Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A new day dawning

In light of the war in Sri Lanka reaching a historic end, I have been incredibly surprised by the shocking number of ill-informed, rather ignorant, negative and miscalculated articles produced by the British media we have revered so much in the past. Their blatant support for what seems to be the Tamil Tigers and the irrational percentage of the diaspora is frighteningly twisted and ill-timed. Below, an excerpt from the Telegraph:

The article states some pretty incredibly mis-informed facts, some funny like Polonnaruwa being a Tamil village and some, more serious like the Sinhalese deliberately resettling themselves in the east of the island when that area was predominantly Tamil. Now, this was a tactic of a previous govt, but at this stage - the east is in the hands of the Tamil people under Pilliyalan, true that there are some issues with the Provincial council not receiving enough devolution of power from the central govt but essentially they are in control. Also, the Tamils were never the majority of the east, they shared that title with the Muslim community who often get sidelined.

Read my friend Indi's take on it here - he researched the facts with much greater fervour than I:


Friday, 1 May 2009

Some interesting posters

I was sent these - think they make an interesting point - it is just refreshing to know that there are other Sri Lankan voices that are not the Governments and not the Tamil Tiger supporters. We need to give those voices a bigger megaphone.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tamilnet lashes out

Seems that no one can get it right, an article found on Tamilnet - to help the balance of opinion here on this blog. It is incredibly strange how none of us seem to want to ask the Tamil people what they really want, and not the diaspora because this war is no longer about them, as they left Sri Lanka. And no, the Tamil's did not choose who they wanted to lead them in 2004, because the LTTE prevented them from making their own real political choices thanks to constant threats and intimidation.

IC makes history in experimenting ‘genocide bomb’

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 April 2009, 10:14 GMT]
The international community accusing the LTTE all this time for ‘inventing’ human bomb is testing a premeditated ‘genocide bomb’ on Tamils and sets new ‘guidelines’ for global order, says a political commentator, who contributes regularly to TamilNet. “Even though there are many actors, the final responsibility for the experiment and deployment of this worst possible weapon of human civilization squarely falls on Obama’s US administration and on Ban Ki Moon’s UN,” he said adding that they will go down in history for “calculatedly allowing one of the worst ethnic genocides of contemporary history to take its toll in the island of Sri Lanka, in the cruellest and deceitful way.”

Further observations by the commentator follow:

“The US takes the core responsibility by tilting the military and diplomatic balance in favour of genocidal Colombo and finally failing to act when the demon perpetrated by them devours the people.

“When genocide was the question, Hillary Clinton by talking ‘post-conflict’ Sri Lanka, indirectly signalled the genocide to take its course.

“The UN is accused of shielding a criminal government, of sitting on any move of intervention and of abetting capture, torture and indefinite imprisonment of Tamil civilians by genocidal Colombo.

“The UN refused to discuss the genocide in Sri Lanka. Even the civilian issue was ‘too sensitive’ for it. At every stage it wanted the capture of civilians by genocidal Colombo. But when the civilians were captured it was not there to guarantee them their freedom of movement. Many of them still languish completely in the hands of Sri Lanka Army.

“Sri Lanka president turned down the request of UN humanitarian chief John Holmes to have access to civilians outside the camps. The personal appeal of Moon for a humanitarian team to enter the so-called safety zone was also turned down by Colombo. It is obvious what role the UN is up to play in future in abetting the structural genocide of Tamils planned by Colombo.

“Many fail to give due importance to the role being played by Japan in funding genocidal Colombo at every stage. Besides there were China and Russia, which played calculated mischief.

“A shameful organized crime, for the first time in contemporary history, has been registered in the behaviour of the international media in abetting the genocide, and not covering it. Now they are busy in spinning yarns with the captured civilians.

“Meanwhile, Monday morning Colombo announced halting the use of heavy weapons on the ‘no-fire’ zone. But throughout the day and the night that followed it showered fire from all types of heavy weapons including aerial bombing.

“EU ministers timed their visit after the testing of the ‘genocide bomb’.

“Even then, Colombo said that one of them, the Swedish minister, is not want.

“Colombo, the Frankenstein Monster is now dictating terms to the IC. But the monster is set loose calculatedly.

“The international community is silent, issuing only statements to hoodwink.

“It is reliably learnt that India has set an agenda for Colombo to accomplish the massacre. Indian home minister Chidambaram’s statement on Sunday that the war will be over in 48 hours is an affidavit for the premeditated crime of the deployment of the ‘genocide bomb’.

“All evidences indicate that the ruling circles of the international community premeditated the testing of the ‘genocide bomb’ on Tamils.”

Tigers at Bay


The Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Tigers at bay

By | Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, one of the world's most violent terrorist outfits, are surrounded in northern Sri Lanka and about to be destroyed - but Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and European self-styled peacemakers are getting in the way of victory. The meddlers should let Colombo finish off this menace.

In desperation, the Tamil Tigers are using tens of thousands of locals as human shields. The Sri Lankan government declared a cease-fire and called on the Tigers to release their hostages, but unmanned-aerial-vehicle video footage shows the terrorists holding masses of innocents at gunpoint, refusing them freedom. Last week, Mrs. Clinton played into the hands of the terrorists by blaming the Sri Lankan government for the crisis. "The entire world is very disappointed" that they were "causing such untold suffering," she said.

Foreign governments and aid organizations are calling on Colombo to cease operations, fearing that further action will lead to a humanitarian calamity. Norwegian Environment Minister Eric Solheim has been the point man in trying to negotiate a new truce, but he has been denounced by both sides. In response to his unwelcome efforts, the Nation, a Sri Lankan newspaper, editorialized that "the caravan of military operations has to move on. The time has come to tell the salmon-eating international busybodies to mind their own business."

The Sri Lankan government is justifiably confused and angry at the international response to their progress. Sri Lanka has been fighting the Tamil Tigers for over 30 years. The Tigers pioneered the modern use of suicide bombing and have killed thousands of civilians. A U.S. government expert on the group tells us that the Tigers are "one of the most odious insurgent groups around, and for a long stretch of time had more suicide attacks than the rest of the world combined. It has made a cult of martyrdom and violated every single previous cease-fire." During the most recent truce, the Tigers took the opportunity to assassinate about 200 moderate Tamil politicians and the Sri Lankan foreign minister.

Last year, Colombo decided enough was enough and withdrew from the cease-fire agreement. Using innovative counterinsurgency tactics, the Sri Lankan defense forces dismantled the guerrilla network on land and at sea. They drove the Tigers from their safe havens and bottled them up in a four-square-mile patch of beachfront swampland. Tiger leaders are hunkered down in underground bunkers trying desperately to stave off their looming demise.

We can only imagine American satisfaction if we had al Qaeda in this position. It is unconscionable for the United States to castigate its Sri Lankan ally for prevailing in its war against terrorism. The Tamil Tigers have purposefully created the conditions for a humanitarian crisis and deserve neither amnesty nor mercy. There are ways to help resolve this standoff that will not allow the Tigers to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, such as providing military and intelligence support for pinpoint strikes against the terrorist leadership. Failing that, the Obama administration should mind its own business.

Friday, 24 April 2009

A Conversation that needs Attention

Below is a stream of a conversation between a few friends and I. It started when I sent around the news that a group of Tamil diaspora organisations had dramatically pulled together a large ship called the Vanni Mission of Mercy and was going to send it unauthorised to the Eastern shores of Sri Lanka, Jerry Bruckheimer style, with 400 tonnes of aid to help and reach the suffering Tamil people.

It was clearly a PR stunt, and to this day has not yet left the sunny shores of Britain. Why? Because the British govt turned their request down, so they could not even leave the docks... The interesting thing is this conversation is between all ethnicities, walks of life, ages and religions. It serves as a good read, exposing the issues that face Sri Lankans each day - ones that only Sri Lankans (those close to them) and the 30 year conflict, can fully understand.

If you would like to, post a comment and I will post it here in relation to this conversation, as long as it is not uncompromising and rude. Thanks.


A Mixed Voice (Ceylon Moor, Chetty and Sinhala)


So I am not sure if you know, but today there is a huge PR event (including, ironically a party) for the launch of an aid cargo ship being sent to the east coast of Sri Lanka by the British (mainly Tamil diasphora but helped by local UK orgs). It is called the Vanni Mission of Mercy.

The PR has been quite big, they've got celebrities coming today to sign an agreement that says they support this mission and what it stands for - that the Sri Lankan govt/people are doing very little to help the Tamil people. I think its insulting to the opinion of many who don't want people to suffer. But at the same time - this is aid, that is badly needed - so the everlasting question of what do we believe and how do we unite people to stand under one thought?

Act Now (UK org with Tamil orgs) Press release

The Vanni Mission

The Island's claim that the Navy will sink this ship if it comes to Sri Lanka which is BAD form. Will make Sri Lanka endorse the 'ethnic cleansing' attitude

Information on the Launch
The launch event of the Mission of Mercy Aid ship to Sri Lanka will take place on Tuesday 31 March, 2009, from 1:00 pm at The Royal Horse Guards, 1 Whitehall Place, 2 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EJ. To view, please visit http://www.theroyalhorseguards.co.uk/index.html).

A global appeal to the Sri Lankan Government to let the aid into the affected region and to call a ceasefire will be launched on the same day. A launch event has been organised to allow celebrities and politicians to sign a special letter (scroll) of Appeal.
The latest news is that the Sri Lankan Government is threatening to sink the boat! (http://www.island.lk/2009/03/21/news2.html) Come and hear more at the meeting.
We welcome any and all media to attend the event.

Supermodel Claudia Schiffer will be attending.

A Sinhala Voice

This is very cynical, and very sad because the problem is real. You simply cannot antagonize the government if you want aid to actually reach people. I fear that's not their goal at all, I think they just want to have the ship turned away to make a point. It's so sad, because the suffering is very real.

I'm working with a group of citizens called ACT for Relief (www.actlanka.com). We have some lorries leaving Friday (God willing) to the Vavuniya Hospital. We've raised a bit of money and collected mattresses, crutches, medicines and basic supplies. This is only possible because we have worked closely with the Ministries of Health and Defense. That is the only way to get goods into this country and the only way to deliver them to the people at the end. It is difficult and frustrating, but necessary. You have to compromise to actually help people.

This Vanni Mission does not mention the government of Sri Lanka as a stakeholder at all. I disagree deeply and publicly with the government and I did not support this war. However, it is still my government and this is still my country. It doesn't matter if Claudia Schiffer is on the prow of the boat, you simply cannot land in a sovereign country without permission. Certainly not in a warzone. I honestly believe that they want the ship to be turned away to score PR points. This is really sad, because if they want to actually help human beings they have to compromise.

Please remember that the human suffering is real. I visited children brought to a government hospital in Colombo and it's just tragic. I saw a boy named Ketesh who's a double amputee. Couldn't be more than three years old. Another child had burn wounds all down his chest and couldn't stop shivering. They are doing triage in the North on a level we simply cannot imagine and they're lacking basic items like surgical gloves, bandages, painkillers, anti-biotics, etc. I think this is a humanitarian tragedy just like the tsunami and we should extend just as much support to our fellow Sri Lankans.

These Sri Lankans don't need politics, they need relief. I think it is important to remember that they are being treated in government hospitals and helped by government people while the LTTE is simply firing on them and conscripting them as cannon fodder. You simply have to work with the government if you want to help human beings right now. I don't like the government much, but I'm quite willing to put that pride aside for now. If you want to make a statement you can call the government genocidal maniacs and throw a party, but it doesn't actually help anyone. That's really cynical, and really sad.

There are people in Sri Lanka who are trying to reach out to our fellow citizens in the North on a human level, working with whoever we have to, apolitically. There are no gala events because that jeopordizes the actual, delicate work of delivering relief, but do know that people are doing something. You can help. I've cc'd RP here from ACT, and you can help through there. Please note that's just a group of concerned citizens. Sarvodaya is a reputed NGO and you can donate online to them here (sarvodaya.org/donate). Sri Lanka Red Cross also accepts donations via their bank account. These are donations that actually reach people.