Editorial

Prabakaran and bin Laden: What’s the difference, Mr. Patten?

In this two-year-old Global War Against Terrorism, how does the world at large, particularly the western world treat a confirmed terrorist? Earlier it was quite difficult to define a terrorist because of one man’s terrorist being another’s freedom fighter. But in recent years, particularly after 9/11 terrorist or a terrorist organisation has come to be defined within the parameters of political violence. International organisations have been identified and proscribed and so have individuals belonging to these organisations.

Some of these terrorists are also wanted criminals, there being a thin dividing line between international crime and international terrorism. Today international criminals and terrorists are given very short shrift, particularly the terrorists. Governments have been forced to surrender their nationals for acts of terrorism committed in another country. Yesterday, it was reported that five Pakistanis who had been held in the US Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre in Cuba had been released and permitted to return home as a result of persistent efforts made by Pakistan government. Thirty seven Pakistanis are still being held at Camp X-ray in Cuba, it was reported. What crimes these people had committed are not known. being suspected of terrorism is sufficient enough.

In contrast, we have a unique character who is wanted for international terrorism by India and by Interpol as a criminal. His organisation is proscribed as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in many developed countries and in India. He and his ‘ security chief’ are wanted for the murder of an Indian Prime Minister. But he enjoys the status of a minor potentate in this age of this Global War Against Terrorism.

Today, this terrorist, Vellupillai Prabakaran, will receive the all powerful Commissioner of External Relations of the European Commission, Mr. Chris Patten who will journey to the wilds of Kilinochchi to meet him. It is Prabakaran’s birthday and he will make quite a song and dance about it. as he usually does. His cohorts will view this exercise as those reminiscent of ceremonies of Sri Lankan kings of yore, receiving tribute from foreign dignitaries who usually kow-towed before the potentates. What Mr. Patten will do we are not aware of but it will certainly be a great honour to the Suriya Thevam – Sun God – as he has deified himself.

We have said in our editorials on Saturday and Monday, that what Mr. Patten does is his concern and a matter for the European Union. But this is a man who through his violence has accounted for the death of over 60,000 Sri Lankans in 20 years, the assassination of a Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, attempted the assassination of incumbent President Kumaratunga, killed many cabinet ministers and exterminated the democratic leadership of the Tamil community. We cannot and should not permit his glorification.

What a contrast it is the way in which Mr. Patten’s own country and others in the west treat recognised terrorists whose organisations are proscribed!

Today, we have reproduced an E-Mail in the Opinion Page received from a Mr. R. Cholan of the United States (E-Mail ganesh @binternet.com) chastising us for our comments on Mr. Patten’s scheduled meeting with Prabakaran. He points out that Menachem Begin, David Ben Gurion and Itzhak Shamir were all terrorists who later became prime ministers and their past acts did not prevent them from receiving red-carpet treatment in world capitals..What Prabakaran turns out to be we do not know but we are quite confident that the Palestinians who were at the receiving end from this Zionist terrorism will not be as appreciative of these Israelis as Mr. Cholan is. Perhaps going on the same historical parallels, we might as well suggest that Osama bin Laden be invited to White House by American President George Bush and be recommended for the next Nobel Peace Prize! Such are the dangers of drawing historical parallels for all terrorists at random.

The argument of the west is that Prabakaran should wooed into the democratic process. For 20 years this wooing has not made the Tiger change his stripes.

This raises the question: What’s the difference between Prabakaran and bin Laden? Prabakaran is undoubtedly the cleverer of the two because he keeps talking peace while waging war. In the two years of the recent ‘peace’ bout he has built up his baby brigades, smuggled arms such as short-range ballistic missiles and is ready to drive out the forces of the naive Sri Lankan government from the north and to establish his separate state. He is holding his fire for the billions of dollars pledged by the gullible ‘ international community’ before his final solution. is possible when the international climate against him changes

Today, he will talk ‘peace’ with Mr. Patten who will in all probability assure him of the full support of the European Union.

Osama bin Laden, is not as clever. He openly declares he wants to destroy America and the west unless they grant his demands. He has not offered an olive branch. Neither has the west offered it and gone on bended knees like in our case to the adversary.

Prabakaran has survived, at first because of the gullibility of the Indians and now thrives because of the naivet`E9 of the ‘international community’ plus the opportunism of Sri Lankan leaders.


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