The Sri Lankan government is offering the Tamils regional autonomy (extreme Federalism) but that will not satisfy the aggressive Tamils abroad

For the world’s Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, a community numbering over 800,000 the announcements regarding the end of the civil war has not been a cause for celebration but rather inspired despondency and disbelief….

Expatriate communities have been enormously active organising demonstrations – much publicised fasts, and even violent attacks, in an effort to pressure the governments of their adopted countries to force a ceasefire in Sri Lanka…

This intransigent fear, the anger of a diaspora that has shown that it is prepared to finance violence in this country is now arguably the principal challenge facing the government as it attempts to pacify the newly ‘liberated’ land in the north.

As this nation celebrates ‘liberation’ many Sri Lankans are prepared to embrace and accept the government’s promises to build a new unified inclusive nation on the ashes of the Eelam dream, but the diaspora is exposed to an entirely different set of news and propaganda.

However the lack of alternatives the continued commitment to violence and the doctrine of the separate state is at times genuinely distressing. Not a single member of the Tamil diaspora contacted by The Sunday Leader was interested in a future within a united Sri Lanka.

Extraordinarily the views of the younger generation many of whom had been born outside Sri Lanka were often even more hard-line than those of the older expatriate Tamils. “The struggle will go on, even without Pirapaharan, without the LTTE. A separate state for Tamils is an idea that cannot be defeated. As long as Tamils are denied their freedom the attacks, the violence will continue, that’s all we can say,” said a speaker from the Young Tamil Association in France, which has organised a series of much publicised fasts in the French capital.

Three decades of war funded by Tamils abroad is testament to the influence the Tamil diaspora is able to wield even from thousands of miles away and distant as they maybe the Tamil diaspora has proved that it is anything but insignificant.

Recent pro LTTE demonstrations have rocked capitals around the world and were a demonstration of the organisation and commitment that defines the diaspora. Ultimately however there is no hiding the fact that the demise of the LTTE has thrown Tamil communities worldwide into confusion.

But the hatred, the fear, the mistrust still voiced by Tamil community leaders abroad remains perhaps the principal danger to peace and stability on the island. Over the past three decades these communities have financed several wars on this island and they may yet be prepared to finance another.

While the LTTE’s Eelam wars may have ended the ethnic conflict in the island will end only when the hatred, fear and the suspicion held by several sections of Sri Lankan society are broken down.

And only by convincing the expatriate Tamil community to stop financing hatred and fear in Sri Lanka can the government and the country hope to make progress in the reconciliation process this island now desperately needs.

To put a final end to divisions in Sri Lanka it is now imperative that steps are taken to convince Tamil communities outside of Sri Lanka that a future is possible within a unified if not necessarily unitary state.

Over the past decades the diaspora as much as the LTTE proved itself a powerful and intransigent foe – one that unlike the LTTE remains highly motivated and undefeated. The biggest challenge confronting the government and the country at present now regards how to set about turning this foe into a friend.

The money and campaigning zeal of the diaspora fuelled a destructive armed struggle to divide Sri Lanka for 26 years – the same energy and wealth used to further the development of the island could yet herald a new dawn for the country.