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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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Norwegian Peace Initiative Ceasefire Agreement & Lifting of Ban on LTTE >  Quantity Deficit and Quality Surplus

 Quantity Deficit and Quality Surplus

10 June 2002

A Ceasefire Agreement brokered by the Norwegian Government is in force in Sri Lanka. This ceasefire means the cessation of armed struggle between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan armed forces. Therefore now we have to focus our attention and energy on the peaceful methods of political struggle. Our aim should be to Educate and enhance the understanding of our people. That is to continue our liberation struggle in an unabated way by �other means�.

According to the Ceasefire Agreement even the LTTE members can visit the army-controlled areas and engage in political activities there. So now at the height of our liberation struggle, there is a period of time when the LTTE members can visit the entire areas of Northern and Eastern provinces. Now they have the chance of visiting all people and interacting With them. Therefore all people concerned must make the full use of this invaluable opportunity. Through more discussions and interactions with our people, We must try to reevaluate, what we have done in the past? What lessons we have learnt from those past experiences? What are our current problems and how To overcome them and bring about a bright future for our people?

Situational Awareness

When you go for a flight training school, there they teach you about �situational awareness�. To know Where you are. If you are flying in an area where the Mountaintops are 10,000 feet high and you find yourself at 8,000 feet without knowing where you are, then you are in danger. As a pilot you should always be vigilant and aware of the place over which you are flying. That constant and continued �Situational awareness� is a must for a pilot. In the same way if our aim is to arrive safely at our destination then all members of our Tamil community must be aware of our precarious situation and act accordingly. Such a continuous �situational awareness� should permeate all aspects of our activities in life. Whenever we forget or abandon our situational awareness then we must know that we are getting into trouble.

Why this talk of �situational awareness�? As Tamils, even in India or in any other country we are a minority community. That means we are less in number and Therefore our political and other influences of having a say in matters is very much limited. So we have to find ways and means to compensate our decrease in quantity by increasing our quality, to offset our quantity deficit by quality surplus. And that is our basic �situational awareness�.

The first and foremost step to improve our quality and strength is having that situational awareness and as a result of it we must have the eager and earnest desire and a determination to improve our lot. We need to remind ourselves that political struggles are always contests of will where the other side tries weaken our will and determination and thereby try to defeat us. Hence we must try to educate and increase the awareness of our people with a conscious and dedicated effort. The winning of the minds and hearts of our people is more important than collecting money from them. To make my point clear I shall give an example from the Indian freedom struggle. Motilal Nehru, the father of the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was a leading lawyer in British India.

When Motilal joined the Indian freedom movement, he told Mahatma Gandhi that he can earn a lot of money by practising his law profession and donate that money to the Indian National Congress. But Mahatma Gandhi told Motilal that it is more important to give 'yourself' to the cause than giving 'your money' to the cause. Further, we must understand that in a freedom struggle sometimes we may lose a conquered territory of land but we never lose the conquered minds and hearts of our people. Once conquered it is ours thereafter. Besides, conquered land must lie inside a border or Boundary of a country, but conquered minds and hearts have no such spatial limitations. They can be inside or outside of a country. True awareness is the source power that motivate our people to make their various types of contributions willingly, to the liberation struggle. That is why that awareness and the resulting willingness is of primary importance.

Improving Qualities

Before the current ceasefire agreement, Sri Lanka was like an open-air prison for the Tamils living there. Hundreds of Tamils have been arrested on suspicion and tortured and held in prison without trial for long periods of time. The day-to-day living and movement of other Tamils are restricted through various passes systems and humiliating security checks by Sinhala armed forces. Even essential medicines are denied to them and an economic embargo is strictly enforced. Those who were able to escape this prison system there, are now living as refugees and immigrants in Western countries. So it is safe to say that Lankan Tamils are either living in prison or in exile. Our situation is just like that. Writing about his life in the Robben Island prison, Nelson Mandela says:

"Prison is designed to break one's spirit and destroy One�s resolve ...all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are. .......... We supported each other and gained strength from each other ... by sharing we multiplied whatever courage we had individually... the stronger ones raised up the weaker ones, and both became stronger in the process. Ultimately, we had to create our own lives in prison."

What Nelson Mandela wrote about his prison life? especially the intention of his oppressors, how they faced the situation and emerged from the prison 'Undiminished� should give us some clues to endure and end our sufferings.

As Mandela points out we must support each other, especially the stronger ones should help the weaker ones and multiply our courage and strength. As a minority community fighting against oppression we must be united and cooperate with others and act in a coordinated way. A minority community can't afford dissension and infighting among them. Already we have made such blunders and as a result have suffered much. Now we have to fight the battle against our own failures and incompetence. Our Tamil Intelligentsia living in Sri Lanka and outside must participate fully in our liberation struggle. Our thinkers and writers must contribute their best to bring about a high level of political awareness and Tamil national consciousness among our people. All of us must understand that our liberation struggle is our collective effort to regain our human dignity and as such it is our part of the worldwide struggle for human rights and human dignity. That is why all of our people must cooperate fully and should make a Coordinated and dedicated effort to win our rights. During the Indian freedom struggle Mahatma Gandhi wrote:

"I am sad to see how many of our men and women of India who are well bred, of high caste, of good education, and of means, who simply cannot see the truth of our cause for freedom and who simply will not involve themselves in India's problems. These good people are a curse to India - the curse of timid decency - and are a part of the tragedy of our times."

Therefore let us not become 'a curse' or 'a part of the tragedy'. Since we are forced to live in conditions over which we have little or no control, it become imperative that we gather 'assets' that can be taken with us anywhere. In other words we must try to gather more of the inner riches or weightless wealth. Most important of such weightless wealth is education.

Traditionally the Tamil community gives a pride of place to education. Every parent makes his or her maximum effort to give their children the best education possible. In a knowledge-based economy it will always pay to know more. Having a higher educational qualification is a passport that allows you to cross borders and boundaries easily. Besides only a high level of proper education and passion can give us an enduring sense of political awareness and Tamil national consciousness. Education must serve us not only as a means to obtain employment and earning but also as a motivating force for our awareness and emancipation.

The weaker can overcome the stronger. Because of the 'human factor�, that is the will to resist, seeking new and ingenious ways to fight injustice, to be relentless in energy and hope. It is human beings who make history and not the other way round. We must make use of all political means at our disposal - the power to think, plan,write and organize. No one is exempt from some obligation to our emancipation. In all seriousness we must first rely on ourselves and we must do that with a full commitment to success. We need to ask what it is that we can do, then by an act of collective will we must do it. It is slow and hard work but it is doable and achievable in the best sense.

In the post-September 11 world the only dependable thing we are left with is our own strength - the invisible and invincible riches. Because it is our own strength, therefore it is under our own control and others can't interfere in it. We must try to make the full use of it. Our shared sufferings, humiliations and misery have given our people some awareness and Tamil national Consciousness. Now we are presented with a period of time when we can deepen and strengthen those qualities. Cementing and strengthening our awareness is indispensable. The ultimate success of our struggle depend on our 'quality surplus�, that is we can earn our victory when we are only worthy of it.



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