Benjamin Dix’s column on the need to uncover war atrocities by the Sri Lankan army and end the discrimination against Tamils was heartfelt and compassionate (They Weren’t Even Cubs, Apr 2). He suggests that other governments, especially India, should provide succour to the affected thousands. But even that is possible only if the Sri Lankan government is a fair one, not in perpetual denial of atrocities. What do you expect from a government which discriminated against Tamils for almost half a century, when Tamils constituted over 20 per cent of the population? It has been two years since the war ended, but the military still dominates every aspect of Tamil life, and moved Sinhalas towards the north. The government has been arrogant even towards UN workers, and continues to be so as it enjoys the support of nations like China, Russia and India.
Dix’s column was another piece of fiction about Sri Lanka’s so-called war crimes. These stories almost always originate from foreigners, not from the many Tamils who really were in the north during the war. Many who are crying murder now fail to mention that Tigers used Tamil civilians as human shields and attacked the army from behind it. They are the ones who forcibly armed civilians with AK-47s and rocket launchers and pushed them on to the battlefield, thereby holding back experienced cadre for crucial battles. And let’s not forget that Sri Lanka rehabilitated and released over 8,000 of the 9,000 Tiger soldiers who surrendered.
Sri Lanka followed a policy of ethnic cleansing, pure and simple. Its peace-loving citizens have, admittedly, got rid of a ruthless adversary who pioneered various terror tactics, but are saddled now with an incriminating and shameful legacy. The Sinhala ruling class has taken the country far away from the path of the 1948 promise of equal representation for Tamils. It’s sad that a country that calls itself Buddhist cannot feel a whit of compassion for the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims whose lives were destroyed by the war.
Priya Madhavan, Rochester
A Buddhist country aligning itself with China, that godless oppressor of Tibetan Buddhists, is now trying to cover up and continue official terror and discrimination against fellow citizens!
Giriraj Sharma, Indianapolis
India’s voting in favour of the US-backed resolution at the unhrc against Sri Lanka at the behest of the dmk may backfire. If the US were to pass a resolution against India, framing it as a Muslim-baiter, and citing the Babri Masjid issue (which they’ve done before), Sri Lanka, China and others might support it.
S. Raghunatha Prabhu, Alappuzha
“We left then, letting the Sri Lankan army run amok. We can’t now.” Of course. Now that the danger is past, everyone can be ‘moral’ and ‘brave’ and blame Colombo to their heart’s content. When the LTTE was running amok, using children and civilians as human shields, and earlier killing Tamil leaders and Sinhalese heads of state, destroying a rich and unique Tamil culture, most people looked the other way.
Ganesan, New Jersey
Rajiv’s assassination, the murder of fellow Tamils who did not toe the Tiger line and forcible conscription of children are some of the vicious crimes Prabhakaran committed. He’s not there to answer the charges. However, a lawfully established government is being asked to answer for all rights violations in the entire ethnic struggle. It goes to Rajapakse’s credit that he handled the terrorists with firmness and rid his country of the scourge of the Tamil Tigers.
Gandhi Nagar, Chennai
@ the Irreverent Indian
The Tamil resistance to the 'discrimination' against them didnt start in a violent manner.Fors years,they approached the issue through political organisations and non-violent methods.It was only in the late 70's did the LTTE start to develop.No resistance movement begins on a violent note.It is only after the moderate methods of resistance fail do people start supporting violence or any violent organisation.
LTTE was not some foreign organisation which came into create havoc in Srilanka.They were a result of discriminatory policies against the Tamils like the Ceylon citizenship act,dumbing down tamil language's status which resulted in the indigenous tamils there take arms.You cant isolate the LTTE from political,social issues there.It doesnt work that way.
If you had lost your body parts and lying among the dead with flies all over your body, have nothing to do but to wait for the infestation of microganisms to take your life, then you wouldn't have written such an indifferent comment, if you've had a kid and it had been blown to pieces in frot your eyes you wouldn't have written such a stupid comment, if you've had your woman raped and thrown naked in to a ditch among other naked bodies then you wouldn't have a dared to write a comment like this, the issue is about human rights violation not about terrorism or what LTTE did in the past. Just because LTTE were ruthless it doesn't mean the army had every right for atrocity.
>> "To put it harshly,people who use the LTTE excuse are implicitly apathetical to the plight of the tamils....... .....I can shoot it back asking where were people like you when the jaffna library was burnt and the years before when the tamils faced persistent discrimination." - Madmax
Can someone educate me on what "plights" and "discrimination" are we talking about? If 'plights' and 'discrimination' were reasons good enough, every other man on the street will turn to terrorism. The fact the tamils from Sri Lanka and India supported the LTTE - morally as well as financially. Now, they must face the recoils. It is unfortunate that so many innocents had to die for the bigotry of others.
Governments agree to certain basic laws by which they promise to abide when they sign the Human Rights declarations.One of them is the proper treatment of POW nomatter how violent they might have been.
Nobody is shedding tears about armed LTTE men,women being killed in the battlefield but watching men tied behind their backs and blindfolded only to be shot down is cold blooded murder.If anyone justifies acts like these and the sexual abuse amongst LTTE women cadre,I feel they need some serious psychological treatment for they are clearly anti-social.
Refering to the LTTE brutality to justify the lankan war crimes is terribly unfair.You are comparing a terrorist organisation with a so called "democratic" government.You expect a higher moral standard for a democratic government.
To put it harshly,people who use the LTTE excuse are implicitly apathetical to the plight of the tamils.You have asked as to where the rest of the world went LTTE was flourishing.I can shoot it back asking where were people like you when the jaffna library was burnt and the years before when the tamils faced persistent discrimination.
well i wonder who the hell is shouting about the war crimes in sri lanka ( BY this i definetily donyt mean that i support those crimes) the great USA , the country who himself is responsible for the history's greatest human right violation ....and i dont think i have to give any exmple to support my argument. If the western supported morons sitting in those cozy zones of UN are really bothered about human right violation , why dont they pass the resolutions of human right violatins in Afganistan , in Veitnam , in iraq , in libya . This is sheer hippocrocy of the western backed Hippocrates. And if we talk about india supporting them , i thing indian government have to take into account their role also in human right violations commited on their own citizens before raising any finger upon others.
it's another dramatic fiction about sri lanka's so called war crimes..but all those stories comes out from the foreigners..not from the many tamils ( who have no hidden agendas) who were really in the war situation. many of those foreign story tellers hesitate to mention the fact that the tiger terrorists used tamil civilians as human shieds and attacked the army hiding behind the civilians. tigers are the ones who send civilians armed with ak 47s and rocket propelled grenades, after brief training to keep minimal loss to real cadres. the reality was that it was a war. i would like to ask a question. what would an indian soldier or an american soldier do if he confront a persons with firing a leathal weapon. would he be ask the attackers identity to check whether he is a civilian or a terrorist??? open your eyes and ears to the stories of tamil civilians who were manipulated by the tigers who used kids and grandmamas as combatents. dont forget that sri lanka rehabilitated and released over 8000 of some 9000 tiger fighters surrendered. yes i agree with u - many tiger fighters were cubs..but the hiding fact was that they were real killing devices..as the way those cubs were trained and brainwashed by tigers. the truth we know that those cubs were the most leathel killers in the battle field...thats why tigers used chiledren as soldiers..smart with weapons and no thinking power..that was a kind of war sri lanka fought...now come to sri lanka and see the tamil children going to schools and having good results from exams..there is no body to give weapons to them..tamil discrimination is another mith..a slogan by the seperatist forces. tamil community along with sinhalese and muslims living together with equal rights..of course tamil politicians with seperatist views constatly manipulate the tamil minds that they are a super minority with special rights which the other communities havent. the truth is that tamil can reside any part of sri lanka as they now live in colombo, central province, north western and some southern areas doing businesses and jobs.. but if a sinhalese or a muslim buy a land in the northern province..its a violation of tamil homeland..now our request try to help sri lankans to eradicate those differences for a real reconciliation
"Any and every measure can be deployed to destroy terrorists."
What if, God forbid, your own family members are mistaken for terrorists? And then summarily executed without any trial? Would you still support this approach?
a Buddhist country aligning with China, oppressor of fellow (Tibet) Buddhist, so that it could carry on (very non-Buddhist) violence and oppression against fellow human beings (and countryman). am just shocked by human depravity (all around the world).
" but morally, under international law, it was absolutely reprehensible."
Was LTTE following any international law? Why is that one side should stick scrupulously to international laws while the other side can do whatever it wants? Why should the Lankan army stick to some international law if it means more casualties for its side?
Human rights do NOT apply for terror groups like LTTE. Any and every measure can be deployed to destroy terrorists.
"We left then, letting the Lankan army run amok. We can’t now."
Of course. Now that the danger has passed, everyone can be "moral" and "brave" and blame the Lankan govt to their heart's content. When LTTE was running amok, when it was utilizing children as human sheids, when it used the civilian population as shields, when it was killing tamil leaders like Padmanabha, Amirthalingam and others, when it was killing Lankan Presidents, when it destroyed the culture of the tamils there, most of these people looked the other way.
And this is nothing new. Terrorism was a major problem in Punjab. The police won that fight against tremendous odds and great sacrifice. Once the danger had passed, the same policemen were hounded for human rights violations. How the Punjab police was supposed to have dealt with terrorism is never explained.
The silence of the people who felt that India should not have voted in favour of the UN resolution against Sri Lankan human rights violations is deafening.
SL govt has no one to fear :
It does not fear the media, for whom only female deaths count.
It does not fear Sonia, who has only her husbands murder to avenge
It does not fear MMS, who is busy keeping his own chair warm through passing anti-male laws when demanded.
MALES and BOYS have no organised groups or support.
It was ethnic cleansing on the part of Sri Lanka-pure and simple. And the elites in Lanka have got a clean country but a perilous and hazardous baggage as legacy. They have steered the country far away from the 1948 promise of equal representation for Tamils. Now they have aligned themselves with China, Russia and Pakistan to bring them out of disrepute and burnish their Sinhala ethnocentrism.
It is unfortunate that a country which claims to be Buddhist cannot bring compassion into the equation when dealing with this tragedy. It would be good if someone within Sri Lanka stands up for justice for the innocent victims. They could probably make Lanka a better country by dealing with it.
There is a suggestion that other governments especially the Indian one should try to 'cajole' the lankan government into providing meaningful packages to the Tamil people there.But thats only possible if the Lankan government was a fair one.
How do you expect a government which discriminated against the Tamils for almost a half of a century when the Tamils consituted almost 20 % of the population and more(33 % if you include the tamil migrants from India) to provide meaningful measures now?.If anyone follows the propaganda machine of the Lankan government,the white van abductions,disappearance and harrasment of anyone who criticises the government they wont suggest this mild solution.
It has been 2 years since the war ended but the millitary still continues to dominate every aspect of the Tamil life and there has been intentional movement of Sinhala population towards the north.The manner in which the Lankan government behaves should strike one as to how dangerous the situation is in SriLanka.They have been utterly arrogant even towards the UN workers and continue to do so because they seem to enjoy the support of some big nations like China,Russia and India.
I still remember the gruesome documentary "Killing Fields". Such crimes against humanity should not go unpunished.
We should not ask more, or less, of the Sri Lankan State than we ask of our own.
I agree, that many innocent lives were lost. The fact may be, that the LTTE was formed because the Sri Lankan government was unable to make the Tamil's feel they were Sri Lankan's. Can we imagine, what the Sri Lankan army felt when they fought their last battle, and after? The lamentable fact is, that all the Tamils in the vicinity of Jaffna were seen as suspect, because they were close to the area which the LTTE occupied.
... easier ...
The other point of view is that India should use its goodwill, good offices, power, influence, clout, whatever, to work effectively with the Sri Lankan government to ensure that the Tamil population gets a better deal and is able to take its place as equal citizens. That too is easieer said than done.
Yes, sir..u shudnt let them get away now....we were surprised back then too...how could america & co. let sri lanka get away from eliminating a terror network in their country???
more so when sri lanka was getting cozy with THEM? china? :-0
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