- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

Sri Lanka: Death of LTTE's Thamilselvan

Categories: South Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Ethnicity & Race, Human Rights, Migration & Immigration, War & Conflict

Thamilselvan [1], Tamil Tigers’ political wing head was killed along with five of his colleagues on Friday. [link: BBC [2]]. Thamilselvan was the public face of the LTTE and his death has devastated many Tamils. However, as is in the case of such men, his death also highlights the controversial role of the LTTE and how the organization is perceived.

These were the photographs of his five colleagues who were also killed in the raid launched by Sri Lanka Air Force against a meeting place of Tamil Tiger leaders in Kilinochchi.

Prominent journalist, broadcaster and cricket commentator from India Abdul Jabbar met Mr. Thamilselvan in 2002 in Sri Lanka. Thamilselvan professed to be a fan of Abdul Jabbar's radio program broadcast from a radio station in London, UK. Abdul Jabbar [3] spent some time with Thamilselvan and visited a few places in Vanni, Sri Lanka before meeting Prabhakaran [4]. Abdul Jabbar says that he did not see Thamilselvan after that. But, he continues, Thamilselvan always conveyed his regards whenever he could via others. Abdul Jabbar says, “There are people in Colombo who hate the very word ‘Tamil Tigers’. Even among them, Thamilselvan has earned a good reputation and respect. A particularly vehement Sinhala leader uttered a line about Thamilselvan which stayed with me. He said ‘aiya hontha minisu ekkanaik’. ‘He is a good person.'”

Natkeeran [5] calls Thamilselvan, a template of a Sri Lankan Tamil Warrior. According to Nakkeeran, the death of Thamilselvan is a victory for war-minded people while a setback for peace-seekers and for those seeking political solution.

Malainaadaan [6], Switzerland translates Rete Uno's (A Swiss public broadcasting organization that handles radio and TV programs in Italian) radio broadcast. He [7] attended a condolence meeting organized in Zurich, Switzerland and shares photos and an audio podcast.

Aaru [8] blogging from Toronto, Canada remembers seeing regularly in Jaffna during the 90s when he was around 8-10 years old. Like everybody else, Aaru also remembers the pleasant ever-smiling face of Thamilselvan. Aaru says that in the past decade he had cried only twice. The other occasion was when his friend was killed in front of his own house, three months ago. Aaru who has also lost his father shares his anger too.

Kuruvikal [9] who regularly writes science related posts write another post about thermobaric bombs. There were speculations that thermobaric bombs could have been used in the bomb blast which left Thamilselvan and his colleagues bodies unscathed.

Sinthanathi, India [10] has a post with a timeline of 40 years old Thamilselvan's life since he joined LTTE in 1984.

Condolence meetings are taking place all over the world. And Ko.Sukumaran [11], a human rights activist from Pondicherry, India blogs about a condolence meeting in his town with photos.

Praba [12], Australia lost one of his blog readers in the bomb blast. He has shared a mail he received a few weeks ago from Major Mihuthan.

Sent: Tuesday, 18 September, 2007 12:28:35 PM
Subject: mail from miguthan

வணக்கம் பிரபாண்ணா

தங்களது பதிவுகள் பார்த்தேன்
மிகவும் மகிழ்ச்சி

Hello Praba Anna (Trans.Elder Brother)

I saw your blog and am very happy. People haven't forgotten anything. It's just difficult for them to talk about it. Reading your blog, I learned that you studied in Kokuvil Hindu. I too studied there from 1989 to 95. I belonged to Karthikesu Illam (for sports).

And I saw your post on Nallur. I would like to request something from you.

I think, not a lot of people would read entries about the specialties of Tamil when it comes coated with the flavours of Hinduism alone. That's what I feel.

Your posts on the history of Jaffna was very useful. Thanks Anna.

Do you remember? Once Mahendram principal disrupted the Navarathiri programme because a couple sang together.

Good old Jaffna! It seems now the youngsters are spending all the time with the cable television.

Let's work together and pave the way Anna.


Major Mihuthan died on November 2nd along with Mr. Thamilselvan.

While there was mourning from both sides of the Palk Strait and elsewhere. There were also others with different opinions. Srirangan [13], originally from Sri Lanka residing in Germany, titles his post ‘Flies, not youth, would arise from Thamilselvan's blood!’. Boston Balaji [14] originally from Madras, India quotes Wildred Owen's ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ and some pro-Sri Lankan Government media reports.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.*

*From the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

Balaji [15] while professing next-to-nil knowledge about the problems in Sri Lanka follows through with some questions. Comparisons of why the very same people who oppose a war on Iran by president Bush are leaving LTTE chief Prabhakaran out of the equation. Balaji drags Myanmar and Pakistan and questions the modalities. One of Balaji's questions was about Thamilselvan's past role in fighting (Thamilselvan actively fought against India's Indian Peace Keeping Force in Jaffna in 1987.) And whether he would have been given the same respect if he'd died fighting. He further questions about the sort of respect given by the media to the soldiers killed by Thamilselvan. Balaji goes on to draw parallels between Pakistan's Parvez Musharaff and LTTE's Prabhakaran. And alludes [16] to collusion between the Sri Lankan Goverment and Prabhakaran while stating it would be profitable for Prabhakan if the whole issue continues in the same vein; just so he could continue to be the chief and continue bargaining in the world market. Needless to say, heated discussions are on in the comment section.

While all this is going on, Badri [17] from Chennai, India analyzes the situation even handedly from an Indian perspective. The readers follow up with an interesting discussion in their comments on the post.