Anton Balasingham speaks at
London Alexandra Palace
LTTE Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham spoke on Nov 27th
at the commemorative meeting for LTTE Great Heroes Day held
at the London Alexandra Palace. Following is the translation of
his interesting and insightful speech made in Tamil:
I am grateful that you gave me this opportunity to speak to you on our land and
our people as well as the heroic fighters who gave their lives to our cause.
When I arrived at this hall one of my friends told me that Mr. Anandasangaree was
also present here. I would like to meet him and kiss him; if any one here can
identify him I would be grateful.
Anandasangaree has said in Colombo that he can travel all over the world, but he
cannot go to Kilinochchi which is his home. We all know why he wants to go to
There are two old ladies who know him. He is known to love to eat monitor lizard
meat. That is why he wants to visit Kilinochchi. I like to tell him in Kilinochchi there
is a five star hotel built by Pottu Amman and he can come there any time and eat
Leader Pirapaharan has spoken on many matters today, and there are important
points in this speech. In the past few years there were many incidents, and
conspiracies as well as shadow insurgencies that were organised against our
movement and our leaders.
Finally our leader speaks of Rajapakse and his government, and his policies, as
well as our movement, aims, plans and our battles ahead, in this context.
There are 10 to 12 important points in our Leader's speech.
What is the Mahawansa mindset according to our Leader? According to our
Leader the Sinhalese people are still in the Mahawansa mindset era. What is the
Mahawansa mindset as stated by our Leader? The Mahawansa is an old Buddhist
story written by a Buddhist priest wherein the Buddha has given Sri Lanka to the
Sinhalese as a god given land in writing.
This is a sacred land for the propagation of Theravada Buddhism. This also
belongs to the Sinhalese according to the Buddha. Therefore the Sinhalese
consider this land for the last 2000 years as their land and the Buddha has gifted
it to the Buddhists, and no one else can live here. Tamils cannot live here, nor
can anyone else. The Sinhalese have this Mahawansa mindset. The Sinhalese do
not understand the realistic position.
That is the north and the east has been occupied by the Tamils who have their
culture, their language, their history and the Sinhalese are not ready to accept
this fact. Therefore our Leader says that the Sinhalese people will never change
their attitude from this Mahawansa mindset. Therefore the Sinhalese chauvinists
will never accept the Tamils as people of this country and give them their rights
and self governance in this country.
This idea comes from the roots of a religion. The Buddha! Who is the Buddha?
The Buddha was a Hindu. He was an exponent of the Hindu religion. He said there
was no god, there is no soul, there is no world after this.
He was a revolutionary thinker, who wanted to improve Hinduism. A thinker who
said there is no god, you have deified him. The Sinhalese believe that such a god
has given this country to them in writing. How can you talk to such people, they
don't have anything upstairs. This is what the Leader says.
If talks are not necessary why go for talks, why send Balasingham for talks, when
the Sinhalese will not give you anything? The Leader said as follows: We went for
talks because the international community wanted us to engage in talks.
At one stage India interfered in our affairs and we went to Thimpu, Bangalore and
Delhi for talks, because India insisted on this, by twisting our neck.
Our Leader gives the reasons for this. Since the LTTE is a liberation organisation
we need international recognition and legal legitimacy. We went to the
international community to tell them about the problems of our people, and their
Next we went to the international community to show that the Sinhalese will not
give a reasonable and legally binding solution to the problems of the Tamil people.
For the past 50 years this problem has been dragging on and we were able to tell
the international press as well as the international community the reasons for this.
We need this from our side too. The talks are more difficult than war; in war you
can destroy the enemy, and show results.
Talks are a different type of war. There will be stratagems and pitfalls in
negotiation. Balasingham can be twisted. There will be plans to turn the Tiger
aims in a different direction. We have to face this. Talks are not easy.
The Sinhalese enemy will bring with them famous chanayakas, excellent
professionals, great educated men and legal experts. We have to handle them
with great care. Otherwise we will be lost.
In spite of this we fell into trouble. The Jayewardena-Rajiv agreement established
provincial councils, making us decommission weapons; we refused to accept
provincial councils. What happened next?
India tried to destroy us by sending her army to Sri Lanka. We opposed India to
safeguard our people and our policies. We as a small liberation organisation
fought the army of a big country and all of you are aware of it. Whether we lose
our cadres or the movement is destroyed we will always stand for our goals,
namely, to protect our people and this has been explained by our Leader clearly.
Ranil Wickremesinghe's close friend is Milinda Moragoda. He was the Economic
Reforms Minister, he took part in the talks. Just before the recent elections he
gave an interview to the press saying, "We dragged the Tigers to talks with the
international community and at the end we never gave them anything. We threw a
web round them. By this, the Tigers were broken - one of their leaders left the
movement and started his own outfit." You know whom he is referring to.
What actually happened? The government of Ranil Wickremesinghe took us for
talks thinking that these boys have been suffering in the forests; we will show them
the civilisation of the West and then the Tigers will leave the organisation and run
away. I was the leader of the Tiger delegation.
In Thailand talks took place. Mr. Peiris and I were talking of federalism but the
boys who came with me would go to Bangkok night clubs in the evening and come
back late in the night. Some of them were disturbed. Women were able to upset
them. Those who were disturbed should have left the movement and started sex
Just before the elections recently Milinda Moragoda says that the government of
Sri Lanka broke the Tiger movement by showing them the world and one leader
was made to run away. This was the strategy. We were able to recognise this all
along. Therefore, we were able to overcome these difficulties and we are now
ready with our strategy.
For 30 years talks and war have succeeded each other. Our Leader says the last
talks have been dragging for four years from December 2001. We signed a
Cease Fire Agreement from a position of strength. What is the result? Having
captured Wanni and Elephant Pass, having destroyed the army establishments,
we showed our friendly face.
This has continued for four years. With Ranil we had six rounds of talks in Norway,
Germany, Thailand, Japan and I too went for these talks. Ranil went and
Chandrika came back. We spoke to Chandrika. In these four years all the
agreements, all the decisions and all the goals arrived at, have not been
What does the international strategy show?
We have to talk about international strategy. The plan is to get us involved in
order to destroy our movement. America, Britain, Japan, European Union have
decided that it should be done this way. And then, they thrust it on us and we
continued this dialogue with the assistance of Norway as the facilitator. But
America, Japan and European Union keep on insisting that we do certain things.
Our people must decide what our people need. The international community
cannot do this. Within a unitary state the international community cannot insist on
the LTTE accepting any arrangement. De-commissioning of weapons also will not
be acceptable in these circumstances. This strategy was brought by Ranil and it is
Ranil who was the victim of this strategy. We stand.
The last year and the plan for war as well as the P-TOMS.
At the last Maveerar celebrations our Leader said we cannot get our people
without an interim administration in our territory; they cannot live in a vacuum. We
will continue to fight for our rights and if there is any dragging of talks we will win
our rights by force.
Our Leader is getting ready to engage in a liberation struggle to establish Tamil
Eelam. It was in this eventuality last December that the tsunami struck; 20,000
Tamils and Muslims died, 300,000 lost their homes and became refugees. In this
situation our Leader gave up the idea of a liberation struggle and got the fighters
to engage in rehabilitation work.
This tsunami kindled the conscience of the world. US$ 4 billion was offered.
Madam Chandrika thought that she would talk with the Tigers and get this money
with an ulterior motive. We engaged in talks with her in the hope that at least half
of it would come to us, even though more than 20,000 of our people had died and
300,000 were refugees.
The P-TOMS was established since the welfare of our people is paramount. We
cannot engage in war when our people are suffering. After a long period the
government of Sri Lanka and the Tigers signed the P-TOMS but as soon as it was
signed the JVP opposed it and left the government. The bare-headed bhikkus
also left the government. The Supreme Court upheld the objections of the JVP.
Our Leader points this out and says the Tamil people don't need federalism or
independence if you cannot implement the P-TOMS which was signed in good
faith. How can your government do anything more for the Tamil people? The
Sinhala governing establishment based on racism will never give our people their
Therefore, we will have to fight and win these rights. Living on Sinhala generosity
for 57 years is enough and our Leader upholds the fate of the P-TOMS as the
example to take in order to chart the future of our people.
Our Leader says there is a very important development, which is that an
underground war has taken place and is taking place. Some people throw
grenades but cannot be caught. And this year it has intensified.
Our leading cadres, our important fighters, our supporters, our intellectuals, and
our international agents have been subjected to this type of war. We have come
to the conclusion that it is the military intelligence which is behind this and those
encouraging them are the Sinhala chauvinists in political circles.
This is a peaceful era. The CFA has been in operation for four years; we wanted
peace but they want war. This is the work of Sinhala chauvinists. How patient have
we been for four years? But the international community keeps blaming us. Who
are these people killing? They are killing us.
The Sinhalese have faith in war; they do not have faith in peace or in talks. By
maintaining a faâ€¡ade the Sinhalese are conducting an underground war which
is a destructive affair hoping that our movement will die.
In this the Sinhala army does not come in the open, they use Tamil armed groups
who are paid operatives. Tamils against Tamils. This is the problem we have had.
We have it in London too.
There is no meaning in the words peace, cessation of hostilities and talks. Speak
of peace and conduct a war. Cover your face and conduct a dark war and a
shadowy war. Is this peace? When thousands of people have lost their homes and
are living in tents, is this the CFA in action?
When will the paramilitary be disarmed? By encouraging them, are you not
breaking the provisions of the CFA? Talks means dragging it out and getting the
international community to disarm us. Ranil's game was this.
Ranil's promise to the Tamils (Sinhalese only understand
Many of us are angry. If we voted for Ranil, we could have gone for talks with
Ranil but Ranil is a dangerous fox. Why I say this is because I am tired of talks. I
know about this from the days of Premadasa. I have been in this game from the
age of 17 and I know their tricks and their strategems.
Some would say Ranil is OK. He will give us a federal structure. We have spoken
about federalism for 57 years. Is this a new development? From Chelvanayagam
days we have been speaking of federalism. They will talk about federalism and
cheat us all along.
This P-TOMS which did not have the powers of even a village council was not
given to us. Do you think the Sinhalese will ever give us anything approaching a
federal structure and enthrone us in our land? Never.
Sinhalese understand one word, "hit." If you hit, they will understand. The Tigers
understand this. For the past 57 years, 30 years have been years when the
Tigers have fought and it is useless to raise our hands in prayer to the Sinhalese
and beg for federalism. It is useless. There is no hope for the Tamil people or for
Recently you would have noticed many movements in Jaffna and in the east
where the Tamil people have assembled in large numbers to talk about their
culture, and their way of life. This is the re-awakening of the Tamil people. This is
Pongu Tamil. This is not present among the Sinhalese.
The Tamil people are speaking loud to the international community. This is the
way they want to convince the international community that they have problems
and they have a just cause.
The election came. Whose election? To elect a Sinhala president. Why should we
participate in these elections? Whether Ranil is elected or Rajapakse is elected,
will the problem be solved? Never. Give a vote to one of them, put them on the
throne and go back to Bangkok and once again drag out the talks?
The LTTE called the MPs - don't trust these elections and don't take sides. The
people understood this message very clearly, that is what happened. The EPDP
wanted to cast illegal ballots but our university students lit fire crackers and
chased these EPDP cadres. The world is against us for this too.
The rejection of the elections and international opinion
The European Union according to some will ban the LTTE for having prevented
the Tamils from voting. In which case we ask the EU a question.
For the past 10 years, people have lost their homes, their land, their villages and
are now living as refugees. What about their democratic rights? Are you from the
international community concerned about this? Is this not a democratic right?
They say we should have voted for Ranil, in which case he would have won. He
would have wanted to set a trap for us. The failure of the Tamil people to vote was
an important event. An important event in the recent history. This is the first time
that the Tamil people did not accept a Sinhala government arrangement.
Whoever rules in the south is of no concern to us and in the Sinhala areas this is
causing considerable concern. The people of the north and east are not
concerned about Ranil or Rajapakse; they are opposed to the Sinhala political
establishment, the Sinhala government machinery; we do not want any part of the
south, namely, their governmental structure.
We will go our own way. You keep your governance and your authority, we will
keep our governing authority and our people will rule by themselves their area.
Unfortunately, the international community will blame us. We do not understand
The European Union representative called me and told me, "your movement has
prevented the Tamil people from voting and war is inevitable and your movement
is responsible for this. The European Union will condemn you and we will have to
I replied, you can condemn us. There is a ban in England but still you can see
thousands who have come to this hall; that is because you cannot separate the
LTTE and the people.
There is a ban on me in London. But if I were to hide in my house, nothing will
happen. If I were to get out and some person decides to kill me that will be good
news because I will become a hero. In Europe too this ban will be similar to the
one in Britain.
What we do openly will in future be done surreptitiously. I have a British passport
and I can do what I want. It is Tamilselvan and Puleedevan who cannot come to
Next the Leader speaks of another important idea. There the Sinhala people have
chosen a leader. Mahinda Rajapakse is a pure Sinhala Buddhist. He was chosen
by the Sinhala Buddhist votes. Sinhala Buddhist votes, voted by the majority to
Ranil got upcountry, Muslim and the Sinhala votes but if our people voted, he
would have won. But a Sinhala Buddhist has been elected; he has 27 parties with
him; yellow robes and red shirts are all with him and a big Buddhist hierarchy has
OK what happened in Tamil Eelam? Here the cry for statehood has arisen. The
Leader says, there is an administrative structure here; there is a LTTE
administrative unit. The Tiger unit and its government is very much here - that is
the structure of the Tamil nation and he describes what is in this structure.
We have a well defined territory. A territory marked by boundaries - a large
population, a navy and an army to protect them. In our area, we have a police
force to maintain law and order. We have a judicial structure to maintain this
territory. We are operating this governmental unit of ours. Our territory
encompasses 70% of Tamil Eelam and this government operates in this area.
The Sinhalese cannot see this and therefore cannot accept it. Even if he believes
it, he cannot accept it. His understanding of the Tigers is that it is a small terrorist
group and they keep telling the world this.
Some countries believe this and have branded us as terrorists. They tell us to
give up terrorist acts. Is it reasonable for us to give up our arms, to give up our
claim for a separate identity and take the offer of the Sinhala people according to
Pirapaharan replies, we have shown the world one truth after all these years. We
have been patient and according to your advice we have tried to negotiate but to
no purpose. We have no faith that they will give us anything. In which case, what
is the way out?
We have to take our fate into our hands; we have a government of our own; we
have our territory, 30% of our territory must come back to us, 70% is already with
us. People in the 30% area too will support us. They boycotted the elections - the
people of Jaffna.
The 40,000 army personnel could not get the people to vote. Pirapaharan sent a
message in a clandestine manner and the people obeyed him.
What is terrorism?
Speaking of terrorism, you have confined us. Tell us, what is terrorism? The
people will obey the law and dharma when enforced but not otherwise. India has
learnt this. Russia is suppressing some of its minorities.
In various parts of the world, national minorities have been suppressed and this
cannot be brought up at the United Nations. You are unable to define terrorism
but you must understand that for legality, justice and for equity liberation
movements have been branded when they fight for these ideals. Keeping this
threat alive, you keep the state terror mechanism active.
The United States champions antiterrorist action, and India Sri Lanka and Russia
are hiding their governmental terror tactics. Therefore, a movement where the
Tigers have lost 18,000 heroes and are able to hold their heads high are not
ready to sacrifice their just cause.
Is it correct for you to brand us terrorists? We are against state terrorism. Why are
you stamping us with this label? You keep your unitary state, we have our Tiger
Mahinda Rajapakse signed an agreement with the JHU and the JVP. He also says
it is the Mahinda Chinthana. Pirapaharan says that the difference between the
Mahinda Chinthana and the Tiger programme is vast.
Let us look at Mahinda's policy. He mentioned in parliament last Friday, that there
will be a settlement only under a unitary state and nothing else. We say, you keep
your unitary state and we will also establish our unitary state.
You keep your unitary state with your Buddhist priests; we will keep our unitary
state with the Tigers. There is no problem for us and we will not dispute your
The problem for us is those who promise us a federal structure. Mahinda is a
good man. Let him keep his unitary state, we will also keep our unitary state.
Mahinda says there is no Tamil homeland. By your saying it, will the traditional
We have liberated 70% of our homeland and we have our liberation army. You
say you want to meet our Leader. If you come, our police will give you protection,
and a visa will also be issued. Therefore, when we say that there is nothing
upstairs where the Sinhalese are concerned, is this not correct?
You say you won't give us the homeland, when 70% has been liberated and we
have a government structure. 30% has to be liberated. This will not take much
time. That will also come.
Mahinda says he will not give the Tamils an independent structure. Who asked
you for such a structure? All that has gone away - it is past history. We have now
taken a decision; we will take care of our fate ourselves. We will watch what you
are going to do.
The Tamil people have decided that they do not want your governance. They
have told you they will go their own way. There is no meaning in your saying that
there will be no federalism, no self-governance and no traditional homeland
because the path we travel will be different. We will win our rights.
Mahinda says that he wants to renegotiate the CFA - how are you going to
renegotiate? The CFA was signed between two parties and the SLMM was the
intermediary. Several countries were involved. The CFA is not restricted to the
government and the Tigers. It is an international agreement.
If you say you are going to change the CFA, is it by yourself? It is impossible.
Without our permission if you do it, the CFA will cease to exist. If you want to break
the ceasefire, do so. We are ready.
Mahinda says he is going to have a consensus with all parties and take a
decision. We know all about all-party conferences. The Sinhala governments from
time to time convene these all party conferences to cheat the Tamil people. Do
you think that you can get 27 parties and arrange a programme acceptable to us?
Rajapakse has 27 parties but not a single minority group is with him. He has one
person - you know who he is. He is supposed to be in charge of Social Services.
He is actually in charge of Anti-Social Services and minister in charge of that. It is
a ministry fit for his capabilities.
Is this an interval or is this the fall?
Pirapaharan tells Mahinda lastly, I will give you a small time frame. You are a
seasoned politician and a practical man. You want to speak to the Tigers and you
want a new way of approaching this subject. Alright, we will not throw you out when
you show your friendly face. We will give you an opportunity but it will be a very
What are you going to do with it? Peace, CFA and what type of legal structure for
the Tamil people? We will watch all this.
We do not want to confront you now. We will give you a short breathing space.
Next year, if you keep dragging talks, we will definitely not accept it and we will
proceed to intensify our struggle.
Some media personnel have interpreted our Leader's statement to mean that he
has given only one month. But it is not so. It can be either at the beginning of next
year or in the middle of next year. Whatever the obstacles, whatever the harm,
whatever the suffering we will oppose and wage war and get back our motherland.
[Courtesy: Sunday Leader]