That didn’t work out so well (full size)
DBS Jeyaraj is, in my opinion, the best commentator on the war. He’s a Tamil journalist with contacts on both sides living abroad for serious safety reasons. He just posted ‘The last days of Thiruvenkadam Veluppillai Prabhakaran‘, which is probably the best round-up of what happened in Uncle P’s last days. He also has other articles detailing the split that’s going on in the LTTE between the ‘reasonable’ KP and other hardliners.
Prabhakaran, who was 54, was a larger-than-life character who championed the dreams of the Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils. He was seldom seen in public, yet his word was unquestioned. He governed by fiat over a de facto state in one-third of this Indian Ocean island.
Even many Tamils who abhorred the Tigers’ suicide bombings and assassinations embraced him as their hope for dignity and equal rights in Sri Lanka.
Bloggers compared Prabhakaran to the Hidden Imam, who was born in the 9th century but who Shi’ite Muslims believe never died. Believers say the Twelfth Imam will return one day to bring peace and justice to the world. [WTF? How does this crap get into an AP report?]
I don’t know what bloggers or Tamils the AP or Times is talking about, but Jeyaraj is both Tamil and now, sorta, a blogger and has a much more real view of things. He is also reporting that Prabhakaran’s entire family including his wife, 23 year old daughter and 11 year old son were killed. Er.
Anyways, here’s the money quotes as I read it:
Prabhakaran made four grave miscalculations. Underestimating in two and overestimating in two.
He overestimated the impact and influence of the diaspora in the west and the pro-tiger lobby in Tamil Nadu. The unfolding civilian catastrophe was his trump card…
If these were overestimation errors, he also underestimated badly the Rajapakse regime as well as the armed forces. Prabhakaran did not expect the armed forces to keep on progressing relentlessly as they did.But despite heavy losses the military juggernaut kept on rolling forward…
But the biggest blunder of all was to believe wrongly that the LTTE could at some point deliver a crippling blow on the battlefront and exact a heavy casualty toll. This would demoralize the army and help reverse the process , he surmised.
He then goes on to detail how KP tried to negotiate a PLO style evacuation for the leadership, got yelled at, then how shit got seriously bad and Prabha changed his mind, only for it to be too late. Then, apparently, a wave of suicide bombers gave cover and him and his family broke through the security cordon while his son Charles Anthony died defending the rear.
The Prabhakaran family of four and forty-seven others managed to penetrate Nandhikkadal defence ring and move north to the Puthumaatalan area. A message sent on behalf of Prabhakaran to the remaining cadres in Mullivaaikkal stated “udaithukondu poyitram” (we’ve broken through and gone).
Unfortunately this message gave false hopes to KP about the leader being safe.
Though Prabhakaran had at one time hundreds of cadres as bodyguards only 18 elite fighters accompanied him on the flight from Mullivaaikkaal.It has also been said that one bodyguard had a can of gasoline with him to burn the tiger leader’s body if ever he was killed or committed suicide.
But then, and here the details are missing:
Prabhakaran’s body was discovered before dawn on Tuesday May 19th lying on the Nanthikkadal bank. Soldiers of the 4th Vijayabahu infantry regiment led by Lt.Col Rohitha Aluvihare claimed to have found it.
Prabhakaran had been shot at point blank range. Four of his bodyguards were lying dead in the vicinity. Later on it was claimed that the bodies of Madhivadhany, Duvaaraga and Balachandran were found in a bushy patch about 600 metres way from where Prabhakaran’s body was found. Charles Anthony’s body was found elsewhere earlier. The entire family had been wiped out.
Anyways, the whole article and, I’d say, everything Jeyaraj has written on the war is worth a read. His piece on the post-war situation for Tamils especially. If you want to actually know what’s going on based on real contacts and actual, like, reporting I’d skip the big media and give dbsjeyaraj.com a read.