Opinion Article

Extremism of defeatism

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 August 2010, 02:31 GMT]
Promoting extremism of defeatism is the latest ‘counterinsurgency’ weapon Colombo and those who abetted it in the war are trying on Eezham Tamils and especially on their diaspora in recent times. They do it for different purposes but none of them are prepared to come out with solutions other than subservience. Individual extremists of defeatism, who seek political space by upholding united Sri Lanka with wrong elements, are making the same mistake of their forefathers that haunt Eezham Tamils to this day and will continue to haunt their posterity. Eezham is the only rightful living space in the world for Eezham Tamils. Whatever geopolitical contests take place in the island the world will care only when Eezham Tamils have an independent polity for them.

When there is no international effort to stop the ongoing multi-faceted genocide in the island, no international responsibility in rehabilitating the nation of Eezham Tamils, no signs of the delivery of political justice, ‘counterinsurgency’ writers of Sri Lanka and India, and some international media thinking only of corporate colonialism, have started blaring in an orchestrated way on the blessings of extremism of defeatism to Tamils.

The short-sighted strategy of the promoters of this new brand of extremism, aimed at justifying the worst barbaric war of the century they waged on a people, aimed at blunting or hoodwinking the war crimes investigation and aimed at shielding their impotency to come out with solutions, but at the same time brimming with greed for the spoils, will sure backfire on all of them just like the war backfired on their credibility.

While Tamils asking for their land, sovereignty and political justice sounds extremism, the total surrender of some extreme defeatist individuals of vested interests sounds ‘moderate and pragmatic’ for them. Extremism breeds in extremism. That is neither good for the Tamils nor good for the Sinhalese, and nor good for the powers that are extreme in their approach to the righteous national question of Eezham Tamils.

The strategy of extremism of defeatism that is bereft of any promises other than that to the culprits is already reflecting on the few Tamils who have fallen prey for it. They are neither respected by Tamils nor genuinely respected by the Sinhalese, for they see them as people without self-respect in the company of devil dancers.

Recently a follower of the strategy was heard shouting in frustration at a diaspora meet in London when she failed to convince fellow members of the diaspora about the ‘advantages’ of the strategy.

Another one of them is circulating a joke that why should Eezham Tamils oppose Sinhala colonisation in the North and East when they colonize many countries in the world. This person thinks that the fellow Tamils can’t understand the difference between forced exodus of them and armed colonisation of their land by others. If Tamils have the sovereignty of their land they can receive anyone with embracing hands.

A few days ago an article in Economic and Political Weekly by Ahilan Kadirgamar came out with some ‘prophesies’. Ahilan Kadirgamar is the son of Silan Kadirgamar of Jaffna College background who as a historian has contributed to the history of the Youth Congress in Jaffna.

According to the writer, the diaspora is not monolithic and will diminish. With the defeat of the LTTE, diaspora-mobilised separatist Tamil nationalism will also begin to unravel. The argument that the Sri Lankan state should address the issue of political settlement because of the diaspora mobilisation will be counterproductive. The attempt to use the fear of the Tamil diaspora could have repercussions undermining both the interests of the Tamil community and broader democratisation in the country. The diaspora mobilisation will only reinforce militarization in Sri Lanka and strengthen Sinhala nationalism.

The writer seems to be putting forward a funny argument that if the ‘defeated’ Tamils don’t have their political mobilisation, then the Sinhala state will stop the oppression.

But this ‘defeatist’ too is frustrated after supporting the Sri Lankan state in the war: “Given the history of many brave Tamil democracy activists who have stood up to the LTTE and often paid with their lives, the Rajapaksa regime’s approach of using the former LTTE leaders for its own political gains in engaging the Tamil population, only stifles the emergence of a strong Tamil democratic leadership within the country,” he wrote as though such a leadership can come from politics without self-respect.

Those who seek political space in a ‘united Sri Lanka’ in this way has a long way to go in realising about the Sinhala state.

While the appearance of this article show where the Economic and Political Weekly stand on a chronic national question in South Asia, what is of more interest is the echo that has come from an Indian intelligence writer, Col. Hariharan.

Hariharan came out with all praises for KP “as a man of sound common sense and pragmatism,” showing realism much needed by those still voicing LTTE slogans. ‘Counterinsurgency’ writer D.B.S. Jeyaraj also came out with similar views on KP.

According to Hariharan’s prophesy KP is slated for a political position in 2011, after Colombo milking from him evidence as a ‘crown witness’ in the prosecution of the hard-core LTTE cadres in custody.

“Increasing public projection of KP in spite of his detention has caused uneasiness among Tamil politicians who consider it as Rajapaksa’s ploy to destabilise them,” Hariharan said, but added that it fits well with the larger Sri Lankan game plan to handle the Tamil diaspora.

According to Hariharan, KP seems to have thrown a spanner in the works of sections of the diaspora to rebuild a unified organisation.

But unlike Kadirgamar, Hariharan sees the difficulty in weaning over the Tamil diaspora from the Eelam cause.

“The other segment has a much deeper ideological belief in preserving the Tamil identity and creation the Tamil Eelam as the only process to do it. This segment has its origins even before the LTTE was born. This segment is deeply suspicious of majority Sinhalese’s political intentions due to historical experience. And it had been the fountainhead of separatism. It would probably be never wholly won over by the reasoning of the type KP dispenses. However, he may make a dent in its system of beliefs”.

“This segment needs political solutions to disprove their ingrained beliefs. These have not been forthcoming for the last three decades from successive Sri Lankan governments. And even now little has been done, other than talking about implementing even a half way house solution like the 13th amendment to the constitution,” Hariharan wrote.

Hariharan cites his intelligence counterpart of Colombo, Rohan Gunaratne advocating for ‘multi-ethnic’ Sri Lanka. Some Colombo-based INGOs were also recommending recently that Rohan has ‘changed’. But, last week in Colombo he said the theory that a political solution is a prelude to defeating an insurgency articulated by Western theorists and scholars was shattered by Colombo’s victory. To see that the LTTE doesn’t re-emerge in his lifetime, he doesn’t envisage any political solution but he wants the army to do the ‘development’ in the North and East and Colombo to expand its intelligence.

Many members of the Rajapaksa government privately admit that Tamils should not even dream of the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.

Rajapaksa government is confident of eternally playing the China card, and informed circles in India say that India will not press for any substantial solutions, fearing Colombo’s leaning towards China. In fact New Delhi, and more than that Chennai, are the contributors in burdening Eezham Tamils with the extremism of defeatism. But, however hard they may be appeasing, ultimately it is the US that is going to emerge along with China as the saviour of Rajapaksa regime, say informed circles in Colombo.

On US-China strategic partnership, a book review appeared in The Guardian on Sunday said “ Nor should we [EU] depend on the US to keep an eye on China: It is not easy for a country to be on harsh terms with its banker.”

Many wonder why such huge bases of military in the North and East. Colombo has more schemes than what Ahilan Kadirgamar naively imagines and attributes to the diaspora mobilisation.

If India needs at least a part of the island to be on its side, it has to revise its policies. But it is hard for the people of the IPKF generation like Hariharan or for the policy makers in New Delhi who use his writings as a probe.

If for over 60 years some card of Colombo is making India to push the Eezham Tamils and Indian Tamils in the island to the extremism of defeatism then why shouldn’t Tamils think of alternatives? There are many. Tamil Nadu may have to take care.

But for everything, Tamils need a strong democratic politics. It may have many shades but should be monolithic when it comes to the national question. The extremism of defeatism thrust upon Eezham Tamils is sure to contribute to a fresh upsurge that will be united and powerful more than ever in dealing with not only the national question but also the liberation of all sections of the Eezham Tamil society.

Eezham Tamils know very well that the only living space for the Sinhalese is in the island. They respect and appreciate the unique development of Sinhala culture in the island. They have never asked for the land of the Sinhalese. They only assert to their right for their own land, which is the only rightful living space for them in the world.

People who understand this configuration and their representatives only could forge a solution to the question in the island.

It is saddening to note that even the world elders who voice for individual human rights in the island fail to acknowledge that in the context of the island only justice to the nations could largely guarantee the rights of individuals and their posterity, as history has shaped it so in the island.


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