TAMIL NATIONAL FORUM
Selected Writings -
Eelam Tamils: Highlighting crimes against peace
23 November 2006
when the Co-chairs [U.S; E.U; Norway and Japan] met in Washington, D.C.,
there hardly was any policy change as far as the Tamils are concerned. With
alarming unanimity the Quartet announced that
“…the LTTE is a terrorist group responsible for massive
bloodshed, we hold the Tamil Tigers responsible…we are not neutral in this
One must be grateful for the crudeness of meting out such
lop-sided spaghetti western justice — at least we must be thankful for the
openness of attitude on the part of the diplomats, in which admittance to
non-neutrality is claimed. There was sadly, no concern shown for the lives of
the Eelam Tamils.
Hundreds upon hundreds are slaughtered either by the state
forces or by state sponsored Para-militaries. Over 1000 Tamil civilians have
lost their lives since Rajapaksha regime took on the reins of power since
November 2005. This includes
members of parliament,
human rights activists,
– any one who dares to raise their neck over the parapet!
Multitude of Tamils have become victims of the ‘crime of
proximity’. If you happen to be
the vicinity of a bomb blast or some thing of a similar nature; and if you
are a Tamil then, your survival rate is zero.
Tamils have succumbed to aerial bombardment in the North east.
The whole of the Jaffna peninsula is facing forced starvation owing to the Alpha
9 closure – notoriously nicknamed as the “road to perdition”.
Yet the burden of blame is on the Tamils. Surprised? Not at all.
There is a logical corollary to these one-sided approach. There are of course,
many a historical precedence. But I would for the sake of brevity, underscore
just that one central point.
One is compelled or compressed to view the world according to the ‘gospel’ of
Washington [D.C]. One ought to reflect on the American goals. One is coerced
into identifying with the aims and principles NOT of the UN and the
international law, but of the US. Remember the almighty refrain: If you are not
with US then you are against US.
Eelam Tamils ought to be working very hard at illuminating the western public
that there is a sharp difference between terror and resistance. The Tamils
[Tamil Tigers] have every
right to freedom, self-determination and independence as derived from the UN
charter. When a people are systematically denied of that right and are
victimised by systemic
state terror, then of course, they have the moral right to defend and resist
arms as the last resort. People through out history have resisted against
racist regimes and colonial powers.
It is only right that any intelligent person would think that the world powers
are labelling the Tamil Tigers as terrorists
for a convenient reason. If the Quartet are willing to support overtly the
Sri Lankan terrorist state then, it reveals their moral imbecility. More over,
it tells the Tamils that they are more concerned not about the balance of power
but with the balance of terror. That is the stark-naked difference here. This
nuanced minor detail impinges on geo-political master plan of the US.
Tamils ought to advertise targeting the western public that the goals of the
Sinhala regime is identical in
doctrine and ideology of Hitler. It is ONLY the Tamil Tigers who have had
the temerity, political acumen (thanks to annar Palacinkam) and military
strength to out wit the majoritarian Sri Lankan Armed Forces. So the quest of
the Sinhala forces along side the pressure of the international community to
circle around the single question of disarmament of Tigers is unreasonable at
worst; bloody minded at its best. It is like asking David to stand before
Goliath without the singular sling and five polished stones. If David looses his
aim then the whole nation will be polished off the earth! That is how serious
the ground reality is for the survival of the Eelam Tamils.
There is however among other truisms a singular recalcitrant fact, the Diaspora
ought to keep repeating in advertising the struggle to the western public: The
Tamil Tigers is the Tamil army with a
(De facto) state.
The current stratagem of the Rajapaksha regime is to wipe out that reality. In
the name of local and national security; supra-national and regional security
the argument that the Tigers are a “security threat” is a hollow drum. It is for
the Tamils to show the world how hollow this argument is.
The De facto state is a symbol and reality that challenges the Sinhala hegemony.
Therefore, the difference here is Sri Lanka is a state with an army; while the
Tigers are an army (socio-politico movement) with a parallel state within the
Tamil home land. Now this fact of reality is a sore thumb to the Quartet and
the Sinhala regime.
Most of my readers are aware that I have consistently held a dim view of the
so-called Oslo inspired peace process. One of the reasons for my humble
stand was that I identified many similarities between the Sri Lankan Sinhala –
Eelam Tamil peace process and the “Oslo peace process” between Palestinians and
In his most recent publication Chomsky writes,
Ben-Ami, considered a dove in the Israeli spectrum, published an
academic study in which he out lined the goal of the Oslo ‘peace process’:
to establish a ‘neo-colonial’ dependency for the Palestinians, which will be
Things have hardly changed in their plight even after so many
years. There is however another note worthy lesson here. The Palestinians have
been portrayed by the mainstream corporate western media as the treacherous
terrorists who preferred violence instead of choosing peace.
The Quartet’s posture with the Tamils is no different.
The Sinhala regime and the Quartet are very worried about Colonel Soosai and his
sea Tigers. They fear the capture of Trinco may be caused by underwater
demolition and other strategic manoeuvres.
surveillance of international sea lanes is paramount in their mind. Indian
installations in Trinco and other geo-political interests of the region might be
jeopardized. That is a concern – imagined or real. In order for these fears to
not become a real nightmare they have to now give military support and delivery
systems to the Sinhala regime in order to neutralise the Tamil Tigers. And in
the course of events, the deal might also include the
international community pretending to be asleep while the genocidal intent
of the Sinhala regime continues without any international condemnation!
Hence the Quartet had to play their tune without any concealment in Washington.
Finally, I have used the word ‘advertise’ in this piece purposefully. The
Diaspora lobby must break into the mainline PR/advertising world and of course,
raise funds if need be, in order to advertise the real plight of Tamils and
expose the egregious propaganda of the Hitlerite regime of Sri Lanka to the
western public. Things have moved on from terrorism to horrorism in Sri
Lanka.And it is now that the Tamils must make that all too important difference.
Father Chandiravarman Sinnathurai is right to emphasise the
need to bring out in the open the strategic imperatives which impel the
actions of the 'international community'. As for breaking into 'the
mainline PR/advertising world' we may need to recognise that the
notion of a 'liberal'
or 'independent' news media is an enduring and influential political
"...The notion of a “liberal” national news media is
one of the most enduring and influential political myths...the larger
fallacy of the “liberal media” argument is the idea that reporters and
mid-level editors set the editorial agenda at their news organizations.
In reality, most journalists have about as much say over what is
presented by newspapers and TV news programs as factory workers and
foremen have over what a factory manufactures. That is not to say
factory workers have no input in their company’s product: they can make
suggestions and ensure the product is professionally built. But top
executives have a much bigger say in what gets produced and how. The
news business is essentially the same.
News organizations are
hierarchical institutions often run by strong-willed men who insist that
their editorial vision be dominant within their news companies. Some
concessions are made to the broader professional standards of
journalism, such as the principles of objectivity and fairness. But
media owners historically have enforced their political views and other
preferences by installing senior editors whose careers depend on
delivering a news product that fits with the owner’s prejudices.
Mid-level editors and reporters who stray too far from the prescribed
path can expect to be demoted or fired. Editorial employees intuitively
understand the career risks of going beyond the boundaries..."
Robert Parry in
Price of the 'Liberal Media' Myth, 2003
The political reality is that which John Harrington
pointed out many years ago -
".... in most cases the media present news and events
in a manner that not only agrees with the views of the powerful, but
actually supports their domination.... the maintenance of order is the
key idea... in earlier times violence and the threat of physical force
was used to maintain order. But today control is pursued most
effectively through ‘controlling the common sense’....the dominated are
encouraged to see the world as the powerful do ... (by articulating)
different visions of the world in such a way that their potential
antagonism (to the dominant view) is neutralised...."
John Harrington in
Media, Framing, and the Internet: Dominant Ideologies Persist, 1998
The western media follows the flag and the
dominated are encouraged to see the world as the powerful
do. The western media know that to be openly one sided is to
be dismissed as being partial and propagandist. The trick is
to appear balanced and articulate different visions of the
world in such a way that their potential antagonism
to the establishment view is neutralised. It is spin that
rules. A recent instance is the media coverage of the
targeted bombing of school children in Vallipunam.
Reuban Nanthakumar's well researched study of the BBC
coverage shows how the 'balanced approach' technique was
used to neutralise any potential antagonism to the broad
political stance of the international community in relation
to the struggle for Tamil Eelam. As he rightly points out
'the truth from one side cannot be “balanced” with a lie
from another'. Again Michael Rivero may well be right
when he said that "most propaganda is not designed to
fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an
excuse not to think at all" -
"..Most people prefer to believe their leaders are
just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once
a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he or she lives
is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do
about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails
risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to
surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do
not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is
not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards
an excuse not to think at all."
Michael Rivero in What Really Happened
Neither Subhas Chandra Bose nor Ho Chi Minh diverted their
limited resources to break into the 'mainline' (read
'establishment') PR/advertising world - and for that matter, neither
did they lead their people to believe that 'the mainline PR/advertising
world' would help advance their struggle for freedom.
was right when he said more than a hundred years ago -
"..It is a vain dream to suppose that what other nations
have won by struggle and battle, by suffering and tears of blood, we shall
be allowed to accomplish easily, without terrible sacrifices, merely by
spending the ink of the journalist and petition framer and the breath of the
orator. Petitioning will not bring us one yard nearer freedom; self
development will not easily be suffered to advance to its goal. For self
development spells the doom of the ruling despotism, which must therefore
oppose our progress with all the art and force of which it is the master..."
Velupillai Pirabakaran too was right when he said in 1993
".. In reality, the success of our struggle depends
on us, not on the world. Our success depends on our own efforts, on our
own strength, on our own determination."