Tigers wooing Neo Nazis?

Former ambassador Nanda Godage, in his article published on this page today, has made a critical and sober analysis of the LTTE propaganda blitz, Pongu Tamil held recently in Trincomalee. He had toured the eastern province extensively and done a comprehensive study of the situation that prevails there.

According to Mr. Godage, the objective of the LTTE in staging the Pongu is two fold: to create an ambience necessary for inspiring the youth to join the LTTE and to show the world and the country that the LTTE enjoys the support of all Tamils.

He points out the impracticability of the LTTE demand that the ethnically balanced Trincomalee be made the capital of Eelam, the imaginary state of the LTTE.

However, Prabhakaran’s ventriloquism skills are amazing. All TNA leaders are parroting what he says. They are crying themselves hoarse, perhaps through fear of the LTTE, that the LTTE is the sole representative of Tamils.

It is disturbing that the government through provision of transport facilities and turning a blind eye to the LTTE excesses such as closing schools and taking students to walk in processions is indirectly sponsoring Pongu where separatism is openly advocated. The LTTE had, we are told, enjoyed a free ferry service from the government to bring people from the areas under its control to Pongu in Trinco.

The LTTE is also using this Pongu offensive to replenish its war chest and forcibly conscript more children. The LTTE has announced its decision to extract a tax of eight per cent from government servants’ salaries effective from this month.

The Pongu offensive reminds one of the manner in which the JVP sought to justify its terror campaign by dragging unwilling civilians to its rallies. These turned out to be mammoth rallies with tens of thousands of people in attendance. The JVP claimed that they were a success and flaunted them in extenuation of their heinous crimes and wanton destruction of state property.

But in the end this ‘Wijeweera-is-our-being-campaign’ was brought to an abrupt end – quite rightly so – by the then government. And those who had so obsequiously taken part in the JVP led processions celebrated Wijeweeera’s death by lighting firecrackers and eating Kiribath the Sri Lankan way.

Though it may be somewhat far-fetched to compare the LTTE and the JVP in all aspects, there is still a remarkable similarity between the two. The LTTE is moving in the same direction as the JVP did in 1987-89. And what the future holds for the LTTE, only time will tell.

As Mr. Godage points out the Nazi salute that participants are made to make at Pongus evokes fear and repulsion. His position is that this salute has not gone down well with the international community. True, as the former ambassador says, the world as a whole is averse to Nazism and terrorism in all its forms.

But it should be borne in mind that not all nations were opposed to Hitler, who found considerable support in Scandinavia, which is involved in evolving a solution to Sri Lanka’s problem. In these countries Neo Nazis are emerging strong and the LTTE enjoys strong support there.

Is it that the LTTE, having lost support in other parts of the world, is trying to align itself – if it isn’t already – with these Neo Nazi elements by adopting that dreadful salute? Prabhakaran is not so foolish as to adopt it much to the consternation of the civilised world, without a purpose.

Addressing the Trinco Pongu, Mr. Godage says, TNA stalwart and MP, R. Sambanthan had spelt out that a solution to the problem would have to be worked out on the lines of the so-called Thimpu principles, which inter alia call for the recognition of Tamils as a nation with a homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka and right to self-determination.

The Nazi salute apart, if this is what the LTTE and its fellow travellers have in mind by way of a solution, then however much we wish to think that the ceasefire will lead to a lasting peace eventually, prospects for a negotiated solution are bleak.

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