30 October, 2020

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More On Geneva Again

By Izeth Hussain

 Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

My article Geneva Again of January 11 had a very limited focus: to establish that the call for international investigations on war crimes was the text, while the sub-text was to push the Sri Lanka Government towards a political solution of the Tamil ethnic problem. It is essentially the same case that I made out in my article The Ban Ki-moon Conspiracy in the Island of May 2, 2011. In the two years and eight months that have elapsed since then, there have however been many significant developments over the ethnic problem which call for new thinking in preparing for the UNHRC Meeting in late March. I have in mind also some of the material provided by the over one hundred responses that have been provoked by my last article.

On one point that I have made there can be no argument, none whatever. It is that the Government had no genocidal intent at all during the final phase of the war. Why on earth should it have wanted to sully a certain victory by committing mass killings on a genocidal scale, knowing full well that that would not have gone undetected by India and the US? That has to be written off as quite simply unimaginable. Nevertheless, I have to acknowledge, mass killings of civilians on a very substantial scale could have taken place. As I acknowledged in my last article, there would have been sadistic armed forces officers and rogue units who wanted to massacre civilians. In addition, we should I think allow for the possibility that there were in the upper echelons of the State ultranationalist super-patriotic racists who wanted latitude to be given for mass killings in order to “teach the Tamils a lesson”. In saying this I have in mind the indubitable fact that after 1977 our political culture has been for the most part unutterably, stinkily, sickeningly, low-grade.

Yet another factor has to be borne in mind: the rage for destruction that is inherent in warfare. I have no direct experience of warfare, nor erudition on the subject, but I know that it’s not a picnic. I quote here a recognized expert on war, Clausewitz: “Philanthropic people can easily imagine that there is a way of contriving to disarm and defeat the adversary without shedding too much blood … It is an error which should be eliminated … We cannot introduce a principle of moderation into the realm of war without committing an absurdity. War is an act of violence and there is no limit to the manifestation of that violence”.

So, we can assume – backed by the expertise of Clausewitz – that a very substantial number of non-combatant civilians were indeed killed, even though there was no genocidal intent. How many? No one can know for certain of course, but my commonsense tells me that the number could not have been on the scale of Rwanda, Kosovo, or Darfur, all of which provoked immediate international attention and outrage though not immediate counter-action. A problem in computing the number, a serious problem, arises out of the fact that it is known that the LTTE not only used civilians as human shields, but also that many of the combatants in the final stages of the war were not wearing LTTE uniforms. That means that the Tamils who actually saw the fighting in the final stages could not themselves have been sure how many of those being killed were non-combatant civilians.

I have raised the question – which could be of crucial importance – why there was no international rumpus about war crimes until two years after the conclusion of the war. We can assume that India and the US would have been reasonably well-informed about what transpired during the final phase of the war. It is quite possible that India did not want a rumpus soon after the conclusion of the war as that would have prejudiced the chances of moving towards a political solution through implementation of 13A, and it is possible also that India persuaded the US to keep quiet. As for the Jaffna people, they would have been too afraid to speak out: they could have all vanished into thin air if they did. The real enigma is the thunderous silence from Tamil Nadu. The TN Government could have been persuaded by Delhi to keep quiet, but what about the TN Opposition and the TN people? There are many facts leading to legitimate questions that suggest that the estimate of 40,000 civilians being wantonly slaughtered is exaggerated.

I must now make some comments on the two Channel 4 documentaries. They are not, and they don’t purport to be, a sober presentation of data and nothing more than that. Such a documentary would be far too dull for British and other TV audiences. They seem to me to belong to the genre of the New Journalism of Tom Wolfe and others which came into vogue in the ‘sixties of the last century. There was also the figure of the American writer of fiction, Truman Capote, who wanted to transform journalism into literature by using the techniques of fiction for the presentation of facts. I haven’t read his novel written in illustration of his thesis, In Cold Blood, the real life story about two cold-blooded killers, but I have seen the film which powerfully portrays “the banality of evil”. Actually the usage of the techniques of fiction to heighten the presentation of facts seems to have quite a respectable ancestry. I have in mind a superb piece of journalism by the young Hemingway of the ‘twenties. However, the problem with such journalism is that it could show an even greater tendency towards distortion and tendentiousness than the journalism that purports to be straightforward reportage.

I fear that the Government has done badly in dealing with those two documentaries. There has been too much of vilification and vituperation towards Callum Macrae and the others, which is typical of our fiercely intolerant political culture. I feel that, on the whole, they are honest journalists who were trying to turn out documentaries with a powerful emotional impact. The Government would have done better to point to the tendency towards distortion and tendentiousness that is inherent in that kind of documentary. More important is that those two documentaries have a very limited significance. They establish not much more than that the “horrors of war” have to be expected in protracted warfare – the quotation that I have provided above from Clausewitz is very relevant in this connection. They go no distance at all towards establishing that the Government had a genocidal intent or that 40,000 civilians were massacred.

I have expressed unorthodox views in this article, as well as in the last one which provoked some ferocious denunciation. I will therefore reproduce part of an email that I have received from a reader in London as he probably reflects the contrary thinking of a wide segment of people: “I agree that the Government had nothing to gain from the massacre and also think that rogue elements in the armed forces are likely to have been responsible for the abuses that took place. The program which I saw would seem to support this idea – we see scenes that point to abuse and possibly murder of male and female captives as well as a scene of women LTTE fighters being taken away into captivity unharmed. This is horrible but not a mini Rwandan massacre and does not support a thesis of genocidal intent at government level. The delay in all this coming to light is also as you point out crucial”.

Of course the miscreants responsible for the horrors shown in the two Channel 4 documentaries should be brought to book, and certainly there is a case for holding that there can be no full and proper ethnic reconciliation until credible investigations are held into war crimes allegations. But we must face up to the problem that there is an incompatibility between holding those investigations and moving meaningfully towards ethnic reconciliation. The present situation here is very different from the one that prevailed in South Africa at the end of apartheid, as I pointed out in an earlier article. Investigations into war crimes here will mean that important personages, both within and outside the armed forces, will have to be put in the dock and that is going to rend this society apart. It will become impossible to proceed with the meaningful implementation of 13A, a process that requires as precondition goodwill from both sides of the ethnic fence. It seemed to make sense to hold therefore that we should now proceed to implement 13A and postpone war crimes investigations for a later stage.

But that argument has come to seem premised on the questionable, very questionable, assumption that the Government would sincerely move towards as full an implementation as might be possible of 13A. We cannot ignore the fact that for the greater part of four years the Government seemed to show that it had developed an allergy to 13A, and it even seemed that it was against any political solution based on devolution. The Northern Provincial Council has been set up, but it does not seem that the Government will allow it to function properly. Furthermore, the Government has been clearly going in an authoritarian, neo-Fascist, and racist direction that is clearly incompatible with proper implementation of 13A

This novel situation seems to demand action along certain lines. Clearly there has to be pressure on the Government to properly implement 13A. But the Government is impervious to internal pressure. So there has to be external pressure, obviously in the form of the Tamil diaspora and the West clamoring for international investigations into war crimes. I wish that India would distance itself from that clamor and play the role of helpful friend to Sri Lanka in making the Government implement 13A properly and fully. If that succeeds I expect that the clamour for international investigations will die down. But can it succeed? I don’t know. What I do know is that something keeps telling me that in these troubled times we will all do well to bear in mind this bit of ancient Greek wisdom: Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first drive mad.

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  • 5
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    “On one point that I have made there can be no argument, none whatever. It is that the Government had no genocidal intent at all during the final phase of the war.” says the expert! Bull shit.

    We shall wait and see Mr Izeth Hussain when so much credible evidence and witnesses are waiting to prove without doubt in Geneva that there was intent to commit genocide, and it did take place. For one, reportedly Minister Wimal Weeravnase when visiting military camps said: Why can’t the air force bomb whole villages out in the North during the war?

    It is obvious to even kindergarten children that the Sri Lankan state was on a path to genocide of Tamils since independence, not so overtly as during the war.

    How many massacres the army, navy and the air force committed since the war began. OK, LTTE committed some massacres in retaliation, but you all brand them as terrorists, so what can you expect. But, can a government responsible for all citizens do it? If they did, they lose the right to govern those people.

    Human beings can have umpteen reasons to do something, but those reasons can be beyond your imagination.

    A criminal always thinks that he can get away with it until he is caught and brought to justice.

    I have a feeling that you are in the employ of the government to propagate their lies. You may be the Joseph Goebbels of Sri Lanka. Give up, people are not fools to believe your lop sided analysis.

    Why don’t you do something honest instead?

    • 5
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      This man brings all kinds of extraneous arguments to show that there was no genocidal intent: I give you a historical list of actions showing the genocidal intent below.

      Soon after independence over a million plantation Tamils were disenfranchised. What was the intent Mr Hussain? To reduce the Tamil population. Even today they are subject to compulsory birth control, which doesn’t apply to Sinhalese.

      Sinhala only policy which denied the use of Tamil in the government.

      Several periodic state sponsored pogroms against Tamils, killing thousand, destroying their property and drove them abroad, again reducing the population of Tamils their livelihood and dignity. The police and the armed forces didn’t protect the Tamils.

      By the way what do think of the police not protecting Mosques attacked/destroyed by Sinhalese thugs and Muslim villages in the North-East colonized with Sinhalese? Don’t you have any sympathy for your fellow Muslims?
      You won’t talk about it, would you?

      State sponsored colonization of Tamil land (from time immemorial) with Sinhalese from the south thereby usurping their homeland.

      Standardization of exams to discriminate against Tamils. Tamils in government service has dwindled to near zero.

      The list is exhaustive but I will stop here.

      So, please don’t ignore the ground reality of Sinhala colonization of Tamil speaking peoples’ traditional homeland which is proceeding in high speed today. Their lands and dwellings are denied, their livelihood denied, and cultural oppression continues. What do you call it if it is not structural genocide?

      Mr Hussain, if you have conscience, please don’t write such warped, distorted articles to cover up the genocide of Tamils which is on-going.

    • 2
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      I agree with Thiru and disagree with the author on “Government had no genocidal intent at all”.

      How do you find out whether there was a genocidal intention or not by the Government of Sri Lanka. The genocidal intention do not come suddenly, it comes through a process of well planned initiatives and activities of the government. In Sri Lanka the process of genocidal intention was long time even before the independence Sri Lanka. Colonization of North East borders by Sinhala prisoners and Thugs and the so called ethnic riots (You don’t call one sided attack as riot) happened in this Nation are well planned intentional motives. We should remember that the security forces did not take any actions to stop the crimes or bring those criminals responsible for justice. Hundreds of innocent civilians were massacred in the capital and our security forces did not make any move to stop that massacres. Why? Who stopped them taking actions against criminals? The genocidal intent of the Governments prevented them taking actions against these criminals and the crimes had the backing of the Governments. They cultivated the genocidal intent through making structural changes to the institutions and organizations. The intention is clear. This Nation belongs to Buddhist Sinhala only and any possible threats should be eradicated completely. What happened in Mullivaygal was the most sophisticated genocidal act of Sinhala Buddhists in the name of terrorism.

      Even today the attack on Muslims and militarization Sinhalization) of North East are the examples of genocidal intentions with the backing of the Government of Sri Lanka.
      I am hundred percent confident that Sinhala governments never agree for political solution with Tamils. They will never agree for a devolution of power where there is no majority for Sinhalese.

      • 1
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        Ajith,

        You are absolutely correct.

        These scribes are either paid by the regime or they themselves don’t care about the genocide of Tamils or the attacks on Muslim interests going on now.

        This author, a Muslim, takes the attitude of the Muslim MPs in the parliament keeping mum when Mosques are attacked. Shameless fellows.: Now non-political Muslim youth are taking the matter to Geneva. In vain the Muslims elected those selfish bums to parliament.

        They can’t look after their own rights but they want to undermine Tamils’ rights too.

    • 0
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      Judging by the fact that that stinking scum Thiru has got in so fast with so many replies, simply proves that this piece has put into words what many people have been trying to say over the last few years.

      Congratulations Mr.Hussain, on a piece of journalism that should put our current exponents of the art to shame !

      • 0
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        I too believe that my article articulates the views of many people. Thank you for your fair-minded comment – Izeth Hussain

  • 3
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    . A problem in computing the number, a serious problem, arises out of the fact that it is known that the LTTE not only used civilians as human shields, but also that many of the combatants in the final stages of the war were not wearing LTTE uniforms.</blockquote?

    http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/VitalStatistics/EVE2011_FinalReport.pdf

    The census data were collected by local Tamils and certified by village leaders in each district. The report states only 71%, (or 5,633 deaths) can be attributed to the war. What is important to note here is that the 5,333 figure includes LTTE casualties.

    This means less than 2000 innocent people died. A large portion died in the NFZ. A member of Parliment Kanagaratnam from TNA was an eye witness. The LTTE killed many when they refused to join.

    I hope this clears it for you so you don't keep mentioning it like a parrot.

    • 0
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      Sorry, We Thamizh prefer numbers pulled out of our collective arse over your fancy census data :-)

  • 2
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    As sober and balanced an analysis of the situation as has ever been written on the topic.Hussein says:
    “In saying this I have in mind the indubitable fact that after 1977 our political culture has been for the most part unutterably, stinkily, sickeningly, low-grade.”
    Don’t forget to say that even the cognoscenti and the scholarly community — not to speak of the scurriluos scribes–too have descended to”a stiningly sickeningly low grade” and are continuing to provide the necessary discourse to the political culture.
    Let us hope that work such as yours will help in reversing this trend –though it seems unlikely.Keep up the good work,in any case

    • 3
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      karl singham,

      I would include Hussain in the list of such scribes distorting the facts.

      • 2
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        NO,I certainly would not include Hussain the list of such scribes.
        But may be inclined to include you, Thiru.In the mean time check out the history and meaning of the word “genocide”.

        This debate about the events in the war is characterized by what may be termed DENIERS on the one hand and EXAGERATORS on the other and Hussain has stuck a balance.
        Every war has rogue elements that violate the rules of war and go on the rampage. The Germans in their retreat from the eastern front in 1943 committed extreme atrocities against civilians. All the American soldiers in Korea and Vietnam did not fight according to the rules of war and some were charged with crimes later on. Recently a study was published in the US about the rampant misconduct of American soldiers in France immediately after the the liberation(Mary Louise Roberts).
        Hussein acknowldges that such rogue elements in the army,encouraged by the some of the nasty elements within the government itself and wanting to teach the Tamils a final lesson could have gone on the rampage.

        What more do you exagerators want?

        • 1
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          karl singham ,

          “Every war has rogue elements that violate the rules of war and go on the rampage.” you say but day in and day out the air force took off from bases and dropped bombs including cluster bombs and phosphorus in No Fire Zones for many weeks, coordinated shelling and even firing from the sea took place: It was a coordinated effort coming from the very top: Even the generals will testify to that if there is an international investigation.

          Why did the government want the UN staff and the ICRC workers out of war zone if it is not dangerous for the Tamil civilians? If there was nothing to hide they need not have done that. Don’t blame the rogue elements in the armed forces, it is the rogue government which is continuing in power even today.

          Truth is no exaggeration Mr karl singham; don’t pull the wool over peoples’ eyes.

          To you middle path means condoning genocide and moving on: This will only lead to more and more genocides all over the world. Just because some countries did before does not mean that we allow all and sundry to do it. Then there will be no minorities in the world: That is what Mahinda meant when he said after the war that there are no minorities in Sri Lanka; he was foretelling the future, which is in his bloody hands.

        • 2
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          ” meaning of the word “genocide”.” – please tell us what is the meaning?

    • 1
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      Thank you very much. The scurrilous scribes and the others have to be challenged, whether we succeed or not. Otherwise we will cease to be properly human – IH

  • 3
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    “As I acknowledged in my last article, there would have been sadistic armed forces officers and rogue units who wanted to massacre civilians.”

    Armed forces did not sent out the UN staff. They did not order the Cluster, Chemical, Carpet bombing. They did not cancel the food and medicine supply. They did not falsify the the death number. These was done by civilian part of the government. Army Heads demanded and obtained coordinates of civilians hospitals from ICRC. There were no human shield activity in a ICRC hospital. There were only patients getting treatment for their wounds by army’s bombing . These are not blood thirsty activities. These were planned eradication of Tamils from the Island.

    But Armed forces accepted that the president and the defence secretary ordered them to do it. Previous Army chief publicly accepted this twice during his term.
    “Jagath Jayasuriya: President and Gota defended Army against conspiracies”(1.he did not say Army did not do it. Army did it, Bosses ordered; 2.he did not accept that the army is sadistic ). Even Sarath Fonseka has the same opinion. So the number of the death is established by International Investigators only President, the chief of the three armed divisions will come forward accept his responsibility in the genocide.
    If he is not responsible why is he using “electric chair” story to win elections. In other words he himself is accepting that he was responsible the genocide(not the sadistic army).

    • 2
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      Mallaiyuran,

      Exactly,

      Mahinda some time ago reportedly said that the films used by Channel 4 and Callum Macrae were sold by some army personnel for money.

      Also, even if Mahinda, Gotha, and the chiefs of forces ordered indiscriminate killing of civilians, then those who executed the orders are also guilty. One cannot escape personal responsibility as established in Nuremberg trials.

      If Mahinda is now talking of electric chair to win votes, then this Hussain does he not know it? Obviuously he is advocating covering up.

  • 1
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    What we will see at the UNHRC is a clash of narratives. On the one hand you have the narrative offered by the West, and represented by the Channel 4 video. On the other hand you have the GOSL narrative that this was a “hostage rescue operation in which no civilians died at the hands of the SLA”. The GOSL has also flatly denied the Channel 4 video. Both sides have demonstrated that they are not going to back down. The clearest demonstration of this intent by the West is Mr. Cameron’s visit to the island in which he endorsed the Channel 4 video, and stated the need for independent investigations. He left himself no exit strategy. The West is not going to back down.
     
    So how do Mr. Cameron and the West prevail? I think that they need to not just win the battle of narratives, they need to dominate it. They need to monopolize the narrative, and the West cannot monopolize the narrative without first monopolizing the use of force. As long there is an SLA presence on the ground in the NE the GOSL narrative will remain relevant. They can run interference; they can challenge the findings of UN experts using their own “experts”; they can also continue to intimidate and discredit witnesses.
     
    That’s why I think that a resolution that merely mentions an international investigation with the possibility of sanctions years down the road is a best case scenario for the GOSL. The likely scenario is that a resolution with the words “UN Security Council” mentioned in it somewhere, is passed. The UNHRC cannot monopolize the use of force in the NE. The UNSC can.

  • 0
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    Izeth Hussain, after reading your January 11 I offered you the advise that having decided to offer fellatio services to the President, you should also have decided to do it wholeheartedly – lest you draw punishment for hurting that particular body part. You seem to have taken my advice, and this Article is more like what you really wanted to do. In the face of all the evidence (read Thiru’s contribution above), despite the divinely revealed “it was only 2000 deaths” as stated by Vibushana, you have gratuitously claimed that the President and the Government had no reason to commit genocide AND that therefore they did not commit genocide.

    Good work Hussain. You are a good [Edited out]. Keep praying that you will get some work at Geneva from the GSL.

    • 1
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      Tolco writes:
      “Izeth Hussain, after reading your January 11 I offered you the advise that having decided to offer fellatio services to the President …”
      Here we go again.There was one Linsay,a spokesman for Sinhala/Buddhist nationalism claiming that Sharmini Searasinghe and I are both suffering the menopause blues.Now a Tamil spokesman has to use another sexual metaphor to make his point.This sort of thing is becoming rampant in the blogs aided no doubt by the annonymity it offers.Still,such cheap invectives also reveals three things:a)the linguitic poverty of these spokesmen and want of imagination.b)An inability to mount a cogent or logical argument.and c)Certain sexual problems of their own and they are using the internet as a form of cheap therapy.

      • 1
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        I believe you are right on a) b) and c). The way sexual frustrations impact on politics needs study.It is significant that political Islam usually aims at the enslavement of women – IH

  • 0
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    [Edited out]

  • 1
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    Izeth Hussain says, ‘Why on earth should it have wanted to sully a certain victory by committing mass killings on a genocidal scale, knowing full well that that would not have gone undetected by India and the US?

    If senile decay has not set in, can Izeth explain why VP buried all the heavy Artillery and abandon the stronghold Kilinochchi that had ample cover with bunkers for protection to fight the Sri Lankan Army, but opted to move to a Beach front instead, without a shred of cover minus the Artillery and tried to surrender only to be Massacred. What an Idiotic move for a man like VP who earlier carried out commando style operations in the Heart of Colombo with 100% success. Unless both the Americans and the Indians lured VP with a false promise to bury the artillery and move out of Kilinochchi and surrender for a settlement offered? This, MR alone could not have done and VP would not have trusted MR, but with the assurance of the Americans and the Indians VP had no alternate. This is the TRUTH and this Donkey Izeth thinks that others are fools. Now the Bugger is trying to draw a Red Herring with the UNHCR in March 2014 as currency for his Cock and Bull.

  • 1
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    “A problem in computing the number, a serious problem, arises out of the fact that it is known that the LTTE not only used civilians as human shields, but also that many of the combatants in the final stages of the war were not wearing LTTE uniforms. That means that the Tamils who actually saw the fighting in the final stages could not themselves have been sure how many of those being killed were non-combatant civilians.”

    Dear Izeth Hussain,
    You are contradicting yourself on the issue of number of civilians killed by Srilankan forces and the genocidal intent of the Government. According to you LTTE used civilians as human shield. In addition to that there was an accusation that civilians were forced by LTTE to do various supportive activities and they forcefully took children/youths for combat/noncombat purposes.

    During the final stages of war the defence secretary estimated that number of actual LTTE combatants were less than 3000 during the middle stages of war. So, there is no chance of more than 3000 true LTTE cadres in the war zone and there were lot of LTTE casualties during the battle before reaching Mullivaygal.

    There was clear indication at the last phase of the war that LTTE has weakened to very low level and they have lost their capability to defend the Sri Lankan forces completely. So, Sri Lanka forces had the option to capture all remaining LTTE combatants and all the civilians without any major civilian massacre.

    But, they didn’t want to do that one and they choose to massacre as much as possible because their intention was to reduce the number as much as possible.

  • 2
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    Periodic massacres of tamils commenced soon after independence commencing 1951 – by the armed forces with complicity by police,in the north and east,culminating in the islandwide pogrom of July 1983.
    All were ignored by police,and by the judiciary.
    Not a single prosecution was commenced.
    Tamils took up arms soon after, with formation of LTTE, and the rest is history.
    All these are hallmarks of genocidal intent, of successive sinhala majority governments and culminated in the massacres and disappearences at the end of the “humanitarian war”in 2009.
    “Sinhala Only” of 1956, and languagewise standardisation of marks for
    universty entry, further degraded the birthrights of tamils.
    State aided colonisation was commenced from Gal Oya days by D.S.Senanayake and continued by his successors and goes on to this day,to make tamils into minorities in the north and east.

    What is allowd under the 13th amendment in other provincial councils is NOT allowed in the Nothern and Eastern provincial councils, by the President,through his proxies, the Governors.

    Izeth Hussain’s rant purposely ignores these realities.

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      Do you seriously think that I should have gone into the past horrors perpetrated by the Sinhalese racists against the Tamils? I have done so in a great many articles written over many dcades. I have consistently referred to what happened in 1983 as genocide. I must be the only person to keep on demanding over many years that proper investigations be held into what happened in 1983. The CBK Government deliberately denied the Sharvananda Commission the means to do a proper job.
      Is it really beyond your comprehension that a writer has to limit himself to certain matters in a single article? There has to be gigantic prejudice behind your rant – IH

  • 0
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    While making out a case for the implementation of 13A Hussein appears to be callously underplaying the seriousness of the wanton massacre of innocent Tamils men, women children and the infirm. The number may not exactly be 40,000 but it is around that figure. After the war, with the hundreds of thousands of IDPs the Tamil people being preoccupied with the rehabilitation of themselves and the others they might not have known how many of their relatives and friends had perished. Unlike Libya, Syria and others this was a war without witnesses and deliberately so intended. Despite this the Al Jazeera during the height of the war highlighted the fact that non combatants were being massacred in the no fire zones and in hospitals, which was denied.
    Immediately after the war, Ban ki Moon travelled by helicopter along with the despicable Vijay Nambiar gauging the handy work of the Rajapaksa brothers before having dinner with them in Kandy that night. Soon after, Moon at a CNN interview described what he saw as appalling. Thereafter with Chinese assistance the killing fields were cleared with the help of bulldozers and aerial equipment removing tens of thousands of bodies. We need not go to Channel 4. There are CDs prepared long before by persons like Dr Brian Senewiratne that tell the story. These cannot be hidden.
    The 13A is an absolute farce which has no meaning for the Tamil speaking peoples, a stop gap palliative. Even the NPC elections would not have been held if not for the CHOGM. Take for instance the case of Ananthi Sasitharan an NPC member who is being debarred from speaking out her mind in contrast to Hirunika whose father was murdered by a criminal stooge of the Rajapaksas who is being elevated to the position of a party organiser.
    Hussein quotes the Greek philosopher Euripides to whom is attributed the saying: “Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad”. We have one in Gotabhaya Rajapaksa heading the list. Making out a case for the other war criminals Hussein says:”It will become impossible to proceed with the meaningful implementation of 13A, a process that requires as precondition goodwill from both sides of the ethnic fence. It seemed to make sense to hold therefore that we should now proceed to implement 13A and postpone war crimes investigations for a later stage”. What seems to be Hussein’s agenda in putting the cart before horse is baffling. Only after the investigation into war crimes and the successful prosecutions that reconciliation would be possible and indeed meaningful. Bensen

  • 2
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    Mr Hussain, thanks for that analysis. Your analysis also highlights the predicament of many Sri Lankans who supported the war but are thoroughly disappointed by the post-war corruption, nepotism and the rise of an extreme form of ethno-fascism. Given this ground reality and the fact that only external pressure can force the rulers to change their course, are you saying that all Sri Lankans, have a duty to support ongoing attempts to mobilise this external pressure by Western governments and India. I like to know what your position is on this very real dilemma. As you will readily acknowledge, external pressure does not come automatically through altruism or genuine concern for the Sri Lankan people…..it needs to be mobilised and cultivated. In the case of India it needs to be forced out of the central government by grass root mobilisation and pressure in TN. The danger in supporting such a strategy is that people /groups who are involved in mobilising Western and Indian opinion are not fully committed to 13A. They would very clearly like to go way beyond what was envisaged through 13A. How does an ordinary citizen, who has a genuine interest in the Country’s affairs, effectively support a position that leads to good governance, protection of minority rights and effective devolution of power without contributing to a separatist agenda……isn’t that the challenge facing all of us?
    Dr Mahesan Nirmalan

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      No, I wouldn’t say that everyone has a duty to clamour for external pressure. We must all bear in mind that the white vans can reappear and those who clamoured in the wrong way can vanish into thin air. The pressure being presently exerted by the West and the Tamil diaspora suffices. Also the TNA favours international investigations, very probably reflecting the views of most local Tamils.
      Neither the Government nor the TNA want 13A.But the TNA is willing to give it a try. That in my view provides the only practical option for starting the process of moving towards a political solution.My expectation is that if 13A is properly implemented India will be on our side and help resist unwarranted external pressure.
      I agree that the challenge facing us is how to promote good governance,minority rights, and devolution, without at the same time promoting a separatist agenda.I believe that that can be accomplished only through a full and properly functioning democracy.I would advocate not 13Aplus but Democracy plus – that is Democracy plus 13A – IH

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    Much of Mr. Hussain’s article is a feeble and confused attempt to white-wash the regime – for reasons unknown. Or, at least, unclear. The shrewd narrative gets bogged down in contradictions and a clear attempt to please those perched high in the regime. Hussain asinninely insists “the Govt has no genocidal intentions” and, to him, the very reality is “simply unimaginable” Fiddlesticks!! Those who painfully survived the carefully pre-planned pogrom in the Wanni – and notably during mid-2009 – will remember Hussain as one more “holocaust-denier” commenting on contemporary political affairs. Elsewhere in the piece he findshis guard down and writes “ there could have been mass killings of civilians” As to rogue elements within the army Mr. Hussain brings forth to defend the regime, surely he is aware in governance, which he often pretends to know much about, there is the inevitable consequences of Command Responsibility. The buck stops somewhere.

    Once more he tries to catch the eye of the ruling trio by obfuscating the actual numbers of civilians killed – the core issue in the forthcoming Geneve meetings. He tries to lighten the load of the regime by bringing in the Rwandan example where the figures were over a million. Hussain, known for his subtle anti-Tamil bias, errs again in almost making the shared suffering of Tamils as some light affair as he speculates callously “Tamils would have vanished into thin air” Those like him and his ilk might learn, thanks to the region and the international community, Tamils did not vanish into thin or thick air. Tamils lost very large numbers of civilians in violence from both sides but they continue to survive, which will be bad news for some jaundiced minds.

    Hussain’s contradictions extend to the Channel 4 episode as well. While at one stage he takes the regime’s uncompromising line on the Channel, later on changes gears and says they(Channel 4) were doing only their job.

    But the Piece de Resistance in Hussain’s white-wash exercise is “I wish India will play the helpful friend to Sri Lanka in making the Govt implement 13A properly and fully. If that succeeds I expect the clamour for international investigation will die down” Surely, friend, you take sophistry to new heights. We are all aware the regime has earned for themselves a reputation as unreliable by fooling themselves they have taken India for a ride on this score alone – umpteen times. This was because, many a times, they promised India they will implement – not merely the 13th Amendent but went on to voluntarily say “13th ++” as well. While Hussain may have become myopic many in the readership,I am sure, are not going to be mislead with such venalities in wasting ink, paper and time on.

    R. Varathan

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    I will make a collective reply to the responses given above. Many of the critical comments don’t deal with my arguments. The main contention is over the question of genocide during the final phase of the war.
    The term “genocide” can be used to mean diffeent things.It can be used to mean the deliberate destruction of the culture of a people, obviously a long-term process.Equally obviously it cannot apply to what happened in the last phase of the war. In that situation the meaning has to be this: “the deliberate and systematic killing of people in the mass”.All the charges about the maltreatment of the Tamils in the past become irrelevant.I was dealing only with the final phase of the war.
    I find it impossible to believe that the Government wanted the committing of genocide in that sense, knowing full well that it would not pass undetected by the US and India. I acknowledged that mass killings could have taken place, and that that requires investigation and punishment. But that has to come at a later stage, after the process of ethnic reconciliation takes hold.What was the scale of those mass killings?It could not have been on the scale of Kosvo, Rwanda, Darfur, in which case there would have been immediate reactions in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere.The reactions would not have taken two years. The case I made out has not been dealt with at all.

    I related the Channel 4 documentaries to the New Journalism.I should also have made the point that they don’t tell the full story because that was not their purpose.The full story should include all the evidence showing that the Government troops tried to save Tamil ciilians.
    There is absolutely nothing anti-Tamil in what I wrote. But it seems to have provoked demented racist anti-Muslim hatred and rage among some expatriate Tamils.There cannot be many of them.Those who have put themselves on display in the above responses I regard as beneath contempt – IH

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    It is either infantile or a poorly disguised attempt at mendacity to publicly state “…in which case there would have been immediate reactions in Tamil Nadu..” Even a schoolboy knows Tamilnadu has raised her voice stridently at all carnages in the Lankan conflict between the Sinhala army and the Tamil rebels – where civilians were targeted and killed in large numbers. The issue has been one where the State, after the killings, tries to supress the numbers – which will be the focus in Geneva – white-washers and bootlickers notwithstanding.

    R. Varathan

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      As has to be expected from you, you write insultingly – infantile, mendacity and so on. But come off it man, you know perfectly well that if anything had occurred on the scale of Kosovo, Rwanda, Darfur, there would have been mass meetings in Tamil Nadu, with fiery denunciations and loud demands for punitive action by Delhi and the international community.The TN politicians would have found it impossible to ignore all that. But nothing of the sort occurred.
      I am sorry, but I have to punish you,by exposing you for what you are: a stinking racist who is half-mad with anti-Muslim hatred.You put me in the category of “white-washers”. The answer to that is given in the preceding paragraph. But you can’t recognize the facts given there because you are half-mad with racist hatred.
      You have committed the stupidity of putting me in the category of “bootlickers”.But the very article that has roused your racist fury contains this: “Furthermore, the Government has been clearly going in an authoritarian, neo-Fascist,and racist direction thaat is clearly incompatible with proper implementation of 13A”.Most readers will say that I am sticking my neck out by using terms such as “neo-Fascist” and “racist” about the Government. But for you I am a bootlicker of the Government.Are you mad?
      The truth is that you are displaying the irrationality, as well as the tendency to stereotypical thinking, of the true-blue pukkah racist.It is true that most Muslim politicians, and many Muslims,have bootlicked all our Governments since 1948.But not all Muslims are like that.I myself have denounced bootlicking Muslim politicians over several decades. You may not be aware of that.But you must be aware of my severe critism of the Government in the present and earlier articles. You choose to ignore all that because you are under a racist compulsion to fit me into the stereotype of the Muslim as bootlicker. You are an incorrigible racist. – IH

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        I am only interested in taking exceptions to errors, inaccuracies and deliberate slants – particularly by those trying to give a twist to contemporary Tamil history.

        I have no interest in vitriolic polemics. Mr. Hussain, I believe, is either in his 80s or close to it. I do not want to deny him the consideration his age demands – irrespective of
        the unfortunate provocation from his side.

        Once again he shows his suspect knowledge of Tamilnadu politics vis-a-vis the Lankan Tamil saga viz:- “there would have been mass meetings in Tamil Nadu, with fiery denunciations and loud demands for punitive action by Delhi…” Mr. Hussain apparently pretends not to know Tamilnadu has been virtually burning since May 2009 – the difference only being in the scale State-wide. That the CM/TN and leading Opposition leaders strongly influencing Delhi periodically is common knowledge. Surely, Mr. Hussain cannot be ignorant India kept away from CHOGM and voted against us in Geneva due to this pressure. Does not Mr. Hussain know dozens of young educated men have made the supreme sacrifice for the same cause – extending to a long period. That is surely much more than “fiery denunciations and loud demands” even for a lesser mind than the learned Mr.Hussain.

        I will ignore the many jibes on me and the instances he uses the word “mad” here. This is apparently a habitual trait in the man. We have seen him generously using the expletive against everyone he disagrees with. Clearly, the poor man has a pugnacious nature. I quote his comments on another writer made in this blog this Jan 06 (8/43pm) “..he has made a MAD statement because he is MAD with rage…..Is this Van der Poorten fellow MAD?” (Emphasis mine)

        Mr. Hussain is doubtlessly a well-read man and makes a readable contribution in many matters. It will be in his interest to respond to opposing views courteously and politely – as expected of gentlemen. More so of one who was a diplomat in the service of the country.

        Good-day

        R. Varathan

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          You advise me to write “courteously and politely”, but you used terms such as “infantile”, “mendacity”, and “bootlicker”. Is that kind of language your idea of being courteous and polite? Your mind is evidently blocked by prejudice. Is it racist prejudice? Is it that you think that that kind of language is courteous and polite when used against a Thumbiya but a Thumbiya must not pay you back in the same coin?
          I asked why there were no mass demonstrations etc in Tamil Nadu if there had been massacres on the scale of Kosovo. Instead of answering that straightforward question you engage in deliberate obfuscation by going into all sorts of irrelevant matters and – as usual- you do so insultingly by assuming that I don’t know what is known by practically everybody. Stick to the point. Don’t waste my time.
          You write that I use the expletive mad against “everyone” who disagrees with me. Who is the “everyone”? You refer only to Poorten. You seem to be habitually imprecise.Poorten wrote something extremely insulting against me. A detail revealed his anti-Muslim racism. I punished him for that.
          I have a theory that racism goes together with irrationality which can slide over into madness.I wrote a whole article about it not long ago. You characterised me as a “bootlicker”. You did that over an article in which I used the terms “neo-Fascist” and “racist” about the Government. It does not seem excessive to pose the question”Are you mad?” – IH

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    Can Izeth Hussain explain why Tamil Nadu kept quiet when the MR regime drummed to the whole world to hear that the Govt Forces were at the gate of the stronghold Kilinochchi and he will wipe off the LTTE? When the LTTE and VP abandoned Kilinochchi, Tamil Nadu yet kept quiet obviously because they believed MR would grant Devolution to the North secretively planting KP crowd. However after VP and the LTTE were massacred when they tried to surrender, it was too much for Tamil Nadu to take offence after conniving with the lot, that would have led to the Great Betrayal they led on the LTTE?

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    Before writing these comments I wondered if I should continue this debate, if you will, any further as Mr. Hussain is clearly down. In boxing parlance, one does not strike a fallen man.

    Infantile and mendacity are expressions of my opinion in specific contexts. They are not objectional profanities. But “mad” and “thambiya” you use are words calculated to insult and demean.
    Where have I used the low term “thambiya” my friend?

    Thambi is a beloved word in the Tamil lexicon meaning “little brother” No Tamil will denigrate a Muslim with this word. You, sadly, use this term in many of your writings when you go into the defence – that I suspect in your effort to draw in sympathy from the Muslim community in your losing verbal battles. Rauf Hakeem, a man who uses polite and non-combative languages, in his Communiques refers to Tamil leaders as “Annan” and “Thambi”

    Please don’t blame me for Sinhala epithets. I called you white-washer and bootlicker for your unsolicited salivating attitude towards a faltering regime and for your calculated deception to change the equation in your comments in the Tamil struggle for justice.

    I am afraid I have no further time or inclination to carry on this exchange in which, I venture to suggest, you are clearly exposed.

    R. Varathan

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