26 September, 2017

Seven Years After The End Of Sri Lanka’s Civil War

By Mahendran Thiruvarangan

Mahendran Thiruvarangan

Mahendran Thiruvarangan

When the civil war came to an end in May 2009 I was still a final year undergraduate at the University of Peradeniya. Peradeniya was miles away from the war zone. The only venues that supplied us with details about the happenings in the war theatre were the television channels stationed in the South, self-censoring the civilian casualties incurred and feeding to the Sinhala nationalist jubilation of the times. And on the other side were websites like Tamilnet and Puthinam run by parties sympathetic to the LTTE releasing carefully filtered out reports singularly focusing on the deaths of civilians caused by the military leaving no trace about how the top leadership of the LTTE was recruiting children and adults, despite knowing so well they had already lost the battle or how the civilians who were trying to flee the war zone were shot down by the militants.

One had to work around these competing narratives to get at least a partial sense of the nature of the violence that the people ensnared in the No Fire Zone were exposed to. Some of us had friends whose relatives had been in the LTTE-controlled areas. When the guns breathed their last in Mullivaikal, some of them had already moved to hospitals and camps in Trincomalee and Vavuniya with their loved ones injured during the war. It was from these wounded men and women and their families that the harrowing experiences of the thousands of people inside the narrow battlefield trickled down to us in May 2009. The South erupted into celebrations when the re-unification of the island was announced via the media. As the former president in his televised address from Parliament was busy instructing the people of the country to annul the notions of ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ from their political discourses, fire crackers celebrating the military victory started to deafen the ears of those of us who were seated under the senate building of the University of Peradeniya—Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and Malays—pondering in groups what was awaiting us and the country in the days and years to come.

I revisit these dark and frustrating days now not just to reflect upon how the people in the Vanni were subalternized by the state, the liberation movement, representatives of their own community, the media and the international community seven years ago during the height of the war but also as a way of understanding the difficulties that we outsiders who were not present in Mullivaikal, whether we were Tamils or Sinhalese, encountered in making sense of violence and truth. Being cognizant of these difficulties is necessary to understand the plurality of the responses to the war’s end that emerged seven years ago. No doubt, the end of the war would have meant relief to many in the Sinhala community who had to protect themselves on a daily basis from suicide bombers masquerading as passengers in buses and trains and the families of the soldiers who were fighting the war for a living. The war had created uncertainties for them and placed them, especially the ones who lived in the border villages around the Northern and Eastern provinces, in a precarious position. Many Tamil dissident activists who had fled Sri Lanka or the North-East of the country because of the threats they faced from the LTTE also expressed a sense of relief at the demise of the Tigers.

Even as we are critical of the manner in which the South responded to the end of the war, it is important that we understand the political and economic conditions that led to the rise of pro-war sentiments in the South. The state’s constant portrayal of the Tamil militancy as a terrorist problem and the LTTE’s violence against the Sinhala and Muslim populations made a larger section of the Southern polity endorse the government’s all-out war against the Tigers. The re-consolidation of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist forces after the victory of Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2005 presidential election stifled the voices against the war in the South. These forces took advantage of the marginalization of the rural agrarian communities and working people which occurred as a result of the neo-liberal economic reforms introduced by the previous regimes of Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe. On the other hand, the increasing internationalization of the ethnic conflict, Norway’s role as mediator in the peace talks between the LTTE and the Wickremesinghe government in particular, gave these forces an opportunity to ignite fears of neo-colonialism among the Southern polity. The JVP, JHU and the nationalistic sections of the SLFP under the leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa launched a misleading campaign mixing their anti-federal, anti-minority politics with their anti-West, anti-capitalist rhetoric. This campaign slowly reversed the growing support for devolution and the re-formation of Sri Lanka as a pluralist state since the mid-1990s in the South.

When the war ended in May 2009 after claiming the lives of thousands of Tamils in the Vanni, this new wave of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism had reached its peak and many in the South did not find their participation in the victory celebrations problematic in anyway. The television visuals of the Tamils who were crossing the Nandikadal lagoon and the marks of sorrow, pain and loss visible in their faces had barely any impact on the euphoric flag weavers and kiribath-feeders on the streets. Yet, there were others who collected food, clothes and essential items for the displaced people and expressed their anger and disappointment at the insensitive festivities unfolding before their eyes. And some of these people who rushed to the camps where the displaced were kept, were turned back by those in power whose sole aim was to make political capital out of the ethnic divide. At a time when the leadership of the Sinhala political community should have reached out to the Tamils and other minority communities and made efforts to win their trust, it used the war victory to build a grand narrative of patriotism and nationalism that it thought would ensure its stay in power for many more years. The end of the war and the celebrations that followed it showed the manner in which the mutually reinforcing nationalist politics of the state and the LTTE had fractured and polarized the people of the country along ethno-religious lines.

Seven years have passed briskly since the war’s end but the larger questions that led to the carnage still remain unanswered. The state which is supposed to treat all its people and communities equally continues to be discriminatory. The minorities’ demand for a measure of regional autonomy continues to be trivialized or is made a non-issue by the politicians in the South. Even after the regime change last year, political authorities failed to take action against the illegal construction of Buddhist temples in lands owned by the Tamils. The military’s attempt to grab land continue amidst communities’ protests in the North, though private lands in some areas in the Northern and Eastern provinces have been released to their owners after many years. The state has done little to address disputes arising from competing claims made by Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim communities over agrarian land and fishing waters in parts of the Northern and Eastern provinces giving room for chauvinistic forces to exploit these conflicts to deepen the ethnic divisions in the region. But we have been visited by moments of hope too. The Tamil people of Padukaadu, a border village in Trincomalee district note that the majority of the Sinhala community in the village were in support of their move to re-start cultivation in their lands, even as a group led by the Chief Incumbent of the Dehiwatte Buddhist temple armed with knives and axes recently attempted to obstruct the farming activities underway and retain illegal control over those 300 acres of land belonging to the Tamils. Likewise some courageous voices from within our communities attempt to initiate a dialogue on the war across ethnic barriers. A friend recently told me about the positive response the Sinhala translation of Thamilini’s (the former leader of the LTTE’s women’s wing) self-reflexive account on the war and militancy received in the South. It is these acts of translation, communication and solidarity across divisions that emit a spark of hope in a land that has suffered much.

Translation across territories, nations and ethnicities within the island is an act that the country can benefit immensely from. I do not want to reduce translation to acts of translating texts on the war or the ethnic conflict from Tamil to Sinhala or vice versa. As a metaphor, translation also means how we translate ourselves into others, those we perceive as different from ourselves; the ethnic Other, the social Other, the class Other, the gendered Other, the caste Other among others. These differences may be understood as socially and politically constructed, but we tend to see them as what defines us primarily as subjects. Translating ourselves into others would be an act of moving across these differences and identifications. This is, of course, a difficult act and one that is always incomplete given how history and politics have produced us and shaped our experiences differently from others’. But history also shows us that we are connected and products of shared systems (like the Sri Lankan state).

We are always already in a world with one another. As shared spaces and constellations, the world, the nations, the states, and the systems that we are part of function as the condition of possibility for translation across differences however incomplete the translation is. To imagine the Other in us empathetically and through our reflections on our own commissions and omissions towards it is an act of translation that helps us see our connectedness with and responsibility towards the Other and our involvements in the actions that affect it. This process of translation gives birth to a politics that helps us become conscious of the idea that our togetherness should also represent a form of political solidarity.

Even as we memorialize the end of the war as a tragic event in the North and by contrast a day of honor to be remembered with pride in the South, there is very little translation that happens through these acts of memorialization. As communities, we have individuated our responses to the war in such a way that we can easily abdicate ourselves from the responsibility of scrutinizing how we as activists, militants, catalysts, mute spectators and even victims are complicit in the crimes committed in our name against others which include not just the Mullivaikal tragedy but also the disenfranchisement of the plantation Tamil workers, state-aided anti-Tamil pogroms before the start of the militancy, the two JVP insurgencies and the counter-violence of the state, the eviction of the Muslims from the North, the Tamil-Muslim killings in the East, and caste violence in the North to name a few. The Mullivaikal tragedy that we remember in the month of May as the horrific culmination of the civil war has left a humongous black blot in our country’s post-independence journey. Even as the state tries to conceal it, it appears again and again to haunt the idea of Sri Lanka or what it meant to the Tamil lives destroyed by the state during the so-called humanitarian operation in 2009.

The violent methods the LTTE used during recruitment during the last months of the war and the tyrannical grip that it had over the people in the Vanni before and during the final battle demonstrate that Tamils who were killed during the latter part of the war became disposable in the LTTE’s eyes too. The searing cries of these people whose last attempts to save their lives were thwarted by the commissions and omissions of the top leadership of the LTTE and its local and international propagandists continue to puncture the body of the Tamil nation and the narratives of Tamil genocide presented to the international community by Tamil nationalists.

If our engagement with the past, the war as a whole and its frightening end in Mullivaikal should take us to a violence-free, inclusive and democratic future we should acknowledge the multiple ways in which the people as individuals, communities, dissidents and subjects marked for caste, class and gender experienced the civil war and ethnic violence. This multiplicity should encourage us to question not just what the nation (including the Tamil nation) and the state (including Tamil Eelam) mean to their differently constituted, differently positioned peoples within their territories but also the idea of truth as singular, fixed and neutral. We should also be aware of the limits to truth-based approaches to justice and reconciliation. Laying bare the ‘truth’ as names, digits and facts through a judicial mechanism alone would not heal the wounds and guilt (if at all they are healable) caused by the war among the victims and perpetrators (one should also be aware of the ways in which the ethnic conflict and the competing nationalisms have blurred the boundaries of perpetrators and victims in Sri Lanka); paradoxically, in the absence of a larger social will to co-existence, it may aggravate the existing communal antipathies and widen the emotional and political disconnect between the communities. At the same time, we cannot build our future on false foundations without addressing the war and its effects upon the communities or by denying the war-survivors justice and reparation. Navigating these messy and muddy waters of truth, justice and co-existence is one of the greatest challenges facing Sri Lanka seven years after the end of the war. How our political leadership and we as communities, activists, writers, perpetrators, witnesses, survivors and victims respond to this challenge through legal means and creative avenues like social dialogue and translation will determine our political future.

*The writer is a member of the Collective for Economic Democratization in Sri Lanka

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  • 15
    3

    Mahendran,

    Thanks for a sincere, honest and objective narrative. Yes, there is a need to translate and relate to each other. You represent the future of the Tamils and this country. I hope and pray, you will get the opportunity to play that role, without getting degraded by the system.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 1
      1

      Mahendran Thiruvarangan

      RE: Seven Years After The End Of Sri Lanka’s Civil War

      “When the civil war came to an end in May 2009 I was still a final year undergraduate at the University of Peradeniya. Peradeniya was miles away from the war zone. “

      You were lucky. You were not in the company of Mootals and Modayas, the Para-Mootals and Para-Modayas, from among the Sinhala and Tamils killing each other. You were also not among thwe 100,000 Tamil Speaking Northern Muslims Ethnically Cleansed by VP during 1990.

      Is Stupidity a Virtue in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, occupied by the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils?

      “When the war ended in May 2009 after claiming the lives of thousands of Tamils in the Vanni, this new wave of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism had reached its peak and many in the South did not find their participation in the victory celebrations problematic in anyway. The television visuals of the Tamils who were crossing the Nandikadal lagoon and the marks of sorrow, pain and loss visible in their faces had barely any impact on the euphoric flag weavers and kiribath-feeders on the streets.”

      There are Victors and there are losers. Perhaps you did not give much thought to the 100,000 Northern Tamil speaking Muslims from the Jaffna and Northern Province, given 25 hrs to leave, courtesy of Mahaveeran Periyavar Velupillai Prabakaran, and the 100,000 who died up to that point since Independence in 1948 due to Sinhala Buddhist Terrorism and the counter reaction to it by the LTTE Terrorism.

      So, we are talking about the Sri Lankans, as to why they are stupid?

      Let’s see Why are Americans ALL so STUPID? May be sri Lankans have something in Common.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRmGWcxdd1w

      Uploaded on Apr 23, 2010
      Why are American’s all Stupid? is a nasty title for a program about public education, but some nasty things are going on in Americas public schools and its about time we face up to it. Kids at New Yorks Abraham Lincoln High School told me their teachers are so dull students fall asleep in class. One student said, You see kids all the time walking in the school smoking crack, you know. Its a normal thing here.

      We tried to bring cameras into New York City schools to see for ourselves and show you whats going on in the schools, but officials wouldnt allow it. Washington, D.C., officials steered us to the best classrooms in their district. We wanted to tape typical classrooms but were turned down in state after state.

      Finally, school officials in Washington, D.C., allowed to give cameras to a few students who were handpicked at two schools they’d handpicked. One was Woodrow Wilson High. Newsweek says its one of the best schools in America. Yet what the students taped didn’t inspire confidence.

      One teacher didn’t have control over the kids. Another student cameraman videotaped a boy dancing wildly with his shirt off, in front of his teacher. Watch this free pootube documentary and make up your own mind is the American school system producing stupid citizens?

      • 2
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        “Perhaps you did not give much thought to the 100,000 Northern Tamil speaking Muslims from the Jaffna and Northern Province, given 25 hrs to leave, courtesy of Mahaveeran Periyavar Velupillai Prabakaran, and the 100,000 who died up to that point since Independence in 1948 due to Sinhala Buddhist Terrorism and the counter reaction to it by the LTTE Terrorism.”

        This where, such a time wasted, Thiruvarangan’s essay produced zero result. He took everybody, in search of redemption for all problems, through the jungles, deserts, mountains, valleys et al. But, in the end, Thiruvarangan left everybody in the middle of ocean and shrugged off and saying “it is your part to search and seek the shore”. So Amarasiri grabbed the opportunity as the first person. “The Pasu Thaul Paurththa Puli” (The tiger covered with a cow skin) Amarasiri once again had stricken very, very hard. He concocted one number for two occasions i.e., 100,000 Muslims forced leave North and 100,000 Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese killed from 1948. He is not the one go to ICC and have his numbers confirmed without contest. He accepts there was Sinhala Terrorism from 1948, but simultaneously claiming counter terrorism existed to that too. That is because he either purposefully twisting the fact that LTTE started only after tolerating 35 years of Sinhala Terrorism but not had any other way to eliminate it or he is just a cumbersome person does not have capacity to separate the facts and analyze them individually. The second is not acceptable to him as he is one who propagates the theory of “Lankawe’s IQ”, here in CT. So the first is one holds true with Amarasiri. Out of that 35 years of Sinhala Only terrorism, he could not have the heart to sight one Sinhala person participated or contributed to Terrorism, But from the 26 years’ Eelam war, he has his excellent example of ” Mahaveeran Periyavar Velupillai Prabakaran,”. Mainly it was a fight within Sinhala -Tamil Communities. Athulath Mudali and Brother Prince tracked Muslims into it against Tamils by offering the standardization like perks to Muslims. He did not mention the 1915’s Sinhala humiliation of Muslims and the Sinhala Leaders’ racism had to be curbed by rulers putting them into prison nor did he mention of Aluthgama. Why? Because of his Lankawe IQ theory dictate him to think like that only. That is why!

        Amarasiri is a Sinhalese pretends to be an impartial. Thiruvarangan may realize what an impact his essay has on Amarasiri. Thiruvarangan may now want to know, as Tamil, pretend to be impartial, has had results he failed realize himself.

        “When the civil war came to an end in May 2009 I was still a final year undergraduate at the University of Peradeniya. Peradeniya was miles away from the war zone…………….Navigating these messy and muddy waters of truth, justice and co-existence is one of the greatest challenges facing Sri Lanka seven years after the end of the war. How our political leadership and we as communities, activists, writers, perpetrators, witnesses, survivors and victims respond to this challenge through legal means and creative avenues like social dialogue and translation will determine our political future.” From the start to end, without a feeling of the material he presented, he had repeated facts that are said and written a million times, like an old gramophone record that would repeat His Master’s Voice one more time. He preached a lot but just assigned the responsibility to the suffered ones to sort it out for a path to redress. Well, that might have been a time, and might be for preachers like Buddha and only in soul searching aspects. But we have come along millenniums passing it. We look for equality in searching for earthly happiness which we strife to achieve in our lives. We use competing with one another to build our economy. In that way of life we need a judge and judgement to our disputes. Not soul searching. We talk about Individual rights, individual’s sovereignty, a state, a secular democratic government to rule (protect) us by law. Not always the victims and the violators can sort it within themselves. There is cinema song in Tamil saying “Thirudanai Paarththu Thirunthaaviddaal Thiruddai olikka vali Illai”. It is a nicely music directed and nicely worded and a neatly coined philosophical song. Thiruvarangan must know that stands only at with Cinema, not beyond into the real life. In all societies where there is a thief has a policeman and thus how the society steered into peaceful existence, not overwhelmed and disables by crime. When Thiruvarangan saw to end his essay that he could not provide a solution for Tamils who claim they are in the land for ever and to Sinhalese who claim they own this island, it was time for him to recheck his predetermined conception of co-existence.

        It is absolutely a disappointing experience to see that such a Mountainous Stomach pained and delivered not even a mouse. Thiruvarangan did not provide a solution to the problem. He did not argue, here, to establish that coexistence is a solution. But that is the subliminal message when he says, “Navigating these messy and muddy waters of truth, justice and co-existence is one of the greatest challenges”. He lists three; they are truth, Justice and coexistence. He sees them as one. For many societies or individuals the truth and Justice are interrelated. But still they are not one and the same. He forcefully pulled the different plane’s Coexistence here and plugged it with other two and seeing them all as one and single. But he nowhere had discussed that in the essay the justification for it. He concludes that they both (Sinhalese and Tamils) must navigate in the muddy and messy water of coexistence. Again it is not in his interest to discuss the cost and benefits related to it and evaluate them to if that navigation is worth to struggle. Though he is calling forth the parties to navigate the truth and justice the one messy and muddy water, anybody reading between the lines will see his fear in facing them in reality. He fears navigating in them would not produce chance to navigate in messy and muddy water, the coexistence which all what he wants to see the Tamils and Sinhalese suffer together. Here his mind is suffering by an enormous pain to face the truth and Justice. His is going through a status of a woman who is about to face brutal rape, but with a great pain in her heart contents to take it for a minimum of save her life. I wonder if that is the real situation of the Sinhalese, they do not want to go for truth and Justice, but want the land and I further wonder if that will suite for Tamils, who want truth and justice because they believe then only they can get their freedom. Yet they are only theoretical assumption. The practical situation is more far off. If the Sinhalese are not ready to navigate through the messy and muddy truth and justice, they need not to navigate in the messy and muddy coexistence, which they don’t like. In no circumstance Sinhalese want to navigate in the messy and muddy water, the coexistence. They are ready only to navigate in the messy and muddy water “Lankawe is only to Sinhalese” claim. But for the Tamils, only choice is navigating in the crystal clear water of truth and justice. They want to sail in the crystal clear water separation. So in total not for anyone of the two societies, the Sinhalese and the Tamils, the truth, justice and coexistence are one, and not all of them both it is muddy and messy water. Further it is not the same result they both will get after they have navigated through the truth and justice whatever the waters are they for the both communities. But as I said earlier, Thiruvarangan failed to establish why the coexistence is necessary and unlike the truth and justice, which is not messy and muddy for both, but the coexistence is messy and muddy for both, where there is no interest for anyone of them to undertake this unwanted navigation. Unlike Thiruvarangan attempts to show, both Sinhalese and are not inseparably electric welded together. They both have their ancestral lands, and they can live in them peacefully. All countries in Europe were fighting by problems of Land Boarders. They are not lucky enough to be like Ceylon or Cuba or Taiwan. Then they grew wiser and learned to respect each other’s boarders. So there are smaller countries than Tamil Eelam within them, but living peacefully. Further the coexistence does not make same sense to both races. Tamils consider Federal solution is a co-existence. Sinhalese consider Federal solution is separation. Tamils consider unitary is slavery under majority. Sinhalese consider unitary allow them to hold their dominance over their land.

        Thiruvarangan, as he is an educated person, he has had to know that any question must be read and comprehended before to answer, and no predetermined answer can fit to it. His internal mind had determined to co-exist. So he just ended up blaming both sides listing the past incidents like a repeating Gramophone record. It may be his mental preference or unwillingness to think, analyze and evaluate other ways. If the problem is only his preference, then his portrayal of the middle path maneuvering is simply makes him as comparable Tamil one to the Sinhala Amarasiri who pretends him of a person of higher IQ and super soul but not he really is.

  • 9
    1

    All in all an all-encompassing presentation that suits the time in our lives. Thoroughly readable.

  • 11
    5

    Tamil financiers who lost the plot and sacrificed the Tamil yoputh & children still not had enough of it.ron.

    People like Raj Subramanium, Mahendran Thiruvaganam still hell bent on to distort facts.

    tamil society needs so much assistance to get back their lives but diaspora remains stubborn.

  • 10
    11

    Several incorrect conclusions and observations that I want to point out.

    1. Assumption 1 – By 2005 Sinhala people were becoming pro devolution.

    Unlike in 60s and 70s Sinhala people, majority of them do NOT care whether there is devolution or not. That is the truth. Their objection towards 13 in 1987 was mostly due to indian hand and giving power to LTTE which is a murderous cult.

    By 1994 Sinhala people voted for CBK who came to power on a peace platform and said she will recommence peace talks. Therefore it was not until 2005 that Sinhala people started supporting devolution.

    2. About so called sinhala nationalism in 2005.

    By 2005 Sinhala people saw how their country’s sovereignty and intergrity was challenged by Norwegian facilitated peace process. They did NOT want the Norwegian peace process to continue because Norwegians were/are pro LTTE, during cease fire SLA was reduced to chickens and had to bear 33000+ violations by LTTE.

    The people as a whole wanted to get rid of Norwegians. That is not because of they are nationalists but rather because any patriotic citizen could not stand by the destruction caused by Norway and LTTE

    And the anti Buddhist attitude of the then RW gov did not help..It was the death of Soma thera and the subsequent treatment by RW government that really made people fed up with RW.

    3. Wow SL was going get a peace solution and MR came and screwed it.

    NO…SL never was to get a peaceful solution. Prabha and LTTE always stood for separate state. Had they enter into any peace talks that is just an eye wash and to buy time to rearm and regroup themselves.

    Military victory was a MUST….there is no other alternative.

    And hence any collateral damage of civlians how much painful it is was unavoidable.

    4. North celebrating tragic end to war in May 19
    That is a lie. By May war was almost over. Even the allegation of civilian deaths is reported in April and not May, especially not May 18. May 18 was the day Prabha’s body was found ( therefore he was killed). Therefore it is not any civilian commemoration.

    It is true the end of war is a blessing for Sinhalese ( and muslims), but the biggest beneficiary of the end of war was none other than the Tamils. The very reason the tamils in NE can lead a NORMAL life is because of the end of war by so called nationalist leader MR

    • 11
      10

      sach,
      One you missed is in the title of this article.
      It was not a “civil war” it was a terrorist war.

      • 9
        9

        Nuisance the stupid I

        “sach,”

        Are you typing it to yourself?

        Sometimes it is known as multiple-personality disorder, a rare dissociative disorder in which two or more personalities with distinct memories and behaviour patterns apparently exist in one individual. – Google.

      • 10
        11

        Eusense

        You are right!

        It was a ‘terrorist war’ between 99% Sinhala state terrorists and 99% Tamil freedom fighters.

        • 7
          4

          Celeo
          You said you got help from Sinhalese to escape ethnic cleansing and genocide and take asylum in the west. How come this author Mahendran was living and studying in peradeniya without escaping or subjected to genocide even in 2009?? This clearly indicate your lies about ethnic cleansing and genocide and your lazy unproductive lifestyle blaming everyone else other than you for your pathetic life.

  • 9
    0

    Mr. Thiruvarangan

    Thank you! I agree whole-hearterdly that these “boundaries” we have built are just figments of our imagination. People living on this island have shared their lives, genes, and cultures and nurtured each other for millenia.

    It’s time to acknowledge that reality without shame and debunk the idea of “racial/ethnic” purity that is the myth of the ultra-nationalists.

    We need to acknowledge the horrific acts of violence perpetrated by the state, the LTTE and other para-militaries, and by regular civilians who when impassioned during riots became murderers. We have all suffered, especially the poorer classes of the Tamil community.

    Enough is enough. Let us mourn the dead, regardless of whether they are considered war heroes or matyrs, terrorists or innocent civilians – for in reality many can be classified under more than one of these labels.Let their deaths be a warning for those living to figure out a peaceful way forward.

    Tamils who want peace: please reach out and accept the goodwill of those of us who want peace and shared prosperity. Reject re-radicalization in your community and disempower the ultra-nationalists. Together we can achieve peace, but divided we definitely will not.

    • 1
      0

      “It’s time to acknowledge that reality without shame and debunk the idea of “racial/ethnic” purity that is the myth of the ultra-nationalists”

      Make DNA Testing Compulsory for everyone, and put the Radical Idea of Racial/Ethnic Purity in the Bin, once and for all!

  • 6
    2

    ” We should also be aware of the limits to TRUTH BASED approaches to justice and reconciliation.”

    I disagree.

    What is to be avoided is the presently embarked on ACCOUNTABILITY BASED approach to justice and reconciliation.

    TRUTH is sacrosanct. It is a fundamentally important moral imperative. It is the ONLY thing we can leave behind for the posterity.

    ACCOUNTABILITY destroys truth uncovering process. It already has. It has been buried under propaganda , hate mongering and political agenda.

    In a long, long physical conflict involving millions BOTH sides are ACCOUNTABLE. Individuals who carried out actions are insignificant. Chasing behind them ia waste of time.

    (Let me warn you. Accountability targeting only one side is a very VERY dangerous exercise – if what you specifically want is not that explosive situation for your political agenda.)

    For my part I do not want to punish a single LTTE terrorist. They are nothing to me. If at all I hold any grudge it is against the political machinery behind them and those who manipulated them from air conditioned rooms abroad.

    Let us sieve through propaganda, by pass political agenda and try to find out the TRUTH for its own sake, free from any desire for revenge.

    Soma

    • 4
      2

      Soma,

      ‘Crime and punishment’ are paired. They go hand in hand regardless of who commits a crime. They are the foundations of any civilized society. Sri Lanka and both forces that were in conflict cannot be an exception.

      Dr.RN

      • 0
        0

        This is where you and I differ. My child is murdered. Who did or for what reason remains a mystery I am nearing end of life, still no break through. God gives me the option between punishing the murderer by Him or knowing who did, just one or the other. You choose the former amd I choose the latter.

        Doctor, I wish to say emphatically that I am not preacing compassion, trying to play Buddha or Christ – far from that. Just forced to choose between I will go for knowing the truth. If my biological farther is not the one in the birth certificate, I would rather know the truth despite my mother trying to hide it, or whatever the social stigma attached to it.

        Wars are different from gang fighting. This accountability exercise will bury the truth – for ever. And let me repeat that your satifaction will be very short lived if your desire is to hold only one side accoutable, which appears to be the case.

        Soma

        • 2
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          Soma,

          We know serious war crimes were committed by the armed forces, LTTE and Tamil Paramilitary groups. No one can dispute this. The scale of the crimes each party committed may not be ever comprehended fully, but the fact that large scale crimes were committed cannot be denied.

          This does not diminish the fact there was much valor, decency , skill and compassion displayed by members of the armed forces and the LTTE. The Tamil Paramilitaries had nothing to redeem them. it is also a fact that all wars are ugly, brutal and diminish us as humans.

          In this context, we have to know the individuals within the armed forces,LTTE and Tamil paramilitaries , who wantonly breached the rules and restraints of war and tortured, killed, raped and plundered out of sheer perversity and bestiality.

          There is apparently evidence to pinpoint the guilty. If there is evidence, it will not be a witch hunt to bring them to trial, prove they are guilty and if so, punish them. If those found guilty are now dead, they should be named. We owe this to history. Such individuals are a blot on the causes for which they fought and the people’s and organized entities on behalf of whom they fought. The politicians and officials who ordered the guilty to do what they did , need also to be identified and punished more.

          The exercise should be cathartic to this much bloodied country. Even regret expressed by the guilty for their heinous crimes, should be punishment enough. Rule of law should prevail and justice must be served, once we know the scale and scope of the crimes, we as peoples of this country can be/should be compassionate.

          Condemnation of the crime and the punishment it deserves/demands, should be ethnicity blind in this country.

          Dr.RN

          Dr.RN

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    Average Tamils are kept in dark, and their votes have been used by their leaders to enjoy benefits and perks. Likewise, Tamil leaders are kept in dark, and used by foreign powers. I see lots of similarities between good governance leaders and Tamil diaspora leaders. The West is getting successful in fooling current government as it have done to Tamils. A disaster is waiting to happen. Do you want me to laugh when I see people who got education in fashion think that they can beat the West which has been ruling the world for the last 700 years, or do you want me to cry, because Sri Lankans always elect incapable leaders to suffer. You are very wrong, if you think that you have finished the war and free to become like Singapore. Sorry to disappoint you, war is one aspect but there are plenty of strategies to fool you. In the West at least I found few women and men who understand the Western governments’ games to rule the world. But here I found none in 20s or 30s. It is very scary. Here people are walking statues. Sri Lankans will continue to be victims of the smart and powerful countries’ games. I lived in four continents but I found that Sri Lanka has the highest number of fools. No wonder why this country has been fighting since 1948, and can’t run its national airlines profitably. Sinhalese are little better than Tamils, but not a lot. Therefore, suffering will continue. This government is doing exactly what the diaspora leaders have done to me while I was in the West. I am getting isolated in Sri Lanka. This good governance government is helping the West to isolate smart people. I have done my part for this country. I would like to say good bye; sadly this country can’t appreciate nor value people like me. The West can easily trick you and make sure that you won’t get benefit through my knowledge or skills. If I become successful here the West has failed, because it will prompt other diaspora to leave. The West is not prepared to lose its skills, wealth and knowledge. I don’t think Sri Lankan leaders are smart enough to understand this reality. It is easier for them to keep on dreaming as Singapore or wonder of Asia. Let them keep on dreaming, after all dreaming is their major habit.

    • 2
      5

      Antony Peter is a classic example of r a Walter Mitty syndrome sufferer.
      Poor guy.

  • 2
    2

    The current leaders who talk about good governance do not have guts to tell the Australian government to reveal the reason for deleting my Australian citizenship, but dancing according to the West. Do you think that the current leaders have the ability to develop this country as Singapore? If you do, you are daydreaming.

    Convicts can’t get away from it. Sooner or later they must acknowledge their barbaric act. I have a strategy, the Five Eyes will continue to feel uncomfortable. The Americans and the British will continue to face tough time to occupy the moral high ground while supporting convict ethics.

  • 1
    1

    “The current leaders who talk about good governance do not have guts to tell the Australian government to reveal the reason for deleting my Australian citizenship, “

    I agree with you; the current leaders does not have guts to talk to Australia. With your such a mature condition, instead of quarantining you, they sent you all the way down here and spreading it to everyone. Quarantining is the responsibility of the government first identifying the situation. So they can not deport.

    • 1
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      I am smarter and I analyze my move very well before implementing it. I have a strategy and I will give you back with interest. Meantime enjoy your BS.

      • 1
        1

        “I will give you back with interest”

        That is ok. But don’t go bankrupt with the principal I gave and will be giving in the future. You appears like you need more investments from me to get started.

        • 0
          1

          You deny that you are falling and I haven’t damaged you. I am smart enough to assess the situation. I am well aware you wish you never fooled me.

        • 0
          1

          Sri Lanka hasn’t given me the knowledge to fight against you. It doesn’t have the knowledge, it is a country which has been fighting since the independence. Literally, this country doesn’t run even one government business enterprise effectively and efficiently. Its national airlines is perfect example. This fools never been part of my mighty fight, and they never will. Go ahead, use as much as diaspora and good governance leaders, but I will damage you considerably more than any other Asian. That is my claim.

          You could be a Westerner or a foolish Asian Puppet. Even if you are a foolish puppet I must target the masters, because the ideology comes from your Western masters. Pointless in attacking you as Tamil, Sinhalese or Indian. You are ruled and shaped to keep the Western masters on top since 1505.

  • 2
    1

    I am well aware of the Western powers and third world country Sri Lanka. Do you think that I came here because Ranil and Mangala will honour my knowledge and protect me? The Tamil leaders couldn’t do it, do you think that I believe Sinhalese will do it? You may think that a bird relys on the tree branch, but in reality it is relying on its own wings. You still don’t know me well, but you will in due time. I have so much energy and wisdom to give you back with interest and I will. In fact I enjoy doing this, I always believed that I was born for this particular job. Go ahead be my guest, and carry on your BS. You are falling but you hate to acknowledge it. I know it is very inconvenience and uncomfortable to you. Oh well you didn’t think convicts would damage this much, did you. Yeah certainly Barbaric convicts have done it. The West is facing similar crashes as the Roman Empire faced well before it collapsed. Oh well whatever goes up must come down one day. The West is not exempt from this rule. I am feeling good, because I played a part to expose your double standards to bring you down quicker than you have anticipated. Thanks to barbaric Aussie convicts.

  • 1
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    “You are falling but you hate to acknowledge it.”

    Hey Bird why do thing I am falling down. Isn’t it birds sometimes fly high and fall down another time? I walk on the earth or roll on the grass. I do not fall.

    “You still don’t know me well, but you will in due time.”
    Why don’t tell me more of you now?

    • 1
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      “Why don’t tell me more of you now”

      You think that you are so powerful and smart. I’ll let you to guess my strategy. Go and find fools, they will tell you their plans, perhaps Tamil diaspora or good governance leaders :~))))))

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