Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Response to Admiral Keating

by Boslogan, November 3, 2008

The US/EU responded with force when Kosovo was attacked; the African Union/UN responded with a Peacekeeping force when Darfur was attacked; the US/UN implemented a no-fly zone when Kurds were attacked by Iraq; the US/UN and African Union are involved in facilitating in ceasefire agreement in the Congo; and the US/EU pushed Israel to make peace with Palestine. But, the minority Tamils have to fight Srilankan government STATE TERRORISM on their own.

Dear Admiral Keating,

I am stunned by your recent statements on the Sinhala majority-dominated Srilankan government forces' apparent military successes.

I am a 52 year-old Tamil and lived my youth/young adult life in Eelam (North & East Srilanka) under oppressive Srilankan government military/police rule. I was one of the lucky (along with another million) Tamils to emigrate. Another million Tamils live in majority Sinhala areas as virtual prisoners and more than a million Tamils in the East and in the Jaffna peninsula live in Srilanka military-administered “nazi style” concentration camps. In all, close to 4 million minority Tamils have been denied their rights for the last 60 years by the Srilankan government.

In 1977, Eelam Tamils voted by more than a 82% vote majority to seek self-determination. Despite this vote, the Sinhala government continued to deny the Tamils their rights in their own lands and worse, brutally suppressed their struggle for freedom. The Tamils learnt the hard way to fight back. Over the last 30 years, Tamils were able to fight and were on par with the Sinhala forces.

Unfortunately, our post 9/11 “war on terror” unfairly supported the Sinhala majority and their government; the Srilankan government has taken this as an opportunity to permanently stifle the minority Tamil struggle for equal rights in their own lands. Today it is no secret that the Sinhala government has snubbed the US/EU/Canada/Australia/South Africa/India’s call for devolution & equal rights for the Tamils and, instead, has allied with Iran/Pakistan/China, The armed forces carry out daily aerial bombings that kill Tamils and destroy their property; they will not stop until they subjugate the Tamils.

The US/EU responded with force when Kosovo was attacked; the African Union/UN responded with a Peacekeeping force when Darfur was attacked; the US/UN implemented a no-fly zone when Kurds were attacked by Iraq; the US/UN and African Union are involved in facilitating in ceasefire agreement in the Congo; and the US/EU pushed Israel to make peace with Palestine. But, the minority Tamils have to fight Srilankan Government STATE TERRORISM on their own.

Recently, the US, EU, Canada, India, Australia, South Africa and other countries have voiced serious concern about the Srilankan government’s handling of the 30 year old ethnic civil war. Our Department of State has consistently called on the Srilankan government to respect Human Rights and, in their annual report for 2007, have voiced serious concerns about the government forces and their paramilitary’s actions against minority Tamils. In fact, the Senate provided an amendment to the Appropriations Bill that bars any US military sales to the Government of Srilanka.

Why, even Secretary of Defense Mr. Gates has gone on record to state our “war on terror” has to be modified. He stated, “negotiate with the discontented, address the legitimate aspirations of the affected (minority Tamils), and spur development (in the Tamil areas) to win them over. Hence your recent statements are surprising! Worse, they may be construed as tacit endorsement of the majority Sinhala-dominated government policies against the minority Tamils.

Thank you,