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By V. Thangavelu 

Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar is a man with an unholy mission. His mission is to act as the gravedigger doing all the dirty work for his paymasters. Many are unaware of the fact that Kadirgamar came to politics through fortuitous circumstances. He was cooling his heels in Geneva practicing law before he was picked up by Chandrika Kumaratunga. I suppose she did this  more for his (Tamil) name than his brains.

 Although Kadirgamar bears a Tamil name, he for all intents and purposes is a de-nationalized Tamil not conversant in his mother tongue. Having said that there is no doubt Kadirgamar has proved himself an excellent Minister conducting a virulent Goebelsian style propaganda war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.  In this respect he behaves more like a Minister of Propaganda for President Chandrika than Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In his latest ranting and railing against the LTTE, Minister Kadirgamar has given a lengthy interview to the government controlled newspaper Daily News (January 05, 2001). As usual, and as to be expected, Kadirgamar has resorted to baseless accusations liberally laced with innuendoes and diatribes to suit his slanted political agenda, un-becoming of a Minister of state. It is said that those who sling mud at others lose ground! This is very true of Kadirgamar. 

 Now let us briefly look at the burden of his ‘arguments’ and accusations against the LTTE, which spearheads the National liberation struggle of the Tamil people.

 Unilateral cease-fire

 The first question relates to the offer of a cease-fire by the LTTE. He was asked for his reaction. Kadirgamar’s reply ran to several paragraphs. He faulted the LTTE for not discussing the cease-fire with the Norwegian government’s representative first before announcing it.

 There is a proverb in Tamil that says that to an unwilling wife it is an offence if your leg or hand touches her. It is obvious to any impartial observer that Kadirgamar is simply picking holes and offering lame excuses for rejecting the LTTE’s unilateral declaration of cease-fire. In fact the Norwegian government was informed about the cease-fire well in advance of the LTTE press release by fax. 

 Kadirgamar further claims that Prabhakaran resorted to un unilateral declaration of cease-fire because “ he realises that his dream of retaking Jaffna is unrealisable and that the military operation to clear the Peninsula are proceeding...” Who said that Kadirgamar has no sense of humour? Well he is suffering from selected amnesia! He has conveniently forgotton his dash to Delhi in May last year and falling prostrate at the feet of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and others pleading for help to evacuate the 40,000 strong Sinhala army holed up in Jaffna!

 It is also good to remind Kadirgamar that he was the postman who took President Chandrika’s letter to the Norwegian Prime Minister inviting his government to act as the facilitator between the LTTE and the government.

 “Fatigue among Tamils”

Kadirgamar was asked whether “After two decades of war is there war fatigue among the Tamils?” “I would say definitely, yes. The Tamil people who live.... they wish for nothing more earnestly than an end to the war. They do not want a separate state. They do not want to be ruled by a fascist organization. They wish to be left alone to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. They wish to remain within a united Sri Lanka. They wish to enjoy the fruits of development and progress...” It is here Kadirgamar is either speaking with tongue in cheek or exhibiting his private ignorance in public. To begin with, Kadirgamar is a bird of passage for whom politics is a pastime and not a career. Once Chandrika quits politics Kadirgamar will follow Mary like the lamb!

Kadirgamar is least qualified to talk about the Tamil people of the Northeast. He does not understand or share the political convictions and aspirations of the Tamil people. He is a total stranger to the long and revolutionary armed liberation struggle of the Tamil people. He was never born and bred in the land of our sustenance and resources that form the very foundation of Tamil national identity. He has not experienced first hand the monumental tragedy encountered in the form of war, violence, death, destruction, displacement, hunger, and starvation by the millions of displaced Tamils.

Fortunately, the Jaffna University students current agitation supported by the citizens of Jaffna peninsula demanding right of self-determination of the Tamil people gives the direct lie to Kadirgamar’s ludicrous claim “They wish to be left alone to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. They wish to remain within a united Sri Lanka. They wish to enjoy the fruits of development and progress...” Let us, therefore, quote from the Declaration made after the successful conclusion of the “Pongu Thamil” on January 17, 2001: 

       “At this juncture, we raise our suppressed voices together.

        “The government must immediately stop this war. It must immediately begin  meaningful and just peace talks with the
  Liberation Tigers.

        “Through this process, we want to see a just solution that recognises the Tamil people’s aspirations of the recognition of the
  TAMIL NATION, recognition of OUR HOMELAND and recognition of our RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION.

         “We call on the international community to understand the real hopes and aspirations of our people who have long been suppressed.
                    Your   conscience must lead the way to finding a just and peaceful solution for our lives.”  

This Declaration in  unequivocal language identifies clearly  the core demands of the Tamil people. It is a clear convergence of  the demands of the LTTE on behalf of the Tamil people by the Tamil people themselves. It cuts the grass under the feet of President Chandrika’s   attempts to drive a wedge between the LTTE and the Tamil people. Above all it demolishes to smithereens Minister Kadirgamar’s oft repeated lies that “They (Tamil people)  do not want a separate state. They do not want to be ruled by a fascist organization. They wish to be left alone to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. They wish to remain within a united Sri Lanka. They wish to enjoy the fruits of development and progress...”

While Kadirgamar rightly but hypocritically declares that “Like all human beings everywhere, they yearn for peace, not for the continuation of a war to achieve a separate state”  a paranoid and racist Sinhala army places road blocks preventing Tamil people from participating  in peace rallies! A lowly paid Inspector of Police threatens to  shoot them down those who defy the ban!  So much for the empty rhetoric of Minister Kadirgamar who has not even a fig to cover the naked fascism displayed by the Sinhala troops. 

“Prabhakaran will not be able to go on...”

Minister Kadirgamar claims that Prabhakaran “will not be able to go on much longer disregarding the wishes of the Tamil people in the Northeast.” Ironically the boot is now in the wrong foot. It is not Prabhakaran but the Sinhala armed forces that “will not be able to go on much longer disregarding the wishes of the Tamil people!”  

Minister Kadirgamar says “The Tamil people of the North voted at the last Parliamentary General elections in October in many, many thousands...” but the question is whom did they vote? The much-despised armed Tamil Quisling group the EPDP managed to poll only 20% of the votes cast in the North and that too after wholesale rigging! 

Kadirgamar’s Phobia about Tamil Diaspora

Now let us look at Minister Kadirgamar’s phobia about the Tamil Diaspora. Kadirgamar claims that “for many years I have been pressing countries where the majority of Tamil expatriates live – Australia, Canada.... to enact national laws enabling proscription of terrorist organizations and the prohibition of fund raising activities for terrorist purposes!”  

On the one hand Kadirgamar takes up the position that the ethnic problem is an internal matter. He urges the international community to desist from making ad-hoc statements which undermine Sri Lanka's right to resolve her own problem. "I would ask our friends abroad to desist from making statements which infringe on our right to resolve our own problem ........I take rather strong exception to that statement. Because, self-determination could very well mean, the right to cessation. The state of Sri Lanka cannot under any circumstances whatsoever, contemplate the possibility of a right of cessation.” Brave words indeed, but it is the same Minister who is falling at the feet of foreign heads of states  “to enact national laws enabling proscription of terrorist organizations and the prohibition of fund raising activities for terrorist purposes!”  

Though the charge is completely false, there is a sad admission on the part of Kadirgamar that LTTE enjoys popular support among the Tamil Diaspora. The arrest and indefinite detention of thousands of Tamils as Tiger suspects in all parts of Sri Lanka also belies the government propaganda that it had won the hearts and minds of the Tamil people. 

What Kadirgamar wants is to eat the cake and have the cake at the same time. He wants foreign countries like Britain to ban the LTTE, but he will not brook any interference by those governments in its internal affairs.  

Minister Kadirgamar’s remarks about Tamil Diaspora reminds one about the fool who thought he could stop the wedding by hiding the comb! He mistakenly thinks that if the Tamil Diaspora stops funding; the LTTE will lose the war. He of all people should know that LTTE gets 90% of its arms from the Sinhala army itself. After the fall of Elephant Pass, the LTTE proudly announced that the arms and ammunitions they captured would serve them well for the next 10 years!  

It is not the arms that are helping LTTE to rout the Sinhala army. It is the fierce determination, commitment, courage and the spirit of sacrifice in the face of death that is the secret of   LTTE’s victories. On the other hand   corrupt army generals and politicians  are fattening themselves at the expense of  Sinhala youths  who are used as sacrificial lambs. That explains why 30,000 Sinhala troops (the strength of 3 divisions) deserted their ranks and ran for their life. 

 “How is the LTTE funding its war”?

Kadirgamar was asked, “How is the LTTE funding its war”? Pat came the usual tongue in cheek reply. “By the contributions of some sections of the Tamil Diaspora from trafficking in narcotics and human smuggling....” This is an old kite, which had refused to fly, but Kadirgamar persists in his folly!

He says “ a great deal of investigative work is being done in countries such as Canada....” All we can wish is good luck to Kadirgamar and his pay masters! The truth is that not a single case of narcotics and human smuggling have been registered against the LTTE or their supporters! Kadirgamar himself confesses pathetically after 6 years in office that “more evidence has to be gathered regarding these activities!” 

Of course Kadirgamar makes such wild accusations for the consumption of the international community which he thinks is gullible enough to swallow his yarns. But he cannot fool even a few people for sometime by such crude and false propaganda. 

The abhorrence of narcotics by the LTTE is legendary. When Jaffna peninsula was under the control of the LTTE, that is the only area in the whole island that was free of drugs! 

“Is LTTE still using child combatants”? 

To the question “Is LTTE still using child combatants”? Kadirgamar replies “yes”. But Kadirgamar is least qualified to raise the bogey of child soldiers after the massacre of 26 Tamil youths in their teens at Bindunuwewa detention centre and the mass graves at Mirusuvil where a child as young as 5 years old were slaughtered and buried by Sinhala soldiers. 

The same “disciplined” army carried out the most cowardly murders of Tamil youths who were under judicial custody at the Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation camp. Ironically Foreign Minister Kadirgamar was the Chairman of the Rehabilitation Committee responsible for the administration of the camp! A clear case of entrusting the chicken hoop in charge of wolves!   

Even if the LTTE is deploying child soldiers, it has been forced on them by a fascist state bent on a genocidal war intend to impose Sinhala hegemonic rule over the Tamil people.  

“Government supplies free quantities of food, medicines..” 

Minister Kadirgamar crows that “government supplies free quantities of food, medicines and other essential item required by the people, even in areas of conflict.” Such statement by Minister Kadirgamar qualifies him as the best pupil of  Minister for Propaganda of Nazi Germany Dr. Joseph Goebbels! Kadirgamar thinks the bigger the lie, the better its chance of acceptance! 

Every report that emanates from Vanni speaks of lack of food, medicine, clothing and shelter. There is widespread malnutrition among pregnant mothers and infants. The following is an extract from Christian Council Report, which gives the lie to Kadirgamar’s false propaganda that everything is rosy in the Northeast. It also proves the dog in the manger policy of the racist Sri Lankan government of not allowing foreign aid agencies to provide food and medicine to the Tamil refugees and thus forcing them to be at the mercy of the racist government.  

Since the resumption of Eelam war III the Government of Sri Lanka forbade NGOs from distributing food, and with the exception of ICRC, distributing medicines. Stringent controls have been imposed on the ICRC also in the medicines they provide.  

“It imposes severe controls on the NGOs which are allowed to work there. For instance, the NGO personnel are not allowed to carry cameras or even film rolls.  

A survey done by the midwives indicate that out of a random sample of 16,767 children under 5, those who were normal were only 4863. 6371 children were found to be afflicted with third degree malnutrition, 3186 children with second degree and 2347 with first-degree malnutrition. Malnutrition is caused by lack of food, is compounded by diseases such as malaria, bronchial diseases, worm infestations, etc. Particular areas have shown even higher percentage of malnutrition. For instance, in a division called Puthuvedduvan in Mullaitivu district (population 1900 families), out of 121 children picked out by random sampling, 56 were seen to be suffering from third degree malnutrition.” (Report From Christian Aid) 

It is good to remind Minister Kadirgamar that Tamil people of the Northeast has nothing but aversion , contempt and scorn for President Chandrika and her government. They perceive her as the modern day  “goddess of  death”  out for revenge and blood!  

The open defiance by the Tamil youths should put to rest Kadirgamar’s Goebbelsian propaganda about the “popularity” President Chandrika among the Tamil people! This effectively debunks the myth that Tamil people are looking to her to “liberate” them from the “clutches” of the LTTE! The Northeast has become an open prison and the killing field by the Sinhala army. 

The Tamil people are conscious of the fact that they have to carry on the national liberation struggle against  a brutal and vicious enemy.  The enemy wants to forcibly occupy the Northeast not to help the Tamil people but to ensure that its writ is enforced at the point of the gun. 

The Tamils are not surprised that the enemy is refusing to renounce the path of military violence and terror against the Tamil people and seek a negotiated political settlement.  President Chandrika is wilfully and recklessly dragging the nation state down the “pallam” shutting the door for a national reconciliation process for all time.

The vicious pursuit of “War for Peace” policy by President Chandrika compounded by bad governance has bankrupted the Sri Lanka economy to the extent the escalating defence expenditure (Rs.84 billion which is 30% of the revenue) is financed by selling the family silver, raiding savings, borrowing and begging. The betrayal of the peace mandate she obtained in 1994 is the mother of all betrayals, betrayal of law and justice, betrayal of morality.  She  by  her crass opportunism, hypocrisy  and even criminality in politics  has made J.R. and Premadasa to look like “angels”!

The Tamil people are under no illusion that the road to freedom, justice and dignity is paved with roses.  On the contrary it is paved with the blood, sweat and tears of our people. The anti-Tamil racial politics of Sinhalese leadership offers no alternative to the Tamil people other than fight to the bitter end. (January, 2001)