January 2, 2012

Prabakaran A sense of freedom in action

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 1:32 pm

Having been born and brought up as a Western person and having travelled in various countries such as; Italy (once liberated from fascism), India (colonised but later liberated through an independence struggle) and South Africa (liberated from Apartheid by a freedom movement) – I am proud and happy to give a message for the 50th Birthday of Mr. Velupillai prabhakaran, Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

I do not want to hide the truth, what I say comes from my heart. In Italy, Modern History includes liberation from, and the overthrowing of, the dictator Mussolini. Popular culture in Italy still reverberates with the sense of that historic liberation, in song and in other art forms. In India the struggle for independence from the colonial power was built on a mass freedom movement, celebrated world-wide in writing, film and popular wisdom.

Perceived as non-violent, nevertheless blood was shed for liberation. In South Africa, liberation from white colonialism and its apartheid structures brought signs of freedom based on justice and equality, votes for all regardless of race or colour. I saw something different in the NorthEast of the island of Sri Lanka, where Mr Prabakaran today celebrates his 50th birthday. A sense of freedom in action. Well-planned technology projects, based on sustainability; projects uplifting the poorest sectors of society, based on nutrition programmes for infants and back to work programmes for their parents; caring and careful planning and implementation of projects for the futures of children whose lives have been devastated by war and who have lost parents; for women who are mentally affected by their traumatic experiences of war; for the land itself as de-mining is organised, freeing more areas.

During my four visits to this island, which has seen twenty years of bloody conflict, I have travelled from Matara to KKS, including Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Upcountry. I have met and had discussions with people from many walks of life, and from different ethnic backgrounds. What I have seen, leads me to compare the areas in the NorthEast called “government-controlled areas” and the LTTE administered areas.

One can see how massive the difference is between them. In the latter, under the guidance of Mr V.Prabakaran, initiatives have been taken to look after the war-affected children, women, differently-abled cadres, and civilians – all with absolutely no help from the government. This has made not only me, but many other Western people who have visited there also, wonder in amazement at the numerous activities and wonderful successful ongoing work of many kinds.

I do not hesitate to say that what one witnesses, is that Mr Prabakaran has taken immense steps in building a nation, respecting culture, the arts, religion, gender equality, education, mental and physical health needs, all aspects of civil life which are precious to people. All of this is held in the context of a well-functioning law and order system. The police and independent judiciary operate with the full cooperation and respect of the people and have many women in senior and other positions.

After 50 years of discrimination, persecution and oppression against Tamils, (paralleled by long years of non-violent protest which was mercilessly repressed, organised resistance and finally a long war) whether one accepts the fact or not, a nation is being built. Already, the people’s needs are being served in exemplary ways. It has to be said that the nation is being built, not to serve the needs of Western ideologies, but to meet the needs of its own people.

The Colombo media, the Western media and various websites can say what they like – but as a person who has travelled to many corners of the NorthEast, and also to the South. I simply state what I feel about what I have witnessed, expressing how much Hope and Dignity I saw in the nation which is being guided by Mr Prabakaran.

Once again, I am proud and honoured to convey my birthday greetings to one of the most successful freedom fighters in the world.

I wish Mr Prabakaran my sincere good wishes, good health and every success in the coming years and decades.

24th October 2004

Deirdre McConnell
Human rights activist.
Great Britain

January 1, 2012

Velupillai Prabakaran Living Legend

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 11:43 am

Writing about a revolutionary leader and a military genius like Velupillai Prabakaran of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is not an easy matter. He has so many outstanding achievements so much so it is rather difficult to emphasize one or two aspects without touching on other related ones.

While governments and forces against the genuine aspirations of Tamils have castigated him in extreme terms to the people of Tamil Eelam and the Tamil Diaspora Prabakaran stands out as one of the great leaders of all times. He will be always remembered for generations to come as supreme individual who organized and galvanized the Tamils to fight not only against racist oppression but also to yearn for the creation of a separate state-Tamil Eelam. It is the utter dedication and commitment of Prabakaran and his close aides that have given much hope for Tamils all over the world to stand up as equals to others.

The struggle for the coveted prize of Tamil Eelam has invariably involved both the direct and indirect participation of the Tamil Diaspora. The LTTE’s constant pronouncements for the need for Tamil Diaspora support and Prabhakaran’s rationalization of Tamil Eelam as the ultimate expression of global Tamil solidarity has invariably provided great hope for Tamils in places like Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa and not to speak of Tamil Nadu, Europe and North America.

In a more particular sense, the discrimination and marginalization of Tamils in these places have naturally influenced them to become sympathetic to the larger cause of Tamils in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. Needless to say, some sections of the Tamil Diaspora have gone to the extent of providing material and moral support to the cause of the LTTE.

Overseas Tamils betrayed by their own leaders and faced with extreme ethnic and religious discrimination secretly wish they have a leader like Prabhakaran to take up their cause. Since the start of the Eelam War, the Tamil Diaspora has been closely following the events in the island. In the 1980s and 1990s, many demonstrations have been organized to support the cause of the LTTE.

During these demonstrations, Tamils have proudly displayed pictures and portraits of Prabakaran so much so raising concern about the radicalization of Tamils of South Indian origin in places  like Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa have a great sympathy for the LTTE in general and the courageous leadership of Prabakaran.

In the past, these segments of the Tamil population looked to leaders in Tamil Nadu for cultural leadership, but now they are turning more and more to the leadership of the LTTE. It has become quite clear to Tamils of Indian origin that the Dravidian leadership in Tamil Nadu especially after the demise of Periyar Ramasamy offers not cultural or intellectual vision for their advancement and progress. In a specific sense, the narrow politics of Kalainjnar Karunanathi and Jayalalitha, the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, offers no hope for world Tamils.

It has been commonly observed that the LTTE’s alleged assassination of Rajiv Gandhi deprived them of the much needed support from Tamil Nadu. While there is no concrete proof of LTTE’s involvement in the murder of Gandhi, the propaganda generated in the aftermath of this episode did register decline in support. However, it was the opportunistic role of some political parties and leaders that gave the general impression that Tamils in the state would shy away from the LTTE for good.

Nothing can be further from truth. My recent visit to Tamil Nadu and discussions with few groups provide indications that Tamil in the state will never abandon their brothers and sisters in Tamil Eelam. While they might have some reservation about the LTTE and about its alleged links to the murder of Gandhi, they fully support the quest for an independent Tamil Eelam.

If not for the presence of the dreaded Prevention Of Terrorism Act ( POTA ), more and more ordinary Tamils would be able to express their opinions  openly. Moreover the role of leaders like Vaiko Gopalaswamy and Nedumaran attests  to the fact that Tamils in Tamil Nadu will never sever their historical and cultural ties with those in the island of Sri  Lanka.

There are basically two important reasons for the support of the L.T.T.E. in general  and Prabhakaran’s leadership in particular. The first reason for support is usually associated with military prowess of the L.T.T.E., its victories against the Sri Lankan armed forces, the heroic role of the Black Tigers and others. It is this external role that has provided much support for the L.T.T.E. However, there is second reason that is very often not well elaborated and this relates to the L.T.T.E.’s role in the socio – economic transformation of the Tamil society.

While the L.T.T.E. has fought heroic battles and today is in control  of more than 80 percent of the territory in the North and East of the island of Sri lanka, such an achievement has come about because of the progressive internal role of the outfit. L.T.T.E.’s internal organization of the Tamil society – removal of caste barriers, liberation of women, eradication of old customs and traditions and others  have given a unique role to the L.T.T.E. in the evolving history of Tamils.

It is the progressive and egalitarian outlook of the L.T.T.E. that has endeared the organization to hundreds and thousands of youths, ready  to give up their lives for the future cause of Tamil Eelam. More than its military prowness, its role in the social transformation of the Tamil society is the most attractive of the  organization’s  representation of Tamils.

While I have admired the battle – field successes, the natural leadership of Prabakaran, its unselfish quest for Tamil nationhood, I was most struck by the outfit’s social  agenda – the need to shape and transform the caste – ridden Tamil society. One really wonders whether the L.T.T.E. could have managed to mobilize the youths of the North and East without liberating the human potential from the constraints of caste, class and gender.

It  is the external  and internal dimensions that endeared me and many others to the L.T.T.E.. I supported the Tamil independence movement even before having the opportunity to meet their leaders.  The writings of Anton Balasingham on the Tamil national question  from a Marxist perspective provides a powerful rational as to why the quest  for Tamil  Eelam is a progressive one.

His writings  were   highly theoretical and very convincing. Prabakaran’s speeches and some interviews were inspiring : his rationale for Tamil Eelam predicated on the basis of global Tamil solidarity was an eye opener. They coincided with my own writings on Tamil Diaspora nationalism.

From the early  1990s I wanted to visit the Tamil homeland, but unfortunately the war prevented me from doing so. The ceasefire arrived between the two warring parties in early 2002 provided me with the golden opportunity. In fact, I was asked to provide a ten-day course on federalism to the senior political cadres of the L.T.T.E.  I gladly accepted this assignment.  One or two days before my return, I had the rare opportunity of meeting the living history / legend himself – Veluppilai Prabakaran –  the pride and asset of the oppressed masses.

After dinner and before he parted, he remarked the following words to me : “Thamilanukku oru nadu thevai” ( Tamils need a country ). I was totally overwhelmed by the manner in which these words were expressed and l could not help how singularly be was committed to attain the Tamil cause. Really, it took me a while to regain my composure. Such was the impact of my first meeting with the greatest Tamil hero of modem history.

I have met so many leaders in the course of my life, but my meeting with Prabakaran was something else. I was overwhelmed by his presence, his deep knowledge  of world politics, his utter commitment to realize the aim of Tamil Eelam and not the least, the ability to withstand any odds in realizing the vision for Tamils. I have not met such leaders and I don’t think there will be a leader like Prabakaran in another one thousand years. He is a living legend-the pride and property of Tamils.

I met Prabakaran once again in December 2003 with my family, wife and two daughters. Again we had dinner and spent some time talking about politics, the future of Tamil Eelam, and the problems faced by Tamils abroad. My second meeting merely reaffirmed the greatness of this man in leading the Tamil cause. His courage and dedication convinced me that Tamil Eelam was within his grasp, it was just a matter of time.

When posed questions about the threat posed by the United States in the aftermath of the 9/11 episode, he remarked that it should first build bridges, buildings and highways in Tamil areas before bombing them. In other words, his message was that there was nothing to bomb in Wanni.

Prabakaran is not the least intimated by the big powers. The LTTE fought the Indian forces before the latter left the shores of the island shamelessly. The United States stuck in the Iraqi quagmire is hardly in a position to extend its military tentacles to crush the LTTE. While the LTTE is determined to pursue the Tamil cause, it is not mechanically orientated.

It is always open to a negotiated settlement although it has not given up the quest for a separate state, it is prepared to discuss with the Sri Lanka government to reach a solution that would be in line with the objectives of internal self-determination.

The LTTE controls more than 80 percent of the territory in the North and East of the island. It has a standing battle-tested army and a powerful sea-wing and not to speak of its own police force, judiciary, tax-system, customs, immigration and administration.

Despite the presence of a de facto state, the LTTE is still pursuing the option of discussing the interim self-government proposal with the government of Sri Lanka. It is this magnanimity that seems not to be appreciated by the international community. It is not too difficult for the LTTE to unilaterally declare independence.

Prof P.Ramasamy
Centre for History,
Political Science and Strategic Studies
National University of  Malaysia.

December 17, 2011

Prabhakaran’s Tigers and Mandela’s Spears -Part 2

Filed under: eelamview, freedom struggle, Prabhakaran, tamil eelam — Tags: , , — எல்லாளன் @ 9:19 pm

GPS reached its initial operational capability in 1993. The resilience of Tamil Tigers was blunted by this new advance in military warfare. That they lasted for another 15-16 years, without the ability to use GPS, while their adversary had the advantages of using GPS against them was a miracle. Half-baked analyses written by naïve defence analysts like Dayan Jayatilleka extols the bravura of insurgent armies of Mao Zedong (in 1930s and 1940s) and Che Guevara (during the 1960s), and belittles Prabhakaran’s Tigers. But, these analysts fail to recognize that during Mao and Che’s times, there was no GPS. I have no hesitation to say that Tamil Tigers were doomed by the GPS warfare.

Don Wright cartoon on CIA activities 1983

CIA as a dark network

There are many institutions in America that Americans can be proud of. But, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is not one of them. Its deeds insult American decency and openness. For decades, CIA’s deeds had served as good fodder for more than one political cartoonist. As sample, I offer two such cartoons in my collection.

In defining what is a ‘dark network’, Rene Bakker and colleagues (2011) provide the following description.

“Dark networks (as opposed to ‘bright’ networks) are covert and illegal. Although dark and bright are metaphors, and admittedly are normatively biased, we mean empirically that ‘a bright network is legal and visible and a dark network is illegal and tries to be as invisible as possible.’ Two dimensions thus stand out in differentiating dark networks from bright: visibility and legality. [Italics, note as in the original.] Visibility refers to how easily network activity is discerned without investigative effort. The second dimension, legality, refers to the laws of the state, not to whether a network’s goals are morally lamentable.”

Ranan Lurie cartoon on CIA exposing itself to Americans 1994

CIA’s deeds in other countries around the world lack visibility and legality. Don Wright’s 1983 cartoon about Nicaragua, illustrates humorously what CIA misses out on the visibility front. Ranan Lurie’s 1994 cartoon also depict the legality factor of what CIA boasts about and how American people feel so uncomfortable about it.

Those partisans who argue that CIA’s deeds are regular and acceptable under law, should answer, why CIA fails to honor the names of its fallen officers openly, rather than hiding them under engraved stars, in its memorial slab at the main lobby of its headquarters? In this act alone, CIA fails the visibility and legality tests. The scans I have are from two authentic books on CIA, published in 1986 and 1992. The 1986 book has 47 stars. The 1992 book has 53 stars. One is not sure, whether these stars are for individuals, or composites representing many heads. As I have not visited the CIA headquarters, I’m not sure what is the current star count in the CIA memorial slab, as of December 2011. During the past 10 years alone (since the Al Queda attack in New York on September 11, 2001), the fallen CIA officers may have exceeded a dozen or more.

I  mention these facts to show that it would be prudent for Rene Bakker and colleagues to include CIA as a ‘control’ dark network, in expanding their theory on the functioning of MK and LTTE.

CIA operatives killed - 47 stars 1986 bookDrug Trafficking

Rene Bakker et al. in their paper included a sentence “The Tamil Tigers engaged in drug trafficking as well (Felbab-Brown, 2010, pp. 188-189).” The cited reference is that to a book of an assistant professor, Vanda Felbab-Brown from Georgetown University. I sent the following email to Vanda on December 2nd.

“Dear Dr.Vanda Felbab-Brown:
I have been reading a recent paper that has appeared in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (2011), authored by Rene Bakker, Jorg Raab and Brinton Milward, entitled, ‘A Preliminary Theory of Dark Network Resilience’. In this paper, they cite your 2010 book, Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the war on drugs’. Unfortunately, I have yet to read your book.

Raab et al. makes a passing mention quoting you that “The Tamil Tigers engaged in drug trafficking as well (pp 188-189 of your book). I’m interested in knowing the original reference for your assertion on drug trafficking by the LTTE. If you can answer the following questions: (1) Have you by any chance visited Sri Lanka? (2) Are you fluent in Tamil language?, I’d be grateful. Thanks in advance for the courtesy.”

As of now, I have not heard from her. But, I did check her curriculum vitae posted in the internet and she had listed her language fluency as “fluent in Czech, competent in French and German, reading knowledge in Spanish.” That answers, my first question, that Vanda Felbab-Brown is not fluent in Tamil!

It would help Rene Bakker and colleagues, if they bother to study CIA’s record on drug trafficking. For a sampler, I provide a scan of a Washington Post news report that appeared in 1993. Then, there is this 1991 paper by Jonathan Marshall of San Francisco Chronicle, entitled “CIA assets and the rise of the Guadalajara connection”, published in the Crime Law and Social Change journal. If LTTE had indulged in drug trafficking (which I doubt), then they are in good company with CIA! Former Panamanian dictator, General Manuel Noreiga (who himself was a CIA asset) would be more than happy to reveal the secrets of CIA’s games in drug trafficking.

CIA operatives killed - 53 stars 1992 book

Spears and Tigers: The Differences

In comparing Mandela’s Spears and Prabhakaran’s Tigers, Rene Bakker and colleagues make the fundamental error in comparing apples and oranges. The important one is as follows: In July 2008, the population of South Africa was 43.786 million. The chief ethnic groups were: Black (79%), Whites (9.6%), Indian (2.6%) and Others (8.6%). In July 2008, the population of Sri Lanka was 21.128 million. The chief ethnic groups were: Sinhalese (74%), Tamils (18%), Muslims (7%) and Others (1%). Whereas, in South Africa, Blacks were in the majority, in Sri Lanka, Tamils were in a minority. Within the boundaries, drawn by the British colonialists, South African Blacks led by Mandela were able to earn external legitimacy, by being in a majority. But, this couldn’t work for Prabhakaran’s Tigers, as the arbiters of colonialism (especially British) did not want to accept what they did in the 19th century – tampering of the ethnic boundaries – was wrong.

Secondly, Prabhakaran’s Tigers were unlucky in that Eelam lacks natural resources, compared to that of Mandela’s South Africa (mining industry of gold, platinum and chromium). The natural resources alone provided external legitimacy for Mandela’s demand.

Thirdly, again Prabhakaran’s Tigers were unlucky in not having Jews in their team. Mandela was lucky to have notable liberal Jews (sons and daughters of immigrant Jews from Europe) supporting his cause. Not being Black, they stood out prominently when it came to courting Uncle Sam’s support among the corridors of power.

Fourthly, check the age at which Mandela and Prabhakaran established their ‘dark networks’. In 1961, Mandela was 43. In 1976, Prabhakaran was 22. Mandela was caught within months of establishing his Umkhonto we Sizwe group and was inside prison. Prabhakaran was held in detention for a short time in Tamil Nadu (1982), when he was only 28. After that, he was elusive for capture and daringly stood out for 27 years, despite many intelligence services (Sri Lankan, Indian, Pakistani and Israeli) aiming for his scalp. Martin Meredith, one of Mandela’s biographers had written that Mandela’s career as an insurgent in the field lasted only for five weeks!

Fifthly, according to Rene Bakker et al. MK was “unbanned” in 1990, after Mandela’s release from the prison. But, Tamil Tigers’ activity continued for another 19 years. One should note that advances in military science didn’t come to a standstill in 1990. Global Positioning System (GPS) came into use widely during the first Gulf War in 1991. GPS reached its initial operational capability in 1993. The resilience of Tamil Tigers was blunted by this new advance in military warfare. That they lasted for another 15-16 years, without the ability to use GPS, while their adversary had the advantages of using GPS against them was a miracle. Half-baked analyses written by naïve defence analysts like Dayan Jayatilleka extols the bravura of insurgent armies of Mao Zedong (in 1930s and 1940s) and Che Guevara (during the 1960s), and belittles Prabhakaran’s Tigers. But, these analysts fail to recognize that during Mao and Che’s times, there was no GPS. I have no hesitation to say that Tamil Tigers were doomed by the GPS warfare.

Washington Post Nov 22 1993 article on CIA & drug smuggling Michael IsikoffThe role of CIA in Mandela’s Capture

In his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom (1994), Mandela was diplomatic in muting CIA’s role in his capture. As such, I provide five paragraphs from  Martin Meredith’s biography, describing this issue.

“There were persistent rumours that the United States Central Intelligence Agency was involved. Mandela’s links with communists had made him a target for US officials embroiled with the Soviet Union in a murky struggle for influence in a number of newly independent African states and obsessed with the need to contain communist encroachment in Africa. The CIA was active throughout southern Africa, keeping track of the activities of liberation movements there, determined to prevent what it saw as communist-supported armed intervention ‘under the guise of African liberation’. It found an ally in the South African government, which was only too willing to collaborate. Intelligence information was exchanged on a regular basis.

The CIA covert-operations section in Johannesburg had expended considerable energy penetrating the ANC. Its chief undercover agent, Millard Shirley, the son of American missionaries who had been born in South Africa, had cultivated contacts at all levels of the organization. A stocky, balding figure, with a reputation as a heavy drinker and a womanizer, he passed himself off as a reporter for an American television news network, readily gaining access to dissident groups. He was known by South African intelligence to possess a high-ranking ‘deep throat’ –a Durban-based Indian in the ranks of the Communist Party there.

Two pieces of evidence subsequently came to light linking the CIA to Mandela’s arrest. The first concerned the local CIA agent in Durban at the time, Don Rickard, a consular officer who, at the end of his tour in South Africa, was heard boasting at a diplomatic party of the role that he had played in Mandela’s arrest. The second concerned Paul Eckel, the CIA station chief based at the US Embassy in Pretoria. Eckel, who died in 1986, confided what had happened to another US official and in 1990 that official, then retired, told an American journalist, Joseph Albright, what Eckel had said: ‘We turned Mandela over to the South African Security Branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They picked him up. It was one of our greatest coups.’

Given Mandela’s amateurish conduct in the days before his arrest, it was equally possible that the South African police already knew of his whereabouts from their own efforts. Mandela had been carried away by romantic notions of his role as ‘Commander-in-Chief’, the showman of the law courts now wanting to become the showman of the battlefield, wearing army fatigues and khaki, carrying a gun, though never intending to use it, flaunting his presence at gatherings of the faithful. These were dangerous pretensions at such a time. In all, Mandela survived in the field in South Africa as head of Unkhonto since its launching in December 1961 for no more than five weeks. And in that time, as a result of keeping notebooks, he came close to incriminating a considerable number of other people.

He chastised himself for his own foolhardy behavior. ‘In truth, I had been imprudent about maintaining the secrecy of my movements,’ he wrote. ‘In retrospect, I realized the authorities could have had a myriad of ways of locating me on my trip to Durban. It was a wonder in fact that I wasn’t captured sooner.’ When asked in later years about evidence of the CIA’s involvement in his arrest, his response was, ‘Let bygones be bygones. Let’s forget about that, whether it is true or not.’ ”

CIA and Tamil Tigers

It is beyond belief that CIA was not interested in Tamil Tigers. Here are some facts from Ronald Kessler (1992).

“By agency policy, CIA operations officers may commit espionage in any country of the world. The only exceptions are Great Britain, Australia and Canada. By CIA thinking, no country is completely friendly.” (p.10)

“CIA has stations in 130 countries. They range in size from one-person stations in some African countries to sixty-person posts – including support employees – in such cities as Tokyo and Rome. About 15 percent of the CIA’s employees are stationed overseas.” (p.32).

“Through liaison, the CIA obtains information on people of interest to the agency. In exchange, the CIA usually gives the host country information it wants – perhaps the location of a fugitive.” (p.32)

Two particular events indicate that CIA was involved in the Sri Lankan civil war. First, the honey-trapping incidence of RAW’s agent K.V. Unnikrishnan in 1980s. Second, the high-octane eulogy delivered by then President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, on the death of Neelan Tiruchelvam in 1999, assassinated by LTTE for being an informer. Many Eelam Tamils believe that even the 2004 split in LTTE was induced and facilitated by CIA’s local conduits such as the slimy politico Milinda Moragoda, by having Col. Karuna trapped with trickery. A Wikipedia entry on this Moragoda, which I just checked [Dec.12, 2011], provide the following details:

“US Embassy cables released by wikileaks show Moragoda to be a long time information source of the US Embassy in Colombo. The cables also state the US Government’s interest in Moragoda as their key partner in Sri Lanka. Writing to Washington in 2003, then US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ashley Wills says of Moragoda:

[Regarding] ‘the U.S., the intelligent, articulate Moragoda is a perfect fit. Born in Washington, D.C, he is a dual national Amcit (please protect) married to an American, with plenty of Washington connections, many from his days as a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and at Harvard. A ‘big picture’ person, Moragoda is also highly aware that the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world, and he feels that it is better that Sri Lanka recognize that fact and work within it.’ ”

If  memory serves, during the 2004 General Election, Moragoda (then with the United National Party) claimed that they split the LTTE. If you fill in the dots now, with the cables sent by the then US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ashley Wills (released by Wikileaks), the hanky-panky job of CIA’s local conduits becomes crystal clear. Now, Moragoda has switched sides, and serves as a ‘senior advisor’ to President Rajapaksa.

Rene Bakker et al. reporting on Col. Karuna’s desertion from LTTE, had described the following:

“Colonel Karuna, one of the most important members of the LTTE, realized that Prabhakaran did not want to negotiate for a possible political solution, and he left, taking approximately 6,000 of the LTTE’s best troops with him. This was a huge blow to the LTTE, since it meant the loss of about 50 percent of its resource base.”

The source for this information was noted as “R. Gunaratna (pers.comm., December 13, 2010) in The Hague, The Netherlands.” Obviously, this was erroneous propaganda of CIA’s conduits – bloating the number who sided with Karuna in 2004. Karuna’s ranks were so depleted that he couldn’t even maintain an identity as a rival Tamil militant group, let alone competing with Prabhakaran’s LTTE. That particular year (in November 2004) Karuna delivered a ‘Maaveerar address’ to rival Prabhakaran. It was a show, stage-managed by India’s RAW skunks . Next year in November 2005, Karuna had to prostrate himself to President Rajapakasa and joined the SLFP to protect his political career. The question Rene Bakker and his colleagues have to answer now is “what happened to that 6,000 of the LTTE’s best troops?”


In sum, it would be helpful if Rene Bakker and colleagues re-format their theory of dark network resilience, using CIA as one of their optimal controls, and investigate in depth, CIA’s links with MK and LTTE. I doubt that they will do this.

Cited Sources

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

Kessler, R: Inside the CIA, Pocket Books, New York, 1992, 358 pp.

Marshall, J: CIA assets and the rise of the Guadalajara connection. Crime, Law and Social Change, 1991; 16: 85-96.

Meredith, M: Nelson Mandela – a biography, Penguin Books, London, 1997, pp.220-221.

Quirk, J.P., Phillis, D.A., Cline, R. and Pforzheimer, W. The Central Intelligence Agency: A photographic History, Foreign Intelligence Press, Guilford, Connecticut, 1986, 256 pp.


by Sachi Sri Kantha, December 12, 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.

46. Tessa Bartholomeusz: Mothers of Buddhas, mothers of nations; Kumaratunga and her meteoric rise to power in Sri Lanka (Prime minister Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga). Feminist Studies, spring 1999; 25(1): 211-225.

47. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu: Sri Lanka in 1999 – The challenge of peace, governance, and development. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2000; 40(1): 219-225.

48. Neil DeVotta: Control democracy, institutional decay and the quest for Eelam: Explaining ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, spring 2000; 73(1): 55-76.

49. Ehud Sprinzak: Rational Fanatics. Foreign Policy, Sept-Oct.2000; no. 120: 66-73.

50. Peter Meade and James Mirocha: Civilian landmine injuries in Sri Lanka. Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection and Critical Care, 2000; 48(4): 735-739.

51. Jonathan Goodhand, David Hulme and Nick Lewer: Social capital and the political economy of violence: A case study of Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2000; 24(4): 390-406.

52. Lawrence Saez: Sri Lanka in 2000 – The politics of despair. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2001; 41(1): 116-121.

53. Yamuna Sangarasivam: Researcher, Informant, ‘Assassin’, Me. Geographical Review, Jan-Apr. 2001; 91(1/2): 95-104.

54. Harendra de Silva, Chris Hobbs and Helga Hanks: Conscription of children in armed conflict – a form of child abuse. A study of 19 former child soldiers. Child Abuse Review, 2001; 10: 125-134.

55. Ananda Abeysekara: The saffron army, violence, terror(ism): Buddhism, identity and difference in Sri Lanka. Numen, 2001; 48(1): 1-46.

56. Amitha Shastri: Sri Lanka in 2001 – Year of reversals. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2002; 42(1): 177-182.

57. Kaz de Jong, Maureen Mulhern, Nathan Ford, Isabel Simpson, Alison Swan and Saskia van der Kam: Psychological trauma of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Lancet, April 27, 2002; 359: 1517-1518.

58. Daya Somasundaram: Child soldiers; understanding the context. British Medical Journal, May 26, 2002; 324: 1268-1271.

59. Kasun Ubayasiri: Internet and media freedom: a study of media censorship in Sri Lanka and the effectiveness of web-based rebel media. Asia Pacific Media Educator, Dec. 2002; issue no. 12/13: 62-80.

60. Amitha Shastri: Sri Lanka in 2002 – Turning the corner? Asian Survey, Jan-Feb. 2003; 43(1): 215-221.

61. Robert A. Pape: The strategic logic of suicide terrorism. American Political Science Review, Aug. 2003; 97(3): 343-361.

62. Stephen C. Berkwitz: Recent trends in Sri Lankan Buddhism. Religion, 2003; 33: 57-71.

63. Rajat Ganguly: Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict – at a crossroad between peace and war. Third World Quarterly, 2004; 25(5): 903-917.

64. Mark P. Whitaker: some reflections on popular anthropology, nationalism and the internet. Anthropological Quarterly, summer 2004; 77(3): 469-498.

65. Neil DeVotta: Sri Lanka in 2004 – Enduring political decay and a failing peace process. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2005; 45(1): 98-104.

66. Yasmine Tambiah: Turncoat bodies – Sexuality and sex work under militarization in Sri Lanka. Gender and Society, Apr. 2005; 19(2): 243-261.

67. Suthaharan Nadarajah and Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah: Liberation struggle or terrorism? The politics of naming the LTTE. Third World Quarterly, 2005; 26(1): 87-100.

68. Tariq Jazeel: ‘Nature’, nationhood and the poetics of meaning in Ruhuna (Yala) National Park, Sri Lanka. Cultural Geographies, 2005; 12: 199-227.

69. Chandra R. de Silva: Sri Lanka in 2005. Continuing political turmoil. Asian Survey, Jan. 2006; 46(1): 114-119.

70. John S. Whitehall: Teaching Tamil Tigers. Medical Journal of Australia, 3-17 Dec. 2007; 187 (11/12): 703-705.

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

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