Dead Sri Lankans don’t count

Unawatuna beach, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is it about Sri Lanka?

Footage emerges which appears to show that Sri Lankan soldiers summarily executed a 12-year-old boy then filmed his corpse as a trophy.

A cabinet minister threatens to “break the limbs” of journalists and human rights activists, and claims responsibility for the savage beating of a journalist who fled the country in 2009.

And yet the tourists keep on flocking to Sri Lanka’s beaches. The England cricket team is back in town, ready to play another series. There’s the odd protest by Sri Lankan Tamils, a vote of censure at the UN, but nothing seems to stick.

This is an island where, according to a UN investigation, 40,000 civilians were killed in a few months at the end of the civil war. That’s more than have died in the Syrian uprising. It’s more than have died in the entire 64 years of the Israel–Palestinian conflict since 1948.

Photo of Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of Sri L...

Photo of Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of Sri Lanka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An island where government forces shelled no fire zones and denied the civilians trapped in them food and medicine. Where, after the war, thousands of civilians were kept in detention camps for months. Women and children were told they could go but, without men to protect them, most declined.

If this sort of thing was happening in a European country there’d be uproar. Bono would be telephoning Sri Lankans from the stage and there’d be demands to send our military in. If it was happening in the Middle East there’d be international sanctions, people would be demanding to know why we couldn’t bomb the regime from power.

But it’s Sri Lanka. What the hell? The weather’s great, the beaches are beautiful and unspoilt. You can eat fresh fish in the old town of Galle, and watch the moon reflected on the Indian Ocean. Never mind what’s going on behind the palm trees.

It always used to amaze me, when I travelled to Sri Lanka. I’d be there to report on the assassination of a government minister, or to travel to the front line in the days when you still could, past nervous government soldiers who were setting fire to the jungle to clear anything the Tamil Tigers could use as cover. And on my way back I’d pass all the tourists arriving at the airport, clutching their cameras and guidebooks — all blisfully unaware, it seemed, of what was going on in the place they had arrived.

Yes, the Sri Lankan government is democratically elected. And yes, the Tamil Tigers, against whom the civil war was fought, were savage and murderous.They killed plenty of civilians. They were the original suicide bombers, long before Osama bin Laden declared his jihad.

But none of that changes what the Sri Lankan government has done.

When Robert Mugabe started confiscating land from white farmers, the England cricket team refused to go to Zimbabwe. Yet there they are in Sri Lanka, where 40,000 civilians died, all smiles and ready to play. Is it because the Zimbabwean farmers were white?

Why don’t we care about the Sri Lankans?

Comments

  1. You’ve been to Sri Lanka and still write such utter drivel. As an (alleged) hack you should be able to recite the basic facts of what happened in May 2009 and why so many Tamil civilians died whilst the LTTE met its well-deserved end.

    1. Sri Lanka declared a NFZ (No Fire Zone) and instructed civilians to move to these areas.

    2. Tamil civilians obeyed the govt instructions and moved into the NFZ.

    3. The LTTE followed the civilians into the NFZ.

    4. The LTTE then opened fire on the SL Army including artillery fire, from inside the NFZ, knowing that the SLA would return fire and Tamil civilians would be killed in the cross-fire.
    
5. Sri Lanka instructed the Army to fire on the LTTE in the NFZ while Tamil civilians were still present in them.
    
6. The Tamil civilians were unable to leave the NFZ because the LTTE prevented them from leaving, by shooting their ‘own’ people.
    .. and simultaneously LTTE Fluffers like the odious David Miliband tried to force Sri Lanka into a ceasefire, forcing the SLA to accelerate its attack tempo. So Miliband has blood on his hands, too.
    Here’s a UAV video of LTTE cadres herding Tamil civilians and shooting at them and firing heavy artillery from inside the NFZ towards the SLA line:

    This famous LTTE combat video (captured by the SLA) shows exactly how things panned out in the last weeks inside the NFZ. The LTTE are mainly in civvies, forcing ordinary civilians to digging trench defences and being cruel to dogs.

    It was the LTTE’s own strategy which ensured that Tamil civilians casualties would be maximised, because they hoped that this would cause ‘international humanitarian intervention’ to stave off their inevitable destruction. None of this is particularly controversial or new.
    The Sri Lankan govt (despite its paranoia and brutality) cared enough about the lives of all Sri Lankans to ensure that the LTTE would be finally and totally annihilated.

    To paraphrase Jay-Z, Sri Lanka has 99 problems, but the LTTE ain’t one.

    • Ah, this old excuse. “We didn’t want to kill those unarmed civilians. The other side made us do it. We had no choice but to bravely shoot down those women and children.”
      As you say, the Sri Lankan government ordered civilians into no-fire zones, then opened fire on the zones.
      Yes, the LTTE were a murderous, criminal, barbarous organisation who callously killed the people they claimed as their “own”.
      But that doesn’t absolve the Sri Lankan government of its responsibilities.

      • OK, Justin, we know exactly what happened. i.e. the LTTE used these civilians as human shields to prevent its ultimate annihilation. Do you deny that? Hell, even the surviving LTTE leaders have now admitted that. This was a Beslan type siege, with hostages numbering in the hundreds and thousands.

        What was your solution? Ceasefire talks with the LTTE?

        Why are you unable to admit that the SLA only opened fire on the NFZ after the LTTE itself opened fire on SLA positions from inside the NFZ. I mean, the LTTE was intermingled with the civilians, often wearing civilian clothes and there is irrefutable evidence of the LTTE using its own heavy weapons from inside the NFZ! 🙂 Haven’t you looked at the video I posted in my first reply?

        The responsibility of GoSL was to destroy the LTTE. A local blogger put it well in 2009. “The LTTE’s been playing chicken for a long time, but now they’re faced with a real hawk”. http://indi.ca/2009/05/there-will-be-blood/

  2. Emily,
    Yes, hospitals were shelled and I’m appalled about that. I’m even more appalled that the LTTE deliberately sited their artillery near the hospitals to ensure that the civilians would be killed by the inevitable retaliatory counter battery fire. That’s the disgustingly cynical nature of their calculation. I even more appalled that you lack the elementary sense to understand that basic fact.

    I’d be delighted to campaign for the SL govt leaders to be sent to trial at the Hague, as long as they’re preceded by the greater criminals from the West, whose bloodletting in Mid-East included not just shelling hospitals, but also water treatment plants, electricity plants and other critical infrastructure necessary for a civilised existence.
    http://tinyurl.com/3b2qcow

    Frances Harrison’s bio on Linkedin says she’s the “Head of News, Amnesty International, June 2011 – Present (10 months)”. She specialises in hysterical outbursts about Sri Lanka, as noted here: http://tinyurl.com/7v8f4y8

    Do you think it’s acceptable for AI to get funding from an LTTE front organisation?
    The Primal logo is perfect. Sri Lanka is finally united after crushing a 30-year campaign of terror. If you think that’s a bad thing tell me. If you think there should be ethnically cleansed areas of Sri Lanka, also tell me.

    So, plenty of facts for you to check to avoid looking foolish.

    • Mango
      I wish you all the best and hope you somehow find peace in this world and in your present reality.
      Emily

      • Dear Emily,
        No need to leave so soon. My reality is one where the opinions of whiny Western liberals was treated with the contempt they deserved, resulting in Sri Lanka finally freed from the grip of terrorism and armed insurrection. The country can now concentrate on its other problems.

        • When did terrorism start ?
          1949 – 75,000 Tamils were disenfranchised and some of those Tamils who were parliamentarians at that time lost their voting rights.
          1956 – Tamil parliamentarians peacefully protesting in front of parliament were attacked by thugs while the police stood by. Later riots.
          1957 – B-C pact and later abrogated by B in the face of opposition
          1958 – Racial riots – hundreds of Tamils were killed and many more attacked.
          1959 – SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated by a Buddhist monk (Prabhakaran was then only 5yrs old)
          1961 – satyagraha crushed by the armed forces sent by Mrs Bandaranaike
          CEYLON : A DIVIDED NATION, B H Farmer(1963):”The truth, though unpalatable may be to some, is simply that nobody unacceptable to the present Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism has any chance of constitutional power in contemporary Ceylon.”
          1966- D-C pact and later abrogated by D in the face of opposition
          ………..

    • Rita Ward says:

      Mango
      You need a Nobel Prize on LTTE

  3. Hi Justin,
    Odd that my replies to comments by the fragrant Emily, (Frances Harrison’s yoga instructor) have disappeared. Did the sudden onrush of facts disturb her Weltanschauung or was it just a glitch in the comments section?

    • Hi Mango

      Yes I asked Justin to delete your comments as I felt they were ill informed about Frances and it was wrong of me to mention her ( mea culpa – not v professional on my part) as the post was about my opinion, not hers. On a personal level, your comments about her were worryingly vitriolic, not to mention extremely factually inaccurate (not a good advert for your ability to make a watertight argument, by the way).

      I can’t pretend to know much about the Sri Lankan situation apart from the fact that noone would dispute both sides did terrible things to each other. That’s not at issue. However, if a GOVERNMENT shells a hospital in a no fire zone, half an hour after receiving GPS co-ordinates from Red Cross in order to prevent that kind of thing from happening, in line with international law, then that Government needs to be held accountable in the Hague. It’s irrelevant whether the LTTE were hiding out in that hospital or not…it’s about internationally held standards of acceptable ethics during times of conflict.

      Rajapaksa appears to want acceptance in the wider international community (hence the whole point of Justin’s post – tourism as an income stream for Sri Lanka/tourists apparent lack of knowledge of what happened close to sunny beaches) under the guise that Sri Lanka is a budding democratic state.

      Well, if this is the case, how come non Sinhalese are constitutionally not allowed to become President? This fact, coupled with the racially motivated genocide that took place in 2009 and it’s all starting to look a bit Germany 1938 to me. But again, I qualify that opinion by saying I only know the broad brushstroke facts here. Perhaps Mango you could correct me if I’m wrong about the constitution and the fact that 2009 wasn’t racially motivated, or at least didn’t define the parameters of what happened?

      Mango the logo you use is Primal Scream’s Screamadelica album cover. Do you listen to them? Do you know one of their most famous songs ‘come together’ has a sample from Martin Luther King: ‘we are together, we are unified, for together we have got power?’, with lyrics ‘all together as One”. What do you think that means? Have you felt the meaning of that song on a deeper level? It would appear not – thus I was surprised to read the content of your comments when you use an image I associate with tolerance, compassion and love for all mankind. Clearly at odds with your own standpoint. But of course there was a well known Sanskrit character for purity that was hijacked in the 1930s, which is now associated with something completely different in the collective consciousness. So it’s not unheard of for that to happen, I suppose.

      Keep well. Try and breathe some love into that blackened heart of yours. It sounds like you’ve experienced personally some of the trauma that went on in that country. I wish you all the best for your healing and your ability to achieve forgiveness.

      Emily Thornton

      • Hi Emily,
        Let’s stick to the facts, it’s so much easier than polemic. Frances Harrison’s bio on Linkedin says she’s the “Head of News, Amnesty International, June 2011 – Present (10 months)”. So, which of my comments about her are “factually inaccurate”?

        Your ignorance of the Sri Lankan war and international law are quite apparent. You can memorise the following key facts.

        1. A military target remains a legitimate military target, even if it is located in a civilian area. The LTTE hid their mortars and heavy artillery amongst civilians to prevent the SL govt from legitimately destroying these units.

        2. The use of civilians as shields to try to prevent attacks on military targets is prohibited. Further comment on this aspect of the LTTE’s strategy is futile.

        3. “The presence of a protected person [i.e. civilian hostages] may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.4th Geneva Convention, Article 28.

        4. The armed forces are not liable where injury to civilians results from unavoidable collateral damage, provided it is proportionate to the military gain expected of the attack. The military gain was the total destruction of the LTTE, a necessary, proportionate and laudable aim.

        5. “Civilians do not enjoy absolute immunity. Their presence will not render military objects immune from attack for the mere reason that it is impossible to bombard them without causing injury to the non-combatants. Oppenheim’s ‘International Law’.

        Yes, hospitals were shelled and I’m appalled about that. I’m even more appalled that the LTTE deliberately sited their artillery near the hospitals to ensure that the civilians would be killed by the inevitable retaliatory counter battery fire. That’s the disgustingly cynical nature of their calculation. I’m even more appalled that you lack the elementary sense to understand that basic fact.

        I’d be delighted to campaign for the SL govt leaders to be sent to trial at the Hague, as long as they’re preceded by the greater criminals from the West, whose bloodletting in Mid-East included not just shelling hospitals, but also water treatment plants, electricity plants and other critical infrastructure necessary for a civilised existence.

        So, do you think it’s acceptable for AI to get funding from an LTTE front organisation?

        The Primal logo is perfect. Sri Lanka is finally united after crushing a 30-year campaign of terror. If you think that’s a bad thing tell me. If you think there should be ethnically cleansed areas of Sri Lanka, also tell me.

        Sri Lanka is NOT a “budding” democracy. It’s been a democracy since 1948 and despite three vicious insurgencies and has remained a (battered and bruised) democracy. It elected the world’s first female head of state in 1960.

        You assert that “non Sinhalese are constitutionally not allowed to become President”. Rubbish. Proof, please?

        You assert that “racially motivated genocide that took place in 2009” More drivel.
        p.s. my heart is fine, thank you and all the better for Sri Lanka liberated from the murderous grip of the LTTE.

  4. Mango,
    Just because some one uses a unarmed civilian as a human shield, you don’t have to shoot the unarmed civilian. You still have a choice.
    The Sri Lankan government made a choice.
    It made a choice to fire on unarmed civilians. It made a choice to fire on the no-fire zones it had ordered those civilians into for their own safety. They died.
    You cannot reduce the Sri Lankan government to a powerless entity that was forced into every move it made. The LTTE “forced” the Sri Lankan government to open fire on unarmed civilians. David Miliband “forced” the Sri Lankan army to “accelerate its attack tempo”.
    David Miliband “has blood on his hands” for an operation carried out by the Sri Lankan military but the Sri Lankan government does not? Who does the Sri Lankan army take its orders from?
    And, Mango, David Miliband — seriously? He was a third-rate Foreign Secretary but it’s hard to take him seriously in this new role as the butcher of Sri Lanka.
    You cannot absolve the Sri Lankan government of responsibility for the choices it made.
    You say “The responsibility of GoSL was to destroy the LTTE”. The Sri Lankan government had a responsibility to protect its citizens.
    How do you protect people by killing them?

    • Hi Justin,
      It seems that you haven’t read or understood or completely ignored what I wrote earlier.
      “The Sri Lankan government made a choice. It made a choice to fire on unarmed civilians”
      Rubbish. It fired on the LTTE who were using the civilians as cover to prevent their own destruction. When this happens, civilians always die. Why are you unable to accept this simple, uncontroversial fact?

      The NFZ was designated for the civilians only. We know that the LTTE entered the NFZ, fought in civilian clothes and amongst the civilians. The evidence is there in the LTTE’s own combat videos.

      Pressure for a ‘ceasefire’ from Miliband and others, the Indian elections etc ensured that the Army had a shortened operational window to complete its task, which was to completely annihilate the LTTE. You know this, yet pretend not to understand it. You’ve been to Sri Lanka, you know the situation there, which makes your position even more bizarre.

      Miliband was and remains utter cretin. The UK as a key Western power had tried to prevent the IMF loan from being released and was a prime mover in the suspension of EU GSP+ trade concessions. New Labour was almost totally pro-LTTE because of electoral pressure from UK-resident, pro-Eelam Sri Lankan Tamil voters.

      “How do you protect people by killing them?” Easy. You kill the people responsible for continuing a 30-year long insurgency. You do not give in to mass hostage taking and proceed to destroy the LTTE, despite the civilian casualties.

      “The Sri Lankan government had a responsibility to protect its citizens.” I agree. The best way to protect all Sri Lankans was to utterly destroy the LTTE, which this government did, ignoring all cries for ceasefires, temporary pauses etc.

      • Ah Mango. Brilliant. You’ve solved the problem of hostage-taking once and for all. Just kill the hostages yourself. Then what are the hostage-takers going to do? Game, set and match, eh? If only the Americans had understood this in Iraq. It would have saved a lot of awkward beheadings.
        But it strikes me this approach really only works if you don’t care about the hostages. If, for instance, your own husband or wife, or your sister, or your mother, had been taken hostage by the Tamil Tigers, or some other vicious outfit, and used as a human shield, would you still favour the same hardheaded response?
        Me, I’m a squeamish liberal: I don’t find the deaths of 40,000 unarmed civilians “uncontroversial”. I think about awkward things like mothers holding dead babies, children staring at the dead bodies of their parents.
        Well, at least they have the comfort of knowing that the Sri Lankan military saved them from the Tamil Tigers, by killing them first. I suppose you have to look for the positives.

  5. Dear Justin,
    Get a grip, man. Are you a journalist or a whiny little girl? “mothers holding dead babies” … gimme a break. There were mothers holding dead babies across Sri Lanka, every year for the last 30 years, because of the LTTE’s campaign for a separate state.

    Let’s go back to the beginning and see if you can understand bite-sized facts, without blabbing or crying into your coffee.

    1. Sri Lanka declared a NFZ (No Fire Zone) and instructed civilians to move to these areas.


    2. Tamil civilians obeyed the govt instructions and moved into the NFZ.


    3. The LTTE followed the civilians into the NFZ.


    4. The LTTE then opened fire on the SL Army including artillery fire, from inside the NFZ, knowing that the SLA would return fire and Tamil civilians would be killed in the cross-fire.


    5. Sri Lanka instructed the Army to fire on the LTTE in the NFZ while Tamil civilians were still present in them.


    6. The Tamil civilians were unable to leave the NFZ because the LTTE prevented them from leaving, by shooting their ‘own’ people.

    Are the above statements true or false?

    Since the LTTE were holding over 300,000 willing and unwilling hostages to prevent their organisation’s ultimate defeat and destruction, what was your solution?

    As for the rest:
    If my family had been taken hostage, I’d expect the authorities to mount a rescue and not give in to the hostage takers, even at the terrible risk of them being killed. We know that some countries (e.g. UK) never give in to hostage takers. Others (e.g. Italy, Spain) always give in to hostage takers. Citizens from the latter countries are therefore at more risk of being taken hostage.

    The SL military saved over 300,000 civilians in a military operation during which many civilians died. You have no solution other than to be a squeamish liberal. i.e. no solution at all and about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

    • Ah, but there was no rescue operation. That’s the point. The Sri Lankan government skipped that bit and went straight to the part where they just kill everybody, hostage-takers and hostages alike.
      You want to reduce everything to two options: give in to the Tamil Tigers or kill everybody, civilians included. But killing everything in sight is not the only military strategy.
      As for the rest, well, I didn’t realise journalists were supposed to be such macho tough guys. Dead babies are nothing to them. Throw another one on the fire and get that barbecue going. What are 40,000 dead civilians when you get to be tough, stick your chest out and feel manly? Hell, you can even describe yourselves as eagles. Strong, noble birds, eagles. Just shoot those unarmed civilians. A real man wouldn’t worry about it.
      Well, I’ve seen my share of war, Mango. Seen dead babies too, as it happens — though that was in Gaza. And I don’t think they’re a price worth paying.

      • Oh. My. God. You now deny that Tamil civilians were held hostage by the LTTE and that they were indeed rescued. You haven’t said what your choices were. You mischaracterise my position as “kill everybody” which is patent rubbish. If the Sri Lankan Army had killed everything in sight, there’d be no-one left.

        Further, if that really had been their doctrine, why was the Eastern Front campaign fought and won with incredibly low civilian casualty figures?

        Where did you get the 40,000 dead civilian number from? Gordon Weiss? As a seasoned hack, who’s been to Sri Lanka and has written from the Indie the least I expect from you is to have at least a fleeting knowledge of the facts, but your comments are quite incredible and I use that word advisedly.

        You’re correct in that “dead babies aren’t a price worth paying” — Sri Lankans from across the island had had enough of seeing dead babies to last a lifetime. Hence the fight to the death against the LTTE.

        Why do you refuse to answer my questions listed below?

        1. Sri Lanka declared a NFZ (No Fire Zone) and instructed civilians to move to these areas.

        
2. Tamil civilians obeyed the govt instructions and moved into the NFZ.

        
3. The LTTE followed the civilians into the NFZ.


        4. The LTTE then opened fire on the SL Army including artillery fire, from inside the NFZ, knowing that the SLA would return fire and Tamil civilians would be killed in the cross-fire.

        5. Sri Lanka instructed the Army to fire on the LTTE in the NFZ while Tamil civilians were still present in them.
6. The Tamil civilians were unable to leave the NFZ because the LTTE prevented them from leaving, by shooting their ‘own’ people.

        • Justin Huggler says:

          Mango, the figure of 40,000 dead civilians comes from the United Nations. The Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, page 41 section 137. It can be found here: http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf
          I’m surprised such an expert on Sri Lanka as you say you are would be unaware of this.
          I fail to see how you can describe bombarding a small area packed with more than 300,000 unarmed civilians with long-range artillery, howitzers, unguided missiles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire as a “rescue operation” (these details are from the same UN report, page 28 section 100). It is, rather, a military strategy guaranteed to cause large-scale civilian casulaties.
          There were alternatives. The Sri Lankan military could have been patient, gathered intelligence and targetted the LTTE with discriminate fire. It could have sent in ground forces to hunt down the LTTE, rather than simply flatten the area with indiscriminate fire. It could have surrounded the area, knowing the LTTE had nowhere else to go. But the Sri Lankan government saw an opportunity to finish the LTTE off and decided the lives of unarmed civilians were a price worth paying. That decision undermines your argument that the Sri Lankan government’s sole and entire aim was to protect civilians from the LTTE. If it were, their lives would have counted for more in the NFZ.
          Indeed, a competent military strategy would have allowed for the likelihood that the LTTE would try to take shelter in the NFZ — the Tamil Tigers had shown no compunction about civilian lives in the past, including those of the people they claimed to represent. It was an obvious move by the LTTE. The Sri Lankan military should have had a better response than turning its own no-fire zones, the areas it had designated to protect civilians, into killing fields. That it did not shows either incompetence, or a lack of concern for civilian life.
          No doubt you will describe my alternatives as “misguided” or “unrealistic”, and tell me I don’t understand the exigencies of war. That’s what the defenders of a controversial military strategy always say. Yet there are precedents. For the the US’ generally lamentable recent record in this regard, when it finally tracked down Osama bin Laden, it did not simply drop a bomb on his house in Abbottabad, as it could have done, it sent in ground forces on a highly risky operation. That allowed the US to gaurantee they got their man, and to avoid mass civilian casualties. It’s a shame they don’t do things that way more often.
          And no, I’m not going to answer your numbered lists of questions. You came here to comment, and I’m more than happy to have a discussion with you, but I’m not allowing you to redefine the terms of the discussion.

  6. Good information. Lucky me I came across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!

  7. Davidson says:

    Jayantha Dhanapala’s submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC), August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948 . Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage our own internal affairs has led to foreign intervention but more seriously has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens. we need to rectify this bad governance. We have already missed several opportunities in the past. We need to have State reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongst our citizens; we need to have devolution of power and a tolerance of dissent and a strengthening of democratic institutions.’’ (Dhanapala is a Sinhalese and was formerly UN Under-Secretary General for Disarmament)

  8. Davidson says:

    K.Godage(a Sinhalese and former Sri Lankan diplomat) addresses LLRC, 15 September 2010:
    ‘’ …. We have persistently discriminated against the Tamil people from 1956…. The Tamils have undergone, and are undergoing immense hardship. We need to reach out to them. …”
    Prof Priyan Dias addresses LLRC, 07 October 2011:
    ‘’If we do not feel guilty for the Northern military uprising we cannot go anywhere in the future as a country.’’
    Even after LTTE was wiped out:
    No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka, Report by Minority Rights Group International, 19 January 2011:
    With the end of the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE or ‘Tamil Tigers’) in 2009, normality has returned for much of the population of Sri Lanka. But for members of the country’s two main minority groups – Tamils and Muslims – living in the north and east of the country, harsh material conditions, economic marginalisation, and militarism remain prevalent. ”

  9. Davidson says:

    Submission by Harim Peiris to LLRC, 7 October 2010:
    ‘’ We may have united the nation geographically, but remain polarized ethno-socially. It is not possible to simultaneously argue the need to maintain Emergency Law, the need for war time levels of defence expenditure and deployment of a network of security installations in the North not found anywhere else in the country and still maintain that the Tamil people are not alienated from the Sri Lankan State.
    ….. The immediate short term measures that are required are the humanitarian needs of the conflict affected people of the North and East ……
    If General and Presidential Elections can be held in the North and the East it is impossible to argue that the Northern Provincial Council’s elections need to be delayed any further. However, I would also respectfully submit that the frustrations experienced by the elected Chief Minister of the Eastern Province – incidentally an ethnic Tamil, in relation to the unelected Governor – incidentally a retired Sinhala Military Officer should not be allowed to be repeated in the North, if devolution is to be meaningful, and indeed such issues should be resolved, in the East….
    Strengthen individual human rights and fundamental and democratic political freedoms, by acceding to Sri Lanka’s international and treaty obligations and in keeping with Supreme Court Judgments in this regard, through the passing of enabling domestic legislation, that will fundamentally strengthen the rights of the individual citizens. Its fundamental Human rights.’’ (Harim Pieris was Advisor to a former President)

  10. Davidson says:

    ”But that truth cannot excuse human rights violations that currently afflict the nation as a whole; or for that matter obscure the looming threat of the cultural and political colonisation of the north by the Sinhala Buddhist majority” – Biased and Prejudiced Collection on Sri Lanka, *Gananath Obeyesekere, Economic & Political Weekly, VOL 47 No. 04, 28 January-03 February (*a Sinhalese Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University)

  11. Davidson says:

    Political, economic, social, cultural and environmental oppression that started in 1948 continues to this day – LTTE came and went:
    The following video shows how Tamil fishermen are moved inland to let Sinhalese fishermen take their place with army camp for protection:
    http://www.france24.com/en/20100204-reporters-sri-lanka-tamil-tigers-civil-war-refugees-civilians-return-army-probation
    IDPs are going to be settled in cleared jungle away from the coastal areas of their villages;
    IDPs sent to cleared forest and not to their original coastal villages, Re-displacement of Menik Farm inmates to Kombavil (Mullativu), 3 October 2011, http://groundviews.org/2011/10/03/re-displacement-of-menik-farm-inmates-to-kombavil-mullativu/

  12. TERRORISM?

    Emergency ’58 – The Story of the Ceylon Race Riots, Tarzi Vittachi(1958):
    ‘’The GalOya race-killings of 1956 and the ugly episode of Little Rock in 1957 should have warned us that the Fifth Horseman(race-hatred) took no notice of time, place, …. What are we left with? A nation in ruins, some grim lessons which we cannot afford to forget and a momentous question: Have the Sinhalese and Tamils reached the parting of ways?”
    (The manuscript of the book was smuggled out of SriLanka and printed in the UK and the book was banned in Sri Lanka – the following year Tarzi received the Magsaysay Award for the book)

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