By Tisaranee Gunasekara –
“Evil is unspectacular and always human, And shares our bed and eats at our own table – Auden (Herman Melville)
For once, the military has done something sensible. It has admitted the authenticity of the footage depicting several army personnel inflicting cruel and degrading punishments on a group of female recruits[i].
Crimes of every sort, from rape downwards, happen in any army. But these crimes are often conducted in secret, behind at least a semi-closed door. The scenes depicted in the latest Lankan footage happen out in the open. The perpetrators seem totally at ease, almost nonchalant, with no discernible concerns about exposure, leading to censure or condemnation.
In that sense, and also because they indicate some extremely disturbing truths about a popular ‘national’ institution, these Lankan scenes are reminiscent of the footage which came from Abu Ghraib.
At Abu Ghraib, prisoner-abuse was the norm. In the footages, the uniformed torturers seem supremely at ease; they do not look as if they are concerned about being surprised in an illegal act by either peers or superiors. That very ease of manner indicated a culture of impunity which was subsequently confirmed by a high level investigation into the US army’s prison system (led by Major General Antonio Tabuga). As the legendary Seymour Hersh revealed, the resulting report’s “conclusions about the institutional failures of the Army prison system were devastating. Tabuga found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of ‘sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses’ at Abu Ghraib.”[ii] The report determined that the abuses were ‘systematic’ rather than incidental.
The scenes depicted in the Lankan footage too are sadistic; only a sadist can inflict such abuse (especially on a group of weeping women) – and laugh. They are also ‘blatant and wanton’; there is no indication that the perpetrators think they are doing something ‘wrong’, a crime/misdeed which can get them into trouble. Their almost insouciant manner hints that such abusive conduct is neither unusual nor unpopular; that, as at Abu Ghraib, it is ‘systematic’.
The Lankan army’s admission of guilt, despite its tepidity, is welcome. But many unanswered questions remain. Is this how female recruits are generally treated? Or are these recruits Tamil? How widespread is this problem of perpetrating sadistic abuses under cover of discipline? Have there been any complaints about such incidents? Have any such complaints been investigated? Have any of the abusers being punished? Will the army treat this incident as an exception? Or will it carry out a thorough and impartial investigation, as the US military did and take some sort of disciplinary action?
At Abu Ghraib, the American servicemen (and women?) were dealing with the ‘enemy’. The Lankan footage depicts the way some members of the Lankan army treat their own. Imagine what such men could have done to the real of perceived enemy, especially during and in the immediate aftermath of the war. These servicemen, who seem to enjoy their grisly deeds enormously, do not look as if they would have gone into the battlefield, “carrying a gun in one hand, the Human Rights Charter in the other, food for the innocent displaced on their shoulders and love for the children in their hearts”, as President Rajapaksa claimed in his 2011 Victory Celebration Speech. On the contrary, they look quite capable of committing the sort of gruesome crimes depicted in the various Channel 4 videos.
The latest footage also dovetails with various reports and reportage about Lankan military abusing Tamil prisoners, post-war.
What happens when a society is intertwined with a military, which has failed to draw an ‘insuperable line’ against abuse and sadism?
During a 2012 ceremony, the National Cadet Corps Director Major General Gamini Jayasundara praised (school) cadets who receive comprehensive training at the Rantambe army camp; he claimed that they can “face any challenge” and stated that the policy of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was to produce “resource personnel who are confident in taking up any challenge through cadet training”[iii].
That year the prestigious Herman Loos De Soyza trophy was won by the cadet corps of Gampaha Bandaranayake College. Less than two years later, members of the same cadet corps went on rampage, attacking the principal, teachers, fellow students and media personnel, over a minor disagreement.
This incident was a worrying reminder that in Sri Lanka excessive regimentation and burgeoning violence are harmonious bedfellows.
Lankan militarization happens in tandem with an idealised image of ‘soldier-war hero’. This state-manufactured image was a key component of the ‘Humanitarian Operation’ myth. The state laid down the axiom that Lankan soldiers can never kill or harm any civilian Tamil. A cloak of infallibility was thus bestowed on the military. This enabled impunity to flourish, clad in the garments of justice.
Weliweriya brought home to the Sinhala South the reality about their much lionised warriors. When a Sinhala villager asked a Sinhala soldier why the army did not use rubber bullets against unarmed protestors, the soldier replied, “We can’t mollycoddle people with rubber bullets”[iv].
That reply indicated a policy and a mindset which regard extreme violence as the first response to any problematic situation – and contemptuously reject values such as kindness, pity and justice which make a civilisation.
Military abuse can happen due to a breakdown of discipline or the entrenchment of a criminally permissive environment. During the final peace process, the Tigers did their very best to provoke the Lankan military into attacking civilian Tamils. They failed, from 2002 to late 2005, because the political authorities would not permit such abuses. The Tigers succeeded only after Mahinda Rajapaksa won the Presidency. The first act of retaliatory violence happened just a month into Rajapaksa rule[v].
In Weliweriya too, contrary to subsequent claims by military and political authorities, innocent people were attacked/killed not because the soldiers were undisciplined, but because they acted like highly-disciplined killing machines.
The sadistic abuses depicted in the latest footage probably stem not from a breakdown of discipline but from a new, criminally permissive, notion of discipline.
The latest video is a matter of personal concern to all Lankans (including Sinhala-Buddhist supporters of the Rajapaksas) given the rapid and pervasive militarization inflicted on society by the Ruling Siblings. For instance, under the Leadership Training programme, more and more civilians are being herded into military camps. Is there any guarantee that at least some of these civilians (especially students) will not be treated in a similarly abusive manner? Was this why two students and a principal fell mortally ill, while undergoing leadership training in army camps?
‘Api Army’ is the name given to a Rajapaksa programme to recruit professionals into the military as volunteers. These volunteers too will be subjected to the prevailing disciplinary norms. And they may return to society, more prone to see physical and verbal violence as the optimal solution to many problems.
Abu Ghraib crimes came to light thanks to American serviceman Joseph Darby. Lankan footage too was made and leaked by a Lankan soldier who was obviously horrified at what he/she witnessed.
It is up to the polity and society to generate the much-needed national debate about the nature and the role of Lankan military.
[iv] Reported in the Sunday Times – 11.8.2013
[v] Probably the first such incident was a Navy assault on a group of displaced civilian Tamils in Victorian Hundred Housing Schemes in Mannar, subsequent to a Tiger attack on the Navy in the vicinity. The killing of five students in Trincomalee followed soon after.
Thiru / March 23, 2014
Events from Kosovo, Georgia, Libya, Syria to Crimea are polarizing the world powers into two camps: the Western allies versus Russia, China, and their allies.
This bi-polar play is also seen in Sri Lanka ethnic crisis in Geneva.
Rajapakse clan will be wiser to realize this and take reasonable action towards Tamils aspirations. Otherwise the result may be what Sri Lanka has been trying to avoid by all means.
This may be an example of ending up with what you obsessively fear.
Rohan / March 23, 2014
Strange bedfellows… Australia is with Russia and China!
Tsunami Hota / March 23, 2014
It could be their (Aussie) genes.
Ex convitcs wouldnt be on the right side.
Kapila / March 23, 2014
Great stuff Madam Thisaranee! Keep up your excellent work, take care and be of good courage..
Four-Saranee / March 23, 2014
So what is Trisaranee’s point, Belmo?
It is the hymies’ bastardly manipulation of Kosovo, Georgia etc that caused Russia and China to give them back in the same kind.
Sri Lanka is very much with Russia and China and we do not have to “avoid” anything.
Let us see who wins the global game, When China asks for all the debt to be repaid by the hymies?
[Edited out] will have to pull out the equipment when that happens!
Rohan / March 23, 2014
I am holding my breath and wait, to see what the Bodu Bala Sena sadhus and Mahanayakes have to say.
Hitting, ridiculing, aggressively going to a girl with a hand ready to slap etc are well recorded.
The ‘patriots’ have already stated that it is a fake clip.
UN vote is NOT against Sri Lanka or Sri Lankans, but against the regime.
Thiru / March 23, 2014
“The first act of retaliatory violence happened just a month into Rajapaksa”
The above needs correction:
Though I appreciate the author’s points I must set the record correct.
There were several known military massacres like Kokadichcholai massacre, Navali Church massacre, School childrens’ massacre in Vadamarachi, and many more massacres of civilians including children by the armed forces bombing, shelling and plain shooting en mass. Chencholai orphan children’s school massacre is cruel massacre of children.
These happened from JR’s time in the late seventies onwards, to Premadasa’s time and during Chandrica’s time too.
When a war crimes investigation starts, if ever it happens, it will disclose dozens of such massacre sites during various periods of the 30 odd year war for liberation.
Ask any common Tamil man or women in the North-East they will tell you about these massacres from their collective memory: This collective memory of Tamils can also be tapped during an honest investigation.
RICHARD / March 23, 2014
Point taken but remember to accept and include the massacres of the LTTE and other Tamil terrorist factions in Sri Lanka that massacred innocent men, women, pregnant women and children. Also indiscriminately bombed buses, trains and public places.
See reconciliation and healing must not only be for the innocent Tamil people but for the Sinhalese as well. The international investigation if established must seek to expose the atrocities of the LTTE and other Tamil terror groups too that created mayhem in Sri Lanka, and hold those responsible still alive and now in the MR govt or enjoying their protection.
Thiru / March 23, 2014
Who set in motion the dastardly retaliatory acts?
Whenever Tamils wanted a political solution, they were retaliated by the Sinhalese-dominated state with anti-Tamil pogroms of: 1956, 1958, 1977 and 1981, let alone 1983.
Thousands of Tamils died in these pogroms, vast amounts of property destroyed or looted, many women raped, and more than million Tamils driven abroad due to sheer agony.
Of course all those responsible for atrocities must be punished, so that these don’t happen again.
eusense / March 23, 2014
Those who live by the sword die by the sword. One party here is dead. The other party will die too if it try to live by the sword.
Sudarshan / March 24, 2014
Sri Lanka Tamil have more than what they need.. nothing to be given more. if you dont like to live in Sri Lanka, just leave to Tamil Nadu
Sceptic / March 24, 2014
The LTTE were TERRORISTS and NOT law abiding troops. They did not sign international protocols, that is why they were outlaws and behaved as such! The acts of supposedly law abiding troops cannot be compared with the acts of terrorists. The acts of terrorists have always been condemned and it is no answer to say ‘ why don’t you mention what the LTTE did ?’ They were TERRORISTS and it is what Terrorists do – not supposedly law abiding troops!
Ajith / March 23, 2014
The acceptance of Sinhala military of this footage may be a propoganda gimmic to show the world that this regime is not biased and capable of investigating into any complaints. We have to wait to find the truth.
Wickramasiri / March 23, 2014
Tisaranee Gunasekera, Thank you for this lucid expose of the implications of excessive militarization of society. Military discipline is not what society needs. The need is for moral discipline, and that goes for the military as well. The video clip shows the unflinching cruelty of the soldier(s) concerned and makes me feel that they are the type that would kill without remorse. Military training is always hard and physically demanding, and sergeant-majors are some of the toughest, but beating the trainees with a stick is unacceptable. The trainers appear to get sadistic pleasure from beating the women. The clip showed some men soldiers protesting but the trainers were aggressive toward them as well. Are these our military heroes? Definitely not. I wonder whether the military top brass have lost the grip on the armed cadres? Even in the North the demand for withdrawal of the military is due to the aggressive behaviour of army personnel. Are unit commanders fearful of the soldier? Are their commands being obeyed? I fear for Sri Lanka’s future.
Katmai / March 23, 2014
The LTTE as a rag-tag group of rebels who did not have any professional training in warfare or human rights seem to have done much better when it came to treating their own. They were said to have treated those attempting to escape harshly and they surely were brutal to those they perceived as the ‘enemy’ but there is no indication of higher ranking rebels taking this type of perverted pleasure by brutalizing their own subordinates.
So, when Sarath Fonseka he has respect for Prabhakaran, I can understand where he is coming from. He may not have had a kind heart but at least he had principles. Rajapaksa has neither.
Sri Lanka, if it is capable of self evaluation, should feel very ashamed of itself. But with the current regime and its supports that are more interested in coming up with silly excuse that dealing with issue I don’t think self-evaluation is even in the cards.
Sometimes it amuses me that so many Sri Lankans think that this is just a phase that we are going through and but soon it will be business as usual. Many, who get so incensed when Rajan Hoole keeps bringing up July 1983, better realize that this is much much worse and this will not go away in your lifetime or your children’s children’s lifetime. Reading and writing is not the exclusive domain of the Buddhist monks anymore and no matter how many Dagobas, Pirivenas or golden doors you make, you will not get to have the exclusive fairy story for you written by them as the ancient kings did. The real truth will be around in written, audio and video form, for a very long time to come.
Already there must be Sri Lankans living abroad who are pretending to be from India or Bangladesh. We used to be so proud to say that we are from Sri Lanka, even though many didn’t even know where it was. I bet now they all know!
So, the final question is….
Is the “Internet” going it help identify the perpetrators in the video so that human rights people can inquire into the well-being of the female kith and kin of these brutes? Thankfully, the girls shown on the video have to go through this for a limited period of time. But the females in the families of these savages will have to suffer abuse their whole life. Just think about them… please!
Orissa man / March 23, 2014
I thought this video is fake, setup by the tamil diaspora to discredit our King and his royal family.
So, when Sarath Fonseka he has respect for Prabhakaran, I can understand where he is coming from.”
Yes , I don’t disagree with you on this. Pirabakaran couldn’t be bought with money to change his principles.
JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA / March 23, 2014
But the Pirbaha Thambi Got Jaraawabalai to Force Tamizars not to vote and Jarpassa came to power and Gave the PORIYAL to Tambi Pirapahran.
“Thambi Pirabakaran couldn’t be bought with money”.
HA HA; “But could be Bribed” ????????.
“to change his principles”.
Betrayed His People Tamizrs, and What happened to His Other Ranks and Files.
Any Unmarked Graves??????????.
Still The Tamizars are paying for those SINS.
Thiru / March 23, 2014
I disagree with the author’s view that military retaliations occurred because of Tigers’ provocation:
These massacres happened whenever the Tigers started attacking the soldiers and killed many soldiers; the soldiers unable to get at the Tigers resorted to massacre of Tamil civilians.
Tigers attacked the military with the objective of liberating the Tamil homeland. They have also resorted to civilian attacks in retaliation to such attacks by the military against Tamil civilians.
Using these Tiger attacks on civilians as an excuse, Sri Lanka and several countries conveniently branded them terrorists to suit their Geo-political ends and took action against tigers.
A vivid example of the Sri Lanakan state retaliation is the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983, set in motion by the government of JR and the state forces taking part: Did the Tigers want to provoke the armed forces to retaliate against the Tamils, or was it the beginning of their fight for liberation?
Obviously it is the latter as all Tamils know. Why, because Tamils were by then in 1983 used to retaliation by the state whenever they asked for political rights; 1956, 1958, 1981 and 1977 anti-Tamils/pogroms witness to that. Tamils were not asking for more retaliations but they wanted to liberate themselves.
The tigers, retaliating the armed forces retaliating against the Tamil civilians, started attacking or bombing Sinhala civilians too.
All Sinhalese writers, including the present more objective author, say that tigers always wanted to provoke the military to attack civilians to gain sympathy: this is a gross lie to be countered, even if it comes from a progressive writer like Tisaranee.
I ask her a question: Did the tigers have in mind an event like the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom when they killed 13 soldiers? No it was planned by JR and his agents of the state to teach Tamils a lesson. Tigers went on with the liberation of the Tamil homeland. Curiously the anti-Tamil pogroms stopped; but massacres by the military against Tamil civilians in their homeland skyrocketed.
Tigers achievd the objective of liberating vast territory of their homeland, and even ran an efficient administration. The Geo-political players including India didn’t want an independent Tamil Eelam even after it was shown that it’s viable to all and sundry.
When the state and its armed forces realized the demise of the Tigers after 2007, they started massacring civilians with increased frequency, the Madhu Children’s bus massacre is an example. Mullivvikkaal Tamil genocide and aftermath is the climax.
People seem to forget that after the pogrom JR said; they don’t care for Tamils’ opinions or their lives; the Sinhalese will be happy if we starve the Tamils. This is the father of the present Sri Lankan constitution! Let’s not forget these facts and let writers distort facts.
In Tamil there is a saying: The path that the king takes, the subjects follow. JR’s utterance of 1983 became the gospel of the state and its military.
Therefore it is not the Rajapakse regime that started the business of massacring Tamils; it’s all along the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan state and its agents. Rajapakse only brought it to its climax!
Sri Lankan state and the armed forces have always been ever ready to retaliate against Tamil civilians, even today.
Ram / March 23, 2014
Army training is pretty brutal, but in this case the NCO seems to have overstepped the mark, and is duly admonished. Abu Gharaid moment ? What bunkam.
Spring Koha / March 24, 2014
Ram is correct as far as it is NOT an Abu Ghraib moment. Tisaranee has made an unfair comparison here. What the video clip shows is bog standard army training used to toughen up recruits to make them battle hardened for the real business when they come into contact with the ‘enemy’. Failure to be ready means that you are likely to end up in an ‘Abu Ghraib’ situation – a prisoner, and then you are most probable going to be at the receiving end of ‘the real thing’. Men and women who join the armed forces had better be ready for more of the same as shown in the video. Killing machines are not created by daham pasala picnics and chats over tea and biscuits. The sad thing is that in the case of our Sri Lanka armed forces, the only ‘ENEMY’ they are ever like to face are their own fellow SRI LANKANS.
Bensen Burner / March 23, 2014
Incidents at Abu Graib, although not to be condoned were directed against enemy combatants. In the instant case the sadistic attacks are directed against their own people who have come learn and be trained under the assailants. Bensen
Paul / March 23, 2014
Tisaranee, here the army deny authenticity of the video. I do not believe them.
Native Vedda / March 23, 2014
Paul, Rajini Kumarasamy, kris (Krishna), Miltiary expert, NAK, bo, Bebon, Thondamannar, Sniper, Don, Seelawathi, islander, Deshapriya, Navin, Punakku recycler, yes, Mewan, and other brutes.
Read the following excerpts:
Army probe finds video is authentic “According to a preliminary report the instructors have punished the recruits for an act in violation of military discipline. However, the method adopted is not in accordance with standard procedures prescribed for such corrective punitive actions. It has been found that the individuals who carried out this excessive action had over stepped their mandate and acted in their own volition. Being disciplined organizations the Armies all over the world have standing procedures when it comes to disciplining the soldiers especially during formative period of initial training. Such actions are designed as corrective measures and have to be authorized by appropriate authorities. In this instance no such authorization had been obtained. Further, the punitive methods employed by the instructors were not in line with prescribed procedures,” the army spokesman said.
Even the professional war crime deniers have accepted that the these kind of behaviour is unacceptable.
What nonsense are you talking about?
JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA / March 23, 2014
Most of these Soldiers are Not educated, [Even socially].
and their family life also same. so they are in a mood to get revenge from lower ranks under them.
here they got a chance to show their Heroism on Thamil women Trainees and get mentally satisfaction.
And There were LTTE carders like this.
I have my personal experiences on that too.
These psychopath army goons acting and behave same like psychopath Secretary of defence Hothmbaya.
These psychopaths need mental therapys to get rid of this mental sicknesses.
But I do not think S L ARMY,they have any psychologists with them.
Javi / March 23, 2014
“I have my personal experiences on that too.”
So they are of incest breed??
How long have the authorities turned a blind eye towards this behaviour?
Why have they waited to see this exposed at an international level to come out with soppy answer?
Have they lost the plot?
I am concerned!
Colaba Choppe ◕‿◕
JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA / March 24, 2014
No Javi [Colaba Choppe];
Colaba Choppe, was gone long ago with blessings From Ex SSP Egodapitiya, [A good admirable Police Officer].
“So they are of incest breed??”.
That Question you have to ask from Their parents and Recruitments of S L Army ????.
Not from me!. because I am not a Low bred and Nor have any connection with them.
For other Questions You can refer to Secretary of Defence in wander land,
[If there is any, Qualified to do the job as Secretary of Defence ].
But Sex maniacs and psychopaths are Plenty in our societies.
Some have Joined Security Forces, Some to Rebel groups and Some have Got Voted to Parliament of Wonder land.
It is said in the Tisaranee Gunasekara’s Articale;
“the policy of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was to produce “resource personnel who are confident in taking up any challenge through cadet training”.
To my knowledge, definitely, “It will produce some more sex maniacs and homosexuals”.
If any body wants any clarifications regarding that, it is best to Ask from Ex General Sarath Fonseka or
Any School boy, who attended to school cadets Corp,and
who receive so called comprehensive training at the Diyathalawa Army Camp or Rantambe army camp.
You are concerned or not, I do not CARE!.
Javi / March 25, 2014
“Colaba Choppe, was gone long ago with blessings From Ex SSP Egodapitiya, [A good admirable Police Officer].”
No he died of a bomb accident near the then Manel theater colombo 9.
Further down Sange’s bucket shop inside the studio and next to police station- He was indian Tamil king no sinhala could beat him so the sihala police came after him and the kochikade ones too to breed the one and only Sihala Dumindas and Amarayas which you have to face now.
When Abu Garib took place the retired general of British Army confirmed that the men involved were of teenage births and single mums. In SL case perhaps the woman was in the middle east while the man went after teenagers – Gandhi showed the way to stay young which the brits knew but indians did not talk about it because of their arranged marriages when child is born in some cases (i studied with some at uni and they took 10 years to complete 6 year engineering)
Today the MOD UK has released women in the forces I should have it in a couple of days. They presumably employ them because men don’t listen- you see this in most repetitive work too.
Below is of 2008
The death of Cpl Sarah Bryant in Afghanistan has brought the subject of women in the military to the fore.
In total, there are 187,060 members of the British armed forces, and 9.4% of them – some 17,620 – are female.
Of those women, 3,760 are officers.
The MoD is unable to say exactly how many women are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But some reports suggest about a fifth of the 8,000 service personnel in Afghanistan are female, even though they make up just a tenth of total military numbers.
You said “my personal experiences””And There were LTTE carders like this.”
Since you said your experience it would help to know it all started to pin `Gooo`ta You cannot compare the govt with a proscribed rag tag force that SL could not fight to win without the world especially Indian providing logistical from Andaman the listening post- they were able to cut the supply ships effortlessly.- so i always wonder what is this talk of trinco (previously during portugese time Andaman cound not be inhabited because of deadly malaria the danes died in large numbers finally even the brits; you still need nets to stay- they dont allow overnight stay as in the Canadian islands of eg Toronto)
You were sailor?? As a teenager I knew first one Basil Gunasekera who retired early and his son too retired in 20 years because its not worth its because of the politics.
DILLIGAF- Do I Look Like I Give A F*ck!
General Sarath Fonseka; Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
Colaba Choppe ◕‿◕
Wickramasiri / March 24, 2014
Julampitiye Amaraya, You are absolutely right with regard to the need for psychiatric care. I think we need a new regiment styled Sri Lanka Psycho Watch.
Paul / March 23, 2014
Dear NV, I meant I did not believe the army. Their (the army’s) explanation sounds like N Korean rhetoric.
Native Vedda / March 24, 2014
In your earlier comments you seemed to have trusted the the state’s versions of reasons, events, history, evidence, …. etc.
State has every reason to hide their stupid mistakes, inefficiency, corruption, …………. all immoral and illegal acts. Therefore one has to be skeptical of state’s versions of events and their reasons.
Javi / March 23, 2014
No one will prevail over SL militarily’:
So there is descent within the army!
Fertile ground for Libyan style operation by IAF
Every positive value has its price in negative terms…
The genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.
Nilame / March 23, 2014
Irrespective of ethnicity or race this is barbaric treatment of people.Military training is tough but not barbaric. No one is allowed to hit another. This is demeaning and uncivilised. Sri Lankans have to learn a lot. University ragging is still rampant in SL. Military training in SL is archaic and the trainers have no education to differentiate between right and wrong. These pissing boys think they run the world when they are rapped in a dirty uniform. What a shame!. Nilame
SEELAWATHI / March 23, 2014
I think such trainings in general are hard and far from our knowledge. But what I raise here is why cant the senior female officers do the job in terms of giving training to the new comers ?
How is that anyone to be given access to make pictures on these tranings ? That alone gives us the feeling that they have no basis of these trainings. US, EU countries also provide their novice troops trainings of hard kind, but they are well set and strictly held. No cameras or the like are given the access to enter those areas. Sometimes, US trainings are said to be far from all ethics.
Matilda Ellepola / March 23, 2014
Surprise ! Surprise ! Thanks for CH4 and McRae and Company, GOSL have finally accepted responsibility that its the Army and not fake that its a doctored video and edited and all sorts of BS.
way to go GOSL
Junior / March 23, 2014
I can imagine now.. what really happened to ISAIPRIYA? Am i the only one…… Please correct me if i’m wrong?
Paul / March 23, 2014
We ALL know in our hearts what would have happened to this poor girl. You are not wrong.
Afzal / March 23, 2014
Unfortunately the Sri Lankan masses will not take this too seriously. They will brush this aside as one off thing. Whats happening in campus is not far away from this and we have been hearing about it for ages now, nothing much has changed.
Is it because we don’t care or is it because deep inside we crave for violence and oppression of the weak ?
AntiBBSAnti / March 23, 2014
Same came to my mind instantly I watched the video. How senior female students at Unis ragged the new comers. We then freshers were asked to measure the length around a campus building using a stick not even longer than 1.5inches, jump on sand being naked, forced us to do whatever the seniors thought were right. Some incl. me was buckted by idiots many a times. In the very same manner I was blindfolded thrown on to ponds filled with waters. It was like a hell for me. I mean the days at Pera in mid 80ties. I am not sure of the current situation, but recalling my past, I think, our people in general play with others lives. I dont point only at Sinhalaya, even tamils do the same though with low rhythm. I hated the ragging at pera. That has lot to do with enviousnees, hatredness, langague barriers rather than anything else. It is a kind of how they could show the student´s unrest. In retrospect, I feel, it was all because the larger gap that srilankens in general have in the society. Urbanites students corner the rural students.
Authorities should have taken all actions against ragging of all forms to be blocked – THAT IS must.
Afzal / March 24, 2014
I agree all form of ragging must stop immediately. what’s happening in Campus is shaping our next generation. The experience and bitterness is carried forward in to our lives subconsciously.
Why is it so difficult to stop ragging ? It only takes one generation to take a stand and put an end to it. We don’t have the will to so that.
When you look at this video it’s clear the oppressor is taking immense pleasure at the plight of the victim.
Look at the big matches now violence has spread to schools. I could not recall such things 15-20 years back.
I quote you “That has lot to do with enviousness, hatredness, langague barriers rather than anything else”
Those are the key words effecting the whole nation ! as our rulers don’t want the whole nation to prosper, so they need divisions and conflict among communities to survive.
We as masses are unable to come out of our cocoon.
SEELAWATHI / March 23, 2014
I think all these could repeat becuase lack of rule of law inthe country.
In a country like S pore, Germany, US or other rich countries, where law is rigorously beeing set, no room is given for such rag events at the national universities. Predominant buddhist nation should be ashamed to hide these brutalities – keeping away from general public for many decades.
Wickramasiri / March 24, 2014
Afzal, You raise an interesting question. Are Sri Lankans uncaring and crave violence? I have some thoughts.
In the manner we are raised as children what is demanded of us is respect(subservience/obedience?), mainly toward elders and those in high positions of authority. Even parental love, particularly of the father,is restricted and he is often distant. Mothers are more affectionate, but seem to be fearful of giving full expression to their love. Parental hugging and kissing of children is very rare. So also amongst siblings. Could this be cause for a deficit in feeling when they grow up to adulthood? Are we raising our children in a manner that encourages affection and sympathy for others? Are we failing to inculcate good values? Is it a “mind” vs “heart” thing?
Afzal / March 24, 2014
Couldn’t agree more ! definitely this is this has to be because of the way we were brought up.
A mass scale education drive is required at national level. If we don’t change now with modern times we will be left behind. Look at the sexual violence committed in Sri Lanak. Few days back I read Sri Lanka is one of the countries with highest child prostitution rates (some are disputing this fact) but that’s scary.
Our (all of us) inner self needs healing.
Soma / March 25, 2014
I believe several factors play a role there.
Buddhists in general are though alert to their buddhist culture, jathaka katha etc they seem to be not that serious with the stuff.
I dont think that the problem is similar with the muslim yongsters. Today generation seems to take everything as jokes. Even if their lovely ones are taken away, those children seem to be not worried. Most behave as if they have no hearts. I truly know european kids in general behave better thought they too are busy iwth their electronic gadgets from dawn to dusk. Thinking pattern of lanken average (today´s generation) is not improved. They seem not to raise the question “why”. Even parents lack essential info about their grown up children. Some spent hours being on online, not bothering to exchange a word with their parents or the relatives. These young ones are totally addicted to TODAY´s elec. gadgets. Even if they are busy on watching blue flims online, mothers and fathers feel that their sons and daughters are very busy with their learn programs…. ha ha… grey zone – far from understanding.
Soma / March 25, 2014
you re raising a very good point. Unlike european parents, our fathers in general, dont communicate every bit with their own children has been part of culture. European fathers keep explaining every minute to their little ones about everything. THat is how those kids learn more with them grown up.
I have no idea about you, but to me, having spent decades long on the west, whenever I pay visits to my aged parents, I feel today generations in srilanka (internet generaltion) behave as if their parents or teachers did not teach them the basics. I thought same age children in europe behave not that caring, but unfortuantley, srilanken children of today are the worst to my eye. They dont even respect their own parent parts. Nor have my nieces and nephews close contacts with their grand mas and grand mas. Most of them are very cold. This is becoming contrast to me every time back in the country. I now try to be distant from those new generations. I really dont know why. May be lanken culture is in between dramatically changed. Even if I live away for such a long time, I would never forget to call my parents on regular basis, but new generation kids inthe country today, dont care .. they behave as if they have no hearts. I know few mothers suffer a lot not hearing from their only sons in urban families there down.
Ragavan / March 23, 2014
I simply cannot believe why the Sinhalese cannot understand the Tamil peoples’ demand for separation/Eelam. On one hand they condone with violence against Tamils and on the hand they want Tamils to live in a “united” country and be “SriLankans”. It was the multiple riots against Tamils and discriminatory legislations that led to LTTE movement. Now the army atrocities make the situation even worse.These kind of atrocities will certainly pave the way for division of the island.
Park / March 24, 2014
If Sinhalese women soldiers are treated like this, just imagine what could happen to Tamil and Muslim recruits to the forces.
Fathima Fukushima / March 24, 2014
SL army has accepted these are Tamil women recruited under reconciliation programs.
Lasantha / March 24, 2014
I think the disciplene in Sri Lanka’s Army disappeared soon after demise of Gen.Sarath Fonseka from Army.
I was told that all the three armed foreces Top Brass who had close friendship and connection with Gen.Sarath Fonseka were sent on early retirement by Mara and Gota cult when they sent Gen.Sarath Fonseka to Jail.
That’s why now there’s no disciplene or Moral or Reputation in the Armed forces.
Also during the final war due to high dessertion in the forces, the armed forces were recruiting mere Gardeners, beach boys, fishermen and farmers, many had not basic education qualifications.
That’s why now they are been used to build hotels, sell vegetables, put up sand bags and cleaning parks etc,etc.
That’s why Gen.Sarath Fonseka said that PMR is not worth a hair of Prabhakaran.
It is humiliating to see “Rana Viruwo” putting up sand bags or cleaning parks, who liberated our country.
Their moral is low and are fed with half packet lunch.
This is similar to North Korea where they use soldiers on multi tasks.
Very soon Sri Lanka could be heading for another North Korea type dictatorship.
Bruz / March 24, 2014
First the Army accepted this video as authentic. Now the army website says otherwise. So no doubt, It should be the handy work of Callum Macrae of Channel 4. Who else will try to destroy the wonderful name of Sri Lanka at this very moment the lankan case is being discussed in Geneva ? As always maintained by lankan government, this is another fake video produced and paid by diaspora, ltte rump to tarnish the image of lanka the miracle of asia.
Bruz / March 24, 2014
OK, say the video is authentic. It’s better to go to middle east and wash dishes or bathrooms than going through this shameful indignity and agony any woman can undergo. Imagine what’s happening to the Tamil women recruits in Kilinochchi. They are made pregnant in addition to all the abuses and the doctors were ordered to do abortion and insert long term contraceptives in their body. They are being used as ‘comfort women’ just like what the Japanese army did in China and Philipines. Nize going Sri Lanka the blessed country of Theavada Sinhala Buddhism. Feel sorry for the coerced young stupid Tamil women and their parents. You can die starving but joining this dreaded inhuman army is unwarranted. Now you are paying for your follies.
Halt / March 24, 2014
you are reporting here like a kindergarten toddler. these women are been trained to be combatant not to be nuns. you have not witnessed any real time training in the military other than this footage. there are many ways of punishing for those who cannot follow instructions. if you consider a discipline monitoring teacher of an ordinary government school in Sri Lanka, he too carry a similar cane stick and often punish students for their misbehavior. if some one wants to find fault and make a case to achieve their hidden agenda, such footage can be visualized and interpret in many different ways. military in UK and military in Congo cannot be compared to be similar.
Leon Berenger / March 24, 2014
As a writer I want to congratulate
Tissaranee for her excellent writing
style. She presents here case very
well. Here is another example.
kali / March 24, 2014
Army says girls in video not Tamil
Mar 24 (CG) The army says the female recruits seen in a video being harassed by male soldiers in 2002 are not Tamils as claimed by some media today. A statement by the army issued yesterday had said that investigations found the video circulating on YouTube was authentic and those guilty will be punished. In a new statement today, the army refuted reports which indicated that army investigations had found the soldiers guilty of harassing “Tamil” female recruits.
MR is not a fool. He knows how to lie and how to get every one around him to lie.
All these girls who were harassed according to GOSL must be Sinhalese who spoke perfect Tamil during training to fool the World.
Lying runs in MRs blood.
kali / March 24, 2014
You spoke too soon. In future before you publish anything like this you must clear it with GOSL and the army command as otherwise you will bring shame on your mother country. The Sri Lankan Army only harass and kill Tamils but they respect and protect anything Sinhalese. They are the most civilised Army in the World and when they find anything which brings shame on them they act decisively and Comparing them with what happened in Abu Ghraib amounts to treason.
But all Tamils are terrorists and they deserve what they get. You have wasted your time.
Marty / March 24, 2014
Do not forget the situation of women in south asian countries! All of them are suffering under their patriachic societies. Women are second class people, and it does not matter, if they are sinhalas, tamils, muslims, nor pakistanis, indians, bangladeshis and so on! Just think of the common mass rapes in india, and probably in other south asian coutries as well. This is not constructed, this is the sad truth, therefore you wipe the dirt in front of your own doors first. If you have no failure on your soul and never made something wrong, then AND ONLY THEN YOU MAY THROW STONES AT OTHERS!
Ram / March 24, 2014
A minor incident blown up to discredit the Security Forces, first by implying that the trainees were Tamil recruits (when they are NOT) and that the NCOs are brutes. The author who does nothing but pursue her anti-Sri Lankan agenda should do well to remember that it is not rare for trainees to die during such training even in the so-called ‘civilized’ countries like the UK and the US.
Native Vedda / March 24, 2014
“it is not rare for trainees to die during such training even in the so-called ‘civilized’ countries like the UK and the US.”
In a vain competition to keep up with the West you would not mind have additional NCOs killed during the training sessions.
Ram / March 25, 2014
It is a statement of fact, not an attempt to keep up with the ‘civilized’ world as you claim. The NCOs are the trainers not the trinees, and it is the latter who occasionally succumb.
Billa / March 24, 2014
Indeed it’s a minor incident and should be ignored. Instead of beating them on their buttocks, the army boys could impregnate them, or get complying army doctors to implant contraceptive devices and use them as ‘comfort women’
It’s horrible treating the fairer sex like this. Will US armed forces or any disciplined army treat their women carders like this ? I don’t think so. But SL army is given 100% permission to do anything with non Sinhala women.
MHA / March 24, 2014
Excuse me but how does this differ from any other military training camp. Anybody watch GI Jane. Get a life, this is the mentality of any military. This goes on in the USA everyday. Some fool also tried to say these were Tamil women.
punchinilame / March 24, 2014
Forgetting for a moment whether they be Tamil or Sinhala recruits, a
logical fact can be derived by the release of this video, namely that
it has been admitted not to be a fake. Apparently filmed by the Forces.
The release of this has been by someone in the Forces who is
sensitive to such scenes. Therefore it follows that the CH4 videos
were also released by someone in the Forces who is against inhuman
treatment of Tamils/humans. This being the basis, they too were not
fakes nor doctored.
Todays technology provides video evidence that cannot be disputed.
The Forces took advantage of the hot Trade in media circles for such evidence. So far no Judicial body has adjudicated on this topic,
which allows the MoD to deny off-hand promptly.