18 July 2020
Genocide by Belief or by Proof?
I learnt through real life experience, the power of true belief in land ownership. Ownership by belief is also law in Sri Lanka. As per Sri Lanka’s Prescription Ordinance, one who believes has greater authority to hold and to enjoy immovable property than one who pays money to own on merit basis. The test is undisturbed, uninterrupted possession through a title adverse to or independent of that of the claimant who uses visible merit basis.
I was open to the occupier proving that he did not know of my purchase and actual possession by me being there from time to time. But the evidence he produced defeated him. The document was a court case that was granted in his favour, judgment to oust a police officer and another – one Mr Periyasamy – from the property. The guy gave the address of Mr Periyasamy as that of the property under dispute. I found the evidence due to my deep belief , based on which I did what I could. I believed for 42 years that it was mine but I did not dismiss that the other claimant thought that he was the owner due to occupation during the period I was overseas. My belief was confirmed through 20 years of relationship with the Courts resulting in Colombo Court of Appeal delivering judgment upholding my title.
To me this is relevant in terms of Nationalism by belief claims v Election through visible voting. The latter is the parallel of me in the above land matter and the former is the parallel of Vaddukoddai Resolution claim by Tamil Politicians.
A Tamil Diaspora leader brought to my attention the IBC Tamil’s interview with Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-vcn1EEjl0&feature=emb_rel_pause
As per the above, Mr Ponnambalam claims that they were the only political party upholding the Tamil Nationalism mandate and also the Genocide claim. He claimed that Mr Sumanthiran’s declaration that there was not enough evidence to uphold it at global level was false.
There is also the Colombo Telegraph article ‘The TNA In Transition?’ by Dr S. I. Keethaponcalan in which the following is highlighted:
[“The TNA, founded in 2001 with the LTTE’s encouragement, was the ambiguous product of the Tigers’ anti-politics: a political formation with no real autonomy and no right to dissent, but used by the LTTE to claim popular support” (International Crisis Group 2012, p.6). In 2004, the party claimed that the LTTE was the sole representative of the Tamil people. In its 2004 parliamentary election manifesto, the party stated that “accepting LTTE’s leadership as the national leadership of the Tamil Eelam Tamils and the Liberation Tigers as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people, let us devote our full cooperation for the ideals of the Liberation Tigers’ struggle with honesty and steadfastness” (p.4). As I said, it is ludicrous to claim that the TNA was an independent entity its inception. The TNA members were rebels without arms.
TNA is a coalition of many parties that are by status independent of each other. They are like the coalition of Liberals and Nationals in Australia. According to Mr Ponnambalam, even TNA and Mr Wigneswaran have dropped the claim of Tamil Nationalism and also Genocide. Mr Wigneswaran has confirmed this in action by seeking Financial help from the People and the Diaspora. That confirms lack of belief in himself as the Peoples’ representative.
Tamil Centre for Human Rights in France also has asked the question ‘Where has the Genocide claim gone in this elections in Eelam?’
Did Genocide happen or not? There are insiders who may believe that Genocide did happen but are unable to prove it to wider world. The question becomes complex due to the active involvement of Tamil Tigers in the war. Ms Navaneetham Pillai – then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was careful to distinguish between civilians and the LTTE. This is confirmed by the following presentation by Wikipecia:
[Her criticism of the Sri Lankan government, in alleging human rights violations and atrocities committed by them against Tamil civilians at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, has led the government and its supporters to apportion her own Tamil descent as the only reason for her criticism, a claim she strongly denies]
To the extent Sri Lankan government is bound by Buddhism it has the moral responsibility to accept belief based decisions by others as per their institutional values. Belief and belief would then oppose each other to form the full picture when the two are Equal. Hence given that the UN is committed to elimination of racial discrimination as well as gender based discrimination, it is the duty of every UN official to add her/his belief to the side that has minority status, so that the full picture will be visible. UN needs strong belief in itself to be global. Unless Ms Pillai accepted money or status to criticise the Sri Lankan government – her belief ought to have been added to the side with lesser status to complete the global picture.
When the LTTE prevented Tamils from leaving the war area – that to my mind dilutes the claim of Genocide by Sinhalese. One who pretends to believe would gradually lose confidence in her / himself. This is what happened to the armed rebels who occupied civilian properties and claimed Nationalism at the same time. My cousin’s home in Brown Road Jaffna was so occupied and I told them firmly that it was our property and that they were occupying by force. A believer claiming ownership would not occupy through proxy. The likes of Mr Wigneswaran occupied the Nationalism issue temporarily as proxies.
Dr KeethaponcalanThe TNA members were rebels without arms.’
Since he is not part of TNA but is a Tamil – he is entitled to such claim through his belief based analysis. But this is preceded by ‘In 2004, the party claimed that the LTTE was the sole representative of the Tamil people’
Whether it is LTTE’s declaration or that of politicians carrying their belief in Vaddukoddai Resolution, the person believing it has to make the declaration. An outsider to that structure has no authority to visibly add that to her/his/its mandate. If in 2004 TNA did credit LTTE with sole-representation - it has no validity in governance. If LTTE leadership so believed – it has validity within their own circles and no more. Likewise the Political Resolution of Tamils – known as the Vaddukoddai Resolution – under the leadership of the Hon Appapillai Amirthalingam who was visibly killed by the LTTE. That would have seemed right to the LTTE using brawn power as its foremost weapon.
Tamil politicians became a victim by thinking they were including the Rebels whereas the Rebels would have thought that they were including the politicians in their mandate. This is also the case with Sinhalese whose civil leadership is being taken over by Military leaders who have been glorified as National heroes. As you sow, so shall you reap.
To the extent the Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam carries the core mandate of All Ceylon Tamil Congress founded by his grandfather – the Hon GG Ponnambalam – he would not accept equal status of armed rebels. If he does then it confirms dilution of his heritage.
The two main political parties of Tamils – the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) and the Federal Party – now known as Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) which is the main political party within the TNA. The Political party confirms birth rights. The Alliance confirms marriage rights. It is therefore understandable that ITAK as the lead / foremost member of TNA would adjust to its other partners including those who sought to claim ownership through armed opposition while ACTC would have no such need. It’s an issue that majority Jaffna Tamils face due to dual systems of Thesawalamai and Common Secular system. Both – ACTC and ITAK founders worked in the consciousness of indigenous Tamils while practicing actively the Common Secular law. Out of the two the Hon G G Ponnambalam developed the Equal status foundation in National Parliament. He would never have accepted separation which would have shrunk his homeland.
Nationalism would be pictured by each group as per their own pathways. TNA has not been able to develop a common pathway any more than Sinhala SLFP or UNP.
After the LTTE was gone, the TNA became independent and making decisions without too many constraints. In 2015, the party supported Maithripala Sirisena for president and extended its tacit approval for the government. Some of my friends indicated that one of the top-tier leaders of the TNA worked behind the scene for the UNP campaign in 2015. During the Yahapalana government’s tenure in office, the United National Party survived at least two no-confidence motions with the TNA assistance. The TNA’s collaboration with the UNP was such that some commentators called the party a proxy of the UNP.
Due to the cooperation of the ACTC with the United National Party a group led by S.J.V. Chelvanayakam broke away in 1949, forming the Federal Party (FP). The ACTC was largely discredited when their ally the UNP moved away from bilingual and bicommunal policies towards a pro-Sinhalese stance. Thus the FP emerged as the major Tamil party in 1956
Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam is an heir of the founder of ACTC – he would also add his belief to the support rendered by any Tamil Political party to the ruling party – temporarily on project basis. This would only strengthen Tamil Nationalism and elevate it to the National and Global levels. These pathways are essential if Colombo Tamils and Diaspora Tamils are to pool their independence Energies with Lankan Tamil Politicians. Like god and many religions – there are many pathways to Nationalism also. Only the elementary level operators need to ‘see’ to believe. Those who believe without any particular ‘physical sight’ is the true believer in the whole. They naturally represent the whole - including LTTE heirs but not LTTE heirs only or foremost.
To those who claimed Genocide – one accepts that it happened as per their measure. But as per my measure civilian deaths were caused by LTTE also and in terms of value the loss is far greater because it was like the fence consuming the crop. One does not need the endorsement of the UN to identify with this – any more than I did not wait for our Australian Government to be declared guilty of racism in my case. A true believer accepts for better or for worse – as in the case of Corona virus also. In both there is no cure. Those who are confirmed positive must self-isolate and treat themselves.