|The politics of transnational Tamil Eelam Govt|
|Philadelphia & Diaspora|
|Assembly & Pathmanathan|
|Transnational & Vaddukkoddai|
It is against such a backdrop that the Philadelphia convention was held. A section of the global Tamil Diaspora overtly supportive of the Tamil Eelam cause assembled there to hold the inaugural sessions of what was described as the Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam.
The dates of May 17 – 19 were deliberately picked to demonstrate to the Sri Lankan Government and the world at large that ultra –nationalist Tamil political opinion was not crushed after the Nandhikkadal debacle. In fact the imitative to form a Transnational Tamil entity was taken in June last year as an act of symbolic defiance to demonstrate that “Tamil Eelam” was not extinct like the Dodo but was akin to a Phoenix rising from the ashes Similiar symbolism was also visible in the choice of location.
It was in Philadelphia that representatives of the original thirteen American states had convened as the second Continental Congress in July 1776 and unanimously endorsed the declaration of Independence from Britain. It was also in Philadelphia that the Congress of the Confederation had initially convened to discuss and draft the US Constitution passed in 1783.
It was the historic importance of Philadelphia that made it the venue of the first meeting conducted by members of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE).Symbolism was enhanced further by the fact that two US historic monuments like the Liberty bell and Independence Hall were situated a few blocks away from the NCC venue.
The Philadelphia meeting was the culmination of a year long effort by influential pro- LTTE sections of the global Tamil Diaspora to form a democratically elected organization representing more than a million Tamils of Sri Lankan origin dispersed in different parts of the world.
The TGTE in a sense is a re-branded manifestation of the LTTE overseas structure. The first guiding principle of the TGTE is unambiguously clear about the ultimate goal being the creation of Tamil Eelam. Although it does not explicitly endorse the LTTE the TGTE’s commitment towards the LTTE was demonstrated clearly at the Philadelphia summit where the Tiger flag fluttered boldly despite the LTTE being a banned foreign terrorist organization in the USA.
A crucial difference between the earlier Tiger or pro-Tiger organizations of old within the Diaspora and newly evolving entities such as the TGTE are the elements of democracy and transparency. The TGTE exercise has been generally open and election of representatives was ostensibly through democratic procedures.
Although the TGTE has been described as a government –in–exile in sections of the media the new organization takes pains to refute such description. TGTE literature points out that a government in exile needs a host country to recognize it. It also says that a government needs to exist before going into exile.
Proponents of the TGTE claim that the new venture is an exciting new experiment in democracy. Representatives of the Tamil Diaspora who met in Philadelphia have transformed themselves into a Constituent Assembly. Their immediate task is to draft a new Constitution not for the Tamil Eelam state – in – formation but for the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam – in – formation.
The inaugural sessions of the TGTE resulted in New York based Lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran becoming the “numero uno” of the TGTE. Rudrakumaran known generally as Rudra was earlier the International legal adviser of the LTTE and had participated in the Govt-LTTE peace talks as a resource person of the LTTE delegation.
Rudra along with Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP had been the co-architects of the TGTE proposal. After KP was seized in Malaysia in a dramatic operation and transported to Sri Lanka, the task of taking the TGTE effort forward was shouldered by Rudra alone.
With the support of some like-minded persons within the Diaspora, the 52 year old son of former Jaffna mayor Rasah Visuvanathan , had worked hard to make the TGTE dream a reality. Rudrakumaran who was the co-ordinator of the TGTE formation committee was elected as the Interim Chief executive of the TGTE at Philadelphia.
Following the election of Mr. Rudrakumarn,An Interim executive committee was also formed. The delegates selected seven members to the Interim Executive Committee.
The members of the executive committee are Mahinthan Sivasubramanium; Sam Sangarasivam; Gerard Francis; Selva Selvanathan; Vithya Jeyashanker; Sasithar Maheswaran and Janarthanan Pulendran.