A Newspaper Published by World Institute for Asian Studies. Powered by WIAS, Vol. 8 No. 362

No Shame Norway & failure of LTTE’s bid for Tamil Eelam & its relocation

By Shenali Waduge

In attempting to understand the conflict in Sri Lanka it is of great relevance that we ascertain the exact status quo given to the LTTE. At times-freedom fighters & at times terrorist leaves little hope to categorize exactly where we ought to place the LTTE especially so when despite a ban by 33 nations LTTE offices remain openly operational in these very countries. What we all know in essence is that the LTTE desires a separate state - what we need to really evaluate is whether the LTTE’s desire for a separate state through terror is the same aspiration shared by the 80million world Tamils?

In choosing Sri Lanka as base to launch a separate state for the Tamils, leaves us to deduce that the actual homeland of the Tamils becomes of inconsequence for where is the practicality of creating a separate Tamil state in an area of just in Sri Lanka when 65million of the 80million world Tamil population live in the state of Tamil Nadu, India? Thus, in deciding the location for a Tamil Eelam the fact that Tamils have been historically aligned to and traditionally belonging to a particular area does not come into too much consideration. It then permeates any to wonder whether the aspiration for a Tamil Eelam could be perhaps relocated from Sri Lanka to perhaps a nation that has been sympathetic towards the terror movement and how perfectly Norway fits that bill.

Before looking at the biased nature of Norway’s peace role in Sri Lanka it is noteworthy to explore the greater aspirations of the Tamil people. Whether all Tamils relish a separate state or not it is obvious that the notion of a state for Tamil people is what has swayed Tamils to remain mum to most of the atrocities carried out by the LTTE and Tamil leaders having peddled and toyed with the idea of a separate state have done so possibly thinking that a similar situation to what occurred in Algeria could be repeated where once the LTTE does eventually obtain a separate state the militancy can be replaced with democratic leadership. Yet when the LTTE cares not to even kill their own is it possible to imagine how Tamil leaders will be able to remove the LTTE’s dictatorial prowess and replace it with a democratic form of governance? Yet, in placing trust with the LTTE the Tamil leaders be they in India or Sri Lanka are running the risk of playing with the devil and we have seen how dangerous this game is with the death befalling to leaders like A Amirthalingam, the TULF Leader.

Having said that it is important that we look into the calls by Tamil Nadu leaders who desire to keep alive the LTTE not for any love for the LTTE but purely for two distinct reasons – while the LTTE with their "saving Tamils" slogan allows Indian Tamil leaders to create pressure upon the Central Government of India especially during election times, it also enables these leaders to sustain their inner cravings for a separate state for all Tamils which has been conveniently outsourced to the LTTE thus avoiding Indian Tamil bloodshed……it makes a perfect ploy since India’s Central Government quickly stopped the "We Tamil Movement" from emerging in the late 1960s & India must be alert to any repetitions of such homeland concepts emerging and will bring down its fist to stop such….

Thus, India’s Central Government too is acceptable to an armed struggle in Sri Lanka so long as it is outside of India since it will keep Sri Lanka in a destable mode while also forcing India’s interference in Sri Lanka using the "Tamil" issue as an excuse giving India its “right” to interfere and make demands upon the Sri Lankan Govt to look after the Tamils but India will always function within an explicit understanding that there will be ‘No Declaration Of A Separate State’ in Sri Lanka or in Tamil Nadu (but a long drawn out unrealistic struggle is acceptable to India) & this is pretty much the same whether a Congress or a BJP Government emerges in India. Yet, how many Sri Lankan Tamils would have lost their lives in these almost 30 years….were these youths from elite families….were they not marginalized amongst their own Tamil society, youth suffering from caste problems within their own Tamil community, young girls brought up in harsh lifestyles most with only a dream of marrying and easy prey to fiendish plans and brainwashing by LTTE eventually to turn their innocent minds into evil suicide women and men taught to think and kill Sinhalese while Prabakaran and his top ranks send their children to foreign climes for higher education and luxurious living from profits made up on smuggling, narcotics and other nefarious activities.

So when the Tamil Diaspora claim that there is discrimination, injustice and even the exaggerations of genocide it is important that we examine the context of their statements especially by imagining the lifestyles of Tamils in foreign climes where even a monthly donation to the LTTE for their terror attacks becomes acceptable since it selfishly enables them to remain in these nations as refugees and allows them more time to apply for their PR status as well as enable them to get their families over using the same discrimination theme since according to Norwegian laws it takes a good 7 years to apply for Norwegian citizenship. So why would the Tamil Diaspora mind paying an annual payment of US$400 from every Sri Lankan Tamil expatriate family living overseas? In Norway there is over 10,000 Sri Lankan Tamils.

So, when the Tamil Diaspora has for years continued this charade it is unfair on their part to dessert the LTTE as it faces defeat and now renew calls to have new leaderships amongst them to act as leaders for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka….this however looks the obvious pattern of things to come as is clearly visible in statements coming from those like Prof. Hoole and the latest arrival of Tamil Diaspora representatives showering praises upon Sri Lanka’s Government for the manner they are looking after the IDPs. Why did they not raise a whimper when the LTTE was looked as the most invisible and deadliest terror outfit.

The exodus of Tamils as refugees to foreign climes allows local MPs the perfect ploy to use their votes to progress their political careers – Keith Vaz becomes a perfect example and eventually we have come to see how MPs of Canada, Britain and Australia end up voices for the Tamil cause in exchange of course for the promise of their vote – in the UK there are almost 300,000 Tamils and almost an equal number in Canada thus we see how influential Sri Lankan Tamils have become and even Britain which has banned the LTTE is still calling for a ceasefire through their Foreign Affairs Minister Miliband.

Yet the incident that occurred recently in Norway has left not many surprised and only confirmed how biased Norway has been throughout its so-called Peace Envoy status in Sri Lanka. Norway cannot even bring the perpetrators and book them for their vandalism – Norway cannot even issue a statement of apology and Sri Lanka should not rethink about even closing down its mission for there was no mission earlier, consular activities can continue through Sweden.

Norway must take complete responsibility for what occurred on 12th April – unfortunately it was again ill-timed, for the attack took place no sooner the Govt announced a 48hour ceasefire, instead of using this time to garner support for a longer ceasefire, the LTTE miscalculated and attacked the SL mission leaving Norway in embarrassment though Norway remains steadfast in purely agreeing to compensate Sri Lanka for the damage – no word of punishment for the goons who have been caught on camera!....Thus…little should we be surprised that even during Norway’s peace role in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Norway had supplied arms to Hamas.

How was Norway chosen as Sri Lanka’s peace envoy – there has been little or no research on Sri Lanka by Norway, other than Ceynor who had helped fishing families in the 1970s & even provided them training in Norway and helped many settle down in Norway to help in Norway’s blooming fishing industry there is little evidence to prove that Norway knows even the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and its communities to understand the conflict dynamics. Yet, we are well aware that Norway is a rabidly evangelical country and many of its NGOs stationed in developing nations are religious organizations.

For Norway functioning as a peace envoy why should it feel it must provide any type of military assistance to the LTTE through the Norwegian Government Agency “NOrad” which is part of the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry? Why would the banned LTTE front organization the TRO receive 15million NOK (USD2.2million) in 2005 from Norad. This was disclosed in a Norwegian newspaper Ny Tid (New Times) The LTTE “Peace Secretariat” had been established by 5.6million NOK on the instructions of the Wickremasinghe Government the newspaper also reveals.

The Norwegian secret police had even investigated LTTE bribes to Norwegian Foreign Ministry/Justice Ministry. Taking the bias further was the military intelligence information given to the LTTE that SL Navy was to stop an LTTE arms smuggling vessel – SLMM General Tellefsen’s conduct resulted in diplomatic problems & led to his replacement with Gen. Furuhovde. Aftenposten, another major Norwegian newspaper, also revealed in an article in 2001 how the Norwegian authorities allowed the transfer of funds to the LTTE, Hamas, ETA and also that the LTTE has 6 offices in Norway. We are well aware that 70-90% of LTTE funds come from their international fundraising and criminal activities.

Of course there are many who have been and are beneficiaries to Norway’s handouts – some present Ministers during their stint in the 2002 Wickremasinghe Govt belong to that guilty list as does the National Peace Council. We all know role of the Norwegian People’s Aid in arming Sudanese rebels and so when heavy machinery are taken to the North under the guise of "Humanitarian Aid" work and they end up perfect equipment to build underground bunkers, trenches terror camps should we not wonder for exactly what purpose these vehicles were taken especially so when there is no visible evidence of "humanitarian" work being done in the areas that the NPA were working in?

A movement that developed into a terror outfit for it enabled a bigger flow of funds and applied enough force to sustain its continuance promoted the LTTE from a liberation movement to a terrorist outfit. Its infancy no doubt attracted many youth and even gained the silent nods of approval by the Tamil elders which lost its sheen no sooner the guns turned on Tamils who did not agree to the actions of the LTTE. Most of Tamil sentiment regarding the LTTE was kept secret from the public and most of those who disagreed with the LTTE were never alive to tell their tale….but with the military success and the rising numbers of Tamil civilians that now smile having escaped the clutches of LTTE control we realize the nature of the "Tamil Eelam" state that they had been living in all these years. It is amongst these people that the LTTE chose their cadres, their suicide squads and it is these families that had to sacrifice their children while the richer and influential Tamils living in Colombo, abroad and elsewhere could use the stage set up by the LTTE for their own benefit ….so the Eelam struggle suited both parties perfectly while all the time it was the innocent Tamils of the Wanni that became the hostage of the LTTE and never a penny or a dollar was sent by any of these Diaspora members even to build a school, uplift the lifestyles of their own people as a token of appreciation for it was the sacrifice of these families which kept alive the Tamil Eelam struggle.

With the present massive exodus of Tamil civilians and the declaration by the Armed Forces giving the LTTE & its leader 24 hours to give themselves up we await to see the curtains fall upon the LTTE all the time aware that in large numbers both in Sri Lanka and in India and possibly other nations that Tamils reside a sense of nostalgia is likely to emerge when looking back at 30 years of a struggle that actually led nowhere. A distant dream to many but it is hopeful that these people who dreamt of an Tamil Eelaam must realize that their nod of approval for the LTTE has made them partially responsible for the thousands of deaths of innocent people. Though India enjoys bullying Sri Lanka about taking care of the Tamil people, India should recall how upon the assassination of Indira Gandhi over 3000 Sikhs were killed mercilessly, did any such incident occur in Sri Lanka despite the assassination of President Premadasa, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragamar, scores of Ministers, Clergy, Children etc….

What the world needs to understand at this stage and as the impending fall of the LTTE is imminent is to question whether with the fall of the LTTE will be the death to the dream of a Tamil Eelam…it is most unlikely but it is also unlikely that the Tamil people, those that sacrificed their children for the LTTE having seen the charade and lies of the LTTE will not allow the LTTE to regroup which leaves little hope for a resurgence or an LTTE to survive as a guerilla movement. Therefore, the Tamil leaders who outsourced the Tamil Eelam struggle to the LTTE who ran the show for 30 years will now have to put their next strategy in order.

Where can the struggle continue to sustain its existence? An LTTE minus cadres is unlikely to emerge as a force of the nature that the LTTE enjoyed all these years ….therefore turning the LTTE into anything other than the face of a brute force would be a comedown for the LTTE and its leader.

A movement that makes USD200-300million with a running cost of just USD8million and a profit of USD192million should make any wonder how the LTTE is likely to plan to continue its illegal international operations… suited the LTTE perfectly to have it cloaked round a "freedom struggle" slogan assisted by foreign nations that worked in connivance with the LTTE – therefore it would be only right that a nation such as Norway with limited populace & plenty of area give a part of its soil to declare a Tamil Eelam, for obviously there are many who nurture the dream of having their own Nation.

There is no place for Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka now or ever. There is only room for Sri Lankans be they Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims or Burghers.

- Asian Tribune -

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Fran Diaz
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