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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings - Professor P Ramasamy > US Ban on LTTE - A Rash & Arbitrary Act

Tamil National Forum

Selected Writings by Prof P.Ramasamy

US Ban on LTTE - A Rash & Arbitrary Act

6 November 1997

His Excellency
The United States Ambassador
The American Embassy
376 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur

Your Excellency,

I am really saddened and disillusioned by the rash and arbitrary act of the U.S. State Department to list the LTTE as one of the terrorist organisations. Such an ill-conceived act gives out strong indications that the U.S. has capitulated to the wishes of the Sri Lanka government that relies on force to resolve the ethnic conflict with the Tamils. Furthermore, this decision indeed makes a mockery of the high ideals often advocated by the U.S. for advancement of peace and democracy. I an afraid the decision to ban the LTTE has emboldened the government to prolong the war.

To categorize the LTTE as a terrorist organisation is akin to calling the American struggle for independence from Britain more than 300 years ago as also terrorist in nature. This all encompassing and highly subjective interpretation would not spare any national liberation struggle except those that serve the ideological and political interests of the U.S. LTTE is not a TERRORIST ORGANISATION. It is the only organisation in Sri Lanka a that has the capability and the courage to effectively represents the interests of the majority of the Tamils in the face of Sinhala chauvinistic hostility.

 Of course, there are other Tamil groups, but the unfortunately most of them have capitulated to the wishes of the government. These groups operating under the shadow of the regime can hardly be considered as representatives of the Tamils. Even the feeble devolution package would not have been initiated without the formidable presence of the LTTE.

While the Sri Lankan government has approached many countries to ban the LTTE, it however, has not done so. Perhaps the U.S. State Department should have considered this simple fact before making the rash decision. The governments non-imposition of the ban is tacit admission on its part that, sooner or later, it has to talk to the LTTE. In others words, despite all the bad talk about the LTTE, the government itself is well aware that it is only the LTTE that has the backing of the majority of the Tamils.

Furthermore, the governments inability to militarily defeat the LTTE is another incontrovertible fact of the resilience and authenticity of the LTTE as the only effective representative of the Tamils. More than this, the Tamil diaspora in Malaysia, England, Europe and the countries have over the years have endorsed the LTTE's struggle for the emancipation of Tamils in Sri Lanka. It is not that the U.S. does not know about these, but unfortunately, geopolitical considerations have influenced the U.S. to adopt a decision that is basically a nonstarter in the first place.

The argument of the Sri Lankan government is that the U.S. decision will influence other countries to adopt similar decisions. Such decisions will be able to block the flow of foreign funds depended heavily by the LTTE. It must be realized that LTTE is not an organisation that has predicated it existence on the flow of foreign funds. While foreign funding from the Tamil diaspora is important, the very survival of the LTTE is based on the support it receives from the Tamil people in Sri Lanka itself.

Thus, even if the flow of foreign fund is restricted, the LTTE will be able to sustain itself on the basis of moral and intellectual support it continues to receive from Tamils and non-Tamils around the world. It is predicted by some independent observers that the LTTE has the capacity to conduct the struggle for liberation for many years to come. Ironically, the recent capture of Jaffna has only contributed to a massive influx of Tamil youths to the fold of the LTTE. In fact, the capture of Jaffna has widened the LTTE-s recruitment base.

It is rather unfortunate that the U.S. continues to repeat is historical follies. In the 1960s, the U.S. attempt to liberate Vietnam from the communists proved latter to be farce. The U.S. was defeated by the Vietnamese nationalists. For many years, U.S. along with Israel condemned the PLO as a terrorist organisation. Only much later it was realized that the continued non-recognition of the PLO would not guarantee the interests of the U.S. in the Middle East. The U.S. manipulation of the pathetic U.N. during the Korean war and much later in the war against Iraq ate examples to illustrate how international organisation have been used to serve the geopolitical interests of the U.S. Such actions by the U.S. have meant that it has little regard for international law and more importantly for the promotion of the world peace. Despite all the rehetoric, the U.S. still firmly believes in the infamous axiom: might is right.

I strongly believe that there is change for peace in Sri Lanka if countries like the U.S. stops taking side in the on-going conflict. A good start would be for the U.S. to rescind its earlier unpopular decision.

Yours sincerely,

Assoc. Prof. P. Ramasamy
Dept of Political Science
National University of Malaysia
43600 Bangi Selangor.



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