Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Recent Quotes on Sri Lanka V

by Nadodi, January 19, 2009

The Tamil Civilian is entitled to indulge in a little cynicism.  Pirabakaran and the LTTE waged this war claiming it was to liberate them from the jackboot of Sinhala Chauvinism.  The Rajapaksa govt. now claims it is waging this war to liberate them from the atrocities of LTTE.  Meanwhile, for three decades, it is these very civilians that continue to suffer in silence.

1. UK Dept of International Development, January 6, 2009

Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK, Jan 6, 2009

Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander and Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch Brown said, We continue to monitor developments in Sri Lankan closely including the capture of Kilinotchi.  This development makes it even more urgent that all parties achieve progress on setting out a political solution that addresses the legitimate concerns of all communities. This is the only way to achieve a strong and sustainable in Sri Lanka in which all communities can prosper.

2. Sonali Samarasinghe, Morning Leader,  January 7, 2009

Towards a Zimbabwe-style dictatorship

Even as the Govt. ordered police stations and SLFP orgnizers to muster up coteries of flag waving street rerelers to celebrate the fall of Kilinotchi, the indecorous move was not to have the desired effect on a society tired of burying the dead...

The Tamil Civilian is entitled to indulge in a little cynicism.  Pirabakaran and the LTTE waged this war claiming it was to liberate them from the jackboot of Sinhala Chauvinism.  The Rajapaksa govt. now claims it is waging this war to liberate them from the atrocities of LTTE.  Meanwhile for three decades it is these very civilians that continue to suffer in silence...

Needless to say, with impunity the order of the day, Sri Lanka is fast descending into a Zimbabwe-style dictatorship window dressed in the garb of patriotism.

3. Reporters Without Borders,  January 8, 2009

Outrage at fatal shooting of newspaper editor in Colombo.

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, who was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle as he drove to work this morning in Colombo.

“Sri Lanka has lost one of its more talented, courageous and iconoclastic journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his associates and the government media are directly to blame because they incited hatred against him and allowed an outrageous level of impunity to develop as regards violence against the press. Sri Lanka’s image is badly sullied by this murder, which is an absolute scandal and must not go unpunished.”

4. Dr. Victor Rajakulendran, Sangam, January 8, 2009

An open letter to US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Hon Robert Blake

Mr. Blake, you should be more aware than me what President-elect Barack Obama and his future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said about this conflict and the LTTE.  During the Presidential campaign, in an interview to candidates@google, Obama said that conflicts, such as those in Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland, stemmed from the inability of people to accommodate others who were not like them.  Speaking about Sri Lanka, he said that a 'vicious civil war' raged in that country, even though 'everybody there looks exactly the same.'  During the same campaign Hillary Clinton told a leading British newspaper that she would like a more 'nuanced' approach to armed non-state actors who were routinely dubbed as terrorists in the current war on terror. Some of these groups needed to be viewed differently, she said, and mentioned the Tamil Tigers as one group that deserved such consideration.

5. International Federation of Tamils, January 8, 2009

IFT Calls upon Tamil Community

The International Federation of Tamils, a Geneva-based umbrella group of expatriate Tamil organizations in a press release “called upon over 70 million strong world Tamil Community to redouble its support to the Eelam Tamils for their struggle to create the state of Tamil Eelam”. Noting that “the struggle to realize the 1977 mandate of the Tamil people is being spearheaded by the LTTE” and that “the LTTE are considered by the Tamils to be their authentic representataive is clear from the overwhelming support received by the Tamil National Alliance at consecutive elections in Dec 2001 and April  2004.”  IFT says it believes only after establishing a power center will Tamils have a “realistic prospect of ushering a just and durable solution to the Conflict.  It is also through such an approach can peace and stability be achieved in the island of Sri Lanka.

6. Countercurrents.org  January 8, 2009

What is happening to civilians in the occupied Tamil territories.

The sad truth nonetheless is the rhetoric of eradicating terrorism is just a misapprehension of the ground reality.  The government has managed to secure only a “Symbolic” victory after losing thousands of lives.  The battle seem to have been in favour of the state forces.  But sadly the war is far from over.  Walking into Kilinotchi does not eradicate perennial tamil question for self-determination. Unless and Until every Tamil Civilian feels safe and free in their homeland the Sri Lanka State is simply deceiving the Sinhala masses.

7. Amnesty International, January 9, 2009

Amnesty International calls for investigation into Sri Lankan Newspaper editor’s shooting death.

Amnesty International urges the government of Sri Lanka to publicly condemn the shooting of Lasantha Wikramatunga, editor of the Sri Lankan Sunday Leader Neswspaper, and other attacks on the media.  The human rights organization calls on Sri Lankan authorities to alunch an independent investigation into the incident and other reported attacks on journalists. The shooting comes just two days after the privately owned MVC/MTV teleavision studios in Colombo were ransacked by a gang of attackers who used claymore bombs to damage property.  At least 14 media workders have been unlawfully killed in Sri Lanka since the beginning of 2006.

8. Ottawa Citizen,  January 9, 2009

Sri Lanka has rejected its basic responsibilities .  Sri Lanka is in the grips of a major humanitarian crisis.  The resumption of all out war between the nationalist govt. of Mahinda Rajapakse and the LTTE has killed thousands of civilians and forcibly uprooted hundreds of thousands move from their homes.  Much to the govt’s irritation aid agencies has described conditions on the ground as similar to those in Somalia.  Behind each declaration of military victory are tragic stories of human suffering, eroding civil freedom and the deepening of Tamil angst at home and abroad.

9. Groundviews.org, January, 11 2009

[Groundviews is a Sri Lankan citizen journalism initiative.]

Registering for another pogrom in Sri Lanka?.

The racial profiling (in addition to a whole load of things that are problematic about this registration drive) this regime seeks to do through the registration process.  We should  consider a campaign to ask people to ignore this registration drive.  An alternative is to ask people to register all sinhala speaking people as Tamils. Since there is no criteria as to how you decide on how someone belongs to a particular ethnicity and not the other.

10. Telegraph.co.uk, January 12, 2009

Editor's Death

Conveniently obscured in the news agenda by events in Gaza and at home by Sri Lankan army’s gains against the Tamil Tigers in the Elephant Pass sounds the death knell for civil society in Sri Lanka. Just like all the other state sanctioned killings in Sri Lanka the promised investigation will be an unholy sham.

His killers won’t be caught and we’ll never know who did it .  However, Mr. Wickramatunga writing from the grave is in no doubt who was behind his murder: the Rajapakse regime and its lawless proxies.

11. Tamil Center for Human Rights, Paris,  January 12, 2009

“We will have no truce or parlay with you (Hitler) or the grisly gang who work with your wicked will. You do your worst and we will do our best” Sir Winston Churchill

Whilst there is a serious international lobby by the Sri Lankan Government propagandists about their “democracy” and fight against terrorism, locally they do EVERYTHING under the sun.  There is no one to question them. If anyone speaks about the realities or critises their activities they are branded as “terrorists supporters” on  justifying terrorism in Sri Lanka.

The solution for the 60 years of bloody ethnic conflict for the humanitarian crisis is military artillery firing and aerial bombardments.  Civilians including children are butchered in the Vanni . THIS IS THE PATHETIC SITUATION TODAY IN SRI LANKA.

12. World Socialist Website, January 12, 2009

[Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICF)]

Washington’s crucial role in the Sri Lankan States anti Tamil war.

Washington encouraged Colombo to resume Civil war in 2006 and has aided and abetted every step of the Sri Lankan military’s bloody advance.  The new-found

Powers of the Sri Lanka military is due almost entirely to the support it has received from Washington directly or from key US allies.

13. International Relations and Security Network,  January 14, 2009

Ravi Vaitheespara, assistant professor of history at the University of Manitoba, Canada told ISN Security Watch that in the absence of lasting political solution, the conflict might linger even if the LTTE is wiped out significantly in this ongoing war.

Adding further, he said “if one has followed the conflict for a long period of time, it is clear that the LTTE has had severe reversals from which it had bounced back.

For Vaitheespara that the fighting is far from over. “Even if the SL army has a huge advantage this time in terms of manpower, equipment and unimpeded motivation the conflict will go on until there is a SEA CHANGE in Sri Lankan Government's perception and handling of the ethnic issues.

14. BBC,  January 15, 2009

Obama pressed over Human Rights.

A leading advocacy group called for US President Elect Barack Obama to put human rights at the center of US foreign, domestic and security policy.  The US-based Human Rights Watch called on Mr. Obama to undo the “enormous damage’ of the Bush administration.  The report said Human Rights Watch documented abuses – including attacks on civilians – during conflicts in Afganistan, Columbia, Congo, Georgia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

“As a vital first step Barack Obama and his team should radically rethink how they fight terrorism,” said Kenneth Roth, the executive director of the group.

“It is not only wrong but ineffectual to commit abuses in the name of fighting terrorism or to excuse abuses by repressive governments because they are thought to be allies in countering terror” he said.

15. TamilNet,  January 15, 2009

Thirumavalavan lauches fast-unto death demands India to stop the war.

“Mahathma Gandhi” who fought against British Colonialists didn’t think of taking the side of Genocidal Hitler during World War II.  He was not seeking personal vengeance against the British.  Likewise the present leaders in New Delhi should also take a bold decision that they will not support the Genocidal War being waged by the Sri Lankan state on Eelam Tamils,” said Kasi Anandan, a well known Eelam poet living in Tamil Nadu, inaugurating the fast-unto-death campaign launched by VCK (Liberation Panthers Party) President Thol. Thirumavalavan.

16. Reporters Without Borders,  January 15, 2009

Reporters without Borders backs London demonstration in protest at murder of leading editor. 

“We urge the Govt to react quickly to end the climate impunity in Sri Lanka and we urge Londoners to join the rally in memory of the murdered journalist to condemn repression and the critical situation for journalists in Sri Lanka."

In his final editorial published  posthumously on 11 Jan, the journalist said he knew that he was being targeted by the government “when finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me” he wrote.

17. Daily Mirror,  January 15, 2009

A ceasefire needed in Sri Lanka – British Prime Minister.

Responding to a question raised in the British Parliament, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that he felt that a ceasefire was needed in SL and he will be discussing this at a meeting which was scheduled with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the German Chancellor.

18. TamilNet, January 15, 2009

“Pathetically unenforceable”  Sri Lanka response to UN war crimes warning

Sri Lanka’s militarist govt reacted furiously to warnings by UN Human Rights chief Louise Arbour that human rights abuses in Sri Lanka left perpetrators and their commanders at risk of international war crimes charges.  Rejecting Ms. Arbour’s comments as “Pathetically unenforceable threats,” Sri Lanka’s embassy to the UN said the Colombo Govt “will not be deterred by thinly veiled threats attempting to undermine the morale of its military, deter its military campaigns and save separatist terrorism from elimination."  It also challenged the transparency of funding for Ms. Arbour’s office and the extent to which it represented the world’s peoples.

19. Agence-France Press,  January 16, 2009

Civilians fleeing Sri Lanka fighting have no safe passage: ICRC

Tens of thousands of people are on the run because of fighting between troops and Tamil rebels in the northern Sri Lanka, where civilians have no safe passage, the Red Cross said.  The ICRC said it was “extremely concerned’’ that the waring parties had not agreed on a safe route for civilians since Jan 9.  “This has put at risk the lives of patients who cannot receive suitable treatment on the spot and therefore need to be transferred to Vavuniya hospital in Govt-controlled territory” the ICRC said.  “Repeated displacements, often involving the loss of their personal belongings, have taken a toll” said Paul Castella, the ICRC head of delegation.

20. TamilNet,  January 16, 2009

“Democracies liberal in allowing exodus and genocide” blames IDP activist.

“Allowing the war to continue leaving Tamil civilians in the hands of the preying Sinhala army which we dread, demonstrates only the cruelty of the few minds that determine the course of the war from outside of the island and how international norms evolved through civilisation have become a joke,” said P. Kanagalingam, the president of Vanni people’s welfare organization.

“Which norms of liberal democracy preached by the international community agree with not attending to exodus and genocide of civilians,” he asks.

21. The Economist,  January 16, 2009

CHRONICLES OF A DEATH : FORETOLD

As the Tamil Tigers face defeat, Sri Lanka’s freedoms are also under threat. This week saw the publication of remarkable posthumous column by Lasantha Wikrematunga, a Sri Lankan newspaper editor.

From the grave he has left an eloquent warning to the government led by a man he called 'friend,' President Rajapakse, that as the army grinds relentlessly towards final triumph in a 25 year civil war, the very foundations of the democratic free society it should be fighting for are in jeopardy.

This is dangerous leading to a one-sided triumphalist portrayal of the war.  The press has largely been excluded from the main battlefield in the north.  Little is known about the conditions of some 250,000 civilians displaced by the fighting

“THE WOUNDS OF WAR” he wrote in his self-penned obituary “WILL SCAR THEM FOREVER” leaving “AN EVEN MORE BITTER AND HATEFUL DIASPORA”.

22. TamilNet,  January 16, 2009

UK turns away from war on terror doctrine.

British foreign secretary slammed the US-led “WAR ON TERROR” as a “Misleading and mistaken doctrine’ that had effacing nuances of various conflicts while using extremists opposed to the west.  Speaking in Mumbai, David Milband said the concept has “invidious comaparisons” between organizations as diverse as the Tamil Tigers, fighting for independence of the Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based faction that Indian and British officials believe was behind the Mumbai atrocities. “Terrorism is deadly tactic, not an institution or an ideology,” he was quoted by the Times as saying.

During Hillary’s campaign , she also called for more nuanced approach to foreign armed organizations and their political causes.  She also singled out the LTTE “The bottom line is , you can’t lump all terrorists together, and I think We have got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations , the raisons e’etre of terrorists “ she told the Guardian newspaper.

Recent Quotes IV