S. V. Kirubaharan, France
November 27th marks the annual Tamil’s Heroes’ day / Tamil’s martyrs’ day. This year, the daughter of the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – LTTE, Dr Thuvaraka Pirapaharan, one of Pirapaharan’s family members whom the government claimed were killed in the battle in Mullivaghzhal in May 2009 – made a Heroes’ day speech.
In her speech she said: “I would like to also make a statement to the Sinhala people. We have never been against the Sinhala people. Nor are the Sinhala people our enemies.” Her speech was telecast around the globe by the TV channel ‘tamiloli.net’.
She started by saying, “My beloved and esteemed people of Tamil Eelam, today we mark Great Heroes’ Day”.
She continued, explaining the significance of the day: “I consider it a great privilege that time has provided me the opportunity to make an appearance on this sacred day when we commemorate in the temples of our hearts the defenders of our nation who laid down their precious lives to achieve the eminent goal of our external right to self-determination”.
With emotional expression, she said: “I had never anticipated such an opportunity would arise in my lifetime. I am making this appearance after surmounting numerous dangers, obstacles, challenges and betrayals. At the same time, I have inexorable faith that time would one day provide me the opportunity to return to my homeland, Tamil Eelam, where I can live with my people and serve them”.
Thuvaraka said, “Sri Lanka, which lacked the will to confront us on its own, rallied powerful nations behind it. Whenever Sri Lanka was on the verge of defeat, it bowed down to alien forces and powerful nations and sought their support. Our national liberation movement was proscribed in many countries, and our resources were frozen. All supply routes to our homeland were shut down. On every occasion that our national liberation movement weakened the Sri Lankan military machinery; powerful nations intervened and resuscitated it. This was the reason why the armed struggle spearheaded independently by our national liberation movement in the corner of the world, and depending solely on the support of our people, was silenced in Mullivaikal”.
She continued to say, “Yet, our struggle for political independence is far from over. The political conditions that led to the emergence of our aspiration for Tamil Eelam remain very much alive today. Sri Lanka has embarked on full-scale Sinhala-Buddhisation programmes in our homeland and encourages the disorientation of our culture, thereby making it difficult for our people to safeguard our language, cultural values and religious ways of living.
Past fourteen years
To make matters worse, the Tamil hereditary land is the only region on the island where Sri Lanka has imposed total military rule. Our homeland has been deprived of all freedoms and human rights. Sri Lanka has deprived our people of the rule of law and constantly imposes satanic rule in the form of counter-terrorism and emergency laws. Our people live on the island with their voices silenced”.
She recalled that “On the other hand, the powerful nations that promised our people and made them believe during the armed conflict that if the armed struggles came to an end our people will be able to realise their aspirations through political means have not delivered a constructive political solution. Neither the UN, which filed reports within the past fourteen years that the atrocities inflicted against the Tamil people in the island are war crimes and crimes against humanity, nor the powerful nations that passed resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council, have taken steps to deliver remedial justice to the Tamil nation that became a victim of genocide”.
“These are the reasons why our struggle for political independence continues to remain alive. Our men and women, who rallied in their tens of thousands under the leadership of my father, our National Leader, Hon. Velupillai Pirapaharan, demonstrated that the Eelam Tamils are a nation. It was our Great Heroes who sacrificed their lives in the national liberation war who made this possible. Our Great Heroes have transcended time. Let those great, revered ones be honoured in eternity in the temples of our conscience”.
Political struggle to realise our aspirations
She recalled the duties of Tamils and said, “Although the armed struggle has come to an end, our political struggle to realise our aspirations and achieve national independence continues to remain alive because of our people, political leaders, and cadres and activists who served in our national liberation movement, both in our homeland and abroad. Under these circumstances, it would be meaningless to differentiate Tamils as the people and the Tigers. Our political struggle has evolved to the stage where the people and the Tigers have become one entity”.
Thuvaraka insisted on the duties of the Tamils, saying, “Yet, we must move our political struggle forward more effectively and achieve our political rights. Every Tamil, both in our homeland and abroad, has the duty to transcend party differences and differences between various organisations and work in unity and efficacy to realise the political aspirations of the nation of Tamil Eelam and deliver justice to our loved ones who were subjected to genocide. We may have differences of opinion, despite the differences, when it comes to the subject of our people’s political rights, we all must proceed along the same path in unity”.
She included the humanitarian situation saying, “At the same time, the wealthy sections of our nation have the duty to uplift our people at home living below the poverty line and build the lives of our former cadres who selflessly fought in the past. In particular, this duty falls on Tamils living abroad”.
She thanked everyone, saying, “I thank our loved ones and political leaders in our mother Tamil Nadu, and the global Tamil Diaspora for acting as our voice and their unwavering support for many years. I also extend my hand of love to the non-Tamils in India and other parts of our world who voice for and support us. I have inexorable faith that the people of Tamil Nadu and the Global Tamil Diaspora will stand by our people and voice for them so that they would be able to achieve their rights”.
Our goal is of high esteem, and the cost borne by our Great Heroes, the sacrifices made by our nation and the losses we sustained were numerous. These will never go to waste. I urge you all to come together as a people united by our goal so that we would be able to achieve our goal”.
Struggle through political means.
She emphasised the struggle through political means, saying, “In accordance with the norms of the current global order, we will continue our struggle through just and political means. Out of all struggles, a political struggle is the most difficult one. Patience, faith and resilience in our goal are the foundations of this form of struggle. I am not ignorant of this.
I have an inexorable belief that only the creation of an independent state would ensure the sovereignty and the right to self-determination of our nation. You all know very well that this is also the stance of our National Leader. I have resolute faith that time will one day generate the conditions to establish the state which will respect democratic norms, the rule of law, civil liberties and human rights and which will allow our people to preserve, protect and develop their language, culture, their religious ways of living and economic resources in our motherland”.
She reiterated the willingness to explore any political solutions that the international community may present to pave the way for the people to live in the homeland as a nation exercising the right to self-determination.
At this point, she wholeheartedly said she would also like to make a statement to the Sinhalese. “We have never been against the Sinhalese. Nor are the Sinhalese our enemies. You are aware that we have never acted against them. I am aware that innocent Sinhalese were turned against the Tamil people by selfish politicians and the racist state machinery that planted malicious ideas in their minds. I therefore have faith that you will recognise the moral rights of our people and our just struggle”.
She concluded her speech by saying, “Our National Leader always says, “Our paths may change to reach our goal.”The sacrifices made by our Great Heroes and our people who lost their lives will bear witness to the truth and guide our nation. We will continue our journey on this path of truth and realise our goal one day.