No tears for LTTE
Army is heading for a victory over the LTTE. The defeat of the LTTE
has disturbed many in India, especially in Tamil Nadu. It is
understandable that many Indian Tamils emotionally identify with the
Tamils of Sri Lanka and are moved by their plight.
However, it is important to understand the true nature of the LTTE
before Indian Tamils let their emotions rule their heads. The LTTE under
its leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran has earned reputation as the most
violent and ruthless terrorist organization across the globe.
LTTE has caused immense misery. Picture by Tilak Perera
There can be no denying that Tamils in Sri Lanka had and still have
genuine grievances which were repeatedly ignored by the Sinhalese
political leaders. From the fifties to late seventies, the grievances
were constantly raised by many moderate Tamil leaders who believed in a
process of dialogue.
Sure enough, the moderates among Tamil politicians had a difficult
time in convincing the Sinhalese politicians to yield ground and work
towards fair and equitable governance. Nevertheless, the efforts of the
moderates had attracted attention and sympathy from the international
It may not be an exaggeration to say that the moderates might have
succeeded if they had been able to continue their efforts of dialogue,
reconciliation and integration. Efforts of the moderates were cut short
by a series of brutal assassinations carried out by the LTTE. The first
major operation was assassination of the mayor of Jaffna, Alfred
Duraiappah in 1975.
Assassination in 1977 of a Tamil Member of Parliament, M.Canagaratnam,
was carried out personally by Prabhakaran, the leader of the LTTE. These
are just two examples of hundreds of cold-blooded murders of Tamils
carried out by the LTTE.
The violent and ruthless ways of the LTTE led on one hand to
extermination of all other Tamil militant groups and, on the other,
forced moderate Tamils to either withdraw from political activity or
side with Sinhalese parties.
The radicalization of Tamil political space found its echo in the
Sinhalese parties and mutual hardening of stances closed all avenues of
national reconciliation and integration. This led to the civil war that
had been raging in the island for the past three decades.
The violent, merciless, cruel bloody ways of the LTTE have no
precedence in the history of South Asia.
Hindu and Buddhist minds have streaks of kindness, compassion and
pity. The militants of Indian Freedom Struggle were often soft-hearted
poets. There is no prior instance of an Indian (or Sri Lankan) militant
killing people of his own community with such ferociousness as
Prabhakaran did. It is also important to note that for thousands of
years, Buddhism and Hinduism have co-existed through much of Asia,
without a single instance of a major clash.
It is hence necessary to clarify that the civil war in Sri Lanka was
not a Buddhist-Hindu war. Though much of Sinhalese leadership is
Buddhist, the LTTE cannot be called a Hindu organization by any stretch
of imagination. The LTTE leadership has never found any sympathy among
Hindu organizations of India.
Prabhakaran is a Christian (his son’s name is Charles Anthony) and
most of his close associates are also Christians.
It seems reasonable to guess that the LTTE could attain its
superiority over other militant Tamil groups (a) by its ruthless ways
and (b) by the vast superiority of resources that the LTTE could manage.
Rabid fanatical elements of Christian churches are known to fish in
troubled waters across the world.
In all probability, these elements supported Prabhakaran and his men
giving them money as well as arms and ammunition. Along with the
resources to fight the war, the rabid Christian elements seem to have
also supplied to the LTTE a mindset that is typical of
one-book-religions and is completely alien to this part of the world.
All one-book-religions have no place for tolerance. Spread of
Christianity through Europe, Africa and America was achieved by
widespread genocide and torture. As the Pope talks of harvesting a new
crop of souls in Asia, there is no attempt on the part of Church to
apologize for inquisitions, witch-hunting, slavery, or opium wars or
even the Bengal famine. These are viewed as acts of piety necessary for
saving the souls of millions.
In the 18th, 19th and first half of 20th Century, the evangelical
agenda of Church was carried out in Asia by British, Portuguese and
other European colonial powers. Thousands were brutally tortured and
killed in Goa inquisitions. Script for Opium Wars was written by
After the Second World War, the mainline political parties of Europe
and America had turned too secular and could no longer be relied upon to
further the expansionist agenda of fanatical elements of Church.
The Church had to turn to native converts to carry the flag forward.
Prabhakaran is one such native convert.
Prabhakaran’s bloody ways can only be compared to the medieval
Christian knights / vikings, who tolerated no dissent and killed
innumerable members of their own communities on slightest pretext. If
the LTTE had succeeded to create a Tamil Eelam, Prabhakaran would surely
have been the worst possible despot the world has ever known.
Tamil Eelam would have done more harm than good to Tamils.
Historically, Tamils of Sri Lanka were well educated and quite
progressive. This changed after the LTTE took control of Jaffna. During
their reign in Jaffna, the liberals were brutally killed. Even
academicians were not spared.
Dr.Rajini Thiranagama was killed by the LTTE on September 21, 1989.
Her only fault was that she criticized the LTTE for their atrocities.
She was the head of the Anatomy Department at Jaffna University. She was
also a Tamil human rights activist and feminist.
The poisonous, cancerous mindset of fanatic proponents of one-book
religions has led to balkanization of South Europe. Success of
Prabhakaran would have led to initiation of the same process in Asia.
The Prabhakaran effect would not have remained confined to just Sri
Lanka, but would have impacted the whole continent giving inspiration
and strength to separatist elements in various regions. For example,
Church-sponsored terrorism would have received a boost in north-eastern
states of India.
The Maoist or Naxalite elements have been known to receive support
and cooperation from Churches in tribal areas of India and Nepal. Having
tasted success in Sri Lanka, the fanatical rabid elements of Churches
would have stepped up efforts towards disintegration and
Christianization of India, China and rest of Asia.
India has been fighting various forces, both Islamic and Christian,
aiming to disintegrate her. Besides fighting them, India has had a close
brush with the brutal ways of LTTE. On May 21 1991, the LTTE’s suicide
bomber killed Indian ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
This made Indian public lose patience with the LTTE and Prabhakaran.
The fact that the assassination paved the way for a Roman Catholic (and
her Christian coterie) to get complete control of the oldest political
party of India may well be purely coincidental and need not be discussed
The point here is only about the mindset of Prabhakaran and his
organization. The mindset that tolerates no dissent and has no
hesitation in cold-blooded killing of fellow politicians, women
professors and even old friends, is a grave danger to peace and
co-existence of human beings on this Earth. Fortunately, the LTTE has
lost the war. But it may not be the end of the war. A war is fought not
just on the field with guns and bombs. The most important place where a
war begins and ends is in the minds of the people.
As guns silence in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka, the challenge
before the Government is to ensure that the LTTE does not become a myth
- larger and more glorified than what it ever was. The Sri Lankan must
take steps to write a true history of the civil war without mincing any
words and portraying the LTTE in its true colours.
For the sake of good relations with majority population of India, the
academicians, journalists and historians of Sri Lanka should clarify in
unequivocal terms that the so-called civil war was a war between the
Government and a terrorist organization.
It is necessary to underline the fact that there is no conflict
between Buddhists and Hindus, who have been brothers through thousands
of years. Actions speak louder than words.
The Sinhalese political class must use the end of civil war as an
opportunity to initiate extensive efforts for national reconciliation,
reconstruction and integration.
The President must walk over the ghost of the LTTE to extend a hand
of friendship and brotherhood to Tamils of the country. If the Sinhalese
population can act with the Buddhist qualities of kindness and
compassion towards their Tamil brethren, they can surely win their
hearts over. That will truly be a victory for everyone in Sri Lanka.
Let us pray - May the Sinhalese have the strength and wisdom to be
kind, considerate and compassionate towards their Tamil brethren; And
may the Tamils of Sri Lanka have the strength and wisdom to exorcise the
ghosts of the LTTE from their minds and rebuild bonds of heart with
their Sinhalese brethren. Lastly, let no tears be shed for the LTTE
either in Sri Lanka or in India.
(The writer is an engineer, a lawyer and a philosopher.)