23 October, 2017

A View From Somewhere Near Kilinochchi

By Kath Noble

Kath Noble

Campaigning for the Northern Provincial Council was so miserable that I decided to spend election day as far away from politicians as possible.

Both the UPFA and the TNA disappointed. Two months ago, I wrote a piece saying how bright the future would be if the totally useless discourse of patriots versus traitors could be done away with, as seemed to be happening with the TNA having nominated Justice Wigneswaran as its chief ministerial candidate and the UPFA talking of putting forward Daya Master. But within days of publication, the UPFA had done a u-turn and declared that no former members of the LTTE would be included in its list, leaving it free to equate the TNA with the LTTE and argue that a TNA victory was bound to lead to the establishment of a separate state.

The TNA behaved no better, doing its best to restore the links with the LTTE that it had so successfully severed during the nomination process, with Justice Wigneswaran going to the extent of calling Prabhakaran a hero – very heroic, wasn’t it, shooting people who weren’t willing to die shielding him from defeat?

As I watched television the night before the election, almost every other sentence referred to the LTTE.

Yet there is no such organisation in Sri Lanka today.

What can be found are Tamils, and they are worse off as a community than they were three decades ago. The LTTE failed them, whether they realise it or not, and it is up to those of us who care about the country to ensure that the TNA does not do the same.

I am hopeful, but the election campaign was a reminder of how dangerous politics can be.

With that in mind, I spent election day trying to understand what life is like for the people who suffered the most in the war.

Because it is this same group who will suffer if the TNA cannot sustain the peace.

A couple of around the same age as my parents welcomed me for the weekend in their home a few miles outside Kilinochchi.

They don’t yet have a house, but they have managed to put together a fairly decent makeshift structure from whatever they could find or were given. They have built dry walls from the bricks of their old home around a new wooden frame, and covered it with a roof of tin sheets, palm leaves and plastic. Inside there are three ‘areas’ – a space roughly four foot by ten foot for cooking on an open fire, around ten foot by ten foot arranged as a ‘living room’ and six foot by ten foot for sleeping. (During my stay, much to my embarrassment, they slept in the ‘kitchen’.)

In their four acre property they have a well, which needs to be repaired but is still offering up water, albeit not of a very enticing colour. Anyway, we drank from it. They don’t yet have a proper toilet either, so we also carried water from the well to another makeshift but quite reasonable arrangement some distance away in the bush.

They are still waiting for help with basic infrastructure, but their situation is not desperate.

Incongruously, they already have electricity, and a television and a fridge and various other ‘luxuries’ provided by their children, who have lived near Colombo for years.

This support from relatives is vital, since they have very little income. They make a ‘living’ by running a vegetable shop in the Kilinochchi market, but I saw for myself that there is not enough custom to sustain all of the traders. How they are going to continue even this poor existence as they age further and are unable to cycle the quite considerable distance into town on a daily basis, I don’t know. They hope to clear their land and start cultivation when the rains come next month, but that too is no life for the elderly, and all of the youth of the area are busy looking for opportunities to get out.

Starting to build their lives again at 70 years of age is a pretty appalling prospect.

In terms of basic infrastructure, many of their neighbours are better off, with numerous newly constructed houses to be seen in the surrounding area.

Almost everybody seems to have received bicycles and household items from NGOs.

Some have also been given farming equipment and animals.

It is interesting to note that while the husband believes that the reason they have not yet received many of these things is that allocations are being made according to the number of members in the family, the wife feels that they are being discriminated against by their local government official, curiously enough for not having given their children to the LTTE.

They voted for EPDP.

A friend of mine living abroad wanted me to ask them why they support a party that according to allegations made to the American Embassy ran or runs prostitution rings for the Army. I told him that these people have never heard of Wikileaks – the source of the story. They don’t know English and they had never used the internet before I helped them to have a chat with one of their sons over Skype.

For me, such questions are tantamount to harassment.

Neither he nor I paid more than a brief visit to the Vanni when it was under the control of the LTTE. We did not experience the fighting up close. And we did not live in Manik Farm.

These people went through all of that.

Anyway, in those days, the TNA was supporting the LTTE, which is proven to have done much worse.

The suggestion seemed rather intolerant, and indicative of the politics of people like us who are generally quite ungrounded in the various realities of Sri Lanka.

It was a real pleasure to see the old couple go out to vote on Saturday, and to talk to many others who found time in their days to do the same. The mood in Kilinochchi seemed upbeat, as indeed it had on Friday and did again on Sunday. People went about their business as usual after voting.

The Government must be congratulated for accepting the inevitability of a TNA victory and ensuring that election day passed more or less without incident. In Kilinochchi, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections reported that thugs attacked one of its monitors who objected to food being given to voters by EPDP, but otherwise there was very little to complain about. Of course something like 90% of the posters on view in Kilinochchi were for the SLFP, plus another 5% for EPDP and only 1% for the TNA. But that just goes to show how useless it is to ruin the environment and spend money that generally has to be earned via untoward activities trying to win over the public with posters. The result in Kilinochchi was almost the exact opposite – the TNA received 82% of the vote and got three councillors elected, while the UPFA received 17% of the vote and got one councillor elected.

There were more serious incidents elsewhere in the Northern Province, but even they compared favourably with the norm in Sri Lanka and with the experience in the other two provinces that went to the polls on Saturday.

The result itself, combined with the high turnout – 73% in Kilinochchi – did more to demonstrate the return to normalcy than any of the Government’s rather silly propaganda.

Indeed, I was very happy to note on my way from Colombo that no member of the Security Forces attempted to find out where I was going or what I was doing – as they should have understood long ago, this only reinforces the feeling that they have something to hide.

The Omantai checkpoint was a symbol of the disunity of the country.

The major problem in Kilinochchi would seem to be the shortage of business, largely due to the fact that the entire population was displaced and in the process lost everything they owned.

That is why land is so important – it is the only capital that people have, and very few of them are in a position to buy anything other than the ‘essentials’ that it produces. Acquisition by the Security Forces for their quite bewildering array of camps in the North is bound to be a major source of ongoing conflict so long as no reasonable alternatives are found by means of a genuinely consultative process. This should also include some effort to assess the environmental impact, since the camps must at the very least place an additional burden on water supplies in what is a relatively dry area. The impact on the livelihoods of the people affected by them must also be considered.

The TNA position on the military presence in the North is clearly ridiculous – they insist on a return to pre-1983 levels – but the Government should understand that it is in its best interests to settle the issue once and for all.

Even they can’t possibly believe that all of the land they are occupying is genuinely needed.

Not far from where I spent the weekend, the Security Forces have set up a training camp – an assault course is visible from the road. Obviously that need not be in the outskirts of Kilinochchi.

(Incidentally, the only minor road to be paved in the area leads right up to the gate.)

But land alone is not enough, and the TNA must immediately get going on its promised comprehensive plan for the development of the Northern economy. The UPFA did not get much beyond transportation, which is useful but certainly not sufficient – at the moment, it is mostly used to transport goods from the rest of the country into the North and people from the North out.

Fortunately, Justice Wigneswaran and his colleagues will soon realise that they have no future as politicians if they can’t persuade Tamils to continue living with them.

*Kath Noble’s column may be accessed online at http://kathnoble.wordpress.com/. She may be contacted at kathnoble99@gmail.com.

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    That is why land is so important – it is the only capital that people have.

    So, if it is the people why people select their representatives I mean the govt ?

    People can do anything on their own just like Tamils distributed land among tamils and excluded others, Tamils stopped Tamils departing to Tamilnadu viaTalai mannar and settled them wanni AND ltte brought Tamilnadu tamils and settled in Wanni.

    Don’t you think, you people are scholars, experts and geniuses for just one day ?

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      Good points Kath! Keep up your excellent work.. Hats off!

      You are right that the lawyer-dominated TNA needs to acquire other skills and prioritize development i.e. get relevant DEVELOPMENT EXPERTISE and set up an office to formulate a comprehensive development plan for poverty reduction that is PEOPLE-CENTERED.

      Development for the people which identifies peoples’ priorities and needs, and coordinates with donors to secure funds is essential. Basil’s Uthuryvasanthaya should have done this but he uneducated and knows nothing about economics and development or aid coordination. There needs to be a post-war development planning, coordination and monitoring and evaluation OFFICE set up in the Northern Province with a proper DATA BASDE for cash transfers to poor families.

      TNA has always been a hot air workshop because all lawyers can do is talk! So they go on an on about constitutional changes and legalese.
      Had TNA not turned up its nose at the Provincial Council system and the 13th amendment, and participated from the outset in PC elections in the East as they have now done in the north – the situation in the Eastern Province would have been far better..
      TNA should give up its grandstanding, learn lessons, eat humble pie for the mistakes it has made in its maximalist demands as evident in its earlier rejection of PC system, and rather work with it to push the envelop benefit the people it claims to represent.

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        You know nothing about urban planning except pecking lawyers for reasons known only to you.
        The structure plan is the key to any urban plan and these lawyers do understand that so they want the impediments removed. Once that is performed development plan evolves by itself and finally several action plans are drawn up and this action plan is used on the ground to discuss with the folk and implement. If you don’t have a structure plan there won’t be any donors but Mr 10% and white trash saying I know SL more than the natives.

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        Wallah ,

        You haven’t developed since Colonial days and you are still a Punka Wallah. How sad.

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    If TNA idle worships LTTE or its dead leaders than the Northern PC should be disbanded within minutes of its creation. It is important for Justice Wigneswaran to understand that no one in Sri Lanka wants the LTTE raising its head again. Let the dead be dead, no resurrection please. People in the North voted for TNA only because TNA leaders including Justice Wigneswaran clearly stated that there is no separate state but a Federal unit within Sri Lanka. Justice Wigneswaran should not forget this ever.

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    I strongly believe the TNA’s Tiger election rhetoric was just that, election rhetoric. As long as the Sampan, Suma & Wiggy are at the helm. They will steer the ship clear of tiger reefs or shoals. They will focus on rebuilding lives and livelihoods. Recruiting a driver who knows what kind of fuel is required for the type of vehicle he is driving would be a good starting point.

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    This never event of an LTTE resurrection and clamour for a separate state will be repeatedly used by the Sinhala racist groups and politicians to deny the Tamil people their will to lead a respectable and prosperous lives. These racists are finding it difficult to accept that the TNA is the choice of the tamil people.

    Rajapaksa can only dream of getting the 78% popular support the TNA got and the regime finds this unpalatable. Already Basil is finding fault with the Tamils for voting for theTNA and this shows the complete lack of understanding of the peoples’s needs and expectations by the Rajapaksa regime. It is clear from the reactions of the regime’s mouthpieces that the regime will place all obstacles in its way to thwart all good deeds the NPC will want to do for the Tamil people.

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    Here are some highlights from Kath’s piece.

    “TNA supported the LTTE Tigers”.

    “Tamils are worse off today than they were 30 years ago”.

    “No members of the Security Forces try to find out where I was going or what I was doing.”

    “TNA and Sambabdan to demand the Security Forces be removed is ridiculous”

    “There is Power , a Fridge even a TV in the little abode, where Kath was invite to stay”.

    “CM the ex Judge Wigneswaran called the LTTE Supremo a Hero.

    “LTTE faied the Tamils”.

    “Is is up to us who care about this country to ensure that the TNA does not do the same”.

    I wasn’t kidding when I started addressing Kathy as a Lanka Lover.

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      This article of hers is political tittle tattle sponsored by Douglas and Dayan. Rest assured north India does not need another British enough is enough because the English want everything and think theirs is the only language. Sergei Lavrov put it right- Small Island creating slaves of others.

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      Picking up words here and there does not form a good argument. A typical Sri Lankan response.

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    As long as the RajaPoxsas have dynastic dreams and overtly and covertly unleash extremists like the BBS and army thugs in civies against the minorities, the TNA will never be able to function smoothly in the North and there will never be real peace in this country.
    The military in the North has to be confined to barracks and law and order duties undertaken only by the police.
    Thank you Kate for letting the world know what is happening in Sri Lanka and the North.

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    Is a government apologist of the “I’m white, trust me, these brownies done no wrong” kind really presuming to tell the TNA what the Tamil people will and will not accept? Funny funny

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    TNA = LTTE

    The next step should be to bust the PC system and TNA rule. Then Tamilians will lose faith in stupid SL elections. If another war starts, the winner is certain as before.

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      Fat ” Mama” Fuk U Shima = BBS

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    It’s easy to bash the TNA, no white van or being kicked out the country, try writing something about the corruption (Mr 10% and his family) and then see ……of course not

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    K.A.Sumanasekara,

    That’s not all, she goes on to say “the TNA must immediately get going on its promised comprehensive plan for the development of the Northern economy”.

    Kath Noble expects TNA to resolve all the problems of Tamils who were affected most in the war when the reality is that the newly elected NPC has no means of generating income through taxes or customs duty or even obtain aid or loans directly but depends on government handout for anything to be done.

    She also writes

    “The UPFA did not get much beyond transportation, which is useful but certainly not sufficient – at the moment, it is mostly used to transport goods from the rest of the country into the North and people from the North out.”

    She did not or could not see that the main roads were built mainly for the military vehicles. All the by-roads are left ruined as the military vehicles do not use them.

    “TNA and Sambabdan to demand the Security Forces be removed is ridiculous”

    “The Government must be congratulated for accepting the inevitability of a TNA victory and ensuring that election day passed more or less without incident”

    She has not seen the report of the Commonwealth monitors or heard of what UN HRC Chief said on the heavy presence of the military and their interference and harassment in the lives of ordinary citizens.

    She did not want to talk about the criminal activities of EPDP because it is “tantamount to harassment”.

    When the terrorists of the calibre of Devananda, Karuna, Pillaiyan and EPDP are in the government she could only find fault with Justice Wigneswaran’s reference to VP as a ‘hero’ in his electioneering.

    Did you mean to say she is a ‘SLG lover’?

    In all her articles she tried to put the blame on extinguished LTTE or helpless TNA.

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      Well said.
      She is unable to write all this rubbish especially in North India and get away. In the UK only 50% vote because it is Hippocratic not democratic.The man who caused the war was none other than international war criminal bLiar who belongs to her party.Flipping INGO’s.

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      This idiot thinks military only move along the main roads and do not use side roads.

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    Kath Noble should tell us how a war can be fought with out loss of lives, limbs and property. The Eelam war was forced on the LTTE. And the people supported the war. Otherwise, the LTTE could not have gone for 26 years from 1983. During World War II the allies suffered immense loss of lives and destruction by going to war with Nazi Hitler. The alternative would have brought whole of Europe under jackboot of Nazi Hitler. . During the war between the LTTE and the army, Rajapaksa claimed he is waging the war to liberate the Tamil people from the clutches of the LTTE murderers. But in the just concluded elections, the Thamil people (79%) voted with both their hands to the TNA. If what Rajapaksa said was a fact, then the people should have voted for Rajapaksa’s ruling party. What is the message and does this show? People value freedom to roads, bridges, hospitals, schools etc. A parrot kept in a golden cage and fed with milk and fruits will still fly away if you open the door! Same goes to the Thamil people.
     

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      Even if the escape for the parrot, is only to a bigger cage.

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      Thambi, time for revision:
      …Eelam war was forced on the LTTE…went on for 25 years…..
      1 because of initial underfunding of armed forces
      2 because the election of President/GOSL did not depend on the Tamils
      3 because many people enjoyed a very lurative income stream due to the war – both very high, in and out of govt, and also many tamils prospered.
      4 political will was found when the aerial bombing of Colombo/South reached a level that destabilised the Sinhalese voter to the extent that it threatened the GOSL; the rest is history. VP/LTTE didn’t have a chance! Do the maths, Thambi.

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      Well said Thanga. This Kath would not understand these things.

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    Thank You Kath for giving us a reality check on what life is away from the frenetic election activity. Anyone who has spent a night and a day in the north and east will have no doubt as to the quiet desperation with which life is endured. Desperation under a warm blue sky is still desperation. Our only hope is that it surely cannot get worse and given time the status of these dispossessed and disoriented people will improve.
    This GOSL will never repeat the mistake of underfunding the armed forces, and allowing the wide open spaces, that gave the LTTE the opportunity to take hold in the north and east, to remain ‘unsupervised’. The Tamils..ITAK…TNA et al will just have to accept this status for now. Though I agree there is some opportunity for scaling back on land acquisitions; and we will see that happen in time to come.
    Notwithstanding all the bleatings of the ITAK/TNA, we are in uncharted territory now, and we should wait to see how the relationship between the government and the NPC develop in the weeks ahead before we can confidently start to read the tea leaves.

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    Oh I am by no means certain that viggie and his boys are capable of seeing this.

    Viggie wears the same spectacles that piraphakaran and much of the diaspora wears. I call it the ‘jaffna Tamil lense’ and this lense depends on the existence of some kind of Tamils who are not from Tamilnadu or any other part of India but are from ‘Jaffna’. These lensees will continue to demand a separate Tamil state and work towards it and in the process will become part of an interesting experiment aimed at testing the potential of ‘transnational governance’ which some think may be a concept which if established in international law – what about Papa in Roma?’- will then become a VERY useful tool for people who have common perspectives and interests to advance them globally and help and protect each other.

    This “us who care about the country” are a dangerous lot. They are the ones in power and all they do is in the name of their love for this country. It is the same with those who claimed to care about their country called Tamileelam. They used violence and terror against the people just like the government is doing now . It seems that the author of this piece also sees herself as one of these people who care about the country. Far from ensuring that the TNA does not do the same, all those who care for any country will ensure that the TNA does just the same and does more of it.

    I would also like the RATS out of the way; the democrats and the autocrats and the bureaucrats as well as the big SHIPOS like the friendships and the dictatorships and also the ISTS like the marxists and the buddhists and the evangelists and the capitalists and all that.

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    Kath- what was all that about?

    The Three Wise Men are at the helm now.They have ther TNA counterparts with them.We don’t have to loose our breath trying to tell them what to do for the North.
    They have already been approved by the people,let them do their job.

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    Kate Noble’s article on ‘ A view from Somewhere near Kilinochchi ‘shows how biased or incompetent, she was. Clearly it is a partial view, a view conditioned by her personal experience or access to limited resources and not the one expected from a journalist.

    Comparing the election related violence with the excesses of the security forces and the UPFA and then to conclude that the violence in the NPC election is minimal is an idiotic assumption.

    Journalism doesn’t soley lie on the command of the language, but on how genuinely a person attempts to see things.
    Nanthan

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    .
    To all those who says TNA supported LTTE…..
    – many TNA leaders and members were killed by LTTE, compared to UNP or SLFP leaders
    – UNP (Premadasa) gave arms to LTTE, TNA never did
    – SLFP (Mahinda) gave money to LTTE, TNA never did
    .
    Where as Sinhala Army killed so many Sinhala youths in 1971, 1989 but Sinhala people call them Heros, patriots.
    More Sinhala youths were killed by Sinhala army than by LTTE.

    What a pitty!

    :-)

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    Oh, Kath, you have become increasingly stupid and racist. Tamils in this forum should find out her roots to government, definitely she has some roots embedded in her origin. See the article, one sentence ( just to showcase)about UPFA and the rest of the article to preach to TNA. Do you think members of TNA are stupid and you are cleverer than them? Can you stop preaching the peace sermon to TNA? You are female version of DJ.

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      She should become a Muslim.

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    Kath Noble,
    You wrote “Tamils, and they are worse off as a community than they were three decades ago.” I am puzzled, who do you mean by ‘Tamils’ here? If you mean Tamils are the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, then that statement of yours is a blatant lie.

    Refer to population statistics of 2012. You should notice that there are about 3.1 Tamils live in Sri Lanka. Of them, only a little over 1.0 million live in our North province. And you chose to visit a destitute couple of your parent’s age, put up one night with them and started to moan as if they are the only people who live in a rough and shoddy house and slept in the ‘kitchen’.

    Have you not heard that many a Tamil in Tamilnad use roadside ditches as toilets even today? Have you not heard that millions of people live in shanties in India, Brazil, Philippines, Tamil Nadu and even in the US with no facilities whatsoever even as much as that old couple have. There are many who live in shacks in Colombo too. So, I just cannot understand why a single couple living with less facilities embarrassed you so much? Besides, other than shedding crocodile tears for dollars what else have you done about it?

    I do not deny that there may be some people like that in the North. Then again that is the consequence of our 30 year war? On the question of who is responsible for it the answer depends of which pedestal one stands on. For one thing, it is trousered Gandhi and Tamil leaders that declared war on Sri Lanka on May 14, 1976 at Waddukkodai.

    We have seen wars have been forced upon many countries by neo-colonialists. They claimed their wars in Iraq, Libya, Mali and many parts of the world were to bring about democracy and peace. It is almost ten years after neo-colonialists’ peace and democracy to Iraq now. Tell us, Kath ‘Nobel’ do people in that oil rich Iraq live in three bed semis or have peace? No, People are blasted or shot daily. Wherever neo-colonialists waged war for their so-called peace and democracy they have upset the apple cart those dictators have maintained hard.

    Unlike war ravaged countries by the neo-colonialist, Sri Lanka government not just rehabilitated and released almost all the Tamils that blasted human bombs and fired at them but brought about a total peace and progressive development to the North. To expect every Tamil in the North to have a three bed-semi with all the amenities is nice but it is just unrealistic.

    Do this ‘Nobel’ know that there are at least half a million Tamils who live in estates and worked hard for generations in Sri Lanka? They had no war but have contributed to Sri Lanka economy. I am ashamed that many of those Tamils to date live in one room terrace like houses with shared toilets.

    It’s no secret that diaspora Tamils have contributed billions of dollars to LTTE machine. And various types of rump LTTE are still spending lavishly on new roadmaps to Eelam. Pity neither Nobel or other crocodile tear shedding NGO sharks ever remind them of their responsibility to uplift the lives of desperate people in the North.

    Now that the TNA Chief Minister will be sworn in, we hope he will do the needful to improve the living standard of the people without resorting to another Waddukkodai resolution.

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    both nationalisms of the TNA and the Rajapaksas will drive us all into the grave…

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      Ainsley Abeywickreme

      “both nationalisms of the TNA and the Rajapaksas will drive us all into the grave…”

      I would prefer if you went back to your ancestral homeland, India rather than into the nearest grave.

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    You were blind to see the damage of the war on tamils or you were treated well by the Butcher army you b***.

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    she was sent by the RAJAPOX to Killinochchi

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    I wonder who is paying Kath Noble to write this kind of trash.

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    It is now clear the Wigneswaran-Sumanthiran-Sampanthan trio is bent upon hijacking Tamil peoples’ verdict (Tamil Elam) to serve the genocidal agenda of New Delhi, Washington and Colombo.

    They talked about Tamil Elam before the election but now they are in bed with the Rajafucksas!!

    Tamils have been fooled YET AGAIN!! :)

    Very easy to fool Tamils. DSS, SWRDB, Dudley, Sirima, JR, Premathasa, CBK, Runnil, MR all fooled Tamils.

    Typical politicians.

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    Congratulations on a frank and well balanced article. People like you who are are independent observes can do a lot to clear the dark clouds in the minds of both parties.

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    ” Yet there is no such organisation in Sri Lanka today. “

    It does not function under that label (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, but it would be naive to suggest that the ideology has died down, nor that the TNA at least in part still craves for ‘a little NOW, more LATER’.
    On the other hand amongst the diaspora of (Sri Lankan-origin) Tamils the LTTE is well and truly alive. There is no Tamil organised event where the LTTE symbols such as the terrorist’s flag are NOT on display. Their influence amongst the local Tamils is still substantial, though they contribulte little if at all to the latter’s well-being.

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    This Noble is talking a bit of bollocks here. At election times, politicians make political statements that could appeal to segments of the electorate, some of which are indeed ridiculous. This happens to varying degrees in every polity. This is what prompted Wignesvaran to bring up the LTTE analogy, and the Sinhalese leadership to bring up a strong anti-LTTE analogy.
    Once the election is won, it is a matter of policy-planning and policy-making, which, in the case of northern Sri Lanka, is not easy, due to the politics involved. No big surprises can be expected from TNA or anyone else. Nobody has a magic wand, and progress will indeed be slow, full of challenges, contradictions, conflicts and confrontations. But the only positive factor is that the NPC election result is a very good basis to start off.

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    “Incidentally, the only minor road to be paved in the area leads right up to the gate”

    Paving the minor roads are the responsibilty of local government agencies as Pradeshiya sabhas. TNA hold all the PS’s in the area for some years now.If they have not paved any other road but the Army has their road paved,I wonder why it is so hard to understand the mentality of these poeple,to vote so overwhelmingly to TNA.

    Could it be that they are not interested in development but only interested in political power for their politicians?
    Or could it be that their vote was hijacked by a power that was holding them to ransom? Soon we’ll see.

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    Patriot- After the war ended the millions of $ that the government expected from the diaspora was the greatest disspointment they ever had.They didn’t care about the thousands they murdered and hacked to death to steal jewellery when they were daying in the jungle due to shelling and bombing.
    The government waited greedily to pocket half the money,buy more cars forthemselves and their sons and let the Tamils languish.
    No Sir-they realised all too soon it was never going to happen.
    But– yes they will IF the government allows them to send it directly to the north.Now that the PC has been established that could be easily done.
    Till then its your responsiblity for development.We are one country aren’t we.So why are we waiting for the diaspora money to uplift the north after all the vandalising too.

    Forget it Patriot.Unfortunately.Don’t take it personally – just a reply.

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    Kathy( The Noble Woman)

    I take issue with you on many of the things you have written.
    I think you are struggling to separate your past from the present and as a result arrived at the wrong conclusion.

    Past: You worked in the Presidents Peace Secretariat. But in fairness to you, you served us well in the past which hasn’t gone unnoticed.

    Present: Constructive Criticism Yes but not Misrepresenting and Distorting Facts.

    1) Campaigning for the Northern Provincial Council was so miserable that I decided to spend election day as far away from politicians as possible.

    ***I would like to hear from as to what you expected to hear from TNA forget about UPFA who are bunch of Cronies.

    We have just emerged from Slavery and did you expect bread and butter issues just like in Britain. TNA are trying to connect with people and I don’t want to pretend but TNAs manifesto was an LTTE manifesto as Prabakrans legacy will live for sometime to come. You ignore that at your peril. We still don’t have basic rights, the Army and the Para Military are roaming around using brutal force to intimidate. There are a lot of missing sons and daughters and it is only recently that Chardraprema ” Author of Gothas War ” has shed some light by revealing that they have all been extra judicially Killed.

    2) Both the UPFA and the TNA disappointed. Two months ago, I wrote a piece saying how bright the future would be if the totally useless discourse of patriots versus traitors could be done away with, as seemed to be happening with the TNA having nominated Justice Wigneswaran as its chief ministerial candidate and the UPFA talking of putting forward Daya Master. But within days of publication, the UPFA had done a u-turn and declared that no former members of the LTTE would be included in its list, leaving it free to equate the TNA with the LTTE and argue that a TNA victory was bound to lead to the establishment of a separate state.

    ***It is an insult to compare Ex Justice Wigneswaran to Daya Master who was a traitor and that shows either inexperience or insensitive attitude on your part.
    3) The TNA behaved no better, doing its best to restore the links with the LTTE that it had so successfully severed during the nomination process, with Justice Wigneswaran going to the extent of calling Prabhakaran a hero – very heroic, wasn’t it, shooting people who weren’t willing to die shielding him from defeat?

    **** Where did you hear this? Was this when you worked at the Peace Secretariat. I am sure you know that this was GOSL propaganda.

    As I watched television the night before the election, almost every other sentence referred to the LTTE.

    Yet there is no such organisation in Sri Lanka today.

    I have answered the above and I am not ashamed to say that LTTE are in the hearts and minds of the Entire Eelam people home and Abroad until they have a sense of belonging. Belonging to a Nation whether you call it Eelam or Autonomous State within United Sri Lanka take your pick.

    4) What can be found are Tamils, and they are worse off as a community than they were three decades ago. The LTTE failed them, whether they realise it or not, and it is up to those of us who care about the country to ensure that the TNA does not do the same.

    For your information the LTTE have not failed them but India and some International Organisations like UN through Need and Greed failed them.
    Need: India under Madam Sonia to take revenge and to prevent break up of India.

    Greed: Get rich quick attitude by Corrupt Individuals and that Includes Banki Bloody Moon, Vijay Nambiyar, Shiv Shankar Menon and a lot of others.

    5)I am hopeful, but the election campaign was a reminder of how dangerous politics can be.
    With that in mind, I spent election day trying to understand what life is like for the people who suffered the most in the war.
    Because it is this same group who will suffer if the TNA cannot sustain the peace.
    A couple of around the same age as my parents welcomed me for the weekend in their home a few miles outside Kilinochchi.

    They don’t yet have a house, but they have managed to put together a fairly decent makeshift structure from whatever they could find or were given. They have built dry walls from the bricks of their old home around a new wooden frame, and covered it with a roof of tin sheets, palm leaves and plastic. Inside there are three ‘areas’ – a space roughly four foot by ten foot for cooking on an open fire, around ten foot by ten foot arranged as a ‘living room’ and six foot by ten foot for sleeping. (During my stay, much to my embarrassment, they slept in the ‘kitchen’.)

    In their four acre property they have a well, which needs to be repaired but is still offering up water, albeit not of a very enticing colour. Anyway, we drank from it. They don’t yet have a proper toilet either, so we also carried water from the well to another makeshift but quite reasonable arrangement some distance away in the bush.

    They are still waiting for help with basic infrastructure, but their situation is not desperate.

    Incongruously, they already have electricity, and a television and a fridge and various other ‘luxuries’ provided by their children, who have lived near Colombo for years.

    This support from relatives is vital, since they have very little income. They make a ‘living’ by running a vegetable shop in the Kilinochchi market, but I saw for myself that there is not enough custom to sustain all of the traders. How they are going to continue even this poor existence as they age further and are unable to cycle the quite considerable distance into town on a daily basis, I don’t know. They hope to clear their land and start cultivation when the rains come next month, but that too is no life for the elderly, and all of the youth of the area are busy looking for opportunities to get out.

    Starting to build their lives again at 70 years of age is a pretty appalling prospect.

    In terms of basic infrastructure, many of their neighbours are better off, with numerous newly constructed houses to be seen in the surrounding area.

    Almost everybody seems to have received bicycles and household items from NGOs.

    Some have also been given farming equipment and animals.

    It is interesting to note that while the husband believes that the reason they have not yet received many of these things is that allocations are being made according to the number of members in the family, the wife feels that they are being discriminated against by their local government official, curiously enough for not having given their children to the LTTE.

    They voted for EPDP.

    *** Kathy oh Kathy you are an intelligent woman and what are you trying to say and my mind boggles .
    Are you saying that the LTTE are still in control of the Local Government ( Local Government Officials, curiously enough for not having given their children to the LTTE )

    If the above is correct it only confirms what I have said above and that is the LTTE is still a force to be reckoned with.

    ***The reason why they voted for EPDP was because EPDP bought the votes before the election promising to give Loans and used them as postal votes. When the people went to ask for the Loans they were told that they are still waiting for the money from MR.

    6)A friend of mine living abroad wanted me to ask them why they support a party that according to allegations made to the American Embassy ran or runs prostitution rings for the Army. I told him that these people have never heard of Wikileaks – the source of the story. They don’t know English and they had never used the internet before I helped them to have a chat with one of their sons over Skype.

    For me, such questions are tantamount to harassment.

    Neither he nor I paid more than a brief visit to the Vanni when it was under the control of the LTTE. We did not experience the fighting up close. And we did not live in Manik Farm.

    These people went through all of that.

    Anyway, in those days, the TNA was supporting the LTTE, which is proven to have done much worse.

    The suggestion seemed rather intolerant, and indicative of the politics of people like us who are generally quite ungrounded in the various realities of Sri Lanka.

    It was a real pleasure to see the old couple go out to vote on Saturday, and to talk to many others who found time in their days to do the same. The mood in Kilinochchi seemed upbeat, as indeed it had on Friday and did again on Sunday. People went about their business as usual after voting.

    *** From the above it seems that you are giving a mixed message whether innocently or intentionally.

    7) The Government must be congratulated for accepting the inevitability of a TNA victory and ensuring that election day passed more or less without incident. In Kilinochchi, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections reported that thugs attacked one of its monitors who objected to food being given to voters by EPDP, but otherwise there was very little to complain about. Of course something like 90% of the posters on view in Kilinochchi were for the SLFP, plus another 5% for EPDP and only 1% for the TNA. But that just goes to show how useless it is to ruin the environment and spend money that generally has to be earned via untoward activities trying to win over the public with posters. The result in Kilinochchi was almost the exact opposite – the TNA received 82% of the vote and got three councillors elected, while the UPFA received 17% of the vote and got one councillor elected.

    *** I disagree with your analysis that the GOSL should be congratulated for accepting the Inevitability of TNA victory but on the contrary in my view they should be given a kick in their back side for delaying it for so long and then try and intimidate voters and that includes CMs sister.

    8) There were more serious incidents elsewhere in the Northern Province, but even they compared favourably with the norm in Sri Lanka and with the experience in the other two provinces that went to the polls on Saturday.

    The result itself, combined with the high turnout – 73% in Kilinochchi – did more to demonstrate the return to normalcy than any of the Government’s rather silly propaganda.

    Indeed, I was very happy to note on my way from Colombo that no member of the Security Forces attempted to find out where I was going or what I was doing – as they should have understood long ago, this only reinforces the feeling that they have something to hide.

    ***I am glad you returned in one piece but that is not the experience of a lot of other Journalists and I am sure you have read all that.

    9)The Omantai checkpoint was a symbol of the disunity of the country.

    Omanthai is not a symbol of disunity of the Country but a reminder of who is control of the Gateway to Eelam.

    10) The major problem in Kilinochchi would seem to be the shortage of business, largely due to the fact that the entire population was displaced and in the process lost everything they owned.

    *** Tell the above to Tissaranne Gunasekara who has the following observation: By voting as they did, the people of the North have indicated that they cannot be fobbed-off with flashy infrastructure projects

    11) That is why land is so important – it is the only capital that people have, and very few of them are in a position to buy anything other than the ‘essentials’ that it produces. Acquisition by the Security Forces for their quite bewildering array of camps in the North is bound to be a major source of ongoing conflict so long as no reasonable alternatives are found by means of a genuinely consultative process. This should also include some effort to assess the environmental impact, since the camps must at the very least place an additional burden on water supplies in what is a relatively dry area. The impact on the livelihoods of the people affected by them must also be considered.

    ***The land is important for MR for colonisation and that is why he wanted to remove that from the 13th Amendment.

    12)The TNA position on the military presence in the North is clearly ridiculous – they insist on a return to pre-1983 levels – but the Government should understand that it is in its best interests to settle the issue once and for all.

    Even they can’t possibly believe that all of the land they are occupying is genuinely needed.

    ***I am sure you can spot your contradiction above. TNA position cannot be ridiculous if that is what you are advising GOSL to do.

    13) Not far from where I spent the weekend, the Security Forces have set up a training camp – an assault course is visible from the road. Obviously that need not be in the outskirts of Kilinochchi.

    (Incidentally, the only minor road to be paved in the area leads right up to the gate.)

    But land alone is not enough, and the TNA must immediately get going on its promised comprehensive plan for the development of the Northern economy. The UPFA did not get much beyond transportation, which is useful but certainly not sufficient – at the moment, it is mostly used to transport goods from the rest of the country into the North and people from the North out.

    ***Kathy do me a favour and tell the above to the World LOUD and CLEAR as the Chandrasri is beating the drum for GOSL saying that they are toiling to develop the North. From your past contact with MR you might be able to convey your finding to him without putting your life in danger.

    Fortunately, Justice Wigneswaran and his colleagues will soon realise that they have no future as politicians if they can’t persuade Tamils to continue living with them.

    On whose terms Kathy and will it be just sharing the House or respecting and executing their wishes otherwise they will bite the Dust at the next election.

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