Letters to the Editor

5th May 1996


We are not LTTE supporters

With reference to an article by your 'Military Analyst' on March 17 titled "LTTE's publicity drive" The article appears to suggest that invited speakers to a recent Tamil promotional in Toronto were all "pro-LTTE academics." My name was included in this list along with Professor Robert Oberst. I write to set the record straight. Neither professor Oberst or myself are "pro-LTTE academics." We attended this event in order to help provide a balanced perspective in the discussions. For example, my address was entitled. "Sinhalese perception of the Sri Lankan communal crisis." This gave me opportunity to explain the devolution package of the Kumaratunga government and to support it. The organizer of this event, Anton Philip is to be commended for inviting Mr. Oberst and myself, knowing that we would not be speaking in defence of the break up of Lanka. Likewise, please note that Dr. Dagmar Hellmann Rajanayagam's address was entirely historical in focus and nowhere did she give a defence of secessionism. Your report of this event is misleading. Please know that there are some of us in the expatriate academic world who are trying hard to communicate fairly and honestly with both Colombo and Jaffna. Our modest efforts may yet help heal the wounds of ethnic discord that we, too, feel deeply and personally. Your article diminishes the integrity of our efforts.

Bruce Matthews,

C.B. Lumsden Professor of Comparative Religion.

An open letter to Prabha

In the name of the Tamil freedom struggle, you have killed your bosom pals, colleagues, fighters of other armed groups, civilians, engrossed in interaction with IPKF, Tamil moderate politicians, a Sri Lankan President and Ministers, Government Agents of Jaffna and Mullaitivu, and countless Government servants and civilians who refused to toe your line of thinking and top of all, the Prime Minister of India who showed genuine concern for the well-being of the Sri Lankan Tamils.

Massacre of Sinhala villages, Central Bank bombing, Kolonnawa Oil Tank burning, etc., are according to LTTE enthusiasts, strategical feats. I am not interested in passing a verdict of whether they are acts of terrorism or acts of strategy. I do not even care whether the world at large considers you a terrorist or a sane freedom fighter. As a student of political science in a university, interested in the welfare of the Tamil race and in the Sri Lankan polity, I want your answers for the following questions:-

(a) Do you have an agenda to achieve Eelam? If so, what is it?

(b) Can you count on the support of a single country in the world to support Eelam? If you do why do you ask the Sri Lankan Govt. to send food and medicine for the Tamil people?

(c) Even if you fight for 50 years can you fight a conventional army (however weak they may be) and make the security forces - army, navy and air force - ineffective in the Tamil areas?

(d) By sporadic onslaughts on the army and by exploding army vehicles by land-mines do you think you can win a war?

(e) By show of terrorism in the South you have only helped to alienate moderate Sinhalese. In what way has your strategy gained by killing innocent civilians?

(f) You have brain-washed innocent teen-aged boys and girls and lured them into a bravado nightmare. What right have you to sacrifice the lives of others' children in suicide missions?

(g) India is the only country which could have espoused the Tamil cause. Don't you think that you have killed that prospect for ever?

(h) When President Chandrika Kumaratunga offered to negotiate with you, the Tamil people showed lot of enthusiasm and welcomed the peace process. Did you have any substantial and plausible cause for breaking the dialogue?

(i) Today 500,000 people have been thrown into the misery of being way-side refugees in Kilinochchi. Are you prepared to sacrifice your ego for the sake of these hapless people? Do you think these people will forgive you?

(j) You have destroyed the education, economy and the age-old culture of the Tamil people. What have you gained by it?

S.T. Paul Raj,


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