Prabhakaran and the LTTE -Part I

Posted on

A Select Chronological Bibliography

As the only academic to author a Prabhakaran biography [Pirabhakaran Phenomenon, 2005], what I present here as a select chronological bibliography provides details on Prabhakaran’s mission and strategic steps. I have limited this bibliography to research-oriented publications that had appeared in peer-reviewed, international journals; all of which I have bothered to read. All of these are in English. Rather than arranging the material, in the conventional alphabetical order, I had preferred to arrange it in chronological order.

Front Note

In reductive terms, from Tamil perspectives, Velupillai Prabhakaran’s life can be summed up in three sentences. “He had a grief. He had a mission. He had a gift.” His grief was that Sinhalese had stolen the traditional Tamil homeland (Eelam) by deceit and guile. The boundaries of the Sinhala country, as it existed in 1796, appears in page xiii of Ralph Pieris’s 1956 book, entitled Sinhalese Social Organization (Ceylon University Press Board, Colombo, 311 pages). Not only Prabhakaran, most Tamils share this grief. Prabhakaran’s only mission in life was to retrieve the stolen Tamil homeland from the Sinhalese. In 1970s, apart from Prabhakaran, quite a number of his contemporaries also shared his mission. His Sinhalese adversaries were not scared of his mission.


I’d say, only Prabhakaran had a gift – not shared by any other Tamils of his generation. His Sinhalese adversaries were scared of his gift – an unadulterated brain, which outplayed and outwitted four Sinhalese Presidents (J.R. Jayewardene, R. Premadasa, D.B.Wijetunga and Chandrika Kumaratunga) and eleven Sinhalese army commanders (namely, D.S.Attygalle, J.E.D. Perea, T.I. Weerathunga, G.D.G.N. Seneviratne, H. Wanasinghe, L.D.C.E. Waidyaratne, G.H. de Silva, S. Daluwatte, C.W. Weerasooriya, L.P. Balagalle, and S.H.S. Kottegoda), not to mention four Indian prime ministers (Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh and Chandrasekhar) and one Indian army commander (Krishnaswamy Sundarrajan [Sundarji]).

Eelam Tamils have seen so many savvy talking politicians, ‘me too’ militants and turn coats who tinkered with the Eelam word as a party tag, as an electioneering slogan for parliamentary seat, as a brokering mask and as an attention-grabbing tool. But, Prabhakaran was different from Suntharalingams, Amirthalingams, Anandasangarys, Devanandas, Padmanabhas, Perumals and Karunas. For his unadulterated brain, Eelam is not a bargaining, bartering item. He wouldn’t bother to compromise on it, and he would not sell it out for a parliamentary seat, or for a chief ministership or for an ignominious Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister tag.

As the only academic to author a Prabhakaran biography [Pirabhakaran Phenomenon, 2005], what I present here as a select chronological bibliography provides details on Prabhakaran’s mission and strategic steps. I have limited this bibliography to research-oriented publications that had appeared in peer-reviewed, international journals; all of which I have bothered to read. All of these are in English. Rather than arranging the material, in the conventional alphabetical order, I had preferred to arrange it in chronological order.

Some caveat has to be noted. In my reading, I noted that more than 90 percent of authors of these research papers have been biased on Prabhakaran’s mission and interpretation. The New Oxford American Dictionary dictionary (2001) provides a general definition of bias as, “prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.” One of the accepted definitions of bias in hard sciences, is that of Edmund Murphy: “Any process at any stage of inference which tends to produce results or conclusions that differ systematically from the truth” [The Logic of Medicine, John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1976].

Ten Identifiable Biases

This being the case in hard sciences, interpretations and opinions in history and political science (both being ‘soft sciences’) are replete with numerous biases. I provide below a list of ten biases that clutter and confuse the descriptions about Prabhakaran and LTTE.  Be reminded that in one of my previous compilations (a 40-item bibliography on the Evolution of the Eelam Tamil Diaspora) in January 2007, I have identified five biases. Here, I expand that list to ten identifiable biases.

(1) Tamil language incompetency bias: with a few exceptions, non-Tamil scholars suffer from this bias seriously.

(2) Lack of access bias: Those researchers interested and willing to contact LTTE were marked and harassed by the Sri Lankan officials from their entry point in Katunayake airport.

(3) Gumshoes truth-distortion bias: Many of the articles that appeared in 1980s and 1990s never identified the roles of gumshoes (RAW, ISI, Mossad and even CIA) who influenced the events in Sri Lanka or Chennai.

(4) Sri Lankan travel visa bias (also tagged as, ‘Now needed’ bias or ‘National Geographic’ bias): This is a variation of ‘Lack of access bias’. Those who specialize in Sri Lankan history have to comply with the dictates of the Sri Lankan bureaucracy, for their repeat visits. National Geographic magazine’s coverage has this bias, as it wouldn’t antagonize the officialdom so as not to lose future access to the territory.

(5) Blinded mule bias (also tagged as, Human Rights Barker’s blind angle bias): The blind mule refers to the anecdote described in The Three Princes of Serendip story (that generated the word ‘serendipity’ by Horace Walpole in 1754), where one of the princes after landing in Serendip island discovered a mule blind of the right eye that had traveled the same road, because the grass was eaten only on the left side. Contributions of the so-called human rights activists (such as Radhika Coomaraswamy, Rajan Hoole and Daya Somasundaram) suffer from this bias.

(6) Terrorism industry menagerie bias: The word menagerie derives from the French word ménage (meaning a household or unit of people living together). Ehud Sprinzak, Robert Pape, Kasun Ubayasiri and Harendra de Silva are notable among the authors whose works suffer from this bias. They have gulped most material serviced by foremost Sinhalese ‘terrorism expert’ Rohan Gunaratna, and regurgitated the same.

(7) Unverified/unverifiable garbage bias: Quite a few Sinhalese authors (especially Kingsley M de Silva and Rohan Gunaratna) cite privileged sources – such as interviews – that cannot be easily accessed and verified.

(8) Timid media punditry bias: To overcome the first two biases listed above, authors turn to media punditry (such as local newspapers and magazines) and quote these as authentic sources. Contributions of North American authors such as Bryan Pfaffenberger, Marshall Singer and Bruce Matthews suffer from this bias.

(9) ‘Me too Expert’ bias: This bias is preferentially seen among the contributions of native Tamil authors, such as Rajan Hoole and Daya Somasundaram.

(10) Sinhala State-funding bias: This bias can be expected from the publications of academics and medical doctors who are employed in Sri Lankan universities and other institutions receiving their monthly remunerations and research funding. Publications of Shantha Hennayake, Daya Somasundaram and Harendra de Silva suffer from this bias.

Despite these prevalent biases, the contributions of Peter Schalk, Mark Whitaker and Yamuna Sangarasivam are worth marking and studying. In this collection of 70 items, I have excluded books, book chapters and popular magazine articles. All except the first two items (that appeared in 1981 and 1982) include references to Prabhakaran and LTTE in the text, or in a few letters that appeared in the British Medical Journal in 1997 relates to rebuttals to references made about LTTE. What has been missed in this list, I plan to include in a sequel that I prepare in next November.

by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 16, 2009

Ralph Pieris 1956 book cover

Chronological Bibliography

01. Bryan Pfaffenberger: The cultural dimension of Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Nov. 1981; 21(11): 1145-1157.

02. Bruce Matthews: District development councils in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Nov.1982; 22(11): 1117-1134.

03. Robert N. Kearney: Ethnic conflict and the Tamil separatist movement in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Sept. 1985; 25(9): 898-917.

04. Bruce Matthews: Radical conflict and the rationalization of violence in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, spring 1986; 59(1): 28-44.

05. Bryan Pfaffenberger: Sri Lanka in 1986; a nation at the crossroads. Asian Survey, Feb. 1987; 27(2): 155-162.

06. Iqbal Narain and Nilma Dutta: India in 1986; the continuing struggle. Asian Survey, Feb. 1987; 27(2): 181-193.

07. Robert N. Kearney: Territorial elements of Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, winter 1987-1988; 60(4): 561-577.

08. Bryan Pfaffenberger: Sri Lanka in 1987 – Indian intervention and resurgence of the JVP. Asian Survey, Feb.1988; 28(2): 137-147.

09. P.Venkateshwar Rao: Ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka – India’s role and perception. Asian Survey, Apr. 1988; 28(4): 419-436.

10. Kumar Rupesinghe: Ethnic conflicts in South Asia: The case of Sri Lanka and the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). Journal of Peace Research, Dec. 1988; 25(4): 337-350.

11. Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam: The Tamil Militants – Before the Accord and After. Pacific Affairs, winter 1988-1989; 61(4): 603-619.

12. Bruce Matthews: Sri Lanka in 1988: seeds of the Accord. Asian Survey, Feb. 1989; 29(2): 229-235.

13. Shantha K. Hennayake: The Peace Accord and the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Asian Survey, Apr. 1989; 29(4): 401-415.

14. Shelton U. Kodikara: The continuing crisis in Sri Lanka: The JVP, the Indian troops, and Tamil Politics. Asian Survey, July 1989; 29(7): 716-724.

15. Amita Shastri: The material basis for separation: The Tamil Eelam movement in Sri Lanka. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb. 1990; 49(1): 56-77.

16. Bruce Matthews: Sri Lanka in 1989: Peril and Good Luck. Asian Survey, Feb. 1990; 30(2): 144-149.

17. Bryan Pfaffenberger: The political construction of defensive nationalism: the 1968 temple entry crisis in Northern Sri Lanka. Journal of Asian Studies, Feb. 1990; 49(1): 78-96.

18. Marshall R. Singer: New realities in Sri Lankan politics. Asian Survey, Apr. 1990; 30(4): 409-425.

19. Sarath Amunugama: Buddhaputra and Bhumiputra? Dilemmas of modern Sinhala Buddhist monks in relation to ethnic and political conflict. Religion, 1991; 21: 115-139.

20. Marshall R. Singer: Sri Lanka in 1990; The ethnic strife continues. Asian Survey, Feb. 1991; 31(2): 140-145.

21. Devin T. Hagerty: India’s regional security doctrine. Asian Survey, April 1991; 31(4): 351-363.

22. Walter K. Andersen: India’s 1991 elections: the uncertain verdict. Asian Survey, Oct. 1991; 31(10): 976-989.

23. Marshall R. Singer: Sri Lanka in 1991 – Some surprising twists. Asian Survey, Feb. 1992; 32(2): 168-174.

24. Peter Schalk: ‘Birds of Independence: On the participation of Tamil women in armed struggle. Lanka, 1992; 7: 44-142.

25. Shantha K. Hennayake: Interactive ethnonationalism; an alternative explanation of minority ethnonationalism. Political Geography, Nov. 1992; 11(6): 526-549.

26. Shantha K. Hennayake: Sri Lanka in 1992 – Opportunity missed in the ethno-nationalist crisis. Asian Survey, Feb.1993; 33(2): 157-164.

27. Gamini Keerawella, Rohan Samarajiva: Sri Lanka in 1993 – Eruptions and flow. Asian Survey, Feb.1994; 34(2): 168-174.

28. Peter Schalk: Women fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamililam; The martical feminism of Atel Palacinkam. South Asia Research, 1994; 14: 163-183.

29. A. Samarasinghe: The 1994 parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka: a vote for good governance. Asian Survey, Dec. 1994; 34(12): 1019-1034.

30. Gamini Keerawella, Rohan Samajajiva: Sri Lanka in 1994 – A mandate for peace. Asian Survey, Feb.1995; 35(2): 153-159.

31. Bryan Pfaffenberger: The structure of protracted conflict – the case of Sri Lanka. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, 1995; 20(2): 121-147.

32. Howard B. Schaffer: Sri Lanka in 1995; A difficult and disappointing year. Asian Survey, Feb. 1996; 36(2): 216-223.

33. Bruce Matthews: Radical conflict and the rationalization of violence in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, spring 1996; 59(1): 28-44.

34. Marshall R. Singer: Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict – Have bombs shattered hopes for peace. Asian Survey, Nov. 1996; 36(11): 1146-1155.

35. Peter Schalk: Historization of the martial ideology of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 1997; 20: 1-38.

36. Peter Schalk: The revival of martyr cults among Ilavar. Temenos, 1997; 33: 151-190.

37. 14 Sri Lankan doctors working in Britain: Sri Lankan refugees are not at risk of persecution. British Medical Journal, March 22, 1997; 314: 905.

38. S. Pothalingam: Ethnic cleansing is in progress. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 122-123.

39. A Sri Lankan born British citizen: Tamils have become soft targets. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123.

40. A Sri Lankan working in Britain: Comments are ike those of white South Africans not so long ago. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123.

41. Duncan Forrest, Gill Hinshelwood, Michael Peel ,Gordon Barclay and Derek Summerfield: Refugee Council’s assessment of human rights situation in Sri Lanka is accurate. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123.

42. S. Ratneswaren and 99 other Sri Lankan doctors: Government denies legitimate rights of minorities. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 123-124.

43. V. Rajayogeswaran and 11 other Sri Lankan doctors: Tamils are victims of unjust politics, not economic refugees. British Medical Journal, July 12, 1997; 315: 124.

44. Dagmar Hellman-Rajanayagam: The conflict in Sri Lanka and its implications for South Asian and regional security. Akademika (Malaysia), Jan. 1999; 54: 131-136.

45. Tessa Bartholomeusz: In defense of Dharma: Just-war ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 1999; 6: 1-16.

46. Tessa Bartholomeusz: Mothers of Buddhas, mothers of nations; Kumaratunga and her meteoric rise to power in Sri Lanka (Prime minister Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga). Feminist Studies, spring 1999; 25(1): 211-225.

47. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu: Sri Lanka in 1999 – The challenge of peace, governance, and development. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2000; 40(1): 219-225.

48. Neil DeVotta: Control democracy, institutional decay and the quest for Eelam: Explaining ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Pacific Affairs, spring 2000; 73(1): 55-76.

49. Ehud Sprinzak: Rational Fanatics. Foreign Policy, Sept-Oct.2000; no. 120: 66-73.

50. Peter Meade and James Mirocha: Civilian landmine injuries in Sri Lanka. Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection and Critical Care, 2000; 48(4): 735-739.

51. Jonathan Goodhand, David Hulme and Nick Lewer: Social capital and the political economy of violence: A case study of Sri Lanka. Disasters, 2000; 24(4): 390-406.

52. Lawrence Saez: Sri Lanka in 2000 – The politics of despair. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2001; 41(1): 116-121.

53. Yamuna Sangarasivam: Researcher, Informant, ‘Assassin’, Me. Geographical Review, Jan-Apr. 2001; 91(1/2): 95-104.

54. Harendra de Silva, Chris Hobbs and Helga Hanks: Conscription of children in armed conflict – a form of child abuse. A study of 19 former child soldiers. Child Abuse Review, 2001; 10: 125-134.

55. Ananda Abeysekara: The saffron army, violence, terror(ism): Buddhism, identity and difference in Sri Lanka. Numen, 2001; 48(1): 1-46.

56. Amitha Shastri: Sri Lanka in 2001 – Year of reversals. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2002; 42(1): 177-182.

57. Kaz de Jong, Maureen Mulhern, Nathan Ford, Isabel Simpson, Alison Swan and Saskia van der Kam: Psychological trauma of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Lancet, April 27, 2002; 359: 1517-1518.

58. Daya Somasundaram: Child soldiers; understanding the context. British Medical Journal, May 26, 2002; 324: 1268-1271.

59. Kasun Ubayasiri: Internet and media freedom: a study of media censorship in Sri Lanka and the effectiveness of web-based rebel media. Asia Pacific Media Educator, Dec. 2002; issue no. 12/13: 62-80.

60. Amitha Shastri: Sri Lanka in 2002 – Turning the corner? Asian Survey, Jan-Feb. 2003; 43(1): 215-221.

61. Robert A. Pape: The strategic logic of suicide terrorism. American Political Science Review, Aug. 2003; 97(3): 343-361.

62. Stephen C. Berkwitz: Recent trends in Sri Lankan Buddhism. Religion, 2003; 33: 57-71.

63. Rajat Ganguly: Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict – at a crossroad between peace and war. Third World Quarterly, 2004; 25(5): 903-917.

64. Mark P. Whitaker: some reflections on popular anthropology, nationalism and the internet. Anthropological Quarterly, summer 2004; 77(3): 469-498.

65. Neil DeVotta: Sri Lanka in 2004 – Enduring political decay and a failing peace process. Asian Survey, Jan-Feb.2005; 45(1): 98-104.

66. Yasmine Tambiah: Turncoat bodies – Sexuality and sex work under militarization in Sri Lanka. Gender and Society, Apr. 2005; 19(2): 243-261.

67. Suthaharan Nadarajah and Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah: Liberation struggle or terrorism? The politics of naming the LTTE. Third World Quarterly, 2005; 26(1): 87-100.

68. Tariq Jazeel: ‘Nature’, nationhood and the poetics of meaning in Ruhuna (Yala) National Park, Sri Lanka. Cultural Geographies, 2005; 12: 199-227.

69. Chandra R. de Silva: Sri Lanka in 2005. Continuing political turmoil. Asian Survey, Jan. 2006; 46(1): 114-119.

70. John S. Whitehall: Teaching Tamil Tigers. Medical Journal of Australia, 3-17 Dec. 2007; 187 (11/12): 703-705.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s