Chandrika's "Great Victory"

— Vickramabahu Karunarathne

THE PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE government "liberation" war [against the Tamil Tigers] is claimed to be a great success. Unfortunately, Tamils generally refused to be liberated. They ran away from the Sinhala "liberation" army as if it was the devil’s army advancing on them. Many Tamils have abandoned the Jaffna peninsula altogether and have come to the Vavuniya district. Some half million people have been made into refugees.

The leaders of the People’s Alliance claim that the Tigers forced these people to flee. There is some truth in this. But, in general, people started leaving when the realized that the Tigers were incapable of resisting the attack of a well-equipped traditional army. The moment Tigers started retreating, the exodus started. Obviously the Tigers did not want only the lame and the loyal to be left behind: hence the order for everyone to leave. Thus we had the ridiculous spectacle of a Sinhala army "liberating" the virtually empty city of Jeffna from the escaping Tamil people.

The Tamils had to retreat, and the Tamil people were evicted from their famed city. Chandrika agreed that this called for celebrations. The people, burdened by rising prices, did not respond enthusiastically to this call of the racists. But state-sponsored celebrations went ahead, at great expense.

Whatever Prime Inister Chandrika claims, the reality is that she has occupied the hub of culture and identity of the Lankan Tamil people sans Tamil people! The purported victory over the Tigers is an illusion.

Certainly this is a defeat for the Tigers. They used to have illusions about their ability to resist the attack of a conventional army. They underestimated the Sinhala army’s potential. We have now seen how, with enough resources, it can become a ferocious military machine.

The governmental military victory has multiplied many problems. The war continues, as a protracted guerilla activity. Half a million Tamils have become refugees. Almost all Tamils are alienated [from the PA government]. chauvinist militaristic forces have gained strength.

ATC 62, May-June 1996