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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2344

Who wants Prabakaran alive or dead?

By Shenali Waduge

Most of those knowledgeable about the present conflict know how insignificant the demise of the LTTE leader is in context to the overall plan operated by a group of invisible strategists living overseas. Yet, we all await the inevitable announcement of his death, his capture, his fleeing or the realism behind the notion that we may have all been befooled and we had been running behind an impersonator! The announcement though 30 years too late will nonetheless provide a nation and its people a moment to feel that justice has prevailed & sigh that soon peace will prevail as well.

It is undeniable that the years 2004 & 2006 has been extremely significant to Sri Lanka. It was in 2004 that the LTTE 2nd in command – Col. Karuna defected from the LTTE thus weakening the LTTE considerably for it was Karuna and the Eastern Tigers who was responsible for the greater damage to civil society and the armed forces.

The path to Karuna’s defection will merit many to take credit but it is significant for us to note that the foreign talks opened up Karuna’s eyes to the actual monetary packages that was taking place amidst the façade of a freedom struggle. The eye-opener would have shaken any freedom-fighter to know that plenty of cash was to exchange for entering peace talks – cash disbursements that Karuna and his Eastern outfit was excluded from. For a tiger leader who fought the bigger battles from the front it would have been more of a blow than Prabakaran would have factored. Be that as it may the LTTE was soon to embark on a downward path and the December tsunami raised further rumors no sooner expensive coffins emerged on the pretext of tsunami aid but things rested with rumors that were never confirmed. But, a large area of the North-East especially the areas that the military are now operating its humanitarian mission was victim to nature’s fury.

Then 2006 marked two other important highpoints – for the LTTE it was the loss of its theoretician Anton Balasingham and the victory of incumbent President Rajapakse. The death of Balasingham led to the smiling Tamilselvan feeling he had all the credentials to take over….it may have been another rumor but Tamilselvan was of the opinion that the LTTE needed to accept something that was offered at the peace talks instead of walking away as was customary. The arrangements for the foreign talks only led to the LTTE taking the opportunity to visit relations and offspring who led comfortable lives while their contemporaries fought from the thick jungles so that others too could take flight to foreign shores.

To understand what has taken place in Sri Lanka it is necessary disassociate the LTTE for the LTTE has no love for the Sinhalese, the Muslims, the Burghers, Indians, Tamil Nadu Tamils or even the Sri Lankan Tamils. For those that disagree they may like to explain why the LTTE have chased away Muslims and Sinhalese from the North, killed an Indian Prime Minister & assassinated respected Tamil leaders and are now firing at Tamil civilians fleeing from their clutches? It is not for these reasons that the LTTE is called a terrorist outfit.

It is again pointless returning to the divide and rule policy of the British, the setting up of missionary schools in Tamil minority areas, offering English education to those that converted and the State jobs that naturally Tamil Christians were able to secure as a result of the facilities made available to them. These beneficiaries understandably would not desire to give up what had been so generously offered to them and naturally was calls for 50-50 representation when forming a Sri Lankan post-independence government. But, mention of this past is a must to understand the genealogy of the present predicament.

It was unfortunate that the Sinhala-Only call that remained just a call has become used and abused over the years and provides pro-LTTE propagandists armory to project Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese as chauvinists. The eras of 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s are now over…but the years should provide us lessons to not allow room for repetitions which sadly was created by shallow policies of past leaders and no where post-independence did the public take part in any attacks on Tamils though the nation had to bear the burden of the infamy that fell upon its people and a proclamation by the world that the Sinhalese was racist, indulging in genocide, ethnic cleansing and discrimination – an unfair title indeed for those who were privy to what actually took place and honest enough to proclaim that it was goons, thugs and thieves who destroyed property on the pretext of "patriotism". Countries that were on the look out for immigrant workers were soon to capture in on "refugees" who surprisingly enough were not the actual victims but those who felt they were better suited to live abroad if less than 1000 actually died in July 83 today 800,000 are resident having secured sufficient sympathy.

One of the oft avoided questions is whether Tamils actually desire a separate state and whether this requirement is out of the desire for All Tamils to have a separate nation or on the grounds that a separate state is sought because they feel they cannot live harmoniously with the Sinhalese.

Inherent desires or aspirations are somewhat difficult to translate into realistic probabilities & it would have suited us all that the intelligent and balanced few could have curtailed any surges for escalating these aspirations towards an armed struggle yet those like Chelvanayagam ended up calling for youths to take up arms, leaving the youth to carry on a burden that has actually denied Tamils more than denying the Sinhalese. Close upon 200,000 armed forces may have suffered injuries but this is a small number of the 14.8million Sinhalese in Sri Lanka…yet the 2.4million Tamils can only be proud that 800,000 live in foreign climes whereas generations of Tamil children have had to forsake years of development.

This is an interesting thought – while 800,000 may live abroad there is an equal number who actually live amongst the Sinhalese and a survey will suffice to reveal how Tamils and Sinhalese do live harmoniously with each other… Take the commercial hub of Colombo all places of employment be it state sector or private comprise of people belonging to all ethnic groups – does anyone see any discrimination taking place…has there been even a labor case on the grounds of ethnic discrimination? What would one say of the remarks that Asians often have to suffer by UK skinheads?

If Tamils claim discrimination it is to be noted that even in various professions Tamils who were top of the class are performing far below their expectations….in a utopian bid for a separate state has not Prabhakaran denied his very people proper education, social standards etc….though 800,000 Tamils live abroad an almost equal number have not raised their standards at all in Sri Lanka and Prabakaran’s LTTE must accept that blame.

Much rests on these last few days that will reveal the fate of a movement – many believe it is too early to predict or even imagine a tomb for the LTTE. This argument obviously stems from the knowledge that Prabhakaran in later years of his killer machine ended up just a ploy and this is not really hard to imagine…procurement rested on a few, fund raising rested upon a few, propaganda rested upon a few and they together could dictate what Prabakaran had to do and for both parties neither could do without the other and so their nefarious relationship may have had a few spats but the fact that both needed the other for their own existence was undeniable.

Prabhakaran would have the last say for it was his men who would pull the trigger, blow up vessels and carryout suicide missions and so long as Prabakaran kept the armed forces on their feet and Governments in tenterhooks the Tamil Diaspora could heave a smile and feel happy that their remote control was in good working order. The realism behind all terror movements including the LTTE are the links to clandestine money making activity and for these groups of unknown people it would be an alarming thought to see their days of wealth come to an end by the death of a single man. Every fascist movement has a symbolic head, someone who is revered by his followers – Hitler, Stalin, Rohana Wijeweera and Prabakaran is no different.

The fact that a fisherman’s son could keep a country on its knees, an exasperated military on its toes, foreign nations queuing to meet him obviously must have had led most Tamils to feel at least an iota of admiration for Prabakaran and many of these people must be wondering why Prabakaran cannot once again spring a surprise at Sri Lanka’s military as he has successfully done in the past….which is why many of these people may now be a little irritated that Prabakaran is unable to actually bounce back purely because over 3 decades this is what we have been witnessing and their minds must have been programmed to expect a comeback.

Therefore a bigger part of the rehabilitation requires to take place amongst some urban few who actually while living amongst the Sinhalese do not mind LTTE carrying out terrorist attacks – why should people think thus….what we are all working to achieve is an environment where we can all get about our business in peaceful coexistence.

For the people of Sri Lanka hearing that Prabhakaran is no more would leave them more than content that justice has prevailed – little will they even wonder that it may not after all be the death of the LTTE if we accept the notion that Prabhakaran in later years was not the man who was pulling the strings but he too was cornered by these groups of invisible personages located in different corners of the world.

One of the alarming voices that calls for a federal setup is drawing negative results because there is an unanswered question – are the Tamils desiring a separate state irrespective of the bogus discrimination attached to the Sinhalese? Those that cry no for federalists thought do so as they foresee how a Tamil federal north is likely to facilitate that reality of a Tamil State aligned to Tamil Nadu – the actual homeland of the Tamils. Very little hesitation or anti-LTTE voices could deter the LTTE from rising to unprecedented terror levels and we can but wonder whether even after the military defeat of the LTTE whether they will be brave enough not to allow rebels from repeating the folly of taking to arms and watching their children turn into killer machines. All the while we should be aware that India will be watching whatever happens in Sri Lanka.

We cannot think that a powerhouse as India, masterminding covert operations all over the region is naïve to reckon what is up the sleeves of Tamils desiring a separate state – to India’s credit is perhaps some realism in the statement uttered by Sri Lanka’s Army Commander that the Tamil Nadu leaders were a pack of "jokers" for by their actions we can see how easily the Central Government can handle them & the monetary factor likely to be the best way to handle the situation even if it means the Central Government has to commit itself to many years….a separate homeland in Tamil Nadu is unlikely to affect India’s other states but we all are aware that some States are demanding separatism from India and so to lose 65million people will not be on India’s cards at all.

But then why do we feel that India is attempting to try to whisk of Prabakaran as it did in late 1980s by Indian helicopter….when Government says no AID workers inside the safe-zone we can well understand that the Government is as apprehensive as the common man. Sri Lanka is inundated with NGos/INGOs and local voices…it is extremely interesting to see how many of these individuals have even sent a bottle of water to the citizens of the Wanni? We are all well aware of what type of humanitarian service they operated and yet they unashamedly want to return obviously desiring to keep the flow coming to their kitty.

They all enjoy professing a crisis situation but does a penny go out of their individual bank accounts for these people? But the public response even without Government appeals is unprecedented….yet foreign media feel that it is not newsworthy enough and prefer to air old footage and declare that the armed forces are purposely shelling civilians. To discount these versions are local private media channels who have no links to the Government who go on their own coverage and have declared that the firing actually comes not from the armed forces but the LTTE. Very little was said of the footage shown of LTTE firing at civilians…many now say that the LTTE actually allowed these people to go for having them was a logistics disaster for the LTTE – that over 100,000 for whatever reasons have come to the armed forces reveal that people are ready to know who the Sinhalese actually are and if these people cannot change their thinking having eaten meals cooked by armed personnel, it would be important to examine what has gone wrong and where!

It is obviously that much of the years of false propaganda are now seeing their true colors and the cries of genocide need to be more than just fancy words used to attract sympathy – if Sinhalese were inclined to committing genocide or ethnic cleansing where is the evidence and has the armed forces that is now looking after over 120,000 people killed any of these Tamil civilians? Have any of the Tamils living in majority Sinhala areas been killed because they were Tamil? The lies must end and those that steering the lies are the very people who are using fabrications for their own selfish designs.

Leaving all this aside the Tamils need to seriously ask themselves and genuinely come to the conclusion that their problem is something other than the falsely promoted Sinhala discrimination factor. There is no community that does not have their share of grievances and there is no community that will not have their own list of disagreements regarding the policies of the Government in power. No Government is perfect and no Minister is perfect too but if policies are not being created purposely to discriminate a community we must be honest enough to say so. All Tamils are entitled to education, health care, employment ….if there are Tamils who are richer than the Sinhalese leading better lives where has the discrimination taken place…if Tamils go to state schools, private schools, international schools work anywhere they like, live anywhere they like where is the discrimination but can the Sinhalese go and reside in the North let alone travel there without the risk of not coming back alive? This is type of scenario created by the LTTE – the Tamil Diaspora for their selfish designs of not only delaying the fall of the LTTE and buying time to bring across the rest of their families have to accept partial accountability for their role in the disunity that has prevailed.

Presently we see a few of these Tamil Diaspora attempting to whitewash themselves and find fault with the LTTE professing their methodology was wrong but they do not wish to accept that they supported the movement, financed it and now when the LTTE looks as though it cannot make a comeback join others to ridicule the LTTE and attempt to take over as leaders of the Tamil people – we can but wonder what is up their sleeve? These are the white horses that the Tamil people must be cautious about because their designs are invisible – where LTTE’s tactics could easily be identified these new set of leaders are sinister to really trust.

Be that as it may everyone is awaiting some sort of good news and we have been anxiously awaiting this news for some weeks now…even though we cannot understand the bizaare requests by UK, France, EU, India and US for ceasefires – a few feet away from declaring that the State is in control of all rebel held land what nation would even remotely consider such a ceasefire and for what especially when the Government is today looking after over 100,000 people and how reliable have these UN, NGO/INGO estimates been – they even said there were 400,000 people – can we imagine around 300,000 still in an area that is less than 5sq.km? Such are the false propaganda that the UN and some of its agencies are accountable for so when the Government stands up to each and says We Will Continue with our humanitarian campaign….the people are backing the Government and its armed forces.

- Asian Tribune -

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