UNCEASING WAVES

Pirapaharan at Sixty: The Meaning of the Man

Posted in Liberation Struggles by Karthick RM on December 8, 2014

Originally published on Sangam

Is Pirapaharan dead?

Ten years back, TamilNet senior editor and military analyst Taraki Sivaram wrote a brilliant piece on the political legacy of Pirapaharan at fifty.  Come 26 November this year, the founder-leader of the LTTE and one of the most brilliant military minds of South Asia will turn sixty.  Quite a lot has been said, by both admirers and adversaries, about the life of the man.  But what is his meaning?

It is impossible to understand Pirapaharan unless one understands the interrelated essences of Sangam poetry – love and war – and its influence on the Tamil military tradition.  The ethics of Tamil akam poetry, that of unconditional love towards the object of concern influences the ethics of the puram poetry, which calls for unconditional fidelity to the king and the kingdom.  However, even this unconditionality carries within it a condition that reinforces the unconditionality.  For instance, the woman of virtue (Tamil progressives will, and with ample justification, criticize this, but let us leave discussions about gender problems in epic poetry for another day) is the object of love because she is a woman of virtue, the love has a platonic character because of the virtuous nature of the object.  Likewise, the soldier’s fidelity to the king is because the king is loyal to the kingdom, and the king’s loyalty to the kingdom commands the soldier’s fidelity.  The object of love and the object of fidelity function as cornerstones in a discursive network, without which the network would collapse.  In other words, they provide meaning to the meaning of things.

In a sense that is Pirapaharan.  At sixty, in what some call the ‘post-conflict era’, the symbolism of Pirapaharan speaks that Tamil nationalism is alive and kicking.   The 5 lakh students who got out on the street in Tamil Nadu in early 2013, and thousands of protestors in the diaspora who challenged the injustice of the international community carried his image.  These activists believe that this image signifies Tamil nationalist resistance to oppression.  But isn’t this ‘idol worship’ problematic?

Commenting on the veneration of revolutionary leaders, Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle writes “‘Hero-worship’ becomes a fact inexpressibly precious; the most solacing fact one sees in the world at present.  There is an everlasting hope in it for the management of the world.  Had all traditions, arrangements, creeds, societies that men ever instituted, sunk away, this would remain.  The certainty of Heroes being sent us; our faculty, our necessity, to reverence Heroes when sent: it shines like a polestar through smoke-clouds, dust-clouds, and all manner of downrushing and conflagration.”  An oxymoronic, mostly moronic, ‘liberal left’ discredits the idea of leadership.  No less a person than Lenin believed that a revolution required revolutionary leaders who stuck to their principles, and were willing to make decisions that the ordinary could not make.  This belief is reinstated by contemporary philosophers like Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou, who also argue that a true revolutionary leader represents a Universal over and beyond narrow particulars.

While Lilliputian minds would fix a region, religion or caste label to Pirapaharan, the real ideological significance of Pirapaharan is that he transcends these narrow particularities and serves as a Universal referent for Tamil nationalists.  Not only is Pirapaharan now a symbol of Eelam Tamil nationalism, he has also transfigured as a symbol of Tamil civilizational consciousness.  What else explains the tens of thousands of youth in Tamil Nadu considering an Eelam Tamil leader as their own Tamil hero who provided a promise of Tamil renaissance?

But every great uniter is also a divider.  As Pirapaharan becomes the symbolic standard that unites patriots, he is also the standard that separates traitors.  The Pirapaharan school of thought, which is the radical extension of the thoughts of V. Navaratnam and SJV Chelvanayagam, as much as it is a standard for evaluating patriotism, also becomes the scale by which treason is judged.  To be a true Christian, it is imperative to believe in the struggle between Good and Evil, not just external Evil, but also the Evil that is internal.  Likewise, to be a Tamil nationalist in the footsteps of Pirapaharan means not just an opposition to the Sinhala state and its allies, but also traitors who undermine the struggle from within.  And for that, we need to keep reminding ourselves what Pirapaharan means, what is the idea of Pirapaharan.

Coming back to the original question – Is Pirapaharan dead?  This might confuse some people, but I would say that Pirapaharan the individual died when he founded the LTTE. Ever since, what has existed is an idea.  An idea that means sovereign Tamil Eelam; the creation of a society that is based on universal principles of justice and equality; a society without regionalism, communalism, sexism or casteism; a society where the love of heroic passions replaces the lust for trivial sentiments; a society without particularist chauvinism or cheap liberal cosmopolitanism; the creation of a people who resonate the glories of the Tamil past purging it of all darkness and enriching it with the emancipatory narrative of a universal future; the idea that the impossible can be made possible by the Will to Freedom.

And ideas, like heroes, are immortal.

Finally, when people ask questions like “Will Pirapaharan come back,” I remember a conversation I had with a Jesuit in Chennai.  I asked him “Do you really believe in the Second Coming of Christ?”  He replied nonchalantly, “I do not know if he will come or not. But if he does, I want to be sure that I have remained a true Christian, that I have done all in my power to serve the humanity he so loved so that he will be pleased on arrival.”  This is precisely the spirit that Tamil nationalists must adopt now.

Mullivaaykaal: A Time of Hope, Anger and Courage

Posted in Liberation Struggles by Karthick RM on May 27, 2014

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.

நம்புங்கள்! சிந்தியுங்கள்! தமிழீழம் நாளை பிறக்கும்!

Posted in Liberation Struggles by Karthick RM on May 16, 2014

மரணக் கலாச்சாரத்தைப் புலிகள் பின்பற்றிணார்கள் என்று ராதிகா குமாரசாமி போன்ற ஒரு சில பெண்ணியவாதிகள் பழி சுமத்துகிறார். ஆனால் இனப்படுகொலைக்கு எதிராக, ஒரு ஒடுக்கப்பட்ட மக்களின் தாயகத்தை மீட்க்கும் ஒரு போராட்டத்தை நடத்துபவனுக்குத் தான் புரியும், புலிகளின் கலாச்சாரம் வாழ்க்கையின் கொண்டாட்டமென்று. இது அவர் பயன் படுத்திய ஒரு சில சொற்களிலிருந்து நாம் அரிந்துக்கொள்ளலாம்.

“வார்த்தைகளும் ஆயுதமே” என்று லத்தின் அமெரிக்க எழுத்தாளர் எடுவார்டோ கலியானோ (Eduardo Galeano) சொன்னார். புலிகள் பயன்படுத்திய ஒரு சில வார்த்தைகளைப் பார்ப்போம். போர் களத்தில் விழுந்த போராளிகளை இறந்துப்போனார் என்று சொல்வதில்லை – காவியமானார் என்று சொல்வார்கள். காவியமான போராளிகளைக் கல்லறையில் பிதைப்பதில்லை – துயிலும் இல்லத்தில் விதைக்கிறார்கள். விதைக்கப்பட்ட போராளிகளைத் தியாகி என்று அழைப்பதில்லை – மாவீரர் என்று அழைக்கிறார்கள். களத்தில் நின்ற கடைசி நாள்வரை, ஒவ்வொரு சொல்லையும் மக்களுக்கு வாழ்க்கையிலும் வெற்றியிலும் நம்பிக்கை தரும் முறையாகப் பாவித்தார்கள்.

ஹுசேன் புல்ஹான் (Hussein Bulhan) என்னும் மனத்தத்துவ விஞ்ஞானி சொல்கிறார், தொடர்ச்சியான, ஓய்வுப்பெராத ஒடுக்குமுறையைச் சந்திக்கும் மக்களுக்கு வாழ்க்கையில் வெறுப்பு வந்து, தன்னைத்தானே அழித்துக்கொள்ளும் நோக்கங்கள் வரும். இது இனப்படுகொலை புறியும் அரசின் ஒரு உளவியல் போர் தந்திரம். மனச்சோர்வு, குழப்பம், “அய்யோ இப்படி ஆயிருச்சே” என்ற வருத்தம், அரசியலிலும் போராட்டத்திலும் அவ நம்பிக்கை, மரண ஆசை, போதையின் மீது காதல், வாழ்க்கையிலிருந்தும் சொந்த மக்களிடமிருந்தும் தப்ப வேண்டும் என்ற ஆசை – இது அத்தனையும் உளவியல் போர் உண்டாக்க கூடும். முள்ளிவாய்க்காலுக்குப் பின், இந்த உளவியல் போருக்கு பலியான பல நபர்களை நம்மாள் அடையாளம் கான முடியும்.

இதனை எதிர்க்க ஒரே வழி தான். நம்பிக்கை. ஒவ்வொரு விடுதலைப் போராட்டத்தின் அஸ்த்திவாரமே நம்பிக்கை தான். வாழ்க்கையின் மீது, மக்களின் மீது, உங்கள் கலாச்சாரத்தின் மீது, உங்கள் மொழியின் மீது, உங்களின் மீது… மிகவும் முக்கியமாக, உங்கள் மாவீரர்களின் மீது, தலைவரின் சிந்தனை பள்ளியின் மீது.

நம்பிக்கையின் இனைப்பிரியா சகோதரி சிந்தனை. நம்பிக்கை இல்லாத சிந்தனை தோல்வி மனப்பான்மையையும் துரோக அரசியலையும் உண்டாக்கும். சிந்தனை இல்லாத நம்பிக்கை எங்கும் போகாத பாதைக்குள் இழுத்துச்செல்லும்.

நம்புங்கள். சிந்தியுங்கள். தமிழீழம் நாளை பிறக்கும்.

ஐ. சி. ஜீயின் விளையாட்டு

Posted in Politics by Karthick RM on May 16, 2014

ஐ. சி. ஜீ (ICG – International Crisis Group) முன்னால் தலைவரான கரெத் இவான்ஸ் சில நாட்களுக்கு முன்பு ஈழ தமிழருக்கு நடந்தது இனப்படுகொலை இல்லை, மற்றும் இனப்படுகொலைப் பற்றின விவாதம் புலம்பெயர்ந்த தமிழ் மக்களின் பிரச்சாரம் என்று சொல்லியிருக்கிறார். இனப்படுகொலையிலிருந்து பாதுகாப்பதற்காக மக்களுக்கு வழங்கப்பட வேண்டிய இறைமை (remedial sovereignty) தமிழ் மக்களுக்கு உள்ளதா என்ற கேள்விக்கு இவர் ‘அதையெல்லாம் இப்பொழுது பேசாதீர்கள்’ என்று சொல்லியிருக்கிறார். அவரைப் பொருத்த வரையில், இலங்கை தவறுகள் செய்தது, ஆனால் இப்போதைக்கு இலங்கை அரசாங்கத்தை பொறுப்புள்ள அரசாங்கமாக ஆக்குவது தான் சர்வதேசத்தின் கடமை.

இவான்ஸ் என்பவர் தமிழ் மக்களுக்கு எதிரான போர் நடந்த நேரத்தில் ஐ.சி.ஜீ.யின் தலைமை பொருப்பில் நின்றார். சர்வதேச அரசியல் தத்துவத்தில் (International Political Theory) இவர் ஒரு முக்கிய புள்ளி. ஈழ விடுதலை போராட்டத்துக்கு எதிராக மேற்கத்திய நாடுகளில் ஒரு தவறான கருத்து உருவாக்குவதில் ஐ.சி.ஜீக்கு ஒரு பெரிய பங்கு உண்டு. ‘மனித உரிமை’, ‘குழந்தைகள் உரிமை’, ‘பெண்ணுரிமை’ என்ற போர்வையில், புலிகளுக்கு எதிராக ஒரு அறிவிக்கப்படாத தகவல் போர் (undeclared information war) இதுப்போன்ற அமைப்புகள் நடத்தினார்கள்.

இரண்டு வருடத்துக்கு முன், தமிழ்நெட்டில் வந்த ஒரு பேட்டியில், ஐ.சி.ஜீயின் இலங்கை பொருப்பாளரான அலன் கீனன் சர்வதேச விசாரனை நடந்தால், அதில் இனப்படுகொலை விசாரனையையும் சேர்க்கலாம் என்று சொன்னார். இப்போ, திரு இவான்ஸ் அவர்கள் அதைப்பத்தின பேச்சே இப்போ தேவையில்லை என்று சொல்கிறார்.

இதுபோன்ற சர்வதேச அரசுசாரா அமைப்புக்களின் (International NGOs) சதுரங்க விளையாட்டுகளை நாம் கவனிக்க வேண்டும். அதில் காய்களாக நாம் சிக்க கூடாது.

Indian PM’s Boycott of CHOGM, Foreign Policy, and Tamil Nadu’s Role

Posted in Politics by Karthick RM on November 12, 2013

Originally published on The Weekend Leader

Contrary to claims in certain sections of the Indian media that the Indian Prime Minister not taking part in Sri Lanka’s CHOGM compromises the country’s ‘national foreign policy’ in favour of ‘regional interests’, a decision by the highest political authority of India to avoid participation in this event is precisely in favour of India’s national interests.

If India really had long-term strategic vision, it would completely boycott the CHOGM, but that is a different argument.

Let us also leave the moral question of engaging with Sri Lanka – a country accused of genocide, war crimes, systematic rape and torture – aside.

What could be a rational reason for Dr. Manmohan Singh to boycott the CHOGM?

The Arthashastra emphasises that the welfare of a state depends on an active foreign policy. The operative word here being ‘active’.

An active foreign policy takes into consideration not just relations between states, but also intra-state relations, especially those between power blocs within a state, and the geographical location of these power blocs.

In the Sri Lankan context, an active foreign policy of India must, in all rationality, be mediated by the geographical and demographic power bloc that is Tamil Nadu, which is historically and culturally, not to mention emotionally, connected to Tamil Eelam.

In that sense, the ‘regional interests’ of Tamil Nadu must be part of any Indian foreign policy calculation vis-a-vis Sri Lanka.

At no point of time in history has pro-Tamil Eelam activism in Tamil Nadu been so politically charged and conceptually clear as in the years succeeding the genocide in May 2009.

The new generation activists, smooth, suave and adept in their use of social media for political purposes, have generated tremors in the state in their protests against the US resolution earlier this year.

The heat generated by the Tamil Nadu youth, besides inspiring diaspora youth to stage similar protests, also compelled the Tamil Nadu government to pass resolutions calling for a referendum among the Eelam Tamils.

And it is precisely their pressure and that of grassroots Tamil political parties, which compelled Tamil Nadu State Assembly to pass a unanimous resolution calling for a full Indian boycott of CHOGM in Sri Lanka.

There is another thing to note here. While pre-2009 pro-Tamil Eelam activism in Tamil Nadu was directed primarily against Sri Lanka, after May 2009 the informed political discourse began challenging the role of the world establishments – especially the US and India – and their role in assisting the Sinhala state.

Except during the period of anti-Hindi agitations in Tamil Nadu, at no other point has Tamil civil society been mobilized en masse to challenge a policy of the Indian Centre.

After all this, if Dr. Manmohan Singh, the political head of the Indian state, goes to Sri Lanka, not only would it have been suicidal for the Congress party’s political prospects in Tamil Nadu, it also would have given fuel to greater anti-Centre sentiments in the region.

So, a decision for Dr. Singh to boycott the CHOGM is indeed taken in ‘national interest’.

If those ‘experts’ in the media commenting on “foreign policy objectives” and placing national interest over “political expediency” fail to take this into account, it only reflects their sad ignorance of ground reality.

It should be added here that activists in Tamil Nadu are not satisfied with this gesture alone and continue to demand a total boycott of CHOGM and the removal of Sri Lanka from the body.

Informed activism in Tamil Nadu has a reached a stage where it knows to differentiate a symbolic gesture from a strategic victory.

Yet, can anything be deciphered from Dr. Singh’s decision?

One, the Indian government realizes that Tamil Nadu can turn volatile on Sri Lankan issue and therefore is trying to balance collective Tamil sentiments.

Two, the pressure exerted by peaceful democratic mass movements in Tamil Nadu has a potential to influence the centre via the periphery.

Three, Indian foreign policy on Sri Lanka cannot be blind to the power bloc of Tamil Nadu as it has been doing all the while. It needs to take in the ‘local’ factor into consideration if it indeed has a long-term ‘national’ vision.

Overall, Dr. Singh’s absence at the CHOGM signifies a symbolic victory for Tamil Nadu. Though symbolic, a victory nevertheless!

After all, the British Prime Minister is attending the meeting despite protests in his country against the same. Besides, this move is also a snub to Northern Province Chief Minister Wigneswaran and certain ‘analysts’ from Colombo who were pleading with the Indian PM to attend.

The power relations are rather explicit here. It is obvious that a strong Chennai carries more impact than a dummy in Jaffna or the stooges of Colombo.

India needs a serious re-think on its overall policy towards Sri Lanka. In this Information Age, the Tamils world over have emerged as a well-networked community.

Activists from three centres of Tamil power namely Tamil Nadu, Tamil Eelam and the Tamil Diaspora actively engage in knowledge sharing exercises through various medium, constantly expanding their spheres of influence in opinion making.

Through shared images, notes, articles and videos, the Tamils are constructing a political discourse that informs them of the oppression the Eelam Tamils suffer in the island and the remedy that is required.

And this creates intellectual ammunition for critical and radical voices in the Tamil Nadu polity.

The key questions that Indian foreign policy analysts with vision should consider is this – given that it is in the very nature of the Sri Lankan state to be hostile to Tamil interests, wouldn’t you rather lose Sri Lanka as a friend than gain Tamil Nadu’s enmity?

Does India really want to create instability in Tamil Nadu for the sake of creating stability for the Sinhala state? Does India want to antagonize a Tamil community that is global in its reach and potential for the sake of a failed state?

As for Dr. Singh’s decision, this symbolic victory of the Tamil Nadu activists must be converted to a strategic victory by eventually compelling the Indian government to do a complete re-evaluation and an overhaul of its current myopic foreign policy towards Sri Lanka.

Madras Cafe: Intercept The Half-Truth

Posted in Society and Culture by Karthick RM on August 27, 2013

Originally published on Countercurrents

*Spoiler alert

Some sections of the Indian media may be going gaga over the ‘realistic’, ‘non-dramatic’ film ‘Madras Cafe’ of Shoojit Sircar. Some have, rather shamelessly, compared it to Zero Dark Thirty – in reality, GI Joe: Retaliation is a more gripping watch. While the poor sense of aesthetics of these pseudo-critics is lamentable, their contempt for history as it happened leaves much to question.

Selective history, grand conspiracy theory, not-so-subtle Indian patriotism all go into the making of a movie that principally exonerates India from all culpability of the brutal war crimes committed against the Tamils by the IPKF. From the start till the end, the subtext of the movie is to project India, a nuclear power state with the fourth largest army in the world, as a victim of the LTTE. For the record, at the height of the IPKF-LTTE war, over 100000 Indian soldiers armed to the teeth confronted about 3000 LTTE cadres. Despite this, India lost.

“They were powerful. In this game, we lost our prime minister, and the Lankan Tamils, their future,” confesses RAW agent Vikram Singh (played by John Abraham) to a Christian priest. The entire movie is the confession of Vikram to the priest, from his activities as a RAW agent in IPKF occupied Jaffna, to the failure of the RAW to break the LTTE, to their failure to stop Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

The numerous atrocities suffered by the Eelam Tamils under the IPKF, the murders, tortures, rapes and disappearances, do not form part of his confession. Thus, no mention of the same in the film. On the other hand, the reel LTTE are shown as fanatics, who even murder the wife of Vikram in India in their attempts to get to him. I am yet to hear of a single case where the real LTTE has deliberately targeted the family of officers or soldiers of even the genocidal Sri Lankan military.

The LTTE, shown in the film as Liberation of Tamils Front (LTF), are shown as some intransigent armed rebel group that has support of the local population. Why did the armed struggle come about, what did the Sinhala state do to create such a situation, why did the Tigers oppose the Indian solution of 13th Amendment, why did the Tamil people stand with the ‘rebel group’, and what did the IPKF actually do in the course of its intervention – these are questions not even considered by the filmmaker. But the words “provincial council elections” are repeated to the point of being a slogan throughout the movie. Contrast this with the bare minimal usage of the word ‘Sinhalese’ in the movie – it is as if they had no role to play at all. The tagline for the movie was “Intercept the truth”.

The first half of the film is concerned with the RAW agent’s covert operations in Jaffna. These include scenes that allude to RAW’s role in supporting Tamil groups antithetical to the struggle for Tamil Eelam, the Mahattaya split and so. Of course, the intelligence failure in the famous ‘Jaffna University Helidrop’ is underplayed, though the filmmaker grudgingly acknowledges the superior intelligence of the Tigers at that time.

The second half of the movie, concerned with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, is actually banal. Other movies like ‘Mission 90 Days’ have covered the subject with more intensity, and with far more venom. Madras Cafe tells us that its LTF was a foot-soldier of foreign forces in carrying out the plot.

“Corporations, big countries, big organizations,” in short, “economic hitmen” supported the LTF, we are told. The purpose is “economic control, business deals and large arms contracts,” it is asserted. An intelligence officer informs Vikram that the war is for Trincomalee, that the foreign forces wanted the LTF in power so that they can get the harbour, and that this would be a threat for India. Last time I heard however, it was the US that gave Sri Lanka effective advice in counterinsurgency strategy to remove the LTTE from the coveted harbour.

“At no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question,” LTTE leader Velupillai Pirapaharan said in his Heroes’ Day address on 27 November 2008. He has never referred to any other country in such terms.

However, Anna Bhaskaran, the movie’s celluloid version of Pirapaharan, tells in an interview to British journalist Jaya (a sad allusion to the Indian journalist Anita Pratap) that he will even consider taking help from the West to wage their struggle.

This is the other subtext of the movie. India is justified in assisting unitary Sri Lanka, irrespective of what the latter does, else foreign powers will intervene and that will be against India’s ‘national interests’.

To be fair to the movie, it has its share of laughs.

For instance, the scene where Jaya interviews Anna in English and the leader of the Tamil struggle responds to it – in Hindi.

The climax was dark comedy. Vikram ends his confession and walks out of the church muttering lines from Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem from Gitanjali “Where the mind is without fear…” The poem is a utopian vision of an ideal democratic country. Unitary Sri Lanka, which India has been supporting till now, is the perfect antithesis of the spirit of the poem.

The line best suited for the context of Madras Cafe, however, is Alfred Tennyson’s “That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies”.

Rape: Sri Lanka’s Weapon of Genocide

Posted in Liberation Struggles by Karthick RM on July 13, 2013

Article originally published on Sanhati

Co-Authored with Dr. N. Malathy, key member of NESoHR, and author of ‘A Fleeting Moment in My Country: The Last Years of the LTTE De-Facto State”

My fellow Tamil women
What have you done for peace in the isle?
Take off your clothes and open up your vagina
For the Sinhala warriors of the land of Buddha
– Poem by an Angry Tamil Woman

On February 26th 2013, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on sexual violence perpetrated on Tamil detainees by Sri Lankan security forces. The 140 page report, titled “We will teach you a lesson – Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces”, contains 75 cases of Tamil men and women who were tortured and sexually abused repeatedly by Sri Lankan forces. The HRW report further indicates that these cases are but examples of a much broader pattern in the abuses perpetrated by Sri Lanka’s security apparatus.

“The sexual violence that we are talking about in this report, it is not random, it is not some criminal element engaging in violence. There is method in it. It’s deliberate, it’s premeditated. This is coercive, designed to intimidate, to instil fear, to extract information, sometimes to extract confessions… This is a deliberate policy,” David Mepham, UK director of HRW said at a Press Meet in London.

He further stated an independent international investigation needs to take place in Sri Lanka to probe allegations of such abuses. However, in an interview to TamilNet [1], Mr. Mepham said that while HRW was of the view that “systematic human rights abuses have been perpetrated by the Government of Sri Lanka against elements of the Tamil population”, they have not concluded that this was part of a genocidal plan.

Before 2009, the prominent organizations like HRW that were carrying out the public discourses were focussing more on blaming the LTTE on ‘child soldiers’, ‘forcible recruitment’ etc and had little or no focus on the systematic rapes committed by the Sri Lankan army. With the recent admission of a UN official to HRW that “a large number of women fleeing from the conflict areas during the peak of fighting were sexually assaulted” and that “The abuse was extensive, causing a large number of civilians to flee back to the theatre of conflict to escape the abuse,” [2] even the allegation that the Tigers were using civilians as ‘human shields’ falls on weak grounds.

Rapes against Eelam Tamils have been used by the Sinhalese in riots, pogroms, police and military operations ever since the Sinhalese took to power and gained a constitutionally sanctioned monopoly over violence in the colonially created unitary state. After the onset of the Eelam Tamil liberation struggle, if there was one period where the rapes dropped to the lowest levels, it was after Pirapaharan’s LTTE crippled the Sri Lankan military in the Unceasing Waves operations and effectively challenged the Sinhala monopoly over violence through its de facto state. After the internationally aided counterinsurgency operation against the LTTE which led to its military defeat in May 2009, along with a massacre of epic proportions in Tamil history, the Sinhala army went on an orgy of rape of the remaining Tamils, civilians and LTTE cadres alike. The abuses in the IDP camps, aptly described by some as “Concentration Camps”, have been well documented by numerous sources.

A cruel logic for the rapes can be that they were war time ‘excess’ as has known to happen in many wars across the world. But facts on the ground show that it is precisely in the ‘stabilized’, ‘post-conflict’ Sri Lanka that the vulnerability of Eelam Tamil women to sexual abuse has reached levels hitherto unheard of in their history [3]. Indeed, many of the cases in the HRW report are post-2009 and HRW personnel claim that these are but samples of a much larger problem.

One of the authors had already written about the ideology behind rape in united Sri Lanka. [4] The ideology of a ‘united Sri Lanka’, Sinhala colonization and militarization of the Tamil homeland, requires rape of Eelam Tamils as a practice for it to sustain itself. Rape of Tamils is ingrained both in the neurotic-pathological desire of Sinhala nationalism to penetrate and possess the Tamil homeland and in the political economy of the Sinhala military apparatus that colonizes it. HRW is right to note that rape of Tamils was deliberate and methodical. However, HRW would have been closer to the ground reality had it recognized this systematic rape as a weapon of genocide.

The public discourses of prominent international organizations like the HRW is sandwiched between two other layers of discourses that continue to take place but do not become very public. One layer of discourse considers the strategies to be used by the real power centres and its military arms for containing the restless masses also known as the counter insurgency strategies. The other discourse in the other layer is indeed that of the restless masses like the poem cited at the beginning. Tamils knew of the strategy of sexual violence used by the Sri Lankan military, its extent and its nature. Several Tamil activists, in the island, from Tamil Nadu, and in the diaspora, have been stating much before the so-called end of the war in 2009 that rape was used as a weapon of genocidal war by the Sri Lankan state forces. For example see the video clip [5] for comments made by three Tamil women as early as 2006. One of them is one of the authors. This author has in possession 60 handwritten affidavits made in 2006 by Tamil political detainees describing in detail the very violent sexual assaults on them by both male and female Sri Lankan armed forces. Another commentator in the video clip, Dr Elumathy Karikalan, was disappeared by the Sri Lankan military after she walked out of the war zone.

While the three Tamil women noted above were able to document and describe the sexual violence in the safety of Vanni under the LTTE in 2006, today no Tamil living in the island has the safety to record them. After marginalising the Tamil women activist through the genocide of the Tamils, organizations like HRW, however, through their vast resources are able to gather and record these thus monopolising the human rights reporting of the Tamils.

The latest attention to the sexual violence against Tamils by the organizations like HRW after neglecting this issue for years is a good example of how these organizations remain loyal to the power centres and selectively focus on the discourses of the masses in their service to the power centres. In this case, the need of the power centres to change the regime in Sri Lanka.

Carolyn Nordstrom who had carried out extensive field work in war zones writes, “‘Rape stands as a powerful example of physical assaults that are intended to carry deeper, supraphysical, impacts. I have listened to hundreds of accounts of rape, and few focus primarily on the physical pain. It is the emotional trauma, the social shame, and the violation of humanity that is conveyed most strongly in these accounts. What makes rape so grievous an act isn’t just the assault against the body, but the attacks against family, dignity, self-worth, and future. I have seen women suffer tremendously, even die, in difficult childbirths. I have seen devastating vaginal infections women have carried for months, even years, on front lines devoid of medicines. The physical pain involved in these is often as severe as that suffered in rape, and the grief over the deceased and the infirm as great as any war casualty. But these don’t invoke the horror of rape and the intent that underlies such aggression.” [6]

Kevin Gerard Neill also commenting on sexual violence perpetrated against women during war writes “Like any rifle or shell, rape in war assumes the level of being a weapon. It serves a specific military purpose. Putting aside for a moment the unforgivable defiling of an individual woman, rape in war achieves the goal of demoralizing and intimidating the side of the victim. It wounds identity and pride. And, in a traditional society, rape will likely be internalized by the victim, her family and, in the end, by the community in which she lives. In this manner, raping the women of a defeated people or nation becomes part of the effort to destroy them.” [7]

Abjectness, in effect, is worse than being objectified because the person is made to feel that they are a polluted object or a despicable thing. The women rape survivors know that they were raped not just because they were women, but because they were Tamil women. Unlike other rape victims, the appearance of PTSD in such women is marked by anxiety about their sense of identity as well because they were defiled by an enemy whom their kith and kin are fighting to preserve their identity. The individual trauma is experienced by those subject to abuse also as cultural trauma, leaving psychological scars on the subject, their families and the community, thus preventing them from creative political participation. The climate of Sinhala omnipresence and dominance perpetuated by the Sri Lankan state in the occupied Tamil homeland only accentuates this trauma. Which is why the argument that the abuses committed by the SL state apparatus should not be seen as individual human rights violations or as ‘sad stories’, as is the fashion with some liberal bleeding hearts, but rather as part and parcel of an intended genocide of a protracted nature.

As noted by the disappeared Dr Elumathy Karikalan in the video clip noted above, on the part of the Tamils at large too, a substantive social change is expected. Vietnamese resistance led by the Vietminh, noticing the stigma that the women raped by American troops faced from their society, declared rape survivors as national heroines. Considering the extent of sexual violence perpetrated in the occupied homeland of Eelam Tamils both during the war and after, Tamils world over should also consider dramatic changes to their social approaches to rape and torture survivors.

References

[1] ‘Sexual violence against Tamils is premeditated, deliberate’: HRW UK Director
[2] “We Will Teach You a Lesson: Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces”, Human Rights Watch Report, 2013, p7
[3] Former LTTE cadres are in a particularly vulnerable position. See “Genocidal sex abuse of ex-LTTE female cadres becomes routine in North and East
[4] “Ideology behind military rape in ‘United Sri Lanka’” by Karthick RM
[5] Rape – A Poem and Comments by Three Tamil Eelam Women
[6] Carolyn Nordstrom, “Shadows of War: Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century”, University of California Press, 2004, p63
[7] Kevin Gerard Neill, “Duty, Honor, Rape: Sexual Assault Against Women During War” in Journal of International Women Studies, Vol. 2, Issue 1, Nov-2000, p47

The Master and his Puppets: Some Comments on ‘Tamil Moderates’

Posted in Politics, War by Karthick RM on May 18, 2013

Article jointly written by Krisna Saravanamuttu and myself. Originally published on JDS

Unca Sam's HR concernsAround Geneva, the Rajapaksa regime and its mercenaries raise some self-righteous noise against the ‘neo-colonialists’ in the West. Quarters in the US-led West, tired with Rajapaksa’s intransigence wrt the human rights situation in the island and his supposed inability to provide a stable liberal democratic regime, have been releasing this report and that resolution criticizing the current state of affairs in the island. This contradiction will grow. The US will get angry with Sri Lanka for being unable to provide stability. Its natural allies then will be the Tamils, who are inherently free-market capitalists. And voila, you will have Tamil Eelam on a platter.

Or so some Tamil pundits in the West fantasize. And thus, they believe that it is in the best interest of the Tamil nation to adopt the narrative of ‘reconciliation and accountability’ that is chanted as a prayer in the hallways of Geneva. You don’t want to disappoint your large hearted allies after all.

We wish we could share such colorful dreams, but realpolitik is sadly very sober and requires a ratiocination of the most rigorous kind. Trust ‘Taraki’ Sivaram, senior editor of TamilNet and military analyst, an exemplar of parrhesia, the courage to speak truth to power, and who was assassinated for the same virtue.

In the feature he was working on at the time of his death, ‘US’s strategic interests in Sri Lanka’, noting the defense cooperation between US-Sri Lanka, Sivaram argued that “Stabilizing the Sri Lanka state was considered critical for the US at this juncture to consolidate and cement its strategic interests here. The LTTE was a stubborn impediment to achieving this end – particularly the constant threat to Trincomalee and Palaly. Containing the Liberation Tigers and making them more malleable were also identified as priorities.”

A year later, the west managed peace process collapsed, LTTE was criminalized in Europe under US-UK pressure, and Sri Lanka got a free hand to continue its war on the Tamil nation to the best of its potential. And oh, the Sri Lanka signed the Acquisition and Cross Service Agreement with the USA in 2007, a deal to secure exchanges in logistical support, supplies and services. On another front, the Tamil diaspora was extensively studied by US based defense corporations like RAND in studies like the 2001 publication “Trends in Outside Support for Insurgent Movements” or the 2007 article by William Rosenau ‘Subversion and Insurgency’, where the author describes the LTTE as “Subversion on five continents”.[1] The internationally coordinated COIN ops against the Tamil struggle that led to the climax of the genocidal war in 2009 have been discussed earlier.

But why criticize American concern for human rights now? Doesn’t Uncle Sam have a heart after all?

In his feature referred above, Sivaram had said “The ‘management’ of the ethnic conflict, among other things, is also important for the US to “sufficiently” expand and consolidate its military and intelligence relations with Sri Lanka as an important security partner in the region.”

One portion of this ‘management’ was the internationally coordinated war on the LTTE. And the US is pretty honest on this – Ambassador Michelle Sison in an event in Sri Lanka on March 2013 affirmed “The U.S. also helped the government and people of Sri Lanka in every way we could to try to end the LTTE’s reign of terror”. She also talked about reconciliation and accountability.

Moreover, to properly analyze the current American engagement with the Tamil liberation struggle, we must objectively establish the history of US engagement with the island’s politics. To this end, Jeffrey Lunstead, former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, provides an insider’s perspective in his report The United States’ Role in Sri Lanka’s Peace Process. Though the US publicly espoused its support to a politically negotiated solution, in actuality it provided a “commitment to strengthening the Sri Lankan Armed Forces”.[2] The American strategy marginalized the LTTE in the international arena (i.e. maintaining the LTTE on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, excluding the LTTE from the Washington Donor Conference) and intensified the US military-to-military relationship with the Sri Lankan government.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in on 19th November 2006. Two days later Under Secretary Burns said “We also believe that the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE, is a terrorist group responsible for massive bloodshed in the country and we hold the Tamil Tigers responsible for much of what has gone wrong in the country. We are not neutral in this respect. We support the government”.[3]

The Americans provided the Sri Lankans with training, education, and weapons infrastructure. The US played a key role in cutting off the LTTE’s own financial networks yet it handed over millions in foreign military funding to the Sri Lankan government. And Paul Moorcraft, a British military analyst, in his recent book on the war in the island notes the level of assistance that the US gave to Sri Lanka, including the advice to use cluster bombs against the Tamil population.[4] All this while the US insisted that it sought to deter war and not encourage it.

The other portion of this ‘management’ is best observed at, what one diaspora grassroots activist so poignantly termed, ‘the Geneva thiruvizha’. Introducing the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka, 2013. No talk on Tamil nationhood. No talk on Tamil genocide. No mention even of the word ‘Tamil’. But yes, “reconciliation and accountability.”

In order to pacify the Diaspora, the backers of US based resolution give the false impression that it is against Sri Lanka and its adoption would somehow benefit the Tamils. The resolution, whose only implicit reference to the Tamil struggle is ‘terrorism’, harps on reconciliation and the LLRC as a solution to the ongoing conflict. The undeniable fact, however, is that the LLRC was conceived as an escape route for Sri Lanka. When legitimate criticism does emerge about the LLRC based approach, the knee jerk reaction of its lobbyists is to simply argue that the UNHRC resolution is a ‘first step.’ A fine ‘first step’ indeed. Towards a political disaster, perhaps.

After the Mullivaaykaal genocide, Sivaram’s analysis of COIN remains critical to assessing American engagement with the Tamil Diaspora. A key COIN tactic Sivaram addressed was “the promotion and propagation of the conceptual/political dichotomy of the moderate and the militant/terrorist”.[5] Today the Diaspora seems to be a target in US COIN strategy, wherein “the global proscription regime is an institutional, structural violence which criminalizes diaspora politics and affective connections to the idea of Tamil Eelam”.[6] Unfortunately, some sections of the Tamil lobby Diaspora developed selective amnesia regarding US intervention to tilt the parity of status earned by the Tamils in favor of the Sri Lankan war machinery.

First, any serious observer of the Tamil Liberation struggle cannot deny the role played by the global Tamil Diaspora. After all, it was the same Diaspora that was criminalized through the US led proscription of the LTTE in the western world due to its moral, political and economic support of the liberation struggle. The U.S. Army & Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual 3-24 (2007) advises, “Victory is achieved when the populace consents to the government’s legitimacy and stops actively and passively supporting the insurgency”. Thus, to establish victory over the Tamil independence struggle on the international front, the Tamil Diaspora must be conceptually and politically demobilized from its primary objective.

The pro US lobbyists may argue that the Americans looked away in a ‘war without witnesses.’ The sad truth, as seen above, is that the Americans and their allies provided the weapons and the diplomatic cover for Sri Lanka to commit the 2009 genocide. The defeat of the LTTE and the 2009 genocide are an example of what Herman and Peterson called a “constructive genocide” that served the major US interests of stabilizing the island by getting rid of the stubborn LTTE impediment.

With the defeat of the military force of Tamil independence, the US fixed its aims on the Diaspora political force by seeking to reshape and moderate the terms of the debate. Classical COIN theorists like Galula have stressed the importance of the counterinsurgent to work on appropriating and diluting the cause of the insurgent so as to eradicate support while contemporary theorists like Kilcullen have stressed the importance of creating an alternate narrative that excludes the narrative of the insurgent.

To distort and dilute the cause of the Tamil liberation struggle, the LLRC based approach is attempting to change and moderate the debate from sovereignty, freedom, and self-determination to accommodation, integration and co-existence, thus moderating the perception of the oppressed about the conflict rather than helping end the system of oppression itself. The debate shifts from genocide and national liberation to individual human rights problems and political devolution, which can be rectified under a more liberal, democratic Sri Lankan regime. A recent TamilNet feature raised a question whether resolutions and HR reports that fail to recognize genocide or Tamil sovereign nationhood is the other side of a coin where military minds hail the ‘Sri Lanka model’ as a successful addition to COIN theory.

The lobbyists in favor of the US resolution are given the bait of political recognition while those who reject it on principled grounds are deemed as radicals and leftists. The ‘moderates’ are seen to be effective because they can invite their political masters in the west to their meetings and engage in photo ops with them. Yet, the ‘moderates’ can only beg for scraps of justice from their masters but remain powerless to halt, challenge or even address western complicity in the structural and protracted genocide that the Tamil homeland endures.

Why does this same lobby not reject the US approach and demand a more concrete political program of an international investigation and a referendum to establish a sovereign Tamil Eelam? Hair-splitting and claims of being pragmatic aside, the answer is that the pro-US lobby will lose its utility in the eyes of its political superiors at the US State Department. Some take up the ‘reconciliation for all citizens’ narrative as conscious agents, getting perks, grants, and funding. Others do it as unconscious agents, in the best of intentions that by bending over backwards, the world powers will pay heed to Tamil suffering and deliver justice. Either way, the effect is the same.

Of course, the liberal lobbyist brigades will argue that they are keenly aware of the broader strategy at play. These ‘moderates’ insist that they are politically savvy and clever enough to navigate through the western agenda and secure Tamil liberation. Sadly, it is one thing to think like an American and an entirely different thing to think the way the American wants you to think. Confused and impotent, they forget that the dog can wag the tail but the tail can never wag the dog.

Through the use of a resolution that is impotent as far as the Tamil nation is concerned and reports that do not address the crucial questions facing the Tamil nation, the US is pushing for a more user-friendly regime in Colombo. Emphasizing the paradigm of human rights and reconciliation over liberation and justice will in the end only help Sri Lanka rehabilitate itself in the world when a more liberal regime takes over from Rajapaksa.

Like the butchers Pinochet, Pol Pot or the recent Efrain Rios Montt, it can be argued that the US may someday discard Rajapaksa when his usefulness to them is over – or it may not. Rajapaksa’s personal fortunes or misfortunes are of no concrete concern to the Tamil nation. The point is whether Tamil Eelam is to be or not to be. And those who choose to obscure it are by definition against it. It is that simple.

But do puppets ever see the strings attached?

Notes:

1. William Rosenau, “Subversion and Insurgency”, RAND Report prepared for the Office of Secretary of Defence, 2007, p12

2. Jeffrey Lunstead “The United States’ Role in Sri Lanka’s Peace Process: 2002-2006.” Colombo 7: The Asia Foundation (2007), p17

3. Ibid, p39

4. Paul Moorcraft, “Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers: The Rare Victory of Sri Lanka’s Long War”, South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword, (2012), p110

5. Mark Whitaker, “Learning Politics From Sivaram: The Life and Death of a Revolutionary Tamil Journalist in Sri Lanka”, London: Pluto Press, (2007), p152

6. Vicki Sentas’ “One more successful war? Tamil diaspora and counter-terrorism after the LTTE” in “Counter-Terrorism and state political violence: The ‘war on terror’ as terror” edited by Scott Poynting and David Whyte, Routledge (2012), p111

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Cows in Tiger Skin: Lessons from Jaffna 1987 and Geneva 2013

Posted in Politics by Karthick RM on March 31, 2013
Of Tigers and Cows

Of Tigers and Cows

Also see at Countercurrents

In the political discourse of the Eelam Tamils, ‘thurohi’ or traitor is the worst abuse that can be hurled at a Tamil. While the armed struggle led by the Tigers began with a punishment meted out to a traitor, the term as such gained popularity in the landmark year 1987.

After Rajeev Gandhi’s India and Jayawardane’s Sri Lankan government signed the Indo-Sri Lanka accord in July 1987, the controversial 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution, that promised minimal devolution of powers to Tamils within unitary Sri Lanka, was made. India also despatched the Indian Peace Keeping Force the same year to ensure the implementation of this accord.

Even as other Tamil militant groups were arm-twisted by India into accepting the accord, Pirapaharan’s LTTE stoutly rejected it. What followed, the LTTE-IPKF war, involving over a hundred thousand Indian soldiers at its heights, with Jaffna bearing the worst brunt of Indian army atrocities, is history. And the other Tamil militant groups who uncritically accepted the accord were branded as traitors not just by the Tigers but by the Tamils at large.

Why reject the 13th amendment? A few obvious points:

1. It does not recognize the sovereignty of the Eelam Tamil nation but desires to preserve “the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka”.

2. It does not recognize the North and East of the island (Tamil Eelam) as the historical homeland of the Eelam Tamil nation but that “the Northern and the Eastern Provinces have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory with other ethnic groups”.

3. The North and East are not unconditionally recognized as one inseparable unit, but rather the East may have a referendum to decide whether it should “constitute a separate administrative unit having its own distinct provincial council with a separate Governer, Chief Minister and Board of Ministers.” (The Eelam Tamil political pundits who are still talking about ‘internal self-determination’ should note this)

4. While the Tamils will be disarmed, there are no restrictions on the monopoly of violence that the Sinhala state holds in that “The Government of Sri Lanka will utilise for the purpose of law enforcement and maintenance of security in the Northern and Eastern Provinces the same organisations and mechanisms of Government as are used in the rest of the country.”

The other Tamil militant groups who welcomed this accord were not inherently intentionally bad political actors. Most, in fact, with the best of intentions and/or lacking the strength to critically oppose external pressures, adopted the wrong concept. Wrong concepts gave wrong ideas. And wrong ideas brought about wrong actions.

They were confined to the dustbins of history by the Tamils. Branded as traitors.

But the best argument these poor creatures put up at that time was that “If we oppose India, what else do we have for support?”

Come Geneva 2013 and the US resolution on Sri Lanka that was passed on March 21.

The student upsurge in Tamil Nadu, youth protests in the diaspora, several Eelam Tamil grassroots organizations in the homeland and in the diaspora have rejected it outright.

Why did the reject the US resolution which is according to some ‘against Sri Lanka’?

1. Let alone mention of the Tamil national question, there is not even mention of the word ‘Tamil’ in the resolution. Reading the resolution, a person unfamiliar with the conflict would get the image that it was an internal scuffle within a nation called Sri Lanka. Nothing close to the ground reality of an irreconcilable war between Sri Lanka and the Eelam Tamil nation.

2. Let alone mention of genocide, or even that weak term ‘war crimes’, there is no mention of even ‘war’.

3. The only hint of the Tamil movement in the island is that of ‘terrorism’, thereby delegitimizing the Tamil cause. Or course, with the necessary appeals to adhere to international law. “States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, as applicable”.

4. While abuses should be avoided, and ‘minority’ rights should be safeguarded, the state is the final sovereign authority.

5. Explicit legitimization of LLRC, which does not recognize any Tamil traditional area, and is a blueprint for a protracted, structural genocide through Sinhala colonization.

Now, the people who welcomed this resolution call themselves ‘realists’. And the people who opposed this resolution, which practically is worse than the empty 13th amendment, on conceptual grounds are called ‘leftists’ or ‘extremists’.

Pirapaharan’s LTTE was called impractical for opposing the 13th Amendment and the IPKF by the other Tamil militant groups.

Just like the Tamil groups in Jaffna 1987, the ‘realists’ at Geneva 2013 also say “If we oppose the US resolution, what else do we have for support?”

The obvious historical questions, of course, elude these misguided souls. Why didn’t Pirapaharan do the same in 1987 and accept the solution that India offered? Why didn’t he accept Premadasa’s offer in the early 90’s for ‘ellaam but Eelam’ (anything but Eelam)? Why was he adamant in refusing to unconditionally accept any clause on ‘internal self-determination’ that was unwittingly promoted by certain Tamil sections during the peace talks?

Those who do not understand or who deliberately refuse to understand Pirapaharan the concept will never understand why he did these. Pirapaharan was also a realist – a realist who believed that conceptual weakness would scar the Tamil nation’s polity, a realist who recognized the intentions and interests of powers as regards the island, and a realist who understood that a people’s struggle is the greatest material manifestation of realism.

The Geneva ‘realists’ however seem to believe in a free lunch provided by powers. Rather than a clear calculation on the basis of the collective strength of their people, their experiences, their knowledge, they seem to have more faith that the world powers will be fed up with the intransigence of the Sri Lankan state and would offer them Tamil Eelam on a platter. Maybe this is why they disparage mass protests against the US resolution and prefer to be more western than the west while articulating Tamil concerns.

A popular adage among Tamils is “pasu thol pothiya puli” – Tiger in cow’s skin.

The current context demands the inverse actually. Especially considering that some of these lobbyists wouldn’t dare openly endorse reconciling with unitary Sri Lanka in Tamil forums.

Let the cows in Tiger skin keep waiting for their free lunch. The real realists in the Tamil polity must realize that there is going to be neither justice nor freedom for the Eelam Tamil nation without a concrete, conceptually clear struggle against the establishments.

KCK’s Solidarity Message to Eelam Tamils’ Struggle

Posted in Liberation Struggles by Karthick RM on March 19, 2013

See original here

Dear Friends and Comrades,

Your solidarity message against the brutal execution of our three women comrades by the deep dark forces of the Turkish state in Paris has reached to us. Your written and video messages of solidarity for the freedom of our leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan have also reached us. As the people and the movement, we took strength from your revolutionary friendship and solidarity. On behalf of our people and movement, we send our revolutionary regards and thanks because of your international sentiment and solidarity.

As a movement, we are closely observing the Tamil people’s action for freedom and revolutionary struggle, thanks to the relation that was established by our friends in Europe. This friendship has vitalized our struggle. We consider the continuation of dialogue with your representatives in Europe via our friends to seeking some common works of great importance, because just like the Kurdistan people, Tamil people carry out a struggle of liberation against exploitation for a very long time. We understand your struggle very closely.

Unfortunately, in spite of the high price, these struggles couldn’t yet reach their aim. In this respect, imperialist powers play a determinant role by supporting the local exploitive powers. These powers can vary but they carry out a similar savagery, both in the Tamil territory and Kurdistan.

The Middle East borders that were drawn by the imperialist-capitalist states in the beginning of the 20th century have lost legitimacy. The Middle East is experiencing the stage of revolution of freedom for women in particular, oppressed peoples and classes, construction of the peoples’ self-governance and the establishment of the societal system in favour of the oppressed people. The USA in particular Western countries, global capitalist powers, and exploitative powers in the Middle East conduct a third world war in our territory against the revolutionary will of our people. They aim to re-divide the natural and human resources of the Middle East among themselves, promote a new exploitation process and eventually re-impose capitalism onto the Middle East.

In this respect, the ongoing war in our territory is between the global capitalist powers on the one hand and the peoples conducting a struggle for freedom and equity, labourers and women on the other. Our Freedom Movement of Kurdistan and the liberation movement of the women of Kurdistan with the leadership of the PKK carry the responsibility of finalising the struggle with a success for all resisting peoples like you, classes and women. In this regard, the liberation of all the Middle Eastern peoplesis our central objective as much as the liberation of the Kurdish people.

The Kurdish people are currently empowering their struggle for freedom with the aim of carrying out the democratic autonomy system with the other oppressed people in West Kurdistan within the border of Syria. The Kurds in North Kurdistan are also carrying out their struggle assertively for freedom and equity either by democratic political struggle or by guerrilla fights on the basis of self defence. Leader Apo is exhibiting a great resistance in accordance with this purpose under the heavy isolation conditions for last 14 years.

The colonialist state of Turkey and its proxy the AKP Government try to carry out an annihilation against our movement with new methods by practising ‘either talks or imposing annihilation’ at the same time. The Government calls this process ‘to integrate on the one hand and to attack on the other’. If the talks don’t give positive results, our leader Abdullah Öcalan, our people and all the bodies of our movement will further increase the people’s revolutionary fight against the attacks in 2013. We consider the talks between the Turkish State and our leader Abdullah Öcalan significant when our revolutionary resistance continues against the annihilation and quashes attacks of the Turkish state. We believe that the success of our struggle against the totalitarian AKP government and its global capitalist supporters will have historical significance and experiences for all of the resisting movements like yours.

We sustain our struggle against all local and international retrogressive powers without interruption. Because we believe that a democratic solution and peace that will be gained in Kurdistan will be the gain of all of the peoples that are seeking freedom and liberation. We think that you know that we are struggling for all of oppressed peoples.

In this regard, the massacre and humanitarian tragedy that were executed by the occupying army of Sri Lanka with the support of imperialist powers is unforgettable. A savagery and tragedy was executed before the eyes of the entire world. Unfortunately the United Nations in particular and entire world sat back and watched this massacre. The reactions were to ease their conscience. We condemn once more the Sri Lanka administration and their collaborationists before history and Humanity. And we deeply believe in the reality that in spite of the imperialist system and their collaborators, the winners will be the peoples seeking their freedom.

Our movement have always placed an importance on international solidarity and never remained local since its foundation. Direct relations could not be possible because of limited opportunities. However, we have considered as a responsibility being in solidarity in idea, emotion and practice with the peoples and labour groups.

We thank you once more for your revolutionary solidarity for the martyrdom of our three women comrades. With this occasion, on behalf of the liberation movement of the Kurdish people with the leadership of Abdullah Öcalan, we state loudly that we are in revolutionary solidarity with you and your people and we support your struggle.

With kind regards

KCK Executive Council
10. March 2013