The sole representatives
The most recent post Tokyo donor conference statement issued by the LTTE, betrayed not just the rabid persistence and the utter inflexibility of the LTTE, but also the complete disregard for the welfare of the people they claim to represent.

The LTTE which has fought a civil war for more than 20 years has admitted the loss of over 17,000 young men and women among their cadres in this fight. The figure is much higher. All this is of course not considering the countless numbers who have lost their limbs and property, and all their prospects for the future including such things as a chance at a decent life and education. This is also not counting the endless miseries suffered by the people they claim to be the "sole representatives" of, thanks to a civil war they have waged - which they will not win by force of arms.

The LTTE is finding it difficult to climb down from its demand for a separate state. In a veiled attempt to indicate a willingness to drop this demand however, the LTTE leadership spoke of a separate "nation" (as opposed to a separate sovereign state.) For the pacification of all comers, the LTTE threw in the sop of a willingness to discuss federal structures during peace talks which they are now running away from, due to the sheer intensity of the floodlights of world media and government attention. They find they have to deliver on their share of the bargain - de-commissioning of arms, refraining from child-conscription, while ensuring human rights, democracy, pluralism, multi-party elections and the like.

They call for a level playing field and keep changing the goal-posts on their side. The goal at the other end is static. Smuggling of weapons as on Friday night; the assassinations of rivals and informants - those goals remain unchanged.

They have now created a log-jam in the peace process - and the people they claim to represent - the long-suffering ordinary folk of the North and East will have to wait still longer until the LTTE comes around to embracing the flood of international financial support from Tokyo, so that they can re-develop their devastated areas and rebuild their devastated lives.

Is this then a new way of serving the people you represent -- by standing in the way of them and the possibility of securing a decent life? Or is it just a vain and futile attempt by its coterie of military commanders to wage an unwinnable war at the expense of the lives and futures of the people they ostensibly represent?

The LTTE must be feeling hoist by its own petard; the peace process they coveted for whatever reason, seems for them too daunting in the end. To the ordinary folk sans democracy and the right to elect their own "sole representatives" by their own free will, it looks as if they were looking a gift horse in the mouth. But the LTTE may think the donor money as a Trojan horse of a kind. What are they saying then, that their rebellion is now being purchased?

In a sense you can sympathize with the ideals of a revolutionary, but the revolutionary must also decide - at some stage - even if it is not now, but at some stage - whether he is going to alter course to some degree, or stay on the course followed for the last 20 years, perhaps with a view to keeping to that track for the next 20 years as well.

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