A glimmer of hope
All is not lost for the Sri Lankan Tamils. There still appears to be some fire left among some Tamil politicians as was evident in the issue of the re-opening of the Jaffna Library.
Since the late 1970s, democratically elected Tamil politicians have been engaged in the progressive abnegation of their power and status to the rag-tag bands of armed groups that commenced their political terrorism. While Tamil politicians used these armed groups to their advantage in bargaining with the Sri Lankan government, they were increasingly aware that the armed groups - the boys - as they referred to them were getting out of control. For reasons of their own, they did not co-operate with the government in putting down these groups and gradually the boys took over power from their uncles and fathers and proceeded with their assassination.
It was a sad and tragic elimination of the cream of the Tamil political leadership, while the Tamil people, without a murmur of protest , took it all in silence. Most of the Tamils did not want to be ruled by the fascist thugs, particularly those who had to live in areas under their control. Expatriates enjoying life in the affluent countries continued to back the fascist terrorism. The process continued except for some resistance to the LTTE by the EPDP and the final surrender came prior to the parliamentary elections of 2001, when the TULF and other smaller Tamil parties coalesced to form the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and gave in to the demand of the terrorists: The LTTE be considered the sole representatives of the Tamil people. The sole representatives, however dared not test the will of the people and instead made the TULF its dummy. Every move by the LTTE, since then has been approved and implemented by this puppet organisation.
However, on the issue of the re-opening of the Jaffna Library, the TULF municipal councillors exhibited spunk of a rare order. They defied the LTTE and resigned enmasse.
Is this the first sign of resistance of Tamils to the jackboot of fascism that has been pressing them down for a near two decades? Certainly many Tamils stand by the LTTE and Prabhakaran very much. They say, that the LTTE gave them an identity and restored the pride and prestige, after the terrible events of 1983. However, when it came to a conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, most of them backed and will still back the LTTE. But among themselves they abhor this crude fascist band of juvenile thugs who lord over them.
No Tamil in his right mind can support what has been continuing in the North and East, particularly after the Memorandum of Understanding had been signed. Who will like forced conscription of young children to baby brigades? But this has been going on and the LTTE leadership has been forced to concede it. They have pledged to the outside world that it would cease, but such pledges had been given before to persons such as Olaru Otunu, the representative of UN Secretary General, Koffi Annan. Vicious extortion in the name of taxation is still continuing. And despite all their proclamations about peace, Tamils living in areas under terrorist control and even in adjacent regions know well that the LTTE is also preparing for war. If not, what is the need for forced conscription of children and the smuggling of arms?
A question arises whether the LTTE has been ensnared into a peace trap just as much as the Sri Lankan government has been. The Sri Lankan government is bound hand and foot to this peace process, while the LTTE is going ahead with the establishment of an infrastructure for a separate state - its own army, navy, police, kangaroo courts, banks, currency and even taxing the Sri Lanka government ! But now the LTTE appears to have its hands tied too. Under normal circumstances, those defiant Jaffna municipal councillors would have vanished off the face of the earth by now, but it is not so. The LTTE dependent on international support for their existence, cannot go on a murder spree as before. That is perhaps the reason for the survival of the defiant councillors. Their murder could turn tables against Prabhakran amongst the international community.
This is an opportunity that this international community comprising some of the most powerful nations, who are interested in the situation here, should seize upon. It should make Prabhakaran abide by orders in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding he has signed. These nations, including the Norwegian peace monitors, should adopt a much more stronger position than the namby-pamby attitude they have been adopting to gross violations of the agreement. If they can guarantee the rights of the people living in LTTE-controlled areas then there is the possibility for independent political forces to arise. But if they adopt a benign, indulgent attitude towards raw terrorism that is being practised, then even if peace comes it will be peace under the jackboot of fascism .
If a true peace is to dawn in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, democratic parties that can govern these regions will have to arise. The government is bending backwards to please this international community. The powerful nations involved should make the defiant terrorists to do the same.
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