Adele may be LTTE's new international spokesperson
Jan 21, 2007 - 10:13:46 AM
New Delhi, Jan 21 - The Australian-born Adele Balasingham, wife of the late Tamil Tigers ideologue Anton Balasingham, is likely to be the new international spokesperson for the group, informed sources say.
The London-based Adele Balasingham may don the new mantle at a time when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - faces one of its most serious challenges from a Sri Lankan state determined to crush the outfit.
Adele Balasingham could not be reached for this story. But the sources, which closely follow Sri Lanka, say the buzz is that she will continue to make the contributions that her husband made to the Tamil Tiger cause.
'Adele's brilliance is the intimate knowledge first hand of the Tamil problem, which she has witnessed personally at close quarters,' a reliable source told IANS.
Norway, the peace facilitator in Sri Lanka, is already in touch with her as well as S.P. Thamilchelvan, the LTTE political wing leader based in the rebel-held area in the island.
Like her husband whom she married in 1978 and who died of cancer last month, Adele Balasingham has been seeped in the LTTE's campaign to break up Sri Lanka's northeast to carve out a Tamil state. Popularly known as 'Aunty' among LTTE cadres and occasionally called a 'white Tamil', Adele Balasingham, who will turn 57 Jan 30, has known LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran for decades and enjoys his trust.
She has taken part in almost all major peace negotiations that her husband held with the Sri Lankan government on behalf of the Tigers. One high-ranking Sri Lankan official who took part in some of these talks said Adele Balasingham always played a quiet role, taking down notes and helping out her husband.
'She was invariably present at all major discussions, assisting - Balasingham,' the official told IANS. 'She was more than a wife. She did not intervene though. Whatever she said was between her and her husband.'
A Tamil activist had remarked after Balasingham's death: 'Adele was more than a mere partner who kept his home and nursed him in illness. She was his intellectual partner.'
Born Adele Ann Wilby in a small Australian town, the second of four children, she qualified as a nurse and moved to London where she met Balasingham and married him.
Balasingham played a key role in the evolution of LTTE since the late 1970s when he and his wife were introduced to the group in London and later met, in Chennai, its leader for the first time. Both LTTE and Prabhakaran were largely unknown entities then.
Soon, Balasingham rose to become Prabhakaran's confidant and widely came to be seen as the group's theoretician and ideologue. Though Adele Balasingham did not take part in any fighting, she has been photographed in LTTE combat dress. One BBC documentary showed her with a pistol on her hip.
A powerful writer, Adele Balasingham authored three books, including a semi-autobiographic 'The Will to Freedom', which she described as an inside view of 'Tamil resistance'. The other books were on LTTE's women fighters and on the dowry practice among the Tamils of Jaffna, the cradle of Tamil militancy.
In one book, she described her husband as the 'greatest determinant' in my life. 'Our marriage in 1978,' she wrote, 'was a union of ideological perspectives, values, aspirations and convictions.'
These attributes could serve her well if she does become the LTTE's new international spokesperson.
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