25 September, 2020

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The War That Wasn’t Live

By Frances Harrison

Frances Harrison

Frances Harrison

It’s been five years since the civil war in Sri Lanka was declared over, but P. J. still can’t escape the images of horror even in his sleep: “I dream of fleeing, of being surrounded by the Army, of dead bodies and people suffering. It all comes back to me. My mind is stuck at the end of the war and I can’t move on.”

He was one of more than a dozen cameramen working for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s television station in northern Sri Lanka. Today, P. J. is a key witness to Colombo’s war crimes. At the brutal climax of the civil war, in 2009, he dodged bombs and shells, videoing civilian casualties and then editing the pictures in a series of underground bunkers while constantly under fire. He sent these images to contacts in France, Switzerland, and Canada hoping that the world would pay attention to the atrocities. But there was little interest. The images were deemed too gruesome for news audiences.

“Everyone said I sent horror videos,” P. J., who now lives abroad because of security concerns, tells Newsweek. “Sometimes they’d say, ‘Friend, this video is very shocking but it is not suitable for broadcast in the Western media because it’s too graphic.’ I felt we needed to show the truth of what was happening to us. We had a satellite connection and the world could watch our war virtually live. Why didn’t they do anything to stop it?”

There was no BBC or CNN inside the war zone, which is perhaps why Sri Lanka is one of the great untold war stories of this century. It is certainly one of the bloodiest.

From 2008 to 2009, there were more battle-related deaths in northern Sri Lanka than in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Rwanda or Somalia. The U.N. now estimates that between 40,000 to 70,000 civilians may have died in just six months in a shrinking “safe zone” of 35 square-kilometers or less. The World Bank’s population data, based on the Sri Lankan government’s statistics, supports an even higher number of people who went missing after the war. (An outspoken Tamil Catholic bishop has asked why families of the 147,000 people who have disappeared from the government’s statistics have received nothing by way of answers except threats.) The death toll from the war between Colombo and the Tamil Tigers still can’t be rounded up with any certainty to the nearest ten thousand—this is extraordinary in today’s age of social media and citizen journalism.

war_crimesDuring the war, the Tamil Tigers’ TV station which P. J. worked for moved its editing suite—monitors, digital-tape editing machines—six times in as many months to keep documenting war abuses. “We had to edit the tapes so we could reuse them,” says P. J., “and also because, often, our people would come under fire and forget the camera was still running or the camera would shake because they were frightened.”

Finally, he buried and reinforced with sandbags a boat under the beach rigged with a small generator to keep the operation going. He uploaded his edited images using a huge 2.5-meter-wide satellite dish that also served as a base station to provide Internet for commanders of the Tamil Tigers. The satellite dish was sprayed with green paint and covered with camouflage nets to hide it in the jungle from the drones and surveillance aircraft constantly flying overhead. In the spring of 2009, a shell hit the dish, but, typically, the Tigers had a backup. That, too, was damaged in the final weeks of the war by canon fire from a tank but—according to one of the technicians who survived the war—they successfully patched up the dish. It got destroyed four days before the war’s end.

On the penultimate day of the war, all of P. J.’s TV equipment was in a van that took a direct hit from several shells. Realizing he had no choice but to surrender with his wife and children, he set out to destroy his Sony laptop, soaking the hard disc and batteries in seawater. It was a strangely sad moment to wreck something he had guarded so carefully. As one of the key witnesses to Colombo’s crimes, P. J. has retrieved the images he sent out of the war zone in 2009 and can testify as to where and when they were recorded.

The Sri Lankan government dismisses people like P. J. as terrorist propagandists but it would be impossible to fabricate the stream of images of human suffering that he documented: babies with amputated limbs wrapped in bloody rags lying on mats on the ground in makeshift tent clinics, the elderly wailing and beating their heads in with grief. The Tigers didn’t have supersonic bombers and they couldn’t have shelled their own families because there simply wasn’t space once their territory shrank to a patch of sandy land no bigger than Central Park, crowded with the starving and injured.

The rebels, who were proscribed around the world as terrorists, are also accused by a U.N. Panel of Experts of committing war crimes: forced and underage recruitment, the use of suicide bombers, the use of civilians as a human buffer, preventing civilians from leaving the war zone. At first the Tigers had a rule that each family had to give one child as a fighter to their cause; as casualties intensified, they came back for the second or third. Parents hid their offspring underground in barrels with breathing pipes so the roaming recruitment teams couldn’t find them; they married children off early with none of the normal procedures and if caught begged the Tigers to let them serve in their place. At night in the bunkers, distraught mothers could be heard wailing and cursing the rebels for stealing their sons and daughters.

The Tamil Tiger commanders wrongly thought P. J.’s images of civilian suffering would prompt a Kosovo-style humanitarian intervention. For this they needed to keep their people with them. It was a tragic miscalculation; the rebels rejected a surrender offer, hoping instead for a ceasefire. Eventually the international community abandoned the fighters and civilians alike to die hellishly on a beautiful tropical palm-fringed beach.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s legal advisers are, however, clear that “most civilian casualties in the final phases of the war were caused by government shelling,” which they described as “large scale.” They also accused the Sri Lankan Army of systematically, knowingly, and repeatedly shelling all hospitals in the war zone, depriving civilians of food and life-saving medicine, and attacking all safe zones it had declared for civilians.

Both sides may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, but not with any moral equivalence. “If two armies fight each other, that’s fine; you expect casualties,” says P. J., “but civilians were killed, not just one or two or three, but hundreds every day.”

How did the world miss the story?

Geography was on Sri Lanka’s side. Being an island, there was no outpouring of refugees across borders with accounts of suffering. The Sri Lankan Navy prevented anyone from reaching India. It has taken years for the survivors to make their way abroad and finally tell their stories. Also key to Colombo’s winning strategy was removing all independent witnesses from the killing fields. A few foreign journalists were occasionally allowed to travel with the military, but none were based in rebel areas or had access to them. Only a handful of aid workers were based in rebel areas.

In September 2008, just as the endgame was starting, the Sri Lankan government ordered all international humanitarian workers out of the territory in northern Sri Lanka controlled by the Tamil Tigers because it couldn’t ensure their safety. This was alarming because two years earlier Sri Lanka had been the site of the world’s worst killing of aid workers. Seventeen members of Action Contre La Faim were killed and the French charity blames Sri Lankan security forces for the executions. Colombo saying that it could not guarantee the safety of aid workers was an implicit threat. And it worked.

Resident U.N. staff drove out of rebel areas wearing their flak jackets in a convoy of white vehicles, abandoning friends and local Tamil staff. It was a moment of extreme shame for the United Nations, which three years later would admit it had made grave mistakes in Sri Lanka and had failed to learn the lessons from Rwanda, where U.N. peacekeepers had similarly abandoned locals to die.

Many of the junior U.N. staff members who served in Sri Lanka in 2009 have been described as among some of the most deeply traumatized aid workers from any conflict. It’s not just that they witnessed extreme human suffering; they feel they didn’t do more to stop it. Benjamin Dix was one of the aid workers who left the main rebel town. “Driving out of Kilinochchi on that morning was a moment of intense shame and guilt,” he says. “Having worked in rebel areas for nearly four years, we abandoned civilians at their greatest hour of need. The abandonment of civilians in conflict is a sense of absolute failure that I will always carry with me. International mechanisms need to change to ensure that a situation like that never happens again.”

Cameraman P. J. also suffers from guilt, but of a different kind. “Now I think it’s very sad. So many people were injured and killed and I just filmed them,” he says. “I never helped these people. At that time I thought the most important thing was to take pictures and send them immediately all over the world. Now I think I should have done more to comfort the injured and carry the dead.” Sometimes P. J. did put his camera down to pull screaming people out of bunkers and transport the injured to hospital. When he had finished filming in the makeshift hospitals, he would try and give the injured a few words of comfort and courage to keep on going, but like any journalist he believed that sending out the news was the way to effect change. He was, of course, proven wrong.

Another reason that the world failed to take closer notice of the Sri Lankan civil war was Colombo’s successful rebranding of its decades-long ethnic-territorial conflict as part of the global “war on terror.” That meant the world signed off on the destruction of the rebels, wrongly assuming that without the troublesome Tigers there would be an equitable peace in Sri Lanka. The terror label made it easy to discredit all Tamils as Tamil Tigers, blurring the boundary between combatants and civilians. Scottish, Bangladeshi, Italian, and Australian eyewitnesses were denounced as “White Tigers” far too sympathetic to the “terrorists.” U.N. employees were intimidated, threatened, expelled, and spied on, with the result that the organization failed to speak up about war crimes its own staff had witnessed firsthand and failed to publicize the significant casualty numbers they had collected.

Politically, too, Colombo deftly secured the support of rivals: India and Pakistan, the U.S. and China, Iran and Israel. It’s been described as “adroit but duplicitous diplomacy” that played on each country’s fear of the other to make them more cooperative. In 2000, Pakistan sold Sri Lanka some of its first multibarreled rocket launchers—the KRL 122mm produced in Kahuta that may well have been used to bombard trapped Tamil civilians five years ago. Witnesses testify to the intense devastation the multibarreled rockets inflicted on civilians concentrated in the “no fire zones,” leaving fragments of human remains strewn around the bunkers which had to be collected with shovels during the brief lulls in fire.

Gradually, Pakistan became one of Sri Lanka’s biggest arms suppliers. Toward the climax of the war, Islamabad agreed to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of aerial bombs, mortar shells, artillery, and hand grenades to the Sri Lankan military, according to a report by the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society. Media reports suggested Colombo kept New Delhi informed about what it was buying from Pakistan, but that India itself wasn’t willing to sell “offensive weapons” because of fears of a backlash in its southern state of Tamil Nadu.

The full extent of military assistance to Sri Lanka in 2009 from countries in the region is still opaque. Some surviving rebel fighters even report seeing what they describe as “light skinned” foreign fighters working with the Sri Lankan Army. A recent public-interest litigation case filed in India’s Supreme Court that got thrown out alleged that clandestine Indian forces were involved in directing the fighting on the ground in Sri Lanka. There has been no independent corroboration of this allegation, but the U.N. Panel of Experts’ report did cite Indian naval support in intercepting floating arms-warehouses belonging to the Tigers. Arms-supply ships heading for rebel areas were routinely intercepted with the help of Indian and U.S. intelligence, and rebels do describe running short of ammunition by the end.

Sri Lanka has denied reports that Pakistani pilots flew air sorties during the war or guided their air strikes from Colombo, but the ties between both militaries are strong.

Sri Lanka’s Air Force chief, Kolitha Aravinda Gunatilleka, trained with the Pakistan Air Force and attended the National Defense College in Islamabad. The Sri Lankan defense attaché appointed to Pakistan just after the war was Wing Commander H. S. S. Thuyacontha, commander of a helicopter attack unit known as the No. 9 Squadron and who boasted of causing chaos along the frontline. Chaos on a frontline is to be expected, but in January 2009 hundreds of thousands of civilians were encouraged by the Sri Lankan government to gather in a “no fire zone,” which the government located near the frontline instead of further away by the coast. U.N. officials who witnessed some of the shelling in the first “no fire zone” concluded that the government’s strategy in locating safe areas next to the frontline was deliberate, and intended to kill as many Tamils as possible.

Pakistan’s unquestioning support for Sri Lanka has extended into the postwar period. Now the battlefield is a diplomatic one, located at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. Pakistan was instrumental in bolstering support for the first U.N. resolution in 2009 on Sri Lanka which congratulated the island on its victory over terrorism. Human-rights activists consider this an especially shameful moment in the Security Council’s history given that both Colombo and the rebels were facing allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This March, Sri Lanka lost a key vote at the Human Rights Council, resulting in an inquiry being set up to investigate the end of the civil war.

Says Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka project director for the International Crisis Group: “It says a lot about the lack of postwar progress on reconciliation and impunity that the U.S. and other foreign governments that actively supported the military defeat of the Tigers are now demanding an investigation into how that victory violated international humanitarian law. This reflects their worries that the Sri Lankan government won the war but is losing the peace.”

Many factors have contributed to the international community’s impatience—not least the erosion of the rule of law embodied by the impeachment of the country’s chief justice, nepotism on a new scale, militarization of Tamil areas of the northeast, attacks on journalists and religious minorities, continued disappearances as well as recent credible reports of rape and torture by Sri Lankan security forces.

Pakistan has been at the forefront of efforts in Geneva to prevent the Sri Lanka inquiry, even mounting a last minute but abortive attempt to have action at the Human Rights Council deferred. Some Sri Lankans have gone so far as to say Pakistan did a better job of protecting Sri Lanka’s interests than even their own diplomats. “[Pakistani] Ambassador Zamir Akram’s direct involvement in lobbying for Sri Lanka in Geneva went beyond the normal call of diplomacy,” says a retired U.N. diplomat who observed proceedings closely this year.

It is likely Pakistan will be deeply involved in continuing attempts to scupper the inquiry in the run-up to the next Council session in September, arguing that the probe exceeds the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ mandate and budget. As coordinator of the human rights and humanitarian issues group for the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Geneva, Pakistan is also uniquely positioned to influence other Muslim states. “What’s so puzzling is that the OIC has taken a strong stand on the Rohingya issue [in Myanmar] but they don’t seem to understand that the intellectual heart of extremist, anti-Muslim Buddhism is in Sri Lanka,” says the former diplomat.

Sri Lanka’s 9 percent Muslim community—many the Tamil-speaking descendants of traders on the shipping routes that crossed Ceylon—has been at the receiving end of vicious attacks, largely from the extremist Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena, which is endorsed by the country’s defense minister, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of the president. The second largest minority after Tamils, Sri Lankan Muslims overwhelmingly supported the government through decades of civil war and in some ways prospered as a result. “In the postwar era, the Rajapaksa family appears to believe it needs a new enemy to maintain Sinhala Buddhist nationalist sentiment now that they’ve crushed the Tamils,” says the International Crisis Group’s Keenan. “Objects of longstanding suspicion by many Sinhalese, Muslims are particularly easy to brand as terrorists and fundamentalists.”

A damning report by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the largest Muslim party which is headed by the country’s justice minister, detailed 241 attacks on Muslims during 2013. These attacks included mosques being stoned, Muslim-owned shops being struck by Buddhist monks, calls for the hijab to be outlawed, and a successful campaign against halal meat. Four-letter obscenities against Allah have been scrawled on mosque walls and pig’s heads drawn on their exteriors or even tossed inside. Minority Rights Group, a London-based watchdog, in its report said there has been an unprecedented uptick in the level of Islamophobia in Sri Lanka which left Muslims feeling afraid and vulnerable.

If Muslims are rapidly becoming the new enemy for Sri Lanka, what about the old enemy, the Tamil Tigers? When the war ended, at least 12,000 suspected rebel combatants were sent for “rehabilitation.” The government said it planned to replace the mindset of these “terrorists” by inculcating “inner peace and harmony.” The program was not transparent about the screening process or the numbers detained and there was no unfettered international access and no right of appeal or consent. The International Commission of Jurists believes it may have been “the largest mass administrative detention anywhere in the world.” Some rebels forcibly recruited in the final months of the conflict spent up to four years in rehabilitation. It is only now that some survivors have escaped the country that evidence is emerging of the torture and rape of rebels at these military-run rehabilitation camps.

Others who escaped the rehabilitation process are still being rounded up five years later—and are being tortured and raped by Sri Lankan security forces. Yasmin Sooka, South African transitional-justice expert, and the Bar Human Rights Committee England and Wales documented 40 such cases among Sri Lankan asylum seekers and refugees who recently arrived in the U.K. Most of the cases were of Tamils abducted in Sri Lanka’s notorious “white vans” and taken to secret detention centers. Standard torture methods included being whipped with electric cables and wire, branded with hot metal rods, hung upside down and submerged in barrels of water, and suffocated by having plastic bags soaked in petrol put over their heads. In all 40 cases, rape or sexual violence occurred and the detainee only escaped after his or her family paid a bribe to the security forces. The assaults were accompanied by graphic racist abuse: “Tamil mouths are only good for oral sex”; “You Tamils need a separate state; if you want a separate state you will have to take a bath in our urine.” Lawyers who took statements from the survivors concluded that crimes against humanity are still being committed today in Sri Lanka and that the war is by no means over.

P. J.’s personal struggle to overcome the war isn’t over. Like most survivors, he still scans the Internet for news of colleagues who might have survived. Two of his TV station’s cameramen and one camerawoman were killed during the war but today he has no idea what’s happened to the rest who surrendered to Sri Lankan forces.

“I have had no contact with them after the war,” he says. “Five years later, I still don’t know whether they are alive or dead.” He is too frightened to search because the Tamil diaspora is riddled with government informers. “I am alone here while my children are growing up in Sri Lanka without me. But I am lucky because in Sri Lanka every Tamil is afraid, very afraid, and still running.”

*Harrison, a former BBC Correspondent, is the author of Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War about the last phase of the conflict. Version of this article appeared in Newsweek Pakistan on May 13, 2014 as the cover story.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    4

    Frances Harrison and Callum Macrae must be nominated for Nobel peace prize for exposing war crimes, crime against humanity and genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

    • 4
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      Thriru,

      Yep. Good idea.

      I am just waiting for their hard hitting, detailed documentaries on LTTE crimes in SL.

      Soemthing tells me I will have to wait in vain. For a very long while.

      Cheers!

      PS: Frances and Callum can easily ducument how LTTE backers in the UK funded the LTTE operations in SL for 30 years as well.

      Suddenly, you might find your own behind in boiling water.

      Good luck Thiru!

      • 6
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        Ben Hurling

        “I am just waiting for their hard hitting, detailed documentaries on LTTE crimes in SL.”

        SPUR – istas of Australia and New Zealand have had compiled an impressive dossier on LTTE atrocities. Its freely available on internet.

        Why do you want Frances and Callum to duplicate the same work which has been already done by the concerned Aryan Sinhala/Buddhists Diaspora? Just ask the SPUR-istas to forward it to them. It would be much convenient. Don’t you trust SPUR-istas compilation? Failing ask Douglas or Gota, both must know everything that LTTE did. May be KP and Karuna can give you a first hand detailed study of what they did and did not do. Or ask the state to allow them travel abroad and meet Frances and Callum.

        There solution to every problem is to seek them. Conditioned by racism you will find it difficult to see beyond your nose.

        You may not like Frances and Callum groping your women folks it is you who created the conditions for them to get in to your house. Therefore treat your women humanly they will have no opportunity to approach your women folks, and grope them.

        • 5
          3

          Native,

          SPUR has a decent dossier on LTTE crimes. True.

          However, Frances or Callum are not interested in talking to SPUR. It does not suit their purpose.

          Even if they do, it will be just window dressing. To paint a picture of balanced and fair reporting. To pay lip service.

          An in depth documentary will make the world realize that Boko Haram type cruelty is a “pleasant dream” compared to LTTE crimes.

          Matters will be worse when average Brits and others realize British Pounds actually financed a large chunk of LTTE crimes on our soil. With their government looking the other way.

          Cheers!

          PS: You think SPUR is a corporate broadcaster like BBC or CH4? With a global reach? Now. Excuse me.

          Take a time out session in the jungle Native. Gather some Bee honey or something. Talk to your elders.

          • 0
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            Ben Hurling ,

            “PS: You think SPUR is a corporate broadcaster like BBC or CH4? With a global reach? Now. Excuse me.”

            you are right SPUR is not an international TV broadcaster , but don’t forget it has the upper hand in terms of all the backings from respective SL high commissions , SL as a country and a government has all the diplomatic relationships with all these relevant countries , if LTTE as a ban terrorist organization managed to infiltrate in to the inner circle of decision makers in all the concerned countries , there is some thing some where horribly going wrong !pl don’t tell they are catering to the local electorate/votes , don’t you think SL high commissions have been beaten badly by the diaspora at all counts ? tell honestly , whom would they listen to , SL high commission officials or Diaspora ? have you ever wondered why would any civilized western country would take LTTE terrorist’s version of the story ? answer me , if you can , why did Brazil vote against SL at Geneva ? are there any tamil local votes in Brazil ? is Brazil having a good relationship with US (especially after that embarrassing Obama led government’s phone tapping saga of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff ), what about the rest of latin American countries ( Argentina , Chilie . Cota Rica , Mexico and peru ) voting against SL ? Ben i know you love to go with the flow of this famous notion which regime created & planted ” western countries are against SL and they want to divide the country), all these dim wits of SPUR never bothered to see the root cause of the problem , just wasting time on shouting & displaying stale news of LTTE atrocities , LTTE has been punished collectively by all the civilized world and still considers as a ban organization in many countries , and don’t forget for a moment that famous war triumph story which we’ve been forced to consume ever since , hasn’t LTTE been wiped off from the face of the Sri lankan soil for good ? why after long bloody 5 years still LTTE bogey is coming up in different shapes and sizes to hood wink the gullible populace ? section of the grass eating masses would take it as the gospel truth , but will the western world take the bait as our rulers wanted ? SPUR is the unofficial mouth piece of the regime ,Ben !

      • 0
        1

        Macrazy and Harricrazy won’t cross the path of the LTTE, or the diaspora. How can they when they depend on their paymasters generosity in exchange for propaganda?

      • 0
        0

        How can we compare state actor with non-state actor??

    • 1
      2

      Prabhakaran also fought for piece, a piece of land which he had no claim to. He did NOT live long enough to claim his piece prize even though he a hundred thousand Sri Lankans, Tamil Muslim and Sinhala paid the ultimate price.

    • 1
      1

      By Frances Harrison –

      “Frances Harrison and Callum Macrae must be nominated for Nobel peace prize for exposing war crimes, crime against humanity and genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. ”

      Yes, and the Norwegian Storthing will award it..
      What about Iraq. More than million died.

      Why is War crimes in Iraq Exempt?

      Iraqis are not people? Because the criminals are from the West? Just Curious. for the DOUBLE STANDARDS>

  • 1
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    our victory day …tamils can celebrate the death and annihilation…

    • 6
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      We must thank you for you express the true Sinhalese feelings, I suppose: After all J R Jeyawardene, the father of the present maligned constitution, said; if we starve the Tamils Sinhalese people will be happy!

      Maharajapakse went one step further: He starved, denied water and medicine, and killed them in massive scale – 147,000 or even more in “No Fire Zones”.

      • 10
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        Thiru

        “Maharajapakse went one step further: He starved, denied water and medicine, and killed them in massive scale – 147,000 or even more in “No Fire Zones”.”

        Yet, Dayan, Banda, Hela, Ela Kolla, mechanic, sach, Abhaya, Thondamanaru, Navin, Afzal, ………. and many other like minded Aryan Sinhala/buddhists are unhappy.

        • 3
          3

          MR won the war and crushed tamil terrorism. ela kolla salutes MR for that. but now MR has become a multi-religious, multi-ethinic puppet. so now, we don’t need MR. we need a more powerful sinhalese buddhist who will act upon to protect our rights on our land.

          vedda can go to jungle and stay there.

        • 1
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          vedda, correction…..navin and afzal are not sinhalese buddhists. they are products of incest

          • 5
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            ela kolla

            “they are products of incest”

            Are you the biological father of both?

          • 2
            0

            Ela wa wa wa man ! Are yarr aap tho achha bolthai re!
            I am sure you wont understand that it’s my 2cents but man u have made huge strides but I cant’t decide whether to give “Ding” or “Dong”

            I decided it’s “Ding” and “Dong”

            I will ignore your lapati katha, which you can do with your lil nangi and lil malli or with your ammi and thathi

            • 0
              0

              afzal, you should keep your nonsense to yourself

            • 2
              0

              You mean ammi and the dog?

          • 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/

  • 6
    3

    Frances Harrison,

    GOSL law enforcement agencies abuse & torture all citizens of SL.

    Have you documented any against Sinhalese and Muslims? Nope. Why?

    Cases you document of Tamil victims are horrific. And I beleive they are true.

    However, I cannot help, but believe you are driven by an agenda as well.

    Numerous SL citizens suffer disgusting, unimaginable, cruel abuse & torture. At the hands of those who are supposed to protect them. By criminals who wear SL’s law enforcement uniforms. Guided by corrupt politicians who are too happy to look away. Until they themselves end up in the torture cell.

    It has only gotten worse since 1948. All have and are suffering.

    This tragedy is no exclusive domain of the SL’s Tamil citizens. Though they have paid and are paying a far higher price.

    No GOSL, either UNP or SLFP has solved this issue. Coz’ these parties are often run by saddistic criminals with track records anyway.

    It will be the same even if you put TNA in power. Just look at Tamil Nadu. Police torture is absolutely widespread. Even without a vicious, 30 year long seperatist war.

    This problem trascends race and religion in Sri Lanka.

    Frances Harrison, you hide that vital fact on purpose. Coz’ you are more interested in painting Sri Lanka as an incurable racist state. Where Tamils must have their own separate state.

    Torture and abuse by state in Sri Lanka is an established Institution. It provides countless equal opportunities to all our citizens.

    Benifits include:
    1. Electric cables & wire whipping
    2. Hot metal rod branding
    3. Upside down hanging
    4. Suffocation
    5. Rape
    6. Slow or sudden death by merciless beatings

    Often torture and abuse is administered by an ethnically diverse bunch of Police, military or para-military agents as well.

    Saddistic scumbags are found among Sinhalese, Tamils & Muslims in SL. And in your “beacons of morality”. The UK & USA.

    Atleast criminal deep state in SL does not call these methods “enhanced interrogation”. Like UK & USA do.

    You have to give GOSL credit for their honesty.

    Cheers!

    • 3
      4

      Bent Hurting questions F.H for his own people misdeeds. Who elected them to the power? Sinhala racists like him. He voted king rowdypachchaa now crying like a baby for his plight.

      • 4
        2

        Welcome back MANIAsekaran!

        Been busy doing your PhD in South Asian Affairs? Through extreme, ethno Tamil nationalist glasses?

        Cheers!

  • 1
    0

    Meanwhile, on the good ship Lanka, Captain MR (for it is he) is chanting ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but stories will never hurt me’ as he gives orders to his brothers to keep sailing under blue skies….and in the boiler room below, the sweaty gonad-carriers of the Rajapaksha’s sing their own little ditty ‘nobody loves us but we don’t care’…and the little people in small boats shout ‘jayaweva’ ‘jayaweva’ as they ignore the bad smells.

  • 4
    3

    For geeks like you, what we have ended may be a civil war, but for the vast majority of Sri Lankans and the world at large, it was a war against LTTE terrorists. LTTE deployed 384 Tamils as human bombs to blast our buses, trains and public places to kill and maim tens of thousands Sinhala civilians. Those human bombs look no different to civilians. Is it a wonder then Tamil civilians get killed in a war against terrorists.

    If any geek wanted to report on a civil war he/she should go to Syria. If he wanted to count the largest number of civilian deaths, go to Iraq where NATO went in search of WMDs that was never there. If you wanted to count the maximum number of child deaths by drone attacks go to Afghanistan.

  • 6
    3

    My pharmacist is a Tamils; he is doing brisk business along Pagoda road, Nugegoda. My ceramic and bathware trader is a Tamil; he is doing a fantastic business in Nawala Road and drives a brand new mercedes E class. My consultant cardiologist is a Tamil; he must be earning much more than few hundred thousands rupees every day in Apollo and other hospitals in Colombo. Majority of Colombo residents are Tamil; you can see them walking along all kinds of walkways and parks chatting in Tamil. And this woman writes about some PG’s struggle who says; “… But I am lucky because in Sri Lanka every Tamil is afraid, very afraid, and still running.” What a BS.

    • 4
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      wathie

      “My pharmacist is a Tamils; he is doing brisk business along Pagoda road, Nugegoda.”

      Kill him, rape his wife and daughters, loot his properties and burn the empty buildings, then blame him for attempted rape or being member of LTTE.

      “My ceramic and bathware trader is a Tamil; he is doing a fantastic business in Nawala Road and drives a brand new mercedes E class.”

      Kill him, rape his wife and daughters, loot his properties and burn the empty buildings, then blame him for attempted rape or being member of LTTE.

      “My consultant cardiologist is a Tamil; he must be earning much more than few hundred thousands rupees every day in Apollo and other hospitals in Colombo.”

      Kill him, rape his wife and daughters, loot his properties and burn the empty buildings, then blame him for attempted rape or being member of LTTE.

      “Majority of Colombo residents are Tamil; you can see them walking along all kinds of walkways and parks chatting in Tamil.”

      Its time for you to start a riot which hopefully will empty Colombo of all Tamils and Muslims. Now we know how the riots originate. People like Wathie should know, there bums continuously burn when they see successful happy people. Is it the right time to start a mother of all riots?

      Bum burning Wathie should know.

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        Silly fellow Vedda doesn’t realize that many like them are already half Tamil and are on the way to become Sinhala. The way to go.

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      My hackles rise when yet another tic-turd – like wathie – writes patronisingly about the Tamils. Ofcourse there are plenty of Tamils ‘doing rather well’ but the fact is that our Tamil brethren have been pushed from pillar to post for over sixty years as our Sinhala politicians jostled to secure their mandate from the Sinhalese electorate. For every one Tamil ‘doing rather well’ there are ten, living a hand-to-mouth existence, looking over their shoulders and keeping their heads down. Something we all should be ashamed of. As for the “”Majority of Colombo residents are Tamil; you can see them walking along all kinds of walkways and parks chatting in Tamil.””” this is another myth that fuckers like wathie trot out. They are not the majority community in Colombo and they are NOT representative of ALL of the Tamil community.

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        Spring Koha

        “””” this is another myth that fuckers like wathie trot out.”

        Old chap,

        Did I hear “Lord Hank Freckles-West”?

        One has often wondered whether one was indeed brought up by a mother who showered tough love on oneself, to become spoilt brat.

        Then one would have cursed her for one would have lacked the choice of words to whack Wathie appropriately.

        You are frightfully authentic.

        Thanks good day

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          Vedda,
          Don’t you forget that I have my own choice words to respond you in kind. Only problem is CT delete the ones like mine and let your’s through. So much for their freedom to write.

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            wathie

            “Don’t you forget that I have my own choice words to respond you in kind.”

            Great, have a go at me. I love the cut and thrust of arguments with those people who are sensible enough to say something that would see the light of the day.

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          Native Vedda: just for clarification, the words I use in my comments are from my extensive lexicon, for which I take sole responsibility. No other – genetic, fictional, circumstantial or environmental, is involved. This is an adult site and the only constraint, as I understand, are the editors of Colombo Telegraph. Go in peace and may the golden honeycombs you gather be plentiful and tasty.

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      my children’s aya is a Sinhalease, my bassuna is a Sinhalease, my fiherman who deliver isso and maalu is a sinhalease, my vehetable vendor who deliver my elolu is a sinhalease, my gardner is a sinhalease, my grocery delivery man who delibver my umbalakadu and seeni and parippu is a sinhalease,my driver is a sinhalease,the 3 wheeler who park at the top of my road waiting for my custom is a sinhalease, when I got to a bar the barman is a sinhlaease and they all are very happy to work for me or serve me and we are a big happy family

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        Rajash

        You too had a keen interest in the Aya’s exogenous structures whereas your wife fed special food to your driver who in her eyes a hunk to be worshipped.

        If it was an open marriage, no complains.

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          speaking form your own experience:)

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    Oh how novel, Frances has found yet another “former terrorist” to tell tales :D

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      Obviously too late to have contributed to her ‘historical’ novel, unless volume 2 is yet in the making.

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    “The War That Wasn’t Live”… Yes Harrison
    PJ A SHAMELESS INDIVIDUAL should be a key witness for crimes by LTTE for enlisting youth & children of both sexes of Tamils who were sent to the war front as cannon fodder.
    WHY IC & HR ORGS SHOUT FOR THE RELEASE OF GIRLS ABDUCTED BY BOKO HARAM AND NOT THOSE CHILDRED ABDUCTED BY LTTE THEN??

    LTTE Tigers aided abetted by the Diaspora, Catholic Church, INGOs, HR Orgs,Countries like Norway, Canada, Brittain to name a few & Journalists like YOURSELF were kidnapping Tamil Youth & Children to be sent like the lambs to the slaughter for 30+ years with a hidden agenda BUT IC NEVER RAISED THEIR VOICE demanding the LTTE stop forcibly enlisting. Why ??????????????????????

    Frances…did you not know a Tortured and presumed dead pro LTTE Tamil IT Lecturer of Peradeniya Uni has been mysteriously resurrected and emerged with his wife and three kids at Danushkodi just a couple of days ago.
    Tell Emmanuel to make him another GOD in the Sun Goats Temple of the WTM untill Sun Goat is resurrected……..

    Today, all and sundry and even coolies are yelling the world over to BOKO HARAM……… “send back our girls”.

    Those very voices were silent for 30+ years when LTTE were kidnapping & enlisting underage Girls & Boys to fight in a senseless war, which failed.
    Today, Frances harrison, Callum Macrae, Western Block Politicians making money out of these innocent dead.

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    By the way, will Frances be interviewing the modern Tamil Jesus (the second coming?!) K. Thayapararaja? He was widely reported to have been executed by impartial media, human rights-wallahs and the like – his miraculous resurrection prior to washing up in Tamil Nadu could be one of the talking points. Hallelujah! :D

    Also looking forward to the CT report on this which is no doubt forthcoming :D

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    Having read the commentators views, one can agree with MR – all items
    of the UN Resolution is OK by him and are accepted, except a War-crimes
    Inquiry! Gota say he has nothing to hide and MR wanted the international
    journalist to visit and make inquiries where ever they wished at the CW
    Conference – so this F H version is all fake – like the CH4 video clips?

    Nothing less than an independent inquiry can settle the matter.

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    I will be most surprised if Colombo Telegraph or Tamilnet ever mention K. Thayapararaja (The modern saint who returned after he was tortured and executed by the Sri Lankan Soldiers five years ago).

    How many thousands of these so called executed by Sri Lankan soldiers took refuge in Canada, England, Australia and elsewhere.

    Frances, you may embark on this new project. Searching for re-incarnated killers and murderers.

    JP/USA

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      He is another Gopi a figment of imagination of the regime

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        Really Rajash? You might want to inform Tamilnet, UTHR and Australian Refugee Review Tribunal of this discovery.
        Then investigate how ‘a figment of the regime’s imagination’ manifested itself in Tamil Nadu a few days ago – it might not be the second coming of Jesus but it sounds like a miracle nonetheless :D

        Another question, are you born liars or is it something you learn to become during early childhood :D

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          Well well you do agree that Gobi is a figment of imagination.?

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            Yes yes, just like the aforementioned Tamil Jesus is a figment of someone’s imagination :D

            I do enjoy watching liars squirm :D

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      I read both the Tamilnet and UTHR report on this K. Thayapararaja. Apparently he was an Engineer and Director of Vanni Tech.

      Both Tamilnet and UTHR report is balanced. The they are not blaming the Govt. In fact UTHR says that he was admitted to the hospital by the army.

      Tamilnet doesnt say he was torturd. UTHR says both he and his wife were tortured but dosent say by whom.

      Apparently he and his wife have emerged in Tamil Nadu according to Sri Lankan news papers

      We dont know the full story yet.

      Nothing to get excited about.

      “Even Gobi’s body was identified by his wife”

      I am sure DBSJ will sensationalise this

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    Zero credibility , cant add 2 and 2 comes up with 40000 . Terrorist supporter Harrison.

    BBC and effing CNN are not the only ones who can report . your people dont own the media the jews do . that is why the deafening silence about israel .

    Cheers

    Abhaya

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    Oh the anonymous witnesses of francis’s records must be taken as the truth by UN and other forces. SL war was a good project to earn some for unsuccessful but career ambitioned journalists of the west.

    On a serious note,

    The Hindu, NDTV covered Sri Lanka’s war until the end. Their correspondents were on ground. The Hindu’s corresponder publicly admitted that in groundviews.

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