18 February, 2020

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Israel Advises Sri Lanka On Slow-Motion Genocide

By Krisna Saravanamuttu

Krisna Saravanamuttu

Towards the end of 2008, I joined thousands in Toronto to protest Israel’s attack on Gaza. Like people all over the world, we called for an immediate end to the war. At York University, where I was a student, we mobilized the campus to defend Palestinian rights.

A few months later, bombs were falling on my own people — in the Vanni region of northern Sri Lanka. And once again, we hit Toronto’s streets in protest.

I realized then that even though our homelands are oceans apart, Palestinians and Tamils have much in common.

Through the “war on terror,” the Israeli and Sri Lankan armies have waged war on civilian populations.

The Rome-based Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal has commissioned an independent report that finds the Sri Lankan state guilty of bombing hospitals, humanitarian operations and even government-declared “safe zones,” in clear violation of international humanitarian law (“Preliminary report,” January 2010 [PDF]).

A United Nations report estimates that from January to May 2009, between 40,000 and 75,000 persons were killed (“Report of the secretary-general’s panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka,” 31 March 2011).

The Sri Lankan government’s own statistical data reveal that almost 147,000 persons remain unaccounted for: no one knows if they are held in prison, injured, or dead (“146,679 Vanni people missing within a year of war: Bishop of Mannaar,” TamilNet, 12 January 2011).

Major arms supplier

But there are more direct connections.

Israel has been a major arms supplier to Sri Lanka’s government, as well as providing it with strategic military advice. With permission from the United States, Israel has sold Sri Lanka consignments of Kfir jets and drones.

Israel has also supplied the Dvora patrol boats to Sri Lanka, which have been used extensively against Tamils (“Sri Lanka learns to counter Sea Tigers’ swarm tactics,” Jane’s Navy International, March 2009 [PDF]).

And Israel has also provided training to the Special Task Force, a brutal commando unit in the Sri Lanka police.

The similarities don’t end there. Both Palestinians and Tamils have been subjected to a process of settler-based colonialism.

In the 1980s, Israel offered advice to Sri Lanka as it built Sinhala-only armed settlements in the eastern province, which aimed to create buffer zones around Tamil-majority populations (the Sinhalese are the ethnic majority of Sri Lanka) (“Sinhala academic blames US-UK axis for genocide in Tamil homeland,” TamilNet, 15 April 2012).

The strategy employed was the same as Israel’s in the West Bank: to destroy the local population’s claim to national existence and render invalid any political solution based on popular sovereignty.

Just like in Palestine, land seizures and settlement programs in Sri Lanka are fragmenting the Tamil people’s national and social coherence throughout their historic homeland in the north and east of the island. As exiled journalist and human rights worker Nirmanusan Balasundaram wrote earlier this year, the effect is to undermine any possibility of creating a contiguous national homeland (“Sri Lanka: The intentions behind the land-grabbing process,” Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, 30 April 2013).

Sham dialogue

Within the occupied West Bank, this process takes place against the backdrop of “dialogue,” which more and more Palestinians see as a sham as Israeli settlements spread across their land. After the 2009 war, the Sri Lankan government used the rhetoric of “reconstruction” and “redevelopment” to obscure its process of rapid colonization.

For Tamils, “post-war development” has become another form of counter-insurgency warfare, whereby Sinhala settlements, state-led militarization and the open gerrymandering of constituencies all threaten the Tamils’ historic relationship to their homeland.

The Palestinian experience — in particular, the Oslo accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993 — has been instructive for Tamils.

An international agreement with India foresees Sri Lanka holding elections this September for a Northern Provincial Council, supposedly another gesture of reconciliation. The US is backing the election, despite serious reservations within Tamil civil society and the diaspora.

The council, if elected, would provide Tamils with only the perception of self-determination — similar to the experience of the Palestinian Authority — while the military occupation continues to dominate every aspect of civilian life. The council’s powers would remain under the control of the Sinhalese-dominated government in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, and its governor would be a direct appointment of the Sri Lankan president (see “Much ado about nothing,” Colombo Telegraph, 21 April 2013).

Regardless of the façade of self-government, the crime of apartheid remains a fact of life for Tamils in Sri Lanka, as it does for Palestinians under Israeli rule.

Sri Lanka’s treatment of the Tamils in the north and east of the island meets the definition of apartheid contained in the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

Apartheid involves the domination of one racial or ethnic group over another. The convention is not restricted to the particular manifestation of apartheid in South Africa or to majorities being oppressed by minorities. Instead, it condemns practices that resemble apartheid — of which there is more than one version.

Without a doubt, there are critical differences between the oppression faced by Palestinians and the oppression faced by Tamils (and by black South Africans, for that matter). Nevertheless, both Israel and Sri Lanka are characterized by discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation through stolen land.

The unitary Sri Lankan state structure constitutionally places all power of the state exclusively in the hands of the Sinhalese people, while denying Tamils equal access to education, their own language, their land, and self-determination.

Common experience

In light of this common experience, the Palestinian and Tamil peoples are enduring a slow — but relentless — genocide. The massacres in Gaza and the Vanni were carried out to kill civilians, cause serious bodily and mental harm, and impose conditions of life that produce partial and gradual physical destruction — all with little meaningful opposition from global capitals. Both can be considered cases of genocide, as it is defined by the United Nations.

In the case of Sri Lanka, as long as it uses the language of “reconciliation,” it will continue to pursue the same strategy and enjoy praise from major powers.

But the realization of our peoples’ aspirations does not depend on the whims of foreign governments. It rests with the Tamil people — as the aspirations for a liberated Palestine rest with the Palestinians — and the support of a mobilized and engaged international solidarity movement. By supporting each other’s struggles, and by learning from each other’s histories, we can get one step closer to a more just world.

For both Palestinians and Tamils, the attacks of 2008 and 2009 were part of a broader history of dispossession, occupation and genocide. Our people have a lot in common in the struggle for peace and justice. In fact, our oppressors appear to have lots in common too.

*Krisna Saravanamuttu is an activist based in Toronto, Canada. He is a member of the steering committee of the Canadian Peace Alliance, and is the spokesperson of the National Council of Canadian Tamils. This article was originally published at Electronic Intifada and is reprinted here with the author’s permission. Follow him on Twitter: @KrisnaS85 

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    this joker is talking nonsense from his illegal settlement in Scarbaria.

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      No he’s not a joker; you are because you display such astonishing arrogance and callousity!

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        no he is a clown in your troupe of tamil clowns

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      Pambaya what is the Job you are doing overseas? Are you there illegally or legally? What a great Honour for Sri Lanka as you said in another thread, there is no one else to do your Job. Is it Sewage cleaning?

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        gon gamaya .

        why do you want to find out my job you will not be able to do it in a million years . lmao

        • 0
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          Pambaya, You are right I can never do your job of sewage cleaning even in a million years. After all these specialties are confined to your family type, father to son.

      • 0
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        Gamini, Abhaya and the rest of the boot(?)-lickers:
        Impossible to respond to something laid down accurately, isn’t it you jackasses?
        Doesn’t just licking the north end of a Rajapssa going south pay enough that you have to keep vomiting all over Colombo Telegraph?

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        Cleaning Job. See who is doing all over the world. Office cleaners home cleaners garbage cleaners. Very soon sewage … . The people from the land of LIEon

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    Krisna
    If you really want to make the comparison very clear, please draw a table comparing the two, a graph (of one or more types, eg bar chart,), mindmap or any other visul organiser.
    While Palestine is known all over the world, many in the Northern Hemisphere still don’t know about Sri Lanka – not just about the conflict but even about the geographical location.

  • 0
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    Twisted history, half-truths and lies all the hallmarks of a loser.

    • 0
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      Who you, the looser?

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    Don’t blame Israeli idiots…blame your own people. You all gave Mad Praba blank cheque, we Tamils paying high price. Don’t blame innocent Sinhala people they all struggling day to day life, u should blame Sinhala Buddhist mafia gangs creating all these problem between all communities…

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    Mr. Krishna Saravanamuththu:

    Read the following and understand TAMIL WAY OF RECONCILIATION. HOW MANY COME HERE AND PREACH ?

    “Earlier in the year, Mr Suresh Premchandran TNA MP had visited Navatkuli and stated to the Sinhalese villagers that they must leave the Navatkuli settlement:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKfrUS-twIs

    NOW THIS ON AUGUST 10TH

    “It is regrettable to note that the Navatkuli Sinhala village (the Sinhalese settlement 6 km south of Jaffna) had been bombed on Saturday 10 August 2013.

    Miraculously no one had been injured.

    A bomb had been thrown at the Navatkuli Buddhist temple at about 930 pm, during which time the main priest (in his mid-eighties) and the 2nd monk had been inside the temple. They were spending their ‘Vas’ season inside the temple. A devotee (leader of the Navatkuli Sinhalese village) had just finished offering flowers to Lord Buddha in the Buddhist Shrine and had stepped out of the temple (about 5 minutes before the bomb blast).

    The bomb had been thrown inside the temple from outside of the village. “

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      LTTE killed six Hindu priests. One of them blessed President Mahinda in the HINDU way.

      LTTE used the Hindu temples to attack army. They went inside the temples with nasty boots after eating beef.

      But LTTE never touch a Catholic/Christian church or priest because they the MASTERS of the LTTE. Fr.Singarayan, Fr.Anton Sinnarasa,and Fr.jeyakularasa directly involved in bank robberies with LTTE criminals!

      So, just think who feed these EELAM and responsible for the sufferings of the Lankans!

      Now Catholic Church hangs around with President Mahinda. The Church of South India, to which M.A.Sumanthiran belongs also hang with Mahinda. Is that politics?

  • 0
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    Saravana Muthu:
    You are in Canada. Did you read the book “BY WAY OF DECEPTION” authored by Canadian authors Claire Hoy and Victor Ostrowsky?

    They explained how LTTE was trained in Tel Aviv and paid by J.R.Jayawardene!

    But many from York U went to LTTE territory to do Co-op programs. Even the convicted Sriskandaraja went to buy missiles to LTTE.

    Correct yourself first.

    NCCT is an LTTE organization and you guys celebrate the LTTE suicide bombers. So, dont preach much!

    • 0
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      Mokan we know that you read some old books. Better to keep quoit. Thes things are beyond you. Nowadays LTTE bashing also not giving good money eh.

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    This guy is taking spin doctoring the LTTE is infamous for to a whole new level.

    Comparing tragic situation of defenceless and impoverished Palestinian people to the war against the ruthless LTTE in Sri Lanka.

    Krisna Saravanamuttu, Tamil Sri Lankans are an integral and inalienable part of the Sri Lankan mosaic.

    Apart from the extreme racists amongs us such as yourself, most Sri Lankans have overwhelming sympathy for the situatin of Tamils.

    Too bad you cannot twist their problems to serve your extreme Tamil ethno-nationalistic agenda anymore.

    Spend your days doing something more worthwhile Krisna Saravanamuttu .

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      Blatant lie!

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        Manisekaran,

        If you are looking for “blatant lies” consult Krisna Saravanamuttu.

        That guy has always been and always will be, nothing but an apologist for VP, LTTE and extreme ethno-Tamil nationalism.

        Where was this guy’s humanism when LTTE was terrorising SL for 30 years. He was busy promoting LTTE “freedom struggle” in Canada.

        Future of Tamil Sri Lankans is intertwined with the future of Sinhalese Sri Lankans who inhabit this land. There is no room for ethnically purified, hoemelands based on ethnicity for anyone.

        We are looking to build a Sri Lanka where all are equal before the law. Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers or any others.

        Krisna Saravanamuttu is looking to create and Eala through the back door.

        Multi-cultural, multi-religious Sri Lanka will prevail.

        Krisna Saravanamuttu should promte his theory in Tamil Nadu. True homeland of Tamils. Where 60 million Tamils reside. You should join him. Most Sri Lankans wish you very good luck trying to secede from the Indian federation.

        Cheers!

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        MoneySekaran;

        I think You are An Indian Who wants A piggy back on Sri Lankan innocent Tamils.
        Don’t You???.

        Indians Made The Soup, and Ultimately Rajiv and Pirapaharan also had it.

        still some war mongers are Playing war Drums seeking innocent’s BLOOD.

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          Sorry I dont need to piggyback srilanka as srilanka is under foot of my country ( he he geographically). i just look down at it, bloody, what a country!

          Correction , I dont seek anyone blood except of those war criminals, who you also agree with me

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            MoneySekaran;
            In your words;
            “as srilanka is under foot of my country ( he he geographically). i just look down at it, bloody, what a country!”

            Why worry so much, Let Sri Lankan to Solve their own problems.
            we all know, what Indians wants.

            This is , What we call ” Crocodile Tears for unknown Relative” .

            Rajive Gandhi Also shed some Crocodile Tears for Sri Lankan Tamils,
            But Fortunately RAw operatives could not save his life,
            He paid for what he did to Sri Lanka with another 3500 odd javans lives also.

            May be this krisna is around 30 years old person.
            he should just try to learn about the World that is full of Rascals like arrogant Palestinians.
            This guy, Even Does not Know the Behaviours of those Palestinian Rascals.
            This Krishna Should Ask Tamil Middle east returnees, how they got treatments from their Palestinian Masters,
            How they Cheated them from their Salaries.
            without giving any medical facilities and getting work done, not paying any salaries.
            He can tell those Stories to Monkeys In the Jungle to believe.

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              “we all know, what Indians wants.” – can you say what you know?

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              India will decide the future of Sri Lanka. They have done sufficient ground work so that Sri Lanka will destroy itself. You know what is soft power. Sri Lanka keep doing what you are doing. That is exactly what India wants you to do.

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            i knw english is a bit of a problem area for TNs but what does it really mean in saying underfoot? :D

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          Ranil also had the soup. LTTE killed all the UNP members who were seniors to Ranil.

          That is why Ranil is now the leader of the UNP! Ranil carved out an area to LTTE in return for the favors LTTE did for him.

          LTTE never tried to kill Ranil. How? Very strange indeed!

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        Moneysekaran
        do you know that,
        how Happy were the Tamizars, when the LTTE WAS CONTROLING the some parts of Sri Lanka.

        How Happy they were, when their Young kids taken away by force,
        By the LTTE as fodder for the Day Dream called EELAM.
        at the same time these KRISNA and His Ilk were enjoying In Toronto Night clubs.

        I can Remember those LTTErs were having gala time on Disopora collected funds at Sarangoon in singapore and Vadapalani in Madras .

    • 0
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      I referred your words, ” most Sri Lankans have overwhelming sympathy for the situatin of Tamils” is blatant lie. and that you know.

      • 0
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        sympathy is a feeling, not a fact. How can a feeling be a blatant lie. So how can u talk abt something which u do not share?
        for example I cherish my first love. can u say it is a blatant lie?

  • 0
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    I dont think this statement is correct “most Sri Lankans have overwhelming sympathy for the situatin of Tamils.”

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    Krisna,
    Nice article; a little academic, less factual, mostly irrelevant.
    The reality of it all is that, like the Diaspora Palestinians, the Diaspora Tamils are settling down to a cosy existence in their new found lands. Foreign governments are finding the whole issue now stale and the GOSL has invested much money in getting their side of the message over, however twisted, across to those that matter. There is something futile about all this long distance posturing and prancing. Much work is happening here in Sri Lanka where a beleaguered community needs to come to terms with the new realities. Of course the Tamils have suffered terrible injustices. In the end we all did. It was six of one half a dozen of the other. All the causes and reasons have been well documented. So, do you not think that it is time that we all tried once again, a little bit harder, to bring some blessed peace to our island paradise? There is evidence that growing numbers of Singhalese, Tamils and Muslims and others wish for a new way forward. It is the ultimate dereliction of duty of the erudite and capable of our peoples to surrender this beautiful warm island to a bunch of thugs and shysters. To all who truly love this land, return, join the struggle and work towards a better tomorrow.

    • 0
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      well said my friend

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      Spring Koha

      We owe you a standing ovation.

      You spoke for me.

  • 0
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    An educated fool! Has twisted the history for his own benefit. Colombo T has to have a guide line when in comes to publishing articles in this nature.

  • 0
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    This all Bullshit. In Sri Lanka the majority is Sinhala Buddhist where its 86% of the population and the minorities are Tamil, Muslims,and others Sri Lanka is a country where unlimited freedom is given to minorities to practice Education,Religion,Culture,Politics, the Schools like Muslim Central School, TamilCentral School, Hindu College,and unlimited permission to build their religious Temples mosques churches etc. No restrictions by the law to practice their cultural activities very openly and there are Political Parties formed by their race like Muslim congress Party, Tamil Congress Party etc. Now tell me in which country that this much of freedom is given to minorities and more over all the government documents are printed in all three languages. So what the problem these minorities are having? With all that the 12% of Tamils asking for a Separate Land and made all these problem in this country. I don’t know that this writer knows where Sri Lanka is in the world map.

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      YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT BUT NOWADAYS THIS ETHNIC CLEANSING IS GOING ON,
      AFTER THE WAR WHY STILL THIS SINGALA BUDDHIST MONKS AND THUGS ATTACKING MINORITY’S WORSHIPING AREAS SUCH AS CHURCHES AND MUSLIM MOSQUES? THESE ALL WEE PLANNED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND PRESIDENT NOT SEEING IT AS WELL.

      THIS IS THE TARGET HAVE TO ACHIEVE BY BLOOD SUCKERS OF BUDDHIST IN SL

      **FIRST ——–>TAMILS ERADICATED FROM THE ISLAND

      **SECOND—–> MUSLIMS NOW ONGOING WAR UNDER THE SUPPORT OF DEFENSE SECRETARY

      **THIRD—–> MY DEAR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS YOU ARE THE NEXT TARGET FOR SURE

  • 0
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    The world knows that self defence is not genocide, Krisna Saravanamuttu. You need to study the difference and stop using the language of victimhood as an excuse for terrorism and gangsterism.

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    “The Rome-based Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal has commissioned an independent report that finds the Sri Lankan state guilty of bombing hospitals, humanitarian operations and even government-declared “safe zones,” in clear violation of international humanitarian law (“Preliminary report,” January 2010 [PDF]).”

    1. Did they do an independent report on LTTE as well? If not they should do it as well.

    This will be excellent towards accountability from all sides.

    Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims from the Northern Province.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QHnHZXgtow

    Muslims ethnically cleansed by Tamil Hindu Extremists

    Dr. Farzana Haniffa on Displaced North Muslims Issues

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MASigQJTgaQ

  • 0
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    “your own people” ? How many times if at all have you been to the Vanni you bogus diasporian ?

    Do you even know where the Vanni is ?

  • 0
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    BTW the expression on your face make me wonder if a hot iron rod is being slowly inserted into your posterior !

    Is it the pain of your memories ?

  • 0
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    Krisna, I feel your anger is blinding your judgement. Peel away the onion and see what is really inside. Is the creation of a state the end or means to an end? If the latter, then are there other ways for you to achieve what you want? ways that will not result in more suffering. You have allies in many Sri Lankans of all races, you need to work with them. I am sorry to say but I think you have dictatorial tendencies, I see your body language when you sit in a panel with other young Tamils, I see your hostility, your intimidation and your rigidity. Your inability to learn from the failures of Prabhakaran will make our ineffective at best and immensely destructive to the Tamil cause at worse.

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    The reality of the world today – its political and economic reality, the reality of Money, the ominously emerging global society, war on Islam, oppression of Muslims, and most of all a Zionist State of Israel obsessed with a Messianic Mission of replacing USA as the ruling State in the world while imposing its political, economic and religious dominion over the Arabs-Asia as well as the rest of mankind.

    The mysterious glue which bonded together these two hitherto hostile peoples emerged from the far-away Caucasus mountains. That alliance is today recognized as the Judeo-Christian Zionist alliance which has NATO as its military arm and which dominates most of the world, including most of the world of Islam portraying, misguide masses around the globe demonizing of Peaceful religion ISLAM via Media as Demons!( This is New World Oder of Gog & Magog facilitating the arrival of Messiah of Antichrist (Dajjal). These unrest in the entire world against region of Islam nothing but the end time Prophecy!

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    Tx. A very good article Krishna. We will keep on fighting for justice.

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    THIS IS THE TARGET HAVE TO ACHIEVE BY BLOOD SUCKERS OF BUDDHIST IN SL

    **FIRST ——–>TAMILS ERADICATED FROM THE ISLAND

    **SECOND—–> MUSLIMS NOW ONGOING WAR UNDER THE SUPPORT OF DEFENSE SECRETARY

    **THIRD—–> MY DEAR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS YOU ARE THE NEXT TARGET FOR SURE

    • 0
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      Kai Last;

      Hi, Mr CUT AND PASTE

  • 0
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    Some people do not how to write Sinhala”…They would not be Sri Lankans….Sri Lanka is a Budhist country for centuries…North Tamils were taken by Dutch people for tobaco plantation..Thats wwhy they don have Brahmins amongst in Sri Lankan Tamils…Sri Lanka should be for ever as a Buddhist country…We need more leaders like Mahind in the future….

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    As the writer says, there are parallels between the terrible plight of the Palestinians and the present situation against the minorities in the North. The evil machinations of Israel has been noticed in Sri Lanka, and it is highly suspicious that Israel should sponsor farmers from Sri Lanka to learn their brand of agriculture, especially in barren desserts. To trust the Israeli’s will be the biggest mistake ever made by the government of Sri Lanka. The US is controlled by Israel (according to Ariel Sharon’s words), and the US congress is bought and led by the most powerful foreign lobby in the US, AIPAC. The US supports every precision bomb that goes into the Palestinian territories, bombs that are sent into civilian structures, and Palestinian homes, to show undying loyalty to Israel. To involve the rogue state Israel, that has it’s ruthless agents go into other nations to kill scientists (in Iran), and leaders (in Dubai), and invite them into our country and interfere in our communal strife, is worse that inviting a deadly cobra into your home. Israel is one of the most disliked nations in the world for all good reasons, and to think we are turning to them for “advice” is appalling.

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    The Jews are the children of god. The sinhalese are the crackpot followers of some freaking black Indian Fakeer. What the Jews do to the Palestinians is quite different from what the Sinhalese do to the Tamils. I hope you understand that. Get that straight if you have not as yet done so!

    Do not mix the two together. If you do your uncle samuel – who is a very devout Jew – will not help you and you and all your eelamites will become chinese noodles.

    You look too young to be in politics and you had better get your nuts tightened before going jaw jaw jaw ok thambi? We had enough of your ‘annai’ pirapakaharan and his ‘annai’ paalasinkam and their stupid objective stand that left them all alone in no mans land and turned India into a Sinhala supporter.

    You wanna go there too? I think not. So get your head straightened out please.

  • 0
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    Sinhala racism started killing Tamils, well before LTTE and still continuing the same in all area of life in this Island.
    The time will come for all Criminals in killing field, who have been committing crimes against Humanity sooner or later to face the justice, like Milosovic, Saddam Hussain and Gaddhafi.
    Let us, the warriors of Human rights, work for the day of judgement to free the Humanity suffering from state Terror, occupation and oppression in the Island and everywhere.
    We do not need to waste energy to convince those deniers, who refuse to accept the Bloody history of Sri lanka, since British rule. The history
    is well recorded with all the events. There are libraries, exist with all those records, beyond the reach of State sponsored arsonists.
    Veera Puran Appu was a criminal in British time, but being celebrated a Sinhala hero by State of Sri lanka. Tamil Nation may have it’s Heroes celebrated, when it is free from occupation and oppression.

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