28 February 2014

The TNA reiterates complicity with terrorism

The Tamil National Alliance has responded with glee to the note penned by UNHCR chief Navi Pillai.  The TNA, almost three years ago, salivated similarly when the illegally set up panel of experts (sic) led by a man called Darusman came out with a report.  Looks like the TNA is stuck in a groove and has run out of new things to say.  The TNA's response to that report was commented on immediately, i.e. in April 2011.  It's worth a re-visit, I believe. 
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has issued a statement welcoming the report submitted by an advisory panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  The TNA statement was predictable.  To begin with there’s no questioning of the legality of the panel or its status within UN operations.  There’s no contextualization of the process, i.e. no mention of the fact that Ki-moon appointed this advisory body after Sri Lanka won an appreciative vote for defeating terrorism and after moves to condemn Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council were resoundingly squashed.  And they’ve not bothered to wonder why Ki-moon has not appointed investigative (not advisory) panels on Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and of course Bahrain!  The TNA, predictably, failed to acknowledge the mal-intent of the panelists and does not bother to take account of the fact that sources sited are prejudiced and unreliable.  
The TNA cannot raise these questions.  The TNA statement mentions the fact that the report has accused both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE.  Now that was predictable too.  The LTTE had to be mentioned for purposes of showing ‘balance’.  Those who have hurrahed the report (like the TNA and Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu) show a predictable reluctance to point out that the heirs to Prabhakaran, i.e. the so-called Government in Exile led by Fr. Emmanuel (who has not earned the censure of the Catholic Church despite his clear complicity in the terrorist project of the LTTE), are up and about making noises, purchasing support among big name politicians and cooking tall tales into ‘dishable’ facts.  Given that the TNA and the likes of Saravanamuttu are the first to be sought out by pernicious meddlers masquerading as fact-seeking neutrals concerned about human rights, it is quite possible that these are indeed the ‘fact-suppliers’ who make it possible to turn fantasy into fact.

What is interesting is that the TNA, after that cursory mention of the LTTE, has then proceeded to reiterate the allegations of the report, making it out that the LTTE has been totally blameless.  The report itself is high on conjecture and low on substantiation.    Indeed it betrays a certain self-doubt, for there’s wording such as ‘if proven’, meaning, proof is lacking.  Even the TNA’s response is just a collection of charges which, while being quite serious, that party has not been able to substantiate over the last 2 years.

Now why is all this not surprising? The answer lies in the TNA’s manifesto published in the run up to the 2004 election.  It’s available (still) at http://www.tamilsydney.com/content/view/1210/37/ and probably elsewhere as well.  That document reads like a The Final Word on Sycophancy.  It is full of abject salaams to the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization.

The TNA, in this manifesto has not only accepted the LTTE’s leadership and implied that it represents the LTTE interest.  Here’s the relevant quote:

Accepting LTTE’s leadership as the national leadership of the Tamil Eelam Tamils and the Liberation Tigers as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people, let us devote our full cooperation for the ideals of the Liberation Tigers’ struggle with honesty and steadfastness. Let us endeavor determinedly, collectively as one group, one nation, one country, transcending race and religious differences, under the leadership of the LTTE for a life of liberty, honor and justice for the Tamil people.’

Unlike in the case of the Government of Sri Lanka, the charges against the LTTE can be and have been substantiated, although the panel is careful not to venture in that direction for obvious reasons (it would then have been forced to buttress charges against the Government in similar manner). 

The TNA, in that manifesto, pledged ‘[to] devote [their] full cooperation for the ideals of the LTTE’.  Well, that would amount to a guilty-plea.  There is, understandably, no mention whatsoever in that manifesto about the forcible recruitment of children for combat purposes, the numerous acts of terrorism and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the LTTE, the assassination of journalists, intellectuals including academics, political opponents, heads of state (Rajiv Gandhi and Ranasinghe Premadasa) etc.  This was before the LTTE used some 300,000 Tamils civilians into a human shield, by deliberately moving with them into a designated no-fire zone and jeopardizing their safety. This was before the LTTE shot in cold blood hundreds of such innocent civilians who tried to escape into the Government controlled areas. This was before those 300,000 plus Tamils were rescued at great risk and cost by the Sri Lankan security forces.  Up to the end, the TNA supported the LTTE and pleaded its case to anyone who was ready to listen.  It all adds up to one thing: CULPABILITY. 

Today the TNA, in stark contrast to the demand for legitimating land theft and terrorism, wants to move ahead.   There’s only one question that the TNA needs to answer: ‘Would it be possible to think of “moving ahead” had the conflict not ended as it did in May 2011?’ 

Today, the Tamil people, held to ransom by a gang of thugs whose feet the likes of R. Sambandan touched with great reverence just 7 years ago, are free to breathe.  The people of Sri Lanka walked the ‘peace path’ to its end, cut through a mine-laden jungle several more miles and walked at great risk.  The LTTE didn’t leave the people of Sri Lanka any other choice. 

People died, yes.  Not in the manner mentioned nor in the numbers claimed, but people did perish.  That was a tragedy that could have been avoided had the LTTE opted to fight it out to the end or surrender en masse, say when Kilinochchi was liberated by the security forces in January 2009.  It was too late in May 2009.  The faces of the hundreds of thousands of civilians who rushed towards their true liberators, the Sri Lankan security forces, told the entire story. 

The TNA can breathe now.  The TNA leadership doesn’t have to wash a wet-behind-the-ears terrorist’s feet when passing Omanthai anymore.  The TNA, more than any other party, must be glad at the demise of the LTTE. Sambandan knows very well that there was no other way his party could enjoy the freedom from fear that is its privilege right now. 

If there are any doubts, Sambandan can revisit the election manifesto of the TNA (2004).  If he has any integrity, Sambandan will thank the Sri Lankan Government for giving his party the opportunity to write a manifesto that does not have to salaam a two-bit thug. 

Malinda Seneviratne is the Editor-in-Chief of 'The Nation, and can be reached at msenevira@gmail.com


Anonymous said...

Just as valid now as it was in 2011!