As I pointed out at a media conference last Monday, Denmark had included Tamil Eelam as one of the countries in the world in a list from which visa applicants should choose their nationality. In response to our protest, the Danish government apologized and immediately withdrew the name from the list on Wednesday.
Tamil Eelam had never been in existence in the world. No country has so far recognized Tami Eelam. If it is so, how was Tamil Eelam included in the list of countries? This is not unprecedented. Australia recently held a census via the internet. It had a list of countries to choose as the country of birth for the Australians. Tamil Eelam was in that list too. Although Sri Lankan expatriates in Australia complained to the Sri Lankan mission there, they remained silent. By the time, the Sri Lankan Government protested to the Australian government in response to protests of Sri Lankan media, it had concluded the census.
Australia and Denmark are in two different ends of the world. In this backdrop, how did these two countries simultaneously list Tamil Eelam as a sovereign country in their government websites? It can be understood only by studying diplomatic missions launched by Tamil separatists for establishing Tamil Eelam after the defeat of the LTTE terrorism in 2009.
The recognition by peer nations is more crucial than having an exclusive territory for an independent State. Palestine did not possess a territory until 1994. However, it was considered as a sovereign country and it enjoyed the membership of the United Nations Organization because it had been recognized by the majority of nations. When China invaded Tibet and annexed it to China, the Tibetan government lost its territory. Nevertheless, it functioned as a government in exile in India under the leadership of Dalai Lama and his government was recognized by the majority of nations.
In contrast to the above scenario, some countries are not recognized as sovereign nations although it had possessed a territory for a long period of time. The classic example is Taiwan. Taiwan has a distinctive territory and a native language. However, it is not a sovereign nation as it has not been recognized by the majority of nations. In the light of the above, recognition by peer nations is more crucial than possession of a territory for a survival of an independent State. This fact has been well understood by Tamil separatists than anybody else.
Soon after the military defeat, Tamil separatists established a government without a territory following the precedence set by Palestine and Tibet. It is known as the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). Although the TGTE is less known in Sri Lanka, it actively engages with the rest of the world.
There was a worldwide election among Tamils to elect representatives for Transnational Constituent Assembly of Tamil Eelam in 2010. The Assembly consists of 135 members. Members numbering 115 were elected to represent 16 countries. Canada and the UK respectively elected 25 and 20 members. Australia, the US, Switzerland and Germany elected 10 members each. Twenty members have been named to represent the countries where the separatists failed to hold elections. They have elected Vishvanathan Rudrakumaran as the Prime Minister of the TGTE. Its prime objective is to establish Tamil Eelam through diplomatic means. The TGTE is the biggest factor which compels the western powers and the international bodies to take action against Sri Lanka.
The TGTE is very powerful because of its worldwide network and mammoth financial resources. As reported in Jane’s Defence Weekly, the LTTE’s annual income was approximately US$ 300 million. The common belief was that the LTTE’s main income source was ransom collection. In contrast, it was not a significant income source. The main income sources were money laundering, human smuggling, weapon smuggling, antique smuggling, drug trafficking, shipping fleet, television and radio broadcasting and retail shops. The main expenditures were waging war against Sri Lanka and administrative expenses of pseudo government of Tamil Eelam.
Although all income sources are still intact, both expenditures suddenly disappeared after the military defeat. Hence, Tamil separatists spend their massive income for the very same purpose of establishing a Tamil Eelam but through different means. They use their mammoth funds to secure loyalty of politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, journalists and NGOs. Tamils have decided to support both leading candidates at the forthcoming presidential election in the US. While one group supports Hilary Clinton by raising funds and deploying volunteers, the other group does the same for Donald Trump. In the end, whoever wins, Tamil separatists would emerge as the ultimate winner.
In this manner, the separatists supported both Hilary and Obama at Democratic primaries in 2008. After Obama’s victory, they supported both Obama and Romney at the presidential election. Their contact point for Obama in the campaigns was Samantha Power. Samantha returned the favours during the last eight years by using American and UN machineries to support the Tamil Eelam cause.
In the light of the existence of the TGTE and its wide network and massive resource base, passive recognition enjoyed by Tamil Eelam by Australia and Denmark should not be taken lightly. It was reported previously that lessons about Tamil Eelam were included in school text books in the US and Canada. If the Sri Lankan Government supports the cause of the TGTE through inaction, Tamil Eelam will be within reach despite the military defeat in 2009.