Ask people their choice - LTTE

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 March 2009, 18:04 GMT]
Have those who advocate evacuation ever cared to ask the concerned civilians whether they want to leave? What will they do if people refuse evacuation? Will they allow them to be killed, asked Yogaratnam Yogi, LTTE military advisor in Vanni in a speech given by him to the LTTE broadcast, Voice of Tigers, Thursday. Why are the governments reluctant to ask our people whether they want to live under the Sri Lanka government or under their own government? They don’t ask because they know the answer. Our request to the world is to pose this question to the people and make decisions rather than attempting through murder and denial of food, in the belief of forcing the people to accept the Sri Lankan regime, Yogi said.

On an average, Colombo is firing around 1000 shells a day at Puthukkudiyiruppu. 30,000 to 50,000 shells are fired every month at our people.

Yogi Yogratnam
Yogi Yogratnam
The world media, which showed great concern on the effects of the long-term and short-term trauma that would be experienced by Sri Lanka’s cricketers shot at Pakistan, was silent on the killing of more than 100 people including around 20 children on the same day in Vanni by Colombo’s shelling.

Some international politicians who moved closely with us during peace-time to know the ins and outs of our problems are now showering praises to the murderous activities of the Sri Lankan government and are waiting for the day Tigers will be completely wiped out, hoping to reap benefits. The Sinhala government will not succeed.

Indian Ministers like Chidambaram lied and mislead global Tamil opinion by saying that the LTTE stepped on the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.

We gave our weapons believing in India’s protection. But India didn’t take any measures when Colombo breaching the Accord, arrested LTTE leaders that eventually led to their death. The same India, in the name of protecting the Accord, fought against us, killing 6000 Tamils.

United North and East was the basis of the Accord. India did nothing when Colombo abrogated the accord, severing the union. Tigers have no hand in the failure of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.

Mr. Yogaratnam Yogi was the political chief of the LTTE, who presided over the handing over of LTTE arms in 1987 after the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. The senior leader is presently an advisor to the fighting forces of the LTTE.

Full translation of the speech broadcast by the Voice of Tigers follows:

Human toll in Vanni, in the last two months has exceeded 3000, and Gaza deaths pale in comparison to the devastation in the Tamil homeland. International community has largely remained silent.

Liberation Tigers have been spearheading the Tamil struggle for the last two decades against the Sri Lankan regime. Tamils cannot stop this struggle. On average, Sri Lankan government is shelling Puthukudiyiruppu with more than 1000 artillery shells, daily. In the past, Sri Lanka has attacked our area with 30,000 to 50,000 artillery shells every month.

Artillery shelling is aimed at killing our people and to destroy us. Our neighboring country India and the world continue to issue vague statements of distress, which confuse and mislead. No constructive steps have been taken to improve the situation we face.

US South Asian bureau chief Richard Boucher is talking about evacuating the people prior to any talks on ceasefire. We have some questions regarding his stand. He is talking about people’s freedom; allowing free movement of people.

What is freedom, we ask. Is leaving your home and taking refuge in another place called freedom? What freedom is waiting for us in this land they are directing us to take refuge? They don’t answer this question. In the promised land of refuge, what await us are detention camps and army camps. Are people free in this area of refuge? Are the people allowed free movement?

There is another dimension to this plan. Those who want to remove the people – little more than 300,000- away from Puthukkudiyiruppu have neglected some important aspects.

Have they ever asked these people whether they want to leave this place? What are they going to do with the people who refuse to leave their homes? Will they allow these people to be destroyed by Sri Lankan shelling?

Sri Lanka and those governments supporting them believe that by denying food and murdering, they can make our people turn against the liberation struggle. They believe they can cultivate support for the Sri Lankan regime through force.

If you ask our people, they will say that despite the hardships, they are willing to live and die in their homeland. Why are the governments reluctant to ask our people their choice – do you want to live under Sri Lankan government or under self government? These governments know the answer to the question they don’t ask.

Let us compare our situation to the story of another nation, fondly remembered by the world. 2000 years after loosing their state, Jews returned to a sovereign nation in 1948. Same world has to answer why Tamils, with similar antiquity as the Jews, are asked to leave their land of habitation.

We ask again – what is freedom? If you ask this question to our people, they will say freedom is to go back to their homes, pray at their places of worship. For 20 years, their homes are designated as high security zones.

If you ask someone from Champoor, he or she will say freedom means to go back to Champoor and live in his home. They are planning to build a coal electricity complex in Champoor, denying his right to return home.

Ask our people whether they like to live in Sinhala state? Ask them where they want to live. Our request to the world is to pose this question to our people and make the decision.

Even media organizations, such as BBC, pose questions with bias. Questions are asked referring our people as ‘Detained people, people trapped’. Media does not recollect how the people got trapped in Puthukkudiyiruppu? Who has detained these people?

Let us consider a question BBC posed to Richard Boucher – in relation to discussing Tamil issue in Sri Lanka. BBC asked whether US has changed its policy towards terrorists, to which Boucher answered in the negative.

The question that relates to our situation is whether America has changed its previous doctrine of considering every conflict in the world as terrorism. New US administration is planning to talk with Taliban, making plans to review and release Guatanamo detainees. There is a change in US world view and it is evident. BBC does not ask the right questions.

US methods and doctrine of fighting terror was followed by many world states to suppress dissent. We know Tamils have been adversely affected by this trend. Media does not highlight any of these issues.

This reminds us of an Easop’s fable about a lion and a rabbit. In order to curtail the killing of a lion, the animals came to an agreement with the lion. They agreed to send one animal as prey provided the lion agreed to let other animals live without fear. Later, the lion was tricked to jump into a well and die by a simple rabbit. Animals of the forest used diplomacy to initially limit and finally eradicate their destruction.

Our situation differs significantly from this fable. Governments of the world want our people to be herded to the detention camps, so that the lion can select and kill as many of us at will. The fable talks of diplomacy practiced by the animals of the forest. What the world governments preach to us is not diplomacy – a path that leads to the destruction of a race.

We hear members of UN acknowledge civilians are murdered in Puthukudiyiruppu; but as long as the murders are within an acceptable number, they consider it as ‘diplomacy’ that will lead to a solution. UN has reduced itself to tolerate murder and genocide to promote the welfare of its member states.

We know one thing – Tamils are the testing grounds of a new concept world has concocted to control the will of a people. The tested concept is a means for the world to dictate a predetermined outcome to a conflict between two warring factions.

World believes that it can demoralize the will of a unified people , where murders are tolerated, and force feed a solution and safeguard their interests. All these statements we here recently are issued under the premise that Tigers are fully wiped out. While, here in Puthukkudiyiruppu, people denied of food and medicine are bombarded from all directions.

They are talking of our children. How many days have gone since our children attended school? They have not eaten sufficient food for months, how many children have perished in this war.

A point to compare is how the media reported about the psychological trauma suffered by the Sri Lanka cricket team. World media decried the long term and short term impacts of trauma. Same day, in Puthukkudiyiruppu, over 100 civilians -20 children included- died due shelling, in the same country these six test cricketers represented. These deaths go unnoticed.

Even though, current world ignores our plight there will be change. World Tamil diaspora, eighty million Tamils, are behind us. They are raising their voices in support of us. Their protests take different forms.

There have been immolations – these extreme forms of protest, while portraying the collective frustration of the people, are questioned whether appropriate.

In time, our unified voice will be heard by the world states. Vietnam liberation struggle underwent similar dark moments. With time, we will make changes in world opinion. We must go forward.

We observe, Erik Solheim, Ysuhi Akashi, who moved closely with us, received our hospitality, ate at our table are now waiting for the day Tigers will be completely wiped out, hoping to reap the benefits. Showering praise to the murderous activities of Sri Lankan government, they hope to gain.

As expected by Solheim and Akashi, Sinhala government will not succeed in its objectives. We will prevail in our liberation struggle. Surely, we will reach our goal.

We have to realize one fact – even though eighty million Tamils are citizens of the world, they have no voice, because we have no state. If we had a state now, we would have prevented the current destruction of our race. Tamils, while being citizens of many states, are stateless people when their welfare is concerned.

All eighty million Tamils of the world must not be deviated by listening to the misleading statements issued by various countries; the statements promote their self interests. Such a statement was issued by Mr. P. Chidambaram of India.

He said that Tigers have broken the Indo-Lanka accord. India came to Sri Lanka protect Tamils; we gave our weapons believing in their protection. History reveals how India was unable to protect Tamils. They did not take any measures when the GoSL, breaching the accord, arrested LTTE leaders which eventually led to their death. The same India, in the name of protecting the accord, fought against us, killing 6,000 Tamils.

United North-East is the basis of Indo-Lanka accord. India did nothing when Sri Lanka separated unified North and East region. Tigers have no hand in the failure of Indo-Lanka accord. We, Tamils, should be clear of our objective and proceed towards our liberation.

We have risen from adverse situations. We will show to the world that we will reach our objective. We ask world Tamil diaspora to give its support. We will form our Tamil state in this island of Sri Lanka.


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