Cuba Hosted Sri Lanka Pres/War Criminal

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By Ron Ridenour -

Ron

Ron Ridenour

HAVANA TIMES — “Cuban President Receives Counterpart from Sri Lanka” read the Prensa Latina headline of June 17. The agency reported that the four-day official visit by President Mahinda Rajapaksa was at the invitation of President Raul Castro.

Does this mean that the “honored guest”—widely known to be one of the world’s most brutal government leaders, responsible for tens of thousands of deaths of the Tamil people, who is also selling much of his country to foreign multi-nationals corporations, and whose main export partner is the United States—is made of the same stuff as his “counterpart”?

“Cuba is acting immorally and in contradiction to its long-time solidarity with the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world,” I wrote in “Cuba outvoted at “UN Human Rights Council over Sri Lanka-Tamils”.  (See also “Cuba’s Contradictory Stance on Tamils”)

There is ample evidence that Sri Lankan governments have long been discriminating against, oppressing and murdering Tamils. Besides physical violence, the government has passed laws making Tamils second-class citizens.

They are denied equal access to education and employment; their religions and language are not on an equal footing with Sinhalese and their aggressiv version of Buddhism. My recent book, “Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka”, outlines this sordid history.

Sri-Lankan-President-Mahind-300x240

Sri Lankan President Mahind Rajapaksa and Cuban President Raul Castro.

So, why is the Cuban government supporting this and the previous Sinhalese chauvinist governments? Havana Times offers some answers in “Will Sri Lanka Tamils get justice from the UN?

The foreign politics of the Cuban government is based, in large part and understandably so, on its rancor with the United States for its permanent intrusion in Cuban affairs as well as that of many other peoples and governments who do not buckle under its domination.

Recently, the US has leveled complaints that the Sri Lanka government overstepped its right to destroy the guerrilla organization Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by bombing civilians.

Most of the 47 governments on the Human Rights Council, including six Latin American governments, agreed.

This is not to be construed as an offering of applause to the world’s greatest terrorist state, for the US makes this “human rights” gesture for its own hypocritical geo-political reasons, which the writing above explains.

Since the US-UK axis makes an insignificant complaint about this, Cuba’s government, in a knee jerk fashion, is all the more enthusiastic about being chummy with a government that systematically eliminates Tamils in a genocidal pattern.

By so reacting, Cuba has turned its back on its own solidarity principles of standing beside all oppressed and exploited peoples. (1)

As a long-time supporter of the Cuban revolution—since my first demonstration, which took place in April 1961 in front of a US federal building as the Yankees invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and through to working for Prensa Latina and Editorial José Martí in the 1980s-90s, and with hundreds of articles and six books on Cuba to my credit—I am sickened by the Cuban government’s hypocritical support of Rajapaksa and his family regime and, consequently, the immoral acceptance of the genocide against a minority people. I am certain that if Che Guevara were around he would rant and rave, and that is what I ask all solidarity supporters of Cuba to do.
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(1) “Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies.” Fidel Castro told Lee Lockwood in “Castro’s Cuba, Cuba’s Fidel”.

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51 Responses to Cuba Hosted Sri Lanka Pres/War Criminal

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    Wasn’t Fidel also responsible for horrendous human-rights abuses in his day? And even today, is it possible to be openly critical of Fidel and the government without dire consequences? We probably have more ‘freedoms’ here in Sri Lanka than exists in Cuba, although I may be wrong here (corrections are welcome)!

    Java Jones
    June 22, 2012 at 5:44 am
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    Che Guevara never ‘ranted and raved’, except according to demented Miami propagandists. Anyway, his widow Aleida March and children Camilo and Aleidita, would have known what he would or would not have done far better than Ron Ridenour– who I believe, relocated from Cuba ( despite the name of his website) and has not been welcome there for a while. Aleida welcomed Mahinda Rajapaksa and presented him with some books of Che. How many Sri Lankan Presidents or leaders have visited Che’s home? And how many leaders have sat with the families of the Cuban Five– the political prisoners? Sri Lanka’s elected president did–DESPITE being under Western scrutiny and pressure.

    Dr Dayan Jayatilleka
    June 22, 2012 at 7:04 am
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      Dayan why don’t you read more about you Che at http://rjverbrugge.net/CheKillingMachine.pdf

      Buddadasa
      June 22, 2012 at 9:06 am
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        Dayan ia great admirer of the cuban leadership. His PhD thesis was titled “The political thought of Fidel Castro”. He said that “Fidel is the single greatest figure to have been born in in the 20th century and one of the greatest political figures in the 20th century. http://chandare.blogspot.com/2009/01/dayan.html I wonder whether he thinks that Mahinda Rajapakse is an equal of Fidel Castro.

        DAS
        June 23, 2012 at 11:22 am
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          Dear Das, No way. No way at all.

          Dr Dayan Jayatilleka
          June 24, 2012 at 8:27 am
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      Dr Dayan Jayatilleka Surely had Che survived all these attempts to silence him permanently he would have inspired the youth of all nations in not so small measure. As a consequence there would have been changes to people’s perception of what is right and wrong (as opposed to what is right and left) in respect of governance. Had Che survived I am confident that JRs, Premadasas, Rajabakses would never have succeeded to throne in the first place. Had Che survived you and other cronies would never have had a chance to hold higher positions and blow your own trumpet. It was Che’s mistake to die at a young age otherwise we would have had completely different world today void of the current cronies. There would not have been a need for Che’s wife to meet alleged war criminals and their cronies had Che survived. You write: “presented him with some books of Che.” What was the purpose of this gift? To educate him? Does the president secretly feel indebted to Prabaharan for helping him win the elections? Do you too feel that way? If there was no VP, neither RP nor MR would have hired you as gunslinger in the international forums. Remember Indra Gandhi and JR used to exchange books, it didn’t stop her from kicking JR’s a.se.

      Native Vedda
      June 23, 2012 at 8:50 am
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        Yeah well, Native Vedda, Che’s comrades in the struggle who happen to be ranking Cuban communists, would know better than you about what Che’s prefernces would have been. Unfortunately for you, I happen to be the only Asian whose essay on Che’s 40th death anniversary was written on invitation and published in the Granma, the organ of the central committee of the Cuban Communist party’s central committee.

        Dr Dayan Jayatilleka
        June 24, 2012 at 8:34 am
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          Dr Dayan Jayatilleka Had Che lived for few more years the world would have been slightly better place to live where opportunists would have had little chance of blowing their own trumpet after killing so many innocent civilians. To say the least you would not have had the opportunity to write a book on Che. Or for that matter JR, RP and MR stood no chance of becoming leaders of the island, hence depriving you of all the razzmatazz you now enjoy. Razzmatazz meaning: noisy and noticeable activity, intended to attract attention A flashy action or display intended to bewilder, confuse, or deceive. Ambiguous or evasive language; double talk. You haven’t commented my question: Does the president secretly feel indebted to Prabaharan for helping him win the elections?

          Native Vedda
          June 24, 2012 at 11:19 am
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          Native, how would Che Guevara have had any influence on SL? His power was only ever that of the Cuban state. Probably, like all young revolutionaries, he would have grown up and settled down on his feet of clay.

          David Blacker
          June 27, 2012 at 6:24 am
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      Btw, DAYAN, I have a question for you. Do you at all believe ” There is ample evidence that Sri Lankan governments have long been discriminating against, oppressing and murdering Tamils. Besides physical violence, the government has passed laws making Tamils second-class citizens”. Can any experienced jourlist write like that without acceptable references (as Rajiva always reiterates in his speeches/articles – when we accuse of any parties – we as academics are taught to add references)?.

      Asanga
      June 24, 2012 at 10:40 am
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      This could be useful out of his CV- I think the particular Journalist have a history to be bitter against the other folks – when looking at his history. ———————————————————————— Copied and pasted from his biodata: Born in the “devil’s own country” of a WASP military family, 1939. Growing up I experienced the pains and indignities of US imperial domination, its jingoistic wars, its chauvinism and racism at home and abroad. Before I understood the essence of US imperialism, I joined the US Air Force, at 17, when the Soviet Union occupied Hungary in 1956, to fight the “commies”. Posted to a radar site in Japan, I witnessed approved segregated barracks in the Yankee base, and the imposition of racism in Japanese establishments. I protested and was tortured by my white “compatriots”, who held me down naked, sprayed DDT aflame over my pubic hairs, and then held me under snow. This, and the fact that we had orders to shoot down any Soviet aircraft over “our” territory in Japan—which never appeared—while we flew spy planes over the Soviet Union daily, led me to question American “morality”. In shame and anger at what the US really does against peoples at home and around the globe, I took responsibility. My first demonstration was in Los Angeles against the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. The Cuban revolution inspired me to become an activist, and I helped build the budding student and anti-war movements just forming when I entered college, as well as participating in the civil rights movement. I was an activist during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer campaign to force the state to allow black people simply the right to vote. I later supported the Black Panther Party, and supported other liberation movements inside the monster and in solidarity with/for revolutionary movements throughout Latin American. During the 1960s and 70s, I was jailed a dozen times, once for half-a-year, and spent a week in a Costa Rica prison for trying to travel to Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis. I was part of the Wounded Knee occupation by Native Americans (1974) for a time and helped with media promotion. In the mid-70s, the Southeast Asians, aided by international solidarity movements, won its sovereignty. Soon thereafter, I obtained 1,000 censored pages of dossiers various National Security Council “intelligence” agencies had on me. I began working as a reporter in 1967. I was fired from three dailies (Hanford Sentinel, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Hollywood Reporter) for failing to self-censor my reportage and for union organizing efforts, as well as support for the Black Panthers. In the early 1970s, I reported for and edited several alternative“underground” weeklies, including the “Los Angeles Free Press” and the “L.A. Vanguard”. FBI, CIA, Los Angeles Police Department’s red squad all tailed and harassed me, even to the point of forging tax return papers in an attempt to show the left and anti-war movement that I was one of their many spies. In 1980, I moved to Denmark for love of Grethe and hate of the US. Between 1982 and 1996, I traveled to and lived for nearly nine years in Nicaragua and Cuba, where I translated, wrote and edited for Cuba’s foreign publishing house, Editorial José Martí, and Cuba’s news agency, Prensa Latina. I have also traveled in Venezuela and Bolivia and written about their revolutions. I have been a special correspondent or free lance for many publications in the US, several Latin American and European countries—among them: The Morning Star, New Statesman, The Guardian (US and England), Playboy, Liberation News Service, Pacific News Service and Pacifica Radio, Coast, Qui, Skeptic, Sevendays…” I have also written for many Danish publications–Copenhagen weekly Politisk Review weekly, Relief, Information–as well as worked in ecological agricultural, lectured in schools, painted houses and held other odd jobs in Denmark. I have been an anti-war activist and have acted in solidarity with the resistance movements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia and Palestine.

      Anto
      June 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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    Dayan,Were you in the plane load to Cuba?

    silva
    June 22, 2012 at 7:15 am
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    “Widely known to be one of the world’s most brutal government leaders?” President Mahinda Rajapaksa? Don’t be ridiculous! Ron Ridenour has been blinded by propaganda – along with quite a few others, it seems.

    Dr Romesh Senewiratne
    June 22, 2012 at 7:21 am
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      Where did you buy your title, from Berlusconi?

      Vasu
      June 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm
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        I graduated in medicine at the University of Queensland, Australia in 1983.

        Dr Romesh Senewiratne
        June 23, 2012 at 1:58 am
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      Did you get your title from the same place as Mervyn Silva?

      Sri
      June 23, 2012 at 4:30 am
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      He is exagerating as no other any other journalitst- even 10 year old could write like that. I wonder what qualification this journalists have ever collected to express his sorta subjectives views that irresponsibly wihtout any references added.

      Asanga
      June 24, 2012 at 10:47 am
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    Silva, Nope.

    Dr Dayan Jayatilleka
    June 22, 2012 at 9:02 am
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      I wonder how Dayan J and Romesh S would have reacted had the roles of the Tamils and the Sinhalese were reversed, where the Sinhalese were the minority and made to suffer at the hands of the majority Tamils? and you call these buggers Intellectuals?

      gamini
      June 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm
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        Gamini, as it turns out, my genetics is mixed. My mother’s side of the family identify themselves as “Tamil” and “Dravidian”. My father’s side identify themselves as “Sinhala” and “Aryan”. Both my parents publicly identify themselves as “Christians” (of the Anglican faith). I regard myself as neither Singhalese nor Tamil, since I am fluent in neither language, having been born in England and studied in the English medium at Trinity before migrating to Australia when I was 15 (in 1976). As such, I am not well-informed regarding the current situation in Sri Lanka and have to rely on media reports and what I am told by others. My own research into my ancestry and the history of Sri Lanka suggests that, as the Native Vedda frequently reminds us, the original people of Sri Lanka were Veddas, whose ancestors have lived on the island for tens of thousands of years. During that enormous period of time Sri Lanka has been joined by a land bridge to South India several times. Excavations in Anuradhapura and Sigiriya have shown evidence of civilizations that were older than the supposed arrival date of Vijaya. As far as I am concerned, Singhalese and Tamil are two related languages spoken by two related communities. One language or “culture” (however the term is interpreted) does not need to dominate the other, and people will benefit by learning both – in addition to learning Swahili, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian, Burmese…and maybe even English.

        Dr Romesh Senewiratne
        June 23, 2012 at 2:23 am
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          Romesh, I find difficult to understand no matter you being born in the UK and not being conversant in either Sinhala or Tamil is no excuse for your ignorance of the recent history of the country after Independence, where the so called majority Sinhalese have virtually denied the rights of a Tamil speaking minority. Infact my children too were born in the UK and now both have dual citizenship and familied separately, both are much aware of the situation. Prior to the advent of the British the country was under a Monarch the seat of reining being Kandy. The subjects were vassals and it was the British who emancipated the masses with an education which was a pre-requisite for employment in a system of administration, introduced by the British. Except a few Sinhalese who became Christians to acquire an education, like your father, Tamils by the number took education seriously to find employment. When we regained our Independence in 1948 there was an out of proportion of Tamils holding white collar employment in the Govt. Service. By no means that these Tamils were favoured by the British as all had the required qualifications nor had any crept through the back door as happened after Independence where the mediocre Sinhalese were favoured by the Native Administration. This situation enabled many a Sinhalese Politicians to come to power through the language issue, promising Sinhala in 24 hours. The Tamil’s pleas were never adressed although many a promise was made prior to elections by all govts. that came in to power. So is it any wonder why the Tamils took to arms and these Sinhalese Morons today talk of Terrorism of the Tamils as if they have been paragons of virtue. Therefore you should be more circumspect when you try to pass judgement on your own father, who naturally is carrying a lone crusade or on the War Criminals who are governing this country today.

          gamini
          June 23, 2012 at 10:46 am
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        Silva, Gamini, Vasu ans Sri Guys – I have come across both Dayan and Romesh while I spent few years in Brisbane. I am sure Dayan must have read his PhD from Griffth University (Nathen Campus) whereas Romesh read his MBBS in QU. These two chaps are not from the same class like Minister (Dr.)Maravin Siva. Hope Silva you are not a relative of Maravin Silva.

        Vanga Rajagurunathan
        June 23, 2012 at 7:49 am
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          Vanga, I have often repeated that, ‘Erudition alone does not maketh a man, but a lot of common sense will’. Under the present sensory perceptive knowledge based education system, it is a matter of representing what is learned that enables one to achieve a higher degree of qualification over others. This does not mean, unless such individual posses an intuitive mind his qualifictions will be of no use to society or himself and they will be controvercial characters in society. We find them dime a dozen and so in this blog as well. Lord Buddha did not pass examinations for him to achieve enlightenment. Infact all branches of study in science and art had been found much much before these degreed individuals or the present system of education was found around a five hundred years ago. Even the best of edifices that are seen the world over had been built by self made Engineers long before the Institutions were born.

          gamini
          June 23, 2012 at 10:58 am
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      Hey Dayan, how do you know about Romesh’s title? Maybe YOU got it from the same place as Silva. Anyway don’t try to talk on behalf of others. Romesh might have a brain to think for himself, without having other no brainers answer for him.

      Sri
      June 23, 2012 at 4:36 am
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        If you read the comment carefully, Sri, you’ll see that Dayan wasn’t answering for me. He was saying “no” to the question as to whether he was in the plane load to Cuba.

        Dr Romesh Senewiratne
        June 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm
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        What on earth are you talking about, Sri? I never wrote anything about Romesh’s title…or Romesh.

        Dr Dayan Jayatilleka
        June 24, 2012 at 8:29 am
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    To the critics of my piece and understanding of Sri Lankan brutality and genocide against the Tamil people. Regardless of what you think of the LTTE, for whom I am not a mouthpiece, the facts are that there is a long history of discrimination, inequality, physical abuse, murder, pogroms and, according to UN definition, actual genocide committed by the Sinhalese governments, many Buddhist monks, and political parties practiced against the Tamil people. I am certain that Che would not have supported that. Another fact is that I have never been told or indicated in any way that I am not welcome in Cuba. I lived and worked there for eight years, including as a translator and reporter for Prensa Latina and as a translator, author and consultant for Editorial José Martí. The fact that Raul Castro hosted this brutal president–who also beguiles much of the Sinhalese working class and favors the wealthy in both Sri Lanka and the mulitinational corporations–and that Che’s wife embraced him is very very sad. They are wrong, simply, and I can say that regardless of the fact that I am not Cuban and no longer live there. They have been beguiled by false international politics based upon opportunism for the need of “friends” in the international scene, and by knee-jerk geo-politics not unlike the Soviet Union in the old days, which often did not back up oppressed peoples, as Che has pointed out. I don’t know how Sinhalese persons writing here can deny that Rajapaksa (and the other presidents since 1948, especially since 1956, have not been brutal against Tamils of S.L., of India, of Muslim and indigenous peoples. You are the ones who are blind. Yes, it is true that it is not possible to criticize Fidel and Raul in public. No, human rights abuse on the scale of US, Sri Lanka never occurred in Cuba. “Dissidents” arrested and jailed were, more often than not, paid for subversion of the state by the US government and its allies in Spain. But what has gone wrong for some years now in Cuba is a foreign policy based on “pragmatism”, that is opportunism. Sri Lanka is one of 133 countries in the NAM, and apparently the Cuban government sees no practical benefit in supporting a small minority without any territory or wealth or power. That is the sad reality of international politics today.

    Ron Ridenour
    June 22, 2012 at 10:24 am
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      Ron, you have exposed yourself with these. That shows how dumb you were. You people believe everything as gospel. Because, that is how you were taught. On the other hand, we are taught NOT to believe a for any reason, OUT OF RESPECT,OUT OF SYMPATHY, BECAUSE it is the respected and Reverend teacher said etc., etc., SL – President go to other countries and to establish DemoCrazy. What he did was very claer to the whole world except for people like you.

      Jimsofty
      June 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm
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        Jimsofty, your ire against Ron Ridenour for stating the truth to call him dumb suits you better. Facts are facts. If not for the stepmotherly treatment meted to the Tamils this Sri Lankan society would have benifited in many ways for all to live comfortably today and most of all to have prevented the riff raff from assuming Political Power as the present lot would not have had a chance. The bane of this country had been the labled Buddhists and the rogue Buddhist Priests who have brought havoc to this Nation. I am ashamed as a Sinhalese and as a follower of the Buddhist Philosophy, to see my country and it’s people torn assunder by forces within and outside, for the Corrupt mediocre to enjoy the benifits.

        gamini
        June 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm
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      Ron, you are wrong to accuse the Government of Sri Lanka of genocide. My own research, conducted in Australia since 1995, indicates that HIV/AIDS was developed as a biological weapon and used to counter the “threat of overpopulation” in Africa, Asia, South America and other parts of the Third World. It was a premeditated act of genocide, orchestrated by the governments of the USA, UK and other First World nations, via the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO). You can read the 2010 version of my book “Eugenics and Genocide in the Modern World: the cause of the AIDS epidemic?” here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/71007453/Eugenics-and-Genocide-in-the-Modern-World-the-cause-of-the-AIDS-epidemic-by-Romesh-Senewiratne-2010-edition

      Dr Romesh Senewiratne
      June 23, 2012 at 2:05 am
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        Dear Dr Senewiratne, The killings commenced soon after independence. They are documented.The successive governments did nothing. Your father and Ron Ridenour are quite correct. http://nesohr.org/hrr/?show=all

        DAS
        June 24, 2012 at 10:36 am
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          DAS, I had a look at the weblink you provided, but when I clicked on what was claimed to be evidence ‘Genocide in Trincomalee’ I received a warning that the website may carry a virus. I did have a look at the evidence of “Massacres of Tamils from 1956 to 2002″, which seems to only be available in Tamil. I looked through it briefly and think it would be valuable if it could be translated to English and submitted to the United Nations and International Criminal Court if it hasn’t been already. The notes and photographs from 2009 do not seem to differentiate between LTTE soldiers and civilians (medical report of Dr Shanmugarajah). The letter expressing concern about the safety of these doctors who worked in LTTE-occupied Sri Lanka (which is in English) reflects the usual LTTE propaganda about “genocide” facing the Tamil people. As I have written elsewhere, the only genocide in Sri Lanka was PERPETRATED by the LTTE. The information on this website is important evidence, however, since it provides details of people who were killed and injured – as well as evidence about the standard of medical care that was afforded to them when parts of the North and East of Sri Lanka were controlled by the Tamil Tigers. From what I have seen this standard of care was not high. To say the least.

          Dr Romesh Senewiratne
          June 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm
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    Perhaps even if I agree to RON for most of the parts. As a Che supporter I was bit upset that they have hosted president who is gunning for Marxists in SL. However Ron says – Besides physical violence, the government has passed laws making Tamils second-class citizens. – Which law is that RON? For example my father’s boss was a Tamil (he died not so,long ago). I had few great Tamil teachers in My collage teaching us. Are they second class Tamils? For example people like Dr Pradeep Jeganathan who finished Harward, Dr Saravanamuththu are the second class? Or are you talking about poor Tamils? Ron poor Tamils and Poor Sinhales are second class citizens in this country exactly as the same way poor Hispanics and blacks are in US.

    Gamaya1
    June 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm
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    Ron, the issue in Sri Lanka is not as much ‘Sinhala’ vs ‘Tamil’ as ‘Powerful and Resourceful Elite’ vs ‘Uneducated Mass Society’. There are far more Sinhala people in the country who have been abused and discriminated by past rulers and politics than Tamils. There are also many, many, many extremely poor Sinhalese in the country. The war in Sri Lanka was a source of fruit for a corrupt few on both sides. And articles like yours feed them. Reports such as yours force division amongst Sri Lankans along Sinhala and Tamil lines. The fact to the matter is, more Tamils were killed by Tamils during the last 30 years, and many Sinhalese were also killed by Sinhalese in this time, all for power. If you truly want justice, then you need to address the real issue. You clearly show knowledge of Sinhalese also being ill-treated by past and present governments, yet your main talk is about Sinhalese mistreating Tamils. Where is your compassion for the Sinhalese? The truth is, all Sri Lankans need a fair chance, and for that to happen, people like you need to encourage unity amongst the people, so they can stand up to the powerful and corrupt who oppress them. What reports like yours achieve is to define the ‘Sinhalese’ as an evil race that has nothing better to do than go around discriminating Tamils. This is a very ‘hollywood’ style story. Good guys Vs Bad. The truth is, Sri Lanka is a poor country, with a lot of uneducated people who are vulnerable to being manipulated by corrupt and resourceful leaders. These leaders crave division and war, as that keeps them in power. The Tamils and Sinhalese, together with Muslims and Christians, are all victims of this selfish behaviour of a few. Not just Tamils! So I beg of you, if you truly want these corrupt people to be removed from power, then be more tactful when presenting your arguments. Articles like this are exactly what politicians back in Sri Lanka depend on to divide our relatively uneducated society. Much like red-necks in America, there are factions of society in Sri Lanka who can be easily manipulated with patriotic gibberish. But that doesn’t mean the whole of the Sinhala race are a bunch of blood thirsty murderers.

    Navin Weeraratne
    June 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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      Navin Navin said “the issue in Sri Lanka is not as much ‘Sinhala’ vs ‘Tamil’ as ‘Powerful and Resourceful Elite’ vs ‘Uneducated Mass Society”. In which group, are you classified yourself please?

      Vanga Rajagurunathan
      June 23, 2012 at 7:55 am
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    Ridenour obviously does not know that four decades ago, at the very time that the JVP insurrection of 1971 was being suppressed by Mrs Bandaranaike’s government, her son Mr Anura Bandaranaike was an honoured guest in Havana.

    Dr Dayan Jayatilleka
    June 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm
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    Some comments here sympathaize with Ridenour saying he did not know and try to explain the real problem. I don’t believe that way. Before writing he should have studied the situation instead of writing lies

    Jimsofty
    June 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm
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    Dayan, I have a question for you… why are your government not treating the Tamil living in the central province equally? Cant your government give citizenship to all the Tamil living estates…Why your and previous government treating them like a slaves…. dont you think they are our citizens? Most Sinhala people are not willing to treat other communities equally. I am sorry to say but most of them are scum bags and opportunist.

    chen
    June 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm
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      Chen It seems you are either unaware of the bigger picture, or purposely cherry picking the truth to create a misleading image. Firstly, the Sri Lankan Tamil community itself has differentiated itself from the ‘Hill Country Tamils’ of Sri Lanka. So the roots for this division, and resulting hardships of these people, originate from within the Tamil community itself. I agree that the majority Sinhalese Governments have not made things any easier for them. If you look at the UNHCR’s assessment of rights for the Hill Country Tamils, you will note that many efforts, such as those of Mr. Thondaman, have been successful at gaining citizenship and basic human rights for the Hill Country Tamils. There was a further movement in 2003 that lead to many more being granted citizenship. The problem remains, Sri Lanka is a poor and uneducated country. It is not only the Tamils, or a certain faction of Tamils, that struggle in this country. Those of us with access to education and the opportunity to see the bigger picture, should use those opportunities to produce something constructive. Not stay glued to pin-hole and biased perspectives and continue to encourage division and ignorance. If we don’t use the opportunities we have to make a difference, then what do you expect those without the opportunities to achieve?

      Navin Weeraratne
      June 23, 2012 at 12:56 am
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    We can start again an non alligned pact with some of these corruped countries like ours. Syria, Zimbabwe, Congo, Cuba, Ruanda and some other countries may join with us to build a pact against East and West, North and South and all other alliances All these countries could replace India, Egypt and Yugoslavia But there is one issue, we don´t have any other concept than having Bhakti to Cuba and some devotees like Dayan and Tammara This will be again a concept like Mahawamsa and Mahinda Chintanaya

    Vasu
    June 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm
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    To my critics Dayan, Navin and Gamaya, Dayan: So we both know Che, but we understand him differently. He never advocated or practiced torture, mass murder, genocide. See my series, “Solidarity and Resistance: 50 years with Che” http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/04/solidarity-and-resistance-50-years-with-che/ . Navin: You make some good points and are wrong about some things. Yes, the key division is class, but religion-caste-nationalism also play a special role in much of Southern Asia. Ignorance is used to keep Sinhalese and Tamils separate as is systematic violence, yes also between Sinhalese and Sinhalese. But even self-described Marxist-Guevarists such as JVP acted discriminatorily and brutally against their own Sinhalese critics and Tamils. And I have spoken with Sinhalese in the Diaspora in the Left Front about this and read many accounts of how JVP conducted their just struggle for the working class. But they fell into the national chauvinist trap against Tamils who, in the great majority, sought autonomy or nationhood after three decades of peaceful protest seeking equality within one nation. It is ridiculous to claim that more Tamils were killed by Tamils than by Sinhalese. There was often daily bombings in the North especially over a 25-30 year period by the Sinhalese military. There are the white vans, the incarceration without due prcess, the routine torture, the confiscation or destruction of Tamil homes, businesses and even temples and gravesites. So, yes, my “main talk is about Sinhalese mistreating Tamils”, sanctioned by most of the so-called Buddhist monks and their JHU. I have compassion for any people who act in solidarity with others, and some Sinhalese have done so, but all too few. Yes, perhaps I should be more tactful. But I gave up acting tactically, diplomatically and have for some years concentrated on seeking and telling the truth as it can be known. My role in life is more to point out the problems, the evils and work with organizers who use the truth to wage battles for justice. I have tried to do so with Indian Tamils in Tamil Nadu and other Indian states and in London among Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese in the Diaspora. That is also why I am so critical of Cuba in the recent years. The government has abandoned too many of the original principles of the revolution, which was and must be for all people equally. Tamils are clearly victims of many evils: capitalism, imperialism, religious opiate, racism, linquistic chauvinism, internal divisions. And when it comes to who to side with in grave conflicts, such as this one, or the red-necks in the US, as you pointed out, and the black people, I have and will always side with the most oppressed, and if the ignorant Sinhalese and red-necks side with the powerful and corrupt system and its leaders then they must be condemned as well. I hope others can be effective in educating them. I know I cannot. My anger is too great. Gamaya (and Navin): You apparently do not know the political-juridical history of your country very well when you dispute that Tamils have been and are treated as second class citizens. First of all those Tamils who were forced to Sri Lanka as coolies by the Brits many generations ago were denied their franchise right from the get-go in 1948. They lost their place in parliament, including seven MPs. See the Ceylon Citizenship Act. And while the native Tamils did nothing or little to support them it was not they who made the law. Then, in 1956. the Sinhalese chauvinists enacted the Sinhala Only Act making Sinhala the only official language. When Tamils conducted sit-in protests civilian Sinhalese led by Buddhists and supported by government police conducted a murderous pogrom. When Buddhism became, essentially, the only official religion, in 1958, (which was “standarised” in 1972), the second pogrom was unleashed. Then, in the early 1960s, S. Bandaranaike used the language provision to eliminate and prevent Tamils from employment in government, civild service, police and military. Tamils had to score higher grades on exams than Sinhalese, in order to enter universities. More pogroms were allowed in 1977, 1981, 1983–and this was before the various Tamil guerrilla groups really got off the ground. The most important cultural heritage of Tamils were burned down in the Jaffna library, very much like what the Yankees did in Iraq. In all these pogroms, many thousands of Tamils were beaten, mutiliated and even burned to death. Yes, some Sinhalese came to their aid on a one-to-one basis. That was brotherly-sisterly of them to take such risks, and some were killed because of it. Among them are several Sinhalese journalists, such as Lasantha. You should know, for example, that 34 journalists–Tamils and Sinhalese–have been murdered under the R. regime. And many more have escaped into exile. Some have started the website: http://www.jdslanka.org Besides making this point to you all, think for a minute about Che, and Cuba’s government honoring the most brutal of all Sinhalese presidents. Is what I report, simply stating historical facts, the kind of society, the kind of governments that Che Guevara would have supported? Can you readers really deny that the R. regime has tortured thousands of Tamils, and, yes, some Sinhalese? Can you deny that he had his military bomb civilians unmercifully for many months, allowed his troops and police to kidnap, rape, murder? And yes allow his Tamil cohorts in the paramilitary groups led by former Tamil guerrila nationalists—Devananda, Pulikal, Karuna–to do the same. There are always uncle toms and turn-coats among any oppressed people. Some people, such as many Colombo Tamils among them Tamara Kunanayakan, prefer to sell out their people (Obama is like that, too) than take the risk of solidarity. Genocide, according to the UN Convention of 1948, entered into force January 12, 1951, states: “Article II: …genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group…a)Killing members of the group; b)Causing serious bodly or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” Videos, satallite photos, eye-witness accounts of many people Tamils and non-Tamils, public and media reports, physical evidence, cadavars are ample proof that not only mass murder, war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as on-going genocide, has been committed against not only Tamil guerrillas but hundreds of thousands of civilians. If you critical readers do not face up to these facts then you side with the perpetrators.

    Ron Ridenour
    June 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm
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    Please make two corrections. In the next to last paragraph the word should be “cadavers” and add Romesh to my list of critics. Thank you.

    Ron Ridenour
    June 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm
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    Ron, nice of you to include me in your growing list of critics. Your account of the history of Sri Lanka and the oppression of Tamil-speaking people is misleading and inaccurate in many respects. It is a version of history that I am familiar with, though, having grown up surrounded by LTTE propaganda. I find it curious that you completely omit the oppression of Tamils by the “Tamil guerillas” as you call them. It is true that the LTTE waged guerilla warfare, but they used tactics that were more than deplorable – they were deeply evil. It is important, if you want to understand the truth of the matter, that you research the use, by the LTTE, of cyanide and other poisons (including neurotoxins). Ask some questions about the way the LTTE “doctors” and “health workers” were trained by the likes of doctors John Whitehall and Brian Senewiratne. Ask about the business of supplying artificial limbs for people whose legs were blown off by landmines planted by the LTTE. Ask for details about the LTTE Blood Bank and tissue sampling. Ask about the terrorisation Tamil people were subjected to by the Tamil Tigers – about the stealing of their children to be groomed into suicide bombers and child soldiers, about their “justice system” which involved publicly shooting the people who had been “found guilty” by the LTTE courts. Under the LTTE’s laws any dissent was punished. Generations of Tamil children were denied multilingual education and basic education in science, history and geography because of a crazy desire to establish a mono-ethnic, monolingual state founded on the false view of history that you, Ron, seem to have swallowed.

    Dr Romesh Senewiratne
    June 25, 2012 at 1:31 am
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      Romesh, you seem to opine on this subject of Tamil Oppression as an expert to deny that it was never the case. You accuse that Ron and Donald are distorting facts. Mate, in the first place you being born and living outside the country, publicly admitting that you are neither conversant in Tamil nor Sinhalese except for a couple of years in my alma mater, how can you express any opinion at all? You are the last person who can say anything, as you have to depend on mere hearsay.

      gamini
      June 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm
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        Gamini, the fact that I am not fluent in Sinhalese and cannot understand or speak Tamil is not a reason for me to be silent on Sri Lanka. I am, after all, commenting in an expatriate-run news paper in the English language. I am mostly commenting on what I know about the LTTE, having been exposed to LTTE propaganda since I was a child (despite living in Australia). Also I do not regard the 7 years I lived in Kandy and studied at Trinity College to be “a couple of years”. I learned a great deal about Sri Lanka during that time, including enough Singhalese to pass my O Levels. I did academically well in Trinity, and won the English medium class prize every year from 1969 to 1975. I also won the C.J.Oorloff scholarship for the best student in year 8 and several subject prizes in year 10. I have never mentioned these things in a public forum, and please don’t think me pompous or boastful. With the wisdom of age I don’t think much of prizes and prize-givings. Winning prizes is usually a consequence of intellectual obedience rather than free thinking. I do think, though, that my education and performance in Trinity College and my years in Sri Lanka (I was told we were moving to Brisbane in 1975 – I wasn’t given a choice) does qualify me to comment on Sri Lanka in the Colombo Telegraph. Unfortunately, having had my early childhood years in England, I never gained what I regard as fluency in Singhalese. Though my mother and grandparents regarded themselves as “Tamil” they spoke English at home, and I never learned this beautiful language other than recognising some Tamil letters and numbers. Gamini, I think Singhalese and Tamil are both rich, beautiful languages with delightful scripts. They are not “races” or “ethnic groups” (I dislike this term since it is so often used to create division). These languages are closely related in the bigger scheme of things, and the Singhalese and Tamil people are also closely related, in the bigger picture. I agree with Navin that it is possible to be against the LTTE and not for the government. This is true. My objective in this forum is to share what I know about the LTTE and how I know it – I am not qualified, as you say, to venture my opinion about the present government of Sri Lanka and the lives of people in Sri Lanka today nor what the people of Sri Lanka want. That’s why I avoid doing so. I do have some insights into what are common human needs, though, including peace, justice and friendship.

        Dr Romesh Senewiratne
        June 27, 2012 at 12:58 am
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          Romesh, to quote you, ‘I am not qualified, as you say, to venture my opinion about the present government of Sri Lanka and the lives of people in Sri Lanka today nor what the people of Sri Lanka want. That’s why I avoid doing.’ Although you admit that you are unaware of the present political firmament, you say you avoid commenting and you do exactly that when you try to defend the present administration or individuals in position, when they are exposed of their misdeeds. There is nothing special that your are privy to the LTTE doings as it is public knowledge. Have you asked yourself as to what gave rise to the LTTE attrocities? I wonder!

          gamini
          June 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm
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    David Blacker I think you belong to a much younger generation to understand the profound effect he had had on young generation at the time. He inspired not only Latin Americans but people world over. Even the reactionary JVP was popularly known as Che Guevara in Sri Lanka even in the late sixties. Coincidentally (?) Wijeweera modeled himself on Che’s image so were many through out the world. He was more popular than Castro or any other Latin revolutionary leaders. The film Motor Cycle Diaries brilliantly captures the man and his mission. Please watch it if you haven’t done so yet. Revolutions don’t start just with clicking the fingers, but definitely by inspiring leaders. Che was one of the rare breed. He never wanted to settle down though Castro offered him permanent seat in the ruling junta. His iconic images still sell well through out the world be it posters, t shirts, biographies, ….. The important part of his life and work was that Che refused to settle down. Indeed he was an Itinerant Revolutionary who stretched the imagination of ordinary people and inspired them to challenge the most brutal corrupt Latin American regimes backed by the imperial powers.

    Native Vedda
    June 27, 2012 at 7:35 am
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      OK, let me rephrase the question. How would he have influenced SL in the way you suggest above?

      David Blacker
      June 27, 2012 at 9:48 am
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      Native, do not waste your time with idiots who do not exist.

      gamini
      June 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm
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        Yes, better waste it on idiots who do exist — like Gamini rolf

        David Blacker
        June 29, 2012 at 7:41 am
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    The website posted by Buddadasa above shows Che Guevara in a new light – that of a cold blooded killer/executioner. I browsed it only now. If the contents are correct,this is a terrible revealation.

    DAS
    June 29, 2012 at 11:54 am
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