”All Gotabhaya needs right now is time. The longer the TNA delays its actions the greater the chance of Tamils being outnumbered in their homeland. So time is not on our side. Please read the attached full version of Sampanthan’s speech.”
The TNA leader, Mr.Sampanthan, delivered the attached speech at the 14th Annual ITAK convention (May 2012) in Batticaloa. Generally, it reflected the state of affairs in Eelam and the aspirations of the Tamils there.
He hit the nail on the head when he said that the Tamils would not accept 13th Amendment as an acceptable solution. In the event of “our right to internal self determination is continuously denied, we will claim our right under international law to external self determination.” The 13th Amendment, introduced by India through the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan Accord, would bring no benefit to the Tamils. On the other hand it will entrench Sinhalese strangle hold on the Tamil Homeland.
It will be extremely difficult for the IDPs to respond to Sampanthan’s request to exercise patience, especially when colonisation and Sinhalization is proceeding on at breakneck speed. War widows sell their bodies to feed their families. It is unreasonable to expect them to be indefinitely patient. It is better for TNA to set a time frame for whatever actions they are in the process of doing.
The most welcome aspect of Sampanthan’s statement on patience is this. “Our patience however, will not be everlasting. Our patience too, has its limits. Once we have reached that limit, we will move onto the stage of our effort. We will not hesitate to gather our people together and with the support of progressive forces in our country, and the international community, even engage in a non-violent struggle. We will decide on specific deadlines and when the time comes for such action, we will act.” Hopefully, the specific datelines do not run into years.
The Diaspora will respect the political thinking of those living in Eelam. They will respect the courage with which they make decisions, and their ability to determine their own political destiny, but at the same time Sampanthan should remember more than 50% of the Diaspora are recent émigrés, who were forced out of Eelam by the violence there. Their anxiety on what is happening in Eelam should be a matter of concern to the Tamil leaders in Eelam. To put their nerves at ease it is essential TNA politicians do not send out mixed, confusing messages. Whatever activities the Diaspora conduct in their home states, will not affect the success or failure of TNA efforts. On the other hand they will create awareness of the plight of the Tamils in Eelam in their new-found homes. In fact they are the ones who keep Eelam matters alive in the West. They are the ones who are protesting in London against the invitation extended by the UK government to Rajapaksa for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
The most uncalled for statement in the speech is the following paragraph. “The intervention of India was an inevitable chapter in the history of our political struggle. The intervention of India has clearly taught us the lesson that whatever our aspirations may be, India will never welcome a political solution in Sri Lanka that does not accord with the interests of India. However, using the intervention of India to our benefit, together with its assistance and blessing, we grasped an opportunity to arrive at a political solution that would enable us to live with dignity within a united Sri Lanka.”
No sane person can understand why India’s intervention was inevitable. Prabhakaran knew from the beginning that India’s interests must be taken care off. As a result he didn’t seek the support of the other foreign powers. India’s main problem was the emergence of Eelam will encourage Tamil Nadu and other states in India, who are clamouring to secede, to go seperate. This logic did not prevail when Bangladesh was created; nobody ever said then that West Bengal will break off and join Bangladesh. It is for the leaders of Tamil Nadu to impress on the Delhi Pundits that, as in the case of Bangladesh, such a scenario is unlikely. This will happen when genuine Tamil Nadu leaders emerge.
India is fully aware of what is going on in Eelam; yet, they have done nothing to protect the Tamils. The Indian parliamentary delegation shed crocodile tears on the sufferings of the Tamils. To date they have done nothing to ameliorate the situation. They engage in some form of tokenism like building for them 50,000 houses and giving some equipment; in three years hardly a 1,000 houses had been delivered.
It is about time Sampanthan tones down the concept of appeasing India without getting corresponding benefits. To date no one has given any explanation to the electorate why TNA kept away from the Geneva UNHRC gathering in April and that too through a last minute decision. When the Diaspora youths could march from London to Geneva to register their protest against the genocide, it baffled many how the elected national leaders could keep away?
Many in North India are in the dark on the happenings in Eelam. They look upon the Tamils, thanks to India and its media, as blood thirsty terrorists who are bent on attacking innocent Sinhalese civilians. It is for the TNA leaders to send teams of people to meet the leaders of all the important Indian state leaders and convince them the problem in Eelam is state terrorism, whose sole purpose is to colonise the Tamil Homeland with the Sinhalese from the south and the Tamils are systematically killed or driven out. Only the TNA can do this job, not the Tamil Diaspora.
Then only the Indian foreign policy will change.
The Tamils in Eelam or anywhere in the world should not forget the sacrifices made the Tiger cadres to liberate the Tamils from the clutches of Sinhala chauvinism. So India’s intervention is not inevitable, nor will its interest ever coincide with welfare of the Tamils. India has reduced the Tamils to a state of helplessness and it has done to date very little to pull them out of the mess they had pushed them into. TNA leaders should avoid statements like the above in their speeches. Such statements could easily be avoided
All Gotabhaya needs right now is time. The longer the TNA delays its actions the greater the chance of Tamils being outnumbered in their homeland. So time is not on our side. Please read the attached full version of Sampanthan’s speech.