Tag Archives: Tamil

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.

Did Pakistan Government Know Of Cricket Attack?

The recent attack on Sri Lanka cricket players by members of the Tamil Tiger opposition group has raised new questions concerning the effectiveness of the Pakistan government. Opposition leader former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who was ousted by the Zardari government, charges the Pakistan government knew of the intending attack but did nothing to prevent it. Shahbaz claims the Crime Investigation Department (CID) had already informed the government about a terrorist threat to the cricket team, but there was no follow up to their warning. Shahbaz insists, “I also held meetings with the inspector general of police, the home secretary, Ejaz Butt and other officials concerned to prepare a plan to thwart the terrorism attempt, due to the strong possibility of such an incident occurring. But the governor’s government diverted the attention of security agencies to some other issue.”

It is difficult to ascertain if this is an accurate version of what happened, but the story can readily be believed due to the corruption and inefficiency of the Pakistan government. Until the current government cleans house in the security section of the military, it is difficult believing Pakistan will ever take action against terrorism.

Sri Lanka War Winds Down

The decades long civil war in Sri Lanka between the Tamil minority and the government is nearly over as members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are pushed into a narrow area on the northeast section of the island. Leaders of the Tamil Tigers appealed for international action that might lead the government to halt its offense and allow a cease fire. They made clear, “we also wish to inform the international community that we are ready to discuss, cooperate and work together in all their efforts to bring an immediate ceasefire and work towards a political settlement.” The words sound peaceful, but after over 25 years of killing it is unrealistic for the Tamil leaders to suddenly claim they only want a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The government made clear they want a white flag of surrender and will not accept anything less.

The Sri Lanka government position is understandable, but there is also room for making clear to the Tamil minority there now is an opportunity to end discrimination and accord Tamils equal rights. The murderous suicide bombs of the LTTE has engendered anger and hate. It is too late to suddenly change minds about how to fight for equality. Perhaps, if the LTTE had looked across to India they might have achieved their goals by adopting the ideas of an Indian leader- Gandhi.

India Offers Help To End War In Sri Lanka

The Indian government which has a strong interest in the plight of Tamils who reside in Sri Lanka has offered to use its influence in an effort to persuade Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms and end the fighting. Sri Lanka troops have completely surrounded the area and within a week will most probably have captured or killed the last remaining Tamil fighters. The government of India notes as the conflict winds down, Tamil Tigers “would best serve their interests” by releasing civilians trapped in the area and lay down their arms. India offered to facilitate evacuation of civilians and work with the Sri Lanka government to resolve remaining issues in the conflict. It strongly urged the victorious Sri Lanka government to address needs and interests of the Tamil minority in their country in order to avoid future hostile actions.

In 1987, India and Sri Lanka worked out an agreement that would provide more extensive local autonomy in areas where Tamil people live and it offered to assist in the reconstruction of devastated areas and move toward integration of the Tamils into the government and economy of Sri Lanka. India External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee urged Sri Lanka, “in our view, after 23 years of conflict, there is today a political opportunity to restore lfe to normalcy in the northern province” and this will be achieved by consideration of the desires of the local Tamil population.

Sri Lanka Civil War Nearly Over

One of the world’s longest lasting civil wars now appears over as Sri Lankan forces captured more bases in their nation including the headquarters of leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). The last remaining forces of the LTTE are fleeing to a narrow stretch of land in the northeast area of the island. UN Chief Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern that thousands of civilians are still trapped in areas where fighting continues and urged the government to allow civilians free passage to safety. Many civilians claim the LTTE is preventing them from leaving battle areas in order to create the image government forces are killing the innocent. Reports indicate many hospitals have dead bodies which they can not move since relatives are unable to pick them up due to fighting.

The conclusion of the American Civil War is a good model for the Sri Lankan government. The defeated Confederate soldiers surrendered and were sent home to resume their lives without any punishment. The Sri Lankan government should announce an amnesty to any LTTE member who is willing to surrender his arms and agree to resume a peaceful life. However, the next step is for the Sri Lankan government to address issues of discrimination against its Tamil minority.

Sri Lanka Rejects Calls For Cease Fire

The decades old civil war in Sri Lanka is drawing to a conclusion as government forces batter down the last remaining strongholds of rebel soldiers who belong to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Many nations have urged the Sri Lankan government to offer peace talks with rebel leaders in order to develop a transition process from war to peace, but these suggestions have been rejected. The government refuses to hold any discussions with the LTTE and will not accept anything other than a complete surrender. It has discussed the possibility of offering a limited amnesty. The military insists the remaining rebels are surrounded and are close to collapse having lost virtually all the territory they once controlled.

The Lankan Defense Secretary put it bluntly: “Nothing short of unconditional surrenders of arms and cadres could being an end to the offensive.” He made clear there is no future political role for the LTTE and its leaders punished. The Sri Lankan government insists it is conducting a “humanitarian” operation. The real issue is what began the civil war–failure of the government to respect the rights and dignity of its minority Tamil population.

Sri Lanka Civil War Draws To An End

The civil war which has raged for over a quarter of a century in Sri Lanka appears drawing to a close as government troops pound the last remaining areas under the control of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). As the insurgents are forced into a narrow area of the island, thousands of innocent civilians are trapped in between shelling from both sides. Artillery fire blasted the last remaining hospital in the area, PTK, causing the death of nine and wounding of twenty as shells hit the children’s ward. UN staff which it trying to protect civilians claim “the hospital is the last remaining refuge for people in the area. It is overflowing with kids and women.” The government blames the LTTE for the artillery attacks, but since it will not allow the media into the disputed area, it is impossible to verify their claims to innocence.

During the civil war over 70,000 have died and, as far as this reporter knows, there have not been demonstrations in European cities and certainly no calls from United Kingdom professors to boycott Sri Lanka universities although they believe Israeli colleges should be boycotted. The hypocrisy of the West and the Muslim world over the deaths of 70,000 Asians raises questions concerning morality.

This author has protested deaths caused by the Israel army as well as the brutality of Sri Lanka forces and the rebel Tamil Tigers. One day the world will be horrified by all acts of violence including Hamas in Gaza.

Unheard Voices Of Tamils In Sri Lanka

Thousands of Tamils living in Canada formed a human chain throughout Toronto in an effort to make the world aware of the plight of their relatives on the island of Sri Lanka. A government offense against the minority Tamils has pounded the rebel forces but it has also resulted in the death of thousands and civilians are now trapped in the norther part of the island where they lack food and water. It is estimated about 250,000 are enclosed by the Sri Lanka army into a narrow area of villages and jungles and they are caught in the middle of artillery blasts and troops seeking to put an end to a civil war which has raged for over twenty years. During this conflict about 70,000 civilians have died in the effort of Tamils to gain some form of autonomy within the country.

Tamil civilians are being killed but there are no protests in Europe which is ready to protest the death of Gaza civilians. For some reason or other, the plight of the Tamils has not caught the attention of left wing protestors in the world. One can only wonder at their shouts for Gazans and silence for Tamils.

Hundreds Of Civilians Die-No One Protests!

Over 300 civilians were killed by an army whose name was not the IDF which may account for the fact there have not been any world wide protests concerning their deaths. A Sri Lankan health official says recent artillery gunfire and heavy firing has resulted in the death of at least 300 civilians with over a thousand who have been wounded. Dr. Varatharajah revealed the figures in an effort to secure medical supplies for the wounded. The Sri Lankan government has pledged not to launch attacks inside a “safe zone” which supposedly provides for civilians a secure place that will not be shelled. The Sri Lankan military denies it has been killing civilians even though its nation’s high ranking medical officer says they have killed civilians.

Human rights groups have expressed concern for the estimated 250,000 civilians trapped in territory being assaulted by the military. UN sources claim they have seen “dozens of people killed and wounded” by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Jacques de Maio, of the Red Cross says, “people are being caught in the cross fire, hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling, and several aid workers have been injured.”

As far as this reporter knows, there have not been any demonstrations in the streets of Europe or Arab nations about the death of 300 Sri Lankan civilians. There are no cries by British academics to boycott Sri Lankan universities as they have called for in the case of Israeli academics. I wonder why?

Sri Lanka Outlaws Tamil Rebels

Sri Lankan troops just won a major victory by seizing the Tamil rebel capital and being in a position to completely end the civil war which has raged for over two decades. Instead of using its position of power to offer conciliation to the Tamil, the Sri Lankan government decided on hard policy and officially outlawed the rebels. The government ruled out any possibility of peace negotiations since it apparently expected complete victory and an end to the rebellion. Sri Lanka has refused to allow outside media into fighting zones so it is difficult to know the exact strength or desires of Tamil rebels.

The real question is whether loss of the capital will be the type of blow which ends the ability of the Tamil rebels to continue fighting. They have previously suffered severe losses only to bounce back since there are numerous sources in the world to supply them with money and arms. The taste of victory in January may be replaced in August with the bitter taste of war and death. Now is the time to make every effort to offer compromise and bring the Tamils into the government rather pushing them to the outside.