Pirapaharan's top priority is reconstruction, not politics, says Anton Balasingham

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 January 2005, 07:45 GMT]
"This is not the time to engage in political haggling and our National Leader has prioritised rehabilitation and reconstruction of the devastated Tamil Homeland and thereby give you all a better life, creating the right conditions that would redeem you from the state of dependency attached to a displaced life" quoted LTTE Peace Secretariat website Mr. Anton Balasingham, LTTE Political Advisor, as saying while addressing a group of Tsunami displaced people in the welfare centre at Mulliyawalai, Mullaithivu Friday.

Excerpts from his speech as published by the LTTE Peace Secretariat follow:

Mr. Pirapaharan meets Mr. Anton Balasingham upon his arrival to Kilionchchi (Library Photo, supplied by the LTTE)
"Even at a perilous juncture in the wake of the unprecedented Tsunami disaster, the government seems to be more engaged in subtle political moves and exert its power rather than joining hands to take forward the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

"All moves of right thinking people at this time should be focussed in alleviating the hardships of the displaced people and providing them the wherewithal to rebuild their life. Parochial politics is out of the equation at this hour.

"Realising this, we are now engaged in discussions with the government on structuring a common strategy to ensure equitable distribution of the international aid that is flowing abundantly into Colombo, to the devastated regions without any discrimination based on political considerations. These discussions differ from the usual political negotiations, in that it is at the LTTE and Government Peace Secretariat level and confined to rehabilitation and reconstruction matters.

Mr. Anton Balasingham visiting Mulliathivu
Mr. Balasingham, LTTE's Political Advisor, and his wife Adele Balasingham in Mullaithivu on Thursday
"The government is trying to bring the disaster management including disbursement of international aid under one national umbrella. Our experience of such structures is that discrimination of the Tamil region would again creep into this humanitarian equation, resulting in Tamil habitats left out of the national programme. Our leader has reiterated this point to the facilitators when he met with the Norwegian Foreign Minister and suggested that the international community need not deliver aid direct to LTTE, but utilise its own NGO mechanism to disburse and monitor aid towards rebuilding the NorthEast.

"It is true that Tsunami did impact several locations in the South East Asian region, but the impact on the NorthEast coast of this island has a distinct asymmetry in the background of the devastation caused by two decades of war and a three-year cease-fire devoid of the essential peace dividend, normalcy at the time of the tidal wave disaster. It is this factor that has shocked the Tamil people all over the world and has moved them to contribute their maximum share for the rebuilding of their homeland. This potential needs an exclusive channelling mechanism and that is what we are discussing now with the government.

Mr. Anton Balasingham visiting Mulliathivu
Mr. Balasingham, LTTE's Political Advisor, and his wife Adele Balasingham in Mullaithivu on Thursday
"The collective Tamil thinking and justified fear is that the government in Colombo may divert this overwhelmingly flowing international aid into its own political programmes and even utilise part of it to strengthen its military might. As rightly pointed out by our leader, this is the ‘Second Tsunami’ for the Tamil people, the First being the gradual destruction of the livelihood by genocidal military operations and occupation that has displaced several hundreds of thousands of farming and fishing population. Their right to resettle in their natural habitats is still being denied in the name of state security, designating Tamil habitats as ‘High Security Zones’. The worst affected segment during the war and by the tidal wave impact is the fishing community that needs much help now in the form of houses, boats, fishing gear and the wherewithal to start life over again. What we are engaged now therefore, is a struggle for economic emancipation that differs from our political freedom struggle at least for the time being.

"Many of you are highly traumatised and fear to go near the sea. Get over that fear and restart your fishing with whatever little assistance provided locally. Our leadership is working very hard to bring back normalcy into your life, putting in the back burner all political considerations and interacting with the international community on a realistic basis".

Mr.Balasingham, accompanied by his wife Ms.Adele Balasingham visited many of the devastated areas and met with groups of displaced people in Vadamaradchy East and Mullaittivu. A Training Institute for Boat Building, sponsored by the Vadamaradchy East Fishermen’s Co-operative Societies Federation, and MMS, was ceremonially opened by Mrs. Adele Balasingham.


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