Velupillai Prabhakaran: 'Our people are not prepared to be tolerant any longer'

From the annual Heroes Day speech by the leader of the Tamil Tigers, broadcast on the Voice of Tigers radio
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The Independent Online

The past four years of the peace process have miserably failed to address the most urgent humanitarian needs faced by hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees displaced by war and by the recent tsunami, giving rise to hopelessness and disillusionment among our people.

Suddenly, unexpectedly, the tsunami waves struck at the villages and settlements along the eastern coastal belt of our homeland causing an unprecedented catastrophe. In this cataclysmic disaster unleashed by nature, 20,000 Tamil and Muslim people perished and about 300,000 people lost their homes, properties and were reduced to conditions of refugees.

As nature inflicted further calamity on the Tamil nation, which had already suffered monumental destruction by war, our people were burdened with unbearable suffering. In these circumstances, our liberation movement was geared to confront the crisis.

At this crucial historical turning point, a new government under a new leader has assumed power in the Sinhala nation. This new government is extending its hand of friendship towards us and is calling our organisation for peace talks. It claims that it is going to adopt a new approach towards the peace process.

President Rajapakse is considered a realist committed to pragmatic politics. We wish to find out, first of all, how he is going to handle the peace process and whether he will offer justice to our people. We have, therefore, decided to wait and observe, for some time, his political manoeuvres and actions.

Our people have lost patience, [and] hope, and reached the brink of utter frustration. They are not prepared to be tolerant any longer. The new government should come forward soon with a reasonable political framework that will satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamil people.

This is our urgent and final appeal. If the government rejects our appeal, we will, next year, in solidarity with our people, intensify our struggle for self-determination, our struggle for national liberation to establish self-government in our homeland.