Opinion Article

Melting pot of Eezham-Tamil democratic politics

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 September 2009, 21:31 GMT]
While the idea of transnational government (TNG) is captivating the minds of Eezham Tamils, their public opinion should be watchful for political moves not slipping in concepts and terminologies and the organisation process maintaining absolute financial independence. Democratically elected country councils widen, strengthen and secure the democratic structure of TNG and help it to evolve from bottom to top. The nation needs to explore models of structurally integrating country councils and bodies such as GTF in the apex body of TNG. Conducive atmosphere has to be created for wider participation of the society, youth and women. The trauma and depression Eezham Tamils undergo, can be conquered by them only by innovatively engaging in action – this time democratic action – and by demonstrating their spirit unconquered.

It is heartening to notice how the paradigm of democratic politics and transnational governance has captivated the minds of Eezham Tamils especially in the diaspora, where the much-needed space deprived in Sri Lanka is available for innovation and rejuvenation.

Quite typical of any democratic exercise, as ideas pour in, debates take place and moves originate in a short span of hard-pressed time, it is not only common folk but even keen activists are confused. The widely felt concern is that such confusion should not pave way for manipulation and hijack of the cause by motley of forces tacitly united in nullifying identity, independence, sovereignty and national liberation of Eezham Tamils.

It is of paramount importance that the various global moves originating from the Eezham Tamil diaspora in political organization, economy, society and culture need to be perceived, orientated and coordinated coherently to produce desired results.

The following are put forward to the consideration of especially the diaspora, the public opinion of which is actually the guardian in setting the course of its current global process of democratic politics.

  1. Not slipping in terminologies outlining the cause:
    Independence, sovereignty, nation state, nation, homeland, self-determination, autonomy, federal, confederation, self-rule etc are terms of specific meaning in the international system. They cannot be replaced by one another. Mere phrases such as Tamil Eelam or government cannot be taken for their face value, unless specified with appropriate technical terms.

    Examples: Government of Tamil Nadu doesn’t mean that it is independent and sovereign. The Federal Party, which stood for federalism in Ceylon, styled itself in Tamil as Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi.

    Eezham Tamil public needs to carefully scrutinize the terminologies and their Tamil equivalents used by various political moves approaching them.

    Even the word sovereignty used alone, as appearing in the websites of some political moves, will not cover independence. Sovereignty can be shared. This is why the importance of adopting the main principle ‘independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam’ of the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution of 1976 as the basis for any fresh democratic politics is stressed again and again.

    ‘Independence and sovereignty’ can be translated into Tamil either as ‘suthanthiramum I’raimaiyum’ or as ’thannaathikkamum i’raimaiyum.’

    What negotiation could achieve is another matter. But the democratic freedom of a nation to tell what it deservingly aspires is of supreme importance and it is for the diaspora public opinion to take care if there is any slip.

  2. Financial independence in political organization:
    Political organization is absolutely a matter of concerned people. They have to conceive and do it on their own, from their own resources and through their own will power, if they want their political organization to be true to them.

    ‘Democratisation’ of politics of a people may be a ‘development’ agenda for others and they may treat it a matter for funding. But for a people struggling for liberation it is not so. Diaspora needs to be watchful that evolving its political organization is done by motivating the masses and never through getting outside funds.

  3. Widening the democratic structure:
    In the given circumstances, when independent political organisation of Eezham Tamils is threatened by Sri Lanka and is likely to be sabotaged by forces abetting the ‘unity’ of Sri Lanka, the more the democratic structures are widened and integrated, the more the political organisation is secured. Otherwise, just by handling a few at the top, the entire politics could be crippled.

    Needless to say that Eezham Tamils should have well-knitted multiplicity of grass root organisations and their politics have to be built form bottom to top and not vice versa.

    The constitution announced by the move for Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils has touched some of these aspects by proposing to conduct elections regionally and nationally in Norway; by having a second chamber and by accommodating elected representatives from institutions of Eezham Tamils in the second chamber.

    More attention need to be paid in this respect in the diaspora in encouraging more elected bodies, co-operative bodies and in integrating and orientating them and other grass root organisations such as village associations, alumni associations etc towards democratic transnational polity.

  4. GTF and other such bodies:
    The impression one gets from the draft constitution of the Global Tamil Forum is that it will be functioning as a global body of professionals and something like a multinational corporation of Eezham Tamils. This is a welcome move and Eezham Tamils will need such bodies to run banks, universities etc.

    Such bodies should be integrated in the second chamber of the apex transnational government. However, it is important that GTF and other such bodies have to make clear themselves in specific terms of their commitment to independence and sovereignty of Eezham Tamils.

  5. Importance of country councils:
    Elected councils of Eezham Tamils in various countries are the real roots of transnational government. They make transnational government secure, widen the democratic structure by acting as federal units, make the implementation of the mandates of transnational government in a particular country much easier and help negotiating local situations arising from differing political systems of the various countries, as these councils are ‘national councils’ of those countries.

    The move in Norway is a pioneering major step and the entire diaspora watches it with much expectation.

  6. Transnational government as apex body:
    Transnational government as conceived by Eezham Tamils is a novel and hitherto unseen experiment of human civilisation. Only a nation like that of Eezham Tamils that was brutally and unjustly crushed by entire establishments of the world joining together could conceive such alternative governance for them. This is sure to serve an inspiration to future world polity and to many oppressed peoples of the world.

    In the exercise of evolving a democratic transnational government, whether the Eezham Tamils are fully aware of the importance of what they are doing is a crucial matter.

    While the alternative world will welcome the challenging concept, the establishments will obviously try to either blunt it or hijack it.

    Therefore, the apex body has to be formed with tremendous will power of people, with a strong foundation and with structural security.

    It is perhaps advisable to structure transnational government after securely forming democratically elected councils at least in countries having bulk of the diaspora.

    Country councils and transnational government should be structurally integrated so that they don't operate concurrently within a country.

    It is of utmost importance that the apex body operating in the diaspora should not abandon independence and sovereignty of Tamil Eelam, even though that should not preclude it from engaging in negotiations, development etc.

    TNG is a body of the diaspora and it has to continue for the identity, culture and development of the diaspora, even after Tamil Eelam is achieved.

  7. Probable models of forming transnational government:
    While direct election among the diaspora held across the world is a model, probably a feasible model at this juncture is holding elections for country councils, and either electing representatives from them, or making them as electoral colleges to elect members from a global list of candidates, or a combination of both. A second chamber could be having elected representatives from defined diaspora institutions.

    Models are inexhaustible and we have to be judicious in deciding what suits better under given conditions to serve the purpose.

    The first elected TNG may have to function as constitutional assembly as well in bringing out a mandated constitution.

  8. Social participation:
    A TamilNet reader recently sent a lengthy note on the importance of right personalities from various walks of life coming forward to take responsibilities in the polity of Eezham Tamils, when it is needed the most perhaps in the whole history of them.

    It is our earnest hope that a right atmosphere will be created through public opinion for right personalities to come to politics.

    An atmosphere has also to be created for people of various political shades and affiliations to develop whole-hearted belongingness in the new process and to contribute their best to the society.

    The transnational governance of our context demands not merely politicians and negotiators, but economists, educationalists, culture personalities, people of letters and so on. Again, we need the right atmosphere for such personalities to come into politics.

  9. Participation of youth and women:
    A healthy sign for the Eezham Tamil nation today is the diaspora youth coming forward to take ownership of the struggle. Young diaspora women taking part in the politics of various countries and getting elected to public bodies is another encouraging feature we see today. This generation should come forward in participating and leading the democratic process of Tamil politics too. The success of transnational governance in the long run lies in the youth participation in it.

  10. Mindset:
    All liberation begins from mindset.

    It is time Eezham Tamils come out of their mindset of colonial legacy to boldly look at themselves through their own eyes.

    It is always suffering people who come out with innovations for them as well as for humanity.

    The trauma Eezham Tamils undergo is understandable only by them.

    As we see from what is happening, no one else will help us to overcome it. The trauma and depression can be conquered only by innovatively engaging in action – this time democratic action – and by demonstrating our spirit unconquered.


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