ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Letter from a Tamil in North-East Sri Lanka

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam lacked many of the characteristics of a party leading a liberation movement; it instead had several attributes of a terrorist organisation. But the people in north-east Sri Lanka have little faith that the victorious Sri Lankan government will implement a political package that will address the grievances of the Tamils. However, if no political solution is found, a future Tamil movement, which will have learnt the lessons of the defeat of the LTTE, will stop only at a separate state.

COMMENTARY

--

-

-

Letter from a Tamil in North-East Sri Lanka

By A Correspondent

--

“”

-

-

of the LTTE, there is no one from their side to witness the death. There is no one from their families to do the last rites. Their bodies are going to meet the same fate as of those killed and dumped by the LTTE.

Last month, the remaining sympathis-

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam lacked many of the characteristics of a party leading a liberation movement; it instead had several attributes of a terrorist organisation. But the people in north-east Sri Lanka have little faith that the victorious Sri Lankan government will implement a political package that will address the grievances of the Tamils. However, if no political solution is found, a future Tamil movement, which will have learnt the lessons of the defeat of the LTTE, will stop only at a separate state.

The author, a member of the Tamil community, lives in north-east Sri Lanka.

T
he events of the past few months and indeed the past few years, ever since the Sri Lankan Army began to push the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) deeper and deeper into the Wanni, have left us, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, with many lessons that we need to relearn and many paradoxes that we can see.

First of all, the LTTE chief, V Prabhakaran, is dead. Many people in north-east Sri Lanka still seem reluctant to believe it. The hardcore sympathisers do not believe it because they view the LTTE chief as a great hero, somebody divine, who cannot be approached by the Sinhalese. There is a section for whom the impact made by the LTTE is so deep that they cannot believe that it can be wiped out so easily. The other section of people is sceptical about the v ideos and photos released by the Sri Lankan military.

Over the years, the LTTE chief and his close lieutenants have killed many persons who were innocent and in many cases the families of those killed never came to know whether their loved ones are alive or dead. The families never had a chance to mourn for their departed loved ones. Now the same thing has happened to the LTTE chief and his closest allies. For the family members of the deceased leaders

may 30, 2009

ers of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), a militant group that was banned and wiped out by the LTTE in 1986 remembered their leader Srisabaratnam killed by the LTTE 23 years ago. Every year, in June, the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) remember their leader Pathmanabha killed by the LTTE in 1990. The same thing is true of the slained People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) leader Uma Mahaswaran. Paradoxically, there is now no one to mourn Prabhakaran. The only remaining high ranking LTTE leader – the LTTE’s international spokesman Pathmanathan – has announced from his hideout somewhere in the world that his chief is alive and the hardcore sympathisers (please note: not hardcore members, as there is no member of the LTTE openly functioning in north-east Sri Lanka) believe it. So they are not going to mourn for Prabhakaran. The rest of the people in our region whose hearts are frozen by the terror tactics of the LTTE are going to do nothing. So life goes on as usual.

There were several people from the

o ther organisations who gave their lives in the fight for the rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. (The LTTE murdered many of them.) The LTTE dismissed them as

vol xliv no 22

EPW
Economic & Political Weekly

COMMENTARY

traitors for the only reason that they did not belong to their movement and asked the people to revere only the dead LTTE cadres as “Great Heroes”. Now, not only is this forced tradition going to end but even the LTTE chief is not going to be remembered by most of the people here as a great hero. The Tamil diaspora though may remember him for some time.

Three Modes

The LTTE’s survival was based on three modes of operation. First, it killed Sri Lankan security forces in the middle of ordinary Tamil civilians and when the angry security men beat and killed the civilians, the LTTE got supporters and recruits locally, sympathisers abroad and money from the Tamil diaspora. Later on (i e, in the more recent years), the LTTE has moved away even from the last characteristics of a liberation movement by hiring criminals and members of the underworld to do the killings and it tried to get the same benefits. It fired from the middle of the civilian population and made the Sri Lankan army retaliate, and then tried to do business over the dead bodies of these innocent people. It even shelled and killed its own people in the hope of getting the same benefits.

The other mode of survival of LTTE was ruthless killing. By cold-blooded murder it froze in fear all groups of people – politicians, members of the security establishments, intellectuals, businessmen and ordinary people. Since the Sri Lankan government and its security establishments could not stop these killings, people had no choice but to give in to whatever demands the LTTE made.

Finally, they daringly attacked the Sri Lankan security forces. By their blunt initial force they drove off the frightened Sinhala army. After repeated losses, the army learned its lesson and prepared itself to face the LTTE tactics but unfortunately Prabhakaran’s cadre failed to recognise this and continued with the same tactic.

So I see that the LTTE lacked many of the essential characteristics of a liberation movement and had several attributes of a terrorist organisation. So it sowed the seeds for its own defeat. Many Tamils in Sri Lanka may not agree with this and may even get angry with such a reading. However, if we, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, fail to see our mistakes, no one in the world is going to take notice of us. If we do not learn from our mistakes no one will prevent us from failing again. People here have little faith that, now that it has crushed the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government will put together any reasonable political package that will address the grievances of the Tamils. Even if they do not announce a package, no Tamil is in the mood right now to fight the government.

However, if no political solution is found, a future – in the far future – Tamil movement, which will have learnt the lessons of this defeat, will stop only at a separate state.

INDIA’S FINANCIAL SECTOR – AN ASSESSMENT

A comprehensive assessment of India’s financial sector by the Committee on Financial Sector Assessment (CFSA), constituted by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India, evaluating financial sector stability and development, identifying gaps in compliance with various international financial standards and codes, and suggesting corrective policy measures. The Report contains six volumes. Volume III – VI contain independent reports by the four Advisory Panels assisting the CFSA as follows:

  • Financial Stability Assessment and Stress Testing, covering macro-prudential analysis, stability assessment and stress-testing of the financial sector (Volume III).
  • Financial Regulation and Supervision, covering assessment of standards pertaining to banking regulation and supervision, securities market regulation and insurance regulation (Volume IV).
  • Institutions and Market Structure, covering assessment of financial infrastructure including legal, regulatory and liquidity management aspects and standards regarding accounting and auditing, corporate governance, payment and settlement systems and effective insolvency and creditor rights systems (Volume V).
  • Transparency Standards, covering assessments of standards regarding transparency in monetary and financial policies, fiscal transparency and data dissemination (Volume VI).
  • The Overview Report (Volume II) of the CFSA draws on the assessments and recommendations of the Advisory Panel reports. Volume I is an Executive Summary of the assessments and recommendations.

    Exclusively distributed by:

    Foundation Books, An Imprint of Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd., Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd, Cambridge House, 4381/4, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi – 110 002.

    Price: Rs. 2000 (Volumes I to VI) Price: Rs. 500 (Volume I and II)

    Economic & Political Weekly

    EPW
    may 30, 2009 vol xliv no 22

    Dear Reader,

    To continue reading, become a subscriber.

    Explore our attractive subscription offers.

    Click here

    Comments

    (-) Hide

    EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

    Back to Top