A true leader has spoken

Editorial -Courtesy The Island 22-03-2005

What is necessary for evil to flourish, it is said, is the silence of good men. We are not short of such good people who can see Sri Lanka’s problem for what it really is. But, unfortunately, the vast majority of them have chosen to remain mum either through fear of the gun or on their volition for reasons best known to them. Therefore, instead of their voices what the world often hears is those of a set of charlatans or hirelings who have been thriving on the conflict like maggots on a festering wound. They have hijacked various forums and crept into the media through their NGOs. Pronouncements that they make, masquerading as conflict resolution experts often pass off for the gospel truth, in the eyes of the na`EFve, about the situation in the country. For these fake doves peddling hidden agendas peace making has become an industry as lucrative as the war for the hawks.

They stand exposed when real leaders let their voices be heard. This, Mr. V. Anandasangaree, President of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) has done. He has earned the respect of all communities as a moderate and fearless leader who has stood up to LTTE terrorism to take up the cause of his community while reaching out to others.

Mr. Anandasangaree in his letter we reproduced on this page yesterday has spoken for the vast majority of Tamils who are without a voice because of the LTTE terror. He points how most Tamil politicians, the government, the Opposition, the Norwegians and NGOs have failed a community under the gun. His message is loud and clear: "What the country wants today is peace. There is no doubt about it, but certainly not at any price. If we are to achieve peace only by surrendering all our fundamental, human and democratic rights to the LTTE, we do not want that peace. What the Tamils want is peace with dignity and all their rights preserved. We want to live like any other Sri Lankan in the South of Sri Lanka."

He stresses the need for ‘liberating’ Tamils from the self-appointed ‘liberators’ and tells the bitter truth about the CFA, which some may not want to hear: "Mr. Eric Solheim [whom Mr. Anandasangaree accuses of acting in a partisan manner favouring the LTTE], too, had boasted that three years of Cease Fire has saved thousands of lives. It is true, but it has also deprived the Tamils of the North and the East of their fundamental and democratic rights."

In his view, the biggest disservice to the Tamils has been done by none but the LTTE. The discrimination against Tamils ‘at one stage’ in the fields of education, employment and development, ‘where they were not completely overlooked’, he says, is ‘nothing compared to what is happening’ under the LTTE, especially in the post-CFA period.

He once again brings to the notice of the world a crime against children committed by the LTTE: "A matter that should be condemned is the recruitment of small children by the LTTE to their cadre. Even the Members of Parliament of the TNA who themselves have children had not protested to the LTTE against this." He thus exposes the hypocrisy of TNA MPs who want Eelam won by sacrificing other people’s children. The same goes for Prabhakaran’s children who are safe and schooling while other children are being made cannon fodder by the LTTE.

While reminiscing that ‘successive governments from May, 1972 had been very cruel towards the Tamil youth’, Mr. Anandasangaree drives home another point which should serve as an eye opener to those treating the LTTE with indulgence: "Many politicians, Heads of Schools, Academics, Lawyers, Journalists, to ranking Government Servants, Government Agents etc., were killed by the LTTE. It should be noted that not a single person in this category had ever been killed by the Sinhala forces. All these killings are among the Tamils and by the Tamils."

His statement about the LTTE’s ‘Iron Curtain’ should cause concern to the international community which is being treated to tons of myths and lies by LTTE allies. The civilians behind it, Mr. Anandasangaree says, are being ‘kept like slaves by the very same people who claim to be the liberators of the Tamils’ and ‘even a person like Mr. Eric Solheim has no access to their areas beyond their meeting point at Kilinochchi."

"Every LTTE cadre," he says, "is a leader. The people have to carry out the orders without questioning. The people live in constant fear and tension. Unfortunately, the electronic and the print media do not say or write a word against the LTTE. The Tamil media in foreign counties also are under the control of the LTTE."

As he rightly points out, the Tamils in the LTTE held areas and in most cases even in other parts in the North and the East, have been badly let down by the media.

His conclusion which is, no doubt, anathema to the fake doves and their international allies is of great significance vis-`E0-vis the frantic efforts being made to jump start the stalled peace talks: "The LTTE is trying to establish a dictatorship. They are not interested in finding a solution to the problem that will be acceptable to the Tamil people." And he believes federalism, be it Indian type or any other, will satisfy Tamils and urges the international community and India to be involved more in the process of finding a solution while calling upon the international community to liberate the Tamils from the LTTE. That the Tamils want India to play a dominant role in the peace process is not certainly good news to the LTTE.

These views of the TULF President, no doubt, reflect the sentiments of the courageous Tamils who have refused to sell their souls to the Tigers. They, too, must be made stake holders in the peace process and their voices heeded, if the peace process is to be rendered democratic.



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