|An open letter to the American and European HoMs|
|Wednesday, 07 May 2008|
By K Godage (Former Ambassador to the EU in Brussels)A foreign journalist who phoned a head of a European Mission in Colombo, after the terrorist attack at Piliyandala, had inquired as to whether the position of his government and that of other western governments had changed with regard to the war against the LTTE terrorists, and the response, as recorded, has been as follows: "Our position on the need to suspend the war and to engage in talks remains the same………".
This statement is absolutely incomprehensible to us citizens of this country, who are seeking to safeguard the territorial integrity of our country from a brutal terrorist organization that has pledged time and time again that they will dismember this country and create their separate state of Eelam. They have lost over 20,000 fighting to establish their separate state --- they have refused to compromise on their demand over the past twenty five years--- they have killed and maimed thousands of civilians (Piliyandala was just the last), they have assassinated the Prime Minister of India, the President of this country, Ministers of our government, Tamil political leaders and destroyed billions worth of property ---- turned the economy of this country upside down and set us back at least by fifty years and, here is the ‘West’, which is at war with the people yes the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, killing thousands of innocent civilians in the process and threatening to wipe Iran off the world map, preaching to us to stop our war against terrorists whom the Pentagon has described as the most formidable and brutal in the world and to engage in talks with them!! Is this not specious if not extremely patronizing? One might even conclude that they are sympathizers of the LTTE not of the Tamil people, who are presently in the clutches of the fascist, totalitarian terrorists, from whose clutches we are seeking to liberate them and empower them, as we are doing in the Eastern Province.
The least these western Ambassadors can do is to explain themselves to us the people of this country, why they are asking us to "suspend the war and engage in talks"; Here are some questions they should answer:
1) Are you not aware of how the LTTE rearmed and prepared for war each time we ‘suspended’ hostilities against them to engage them in talks? This has happened three times before, if you did not know it. Some of you come here as wide-eyed do-gooders, not knowing the genesis of the conflict, oozing sympathy for whom you think are the under-dogs, not understanding the feelings of the majority of the people of this country, who were discriminated against during four hundred years of colonial rule; during Portuguese rule one had to be a Catholic to save your neck, during the Dutch period one had to be a protestant to enjoy any opportunity in life, even Buddhists had to register their marriages in church and lastly during the British period one had to be an Anglican to enjoy privilege; it was more than a disadvantage to be a Sinhala Buddhist during colonial times. Do they also know that the British, as a part of their divide and rule policy, used the minority Tamils, by favouring them in state employment and they were disproportionately represented in ‘government service’ the principal avenue of employment at the time; and last but not least, do these gentlemen from the west realize the insecurity of the Sinhalese, springing from past history when Dravidian hordes sought to destroy their civilization; the Sinhalese form a small minority when compared with 60 million Tamils 15 miles away across he sea; do hope you westerners have visited Anuradhapura to see what is left of our 2500 year old civilization.
2) You, next wish us to "engage in talks", come off it; Are you not aware of how the Indians ‘engaged them in talks’ and of how they also saved them from being annihilated in 1987 when the Sri Lanka army had cornered them and was about to crush the revolt. Do you not know of how grateful the LTTE showed their gratitude? They killed 1272 Indian soldiers and maimed over 2000 and if that was not enough they assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the son of Indira who first intervened on their behalf.Three governments of Sri Lanka ‘engaged’ the LTTE in talks, the first to do so after the IPKF left, was President Premadasa, who not only participated in talks himself with the LTTE but also armed them and gave them millions. He also had Prabhakaran’s wife and two children brought back from Norway and reunited with him; he sent away the IPKF which was here to safeguard the territorial integrity of this country. How did the treacherous Prabhakaran respond? they not only struck against our forces without warning, in a Pearl Harbour type attack but also killed 640 policemen in the east in cold blood, who had surrendered to the LTTE on the orders of President Premadasa on a promise of ‘safe passage’ out of the east. If you do not know it M/s Ambassadors, they showed their gratitude to Premadasa who saved them from the IPKF by assassinating him!The next to engage the LTTE in Talks was President Kumaratunge, she too ‘engaged’ them in Talks but after five rounds of Talks (during which time they smuggled in weapons and prepared for their next offensive) the LTTE struck, again without warning and attacked our forces. They subsequently attempted to assassinate her, she was lucky to have escaped; she however lost an eye.The third time we "engaged’ them in talks was in the period 2002—2003, (read all about that effort ‘at engaging them in talks’ in Ambassador John Gooneratne’s book ‘Negotiating with the LTTE 2002-2005’). The LTTE used the services of Solheim, who was wholly sympathetic to the LTTE, he along with another like minded Norwegian diplomat crafted the CFA which was tailored to suit the needs of the LTTE. The LTTE was able to obtain sophisticated communication equipment and also to travel extensively in Europe to mobilize support of foreign governments and their Diaspora for their struggle thanks to the CFA, which incidentally they violated over 3500 times according to the Scandinavian monitors (the SLMM). After six rounds of talks they reneged on decisions they had agreed to at the second round of Talks held in Norway, namely
(a) to explore a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka)
(b) to form a committee to de-escalate the conflict and reduce the size of the High Security Zones and
(c) to work through a Sub Committee (SIHRN) to address the immediate humanitarian needs of the people of the North and East. A sum of US$ 170 Million had been pledged for this work and 624 project proposals received; but on 23rd April 2003 they pulled out of the Sub-committee established with an LTTE nominee as Chair, the last thing that the LTTE wanted was normalization on the ground and an end to the war.They also made a lame excuse and did not participate in the Tokyo Conference where a sum of US$ 4.5 billion was pledged for the reconstruction of the North and East.So, tell us what is there to talk about? Please tell us. Do you at least now understand that it is a futile exercise to ENGAGE them any more in talks UNLESS the LTTE is prepared to call off their struggle for the establishment of a separate state. That M/s Ambassadors, is an absolute MUST, it is an imperative before there can be any engagement in talks. There is also another equally important condition, as you all are more aware than some of us, they must do what you folk required the IRA to do, namely to place their weapons in the care of the UN or some such agency.
Instead of mouthing nay parroting an inane, trite mantra "stop the war, engage in talks" tell the LTTE to stop their war against the legally constituted state, which, like your countries remains a democracy even if there are shortcomings; give them a guarantee that you would ensure justice for the Tamil people, if that is on behalf of whom they are waging war, that, you would be able to ensure with the support of India. Please, for God’s sake, stop this incessant demand of yours that the government, that we the people have elected, to safeguard our security and territorial integrity of our country, "stop the war and engage in talks". Please understand that even if you try to blackmail us into submission with your R2P or the GSP Plus, you will not succeed for we not only have real friends, who will stand by us, but we may even sacrifice whatever we have to, even resort to national mobilization, to end this cursed war. Please understand that we certainly want peace far more than you, who will depart our shores once your tours of duty are over, this is our country and we must ensure a just peace so that all our people and generations to come can live in peace with Justice.
Please understand that we consider the Tamil people too as our people; most Buddhists also worship the pantheon of Hindu Gods and we have very much a shared culture. The similarities far outweigh the differences. We do believe that our Tamil brethren have as much a right as the rest of us, to live as equal citizens, in dignity and security and to be able to decide on their destiny particularly in the areas of their habitation and also have an input into decision making at a national level. We do not believe that this present situation is forever, these bad times will also pass. Help this country in our time of need do not seek to wreck it.
(Courtesy : The Island )
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 June 2008 )|
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