23 September, 2020

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The Land Like No Other And Some Questions

By Vallipuram Srikanth

Vallipuram Srikanth

As a person who is from the Northern part of the “Land like No Other” or the “Miracle of Asia”, I have my own questions regarding the events which occurred and the events which are unfolding around me. I don’t remember the very first day I went to school, but I remember the very first day I experienced the explosion of an artillery shell in close proximity. It was when I was four years old on a “thaipongal” day, and believe me, I was not a combatant. Thanks to the Artillery Regiment which was based in Palaly Military base at that time who in fact does not target any civilians.(Note – if any civilians were killed by the artillery shell attacks, it is purely due to the carelessness of the deceased, prior to their cessation)I am not a professional columnist or a political Think Tank who goes to the roots of the current ethnic conflict (if you believe so) or otherwise the malicious propaganda against the mother land by the Tamil Diaspora and the LTTE rump, analyses and gives a conclusion which would always be inconclusive. Of course, it is not the fault of the so called Political Think Tanks to give a conclusion, as the conclusion itself is beyond their capabilities and they are just mere commentators of this unending game.

Let me explain you why I am making such an introduction. I go through most of the Sri Lankan English language electronic media (just like you). The most interesting part would be not the news section, but the comments section. Whenever there is a news item posted about the ethnic conflict or Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an interesting pattern of comments would be made. The following generalisation could be made out of it.

  1. LTTE rump and the Tamil Diaspora are trying to divide the country.
  2. TNA is a part of the LTTE rump.
  3. Any media which release news about alleged human rights violations is funded by Diaspora.
  4. India and TNA leaders are the sole reason for the decades long civil war/Terrorism.
  5. The issues of TNA and the Issues of Tamil people are completely different, If not Tamil people does not have any issue at all.

I do not have any sort of intention to criticize these well implanted attitudes as it is one’s fundamental right to have an attitude regardless it is correct or not. At the same time I would like to exercise one of my fundamental/democratic rights that is to ask a few questions to my fellow citizens of “Land like no Other” who possess these ideas or are possessed with this ideology.

Why

On 18th May, 2009 the country celebrated the end of the war with firecrackers while over 300,000 civilians were herded into IDP camps. The War victory celebrations were as if the Celebrations of Sri Lanka Cricket team winning the World cup.  What was the intended message of this to the Tamils of the country? It would have made more sense if there was a celebration with “kiribath” and firecrackers when the IDPs were settled in their own lands.

Another interesting observation is about the number of civilians killed in the final phase of the war. The President stated that the war was carried out with a zero civilian causality. Many may ask how practical it is to conduct an all-out war with zero civilian causality. I was thinking over this issue for a while and finally found out how it is practical. It is very simple. Just make an assumption that all the Tamils who were killed in the war are LTTE, no matter even if it is an infant. After all, assumptions are invented by scholars to make the life easy. Isn’t it?

The Panel of experts appointed by the UN Secretary General, better known in the “Land like No Other” as the “notorious” Tharusman Committee stated the civilians killed in the final phase of the war was about 40,000. The present Archbishop of Mannar questioned about the over 100,000 missing people citing the census records. The Defence Ministry of Sri Lanka conducted a census in the war affected areas and put the estimate to be 8,000 and said which mostly comprise the LTTE.

A credible international investigation would have solved all the questions. But the government is adamant, not to allow any UN expert to do an investigation. It is a common procedure that all the deaths by natural causes or unnatural needs to be investigated by a Government Medical Officer and a certificate needs to issued prior to the disposal of the deceased. There is no record of investigation for the dead in the final phase of the war.

There is no doubt that minorities, especially Tamils are discriminated in the “Land like no other”. But the question was, “to which extent?” In a country, where the killing of cattle is protested through the strongest possible terms, why the killings/deaths of fellow citizens are not bothered about at all?

The general opinion about this number game amongst the Sinhalese people is that these are the malicious propaganda of the LTTE rump and the INGOs. It may be true and the best way to prove the credibility this general attitude is conducting a transparent investigation by an international body. But the majority Sinhalese people do not pressurise the government for it. For my ordinary mind, this is an inexplicable phenomenon.

The on-going issue of Northern Provincial Council is a matter of concern for various stakeholders.  There are eight other provincial councils functioned with the 13th Amendment. But when it comes to the Northern Province, why the government is so much desperate to remove the land and the police powers? If the majority Sinhalese fear about a possible separation of the province, what they need to do is, reconcile with the people in the Northern Province, not removing the  only minimal powers they  are given through the constitution to  govern themselves.

It is evident from the present approach by the government regarding the Northern Provincial Council, that the thinking pattern of the south has never changed and it is not willing to devolve any power to the Tamils.

The government is not shy about its structural genocide unleashed on the minorities of the “Land like No other”. It is obvious that Halal has done no harm to the people of this country and most of the people know that is its part of the Buddhists fundamentalist’s agenda to crush the businesses of the Muslim community. Some elements of BBS and other fundamentalists effectively use the social media to cause disharmony amount the communities. Be that as it may, the democratically elected so called Muslim leaders have become lame ducks and some even do their best to please the Rajapaksa siblings acting just like a clown in a king’s court. I still don’t understand how they openly make a statement in the parliament that no Muslim religious places came under attack, while there was wide media coverage on the attacks.

The Appeal

Tamil people has been victimised by all the elements of the Sri Lankan governments since the day of the independence of the country. The war has caused immense losses to the Tamils, but by no means can anyone expect that the Tamils would compromise to a provincial council with menial powers.  As the people of the country with a long history and unique language and culture, they have the right to exist and retain their own homelands.

I would like to make a clear appeal to the people in the south, that if they really believe in a united Sri Lanka not only in constitution but also in the communal harmony, the initiative by the government to water down the powers given to the Provincial Councils should be protested through the strongest possible terms. This will be the best way to bring the post-war reconciliation.

But will the community which is possessed with its own concept of false patriotism listen to this plea?

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Latest comments

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    the democratically elected so called Muslim leaders have become lame ducks and some even do their best to please the Rajapaksa siblings acting just like a clown in a king’s court. I still don’t understand how they openly make a statement in the parliament that no Muslim religious places came under attack, while there was wide media coverage on the attacks.-well said

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      The so-called Muslim leaders continue to be lame ducks and we have a CLOWN too in the Kings Court. They are intersted only in the Miniterial perks .

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    Its good to hear the opinion of a young one who has come through the destruction of the war. To have heard the artillary shells at the age of 4 yrs, you must be now in your twenties. You are fortunate that you have been able to survive unlike the many who perished.

    It is a good question you ask from many of our bigoted and demented elders who rule this land and claim that it is the miracle and wonder of asia. You remind me of the young child who exclaimed that the emperor has no clothes. If you have read that fable from Hans Christian Anderson you will realise the crooked mentality of our people and leaders who think that they are the hub of the universe, the alpha and omega.

    Unfortunately it is not only about clothes but about human lives and people. After fighting and killing each other for 30+ years they still have no sense to make the peace and reconcile with each other. This is probably the miracle they are talking about.

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    Let me post what an articulate commentator posted in another website. Very interesting.

    “According to UN reports there are 89,000 Tamilian Mahaveer war widows in north and east of SL.

    According to the 2012 census, there are 2,200,000 SL Tamilians in SL.

    Roughly 70% of the population are adults.

    So there are 1,540,000 Tamil adults in SL.

    If those 89,000 Tamil men were alive and assuming men:women 50:50, there would have been 859,000 SL Tamil adult men. (1,540,000 / 2 + 89,000)

    89,000 / 859,000 = 11%

    AT LEAST 11% SL Tamilian men DIED from war!

    You want another 11% of Tamilian men to die?”

    In comparison, the casualty as a percentage is not that great for the other communities. Given this fact, do Tamils really need a political solution? I wonder.

    It is better for the Tamil community to compromise on their stand than for the others.

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    You summarized it well the mind of Tamils there.

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    Those 300,000 herded into refugee camps were called MAAVEERAR FAMILIEs. They gave the logistic support to the LTTE and they moved WILLINGLY with LTTE. The Tamil SAINTS writing these articles never talk those facts.

    USA identifies TNA as the LTTE-PROXY. TNA and everybody knows that TNA talked and ATE only when LTTE asked to do so.

    Your article is full if these kind of aberrations,

    and you wrote this propaganda article in order to turn things around.

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      you are clearly proven that this war is not about liberating Tamil people who are held by LTTE as a human shield as claimed by your President. When you say that all these 300,000 people are from maweerar families then you wanted to wipe out all those supporting LTTE.

      LTTE and TNA are politically together against the Sri Lankan Policy of genocide of Tamils. It is like politically JHU,BBS are proxy of SLFP in the policy of Genocide of Tamils.

      If you all assume TNA and LTTE are the same then why you are allowing TNA to contest elections to Come to the parliament?

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    The generalisation in the comments section of CT is no different… :)

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    Young man , this is third world politics, you scratch my back and I will scratch yours.
    The other factor is if there is some kind of trouble in the country ,the ruling party can continue to rule. They used BBS to create trouble with the Tamils,then the Christians and now the Muslims. This is Rajapakse and co politricks. The only way to overcome this for the majority of the Singhalese who don’t like this to rise against the government to save our country.

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    So Archbishop of Mannar counted over 100,000 dead. And the Defence Ministry of Sri Lanka estimated 8,000 did they?

    Why not TNA use their electoral roll and present names of those dead and missing? Surely that should solve this dilemma.

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      Vibhushana

      “Why not TNA use their electoral roll and present names of those dead and missing? Surely that should solve this dilemma.”

      This is a Sinhala/Buddhist nation, here the state does not count the deaths.

      Those Tamil speaking people who died in the war were all members of LTTE, and deserved to be killed. Dead tiger is a good tiger.

      Those innocent Sinhalese who died in the two insurgencies were all terrorists.

      No need to count the dead terrorists.

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      That would be like the the Appeal by 1474 land owners.

      a) A list of Petitioners but not a word on land extent or deed number

      b) Page 47:The Petitioners respectfully seek the permission of Your Lordships’ Court to dispense with the requirement to tender the title deeds of the Petitioners

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    One basic fundamental of conducting war is to use propaganda and psychological operations (psych ops)and confuse, confound and trick the enemy.

    In the resulting fog of war, the first casualty is truth. This is a fundamental truth in all wars ever fought. We humans are very good at causing the worst inhumanities to fellow mankind, regardless of common nationality.

    One would need to be quite naïve to believe official versions of any statistics anywhere, whether in Iraq or Somalia or Vietnam, let alone tiny Sri Lanka…furthermore, hubris and conceit will eventually be the downfall of the vainly glorious…

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    The Land Like No Other Is As Bright As A Burnt Out Light Bulb…The torchbearers of this land are rapist, murderers, thugs, looters, child molesters and the list is as deep and bright as a black hole! LLNO (land like no other)is doing 200 on the highway to hell!

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      Tamil Elam?

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    Tamil Elam is a land like no other.

    It fails to exist!!

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    there’s nothing new in this article. It’s just the recycling of same old propaganda.

    I just completed reading of “Total Destruction Of The Tamil Tigers – The Rare Victory of Sri Lanka’s Long War” by Paul Moorcraft. It may be worthwhile to the young man to read this book just to get a glimpse of the perceptions of an experienced outsider and not a southern enemy of Tamils.

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    TO THOSE CONCERNED, ABOUT TAMIL EELAM, A CONCEPT OF V.PRABAKARAN AND HIS FAILED SUPPORTERS. YES, NOW WITH LITTLE OR NO EFFORT, RAJAPAKSE GOVT; HAS ESTABLISHED WITH LEAST,EFFORTS, [SINHALA EELAM] IN THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE COUNTRY.OF COURSE, WELL SUPPORTED BY THE CENTRAL GOVT;
    OF INDIA.
    YET, IT NEEDS HARDLY BE STRESSED, THAT THESE TAMILS ANCESTRAL LANDS [FOR OVER 2000 YEARS] CANNOT BE SO EASILY BE COLONISED BY, THE ARMY GOVERNOR PLANTED BY THE RAJAPAKSHE REGIME.

    THE PEIKING GOVT; IS ANXIOUSLY WAITING, WITH HEAVY INVESTMENTS, TO WALK
    INTO,SRI LANKA, WHICH WILL BE A ESTABLISHED COLONY OF CHINA.
    —-THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL——

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    Did Tamils protest indiscriminate killing of people (Tamil+Sinhala+Other) by LTTE?
    Did Tamils force not to do so when Muslims and Sinhalese were getting chased away from North?

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