By Nirmanusan Balasundaram –
Listen to what they did. Don’t listen to what they said.
What was written in blood has been set up in lead.
Lead tears the heart. Lead tears the brain.
What was written in blood has been set up in lead.
The heart is a drum. The drum has a snare.
The snare is in the blood. The blood is in the air.
Listen to what they did. Listen to what’s to come.
Listen to the blood. Listen to the drum.
Mu’l’livaaykkaal, is the soil, where the worst crimes and massive human catastrophes of this century have been carried out against the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan regime. Criminal goals of ethnically cleansing as many Tamils by orchestrating the slaughter of at-least 40,000 unarmed Tamils in Mullivaaykaal during the finals day of the war. The denial of food and medicine prior to the final assault was intentionally and strategically coordinated by the regime.
It is tragic and unfortunate that powerful actors in the international community could not prevent or stop the slaughter of Tamil civilians through any means. During the Mullivaaykaal slaughter, the solemn cries of the Tamil civilians were unheard. Now, three years remembrance of this immense tragedy marks, but there are no credible and constructive mechanisms to take forward and bring the perpetrators to justice. The worst crimes of the present century remain unpunished. “The international community cannot wait while the Sri Lankan government makes empty promises amid smoke and mirrors. It must establish an independent international investigation immediately. Only then will victims have a real chance at realizing their right to truth, justice and reparations,” Frank Jannuzi, the head of the rights group’s Washington office, said in a statement.
Even one year after the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts released a report on accountability in Sri Lanka, the regime in Sri Lanka is blocking any adequate measures that seek justice for the war victims. “The real “tragedy” has been the reluctance of law enforcement authorities and state institutions to confront “this horrible crime, even when some leads are available”. The regime continues to engage in terrible violent activities against the Tamil nation and is diverting the mounting pressure through dreadful and deceitful developments and so call reconciliation projects.
No country or conscience person in the world would dare to erase history or limit the practice of a unique culture. Denying the right and sovereignty of a nation does not constitute development or reconciliation. Sinhalization and militarization by the Sri Lankan occupying forces of traditional Tamil homeland is a swift move, while victimization of the Tamil people continues. A progressive Sinhala academic told me in a personal conversation, “It is neither a post-conflict or post-war situation, because the war against Tamil people is continuing through other means.” It is very true, even though the direct war on Tamils came to an end, still the intention to paralyze the Tamil nation is vigorously enduring. This can be seen through the government’s backed extension process of Sinhalization and militarization throughout the Tamil nation. The government that successfully ended the war is highly favorable toward the ethnic majority group, the Sinhalese; and second, many in the Tamil community remain recalcitrant about the prospect of submitting to Sinhala majority rule.
On one hand, until now there is no fear-free space for the vanquished Tamil people to commemorate the loss of their kith and kin. Even, on the occasion of commemorating the Mu’l’livaaykkaal Remembrance Day, Secretary of Jaffna University Student Union was brutally attacked in highly guarded military area, which located very near to the Jaffna university. On the other hand, the government is celebrating its ‘victory day’ for the third consecutive year. It is impossible to think about genuine reconciliation, while the triumphant Sinhalese majority move in one direction and the victimization of the Tamil community move in another. “Until the facts are addressed there can be no reconciliation. Repressing and denying is a recipe for more violence.”
Not only expressions or actions, but also the atmosphere is not even conducive to think freely. At this juncture, it is hard to believe any possibilities for genuine reconciliation. The actors who are concerned about reconciliation in Sri Lanka should understand that reconciliation is not cargo cult science.
The so called Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission – LLRC is a new form of hoodwinking designed by the regime to reduce the pressure on an international independent investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity. Anyone who understands the developments of the past political commissions of Sri Lanka evidently know that any domestic mechanisms cannot deliver justice to war victims. The first U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, Prof. David Scheffer wrote in his book, “If the tribunals’ work had been left to domestic courts, particularly in devastated societies, there simply would not have been any justice at all. Impunity never ends in Sri Lanka as long as culprits have immunity in foreign soils. Therefore, the countries concerned with ending impunity in Sri Lanka and who seek to bring the perpetrators to justice should seriously consider the immunity that is exercised by Sri Lankan war criminals in their respective countries. Justice is imperative for genuine reconciliation.
Development is another tool that is being used by the regime to hide the atrocities that they committed. The government depiction is contradicting the reality of the Tamils homeland. Development is being used as a strategic tool to implement Sinhalization and militarization projects in the Tamil homeland. On the one hand, the present regime appointed their war criminals to diplomatic missions. On the other hand, they appoint war criminals and retired army commanders as Govereners in Tamil homeland. Also, they appoint Sinhala nationals as Government Agents [GA] and Divisional Secretaries in predominantly Tamil speaking areas. It is a strategy to take forward Sinhalization and militarization projects without major challenges.
The military’s increasing control of administrative decisions in the north and east, including distribution and use of land, has turned the issue of land ownership into a deeply politicized and ethnically-charged one. Administrative and developmental decisions in north-east Sri Lanka are frequently taken by the military in consultation with the Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security (PTF) and the military is involved in various committees set up in a September 2011 government policy regarding land in the northeast. Furthermore, the military continues to impose restrictions on humanitarian, developmental and psychiatric social work, accentuating existing resentments and impeding quick recovery. The presence of large numbers of army personnel, particularly in the north, has increased the vulnerability of women to violence and other forms of abuse.
The regime is very keen to build roads as opposed to houses for civilians, whose homes were destroyed during the war. The intention of building roads is to speed up and facilitate Sinhalization and militarization. An example is the decreased focus on A 9 highway, which is essential to the Tamil people in the north. It was also known as the road of peace during the ‘peace processes. Furthermore, at-least 52 intelligence gathering points of occupying forces are operating under the banner of Military Welfare Canteens or as small business shops between Omanthai and Mirusuvil in the A 9 highway.
Notably, the regime’s development might be right from their point of view as Sinhalese from the South are earning profits and benefiting enormously from the Northeast. However, this development is not helping the Tamils. Though, it called as developments for the Northeast, where are Tamil speaking people are living widely. In practice, this strategy is all about absorbing Tamil resources.
In conclusion, in the short term the Tamil people want normalcy, where they can fulfill their basic and humanitarian needs. In long term, they want to freely exercise their political aspiration. More importantly, the war victims want justice. However, there are serious attempts taken forward by the regime to deny justice in various patterns, namely development and reconciliation. Contemporary history has recorded the slaughter of Tamils, unheard of at the time, when deaths toll were high, and it must not record the punishments as well. Making a appropriate move to deliver justice to the war victims in the island nations of Sri Lanka can be a paradigm shift of the international justice system of the present century.
 Mr. Callum Macrae, Director of ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’. http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=4837
 David Schffer, All the Missing Souls – A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals, Pg.2, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2012.
 Chatham House, Asia Programme Paper ASP PP 2011/05, Sri Lanka: Prospects for Reform and Reconciliation, Charu Lata Hogg, October 2011.