Sunday, August 9, 2009

Let History Judge Him


Another living legend is dead. Velupillai Prabhakaran. The name of terror that we grew up with. We were taught that he was a soldier, a brother, a leader. Then we were taught that he was a terrorist, a brute, a megalomaniac who loved to kill.

He stood up against the atrocities committed against the poorest of Tamils who had migrated to Sri Lanka to work in the plantations there. He took up arms when Tamilians were burnt alive in the streets of Colombo. He struck back when Sinhalese mobs dragged out and lynched Tamilians even from prisons. He became the beacon of hope for a people who were treated as sub –humans by the Sri Lankans.

He killed his own people who did not obey him. He rose to power by exterminating other Tamil leaders. He built one of the most ferocious organizations ever in the world -the LTTE. He was the founder of suicide attacks. Most countries even now classify LTTE as more dangerous than Al Qaeda as it is clear that Osama Bin Laden copied most of his terrorist actions from Prabhakaran. He is the only leader to have assassinated two world leaders in two different countries.

If he was a devil, was it because he had lived in hell?

Even as debates rage on who he really was and what effect his actions will have on future generations, the truth is that no one could ignore him. You had to stand for or against him.

Even as his bullet-ridden body is being identified, let us not be his judges; for only time shall tell whether his actions were right or wrong, whether he shall find his place among the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln or the likes of Hitler and Mussolini.

Let history be his judge.

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