Opinion Article

Development without politics dangerous to Tamils

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 June 2010, 06:06 GMT]
By blackmailing the Tamil nation through the plight of its people and by handling ‘development’ in counterinsurgency style, Colombo is trying to lock the diaspora away from political cause, and by demonstrating it, Colombo is seeking acquittal of its crimes in the international arena as well as money for its greed. De-linking development from decision-making political sovereignty of Tamils is advantageous to sectarian Sinhala polity, it is convenient to the international polity of the corporates, but how it is beneficial to the affected, is the question. Diaspora Tamils taking individual or petty-group decisions on development is suicidal. Rather they should demonstrate that they have collective polity and political control independent of Colombo, in dealing with their development. It is for such purposes the diaspora has elected a number of bodies and they should do the orientation.

Norway based Professor N. Shanmugaratnam, a leading development specialist among Eezham Tamils, repeatedly warns against development without political solution, even though he is a supporter of ‘united Sri Lanka.’

But, Colombo envisages a development agenda similar to managing prisons through prisoner-volunteers.

Earlier last year, it lured some individuals ostracized in the diaspora who were craftily seeking political space by conniving with the government without any political demand.

Getting the diaspora 'batch by batch' and then setting them against one another in the game of development is Colombo's scheme.

All know that implementing the so-called development agenda is completely controlled by military and by chauvinistic Sinhala NGOs. The master plan ‘mandated’ to the Sinhala state is to complete the structural genocide of Eezham Tamils in their very homeland, and the state makes no secret of it.

The donors of the international community having their own interests will only take the side of the ‘winners,’ unless political will power is demonstrated forcing them to change.

India and the other powers that abetted Colombo in the war and genocide, now make no qualms in abetting the structural genocide too, which could be clearly seen in the militarization, Sinhalicisation, Buddhicisation and social and economic subservience of the land of Tamil nation.

People genuinely interested in doing development or relief work should have an anchor behind them and that should be a collective anchor of the nation. Otherwise, they will have the fate of flies attracted to the gaslight.

If ‘development’ should not undermine the struggle for political cause, then the development enthusiasts in the diaspora, including alumni associations and village associations, should have a broad forum and co-ordinated programme, controlled by democratic polity of the diaspora.

By doing so,
  • They demonstrate to the world about the independent polity of Tamils, which is important to the struggle as well as for any political solution.
  • They demonstrate to the donors whom the donors should care for in extending their interests in the island.
  • They demonstrate to the confused masses in the diaspora that for whom they should give their contributions with trust.
  • They could expose and isolate the opportunists who have no politics for the Tamil cause.
  • They give confidence to the silenced Tamils in the island in restoring their politics.
  • And above all, they will be able to undertake alternative and damage-controlling development, which others will not do.

This is a challenge for the elected and other bodies in the diaspora in establishing political status quo with the Sinhala state. But for that, they should take a united decision.

When the decision is united and if the Sinhala state is not agreeable in permitting the diaspora to operate in unison for the development of the Tamil land, then there will be a stronger case to fight for liberation in the international arena.

Diaspora is the only independent body to demonstrate any independent polity and it should not fail in it.

The point Shanmugaratnam raised i.e., political solution before development, sure is not there, but if Tamils want to achieve it they should not lose the politics of development and have to vehemently fight for it internationally.

There is no need for Tamils to compromise their quest for national liberation to fight for the development rights. At the same time, there is no need for those who do development in the field to be activists of Tamil independence. But, the political thread of coordination in development is important.

Never go as individuals into the development trap of a state that has been for more than half a century playing the same game of devastating Tamils and then asking them to come back without any political solution.

We face the worst ever stage today and the only silver lining is the diaspora. But where have the spirit that brought hundreds of thousands to the street gone? Demonstration of that spirit is more important today in demanding international justice.

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