Feature Article

Hard questions for India and Eezham Tamils

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 September 2010, 06:33 GMT]
Nirupama Menon Rao expressed satisfaction at the progress in resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and development activities of the North, said state-owned Colombo newspaper Daily News Thursday, titling the news as “Indian investment interest rising”. But, reporting on Nirupama’s visit, The Hindu on Friday titled the news “Political solution should be priority” and cited her saying to Colombo-based Indian journalists that “While the focus on development and rehabilitation is very welcome, a long term perspective that also includes the issues relating to the political settlement that would meet some of the needs of the minorities should also be kept in mind.”

While Nirupama was harping on “some of the needs of the minorities” to Colombo-based Indian journalists, Hindustan Times reported Wednesday that, “According to reports, Rao was told that the people of Jaffna expect India to play an active role in extracting a political settlement on the ethnic issue from Colombo. But at the same time, doubts were expressed whether India, which sided with the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime in its fight against the Tamil Tigers, would indeed help the Lankan Tamils to get that. Mere resettlement of war-displaced Tamils in small pockets of the northern districts will not achieve anything, she was told.”

The Hindustan Times news was titled “Rao faces some hard questions in Jaffna”.

According to Times of India, Thursday, The Sri Lankan government has told New Delhi that it is not willing to carry out any dialogue with Tamil leaders who have earlier been closely associated with LTTE.

“The leadership in Colombo continues to maintain that a political solution is being delayed because of lack of genuine leadership among the Tamil community with whom the government can discuss and kickstart the process,” Times of India said.

In the meantime, Western diplomats pressurise the diaspora that the diaspora should not allow a gap and it should go and engage in ‘development’ in the North and East, collaborating with Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.

Commenting on the situation, a retired Tamil civil servant in Colombo who had seen the pogroms since 1958 said: “ After every pogrom Tamils who were forced to get back to Colombo used to be gleefully welcomed by the very elements that directly participated in the pogrom saying ‘Baya epaa, enda, enda’ (don’t be afraid, come, come), only to be humiliated and chased out again”.

“The Western diplomats have now taken over the responsibility of telling that to Tamils when they can’t even guarantee the safety of the people working in their embassies and in their own NGOs in the island. After making Tamils totally powerless and hounded they come out with this ‘advice’ when the responsibility of creating an international guaranteed situation in the island for the Tamils to work for development lies with them” the Tamil civil servant said.

“ Why should the world keep Tamils in a situation pressurising them to carry out dialogue with a genocidal government instead of trying it for the crimes it committed against humanity,” asked Steven Pushparajah, a senior marine engineer and a member of the Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils (NCET).

“Cooperation can come only when there is consolation and hope”.

“Consolation and hope can come to Tamils only when there is justice to the crimes and justice to their national question. It is dangerous for all concerned to allow a nation to harbour a psyche of hopelessness towards the world system,” Mr. Pushparajah further said.

“While miserably failing in providing consolation to the crimes committed and failing in providing hope for the national question, the West and India are audacious in expecting the Tamils to cooperate”.

Commenting on ‘genuine leadership’ the diaspora political activist said that no independent Tamil leadership would be considered ‘genuine’ by Colombo that wants to breed a ‘leadership’ for Tamils under captivity.

“However, Tamils have to first prove to themselves with an independent and genuine polity and leadership, and then they have to firmly prove to the world on what they want and that they are capable of handling what they get. Colombo and the abetters may sabotage, but Eezham Tamils have to take up that challenge,” the activist said.

Meanwhile, Frida Ghitis, claimed to be an independent columnist wrote in World Politics Review Thursday that “Sri Lanka, China form strategic shield against the West.”

“Chinese weapons played an important role in the government's ultimate success against the LTTE in 2009,” the commentator said.

In her opinion, “That military victory against an organization that perpetrated acts of extraordinary brutality was widely cheered by Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese -- as well as by large sections of the minority Tamil, who dreaded the extreme methods of the Tamil Tigers and breathed a sigh of relief at the war's end. But the victory came at a horrific cost to civilians”.

The commentator not only totally ignored but twisted the six decades long national question, the ongoing multi-faceted genocide in an accelerated way and the plight of Tamils.

The commentator sounded that while China scored the point in supporting a ‘just cause’ the USA lost its leverage by stopping military aid to Colombo on human rights grounds. War crimes probe and EU’s economic pressure will not have any effect on Colombo that is supported by China, the article alluded.

“For Sri Lanka, the end of the war with the Tamil Tigers means a new era. Pressure from the West to look back at what transpired during the conflict, or at the cost civilians paid for that victory, are seen by the government as an affront to its sovereignty and an unnecessary rehashing of a necessary war. Instead of looking back, it prefers to look to the future. And a big part of the future can be seen from the country's shores, where the big Chinese ships dotting the horizon symbolize new opportunities for Sri Lanka, “ the commentator said.

The thrust of the article was encouraging the US and the West to compete with China in entering into the good books of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“If it is really because of China that the USA and India have to tonsure Eezham Tamils and buttress a genocidal state, and if the USA and India can’t come to a consensus of recognising the national question in the island and can’t come out with appropriate decisive solutions, then why shouldn’t Tamils now encouraged by them to have dialogue with Rajapaksa regime have a direct dialogue with the great power China itself? If Tamils could do so, some media empires in Chennai that are at present deeply biased towards Eezham Tamils and some sections of Marxists may also start supporting them. No harm will come other than Sinhala-Buddhist expansionism knocking the doors of Chennai in another decade’s time,” was a comment heard in Trincomalee.


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