This mass movement is at a key juncture that will affect the lives of Tamils for the rest of time. Depending on the forces that capture power, Sri Lanka could revert back to the past where anti-Tamil pogroms were launched by the government or Sri Lanka could end oppression and abandon Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism. It is in the Tamils’ interest to struggle to achieve the latter, which would not only end the suffering of the Sinhala working class but also the racial oppression.
Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism has been used by the elites to control the Sinhala working class. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike barely spoke Sinhala and didn’t seem to have personal animosity to his Tamil parliamentary colleagues but he used Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism as an effective tool to get power.
Leader of LTTE V.Prabhakaran has said numerous times that he was not against the Sinhalese people but against the state. The Sinhala people have now turned against the state system and now is the opportunity for the Sinhala people to learn how Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism is not only used to target Tamils and Muslims. This has caused much suffering to the people as well and has directly led to the crisis that we are facing.
Why is the Tamil diaspora and civil society not tired of waiting for the International community to act? What the international community is looking for is a way to reduce the financial losses to their institutions from the collapse, and not the well-being of the people. These countries knew of the human rights situation. Many UNHCR resolutions that were passed had resulted in no action. An independent socialist state of Tamil Eelam has no support from the international community. TNA and India have been putting on a show for 30 years, which we should be tired of. Why would India create Tamil Eelam when it has separatist issues such as Jammu & Kashmir? China has Hong Kong and Xijang, and many European states have separatist movements.
There are many organisations and individuals vying for power; Even General Fonseka has seen an opportunity to put himself forward as president; these people are part of the existing system and will not bring the change that is needed. The JVP claims to be the rightful leaders but their collaboration with the Rajapakse in the past, their anti-Tamil rhetoric, their support for restructuring the debt, and approaching the IMF clearly show their false Marxist and socialist pedigree. JVP policies would be the same as Pol Pot in Cambodia, where millions died due to starvation.
History has shown many revolutions that failed to reach the ideals of their movements, Stalin’s rise in the USSR led to an authoritarian regime rather than the democratic system envisioned by Lenin. The Iranian revolution against the western-backed Shah was not just Islamists but a broad coalition of organisations but due to lack of organisation structure in the protest, the Islamists were able to take charge and create a theocracy. Egypt reverted back to military rule, to name a few.
Now is the time to engage with the Sinhala masses and bring them into our struggle and drive a vision of the future where there is peace on the Island, which is not an absence of war.