Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance

TO THE TAMILS IN THE NORTH: WHY DIDN’T YOU VOTE?!

By Under Dog

 

Amidst the bombs, the war, the white vans, and the checkpoints, I look back with fond memories of the ceasefire. It brought four glorious years of peace and prosperity, and also did what the naysayers said could never happen—it split the LTTE in two. Karuna, the LTTE’s fiercest combat commander, and an incessant thorn in our side during the ill-fated Jayasikurui operation, decided he wanted out. Perhaps he wanted a bigger share of the spoils from the LTTE money machine, perhaps more authority, or perhaps he had a lover’s quarrel with Prabhakaran (when the Dear Leader asked ‘do I look fat in this?’ he shouldn’t have recommended changing the uniforms to vertical stripes). Anyway, the truth is we will never really know, but then rumours of internal strife within the LTTE have been rife for years: Tamilselvan vs. Prabhakaran, Pottu Amman vs. Prabhakaran, Tamilselvam vs. Pottu Amman etc. No smoke without fire, so we can assume that the LTTE hierarchy wasn’t the united brotherhood of hunky-doryness they projected to the world.

So that leaves me to think that if the ceasefire continued for a few more years, internal strife within the LTTE might have tamed the roaring tiger into an impotent pussy. Alas, it was not to be. The LTTE wanted war, perhaps to unite the squabblers with the war cry of ‘Eelam or death’ (mostly death these days), or perhaps they knew the LTTE would dissolve into the blissful oblivion of peace if the ceasefire continued. The Sinhala-Buddhists wanted war because…because they are Sinhala and Buddhist and they want to keep it that way (and everyone just loves a good war—especially when we think we’re winning). But then what about the Tamils in the north? Did you want war? Was the ceasefire too peaceful for you? Did you miss the checkpoints and the harassment and the refugee camps so much that you wanted it back? Did you miss the exercise of running away from artillery and MBRL’s and the aerial bombs?

No, I’m not trying to be cruel. But I do miss the ceasefire, and I am against this pointless war. That supposedly makes me a traitor to my Sinhala ethnicity and an LTTE sympathizer. So be it. There’s something about young boys and girls killing each other, coming home limbless and scarred for life that doesn’t quite compute. There’s something about Tamils being dragged off in the night because they look ‘suspicious,’ or bussing them out of Colombo because this isn’t their home that makes my stomach turn. There’s something about bombs on buses and trains, and claymores in the streets that makes me retch. But I put my Sinhala vote where my views are by voting for Ranil in the last presidential election. I thought ceasefire good, war bad, so I voted for the ceasefire guy. What about the Tamils in the North? Why didn’t you vote? Yeah, I know the LTTE told you not to, but you didn’t have to listen to them. Whatever they threatened to do to you then, could it be any worse than what is happening to you now?

WHY DIDN’T YOU VOTE?!

  • abc

    when there is no place for peace, when there is no place to call it as peaceful home, its better to get the name of fighter and die for future… Its a wish. And a dream. Fighting is for future… so, some one some day will be happy if its happen. If its not happen, there is no change in life sutuation from now. as long as some one treats u bad when u want live peace, u will not get it. look at the history…. u know, how tamils suffered and sufferig. and its still continuing..And now the mentolity is i dont want to talk to u.. becuase there is no use… so, i do best to protect my future generations… do whatever u want. Because i am determind. There is nothing to lose and if my way comes true, there will be peaceful home for me.

  • Neither did the tamils vote and at the same time ltte engaged in amassing stockpiles of weapons……..

    The ltte then thought the GOSL was a cake walk, it is happening now as the gosl thinks the ltte is a cake walk.

    What lies between the ltte & the gosl are the tongue in cheek International Community, the rogue elements of the NGOs & the hidden hand of the catholic church.

  • I believe we need to go for a political solution , but to do that you need to weaken LTTE and thus the war.You might be right about LTTE would have being divided more if the ceasefire continued. But now that we are committed to war I think we should support it.

  • Democracy also permits boycot of elections as a sign of protest by the populace. Protest is a way of democratic expression. Tamils did not vote in the last election as a sign of protest. It was absolutely democratic.

    Tamils had no substantial reason to vote for any Sinhala Party in the South, who were acting as proxies to the Buddhist cult leaders. The Buddhist cult leaders were opposed to the granting of the legitimate rights of the people of North East to rule themselves.

    There was a “devil and the deep sea” scenario.

    The UNP was tricky and dishonest as usual. They said they were holding “peace talks” with LTTE but were stealthily persuading Karuna to divide the LTTE. This, they did in Bangkok and succeeded. A government minister of the former UNP regime openly said this during the last general election, and claimed credit for this dishonesty and untruthfulness against Tamils. Therefore, Tamils could have never trusted the devil in the UNP.

    The UPFA on the otherhand, had joined hands with JVP, described as “Devil” by Chandrika and understood well by the Tamils. JVP are chauvinists and ultra racists. The government with JVP would always go for war and genocide of Tamils in the North East was comprehensable.

    On one side Tamils had UNP stabbing on the back. On the otherside was genocidal UFPA. Therefore, the choice was between the “devil and the deep sea” . Any wise Tamil would not have voted for either the UNP or UFPA.

    The people of North East were only left with one democratic option; and that was to show protest by boycotting the elections, to the whole world, that the Tamils do not believe that either party would grant the legitimate right of self rule to the people of North East.

    Tamils of North East did that successfully and showed their protest to the whole world.

    When we look back today at the decision, the people of North East were 100% correct. Both UNP and UFPA together have violated the Indo Lanka Accord in the demerger of North East and participated in the “illegal” Provincial Council elections. They are working together to subjugate the people of North East more and more and deny self rule to Tamils in the North East..

  • Ekcol

    Justin has summarised the reason why I did not vote. History tells us that neither party recognise the rights of the Tamil community. But both parties led us through beautiful gardens to hell holes. Tamils let the Sinhala voter decide what solutions they want their leader to offer to the Tamils. They decided on a military solution.

    Unitil a two-third majority of the Sinhala voters decide to offer a just solution acceptable to the Tamil people, continuation of the war is inevitable. Our communities are like two trains speeding towards each other with no breaks and they are very close to each other ignoring all red lights.

  • JJ

    Justin says “Tamils had no reason to vote for any sinhala…. ” and Eckol agrees. I think what you mean, my dear justin, is “LTTE had no reason to vote for …”. You clearly say “They said they were holding “peace talks” with LTTE but were stealthily persuading Karuna to divide the LTTE” in your second paragraph.

    [Edited out], when will these people really care about the people affected by this war. I mean they might have revenge in mind with people who have been affected by the war and this revenge they try to get at all costs. ARGHHH!

  • JJ

    People like Justin and Eckol only make me want to vote for a military solution even more. We don’t trust the LTTE, you might, the LTTE might make you trust them, but we don’t. As long as the GoSL is voted in by the Sinhalese majority, when there are people like Eckol and Justin who support the LTTE, get ready for a long and vicious war.

    On the other hand, stop supporting the LTTE, disarm them, then we’ll talk about power devolution.

  • J J,

    Are you unable to swallow reality? Democracy does not include threats. Do not threaten Tamils with the military power and majority numbers of the Sinhala Nation (SN). That is why where we are today with war and bloodshed.This is what the (SN) thinks the solution is. It is not the solution. The solution is political and that is granting the people of North East the right to rule themselves.

    Absence of war is not peace. Peace in Sri Lanka can be achieved only when the legitimate right to self rule is granted to the people of North East. Any other thinking is ficticious. Tamils are not asking for development and just to be out of refugee camps for a few years and enjoy temporary luxuries. They want much more than that. Their freedom and independence.

    You seem to be angry at the truth that LTTE is a freedom movement of the people of North East. They are also an armed resistance movement. LTTE cannot be reasonably asked to be disarmed by anyone, when state terror is at its peak, as now, and the GOSL is full of dishonesty, untruthfulness and trickery against Tamils; which had been the history of Sri Lanka for the past 60 long years.

    The Sri Lankan state is a rebel state with a rebel constitution formed in 1972. People of North East (NE) were not a part of it. In 1977, the people of NE voted for independence. When you say that you want to talk to us about “power devolution”, do you think that we should speak ONLY to Sri Lanka state? Definitely not. The International Community, too has an obligation towards our decolonisation, leading to independence. Britain failed in its responsibility.

    My thinking is that even if there is another presidential election tomorrow, the people of North East should again boycot the polls enmasse and thereby express democratically the utter disfatisfaction with all the proxy parties of the Buddhist cult which are against the self rule of the people of North East.

    Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist in the USA, was arrested for sitting in the seats reserved for the Whites. And that lead to mass boycot by Black Americans against bus travel for more than 300 days. Finally, that democratic protest fell into the ears of the America nd the International Community. So will it be for the people of NE.

  • Jude

    Under Dog,

    I totally agree with you that the CFA(early) period was really good for everyone. We could go around in peace and live without the fear of terrorism.
    But I believe you are hailing aspects of the cease fire period that were merely a mirage… PEACE…it really didnt exists. the CFA was exactly what it says “cease fire”… no mention of peace… LTTE never wanted to make a genuine effort towards peace… think for yourself, time between the meetings of the delegations on both sides, was the LTTE preparing for WAR or PEACE?
    furthermore, if you refer history leading up to the resumption of hostilities you might realise that this war was innevitable… the CFA was never going to take us to peace… the LTTE can’t be trusted… how can we negotiate?
    I believe that the stand taken by the government is correct. negotiate only if LTTE disarms. that is the only way that GoSL will not give LTTE another chance to regroups and rearm.

  • Jude

    Justin,

    1. the reason the Tamils in the North didnt vote is not because they were exercising there democratic right not to vote… it was because the LTTE (at gun point) suppressed their DEMOCRATIC right to vote! (remember what happened to the priest who voted?.. if you don’t, ask around)
    so before you go ask J J the question, maybe you should take a crack at it for yourself.
    “are you unable to swallow reality?”

    2. You really should think things through before trying to compare the Tamil struggle to the Black peoples struggle for civil rights! first of all, Tamils have never been discriminated as the black people were in the USA. furthermore, LTTE didn’t get Tamils to boycott buses… my friend, LTTE got innocent Tamil kids to Blow the buses up!

    3. Nice try though… Good luck with the liberation bro….

  • Ekcol

    jj,
    You sound as if you have not read the political history of SL at least from 1919 to date. Not the the Mahavamsa. So no point talking to you. I was in the Vanni during the elections. No one forced anyone whether to vote or not or to whom they should vote if they do vote. The LTTE said that they are not supporting any of the two parties. Tamils have burnt themselves taking the sides that promise and then they do their own things. I can tell you first hand info on what Mrs B’s request for votes for Chandrika in 1994 Pres elections. What Ranil and Morogoda wanted in the 1999 Presidential elections, and what Basil R wanted from Tamils in the last Presidential election. But then people like you construct your own history that suits you.

  • Jude

    1. For you to beleive that just because one priest was shot dead the entire Tamils did not vote in the North is halucination. There were also threats by Militant groups during earlier presidential elections, yet at leat 15% voted, but not the last time. How do you explain the Statistics? Do you tell us that LTTE had more control in Jaffna, presently occupied by the military? Come to reality.

    What you say is something you have heard in the SN propaganda machinery and not the truth. Try to discern the truth as Sinhala mass media do not give the truth !

    2. Discrimination is discrimination whether to Blacks, Tamils or any one else. I am glad that you admit that there is discrimination to Tamils. Blacks were better off in the USA because they were doing it in a civilised country. No Black was shot dead in the freedom struggle.The SN is cruel, ruthless and without good morals. This is the reason for the killing of Tamil journalists, murders, disappearances, torture and displacements. This has been happening since 1956.

    Political boycot is something yet to be understood by the SN.

  • Raja

    The Eastern PC Election- how free and fair

    The Eastern Provincial Council election has concluded and Pillayan has been appointed as Chief Minister by the President. The President says he has offered democracy to the people of the East after liberating it from the LTTE. The Opposition political parties have protested and threatened to go to courts. They say the election was not free or fair. The question is important since one would like to know whether Pillayan got the support of the Tamils in the East for a political solution rather than through war. If they truly accepted a peaceful solution the chances of the LTTE returning are slim. But this will also depend on how the Government deals with the Provincial Council in the days to come. Whether th Presidnet will honor his promise to devolve more power to the Eastern PC. Or whether it will be another betrayal like the B_C Pact or the Dudley Chelva Agreement. Will the 13th Amendment be implemented?

    The criteria for a free and fair election are laid down in international declarations particularly by the International Parliamentary Union. One of the fundamental requirements is that the “State should take the necessary measures to ensure that parties, candidates and supporters enjoy equal security”. The candidates should have security with respect to their lives and property protected by the State. Another criterion is that different political parties should be free to contest the election on an equal basis. The former Communist countries held elections regularly but only the Communist party was allowed to contest. Where a few independents contested they were unequally treated. Nobody said those elections were free and fair. Political parties should have the right to campaign on an equal basis with equal opportunity of access to the media and equal facilities to communicate with their voters. It is said that the opposition parties were not allowed to hold meetings after 6 pm and that there was discrimination against the opposition parties. It is also said that state’s resources were used to promote the candidates of the UPFA. Since one political party carried arms it was impossible to assume that the ground conditions ever existed for a free and fair election.