| by Shenali D Waduge
( Views expressed in this article are author own)
( Views expressed in this article are author own)
( July 23, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Now that the latest tactic to embarrass Sri Lanka and belittle its war victory has been outsourced to filmmakers it is time that Sri Lanka does not just sit and take the flak without adequately responding on the offensive itself. In not responding we are not giving due respect to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We must also have some sort of “kakkuma” to avenge the deaths of those who died in vain. Throughout the over 500 years of occupation thousands of our people sacrificed their lives or were eliminated as it served the colonials to reduce populations for their benefit. This is the colonial crimes for which Sri Lanka was just one victim among many other countries. Then hardly 3 decades after independence Sri Lanka again became victim to a terrorist movement created by its neighbor. This terrorism that lasted 30 years saw over 27,000 war heroes sacrifice their lives and thousands more are without limbs who face various other physical and psychological complications. We cannot let the truth behind the history simply be forgotten to land in the good books of either UK or India. Besides, exactly what type of friendship have they delivered even after their guilt is so obvious?
It is suggested therefore instead of waiting to respond to negative documentaries that we need to set the story of our country straight. The Government needs to as a priority fund some of Sri Lanka’s talented documentary/film makers to produce films that historically take events and showcase Sri Lanka as the victim and not the abuser as it has become convenient for all to project.
The British cannot escape its gross human rights violations committed during colonial rule. Some of these documents have even been destroyed by the UK Government while the remainder is classified and not disclosed to public. Therefore there is only a handful of historical accounts available in the public domain but often too academic for the public to gauge the true picture. Therefore, we owe it to all those who have died throughout colonial rule as well as throughout the 3 decades of terror to place the true picture into the public domain minus political agendas. All those guilty must be revealed whatever color they are.
British crimes must include the 1817 Uva Rebellion, the British policies of shoot-to-kill which left not a woman or child spared, the Matale 1848 Rebellion where the massacre of Sinhalese Buddhists took place simply because they were protecting their lands, the documentary must cover how the British plundered land, destroyed temples and built Churches on them, demarcated Sri Lanka’s territory and created ethnic divides through its divide and rule policy, it must also cover the manner the British dished out various titles upon natives who turned into subservient servants who ended up going against their own people which served the British better than doing the dirty work themselves.
How many were aware that it was a sport to hunt down elephants and kill them even mother elephants feeding their babies or that there were some British officials who enjoyed taking breakfast watching Sinhalese Buddhists being hung one after the other! Gory as these incidents are these are just a handful of the sordid crimes that the colonials were upto in nations that they conquered. Today they preach to us as the First World on human rights little acknowledging that they gave birth to the crimes that are now part of contemporary human rights violations while they continue the same crimes in a different format.
As for LTTE terrorism, until and unless Sri Lanka officially has the pluck to declare the Indian role in creating Tamil militant movements who were trained, financed and armed by the Government of India as a policy we are not going to get anywhere in a bogus reconciliation process. If we leave this important fact out of the equation we are simply fooling ourselves and for what – to be again stabbed in the back as India repeatedly continues to do? If countries look after their interests why is Sri Lanka’s leaders shy to face the facts and place them out loud?
It is time we did the honorable thing by showing that we may be a small nation but we have our pride and unless we have our pride we will always end up like doormats. Some officials like to be doormats because there are merits in acting so but that is not going to lead the country or its people anywhere. If a country has done damage to us we need to make that publicly known and these 2 countries owe Sri Lanka an apology especially those they killed or those who came to be killed.
In the case of Britain not only an apology but along with the Portuguese and Dutch they need to compensate for these crimes. The connectivity to British crimes and LTTE cannot be missed either. When the woman who trained Tamil children some as young as 7 years old to shoot and kill and trained them to bite into a cyanide capsule which she gifted for them on orders to commit suicide, now lives happily in the UK where other LTTE fronts smoothly carry on their terrorist funding brushing shoulders with British MPs what are we to think?
All these historical facts need to be consolidated with the able assistance of historians who for the love of their country have all the records of these past misdeeds and they must be put together and shown in the form of a documentary or a series of such so that the Sri Lankan populace as well as the world public know the truth. These documentaries need not aim for any international prestigious awards or accolades but simply to ensure that Sri Lanka finally places before the world the truth about its past.
The Government of Sri Lanka must therefore put together a team to have these colonial crimes relayed in a documentary which will effectively address the negative propaganda that is now being subtly outlined to embarrass Sri Lanka at the forthcoming CHOGM. Being the good guy and simply taking the flak does not make us worthy of being a sovereign nation.