28 September, 2020

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The Mass Grave In Mannar: Do We Need Further Studies?

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana

When construction workers excavating the site of the Sathosa Store in Mannar unearthed skeletal remains in late 2013, they had accidentally found one of the largest mass graves in the country.

Radio-carbon dating has now put the skeletal remains to the 15th -18th century. However, the TNA and a number of NGOs have called for further radio-carbon dating. It is important to understand how this has acquired such political significance, and where further studies are scientifically warranted. 

The pro-Eelamist Tamil Net used the news on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 to indict the Sri Lankan army as follows: 

“Northern Provincial Council minister of fisheries Mr Deinswaran,.. said the bones bore marks of torture … The second largest camp of the occupying Sri Lanka Army in Mannaar was located at the locality from 1993”.  

The discovery  unearthed some 330 skeletons, 30 being of children. Just then, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) had already indicted the Sri Lankan Army of alleged killing of over 40,000 Tamils in the last months of the Eelam war IV leading to the rout of  the LTTE in May 2009. The “Darusman report” alleged the killing of 40,000 using what it called “credible reports” that it was unwilling to divulge. The report was contested from the start, firstly with satellite data as analyzed by the American Physical Society that negated the numbers, and by the lack of evidence for collaterally injured at the level of least 3-4 times the number of the dead. The UNHRC indictment was contested more recently by Lord Naseby using British Government diplomatic dispatches, and using arguments based on the Paranagama commission report.

The graves was thought to at last provide some substance to the UNHCR indictments. The allegation that “bones bore marks of torture” was repeated virtually every time the Mannar excavations were mentioned. Lawyers of  “families for the disappeared” expressed dissatisfaction with the investigations,  and on 11th February 2014 the TNA demanded an international probe into the mass grave, just as it had demanded international judges to investigate the war crimes alleged by the Darusman report. 

An Island newspaper report by veteran journalist Shraminda Ferdinando says that: “a section of local and foreign media spearheaded a high profile campaign, based on the Mannar Sathosa mass grave site. … German Ambassador …, Joern Rohde, visited the site on November 27, 2018. … followed by a British delegation on Dec 11, 2018. The British visit took place close on the heels of the discovery of two pieces of human bones, bound by a cable, on Dec 7, 2018. The recovery prompted some … to speculate whether … the people buried had been tortured … Interests shown in the Mannar mass grave site by those … pushing for … the Geneva Resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka in Oct 2015, strengthened the campaign directed at the Army. A section of the Catholic clergy, too, facilitated the project meant to blame the Army over the Mannar mass grave”. 

The Bishop of Mannar, Rt Rev Emmanuel Fernando, … stated  (28-Dec-2018) that  “We could sense the fate … the enforced disappeared people while witnessing the hundreds of human skeletons discovered … at the … Mannar town”.

The Sri Lankan Magistrate T. Sarvanaraja who presided over the judicial investigation wanted firm evidence. The excavations were carried out under the guidance of Dr. Somadeva, a reputed archeologist-historian, and the Mannar judicial medical officer Dr. Rajapaksa. They decided to go for dating  the bones using  modern radio-carbon   techniques. The office of the missing persons funded the radio-carbon testing of the bones. A laboratory in Florida, USA found that the bones were from a time period between 1499 and 1720 A.D. 

A Massacre Dating To The 15th – 18th centuries

Given that the time period and the arrival of Portuguese, one obvious hypothesis would be in major civil conflicts of that period. Dr. Ajith Amarasinghe, writing in the Sunday Times about “Mannar mass graveyard and the martyrs of 1543”  gives a historical account of the massacre of 600 Christian Tamils in Mannar in 1953 by Cankili-I who had proclaimed himself the “king of Yalpanam” by bloody palace intrigue. He suggests that the mass grave could be from those massacred Catholics who had not been given a proper Christian burial! This is indeed a strong hypothesis that should be investigated further.

Another hypothesis, though somewhat weaker in strength, is the possibility that the dead are victims of the plague that ravaged Europe from the 14th century and spread to other lands. It was the great plague of  1665 that made Issac Newton to return to his rural home and allegedly ponder  about gravity under an apple tree! The so-called black death swept across Europe, Asia, and North Africa, killing up to 50% of the population in some cities, forcing the cities to bury their dead in “Plague Pits”. The  plague bacterium Yersinia pestis, carried by fleas infesting rodents and by other vectors spread along the silk road to the East. Furthermore, this was a period when European ships arrived in south-east Asia,  bringing with them colonial rule as well as new microbes and diseases like the Plague and Small Pox.  In fact, there is new evidence, based on an analysis of ancient-DNA (aDNA) as well as historical records,  that the plague bacterium had even crossed the Sahara Desert. Historians have found previously unknown mentions of epidemics in Ethiopian texts from the 13th to the 15th centuries, including one that killed “all  people so that none was left to bury the dead.” Historian Marie-Laure Derat of the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris found that by the 15th century, Ethiopians had adopted two European saints associated with plague, St. Roch and St. Sebastian. 

It is noteworthy that Kerala in India, a province subject to Portuguese Catholicism  as well as Syrian Orthodox Christianity has a very strong tradition in the veneration of St. Sebastian. Even today, many devout communities believe that  plagues, pestilences and disease are punishments sent from heaven, and that prayer to St. Sebastian and St. Roch are essential to escape  such tribulations. It is up to the historians to investigate if the present day St. Sebastian’s Cathedral in Mannar was pre-dated by a centuries-old shrine that dated back to the 17th century when plagues were rampant (I have merely speculated on this in my place-names study available at dh-web.org/place.names/under Mannar).

Interestingly, the locations of other churches and shrines in Sri Lanka  dedicated to St. Sebastian, or to St. Roch (known as “Shaantha Rogus” in Sinhala) are in regions where the Dambadeniya kings  and the Portuguese fought it out, and where the plague imported from Europe may have been important. Some historin should study  the incidence of Plague in medieval Sri Lanka.

What Should The Thrust Of Further Studies? 

All this, and the political demands of a highly suspicious powerful minority backed by the Western governments, provide the possibility that funds may become available for further studies on the mass grave. It was the political motivation (weather misdirected or not) that provided the funds for even the radio-carbon dating. Further studies should be made to cover the following.

(i) A study to evidence the massacre of Christians as could have happened under Cankili, by searching for devotional objects like crosses. (ii) Evidence to determine if the plague or any such  disease led to mass burials, by looking at bacterial profiles and skeletal remains of dead vermin. (iii) A study of the ancient-DNA that may be found in the skeletal remains MUST be undertaken. 

The science behind aDNA is recent. The first fully sequenced ancient human genome  was from a man who lived about 4 millenia ago in Greenland  (published in 2010). An important breakthrough  has been the discovery that a small part of the skull, viz., the bony casing around the inner ear known as the petrous is a rich source of aDNA, even in poorly preserved skeletons from the tropics. This finding led to a massive increase in  aDNA studies throughout the world. The Mannar bones are only a few centuries old, and the likelihood of finding suitable DNA sources in the skeletons is high. In addition to millenia-old specimens, studies from populations from the 14th century (e.g., Norris farm studies) have been reported by molecular anthropologists. Just as radio-carbon dating revolutionized archeology in the 20th century, the study of aDNA is set to revolutionize the field in the 21st century. 

More light should be shed on the mystery of the Mannar grave by studying any ancient DNA found there. Similarly, there are many more such graves scattered all over Sri Lanka, not only from disease, but also from more recent conflicts associated with the blood-lettings and counter terror associated with the JVP, and the LTTE. Some 600 policemen were killed by the LTTE during the time of President Premadasa who was hoodwinked by Anton Balasingham into getting the unarmed police to surrender to the LTTE. Similar massacres targeting one or the other ethnic group  happened in many locations during the Eelam wars. 

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Latest comments

  • 2
    1

    Although I am inclined to accept the findings, if there is reasonable doubt, there is nothing to lose by obtaining a second opinion.

    • 5
      5

      So, you are challenging the Florida Lab too. I heard Both Sambanthan, the LTTE rump living both overseas and in Srilanka are saying until we get the result it was the result of the war crimes that happened during the eelam war. I think the best place id send ti to some land in South India or owned by South Indians. they will fix it.

    • 0
      0

      This author has not questioned the results of the Florida lab, but has accepted them and pointed out that now that we know the time period, it would be possible to determine if the death was due to a massacre of conversion to Catholicism, or due to the Plague, or some such illness that came to this country with the Portuguese.
      The proposal to study using the methods for ancient DNA is indeed a very valuable suggestion, and should be taken in the context of south-asian gene pool studies as well

      • 6
        2

        There is something fishy in this whole affair, when government sent Sinhala JMO and Sinhala archaeologist for the exhumation of Mannar mass grave when there is Forensic Medicine and Archaeology departments in Jaffna University. When a ring was found the racist archaeologist jumped to the conclusion that bones were of an old era, and only when a Maliban biscuit tin was found deeper, that he kept his mouth shut. The report may be correct, but what is the guarantee that the correct bones were sent for analysis. Can anyone explain whether Maliban biscuits were available for the people who lived during Portuguese time. Bones that should have been sent must have been taken among those superficially and not deep and those who have died in suspicious circumstances like their hands being tied. I have my doubts about the integrity of Sinhala JMO who carried out this excavation. I feel that these were the bodies of those who were mass arrested in December 1984 following a bomb blast near Murunkan post office. A second opinion is certainly required, where excavation and dispatching of bones should be done by Tamil officers to another facility for testing. Otherwise this is another cover up.

        • 1
          1

          Excavation was done under OMP observations and judiciary observations. Samples were collected under their observation and the samples were kept inside Mannar court. I know Tamils will come with fancy claims on the carbon dating report, but needs to state facts here.

          • 1
            0

            Observing does not mean that they ensured that correct thing was done. Selection of bones to be sent for carbon dating was done by Sinhalese, and who knows that whether any interpolation had been done by government on transit. How do you explain the presence of Maliban biscuit tine deep inside a grave containing bones of a distant era. This is the biggest stumbling block in convincing people about the finding. Racists like you are jumping to cover up the crime of mass grave.

          • 0
            0

            Why Tamils only. We must all be concerned. So many children. We need to be absolutely clear in the finsl verfict.

        • 2
          0

          Dr GS
          Carbon dating is a skill that our forensic experts cannot handle.
          It is more about nuclear chemistry than medical science.

          • 1
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            SJ do not come out with stupid statement. I never stated that Sri lankan forensic experts can handle carbon dating. I am aware that medical science is only a part of forensic science. I only said the bones selected would have been done with bias to cover up. How do you explain the presence of Maliban biscuit tin deep inside a grave containing bones of a distant era. Are you aware that carbon dating done on bones in Matale mass grave suspected to be those of killed JVP supporters during 1988/89, was reported to be of pre-1950 era.

            • 2
              0

              The incredibly wise doctor GS
              Kindly let us know what forensic experts and archaeologists can do in a context where the Courts wanted to determine the age of the remains.
              *
              I suppose that your point that the bones sent for dating were selected by Sinhalese does not suggest ‘stupidity’.
              *
              What is your guarantee that Tamil experts will not produce bones from LTTE’s mass graves?
              How did these wicked Sinhalese manage to select 300 year old bones from the graves? They must have had some ancient craft of dating bones.

            • 0
              0

              What are you insinuating? What is this Maliban biscuit tin talk? Please note that even if there were Maliban tins that doesn’t mean that the bones are new. Using your line of arguments the bones must be the age of the Maliban tin. It would be just to check the production date of the tin, now wouldn’t it? We lay persons think that archaeological digs are nicely arranged into layers. But its not like that. Read in the link below and see how ancient deposits can get contaminated and how artifacts from recent times intrude into ancient layers and how archaeologists date the different layers.
              ARCHAEOLOGY 101: READING STRATIGRAPHY
              http://campusarch.msu.edu/?p=334
              Look at how recent layers intrude and project into old layers. How would you solve the problem they are asking there?
              If something is found in the bottom of I pit/layer, it would be lying adjacent to B layer which is several centuries older. What about the H deposit? Please take a look and read about how this happens BEFORE you post damaging propaganda against the Sinhalese. What you are doing is illegal – you are accusing an accredited archaeologist and a medical officer of fraud, without any basis at all other than them being Sinhalese. This is hate speech against the Sinhalese too. If you have valid doubts you should take it up with the authorities without repeatedly posting hateful lies.

              Mannar mass grave contains too many children’s remains to be any of the suspected and alleged incidences of killings during the recent war. This is most probably the Tamil ruler Sankili’s victims from the Tamil ruler’s massacre of the Christians in the 16th century, just before he ethnic cleansed the Sinhalese from north and destroyed all the Buddhist places of worship.

              • 0
                0

                Why Tamils only. We must all be concerned. So many children. We need to be absolutely clear in the finsl verfict.

    • 3
      0

      Why try to cover the Matale Mass Grave with this dubious Report. Please get the carbon dating for the Matale Mass grave also, preferably from somewhere else that will not have the American agenda to cover up.

      • 3
        1

        gamini

        The media reported bones from Matale mass grave were sent to China for analysis. We haven’t heard anything about the report since.

      • 3
        1

        Gamini,
        You are right. There is an accusation of massacre of 60000 Sinhalese by the Sinhala military. So far nothing was done to find the truth of mass graves found in the South. This clearly shows the covering up of truth is in practice with the crimes committed by Srilankan Forces and Srilankan leaders. If that happened to the Sinhala masses, there is nothing stops from doing the same cover up now where most of the majority community supports the massacre of Tamils. So far, none of the crimes whether it is murder, assasination, bribe or corruption committed by the military or Srilankan leaders brought to the justice. That is a fact no one can deny.

    • 1
      0

      JS
      In my world, everything is open to question.
      If there is nothing fishy, there is nothing to fear.

    • 1
      0

      Samples should be collected onsite by by an agreed upon neutral party of experts preferably from outside of srilanka in the presence of srilankan judiciary. Then sent to two or three different institutions in different countries to get multiple reports.

      • 1
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        Rajjeeva
        Your comment makes sense.
        They could have at least collected the samples in the presence of a group of eminent persons of different identities. That would have averted all suspicion.

        • 0
          0

          The site was not dug by Professor Raj Somadeva, but mostly by Tamil workers. It was also discovered by Tamils. But since some Tamils seem to be affected with a mental condition of seeking evidence to demonize the Sinhalese and portray the Tamils as innocent victims, its a good idea to invite third party investigators. The cost must most certainly be borne by Tamil groups. I do not know whether you read about how difficult it was to get the funds for the last stages of investigation. This is an additional cost our government cannot afford.

          • 2
            0

            Punchi Point
            Punchi Brain
            Punchi Willi.

            “But since some Tamils seem to be affected with a mental condition of seeking evidence to demonize the Sinhalese and portray the Tamils as innocent victims, its a good idea to invite third party investigators. “

            How dare you suggest third party intervention in this sovereign (whatever that is) state of Sri Lanka.

            Can’t you find someone, a forensic expert who can vouch that these bones don’t belong to Tamils. That will stop speculation.
            -.
            You should carry your punchi points along that line of denial.

  • 4
    2

    what is needed now is not the past history…
    LTTE too thousands of people…
    no point in mourning about now.
    it is all gone by now…
    let us learn how to reconcile; how build.up peace and harmony?
    why do we hold grudge over the past?
    can you bring back dead now .
    I’m not telling it is Ok now .
    it was done in a war situation.
    All of us done wrong and mistakes.
    That is the nature of war…
    it is gone now..
    so; forget and forgive now

  • 1
    3

    The Bishop of Mannar, Rt Rev Emmanuel Fernando, … stated (28-Dec-2018) that “We could sense the fate … the enforced disappeared people while witnessing the hundreds of human skeletons discovered … at the … Mannar town”. -So what does the same bishop says now. re the Protegeuse and dutch Catholic probably he is descending from one of those War criminal group who should be taken to the ICC.
    BOdhi dhanapala your best friend talked about your book “A physicists view of Matter and Mind”. who is this physicist, we know you are food Technologists, probably it is a different Case. and you say, Atham is Adam and EVE is form GEEVa. We like to here more about it.
    Bone story is true. but Catholics killing Catholics. I think Tamils follow the same and Tamils killed Tamils.
    I here Madu church is former Paththini Devala and goddess Paththini still listen to the devotees prayers there, even though Catholics take it as their Portugeuse Saint. I think the goddess has told that to certain human beings.

    • 0
      0

      How are things at Toronto Toilets Company, Jimmy?

  • 1
    4

    The antagonism of Tamil Hindu-zealots against Catholic Tamils is evident even today, and not just during the time of Cankill-I who was another Prabhakaran. If Eelam had succeeded under Prabhakaran, there would have been a reign of terror where the Christians would have been eliminated, in spite of the strong support he had from chirstians, even by joining the suicide carder.
    Remember how Prof. Hoole was not allowed in the University of Jaffna because he is a Catholic. Remember how the LTTE became an increasingly Hindu Fundamentalist movement in spite of it being initially a movement led by Tamil Catholics be it Father Emmanule or Father Rayuppu Joseph, or Anton Balasingham.
    Even the ITAK was spearheaded by Christians, including SJV Chelva and EMV Naganathan.

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 2
      2

      You are not a Tamil Catholic but some Sinhalese or other racist nonsense posting under a Tamil Catholic identity, to deliberately create a rift between Hindu and Christian Tamils , just like the way you successfully created a rift between Muslim Tamils and the rest of the Tamils by using corrupt power hungry Muslims politicians and elite. It may have worked with them but will not work now , as most Christian and Hindu Tamils are interrelated and have the same origins and closely relate to each other , whereas the Muslim Tamils hailed from South India. Oh by the more than 90% of the Sri Lankan Tamil Catholics spell their surname as Yesuthasan and not Jesuthasan.

      • 1
        0

        Yesuthasan was two generations ago. That was when the Grantha letters were not taught as part of Tamil.
        Besides, Protestants, being more anglicized, generally preferred spelling with a J.
        Check in a telephone directory if you like.

    • 1
      0

      It is not only Christians and Catholics that would have been consumed ultimately in the Eelam fire, but all MUslims too. In fact they began the ethnic cleansing of Mulsims even before they got anywhere near Eelam. The Mosque murders in New Zealand is old had, because the the Eelam Tamils killed Muslims in their mosque in Kattankudy. Any movement based simply on one ethnic group, claiming exclusive homelands, is going to be a problem to other ethnic groups, and the monoethnic political types are the ones who cause mass graves. Our Muslim leaders are also guilty of narrow ethnocentric politics

    • 1
      0

      “Remember how Prof. Hoole was not allowed in the University of Jaffna because he is a Catholic.”
      Not so loud, the man may hear it.
      *
      The LTTE was not Hindu fundamentalist and was accused of a strong RC tilt by some of its Protestant critics.
      The religious rivalry in Jaffna is mostly a middle class affair, and the Catholics do not come into the sums very much.

      • 1
        0

        Prof. Hoole , the staunch Protestant, will not take kindly to being called a Papist.

    • 1
      0

      It was a about money (pearls) more than a issue with being Christian.

      Cankili I resisted all contacts with the Portuguese and even massacred 600 – 700 Parava Catholics in the island of Mannar who were brought from India to Mannar by the Portuguese to take over the lucrative pearl fisheries from the Jaffna kings.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cankili_I
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Fishery_Coast

      • 0
        0

        So Portugese brought Catholics from India to North

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 5
    3

    In the 1988-89 period these thugs in police and military uniforms murdered poor rural Sinhala youths and burnt their bodies with a necklace and then they moved onto killing innocent Tamils and buried them in mass graves such as this one.

  • 4
    2

    This racist, Chandre Dharmawardana, explained all Tamils cities are having only Sinhala names and before Portuguese came here there was no Tamils in Lankawe, is now struggling to suppress the theory that Appe Aanduwa want to spread that Sankiliyan murdered the Christians. May be this PhD borrowed from Mahindapala the plague theory because Mahindapala the other mad case doesn’t accept when Portuguese came to Ceylon there was Tamils? This dumb piece is trying to tell that 50% of the Tamils died during European plague and there are mass graves all over the East and North similar to this!. That is smart Comedy, better than Ranil played so far to save Rapist Army.

    Appe Aanduwa wants to make deal of Sankiliyan killing Catholics, but Traitor Pilimathalawa tortured and his own relatives of 2000 Sinhalese Buddhists to revenge his nephew other traitor, Ehelepola. Sankiliyan, as the king, wanted to save the country. But the two Traitors openly sold the country to Britain, for their selfishness. Keppetipola Disawe murders are Heroism. Rapist Army’s murders are Heroism. But Aanduwa want to show Sankiliyan fights are terrorism. That the bigotry overflows from Chandre Dharmawardana class Sinhala Intellectuals.
    .
    Somebody has to explain why the grave was practically empty other than bones. Hindus don’t burry. So if the dead were by Sankiliyan’s punishment, then the burials were done by the Catholics. What happened to the cloths and Jewels the victims were wearing? Was there a culture with Catholics of that time to strip and burry? Why a forensic pathologist have not determined the cause of the death of each person?

    Can somebody explain why these bones were hiding when the foundation was dug to build the Sathosa Building? Remember, that that time even no Sathosa, but cooperative wholesale stores!

  • 2
    1

    This could be the work of Portuguese who slaughtered Muslims to eliminate competition for trade. Mannarama was a trading post and there would have been lot of Muslim traders in that area.
    ———-
    We understand that OMP sent the samples in a hurry ignoring the expert opinion to get the results before Geneva circus. Those White Cockroaches who visited the grave site violating Diplomatic protocol must be highly disappointed with the outcome. If there are any signs that this could be the work of Portuguese or Dutch, the White Cockroaches will block further investigations.

    • 2
      1

      Eagle Blind Eye

      “This could be the work of Portuguese who slaughtered Muslims to eliminate competition for trade.”

      Perhaps it was the work of Lascarins the local mercenaries from the south working for the Portuguese.

  • 2
    3

    Anyway, Tamils did not want to Acknowledge this Slaughter. It is good some one talked it here.

  • 1
    3

    The article is a lesson on how political sympathies undermine scientific and professional training. Such is the author’s reference to ‘political demands of a highly suspicious powerful minority backed by the Western governments’. Sadly, the cause of justice has suffered by the interest in mass graves having frequently been partisan. In the case of the Matale mass graves discovered in 2012, suspicion was thrown on the brother of the incumbent president. The JMO who commenced the investigation, and the magistrate were transferred. The Presidential Commission using analysis by the same Beta Analytic laboratory in Florida, concluded that the bones belonged to a period before 1950. This goes against known circumstantial factors and the report of Prof. Raj Somadeva of Kelaniya University that the remains belonged to the period of the second JVP insurgency of the latter 1980s (http://www.jdslanka.org/images/documents/disappearances_executions/matale_forensic_archaeology_report.pdf).
    While Tamil experience gives greater cause to be suspicious of forensic investigations by the State, we should learn to see all victims, irrespective of ethnic colouring, as persons whose right to life has been brutally dishonoured. In the case of the Mannar mass grave, my best information from people familiar with the area is that there is little prospect of these killings having taken place after 1983. However there are other graves the search for which is impeded by political sympathies. There was one in Sathurukondan, Batticaloa (September 1990) with about 180 bodies, which the Army bulldozed. There are also ones near Thunukkai NP, where LTTE guards in the early 1990s shot their prisoners while their ‘arms ached’.
    We who are able to write in these columns are, in general, far from being those with any moral right to ‘forgive and forget’.

    • 3
      1

      Just stop acting as if you care about victims. You begged for security from security officials when LTTE was running the day. How do you think armed forces provide you security? By eating ice cream with LTTE or suspected terrorists? They have to take tough measures to handle an extremely ruthless terrorist organisation like LTTE. The armed forces did that and the fruits of that efforts are now enjoyed by the Tamil people. Tamil people lead a normal life thanks to the armed forces. Coming to armed forces like beggar, this Hoole now calls the army as murderers. What do you suggest the army to do? Eat ice creams with LTTE?

    • 2
      0

      RH says that “political sympathies undermine scientific and professional training”.
      Many of the highly prejudiced views here come from people with scientific and professional training, but not necessarily with specific political sympathies.
      Political sympathies are secondary to personal prejudices.
      *
      No scientific or professional training can overcome prejudice. Training can, however, help to make one clever in concealing prejudice.

    • 1
      0

      The article is a lesson on how political sympathies undermine scientific and professional training. Such is the author’s reference to ‘political demands of a highly suspicious powerful minority backed by the Western governments’. Sadly, the cause of justice has suffered by the interest in mass graves having frequently been partisan.
      This comment is surely misdirected? It makes no sense to me.
      Is Rajan Hoole saying that a politically suspicious minority supported by Western organizations and a disapora doesn’t exist? That is surely the case.
      The author of the article, Chandre D, does not question it or say that it is good or bad. He is saying that those forces may support the funding of further studies.
      If the basis for Hoole’s claim that political sympathies has undermined science, I don’t see what science he is talking about. Does Hoole claim that he himself has no political sympathies. Everyone has political sympathies. That is why we need hard data. Prior to the coming of hard data, everyone jumped to the conclusion mass grave must be of Tamils killed by the Army! Prior to the data I thought so too. What did Rajan Hoole believe it to be?
      This author (Chandre D) is saying that the skeletons are perhaps those of victims of the Plague in the 17th century and that such a possibility should be investigated using ancient-DNA. What is the political bias in that?

      • 0
        0

        Your response points to the futility of conducting such discussions under pseudonyms. You come close to admitting the legitimacy of demands for further checks on the work of local forensic experts and judges. It could be a concession for argument’s sake. It lacks value without a name to it.

        • 1
          0

          RH
          I do not agree with all what AlstonH says, but he has not resorted to the kind of personal attack that some people well known to you resort to under their own names, bogus identities and pseudonyms, and through cheerleaders.
          *
          Except for one comment about your having no political sympathy, the rest of it is impersonal. Even that comment is fair and very respectful, certainly by CT standards

        • 1
          0

          The advantage of pseudonyms is that you have to judge what has been written on its own merits, and not on the basis of a person’s identity. That is why academic and scientific journals use anonymous peer review.

          I don’t find a need to admitting further checks on radio carbon dating – it is a waste of money. The laboratory would have indicated the need for such additional samples if they found that the standard deviation (a measure of scatter) was large. The error bars of plus or minus one century (1499 to 1720 or so) is very good for radio-carbon dating.

          But I agree with the author Chandre D that further tests on possible microbes, artifacts like the presence of crosses, devotional objects, and even the pollen and grain should be looked at. The author’s proposal to examine ancient-DNA is great, because today we have CRISPAR technology which has brought the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approach within the reach of even those who do not have a lot of research funding. In this cased if the governments and the TNA are backing it, they can find the funds, and that is exactly what the author says. Rajan Hoole has simply dodged the question saying that anonymous responses are not enough. How are we to know that the name “Rajan Hoole” is not being used by an imposter?

  • 4
    1

    Tamil racist donkeys derive an inordinate satisfaction imagining Tamils being tortured, raped (irrespective of the sex) and murdered. Greater the number greater the ecstasy. A genocide would be the ultimate bliss. A normal person would wish to hear of a lesser number. If it is the enemy one can still understand. This is your own people! What kind of perversion is this? How delighted every one would be to hear of an air crash with no casualties? If an independent inquiry one day finds that much fewer fighters and civilians on both sides were killed in the war than the Tamil propagandists presently wish them to be how happy we all should feel?

    Soma

    • 1
      1

      somass

      “Tamil racist donkeys derive an inordinate satisfaction imagining Tamils being tortured, raped (irrespective of the sex) and murdered. Greater the number greater the ecstasy.”

      If that is the case for racists donkeys immagine what a blissful experience for the perpetrators, under various leading sadists, innovating methods, ………… Please ask the awakened Sisira Mendis, Gota, ….. and those set fire to houses where innocent people were burnt alive, prison massacre, ……………….

      Where were you and your mates on 25th and 27th July 1983?

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        Native
        “Where were you and your mates on 25th and 27th July 1983?”
        I was working overseas while my sister was a nurse at Colombo hospital emergency ward. She wrote to me “Aney Malli ape rata avurudu deseeyak passata giya (our country went back 200 years). Minissu mechchara crurada? (can human beings be this cruel?)” Her harrowing accounts were unbearable to listen to. My issue to this day is not a single criminal was brought before justice. For this reason alone I will never lift my hand to vote for UNP. Having said that I must add the following: If I am given one bullet and forced to choose between one who took part in massacring innocent Tamils in 83 and another who took part in burning down the Jaffna library unhesitatingly I would use it on the latter.

        Soma

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          soma

          “If I am given one bullet and forced to choose between one who took part in massacring innocent Tamils in 83 and another who took part in burning down the Jaffna library unhesitatingly I would use it on the latter.”

          So you are willing to die now for what you and your fellow goondas did on June 1, 1981? Are you going to have a public execution of yourself and when?

          I would like to have you arrested for attempted murder.

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    Why are these people so silent on the massacre of Kaththankudiya mosque where over 150 people were slaughtered and the SRi Maha bodhiya massacre? Then there was the massacre of over 600 unarmed policemen in Batticaloa. There are trying to whitewash all such crimes against humanity by the LTTE but barking up the wrong tree trying to implicate the army at Mannar?

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    I have no doubt that Sankiliyan killed the Catholics. Evidence? Tamil propagandists have taught me that you don’t need any to come up with any theory. Or you can lock them up for 30 years.

    Soma

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    Native
    “Where were you and your mates on 25th and 27th July 1983?”
    I was working overseas while my sister was a nurse at Colombo hospital emergency ward. She wrote to me “Aney Malli ape rata avurudu deseeyak passata giya (our country went back 200 years). Minissu mechchara crurada? (can human beings be this cruel?)” Her harrowing accounts were unbearable to listen to. My issue to this day is not a single criminal was brought before justice. For this reason alone I will never lift my hand to vote for UNP. Having said that I must add the following: If I am given one bullet and forced to choose between one who took part in massacring innocent Tamils in 83 and another who took part in burning down the Jaffna library unhesitatingly I would use it on the latter.

    Soma

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    Rajan Hoole, Native Kala Veddah, Gnana Sankara,

    Hik Hik the jokers. They are questioning the well established testing procedure called Carbon dating.

    When did they GET the qualifications or authority on this, we do not know and possibly the tamil history they talked about with full of lies.

    According to the test results, this could be the Sinhalese being killed by Portuguese and Dutch for coversion and in battles during the period and also some muslims who were competing for spice trade with Portuguese and Dutch and some Tamils resisting coversions as these are the more likely scenario .

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      In the early days of radio-carbon testing, the accuracy was not very good. But by the end of the 20th century radio-carbon dating has become quite accurate, and when the Florida lab gives the dates to be between 1499 and 1720, I believe that anything outside is over three standard deviations, while the mean value is at 1609 CE. But of course, we have no information regarding if the sample data gave a symmetric (Bell) distribution or not. It could still have a peak closer to 1700 and fit in with the Plagu thoery. On the other hand , if the peak in the distribution is towards a lower value, Cankili’s massacre or Catholics some such early massacre becomes the likely hypothesis.
      If these are the remains of the Cankilli massacre, his men would have looted all the jewelery, and even the clothes worn by the people (the men or even the women would not have worn much, as these were most probabaly low caste people who turned to Christianity to escape the horror of the Caste system of the 16th century which would be well beyond what we have today – given that even that is so insufferable and unjust, whether from a Christian point of view, or even from a more enlightened Hindu point of (aka Gandhi) than the usual orthodox position which justifies caste.

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        R’s speculation about caste is not based on fact.
        Conversion to Catholicism was mostly along the west coast of the Island. The fisher folk, not the top layer of caste society, were not victims of caste oppression but converted on a large scale.
        Members of the depressed castes did not convert on a significant scale.
        *
        Many Nadars (equivalent of the Durawe) in South India took to Protestant Christianity for pragmatic reasons as did quite a few Vellalas and members of slightly lower layers of the Jaffna caste hierarchy.

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    How many remember this Chandre Dharmawardena telling us few weeks back that ‘Roundup’, the herbicide, manufactured by Monsanto is harmless.
    He defended Monsanto even though contrary evidence continued to surface.
    The following article “https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/09/spray-pray-is-roundup-carcinogenic-monsanto-farmers-suing” says that “Monsanto, which was acquired by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer last year, is currently facing more than 9,000 lawsuits across the US from plaintiffs, mostly former gardeners and agricultural workers who believe that Roundup exposure caused their cancer”.
    .
    The same Chandre in this article asks “The Mass Grave In Mannar: Do We Need Further Studies?”
    He was given the answer, told to refer to Darusman Report, UNHRC, Lord Naseby findings, LTTE, Bishop of Mannar, Eelam War etc.
    Strangely articles of the same ilk appeared in CT and elsewhere.
    .
    Chandre is a filthy filthy journalist willing to write for a fee.
    PS: A recently floated company brag that carbon dated animal and/or human bones are available for sale.
    Watch this space for the names behind it.

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      Radio carbon dating is doubted, not only by the TNA, but also by Christian evangelist fundamentalists s because it shows that there are fossils older than the age of the world as indicated by the Bible story of creation.
      Biblical age of the earth and universe of about 6,000 years, according to Archibisop Usher (https://answersingenesis.org/age-of-the-earth/how-old-is-the-earth/)
      There have been enough court cases against teaching Darwin in American schools and against paleontological findings.

      K. Pillai thinks that just because there are thousands of cases against someone or some organization, be it Monsanto, that the organization becomes guilty.

      When it comes to scientific matters, it is not the view of juries or courts that matter.. Even Galileo and hundreds of others was found guilty by the Church judges.
      The theory of evolution has had to face thousands of court cases in the southern US bible belt. What matters is scientific opinion. All national academies of science in all countries have stood behind this weedicide. The US department of health stands behind it. I think it would be a pity of the unscientific power of the poorly informed public weighs in to prevent Sri Lankan farmers from having the benefit of this weedicide. This almost happened because of a Buddhist monk coming in to interfere in all this.

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        Guruge says “K. Pillai thinks that just because there are thousands of cases against someone or some organization, be it Monsanto, that the organization becomes guilty….”.
        Guruge: You have not read the ‘Guardian’ article – not yet.
        Eample cases of findings againt Monsanto are given.
        .
        Please do not bring Galileo and/or Darwin here.
        Chandre is no Galileo. Darwin would have stood strongly against the excessive use of herbicides.

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    Mannar mass grave is very much symbolic of the alleged war crimes against Sri Lanka. When LTTE was close to destruction, their god father, Norwegians tried to persuade Americans ( in which they succeeded) to save Prabhakaran. USA was ready to send a ship to Mulativu to save LTTE. That is one reason why Prabhakaran chose the beach holding the civilians as a shield. I am pretty sure the Norwegians advised LTTE to hold the civilians hostage until help comes in. After the attempt to save Prabhakaran was failed, Norwegians and Americans wanted to seek revenge. It was a classic case of underworld gangs punishing small players for not heeding their order.

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    Many think it was Tamil diaspora which is behind these moves. That is wrong. They can do jacksh1t. It is the Norwegians who did this. Solheim along with Norwegian foreign officials met with American ambassador in 2009 Aug 31st in Oslo to persuade the Americans to try Sri Lanka on war crimes. And I am sure there were many dialogues in the state dept levels. The manipulative Norwegians again succeeded in doing that. When Americans said they have information, Norwegians came with ‘information on war crimes’ from their NGOs. It is these biased and manufactured war crimes that were later entered in UN reports. That is exactly why UN cannot substantiate their own war crime charges.

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    The UN alone with Norway and the USA first issues a report targeting Sri Lanka. Then their NGOs take time to find evidence to substantiate their claims. Mannar grave is very symbolic of that attempt. Archaeology dept said this place used to be an ancient burial site. When you dig an ancient cemetery, you get skeletons.

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    Dear historians I think we only be digging all the trash we do not know how to manage in few hundred years to come after contaminating all the water tables for good in a small island.

    Once we filled the entire island with trash do you all think the carbon dating science have to be different because all our remains would have soaked in radioactive/toxic waste we put their in the first place???

    I am concerned your ancestors or rather our remains will not show up as belongs to humans by then???

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    Radiocarbon dating is very accurate. Why do these Eelamist jokers want to blame it on the SLA, when the result is clearly attributable to well-known historical circumstances?

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      Because no one has counted the Tamils killed by the Tamils since 1970. the account will not balance until then. only TNA can unravel this mystery.

      There was a brief documentation of the Tamils killed by the Tamils and Indian forces in broken Palmera other than that all other open killing are all buried well before then after.

      Everyone is kept busy about the GOSL because so much of human agony to be accounted in Jaffna in addition to all other crimes. Only TULF/TNA can account for this in the UN. We will ensure no flaws in book keeping.

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    From 1650-1850, Earth went through a cooling cycle. It was even experienced in Asia. Therefore, the discovery of this site and matching evidence of radio carbon test results could be related to ……(all yours to spin the rest of the story).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

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    Why a second Opinion ?

    The Florida Lab is the best suited for the Sri Lankan People and the Govt. to carry on the Mullivaikkal Massacres and get a carbon dating to a 12th or 13th century cholera epidemic.

    We cannot find a better lab anywhere in this world.

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