Old Wine in New Bottles - Anton Balasingham's roseate vision of a Parasitic Eelam.

R. Chandrasoma.

Hapless citizens of Sri Lanka are being force-fed information by an adroitly managed news service that all has gone wonderfully well in a first encounter between the lanky professor with greased-down hair and the burly side-kick of the feared tyrant of the North. Perhaps the salubrious clime and barmy air of the Thai resort-hotel have conspired to make the chief spokesman of the Sri Lankan State wonderfully amnesic on the murder and rapine unleashed by those who - until recently - were world leaders in the use of suicide bombers to advance their cause. We say this because the wordy preambles of the professor were unctuously rich in the customary twaddle about 'freedom', 'democracy', 'social justice' etc but nary a word about the horrendous violence inflicted on a poor and impoverished state by an unbridled monster that cared not a fig for these things except as a cover and embellishment to ease the passage to the dream-state of Eelam. That the smooth-taking Balasingham ducked all reference to the use of violence is understandable. This representative of a mass-killer is being greeted and feted on a scale that would make one believe that a magical erasure of history is the necessary pre-condition for the resolution of conflicts that have bloody roots in the past. Baalasingham forgets and is warmly thanked for it.
It is not the betrayal of those who feel deeply wounded by a cavalier neglect of the historical dimension of this conflict that has paramountcy at this moment. Let us go along with the learned professor that the need of the hour is a 'tabula rasa' (clean slate) that erases past misgivings and ancestral fears. Let us ask, in all candour, what is irreducible minimum that the representatives of the Tamil Tigers ask in return for the annulment of past animosities and the restoration of national goodwill? Is there a healing change of heart? The question is timely - indeed pivotal - in that the news services have screaming headlines about a 'breakthrough' wrought by the historic discussions in Thailand. 'Balasingham squashes the claim that 'Eelam' means the division of Sri Lanka.' Galvanized by this much sought-for concession, the spin-doctors of the Prime Minister office have gone overboard with a seeming propaganda trove that they believe must be richly exploited to convince the masses of this country that Ranil Wick is the anointed leader that can bring peace and prosperity to this country.
Is it possible to have Eelam and an undivided Sri Lanka? There is no law of nature that forbids it. Given a craven leadership, a grossly-deceived Sinhala-Buddhist constituency and a beaten population that cries out for the bare necessities of life, there are enough and more lawyers who can hammer out a constitution that bridges the impossible. Here is an outline of how this bizarre sate of affairs can be made a fait accompli. To his credit, Balasingham does not fudge or equivocate on basics. He has stated that the 'Thimpu principles' stand inviolate - that the North-East is the 'homeland' of the Tamils, the right of self-determination of the Tamils cannot be bartered away and that their sovereign nationhood must receive international recognition. (All this was stated with commendable clarity by Balasingham at the concluding press conference.) Friends, try to square this with the concept of an undivided and sovereign Sri Lanka. Is it not an exercise like the 'Squaring of the Circle' that the Greek geometers tried vainly to accomplish in ancient times? Can a part of the whole be equal to the whole in the very features that define its integrity? Why, then this hullabaloo about a supposed volte-face by the Tigers?
While the Greeks failed to square the circle, it is not beyond the powers of the formidable consortium (both local and international) currently playing the role of Lawmaker and Guardian to give the Tigers Tamil Eelam while engineering a socio-political charade that makes Lanka both divided and undivided. That an absurdity of this kind cannot come to pass is the reaction of honest people unaccustomed to the wily intrigues of those who currently play the role of 'top dog' in Lankan affairs.
To lay bare the plot, let us give a definition of a parasite. It is a whole organism and in this sense it is an independent entity. Yet it is totally dependent on the host-organism for its sustenance - indeed it battens on the nutritional bounty of the host and enervates it to such a degree that there is often a fatal outcome. Let us switch from the brief biological cameo to the politics of Sri Lanka. The new vision spelled out so clearly by Balasingham is that of a PARASITIC EELAM - a Tamil Nation, sovereign and territorially defined that has its nutritional roots in the rump-state of Lanka. In the sense that a parasite cannot be separated from its host, an observer looking from afar will see an 'undivided Sri Lanka' with heavy commercial traffic between the two parts. What would be the reality? The parasitic sate of Eelam will have its vital organs sequestered from the impoverished host nation - its police, law-courts, schools, administrative centres etc and will function in proud independence with the tiger-head on every mast and flag-post. The Lion Flag will only be available for burning.
The 'advantage' of parasitism over total independence is fairly obvious and the choice of this mode of life (by the Tiger Terrorists) is dictated not by principles of fair accommodation and compromise but by the recognition of the brute realities of governing a devastated state with no friendly investors in sight. The Tamil Diaspora is in full retreat and world terrorism is receiving hammer-blows that make the life of the local species precarious indeed. Placed in such dire circumstances, who is so bold as to throw a life-line to the ensnared beast? Is it not Ranil Wick and his international backers? Is not Parasitic Eelam the brain-child of this unfortunate rulership that has turned its back on the patriotic Sinhala-Buddhist masses of this country? Is it not effrontery of a rare order to tell the people of this country that 'Balasingham has turned over a new leaf and all augers well for the political future of this country because the country will remain undivided'? Are host and parasite one? It is far better to have a divided Lanka than to have a pernicious parasitic state gnawing at its vitals. It is this gloomy message that that the people of our unfortunate country must hearken to.





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