Editorial

The Man is Ten Feet Tall

LTTE’s claim of being the sole representative of Sri Lanka’s Tamils can be understood but not the TULF’s abject surrender of its right to be a representative party of the Tamils.

History has many examples of leaders of fascist racist parties proclaiming themselves as being the sole representatives of a people and country. Adolf Hitler’s clarion call in his bloody rise to power was: One leader, one party, one people. Mussolini had a similar appeal and even communist parties under the shibboleth of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat claimed that the Communist Party and its leaders were the sole representatives of the workers and peasants of a country. All these dictatorships had common features: Mass disappearances of people, torture chambers, gas chambers, gulags and of course a Numero Uno — the absolute leader.

Vellupillai Prabhakaran goes even further. The megalomaniac has divine visions. He is the Sun God — Suriya Thevam and there are many worshippers.

Thus, while Velupillai Prabhakaran’s claims for him and his servile party to be the sole representative of Tamils can be understood in terms of historical precedents, the TULF’s total surrender to the LTTE by conferring the title of the ‘sole representative’, to say the least, is illogical. Even though the TULF can be called a racist party, because its prime objective is racist, it has been a democratic party that was elected to parliament by a vast majority of the Tamil people. The LTTE has yet to contest a single election on a democratic mandate. With the open declaration of the TULF about the LTTE being the ‘sole representatives’ of the Tamils, the obvious question that arises is: Whom then does the TULF represent? Have they abandoned the Gandhian principles such as ‘Ahimsa’ on which the party was founded and become proxies to a band of terrorists?

The TULF did commence fighting for the rights of Tamils through democratic means since 1956. But with the rise of terrorism in the North since the mid seventies, it made the fatal mistake of trying to ride the Tiger. They called the rag-tag groups of youths who had taken to guns and bombs, ‘the boys’ and attempted to use this terrorism as a bargaining weapon with the Colombo government. Gradually ‘the boys’ took over the leadership from their ‘ fathers’ and ‘uncles’. Those who tried to ride the Tiger, as the ditty goes, came back ‘inside her’— Appapillai Amirthalingam, Yogeswaran and his wife Sarojini, Sivapalan, Thangathurai, S.Nadarajah, Aalalasunderam, Dharmalingam, Neelan Tiruchalvam and two elected mayors are some of the names in that long and sad list of fallen TULF leaders. Yet the TULF retained its Independence and identity under severe pressure till the parliamentary elections in 2001 when it surrendered and joined the LTTE front the TNA — Tiger Nominated Agents as EPDP leader Douglas Devananda describes them.

The TULF blames the UNP and the SLFP for their plight because of their intransigence to concede to demands made. But they conveniently ignore their intransigence and continuous upping of demands in addition to how they used Indian influence as well as the incipient terrorist groups to blackmail Colombo governments. When the LTTE turned on them the Indians could only provide exile for the TULF leadership.

Undoubtedly, there are Tamils, particularly among the expatriates who are very strong supporters of the LTTE and acknowledge the LTTE role in fighting back the Sri Lankan governments and the present strong position they are in. But these are not the poor people who were unable to get out of the war zones and are still stuck there now under the dictatorship of Prabakaran. Could people acknowledge a leader who abducts their little children for war? Besides what is the future of one of the most educated communities of South Asia under the present leadership of a rag-tag band of youth?

There are still honourable men in the TULF who privately acknowledge the bestiality of the LTTE but throw up their arms in despair because of the umbrella of terror that covers them, even if they are in Colombo.

But there is still one man, a man who in the eyes of all people who love freedom, V. Ananda Sangari who has dared LTTE terror and says he does not recognise the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamils. It needs a hell of a lot of courage to say so as the General Secretary of the TULF while others are bowing and scraping before the self proclaimed ‘Sun God’.

The Tamils need courageous leadership like that of Mr. Ananda Sangari and it is the duty not only of the Sri Lankan government but also the ‘international community’, that stands for democracy and liberty. to protect this man who is really Ten Feet Tall.


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