REVIEW

LTTE & Sri Lanka: The Paradigm Shift in Public Opinion

January 28, 2009
Kalugu

Fourteen students from a Law College in the Chennai suburbs are on a indefinite hunger strike calling on the Indian government to influence a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. They entered 5th day of their hunger strike today. Visiting Tamil movie actor Sathyaraj attempted to persuade them to give up their strike in view of their deteriorating health conditions. Several other local political leaders also made requests for the students to give up their protest. However the students have chosen to pursue their struggle.

Gandhi’s principles of non violence (Ahimsa) seem to be inspiring even the current generation. But, in this day and age of PR stunts and violence, would a hunger protest along the lines of Mahatma Gandhi by 14 students in a corner of India attract the attention of a government, leave alone that of media?

While all the recent protests in Tamil Nadu have a common agenda: "Stop the war in Sri Lanka", it may or may not be viewed as a public support for LTTE or an endorsement for independent Tamil Eelam.

One has to note that since the ban on the LTTE was placed by the Indian government 17 years ago, the organization gradually lost the broad support it enjoyed in the 80’s. There were still a section of the Tamil Indian society that viewed the Indo Sri Lanka accord as that of deceit. However Rajiv Gandhi’s death at the hands of some Sri Lankan elements, made the general population in India (including Tamil Nadu) move away from LTTE and its objectives. Tamil Nadu government and the general population stood behind India’s attempts to pack LTTE’s support base in its soil.

The peace initiative by Norway was closely watched by India and its population that had concerns for the Sri Lankan Tamils. LTTE prevailed the peace negotiations and projected a new face – Mr Tamil Selvan as the peace negotiator and political head. The derailment of the peace process and the subsequent killing of Mr Tamil Selvan by Sri Lankan forces brought disappointment to several Indians, but yet LTTE did not gain the sympathy as it enjoyed in the 80’s.

However the support for LTTE in India (Tamil Nadu particularly) has grown by leaps and bounds in recent months. Several weekly magazines such as Kumudam Reporter, Nakkeeran both with high readership in the state published Prabhakaran and Tamil Eelam maps in their cover. Posters sprung up in several cities and towns in south India proclaiming Prabhakaran as a revolutionist. Tamil celebrities raised slogans equating Prabhakaran with Subash Chandra Bose and LTTE cadres to Bagath Singh. Communist volunteers proclaimed Prabakaran as south Asia’s Che Guevara - an Argentine Marxist revolutionary. What caused this paradigm shift in the common mans opinion needs to be investigated.

If you are closely monitoring the recent developments in Southern India, you will agree that the way the war has progressed, has impacted the opinions of Indians to a large extent. The influx of war imagery and videos have caused even a mute spectator panic and cry for the Sri Lankan Tamils. Videos that show bombing of civilians by Kfir aircraft and the charred dead bodies of children in school uniform being pulled by parents has shaken the conscience of Tamil Indians. Images from videos that showed the mutilation and stripping of dead bodies of fallen female rebels by Sri Lankan soldiers were published in some magazines and has caused even those who held strong anti LTTE sentiments to cross the bridge and view the Sri Lankan army as barbarians.

Videos like these are just a tip of the iceburg.

Tamil Indians have seen counter insurgencies initiatives at home - in Punjab, Kashmir and the north east. However the images from Sri Lanka were not anything similar. The volume of casualties and atrocities by the Sri Lankan army were emotionally incomprehensible for most Tamil Indians.

Most will agree that, It is not the actions of LTTE or their goals and objectives, but the flouting of human values by the Sri Lankan armed forces that has caused the paradigm shift in the sentiments of south Indians.

Apart from national parties such as CPI(M) and BJP joining the Anti War bandwagon, We are hearing anti war sentiments from Colombo after the murder of Lasantha Wikrematunga by government agents. Asserting that Mahinda Rajapakse regime is “the darkest, the most brutal and the most ruthless,” that has ruled Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera, the convenor SLFP (M) and ex foreign minister of Sri Lanka - a Sinhalese by ethnicity, in an interview published in this weekend Sunday Leader, said

The SLAF has used more bombs than in Vietnam just in a few months. Even if Pirapaharan is captured and killed as some people like to speculate, we will only be committing another generation to the war perhaps to fight a far more ruthless LTTE than today.

Apologizing to the Sri Lankan people for “bringing this dark and evil regime into power", he further said

The evolving situation is such that key journalists are fleeing the country. More than a dozen have already left and others are on the verge of leaving.

If Sri Lanka truly wants to win the war, it has to come up with a solution that is acceptable to the Tamils and that may prove more powerful than all the bombs and weapons they have been using against the LTTE. Only then will they find durable peace in the region.

Eagles have extremely keen eyesight which enables them to spot objects from a very long distance. Kalugu pronounced ka-zhu-gu means eagle in the south asian language of Tamil. Kalugu.com will emulate the bird eagle by providing keen insight into current political, cultural and economic issues of South Asia in an objective manner.
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#1
Sumanth
January 28, 2009
10:23 AM

"Fourteen students from a Law College in the Chennai suburbs are on a indefinite hunger strike...."

Are these from the same law colleges in Chennai, who fought using sticks and knifes with each other few months back?

I heard that most Chennai lawyers are goons, who even do not mind threatening judges.

Tell these striking students to clean up the behaviour of lawyers and law college students in Chennai first using non-violence, before getting into bigger issues.

#2
Chandra
January 28, 2009
07:49 PM

"If you are closely monitoring the recent developments in Southern India, you will agree that the way the war has progressed, has impacted the opinions of Indians to a large extent"

You are right here! Most Indians think that the scumbags called the LTTE must be wiped out from the face of Earth and the clown called prabhakaran must be hung upside down. All of us should congratulate the Lankan Govt for getting rid of the LTTE. Congratulations!

#3
suresh naig
January 28, 2009
10:25 PM

Kalugu has keen eye sight, which is selective on its prey. No doubt you want to emulate the bird, having keen eye sight on your prey - the gullible Tamils of India.

You have mentioned "Rajiv Gandhi's death at the hands of some Sri Lankan elements"; how clever and clear is kalugu's eye sight.

It was not just death, it was a well planned, mericiless execution, ordered and orchestrated by a psychopath.

Nakkeeran edior Gopal, supporting Prabakaran is not surprising, earlier he glorified forest brigand Veerappan. Even now some people in Tamil Nadu, consider Veerappan as a hero.

Did any political leader, or cinema personality from TN impressed upon Prabakaran to lay down arms, leading to a negotiated settlement?

More than devolution of power to Eelam Tamils, equal rights, political leaders in TN, wants absolute powers for LTTE and Prabakaran. Since he is so close to their eyes, Prabakaran is blocking the vision of many Tamils.

#4
Sanjay
January 29, 2009
12:19 AM

Heh, Kalugu will tell us that Rajiv Gandhi

"was killed by some brown-skinned people"

"was killed by chemical combustion"

"was killed by homo-sapiens"

"was killed by South Asians"

But let me offer some more creative ideas:

"Rajiv Gandhi is actually alive, and hiding in the jungle with Prabhakaran"

"Dhanu's explosion actually opened up an inter-dimensional wormhole, which sucked Rajiv Gandhi into another dimension, where he continues to live"

http://hubpages.com/hub/Rajiv-assassination

Oh, those naughty "Sri Lankan elements"!

#5
ajay
URL
January 29, 2009
01:10 AM

Maybe if the LTTE had used hunger strikes instead of taking to arms, things would not have come to such a pass.

#6
Neruppu
January 29, 2009
03:42 AM

Ajay: history is something beyond your birth date :) hunger strike - do you know dhileepan ?

Sumanth: you got it right. the same goons are also fasting. surprising, goons fasting na ?

The so called "scum bags" put to shame our country by driving us (IPKF) out with the co-operation of SriLankan government, so it makes sense to see them get killed. Fine. Now that LTTE is defeated, what next ? Dont you want peace and rights for the Tamils civilians ? I am sure no one has the guts to answer it, as their daughter or wife or friend or father or mother is not in danger of hunger, rape, bombs! So lets spread hatred wow wow wow!

#7
Arun
January 29, 2009
08:25 AM

Sumanth, Chandhra, Suresh and Sanjay,

I can see the hatred you have against a group, which blinds your eye towards the suffering of innocent lives.

The question is not about who is right or wrong. The question is about whether we are human or not. In this age when people are challenging capital punishment for even the most cruel crimes, what did those children, families do to deserve death like animals being slaughtered.

I dont expect humans to think that it is OK to kill people just as we like. Our legal system says that a hundred convicts can escape, but not a single innocent should be punished. So, What is the meaning of this?

The world knows the holocaust that took place in Vietnam. But the US Media was used to show victory images, US Soldiers savings innocent lives in Vietnam, while the Vietnamese fighters were shown as ruthless terrorists.

But, we all know the answers now.

Anyway, a life is a life and anybody who does not show respect to the lives of others, is not fit to call themselves as humans.

India, a land where Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, came forth, now this hate, discrimination and violence. This is completely un-expected. And then in Srilanka, the followers of Buddhism, its totally unexpected.

WISH YOU PEACE
Arun

#8
Arun
January 29, 2009
09:20 AM

Did India kill all Sikhs because a Sikh killed our beloved PM Indira Gandhi ?

If one has to be human, he should be beyond hatred. And if anyone has his heart filled with hatred, he can no longer be a human, as he has lost his mind and heart...

This is not just for tamils. It applies to the people caught in Gaza, and any other corner of the earth where there is oppression, discrimination.

Give me one reason why we celebrate the birthday of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose? He fought along with HITLER.... Can any one excuse such a grave act?

Firstly if we excuse NETAJI....why not anyone else. especially there is a lot of mystery in Rajiv Gandhi's death. Most of you out there talk as though you were with Rajiv Gandhi, and saw Prabhakaran kill him.... Rajiv Gandhi Mystery, Sanjay Gandhi's death mystery, Bofors investigation.. what happenned...Well there are lots of such mysteries, for which we dont want to find the answers, but just use reasons that suit our taste.

If India really wants to support Srilanka in this genocide, why not openly say that. If they can say that, then we can excuse them, because atleast they are honest. But, thats not the case.

I can go on.. but generally if your heart is closed, and your ears shut... you will still repeat the same again and again in many other blogs as well

One thing is for sure. Evil always reaches very great heights, when it is time for it to extinguish.. Like HITLER....

I can see many HITLERs in here....

WISHING YOU PEACE

Arun

#9
Slime_id
January 29, 2009
11:04 AM

Man commits suicide over Lankan issue
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Lanka_issue_Man_kills_self_in_Chennai/articleshow/4046828.cms

Does it make sense to give up his life. I am commenting for I value his life, I barely value his motive. But any suicide by man or woman is unacceptable.

#10
ajay
January 29, 2009
03:39 PM

I am not against Tamils in Sri Lanka. Human rights is something that must be universally enjoyed. But the loathing is against the LTTE, a gruesome terrorist organization that must be eliminated.

#11
Arun
January 29, 2009
05:58 PM

Ajay,

Your loathing to a group should not stop you from criticizing the sufferings of a big group of people. Today no one knows what is happening there for sure, as the government does not allow independent media to go there.
In Colombo, journalists are killed very frequently. If Journalists can be killed so easily in Colombo, what do you think will happen in the war zone.
Again, as for whether LTTE is the legitimate representatives of Tamils in Lanka or not, has to be decided by the Tamils over there.

Enough has been done to force the Tamils over there to accept what others think is justice. Can we give a chance for them to choose what they think is justice? for they are the one's who have suffered for such a long time.

Most of us condemn the group based on media reports that are given to us. We all know what happened to Iraq, which was shown as possessing biological weapons, nuclear weapons and all such WMD.

Information in the media, is given by some one. In this century, every one know that information is always biased, based on the prejudices of the one supplying the information.

Which again comes to ask the question. In our law it is mentioned that "a thousand criminals can escape, but one innocent should not be punished". Now does that not mean that we should atleast give a chance to others to explain their position and state their arguments?

HUMANS wherever they are irrespective of Race/Religion/caste/creed/ethnicity and any other division that we can think of, should be given due respect.

NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DEGRADE THE LIFE OF OTHER

WHY do people call for rescinding "Capital Punishment". It is based on the respect for human life. Why can't the same respect shown to the innocent lives lost in the war-zone?

Now, people can say that lives will be lost in any war, and it cannot be avoided.
BUT, it is up to us. Where there is a will there is a way. Nothing is impossible, untill you believe so.

HUMAN POTENTIAL is limitless. This has been demonstrated countless times. WHY not use it for PEACE.

First quality required to understand others point of view, is the ability to forgive others, even your enemies. If you can never forgive, you can never see the point of view of the other person.

Forgiveness is prescribed as the basis for PEACE in all religions of the world. But the question is, WHO FOLLOWS IT?

IT is up-to individuals like us to bring forward this notion of PEACE, Equality and Justice. IF we INDIANS who have been liberated just for the past 50 years (after being enslaved for more than 200 years i.e. if you count only the british invasion) cannot understand the meaning of FREEDOM and PEACE, who else can we expect to?






#12
Rufus
January 30, 2009
05:07 AM

Arun, You have raised the voice for our Brothers and Sisters in Srilanka.
Let us all raise our voice to make the world know..so that this war will come to an end very soon.
The media and politicians together have named LTTE as a terrorist organisation.
The people of the world do not know the reason for the formation of the LTTE.
They do not know how much suffering our brothers and sisters have undergone for decades.
The government and the media have blinded the eyes of the world by giving false reports.
Even at this point of time there are several thousands of our brothers and sisters dying in remote areas of forests which the world does not know. ....

#13
Prakash
January 30, 2009
09:48 AM

All along the history, Tamils have woken up, only when they were close to death. I am very happy to see them group together now for a common cause. Let us see how much strength they have in re-building their lost rights/ identity.

Contexts of the world change, you should keep your eyes open all the time for right context to happen.

#14
Ben
URL
February 15, 2009
10:34 AM

[EDITED]

#15
Citizen
February 21, 2009
02:55 PM

Hey MOrons!

sonia ghandhi and terrorist hindian parlimentarians along with other teror countries - pakistan, russia, china, isreal and sri lanka are involed in genocide. All these terrorist must be sent to gallows!

Wolrl Citizens.....WAKE UP ON THESE MURDERS KILLING INNOCENT CIVIALIANS BY SHIPPING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION TO sri lankan terrorist government and pocketing iraninan money in their pockets....

We need to STOP THESE TERROR COUNTRIES FROM DOING SO......PLEASE STAND TOGETHER AND GET READY!!!!!!!

Love,

Citizn.

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