To be consequent as an Internationalist New Year 2012

Ron Ridenour

Expanded speech written for “Message from the Grass Roots” conference held December 10, 2011 at Carpenters Union—TIB—in Valby, Denmark. Herein are many wars and liberation struggles from Afghanistan and Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, over to Haiti and Honduras, to Sri Lanka-Tamils, to the pro-liberation and anti-capitalist movements in the Arabic world, in Chile, at OWS and spreading throughout the US and into some of Europe, sparking Russians.

“To be internationalist is to pay our debt to humanity”
Says Fidel Castro and this can be read on many billboards in Cuba.

What is internationalism?—cooperation among people and nations, states my dictionary. The book of definitions maintains that internationalism is a principle of communism and socialism. It is the belief of ideological leaders such as Lenin, Fidel and Che.

Che wrote in his essay, “Socialism and Man”, that proletarian internationalism isn’t just a duty but a necessity. If revolutionary leaders forget this, Che wrote, the revolution will lose its inspiration and imperialism will benefit.

Che was also known for having severely criticized Soviet Union leadership for having lost its internationalism with the world’s proletariat and the Third World. Following up on Che’s critique, I find it important to criticize communist and socialist parties, and governments led by these parties, which let down people who are oppressed by or invaded by national or foreign powers.

Internationalism in action

1. Internationalists must support resistance fighters against invasions. Therefore, one must chastise political parties and groups that give political or moral support to those who call themselves the Iraq Communist Party as it is part of the Quisling government the USA terrorist state set in. ICP leaders live side by side the invaders in the Green Zone. That there are organizations in the United States, UK, Denmark and elsewhere, which call themselves communist or socialist parties and that cooperate with the world’s greatest terrorist state is incomprehensible, shameful, immoral and anti-internationalist.

2. The same applies to people who still support the Zionist state of Israel, which commits genocide against the Palestinian people. Millions of decent people have gotten together to support Palestinians in many ways, including Ships to Gaza. In Denmark, four groups of people have challenged the state’s terrorist laws by donating solidarity aid to the secular leftist PFLP which is part of the Palestinian resistance. Rebellion (Denmark), Fighters and Lovers, Horserød-Stuthoff Association (veterans of WWII resistance fighters imprisoned in Horserød and Stuthoff prisons), and TIB’s club (local carpenters near Copenhagen) have aided both PFLP and FARC, Colombian armed liberation movement.

3. Internationalist can not cooperate with US-NATO aggressive wars, which always have the goal of controlling that country’s economy and politics for capitalist profits. It is shameful that many experienced socialists and communists, as well as naïve progressive people, have backed up West’s big capitalist plans to take over Libya, and thus have bombed Libya back to the stone age. Denmark was one of only six countries that dropped tens of thousands of bombs on Libya, destroying much of it infrastructure, school, hospitals…In fact, Denmark dropped more bombs on Libya than it has on any other country in its history, Afghanistan included. And the pilots were cowards as there was no resistance by Libya’s air force, already decimated.

This conflict has little to do with the Arab Spring movement. It is a conflict between internal war lords, with ordinary people involved who wished to increase democracy but who were misled by US-NATO whose forces seek to control Libya’s oil and avoid a gold-based currency that Gaddafi was promoting amongst all African countries. Now, US-NATO has placed a lackey government in Tripoli just as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

4. Internationalists must also criticize comrade governments, such as Cuba and ALBA governments in Latin America, when they make big mistakes regarding internationalism. We can’t be true comrades-solidarity activists by keeping our mouths shut when this occurs. Such is the case with their support of the brutal government of Sri Lanka, which practices genocide against the minority Tamil population. Ever since independence from Great Britain, in 1947, the majority Sinhalese governments and chauvinist Buddhist monk system has discriminated against Tamils. They have constantly been treated as second class citizens, their language and religions relegated to secondary status without national recognition. Even pogroms have been employed with the brutal murder of many thousand on various occasions. And since May 2009, following the end of 26-year civil war, ethnic cleansing in the traditional Tamil homeland in the north and eastern areas is the rule of the day.

Cuba and ALBA have spoken only positively of their historic ties with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), to which Sri Lanka is a member, but so are 130 other nations. One cannot, in the name of protecting each nation’s sovereignty, avoid critique when one or more of these nations oppresses or conducts pogroms and genocide against part of the population. Nor can we accept as an excuse the immoral geo-political game that nearly all governments of whatever color play.

We shall also criticize Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and other Latin American progressive governments for helping the US and France in their ouster of the only decent and only democratically elected people’s president in Haiti’s history, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. These Latin American governments actually assist the US’s 2004 coup d´état against Aristide by placing occupying troops in the small country, seeking to dampen the people’s anger. These progressive governments should, instead, back up the people’s desire to bring their president back to state power, just as they sought to do for President Zelaya in Honduras where national capitalists and generals kicked him out of office, with background support once again by the United States government.

5. On the personal and organizational plain, internationalism operates when workers of a major firm ask people to boycott a product because of the mistreatment of the workers by the firm. This is the case with Coca-Cola who workers in Colombia asked us to stop buying the “drink of the death squad” (David Rovic’s song), because it hires mercenaries to murder workers who seek to organize a union and struggle for collective bargaining. Workers in other countries, such as Guatemala, and farmers in India have asked the same.

It is with joy that I can state that here where we gather (carpenters’ hall in Valby, Denmark), this union is one of the few local unions and political or grass roots groups in Denmark that has boycotted Coca-Cola. This is something any and all individuals can do. It is just a soda drink. So drink something else. Boycotting Coca-Cola is just like boycotting all products from Israel and Sri Lanka. It is a simple act of solidarity, of internationalism.

Charlotte and I have just returned from a six week trip in India where two of my books (“Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka” and “Sounds of Venezuela”) were published by New Century Book House, Tamil Nadu. The Tamil book concerns the history and contemporary life of the Tamil people in that island-nation, and the need to act in solidarity with them. The Venezuela short book concerns this people’s efforts to create a better world for themselves and solidarity with all peoples. When people asked us where we are from we often replied that we are “internationalists”. Interestingly, many Indians understood our meaning and were pleased to think in terms of being brothers and sisters in the world.

This concept, and feeling, of brotherly love, of internationalism has taken off in a bigger way, in 2011, than in many decades. It started in Tunisia, and has expanded to the indignados in Spain, to the anti-capitalists in Wall Street and in hundreds of cities throughout the US and the West.

We have much to criticize and yet much to be glad for as 2012 opens. We must remember and appreciate those who set us off on this new anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist, non-violent and democratic revolution—from the martyr in Tunisia (street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi) and his Iraqi spiritual brother a bit earlier, shoe-thrower Muntazar al-Zaidi, to Occupy Wall Street protestors to Bradley Manning and Julian Assange and co-workers at Wikileaks, who helped spark it all by blowing the whistle on the war criminals. These modern-day Paris Commune resisters without arms—OWS and Occupy the World—are growing and they are presenting a vision and with it a program-in-discussion that must be studied and supported.

Internationalism is an endless struggle, an endless challenge. It does not end even when one or more of our political parties take over the governing reigns. We activists from the streets must always keep our wary eyes pinned on the leaders, regardless of their names, just as our clear eyes cast light upon humanity’s future.

Cuba-ALBA lands are Tamils’ natural allies

Following is the text of Ron Ridenour’s talk in Chennai (November 12, 2011). Ron is in India for the launching of the Indian edition of his books “Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka”, “Sounds of Venezuela”, and “Cuba: Revolution in Action”.

Greetings and appreciation to the Latin American Friendship Association of Chennai, India for inspiring me to become aware of the oppression of the Tamil people by the Sinhalese government of Sri Lanka, and for encouraging me to remind our comrade governments of Cuba and other ALBA country governments of their strong commitment to international solidarity to oppressed people everywhere.

Also I extend my appreciation to New Century Book House for publishing “Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka”, “Sounds of Venezuela”, and “Cuba: Revolution in Action”. Thank you Amarantha for your translation of the Venezuela book; Dhanapal Kumar for your translation of the Cuba book; and Thiagu for your translation-in-progress of the Tamil Nation book.

I start from the premise that Martin Luther King expressed: “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”. In the country of my birth, The Devil’s Own Country, I experienced similar injustice committed against the native peoples and the black people as Tamils suffer, especially in Sri Lanka where they are subjugated to Shinalese chauvinism. I joined with millions of brothers and sisters of all colours to fight racism, to struggle for equal rights, for education and health care for all, even the basic right to vote.

Europeans invaded the Americans and stole the lands and wealth held by native peoples for thousands of years. They enslaved black Africans who they held as slaves and even after slavery ended they kept them as second-class citizens.

Black people developed various forms of struggle including civil disobedience, sit-ins, pickets, mass rallies, propaganda, and voting for equality where possible. Another form of struggle was the Black Panther Party’s armed self-defence when attacked by Ku Klux Klan and the ruling class’ police. Another form was the Gravey Movement that called for separation from the United States, demanding territory in the south. Very much like the Tamils after the 1976 Vattukottai resolution.

In the United States millions of blacks and whites fought this racist discrimination for over a century and eventually won most basic rights but not before millions were arrested, imprisoned for long times, and many murdered. Many thousands of black people were lynched, burned alive, mutilated, tortured to death until the 1980s.

Fidel Castro: “Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are out enemies…Our country is really the whole world, and all the revolutionaries of the world are our brothers.” “To be internationalist is to settle our debt with humanity.”

Che Guevara from “Socialism and Man”: “The revolutionary is the ideological motor force of the revolution. If he forgets his proletarian internationalism, the revolution, which he heads will cease to be an inspiring force and he will sink into a comfortable lethargy, which imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize well. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. So we educate our people.”

I believe that these principles apply to the Tamils of Sri Lanka. I believe Che would agree with your struggle for equality and when not possible to achieve within the Sri Lankan chauvinist context, he would understand your fight for your own nationhood.

I think this is also what Lenin meant in his 1916 thesis, “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination”:

“Victorious socialism must necessarily establish a full democracy and, consequently, not only introduce full equality of nations but also realize the right of the oppressed nations to self-determination, that is, the right to free political separation.”

I am hurt and deeply disappointed that the government of Cuba—where I have lived and worked side by side with the people and government for eight years—as well as the socialist-progressive governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and other Latin American governments have not understood that those principles must apply to the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. I got involved in solidarity with your people’s struggle because you have been so brutally treated, and because of these righteous principles expressed by Lenin, Fidel and Che. I have written critically about these governments siding with the Sinhalese governments of Sri Lanka while it denies the Tamil people those basic principles and rights, and commits genocide.

Perhaps Cuba+ have not understood the history of struggle that Tamils have undergone to win full equal rights before taking up arms. For 30 years you fought peacefully but you were met with brutal force, with pogroms/massacres of hundreds and thousands of people—even worse than that used against blacks in the US, and against Palestinians by Israelis. And, unfortunately, it was not only the governments that have done this against Tamils but also misguided Buddhist monks who betray the peaceful, coexistence values of Buddhism.

Your people’s organizations must meet and discuss these realities with the communist and socialist parties and with people’s grass roots and indigenous organizations in Latin America and elsewhere. You must explain to them your history, why you had to take up arms and fight for separation, for an independent nation. They have to hear of your suffering, of your struggles, why Tamil Eelam is a NECESSITY. You must remind them what they say about international solidarity, about what Lenin meant about political separation when the ruling powers will not grant a people their basic democratic and equal rights.

The progressive governments have won majority votes for new constitutions in Bolivia, in Ecuador, in Venezuela that grant equal rights to their indigenous peoples. In Bolivia, for instance, under the new constitution there are four official national languages, three of them are indigenous ones as well as Spanish. The same equalitarian development is happening in several progressive-pro socialist governments in Latin America. If these people could know you simply want these same rights, they would listen to you and stop backing Sri Lanka. But they have been misguided because when they hear the worst terrorist in the world—The United States of America government—raise a little finger of possible criticism that maybe the Sri Lanka government should investigate itself to find some official scapegoat for violating human rights, Cuba+ react against this hypocrisy. But they must know that in this case the Sri Lanka government is a terrible violator of human rights, and not just against the Tamils, but also against Muslims, the indigenous tribes, and it also exploits Sinhalese workers and the poor, and castes.

We must understand that Cuba, and so many governments and peoples, has been victimized by the United States false accusation that it commits “human rights abuse”. Cuba has been blockaded by the US since its victory in 1959. The US tried to overthrow the new revolution in April 1961. It brought the entire world to the brink of a nuclear war in October 1962. The US has sabotaged Cuba, murdered and handicapped thousands of its citizens; it even infiltrated bacteriological diseases in its livestock, its grains and sugar cane.

What has Cuba done to “deserve” this murderous aggression? It has done what Big Capital does not do, what imperialists will not do. It has introduced full and free education and health care. It has assured every citizen food and shelter. No one starves. 80% of its people own their own homes after paying the state simply what it actually costs to build them.

It has organized an excellent system of disaster management in which people and their animals are evacuated before hurricanes hit the island nation. And more often than not no one is killed, and their livestock is saved. That is not what happens in the United States especially in the areas where blacks and poor people live and are struck by natural disasters.

Cuba came to the aid of Angola when attacked by apartheid South Africa. Cuba, alongside with the new Venezuela, comes to the aid of tens of millions of people in scores of land around the world with their medical care, curing even blindness, and educating people to read and write, offering sports and technical assistance. Cuba has more doctors serving the international arena than is offered by all the governments in the United Nations. Cuba does not export war and torture, disease and starvation. It exports “human capital”.

Tamils in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka Tamil refugees here and in the Diaspora should not rely on the greatest terrorist in the world to help them. The Yankees offer no help without humiliating costs. We must be aware that since World War 11, the US has invaded/intervened militarily 160 times in 66 countries. We must understand that now with a black-faced puppet president of Big Capital, the imperialists are at war in seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Ethiopia and now Uganda. They kill tens of millions; they torture hundreds of thousands; they starve hundreds of millions.

US’s staunch ally, Zionist Israel commits genocide against the Palestinian people. It offered Mossad intelligence, great amounts of weaponry, killer aircraft and even pilots to Sri Lanka, in order to murder the Tamils. After the end of the war, May 2009, Sri Lanka sent its military chief-of-staff, Donald Perera, to Israel as its ambassador, a reward for Zionist assistance. He told the largest Zionist daily, Yedioth Abornoth,: “I consider your country a partner in the war against terror,” thus coupling terrorism with the Palestinians’ struggle for their homeland and the Tamils’ simple right to exist in peace and equality.

Perera spoke proudly of having “a great relationship with your military industries and with Israel Aerospace industries.”

Perera spoke about the murder, on May 31, 2010, of nine Turkish solidarity activists bound for Gaza with survival supplies: “I can understand that Israel had to protect itself.”

Perhaps because of the complexity of geo-politics, the history of standing for sovereignty of the member nations of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), the leaders of Cuba and ALBA lands (Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America) cannot support the goal of a separate nation within Sri Lanka. But they could be convinced to chastise the Sri Lankan government for its atrocities against the Tamil people, and the other oppressed people under the chauvinist Sinhalese leadership. They could see within the context of their moral ideology that it is only right that Tamils must have equality and the basic right to exist without fear of murder and takeovers of their homes and lands. Your peoples’ organizations should remind these pro-Palestinian governments that it is only Israel that supports the US blockade against Cuba; that it is the US and Israel that lead the tiny opposition to Palestine’s right to be a member of the United Nations.

Regardless of whether Cuba has achieved socialism—it is a long process after all and there is so much destruction and subversion coming from the Yankee imperialists—the Cuban people and the government are still worthy of our love and support. They have conducted no wars or torture against any people and they have helped many millions. It is now time that they are approached by all your organizations and become convinced to come to the aid of their natural brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka—the oppressed Tamil people.

We have wandered over the deserts and the seas. We have been hungry and thirsty. We have been murdered and tortured. We are of the working class, of the castes; we are many races and nationalities. We share a common vision: freedom and equality; bread and water on the table; a shelter over our heads. We must fight together to live in peace and harmony.

We must unite around the world and struggle for an independent international investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity against Sri Lanka government leaders.

We must call for a worldwide BOYCOTT of Sri Lanka.
CHE GUEVARA would be on our side today!

A Letter to ALBA countries

Amarantha for Latin American Friendship Association (Erode, Tamil Nadu)

Dear Comrades,

“Humanity is Homeland” said Jose Marti, poet, philosopher and Father of the Cuban Revolutionary war.

“The exploited, all over the world, are our compatriots; and exploiters all over the world our enemies… our country is really the whole world and all Revolutionaries of the world are our brothers” said Fidel Castro, Hero of the Cuban revolution who realized Marti’s dreams.

Cuban doctors are at work among less fortunate people in many parts of the world. Cuban medical teams are engaged in relief and rehabilitation work in various countries devastated by natural disasters. More than 26,000 students from across the world study medicine free of cost at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana promising to serve the poor and needy back home.

But why did the present leaders of Cuba hail Sri Lanka for killing Eelam Tamils? Why did they tow behind India in praising the Sri Lankan state at the UN Human Rights Council when tens of thousands of Eelam Tamils were killed in the gruesome war? Are Eelam Tamils excluded from the Internationalism unique to Cuba?

We at the Latin American Friendship Association consisting of Tamils of Tamil Nadu, India, were shocked and disheartened when the ALBA countries, at the insistence of Cuba, voted in favor of the Sri Lankan State at the UNHRC on 27 May, 2009. It is now time for Cuba and other Latin American countries to correct their stand about Eelam Tamils in the light of the UN Advisory Panel Report on Sri Lanka, released on 25 April, 2011.

Members of the U.N. Advisory Panel on Sri Lanka constituted by the Secretary General of U.N. Mr. Ban-ki-Moon, have confirmed the allegations of Tamils living across the world. The report confirms that more than 40,000 civilians were killed by heavy artillery and widespread shelling by Sri Lankan govt. forces; that there was systematic shelling on “No fire zones” including hospitals, schools, etc…. It strongly denies the Govt. of Sri Lanka’s claims of “Humanitarian…. Operation” with a policy of “zero civilian causalities” and indicates that a wide range of serious violations of International Humanitarian Laws and International Human Rights Laws were committed by the Govt. of Sri Lanka. Though it has been alleged that the LTTE had used civilians as human shields, recruited children in its cadre and stored weapons in civilian areas, the panel report accuses the Govt. of Sri Lanka of trampling on all International Humanitarian Laws. Therefore, the panel has called upon the UN Security council to “reconsider the resolution passed by the UNHRC on 27 May 2009 in light of the Panel Report”.

One may recall that the permanent People’s Tribunal, an international body independent of any state authority, after examining evidences and hearing eye-witnesses in Dublin in January 2010, concluded that the Sri Lankan government is guilty of War crimes and Crimes against Humanity and that the International community, particularly the U.K. and U.S.A., share responsibility for the breakdown of the peace process during 2002-2006. The tribunal comprised of renowned jurists, Nobel laureates including Rajinder Sachar, former chief justice of New Delhi High Court, Sulak Sivaraksa- a Buddhist Peace campaigner, writer, etc… This People’s Tribunal was set up by the continuous efforts of the Tamil Diaspora, Tamils in Tamil Nadu and some Sinhala democrats.

The Tribunal termed the civil war a “war without witnesses” because, the GoSL prevented entry of both National and International media into the war zone. In fact, some of the early victims were journalists who were murdered by unknown assassins. The atrocities carried out by the military relate particularly to civilians and there are evidences of cluster bombs being dropped by warplanes. Sexual abuse and rape of women by government troops was yet another atrocity repeated throughout the civil war by govt. military in destroyed villages and in the “welfare villages”. This led to tragedies such as abortions and suicide by victims unable to live with family shame and mental trauma. This policy of targeting also applied to Tamils living outside the conflict zone. Apart from mass deportations, selective terror campaigns were carried out by means of abductions, assassinations, arbitrary arrests, detention, sexual assault and torture.

The tribunal insists that the charges of genocide require further investigation, whereas the U.N. Panel on Sri Lanka restricts itself to allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The U.N. fails to view the conflict in Sri Lanka as an ethnic issue as it does not recognize the Tamils’ struggle for statehood or the Tamils as a nationality with a genuine need to protect itself from extermination. Sri Lanka’s war crimes are only a part of ethnic cleansing of Tamils over the last 60 years.

The Sinhala rulers on assuming power from the British in 1948 began the systematic oppression of Tamils in all aspects of life.

(1) One million Tamils were excluded from citizenship and rendered stateless by the citizenship Act 18 of 1948. Act 48 of 1949 denied the right to vote enjoyed by the Tamils until then.
(2) Tamil homelands in the North and East were deliberately colonized by Sinhalese with state funds, but were excluded from all development projects.
(3) The Sinhala Only Act of 1958 and Standardization Act of the same year deprived Tamils of higher education, employment opportunities, professional opportunities and all public office thereby consolidating the racial discrimination.
(4) Thousands of Tamils were killed in racial violence let loose by the Sinhala rulers in 1956, 1958, 1974, 1976, and 1977 against innocent Tamils. There was widespread looting, arson, rape, torture, burning people alive, destroying property and centers of cultural importance – all planned and executed by racist Sinhala Governments.
(5) The state sponsored violence against Tamils in August 1977 forced more than 50,000 Tamils to migrate to northern part of Eelam and to several other countries including India.
(6) Burning of Jaffna Library in 1981 and the massacre of Tamils detained in Welikkede Prison determined armed struggle as the only course available for the Tamils for their liberation.

Is Sri Lanka an anti-imperialist state? :

Sri Lanka, which calls itself as a ‘Socialist Democratic Republic’, was the first country in South Asia to open itself for globalization in 1976, and amended its economic policy accordingly. Recently, the Sri Lanka Govt. has evacuated poor people from neighborhoods around Colombo to offer lands for multi-national companies.

Active military collobaration between the ‘anti-imperialist’ Sri Lanka and United States has been going on for more than two decades. The United States of America has been arming and financing Sri Lanka for most of the civil war period. [] From at least the 1990s, the US has provided military training, financing, logistic supplies and weapons sales worth millions annually. A Voice of America installation was set up in the northwestern part of the country.

The Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA ) was signed soon after Rajapaksa assumed power. It was U.S. citizen Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Defense Minister, and brother to President Rajapaksa, who signed the agreement, March 5, 2007. Their younger brother, also a minister, is a US citizen too.) . ACSA will enable the United States to utilize Sri Lanka’s ports, airports and air space. As a prelude to the signing of the agreement scheduled for July, this year, United States Naval ships have been calling at the Colombo Port for bunkering as well as to enable sailors to go on shore leave.

In return for the facilities offered, Sri Lanka is to receive military assistance from the United States including increased training facilities and equipment. The training, which will encompass joint exercises with United States Armed Forces, will focus on counter terrorism and related activity. The agreement will be worked out on the basis of the use of Sri Lanka’s ports, airports, and air space to be considered hire-charges that will be converted for military hardware.

Today, lands in the war-torn North and Eastern parts of the Island are shared among Indian and Chinese corporate companies.

Sri Lanka is not a secular state as the constitution itself states that Buddhism is the foremost religion in the Island though there are people belonging to various other religions.

“War on Terror” is a slogan borrowed by Sri Lanka from the U.S. to justify the genocidal war on Tamils, using sophisticated weapons of mass destruction supplied by the U.S., Israel, Japan, Italy, China and India.

Truth and the UNHRC Resolution dated 27 May 2009; The Current Situation:

The U.N. Panel Report of 25 April 2011 is more than enough evidence to conclude that the UNHRC Resolution of 27 May 2009 is far removed from truth. The magnitude of physical torture, psychological torture, disease, starvation and abuse of the Tamils survivors has few precedents in history. It will be several generations before the Tamils recover from the horror of this war. As with any war, women have borne the brunt – there are about 89,000 war widows in Eelam. Tamil women have been molested, sexually harassed and raped as part of the genocidal program so that they never return to normal life. The Sri Lankan army has taken upon itself the duty of not letting any humanitarian aid reach the Tamil survivors. Deprived of food, water, medicine, medical services and other basic necessities, Tamils have been subject to several epidemics in the camps, leading to steady rise in death toll. There were an estimated three hundred thousand Tamils in these modern day “concentration camps” immediately after the war. The number has been dwindling by the day and two years after the war, though the govt. of Sri Lanka claims to have “let free” and “rehabilitated” Tamils, there is no evidence of resettlement; there is no information as to where these people were “resettled”. A state of emergency is still in vogue and the fear-gripped, psychologically tortured people in camps are still under the wrath of the Sri Lankan Army.

We would like to call upon the ALBA countries and other radical governments of Latin America to reflect upon the situation prevailing in south Asia. Countries that became independent after the Second World War including India (1947), Pakistan (1947) and Sri Lanka (1948) were under British rule for centuries. The British ruled these countries inhabited by several Nationalities speaking different languages under a single administrative unit for their own convenience. When these colonies became independent, people of different Nationalities were forced to remain under one state without recognition as separate Nationalities having separate homelands. This improper decolonization led to fighting by different Nationalities for the retrieval of their right to self-rule.

Just as the Tamils in Sri Lanka fighting for Eelam, their traditional homeland, there are other genuine Nationality struggles going on in Kashmir and the North Eastern states in India. Tamils and Punjabis are the potential Nationalities likely to rise in struggle sooner or later. With these realities in its backyard, the Indian government chose to assist the Sri Lanka Govt. in its war against the Liberation of Tamil Eelam. India let Sri Lanka use its satellites for surveillance, supplied sophisticated equipment including radars, technical assistance and billions of rupees in aid for the war against Eelam Tamils. India is well aware that a liberated Eelam state would not tolerate the dominance of the Indian state and its sway over Trincomalee, the strategically located natural port in Eelam territory. Liberation of Eelam could prove to be more than just precedence for Tamils in Tamil Nadu and other Nationalities in the Indian State. India has conveyed its message that it is capable of “nipping trouble in the bud” by deliberately taking part in the ethnic cleansing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

In the light of the above, we urge the radical governments of Latin America to demand that:
a) The UNHRC Resolution dated 27 May 2009 be removed from the UN records.
b) The struggle of Eelam Tamils is accepted as a liberation struggle for the retrieval of their Homelands.
c) The Sri Lankan govt. under Mahinda Rajapakse is investigated for genocidal crimes in the international court of justice.
d) The planned Sinhala colonization and the land-grab by multinational corporations in Eelam be stopped immediately
e) International media and International Human Rights activists are allowed entry into Sri Lankan territory to gain access to the truth which has not happened even two years after the end of the war
f) Rehabilitation and resettlement happen under the supervision of the UN Peacekeeping Force
g) These countries join hands with Eelam Tamil support groups across the world in demanding that the Eelam Tamils languishing in camps under horrific conditions be let free to return to their homes and all humanitarian assistance rendered to restore normalcy in their lives.

We believe that the blossoming of Socialism in the Twenty First Century and its endurance will not be complete without the liberation of oppressed Nationalities of South Asia. The Eelam Tamils have paid their dues for such liberation dearly and this would no doubt go down in history as the impotence of the left and radical forces.

Imperialism has been successful in spreading the myth that ‘Communism is dead’ and ‘There Is No Alternative'(TINA) to capitalism. If we, as committed anti-imperialists fail to extend our solidarity for the democratic aspirations of the peoples, it will only become a historic blunder of joining hands with imperialism to bury the ideology of communism. And we would like to remind here the saying of the great Internationalist Che Guevera:

“The revolutionary [is] the ideological motor force of the revolution…if he forgets his proletarian internationalism, the revolution which he leads will cease to be an inspiring force and he will sink into a comfortable lethargy, which imperialism, our irreconcilable enemy, will utilize well. Proletarian internationalism is a duty, but it is also a revolutionary necessity. So we educate our people.”

The U.N. Panel Report on Sri Lanka released on April 25, 2011 gives us an opportunity to recognize the just struggle of Eelam Tamils for their self determination and to restore the dignity of International Humanitarian Laws. Cuba and the other Latin American countries should now voice their support for Eelam Tamils and demonstrate their true International spirit handed down to them by Comrade Ernesto Che Guevera.

We look forward to your cooperation in making this effort a success. A line in reply would go a long way in forging our belief in Freedom.

Madras: May Day, 1923

May Day was first observed in India in 1923 in the city of Madras. It was organised by M. Singaravelu Chettiyar (“the first communist in South India”). Chettiyar later presided over the first Congress of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in 1925. It was thus reported in Vanguard (edited by MN Roy):

The First of May was celebrated for the first time in India as a proletarian holiday, when in response to the call of M. Singaravelu Chettiyar, veteran Indian socialist, two mass meetings were held in the open air in the city of Madras, where the grievances of the workers formed the theme of the addresses and the establishment of a workers’ and peasants’ party was announced in accordance of the manifesto previously published in the Tamil language. The audience was composed of workers and peasants and speeches were made in the vernacular so that everything was understood by them. The significance of May Day was explained, and the formation of a political party of the working class for the attainment of “labour swaraj” was urged. Comrade Singaravelu who presided over one of the meetings welcomed the advent of the first of May as a proletarian holiday in India and explained the growth of the class struggle in India as in other countries of the world. The aim of the workers of India should be labour swaraj, he declared. So long as the state was on the side of the capitalist and safeguarded the vested interests, labour organisations could accomplish little to change the lot of the expropriated working class. The relation of Indian labour to the international proletarian movement was also made clear, and the necessity of organising a working class party to head the struggle for economic and political power emphasised. It was declared that the new party would work within the Congress. Resolutions were passed declaring for celebration of May First as an annual working-class holiday in concert with international labour: demanding economic relief for the Indian working class; urging a united front with the workers of the world to secure labour swaraj; recommending opposition to government institutions and declaring for working inside the Congress as a separate working-class party. The meetings were largely attended and the demonstration passed off successfully. Telegrams to the press of other provinces were sent by the Labour and Kisan Party urging similar celebration of May Day throughout India.

Mullivaikkal – Before and After

Thozhar Thiagu

“Mullivaikkal May 19 was a deluge in the history of Eelam Tamils. It has drowned everything. It has overturned all our old beliefs and ideals. We have no other option than to develop new viewpoints in accordance with the new situation.”

I heard an Eelam Tamil elder speak in these terms during my recent visit to North America. He did not even call himself an Eelam Tamil, but identified himself only as a Lankan Tamil.

Ideological Split

Not only this elder, but several others have come to the conclusion that such ideals as Tamil homeland, retrieval of sovereignty and Tamil Eelam liberation may altogether be forgotten and that it is enough we do our best to help the suffering people there. A section of the Tamil diaspora has discernibly changed to this new viewpoint. Though we cannot say whether they constitute a majority or not, sure they are not few.

There are still many who believe in the liberation of Tamil Eelam, and are doing their best for the cause. But even with them there is a lot to discuss.

The ideological split among the Eelam Tamil diaspora can also be seen to be reflected to some extent with the overseas Tamilnadu Tamils. No doubt Tamils living in Eelam would also be split along these lines. The extensive and intensive degree of disillusionment is, I fear, likely to be higher particularly among the Eelam Tamils languishing in prisons, barbed-wire concentration camps, and out there in open- air- prison-like circumstances under military watch. My fear was vindicated when I spoke with some who had recently been there.

Talk of setback as self-consolation

It must be accepted that the Sinhalese supremacists have not only succeeded in recklessly exterminating thousands of Tamils and crushing the Tamil Eelam liberation force, but rudely shaken the faith and conviction of the Eelam Tamils in particular and the world Tamils in general in the objective of Tamil Eelam liberation. If without grasping fully this significance of the Mullivaikkal holocaust we just seek self-consolation by describing it as “a small setback”, “a temporary setback”, etc., we shall not be able to take a single step towards emancipation.

If you can feel the distress of the Eelam Tamil people and the suffering they are still undergoing, you will understand that all those who say “no liberation, suffice it to be alive peacefully” cannot be brushed aside as cowards and traitors. Though there are of course a few cowards who fall at the feet of the enemy and traitors who betray the cause exploiting the difficult situation we are in, to dismiss everyone as such will not help. It must be seen that even some who in the past worked with dedication for the liberation of Tamil Eelam have now suffered a loss of faith.

While accepting the justification for the mental depression that all is over with May 19, is what is put forward as the new viewpoint correct? When I posed this question and provoked a discussion it turned out that none of these say they did not want Tamil Eelam, but have only concluded that it was no longer possible.

Cruelties continue

If all is over, what is it all that is over? Is Sinhalese supremacist chauvinism over? Are its national oppression and repression over? No. Not only have the high security zones established in Tamil areas not been dismantled, but new military camps are coming up. While more than one lakh Tamils are still held in concentration camps, most of those released from these camps are yet to be rehabilitated. Attempts are on to settle Sinhalese in Tamil homeland areas.

Many leading members of the liberation movement have been tortured to death after their surrender. Even those belonging to the art-and-literature wings have not been spared. The world knows what happened to Natesan and Pulithevan. The Sinhalese government is yet to respond to the question mark around the fate of Balakumaran, Pudhuvai Rathinadurai, Yogi and others. Apart from those killed, more than ten thousand young men and women are detained without any judicial trial. UN experts have confirmed the authenticity of the video pictures of Tamil youth, naked, blindfolded, hands tied, kicked down and shot dead. A TV channel of London has broadcast scenes of Tamil youth being brutally tortured to death.

The Permanent People’s Tribunal sitting at Dublin has ruled the Rajapkshe gang to be guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the basis of incontrovertible evidence. Though the UNO failed to stop the 2009 May holocaust, its General Secretary has belatedly appointed a three-member committee to report to him on the war crimes in Sri Lanka. The indecent ways the Sinhalese Government resorted to against this committee showed that it will go to any extent to cover up its crimes. While justice has not yet been done for what happened, nor have the cruelties stopped, what is the meaning of telling Tamils that all is over? It can only be: “Quit the aspiration to live as rightful humans. Get used to live as slaves.”

Some have taken the stand that they would help the people of Tamil Eelam as far as possible without bothering about political rights, liberation and other such things. They have also established some organisations for this purpose. It can never be denied that everything should be done to help the suffering people. Only, it is incorrect to give up political efforts for this purpose. To provide help in a political vacuum is to seek to cook in a vessel with a hole in its bottom.

Man-made deluge

If it was a deluge it should have drowned everyone and everything. But the May 19 deluge was a disaster only for the Tamils! For the chauvinistic minded Sinhalese it was cause for joyful celebration! How then can it be compared with a natural deluge? If at all, it can be called a man-made deluge. It was a deluge created by the Sinhalese government with the collusion of the Government of India and the help of the governments of China and Pakistan in order to destroy the Tamils.

What are the lessons learnt by Tamils at the cost of losing the lives of many thousands of Tamils? In the first place, it is now too evident that in the island of Lanka under Sinhalese rule Tamils cannot exist, leave alone enjoy their rights. It is obvious enough that united Sri Lanka was the system that massacred Tamils.

The need for a separate state of Tamil Eelam has not lessened a wee bit, it has only increased. Secondly, the illusion of the people of Tamil Eelam in general about India is gone with a bang. The belief that the Government of India would protect Tamils has been belied. The Tamil race has been made painfully to realise that India would kill, not save.

Contradiction to be solved

The question that begs our answer is: how to solve the contradiction between the objective need of the Tamils for a separate state of Tamil Eelam and the subjective condition that many of them are disillusioned and dejected? Whether the dream of Tamil Eelam is going to be realised or not depends on solving this contradiction.

Some propose a simple solution. They say: The National Leader of Tamil Eelam is not dead, he is alive somewhere. He is devising some plan to resurrect the Eelam war. Very soon, after three months or three years, armed struggle will be resumed. Such slogans as “The leader will come and secure Tamil Eelam” and “Eelam War V coming soon” appear to be born of subjective wishes and emotions and not based on an objective assessment of real conditions.

Is the Leader alive? If yes, what is he doing? We are not in a position to answer these questions. To wish, to believe, to think it well and good that he be alive is quite different from asserting that he is alive. Likewise we are not in agreement with those who combine their inner desire with the ‘evidence’ released by the Sinhalese government to indulge in propaganda about the death and also the manner of death of Prabhakaran. We have already put forward our standpoint in this regard.

As far as we are concerned, whether Prabhakaran is alive or dead is not a question of opinion or faith. It is a question of fact, as to what happened or did not happen. This fact like so many other facts drowned in Mullivaikkal will one day come out fully. Let us until then put off this question and do our duties. Without playing the game of speculation on the basis of uncertain data, let us act with clarity on confirmed facts. Let us not fall a prey to the enemy’s scheme of engaging our and the world’s concentrated attention to the question of Prabhakaran’s fate with a view to obscuring a full view of the Mullivaikkal massacre.

It is interesting to note that Comrade Rudhrakumaran, the Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, in response to a question whether the Leader was alive, said, “Time alone shall answer certain questions.”

Will Eelam War V break out?

But whether Eelam War V soon breaks out or not does not solely depend on the question whether the Leader is alive or not. If there be a historical necessity that the next stage of the Tamil Eelam national struggle should be in that form, it must happen so, must be made to happen so, irrespective of whether the Leader is there or not. If that cannot be the form of struggle, it will not happen that way even if the Leader is there. He himself would not try to make it happen so.

The central question is: are the main factors that prevailed in the first four phases of the Tamil Eelam liberation war – the preparedness of the people of Tamil Eelam with regard to their being and consciousness, the strength and cohesiveness of the liberation movement, the relative positions of friendly and hostile forces – still there without a basic change? In the present situation of the Tamil Eelam people a conventional or a guerrilla war relying upon them is unthinkable. As of now even peaceful and moralistic struggles are hardly possible.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which functioned cohesively for nearly thirty years, earned great and rare victories to make an indelible mark in history and rose high in glory to the admiration of the world thanks to the active support of the masses, the supreme sacrifice of thousands of martyrs, and the staunch and able guidance of the leadership – that LTTE, it cannot be denied, seems to have suddenly vanished.

The character of the LTTE

Why so? What were the subjective factors behind this? We do not have sufficient data clearly and categorically to answer these questions. But the objective factors – the world situation, the role of India and other foreign powers – are well-known. Whatever the cause the effect is obvious.

The LTTE is a military organisation with a political objective. Instead of a political party establishing a military wing for itself, here a military organisation established a political wing for itself. Why so? The brutal military repression by the Sinhalese supremacists is the answer.

Whether a military force builds a political movement, or a political movement builds a military force depends on the historical circumstances of the particular nation, not on the likes and dislikes of the leadership. In the Russian revolution the party came first. The Red Army was formed only after the triumph of the political revolution. In China a section of the Kuomintang army broke away and founded the Communist Party. In Ireland it was Irish Republican Army that established the political wing Sin Fein.

Command structure smashed

For any organisation of a military nature the command structure is very essential. The command structure of a liberation force is its heart, just as its political ideology is its brain. During the earlier phases of the Eelam War, whether the LTTE won or lost, its command structure remained more or less intact; it did not suffer a collapse or even a serious damage. But, the painful fact is, this time, the end of Eelam War IV has, in addition to causing a holocaust for the masses, totally smashed the command structure of the liberation force. This, of course, is our reading.

Not only from a military point of view, but even from a political one, the Sinhalese supremacists remain a potent force not just internally but at the South Asian and the international levels as well. The condition of the forces of Tamil Eelam liberation is quite the opposite. No need to panic at this reality. It is also true that it is not everlasting. But only by recognising this to be the present situation and grasping it can we fight for change.

The responsibility of Tamilnadu

Why could not the Mullivaikkal massacre be prevented? In a situation where the people of Tamil Eelam could not protect themselves the responsibility and the capability of protecting them belongs to the people of Tamilnadu. But as one understands it, either the people of Tamilnadu failed to carry out this responsibility, or they were unable to do it in spite of their best efforts.

If the population of world Tamils is ten crores, the Eelam Tamils are only less than half a crore. The Tamilnadu Tamils number more than six crores. Tamilnadu is the first and foremost homeland of Tamils. If Tamilnadu fails to save Tamil Eelam then who else will? In this sense the loss of Tamil Eelam is the loss of Tamilnadu. And why did Tamilnadu lose? Because it is itself a slave nation – this is the correct answer historically.

Tamilnadu sans sovereignty was unable to save the Eelam Tamil nationality. Though there are several factors, such as denial of linguistic rights and denial of riparian rights, to show the subjugation of the Tamil nation under Indian imperialism, it was our miserable inability to stop the war of genocide on Eelam Tamils that was the most telling reminder to us of our slavery.

Why did we lose?

But this should not be mechanically understood to mean that Tamilnadu can help Tamil Eelam only after its own liberation. Even when a nationality is in slavery it can grow strong and powerful and consolidate itself, by realising its slavery and fighting it. A people united and fighting for a just cause can achieve what even a state cannot.

What is the real status of the Tamil nationality that waged a passionate struggle to stop the war on Eelam Tamils. The social division of castes is an old fact. It was in spite of this that the Tamil people fought for their language in 1965, for Eelam now (2008-09). But they could not overcome their division into political parties. Though the treachery, fraud and betrayal of Karunanidhi have so blatantly come out in the open, there has been no rebellion in the DMK against his leadership! Or, the DMK has not broken up into pieces! It is possible to this day for Karunanidhi to enact dramas as if he is toiling for Eelam Tamils!

Jayalalitha, in order to turn the pro-Eelam mentality of the people of Tamilnadu into votes for her harvest, declaimed in her election campaign that Tamil Eelam was the only solution and promised to secure the same; but now she is conveniently looking the other way, busy with something else! She can aspire to take the hand bloodstained from its collusion in the massacre of Tamils! If Jayalalitha, as per her wish, can tomorrow carry the Congress on her shoulders, will the AIADMK disintegrate?

The bitter truth is: the election parties which came together in the Lankan Tamils Protection Movement subjected pro-Eelam politics to power-seeking politics instead of vice versa. Our experience shows that no power-seeking political party was prepared to forego office or boycott elections for the sake of Eelam people.
How in these circumstances can anyone mobilise the people of Tamilnadu for a militant mass struggle and paralyse the Government of India? No wonder the spontaneous struggles of students and lawyers beyond this party sphere, the self-immolation by Muthukumar and others, and the token struggles put up by Tamil nationalist forces failed to bite New Delhi.

The understanding of Tamil Eelam nationalists

Had the people of Tamilnadu rallied in a strong nationalist movement with the single objective of national liberation irrespective of party affiliations – just like the Kashmiri people now – it would have pulled back India from the Eelam massacre, and also created a situation in favour of the Eelam people on the world arena. The Tamil nationality has no sovereignty, nor has it been mobilised into a national movement towards sovereignty. Which is the main reason why Tamilnadu could not prevent the massacre of the Eelam people. The Tamilnadu Tamils and the Eelam Tamils must realise this truth.

Without learning and teaching this lesson written in Eelam Tamils’ blood on the wall of history, the Eelam dream will never be realised. In this respect it is the Tamil nationalist organisations organisations of Tamilnadu that have been very clear from the outset. This cannot be said, without qualification, about the Tamil nationalist organisations of Tamil Eelam. When in 1972 Selvanayagam, the father of Tamil Eelam, came to meet Thanthai Periyar, the latter said, “You say you have been enslaved? We Tamils are already mere slaves in India. What help can a slave render another?” The Tamil Eelam nationalists should then itself have understood the real status of Tamilnadu. Did they? Even if they did, did they work out an approach on that basis? The reply has mostly to be in the negative.

Both the leaders and the public of Tamil Eelam are used to see Tamilnadu as India and Tamils as Indians. Even the intellectuals of Tamil Eelam in general do not recognise the existence of Indian oppression to Tamils just as Sinhalese oppression to Tamils of Tamil Eelam.

The Tamil nationalism of Tamilnadu

The Tamil nationalism of Tamilnadu is older than that of Tamil Eelam. In 1925 Thanthai Periyar founded the Self-Respect Movement. In 1938 he raised the slogan: Tamilnadu for Tamils! Though Bharathiyar, V.O. Chidambaram, Thiru.V. Kalyanasundaram and others of the same kind were basically Indian nationalists, there were strong aspects of Tamil nationalism in their speeches and writings. The Naam Thamizhar party of C. Pa. Aadhithanar, the Thamizharasu Kazhagam of Ma. Po. Sivagnanam and the Thamizh Thesiya Katchi of E.V.K. Sampath contributed to the development of Tamil nationalism upto some extent unto some point. Even the Dravidian movement, before its degeneration due to power-seeking politics, took forward a more or less Tamil nationalism in content though in the perverted Dravidian form.

There is no big indication that the Tamil nationalist movement of Tamil Eelam acted with an awareness of such a long history of Tamil nationalism in Tamilnadu. A few like Poet Kasi Anandhan may have understood the correlation between Tamilnadu and Tamil Eelam due to their direct role in the Tamil nationalist movements here and there. But they are only exceptions.

Tigers’ understanding

Only because the Liberation Tigers and Leader Prabhakaran correctly understood Indian imperialism and its interest in preventing the emergence of Tamil Eelam, they could maintain vigilance against its machinations, and were able to break through the vicious net thrown by the Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement.

During a press meet in Jaffna, when asked about Karunanidhi and MGR, Prabhakaran replied to the effect: “We are well aware that the Government of Tamilnadu has no sovereignty. Also that the Chief Minister does not have the power to help us on his own accord. But we believe they have a moral responsibility to reflect the sentiments of the people of Tamilnadu.”

This is the correct view.

But did this view and the conclusions derived from it reach all levels of the movement? Especially the political essayists? We do not know. The public of Tamil Eelam were also groomed with illusions about India. There prevailed a narrow understanding of Tamilnadu politics as a Karunanidhi versus MGR affair. Even though a few of the Tamil nationalist leaders of Tamilnadu were popular in Eelam they were identified more as friends of Tamil Eelam than as Tamil nationalists.

The Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987, the subsequent invasion of the Indian army in the name of the Indian Peace Keeping Force and the atrocities it committed dealt a strong blow to the Eelam people’s illusion about India. The sacrifice of Thileepan, the death by cyanide of the twelve including Pulendhiran and Kumarappa, the fast unto death of Mother Bhoopathy … all these clearly showed India’s enmity.

The hostile attitude of India did not stop with the withdrawal of the IPKF. It continued to provide the Sinhalese government with armaments and military training. But even then the policy of appeasement towards India did continue. We need not of course say that we consider India an enemy state. But we need not have hesitated to say that the Government of India treats the Tamils as an inimical race.

Israel and Eelam

It is one thing to reassure that India need not be afraid of Eelam, but another to assure that Eelam will help India’s activities. The line separating these two approaches is clear though thin.

A bizarre consequence of the approach of committing Eelam to the intentions of the Indian state is the assurance that ‘Eelam would serve India as Israel serves the United States of America’. We know how Israel served and continues to serve the US. To bully the oil-rich Arab nations, and, more importantly, to frustrate the liberation of Palestine. In short, Israel is the West Asian henchman of the US.

If Eelam is going to serve India the same way, it means it would serve as India’s South Asian henchman. If Eelam is going to help contain those opposed to India, it means it would serve to oppress Kashmir, the north-eastern nationalities and the tribal people of Dhandakaranya.

To extend this logic to the end, it means it would help stop Tamilnadu’s national liberation. If Eelam is going to work out like this, will not the people of Tamilnadu ask: Why then should we support Eelam?

The correlation of the struggles for Tamilnadu and Tamil Eelam

We do not refute the historical differences between Sinhalese oppression and Indian oppression. Similarly we do take into consideration that the liberation struggles of Tamilnadu and Tamil Eelam are in different stages of development. But there is no justification for failing to understand, ignoring or not taking into account the need for the development of Tamil nationalism in Tamilnadu and its correlation to the liberation struggle of Tamil Eelam.

When as a rejoinder to the question, “What has Tamilnadu done for Tamil Eelam?” I asked, “What has Tamil Eelam done for Tamilnadu?” many of the Tamil Eelam friends were startled. I posed this question only in order to make them sharply understand that Tamil Eelam nationalists should be interested in the Tamil national struggle of Tamilnadu.

View of Tamilnadu politics

Post-Mullivaikkal, of course, Tamil Eelam people hate India. But this is not enough. They should understand the imperialist character of the Indian state, identify the forces fighting it and find solidarity with them. In particular they should come out of the myopic understanding of Tamilnadu politics merely as a Karunanidhi-Jayalalitha contest. Should not be spending their valuable time in trying to solve the riddle: who is going to be the next Chief Minister of Tamilnadu? Should not be yearning for some favourite of theirs to occupy the CM’s chair and deliver liberation by parcel!

Under the present Constitution of India, whoever may be the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, he can only be the Varadharajaperumal of Tamilndu – this should be understood by one and all. When we say that the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu failed to save the people of Tamil Eelam, we do not mean he could have done it by invoking the legal powers of a Chief Minister, but failed to do so. We only mean he failed to fight Delhi in reflection of the sentiments of the people of Tamilnadu. For instance, he could have thrown away his chief-ministership and come to the streets in protest against Delhi’s role in the massacre of Eelam Tamils. He could thus have pressurised Delhi, thereby stopping or curtailing its anti-Tamil attitude. What a Chief Minister can do at the most is to come forward to resign and fight. Without doing so Karunanidhi stuck to office and this was his betrayal. If the maximum utility of a post of office is just to resign, why so much anxiety about such a post?

Power-seeking politics

What is the use of the Members of Parliament resigning their posts? What is the use of Ministers in the Government of India quitting office? What is the use of pro-Eelam parties boycotting elections? All these questions were raised then itself. These steps would have aroused the masses and brought pressure to bear upon the Government of India.

Members of Parliament should have resigned as decided upon by the All-Party meeting on the 14th of October 2008. Even if some parties had backtracked other parties should have carried out the decision to resign. The Union ministers belonging to the DMK and the PMK should have resigned. It was unpardonable to stick to office till the last while at the same time claiming to oppose the war. If those political parties, which purportedly opposed the war of genocide, had boycotted the polls and declared elections to be unnecessary until the war is stopped, it would have isolated the Congress. At least the pro-Eelam parties should have taken this stance, even If the other parties were reluctant.

To shun this path and to insist that pro-eelam parties should have formed an alliance among themselves would lead us nowhere. The explanation offered by the leader of the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi, Thol. Thirumavalavan that only due the absence of such an alliance he had to join the Congress-DMK combo is unacceptable. Why did not his party reject all alliances and fight the elections independently? No convincing explanation from him. He could have simply boycotted the elections? Why not?

Why did not these political parties take such steps as mentioned supra? Because they follow power-seeking politics. The leaderships of these parties are not willing even to put off their power-seeking politics for a brief while for the sake of preventing the massacre of Eelam Tamils.

The composition itself of these political parties from top to bottom is of this kind. After carrying loads all along there cannot be a sudden metamorphosis into war-horses. A clear understanding of nationalism is needed not only for leading, but even for supporting, a national liberation movement. Tamil nationalist phrase-chanting such as homeland, sovereignty and self-rule at the same time as serving Indian nationalism in deeds would help neither Tamilnadu nor Tamil Eelam.

Two liberation struggles

Only when we grasp the dialectical correlation between the liberation struggles of Tamil Eelam and Tamilnadu, world Tamil unity becomes meaningful and useful. These two liberation struggles are distinctly separate, but closely connected; capable of objectively helping each other, but not conditional upon each other. We ought to see this correlation not as existing in a static situation, but as moving in constantly changing internal and external conditions. This understanding is essential in the first place for at least the leading fighting forces on the two fronts. Then this should sink into the collective consciousness of the world Tamils. Intellectuals on both sides should take the initiative for this.

Though both the liberation struggles of Tamil Eelam and of Tamilnadu are historical necessities, they are in different stages of development. Therefore the ways and forms of helping each other are also bound to differ.

Though the Tamil nationalist movement of Tamilnadu is older it has fallen behind. The Tamil nationalist movement of Tamil Eelam has overtaken it. In Tamilnadu we are fighting for making the masses of Tamil people realise the need for Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism will never be able to become a political force for liberation unless it is grasped by the masses. This does not mean that we are in the propaganda stage. Struggles for the demands of the Tamil people are the main means to make the masses realise the need for Tamil nationalism. The Tamil nationalist organisations should be built strong and solid in order to direct such struggles along the direction of the goal of Tamil national liberation. Tamil nationalist media should be strengthened to fulfil these tasks.

The Tamil Eelam national liberation struggle started as a moralistic one, developed as an armed struggle, transformed from a guerrilla war into a conventional war, and eventually met with a huge military defeat. The people of Tamil Eelam should rise again from this defeat and continue the struggle in new forms. In this the world Tamils should help them.

Isolating the Sinhalese state

How? The people of Tamil Eelam stand bereft of any space to fight by any means. If this space has to be created for them severe pressure has to be brought upon the Sinhalese state.

Arraign the criminal who committed genocide! Institute an enquiry through the UNO into the war of genocide against the Eelam people! Set free all the imprisoned militants! Release those still in the barbed-wire concentration camps! Dismantle the High Security Zones! Rehabilitate all the Tamil people! Return all their land, properties and industries! Compensate fully the losses suffered by the Tamil people due to war! Stop Sinhalese settlements in Tamil homeland areas! Secure the democratic rights of the Tamil people! For such demands should the Tamils of Tamilnadu and of the diaspora should fight for. Though this is only a moralistic and peaceful struggle, it should not be a mere token struggle.

If our struggle is to have an impact on the Sinhalese state, we should isolate Sri Lanka on a global scale. We should see to it that economic. Politico-diplomatic and cultural sanctions are imposed on Sri Lanka.

The United States Tamils Political Action Council (USTPAC) is already in the thick of the struggle for boycotting goods from Sri Lanka. Along with overseas Tamils from Tamilnadu and Eelam a Jewish woman Dr. Ellyn Sander is playing an active role in this movement. It is a welcome sign that the European Union is seeking to annul the GSP Plus trade concessions to Sri Lanka.

Hope and encouragement

The role played by the Tamil movie artists, the May 17 movement and Save Tamils in dampening the International Indian Film Festival Awards (IIFA) function in Colombo is encouraging. The campaign for boycotting the Tamil Writers’ Meet at Colombo has gained notable success. Though all these are encouraging they are not enough. We should intensively and extensively increase our efforts a hundred times. The slogan and the campaign BOYCOTT SRI LANKA should be very soon developed to a level where there is none to refute or oppose it. We can mobilise the active support of democratic forces all over India.

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) democratically elected by the Eelam Tamils at the world level is functioning well, uniting and coordinating various hues of Tamils and Tamil organisations behind the objective of a separate state of Tamil Eelam. The TGTE would hopefully fulfil the task of earning the recognition and support of the international community for the demand of a separate state of Tamil Eelam. The pro-Tamil Eelam forces of Tamilnadu should take the initiative in a planned manner to mobilise support for the TGTE and its endeavours in Tamilnadu and at the Indian level. We should help the Eelam Tamils living here as refugees play their role in the formation and activation of the TGTE.

The TGTE and the LTTE

To consider the TGTE as a reproduction or re-edition of the LTTE and comparing the two with the same yardstick are wrong. In this respect we should be very cautious.

The LTTE was born, grew up and did its duty in a historical stage of the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle, a stage when armed struggle was the main form. In a new stage of struggle – a stage when political struggle, based on the transnational existence of the Tamil Eelam people and the international influence of Tamil nationalism, has emerged as the main form – the TGTE has been born to fulfil the tasks peculiar to this stage.

Separate Tamil Eelam is the objective of the LTTE; the same is the objective of the TGTE. It is in this sense that we can consider the TGTE to be a historical continuation of the LTTE. As the tasks to be fulfilled by them are basically different, they are bound to differ in all respects, namely the forms of organisation, the methods of struggle and the tactics. If we fail to understand this difference the result would be confusion confounded.

Impact on Sinhalese

The campaign to isolate and pressurise the Sinhalese supremacist state should make the Sinhalese people, the social base of Sinhalese chauvinism, think and rethink, and should seek to turn them around against their state, and help the growth of genuine democratic forces among the Sinhalese people. What is more, this would sharpen contradictions within the Sinhalese ruling class. Conflicts would break out. The ruling fascist clique would more and more be isolated. All these would combine to create and expand a democratic space for the Tamil people. The suppressed and repressed Tamil people would utilise this space to take the field.

Like the Intifada of the Palestinian people, like the present uprising of the Kashmiri people, the Eelam people would also rise up and fight. Will this struggle be sufficient to secure victory? Or will armed struggle be necessary once again? We cannot judge at once. Moreover it does not depend merely on the Eelam people or the liberation forces that lead them. One thing is certain: whatever may be the form, it would not be possible once again to brand that struggle as terrorist to isolate and crush it.

Future prospects

We think this may be the future path of the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle. Even if it is different let us approach it with an open mind to grasp it and act. But let us be very clear about what is to be done at present. Let us extensively take forward the campaign to isolate the Sinhalese state!

Let Tamil Eelam understand Tamilnadu just as Taminadu understands Tamil Eelam. If the global Tamil community realises its historical responsibility and acts systematically, on earth will rise a Tamil state; then another. On the world stage will fly two Tamil flags. The contribution of the Tamil race to the progress of mankind will go two steps up.

The author is the General Secretary of the Tamil National Liberation Movement, Tamilnadu. Your comments may be mailed to