United States & the struggle for Tamil Eelam
Appeal to US Secretary of State
Dr. Muthuvel Chelliah, Columbia, MD.
2 June 2006
Chelliah's sentiments are clearly heartfelt. But the harsh reality is the
dilemma which he points out in his concluding remarks: 'We (the US)
truly don't care for human rights and democracy in the world; we just use it
as a tool to further our foreign policy agenda. Should I say to my children
that? Are we that way? I hope not. So sad.'
What should I say to my children? What indeed - if we
are to maintain our self image of honest and humane parents concerned to
educate our children to be honest and humane and take pride in the country
to which they belong.
There may be a need for all Tamils to truly understand
the pillars of US foreign policy so that they may question the
underlying premises and then respond in an effective and meaningful way to
the challenges that the Tamils face as a people. The words of Aurobindo come
to mind -
".. Petitioning which we have so long followed, we reject as
impossible - the dream of timid experience, the teaching of false friends..
foolish to reason, false to experience.... 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
Sri Aurobindo, 1907"
Honorable Madame Secretary of State,
I will be very much obliged if this letter can reach your kind
attention or at least reach someone of influence in your office.
The Tamils are one of the most ancient people of the world, with a
that are second to none, no matter where they live. In general they
are among the most law abiding, most educated, successful and
productive people. I am a proud American Tamil, been here in the US
for long as a legal tax paying citizen. I strictly believe in
following ‘all the laws of this land’ even if I do not agree with a
few. I am very proud I am an American first then everything else. I
raise my children that way. But I do have a heart which can see
right from wrong. I believe in freedom of speech and expression.
Hence I am writing this letter. I am privileged to live in this
country of ours, where an ordinary citizen can write to the esteemed
U.S. Secy. of State and express his/her thoughts and opinions about
our foreign policy without fear of persecution.
Regard our US policy in Sri Lanka, about that civil war going on
there, I am confused. I just cannot come to peace with what is going
on, after all I can speak Tamil as a second language and hence the
concern about the situation there, even thought I am not of Sri
Lankan origin. Please understand that my concern is analogous to,
say an American Jew (or a person of any other race) concerned about
the well being of the Jews around the world.
During the past thirty years or so, when over 60000 minority Tamils
were slowly being persecuted as second class citizens and murdered
in genocide acts, by the majority Sinhalese government and its army,
several hundred thousands of them feeling the country and taking
refuge all over the world, our US government did not care and did
not do anything. May be attitude was that, after all the several
thousand Tamils who died, women and children included not in any way
useful to the U.S. foreign policy interests.
In the early years of the struggle, the Tamils tried peaceful
Gandhian ways from being discriminated at, and to get 'equal citizen
status' - well, you know how it worked out and the rest the history
of civil war. All this time, the US didn't get involved. All this
time the Tamils were begging the international community to get
involved and see their sufferings. But the SL government called it
their internal affair and we listened to them and did not get
involved. We were doing business with that oppressive regime as
usual. If our government really cared about the
genocide and human rights violations we would not have wasted
those 60000+ lives. What happened to our country’s conscience? Does
not being quiet on the genocide of Tamils issue during all these
years imply complicity with that repressive regime?
But now finally when the Tamils are ready to defend themselves on
their own, our government is willing to provide military assistance
to the oppressing Sri Lankan government Why help them now? Because
Sri Lanka is afraid of the Tamil’s determination and is asking us
for help. And we listen to them again. In other words, we will
always listen and help that oppressive regime, then and now. Forget
the Tamils and their cry for help, right? Does America have a heart?
Do we have a conscience? Sorry, We used to have that. Oh my God!
What has become of us?
You know Honorable Madame Secretary, recently, Amnesty International
condemned SL government for colluding with paramilitary forces in
the killing of dozens of Tamil civilians, including women and
children -some of the pictures were so horrifying where civilian
parents were shot in their family rooms as they were trying to
protect their little ones. Please tell me, as my children ask me to
explain this, our government’s policy – what can I say? Well, this
is not the great country it used to be. We truly don't care for
human rights and democracy in the world; we just use it as a tool to
further our foreign policy agenda. Should I say my children that?
Are we that way? I hope not. So sad.
Sincerely, With tears
A concerned and confused American