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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2343

A Matter of Survival

[b]A Matter of Survival[/b]

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

[i][b]“When you hear the bang there is no time to wonder how long the little fuse has been sizzling.”[/b][/i]
[b]Terry Pratchett[/b]([i]Jingo[/i])

There are contradictions and there are contradictions. For the sake of theoretical correctness one can call them primary contradictions and secondary contradictions, antagonistic contradictions and non-antagonistic contradictions (borrowing Mao’s categorisation) but somehow this terminology does not make clear the vast difference between certain types of contradictions and others, because it is a difference between nothing less than life and death. There are enemies who persecute, oppress and suppress; and there are enemies who exterminate. That is the difference between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and every other enemy or opponent, especially if you happen to be Tamil.

Such differences cannot often be understood and explained using normal political theories, because these theories presuppose a degree of reason, of civility, of rationality; therefore they are valid only within certain parameters. They do not apply to things which are beyond the pale, movements and parties (ideas and states of mind) which as Klaus Mann said “announce the jungle” because they “indicate or foreshadow the disintegration of our civilised world” (The Turning Point). Such phenomena can only be understood and explained using history, particularly the experiences of Nazi Germany and Pol Pot’s Kampuchea - one capitalist and one socialist, but worlds apart not just from the capitalist norm or the socialist norm, but also from the capitalist exception or the socialist exception. The failure to understand this critical difference made it possible for the two movements to come to power (and many of those who thought that the Nazis were only a slightly more extremist version of standard right wing parties and Pol Pot was just a more hard-line socialist ended up dead).

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