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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2905

Tamils are not terrorists

By Gomin Dayasri

The dissolution and the dismantling of the LTTE is not a defeat for the Tamils. We must ensure after the defeat of the LTTE, the Tamils in the North are brought into mainstream democracy after 30 years of being captive in the hands of the LTTE and have been deprived of the benefits we have enjoyed. Majority of the Tamils are law abiding citizens of whom only a handful is terrorists.

They are our brothers and sisters and we have so much in common- this country has a rich cultural ethos that binds us together -we worship together in the same temple kovil and church, we celebrate New Year on the same day same hour, we work in harmony in our work places together, we seek professional guidance from each other ,we live in homes peacefully alongside each other and we cheer together in the name of the country whether it is Muralitharan or Mendis who captures a wicket in the cricket field.

Tamils sadly are without a political and national leadership capable of countering the strategies of the terrorists. TNA are Tigers political lackeys of the terrorists and are a part and parcel of the LTTE and talking them is worthless as they are manipulated and orchestrated by the LTTE. Lack of political leadership with foresight and flexibility is a problem that Tamils have encountered and which they themselves will have to overcome in the coming months. LTTE destroyed their political nurseries as they were not tolerant to political diversity.

The mischief makers will set an agenda for the Tamils which will be unreasonable and unattainable. This would be the next game plan of the NGO poodles once there is no war for them to peddle. They need causes to be kept alive permanently to attract foreign sponsors for financial support to maintain their current lifestyles.

The government must examine the legitimate grievances of the minorities and satisfy their validity and thereupon ensure that remedies of a lasting nature are provided while assuring that no harm befalls the other communities. Already ten areas of dispute have been identified as grievances of the minorities and it is time the government examine their legitimacy. Much of these grievances are common to all communities but the time is right for the sake of peace for the majority community to give precedence and priority to the problems of the Tamils to gain their confidence and establish good faith. We need a caring majority and a considerate minority.

The message of amity after the war can be carried most convincingly by the patriotic Sinhala groups which gave leadership to the downfall of the terrorists at time when most thought war was not the answer to terrorism. Now these groups must take into their agenda as their next mission- spear heading the cause of the just grievances of the minorities and not leave it those who assisted the LTTE who will only use it as a device to survive and strengthen itself. It is to the patriotic forces that the masses will listen to, having impressed the people from the beginning that the success of the war is the only answer to terrorism and not on peace talks. The masses are more likely to accept there will be no sell out by such intellectual patriotic organizations after triumphantly winning the war. It would be an ideal rejoinder to the cries of federalism which can lay the seeds to futuristic secession movements that will once again surface after the defeat of the present terrorists to breed fresh terrorism. We cannot leave a legacy to another generation.

The Manel Mal Movement a frontline respected patriotic organization with the auspices of the Government and the Forces as an initial measure is running from Matara to Medawathchchiya a Brotherhood Train stopping at prominent rail stations to collect provisions for the Tamil displayed persons in the North. This pioneering effort by a pro Sinhala lobby should be followed by other patriotic groups to be of assistance to our Tamil brother in their hour of need.

Tamils, if they fall prey to extreme elements and the NGO community and also if the Sinhala leadership takes stands of a fanatical nature- the hand of friendship cannot be extended after the culmination of the War. It is the Sinhalese being the majority that must act with maturity and come out openly to support to rectify the legitimate grievances of the minorities The end of the War may not necessary mean the end of terrorism as there would be pockets of resistance that again will surface and resurrect itself to unmanageable proportions unless the minorities can be assisted to overcome their legitimate grievances.

The War must end with the psychology there are no victor and vanquished except the terrorists and terrorism. The Tamils must allow a national leadership to evolve from within their own sources in the absence of an effective leadership as at present and not clash with other communities with demands that are impossible to grant which could lay the groundwork for a fresh secession movement. Minorities can gain much if they can convince the majority that they do not make claims that give rise to separatism.

The satisfaction of the grievances will directly benefit the minorities while devolution alone will enhance powers acquired by politicians and how much of it will trickle down to the constituents, as past experience has shown, is doubtful. Provincial Council and the conduct of its members at elections and thereafter during the last 25 years is a sufficient illustration. Naturally politicians will seek devolution for their own enhancement of power. However if grievances are eliminated or reduced, the minorities as individuals or groups will be satisfied their needs have received attention and leave less room for another Prabhakaran to emerge. Devolution alone can breed more Valatharaja Perumals and his legion of Ministers who unilaterally declared state of Elam and fled to India with the IPKF. Federalism will be the spring board of continuous power struggle between the centre and the periphery.

We are bound by the 13th Amendment which can be implemented taking into consideration time frames and security concerns mindful that terrorism cannot be eradicated the moment the LTTE is defeated. If police powers are given to the Provincial Councils immediately it would be a case of the central government providing arms and personnel for the resurgence of terrorism and would prevent the central government with infrastructural facilities to investigate possible initial acts of terrorism such as collecting arms and preparing for war, until it is too late.

Similar security considerations will apply to land because land cannot be left entirely in the hands of a Chief Minister until the apprehension of terrorism is comprehensively eliminated and hands of friendship between the communities are firmly established. Resurrection of secessionist activities cannot be discounted especially due to elements in Tamil Nadu calling for a state of Elam. The Security Forces must able to set up camp on state land expeditiously in the event of a revival of a threat. This will not be possible if there is a hostile chief minister in the North or East.

The implementation of the 13th Amendment will have to be staggered along a nation building operation. Therefore 13th Amendment requires a revisit for rectification with time frames and security concerns because it has failed to deter separatism since it was enacted; simple temporary statutory provisions could be utilized for transitional purposes to guarantee future generations do not experience dislocation due to brutal terrorism. Responding to Legitimate Grievances must be on a faster track than devolution if the minorities are to be satisfied swiftly. If it is to pamper- minority politicians, NGOs, foreign governments- look to the devolution road map which will be a longer and hazardous route for benefits, if at all, to reach the people but a short cut for politicians to gain power and fortune. It is People that have to be satisfied by attending to their legitimate grievances.

Wars never create permanent enemies. Though Americans made a holocaust of Nagasaki and Hiroshima after World War II relations between Japan and the USA were more cordial after the War than any time before the War and has remained so for over 50 years. So is it between Germany and the rest of Europe after the Second World War.

Nevertheless, as a safety valve, after the victories, as an enlightened measure the Allied Forces ensured that history will not repeat itself by leaving any opportunity for a Hitler in Germany or a War Command in Japan to emerge. It was the harsh and the humiliating treatment accorded to the Germans after World War I that enabled Hitler to come to the forefront. A lesson was learnt and the spirit of goodwill was extended to the people of the defeated nations after World War II. Relationships are again cordial between Argentina and United Kingdom notwithstanding the Falkland War.

Similarly the relationships between Vietnam and the USA or between Vietnam and China are most cordial-though both those countries fought against Ho Chin Minh’s North Vietnamese Forces in the Indo-China War. For the communities to work in harmony after a War is an achievable phenomenon provided the leadership is statesmanlike and can convince their electorates that it is in the interest of the nation that harmony must be maintained and concessions made. But no germ should be permitted to remain to resurrect terrorism or secession otherwise the bravery and stoic nature of our people in overcoming the LTTE would be in vain.

We can look upon with pride and cheer our Nation and our national heroes once terrorism is finally defeat which is not far way. We are a nation that has had very little cheer about but now we can proudly emerge as one of the few countries that have been able to defeat comprehensively a terrorist organization labeled as one of the most brutal and effective by the FBI.A unique factor is that we have conducted a war without having completely ruined our economy after a 30 years and still continued to provide welfare measures both to people of South and to the people under terrorists control.

Furthermore this war has been executed in the North and the East without causing collateral damage or harming the Tamil people leaving open corridors for them to make the crossing. Can you name any other country that has carried out such a war? Lets us teach those trying to teach us human rights the art of conducting humanitarian wars against terrorism and win such wars and bring them to the democratic process. We have done it in the East and we shall do it in the North and make some of those terrorists the future representatives of the people elected by the people

We never had to fight a war of independence and are now we are fighting a war of liberation and after Pooneryn our finest hours are not far away. We should not rest on our laurels but have belief and confidence in ourselves to pursue relentlessly with the national re awakening that flows with victory to create a Sri Lanka where all people live in harmony. The call to negotiate with the terrorists is by those who are on the verge of defeat. They beseech seeking political economic or strategic advantage for themselves.

Do not fall for it. Be bold and courageous and stand for the country, unitary in status, democratic in outlook where the rule of law prevails not on the whims and fancies of judges and think not as a Sinhalese or Tamil or Muslim but as Sri Lankans. People and the Forces have proved that we are proud inhabitant of a great country.

- Asian Tribune -

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