INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tamil: A Nation Yearning For Peace

Published: Wed 22 Sep 2004 10:29 AM
A Nation Yearning For Peace
In their aspiration for a peace, the Liberation Tigers of TamilEelam, on behalf of the Tamil People, consider it a rare privilege to join hands with UN and the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Peace on 21 September 2004.
As a nation of people subject to oppression, discrimination and injustice over more than half a century and a cruel destructive war for two decades, the Tamil people are yearning for a lasting peace and befittingly join the peace lovers and oppressed all over the world to make this a meaningful event.
Tamil sovereignty and peace with freedom and dignity was snatched away first by the alien invaders in 1505 and when the British left the Island in 1948 what the Tamils found was an amalgam of sorts in the name of independence. The Tamil people found themselves pushed to the corner labelled as a minority in the numerical sense and the supremacist thinking and majoriatrian outlook prevailed, negating the parliamentary representation of the Tamils. Discriminatory legislations were enacted downgrading the Tamils to a second class status.
Exhausting all democratic and non-violent means, the Tamil people decided in the year 1977 by an electoral mandate to secede from the body politic of Sri Lanka. Colombo responded by expanding its military arm to suppress the yearning for freedom and peace resulting in the Tamil people arming to defend themselves and evict an occupation army from the traditional Tamil habitats. Continuous military operations evolved into a full-scale war and the Tamil people faced genocide, displacement, destruction of infrastructure and livelihood. Over 17,000 Tamil youths sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle and a hundred thousand civilians have been killed.
Abrogated pacts and agreements to resolve the Tamil national problem in the past notwithstanding, the LTTE leadership, befitting its responsible as a freedom fighting organisation, has, from time to time expressed unequivocally its desire to enter into negotiations with a view to explore viable alternatives. A unilateral ceasefire was reciprocated by the government in 2002 by entering into a permanent Cease Fire Agreement. This led to six rounds of political negotiations during which the necessity for an interim mechanism to address urgent humanitarian needs prior to the final political resolution was agreed upon by the parties. The Tamil people found the government proposals in this context inadequate and hence the LTTE submitted its own proposals for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) and expressed readiness to restart the stalled peace process. These proposals and credibility of the LTTE vis--vis Tamil representative status has been already put to a democratic test in the 2004 general election and the Tamil electorate in the NorthEast responded overwhelmingly and elected all the 22 legislators on the same premises.
A change of government in Colombo with a new coalition has now brought the peace process to a standstill, stalling the fullfilment of humanitarian needs and attempts are being made to unjustly accuse the Tamil nation and its leadership of intransigence, inflexibility and indecision. A Leadership that spearheaded a freedom struggle based on the Tamil people's mandate of 1977 opting for separation after exhausting all parliamentary means for justice, has now entered into negotiations on an understanding to explore viable alternatives. This is flexibility and going the extra-mile.
The Tamil people yearn for a lasting peace and wish to join hands with the UN and the peace loving humanity to continue work for peace and create a world wherein every human being can live with peace and dignity sans oppression and denial of basic human rights.

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