By S. V. Kirubaharan –
A few days ago, I saw the documentary entitled, “Story of Adele Balasingham” produced by Boston Lanka (BL). It is obvious that BL is trying to rescue Sri Lanka from well-substantiated allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the last days of the war – May 2009.
BL has telecast many pro-government programmes portraying Rajapaksa as the most democratic leader in the world. It is believed that in fact BL is a mouth piece of the Sri Lankan government!
Indeed, the international community supported Rajapaksa’s government in bringing the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to an end. This was because the international community believed Sri Lanka’s professionally fabricated misinformation, circulated widely by their embassies and paid agents.
Better late than never. Now the international community has realised its mistake and is trying to rectify it. The outcome of two consecutive resolutions on Sri Lanka, in the UN Human Rights Council – 19th session in March 2012 and 22nd session in March 2013, is evidence of this. Let us wait and see what will happen in the near future.
Story of Adele Balasingham video;
Also we have seen two hammering reports of the UN Secretary General – Panel of Experts’ report and the Internal Review Panel report. Both criticise the government and the security forces. Rajapaksa’s government cannot escape from this checkmate.
As a result, the Sri Lankan government and the BL have now begun to target Mrs Adele Balasingham, widow of Mr. Anton Balasingham, political advisor to the LTTE for more than two decades, until his death in December 2006.
Humanitarian & Political
Being the wife of the LTTE advisor, of course, Adele Balasingham was part of the LTTE. Media reports, other than Sri Lanka’s pied pipers, indicate that Adele’s tasks were political and humanitarian. She took part in all the peace talks that took place between the Sri Lankan governments and the LTTE.
Being part of an organization strongly linked to military activities, like other military institutions, everyone within the LTTE including members of the auxiliary forces wore military fatigue. It is basic knowledge that not everyone wearing military fatigue is part of military operations.
Now let me come to the video produced by the BL, which lasts for 20:26 minutes. In that documentary, none of the LTTE cadres say that Adele Balasingham recruited or trained them.
In the past, we have seen many videos of Adele taking foreign media personnel visiting the LTTE administrated area on a tour and explaining the military strength of the LTTE. One of the videos covered in the BL documentary, was one of these. However there is not a single video or any evidence showing that she recruited child soldiers or trained suicide bombers. Also bear in mind, that in the past, not a single International human rights organisation has accused Adele Balasingham of involvement in any of those activities.
It is to be noted that, since May 2009, there have been many forced convictions of detained LTTE cadres, to suit government accusations slandering individuals who are against Rajapaksa’s government.
In fact, Adele Balasingham’s book, “The Will to Freedom” published in 2001 gives evidence of her activities, while staying locally with LTTE. In 2000, she moved to the UK with her late husband Anton Balasingham.
If BL is really concerned about child soldiers and suicide bombers, why have they never raised the issue of those individuals accused by international human rights organisations and the UN? Is it because they are presently holding positions from Minister, Deputy Minister to party organizers within the Rajapaksa government? These individuals not only recruited child soldiers, they also paved the way for suicide bombings.
In September 2007, the Rajapaksa government smuggled the paramilitary leader Karuna alias Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, (the present Sri Lankan Deputy Minister) on a forged diplomatic passport to London, UK. Karuna was responsible for kidnapping and mass killings of innocent civilians in the East. He was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity by international human rights organisations.
It is disappointing to note BL’s misuse of the integrity of journalism, slandering individuals, to safeguard a government already known as a ‘failed state’. Does BL know anything about media freedom and the pathetic situation of media workers in Sri Lanka? If so, how many programmes have they produced about attacks on journalists and the numerous journalists who have sought asylum in foreign countries?
Surely, BL must have heard about the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda who was a cartoonist, political analyst and journalist in Sri Lanka. Prageeth was reported missing in January 2010. The former Attorney General of Sri Lanka said that ‘disappeared’ Prageeth was living abroad. Presently, one of the government’s Members of Parliament Arundhika Fernando says Prageeth is in France. This sends a cruel and confusing message to Prageeth’s family, anxiously waiting to hear any facts about Prageeth. Has BL taken any action to trace the fate of Prageeth or any other missing journalist in Sri Lanka?
Has BL not heard accusations against Sri Lanka’s UN Deputy permanent representative, Major General Shavendra Silva? How many international human rights organisations have raised questions about his appointment to the UN in New York? What about other military officials who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity and have been appointed as Ambassadors to different Sri Lankan embassies? Does, BL consider war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Sri Lankan security, worthy of reward?
BL and the government of Sri Lanka should understand that, tarnishing the name of Adele Balasingham or any other person is not the way for Sri Lanka to escape from its record of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
It’s good that BL raised the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Sri Lanka President Premadasa. Not only these two assassinations, all other assassinations and other mass murders should be condemned and the culprits brought to justice.
Rajiv Gandhi & Premadasa
Concerning the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, I don’t know whether BL recalls the attempted murder of Rajiv Gandhi that took place on 30 July 1987, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This was witnessed by his wife Sonia Gandhi. While the Indian Prime Minister visited Sri Lanka to sign the Indo-Lanka accord, he was inspecting the guard of honor in Colombo and a Sri Lankan Navy sailor struck him forcefully with the butt of his unloaded gun attempting to assassinate him.
It was believed that this was master-minded by those against the Indo-Lanka accord, especially then Prime Minister Premadasa and the National Security Minister Athulath Mudali. We should not forget that the present President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa was also against the Indo-Lanka accord and gave a slamming interview against India. In his interview, Mahinda Rajapaksa said: “Indians are going to occupy this land. They are going to take over this land. Already there are 100,000 soldiers in this country. Our fear is that they might come to down south and they may occupy this area. What will happen to us? And we will have to be another part of India!”……………….. (Excerpt)
However, military attacks and suicide bombings would not have been carried out with sticks and batons. So where are those who supplied military hardware to the LTTE? There is ample evidence that, in 1989, the Sri Lankan President Premadasa supplied arms to the LTTE to fight against the Indian army and the Tamil National Army –TNA, created by Varatharajah Perumal of EPRLF, the 1st Chief Minister of the North Eastern Provincial Council in December 1988. Army commanders who carried out arms supply under direct orders from President Premadasa are still living to relate the story to BL, if they are interested in making a documentary. There is a chapter about this arms supply in Adele Balasingham’s book “The Will to Freedom”, page 243 & 244 – “Request for Armed Assistance”.
The BL should remember that Sri Lanka was the 1st country in the world which gave a hero’s welcome to the hijacker of an Alitalia Boeing 747.
Alitalia was hijacked
On 30 June 1982, Alitalia Boeing 747 with 340 passengers was hijacked by one Sepala Ekanayake, a Singhalese from South of Sri Lanka while the aeroplane was between New Delhi and Tokyo. The plane was forced to land in Bangkok airport. After 35 hours of drama there, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Thailand personally went to the airport and assured Sepala that he could go to Sri Lanka without any fear.
Sri Lanka allowed the hijacker into the country, with 300,000 US dollars that the hijacker received as ransom from Alitalia. Sri Lanka took no action on this hijacker for several weeks, until international pressure mounted. Also Sri Lanka turned down the request from the Italian government that the hijacker be handed over to them.
This hijacker of Alitalia Boeing 747 is a strong supporter of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party and involved in the Party work in Pollanaruwa, Anuradhapura and Matalan districts. Sepala Ekanayake was one of the killers who massacred 53 Tamil unarmed political prisoners inside the Welikada prison in Colombo in July 1983.
Is BL aware that the person who made an attempted murder on Rajiv Gandhi and the person, who hijacked Alitalia, are today national heroes and are involved in politics in Sri Lanka.
American couple kidnapped
Since BL is based in USA, I am sure that they will be very interested in looking after the interests of Americans. In that case, is the BL aware of the American couple kidnapped in 1984 in Jaffna? Soon after the armed conflict started in Sri Lanka, two Americans known as the ‘Alan couple’ from Ohio in USA were kidnapped in Jaffna by Douglas Devananda’s group. Douglas Devananda of the EPDP is a Minister in the present cabinet in Sri Lanka.
Until today the Sri Lankan government has not taken any action against Douglas Devananda for kidnapping the American couple. How does the international community see this action?
See the double standards of the Rajapaksa government and one of its pied-pipers, BL!
Let us be frank! This is not the way Sri Lanka should be responding to the two resolutions voted in the UN Human Rights Council.
In conclusion, I will say that anyone can do anything under the sun, but at the end of the day if they support and praise the Rajapaksa government, they find themselves in the best government posts, with the portfolio of their choice. This is present-day Sri Lanka.
This is how BL and Rajapaksa government are addressing heinous allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, leveled at Sri Lanka by the International Community.