The growing significance
of the  
"Great Heroes Day"
TamilWeek, Nov 27 - Dec 2, 2005
"LTTE to intensify struggle for self-determination if
reasonable political solution is not offered soon"

Full Text of Great Heroes Day Address by LTTE leader V.
Pirapaharan, Nov 27, 2005
17th Address in 2005
1st Address in 1989
The Sinhala nation continues to be entrapped in the Mahavamsa mindset, in that
mythical ideology. The Sinhalese people are still caught up in the legendary fiction
that the island of Sri Lanka is a divine gift to Theravada Buddhism, a holy land
entitled to the Sinhala race. The Sinhala nation has not redeemed itself from this
mythological idea that is buried deep and has become fossilised in their collective
unconscious. It is because of this ideological blindness the Sinhalese people and
their political and religious leaders are unable to grasp the authentic history of the
island and the social realities prevailing here. They are unable to comprehend and
accept the very existence of a historically constituted nation of Tamil people living in
their traditional homeland in north-eastern Sri Lanka, entitled to fundamental
political rights and freedoms. It is because of the refusal by the Sinhala nation to
perceive the existential reality of the Tamils and their political aspirations the Tamil
national question persists as an unresolved complex issue.

We do not expect a radical transformation in the social consciousness, in the
political ideology, in the Mahavamsa mental structure of the Sinhalese people. The
scope and power of Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony has not receded, rather, it has
revived and taken new forms, exerting a powerful dominance on the southern
political arena. In these objective conditions we do not believe that we can gain a
reasonable solution from the Sinhala nation. We have to fight and win our rights. We
have never entertained the idea that we could obtain justice from the compassion of
the Sinhala politicians. This has always been the view of our liberation organisation.

Even though we are deeply convinced that we cannot obtain justice from the Sinhala
political leadership, but rather have to fight and win our rights, we were compelled by
unprecedented historical circumstances to participate in peace talks with the Sinhala
state. We were compelled to engage in the negotiating process by the intervention
of the Indian regional superpower at a particular historical period and by the
pressure of the international community at a later period. There were other reasons
also that encouraged us to engage in the peace process. Constructive engagement
in the peace process is a viable means to secure legitimacy for our liberation
organisation as the representative organ of our people. We also wanted to
internationalise our struggle and win the support and sympathy of the international
community. Furthermore, there is a need to convince the world community that we
are not war-mongers addicted to armed violence, but rather, firmly and sincerely
committed to non-violent peace process. Finally and most importantly, we wanted to
demonstrate beyond doubt that the Sinhala racist ruling elites would not accept the
fundamental demands of the Tamils and offer a reasonable political solution. It was
with these objectives we participated in the peace process.

Over the last three decades of our national liberation struggle we have observed
ceasefires and participated in peace talks at different periods of time in different
historical circumstances. We knew that our enemy was dishonest and devious. We
knew that these peace talks would not produce any positive results. We knew that
there would be peace traps. Yet we participated in the peace talks with sincere
commitment and dedication. In the course of our engagement we encountered
pressures and complex challenges. There were traps to undermine our liberation
struggle. We acted prudently and avoided pitfalls. We vehemently opposed all
subversive strategies that were detrimental to the interests of our people. The Tamil
people are fully aware of the fact that during the time of Indian intervention, when we
encountered a serious threat to our freedom struggle and to the interests of our
people, our liberation organisation was bold enough to oppose the Indian
superpower and fight its military machine.

From the Thimpu talks, we have participated in several peace negotiations, at
different times, at different places. Unprecedented in the history of our struggle, it is
only now, we have devoted a lengthy period of four years for the peace effort.
However, despite this protracted period of time our sincere and persistent efforts to
reach a settlement to the problems of our people have become futile.

The recent peace talks have been significant and essentially different. They have
been held with the facilitation of a third country, with the supervision of the
international community. There were sessions of negotiations with Mr Ranil
Wickremasinghe’s administration and later with Chandrika Kumaratunga’s
government. The decisions, resolutions and Agreements reached during these
negotiations were never fulfilled. During this process of negotiations we were
extremely tolerant and even compromised on several issues. Nevertheless, the
Sinhala political leadership refused to offer justice to our people.

On the 24 December 2001 we unilaterally declared cessation of hostilities and
opened the doors for peace. At that time, when we extended our hand of friendship
to the Sinhala nation, we stood on a strong foundation. Having liberated the Vanni
region and over run the Elephant Pass military complex, we had firmly established
the balance of military power in our favour. I need not go into the details of the
peace negotiations we had with Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe’s government in various
world capitals under Norwegian facilitation. It is suffice to say that Mr
Wickremasinghe’s administration was unable to resolve even the basic existential
hardships and urgent humanitarian needs of our people. Adopting delaying tactics,
Ranil’s government was primarily focusing on setting up an international safety net
aiming at decommissioning our weapons. An international aid conference was
organised in Tokyo in June 2003 as an essential element of this subversive scheme.
Having realised the implications of the international safety net we decided to boycott
the Tokyo conference and eventually to suspend the peace talks. Having failed to
achieve anything, Ranil’s regime came to an end. In the meantime President
Kumaratunga formed a new government with the alliance of racist forces opposed to
peace. Chandrika refused to initiate the peace talks even though our organisation
was willing to negotiate on the basis of our proposal for an interim self-government
authority. Time began to elapse in a political vacuum without an interim settlement or
a permanent solution. We realised that the aim of the Sinhala chauvinistic political
leadership was to misdirect and undermine our liberation struggle by entrapping us
in the uncertainty of a political vacuum. Faced with the meaningless absurdity of
living in the illusion of peace we decided to resume our national liberation struggle. It
was at that conjuncture, during the latter part of last year, when we were charting
our action plan, that the horrendous natural disaster struck.

Suddenly, unexpectedly the tsunami waves struck at the villages and settlements
along the eastern coastal belt of our homeland causing an unprecedented
catastrophe. In this cataclysmic disaster unleashed by nature, twenty thousand
Tamil and Muslim people perished and about three hundred thousand people lost
their homes, properties and were reduced to conditions of refugees. As nature
inflicted further calamity on the Tamil nation, which had already suffered
monumental destruction by war, our people were burdened with unbearable
suffering. In these circumstances, our liberation movement was geared to confront
the crisis. Our fighting formations, as well as our cadres belonging to various social
and administrative services, were immediately engaged in the tasks of relief and
rehabilitation.

As the tsunami catastrophe shook the conscience of the world, the international
governments volunteered to provide huge sums of money in aid for relief and
rehabilitation of the affected people. In the meantime President Kumaratunga
expressed her willingness to form a joint administrative mechanism in cooperation
with the LTTE to implement the tasks of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction for
the affected Tamil speaking people. We decided to talk to the Kumaratunga
government since we had to give primacy to the extraordinary humanitarian tragedy
faced by our people. Talks were conducted at the level of peace secretariats. Since
we wanted to avoid delays in the negotiating process we adopted a flexible attitude,
even compromised on crucial matters, and finally an agreement was reached to
establish a joint administrative mechanism. The Accord was also signed by both
parties.

The international community expressed full support for the joint administrative
structure worked out by both the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE. The
international governments also expressed hope that a congenial environment for
joint effort by warring parties had been created. But the Sinhala-Buddhist racist
forces could not tolerate the emergence of a congenial environment of goodwill.
Having registered their vehement protest to the joint administrative mechanism, the
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Jathika Hela Urumaja withdrew their support
to the government. These parties also filed a case in the Supreme Court challenging
the constitutional validity of the joint administrative mechanism. The determination of
the Supreme Court made the joint mechanism inoperative.

With the demise of the tsunami mechanism the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism killed
the last hope of the Tamil people. Even the all-powerful President Kumaratunga
could not provide a simple humanitarian project for the Tamils against the wishes of
the Sinhala racist forces. The tsunami mechanism was not devolved with any
political power nor was it to have any administrative authority. If there was so much
opposition in southern Sri Lanka to a simple provisional arrangement then it is a
daydream to expect to secure a regional self-governing authority in the Tamil
homeland by negotiating with the Sinhala political leadership. This is the political
truth that we have been able to learn from the four year period of the peace
process. We hope that the international community, which has been intensively
observing this political drama, similarly understands this truth.

I wish to explain here a matter of crucial importance, which betrays the politics of
duplicity of the Sinhala ruling elites. You would have heard about a secret shadow
war being waged against our organisation behind the screen of peace. This
subversive war has been unleashed with the aim of weakening our liberation
organisation and to undermine our struggle. A large number of people consisting of
our senior cadres, important members, supporters, Tamil politicians, journalists and
educationists who were sympathetic to our cause, have been cowardly murdered.
We know the real masterminds behind this shadow war. Though these violent acts
were committed under the guidance and direction of the Sri Lankan military
intelligence, we are aware that mysterious hands of some racist Sinhala politicians
are behind these nefarious activities. This subversive war is being conducted in the
government controlled territories, with the backing of the armed forces, utilising
Tamil para-military elements as instruments. We expressed vehement protest to the
Sri Lanka government when our unarmed political cadres were murdered and our
political offices were bombed in the government controlled areas. Since the
government ignored our protests we were compelled to withdraw our cadres to our
controlled areas.

A strange low intensity war has been unleashed against us taking advantage of the
conditions of peace effected by the ceasefire. Disarming the Tamil para-military
groups is an obligation of the state under terms of the Ceasefire Agreement. Having
failed to fulfil this crucial obligation the Sri Lanka state has been utilising the Tamil
para-militaries as instruments of this subversive war against our liberation
organisation. This is a serious war offence. This is similar to a treacherous act in
which one stabs you in the back with one hand while pretending to embrace you with
the other. This behaviour clearly demonstrates that the Sinhala ruling elites have no
genuine interest in peace and ethnic reconciliation. The Sri Lanka state has not
given up the military option but rather transformed the war into a new mode of state
terror under conditions of peace. We hope that the international community will
discern the real mode of this shadow war and perceive its ugly face and ulterior
motives.

As far as the Tamil people are concerned, the concepts of peace, ceasefire and
negotiations have become meaningless; concepts that do not correspond to or
reflect reality. A shadow war conducted under conditions of peace, military
occupation perpetrated in violation of the terms of ceasefire, an international
subversive network woven during political negotiations, are the distorted ways the
peace process has been abused. Because of these factors our people have lost
faith in everything.

Our people have lost faith in a peace process that has failed to secure them a real,
peaceful life; they have lost faith in a ceasefire that has failed to remove the
occupation army from their homes; they have lost faith in the talks that have failed to
resolve their long standing problems.

Our people can no longer tolerate an unstable life and an uncertain future. The
waves of popular upsurgence erupting in the Tamil homeland are manifestations of
the discontent and despair of our people; they are fierce demonstrations of their
political aspirations. The multitude of Tamil masses, who converged at recent Tamil
resurgence conventions, have publicly proclaimed their demands. The international
community cannot ignore these proclamations of a unified nation calling for the
recognition of their right to self-determination, of their right to rule themselves. Our
people aspire to determine their own political status. Having been subjected to
decades of systematic state repression, they call upon the international community
to recognise their political aspirations.

We have now reached a significant historic turning point in our struggle for self-
determination. The ruling elites of southern Sri Lanka will never recognise our
people’s right to self-determination. The Tamil right to self-determination will never
find space in the entrenched majoritarian constitution and in the political system built
on that constitutional structure. Our people have, therefore, realised that they have
no alternative other than to fight and win their right to self-determination. Self-
determination entails the right to freely choose, without external interference, our
political life. The Sinhala nation has been refusing to embrace our people, to
recognise their national identity and to share political power. This political alienation
has continued since the independence of the island 57 years ago. Frustrated by
years of alienation, oppression and ill-treatment as an unwanted people, the Tamils
have finally decided to exclude and boycott the Sri Lankan polity and its power
system. The boycott of the presidential elections by the vast majority of Tamil people
was a concrete expression of this perspective. Our people did not participate in the
election even though they had the voting power to determine the election of a new
president. The non-participation of the Tamils should not be construed as a
judgement of the personalities or policies of the presidential candidates. Rather, this
political boycott was an expression of deep distrust and disillusionment of the Tamil
people with the Sinhala political system. This event symbolises a serious turning
point in the political history of the Tamils. It signifies that the Tamil people may
choose their own path and freely determine their own political destiny.

The Sinhala nation has chosen a new national leader. A new administration has
assumed power under his leadership. This new government has been elected by the
Sinhala majority specifically with their voting power. The national minorities are not
represented in this government. It is essentially a Sinhala-Buddhist regime.
Therefore Mahinda Rajapakse does not represent all the social formations of this
country. He has assumed power as a president to protect and promote the interests
of the Sinhala-Buddhist community. We are all aware of Mahinda Rajapaske’s
thoughts and policies. We are also aware of the incompatible gaps and the
irreconcilable contradictions that exist between Mr Rajapakse’s political vision and
the Tamils’ struggle for self-determination. I do not wish to engage myself in a
comparative analysis of this issue.

The recent presidential elections and the change in governance effected by the
Tamil boycott have created a wide rift, politically, between the Tamil and Sinhala
nations. While Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony has assumed predominance in the
south, Tamil nationalism has emerged as a powerful force and consolidating itself in
the Tamil homeland. While a new government under Mahinda Rajapkse has
assumed power in the Sinhala nation, LTTE’s administration is expanding and
gaining strength as a concrete embodiment of Tamil nationalism.

The international community is fully aware of the fact that we are running an
efficient, self-governing administrative structure in the majority areas of the Tamil
homeland, which were liberated from Sinhala military occupation by our
organisation. Our administrative structure is formidable, consisting of our controlled
territories with huge civilian populations, protected by a powerful military force. We
have a police force and a judicial system to maintain law and order. We have also
developed a complex administrative infra-structure of a shadow government.
Though a large number of Tamils are still living in the military occupied Tamil region,
their allegiance is with our liberation movement. The Sinhalese ruling class refuses
to accept this ground reality, this political truth and attempts to belittle our liberation
organisation as a ‘terrorist group’. We are disappointed and sad to note that some
international governments, having been influenced by this false propaganda,
continue to retain our organisation on their terrorist list. Biased positions taken by
powerful nations acting as guardians of the peace process, in excluding and
alienating our liberation organisation as a ‘terrorist outfit’ and supporting the
interests of the Sri Lankan state, severely affected the balance of power relations
between the parties in conflict at the peace negotiations. This pro-state bias
constrained our liberty to choose our own political status. This partiality finally
became one of the causes for the collapse of the peace talks.

There is no clear, coherent, globally acceptable definition of the concept of terrorism.


As such, just and reasonable political struggles fought for righteous causes are also
branded as terrorism. Even authentic liberation movements struggling against racist
oppression are denounced as terrorist outfits. In the current global campaign
against terror, state terrorism always finds its escape route and those who fight
against state terror are condemned as terrorists. Our liberation organisation is also
facing a similar plight.

We have now reached the critical time to decide on our approach to achieve the
objective of our struggle. At this crucial historical turning point a new government
under a new leader has assumed power in the Sinhala nation. This new government
is extending its hand of friendship towards us and is calling our organisation for
peace talks. It claims that it is going to adopt a new approach towards the peace
process. Having carefully examined his policy statement in depth, we have come to a
conclusion that President Rajapkse has not grasped the fundamentals, the basic
concepts underlying the Tamil national question. In terms of policy, the distance
between him and us is vast. However, President Rajapakse is considered a realist
committed to pragmatic politics, we wish to find out, first of all, how he is going to
handle the peace process and whether he will offer justice to our people. We have,
therefore, decided to wait and observe, for sometime, his political manoeuvres and
actions.

Our people have lost patience, hope and reached the brink of utter frustration. They
are not prepared to be tolerant any longer. The new government should come
forward soon with a reasonable political framework that will satisfy the political
aspirations of the Tamil people. This is our urgent and final appeal. If the new
government rejects our urgent appeal, we will, next year, in solidarity with our
people, intensify our struggle for self-determination, our struggle for national
liberation to establish self-government in our homeland.

[Official translated version of the full text of Mr Pirapaharan’s Address - LTTS PS]
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