Empires are crumbling – Tamils’ submissive mentality isn’t
European hegemonies began to crumble with the emergence of the 20th century. The disintegration commenced despite the major role Europe had established in shaping the world through global order. An example is the British Empire which at one point controlled over a quarter of the Earth. However, such imperial structures began to crumble with the First World War, where European powers fought amongst themselves. Furthermore, the end of WWII saw the degradation of European power dynamics where many imperial European powers lost most of their colonies. It simultaneously saw the rise of the US empire, thus shaping global order for the following decades, through its rivalry with the Soviet Union.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the US empire was the sole superpower which shaped the world as an empire never seen before in history. However, in the 21st century, we are now witnessing the probable disintegration of this empire and the possible rise of a Chinese empire.
In the last two centuries, the dynamics of empires have changed or are evolving. As a result, the catalyst for the Tamil struggle was created and shaped. The British Empire laid the foundation of the genocidal state of Sri Lanka, which caused the nonviolent Tamil struggle and the subsequent armed struggle. However, it was in fact the US empire which played a major role in the process of crushing the armed resistance and continues its role in strengthening the status quo.
The US was known to have provided secret training operations for Sri Lanka’s forces as far back as the 90s. However, during Eelam War IV, the US imperial power significantly aided the genocidal destruction of the Tamils’ armed struggle through the provision of; military aid, technological assistance and political endorsement for the Sri Lankan state’s
genocidal intentions. Even if their voices say that the US has stopped their supply of military aid to Sri Lanka due to human rights concerns, it is far from the blatant truth. The document titled, “Brief Introduction into US Complicity” is a must read to gain a more comprehensive insight into the US’ role in Sri Lanka during that specific period. This document is availableon the Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka’s website,
However, this US policy has not changed. On 14.02.2020, the US Department of State had declared a travel ban on Shavendra Silva based on, “credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights.” However, in that same statement it was further mentioned that, “The United States remains committed to strengthening the bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka and helping reshape its security forces to tackle current and emerging threats.”
It is upon that basis that the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 1333 of the US Army (primary fighting force of the Green Berets) had engaged in a training exercise with the Sri Lankan navy. This four-week training operation focused on a multitude of areas including:
- Human rights
- Law of armed conflict
- Small unit tactics
- Military operations in urban environment
- Tactical combat casualty care
- Combat marksmanship
- Close quarter battle
- Mission planning
- Maritime operations
It is also noteworthy that the Green Berets had trained the genocidal Sri Lankan forces during the 90s thus evident that the US tendency towards Sri Lanka and the Tamil struggle had not changed much. On the other hand, the Tamils’ tendency towards the US and Europe has changed in the aftermath of 2009.
The Tamils’ revolutionary spirit of resistance has degraded into a submissive position. This may be as a result of the emergence of a Tamil generation who were born and raised in the West whose influence has poisoned the Tamil struggle for liberation.
Failing to be critical of our host countries and attempting to manoeuvre around the obstacles imposed by them, will not allow the Tamil struggle to proceed. It is disappointing to see the failure of many Tamil activists to identify the shortcomings of the UN Human Rights Council. The renewed attempts of these activists to reimplement another such failure within these structures is further problematic. Therefore, a question that we must all turn to ask ourselves is,
“How much more do we have to lose to set the course of the Tamil struggle on the right path again?”