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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2704

Was Prabhakaran taken for a ride by the Tamil Diaspora?

By Shenali Waduge

What could be on the mind of a man who has spent 35 years of his life hidden in the Wanni jungles to create a separate homeland for the Tamil people now that the armed forces are but a few kilometers from capturing him? With very few cadres left and having to hide behind the very people he was supposed to protect is it too late to wonder whether or not Prabakaran was nothing but a pawn for the Tamil Diaspora?

Prabakaran’s killing spree was first directed at Tamils and not the Sinhalese when Tamil police officers stationed in the North while on duty ended up being shot at. Not many also seem to want to remember or recall that all other Tamil groups who also shared Tamil nationalist thought were gunned down ruthlessly to enable Prabakaran’s LTTE to be able to refer to itself as the "Sole" representative of the Tamil people.

The 1983 riots left the LTTE its golden opportunity to raise its "cause" internationally and created the platform to launch its "international network" with a unique blend of men and women most of whom belonged to the upper echelons of a highly caste-conscious Tamil society remote controlling the LTTE leader and the children of a lesser God who ended up forming Prabakaran’s child soldiers.

Looking back at post-independence many would recall the 50-50 demand made by Tami leadership which was rejected by the British colonial rulers….it was not so much the Sinhala-Only that hardly took off but the reality that all the years of perks and & privileges that the ‘Divide and Rule’ policies of the British brought to the Tamils (Jaffna) may soon end that led to strategize a counter plan by these elite Jaffna Tamils. Would we be too wrong to assume that these alarm bells soon had the Jaffna intelligentsia working out a plan that would reap benefits to them and the separatist state theme seemed to be the perfect ploy and Prabakaran the perfect pawn for that ploy – It is perfect now to recall the Vaddukoddai Resolution where the elite called upon the Tamil youth to take up arms and Prabakaran fell prey to this call! Given the correct media coverage it was easy to inspire Eelam thought and easier to absorb men and women from areas like the Wanni for these youth were anyway marginalized among their own society….a man from a fisher village, low-caste inspiring to be their leader would further add to the momentum and result in the meteoric rise of the LTTE…..was Prabakaran really a Hindu or a Christian….very many seem not inclined to answer this but we should wonder why a large number of Christian based non-governmental organizations provide indirect support and funds to the LTTE. So we have the LTTE supremo and his Wanni cadres all fooled by teams of men and women leading comfortable lives and directing the LTTE where to strike, who to strike and when to strike….Prabakaran and his men merely carried out the orders post 1990s.

How many would look at the men and women who made up the cadres of Prabakaran and determine how easy it would have been to brainwash these innocent men and women to believe in and dream for a "cause" that would never benefit them or even materialize into a Tamil Eelam? Who is responsible for the deaths of well over 20,000 Tamil men and women since 1983….what could 35 years have brought them instead? What could they have achieved other than death or injury? Is this the dream their parents had for these children and is this the Eelam that 35 years of wasted years has resulted in? How have these Tamil Diaspora looked after the families of these over 20,000 men and women…..they openly welcome and portray the LTTE a designate terror outfit and openly raise funds for the LTTE but has a dollar even gone to the families of men and women who have sacrificed their lives ….do they even get a monthly contribution (however meager) for sacrificing their children? Let the world know what type of monetary assistance the Tamil Diaspora who demands a separate state have contributed to the families of the men and women who have sacrificed for the "cause". The same can be said of the JVP movement in Sri Lanka – raising its ugly head in the early 1970s…these youth were all from poor families…led by a man with elitist upbringing…the late 1980s too unfortunately inspired similar poor youth to join and eventually led to the Government coming down hard on them.

With a few kilometers away from military victory……….it is not the Tamils of Jaffna, the Tamils of Wanni, the Tamils of the East or even the Tamils of other parts of Sri Lanka who demand for ceasefires or call for a lifeline for the LTTE – instead it is the Tamil Diaspora….who live thousands of miles away most holding foreign passports who have turned violent all of a sudden…attacking Sri Lanka Missions in Norway and Germany, protesting in the UK, Canada, staging hunger strikes and even attacking the Indian High Commission in London….this is very interesting indeed….especially how much they love Sri Lanka and whether at all they actually plan to give up their citizenship and come and live in a Tamil Eelam in the eventuality that it is created…….the answer to this question would therefore lead us to accept the theory that the Diaspora was perhaps using Prabhakaran for their own benefit and it may not have dawned upon them that any Sri Lankan Government would have had the leadership and pluck to stand up to the calls that demand a lifeline to the LTTE since for decades the Diaspora had learnt to buy the loyalty of foreign Governments, foreign officials, foreign MPs as well as local heads.

The 1983 mob riots orchestrated by the present Opposition which was in Government at the time resulted in less than 1000 deaths but plenty of destruction to homes by goons (these goons it must be stated were men who came from all the ethnic groups including Tamil) working for the Jayawardena Government. People who go crying to foreign missions in Sri Lanka citing discrimination, ill-treatment and secure refugee status soon end up in foreign employment & their stay in these countries invariably is determined by the requirement for Sri Lanka to be "unstable". The LTTE is the only source that is able to provide that destability and afford the opportunity to delay their return as well as the opportunity for Diaspora members to apply for Permanent Residency status as often western nations require more than 7 years residential status to apply for citizenship.

Thus, it is not too difficult to realize and even empathize with what must be going on in the minds of the Tamil Diaspora in a scenario minus the LTTE…even those who are now determining to go on hunger strike do so more at the agony that is likely to befall on them rather than the fall of the LTTE per se…..An LTTE annihilated means much more than a "dream destroyed"…..it means an end to the lifestyles that these Diaspora members had been enjoying courtesy of Prabhakaran. Thus, it is no wonder that the 800,000 Tamil Diaspora are more agitated at the fate of the LTTE than the 1.6million Tamils living in Sri Lanka….when the fall of the LTTE would mean more than the loss to the Eelam struggle but the end to their ability to enter foreign shores….should we now assume that the Eelam for Prabhakaran may not have been what the Diaspora had in mind! What an anti-climax this thought would be!

Today, there are over 800,000 Tamils of the 2.4million Tamils in Sri Lanka living all over the world….these 800,000 Tamils have much to thank Prabhakaran and his killer outfit. Through 3 decades their lifestyles have been uplifted…they have found it easy to enter foreign climes…. And they have been able to support their families in Sri Lanka while 150,000 Tamils in the Wanni ended up easy bait for the utopian Eelam….these 150,000 over 3 decades ended up sacrificing their children year in and year out to run the LTTE killer machine, these Wanni Tamils ended up having their children snatched away, denied adolescence, denied education or even basic learning & instead were shoved into the jungles and trained to kill, trained to hate the Sinhalese & trained to follow orders of Prabakaran and his leaderships. It must be pointed out that while the basic fighter forces came from the Wanni Tamils the elite caste Tamils ended up holding the VIP portfolios within the LTTE and eventually led VIP lives and most stationed abroad running the foreign show of the LTTE….for Prabhakaran it may have sufficed for he remained the LTTE’s elusive leader and his status unchallenged. When Jane’s Intelligence says the LTTE makes USD200-USD300million and has a running cost of just USD8million….our immediate thoughts should be what does the LTTE do with an annual profit of USD192million (minimum)?

When voices ring high in support of the LTTE, for ceasefires to bid time for the LTTE to regroup…..we should immediately wonder how much is paid out of the USD192million for these voices! We are talking of a lot of money that is being circulated globally and end up good enough for LTTE propaganda machinery to dole out as it pleases and when it pleases – so plenty of people who have been beneficiaries over the years directly and indirectly.

When 33 countries ban the LTTE, list it as a terrorist organization, is wanted by Interpol ….it means it is not only Sri Lanka that is of the opinion that the LTTE is a terrorist organization….if this is so why is it that foreign MPs come to LTTE functions and speak on behalf of the LTTE – these are the very nations that called for a global end to terror and even declared a "war on terror", Miliband demands a ceasefire when the military is just 5km from trapping the remaining LTTE…. And why would Secretary Clinton feel she has to blame the Government for the plight of the civilians when US intelligence should have informed her that over 100,000 have left the LTTE to come to Government areas and are being fed by the Sri Lankan military who are running the humanitarian logistics as well as the military operations! Should we assume that a twitch of jealousy may loom that a small and insignificant army has in 3 years brought the FBI designate “most ruthless” organization to a miserable finale to their killing days and the US even after over 8 years of occupation in Iraq are still where they started from with more damage done than when Saddam Hussein ran the oil-rich nation?

Over 3 decades Prabakaran has really not gained much other than notoriety of name – having to distance himself from his family, he can feel proud that his daughter and son at least have studied overseas….yet with his health in questionable status he had to bring down his son to join him….but how much of the large LTTE money machine has been deposited to the Prabakaran family and how much of it is actually been enjoyed by others like KP…. And does Prabakaran really know or have any control of the LTTE illicit and illegal fund raising…..how much of power does and did Prabakaran have over the LTTE operations globally except of course to run the Sri Lanka killing show from the jungles of Wanni?

It is these thoughts that now make us wonder whether just as the freedom struggle was hijacked and made into a terrorist movement that Prabakaran ended up just a cardboard hero and pawn for the Tamil nationalist thought vis a vis the formation of a Tamil Eelam for which it was easy to design a master-plan to raise funds and soon camouflage a Tamil separatist struggle turning it into stepping stone for Tamils to better their lifestyles and gain foreign residency status. It purely depicts what little patriotism these people actually have – coming to Colombo as "tourists" they are never short of showering ridicules at how things run in Sri Lanka….it is these people we are to suppose plan to return in the eventuality that an Eelam is created.

The LTTE has reached its 30 year climax and its circle of terror is slowly coming to a close…..with the depreciating sense of belief in an LTTE- reawakening it is now left for the rescued Tamils to steer their future & to not become prey to another movement that is likely to take away the future of their children. How many sons and daughters of elite Tamils have joined the LTTE fighter force….how many sons and daughters of elite Tamils have decided to turn themselves into suicide cadres….let the Wanni Tamils not be fooled again….nationalist thought sometimes end up a means to befool innocent and poor people who invariably end up cannon fodder of the elite strategists.

It is obvious that to various parties the existence of the LTTE has merited them…..what countries like US, UK, Norway, Canada strategize through the existence of the LTTE is totally different to India’s selfish role in the LTTE factor. To understand India’s role and indecisive policies we need only say that India has no friends and only thinks of India’s gains….to have an Eelam struggle in Sri Lanka suited India for it delayed the 2nd stage of the struggle to migrate to Tamil Nadu where naturally the homeland of the Tamils existed. Knowing the idiosyncrasies of Tamil Nadu leaders who have little or no ethics allowing pro-LTTE sentiment to carry itself to election issues and even allowing it to curry flavor with the allegiance to the Central Government meant that the Indian decision makers in Delhi could have free reign in pressurizing a small nation such as Sri Lanka….it worked perfectly over the years….thus the unprecedented foreign visits, pressures for ceasefires, calls to look after Tamil citizens….all to even befool Tamil Nadu leaders and to make them feel that they have a say even remain silent to calls for Eelaam in Tamil Nadu. I

ndia knows too well an Eelam will never be created in Sri Lanka or India…India would even help Sri Lanka militarily for this purpose but the tragedy is that unlike Pakistan, China or Russia, India is unable to say……" Sri Lanka is our Friend" and mean it….we must at this stage point out that Sri Lanka’s support by Pakistan, China and Russia has been phenomenal and if not for their support Sri Lanka would not have been in this position of militarily defeating an almost invisible terror movement. Yet, India is shallow enough and desires not to openly say what it does and what it actually means and instead prefers to veil its actions which leads us to wonder how good a friend India actually is to Sri Lanka especially when India has been involved ever since the LTTE took to its killing ways and much of the LTTE’s replenishments came from Tamil Nadu and India could not have been unaware of what was taking place but chose to turn a blind eye.

What is going on in Prabhakaran’s mind must be a recap of all the years of misery and a completely baffled Tiger supremo must surely be dazed at what has happened to his terror outfit. It is not too late for him to give himself up and face the justice for the thousands of lives he destroyed but most of all ponder whether he himself could have been a pawn just as he was drawn to take up arms in the late 1970s & eventually ending up being remote controlled by rich Tamil strategists who have become millionaires as a result of LTTE Terror Inc…

- Asian Tribune -

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