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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2789

Prabhakaran -- an extinct volcano

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the man who set out to build his sand castle on the shores of illusive and elusive Eelam, is now facing the insurmountable problem of preventing the second tsunami (epicenter: Rajapaksa) sweeping away the shaky structures erected to please his infantile fantasies. Put simply, he does not know how to deliver his promise of Eelam – the first state for the 80 million Tamils who, he said, "do not have a country of their own."

Though he is moaning for 80 million Tamils how many of them are mourning for him? The underlying reality is that the 80 million Tamils can live without a state as they have done for centuries. Of this 80 million it is only Prabhakaran who needs a state to survive. Without it he is doomed. Without a state he has nowhere to go except deeper into Mohole in the ground. He is now stuck like a fly in glue. He can buzz but he can't make any moves. This, in short, is the message in his latest annual speech.

In 1995 when President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office he was singing a different song. He was arrogant. He was full of his own importance and self-belief that he alone had the capacity to make and break the national and international forces swirling around him. With the Western diplomats lining up to consult him he imagined he had the power to dictate terms to the world. He, in fact, said condescendingly in his 1995 speech that he would give the new President some time to come up with the solution. Not just any solution. It should be a solution that would satisfy him. But, like his over-worked unilateral declaration of peace which was never honoured, he did not give Mahinda Rajapaksa any breathing space. Within weeks he went on the offensive to provoke him, to weaken him and to catch him off guard before he could consolidate his position. He targeted the Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka. He targeted the President's brother, Gotabaya, the Defence Secretary. He was signaling that he had the fire power, the will power, the superior tactical power and the power of the Tamil people to force Mahinda Rajapakasa to dance to his tune.

Prabhakaran had every reason to be arrogant in 1995. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as President he inherited a defeated and dejected nation. In his capacity as Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe had handed over the north and the east to Prabhakaran on a platter and President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the phony intellectual, was about to make him the de jure ruler through her P-TOMS. In other words, the President and the Prime Minister were falling at his feet on the assumption that they must kiss the hand they cannot cut. If by any chance the Supreme Court had extended the period of Chandrika there was the possibility of her signing a truce with Prabhakaran surrendering to all his demands.

Prabhakaran in 1995 was firing on all cylinders going on the basis that he can advance to the next level from the base of Ranil Wickremesinghe's Ceasefire Agreement. His aim was to push Mahinda Rajapaksa whom he figured was going to be a weak political figurehead without the international backing like his co-signatory to CFA, Wickremesinghe. When Mahinda Rajapaksa took office in 1995 Prabhakaran seemed to be on the verge of splitting the nation into two. His 1995 speech indicated just that.

It was a gigantic challenge to the new President. The survival of his regime depended entirely on the way he faced this challenge. Prabhakaran's speech last week provides unassailable proof that it is his regime that if facing he biggest challenge of his career. It confirms that Mahinda Rajapaksa had turned the tables on the man who gave him notice when he assumed office in 1995. In 1997 it is Mahinda Rajapaksa who is dictating terms to Prabhakaran. Judging from the tone, the thrust and the contents of Prabhakaran's 1997 speech it is doubtful whether he is likely to make another one in 1998.

His latest speech is symptomatic of his pathetic plight. First, it lacks the theoretical underpinnings (however artificial and fake they may have been) of Anton Balasingham. Second, it is devoid of the fire he breathed into his previous speeches. Third, he is admitting defeat at the hands of man to whom he gave notice in 1995. Fourth, he has no rational explanation to give his people except to blame everybody else. Fifth, he resorts to the usual conspiracy theories of a defeated man who tends to scapegoat everyone who came to his aid except the Tamil diaspora. And sixth, he has nothing to offer for the future except to trot out the usual litany of complaints against the "Sinhala state", "Sinhala chauvinists", and "the treacherous Tamil paramilitary groups".

His euphemism for defeat is "the wounded Tamil psyche". He admits, in his own twisted way, that the ("unjust") war, the closing of the A-9 road ("economic blockade") , the capture of the east and the tightening of 'barbed wire" round the neck of Jaffna has wounded him mortally. Here he confesses that he has neither the east nor Jaffna. He makes a vain bid to cover up his losses with over-blown phrases like "Trincomalle, the famous Tamil capital" and "Batticoloa, the ancient cultural city of Tamils". These fictions are the concoctions of a deluded man who has not only lost his ground (literally) but also his marbles.

In his desperation he is hitting in all directions. For the first time, he is targeting the international community. He complains that the "Co-Chairs… have failed in their responsibilities." And "the exhausted Norwegian facilitators (are) silent". The conduct of the international community is "partisan and unjust". Indians intervened in their affairs not because they loved the Tamils but because of "its regional expansionist" agenda. And "the SLMM that was monitoring the peace covered its eyes, tied its hand behind back, and went to sleep in Colombo."

This litany of complaints against the international community is not only a blatant admission of his defeats in land, air and sea but also that he has no backing from the international community. Prabhakaran's complaints indicate that he can see the signs of his world crumbling but he cannot accept or grasp the consequences of the events that are running against him. His only defence is to project himself as the only pure, untainted, noble political saint in a world filled with evil men who are out to get him.

For instance, take the following statement: "We are not terrorists, committing blind acts of violence impelled by racist or religious fanaticism." The reference to "religious fanaticism" is a direct shot at the Muslims.

He has time to express "love and gratitude" to the Tamil diaspora and the Tamil-speaking world for providing him "abundant intellectual, material, monetary and many other resources" for him to carry on his unwanted and futile war. In the process he is unaware that he is dobbing in the Tamil expatriates who are denying that they are financing Prabhakaran's war of terror against his own Tamil people.

His speech also reflects the moral bankruptcy of a fascist regime that is making a desperate bid to survive on Tamil political fictions and rhetoric than any valid or logical substance. Any strategist who fails to look back and evaluate the past with critical honesty is doomed to fail. Besides, blaming others is not going to save him. His latest speech, like all his other statements, runs on this basic illogical and irrational track. How long is he going to blame others for his failures?

Ever since he took the first Tamil scalp in 1975 (the mild-mannered mayor of Jaffna, Alfred Duriyappah) he has had no alternative strategy to his intransigent and implacable politics of violence. Though he was not capable of articulating it so elegantly as Mao he was relying exclusively on his popular dictum that power comes out of the barrel of a gun. Following this dictum he had been firing from day one and he is still at the point where he began in 1975.

Today he and all his backers in the Tamil diaspora are baffled as to why Mao's dictum has not worked for him. Prabhakaran and his financiers in the Tamil diaspora have yet to learn that violence cannot deliver all their dreams. Misled by the initial military successes the Tamil disapora have failed to grasp the fundamental reality facing them: they have no future in Prabhakaran even if they sell all their movable and immovable assets in their domiciled lands.

If any proof is needed they should re-read Prabhakaran's 1997 speech. It would help them to re-asses their future and the future of the Tamils who are the victims of their delusions. They have the option of financing Prabhakaran as they have done before. This option would no doubt make them the most expensive grave diggers of their own people in Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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