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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2425

Hilary Clinton gives terrorists a boost

From Mallika Wanigasundara

According to Ms Hilary Clinton frontrunner in the US Presidential election there are obviously good and bad terrorists, just as over the years the West has persisted in the view that there are ‘our’ terrorists and ‘your’ terrorists. This has enabled `Sri Lankan Tamil supporters of the LTTE to carry on huge criminal and illegal operations in the US, Canada, Britain and other EU countries the Nordic countries and Australia. Not much help was ever been extended to Sri Lanka to rid the country of this menace.

Her recent statement to Guardian Unlimited gave a huge boost to terrorists everywhere who would hope that they could fall into the same Tiger pet pool. If she does win the election and persists in this view it would let some terrorists off the leash and Sri Lanka has real reason to think that this is a danger signal.Hilary Clinton: I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been used throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial. There is personality driven terrorist objectives. The bottom line is that you cannot lump all terrorists together. And I think we’ve got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raison d’etre of terrorists.Hilary Clinton: I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been used throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial. There is personality driven terrorist objectives. The bottom line is that you cannot lump all terrorists together. And I think we’ve got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raison d’etre of terrorists.

This is what she said: I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been used throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial. There is personality driven terrorist objectives. The bottom line is that you cannot lump all terrorists together. And I think we’ve got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raison d’etre of terrorists.

And this is the crunch for Sri Lanka: I mean what the Tamil Tigers are fighting for in Sri Lanka or the Basque separatists in Spain or the insurgents in al Anbar province may only be connected by tactics……….I think one of our mistakes has been painting with such a broad brush which has not been particularly helpful in understanding what we are up against those who pursue terrorism for whichever ends they are seeking.

In one fell swoop she transforms some terrorists who could have mainly electoral benefits for her or her party into national liberation fighters with favored status and immunity from prosecution for crime, as has been happening for so long in the US Britain Canada and Norway. What she means is that some brands of terrorism can be justified, however gruesome their killing machine is, and however repressive their regimes are , if you approve of the motivation for their causes and goals.

This is the kind of sympathetic understanding that the LTTE yearns for especially at this moment when its fortunes are skidding downwards. We have no doubt that sympathizers, supporters and fund raisers of the LTTE have broad satisfied grins painted across their faces.

This clearly means that the end justifies the means, and the reasons why politicians go soft on even the criminal and inhuman tactics of terrorists is not hard to guess. Clinton’s stance means that she is rejecting the position taken by the United Nations and the postulates of the Geneva Convention.

Most terrorism experts lump Al Qaeda and the LTTE together, but in US thinking one can see another direction in which ‘our’ terrorists’ are moving. This is another twist in US interpretation not very different to Clinton’s views, which favor this favored status. Mr Robert O Blake US Ambassador in Sri Lanka had this clarification to make on national television Rupavahini at the end of last year. He said:

"It would be dangerous to make comparisons between one country and the next. The US is fighting stateless organizations like Al Qaeda. The Al Qaeda is out to kill as many Americans as possible all over the world and do not have any political objectives.’

On the LTTE he says: Though the LTTE surely is pursuing terrorist objectives it has the ultimate objective to establish some sort of framework where the rights of Tamils can be respected’.

It is incredible that the political and religious objectives of Al Qaeda to wipe out all Christians Jews and other sinners from Muslim lands and drive the Israelis out of Palestine has been overlooked by Blake who is expressing the US view. And the monstrous killers of the LTTE now running a dictatorial, repressive regime in two and half districts in the north, and strangling the unfortunate Tamil population into slavery, are believed to be able to transmogrify it overnight into a benign, democratic, enlightened, civilized benevolent outfit for the benefit of the Tamils.

It seems difficult to believe that the woman who is aspiring to be the future President of the world’s sole super power should say some strange things , like for instance that terrorism has been used throughout history. In past centuries mankind has been horrific in its cruelty to human beings.Whole populations have been driven out of towns and villages just like the ethnic cleansing practised by the LTTE; non-combatant civilians including children have been massacred as the LTTE has been doing in unprotected Sinhala villages and through the bombing of civilian centres; in the historic past that Clinton refers to so blithely in her own country indigenous populations have been decimated by newly-arrived alien conquerors.

In other countries whole communities have been massacred for their religious beliefs or forcibly converted. Religious wars have been fought in Europe and thousands massacred. In an older version of the clash of civilisations metal clad Crusaders have marched to war to save Christendom. Prisoners of war have been systematically killed. We need hardly mention the millions who have been shot or gassed for their ethnicity in the Europe from which the ancestors of Clinton’s people came.

Then, is this the kind of terrorism that Clinton has gone soft on? This is terrorism practiced in times of war turmoil and during clashes of ideology.

But out of that primitive bestiality we have evolved over the centuries into more humane, human beings. And especially for times of war we have fashioned international, legal civilized instruments for the protection of not only innocents and non-combatants but combatants as well.

This is the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters and that time and the present.

We come to objectives and motivations. The LTTE’s objective is Eelaam and nothing less, a separate state established in the north and east of Sri Lanka covering one third of the land area and two thirds of the coastline. Sri Lanka’s population is nineteen odd million. Of this two million are Tamils. But of this two million one million or a little more are living abroad or in the south of the country outside the north and east. In fact 54 per cent of Tamils living in Sri Lanka live in the south in peace with the Sinhalese and the Muslims.

This is what V Anandasangaree, veteran politician, former MP and leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front who has put his life on the line and is on the hit list of the LTTE, has to say about Eelaam in an interview he gave the ‘Sunday Observer’ on Nov 4th 2007: The LTTE is back to zero. Forget about Eelaam. Eelaam is not a thing wanted by the Tamils of the north and east. Eelaam is never achievable and the Tamils will strongly oppose it. The international community is against it and India is much concerned. Tamils have lost all their rights and Kilinochchi is like a graveyard. It is impossible to have Eelaam with a thousand mile boundary and the need for southern markets.

Now for tactics which are glossed over. Assassination of heads of state like R Premadasa , President of Sri Lanka and Rajiv Gandhi Prime Minister of India. Attempted assassination of the President of Sri Lanka, the Commander of the Sri Lankan army, the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. Assassination of Sinhala and Tamil top level politicians , too long a list to name and more Tamils than Sinhalese, Mayors of Jaffna, government agents and other public servants, school principals, businessmen, dissidents and other civilians. Most dastardly was the massacre of thirty one student bhikkus and their principal and of 678 police officers who surrendered to the LTTE on the stupid orders of President Premadasa.

The LTTE has carried out genocide carried out on a massive scale mainly through the use of suicide bombers, massacres of Sinhala peasants, pregnant mothers and babies by hacking them to death with machetes to save on bullets. Killing of Muslims praying in mosques and Buddhists worshipping at the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura and bombing of economic and religious targets such as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the oil installations, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, airplanes, buses, trains and bus stands.

The underage children of Tamils reduced to slavery in LTTE controlled areas are recruited forcibly by the LTTE; it is demanded of each family that they offer one child to the LTTE and university students are not allowed to join their universities unless this is done. Middle aged adults are forcibly inducted into the LTTE forces for military training and they are seen marching in the sun in saris, sarongs and trousers. Ethnic cleansing drove out 70,000 Muslims and 23,000 Sinhalese from Jaffna.

The cynical international community and the Tigers supporters would say stop the war and go into negotiations. The LTTE has spurned six attempts at negotiations and walked out on them. On talks with the LTTE we are left with what Douglas Devananda leader of the EPDP and a Tamil Minister in the present government has to say: Even if one achieved such a feat as brushing the teeth of a cobra, ploughing the sea or squeezing an elephant through the eye of a needle one cannot make peace with the LTTE.

- Asian Tribune -

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