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.
Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
27 November 2002
English Translation of Address
My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,
“….Our liberation struggle has reached a new historical turning point and entered into a new developmental stage. We are facing a new challenge. We have ceased armed hostilities and are now engaged in a peaceful negotiating process to resolve the ethnic conflict. Our sincere and dedicated commitment to the peace process has falsified and demolished the propaganda campaign carried out by Sinhala chauvinists that we are enemies of peace.
Even on the issue of cease-fire, we took the initiative. We declared a unilateral cease-fire and called upon the government to reciprocate. The new government, which assumed power with a mandate for peace, reciprocated positively to our declaration of cease-fire. The mutually agreed cessation of hostilities came into effect on 23 February under the supervision of an international monitoring team. This cease-fire has been in force for the past nine months. There have been several provocative attempts by certain elements of the armed forces and anti-peace racist forces to disrupt the peace process. There were incidents in which several innocent Tamils were killed. Nevertheless, we maintained a rigid discipline and observed peace. This is a clear demonstration of our genuine commitment to the path of peace.
If a reasonable settlement to the Tamil national question could be realised by peaceful means we will make every endeavour, with honesty and sincerity to pursue that path. Our political objective is to ensure that our people should live in freedom and dignity in their homeland enjoying the right of self-rule. If this political objective could be realised by peaceful means, we are prepared to adopt that method.
We have never shown any disinclination to win the political rights of our people through peaceful means. We have participated in peace negotiations at different places, at different times in different historical circumstances i.e in Thimpu, in Delhi, in Colombo, in Jaffna and now in Thailand. All previous attempts to a negotiated political settlement ended in fiasco. These failures could only be attributed to the hard-line attitude and deceitful political approaches of previous Sri Lanka governments.
Now, the government of Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe is attempting to resolve the problems of the Tamils with sincerity and courage. Furthermore, the current cease-fire, built on a strong foundation and the sincere efforts of the international monitoring mission to further stabilise it, has helped to consolidate the peace process. The capable and skilful facilitation by the Norwegians has also contributed to the steady progress of the current peace talks. Above all, the concern, interests and enthusiasm shown by the international community has given hope and encouragement to both parties. The ideal approach is to move the talks forward, systematically, step by step, standing on a strong foundation of peace and building mutual confidence.
As a consequence of the brutal war that continued incessantly for more than two decades, our people face enormous existential problems. The social and political infrastructures of the Tamil nation are in ruins. The cities, towns and villages have been razed to the ground. Houses, temples and schools have been destroyed. An ancient civilization that stood on our lands for centuries has been uprooted. It is not possible for our people to rebuild their ruined social and economic structures. It is a monumental humanitarian problem. We hope that the international community will view the problem sympathetically. We are relieved to learn that international governments have come forward to assist the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the war damaged Tamil nation.
Though there is peace in the Tamil homeland, conditions of normalcy have not been restored. Under the cover of ‘high security zones’, the Sinhala armed forces are occupying residential areas and social, economic and cultural centres. Forty thousand troops are occupying Jaffna peninsula, which is a tiny geographical region with a dense population. The military occupation is suffocating the civilian masses and causing tensions. Jaffna, which is the cultural heartland of the Tamil people, has turned into an open prison. The occupying forces are using the civilians as their protective shields. As several villages, houses and roads are entrapped by occupation several thousands of internally displaced are unable to return to their residences. Unless this problem is resolved there is no possibility for normalcy and social peace to be restored to Jaffna.
It has always been our position that the urgent and immediate problems of our people should be resolved during the early stages of the peace talks. The former government of Sri Lanka rejected our position. As a result the peace talks broke down. There was a misconception on the part of the former regime that we were hesitant to take up the fundamental political issues and insisted on the resolution of the immediate problems. But the present government has been taking concrete actions redressing the urgent and immediate problems of our people. This is a positive development.
The objective of our struggle is based on the concept of self-determination as articulated in the UN Charter and other instruments. We have always been consistent with our policy with regard to our struggle for self-determination. Tamil homeland, Tamil nationality and Tamils’ right to self-determination are the fundamentals underlying our political struggle. We have been insisting on these fundamentals from Thimpu to Thailand.
Our position is that the Tamil national question should be resolved on the basis of these core principles. Tamils constitute themselves as a people, or rather as a national formation since they possess a distinct language, culture and history with a clearly defined homeland and a consciousness of their ethnic identity. As a distinct people they are entitled to the right to self-determination.
The right to self-determination has two aspects: internal and external. The internal self-determination entitles a people to regional self-rule.
The Tamil people want to live in freedom and dignity in their own lands, in their historically constituted traditional lands without the domination of external forces. They want to protect their national identity pursing the development of their language, culture and economy. They want to live in their homeland under a system of self-rule. This is the political aspiration of our people. This constitutes the essential meaning of internal self-determination.
We are prepared to consider favourably a political framework that offers substantial regional autonomy and self-government in our homeland on the basis of our right to internal self-determination. But if our people’s right to self-determination is denied and our demand for regional self-rule is rejected we have no alternative other than to secede and form an independent state.
Racism and racist oppression are the causative factors for rebellions and secessionist politics. The Sinhalese people should identify and reject the racist forces if they desire a permanent peace, ethnic harmony and economic prosperity. They should support, wholeheartedly, the efforts to find a political solution by peaceful means. The Sinhalese people should not oppose the Tamils’ aspirations to manage their own affairs under a system of self-rule in their own homeland. It is the politics of the Sinhala nation that will eventually determine whether the Sinhalese could peacefully co-exist with the Tamils or to compel the Tamils to secede.
We are pleased to note that the talks between the government and the LTTE are progressing forward under the conditions of mutual trust and goodwill. We are encouraged by the interest shown by the international community in the peace process and their willingness to offer assistance to rebuild the war damaged economy of the Tamil nation. It is our deepest desire that the current peace talks facilitated by Norway should succeed and all the communities living in the island should co-exist in harmony. If the Sinhala chauvinistic forces, for their own petty political reasons scuttle this peace effort which has raised high hopes and expectations and gained the support of the international community, the Tamil people will be compelled to pursue the path of secession and political independence….”
Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
November 27, 2001
English Translation of Address [also in PDF]
My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,
….The Tamil national question, which has assumed the character of a civil war, is essentially a political issue. We still hold a firm belief that this issue can be resolved by peaceful means. If there is genuine will and determination on the part of the Sinhalese leadership there is a possibility for peace and settlement. Though fifty-three years have passed since the independence of this island, the Sinhalese political leadership is still buried in the swamp of racist ideology. That is why they have not developed the wisdom and understanding to deal with the Tamil question objectively and realistically. The belief that the Tamil ethnic conflict could be resolved by repressive military means still predominates the Sinhala political system.
It is precisely for this reason that none of the major Sinhala political parties have any concrete projects or frameworks for the permanent resolution of the conflict. The international community is fully aware of this fact. These world governments, while insisting that the ethnic conflict should be resolved by peaceful means, have always supported Sri Lanka’s political and military efforts to weaken the political struggle of the Tamils. This strange, ambiguous attitude of the world governments has also contributed to the prolongation of the conflict.
We are constantly knocking on the doors of peace but the Kumaratunga government has refused to open the doors. Following the meeting with the Norwegian peace envoys in Vanni in November last year, we declared a unilateral cease-fire for four months to help to facilitate the peace process. The Sri Lanka government responded by ridiculing and rejecting our peace initiative and launched provocative military assaults on our positions. Finally, the government undertook a major offensive operation within hours of the termination of our cease-fire. Our fierce counter-attack repulsed the army’s operation and made the government realise the fact that the LTTE is strong and invincible.
Though we are strong with considerable manpower and firepower we abstained from launching any major land based offensive operations this year to facilitate the peace process. We co-operated with Norway’s peace efforts. It was under these circumstances that Kumaratunga’s government downgraded and marginalised the accredited Norwegian peace envoy, Mr Erik Solheim, accusing him of being biased towards the LTTE. We registered a strong protest against this action. Following this incident the Norwegian peace effort reached a stalemate. Chandrika Kumaratunga is responsible for this issue.
A parliamentary general election is taking place in Sri Lankan at this critical historical turning point. Since we advance our political struggle as an extra-parliamentary liberation organisation we do not attach any significance to parliamentary elections. Yet the LTTE has become the central theme in the current election campaign in Tamil Eelam and in the Sinhala south.
Having assumed itself as the most crucial and cardinal issue in Sri Lankan politics, the Tamil national conflict has effectively polarised the political forces towards two contradictory positions: between war and peace. The elections have become a competitive arena between the forces that seek peace and the extremist forces that are opposed to peace. The general public is given the responsibility of choosing as to whether there will be peace in the future or if the war will continue. The Sinhala people should realise that there can be no peace, ethnic harmony and economic prosperity in the island as long as the Tamil people are denied justice and their political aspirations are not fulfilled.
We are not enemies of the Sinhala people, nor is our struggle against them. It is because of the oppressive policy of the racist Sinhala politicians that contradictions arose between the Sinhala and Tamil nations, resulting in a war. We are fighting this war against a state and its armed forces determined to subjugate our people through the force of arms. We are well aware that this war has not only affected the Tamils but also affects the Sinhala people deeply. Thousands of innocent Sinhala youth have perished as a consequence of the repressive policies of the war mongering ruling elites. We are also aware that it is the Sinhala masses who are bearing the economic burden of the war. Therefore, we call upon the Sinhala people to identify and renounce the racist forces committed to militarism and war and to offer justice to the Tamils in order to put an end to this bloody war and to bring about permanent peace.
The Tamil people want to maintain their national identity and to live in their own lands, in their historically given homeland with peace and dignity. They want to determine their own political and economic life; they want to be on their own. These are the basic political aspirations of the Tamil people. It is neither separatism nor terrorism. These demands do not constitute a threat to the Sinhala people. They do not in any way affect or undermine the political liberties or the social, economic and cultural life of the Sinhala people. The Tamil people favour a political solution that would enable them to live in their own lands with the right to rule themselves. This is what the Tamils mean when they emphasise that a political solution should be based on the right to self-determination.
Our organisation is prepared to negotiate with the Sri Lanka government on a political framework that would satisfy the basic political aspirations of the Tamil people. But for us to participate in political negotiations freely as equal partners, as the authentic political force with the status of legitimate representatives of our people, the ban imposed on our movement should be lifted. This is the collective aspiration of the Tamil people.
We want the peace talks to be held in cordial situation of mutual trust and understanding. For a long time we have been emphasising that the peace talks should take place in a conducive atmosphere of peace and normalcy in the absence of war and economic embargoes. We wish to reiterate the same position now.
The use of violence in all modes of struggles to attain specific political goals is defined as terrorism by international governments. This narrow definition has erased the distinctions between genuine struggles for political independence and terrorist violence. This conception of terrorism has posed a challenge to the moral foundation of armed struggles waged by liberation movements for basic political rights and for the right to self-determination. This development is regrettable. As a consequence our liberation organisation is also being discredited in the international arena.
The world governments waging a war against terror should, first of all, explore the root causes of political violence. It is only through a deep insight into the origins of political violence that one can discern the differences between authentic liberation struggles and blind acts of terror.
In our view, there are two dimensions in political violence. Firstly, there is the violence of the oppressor. Secondly, there is the violence of the oppressed. In most cases the oppressor belongs to the ruling elites, yields state authority and command the armed forces. The oppressed are always the ruled, the minority nationalities, the exploited and the poor. The violence of the first category can be designated as state violence. The second category can be termed as the violence against state violence. Since state violence is a form of repressive violence of the oppressor, it is unjust. The reactive violence of the oppressed is just since it is undertaken with the motive of obtaining justice. It is within the context of this distinction that the violent modes of political struggles of the oppressed find legitimacy.
Violent forms of struggles by people seeking political rights emerge only as reactive violence against state terror. This truth can be discerned if one can objectively analyse the historical origins of the world liberation organisations. The Tamil Eelam liberation struggle has similar historical origins. The state oppression against the Tamil people originated two decades before the birth of the Tamil Tigers. Fuelled by racist passion, the state repression gradually intensified over time and assumed genocidal proportions.
All forms of peaceful non-violent agitations undertaken by the Tamil people against Sinhala state oppression were brutally repressed by state terror. Since the non-violent political struggle became futile and meaningless and at the same time the state oppression intensified in the form of genocide the Tamil people were left with no alternative other than to confront the state violence with violence. In other words, the Tamil people were compelled to take arms to defend themselves against genodical destruction. It was under these objective historical conditions the Liberation Tigers took birth and advanced the armed struggle against state terror. With the history of a sustained campaign extending to a period of twenty years our armed resistance has evolved and developed as the political mode of struggle of the Tamil people.
We are a national liberation organisation. We are fighting for the emancipation of our people against racist tyranny, against military occupation, against state terror. Our struggle has a concrete, legitimate political objective. Our struggle is based on the right to self-determination, a principal endorsed by the United Nations Charter. We are not terrorists. We are not mentally demented as to commit blind acts of violence impelled by racist and religious fanaticism. We are fighting and sacrificing our lives for the love of a noble cause i.e. human freedom.
We are freedom fighters. The Sinhala state terrorists, who have failed in their efforts to crush our freedom movement for the last two decades, branded our liberation struggle as terrorism. Misguided by the false and malicious propaganda of the Sri Lanka state some of the world governments have included our liberation movement in their list of international terrorist organisations. This is regrettable and disappointing. These decisions have a negative impact. They have been made in haste, without deep insight into the historicity and legitimacy of our struggle for self-determination. It sends a wrong message to the Sinhala racist rulers. It will further harden their hard-line, intransigent attitude. It will encourage their policy of military repression. On the whole, the actions of some of the Western governments will seriously impede a political solution through peaceful means and further complicate the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.
All the member countries of the United Nations have joined the alliance in the war against terrorism spearheaded by the Western powers. Some of the repressive states with a notorious history of racist oppression and gross human rights violations have joined this global alliance against terror. In this context we wish to confine our remarks only to the Sri Lanka state. This government, holding one of the highest records of human rights violations amounting to genocide, has now joined the international alliance against terrorism. This is a dangerous trend in the emerging new world order. This new trend is also posing a threat to the legitimate political struggles of the oppressed humanity subjected to state terror.
We fully understand the anger, apprehensions, and compulsions of the Western powers engaged in a war against international terrorism. We welcome the counter-terrorist campaign of the international community to identify and punish the real terrorists. In this context it is crucial that the Western democratic nations should provide a clear and comprehensive definition of the concept of terrorism that would distinguish between freedom struggles based on the right to self-determination and blind terrorist acts based on fanaticism. The international community cannot ignore the phenomenon of state terror practiced internally by some repressive regimes. The world should seek to identify such terrorist states and penalise them.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is a people’s movement. We are inextricably integrated with the people into a unified single force fighting collectively for the liberation of our homeland. In a devious strategy to alienate and marginalise our liberation organisation from our people and to destroy us the government of Chandrika Kumaratunga proscribed us as a ‘terrorist’ organisation. Following this decision, Chandrika’s government, particularly its Foreign Minister Mr Kadirgamar, launched a sustained propaganda campaign in the international arena portraying the LTTE and the Tamil freedom struggle as a diabolical phenomenon of terrorism. As a consequence the United States, Britain and most recently Canada, have included our liberation movement in their lists of terrorist organisations.
These countries are fully aware that we are not a terrorist organisation and that we are a freedom movement functioning with the overwhelming support of our people, representing their political aspirations. Furthermore, these countries have continued to insist that the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government should engage in peace talks to resolve the ethnic conflict. This stand clearly entails the fact that these countries do recognise the Liberation Tigers as the political representatives of the Tamil people. If so, why did the governments brand us as a terrorist organisation? We cannot understand the logic as to how such action could facilitate the peaceful resolution of the ethnic conflict.
We hold the position that unless the Sri Lanka government lifts the ban on our organisation and accepts us as the authentic, legitimate representatives of the Tamil people we will not participate in the peace negotiations. We are firmly committed to this position. We have also clearly stated our position to the Norwegian government. There is a possibility of peace in the island of Sri Lankan only when the LTTE is de-proscribed. Under these circumstances, proscribing the LTTE by Western governments giving into diplomatic pressures from Sri Lanka will not pave the way for the peaceful negotiated settlement of the conflict. Rather, it will further reinforce the collective demand of our people to lift the ban on the LTTE for the resumption of peace talks….”
Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
27 November 2000
Address in Tamil Pdf Prabakaran Heros day speech 2000 tamil
“…The Tamil Eelam war is the liberation struggle of the oppressed Tamil people. The Sinhala ruling elites are refusing to accept this stark political reality. This denial of truth, this refusal to face reality is the stumbling block to finding a political resolution to the conflict through peaceful means.. We do not believe that Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism, which is growing fast and proliferating at all levels of the Sinhala social structure, will embrace the Tamil people with compassion. If the Sinhala nation fails to redeem itself from the grip of racism and continues its repression against the Tamils, we have no alternative other than to secede and form an independent Tamil State….We were compelled to delay our advance into Jaffna as a consequence of unilateral intervention by international governments who injected massive military assistance to the Sri Lankan military forces at a crucial time in the battle of Jaffna. The entire world rushed to help Sri Lanka…. claiming that the lives of thirty thousand troops were in danger. It was the same world which closed its eyes and observed a studied silence when Jaffna was invaded militarily by the Sri Lankan army and as a consequence a monumental tragedy occurred when half a million Tamils were uprooted and displaced. … It is because of the massive financial aid obtained from donor countries that Sri Lanka can continue this war against the Tamils… Therefore, if Sri Lanka is to be directed towards the path of peace, the reins are in the hands of the international governments who feed the economic needs of the country…Jaffna does not belong to the Sinhala nation. Jaffna belongs to the people of Jaffna. Sovereignty is not a divine right of a State. Sovereignty derives from the people; it is an inalienable right of a people.The Sinhala nation cannot impose its sovereignty over the historically constituted lands of the Tamils by military aggression and occupation…”
My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,
“Our liberation organisation is prepared to participate in negotiations to find a political solution to the ethnic conflict through peaceful means. We are not opposed to peaceful processes of resolving conflicts. Nor are we reluctant to engage in peaceful dialogue.
We are seeking a negotiated settlement that would be fair, just, and equitable and that it would satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people.
I explained this position very clearly when I met the Norwegian peace delegates in Wanni recently. The Government of Norway has suggested positive proposals as confidence building goodwill measures to be mutually reciprocated by the parties in conflict that would facilitate the process of de-escalation leading to cessation of hostilities. The LTTE is seriously considering the proposals. If the government takes the initiative we will respond positively.
We are not imposing any pre-conditions for peace talks. Yet we insist on the creation of a cordial atmosphere and conditions of normalcy conducive for peace negotiations. It is practically difficult for both the parties who have been involved in a savage and bloody war for the last two decades with mutual animosity and distrust to suddenly enter into a peace process, while continuing hostilities. It is precisely for this reason we propose a process of de-escalation of war leading to cessation of armed hostilities and the creation of a peaceful, cordial environment.
Our call for de-escalation and normalisation of civilian life should not be misinterpreted as pre-conditions. We want the talks to proceed from a stable foundation in a cordial atmosphere of mutual trust so that it could turn out to be a constructive engagement…
Chandrika’s term of office is to continue for the next six years. Whether it is going to be a turbulent period characterised by war and violence or whether peace will prevail during this period depends entirely on the policies to be adopted by Chandrika.
This Government has assumed power with the support of the chauvinistic forces. It has achieved victory by indulging in wide-scale violence and massive electoral malpractices. Those who hold important positions in the power structure of this Government are hard-line ultra-nationalists.
A treacherous Tamil group who made a mockery of democracy by its electoral violence and fraudulence is also supporting this Government. We have our doubts as to whether this Government, which pathetically depends on Sinhala racists and Tamil traitors for its sustenance, will be able to make any bold decisions to resolve the Tamil national question.
This Government does not have any coherent policy or a determined approach towards the issues of war and peace and towards the resolution of the ethnic conflict. It constantly makes contradictory statements.
Since this government is constituted by different personalities with different views we hear different voices which are confusing. We hear different voices from the President, the Prime Minister and the Army commander; one calling for peace talks with the Tamil Tigers, the other vowing to destroy them and yet another calling for surrender. This government has several tongues each addressing a different audience.
Chandrika and Kadirgamar present an amicable picture to the international community while the Prime Minister and Army Commander placate the local chauvinistic forces.
The Western Governments want peace and a negotiated settlement through peaceful means. They insist that the Tamil conflict cannot be resolved by war. It is precisely for this reason that Chandrika has been making subtle propaganda statements to placate the western nations using the categories of peace, negotiations, devolution and constitutional reforms.
As far as the LTTE and the Tamil people are concerned we do not believe that Chandrika is sincerely committed to peace. We view her as a hard-liner committed to a military solution.
The LTTE and the Tamil people are compelled to take this position because of Chandrika’s political history for over the last six years and her policy of subjecting our people to military atrocities and economic injustices and her recent measures mobilising the country for war.
The colossal sums allocated for military spending, the procurement of massive scale military hardware, the continuous recruitment for the armed forces and the witch-hunting of the army deserters clearly demonstrate the fact that Chandrika is a militaristic hard-liner committed to strengthening the military machine for war.
Chandrika’s inconsistency and confused approach to the Tamil ethnic conflict can be best discerned if one analyses her policy statement on the 9th of this month at the opening of the first session of Parliament.
Tracing the history of the ethnic conflict, Chandrika agrees that injustice has been done to the Tamils for the last 50 years. Without making direct reference to the Tamils she used the general category ‘minority communities’.
To quote her in this context:
“The real cause of the ethnic crisis is the minority communities have not had a fair or reasonable opportunity to share in the political, social and economic power structure of this country”.
The strange aspect of this exposition is that Chandrika fails to answer the questions as to why, how and who did this injustice to the Tamils. She shifts the entire blame onto foreign colonialism for all injustices done to the Tamil people.
Chandrika’s thesis is that the existing Sri Lankan state system emanated from essentially colonial power structure “that does not suit in anyway the prevailing conditions in our society” and therefore failed to provide justice and fair play to the ‘minority communities’.
In this elucidation, the cruel history of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic oppression against the Tamil people is skillfully suppressed. The role of Chandrika’s parents in this history of oppression is also covered up. This attempt to link the racist oppression against the Tamils to constitutional systems and shift the entire blame to foreign colonialism is incredible and preposterous.
But a calculated systematic oppression against the Tamil nation began soon after the island of Sri Lanka gained independence from British colonialism. Sinhala-Buddhist racism was the main perpetrator of this oppression. The Sinhala-Buddhist racist ideology, with its roots buried in Sri Lankan Buddhism, has perversely spread throughout the Sinhala social formation and penetrated deep into the Sinhala political system.
The constitutions that were made by Sinhala politicians are nothing but institutional forms of this ideology. Therefore, the culprit behind the tyrannical oppression of the Tamils is Sinhala Buddhist racism not the British colonial thought system as Chandrika assumes.
The political struggles launched by the Tamils against the Sinhala racist oppression in the early stages took the form of non-violent agitation which later transformed into an armed resistance campaign and finally assumed the dimension of an all -out war.
For more than twenty years a state of war has existed between the Tamil Tigers, the liberation army of the Tamils and the Sinhala State.
As a nation entitled to the right to self-determination our people reserve the right to defend themselves by armed struggle against State oppression of genocidal proportions.
Therefore, the Tamil Eelam war is conducted within the norms of International Humanitarian Law pertaining to armed conflict.
But the Sri Lanka government has been deliberately distorting the nature of this war and its evolutionary historical background and debasing it as a phenomenon of ‘terrorism’.
Commenting on the armed conflict in her recent policy statement Chandrika described the war as a ‘consequence of the ethnic conflict’. In the same statement she also categorises the war as a form of ‘armed terrorism’.
It is the same tongue that defines the war as a manifestation of ethnic conflict and also as ‘armed terrorism’. It is the same Chandrika who proclaims that ethnic conflict will be resolved by peaceful means and also calls upon the Sinhala people to unite to annihilate terrorism by war.
It is in the realm of war that Chandrika government makes the most confusing statements distorting the reality of the Tamil armed struggle against State oppression as a form of ‘terrorism’ thereby totally misrepresenting the ethnic conflict to the Sinhala people and the world. Tamil Eelam war is the liberation struggle of the oppressed Tamil people. The Sinhala ruling elites are refusing to accept this stark political reality. This denial of truth, this refusal to face reality is the stumbling block to finding a political resolution to the conflict through peaceful means.
Political negotiations are not unfamiliar to the Tamil people. Our liberation movement as well as the Tamil leadership before us had negotiations with the Sinhalese on several occasions.
From the time of the Banda-Chelva Pact there has been peace talks over the last several decades under different historical conjunctures, under different compulsions. But all these talks have failed to resolve the Tamil problem. Instead the conflict has become more complex and finally transformed into an all-out war.
The main reason for this unfortunate situation is the refusal of the Sinhala nation to recognise the fundamentals of the Tamil conflict as well as the political aspirations of the Tamils. If a permanent political solution is to be achieved by peaceful means, the Sinhala nation has to accept certain basic truths about the Tamil people and understand their basic aspirations.
The Tamils of Eelam have a unique ethnic identity. They are a community of people constituted as a national formation experiencing a national consciousness of their own. They have their own lands; a historically constituted territory which is their homeland.
Our people desire only want thing. They want to live happily in peace in their own lands without being dominated or harassed by others. The deepest aspiration of our people is to live in dignity in a political environment where they could rule themselves. The Sinhalese should try to understand the Tamil aspirations. It is on the basis of this understanding that a just and permanent solution could be built up.
We have our doubts as to whether Chandrika’s government will do justice to the Tamils on the basis of understanding the fundamentals of the Tamil question.
The outbreak of racist barbarism against the Tamils in the south, the hegemonic role of the chauvinistic elements in the power structure of the State, the continuous militarisation of the Sinhala society, the anti-Tamil attitude of the Maha Sangha, the Government’s commitment to the military option; all these factors cast doubt as to whether the Tamil national question could be resolved by peaceful means.
Furthermore, certain irrational measures adopted by Chandrika’s government also make the resolution of the Tamil question difficult. In a similar manner, the earlier Indian government made a historical blunder by crowning Perumal as Chief Minister, Chandrika has also elevated a Tamil quisling group to a high position in the Northeastern administration. By such ridiculous actions, this government has not only earned the hostility of the Tamil people but also complicated the ethnic conflict.
The international community is becoming more concerned about the Tamil national conflict and wants the problem to be solved by peaceful means. It is encouraging to note that the conscience of the world has turned towards our plight.
We are impressing upon the world that we are not an anyway opposed to peace talks or a negotiated political settlement through peaceful means. The world community has begun to understand the fundamental demands of the Tamils and our position that a cordial environment conducive for peace talks is a pre-requisite. They also understand the forces behind the oppression of the Tamils.
It is because of the massive financial aid obtained from donor countries that Sri Lanka can continue this war against the Tamils. Having unleashed a destructive war against the Tamils and having slaughtered a large number of our people, this government has been misleading the international community by claiming that it is engaged in a ‘war for peace‘.
But the world has now begun to realise the ulterior motives behind the war and the Tamil Tigers cannot be vanquished in armed combat and that the Tamil ethnic conflict cannot be resolved by war.
Therefore, if Sri Lanka is to be directed towards the path of peace, the reins are in the hands of the international governments who feed the economic needs of the country.
We do not believe that Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism, which is growing fast and proliferating at all levels of the Sinhala social structure, will embrace the Tamil people with compassion.
If the Sinhala nation fails to redeem itself from the grip of racism and continues its repression against the Tamils, we have no alternative other than to secede and form an independent Tamil State.
…We were compelled to delay his advance into Jaffna as a consequence of unilateral intervention by international governments who injected massive military assistance to the Sri Lankan military forces at a crucial time in the battle of Jaffna.
The entire world rushed to help Sri Lanka with emergency military assistance when Chandrika raised the alarm of an impending military disaster claiming that the lives of thirty thousand troops were in danger.
It was the same world which closed its eyes and observed a studied silence when Jaffna was invaded militarily by the Sri Lankan army and as a consequence a monumental tragedy occurred when half a million Tamils were uprooted and displaced.
…Jaffna does not belong to the Sinhala nation. Jaffna belongs to the people of Jaffna. Sovereignty is not a divine right of a State. Sovereignty derives from the people; it is an inalienable right of a people. It is the people of Jaffna who has sovereign right over the Jaffna peninsula.
The Sinhala nation cannot impose its sovereignty over the historically constituted lands of the Tamils by military aggression and occupation. As the liberation army of our people we will not allow our traditional lands to be occupied by alien forces. Whatever the challenges we have to face, regardless of the obstacles we must overcome whichever force opposes us, our liberation movement is determined to liberate Jaffna…”
“Throughout the ages the Sinhalese and Tamils in the country lived as distinct sovereign people till they were brought under foreign domination. It should be remembered that the Tamils were in the vanguard of the struggle for independence in the full confidence that they also will regain their freedom. We have for the last 25 years made every effort to secure our political rights on the basis of equality with the Sinhalese in a united Ceylon. It is a regrettable fact that successive Sinhalese governments have used the power that flows from independence to deny us our fundamental rights and reduce us to the position of a subject people. These governments have been able to do so only by using against the Tamils the sovereignty common to the Sinhalese and the Tamils. I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free.” Gandhian Tamil leader S.J.V.Chelvanayagam, 1975
“…(The) perceived solution of self-determination has evolved and taken shape by the compulsions of more than three decades of political struggles of the Tamil people and their political leaders which ended in the ignominious failure to arrive at any just solution by the process of negotiation between the two parties. There lay in ruins the scrap-heap of broken pacts and dishonoured agreements as to proposals for Regional Councils, District Councils, Provincial Councils, Provincial/Regional Councils, District/Provincial Councils – all tentative concepts and toothless bodies with no genuine devolved powers of decentralization…” (Satchi Ponnamblam in Tamils Right to Self Determination, July 1991)
“One of the essential elements that must be kept in mind in understanding the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict is that, since 1958 at least, every time Tamil politicians negotiated some sort of power-sharing deal with a Sinhalese government – regardless of which party was in power – the opposition Sinhalese party always claimed that the party in power had negotiated away too much. In almost every case – sometimes within days – the party in power backed down on the agreement.” – (Professor Marshall Singer, at US Congress Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Hearing on Sri Lanka November 14,1995)
‘‘Whilst Sri Lanka talks peace it continues with its military efforts. If we look at the past we can see why. Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism has been institutionalised in Sri Lanka and today it has become more powerful than the politicians themselves. Indeed even if some Sinhala politicians seek to settle the conflict, Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism will seek to prevent such a settlement. This is the political reality that those who are aware of the Sri Lankan situation are well aware of. This Sinhala chauvinism which was nurtured by Sinhala politicians for their electoral advantage, has grown into a Frankenstein monster which now has the power to destroy and make politicians. This we understand very well.’’ (Sathasivam Krishnakumar, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, in an interview with Melbourne Community Radio CR3, September, 1991)
Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
National Heroes Day – November 27, 1999
Address in TamilPdf Prabakaran Heros day speech 1999 tamil
“Though the LTTE stands today as a formidable force… with the military capability to liberate our homeland, we have not abandoned the path of peace. We want to resolve the Tamil conflict through peaceful means; through civilised methods without recourse to bloodbath and destruction of life…
My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,
“Today is Maha Veerar Naal…
…Our current military successes have surprised and astounded the world. This is a unique historical achievement in the art of contemporary warfare. The dimensions of this military victory have not only amazed our enemy but also astonished several international countries that have been actively helping Sri Lanka’s war effort by providing training, arms and funds.
The vast tracts of fertile lands of Vanni, which were invaded and occupied by the Sinhala armed forces afters years and months of massive military campaigns, after sacrificing thousands of lives, have been liberated by our fighters at a rapid pace within a short span of time. A colossal military structure with its multiple military complexes, well fortified bases and camps suddenly collapsed with the onslaught of the Tiger offensive. We have liberated almost all the ancient strategic towns in the Vanni region. I am happy that we have redeemed a sector of Manal Aru, which is the heartland of Vanni where the state’s army massacred the indigenous Tamils and created Sinhala settlements.
Our massive offensive campaign in Vanni code-named ‘Unceasing Waves 3’ has effectively demonstrated to the world the extra-ordinary growth and development of the Tiger fighting forces in the art of modern warfare. The speed of our strikes, the ability of rapid deployment, the unified command, the high discipline, the spectacular offensive tactics and the tremendous courage displayed by our fighting formations have astounded the world military experts.
This war is being waged for liberation of our land. Tamil Eelam is our homeland, a land which belongs to us historically, a land on which we were born and bred, a land of our sustenance and resources, a land that forms the very foundation of our national identity. Our enemy claims that this land belongs to him.
For more than fifty years – ever since the Sinhala chauvinists assumed political power in the island- the lands of the Tamils have been systematically usurped. Our land has been subjected to tyranny and oppression. On one side, there have been devious schemes by which our lands have been forcefully annexed and given to Sinhala colonisers. On the other hand ,our lands have been militarily occupied and their resources destroyed and the people who lived on those lands have been reduced to the state of destitution. It is against this injustice we have been fighting. Therefore our liberation war is essentially a war to liberate our lands and to establish our sovereignty: our right to rule in our homeland.
Our people have now understood the aim and objective of this liberation war. Our people, who have lost their lands and the livelihood that derived from the lands and have become destitute, realise the value and significance of their own lands. They also realise the necessity of chasing away the alien forces that have invaded and occupied our territories. It is because of this realisation wide sections of the popular Tamil masses are supporting and participating in this war of liberating our homeland. Our liberation war has now expanded and developed into a higher stage as the people’s war of liberation.
In my annual speeches on the Martyrs’ Day, I have always emphasised the importance of peace and peaceful ways of seeking a negotiated political settlement. At the same time, I have also pointed out the fact that Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism was not prepared to resolve the ethnic conflict through peaceful means.
The two major Sinhala political parties, who have assumed political power alternatively in the Sri Lankan political system, are essentially chauvinistic organisations. Both these political parties have bred and flourished in the anti-Tamil Sinhala Buddhist racist ideology. For the last half a century these parties competed with each other in intensifying the oppression against the Tamil people. In this diabolical history of racist oppression it is Chandrika’s regime which has inflicted the worst form of tyrannical oppression.
The five-year rule of Chandrika has been a curse on the Tamil people. The monumental tragedy that our people encountered in the form of war, violence, death, destruction, displacement, hunger and starvation was the worst form of tyranny ever suffered by the Tamils. Chandrika’s oppressive rule marks an epoch consisting of blood stained pages of our history. Her tyrannical rule left a permanent scar on the soul of the Tamil nation.
While masterminding an authoritarian tyrannical rule against the Tamils internally, Chandrika Kumaratunga portrayed herself internationally as a goddess of democracy committed to peace. Having implemented a notorious military programme aimed at the total invasion of the Tamil homeland she interpreted her project as a war effort for peace. The entire international community believed her and supported her military project. In this deceptive disinformation campaign to cheat the world, treacherous Tamil elements played a crucial role.
We do not trust Chandrika. She does not have the honesty and determination to resolve the Tamil national conflict in a fair and reasonable manner. We perceive her as a modern representative of a neo-Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism. It is for this reason we refused to engage in a direct dialogue with her. Yet, we did not close the doors for peace. I made an announcement last year in my Martyrs’ Day message that we were prepared for peace talks with the assistance of international third party mediation.
Though we called for third party mediation we have emphasised the necessity of creating certain objective conditions conducive for peace talks. We explained very clearly that these objective conditions entail a situation of normalcy free from military aggression, occupation and economic strangulation of the Tamil nation.
Chandrika’s government refused to accept our proposal for creating a congenial peaceful atmosphere for peace talks. Chandrika was not prepared to bring an end to the war, to stop the military aggression of our land and to lift the economic blockades. The government wanted to use the military campaigns and the economic embargoes as political pressures on the Tamils.
The concept of the ‘war for peace’ as enunciated by Chandrika’s government signified a military solution. This grand military project aimed at a total invasion of the Tamil homeland and envisages the defeat of the Tamil Tiger movement and finally the eventual subjugation of the Tamil nation. Chandrika worked tirelessly for the last five years to implement her military scheme. Though the project brought about severe setbacks and debacles to the armed forces, she was determined not to abandon her military programme. Therefore, she did not reflect seriously about peace nor has she taken any constructive steps towards peace talks.
Chandrika conveyed to us a message through third party source that she was prepared to hold secret talks with certain conditions while continuing the war effort. We rejected her proposal. It is absurd and practically impossible to hold peace talks on one side while engaging in a bloody war on the other side. It is an extremely difficult task to involve in a friendly dialogue with the enemy while our people are subjected to death, destruction and suffering. Furthermore, we do not want to engage in a negotiating process with conditions and time frames. Chandrika did not sincerely extend her hand of friendship. She wanted to lay a trap under the cover of peace talks. But we were not prepared to fall into that peace trap.
Swept by the ‘Unceasing Waves’ of the Liberation Tigers, Chandrika’s military project crumbled as a house of sand built on the seashore. The spectacular victories that we gained in this current offensive campaign have turned the balance of military power in our favour. The massive effort made by Chandrika over the last five years to weaken the LTTE and to achieve military hegemony was shattered by us in the matter of a few days.
Though we stand today as a formidable force strengthened by manpower, firepower, moral power, and people’s power and have the military capability to liberate our homeland, we have not abandoned the path of peace. We want to resolve the Tamil conflict through peaceful means, through civilised methods, without recourse to a bloodbath and the destruction of life.
We wish to re-iterate that peace talks should be held in a cordial peaceful atmosphere of mutual trust and goodwill with the assistance of international third party mediation. By peaceful atmosphere we mean a condition of normalcy characterised by cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of troops occupying Tamil lands and the absence of economic blockades.
We cannot allow the Sinhala State to use the conditions of war, military aggression of our lands, and economic blockades as tactics of pressure against the Tamils. We wish to engage in peace talks as equals with mutual understanding in a cordial environment without external coercion and constraints.
We are keeping the doors of peace open and are sending signals of peace and goodwill to the Sinhala nation. But we are aware that Sinhala political leadership will not agree to create a peaceful environment as we suggest. We are also aware that Sinhala chauvinistic leadership will not easily abandon their longstanding policy of military violence and repression against the Tamils. Therefore we do not live in fantasy hoping to resolve our national conflict by engaging in a rational dialogue with Sinhala political leadership.
The anti-Tamil Sinhala racist political system – which totally disregards human rights and liberties – offers no alternatives to the Tamils other than to fight, secede and establish an independent Tamil state. It is along this secessionist path that the Sinhala nation is driving the Tamil nation.
Years ago our people made a decision that an independent state of Tamil Eelam is the only and the final solution to our national conflict. For the last several years, our freedom movement has been fighting a bloody liberation struggle carrying the cross of our people’s aspirations for freedom. Today we have reached a turning point in this long historical journey towards emancipation”.
Maha Veerar Naal Address
மாவீரர் நாள் – National Heroes Day
National Heroes Day – November 27, 1998
Address in Tamil Pdf :Prabakaran Heros day speech 1998 tamil
“…What are we struggling for? We aspire to live peacefully with freedom and dignity, without the interference of anyone, in our own soil; in our Motherland where we are born and bred; in our own historical homeland which belongs to us. We too, are human beings. We constitute ourselves as a human society possessing the basic rights of human beings. We are a national formation with a distinct language, culture and history. We, therefore, demand that we should be recognised as a community of people, as a social formation with distinct characteristics. We have the right to determine our political status. On the basis of that right, we aspire to choose freely a political model suited to us to govern ourselves….”
My beloved people of Tamil Eelam,
“Today is Maha Veerar Naal.
It is the day on which we honour and venerate in the temple of our hearts, our national heroes who have given their lives for the freedom of their Tamil motherland….
While the whole world has radically transformed and moving on the path of peace, progress and harmony and preparing itself to embrace the new millennium Sri Lanka is still caught up in a turbulent conflict. The Tamil national question continues to torment the Island as a burning issue fuelled by war and violence. Why is it that the Tamil ethnic conflict, with a prolonged history of more than half-a-century, continues to be an insurmountable problem while the world is undergoing change, resolving tensions and conflicts?
The Tamil people are demanding none other than their inalienable rights. Therefore, political justice is on their side. What are we demanding? What are we struggling for?
We aspire to live peacefully with freedom and dignity, without the interference of anyone, in our own soil; in our Motherland where we are born and bred; in our own historical homeland which belongs to us. We too, are human beings. We constitute ourselves as a human society possessing the basic rights of human beings. We are a national formation with a distinct language, culture and history. We, therefore, demand that we should be recognised as a community of people, as a social formation with distinct characteristics. We have the right to determine our political status. On the basis of that right, we aspire to choose freely a political model suited to us to govern ourselves.
This is what our people are demanding and fighting for. The Sinhala nation has been denying this just and civilised demand. It is precisely for this reason that the Sinhala state has been oppressing and suppressing our people. Successive Sri Lanka Governments have neither integrated nor assimilated our people within the unitary system nor allowed our people the right to secede. Instead, they have always attempted to repress and subjugate our people. It is for this reason we have been compelled to fight a political struggle for the last fifty years. Though the forms of our struggle have changed in accordance with the historical compulsions, we continue to fight for political rights, for our right to live in freedom. Now the Tamil struggle has expanded and escalated into a war between two nations.
It is none other than the anti-Tamil attitude of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism that has turned Sri Lanka into a blazing cauldron of violence. The Tamil national question arose as historical product of this racist oppression.
The world has changed with the passage of time. Similarly the politics of the world also has changed. But the politics of the Sinhala nation has not changed. It is unfortunate that the Sinhala politicians have not realised this fact. Fantasies that arose from ancient mythology have grown and developed into hegemonic ideas which exert tremendous impact on the Sinhala political and intellectual world.
As a consequence the Sinhala nation lacks the ability to comprehend objectively the very basis as well as the rationale behind the Tamil issue and to deal with the problem humanly. Over the years our people have been shedding tears of blood under the oppressive grip of Sinhala chauvinism. We are deeply saddened by the fact that their long standing suffering has not yet touched the conscience of the world community. Apart from this apathetic attitude shown by the international community towards the problems of our people, the massive financial and military assistance provided to Sri Lanka by foreign countries has also exacerbated their tragic plight. The assistance provided by foreign countries has also encouraged the rigid, irreconcilable and bellicose attitude of the Sinhala chauvinists.
The world community has always fought for the cause of the oppressed and it has always raised its voice of protest or intervened whenever there have been incidents of human rights violations, crimes against humanity or repression of minority nations in any part of the world. But we are dismayed to note that the international community is observing a muted silence over the colossal tragedy faced by the Eelam Tamils. Encouraged by the economic aid, military assistance, political, moral and diplomatic backing gained from international countries, Sinhala chauvinists have been adopting a genocidal policy against the Tamils with single-minded ruthlessness and arrogance.
We are aware of the fact that the international community is misguided by the sophisticated misinformation campaign carried out by Sri Lanka. It is unfortunate that the world community has uncritically assimilated the preposterous theories advanced by the Sri Lankan state (i.e. war for peace) to legitimise its military campaign against the Tamils.
Nevertheless, facts about the plight of the Tamils have also found their way to the international arena. Atrocities and injustices committed against the Tamil people for the last several decades have been well documented and submitted to international forums. International human rights organisations have expressed serious concern that the state oppression against the Tamil has reached genocidal proportions.
It is well known internationally that more than sixty thousand innocent Tamil civilians have been brutally done to death over the years by the terror and violence unleashed by the racist state in the Tamil homeland. Further more, more than eight hundred thousand Tamils, who fled the country and sought refuge all over the world, bear testimony as living witness to the barbaric nature of the Sinhala state oppression. The world is aware of all these facts. Yet, we are surprised and deeply saddened to note that this monumental human tragedy has not yet aroused the concern of world community.
We are well aware that in the present world order every country pursues its own national and commercial interests. Yet, the civilised world has always given primacy to the universal values of human rights and freedoms. What dismays us is that the countries which lead the civilised world are reluctant to raise their voices against the uncivilized forms of oppression unleashed against the Tamils. Nevertheless, we have not lost hope.
One day the truths that are buried deeply in the mass graves of Tamil Eelam will emerge from slumber and reveal the true face of Sinhala chauvinism. Only then the tragic story of our people will touch the heart of the world. Until such time, Eelam Tamils living all over the world should continue their campaign relentlessly about the tragic existential conditions of our people in the Tamil homeland with the objective of arousing the conscience of humanity.
So far, not a single voice of rationality is heard from the Sinhala nation against the war. None so far has made a plea to put an end to the war and resolve the problem by peaceful means. From politicians to the monks, from intellectuals to the journalists, every one calls for the intensification of the war. The Sinhala nation wants to continue the war to subjugate the Tamil nation.
Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, a nation that follows the teachings of the Compassionate One who preached the noble ideals of love, truth and enlightenment. We are surprised as to how the evil of racism and militarism has raised its ugly head in a Buddhist society that thrived on the philosophy of “dharma”.
Today the war has expanded and escalated into a full-fledged conflagration in which armed forces of the two nations are confronting each other. The Sinhala nation is engaged in war of aggression to occupy Tamils land and to subjugate the Tamil people. We are fighting to protect our people and liberate our soil from alien aggression. The Sinhala nation is engaged in a war of injustice where as we are engaged in a liberation struggle in which justice is on our side.
Chandrika’s government, which has reached the peak in oppressing the Tamils is determined to escalate and continue the war. Her government is bent on prosecuting the war through the military campaign have demoralised the army, brought massive destruction of life and property and shattered the economy of the country. Chandrika’s military project has crumbled and failed to achieve any of its strategic objectives.
The fundamental objective of the war is to defeat and destroy the Liberation Tigers. But the LTTE has not been defeated but rather has grown immensely in strength acquiring wider experience in the art of modern warfare and turned out to be an invincible force. The Vanni battles caused a serious of debacles and massive casualties to the Sinhala armed forces. The ‘Jayasikuru battles, which was undertaken with the grand design to open the road to Jaffna, has prolonged for more than a year and half and reached an impasse with the fall of Killinochchi.
Chandrika’s political project of establishing Sinhala state administration in the occupied Jaffna peninsula with the help of the Tamil quislings is also being shattered . We cannot allow the Sinhala aggressive army to occupy even an inch of our homeland nor will we permit Sinhala state administrative functions in the occupied Tamil lands. We are shedding blood and fighting a deadly struggle with the primary objective of liberating our motherland which is the very foundation of the national existence and economic life of our people. Therefore we cannot permit the foot print of the Sinhala aggressors to remain embedded on our sacred soil.
We do not believe that Chandrika, who has become the author of the most blood strained chapter in the history of oppression of the Tamils, will bring peace to the country by resolving the Tamil national issue by peaceful means. She is a firm believer in a military solution and lives in an illusion that political conflicts can be solved by military means. She is also a prisoner of the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinistic ideology. One cannot therefore expect a leadership dominated by such thinking to be humane and compassionate enough to do justice to the Tamils.
We have not close the doors for peace. We are open to the civilised method of resolving conflicts through rational dialogue. Since the Sinhala leadership lacks the political will and sincerity to resolve the problem we favour third party mediation for political negotiations. But we are not prepared to accept any pre-conditions for political dialogue. We want the political negotiations to be held in an atmosphere of peace and normalcy, free from the conditions of war, military aggression and economic blockades.
We are not stipulating any pre-conditions for peace talks. We are suggesting the creation of a climate of peace and goodwill to hold peace talks, a congenial environment in which our people must be free from the heavy burden of suffering imposed on them. We hold the view that political negotiations cannot be free, fair and just if the Government utilises the military aggression on our soil and the restrictions imposed on the economic life of our people as political pressures. We are prepared to engage in initial talks to discuss the removal of such pressures and to workout a basic frame work for political negotiations.
Our people are facing unbearable suffering in the form of death, destruction, displacement, hunger and starvation. They live as prisoners in their own homeland, facing daily, various forms of military atrocities. Our people want their day-to-day urgent problems resolved immediately. They cannot wait over an indefinite time until the peace talks resume and the ethnic conflict is discussed, resolved and the solution implemented. They want the war to come to an end and the occupation army that torments them to withdraw and their urgent existential problems addressed immediately.
Is Chandrika’s Government prepared to take a bold step to deal with the immediate essential problems of our people and resume political negotiations in a congenial climate of peace and goodwill. The people want their day-to-day urgent problems resolved immediately. They cannot wait over an indefinite time until the peace talks resume and the ethnic conflict is discussed, resolved and the solution implemented. They want the war to come to an end and the occupation army that torments them to withdraw and their urgent existential problems addressed immediately.
Is Chandrika’s Government prepared to take a bold step to deal with the immediate essential problems of our people and resume political negotiations in a congenial climate of peace and goodwill. If not, the possibility for peace and a peaceful negotiated political settlement to the ethnic conflict will become remote.
We do not anticipate that the hawkish and racist attitude of Sinhala chauvinism will undergo fundamental transformation. If such change does not take place Sinhala chauvinism will bear the responsibility for creating the concrete historical conditions for the birth of independent Tamil state”.
Address in Tamil Pdf :Prabakaran Heros day speech 1999 tamil