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Maaveerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
27 November 2006
India is our friend, we are not against any country, remove the hindrance of ban
While conveying his love and gratitude to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and leaders of India who have grasped the heartbeat of Eezham Tamils and have come forward with timely support, the LTTE leader V.Pirapaharan in his Hero’s Day speech on Thursday requested them to voice firmly for Tamil Eelam and to undertake conducive measures to remove the ban, a great hindrance to amicable relationship between India and the LTTE. “At no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question”, he said. The LTTE leader also requested the world powers to remove the ban on it, citing that the LTTE never schemed any act against any country and the Tamil struggle is not against the geopolitical, national or economic interests of any country.
“We are waging a defensive war for the freedom of our people,” the LTTE leader said.
“Even though the armed struggle was thrust on us by inevitable needs, yet we wish to stop the war and seek a peaceful resolution to the national question of our people. Our freedom movement is always ready for it. We are not opposed to a peaceful resolution. We have never hesitated to participate in peace talks.”
Talking on the modus operandi of the previous peace efforts, Mr. Pirapaharan said, “some countries which identified themselves as so-called Peace Sponsors, rushed into activities which impaired negotiations. They denigrated our freedom movement as a terrorist organisation. [..] Humanitarian activities pursued by our law-abiding people in many countries, well within the purview of the law of the land, have been belittled and curtailed. […] humanitarian activities were branded as criminal activities in those countries. […] This further aggravated the racist attitude of the Sinhala state.”
“In truth, this is not a war against the LTTE as the Sinhala state professes. This is a war against the Tamils; against the Tamil nation. In short, a genocidal war.”
“We are conducting this struggle with the unrelenting support of the Tamil people, the world over.”
“No great changes have taken place in the Sinhala political panorama. […] In Sinhalam, from politicians to spiritual leaders, from journalists to ordinary people, their voice is raised only in support of the war.”
“The Sinhala nation is refusing to acknowledge the historic homeland of the Tamils. In such a situation, how will it offer a just solution to our people?”
“Even the tinge of hope our people had that the Sinhala nation will abandon its path of violence and offer justice, has now evaporated.”
“It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a nation with great potential. It is a nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. Sinhalam seeks with its military might to destroy all these. It seeks to destroy Tamil sovereignty and replace it with Sinhala sovereignty. As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland.”
The LTTE leader expressed a special note of affection and appreciation to the Tamil diaspora youth for their committed and active role in contributing towards the liberation of Tamils.
Full text of LTTE’s official translation of the Tamil speech of Mr. V. Pirapaharan follows:
My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,
Today is Maveerar Naal – our Great Heroes Day.
On this day of purity we remember and honour our dearly beloved heroes whose supreme sacrifice for the liberation of our motherland continues to fill all our hearts.
The orginital text of LTTE leader’s speech in Tamil
It is for us a commemoration day of reverence when we pay homage to our brave and valiant heroes who have transformed our land from one that was for many years subjugated by foreign rule into a defiant land refusing to submit to the will of the alien oppressor.
This is our national day on which we engrave tenderly in our hearts the memory of our great heroes who died and whose sacred aspiration was the redemption of our land so that our people may live in freedom and with self-respect.
Our heroes loved this land deeply. From the moment they fixed their eyes on the redemption of our motherland to the moment they closed their eyes permanently, the sacrifices they made have no parallel in the history of the world. No country but ours had at any time encountered such wonderful dedication as expressed in the actions of our valiant heroes.
It was on this land that our heroes were born. They grew up here and lived here. It was on this land that their footsteps have their imprints. The air they breathed is mingled with this land. From time immemorial, from generation to generation the Tamil people lived on this land. It was this land which our heroes loved deeply. Our heroes died for this land and are at rest in its bosom. The land where they are embedded, belongs to us. It is our own land. But an arrogant Sinhala nation stands adamant and is determined to occupy and conquer this historic land. All human suffering springs from unbridled desire. Unless one extricates oneself from the clutch of greed, one will not free himself from the fetters of sorrow. With its greed for land, Sinhalam has entered a militaristic path of destruction. It has sought to build the support of the world to confront us. It is living in a dreamland of military victory. It is a dream from which it will awake. That is certain.
My beloved people!
The land of Tamil Eelam is confronted with an intense war as never before. Rearing its head in different parts of Wanni, the war is gathering momentum. As the Sinhala state is committed to a military solution, the war is becoming intense and widespread. The underlying intent of the Sinhala state is to wipe out the national life and resources of the Tamils and subjugate the Tamil nation under alien Sinhala military despotism. With this in view, it is executing its war plan at full gallop. Pooling together all its military resources and arsenal, and with all its national wealth to buttress it, the racist Sinhala state has waged a fierce war on our land. Our freedom fighters, have dedicated themselves to unbending resistance against this war of aggression launched by the racist Sinhala state. With various countries of the world buttressing the genocidal war on the people of Tamil Eelam, we are waging a defensive war for the freedom of our people.
Today, our movement has embarked on a historic journey, hazardous and strenuous. In this historic venture, we have encountered numerous turns, twists and confrontations. We have faced forces much mightier than ours. We have had direct confrontations even against superior powers, stronger than us. We have withstood wave after wave of our enemy attacks. Standing alone, we have blasted networks of innumerable intrigues, interwoven with betrayal and sabotage. We stood like a mountain and faced all dangers that loomed like storms. When compared to these happenings of the past, today’s challenges are neither novel nor huge. We will face these challenges with the united strength of our people.
This land which the Sinhala state is trying to occupy and enslave, has never belonged to it. This land is ours. Ancient Tamil civilisation stood long and firm on this land. Our ancestors lived and belonged here. Our ancient kings built kingdoms and dynasties and ruled from here. On this land where the roots of our nation have sunk deep, we wish to live in peace and with dignity and make decisions on our lives without the intervention of foreign rulers.
From the day that British colonialism was replaced with Sinhala oppression, we have been struggling for our just rights – peacefully at first and with weapons thereafter. The political struggle for our right to self-determination has extended over the last sixty years. During this period our struggle has gone through different shapes, developments and advanced to maturity. In the beginning, it was a peaceful and democratic struggle by our people for justice. The racist Sinhala state resorted to armed and animal like violence to suppress the peaceful struggle of the Tamil people for their political rights. It was when state oppression breached all norms and our people faced naked terrorism that our movement for freedom was born as a natural outcome in history. We were compelled to take up arms in order to protect our people from the armed terrorism of the racist Sinhala state. The armed violent path was not our choice. It was forced upon us by history.
Even though the armed struggle was thrust on us by inevitable needs, yet we wish to stop the war and seek a peaceful resolution to the national question of our people. Our freedom movement is always ready for it. We are not opposed to a peaceful resolution. We have never hesitated to participate in peace talks. From Thimpu to Geneva, under diametrically varied historical circumstances, we have adopted peaceful methods and participated in talks in order to win the political rights of our people.
Although we acted honestly and whole heartedly, to find a peaceful resolution to the national question, all talks were futile. The intransigence of the Sinhala state, its dishonest approach and its faith in military solution were the cause for failure of the talks. Even at a time when we had produced spectacular achievements in battle fields and broken the back-bone of the Sinhala armed forces, we participated in the peace negotiations facilitated by Norway. Bringing the war to an end, we participated with honesty and diligence in the peace negotiations which protracted for six years.
We continued to exercise patience at the military rampages and provocations by the armed forces. It is not that we trusted the racist Sinhala state to respect our people’s fair claims and advance justice, but it was to expose the hypocrisy of the Sinhala state and at the same time to impress upon the international community our commitment to peace, that we participated in the negotiations.
During the peace talks convened in different capitals of the world, there were no attempts to resolve the day-to-day needs of the Tamil people or to negotiate a resolution to the underlying national question. Sri Lanka made use of the opportunity of the peace talks to attempt to weaken the LTTE and hoodwink the Tamil nation and the international community. Using the talks as a masquerade, the Sinhala state made preparations to wage a major war on the Tamil nation. Making use of the cease-fire and the peace environment, the Sinhala state resuscitated its devastated economy and rebuilt its military might that was in shambles. It concentrated on heavy recruitment, refurbishing its arsenal, strengthening the armed forces and conducting military exercises. While the Tamil nation was engaged in peace-building, the Sinhala nation dedicated itself to preparations for war.
Meanwhile, some countries which identified themselves as so-called Peace Sponsors, rushed into activities which impaired negotiations. They denigrated our freedom movement as a terrorist organisation. They put us on their black list and ostracized us as unwanted and untouchable. Our people living in many lands were intimidated into submission by oppressive limitations imposed on them to prevent their political activities supporting our freedom struggle. Humanitarian activities pursued by our law-abiding people in many countries, well within the purview of the law of the land, have been belittled and curtailed. These activities were aimed at providing humanitarian aid to helpless victims of genocidal attacks by the Sinhala Sri Lanka state in Tamil areas. However, these humanitarian activities were branded as criminal activities in those countries. Representatives of the Tamil people, along with community leaders were arrested, jailed and insulted. The explicit bias shown by the activities of these countries affected the talks, in its balance and in its consideration of our status as an equal partner. This further aggravated the racist attitude of the Sinhala state. Sinhala chauvinism was encouraged to raise its head with impunity and inevitably push the Sinhala state further on its war path.
The Sinhala state shut tight the gates to peace and waged its war again on the Tamil nation. The cease-fire agreement facilitated by the international community was abrogated unilaterally by Sinhala Sri Lanka. Strangely no voice of protest was registered by any peace sponsor. Not even as a formality. Nor was any concern expressed. In contrast, some countries from the international community are providing an abundant supply of war materials, military training and expert advice, all for free. This has encouraged the Sinhala state to aggravate its genocidal war against the Tamils with a terrorist audacity.
Today, the Sinhala state has, as never before, placed its trust on its military strength, on military modalities and on a military solution. Its desire to impose its military despotism over the Tamil homeland and order a stringent military rule over the Tamils, has increased. As a result, the war has gathered intensity and momentum. In truth, this is not a war against the LTTE as the Sinhala state professes. This is a war against the Tamils; against the Tamil nation. In short, a genocidal war.
This war has affected Tamil civilians more than any body else. By turning the heat of war on our people and by burdening them with immeasurable sufferings, the Sinhala state is aspiring to turn our people against the LTTE. By closing the trunk-line roads, embargoing food and medicine and by suffocating people in tight military encirclements, the government has unleashed barrages of bombardments and shelling. Having lost their private lands and the serene life on them, our people have been reduced to destitution and live as wandering refugees. They have been forced to carry the cross of eternal suffering from birth to death. Struggling with disease and misery, malnutrition, ageing and untimely death, our people are steeped in suffering. With the solitary purpose of breaking the unbending will of our people, the Sinhala state has unleashed waves of oppression on them and subjected them to grievous injustice. A huge economic war has been declared on our people, their economic life shattered and their day-to-day living impaired. In Tamil areas under military control, hundreds of people disappear or killed, every month. In Sinhala areas, disappearance and killing of Tamils have become a normal routine.
Tamil areas under military occupation are encountering an accelerated agenda of genocide, today. Death, destruction, army atrocities and open prison-life in one’s own land, are the unendurable suffering our people have to suffer, as an order of the day. Arrest, imprisonment, torture, rape, murder, disappearance and clandestine burial in unknown graves form a vicious circle in which the lives of our people is enmeshed. Yet, our people have not lost hope. No measure, however punitive, can withhold their will to resist. Their yearning for freedom remains strong. No aerial bombardment can wipe out their determination to attain their freedom. Our people are used to carrying the cross of suffering. They are used to facing destruction and loss, daily in life. This suffering has further tempered their will to be steadfast in their aspiration. With such impetus, the urge for freedom has gathered momentum as never before.
Facing a great confrontation for such a long period, we have sacrificed so much and fought for so long, for nothing else, but for our people to live in freedom; live with dignity and live in peace. We are conducting this struggle with the unrelenting support of the Tamil people, the world over. Besides, our struggle does not contravene the national interest, geo-political interest or economic interest of any outside country. The inherent aspirations of our people do not in any way hamper the national interests of any country or people. At the same time, it may be noted that during the long history of our struggle, we have not conducted any act of aggression against any member state of the international community.
Our freedom movement, as well as our people, have always wished to maintain cordiality with the international community as well as neighbouring India. With this in view, we wish to create a viable environment and enhance friendship. We wish to express our goodwill and are looking forward to the opportunity to build a constructive relationship. Cordially I invite those countries that have banned us, to understand the deep aspirations and friendly overtures of our people, to remove their ban on us and to recognise our just struggle.
Today, there are great changes taking place in India. The dormant voices in support of our struggle are re-emerging aloud again. There are also indications of our struggle becoming accepted there. The positive change in environment gives us courage to seek renewal of our relationship with the Indian super power. The earlier approach and interventions of India were injurious to the people of Tamil Eelam, as well as to their struggle. The racist Sinhala state, with its intrigues, conspired to bring enmity between our freedom movement and the earlier Indian administration. The conflict arising out of this environment aggravated into a major war.
It was because we were firmly committed to our conviction and freedom for our people, that friction erupted between our movement and India. However, at no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question.
Not withstanding the dividing sea, Tamil Nadu, with its perfect understanding of our plight, has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need. This timely intervention has gratified the people of Tamil Eelam and our freedom movement and given us a sense of relief. I wish to express my love and gratitude at this juncture to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and the leaders of India for the voice of support and love they have extended. I would cordially request them to raise their voice firmly in favour of our struggle for a Tamil Eelam state, and to take appropriate and positive measures to remove the ban which remains an impediment to an amicable relationship between India and our movement.
My beloved people!
No great changes have taken place in the Sinhala political panorama. Politics there has developed into the form of a demonic war. In a country that worships the Buddha who preached love and kindness, racist hatred and war-mongering vie with one another. We can listen only to the throbs on war-drums. No sane voice is being raised either to abandon war or to seek peaceful resolution to the conflict. In Sinhalam, from politicians to spiritual leaders, from journalists to ordinary people, their voice is raised only in support of the war.
The Tamil Eelam nation does not want war. It does not favour violence. It is the Sinhala nation that waged war on our nation which had earlier adopted the path of ahimsa and asked for justice through peaceful means. When the SAARC leaders of our region met in Colombo, we expressed our goodwill and declared suspension of hostility. On the contrary, it was the Sinhala nation that rejected our overture, ridiculed us and continued with the offensive. It is the Sinhala nation that has laid down unacceptable and insulting conditions. It is the Sinhala nation that is continuing with the war.
The Sinhala nation is conducting a major war of genocide against us in our land, the news about which is denied to the outside world. Successive Sinhala regimes have hoodwinked the international community with a series of deceptions. Commencing with the round table conference, the list of deceit has now stretched to include the All Party conference of late. During this period the international community remains cheated. The Tamil national question was also left to drag on with no positive resolution offered. Meanwhile, the Sinhala nation has used its armed forces to set the Tamil land, ablaze. It has wiped out peaceful life on Tamil land, making Tamils destitute, displaced and wandering. Sinhalam has refused to offer the basic rights of the Tamils, split the Tamil land into two, installed anti-Tamil armed groups in the seat of administration while conducting a tyrannical military rule. It is now continuing with the war, offering to submit its plan to offer a solution only after the LTTE is defeated. Does Sinhala nation want to offer a solution only after the Tamils are suppressed and killed? Does it want to wipe out the true representatives of the Tamils and their bargaining power before offering a solution? The Sinhala nation is refusing to acknowledge the historic homeland of the Tamils. In such a situation, how will it offer a just solution to our people?
When it comes to the Tamil national question, the Sinhala nation is adopting only one policy. It is obviously a policy of suppression. Even the tinge of hope our people had that the Sinhala nation will abandon its path of violence and offer justice, has now evaporated. No political transformation has taken place during the last sixty years in the Sinhala nation. Therefore, hoping it will happen in the future is futile. Our people are not ready to trust Sinhala nation again and get cheated.
It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a nation with great potential. It is a nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. Sinhalam seeks with its military might to destroy all these. It seeks to destroy Tamil sovereignty and replace it with Sinhala sovereignty. As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland.
Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people. On the path shown by history, on the command of the circumstances of today, we will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed,
At this historic juncture, I would request Tamils, in whatever part of the world that they may live in to raise their voices, firmly and with determination, in support of the freedom struggle of their brothers and sisters in Tamil Eelam. I would request them from my heart to strengthen the hands of our freedom movement and continue to extend their contributions and help. I would also take this opportunity to express my affection and my praise to our Tamil youth living outside our homeland for the prominent and committed role they play in actively contributing towards the liberation of our nation.
Let us all make a firm and determined resolution to follow fully the path of our heroes, who, in pursuit of our aspiration for justice and freedom, sacrificed themselves and have become a part of the history of our land and our people.
Maaveerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
27 November 2007
Propping up genocidal Sinhala State counterproductive, International Community should change approach
The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), V Pirapaharan, in his annual Heroes’ Day statement placed a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of the international community for the breakdown of the peace process. He said that the involvement of the international community to resolve the Tamil national question has been unhelpful and added that their failure to condemn unambiguously the military path of the current regime has created the present situation in the island. He asserted that the propping up of the genocidal Sinhala State by the international community through economic aid, military aid and subtle diplomatic efforts will be counterproductive.
About the long and bitter history of deception by the Sinhala State he further said, “None of the Southern parties are ready to accept the core principles for a lasting peace: the Tamil homeland, the Tamil nation and the Tamil Right to self determination. The ruling party is adamant on unitary rule; the red and yellow parties are calling for no solution at all; and the main opposition party, somersaulting from its earlier position, is, on the one hand, saying nothing concrete and using evasive language to support the military actions of the government and, on the other hand, saying it supports peace efforts. All this clearly clarifies our point and proves beyond doubt that all the Sinhala political parties are essentially chauvinistic and anti-Tamil. To expect a political solution from any of these Southern parties is political naivety.”
Drawing the attention of the international community to this long history of deception by the chauvinistic Sinhala State, the Tamil national leader said that the confidence of the Tamil people on the international community has been eroded by their one-sided approach. He pointed out that nations like East Timor and Montenegro broke free of their subjugation and gained their freedom with the help and support of the international community. He added that the actions of the international community with respect to the Tamil national question are unjust and said that Tamil people hoped that the international community would change their biased approach and recognize the sovereignty of the Tamil nation.
The LTTE leader called on the global Tamil community to support the Tamil Eelam freedom struggle. “I wish to express my love and gratitude to you for your past participation in the building of our nation, bringing together your abundant intellectual, material, monetary and many other resources in the service of our nation and ask that you stand with us in the coming years of our freedom struggle,” he said.
The full text of the official translation of his speech follows:
The 21st century began as the ‘Asian century’ and the world is looking towards Asia. Many countries in our region have grown in leaps and bounds in social, economical and scientific fields. They are researching space, moon and atom. The whole human race is taking up new challenges and has embarked on a united path, seeking answers to many of nature’s mysteries and looking for remedies to incurable diseases. It is seeking to protect the entire globe and its plant and animal lives. Sadly, the Sinhala nation is moving in exactly the opposite direction, on a path of destruction. It is trying to destroy the Tamil nation and, in the process, it is destroying itself. This beautiful island continues to soak in blood.
Buddhism is a profound spiritual duty. Its philosophy emphasizes a life without desires, a life of love and justice. The Sinhala nation, claiming that it has followed this path for more than two thousand years, has in fact remained immersed in the poison of racism. It is unleashing unthinkable violence against another people. During the long history of the Tamil struggle, first through non-violence and later through armed struggle, the Sinhala mindset has remained unchanged. The Sinhala nation did not change even after so much destruction and lost lives. It continues on the path of violence. It only desires to find a solution to the Tamil question through military might and oppression. It cunningly evaded efforts to seek peace and is boldly taking forward its military plan. The international community’s economic and military aid, its moral and political support, its diplomatic efforts, and its one-sided involvement directly aided this turn of events.
We know very well that the military, economic and geo-political interests of the world’s powers are embedded in our region. We understand their concern to take forward their interests. We also recognize the concerns of the international community to bring about stability and good governance to this island for these reasons. At the same time the chauvinistic Sinhala State is attempting to exploit this interest in our region of the international powers. It is trapping the international community in its chauvinistic project and turning the international community against the Tamil freedom struggle. Our people are dismayed and disappointed that these countries, trapped in the deceptive net of the Sinhala State, are being unhelpful in their involvement to resolve our problem. These one-sided involvements of foreign powers are not new in our prolonged struggle. India intervened in our national question then as part of its regional expansion. India signed an accord with the Sinhala State without the consent of the Tamils. The Indo-Lanka Accord was not signed to meet the aspirations of the people of Tamil Eelam. In fact, India then attempted to force an ineffectual solution on our people – a solution which did not even devolve powers to the extent of the Banda-Chelva pact signed in the 1950’s. India tried to enforce that accord with the strength of more than 100,000 Indian forces, with the power of the agreement between two countries and with the assistance of treacherous Tamil paramilitary groups. However, even this ill-considered solution, which did not even address the basic national aspirations of the Tamils, was blocked by the chauvinistic Sinhala State.
We are intimately familiar with the Sinhala State and its deceptive politics. Our people have a long history of bitter experiences. That is why we explained to India on many occasions, at many locations and at many levels about the implacability of Sinhala chauvinism. We explained to India then that the aim of the Sinhala State was not to find a solution to the Tamil question and bring peace; but to occupy the Tamil homeland, destroy its resources, and enslave the Tamil nation. India refused to accept this reality. As a result our land witnessed great sorrow and destruction.
Today, the international community is making the same mistake that India made many years ago. Even the countries that are the guardians of the peace efforts succumbed to the deception of the Sinhala State and listed our freedom movement as a terrorist organization. What we find most incomprehensible is the fact that these same nations, which labeled us terrorists, not so long ago fought in defence of their own freedom.
The Sinhala nation is unable to stomach the support of our Diaspora for the Tamil freedom struggle; it is unable to accept the humanitarian help and the political lobbying by the Diaspora to end the misery heaped on our people. That is why the Sinhala nation is trying hard to shatter the bond between our people in our homeland and our Diaspora. Some countries are also assisting this amoral effort of Sinhala chauvinism. These countries are denouncing, as illegal activities, the humanitarian actions and political protests of our people abroad – actions that are carried out according to the laws of those countries. These countries have imprisoned and humiliated Tamil campaigners and representatives. These countries have ridiculed their protests and their efforts to seek justice.
This partisan and unjust conduct of the international community has severely undermined the confidence our people had in them. And it has paved the way for the breakdown of the ceasefire and the peace efforts. Furthermore, the generous military and economic aid they have given to the Sinhala State and their diplomatic efforts to prop up the chauvinistic Sinhala State has encouraged the Sinhala nation further and further along its militaristic path. This is the background to the confidence of the Rajapake regime in continuing with its unjust, inhuman war of occupation of our land.
Overconfident of its military victory over the Tamil freedom movement, the Rajapakse regime has shut fast the door for peace. The desire to oppress the Tamils has intensified as never before. With the entire world giving support, the Sinhala State, using the ceasefire as cover, and exploiting the peace environment, prepared its war of occupation. The SLMM that was monitoring the peace covered its eyes, tied its hands behind back, and went to sleep in Colombo. The exhausted Norwegian facilitators remained silent. The countries that preached peace to us also went silent and refused to speak out. The Sinhala State started its war and justified it with slogans like ‘War for Peace’, ‘War against terrorism’ and ‘War for the liberation of the Tamils’.
The Rajapakse regime assembled its military might and let loose a massive war on the eastern region of our homeland. This part of our homeland became a wasteland after incessant bombing and shelling. Trincomalee, the famous Tamil capital, was destroyed. Batticaloa, an ancient cultural city of the Tamils, became a land of refugees. Jaffna, the cultural centre of the Tamils, was cut off from the rest of the world and turned into an open prison.
The Sinhala State’s war of genocide destroyed the peaceful life of the Tamils. It turned the Tamils into refugees in their own homeland, ruined their nation’s social and economical infrastructure and plunged them into unprecedented hardships. While our motherland, caught within gruesome Sinhala military rule, is destroyed, Sinhalisation of our historic territory is going on under the pretexts of High Security Zones and Free Trade Zones. This naked Sinhalisation proceeds by the hoisting of Lion flags, the erection of Sidharthan statues, the renaming of Tamil streets with Sinhala names, the building of Buddhist temples. Sinhala settlements are mushrooming in the Tamil homeland.
The unjust war, the economic blockade, the restrictions on our people’s freedom of movement, the killing of thousands, the displacement of hundreds of thousands, have all deeply wounded the Tamil psyche. The Sinhala nation is celebrating this tragedy as a victory. It is lighting firecrackers believing it has defeated the Tamils. The Sinhala military leadership believes that its occupation of the east has been completed and the barbed wire noose around the neck of Jaffna has been tightened. The Sinhala nation arrogantly believes it has manacled the eastern coast from Pothuvil to Pulmoddai. The Sinhala leadership thus believes it has won great victories against our struggle.
The Sinhala nation has always misunderstood our freedom struggle. It consistently underestimates us. Only after carefully scrutinising the global situation and external conditions; only after accurately estimating the strengths and weaknesses of the adversary; only after gauging the enemy’s goals and strategies; only after ensuring that we remain focused on our own strategy; only then did we implement our plans to take our liberation struggle forward. We have strategically withdrawn from the east while launching defensive attacks. The Sinhala nation could have learnt the dangers of putting its feet too wide apart in our land as it did during past battles. But the Sinhala military has fallen yet again into the net we spread and it is now forced to commit large numbers of troops to rule land without people. Caught in a territorial trap, it will soon be forced to face the serious consequences of its misguided ambitions.
Operation ‘Ellalan’, the very first combined Black Tiger and Tamil Eelam Air Force attack was a massive blow to the Sinhala military. It has disrupted the daydreams of the Sinhala nation. The Sinhala nation has not emerged from this massive shock delivered by our beloved fighters. The immeasurable dedication and sacrifice of our Heroes is delivering a message to the Sinhala nation. Those who plan to destroy the Tamil nation will in the end be forced to face their own destruction.
The Rajapakse regime is never going to realize that the Tamil national question cannot be resolved by military oppression. The Sinhala leadership is not going to shed its desire for military supremacy or the Sinhalisation of the Tamil homeland. The Rajapakse regime is working hard to import more and more destructive weapons from all over the world without care for the cost. Therefore, it is not going to give up its war of genocide.
The All Party Representative Committee was appointed by the Rajapakse regime to spread a smokescreen over the misery that its military adventures are creating in the Tamil homeland and to deceive other governments to get their aid and support. We clearly predicted this would happen one year ago. We have been proved right. After dragging on without putting forward any solution, the committee has gone on holiday.
The past sixty years have proven beyond any doubt that no political party in the South has the political honesty or firmness in policy to find a just solution to the Tamil national question. It has been also proved beyond any doubt that none of the Southern parties are ready to accept the core principles for a lasting peace: the Tamil homeland, the Tamil nation and the Tamil Right to self determination. The ruling party is adamant on unitary rule; the red and yellow parties are calling for no solution at all; and the main opposition party, somersaulting from its earlier position, is, on the one hand, saying nothing concrete and using evasive language to support the military actions of the government and, on the other hand, saying it supports peace efforts. All this clearly clarifies our point and proves beyond doubt that all the Sinhala political parties are essentially chauvinistic and anti-Tamil. To expect a political solution from any of these southern parties is political naivety.
The Sinhala nation showed eagerness in the peace talks only when we shattered their ‘Operation Fireball’ military action and made them realize that the Tigers cannot be defeated. It was only when we proved our military prowess and only when we were militarily in a position of strength that the Sinhala nation signed the ceasefire agreement. Now, with abundant monetary and military aid from several countries, it has rehabilitated its destroyed military and has prepared itself for war again. It is yet again walking the military path having abandoned the peace path.
The Rajapakse regime, after unilaterally abrogating the ceasefire agreement, is ruthlessly implementing its military plan to remove the contiguity of the Tamil homeland. It has killed and disappeared thousands of our people. It reprimands and controls the Norwegian facilitators. It vehemently criticizes the SLMM. It even dares to brand senior UN officials as terrorists in order to hide its own terrorism. It is obscuring the ground reality in the Tamil homeland by striking fear among journalists and NGO workers.
The world’s powers, even while taking forward their own geo-political interests, respect human rights and democratic institutions. Be it this universe, human affairs or international relationships, they all revolve on the wheel of justice. That is why nations like East Timor and Montenegro broke free of their subjugation and gained their freedom with the help and support of the international community. Even now, the international community continues to work for the freedom of nations like Kosovo.
Yet the actions of the international community with respect to our own national question are unjust. The confidence our people placed in the international community has been eroded. By only paying lip-service to peace the international community has contributed to the killing of an extraordinary son of our nation, Tamilselvan. It has stopped the heartbeat of a light that walked the path of peace. I will be lighting the lamp for my dear brother, Tamilselvan, who until last year was with me every time we, with a burning desire to reach our goal, lit the lamps for our fallen Heroes. The international community has made the entire Tamil world drown in its tears. Had the international community firmly and unambiguously condemned the anti-peace activities and the war mongering of the Sinhala regime, Tamilselvan would be alive today. A huge blow would not have fallen on peace efforts.
The Co-chairs, acting as the guardians of the peace process, have failed in their responsibility. If the Co-chairs do not have a moral obligation to protect peace efforts, what exactly is the purpose of their meeting from time to time in different places? Is it their intent to assist the Sinhala regime to wipe out the Tamils? Questions like these have arisen in the minds of our people. Our people firmly expect that at least from now on the international community will take a new approach in relation to our freedom struggle. On this sacred day it is the hope of our people that the international community will cease giving military and economic aid to the Sinhala regime and accept the right to self determination and the sovereignty of the Tamil nation.
My beloved people,
We are an ancient people with special qualities. We have a unique national identity and national foundation. We have been struggling non-violently and by armed struggle for a very long time against national oppression. We are not terrorists, committing blind acts of violence impelled by racist or religious fanaticism. Our struggle has a concrete, legitimate, political objective. We are struggling only to regain our sovereignty in our own historical land where we have lived for centuries, the sovereignty which we lost to colonial occupiers. We are struggling only to reestablish that sovereignty and rebuild our nation. The Sinhala nation is continuing to reject our just and civilized demands for freedom. Instead, it has declared a genocidal war on our land and our people. Behind the smokescreen of fighting terrorism, it is creating immense human misery.
Despite our people enduring injustice and oppression, facing death, destruction and massive displacement, no country, no nation, no international organization has raised its voice on our behalf. We face this situation alone because, although 80 million Tamils live all around the globe, the Tamils do not have a country of their own.
On this day, when we remember our Heroes, I ask the entire Tamil speaking world to rise up for the liberation of Tamil Eelam. I wish to express my love and gratitude to you for your past participation in the building of our nation, bringing together your abundant intellectual, material, monetary and many other resources in the service of our nation and ask that you stand with us in the coming years of our freedom struggle.
Thousands of our fighters are standing ready to fight with determination for our just goal of freedom and we will overcome the hurdles before us and liberate our motherland. On this day when we remember our Heroes who sacrificed themselves for this sacred goal, let each one of us carry their dream in our hearts and struggle until it is achieved.
Maaveerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
27 November 2006
An Independent State for the People of Tamil Eelam
“…A long time has elapsed since we embarked on this journey for peace with Norway’s facilitation. We have tried our best to take forward this peace effort. We have practiced patience. We gave innumerable opportunities for finding peaceful resolution. … It is now crystal clear that the Sinhala leaders will never put forward a just resolution to the Tamil national question. Therefore, we are not prepared to place our trust in the impossible and walk along the same old futile path.The uncompromising stance of Sinhala chauvinism has left us with no other option but an independent state for the people of Tamil Eelam. We therefore ask the international community and the countries of the world that respect justice to recognize our freedom struggle. At this historic time when the Tamils are recommencing their journey on the path of freedom, we seek the unwavering support and assistance of the world Tamil community. We express our gratitude to the Tamil Nadu people and leaders for voicing their support and ask them to continue their efforts to help us in our freedom struggle. We express our gratitude to the Tamil Diaspora, our displaced brethren living all around the world, for their contribution to our struggle and ask them to maintain their unwavering participation and support.”
“சிங்களப் பேரினவாதத்தின் கடுமையான போக்கு, தனியரசு என்ற ஒரேயொரு பாதையைத்தான் இன்று தமிழீழ மக்களுக்குத் திறந்துவைத்திருக்கிறது. எனவே, இந்த விடுதலைப் பாதையிற் சென்று, சுதந்திரத் தமிழீழத் தனியரசை நிறுவுவதென இன்றைய நாளில் நாம் தீர்க்கமாக முடிவு செய்திருக்கிறோம். எமது அரசியற் சுதந்திரத்திற்கான இந்தப் போராட்டத்தை விரைவாக ஏற்று அங்கீகரிக்குமாறு நீதியின் வழிநடக்கும் உலகநாடுகளையும் சர்வதேச சமூகத்தையும் நாம் அன்போடு வேண்டுகிறோம். தமிழினம் விடுதலைப் பாதையில் வீறுகொண்டெழுந்திருக்கின்ற இந்தப் பெருமைமிகுந்த வரலாற்றுக் காலகட்டத்தில் உலகத்தமிழினத்தின் உதவியையும் பேராதரவையும் நாம் வேண்டிநிற்கிறோம்.”
English Translation of excerpts from Maaveerar Naal Address[also in PDF]
“We are at a cross road in our freedom struggle. Our journey has been long and arduous, and crowded with difficult phases. We are facing challenges and unexpected turns that no other freedom movement had to face. Unprecedented in history, we are dealing with war and peace talks at the same time.
Six years have passed since we dedicated ourselves to find a solution to the ethnic problem through peace talks. In this long time span, has a solution been found to the burning Tamil national question? Was there any visible change in the mindset of the Sinhala leadership that continues to inflict unrelenting cruelty on the Tamil people? Were any of the justifiable requests of the Tamils been fulfilled? Were our people able to find relief from the daily harassment and misery at the hands of the occupying military? Were the daily basic problems of our people resolved? None of these has happened. Instead, death and destruction were heaped on the Tamils who hoped that they would receive justice.
While the countries that preached peace maintain silence without conscience, a great tragedy is unfolding in the Tamil homeland. The Sinhala government has imprisoned the Tamils in their own land after closing its main supply routes. Having removed their freedom by restricting their movement and constrained their lives, it is inflicting great suffering on them. It has split the Tamil homeland, set up military camps, bound it with barbed wire, and has converted it into a site of collective torture.
The Sinhala government has unleashed a two pronged war, military and economic, on our people. Our people are subjected to unprecedented assaults. Arrests, imprisonment, and torture, rape and sexual harassment, murders, disappearance, shelling, aerial bombing, and continuous military offensives are continuing unchecked. At the same time our people are subjected to economic embargo and bans on essential items including food and medicine.
Even after the ceasefire, negotiations and the five years of patiently keeping peace, the dividends of peace have not reached our people. Our people are faced with unbearable burdens in their daily lives. Thousands of our people have been forced out of their homes and are languishing with disease and hunger in refugee camps. No one should expect that this Sinhala government which is denying food and medicine to our people to the extent of starving them would show compassion and give them their political rights.
The monumental growth in knowledge and the resulting global outlook is taking humanity into a new era. Ideas, views and philosophies are changing in tandem with this growth in knowledge and this is resulting in changes in society. Yet, within the Sinhala nation, there is little change in its ideas and philosophies. The Sinhala nation is refusing to broaden its thinking and take a new approach. The Sinhala nation remains mislead by the mythical ideology of the Mahavamsa and remains trapped in the chauvinistic sentiments thus created. Unable to free itself from this mindset, it has adopted Sinhala Buddhist chauvinistic notions as its dominant national philosophy. This notion is spread in its schools, universities and even its media. The domination of this Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism is preventing its students, intellectuals, and writers from stepping out of and thinking free from its domination. This, unfortunately, is preventing the Sinhala nation from undertaking a genuine attempt at resolving the Tamil national question in a civilized manner.
Both our liberation movement and our people never preferred war to a peaceful resolution. We have always preferred a peaceful approach to win the political rights of our people. We have never hesitated to follow the peaceful path to win our political rights. That is why we have tried to hold peace talks beginning in Thimpu right through to Geneva on several occasions, at various times, and in many countries. The current peace efforts, with Norwegian facilitation and with the blessings of the international community, taking place in the capitals of various countries are unique.
This peace journey began on 31st October 2000, when the then Norwegian special envoy Eric Solheim visited Vanni and met us. This peace journey is taking place in a unique period, under unique historical conditions, in a unique format and on a unique path. It is moving on two fronts, peace talks, on one hand, and a war of occupation by the Sinhala government, on the other.
“…In this five years since the peace efforts began, three governments have come to power, that of Wickremasinghe, Bandaranayake and Rajapakse. Each time the government changed, the dove of peace moved from one cage to another but it was never able to fly freely. Stabbed many times, the dove is now struggling for its life…”
During the six years when we kept peace, we were sincere in our efforts. Indeed, we initiated the peace efforts. We created a strong foundation for peace efforts by unilaterally declaring a ceasefire. We refrained from putting conditions or time limits for peace talks. We did not undertake these efforts from a position of weakness. We had recaptured the Vanni mainland and the Iyakkachchi-Elephant Pass military complex. We had beaten back the ‘Operation Fire’ of the Sinhala military. We carried out great military feats in the history of our struggle. It was from this position of strength that we undertook this peace effort.
The situation was just the opposite in the south. The south had faced defeat after defeat and was losing its will to face war. Its military had lost its backbone. The economy was very shaky. It was only under such conditions that the Sinhala nation agreed for peace talks. In this five years since the peace efforts began, three governments have come to power, that of Wickremasinghe, Bandaranayake and Rajapakse. Each time the government changed, the dove of peace moved from one cage to another but it was never able to fly freely. Stabbed many times, the dove is now struggling for its life.
We held talks with the Wickremasinghe government for six months after signing the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) with him. Like all previous Sinhala regimes, the Wickremasinghe regime dragged time without implementing the clauses in the CFA and the agreements reached at the talks. Its military failed to move out of people’s homes, schools and hospitals and instead declared these vast areas of land as military security zones and permanently prevented the people from returning to their land. The sub-committee for De-escalation and Normalization became dysfunctional. The sub-committee created to solve immediate humanitarian needs of the people also become defunct due to planned sabotage by the government.
The Wickremasinghe government that refused to solve the humanitarian problems facing our people, secretly worked to marginalize our movement on the world stage. Even before setting up a working administrative structure in the Tamil homeland, it conducted donor conferences to obtain aid for the south. By failing to facilitate our participation in the donor conference held in Washington, it marginalized and humiliated our movement. As a result we were forced to stay away from the Tokyo conference. The Wickremasinghe regime did not stop with this. It plotted to trap our freedom movement in an ‘international safety net’ and destroy us.
When we put forward the proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA), startling changes occurred in the southern politics. The Kumaratunge government took over the reins of power. While refusing to hold talks on the basis of our proposal, her government, using the paramilitary phenomenon, intensified the shadow war against us. The paramilitary factor turned the Tamil homeland into a violent blood stained theatre. Intellectuals, political leaders, journalists, LTTE members, supporters and civilians were all murdered. We were forced to halt the political work, carried out according to the CFA clauses by our members in Sri Lankan military occupied areas of the Tamil homeland. As a result, our people were left alone in the cruel grip of the occupying military. Finally the Kumaratunge regime failed to implement even the Joint Mechanism (PTOMS) agreement signed by her regime for tsunami rehabilitation. The Supreme Court, unable to step outside the Sinhala chauvinistic notions, rejected this purely humanitarian focused agreement citing the unitary constitution.
It was at this time that the Sinhala nation elected Rajapakse as its new President. Like the Sinhala leaders of the past, he too is putting his hopes in a military solution. He rejected our final call in our last year’s Heroes’ Day statement, to find a resolution to the Tamil National problem with urgency. Instead, he intensified the war, on the one hand, with the view to destroy our movement and, on the other hand, he is talking about finding a peaceful resolution. This dual war and peace approach is fundamentally flawed. It is not possible to find a resolution by marginalizing and destroying the freedom movement with which talks must be held to find the resolution. This is political absurdity on the part of the Sinhala leaders.
The Rajapakse regime hopes to decide the fate of the Tamil nation using its military power. It wants to occupy the Tamil land and then force an unacceptable solution on the Tamils. Due to this strategy of the Rajapakse regime, the CFA has become defunct. The Rajapakse regime, by openly advocating attacks on our positions, has effectively buried the CFA. The Rajapakse regime’s attacks have expanded from land to sea and air. It has given a free hand to the paramilitary groups to kill at will. It has occupied Mavilaru and Sampur blatantly breaking the terms of the CFA.
The Sinhala military misjudged our strategic withdrawal from Mavilaru and Sampur. It used heavy firepower and launched large scale offensives to bring Tamil lands under its control. Tamil land was soaked in blood. It is at this time we decided to give a shock to the Sinhala regime. Our forces conducted a massive counter-offensive on the Sinhala forces that attempted to move from Kilali and Muhamalai. The military sustained heavy losses and was forced to abandon its offensive temporarily. This, however, did not persuade the Sinhala regime to give up its military plans. It continues on its military path.
The Rajapakse regime, while conducting genocide of the Tamils, is portraying our movement which is waging a struggle to save the Tamils from this genocide as a terrorist organization. It has launched a malicious propaganda campaign to defame our movement. Ignoring the unanimous opposition of our people and the objection of the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM), the European Union and Canada have yielded to diplomatic pressure from the Sri Lankan government and listed our movement as a terrorist organization. They isolated us as undesirables.
This hasty decision, arrived at without considering the prevailing context, has created serious repercussions. It has gravely disturbed the parity of status and balance of power we held with the Sinhala regime. It encouraged the hard line stance of the Sinhala regime. It weakened the SLMM and facilitated the war plans of the Sinhala regime. Some countries that proclaim to be helping the peace efforts, have not only failed to condemn the genocidal attacks on our people but are also giving military and financial aid to the Sinhala regime to support its war plans. These are external factors that are encouraging the Rajapakse regime to carry on with its brutal military offensives in the Tamil land with absolute impunity.
The Rajapakse regime is not giving due importance to the peace talks because it has confidence in its military approach. The two Geneva talks were unproductive because of its lack of interest in the peace front. At the first Geneva talks, we placed evidence of military-paramilitary cooperation in the form of documents, statistics and incident reports. Unable to reject the solid evidence, the Sri Lankan government agreed to implement the CFA clause by removing the paramilitary groups from the Tamil homeland. After this first Geneva talks, there was only one change. State and paramilitary terror in the Tamil homeland escalated.
The second Geneva talks were also a failure. At these talks, we gave priority to the humanitarian issues facing our people and requested that the A9 road be opened and the SLMM be given freedom to function. The Sri Lankan government, putting military advantage ahead of humanitarian concerns, rejected both requests.
The Sinhala government that failed to show mercy to the people affected by a natural disaster is never going to budge on a humanitarian crisis that it planned and created. How could the peace talks move forward when the peace delegation is made up of people who proclaim that they will wage war and hold peace talks at the same time? How can trust be built? How can peace be arrived at like this?
To improve his posturing as a peace dove, President Rajapakse staged a deceptive ‘All Party Conference’. The Sinhala leaders have practiced this infamous political tradition of initiating commissions of inquiry, parliamentary select committees, all party conferences, or round tables to procrastinate whenever it is unable to face up to a situation and wants to drag time until attention is diverted. This is exactly what he is doing now. Rejecting our call to speedily find a resolution to the Tamil national question, he is hiding behind the All Party Conference. For the last ten months, the all party committee is looking for the Tamil problem, like searching for a black cat in a dark room.
Once the All Party Conference lost its deceptive power, President Rajapakse has taken up his next card, the MoU between the two major parties. These two major parties that effectively have hegemonic control over the south are both essentially chauvinistic parties. Both these parties are born of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism and compete with each other to carry out genocide of the Tamils. This MoU is a temporary opportunistic move by Rajapakse regime to avoid the multiple problems of international pressure to find a peaceful solution, the declining economic situation, and the opposition of his political partner, Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP). There is no sincere motive in this MoU agreement. These two parties will never put forward a just solution to the Tamil issue. Despite this, the Rajapakse regime continues to show interest in keeping the all party conference alive simply to deceive the world.
My beloved people,
A long time has elapsed since we embarked on this journey for peace with Norway’s facilitation. We have tried our best to take forward this peace effort. We have practiced patience. We gave innumerable opportunities for finding peaceful resolution. We postponed our plan to advance our freedom struggle twice to give even more chances to the peace efforts, once when the tsunami disaster struck and again when President Rajapakse was elected.
It is now crystal clear that the Sinhala leaders will never put forward a just resolution to the Tamil national question. Therefore, we are not prepared to place our trust in the impossible and walk along the same old futile path.
The uncompromising stance of Sinhala chauvinism has left us with no other option but an independent state for the people of Tamil Eelam. We therefore ask the international community and the countries of the world that respect justice to recognize our freedom struggle. At this historic time when the Tamils are recommencing their journey on the path of freedom, we seek the unwavering support and assistance of the world Tamil community. We express our gratitude to the Tamil Nadu people and leaders for voicing their support and ask them to continue their efforts to help us in our freedom struggle. We express our gratitude to the Tamil Diaspora, our displaced brethren living all around the world, for their contribution to our struggle and ask them to maintain their unwavering participation and support.”
Maaveerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
27 November 2005
Excerpts from English Translation
‘The Sinhala nation continues to be entrapped in the Mahavamsa mindset, in that mythical ideology. The Sinhalese people are still caught up in the legendary fiction that the island of Sri Lanka is a divine gift to Theravada Buddhism, a holy land entitled to the Sinhala race. The Sinhala nation has not redeemed itself from this mythological idea that is buried deep and has become fossilised in their collective unconscious.
It is because of this ideological blindness that the Sinhalese people and their political and religious leaders are unable to grasp the authentic history of the island and the social realities prevailing here. They are unable to comprehend and accept the very existence of a historically constituted nation of Tamil people living in their traditional homeland in north-eastern Sri Lanka, entitled to fundamental political rights and freedoms. It is because of the refusal by the Sinhala nation to perceive the existential reality of the Tamils and their political aspirations that the Tamil national question persists as an unresolved complex issue.
We do not expect a radical transformation in the social consciousness, in the political ideology, in the Mahavamsa mental structure of the Sinhalese people. The scope and power of Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony has not receded, rather, it has revived and taken new forms, exerting a powerful dominance on the southern political arena. In these objective conditions we do not believe that we can gain a reasonable solution from the Sinhala nation. We have to fight and win our rights. We have never entertained the idea that we could obtain justice from the compassion of the Sinhala politicians. This has always been the view of our liberation organisation.
Even though we are deeply convinced that we cannot obtain justice from the Sinhala political leadership, but rather have to fight and win our rights, we were compelled by unprecedented historical circumstances to participate in peace talks with the Sinhala state. We were compelled to engage in the negotiating process by the intervention of the Indian regional superpower at a particular historical period and by the pressure of the international community at a later period.
There were other reasons also that encouraged us to engage in the peace process. Constructive engagement in the peace process is a viable means to secure legitimacy for our liberation organisation as the representative organ of our people. We also wanted to internationalise our struggle and win the support and sympathy of the international community. Furthermore, there is a need to convince the world community that we are not war-mongers addicted to armed violence, but rather, firmly and sincerely committed to a non-violent peace process. Finally and most importantly, we wanted to demonstrate beyond doubt that the Sinhala racist ruling elites would not accept the fundamental demands of the Tamils and offer a reasonable political solution. It was with these objectives we participated in the peace process.
Over the last three decades of our national liberation struggle we have observed ceasefires and participated in peace talks at different periods of time in different historical circumstances. We knew that our enemy was dishonest and devious. We knew that these peace talks would not produce any positive results. We knew that there would be peace traps. Yet we participated in the peace talks with sincere commitment and dedication.
In the course of our engagement we encountered pressures and complex challenges. There were traps to undermine our liberation struggle. We acted prudently and avoided pitfalls. We vehemently opposed all subversive strategies that were detrimental to the interests of our people. The Tamil people are fully aware of the fact that during the time of Indian intervention, when we encountered a serious threat to our freedom struggle and to the interests of our people, our liberation organisation was bold enough to oppose the Indian superpower and fight its military machine.
From the Thimpu talks, we have participated in several peace negotiations, at different times, at different places. Unprecedented in the history of our struggle, it is only now, we have devoted a lengthy period of four years for the peace effort. However, despite this protracted period of time our sincere and persistent efforts to reach a settlement to the problems of our people have become futile.
The recent peace talks have been significant and essentially different. They have been held with the facilitation of a third country, with the supervision of the international community. There were sessions of negotiations with Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe’s administration and later with Chandrika Kumaratunga’s government. The decisions, resolutions and Agreements reached during these negotiations were never fulfilled. During this process of negotiations we were extremely tolerant and even compromised on several issues. Nevertheless, the Sinhala political leadership refused to offer justice to our people.
On 24 December 2001 we unilaterally declared cessation of hostilities and opened the doors for peace. At that time, when we extended our hand of friendship to the Sinhala nation, we stood on a strong foundation. Having liberated the Vanni region and over run the Elephant Pass military complex, we had firmly established the balance of military power in our favour. I need not go into the details of the peace negotiations we had with Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe’s government in various world capitals under Norwegian facilitation.
It is suffice to say that Mr Wickremasinghe’s administration was unable to resolve even the basic existential hardships and urgent humanitarian needs of our people. Adopting delaying tactics, Ranil’s government was primarily focusing on setting up an international safety net aimed at decommissioning our weapons. An international aid conference was organised in Tokyo in June 2003 as an essential element of this subversive scheme. Having realised the implications of the international safety net we decided to boycott the Tokyo conference and eventually to suspend the peace talks. Having failed to achieve anything, Ranil’s regime came to an end. In the meantime President Kumaratunga formed a new government with the alliance of racist forces opposed to peace.
Chandrika refused to initiate the peace talks even though our organisation was willing to negotiate on the basis of our proposal for an interim self-government authority. Time began to elapse in a political vacuum without an interim settlement or a permanent solution. We realised that the aim of the Sinhala chauvinistic political leadership was to misdirect and undermine our liberation struggle by entrapping us in the uncertainty of a political vacuum. Faced with the meaningless absurdity of living in the illusion of peace we decided to resume our national liberation struggle. It was at that conjuncture, during the latter part of last year, when we were charting our action plan, that the horrendous natural disaster struck.
Suddenly, unexpectedly the tsunami waves struck at the villages and settlements along the eastern coastal belt of our homeland causing an unprecedented catastrophe. In this cataclysmic disaster unleashed by nature, twenty thousand Tamil and Muslim people perished and about three hundred thousand people lost their homes, properties and were reduced to conditions of refugees.
As nature inflicted further calamity on the Tamil nation, which had already suffered monumental destruction by war, our people were burdened with unbearable suffering. In these circumstances, our liberation movement was geared to confront the crisis. Our fighting formations, as well as our cadres belonging to various social and administrative services, were immediately engaged in the tasks of relief and rehabilitation.
As the tsunami catastrophe shook the conscience of the world, the international governments volunteered to provide huge sums of money in aid for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. In the meantime President Kumaratunga expressed her willingness to form a joint administrative mechanism in cooperation with the LTTE to implement the tasks of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction for the affected Tamil speaking people. We decided to talk to the Kumaratunga government since we had to give primacy to the extraordinary humanitarian tragedy faced by our people. Talks were conducted at the level of peace secretariats. Since we wanted to avoid delays in the negotiating process we adopted a flexible attitude, even compromised on crucial matters, and finally an agreement was reached to establish a joint administrative mechanism. The Accord was also signed by both parties.
The international community expressed full support for the joint administrative structure worked out by both the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE. The international governments also expressed hope that a congenial environment for joint effort by warring parties had been created. But the Sinhala-Buddhist racist forces could not tolerate the emergence of a congenial environment of goodwill. Having registered their vehement protest to the joint administrative mechanism, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Jathika Hela Urumaja withdrew their support to the government. These parties also filed a case in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the joint administrative mechanism. The determination of the Supreme Court made the joint mechanism inoperative.
With the demise of the tsunami mechanism the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism killed the last hope of the Tamil people. Even the all-powerful President Kumaratunga could not provide a simple humanitarian project for the Tamils against the wishes of the Sinhala racist forces. The tsunami mechanism was not devolved with any political power nor was it to have any administrative authority. If there was so much opposition in southern Sri Lanka to a simple provisional arrangement then it is a daydream to expect to secure a regional self-governing authority in the Tamil homeland by negotiating with the Sinhala political leadership. This is the political truth that we have been able to learn from the four year period of the peace process. We hope that the international community, which has been intensively observing this political drama, similarly understands this truth.
I wish to explain here a matter of crucial importance, which betrays the politics of duplicity of the Sinhala ruling elites. You would have heard about a secret shadow war being waged against our organisation behind the screen of peace. This subversive war has been unleashed with the aim of weakening our liberation organisation and to undermine our struggle.
A large number of people consisting of our senior cadres, important members, supporters, Tamil politicians, journalists and educationists who were sympathetic to our cause, have been cowardly murdered. We know the real masterminds behind this shadow war. Though these violent acts were committed under the guidance and direction of the Sri Lankan military intelligence, we are aware that mysterious hands of some racist Sinhala politicians are behind these nefarious activities.
This subversive war is being conducted in the government controlled territories, with the backing of the armed forces, utilising Tamil para-military elements as instruments. We expressed vehement protest to the Sri Lanka government when our unarmed political cadres were murdered and our political offices were bombed in the government controlled areas. Since the government ignored our protests we were compelled to withdraw our cadres to our controlled areas.
A strange low intensity war has been unleashed against us taking advantage of the conditions of peace effected by the ceasefire. Disarming the Tamil para-military groups is an obligation of the state under terms of the Ceasefire Agreement.
Having failed to fulfil this crucial obligation the Sri Lanka state has been utilising the Tamil para-militaries as instruments of this subversive war against our liberation organisation. This is a serious war offence. This is similar to a treacherous act in which one stabs you in the back with one hand while pretending to embrace you with the other. This behaviour clearly demonstrates that the Sinhala ruling elites have no genuine interest in peace and ethnic reconciliation. The Sri Lanka state has not given up the military option but rather transformed the war into a new mode of state terror under conditions of peace. We hope that the international community will discern the real mode of this shadow war and perceive its ugly face and ulterior motives.
As far as the Tamil people are concerned, the concepts of peace, ceasefire and negotiations have become meaningless concepts that do not correspond to or reflect reality. A shadow war conducted under conditions of peace, military occupation perpetrated in violation of the terms of ceasefire, an international subversive network woven during political negotiations, are the distorted ways the peace process has been abused. Because of these factors our people have lost faith in everything.
Our people have lost faith in a peace process that has failed to secure them a real, peaceful life they have lost faith in a ceasefire that has failed to remove the occupation army from their homes they have lost faith in the talks that have failed to resolve their long standing problems.
Our people can no longer tolerate an unstable life and an uncertain future. The waves of popular upsurgence erupting in the Tamil homeland are manifestations of the discontent and despair of our people they are fierce demonstrations of their political aspirations. The multitude of Tamil masses, who converged at recent Tamil resurgence conventions, have publicly proclaimed their demands.
The international community cannot ignore these proclamations of a unified nation calling for the recognition of their right to self-determination, of their right to rule themselves. Our people aspire to determine their own political status. Having been subjected to decades of systematic state repression, they call upon the international community to recognise their political aspirations.
We have now reached a significant historic turning point in our struggle for self-determination. The ruling elites of southern Sri Lanka will never recognise our people’s right to self-determination. The Tamil right to self-determination will never find space in the entrenched majoritarian constitution and in the political system built on that constitutional structure.
Our people have, therefore, realised that they have no alternativeother than to fight and win their right to self-determination. Self-determination entails the right to freely choose, without external interference, our political life. The Sinhala nation has been refusing to embrace our people, to recognise their national identity and to share political power.
This political alienation has continued since the independence of the island 57 years ago. Frustrated by years of alienation, oppression and ill-treatment as an unwanted people, the Tamils have finally decided to exclude and boycott the Sri Lankan polity and its power system. The boycott of the presidential elections by the vast majority of Tamil people was a concrete expression of this perspective. Our people did not participate in the election even though they had the voting power to determine the election of a new president.
The non-participation of the Tamils should not be construed as a judgement of the personalities or policies of the presidential candidates. Rather, this political boycott was an expression of deep distrust and disillusionment of the Tamil people with the Sinhala political system. This event symbolises a serious turning point in the political history of the Tamils. It signifies that the Tamil people may choose their own path and freely determine their own political destiny.
The Sinhala nation has chosen a new national leader. A new administration has assumed power under his leadership. This new government has been elected by the Sinhala majority specifically with their voting power. The national minorities are not represented in this government. It is essentially a Sinhala-Buddhist regime. Therefore Mahinda Rajapakse does not represent all the social formations of this country. He has assumed power as a president to protect and promote the interests of the Sinhala-Buddhist community. We are all aware of Mahinda Rajapaske’s thoughts and policies. We are also aware of the incompatible gaps and the irreconcilable contradictions that exist between Mr Rajapakse’s political vision and the Tamils’ struggle for self-determination. I do not wish to engage myself in a comparative analysis of this issue.
The recent presidential elections and the change in governance effected by the Tamil boycott have created a wide rift, politically, between the Tamil and Sinhala nations. While Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony has assumed predominance in the south, Tamil nationalism has emerged as a powerful force and consolidating itself in the Tamil homeland. While a new government under Mahinda Rajapkse has assumed power in the Sinhala nation, LTTE’s administration is expanding and gaining strength as a concrete embodiment of Tamil nationalism.
The international community is fully aware of the fact that we are running an efficient, self-governing administrative structure in the majority areas of the Tamil homeland, which were liberated from Sinhala military occupation by our organisation. Our administrative structure is formidable, consisting of our controlled territories with huge civilian populations, protected by a powerful military force. We have a police force and a judicial system to maintain law and order. We have also developed a complex administrative infra-structure of a shadow government. Though a large number of Tamils are still living in the military occupied Tamil region, their allegiance is with our liberation movement. The Sinhalese ruling class refuses to accept this ground reality, this political truth and attempts to belittle our liberation organisation as a ‘terrorist group’.
We are disappointed and sad to note that some international governments, having been influenced by this false propaganda, continue to retain our organisation on their terrorist list. Biased positions taken by powerful nations acting as guardians of the peace process, in excluding and alienating our liberation organisation as a ‘terrorist outfit’ and supporting the interests of the Sri Lankan state, severely affected the balance of power relations between the parties in conflict at the peace negotiations. This pro-state bias constrained our liberty to choose our own political status. This partiality finally became one of the causes for the collapse of the peace talks.
There is no clear, coherent, globally acceptable definition of the concept of terrorism. As such, just and reasonable political struggles fought for righteous causes are also branded as terrorism. Even authentic liberation movements struggling against racist oppression are denounced as terrorist outfits. In the current global campaign against terror, state terrorism always finds its escape route and those who fight against state terror are condemned as terrorists. Our liberation organisation is also facing a similar plight.
We have now reached the critical time to decide on our approach to achieve the objective of our struggle. At this crucial historical turning point a new government under a new leader has assumed power in the Sinhala nation. This new government is extending its hand of friendship towards us and is calling our organisation for peace talks. It claims that it is going to adopt a new approach towards the peace process.
Having carefully examined his policy statement in depth, we have come to the conclusion that President Rajapkse has not grasped the fundamentals, the basic concepts underlying the Tamil national question. In terms of policy, the distance between him and us is vast. However, President Rajapakse is considered a realist committed to pragmatic politics, and we wish to find out, first of all, how he is going to handle the peace process and whether he will offer justice to our people. We have, therefore, decided to wait and observe, for sometime, his political manoeuvres and actions.
Our people have lost patience, hope and reached the brink of utter frustration. They are not prepared to be tolerant any longer. The new government should come forward soon with a reasonable political framework that will satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people. This is our urgent and final appeal. If the new government rejects our urgent appeal, we will, next year, in solidarity with our people, intensify our struggle for self-determination, our struggle for national liberation to establish self-government in our homeland.’
Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
November 27, 2003
Excerpts from English Translation
“..The Sinhala political organizations and their leadership, which are deeply buried in the mud of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism, will never be able to comprehend the political aspirations of the people of Tamil Eelam. None of the major Sinhala political parties are prepared to recognize the fundamentals underlying the Tamil national question. None of the Sinhala political organizations is prepared to accept the northeastern region as the historical homeland of the Tamil-speaking people, that the Tamils constitute themselves as a distinct nationality and that they are entitled to the right to self-determination, including the right to secede..”
The following is the official translation of Mr Pirapaharan’s statement:
‘Today we are faced with a critical and complex situation, unprecedented in the history of our liberation struggle. We are living in a political void, without war, without a stable peace, without the conditions of normalcy, without an interim or permanent solution to the ethnic conflict. Our liberation struggle will be seriously undermined if this political vacuum continues indefinitely.
‘Three years have lapsed since we entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka, after three decades of protracted armed struggle. You are fully aware that during this period of ceasefire we have been making every endeavour, with sincerity and commitment, to seek a negotiated settlement to the Tamil national question through peaceful means. In various capitals of foreign nations, with Norway as facilitators, we engaged in peace talks with the government. The six sessions of negotiations held over the duration of six months, turned out to be futile and meaningless. Sub-committees that were set up for the de-escalation of the conflict, for the restoration of normalcy, for the rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced and for the reconstruction of the war damaged infrastructure, became non-functional.
In the meantime, the Sri Lanka government, having excluded our liberation organization, participated in the donor conference held in Washington, thereby undermining our status as equal partners in the peace process. It was in these objective conditions that our organization decided to express our displeasure and disappointment by temporarily suspending the talks. Our intention was not to terminate the talks and put an end to the peace process. During the period of suspension we urged the government of Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe to formulate and submit a draft proposal for an interim administrative structure. We emphasized that the envisaged interim administrative mechanism should be invested with adequate authority to deal with the rehabilitation of the war affected people and to reconstruct the war devastated Tamil nation.
‘We were not satisfied with the three successive draft proposals on an interim set-up submitted by Ranil’s government. The draft frameworks lacked adequate administrative authority and they were unacceptable to us. Ultimately, we decided to formulate our own set of proposals. We discussed with our people at different levels and consulted political experts, legal specialists and constitutional scholars in the Tamil Diaspora and finalized our proposals for an Interim Self-Governing Authority. This is an original and pragmatic framework embodying necessary structures and mechanisms to address the urgent existential problems of our people. The proposed framework is invested with substantial authority to effectively and expeditiously undertake all tasks of resettlement, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development in the Tamil homeland. We submitted this proposal to establish an Interim Self-Governing Authority to Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government on the 1 November last year and also released it to the media for public debate.
‘Some international governments welcomed our proposal, because it was the first time the Liberation Tigers had clearly and explicitly spelt out their political ideas in writing. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government did not reject our proposal for an Interim Self-Governing Authority to deal with the rehabilitation of the war affected people and to reconstruct the war devastated Tamil nation. His government viewed our proposals as different from their drafts, yet it agreed to resume peace talks on that basis, whereas the Sri Lankan Freedom Party outrightly condemned our interim administrative framework as the foundation for a separate Tamil state. As the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and as the President, Chandrika Kumaratunga went a step further by taking punitive action that plunged the southern polity into a crisis. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s regime was suddenly and seriously destabilised when President Kumaratunga took over three key Ministries, including Defence. Eventually, following the dissolution of Parliament by the President, Ranil’s government collapsed.
‘The ethnic contradiction between the Sinhala and Tamil nations became acute as a consequence of the general elections held at the beginning of the year. The elections paved the way for the hegemonic dominance of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic forces in the southern political arena. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), an anti-Tamil political party steeped in a muddled ideology of racism, religious fanaticism and orthodox communism, won a substantial number of seats and became the third largest Sinhala political organisation. President Chandrika has embraced this racist political party as the most important ally and partner in her coalition government. This government is constituted by an unholy alliance of incompatible parties articulating antagonistic and mutually contradictory views and policies on the Tamil national question.
‘While the verdict of the general election helped to reinforce Sinhala-Buddhist hegemonism in the Sinhala south, Tamil nationalism arose as a unified collective force in the northeastern Tamil homeland. The political ideals of our liberation organisation received the overwhelming support of the Tamil people. Our organisation received the popular endorsement as the sole representative of our people. Our proposals to establish an Interim Self-Governing Authority received a mandate from our people. The Tamil National Alliance gained a sweeping victory by winning twenty-two seats, thereby becoming the political voice and the democratic force representing our liberation organisation. As never before, this general election has polarized the Sinhala and Tamil ethnic formations into two distinct nations, as two separate peoples with divergent and mutually incompatible ideologies, consciousness and political goals.
‘Though there was a change of government in southern Sri Lanka and chauvinistic forces were able to gain political power, we continued to observe ceasefire and wanted to promote the peace process. We informed the Freedom Alliance government of Chandrika Kumaratunga, through the Norwegian facilitators, that we were prepared to resume peace talks based on our proposal to set-up an Interim Self-Governing Authority. It was at that time confusion and policy differences emerged within the ruling coalition.
‘Politically, the most powerful partner in the Alliance, the JVP, vehemently opposed granting political rights or devolution of power to the Tamil people. It has severely criticised the Norwegian government, which plays the role of facilitator. It has also outrightly rejected our proposal for an Interim Self-Governing Authority. The JVP has warned that it would break away from the ruling coalition if peace talks resumed on the basis of our proposal. The extremist, hard-line attitude of the JVP towards peace and ethnic reconciliation has become a major challenge to Chandrika Kumaratunga.
‘The government of Kumaratunga is facing a multi-dimensional crisis. On one side, the international community is exerting pressure on the government to resolve the ethnic conflict through peaceful means. On the other, the donor countries continue to insist that granting of the pledged aid package is conditional upon progress in the peace talks. Furthermore, the economy of the country is sliding into an abyss. With these multiple problems, the government is compelled to engage the LTTE in peace negotiations. But the internal contradictions and the fundamental policy differences in the ruling alliance have become a stumbling block to the resumption of peace negotiations. There is no clear, coherent policy orientation, or a consensus approach within the political parties of the coalition government. Since she has aligned herself with political parties drenched in anti-Tamil racism, militarism and Sinhala-Buddhist hegemonism, the President cannot advance the peace process based on a coherent, consistent strategy and policy. This is the authentic political reality prevailing in southern Sri Lanka. This political reality of the lack of consensus is skilfully covered up and concealed to the international community.
‘We submitted our proposals for an interim administration at the final stage of our negotiations with Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government. The leadership of the United National Party continues to insist that peace talks can be resumed based on our set of proposals, but the Kumaratunga government is imposing a condition for the resumption of talks. The government says that any form of interim administration should be an integral part of a permanent settlement. While we are demanding an interim administrative set-up, the Kumaratunga government is insisting on talks for a permanent settlement to the ethnic conflict.
‘There are important reasons as to why we are insisting on the formation of an interim administrative set-up as early as possible. As a consequence of a brutal and protracted war our people are facing urgent existential needs and immense humanitarian problems. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamils continue to languish in refugee camps in appalling conditions. In the meantime, the donor governments have pledged a massive aid package for the relief and rehabilitation of the war affected people. Therefore, it is of critical necessity that an interim administrative mechanism should be instituted with adequate powers to undertake the task of providing relief and rehabilitation to the suffering Tamil population and to reconstruct the war devastated Tamil homeland.
‘Though we have entered into a ceasefire agreement and observed peace for three years and participated in the peace talks for six months, our people have not yet received any peace dividends. The intolerable burden of the day-to-day life problems is suffocating our people. Our people are desperately anticipating relief and resolutions to their urgent existential problems. For these reasons we want the immediate resumption of peace talks, based on our proposal, so that an interim administrative authority can be established as early as possible to address the grievances of our people. If some elements of our proposals are deemed problematic or controversial, these issues can be resolved through discussions at the negotiating table. Once the interim administrative authority is institutionalised and becomes functional we are prepared to engage in negotiations for a permanent settlement to the ethnic problem. That is our position.
Our position is reasonable. We are advocating this position in relation to the actuality of the concrete conditions prevailing in the Tamil homeland. Nevertheless, President Kumaratunga is inviting us for talks on a permanent solution, advancing a position that even an interim administrative set-up should be worked out within the contours of a final settlement. We can point out different reasons as to why she gives primacy to talks on a permanent solution. One reason could be her strategy to satisfy extremist racist elements, particularly to placate the JVP, who are deadly opposed to our proposal for an interim administration. The second reason could be to impress upon the international community that she is genuinely committed to resolving the Tamil national question. The third reason could be to prolong the peace negotiations indefinitely by opting to talk on a most intractable and complex issue. We can come up with several other reasons. Whatever the real reason, we can clearly and confidently say one thing; it is apparent from the inconsistent and contradictory statements made by President Kumaratunga that her government is not going to offer the Tamil people either an interim administration or a permanent solution.
‘I do not wish to elaborate here the bitter historical experience of political negotiations we have engaged in with the Sinhala political leadership for more than fifty years to resolve the ethnic problem of the Tamil people. This is a political truth deeply buried in the collective psyche of the Tamil nation. Over a long period of time, we had talks on linguistic rights, on equal rights, on regional autonomy, on federal self-rule and entered into pacts and agreements, which were later torn apart and abrogated. Our liberation organisation is not prepared to walk the path of treachery and deception once again.
‘The Sinhala political organizations and their leadership, which are deeply buried in the mud of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism, will never be able to comprehend the political aspirations of the people of Tamil Eelam. None of the major Sinhala political parties are prepared to recognize the fundamentals underlying the Tamil national question. None of the Sinhala political organizations is prepared to accept the northeastern region as the historical homeland of the Tamil-speaking people, that the Tamils constitute themselves as a distinct nationality and that they are entitled to the right to self-determination, including the right to secede.
The southern political movements do not have the maturity and magnanimity or the political sagacity to understand and accept the fundamentals of the Tamil national question, nor do they possess a consensus or a collective vision on the Tamil issue. What we can observe in the southern political spectrum is division, disunity and mutually divergent, contradictory notions and policies. We are surprised to note that President Kumaratunga is showing concern and interest in resolving the ethnic conflict when political parties aligned to her coalition government are advocating incoherent and irrational policies and articulating brazen forms of racism. We wish to make an open request to all the political parties constituting the governing Freedom Alliance, as well as to the opposition United National Party, to declare publicly their official policy on the fundamentals of the Tamil national question, particularly on the core demands of the Tamil’s concerning homeland, nationality and the right to self-determination.
‘It will be meaningful to talk about a permanent settlement if the Sinhala political organisations have a clear, coherent policy, a proper insight and a consensus approach towards the Tamil national question. If not, there is no meaning in engaging in talks about a permanent solution. There is division, discord, confusion and contradiction within the Sinhala political leadership on the Tamil issue. Having realized the truth that the Sinhala political leadership will not be able to offer a reasonable permanent solution to our people, we submitted an interim solution. We expressed our desire to resume negotiations, based on our proposals for an interim mechanism, to provide relief to our people’s urgent existential needs. But the government of Kumaratunga is deliberately impeding the peace efforts by insisting that talks should be about a permanent settlement. Having covered up the serious policy differences and internal contradictions behind the curtain of a loose political alliance, President Kumaratunga is accusing the Tamil Tigers of intransigence. We are confident that the international community will soon be able to see the real face of Chandrika, who is acting with a deceptive mask of peace.
‘We cannot continue to be entrapped in a political vacuum without an interim solution or a permanent settlement, without a stable peace and without peace of mind. The Sinhala nation neither assimilates and integrates our people to live in co-existence nor does it allow our people to secede and lead a separate existence. We cannot continue to live in the darkness of political uncertainty, without freedom, without emancipation, without any prospects for the future. There are borderlines to patience and expectations. We have now reached the borderline. At this critical moment we wish to make an urgent appeal to the Sri Lanka government. We urge the government to resume the peace negotiations without conditions, based on our proposal for an Interim Self-Governing Authority. If the Government of Sri Lanka rejects our urgent appeal and adopts delaying tactics, perpetuating the suffering of our people, we have no alternative other than to advance the freedom struggle of our nation. We call upon the concerned international governments to understand our predicament and prevail upon the Sri Lanka government to resume peace talks based on our fair and reasonable stand.’
Full Text of Address in Tamil
Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
November 27, 2003
President Kumaratunga has put forward two reasons for her intervention. One is that the national security and sovereignty of Sri Lanka are threatened as the LTTE has been strengthening is military structure and preparing for war. Secondly, the government of Ranil Wickremasinghe has provided too many concessions to the Tamil Tigers. I wish to deny categorically that there is any truth in these allegations. These false accusations are levelled against us to tarnish the credibility of our liberation organisation and to disrupt the peace process.
Our organisation, as well as our people do not want war. We want peace and we want to resolve our problems through peaceful means. We are deeply committed to the peace process. It is because of our sincere commitment to peace that we are firmly and rigidly observing ceasefire. It is our organisation that took the initiative of declaring the cessation of hostilities unilaterally and observing peace for the last two years tolerating the provocative actions of the state’s armed forces.
There is absolutely no truth in President Kumaratunga’s accusation that we are preparing for war by procuring weapons, recruiting on a large scale and strengthening our military machine. We are engaged in the task of maintaining peace but certainly not preparing for war. It is true that we have been recruiting on a small scale since we needed manpower for our administrative structures. The President has distorted and exaggerated this matter and is trying to create fear among the Sinhala people that we are preparing for war.
The ceasefire has not created conditions of peace and normalcy in the Tamil homeland. Oppressive conditions of alien military occupation prevail here. The Sri Lankan armed forces are refusing to fulfil the conditions and obligations of the Ceasefire Agreement. As the military occupation continues in large areas of civilian settlements under the cover of High Security Zones several thousands of people are subjected to enormous suffering, denied the right to return to their homes and villages. Furthermore, the Tamil civilians continue to suffer harassment and persecution by the occupation army. Though the war has been brought to an end the suffering of our people continues. Our people have not yet experienced total peace and conditions of normal life. Yet, there is total peace and normalcy in the Sinhala nation. There is also improvement in the economic life of the people. While the Sinhala nation enjoys the positive benefits of the ceasefire the tragic oppressive conditions of the Tamils continue. This is the current existential reality.
Our organisation has not rewarded with too many concessions during these two years of ceasefire as accused by President Kumaratunga. Instead, our organisation faced severe losses. During the ceasefire period, two of our merchant ships were attacked and destroyed by the navy in the international waters. Furthermore, several of our fishing trawlers were destroyed. As a consequence of these events we lost twenty-six of our Sea Tiger cadres including senior commanders. Though these provocative actions pushed us to the brink of tolerance, we maintained calm and observed peace. Such behaviour clearly demonstrates our serious commitment to peace.
The peace talks between our liberation organisation and the government of Ranil Wickremesinghe, which started in Thailand during September last year, have failed to make any concrete progress. Resolutions and decisions taken during the six rounds of talks that lasted more than six months were not implemented. The sub-committees, which were formed, to deal with the issues of de-escalation and normalisation and for the resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced became defunct. Our efforts to negotiate with the government to resolve the monumental problems faced by our people became futile. Having ignored the more serious, critical existential issues of resettlement of the displaced, reconstruction of the war damaged infrastructure and the re-establishment of normalcy in the Tamil homeland under military occupation, the government representatives as well as the facilitators devoted their main attention to human values and norms and on guidelines and roadmaps towards a final solution. As a consequence the negotiating process moved in a different direction circumventing the problems and aspirations of our people.
In the meantime, Ranil’s administration was only interested in projecting the peace process as an ideal model to attract aid and loans from donor countries to build up the economy that collapsed as a consequence of war. At the same time, the government was also engaged in a plan to set-up an international safety net with the assistance of certain countries. This strategic ploy of Wickremesinghe’s government allowed the space for the increased interest and intervention of several international governments in the peace initiative as well as in the negotiating process. Some countries have even stipulated parameters within which the Tamil national question has to be resolved. It is because of these international interventions that the peace negotiations became more complex. It was during these circumstances that a crucial meeting of donor countries took place in Washington in April this year marginalizing our organisation. As the main party in conflict enjoying equal status in the peace process, we were disappointed and saddened by such humiliation. It is because of these factors we decided to suspend our participation in the talks and to review the multiple dimensions of the entire peace process.
It is not feasible to find a permanent solution to the Tamil national conflict immediately within a short period. It may take quite a long time. But the existential problems faced by our people are very urgent and they cannot be postponed for longer period. Faced with the urgent humanitarian needs on one side and the issues of resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction on the other, the immense, complex problems faced by our people necessitates immediate solutions. Having examined these issues in depth, we realised the urgency of setting up an interim administrative authority in the Northeast. We are of the opinion that the proposed interim administrative authority should be an effective mechanism capable of restoring conditions of normalcy in the military occupied Tamil homeland and to undertake the huge tasks of resettlement, rehabilitation and development works efficiently and expeditiously. It is on this basis, we urged the government to submit draft proposals for an interim administrative structure insisting that it should be vested with substantial authority. We also informed the government that we were prepared to resume negotiations if concrete set of proposals were presented to us. I also emphasised the importance of creating an interim administrative set-up with substantial authority when I met the Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr Peterson. I also explained to him the necessity of establishing such an administrative body to reconstruct our nation devastated by twenty years of war and to rebuild the shattered lives of our people.
In response to our request, the government submitted, one after the other, two sets of draft proposals. The interim council envisaged in these proposals were not invested with adequate authority as we suggested. At the same time the role of our organisation was also not clearly defined. The proposals envisaged a development orientated administrative structure with limited powers. Therefore, we rejected these proposals as unacceptable. Thereafter the government submitted a third set of proposals for our consideration. Though these proposals were unsatisfactory, we did not reject them.
We realised that the government was hesitant to put forward a concrete set of proposals as expected by our organisation that would satisfy the aspirations of our people. At the same time, we felt that a misconception might arise as if the LTTE was continuously rejecting all the new proposals put forward by the government. Therefore, we decided not to reject the latest draft proposal out right but to submit our counter proposals to create an interim administrative council with substantial authority. We were not in a hurry to formulate our draft proposal. Since it was the first time we were forwarding our proposals in a written form we wanted to formulate a concrete, practical and original framework though it was an interim set up and might involve time in formulation. We also wanted this framework to have a proper mechanism to find solutions to the complex existential problems of our people. Therefore, we formulated our draft proposals consulting different sectors of people at different levels on a wider scale. We also consulted wider sections of the people of Tamil Eelam, our legal and constitutional experts abroad and international scholars.
There is no need for me to elaborate in detail the draft proposals we submitted to the government for an Interim Self-Governing Authority. The draft has already been released through the media for everybody’s scrutiny and analysis. Though our draft proposals have generated a lot of controversy and confusion, our effort towards a negotiated settlement was welcomed by several countries. Some countries welcomed our attempt, for the first time, to put forward our ideas in writing in a clear and comprehensive form. Ranil’s administration did not reject our proposals but rather agreed to resume talks on that basis. But at the same time, the Sinhala racist forces are vehemently opposed to our draft proposals. Sinhala racist political parties and the media are raising critical voices. Critical reviews are coming from the Indian media world and from the Indian political analysts. In a statement released on behalf of the opposition parties, Mr Lakshman Kadirgamar presented a vehement critique of our proposals claiming that Sri Lanka’s sovereignty was under serious threat as our draft, according to him, contains elements for a separate state. What surprised us was that within a few days after the release of the draft proposals President Kumaratunga took over three important Ministries that functioned under the government of Ranil Wickremesinghe. Whatever the reasons she attributes to her actions, it has now become a universal truth that she took this serious action as an immediate response to our draft proposals. As a consequence of her sudden intervention, Ranil’s regime has become paralysed without power and the peace process severely endangered.
The allegations levelled against our draft proposals that they aim to create an independent Tamil state or that they contain stepping stones for separation are not true. Our proposals do not constitute a framework for a permanent, final solution. Our draft proposals deal with an interim arrangement. It is true that our proposals for an interim administrative council call for substantial self-governing authority without which massive programmes for the resettlement and rehabilitation of hundreds of thousands of displaced people and other major development projects could not be undertaken. At the same time regional administrative functions i.e. law and order, administration of justice, allocation of funds and distribution of lands also could not be effectively executed. In this context an important factor has to be taken into serious consideration. That is, large areas of the Northeast are already under our effective jurisdiction and efficiently administered by us. I wish to point out that this is the factual reality.
Today, harsh oppressive conditions prevail in the Northeast with the continuous military occupation of our lands and persecution of our people by the armed forces. As normalcy has not returned the suffering of the civilian masses continues. Our people face urgent humanitarian needs as well as serious existential problems. Therefore, we have presented this draft framework as a concrete structure to find just and reasonable solutions to these problems. Our draft framework has progressive, constructive and original elements. This proposed administrative structure is invested with self-governing authority so that the majority Tamils as well as the Muslims and Sinhalese living in Tamil Eelam could promote and enhance their political, social, economic and cultural life. But we regret to note that some forces are attempting to disrupt the peace process by distorting and exaggerating some features of self-governance found in our draft framework and interpreting them as a project for a separate state.
We have presented our ideas for an interim administrative authority as a counter programme to the government’s proposals and as a basis for negotiations. Our initiative undertaken with an honest and sincere commitment to the peace process has unleashed a political storm in the south. Sinhalese racist forces are up in arms against us. The power struggle that erupted between the heads of two major political parties of the Sinhala nation has shaken the very foundation of the state structure. Sinhala racism, which has been denying the rights of the Tamils, now stands exposed with its mask torn apart, revealing its true, ugly face to the world.
As a tragic drama without ending, the Tamil ethnic conflict continues forever. Whenever the party in power attempts to resolve the Tami issue, the party in opposition opposes it and derails the effort. This mode of conflict continues even when the opposition becomes the ruling party and attempts reconciliation. This Sinhala political drama with its typical
historical pattern has been staged regularly for the last fifty years. The directors of this bazaar drama are the two major Sinhala political parties. Though the main actors have been changing over time the theme of the story is the same. The current political crisis in Colombo is an open enactment of this absurd drama.
As a negative consequence of this chess game, in which the Tamils are used as pawns, several peace efforts have failed; several peace negotiations collapsed, several peace agreements torn apart and several peace pacts became defunct. As such, the Tamil conflict continues without resolution. The tragic life of our people continues.
We cannot allow the life and potential of our people to be systematically destroyed in the spider web of Sinhala chauvinism. Having renounced violence, we have been making every effort through non-violent means to promote peace and reconciliation. The international community is fully aware of this. But if the Sinhala chauvinistic ruling elites continue to deny the rights of our people and oppose reconciliation and if the conditions of oppression continue, we have no alternative other than to secede and form an independent state invoking the right to self-determination of our people. We urge the Sinhala political leadership not to create the objective conditions that would drive our people to seek this ultimate option.