Be Genuine in your wish for peace in Sri Lanka
By a well wisher
Jun 27, 2009
A rebuttal to the latest UTHR(J) report A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Foreboding
The recently released Special Report #32 of the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) UTHR(J) A Marred Victory and a Defeat Pregnant with Foreboding, is comparable to Monday morning quarterbacking, as they say in the US.
The UTHR(J) report's ostensible purpose is to expose and highlight the "wrong" or "questionable" techniques, tactics and procedures (TTPs) implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Sri Lankan Security Forces in defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). However, its real goal appears to be more sinister, which is to relegate Sri Lanka to a pariah state in the world.
Unlike during the repressive days of the LTTE, the UTHR(J) today enjoys unprecedented freedom to voice its opinion, without the fear of reprisal hanging over it like the Sword of Damocles. It is therefore tragic that the UTHR(J) cannot be professional, focused and genuine in its desire for peace in Sri Lanka.
The UTHR(J) says the report is factually correct and materials for the report were obtained from "reliable sources", "well informed sources", and "eye-witnesses" in the government, military, and IDP population. If so, why did not you tip off the armed forces so that LTTE targets could have been destroyed with minimal civilian casualty? Accurate intelligence has ensured civilian safety before. For instance, did any "innocent Tamil civilians" die when the Sri Lanka Navy sank the floating warehouses or when the Sri Lanka Air Force destroyed ships/craft? None. State-of the-art technology helped the intelligence community track these down.
With regard to the five students' deaths in Trincomalee, I do understand a parent's pain, and anguish at losing a child. Yet, at the same time, it is the duty of parents to keep a close tab on their children's activities. As parents we believe our children are in the right place at the right time, doing what is right. Unfortunately, sometimes, that is not so. Are you not aware of the school children who took the 'Five Classes' discoursed by the People's Liberation Front (JVP) during the southern insurgency? Their alibi was they were doing 'Group Studies' for A Levels or went for "a sleep over". When their bodies turned up partly burnt at the road side, the parents cried 'foul play'! You are very particular about taking to task and in seeking an international case/inquiry for the five Trincomalee students, then where has been your same alacrity for the 25 students of Embilipitiya Maha Vidyalaya? Therefore what is the guarantee that those five students in question were innocent and in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or if there is a more sinister reason for their deaths? But I would say this, truth is stranger than fiction! And also extraordinary situations in a country need extraordinary measures!
On another note, the members of UTHR (J) and their reliable sources, contacts and witnesses claim to have "seen" the development work carried out by International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) in Wanni - the high-rise buildings, the office complexes, housing units and other infrastructure development with the equipment worth billions or the billions of dollars, and euros brought in to the country by the INGOs. But when the security forces went in, they saw no development work, not a semblance of such development projects. It is not the Sri Lanka government but the INGOs that forced 'arrested development' on the Wanni people!' The enlightening publication 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City' by Rajive Chandrasekaran focused on INGOs, reveals that most INGO staff are a bunch of failed and lost souls, trying to make hay while sun shines, having a good time at others' misery and expense. You will see what sort of qualifications, academic or otherwise, they possess. You will be appalled! When the heavy equipment and machinery were being misused to construct earth bunds to stall the forward march of the security forces, why your sources, contacts and eye witnesses fail to tip off the SLAF? If the SLAF had destroyed them then, the IDPs would not have followed the LTTE to the No Fire Zone (NFZ), as they would have had little faith in the LTTE's capabilities to defend them. Then there would not have been thousands of deaths in Mullaitivu. The word that does rounds is that the only achievement by INGOs in Sri Lanka is to teach Wanni women to boil water to prevent water-borne diseases!
Your hearts appear to bleed profusely for the imperiled IDPs and the thousands of people who perished in Eelam War IV. But can you give us a breakdown on how many LTTE in mufti or uniform, conscripts, school children and innocent people perished? I have seen the photos, published by Tamil Net, the unofficial media organ of LTTE, of women in long gowns doing weapons drills with mock rifles, school children being put through squad drills and armed men in uniform and mufti firing their weapons. They can be seen on tanks, suicide craft, and vessels. The Tamil Net and LTTE never thought when they showed the 'selected' pictures, for propaganda purposes and to whip up anti-Sri Lanka sentiments in the other parts of the world, of the damaged daub and wattle houses due to SLAF bombing the targets they themselves acquired, that their lies will ever come to light. The gullible international media swallowed those lies lock, stock and barrel and sent dispatches to Western news outlets to feed lies, intentionally or unintentionally, to feed unsuspecting readers and viewers, thus making them treat the GOSL and the Sri Lanka security forces with disgust and contempt, until such time the security forces rolled on to the LTTE super bunkers and brought them to light. This is why I hold UTHR (J) singularly, more than anybody else or organization, responsible for the Wanni Tamils' pathetic ordeal. You were fully aware that the GOSL, as India, was only interested in liquidating the top LTTE leadership as they knew very well that there would be a domino effect once top leadership was gone.
How much awareness did you create, or else, did you educate those housewives when they were undergoing mock weapon training of the grave implications. In fact, they were, simply, asking for trouble and were legitimate targets for a military in war. For you, the UTHR (J), they were augmenting the so-called 'fighting formations of LTTE' to create a Dreelam for you! Neither Dahnu, Nalini, nor Suba were in Tiger fatigues when they blasted Rajiv Gandhi to smithereens, nor were all the male and female suicide bombers that died in action in Colombo, or elsewhere. So by your definition those suicide bombers were "innocent" Tamils. Luckily, they were killed not by the Security Forces but by the blast force. But you cry blue murder when the law enforcement agencies roll up suspicious Tamils across Sri Lanka. Considering the number of suicide operations, given the scale of them, there is always probable cause. There is a requirement for the taking precautions or monitoring everyone with equal care, media and human rights activists too. The law enforcement agencies owe it to the nation in the course of maintaining law and order, peace and stability. So, do not try to find fault with the security forces for killing in combat or while on duty. In fact, Sri Lanka can be proud that its security forces were firm, fair and inexorable in war. What are doctors supposed and expected to do? Take care of the patients in the letter and spirit of the Socrates Oath! What are universities lecturers supposed and expected to do? Educate the undergraduates to the best of their abilities.
Having said all the above, I do accept there are genuine grievances of Tamil people. But who on earth does not have grievances, worries, disappointments and frustrations and have not experienced discrimination?
Let's talk about language issue, which appears to top the list of grievances. The fact that there are insufficient Tamil speaking Sinhala civil servants in the North, causing difficulties in the daily activities in the North and East, is the direct result of systematic and planned purge of the Sinhalese by the Tamils, not allowing them to buy land and settle in the North and East. If Sinhalese were allowed to live in the North, their children would have learnt Tamil and married into Tamil families. It would have ensured that Tamil speaking Sinhalese manned the government offices. But when you stab to death a Senior Superintendent of Police or kill a Sinhalese doctor who was willing to serve the Tamils, Sinhalese professionals fear to go to the North and East to serve on hardship tours. The ultimate result is, instead of the two communities living in concord, there is polarization and a clash of civilizations. In your quest for a Dreelam, you made it happen. Then, please, do not come up with words like "Sinhalese nationalism", "supremacy", "chauvinism", "racism" etc. I know it is difficult to talk to each other if you do not speak each other's language. That is why we learn the each other's language, use sign language or a link language, draw pictures, seek the help of interpreter, or simply keep our mouths zipped.
Let us look at how to solve this problem once and for all. There are a few, as of now, in Sri Lanka, who collectively have the power, but they are definitely not the 'Fein' human right lawyers, blood 'Boyle' professors, Foreign Secretaries of the Empires that created the infamous East India Companies, or the Doctors Without Shame, (Médecins Sans Honte) (MSH). These humbugs speak for the Dreelam people with a hidden agenda, with an ulterior motive. It could be the vote bloc, vested interests of their countries, or purely for Tamil sex, money and 'Honey'! It is definitely not MIA the paper plane of TAF or her talk show host friend who wanted to give oxygen to the dying LTTE. If an independent group of honest Tamil academics approach those individuals with correct and positive attitude, I think the solution for the vexed ethnic issue can be amicably reached. If those bona fide academics understand that the only way the Sinhalese and Tamils can live in lasting peace in Sri Lanka is to seek a joint resolution, then we have found the lasting solution we have been looking for. After all they have the ear of the person with required 'political capital' to take and make bold decisions in the present circumstances. That is the current President Mahinda Rajapakse.
If the bona fide Tamil academics who truly believe that the two communities can live in peace and harmony in one country, if they believe it is worth trying, if they think those five devils may get carried away by the 'reverse' Stockholm Syndrome for the common good for Sinhalese and Tamil, then they have the pressed the right button. They can be on the same wave length with those 'five' devils. Instead, if the Dreealm Tamils think that they can revive LTTE or any other movement, in Sri Lanka or in exile, or have a much vaunted "transnational governance," to violently overthrow the legitimate government of Sri Lanka or to kill the security forces and the peace-loving Sinhalese and Tamils, then they are promising again nothing but a raw deal to peace-loving Tamils who are weary of decades of death and destruction, violence, bluster, and political rhetoric that achieved nothing for genuine Tamil aspirations.
It is up to the right thinking people not to condone such acts but to isolate those humbugs by weaning the political patronage or shunning the underworld politicians and hooligans. Let saner counsel prevail at all times when there is a physical confrontation between a Tamil and Sinhalese. Let the policeman on the scene diffuse the situation with least possible delay and contain it without allowing any blood spilling, then the much-awaited peace and harmony will dawn on Sri Lanka.
Last but not least, UTHR(J), you can do enormous good by not writing flammable reports like this one. The prestigious Jane's Defense Weekly's estimates a staggering yearly collection of 300 millions of dollars by the LTTE overseas activists for the LTTE war chest. Given the collection from 1983, and if a conservative percentage of about 50% is used for calculations, a whopping US$3900 million should be currently lying unclaimed in foreign banks, that can well be used to develop the North and the East. Try to get these monies back for the future of a thriving, peaceful Sri Lanka.