Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Sinhalaspeak

by Kasan, August 20, 2007

The retracted lips, bared teeth and bloody gums, the snarl and lunge are as natural to the Sinhala politicians as to any other predator.  The Sinhala have preyed on the Tamils of the island for at least fifty years and the world not only ignored this, but also, to add insult to injury, designated the Tamils resisting the predation 'terrorists.' 

Now, a Sri Lankan government minister calls the UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes, a 'terrorist,' too!  Why, because he pointed out the objective fact, after more than thirty aid-workers were summarily executed by the 'security' forces of the government, that Sri Lanka is the most dangerous place in the world for aid-workers. 

The reaction of the Sinhala leaders and the Sinhala press in general both to the Eighth Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial lecture by Gareth Evans and to the interview to Reuters given by Sir John Holmes appears to have been completely in character.  The tenor and language of the criticisms have been brutal, intemperate, impertinent and obtrusive.  These display a lack of control and decency on the part of the authors.  They all reacted like hungry hyenas when interrupted while feeding on their kill.

Tamils have known this phenomenon all along and have had the fortitude, albeit with diminishing strength, to endure the multifaceted manifestations of the Sinhala politicians' character for more than fifty years.  But the aid-giving foreign governments saw only the ingratiating, suppliant side of the Sinhala and were won over by their demonstrative 'friendly' disposition.  It is as if the Sinhala suffered from a multiple-personality disorder, one persona to the foreign aid givers and another to the Tamils - a self induced Jekell and Hyde behavior.  The attitude of the Sinhala changed abruptly towards the foreign powers when they dared to gently point out to the Sinhalas their savagery and brutality towards the helpless aid workers and other Tamils.

The retracted lips, bared teeth and bloody gums, the snarl and lunge are as natural to the Sinhala politicians as to any other predator.  The Sinhala have preyed on the Tamils of the island for at least fifty years and the world not only ignored this, but also, to add insult to injury, designated the Tamils resisting the predation 'terrorists.'  Now, a Sri Lankan government minister calls the UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes, a 'terrorist' too!  Why, because he pointed out the objective fact, after more than thirty aid-workers were summarily executed by the 'security' forces of the government, that Sri Lanka is the most dangerous place for aid-workers.  Now we know what Sinhala South means by the word 'terrorist'; and the world which was cajoled and coerced into committing a grave injustice by designating the defenders of the beleaguered Tamils of the island 'terrorists' may wake up to the realities and distinguish the wolves from the sheep.

Much of the criticism of Holmes and Evans in the Southern press is written by government hacks on specific instructions to do so by those in power.  They are uniformly offensive, crude, harsh, personal and beside the point.  So was the speech by the Prime Minister (I did not know until now that an office-holder like that existed in Sri Lanka!),  Mr Rathnasiri Wickremanayake,  emerged like the bird in the cuckoo clock to make his profound pronouncement and  returned to his cloisters.

There is, understandably, no merit in what does not even pretend to be a case against Holmes and Evans in all the diatribe.  The Prime Minister's angry response can be summarised as follows: though the government advised Holmes against speaking to the press, he gave an interview to Reuters and spilled the realities, which are sensational. [Despite the fact of murders of TRO workers, ACF workers and Red Cross workers] it is wrong for Holmes to say that Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places for the safety of humanitarian workers and the government rejects his statement.  The government [as in numerous other cases of government-sponsored murders and disappearances over a period of 30 years in which absolutely no justice had been done] is investigating [and now get this] and the facts emerging may surprise those who are using this incident to discredit Sri Lanka. What is clear is this: Whatever the enormity of the crime it should not be known to the rest of the world, particularly those that give alms to Sri Lanka.

Therefore, the 'investigation' is predestined to arrive at a result that would shift the blame to - surprise - those who are using this incident to discredit Sri Lanka!  And mind you, the crimes against ACF were committed more than a year ago!  Those in government and the hacks who write for the government before snarling at Holmes should consider what Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said on this matter.  To quote, "Ensuring security is, however, extremely difficult given the complex, constantly evolving situation with which we are faced."  Thus, Sri Lanka indeed is a dangerous place not just for Tamil civilians but even for aid workers, particularly Tamils, employed by international aid workers.

The most ridiculous of the responses is the attempt by the government organization named facetiously, Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) to shift the blame for the murders to ACF itself!  "How irresponsible were they to have allowed their workers to remain in their offices wearing 'ACF' inscribed shirts when they should have known that it is a tempting invitation for our heroic and brave soldiers to do exactly what they did - line them lying down and shoot them point blank!"  SCOPP is, in actual fact, a SriLankan Cop Out and Prevaricating Program.

SCOPP is so determined to defend the government's role in the killings that it has lost its discernment to distinguish between unintentionally caused deaths and deliberate massacre.

Three other matters on which Holmes and Evans, respectively, expressed their opinions on different occasions have riled the politicos and their organization of the South.  They are:  

1.  Right to Protect (R2P), i.e. the imperative for international intervention to protect the innocent and the weak among others, from slaughter by governments (or groups with superior forces or arms, if the government fails to protect) (Prime example: Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka).  

2.  Planned invasion by GOSL of areas under LTTE administration.  

3.  Disarming Karuna's paramilitary.

One would think that anyone wedded to civilized humanitarian policies would overwhelmingly support R2P.  Not the Sri Lankan South.  The denizens and their leaders and the hacks and the gutter press find R2P so offensive and against their interest that they have gone on a no-holds-barred attack, not only against Evans for mentioning it in his speech, but also against the UN. Politico-military power in the hands of a tyrant has historically been supported by his entourage of toadies and minions.  Similarly, tyrannical power exercised by the Sinhala State is fiercely defended by the Sinhala press as if it is the sovereign right of the Sinhala to massacre the Tamils.  It is none of the business of the outside world, including those countries which give generous financial aid!

Mr Evans' expressed concern about the inevitable humanitarian crisis and loss of lives in the event of an invasion of LTTE-administered territory has also come under attack.  Here again the presumption seems to be: what if a few hundred Tamils get killed and the rest displaced for the greater glory of the SOVEREIGNTY of the Resplendent Isle!  These stupid Western people are not as enlightened as we Buddhists are (after all we are the inheritors of the great Enlightenment).

Here is a quote from the ISLAND newspaper.  "But if the state uses all its military might without foreign powers intervening on behalf of the LTTE the chances that the Tigers have of survival are the same as cats in hell." Unlike the ISLAND newspaper, I do not have much personal familiarity with the management of Hell and still less about cats in Hell, but the invasion of Vanni would indeed cause great destruction and incalculable human casualties and suffering.  As regards the ISLAND's boast about vanquishing the Tigers, it is just a boast and not worth responding to. But the possibility of human casualties is a real and disasterous prospect and the ISLAND's support of the invasion is a shocking revelation of the sinister intentions of the South.  Just one more observation on the quote: Its caveat about foreign powers intervening on behalf of the LTTE. Hitherto foreign powers have intervened massively on behalf of the GOSL and against the LTTE with arms advisors and money.  Without these 'the chances that the GOSL has of survival is the same as cats in Hell.'  (The authority for the knowledge of Hell is the ISLAND, again).  

3.  Disarming Karuna's paramilitary: "Why is disarmament confined only to Karuna?  Why not to Prabhakaran also?"- H.L.D. Mahindapala.   Only a man like Mahindapala can bring himself to write such tripe.  He is not naive, only knavish.  He knows that Karuna is armed, protected and housed by the GOSL and he is under its direction and control.  All the attrocities committed by Karuna and his group are with the connivance of the armed forces of the GOSL.  That is, every criminal act by Karuna group is physically and morally traceable to Mahindapala's Sinhala raj.

Secondly, almost all the Karuna group's criminal activities take place in GOSL-controlled areas, usually in the vicinity of an armed force's camps.

Thirdly, disarming Karuna group was one of the key provisions of the CFA signed by the GOSL and the LTTE.

Fourthly, neither Prapaharan nor the LTTE, ever killed a single aid worker, nor are they the subject of any concern as is the case now as regards the thirty plus aid workers murdered.  Unlike the LTTE-controlled areas, GOSL-administered areas are  havens for kidnappers and abductors, murderers, real life terrorists (unlike politically defined 'terrorists') torturers, corrupt politicians, billionaire generals (rtd) and Mahindapalas.

If more than thirty aid workers are murdered in cold blood in any place, it is natural for ordinary human beings and human institutions to consider such a place dangerous.  A government just plainly stupid would only say it is not dangerous to get killed!  But a government criminally stupid would not only deny that it is dangerous to face the prospect of getting killed, but also would shout in-the-face insults and abuses at those who make such a perfectly natural and factual observation. 

Why in the world would the leaders of a country go out of the way to criminalize themselves in a patently foolish manner?  It is not only a question of ignorance of civilized behavior; I hazard the guess that it is 'miscommunication' between the government ministers and Holmes due to the inability of Holmes to understand Sinhalaspeak.  What is all this fuss about just thirty or so Tamil workers engaged in helping Tamil refugees being killed by the brave and kindly Sinhala soldiers and what has aid got to do with it?, the Sinhala say.  Holmes does not understand that Tamil aid workers are simply Tamils in the eyes of the 'dedicated' Sinhala soldiers and killing a Tamil is eliminating one more contingent 'danger' to the Sinhala race!

This is what the Sinhala leaders failed to communicate - failed to make Allan Rock, Evans and Holmes 'understand' - that has come as a rude shock to them and caused all the verbal retching and vomitting to the disgust of the civilized world.