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A Struggle For JusticeIntroductionFor the last two decades Sri Lanka has een a cauldron of political violence. The racial antagonism that surfaced between he Tamil and Sinhala nations since the independence of the island has evolved nto a fully-fledged armed conflict. The parties in the conflict are the Sri Lankan tate and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Both the parties command standing armies and are embroiled in a bloody war.Tamil EelamThe consequences of the war are devastating. The Tamil civilians face the brunt of the conflict ecause the war is waged in the Tamil homeland. Already 50,000 Tamils have perished and hundreds of thousands have either fled the country or are internally displaced. et the war continues with unabating ferocity, destroying life and property with every passing day.The Sri Lanka government attempts to present the complexity of the problem with simplistic logic. The magnitude of the conflict is reduced to a simple phenomenon of terrorism. In the perspective of the Sinhala Government, the TE is a small band of bloodthirsty terrorists bent on anarchism. The answer to the blem on the government's side is also simplistic. The elimination of the LTTE by tained war, it is argued, will automatically resolve the Tamil conflict.A well rchestrated international propaganda campaign has been launched by Sri Lanka to convince the world community that the Tamil struggle is nothing other than a pectre of terrorism. Playing on the sensibilities and anxieties of Western nations about global terrorism, Sri Lanka has been propagating a view that she is also a victim of a similar phenomenon. Under the guidance of a Machiavellian Tamil minister, Sri Lankan diplomatic missions abroad have been working overtime in ransposing an internal interracial conflict into a global terror. This disinformation campaign is intended to discredit the Tamil armed struggle and to seek sympathy and upport for a massive war effort in the Tamil homeland. In the diplomatic nguage of Sri Lanka, this war is an exercise for peace and has noble intentions of 'liberating Tamils from the scourge of terrorism'. Such false propaganda has created a great deal of confusion and misconception in the international political and diplomatic arena about the Tamil struggle in general and the armed struggle in particular. Furthermore, the ongoing violence and counter-violence that aracterize the Tamil conflict have given rise to various misrepresentations about the aims and objectives of the Tamil armed freedom movement.This political document attempts to clarify some of the misconceptions surrounding the armed struggle of the amils. While examining the historical conditions that gave rise to the armed resistance movement, we argue that the Tamils reserve the right to armed defence against the military repression and genocide. Countering Sri Lanka's false propaganda that the Tamil struggle is a mode of terrorism, we explain that the armed campaign is a form of legitimate political struggle for self-determination. In brief, the document Sets out the position of the Tamils based on their quest for political independence and self-government.Why did the Tamils take up arms?The birth and growth of the armed resistance movement should be analysed within the historical evelopment of the Tamil struggle for self-determination. The Tamil struggle for self-etermination has an evolutionary history of nearly half a century. It is a history characterized by state repression and resistance by the Tamils. The political truggles in the early periods were peaceful, democratic and non-violent but later assumed the form of armed resistance as the military repression of the state ntensified into genocidal proportions.Sinhala state repression against the Tamils began to manifest in concrete forms following the independence of the island in 948, when the British colonial masters transferred the state's power to the inhala dominated parliamentary system.State sponsered Sinhala colonisation of Tamil homelands By discriminatory legislation and by other measures, successive inhala majority governments unleashed a systematic form of oppression that deprived the Tamils of their linguistic, educational and employment rights. Gradually and systematically, the thrust of state oppression affected the sphere of economic and social life of the Tamils. In the meantime, the ate-aided aggressive colonization in the Tamil areas not only deprived them of their rights over their historical lands but also altered the ethnic composition of the population rendering the Tamils a minority in certain traditional Tamil regions. The features of Sinhala state oppression clearly indicated a devious plan calculated to destroy the national identity of the Tamil people.As the Sinhala state oppression and discrimination unfolded in its ugly forms threatening the national identity, the Tamil liamentary political leadership responded with mass political agitations. Adopting Gandhi's concept of 'ahimsa', the Tamil leadership organized non-violent campaigns emanding justice and fair play from Sinhala rulers. In the early sixties, the 'satyagraha' (peaceful picketing) campaigns attracted huge masses of people in massive demonstrations symbolizing a national uprising against the state. The Sinhala Government reacted with military violence and terror, brutally crushing the non-violent peaceful campaigns of the Tamils. Instead of looking into the enuine grievances of an aggrieved people, Colombo Governments adopted a harsh policy of military repression. Tamils evicted from their homesSuch highhanded tactics of terror made the people realise the futility of the non-violent ampaigns.They realized that a repressive racist state adopting the methods of rutal violence attached no respect to the moral and spiritual values underlying non violent struggles. The Tamil people became frustrated and lost hope in both the parliamentary system which functioned under the tyranny of the majority and the non-violent struggles which were systematically crushed by the tyranny of the ilitary. In desperation, the Tamil leadership sought political negotiations to resolve the conflict. Sinhala leaders entered into agreements but soon abrogated the pacts when Sinhala chauvinistic forces opposed reconciliation with the Tamils. The event that climaxed the state oppression against the Tamils was the new Republican constitution of 1972 which was a blatant attempt to legalize and institutionalize Sinhala chauvinism at the cost of alienating the Tamil nation from unitary constitutional politics. This event brought about radical ansformation in the nature and structure of the Tamil political struggle.It was during this specific historical juncture, that the armed resistance movement was born on Tamil soil with the determination to fight for political independence from alien domination. The armed struggle emerged as a historical development of the Tamil struggle in response to the determined efforts of the Sinhala Government to subjugate the Tamils. Riots 1983The Tamils took up arms when they were presented with no alternative other than to defend themselves against a savage form of genocidal oppression, when peaceful forms of democratic political agitations were violently repressed, when


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