6th June, 2004  Volume 10, Issue 47

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Balancing the books

By Henry Holdenbottle 

My dear Satty,

If it isn't one thing it's another thing. Ere it is time for budgetary control, you are compelled due to extraneous factors such as World Bank and IMF etcetera to concern yourself with these trifles. As if it isn't taking up all your leisure time and pocket money - this preoccupation for remaining in political power forever. But no. Do people understand? Do they care? Pah! All they care about is money, money, money and budgetary deficits and this bally peace process. I mean to say darling you apparently cannot keep a locomotive on its tracks without derailing every 10 minutes. Then how can you keep the peace process on its tracks, I ask you? I merely ask. 

Those co-chairs muttering amongst themselves eating buttered brussel sprouts had wanted some pretty steep commitments from you dear. Something about microwaving something or was it implementing macro economic policies. Yes. I think it was the latter. Though when writing statements in the midst of so many brussels sprouts one is apt to be thinking more of cuisine and the microwave.

To be quite on the nose darling, many marriage partners start bickering due to money problems. And your nuptial knot has been very loosely tied with the red brigade. Rather like fishmonger Appuhami's nagging wife - they have behaved, you will agree. 

The JVP on the one hand, the LTTE on the other and the bally co-chairs bopping a good one on your snout the other day. The IMF behaving every bit like an unconverted Shylock, if I were you I'd run a mile. But I am not you and neither are you, me. And so you stay on and on and on. Like a rock, a bad smell, a tedious visitor, a lengthy speechmaker, if you get my drift. 

And what is our floury monopolist Prima up to these days having got a good rap on the knuckles by that Jeyaraj? I say that chap can pout his lips around and say anything. Sometimes I wonder if what comes out of his mouth is ever filtered through his brain. I've no doubt he has got one. May be the filtering system is a tad faulty. So Prima is demanding you ante up what you owe them eh? Pay up or put up and shut up is what I gather they are telling you to do. 

Meanwhile the blokes who bought over the CWE@aloss.net marched over to your doorstep the other day in a huff, a little birdie tells me, and offered you the CWE on a platter while only demanding you pay them back the purchase price. Hmm! Curiouser and curiouser. I thought you nonchalantly mentioned to all and sundry that the deal was as crooked as a dog's hind leg. If it were so dear, why would these chappies offer to give it back to you, surely they cannot then recover the commissions and so on and so forth. I know dear, you do say a lot of things during elections, after elections and in between the two stages that mean nothing to you but have immense voter appeal. After all voters like being led by the nose ring and don't you know it. 

Almost in an indecent hurry you shooed them off, saying you never meant a word of it, and wouldn't dream of taking back the CWE. 

As I say darling you've got rupee problems, the sense bit we knew you never had. But then again having no doubt studied for a degree in economics at some exotic university yet to be announced, you will handle this situation with decorum and aplomb and what not. One cannot forget that during your last tenure it was you rather than the bespectacled professori who night after night wrote out the annual budget. So it is time dear for you to get out the abacus, and the old chewed up pencil and start again. Back to the bally drawing board eh?

Meanwhile the bally co-chairs are chairing this and that but not getting off their bally bums to help. I am delighted to observe that the co-chairs are encouraged by the LTTE's release of child soldiers. However they have wiggled a collective index finger at you and warned you not to let slip the gains made by Ranil. Oh dear, and we all thought the only gains he had made were to his waistline.


Tragic attempt to make Nadesan a ĎTiger-scribeí

The people of Batticaloa are in the grip of two contending terrorist forces. The clash for supremacy between the mainstream Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Batticaloa - Amparai dissident faction led by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias "Col" Karuna has led to a situation where lives are being snuffed out without restraint. People are afraid to talk freely as they do not know who  supports Pirapaharan and who supports Karuna.

The latest killing in Batticaloa is that of journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan writing under the byline G. Nadesan. He was shot dead by assassins belonging to the Karuna faction. The LTTE is now trying to capitalise on this death. The Tigers have organised a worldwide campaign condemning and mourning Nadesanís death to obtain political mileage.

The LTTE hypocrisy in this is terrible. The LTTE has killed politicians, journalists, academics, civil servants etc, with impunity in the past. They have destroyed newspapers, taken over newspapers, shut down newspapers, etc. They have terrorised journalists.

The LTTE reached an all time low in Batticaloa when they dug up the body of Rajan Sathiyamoorthy who they had shot dead and half-burnt the body. The Tigers who defiled a corpse are now honouring Nadesan in a manner that is despicably revolting.

A team of Tigers led by Senathi went to the funeral house and wrapped a Tiger flag around the body. Nadesanís sister objected. The flag was removed.Later Nadesanís body was taken to the north for cremation at the Aalankatti cemetery in Vathiri.

The LTTE trying to gain political mileage out of the killing took over the funeral arrangements.  Homage ceremonies were organised in Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Jaffna and Karaveddy. Nadesanís body, now wrapped in a Tiger flag lay in state for people to pay their respects. The LTTE orchestrated large crowds of mourners.

Leading LTTE figures spoke at the various ceremonies as well as the funeral itself.The LTTE  organised a  massive demonstration and hartal in the northeast to condemn the killing. Almost all the Tiger media are lamenting Nadesanís loss ad nauseam. Tiger media organs are devoting much time and space to Nadesan.In typical Tiger fashion fund raising in his memory has  commenced overseas. Fund raising to the LTTE is like a fire hydrant to a mongrel.

The LTTE Leader Pirapaharan has conferred upon Nadesan the posthumous title "Naatruppattraalar" (Patriot). This is an second class honour bestowed upon people who have supported or assisted the LTTE. First class honour is the "Maamanithan" (great human) title. By this action the LTTE is trying to show the world that Nades an was one of theirs.

All these efforts help to reinforce the impression that Nadesan  was a Tiger scribe.The truth however is different.This typical LTTE deception only helps to reinforce the Karuna group charge that Nades was a Tiger associate.

Political mileage

The LTTE has damaged Nades after his death by trying to "coopt" his image for their benefit. By doing so the LTTE has distorted  and diluted the widespread condemnation that should have arisen because an independent journalist was assassinated. Instead Nadesan is being depicted as a Tiger in journalist garb. If the Karuna faction has taken Nadesanís life, the LTTE is destroying his reputation.

When Nadesan was killed the Karuna faction accused him of being a pro-LTTE scribe. They called him a "Wannippulip pathirigaiaalar." (Wanni Tiger journalist).The harsh reality however is that the Karuna faction suspected him of being one.  The bad blood between the Karuna faction and Nadesan started due to the Tamil Alai (Tamil wave) newspaper.

When Karuna started the Tamil Alai newspaper Nadesan too wrote for it regularly under pseudonyms. But Nadesan stopped writing for it after the Karuna rebellion. If one examines his columns for Virakesari during the Karuna revolt period between March 3 to April 12 one detects a soft-pedalling tone. Nadesan became more critical of Karuna after he went into hiding.His reports to the pro-LTTE radio IBC in London too were hard hitting.

There is an eastern school of thought which believes Nadesan was killed due to the last article he wrote for the Virakesari of May 30. He wrote about the growing pattern of violence in Batticaloa in recent times. He was critical of Karuna and skeptical about the recent appointment of Gen. Shantha Kottegoda as overall operations commander for the east. Nadesan counted the number of killings in recent times and expressed concern over the future. Tragically, Nadesan himself became the next casualty.

The  Karuna factionís Ďneruppuí website outlines the reason for Nadesanís execution. It says that Nadesan went to Kokkatticholai on the Western shore and met with LTTE Eastern Political Commissar, Kaushalyan. It says that Kaushalyan asked for Nadesanís cooperation in building up the mainstream LTTE in Batticaloa and that Nadesan agreed with the rider that Karuna should be removed. This alleged meeting is given as the reason for Nadesanís killing.

The last time I spoke to Nades was in early May. So I am not aware of such a meeting. Family members however say Nadesan never went to "paduvaankarai" (Western shore) on May 30. From my personal knowledge of Nadesan I do not think he would have ever agreed to support the Tigers in that manner.

He was neither a complete believer nor a naÔve fool to have done so. My own suspicion is that Nadesan was marked for death after the killing of Eastern University Economics Professor Kumaravelu Thambiah.

The Thambiah factor

The Tiger mouthpiece Tamil Net and other LTTE media have projected an impression that Prof. Thambiah was killed by Karunaís men. TamilNet stated that Thambiah went to the north after Karunaís rebellion and returned only after Karuna went away.

The truth however is different. Thambiah though from Aasikulam in Vavuniya was married in Batticaloa and was for all practical purposes an eastern Tamil. He hated Jaffna hegemonism and was in the forefront of the pro-eastern school of thought at the Batticaloa University.

Thambiah never went to the north after Karunaís rebellion in March. He stayed put in Batticaloa as he had nothing to fear from Karuna. Thambiah fled to Colombo and then to Vavuniya only in April when Karuna left  Batticaloa and the pro - Pirapaharan LTTE men took over. He feared death at their hands because of his Karuna leanings.

Distortion

He later got "clearance" from the new Eastern Tiger Leader, Ramesh and returned to Batticaloa. The pro-Tiger media succeeded in distorting reality and projected a picture that  Thambiah had been killed by Karunaís men.

Thambiah was killed by Pottu Ammanís operatives despite the clearance given by Ramesh. The LTTE after shooting Prof. Thiruchelvam and government agent Mounaguriswamy issued statements condemning the attacks. In the same way the Tigers raised a big fuss over Thambiahís shooting too. Kaushalyan wanted an inquiry. The ever obliging peace monitors were ready.

Most Batticaloa people however know that Thambiah was killed by the Tigers. The contrasting manner in which the LTTE dealt with Nadesanís killing and Thambiahís killing demonstrates who killed whom. Thus my feeling is that Karunaís men killed Nadesan in revenge for Thambiah. Both were northerners who had married and settled down in Batticaloa.

Though the Tigers are now beating their breasts over Nadesanís killing there is no doubt that they too would have killed him if he had taken an openly pro-Karuna line. Though most Tamil journalists take a pro - Tiger line for purposes of survival, the Nadesan killing shows that pro-Tiger scribes too now face danger in Batticaloa.

The killing of Nadesan by Karunaís henchmen has to be condemned severely. At the same time the LTTEís hypocrisy in trying to project Nadesan as a Tiger scribe should also be condemned. The false impression created by the LTTE in showing Nadesan to be a Tiger can only help strengthen Karunaís accusation that Nadesan was a ĎTiger scribe.í

One faction has taken Nadesanís life while the other faction is destroying his reputation and in the process justifying the reason for a killing. Irrespective of the views he espoused, Nadesanís killing has to be condemned forthrightly.

ó D.B.S. Jeyaraj


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