by Bheeshmar – Thinakkural – Colombo
The Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day of the Neo Conservative government that came into power on the 6th April banned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on the 8th instant on grounds of terrorism.
This new government is based on Neo Conservatism. The new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, formed this party in 2003. Harper, who opposed the Liberalism that existed in Canada, wanted to bring about a tighter perspective in the administration. It was expected that he would ban the Tiger if he were to come into power. And that has happened.
At a time when the Tamil struggle has just reached an important stage, when international expectations are at its peak, this will bring distress to the Tamils. But it is only at this stage, it is essential that this declaration has to be approached in a balanced manner. Without knowing the cause of the disease, one cannot be talking about the pain. It is important that the Tamils should treat this as part of their liberation struggle and that as part of the present stage of their liberation struggle. It will be wrong to view this as a problem of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This problem has to be viewed from two angles.
First; the immediate reason or reasons for this problem and the underlying causes behind it.
The Canadian minister, Stockwell Day, has also revealed the causes for it. He was referring to the points raised recently by Jo Becker from Human Right Watch, particularly the raising of funds by the Tigers forcibly from the people.
The effect of this report is important. Those organizations, which talk about the violation of human rights mostly, refer to the violations taking place in the Tamil areas. But this report has dealt with the incidents taking place in Canada, quoting examples. We are aware as to how the GOSL made use of this report to their advantage. The doubt created initially on this report is what is behind the presentation of this report. When inquiries were made to find out the truth behind it; it transpired that Becker organized a meeting on Human Rights and some one disturbed that. Was the meeting actually disturbed? How was it disturbed? Was the meeting disturbed without debating the pros & cons of the views of Becker? These questions become vital. Apart from this, what is the relationship between Becker and the elements in Sri Lanka.
Those who are in possession of these details should come out with it.
Now we come to the second aspect. There are three matters that are important. The first one is, why this matter is important to the Stephen Harpers regime. Being Neo Conservatives, how significant is this to their government? This is a very vital question. Apart from whether they have connections with the Bush administration, we have to focus on how they are viewing “terrorism” within Canada. By saying this, an unbiased report about those who officially represent the Tigers, about their conduct, how they transact with the Tamil people and their relationship with the government becomes essential. The important question is: do they consider themselves as political propagandists or as managing directors? This is because the reason for the government’s decision is based on the information supplied by the Canadian intelligence agencies. This is quite evident from the report of the 8th April. The important factor is whether the charges made in Becker’s report were also reflected in the reports submitted by the intelligence agencies.
The second question of the second phase is next. This is an essential subject. Those who level charges against the Tigers, are they locals and who are they?
According to a rough estimate, there are between 350,000 to 400,000 Sri Lankans living in Canada. Among these, there are only 50,000 who are Sinhalese. Three to three hundred and fifty thousand are Tamils. Among them there must be two to two hundred and fifty thousand who are Canadian citizens. What is the political influence of these 250,000 voters? Do they have a place in the political parties? This is an important question. At this stage, it becomes necessary to compare the fifty thousand Sinhalese and the two hundred and fifty thousand Tamils from a political perspective. By doing this, it reveals some unpalatable truths about these two hundred and fifty thousand Tamils.
A vast majority of these are buried in the Jaffna culture, literature and politics. It becomes evident that they are immersed only in how to transplant Jaffna in Canada and not how to adopt themselves as Canadian Tamils and try to combine both.
More than this, another dangerous fact is that some Tamils (youngsters) living in Toronto are involved in unlawful acts, violence and hooliganism. It may be the number is small, but it is definitely happening. Recently, there were reports in the international media that Tamil university students killed two of their colleagues by knocking down their victims with their car. This was highlighted in the Sinhala media as well. This is according to the saying in Tamil: testing one pot of rice from one grain of rice. The local Canadians say that, while the parents go round carrying the statue of Navalar, it has become common for the children to roam with cycle chains. In this respect the Vietnamese and the Tamil refugees are behaving very badly.
Lobbies and lobbyists on behalf of Tamils:
This is leading us to the third question. This is very important. Are there lobbyists to present the true state of affairs of the Sri Lankan Tamils among the higher strata of the Canadians and the media? Such lobbies are essential. Two truths emerge at this stage. It is important to have lobbyists to propagate the state of the Sri Lanka Tamils, their struggle and their situation among the higher society. Intellectuals comprising of doctors, lawyers and university professors normally constitute these lobbies. Such lobbies are short in other countries and nil in Canada.
When one tries to find out the cause for this situation, it is said that due to the bossy attitude of the official representatives, the intellectuals do not wish to identify themselves with this. As far as Sinhala lobbies are concerned, the situation is entirely different. The Sinhala lobby in Ottawa meets the Canadian intellectuals and holds discussions. Therein they present the struggle by the Tamils as unjustified. Among the Canadian Tamils, such lobbies do not function. One can forget about it if it is not functioning. But it is said that certain influential people do not want such lobbies to function. While finding out the truth in this, it is important for those in charge to account for this. In this matter, the basic truth has to be told.
Except for those who have a personal conflict with the movement, the majority of the Sri Lanka Tamils are of the opinion that the struggle of the Sri Lanka Tamils cannot be separated from the Liberation Tigers. Even though some may disagree with certain aspects with the Tigers, there are no professionals denying their leadership. Under such circumstances, it is important to form such lobbies mentioned above.
These questions and answers are very important. At the same time, the next question becomes the main thing. What is going to be the response by the Canadian Tamils who are Canadian citizens to the recent act of the Neo Conservative minority government? It is different for those Tamils without the citizenship, but what are those who have obtained citizenship going to do? How and who is going to bring about a unified political forum? This is important. It is good that such thoughts have emerged to adopt new tactics when the need for international goodwill has become a necessity. The chaff should not be encouraged to dominate over the paddy. This is the time for the Sri Lanka Tamil lobbies and lobbyist to function effectively. It has to be construed that the multi-faced and complicated political issues we are confronted with is brought to us more by the Sri Lanka Tamils than the Canadian government.
In order to purify the gold, it has to undergo calcinations. It means taking the out of the fire. There cannot be anyone who likes to keep gold as black gold because of the fear for fire.
[Translated by Kandiah Mylvaganam]