Feature Article

Tamils should identify natural allies against US-UK military geopolitics: Viraj Mendis

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 December 2015, 23:09 GMT]
The strategic location of the island of Sri Lanka becomes hot and very important, especially when the paradigm of war becomes more dominant than the peace paradigm at a global level, says Viraj Mendis, a progressive Sinhala rights activist who is a long-term supporter of the struggle of Eezham Tamils. In an in-depth interview to TamilNet Palaka'ni, the exiled veteran activist details his understanding on how the successive external powers, pre-occupied with the war-paradigm and the geopolitical significance of the island in a military sense in the Indian Ocean Region, have shaped the ‘genocidal consciousness’ of the Sinhalese to their benefit in the past as well as at the present. The Eezham Tamils, particularly their diaspora, should have no illusions about who their adversaries are and whom they should rely upon as their natural allies in their continued freedom struggle, he says.

Viraj Mendis begins his analysis with the question why a section of the International Community chose in 2002 to support the peace process between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

The forces that promoted the process, even among the Establishments, belonged to what Mr Mendis calls ‘peace-paradigm’, although those who belonged to the American ‘war-paradigm’ within the Western Establishments were at odds with the former section.

The sections belonging to peace-paradigm were interested in upholding a non-confrontationist and competitive world order, which is coupled with their trade-oriented interests. These forces, rallying behind the EU at that time, were initially supportive to the peace process between the GoSL and the LTTE.

One part of the world within the capitalist world remains more productive than the other in Economy. These are the ones that belong to peace paradigm, Mr Mendis says. These countries are capable of exporting more than the ‘other countries’ per capita. For them, Capitalism could proceed without war for some time.

But, Americans didn't belong to this section. They wanted the war-paradigm, Mendis says. The US wants the military utility of all the places across the world. The Trincomalee harbour, situated in the Tamil homeland, was one of them, Mendis explains.

The LTTE had clearly articulated in its propaganda material that Tamils intended to keep Trincomalee harbour as a zone of peace. They didn't want the Americans to use the harbour against the Middle-Eastern countries as well as against the Indians in a future global war scenario, Mendis observes.

Understanding military geopolitics is important to know who are the main adversaries of Eezham Tamils, the exiled Sinhala activist says. The same approach is still valid, he argues citing what happened in Geneva and why the USA wants to uphold the Colombo-centric genocidal ‘Sri Lanka’ as one construct.

Even though the US wanted to destroy the Tigers, the LTTE fought back the Sri Lankan military very hard, as it was demonstrated through the fall of the Elephant Pass base and the followed attack on Katunayake air base.

As a result, the American war-paradigm was blocked by the LTTE in the tiny island. And the forces that belonged to the opposed camp, the followers of peace-paradigm, were able to push for the peace process through the EU in 2002, he argues.

For those who belonged to the peace-paradigm in 2002, Sri Lanka was a unique case unlike other countries such as El Salvador, where the US influence was strong at that time. Viraj Mendis was citing the policies adopted by the ministries in Germany to illustrate the past trends.

Inside Germany, a split opened between the development ministry and the foreign ministry. The development ministry was strongly supporting the peace process while the foreign ministry was taking a contradictory position with the US-influenced EU ban on the LTTE. There was a ‘massive pressure from the Americans’ on the German State, he says.

There were 8 countries opposed to EU ban. The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, spoke with all of them and harassed them to drop their stand. If one of the 26 EU countries had strongly opposed the ban on the LTTE, one could have avoided the ban. Maybe, one could have even avoided Mu'l'livaaykkaal, Mr Mendis says.

People look at Norwegians as some kind of important stakeholders in the process. But, they were just figureheads, Viraj says. The Norwegians were actually conflicted between the American policy and the European policy in the beginning. At the end, they went with the American policy. Norwegians were talking about conflict resolution between the Tamils and the Sinhalese. But, actually the conflict was inside them.

The Norwegians were actually the ones who fell down in the peace process. They should have resolved their conflict first, the Germany-based Sinhala activist says. Norwegians went with the USA. The Americans at the end crushed the European line. Mendis cites the example of P-TOMS as a case promoted by the European line. But, the Americans and the ultra-racist sections in Colombo worked together in destroying the P-TOMS agreement signed between the LTTE and the GoSL, he says.

The Tamil people should therefore approach those sections that did something right in the past.

And there are many others, including Latin American countries, that are opposed to the same powers, which are holding a knife against the heads of the Tamils, Mr Mendis says. It is these sections the Tamils have to approach.

"It is madness to go to the people who are executing you and ask them to change their mind. Because, they know what they are doing,” he says.

“It is ridiculous if you go and drink tea with David Cameron and think that you have achieved something. You are not lobbying them. They are lobbying you. In fact, they are getting you to drop your principles.”

The power of the Tamils is gone with the destruction of the LTTE. Tamils should realise this and continue their struggle like it was in the beginning.

However, the LTTE didn't allow anybody to spoil the ideas and the social achievements it had achieved in Vanni and elsewhere. These were not yet achieved anywhere else in the Asian continent. This kind of the blueprint of the society they built, how they built it, the values of it, exist in the minds of the people. These have to be embraced and not compromised, Viraj Mendis says.

The interview also brings out the complicit role of the UK in the military geopolitics of USA working against the national interests of Eezham Tamils.

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