Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good riddance LTTE!

Velupillai Prabhakaran is supposedly dead - according to the Sri Lankan government. There is a website being maintained in faraway Europe that claims he is alive and well and indeed in good health. In any case, he is no longer the LTTE supremo, because there is no longer an LTTE.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. The LTTE was never put together to achieve an ultimately noble goal. It was fostered to build a dictatorship and there would be only one dictator. Organizations like the TULF and the TELO, which all had the claim of fighting for a separate Tamil Eelam were crushed by Prabhakaran's power, their leaders killed and their infrastructure eliminated.

That is how power hungry zealots operate. That is how the Hitlers and the Stalins of the world operate. For a country like India, being Sri Lanka's neighbour, it would seem strange, but that is not how the LTTE has been projected, especially to the people of Tamilnadu, many of who feel a pang of sadness for Prabhakaran being eliminated.

It really wasn't our business as Indians, but we did send in a peacekeeping force, to help out the Sri Lankan Army against the LTTE. We also, as Indian Tamils, offered support to the LTTE, and it is no secret that ex-Indian army personnel helped train some cadre of the LTTE. The Tamil cause has been around for a while, and with all its noble intentions of maintaining a Tamil brotherhood around the world, ended up helping the LTTE.

To repay that gratitude, Prabhakaran decided to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. Big mistake. Successful operation, but that one single act of terrorism on Indian soil completely eroded the sympathy the organization had amongst many Indians, and made it very easy for India to toe the EU, UN, and US line in branding the LTTE a "terrorist" organization.

To my mind, there were never any doubts that the LTTE was a terrorist organization. A fine fighting force, they perhaps were, but at the end of the day, they were a terrorist outfit. If I have a political grouse against the way the Indian government is treating me, I am hardly the person to accept a bunch of gun toting idiots as heroes if they had the same grouse. Go militant, and you're already accepting you don't know how to win an argument through peaceful means.

Besides, if Sri Lanka was treating ethnic Tamil people differently from the rest of their countrymen, that was something internal in Sri Lanka's affairs. So, why would we as Indians have any viewpoint that even remotely supports the LTTE?

Expressing solidarity with Sri Lankan Tamils is hardly reason to consider the Sri Lankan government an enemy of sorts. Today, in Tamilnadu, a lot of people harbour ill feelings about the current Sri Lankan administration, based purely on heresay that Tamils are being treated badly in that country. If the LTTE had been treating Tamils very well, there is no evidence of any of that. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence of Tamils being dictated to, forced into combat situations, and accept the hegemony of the LTTE and its supremo.

The question Tamil people in India need to ask themselves is - Am I an Indian or a Tamil first and foremost? The choices are simple if we are Indian first. The LTTE is a terrorist organization that did something on our soil we cannot forgive them for, and are automatically our enemy. So, the Sri Lankan government did something very right. If we are Tamil first, then if we are also sympathizers of the LTTE, we have a problem.

Of course it is ridiculous that the government of Tamilnadu is keeping a strict vigil on Tamil emotions that may erupt out of sympathy for the LTTE, and a resentment of their military capability being decimated. Nobody in Tamilnadu cares enough about Sri Lankan Tamils that much that we are about to let our normal lives be disrupted by our outpouring of support for people that are part of a humanitarian tragedy right now, one that is well beyond our sight, and well beyond our immediate concern.

What the Rajapaksa government has achieved is clarity. Every other government before his did not tackle the problem with the single minded devotion that his collective has been able to put together. Here is a lesson for India. Going after terrorists is a military objective first and foremost. You cannot negotiate with terrorists. If you know where they are, go after them. Forget about everything else. I hope this example is followed in Kashmir, and I hope the US does this to the Taliban and the Al Qaeda and all the other idiots around the world.

At the end of the day, the LTTE is no longer in existence. They had a bloody long run, and a few of their remnants from around the world will plan some crazy attacks. No doubt about that. The Tamils and their militant ideologies are not to be underestimated. But the LTTE is no longer there to accept and nurture their militant sympathies.

I don't care how much they cared for a Tamil Eelam. Their methods were off kelter by a large margin and if they thought they could kill for their reasons, they should be ready to die for them. Good riddance, fools.

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