14 July, 2020

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Leave No Room For The Military To Thirst After Political Power: Uphold The Principle Of An Apolitical Military

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is America’s highest serving military officer. He made a mistake when he appeared in a photo-op with Donald Trump, following forceful dispersal of peaceful protesters outside the White House on 1 June. He apologised, admitted it was a mistake and said “my presence in that environment created a perception that the military is involved in domestic politics”. What is more crucial for Lanka’s Presidents, Prime Ministers and military brass to digest is what Gen. Milley said next: “We must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military which is deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic”.

Several former generals have spoken out against Trump’s partisan approach to a human rights issue – equality for black Americans. His first Defence Secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, said he never dreamed that troops would be ordered to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens.  However, it is this declaration from Gen. Milley, the current top serving officer, that is stunning; it is a public rebuke of the President.

Fast forward to the role of the military in Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Administration. So many generals, admirals, inspector-generals, retired and serving, piles of kaki and bristling medals shine around, about, within, between and adjacent to his person. They jostle for positions and crave for Ministry Secretary-ships and Chairmanship of Corporations. Task Forces are so over-populated with generals that they trip over each other’s regalia. True it is still not time to call this Administration a military junta but that for sure is not for a scarcity of soldierly personages in the squad. The fundamental distinction between the culture and the traditions of the top echelons of America’s military and our own is that the former boldly tell the President: ‘We hold dear the fundamental principle of an apolitical military, an ethos deeply rooted in the essence of our republic’. Can we say this of Lanka’s military? Only a careless analyst will stake his intellectual reputation on such an assertion!

Though the regime has used coronavirus as a smokescreen to strengthen its stranglehold on society it has still not declared itself a ruling junta or suspended the constitution. Gota and poropaya are confident of winning the elections and have outflanked both flavours of the UNP and rendered them impotent. The SLFP is a miserable rump and crackpot Sira may lose his seat in Polonnaruwa – good riddance. The Tamils and the TNA are exhausted and have given up the fight. The ghost of Tamil polity can do no more after the LTTE pranced with the devil and the army buried thousands. The TNA and Sumanthiran have offered to boot-lick the putative dictatorship if humble pleas are entertained till 5 August after which the lick will end. Shades of GGP, but at least the old rogue got a Cabinet post in lieu of 30 pieces of silver. MAS, Sambanthan and Mave come cheap; no such offers will materialise without the monks’ blessings and fat hopes of that! Lead counsel MAS bowed his head in sheepish humility when the Court kicked him resoundingly on his soft posterior; I guess he didn’t want to displease the President. The Muslims cower in fear with no capacity to protect themselves from President, military or the disdain of a most Sinhala people.

To come back to my theme, ours is a military that is not prepared to tell the President “We want no part of anything that smacks of politics; we want no part of bossing around with public health, archaeology, food distribution, intimidating minorities, collecting corporate and state sinecures, or accruing glowing medals on a burnished uniform for carrying your political spittoon”.  If the military leaves room to be sucked into politics it must take the blame – another share of the blame must be assigned to their overlord and his ilk. 

The graver danger is long-term. Imagine that Gota departs for some presently unfathomable reason. What after that? The military having tasted power will continue to seek successors who ensure a military-aligned state to which their appetites are now being honed. Imran Khan is a case in point; his rise and continued stay in power is partly a gift from the military. Participation, the overbearing involvement in power of military brass is a dangerous development that cannot be reversed merely by political actors even as brave and distinguished as Imran. This is a task that will one day need the direct intervention of the people. That is the real as yet unaccomplished lesson of Pakistan.

A piece called “Wounded Democracy” Pradeep Peiris et. al in the Daily Mirror of 16 June quote a CPA survey which shows that over 90% of Sinhalese consistently “trust the military” since 2011; while 2018 parliament and political parties score a miserable 16 to 17%. This is a consequence of the Sinhalese victory in the Civil War. It was the same in Serbia despite genocide in Srebrenica. In Iraq Saddam’s atrocities against Shias and Kurds earned him the loyalty of the majority Sunnis, and everywhere the way to the affections of a race is to massacre an adjacent race or faith. Love of the military is deeply embedded in the Sinhala psyche because it won the war and Gota is playing from a strong hand when he bids for a grand-slam for a military dominated regime.

Therefore, there is an unavoidable contradiction in championing democracy. It is the people themselves who make a mockery of democracy. The grotesque Mervyn de Silva polled 150,000 votes in Gampaha in 2012, ladies of easy virtue outpoll proven, uncorrupted politicians and 90% of Lanka’s parliamentarians have not passed the O-Level. Such MPs, the corrupt, drug dealers and thugs win most elections. This is largely due not to vote buying, but is the outcome of a fairly free franchise. The incongruity to which there is no easy answer is what then are we attempting to shield when advocating democracy? The question is as old as democracy itself! The contrarian exclamations with which one throws up one’s hands in horror are: “We must preserve democracy!” “The masses are asses!”

The riposte to this charge is intellectually flabby but at the same time empirically impregnable. “No better form of government has been invented”! One and all call themselves republics (Latin res publica, a public affair) rule by the people, not excepting the Republic of Singapore and the People’s Republic of China. Madam Elizabeth holds titular rank in a place where her ancestors since 1648 (or at least 1688) are ceaselessly reminded that Parliament is supreme. Can you believe it, even an ugly tyranny like Egypt feels obliged to use the fictional name Arab Republic of Egypt? 

The masses may be asses but a dangerous and profoundly false subtext is slipped in. “Since the masses are asses nothing could be better than the military taking power; great progress will flow; great achievements can be made”. I am providing a list of military regimes of the last two centuries (condensed from Wikimedia). I impress on readers the frequency and duration of the cancer once it takes root. What progress? What achievements? Show me one from each box – I challenge you!

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Latest comments

  • 7
    5

    Does ‘elected’ government mean democracy? Elections are a pure humbug where the levers of power are in the hands of the army and/police .
    The Estado Novo in Portugal from 1933 to 1974 was run by secret police as was Iran under the Shah
    Is Egypt a democracy under Sisi, or was it under Mubarak, with the military running the show?
    *
    I do not know who is referred to in “ladies of easy virtue outpoll proven, uncorrupted politicians”.
    I am am curious about who constitute the former category and sceptical about the existence of the latter.
    *
    No army is apolitical.
    Have we forgotten the attempted coup of 1962?
    Mrs B neutralized the Army by changes within. But thirst for power was always there. The Army will like most to run the show with all blame borne by politicians and all credit to an army which secretly gains in wealth and real power.
    The fascist threat transcends elections. The far right, SB fanatics with a section of the clergy at its front and the armed forces are a combination on the cards for some time.
    Time to think outside the (ballot) box.

    • 4
      7

      Kumar: De-funding the US police is one of the demands of the Black Lives Matter protests. Please read Harcourt’s book Counterrevolution:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KhGyhFIhgg
      Likewise the US- UK military business industrial complex which is waging HYBRID WAR around the World with Covid-19 as a bio weapon to make Euro-America “great again” and crash the BRICS and others is ongoing.
      WEST VS. REST is the name of Covid-19 game.
      While statues of slave traders are brought down in UK and US, COLONIALISM is alive and well in the Indian Ocean and South Asia region, with Hindu Saffronista Modi supported by Trump to attack China, Nepal, Pakistan etc. Chagos Islands is still COLONIZED by US UK Diego Garcia military base! Check these links.
      https://www.wilpf.org/decolonise-and-demilitarise-the-chagos-islands/
      https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/19/business/bank-of-england-slavery-apology/index.html
      Time for peoples of the Indian Ocean rim states to call for end to colonization of the Indian Ocean and defunding of the US-UK military business industrial complex..

      • 2
        2

        Dinuk

        How come Gota’s medals and decorations have increased by two Medals/Decorations within the last 7 months? Did he award himself one each every quarter?
        He should have been stripped of all his decorations once he renounced Sri Lankan citizenship.

        What a pathetic lot.

        • 3
          1

          Mr. Native Vedda,
          .
          Can I ask what are the Medals/Decorations you are referring to…..?
          .
          Do not make accusations as you go YOU PATHETIC IDIOT.
          .
          GR carried arms and risked his life for 20 long years for his country you idiot.
          .
          Respect the man for the things he achieved.

          • 2
            2

            S. C. Passqual

            “Respect the man for the things he achieved.”

            Such as …..?

            His only achievement is that being born in a crooked clan.
            While this man was being part of deadsquad hunting down innocent civilians in down south his crooked brother and Vasu Nayakka were in Geneva campaigning for human rights.

            This man grabbed the first opportunity that was offered by the Yankees. Ran away then came back to help the crook in the rigged elections.
            Please go away,

            • 0
              2

              Mr. Native Vedda,
              .
              I ask you again.
              .
              What are the Medals and Decorations you are referring to…..?
              .
              Failure to answer makes you a PATHETIC LIER.

    • 3
      9

      My dear SJ…..,
      .
      By trying to be overly anti GR our learned prof has gone off his rocker.
      .
      He is claiming Iraq’s majority is Sunnis.
      .
      And……
      I quote
      ———-
      “”and 90% of Lanka’s parliamentarians have not passed the O-Level. Such MPs””
      ———-
      And he wanted us to elect SP as our president.
      Wonder where he found SP’s OL certificate….?

      • 3
        6

        Iraq population……….
        .
        Shias – 64%.
        Sunnis – 31%.

        • 3
          2

          SCP
          Your data is of the Arabs I guess.
          *
          This is what Wikipidia said (citing European Parliamentary Research Service):
          20 million Arabs (15 million Shia and 9 million Sunni); 8 million Sunni Kurds (plus 500,000 Shia Feylis and 200,000 Kaka’i); 0.5 million Iraqi Turkmen/Turkoman; 1 million Black Iraqis; 500,000 Christians; 500,000 Yazidis; 250,000 Shabaks; 50,000 Roma; 3,000 Sabean-Mandaeans; 2,000 Circassians; 1,000 Baha’i; and a few dozen Jews.
          This estimate is favourable to the Sunnis. Figures vary with source, and most seem to consider Shias to be the largest group.
          *
          I agree that the Shiite population far exceeds the Sunni population among Arabs.
          The indications are that the Sunnis are not the majority, even including non-Arab Sunnis.

          • 1
            2

            SJ,
            .
            Yes.
            .
            And…
            Try and read Muslim history. It’s one of the most colourful literature.
            .
            And its the only religion dictated or at least highly influenced by a woman.

  • 3
    0

    Thank you, Professor Kumar for the honest assessment. This is the article that you see as valid:
    .
    https://www.pressreader.com/sri-lanka/daily-mirror-sri-lanka/20200616/281801401207744
    .
    Most of us readers know that this spells disaster. Some information is exaggerated. For instance that only 10% of Members of the last Parliament studied beyond O. Levels. However, making such a survey is not going to be done. “All rogues” is true.
    .
    The most foolish delusion would be to take the critical despair expressed in comments such as mine as representing the views of Sinhalese voters. What does the future hold for us? Turn to the most representative Literature that portrays what is going to happen:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Comedians_(novel)
    .
    I’m glad that it was required reading. The country in which ist is set – Haiti – haunts me. We are not told unambiguously where this other book is written:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrillas_(novel)
    .
    It is so depressing. Even the authors are not exactly heroic figures. It is time to bury all dreams of greatness. The majority of voters are fed up with corrupt us. I know that as individuals most of us are decent enough people. but that is not how voters see even us “English-educated Sinhalese.”

    • 7
      0

      Dear Mr Sinhala man,
      .
      I dont think that GGgovt messed up. Do you ever think if EC as an independent commission would no thave been re-implemented during MS-RW rule, current men would ever be able to keep the COVID patients within the margins ? In fact current men were total ignorant about about the containment of the virus spread within the country, thanks to EC and their decisions only the rulers were forced to go for hard quaraentining steps. Remember ?
      :
      Late rev. Sobitha Thero already predicted that good kind of goverance could end up being – caught by the thieves. That is what I see happened to the country as of today.
      :
      My beloved thero had wisdom of foreseeing it than any others that are seen as srilanken political analyst.
      .
      In a country where almost anything and everything is caught by CORRUPTION and lawlessness – I dont think any govt could do miracles wthin short period of time, particular in a backdrop LOCAL MEDIA MAFIA is caught by a bunch supporters of the alleged criminals (meaning during the entire period of GG govt, media did not much taking the side of GENERAL PUBLIC- focusing the improvement of the awareness of the people – they though gave much more freedom to the media, but media did not react accordingly. There, I dont put the blame on RW led groups but more to stupid and shameless Siriena.
      :
      to be continued

      • 7
        0

        Likewise, today, they srilanken main medi men shamelessly promote BLATANT lies about ” the containment of virus spread within the country going beyond western countries”. I have been living in the west and I truly know what happened to the west with COVID-crisis. Lombardi region was overflown with unprecedented numbers of patients and none of the hospitals could manage all the patients and many of them were geriatric patients as reports reveal clearly. And the fact Italy is just second to Japan regarding the number of the world’s elderly communities. However Japan di dnot face it to that extent and held under control.. and also real data from Japan is also not clear.
        :
        Worst hit country in EUrope is UK yet today – irrespective of their numbers of world leading MEDICAL RESEARCHERs in various fields in Human medicine.

      • 0
        3

        Mr. leela ge …..,
        .
        I quote your comment.
        —–
        “thanks very much for this article. Hope this will open the eyes of masses.”
        —–
        End of quote.
        .
        Exactly.
        Couldn’t agree with you more…..
        .
        What our learned prof. is telling us is…..
        1. …..We should not let minorities handle or manipulate country’s presidency like in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is from Sunni minority of Iraq.
        2. ….. We should not vote illiterate people like SP who couldn’t pass his OLs to parliament.
        .
        Hope this will open YOUR eyes.

  • 2
    1

    PART TWO
    .
    Yahapalanayaya messed up; now even we’ve had it. If you’re, unfortunately, “a Tamil” or “a Muslim” it’ll be even worse. While preparing for the worst, what can we do? We have each got just one vote. Cast it for an honest candidate – they still exist. Next, ask others whom we know to do the same. Will it work? No, not even with our nearest relatives, if we are prepared to be honest. Of course among our friends, we’ll find some who agree. But that won’t do. A landslide vote from the Sinhalese for dictatorship.
    .
    Yes, better we know that before the results come in, Kumar. You’ve been a good man; get away to Hong Kong. I must remain here, but that’s O.K. I have a daughter also here who cannot get away. Heaven help her when I’m gone. I’m glad my other daughter has fled with kids – only to Malysia. We have not been the worst family, but what of that?
    .

    • 1
      3

      Dear Sinhala_man
      Trying to fool others is one thing. But fooling oneself is a malady, an infirmity, a sad spectacle. No body needs to runaway so long as you are on the right side of the law. Don’t harm yourself to demonstrate your animosity towards a political opponent. You are needed here. No body can be a dictator here. You may accuse Rajapaksas of anything , but so far they haven’t postponed any election, if at all holding them in advance. I remember you were an active member in the gang who tried their utmost to deprive the majority of this country in electing a president of their choice by blocking Gotabaya Rajapaksa contesting. By gones are by gones. He is a democratically elected president. You had your choice – JRJ and Premadasa who gave us 1983 and 1989. Now the majority has chosen Gotabaya and if he is going to go beyond the Constitution and extend his period we will sit on the street. You are needed here to join us. Don’t jump from frying pan to fire in selecting Hong Kong and Malaysia as your destination. You seem to be going through a halucinatary phobia. I am sorry for you. You are such a gentle soul.

      Soma

  • 6
    0

    Prof. KD,
    .
    thanks very much for this article. Hope this will open the eyes of masses. The danger before nation is not yet clear to the gullible in the country.
    I wonderd why North Korea is in the list of asian millitary govts ?
    :
    Main stream media does not seem to do their job to the manner prior to 16 Nov 2019.

    So how can the general public be aware of the real danger before them ?
    .
    Social media is also somewhat silent on the topic.

  • 1
    0

    ” Imran Khan is a case in point; his rise and continued stay in power is partly a gift from the military. Participation, the overbearing involvement in power of military brass is a dangerous development that cannot be reversed merely by political actors even as brave and distinguished as Imran”

    Prof Kumar …your changed your mind since your last blog?….”Vacancy: Wanted A Democratic Opposition2

    “….Gota’s putative model seems to be derived from Burma and pre-Imran Khan Pakistan. …

    how come?

  • 2
    2

    Our armed forces remained apolitical until the day Ranil Wickramasinghe secretly negotiated with Sarath Fonseka WHILE HE WAS IN UNIFORM. Like what JR did to the Civil Service. These are very crafty, well planned, insidious moves.

    Soma

    • 7
      0

      Sarath Fonseka to whom I respect most would Never upport your thoughts. He says, even a person with former experieince in Millatory so long he would not allow millatory personnel to take over each and every ministry could work well. This is right.
      :
      That is shown also in the US. And several other countries. But in current context, Rajapakshe rascals appoint almsot any former millitary officer keeping them above in any ministry. That is really bad for the future of this country. Real hero of the war, Mr Foneseka would never agree with current systems.

      Current men are simply – STUPID men that have no proper strategies in their uneducated mind sets.

    • 3
      3

      somass

      “Our armed forces remained apolitical until the day Ranil Wickramasinghe secretly negotiated with Sarath Fonseka WHILE HE WAS IN UNIFORM”.

      Are you blaming Ranil for those numerous war crimes committed by armed forces in 1971, between 1987 and 1991 and over 30 years and since?

      Why don’t you visit this island and reality?

  • 3
    0

    Among the finest exposes’ of Dr. Kumar David. Also a tribute to the quality of education that the British imparted in the lands under their charge for a few generations. His writing blasts the rarely examined view that at eighty plus one is a write off for anything demanding intellectual effort.
    The perilous state in which the country is placed is known to a few. The Pied Pipers in the State Council, started luring the masses from early thirties. By late forties, the wholesome reserves were drained out leaving little advantage to start independent Ceylon with. The Ceylonese academics of that time scathingly attacked this tempting action in the Royal Asiatic Journal of Ceylon.
    There is no stalling or stopping or retracting to date. Public debt now is 86 plus % of GDP. For a quarter or two, China will help in artificial splendour and prosperity. In the strife to follow there after, the strong arm of the law will be enforced by the stronger arm of the military.
    Nearly two centuries ago Russia had the benefit of Leo Tolstoy, a great writer and a still greater man. In the latter half of the century he gives an eye witness account of the atrocities of the Police, the Military and those in governance. He condemns their actions and ridicules their attraction to “strips of ribbon and pieces of metal”.

  • 2
    0

    SL never had an apolitical military and never will. Since they have won all the confrontations they had (a fact) they see no reason to change. It can also be dangerous if the military takes decisions on its own without heeding politicians.

  • 4
    5

    Kumar David,
    One of the main reasons behind attracting FDIs to Thailand was stability created by Military Governments. As far as foreign investors are concerned, democracy or human rights are not high priorities. Political stability is their top priority. After Democracy was introduced fighting between ‘Yellow Shirt’ and ‘Red Shirt’ groups erupted leading to political instability. After that several foreign investors moved to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos where they found greater political stability.
    Foreign investors were reluctant to come to Sri Lanka because of political instability. If Mahinda Rajapakshe became the President in 2015, Sri Lanka could have provided stability that foreign investors look for. Gamarala ruined that opportunity. ‘Jadapalanaya’ came and ruined the economy.

  • 3
    0

    To stop politicians further turning the military into their private militia, the government must allocate 2.5% of the GDP to the military. This is the global standard. That will reduce military dependence on politicians for every thing.

  • 4
    2

    The word military should be banned from the swabasha dictionary, as the kallathoni’s administration has and is hell-bent of making this beleaguered nation to be known as the kallathoni’s military state of Rajapukistan.
    Even yesterday the newspapers boasted that 71 more dubious officer ranks have been promoted.
    70 of them are swabashians and there one from the Muslim faith.
    Not a single Tamil was included in this sordid list.?
    Is this not a petty act of racial discrimination.?
    Within the last 8 months, thousands of so-called gazetted officers along with other non-commissioned ranks have been pushed upwards in the direction of the devils holiday empire hell.
    Every time when promotions are randomly given it will cost the exchequer tons of value less Lankan rupees which could be put to better use.?
    With or without the gift of the coronavirus the always in distress ever since 1956 NO money for anything does need a gungho military to bully the malnourished starving sad no job population.?
    in most parts of the globe where the armed forces have been given the role of kingmakers, it has ended in chaos and mayhem with no value for human life.?

  • 14
    2

    Just to show my erudition so that my fake Harvard/Cornell graduate son could borrow some of mine, read the following. (CT readers might remember my spirited defence of him in the stoush with the learned Dayan Jayathilaka, son of my late journalist friend.)
    =
    I should begin with my world class review of the “Postcolonial Love Poem” and Indigenous people of Canada but/and 30% of the inmates in Canadian prisons, – but/and steadily increased under Trudeau. I have also lived in Australia at Colbellyup for two years.

    A few unrelated notes now about sports people. Don Bradman was dismissed for 0 by an aboriginal. Serena Williams was made a ‘GOAT’ by Roger Federer. As happens, Navratilova and John McEnroe, declared that, on account of Margaret Court’s and/but statements the Melbourne Arena be named after Evonne Goolagong, the ‘aboriginal’ women who became the world No 1. The other from there and/but is another– the current No.1, Ashleigh Barty.

    So what has all this got to do with political power and the military?

    Asmattering of gutter English could not make a leader and/but decent human being out of third grade trash no matter how desperately they spread lies about degrees from Harvard, Cornell and/but Peradeniya, using media outlets.

  • 0
    1

    Sri Lankan’s elected Gotabhaya Rajapaksa with an overwhelming majority, knowing his strengths and weaknesses. He is ruling the country as expected. The forthcoming General Election will probably result in the rise of corruption and nepotism by his Cabinet colleagues.

  • 3
    0

    LdeM
    “He is ruling the country as expected.”
    Can you please be more specific.

  • 1
    0

    There is a news item said to have appeared in a Sinhala website that the UNHC Yasmin Sukka has sent a list consisting of 150 war criminals of which 61 are named to all the airports in Europe and the Baltic countries for their arrest. If this true what will be the position of Gota. Is Gota’s name included? Moreover, if this news item is true will his rule in Sri Lanka come to an end? Can anyone clarify this.

  • 0
    0

    KumarDavid, you are talking as if our military’s job is to kill Tamils. Its only a sick mind that can insinuate such a thing. You don’t stop at that, you claim that our army is popular among the Sinhalese, because the army kills Tamils and you draw sick analogies. First of all, Sinhalese trust the military not for the reasons you claim, but because the military steps in and helps in crisis situations. Winning the war was a result of that trust, not the other way around. Not only Sinhalese, but many thousands of Tamils and Muslims have been rescued by the military on occasions of crisis like landslides, floods, and the tsunami, and now Covid-19. We would never have managed to overcome the threat of the pandemic with minimal loss of human life, if not for the whole-hearted effort and dedication of the military. Today nobody talks about how bravely our military rushed to help the Tamils during the tsunami, when the self-proclaimed sole representative of the Tamils, Prabharkaran and his “army” ran away and hid from the waves. This was during the peace process and our military was not allowed in the area by theLTTE. Contd ›

    • 0
      0

      Contd ›
      Our army ran to the aid of the Tamils risking everything and many navy and army personnel drowned and died trying to rescue the drowning Tamils. Now the same army is supposed have “hundreds of thousands” of Tamils! PLEASE understand that contrary to what Tamil fundamentalists say, even during the war the army treated EVERYONE equally – testimonies of Tamils fleeing the LTTE prove how well the army looked after them. Its only a sick mind that can explain our army’s popularity with the sick unsubstantiated claims about our army killing Tamils and then compare that unsubstantiated claim to what Saddam did to the Kurds with an equally false premise namely that Saddam and the Iraqi military was popular. FYI neither Saddam nor his military was very popular in Iraq, that is why your American friends could call Saddam a dictator. BTW Saddam is not even in your list – why? And the American army head you praise so much is responsible for many thousands of innocent Iraqi people. He part-took in the invasion of Iraq by USA which USA called “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Look what freedom the Iraqis and the whole of the middle-east has got today!!!

      • 2
        0

        PP
        “…many navy and army personnel drowned and died trying to rescue the drowning Tamils”
        May I know how many please?
        *
        Several soldiers acted in extraordinarily humanitarian fashion. There were very humane officers supervising the detention camps.
        But the army as an institution was far from the benign image that you seek to project.
        *
        Its conduct was not that commendable in ’71 or ’88-89.

        • 0
          0

          I do not have figures of how many, but this was reported and referenced in both local and international media. These are the silent sacrifices the soldiers have made doing their duty as soldiers and human beings. The Tamils have been convinced that the Sinhalese hate them, and are out kill them at the first opportunity, and the military is used for this purpose (ref. “ …everywhere the way to the affections of a race is to massacre an adjacent race or faith… ”). Unfortunately writings like this article by KumarDavid sets the order of the day, since Sinhalese have not been very effective in convincing the Tamils that this is not the case. Incidences where the army has saved Tamils from natural catastrophes are hardly mentioned. Maybe its because there is no need to make a fuss about it since its the most natural and proper thing to do. But since there is so much anti-Sinhalese propaganda Sinhalese should communicate directly with Tamils and not through corrupt scholars, journalists and politicians. How the army handled the 1971+1988/89 JVP insurrections show that they do/have not discriminate(d) between Tamils and Sinhalese, when they are fighting against an enemy of the state.

          • 2
            0

            PP
            If it was reported it cannot be hard to glean some data.
            I do not question the very humane conduct of several officers and men, as individuals.
            But overstating performance destroys credibility.

    • 2
      0

      Kumar David, Does this look like what you are describing in the article?
      Officer from the civil defence force taking leave (3 minutes video)
       
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPi1DYy3aVI&t=0m16s
       
      Why are they crying?

      • 2
        0

        PP
        I am aware of this video and other such experiences.
        The army officer concerned was an exceptional human being.
        A few more like him would have changed community relations very much, although not necessarily adequately, given the circumstances.

  • 0
    0

    SJ, understating performance has the same effect as overstating, when it comes to credibility. Anyways my point here is not the numbers, but that Sinhalese soldiers are not out to kill Tamils at the first opportunity and that the Sinhalese people do not expect or demand that the army to kill Tamils as Kumar David is insinuating or rather is stating quite directly. It is totally unacceptable that this kind of total nonsense is published and propagated. Actually its so simplistic and dumb of him to state that massacring an adjacent race gets the military the affection of a race, that a counter argument in the same simplistic nature could be made claiming that since our army rescues Tamils and Muslims in crisis situations they must be extremely disliked and unpopular among the Sinhalese.
     
    While hundreds of articles and write-ups like this one by Kumar David has been produced and published, there seems to be no specific article about Sinhalese soldiers saving Tamils and Muslims during the tsunami with the number of soldiers who died saving the Tamils and Muslims specified.
    (Contd › )

    • 0
      0

      (Contd › )
      Maybe buried in the massive literature that has been produced about the tsunami one can find the exact numbers or an estimate, but its too large to browse and is a waste of time. I remember reading a number sometime back, probably in Wikipedia, but since I cannot find the article or that particular revision in Wikipedia, I won’t state the number. Here are a couple of mentions without exact numbers in the international press:

        “For the next several days, the once feared Sinhalese commandos rescued dozens of Tamil survivors, buried nearly 500 of the dead and gave their own rations to help feed 19,000 of those left homeless. ” – New York Times; January 18th 2005
       
        “In fact, many had responded to the disaster by rushing to the aid of the afflicted without regard for their identity. There were stories of Sinhalese soldiers risking—and losing—their lives in efforts to rescue Tamil civilians; of Tamil businessmen carting meals to displaced Sinhalese survivors; and of Muslims buying up clothes and medicines to hand out to Hindus and Buddhists. ” – The New Yorker; July 25th 2005

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