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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: Essential Points - Page 3

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: Essential Points
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The LTTE's first and most enduring objective was the creation of a Tamil homeland on Sri Lanka; the justification for this goal was the idea of Sinhalese genocide against Sri Lankan Tamils. The offered proof for this genocide was the communal rioting of 1983 in which many Tamils were killed, injured or dispossessed. Since then, Tigers have used the events of 1983 as justification for their own deeds; and the Diaspora's reaction to the imminent victory of the Sri Lankan military is a redoubled effort to brand Sri Lanka as a genocidal regime.

A basic principle in the revolutionary 'National Liberation' model that the Tigers followed in the 1970s and early 1980s is the use of violence to provoke an over-response by aggrieved authorities. Whenever police and military can be induced to use indiscriminant violence against a community that an insurgent claims to represent, it makes the insurgent's case for him. By way of analogy, imagine being repeatedly kicked in the shins by someone until you punch him in response, so that he can cry to all nearby that you just hit him without provocation. There's always someone prepared to believe him.

In the LTTE's formative years, many Sri Lankan police and military obligingly went along with the pre-written script; clumsily using violence in response to provocative outrages; and alienating more and more Tamils. On July 23rd, 1983; 13 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed in a Tiger ambush, and the incident was given full play by the Sri Lankan government (although it kept quiet about the subsequent murder of 14 Tamils by the Army the next day). At the funeral for the soldiers on the evening of the 24th, rioting broke out and subsequently, somewhere between 200 and 2,000 Tamils - estimates vary widely -- were killed and up to 100,000 were displaced by Sinhalese mobs.

Despite the numerous examples of Sinhalese sheltering their Tamil neighbours, the damage had been done, and the Tigers then had all the justification they ever needed. They seldom discuss the years preceding 1983, and often would have credulous Westerners believe that they arose solely in response to these riots.

However; since 1983; there has been no repeat performance of similar mob behaviour by Sinhalese. No mob violence followed the news that 1,200 Sri Lankan soldiers were killed by LTTE guerrillas (300 after surrendering) when the Mullativu army base was overrun in 1996. Nor was there any vigilantism after some spectacular LTTE truck bombings in Colombo. No mobs appeared in 1998 when the Temple of the Tooth - one of the holiest places in Sir Lankan Buddhism - was attacked by a Tiger suicide bomber. Part of the Tiger's incentive for these outrages may have been a hope that Sri Lankan Sinhalese would repeat their behaviour of 1983, but they never have.

There have been frequent instances of human rights abuses, extra-judicial homicide and carelessness about collateral damage by the Sri Lankan military. These are distressing, but do not constitute genocide.

Genocide, as we have all too often seen, requires much more extensive and enthusiastic massacres than a week of violent rioting 26 years ago. It requires wholesale ethnic cleansing - which is something the Tigers have repeatedly attempted, but not so the Sri Lankan authorities. It requires labour camps and death camps - something that the Sri Lankans have never built. Notwithstanding the events of 1983, Colombo and other Sri Lankan cities have large populations of Tamils who haven't felt the need to live in fear and apprehension of their neighbours for the past quarter century.

The charges of genocide from the LTTE and their supporters have no merit, and should be immediately ignored whenever they are raised.
The Tigers Claim to Tamil Leadership

In the 33 years of the LTTE's existence the Tigers have repeatedly claimed to speak for all Sri Lankan Tamils. This has never been true, although thousands of Tamils have been killed by the Tigers to substantiate this claim.

In numerous other instances around the world, terrorists and insurgents have expended a great deal of time and effort to ensure that they are the sole 'legitimate' voice for the people they claim to represent. What is seldom remembered is that it took intimidation and murder to ensure this situation could be achieved. One should remember how that much of the violence in Apartheid South Africa of the 1980s, in Ulster in the 1970s, or among the Palestinians in the 1950s, was the result of infighting among various factions. Many of the first victims of the Bolsheviks in Russia were other Leftists; and Hitler's first spree of mass murder was to suppress Rohm's SA within his own Nazi Party.



 

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