Mullivaaykaal: A Time of Hope, Anger and Courage
Originally published on JDS
“Hope has two beautiful daughters – Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that things do not remain that way.”
-Quote attributed to St. Augustine
Five years after Mullivaaykaal, the worst slaughter in the history of not just the Eelam Tamil nation, but the Tamil civilization as a whole. A few resolutions have been passed at Geneva asking the Sri Lankan state to behave itself without, of course, any mention of genocide. The same applies for several reports by high-profile international NGOs that talked about torture, militarization, sexual abuse, human rights etc. A few popular documentaries have been released by media organizations that have shown their audiences the suffering of the Tamil people in the island during the war and after. But as a nation, where are the Eelam Tamils? As a civilization, where are the Tamils?
A hitherto unheard of student uprising took place in Tamil Nadu last year, opposing the pro-LLRC US resolution in Geneva. This uprising triggered off similar protests in the diaspora, where grassroots organizations and activists united on a principled political platform. More than anything, the protestors were united by Hope, Anger and Courage. It was also obvious by the protest symbols used, that these activists from Tamil Nadu and the diaspora are ensuring the survival of the Tiger legacy of uncompromising resistance to oppression.
Liberal feminists like Radhika Coomaaraswamy claim that Tigers promoted a “culture of death”. However, any genuine revolutionary fighting a brutal state would know that the Tiger’s culture was a celebration of life and all the best elements in one’s culture.
“Words are weapons” said Latin American writer Eduardo Galeano. Let us have a look at some the words that the LTTE used in the course of their struggle. They did not say that the cadres who fell in battle “iranthu poanaar” – “they died”. They said “kaaviyamaanaar” – “they became poetic history”. Those who became poetic history were not “buried in graveyards” – “kallaraiyil pithaikkappattaar”. They were “sown in resting abodes” – “thuyilum illathil vithaippattaar”. Those sown in the resting abodes were not “thyaagi” – “martyrs”. They were “maaveerar” – “heroes”. The Tigers, we must understand, used the martial elements from traditional Tamil culture to give a people resisting genocidal oppression a sense of hope, destiny and faith in the future of an independent Tamil Eelam.
However, after a colossal tragedy like Mullivaaykaal, it is but obvious there would be some sense of loss among the Tamils. But the strong ones and the politically principled recover while the weak and politically vacillating elements become victim to the enemy’s psychological war. Confusion, distrust, loss of faith, cynicism, fear, death wishes, suicidal impulses, “auto-oppression”, reluctance to identify with one’s own people, a perverse comfort in promoting disunity, a contempt for one’s culture – all of these are effects of psy-ops on a victim.
The genocide may have been executed on the Eelam Tamil nation. But it is the Tamil civilization, which constitutes over 80 million Tamils world over, which is at war now. A genocidal state and its international abettors have thrown us a challenge. It is not “submit or perish” – it is “submit and perish”. What happens in Tamil Eelam affects Tamil Nadu. What affects Tamil Nadu affects the diaspora. More and beyond the physical deaths of our brothers and sisters in the Tamil Eelam homeland, it is the death of our souls that the oppressors aim at. They want us to reek in despair, desolation and denial.
We must respond with Hope, Anger and Courage.
We need to have Hope. Hope in ourselves as individuals, hope in our people, hope in our language, hope in our culture, hope in our martial legacy, hope in our destiny, hope in our victory. Above all, hope in our Heroes, and hope in LTTE leader Pirapaharan’s school of thought.
We need to have Anger. Anger against the killers, anger against those who assisted them, anger against those who deny what happened, anger against those who obfuscate the Truth, anger against the sell-outs, anger against those who sow disunity, discord and depression.
We need to have Courage. Courage to stand by our identity and ideals, courage to speak Truth to power, courage to uphold the national flag, courage to celebrate our Heroes, courage to belive in the triumph of our civilization, courage to sacrifice, courage to Love, courage to fight.
And we also need Vision. To end with the words of Maximillien Robespierre, the ideological patriarch of modern day revolutionaries,
“We wish in our country that morality may be substituted for egotism, probity for false honour, principles for usages, duties for good manners, the empire of reason for the tyranny of fashion, a contempt of vice for a contempt of misfortune, pride for insolence, magnanimity for vanity, the love of glory for the love of money, good people for good company, merit for intrigue, genius for wit, truth for tinsel show, the attractions of happiness for the ennui of sensuality, the grandeur of man for the littleness of the great, a people magnanimous, powerful, happy, for a people amiable, frivolous and miserable”
In a word, all the virtues and miracles of a sovereign Tamil Eelam, instead of all the vices and absurdities of unitary Sri Lanka.