Monthly Archives: November 2012

M.I.A.’s New Book

By contrast, M.I.A.’s self-titled book is a document of isolation and resistance, clearly the product of one person following an idiosyncratic path…
M.I.A.’s work speaks for the many people whose lives and stories are “missing in action,” which is partly the source of her pseudonym, M.I.A. ..
“If you wanted to hear the other story, you had to go find it,” Maya writes. She was aiming to bridge the gap. The art she made after that trip was a blueprint for the movement of her work in the years to come—it evolved from a documentary to film stills to photographs to stencils to prints to songs. She photographed and blew up the video stills of missing Tamils—some were “faces of girls her age, frozen in a moment of video, sometimes between life and death” and others had images of rockets, tanks, palm trees, and camouflage uniforms.

‘As Time Goes By’: Why Did the Tamil Tigers Become Ferocious?

As I have borrowed the main title for this anniversary exercise, from the ever popular Casablanca (1942) movie song‘As Time Goes By’, I opted to transcribe some recorded relevant facts that had appeared in international press on the ethnic cleansing atrocities of Sri Lankan army on Tamils, for the year 1985…
Excluded in these books (for convenience or due to lack of access to the available records) were the ethnic cleansing events that were perpetrated in the Tamil homeland of Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan army and its abettors(the Home guards) armed and trained by the government…
Among these, Simon Winchester’s recording of the destruction of Tiriyai village in Trincomalee district was a powerful piece.

Remembering for the Future

The Remembrance Day events are therefore not just about commemorating the past. In remembering the sacrifices of the past we also reaffirm our commitment to the Tamil struggle. The sacrifices of the past impose obligations on us and command us to struggle to secure Tamil national rights.

“We Have Never Planned to Act Against the Interests of Any Country”

“It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a nation with great potential. It is a nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. Sinhalam seeks with its military might to destroy all these. It seeks to destroy Tamil sovereignty and replace it with Sinhala sovereignty. As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland.
“Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people. On the path shown by history, on the command of the circumstances of today, we will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed.”

US “Fiscal Cliff” Scenario

Seasoned Washington observers say not to freak out because they think there will be no deadlock, as lawmakers will be thinking about their own fate first, if blocking a deal leads to the collapse of the economy that leaves people suffering, and it rebounds on them at re-election time.

Amnesty UCLU panel asks ‘Sri Lanka: Genocide?’

Madurika Rasaratnam of TAG argued…”The idea of genocide is useful to understand the past, the present and the future of Sri Lanka. The label of genocide captures the process that has occurred in the post-independence Sri Lanka…”
Outlining his own personal view – “I think there is a possibility it is genocide”, Carver said that nonetheless it should not be activists that call it a genocide first, but academics.

“I Remain a Friend of the Sinhala People and of Buddhism”

But on a lighter vein, I recall what I wrote to President Premadasa:-Sir, please turn the lion on the National flag the other way, so as not to threaten the two minorities with the sword!

To His Excellency President Rajapakse, I may quote a Chinese proverb from Wang Suo of Hans dynasty: –Nothing brings greater misfortune than killing those who have already surrendered…
Mr. D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister, who knew the birth pangs and fears of the non-Sinhalese on the eve of Independence, loudly proclaimed to the world: United we stand, divided we fall!

Sri Lanka’s Next Steps

The GoSL’s own action plan was crafted without the participation of community members and is an inadequate document. It is a plan that will encourage neither fundamental changes nor sustainable peace; it was designed principally for international consumption. Hence, it is imperative that other, more reasonable alternatives be considered…
At the outset, it is important for all stakeholders to realize that a fundamental change is needed. The commission’s mandate highlights this.

Vanni : a Personal Journey

Heinrich Böll said of the Second World War: as long as the pus continues to drain from the wound of war, you cannot say the nation is free from war. I saw that, in Sri Lanka, an unseen war is still being waged, one that seeks to destroy the spirit of a people.

The UN Failed Sri Lanka’s Tamils, and Innocents Paid the Price

“Instead, the Security Council and UN Secretariat were cowed by the Sri Lankan authorities, who enjoyed “the effective acquiescence of a post-9/11 world order” to defeat an enemy regarded by many as terrorists, says an executive summary that was deleted before the report was made public last week. UN officials pulled their punches, downplayed death tolls and allegations of government crimes, left the world in the dark, and generally fell short in helping the victims.”

Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution

International actors should press the government more effectively for speedy establishment of an elected provincial council and full restoration of civilian government in the north, while insisting that it commence serious negotiations with elected Tamil representatives from the north and east.

Time to Push Back over Sri Lankan Impunity

What some have framed as a battle for power between the judiciary and executive is in fact a one-sided assault on an already weakened legal system, which has for decades, but particularly under President Rajapaksa, routinely done the executive’s bidding.

Internal Probe Finds UN Culpable of Inaction in Preventing Mass Atrocities in Sri Lanka

The last phase of the war claimed up to 70,000 lives according to the UN report, and 146,000 are estimated to be missing. In the aftermath of the war, 300,000 Tamils were interned in Manik Farm, described by many as the largest concentration camp the world has ever seen. In sheer magnitude and intent to extinguish a people, this event is the worst mass atrocity of the 21st century and appears to constitute genocide…
The UN must respond by establishing an independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

UN Internal Review Reinforces the Need for an International Commission

Given the constraint mandate of the LLRC coupled with the “lack of an enabling environment for a judicial follow up” as stated in the UN Internal Review Report, the Secretary-General need not wait till the exhaustion of the domestic remedies. Justice delayed is justice denied.

NCCT on UN Internal Report

Canadians demand UN and the world act swiftly to address the human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka; urge Commonwealth countries to follow Canada’s lead. by National Council of Canadian Tamils, November 16, 2012 NCCT Press Release – Canadians demand UN and world act swiftly Nov 16 2012 PDF The world and United Nations failed… Read more »

100 Tamil Women in Sri Lankan Army

While on her early morning routine jaunt of street cleaning, this Colombo crow picked up the following memo, casually dumped into a garbage can near the office of Presidential sibling and Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. This secret memo had the 10 top reasons for hiring Tamil women scribbled in pen on it…

‘The Vanni’ Interactive Comic Book

Working with illustrator Lindsay Pollock, I am writing an online graphic novel which tells the story of a fictional but representative Tamil family between 2005 and 2012.

UN Has a Second Chance to Right Wrongs on Sri Lanka

THERE is little doubt that in 2009 the government of Sri Lanka pulled off one of the nastiest episodes of mass killing since the Rwandan genocide – and got away with it…
[T]hese efforts morphed into the International Crimes Evidence Project, which is now led by the Sydney-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre. ICEP is probably now the single largest repository of evidence related to war crimes in Sri Lanka in the world. ICEP’s personnel includes veterans from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Next month, ICEP will hand a brief of evidence to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with evidence gathered and attested using the highest standards of international criminal law. While Sri Lanka is certain to argue next March that it has given a true account of the end of the war, ICEP’s brief will demonstrate otherwise.

What if the UN Had Spoken Out on Sri Lanka?

The only way for the UN to set the record straight on Sri Lanka now is for Ban ki Moon to set up an international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. It was the recommendation of a panel of experts he commissioned to write a report last year but the Secretary General hesitated to take such a step without strong international backing. We now know from this internal review that his own legal department advised him he had the power to do it, but backed off. After the revelations of this inquiry it’s an essential step to restore the UN’s tattered credibility on Sri Lanka.

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Note that as the years go by, individuals are no longer identified as ‘Tamil,’ although all cases refered to the Working Group are indisputably of one ethnic group, part of the wider effort to forget that Sri Lanka’s is a language, religion & geography-based conflict. — Ed/