Feature Article

Tamil, Muslim political parties find their table in Zurich

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 November 2009, 15:10 GMT]
Widely speculated as a drama backed by ‘high-powers,’ leaders of most of the Tamil and Muslim political parties in the island of Sri Lanka are meeting for the first time in Zurich, Switzerland, between Thursday and Saturday. The move is said to be for ‘extracting’ a joint proclamation of them necessary for further power manoeuvres in the island. A couple of years ago it was such a behind-the-scene move of some powers that made most of these parties except the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to rally behind Mahinda Rajapaksa and pledge support to him in the war that brought in disaster to Tamils, writes TamilNet political commentator in Colombo.

The commentator further writes:

Rajavarothayam Sampanthan, the parliamentary group leader of Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Mavai Senathirajah (TNA), Suresh Premachandran (EPRLF-S, TNA), Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam (All Ceylon Tamil Congress, TNA), Arumugam Thondaman (CWC),Muthu Sivalingam (CWC), Mano Ganesan (DPA), Douglas Devananda (EPDP), P. Chandrasekaran (UPF), Ananda Sangaree (TULF), T. Sritharan (EPRLF-P), Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan (TMVP), D. Siddharthan (PLOTE) and Rauff Hakeem (SLMC) have flown to Switzerland from Colombo.

Immediately after the war a group in London met to discuss to bring in ‘all non-LTTE political groups’ to come out with a political programme to achieve ‘minimum’ demands.

This group is now disappointed that the effort has been ‘hijacked’ by some other elements in London.

The meet in Zurich is now organised by Tamil Information Centre of London with the blessings of India, well-informed sources in Colombo say. In the meantime, sources in Chennai try to downplay the role of India, saying that it was primarily an initiation of US and Britain, with 'reluctant' participation of India.

Timed for the Zurich meet, a BBC report by Anbarasan Ethiraj on Tuesday, said that the LTTE ‘failed’ in the political mobilisation of Tamils even in the diaspora.

A Tamil journalist, known for his leanings towards India, a few days ago came out with an article defending the Rajapaksa family along with ‘inside’ stories abusive of Sarath Fonseka.

When diaspora Tamils in Norway for the first time successfully demonstrated democratically elected polity for them upholding the independence and sovereignty of Eezham Tamils, instead of welcoming a pioneering democratic effort it was received with bias by sections of media trying to project Tamil nationalism as nothing but an LTTE agenda.

Meanwhile, a media run by a Tamil that always jumps at reacting to even slightest criticism on any US policy also now joins in discrediting Eezham Tamils organising their national politics on their own.

Quite for some time now, an esoteric section in the TNA ever since its return from New Delhi is working on some ‘formula’, which was not known even to most of its members for a long time.

When the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), upholding Tamil sovereignty, was formed a couple of months back to look after Eezham Tamil development, a key US official is said to have told the representatives of the GTF that they should think of solutions within one-state formula.

Some personalities seen as operating behind the Zurich meet are said to be contemptuous to moves re-mandating the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution that spells out independence and sovereignty of Eezham Tamils.

Certain circles are arguing for quite sometime now that political demands in the diaspora should match ‘ground realities’ and there should be a ‘joint voice.’ The hint is that the diaspora should not demand anything higher than what is possible for Tamils to open mouth about them in the island.

Efforts to shift the Tamil political focus to Switzerland have been going on for quite sometime with necessary 'groundwork.'

Sections of Tamil media are wondering what power could be behind the Zurich Meet. They fail to understand that maintaining the ‘unity and integrity’ of the state in Sri Lanka at 'any cost', and however injustice it could be, seeing that Tamils are made to drop their national aspirations, are not a single-power agenda, whatever differences that may be existing among the ‘strategic partners’.

Before May, intelligence agencies of certain powers were busy with an anxious question what will be the reaction of Tamils if anything happens to LTTE leader Pirapaharan. Now they are again busy with another anxious question whether violent politics will again surface among Tamils. The anxiety raises suspicion in Tamil circles whether the powers are not confident or don’t foresee their manoeuvres bringing in satisfactory solutions to Tamil grievances.

There will be no room for anxiety if democratic politics are not 'hijacked' and the world listens to and acts on the democratic aspirations of people.

Sinhala polity responds to the situation with its 'traditional intelligence' by producing Rajapaksa–Fonseka equation to conveniently deny any political aspirations conceded to Tamils.

Some of the participants of the Zurich Meet couldn’t have come without consent from Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is now desperate to save his skin.

Powers stage-managing the Rajapaksa–Fonseka equation care only to score points among themselves in the geopolitical competition of dominating the island kept as a whole, and think that accommodating aspirations of Eezham Tamil nationalism is irrelevant in such an exercise.

The determined and concerted efforts of powers in nullifying historically justified cause of Eezham Tamil nationalism, when fought militarily or democratically, are surprising. But, more surprising is the attitude of some personalities among Tamils, who have no faith in the political will power of their own people.

No one can justify discrediting any unity of the political parties of the affected people in the island. But whether the aim of the sponsors who forge Tamil politics from the 'above' is bringing in unity for the cause or unity for the surrender of the cause that has not been surrendered in the crushed militant struggle, is the question.

The Zurich meet may become a success to ‘reconciliation politics’ if it can pave way to set a political de facto situation in the island for Tamils and Muslims, for an engagement of parity with the Sri Lankan state. Otherwise it is just eyewash of helpless forces acting on behalf of Sri Lankan state and powers of vested interests, which in a highly nuanced way now try to invest the responsibility of protecting Rajapaksa regime on Tamils and Muslims.


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