at civilians as they leave these-leave the safe zone is one gross manifestation of the apparent violation of international humanitarian law. So with that, I will allow my colleagues to elaborate and we do look forward to the President of the Council issuing a statement on behalf of all of us.

Thank you all.

போரில் பாதிக்கப்பட்டுள்ள தமிழர்களின் உடைமைகளும், உரிமைகளும் பாதுகாக்கப்பட அவர்களுக்கு விரைவாக உதவிடவும் நாம் கோரிக்கை வைப்போம்..!!!


ICRC (ஐ.சி.ஆர்.சி) என்பது போரில் பலியானவர்கள், வஞ்சகம் செய்யப்பட்டவர்கள், இன்னல்களிற் சிக்கினவர்கள், பிறரின் தாக்குதலுக்கு உட்பட்டவர்-கள், வன்முறைக்கு உள்ளானவர்கள், இவ்வகையான மனிதர்களின் வாழ்வு, வசிப்பிடம், கண்ணியம் மற்றும் தன்மானத்தை காக்க உதவும் மற்றும் துணைப்புரியும் ஓர் அமைப்பாகும்.

அவர்களை போரில் பாதிக்கப்பட்டுள்ள தமிழர்களின் உடைமைகளும், உரிமைகளும் பாதுகாக்கப்பட அவர்களுக்கு விரைவாக உதவிடவும் நாம் கோரிக்கை வைப்போம். கீழ்கண்ட மின்னஞ்சல்-களுக்கு நம்முடைய கோரிக்கையை வைப்போம்.

Organization whose humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.

1. Context

Contemporary armed conflicts – most of them non-international – are becoming ever more complex. To a greater or lesser degree, they form part of the increasingly visible globalization which affects economies and communication. This globalization is provoking resistance, as social and economic inequality continues and efforts are made to promote a “one size fits all” development model. Trends towards polarization and radicalization are emerging, both at international level and within nation States. The frequency of acts of terror, and the increased efforts of States to combat this phenomenon, add a new dimension to local, national and regional conflicts, and to the maintenance of security.

The enforcement of the law, and compliance with it, are undermined by the weakness of the State in many situations and by the involvement in conflict of numerous non-State actors, both national and transnational.

Fighting displaces civilians, exposes them to ill-treatment and separates them from their families. Furthermore, they suffer long-term effects when resources essential to their survival are destroyed. People deprived of their freedom are exposed to abuse of power. The threats facing these people and groups also affect the humanitarian organizations that strive to help them.

Independent humanitarian action as the ICRC understands the term is hence a major challenge, given the current trends towards polarization and the plethora of organizations that claim to be humanitarian, often while operating in very different ways.

2. The ICRC: a standard-setting organization in the field of independent humanitarian action

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. It directs and coordinates the international relief activities conducted by the Movement in situations of conflict. It also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. Established in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The ICRC sees its independence and neutrality as guaranteeing the organization’s availability to properly fulfil the universal mandate that the international community has conferred upon it. This readiness is also reflected in the ICRC’s willingness to maintain contact with all who influence conflicts and their human consequences.

3. Strategic choices

The International Committee of the Red Cross intends to work towards achieving the following goals:

Universal, sustained action, working alongside the victims of conflict

It is the ICRC’s vocation to act wherever it is needed. In this endeavour the ICRC will – while listening carefully to what others have to say:

develop the means required to obtain access to the victims of armed conflict and internal violence at all times and in all places, and to protect and assist them;
develop its capacity to analyse armed conflict worldwide, in order to identify and anticipate humanitarian needs and respond to them effectively;
maintain optimum operational capacity by recruiting motivated and duly trained personnel, by obtaining funding from a wide range of sources and by using it in a manner respectful of the ICRC’s mandate;
take the safety of its personnel into account during operations;
verify that it is achieving its aims in an efficient manner and that it is identifying and managing the risks inherent to its activities in accordance with a clear set of responsibilities.

International humanitarian law: the foundation of our work

International humanitarian law (IHL) is the universally accepted legal framework that forms the basis of the ICRC’s protection and assistance activities. As an authority in the field of IHL, the ICRC intends to:
enhance the relevance of IHL by making this branch of law better known, by promoting compliance with it and by helping to clarify and develop it, to ensure that it continues to adequately cover the changing nature of conflict;
clarify the scope and application of humanitarian law, especially with regard to internal conflicts, drawing on customary humanitarian law.
Cooperation as a route to more effective action
If the international community is to help the victims of conflict – or disaster – it must consult, cooperate and coordinate. The ICRC is fully aware of this requirement. Without endangering its independence or neutrality, the ICRC intends to take the following action to render its humanitarian efforts more effective:

continue to cooperate with actors and organizations that share its vision of independent humanitarian activity, setting up consultation means that lend additional credibility to humanitarian endeavour as a whole;
fulfil its role within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in accordance with the Movement’s rules and principles concerning cooperation.
Communication for the benefit of war victims
Our world is one of interaction. However, it is also a world in which information is distorted and manipulated. This being the case, the ICRC needs a clear communication policy, to help it protect and assist people affected by armed conflict by influencing the attitudes and decisions of those who decide their fate. The ICRC is determined to continue its work in all the different cultures of the world and, by always being open to dialogue, to learn from the contexts in which it operates. The ICRC will therefore:

influence humanitarian action and debate in the direction that will most directly help the victims of conflict;
formulate global and regional strategies that will ensure the ICRC is understood, recognized and accepted by the victims themselves and by all who use armed force or other forms of armed violence;
by so doing, create a clear image of the ICRC as a universal and independent humanitarian organization, whose sole mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance.$File/Whom-to-contact.pdf



22 May 2009 09:25 UK

Sri Lankan army deaths revealed

Sri Lanka's troops finally ended the war at the weekend
Sri Lanka says more than 6,200 security personnel were killed and almost 30,000 wounded in the final three years of the war with the Tamil Tigers.

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa revealed the figures on state TV - the first such official statement.

It is thought at least 80,000 people have been killed in the 26-year war.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to arrive in Sri Lanka on Friday to discuss the plight of about 275,000 internally displaced people.

Sri Lanka officially announced an end to the war this week, after its troops took the last segment of land held by the rebels, and said it had killed the top Tamil Tiger leadership, including its chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran.


Mr Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told the state-run Independent Television Network that the final phase of the operation against the rebels had begun in August 2006.

Vavuniya: 25 camps, 255,000 people
Jaffna: 12 camps, 11,064 people
Mannar: Three camps, 845 people
Trincomalee: Two camps, 6,642 people
Source: Sri Lankan human rights ministry as of 22 May

Humanitarian challenge
Winning the peace
Eyewitness: Treating the Tigers

"Since then the security forces, including the army, navy, the air force, police and the civil defence force, have lost 6,261 personnel killed and 29,551 wounded," Mr Rajapaksa said.

"We made huge sacrifices for this victory."

There are no official figures for the number of Tamil Tiger rebels killed in the civil war, although estimates vary from between 15,000 and more than 22,000.

The UN says 7,000 civilians have died since January alone, although the government disputes this figure.

The focus will now shift to the resettlement of the internally displaced.

On Thursday, two visiting Indian envoys met the president and said they had been told Sri Lanka would resettle most of the displaced Tamils within six months.

The issue will be top of Mr Ban's agenda when he arrives.

Camps in Vavuniya will be visited by the UN's Ban Ki-moon
Aid groups complain their access to the displaced camps has been greatly restricted.

Mr Ban will visit the Manik Farm area in Vavuniya, where most of the displaced are held.

He has sent his own envoy, Vijay Nambiar, ahead of him and on Friday Mr Nambiar said there had to be a political reconciliation.

"The process of national reconciliation, we feel, must be all inclusive so that it can fully address the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils as well as other minorities," he said.

"It is important that victory becomes a victory for all Sri Lankans."

Mr Nambiar said he had flown over the conflict zone to assess it.

"We were not able to see any civilians. What was truly striking was the almost total absence of human habitation... it was almost eerie."

He would also not rule out possible investigation of war crimes.

"Where there are grave and systematic violations of international humanitarian law, these are things which should be looked at by the international community, by the United Nations," Mr Nambiar said.


A Sinhalese doctor who worked at a hospital in Vavuniya tells.....!!!

22 May 2009 09:58 UK

Eyewitness: 'They are all patients'

The bitter war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan army has left about 275,000 civilians displaced.

A Sinhalese doctor who worked at a hospital in Vavuniya tells the BBC about the civilians and rebels he treated and life in the town closest to the former war zone.


Most IDPs have been housed in camps in Vavuniya

I didn't care when I was posted to Vavuniya. I was sent because nobody else was going there. It is still Sri Lanka. I was happy.
Most Tamil doctors don't like to go there because of kidnappings and ransoms. When I started there wasn't an issue with internally displaced people (IDPs).

I treated about 35 patients a day, mostly from Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi. From January the army managed to get us patients from the no-fire zone.

They liberated them and they came here. I tell you, it is true, that they were really happy. The first batch of people, about 400, came with the help of the ICRC when the fighting around Kilinochchi was really bad. A large number of these were influential types who could get the LTTE's consent to leave the area.

The rest were injured and severely ill patients. My ward had about 40 beds for patients. Then we managed initially on about 120 beds. At one stage it went up to 380 in my ward. There were so many coming out. We got extra wards and help from the government and others.

It was an experience. The first few batches of people were cursing the LTTE for their plight. Not the last batch. They were close relations and fighters.

I remember one baby who had recurrent chest infections. This mother told me her husband was an LTTE infantryman. He had not seen his baby, who was seven months old. I discharged her and didn't see her again.

They would tell us their stories.

Some people accused others of being LTTE police force members. I didn't care. We worked there with police protection. Two policemen were in the ward. One at the door, one just behind me. The first thing I would do when I went to the ward was lock all the doors, then start the ward round. I was scared of being targeted.

Babies are babies, I don't see them as Tamil, Sinhalese. I see the same smile.


The three doctors who supplied all the testimony about the area were not the only doctors up there all the time. Early this year and late last year there were up to 18 doctors working in the LTTE-controlled territory.

One by one they slowly came out. These doctors are now working in the IDP camps.

I feel hurt by the way the media cover this issue. They portray Sinhalese army and officials in a poor light. For me, all Tamils are the same. How many Tigers come to get treatment from us at the hospital? They are patients. It makes no difference to me.

In Vavuniya, there are separate camps for LTTE fighters. They are being separated out and produced batch-by-batch to the courts. Then some of them are ordered to rehabilitation camps.

That has to be done. These people are traumatised and they are trained to shoot.

I have been told that some people who come to hospital admit they are fighters. It seems they are worried that if they stay close to other LTTE people they will be killed. These are just the low-rank cadres.

There is a lot of suspicion around generally.



For him no sacrifice was too great for the objective of Eelam

Tom Farrell

Prabakaran had successfully transformed the Tigers from an archetypal guerilla outfit into a conventional army. But this may ultimately have proved to be his downfall.

VELUPILLAI PRABAKARAN: Ruthless in eliminating any rival Tamil politicians.

Under the leadership of Velupillai Prabakaran, who has been killed aged 54 during fighting with the Sri Lankan army, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were moulded, and refined, into one of the world’s deadliest insurgent groups, and rigid discipline was instilled through his personal example. The LTTE of Sri Lanka, the “Tamil Tigers,” would become the progenitors of modern suicide bombing. They also developed their own navy and air force as the y masterminded the art of weapons procurement in a globalised, post-cold-war world.

For Prabakaran, no sacrifice was too great for the objective of “Eelam,” a Tamil state in an island of mainly Sinhalese Buddhists. This has been particularly evident during the last four months, before Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa formally declared victory on Sunday. During this time, according to U.N. estimates, more than 6,000 civilians have been killed as the LTTE have been pushed from their northern territories into a “no fire zone,” consisting of a few kilometres of north-east coastline. The government has accused the LTTE leadership of using tens of thousands of civilians trapped there as human shields.

Prabakaran was born in Valvettiturai, a fishing town almost on Sri Lanka’s northern tip. The son of a minor civil servant father and a religious mother, Prabakaran was said to have been a dutiful, introverted child. The mainly Hindu Tamil minority, concentrated on the northern and eastern fringes of the island, had done well before independence, flourishing in business and the colonial bureaucracy. The British had also imported thousands of low-caste Tamil labourers from mainland India to work the hill country tea plantations, although their lot was grimmer.

But within a few years of the British departure in February 1948, Sinhalese politicians were banging the drum of ethnic chauvinism. Sinhala became the island’s official language and discriminatory laws affecting entry to university and the civil service alienated moderate Tamils. The teenage Prabakaran formed the Tamil New Tigers (TNT) in 1972. By then demands for reform by Tamil parliamentarians were being sidelined by youthful, militant separatists.

Already known to the Jaffna police, Prabakaran became a wanted man in July 1975 when he gunned down Alfred Duryappa, mayor of Jaffna, en route to a Hindu temple. The killing of Tamils belonging to rival organisations then became integral to his modus operandi.

Within months, the TNT had morphed into the LTTE. Prabakaran, now a fugitive in the Indian city of Madras (now Chennai), drew up its charter and helped design the LTTE crest, a roaring Tiger atop two crossed rifles and a halo of bullets set against a blood-red background. The Tiger had been the symbol of the Cholas, a Tamil dynasty which had dominated medieval south Asia. Inspired by a young militant who had taken cyanide while in police custody, Prabakaran compelled each LTTE member to wear a necklace with a cyanide capsule to be consumed in the event of capture.

By the late 1970s Junius Jayawardene’s centre-right United National Party (UNP) government in Colombo was adopting a more pro-U.S. foreign policy. From the early 1980s the Indian government of Indira Gandhi began to tolerate sanctuary and training for Tamil rebels, some of whom opened political offices in Chennai. New Delhi denied that it was seeking to divide Sri Lanka, but it was alleged that Prabakaran received secret training from India’s intelligence organisation, the Research and Analysis Wing. Photographs that later emerged from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu showed LTTE training camps. There were other Tamil militant groups, but the LTTE would marginalise or simply exterminate most of them.

Prabakaran developed the obsessive traits that stayed with him the rest of his life, refusing to drink bottled water not his own and sleeping with a pistol under his pillow. A lifelong devotee of Hollywood, he once cited Clint Eastwood as his role model. He watched action movies for inspiration, often using them as a training tool in Tiger camps.

Full-scale war erupted in the wake of Sri Lanka-wide pogroms against Tamils in July 1983. These sent thousands of young Tamils to Indian training camps.

Many wealthy Tamils fled to the west and their contributions, not always voluntary, played a large part in funding the Tigers’ arsenal. The LTTE maintained a fleet known as “Sea Tigers” and carried out air raids using Czechoslovak-built propeller-engined trainers.

In July 1987 Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Jayawardene signed the Indo-Lanka accord in an attempt to staunch Tamil nationalism. But Prabakaran, addressing more than 100,000 people that August in a rare public appearance in Jaffna, vowed that only a separate state could offer a permanent solution.

The 100,000 Indian peacekeeping troops, mostly come to protect the Tamils from Sinhalese extremism, were soon at war with the LTTE. During this phase of the war Prabakaran lived in a massive fortified camp in the thick jungles of the northern Vanni region. By this time, despite the LTTE’s cardinal rule of celibacy, Prabakaran had taken a wife, Mathivathani Erambu. Accordingly, the rules were amended for his cadres, Tigers were allowed to marry with Prabakaran’s sanction. But the Tigers’ code remained austere. Tobacco and alcohol were forbidden and the vial of cyanide remained.

The first LTTE suicide bombing came in the northern town of Nelliady in July 1987. Prabakaran had formed the “Black Tigers,” a group of male and female suicide bombers whose explosives-laden belts would later be copied by Palestinian, Chechen and Iraqi groups. The missions were preceded by months of intelligence gathering and Prabakaran held secret audiences with the bombers before they departed for their targets. With the departure of the Indian army in March 1990, having lost 1,200, Prabakaran unleashed his vengeance against all perceived enemies, internal and external. In May 1991, the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and 16 others were killed by a female suicide bomber at an Indian election rally.

Between 1990 and 1995, the Tigers ran the northern Jaffna peninsula as a mini-state with Prabakaran as its absolute ruler. Suspicious that his once-powerful deputy Mahatiya had been suborned by Indian intelligence, Prabakaran had Mahatiya, his cousin, demoted, then arrested and tortured to death along with dozens of his associates. In late 1995, Sri Lankan forces launched a massive campaign to retake the rebel-held north. The LTTE were expelled from Jaffna but 60,000 government troops found themselves hemmed in over the next few years as the Tigers captured large areas of the Vanni and the eastern province. The south was also hit by a spate of savage Black Tiger strikes.

But by late 2001, with a new UNP administration in power, both sides called a ceasefire with Norwegian mediation. It was speculated that Prabakaran had come to realise that post 9/11, the LTTE’s complex overseas network of weapons procurement was likely to come under severe pressure if the war dragged on.

The Tiger leader, fanatical about his personal security, seldom gave interviews. His mouthpiece was usually Anton Balasingham, a former journalist with dual British-Sri Lankan citizenship.

But in April 2002, with the Vanni territories reopened after a decade, Prabakaran called a press conference attended by dozens of local and foreign journalists. With Balasingham translating, he called the killing of Rajiv Gandhi “a tragic incident” but did not apologise outright. The image he presented had changed. Middle age and a reputed fondness for Chinese cuisine had swelled his girth; a safari suit had replaced his striped combat fatigues.

But, after nearly four years of brittle peace, fighting again erupted between the government and the LTTE. Balasingham’s possible moderating influence ended when he died of bile duct cancer at his London home in December 2006.

Prabakaran’s autocratic rule over the LTTE was a factor in the defection of Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, alias Colonel Karuna, and several thousand eastern cadres. They were reorganised as a pro-government paramilitary with a similarly dubious human rights record. In the years since the Indian intervention, Prabakaran had very successfully transformed the Tigers from an archetypal guerilla outfit into a conventional army. But this may ultimately have proved to be his downfall. When fighting again erupted in mid 2006, the Tigers were now compelled to fight the Sri Lankan forces on their own terms. By the summer of 2007, the government had recaptured all of the LTTE’s eastern territory, forcing them back into their Vanni heartland. On 2 January 2008, Sri Lanka formally withdrew from the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire and exactly one year later, the de facto Tiger “capital” of Killinochchi was recaptured by the government.

In the intervening months, the LTTE carried out numerous bomb attacks across the island. This still prompts fears that even if they are, as it now appears, defeated as a conventional force, they will continue an underground war.

Prabakaran was not an ideologue. Although some of the LTTE’s founding members, such as Balasingham, described themselves as socialists, the Tamil Tigers have always essentially been a secular nationalist organisation. Ironically enough, before the Iraq war, their tally of suicide attacks surpassed that of any Islamist group.

Prabakaran would address the population of the LTTE’s territory on Maveerar Naal (Great Heroes Day) and his rotund features were ubiquitous on LTTE posters and literature. He had two sons and a daughter and was said to have been grooming his elder son, Charles Anthony, as his heir, but he has apparently also been killed.

Prabakaran’s death leaves Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority facing an uncertain future. It is unclear whether LTTE hardliners will revert to guerilla warfare. Prabakaran was ruthless in eliminating any rival Tamil politicians, while the emigration of educated Tamils abroad leaves the long-suffering community in a precarious position. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2009

துவண்டுவிடாது ஈழத்தமிழினம்! துணை நிற்பர் தமிழக மக்கள்! - வினவு....!!! வினை செய்...!!!

தமிழ் பிரவாகம் ............பெரியார் முழக்கம்

துவண்டுவிடாது ஈழத்தமிழினம்! துணை நிற்பார்கள் தமிழக மக்கள்! - வினவு, வினை செய்!

புலிகளை போரில் வெல்வது என்ற பெயரில் இனப்படுகொலை செய்திருக்கும் ராஜபக்சேவை
போர்க்கைதியாக விசாரித்து தண்டிக்க வேண்டும், இலங்கை அரசுக்கு உதவியாய்
இருக்கும் இந்திய மேலாதிக்கத்தை எதிர்க்க வேண்டும், இராணுவ வதை
முகாம்களிலிருக்கும் மக்கள் அவர்களது சொந்த இடங்களுக்கு செல்ல அனுமதிக்க
வேண்டும், இலட்சக்கணக்கான தமிழ் மக்கள் அகதிகளாக வெளியேறிய இடத்தில் சிங்களக்
குடியேற்ற பகுதிகளாக மாற்ற நினைக்கும் சதியை முறியடிக்க வேண்டும் ஆகிய
கோரிக்கைகளை தமிழக மக்களிடத்தில் கொண்டு செல்லும் நோக்கில் 21.05.09
வியாழனன்று தமிழகத்தின் மாவட்டத் தலைநகரங்களில் ம.க.இ.கவும் அதன் தோழமை
அமைப்புக்களும் மாபெரும் ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்தை நடத்த இருக்கின்றன. சென்னையில்
மெமோரியல் ஹால் அருகே காலை 10.30 முதல் இந்த ஆர்ப்பாட்டம் நடைபெற இருக்கிறது.
பதிவுலகின் நண்பர்கள், வாசகர்கள் அனைவரையும் வருமாறு அழைக்கிறோம். இந்த
முழக்கங்களை அனைவரும் பயன்படுத்திக் கொள்ளுமாறும் வேண்டுகிறோம்.


சிங்கள இனவெறிப் பாசிசத்தின்
இன அழிப்புப்போரை எதிர்த்துப் போராடி
விடுதலைப் புலிகள் வீரமரணம்!


ராஜபக்சே கும்பலை
போர்க்கிரிமினலாக அறிவித்து
தண்டனை வழங்கப் போராடுவோம்!

சிங்கள இராணுவத்தின் வதை முகாம்களிலிருந்து
ஈழத்தமிழர்களை மீட்டெடுப்போம்!

ஐ.நா மன்றத்தின் மூலம் மீள்குடியமர்த்தவும்,
உணவு-மருத்துவம் உடனே வழங்கவும் போராடுவோம்!

அரசியல் தீர்வு, மறுநிர்மாணம் என்ற பெயரில்
தமிழர் பகுதிகளை சிங்களக் காலனியாக்க முயலும்
இராஜபக்சே-இந்திய அரசு கூட்டுசதியை முறியடிப்போம்!

துவண்டுவிடாது ஈழத்தமிழினம்!
துணை நிற்பார்கள் தமிழக மக்கள்!

நீடிக்காது சிங்கள இனவெறியின் வக்கிரக் களியாட்டம்!
பீனிக்ஸ் பறவையாக மீண்டெழும் ஈழவிடுதலைப்போர்!

*கண் திறந்து பார் தமிழகமே!*

ஈழத்தமிழன் கழுத்தில் ஈரத்துணி சுற்றினார் கலைஞர்
இழுத்து அமுக்கியது இந்திய தேசிய காங்கிரசு
அறுத்து முடித்தது ராஜபக்சே அரசு!

இலங்கை அரசின் வெற்றிக்களிப்பு
சிங்கள வெறியின் கோரநடனம்!

முல்லைத்தீவின் கடறகரையெங்கும்
இரைந்து கிடக்கும் ஈழத் தமிழர் பிணம்!

முட்கம்பிச் சிறையின் உள்ளே துடிக்கிறது
முகம் சிதைந்த ஈழத்தமிழினம்!

படுகொலைக்கு நாள் குறித்த பாதகர்கள் - டில்லியில்
பதவி ஏற்பு விழா நடத்துகிறார்கள்!

பச்சைத்துரோகம் செய்த கருணாநிதி குடும்பத்துக்கு
பத்தாதாம் மந்திரிப் பதவி!

படுகொலைத் தலைவி சோனியாவின் மகனோ
பாரதத்தின் நாளைய பிரதமராம்!

“படை அனுப்பி ஈழம் அமைக்கும்” புரட்சித்தலைவியோ
படுத்துத் தூங்குகிறார் போயசு தோட்டத்தில்!

*எனக்குத் தெரியாதென்று ஒதுங்க முடியுமா நம்மால்?

உன்னுடைய ஓட்டு, உன்னுடைய வரிப்பணம்,
உன்னுடைய பல்லிளிப்பு, உன்னுடைய ஏமாளித்தனம்,
உன்னுடைய மவுனம், உன்னுடைய அங்கீகாரம்,
நீ வழங்கிய அதிகாரம்..

*நாம் பேசத்தவறினால் யார் பேசுவார்?*

**அமைதி காப்பது அவமானம்
அலட்சியம் காட்டுவது அநீதி
ஆர்த்தெழுவோம் இந்திய மேலாதிக்கத்துக்கு எதிராக!
வீழ்த்திடுவோம் சிங்கள இனைவெறிப் பாசித்தை!
மீண்டெழட்டும் ஈழ விடுதலைப் போராட்டம்!

கார்த்திக் - தமிழ் எங்கள் பேச்சு ! தமிழ் தேசியம் எங்கள் மூச்சு !

Wednesday, May 20, 2009




The war that raged between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE for the past three years has come to an end. President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the nation on Tuesday morning to announce the military victory. The government has declare Wednesday a holiday. But if this day is to be celebrated by all Sri Lankans, especially Tamil citizens, there needs to be fundamental change in Sri Lanka.
The ethnic polarization in the first years after Independence was on account of citizenship and language. When the young Tamil militants took to arms in the mid 1970s, seeing the failure of the Tamil democratic leaders to deliver reform, the conflict took the fateful path of violence.

The population has been viewing the end of the LTTE with satisfaction as a positive phenomenon that opens the prospects of peace, development and prosperity in the country. Some of them have been celebrating joyously, waving Sri Lankan flags and lighting firecrackers to mark the end of the war and the crushing of the LTTE. On the other hand, some amongst the Tamil population that I spoke to, bear a sense of grief, anger and despair at the manner in which the war has ended. There is a sense amongst them that all the sacrifice that they made over the past three decades of violent conflict has been in vain.

The last phase of the war was one of the most cruel and challenging in the annals of modern warfare. It ensured that the Sri Lankan war took the headlines of the international media. The LTTE in its retreat herded the Tamil population of the northern territories it once controlled into a tiny patch of land. Using more that quarter of a million civilians as human shields they sought to keep the Sri Lankan military forces at bay, and buy time for some change to ensure their continued survival. Virtually unanimously, the international community urged restraint, the non-use of heavy weapons that could cause indiscriminate casualties, and the evacuation of the civilian population. But to no avail. Many civilians are believed to have either died or been injured in the fighting that ensued.

Lesson learnt

In the last days the LTTE had to face the might of the Sri Lankan armed forces that had surrounded them. There was no doubt about the final outcome of this test of strength. The conventional capacity of the LTTE was no match for that of the government. The last remaining hope of the LTTE, and those who supported it, was that its unconventional strategy of having a civilian shield would generate international intervention that could buy them time, if not save them. The fact that there was no such international intervention holds a lesson for the future.

During the last phase there was a great deal of international interest in the plight of the civilians trapped in the war zone. There was discussion about Sri Lanka in the highest international forums, including the UN Security Council. But none of this translated into action that could support the continuing existence of the LTTE. The farthest that the international community was willing to do was to visit Sri Lanka on fact finding missions and to go back with mixed feelings. They saw the two or more sides to the story. Many of them understood the government’s concern that negotiations with the LTTE would not be successful. The most they would do was to issue a statement calling for a humanitarian ceasefire.

But even this call for a humanitarian ceasefire was invariably linked to an evacuation of the civilian population who were being held as a human shield, and to the laying down of arms by the LTTE. By and large, the international community was not seeking the salvation of the LTTE. Their concern was the civilian population. As a result, the LTTE spokespersons welcomed the ceasefire calls, but remained silent about the civilians or about disarmament. So did all those sections of Tamil opinion abroad who campaigned visibly and vocally for a ceasefire. As is the case with ethnic conflicts, their sense of ethnic nationalism led them to champion the cause of the warring party rather than that of the civilians for whose sake the war was purportedly being fought.

The moral of what happened to the LTTE is that any organization, needs to follow the norms and principles of international human rights if it is to gain both international sympathy and tangible support. Due to its abominable human rights track record, which included political assassination, child recruitment and finally the use of human shields, the LTTE failed to attract any international support when it finally counted. The election results in India, where the Indian government won handsomely and the pro-LTTE parties performed very poorly, gives support to the contention that ordinary people who are not emotionally attached do not wish to support organizations that violate human rights.

Guarantee rights

The militarily victorious Sri Lankan government, which has now won the war according to the deadline of three years that they set, has the challenge of promoting reconciliation and lasting peace in Sri Lanka. It needs to obtain international support supplement its own resources in providing for the displaced persons and victims of war and in taking the country onto a fast track of economic development. The government will also require international cooperation in preventing sections of the Tamil diaspora who have for long supported the violent activities of the LTTE from seeking to keep the fires of hatred burning in Sri Lanka through acts of internationally sponsored terrorism.

An immediate measure that needs to be given priority attention would be to ensure that the hundreds and thousands of displaced civilians are provided with improved relief and rehabilitation services, and are resettled in their home villages as soon as possible. The assistance of the international community will be crucial in this regard, as the resources of the Sri Lankan government appear to be depleted for a variety of reasons. Another confidence building measure would be to ensure the physical and mental security of Tamil citizens living throughout the country.


Invoking Sivaram’s Satan

As the LTTE’s end game played itself out on the sands of the Mullaitivu coast, the Tamil National Alliance held a series of meetings with heads of Western diplomatic missions in Colombo. A TNA team comprising of MPs R.Sambandan, Suresh Premachandran, Mavai Senathirajah and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam met the British High Commissioner, the French Ambassador, the Indian High Commissioner and the European Union Head of Mission in Colombo and appraised them of the unfolding situation on the sands of the shrinking LTTE held zone in Karaimullivaikkal. The representations made by the TNA revolved around the "Right to live". They had said that people were getting killed by the thousands and that they must be saved. Their argument had been that people can’t be killed in the name of annihilating the LTTE or wiping out terrorism. Another point that they had made that there was a shortage of food. Premachandran claimed to have spoken to a doctor in the LTTE held zone who has said that they don’t have medicines but they had at least been able to give casualties first aid.

But the doctor had said he had no treatment for those dying of starvation. The TNA delegation had said people were dying because of shelling on the one hand and starvation on the other and that this was a war crime. Premachandran claimed that there had been no food shipments to the LTTE held area since April 1. The ICRC had the food stocks and the WFP was supplying the food to the ICRC, but this could not be delivered because of the shelling by both sides. Premachandran said that they had asked the LTTE to stop shelling, but that the government side had not stopped and that was where the problem lay. Premachandran says that he had contacted the WFP officials in Colombo who had said that there is food that it had been handed over to the ICRC but that the ICRC had not delivered it. As this column was being written there was a news report on Max TV, which said that the ICRC had refused to make food deliveries until there was an undertaking given by both sides that there would be no shelling.

Samaraweera’s view

An interesting angle to this ICRC food supply controversy was that at last week’s cabinet meeting, one minister said that Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu had told an ICRC official to delay the food supplies to the LTTE held zone so that the issue becomes international. Saravanamuttu when contacted however said that he has not met any ICRC official in recent days and that he did not say anything of the sort anyway. In any case, this is now irrelevant because the problem will cease to exist before it can be gone into. The destruction of the LTTE is only hours away from the time of writing this article. When this columnist asked Premachandran about the end of the war, he said that the war will not end but that it will continue in a different way. He said that the LTTE may be no more a regular force, but that it will become a guerilla force. He says that people may be under the impression that everything is finished, but that impression is not correct.

Interestingly, these were the same sentiments expressed by Mangala Samaraweera at a UNP press conference last week where he said that the war will not end but continue in a different form. These sentiments will be music to the ears of government politicians. So long as the war continues, in whatever form, the people of this country will feel the need to have the Rajapakse led government in power. If the war continues, even with sporadic attacks on the military, the Rajapakse brothers will be deemed the only leaders who can meet the challenge effectively. If what Premachandran and Samaraweera said turns out to be true, then the Rajapakse brothers are going to be in power well into their dotage. Mano Ganesan of the Democratic Peoples Front, another partner of the UNP led alliance, expressed exactly the opposite point of view just the week before last at the meeting held at Sirikotha to appoint Rosy Senanayake the leader of the opposition of the Western Provincial Council. At this meeting, Ganesan said that the government has got the jitters because with the end of the war people are soon going to forget the heroics and then start talking about the cost of living, the lack of employment opportunities and issues like that which will favour the opposition.

However Ganesan’s hopes will be dashed if the thinking of Samaraweera and Premachandram holds. What will the military want? There was something that the late General Cecil Waidyaratne told the present writer many years ago which is relevant in the present context. This anecdote will be known to the Army commander, Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka, too because he was a close friend of Waidyaratne. After crushing the second JVP insurrection in 1989, General Waidyaratne who was then the chief of staff of the Army and the head of the crack operations combine that destroyed the JVP had gone to see the then Defense Secretary, General Sepala Atygalle, who had barked at him, "I say, Cecil, you are a f——ing fool!" Waidyaratne had asked "Why Sir, why do you say that?" Atygalle, with the demeanour of talking to an idiot had said "You fool, you finished it off. Now nobody will take any notice of you. You will not get hourly calls from the president and your usefulness is over!"

From a very cynical point of view, Attygalle was right. Waidyaratne was one of the heroes who crushed the biggest threat to democracy that this country has ever faced. Yet he is not remembered as such. When reminded of Waidyaratne’s fate, Fonseka, will gain immense relief from the words of Premachandran and Samaraweera - that it’s not all going to be over soon and that he will continue to be remembered until he no longer cares. So if the LTTE continues, everybody will be happy. The LTTE will be happy since they still exist. Samaraweera and Premachandran will be happy because their prognostications proved to be correct. The government will be happy because the people will want them to continue in power to finish off what they started and did more successfully than any previous government. The militarily will be happy to spend their time eating wild boar and venison in the jungles while picking off the remnants of the LTTE. Military leaders like Fonseka and the others will be happy that so long as the LTTE carries out sporadic attacks, they will be remembered as the heroes who reduced the most feared terrorist group in the world, which was officially designated as such by the FBI, into jungle bandits. For the opposition, the moral of the story is this: Be careful of what you wish for, it might come true!

Kumar’s question

Last Thursday, there was a lecture by a distinguished American defense expert Robert D.Kaplan at the Foundation for Co-existence in Colombo. Kaplan is a National Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, and has been a consultant to the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, the United States Marines, and the United States Air Force and has lectured at military war colleges, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA. One of the questions that Kumar Rupesinghe asked Kaplan was whether this mass scale hostage taking by the LTTE will not become a precedent for other terrorist groups in the world. Professor Kaplan’s talk could not be discussed at length, because of the lack of space. However, my answer to Rupesinghe’s question is that it is not likely to be copied by other terrorist groups. For terrorist to take hostages of ‘enemy’ populations is nothing new. It happened in the Beslan school attack, and even in the recent Bombay attacks. The peculiarity of the LTTE is that they have not taken a section of the ‘enemy’ population as hostages but their own people, of whom they claimed to be the sole representatives. By taking their own people hostage, they were able to make the entire west run around in circles trying to stop the offensive. But this will not be an effective strategy in the case of the Taliban for example, because taking Afghan or Pakistani civilians hostage will not really evoke a similar response from the west because ‘collateral damage’ to civilians is an accepted thing when it comes to Muslims.

So its doubtful whether the Taliban or Al Queda or any other Muslim terrorist group will attempt something as futile as taking Muslims hostage in an effort to win demands from the west. Besides, Islamic societies are very male dominated and if any terrorist group tries to bend the will of the west by taking women and children of their own community hostage, that would not conduce to increasing their prestige in the eyes of Muslims the world over. It has of course been the practice of Islamic terrorist groups to indiscriminately target civilians of ‘enemy’ populations. But even this, was looked down upon by more professional terrorist groups like the LTTE which declared contemptuously after the Bali bombings that they were not in the business of bombing kids at McDonalds outlets. What gives terrorists an edge within the fraternity of terrorist organizations is either their success in capturing state or quasi state power or carrying out large scale attacks on military targets or precision bombings of difficult targets such as politicians.

For many years, the LTTE was a trail blazer in this respect the world over, which is why they were designated by the FBI in 2008 as the world’s deadliest terrorist organization. For such an organization to now be reduced to holding their own people hostage in the hope that concern for civilians will somehow bring about the international intervention that will save their lives, is something that will hardly be inspiring for terrorists in other parts of the world. For one, this is not practicable for Muslim terrorist groups. And anyway, for a terrorist group to do what the LTTE did during its last stages will hardly inspire youth to join such a movement. The LTTE itself rose in the estimation of military experts not by taking women and children hostage but by carrying out spectacular attacks against tremendous odds. Given what they were in their hey day, the LTTE leadership should have made a similarly spectacular exit by fighting to the end in pitched battles.

But now, having hidden behind women’s skirts in a vain attempt to save their lives, they have destroyed that mystique that surrounded them from the very inception of their movement. The fear that the average Sinhalese had for the ‘Tigers’ is now gone. In July 1983, during the ethnic riots, when Tamil property was torched and several hundreds of ordinary Tamils were done to death on the streets by marauding mobs, a rumour flew around Colombo that six (only six!) kotiyas had come to Slave Island to avenge the Tamils and at this bit of news, panic stricken Sinhalese fled in all directions. Even as far away as Avissawella and Homagama, terror stricken motorists left their cars on the roads or on roundabouts and fled into the hinterland because they thought their legs would carry them to safety much faster than their cars on the congested roads. This was at a time when the LTTE would not have had more than a few dozen cadres. In the decades that followed, it was this mystique and psychological advantage that gave the LTTE victory after victory. They have lost it all now because of this ill-advised strategy of taking their own people hostage. Even if remnants of the LTTE manage to survive the present encirclement, they will never again regain their past image.

Mr(s) Prabhakaran

The events of the past several months are a reminder to all of us that the LTTE has always been fighting under protection. In terms of precision attacks and carrying out spectacular attacks on military installations reminiscent of World War 2, the LTTE was without parallel in the world. But it is also true that they never had to face unbridled repression that other terrorist movements in the world had to face. When the SL government moved against them in 1987, they were rescued by India. Pressure in their favour from overseas, whether it be from Tamil Nadu, or from the west, was always factored into their calculations by the LTTE. Why they failed this time is because they were confronted with a government that did not care tuppence for overseas pressures. Their strategy of mobilizing the Tamil Diaspora has failed to bring the expected succour. The JVP in contrast had to face unbridled repression in 1971 and 1987-89, without succour from any quarter.

The LTTE’s successes gave many Tamils the impression that the organization was invincible. I remember my friend D.P.Sivaram telling me years ago that there was a Tamil businessman in Fiji, who had placed a prominent advertisement in a Fijian newspaper which had only Prabhakaran’s photograph and the words "By the grace of God, INVINCIBLE!" Sivaram himself, less than 48 hours before he was abducted and killed, in April 2005, described Prabhakaran to me as akin to the character of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Satan is the true hero of Milton’s epic poem, a character seen to be endowed with indomitable will, and unbending attitude even against the most impossible odds. Nothing that God does, can make Satan yield. Defeat after defeat, Satan rises again, to give God battle. But the problem was that Milton’s Satan was immortal and had the luxury of eternity to be what he was. But Sivaram’s Satan is mortal with only a limited life span. Besides Milton’s Satan had willing followers and did not have to contend with a population that was losing interest. Beelzebub for instance, followed Satan willingly and was not a conscript. These were some of the realities that those who romaticised the LTTE’s terror failed to realize.

As this column is being written, one era is ending and a new one beginning. What life is going to be like without the LTTE, is uncharted territory as far as the present columnist’s generation is concerned. Tamil separatist terrorism had begun before we entered our teens, and has always been a fact of life thereafter. Now, in our middle age, we are waiting to see a change. Do the Tamil people want things to change, is a question that only time will answer. For over three decades, the Tamil people of this country have experienced nothing but a reign of terror in the name of national liberation. In fact only the Tamil people could have endured so many years of terrorism. The Sinhalese have a very short fuse and a very low threshold of tolerance. The Tamil people living in the north and east, were ordered first to hand over their money to the LTTE, then their gold, followed by their sons and daughters. On top of all that, they have been asked to leave their homes and move with the LTTE from place to place while the LTTE removed the furniture and even the tiles from their roofs. Later they were asked to dig ditches and fortifications for the LTTE while starving and being shot at for the sake of liberation.

Tamil endurance

In Sinhala society, no terrorist movement however well organized and ruthless, would have got beyond the extortion of money stage. The JVP took only national ID cards, guns and the like in 1987-89 and asked people to keep their lights switched off at night. That was as far as intrusion into personal space went. The rest of the disruption was in the public domain, forced disruption of transport and hospital services etcetera. Even this was too much for the Sinhalese after just two years. The turn in the tide for the JVP occurred around June 1989 by which time, several spontaneous attacks had been launched against JVP activists by the ordinary public for attempting to disrupt day to day life. The massive repression of the JVP that followed only rode a wave of public indignation until the JVP had been wiped out. Had the JVP dared go as far as the LTTE in demanding children of the Sinhalese and all their possessions, there would have been nothing left for the military to do. There would have been an Indonesia -1965 style bloodbath with villagers massacring JVP activists while they slept.

In contrast to the Sinhalese, the Tamils have always been easier to handle. When the Portuguese captured the Jaffna Kingdom, they did not even have to garrison it says the historian Tikiri Abeysinghe. The Tamil people paid their taxes without a murmur whereas in the south, the Sinhalese were prone to surrounding the Colombo fort at the slightest provocation. The British never thought of the Tamil people as a martial race like the Gurkhas and the Sikhs whom they singled out to serve in the British army. The Tamils were considered to be uncomplaining and obedient workers, and thus it was Tamils who were taken as indentured labourers to all parts of the British Empire including Sri Lanka, Malaysia South Africa and other places. Of course it must be said that the British saw the Sinhalese as a total write off, no good either for war or work. Be that as it may, it is only in the context of looking at the Tamil people in the light of British attitudes that would shed some light on how the Tamil people of this country were able to tolerate their purported liberators and the demands made by them for so long.

Ranil’s comfort zone

Last week, as the operation against the LTTE came to a close, the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe took wing on a tour of Europe which included Norway. Even before he left Sri Lanka, the government owned media raised a mighty caterwaul to the effect that Wickremesinghe was going overseas in order to carry tales to the international community and to block aid and support for Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe, as we have said on umpteen occasions in this column, lends himself to vilification like no other political leader anybody has ever known. His own actions are to blame in large part for this. Last year, during the GSP+ extension controversy, he wrote a letter to Benita Ferrero-Waldner the external affairs commissioner of the European Commission saying that the UNP would be willing to give the government a two thirds majority in order to change the constitution to qualify for GSP+. The opposition leader of a sovereign nation writing to an international civil servant about a change in the country’s constitution is probably unprecedented. It is this kind of ill-advised action that has led to the present deep rooted suspicion about Wickremesinghe and his motives.

The timing of his present visit has raised some eyebrows. For Wickremesinghe to visit Europe, just as the LTTE is begging for help from the international community looks suspicious. Even his allies are beside themselves about Wickremesinghe’s choice of stopovers. One long suffering UNP ally asked the present writer, why Wickremesinghe had to visit Norway at this particular moment because Norway’s role in Sri Lanka is basically over and talking to the Norwegians brings no benefits and is open to various interpretations. Herman Gunaratne, a planter turned author and political commentator, told the present writer that it may be the case that Wickremesinghe has withdrawn into his ‘comfort zone’ when things were going badly for him at home. Europe is a place where he will still be listened to and deemed right whereas, back here, many think he is wrong.