Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Press Freedom-Free Pass To Jail!

President Barack Obama recently cited the courageous work of Sri Lanka journalist JS Tissainayagam as an example of a man who fought for human rights. The Sri Lanka journalist got in trouble with his government when he cited evidence that food had been withheld from Tamils during the recently concluded civil war in order to crush their spirits. He was sentenced to a jail term of 20 years for violating the Prevention of Terrorism act which makes it a crime to forment “communal violence.” It is estimated at least 14 Sri Lanka journalists have died during the past three years and dozens have fled their homeland to prevent being arrested.

What then does the world do about such cases? President Obama made a speech, there will be protests, but will anything change in the increasingly authoritarian nation of Sri Lanka? Most probably this is an excellent time to impose sanctions since Sri Lanka needs trade.

Perhaps, the Sri Lanka government can secure advice from former vice president Dick Cheney who believes fervently in any Prevention of Terrorism Act. He IS an expert of waterboarding!

Sri Lanka Holds Back Hand From Reconciliation

At the end of the American Civil War in which 500,000 men died, the Lincoln government held out the hand of friendship and told Confederate soldiers to keep their horses and ride home and return to their farms. Only one person was executed as a result of this bloody war. The Sri Lanka government refuses to extend the hand of peace and reconciliation. Hundreds of thousands of defeated Tamils remained locked in camps which the outside world cannot visit. Sri Lanka’s government argues that rebels might be lurking within the ranks of the refugees and therefore care must be taken before any are released. A staunch supporter of the government’s war against the Tamils noted that despite promises of peace once the war ended, “they have locked them up like animals with no date certain of when they will be released. This is simply asking for another conflict later on down the road.”

Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa insists he is merely trying to protect the people who are now locked up in camps. He warns that rebels might escape if the refugees are allowed to leave. Sri Lanka most probably is daily creating rebels as thousands linger in camps with no prospect of work or being able to enjoy a normal life.

We Ain’t Beat Say Tamil Tigers!

Your army has been destroyed, your top leaders have been killed, thousands of your supporters were allowed to be killed or wounded due to your fanatical belief that victory could be achieved, but, you still insist the war must go on and the killing must go on. Either Tamil Tiger supporters and remaining leaders enjoy living in fantasy or they have an abiding death wish. The rebel’s international relations chief, Selvarasa Pathmanathan told the world his group would continue fighting for a separate Tamil state. “The struggle of people of Tamil Eelam(the separate state desired by Tamil Tigers) has reached a new state. It is time for us to move forward with our political vision towards our freedom.” He is establishing a new government in exile for the Tamil Tigers.

Over a hundred fifty years ago, the Confederate States of America were defeated. Responsible leaders ended the vision of a separate state and engaged in politics which eventually resulted in obtaining many goals the South wanted. It is time for Tamil separatists to accept defeat, enter the political arena, and use their strength and intelligence to secure greater power for the Tamil people.

Sri Lanka Hiding War Damage

Canadian Liberal MP, Bob Rae, has for many years been actively engaged in seeking to assist efforts to bring peace to Sri Lanka. In the past month, Sri Lankan forces have finally brought to an end the brutal civil war which has raged for over twenty five years. However, there is concern in many countries over the manner in which the government will deal with refugees who were caught in the difficult fighting to end the war. Bob Rae arrived at Bandaranaike airport on a mission to investigate the refugee situation only to be informed he could not enter the country. “We finally got a message saying that if I admitted that I had made statements that were ill informed or something like that, they might reconsider the decision.” He asked authorities to identify the specific statements but they refused.

The aftermath of a civil war is as important as its beginning. Mr. Rae cares about the people of Sri Lanka and has made ten trips over the past decade in his efforts to assist attaining peace. It is Orwellian to ask people to sign statements they made incorrect remarks without specifying exactly what was wrong.

Sri Lanka Halts Humanitarian Aid

The most difficult aspect of any civil war is what happens once fighting ends. A ship from England loaded with supplies for Tamil refugees who are currently in camps was halted by the Sri Lanka navy on grounds the ship was sent by Tamil supporters in England and they never cleared the cargo with Sri Lanka officials. Those on board the ship insist there are no arms and the supplies are meant for refugees who are suffering from the effects of being bombed for months. Humanitarian groups are concerned the Sri Lanka government recently indicated it would prosecute doctors who worked in rebel held areas on charges they were aiding the enemy.

The United States fought a bloody civil war that resulted in over 500,000 deaths within a four year time period. But, once fighting was over, those who fought against the government were allowed to return home. Now, is the moment for the Sri Lanka government to display its humanity and offer a hand of friendship to the Tamil people.

Sri Lanka Horror Continues As 15,000 Reported Killed

Accounts are emerging of widespread terror against civilians during the past few months as rebel Tamil Tigers fought for survival against government forces. Civilians report they were shot at by the Tamil Tigers because they tried to escape entrapment in the area which was being shelled by the army. There are reports the Sri Lanka army used phosphorous bombs as they blasted the remaining rebel sites, and it appears the LTTE also employed such bombs that wound up killing innocent civilians. A health official claims as many as 15,000 civilians were killed during the last three months of fighting even as the UN and other nations urged the Sri Lanka government to reduce shelling and attempt to negotiate a peaceful surrender.

There is joy throughout Sri Lanka to celebrate the end of a disastrous 25 year civil war, but the legacy of death and destruction lingers on. Civilians are now able to describe life under siege by the Sri Lanka army in which there were no medical facilities and food and shelter were scare. The only hope is from this devastation can arise a new sense of building ties of friendship with all those who live on the island.

Sri Lanka Civil War Ends– But Does Peace Begin?

In the spring of 1865, defeated General Robert E. Lee turned over his sword to General Grant of the Union Army, and then Lee and his men got on their horses and headed home to begin the arduous process of re-uniting a nation that had just witnessed 500,000 men die. In the spring of 2009, Sri Lanka forces smashed the last holdout of the Tamil Tiger rebels and killed virtually all the top officers of the rebel army including the leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. The issue is the same as in 1865, how do those who have killed one another for years begin the process of peace? It is estimated about 7,000 Tamil civilians were killed by Sri Lankan forces during the past three months in their determined effort to wipe out the entire Tamil Tiger force.

European Union officials are calling for a war crimes investigation about the deaths of civilians who were never able to escape the tight situation of being trapped behind enemy lines. The Sri Lanka government insists they did not kill civilians and it is all the fault of the dead Tamil Tiger leaders. General Sarath Fonseka told the world: “We can announce very responsibly that we have liberated the whole country from terrorism.”

Actually, his statement may not be accurate. There are still terrorist groups within the cities of Sri Lanka. Now, is the time to reach out to them with amnesty, promises of assistance to secure work and incorporation into the government of the nation. Reconciliation is the best path to peace.

Any E-mail About Sri Lanka, Professor Robinson?

I have been informed that Professor Robinson is a man of passion when human rights are concerned so please excuse my curiosity as to why this man who defends human rights has not sent any e-mails to his students about the slaughter of 7,000 civilians by Sri Lanka military forces. Professor Robinson, the UN estimates at least 7,000 civilians have died, not 1,300 as in Gaza, since the military push against the Tamil Tigers began in January. Is this an example of a “Holocaust” in Sri Lanka? I assume you will be sending an e-mail to all students concerning this horror.

Oh, I was wondering if you have sent any e-mails about the genocide against the people of Darfur by Sudan which has resulted in the death of over 300,00 and rape of thousands of women. Or, do you just consider this to be an example of “bad behavior” on the part of the Sudan and certainly nothing to compare with the Holocaust unleashed by Israel? Speaking of the Holocaust, where does the death of five million in the Congo fit on your hierarchy of anger about murder?

For the record, Professor Robinson, in this blog I have non-stop blasted the murder of thousands in Zimbabwe, the murder of thousands in Darfur, the murder of thousands in Sri Lanka. For the record, I condemned Israel’s invasion of Gaza as a political and moral blunder. It was an over-reaction to provocation and the result was the murder of innocent Palestinians along with Hamas forces. Anyone can challenge me on this blog, they don’t even have to use their real name. Frankly, anyone who would use the expression “Holocaust” in describing the Israel invasion of Gaza is recommended to take a course on the Holocaust or visit a university library.

How about an e-mail to your students about Zimbabwe where over 3,000 have died due to illness created by President Mugabe and two million live in poverty in South Africa?

It’s All Over In Sri Lanka!

The twenty five year civil war has ended in Sri Lanka as government forces swept over the last defenses of rebels and most probably discovered the bodies of rebel leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran and his deputies in a pile of bodies of soldiers who most killed themselves rather than be captured. Yesterday, Tamil Tigers tried suicide attacks, but were killed in the attempt. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, came a statement from rebel official Selvarasa Pathmanathan which announced: “the battle has reached its bitter end. It is our people who are dying now from bombs, shells, illness and hunger. We cannot permit any more harm to come to them. We remain with one last choice –to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have to decided to silence our guns.”

The war is over. Now, comes the war of peace. There probably will be trials of leaders of the Tamil Tigers, but a spirit of reconciliation and hope is the best guarantee of possible long-term peace. Do not allow voices of hate to restart anger. Now, is the time for Sri Lanka leaders to follow the ideas of Abraham Lincoln who reached out the hand of peace to defeated Confederate soldiers.

Sri Lanka Slaughter Goes On

Perhaps, thirty years of bitter civil war can not be forgiven in a few weeks or even years, and the end of fighting in Sri Lanka demonstrates virulent hate continues to exist on both sides of the struggle. Government armed forces pushed even deeper into the last piece of territory still controlled by the rebel Tamil Tigers. Reports from UN medical staff in the besieged pocket indicate hundreds of civilians continue to be killed and wounded as both sides blast away at one another in these concluding moments of a horrible civil war. UN officials are begging the government to halt artillery attacks and for the Tamil Tigers to allow civilians to leave, but each side appears more interested in blaming the other for being violent than halting its own violent attacks.

Reality is both sides are using civilians as shields and could not care how many will die.
Tamil Tigers have reached the end of the rope and are now resorting to suicide attacks since they lack the means to counter-attack or even to repel the oncoming army. Most probably within a few weeks the end will come, not with a bang, but with a whimper of defeat.