Tamil separatists hail Kosovo’s independence declaration

February 21st, 2008 - 11:00 am ICT by admin  

By P.K. Balachandran
Colombo, Feb 21 (IANS) Separatist Sri Lankan Tamils have hailed the emergence of an independent Kosovo with Western support, saying it augurs well for the liberation of “oppressed” minorities like the Tamils of northeast Sri Lanka. Most Sri Lankans do not relish the prospect of their small island country breaking up on the prodding of powerful Western nations. But while radicals like the Janatha Vimukthi Permuna (JVP) would like the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to take a strong anti-West stance, the liberals are urging restraint on the plea that belligerence will only provoke the West to side with the Tamil separatists when it comes to the crunch.

In its editorial, the Colombo-based radical Tamil daily Sudar Oli said it was not surprising that the Sri Lankan government was the first to condemn Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) Sunday.

The paper pointed out that not only Sri Lanka but other nations that faced the prospect of oppressed minority groups seceding had also got the jitters and condemned Kosovo’s emergence as an independent state.

It was noteworthy that Kosovo’s UDI had the backing of the US and Europe, the paper said. It then went on to argue that Russia, Serbia and other nations opposed to the emergence of Kosovo as an independent country would not be able to prevent it.

“Kosovo’s independence is a historical necessity, an unavoidable event,” Sudar Oli asserted in the editorial.

Colombo, which dubbed the UDI as a grave threat, was aware that if Kosovo - with 4,200 sq miles and a population of two million - could be independent, ‘Tamil Eelam’ - with 7,500 sq miles and a population of four million - would have a stronger case for seeking autonomy, Sudar Oli said.

Moreover, the Tamils of the Sri Lanka’s north and east had declared independence as their goal way back in 1977 and had made that known to the international community.

With a separate language and culture and a distinct territorial homeland, Sri Lankan Tamils had all the attributes to constitute a nation state, but the Sri Lankan state had suppressed and oppressed them, the daily said.

It was not surprising that the Sri Lankan state was unable to digest the liberation of the people of Kosovo whose attributes and claims were similar to those of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, it added.

“Kosovo shows that the chains of oppression will not last and that some day, they will break,” the Tamil paper said.

Noting that powerful and rich nations like the US, were supporting Kosovo’s UDI, the liberal daily The Morning Leader said Kosovo was a “dangerous parallel” for Sri Lanka, a view shared by most Sri Lankans.

Even though the Western powers unequivocally declare that they stand for a united Sri Lanka with devolutionary powers granted to the minorities, these nations also criticize Sri Lanka severely for not delivering its promises on human rights, the paper said.

The UN too is displeased and has sent a special envoy to Sri Lanka to study the ground situation in the conflict-ridden country, it pointed out.

“Serbia serves as a good precedent on what happens to a country which falls foul of the Western powers, which are called the international community.

“The Western powers have dispensed with the time honoured laws and conventions regarding international relations of the Cold War era and are even willing to bypass the UN Charter if they wish to.

“Recognition of Kosovo, a part of Serbia, as a sovereign state is the latest example,” the Colombo-based weekly paper said.

Not even mighty Russia can prevent the independence of Kosovo short of going to war, the paper warned.

“Thus the Rajapaksa regime should take heed not to take on these nations, however much it might boost the macho Rajapaksa image, with rustic yokels.

“Placed in this situation, very delicate diplomacy is called for - not that of a Hambantota buffalo in a pottery shop variety,” the paper said.

“President Rajapaksa has shown that he is a Dale Carnegie, able to make friends and influence people. The president should exercise these talents in the field of diplomacy which would be enormously beneficial to the country,” The Morning Leader urged.

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