Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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This book is dedicated to

the Tamils who perished waiting for justice

Preface Introduction Conclusion: Concept of Peace through Self Determination Table of Contents

[see also  Struggle for Tamil Eelam -  Overview ]

From the Preface

"This book traces the poignant history of Tamils in Sri Lanka after independence.It catalogues the Sri Lankan Tamils� descent from a once thriving vibrant Nation to one that is today fighting for its very survival. This is a story about how a majority population consumed with religious chauvinism can corrupt a democratic process with untold consequences.The book is organised into three sections covering the physical harm suffered by the Tamil community, the destruction of their cultural heritage and the attempts at negotiating a settlement which has come to nothing. The book also strikes a hopeful note at the end on how lasting peace can be achieved from the rubble of destruction. The reader is likely to find some images depicting examples of violence difficult and is left to imagine the suffering endured by not only the victims but also their families and communities over the years. Unlike the usual Sri Lankan state sponsored propaganda material that is normally seen on the international news media, this is refreshingly narrated from a Tamil perspective - one that rarely gets an airing on the worldstage. A reader with limited time and interest, used to the democratic system in theWestern world with its checks and balances tends to give credibility to a government�s statements over any other. In Sri Lanka, the reality is far from the �truth� claimed by its Government. By systematically documenting the key events, this book is bound to add to the reader�s knowledge of what Tamils in Sri Lanka have endured post independence in 1948."

From the Introduction

Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon): a beautiful island off the south coast of India, and a land rich with sandy beaches, rolling hills and ancient temples, where hundreds of thousands of tourists visit every year and enjoy the friendly hospitality of the locals. A harmonious nation, where all communities � Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims � live side-by-side participating in the national life as brothers. Perhaps this is the image of Sri Lanka that most people have of the country; at least, this is the image the Sri Lankan government tries to project to the world, spending millions of dollars on public relations.

Beneath the veneer of this �picture postcard� image lies a country that has increasingly become genocidal towards Tamils; a brutal society in which the fundamental rights of some of its people are denied. The judiciary, polity and the armed forces are corrupt and stacked against the Tamils. The brutality and lack of accountability puts the worst dictatorships in the shade. Sri Lanka is widely considered as a failed state and only propped up by international aid.

This work is an illustration of the post-independence history of Sri Lanka from a Tamil perspective. In particular, it deals with the plight endured by the Tamils at the hands of their new colonial masters, the Sinhalese, and how the Sinhala Buddhist hegemony betrayed the trust of the Tamils and pushed them towards the restoration of their nationhood.

The engagement and efforts of the International Community in the resolution of the confl ict and the effect this has had on the confl ict itself are detailed here. The views of the Tamil nation, the Tamil diaspora, and the Tamils� aspirations for the resolution of confl ict are laid out, and a process for reaching lasting peace is suggested. This work seeks to set the record straight by challenging the myth created by those with vested interests in the failure of the Tamil�s quest for nationhood. Authors have taken care to be sensitive with photographic illustrations; however, some readers may fi nd certain images distressing. They have been nevertheless included in order to demonstrate the depth of the suffering of Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.

Conclusion: Concept of Peace through Self Determination

4.1 Representation of Tamil Aspirations

Tamils have come through a sixty-year journey of oppression and brutality at the hands of every post-independence Sri Lankan government. For the fi rst thirty years, they struggled for their rights through non-violent agitation. Having tried all other avenues, these peace-loving people were forced to take up arms to fi ght for their freedom. With the loss of over hundred thousand civilians and over twenty one thousand freedom fi ghters, legitimate calls for Tamil nationhood continue to grow. The bitter lessons of history have left the Tamils in no doubt that if the LTTE were to be militarily defeated, ethnic cleansing on a grand scale would follow, wiping out Tamil identity from the island of Sri Lanka. It is therefore of no surprise that the vast majority of Tamils, both in Sri Lanka and around the world, see the LTTE as the sole protectors of their identity and heritage. It therefore follows that the actions of the International Community to constrain and weaken the LTTE contribute to the demise of Tamil identity and heritage.

4.2 Greatest Impediment to Accomodation

The once thriving centuries old Tamil nation now fi ghting for its very identity is a testament to how far successive Sri Lankan governments have dispossessed it of its rights. The Sinhala Buddhist mono-ethnic vision of Sri Lanka as all theirs has been the driving force behind this systematic process over the past 60 years. The nationalistic tendencies gripping the Sinhala state today aided and abetted by the highly politicised Buddhist clergy makes accommodation impossible in Sri Lanka without external infl uence.

4.3 Conflict Resolution and the International Community�s Self-Interest

Given Tamil history, it would be hard to bemoan the peace and freedom the Tamils seek - a status taken for granted by people around the world. Yet, the people of civilised, democratic nations have unwittingly allowed their governments to contribute - and in some instances actively assist and participate in � the genocide of an entire people. Tamils have not only faced a brutal oppressor at home, but have hitherto also faced an unprincipled International Community too consumed by its own self-interest, albeit minimal, to act in an even-handed fashion in the resolution of this confl ict.

The protracted nature of the conflict can be partly attributed to the International Community viewing it through the prism of its self-interest. India and China, anxious how the birth of a new nation in their region would play out in their internal politics, have instead been prepared to sacrifice the Tamils� right to self-determination. The West, following 9/11, perversely linked the LTTE with the �War on Terror�, even though the LTTE had not harmed any interests of the West.

4.4 Miscalculation by the International Community

Despite the objections of the Norwegian government (facilitator of the Ceasefire Agreement), governments in the West proceeded to proscribe the LTTE as a terrorist organisation. The perversity of this proscription, and the draconian terrorism laws that accompany it, not only make a negotiated solution to the long-running conflict more difficult, but also vilify the humanitarian efforts undertaken by Tamils in the West to alleviate the suffering of Tamils in Sri Lanka. It is widely accepted that the West�s proscription of the LTTE was the catalyst for the Sri Lankan government abrogating the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement and pursuing the current brutal military operation against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. This has resulted in thousands being killed and several thousand being made homeless.

4.5 Primary Political Issue for Tamils Living Abroad

Over one million Sri Lankan Tamils live outside of Sri Lanka - a consequence of the brutality they have faced in Sri Lanka over the years. The majority of these Tamils live in the West and contribute immensely to the fabric of the societies in which they live. They feel betrayed by their respective governments whose foreign policies have hurt them and instead helped their tormentors - the Sri Lankan regime. The suffering of their brethren in Sri Lanka and the risk of loss of heritage remain the primary political issues for the vast majority of Tamils around the world.

4.6 A Proposal for a Process to achieve Lasting Peace

Given the years of brutality and betrayal by successive Sri Lankan governments, it is unrealistic to expect Tamils to now accept political accommodation within Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has demonstrated over the past sixty years that it is structurally incapable of bringing about a peaceful resolution to this confl ict. Peace in Sri Lanka can be best achieved through self-determination and the resurrection of the historic Tamil homeland, i.e. the recognition of Tamil Eelam.

The International Community should cast aside the minimal vested interests it has in Sri Lanka and take a moral stand on bringing about an equitable resolution to the confl ict. By taking decisive action to stop the genocide in Sri Lanka, recognizing the legitimate rights of the Tamils and deproscribing the LTTE, they can restore the moral equivalence necessary to achieving lasting peace in Sri Lanka. Perversely, such a stand may well serve the International Community�s interests by bringing stability to the region and restoring its moral authority on this issue in the eyes of the world.

Table of Contents

1. Documented genocide suffered by Tamils in Sri Lanka

1.1 State-aided Sinhala settlements in the Tamil homeland - Ethnic Cleansing 8
1.2 The Disenfranchisement of Tamils of Indian Origin 10
1.3 State-sponsored Riots against Tamils 12
1.4 The 1983 Pogrom � a Watershed Event 16
1.5 Progress from Pogroms to Aerial Bombings 20
1.6 The Torture and Murder of Civilians to win Submission 22
1.7 Rape as a Means of Suppression 26
1.8 The Assassination of Political Leadership and Human Rights Activists 28
1.9 Suppression and Violence against the Media 32
1.10 The Obstruction and Silencing of Aid Workers 34

2. Structural Genocide Inflicted on the Tamil Nation

2.1 The Destruction of Infrastructure in the Tamil Homeland 36
2.2 An Economic Embargo leading to Starvation 40
2.3 Internally Displaced People and Ethnic Cleansing 42
2.4 Violation of the Fundamental Rights of Tamils 44

3. The Futility of Brokering Peace with Sri Lanka

3.1 The Historical Background of Sinhala and Tamil Kingdoms 48
3.2 The Inequity of Sri Lankan Independence 50
3.3 Sinhala Leaders and their mono-ethnic mindset 52
3.4 Broken Promises and Torn-up Agreements 54
3.5 A Bi-lateral Agreement to Impose a Solution on Tamils 58
3.6 The Evolution of the LTTE and Who They Represent 62
3.7 An Agreement under International Community Facilitation 66
3.8 Sinhala Hegemony Against any Solution 70
3.9 The International Community�s Vested Interests in the Conflict 72
3.10 Enlightened Approach to Overcome Structural Impediments 74
3.11 �Pongu Thamil� � a Global Resurrection of Tamil Pride 76

4. Concept of Peace Through Self-Determination

4.1 Representation of Tamil Aspirations 80
4.2 Greatest Impediment to Accomodation 80
4.3 Conflict Resolution and the International Community�s Self-Interest 80
4.4 Miscalculation by the International Community 81
4.5 Primary Political Issue for Tamils Living Abroad 81
4.6 A Proposal for a Process to achieve Lasting Peace 81





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