Sunday, August 30, 2009

When we talk about families suffering due to rain, mud and excreta, without even food and water, GR screams about hunting terrorists....!!!!

Will Tamils be driven to another insurrection?


The government blamed UN agencies for floods in IDP camps in Vavuniya saying they had taken the responsibility to construct drainage systems and flood preventive measures at the sites. “The UN agencies involved in the IDP camps had taken the responsibility of constructing the drainage systems and flood preventive measures.
Need lots of mercy

So the Government cannot be blamed for the poor condition of the drainage systems which burst and failed,” Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Management, Rishard Bathiudeen told the Daily Mirror online. This minister will certainly need lots of mercy in time to come. The Mahinda regime blamed the West and the UN for helping the LTTE, when in reality the West and global capital gave Mahinda all that it could muster to escape the wrath of the working masses. Now after putting nearly three hundred thousand people behind barbed wire, claiming that there are Tigers still among them, the Mahinda regime thinks it is alright to blame the West for the misery

problem in producing a TOE is that the accepted theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity are hard to combine. Based on theoretical arguments, many physicists believe that the 11-dimensional Matrix String Theory (perturbative string theory) is the complete TOE, although there is no consensus. Still the Matrix String Theory is not a completed theory but rather an approach to producing one. In String Theory the universe is made up of a lots of tiny, vibrating strings.
Buddha’s interpretation they themselves created. Does it mean that all this destruction and suffering were created by global powers (including of course India), and the Mahinda regime was only a puppet ? Mahinda cannot have it both ways. He is like Hugo Chavez, a formidable enemy of the West! That is what the lunatics of the Nidahas Peramuna want us to believe. But unfortunately, all evidence provided by Mahinda show that he is guided by the West and is behaving like a zombie of Manmohan Singh.

Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, rejecting the claim that there is a serious situation that has arisen due to floods, warned that the LTTE terrorists masquerading as civilians are now taking refuge among the displaced. Apparently they could resume attacks if the government gave into internal and external pressure and released them. He said further, that there were a lot of explosives, arms and ammunition buried in the Vanni, particularly in the eastern part. When we talk about families suffering due to rain, mud and excreta, without even food and water, he screams about hunting terrorists. If Tamils are terrorists to that extent then the war is bunkum. Since Tamil rebels are a part of the Tamil population, Gotabhaya will have to push all the Tamils into an open prison and keep an eye on them. I am afraid if thedefence secretary continues in this strain, all Lankan Tamils could once again resort to an armed insurrection may be with newly found mass destructive weapons! He does not appear to have the words of peace and reconciliation in his vocabulary. There is a tragedy in Lanka where mass genocide is taking place at a slow pace. Even in military rationale the winner should be magnanimous. Otherwise, instead of terrorists taking refuge among the displaced, all the displaced will become terrorists.

Exploit the IDP situation

Heavy rain during last week caused floods at the camp sites in Vavuniya. This is due to the faulty drainage system, forcing some of the displaced people to shift to other areas for shelter.
This pathetic situation attracted the attention of American and European leaders, who brought pressure on the government for immediate action.

The defence secretary said that after failing to throw a lifeline to the LTTE, the Opposition and a section of the international community had now launched a fresh campaign to exploit the IDPs situation. “This is most likely to be their last trump card,” he said pointing out that recent statements attributed to various individuals and organizations had shed light on their plan. Does the defence secretary seriously believe that American and European leaders helped the LTTE and ARE now trying to exploit the IDP situation?

Lanka News Web.COM

Are LTTEers, like Lazarus, coming to life miraculously, just three months after they were pronounced conclusively dead? Or is Sri Lanka about to..!

Shame..............Tisaranee Gunasekara

"You who live safe,

In your warm houses,

You who find, returning in the evening,

Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider if this is a man…"

Primo Levi (If this is a Man)

The next cycle of the ‘Tamil problem’ has commenced unseen and unheeded, in the rain clogged internment camps up North.

The timing of the monsoon season was no secret, and yet hardly a thought was given by the authorities to its all too predictable consequences. The monsoons have barely begun and already most of the camps are deluged by rain water, placing every basic facility, from cooking to sanitation, beyond the reach of their wretched inmates. The seasonal rains will cause floods in many parts of Sri Lanka; but unlike other affected citizens, the more than 250,000 Tamils in the Northern ‘welfare villages’ cannot leave their inundated places of residence for shelter and dry ground. Imprisoned by barbed wire fences and gun toting soldiers, the IDPs have no choice but to bear this latest horror just as they have borne every other calamity, with sullen, festering silence.

If the rains flooded the camps holding two hundred and fifty thousand Sinhala Buddhists imprisoned, depriving them of every basic facility, the South would not have ignored their suffering and the Southern media would not have permitted the government to deny their plight. Our collective silence in the face of the unfolding tragedy in the North indicates a disturbing inability to treat Tamils as fellow human beings, let alone citizens with equal rights. Our collective failure to condemn this massive injustice that is being perpetrated in our name demonstrates that the mindset which enabled the Black July, not so much the evil of an active minority as the indifference of a silent majority, is alive and well in the South. We know and yet we chose to ignore. To paraphrase Bruno Bettelheim, ‘when hundreds of thousands are incarcerated, none but a guileless child remains innocent. We are all tainted by it. The rest of us are not innocent, but intent on keeping ourselves ignorant’.

The regime knows that the monsoons have turned the camps into a watery hell, and yet, it does nothing. Rhetorical flourishes apart, the Rajapakse administration never concerned itself with the safety and wellbeing of civilian Tamils in the North and the East during the war. When an occasional concession was made (such as ceasing/limiting the use of bombing and shelling during the last phase of the war), it was in response to Indian or international pressure. With the conclusive defeat of the LTTE, India and the world have lost whatever capacity they previously had to nudge the Rajapakses away from more extreme measures. Armed with a near total sense of impunity, the regime is treating Tamils with a degree of injustice that was inconceivable just one year ago. After all, the thought of the entire population of Killinochchi and Mulaitivu districts being imprisoned in barbed wire enclosures, after the war, was unthinkable - until it became a fait accompli. Today it is an integral part of reality which many ignore, some justify and only a few oppose. The unthinkable has become normal with a degree of rapidity and a measure of completeness which bodes ill for the future. (The pledge to resettle the incarcerated IDPs in 180 days will meet the same fate as the promise to implement the 13th amendment in full as soon as possible and to explore ways of devolving even more power, made by President Rajapakse to the then Indian Foreign Minister, on January 27th this year - according to a statement tabled in Sri Lankan parliament by Deputy Foreign Minister, Hussein Bhaila).

Normalising Discrimination

The Northern internment camps are a leitmotiv of the Rajapakse approach to peace, just as child soldiers and suicide bombers were a leitmotiv of the Tiger approach to ‘national liberation’. The fact that almost the entire population of Killinochchi and Mullaitivu districts is being forcibly kept in open prisons is not a mere detail to be overlooked or brushed aside. It is an essential element, a formative factor of post-war Sri Lanka. The Northern camps would have been not just impossible but also inconceivable, without the retrogressive paradigmatic shift towards a Sinhala supremacist ethos. If any Tamil can be a Tiger, it makes sense to incarcerate every resident of those Northern districts once under LTTE control, in order to capture a few thousand Tigers. If most Tamils are prone to Tiger sympathies, trying to win them over makes no sense; it is better to treat them with suspicion and cow them into obedience. An administration which sees a Tiger in almost any Tamil is likely to eschew a political solution to the ethnic problem (or even development) in favour of more soldiers and more weapons, as the best path to peace and stability. The statement by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Sarath Fonseka that the number of security forces personnel deployed in the Jaffna peninsula has been more than doubled from 15.000 to 35,000, post-war, makes sense in this politico-psychological context, as does the declaration by the Defence Secretary that military expenditure for 2010 will remain at 2009 levels (US$1.6 billion). The peace envisioned by the regime is not a peace based on consent but on force.

The country had a glimpse of what abusive authorities do to free Sinhalese in the South (not to mention baby elephants), when they think they can get away with it. If in the South power wielders feel free to abduct and kill until the media and the public intervene, what could not happen in the isolated Northern camps, to unfree Tamils, devoid of any rights, penned like animals, with no media to record their wrongs? The abductors of Nipuna Ramanayake and the killers of the two young men in Angulana are being brought to justice, because of incessant media criticisms and an outbreak of public protest. But Southern media and Southern society are largely silent about the plight of the Northern displaced, because, where the Tamils are concerned, we seem to be thinking and acting sans a sense of proportion or a measure of humanity. Otherwise how can we not feel a sense of shame about the Northern internment camps or experience a measure of sympathy for the suffering of their inmates? Is our complaisance of rampant injustice and discrimination not a sign that we consent to a peace building premised not on acceptance and tolerance but on fear and force?

The local or international media does not have free access to the internment camps; consequently there are hardly any visuals or eye witness accounts of the human tragedy that is unfolding daily and hourly there, accounts which could have stirred our dormant collective conscience. Without such pictorial or verbal evidence, it is easy for most ordinary, decent Sinhalese to remain unmoved by the abomination that is being perpetrated in their name. The Tamils outside the camps are too cowed to protest about the plight of their brethren since any such protest is likely to be labelled ‘terrorist’ and treated accordingly - imagine how an ‘Angulana type’ popular protest in Wellawatte would be reacted to by this administration. Given the Sinhala supremacist ethos currently dominant in state and society, being branded a Tiger is a permanent sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of every Tamil.

Two arguments are being used to justify the Northern internment camps. The ‘humanitarian’ argument is that the inmates cannot return to their villages until the de-mining process is complete. This argument does not hold water, as these people have been living in their villages, amidst the land mines, for a long time. Most of them would know where the land mines are and how to avoid them. In any case, the solution is to give the displaced a choice – so that those who want to return can do so, while those who are willing to wait for the de-mining to be complete can stay in the camps (plus permit those who can, to go to friends and relatives outside the camps). Had such a choice been given, the camps would have truly become the welfare villages the state claims them to be, rather than the open prisons they actually are. The second, ‘national security’ argument is that the displaced have to be kept in camps until the Tigers hiding amidst them can be weeded out. To justify the incarceration of the innocent to catch the guilty, without even the lame excuse of an ongoing war, is an abhorrent act which has no place in a democracy or amongst civilised people, especially in the 21st Century. It violates the very essence of proportionality; it is as extreme as any Tiger crime. Injustices such as these breed resentment and hatred and pave the way for even bloodier conflicts.

As citizens of the de facto Tiger state, Tamils of Killinochchi and Mulaitivu had literally lived in the belly of the beast. They knew the brutal and oppressive reality of Eelam as the Diaspora or even the Colombo Tamils never could. With a little humanity, a little decency, they could have been turned into the most staunch bulwark against the rejuvenation of the LTTE or of Tamil separatism. Instead, we are treating them as enemy aliens, miring them in wretchedness and despair, thereby making them forget the past brutalities of the LTTE. What is being undermined in the Northern internment camps is not Tamil separatism but the idea and the hope of a common Sri Lankan future.

The Southern Dimension

Workers in several key areas, especially the CEB and the Colombo Port, are threatening trade union actions to win their demands, including promised pay hikes. The government has responded with an unequivocal no, saying that wage hikes for the public sector are impossible in 2010, given the high costs of war and the global economic crisis. Will the Sinhalese understand that there cannot be an economic peace dividend for the South without a political peace dividend for the North? If the North is to be treated as occupied territory, if hundreds of thousands of the Northern Tamils are to be kept imprisoned, resources that could have been spent on alleviating the economic burden of Southern masses will have to be spent on subduing the Northern masses. Without demilitarisation and democratisation in the North, there cannot be higher wages or lower prices, better working or living conditions in the South

The regime will need to stoke Sinhala fears about Tiger revival and Tamil expansionism in order to justify not only the treatment of Tamils as ‘Untermenschen’ but also to explain away the expansion of the armed forces and gargantuan military spending, in peace time. Consequently the threat posed by Tiger remnants here and abroad will have to be magnified; and political demands by Tamils for more devolution will have to be depicted as manifestations of separatism, and treated with corresponding harshness. The hair raising discovery by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) of an explosive laden van, about to be sent to Colombo on a suicide mission, was dismissed as ‘suspicious and questionable’ less than 24 hours later by the DIG of the Northern Province (and former STF Commandant) Nimal Lewke (incidentally the CCD arrested the van but released its driver!). Last week, the newly appointed police spokesman was busy, revealing details about a plot to assassinate the Defense Secretary, declaring the reactivation of units, divisions and bureaus established to counter terrorism and related intelligence’ deactivated after the crushing of the LTTE… Are the Tigers, like Lazarus, coming to life miraculously, just three months after they were pronounced conclusively dead? Or is Sri Lanka about to experience her own version of ‘discovery of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)’ (augmented by a new ‘Naxalite Plot’), in time for the parliamentary polls. Parliamentary polls from which the ruling family is expecting a two thirds majority, so that a Rajapakse Constitution can usher in a Rajapakse era.




Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday thanked the Indian government for facilitating the acquisition of an off shore patrol vessel for the Sri Lanka Navy and said the goodwill gesture would strengthen bilateral relations and better cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

SLNS ‘Sayurala’ was commissioned at the Sri Lanka Navy Dockyard in Trincomalee yesterday.

The former Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Vigraha’ joined the Sri Lanka Navy fleet on August 23 last year and was assigned Pennant Number P 623. The OPV was built by Mazagon Dockyard Ltd, of Mumbai in India in 1990. With a length of 74.10m and a width of 11.40m, it has the maximum speed of 21.5 knots and a maximum draught of 3.58. The net registered tonnage is 750 tonnes and Gross registered tonnage is 1247 tonnes. The vessel is equipped with Marine Surveillance Radar and Communication equipment for the assigned role in Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Defence Secretary handed over the Commissioning Warrant to the Commanding Officer of the Vessel Captain SA Weerasinghe and in his message praised the effort and dedication shown by the Sri Lanka Navy in protecting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of the motherland.
Meanwhile, addressing a meeting of sailors and officers at the Trincomalee base, Mr. Rajapaksa said action had been taken to set up a series of new navy camps around the coastal belt to protect the coastal belt of Sri Lanka.

“We are an island nation, so we have to consider tightening sea security to prevent any outside threat, mainly the smuggling of arms and ammunition into the country,” Mr. Rajapaksa said.

He said although the war was over, the Navy had a key role to play to protect the country and it did so valiantly during last phase of the war.

“The Arrow boats of the navy were the main reason the LTTE couldn’t do anything at the time. The arrested LTTE leaders have revealed that because of this blockade they were unable to smuggle arms to the LTTE or even escape from the country,” he said.

Mr. Rajapaksa revealed there were several requests from powerful nations to share with them our naval officers’ experience.

Friday, August 28, 2009

இதோ உலகத்தில் உள்ள பெரும்பாலான நாடுகளில் உள்ள செய்திதாள்கள் மற்றும் தொலைக்காட்சி செய்தி நிறுவனங்களின் மின்னஞ்சல்கள்...!!!


இதோ உலகத்தில் உள்ள பெரும்பாலான நாடுகளில் உள்ள செய்திதாள்கள் மற்றும்
தொலைக்காட்சி செய்தி நிறுவனங்களின் மின்னஞ்சல்கள்..

ஒரே மின்னஞ்சலில் இருந்து இதை அனுப்ப இயலாது...பல மின்முகவரிகளை
உருவாக்குக்கொண்டு தமிழ் இளைஞர்களை கண் மற்றும் கைகளை கட்டி
நிர்வாணமாக்கி கொடுரமாக கொல்லும் காட்சிகளை உலக நாடுகளுக்கு

Middle East & Asia
Iran -
UK Ireland -
Indonesia -
Vietnam -
Cuba -
China -
Pakistan -
Mianmar -
Austria -
Costa Rica -
Sudan -
Saudi Arabia -
Egypt -
Algeria -
Morocco -
Serbia -
Syria -
Libya -
Jordan -
Lebanon -
Qatar -
Malaysia -
Singapore -
Cyprus -
South Korea -
Philippines -
Macau -
Thailand -
Turkey -
Albania -
Bulgaria -
Denmark -
Finland -
Germany -
Hungary -
Netherlands -
Latvia -
Lithuania -
Luxembourg -
Russia -
Spain -
Ukraine -

Latin America
Bolivia -
Chile -
Colombia -
Ecuador -
Guyana -
Paraguay -
Peru -
Uruguay -
Venezuela -

New Zealand -

North America
Belize -
Costa Rica -
El Salvador -
Guatemala -
Honduras -
Nicaragua -

Ethiopia -
Kenya -
Madagascar -
Mozambique -
Nigeria -
Senegal -
Somalia -
South Africa -
Sudan -
Tanzania -
Tunisia -
Uganda -
Zambia -
Zimbabwe -


Thursday, August 27, 2009

President Barack Obama to me: Senator Ted Kennedy...!!!

President Barack Obama to me


Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives -- in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education's promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me.

In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.

I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.

For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today -- to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.


President Barack Obama

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President Barack Obama
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Governments are primarily responsible in fomenting violence and these issues have acquired International dimensions...!!!

Fall of the Tamil Tigers: Balochs’ view

Indian Defense Analyst , B.Raman once said , Sri Lanka (SL) was taught how to destroy terrorism by Pakistan through its experience gained in its terrorism campaign against the Balochs . He added that the Balochs’ armed campaign leader was destroyed by a bunker buster bomb ; and that SL’s Air Force was given instructions by the Pakistan Air Force to destroy the Tamil Tiger leader too in the same way.
Former Minister of the Parliament and a member of the Senate , Sanaullah Baloch of Balochistan - when expressing his views pertaining to the eradication of terrorism in SL and Pakistan; about Balochistan’s armed campaign and the SL Tamil Tigers said, the intervention of the Asian powers economically is stoking the ethnic conflict more and more. He saw many similarities between the SL Tamil ethnic issue and Pakistan’s Balochs’ issue .In both cases , the Governments are primarily responsible in fomenting violence and these issues have acquired International dimensions, he added. As a political representative , in order just to achieve his political objectives , he does not permit the use of violence. Finally, violence becomes an instrument operating to the advantage of a destructive Government.

He sees a big difference between Balochs’ campaign which is a political struggle , whereas the Tamil Tigers’ campaign is an armed struggle. “ I have not been to the Tamil Tiger areas . Yet, I can discern that they are for an armed struggle and did not give way for a political campaign. If any political armed campaign is prone to power centralization, it portends grave danger . The Tamil Tiger campaign while pressurizing the SL Govt. to decentralize its power , was centralizing the power within its own organization. One of the grounds for the devastation of the Tamil Tigers was this. The Balochs’ Organization is a totally decentralized political campaign. There exists in it , political parties, organizations and the intelligentsia. They raise their voice in unison.

On the other hand ,as far as I know based on the information received, the LTTE campaign by engaging in the killing of politicians and the intelligentsia ruined the Tamil political campaign. The Tamil population was roped into the armed campaign. Today the armed campaign is annihilated . This means that there is neither a political campaign nor an armed campaign.” he asserted.

He sees Pakistan’s assistance to destroy terrorism in SL differently. Pakistan must help SL not to kill or bomb people , rather , to save them. Pakistan by resolving the issue in Balochistan politically instead of stoking it , can set an example to SL. The military establishment in Pakistan is exceedingly cruel. This poses a threat to Pakistan’s democracy. “I think , SL Govt. will not learn the wrong lessons of Pakistan”, he observed.

It is his argument that today ,Pakistan will not succeed in its terror eradication. “ I don’t think the Pakistan Govt. is deploying all its State machinery and its resources to accomplish this . Pakistan has no policy in regard to terrorism. They are using terrorism to suit their own ends. They follow one policy in respect of terrorism within Pakistan , and another outside of Pakistan. They are widely and loudly critical of Balochs, comparing them with the Taliban terrorists ; to other terrorist organizations they give protection. If terrorism eradication is successful , violence within the country must diminish . But, that does not seem to be the case ……violence is burgeoning,” he pinpointed.

Pakistan Govt. destroyed Akbar Bugti the political leader of the Balochs ,through a huge holocaust. They used the bunker buster bombs for this.Mr. Sanaullah in protest against this resigned from the Senate. What Pakistan Govt. thought was , with the elimination of Akbar Bugti , Bulochs’ campaign will terminate. But that did not happen. After his death ,the Bulochs’ campaign got a new lease of life.

According to Sanaullah , because of the harm inflicted on the SL Tamil political campaign by the Tamil Tigers , the possibility of using Prabhakaran’s death to strengthen the Tamil political campaign has been crippled. However, he says, so long as there survives the fundamental source to develop the Tamil Tiger movement , it is impossible to annihilate that movement.

The Balochs’ issues escalated owing to the growth of China’s economic intervention in Balochistan. Pakistan’s failure to get the Balochs’ leaders involved in the China’s economic intervention in Balochistan was the root cause of the problems, he asserted.

China and India, each , in order to demonstrate its power in the Asian region is exerting its economic and political influence over various countries. They are exploiting the ethnic conflicts to accomplish this end. This is the prime cause of the conflicts ,” he argued.

Indeed his argument is right … the root cause of SL’s ethnic conflict is SL’s refusal to permit India to intervene in the way it wanted in the North and East economic and political issues. Thereafter, India promoting the Tamil armed campaign took the North, East and Trincomalee Harbour under its purview via the Indo SL accord. India , in order not to question Pakistan and China’s assistance towards eradicating the Tamil Tigers introduced its condition that , India shall be allowed to commence economic development programs in the East and North.

SL yielded to the conditions imposed by India towards the eradication of Tamil Tigers, and SL preferred India’s control of these regions to the Tigers’ control.

Pakistan too is pursuing a similar policy in respect of China’s economic intervention in Balochistan. It is clearly manifest that the ‘powers’ of the region involved in the ethnic conflicts are rendering themselves indispensable.


I partially agree with the views, that countries like India, China and Pakistan should try to resolve intractable conflicts like, Baloch, Tamil and Kashmiris, including Tibet and Ugur in china through giving them greater share of their resources and right to self rule.

Posted By: Rasool

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now there is no one. They realise the situation. In those days they didn’t, due to LTTE propaganda...!!!

No successors
after KP

Minister Muralitharan

The Nation interviewed Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan on his thoughts on the elections and the support that the LTTE still has (if at all), his thoughts on KP and his future plans etc. Following is the interview

By Rukshana

Q. What are your thoughts on the recently concluded elections in the North and East?
A. There was a fairly low turnout indicating that only few people showed interest. This is because these elections were taking place after a very long time in the area. We witnessed the same situation in Batticaloa, where only a handful of people turned out to vote in the initially and it gradually increased leading up to the provincial councils. It’s only a sign that people are starting to take an interest because they realise they have a choice.

People are now changing to embrace a more democratic future. They have had nothing but war for the last thirty years. During these years, elections or even their political future were the last things people thought of. They had no choice at the time because the LTTE had already made their decision for them. But they now have to change little by little and they realise that.
But at the same time, a lot of people are concerned of the IDP situation and thought it was early to have an election.

Q. Do you think it was too early to have an election?
A. I also think that this was a little too early. Despite the low voter turnout, we have to, any way appreciate the activism shown by the people to participate.

Q. Since you say they were reluctant, how do you think they feel?
A. I believe they are more open to the idea of democracy than before. For instance Anandasangaree who secured only 450 votes from Jaffna got on stage and talked of federalism and Eelam. But people didn’t like it. They didn’t approve of it. They say they like to live peacefully in one country and we need to show them how that can be done.

Q. Do you think there is support for the LTTE?
A. No, no way. People in those areas disliked the LTTE. They are more worried about their livelihood than the LTTE now.

Q. Not even sympathy as others say?
A. We can’t call that sympathy. For instance in Jaffna, when people felt that the LTTE was to be defeated, they started to feel left out because, to them, the LTTE had taken care of their political needs. I also think that many Tamil minority parties tried to invoke these nationalistic feelings in them by giving false hopes. I think it’s a form of racism. By denouncing who supports who, they also create a division. So in this context people would have naturally had second thoughts.
But this is exactly what we must be wary of. It was this that led to a quest for Eelam many decades ago. We must not leave room for it to happen again.

If now you take the issue concerning their rights, they have, for instance, land rights. A wealthy merchant in Jaffna can easily buy land in Colombo or Kurunegala. People won’t interfere and neither will the law. But if a Sinhalese person wanted to buy land in Jaffna or a plot in the central market place, will the Tamil people there allow it? This is a mentality we need to change.

Q. What is your view of the current situation of the IDP camps? The past few days have witnessed flooding in some places to a point where people had to be relocated again.
A. I’ve been visiting the camps frequently and spoke to the President of my concerns there. I have also spoken with the respective minister’s concerned and requested them to address the needs of the IDPs.
What, I think, is worth mentioning here is that during the last week alone, we released 12,500 IDPs from their camps so they could go back to their homes in the East. Some people have also been resettled in their villages in the manner. This is something that was welcome and appreciated. So we shall continue that gradual resettlement.

Q. Are you satisfied with the rate of progress that is being made?
A. Yes, our plans are on track and going fine. I understand people like to go back to their homes soon. They can never compare the IDP camps to their homes. And the government has no plans to keep people in IDP camps. We want to resettle them soon.

Q. What is your assessment on the arrest of Kumaran Padmanadan?
A. That was a very good thing. Because after the LTTE was defeated and Prabhakaran was killed, Kumaran Padmanadan announced that he was the leader. An LTTE leader at that. So I am glad he is arrested and in police custody. The LTTE can never come up again.

Q. What do you know of KP? Were you in touch previously? What kind of man was he?
A. KP was handpicked by Prabhakaran as their International liaison for arms dealing, purchasing and handling their funds. It was always Prabhakaran who maintained contact.
KP is an intelligent man. He speaks many languages which is why he was chosen. He is a graduate of the Jaffna University.

Q. What do you make of the manner in which he was arrested?
A. I think it was to be expected. It was a joint operation that countries like ours was required to work along, especially after 9/11. It is imperative on every country to support the fight against terrorism.

Q. Do you think there are any successors after KP?
A. They can’t do anything because all international networks were controlled by KP himself.

Q. How certain are you they won’t claim leadership as well?
A. According to my knowledge, there is no leader like KP. There were people who claimed that they were de-facto leaders, even some lawyers. But they can’t do anything. No one is as strong or influential as KP was.

Q. How do you think the Diaspora will react now that KP is arrested?
A. Now after the arrest of KP – all their networks are scattered because KP was the man who discussed matters with Prabhakaran. Now there is no one. They realise the situation. In those days they didn’t, due to LTTE propaganda.

KP collected a lot of money, most of it forcibly which Diaspora didn’t like to give away. They were forced to do it at that time. Now they have a choice. They can concentrate on a political solution for the Tamil people. Our government too, has a clear policy on how they handle the national issues at hand. My request for the Diaspora is to help up rebuilt the war torn areas again.

Q. Do you know exactly how much funds KP had under his control? What resources he maintained?
A. (Laughs) KP had so much that we never wanted to count. He had a lot of money. More than that, he had so much property. A lot of shipping lines belonged to him. There was wealth everywhere.

Q. Do you know of anything since his arrest? What he might have said?
A. I have not even seen him.

Q. Are you not interested to know?
A. (Laughs) I am not interested. I don’t care, it’s all over. LTTE is finished.

Q. Where do you go from here?
A. My electorate is Batti and I want to contest from Batticaloa. People in the area, as far as I know, like our policies and our nationalist party. They are not inclined to the other parties and I am glad.

Q. But are you happy though to be with the SLFP?
A. Being in this party has given me immense opportunities to contribute. For which I am happy about. A lot of ministers campaign with me, participate and to raise fund for our people. For instance, next week we are inaugurating an industrial zone in Batticolao. It is only one of many development plans in the pipeline. I believe I could do more for the people, with the party I am now. I am the only Tamil politician working with the government totally. Being in the SLFP has made things within reach for me. I can always discuss issues with President and take ministers to the East to address the needs of people. It is also the first time, our people are getting the chance to meet ministers and voice their concerns.

Q. What are your plans, albeit the party. Personally, what have you set out to achieve?
A. I would like to see a bigger representation of the Tamil politician in Parliament, more Tamil politicians on the side of the government. There is no point in having a few on the opposition benches and others in different parties. Recently even a few Muslim members of the TNA spoke to me, and said they wished to join hands.


India’s ‘hidden hand’ in Sri Lanka’s Sinhala war Against Tamils...!!!

India’s ‘hidden hand’ in Sri Lanka’s war

New Delhi: India played a critical, albeit covert, role in the success of Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers, with the Indian Navy providing vital intelligence in locating and destroying at least a dozen LTTE rogue vessels laden with arms, says the first such detailed account of the operation.
India’s covert support to Sri Lanka in the war against the LTTE assumed many forms, ranging from back-channel talks and a tacit endorsement of Colombo’s destroy-LTTE mission to the supply of military hardware and sharing of real-time intelligence, says Nitin A Gokhale in his book, Sri Lanka - From War to Peace.

New Delhi helped Colombo in myriad ways despite its public hands-off posture and denial of offensive weapons due to domestic political compulsions, contends Gokhale.

The ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi was dependent upon the DMK party from Tamil Nadu, perceived to be sympathetic to the LTTE, for its survival in Parliament.

"Publicly, India maintained that it would not give Sri Lanka any offensive weapons. Yet, in early 2006 India quietly gifted five MI-17 helicopters to the Sri Lankan Air Force," Gokhale writes. "The only Indian condition was: these helicopters would fly under Sri Lankan Air Force colours. New Delhi clearly did not want to annoy the UPA’s Tamil Nadu allies like the DMK unnecessarily," he says.

The author singles out the Indian Navy for special praise. The Indian Coast Guard gifted a Sukanya Class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) to the Sri Lankan Navy in 2002, which played a major role in several daring missions launched by the Sri Lankan Air Force to rescue the Army’s Deep Penetration Units when they were surrounded by LTTE’s counter-infiltration units.

The OPVs also helped when injured soldiers had to be airlifted from deep inside LTTE-held territory.

The author quotes Sri Lanka’s Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda to underline the Indian Navy’s contribution in locating and destroying at least 10 ‘floating warehouses’ owned and used by the LTTE for storing arms, ammunition and even armoured personnel carriers.

According to Indian and Sri Lankan Naval sources quoted by the author in his book, well-coordinated operations by the two Navies between 2006 and 2009 actually broke the back of the LTTE’s Naval wing, the ‘Sea Tigers’.

Intelligence-sharing also proved crucial. The Indian Navy’s Drones, fitted with powerful radars, based at Ramnad in Tamil Nadu flew regular reconnaissance missions over the seas around Sri Lanka.

"Whenever a suspicious ship was detected, the Indian Navy passed on the information to the Sri Lankans. The real time intelligence helped Sri Lankan Navy to track down and then destroy the LTTE arms consignments," says Gokhale.

The book also recounts vividly the last days of LTTE chief V.Prabhakaran, who pioneered the cult of suicide bombers and tormented the Sri Lankan state and people for three decades.

Ordering the assassination of former prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi proved to be a major strategic error on the part of the charismatic guerrilla leader, the author writes.

Gokhale also provides an insight into the Sri Lankan government’s winning strategy for the decimation of the LTTE that ended Asia’s longest-running insurgency. IANS


SINHALA GOVT: Need to think beyond narrow political considerations if it is seriously considering ushering national reconciliation..!!!

No visible progress in bringing reconciliation to Lynn Ockersz

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake could be ‘way off the mark’ when he questions Sri Lanka’s progress in resettling and rehabilitating the IDPs of the North but has given the country and its political leadership something to deeply ponder over and be concerned about when he says that they are very wanting on the question of bringing reconciliation to Sri Lanka.

Ideally, there should be rapid progress in the screening of IDPs and their resettlement but this operation is fraught with risks on account of the possibility of quite a few former LTTE cadres masquerading as civilians. Admittedly, the screening process has to be carried out with considerable circumspection in view of this risk and the state could not afford to be careless on this score, lest ex-LTTE members mingle with the population segment in question and pose a future security threat to the state.

The position of the Lankan state on the care that should go into the screening process should, therefore, be accepted and, to a degree, those sections which are calling for the expediting of the screening, should bear with the authorities. But it also needs to be conceded that a needless prolonging of the relevant security precautions could increasingly open the Lankan state to the charge that the civilian sections concerned are being victimized.

Therefore, the position could be taken that the state should do everything within its power, within the current security constraints, to ensure the expeditious resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs, for, the freedom of movement of law-abiding citizens could in no way be hampered, unless for very legitimate reasons. But the state could not be negligent in the process.

National reconciliation, however, is an entirely different matter. On this score, the Lankan government could be said to be slow-footed and even weak-kneed. After a considerable period of time the country’s minority ethnic and religious communities are shown as celebrating events and occasions which have a close bearing on their identities, but such manifestations of a celebratory nature do not add-up to the materialization of national reconciliation to any significant degree.

No doubt, the free, joyful conduct of these events should be welcomed because they testify to the provision of space by the state, for the ethnic and cultural groups concerned, to exercise their cultural and religious autonomy, but we are only skimming the surface of national reconciliation with these provisions. There is much more to be done by the state before it could be proudly proclaimed that national reconciliation is indeed here.

What could contribute substantially towards national reconciliation in Sri Lanka is power sharing among our ethnic groups and for this purpose the initial legislation is already in place in the form of the 13th amendment (13A) to the constitution. We need to start with the 13A and gradually add to these powers to ensure that empowerment is a reality at the group and individual levels. Without extensive political empowerment it is difficult to visualize a completely stable Sri Lanka.

Right now, the policy position of the topmost government leaders on the 13A is not clear, although some ministers are on record that the amendment would be implemented. What is required is a full implementation of the 13A and those for whom such pronouncements are anathema, should carefully read the relevant provisions to reassure themselves that there are substantial safeguards in the 13A, which could be activated by the President, to protect the geographical integrity and unity of Sri Lanka.

It would be most unfortunate if a case is continued to be made by Southern chauvinistic opinion for a monopolization of political power by the majority community and the political centre. For, this could only have the effect of renewing the call for a separate state, among some sections, in those areas where the armed separatist rebellion has been quelled. Although as lovers of peace we would wish otherwise, the hard-nosed political realist in us should convince us that full, durable peace could never ‘come from the barrel of a gun’.

It is not exactly clear what some local sections mean when they say that ‘conditions have changed in the North-East since 1987’ and, therefore, the 13A is a superfluity which could now be done away with. True, the armed rebellion is no more and not all sections in the North-East backed the LTTE’s terror campaign, but the years-long, peaceful campaign by Tamil parliamentary parties for political autonomy, and not separation, was symptomatic of a deep-seated frustration born of not enjoying the ‘good things in life’ on an equal footing with the majority community. This state of mind among considerable sections in the North-East is unlikely to have changed and this is why a political solution to the conflict should be persisted with. And there is no better way to achieve this than by fully implementing the 13A; a piece of legislation which is already in hand and which cannot be ‘torched in Parliament’.

However, if the government is wary of ‘ground realities’ which could militate against the immediate implementation of the 13A, it should seriously consider launching confidence-building measures which help in bridge-building among communities, until such times that the 13A could be fully implemented. Some such measures, such as Race Relations Councils, have already been suggested by this writer but serious thought should also be given to the banning of the use of communalistic slogans by political parties. The mouthing by them of sentiments which are detrimental to religious and cultural harmony should also be considered.

Local authorities which work towards the strengthening of communal bonds by encouraging peaceful co-existence among cultural groups could be specially rewarded. Besides, businesses and enterprises that make provision for the increasing employment of minority group members could be commended and specially recognized by the state.

These are just a few measures that come to mind when considering what could be done, specially in the short term, to effect national reconciliation. The question to ponder is: why is the state dragging its feet on this epochal undertaking. It would need to think beyond narrow political considerations if it is seriously considering ushering national reconciliation.


TRC: Is there a political and military climate where dissenting voices can give testimony without security fears?

Unpacking the Vasuki Nesiah

In recent week there has been some talk about a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) as something that will allow Sri Lanka to come to terms with its troubled past and move forward into the promise of its ‘post-war’ future. I have been informally invited into a few of these conversations because I have worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice on TRC initiatives and proposals for such initiatives in countries like South Africa, Ghana, Liberia, the Philippines and Nepal. However, it is precisely the lessons I have learned from that experience that confirms my scepticism about the proposal for a TRC in Sri Lanka at this juncture. In many contexts with a long complex record of abuse and a fraught security climate, civil society activists (and sometimes the international human rights community), have pushed for the establishment of a TRC in the hopes that this may be the thin edge of the wedge that opens the door to more political space; space that would expand and empower human rights victims, dissenting activists and others. However, again and again, in country after country, where commissions have been advanced in contexts shadowed by repression and insecurity, the resulting commission has done more to legitimize impunity rather than advance justice.

It may be worth reminding ourselves of some of the goals that have been vested in truth commissions. From Peru to Sierra Leone, social justice or human rights activists who advocated for truth commission saw their efforts as aimed at the inter-related goals of truth, justice, reparations and reform. These goals come together in contesting impunity by addressing both what TRCs have termed legal, forensic truth regarding the details of particular violations, and the ‘big picture’ social, historical truth regarding their enabling conditions. These are often mutually reinforcing truth seeking processes that situate human rights violations within larger structures that identify the command responsibility chains, institutional roles and systemic injustices that were pivotal to particular crimes.

The term ‘truth’ may be misleading to the extent that it suggests that commissions should be aimed at ‘fixing' the truth. Rather, the potential of truth commissions can be best described as a process that can help contest reigning ideas about the 'truth'. It is not about establishing an uncontested truth, but about critically unpacking claims to truth. In this sense, the aspiration for a truth commission process is that it will undermine dominant myths rather than determine official dogma. For instance, truth commission analysis may be able to demonstrate that human rights violations are not just a question of a few bad apples in the security sector (as is often the official line) but that these violations are a window into more systemic and structural problems; that violations are not random and isolated but that struggles over the politics of race, ethnicity, class, gender, ideology etc. can explain patterns of violations. Thus, at their best, truth commissions may demythologize nationalist conceits and, as Michael Ignatieff has noted, "narrow the range of permissible lies".

In some cases, the potential of a TRC to open-up greater political space for accountability can be seen in the relationship between TRCs and prosecution initiatives. For instance, in Chile, the TRC functioned as the principle official instrument contesting impunity when Pinochet left office and his amnesties barred prosecutions; moreover, two decades later those commission findings became crucial evidence when the amnesties were repealed and cases were brought against Pinochet. In South Africa, the TRC’s partial and conditional amnesty was envisioned as the route to an intertwined carrots-and-sticks strategy where perpetrators who came forward to the commission and told the whole truth about particular incidents were given amnesty for their role in those particular incidents but those who didn’t were liable to prosecution. Because they are aimed at telling the larger story regarding patterns of violations, TRC analysis can be of particular value in prosecution initiatives against those with command responsibility. Moreover, while prosecutions provide one important platform for accountability struggles, ideally TRC analysis will go beyond the terrain of courts to open up a wider national conversation on the prevailing distributive injustices and their supportive ideologies that have been the enabling and contributing conditions of violence and abuse; a conversation about the ordinary, everyday complicities and extraordinary, persistent hierarchies that have sustained and reproduced a history of human rights violations.

The Sri Lankan Experience

I started this brief note by invoking some of the anti-impunity ‘truth seeking’ goals that have motivated advocates of TRCs. Yet from Indonesia to Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka, we have repeatedly seen commissions in many parts of the world that have been designed precisely to defeat the goals they claim to advance. Over the last two decades Sri Lanka has itself convened several commissions of inquiry into disappearances and other human rights violations that bear some family resemblance to truth commissions. The history of these commissions provide an indicator of how commissions can be manipulated to defeat dissent by channelling criticisms of human rights violations into institutions that the government of the day uses as a shield against critique. Even when commissions have fought against the odds to push for justice their work was restricted and compromised and their recommendations for prosecutions and reform were buried; many voices of dissent who engaged with these commissions have been threatened and the justice aspirations of those who gave testimony have been betrayed.

Some argue that irrespective of Sri Lanka’s past record, the current need for post-war ‘reconciliation’ warrants a TRC. Yet, not unlike the word ’truth’, the word ‘reconciliation’ in truth and reconciliation commissions has sometimes led to more confusion than clarity. Reconciliation is a long term process that is itself dependent on advancing justice rather than functioning as a proxy for justice.There are many contexts where there is a great need for reconciliation but more often than not the discourse on reconciliation has functioned as a cynical public relations exercise where empty calls to unity have substituted for policies that genuinely address the justice claims of minorities and other marginalized groups.

This is not the first time in Sri Lanka that calls for reconciliation have been advanced (in the name of a "post-war" historical moment) in ways that have raised questions regarding legitimacy and accountability. In March 2002, after the GOSL-LTTE ceasefire agreement, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of the South African TRC signed a statement protesting threats to the space for dissent in Sri Lanka noting that the legitimacy of peace "depends not only on the cessation of hostilities, but also on broader questions of democratic accountability." This statement reminds us that questions of justice and dissent that inform questions of democratic accountability will be central to the legitimacy of post-war initiatives.

In the spirit of the Tutu statement, we may note that although the requisite ‘legitimacy’ preconditions for a TRC to pursue the goals described earlier are complex and multi-faceted, whether the current government can establish an institution today that has the confidence of marginalized communities and dissenting voices may provide a telling window into whether the most elementary political and security conditions obtain. For instance, would those most victimized believe that such a process will advance their justice goals? Do dissenting political activists believe in the integrity and independence of the process? Do those most sceptical of nationalist myths believe the process will expose lies and challenge impunity? Is there a political and military climate where dissenting voices can give testimony without security fears? The answers to these questions may give us a hint as to whether establishing a TRC at this juncture would enable Sri Lanka to unpack dominant ‘truths’, track command responsibility and redress legacies of abuse, or, instead, if it would prop-up national myths, cover up the responsibility of those in power and legitimize a repressive regime. Where do you place your bets?


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Open letter to the President of Sri Lanka....!!!

Open letter to the President of Sri Lanka

I am a well educated senior citizen of Sri Lanka. I have been a committed socialist since my early youth. I have supported and voted for the candidates of the SLFP or its alliance left-wing parties at every election since I became a registered voter, i.e. for the past 45 years.

I am strongly in support of your policies of strengthening the State Sector and your commitment to maintain the backbone of Sri Lanka's economy and its welfare system as a responsibility of the State. I regard highly, your sensitivity and concern for the plight and of the poor people of this country; your 'common touch'; and your natural empathy for people with rural roots. You are a 'People's President' without the negative characteristics seen in President Premadasa.

I admire your confidence, conviction, commitment and strength that enabled you, together with the Secretary of Defence and the armed forces, to eradicate terrorism from Sri Lanka. Though I am of the view that just grievances of the Tamil people exist, and they should be addressed and solved, I have always considered the "armed struggle" as a misplaced and inappropriate instrument to gain the rights of the Tamil People in the politico-cultural context of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, I have always categorized the LTTE as fascist and terrorist in ideology, policy and action. I salute you most for the resolute manner in which you rejected the unprecedented coercion and pressure brought on you by the so-called 'international community' to save Prabhakaran and the LTTE right up to his/its final hours. That to me is the defining moment. It is the characteristic of a great leader of a developing country in today's context of rampant 'globalisation' in an unbalanced unipolar world. "It was an Acid Test; you have passed it convincingly.

I have always rejected the UNP as a comprador capitalist party. Though I have accepted some policies of the UNP as contributory to Sri Lanka's long-term development goals, the net effect of UNP policies have been detrimental to Sri Lanka as an independent sovereign republic. Its history is replete with instances of subjugation of the national interest to western vested interests.

Before I get back to the main intended theme of this letter, I need to make one further point. I need to clarify to you and others who may read this, as to why I chose to remain anonymous. The reason is a sad reflection of the 'state of the nation' as it is today, and has been for the past 30 years, especially since 1977, when the phrase "political goon squads" entered Sri Lanka's political lexicon. In other words, I have no confidence that what I say henceforth will be taken in the manner I expect them to be taken. I have no confidence in our country's leaders yet, to feel completely free to express my views on the 'state of the nation' that may be considered critical of the present administration. This includes Your Excellency as well as the plethora of Presidential Advisors and other hangers-on that surround you. This includes also many members of your bloated Cabinet who were never schooled in democratic, transparent and accountable governance. I have no confidence that what I say will not result in me being taken away at gun-point in the dead of night or broad day light and that my bullet-riddled body will not be found by the wayside to be identified by my wife and children a day or two later. I have no confidence that I will not be intimidated by known or unknown persons by word or deed or will not be threatened with grave consequences to me or my family unless I "shut up". I have no confidence that some ruse will not be used to sack me from my job for saying what I say in this letter. My lack of confidence should not be surprising. We have had journalists and newspaper editors being killed, abducted and assaulted for wielding nothing more than their pens, however malicious their intent or however vitriolic their words. I am no journalist, but it seems clear enough that there are agents within Your Excellency's administration or who are in their pay who seem to fear the pen more than the sword. I have no immediate desire to suffer pain or injury or seek an early end to my life. Until such time, when I will have complete confidence in our leaders, I beg an apology from all concerned for remaining anonymous.

What has prompted me, or in another way, what my conscience has compelled me, to write this letter is the observance of a dangerous sense of "lawlessness within the law" that has pervaded this country once again. I say once again due to the fact that this same "lawlessness within the law" was seen on many occasions in the relatively recent past in our political history. This "lawlessness within the law" was seen at its zenith in the immediate aftermath of the 1977 elections when the police were given leave for a week during the DDC elections in Jaffna in 1981; during the Presidential Elections in September 1982 and the referendum thereafter in December when election officials were threatened at gun-point and ballot boxes were stuffed on a grand scale all over the country by political thugs - for the first time in Sri Lanka's election history; when policemen who physically traumatized women were given promotions and the fines imposed on them as individuals by the judiciary was paid by the State; when houses of the Judges of the Supreme Court were stoned by thugs and they were given publicity by the State Press to flaunt their evil deeds and the President of that time said "This is a free country"!!: during the ethnic pogrom of 1983 when the police and the armed forces looked on, or at times aided and abetted the violence against innocent Tamil civilians; during the second uprising of the JVP in 1988- 89 when other 'tigers' of many hues roamed the darkened streets at night in unmarked number-plateless vehicles and headless bodies and body-less heads were exhibited for all to see; and during the Wayamba elections of 1999 when votes were cast by the bundle at gun-point and voters were paraded naked in the streets.

The recent events that are unfolding - the discovery of bodies of underworld kingpins - have been matters of grave concern. This is not because I am in any way in sympathy with those underworld killers. The concern is due to the extra-judicial nature of the process. I am fully aware that, the due 'legitimate process' has been totally ineffective in bringing these killers to justice. In my view this is due to the 'fear of death' instilled into prospective witnesses, and in particular, due to the corruption within the law enforcement agencies - the police as well as the judiciary. There is little doubt that the law-abiding people of this country want a 'clean up'; but the power and leadership of that 'clean up' has to be given to person/s of impeccable credentials of integrity and honesty. This is the only way that ordinary law-abiding citizens of this country will be safeguarded from arbitrary arrests and summary justice in the night.

The next question is, do we have enough persons with impeccable credentials of integrity and honesty in the right places to do this? Perhaps not; perhaps we do. Even so, from my long experience in government service, I know that they are a very small minority. But we need to find them to ensure that 'justice' is done in such a manner that the law-abiding citizens of this country do not have to live in fear or doubt. That is the duty of a responsible government.

At the present time, can a law-abiding citizen of this country have that confidence? In my opinion it is an emphatic No. Why do I say so? Take a few recent events.

1. The assault of a SLIIT student - Nipuna Ramanayake - by a group of policemen at the instigation of the son of SSP Vas Gunawardene, Director, CCD Colombo. The police have been vaccilating the extent of extreme embarrassment of the police force. To the great consternation of us all, and according to reports, SSP Vas Gunawardene has been directly involved (together with his wife), in the assault of the student and subsequent attempts to frame him with a statement taken under extreme duress that he was involved with a notorious member of the Borella underworld! Then, the SSP has the audacity to go on record that it was mistaken identity! As a very senior police officer, he thinks that his 'explanation' settles everything and he, his police goons and his son are not culpable of possibly attempted murder!

Then to the further embarrassment of the police, after days of inaction, the police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekera announced that 6 policemen involved have been transferred to other police stations!!! Transferred!!! The IGP, Jayantha Wickramaratne, with all his grandiose pronouncements at regular intervals about maintaining discipline in the Police Force, mumbles incoherent sweet nothings and shows official impotence and incompetence! When there was overwhelming prima-facie evidence about the details of the assault, the police did not interdict the policemen pending formal inquiry; the son of SSP Vas Gunawardene was not arrested or questioned; the SSP remained in his post long enough to concoct a fairy-tale about the detection of a van laden with 100kg of explosives in Mannar to deviate the attention of the public, the IGP, the defence establishment and Your Excellency from his criminal acts. Thankfully, Senior DIG Nimal Leuke exposed his criminal fraud. He has now only been 'transferred' to Police Headquarters. As an example to all policemen, particularly those in the highest ranks, whose duty towards responsible conduct should be at the highest, Your Excellency or the Secretary, Ministry of Defence should have directed the IGP or the Police Commission to interdict the SSP with immediate effect pending inquiry. The law-abiding people of this country would have applauded Your Excellency and would have enhanced your votes at the next Presidential Election that much more if you had done so promptly.

Not only that, the law-abiding people of this country would have begun to gain confidence that they have a government that is just and equitable; that it can be trusted to safeguard the people; that it will mete out just punishments to those who break the law irrespective of caste, class, creed or colour (political). Up until now, that has not happened. What should we citizens make of this? If the citizens of this country believe that this has not happened because it is indicative of the early stages of a cover-up once the present 'heat' recedes, no one can blame them.

2. The 'Angulana Murders'. It is true that swift action was taken to arrest the OIC and the policemen and remand them. But the question that springs up in our minds when we compare it with the soft-pedaling seen in the 'SSP Vas Gunawardene case' is: Was it because they are expendable small fry in the police force? What is most worrying is that these policemen felt that they had enough impunity to do this dastardly act and possibly get away with it in the present situation where bodies of 'dead young men' with criminal histories are found strewn about. The question also remains whether the same swift approach to justice would have taken place if not for the fact that people of Angulana had organized mass protests and disrupted train services on the coastal line. Is it necessary for citizens to organize mass protests that become major media events which in turn cause embarrassment to the government for the normal course of justice to take place in this country? If so, Your Excellency, it is an indictment against your governance and sense of justice. It is an expression that people do not have confidence in your government that justice will be done as justice should be done. The citizens of this country, including myself must have the confidence that whatever the circumstances, no 'wielder' of state power or authority can have impunity when he/she breaks the law. It is only then that I, and people like me, can write letters to you or the media without hiding behind anonymity.

3. I do not need to elaborate on the antics, and very dangerous ones at that, that your party organizer for Kelaniya has been, and is, indulging in. The manner he intimidated media persons - State media at that - and the manner in which he got away with impunity; the fact that you did nothing to reign him in, even though it was very bad publicity to your government and yourself; that it emboldened him to continue to indulge in such anti- democratic, crass acts which he continues to do; the manner in which he brutalizes your own party men in Kelaniya and is not hauled up by a disciplinary committee of the party; that he had the audacity to accompany a criminal to the tarmac of the Bandaranaike International Airport and that no security officer stopped him from doing do so; that he got away with such a brazen act of being seen doing so when criminals with similar records are found dead in the streets; is an unsavoury, unacceptable and unforgivable record of the period of your governance. As much as you will be remembered for the great contributions you have made for the unification of Sri Lanka and defending it against not only the extremist separatist terrorists but also against the unrelenting onslaught of a group of self-proclaimed democratic, liberal and civilized Western countries practicing a flagrant and unashamed form of double-standards and hypocrisy, you will be remembered for the impunity you have offered persons of the ilk of your organizer for Kelaniya, Mr. Mervyn Silva.

Your Excellency, I am writing this letter to you so that you can improve your standards of governance, your standards of duty, responsibility and accountability so that you will be remembered by the people of this country, the discerning and the less discerning, with equal pride and admiration. So that when you leave this office, hopefully, after a full second term in 2017, without becoming an example of the well-known adage "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely", you would have served yourself, your conscience, your country and your people well. You can then spend your political retirement with a more complete sense of accomplishment; you can spend your retirement without fear of judicial review of your actions; without fear of being ridiculed in Court and without being the 'laughing stock' of most citizens of this country as your predecessor has become.

I wish you well in all your endeavours to bring peace, prosperity and contentment to people of Sri Lanka. May the Gods give you strength and courage to tread the correct and righteous path with all its challenges, obstacles and difficulties.

May the blessings of the Triple Gem be with you always.

Yours very sincerely


Copies to: Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President

Editors of Sunday Times, Sunday Island, Sunday Observer and the Nation.


President's place in history will be judged not by what he says, but by what he does...!!!

Needed : A Post-conflict partnership with Sri David L. Phillips

Many Sri Lankans are still jubilant from defeating the Tamil Tigers, a heinous terror group that caused immeasurable suffering during its violent 30 year struggle for an independent Tamil homeland in northern Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapaksa showed leadership and resolve in crushing the Tigers. Now he must be just as resolute in healing the wounds of war that affect Tamil and Sinhalese alike. Relief, recovery and reconciliation are daunting tasks that the Government of Sri Lanka need not undertake on its own. Building on this week’s visit by a delegation of retired diplomats led by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, the United Nations Secretary General should appoint a Special Coordinator for Post-Conflict Issues to strengthen the partnership between Sri Lanka and the international community.

The Coordinator’s primary mandate would be to mobilize foreign aid and build national capacity. Complementing efforts by the United States, the European Union, Japan and Norway - co-chairs of the so-called Friends of Sri Lanka - the Coordinator would act as Colombo’s partisan with the international community making sure that pledges are deposited and commitments renewed.

Beyond the current humanitarian emergency, the Coordinator would work with the Sri Lankan government to accelerate early recovery and facilitate the transition from relief to development. To complement aid with trade, the Coordinator would encourage expansion of Sri Lanka’s nascent manufacturing, agricultural and other industries. In addition to international investment and risk insurance, making sure that countries open their markets to Sri Lanka products would also stimulate trade.

A comprehensive approach to human development must involve the entire Sri Lankan government working in tandem with the international community. To these end, the Coordinator can make sure that the World Bank and UN country team are at full throttle assisting the Government of Sri Lanka. The government should not be wary of the UN’s involvement, as it has in the past. The UN is both benign and best placed to mobilize international expertise for a national recovery plan encompassing a broad range of activities from micro-credit to public health.

President Rajapaksa has pledged to address the root causes of conflict. He understands that Tamil grievances are more than material. To his credit, he has repeatedly recognized the legitimate hopes of Tamils for greater political and cultural rights.

With elections upcoming, President Rajapaksa, is saying all the right things. However, his place in history will be judged not by what he says, but by what he does.

Political reconciliation will be determined by President Rajapaksa’s ability to further the aspirations of Tamils, as well as other Sri Lankans. To help him deliver, the Coordinator’s mandate should go beyond relief and early recovery to include political issues. The Coordinator should work with the government to encourage the protection and promotion of minority rights in accordance with international standards, as well as constitutional reform enabling decentralization and power-sharing.

There is a moment in every post-conflict situation when national and international forces are aligned in common purpose to promote conditions for sustainable peace. For President Rajapaksa, that moment is now.

He must not squander the goodwill emanating from his victory over the Tamil Tigers. The international community, which generously supports Sri Lanka, does not dispute the ruthlessness of the Tamil Tigers. But questions linger about the military’s final push when as many as 10,000 civilians may have died. Limits on humanitarian access and measures barring journalists and human rights groups have aggravated tensions. As a gesture of their concern, several countries - including the United States and the United Kingdom - abstained on the recent IMF vote to provide $2.8 billion to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankans are raw from decades of conflict. A peace and reconciliation process can help heal their wounds. Without one, President Rajapaksa will face a growing international clamour for an investigation into civilian casualties. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court may act if the government does not.

Sri Lankans are increasingly concerned by the slow pace of reintegrating 280,000 Tamils who languish in camps for the displaced. The government must balance the need to make sure that Tamil Tiger fighters are not hiding among the displaced with the need for an efficient screening process. Delays cause inordinate suffering and are inconsistent with the humanitarian nature of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist majority.

No doubt the government was right to disarm the Tamil Tigers through military action. But all Tamil’s cannot be held responsible for crimes committed by Velupillai Prabhakaran, ex-head of the Tamil Tigers. Measures are still needed to reintegrate rank-and-file into civil society so they can participate in the peacebuilding process.

The Friends of Sri Lanka can play a pivotal role. President Rajapaksa should also take steps to strengthen Sri Lanka’s partnership with India, which is critical to mobilizing support in the region and beyond.

Why appoint a Special Coordinator for Post-Conflict Issues? Colombo-based ambassadors are already exchanging information and working together. However, donor countries have a notoriously short attention span. As part of a resource acquisition strategy, the Coordinator would play an indispensible role enhancing current efforts and sustaining activities that will require assistance long after the next international crisis comes along.

President Rajapaksa may also find it expedient to highlight the Coordinator’s role when he moves forward with political reforms. Rather than a risk to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, the Coordinator will be an invaluable asset deepening international assistance for relief, recovery, and reconciliation.

Designating a Coordinator would be a win-win not only for Sri Lanka, but also for the international system. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon was criticized for not doing enough during the conflict. He can give definition to his "new multilateralism" by focusing the UN on Sri-Lanka’s post-conflict requirements. It would also help focus the UN’s nascent Peacebuilding Support Unit. There are many cases, for example southern Sudan, where a UN Special Coordinator for Post-Conflict Issues would have been invaluable.

While President Rajapaksa may have won a great victory on the battlefield, a UN Special Coordinator for Post-Conflict Issues can help Sri Lanka win the peace while demonstrating the benefits to international cooperation aimed at eradicating the root causes of extremism.

(David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Conflict Prevention and Peace-building at American University in Washington, DC and a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University)


For the people to feel secure, the military and police forces must include a good proportion of Tamils and Muslims...!!!

Chelva’s grand-daughter on the end of the war

Poongkothai Chandrahasan learnt the meaning of resilience while making films involving war-affected people. In conversation with Papri Sri RamanPeace is the dividend Harvard-trained filmmaker Poongkothai Chandrahasan, 28, seeks after 25 years of the conflict between the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government which recently came to a gory end in her homeland. Poongkothai, who hails from an illustrious family of lawyers and peace activists, is a woman with a vision for her war-torn nation.

A refugee in Tamil Nadu, India, since the age of three, Poongkothai was in the heart of the Sinhalese area in the north when LTTE chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran was declared dead. The LTTE had waged a violent war for over 25 years against the Sri Lankan government seeking to create an independent Tamil state in north and east Sri Lanka. It admitted defeat on 17 May 2009, when the government finally took over the entire LTTE-controlled area. Prabhakaran was shot dead while he was trying to flee from the Sri Lankan Army the following morning.

Recounting her memories of that day, Poongkothai says, "When the celebrations began, I was on the streets walking along with the people, taking it all in, and just watching their expressions of joy. The ladies were cooking ‘kiribath’ (a milk and rice dish made on auspicious occasions), the children were waving flags, hundreds of people took to the streets in a matter of an hour. The roads were choked with men and women waving the yellow Sri Lankan flag. Trucks with army personnel were stopped by civilians who hugged the soldiers. Effigies of Prabhakaran were burnt at various spots, with thousands gathered to watch this spectacle. Many families fed me ‘kiribath’, as I made my way through processions of village people, with women dressed in white, children with white flowers in their hands..."

She elaborates, "What touched me the most that day was that these were Sinhalese villagers ~ poor people with no agenda ~ wearing their feelings on their sleeves. Every single person I spoke to said to me, ‘The war is over, we are so happy.’ They were not celebrating the defeat of the Tamils. They were celebrating the fact that now there would be peace in Sri Lanka!

"Today, Sri Lanka stands testimony to the futility of violence. Tamils can only regain their rights through peaceful negotiation and, if not, then a non-violent struggle."

Poongkothai was in north Lanka all through the period of negotiated peace, from 2003 to 2006, filming her people’s misery through a conflict that has uprooted 600,000 people, disrupted livelihoods, and created a surreal, pock-marked landscape, known in fairytales as the emerald island.

Recollecting the day of celebration, she states, "I wondered what it must be like in the Tamil areas. Are the people there happy? Are they sad? Are they in just too much pain to care?"

To get a feel of their response, she telephoned people in Vavuniya, in the Northern Province, which used to be a front line town during the war. "Standing on the second floor terrace of a dilapidated building, tired from walking for hours, I called up acquaintances in Vavuniya and asked them whether people there were celebrating too. I was told that there was a more muted expression of relief there. From this, I gathered that perhaps the Tamils too were happy that the war is over. But for them the future still remains uncertain."

Then again, how many of the ‘quarter of a million’ living in the welfare camps are even in a position to celebrate, wonders Poongkothai. She elaborates, "The situation in the camps is gut-wrenchingly sad." As a filmmaker, she was working with veteran journalist Walter Cronkite ~ who passed away just recently ~ to bring to the world the plight of her war-torn nation. Her earlier films have been shown at various peace and conflict foras, while her lastest venture is presently on the editing table.

She also plans to return to north Sri Lanka in August to assist in the relief work in the camps of internally displaced persons (IDP), where her brother, a lawyer, is project coordinator of the humanitarian agency ZOA, that has been working with war victims for years. Their mother, Dr Nirmala Chandrahasan, an international law expert, was one of the four Tamils on the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) experts committee. The aim of the APRC was to draft a set of constitutional reforms in the interest of stability and growth.

Poongkothai is not sure if at the end of war there will be real peace. Her skepticism stems from being born into a political family, where political discussions were a regular occurrence. "I guess politics is in my blood," says Poongkothai, whose father S.C. Chandrahasan is former legal secretary of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and founder of the refugee care organisation, OfERR. Chandrahasan has escaped three assassination bids. "Both my father’s father, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam; and my mother’s father Dr E.M.V. Naganathan are Tamil leaders of the non-violent struggle in Sri Lanka," she says.

Little wonder then that she places a premium on peace. "Peace has to be looked at holistically from the point of view of the whole country. While the north and east have been badly affected, the Sinhalese part of the country has also suffered from the fallout of the war and the high cost of living. As a peace activist, my priority would be to bring the different communities together and build a common Sri Lankan identity.

"Post-LTTE, Sri Lanka will require many years of rebuilding," believes the young activist. She also talks about equality for all. "There must be just treatment of the IDPs, who must be allowed to relocate to their original villages and get compensation for the loss of livelihood. Furthermore, these areas will have to be demilitarised. For the people to feel secure, the military and police forces must include a good proportion of Tamils and Muslims, and there should be greater recruitment of women of all ethnicities," she says.

"Even the aid that flows must not just be for the north and east but must also be distributed to those Sinhalese areas which are economically deprived. The international community has to exercise responsibility in the dissemination of aid, so as not to cause resentment among the Sinhalese," she adds.

Sri Lanka has to be a place where all people feel that they are equal citizens, not subject to arbitrary arrest and detention by the forces; and all have the opportunity to elect their own representatives to local and parliamentary bodies without harassment and intimidation.

So far, Tamil politicians have been identified only as Tamils, she points out. "I see it slightly differently. I believe Tamil politics has to change. If I were a Tamil politician, my identity would be that of a Sri Lankan and the issues I would lobby for would be for the betterment of the country as a whole."

According to Poongkothai, the one thing she has learnt from the war-affected people is the meaning of the word ‘resilience’. "One could be negative and say that the wounds will remain. But I like to believe that when people can go back to the land, their crops will be abundant, their children will be educated and a prosperous future beckons them. It’s only then that the wounds of the war will heal," concludes this young refugee with a peace agenda.

Women’s Feature Service
The Statesman`


IDPs have suffered too much, we must not prolong their suffering...!!!

IDPs have suffered too much, we must not prolong their suffering: Karu J

The UNP’s Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya made this statement in Parliament last week on the issue of the IDPs.When I talk about IDPs, I can speak only as an ordinary citizen of this country and not as a parliamentarian of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. As much as opposition parliamentarians are prevented from visiting IDPs, we cannot even go beyond Medawachchiya check point without a valid permit from the Ministry of Defense. Even if we carry a permit we are once again subjected to various delays and occasional harassment. This rule does not apply to ruling elite, their relations and friends. I saw this happening whilst I was there at Medawachchiya check point. We cannot see a greater insult to parliamentarians and the functioning of democracy than this dual treatment. We have been compelled to seek judicial redress. A case is pending.

As we all know, approximately 280,000 people live in 30 Government camps in Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna and Trincomalee Districts, after fleeing fighting between Government forces and the now defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The plight of the IDPs – which was bad enough to begin with – has now considerably worsened due to the recent rains.

I come to understand from reliable sources that due to the rains, within mere minutes, the camps have become a sea of mud and misery – and a breeding ground for waterborne diseases.

I have heard that latrines are being dug and the water is being tanked. We also know that doctors and nurses and other Health Ministry officials have taken some measures to bring the situation under control.

But, considering the fact that the area in question is vast and contains almost 300,000 people – and although we appreciate the efforts being made – this simply isn’t good enough.

According to people on the ground, the water supply system is unfortunately very minimal, the excrement disposal system is basic and the land is extremely flat. As a result of the rains, what was once dust has now become mud.

The situation in the IDP camps is now one of absolute and complete chaos. I am certain that all the members here will agree that we simply cannot allow these people to suffer anymore. They have already undergone tremendous suffering while in the clutches of the LTTE and have been deprived for far too long.

Mr. Speaker, the people in these camps aren’t strangers – they are our own people. We cannot and should not allow anymore hardship to befall these civilians, who are citizens of this country.

We must understand their predicament and the gravity of the situation and take all measures necessary to arrest the situation immediately. These people have suffered too much Sir and it is our duty to ensure that their suffering is not further prolonged.

Apart from the rain, which has complicated an already adverse ground situation, there are many other issues that need to be addressed urgently.

There is serious concern with regard to the number of medical staff available inside the camps. People complain about the number of days they have to wait to see a doctor.

There are many people with injuries and amputations and as you can imagine, they need physiotherapy and there is a serious lack of resources to attend to these things.

There are mental health problems as well, which is a very serious issue. This is no surprise, considering the fact that during the conflict these people underwent numerous traumatic experiences.

Many of them have lost loved ones and sustained injuries. In addition to facing such emotional trauma, they are now in a situation where they find it almost impossible to rebuild a normal life. Family members are separated. This is inhuman.

The monsoon rains are expected in September and generally last two to three months. This will undoubtedly make the camps a living hell for the IDPs. I would like to request the Government to make a coherent statement on how it intends to protect these innocent civilians and ensure that they will undergo no more suffering.

Mr. Speaker, there are a large number of injured and old people in these camps. In addition, there are very young children too. Try as I might, I cannot comprehend the suffering they face in their day-to-day life. I have even heard about double amputees trying to get around in the mud.

We, as a civilised nation, cannot continue to allow our own people to suffer like this anymore. I would like to request the Government to stop telling the public what they want to hear but what they need to know.

We need to resettle the civilians as soon as possible. No human being deserves to go through what these people have gone through so far. Approximately 70% of the houses are in tact and people could easily move into these areas immediately. Land mines are confined to certain areas only. There is no excuse to delay resettlement beyond 180 days at the very least.

I firmly believe that if all of us are willing to share the burden of solving the immediate problems of the IDPs and if the Government is willing to look at it from a humanitarian perspective rather than a political one, we could expedite the process of resettling the IDPs and accomplish this task sooner than the Government anticipates.

To date, there has been no transparent and systematic release of anyone from the camps, with the exception of children under 10 and adults over 60 who have relations outside the camps. I would appreciate a clarification on this matter from the Government. These people cannot be treated like prisoners.

The Government has an obligation to adopt a systematic method to release these people, who have already undergone immense hardships. And until they are released, the responsibility lies with the Government to ensure that basic facilities are provided to them, at the very least.

Right now, these people are living in crowded tents like cattle with nowhere to go and almost nothing to do, which will only serve to further impact their emotional and mental state in a negative manner.

Parents are concerned about the future of their children. The environment is not conducive for education although over 1,000 students are sitting for the GCE Advanced Level examinations this year, which commenced last week.

I firmly believe that the Government should seriously consider judging their performance under a special category.

Try and imagine how many potential academics, doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers and the like may be confined in these camps. Imagine the contribution they could make for the betterment of this land if they were to be protected and guided in this difficult hour.

We must feel their pain and understand their pain. It is only once these people are resettled that we can truly and wholeheartedly celebrate the military success achieved by our heroes, which will then be complete in every manner.

The military has played its role and done its duty. It is time now for the politicians to play their role and do their duty so that this country can move forward as one, embracing diversity and promoting unity.

It is nothing short of irresponsible of us to blame the UN and say that it is responsible for the maintenance of damaged drainage and sewage systems. It is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan state to look after its citizens and ensure their wellbeing.

As the main opposition, the United National Party remains committed to extending whatever assistance the Government needs to resolve the problems faced by the IDPs.

The UNP remains committed to diversity, unity and equality – and, above all else, ensuring that all the people of Sri Lanka can live in respect and with dignity and look forward to a brighter future in our motherland.