Daily Archives: August 16, 2006
The execution type slaughter of the humanitarian workers should be condemned. Whoever was responsible for those killings should be brought to justice. Then only can we stand as a nation, and face the world.
By this cowardly act, whoever the perpetrators are, they have brought the country to disrepute, and as a nation we should be sad, and ashamed, that something like this has happened.
The administration should have taken prompt action, and not resort to denials, hoping it will go away. It won’t go away unless they have an impartial investigation, getting down neutral foreign investigators and apprehending the perpetrators.
These persons were doing outstanding humanitarian work trying to help the poor and the destitute. This has to be the first time that a cowardly act of this nature has happened in this island nation we call our home.
We all got blood in our hands for the simple fact that we happen to be citizens of this country. That is not a great feeling.
Being a US citizen I have had a lot of phone calls from all over the world asking me what the truth is. Was it done by the ruthless Tigers or by a hidden hand?
They question me as to how something so cruel and inhuman could happen in a country so beautiful as Sri Lanka. We need answers. We need the truth. We need to stand up and tell the world the truth.
The investigation should be done by a third party outside of Sri Lanka who cannot be influenced. If this was done by the Tigers – and they are quite capable – then they stand condemned by the whole world. This is not only a violation of human rights but also a war crime.
Changing gears, the Tigers are winning the propaganda war while our so-called ambassadors who are supposed to counter the false propaganda, sit on their cosy offices, riding in luxury limousines and do nothing.
This is just a classic example what is going on outside Sri Lanka. This paper is called The Ceylon Times, a free paper that can be got in any grocery store or any eating place. It says ‘Kebithigollawa attack, senseless violence, used for political ends.’
It goes on… ‘the claymore attack on Sinhala civilians in Kebithigollawa was senseless violence used for political ends. The LTTE condemning the attack said in a press release issued from Kilinochchi that armed acts targeting Tamil civilians for political ends have also begun targeting Sinhala civilians with the aim of blaming the Tigers.
The LTTE urges the international media not to fall prey for the reprehensible propaganda tactic. The attack on Kebithigollawa timed to occur immediately after the arrival of the LTTE delegation from Europe, is an act of murder with the sole aim of blaming the LTTE, the press release said’.
This goes with a front page picture of three naked children with blood all over them.
Over to our mighty ambassador.
Via SLP By Sam Sisira Weeratunge
It’s sad but true. The world may not have all the time for Sri Lanka and its problems, as Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans of all shades and hues would like. Even as war rages on in the nation’s North and the East, possibly heralding and forming part of the much-anticipated and equally-feared ‘Eelam War IV’, the ‘indifference’ of the international community to intervene effectively to end the bloodshed and attendant difficulties for individuals and the nation have been marked only by ‘global activism’ of a different kind elsewhere on Planet Earth.
The week that witnessed a twin-front attack in Sri Lanka also witnessed the United Nations and the Security Council busying with the war in Lebanon, the West, particularly the US and the UK, continuing high voltage over possible terror-strikes, and the entire Indian nation in the immediate neighbourhood going on what has become a customary ‘red alert’ ahead of the Independence Day, the effect accentuated this time round by intelligence report hinting at possible terrorist strike on strategic installations, including nuclear plants. Barring the concerns expressed through words and statements that were/are for real, there was/is nothing much that the world has to offer a suffering Sri Lanka. Or, so it would seem.
Is the ‘seeming global indifference’ for real? Not really. True, the world is on its ways, yes, but the fact also remains that Sri Lanka has steadfastly refused to help itself for the world to come to its help. Caught in an intractable position, neither the Sri Lankan Government, nor the LTTE, is ready to say quits to weapons and war, to take to the path of peace and negotiations, all over again.
If anything, in the past month, both sides have variously worked themselves up to this point, and keep blaming each other for the nation getting caught in the war, all over again. It had all begun with the sporadic violence that erupted in November-December and heightened by the suicide-attack on Sri Lankan Army chief, Sarath Fonseka in end-April.
The natural temptation would be to blame the global community for not displaying the kind of concern to Sri Lanka as it does to Lebanon. The latter’s is a clear case of ‘external aggression’, whatever be the legality and justification for the same. In the Sri Lankan context, it’s all still an ‘internal affair’ of a sovereign nation, which again is shy of taking the issue to the UN for reasons of its own, much of it justified in its own way.
If the stalemated war in the past had conditioned the Sri Lankan State and the LTTE to sign the ceasefire agreement, and talk peace, now the stalemated peace process in turn has contributed in no small way to the eruption of war all over again.
In a way, the status quoism of the past four years of ceasefire may have contributed to the revival of the war at present. The Sri Lankan State, and also the Sinhala polity and society had got used to ‘peace dividend’ in their immediate neighbourhood. In turn, the initial euphoria of an LTTE-run ‘civil administration’ continued to be confined to the North minus Jaffna town. If allowed to continue, this situation could have led to the de facto position on the ground acquiring de jure status by default.
Rendered ineffectual and unwanted, the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) is already hinting at the possibility of withdrawing from the Sri Lankan scene. The Norwegian peace facilitator looks askance, and the four-nation Tokyo Donors’ Conference too has been stymied by the intransigence of the parties involved.
Any return to full-scale war of sorts now also raises questions about the LTTE’s motives for asking European Union members to quit the SLMM. Yet, both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government, starting with the hardliners in the Sinhala polity, should remember that SLMM’s exit alone would not decide the fate of the war. As the chronicler of unabashed violence, the SLMM has only helped stall further deterioration in the safety and security of the civilian population, which as always is a greater casualty in a ‘civil war’ of the kind – a role otherwise rendered by the Red Cross.
Either side to the emerging war in Sri Lanka could score brownie-points, or the scores could be evenly divided given the multi-frontal attacks that are already on. There may be lull for either side to lick the wounds from the immediate past, and strategise for the future. Yet, it would however be better for both sides to use the time to evaluate the larger issues and contexts, all over again.
It does not help the Sri Lankan nation and the Sri Lankan State to be in war with itself eternally. For the LTTE, they need a Tamil population to ‘rule’ in whatever form, but a substantial portion of that segment has already migrated out of the country – with little hope of their returning.
The younger, reproductive generation that has stayed back continues to lay down their lives in wars and suicide-attacks. Not that the leadership is growing any younger – a comparative advantage that a nation-State has over individualistic organisations of the LTTE kind.
There is an equal, if not greater need, for an attitudinal change in the Sinhala polity, if not the Sri Lankan Government, per se – the latter, wedded as it is to the basic tenet of having to protect and defend the Sri Lankan State. The see-saw Sinhala polity of has thwarted every acceptable solution to the ethnic issue.
It did not allow parliamentary passage for the widely-acceptable ‘Chandrika Package’ of 1995. Nor would it initiate a serious dialogue on the ‘ISGA Proposals’ of the LTTE in 2003, even after the latter had indicated that they were negotiable.
Whether of the Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim stock, if Sri Lankans do not help themselves as a nation, they cannot expect the rest of the world to help them, either.
At the end of the day, whatever the reason, the world has no time for Sri Lanka – particularly when Sri Lankans keep demonstrating time and again that Sri Lanka has no time for Sri Lanka.
The writer is Director, Chennai Chapter of Observer Research Foundation, ORF, the Indian think-tank, headquartered in New Delhi. -Daily Mirror