December 17, 2011

Prabhakaran’s Tigers and Mandela’s Spears – Part 1

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 9:15 pm

As for the LTTE’s three “most influential members”, the choice of Tjamanabalsingham (the authors couldn’t get the Tamil name Thanabalasingham, alias Chetti, correctly) and Colonel Karuna are as laughable, if one offers an answer to the ‘most influential members’ among early Christians as Jesus, Pontius Pilate and Judas!…

What is seriously missing in this theory of dark network resilience, is a proper control group.

The good news is that two researchers (Rene M.Bakker and Jorg Raab) from Netherlands and one from USA (H. Brinton Milward) think that the LTTE can be compared with Mandela’s Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). Their study, entitled ‘A Preliminary Theory of Dark Network Resilience’ appeared recently in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. MK was established in November 1961; thus, last month marked its 50th anniversary of birth.Bakker et al A Preliminary Theory of Dark Network Resilience 2011 LTTE

The bad news is that the published study by Bakker and his colleagues is error prone in facts and interpretation. To be fair to these researchers, in the penultimate section of their paper, they do include a section entitled, ‘Limitations’, in which they do acknowledge that “this study has several limitations” and mention six items. Unfortunately, they have failed to recognize what the main limitation was. It is stated in their acknowledgments clearly. They state, “We would like to thank Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) in Singapore for providing valuable information on the Tamil Tigers (LTTE).”

Relying on Rohan Gunaratna for facts about the LTTE, is like asking Churchill’s cook for information on Indian freedom fighters like Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose. I used ‘cook’ as a metaphor specifically, because in Tamil the word ‘madaiyan’ (i.e., cook) is used pejoratively to a fool.Rohan Gunaratne first book 1987 cover

Abstract and the Six Propositions of the Study

Before proceeding further, I provide the abstract and the six propositions of this study. The abstract states:

“A crucial contemporary policy question for governments across the globe is how to cope with international crime and terrorist networks. Many such ‘dark’ networks – that is, networks that operate covertly and illegally – display a remarkable level of resilience when faced with shocks and attacks. Based on an in-depth study of three cases (MK, the armed wing of the African National Congress in South Africa during apartheid; FARC, the Marxist guerrilla movement in Colombia; and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, in Sri Lanka), we present a set of propositions to outline how shocks impact dark network characteristics (resources and legitimacy) and networked capabilities (replacing actors, linkages, balancing integration and differentiation) and how these in turn affect a dark network’s resilience over time. We discuss the implications of our findings for policy makers.”

The six propositions formulated by  Bakker et al. are as follows:

Proposition 1: Resources have a positive effect on a dark network’s capabilities (replacing nodes and linkages and balancing integration.differentiation).

Proposition 2: Internal and external legitimacy have a positive impact on two out of three networked capabilities (replacing nodes and replacing linkages).

Proposition 3: The greater the ability of a dark network to maintain and replace nodes and linkages, the higher its level of operational activity.

Proposition 4: The better a dark network is able to balance differentiation and integration given a certain level of uncertainty, the higher its level of operational activity.

Proposition 5: Centralization moderates between a shock and the impact on network characteristics: When a network is centralized, the shock’s impact on network characteristics is likely to be larger than for decentralized networks.

Proposition 6: Network motivation moderates the relation between network characteristics (legitimacy and resources) and two out of three network capabilities (replacing nodes and replacing linkages, but not balancing integration and differentiation): For grievance-driven networks, the effect of a change in legitimacy will be stronger than for greed-driven networks, while the reverse is true for a change in resources.

Comparison between Spears and Tigers

I have re-formatted the information provided in Table 1, by Bakker et al., by omitting details on FARC of Colombia, and comparing MK with LTTE. The nine criteria presented are as follows:

  • Period of Existence

MK: 29 years (1961 to 1990)

LTTE: 37 years (1972 to 2009)

  • Region of operational activity

MK: mainly South Africa, also Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola.

LTTE: Sri Lanka.

  • Goals

MK: overthrow apartheid regime, found new government based on Freedom Charter

LTTE: independent Tamil Eelam (homeland), Tamil nationality and right to self determination.

  • Strength

MK: 23,000 at its peak.

LTTE: estimated strength around 20,000 at its peak in 2003; 6,000 in 2006; 7,500 in 2009.

  • Operational activity

MK: sabotage of infrastructure, mass protests, assassinations of non-civilian targets, international lobby for legitimacy.

LTTE: sucide bombing, fighting war, attacking Sinhalese property, assassinations, robberies, assaults, arson, and destruction of buildings, occupying Sri Lankan grounds and cities, recruiting Tamils, indoctrinating Tamil citizens, marine attacks.

  • Command Structure

MK: from centralized decision making (MK’s high command) to fragmented guerrilla army structure (revolutionary council), to revolutionary army, integrated with the ANC political wing (political-military council).

LTTE: centralized decision making through leader Prabhakaran.

MK (ANC's militant wing) bombings TIME June 6 1983

  • Shock

MK: Rivonia Raid (1963): entire high command is captured by police.

LTTE: Declaration of total war by Sri Lankan government (2006/2008).

  • Pattern of operational activity

MK: rebounding

LTTE: non-resilient

  • Most influential member(s)

MK: Nelson Mandela

LTTE: Velupillai Prabhakaran; Tjamanabalsingham (spelling as in the original!); Colonel Karuna.

Now, let me pick on the details on final and the 9th criteria listed by Bakker et al. which indicates sloppy research. For MK, they mention only Mandela’s name as the most influential member, but not others who played a significant role for MK activity, after Mandela was arrested in August 1962. Then, for the LTTE, the two names, mentioned by Bakker et al. other than Prabhakaran should be a joke, based on Rohan Gunaratna’s dubious information! Bakker et al. do cite Mandela’s autobiography (Long Walk to Freedom) as one entry in their reference section. But, it seems they have never read it in depth. I quote one paragraph from this autobiography.

“Although the executive of the ANC did not allow white members, MK was not thus constrained. I immediately recruited Joe Slovo and along with Walter Sisulu, we formed the High Command with myself as chairman. Through Joe, I enlisted the efforts of white Communist Party members who had resolved on a course of violence and had already executed acts of sabotage like cutting government telephone and communication lines. We recruited Jack Hodgson, who had fought in World War II and was a member of the Springbok Legion, and Rusty Bernstein, both party members. Jack became our first demolition expert. Our mandate was to wage acts of violence against the state – precisely what form those acts would take was yet to be decided. Our intention was to begin with what was least violent to individuals but most damage to the state.”

Then, there was Oliver Tambo, who was the de-jure president of ANC (see the scanned Time magazine’s report of June 6, 1983), whose name has been omitted.

As for the LTTE’s three “most influential members”, the choice of Tjamanabalsingham (the authors couldn’t get the Tamil name Thanabalasingham, alias Chetti, correctly) and Colonel Karuna are as laughable, if one offers an answer to the ‘most influential members’ among early Christians as Jesus, Pontius Pilate and Judas! Or, if one offers an answer to the ‘most influential members’ among the patriots of American revolutionary war as George Washington, Crispus Attucks and Benedict Arnold!

That Bakker et al. had swallowed completely the facts  offered by Rohan Gunaratna on the LTTE, is distinctly visible, when one reads Gunaratna’s first book (War & Peace in Sri Lanka) published in 1987. On page 19, he had noted, “In 1975 Prabakaran who was a member of this group formed the Tamil New Tigers (TNT) under the leadership of Chetti Thanabalasingham. Later Prabhakaran assassinated his leader and took over the leadership.” Whether it was Prabhakaran or was it Kuttimani who killed Thanabalasingham on March 15, 1981, has not been clarified. M.R.Narayan Swamy in his book ‘Tigers of Lanka’ had noted that it was Kuttimani (page 42). The reason: Chetti was functioning as a key police informant.

What is significant is that, in his slender book (total of 84 pages, with the text material amounting to 73 pages), Rohan Gunaratna began his brief ‘Author’s note’ with a confession, as follows: “This report is neither an in depth analysis of Sri Lanka’s national question nor is it a scholarly work on the background to the Sinhala-Tamil crisis. This report reflect the personal views and the experiences of the author…” Then, with chutzpah, he had peddled his garbled LTTE history as an authentic material to analysts like Bakker  et al.Model of LTTE's resilience over time LTTE activity graph Bakke et al 2011

LTTE’s Activity Graph

Bakker et al. had provided an activity graph (‘operational activity’ in Y axis, with time in X axis), which I provide as a scan. It should be noted, that relevant units (such as number killed and maimed, or number of desertions in rival camp) are not clearly demarcated in this graph. LTTE aficionados will treat this graph as a joke! First, LTTE’s military activity peaked during 2000-2001, which has been muted in the graph. Secondly, the LTTE’s engagement with the Indian Army (IPKF) during 1987-90 has been omitted.

Lack of Optimal Controls

What is seriously missing in this theory of dark network resilience, is a proper control group. I, for one, would like to use the activities of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as an optimal control group. This is because, the operational activities attributed to MK and LTTE (such as sabotage of infrastructure, fighting war, assassinations, indoctrination and drug trafficking) have been recorded for CIA as well. (to be continued).

by Sachi Sri Kantha, December 5, 2011

November 28, 2011

Leader V.Prabakaran wallpapers/ தேசியத் தலைவர் வே.பிரபாகரன் பின்னணி விம்பகம்



November 27, 2011

Prabhakaran and the LTTE-Part 3

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, genocide srilanka, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , , — எல்லாளன் @ 11:21 pm

A Select Chronological Bibliography

“When it comes to chaos and sheer chutzpah, there is no bourgeoisie that can match the Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka. With the international community as its enabler, it has recently defeated the national liberation struggle in ‘Tamil Eelam’ (the far northern coastal strip inhabited by Hindu and Christian Sri Lankan Tamils) in one of the most shocking examples of ethnocidal violence that we have seen in years. You do not have to be a Marxist, a third world liberation fighter, or even functionally literate to realize that this imperialist system puts a very low price on the lives of ‘brown people’. So what is really so shocking about Sri Lanka, where the 60-80 thousand who have died really don’t compare much to, for instance ethnocide in Africa, tidal waves in Asia, or the original sin of kidnapping 10 of the first 12 million people to travel to the New World. What we find genuinely shocking is the way that the international community has cheered on the ethnocide, allowing the Sri Lankan state to pose this as an issue of fighting terrorism, rather than as an issue of self-determination. It is the double standard of power. Or as Chomsky observed so many years ago, the emperor and the pirate do the same thing, but the pirate is in the wrong.”

Like the previous two years (2009 and 2010), I have collected the research-oriented publications on Velupillai Prabhakaran and LTTE, which had appeared in peer-reviewed international journals recently. In 2009 (part 1), there were 70 items. In 2010 (part 2), there were 56 items. This year, I have collected 63 items. These numbers partially indicate that research on LTTE provides ‘bread and butter’ to many academics, all over the world. Rather than arranging these in the conventional alphabetical order according to the author, I have opted to arrange these in chronological order.

LTTE’s Merits over the Sri Lankan Army
Elisabeth Wood

Prof. Elisabeth Jean Wood

As all know, though LTTE was militarily defeated by the Sri Lankan army in May 2009, there are two specific issues on which Sri Lankan army could not top the LTTE’s record. First, by general consensus, LTTE outwitted and outperformed the Indian army, in its 1987-90 confrontation. As of now, Sri Lankan army cannot boast of this record. Secondly, when it comes to the issue of rape in war and violence against women, LTTE’s record is unblemished. But the record of Sri Lankan army is despicable! In its January 15th 2011 issue, the Economist magazine published a three page unsigned commentary ‘War’s overlooked victims’ (pp.54-56). The Economist, as I have chronicled in the past, has been a biased observer on LTTE’s record. Thus, in this unsigned commentary, Economist paid a left-handed compliment to LTTE as follows:

“Some groups commit all kinds of other atrocities, but abhor rape. The absence of sexual violence in the Tamil Tigers’ forced displacement of tens of thousands of Muslims from the Jaffna peninsula in 1990 is a case in point. Rape is often part of ethnic cleansing but it was strikingly absent here. Tamil mores prohibit sex between people who are not married and sex across castes (though they are less bothered about marital rape). What is more, Ms. Wood explains, the organisation’s strict internal discipline meant commanders could enforce these judgements.”

The Ms. Wood cited above is Elisabeth Jean Wood, a professor of political science at Yale University. I checked her curriculum vitae sponsored by the Yale University. In it, she states that she has competence in Spanish (fluent speaking and reading proficiency) and Portuguese (fair reading proficiency). But, is she proficient in either Tamil or Sinhalese? Not so, I believe. Here is a typical case of snob bias (an American lady academic and attached to Yale University) perpetrated by the Economist magazine. How dare Ms. Wood pass a judgement on Sri Lankan civil war and on LTTE’s behavior, though in this instance her explanation is favorable to LTTE?

I warn prospective academics, students and fellow Sri Lankan researchers who consult this bibliography that they need to exercise caution to ten identifiable biases, which I have listed in parts 1 and 2. These need reiteration here as well.

Tamil language incompetency bias

Lack of access bias

Gunshoes truth-distortion bias

Sri Lankan travel visa bias

Blinded mule bias

Terrorism industry menagerie bias

Unverified/unverifiable garbage bias

Timid media pundity bias

‘Me too Expert’ bias

Sinhala state-funding bias

When reading the texts of these research-oriented papers, it become evident that majority of these are merely labored bone shifting efforts of language challenged, culture challenged, dimwit academics from one boneyard (grave) to another boneyard. The sources of their original data on the Tamil Tigers are biased as well, such as ‘terrorism expert’ Rohan Gunaratna. The cited so-called ‘LTTE experts’ (D.B.S.Jeyaraj, Rajan Hoole and their ilk), with the exception of Daya Somasundaram have never published in any peer-reviewed journals which cater to the relevant areas of interest.

The Dialectical Anthropology journal’s Editorial

Among these 63 publications, there are a couple of notable contributions which I would like to review in depth subsequently. These are that of Kathryn Farr (2009) on ‘Extreme war rape in today’s civil-war-torn states’ as well as that of Rene Bakker, Jorg Raab and H.Brinton Milward (2011) on ‘A preliminary theory of dark network resilience’. Also of merit, is one 2009 pensive editorial [Chaos in South Asia] penned by  Anthony Marcus, Ananthakrishnan Aiyer and Kirk Dombrowski for the journal Dialectical Anthropology. For its relevance, I provide below four paragraphs from this editorial.

“When it comes to chaos and sheer chutzpah, there is no bourgeoisie that can match the Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka. With the international community as its enabler, it has recently defeated the national liberation struggle in ‘Tamil Eelam’ (the far northern coastal strip inhabited by Hindu and Christian Sri Lankan Tamils) in one of the most shocking examples of ethnocidal violence that we have seen in years. You do not have to be a Marxist, a third world liberation fighter, or even functionally literate to realize that this imperialist system puts a very low price on the lives of ‘brown people’. So what is really so shocking about Sri Lanka, where the 60-80 thousand who have died really don’t compare much to, for instance ethnocide in Africa, tidal waves in Asia, or the original sin of kidnapping 10 of the first 12 million people to travel to the New World. What we find genuinely shocking is the way that the international community has cheered on the ethnocide, allowing the Sri Lankan state to pose this as an issue of fighting terrorism, rather than as an issue of self-determination. It is the double standard of power. Or as Chomsky observed so many years ago, the emperor and the pirate do the same thing, but the pirate is in the wrong.

And this is the reason we find the destruction of the LTTE by the Sinhalese army so shocking; the issues of commensurability, scale and basic bourgeois legal notions of justice and fairness. Putting aside the stated goal of this journal, ‘to transform class societies’, for a few minutes, we would just like to see a little old fashioned rational logic applied. To draw a loaded comparison, let’s look at Israel. The whole world was appropriately up-in-arms at the incommensurate response of the Zionist state in the pre-election Gaza war. There is no way that anybody with any sense of justice can accept a nuclear armed imperial monster turning a defenseless and largely civilian city into wreckage to save face (which sadly brings us back to September 11, 2001, Afghanistan, and south central Asia burning). However, at least when the Israeli state makes thousands in Gaza homeless and orphaned, they can claim, albeit with some disingenuousness, that they are defending a piece of land that is being claimed equally by another group of people. Instead of admitting to the imperial nature of a theocratic Jewish state, they can say, “two antagonistic peoples, one land, its them or us.” If they were genuinely fighting for the life of their people, rather than governing an imperial project by dividing Hebrew and Arabic speaking working classes, they might actually have a point, but at least they have a seemingly rational argument for why they deal out death to ordinary people because of their nationality. What is the Sri Lankan state’s excuse for waging a quarter century war to prevent self-rule in a tiny strip of Northern coastal land claimed as a Tamil home? And why does the ‘international community’ agree that incinerating civilians to shore up the central government’s tenuous claims is commensurate. It may be too busy saving Muslim women further north from their menfolk to do the math.

Granted the northern Tamils have been represented by a rather repulsive outfit called the LTTE, but this is a political leadership so secretive, so repressive and so undemocratic that it could only emerge from a situation of the most brutal majoritarian repression. Described as terrorists, despite years of relatively successful autonomous self-management, including tax collecting, legal conflict resolution, maintenance of civilian and military armed forces, education and even public libraries, the LTTE has often shown better governance practices than the official government to the south. While the years of anti-Tamil concentration camps and ethnic butchery have been ugly, we have watched in particular horror during the final offensive of 2009, when the Sri Lankan airforce took advantage of the destruction of the ‘Air Tigers’ (the collection of aging propeller plances that the LTTE called their air force) to use modern aircraft to bomb civilians and combatant alike. Even the Kurds have received better consideration – perhaps thanks, in part, to anti-Turkish Europeans and a congeries of Greek and Armenian oriented politicos in the United States.

This is not two people’s claiming the same land, as would be the case if the Tarahumara tried to take Arizona. This is one people seeking to liberate their tiny homeland in the north of Sri Lanka from a hostile majority government that seeks to fold them into a greater Sinhalese Buddhist Sri Lanka. If you do not believe this, take a look at the President of Sri Lanka’s victory statement. In it, he made no pretense to a civil or secular character to the struggle. He boldly informed the world that the coming peace would be governed by Buddhist principles. Now, for many, this might mean peace, love, Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama, but for the predominantly Hindu and Christian Tamils, it means no justice, no peace, and no self-determination. And just to put things in perspective, the president is a conciliator who has agreed to bring northern Tamil leadership into the government in limited ways. This stands in bold contrast to the groups of Buddhist priests who are calling for the blood of the Hindu and Christian losers of this war.” [pp.222-224]

Chronological Bibliography on Prabhakaran and LTTE: Part 3

Publications prior to 2009, which have been not listed in parts 1 and 2, are also included. Altogether, there are 63 items here.

D. J. Somasundaram, S. Sivayokan: War trauma in a civilian population. British Journal of Psychiatry, 1994; 165: 524-527.

Kristian Stokke: Sinhalese and Tamil nationalism as post-colonial political projects from ‘above’, 1948-1983. Political Geography, 1998; 17(1): 83-113.

Mark Phythian: The illicit arms trade – Cold War and post-Cold War. Crime, Law & Social Change, 2000; 33: 1-52.

Basil van Horen: Planning for institutional capacity building in war-torn areas: the case of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Habitat International, 2002; 26: 113-128.

Basil van Horen: City profile – Colombo. Cities, 2002; 19(3): 217-227.

Oren Yiftachel, As’ad Ghanem: Understanding ‘ethnocratic’ regimes: the politics of seizing contested territories. Political Geography, 2004; 23: 647-676.

Margo Kleinfeld: Destabilizing the identity-territory nexus: rights-based discourse in Sri Lanka’s new political geography. GeoJournal, 2005; 64(4): 287-295.

Kristine Hoglund, Isak Svensson: ‘Sticking one’s neck out’; Reducing mistrust in Sri Lanka’s peace negotiations. Negotiation Journal, Oct. 2006; pp. 367-387.

Sukanya Podder: Challenges to peace negotiations: the Sri Lankan experience. Strategic Analysis (New Delhi), Jul-Sept.2006; 30(3): 576-598.

John Sislin, Frederic Pearson: Arms and escalation in ethnic conflicts: The case of Sri Lanka. International Studies Perspectives, 2006; 7: 137-158.

Seiji Yamada, Ravindu P.Gunatilake, Timur M.Roytman, Sarath Gunatilake, Thusara Fernando, Lalan Fernando: The Sri Lanka Tsunami experience. Disaster Management and Response, Apr-Jun.2006; 4(2): 38-48.

Margaret Harris Cheng: Health and housing after the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Lancet, June 23, 2007; 369: 2066-2068.

Pierre-Emmanuel Ly: The charitable activities of terrorist organizations. Public Choice, 2007; 131: 177-195.

W.Hutchinson: The systemic roots of suicide bombing. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 2007; 24: 191-200.

Steven Hutchinson, Pat O’Malley: A crime-terror nexus? Thinking on some of the links between terrorism and criminality. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Dec. 2007; 30(12): 1095-1107.

William Mishler, Steven Finkel, Pradeep Peiris: The 2005 Presidential and 2004 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka. Electoral Studies, Mar. 2007; 26(1): 205-209.

Marie Nagai, Abraham Sandirasegaram, Miyoko Okamoto, Etsuko Kita, Atsuko Aoyama: Reconstruction of health service systems in the post-conflict Northern province in Sri Lanka. Health Policy, Sep. 2007; 83(1): 84-93.

Michael Roberts: Suicide missions as witnessing: Expansions, contrasts. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 2007; 30: 857-887.

Gamini Samaranayake: Political terrorism of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Apr. 2007; 30(1): 171-183.

Alisa Stack-O’Connor: Lions, tigers and freedom birds: How and why the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam employs women. Terrorism and Political Violence, spring 2007; 19(1): 43-63.

Eli Berman, David D. Laitin: Religion, terrorism and public goods: testing the club model. Journal of Public Economics, 2008; 92: 1942-1967.

Cathrine Brun: Birds of Freedom – Young people, the LTTE, and representations of gender, nationalism, and governance in northern Sri Lanka. Critical Asian Studies, 2008; 40(3): 399-422.

Shawn Teresa Flanigan: Nonprofit service provision by: The cases of Hizbullah and the Tamil Tigers. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 2008; 31(6): 499-519.

Sepali Kottegoda, Kumudini Samuel, Sarala Emmanuel: Reproductive health concerns in six conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka. Reproductive Health Matters, 2008; 16(31): 75-82.

Deirdre McConnell: The Tamil people’s right to self determination. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 2008; 21(1): 59-76.

Shiamala Suntharalingam: Health as a weapon of war? British Medical Journal, June 13, 2008; 338: 1448.

Yik Koon The: The abuses and offences committed during the Tsunami crisis. Asian Criminology, 2008; 3: 201-211.

Anna Ramirez: A la carte Torture: Maybe a car bomb. Anthropology Today, June 2008; 24(3): 20-21.

Michael Roberts: Tamil Tigers – sacrificial symbolism and ‘dead body politics’. Anthropology Today, June 2008; 24(3): 22-23.

Howard Adelman: Research on the ethics of war in the context of violence in Gaza. Journal of Academic Ethics, 2009; 7: 93-113.

Anonymous editorial: Medical emergency in Sri Lanka. Lancet, Apr.25, 2009; 373: 1399.

Anonymous: Sri Lanka’s twin humanitarian crises. Lancet, May 16, 2009; 373: 1667-1668.

Thomas Elbert, Maggie Schauer, Elisabeth Schauer, Bianca Huschka, Michael Hirth, Frank Neuner: Trauma-related impairment in children – a survey in Sri Lankan provinces affected by armed conflict. Child Abuse & Neglect, 2009; 33: 238-246.

Kyle Beardsley, Brian McQuinn: Rebel groups as predatory organizations – The political effects of the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Aug. 2009; 53(4); 624-645.

Ben Bland: Hospital is caught in crossfire in Sri Lanka’s northern war zone. British Medical Journal, Feb.7, 2009; 338: 319.

Neloufer de Mel: Gendering the new security paradigm in Sri Lanka. IDS Bulletin – Institute of Development Studies, Mar. 2009; 40(2): 36-43.

Kathryn Farr: Extreme war rape in today’s civil war-torn states: a contextual and comparative analysis. Gender Issues, 2009; 26(1): 1-41.

Eva Gerharz: Between War and Peace – The Tamil Tigers and their diaspora. Sociologus, 2009; 59(1): 33-49.

Jennifer Hyndman: Acts of Aid; Neoliberalism in a war zone. Antipode, 2009; 41(5): 867-889.

Nihal Jayasinghe: A misrepresentation of reality. British Medical Journal, July 25, 2009; 339: 188.

Bobby Sundaralingam: Confirmation of my experience. British Medical Journal, July 25, 2009; 339: 188.

Oliver Johnson, Anenta Ratneswaren, Fenella Beynon: Humanitarian crisis in Vanni, Sri Lanka. Lancet, Mar.7, 2009; 373: 809-810.

M.Mayilvaganan: Is it endgame for LTTE? Strategic Analysis (New Delhi), Jan.2009; 33(1): 25-39.

Anthony Marcus, Ananthakrishnan Aiyer, Kirk Dombrowski: Editorial – Chaos in South Asia. Dialectical Anthropology, 2009; 33(3-4): 219-224.

Jannie Lilja: Trapping constituents or winning hearts and minds? Rebel strategies to attain constituent support in Sri Lanka. Terrorism and Political Violence, 2009; 21(2): 306-326.

Hector N. Qirko: Altruism in suicide terror organizations. Zygon, June 2009; 44(2): 289-322.

Tudor Kalinga Silva: ‘Tsunami third wave’ and the politics of disaster management in Sri Lanka. Norwegian Journal of Geography, 2009; 63(1): 61-72.

Nira Wickramasinghe: Sri Lanka in 2008: Waging war for peace. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb. 2009; 49(1): 59-65.

Asoka Bandarage: Women, armed conflict and peace making in Sri Lanka – Toward a political economy perspective. Asian Politics & Policy, 2010; 2(4): 653-667.

Daniel Byman, Sarah E.Kreps: Agents of destruction? Applying principal-agent analysis to state sponsored terrorism. International Studies Perspectives, 2010; 11: 1-18.

Christopher J. Coyne, Gregory M. Dempster, Justin P.Isaacs: Asset values and the sustainability of peace prospects. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 2010; 50: 146-156.

David Hayes: Duty and service; Life and career of a Tamil teacher of English in Sri Lanka. TESOL Quarterly, March 2010; 44(1): 58-83.

Maria Steinbauer: Sri Lanka –a year after war; psychological/psychiatric treatment in Sri Lanka. Psychiatrie & Psychotherapie, 2010; 6(4): 230-235 (text in German, with an English summary).

James D.Fearon, David D.Laitin: Sons of the soil, migrants and civil war. World Development, 2011; 39(2): 199-211.

Jannie Lilja: Ripening within? Strategiees used by rebel negotiators to end ethnic war. Negotiation Journal, July 2011; pp.311-342.

Eugene Guribye: ‘No God and no Norway’: collective resource loss among members of Tamil NGO7s in Norway during and after the last phase of the civil war in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2011: 5: 18 (12 pages).

Kristine Hoglund, Isak Svensson: Should I stay or should I go? Termination as a tactic and Norwegian mediation in Sri Lanka. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 2011; 4(1): 12-32.

Kristine Hoglund, Isak Svensson: Schizophrenic soothers: the international community and contrast strategies for peace making in Sri Lanka. Cooperation and Conflict, June 2011; 46(2): 166-184.

Rene M.Bakker, Jorg Raab, H.Brinton Milward: A preliminary theory of dark network resilience. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 2011, 30pp. (DOI:10.1002/pam.20619)

Dennis B. McGilvray: Sri Lankan Muslims; between ethno-nationalism and the global ummah. Nations and Nationalism, Jan. 2011; 17(1): 45-64.

Neavis Morais, Mokbul Morshed Ahmad: NGO-led microfinance; potentials and challenges in conflict areas. Journal of International Development, 2011; 23: 629-640.

A.R.M. Imtiyaz, S.R.H. Hoole: Some critical notes on the non-Tamil identity of the Muslims of Sri Lanka and on Tamil-Muslim relations. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, n.s. Aug. 2011; 34(2): 208-231.

Matthew Lange: Social welfare and ethnic warfare; exploring the impact of education on ethnic violence. Studies in Comparative International Development, 4 Nov.2011 (online version DOI 10.1007/s12116-011-9095-y).


by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 27, 2011

Prabhakaran and the LTTE-Part 2

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, genocide srilanka, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , , — எல்லாளன் @ 11:11 pm

A Select Chronological Bibliography

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”

Time magazine (Asian Edition), in its December 28, 2009/ January 4, 2010 double issue, carried the year-end ‘Farewell’ column to 26 internationally noted achievers who died in 2009. Among these 26, Velupillai Prabhakaran was included as ‘rebel leader’ (not as a terrorist). For the record, here are the names of the achievers, their ‘specialities’ and the age at which they died, in the order Time magazine presented them between pages 76 and 90.

Thomas Hoving, museum director, 78

Les Paul, recording artist, 94

Ted Kennedy, senator, 77

Walter Cronkite, journalist, 92

Naomi Sims, model, 61

Irving Penn, photographer, 92

Michael Jackson, singer, 50

Farrah Fawcett, actress, 62

Patrick Swayze, actor, 57

Corazon Aquino, Philippine President, 76

Ingemar Johansson, boxer, 76

Velupillai Prabhakaran, rebel leader, 54

Paul Samuelson, economist, 94

John Mortimer, writer, 85

Helen Suzman, activist, 91

Jeanne-Claude, artist, 74

John Updike, writer, 76

Frank McCourt, writer, 78

Shi Pei Pu, opera singer & spy, 70

Norman Borlaug, agronomist, 95

Robert McNamara, secretary of defense, 93

Natalya Estemirova, journalist & activist, 50

Claude Levi-Strauss, anthropologist, 100

Kim Dae Jung, President & dissident, 85

William Safire, writer, 79

Andrew Wyeth, artist, 91

Prabakaran J.N. Dixit & Harkirat Singh September 26 1987 after conferenceAmong the 26 listed, only Robert McNamara might have shared something common with Prabhakaran on battle strategies and war. Isn’t it some kind of an achievement that, in death, in the pages of Time magazine, Prabhakaran shared the same spotlight on the same page (page 83) with the great economist Paul Samuelson, the first American to be awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics? How many rebel leaders or nit-picking academics or journalists or politicians in South Asia can dream of this type of credit?

Whereas the obituary notes for others were contributed by someone who know more about the person, had stature and also had in-depth knowledge on the dead person’s speciality, Time’s choice for Prabhakaran’s obituary note was a poor one. For example, Keith Richards wrote about Les Paul. Bill Gates wrote about Norman Borlaug. Ted Sorensen wrote about Robert McNamara. Peggy Noonan wrote about William Safire. Jamie Wyeth (daughter) wrote about Andrew Wyeth, her father. Time’s editorial desk chose Anita Pratap (Time’s former correspondent) to write about Prabhakaran. She couldn’t do proper justice on Prabhakaran’s contribution to the society, rather than scribbling bland cliché inanities (such as ‘fearsome’, and ‘ruthless’).

What does Ms. Pratap, a journalist, know about Tamil rights, leadership, courage and battlefield strategies? I’d have preferred if Time magazine had chosen a military peer from India such as Gen. Harkirat Singh who had served in the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) and matched their wit and skills with Prabhakaran’s army.

But, Time magazine made up for its lapse with a worthy piece by its regular columnist Joe Klein. His remark for those who deserve kudos for courage in 2009 and his citation of a Teddy Roosevelt quote was a beauty. I reproduce it here:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”

Whereas Anita Pratap failed miserably to evaluate the achievements of Prabhakaran and his LTTE fighters in proper terms, Joe Klein succeeded in placing proper credit to our Tamil heroes and heroines.

Chronological Bibliography Part 2

I provide below, 56 items – a continuation of my chronological bibliography on Prabhakaran and LTTE, as part 2. Last year’s list contained 70 items. I have only chosen the literature which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, with a couple of exceptions like the Atlantic Monthly feature by ‘terrorism expert’ Bruce Hoffman. Caveat! the ten identifiable biases that I included last year in the compilation of part 1 last year, are applicable to most of the publications in this list too. To repeat, these ten identifiable biases are as follows:

Tamil language incompetency bias

Lack of access bias

Gumshoes truth-distortion bias

Blinded mule bias

Terrorism industry menagerie bias

Unverified/unverifiable garbage bias

Timid media punditry bias

‘Me too expert’ bias

Sinhala-state funding bias

I have to make a special mention about author Daya Somasundaram (a Tamil) here, whose two 2010 reports (items 55 and 56) I have included in this list. In my opinion, his reports suffer from the ‘Me too expert’ bias. He was one of the four authors of the Broken Palmyra (1990) book. Professionally, he is a medically qualified psychiatrist. In his two publications that have appeared this year, he still includes his “affiliation” as “Department of Psychiatry, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.” Via email, I verified this fact with an administrative official at the University of Jaffna, whether this information is correct. That official let me know that Dr. Somasundaram had quit his position at the University of Jaffna, few years ago, when he was out of the island. He had submitted his resignation then. This being the case, for him to use his current “affiliation” as “Department of Psychiatry, University of Jaffna” is erroneous by acceptable professional standards. This has been a psychiatric malady of the ‘Broken Palmyra’ authors, who persisted in using the ‘University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), Sri Lanka’ label deceptively for long.

I could tell that some researchers (especially Maya Ranganathan, item 53) were obviously sloppy or lazy in their data-collection skills. Ms. Ranganathan’s paper includes a reference to me. But, I never heard from her. What she had done was to make use of the material from an email correspondence that I had with Prof. Michael Roberts. After reading her paper, I sent her an email about her use of material, for which she didn’t ask prior permission from me. Obviously, until now, I never heard from her. This type of sloppiness in data collection has to be viewed with caution, when one makes sense of the conclusion arrived by these scholars.

Lastly, I provide this list as a service to academics, students, journalists and media persons, and I vouch that I have checked the originals of all these publications. This list serves as an answer to the critics, sourpusses and emasculated eunuchs among Tamils to the question what did Prabhakaran and LTTE achieve within a short span of 25 years (1984-2009), and also as inspiration to younger generation all over the world, who fight against entrenched racism, colonialism and oppression.

by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 24, 2010

  • W.I. Siriweera: Recent developments in Sinhala-Tamil relations. Asian Survey, Sept. 1980; 20(9): 903-913.
  • Ray C. Oberst: Political decay in Sri Lanka. Current History, December 1989; 88: 425-428 and 448-449.
  • Mark Juergensmeyer: What the Bhikku said; Reflections on the rise of militant religious nationalism. Religion, 1990; 20: 53-75.
  • Ray C. Oberst: A war without winners in Sri Lanka. Current History, March 1992; 91: 128-131.
  • Lisa Morris Grobar and Shiranthi Gnanaselvam: The economic effects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Economic Development and Cultural Change, January 1993; 41(2): 395-405.
  • Howard B. Schaffer: The Sri Lankan elections of 1994: The Chandrika Factor. Asian Survey, May 1995; 35(5): 409-425.
  • Michael Roberts: Filial devotion in Tamil culture and the Tiger cult of martyrdom. Contributions to Indian Sociology, July-December 1996; 30(2): 245-272.
  • Margaret Trawick: Reasons for violence; a preliminary ethnographic account of the LTTE. South Asia – Journal of South Asian Studies, sp. Issue 1997; 20: 153-180.
  • Philip Stevenson: Batticaloa – war surgery continues in Sri Lanka. Lancet, April 4, 1998; 351: 1039.
  • Welsh, J: Sri Lanka: torture continues. Lancet, July 31, 1999; 354: 420.
  • A.J. Christopher: New states in a new millennium. Area, 1999; 31(4): 327-334.
  • Robin Coningham and Nick Lewer: Paradise lost: the bombing of the Temple of the Tooth – a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sri Lanka. Antiquity, Dec. 1999; 73: 857-866.
  • V. Nithiyanandan: Ethnic politics and Third World development: Some lesions from Sri Lanka’s experience. Third World Quarterly, April 2000; 21(2): 283-311.
  • L. Paul: The Tamil question in Sri Lanka. Guerres Mondiales et Conflits Contemporains, September 2000, (195): 97-114.
  • Gyan Pradhan: Economic cost of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 2001; 31(3): 375-384.
  • Bruce Hoffman: A nasty business. Atlantic Monthly, January 2002; 289(1): 49-52.
  • Jennifer Hyndman: Aid, conflict and migration: the Canada-Sri Lanka connection. Canadian Geographer, 2003; 47(3): 251-268.
  • Simon Harris: Gender, participation and post-conflict planning in Northern Sri Lanka. Gender and Development, 2004: 12(3): 60-69.
  • Peng-Er Lam: Japan’s peace building diplomacy in Sri Lanka. East Asia, summer 2004; 21(2): 3-17.
  • James D. Fearon: Why do some civil wars last so much longer than others? Journal of Peace Research, May 2004; 41(3): 275-301.
  • Sarah Wayland: Ethnonationalist networks and transnational opportunities: the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Review of International Studies, 2004; 30: 405-426.
  • Malathi de Alwis: The moral mother syndrome. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 2004; 11(1): 65-73.
  • Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake: Between reality and representation –Women’s agency in war and post-conflict Sri Lanka. Cultural Dynamics, 2004; 16(2/3): 141-168.
  • Radhika Coomaraswamy and Charmaine de los Reyes: Rule by emergency; Sri Lanka’s post colonial constitutional experience. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 2004; 2(2): 272-295.
  • M. Alison: Women as agents of political violence; gendering security. Security Dialogue, December 2004; 35(4): 447-463.
  • Richard Stone: A race to beat the odds. Science, January 28, 2005; 307: 502-504.
  • Saruban Pasu: In Sri Lanka after tsunami. Journal of Royal Society of Medicine, April 2005; 98: 180.
  • V. Culbert: Civil society development versus the peace dividend: International aid in the Wanni. Disasters, March 2005; 29(1): 38-57.
  • Neil DeVotta: From ethnic outbidding to ethnic conflict: the institutional bases for Sri Lanka’s separatist war. Nations and Nationalism, 2005; 11(1): 141-159.
  • Mia Bloom: Mother, daughter, sister and bomber. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November-December 2005; 61(6): 54-62.
  • Lotta Harbom, Stina Hogbladh and Peter Wallensteen: Armed conflict and peace agreements. Journal of Peace Research, 2006; 43(5): 617-631.
  • Pal Kolsto: The sustainability and future of unrecognized quasi-states. Journal of Peace Research, 2006; 43(6): 723-740.
  • Mark Schaller and A.M.N.D. Abeysinghe: Geographical frame of reference and dangerous intergroup attitudes: a double-minority study in Sri Lanka. Political Psychology, 2006; 27(4): 615-631.
  • K. Stokke: Building the Tamil Eelam state: emerging state institutions and forms of governance in LTTE-controlled areas in Sri Lanka. Third World Quarterly, September 2006; 27(6): 1021-1040.
  • Mario Ferrero: Martyrdom contracts. Journal of Conflict Resolution, December 2006; 50(6): 855-877.
  • Chris Smith: The Eelam endgame? International Affairs, 2007; 83(1): 69-86.
  • A. Stack-O’Connor: Lions, tigers and freedom birds; how and why the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam employs women. Terrorism and Political Violence, Spring 2007; 19(1): 43-63.
  • Peter Schalk: Caivam – a religion among Tamil speaking refugees from Sri Lanka. Refugee Survey Quarterly, 2007; 26(2): 91-108.
  • Michael Roberts: Blunders in Tigerland: Pape’s muddles on ‘suicide bombers’ in Sri Lanka. Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics, working paper no. 32, November 2007, 54pp.
  • Sonia Neela Das: Between convergence and divergence: Reformatting language purism in the Montreal Tamil diaspora. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 2008; 18(1): 1-23.
  • K.N. Ruwanpura: Temporality of disasters: The politics of women’s livelihoods ‘After’ the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 2008; 29(3): 325-340.
  • Nira Wickramasinghe: Sri Lanka in 2007 – Militry successes, but at humanitarian and economic costs. Asian Survey, 2008; 48(1): 191-197.
  • A.R.M. Imtiyaz and Ben Stavis: Ethno-political conflict in Sri Lanka. Journal of Third World Studies, Fall 2008; 25(2): 135-152.
  • Camilla Orjuela: Distant warriors, distant peace workers? Multiple diaspora roles in Sri Lanka’s violent conflict. Global Networks, 2008; 8(4): 436-452.
  • M.W. Amarasiri de Silva: Ethnicity, politics and inequality: post-tsunami humanitarian aid delivery in Ampara district, Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2009; 33(2): 253-273.
  • Kanchana N. Ruwanpura: Putting houses in place: rebuilding communities in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2009; 33(3): 436-456.
  • Charu Latha Hogg: Army takes over. World Today (London), August/September 2009; 65(issue 8/9): 18-19.
  • S.H. Hasbullah, B. Korf: Muslim geographies and the politics of purification in Sri Lanka ‘after’ the tsunami. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 2009; 30(2): 248-264.
  • Neil DeVotta: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the lost quest for separatism in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, November-December 2009; 49(6): 1021-1051.
  • K. Stokke: Crafting liberal peace? International peace promotion and the contextual politics of peace in Sri Lanka. Annals of Association of American Geographers, December 2009; 99(5): 932-939.
  • Jayadeva Uyangoda: Sri Lanka in 2009; From civil war to political uncertainities. Asian Survey, January/February 2010; 50(1): 104-111.
  • Michael Roberts: Killing Rajiv Gandhi; Dhanu’s sacrificial metamorphosis in death. South Asian History and Culture, 2010; 1: 25-41.
  • Maya Ranganathan: Experiencing terror online. South Asian History and Culture, 2010; 1: 71-85.
  • Benedikt Korf, Shahul Hasbullah, Pia Hollenbach and Bart Klem: The gift of disaster: the commodification of good intentions in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2010; 34(s1): s60-s77.
  • Daya Somasundaram: Suicide bombers of Sri Lanka. Asian Journal of Social Science, 2010; 38(3): 416-441.
  • Daya Somasundaram: Collective trauma in the Vanni – a qualitative inquiry into the mental health of the internally displaced due to the civil war in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Mental Systems, 2010; 4:22, pp.1-31.


Prabhakaran and the LTTE -Part I

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, genocide srilanka, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , , — எல்லாளன் @ 11:07 pm

A Select Chronological Bibliography

As the only academic to author a Prabhakaran biography [Pirabhakaran Phenomenon, 2005], what I present here as a select chronological bibliography provides details on Prabhakaran’s mission and strategic steps. I have limited this bibliography to research-oriented publications that had appeared in peer-reviewed, international journals; all of which I have bothered to read. All of these are in English. Rather than arranging the material, in the conventional alphabetical order, I had preferred to arrange it in chronological order.

Front Note

In reductive terms, from Tamil perspectives, Velupillai Prabhakaran’s life can be summed up in three sentences. “He had a grief. He had a mission. He had a gift.” His grief was that Sinhalese had stolen the traditional Tamil homeland (Eelam) by deceit and guile. The boundaries of the Sinhala country, as it existed in 1796, appears in page xiii of Ralph Pieris’s 1956 book, entitled Sinhalese Social Organization (Ceylon University Press Board, Colombo, 311 pages). Not only Prabhakaran, most Tamils share this grief. Prabhakaran’s only mission in life was to retrieve the stolen Tamil homeland from the Sinhalese. In 1970s, apart from Prabhakaran, quite a number of his contemporaries also shared his mission. His Sinhalese adversaries were not scared of his mission.


I’d say, only Prabhakaran had a gift – not shared by any other Tamils of his generation. His Sinhalese adversaries were scared of his gift – an unadulterated brain, which outplayed and outwitted four Sinhalese Presidents (J.R. Jayewardene, R. Premadasa, D.B.Wijetunga and Chandrika Kumaratunga) and eleven Sinhalese army commanders (namely, D.S.Attygalle, J.E.D. Perea, T.I. Weerathunga, G.D.G.N. Seneviratne, H. Wanasinghe, L.D.C.E. Waidyaratne, G.H. de Silva, S. Daluwatte, C.W. Weerasooriya, L.P. Balagalle, and S.H.S. Kottegoda), not to mention four Indian prime ministers (Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh and Chandrasekhar) and one Indian army commander (Krishnaswamy Sundarrajan [Sundarji]).

Eelam Tamils have seen so many savvy talking politicians, ‘me too’ militants and turn coats who tinkered with the Eelam word as a party tag, as an electioneering slogan for parliamentary seat, as a brokering mask and as an attention-grabbing tool. But, Prabhakaran was different from Suntharalingams, Amirthalingams, Anandasangarys, Devanandas, Padmanabhas, Perumals and Karunas. For his unadulterated brain, Eelam is not a bargaining, bartering item. He wouldn’t bother to compromise on it, and he would not sell it out for a parliamentary seat, or for a chief ministership or for an ignominious Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister tag.

As the only academic to author a Prabhakaran biography [Pirabhakaran Phenomenon, 2005], what I present here as a select chronological bibliography provides details on Prabhakaran’s mission and strategic steps. I have limited this bibliography to research-oriented publications that had appeared in peer-reviewed, international journals; all of which I have bothered to read. All of these are in English. Rather than arranging the material, in the conventional alphabetical order, I had preferred to arrange it in chronological order.

Some caveat has to be noted. In my reading, I noted that more than 90 percent of authors of these research papers have been biased on Prabhakaran’s mission and interpretation. The New Oxford American Dictionary dictionary (2001) provides a general definition of bias as, “prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.” One of the accepted definitions of bias in hard sciences, is that of Edmund Murphy: “Any process at any stage of inference which tends to produce results or conclusions that differ systematically from the truth” [The Logic of Medicine, John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1976].

Ten Identifiable Biases

This being the case in hard sciences, interpretations and opinions in history and political science (both being ‘soft sciences’) are replete with numerous biases. I provide below a list of ten biases that clutter and confuse the descriptions about Prabhakaran and LTTE.  Be reminded that in one of my previous compilations (a 40-item bibliography on the Evolution of the Eelam Tamil Diaspora) in January 2007, I have identified five biases. Here, I expand that list to ten identifiable biases.

(1) Tamil language incompetency bias: with a few exceptions, non-Tamil scholars suffer from this bias seriously.

(2) Lack of access bias: Those researchers interested and willing to contact LTTE were marked and harassed by the Sri Lankan officials from their entry point in Katunayake airport.

(3) Gumshoes truth-distortion bias: Many of the articles that appeared in 1980s and 1990s never identified the roles of gumshoes (RAW, ISI, Mossad and even CIA) who influenced the events in Sri Lanka or Chennai.

(4) Sri Lankan travel visa bias (also tagged as, ‘Now needed’ bias or ‘National Geographic’ bias): This is a variation of ‘Lack of access bias’. Those who specialize in Sri Lankan history have to comply with the dictates of the Sri Lankan bureaucracy, for their repeat visits. National Geographic magazine’s coverage has this bias, as it wouldn’t antagonize the officialdom so as not to lose future access to the territory.

(5) Blinded mule bias (also tagged as, Human Rights Barker’s blind angle bias): The blind mule refers to the anecdote described in The Three Princes of Serendip story (that generated the word ‘serendipity’ by Horace Walpole in 1754), where one of the princes after landing in Serendip island discovered a mule blind of the right eye that had traveled the same road, because the grass was eaten only on the left side. Contributions of the so-called human rights activists (such as Radhika Coomaraswamy, Rajan Hoole and Daya Somasundaram) suffer from this bias.

(6) Terrorism industry menagerie bias: The word menagerie derives from the French word ménage (meaning a household or unit of people living together). Ehud Sprinzak, Robert Pape, Kasun Ubayasiri and Harendra de Silva are notable among the authors whose works suffer from this bias. They have gulped most material serviced by foremost Sinhalese ‘terrorism expert’ Rohan Gunaratna, and regurgitated the same.

(7) Unverified/unverifiable garbage bias: Quite a few Sinhalese authors (especially Kingsley M de Silva and Rohan Gunaratna) cite privileged sources – such as interviews – that cannot be easily accessed and verified.

(8) Timid media punditry bias: To overcome the first two biases listed above, authors turn to media punditry (such as local newspapers and magazines) and quote these as authentic sources. Contributions of North American authors such as Bryan Pfaffenberger, Marshall Singer and Bruce Matthews suffer from this bias.

(9) ‘Me too Expert’ bias: This bias is preferentially seen among the contributions of native Tamil authors, such as Rajan Hoole and Daya Somasundaram.

(10) Sinhala State-funding bias: This bias can be expected from the publications of academics and medical doctors who are employed in Sri Lankan universities and other institutions receiving their monthly remunerations and research funding. Publications of Shantha Hennayake, Daya Somasundaram and Harendra de Silva suffer from this bias.

Despite these prevalent biases, the contributions of Peter Schalk, Mark Whitaker and Yamuna Sangarasivam are worth marking and studying. In this collection of 70 items, I have excluded books, book chapters and popular magazine articles. All except the first two items (that appeared in 1981 and 1982) include references to Prabhakaran and LTTE in the text, or in a few letters that appeared in the British Medical Journal in 1997 relates to rebuttals to references made about LTTE. What has been missed in this list, I plan to include in a sequel that I prepare in next November.

by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 16, 2009

Ralph Pieris 1956 book cover

Chronological Bibliography

01. Bryan Pfaffenberger: The cultural dimension of Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Nov. 1981; 21(11): 1145-1157.

02. Bruce Matthews: District development councils in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Nov.1982; 22(11): 1117-1134.

03. Robert N. Kearney: Ethnic conflict and the Tamil separatist movement in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Sept. 1985; 25(9): 898-917.

04. Bruce Matthews: Radical conflict and the rationalization of violence in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, spring 1986; 59(1): 28-44.

05. Bryan Pfaffenberger: Sri Lanka in 1986; a nation at the crossroads. Asian Survey, Feb. 1987; 27(2): 155-162.

06. Iqbal Narain and Nilma Dutta: India in 1986; the continuing struggle. Asian Survey, Feb. 1987; 27(2): 181-193.

07. Robert N. Kearney: Territorial elements of Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, winter 1987-1988; 60(4): 561-577.

08. Bryan Pfaffenberger: Sri Lanka in 1987 – Indian intervention and resurgence of the JVP. Asian Survey, Feb.1988; 28(2): 137-147.

09. P.Venkateshwar Rao: Ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka – India’s role and perception. Asian Survey, Apr. 1988; 28(4): 419-436.

10. Kumar Rupesinghe: Ethnic conflicts in South Asia: The case of Sri Lanka and the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). Journal of Peace Research, Dec. 1988; 25(4): 337-350.

11. Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam: The Tamil Militants – Before the Accord and After. Pacific Affairs, winter 1988-1989; 61(4): 603-619.

12. Bruce Matthews: Sri Lanka in 1988: seeds of the Accord. Asian Survey, Feb. 1989; 29(2): 229-235.

13. Shantha K. Hennayake: The Peace Accord and the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Apr. 1989; 29(4): 401-415.

14. Shelton U. Kodikara: The continuing crisis in Sri Lanka: The JVP, the Indian troops, and Tamil Politics. Asian Survey, July 1989; 29(7): 716-724.

15. Amita Shastri: The material basis for separation: The Tamil Eelam movement in Sri Lanka. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb. 1990; 49(1): 56-77.

16. Bruce Matthews: Sri Lanka in 1989: Peril and Good Luck. Asian Survey, Feb. 1990; 30(2): 144-149.

17. Bryan Pfaffenberger: The political construction of defensive nationalism: the 1968 temple entry crisis in Northern Sri Lanka. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb. 1990; 49(1): 78-96.

18. Marshall R. Singer: New realities in Sri Lankan politics. Asian Survey, Apr. 1990; 30(4): 409-425.

19. Sarath Amunugama: Buddhaputra and Bhumiputra? Dilemmas of modern Sinhala Buddhist monks in relation to ethnic and political conflict. Religion, 1991; 21: 115-139.

20. Marshall R. Singer: Sri Lanka in 1990; The ethnic strife continues. Asian Survey, Feb. 1991; 31(2): 140-145.

21. Devin T. Hagerty: India’s regional security doctrine. Asian Survey, April 1991; 31(4): 351-363.

22. Walter K. Andersen: India’s 1991 elections: the uncertain verdict. Asian Survey, Oct. 1991; 31(10): 976-989.

23. Marshall R. Singer: Sri Lanka in 1991 – Some surprising twists. Asian Survey, Feb. 1992; 32(2): 168-174.

24. Peter Schalk: ‘Birds of Independence: On the participation of Tamil women in armed struggle. Lanka, 1992; 7: 44-142.

25. Shantha K. Hennayake: Interactive ethnonationalism; an alternative explanation of minority ethnonationalism. Political Geography, Nov. 1992; 11(6): 526-549.

26. Shantha K. Hennayake: Sri Lanka in 1992 – Opportunity missed in the ethno-nationalist crisis. Asian Survey, Feb.1993; 33(2): 157-164.

27. Gamini Keerawella, Rohan Samarajiva: Sri Lanka in 1993 – Eruptions and flow. Asian Survey, Feb.1994; 34(2): 168-174.

28. Peter Schalk: Women fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamililam; The martical feminism of Atel Palacinkam. South Asia Research, 1994; 14: 163-183.

29. A. Samarasinghe: The 1994 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka: a vote for good governance. Asian Survey, Dec. 1994; 34(12): 1019-1034.

30. Gamini Keerawella, Rohan Samajajiva: Sri Lanka in 1994 – A mandate for peace. Asian Survey, Feb.1995; 35(2): 153-159.

31. Bryan Pfaffenberger: The structure of protracted conflict – the case of Sri Lanka. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, 1995; 20(2): 121-147.

32. Howard B. Schaffer: Sri Lanka in 1995; A difficult and disappointing year. Asian Survey, Feb. 1996; 36(2): 216-223.

33. Bruce Matthews: Radical conflict and the rationalization of violence in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, spring 1996; 59(1): 28-44.

34. Marshall R. Singer: Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict – Have bombs shattered hopes for peace. Asian Survey, Nov. 1996; 36(11): 1146-1155.

35. Peter Schalk: Historization of the martial ideology of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 1997; 20: 1-38.

36. Peter Schalk: The revival of martyr cults among Ilavar. Temenos, 1997; 33: 151-190.

37. 14 Sri Lankan doctors working in Britain: Sri Lankan refugees are not at risk of persecution. British Medical Journal, March 22, 1997; 314: 905.

38. S. Pothalingam: Ethnic cleansing is in progress. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 122-123.

39. A Sri Lankan born British citizen: Tamils have become soft targets. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123.

40. A Sri Lankan working in Britain: Comments are ike those of white South Africans not so long ago. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123.

41. Duncan Forrest, Gill Hinshelwood, Michael Peel ,Gordon Barclay and Derek Summerfield: Refugee Council’s assessment of human rights situation in Sri Lanka is accurate. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123.

42. S. Ratneswaren and 99 other Sri Lankan doctors: Government denies legitimate rights of minorities. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123-124.

43. V. Rajayogeswaran and 11 other Sri Lankan doctors: Tamils are victims of unjust politics, not economic refugees. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 124.

44. Dagmar Hellman-Rajanayagam: The conflict in Sri Lanka and its implications for South Asian and regional security. Akademika (Malaysia), Jan. 1999; 54: 131-136.

45. Tessa Bartholomeusz: In defense of Dharma: Just-war ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 1999; 6: 1-16.

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November 26, 2011

LTTE Commanders speak on Pirapaharan’s 50th birthday

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 12:59 pm

Senior Commanders of the Liberation Tigers (LTTE) and Senior members of LTTE’s Political Wing, sent congratulatory messages to the Leader of LTTE Velupillai Pirapaharan on reaching 50 years, France-based Tamil Television Network (TTN) reported.

Head of LTTEs military intelligence, S. Pottu Amman, in his message to the Tamil people noted the failure of the past political leaderships of the Tamils. He said that the LTTE leader has changed the history of Eelam Tamils. “Our struggle has gained international focus. Tamils no longer fear subordination and freedom to the Tamil Nation is within reach.”

LTTE commemorates Black Tigers dayCol. Soosai, Special Commander of the Sea Tigers in his message said that the Tamils were forunate to have a gifted leader with a vision. “Tamils traditional Tamil homeland is is surrounded by sea on three sides. Our leader brilliantly forsaw the criticality of sea power, created a naval wing of the LTTE and nurtured it into a formidable force.”

Col. Vithusha, Commander of the Malathy female regiment in her message recalled how their leader guided and shaped the lives of LTTE fighters when they were a guerilla force 16 years ago. “Although the movement has evolved into a conventional force with the capability to challenge State’s forces, he continues to provide guidence and direction with the same level of intensity and care,” she said.

S.P.Thamilchelvan (BBC Photo)S. P. Thamilchelvan, Head of LTTE Political division said that the 50th birth day of the LTTE leader marked the beginning of a new era for Tamils.

V. Manivannan (Castro), Head of the International Secretariat of the LTTE in his message conveyed the greetings on behalf of the international offices and the Tamil diaspora.

Puthuvai_1K.V. Balakumaran, a senior LTTE member and former EROS leader said that LTTE leader is a man beyond the scope of simple characterisation and definitions and described him as the nature’s gift to the Tamil people. “Our leader’s politico-military strategies and tactics need to be seen with a philosophical and deep understanding. His unique qualities evolve with the time. He has remarkable ability to calculate and predict political development – be it in the movement level, islan -level or at International level,” Balakumaran said.

Mr. Kousalyan, Political Head of the LTTE in Batticaloa-Amparai his greeting said that the strategies and forsight in the form of unique leadership of the LTTE leader would bring success to the Tamil nation under one flag. The history of Tamil struggle evidences that the Tamil national leader, relying solely upon the shoulders of the Tamil people, has no difficulty facing any challenge.

Col. Jeyam, commander of the LTTE’s Northern Front Forces, Col. Athavan, Ms. Thamilni, Head of the women’s political wing of the LTTE and many other officials and commanders conveyed their messages to the Tamil people on the 50th birth day of LTTE leader Mr. V. Pirapaharan.


Saluting the Leader Prabhakaran and Architect of a New Tamil Nation

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 12:51 pm

“…The liberation struggle of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, as unfolded during the last fifty five years through various phases and fronts, has enriched the meaning of liberation as understood by a people as well as help identify the evil forces of oppression against which they have to struggle. It has also made clear the price a people have to pay for their liberation in terms of lives and property as well as identify the destructive resources of the oppressive states and governments. These truths have been learnt once and for all and embedded in the memory of the Tamil nation. Pirabaharan is not only the present national leader standing up for his people against oppressors and challengers, but also the unforgettable architect of a leadership that established the Tamils of Thamil Eelam as a nation with self-respect and self-dignity. We all salute him…”

[see also see also புதிய தமிழ் தேசத்தை நிர்மாணித்து வழிநடத்தும் தலைவரை தமிழினம் பெருமையுடன் வாழ்த்துகின்றது – பேராசிரியர் கலாநிதி பணி. எஸ். ஜே. இம்மானுவேல் and
and For Pirabhakaran, Future Begins at Fifty; a birthday greeting from Sachi Sri Kantha]]

1. Pirabaharan – A Hope For the Tamils and A Challenge for the rest

Tamils of Sri Lanka, living in Thamil Eelam and across the continents, are honouring a man at his 50th. Birthday on 26.11.2004, because he has become the challenging response to their agonies in the hands of the Sinhala oppressive powers as well as their true liberator. While rising up like a giant against all the forces of Sinhala political and military oppressions, he is not only a formidable challenge to the immediate oppressors but also a stumbling block to the self-interest and hidden agenda of the mighty who are aiding and abetting this oppression. The type of military power he has built in defence of his people and land, the type of infra-structures he has already initiated to sustain his people, the type of unity he has shaped between the armed and the political leaderships, the global solidarity of Tamils he has forged, – they all speak eloquently of the force of leadership personified in this man. Hence the liberation that he leads and the leadership that he wields are unique in many ways and write new chapters in the history of liberation and leadership in the world

2. Sinhala oppressions of the Pre-Pirabaharan times

He was born in a Tamil society already internal slaveries like caste system, regionalism and an undue craving for dowries, for academic qualifications and for immovable properties. Already on the eve of Independence, and many years before his birth, had the Tamil leaders smelt the hidden agenda of the Sinhala leaders to seize total power from the British and make Ceylon an exclusively Sinhala Buddhist State. But these Tamil leaders by their background, education and culture had neither the backbone nor the people’s power to cry foul and oppose independence. They fell victims to the mischievous plans and pleadings of the Singhalese and entrusted the future of the Tamils into the goodness of the Singhalese.

Quick on the heals of the British departure, the Ceylonese Government went into operating its hidden agenda of exclusive Sinhala domination – denying citizenship rights to Tamils of Indian origin, state-aided colonisation of traditional Tamil homelands and making Sinhala as the official language of the country discriminating the Tamils in all aspects of education and employment and development. The Tamil leaders, who visited their constituencies in the Northeast mostly at election times were taken aback by the speed of changes and their protests both within and without the parliament failed and fizzled. Sinhala Mob-terror and State-terror made the Tamils run for safety and survival, not one could stand up to that state-aided terror.
Educated and refined democratic leaders of the Tamils panicked. The world did neither condemn nor protest the actions of a “democratic” government and its forces. Pirabaharan was yet unborn and there was no militant opposition to the rowdyism of the Ceylonese State!

3. Born and bred amidst Sinhala brutalities

The post-independence Ceylon with its mob and state-terror, with its cruelties of burning Tamils, their properties and their treasured Public Library, with raping of Tamil women and destruction of Tamil cultural symbols, that was the context and cradle for the birth and growth of young Pirabaharan. His eyes and ears and heart were wide open to the agonizing cries of his people. He grew with a passion for freedom and a determined will to lead his people. Yet he waited for his day, calculated his move and charted out his plan – though painful and shocking to many, yet a beginning had to be made to call off the Sinhala Buddhist brutality to a halt. Tamils had sent the message: enough is enough. And the Sinhala South had woken up to this alarm signal!

4. He stands up as a unique leader for his people

After three decades of his determined struggle, he has gradually won the love and respect of his people the high and the low, the poor and the educated. Even the cautious critics are converging in praise for his leadership. Though the local enemies shudder at his name and label him with the worst of names, he had won the attention of world leaders in a unique manner, as one who can change the destiny of a country and its people. He never bent backwards nor stoop to traditional ways nor connive with the powers that be. He relentlessly stood for the declared cause of his people against the power of the mighty.

Initiating new and alternative ways to restructure a liberating people he has become a challenge to the hypocritical and fallacious ways in much of our socio-political thinking.

Hence for a better understanding and appreciation of his unique personality and leadership, one has to at least scan through the political climate and context of his times, the multi-facetted struggle the Tamils went through, the Sinhala-failures which necessitated his unique leadership and the relevant structures he has built for his people.

5. Tamils pushed to seek an alternative Leadership

Many decades of frustrating experiences within the Sinhala majoritarian democracy that legalized anti-Tamil discriminations and used its Armed forces with impunity to suppress and terrorise all democratic opposition of Tamils paved the way for the emergence of new leadership that is both political and militant vis a vis an oppressive State.

For the Sinhala masses and its leadership, which were beset with paranoid fantasies of a Tamil domination potentially backed by Tamil Nadu, even the very basic demands of the Tamils to live as equal citizens with dignity on that island were interpreted as counter to their „national interests“ namely, their Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism. Any claim for Tamil birth-rights with regard to religion, language, culture and land was interpreted as anti-Buddhist, anti-Sinhala and anti-national and leading to separation or independence or division of the island. Consequently the Sinhala majority, motivated by Sinhala Buddhist national interests, used their full power and over-reacted with extreme measures of bulldozing the parliament with anti-Tamil laws and used the Sinhala Armed forces to put down all democratic protests with brutal force.

When non-violent and democratic protests of Tamils were met with more inhuman laws and escalating brutal force, it was natural that the patience of the Tamil people was pushed by humiliation to its limits and the anger of the Tamil youth grew into seeking a militant response to the state-terror. It was this situation of legalised discrimination and oppression of the Tamils in general, and of the Tamil youth in particular, without any hope of a future with respect to their education and employment, which pushed the youth to wrest the leadership from their own „moderate fathers“ and establish a politico-militant leadership.

6. Misunderstandings about the new leadership

Now many doubts and questions are being raised about this new leadership, which the Sinhala people and their leadership indirectly helped to emerge.

An ignorance about the genesis and the causes for this new Tamil leadership raises many questions and make it difficult for the majority Singhalese and its Government to relate to, talk and handle with this new leadership. There are many, Singhalese and even some Tamils, who think that this leadership has to be militarily defeated, if not destroyed, and the Tamils ‘liberated’ from this militant leadership. The Sinhala Governments have also tried hard, even using under-hand methods, to get an alternative to this Tamil leadership. The Government, side-stepping this leadership, offered attractive enticements to win over some Tamil Members of Parliament who will slavishly support them and with whom they can comfortably „do business“ as in the past. Such Members were often „labeled and exhibited“ by the government as the democratic and moderate forces from among the Tamils. Irrespective of the negligible or no support they had among the Tamils, they were provided with plenty of money, ministerial posts and other privileges and used „as mercenaries and show-cases of moderate Tamil opinion“ by the government. A non-Tamil-speaking man with only a Tamil name was hired to be Foreign Minister to lead a mischievous propaganda tarnishing the image of all Tamils and their militant leadership. But the majority of Tamils have rejected them as betrayers of the Tamil cause. History will judge them.

Hence the majority Singhalese and their government, if they want a realistic peaceful solution to the conflict and war, must make an effort to understand the Tamil leadership, as a new and alternative leadership, without attempting to destroy it. In the process of searching and reaching a true democratic solution, this Tamil leadership will abide more and more by the genuine categories of democracy and human rights. And in the same time and by the same process, the Sinhala leadership will hopefully be liberated from their corrupt democracy, mass and blatant violation of the human rights of a people and desist from rowdyism inside and outside parliament.

7. Corrupt democracies demand alternative leadership

Many of the difficulties the so called democrats have in understanding the new Tamil leadership are also due to their limited understanding of democracy and leadership. By their education and upbringing they are enslaved in their own pro-western and colonial ways of thinking. They tend to make absolute their own forms of parliamentary-democracy as the one and only form of democracy. They have no considerations for the corruption and the injustices happening within those democracies. Democracy all agree is the best form of government we have at the present time. But the different ways in which this democracy is practiced leave much room for corruptions and injustices. Some of them have produced the worst of dictators. Those who were brought up in the western schools of thought often overlook the post-colonial developments and the new problems in the third world. They read everything through their traditional categories of thought and arrogantly pass judgments from their home ground about distant events and realities. Hence a genuine effort is needed by all those who wish to understand, accept and handle with leaderships emerging as a result of corruption within democracies and failed-states.

The Sinhala majoritarian democracy, left behind by the British, has been changing the constitution often to suit only the majority at the expense of the minorities. It has failed to solve the ethnic problem within its parliament for the last fifty years. It has tried to solve a political problem by resorting to state-terrorism and reckless war against its own people. Thus it qualifies itself for a failed-state. And it is in this climate of a lack of true democracy and sincere leadership that an alternative leadership of the Tamils emerged.

8. Humiliation and Rejection of Tamil MPs

The art of governing has not been an exclusive privilege of the elite and the college-educated. In fact such men have made some of the worst blunders in history. In our own history and in our long experience of the struggle, we Tamils have painfully learnt of some educated elites who have betrayed the Tamil cause for their own personal profits.

Besides even the good Tamil leaders have undergone humiliation and frustration within the Sinhala democracy. The post-colonial leadership fostered by the British period of education and parliamentary system brought out highly qualified and internationally recognized Tamils, mostly based in Colombo and representing the Tamils of the Northeast. The least qualified of those could only be a lawyer. With clarity and eloquence they expressed and argued for the rights of the Tamils, but they were either ignored or heckled down to their seats by Sinhala extremists. Thus there was no purpose served in sending enlightened Tamil Members to the Parliament in Colombo. Even today one can see the bad behaviour of elected Sinhala MPs within Parliament.

The present generation of Tamil youth who have taken up the leadership are promising because they have had bitter experiences of the earlier leadership. Let us not rush to make biased judgments about their style and competence at governance. We welcome the so called educated arm-chair critics from the South to look beyond their newspapers and see how well the LTTE, even in the absence of basic facilities, is running a de facto government in Wanni.

9. Leadership emerging against State Rejections

Those in the South who refer to the LTTE as a rebel-child of the Northeast, forget their own contribution to the emergence of such a leadership. Who fathered such a leadership? Much more than the politics of the Tamil Congress or the Federal Party, or the combined TULF, it was the adamant and arrogant attitudes of the successive Sinhala governments and the oppressive and violent actions of its Forces. These demanded a new leadership from the Tamils to face the Sinhala army of occupation as well as to articulate forcefully Tamil aspirations.

The Tamils were well known for their hard work, intelligence, obedience and non-violence. Even in the face of repeated Sinhala mob and state violence, they did not give up their non-violent satyagrahas as taught by Mahatma Gandhi. But such non-violent and parliamentary protests were treated by the Singhalese as weakness and more violence was heaped on the Tamils for many decades. When Sinhala discriminations degenerated into violence, death and destruction and even taking away their education and culture of which they were very proud of ( standardization and burning of the Public Library) the Tamil youth could not accept any more the Sinhala violence. They were driven against the wall without a future education, employment and culture to live by. They retaliated to protect the land, the people and their heritage from State-terror.

An oppressed people have the right to strike back at the oppressor with all their might and with whatever means in their disposal. The oppressor has no right to dictate or lay down rules as to how the fallen victim must react. Hence the actions of the emergent leadership in its beginnings resorting to all possible means – bank robberies and stealing of weapons – should be understood as helpless victims resorting to counter-terrorism against a state-terrorism.The people of the Northeast were never a chaotic mass without direction, purpose and determination. They are not devoid of a consensus in ideology and suffering. Their long suffering against injustices has bound them together as a people with strong determination and stamina to stand up and face the forces of oppression. The personification of this determination born out of long suffering to face the enemy is the new leadership of the Tamils in the Northeast.

10. A Leadership consistent in their Aspirations

Whether one likes it or not the de facto situation is that the LTTE has emerged to leadership, admittedly not through the parliamentary elections the South is familiar with, but through an armed struggle against betrayers among its own people and oppressive forces of the state. It has established itself,

(i) As the only group which has consistently articulated and still articulates
the genuine aspirations of the Tamils in the Northeast,

(ii) As the only organization protecting the People against the artillery shelling and the aerial bombings carried out by the State.

(iii) As the only group that has sacrificed so many thousands of its cadres
for the noble Cause of Tamil freedom

(iv) As the only group that has set up the infra-structures (police, courts,
education, transport etc.) of governance for human life to continue
against all odds
(v) As the only group that has been acknowledged even by the elected Tamil Parliamentarians as „the sole representatives of the Tamil people“

After a long history of Tamil attempts, marked by suffering and deaths at the hands of Sinhala thugs and soldiers, and after so many agreements and pacts were unilaterally torn up by the Sinhala Governments, after a series of deceptions and broken promises, the Tamils have at last helped emerge a form of leadership that the Sinhala Majority and its Government are finding difficult to deal with, if not buy or win over. Until recently the Sinhala Governments either bought over the Tamil leadership with some ministerial privileges, or pacts and promises unfulfilled or kept them watering in their mouth and clinging to their feet with a promise of sharing power in the future. But that is no more possible with the present leadership.

Neither heavy loss of lives, nor military defeats, nor mounting criticism about its moral conduct, nor international threats from major powers, nor the temptations of power from the Sinhala government could wean away this Tamil leadership from its aspirations and commitments. Sinhala Governments have changed and their leaders have adopted varying tactics and offers, but the LTTE leadership has stood firm on its ground for its ideals and commitments.

The convictions, consistency and firmness in aspiring for those goals do not
mean that they are closed for negotiation, dialogue and arriving at a just and reasonable peaceful solution to the conflict. No. Not at all.

11. A principled Tamil Leadership

It is the long and frustrating experience of the Tamils that many things promised, agreed upon and even gazetted by the Government were not implemented by the army or the bureaucrats in Colombo. The Sinhala leadership when subjected to the slightest opposition from extremists, has abrogated pacts or gone back on agreements. A Sinhala leadership whose promises are again subject to the protest marches and shouts of a few extremist elements, is not a leadership that can handle agreements on behalf of people. And on the Tamil side too we have had leaders who lightly gave into the temptations of power and privileges and finally got nowhere. Hence this new Tamil leadership, conscious of the failures of the Sinhala and Tamil leaderships, is determined to have a principled way of action and do business with the Sinhala regime, not only for their own people but also for the good of the whole country.

The Singhalese governments tend to accuse the LTTE of having betrayed their trust and gone back to its warpath. They say that the LTTE must be exterminated or weakened before any meaningful action is taken for the good of the Tamil people. This argument of the Sinhala leadership only shows that they are forgetting their long history of failures by going back on their word. Such arguments only exhibits their helplessness to do business with a principled and determined Tamil leadership.

12. A politico-military Leadership with a parliamentary wing

The Governments, during the first three decades of the ethnic conflict used their Armed forces to put down democratic Tamil opposition in the Northeast. Later the same Army was empowered by the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act to act against Tamil militancy with impunity, thus increasing the role of the Army in the ethnic conflict. At present no real political solution can be found without the government heavily depending on the Armed forces. Tamils know by their own experience how the Army personnel have their own agenda and disagree with their own government. They react even against gazetted government decisions e.g. lifting the economic embargoes against the Tamils in 1995. This power conflict between the government and its armed forces will remain a hindrance in arriving at any true and stable solution. Against this situation, the politics and the military force of the Tamils are harmonized as one politico-military leadership of the LTTE, with a parliamentary wing in the Tamil National alliance (TNA).

13. A Leadership undeterred by false propaganda of the Government

The Government of Chandrika was bending backwards to justify its „war for peace“ against the Tamils. International propaganda was intensified by her Foreign Minister to get the Tamil expatriate organizations banned as „front organizations of the LTTE“. Slogans like „Let’s have a war as a way to Peace“, „Let’s liberate the Tamils of Jaffna from the terrorist activities of the LTTE“, „We wanted Peace, but the LTTE asked for war”, „Our War is against the LTTE and not against the Tamils” – such false statements were used lavishly even by the Sri Lankan embassies to demonize and tarnish the good name of the Tamils and their struggle. But such malicious propaganda never weakened the Tamil Leadership nor lessened their commitment to the struggle. On the contrary, the Tamil leadership survived all these false propaganda and the Tamils of Tamil Eelam have grown in their togetherness, sympathy and solidarity. And LTTE have reached the status of being accepted, even by other elected representatives of the people, „as the sole representatives of the Tamil people“

14. A Leadership not gloating in mere military victory

An adamant and prolonged refusal on the part of the Sinhala majority and its successive Governments to accept the true situation about the Tamils in the Northeast and their contemptuous disregard for the LTTE leadership have resulted in Government’s desperate option for escalating war. Though leaders like President Premadasa have told the Singhalese people repeatedly that there is no victor in this war, yet the people without counting the loss of life and property, cry out for a war-victory that will quench their thirst for power. The majority are so excited, angered and affected by certain setbacks in the war that they think only of war-victories to wipe out the LTTE and keep up their pride.

The shameful defeat of the government forces, as it happened in LTTE’s Operation codenamed „Leap of the Tiger” wakes up the Government only temporarily to its senses. Even the dead bodies of Sinhala soldiers, from very poor families, returning home in plastic bags did not make an impact for good on the power hungry leaders in the Capital. The LTTE in spite of its resounding military victories offered unilateral cease fires to the Government. But the latter arrogantly refused to reciprocate them. Dead bodies of Sinhala soldiers unaccepted by the Government on flimsy grounds of deterioration were burnt with military honours by the LTTE. This shows clearly the deep commitment of the Tamil leadership to fallen soldiers as against the Sinhala military which bulldozed to the ground the Cemetery of the fallen heroes in Kopay. Shame!

15. Tamils aim at a cleaner Parliamentary Democracy

In recent times the Tamils have seen a new brand of democracy and democratic elections emerging in the „democratic south“ as well as in Army-controlled areas of the Northeast. The Sinhala political parties have in recent times, after the Wyamba elections, appeared to have woken up a little to the shameful corruptions inhibiting their elections and governments, but hardly anything has been done to remedy it

Tamils value and respect democracy as practiced in some countries of the western world. But from the cruel experiences they have had with the Sri Lankan brand of democracy, they are not enamoured of it. The present Tamil leadership is a de facto leadership of the Tamil struggle and is not in a hurry to embrace a pseudo democracy imposed by the Sinhala South. Looking at the level of corruption infecting the Sri Lankan majoritarian democracy in its elections, its bureaucracy, even Judiciary, the Armed Forces and the Police, the Tamils who suffered for many decades under these corruptions, are not in a hurry to fall prey to such forms of governance. Sri Lanka must not try to impose their forms of governance on the Tamils as if their (Sinhala) forms are idealistically suited for the Tamils. Let the South free itself from the weaknesses it has fallen into. And we Tamils, conscious that we were temporarily forced to go into an alternative style of leadership for our liberation, will endeavour to come up with a cleaner and better and effective form of governance, may be, to the envy of others.

16. Creating the right conditions for Democracy and Human Rights

Once conditions are normalized for Tamil life and Tamils can live in their own land with dignity, a higher quality of democracy and human rights will definitely set in. Without rectifying the violation of the basic rights of a people for life, security, food, clothing and shelter the Government wants to discuss highly complicated permanent solutions. The Tamils are not prepared for endless political discussion with the threat of war hanging over them, with insufficient food, clothing and shelter. Hence they demand normalization of life as the first need.

Till then this de facto leadership has to be understood, acknowledged and encouraged to incorporate gradually the ingredients of true parliamentary democracy, namely human rights, justice and freedom. But until civilian life returns to normalcy, the government has to deal with the LTTE without getting behind flimsy excuses. The government cannot with an air of superiority talk-down to the LTTE or preach to them democracy and human rights without practicing them.

17. Tamils reject Pseudo Leaderships

In their inability to deal with the leadership put out by the Tamils of the Northeast, many Singhalese still entertain the wish for meaningful negotiation with some pseudo Tamil representatives, by side-tracking the LTTE. Many Singhalese, even at this late stage, hope for a weakening or division of the LTTE, if not its complete disappearance so that they can promote the emergence of some pseudo Tamil leaders with whom they can do business.

There are those Tamil groups who initially were militant, but in recent years have become armed-politicians supportive of the Government, even to the extent of betraying the struggle. They have managed to enter the Parliament through the backdoor by buying a handful of votes with money given by the government- and that too with the help of the army. Though they cannot speak for the Tamils, the government exposes them as „Tamil democrats“.

The Sinhala majority and their political parties have tended to devalue the Tamil Struggle as mere terrorism and tried to contain the militant reaction of the Tamils with international help. Time has come when the new Tamil leadership after showing its military capabilities is showing its political acumen and readiness for a political solution. The racism and feudalism inherent in the party leaderships of the Singhalese are tested before the world whether they will rise up to statesmanship in finding a democratic and just solution for the ethnic problem.

18. A Leadership founded on convictions of the people

It was left to the LTTE to fight state-terrorism with their guns as well as strengthening the political aspiration for liberation among the people. Even at the height of military victories, the LTTE proclaimed the big difference between the state-forces which fight for their salary and the Tamil youth who fight for their convictions. The leader of the LTTE has repeatedly claimed that their strength lies not in the weapons they possess and the military victories they gain, but in the deep conviction that their cause is just and right. This conviction kept growing as the people went through their long suffering under the iron heels of the state forces.

It has taken so many decades for the Sri Lankan Government to realize that they cannot by their numerical majority or military strength subjugate a people. This temptation is still present among many Singhalese either to encourage an internecine war of self-destruction within the ranks of the LTTE, as occasioned by the break-away of Karuna recently from the Eastern command, or to invite some foreign powers like India or the USA to rush the LTTE. But convictions cannot be erased off by military strength.

19. A politico-militant leadership with a voice in parliament

The LTTE is not convinced of the democratic nature of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, because it is a majoritarian democracy capable of bulldozing over the rights of the non-Singhalese. Nor does it believe in the constitution passed by such Sinhala majoritarian democracies without the consent of the Tamils. Nevertheless it wants to send a clear message to Sri Lanka and to the world in a language spoken and understood by the so called democratic world. For this purpose it fielded proxy-Candidates for the Parliamentary elections of 2004, gave a manifesto and campaigned for the election. The resounding victory of the Tamil National Alliance and the routing of the others have proved to the world clearly the strength of the LTTE leadership among the people.

It is the Tamil people who have freely and overwhelmingly voted for the Tamil National Alliance and their manifesto acknowledging LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamils fighting for the inalienable right of self-determination of the Tamil people and for their traditional homeland.

Hence the LTTE leadership, is one that has emerged from below, from among the people, soaked in the conviction of their ideals and strengthened to fight with their lives for those ideals. Thus the parting of ways in 1976 to follow a parliamentary path and a politico-military path has again closed ranks to stand up for one ideal under one leadership. And this leadership has a voice in the Sri Lankan Parliament too.

20. We salute the Architect of the new Tamil Nation

The liberation struggle of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, as unfolded during the last fifty five years through various phases and fronts, has enriched the meaning of liberation as understood by a people as well as help identify the evil forces of oppression against which they have to struggle. It has also made clear the price a people have to pay for their liberation in terms of lives and property as well as identify the destructive resources of the oppressive states and governments. These truths have been learnt once and for all and embedded in the memory of the Tamil nation.

Pirabaharan is not only the present national leader standing up for his people against oppressors and challengers, but also the unforgettable architect of a leadership that established the Tamils of Thamil Eelam as a nation with self-respect and self-dignity. We all salute him.

Prof. Dr. S. J. Emmanuel
26 November 2004

Pirabakaran at Fifty the political legacy – D.Sivaram

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 12:47 pm

“If we do not win our freedom we have to live as slaves, we loose our self-respect and live in shame, live in eternal fear and suspense, get wiped out step by step.”

“Rather than idleness of people, it is the activeness of people that turns the wheels of the struggle”

It is not my intention here to interrupt the unceasing labours of those who love to hate him. There is little I can add to the invectives that Sinhala nationalist politicians, academics, opinion makers and editorialists relentlessly heap on the LTTE leader.

To them he is the main enemy. But little is understood of him. The Sinhala polity is always ready with neat but simplistic categories to condemn the man and explain him and his actions. Knowledge about him is still so superficial and anecdotal that even informed writers in Colombo assume the LTTE’s Great Heroes’ Day falls on Pirapaharan’s birthday on November 26. He is presumed to be so self centred that one writer thinks that his birthday is the “grand climax” of the Great Heroes’ Week. Nothing could be further from the truth. The desire to despise him is so great that the oft reiterated fact that Great Heroes’ Day falls on November 27 in memory of ‘Shankar’, the first LTTE’s to die in the war, is forgotten. And what does Pirapaharan do on his birthday on November 26? Cuts a big cake? No. He fasts the whole day in remembrance of one of his lieutenants who died 22 years ago.

If he is so full of himself, why has he cancelled the construction of a 50 foot cut out of his image in Valvettithurai that was planned for his birthday? Why don’t we see statues of the man a la Saddam and Kim Il Jong in every street corner in Kilinochchi? Why doesn’t he call himself a general? Why did he refuse to shake hands with President J. R Jeyawardene when Rajiv Gandhi urged him to in Bangalore in 1986? Why did he unilaterally declare a cease fire in December 2000 when he was doing quite well on the battle field and his eastern commander was eagerly awaiting orders to march on Trincomalee?

The problem is that whatever the basis for hatred one may harbour towards him (class, caste, his vernacular education etc.,) his enemies cannot afford not to understand the man. The Indian army and the Sri Lankan military have not been able to destroy him. Hence all who inveterately hate him have to live with the fact that Pirapaharan is fifty and may be around for quite some more time. Pretending otherwise and doing nothing but nursing the different reasons for abhorring him is pretty meaningless when you can’t get him.

Again, the perception of him as a pure militarist was so dominant that it gave rise to strong predictions when the peace process started three years ago that he would go back war soon because he is uncomfortable with politics. Although he is a man whom many Sinhalese inveterately abhor and call names, it is a fact that he has been engaging the Sri Lankan government politically since October 2003. This is quite evident from the manner in which the ISGA is politically agitating the Sinhala polity today.

Pirapaharan has emerged as the chief political strategist of the Tamils. Whether they like it or not, it is a fact that the Sinhala polity and the world are dealing with him primarily as a political phenomenon today.

So it might be useful to inquire into the political origins of a man who has at best been described anecdotally.

Pirapaharan says that one Venugopal Master was his political guru. The LTTE leader says that in his early days he and his politically minded friends learnt about the principle of self determination and the ‘betrayals of Sinhala governments’ in the night classes conducted by Venugopal Master.

Who was Venugopal Master and why was he teaching the politics of national self determination to young Tamils in the early seventies?

Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict can be described as a contradiction between the position that Tamils have a right to share legislative, executive and judicial powers of the state and the right to claim their due share of the national wealth in accordance with their status as a distinct people and the stand that the Sri Lankan state shall not in any manner share or devolve these rights as stipulated in its unitary constitution.

“I am seventy-seven years old now and even in this old age I am fighting for the liberation of the Tamils because I am aware of the dangers that are lurking for the Tamil community in the Eastern Province. There is no other alternative for the Tamils to live with self-respect other than fight to the end for a Tamil Nadu. ” [i.e. a Tamil State] – S.J.V. Chelvanayagam  in a speech in Batticaloa , May 11, 1975“We have abandoned the demand for a federal constitution. Our movement will be all non-violent . . . We know that the Sinhalese people will one day grant our demand and that we will be able to establish a state separate from the rest of the island…” – S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, November 19, 1976 in Parliament

Historically, the Tamil reaction to this contradiction since the early fifties can be broadly categorized into two schools of political thought. One was represented by the late S. J. V Chelvanayagam and the other by his colleague and co-founder of the Federal Party V. Navaratnam.

The first argued that Tamils should negotiate their share of state power and national wealth from the Sinhala polity.

The second school averred that Tamils have to establish their rights as a sovereign people on their own because the Singhalese would never voluntarily share the executive, legislative and judicial powers and the country’s national wealth which the unitary state helps them to monopolise unhindered.

The second school (to which Navaratnam did not belong in the beginning) rose to prominence in their opposition to the adoption of the Lion Flag, the disenfranchising of hill country Tamils and the state sponsored colonisation schemes in the east in the early years of Ceylon’s independence. They held these out as proof that the Sinhalese would never share state power with the Tamils.

Their arguments were so compelling that on the eve of the 1956 general elections Suthanthiran, the official organ of the Federal Party, serialised an article which argued that carefully negotiating with the Singhalese would in the best interests of the Tamils to obtain their rights peacefully.

The writer, obviously advised by S. J. V Chelvanayagam, says Tamil rights in Ceylon are like a delicate piece of cloth that has fallen on a thorn bush. “If we pull it off the bush the cloth would be torn. Hence we should remove it thorn by thorn even though it means hard and patient work”. The Federal Party’s opponents at the time were accusing it of betraying the Tamil cause by adopting the path of negotiations and compromise. Chelvanayagam and his colleagues could not ignore their popularity. One could gauge it from the success of the play ‘Thurohihal’ (traitors), written and directed by Prof. K. Kanapathipillai. The play is about a group of young men in a land called ‘Tiger Country’ who are waging an armed struggle to secede from ‘Buffalo Country’. The rebels of Tiger Country are betrayed – a patent reference to Tamil leaders who were for co-operating with Sinhala majority governments.

Curiously, the voice of the early separatists found a convenient medium in the Lake House at the time, prompting the Federal Party organ to brand the Tamil secessionism of early and mid fifties as a UNP conspiracy! Singled out for Suthanthiran’s flak was one Cumarasawmy of Chavakachcheri who was an independent candidate in the 1956 general elections.

The political endeavours and arguments of S. J. V Chelvanayagam eventually won the day and the overwhelming support of the Tamils. V. Navaratnam was closely associated with Chelvanayagam in his work in the northeast to win the Tamils over to the Federal Party from the time they formed the FP in 1949. He was called the brains of the party at the time.

The introduction of the Sinhala Only Act and attacks by state backed Sinhala colonists in the east after the 1956 elections won great credence for the second school of thought (which was not exactly separatist at the time) within the Federal Party. Although they were not separatists per se, V. Navaratnam and many young men from the provinces such as Sellaiah Rajathurai believed and said that Tamils had to establish their rights as a people on their own through ‘Arappor’ (which literally meant ‘Just War’ but was understood as non violent struggle).

Their growing influence among the youth and ordinary Tamil folk in the provinces was seen in the success of the ‘long march’ to Trincomalee for the FP’s annual convention in August 1956. The FP’s Trinco convention resolved with overwhelming enthusiasm that the Sri Lankan government “should take necessary steps for the establishment of an autonomous state for the Tamil speaking people in their homeland in the Northern and Eastern Province” and that “in the event of the government failing to do so within one year, the Federal Party would launch a campaign of peaceful and non violent direct action for achieving the establishment of such a state”.

The separatists’ case had a windfall in the form of the anti-Tamil pogrom in 1958. Thousands of young Tamils who were angered by the pogrom were drawn to the Navaratnam School of the Federal party and were fired by the nationalist speeches of Sellaiah Rajathurai MP for Batticaloa and the writings of S. D Sivanayagam, editor of Suthanthiran. Yet Chelvanayagam’s charisma was so powerful that the struggle envisioned by the Trinco resolution was postponed for almost four years by the Banda-Chelva Pact.

It has been well recorded how the deployment of the army against the FP’s civil disobedience campaign in the northeast radicalised Tamil politics. The only point that needs to be emphasised here is that the ‘Navaratnam School’ put its thoughts into action for the first time by attempting to start an independent Tamil state postal service and a mock Tamil Police station.

Again, this radicalisation was ‘arrested’ from proceeding on its natural course when Chelvanayagam and M. Thiruchelvam negotiated the Dudley-Chelva Pact. Thiruchelvam became a minister in the UNP cabinet as part of the deal.

The UNP-FP alliance eventually hammered the last nail on the coffin of the Chelvanayagam School. The tail end of the alliance saw the younger generation crying foul at what was at that time decried in nationalist sections of the Tamil press as the “Thiruchelvam’s great betrayal”. Four things led to the parting of ways of the two schools that had co-existed albeit uneasily within the FP. The first was the nationalisation of the Trinco Harbour, which Tamils saw as a ploy by the Sri Lankan government to ‘Sinhalise’ the port town. The second was the FPs compromise on compulsory Sinhala for government servants. The third was the repatriation of hill country Tamils and the fourth was the passing of the national identity card bill. Navaratnam and the majority of politically minded Tamil youth at the time were angry that Thiruchelvam had conspired with the UNP in all this for the sake of clinging to his portfolio in Dudley Senanyake’s government.

And to cap it all, after all the compromises that Thiruchelvam had put the FP through amidst strident opposition from the provinces and the Tamil press, the Dudley-Chelva Pact remained unimplemented. What Thiruchelvam got for the Tamils in lieu in the form of a white paper was rubbished by Navaratnam and his followers as a travesty of devolution. It was a reworked Kachcheri system.

Opposition to the ‘Thiruchelvam betrayal’ saw some FP stalwarts like Senator Manickam and Sivagnanasundaram leaving the party to form an Eelam Liberation Organisation.

And then Navaratnam was sacked from the Federal Party soon after he spoke up against the Registration of Persons bill in 1968. This was the period when some Tamil youth like Thangathurai began speak about an armed struggle for Thamil Eelam. After leaving the FP, Navaratnam formed the Suyadchi Kazhagam (Self Rule Party). He and his followers conducted political classes on the right of national self determination for young men in many parts of Jaffna.

The Tamil political legacy which Navaratnam represented was the foundation of the Thamil Eelam movement. In his political testament written in 1984 Navaratnam prefigures the Tamil mindset that emerged from this legacy:

 “Who can say that the Tamils in Ceylon have ever been wanting in a sincere desire and willingness to settle their disputes with the Singhalese by negotiation and dialogue? Who in the world have gone for dialogues again and again in the face of betrayal after betrayal? It is always a fashion to advise disputants to sit round a table and solve disputes by dialogue and discussion, and not resort to violent confrontation and wars. Whether in national disputes or in international conflicts, parties are being constantly advised to avoid wars and negotiate while governments continue to oppress, persecute and even commit genocide… If the weaker side listened to this idealistic advise and waited till the end of time for a solution to its problems there would have been no wars of independence” (The Fall and Rise of the Tamil Nation)

Navaratnam’s legacy has been little recognised by many who endeavour to understand the Tamil movement.

V. T Thamilmaran who contributed significantly to the public debates that eventually led to the ISGA was one of Navaratnam’s young disciples.

In Valvettithurai and Pt. Pedro, the politics of the Navaratnam School was propagated by Venugopal Master, a school teacher. He was the Suyadchi Kazhakam’s candidate for Pt. Pedro at the 1977 elections. He is Pirapaharan’s political mentor, the man who shaped the political outlook of the young rebel when he set out to wage an armed struggle against the Sri Lankan state.

(If anyone wants to understand the Tamil mindset epitomised by Pirapaharan and men and women of his generation, I suggest that he or she should read Navaratnam’s ‘Fall and Rise of the Tamil Nation’).

Pirapaharan has come a long way politically since he was one of Venugopal Master’s nocturnal students. At fifty, his biggest political achievement is the confluence of the Chelvanayagam and Navaratnam Schools of the Tamil movement.

The Tamil National Alliance is the manifestation of this political confluence which he has brought about.

The remarkable failure of his opponents to plead even an iota political concessions for the Tamils from the Sinhala polity for the last 17 years (1987-2004) has contributed in no small measure to strengthen Pirapaharan’s political strategies in taking forward his current ‘peace offensive’.

Therefore the challenge before the Sinhala polity today is to politically engage the man who fasts on his birthday and never forgets to keep his powder dry.











26 November 2004

  Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki)

Source: Daily Mirror – November 26, 2004
[see also Velupillai Pirabaharan – Future Begins at 50]

Velupillai Pirabaharan – Future Begins at 50

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 12:35 pm

Velupillai Pirabaharan – Future Begins at 50

26 November 2004

“அரசியல் என்பது மக்கள் மீது ஆட்சியை நடாத்தும் அல்லது அதிகாரம் செலுத்தும் விவகாரம் அல்ல. அரசியல் என்பது மக்களுக்குச் சேவை புரியும் பணி. மக்களின் நல்வாழ்வுக்கு ஆற்றுப்படும் தொண்டு.” Velupillai Pirabaharan, Reflections

“..பயம் என்பது பலவீனத்தின் வெளிப்பாடு. கோழைத்தனத்தின் தோழன். உறுதியின் எதிரி. மனித பயங்களுக்கெல்லாம் மூலமானது மரண பயம் இந்த மரணபயத்தைக் கொன்று விடுபவன்தான் தன்னை வென்று விடுகிறான். அவன் தான் தனது மனச்சிறையிலிருந்து விடுதலை பெறுகின்றான்…” Velupillai Pirabaharan, Reflections

M.Thanapalasingham at Leader for All Seasons Book Release in Melbourne, Australia

“You can’t be neutral in a moving train!  என்னும் நூலை எழுதிய Howard Zinn என்னும் அமெரிக்க வரலாற்று ஆசிரியர் the struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who have the guns and the money and who seem invincible in their determination to hold on to it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars”…  எனக் கூறி அந்த மனிதப்பண்புகளாக அவர் குறிப்பிடும் moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience அனைத்தையும் எங்கள் தலைவர் உள்வாங்கியுள்ளார். ..” more

Response by R.Shanmuganathan from Australia to Reuters Article on Prabakaran Turning 50  at US based

“..International media seem to be keen to promote their opinion rather than the accuracy of a report. A similar one-sided story about our national leader Mr Prabakaran by Reuters was published in the ‘The San Diego Union-Tribune’ on the 26th of November, to coincide with his birthday…” more

Posters greeting Velupillai Pirabakaran surface in Tiruchy, Tamil Nadu

Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, 27 November 2004 (PTI) – Posters greeting banned LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran on his birthday appeared in the city yesterday, causing a flutter and keeping the police on their toes. City police late last evening swung into action and removed the hand-written posters which also carried a colour photograph of the leader of the Sri Lankan militant outfit. Police said an investigation had been launched by the “Q” branch into the sudden appearance of the posters.The posters, put up at busy locations such as the traffic circle near the District Collectorate, wished the LTTE leader, who turned 50 yesterday, “a happy birthday” and highlighted the glory of Tamils. Three years back, similar posters had appeared in the city on November 26.

Prabhakaran – A Leader for All Seasons – Glimpses of the Man behind the Leader, Published by the International Federation of Tamils, 2004

“…In 1972, at the age of 17, he gathered his colleagues and formed the resistance movement, ” Tamil New Tigers “, the members coming from friends and relatives. The Movement grew into an armed Liberation movement and changed its name on 5 May 1976 to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Prabhakaran stressed adherence to a strict code of conduct as the main criteria for membership into the LTTE. When asked once who were his beacons, his reply was characteristic:

“Nature is my friend, Life my philosopher and History my guide.”
“இயற்கை எனது நண்பன்; வாழ்கை எனது தத்துவாசிரியன்; வரலாறு எனது வழிகாட்டி.”

History is full of tales of men who rose to meet the need of the time. Here was one such Man; the time of need had come for the Tamil people for such a man. Today, to his followers he is the inspiring object of devotion and respect, their `Annai’. To the Tamil people in the north and east of Sri Lanka and to the hundreds of thousands of Tamils flung all over the globe, he is the unquestioned Leader, simply, their `Thalaivar’.” more

People of Tamil Eelam  celebrate Pirapaharan’s 50th birthday

Pongal Pandals for birthday celebrations in Chavakachcheri

“..Tamil people in the NorthEast and countries across the world are celebrating the 50th birthday of the Leader of Liberation Tigers, Velupillai Pirapaharan, Friday, 26 November. There were special prayers in churches and temples. Pirapaharan has led the Tamil struggle through three Eelam wars since he founded Tamil New Tigers in 1972, at the age of 18, and later renamed the organisation as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1976. International Federation of Tamils, a consortium of expatriate Tamil organizations based in Geneva, issued a press release on this occasion. Fulltext of the press release follows: “The International Federation of Tamils, IFT, proudly joins hands with the Tamils, spread the world over, in felicitating Hon. Velupillai Pirapakaran, the national leader of Tamil Eelam, on the occasion of his fiftieth birth day, expressing solidarity with him….” more

For Pirabhakaran, Future Begins at Fifty; a birthday greeting from Sachi Sri Kantha in Japan, 26 November 2004

“Having reached fifty, what is in store for LTTE leader Pirabhakaran? While his admirers would wish him a ‘long life’, his adversaries (both local and non-local varieties) would dream of something different from his admirers. Thus, its opportune to review how five of Pirabhakaran’s illustrious predecessors (in his chosen fields of expertise) experienced the post-fifty phase of their lives…”   more

Pirabakaran at Fifty – the political legacy – D.Sivaram

It is not my intention here to interrupt the unceasing labours of those who love to hate him. There is little I can add to the invectives that Sinhala nationalist politicians, academics, opinion makers and editorialists relentlessly heap on the LTTE leader.

To them he is the main enemy. But little is understood of him. The Sinhala polity is always ready with neat but simplistic categories to condemn the man and explain him and his actions. Knowledge about him is still so superficial and anecdotal that even informed writers in Colombo assume the LTTE’s Great Heroes’ Day falls on Pirapaharan’s birthday on November 26. He is presumed to be so self centred that one writer thinks that his birthday is the “grand climax” of the Great Heroes’ Week. Nothing could be further from the truth. The desire to despise him is so great that the oft reiterated fact that Great Heroes’ Day falls on November 27 in memory of ‘Shankar’, the first LTTE’s to die in the war, is forgotten. And what does Pirapaharan do on his birthday on November 26? Cuts a big cake? No. He fasts the whole day in remembrance of one of his lieutenants who died 22 years ago. more

  புதிய தமிழ் தேசத்தை நிர்மாணித்து வழிநடத்தும் தலைவரை தமிழினம் பெருமையுடன் வாழ்த்துகின்றது – பேராசிரியர் கலாநிதி பணி. எஸ். ஜே. இம்மானுவேல், 26 November 2004

“தலைவர் பிரபாகரன் தமிழ் மக்களின் சார்பாக அடக்குமுறையாளர்களுக்கு எதிராக எழுந்து நிற்பவர் மாத்திரமல்ல, தமிழர்கள் மதிப்போடும், மாண்போடும் வாழ, ஒரு தேசியத்தைக் கட்டியெழுப்பிய தலைவருமாக இருக்கின்றார். இவரை தமிழினம் பெருமையுடன் வாழ்க வளர்க என வாழ்த்துகின்றது.” more

Saluting the Leader and Architect of a New Tamil Nation – Prof. Dr. S. J. Emmanuel,  26 November 2004

“…The liberation struggle of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, as unfolded during the last fifty five years through various phases and fronts, has enriched the meaning of liberation as understood by a people as well as help identify the evil forces of oppression against which they have to struggle. It has also made clear the price a people have to pay for their liberation in terms of lives and property as well as identify the destructive resources of the oppressive states and governments. These truths have been learnt once and for all and embedded in the memory of the Tamil nation. Pirabaharan is not only the present national leader standing up for his people against oppressors and challengers, but also the unforgettable architect of a leadership that established the Tamils of Thamil Eelam as a nation with self-respect and self-dignity. We all salute him…” more

Sara Ananthan & Family, 26 November 2004

“Our dearest Tamil Eelam National Leader, Honorable Velupillai Prabaharan, May god bless you and your family. We pray daily to almighty god to bestow you with many happy returns. Engal Arumai Thalaiva, you are our hope, pride and the very breath of our Tamil Nation.  Even though we are thousands of miles away from our homeland, every day we think of you and our Tamil Nation…” more

   தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவரின் கீழ் போராளியாக செயற்படுவதையிட்டுப் பெருமை அடைகிறேன்! -கடற்புலிகளின் சிறப்புத் தளபதி சூசை, 27 November 2004

தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவர் அவர்களின் கீழ் ஒரு போராளியாக, பொறுப்பாளராக, தளபதியாக இருந்து செயற்படுவதை இட்டு நான் பெருமை அடைகிறேன். தவறான கருத்துக்களைப் பரப்பி மக்களைக் குழப்பும் உளவியல் போரை நடத்த சிங்கள அரசாங்கம் முனைகிறது. எனவே நாம் அவர்களின் உளவியல் போரை முறியடிக்க வேண்டும். எனவே மக்கள் அனைவரும் விழிப்பாக இருக்க வேண்டும் என தமிழீழ விடுதலைப்புலிகளின் கடற் படைத் தளபதி கேணல் சூசை அவர்கள் தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.தங்களுக்கும் தேசியத்தலைவர் அவர்களுக்கும் இடையில் கருத்து வேறுபாடும் மனக்கசப்பும் இருப்பதாக சில பத்திரிகைகளும் ஊடகங்களும் செய்தி வெளியிட்டுள்ளன. இது சம்பந்தமாக தங்களின் கருத்தை இவ்விடத்தில் கூறிக்கொள்ளுமாறு தாழ்மையுடன் கேட்டுக்கொள்கிறோம். என வடமராட்சி கிழக்கு உடுத்துறை மாவீரர் துயிலும் இல்லத்துக்கு முன்பாக நடைபெற்ற மாவீரர் நாள் சிறப்பு நிகழ்வில் கலந்து சிறப்புரையாற்றுகையில் மாவீரர்களின் பெற்றோர்களால் கேட்கப்பட்ட கேள்விக்குப் பதிலளித்துப் பேசுகையிலேயே அவர் இதனைத் தெரிவித்தார்.

கடற்புலிகளின் சிறப்புத்தளபதி கேணல் சூசை அவர்கள் இதுபற்றி மேலும் தெரிவிக்கையில், எனக்கும் தலைவர் அவர்களுக்கும் இடையில் பிரச்சினை என்று வெளியாகிய இந்தச் செய்தியானது சிறிலங்கா அரசாங்கம் திட்டமிட்டு மேற்கொண்டு வருகின்ற ஒரு உளவியல் போர். சமாதான காலத்தில் இப்படியான உளவியல் போர்களை அடிக்கடி இந்த அரசாங்கம் மேற்கொள்ளும் இப்படியான உளவியல் போரை 1998 ஆம் ஆண்டு இந்திய அரசு கூட நடத்தி வந்திருந்தது. இது உங்கள் அனைவருக்கும் தெரியும். ?தலைவருக்கும் எனக்கும் கருத்து வேறுபாடு? இப்படியான கட்டுக்கதையை சிறிலங்கா அரச படைகள் மட்டும் செய்யவில்லை.

இந்த நாட்டினுடைய சனாதிபதி சந்திரிகா கூட இந்தியா சென்றிருந்த போது இந்துப் பத்திரிகைக்கு வழங்கிய பேட்டியில் சூசை சிகிச்சைக்காச் செல்லவில்லை அவர் விடுதலைப்புலிகளின் தலைவருடன் முரண்பட்டுத்தான் வெளிநாட்டுக்குப் போனவர். அங்கே புலிகளின் போராட்டத்தின் மூத்த நலன் விரும்பிகளின் வற்புறுத்தலின் காரணமாகத் தான் மீண்டும் வன்னிக்குத் திரும்பி வந்தார் எனக் கூறியிருந்தார். ஆனால் நான் வெளிநாடு சென்றது சிகிச்சைக்காகத் தான். இது தான் உண்மை. நான் சிகிச்சைக்காகத் தான் போனேன். சிகிச்சை பெற்றேன்.இப்போதும் சிகிச்சை பெற்று வருகிறேன்.

தலைவருக்கும் எனக்கும் இடையில் முரண்பாடு என அரசாங்கம் உளவியல் போரை தொடங்கியதன் காரணம் எங்கள் தலைவர் தமிழீழ கடற்படையை கட்டி எழுப்புவதற்காக கிட்டத்தட்ட 300 கோடி ரூபாவை ஒதுக்கியிருக்கிறார். இந்தப் பணத்தை புலம் பெயர்ந்து வாழ்கின்ற எங்கள் மக்களிடம் கேட்டிருக்கிறார் என்ற தகவல் ஒருவழியாக சிறிலங்கா அரசாங்கத்துக்கு சென்றடைய அதனைத் தடுத்து நிறுத்த வேண்டும் என்ற நோக்கில் தான் இந்தக் கதையை சிறிலங்கா அரசாங்கம் பரப்பியது. உண்மையில் தலைவருடன் சமகாலத்தில் நீங்கள் வாழ்ந்து கொண்டிருப்பதனால் தலைவரைப் பற்றி முழுமையாகத் தெரிவதற்கு வாய்ப்பில்லை.

உண்மையில் தலைவருக்குக் கீழ் இருந்து ஒரு போராளியாக, பொறுப்பாளராக, தளபதியாக செயற்படுவதை இpட்டு நான் பெருமை அடைகிறேன். எங்களுடைய தலைவர் தமிழ் மக்களுக்கான விடுதலைப் பாதையை சீரான பாதையில் நடத்திச் செல்கின்ற ஒரு அச்சாணியாகச் செயல்பட்டுக்கொண்டிருப்பவர். நான் அவரிடத்தில் மதிப்பையையும், மரியாதையையும் வைத்துக்கொண்டுதான் இருக்கிறேன். இந்த நிலையில் சிறிலங்கா அரசாங்கம் எம்மீது ஒரு பெரும் உளவியல் போரை நடத்துகிறது. இதன் மூலம் மக்களிடத்தில் ஒரு பெரும் குழப்பத்தை உண்டு பண்ணிவிடலாம் என நினைக்கிறது. இன்று இவர்கள் தமது கோர முகத்தை வல்வெட்டித்துறையிலும் நிகழ்த்தி இருக்கிறது. எமது விடுதலைப் போராட்டத்தில் பல கட்டங்களையும் போராடித் தாண்டி வந்து இன்று இந்த நிலையை நான் அடைவதற்கு எங்கள் தலைவர் அவர்களின் வளர்ப்புத் தான் காரணம்.

1985 ஆம் ஆண்டு வெற்றிலைக் கேணிக் கடலில் நாம் கடமையில் ஈடுபட்டுக்கொண்டிருந்தபோது கடற்படை எம்மைத் தாக்கியது. நாங்கள் பின் வாங்கினோம். பத்து ஆண்டுகளின் பின்னர் தலைவரது நேர்த்தியான வழிகாட்டலில் அதே கடற்படையை நாம் விரட்டி அடிக்கிறோம்.

இன்று கருணா என்ற நச்சு விதை எங்கள் போராட்டத்தில் போட்டுவிட்டது. இதனை அரசு தூக்கி வைத்து ஆடிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது. இதனை எல்லாம் தூக்கி எறியுங்கள். இவர்களின் பேச்சை ஏற்றுக் கொண்டால் தான் அவர்கள் உளவியல் போரில் வெற்றி அடைவார்கள். நீங்கள் அதனைக் கருத்தில் எடுக்காது வீட்டீர்கள் என்றால் உளவியல் போரிலும் அவர்கள் தோற்கடிக்கப்பட்டு விடுவார்கள். அன்பான மக்களே, நாங்கள் அவர்களை நிழல் யுத்தத்தில் எப்படித் தோற்கடித்தோம். அதே போல உளவியல் யுத்தத்திலும் நாங்கள் தோற்கடிப்போம். அதற்காக நீங்கள் அவர்களின் கருத்துக்களை நம்பாதீர்கள். இது தான் இதற்கான ஒரேவழி.

நாங்கள் ஒரு மரபுவழி இராணுவம். ஒரு இராணுவத்தின் தளபதிகள் எங்கேயும் எப்போதும் மாற்றப்படலாம். மரபுவழி இராணுவமாக நாங்கள் பரிணாமம் பெற்றது தான் இதன் காரணம். உங்கள் பிள்ளைகள் எம்மை மரபு வழிப்படையாக உயர்த்தி இருக்கிறார்கள். இந்தக் கட்டமைப்பில் இத்தகைய மாற்றங்கள் நிச்சயம் நடைபெறும். இவை குழப்பத்திற்குரிய காரணங்கள் அல்ல. எனவே நீங்கள் குழம்ப வேண்டாம். ஒன்றிணைந்து அவர்களின் உளவியல் போரையும் முறியடிப்போம் எனவும், அவர் மேலும் தெரிவித்தார்.

நன்றி: ஈழநாதம் 26-11-2004

26 November 2004 தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் போராட்டமும் தேசியத் தலைவரின் 50ஆவது அகவையும் விவரணச்சித்திரம் வெளியீடு தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவர் மேதகு வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரனின் 50ஆவது அகவையையொட்டி, ‘தலைநிமிர்வு” என்னும் பெயரிலான, “தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் போராட்டமும், தேசியத் தலைவரின் 50ஆவது அகவையும்” என்னும் விவரணச் சித்தரம் ஒன்று வெளியிட்டுவைக்கப்படவுள்ளது.

நிதர்சனம் வெளியீடாக வெளிவரவுள்ள இந்த விவரணச் சித்திரம், தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் போராட்டத்தின் ஐம்பதாண்டு வரலாற்றையும், தேசியத் தலைவர் பிரபாகரனின் 50 ஆண்டுகால வரலாற்றையும் ஒருசேர விபரிப்பதாக அமைந்துள்ளது.
இதில், தேசியத் தலைவர் பிரபாகரன் தொடர்பாகவும், தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் போராட்டம் தொடர்பாகவும், பல்வேறு முக்கியஸ்தர்களும் தெரிவிக்கும் வாழ்த்துச் செய்திகளும் இடம்பெற்றுள்ளதாக அறிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

தென்னிலங்கையைச் சேர்ந்த கலைஞர்களான, தர்மசிறி பண்டாரநாயகா, அசோகா கந்தகம, பிரசன்ன விதானகே, றோகித பாஷண ஆகியோருடன், மலையக மக்கள் முன்னணியின் தலைவரும் நாடாளுமன்ற உறுப்பினருமான பெரியசாமி சந்திரசேகரன், மேல்மாகாண மக்கள் முன்னணியின் தலைவரும், நாடாளுமன்ற உறுப்பினருமான மனோ கணேசன் ஆகியோருடைய வாழ்த்துச் செய்திகளும் இந்த விவரணச் சித்திரத்தில் இடம்பெறுகின்றன.

இவர்களுடன், மாவீரர் கப்டன் மில்லரின் தாயார், மாவீரர்களான இரண்டாம் லெப்ரினன்ட் மாலதி, லெப்ரினன்ட் கேணல் விக்டர் ஆகியோரின் தந்தையர், யாழ் பல்கலைக்கழகத் துணைவேந்தர் பேராசிரியர் மோகனதாஸ், யாழ் பல்கலைக்கழக தமிழ்த்துறைப் பேராசிரியை மனோன்மணி சண்முகதாஸ், தேசியத் தலைவரின் ஆசிரியர்களுள் ஒருவரான வேணுகோபால் ஆகியோருடைய வாழ்த்துச் செய்திகளும் இதில் இடம்பெறுகின்றன.

தமிழ்நாட்டைச் சேர்ந்த மறுமலர்ச்சித் திராவிட முன்னேற்றக் கழகத் தலைவர் வை.கோபாலசாமி, பட்டாளி மக்கள் கட்சியைச் சேர்;ந்த இராமதாஸ், விடுதலைச் சிறுத்தைகள் அமைப்பைச் சேர்ந்த திருமாவளவன், நெடுமாறன், இயக்குனர் சீமான், கவிஞர் காசி ஆனந்தன், மறுவன்புலவூர் சச்சிதானந்தன், மணியரசன், தியாகு ஆகியோருடைய வாழ்த்துச் செய்திகளும், கருத்துக்களும் இந்த விவரணச் சித்திரத்தில் இடம்பெறுவதாகவும் நிதர்சனம் வெளியீட்டகத்தினர் விடுத்த செய்திக்குறிப்பொன்றில் தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

நிதர்சனம் வெளியீடாக, தேசியத் தலைவர் பிரபாகரனின் 50ஆவது பிறந்ததினமான இன்று 26ஆம் திகதி வெளியிடப்படவுள்ள இந்த விவரணச் சித்திரம், சுமார் ஒன்றரைமணிநேர நீளமானது என்பது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.

50ஆவது அகவை காணும் எம் தலைவனுக்கு
அமெரிக்க நகரங்களில் இறையருள் வேண்டி வழிபாடு

பார் முழுவதும் போற்றிப்பாட
ஈழமண்ணில் பூத்த மலர். தமிழீழம்
மலர்வதற்காய் வந்துதித்த
ஈழமகன் நீடுழி வாழ்க என பிரார்த்தனை
செய்ய அனைவரையும்
அன்புடன் அழைக்கின்றோம்.


இடம்: Our Saviour Lutheran Church
90-04 175th Street, Jamaica, NY11-26-04

தங்க வயது காணும் தலைவனைப் போற்றுவோம்
50வது அகவை காணும் பிரபாகரன்-தலைவன் தமிழீழத்தில் பிறந்த நாள் கடந்தும் வாழ்வாங்கு வாழ பிரார்த்திப்போம்.

உலகக் தமிழர் ஒருங்கிணைப்பு குழுவினால் விசேட பிரார்த்தனை
(இந்து,கிறிஸ்தவ முறைப்படி தமிழில் பிரார்த்தனைகள் நடைபெறும்)

கீழ்வரும் மாநிலங்களிலும் 26-11– 04 அன்று விசேட பிரார்த்தனைகள் நடைபெறும்.

November 23, 2011

The words of Leader Velupillai Pirabaharan

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 9:36 pm

Velupillai Prabhakaran – Leader of Tamil Eelam

We cannot be subdued

அச்சம் என்பது மடமையடா
அஞ்சாமை திராவிடர் உடமையடா
ஆறிலும் சாவு நூறிலும் சாவு
தாயகம் காப்பது கடமையடா

வாழ்ந்தவர் கோடி மறைந்தவர் கோடி
மக்களின் மனதில் நிற்பவர் யார்
மாபெரும் வீரர் மானம் காப்போர்
சரித்திரம் தனிலே நிற்க்கின்றார்

Kaviarasu Kannadasan

“We launched our struggle for self determination and political independence because of the systematic oppression of our people by the Sri Lankan state… It is the Sri Lanka government which has failed to learn the lessons from the emergence of the struggles for self determination in several parts of the globe and the innovative structural changes that have taken place… We are not warmongers who love violence. We want a permanent, stable and honourable peace…. One day, when our enemy knocks at our doors for peace, we will extend the hand of friendship.” (Velupillai Pirabaharan, leader of Tamil Eelam, 1992)

“The waves of sympathy that sweeps across Tamil Nadu whenever Eelam Tamils are repressed has always been a deterrent to our ruthless enemy and a great source of hope and relief to our aggrieved people. It also impresses upon the world that the Eelam Tamils are not alone and without support.” (Message to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu, December 1995)

“This is our land, the land in which we were born, grew and live, the land which bears the foot prints of our forefathers, the land in which our culture and history are rooted…The LTTE will not participate in peace negotiations imposed at the point of a gun …This is the message we wish to address to the Chandrika regime” (Maha Veera Naal Address – November 1995)

“During our long journey towards liberation we have crossed rivers of fire. It is our commitment to the cause that sustained us during these violent upheavals. The cause we have charted to fight for the right to self-determination of our people is right, fair and just. From the beginning up to now, we are resolutely committed to our cause. Our cause is our towering strength. It is because of our firm commitment to our cause we have our importance, individuality and history” (Maha Veera Naal Address – November 1996)

Our tradition of venerating martyrs as war heroes has always irritated the Sinhala chauvinist state. ….they feel that this tradition has become a source of inspiration to the Tamil freedom movement. Impelled by this hostile attitude, they committed a grave crime that deeply offended the Tamil nation.….. The enemy forces committed the unpardonable crime of desecration, disrupting the spiritual tranquillity of our martyrs. Their war cemeteries underwent wanton destruction, their tomb-stones up-rooted and flattened and their memorials erased without a trace. … This act cannot be dismissed as a wanton display of an occupying army. This is a grave act of terrorism which has left an indelible stain in the soul of the Tamil nation.” (Maha Veera Naal Address – November 1997)

“Our struggle shines as a superb paradigm of women’s ability to accomplish anything. So that our race may honor humanness which is beyond masculinity and femininity, womankind is extending its hand of love and friendship. Only when man as a gender grasps this loving hand with deep awareness will equality between men and women be a reality.” (Women’s International Day Message – March 1996)

“We are a movement fighting for liberation. We are not an ordinary group which stands abjectly in askance of concessions…Our goal is that we should live with honour peace, safety and freedom in our home soil, our own soil which historically belongs to us. This is our national aspiration.” ( Maha Veera Naal Address – November 1994)

“குடும்பத்தைத் துறந்து கல்வியை துறந்து, சுதந்திரம் என்ற இலட்சியற்காக தமது உயிரையும் துச்சமாக மதித்து போராட்டக் களத்தில் குதித்திருக்கின்றார்கள். இவர்களை ஆயுதப் போராட்டப் பாதைக்குத் தள்ளியது சிங்கள அரச பயங்கரவாதமே யன்றி வேறொன்றும் இல்லை” – Velupillai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil Eelam

‘Perform your duty without regard to the fruits of action’, says the Bhagavad Gita. I grasped this profound truth when I read the Mahabharata. When I read the great didactic works, they impressed on me the need to lead a good, disciplined life and roused in me the desire to be of service to the community.  Above all, Subhash Chandra Bose’s life was a beacon to me, lighting up the path I should follow. His disciplined life and his total commitment and dedication to the cause of his country’s freedom deeply impressed me and served as my guiding light. (How I became a freedom fighter – Interview, April 1994)

“..பயம் என்பது பலவீனத்தின் வெளிப்பாடு. கோழைத்தனத்தின் தோழன். உறிதியின் எதிரி. மனித பயங்களுக்கெல்லாம் மூலமானது மரண பயம். இந்த மரணபயத்தைக் கொன்று விடுபவன்தான் தன்னை வென்று விடுகிறான். அவன் தான் தனது மனச்சிறையிலிருந்து விடுதலை பெறுகிறான்.” Velupillai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil Eelam

“We are fully aware that the world is not rotating on the axis of human justice. Every country in this world advances its own interests. It is the economic and trade interests that determine the order of the present world, not the moral law of justice nor the rights of people. International relations and diplomacy between countries are determined by such interests. Therefore we cannot expect an immediate recognition of the moral legitimacy of our cause by the international community.” (Maha Veera Naal Address – November 1993)

“The historical storm of the liberation struggle is uprooting age old traditions that took root over a long period of time in our society… The ideology of women liberation is a child born out of the womb of our liberation struggle… The Tamil Eelam revolutionary woman has transformed herself as a Tiger for the liberation of our land and liberation of women.” (Women’s International Day Message – March 1993)

Velupillai Pirabaharan “The strength of our struggle arises from the fierce determination of our fighters. Their firm commitment and their courage to act without the fear of death are the force and resource of our struggle. The whole world is providing arms and funds to our enemy. We are not begging from the world… We stand firm on our own legs, on our own soil, on our own people and fight with our own hands. .. Since we are firmly rooted in our own strength we stand upright without bowing to the pressures of others.” (Maha Veera Naal Address – November 1992)

Our women are seeking liberation from the structures of oppression deeply embedded in our society. This oppressive cultural system and practices have emanated from age old ideologies and superstitions. Tamil women are subjected to intolerable suffering as a consequence of male chauvinistic oppression, violence and from the social evils of casteism and dowry.” (Women’s International Day Message – March 1992)

“Today, we cherish the memory of a great martyr and salute her supreme sacrifice. Mother Poopathi has earned our highest esteem as one of the noble martyrs who have become legends in the history of our liberation struggle. As a woman, as a mother, as the maternal head of the family, Poopathi amma transcended her ordinary life and the bonds of existential attachment in sacrificing her life for the emancipation of her nation. ..Our people are our mountains. As long as the power of the people is behind us, we can face any challenges” (Annai Poopathy’s Fast for Freedom – Second Anniversary Message – March 1990)

“நாம் இனத்துவேஷிகள் அல்லர். போர் வெறிகொண்ட வன்முறையாளர்களும் அல்லர். நாம் சிங்கள மக்களை எதிரிகளாகவோ விரோதிகளாகவோ கருத வில்லை. சிங்கள பண்பாட்டை கெளரவிக்கின்றோம். சிங்கள மக்களின் தேசிய வாழ்வில், அவர்கலளது சுதந்திரத்தில் நாம் எவ்விதமும் தலையிட விரும்பவில்லை. நாம் எமது வரலாற்று தாயத்தில் ஒரு தேசிய மக்கள் இனம் என்ற அந்தஸ்துடன், நிம்மதியாக, சுதந்திரமாக, கொரவத்துடன் வாழ விரும்புகிறோம்.

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 with dignity.” – Velupilllai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil Eelam

“இயற்கை எனது நண்பன், வாழ்க்கை எனது தத்துவ ஆசிரியன், வரலாறு எனது வழிகாட்டி.”

Excerpts from * Will to Freedom, The: An Inside View of Tamil Resistance
by Adele Balasingham, March 1, 2003

“…Mr.Pirabaharan was a frequent visitor to our house; in both an official and personal capacity. He would come alone with his bodyguards and on other occasions with his family. By mid 1998 we had known and lived with the legendary leader of the Tamil liberation struggle Vellupillai Pirabaharan for twenty years. During those years of personal and political relationship we have been deeply involved in experiences with him that led to an understanding and insight into one of the most complex and commanding personalities determining the politics of Sri Lanka.

Those twenty years of relationship embraced an epoch in the struggle during which we walked through many good times together and traversed and triumphed over periods of adversity in both his political and personal life. Over this span of time we had seen the ideals of freedom of a young militant progressively transforming into a concrete reality. Parallel to the march towards the liberation of his people, Mr. Pirabaharan has emerged as a living symbol of national freedom and has grown in adoration to become a venerated figure amongst his oppressed people.

Security concerns have compelled Mr. Pirabaharan to adopt what many have mistakenly labelled a ‘reclusive’ life style. His secluded existence under conditions of continued war and his inaccessibility to the media have made him the most misunderstood and feared guerrilla leader of our times. He has, of course, become most successful and popular in his spectacular military campaign. His military ability has often perplexed the many professional military minds in the world. So what is it that has earned this short, stocky, neat man so much love from his people on the one hand, and notoriety from the world on the other?

How do we account for the contradiction in his people’s perception of him, and the vilification by the world? Mr. Pirabaharan, born in the coastal village of Valvettiturai on 26th November 1954 was a sixteen year old teenager when he took up arms and became involved in the political struggle of his people. He was, in other words, a ‘child soldier’ if we use the language of today. From those early days he has never lived a ‘normal’ life. As his commitment deepened, he mobilised and organised a group of radical youth who shared his views into an underground guerrilla organisation and launched an armed resistance campaign.

His daring guerrilla attacks brought him to the attention of the state authorities and he became a ‘wanted’ man living an underground life in Jaffna. His bold armed challenge to the might of the Sinhala state earned Mr. Pirabaharan a noble reputation and he became a heroic figure amongst his people. The shrewdness and intelligence he successfully deployed in challenging the state was viewed by the people as their triumph and an assertion of their pride and identity. Mr. Pirabaharan’s sustained and successful armed resistance against mounting state oppression has earned him the mantle of national leader of the Tamil people’s struggle for freedom and independence. This noble objective fuels his passion and dominates his spirit. The struggle has become his life and he has become the struggle.

Although Mr. Pirabaharan would never make any pretensions to being a theorist or an ideologue, his politics place him squarely in the camp of a patriotic nationalist. Mr. Pirabaharan’s nationalism is not a manifestation of Tamil chauvinism or racism, as many Sinhala critics would like to argue. His national sentiment arose from a determination to resist Sinhala racist oppression that aims at the destruction of his people. In other words, the racism of the Sinhala state made him a fierce patriot, a passionate lover of his oppressed nation.

His deep love for his people, their culture and more specifically their language, fuels his dedication and determination to secure their survival. For him, uncluttered by abstract concepts and theories, the problem confronting the Tamil people is clearcut and simple and the struggle for freedom is just. His psyche is deeply rooted in the soil of his motherland, the Northeast, which he always refers to as Tamil Eelam. He has an unshakeable view that his people have a right to live in peace, dignity and harmony in their historic homeland. His perception of Tamil Eelam is neither secessionist nor expansionist.

For him, Tamil Eelam belongs to the Tamils and they have the sovereign right over their territory. Indeed, he has neither demonstrated nor articulated any aspiration to annex traditional Sinhala territory nor does he dream of an expansionist greater Eelam as projected by some Indian critics.

Mr. Pirabaharan has always maintained individuality and creativity in fashioning the mode of the armed struggle of the Tamil people. Though he was familiar with the history of the national liberation struggles and freedom moments of the other countries of the world, he did not embrace or capitulate to any established models or theories of liberation warfare.

For him, methods of struggle should evolve from the objective conditions unique to each struggle. He devised his own methodology of warfare suited to the necessities and conditions of the struggle of his people. Some of his methods and tactics of warfare have earned him severe condemnation, particularly among the Sinhala political and military analysts. Yet he has defended his ‘ruthless’ tactics as a necessary means to protect his weak and small nation of people against a strong, powerful and ruthless enemy….”

Meeting Velupillai Pirabaharan – a Consultant Doctor from UK and his wife  visit the Vanni, 14 October 2004

My wife and I visited Vavuniya and Killinochchi an year ago to do some voluntary work, treating people with eye ailments. We ran some eye camps for civilians as well as ex militant cadres. When we were coming to the end of our visit, we were told that an ‘important person’ would like to meet with us. It was only when we arrived at the place of meeting that we realised to our pleasant surprise that the person who greeted us was Velupillai Pirabaharan.I felt that I should write an account of that meeting with Velupillai Pirabaharan, his wife and son. Such a meeting was not expected nor requested by us when we visited the Vanni but when it came,  it turned out to be a unique, pleasant and an unforgettable one.

To us Pirabaharan came across primarily as a soft spoken, deep thinking person with considerable depth of knowledge in what ever topic we discussed, with a keen desire to gain a proper understanding of each and every matter that he came across during our conversation. . We kept politics and the future of our freedom struggle totally out of the discussion not by any request but by choice. My wife and I felt (independently) that we should use the opportunity to be free and discuss any topic that was raised by the Pirabaharans.  They were our hosts and it seemed entirely appropriate that we should do exactly what we would do when visiting close relatives or friends. This was not pre planned but I suppose came naturally to us when there was no pre conceived idea as to how one should handle such an unexpected opportunity!

Keen to gain knowledge and understanding

What ever explanations Shanthi or I gave on medical matters, as they were our main topics of discussion, Pirabaharan and his wife as well listened with keenness and asked very pertinent questions. Pirabaharan in particular was keen to understand the basis of various eye disorders that became the main topic both from a personal point of view as well as with regard to many of the patients we saw during our short stay in Vanni.

A caring couple

We were both impressed by his desire to know details of many of the patients we had seen; most of whom he remembered by name and asked what treatment could be offered to improve their conditions. He was visibly moved and was very empathetic when we described the effects of the eye injuries we came across and emphasised the importance of good medical facilities and after care. The deep knowledge he had of the extent of the war injuries on the youngsters in particular and the effects of years of neglect of the health services on the public at large, made it abundantly clear to us the commitment they both had for the welfare of our people.

A good father

During the course of our conversation their son who would have been around 7 years played around with his father, climbed all over him, threw flower petals on his head and Pirabaharan accepted all that despite some concern shown by the minders saying that “ let my son have fun” and asked us if we minded! We shared our experiences as parents and the discussion often went into raising children and the social responsibilities of parents and children. It was nice indeed to share these ideas with a person who seems to have an image outside only as a strong military leader. When Pirabaharan got himself excused to go and feed his son the lunch, we saw the face of a loving father and a dutiful husband who left his wife to discuss matters that interested her with their guests. His wife discussed at length with Shanthi in particular the problems faced by parents, by mothers in particular in bringing up children and they both dwelled on spiritual matters as well as educational issues. We both were made to feel so much at home by our hosts and felt as if we had known them for years.

Good hosts

At lunch our two hosts made sure that Shanthi had her vegetarian dishes and both supervised personally the servings and Pirabaharan took a great pride in explaining the various dishes and how many vegetables and fruits were now grown in Vanni. He made sure all others at the lunch table ate well too. It was typical Thamil hospitality at it’s best, showered on us by a person who could have been very aloof and remote to the two unknown visitors but chose to be a ordinary man doing his duties as a host as expected by our traditions and customs, with out any effort but naturally as it would come to a brother feeding his long lost family. There were many humorous moments as well during this meeting and we had a glimpse of the good sense of humour our national leader has. We both were very moved by the whole experience.

Respect and decorum

When we examined their eyes they both listened with interest and showed immense respect to us. Pirabaharan asked me very politely, if I had the time to examine Mr.Thamilenthy. There was no compulsion or expectation , but a kind request to help a close associate, which I could have refused if I wanted on the basis lack of time .We were happy to oblige. When the time came to leave, bodyguards appeared in the scene for the first time but Pirabaharan got into his vehicle only when it was made sure that our transport was ready to take us to Colombo and we will get to the barrier before the closing time.


We left the visit with the feeling of meeting a nice friendly family but did not fail to notice some of the exceptional qualities of the leader of a people. Behind the strong, clever and able leader there is a loving husband and father, a caring person and above all an intelligent man with an inquiring mind. Not having once raised a military or political topic we were able to involve ourselves totally with Mr. & Mrs.Pirabaharan and family and so can be excused for forming an impression of them even though one feels inadequate to make a judgement on a person who will be judged one day (if not already) by history as an intelligent, trusted and caring leader of the Thamil Nation.

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