Headlines

LTTE planes dropped 2 bombs in Trinco Harbour (Updated)

Posted by azad | Tuesday, August 26, 2008 | Posted in



More than 10 Sri Lanka Navy soldiers wounded

(August 26 [updated at 9.25pm], Trincomalee, Sri Lanka Guardian) The LTTE dropped 2 bombs today evening at the Sri Lanka Navy base and Harbour in Trincomalee around 9.05p.m.

According to Sri Lanka Guardian reliable source, few damages were caused to naval troops and the Harbour in the aerial bombing. “More than 10 Sri Lanka Navy soldiers wounded were admitted to base hospital in Trincomalee. he added.

Our source said that the jetliner ship appeared to be the target, but the target had been missed.

"During the wee hours the SLAF /SLN air defence network radars detected 2 light aircraft of LTTE which were airborne and heading towards Trincomalee. In accordance with standard operating procedures, SLAF interceptor aircraft were made airborne in the direction of the intruding enemy craft.

However, enroute to the area it was observed that the LTTE air craft were fleeing and heading back", our source confirms.
According to a well-known defence analyst and our regular columnist B. Raman, “The Tamileelam Air Force (TAF) has a good bombing capability as seen from the well-planned and well-executed air strikes carried out by it at night on the Katunayake air base near Colombo on March 26, 2007, and on the Palaly military base in the Jaffna peninsula on April 25, 2007. It has shown technical skills in converting small aircraft, which are not meant for such bombing missions, into specialised planes capable of undertaking bombing missions. It has also managed to get its pilots trained in bombing missions. It is not possible to acquire such conversion and bombing skills in a normal flying club. Either they must have acquired them in a flying club having retired air force pilots as instructors or it has been assisted by retired air force officers of some country. It could be retired Tamil pilots of the SLAF, if there are any, or retired air force pilots of some foreign country or the other.”

“The LTTE should be presumed to have a capability for air terrorism, though it has not so far exhibited it. Air-mounted terrorism does not require any special skills. All it requires is individual motivation, a flying object which could be even a glider and the ability to glide or fly which could be acquired in any flying club. The use of an aircraft for air-mounted terrorism would result in the definitive loss of the aircraft. The TAF is estimated to have not more than five small planes. It is doubtful whether it would undertake an act of air-mounted suicide terrorism and lose a plane except in a desperate situation,” he added.

“The SLAF is still confused as to how to deal with the TAF. It has bombed some suspected air strips of the TAF, but this has not prevented the TAF from operating. This is because for these small planes no regular air strip is required. They could take off from and land in any open space such as a playground or a road with a metalled surface. Absence of precise intelligence regarding the hide-outs of these planes comes in the way of proactive bombings to destroy them on the ground. A good radar cover would help prevent future air strikes in the Colombo area, but may not in the Palaly area due to the very short distance involved. The SLAF needs a good mid-air interception capability to seek and destroy the TAF planes after they are air-borne even if they manage to evade ground fire. The kind of Russian, Ukrainian and Israeli planes the SLAF has presently are good for bombing missions, but not for mid-air interception roles. Moreover, they require regular airfields for take-off and landing. They can't scramble fast. The SLAF requires some small, easily manoeuvrable aircraft, which can take off and land almost anywhere, with specially-trained pilots.”.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Gun Shot, One Shot and Gon Shot

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"Two UNP women supporters in a Bullock cart carried off their beloved relay team of Mr Ranil “Phelps” Wickremasinghe, One Shot, Gun Shot and Gon Shot shouting “Apey Gona Apita Honda” out of the stadium, thus ending another memorable day of defeat to our record breaking Serial Looser Team."



by S. De Silva

(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Holder of the current world record for Serial Loosing, Ranil “Phelps” Wickremasinghe broke his own record last week at the NCP/Sabaragamuwa sports meet and added one more gold medal to the Himalayan mountain of gold medals accumulated in his illustrious political career, thus becoming the undisputable world record holder in the category of Serial Loosing.

His relay partners, Gun Shot, One Shot and Velupillai Prabhakaran the “Gon Shot” were also awarded gold medals by Citizen Perera. Just for the heck of it, Citizen Perera also awarded Silver medals to CMEV, Richard “O-I Love UNP’ Blake and FMM who acted as the Judge, Jury and Executioner in the NCP/SG Sports meet, respectively. Bonze medals were awarded to JVP in recognition for their tremendous work in organizing general strikes and student protests to help their ailing buddy Velupillai Prabhakaran the Gon Shot at a time of personal crisis to the poor man.

Citizen Perera also did not forget to mention German Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Jurgen Weerth in his thanksgiving note, for his very timely help in giving a “helpful push” to Mr. Phelps Wickeremashinghe and his relay partners Gun Shot, One Shot and Gon Shot to attain this historic defeat. Official cheerleader of the event Mrs. Rosy Senanayake provided some lavish entertainment with scantily clad dancing stars especially brought down from Pulli First channel, while Mr. Lasantha. Wickrematunga and Miss Sonali Samarasinghe provided media coverage to the event with plenty thrills spills and usual concoction of conspiracy theories all of which were published in their extremely widely read and esteemed journal, The Sundayleader.

Before the event all the Gold medalists were blessed by Rev. Rayappu Joseph (himself a serial looser of sorts) since the teams consisted of three “former” Christians in Phelps Wickremasinghe, One Shot and Gun Shot, all of which converted to Buddhism just in order to please Citizen Perera (or so they thought), while Gon Shot was a anyway a God himself, known popularly as “Sun God” among his tribe in Gondwanaland.

Two UNP women supporters in a Bullock cart carried off their beloved relay team of Mr Ranil “Phelps” Wickremasinghe, One Shot, Gun Shot and Gon Shot shouting “Apey Gona Apita Honda” out of the stadium, thus ending another memorable day of defeat to our record breaking Serial Looser Team.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Three held over fears of Obama death plot

Posted by azad | | Posted in



(August 26, Washington, Sri Lanka Guardian) Authorities are investigating whether a man arrested with rifles, ammunition and drugs in his truck made statements threatening Democratic candidate Barack Obama, but emphasise he never posed a "credible threat" to the presidential candidate or the Democratic National Convention.

Federal and local authorities had scheduled a news conference for this afternoon, but US Attorney Troy Eid downplayed the case.

"We're absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado," Eid said in a statement.

FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright confirmed the FBI was investigating reports the man had threatened Obama, who will be in Denver this week to accept the Democratic nomination for president. The Joint Information Center — a command set up by city, state and federal authorities to field media inquiries during the Democratic convention — said it had no immediate comment.

The action started around 1.30am on Sunday when police in the eastern suburb of Aurora stopped a truck that was swerving erratically. The driver, 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell, had a suspended driver's license, and the truck was rented in the name of another person, said Aurora police Detective Marcus Dudley.

In the truck, officers found two rifles, including one with a scope; a bulletproof vest; boxes of ammunition; walkie-talkies; and suspected narcotics, Dudley said.

Aurora police, on edge because of heightened security surrounding the Democratic convention in Denver, alerted federal authorities.

Three hours later, at 4.30am on Sunday, federal agents arrested Nathan Johnson, 32, at a hotel in Denver. He was being held on drug charges, Dudley said.

Half an hour later, 33-year-old Shawn Robert Adolf jumped from a sixth-story window when authorities tried to arrest him at a hotel in suburban Glendale, police said.

Adolf was hospitalised and was being held on $1m bond for several outstanding warrants involving drug charges.

Dudley didn't say what tied the men together but said more arrests were possible. One of the rifles was stolen, and authorities had traced it to Kansas, Dudley said.

It wasn't known if the three men had attorneys, Dudley said.

Dudley said Gartrell was being investigated for methamphetamine and firearms violations. Gartrell, who has no known address, was being held at the Arapahoe County jail on $50,000 bail on drug and weapons charges. The jail said he was due in court Thursday.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Devananda Doctrine

Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian | | Posted in


The Legitimate Leader of the Tamils of the North & East in the Government and the aspiration for Resolution of Conflict

"We have a leader who has honestly, sincerely and truly endeavoured to create a peaceful environment, improved the country and the standard of living over the years, naturally when the standard of living is higher the cost is higher but some people are obstructing the progress for their vile pursuits - some in the name of religion, some in the name of compassion but all these at the cost of the nation. It is time that affirmative action is taken so as not to eradicate the norms of democracy."

by Dr.T.C.Rajaratnam*

(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) How many Tamil Members of Parliament represent the North and the East ? Where are they ? What have they contributed to society ? What have they contributed to the Tamil people of the North and the East ? What have the people of the North and the East experienced in the recent past ? Who amongst these representatives, sends food, clothing, medicines and other essential items to the North ? Who amongst these representatives holds a file and seeks all the basic necessities for the people of the North and the East through the government ? Who amongst these representatives takes care of the people of the North and East ?

Who amongst these representatives gives a hearing and grants an audience to those who have grievances and heals their emotional wounds and takes care of their day to day necessities? Who amongst these representatives has sacrificed his personal life and other luxuries which he could enjoy ? Who amongst these representatives is always clad in white in hand spun clothing and wears sandals and eats only one meal a day? Who amongst these representatives could be contacted any time of the day and night by any person in distress ? Who amongst these representatives wakes up at 3 a.m. in the morning and retires to bed past midnight ? Who amongst these representatives sleeps on a wooden bench ? On whom can the Tamils of the North and East count on ? If all these questions could be answered in the affirmative, then there is none other than one man who fits the description as the sole representative of the Tamils of the North and the East. Who is this man ? He is none other than, Kathiravelu Nithiyananda Devananda better known as ‘Douglas Devananda !’

Douglas Devananda hails from an aristocratic family of Royal descent. Tall, handsome Douglas is a strict disciplinarian having been a militant himself more than 20 years ago. He has been closely associated to successive Presidents of Sri Lanka.

Although we witnessed trials and tribulations as a nation, we must also appreciate the fact that the President Mahinda Rajapakse has so ably guided us to where we are today.
For moving forward is rarely accomplished without considerable grief and sadness and while our sorrow may be profound the clouds will clear and the sun will shine on us again and we shall as a nation rejoice only if we haves everlasting peace.

We need political stability for economic development. We have as a nation suffered too much with too little help from those who ought to co-operate with us to jointly steer towards development. We will in that bright light find ourselves facing a glorious future. A future with exciting challenges and infinite possibility in which the horizon will stretch out before us rimmed in heavenly glow the sunrise of our tomorrow.

We as a nation have had far too many tragedies. The 1983 racial riots nurtured by the then
regime and provoked by the terrorists created a bloody war. Since then, thereafter no
attempt was made to rebuild the nation that was torn apart by war.

Our nation has been torn apart by the evils of terrorism and natural disaster. It is
difficult to feel like the most powerful person in the country at times like that because, there is no answer - there is no justification for the pain. Freedom of choice alone does not guarantee justice. Equal rights are not defined only by political values. Social justice is a triad of freedom, an equation of liberty. Justice is political liberty. Justice is economic independence. Justice is social equality.

Due to our internal conflicts which we could have long resolved, external forces with vested interests have all sought to intervene some in the pretext of resolving the conflict but our experience has proved that the gap of resolution of conflict does not seem to be narrower now.

Those who finance terror, those who launder their money, those that cover their tracks are every bit as guilty as the fanatic who commits the final act.

We look for diplomacy. But there is no diplomacy with some of those opposed to us. We do not consider them opponents but they oppose every conceivable move we make to develop the country. Sometimes, there is no compromise with such people, no meeting of minds - no point of understanding - so we would have a just choice - defeat it or be defeated by it.

We learnt that however much we strive for peace, we need a strong defence capability where a peaceful approach fails. Whatever the dangers of the action we take, the dangers of inaction are far greater. Laws will have to be changed not to deny the basic liberties but to prevent their abuse and protect the most basic liberty of all; freedom from terror. The people are terrorized by certain vested interests in their vile pursuits for power committing crimes and targeting a reflex scenario as if the Government was responsible.

We must always be on guard for those who will exploit and manipulate religion for their own narrow political ends who will distort the essence of pluralism and tolerance for their own extremist agendas.

People are being tainted by the reckless media. It is a national catastrophe for the nation.
We must work as a community to ensure that everyone not just a privileged few get the collective ability to further the individual's interests.The governing idea of modern social democracy is community founded on the principles of social justice. That people should rise according to merit not birth; that the test of any decent society is not the contentment of the wealthy and strong, but the commitment to the poor and weak.

But values aren't enough. The mantle of leadership comes at a price; the courage to learn and change; to show how values that stand for all ages can be applied in a way relevant to each age. We learnt that equality is about equal worth and not equal outcomes. Today our society is shaped around mutual responsibility; a deal, an agreement between citizens
not a one way gift, from the well off to the dependent.

The standard of living is higher. The expectations of the people are higher. This is a consumer age. People don't take what they are given. They demand more.

We are not alone in this. All round the world governments are struggling with the same problems. The program of reform is huge. We must have co-operation, determination and consensus. We are a community of people, whose self interest and mutual interest at crucial points merge and that it is through a sense of justice that community is born and nurtured. This is the moment to bring the faiths closer together in understanding of our common values and heritage a source of unity and strength.

By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more together than we can alone. We must reach beyond our fears and our divisions to a new time of great and common purpose. Let us trace the roots of affirmative action. Let us determine what it is and what it isn't. Let us see where it has worked and where it hasn't and ask ourselves what we need to do now.

Private media freedom is running amok. The news that millions of people in this country including foreign correspondents who convey news overseas receive each night is determined by a handful of men responsible only their corporate employers. The State should have control not to permit abuse of the freedom of the Press.

Deference may be inherited, but affection is earned and the affection this country feels for him is real. We must not permit a contaminated moral environment. Let us not negotiate out of fear, But let us never fear to negotiate.

We have a leader who has honestly, sincerely and truly endeavoured to create a peaceful
environment, improved the country and the standard of living over the years, naturally when the standard of living is higher the cost is higher but some people are obstructing the progress for their vile pursuits - some in the name of religion, some in the name of compassion but all these at the cost of the nation. It is time that affirmative action is taken so as not to eradicate the norms of democracy.

The nature and role of government should be affirmative. If one wants to maintain public
response there must be an effort to change but not to eviscerate the government. A democracy requires a certain amount of common ground.

Resolution of conflict has its requirements. Parties to a dispute cannot threaten and violate the rights of innocent people or those who are performing their duties. If the conflict between the organized form of government and a force not popular on the norms of legality, it is then the duty of the Head of State to take such measures to safeguard the nation by whatever means to protect the nation.

There are individuals and groups who may be critical of the President for political gain, but the President has always taken affirmative action within the norms required of the President. This may not be acceptable to those who are opposed to him.

No progress can be made unless a common ground is established. To endeavour to establish common ground certain specific responsibilities on the people and political leaders should be imposed. More of our people must set an example. People should be made conscious of their conduct. We must learn to discuss matters with those who are different from us. Not just people who agree with us but with somebody who is different.

We need more conversation and less combat. When we differ we ought to offer an alternative. We should say what we are for and just not what we are against. We ought to look relentlessly at the long term and remind the people that the problems we have developed over a long period of time.

Politicians must set an example to those among whom they work. After all, politics is a matter of serving the community which means that is morality in practice. We cannot restore peace unless we can find some way to bring the nation close together. There should be collective responsibility within groups or else the people will be confused.

We have to move beyond division and resentment to common ground. We have to go beyond cynicism to a sense of possibility. There should be only on race - the human race. All religions speak of compassion, love, forgiveness and good conscience.

*[The writer was the Co-ordinating Secretary to the Chief Government Whip of Parliament, Late Jeyaraj Fernandopulle; The Member in charge of the English Media of the Media Observation Unit appointed by Late Jeyaraj Fernandopulle for the Presidential Election Campaign of President Mahinda Rajapakse in 2005; Candidate for the Colombo District for SLFP-PA in the 1994 Parliamentary General Elections; Author; Orator; Member of the World Lawyers & Poets Association; International Legal Consultant , he can be reached at tcrajaratnam@yahoo.com )
- Sri Lanka Guardian

“A Public Endorsement To The Course Of Action Taken By Prez”

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The Provincial Councils Election

“The North-East Provincial Council, the “Child of Peace” though born, the Tamil parties were unable to bring up this child. We therefore have been making an every effort for the last 19 years to revive the dormant Provincial Council to usher in peace and harmony, very much desired by the Tamil Speaking People.”

(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) “The North-Central and Sabaragamuwa election’s results again have reveled the existent reality. The results of the elections are to be considered as yet another public endorsement to the firm course of action resorted to by His Excellency the President,” Minister Douglas Devananda said in a statement released today.

According to the Statement received by Sri Lanka Guardian, “There are two, two pronged vital problems still continuing to exist in Sri Lanka; the aimless terrorist problem taken forward by the Tiger leadership and the Tamil Speaking People desire for peace and harmony. The leaders in the past got themselves confused in these two problems by not looking at them in a correct perspective, but His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapakse realizing that the problems of the Tamil Speaking People’s are quite different from those of the Tigers has won the confidence of the people as has been reflected in the recently held PC elections.”

“The efforts taken by the President to solve the problems of the Tiger leadership in a language that he could understand and to provide with a solution to the problems of the Tamil Speaking People for them to live in peace and harmony have been accepted by the people of this country and the other forces as has been evidenced by the ruling party’s victory at the PC elections.”

“The Provincial Councils that came into being consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord in accordance with the 13th amendment to the constitution could be viewed as “Children of Peace”. In the south “Children of Peace” have grown up, bringing in prosperity to the land.”

The North-East Provincial Council, the “Child of Peace” though born, the Tamil parties were unable to bring up this child. We therefore have been making an every effort for the last 19 years to revive the dormant Provincial Council to usher in peace and harmony, very much desired by the Tamil Speaking People.

"The rulers in the past did not commit themselves to revive the North-East Provincial Council, as the Tiger leadership rejected the Provincial Council System and the rulers too considered the problems of the Tamil Speaking People and those of Tiger leadership were one and the same. However, the President Rajapakse could discern the difference between the desires of the Tamil Speaking People and those of the tigers, has initiated action to revive the North-East Provincial Council. An election has been held and people’s representatives have been selected to the Eastern Provincial Council. A Special Task Committee has been established to the North until such time the time, is ripe for holding an election in the North and at the same time President has firmly resorted to action to solve the problems of the Tiger leadership in a language that he could understand, making and to redeem the Tamil people from the tight grip of the Tigers."

Douglas Devananda, Secretary General of EPDP and the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare states that the people of this country today have given the President his due political approval and that the President will continue to be victorious in his march towards peace.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Rizana Nafeek’s objection upheld

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(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Supreme Judicial Council of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has upheld the objection filed by the attorney of Sri Lankan housemaid, Rizana Nafeek against the death sentence imposed on her and returned the case file to the Dawadmi High Court.

It may be recalled that Rizana had been arrested on 22nd May 2005 by the Police in Dawadmi, a town located 220 km west of the capital, Riyadh and charged with the murder of the infant son of her employer, left in her care. Rizana, who had recently arrived in the Kingdom and 17 years old at that time, claimed that the child had choked to death during bottle feeding.

However, the Dawadmi High Court had sentenced Rizana to death in June 2007, upon conviction for the murder of the infant, based on her initial confession to the Police, which she had subsequently retracted in Court.

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Riyadh arranged the law firm of Kateb Fahad Al – Shammary to represent Rizana, with the financial support of the Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission. The lawyer had filed objections against the verdict of the Dawadmi High Court to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in Riyadh, the highest judicial body in Saudi Arabia. The SJC has upheld the objection of the lawyer pertaining to the initial translation of Rizana’s statement to the Court, upon which the death sentence had been issued. The SJC has returned the case file to the Dawadmi High Court, which is expected to take up the case for hearing on Saturday, 30th August 2008.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Embassy officials in Riyadh have visited Rizana at the Dawadmi Jail on 17th August and found her to be in sound physical and mental condition. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has directed the Embassy to closely monitor developments of this case and extend all possible support and cooperation to Rizana’s lawyer.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

AP fishermen ask Rs 40 lakh to release 168 TN counterparts

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(August 26, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the second incident in two months, 168 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were captured by Andhra Pradesh fishermen for allegedly fishing in AP waters on Monday.

The fishermen who had left the Kasimedu fishing harbour on August 21 in 28 mechanised boats were captured by fishermen from Andhra Pradesh. It is also alleged that the Andhra Pradesh fishermen have demanded a ransom of Rs 40 lakh to release them. "They left in 28 boats.

While 21 boats were seized at Krishnapuram, seven were seized at hennarapalayam. We are awaiting details from the fishermen’s association and the Andhra Pradesh government. We are in touch with them to secure their release and ensure their safety,” fisheries commissioner Shambu Kallolikar said. “We are also going into reports of ransom being demanded from these fishermen,” he said.

This is the second incident since June 3, when 124 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were held captive by fishermen from Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh. The Tamil Nadu government intervened and secured the release of the fishermen. The fishermen were let off after being fined under the Andhra Pradesh Marine Fishing Regulation Act. However, it is also alleged that the fishermen had to pay a ransom for their release. Fishermen at the Kasimedu fishing harbour want the Tamil Nadu government to sort out the issue, since they are often held by Andhra Pradesh fishermen.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Sri Lanka ready to accept our rights: Positive Understanding On Kachchativu Issue, Says M K Narayanan

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(August 26, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka is willing to accept the traditional rights of Indian fishermen near Kachchativu island and had assured India that its navy will not open fire on the fishermen, national security adviser M K Narayanan said on Monday.

“We have taken up the traditional rights of the Indian fishermen as enshrined in the 1974 agreement. We believe that the Sri Lankan side is willing to accept the traditional rights of the Indian fishermen,” Narayanan told reporters after an hour-long meeting with chief minister M Karunanidhi at the secretariat in Chennai.

Stating that India and Sri Lanka had reached a “positive understanding” on many points of concern to Indian fishermen, he said the island government had given an assurance that its navy would not open fire on fishermen from India. Details of the agreement were still being finalised, he said.

Asked about the demand from some political parties in Tamil Nadu for retrieving Kachchativu from Sri Lanka, Narayanan said, “International treaties and agreements can’t be changed overnight.”

He said Karunanidhi’s concerns over being shot at by the Lankan navy or arrested while fishing on the island’s territorial waters had been conveyed to Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a bilateral meeting held in Colombo before the SAARC summit earlier this month.

Indian officials held a meeting with their Sri Lankan counterparts. Without going into details of the meeting, Narayanan said Sri Lanka had assured the Indian side that whenever fishermen were taken into custody, they would be released in the shortest possible time. It had also promised humanitarian treatment of Indian fishermen whenever they were arrested. Asked if India would reject the waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group for India to join the global nuclear commerce, if it came with unacceptable conditions, Narayanan said: “Why should you anticipate and speculate? We are hopeful that we will be through NSG too.” On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the Centre was dealing with in a manner to ensure that the situation did not recede too much. “We have made a lot of progress in the past two years. We want to maintain that progress. There have been a few violations of curfew and they have been dealt with,” he said.

Earlier, Narayanan discussed the security situation in the state with top officers of the state police. The police made a presentation on the present position in the activities of LTTE supporters, left-wing extremists and fundamentalist groups in the state.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

The killing orgy in Sri Lanka has been relentless

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“Who should take primary responsibility for the killing of 70,000 people, the destitution of thousands more, and the devastation of limb, life and property in Sri Lanka, asks the TULF leader, Mr Anandasangary in an address in Toronto, Canada. He sees a hope for the end of this carnage.”

A Sri Lankan Guardian Report from Canada

(August 26, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a stirring address that moved many people in the audience at the prestigious Roy Thomson Hall August 23, 2008, Mr V Anandasangary, the leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front said that that a large number of Tamils belonging to various other groups, academics, teachers, government servants of all ranks have been shot dead.

Apart from this a few thousand Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and some from other minority groups have been killed in large explosions in trains, buses, the Central Bank and other important government buildings and over thirty thousand of army, navy, air forces and police personnel in Claymore mine and hand grenade attacks, and large number on the battle front.

“In short,” he stressed. “Mr. Pirabakaran should take the responsibility for the death of over 70,000 citizens of Sri Lanka and for the loss of limbs and eye-sights of many. Thousands had become widows, orphans and destitute persons. Many of these victims are living on begging due to lack of social support system.”

He began the evening’s address by saying that Sri Lanka had been a peaceful country for generations, in which the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Malays and people of other ethnic groups, lived in peace and harmony. During the late seventies and eighties there had been a few upheavals, due to the violation of human rights, injustice, discrimination, exploitation and intolerance. The victims were mainly Tamils and Muslims. Various Tamil groups cropped up as saviours of the Tamils and the Muslims. Their fire-power could not stand against one group called the LTTE which gradually either eradicated the other groups or silenced them with their fire-power and emerged as a single group committed to dictatorship.

He continued observing that in championing the cause of the Tamils they even drove every Muslim out of the Northern Province. The Muslims, merely because they were Muslims, had to leave behind all their possessions and the land where they lived peacefully with the Tamils for several generations. These people are now languishing in refugee camps for more than 17 years in the South with the Sinhalese in the Puttalam and Anuradhapura districts, without privacy and their basic needs met. As long as refugee camps exist in our country whether the inmates are Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims or of any other group, we have no moral right to boast of democratic principles. With one section of our people undergoing untold hardships, being deprived of their democratic fundamental and human rights, we can’t boast of our country as one enjoying full democratic rights. Loss of democratic rights, fundamental rights and human rights amount to slavery. Should our youths, be they Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or of any other group, continue to shed their blood unnecessarily and die in vain at the battle front?

He paused a while and asserted: “I am convinced that the time has come for the country to find a solution reasonable enough and acceptable to the minorities and the international community.”

“It is no secret.” Mr Anandasangary said, “That the LTTE has now become so weak but still keep on challenging not only the Government of Sri Lanka but the entire international community as well. The Tamils are held as hostages in their own land. Even the Tamils living freely in the south with the Sinhalese and those who fled the country and are being well looked after by various countries in the West such as in Canada and the United States, our people are living in fear and tension due to the threat of the LTTE. Most of the Tamil media all over the world are under their control and are used by them to glorify their actions and condemn all their rival organizations and individuals opposed to them.”

“Although the LTTE is banned in all the 28 countries of the European Union, UK, USA, Australia, and India and more recently in Canada they continue their activities unchecked in some of the countries where they are proscribed,” said Mr Anandasangary.

“Under the pretext of having a cultural program even after it has been banned, the LTTE hood-winked the Canadian authorities and celebrated the ‘Ponguthamil’ recently in Toronto at which even the Tiger Flag was hoisted. It is understood that similar ceremonies were held on a large scale in Paris and on a smaller scale in London.UK as well. It is obvious that although they are proscribed in those countries some of them appear to be not in a mood to tighten their screws on the LTTE due to their dissatisfaction with the Sri Lankan Government’s slow action in putting forward a just and acceptable solution for the ethnic issue and some countries do so as a vote catching device.”.

He pointed out that several thousand innocent and unwilling Tamil youths from poor families were brain-washed and sent to the battle front and as suicide bombers to die. Most of them were children of poor parents recruited under compulsion and thoroughly brain-washed. The poor parents who are unable to challenge them are weeping in silence while envying the fortunate children of the leaders of the LTTE having their education in Western countries. The right of education is denied to children of poor parents.

He held Pirabakaran responsible for the death of over 70,000 citizens of Sri Lanka and for the loss of limbs and eye-sights of many and thousands who have become widows, orphans and destitute persons. Due to this Mr. Pirabakaran has earned the very disgraceful title as the leader of the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world. He also brought utter disgrace to the Tamil community which is proud of its culture and civilization.

Regretting and agonized on this state of affairs, Mr Anandasangary said: “I expected Mr. Pirabakaran to show some sympathy towards the suffering Tamils of the North and East who are undergoing untold hardship more in the hands of his cadre than from anybody else. Twenty five years of subjugation under his leadership have made the people to lose all confidence in him and in his cadre. The outside world is not aware of these atrocities that are going on behind the LTTE’s ‘Iron Curtain’ region. Up to now no one had refuted my charge that, in the areas under the control of the LTTE there are detention camps, dark room chambers, torture camps, abductions, killings, compulsory recruitments of children as child soldiers, merciless assaulting of parents who resist conscription of children and many other such atrocious acts of the LTTE cadre. The people are so fed up that they want to run away from their homes into government held areas but they are driven further deep into the area under the LTTE control and are often used as human shield.”

The Tamil people who have been deprived of all their rights including the fundamental and the democratic rights, as well as the right to live peacefully, he said are anxiously waiting to be liberated to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy. It may not be an exaggerated view, if I conclude by saying that the impact of a series of bans on the LTTE and the more recent policy decision of the Government of Canada has weakened the LTTE. It gives signals of early liberation of the people of the Northern Sri Lanka from the LTTE, the so called liberators.

He concluded by saying that to bring back democracy and peace to Sri Lanka the Government of Sri Lanka for its part should exonerate itself from the charge of human rights violations and without any further delay, come out with a proposal for power devolution acceptable to the minorities and the international community, which I believe is a federal solution or in the alternative a solution based on the Indian model, lest it loses its credibility.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Wounded Hearts

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“War and militarization has trapped our entire country, and it is ordinary Muslim, Sinhalese and Tamil people that are paying the price. It is the poor youth that are recruited to fight and die in the war, whether it is in the Sri Lankan armed forces or the LTTE. For those of us who have found the comfort and safety of life in Canada, we are given rational explanations for everything.”

by Manoranjan Selliah

(August 26, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) Even as we welcome you to this important exhibition, [“Call of the Conscience” in Toronto, August 23, 2008.] I want to begin by remembering those civilians who are at this very moment suffering from a brutal war in Sri Lanka. So many have been displaced and are living in desperate conditions. Many have lost relatives and continue to live in uncertainly about their own lives as the war around them escalates.

Many youth and children have been recruited, mostly by force, to be used as cannon fodder in a war that means little to their innocent lives. And over the last year, many ordinary people have been disappeared, tortured, bombed and massacred by both sides of this senseless war.

This exhibition is about such ordinary people and their suffering. It is also about ordinary people who did extraordinary work, who rose to the occasion to challenge the madness of war; who believed in the value of dissent, and often paid the supreme price of their lives. My conscience, and we think your conscience, demands that we respond to the call to remember such people. And in mourning and honouring those whom we have lost, we hope that we can change the future for the next generation of young Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamils who are waiting at the edge of war and precarious lives—lives of trouble and sorrow, yes, but also of hope.

I want to talk to you a little bit about my own life, my youth, and how I was influenced by ordinary people in a time of war. As a young person growing up in Kandy, I witnessed first-hand the violence against Tamils in the 1977 riots. I saw how the riots spread, with tensions developing even inside my own school between Sinhalese and Tamil students. I saw how Tamil houses and shops were looted and burned. Our house and property was damaged, but our Sinhalese neighbours protected my entire family. In our history, 1977 was significant, as it was the first major communal riot after 1958 that my family remembered. After 19 years of political demands and challenges by the Tamil community, the ruling regime of Sri Lanka was able to incite such cruel violence, shaking the confidence of ordinary Tamils.

Then came the horrible riots of 1983. Again thousands of people were killed. We heard of even political prisoners who were massacred in prison. While again our Sinhalese friends protected many of us, like other Tamil youth I was very angry. I could not accept the response of the Sri Lankan state, as the police watched on and sometimes even participated in the violence that mercilessly attacked Tamils, while we were dependent on the goodwill of ordinary Sinhalese who helped us and saved our lives. And that is when I, along with so many other Tamil youth from the South, went to the North to work towards what we all believed was the liberation of Tamil people. We went with much hope and a sense of duty to serve our people.

While the first couple of years of political work opened our minds and we learned so much about our community, very soon all that youthful enthusiasm was shut down. First, there was the killing of individuals labelled as “traitors”. And then in 1984, the Anuradhapura massacre of over one hundred Sinhalese pilgrims. And then that horror of April 28th 1986, when a pathological killing machine from within our own community was unleashed against our fellow youth, in the form of the LTTE massacre of the other militant group TELO. This is when our broader community witnessed the brutality of Tamil militancy, as Tamil youth hunted down, murdered, tortured and burned alive other Tamil youth in the streets of Jaffna. The bulk of those massacred here were Tamil youth who had come from other parts of the country to join TELO, while many of the youth from Jaffna were quietly spared. The violence that grew inside our community like a cancer with such incidents, also led to a culture of fear, which effectively silenced ordinary people.

October 1990 is an unforgettable month as the entire population of Northern Muslims were ethnically cleansed out of the North by the LTTE. From Jaffna town to the most remote village, ordinary Muslim people who had lived side by side were forced to leave with nothing, within two days. And the entire Tamil community stood silent in the face of orders from the LTTE. Unlike the Sinhalese neighbours who could protect us during the riots of 1977 and 1983, we could not even attempt to help our Muslim brothers and sisters, and those with a conscience in the Tamil community could only weep in silence.

It is this culture of fear and paralysis that my fellow activists Rajani Thiranagama, Kethesh Loganathan, Selvanithi Thiagarajah and Wimalesvaran resisted. But even more importantly, so many unknown students and ordinary men and women also resisted on behalf of their community and their own sense of justice. The brutal murder of such ordinary people who represent the conscience of our community should also be remembered. Our entire community became trapped in the logic of war and militarization, and there was no goal other than the military goal and the strengthening of the LTTE, where the common man, woman and child simply became an instrument for war. The Tamil community has been made powerless in this way, also, by elements from within our community.

War and militarization has trapped our entire country, and it is ordinary Muslim, Sinhalese and Tamil people that are paying the price. It is the poor youth that are recruited to fight and die in the war, whether it is in the Sri Lankan armed forces or the LTTE. For those of us who have found the comfort and safety of life in Canada, we are given rational explanations for everything. We are told to look rationally at the Anuradhapura massacre, the eviction of the Muslims, the recruitment of children or the disappearances and massacres by the State. And for each community is a rationalized explanation for violence against the other community. But we want to challenge this rationalization of irrationality. We want to ask you to listen to the call of the conscience. Can we with a clear conscience justify the recruitment of another mother’s child, of the murder of another person’s son, of the eviction of another family?

We want to appeal, especially, to the next generation of Tamils in Canada. Think of the opportunities you have and the safety that you live in. Don’t you think the youth of your generation in Sri Lanka deserve an education, a livelihood, and the possibility of peace? In listening to our conscience and remembering the loss of all those beautiful lives that could have been much more, we also have the responsibility to act. We have to stop this war and free our communities from militarization. We have to stop labelling and killing people as “traitors”. We have to struggle for peace and justice. We have to change the country into one in which we can all live together, Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamils.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Truth of voices silenced by the Gun

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“We have all too often viewed the war through clouded, misguided lenses of Western privilege. We have refused to confront the mirror image of Sri Lankan state oppression and LTTE authoritarianism. We have sought easy answers from self-appointed leaders, instead of extending our hand to Tamil communities with the compassion, understanding and solidarity that is so desperately needed. We have not risen to the challenge of speaking the difficult truth, a truth which countless activists have lost their lives for.”

by Kevin Shimmin

(August 26, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) I would like to start by congratulating the organizers of this unique and courageous exhibition. [“ Call of the Conscience” in Toronto, August 23, 2008.] As the war in Sri Lanka again escalates to tragic proportions, we need the voices of truth more than ever. The truth can be found in the photographs and documentaries that surround us here this afternoon. It is the truth of endless suffering of the human body and continuous oppression of language, culture and identity.

It is the truth of voices silenced by the gun and the resulting fear which has gripped entire communities. It is the truth of hopes and dreams crushed – of the persecution of youth, of women, of human rights and social justice activists. And it is the truth of a deafening silence among ourselves – a silence that represents our challenge to work towards a just political solution to the war, a solution that is inclusive and representative of all communities in Sri Lanka.

It is significant that this exhibition is being launched in Toronto. With the world’s largest Diaspora community from Sri Lanka, it is the responsibility of us all to recognize that we can have a progressive impact on the war. We need to talk about why the Sri Lankan state remains unaccountable today, after more than two decades of war, for an overtly racist agenda of oppression, for the bombing of civilians, for illegal detention and torture. We need to talk about why the LTTE remains unaccountable for an authoritarian regime that silences Tamil voices of dissent, which continues the forcible recruitment of children. And we need to ask ourselves where have we been? What have we been doing right here in Toronto to work for peace and justice in Sri Lanka?

We have all too often viewed the war through clouded, misguided lenses of Western privilege. We have refused to confront the mirror image of Sri Lankan state oppression and LTTE authoritarianism. We have sought easy answers from self-appointed leaders, instead of extending our hand to Tamil communities with the compassion, understanding and solidarity that is so desperately needed. We have not risen to the challenge of speaking the difficult truth, a truth which countless activists have lost their lives for.

The 2002 peace process facilitated by Norway failed because it refused to gain the confidence of the people. Instead of carefully building on the demands of the people, demands for dignity, justice and security, the brokers did the exact opposite. They initiated a top-down, elitist approach to resolving one of the world’s most bitter and deadly conflicts, attempting to reconcile differences between two oppressive leaderships, while ignoring the pleas of the people. Ignoring the voices of women. Ignoring the voices of minority communities. Ignoring the voices of workers and rural villagers. Ignoring the voices of the internally displaced. Ignoring the common concerns of the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese peoples. The common demands for a life without fear, an end to systemic racism, and an end to impunity.

During the ceasefire, we were told not to talk about human rights violations. We were told that criticism of the LTTE or the Sri Lankan state would jeopardize the peace process. And so political killings, torture and child recruitment continued and often escalated. When we raised these issues, many said that we were against peace. But what kind of peace was being negotiated? It was a peace agreed upon between a chauvinist oppressive state leadership and the authoritarian command of the LTTE. If ever there was a moment in history when the mirror image of the LTTE and the state was absolutely clear to the peoples of Sri Lanka, this was it.

In my opinion, and that of many other activists, much of the responsibility for these catastrophic events lies squarely at the feet of the West. The smug arrogance of Western nations to tell the peoples of Sri Lanka how to achieve peace was intolerable. Human rights activists murdered, children forcibly recruited, the continuing impunity of government forces – this was how the West negotiated peace? This was the peace which the international NGO community told us to patiently wait for? The peoples of Sri Lanka knew it was a tragic farce. Dissidents knew it was a farce. The common people and the internally displaced knew it was a farce. Yet the Norwegian contingent, other privileged nations of the West, and the mainstream NGO community refused to recognize the painful and dangerous reality. Even when the lifeless body of the victim of yet another political killing was taken to the offices of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, the leaders of this process refused to relent.

The ceasefire was a crucial time when all of us should have been seeking out the voices of courage and humanity among Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese communities, particularly among the Diaspora here in Toronto. While some of us did continue to support our sisters and brothers who were speaking out against human rights violations and persecution, many others allowed themselves to be silenced by those in the international community who refused to critique the peace process. Every excuse in the book was used to cover up ongoing human rights violations. We were labeled as troublemakers or we were condemned for promoting supposedly Western values of human rights. Yet, what many forgot is that contemporary struggles against racial oppression have been built on the very notion of human rights. We need not look further than the many nations in the African continent where people rose up and broke the shackles of colonialism by fighting specifically for human rights. We need not look further than the many nations of Latin America that today have achieved democratic representative governments, peoples’ governments, by specifically fighting against torture and political killings during decades of military rule and foreign imperialism. What these experiences have told us, from Chile to Bolivia to South Africa, is that peace can only be achieved if the right to dignity and human security is guaranteed, not only as an end result, but clearly as a means to that end.

While we were told not to speak of political killings and child recruitment during the ceasefire, we are now being told to be silent about bombings of civilians, torture and extrajudicial executions during the war. But the fact is that anyone who tells us to be silent about the oppression and murder of either the Sri Lankan state or the LTTE is someone who has no interest whatsoever in achieving a just peace for all peoples of Sri Lanka. Peace in Sri Lanka cannot be attained through a military solution. Human security cannot be achieved by continued state racism and oppression. And human dignity and empowerment cannot be gained through continuing authoritarianism within our own communities. Indeed, liberation and self-determination have never been achieved through fascism. Instead of consistently continuing to divide ourselves, we need to start building solidarity across the common humanity that can unite us all. It does not help when Western governments label us as “terrorists”. And it does not help when the brand of “traitor” continues to be acceptable within mainstream publications in our own communities.

In closing, we need three crucial action pieces from our municipal, provincial and federal governments in Canada and we need them now. First, we need affordable housing, good jobs, recognition of foreign credentials, and equitable distribution of wealth and social services for new immigrants. It is absolutely unacceptable that people immigrating to Canada face dire poverty and systemic racism at work, at school, and within our governing institutions. It is this very marginalization which makes critical dissent within the Diaspora community next to impossible since Canadian society itself isolates and oppresses those who seek a new life here. Second, we need our politicians and community leaders to seek out those critical progressive voices of dissent within the Diaspora and support their struggles for social justice. This means empowering those voices which are not part of the mainstream, who may not speak English, who are not in positions of power and privilege. Finally, we need our governments to demand an independent human rights monitoring body be set up and supported by the United Nations. This body must be impartial and accountable to the peoples of Sri Lanka, especially those living in the North and East. It must have the power and willingness to report violations by all actors in the war. And most importantly, it must work in coordination and cooperation with the people – civil society groups, women and youth, the marginalized, the isolated, the oppressed.

My friends, we must start taking responsibility for our role in supporting our sisters and brothers in Sri Lanka and right here in Toronto. We must call on our collective conscience to heal the wounds that divide us. We must demand bread and roses, and we must demand peace and justice. I sincerely hope that this gathering here today represents a significant step towards the realization of dignity and humanity for all peoples of Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Lost Liberation

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Press release from the International Forum for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka—August 26, 2008, follows;

Call of the Conscience: An exhibition in pictures, words and documentary films delves into civilian suffering and challenges the trajectory of Tamil politics. Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, August 23, 2008.

(August 26, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) A large poster with the names of Tamil-speaking political and social activists, leaders of militant organizations and members of parliament, among others, who were murdered—with the majority of names attributed to killings by the LTTE—spills over onto the floor of the stage. The names run together, LTTE killings in black text; and killings by Sri Lankan government security forces and Tamil militants in white. At times, men and women step closer to the poster and touch the names; perhaps of people they know.

The poster is one piece of about 25 displays created for Call of the Conscience—a human rights art exhibit—along with six short documentary films playing simultaneously on flat-screen televisions positioned throughout the lobby of Roy Thomson Hall in downtown Toronto. Organized by the International Forum for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka, this political installation aims to challenge entrenched prejudices and dispel illusions about the forces that maintain the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.


The exhibit shows how both sides of the conflict are responsible for the agony of refugees in India and statistics on internally displaced persons, revealed on additional posters. The audience is struck by a three-panel display with testimonies of horror from survivors of LTTE torture camps, laid out against an image of a human body hanging upside down. And attendees are confronted by the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and mosque massacres by the LTTE—facts not well known outside of Sri Lanka.


Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese from the Toronto area come to the exhibit, as well as non-Sri Lankan journalists, activists, union organizers and academics, among others, ranging from those who have very little knowledge about the conflict to those who have been following the political situation for years.


***
Call of the Conscience came to life out of a desire to offer an alternative perspective to the war propaganda that dominates the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Canada. It attempts to stimulate the Tamil community to reflect on the trajectory of Tamil politics, its nihilism and the destruction that it has brought upon minorities in Sri Lanka. About 300 people attend the exhibit throughout the day. Journalist Manoranjan Selliah, TULF president Veerasingham Anandasangaree and Kevin Shimmin, a union organizer and national representative for the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, speak during the opening ceremony.
Manoranjan Selliah begins by saying, "Over the last year, many ordinary people have been disappeared, tortured, bombed and massacred by both sides of this senseless war. This exhibition is about such ordinary people and their suffering. It is also about ordinary people who did extraordinary work, who rose to the occasion to challenge the madness of war; who believed in the value of dissent, and often paid the supreme price of their lives. My conscience and I think your conscience demands that we respond to the call to remember such people." He goes on to question and condemn the shadow side of Tamil society: "First, there was the killing of individuals labelled as 'traitors.' And then in 1984, the Anuradhapura massacre of over one hundred Sinhalese pilgrims. And then that horror of April 28, 1986, a pathological killing machine from within our own community was unleashed against our fellow youth, in the form of the LTTE massacre of the other militant group TELO. This is when our broader community witnessed the brutality of Tamil militancy, as Tamil youth hunted down, murdered, tortured and burned alive other Tamil youth on the streets of Jaffna."


Anandasangaree then weighs in on human rights. "As long as refugee camps exist in our country, whether the inmates are Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or of any other group, we have no moral rights to boast of democratic principles. With one section of our people undergoing untold hardships, being deprived of their democratic fundamental and human rights, we can't boast of our country as one enjoying full democratic rights…. Should our youths, be they Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or of any other group, continue to shed their blood unnecessarily and die in vain at the battlefront? I am convinced that the time has come for the country to find a solution reasonable enough and acceptable to the minorities and the international community," he said.


As the last speaker for the ceremony, Kevin Shimmin—who has spent the last 16 years of his life intimately involved with Sri Lanka, including working with grassroots activists in Sri Lanka and community activists in the Toronto diaspora—talks about the importance of the diaspora's response to the conflict. "We need to talk about why the Sri Lankan state remains unaccountable today, after more than two decades of war, for an overtly racist agenda of oppression, for the bombing of civilians, for illegal detention and torture. We need to talk about why the LTTE remains unaccountable for an authoritarian regime that silences Tamil voices of dissent, which continues the forcible recruitment of children. And we need to ask ourselves where have we been? What have we been doing right here in Toronto to work for peace and justice in Sri Lanka?"


***
After the speeches, guests walk through the history of violence in Sri Lanka by watching six five-minute documentaries written and directed by K.B. Nath. Footage shows attacks on plantation Tamils, the Sinhala Only Act and the rise of Tamil militancy, the brutal anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983, photographs of individuals killed by the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, LTTE graveyards, and haunting images of child soldiers. One film chillingly juxtaposes LTTE boys practicing martial arts and uniformed schoolgirls at a Black Tigers Day celebration against a slow-motion scene of children playing on Prabhakaran's lap. Another film, called "Tit for Tat", has a scene with two scoreboards: one with the Sri Lankan flag, the other with the LTTE flag. As an image of the island of Sri Lanka slowly starts to fill with explosions of red paint, numbers on the scoreboards increase—with details of specific massacres appearing in text. The film ends with this quotation, "Why do people kill to show that it is wrong to kill?"
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Has the cold war begun?

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“The best news out of this fall-out will be the resurrection of the Non-Aligned movement which has the potential of becoming a very powerful independent body to shape the affairs of the world in a just manner. Here too President Ahamadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran is making a steadfast effort to enliven the Non-Aligned movement and lead it so that it could play a dynamic role to alleviate the suffering masses of the developing third world countries.”

by Saybhan Samat

(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Historically it is observed that the Europeons have had a propensity to colonise weaker countries, eliminate or marginalize the indigenous population by force and establish their hegemony. Sri-Lanka knows this only too well under the invasion and colonization of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. When not colonizing weaker countries, they would be fighting each other as in World War I & II.

It appears that it is in the psyche of the Europeons to be always at war and to maime and kill people and exploit their lands.

The present day Americans are in fact former Europeons who invaded the present United States massacred the indigenous Red Indians confiscated their lands and obliterated their civilization and culture. It is these former Europeons now Americans who are once again together with other Europeons in Europe are now provoking Russia. Russia of course is a mixture of Asia and Europe.

The war-like nature of the Europeons some of whom are now Americans and their greed to exploit weaker nations is on-going, unless they are militarily defeated this tendency of theirs cannot be halted. The US and their Europeon allies are trying to encircle Russia by expanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The NATO is a relict of the cold war. It was created in April 1949 as a defensive alliance of Western Europeon countries plus Canada and the US to protect the former countries from encroachment by the then Soviet Union. However since 1991 the Soviet empire no longer exists and Russia has been co-operating economically with Western Europeon countries, supplying them with gas and oil, and all types of other commodities. This has increased Europeon interdependence and this greatly reduced the need for such defensive military alliance above and beyond Europeon countries own self-defence military system.

However the US government does not see things that way. It would prefer keeping its role as Europe’s patronizing protector and as the world’s super power. NATO is a convenient tool to that effect. Presently it is a fact that the US government neo-con administration see NATO as an important tool of American foreign policy for intervention around the world. Since US politicians do not anymore support de facto the United Nations as the supreme international organization devoted to maintaining peace in the world, a US controlled NATO would seem to be, in their eyes , a most attractive substitute to the United Nations for providing a legal front for their illegal offensive military undertakings around the world. They prefer to control totally a smaller organization such as NATO, even though it has become a redundant institution, than to have to make compromises at the UN, where their agenda may be vetoed by the Russia or China.

This is the strong rationale to reshape and enlarge NATO, in order to transfer it into a flexible tool of American foreign policy. Regarding NATO, the plan is to turn it into an aggrandized offensive imperial US dominated socio-political and military alliance against the rest of the world. According to plan, NATO would be enlarged in the Central-Eastern Europeon region to include not only most of the former members of the Warsaw Pact-Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and Hungary but also the former republics of the then Soviet Union viz. Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia and Ukraine. In addition in Asia to include Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, possibly even Israel. Today the initial 12 member NATO has been increased to 26 member organization. In the future if the US has its way it could have 40 members.

All these ambitions of the US and its Europeon allies have caused alarm and anxiety in Russia. Georgia, provided an opportunity for Russia to express its disapproval at the machinations of the US and its allies. Although the statements emanating from Russia and the US and its allies are couched in diplomatic language it seems that the cold war has begun. The Russian president has met Bashir al-Asad the Syrian president to negotiate the installation of a Russian military base in Syria and provide Syria with missiles. Russia is to once again establish military and economic ties with Cuba and may station missiles on Cuban soil. The fall-out of the Georgian crisis will be to the advantage of Iran as Russia will veto any more sanctions sponsored by the US and its European allies and sell arms to Iran.

The best news out of this fall-out will be the resurrection of the Non-Aligned movement which has the potential of becoming a very powerful independent body to shape the affairs of the world in a just manner. Here too President Ahamadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran is making a steadfast effort to enliven the Non-Aligned movement and lead it so that it could play a dynamic role to alleviate the suffering masses of the developing third world countries.

While the cold –war may precipitate war in Europe or in the US itself, just like in the last cold war which ended in 1989 it may not lead to world-war. There may be a few small wars like what happened in Georgia and South Ottessia recently. This situation is to the advantage of the third world countries who are in the Non-Aligned movement.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

59 division makes progress in Tannimurippakulam as fighting continues south of Kilinochchi.

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by DefenceNet

(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Small attack teams of the SL Army's 59 division today brought under their control nearly a 1km stretch of land alongside the Tannimurippakulam tank. At least 8 LTTE cadres were believed to be killed in the process and SLA troopers who launched the attack have recovered two of the bodies. Tannimurippakulam is located around 10km north east of Nedunkarni, Mullaithivu.

Meanwhile 57 and 58 division units were locked in sporadic clashes with the tigers alongside the frontline south of Kilinochchi. Although SLA units are now only 11km from the de facto capital of the tigers, capture of the city could take some time and will require precise planning. In the urban areas, artillery and MBRL fire support will be limited and the same can be said for air support. The army and the LTTE will have to engage in close quarters fighting in the impending battle for Kilinochchi. One thing that can be predicted is that the casualty figures for both parties will definitely be higher during such times.

Meanwhile the Military Intelligence has warned the army of a possible LTTE counterattack similar to unceasing waves (they have already launched several medium scale ones and have had little success with them). It seems the tigers are waiting for the right time to launch the attack which could be their final hope. On the other hand, the morale of SLA troops on the frontlines is as high as ever and they are being lead by some of the best in the army.

Meanwhile the army will recruit 8000 more soldiers in the coming months as part of the latest recruitment campaign. The shortage of manpower is felt as the army moves forward daily, capturing new territory.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

1990, The War Year if Ethnic Cleansing Of The Muslims From North and the East of Sri Lanka

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by S.M.M.Bazeer

“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.”
C. P. Snow - English novelist & scientist (1905 - 1980)


(August 26, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) July 1883 was “Black July” for the Tamils of southern Sri Lanka, where Tamils were subject to persecution by the Sinhalese mobs with the connivance of the JR government. August 1990 was “Black August” for the Eastern Muslims of the East, where the LTTE massacred the Muslim worshippers in Kattankudy on 3rd August 1990 and sleeping villagers in Eravur on 11 August 1990. From time to time the LTTE continued their killing spree of the Muslims until the capturing of Mutur by the Sri Lankan Army in July 2006.

In 1990 the LTTE intensified their attacks on Muslims with an objective of ethnic cleansing. In April 1992, the LTTE unleashed violence against the Muslims of Alinchipothanai and killed 69 Muslim villagers. This led to a retaliatory violence against the Tamils in Muthugala , where 49 Tamils were killed allegedly by the Muslim Home guards. On 15th October 1992 , the LTTE , attacked four border Muslim villages in the Polonnaruwa District, namely, Palliyagodalla, Akbarpuram, Ahmedpuram and Pangurana and butchered 187 Muslims including pregnant women. The Australian Muslim Times commented in their front page news of 30 October 1992, “The massacres, eviction and the atrocities by the Tamil Tigers are carried out in order to derive the Muslim Community from their traditional land in the Eastern province as they have done it in the northern province and then set up a separate state only for Tamils”. As a result of this systematic violence against the Muslims in the East, all Eastern Muslim regions gripped a wave of fear. The violence between the two communities created a climate where the LTTE could inculcate the minds of the Tamils that the Muslims were the obstacle to the “Tamil eelam”. The LTTE prepared for a ethnic cleansing long before but the year 1990 appeared to have been chosen by them to embark on a full onslaught on the Muslim villages in the Batticaloa Districts , which they felt to be a impediment to their non contiguous Tamil region in the Batticaloa District. On 12th August 1990 the LTTE prowled around Eravur and Sadam Hussain village, where they massacred hundreds of people including infants. The Kattankudy and Eravur attacks were carried out under the command of three main LTTE leaders, namely Ranjith, Newton and Karikalan. Karikalan comes from Kaluwanchikudy and was always known to be an anti-Muslim. The writer personally interviewed a Muslim farmer from Rugam some years ago to verify his secondary source of information with regard to Karikalan’s brutality on the Muslims. The farmer described how he was detained and tortured by Karikalan in a LTTE camp in the hinterland of Batticaloa.


Photo: (From L to R: Ranjith, Newton and Karikalan)

Despite continuous attacks on the Muslims and their properties by various Tamil armed groups, including the LTTE since about 1985, the LTTE schemed for full control of the Muslims. Nevertheless, the LTTE intensified widespread attacks on the Muslims in the entire East in or around June 1990. The modus operandi of the LTTE was entirely different in the North, where the LTTE expelled the Muslims en masse in October 1990 whilst taking a scores of them into their custody. As Sivaram (Taraki ) wrote the LTTE had sinister plan to get rid of Muslims from their ambitious mono ethnic “ Tamil Eelam”.



Sivaram later became a strong LTTE propagandist and conspired to get rid of Karuna cadres from Vakarai. As the writer earlier pointed out in one of his articles, Batticaloa LTTE local leader Seta admitted to Phil Rees (Author of the book “Dining with terrorists”) that he had “entered a mosque in Eastern Sri Lanka and gunned down thirty-one worshipers... It is also leant that Major General (retd) Ashok K Mehta questioned a Muslim member of the Citizen Committee, Batticaloa as to why he was keen to release Seta who was known to be involved in atrocities against the Muslims. Seta was arrested and detained by the IPKF in Batticaloa when his colleague bit cyanide capsule and died on the spot. The Muslim Citizen Committee member was the friend of Seta’s father and both of them were residents of Kottamunai, Batticaloa. However Seta was subsequently released and he managed to leave Sri Lanka, eventually seeking international protection under the UN Convention on refugees of 1951 and 1967 in a European country.

In 1985, all other Tamil militant groups were blamed for the killings of the Muslim farmers in Unnichai , in the Batticaloa District in retaliation to the violence erupted between the Karaitheeevu Tamils and Sammanthurai Muslims. The retaliatory violence between the two communities paved way for the disintegration and hostility for years.

[The floating bodies of the Muslims of Eravur who were killed by the Tamil militants in Unnichai in the Batticaloa District in April 1985)
Courtesy: SLMIC (UK) ]



Catalogue of LTTE atrocities on the Muslims in the East in 1990.

• On 23 July 1990 5 Muslims who were staying in the Jariya Mosque in Sammanthurai were killed by the LTTE and three others injured.

• On 29 of June 1990 the LTTE killed 6 Muslims including the chief Trustee of the Hijar Mosque, Oddamavadi .

• On 2 July 1990 14 farmers were shot and hacked to death at Akkaraipatttu.

• On the 3rd July 1990, (on the eve of Eid- Ul- Fithr) UL Dawood , the member of Citizen Committee of the Batticaloa District, and the Cluster Principal of Alighar Central school , Eravur, Al Haj M.L.A Gafoor .J.P and Quazi and his father in law U.L.Ali Mohamed were kidnapped and killed by the armed LTTE cadres.

• On 7 July 1990, !7 Muslims were killed at Puthur , a border Muslim village in Polonnaruwa

• On the 14th July 1990 , 69 Muslims who were on their way back from Hai pilgrimage were kidnapped and killed by the LTTE at Onthachimadam in the Battiucaloa District..

• On 19th July 1990 , Muslim passengers were abducted and killed at Ampilanthurai in the Batticaloa District.

• On the 3 August 1990, 140 Worshippers at Kattankudy Meeraniya and Hussainiya mosques were murdered and sixty six were injured.

• On 11th August 1990 (Early morning of 12th August 1990) 127 Muslims were massacred at Eravur.

• On 12 August 1990 four farmers who were working in the paddy fields in Sammanthurai were killed by the LTTE.

• 1n August 1990 eight Muslims were shot to death at Akkraipattu. Town.

• On 30th of January 1990, A SLMC provincial councilor of North east Provincial Council , M.Y.M.Mansoor was shot by the LTTE and later his corpse was removed from the Kamunai General Hospital by the LTTE. The LTTE also killed five Muslim patients in a private hospital and abducted 10 people, including a doctor on the same day.

The author met several pro LTTE propagandists or so called Tamil human right activists who disavowed Prabakaran’s direct hand in the massacres, atrocities and expulsion of the Muslims. When Karuna split from the LTTE, he alleged that the intelligence wing under Pottamman had committed a number of killings including the massacres of the Muslims in the east.. Nevertheless, Ramesh (former LTTE special commander for Batticaloa and Amparai) commented in his interview with the “Eelanadu” (12-18 March 2006) that “ the Intelligence wing is under the direct control of the leader; whatever the sector we are in , our national leader directs us. We deny that the intelligence wing is Pottuamman’s section as it is directly guided by the leader.”. This demonstrates the culpability of Prabakaran in the atrocities committed against the Muslims, Sinhalese and the dissenting Tamils by the LTTE.

- Sri Lanka Guardian

Govt. mislead the Sinhala people to destroy Tamils - Suresh Premachandran, M.P

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(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian ) “The government has gained the support of people in the North Central and Sabbragamuwa provincial elections, by spreading racial issues and instigating the Sinhalese chauvinist to destroy Tamils. The government has mislead the Sinhala people, that after the capture of Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu areas, the war would be over, whereas only after war there would be tremendous catastrophe, which the majority people are unaware.” Suresh Premachandran, Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament for Jaffna District said yesterday in a statement.

The minimum victory gained from the recent election, cannot sustain for prolonged victory, till a political solution occur. Peace would be only by political solution in this country, he said.

He further stated that, during the past there were many historical happenings of many blunders performed by the Sinhala political Chauvinist. Such Sinhala political leaders’ eagerness was to forcibly insert into the minds of Sinhala people, the racial feelings and create a situation where both races cannot unit together, of which they established their political power in the midst of Sinhalese masses.

Many are aware that government is using the media for their political propaganda. But that government media does not speak about the hardships faced by the Tamil people. Millions of Tamil peoples have lost their belongings and properties, displaced and are deprived of basic requirements, which are not brought to the attention of the Sinhalese people by these government sponsored medias, Suresh Premachandran stated.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

Do not playing with innocent people – TNA Leader

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(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) “Due to the actions of the Sri Lankan armed forces, the displaced people are continuously sheltering under trees, without basic requirements in Vanni. Government is transporting food to the displaced people, the good provided by the World Food Centre and informing that the displaced people’s requirements are fulfilled. Basically, the food send by this centre is not sufficient, and as the pathetic situation of the displaced people have increased, we have clearly and briefly informed to the Indian High Commissioner and also to the International Society and other diplomats. A decision would be taken soon” R.Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance Parliamentary group leader stated yesterday.

Displaced people are continuously sheltering under trees, without basic requirements. This was confirmed by the International Aid organizations assisting the displaced people, but government is stating that it is a false rumor, which R.Sambanthan questioned.

He further stated that, he approached the Sri Lanka representative of the United Nations on the welfare of the displaced people. In Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu districts more than million people are displaced and it is so pathetic that such people have displaced more than once.

On the initial stages these displaced people due to non availability of basic facility were transferred to another place, of which it compelled them to get shelter under trees with their families. This was according to the information stated by the international organizations.

Even though the government states that it is providing food and medicines to the displaced people, it has not done so, that is a truth. Therefore we have no trust in the government, and they have no interest towards them. Therefore we, for our people are requesting the non-government organizations to provide food, medicine, water, milk food for children, which they have consented.

Meanwhile, government has controlled the non-government organization’s assistance to the people, and also placed restrictions on the essential items which are for distribution to the displaced victims.

It is the responsibility of the government to safe guard their lives and provide their basic requirements, feeling that they are also our people. Government is transporting food to the displaced people, the good provided by the World Food Centre, and informing that the displaced people’s requirements are fulfilled.

Basically, the food send by this centre is not sufficient, and as the pathetic situation of the displaced people have increased, we have clearly and briefly informed to the Indian High Commissioner and also the International Society and other diplomats. A decision would be taken soon, R.Sampanthan stated .
- Sri Lanka Guardian

The “force” is with Mahinda Rajapakse but….

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“Keeping Wickremesinghe in the opposition is also the best option available for Mahinda Rajapakse. Wickremesinghe’s anti-national politics give an edge to the Rajapakse regime. Even though Wickremesinghe has pledged not to return to the failed CFA or federalism the people have no faith in him.”

(August 26, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) North Central Province and Sabaragamuwa Province constitute the heartland of the Sinhala-Buddhists. When over 55% of this heartland vote for the national forces engaged in combating minoritarian terror in a free and fair election, then analysts must sit up and consider how far out they have been with the grassroot forces.

Winning this psephological height in these troubled times, when the socio-economic factors were running against the Mahinda Rajapakse government, is a phenomenon that explicitly reduces the issues raised by the international community, the regional powers and all the ideologues touting imported theories into the margins and elevates the internal imperatives to the top of the national political agenda. It is a formidable phenomenon which confirms unequivocally that “the force”, as they say in Star Wars, is with Mahinda Rajapakse and he has to cement and consolidate his base further if he intends to climb higher, avoiding the downward trajectory of Ranil Wickremesinghe heading into the dustbin of history.

The UNP, backed by foreign and anti-national forces, is now hovering between 35 – 40 % in both provinces. To cover-up for their lack of grassroot politics Wickremesinghe parachuted Maj-Gen (rtd) Janaka Perera and pretty boy, Ranjan Ramanayake. They were also backed by the Muslim votes of Rauf Hakeem and estate workers. The government was also handicapped by the split with the JVP – a key electoral partner. The NGOs and two of the major private sector media organizations too were backing the UNP. No doubt, the bulk of the Tamil voters too would have gone to the UNP, hoping to get a new mandate to stop the war. Wickremesinghe was also joined by his other pretty boy, Mangala Samaraweera, who promised to bring down the government with his bloc vote.

“Mahinda Chintanaya” battled against all these odds and won by scoring over 55% of the votes. By any yardstick it is a resounding victory that endorses convincingly the current political trend of taking the nation to new heights that seemed impossible only a few months ago. The sizeable bloc vote of the Sinhala-Buddhists, bearing up the heavy burden of the cost of living and other economic and social disabilities, places the total responsibility of managing the next steps in the hands of Mahinda Rajapakse. It is also the soldiers recruited from this heartland that are scoring the victories for Mahinda Rajapakse to win the elections.

Irrespective of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s personal and ideological differences that continue to divide the UNP and the SLFP on the current national crisis – he will admit that his policies have not brought the nation, his party or himself any credit or glory – his moral and political duty at this critical hour should have been to back the grassroot and military forces. From the word go, his critics have been warning him that there are no votes in Washington, Oslo, London, Tokyo or even in Delhi to save him. He should learn from his counterparts in the International Democratic Union (IDU) that Jacques Chirac, John Howard and Tony Blair/George Brown etc., participate as active and leading members in the IDU not by sacrificing their national interests, or by running down their governments but by affirming their right to pursue their national interests without surrendering to external pressures.

As a political leader aspiring to lead the alternative government his primary duty is to defend the nation, both at home and abroad, on vital issues that threaten the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation. Today he has reaped what he had sowed in belittling the achievements of the heroic forces and going against the basic political instincts of the nation. In an attempt to demoralize the Forces he and his party men were challenging the Army to go to Vanni. They have gone there and captured even the second largest town, Tunukkai. Next stop is Killinochchi. But where is Wickremesinghe?

Each advancing step of the Forces is pushing him and his political ally Prabhakaran into the back of beyond. If Wickremesinghe had played his cards right he would be getting ready today to take the salute of victory standing next to the Commander-in-Chief, Rajapakse, in Vanni. But how can Wickremesinghe, who has not participated in a single Independence Day parade since 2005 (though he has all the time to run to Singapore to have breakfast with Charles Gnanakone, the LTTE shipping agent) now share the glory of national victories when he is allied to all the known anti-national forces?

The latest polls indicate that he has missed the bus by a huge margin. According to known standards of the IDU he should resign. The alternative is for the UNPers to throw him out. But it is doubtful whether the UNPers will have the guts to throw him out. The UNPers were prepared to sacrifice the elephant symbol to accommodate the other loser, Mangala Samaraweera, but they are not prepared to perform the critical surgical operation to remove the lingering cancer in their political system. The UNPers are now led by characters like “Taxi” Abey, the former chairman of the Airport, who is a plant of Wickremesinghe. He is the man who allowed the Tamil Tigers returning home from futile talks abroad to bring in duty free goods, including strategic radio equipment etc. The other failed operator behind Wickremesinghe is Lasantha Wickremetunga, the Editor of The Leader, and the go-between in the Mangala Samaraweera and Wickremesinghe marriage – the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka which, however, did not turn out to be gay as it was meant to be. They were pinning their hopes on this marriage to bring down the government either through a defeat in parliament or in the electorate. Lasantha was even pushing the UNPers to give up their elephant symbol in favour of Mangala Samaraweera’s batik sarong.

So what will Wickremesinghe do now? A survey of Wickremesinghe’s politics confirm that he has gone through all the options available to him – from alliances with Western powers to alliances with Prabhakaran and Samaraweera, from dog demonstrations to juck-muck-toot-toot politics – and failed. Unfortunately, those inside the party are not likely to mount a revolt strong enough to oust Wickremesinghe. Some of them are too weak (like Rukman Senanayake, a good man who is too busy trying to locate where his backbone is), some are waiting for the auspicious time predicted in the horoscopes (like Sajith Premadasa, the hesitant man who believes that he should wait till 2017 to slip into his great father’s shoes), and some are unacceptable political freaks (like S. B. Senanayake who is aspiring to grab Susanthika’s Olympic medal dangling on her ample chest) to give a new leadership to lift the UNP from the doldrums.

Keeping Wickremesinghe in the opposition is also the best option available for Mahinda Rajapakse. Wickremesinghe’s anti-national politics give an edge to the Rajapakse regime. Even though Wickremesinghe has pledged not to return to the failed CFA or federalism the people have no faith in him. One fear that put off the people of NCP and Sabaragamuwa is that he would sign another secret deal with Prabhakaran and expose those living near the Vanni to the bullets of the Tigers. In short, Wickremesinghe has lost the image of a trustworthy national leader.

His strategy should have been to close the ideological gap between him and the President. But with each move he widens the gap. Mahinda Rajapakse is quite happy to step into this vacuum in the widening gap between him and the leader of the opposition. He has captured and dominated this vacuum comfortably and there are no competitors to challenge him. But thee is an enormous responsibility that goes with it. Whatever he proposes to do in the post-Prabhakaran phase, there is one thing he cannot do: he cannot betray the trust placed in him by the people in the heartland who have repeatedly endorsed him as their chosen leader. Working out a peace deal is bound to be greater than fighting a war which is, by and large, a straightforward act. He will have to make compromises, no doubt. But these compromises need not be at the expense of all the other communities. The final solution must address the aspirations and the needs of all the communities and not just one community.

Of course, there are those who are pushing him to abandon his base and surrender to the bogeys of Tamil Nadu/India, international community, foreign aid etc. This is scare-mongering which is not far removed from the tactics of the armed group manipulating foreign lobbies to advance their separatist/federalist aims. This scare-mongering lobby is aiming to achieve through the backdoor what the armed group has failed to achieve so far through open warfare: the break-up of Sri Lanka under various political and constitutional arrangements. They are chanting the same mantra as the armed group: “give in or else!” Their solution is to “give the maximum to one community” even if it means sacrificing the interests of all other communities. That is the fashionable theoretical mantra. “Mahinda Chintanaya” was not designed for that. Nor did our soldiers sacrifice their lives to give all to one community and leave the other communities high and dry. They are fighting to preserve the rights of all communities.

The unstoppable march of our soldiers from Mavil Aru to Thunnakai (with Killonochchi being the next) was not to hand over what was gained on the ground to satisfy some fanciful theories of antiquated, lumpen Marxists, or the formulas of self-proclaimed experts who are familiar with imported legal and constitutional arrangements but not the aspirations of diverse communities seeking peaceful co-existence. Sri Lankans are also wary and tired of the diktats of big brothers muscling in to make us dance to their drum beat.

Mahinda Rajapakse will agree that he does not have a mandate for any of these imported compromises. Nor is that written in his “Chintanaya.” The victories must be consolidated for peace and stability to fulfill the aspirations of all communities. Every rearrangement of the constitution must be to guarantee the individual dignity and rights to live as equal citizens of Sri Lanka sharing every inch of territory in common without any one community claiming exclusive rights to any mono-ethnic enclaves. The rationale of the military exercise led successfully by Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka was to undo the folly of giving territory and powers to one group under the Ceasefire Agreement. Any proposed constitutional arrangements to return to the pre-Mavil Aru status under the CFA, would be another devious means to negate the will of the people as expressed in the military and electoral processes. All the major political, legal and military battles have been waged, at great cost to the nation ever since February 22, 2002, to win back the rights of all communities surrendered at the signing of the CFA. “Mahinda Chintanaya” was in the forefront of these battles to create a stable, peaceful nation by other means.

However, in the name of creating a climate for peace there is a move carried on by a group of theoretical kattadiyas, chanting the failed mantras of handing over asymmetrical powers to just one community at a time when the grassroot guardians of the nation are paying with their dear lives to get out of the terrors of minoritarianism and the ghosts of the CFA. The signs hopefully are that we are at last seeing the light at the end of the minoritarian tunnel – a minority which had consistently refused to co-exist even with the other minority communities, let alone the majority community. When the historic journey that began at Mavil Aru has come this far the theoretical kattadiyas are now chanting that further – no maximum – powers should be granted to ease the challenges posed by brutal minoritarianism. First, there is no clear definition or agreement on the term “maximum” and the cost of it to the rest of the communities flowing from the consequences of handing over the “maximum”. Second, there is no guarantee that today’s “maximum” is not going to be tomorrow’s “minimum” with new Oliver Twists asking for more. Third, will not this asymmetrical power create one community who would be more equal than other communities?

The national crisis had its origins in the vaulting ambition of one community trying to be more equal than all the other communities put together, with special privileges, status and political power allotted to them on an asymmetrical basis. Any political formula heading in the direction of asymmetrical concessions will not be fair by other communities, nor will it lead to a durable solution, as seen in the historical experiences of the post-Vadukoddai Resolution period. Going too far in one direction is bound to destabilize the equilibrium at the other end. The need of the hour is to work out a symmetrical solution giving more emphasis to individual rights living in all communities than going down the explosive path of giving rights to only one community. The northern violence took to subhuman brutalities against their own people mainly because it territorialized its ethnic politics. Separatism and violence are inseparable. Though the northern violence territorialized their political claims the underlying current underpinning both the north and the south violence is the search for the rights and the dignity of the individual.

De-territorializing ethnic politics and enshrining the fundamental rights, with increased economic opportunities for upward mobility, can be the way forward to defuse the tensions that had plagued Sri Lanka. Territorializing ethnic politics has been the root cause of the tragedy facing the nation. It has had a devastating impact on the lives of the very people that demanded the territorializing of their mono-ethnic politics. The outstanding example of Mr. V. Anandasangaree, leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front, is symptomatic of the evil of territorializing ethnic demands. In the days of Mrs. Bandaranaike when the north was shared by all he could even protest in the Jaffna esplanade against her. But after territorializing the north he can’t even step into it, he states.

Besides, the ethnic mix in Sri Lanka is inextricably intertwined for any territorial or constitutional separation for peaceful co-existence. The entire political, military and legal thrust of the “Mahinda Chintanaya” has moved forward successfully not to establish linguistic or racial irredentist entities. It is for the cohesive co-existence of all communities which aim to build a new world of peace and stability without arbitrary and artificial borders. To live in a world without borders, respecting the rights and dignity of individuals, has been the goal of humanity marching in the highways and byways of history. Those who propose to construct cadjan curtains to compartmentalize communities may theoretically serve the aggressive and corrosive political claims and passions of the moment but not the ultimate mission of finding unity in diversity. In any case, giving into the demands of only one community over and above the claims of other communities is not the best way to ensure unity in diversity. To give into mono-ethnic extremism demanding mono-ethnic enclaves is the very negation of diversity.

All claims must be leveled and balanced for diversity to co-exist in unity. Any move in the opposite direction would be to go back into the failed past. If President Mahinda Rajapakse decides to go back on his “Mahinda Chintanaya” he will end up like Maj-Gen. Janaka Perera – a man with a colourful past but no future.

“Mahinda Chintana” is based on the simple principle that a thousand flowers cannot bloom in a small hanging pot. The field must be opened up, removing all borders, for each flower to bloom and enhance the colours of diversity in a common field.

( H.L.D.Mahindapala: Editor, Sunday and Daily Observer (1990 - 1994). President, Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association (1991 -1993). Secretary-General, South Asia Media Association (1993 -1994). He has been featured as a political commentator in Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Special Broadcasting Services and other mainstream TV and radio stations in Australia.)
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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