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Vanni: The "most ignored human tragedy"

By Arush from Wales

(March 04, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) "There were dead women and children all around, I saw that and I began to strike my cheeks and cry. I won't forget this until the day I die," Kalaivaani said. Who was narrowly escaped from Sri Lankan government ruthless bombardment for the civilian safety-zone in Vanni. "If we had been on the government designated safety zone already, we'd probably be dead right now," she says, still fighting to hold back tears.

Think what life would be like if you had to live in a world of State terror. Every single day when you would walk outside, you would see the world as if it were coming to an end. You would see people dying before your eyes. If you were lucky, you might have a slight chance to survive. This is the real situation in Vanni now.

Several hundreds of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) assembled within the old and new "safety zones" have died from artillery and air strikes by Sri Lanka military. The civilian targets hit by hundreds of artillery and motor shells, more than 300 people have died and several hundreds are bleeding to death within one day on 26th of January.

For the Gaza bombardment Israel being condemned by the UN, the Red Cross and the Vatican, but in Vanni nothing was happened. Vanni health authorities said at least 2200 mostly women and children were confirmed dead in the bombardment, and more than 6000 wounded. They said the death toll could top 2,500.

This is the 21st century's hidden holocaust... a worse human tragedy than Bosnia... It was the most deadly incident in the current on going war. Unattended bodies and injured people unable to move are lying around everywhere, while a remaining doctor fled and helpless ICRC officials virtually evacuate the injured people to Trinco hospitals.

While hundreds of civilians are slaughtering by government forces in Vanni, India, certain Western countries, Britain and the US, for instance, are negotiating with the government to create a system that will allow them to increase their geo-political and economical activities.

There are no enough significant shifts in global public and media opinion towards the Sinhala majority state, which is being recognised as the worst and most violent “failed state” in the world, and the tragedy of Tamil people as the “most-ignored human tragedy”. Even the ‘international community’ and India to help Sri Lanka to engaged war on Tamil by ignoring the government corruption, human right abuse and genocide.

By now the LTTE is facing an enemy of greater tactical sophistication than they encountered in late 90s. Nine military divisions of the Sri Lanka Army, numbering approximately 60,000 soldiers (around 80 - 100 battalions) with help of handful Indian military field commanders are pushing towards the last bastion of the LTTE. They said that they have already “boxed” the liberation tigers and the 250,000 civilians into an area of the size of 50 km2 in Puthukkudiyiruppu region. This is due to the biggest ever offensive operation launched by the Sri Lankan armed forces called as "Vanni Operation"; this operation had started in February 2007 and not yet come to an end but dragging on for more than 26 months.

Human-rights groups describe the dire conditions in Vanni as the “humanitarian disaster”. Food-aid groups also told the “violence in the region has increased to the extent that 250,000 people have fled to the small area in a single month to avoid it.” They added that the lack of food and medicines has multiplied, that Sri Lanka is the most dangerous country in the world to distribute food aid in, because “the government continuously impose ban for foods and medicine, also accused the non- governmental humanitarian agencies as a LTTE supporters.”

Although, government has instructed UN and World Food Programme officials to keep away from 'safety zones', which has been subjected to continuous inhuman artillery barrage, denying civilians any meaningful space of refuge. 250,000 Tamils are denied of even drinking water and are facing hunger. "Completely given up by the International Community, the civilians are left to face the fate at the hands of their genocidal killers.

Starting early in 1948, the Tamil genocide (sometimes called the Tameocide) went into full operation. There was no selection process; Tamils were destroyed upon get a chance. Ultimately, the Sri lankan governments were responsible for the deaths of some nearly hundred thousand Tamils

If that is the case why are the India, ‘international community’ and the countries around the Indian Ocean more concerned about Sinhala government and paying less attention to the increasing violence against Tamils? The reason is simple: most of those countries are opposed to the assumption of power in Tamil, as they all back the Congress (Sonia-Italian Lady) led Indian central government’s war on Tamils."

For many, the abiding image of the past months was the picture of Tamil children died on the streets and their parents and relatives weeping near to them, displayed on the cover of the Tamil Medias. In the mean time, Indian and International News Agencies operating from Colombo publish no accounts of the mass genocide, taking place in Vanni. They continue to eulogize Colombo’s military victories, painting a picture of LTTE using civilians as human shield.

The Tamil people have lived in Vanni for generations and want to continue living there and make a livelihood in these lands. SriLanka, UN and other international community statements that claim to seek the well being of Tamil people - in uprooting them to forcibly put them in barbed wired Army run camps. The people are staying in Vanni at their own will. They want peace and security right where they live and do not want to move into any UN and Sri Lanka government planned camps - “internment camps,” as described by the Human Rights Watch on Feb 20th.

Camps were an essential part of the Sinhala regime' systematic oppression and mass murder of Tamils, political adversaries, media persons and others considered socially and racially undesirable. There were forced IDP’s camps, extermination or death camps, transit camps, and prisoner-of-war camps in Vavunia, Jaffna, East and some part of south. The living conditions of all camps were brutal. Many died due to the harsh conditions of the camps, the torturing, and the killing.

If the abettors of Colombo's war, India and especially the Co-chairs, do not change their attitude, these people would face hunger and death. The situation is worse than what the world has witnessed in Congo and other countries in the Africa.

However, there is no real chance of war being stop in the island and along the Vanni region without an effective measure of International community. The European Union, the world's biggest importer of Sri Lankan goods, do not bother to suspend its recently upgraded GSP trade agreement with Sri Lanka, while USA continue it’s arms sales to Sri Lanka have also intensified.

According to a report in the Indian daily, The Thinaththanthi, the India is to be given the dozens of Tanks and other deadly weapons to Sri Lanka under secret agreement with Sinhala government. The Indian navy has warships already in the Palk Strike that assist with Sri Lankan navy. The exercise is, therefore, considered to be part of the India-led war on Tamils.

The ‘international community’ and the anti-tamil rulers in the region are determined to keep the war in track and to continue their support to the Sri Lankan government, which enjoys public support via war propaganda in south. It is reasonable to assume that it could have set up a proper political settlement for Tamils had the India and its allies not helped the Tamil to get any military balance with Sri Lanka and demand it.

One possible positive result of the false war on LTTE is that most Tamils will see the whole exercise as a foreign intervention designed to destroy their rights and identity, and therefore decide to unite to save both.

In India, anti-government demonstrations taking place almost every day in Tamilnadu and other states. Most of the Tamils are opposing the Indian central government atrocities against Tamils with its own military, however, those who are found to be supporting Tamil will be arrested and punished, but the anti-tamil elements, which are opposed to the Tamils right and support the Sri Lankan government will be freed.

It has already been protests and demonstrations across the world by Tamil Diaspora that those who raise solidarity with the Tamil people, urged international community to stop state terror and genocide. Further more, from international community, the Tamils are expecting two things must be done immediately, need a strong action against Sri Lankan genocide and the second one is the recognition of eelam Tamils rights. In the mean time, Indian and International Medias need to undercover this mass genocide, which is most-ignored human tragedy in the world, taking place in Vanni.
-Sri Lanka Guardian


Grim-Reaper said...

Ohhhhh Arush, Arush!!.. what am to say!!.. :O)))

Remember these gems of yours from December last year!!

""The Government is trying to push it elite troops around the Kilinochchi, but it is far from reached, and is in setback losing its well trained troops in continuing to fight mostly decisive battles in many fronts.""

""From previous operations, the army learnt it the hard way. Battalions of infantrymen advancing into LTTE-held territory could be disastrous. Hence, a different strategy of small groups of elite forces is using now. But, in the southern neck of the peninsula and Killinochchi fronts, this tactics could be also a graveyard for Sinhala youths, which was proved in this week.""

""The Sinhala people of this country have been the targets of a sustained propaganda barrage claiming that everything was hunky-dory for the regime in the ongoing war against the LTTE. But the recent battle shows that it is a bubble and it will burst in any time. The Sinhala people need to be Pay attention regarding the government false propaganda or Pay the price.""

The bubble has indeed burst my friend!!.. ""The Propaganda of the LTTE over the last 5 years!!"".. :O))

che said...

Well, "Arush" from "Wales" - or where ever you are: Why don't you tell us, how you got these dreadful figures?

Did you count the dead?

How do you know, that "this is the real situation in the Vanni", when you say at the same time nobody is allowed in? Or out.

Who is Kalaivaani? You wouldn't have a picture of her, would you? But maybe her telefon number? Ah, I see: she's unsing one of those modern Satellite-Phones they found in deserted Tiger strongholds, hm?

Did this woman notice the Lanka Flag on the shells - or how did she know where from which side the shells were coming from?

Why do you think it is the Tigers don't just let those "boxed in" Tamils out?

Are you really complaining about the the SL Army being better equiped for a change than the LTTE? Did you not forget to tell your readers how the LTTE got their sophisticated weaponry in the first place?

"Worse than Bosnia..." Glad you mention that, "Arush". Does the name Karadzics ring a bell? The guy's a war criminial. In your case though, you don't have to point a finger at him or at Bosnia. The guy to point your finger to, his name is Prabhakaran. But you are right in one sense at least. Soon, Prabhakaran will stand where Karadjic stands now - infront of the International Court in Den Haag...

"Tameocide"? "Mass" genocide? "Hidden holocaust"? Is that a Tamil speciality form of paranoia? What are you talking about?

"Arush", your doing your cause no good at all spreading crap like this. If you and your kin want to be taken serious - and not mistaken with the Terrorists who ran this area for years and years and brough their own so much pain - you got to get your act together. And not mingle and mesh up facts. Nor figures. Think again.


Unknown said...

Thank You Arush for pointing out the REAL situation in Sri Lanka. What I dont get about these sinhalese ppl is why do they automatically call me a TERRORIST when I support tamil ppl. Can some one PLEASE TELL ME why the government of Sri Lanka is not letting journalists into the country???? why are you not letting the people in Vanni get the food aid from NGOs? and do any of u fools know how it feels like to have a plane fly on top of you and u have to run for ur lives cuz they gunna bomb you??? Any one can talk... you know that all the SLA soldiers just there to feed their families, a soldier in the LTTE is there to fight for their country. They go all in.... Once again THANK YOU TO ARUSH for pointing out the real situation

shan said...

Romance with the chief

In the case of the LTTE, which often obscures its own history, its founder, Vellupillai Prabhakaran was a street thug with a background specializing in extortion and smuggling who got political ambitions in the early 1970s. Turning his coterie into a small terrorist group, he spent years slowly building up strength and following the classic pattern of using terrorism to create and accelerate the cycle of action and reaction that every insurgent prays for. Generally, the classic terrorist keeps kicking the authorities in the shin, until they punch back and the terrorist issues his cry of "Help! Help! We're being repressed! You saw him repressing me, didn't you?" [Apologies to Monty Python].

Less experienced then than they are now, Sri Lankan police and military obligingly played along with the script, allowing the Tigers to grow in strength. Then, after an LTTE ambush killed 15 soldiers in July 1983; the Army went berserk in Jaffna - as did Sinhalese mobs elsewhere in Sri Lanka - murdering hundreds of Tamils and driving tens of thousands (or more) from their homes in fear. Like the Provisional Wing of the IRA and the 1972 "Bloody Sunday Massacre"; the LTTE finally had the incident they craved, and have justified everything since then by referring back to this spree of mob violence. Indeed, virtually all of their history prior to 1983 is often conveniently forgotten.

However, guerrillas need time to organize, and almost everyone forgets that the LTTE already had a guerrilla force when this incident occurred. Moreover, barring a couple of ceasefires (usually terminated by the Tigers), Sri Lanka has faced a continuous guerrilla conflict since then.

But, after 25 years, the Sri Lankan military has the tools; technology and leadership it needs to finally defeat the LTTE's guerrilla forces. Sanctuary areas on the Island that have long been held by the Tigers have fallen. The Tigers' legendary bunker complexes in the jungle have been exposed by new sensor systems and blasted open by smart bombs. The unofficial LTTE capital, the town of Killinochi- not withstanding claims that it is a "Tamil Stalingrad"

If Tigers go down this route, there will be consequences. First, the defeat of their guerrilla forces and the loss of their sanctuary areas might not end the violence. There will always be room for a conventional terrorist campaign until the appearance of a new opportunity to create guerrilla units. As usual, their first focus might continue to be the elimination of outspoken Tamils who feel the best hope for their people lies within the law and the Sri Lankan political system.

Will the Tigers be gracious enough to stop using violence? Probably not. Generosity of spirit and respect for the lives of others are not among Prabhakaran's character traits.

The Diaspora of Sri Lankan Tamils that the Tigers facilitated, and which they still control through front organizations, will become their key asset. The organized criminal empire of the LTTE among the Diaspora communities has been carefully focused on supporting the Tigers on Sri Lanka. Police officers in Western Europe, Canada, Australia and US who monitor Tamil organized crime have seen little sign of pro-Tiger community leaders living the high life usually associated with organized crime leaders. But narcotics, "War-Taxes", smuggling, and other enterprises generate a lot of money and pay for the Tiger's political apparatus. Those activists are unlikely to want to seek honest work.

Considering the origins of the LTTE and main source of funding for the last 25 years, much of their international apparatus could very easily morph into a major transnational criminal empire. For Sri Lankans, there might be some perverse comfort in this - all those nations that let the Tigers operate somewhat freely for many years will now pay a higher price for having done so.

For the Diaspora, a romanticized losing cause may have other effects. As subsequent generations of children of Tamils grow up without any experience of life in Sri Lanka, they may well adopt these romantic myths of the losing cause instead in an effort to connect with their heritage and identity.

As a more immediate concern, a Tamil in Sydney, London or Toronto who is reluctant to support the LTTE today, might feel less threatened by its existence tomorrow. Without the risk of having his children conscripted for a guerrilla force, he might feel free to actually approve of the Tigers' support apparatus as the custodians of his heritage. Ironically, the end of the Tiger insurgency in Sri Lanka might well strengthen their hold on Diaspora communities.
It would be in the interests of Sri Lanka to start looking for measures that would undercut the Tiger's Diaspora leadership now, lest a military victory doesn't also translate into a political one. Concessions and honors might have to be delivered to those Tamils who stood up to the Tigers; and it would be prudent for Sri Lankan diplomats to start getting other governments thinking about Tamil organized crime now.

As for the Western governments, if the Tamils who arrived here from Sri Lanka are ever to be true citizents rather than Tiger supporters in exile, then the power of the LTTE's fronts will have to be broken. Moreover, given the international diversity of organized criminal societies already, can Canada really afford to let the insurgent-to-gangster transition of the Tigers occur unchallenged here? Could we anticipate a problem instead of reacting to one for once?

That's the script, but reality is often different........


Toronto, Ont

TRN said...

This is a pro LTTE propaganda.
Yes civillians are suffreing in the clutches of the LTTE since 2006 August . they were not allowed to leave the LTTE controlled areas. VP's strategy is to hold these unwilling civillians so to claim genocide against the tamils by SL army. Now he is using the tamil diaspora to voice his views in the media.
There is no evidence of a systematic genocide since 1948. All tamils enjoyed free education and free healthcare. Yes the sinhala only & black july in 1983 was a mistake and a crime. But that did not warrent a violent struggle for a seperate state as the only solution. How many tamils did LTTE persecuted?

If the tamil diaspora is genuinely concerned about the trapped civillians you should 've held demos in 2008 october when the vanni operations were started... as since then these civillians were running for life. The SL army gave several options for these poeple to come to govt. controlled areas but the LTTE did not allow them to flee. Now all are sheding corcodile tears about the civillians without raising a finger to feed them or evacuate them.

If you people are so concern about your tamil brothers, as we do, please ask the LTTE to give up arms and surrender, so the bombing will stop or let go the people or fascilitate their evacuation.

No more interferance from the poeple who fled this nation we have suffered enough in the hands of violence, this has to end.
you poeple who supported LTTE and its ideology are responsible for protracting this war and suffering of the civillians too, not only the bombs falling from above. To put it simply this is a self destructive struggle by the LTTE.

TRN said...

Shan well said. why not jine the Sri lankan foreign service or the intelligent service? You are wise in showing where we may go wrong as a nation.

THis trivial language issue had gone too far in our beloved motherland. We need to start thinking positively to end all hostilities towards each other and act wisely as Sri Lankans.

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