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Shifting the Narrative on the War on Terrorism due to Little Sri Lanka: Part 1

June 5, 2011

Shifting the Narrative on the War on Terrorism due to Little Sri Lanka: Part 1

First published May 21st 2009 11:12

Shifting the Narrative on the War on Terrorism due to Little Sri Lanka: Part 1

In the last few days (May 2009) there seems to be a mixture relief and trepidation over the ending of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Images prove that the LTTE terrorist leader Prabhakaran was dead have been beamed around the world but still there are people who are suffering from end of war denial. It is understandable of course. Some people would be unable to comprehend how someone so unstoppable for three decades is suddenly vanquished. Perhaps this monstrous person called Prabhakaran had created an image that he was superhuman and could not be killed. Yet there he lies dead as if he is no more powerful than any other human on the planet. He was after all just a man.


There has never been a terrorist organization like the LTTE (Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam) because they were setting the bench mark of what a terrorist group can do. No other terrorist organization so systematically infected their society and instilled either absolute loyalty or absolute fear into the population. The reach of the LTTE did not stop at the edge of the nation like most do but went after the expatriates and turned them into a steady cash cow. Businesses in Europe were given quotas of how much they must pay the LTTE based upon expected profits. Individuals were touched to provide direct debit to the LTTE. They were even the first terrorist organization to issue a computerized identity card system to draw more money from the Tamil Diaspora whether they wanted to do this or not. One front organization called the TRO (Tamil Rehabilitation Organization) raised millions in the name of charity and redirected the funds to the LTTE. The TRO is now banned in Europe, Canada and many other countries.


For those living under the fiefdom created by Prabhakaran and the LTTE it was a totalitarian state that entrapped the body, mind and next generation into a perpetual war. When an LTTE cadre is recruited they were to consider themselves as already being dead. Cyanide vile hangs around the neck of every LTTE cadre with the commitment to take their own life rather than be captured. This policy even went down to the thousands of child soldiers that the LTTE forcibly recruited. They were a cult who worshiped death by conquest and built huge cemeteries to display their dead. They even lit up those cemeteries to ritualize the worship of death by conquest. The invention of the suicide jacket was just another natural extension of this ritualize culture of death and suicide. No one believed more in death with dignity than the LTTE cadres. To the LTTE death for Eelam gave all their actions dignity. The problem was they did not care whose death it was.

Nearly half of the suicide bombings by the LTTE came from female cadres. Yet no one sees the irony of how this adherence to the Marxist ideology of feminist equality actually exploits women. Nearly all the victims of the LTTE were civilians. More Tamils were killed by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) than by anyone else. They were ruthless and bloodthirsty beyond what few people can imagine. The term ax murderer only lightly describes their methods of killing. Entire villages were hacked to death by the LTTE and in some cases by hordes of child soldiers. They were children robbed of childhood and turned into nothing but cannon fodder.

It is not my purpose to enrage the reader but to make them understand when we use the term terrorist we must fully understand what it means. The LTTE were terrorists in every sense of the word.

Naive people often dream up a romantic image of revolutionaries and may wear tee shirts with Che Guevara iconic face staring idyllically to the horizon. They do this because either they do not know Che was a murderer and a torturer or they just do not care. The underdog status is often used to excuse all behaviour because the underdog looks braver. And who does not want to look brave? This was half the problem in fighting a terrorist group like the LTTE. They were masters at crying victim through a sophisticated network of media contacts. Reuters News wrote an article some time back explaining how they were being bombarded from the LTTE propaganda organizations with horror stories and unsubstantiated claims of massacres. Unfortunately many sensation-hungry media outlets swallowed the stories and ran them as if they were true. The underdog myth was enough to build credibility with many of them and so we had false stories about shelled hospitals littering the internet.

The other thing that the LTTE was expert at was playing others for fools. The pressure upon Sri Lanka to negotiate with the LTTE was applied by the International community. President Premadasa negotiated with the LTTE in the late eighties and was assassinated soon afterward. Peace talks for the LTTE were nothing but a chance to regroup and restock weapons. Time and time again they would agree to one point then a moment later demand something impossible for the Sri Lankan Government to give. Peace talks repeatedly failed because the LTTE would refuse to attend or walk out. Even after the Norwegian negotiated cease-fire was agreed assassinations and bombings continued. The cease-fire agreement collapsed after the LTTE walked away from the negotiation table.

Yet in that period from 2006 to 2008 the LTTE had used their statehood to ship in heavy and sophisticated weaponry. They even shipped in 4 planes that were later used to launch attacks on Colombo. The LTTE weapons captured in the Civil War are testaments to how well equipped they had become; Thousands upon thousands of claymore mines, automatic weapons and ammunition. More disturbing were 130mm and 150mm heavy artillery that could match almost any army. They LTTE had used the ceasefire well. They had used it to arm up in readiness for another war.

It was never a question of negotiating a settlement with the LTTE because they saw negotiation as just a way of buying time for another battle. Regroup and rearm is what they did time and time again. Like most terrorists they saw any human compassion for the victims of war as a weakness that they could exploit for advantage. By the time this last conflict came the LTTE had blown all of its credibility to those that they claimed to be negotiating with.

Editorial Comment:

This article was first published soon after the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War. (May 2009)

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