| by Subramaniam Masilamany
(The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Sri Lanka Guardian)
( January 04, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Today ( January 01 ) is the first day of year 2012 and first day of rest of our life. This year we must build on the progress we made in the previous years. As you all know 2011 was a spectacular year for our struggle for freedom. We as a community made lots of progress
|Landscape by Philipp Klinger|
This year 2012, our main focus will be on uniting the Tamil community worldwide and to make them a viable moral and political force for the emancipation of Tamils worldwide. Freedom without Unity is like a building without cement; just bricks laid one on top of the other. What we need is a strong uniting force and paradigm. Among Tamils there are at least five factions, some have political structure, some have political support, some have popular support, others have financial support, but none of these alone can achieve anything meaningful and substantial. We have to unite them all.
It took Mahathama Ghandi two years to get the theme right for Indian freedom, it took Abraham Lincoln 7 elections to win the white house, it took Nelson Mandela 20 years in prison to free South Africa and of all Martin Luther king has to barter his life for the freedom of African Americans and some people may not like it, it took our great Hero Prabaharan 30 years to bring our struggle to the attention of the world community. He is my Hero. We have a lot of work to do, there is no day we can put up our legs and say let’s take it easy, no, that is not possible and feasible. Freedom is an ongoing struggle; it is a work in progress and work in process. Freedom is an evolutionary process, it is a non stop natural process, the day we stop that is the day we start losing it. We lost it once we are not going to let it happen again. There is no substitute for freedom. Our freedom will come the day we Tamils unite all over the world. Without unity among us freedom will remain a dream and not a reality. The wise, wiser and wisest among the Tamil community are deserting in droves because there is no unity and we are not uniting either
I have been an ardent supporter of the Tamil freedom over 50 years. In my life I have found that in any community, unity is of paramount importance. In fact the socio-economic prosperity depends on how well the community is united; in fact if you look at the word community, there is unity at the suffix. So then there cannot be a community without unity. Then why we are not focussing on the main aspect of our community which is the unity. I will tell you I sent out an email to 4000 Tamils worldwide including to Father Emmanuel, V. Rudrakumar the PM of TGTE, Tamil net, WTF, WTM, BTF and lots of prominent Tamils, sad to say only 4 people endorsed the need for unity, non from the so called alpha males, you know the mis-leaders among us. Then I see there is a lot of effort going on to form government in exile. The very purpose of a government is community and the government is formed by uniting the people. Then what is going on? Only elections, appointments, conferences, parliamentary sessions, protest meetings etc. As Occam’s razor principle suggests that there is a simple solution to all problems. The Tamil problem is so simple it can be solved by simple Unity. Then why are we not talking about it? This is good news for Mahinda Rajapaksa for as long as Tamils are divided there is no serious issue of Tamils rights or problems. If the Tamils are seriously missing their rights and freedoms they will unite, isn’t it? There is no compelling force to overcome their division. The main focus for Rajapaksa is to satisfy the West and his problems are absolved. Tamils forever will be wandering in no man’s land forever if the continue their divided stance.
Calling to unite various Tamil factions into one political force has not reached the ears of the political factions. As a Tamil I do not know whom to belong and whom to support. I have not seen a concerted, concrete, composite and comprehensive agenda by any of the so called groups. But it looks like the agenda is identical. But if the agenda is identical then there should be unity and confluence, but it is not. The theme in the new-year should be to find a common agenda that will bring all factions together as one unified force with mass and velocity.
I am sure when I open the talk and story of unity, out will come the people who will call me all kinds of names. Hold your tongue nay sayers and negative thinkers. You are the inspiration for me to work harder than ever before. In the year 2012 our main focus will be in bringing together various Tamil groups into one united political force. Some factions have the political structure, the others have the political support and some have the popular support. So we have something to work with. As Mao Tse Tung said I hope we don’t have to resort to destruction to commence construction.
In the New Year we will, at our own expense, bring the various factions to come for a global meeting on minds and forge a united front like what we did in 1972 with the formation of Tamil United Liberation Front. Some people think they can unite people by coercion while others think they can unite by force, but we want to unite them by consensus, cooperation and understanding. Readers, if possible please provide us who is who in Tamil politics and also we invite people and or parties that would like to represent themselves and make their views known. We want to invite them for a unity conference via satellite if necessary. Let us please listen to each other and learn from each other, let us understand before we are understood, together we are better off than on our divided solos and silos. We think something in the form of Doha Debates. Let us talk to each other than talking to ourselves alone and to outsiders and strangers
I think I have an answer to the ongoing diverse factions among Tamils; I will not call them divisions. So that is something positive to wake up for. I think we have to enter into a social pact among all Tamil diverse factions. Please keep the word division out of sight and hence out of your mind. Let’s talk positive and others please hold your tongue and key boards to your lap.
I am going to reproduce from Jean Jacques Rousseau’s “The Social Contract” with modifications to sound applicable to our struggle.
I assume that we Tamils have reached a point where the obstacles to our preservation in this current state of existence prove greater than the strength that each of us or our diverse groups has to preserve ourselves in this state. Beyond this point, our divided primitive condition cannot endure, for then as Tamils we will perish if we do not change our mode of existence. We have to unite under one banner and one mission.
We as humans cannot create new forces within us beyond our genetic capacity, we cannot transform into giants over night. But we can combine and manage those that we already have within us among us; the only way we can preserve ourselves is by uniting our separate powers in a form of combination strong enough to overcome the obstacles and resistance. We must unite is such a way that our separate powers are united and directed by single motive and we act in concert. Our motive is freedom and we all must agree on it. We also must agree and accept that if we do not unite we will perish.
Such union of minds and sum of forces can be produced only by the union of separate men and people and their liberties and freedoms. But what we must concede is that each man’s own strength, liberty and freedom are the chief instruments of his self preservation and cannot be simply and easily alienated to others or to a common union. Then how can we ask our Tamils to merge all their aspirations, liberties, freedoms and choice of life with others without putting themselves in peril and neglecting the care and cautions that they owe to them. This paradox or dilemma or lack of understanding can be expressed in the following words. “ How to find a form of association of our people, which will defend the persons and goods of each person or member with the collective force of all, and under which each individual, while uniting himself or herself with the others, obeys no one but himself or herself, and remains as free as before”. Simply said how we can stay as free as before while uniting with others.
Jean Jacques Rousseau solves this dilemma by people entering into a social contract. This contract is an all or nothing system whereby even a slight error will make it null and void. The articles or clauses or points of this social contract are so precisely determined by the nature of the act, that slightest modification or error must render it null and void; they are such that, though perhaps never formally stated, that are everywhere the same, everywhere tacitly admitted and recognized; and if ever the social pact is violated, every man regains his original rights and, recovering his natural freedom, loses that civil freedom which he bartered or exchanged it for. I hope one can understand the fundamental cause of the Sri Lankan strife between the Tamils and Singhalese and also the inability of the Tamil to unite. The first is due to violation of the Social Contract and second is due to the lack of will and wisdom of the Tamils to unite and form a social contract under one union. Our purpose here is to shed some insight to induce Tamils to unite and also to show them the extra added benefits over what they already have.
These articles or clauses or points of association, if rightly understood, are reducible to single one, namely the total alienation by each person or associate or member of himself or herself and his or her rights to the whole Tamil community.
Thus, in the first place, as every individual gives himself or herself absolutely and completely, the conditions are same for all, and precisely and expressly because they are the same for all, it is in no one’s interest to make the conditions onerous or difficult for others. We give up completely but not necessarily equally.
In the second place, since the alienation is unconditional, the union or association is as perfect as it can be. And no individual member or person or associate has any longer any rights to claim, for if rights were left to individuals, in the absence of higher authority to judge between them and the public, each individual, being his own judge in some causes, would soon demand to be his own judge in all. This way the state of nature would be kept in being and the association inevitably become tyrannical or void. One could draw parallel to how Rajapaksa became his own judge in all. What we have in Sri Lanka is not leader but a tyrant who has taken over the power of the union and left nothing for the association or for the public.
And in the final place, since each man gives himself to all of the other members or associates or people, he gives himself to no one in particular but to an association of people, and since no associate or member over whom he does not gain the same rights as others over him, each man recovers the equivalent of everything he loses, and in the bargain he acquires more power to preserve what he has.
So in entering a social pact we eliminate everything that is not essential to it, we will find that such an association will come down to this: Each one of us puts into the community his person and all his powers under one supreme direction of the general will the community, as a body politic, we incorporate every member as an indivisible and equal part of the whole body politic.
Immediately, it becomes obvious, in place of the individual person of each contracting party, this act or association or incorporation creates an artificial corporate body composed of as many members are there are voters in the community or assembly. This body acquires more power than us individually. When done right it acquires unity, its life, its will and hence its strength.
This is what our Tamil community lacks and misses; we can become a formidable negotiating entity if we can unite every Tamil as an indivisible part of the whole enterprise. This, our current people are unable to do it. The reason may be fear, may be ambition or may be ignorance, but this must and should be done.
But we will remain divided; we will remain subjugated and will remain weak if we fail to unite.
For some strange reason the word UNITY seem elusive and anathema to us. The western nations do well because they have formulated this contract very well and they call it a constitution and they also have formulated the Magna Carta, Bills of Rights and Charters of rights to encourage citizens to express their concerns openly and vigorously. It is a need in any society. If people do not participate the body politic simply disintegrates like in Sri Lanka. We Tamils think talking may get us into trouble so we remain rather subservient. That is understandable.
My final note of concern is in the South Asian region freedom seems to be under constrains. Leaders think it is their right to acquire power without responsibility to the people. The purpose of the government is to serve the people but not to make servitude of the people. In a way they are not ready for fully blown democracy, for one thing the people do not exercise their rights and the other thing is elected officials assume they acquire power on being elected. Both are bad for the nation.