Feature Article

UN supervised two-states to avoid possible genocide – Peter Schalk

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 April 2008, 11:23 GMT]
A realistic analysis – considering both sides’ unsuccessful negotiations for decades – should end up in a recommendation for a two state solution enforced by UN forces, the sooner the better, facing a possible genocide, said Professor Peter Schalk in a paper presented at a Seminar on Sri Lanka, in London in March. A Humanitarian Military intervention should focus first on the victims by using deterrence and compellence against the Lankan forces and defence of the Tamil speakers, and then – if necessary focus on the perpetrator by defeating him through military offence. In East Timor many thousands of lives were saved through humanitarian military intervention, he concluded in his paper.

The International Seminar on Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka took place on 22-23 March at the premises of the Eastern University's Docklands Campus in London. It was organised by Global Peace Support Group - United Kingdom, a Tamil expatriate organization.

The highlights and full text of the paper, 'Pax Americana, the EU, and the Tamil Resistance Movement (TRM)', read by Prof. Peter Schalk at the seminar follow:

Peter Schalk
Professor Peter Schalk
Prof. Peter Schalk, of Uppsala University, Sweden, is long connected to Sri Lankan affairs, Buddhism and Tamil Studies and has contributed a number of scholarly publications.

On EU ban of Tamil Resistance Movement: "As a historian I am baffled about the sloppy way historical facts are handled by the EU. The EU under the influence of Pax Americana has written a biased document".

"The EU decision was highly controversial and – under pressure by the USA – finally proclaimed allegedly in the interest of the EU, but it echoed above all the interest of the Sri Lanka Government. This Government is one party of the conflict. The EU’s decision was therefore clearly partial".

"Tamil speaking people and many European intellectuals lost confidence in the political competence and will for justice of the EU in this because of this EU action. How is it possible that the EU affiliates itself with Sinhala extremists’ views?"

"Why is the [Tamil] majority supportive of the Tigers? The TRM is the only party that sticks to the election program from 1977 that demanded a separate state for the Tamils. In a democratic island wide election this program made the TULF to be the largest opposition party in Parliament for some years. Moreover, the TRM is the only organisation from 1987 onwards that defended the Tamils in the North and East against the attacks of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the Indian Forces. Finally, the TRM initiated cease-fires and peace proposals were all rejected by the Sri Lankan Government.

"The TRM has won the confidence of the Tamils who believe Veluppillai Pirapakaran’s famous adage: 'The methods of our struggle may change, but the aim not'. The other Tamil parties' guide for their documented practice is: 'The methods of our struggle may change and the aim also'. How can the EU and the Lankan Government believe that it can suppress the TRM, which has such strong support of Tamil speaking people - not only in Lanka and in exile but also in Tamil Nadu?"

Peter Schalk at UK seminar
Prof. Peter Schalk presenting his paper at the seminar held in London.
Quoting Professor John Neelsen on the EU proscription: "[...] the Council of Ministers’ declared desire to help in arriving at a just negotiated peace is belied by its actions. Implicitely, the declaration calls on the Tamils to submit to the diktat of the Sinhala state. It is objectively an incitement to war."

"John Neelson concludes by saying that it is high time that not only the Tamils but all immigrants in the EU and, not least, the native citizens of Europe themselves rise in protest against this new government sponsored attack on human rights not only out of solidarity with a suffering minority but in their own long-term interest."

"An important document reflecting pax americana in relation to the TRM is a FBI statement on the FBI Homepage from 10 January 2008 named 'Taming the Tigers'."

On economic sanctions on Sri Lanka, proposed by Economic Cooperation and Development Minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul: "My comment is that if this action is approved by the EU, it could be seen as the beginning of an international intervention which could end up in a welcome humanitarian military intervention like in East Timor."

"The views of leading EU politicians are in part a result of the preparatory work by administrative officials in the European Ministries of Foreign Affairs. The working situation of these administrators in Europe is not good."

"A shocking critical remark by two Swedish diplomats was that the TRM depicts the Tamils always as victims. This remark was shocking to me not only because I am convinced that the Tamils have been victims under state suppression, but because of the bereavement of their subjective feeling of being a victim. They are not even allowed to feel like victims."

"A demonised caricature of Veluppillai Pirapakaran is ever present in the image that these EU politicians and diplomats have of him. I do not know him personally, but I can see from his speeches that his alleged evilness is balanced by his pragmatism, which should be exploited, not neglected, by the EU."

"Before the ban in 2006 a unique situation both to learn from the TRM and to teach the TRM democratic values existed. The visits by TRM delegations in Europe were constructive and conducive to peace. [...] The EU's decision first to restrict travelling for the TRM, and then to ban, has put a stop to educational process in democracy that the TRM itself has chosen to pass through."

"The decision of the EU has been extremely destructive for the process to reach a negotiated peace. The EU took the old-fashioned school teacher’s role of penalizing instead of guiding."

"The optimism of the Norwegian diplomats was admirable, but optimism without realism may lead to disaster as it has done in the present case. A realistic analysis - considering both sides’ unsuccessful negotiations for decades - should end up in a recommendation for a two state solution enforced by UN forces, the sooner the better, facing a possible genocide."

"The EU has a heavy burden of guilt by falling in line with American interests which are co-ordinated with the interests of the Lankan Government."

"The EU, having come to understand its own failure should recall the ban immediately."

"Diplomats and politicians should inform themselves about the ground situation on both sides, study cross culturally, and apply a historical perspective of at least a century. They should consider the development in East Timor and ask themselves whether it is not the plight of the UN to intervene militarily and create a situation of two states with borders at the time of the Cease Fire Agreement in 2002 to prevent a genocide of Tamil speakers by Lankan armed forces and their mercenaries, and bring the Raksapakse Government to justice."

"A Humanitarian Military intervention should focus first on the victims by using deterrence and compellence against the Lankan forces and defence of the Tamil speakers, and then - if necessary- focus on the perpetrator by defeating him through military offence. In East Timor many thousands of lives were saved through the humanitarian military intervention."


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