First, Tamil unity Next, a solution!
The country is now on the pathway to meet the urgent need to affirm
the national character in our society with LTTE terrorism being crushed.
Because, it's time that we recognise and identify ourselves as one
people of one country. The world must recognise us as Sri Lankans and
not by our respective ethnicity. If we act as Sri Lankans, we could then
defend the unity and the sovereignty of this island nation, which is a
vibrant democracy in Asia. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all races of
people in this country, to uphold the foundation and programs of
democracy to achieve the noble objective of building a strong national
character to share a new destiny.
The Tamil community has been demanding a lasting solution to their
grievances over the past three decades. Successive governments have made
attempts to meet those demands over the years. The Tamils fought for the
recognition of their language. It was enshrined in the 1978
constitution. They claim to have more grievances in other spheres of
social life. All those have been accepted by those who ruled in the past
and the incumbent at present. However, democratic rights cannot be won
by unleashing terrorism on the nation and the people. Just demands could
certainly be met by just means under a democracy.
Today, the immediate issue before this country is the Tamil-Tamil
The division between Tamils have thwarted a solution at all times.
The Tamil community cannot fully blame the majority community or the
rulers of this country for the sad situation among them. Because, the
Tamils themselves are responsible for creating divisions among their own
community. No other political party nor any other community have caused
division among Tamils. Then, what was the cause for this division among
Tamils? Let us now analyse the crisis carefully. Three decades ago,the
Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) led by Appapillai Amirthalingam
introduced the infamous Vaddukkodai Resolution, that, for the first time
demanded separation. It was the root cause of the current crisis faced
not only by Tamils but also by the nation at large.
Politicians of our country have a tendency to play to the gallery to
grab power at times of elections. While Amirthalingam gathered momentum
from the distant dream of a separate state in 1977, our Southern
politicos harped on the murder of beauty queen, Premawathi Manamperi
killed in 1971 and, made it a slogan on the 1977 election platform.
Those were slogans which made the masses look asses. Such were the
political tragedies of the past. Given that scenario four decades
ago,what happened to the Tamils thereafter is another question to
examine. As it happened in the South in 1971 with an insurgency from the
JVP, the Tamil youth were carried away by the promise of a separate
Day by day, pressure mounted on the TULF leaders to implement the
pledge of a separate state. In the process the distant dream of a
separate state made way to terrorism. The Tamil youth took to arms and
several armed groups emerged under various names. The 'India Today'
magazine was the first Indian publication to run pictures and stories of
Sri Lankan Tamil terrorist training camps in Ramanathapuram, Tamilnadu,
when the late Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister.
As time passed by, TULF leaders realised that separation was only a
distant dream. By then, terrorism had taken control of the Tamil
Terrorism was unleashed countrywide and the Tamil leaders looked
A dejected Amirthalingam participating in a debate to extend the
state of emergency by a further month in parliament said, "Mr. Speaker
Sir, if this trend of violence unleashed through terrorism is allowed to
continue in this unprecedented manner, I doubt my presence in this House
at the next emergency debate". A few days later his prediction came
true. He and his colleague Vettiveli Yogeswaran were gunned down by the
LTTE inside the Opposition Leader's official residence in Colombo.
Today, the unfortunate victims of the distant dream of a separate
state are the innocent civilians living in the strife torn areas.
Terrorism has taken them hostage to be used as human shields. The power
of LTTE terrorism now seems to be over with troops driving them into the
jungles. Therefore, the Tamil community must unite to resolve their
grievances. The question of separation is now no more. It was only the
LTTE which demanded separation.
The TULF under the incumbent leader Veerasingham Anandasangaree
speaks of unity and not of separation. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
should not fear the retreating Tigers.
Instead, they should now unite with other Tamil political sections to
find ways and means to resolve the grievances of the Tamil people within
the concept of a single nation.
No government could work out a solution when Tamils stand divided.
Tamils must realise that the LTTE is the common enemy of all peace
loving Tamils in this country. The Tamils must also realise that a
terror outfit like the LTTE which has killed people from all communities
cannot survive under a democratic framework. Tamils themselves have a
responsible role to play in the restoration of normalcy in the areas
they live. First, they should set aside differences among them. Tamil
unity is vital,if the Tamils are keen to find a lasting solution to
their grievances. They must accept the fact that a solution to the
crisis in this pluralistic country should be based on the willingness of
all people. It is on such a basis, the Centre could explore
possibilities to find a lasting solution to meet the aspirations of all
Tamils. A lasting solution should necessarily meet the future of all
people in this country.The future of our country is defined and derived
from the material conditions of our society. Therefore, any division
among Tamils, will only place them on the edge of a mountain. All Tamil
leaders who uphold democracy must discuss and adopt practical ways to
overcome the current crisis. None of those Tamil leaders should await
invitations if they sincerely represent the unfortunate masses in those
strife torn areas.
They must free themselves from the political hysteria and the belief
that governments err all the time. The pursuit of partisan objectives
should not be allowed to further heighten tensions, fed by an atmosphere
of brinkmanship in the conduct of Tamil political contest which we
witness at this moment. Tamil politicians should not behave in a manner,
ignorant of the obvious and the urgent needs of their people who yearn
for peace, safety and security for over three decades. Nor they should
sacrifice those human needs and aspirations before the Altar for
political gain. What remains to be seen is whether all Tamil politicians
are ready to unite,to live up to the challenge,to make a serious effort,
which in a practical way could tell the Tamil people that they have now
come to the end of the tunnel where there is light.
Unity among Tamils is the base to move towards national
reconciliation and that should be the noble objective of the Tamil
community. It is then all people shall respect each others language,
culture and identity.
The need is an open, practical and meaningful participation of Tamil
leaders in the journey to determine the destiny of the Tamil community.
Despite setbacks, they should move forward with determination. It is
through such setbacks one could embark on the path to peace. The need is
a sincere commitment though it may sound improbable to the sceptics. The
government plans to usher a new spring to the Tamils living in the
If Tamil leaders assist in that effort, the Summer would not be far
Then something new will always emerge through Tamil unity-"Semper