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 > Tsunami & Aftermath >  On Lakshman Kadirgamar & the Peace Process  - Somawansa Amarasinghe, Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna

The Gospel According to Rohana Wijeweera, Founder of the JVP -

"We know that nations are born only on the basis of bourgeois relationships and that a nation cannot exist without a common economic existence and that it is only by the fact of having independent economic existence that a nation differs from a nationality. Within the Asiatic system in Sri Lanka there existed a Sinhala nationality and a Tamil nationality. Scientifically this so. Before the introduction bourgeois production relationships Sri Lanka was made into unitary centralized state by the British imperialists under the sovereignty of Queen Victoria. Therefore after the establishment of bourgeois production relationships in Sri Lanka common economies were not created for the Sinhala nationality and the Tamil nationality separately. A centralized multinational state was established as well as an economy common to both nationalities. Therefore the nation thus born is the Sri Lankan nation. There is no other nation in the scientific sense here. The Sinhala and Tamil nationalities exist in a common economic life under the imperial bourgeois system but as different nationalities not wholly assimilated in multi-national sense. Therefore it is wrong to say that there exists in Sri Lanka either a Sinhala nation or a Tamil nation. Marxism-Leninism does not accept this. What exists is a Sinhala nationality, a Tamil nationality, a Moslem nationality and only a Sri Lanka nation..."

Why are we opposed to the federal system? "We Marxists, we proletarian revolutionaries oppose the division of the country and decentralization.  We oppose it without the least hesitation. Our teacher Marx was called a great centralist by his greatest disciple himself Lenin. Yes this is correct. We Marxists are centralists. We proletarian revolutionaries know very well of the immense benefits of large states and centralism.� The proletariat opposes the establishment of a federal system as a form of decentralization. The proletariat which realizes perfectly that greater and more centralized states serve their historic purpose better, opposes the decentralization of countries as well as always disagreeing to the decimation of countries.�. � the proletariat cannot agree to the use of the federal system to decentralize an existing united centralized state��

"..It is equally reactionary to consider the north and east as the traditional homelands of the Tamil nationality on the basis of the conditions that came into being after the 13th century and the conditions that were created more recently and to evict other peoples from these regions


On Lakshman Kadirgamar
& the Peace Process
Somawansa Amarasinghe,
Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
in Sinhala Owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times,
21 August 2005

"...We stood for administrative decentralization, he stood for federalism. We said how in Sri Lanka's context, federalism and separatism were entwined. He did not necessarily agree, but was eager to hear what we said. He considered them reasoned arguments... The LTTE has been guilty of all the crimes over which the western powers, the "International Community", has been campaigning against ... The LTTE should not be given visas by these countries. The JVP hopes to hold a major demonstration in London and in capitals of other countries for democracy and against the LTTE. We are asking Britain to deport Mr. Balasingham... If the LTTE resorts to war, as the signs indicate they will, we must prepare for self-defence. We must prepare now. The international community must support us in that legitimate self- defence..."

[see also 
V.Thangavelu Assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar
2.Sachi Sri Kantha - Farewell to Lakshman Kadirgamar
3.Sanmugam Sabesan  -  தி(ஒ)ரு லக்ஷ்மன் கதிர்காமரின்,�ஒரு தனி மனிதச்சாவு� ஒரு பதிவு ]

We are still in shock and in mourning about a person that we of the JVP and the country loved and admired. It is time for all of us to take stock and for us to take the opportunity to say a few words on how we of the JVP interacted with Minister Kadirgamar.

Mr. Kadirgamar fought for the integrity of the country. Equally important, and perhaps more so, he fought for democracy and human rights for all the people especially of the Tamils living in the North and East.

When we first heard of Mr. Kadirgamar over 10 years ago, in 1994 we had not met him in person. We had only read about his straightforward and honest actions through the media. We followed his work over the years. In 2004 when we came to form the new government we thought him the most suitable for the highest office then available. It is no secret that we campaigned strongly for him. Others who now unreservedly extol his virtues would understand and appreciate our viewpoint. We believe we must all learn from him the qualities of honesty and straightforwardness.

As we began to meet him regularly, we became friends. Our friendship was based on an agreement to disagree if needed. We soon discovered that he behaved correctly, probably because he had grown up in mature environments both in Sri Lanka and internationally, where correct norms on how to conduct business was followed.

He never spoke without an agreed agenda. So our discussions were up to the point, businesslike. He was always very punctual. If he was even five minutes delayed he would apologise. There were many times he would cancel other appointments to meet us. This was because he understood the basic nature of coalition politics. We were the major coalition partner and he took our viewpoints seriously. And when we met again at the next meeting he would go back to our earlier agenda and especially draw attention to those areas where there were disagreements. He never tried to gloss over or conceal genuine differences.

He was honest in politics, in discussions and in personal dealings. As he began to know us, he started in turn to appreciate some of our actions especially our honesty. And he said so several times. We, of course, came from different histories and different backgrounds. But because of his honesty we developed a strong bond. After official matters were over, he wanted us to stay behind and chat freely as normal friends, not political associates. We regret that in our busy political life we could not oblige him always.

After we left the Sandanaya too, he reiterated the invitation to chat in such a manner. It is wrongly put by some quarters that he blindly followed our ideas. That was not true. We stood for administrative decentralization, he stood for federalism. We said how in Sri Lanka's context, federalism and separatism were entwined. He did not necessarily agree, but was eager to hear what we said. He considered them reasoned arguments.Comment 1

But these differences were no barrier for civilized discussion, between us. Both sides agreed that the final solution to the national question was by discussion and dialogue of all the parties to the conflict. When we spoke at length about consistency in democracy and the need to wipe out inequalities in all communities, he listened with considerable attention. We both agreed that democracy should be the foundation for any future in any part of Sri Lanka. If the people were for federal solution on the democratic will, then so be it. If the people wanted administrative decentralization, then so be it.

We both believed that in the search for democracy and equality in the country, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and Malays should not be considered second-class citizens and also should not be condemned to a dictatorship without democracy and human rights.

He together with us did not believe that the LTTE, the major suppresser of free will and democracy, could in any way be considered the sole representative of Tamils.

We learned from him how international diplomacy was conducted. He mentioned to us the working of human rights organizations in the United Nations and other international organizations. When we were ignorant of certain matters he pointed out our own failings and we appreciated it. We learned from him.

He confessed several times that before meeting us he had a wrong impression about us - given to him by interested parties. He appreciated our idealism and he repeated several times that he wanted our idealism to be harnessed in the forward march of the country. We know that many times he had corrected others' false views on us and showed them our true nature. We found him appreciating views, irrespective of a person's social origin. And he would openly say so when he disagreed. There was no coercion whatsoever or attempt to force his views on others without first convincing them.

As we came to know him personally, we were glad that we had proposed him to high office, although then only knowing him from his actions. When he contested the post of Secretary of the Commonwealth we were relieved that he did not succeed because we felt that he could serve the motherland better than serving the world. And we did express these sentiments to him to his face. He gave us his broad smile.

After the Sandanaya was dissolved we spoke with him. He was disappointed. We said that this was not the first Sandanaya or the last. And we said that whatever be the fate of the political alliance, our appreciation of him would not diminish. Later when we met him for a non-political chat we found him as open as ever. He did not betray SLFP secrets but clearly his discomfort on such issues as PTOMS were plain to see.

Today our country is in deep trouble. The prime and first duty of any country's leaders is to maintain the country's borders intact. It is for this purpose that countries whatever their size or nature from whichever part of the world, maintain an army and a foreign service.

Today, our borders have been eroded in an attempt to carve out a separate state. There are no signs that the LTTE has given up these aims. In the Wanni today there exists an illegal entity from which the government is debarred and which at every turn aims to legalise it as a separate state and expand its boundaries. Eradicating this entity should be the legitimate objective of any person aspiring to be a leader of the country.

We are today in a phony peace trap. It is difficult to get out of it. Within this trap our sovereignty is continuously getting eroded. If this cease-fire was not phony we should not have any LTTE assassinations. Minister Kadirgamar should have been able to cycle freely from his official residence to his own home for his swim.

The LTTE leaders have said several times recently that they are prepared to go to war. This was possibly meant to blackmail us. The government on the other hand has bent over backwards every time to accommodate the LTTE's unreasonable and increasing demands. And so does the international community. The LTTE is not so strong as it seems. They are afraid of freedom and democracy for the Tamils. It has lost effective control of the East. It is maintained partly by the government.

The United States and Britain have recently seen terrorism, namely attacks on noncombatants. These are by no means legitimate armed struggles. The LTTE has been guilty of all the crimes over which the western powers, the "International Community", has been campaigning against and even went to war for. Comment 2

The LTTE has done ethnic cleansing, in fact it invented it. It has the largest amount of suicide bombers, in fact it invented it. It recruits children as soldiers�this too was invented by the LTTE. It prevents democracy.

Those who are genuinely against war should now pressurize the LTTE. There are strict laws against terrorism in the USA and Britain.

The LTTE should not be given visas by these countries. The JVP hopes to hold a major demonstration in London and in capitals of other countries for democracy and against the LTTE. We are asking Britain to deport Mr. Balasingham.

We are also advocating both abroad and locally, the highest transfer of resources to rebuild the devastated areas in the North and East. We also want the greatest possible welfare to the population there, delivered through the existing government machinery.

It is time now to ask some direct questions. Will the LTTE come for peace talks? Democracy and human rights for Tamils should be the main subject of such talks. If the LTTE resorts to war, as the signs indicate they will, we must prepare for self-defence. We must prepare now. The international community must support us in that legitimate self- defence. If the International community governments do not come to our assistance, we will appeal directly to the terrorism-affected people of US, Britain, France, and other countries. This would be similar to what they did for us in our time of need when the tsunami hit us.Comment 3

Comment by tamilnation.org

Comment 1

As Mr.Amarasinghe points out, "it is time for all of us to take stock" and it may be heplful to learn something from the words of Benedict Anderson quoted in What is a Nation?  "... Nationalism has proved an uncomfortable anomaly for Marxist theory and precisely for that reason, has been largely elided, rather than confronted. How else to account for the use, for over a century of the concept of the 'national bourgeoisie' without any serious attempt to justify theoretically the relevance of the adjective? Why is this segmentation of the bourgeoisie - a world class in so far as it is defined in terms of the relations of productions - theoretically significant?

A nation is an imagined political community... It is imagined as a community, because regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep horizontal comradeship. Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings."

And, perhaps, also from V.Kiernan quoted in What is a Nation? "A nation is not merely a historical category , but a historical category belonging to a definite epoch, the epoch of rising capitalism." Stalin's formula appears in many ways close to the mark, but it applies much better to the handful of original nation states in the West than to their imitations further a field; it applies far less well still to the majority of nationalist movements as distinct from nations.  Marxism has often slurred over the distinction between these two things, and made modern nationalism, as well as the classical nation state, an alter ego of capitalism... Like religion,.. or any other great emotive force, nationalism is ambivalent, and can escape very completely from a prescribed political channel. Even in its origins, it was a complex phenomenon, deriving both from the solidarity and from the divisions of society. It would have astonished Marx to see socialism owing so much to partnerships with nationalism in Afro-Asia and in the Soviet Union during the second world war... "

Comment  2

Mr.Somawansa Amarasinghe is ofcourse right to emphasise that by "International Community" he means 'western powers' and not India - and it is to this "International Community" that he appeals, when he urges that 'the international community must support us in  (our) legitimate self- defence'. Interestingly, Mr. Amarasinghe makes no such appeal to India. India, it appears, is already 'on side' so to speak.  The recent words of Bilahari Kausikan, Singapore Second Permanent Secretary to Foreign Ministry come to mind:  "Small states survive only in the interstices created by the major powers. International relations is not a love affair; nor is it a seminar where wit and logic must prevail." 

Comment 3

Nadesan Satyendra in Power and Principle, 1994 "...The Tamil struggle for freedom is just because it arose in response to decades of ever widening and deepening oppressive alien Sinhala rule. It is lawful because every people have the right to freely choose their political status - and no one people may seek to rule another. It is lawful also because Tamil sovereignty which had lain dormant during the period of successive British and Sinhala rule, was resuscitated with the break in legal continuity in 1972. The Tamil struggle for freedom is principled because the Tamil people do not deny the existence of the Sinhala nation but seek to associate with it freely and on equal terms. ...But, we have learnt on the hard anvil of experience that principle without power is powerless. We are not a people of servile pleaders for fair play and abject supplicants for justice..."




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