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China's President Hu Jintao and Governor of Malacca Khalil Yakub

China’s President Hu Jintao and Governor of Malacca Khalil Yakub
Photo Reuters

President Hu Jintao back in 2003 started to mention the so called “Malacca Dilemma”, the fact that 80% of China energy needs will pass thorugh the waters of Malacca, without having any strategic influence over it1.

The Chinese leadership is quite aware that whoever will control the Strait will be able to choke the supply line of the People’s Republic. It is interesting to note that the notion of the Malacca Dilemma and the String of Pearls were born almost at the same time. The String of Pearls is much more famous, but is also more misleading. It aims to address the containment policy of China against India. If you reflect, China will never be able to evict India from the Indian Ocean. Moreover China is already a global superpower, while India is struggling to become a regional one. The only field in which they are competing directly is natural resources. But the String of Pearls won’t deny that to India. The truth is that the String of Pearls is a menace perceived by the US. Washington really could be excluded from the South East. So the Americans are pushing the Indians to think they are threatened by the Chinese.

In this puzzle, the role of a piece is growing in importance: Myanmar. Back in 2007, president Bush put its eyes on the humanitarian condition of Burmese people2. It is praiseworthy, especially from an administration that launched wars to appropriate natural resources of sovereign state, practised unlawful detentions, torture, extrajudiciary killings and so on. Myanmar is itself rich in natural resources and lies in a strategic position: just before the Malacca Strait. Much of the attention Myanmar received in recent years should be probably ascribed to this aspect, rather than the restless endeavour of the US for human rights.

Sri Lanka's President Rajapaksa and India's Prime Minister Singh

Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa and India’s Prime Minister Singh

The Tamil diaspora in Malaysia

Finally, with regards to Sri Lanka, it should be clear that there is no such a thing as India strangled by China. Beijing is securing its supply lane; Sri Lanka is part of this architecture. Nobody in New Delhi has been forced to do anything. What happened to the Tamils and the LTTE has nothing to do with the clash of global super powers. Sri Lankan deeds are a domestic affair for India and they have been treated as such. It is easier to blame the Chinese and because they consider this kind of debate as farcical, they don’t even defend themselves. But an accurate analysis of the geopolitical interests will show that Sri Lanka is under the patronage of India, with occasional and contingent flirtations with China, dictated by convenience rather than long term alliances.

The Malacca Strait is the place where the future rearrangement of the global balance of power will take place. India should start to look at its interest, rather than following the clue thrown by the Americans (though sometimes they could overlap in any case). And if the Tamil diaspora in Malaysia has any intention to influence the international scenario, should start to appreciate its strategic role in this context, rather than chasing the infinite intrigues of New Delhi politics.

1Chen Shaofeng, “China’s Self-Extrication from the “Malacca Dilemma” and Implications” International Journal of China Studies China’s Vol. 1, No. 1, January 2010, pp. 1-24

A displaced Tamil woman holds her baby aThe dream of an independent Tamil Eelam has been crushed on 2009, buried with 140 000 innocent Tamils. In few months 4 years will be passed from then. The Tamil diaspora is convinced that justice will prevail, because the world cannot be so deaf and blind to such a tragedy. I’m wholeheartedly advocating this cause. I’m persuaded that this was a genocide and that the international community will be harmed by ignoring this carnage. What about the UN’s mission? What about the protection of innocents? What about the principle of human rights?

At the same time I’m fully aware that time is precious. Any year that passes, brings a veil on the events. In the hearts and minds of the Tamil will stay forever, not so for the international community. Other tragedies crowd the world stage, other victims, other innocents. The more distance Rajapaksa is able to put between him and the crimes, the easier will be to walk away. So far he’s doing well.

But I don’t give up to the historians, I still believe that the Sri Lanka’s massacres are open wounds, they are still bleeding and because of that, we can still hope in justice. When historians will study those events, even if they will recognize the magnitude of the carnage, they won’t bring justice. When scholars and academicians debate about the causes and the figures from a purely theoretical perspective, justice is dead.

mullivaikalIf we are not able to highlight the case until is alive, we will condemn those victims to die twice.

For this reason, time is running out.

This is an appeal to the Tamil community, especially the diaspora: give up your intrigues, give up your pride, give up all the obstacles that are impeding a real process of accountability.

If you think you have done everything, let me explain. You want to believe in an independent Eelam, you want to worship the heroism of the Tigers, you want accountability for the Sri Lankan government, you want to help the Tamil still suffering in the Northern and Eastern provinces. You want all of this and you are surprised that the world is not listening. This is the point. The Tamil diaspora never entered in a critical process. And they woke up with the entire international community against their side. Is everybody in the world a Tamil hater? Is everybody against the idea of an independent Tamil Eelam? Is everybody so happy to support Rajapaksa? Of course not, it is just the blindness of your convictions that push everybody against you.

rajapaksa godfatherWhat is your priority? Revenge against Sri Lanka?Or Justice? Independent Eelam? Or helping the Tamils in Sri Lanka?

Decide. And act. Otherwise you’ll spend the next 50 years discussing, arguing and fighting within the community. Sri Lanka and Rajapaksa will find a fragmented front, with nobody able to present a decent request. Even too easy to sweep away the question from the table.

What do you want?

Do you want to consider the Tigers a heroic army, that righteousness fought with principles? OK, the Sri Lankan government fought the same battle, with the same principles. And it won. Do you want to consider that army criminal? Then you must accept that LTTE adopted criminal means.

A-young-Sri-Lankan-refuge-001Are you fighting for the Tamil people or for your aspirations and ambitions? When you were living a pleasant, comfortable life, your brethren in Sri Lanka were fighting, often in the last years, against their will. Are they a bargain chip, expendable on the battle field as well as in current political debate? Or they are the last inhabitant of Eelam and deserve all the attention and the efforts that you can put together? Is it better to have the flag of Eelam or better, decent conditions for the Tamil people?

Decide. But do it quickly. The international community won’t wait the Tamil age of discussion. They will forget soon. And leave you with your internecine polemics. Time is running out.