21 September, 2020

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Elephant On The Table: The Vast Majority Of the Sinhala Nation

By Anandaraj L. Ponnambalam –

Anandaraj L. Ponnambalam

Truth, Accountability, and Justice: The Need of the Hour to End Impunity  

In this article, the fourth[i] on this subject, I wish to assert that if the right thinking people of the Sinhala Nation join in the world-wide effort currently underway for an international independent investigation of the Mullivaikkal massacre, it will not only be achieved sooner rather than later, it will also end the culture of impunity that is prevalent to this day.  A culture of impunity that is only too evident in the recent assaults on the Muslim people and the Weliweriya killings.

We should ask ourselves why it is that only the May 2009 massacre rather than the many pogroms and massacres that occurred since independence in 1948 that there is this groundswell of agitation for an international independent investigation.  The reason is actually quite simple.  It is not entirely due to the immensity and monstrosity of the crime (40,000 civilian deaths by international estimates to over 140,000 by ground estimates).  It is also due to the only period in time (present) compared to all those other periods, when the world order has embraced the concept of collective Responsibility to Protect (R2P).  Coupled to R2P is the fact that it is possible now than ever before for the technologies of instant communication (Internet), surveillance (GPS, Cell Phone cameras, WikiLeaks, etc.), and forensics (DNA evidence) to record and preserve evidence of atrocities and their perpetration, despite all efforts at muzzling and destroying that information.

The “Truth” that that is sought are answers to the following and related questions, namely, during days leading to the end of the war and its immediate aftermath, were the “People of the Vanni”,

  • used as human shields and shot at, to prevent them from escaping into safe areas?
  • concentrated in so-called “no fire zones” and targeted by heavy artillery fire on those very zones?
  • bombed in the hospitals they were being treated?
  • deprived of essential medicines and food?
  • tortured, raped, abducted, and disappeared while interned in the camps after the war ended?

If any one or more of the above are true, the details of such truths must lead to accountability and justice for the victims and their loved ones.

Clearly, the world-wide efforts that seek the above include, the Tamil Diaspora, Sinhala journalists driven to exile, the plethora of human rights organizations that include Amnesty International (AI), Human Right Watch (HRW), International Crisis Group (ICG), United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and the activism of UK Channel 4’s “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”, “No Fire Zone” documentaries, UK’s Sri Lanka Campaign, to name just a few on the tip of the iceberg.

The only critical entity that is missing in this world-wide effort is the concerted public opinion of the vast majority of the right thinking Sinhala Nation.  There is no lack of evidence, and the world has the evidence.  Not even the most biased person in the country today would say that any investigation conducted internally on this issue will amount to anything but a cover up.  It is therefore imperative that the investigation be internationally undertaken to ensure credibility and authenticity.

Maybe a Gandhi, a King, or a Mandela will emerge from our many right thinking Sinhala brothers and sisters to rise up and stir the Sinhala Nation to such a clarion call for “Truth, Accountability, and Justice” on behalf of their voiceless brothers and sisters, the “People of the Vanni”, who perished and their equally voiceless loved ones continuing to survive under total subjugation.  I think of all my former school friends of Royal College, my fellow “pilgrims through life” in the Student Christian Movement (SCM) of Ceylon, my former colleagues and  pupils (as many as 12 batches of final year students of the Electronic Engineering faculty of the University of Moratuwa), and my former colleagues in the Ceylon Electricity Board.  Maybe there is someone or many of us here who would plant the seeds for a thousand flowers to bloom.

I am firmly convinced that once “Truth, Accountability, and Justice” happens for the “People of the Vanni”, the “floodgates” will be opened just as it was opened in South Africa and Rwanda.  When I say “floodgates”, I mean Truth, Accountability, and Justice” from the time of independence in 1948 to Weliweriya and Grandpass today.  As I have explained before in a comment to my Article 2: By “floodgates” I further specify and mean that every Singhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, or any other person, irrespective of caste or creed, who has individually or collectively been subject to abduction, extra judicial killings, pogroms, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and/or crimes against humanity from 1948 to date, are included in my call for “Truth, Accountability, and Justice”.   This will include the massacres of the Sinhala youth during the two JVP uprisings, the atrocities perpetrated by all sides during the war, the ethnic cleansing of the Muslims from the North and East, the abductions and killings of the countless number of Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, and other leaders, journalists, and ordinary citizens.

It is only then that we will have Sri Lanka’s own “South African moment” or “Rwandan moment” for any semblance of reconciliation and peace in the country, and most importantly, peace in our own individual minds and souls.


[i] The other three articles are:

  1. “Vanni 2002 – 2006: What I Owe the People of the Vanni” (Feb 7, 2013)
  2. “Plea to the Pundits: Seek Truth, Accountability, and Justice” (April 26, 2013)
  3. “Friends, Singhalese, Countrymen”, Lend Me Your Ears” (July 24, 2013)
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Latest comments

  • 0
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    He is pointing to the right path if Sri Lanka is to survive peacefully and prosper.

  • 0
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    Anandaraj,

    You make a plaintive and earnest call to our fair-thinking fellow citizens to come out and defeat the scourge that afflicts our beloved island. Many who I have spoken to dearly wish for nothing more than reconciliation, justice for all the wrongs perpetrated, peace and harmony but they are afraid to come out and be counted. Why? They are afraid of being targeted by feral mobs which rule our country today, with impunity, and with the tacit approval of the government. The road back to happier times will be long and hard and we must persevere; we simply cannot concede this beautiful island of ours to the barbarian.

  • 0
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    Hello there,

    You look like someone who is after the the truth. I am presenting it to you here.

    [Edited out]

    Please write instead of posting links – CT

  • 0
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    Ponnambalam:

    Good Sir, before we get into the subject of Sinhala people supporting an international “independent” investigation could you please point us to articles you wrote way back in 2009 in the days leading up to Mullivaikkal ***asking LTTE to release people held hostage by them***?

    Now that you have written 4 articles asking for an investigation, I expect you to have written many more appealing to the LTTE then which would have saved many lives.

    Now that you are asking Sinhala people to support you in calling for an investigation to hold GOSL accountable, could you also point us to articles you wrote asking LTTE be held accountable for their heinous crimes against Sinhala people? Surely you remember countless bus and train bombings that occurred in the days leading up to war. I’m only interested in articles you wrote at the time the crimes took place and not after all hell came down on LTTE.

  • 0
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    Navin writes:

    Now that you are asking Sinhala people to support you in calling for an investigation to hold GOSL accountable, could you also point us to articles you wrote asking LTTE be held accountable for their heinous crimes against Sinhala people?
    NOT TO SPEAK OF THE CRIMES AGAINST THE TAMIL PEOPLE!!

  • 0
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    Anadarajha… please don;t talk rubbish you LTTE turncoat.If you had brains you should have used that to tell the LTTE to stop killing innocent people whether Tamil or Otherwise, all I know you were supporting them right through their murderous campaign.
    PLease save your tears for those perished people and get the hell out of Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    It was all a humanitarian operation. Just like weliweriya.

  • 0
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    Victors & vanquishers – What is the Universal Law.
    Do not harp on history….Right thinking people whoever it may have been should have attempted to save an issue.
    Move on Ponna, we presume you are bitter having lost out on your loans…………

  • 0
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    Minorities do not commit crimes. There is a presumption in the West (probably due to their colonial guilt) that majorities always persecute minorities in all manner of ways including employment and education.

  • 0
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    Hello Mr Ponna,

    The call for an International inquiry comes from Terrorists, ex-terrorists, their sympathisers and supporters (includes HR enterprises). To inquire into only what took place at the closing stages seems to exonerate many murderous thugs (the affore mentioned). They have contributed willingly to murder of many more than the majic numbers you have pulled out of a hat. What you need to do foremost is to bring those, your Tamil brothers and sisters may be, before a tribunal and take them to task. You and your mates did not think of R2P when those thugs were slaughtering sinhalese,did you? There is peace now. Having lost a murderous campaign seems to be a big promlem for you. Get over it or jump!

  • 0
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    In one sense, Ponnambalam is right. Without consent of vast majority of Sinhala people whether thinking is right or wrong (which is subjective), Tamils will not be able to achieve any of their political objectives in Sri Lanka.

    That is a point so far missed by both local and diaspora Tamils. They need to continue to engage and have a dialogue with majority of Sinhala people until they win over. Continued threats using the coersive power of West, India, Tamil Nadu would not work.

    However, it is dissapointing to note that Ponnambalam uses the same old path of limiting the focus on the “last phase of war” (the perception is that it will put more blame on the govt than the terrorists) backed up with unverified bogus statistics. Majority of Sinhala people will not be deceived by such tactics. Blaming it on Sinhala chauvinism can only be met with cynicism and contempt.

    In that context, Ponnambalam doesn’t appear to be genuine in “truth, accountability & justice”.

    • 0
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      In that context, Ponnambalam doesn’t appear to be genuine in “truth, accountability & justice”.

      I have asked Mr. Ponnambalam for references to his earnest appeals back in 2009 to LTTE to release civilians and even before that to stop indiscriminate attacks against Sinhalese commuters in buses and trains. It has been a few days now and no reply from him seems to be forthcoming.

      This man is yet another educate Tamil who had been backing LTTE without any reservations in spite of their murderous conduct back in 2009 and now crying foul over deaths of LTTE carders, Tamils and others just to avenge the government. He has no shame.

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