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muthiah muralidharan 800All is well that ends well. We are glad that Vijay Sethupathi has at last decided to opt-out of his agreement to play the role of Cricketer Muthiah Muralidharan in the biopic 800. This 'controversy' has once again brought to the fore the continued imperative of consistently and persistently taking forward the BOYCOTT SRILANKA campaign. The Tamil community all over the world, Tamils from the Homeland, from Tamilnadu and from the Diaspora rose as one to expose the 'Doosra’ expert for what he is, and appeal to the Actor concerned not to break ranks and play into the hands of the Sinhala perpetrators of the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This unity of purpose and action should be maintained without any letup, especially as we are still far from realizing our goal of Remedial Justice.

It is pleasing to note that this artful success has come close on the heels of the unity of Tamil Organizations in the Homeland in denouncing the Sri Lanka Government’s illegal and unethical ban on observing the memory of the great martyrdom of Thileepan. The Sinhala supremacist state and its organs, including the judiciary, were caught napping in calling Thileepan a terrorist. One who undertook an epic fast unto death even without drinking a drop of water and showed to India, and Sri Lanka, what ‘ahimsa’ and ‘satyagraha’ meant, he was branded a terrorist by the mass marauders who put to excruciating death more than a lakh Tamils just in order to deny the Tamil nation its right to live with honor.

This unity of the Tamil community has to be built upon by carrying forward the Campaign for Remedial Justice on all fronts. Come March, and the United Nations Human Rights Council will be seized of the Sri Lanka issue. The international community has to find a way to force the state of Sri Lanka to implement at least the past UNHRC resolutions, especially Resolution No. 30/1 co-sponsored by Sri Lanka itself. The U.N. in general and the UNHRC, in particular, run the risk of losing their credibility by letting Sri Lanka stonewall the international efforts to achieve accountability, justice and reconciliation in the island country. The three U.N. Reports, namely the three-member Expert Panel Report of 2011, the U.N. Internal Audit Report of 2012 and the OISL Report of 2015 are there on the global table to substantiate grave charges of violation of international law by an unrepentant genocidal state. The great concern and labor that went into these Reports should not be allowed to gather dust and go into oblivion.

If the recalcitrant state of Sri Lanka cannot be forced to abide by its own commitments at the UNHRC the next logical step should be to place the matter before the General Assembly or the Security Council in order to refer the accused State to the International Court of Justice. It is for the member-states to take the initiative and move the UNHRC for taking the matter forward to the G.A. or S.C. Otherwise, these states, as well as the U.N., stand the risk of losing credibility in the eyes of the peoples of the world with long-term consequences for peace and stability. A desperate people left with its own means to redeem justice for itself does not augur well for the world at large.

However, it is, of course, a truism that the U.N. organs, including the UNHRC consist of states and states act out of their own geopolitical interests rather than their concern for Human Rights. So it is for us together with our friends to insist on states to lead the way in respecting the word and spirit of international law in the form of various Conventions and Resolutions. The transnational existence of the Tamils and their organizations would come in handy in uniting with national and international forces of peace and justice and persuade the different states to act in the right direction. The Long Walk for Justice and the marches in Europe on the UNHRC in Geneva are some recent cases in point. This Tamil internationalism, an objective and subjective by-product of Tamil nationalism should in its turn interest itself in the ongoing struggles of the various peoples and develop solidarity with them so that Tamils play their destined role of bringing up a better world. It was fine that the Tamils from Lanka and India were seen to join the Blacks and Whites of North America in the Black Lives Movement. We have our brothers and sisters in Palestine, in Bolivia and Colombia, in Tibet and Hong Kong, in Kashmir and Manipur and where not. Tamils ought to unite among themselves and with the progressive peoples of the world.

On the home front, the protracted struggle of our mothers for justice to the victims of enforced disappearances, the struggle for the release of the POWs and others in detention, the struggle for retrieving the land seized by the Sinhala state and army, the struggle to get rid of military occupation… all the streams of a struggle for justice should be developed into a mass movement. The campaign to oppose the 20th Amendment to the Constitution of opens an avenue for Tamils to join hands with the Sinhala forces of democracy. The perpetrators of genocide, in their quest for absolute power, are doing their best to isolate themselves, and this is a blessing in disguise for the Tamil campaign. The handful of Tamil quislings are also out to drown with their masters. With CV Vigneswaran, J. and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam leading the way, the Tamil parliamentarians can do well to help coordinate the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forms of the struggle for democracy.

These are all signs of the time, good for the Tamil struggle. And unity, fighting unity should be the watchword.

- Thiagu

(This article was published in Fortnightly Magazine 'Abel', October 20, 2020)

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