United States & the struggle for Tamil Eelam
US and us
Courtesy: Tamil Circle
- 9 March 2001
[see also: (1)
Annotated text of ' Observations on Sri Lanka's Conflict' - E. Ashley Wills,
United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka and (2)
An Open Letter to the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka by S.Sivanayagam,
formerly Editor Saturday Review]
The State run Daily News published excerpts of the
speech given by the US ambassador on his recent visit to Jaffna. As
expected, the portions of the sermon that suited the Sinhala point of view were
presented. Now that the ambassador has spoken, let us now respond.
- - We respectfully remind the ambassador that he himself hails
from a country founded by a
bunch of terrorists according to the British, headed by none other than the
renegade General George Washington.
- - The ambassador went to great lengths to advise and extol the virtue of unity
and the need for people of different background to work together in a united Sri
But, we ask the ambassador, if you believe in what you preach, why did you
create an enclave in Iraq for the Kurds, now militarily protected by you, on the
grounds that the Kurdish people needed protection from the tyrant that we all
love to hate, Mr. Sadam Hussein.
- - If you believe in what you preach on unity and reconciliation, why, we ask,
is it that you are adamantly against the reunification of South and North Korea.
Your opposition to their unification is vigorous to the extent that the South
Korean prime minister found it necessary to visit the US for the sole purpose of
persuading you to change your stand on North Korea.
- - Only yesterday, you were calling North Korea a rogue and a terrorist state.
What made you change your principle on terrorism for the former secretary of
state Ms. Madeline Albright to be able to visit the terrorist state? Is it
because of your apprehension resulting from a string of visits by top Chinese
officials to North Korea? Don't the Koreans have much more in common among
themselves than the Tamils and the Sinhalese?
|"...The implicit claim is that democracies
have a right to prevent secession, at least under some circumstances.
But it is equally possible to reverse the approach, and ask if there is
ever a right to prevent secession - regardless of the political
regime. More specifically, if there is a right to prevent the formation
of a new state, by secession..."
Paul Treanor on Ethics of Secession
You insist that people of different race and ethnicity should come together to
build a nation. Why then, we ask, is that you were euphoric on the break-up
of the Soviet Union?
From the International Frame of the Tamil Struggle: "...there may be a
need for the international community to accept the solid political reality of
not simply the third world but the emergent
fourth world as well. The way forward for the US as well as other states
concerned with securing a stable world order, may be to recognise that, whatever
the short term results, in the longer term, stability will not come by
furthering the rule of one people by another. Stability will not come by the
North building alliances with ruling Third World governments to suppress non
state nations. Stability within Third World States
will not come from a new version of the 'melting pot' theory. Peoples
speaking different languages, tracing their roots to different origins, and
living in relatively well defined and separate geographical areas, do not easily
'melt'. And in any event, a 'third world' economy will not provide a large
enough 'pot' for the 'melting' to take place. Nations and states cannot be
made to order - not even by a super power.
lies in securing structures where the different peoples of the world may
voluntarily associate with each other in equality and in freedom. And if this be
perceived by some as an unrealistic 'idealism', the European Union (established
albeit, after two World Wars) may help to focus our minds and
our hearts - and serve as a pointer to the future..."
- - When you talked about the
US as a role model for diversity and accommodation, we presume that you did
not have Puerto Rico in mind. When the people of this Spanish speaking
commonwealth of yours expressed their desire to separate from the US, you
arrested their leaders and jailed them branding them as terrorist not
withstanding the fact that many of them did not even engage in a single act of
violence? Why, we ask, are the separatist sentiments still growing in Puerto
Rico? Is it because their way of life is different from yours and that they
speak a different language? Sri Lanka, Mr. Ambassador is not US, and it never
- - If you believe in what you preach on terrorism why then, we ask, is that you
did not include the IRA in the list of terrorist groups when you first
proscribed such groups? What did the LTTE do the IRA didn't, we ask you Mr.
Ambassador? Your government gave the excuse that it would be detrimental for the
Irish peace process if you were to proscribe the IRA. Is it not detrimental
to the Sri Lankan peace process if
you and the British
were to continue with your proscription of the LTTE? Is it because of something
that we don't understand or we the Tamils don't have such as a lobby as strong
as the Irish and an icon as visible as Kennedy himself to speak for us?
Our hearts were touched when you expressed your feelings for the innocent
victims of LTTE terror. We share your grief as we have all lost many of our
civilian relatives to the brutal bombing campaign of the Sinhala people. If you
call this terrorism, why then we ask is that you decided to bomb Mr. Khadafi's
residence amidst Libya's metropolis killing among other civilians his 18 month
old adopted daughter? Why, we ask again, is it that you decided to shoot down an
Iran Air passenger plane? Is it because you wanted to teach these rogue nations
a lesson? Or, are they simply
incidents of collateral damage as you wish to phrase them?
Velupillai Pirabaharan, 1992: "..We are not chauvinists.
Neither are we lovers of violence enchanted with war. We do not regard
the Sinhala people as our opponents or as our enemies. We recognise the
Sinhala nation. We accord a place of dignity for the culture and
heritage of the Sinhala people. We have no desire to interfere in any
way with the national life of the Sinhala people or with their freedom
and independence. We, the Tamil people, desire to live in our own
historic homeland as an independent nation, in peace, in freedom and
- - You say that LTTE is intransigent because it is intolerant of dissent.
Aren't you habitually involved in removing regimes and leaders who don't agree
with your way of thinking?
- - When
General Ratwatte's men and machines rolled into Jaffna leveling anything and
everything on their way, triggering a
horrendous exodus of the Tamil people, where was the US ambassador and the
international community? Not in Jaffna as far as we could recall. When the
helpless Tamil people appealed to you for humanitarian intervention in their
hour of crisis, you dismissed our cry for help saying that it is an internal
matter for the Sri Lankan government to decide. When did it become an
international issue for you to make a trip to Jaffna, Mr. Ambassador? Now, of
all times, by your words and deeds you remind us of the fact that the LTTE and
LTTE alone is the sole protector of the Tamils.
- - If you refute the fact that LTTE is the true representative of the Tamil
people as articulated in unison by the people of the North, East and the Hill
country, why then we ask is it that you decided to go to Jaffna to talk to the
people? Couldn't you have saved a trip by talking to Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar and
Mr. Douglas Devananda, the Colombo-based representatives of the Tamil people?
Let the Tamils say who represent them - neither the Sinhala people nor the
3-member International committee can do it for them.
You have your reasons for your demeanor and we have our reasons for our
behavior. We understand your demeanor on separation given your own anxiety about
Puerto Rico. We are aware of your concern on the meteoric rise of the Marxist
JVP in the Sinhala nation.
Nadesan Satyendra in The Charge is Genocide, the Struggle is for
Freedom, 1998: "...In the ultimate analysis, the struggle of the
people of Tamil Eelam is about democracy. If democracy means the
rule of the people, by the people, for the people then it must follow,
as night follows day, that no one people may rule another. The right of
self determination provides the framework within which democracy may
flower. Every people have the right to freely determine their political
status and the terms on which they may associate with another people.
Democracy and the
right to self determination go hand in hand - one cannot exist
without the other. The struggle of the people of Tamil Eelam is about
their democratic right to rule themselves..."
We are also mindful of the fact that by your engagement in Sri Lanka you might
be seeking answers to your botched down efforts in Colombia where you have not
made any inroads in your fight against one of the worlds most astute guerilla
groups the FARC, albeit pouring billions of dollars of military hardware and
several military advisors into Colombia. By using Sri Lanka as a test bed, you
may seek to save the lives of a few American soldiers at the expense of a few
thousand Sinhala and Tamil youths. But, at the end Mr. Ambassador,
it will be the will of the Tamil people that would prevail.
Tamil Eelam is not for you, or the Sinhala people, or the 3-member international
committee to give. It belongs to the Tamil people in land and soul to chart
their own destiny.
There will always be a Tamil Eelam! Thank you for your concern and god bless