Monday, October 5, 2009

The birth of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Tamil Elam was born in the nineteen fifties, when the Sinhalese majority in newly-independent Sri Lanka set about to build a national identity by appealing to Sinhalese nationalism. By an act of the Sinhalese-dominated parliament, a million Tamils were stripped of citizenship and franchise on the grounds that their parents or grandparents had been born in India. The proportion of Tamil voters in the electorate instantly dropped from 33% to 20%, giving the Sinhalese a lock on the 2/3 parliamentary majority needed to pass any law they wanted. Sinhalese became the official language of Sri Lanka. Tamil civil servants, who had dominated the English colonial administration, were summarily fired. Under the guise of agricultural schemes, the Sinhalese government pushed Tamils off their land, flooding newly-created enlarged tracts of farmland with previously landless Sinhalese. Pogroms and general oppression ensued. In the 1958 riots alone, 25,000 Tamils were forced to flee into the northern part of the island. An effort was even made to deport “stateless” disenfranchised Tamils to India. The Tamil response to this campaign was predictable and obvious.
At first, they followed the non-violent path of Mohandas Gandhi. Old men sat at the entrances of government offices, chanting hymns and preventing government clerks from entering by blocking the entrances with their bodies. The Sinhalese police beat them aside with clubs. Peaceful protests were dispersed by Sinhalese thugs acting with semi-official sanction. The peaceful way of satyagraha was of no avail. Gandhi’s approach had worked with the British because the refined British public and media would take their government to task over the perceived violations of Indian civil rights. It would not work against the Sinhalese because the Sinhalese public and media eagerly applauded the violation of Tamil civil rights.
By the nineteen seventies, the Tamil language was banned and Tamil contacts with the Tamil population of India were forcibly cut off. A policy of deliberate discrimination in everything from housing and employment to university scholarships pushed the Tamils to the fringes of society and sat the Sinhalese firmly on top. Sinhalese troops patrolled Tamil villages, assaulting anyone who dared to look at them the wrong way. A deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing was pushing Tamils deeper and deeper into the north of Ceylon. There was no doubt in the mind of any sane observer that the Sinhalese would not stop until they slowly, by stages, pushed the Tamils into the ocean. In fact, the Sinhalese said as much. Tamils, according to the Sinhalese, were foreigners who belonged in India.
When Tamil youth demanded action in the face of government oppression, their elders quelled them in the name of “national unity” and “non-violence”. They were told that Hinduism prohibited violence. They were told that parliamentary means could ensure their rights. They were told that this Tamil politician or that Tamil politician or some other Tamil politician would somehow magically make an agreement with the Sinhalese in exchange for his vote in one coalition or another.
The agreements were duly made. And they were duly broken. The oppression continued. In the end, the youth did the only rational thing they could have done. They rejected their elders. They rejected the Sinhalese State. They rejected non-violence. They demanded a country of their own. At gunpoint.
It was the seventies. The West seemed on the run, the Soviets were winning the Cold War and Marxist rebels were popping up the world over. For a young man rebelling against the established order and the religion of his elders, Marxism was the logical way to go. Therefore it is not surprising, though unfortunate for the Tamil people on Ceylon, that those who sought to liberate them from Sinhalese rule were mostly Marxists. In May 1976, a group of youth with Marxist rhetoric which adopted the name “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam”. Their leader, a twenty-one-year-old named Vellupilai Prabhakaran, who had already set the tone in July of the previous year.
Things spiraled out control from there and as it happens in conflicts of this type, all pretense of civilization was rapidly thrown aside. The point of no return came in July of 1983, when, allegedly in response to an LTTE ambush that killed 15 Sri Lankan soldiers, Sinhalese civilians rioted across the island, murdering some 3,000 Tamils. The rioters had official government voter lists showing the names and addresses of Tamils. The Sinhalese army and police stood by and did nothing for days as entire neighborhoods were burned to the ground. As Tamil motorists were pulled out of their cars and burned alive at improvised checkpoints, whole families were hacked to pieces in their living rooms and Tamil temples were put to the torch by Sinhalese mobs led by plainclothes police, spontaneity, unlike brutality, was not in evidence. The event would forever be remembered by the Tamils as Black July.
In response to this final atrocity, hundreds of thousands of Tamils fled abroad, while those remaining on Ceylon made their way to the North and East of the island, where the heretofore small-time pro-independence insurgency suddenly had no shortage of recruits. Asia’s longest running civil war was on in earnest, no holds barred.


  1. Sinha God

    I would like to nominate the following three distinguished Sri Lankans, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Chief of Defense Staff General Sarath Fonseka for the next Nobel Peace Prize.

  2. Sinha God
    There is an effort launched by a group of Sri Lankan patriots to nominate three distinguished Sri Lankans, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Chief of Defense staff General Sarath Fonseka for the next Nobel Peace Prize. This nomination will put the terrorist propagandists like the Economist writers and their ilk on notice that there are many worthy people the world over, Sri Lankans and others, who do not agree with their assessments of our leaders and their self-serving agendas.

  3. Thambi

    The Rajapakse cabal for the Nobel Peace Prize?
    What a sad indictment of the circle of lackeys that surrounds the Brothers. First they convince Rajapakse that he is King, now they want the Peace Prize.
    Perhaps they should be nominated for Miss World too; probably stand a better chance of winning!

  4. Now that our Dear Leader is up for the Nobel Peace Prize, I wonder why his Catholic wife has not hit on the idea of having him canonized?

    Just in case Sinha God and his erudite chums rush off to the Vatican, application in hand, they might be astonished when they find out that a mere nomination does not guarantee success (unlike elections in Sri Lanka)

  5. Sinha God
    The Rajapakse cabal for the Nobel Peace Prize?]

    Thambi, my poor fellow, why do you hate peace so much? You sound so nostalgic for blood and gore served up by you dear departed terrorist leader, the one and only, 'Fat Man' Velu.


  6. Thambi
    Now that Rajapakse has his eyes on the Peace Prize, I'm surprised that his spin doctors haven't hit on the Miss World idea as plan B.
    His media advisers (evidently, trained in N Korea) who dream up these crackpot schemes must have their work cut out for them. Soon we'll have Rajiva Wijesinha and Palitha Kohona trying to convince us that the whole world is now at Sri Lanka's doorstep trying to glean some gems of good governance from our Dear Leader.
    Fortunately for us Sri Lankans, it'll probably be a war crimes investigation first; that is, if the hapless Ban Kee Moon can get his act together.
    Really think that Our Dear Leader should forget this Nobel Prize lark and concentrate on the Guinness Book of Records.
    He and his cabal would be in a class of their own. They will surely put Sri Lanka back on the map again!

  7. Thamil
    Sinha God come on, no need to get so tetchy.
    If Rajapakse and Prabaharan had indeed established peace (rather than pay mere lip service to the idea), they might have been nominated for such an award. Indeed, the very spirit of the prize is aimed at reconciling warring parties.
    The Nobel committee does not award the prize on the basis of an obscure blogspot neither does it tend to pay much attention to the North Korean- style spin that would-be dictators tend to spout. A mention in the Daily News of Sri Lanka really won't cut the mustard when it comes to winning the prize, I can assure you.
    So, on that balance of probabilities, I'd recommend that Rajapakse tried for Miss World instead; indeed in the same way as I would have recommended Prabaharan. By the way, is Rajapakse getting these deranged ideas from an ex-LTTE media adviser? What is it about despots that make them crave public adulation?

  8. Sinha God


    Hmm... Let me guess!
    You thought the murderer was the messiah come to establish the kingdom of peace in our beloved Lanka, didn't you? Oh, never mind the inconvenient facts like hundreds of suicide bombs his homicidal terrorists detonated in crowded buses and trains blowing up little babies and kids to smithereens.

  9. Poor Sinha,

    i don't know whether to laugh or cry?

    That North Korean media training seems to be showing. How else could anyone entertain the futile hope of the Nobel Peace prize for our Dear Leader. They seem to have forgotten that the Nobel Prize committee cannot be influenced by white vannings

    What's worrying is that those of us(i.e. most of the world) who do not swallow this rosy-tinted vision peddled by Rajapakses's coterie of lackeys are now vilified as Tiger lovers and NGO activists. Pyongang would indeed be proud!

  10. Seems like Sinha God is up to the eyeballs in this one. But of course one must respect his quixotic schemes.

  11. mahindalover

    Thambi and Thamil, thank you for proving my comment "They have a morbid fixation about people's ethnicities and anthropological origins."


    Some Eelamists are so twisted in their thinking that they go so far as to claim that the Elamites in ancient Persia had some relatonship to Tamils today!!!

    In a few hundred years, they will be claiming that Norway was part of Greater Tamil Eelam because they had a transnational government there in the early 21st century!!

    Good luck Eric Solheim

  12. Tamil Nadu

    When religion and politics mix, blood will flow. More blood will flow in Sri-Lanka until the government and the monks stop spreading myths.

    Some of them even claim that the Tamils are an ethnic minority! It is like calling the Scottish people an ethnic minority in the UK!

    The country will be stuck in the stone-age for a long time to come!

  13. The religious hardliners have only gotten more strong and determined to make Srilanka a Sinhalese island. The forces driving Sinhalese society are all hardliners now, and there is no balancing force on the part of the Tamils.

    LTTE was forced to come into existence as Tamils were being trampled upon. Now we have the same without the LTTE, though the LTTE are now the reason for the trampling!

    My good friend who is a Srilankan Tamil could not see his mother at Manic Farm because the security did not allow him.

    And he claimed bitterly he did not know any Sinhalese politicians or army commanders to bribe his way there. And to top it all, apparently one of the racist army people he interacted with taunted him as a loser.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Sinha God
    The other morbid fixation of Eelamists: painting commentators who challenge them to be paid operators.

  16. Thamil
    True, there is no shortage of stooges who leap to pick up the crumbs from the Brother's table.
    However, I'm not sure if your comment about schweigen being "paid" to paint a rosy picture is fair. Perhaps you'd be better off rebutting his arguments?

  17. Sinha God is paid government stooge or not but his vile propaganda and twaddle stinks just the same

    For those who do:

    Readers will gauge from the acidity of the remarks, is a canard of Sri Lanka failed state.

    Such persons are paid to paint the GOSL in all its squeaky clean purity. So have some pity, it’s a taxing job! :)

  18. Thambi

    I agree mawatha silva!

    The writing’s on the wall.
    When the master receives his just deserts, the house dogs will typically lose its bark.

    For the meantime, preposterous comments are the meal of the day, courtesy of Sinha God/mahindalover and Uncle Yapa’s ‘Mass Media & Information’.

  19. Tamil Nadu
    I really don't know which bright spark dreamt up this Nobel Prize idea. Bogollagama? Rajiva Wijesinghe? Kohona? Looks like the Cabal is panicking; now the hangers-on are falling over each other in a rush to appease their Master with all manner of fancy tricks that would make the Burmese Junta cringe.

    Rajapakse got cold feet when it came to facing the UN assembly last week and sent the PM instead. Surely, a putative Peace Prize winner would have relished the opportunity to strut his stuff and really stun the world with his wisdom. Perhaps Georgetown University would have been buzzing with the new Ghota doctrine?

    Sadly, this was not to be! Instead, he had to make do with haranguing some unfortunate party faithfuls at Temple Trees.

  20. Thamil
    So King Mahinda wants the Nobel Peace prize?

    Naturally, his sycophants must be working flat out trying to elevate our dear Percy to the status of Mandela.

    The sad truth is that he'll soon be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mugabe (the Brothers' paradigm for democratic government) instead!

  21. vaithili
    There is a move to nominate Rajapakse duo and the then Army Chief for the Nobel Peace Prize. I too have the same opinion that they should be awarded after I have seen the following uncensored video.,view_video.aspx

  22. Thambi

    Poor Percy!

    I think his only realistic option is to get that distinguished academic(can't remember his latest qualification)Mervyn Silva to stage a Lankan Nobel Peace prize.
    No need then to put up with all that hassle related to nominations and scrutiny etc. Since everyone in Sri Lanka knows that he deserves the award, a mere Gazette notification should suffice.

  23. et’s start in 1956.. Sinhala Only was introduced in 1956 but wasn’t passed till 1961. At no time was Tamil banned. The law simply meant government positions operated using Sinhala. Provisions for Tamil were passed in 1966 allowing its use in the North and the East. Around 1977 further concessions were made.

    The University standardization occurred in the early 1970s. It was stopped in 1977. This placed quotas on all groups off people depending on their social class not just ethnicity. And considering that Tamils held 60% or so of government positions up till this time while constituting only about 10% of the population the Sinhalese were discriminated against up till then.

    And, to put all this in perspective - caste discrimination ruled Tamils up till the late-70s. Low caste Tamils weren’t allowed to enter Hindu temples and the High Class didn’t even consider them real Tamils. Considering these circumstances government positions not being conducted under English (Tamil wasn’t the government language before 1956 either!!!!) wasn’t the main concern of a majority of Tamils.

  24. To -Anonymous

    Wednesday, October 07, 2009 2:49:00 PM

    Are you sure about that ? Tamil language was banned.

    And how can you talk about discrimination of the Sinhalese by the Tamil??? Please, don’t make me laugh…. The opposite is true.

    The LTTE banned caste discrimination..

  25. Thambi

    On 5th June 1956, the date the 'Sinhala Only' Bill was introduced by (Prime Minister) Bandaranaike in the House (of Parliament), as an act of protest, Chelvanayakam, the leader of the Federal Party, led a party of 300 Tamil volunteers and staged a sit down Satyagraha (peaceful protest) of the kind popularised by Mahatma Gandhi in the days of the Indian freedom struggle.

    It was a peaceful sit down protest outside the House, on the Galle Face Green... On that day, the police were all around but allowed the Satyagrahis to be beaten up... Some Tamil Satyagrahis were thrown into Beira Lake near the Parliament House. From that moment every Tamil seen on roads of Colombo was attacked. Tamil office employees going home from work in public transport were caught and man-handled. Tamils had to stay indoors for personal safety for days on end.

    Sinhalese hooligans took charge of the situation and went on a rampage of arson and looting of Tamil shops and homes. The rioting and violence were instigated by the government and actively supported by the Sinhalese organisations and Bhikkus (Buddhist priests) to frighten Tamils into accepting the 'Sinhala Only' Act...

    The violence and rioting spread to Gal Oya and Amparai where, under an irrigation and re-settlement scheme, thousands of Sinhalese had been resettled in clusters around thinly distributed Tamil villages in the Eastern province. In the race riots in 1956, 150 people died. They included many Tamil women and children

  26. vaithili
    As Dharmadasa writes, "Needless to say 'language' per se is not the bone of contention. It is what language stands for and what it represents that goad communities and individuals to take it up as a cause" (Dharmadasa 1996).

    Because of the distrust between the Tamils and Sinhalese, the tremendous creative and energetic work done by the Tamil and Sinhala administrators and scholars for the implementation of Sri Lankan official languages policy remains ineffective. The records show that the Tamil scholars in Sri Lanka identified and coined over 48,000 terms by 1955 and the Sinhala scholars indexed 43,000 terms (Samarasinghe 1996) :)

    One notices certain common elements in the language policies of the South Asian nations, mostly modeled after the Official Language provisions of the Constitution of India. The provisions of the Constitution may be in favor of introducing only one language as the Official Language of the nation, but its implementation would be modulated by ground realities that demand or demanded the acceptance of some role for the other competing languages.

    The claims for the pre-eminence of a language or linguistic people group based on population strength are often questioned by counter-claims based on the historical evolution of the modern nation as a single political unit. Often the conflicting concepts of nationhood come to the fore when these issues are debated. If the national leadership is not wise, patient, and sensitive to the issues, and is carried by the aspirations of the linguistic majority alone, the nation is bound to suffer soon. The problem is that the linguistic majority often tries to define what shall be the legitimate aspirations for the minority!

    It is also important for the linguistic and religious minorities to recognize that in a pluralistic nation there would always be some pre-eminence given to the majority, and that so long as such pre-eminence is not a hindrance for their own freedom for growth, they should bear with the pre-eminence given to the majority.

  27. Thambi
    Sri Lanka will not release the 300 000 innocent civilians from the concentration camps until the next election. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and his party want to be re-elected. They are going to win these imprisoned Tamils people's votes by promising a 'release' if they give votes to the current ruling party (Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s party). Then they will be abandoned and imprisoned in concentration camps indefinitely

  28. Thamil

    Civil Monitoring Commission (CMC) demands the Sri Lankan government to immediately publish the names, permanent addresses, NIC numbers and other personal details of the all IDPs it claims to have registered.

    CMC is contacted by thousands of family members of the IDPs from within the country and abroad. They are prepared work with the government in launching a website so that not only the international community but most importantly millions of Sri Lankan Tamils living in the country and other countries would know the fates of their dear ones.

    The government should know that providing the IDP details to the family members in Sri Lanka and abroad is vital

  29. vaithili

    One can only wish for other countries to follow Britain and stand up for human rights and stand up against such ungreatful attitude of the Sri Lankan government.

    Sri Lankan's West bashing must be put an end to. Sri Lankan can't take our money and say nasty things about us.

    It is shocking that from the president to the prime minister to the defence secretary to everyone in the government of Sri Lanka are such uncouths and unrefined idiots that the entire world has been supporting despite their arrogance, that there is no question of international complicity in the tragedy of Tamils.

    One has to wonder about a country like Japan who says that there is peace everywhere in Sri Lanka and continues to support state terrorism and abuse of human rights and corruption.

  30. Why do none of you pro-separatists ever read what the other side has to say? You all go off on your rants ignoring even the slightest point a moderate makes.. Do you not understand English? This could be why you keep flooding pages with copy + paste shit from Tamilnet and Toronto Star.

  31. Thamil

    To Anonymous Thursday, October 08, 2009 8:06:00 AM or Pongul Thambi]

    And what is your side? We responded to your question, did you respond to ours ?

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  33. Thamil,
    Thank you friend, as you know is Monsoon is coming to Sri Lanka.
    Do you have any articles about this?