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During 80s being a member in a rebel organization has been a heroic act…

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I and the PLOT - 02

During 80s being a member in a rebel organization has been a heroic act…

My name is Seelan. I am Sri Lankan Tamil who is roaming Europe. I am lost. So is my national identity. I was born in Northern Province of Sri Lanka. My childhood? There is nothing worth recalling about that part of my life so let us keep it aside. Let us talk about my life as a freedom fighter or as a rebel. It depends on how one sees it.

Early 80s is a period no Tamil, especially the youngsters, could ever forget. It is the period we were really began to feel foreign in our own land. Not that we felt any better previously. During that period, joining some Tamil rebel organization was thrilling act for youngsters and it had been the most natural thing for a Tamil youth to do. Just about every Tamil boy or girl was allured by the possibility of having a separate state for us Tamils. From school going kids to university students started to join one of the many freedom fighters’ outfits during that time. I too joined the PLOT. Frankly, since I was very young at the time, I was not fully sold upon the notion of a separate state. But I had an urge to do some thing, anything.

My father was working in the Police Department and transfers are not a novel thing for our family. Every few years he would get a transfer and then we would haul our things and go to reside in a new house in a new area. In 1977, father was transferred to Trincomalee in East and our family too shifted there. I was 11 years old.

I could not stand the mere mention the word ‘Sinhalese’ those days. This antagonistic feeling was gnawing me inside. This sensation was not without a reason. When we were living in Trinco there was a clash between Tamils and Sinhalese. Some Sinhalese thugs hacked and killed several Tamils during the clash and the police just stood aside and watched the carnage without raising a finger against it. This audacity was branded in mind vividly. I believe you also understand the feeling.

After the clash and the killings, a meeting was organized by some youths of Trinco and several Tamil leaders came to participate in it. I could see that the youngsters were very emotional. To display their determination and hatred over the Sinhalese, they slashed their hands in front of the leaders. Blood trickled to the ground. Though the leaders were visibly shaken by this act, they smiled nervously at the enraged youngsters.   Then the youths took blood to their thumbs and placed dots on the leaders in some kind of pledge. Everyone started to make chants of demands that the Sinhalese government that kills the Tamils should be destroyed.  I can never forget the atmosphere prevailed then. Hatred was so thick you could almost reach out and touch it.  I too vowed to myself that I would join this struggle if it is the last thing I do. I was burning inside for revenge.

During mid part of the 80s, activities of rebel groups became frantic. During this period I started to get magazines and leaflets about an impending revolution. Students in the Jaffna University started a hunger strike to show their denouncement to the government. And there was a huge welcome for these kinds of actions among the Tamil community. Everyone started to look upon those youths in the freedom organizations with awe. They were heroes of the moment and they too started to enjoy this hero worship they are commanding. And they stride very hard to maintain this awe among the public.  They started to maintain an attitude that they are some thing special among the Tamils. For this reason, they refused to disclose the objectives of their actions to their own people. Instead of mobilizing the masses to strengthen their struggle they just kindled hatred against Sinhalese among Tamil people but kept the public well away from the core actions.

During this time, one of my relatives Sugandhan joined the PLOT. I too joined the organization through him bit I was just an ordinary and unregistered rookie in it, at least at the beginning. I was given minor and less hazardous tasks such as distributing hand bills etc. But I regularly went to their meetings. And I participated in the training workshops conducted for beginners.

I would like to share any experience in these trainings. In fact, the initial trainings were political classes. The classes were conducted by the members who had more experience notch higher than us rookies. Mostly they talked about Marxism and Leninism. When they are not talking about these, they slammed the other rebel organizations. When I recall today those lecturers, I realize that they did not know any thing about Marxism and Leninism that is worth knowing. I could not understand the words used by them in those lectures such as feudalism, objective realities, neo colonialism, petty bourgeoisie etc. I doubt if the lecturers did. They mixed capitalism and socialism in their speeches. But no one could question them. Some shrewd ones pretended to understand every word uttered and soon became cronies of the heads. And they were given more responsible tasks. These tasks were mostly slamming other rebel organizations. One of my friends called Ayyoob later explained me about all these deceits.

Ironically, those who lectured about certain concepts and theories then, are today publishing books and writing articles of just opposite ideals.

To be continued

1. I and the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamileelam (PLOT)

Last Updated on Friday, 08 June 2012 23:34

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