We wish to examine the concept of Tamil Eelam within the hypothesis that it will eventually exist in
The Tamil Eelam Government
The current system of governance in areas under LTTE is dictatorial. Dictatorial states have certain inherent problems. These include but are not limited to a lack of international acceptance, rights abuses, corruption, suppression of the public, disgruntled communities, rebellion etc. If a state of Tamil Eelam were to be established, the present Tamil leadership under Pripaharan would have to change or they would have to be removed. Exactly who in the Tamil community that can remove them from power is a concern. If they cannot be removed, a parliamentary democracy is out of the question. In the post 9/11 world, this is tantamount to state failure at the highest level and justifies intervention (i.e.
The other issue with Governing Tamil Eelam would be the new Tamil elites motivated by their own personal interests, rather than the interests of Tamil Eelam. These elites could be political leaders, former military leaders of LTTE, old and new economic leaders (businessmen) etc.
The Tamil Eelam Economy
The current economy of LTTE areas has two characteristics. The first characteristic is the remnants of the Sri Lankan Economy managed by the Government of Sri Lanka. This accounts for much of the economic activities in terms of import and export trade (As with the national economy regulated via Colombo and Trincomalee harbours), payments (salaries) to public sector service providers and state-appointed Administrators (i.e. GAs, AGAs to school teachers), development projects and schemes to which the state is a fiscal agent (i.e. renovation of A-9 Highway) and Subsidies (i.e. food stamps, rations etc). The state does not receive taxes from establishments in areas with an LTTE presence and therefore is giving voluntarily at this point in time.
The second characteristic is the Gift Economy where some members of Tamil Diaspora fund the LTTE. Some trickling-down of this money occurs when LTTE attempts to operate a symbolic civil administration, police unit etc. However, Diaspora funding has its limits. New generations of Tamils born and bred outside of
The third aspect of the present Tamil Eelam economy is the indirect economic benefits provided through activities of Non-Governmental Organizations (i.e. UNICEF grant to rehabilitate child combatants). This economy might disappear along with international funding in the event the problem of the Tamils is solved, as proposed by the LTTE, through Tamil Eelam.
In the event Tamil Eelam is established and the Sri Lankan state withdraws, the Diaspora funded Gift Economy would have to increase its role as a military as well as a civil funding agency and replace the state economy. Establishment of Eelam would also prevent fundraising from foreign public entities based on sympathy for the Tamil cause. It would also prevent the State of
The Security Dilemma
As long as there is a Sri Lankan Government, a military and an economy, Eelam will not rest in peace. Any disgruntled groups living in Tamil Eelam would have to be eliminated or else risk being manipulated by the
All in all, the stakes of maintaining Eelam seem higher that winning it. If the cost of achieving Eelam is higher than rejecting Eelam and settling for a lesser goal, then it is the option that one can choose. Good governance, managing a national economy and safeguarding national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of a state of Tamil eelam can be much harder than waging guerilla warfare.