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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 108

Resurgence of anti-LTTE Sri Lankan Diaspora In the U.S. to Combat Tamil Tiger Misinformation Campaigns

Daya Gamage US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 08 December ( When a United States Congressman is told that Sri Lanka’s ‘Sinhalese Army’ is killing Tamils in the north who are fighting for equality, justice and human rights, and when the point is reiterated over and over again in the same tone, language and emphasis, the congressman consumes it and takes it with him to the Capitol Hill in Washington.

The reality is that the agents of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers conceal the fact that 54% of the Tamils who they claim to represent in their fight to bring justice, human rights and equality have no interest of the self-proclaimed ‘sole representative of the Tamil people’, and the rest of the ethnic minority Tamils who are within the Tamil Tiger-controlled areas in the north of Sri Lanka in fact have no justice, human rights and equality under the LTTE autocratic rule.

If the U.S. Congressmen were exposed to multiple shades of opinion and analysis they will find out that this ‘so called Sinhalese army’ combated and defeated a Southern rebellion of the Marxist-JVP twice over, once in 1971 and another, most serious insurrection against the state, in 88/89 and that all southern ‘combatants’ belonged to the majority race Sinhalese.

The term ‘combatant’ was taken from the lexicon of American Ambassador in Sri Lanka Robert Blake. He used the term ‘combatant’ in a recent address to a gathering of the Sri Lanka Army on December 04 to describe the Tamil Tigers and advised this South Asian nation to redress the grievances of the ‘combatants’ to create a conducive atmosphere for them to lay down arms.

There was no attempt in the U.S. to make the congressmen understand that there was another side to this story. And, the American Ambassador sounds like he has got succumbed to Tiger propaganda too because they love to hear from America’s top diplomat in Sri Lanka calling them ‘combatants’ and that these ‘combatants’ will not lay down arms unless the Government of Sri Lanka creates a conducive atmosphere. This is the observation of an American diplomat who sends official cables to the State Department of the Sri Lanka situation while officially domiciled on the Sri Lankan soil. Naturally the American lawmakers who read these cables originating from the desk of the American Ambassador consume those and are subject to Tamil Tiger lobbying.

Then a U.S. Senator is told that there is a blatant violation of the human rights of the ethnic minority Tamils (12%) in Sri Lanka due to discrimination in the field of education and that the majority Sinhalese (74%) are the sole gainers because of the education policies of the ‘Sinhalese-dominated’ government.

After Asian Tribune brought to the attention of the U.S. State Department about eighteen months ago that its official web portal USINFO in several On Line documents used the biased term ‘Sinhalese-dominated government in Sri Lanka’ did they remove it from their texts.

But the Senators are not told that there exists a system called ‘Standardization System’ in Sri Lanka’s education policy in terms of university entrance where underprivileged districts with fewer educational facilities are given preference over privileged over highly facilitated districts to help children attending schools in the underprivileged districts to gain entry to Sri Lanka’s tertiary education and that minority Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims in underprivileged districts equally benefit to have access to tertiary education.

They are also not told that, until about the mid-seventies, the colonial British system of education which gave over emphasis to the education of urban areas in terms of facilities made the rural education handicapped and that this inequality was erased with the introduction of the ‘standardization’ system.

The Tamil Tiger propaganda, misinformation, misrepresentation and distortions go unchallenged.

When the United States Congressmen are told that the LTTE is prepared for a peaceful resolution of Sri Lanka’s national crisis and that the government has not created a conducive atmosphere for them to return to the negotiating table it is believed by the American lawmakers because there was no one to tell them that they unilaterally withdrew from government and international community sponsored talks many times to replenish their military arsenal for the next offensive against the Sri Lankan state.

The Tamil Tiger lobbyists and public affairs professionals conceal the fact that there are many influential Tamil-backed Tamil political organizations and movements in existence in Sri Lanka that have a broader outlook about Sri Lanka’s polity but apposed to Tamil Tiger separatism and terrorism. The American lawmakers are unaware that this scenario has resulted in Tamil Tigers losing their prize possession ‘sole representative of the Tamil people.’

Since late the U.S. State Department has endeavored to move away from the ‘reality’ created by the Tamil Tiger lobby in noting in a recent statement that the government of Sri Lanka should restart negotiations to ‘strengthen the voice of the moderate Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims.’ But then again, Ambassador Robert Blake complicates the issue by declaring the Tamil Tigers ‘combatants’ and insinuating that they have a right to bare arms and are in a legitimate struggle and that it is the Government of Sri Lanka who should take the initiative to build a conducive atmosphere for the ‘combatants’ to lay down their arms.

Some American lawmakers do believe that the ethnic Tamils (12%) in Sri Lanka gave a mandate at the 1977 parliamentary general election to secede from Sri Lanka to establish a separate state or ‘Tamil Eelam’. But they are not told that unlike the Northern Province the Eastern Province’ ethnic composition is equally divided among the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims.

They are also not told that the statistics of the 1977 parliamentary general election did not endorse a separate state, in fact, a combined North and East statistics show that a majority was against a separate Tamil Eelam and the Eastern Province overwhelmingly rejected the 1976 ‘Vaddukkodai Resolution’ which appealed to the Tamils to endorse a separate state.

The senior U.S. State Department official assistance secretary for South Asia Richard Boucher was succumbed to this Tamil Tiger misinformation for him to declare at a press briefing in Colombo during his visit to Sri Lanka that the Tamils should be granted a ‘homeland’ to resolve the country’s crisis.

Now these sentiments of a senior State Department official who runs the Sri Lanka desk among other things are taken seriously by the American lawmakers to the satisfaction of the Tamil Tiger lobby.

The LTTE agents in the United States have created their own ‘reality’ for the consumption of the American lawmakers, and, to the utter dismay of this writer who has a fair knowledge of the working of the State Department and its overseas diplomatic posts, the so called ‘erudite and professional’ State Department officials too are influenced by this Tamil Tiger ‘representations’ and rhetoric.

The disadvantage Sri Lanka has is that the positions taken by the State Department and the American lawmakers give a ‘life line’ to the Tamil Tigers whose backbone is almost broken by the Rajapaksa administration in recent times.

The Asian Tribune in these columns has repeatedly said that these Tamil Tiger ‘representations’ to the American lawmakers go unchallenged for Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa to declare on September 28 this year at a packed gathering of Sri Lankan expatriates that the global network of Tamil Tiger public diplomacy campaign has effectively crushed the Sri Lanka’s overseas public diplomacy efforts.

He told the Asian Tribune in an exclusive interview that the fears of the international community that a defeat of the Tamil Tigers will put the Tamil grievances in the back burner are unfounded and baseless. But the Government of Sri Lanka is yet to convince the international community that Sri Lanka is serious about the grievances of all underprivileged segments of the population that belong to all ethnic communities, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and plantation Indian Tamils and that redressing grievances of all ethnic communities has no connection whatsoever with the intended military defeat of the LTTE.

It is in this scenario that the Sri Lankan expatriate community in the United States is in a state of renaissance to combat the LTTE or Tamil Tiger misinformation, blatant lies, misinterpretations and distortions to reach the American lawmakers to move them away from the ‘reality’ the Tigers have created to the ‘reality’ of the ground situation in Sri Lanka: that the struggle in Sri Lanka is far from what the Tamil Tigers have declare as an ‘ethnic war’ but a struggle, on the one hand, is to safeguard the territorial integrity, sovereignty and the democratic system and, on the other hand, to devise a system that will ensure the human rights, equal opportunity, justice and a sense of dignity to a vast segment of the population that belongs to all ethnic communities who were disabled due to the ‘liberalized economy’ in the late seventies destroying the once sustainable socio-economic structure of the northern Tamils as well as the livelihood of the southern peasants.

Reports are reaching the Asian Tribune from many states in the United States that the Sri Lankan expatriate community is beginning to band themselves to target the congressmen and senators in their states to commence a dialogue about the Sri Lankan situation with the intention of replying to the blatant lies the LTTE U.S. cells have disseminated over the years to make the American lawmakers knowledgeable of the scenario in this South Asian nation which is battling a ruthless terrorist organization which possesses a strong military wing and a political/public diplomacy structure in the Western world, especially the United States whose foot prints are all over the globe in the spheres of military, political, economic and diplomacy.

The Asian Tribune has learned that many Sri Lankan expatriate organizations in many eastern, western and some southern states have been, for some time, deliberating to execute a well organized “wining the hearts and minds of the American lawmakers” and had been exchanging views, notes and observations to develop a ‘unified public affairs package’ to reach the American lawmakers with a single voice with absolutely no conflicts in the ‘message’.

When it comes to the issues of national security and human rights they are not contradictory but complementary which means that one cannot be isolated from the other. This is the message the groups of expatriate Sri Lankan groups in many states in the United States are endeavoring to base their ‘unified’ presentation to American lawmakers whom these expatriate community believes are been mischievously mislead by the LTTE propaganda concealing the ground reality of Sri Lanka which this writer noted at the out set.

It is Sri Lanka’s lethargic overseas public diplomacy which is partly responsible for the expatriates in the United States to come out of either their slumber or ‘distant observation.’ Many Sri Lankan expatriates, Sinhalese and Tamils, with whom Asian Tribune contacted for this article were of the opinion that there should be a concerted effort to separate Tamil Tiger terrorism and Tamil grievances, and many were aware that a large segment of all ethnic communities in Sri Lanka face significant socio-economic disadvantage and that a small percentage of this South Asian nation’s population who belongs to all ethnic communities have been the beneficiary for many decades. The expatriates content that the American lawmakers do not understand this complex situation but most are blinded by the Tamil Tiger propaganda.

One Sri Lankan expatriate, an ethnic Tamil, from the State of Massachusetts who was a former LTTE activists in the U.S., told this writer while he opposes the Tiger agenda of terrorizing his own people in the north and expatriates in western nations to extract funds for the Tiger military campaign it is in the best interest of all ethnic communities and the final isolation of the Tamil Tigers that the Government of Sri Lanka come out with a political package to redress the grievances of Tamils and other communities.

The Sri Lanka ambassador to the United States Bernard Goonetilleke told Asian Tribune that there is a serious, erudite and systematic awakening of the Sri Lankan expatriate community in the United States in many states to commence a dialogue among themselves with the aim of banding themselves under a specific action program to reach out to American lawmakers some of whom air their views about Sri Lanka in U.S. Congress and memorandums to the State Department and White House not knowing half of what’s going on there.

These are the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that the organizations of expatriate Sri Lankans are planning to target, he said.

- Asian Tribune -

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