Only CFA can save Sri Lanka - Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 June 2007, 16:14 GMT]
S.P Thamilchelvan, head of the Political Division of the LTTE, in an interview with TamilNet on Monday said that to bring peace and pave the way for talks, the international community should come forward to "support the struggle for rights of the Tamil people and force the Sri Lankan Government to implement the ceasefire agreement in full.” Characterizing the "efforts” to bring a united position among the southern parties as the "same old drama," that has gone on throughout the Tamil people’s struggle for their rights, he said only the CFA can save the island from the disaster.

Welcoming the timely meeting by the Co-chairs in Oslo, Mr. Thamilchelvan said Tamil people have become suspcious as to why there is no firm united stance even among the members of the Co-chairs. Some members are indirectly encouraging Colombo by giving military and economic aid while some others are attempting to implement practical steps to put pressure on the Sri Lankan Government, LTTE's political head said.

"International community must gain a profound understanding of this long history [of prolonging and time buying tactics by Colombo] and act to end the ethnically biased efforts by the Sinhala leadership. I believe the constructive step by the international community is to accept and support the struggle for rights of the Tamil people and force the Sri Lankan Government to implement the ceasefire agreement 100% to pave the way for peace talks."

On the military situation in the east, Thamilchelvan said, LTTE chooses military strategies to suit the “place, environment and time,” and that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) will soon find out the “trap they have set for themselves.”

TamilNet: What are your views on the Co-chairs meeting in Oslo to discuss the current situation in Sri Lanka?

Thamilchelvan: We welcome the Co-chairs meeting to discuss issues relating to permanent peace and resolution to the ethnic conflict. The International community has reiterated the futility of the military option and the need for the two sides to return to the negotiating table. While welcoming this, we point out that the Tamil people are deeply saddened that the international community has not taken any constructive and concrete measures to end the State-sponsored violence against the Tamil people. In particular, nothing has been done to bring an end to the ethnic cleansing, horrendous human rights violations, and the grave human misery that the Tamil people have been subjected to. Indeed suspicions have arisen among the Tamil people as to why there is no firm united stance even among the Co-chairs. The Tamil people are puzzled as to why some countries are indirectly encouraging the Government by giving military and economic aid while some other countries are pressuring the Government to seek a political solution.

TamilNet: What shifts in policy, perception, and approach do you think the international community should adopt to create a climate conducive to permanent peace ?

Thamilchelvan: The ceasefire agreement brought at least a temporary reprieve to the high intensity war that went on for more than twenty years. This is important because it was the first agreement that came about after a long time with the assistance of the international community. The world supported this agreement unanimously. This brought hope to the communities affected by the conflict. Yet, due to the competition for power among the Sinhala ruling class, the conducive environment that was created for peace was destroyed. By their actions the ruling class has created confusion about the position of the majority Sinhala people and has brought about a dire situation in this island. They rejected the very first proposal put forward by the Tamil people for an interim government, and they also destroyed the agreement, after it was signed by the two sides, on a joint structure put forward by the international community, following the tsunami devastation for humanitarian work. Through these the Sinhala chauvinistic leadership has destroyed any remaining hope among the Tamil people.

International community must seriously view the long history of the Tamil struggle and act to end the ethnically biased efforts by the Sinhala leadership. I believe the constructive step by the international community is to accept and support the struggle for rights of the Tamil people and force the Sri Lankan Government to implement the ceasefire agreement 100% to pave the way for peace talks.

TamilNet: The International community, in particular the USA, thinks that a common agreement must be reached among the Southern political parties and through this form the basis for negotiations with the LTTE. Is this possible? Is this the right strategy?

Thamilchelvan: As far as the southern political parties are concerned there has never been the practice of following party policies. They jump from party to party to seek power and for financial benefits. The current “efforts” to bring a united position among the southern parties is the same drama that has gone on throughout the Tamil people’s struggle for their rights. Finding a solution has never been the motive of these “efforts”. The latest “efforts” too will not produce the desired outcome of a common agreement. When decisions have to be made later, these parties will not cooperate towards it. Agreements or solutions will be reached only when those in power act with honesty to find that solution not otherwise.

In addition, whoever newly takes control of the Sri Lankan Government is always interested in a military solution and they are more bent on exploiting the international community for that end. This has always been the pattern. A point must be emphasized. Sri Lankan Government will never agree to peace talks after strengthening it militarily. On the contrary it will reject peace efforts and ceasefire agreements and will jump into a war saying it is going to bring a resolution through military means. Then after facing heavy losses from which it is unable to pull back it will agree for a peace talks. I do believe that the international community would have understood this pattern of deceptive behaviour of the successive Sinhala Governments. The latest ceasefire agreement, which the international community believed will deliver a solution, was the result of military and economic difficulties faced by the Sinhala Government. Therefore, hopes to find a solution by militarily strengthening the Sri Lankan Government and thus destroy the Tamil collective and thus their struggle for freedom will always remain a daydream.

Firstly, there has never been a history where a Sri Lankan Government has come down and agreed for talks or peace efforts in such a situation. Secondly, a solution found through such a means will not be a just solution to an affected and oppressed people.

TamilNet: Sections of Southern leadership and clergy are advancing the idea that peace can be brought about by militarily weakening the LTTE. What is your position on this?

Thamilchelvan: Tamil people have been fighting for their rights for the last 60 years. Initially, Tamil people did not choose military means for their freedom struggle. They took forward their struggle through non-violence for thirty years. Sinhala leadership could have put forward a solution to the ethnic problem during these thirty years. There was never an open minded humanitarian approach to this problem by the Sinhala leadership. On the contrary, ethnic cleansing and ethnic genocide were visited on the people. Many thousands of Tamil people were killed and hundreds of thousands of Tamil were chased from their land, in effect a huge human misery was created. It was in this environment that our freedom movement was born. Only when their struggle by peaceful and democratic means was broken and military violence was let loose to wipe out the people, the people took up armed struggle as self defense. People of Tamil Elam did not wish to create this situation. This was forced by the Sinhala violence. If the issue of the rights of the Tamil people has captured the world attention, it is only because of the dedicated military strength of the Tamil people. Therefore, Tamil people will never allow the military strength that was built up step by step as self defense to be weakened. The Sinhala leadership knowing this well repeats this proposition again and again solely to buy time and opportunity from the international community to intensify their ethnic genocide and destroy the rights of Tamils.

It is only when the Sinhala leadership understands, the true aspirations of the Tamil people, that the military strength of the Tamil people is not against the Sinhala nation or the Sinhala people, that it was built as self defense to protect their homeland, and that only when Tamil people create the environment where they too can live with security, freedom and self respect, this island will become a violence free peaceful place.

TamilNet: Certain countries that are rejecting a military solution and emphasizing a political solution, are also taking actions against representatives of Tamils and the LTTE. As the conflict now plays out on a domestic and international platform, how does this impact the issue of Tamil representation?

Thamilchelvan: Hundreds of thousands of our people chased out from their home are living in several countries. They help their kith and kin in this island who have suffered immense misery. It is a real tragedgy that humanitarian concern and the natural affinity between kith and kin are smeared with labels of assisting ‘terrorism.’ Neither the Tamil people nor their representatives have broken the laws of the countries where they reside when carrying out their political or humanitarian work. They do their work to achieve their aspirations by respecting the people and their governments of these countries. After the tsunami devastation, during the peace efforts, and when an ethnic violence is let loose on their people, expatriate Tamils worked tirelessly for their brethren in the Tamil homeland. Smearing this work they do to help their kith and kin with terrorism is not only distressing the Tamil people, it will also encourage the Sinhala chauvinists to intensify their violence.

TamilNet: How accurate is the claim by the Sri Lankan Army, that the LTTE has been evicted from the East, and this eviction translates into SLA military superiority?

Thamilchelvan: As far as the LTTE is concerned we were never defeated. We adopt military strategies to suit the place, the environment and the time. In particular, in the east it is common for the Sinhala forces to advance and then withdraw when faced with heavy losses following our strong defense. This is the past history. No people will accept the occupation of their land by a foreign force or a force that they detest. They will always seek their own security. Very soon the Sinhala forces will understand the trap they have set for themselves.


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