I’ve been no stranger to the Civil War in Sri Lanka… I grew up hearing horror stories of how Tamils were treated there. My trip to the refugee camp in Rameshwaram as a teen only solidified my true resentment of the Srilankan government. Not because the refugees were tamilians, but because they were people. Parents and children and brothers and sisters and friends, seeking safety in a strange land, torn from the war ravaged bosom of their own. I held hands and heard stories that were not a far cry from apartheid in the western world.I also heard stories of a man, feared by governments, revered by his people; they told me of his valor, his compassion and his determination to help reclaim their land, lives and dignity.
Velupillai Prabakaran, was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the Tamil Tigers. The Tigers wanted their own land in post-colonial SriLanka and everybody got pissed off because they thought it was an irrational demand and all hell broke loose after LTTE’s assassination of the mayor of Jaffna, Alfred Duraiappah. The civil war raged for 30 long years. Assasiantions (Including Rajiv Gandhi , the seventh Prime Minister of India), bombings, military ops and a lot of people hurt was a part of this war, same as with every other war.
Of late, everyone wanted everyone else to pick sides. Elections always do that to us Indians. Pick sides…
(The SL Government is trying to wipe LTTE off the face of the earth and many innocent civilians are being killed!
The LTTE is spreading their tentacles of terror all over the globe!)
Pick…Pick… Pick… Goddamn it!
I’ve always steered clear of both the ‘Protect the rights of Tamils!’ activists and ‘LTTE deserves to be wiped out’ propagandists.
On May 19, the Srilankan government released pictures and a video claiming that they has captured all LTTE held territories and that Velupillai Prabakaran was shot.
This sparked a fresh wave of arguments and protests and people asking me whose side I’m on.
As much as you might disagree, it’s hard for me to bear arms against another country doing the same. Of course we advocate humanitarian approach in conflict resolution. However, I can never condemn a country for trying to weed out separatist forces.
As far as the speculations as to Velupillai is alive or dead. I don’t care. If he pulled a fast one, then the Srilankan government knows that he is out there and will keep looking for him in secret. If he has been killed, he still has sowed enough seeds around the world to keep the country occupied for at least another decade.
Either ways, the government has control of the land. They are still going to have to work for years to wipe LTTE off the face of the earth (I doubt of it is a possibility). So, to me, from where I see it, is a waste of time arguing. He is not Mandar the Magician who’ll pop up and wow the audience. He is hailed and protected by thousands and thousands of people, he is larger than life. And yes, ladies and gentlemen he is gone… He was / is a very intelligent military commander who has eluded the government of a nation for three decades.
Get real! No one’s going to find him anytime soon, nor get rid of the one of the most elusive and wide spread militant organizations in South Asia.
So stop asking me if he is alive, if the pictures are true, what would happen if he was alive, what would happen if he is in India… Stop asking me about things that you and I cannot change or influence.
Ask me sensible questions like “Hey Archie, do you think we should do something to rehabilitate the scores of people affected in this war?”
My good friend Charles, used to vehemently argue with me for the Eelam cause. Now that it’s over, his first e-mail reads:
From: Charles Antony
Date :Fri, May 22, 2009 at 1:36 PM
Subject: SRI LANKA
I would like to work for people who are affected in this war against LTTE thro UN. Is there anyway to do that???
Now that’s what I call right perspective!
I’m not LTTE, I’m not the Srilankan Government. If I had to pick any side, it would be Charles’!