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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2733

Tamil Tigers Debt to America

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

A new book titled, Tamil Tigers Debt to America authored by Daya Gamage, has been published by the Library of Congress (under control No. 2016913508) ISBN: 1537053485 and 13:9781537053486 respectively. The author is an old Trinitian who read Economics and European Political history at Peradeniya; subsequently became an academic at a U.S. University, prior to joining the U.S. Federal Service.

Daya Gamage had worked with Dr. Robert K Bloggs, the most Senior Political Councillor, attached to the U.S. Embassy in Colombo from 1989 to 1993. Subsequently, Gamage read Law at the University of Colombo thus. making him an increasingly -authoritative source of legal analysis, attached to the U.S. Embassy in Colombo.

During his time with the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, working with Dr. Bloggs, they experienced the JVP insurrection in the South as well as the Tamil struggle in the North that formed into a militant rebel movement the LTTE, known as Tamil Tigers that became the most ruthless terrorist group in the world. In Sri Lanka the LTTE carried out a policy of destruction by killing and maiming thousands of innocent people, including Buddhist Clergy, Senior Politicians ( both Sinhala and Tamil), detonating bombs indiscriminately and even mercilessly slaughtering infants and young children. On 16 May 2009, the Sri Lankan Government Forces decimated the entire LTTE organisation.

During this calamitous period Daya Gamage undertook field tours outside Colombo with senior officers of the Embassy and Foreign Service officials assigned to Colombo from Washington and Congressional Delegations. His subsequent solo, well-planned, tours in remote areas of the country to assemble ‘far-reaching socio-economic-political data for investigative-analytical reports, earned him recognition, in 1988, by the U.S. Department, as Sri Lanka’s diplomatic mission’s ‘political specialist’. Consequently, he received a coveted ‘Meritorious Honour Award for Superior Performance’.

The American Ambassador at the time commended Daya Gamage in his assessment as follows:

“The U.S. Mission has benefited in many other ways from Mr. Gamage’s unusual initiative and resourcefulness. Information on political attitude probably would not have been forthcoming if he were travelling with an American Officer.”

During the terrorist war period, the influential political-diplomatic arm of the LTTE in the U.S., Ilankai Tamil Sangam carried an analysis in their website: http://www.sangam.org/2008/08/Stalingrad.php?uid=3046, defending the LTTE’s military struggle of the Tamil Tigers, and identifying Gamage and his online daily newspaper Asian Tribune with four others, as obstacles to the Tamil Struggle in Sri Lanka.

Upon retirement

Once Daya Gamage relinquished his duties at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Colombo, he managed to formulate his knowledge and experience about U.S. strategy and the LTTE’s contribution to America in a concise and unbiased form, by writing a book containing 577 pages (under copyright ©2016 Daya Gamage); ISBN: 1537053485 & ISBN 13:9781537053486 ,which can be ordered through Amazon Books ‘on line’.

Overview

In the introduction to his book, Gamage asserts to what extent the ‘Foreign Policy Strategies of the U.S.’ had been multifarious and the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) had become an effective Foreign Policy Instrument of the State Department, Congress, and the White House. ‘In 2004, under George Bush Administration the Millennium Challenge Grant for the Third World nations was ‘selected’. “Occasionally, the U.S. seems to exercise its military supremacy to impose its Brand Rule of Law and Governance”.

Gamage discusses in his book how the “U.S. officials and bureaucrats in the Department of Political Affairs collaborated to influence Sri Lanka in its governing structure”. The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, he states, was impressively influential in building American perspective toward Sri Lanka during their struggle.

“Tamil Tigers Debt to America,” examines Sri Lankan National issues that go beyond ethnicity, and records how Tamil nationalism emerged, since Ceylon gained Independence in 1948 and highlights the alarming danger signals from both Tamil and Sinhala nationalism.

Towards the end of 1970, the LTTE was able to charm the West, particularly the U.S. State Department. The book contains impressive and graphical accounts of the U.S. Foreign-Policy Adventurism and Sri Lanka’s Dilemma that run into detailed pages and setting out American Agenda from 1980 to 2016. This comprehensive ‘insider account’ is dealt with by the author, who once worked in tandem with the American Dr. Robert K. Boggs of the U.S. Department of State and Tilak Samaranayake, who formerly worked for the U.S.AID.

Illustrative output

In a graphical account Daya Gamage highlights some significant photographs covering the following: The ‘UN Correspondent for the Nation at the time Barbara Crossette, who occasionally received ‘strange requests’ from either editors in the “New York Times,’ and U.S. pro-LTTE sympathisers to reflect on a farcical account about how the Sri Lankan Intelligence Service operated a torture centre on the 4th floor of the Airport, which anyone who has visited the Airport knows to what extent this appears to be fabricated; there is no fourth floor at the Katunayake Bandaranaike Airport!

Amongst the graphical news with pictorial content, the author can be seen speaking to top brass of the U.S. hierarchy, Sri Lankan Government top officials and with the leaders of LTTE including the Sri Lankan President at the time, Mahinda Rajapaksa in August 2007; Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, in Colombo in 2002; U.S. Congressman Danny Davis being greeted by the LTTE Police Chief Nadasan in Kilinochchi in 2005; U.S. Assistant Secretary Robert Blake in 2010, with a delegation led by Rev.Fr. S. J. Emmanuel (Germany); Dr. Elias Jeyararajah, Mrs. Grace Williams (U.S.) and Suren Surendiran (UK); Also a photograph of the LTTE Leader Prabhakaran with Dr. Anton Balasingham, Visuanathan Rudrakumaran in 2007; a picture of Rajiv Gandhi with Prabhakaran and Anton Balasingham in1987; Norwegian peace negotiator Eric Solheim conferring with P. Tamilselvan in Kilinochchi; President Bush and Ranil Wickremesinghe in the White House on 5 November 2003, and so forth.

WikiLeaks cablesWashington’s softer attitude

The entire argument of the author of the Book Tamil Tigers’ debt to America is about an unbiased projection as to how Washington took a softer attitude towards the LTTE. It concludes stating, how during the final 3-4 weeks of the war when Washington saw the imminent defeat of the Tamil Tigers they were contemplating to remove the hierarchy of the Tiger Leadership from the battle zone with the intention of using the secessionist movement in a different form as a pressure group to effect changes in Sri Lanka.

One needs to read the entire book to get an idea of the U.S. strategy on Sri Lanka, which seems to prove some of the things said by Sri Lankan Parliamentarians, today. It would have been a jolly good reproduction of various sections of the book, as well as interesting reading, if only the writer was able to obtain Daya Gamage’s authority to do justice to his book through columns of the ‘Ceylon Today’ newspaper, but all his efforts to reach Daya Gamage has been fruitless even after making written requests to the Library of Congress (where the book has been published under their control number : 2016913508) and also the writer having written to the Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, South Carolina.

The writer will appreciate, in the circumstances, if anyone who knows about Daya Gamage’s contact details contacting the writer by email as below, as it is a book that must be read by every Sri Lankan.

Tilak Fernando is a Sri Lanka-born Londoner is well known for many decades for his erudite writing, professional journalism and public affairs expertise -tilakfernando@gmail.comb.

- Asian Tribune -

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