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British Tamil Forum Whistling in the Dark

British Tamil Forum Whistling in the Dark

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Published by: Thavam on Jun 23, 2013
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06/23/2013

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By
-June 23, 201313A or the Right to Self-Determination? Although Tamils in Lanka pretty clearly knowwhat they want, and more important, what they don’t want(Colombo hegemony and the military jackboot), many but notall in the diaspora still live in the BP-era (before Prabaharan, or pre-May 2009). Some call for secession (
); theyask that Tamils be allowed to exercise the right to self-determination and explicitly call on the people to opt for secession. Of course this istheoretical because I cannot see in-country Tamils demanding a referendum in theforeseeable future, or a Sinhalese government (ever) holding one. Millennial terms like“ever” are faulty; but I think you get my drift.I don’t take these people seriously in political work because in-country Tamils ignorethem; it would be appropriate to call them cloud cuckoo land Eelamists. The funnything is that only the JHU,
and
pretend to take them seriously because it is apeg on which to hang anti-
, anti-Tamil postures with fairy tales of separatistscrouching behind every palmyra tree. The nursery tale would be amusing if the saidpalmyras were in London and Toronto!There is another tendency in the diaspora, a fairly influential one, which expresslyroots for self-determination, but does not explicitly call for Eelam; the
or BTF (not to be confused with the
or GTF about whomI wrote in this column on 24 February and 17 March). I am not such a suckling babe tobe unaware that many in the BTF prefer secession, but it does not nail that demand toits masthead. The BTF’s position seems to be that Tamils must be consulted onwhether they wish to secede, but will bow before a free and fair referendum. Anyonewho grants that the Tamil people are a nation (I cannot here discuss what nationmeans in a globalised world) cannot theoretically disagree in the abstract. However, Ihave a different problem with the BTF; at this time it is baying at the moon, chasingrainbows and separating itself from the real struggle on the ground. It is cockeyed inaligning de facto with JHU, Rajapakse and Wimal Weerwansa, in attacking anddemeaning the Thirteenth Amendment at this moment. It resides not inBritain but onthe planet Mars.What the BTF saysTo be perfectly fair I quote at length from the BTF statement of 16 June.QUOTE: The 13th Amendment has several flaws: executive power will be exercisedby a Provincial Governor appointed by the President; public services in the provincewill be controlled by the Governor; the President has the power to dissolve theProvincial Council; the Governor is not duty bound to the advice or instructions of the
Prof Kumar David
 
Chief Minister; the executive power of the Governor is subject to the control of thePresident; the Provincial Council cannot access the Provincial Fund without thesanction of the Governor; power over the police and public order is retained by thePresident; and the Disposition of State Land is also in the hands of the President;among many others.In contrast (to the chauvinists), certain external actors (presumably BTF is even morescornful of internal actors!) who aspire to play the role of ‘saviour’ in the Tamil-Sinhalese political arena are pushing for implementation of the 13th Amendment in itsentirety, in the pretext of rescuing the Tamils inSri Lanka. On these grounds, the BritishTamils Forum stands in solidarity with our people in our Tamil Homeland and state thatany political initiatives grounded in the 13th Amendment cannot be feasible and willnot create an enduring peace inSri Lanka.The British Tamils Forum insists that any political solution to the Tamil NationalQuestion has to be conducted through an internationally mediated referendum – onlythis can lay the foundation for a lasting peace and satisfy the socio-political andeconomic aspirations of the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka”: END QUOTE. (Mycomments are italicised).The opening paragraph is faultless but the next two are wrong. What contempt for those outside the august body of know-all Tamils, such as foreign governments,progressives, and parties in the South, who stand against Rajapakse-JHU-Weerawansa’s machinations to reset political balances prior to the NPC elections!What is the inner thesis encapsulated in BTF’s ill thought out statement? Reflectionexposes its impact, if any and I hope none, on struggles in streets and parliaments inLanka; lovely ladies and brave gentlemen warming their arses in armchairs in Londonare not exposed to any of this reality.(a) Message 1: Don’t worry about the power struggle between chauvinists and those,however imperfect, compared to the aforesaid lily livered ladies and gentlemen, on theground. We on the ground know that victory for the chauvinists will be no pyrrhicvictory; it will tilt the balance against minorities and erode democracy further. The BTFcares for none of this.(b) Message 2:
’s motive in undermining the truncated residual powers of 13A prior to the
is not significant, thinks BTF. He is getting into thisfight since the cricket matches are washed out and he has nothing to do in theevenings! That an anti-Rajapakse NPC will factor in curtailing his monopoly of statepower does not figure in BTF thinking.(c) Message 3: Yesterday was Midsummer Night, so it’s time for Madness. In BTF’sapparition the pertinent issue is to demand a referendum on secession, oblivious tothe plain fact that it does not flicker in local Tamil radar screens. Mobilising to counter the chauvinist and religious extremist menace is irrelevant, in BTF’s grand scheme of things. On midsummer night, shoot at the moon with a catapult, never mind impendingperil on terra firma.(d) Message 4: Don’t get into real world battles; leave that to others so BTF skulls

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