The civil conflict in Sri Lanka sign now

The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The House of Commons

15th June 2007.

Dear Chancellor

The civil conflict in Sri Lanka

Throughout the Labour Party leadership election campaign which will shortly lead to your becoming the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, you have repeatedly said that the British Government needs to re-assess and validate some of the policy stances it has adopted in the recent past, notably in the field of foreign affairs. I would anticipate that, although small in relation to other international issues, the civil conflict in Sri Lanka will be included on the list of foreign issues which will fall to be considered within the policy review you envisage. and when it does, it may be presumed that you will be invited by many to do that which they allege Prime Minister Blair did not effectively do in relation to the Sri Lankan situation, that is, to put pressure upon the President of Sri Lanka, HE Mahinda Rajapakse, and his government, to concede the demand of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) for a separate state within the State of Sri Lanka.

Tangentially speaking of pressure, I would very much hope that, in the course of your policy reviews, you will prevail upon those who dreamt up the recent withholding of aid to Sri Lanka as a way of punishing her, to seriously re-consider the wisdom of that kind of behaviour, particularly where the amount of money involved is miniscule but the corresponding propaganda advantage handed to the LTTE - supposedly proscribed by Britain - is incalculably large. With your renowned breadth of perspective, I think you will appreciate that such cack-handed actions, whether taken by Britain or, indeed, by any other nation or group of nations, serve no real useful purpose.

As regards the demand for a separate state for the Sri Lankan Tamils, there is nothing new in this. It was first entered by a group of Tamils into the negotiations which preceded the grant of independence to the then Ceylon by Britain in 1948. The demand was summarily dismissed by Britain on the basis that the smallness of the Island of Ceylon, coupled with the relative smallness of the Tamil minority within it, made such fragmentation neither desirable nor viable. Those considerations, self-evidently true in 1948, are still valid today, some sixty-odd years later. What is more, when Britain came to that conclusion in 1948, it was estimated that the Ceylon Tamils, taken together with the Tamils of Indian origin then resident in the country, amounted to a little under 20\% of the total population. Today, due to factors such as the repatriation of large numbers of Tamils of Indian origin back to India and the equally significant migration of Sri Lankan Tamils to South India, the UK, other parts of Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and South Africa, the proportion of this ethnic group within the total population of Sri Lanka is estimated to have declined to 8.5\%. What is more, of this 8.5\%, the Sri Lankan Tamils in whose name a separate state is demanded account for only 3.9\% of the total population of Sri Lanka, the Tamils of Indian origin, chiefly employed in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, representing the other 4.6\%. As you can see, considerations of viability were never more pertinent.

A question of even greater significance is raised by the status which their fellow-travellers accord to the LTTE as the freedom movement of the Tamils.

The Tamils who asked Britain for a separate state in 1948 were cultured statesmen, with a self-evident love for their people. When denied a separate state for the reasons alluded to above, they chose to work within the parliamentary system of the country, solely using democratic processes. Having acknowledged that they were going nowhere with the demand for a separate state, they chose instead to ask for a federal structure of government within which their particular interests could be safeguarded and promoted. To their eternal shame, the ultra-nationalists within the Sinhala majority community (to which community I belong) fiercely resisted that proposal at the time, causing the dire consequences with which we contend today. That said, I would suggest that the LTTE sympathisers cease dwelling on past misfortunes and accept the sea-change that is occurring with regard to what is now euphemistically called the national question in Sri Lanka.

The world and his wife may have walked with such people once, believing that the LTTE were freedom fighters who spoke for all Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Sadly for them, they walk alone now, for the world has come to see the LTTE for what it really is - and always was!

The LTTE set out to try and capture the status of sole spokesmen for the Tamil people by systematically eliminating Tamil leaders who espoused the parliamentary, democratic path to progress in preference to the LTTEs violence and terror. A list of Tamil leaders whom the LTTE ruthlessly murdered in this way is attached for your information. The LTTEs friends dismiss these heroes as quislings!. Thankfully, however, their brave successors in title still endeavour carry on their good work, taking their lives in their hands every minute they do so.

The whole of the civilised world including Britain has now seen and accepted evidence that the LTTE are no more than a nasty bunch of hoodlums who, over the past twenty-five years and on a global scale, have unrelentingly practised abduction, assassination, murder, human trafficking, gun-running, piracy on the high seas, extortion and racketeering, money-laundering, credit-card scams and sundry other amusing pastimes engaged in by the criminally insane. By some of these means, their leaders have amassed vast amounts of personal wealth in the West, have set up and/or invested in businesses, have educated their offspring here, and enjoy lifestyles unimagined by the poor masses in whose name they claim to speak.

As an example, the funeral of the late Mr Anton Balasingham, the LTTEs ideologue, who lived and died in London earlier this year, is reputed to have cost 40,000 the equivalent of 8,600,000 Sri Lankan Rupees, or the average annual income of 1228 adult persons in Sri Lanka. One reason why the LTTE will never voluntarily cease their so-called armed struggle is because that would bring to an end their ability to obscenely fortune-hunt, and to live and die in luxury, in this fashion. Concrete evidence of these facts has been provided to you, Mr Chancellor, by Sri Lankas diplomatic representatives and others equally well acquainted with the antics of the LTTE. I have no doubt that you will have due regard for these facts when concluding whether or not the Sri Lankan government must be pressured into negotiating with these criminals.

Speaking of negotiations, I would implore the new British government which will shortly take office under your leadership to show a more mature understanding of the position of the present President and government of Sri Lanka, than has been evident recently. I have to say in that regard that the words and actions of our international friends these past few months are in danger more of collapsing under the weight of their own inherent contradictions than achieving any desirable outcome. Negotiations, so called, between the democratically elected legitimate governments of countries and criminal outfits of the complexion outlined above within their borders, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be urged to take place as between equals for they are not. As far as I am aware, victims of crime are not usually invited to negotiate with the criminal as to how much of their ill-gotten gains the latter may retain.

With his highly developed sense of responsibility for the well-being of all his people, particularly the vulnerable young and, as a human rights lawyer, with acute concern for the rights of the individual, President Rajapakse has set in train a series of processes whereby the interests of the various communal groups in the Island may best be advanced and protected. He has invited all sections of the community who wish to make a contribution to these deliberations to do so. Many have responded. The LTTE, on the other hand, continue to hold a gun to the collective head of his people. They, therefore, give the President no option but to wipe them off the fair face of Sri Lanka with every legitimate means at his disposal. And, yes, this includes the appropriate use of the countrys defence forces. What other effective response can he make to persons who decline to engage in civilised discourse and refuse to accept the futility of using terror as their preferred mode of securing their demented ends? So, in parallel with the consultative processes which he has introduced to establish the means by which the minorities living in Sri Lankas pluralistic society may be enabled to feel secure and experience a sense of belonging, the President is determined to crush the armed insurrection by this coterie of criminals, barking dogs and harvest moons notwithstanding. By virtue of his strength of purpose and by the patent sincerity of his approach, the President has succeeded in creating both a consensus for this two-pronged strategy, and an alliance of the people which cuts across all religious, ethnic, party political, class and other divides in the Island; these assets he will deploy to bring peace and prosperity to our ancient and noble land. Surely, with your innate sense of what is fair, you must see that such a man as this deserves to be upheld and affirmed in what he seeks to do rather than be undermined by thoughtless posturing.
In consideration of these factors, if nothing else, I would urge you, please, to consider an early visit to Sri Lanka with a view to helping to heal her wounds in the way that only Britain with her historically special relationship with Sri Lanka, and you, with your rather exceptional gifts, can.

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Latest Signatures

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  • 12 December 2015236. Jagath R
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  • 17 November 2015235. Anura B
    I appreciate your hard effort,nicely addressed
  • 25 October 2015234. Jayarathne Y
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  • 05 June 2015222. Gayan Chamaras
    Please dont misunderstand LTTE murders as the representative of tamils. Shinhalese live peacefully with tamils. also tamils do not want a seperate land as LTTE asking. Let tamils to live with other nationalities toghether. DO NOT SEPARATE THEM!
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Vickie McleanBy:
Petition target:
Chancellor Gordon Brown, Prime Minister Designate, UK


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