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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2709

LTTE: Comeback Trail

By Gomin Dayasri

The distance between the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) sheltered in the camps in search of a new life and the Externally Displaced Diaspora engaged in a self determining exercise of rediscovering themselves while competing with fractions within the fractured LTTE in exile, is a bridge too far to cross. Both are presently homeless and in search of identities. IDPs have a home to go back; but the Diaspora once hopeful of welcome return for the prodigal sons by the LTTE, will have no welcoming team on arrival in Sri Lanka. IDPs hopefully secured in their homes, by then, may have to greet their visiting cousins and tell them tales of life under the LTTE, which they sponsored from abroad.

IDPs can dream of better times especially for their children. The Diaspora has to live with shattered dreams. They expected to go places under a LTTE regime, as their overseas members who contributing lavishly for the cause, hopeful of future benefits. That hope is devastated. The frustration in being a permanent guest worker abroad is understandable.

The show piece issue is the Internally Displaced People .It is the make or break factor for Sri Lanka. All the sins and omissions attributed to Sri Lanka by critics will stand erased if resolved in the best interest of the inmates. Significantly the camps can become nurseries for national integration or driving seat for the next insurrection. The road to concord or conflict lies through these camps.

Within the camps are possibly constituents of eight electorates. trapped in a space as small in geographical extent as wards in an urban council. The narrow passages between the tent cities are the corridors of political discussion that will widen to reflect the voter behavior at next elections at Opinion does not require to be spread, it is felt.

This is the epicenter of Tamil political power competing with the more conservative Jaffna and sophisticated Batticaloa. Being in mind and heart closer to the LTTE these folk reflect post- Prabhakaran trauma and aspirations. These must not be made the guinea pigs for experimentation by politicians of all colorations.

The next set of possible parliamentary candidates is the occupants inside the camps for the electoral districts of the Wanni. Those who represent them presently in Parliament are mere caricatures to them. Most were prevented from exercising the franchise.

Political campaigns have already commenced by interested parties in the camps as they are within arms length of the electors. Those who stand out in the camps as communicators and social activists are the potential lead candidates. They have formed groupings which could be the emerging political parties in an embryonic form, as the residents within the camps are desperately searching for a new political leadership. Intelligentsia are well entrenched in the camps to make valuable contributions and have much time to seek political advancement, as they live idling. Latent politics is the most vibrant activity which goes unseen in the playground, at common baths, in the kitchens and at social gatherings.

The government has provided a playground for leaders to emerge as they have a captive crowd to perform before. Tamil politicians coming from beyond the confines of the shelters are early bird in search of prey. The politicians from Jaffna to Tamil Nadu who were hiding will surface again and attempt to regain their misplaced constituents and lost territory .They will have much explain where they have been so long away! Sure, there will be no welcome boards for annay and thamby come lately. Those within the camps perform day and night service to improve the quality of life in the camps to create a lasting impression to carry with the residents on going home. That is the real politick of the place.

A prime consideration that has escaped many is that LTTE has between 6000 to 9000 hidden soft line members including hard line cadres in the camp. They are like the free masons in secret contact and are the most formidable established group in operation. They are likely to surface with a new title to capture power democratically. Undoubtedly this group will function underground for a while.

Beyond the check point at Vavuniya presently it is officially a zero political zone in a previous zone of zero political tolerance. To the elderly in these precincts over the last 25 years Ananda Sangaree, Devananda, Sambandan, were distant voices which with time had dimmed to insignificance. Mention their names-look on the faces show disinterest. Pressed to comment the response is unenthusiastic. Naturally, they did not materialize at the time of need. To the young these are names unknown and unheard. It appears the elders have not felt it worthwhile to keep in mind to mention such names to the young. Possibly, Prabhakaran was over powering; probably politics was irrelevant. The Sun God was to deliver Eelam on his own.

The new road show starts at Vavuniya. The Samaritans-good bad and the ugly- are around wooing the fallen people. This is indeed the human laboratory in the search of a prescription to cure the national malady. The final impression they carry home of the Sinhalese and the Government while in camps, in comparison to life under the LTTE and Prabhakaran, is the message that that will linger in their lives forever. The government is at an unfair advantage because of the damage caused by the LTTE to their children, will not be forgiven or forgotten; life was virtual hell in the final days of the LTTE. If the IDPs are mishandled the government is in a boiling cauldron and a renamed LTTE will soon arrive.

The INGOs are at work in the camps carrying with them the same arrogance and agendas as before. Their local acolytes are worse. The soldiers in the outer periphery are smarting but the provincial officialdom in the inner circuit is smarter watching silently, the NGO operations calculated to discredit Sri Lanka. They are cringing for the handouts on offer from the foreign outfits while paying respectful courtesies to the visiting dignitaries.

The centre lives in cuckoo land thinking everything is tickety poo, realizing little they are been taken on a long ride from Vavuniya up North. Mercifully the military is maintaining a dignified disciplined presence. Naturally the NGOs will want them banished to mount the saddle with a civilian administration still carrying LTTE drop outs; most are cultivators of personal benefits.

The government has taken a gamble, from which it can, if not properly marshaled, recreate the Frankenstein monster that Prabhakran endeavored to portrait of the Sinhalese, in the minds of the camp dwellers. Presently they identify the monster in LTTE fatigue but the image can shift to the State, unless handled with care.

Meanwhile across the Suez , the lost and beaten generation in the Diaspora sadly sulking, is trying to attract the attention of the local theatre inventing a gimmick. The Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (PTGTE) is a laugh but for the projected alliance with the TNA. They have placed TNA in a dilemma. It requires a response from the TNA as silence will be deemed to be consent. PTGTE cuts across the 6th Amendment which will deprive TNA of parliamentary positions if the concept of a separate state is an objective. The separate state is the revived goal in a new dressing of the PTGTE. TNA is the bridge to cross from across the seas to the Wanni, with the NGOs acting as the visiting missionaries to carry the message to the camps.

The spokesman for the organization admits it would work in partnership with the TNA. A partnership formed to seek Eelam violates the oath taken by TNA parliamentarians. The timing is hazardous for the TNA as they will have to surface to run for local election. If they absent themselves the space will be taken by a rival force and a repair job will be a near impossibility.

Pathmanathan wing in creating the PTGTE has named prominent names in the Diaspora as advisors to make a public display of acquiring heavyweights to the fold. There is pressure by rival groups on these named persons to keep a distance. It appears money is doing the talking in troubled times. Leadership is now measured by the cash flow instead of an arms flow.

PTGTE appears to be the clubhouse of the alienated Tamils who desire to severe ties with Sri Lanka unlike the Wanni people, who voted with their feet against the LTTE regime by walking out of their territory having being kept captive. Most in camps are far removed from those who did not lift a finger for them, from their comfort homes in the West to legitimately assist the homeless Tamils in the North to improve their lot.

It is believed that Eritrea would play the host country to the new outfit. Not surprising since Norway has a special relationship with Eritrea after it commenced its liberation struggle to become independent from Ethiopia. For assisting Eritrean rebels, the Ethiopian government expelled six Norwegian diplomats and Norway reacted by cutting aid.

Eritrea was the marked country from where LTTE obtained their supply of weapons. There were stories circulating the Norwegians were in the gun running in Eritrea. PTGTE will undoubtedly have Norwegian patronage with Soleheime as the link man.

Otherwise the PTGTE is a case of some unknowns wanting to become known. Those wanting to be wanted by law enforcement officers are seeking to establish a mock government in exile for those in permanent exile. More likely, to be a Job bank for the favored boys of K.Pathmanathan (KP) with guaranteed pay packets. From the LTTE they received commissions for the amounts collected; to hold them to loyalty KP has to give a bonus. The new icons of the Diaspora are dollars and pounds-no more is it guns and ammunition.

It is in Sri Lanka they desired to have a state and are now members of a failed state in exile. Prabhakaran would never have permitted them to set up such a front. Now that the Rat is dead the Mice have come out to play. KP has to keep his loyal personal flock happy to survive and the collection box has to keep rolling with an Eelam that is permanently round the corner and is forever coming soon. Without the projected image of Eelam the till will soon run dry.

This will be the beginning of accelerating the bickering that has already surfaced in the Diaspora. Rival fractions will be formed to ground PTGTE. There are so many who desire to put the hand into the cash flow of the lucky dip bequeathed by Prabhakaran. The battle for the estate of Prabhakaran has begun with the formation of the PTGTE.

The Diaspora can remain the problem for the future for the host countries in Europe that paddle their cause to win their votes. For Sri Lanka, those that matter are those in the camps maintaining their national identity caring for their children to grow in a healthy environ and to live a life in Sri Lanka.

Diaspora will belong to the Dalai Lama’s generation. They are forever in search of a lost horizon-a Shangri la that will never be theirs. They have by choice made , stateless in the search for a state of their own. They need a name board to re launch after having re banded themselves under fancy names abroad. Those who lived in the shadow of Prabhakaran are adjusting themselves to live a life of a silhouette.

LTTE rose to fame triumphantly destroying rival groups fighting for a similar cause. Will the LTTE end its days destroying the competing claimants within itself?

A quick comeback trial is a high profile suicide attempt on a lone mission where only a crafty handler and a dumb cadre manipulated by a shrewd Diaspora cell abroad with call connections is required to detonate a bomb. A fast gateway on a flight for the handler will cover tracks. That bomb shell will make the tills jingle again with foreign coins to keep the Diaspora back in business.

- Asian Tribune -

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