Revolution in South Asia

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People’s Truth: Tamil Eelam Struggle and its Lessons, Part 2

Posted by n3wday on August 20, 2009

tamil_tigers_sri_lanka_revolutionThis article was published in People’s Truth #7. Thanks to Banned Thought for making it available. Part 1 appeared here yesterday.

Tamil Eelam Struggle and its Lessons: Part 2

Ravindran

The role of Indian Expansionists

Since the beginning, the Indian government always intervened in Sri Lanka keeping its expansionist interests in mind. While paying lip service to the plight of Tamils the Indian government extended tacit support to the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinist ruling classes.

In 1949, after the Sinhalese ruling classes assumed power, it colluded with them in disenfranchising the plantation workers of Indian origin and agreed to promulgate the Citizenship Act 1949 that made more than a million Tamil plantation workers stateless. In 1971, when the Sirimao Bandaranaike government was in imminent threat from the JVP uprising, the Indian government provided all help to quell that rebellion because it did not want to lose its prominent status to China in Sri Lanka. Again in 1974, for the same reason, it ceded Katchattivu, a fishing island port of Tamil nadu from time immemorial, to Sri Lanka, brushing aside opposition from the people of TN and the state government. Today, as a result of this, more than four hundred fishermen from TN were killed and thousands were arrested and tortured and their fishing boats, nets and other equipments worth millions of rupees were destroyed by the Sri Lankan navy. Hundreds of protests and strikes by the Tamil fishing community and appeals from different sections of the people and all political parties to take necessary steps to protect the fishermen were simply ignored by the Indian government on the pretext that these fishermen are conduits for the LTTE.

In order to serve its expansionist interests the Indian government sought either to appease the Sri Lankan chauvinists or to pressurize them through the Tamil issue. In 1983, when anti-Tamil riots broke out in Sri Lanka, the Indian government, which was waiting for an opportunity to intervene, immediately stepped into the scene and provided arms to the LTTE and set up training camps in India. In 1985, on the pretext of opposing the bombing of Tamils in northern Sri Lanka, Indian Air Force jets entered Sri Lankan territory and dropped food and medicines violating all international law and norms.

The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord 1987 was signed between the Indian and the Sri Lankan governments not to bring a solution or give some succor to the oppressed Tamils, but to bring the whole of Sri Lanka under its influence. It literally threatened all Tamil groups to fall in line. When the LTTE and the people of Tamil Eelam opposed the Accord, it launched military operations, to crush their genuine national aspirations. Of course, it failed to impose its will on the people who were determined to endure any hardship in the struggle to achieve national liberation, and they returned after a humiliating defeat. In order to weaken the national liberation movement and convert it into an instrument in pushing its expansionist ambitions the Indian government, through its intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), conspired to split and infiltrate the LTTE. It also converted the other militant groups like EPRLF, ENDLF as its stooges, providing all protection to them while opposing the struggle for a separate Eelam. It made many attempts to assassinate the LTTE chief Prabhakaran and other top ranking leaders through its agents like Mahendraraja Mahthaiah, who was second in command in the LTTE. But all such attempts by the Indian rulers were ruthlessly crushed by the LTTE.

The Indian government actually took full part in the genocidal war against the Tamil people by providing all military help to the Sinhala government. It not only provided sophisticated weaponry, radar and other war machines to Sri Lanka but also sent its military personnel to Sri Lanka to train them, and on some occasions, provided ‘on the field training’. When people of TN and some revolutionary and nationalist organizations accused its connivance in the crime, the government tried to distort the facts. But ultimately it was forced to accept that it supplied arms, supposedly only for ‘defensive purpose’.

It banned the LTTE in India on the pretext of the killing Rajiv Gandhi, thereby curbing the democratic rights of people in India, particularly in TN, to extend their support to the legitimate struggle for Tamil Eelam. It pressurized the state government to arrest those extending support to the Eelam struggle. Scores of Tamil nationalists and revolutionaries were arrested under the NSA and other draconian laws for their support to the struggle. It engaged its navy and coast guards to conduct surveillance in search for LTTE speedboats or other supply vessels. On many occasions it tipped off the Sri Lankan navy, causing enormous damage to the Eelam struggle. Fishermen from TN were arrested by the Indian coast guards on flimsy grounds, such as they were supplying beedis, lungies, battery cells etc to the LTTE. It also unleashed a slander campaign against the struggle for national liberation, particularly against the LTTE, through its embassies and also through its agents like the Brahmin cal Subramanyam Swamy and (anti) ‘national’ newspaper The Hindu.

Officially it is estimated that over 70,000 people have been listed as killed in the war since 1983. However, an independent study performed by the University of Washington and Harvard Medical School, states the estimate may be as high as 3,38,000 killed. When the genocidal war reached its peak between October 2008 and May 2009, killing more than 50,000 people and injuring double that, the Indian government did not even utter a word of condemnation against these gory killings.

According to some reports the Indian government assured the LTTE Political chief Nadesan and another top ranking leader Pulidevan to lay down their arms, and asked them to surrender to the Sri Lankan army and said that it has already spoken to the Sri Lankan President who has also agreed to provide amnesty for them. Trusting the assurance given by India, they came out raising a white flag to surrender before the army, only to get shot at point blank range. The wife of Nadesan, who was a Sinhalese by origin, unarmed and resisted this dreadful crime, was also shot dead cruelly. The day when the Sri Lankan government claimed to have killed the LTTE chief Prabhakaran, it is reported that about twenty thousand civilians were killed in just two days.

It was also reported that the news of the killing of Prabhakaran was floated intentionally to divert the world’s attention from these gory killings. Outrageous atrocities like raping dead women Tigers was videotaped and circulated on the internet by the bloodthirsty Sri Lankan army together with the selling of human parts of the dead women Tigers, like meat in the market place. None of this evoked any indignation from the rulers of the so-called biggest democratic countries in the world.

On the contrary, the National Security Advisor K.N Narayanan admired the Sri Lankan butcher Army Chief Sarath Fonseka as the “world’s greatest Army Chief”. In the last six months not even once did the UPA government in Delhi ask Colombo to stop the killing of civilians. All it has done was to ‘appeal’ to the neo-Nazis to ‘provide’ more ‘no fire zones’ or NFZs for the civilians to take shelter, when the mercenary army was anyhow bombing the so-called NFZs, killing thousands of women, children and the aged. It was nothing but a fraudulent act aimed at deceiving the people. The role played by the Indian government was very well acknowledged by the fascist Mahinda Rajapakshe when he said “the help and support extended by the Indian government is very much satisfactory”. After the Sri Lankan government declared that the war was over, we can find posters in Colombo hailing the Indian government for its support to crush the liberation struggle. Even after the conclusion of the genocidal war, the Indian government dispatched its military personnel to clear the mines laid by the LTTE. Disregarding the support extended to the Eelam struggle by the people of TN and their age-old ethnic/umbilical relation with the Eelam Tamils, the Indian rulers executed their expansionist designs. There is no exaggeration to say that it was a war conducted by the Sri Lankan government in collusion with the Indian government.

A decade back, in 1998, J.N. Dixit who served as Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka between 1985-89 made no secret of the Indian government’s interests in the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka when he openly declared that:

“…Tamil militancy received (India’s) support as a response to (Sri Lanka’s) concrete and expanded military and intelligence cooperation with the United States, Israel and Pakistan. The assessment was that these presences would pose a strategic threat to India…” Repeating the same opinion the external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee in March 2009 told the parliament “in our anxiety we should not forget the strategic importance of that island, and it is not only their security, it is closely connected with our security….. Surely, we would not like to have international players in our backyard”.

The Indian intervention in Sri Lanka is not just due to its geo-political importance. In their rapacious greed they are also interested to loot the whole of Lanka. Between 1990 to 1996 exports from India to Sri Lanka increased by 556%. In 1998 the Indo-Lanka Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (ILBFTA) was signed between India and Sri Lanka granting full tax exemption for the goods imported from India and business with Sri Lanka took a leap following this agreement. Indian compradors invested heavily in Sri Lanka. CEAT India, Asian Paints, L&T, Ashok Leyland, Taj Group Hotels, Tata Tea, ACC, Ultra-Tech & Ambuja Cements, RAMCO group of industries, Indian Oil Corporation, Mahindra & Mahindra, CADILA Drug company, Exide Batteries, TVS, Brittania, Ansal real estate company, Jet Airways, Sahara and Indian Airlines, ICICI, UTI, LIC, Arvind Mills, Airtel and many more big bourgeois houses started their business in Sri Lanka. India’s investments, which ranked 16th place in 2000 moved up to 4th place by 2005. In 2002, India thwarted Colombo’s move to bring the Chinese Petroleum giant, Sinopec, into Sri Lanka and pressurized it to handover the Trincomalee bulk petroleum storage to Indian Oil Corporation and signed an agreement to invest about $75 million for 35 years to set up more than 100 petrol bunks. In return it agreed to provide all military assistance to Lanka in its war against the LTTE. It also helped the Lankan navy in its surveillance of Sea Tigers movements in the Indian Ocean region and supply intelligence inputs.

Now, the vultures are already vying for the booty in the ‘reconstruction’ of northern and eastern Sri Lanka. A MoU will be signed soon between India and Sri Lanka for laying under sea power lines to connect the power network in the two countries at a cost of Rs. 2,292 crores.

The Tamil Eelam issue (whether ‘support’ or opposition) was only a tool for India to use it against Sri Lanka. Before 1987 it played the role of ‘helping’ the Eelam struggle against the chauvinistic Sri Lankan to increase its influence there.  Once it gained control the ‘savior’ turned into its opposite helped the Sri Lankan rulers to defeat the LTTE, which was the main organization waging an uncompromising struggle for a separate homeland for the Tamils. Wiping out the LTTE not only helps to maintain ‘peace’ in Sri Lanka but also in TN as national sentiments is always inimical to India, the prison of nationalities. It is always apprehensive about the nationality movement erupting in TN. Any development of the national movement in any form, not necessarily armed struggle, necessarily faces ruthless repression from the rulers in Delhi. National movements in Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Gorkhaland etc. in the last fifty two years are a testimony to this.

The role played by the so-called World Community

Sri Lanka is situated in a very strategically significant location in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean has 47 countries and several islands around it. China and the US/ India are the countries mainly competing to gain control over this region. The US has a naval and air base in Diego Garcia. India, apart from its own areas around the Indian Ocean, also has considerable influence over the Maldives. China has a base in the Coco islands near Myanmar.

The Indian Ocean is a vital waterway in which half of the world’s containerized cargo, one thirds of bulk cargo and two thirds of oil shipments pass through. Its waters carry heavy traffic of petroleum products.

The US signed a ten year Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) with Sri Lanka on 5 March 2007 which provides, along with other things, logistics supplies and refueling facilities. The US already has Voice of America installation at Tricomalee, which can be used for surveillance.

As already mentioned, India got an assurance, as part of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord 1987, that “Sri Lanka’s agreement with foreign broadcasting organizations will be reviewed to ensure that any facilities set up by them in Sri Lanka are used solely as public broadcasting facilities and not for any military or intelligence purposes” and that “Trincomalee or any other ports in Sri Lanka will not be made available for military use by any country in a manner prejudicial to India’s interests.” Of course, this was a time when US-Soviet conflict was at a peak, with India on the Soviet side. Since then, international equations have changed and India is today acting as the main stooge of the US in this region.

China, which has been a net oil importer since 1993 is the world’s no 2 oil consumer after the United States. China accounts for as much as 40% of the world’s crude oil demand growth during the period 2000 to 2004. Access to energy resources is a very critical factor for continued Chinese economic growth. Hence, China has stepped up efforts to secure sea lanes and transport routes that are vital for its oil supplies. After the 2005 Tsunami disaster, China gave $4 million additional ‘aid’ to reconstruct Galle, where its arms supplier Noringo’s arms godown is situated. When it closed down this godown in 2007 it agreed to supply more advanced weapons, from Poly Technologies, at a cheaper price. Subsequently, in April 2007, Poly Technologies supplied $36.5 million arms to Sri Lanka. A $150 million contract was given to China’s Huawei, which has close links with the Chinese intelligence wing MSS, to build a country-wide infrastructure for communications.

Also China finalized an agreement with Sri Lanka to build a port project at Hambantota on the island’s south coast which can be used to ensure safety of its oil tankers. Recently, in June 2009, after the conclusion of Eelam War IV it signed an agreement for the $ 891 million Norochcholai Coal Power project. The Chinese companies were granted an Economic Zone and an agreement was signed for 33 years. Huichen Investments Holdings Limited is to invest $28 million in next three years in the Mirigama Zone. For the first time a specific area was given to a foreign country; that too near Colombo. China is making major inroads into Sri Lanka causing much concern in the US-India Axis.

These are the major countries which have approached the Tamil national question in Sri Lanka in accordance with their strategic geo-political and economic interests in mind. The US imperialists made a big hue and cry about killing of ‘innocents’ and a ‘humanitarian crisis’ when the Sri Lankan army was about to finish the war. It never made any affirmative action to bring the war to an end when the genocidal war was taking place from September 2008 onwards which witnessed more than 50,000 civilians being killed. It’s howling about human rights violations and shedding crocodile tears for the ‘plight’ of ‘innocents’, which is only a veiled threat that the Sri Lankan government should not do anything prejudicial to its interests — i.e keep China at bay.

But with China making big inroads into Sri Lanka the US is mounting its pressure. Already an American lawyer, who once worked as an advisor to the  Sri Lankan President, Mahindra Rajapakshe, (now disassociated), is preparing to file a suit of war crimes by Sri Lanka in a US court. Interestingly Mahindra Rajapakshe’s brother and Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gottebaya Rajapakshe and the army chief Sarath Fonseka are both having US citizenship. The US can, at anytime, make use of this to pressurize the Sri Lankan government, in its contention with China in Sri Lanka.

China not only supplied sophisticated weaponry and aids to the neo-Nazis but also scuttled the efforts even to pass a UN Security Council resolution condemning Sri Lanka on the killing of thousands of civilians. India also played the same role by not only opposing the resolution but also lobbied some other countries to vote against it.

The UN which has sent its observer, Vijay Nambiar, to investigate the conditions of the civilians in the NFZs, gave almost a clean chit to the Sri Lankan government. It is not out of place to point out that his brother Satish Nambiar is an advisor on defense related matters to the Sri Lankan government. One brother advises how to crush the national liberation war ruthlessly while the other brother oversees for any violation of ‘human rights’. There were also serious accusations on the UN Secretary General, who also visited Sri Lanka soon after the genocide, to ‘monitor’ the plight of civilians.  He actually covered up the killing of innocents and other war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military fascists.

In fact the UN passed a resolution hailing the Sri Lankan government’s victory over the LTTE ‘terrorists’. The UN defacto sanctioned the genocide of Tamils even when millions of people, particularly the Tamils, were protesting all over the world condemning the killings and demanding an end to this genocidal war. Even after fourteen Tamils, including a Tamil from Eelam committed self-immolation in front of the UN in Geneva, they could not be bothered.

Disregarding the protests and peoples opinion all over the world, these reactionaries are united in carrying out gruesome massacres of innocent people, displaying outright contempt for all democratic norms of civilized society in crushing the struggle for freedom and for a rightful separate homeland for the Eelam people who have been undergoing a systematic ethnic cleansing programme for many decades. The same type of massacres have been committed and are being committed by these reactionaries in Iraq, Afghanistan and now in the Swat region in Pakistan which is testimony to what extent these butchers will commit heinous crimes to serve their predatory interests. Whatever differences that may be visible, it is apparently only on how to gain a strategic upper hand in the region to pursue their imperialist/expansionist interests.

Defeat of the LTTE and its Lessons

The LTTE which conducted the national liberation war successfully for more than three decades was not only defeated in the Eelam War IV but also lost all its bases and thousands of its soldiers were killed, injured and arrested. It will take quite considerable time for them to recoup and continue their struggle for a separate homeland. The war led by the LTTE was an inspiration for all those who are fighting against exploitation, injustice and oppression, particularly those waging armed struggle. The defeat of the LTTE is not only a great loss for the people of Tamil Eelam but also for all those who are waging armed struggle against the oppressors. It is but natural that the defeat of such a powerful militant force may create certain amount of despair among the people who have been supporting/sympathizing with this struggle. Therefore, to understand the reasons for its defeat is very necessary to take lessons for all nationality movements worldwide and also for the forces waging armed struggle in India and South Asia.

The following could be the main points for consideration:

a)    The LTTE has been a militant organization leading the national liberation war for more than three decades. Throughout this period it has faced many ups and downs and now it has lost all its bases. But it has never compromised its goal of a separate “Tamil Eelam”, even in the most trying circumstances. Nevertheless, its ideology and class basis is bourgeois in nature. Due to this, it was not able to distinguish between the friends and enemies of its cherished goal of Tamil Eelam. Its approach towards — its own people, i.e. Eelam Tamils, Muslims living in north-eastern Sri Lanka who are also part of Tamil Eelam, Tamils living in the plantations in the central part of Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese people, Tamils in India, who extended all types of support to the cause of Tamil Eelam, the bourgeois parties in TN, the Indian government and the imperialists — all these varied forces were tainted with a bourgeois outlook. It did not take the class differences between the ruling classes and the oppressed masses into consideration when it dealt with Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism and targeted even the Sinhala toiling masses.

This provided ample opportunities for the Sri Lankan ruling classes, which is already thriving on chauvinism, to incite anti-Tamil pogroms and commit any type of atrocities over the Tamils in the guise of ‘protecting’ the Sinhala nation and divert the Sinhalese masses from their real problems. Although it may not be possible to win over the sympathy of the Sinhalese masses in their struggle for a separate homeland, due to the domination of chauvinistic sentiments, it should have avoided the killing of innocent people. Moreover, when organizations like the Lanka Sama Samaj Party (LSSP) upheld the Eelam people’s right of self-determination, including the right to secede, there was a possibility of waging a united struggle against the Sri Lankan ruling classes, however feeble it may be. But due its bourgeois nationalist outlook, the LTTE did not take these aspects into consideration while evolving its tactics.

Even in its relations with its own people, it did not take the class differences into account. To be precise, it took the stand of supporting the bourgeoisie when there was a conflict between the working people and the bourgeoisie. Similarly, it concentrated more on getting the support of the bourgeoisie and its parties in TN than striving to get the support of the broad masses. The broad masses — workers, peasants, students, youths, petti-bourgeoisie and the intellectuals — extended their support voluntarily due to Tamil national sentiments, and upholding the just cause of a separate homeland for Tamils. The people of TN, the revolutionaries and other democratic forces, extended their unflinching support to the Eelam struggle, including the LTTE. But the LTTE even instructed its cadres strictly not to have any connections with the Maoist organizations in India.

It is the same story even at the international level. The LTTE has built a strong network amongst the Tamil Diaspora all over the world. But it did not make any serious attempts either to build close relationship with the struggling people or organizations or get their support. Rather it concentrated on securing the support of the imperialist governments or of influential people in the government. It was not just a national exclusivist attitude but more than that it was a class outlook which emphasized more on the bourgeoisie than on the people. Ideologically the LTTE was very clear that MLM is inimical to its interests. Once, it gave the slogan for a “Socialist Tamil Eelam”. But within a short period it withdrew it as it was against its class interests.

b)    The LTTE started the armed struggle for national liberation as a guerrilla force with only a handful of committed activists. During the “Black July”, a large scale anti-Tamil pogrom in 1983, its strength was merely 30, and at the beginning of Eelam War IV it is estimated at between 30,000-40,000. The Sri Lankan military officially announced that about 22,000 LTTE guerrillas were killed and 10,000 more wounded, arrested and surrendered during the last phase of the war. Any organization which fights for the seizure of political power must seize territory from the enemy and establish it’s/people’s rule. Therefore the war will transform from a guerrilla war into positional warfare and the army will transform from a guerrilla army into regular/conventional army.

Before the commencement of Eelam War IV in July 2006, the LTTE held 16,000 sq.kms of territory in the north and eastern Sri Lanka under its control and ran its own civil and military administration in these areas. From this, it gradually started to lose control over the territory over a period of nearly three years. After one year, by July 2007, it completely lost its control over Trincomalee in the eastern province after its defeat in Thoppigala. The government immediately conducted the election farce and installed its agent and renegade Karuna’s party in the provincial government. After capturing the eastern province the Sri Lankan army concentrated its attack in the Northern Province.

From September 2007 onwards the LTTE started to lose its territories one by one to the Sri Lankan army. In this whole period the LTTE clung to the positional warfare style despite losing territory and being further weakened and more vulnerable to enemy attacks. Even then it did not change its positional warfare method back to guerrilla warfare. The principle of positional warfare is that by retaining or capturing a position the victory in the war is achieved. Once you lose that advantage it is futile to continue the same thereby providing more opportunity to the enemy to concentrate his attack on the remaining positions. Instead of expanding the area of operation and adopting guerrilla methods, when the enemy is focusing his attack, it withdrew its forces along with the people to a lesser and lesser area. This tactic was suicidal because you don’t have sufficient area for maneuver. The flexibility in changing from one form of warfare into another, in accordance with the condition and the needs of the war, was not adopted by the LTTE, despite it having developed the war from scratch to the highest level.

With vast experience of waging different forms of warfare — guerrilla warfare, mobile warfare and positional warfare — why did it falter? It expected that with the growing civilian casualties the world community, say imperialists and Indian governments, would force the Sri Lankan government to stop the genocidal war. But all these reactionaries, as we have seen earlier, were interested more in achieving their own interests and none of them were really concerned about the sufferings of the people or helping them to achieve an honorable settlement against national oppression.

The LTTE Chief Prabhakaran once said in 1993 that “Every country in this world advances its own interests. It is economic and trade interests that determine the order of the present world, not the moral law of justice nor the rights of people. International relations and diplomacy between countries are determined by such interests. Therefore we cannot expect an immediate recognition of the moral legitimacy of our cause by the international community. … In reality, the success of our struggle depends on us, not on the world. Our success depends on our own efforts, on our own strength, on our own determination…” Despite having a reasonably correct understanding on the imperialist and reactionary powers, the LTTE failed to put that into practice.

c)    The LTTE has been waging a national liberation struggle uncompromisingly against the Sri Lankan government for the last three decades. Although this struggle was directed against the comprador ruling classes in Sri Lanka, objectively it was also directed against imperialism. But the LTTE never had any anti-imperialist orientation or programme in this struggle for national liberation. Its  programme for an independent, self-reliant Tamil Eelam was aimed at achieving a separate state from the comprador ruling classes and not from imperialist exploitation and oppression. Not only that, it considered the imperialist governments as the friends of Tamil Eelam and always tried to get their support for their struggle. Even in the recent war it expected US imperialism, the number one enemy of the world people and the leader of all counter-revolutionary ruling classes throughout the world including Sri Lanka, would come to their rescue, till the last moment. This had blunted the anti-imperialist consciousness among the people of Tamil Eelam and the guerrillas.

d)    As the Eelam liberation war transformed from guerrilla warfare into positional warfare its dependence on modern and sophisticated weapons increased tremendously. It mainly depended for its supply from imperialist countries and the international arms market. Hence, it lobbied with those in the echelons of power in these countries. Realizing this, the Sri Lankan President Rajapakshe successfully used his diplomatic channels to stop the arms supplies. Similarly it also curbed the funds to the Eelam struggle from the expatriates living in Europe and North America. This dependence from imperialist countries harmed the LTTE when these countries helped the fascist Rajapakshe in the ‘war on terror’. Self-reliance, not only in economic and political affairs but also in military supplies is most important for the guerrillas fighting against the reactionary ruling classes.

e)    It had a faulty approach on the question of the united front. It failed to unify all the forces that could be united against the common enemy. In fact its approach was against uniting all those forces fighting against the Sri Lankan army. In its struggle for domination and leadership position it not only eliminated other petti-bourgeois militant groups, most of them became agents of the Sri Lankan or Indian government, but also genuine forces fighting for separate Tamil Eelam. Revolutionary forces like the National Liberation Front of Tamil Eelam (NLFT), People’s Liberation Front of Tamil Eelam (PLFT), Proletarian Vanguard Organization (PrOVO) with MLM ideology and a New Democratic Programme were not allowed to function in Tamil areas. Either they were asked to stop their activities or summarily killed.

f)    The regional differences between the three regions of Tamil Eelam namely, Jaffna, Wanni and the Eastern region, particularly between the north and the east, were not taken into consideration. This enabled traitors like Karuna to utilize this sentiment and turn the people of the Eastern region against the LTTE.

g)    Due to the wrong handling of Muslims it antagonized the Muslim community, which is a part and parcel of Tamil Eelam. The forcible eviction of 28,000 Muslims from Jaffna, leaving all their belongings, in October 1990, seriously affected the struggle for Tamil Eelam. The ruling classes, always waiting for an opportunity to divide the people, utilized it and created a permanent cleavage between the Tamils and Muslims. The elites among the Muslims compromised with the Sri Lankan ruling classes and weaned away a considerable section of the Muslim population from the struggle.

h)    The LTTE’s approach is that “Heroes create history” instead of the Maoist dictum of “People create history”.  Following from this they adopted bourgeois methods of developing the war instead of the Maoist method of developing People’s War. For example, in the national liberation war against the mighty superpower, US imperialism and its puppet regime, the great Vietnamese people led by the Communist Party drowned their enemy in the “ocean of armed people”. Whereas in the Eelam liberation war the people only supported the war waged by the LTTE. In a typical bourgeois outlook the LTTE did not arm the people in the war against the Sri Lankan army despite the masses enduring the horrors of three and half decades of civil war. It failed to assimilate the historic truth and experiences of the struggling people all over the world that it is people and people alone who are the real creators of history and any struggle, however militant and protracted; deviating from this will inevitably face defeat.

Even with all these mistakes and limitations the LTTE fought uncompromisingly till now. It had sacrificed thousands of its cadres and leaders for this cause and set a glorious tradition. Undoubtedly the defeat of the LTTE in the recent war is a setback in their long struggle. But three decades of armed struggle and the genuine aspirations of people of the Tamil Eelam for a separate homeland and their sacrifices will not go in vain. Although the Sri Lankan government scored a major victory and was able to weaken the LTTE, and thereby the national liberation movement, the conditions for the growth of such movements still continues to exist even more seriously. Besides, they fought valiantly to the very end not cowing down before the enemy or surrendering to them. This will inspire a new generation of revolutionaries to pick up the gun, learning from the mistakes of the past.

Even two months after the conclusion of the war more than 3,00,000 Tamil people are still languishing in the NFZs, which are worse than Nazi concentration camps. Even today neither independent media persons nor international aid agencies are allowed to visit these camps. The news leaking from these camps narrates the horrible condition in which the Tamils are forced to suffer. Young men and women are systematically separated from their family members and become untraceable. Their repeated demand to be sent back to their homes is still not accepted. Food, water, sanitation and other basic amenities are not provided to the people. The Rajapakshe government is planning to convert Tamil areas into Sinhalese settlements, on the lines of the Zionists in Palestine. The Sri Lankan Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka, openly declared that the Tamils should be ready to live as second class citizens in Lanka.

The Tamils, learning from their mistakes, are bound to fight until they achieve their goal of liberating themselves from not only national oppression and persecution, but also from class exploitation and oppression. All progressive, democratic and revolutionary people in India and worldwide continue to support the just struggle of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka for a separate homeland.

7 Responses to “People’s Truth: Tamil Eelam Struggle and its Lessons, Part 2”

  1. With Ravindran’s narrative in mind, I don’t see much difference in outlook between the Sinhalese rulers and LTTE. The one is simply the other standing on its head. Really, the Tamils have to pay dearly for not realising that to act as a bully you have to be the bigger one.

  2. sir,your article is superb!our struggle for eelam defated,by indian,srilankan state terrorism!we’ve cheated by world!over 100,000 innocent tamil peoples genocided,in 2009.last twodays(17,18,of may)over 50000,peoples genocided,many peoples buried live!poison gas,white posparos,cluster bombs,used by,srilankan forces!but,we’ll fight untill get free tamil homeland!

  3. LT said

    thank you for writing this article.
    like you mentioned, 37 years of struggle cannot be defeated in 1 year.
    this Maaveerar Naal, November 27th, fifth Eelam Liberation War will begin.
    Thamilarin Thaagam, Thamil Eela Thaayagam.

  4. Arun said

    However the barbaric Lankan forces with the support of India (the so called largest demo-crazy, the nation of Mahatma) nobody can stop the freedom of Tamil Eelam. Tamil Eelam will have its freedom soon.

  5. varma said

    i dont know what to say except one thing, i want to join with you

  6. vita said

    @ Ravindran

    The fact which amuses me is that you are not standing on behalf of a socialist revolution,but you praise the re emergence of a secessionist movement.Rather than fighting for a revolution and centering the issue of self determination within a socialist revolutionary agenda , I wonder what would have happen if Lenin advocated every kind of national minority in Russia to secede and break away.I just visited the website of the NDP (which claims that they are the Maoist representation in SL) and surprisingly it had only articles in two languages – Sinhalese was missing!Liberation of sinhalese and tamils in SL is depended on the unity of the oppressed belonging to the both ethnic groups.The task of a revolutionary should be fighting for this unity of the oppressed – not advocating petite bourgeoisie slogans on secession.

  7. siva said

    It is an utterly flawed analysis.
    Besides, there are far too many factual errors in the article; and exaggerations spoil the credibility of the few things that are essentially correct.

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