You used to be able to spot the enemy by their stripes. Now you have to read between the lines. Yesterday’s Tigers are lions; Lions are tigers.
KP is doing Lanka tours and Sarath Fonseka is being buried in a shuffle of court dates. A cop-killer is dancing at weddings while suspected Fonseka loyalists are being culled from the armed forces.
To quote Scarface, We needed people like Prabhakaran so we could point fingers. So we could hide, so we could lie. Prabhakaran always told the truth, even when he lied. He was always the bad guy. That much was obvious. This new future of shifting allegiances is much less clear.
The Good Guys
The good guys were once the warriors. The martial crew whose faces and designations dotted proud kade walls and buses throughout the land. Then General Sarath Fonseka decided to run for president and the posters had to come down. At the same time, LTTErs were ministers and having tea with the President.
The only quality left was fealty to Mahinda, but this means nothing without a common enemy. That was only too easy to find.
The Bad Guys
Foreigners are generally suspect, but under the influence of a hostile diaspora they can be positively loathsome. While the LTTE fighters were dying in Mullaitivu, their perverse cheerleaders erupted onto the streets of London, Toronto and Washington D.C., waving LTTE flags ringed in bullets and carrying pictures of a mass murderer. Then they seemed to disappear. But they didn’t.
Those Eelamist diaspora groups made a declared effort to enter and influence foreign governments and organisations. These groups do not abstractly care about or monitor Sri Lanka and that outcry has made a difference.
Am I saying that the UN and foreign countries are listening to former LTTErs? Well, yeah. So are we, but that’s besides the point, or at least besides the narrative. Talk to any embassy — US, UK, Canada, Australia. They do diaspora outreach in their home countries and the majority of that diaspora is Tamil, and mostly hostile. When those Western powers are here they hang out with NGO types and journalists who (while certainly not LTTE) are not exactly faithful to the Rajapaksas. And, given the new order, what does that make them? Bad guys.
The New Bad Guy
The diaspora may have a point, and internationals may be right to press it. Indeed, many of these people may have arrived at this point independently, including locals who put their heartbeats where their heart is. Many people have actually died and the end of the war was a bloody mess. But that’s not the point. The new good and bad is not Lion and Tiger or even right or and wrong. It’s faithful or unfaithful, it’s those who cheered the parade versus those who cheered the rain.