Nothing worries a person more than the feeling that he has no chance of succeeding in life. One may come to terms with a bad hair day or two, but what about two decades of failure? That is too much for one to resign oneself to. What one is in for finally when an enterprise one has invested one’s whole life in teeters on the verge of collapse is frustration. This has been Prabhakaran’s predicament. His two-and-a-half decade long struggle has taken him nowhere near his goal. The dark empire for the establishment of which he destroyed so many lives is crumbling before his own eyes. Its eastern wing is already gone and there has emerged a popularly elected new leader! The LTTE is being encircled on several fronts in the Wanni with his trusted lieutenants falling one by one. He is getting beaten at his own game, something he may have considered impossible in the heyday of his terror.
A wick is said to burn brighter the closer it gets to its end. So, a high incidence of savage terror strikes on civilian targets at the behest of Prabhakaran is something to be expected at this juncture. He may step up attacks like the one at Dehiwala on Monday in a desperate bid to prevent his slide towards disaster. He is scared, frustrated and confused. Such men are capable of anything.
Prabhakaran knows there is a limit to his holding out against the military in the Wanni. He cannot go on fooling his cadres forever. They will realise the truth when they begin to buckle under pressure sooner or later.
This country has proved to be extremely resilient vis-à-vis terrorism. It has learnt to live with it thanks to inoculation against terrorism courtesy of Prabhakaran who keeps administering booster doses from time to time. Even if he were to blast one thousand more civilian targets, he wouldn’t get his Eelam.
His barbarism only steels this country to fight back. Else, he would have achieved his goal a long time ago. There are no new targets for him to take. He has attacked almost all nerve centres and killed a large number of political and military leaders including a President, a foreign minister, a Navy Commander and an umpteen number of high ranking military officers. He has bombed economic and military facilities even from the air. But nothing worked for him!
Security forces suffered many debacles in the past. They lost camps, fleets of planes and ships, men and material. But, they have bounced back and turned the tables on the LTTE. Prabhakaran, who was once able to get thousands of volunteers for his call to arms is hard put to recruit combatants. Today, he is forcibly recruiting children, men, women and even the elderly people as cannon fodder. He is creating conditions for a mass uprising against LTTE terrorism in the Wanni.
The military and the police are never short of recruits. There are thousands of youth willing to enlist and serve in the conflict zone. The national economy is far from ruined. It is capable of absorbing defence expenditure and shocks.
So, what has Prabhakaran achieved all these years? His organisation is on the defensive clutching at the straw of human rights and hoping and praying for a deus ex machina. Unless help comes from abroad in the form of foreign pressure on the government to call off the military operations—which is very unlikely, given India’s stand—he will be done for.
Yesterday, addressing a meeting of editors and electronic media heads President Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed to go ahead with his military campaign at any cost until the LTTE was defeated, according to a report in this newspaper today. He must be having reasons for being so confident. His pronouncement demonstrates that Prabhakaran’s terror strikes have not had the desired impact on the State.
The President also asked Prabhakaran to target him and not innocent people. (His words hark back to the late President Premadasa’s plea to the JVP at the height of its violence in the late 1980s.) But, Prabhakaran will never be weaned away from turning to soft targets as he is hooked on bloodletting.
What Prabhakaran is doing at present could be likened, as we have said in these columns previously, to a university graduate going back to kindergarten to start education all over again. Having started his struggle by killing civilians and blasting trains and buses, he has had to resort to the same tactics to keep his movement going even after one quarter of a century!
Many were the opportunities he missed because of his hubris along the path of terror he has trekked. He used to be India’s blue-eyed boy and was in a position to be the chief minister of the North and East or to reign supreme in the North, which former President Kumaratunga offered him for ten years without elections.
Attempts are being made in some quarters to prop him up. But, that is an exercise in futility. He is no longer capable of achieving his Eelam. He can only kill civilians in the name of liberation.
What a comedown for a ‘liberator’!