De-proscription, legitimacy and equality

S. L. Gunasekara President

Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya

There was a young lady of Riga,

Who smiled as she rode on a Tiger.

They returned from the ride with the lady inside,

And the smile on the face of the Tiger.

— Ancient Limerick

The LTTE has proved once again that the term "unconditional Talks" to it, means ‘unconditional’ as far as the Government is concerned and ‘conditional’ as far as the LTTE is concerned, just as much as ‘give and take’ to the LTTE means that the Government must ‘give’ and that the LTTE must ‘take’. The leader of the political wing of the LTTE Tamilselvem has now demanded the de-proscription of the LTTE, the recognition of the LTTE as a legitimate organization and the conferment of equality with the Government upon the LTTE as pre- conditions for the commencement of the proposed ‘Peace Talks’. The feeble response of the Government to these patently impudent demands has been that de-proscription could be considered once ‘Talks’ begin.

‘Proscription’ is not like a tap that can be turned ‘on’ and ‘off’ according to one’s whims and fancies. The reasons for the proscription of the LTTE lie, among other things, in the facts that the LTTE is a terrorist organization which was founded and exists in order to achieve the manifestly illegal objective of robbing this country of a part of Her sovereign territory and establishing a separate state therein, and that it has committed, is committing and will continue to commit the most heinous of crimes known to mankind.

How then can this terrorist organization be de-proscribed and accorded legitimacy as demanded by the LTTE [and their ‘hangers on’ like the TULF] merely because they have expressed a conditional willingness to talk with the Government? Talk is cheap. Anybody with a mouth and a functional tongue within it can talk. Any gang of rogues, criminals, cut-throats, thugs, perverts or psychopaths is perfectly capable of talking or entering into ‘Talks’. The willingness of such gangs to talk, or even the fact of their entering into ‘Talks’ would not render such gangs legitimate. Thus, an expressed willingness [whether genuine or not] to enter into meaningful ‘Talks’ or even genuinely entering into such ‘Talks’ is not, and cannot be, a reason for de-proscription or the conferment of legitimacy upon the LTTE, so long as the reasons for its proscription remain.

The LTTE’s objective to rob the country of a part of her sovereign territory and establish a separate state therein remains unchanged and constitutes the basis and/or essential reason for the existence of that criminal organization. The LTTE has usurped power in and continues to rule illegally about 15 - 20% of the country’s territory; it continues to maintain an illegal armed force and to be in the illegal possession of an awesome arsenal of weapons and explosives; it continues to keep thousands of our citizens in illegal captivity; and despite the ceasefire, continues to engage in crimes of murder, theft, robbery, extortion, kidnapping and smuggling and continues to prepare to wage war against the State once the ceasefire is over or abrogated.

There has, thus, been no change whatsoever in the inherently, essentially and the wholly illegal nature of the LTTE. What basis then is there for de-proscription or the conferment of legitimacy?

An organization which was proscribed because of its illegality can only be de-proscribed if it publicly gives up its illegal objectives and its illegal activities and treads the path of legality. Accordingly, the necessary and unavoidable result of the de-proscription of the LTTE in the absence of the LTTE so giving up its illegal objectives and activities would be an implicit recognition by the Government of the Sovereign Republic of Sri Lanka that those patently illegal objectives and activities of the LTTE are entirely legal. This in turn would mean that the Government recognizes the present illegal rule by the LTTE of about 15 - 20% of this country’s territory as being legitimate; that the maintenance by the LTTE of an armed force and the possession by the LTTE of its arsenal of modern weapons and explosives is legitimate; that the thousands of citizens now in the illegal captivity of the LTTE are in the lawful custody of the LTTE; that all murders committed by the LTTE including the several murders of unweaned infants were lawful executions; and that the LTTE is not a terrorist organization but a legitimate organization with legitimate objectives.

Can any responsible Government even dream of conceding any of these demands? Indeed it would not be an exaggeration to state that conceding any of these demands would be an intentional act of treason.

Not content with not ‘seeking’ but ‘demanding’ de-proscription and the conferment of legitimacy, the LTTE also has the temerity to demand that they be treated as equals with the Government at any negotiations that may follow. The very fact that the LTTE has even ventured to make such a patently ridiculous and insolent demand constitutes eloquent testimony to the utter, total and absolute contempt in which it holds the Government.

The Government of Sri Lanka [whether we like it or not] is the lawful Government of a Sovereign State. The LTTE, on the other hand, is indisputably a gang of criminals led by a convicted murderer named Velupillai Prabhakaran. It is only another Government of a Sovereign State that could be accorded equality with the Government of Sri Lanka. Thus, the LTTE could be accorded equality with the Government of Sri Lanka if and only if it is recognized as being the Government of a Sovereign State - i.e. if the Government of Sri Lanka recognizes those parts of the Wanni and the Eastern Province which are now ruled illegally by the LTTE as constituting a separate Sovereign State and the LTTE as being the lawful Government of that separate State.

The demand for de-proscription, legitimacy and equality is, therefore, not a demand put forward to enable ‘Talks’ to commence. It is self evident that ‘Talks’ could commence and continue without any of the conditions put forward by the LTTE being satisfied. These demands have clearly been put forward with the ulterior objective of causing the Government to concede the non-existent right of the LTTE to set up a separate Sovereign State in a substantial part of the territory of the Sovereign Republic of Sri Lanka even before the ‘Talks’ begin, so that the only matters left to be discussed at the proposed ‘Talks’ will be the boundaries of the Republic of Sri Lanka and of the proposed State of Tamil Eelam, and the relations between those two States !!

The LTTE together with the TULF, PLOTE, EPRLF, TELO and EROS which took part in the Thimpu ‘Talks’ attempted a similar gimmick by putting forward at those ‘Talks’, four patently nonsensical demands which they termed the ‘Thimpu Principles’ as non-negotiable demands and pre-conditions for the continuance of those ‘Talks’. The acceptance of those so called ‘Thimpu Principles’ would necessarily have amounted to conceding the non-existent right of the Tamils to establish a Separate State of Tamil Eelam in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The Government delegation to those ‘Talks’ rejected those so-called Thimpu Principles. The Tigers are now seeking to achieve the same end by putting forward similar but more extreme demands as preconditions for the proposed ‘Talks’. Let not the Government fall into the trap of the LTTE.

It is evident that despite all the evidence to the contrary, the Government, and even the PA believe that peace could result from the proposed ‘Talks’ with the LTTE. The very fact of the making of these impudent demands by the LTTE should, even now, open the eyes of the Government and the PA to the self evident fact that ‘Talks’ with the LTTE are doomed to failure even before they begin, and that the only result of such ‘Talks’ would be to prolong the war and bring down more death, more disablement, more suffering, more destruction and more impoverishment among the long suffering citizens of our land.