Daily Archives: October 17, 2006
By Walter Jayawardhana
In a statement issued the State Department of the United States by its spokesman Sean McCormak said that the United States condemns the suicide attack by the liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam near Habarana in Sri Lanka.
So far 106 Sri Lanka navy men who have been going on leave have reported killed by this suicide truck bomb.
The following is the full text of the statement:
"The United States condemns today’s (Oct. 16 2006) suicide attack near Habarana, Sri Lanka that killed more than 90 civilians and members of the Sri Lankan Navy. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims.
"Though there have been no claims of responsibility, this attack is in keeping with the tactics of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a group long designated as Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Department of State. As we and others in the international community have made clear, the LTTE must renounce the use of terror. Only through the cessation of violence, a renewed commitment to peace talks, and constructive engagement by both sides can a political solution to this conflict be achieved."
By Walter Jayawardhana
SRI LANKA AIR FORCE JETS BOMBS MULTHIVU IN RETALIATION
Los Angeles: The death toll of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) suicide bomb attack at Digampathana near Habaran in the North Central Province rose to more than one hundred reports from Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Colombo and Kandy hospitals where very many of the seriously wounded were admitted show.
Issuing a statement from New York Koffi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations described the attack as most “appalling.”
Immediately after the suicide attack the Sri Lanka government sent its squadron of Kfir jets to bomb a military installation of the LTTE in Mulathivu. A statement said, “Air Force KFIR jets pounded a tiger terrorist base in Puthukuddierippu in the evening hours today (16).
According to intelligence sources, air strikes have completely destroyed the tiger military base.”
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he condemned the heinous crime by the LTTE and expressed his deepest condolences to the family members of the dead.
Defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government would defeat terrorism with the help of the opposition. He also said the peace talks anyway would be be definitely be held as scheduled on October 28 and 29 as scheduled.
The suicide bomb attack came one day after the Sri Lanka Navy prevented the LTTE from smuggling in a trawler full of explosives by sinking a a large trawler off the Western coast of Sri Lanka near Mannar.
Atleast another 120 naval soldiers going home unarmed on leave have been injured by the a Tamil suicide bomber who has been described by some as a long haired man with a dark complexion and who drove his white colored explosive laden truck at break neck speed before it struck the convoy of 14 buses. There had been no security barricades preventing any intruding vehicles entering the rendezvous point of the Navy buses, and the suicide truck entered the place without much difficulty..
Diganapathana, is described as a rendezvous point of military buses near Habarana in the Polonnaruwa District used by the navy for a long time , allowing anybody to watch the moving buses for a long time..
The explosion of the suicide truck was so severe the truck laden with plastic explosives used by the suicide bomber has been reduced to ashes with only pieces of iron wheels and rods.
The personal belongings like caps, bags of clothes were strewn all over the places and the buses were partly burnt and still smoking reporters who arrived there from nearby Polonnaruwa said.
Unlikely on previous occasions the Spokesman of the LTTE Irasiah Ilantheriyan did not deny the involvement of the LTTE in the suicide attack. He said the involvement of his group is a probability and he could not give exact details. He said without making inquiries from his group’s chain of command in the Eastern Province no exact statement could be made.
Defense Ministry sources said some of the navy personnel injured and killed were people going home from the naval base in Trincomalee and the others are people who were coming for duty from Colombo. Immediately after the suicide attack, the government filled five buses of the dead and injured and transported them to Dambulla Hospital from where the seriously injured were airlifted to Kurunegala, kandy and Colombo hospitals.
Issuing a statement in New York, the Secretary General of the United Nations Koffi Annan’s office said, “The Secretary-General is alarmed by the upsurge of violence in Sri Lanka in the past several months, including today’s appalling suicide bombing of a convoy of military buses.
The Secretary-General deplores the escalation of violence. The Secretary-General stresses once again that a return to civil war will not resolve the conflict. He calls upon all parties to refrain from the use of force and to return to the negotiation table at the end of this month, as tentatively agreed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).”
The government issued the following statement after the attack: “The government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) condemns the brutal and the coward attack by the LTTE terrorists that claimed over 90 lives in Dmbulla today (Monday the 16th of October).
“President Mahinda Rajapakse extends his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims in the heinous crime. He also calls op on the citizens to act with restraint at this moment of grief and assures them every effort to defeat terrorism.
“The death toll of the attack has risen to 93 and the total number of injured personnel as being recorded by the hospitals is 116. The full text of the communiqu‚ issued by the Government’s Information department is as follows :
“The Government of Sri Lanka is deeply shocked over the most ruthless and barbaric killing of more than 90 unarmed soldiers and injuring more than 100 others at Digampathana, Dambulla by the LTTE. The GOSL vehemently condemns the brutal killing by the LTTE and expresses condolences to the next of kin of the victims.
The GOSL is all the more shocked over the LTTE’s violent designs aimed at instigating a backlash by massacre of this nature in the Sinhala majority areas and selecting an area where the civilians are present. The attempt at instigating a backlash on the eve of the next round of peace negotiations clearly shows the evil designs of the LTTE to sabotage the internationally backed peace process.
Initial investigations have proved that the LTTE suicide bombers rammed into a stationary vehicle convoy in which a large number of naval ratings were abroad. As they were proceeding on home leave, all of them were unarmed. Hence, the heinous act of the LTTE on unarmed men should be universally condemned. The peace facilitator, the co-chairs and the international community should take stock of the LTTE’s most brutal act at a time when the dates for the next round of peace talks and the venue has been decided.”
At the well attended and much appreciated musical concert presented by a Sri Lankan duo in Los Angeles a souvenir was circulated with some advertisements. We have been served with a sandwich with bitter poison in the center. ‘Sri Lanka Television Network’ has circulated an advertisement with the pictures of persons receiving our admiration with a terrorist’s murderer in the center. They have disturbed the peace of our minds. It’s therefore appropriate to boycott all their network programs. We need to be cautious with this kind of advertisements in the future. At a time when terrorists and their operations have been totally banded, why was the most dangerous terrorists shown alone with other persons enjoying the admiration of the people?
By Subash Wickramasinghe
According to reports the government has suggested seven core issues to be discussed at the proposed talks with the LTTE. The said seven point agenda is said to have been prepared in such a way that unlike previous occasions the talks, if at all to be held, should end in a meaningful manner.
However once again showing their callous disregard for negotiations the Tigers have made it known that “they will decide on the agenda for the discussions at the negotiating table in Geneva and not beforehand”. This may be the first occasion that a negotiating party is attempting to demand and retain the right to decide on the agenda at the negotiating table. This is not the first occasion the Tigers played havoc on the agenda and got the government to discuss about the CFA to mention the Karuna factor as well. On that occasion the government agreed to accept the LTTE agenda , on the second occasion too the government once again agreed to work on Tiger agenda and visited Geneva but the Tigers who were also in Geneva refused to talk to the government delegation. Hence the Tiger tactics of manipulating the agendas according to their plans and refusing to include opposite views are nothing new. The latest is the hilarious demand of having negotiations without an agenda. Such attempts clearly show the callous disregard they show for the decent methods of settling problems.
Leaving aside the hilarity or otherwise of having negotiations without agendas, the government has done its job by preparing the core issues to be discussed at the talks. The government proposed seven core issues are as follows. 1. Democracy 2.Multi-party political system 3.Pluralism 4.Human rights 5.Child soldiers 6.Development of North and East 7.Devolution of power.
According to government sources the agenda is prepared in such a way that it is a step by step process and only if all the preceding items are agreeably attended to will the last item of devolution of power be taken up for discussion. In order to counter the highly irresponsible manner the Tigers behave even at discussion tables the framers of the agenda have very carefully attempted to counter Tiger irresponsibility at the latest talks by itemizing the topics in a systematic manner. However well planned the agenda it will be of no use if the Tigers maintain their demand of deciding on an agenda after coming to Geneva.
The crux of the matter is the continued Tiger belligerency despite the fact that the government had on their own accord or otherwise, opted to omit the issue of disarmament from the agenda. It is evident that the most crucial factor of laying down arms had been ignored or omitted from the agenda to placate the Tigers and get them to the negotiating table. How prudent it is to lure Tigers in that way can be illustrated by merely comparing a tiger to a horse,because it is said that “a horse can be taken to the water but one can’t make it drink”. Likewise there is no point in tempting an animal with carrots if its arrogance cannot be controlled beforehand. It has been a fashion of politicians on both sides to drag themselves into self defeat by openly saying that Tigers will not disarm at any cost so it is better not to try to disarm them. Hence it is clear that the issue of disarming the Tigers had been omitted purposely to lure the Tigers for talks. It is really strange that even after decades of suffering due to mistakes made the authorities have not yet realized that Tigers utilize governmental leniency to strengthen themselves Placating them to bring them to negotiating table would be a self-defeating act. As if to prove this point 24 hours after deciding on dates for talks the Tigers attacked Muhamalei, Nargakovil FDL and killed 55 soldiers and 78 were reported missing. Tigers have said they have 74 bodies of soldiers to be handed back. This is what the government has to face as long as Tigers maintain their arms.
Not only government ministers even opposition stalwarts have been openly expressing the view that Tigers should not be asked to disarm before the talks because they will never do so. If this is the attitude, it is no wonder that the Tigers continue to smuggle arms and have the audacity to demand the government to not to procure arms for the military. The Tiger audacity knows no bounds when it comes to dealing with the government (not the security forces) that is why they try to compare military procurements to their arms smuggling. Previous governments have mollycoddled the marauding Tigers in such a way today Tigers question the military procurements but have made their armoury an accepted entity and fire power a deciding factor as far as the negotiations are concerned.
Under such circumstances it is no wonder that even after the military victories with President Rajapakse’s full backing, the government is “compelled” to omit the inclusion of disarmament in the agenda. Whether the compulsion to exclude the clause to lay down arms is an internal or external decision such compelled exclusions will have lasting repercussions. In a way such good-for-nothing-talks would demoralize the military which had subdued the Tiger fire power to compel them to turn to negotiating table.
The reason why the government is compelled to spend billions on armaments and continue a military presence is because of the fighting capabilities of the Tigers. The fighting capability of the Tigers have ruined the North and East, killed 65,000 men, women and children from both sides and the Tiger fire power is such that even reconstruction is not allowed hence the ruination caused to North and East remain as it is. As for the other parts of the country the destruction is also same but not visible as reconstruction is possible wherever Tiger fire power is not visible. Hence not only in causing death and destruction even reconstruction is hampered due to Tiger fire power.
It is this fire power that has to be ‘removed’ to make anything workable. As long as the government allows the Tiger fire power to ‘exist’ due to whatever reason, internal or external, no purpose would serve in holding talks with Tigers. In a way if an outside power or some other entity applies pressure not to demand disarmament such demands can be considered as attempts to support Tigers and to make matters easy for Tigers to maintain their dream of separation alive. Under such pressures previous regimes have allowed Tigers to do a free run to build up not only an armoury to challenge the military but also obtain sympathizers, supporters, suppliers and soothsayers who protect and nurture them within the country. It is this pressure that disables the present regime as well from containing the Tiger fire power.
Hence the menace of Tiger fire power is not something that has landed on this earth from the sky like a meteorite. The crafty Tigers have built up a capable war machine during a period of time with outside help. True the superior fire power of the military under President Rajapaksa has diminished it to a great extent but the Tiger has only crouched to avoid the military it is not dead. That is why even when the dates are fixed for talks the Tigers maintained their attacks in Muhamalai and elsewhere and refuses to agree on an agenda.
Reaching the first anniversary of his presidency soon, His Excellency should not fall prey to tricks or listen to local and outside theories, practices and pressures in governing the country. The President seems to be sandwiched between the double-edged peace card and the enormity of the problem he had inherited. It is true as President he has to protect the sovereignty of the country and at the same time protect its people. The irony of it is that sovereignty cannot be protected without risking the life of the soldier and if the life of the soldier is to be protected , sovereignty runs the risk of being eroded. Hence that being the story if one falls into the mistaken belief that soldier and the sovereignty both can be protected by talking, without disarming the Tigers that would be the greatest mistake a true son of the Sri Lankan soil can make. -Daily Mirror
By Yohan Perera
Advertising expert from global advertising giant JWT Bruce Matchett who is the current Chief Creative Officer for India and Sri Lanka suggested that Sri Lanka should create confidence among tourists through its promotion.
Mr. Matchett who was in town recently said the current war situation had made tourists think twice before touring Sri Lanka and this mindset should be change. “ If a tourist says to a friend that he is planning to visit Sri Lanka he will be asked whether it is safe top go there therefore what Sri Lanka should do to boost tourists is to build confidence in them by showing that it is a safe detonation to visit.. However he also stressed the need for bringing about lasting peace in the country stating that it will surly boost tourism and bring in much needed revenue.
He further explained the whole community should be reflected when promoting Sri Lanka abroad. He explained that India is a good example as it had earned a lost of revenue by reflecting the community when promoting the country abroad and Sri Lanka too should follow it.
Emphasising on the company’s plans for Sri Lanka he said one of the company’s main objectives in this regard is to make Sri Lanka renowned and help and create a place in the world market and among the international clients. He said JWT hopes to play a pioneer role in this exercise. “ If JWT does it and tap international clients other advertising companies will also follow and market themselves internationally,” he said.
This will be the key focus at the international forum of advertising agencies organized by International Advertising Agencies (IAA) which is to be held in Colombo next February according to him.
JWT has had a successful years in Sri Lanka during the recent times and had won couple of awards for its creations.
According to JWT Executive Creative Director Chandani Rajaratnam it had won the Best Loved Advertisement Award at the National Icon awards last year for the coffin add. It had also become the ad agency to receive most number of awards since the inception of SLIM awards.
JWT as one of oldest Ad agencies that had been existing for over 140 years have 311 offices in 155 cities in 90 countries. -Financial Times