16 June, 2019

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Radhika Coomaraswamy’s ‘Beyond Genocide’

By Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan

Genocide, after all, is an exercise in community building.” – Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, 1998.

The following arises out of Ms Coomaraswamy‘s forceful article of 8 March 2015. I don’t know where her contribution appeared but understand it has been widely read: those who haven’t encountered it, should be able to piece together the gist of the case presented by her from the following. The essence seems to me that to spend much time and energy trying to establish that the Sri Lankan state is guilty of genocide is futile because, among other reasons, genocide “is one of the most difficult international crimes to prove” (Coomaraswamy). One should go beyond genocide.

Perhaps, at this point, one must pause to briefly examine the term ‘genocide’. The Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948. Resolution 260, Article 2 lists acts committed with the intention of destroying in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. The intention to destroy is crucial, nor need it be total extermination: for example, the Srebrenica massacre of 7,000 Muslim males was accepted as genocide by an international criminal court. (At the age of 93, Stephane Hessel, 1917-2013, published a widely successful essay, translated into English from the original French as Time for Outrage. Hessel, secretary to the UN committee which drafted the declaration of human rights, states that the term “international” was rejected in favour of “universal” in order to “forestall the argument for full sovereignty that a state likes to make when it is carrying out crimes against humanity on its soil.”)

RadhikaIf genocide is proved, it does not mean that a case for separation has been established, as some mistakenly think, observes Ms Coomaraswamy. Separation (unlike divorce?) needs the consent of both sides and, in the writer’s words, such a scenario is very unlikely in Sri Lanka. Further, the pursuit of the impossible is not only a futile expenditure, and therefore a waste, but counter-productive in that it leads to a worsening of inter-ethnic relations. It is the here and now that cries out for attention. Radhika Commaraswamy’s list is grave and grievous: war widows, the disabled, “high rates of violence against women, drugs and alcoholism”. The last three are indicative of a defeated, defenceless and demoralised folk who see no grounds to believe in the future. Demoralisation and despair often lead to destructive behaviour. Unable to retaliate, victims tend to take it out on other members of their own group, on their families and / or on themselves. Among the practical measures Coomaraswamy suggests are “the release of land [and the] release of detainees”.

But there can be other perspectives on the pursuit of the charge of genocide. Charles Dickens in his novel Great Expectations writes that children perceive nothing more keenly; react more fiercely to nothing than to injustice. Adults may come to accept that there is no justice, at least, not in this world. (This leaves those who don’t believe in an afterlife with permanent injury and un-righted wrongs.) Still, in some the goal of justice remains; the flame refuses to be extinguished. John Rawls in his famous work, A Theory of Justice, suggests it is a sense of fairness that leads humanity to justice. An acquaintance of mine who urges a genocide inquiry told me her motive was not separation; not even revenge: she feels it would be an affront to those who died a horrible and unnecessary death to leave it unexamined. (It reminded me of ancient beliefs that the souls of the dead cannot rest in peace until and unless there is some form of justice.) The nightmare scenario of those last days and nights; the horrifying death of thousands – children, women, the aged and the sick – must at least have the posthumous atonement of acknowledgement. Only then can closure and the healing of wounds really begin. One contrasts German contrition and attempted reparation with, for example, the Japanese denial of war-time savagery, and Turkey’s stance on the Armenian genocide.

We cannot claim to repent while continuing to hold on to what we have unjustly gained. One recalls the conflicted state of King Claudius in Hamlet, desperately needing but unable to ask God for forgiveness (Act 3, Scene 3): Forgive me? That cannot be because I still possess and enjoy those things for which I committed the crimes. On similar lines, to speak of reconciliation while injustice continues is either to be naïve, ingenuous or downright cynical. Equally, since it is the Sri Lankan state that is accused (rightly or wrongly) of genocide, for it to appoint a Sri Lankan commission to investigate its actions (rather than an external, impartial, body like the UN) may not be convincing. Indeed, it may be seen as farcical, a charade.

So perhaps one should distinguish those who clamour “Genocide!” on delusional grounds (Coomaraswamy) from those who seek acknowledgement at the least, if not atonement. Motive matters. But is posthumous atonement possible? Perhaps (a) by acknowledgement and (b) by the way one treats present generations. Regarding the latter, it is impossible to “regain our self-respect and our self-confidence” (Coomaraswamy) in the absence of freedom and equality; in short, without justice.

Does going beyond genocide, be it in blessed Sri Lanka or elsewhere, mean one ignores an abyss of human cruelty and resulting suffering, large in scale and extreme in nature? Does one pretend that the awful human-made chasm doesn’t exist? As it has been said, it is important not only that justice be done but that it is clearly seen to be done: the world needs that warning and reassurance, however “unimportant” (sic) the victims of a particular (alleged) genocide. Impunity is tantamount to encouragement, if not incitement. In this context, one recalls the words of the Fuhrer, 22 August 1939:

I have issued the command. Our war aim consists in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? (Hitler. Emphasis added).

Radhika Coomaraswamy is to be thanked for the thought and discussion her intervention will, no doubt, stimulate. Mine is but a modest attempt to make a contribution to that discussion.

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  • 5
    18

    Genocide for SALE , Genocide FOR SALE, Genocide for SALE , Genocide FOR SALE, Genocide for SALE , Genocide FOR SALE, COME AND BUY YOUR Genocide. alL DISCOUNT PRICES.. Special deal for LTTE Emigre tamils, Special Prices.. Come quick and Buy Genocide while the sale last.

    • 14
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      Radhika Coomaraswamy is a political cum intellectual [Edited out]:

      She uses her intellect in perverted ways to fill her purse and enjoy privileges of the state dished out by its controllers.

      She has always been a lackey of the Sinhala majoritarian state:

      She is of the same caliber as Dayan the Goebbels; interesting to note of their ancestral connections to foreign roots

      They want to please the host Sinhala Buddhist majoritarians at the expense of justice to long suffering Tamils.

      • 7
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        While I heartily agree with Thiru’s sentiments regarding Dayan J, I entirely disagree with your take on Radhika C.

        To equate her to DJ is such a travesty, it shows up your lack of awareness of the latter, and her accomplishments.

        FYI, she has been anything but what you say. In fact she’s been one of the few saving graces this country had to offer at a time when reason, common sense and decency were all at a premium and generally lowered well below par score.

        I am concerned that this otherwise excellent website allows abuse and personal vilification from its readers of those who take the trouble to write, in order to indicate displeasure or disagreement. I think when people write such nonsense as this (and I am being polite here) in reference to the likes of Radhika C, then it is time for the editors to step in and use their sanctions.

        Insulting a lady of this caliber (or any caliber) is simply not ON. Just not done.

        • 13
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          Justice & Fairplay,

          Has she ever raised her concern for the thousands of Tamil women raped and killed by the Sri Lankan military?

          This abuse of Tamil women is still going on.

          • 5
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            Thiru, you are missing my point entirely.

            The issue as far as I am concerned is not whether ‘she ever raised her concern for the thousands of Tamil women raped and killed by the Sri Lankan military’ or not.

            The issue is, the language you used and the uncontrollable anger displayed in decrying her alleged lack of initiative in that regard. I don’t think you did yourself any favours; sorry. As for RC, I am fairly certain none of your vituperation ever touched her. You just hurt yourself, that is all.

            One final point if I may. I think the likes of RC are more likely to rise above partisanship and denounce violence and acts of unjust against ALL women, not just tamil women. She belongs to us all, and not just to you and your camp, whatever that may be.

            • 1
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              Thiru, I get the point.

              I think the issue here is that since Radhika bears a Tamil name, most fine people belonging to that community EXPECT her naturally, to jump and represent the voice of the tamils for every blessed thing.

              This she wont do, and good on her for that. Much the same as any decent Sinhalese who will not jump to represent merely the Sinhala cause.

              Sensible and intelligent people will address the issue devoid of racial bias. They will address the issue instead.

              It will take another 67 years for the likes of you to understand what I say, but the day you do, then the sun will truly shine on this wonderful land of yours and mine, both!

              Here’s to that day! Cheers!

          • 2
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            Thiru, on the same token has she ever raised the issue of Tamil Children kidnapped by the LTTE for forced conscription and sent to the front line to die?
            This was her real task. The task was to protect the children and not voice her opinion on Tamils killed in combat or Sinhalese and Muslims massacred by the LTTE during their ethnic cleansing campaign.

            The abuse of Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim women was mastered by the terrorists and some say they were also used for “rewarding” NGOs who helped the LTTE.

    • 2
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      A black man from Vancouver rent-a-car taxi driver speaks!

  • 3
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    I had to look up in the dictionary when words like Genocide and Diaspora first appeared in the Sri Lankan media!!
    Never heard of them before!

  • 2
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    [Edited out]

  • 15
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    Mr. Sarvan
    Thank you for your response. Let me say very clearly. Perpetrators for war crimes and genocide ( if it is charged) should be brought to book in the Sri Lankan case. I am a strong believer in accountability and justice for victims.. But that is for an independent legal process not for politicians in a provincial council when so much has to be done in a practical sense and so many problems to be solved. The sudden momentum on genocide is not legal or justice oriented- it is political in the same rhetorical style of the past trying to force us into another crisis requiring intervention. So my main argument is about Tamil politics and the need to remake ourselves and not an argument against accountability and the need to prosecute perpetrators.

    • 11
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      Radhika,

      What do you mean by:
      “The sudden momentum on genocide is not legal or justice oriented- it is political in the same rhetorical style of the past trying to force us into another crisis requiring intervention.”?

      How do you know, can you read Tamil people’s minds? Tamil society is so much in grief and awaiting for 5 years for contrition and reparation from the perpetrators of the war crimes/genocide.

      Wigneshwarn know what justice is, you don’t, you play politics for your own reasons.

      • 8
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        I may add, Radhika is in a hurry, with her public errands coming to an end!
        The CM could not have timed it better, after having his pow-wow with Madame
        Biswal? Justice must be served to victims by those who are expected to do so.

    • 0
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      Oh so you believe in so many things. [Edited out]. Sinhalse have sorted you out. Hope there will be another war ?

    • 11
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      I have been a medico-legal officer in war zone and therefore I am a medical witness to crimes committed by Srilankan Armed forces on non combatant Tamils. In most of these cases no judicial inquiry was held at all, and in a few, sham trials were held in Colombo under Sinhala judges, far away from the theatre of atrocity where Tamil people had no means to attend, false evidence was presented by Police and the perpetrators were acquitted. So it is natural for Tamils to have suspicions about an internal inquiry for war crimes, where most of the panel will be Sinhalese and government lackeys. I have already brought to the notice of people about the biased view of Sir Desmond de Silva who is likely to be either a member or an advisor to this team.

      Deliberately targeting members of a community by acts of murder and ethnic cleansing in order to reduce their numbers in a country qualifies to be termed Genocide. What happened in Srilanka may or may not fall in line of Genocide legally, but certainly morally it is one. There is ample evidence of war crimes such as use of banned weapons, firing into safe zones and summary execution of surrendering Tamils. This is the reason why, Sinhala people are opposing international inquiry. The passage of Genocide resolution by Northern PC may not be prudent or may not be timely, but definitely it has checkmated the Srilanka government of attempt to find scape goats and cover up the war crimes, by alerting the international community of the past.

      There cannot be reconciliation without truth and if the Sinhalese are going to continually tell lies, then there cannot be any hope. The present Government was dishonest in this matter when they lobbied western countries against the release of the probe by an international panel appointed by UN. Unfortunately this has been leaked out to Tamils and I feel that the resolution which was put on hold before, was carried through when this treachery became known. So to blame the Northern PC, is not fair. The reason why despite overwhelming reasons for independence, Tamils are not getting it is, that there is no one to back them, unlike in other countries which liberated themselves.

      • 6
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        Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,

        Thank you very much for your eye witness accounts of the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces (definitely on orders from the very top), and with the blessings of most of the Sinhalese people who celebrated after killing 75,000 or more innocent Tamils.

        Justice Wigneshwarn did the right thing at the right time: Otherwise, genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka may end up the same way the Armenian genocide by Turkey never saw the light of the day.

    • 7
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      Radhika:

      You sound very SILLY ( The sudden momentum on genocide is not legal or justice oriented-) and let me ask you a silly question. If you are a victim of a crime and if there is no CPS to bring charges are you saying that victims ( we are talking about thousands repesented by NPC) have no right to bring charges. If you cant answer please hang your Doctorate on a lamp post where passing Dogs can honour it in the only way they know.

      I take it that you are still reapaying Mahintha for all the back handers he has given you.

      • 4
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        One old question is whether she really has her doctorate. She paraded a JD, a first degree in law in the USA, as a doctorate. She has some honorary degrees now. So, [Edited out]

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

      This woman who talking about separating the court and the parliament has yet to write a essay the way Ranil fired in one day two supreme court justices, Mokan Pieris and Shiranee and have appointed a puppet. Is this a legal process or political process? There is no way Puppet Sri Pavan tolerating any cases about race related in the court. The hope of Supreme Court was closed once more when the New Royal fired two justices on one day.

      Radhika went to UNNECO [Edited out]
      [Edited out]. NPC has not given a judgment. NPC has passed a resolution. Resolution is not for legal process. It is for political process. There is an obligation, as a UN member, Lanka to sign the ICC accord and let the justice flow into the country freely. Ranil resisted so that justice can be denied for minority race. ICC is not about local thief and talk about strictly legal and political. The ICC was pulled into the country by ill famed or notorious politician Old King. Radhia yet has to write her essay on why the old King was wrong, as a politician, he took the JVP case into his hands.

      Radhika worked with Vijey Nambiar the UN when the political influence was rampant in UN. Now there is change. The Old Royal Government did not just send
      Karuna, Douglas, Hakeem GLP…… to suppress the even send supporting Sinhala Cinema actresses to UNHRC. Radhika has to yet write somewhere UN is not a place [Edited out], it is place strictly diplomats.

      [Edited out]

    • 1
      1

      Yes. I think that it is indeed time for all of you to remake yourselves. You have made a right royal mess of things for yourselves as well as for many others caught up in the momentum of your madness that arises out of a gross denial of history and consequent strengthening of the dynamics of exclusivism that has brought untold misery to so many.

      That does not however make the drawing of attention to the genocide that is still advocated and voted for by the majority of the population an action that must be avoided. In fact it is required in order to expose the support for genocide that still exists UNTIL that support transforms itself into something more accepting of reality and hence more tolerant and inclusive.

      The genocide resolution – in my opinion – draws the political line where it has to be drawn, marking out the furthest point of national degeneration that the islands inhabitants have exhibited so far. I think an anti fascist resolution must follow banning all organizations that fail to follow democratic processes and conform to the requirements of law and order in order to avoid the emergence of the kind of fascist organizations seen until just above a month ago.

      The remaking of yourselves demands the wholehearted involvement of all those who can think and act responsibly without emphasizing positive above negative but skillfully integrating and articulating them as a whole.

  • 8
    3

    Ms Coomaraswamy’s summary is helpful in identifying the point. That said, the resolution is one by the elected representatives of the region, requesting an independent international investigation (i.e. an independent legal process) into genocide. It is only natural to seek an external investigation given the state of impunity in Sri Lanka, presently and in the past. The state has demonstrated the inability, and more importantly a distinct lack of political will, to impartially investigate many trivial issues related rudimentary civil rights, let a lone the challenging issue of genocide. Of course, if a genocide has taken place, acknowledgement of it is the best way to build a united Sri Lanka.

    • 6
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      I would associate with Alex in his position that ”if genocide has taken place”, acknowledgement of that fact,becomes essential, if there is to be an expression of genuine contrition for the purpose of building a truly democratic future for the country to become UNITED.
      Those who view Ms. Coomarawamy’s article from a emotional and or prejudicial perspective would, impulsively react in the way they have, and commented and have doubted her sincerity, despite the fact she has made it clear, that her reasons for her position is that she is standing up for the human right of all victims and the accountability of all those those who had perpetrated such abuses and violations.
      The reasons being that the call for a genocide inquiry is a matter for an independent legal progress and not for politicians in a provincial council.
      In other words the whole substance of her stand is that the task to seek the intent, for the commission of ‘Genocide’ is with another higher authority.
      To prove intent is essential.

    • 9
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      Hear hear Alex!

      For 67 years (and still continuing) Tamils have suffered/suffering grave injustices at the hands of the Sri Lankan state and its regimes with no proper investigations, trials or justice.

      If this climate of impunity is allowed to continue there will be no Tamils in the island in another 50 years.

      • 1
        1

        “For 67 years killings have continued (and still continuing) with no investigations TAMILS have suffered/suffering……………………….,.no trials or justice”.

        Yes a very well known fact, a parallel is there the Irish issue which dragged on for several more years has now settled, may be not every one is happy, art of the possible is there for all to see.

        Why is it difficult to understand that for a claim of Genocide to be taken seriously and acted upon by the UN
        ” intent” has to be proved and for that element to be seriously considered,?

        The following are some of the main main points to be successfully addressed by those who claim Genocide as having taken place in SL where Tamils are concerned.

        .1) That the government and successive ones thereafter from the time of Independence in 1948 have deliberately and intentionally disenfranchised the minority Tamil people and still continues to do so up to date.

        2) That the government had consistently followed a deliberate programme of intolerance, abuse of human rights intentionally over the years up to date.

        3) That the governments over the years had deliberately and intentionally failed and curtailed all developments in those areas of the country like,housing, heatlt care,or provide transport , power and transport facilities to those parts of the country where minoritiy Tamils predominate and there by neglected to afford them economic advancement and a better quality of life materially and culturally.

        4) That the governments denied deliberately and intentionally the minority Tamil community the right to self determination to manage their affairs through their elected representatives.

        5) That during the war in 2009 with the unelected LTTE which claimed ‘sole representactive’ status to speak and act on their behalf , the government deliberately and intentionally sought to bomb and shell the TAMILS who were used as a human shield by their so called saviours the LTTE without making any attempt to rescue them and that as a result all perished with no survivors left alive.
        As a result of no survivors being left there are now no more refugee camps or IDP’s

  • 12
    4

    Radhika, Jeyathilaka, Dhanapala, Vije Nambiar… are the faces of South Asia in UN. In other words, the gang preach Gandhian-ism and do politics with orphaned children money, raped women’s pain. It is God’s sin giving intelligence for these ugly pests.

    Rhadhika calling from UNESCO to co-operate with Karuna. She suppressed Sundram’s report. Like the other three, she knows how to insert herself into UN and defeat its core purpose.

    Thank god, she does not have any real influence any more anywhere because she foolishly worked with the Old King. He had a technique of sucking out these people’s power for his betterment and throw them into garbage when they become empty. [Edited out]

    She should keep her definitions with her. North knows to get its justice.

    • 5
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      Mallaiyuran, you will definitely not be able to understand Radhika C or her philosophy at all. Through your vituperative splurge you have merely managed to expose the kind of spirit that will take the burning issues further on till eternity.

      Both sides will need to ‘give’ to reach a compromised settlement. In that spirit, suggest you read Radhika’s again. Demanding the proverbial pound of flesh – by either side – cannot resolve anything.

      We need a statesman who is also an orator, who believes in what he says, has a clear vision of the future, who will urge everybody to leave the past and move forward. We need someone to express regret to others without feeling small or weak in the process. We need someone big and strong to do that.

      Have we one such? That is the million dollar question.

      • 1
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        Certainly it is difficult to understand Radhika.

        It is too difficult to understand why Radhika has to redefine the word Genocide when it is coming against her master, the Old King. If it was not genocide why did not she present in her way when she in UNESCO. Even if her co-operator Karuna comes to know what grace is, she never can understand that word. She used the North-east children’s orphan status to her fame and money. There is no statesmanship with in her.

        There are not statesmen in Sinhala Intellectuals either.

        1915, on a beautiful day there was unusual activity in Colombo Port. Lot Sinhala Intellectual on festive mood. There leaders are liberated. They happy their leaders are released now, they wanted to celebrate that. They put into the prison by on their land by the masters on that day.

        There was a Tiger man living on those days. He set out on a suicide mission. In the Atlantic Ocean, cannon balls were crisscrossing from one ship to other, day and night. First World War was on full swing. On the deck on a ship that going to dangerous British port, a Tamil man restlessly wandering on and eagerly looking for when the land would be seen. Sober filled his eyes shined light to the ship maneuver in that night. Underneath his high turban, his standing was telling he is a statesman.

        His worry is about the fiery cannon ball. Not about his safety. It’s about the left behind his friends who he had always treated as brothers. Yes! The Sinhala Intellectuals who have been imprisoned by white Governor General. His worry is when he will reach the London; when he will get a chance to present his case on the parliament; what is going to the outcome of it; will he ever get the release of his beloved friends?

        The Tiger was out there to try something so far no other colonist had the courage to do it. Yes, He is going put blame on the way the white Governor Genera, for way he handle the Muslim- Sinhala communal riot, in British parliament. If he fails on his mission, he will be thrown out of England; back at home, prison door might have been wide opened their invitation. This Tiger, with full confidence, walk into the British Parliament. He presented his case. Lord Salisbury called him the most accomplished speaker in the entire British Empire. British parliament, not simply granted his request to release his brethren, but they went further and recalled the Governor.

        That is what the celebration that the Sinhala Intellectual celebrating today (the day we are talking about) at the Colombo Port. Every Colombo Street was full of fireworks. Every Sinhala Intellectuals’ mouth was full of kiribath. The Tiger got out of the ship and went to the horse coach was standing ready to take him home. With all the respect to his brethren, accepting the honor that was given to him, he gracefully boarded into the coach. Curtain fell. But the coach did not move. There were some noises outside the coach; some argument; there was some mild struggle. Somebody had untied the decorated hoses and let them go. But, now the cart has started to roll. Horses are no longer pulling the cart. Human being has been pulling the cart. Yes, Sinhala Intellectuals do not wanted the horses pull he cart. They have been competing with each other to pull the cart. It was a day on the history of Lanka. It was day of achievement. It was day of relief. It was day of unity. It was day the ruled uplifted them to the rulers. But it did not last.

        In this crowd there a man standing with a full mustache spreading for his both cheeks. He is one within the others who have been released from the prison by orders the Tiger obtained from England. He too was there to show his respect to the Tamil Tiger. But this jackal’s heart is filled with poison. His jealous tuned against the man who had obtained his release. Within another twenty years, he will make Ramanathan’s race as stateless people by lying to the same British Government. This guy was the one set the example to old King to become savior of Sinhala Race by genocide-ing the Tamils, set the example to earn a place in Lankave by genocide Tamils. This is what you call excreting in the same plate that you ate. This is the kind of the statesmanship the Sinhala Intellectual showed back to Tamils, by naming them as tigers.

        Gobi was forced to jump into Jeyakumari’s house. Her child was going through the teenage pain. It was a time she needed most her mother near her. But the mother and the daughter were separated and imprisoned to cheat the world. Now, after many graceful one ones’ day and night action, Jeyakumari has been released. But the Sinhala Intellectuals have a good reason, why the child cannot be released to meet the mother. So the mother and the child cannot get together. Mother is release, but the law in Lanka is not releasing the daughter. If there was one single statesman was with in the New Royal Government, he might have taken his car to Jeyakumari’s prison and would lift her to the daughter’s sari ceremony. These Sinhala Intellectual are protecting the most murderous man alive on the earth from going to prison. Using the same power, they are not ready to get release Jeyakumari to go her daughter’s ceremony. Don’t tell that there is a statesmen with in that ruling Sinhala Intellectual Royals -Jackals, the animal race… sorry jackal race!

  • 7
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    Mallaiyuran,

    Well said, these are unscrupulous lot with with no personal integrity:

    They will stoop to any level of lie and deception, and don’t care for the sufferings of the Tamil people for 67 years.

  • 7
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    Thiru

    The hatred you show to one of your own people, Radhika ,that for political reasons bringing forward genocide charge that nothing could be achieved,still your abusing her abuse and slander her ,which only show which kind of person you are. If you are a sensible tamil gentleman, then give your counter argument rather than abusing her in the meanest language.

    This is our problem with you all .we have no problem with tamils people whom I admire and are friends and relatives, but the problems is few people like you who do not want to speak and admit the truth but try to completely misguide the innocent tamil people and further rouse their feeling and secondly rouse feeling of less educated ,sinhalese to create a situation something like 1983 etc, so that what prabakaran and people like him could not achieve so far ,and trying another chance, sacrificing lives of innocent tamils and sinhalese , to achieve extrtemist tamils dream of a separate country.
    Having graduated from university of peradeniya as an engineer ,and lived and maintained very friendly relations with your community over long period(more than 35 years) ,we have no problem with living and treating you all equally and respect as our own people .
    The problem arises only when you all want a separate part of our(Including yours) country without accepting to live together. I like give one simple example to drive home the point.
    you have three brothers in the family and you and your two brothers have only that house which you inherited from parents,then you demand a separate part of your house ,house is also very small unlike Canada or India.tell me what will happen ,your loving other two brothers will do . they will start fighting and even might kill you,although they love you.Who created the problem you or your two brothers.I believe you are an intelligent ,educated and matured gentleman and will try to appreciate the situation.I believe ,you being born as a Sri Lankan can understand my example.Very common problem in our part of the world.

    In fact, Having worked during last three years in the North as an senoir engineer on the North road project where my all supporting staff were tamil men and women ,I know the feeling of ordinary working class Tamils as well as Tamils from higher strata of the ladder in your society (lived in Akbar halls at Peradeniya in with you all as a family, and their were category of guys from Jaffna who did not flush the toilet after use. As it was somebody else’s job).In fact my servant was a tamil boy (rehabilitated LTTe),and cook was a Indian tamil man from Ratnapura.In fact the Indian Tamils hated you all which I learnt from Him due Tamil from jaffna treating them like out-castes and even refuce offer a glass of water.The the Tamil boy used to tell me how he was forcibly recruited by LTTE guys and later after surrendering to ARmy and rehabilitated.he further told how LTTE were keeping civilians by as human shields. for your information the Tamil boy was a catholic from Mannar and not your ‘high caste’ guy from Jaffna. and these were the people who had to pay the price of ruthless war ,not people from so called high caste from jaffna like Vignesvaran or you Thirukumar but poor so called low tamils and poor sinhalese and some muslims from villages.
    So this genocide resolution is not something genuine but with the ulterior motive to achieve final goal of your separate State.
    I do not know which year you were born. but for your information ,if you are not aware, during Premadasa’s time more than 50,000 sinhalese were killed and burned and thrown into rivers (the JVP Guys),I do not know it right or wrong. JVP was trying overthrow a legitimately elected govt by unfair means and killing incocent people who were against them; so Government had no choice but for the greater good of the public, I believe had to take some practical actions.As you will understand extreme actions require more extreme reactions get rid of it.Vipers can not be fed with milk and treated like saints.
    this was what govt was forced to do in the circumstances, and any right thinking man or woman will accept it.
    I do not want to go into details of ruthless action by LTTE Terrotists. But As a person who narrowly escaped death from the suicide bomber at Rajagiriya which was set for Ratwatte but no harmed was caused to him but large number of innocent people had to pay the price with their lives .Under this circumstances the govt of SRi Lanka had to take appropriate and adequate measures to safeguard lives of everybody, irrespective of thier ethnicity ,as it was a legitimate and bounded and primary duty of any elected govt .you can do that in Canada and see what happens there.now they are suspecting every muslim as Jihadist.In this process, large number of Tamil people might have died but their was absolutely no intention to eliminate Tamils (JVP situation sinhalese army killed more number of sinhalese in a more ruthless manner).Hence, there is not even an iota of evidence for genocide of Tamils
    So please ,thiru ,be reasonble and sensilble in your arguments.Do not spread hatred.Hatred can never be overcome by hatred, it is by love and understanding only you can overcome hatred.
    let us all live peacefully in Sri Lanka. Fight for your legitimate rights while treating all your own peolple as equals
    Hence, please stop sowing hatred against each and every sinhalese which will not going to solve the problem but further worsen the situation.I do not know where you are living, perhaps in Canada or England. My understanding 99% of tamils want to live peacefully and jobs and money like eat, drink and live a happy life. they never talk about genocide.They very well know that sinhalese never tried to eliminate them.Few thug and hooligans instigated by extreme sinhalese politians would have caused some isolated communal violence against Tamils. these are political tactics used by politicians and some times by some priests,there is one guy in Mannar and BBS for incite people to achieve their ends. pl do not look at all sinhalese through the same glass.
    with love for all and hate towards none!

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      Sena,

      We have heard all these arguments over and over again.

      Why are you all against an international investigation to bring the truth?

      Guilt is it!

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    All these ‘jihadists’ are the same. Their hatred of the Sinhalese and the Sri Lanka Government make them spew out abuse at anyone who does not subscribe to their view. Typical LTTE attitude. What the LTTE did with the gun these do with the pen. They are even trying to force the moderates in the TNA to quit; using the most despicable methods.

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    Madame RC, is an UN representative. All UN Reps are reconcilers. They are perpetually on “Reconcile” mode. Hence they have to dilute arguments and the intensity of the “hurt” to bring about reconciliation. This is the role of “Reconcilers”. Therefore Madame RC was probably disturbed (she says I put my head in my hands..”) when she heard about the NC resolution on genocide. She in her comments to this article by Charles Sarvan she says “…that is for an independent legal process not for politicians in a provincial council”. What Madame RC misses here is that NC is the only credible voice and independent legal platform to voice the legitimate claims of the Tamils. TNA is within the parliament is a minority. Hence NC is not merely a political body but the only de facto legal body to represent Tamils.
    Having said that I am not sure whether what happened was genocide. That is why we need a credible investigation. When I say credible investigation I do not subscribe to the idea that it can come about only from an independent international body. I am very much convinced that the inquiry can be conducted by Sri Lankans of high repute transparently and independent of SL government influence and other pressure groups. The problem would be to set up this body of Sri Lankans sans any pressure from hawks from both sides.

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    Radhika may be correct in her wishful thinking. But you cant hide a full pumpkin in a bowl of rice and pretend there was no genocide. I applaud Vigi’s courage to bring in the resolution. Unless sinhalese acknowledge the injustice, socitey cannot move forward in real sense. Sinhalese may hand out goodies here and there but closure for ailing widows, orphaned children and distraught eelam Tamil socitey will not rest until genocide and injustice are debated and the guilty brought to justice.

    Radhika should explain when and by who genocide discussion should be carried out. Does she think, US, China, India or EU will do that?. Even today, documentary on armenian genocide appear in History channels from time to time. Documentary on Nazi attrocities find place in History channels all the time. Still the western powers, UN, India that hold high moral ground came empty to protect the massacre of 40000 Tamil civilians in May 2009. satellite proof may be there with the west. It is the duty of Tamils world over to seek the truth, justice. Period.

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    Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam is missing the point made by Miss Coomaraswamy.

    There is a new Government in SL which has started to take some positive steps towards Tamil issues. They may be small, but remember that they have only been in office for about 50 days and that they are a rathy shakely coalition who are under attack by extremeists and elements of the former regime.

    The resolution passed by the Northern Proncial Council can be used to by the extremists to undermine and overthrow the new Government.

    In whose interests is a rutun of the extremists?

    (A fuller version of the argument is on my blog)

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    All these arguments are useless. The LTTE wasa purely JVP type organisation and they exploited only the poorest of the poor. When they recruited tamil children to join their organisation and fight they did not recruit children from rich and high cast families. They only recruited children from the poor who could not do anything about it. Now the genocide call is just being brought forward to cause a problem once again in Sri Lanka to cause violence. This is very convenient for the promoters to start collecting money once again for the socalled “cause”. Some people get very rich by doing this and once again the refugees will be accepted in all the developed countries. These LTTE supporters are against all the educated tamils and people who they think had better opportunities than them (similar to the JVP uprising)This is the reason why they attack RC. All tamils living in Colombo and who do not belong to this mindset should unite against. The politicians will only look after themselves and will support anything that will ensure their position. The tamils living in Jaffna are very happy that the war is over and they can live peacefully. They told us so when we were in Jaffna. Though the army is in Jaffna they do no disturb anybody they are mostly inside the camps. In fact we saw several ladies riding on bicycles and scooter even as late as 10 p.m. which is something we dont even see in Colombo. All these stories being spread are lies. Sri Lanka is the country of both tamils and Sinhalese and they should learn to live peacefully as they are doing now. There are more Jaffna tamils in Colombo than in Jaffna. There are more Indians in Jaffna than Jaffna tamils. If a separate state is given are all the tamils living in Colombo like Mr Vigneswaran etc going to go back and live there. They should actually do that first before asking for a separate state.

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    Asaipillai,

    Do you think there are enough centrists to successfully counteract the hawks from both sides, who are trying to polarize us?

    I believe those who are trying hard to polarize the communities further, are really afraid of the possibility of REAL PEACE. For if peace and reconciliation become a reality, these hawks will lose their livelihood, and perhaps even their very identity, because they have defined themselves for so long in terms of their ethnic identity to the exclusion of other aspects of their human existence.

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      I feel sorry for commentaters such as thiru and mallaiyuran slandering RC without understanding the ground realities in Srilanka. Tamils seems to have sensible leadership in the likes of smpanthan and and sumanthiran who seem to work and talk beyond the rhetoric of tamil nationalists. Therefore I feel it is quite important to aknowledge the role of RC and Charles sarvan in understanding the big picture. I am not saying that they are angels. But intellectuals and astitute politicians could shape the destiny of tamils in srilanka.

      Commentaters need to be mindful about their responsibilities. The issue of genocide is an emotive affair. This should not be left to the minions on both sides who are hellbent to compromise the peace prevailing at present.

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        ken Robert ,

        Don’t feel sorry for anybody, we know where you are coming from – the same old Sinhala Buddhist supremacists’ den.

        “Commentates need to be mindful about their responsibilities. The issue of genocide is an emotive affair. This should not be left to the minions on both sides who are hellbent to compromise the peace prevailing at present. “

        OK, why don’t the Sinhalese government let it be decided by an independent international panel?

        Because you were the cheer leaders when genocide of Tamils was taking place.

        Tamils are not asking for peace that exists in the cemetery or the mercy of the tormentor – like the Delhi rapist suggesting to his victim – Tamils want peace, justice, dignity as human beings, and above all their rights forfeited after independence!

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        If you think my writing is dividing, it is your personal opinion Ken. I do not know if the communities can be divided further when 150,000 Tamils were killed in shot one yet single Sinhala Intellectual is calling for to find the truth. The New King is so active in covering his corruption in the Health Ministry. There is no clear idea in my mind if a society which has their top a war criminal and presided for more than 5 years the most corrupted Ministry in the country and celebrating him as Nova Gandhi, Tamils have to be united with that society. Will their be no way to Tamils live without uniting this society?

        When you think freely that I am dividing the societies, you can give me, even though I am a Tamil, to have my own opinion of Radhika. We can debate about Radhika here as a big deal for as the amount of time as we want, but, if you go to Tamils area like North or East and say the name Radhika they will think about the South Indian actress. CV has broke Tamils’ record in the last election. With that, you may understand, you and me can debate about Radhika, but Radhika has no ground to talk about CM CV. The is status of the common mass’ knowledge of Radhika.

        Leaving that aside, Tamils those who lived and worked in Colombo and Diaspora land only have heard a name Rhadhika. The educated crowed, who read news in English are the only Tamils knows about Radhika. They are the people witnessed Radhika calling Karuna from UNESCO. They are the people know the services Radhika did to Tamils.

        In additions to those, now she is trying to neutralize the appeal to ICC to investigate the genocide.

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    Radhika Coomaraswamy,

    Thank you very much for your article and your comment. I found the article on Financial Times in case others haven’t found it.

    I also believe that Tamil politicians are doing politics instead of reconciliation and development. Only the three wise ITAK lawyers are trying to show some signs of reconciliation. None of them hails from Jaffna and the common people in Jaffna haven’t approved of what they have said.

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    If so many tamils can live in Colombo and earn why cant we continue like that. You dont live in Colombo among the sinhalese, earn better than the sinhalese do, have the freedom to move around and ask for a separate state. All the government departments work in tamil in Jaffna. All entries in the Land Registry now are in tamil. All Pradeshiya Sabha approvals in Jaffna are in Tamil. If all this is done this means that Sinhalese living and working in Jaffna will have to learn tamil as well. So is that not a better solution than asking for a separate state? If they do get a separate state what are the tamils in Colombo intending to do? Are they all going back? How are they going to earn their living? These are all questions tamil people living in Sri Lanka must ask their politicians when they demand a separate state. We do not need to think about all the tamils who have emmigrated to foreign countries either legally or illegally as I am sure they are very well looked after. We in Sri Lanka should only think about the tamils living and working in Sri Lanka. The tamils living in Sri Lanka are very free and moving around as they wish. It is only tamil people living in other countries who are determined to cause a problem for those who are living here, so they get the politicians to do their dirty work (may be for some consideration). Tamils living in Sri Lanka should not get caught in this trap.

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    The call by CM Wigneswaran for the recognition of a second nation simply resonates the call by Moses: “Let my people go…” The difference is that Moses made the call long before the genocide and Wigneswaran made it shortly after. Bensen

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      Bensen says,quoting the bible, “Let my people go…

      Go where Mr.Bensen? London?Toronto? Paris? Berlin?Sydney? Pray tell…

  • 3
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    Thiru,

    “How do you know, can you read Tamil people’s minds? Tamil society is so much in grief and awaiting for 5 years for contrition and reparation from the perpetrators of the war crimes/genocide.”

    How do you know yourself? How do you define Tamil society? Does only the suffering of Tamils count?

    While I welcome international and domestic investigations do these help the people who suffered? Some might receive money and knowledge of relatives who have vanished but is this the only thing that the North needs for long term development?

    Would not truly independent investigations show that all sides in the war did bad things? Can Tamil leaders also be punished?

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    Sena,

    “The hatred you show to one of your own people, Radhika ,that for political reasons bringing forward genocide charge that nothing could be achieved,still your abusing her abuse and slander her ,which only show which kind of person you are. If you are a sensible tamil gentleman, then give your counter argument rather than abusing her in the meanest language.”

    I agree. I am an academic in Jaffna and because of my independent opinions I have to hide my identity on CT and remain silent where I work and live. It is still very difficult to even try to openly criticize TNA. I don’t support EPDP either but most people fail to understand this.

    As it is today nobody will kill me but there are other forms of intimidating dissidents here in Jaffna ,for instance, at the university. We are all supposed to follow our great leaders.

    Jaffna media does excellent work “manufacturing consent”and due to very poor English very few can follow outside media.

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    Thiru,

    “If this climate of impunity is allowed to continue there will be no Tamils in the island in another 50 years.”

    Maybe nobody left in the North. The place might be mostly covered by the Indian Ocean due to the Green House effect and the rest having no water to drink.

    In case you don’t know most youngsters are desperately trying to leave because there is no future here. Unless you have a government job there are almost no jobs and the salaries are very low.

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    This is exactly the feeling I get when I am in Jaffna. The people are afraid to speak out among their own people. Now there is no LTTE so why be afraid? This is a very sad situation. The Jaffna people were much better off with Mahinda Rajapakse and now that freedom is gone. All these people who have gone off to other developed countries are running the show in Jaffna with the same fear as the people had when the LTTE was there. This should never be. Ultimately how I see it is the tamils were much better off with MR. All the so called Diaspora are calling the shots and spreading all false rumours about Gotabaya and Mahinda. I know so many tamils in Colombo who do not want even to go to Jaffna as they fear that they may be intimidated if people find out that they are from Jaffna. The tamils living in this country should get together and fight this situation. What is everyone talking about human rights if people do not have the basic human right of speaking out. I think all Jaffna tamils should come together and decide what they want for their future and their children. Mr Anandasangaree is a moderate tamil and now he has been sidelined by the TNA. The TNA was a LTTE partner and they should never be encouraged.

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    Why is that the tiger philosophers can’t participate in debates in civil and civilized manner?Vindictive personal abuse,character assassination — in lieu perhaps of the fact that can’t do the real thing anymore– crude name-calling seem to be their way of making a point.Is it a cultural matter or is it in the gene of certain Tamils?And one of the even resorts to making allegations about Commaraswamy’s ancestry.This is of course a common JT style of abuse with a veiled allusion to ancestral caste-contamination ….Not that applies in this case!

    Note to those who criticize those who disagree with the stance of these tiger philosophers: Have you considered the argument that they don’t want any reconciliation
    because if it comes they will loose their reason for continuing their otherwise purposeless life?

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    Me Sarvan:

    I believe there is sufficient evidence to charge the Sri Lankan regime with genocide of ethnic Tamils.

    Can I ask you a question? If you use the same yardstick on certain crimes committed by the LTTE such as Anuradhapura Mahabodhi attack that killed over 200 Sinhalese, Kaththankudi mosque massacre that killed over 100 Muslims and enthnic cleansing of Muslims in Jaffna – can these crimes be interpreted as Genocide?

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    Stanislaus I totally agree with you. It is sad to see so much venom and unhappiness in these tiger philosophers. One wonders what it is that has made them so bitter. They must acknowledge that if the tamils suffered from the sinhalese the sinhalese suffered equally at the hands of the tigers. Such brutality was never seen in SrI Lanka history. Maybe the tiger Karma is not over so they need to see a replay and suffer some more to finish the bad Karma. This is so sad

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    Stanislaus I totally agree with you. It is sad to see so much venom and unhappiness in these tiger philosophers. One wonders what it is that has made them so bitter. They must acknowledge that if the tamils suffered from the sinhalese the sinhalese suffered equally at the hands of the tigers. Such brutality was never seen in SrI Lanka history. Maybe the tiger Karma is not over so they need to see a replay and suffer some more to finish the bad Karma. This is so sad.

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    Dear thiru and all other friends having different views to mine

    First let me tell you if our/your objective is to have the wounds healed and not to further aggravate the situation thereby create a situation to amputate the leg,in the situation we are discussing about,that is to pave the way to create the separate state, then this problem being an internal family problem,it is best be sort out among brothers and sisters .
    Do not think each and every sinhalese out their to discriminate and eliminate you all .Apart from that Having spent more than last three years in Mannar among Tamil brothers and sisters and most trusted were “your” people from Mannar, I know more than 95% of Tamil people now do not want any more problems for which they oppressed class of tamils have had paid the price.In fact I took over the job from Tamil engineer from Jaffna and i learnt later they were happier with me because I treated every tamil equally irrespective of which social strata they came from ,you understand what I mean.

    In fact, one of my clerks who had earlier aspired to become a christian priest and had being undergoing training at Negombo seminary where the chief had been a superior class priest from Jaffna .This boy had given up the idea of becoming a priest and left the Seminary because he could not, according to him, he could not tolerate the level of discrimination based on Caste by the chief guy.
    So friends, pl remember that all our tamil brothers and sisters , do not have the same problem as you all have with us and majority especially your so called low people prefer to live with sinhalese rather than live with Elite tamils.

    Secondly,let me tell you in my office there were three lTTE rehabilitated tamil boys from Mannnar District and all of them had been forcibly recruited by LTTE top guys,commanders from Jaffna to be as fodder to be sacrificed to achieve your eelam for super class Tamils.
    Unlike in the Case of JVP of whom mostly consisted of Volantary youth who joined on their own,of course rousing not caste but class feeings due to social injustice to fight against,Vast majority of LTTE guys were forcibly recruited by LTTE heirachy, almost entirely from lower social class .
    Then what is the root cause of the death and suffering of LTTE boys and people used as human shields by LTTE and not by SRi Lankan Army.

    Primary responsibity lies with LTTE. Nobody was delibetately killed or no civilian would have got killed unless used by human shields to cover themselves from army attack. Further,cannot you remember that people who were trying to escape were shot by LTTE. Who were used as human shields? is it People like Sampandan,Vignesvaran,or people of Elite who were enjoying their life in Colombe or people from so called High caste people ,Certainly no. Mostly, poor and oppressed tamil people Vanni area. So the death of these people who is more responsible Sri Lanka GovT or Army at least both parties are equally responsible.

    so let us try to have an internal investigation first try to sort out, failing which may be as the last resort but with a panel who should be appointed by you all and us and not by UN which has undue influence by world ruler.

    Pl also refer to comment by HEretic ,from jaffna university.
    All do not agree with you all.

    So called High caste tamils whom they called they are the sole representatives of Tamils, it is some you all use to deceive foreigns guys.

    I have no hate towards anybody but when you all want to try to achieve which has once failed , being a Sri Lankan and born as a sinhalese by Chance can not keep quiet.

    Pl remember as a mature intelligent person ,external parties have their own agendas whether it is Indians ,american ,British,or for that matter ,chinese,or Japanese.

    If we have lived together for centuries cannot first solve our problems among ourselves first, who else will solve our problem.Even if you achieve your dream separate stage ,do you think that will be a lasting solution. I am sure not a single tamil of Indian origin want to come any live with you all ,they are happier with us than with you despite shortcomings.
    If internal investigation fails and if you vast majority of Tamils feels not only elite, that we have exhausted all avenues to reconcile among the family amicably they ,your suggest I accept.

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    This whole discussion I think is a waste of time. What they want is for the problems to restart so that they can continue collecting money from the tamils abroad, get immigration to the developed countries for their relations and to make sure the refugees dont get sent back. If the problems are sorted out the developed countries are going to send back all the people who went as refugees because they are a drain in the finances of those countries. There is no high caste and low caste here either. This is purely a JVP sort of problem. This happened in the south as well. The route of the problem is free education in university level. The developed countries give you free education only at school level not in the universities. When the graduates pass out of the university they have no jobs so they start a problem. So anyone who tells me that this is a racial problem is stupid. The tamils call it a racial problem to cover themselves and make the sinhalese feel guilty and the developed countries to get involved.

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