Amidst intense hostilities, the much awaited Hero's Day speech delivered by the LTTE chief Prabhakaran on 27 November is significant. The yearly pronouncement details the LTTE's current thinking and future strategy on various issues. In this edition, the Tiger chief touched on:
" What led to the ongoing war and how the Tigers see it?
" Is the LTTE ready for peace at this juncture?
" What should be the desired stand of the international community towards the LTTE?
" How is India viewed?
" What is the way ahead?
According to the LTTE chief, Tamils of Sri Lanka are "confronted with an intense war as never before." The Sinhala state is "pooling together all its military resources … to wipe out the national life and resources of the Tamils." To him, "various countries of the world [are] buttressing the genocidal war". However, "today's challenges are neither novel nor huge" and vowed to "face these challenges with the united strength of our people." Reiterating that "the armed violent path was forced upon us by history" he claimed that the "military victory" for Sinhalese was only a "dream".
Despite this, Prabhakaran wishes "to stop the war and seek a peaceful resolution to the national question." The main problems, however, for him are "intransigence of the Sinhala state, its dishonest approach and its faith in military solution" that were responsible for failure of previous peace talks. He disclosed that the LTTE never trusted the Sinhala state's ability to settle the issue through negotiations, yet was participating in the talks "to expose the hypocrisy of the Sinhala state" to the international community. Does this mean that the LTTE always went in for talks with this intention in mind and not with the idea of resolving the ethnic issue? The LTTE also effectively made use of peace interregnums to recoup and strike back. The ceasefire were also used assassinate important political, military and intelligence heavy weights identified as "traitors'.
Given the assertions of the LTTE, the confrontations are going to become more deadly and devastating. Presently, the Tigers are not in a good position to withstand the rapidly advancing government forces. Kilinochchi, their administrative capital, may fall any time. Yet, the LTTE may not give-up that easily as it has confronted many such set backs in the past. In case of loss of territory, the Tigers' plan is to melt into jungles and wait for an opportune moment to bounce back. Meanwhile, it will resort to guerilla attacks to tire the occupying state forces.
To make a turn around, however, the LTTE desperately requires a lifeline. The Tiger supremo wonders whether the international community offers one. He called "those countries that have banned us, to understand the deep aspirations and friendly overtures of our people, to remove their ban on us and to recognise our just struggle." He accused that war materials, military training and expert advice from some countries "has encouraged the Sinhala state to aggravate its genocidal war against the Tamils with a terrorist audacity." However, Prabhakaran recognised "great changes taking place in India" and Tamil Nadu, especially, "has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need." He, therefore, requested the leaders and people of Tamil Nadu "to raise their voice firmly in favour of our struggle for a Tamil Eelam state, and to take appropriate and positive measures to remove the ban which remains an impediment to an amicable relationship between India and our movement."
Prabhakaran knows well that no other force other than India that can throw lifeline to the LTTE. However, the LTTE chief is not sure of a positive response from the current Indian regime. The appeal, therefore, was made through Tamil Nadu. Recent protests in Tamil Nadu urging New Delhi to force Colombo for a ceasefire made Prabhakaran to think there was all out support for Tamil Eelam in the southern Indian state. In reality, however, the support for the LTTE is not overwhelming in Tamil Nadu. The protests were mainly targeted at the humanitarian aspect of the war and not in support of the LTTE. The apt role for the international community, including India, at this juncture is to make sure that the Tamil community's sufferings are minimized due to the ongoing confrontations. And, in the long run, with or without the LTTE, the Tamils get a good political package from the Sinhala-dominated regime.