Exploiting Games For Terrorist Propaganda
By Camelia Nathaniel
The LTTE built global capacity to influence Tamils both at home and abroad by controlling all aspects of their lives. Like a Stalinist regime, Velupillai Prabhakaran built a system that did not permit dissent. In order to ensure full compliance and discipline, the LTTE ruthlessly coerced and when necessary, punished Tamils who deviated from the rules.
The LTTE dominated not only the political but also the social space of their expatriate communities. Their social, cultural and recreational events included sports, drama, poetry recitals and dances which were designed to indoctrinate especially the Tamil youth and children. The LTTE also created a dedicated sports section led by a trained terrorist cadre K. Pappa alias S. Papa.
Tiger Football Team
Although the LTTE was dismantled in Sri Lanka in May 2009, some LTTE structures remain active overseas. The “Tamil Eelam National Football Team” grew out of the Tamil Youth Organization (TYO), a front designated as a terrorist entity under UN Security Council Resolution 1373. Like the sports structures created in the LTTE controlled areas, the LTTE and its front organizations forbade either recruitment of non Tamils or interaction with other Sri Lankan communities. The sports teams were created to project a distinct ethnic identity and the LTTE.
The TYO, also known as the Global Tamil Youth League (T-League), created the Tamil Eelam Football Association (TEFA) on April 8, 2012. Led by T-League Captain Janarthan Sadacharalingam of the Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance, the footballers don and display the Tiger flag during the game.
The footballers are semi professional and amateur players who participated with other nations without states. The players drawn from Canada, UK and Switzerland competed at VIVA 2012 World Cup in Erbil, Kurdistan on June 6, 2012.
According to TamilNet, a propaganda organ of the LTTE, ‘The tournament that took place from 4th to 9th June (2012), housing eight different teams divided into groups of three, TEFA was drawn into Group B where they faced Zanzibar, Occitania and Raetia.
Despite losing their first three matches, they came back to secure the third match with an impressive victory of 4:0 over Raetia’. Menan Nagulendran who scored the first goal dedicated it to the LTTE terrorists who perished in the fight against the government troops.
Braveen Nagendram of TYO Italy remarked that the idea of establishing a Tamil Eelam Football Association originated in Canada. According to Braveen, “The Athletics Council Director of Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance, Janarthan Sadacharalingam, presented the idea at the 2nd Annual Global Tamil Youth Conference.
The idea was well received by all the member organizations of T-League. At the conference, three coordinators were appointed by T-League to coordinate this project for VIVA 2012. Ragesh Nambiar from TYO UK and Jeevan Vijayakumaran from TYO Switzerland were the other two appointed coordinators of the Tamil Eelam F.A”. Almost all of the Tamil Eelam football team are residents in countries such as France, Germany, the UK and Canada.
On June 2, 2014, the Tamil Eelam Football Association played at the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup against Arameans Suryoye in Sweden. CONIFA is the acronym for the Confederation of Independent Football Associations which was established in 2013. It comprises teams that represent nations, dependencies, unrecognized states, minorities, stateless peoples, regions and micro nations not affiliated to FIFA. CONIFA is the organizer of the “ConIFA World Football Cup”, which took place for the first time in 2014 in Östersund, Sweden.
Prior to participating in the tournament in Sweden, TEFA participated in a tournament In July 2013 on the Isle of Man. While promoting TEFA, its parent organization, the TYO continued to lobby Tamils to boycott Sri Lankan cricket including the match to be played at Lord’s that year.
The TYO UK stated on its website http://www.tyouk.org/?page_id=1530&event_id1=12 “This cricket season, England will be welcoming and playing matches with the Sri Lankan cricket team. Calling for a boycott will expose the human rights abuses that are being hidden behind the walls of Cricket. The Sri Lankan cricketers are …being used as a shield to cover the ongoing genocide of Eelam Tamils. The triumph delivered from the wins of the Sri Lankan Cricket team falsely frames the Sri Lankan state as a peaceful and democratic country”.
With many of the Diaspora Tamils distancing themselves from the LTTE, the directing figures of the LTTE living overseas are inventing new strategies to attract youth. To entrap Tamil youth interested in sports, the LTTE is creating dedicated football teams in North America and Europe. At these matches, they will display the Tiger flag, and show the photo of Prabhakaran.
Sports – LTTE connection
The link between the Tamil Eelam Football Association (TEFA) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is evident.
The TYO UK chief Goldan Lambert was arrested, prosecuted and sentenced in the UK along with the LTTE UK chief A.C. Shanthan alias A. Krishanthakumar. In June 2007, New Scotland Yard arrested both Lambert and Shanthan under the British Terrorism Act 2000. While Shanthan operated under the cover of the British Tamil Association, Lambert operated under the cover of the TYO. The charge against Lambert was: “on the 25th day of July 2006 at Hyde Park London (you) assisted in managing a meeting which you knew was to support a proscribed organisation, namely the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam contrary to Section 12(2)a and (6) of the Terrorism Act 2000”.
The entire purpose of creating social, cultural and recreational organizations is to break barriers and build bridges. In the case of the LTTE it was to break the linkages between the Tamils and other ethnic groups. The LTTE forbade Tamils from participating in sports at a national level in Sri Lanka and playing sports with non Tamil schools.
A racist group with a racist outlook, the LTTE instilled racist ideals ethnicizing and dividing communities, unlike the Sri Lankan teams that included members of all communities including the iconic Muttiah Muralitharan, a Sri Lankan Tamil, who was rated the greatest Test Match bowler ever. Murali who retired from Test cricket in 2010, is now an internationally respected champion of peace promoting harmony, and challenging separatist politicians and terrorists.
The LTTE was banned in the UK on February 28th, 2001. However in spite of the LTTE being classified as a banned organization, there still are many groups which display the LTTE flag especially in the sports arena while also using the tag ‘Tamil Eelam’. Yet many of these countries turn a blind eye and in fact encourage these teams by way of acceptance.
Sauce for the goose…
Even though the world and his wife are fully aware of the ruthless terrorism inflicted upon hapless civilians by the LTTE, and also the vast network of supporters and front organizations being given safe haven in western countries, the international community continues to be deaf and blind to LTTE terrorist propaganda being enacted right under its collective nose.
The question that begs an answer is would they be quite so tolerant if Sri Lanka or for that matter any other nation that has no particular issue with Al Qaida, allows sports teams fielded by the terror outfit, to participate in sports tournaments hosted by those countries. Imagine Al Qaida cricket and football teams donning uniforms bearing Osama Bin Laden’s image on them, flying flags with Osama Bin Laden’s picture on it and playing his rhetoric via loudspeakers to the cheering crowds!