Saturday, 20 July 2024

Tag » Tamils

Tamils face: A choice of two warmongers


Sri Lankans went to the polls on Tuesday to vote at the end of a hard-fought election campaign to decide whether President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his former army chief General Sarath Fonseka should lead the nation.

Both men led the bloody war that last year ended in defeat for Tamil Tiger Nationalists fighting for independence in the north of the Sri Lankan State.

Mr Rajapaksa has now turned on his own commander, accusing Gen Fonseka of wanting to lead the country into a “military dictatorship.”

Though there have been no reliable polls, both candidates appear to command strong Sinhalese followings and the votes of Tamils may, ironically, prove decisive.

This weekend the 30th and 31st January there is a referendum organised by the Tamil National Council being held for the Tamil Diaspora in the U.K. Similar votes have already taken place in France, Norway, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and Canada

The referendum is based on the Vaddukoddail Resolution of 1976 which mandated Tamil politicians to seek independence from Sri Lanka. The question on the ballot paper is:

“The Tamil speaking people have confirmed that the Tamils in Sri Lanka have the right to self governance based on the Vaddukoddai Resolution 1976. This fundamental and essential right includes the right to the independent sovereignty of Eelam; a democratic state, fully embracing the principles of liberalism, equality, and a capitalistic mixed economy, while actively engaging in the global community.”

All Tamils and spouses or descendants who were born in Sri Lanka (with ID) are being asked to cast a yes or no vote. There are about 50 polling stations around the U.K. Stations inside London will be voting on the Saturday from between 9.00 am to 8 pm and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm. Those outside London will only be voting on Saturday. Please check out the sites by visiting


One of the biggest threats to peace around the world is the suppression of national identities and communities, whether it be Amazonian Indians, Tibetans or the hill tribes of India.

Most of these conflicts do not directly affect the UK and many remain obscure. Two fairly recent examples of violent conflict however have provoked a reaction within the UK. The first was the Israeli bombing of Gaza and the second the Sri Lankan shelling of civilians in the northern part of that Island.

These conflicts became UK news because of significant demonstrations in favour of those on the receiving end of the bombings namely the Palestinians (in Gaza) and Tamils (in Sri Lanka). Whilst one can argue that Israel backed down under international pressure Sri Lanka did not. Unlike the Palestinian cause few Westerners have supported the Tamil cause. Political activists, normally so eager to jump on non-establishment bandwagons, were conspicuous by their absence. Those on the Right bought into Sri Lankan propaganda about fighting a ‘War on Terror’ (forgetting that the political conflict pre-dated any armed struggle) whilst the Left clung onto a fantasy of Sinhala and Tamils workers uniting in a peaceful utopia.


As National Liberals however we believe that self-determination is the inalienable right of any people’s since the nation is the pinnacle of group loyalty (beyond ‘family’ and community). Thus the only way to achieve long term peace in such conflicts is the ‘Two-state solution’ i.e. a functioning Palestinian state living alongside a recognised Israel and a Tamil Eelam (homeland) alongside a predominantly Sinhala Sri Lankan state. There is no reason to suppose that there would be further significant conflict once national aspirations are satisfied.

The world’s Governments by and large oppose such solutions for fear of opening up a ‘Pandora’s box’ which will lead to numerous demands for autonomy or independence (particularly within their own territory). The Organisation of African Unity’s (OAU) Charter, for example, strictly forbids the redrawing of boundaries. Our view however is, so what?


If an indigenous people are being discriminated against and are unable to preserve their differences e.g. language or worship then the creation of a nation-state within ancient territories (if the wish of those peoples) is a logical answer. It is so long since the boundaries of Western Europe were re-drawn or colonies liberated that many of us have forgotten the importance of the principal of ‘self-determination’. The breakup of the Soviet Empire and Yugoslavia should have reminded us that there were/are still many unresolved ‘national questions’ if not subjugated peoples around the world.

We are not promoting an utter fragmentation of the world; for many autonomy or even absorption will be their choice. However, for those peoples where no choice is permitted, we should support moves by expatriates to form Government’s-in-Exile as a way of raising those peoples profile and help campaign for their diplomatic recognition. Whilst we would not support ‘direct intervention’ into a countries ‘internal affairs’ it is perfectly acceptable for a country to support such ‘Governments’ whilst withdrawing support/aid/preference to a state that is subjugating a separate peoples within its own borders.


Unfortunately, when Western political elites rushed to protect the Muslim majority in Kosovo from Serbia’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ it was for geopolitical interests rather than humanitarian concerns or the principal of self-determination. Nevertheless free from the ‘shackles of oppression’ the majority of Kosovans opted for independence and a sore between two peoples begins to heal however slowly. Any other solution would have been a fudge and perpetuates injustice and conflict. Is it not time the world started to look at similar solutions for similar conflicts?


Whilst the Nationals Liberals in the U.K. are relatively new and presently a marginal force we can nevertheless usefully campaign by leaflet or banner on the principal of self-determination and remind the West that they once (following the First World War) embraced this principal as sacrosanct. Other parties have conveniently forgotten this, it’s time for a wake-up call

National Liberal Party

PO Box 4217, Hornchurch,

Essex, RM12 4PJ

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.