THE DOUBLE STANDARDS
Shenali D Waduge
Tamil National Alliance leaders headed by R. Sambandan, Abraham Sumanthiran and Chief Ministerial Candidate Wigneswaran have gone on the defensive all of a sudden. This itself reveals that things are not going so smoothly on the TNA camp or campaign trail.
TNA’s 2013 manifesto has not shown to be anything different to its manifestos released in 2001, 2004, 2010. If it did not defend itself in any of these previous years what is the reason for the current stand? Is it possible that there are some cracks in the TNA? Will its chief ministerial candidate soon find out that being a judge fitting into the role of a politician is not as easy as the former army commander found out not so long ago and to be careful of putting one’s foot in the mouth may be a lesson that this former justice should take from the former army commander too. When C V Wigneswaran says ‘politics came after me’ how could it be any different to what happened to the former army commander!
When C V Wigneswaran calls Prabakaran a freedom fighter he is not only nullifying the ban by 32 foreign nations including the US, UK and India, he is ridiculing the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, placing as insignificant the deaths of over 250 Tamil men of learning and also embarrassing UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay who confirmed that there is no point in glorifying LTTE terrorism.
When Wigneswaran calls Prabakaran a freedom fighter how different is this from what TNA confirmed in its manifestos?
‘unless meaningful negotiations are held with the LTTE no just solution can be found to the Tamil national question and that such negotiations should be held immediately ONLY with the LTTE’ (2001 TNA Manifesto)
‘in order to safeguard the life and liberty of the Tamil race and to establish its birthright for self-determination, the Tamil Nation having being pushed to the unavoidable state of armed conflict, as the only way, the war not only broadened but advanced under the generalship of the Tiger’s leader Hon.Pirapaharan’ (2004 TNA Manifesto)
‘authentic sole representative of the Tamil people’ (2004 TNA Manifesto)
‘accepting LTTE’s leadership as the national leadership of the Tamil Eelam Tamils and the Liberation Tigers as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people’ (2004 TNA Manifesto)
‘let us devote our full cooperation for the ideals of the Liberation Tigers struggle with honesty and steadfastness’…‘let us work side by side with the LTTE’. (2004 TNA Manifesto)
LTTE was the ‘sole military outfit that fought for a separate homeland for the Tamils’ (2010 TNA Manifesto)
When C V Wigneswaran says ‘we intend’ … to bring sunshine to the Tamil Community – he has forgotten that his ‘freedom fighters’ the LTTE had US DOLLARS 300million annual profits to bring ‘sunshine’ but chose to give sunshine only to the LTTE and their mahaveer families. Now the Tamil people need to question what the LTTE were doing in 30 years against what the Sri Lankan State with the Sri Lankan armed forces has created in just 4 years in the North? The development and ‘sunshine’ that the Tamil people enjoy freely now is phenomenal. There is not much TNA can do or really need to do but they cannot take the credit for the development. That credit goes to the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Sri Lankan state (in that order).
C V Wigneswaran and R. Sambandan and Abraham Sumanthiran says the TNA is not for a separate state. But their manifestos of 2001, 2004, 2010 and now 2013 speak of
The TNA is taking the Sri Lankan populace to be both dumb and stupid if they think that simply by claiming that they are not asking for a ‘separate state’ by use of word the claims for the right to self-determination does not equate to mean ‘independence’ and an independent ‘Tamil nation or homeland’ that has been the driving force of all Tamil politicians representing the TNA since post-independence. We would also like to know how if ‘as a community we like to determine our way of life ourselves’ how more than half of the Tamils who live outside the ‘Tamil homeland’ will determine their way of life and how they have thus far preserved their ‘individuality’ by choice living amongst the Sinhalese rather than the Tamils? Moreover, the chief ministerial candidate himself living in Colombo who says that at 74 he had a ‘decent life’ in law-lecturing, practicing and serving as a Supreme Court judge’ nothing happened to his ‘individuality’ living amongst the Sinhalese and not Tamils and to say ‘I am quite satisfied with my life’ simply negates this new notion of ‘individuality’ amongst ONLY Tamils that he is now canvassing for!
Highlighting this further is the issue of caste which most Tamils attempt to sweep under the carpet however when more than half the population of the North happen to comprise low-caste Tamils why would the elite Colombo living TNA allow just 2% representation for low-caste Tamils unless the caste factor remains very much alive amongst Tamils. How best will future Tamils especially low caste Tamils in a separate Tamil nation of ONLY Tamils expect to live? This is a good question for which the answer can be found just looking across the Palk Strait at India where in a State exclusively Tamil, where Tamil language is the official state language, where Tamil culture is the exclusive culture in a population of over 65million Tamils (compared to less than 2million Tamils in Sri Lanka and less than 800,000 Tamils in the entire North) how many Tamils are on equal status amongst each other? Why don’t the Sri Lankan Tamils just count and see how the low-castes of Tamil Nadu live and ask Tamil Nadu has provided for the ‘individualism’ in a Tamil only set up for Tamils.
We would also like to know how ‘multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual’ this homeland is likely to be when every Sinhalese living in the north are asked to evict themselves and those that attempt to restart their lives in the north are claimed to be ‘sinhala colonization’ – if Tamils can live in the South under ‘multiculturalism’ Sinhalese should be able to live in the North under ‘multiculturalism’ too.
We would also like to know how federalism would fit into a state of ‘self-determination’ when self-determination would dislocate an area from the existing unitary state of Sri Lanka?
When the chief ministerial candidate says ‘politics came after me’ there are various possibilities to who can be promoting his candidature and it is not necessarily the TNA as the TNA itself is a puppet with strings pulled by various forces. So when the wannabe politician says ‘I have been discussing the possibilities of the armed forces being made available to the UN Peace Keeping Force’ he seems to be naïve to the fact that Sri Lanka already sends troops as blue helmets. Moreover, in a unitary Sri Lanka one which C V Wigneswaran does not wish to change or so he says, it is upto the State Government to decide where to position its armed forces and not one of the 9 chief ministers of Sri Lanka. Therefore, becoming a chief minister gives wigneswaran no mandate to demand that the armed forces of Sri Lanka be evicted from the unitary state of Sri Lanka.
The call for a Tamil speaking North-East in a united Sri Lanka is nothing but words thrown to fool the masses. Tamil speaking includes Tamils and Muslims but excludes Sinhalese (though there are many Sinhalese who speak Tamil and many Tamils and Muslims who speak Sinhalese). The Tamil speaking is a bait and deal with Muslims to re-merge the North to East following the demerger in 2006 with the explicit understanding that the North will be for Tamils and East will be Muslim in a scenario that we can now confirm that the players pulling the strings of the locals are parties that have interests in securing ‘independent’ north and a future ‘independent’ east in a strategic move that would mean those fund raising these calls would eventually control both these ‘independent’ ‘self-determined’ provinces for international geopolitical leverage inclusive trade. How would Sambanthan describe what happened to Kosovo or Sudan.
If TNA calls for Separate State – Tamils living outside ‘Tamil Homeland’ would be asked to leave for the new Homeland.
Sambanthan stresses ‘united’ ‘within the same country’ because he does not want the rest of the Tamils (i.e. more than all the Tamils living in the North) living outside of the ‘Tamil Homeland’ to wonder what would happen to them if the TNA does openly seek a separate state in so many words. TNA knows that the moment they ask for a separate state the rest of the country would ask all Tamils living outside of the Tamil Homeland to leave the present areas they are living in and to live in the North where Sambanthan, Abraham Sumanthiran and Wigneswaran promises ‘sunshine’. Yet, this is something that the Tamils need to think over for they should not allow the TNA to divide people any more than LTTE or politicians have done in the past as well as in the present. The people need to tell politicians to stop divisive slogans that are meant to ONLY bring them into power and to keep them in power – these slogans have nothing meaningful to the wellbeing of the ordinary masses.
When C V Wigneswaran says PRabakaran is a freedom fighter and given that we are well aware that the party or rather alliance he represents came to be seated in parliament because of the LTTE this itself should make Tamils shudder whether they are looking at a future where S Premachandrans’ call for Tamils to take up arms will mean the loss of freedom for the Tamils once more where without the armed forces the Tamil parents may again have to give up their children to be turned into child soldiers, where men and women may end up giving up their livelihoods to return to the jungles to be trained in armed combat and take Sri Lanka towards another 3 decades of misery, loss of life, property and complete anarchy. Is this the mandate the Tamil people proposes to give the TNA even a former justice who know says that Prabakaran was a freedom fighter and not a terrorist while the Tamil LTTE Diaspora that wants to enter Sri Lanka on the TNA bandwagon are the very same entity that helped Prabakaran and the LTTE from overseas?