Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
National Heroes Day – November 27, 1998
“…What are we struggling for? We aspire to live peacefully with freedom and dignity, without the interference of anyone, in our own soil; in our Motherland where we are born and bred; in our own historical homeland which belongs to us. We too, are human beings. We constitute ourselves as a human society possessing the basic rights of human beings. We are a national formation with a distinct language, culture and history. We, therefore, demand that we should be recognised as a community of people, as a social formation with distinct characteristics. We have the right to determine our political status. On the basis of that right, we aspire to choose freely a political model suited to us to govern ourselves….”
My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,
“Today is Maha Veerar Naal.
It is the day on which we honour and venerate in the temple of our hearts, our national heroes who have given their lives for the freedom of their Tamil motherland….
While the whole world has radically transformed and moving on the path of peace, progress and harmony and preparing itself to embrace the new millennium Sri Lanka is still caught up in a turbulent conflict. The Tamil national question continues to torment the Island as a burning issue fuelled by war and violence. Why is it that the Tamil ethnic conflict, with a prolonged history of more than half-a-century, continues to be an insurmountable problem while the world is undergoing change, resolving tensions and conflicts?
The Tamil people are demanding none other than their inalienable rights. Therefore, political justice is on their side. What are we demanding? What are we struggling for?
We aspire to live peacefully with freedom and dignity, without the interference of anyone, in our own soil; in our Motherland where we are born and bred; in our own historical homeland which belongs to us. We too, are human beings. We constitute ourselves as a human society possessing the basic rights of human beings. We are a national formation with a distinct language, culture and history. We, therefore, demand that we should be recognised as a community of people, as a social formation with distinct characteristics. We have the right to determine our political status. On the basis of that right, we aspire to choose freely a political model suited to us to govern ourselves.
This is what our people are demanding and fighting for. The Sinhala nation has been denying this just and civilised demand. It is precisely for this reason that the Sinhala state has been oppressing and suppressing our people. Successive Sri Lanka Governments have neither integrated nor assimilated our people within the unitary system nor allowed our people the right to secede. Instead, they have always attempted to repress and subjugate our people. It is for this reason we have been compelled to fight a political struggle for the last fifty years. Though the forms of our struggle have changed in accordance with the historical compulsions, we continue to fight for political rights, for our right to live in freedom. Now the Tamil struggle has expanded and escalated into a war between two nations.
It is none other than the anti-Tamil attitude of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism that has turned Sri Lanka into a blazing cauldron of violence. The Tamil national question arose as historical product of this racist oppression.
The world has changed with the passage of time. Similarly the politics of the world also has changed. But the politics of the Sinhala nation has not changed. It is unfortunate that the Sinhala politicians have not realised this fact. Fantasies that arose from ancient mythology have grown and developed into hegemonic ideas which exert tremendous impact on the Sinhala political and intellectual world.
As a consequence the Sinhala nation lacks the ability to comprehend objectively the very basis as well as the rationale behind the Tamil issue and to deal with the problem humanly. Over the years our people have been shedding tears of blood under the oppressive grip of Sinhala chauvinism. We are deeply saddened by the fact that their long standing suffering has not yet touched the conscience of the world community. Apart from this apathetic attitude shown by the international community towards the problems of our people, the massive financial and military assistance provided to Sri Lanka by foreign countries has also exacerbated their tragic plight. The assistance provided by foreign countries has also encouraged the rigid, irreconcilable and bellicose attitude of the Sinhala chauvinists.
The world community has always fought for the cause of the oppressed and it has always raised its voice of protest or intervened whenever there have been incidents of human rights violations, crimes against humanity or repression of minority nations in any part of the world. But we are dismayed to note that the international community is observing a muted silence over the colossal tragedy faced by the Eelam Tamils. Encouraged by the economic aid, military assistance, political, moral and diplomatic backing gained from international countries, Sinhala chauvinists have been adopting a genocidal policy against the Tamils with single-minded ruthlessness and arrogance.
We are aware of the fact that the international community is misguided by the sophisticated misinformation campaign carried out by Sri Lanka. It is unfortunate that the world community has uncritically assimilated the preposterous theories advanced by the Sri Lankan state (i.e. war for peace) to legitimise its military campaign against the Tamils.
Nevertheless, facts about the plight of the Tamils have also found their way to the international arena. Atrocities and injustices committed against the Tamil people for the last several decades have been well documented and submitted to international forums. International human rights organisations have expressed serious concern that the state oppression against the Tamil has reached genocidal proportions.
It is well known internationally that more than sixty thousand innocent Tamil civilians have been brutally done to death over the years by the terror and violence unleashed by the racist state in the Tamil homeland. Further more, more than eight hundred thousand Tamils, who fled the country and sought refuge all over the world, bear testimony as living witness to the barbaric nature of the Sinhala state oppression. The world is aware of all these facts. Yet, we are surprised and deeply saddened to note that this monumental human tragedy has not yet aroused the concern of world community.
We are well aware that in the present world order every country pursues its own national and commercial interests. Yet, the civilised world has always given primacy to the universal values of human rights and freedoms. What dismays us is that the countries which lead the civilised world are reluctant to raise their voices against the uncivilized forms of oppression unleashed against the Tamils. Nevertheless, we have not lost hope.
One day the truths that are buried deeply in the mass graves of Tamil Eelam will emerge from slumber and reveal the true face of Sinhala chauvinism. Only then the tragic story of our people will touch the heart of the world. Until such time, Eelam Tamils living all over the world should continue their campaign relentlessly about the tragic existential conditions of our people in the Tamil homeland with the objective of arousing the conscience of humanity.
So far, not a single voice of rationality is heard from the Sinhala nation against the war. None so far has made a plea to put an end to the war and resolve the problem by peaceful means. From politicians to the monks, from intellectuals to the journalists, every one calls for the intensification of the war. The Sinhala nation wants to continue the war to subjugate the Tamil nation.
Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, a nation that follows the teachings of the Compassionate One who preached the noble ideals of love, truth and enlightenment. We are surprised as to how the evil of racism and militarism has raised its ugly head in a Buddhist society that thrived on the philosophy of “dharma”.
Today the war has expanded and escalated into a full-fledged conflagration in which armed forces of the two nations are confronting each other. The Sinhala nation is engaged in war of aggression to occupy Tamils land and to subjugate the Tamil people. We are fighting to protect our people and liberate our soil from alien aggression. The Sinhala nation is engaged in a war of injustice where as we are engaged in a liberation struggle in which justice is on our side.
Chandrika’s government, which has reached the peak in oppressing the Tamils is determined to escalate and continue the war. Her government is bent on prosecuting the war through the military campaign have demoralised the army, brought massive destruction of life and property and shattered the economy of the country. Chandrika’s military project has crumbled and failed to achieve any of its strategic objectives.
The fundamental objective of the war is to defeat and destroy the Liberation Tigers. But the LTTE has not been defeated but rather has grown immensely in strength acquiring wider experience in the art of modern warfare and turned out to be an invincible force. The Vanni battles caused a serious of debacles and massive casualties to the Sinhala armed forces. The ‘Jayasikuru battles, which was undertaken with the grand design to open the road to Jaffna, has prolonged for more than a year and half and reached an impasse with the fall of Killinochchi.
Chandrika’s political project of establishing Sinhala state administration in the occupied Jaffna peninsula with the help of the Tamil quislings is also being shattered . We cannot allow the Sinhala aggressive army to occupy even an inch of our homeland nor will we permit Sinhala state administrative functions in the occupied Tamil lands. We are shedding blood and fighting a deadly struggle with the primary objective of liberating our motherland which is the very foundation of the national existence and economic life of our people. Therefore we cannot permit the foot print of the Sinhala aggressors to remain embedded on our sacred soil.
We do not believe that Chandrika, who has become the author of the most blood strained chapter in the history of oppression of the Tamils, will bring peace to the country by resolving the Tamil national issue by peaceful means. She is a firm believer in a military solution and lives in an illusion that political conflicts can be solved by military means. She is also a prisoner of the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic ideology. One cannot therefore expect a leadership dominated by such thinking to be humane and compassionate enough to do justice to the Tamils.
We have not close the doors for peace. We are open to the civilised method of resolving conflicts through rational dialogue. Since the Sinhala leadership lacks the political will and sincerity to resolve the problem we favour third party mediation for political negotiations. But we are not prepared to accept any pre-conditions for political dialogue. We want the political negotiations to be held in an atmosphere of peace and normalcy, free from the conditions of war, military aggression and economic blockades.
We are not stipulating any pre-conditions for peace talks. We are suggesting the creation of a climate of peace and goodwill to hold peace talks, a congenial environment in which our people must be free from the heavy burden of suffering imposed on them. We hold the view that political negotiations cannot be free, fair and just if the Government utilises the military aggression on our soil and the restrictions imposed on the economic life of our people as political pressures. We are prepared to engage in initial talks to discuss the removal of such pressures and to workout a basic frame work for political negotiations.
Our people are facing unbearable suffering in the form of death, destruction, displacement, hunger and starvation. They live as prisoners in their own homeland, facing daily, various forms of military atrocities. Our people want their day-to-day urgent problems resolved immediately. They cannot wait over an indefinite time until the peace talks resume and the ethnic conflict is discussed, resolved and the solution implemented. They want the war to come to an end and the occupation army that torments them to withdraw and their urgent existential problems addressed immediately.
Is Chandrika’s Government prepared to take a bold step to deal with the immediate essential problems of our people and resume political negotiations in a congenial climate of peace and goodwill. The people want their day-to-day urgent problems resolved immediately. They cannot wait over an indefinite time until the peace talks resume and the ethnic conflict is discussed, resolved and the solution implemented. They want the war to come to an end and the occupation army that torments them to withdraw and their urgent existential problems addressed immediately.
Is Chandrika’s Government prepared to take a bold step to deal with the immediate essential problems of our people and resume political negotiations in a congenial climate of peace and goodwill. If not, the possibility for peace and a peaceful negotiated political settlement to the ethnic conflict will become remote.
We do not anticipate that the hawkish and racist attitude of Sinhala chauvinism will undergo fundamental transformation. If such change does not take place Sinhala chauvinism will bear the responsibility for creating the concrete historical conditions for the birth of independent Tamil state”.
Address in Tamil Pdf :Prabakaran-Heros-day-speech-1998-tamil