Ms. Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State, Government of USA
2201 C Street NW Washington DC 20520
Respected Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton
We, Indian Tamils are thankful for your and your Government’s sympathies to the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons in Srilanka. But we are sad that Governments of the World are not comparing the Tamil genocide with the Jewish Genocide of last century. The irony is Jews who were persecuted in last century are not expressing solidarity with Tamils in this century, may be present generation had forgotten their past.
We all know the genocide of Jews during Second World War. Scholars opine that “The murder of the European Jews in the Second World War was unique. Never before did a state decide to kill a specific group of humans — including old people, women, and children — without any reservation or examination of the individual case, and enact this murder with the means of State power.” — Eberhard Jäckel, German Historian and Director of the Institute for Contemporary History, University of Stuttgart.
But the irony is before our eyes, in our own times, while leaders like you are in seats of power, not a dictator like Adolf Hitler with a massive war machine, but a tiny island’s sadistic President Rajapakshe, who could come to his senses if strong signals are sent remains determined to carry out his genocidal civil war to the finish. We thank you for talking to him, but the speed with which USA acted in Pakistan recently is unfortunately missing with regards to your Governments initiatives to stall the civil war and stop the Genocide of Tamils in Srilanka.
We read that the Srilankan President assured you of some all party conference as panacea not to end civil war, but to offer some power to Tamils of Eelam. We wish to bring to your kind attention on how many initiatives of past, how many pacts, how many packages, how many conferences were offered but ultimately none was fulfilled, because it had been the mindset of all Sinhalese parties in power, not to grant any power or autonomy or peaceful coexistence formula to Tamil population.
We want USA and the Nations of the World to offer Tamils the same panacea offered to Jews in last century. The modern state of Israel has its roots in the Biblical Land of Israel and the heartland of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The only living classical language on Earth still spoken by millions and millions of Tamil people living across continents has in its Literature evidences in plenty about the Tamil rule and Tamil habitation of current Srilanka much before the so called Sinhalese set their foot there. If Biblical Land could be freed, why not Tamils land is freed?
This question haunts every Tamil heart which pleads silently to leaders like you to understand the similarities.
The birth of Zionism in 1897, its acceptance by the British Balfour Declaration followed by the League of Nations adopting the British Mandate of Palestine after World War I, which was “in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…
The birth of Tamilism dates back to 2500 years when Tamil grammarian enunciated a rule to keep pure Tamil letters only among Tamil alphabets. Since then various struggles to preserve Tamil language, culture, and religion had been waged. In Independent India when Hindi was to be imposed as sole official language Tamilnadu, an Indian State waged a fierce battle to stop making India uniform in the name of ushering unity. India realized its folly after Tamil martyrs committed self immolations, thus yielded to democratic protests and made English continue as official language.
Much before Tamilnadu, the Tamils of Eelam fought for Tamil language. Until 1956 Tamil and Sinhalese enjoyed equal rights, which was deprived by the Official Languages Act of 1956. We all know that in Latin America many official languages are there, not one language is imposed. In Europe too many nations have multiple official languages. In Singapore and Malaysia that progressed well in post colonial era, Tamil is one of the official languages. Thus the main reason for conflict remains solved in all these nations. But Srilanka with whatever amendments brought till date had not accorded equal status to Tamils. UNESCO recognized worlds endangered languages and assists the preservation or revival of languages under threat. Tamil is the only living classical language in the world spoken by millions of people, and to preserve this language demanding equal official language status in whole of Srilanka is not an unpardonable crime. We in India too are fighting for such status, and our states with truncated powers under our Constitution have yet to succeed in obtaining this right from Indian Union. This only reason could be enough to declare that any Indian model of devolution of powers will not meet the demands of Eelam Tamils. India has 14 languages and may find it difficult to resolve the issue, but with only 2 languages Srilanka could resolve but never wants to solve the thorny language issue.
In 1947, following years of communal strife, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab; partition was accepted by Zionist leaders but rejected by Arab leaders. We Indian Tamils and Tamils forced by genocide in Srilanka who had to become global citizens living in many countries, want the United Nations Security Council to follow the same precedent and vote for partitioning of Srilanka.
In the telephonic talk you had with war mongering President of Srilanka, media reported that he had assured you that through all party conference, Tamil conflict will be resolved.
1. You may not be aware that before militancy reared its head Tamils were peacefully demanding their rights under the leadership of Gandhi of Eelam S.J.V.Selvanayagam.
In July 1957 a pact to resolve the grievances of Tamils was signed between Srilankan Prime Minister Mr.S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike and Leader of the Federal Party Mr.S.J.V.Selvanayagam. Please note that the Tamils party was called Federal Party. If only Srilanka had agreed for a federal set up in 1957, fifty two years ago, current civil war or the militant movement would not have had their inception. But to force Tamils accept such a federal set up now will be historical blunder. Changed circumstances warrant granting of independence to Tamils and partitioning of Srilanka. This pact, due to opposition of Sinhalese parties was abrogated in 1958.
2. In March 1965 then Prime Minister of Srilanka Mr.Dudley Senanaike entered into a pact with Federal Party Leader Mr.S.J.V.Selvanayagam. Though the United National Party of the Prime Minister had coalition with Federal Party, the Government did not implement the pact. In law there is a doctrine of estoppels, which means though not, given in writing promises made by governments are implementable. Numerous judgments in Indian Courts are based on this doctrine.
3. You, and other leaders of the nations, believe that through democratic maneuvers all demands of Tamils could be met now, but conveniently forget how the Federal Party of Tamils presented a model Federal Constitution to the Constituent Assembly in 1972. This model draft was rejected by the Steering Committee of the Constituent Assembly. The demands of Tamils presented through democratic process had always been rejected. America remains champion for the cause of democracy in letter and not in spirit, which should undergo radical transformation under President Barrack H.Obama’s administration, we all hope. In Myanmar, the democratically elected Ms.Aung San Suu Kyi gets lip-service in support and noble awards but military rule thrives, where have the democrats of the world gone? In Srilanka a dictator subverts democracy by offering cabinet posts to 118 members of the 224 members supporting him, and world does not eyen raise their eyelid at this perverted democracy? Buy everybody and call democracy a purchasable product, Mr.Mahinda Rajapakshe shamelessly will declare, and how can the world be hoodwinked by such acts? How can nations that swear by democracy say we will protect the unitary structure of Srilanka, when over the catacomb of democracy a tin pot dictator carries out his genocide of Tamils and builds his castle of lies?
4. If the historical lesson of successive Srilankan Governments going back on promises made and pacts reached with Tamils is not enough to tell you not to expect any panacea from Srilanka to heal the wounds of Tamils, then our party had to remind Democratic Party and its Government about the fate of Annexure C proposals mooted by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983. This peace proposal drafted by Indira Gandhi’s special emissary Mr.G.Parthsarathy was to be the basis of deliberations in All Party Conference. Then Srilankan President Mr.J.R.Jayawardene disclaimed obligation to abide by it. Current Srilankan President Mr.Mahinda Rajapakshe offers you to place Tamils demand before all party conference, and media reports suggest that he had convinced your administration. The Tamil cause and the bravery of the freedom fighters falsely branded as terrorists had not been explained properly in international arena; hence these historical facts about aborted pacts remain hidden from all of your minds.
5. There are numerous papers from which line by line and word by word we can puncture the arguments in favor of another All Party Conference, a futile exercise to hoodwink USA was mooted in talks with you. The Report of the Working Group of Officials and Experts to the Committee of the All party Conference in August 1984, The Presidents Report to the Plenary session of the All Party Conference in September 1984 and the Statement by the then Srilankan President and Chairman of the All Party Conference in its plenary session of December 1984 could be examined by USA State Department on what all had been offered and what was withdrawn. Current President of Srilanka Mr.Mahinda Rajapakshe only offers old wine in new bottle. Though literally speaking old wine will be tasty, here new poison in new bottle with old sticker of all party conference is proposed to be offered by Mr.Rajapakshe, we Indian Tamils caution your administration. The District and Provincial Council Bill, a draft bill was adopted at the 1984 All Party Conference. But President J.R.Jayawardene ended the deliberations inconclusively.
6. India once again made an abortive attempt to resolve the crisis. In July 1985, Government of India convened Thimpu Talks in Bhutan. Government of Srilanka, Tamil United Liberation Front, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization, PLOTE, EROS and EPRLF participated in the talks. The Srilankan document of 1984 regarding District and Provincial Councils was tabled. All Tamil groups rejected this offer on 13th July 1985. Tamils said “We have demanded and struggled for an independent Tamil State as answer to the problem of denial of basis and fundamental rights to our people. We urge that a] Tamils of Srilanka should be recognized as distinct nationality. b] The guarantee to our territorial integrity of our Tamil homeland c] the inalienable right of self determination of Tamils is recognized d] the full citizenship rights, democratic rights, fundamental rights of Tamils should be recognized. Based on these cardinal principles if a conflict resolution formula is envisaged, Tamil parties expressed willingness to consider it. Srilanka was adamant, Thimpu talks mediated by India failed. But both India and Srilanka discussed and discussed, without involving aggrieved party namely Tamils and a Draft Framework of Terms of Accord and Understanding was submitted to Srilankan President J.R.Jayawardene by India. The Srilankan President should have placed this document for Cabinet approval, which he failed to do wantonly, therefore resulting in it becoming lapsed.
7. TULF, the Tamil moderate party presented a memorandum to Indian Prime Minister Mr.Rajiv Gandhi in December 1985. Srilankan Government submitted its response to these proposals in January 1986. Herein comes the Chidambaram proposals mooted by current Indian Minister of Home Affairs. A delegation of Indian Government led by Mr.P.Chidambaram discussed with Srilankan Government and Tamil parties, and based on these discussions Srilankan Government sent its proposals to Government of India. The Draft Amendment to the Constitution of Srilanka based on Chidambaram proposals emerged in September 1986. Then Indian Prime Minister Mr.Rajiv Gandhi and Srilankan President Mr.J.R.Jayawardane met in Indian city of Bangalore on 18th November 1986, and a working paper based on their discussions emerged. Srilankan Government submitted its response to this working paper on 26th November 1986.All these discussions led to the Indo-Srilanka Agreement for peace and normalcy in Srilanka of July 1987. India pursued two pronged strategy. It provided military support and training to Tamil militant organizations, while bringing pressure through international community. Government of India sent Indian Peace Keeping Force to implement this accord. As per this accord the North and Eastern Provinces, traditional Tamil homeland colonized by Sinhalese, was to be merged into single province and a referendum to confirm merger should take place before 1988 December. The much dreaded monster, a phobia created by Srilanka and Osama Bin Laden obsessed Western countries, LTTE agreed to hand over arms and started handing over arms to Indian Peace Keeping Force. As per the accord Government of Srilanka should grant general amnesty to “political prisoners and others now held in custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and other Emergency Laws, and to combatants as well as accused, charged or convicted under these laws.” If only Srilanka had granted this general amnesty without putting spokes in the wheel, the LTTE would have become a democratic political party. Srilanka withheld amnesty to 1250 Tamil political prisoners, and LTTE suspended the surrender of arms.
8. Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Srilanka brought out in November 1987 resulted in setting up of Provincial Councils for first time. Then also the grievances remained. Tamil political parties ACTC, DPLF, ENDLF and TELO submitted proposals to the Drafting Committee of the All Party Conference in 1990. Then the Thondaman proposals formulated by CWC, proposals by Liberal Party were all presented but these exercises before Constitutional Reform Committee ended without serving any purpose. The Up Country People’s Front submitted its proposals to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reforms. So you and your Government must take note of the various initiatives not only by Tamil political parties but Sinhalese also were derailed in these exercises in futility. Then Respected Secretary of State, we cannot hope for any result through the All Party Conference idea mooted to you by current Srilankan President Mr.Mahinda Rajapakshe. His predecessors in past were buying time to tire out Tamils and ultimately to eliminate Tamils from their soil, hence these conferences to hoodwink the world. Only a nincompoop will accept the offers made by Mr.Rajapakshe, who thinks he can fool the whole world with verbal gymnastics.
9. Presidential candidate Mr.Gamini Dissanayake announced Peace Proposals but he was assassinated, and his party abandoned the proposals in 1996. Your Government must ask the CIA or FBI to refresh your memory on the political assassinations in Srilanka, assassinations of media men in Srilanka, in all such compiled facts the accusing finger will not point towards LTTE but towards Sinhalese leaders themselves. Are these leaders peace loving people, they alone are terrorists, and as tit for tat if someone had got a hit from Tamil side, that should be viewed in the overall political arena and the players in that area, who are no paragons of virtue. To blame freedom fighters of all sins under the sun, the rest of the world with conscience should not hide the criminality of people in power.
10. The story is not over yet. Srilankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s devolution proposals of 1995.The first round of talks between Prime Minister of Srilanka’s delegation and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam held on 13th October 1995. But Prime Minister Chandrika Kumaratunga who was for peace won the Presidential election in November, made her mindset change from solving the issue to appeasing the Sinhalese majaority.
These are in short the past initiatives of Indian Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi which failed to yield peace in Srilanka. The Indo Srilankan Accord of 1897 and Basics Ideas of Chandrika Kumaratunga which resulted in 13th Amendment to the Srilankan constitution were two initiatives which offered few sops, but other initiatives were total disasters. In the light of these historical facts, we would urge the US Administration not to buy the suggestion of All Party Conference mooted by Srilankan President Mr.Mahinda Rajapakshe.
United States must take up the initiative in the Security Council to send UN Peace Keeping Force. United States of America must exert diplomatic pressure on China which is constructing a harbor in Southern tip of Srilanka in Hampantotta in order to control the sea lanes of Indian Ocean, not to be blinded by geo political interests and forget the noble goals of United Nations and Universal Laws to stop the Genocide.
Dravida Peravai, a political party from India, who is in the mailing list of Democratic Party even before who the winner is in the candidature of Presidency, urges you and the winner President Barrack H.Obama to exert strong pressure on Srilanka to stop genocide or force economic blockade on Srilanka.