(1999 June 16)

Last week, "The Hindu", "The Island" and "Divaina" reported that Anton Balasingham, the so-called theoretician of the LTTE has arrived in London from Wanni in Sri Lanka. The news item is based on a report filed by Mr. D. B. S. Jeyaraj, the well-known journalist now living in Canada. Balasingham has been accompanied by his Australian born wife Adele Balasingham. Mr. Jeyaraj says: "The Balasingham duo reportedly left Sri Lanka on an LTTE ship from Mullaitheevu to Phukhet in Thailand from where they went to Singapore and boarded a flight to Britain. The couple, who hold British passport were now residing within the Greater London area and maintaining a low profile". Meanwhile "The Sunday Island" of 13th June published a report by Mr. Sujeeva Nivunhelle, "The Island" and "Divaina" correspondent in London, according to which, Balasingham and his wife are living in the LTTE's former London office at Catherine Road, East Ham in East London. Mr. Nivunhelle also states that Balasingham has been seen worshipping at the London Hindu Temple, by Tamil residents in London.

According to Mr. Jeyaraj, Prabhakaran has assigned Balasingham two important tasks. "First, he would be required to restructure the LTTE's international secretariat in London and spearhead a massive propaganda drive on a global scale from there. It was felt that the international publicity currently being carried out was not enough. Second, Balasingham would commence initiatives seeking third party mediation to revive negotiations between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. Tigers would like a Western country to undertake this task"

It is also interesting to note the route taken by the Balasinghams from Wanni to London. They have first gone to Thailand from Mulathiv and then to Singapore from where they have boarded a flight to London. Thailand is increasingly coming into the picture these days in connection with Tamil racism. Only a couple of weeks ago another so-called peace seminar was held in Thailand. Recently Thailand has been mentioned in connection with arms supplied to the LTTE and the minister of foreign affairs was concerned with these reports. The government of Thailand came out with a statement to the effect that it has nothing to do with the LTTE activities.

However a number of seminars and conferences connected with what the Tamil racists call the ethnic problem have been held in Thailand over the past decade. From March 11th to 15th in 1990, an Inter-Cultural seminar was held at the Rangsit Campus of the Thammasat University on the theme "Searching for Asian Cultural Integrity". Though the seminar was not directly on the Tamil racist problem, a "paper" was presented by Mr. Raja Dharmapala on the topic "It is only through a doctrinal outlook and approach that a permanent solution is possible to the existing crisis in Sri Lanka". In that paper Mr. Dharmapala, who unlike the Anagarika Dharmapala is very popular among the NGO circles, has stated among other things that, "Tamil people who could not tolerate discrimination anymore attacked Sinhala villagers in the North and Northeast regions of Sri Lanka......" The Tamil racists would have been very pleased with this statement as not only it re-iterated their stand but also in a way justified the attacks by the Tamil terrorists on the innocent Sinhala people living in the North and the Northeast and the ethnic cleansing by the LTTE.

In the same year from 8th to 10th of May a so-called World Solidarity Forum on Sri Lanka for Justice and Peace was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The organising secretaries of the forum were Revd. Yohan Devananda and Mr. Abdus Sabur from Thailand. Among the convenors were Rev. Fr. Paul Casperz and Dr, Kumari Jayawardena from Sri Lanka, Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa from Thailand, Dr. Nalin Swaris, a Sri Lankan ex catholic priest who is back in Sri Lanka and is supposed to be now interested in Buddhist studies, from Netherlands, Sri Lankans Drs. N. Shanmugaratnam and Kumar Rupesinghe from Norway, Professor Peter Schalk, who has written a large number of "papers" on the "ethnic problem" from a Tamil racist point of view, from Sweden, and Mr. Martin Ennals from U.K. A pre circulated document dated 6th February 1990 on the Forum states: "It may also be mentioned here that whatever arrangements are made in the country in the peace making process- for example a cease-fire, elections and devolution of power - there will be the need for mutually-acceptable arrangements to monitor and ensure effective implementation of agreements and pacts....... The forum is exploring the possibility of mutually -acceptable persons of high standing -nationally and internationally - being available in a mediatory capacity in these arrangements. Persons such as His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu or the Archbishop of Canterbury, President Vaclav Havel (a writer) of Czechoslovakia, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Secretary- General, Commonwealth of Nations, a supreme court judge from Malaya and others have been suggested as possible mediators". Though this mediation is not quite same as the mediation expected by Prabhakaran the "forum" as far back as 1990, in Thailand had discussed mediation in Sri Lankan politics by third parties.

Mr. Raja Dharmapala was also responsible for taking some Bhikkus to Thailand for a "workshop" a few years ago and attempting to brainwash them with the standard NGO views on the Tamil racist problem. In a debate over this issue in the pages of "Divaina" a young Bhikku, then an undergraduate at the University of Sri Jayawardhanapura, who participated at the "workshop" exposed both Mr. Dharmapala and the organisers of the "workshop". Through the exposure the objectives behind the "workshop" came into limelight but as usual the organisers, since then, have carried on regardless.

The western Christian NGO's find no difficulty in funding and getting modern Dharmapalas and others to organise seminars, workshops etc., in Buddhist Thailand against the Sinhala Buddhists for two reasons. It is easy to misinterpret Buddhism and ask childish questions such as whether it is possible to fight a "war" according to Buddhism. Though childish, some "scholars" among whom one can find the recent 'converts' to Buddhism, are more than willing to take up these matters in their so-called studies. The modern Dharmapalas, Sivaraksas conveniently forget that the Buddha had never requested the kings to dissolve their armies. In fact the Buddha had advised them on how to keep an army and I am sure that even a child would not assume that an army is maintained for peace marches by the NGO's and for the purpose of chanting Pirith. Of course, one should also not forget that these "scholars" are looked after well by the western NGO's, providing them with scholarships, fellowships, free tickets for seminars and workshops etc. What these "scholars", who are recognised as such and maintained by the western Christian states, want to see is that no Buddhist state is possible in the modern world. No state can be maintained without an army (withering away of states is only subjective wishful thinking of "objective" Marxists) and a state whether Buddhist or not has to crush any organisation that takes up arms against it for any purpose including the establishment of a separate state. A Buddhist state is a state and not a Buddha who could walk towards a charging Nalagiri unarmed. Even Bodhisatvas like Mahaushada Pandithuma planned and advised the king on waging wars. I am not quite sure whether the Dharmapalas and Sivaraksas have attained Arhantship even in their Buddhism with a simple b in a Christian surrounding with a capital C. Perhaps Prof. Peter Schalk who writes on Buddhism can testify to that. One should not be surprised if the day is dawn when the western Christians NGO's take upon themselves the onerous task of identifying the Bodhisatvas among the Buddhists.

Secondly, the NGO's have been successful in organising seminars in Thailand against the Sinhala Buddhists due to the fact that there is no Buddhist Brotherhood among the Buddhists in the world. The Sinhala Buddhists would not picket or demonstrate against any injustice against the Thai Buddhists and vice versa. It is true that during the time of the Sangharaja Veliwita Saranankara Thero the Upasampada or higher ordination was brought from Siama as Thailand was called then and that there have been some kind of link between the two countries. But the relationships among the Buddhist countries never developed into strong bonds or brotherhoods among the people. Buddhists have not resorted to wars and violent methods, not to mention cheating and fraudulent ways, to spread their religion. Buddhism as a religion was allowed to take roots within the culture of the particular country and it has never tried to unite all the people in the world under a hegemonic culture that stems from the concept of a single creator God. The western Christian NGO's exploit this "weakness" of the Buddhists and no wonder that Balasingham was first taken to Siama or Thailand on his sojourn to his familiar surroundings in London.

Mr. Jeyaraj says that the Balasinghams hold British passports. They would also have got their visas, as we did not hear anything about the British airport authorities either at Heathrow or Gatwick, refusing them permission to enter Britain. Neither did we hear the authorities attempting to deport the Balasinghams, and the male Balasingham appearing in the airport only in his underwear as a protest against them, learning a few things from some of his "golayas" who resorted to such tactics a few years ago. Whether the Balasinghams travelled with British passports or not their journey would not have taken place without the knowledge of the British home office and, of course, the British intelligence. In spite of all the efforts by the foreign minister Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, the Sri Lankan High Commission in London and the Sinhala Associations in the U.K., which organised a well-attended demonstration in London, the British government has not banned the LTTE. Not only that they have not taken any action against the LTTE activities in Britain, but they are allowing the leaders of the LTTE to come to London and organise the so-called international secretariat, one of the organisations instrumental in propagating mis-information against Sri Lanka, which I thought was a friendly country of Britain. Of course, the British authorities will retort with their now familiar remark that neither the LTTE nor the Balasinghams, Thamilchelvams, Vasantharajas and company have violated the British law to take action against them. However, we would like to ask the British authorities and their new representative in Sri Lanka whether Milosevic and the Serbians had violated the "impartial" British law, for Mr. Tony Blair to act as if he was the self appointed guardian of the human values. This is nothing but British hypocrisy and it has to be reminded that we have come a long way from the time of Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe the last king of Sinhale.

Prabhakaran has asked Balasingham to seek third party mediation to initiate talks between the government and the LTTE. It is also said that the LTTE would like a mediator from the west. It has been known for some time that the western Christian and Catholic countries such as Norway, Sweden and Canada are willing to play the role of the third part mediator and the London Hindu kovil worshipping Anton Stanislaus Balasingham is the ideal candidate to negotiate on behalf of the LTTE with the impending western Christian/Catholic mediator. Mr. Jeyaraj in his report says, "it was expected that the LTTE would push for peace talks" as if the LTTE is an innocent lamb that is interested in peace. This so called peace talks will end up as piece talks, as the government has to accept the Thimpu conditions even before any discussions begin. It is not only the LTTE that is interested in talks, which will result in a confederation of Thamil Eelam (meaning Tamil Sinhale!) and Sri Lanka. The British government is also very much keen to see that the negotiations commence. In this regard we all know the attempts made by the Foxes and the Fatchetes and some Christian clergy. The British government would be more than happy to grant visas to Balasinghams, as Anton Balasingham while in London would be involved with one of their pet projects. The British are trying to solve a problem that they created, in the way they want, that is by donating a confederation to Tamil racism. I would not be surprised even if they had got down Balasingham to London town on their initiative.