The Inevitable Romanticizing of Prabhakaran

When we think of William Wallace or Attila the Hun, we think of great men that dared to defy an empire. History is written by the victors they say, yet history remembers these men as heroes to be revered, or at least warriors to be feared.

When we look at the lives, the rhetoric, the military tactics, the sheer audacity of these leaders, one wonders if the real Wallace or Attila were as heroic as their legends tell us. The mythical proportions to which these characters have been elevated seem to have facilitated the omissions of their misdeeds – mostly in the case of Wallace. We all support the underdog, thus we scramble to sheathe their human errors, and rush to romanticize their ruthless resolve.

Real history, as opposed to popular culture, tells us that William Wallace was a monster. It took nothing less than a monster to defeat the stonehearted English. And it took much more than a monster to slaughter hundreds of women and children in the dozen villages his armies sacked on his command. He was in contemporary language, the quintessential ‘separatist’, perhaps even a ‘terrorist’. Yet we remember him as a freedom fighter. Attila the Hun was arguably worse. He decimated scores of cities in the Roman Provinces; murdering, raping and pillaging as he swept across the Empire with the singular ambition of bringing about its demise.

Yet we celebrate these individuals as great men of valor. And we teach our children of their brutal, yet heroic achievements.

Wallace was hanged, drawn, quartered and beheaded for high treason; the Scots never acquired independence; and the Huns were virtually annihilated. Under usual circumstances, the English and Roman historians should have erased the very memory of these so-called martyrs to a lost cause. However, world history did not permit this. This is because we simply cannot escape from the truth: that the world loves an underdog. Any man that cries freedom brings us to tears. Any man that challenges the oppressor inspires us.

The actions of these men should never have been condoned, let alone glorified. Their legacies should never have been remembered, let alone immortalized. Yet with the passage of time, fact became folklore and truth became legend.

They all love the underdog. They will forget his crimes and remember his message. They will demonize his conquerors and elevate him to martyrdom. And in a hundred years, the world would have romanticized him.

Thank you for reading.


~ by Archangel on June 25, 2009.

12 Responses to “The Inevitable Romanticizing of Prabhakaran”

  1. No one thinks of Elara was a hero. He was probably a good king but history records him as the villain.

  2. wrong analogies
    ppl do not romanticize pol pot , what is his name leader of shining path, hitler, etc etc .
    ancient history with uncertain facts are different from recent history with well documented facts.

    of course racist propagandists (both terrorists and ngo peaceniks) who tried make him a representative of tamils will try to romanticize the mass murderer . but they failed then and will now . nobody else will even try

  3. I’m afraid you might have missed the point.

    Pol Pot and Hitler were never regarded as underdogs. And they never claimed to be fighting for freedom. The world considered them the oppressors, rather than the hideous product of oppression.

    I agree, the man was a murderer. No argument there. But if you think that his life was better documented than the life of William Wallace, I would have to disagree.

    Like it or not, the ingredients needed for a romanticized version of his work is evident.

    But here is the point I didn’t make in the post: if we fail to solve the ethnic issue and facilitate the self determination of the Tamils through some means which are antithetical to the violent struggle that he led, he and his failed campaign might be seen as martyrdom.


  4. Bravefart – the life of Prabhakaran – potential Oscar winner someday, you think?

  5. Disco Bob is in disagreement with sittingnut’s argument that myth making in the information age is a lot harder than it was at any time in the past. The glorification of Che Guevara is a case in point. The man who oversaw Cuba’s first deathsquads, who founded forced labour camps, who tried to spread his disease in other parts of the world and fucked them up, is today glorified as a hero of the Left. Disco Bob even knows airheads who wear t-shirts with Che’s face on them.

    While Prabhakaran dwarfs Che on the sheer number of people he killed, Disco Bob wouldn’t put it past the Tamil Diaspora–who already worship him with as much fervour of Che’s most ardent fans–to fund his makeover from monster to martyr. And Archangel’s point about post-war ethnic reconciliation doesn’t fly either, because even if it is achieved, this sort of hysterical and moronic hero worship does not halt in the face of facts.

  6. You are such a loser. Please stop this crap. Dig a hole, look for Prabha’s penis kotta, suck that.

  7. Are you supporting the glorification of prabha or condemning the glorification of william wallace?

    If you are supporting the glorification of prabha then you should do what mad fellow recommends. 🙂

    If you are condemning the glorification of william wallace, then you are right to do so. No acts of violence against a country should be tolerated. You are completely right. The world is prone to do stupid things like that. But what’s your point?

    “solve the ethnic issue and facilitate the self determination of the Tamils through some means which are antithetical to the violent struggle”

    I think we need to find a peaceful solution fast. I think we are on track. I don’t think there will be a war in the near future where Prabha’s actions are seen as beneficial. So sooner or later, people will see prabha as nonredeemable.

  8. Its not supportive of Praba’s glorification, neither is it condemning the glorification of william wallace, it just stating facts.

    Praba the martyr is coming to a cinema near you all folks… sooner or later…

  9. I think Style has got the point I was attempting to make.


  10. Kick-ass article, amazing looking blog, added it to my favorites!

  11. vz25o6w


  12. @arch angel
    “facilitate the self determination of the Tamils through some means which are antithetical to the violent struggle”
    u worry about the martyrdom of praba
    y don’t u at least think that more than 60 percent of Tamils have already been killed in a brutal way
    and now u ppl are going to support “facilitate self determination”
    an no one fought for them…. SL Tamils were treated like dogs by their own brothers in India….. at least someone like praba stood up for them …… we don’t deserve to condone his actions or deliberate over his martyrdom… we never did anything when women were raped and killed ……we never did anything when little children where forced to hold guns after seeing thier mothers in condition no child can bear…..
    and Hitler…. accepted he was a murderer…. but he changed a bankrupt nation into a nation which can finance fighting a world war…..Can anyone of us do that? and dont u ppl dare talk about Che…. Cuba is still one those countries whose economy is independent and does’nt need America bossing around..Che and Fidel made it happen…..We live in country where our leaders would do backstabbing and lick America’s boots to any extent to get money….. Here we are living in the world’s second largest democracy with hospitals lying that a dead body is alive while Unicaef says “Undoubtedly, the reach and quality of child- and mother-friendly hospitals in Cuba sets one of the highest standards in the world.” We did not do anything to change our country’s fate and here we are condoning the action of people who atleast did something good to their country and were beneficiaries to other countries….. they rightfully earned their place in history…. to all the people who ridiculed these men….. lets see whether your names are written in history…..

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