August 15, 2005
We join countries like Canada, US, India, Japan, high ranking diplomats and other dignitaries in condemning the assassination of Lakshman Kadirgamar by an un-identified sniper (s) last Friday. Kadirgamar’s assassination has been variously described as a ‘heinous crime’ ‘senseless and vicious act of violence’ etc. We agree and express our shock and grief over his untimely death.
It is widely claimed that the demise of Kadirgamar, a great patriot, an icon of a united Sri Lanka and a true national leader, is a set-back for the fragile peace processes. We disagree with such perception since Kadirgamar both by his words and actions acted against a peaceful resolution of the National conflict. When ever there is a sign of sympathy for the Tamil cause in foreign countries, Kadirgamar always condemned it ‘as a clear interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.’ He had also constantly accused the Norwegian Government both as Foreign Minister and later as Presidential Advisor “that they are no longer visibly impartial in the peace process, and that they do their job or get out of the country.”
We belief Kadirgamar’s death is the result of GOSL‘s lack of sincerity and commitment in implementing key provisions of the ceasefire agreement. Notably clause 1.8 that required GOSL to disarm armed groups in the Northeast within 60 days of signing the CFA. After President Chandrika grabbed 3 key Ministries in December, 2003 from the UNF government under the false pretext of an imminent threat to national security in the Northeast, the President willfully orphaned the CFA!
The late Kadirgamar’s entry into politics was an accident; being a lawyer by profession he lent his brain to the best bidder. The SLFP which has a long history of creating and foisting synthetic Thamil leaders on the Thamil people thought Kadirgamar a good candidate for the role. In the seventies Chelliah Kumarasooriyar, a non-elected person like Kadirgamar, was brought from obscurity by Srimavo Bandaranaike and made a Minister with much fanfare. It is the policy of both the SLFP/UNP to reward Thamils who are willing to play the role of Quislings with office of Ministers! Kadirgamar is just one of them.
What ever it may be, one has to acknowledge that as Foreign Minister Kadirgamar out performed Dr. Joseph Gobbles, Minister for Propaganda under Hitler and served his masters well and truly! He often claimed “some sections of the Thamil Diaspora raised funds for the LTTE from trafficking in narcotics and human smuggling....” a lie and an insult to the law-enforcement agencies of foreign countries!
Although, Kadirgamar is a de-nationalized Thamil (the Buddhist funeral rites and absence of any mourning in the Northeast bore ample testimony) who did not speak his mother tongue, yet President Chandrika exploited his name to cloak her racist face internationally. Therefore, we fully understand the outpourings of grief and tears for Kadirgamar by Sinhala chauvinistic forces. But these same forces opposed tooth and nail when his name was touted for the post of Prime Minister. Though Kadirgamar was a Thamil only in name, yet his candidature was anathema to the hard-lined Buddhist Bhikkus and others. The office of Prime Minister has remained an exclusive birth right of Buddhist Sinhalese only.
In his funeral oration Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that “Ours is a country where different communities, living in different areas, speaking different languages and following different religions, share a common heritage and a common way of relating to the world” but the reality belie such grandiose claims. Thousands of Thamils have been massacred by the Sinhala army for no other reason than they were Thamils! Why Rajapaksa did not stand down in favour of Kadirgamar and why he staked his own claim for the office of Prime Minister?
Kadirgamar was a hawk in President Chandrika’s cabinet. He was like the proverbial Minister who gave match-box to the Queen who torched homes! Like new converts, Kadirgamar laboured hard to portray himself as more nationalist than Sinhalese! He acted as the cheer leader of President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s ill-fated Jeyasikuru military campaign cynically termed “War for Peace. This military campaign claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Thamils and brought nothing but tears, misery and destruction. A total stranger to Sri Lankan politics, Kadirgamar never understood the political aspirations of the Thamil people. He never accepted LTTE as the vanguard force of liberation. To him LTTE was a ‘terrorist’ and ‘fascist’ organization bent on dividing Sri Lanka. Thus, his propensity for self-delusion was indeed amazing! Not surprisingly the Thamils called him a ‘traitor’ and he knew it while alive!
Kadirgamar as Foreign Minister displayed outright arrogance and behaved like a tin-pot Hitler. He did not think of himself as a Foreign Minister of a debt ridden banana republic, but always thought he was a foreign minister of a mini-super power! His penchant for ridiculing and insulting foreign NGOs and UN Agencies became legendry. As Foreign Minister Kadirgamar had the temerity to declare at the General Assembly that international agencies like UNO and ICRC had no mandate to make comments about human rights violations. Here is the relevant quote-
“The state-run Daily News today quoted Kadirgamar saying that the UN had no mandate to make these comments. ``Who are they to be concerned about this? They should be concerned about malaria and mosquitoes,'' Kadirgamar told the newspaper in New York, where he is attending the UNGA session.” (Indian Express – September 27/99)
The funeral orations of President Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa show lack of historical memory and victims of their own lies. Last month the donor countries viz the US, European Union, Japan and Norway, the Co-Chairs of Sri Lanka’s donor community, describing themselves as Co-Chairs of the Peace Process, in an uncharacteristically blunt statement asked “the Sri Lankan government, in accordance with the Ceasefire Agreement, must ensure that all paramilitary groups are disarmed and prevented from any activity that might lead to acts of violence. The government must also guarantee the security of unarmed LTTE cadres in government controlled areas….,”
But President Chandrika dismissed the call outright by claiming that there are no armed groups operating with the army in the Northeast! Only the deaf, the dumb and the blind would believe her. President Chandrika’s own Peace Secretariat Head, Jayantha Dhanapala contradicted her statement by confessing to the existence of Karuna group. He said “Karuna group does not qualify as a paramilitary group because they were not there prior to the Ceasefire Agreemmentent.” He was responding to the statement by the LTTE which warned that the country would face another war unless the government stopped providing logistics support to five paramilitary groups allowing the armed forces to sustain a shadow war against the Tigers.
It is irrational and futile to demonize the legitimate struggle of the Thamil people as terrorism. The International community should not fall a victim to this type of Gobbelsian propaganda! Thamils are exactly in the same position as the people of Palestine asking the occupying Israeli army to vacate their homeland.
Currently, the southern polity is divided and is heading into political quagmire. We are skeptical both about the ability and stability of the Sri Lankan government to negotiate a federal form of government in an un-dived Sri Lanka. There are no signs that this is the case. Unless the GOSL saves the CFA from collapsing, there will be more bloodshed. As for Thamils their hopes for normalcy and freedom have become a distant dream!