Crisis in transnational government of Tamil Eelam:
Continued from yesterday
The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam has already run into
trouble. The post Prabhakaran Tamil Diaspora which is divided into three
rival factions as Rudrakumaran’s TGTE, Eezham People’s Assembly (EPA) or
Makkal Peravai of Perinbanayagam Sivaparan (Nediyavan) and Father
Emmauel’s Global Tamil Forum (GTF) are at loggerheads over the nature of
the TGTE and a power struggle for control of the Constituent Assembly
has been going on since the inception of the TGTE Project.
Tamils being brainwashed
Accusations of electoral fraud, intimidations of voters and similar
other election malpractices were being hurled by the rival factions
during the elections and there have been several resignations from the
electoral contest in the UK and similar disputes have arisen in France.
In France the situation became so bad there were even calls for third
party interventions to solve the dispute. In Canada too the things did
not run smoothly. There were several complaints of intimidation where
voters were being pressured into voting for certain candidates by
supporters of the World Tamil Movement, which was labeled as a terrorist
group by the Canadian Government in 2008. The Diaspora media maintained
silence on these problems for quite sometime but as the situation
appeared to have come to a crisis point the tamilnet.com, which is the
brain behind Nediyavan faction, recently thought it necessary to bring
the crisis into open which no doubt with the view of manipulating the
situation for their advantage.
Of the two rivals Nadiyavan who opposed KP and Rudrakumaran from the
beginning is in direct confrontation with the TGTE. He is actively
promoting his own version of the TGTE called the National Council of
Eezham Tamils (NCET) and also has made several abortive attempts to
capture the power of TGTE. Nediyavan has in his advantage a very close
link to the dead leader, being married to a niece of Gnanendramohan, who
was a founding member of the LTTE and close confidante of Prabhakaran.
Elections for the NCET had already been held in Norway, Switzerland,
Italy and France where Nediyavan’s supporters are strong, in parallel
with TGTE elections.
Nediyavan’s activities that were kept on hold for a while as he was
trying to take over the TGTE have been revived again after the failure
to do in Philadelphia and NCET had elections held in Canada last week.
What is important about Nadiyavan’s faction is, in addition to being
more hard-line and more pro-LTTE even down to the spelling of the name
of their nation (spelt as Eezham by Nediyavan group v. Eelam by
Rudrakumaran faction), its emphasis on the active role of the second
generation Diaspora. This ideological confrontation expressed in the
idiom of generation is an important aspect of this crisis that is
splitting the Diaspora politics and a serious problem confronting the
As a result of the above and also due to several other dynamics
within the Diaspora the TGTE does not seem to be getting the support
that was expected from the Diaspora. It is not getting any new support
and is actively supported only by the converted to the course of the
TGTE both within and outside the Diaspora. Most importantly the support
coming from the average Tamil Diaspora member has been lukewarm from the
The result of all these was clearly demonstrated from the voter
participation at the election to the Constituent Assembly. In Canada
where the Tamil Diaspora is the biggest around 300,000 and in UK where
the number is above 200,000 the voting was extremely disappointing. In
Canada only 31,000 voted for the TGTE Constituent Assembly.
In the UK the vote was comparatively higher with 65,000 taking part
but it must be noted that the pro LTTE Diaspora this time could get only
15,000 more votes than Janani Jananayagam who was their candidate at the
EU elections. In Australia where the number registered to vote was
10,000 only 8272 voted. This is out of a population more than thrice
that number. The less than average enthusiasm and factional fights
affected the inaugural meeting of the TGTE badly. Factional fighting
obviously prevented the TGTE either holding or completing elections in
all countries. At the inaugural meeting therefore, out of the 135
members of the Constituent Assembly only 73 from 11 countries could
participate, of which 47 (almost 2/3) was from the USA and Canada. All
these are ominous signs of a future that will be trouble for this
Diaspora led Eelam Project. The main enemy of the TGTE it appears to be
the enemy within.
Future of Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam
The TGTE is an unrealistic and hastily put together project. Hastily
put together because it is a strategy that the Diaspora adopted to
confront the situation that developed as a result of the unexpected (by
the Diaspora) defeat of the LTTE. Unrealistic because the whole exercise
is based on wrong interpretations of the role of transnational actors
and influence of transnational forces. It is true that transnational
actors are expanding their domain of activity but they have not yet
become an alternative to the state system and it will not be in the near
The EU example the Diaspora leadership taking to support their claim
that transnationalism is replacing the state system is a gross
exaggeration and a complete misinterpretation.
As a transnational outfit the TGTE cannot expect to get the
recognition it needs to operate as a government. If the International
Community were to recognize the TGTE then they would be departing from
established norms of state conduct and also will be indirectly
This they did not want when LTTE was fighting and there is no reason
to believe that it will want to do it now.
Promoters of the TGTE know that it will not happen and they
implicitly recognized their dilemma when they decided to form a
transnational government instead of a government in exile.
There is also danger of new confrontations with the International
Community as the result of the working of the TGTE.
The Tamil Diaspora is already taking a highly confrontational
attitude towards the International Community, especially towards India
which they see as abandoning them in the hour of their need. One often
hears Diaspora circles speaking about India abetted Genocide, a blame
gradually being extended to include other countries including the US and
Recently the tamilnet.com started to put the blame of the defeat of
the LTTE and failure to protect the Tamil community in Sri Lanka on what
it called the International War Corporation, the newest term coined by
the tamilnet.com to describe the role of world powers in the defeat of
the LTTE. When the Diaspora leadership realizes that even the TGTE is
not helping, the chances are that it will not due to inherent weaknesses
of the project, the blaming will increase and confrontations will
intensify. This will not be good for the future of the Eelam movement.
By deciding to form the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam the
sympathizers of the LTTE are unintentionally creating a structure that
could be more a liability than an asset to their struggle.
There are two possible explanations to this controversial move by the
Diaspora leadership. The first is that the Diaspora leadership is driven
by blind faith in their ability to take the struggle forward.
Throughout the struggle the Diaspora leadership displayed an
exaggerated level of confidence in their ability to be innovative,
outsmart the enemy and get the International Community on their side.
One needs only a cursory reading of the websites of the Diaspora to
recognize this over confidence and blind faith in their own ability.
This weakness which was pervasive in the Diaspora leadership
contributed to the downfall of the Eelam struggle and it appears that
the leaders of the Diaspora are repeating the same mistake in the TGTE
The other explanation is that the TGTE is more an ego exercise of
certain leaders of the Diaspora, partly borne out of disappointment and
the shock of failure, than a well planned tactical move.
It appears that this section of the Diaspora leadership is looking
for something to help their damaged ego and also seem to be ready to
hold on to anything to continue living in hope.
Keeping the dream alive for some more time into the future would
perhaps be the only positive impact of the TGTE. Like the teenager who
dresses up her Barbie and lives in a dream world the Diaspora leadership
is living its dream in the make believe world of the Transnational
Government of Tamil Eelam.
While they, being thousands of miles away from the problem and not
having the misfortune of facing the consequences, can do that the
crucial question is whether the Tamil community at home who faced the
brunt of a brutal war in their own backyard and are still suffering from
its after effects can afford the luxury of living in a dream world.
The writer is Professor of Sociology at the University of