NCET expects Norway to approach Eezham Tamils with fresh attitudes, personalities

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 February 2012, 08:47 GMT]
Peace comes from absence of fear, violence and social confrontations. Reconciliation comes from justice and parity between the parties. Development of a people comes from their right to conceive it and own it. How could Norway expect Eezham Tamils in Norway to contribute to peace, reconciliation and development within the Sri Lankan frame, amidst militarisation, colonisation, subordination, denial of justice and denial of ownership to development, asked Norwegian Council of Eezham Tamils (NCET) in a document it presented at a foreign-ministry-funded seminar in Oslo on Sunday. In its peace facilitation, Norway fielding fresh personalities with attitudinal change would immensely help to build its credibility, the document said. The seminar will be addressed by Norway’s development Minister, Mr. Erik Solhiem, when it continues for the third day on Monday.

The themes of the Friday to Monday seminar are “What can be done to strengthen integration in Norway? How Tamils in Norway could contribute to peace, reconciliation and development in Sri Lanka?”

Sometimes back, the NCET, a democratically elected body of Eezham Tamils in Norway, requested the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry for Children, Equality and Social Inclusion for a meeting to discuss the affairs of Eezham Tamils.

The foreign ministry in response funded and entrusted the responsibility to Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue (NCPD) to conduct a seminar on the above themes for the representatives of the NCET along with some other Norway Tamils chosen by the organisers.

The focus and specialisation of the NCPD is in conducting seminars to “open possibilities for institutional change, where the situation is no longer seen through ethnic lenses.”

The NCET document, signed by its president Mr. Panchakulasingham Kandiah, said that they participate in the seminar seeking discussion and solutions while registering their rejection of the phrasing of the second topic of the seminar.

Pointing out the inner contradictions between Norway’s stand and the expectations of the seminar, NCET asked that if Norway wants domestic solutions in the island then why it is interested in peace, reconciliation and development going from outside from Norway Tamils?

NCET cited Norway’s report on the failed peace process that had criticized Norway for not withdrawing from the peace process when such an act could have told the realities of the war to the world. NCET also cited the report indirectly accepting the genocidal nature of the war.

When such is the responsibility, Norway disowning it and leaving solutions to internal efforts is one-sidedly favouring the stand of the Sri Lankan state and its regime, the NCET accused.

Further extracts from the NCET statement follow:

2.0 What can be done to strengthen integration in Norway?

2.1 The perspective of the NCET is to work for integration with identity – the Eelam Tamil identity: The integration of Eelam Tamils in Norway could be smooth, strengthened and appreciated by the community when Norway recognises the community in an identity in which the community wishes itself to be identified with. Norway insisting on ‘Sri Lankan’ identity will be counterproductive.

2.2 The interconnection between Norway’s approach to the national question in the island and integration of Eelam Tamils in Norway:

Eelam Tamils consider themselves as a nation deprived of state and Norway recognising it and approaching them appropriately will help and strengthen integration.

The very fact of clubbing the two topics together in the seminar shows that there is a problem.

2.3 Attending to psychological needs:

The entire nation of Eelam Tamils whether in the island or in the Diaspora, is traumatised by the genocide and by the on-going structural genocide. They are also traumatised by a phenomenon, which they consider international injustice shown to them. Norway’s politicians and diplomats should explore ways of avoiding acts maddening them further.

2.4 Attending to cultural needs:

Unlike several other identities, language is the criterion for the identity of Eelam Tamils, other than the homeland. Therefore, in Diaspora circumstances, the identity is lost if the language is lost. Norway should prioritise the language education in the case of Eelam Tamils by further support to existing institutions and by creating institutions up to the University level.

3.0 How Tamils in Norway could contribute to peace, reconciliation and development in Sri Lanka?

3.1. Peace:

Peace is absence of arms and violence. Peace in our current context begins only from de- militarisation of Sinhala Army occupying our homeland. To what extent Norway or Norway Tamils could facilitate for this?

Peace is absence of social and communal confrontations. In our current context, colonisation and land grab in our homeland escalates such confrontations. To what extent Norway or Norway Tamils could stop this.

3.2 Reconciliation:

Reconciliation comes only between peoples of parity. Attempts to bring in parity between the long-warring nations should precede the talk of ‘reconciliation’. To what extent Norway or Norway Tamils could bring in parity between the nations?

Reconciliation comes when the delivery of justice is fare. To what extent Norway and Norway Tamils could contribute to this?

3.3 Development:

In our understanding and according to the paradigm ‘culture and development’ for which Norway awarded Nobel Prize for Economics, development comes when a people of a cultural identity of their choice get the ownership and feels the belongingness of their development. To what extent Norway or Norway Tamils could create the conditions for them to contribute to development?

3.4 The wide gap between the expectations of the topic and the capacity or outlook of Eelam Tamils in Norway:

Peace, Reconciliation and Development are projected and understood in different ways by different parties. The paradigm is means for ‘counterinsurgency’ for some. In their understanding peace is absence of opposition to strategic designs and reconciliation is an obligation of the oppressed towards their oppressors. ‘Development’ is whose development is an eternal question.

Eelam Tamils in Norway do not share the views of the ‘counterinsurgency’ paradigm of Peace...etc. In the meantime they don’t have the capacity to create the necessary conditions of their choice. How to expect them to contribute?

Even though their means are small, the wish of Eelam Tamils in Norway is to contribute to the development of their nation in the island in an independent way of their choice. Norway could help if it wishes. That will be appreciated and will help in the process of understanding integration too.

3.5 Inner contradictions between Norway’s stand and the expectations of the seminar topic: We base our arguments on the findings of Norway’s peace facilitation report, that just stops short of calling the massacre in the war resulting from long ethnic animosities as a genocide and accuses Norway for not withdrawing from the peace process to enlighten the world of the realities.

As such is the responsibility of Norway, to what extent it is justifiable for Norway to continue approaching peace....etc., without resolving the fundamentals.

The Norway report findings disowning the responsibility by leaving the solutions to internal efforts is not acceptable to us. But at the same time the question comes, why in the Peace, Reconciliation and Development only Norway is interested in outside efforts, if the whole exercise is not one-sidededly favouring the position of the state and regime of Sri Lanka?

4. Some general observations

To what extent Norway can come out of the State paradigm in handling a crisis like that of the Eelam Tamils and similar nations deprived of State, in international peace facilitation? To what extent Norway could address and convince the international community in this regard?

The NCET comes out with these views as representatives democratically elected by the community in Norway to specifically deal with matters as such discussed in this seminar.

Norway on its part fielding fresh personalities with an attitudinal change would immensely help building credibility in peace facilitation.


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