Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

State Terrorism and Absolute Animalism

by Theivigan, August 28, 2009

When we talk about families sufferings and the massacres against them, he screams about hunting terrorists.

If Tamils are terrorists to that extent then the war is bunkum. Since Tamil rebels are a part of the Tamil population, Gotabhaya will have to push all the Tamils into an open prison and keep an eye on them. I am afraid if the defence secretary continues in this strain, all Lankan Tamils could once again resort to an armed insurrection... --Karunaratne

The Sri Lankan government’s extra-judicial execution of Tamils has been brought to light by London-based Channel 4 News. The program gives clear evidence of how state terrorism has been conducted against a surrendered and innocent people.

In the early months of this year, after heavy shelling and artillery attacks in civilian-populated areas in the Wanni, thousands of people had surrendered themselves to the Sri Lanka army in the absence of any alternative to being bombed to death in their homes.

Tamil civilians killed by government shelling in No Fire Zone, Spring 2009

 

Many of these people were butchered like cattle, with women raped in army bunkers and then killed.  At the time these atrocities began to take place the LTTE raised the alarm to both civilians and the international community. Civilians were warned about the possibility of being extra-judicially slaughtered by the soldiers of the Sri Lankan army and the message was conveyed to the international community through the LTTE media network. The international community turned a (deliberate) blind eye to these incidents, and instead demanded evidence for these supposed massacres,  even when it was well aware the Sri Lankan government wasn’t allowing any independent journalists into the war zone.

Now, however, the occurrence and utter brutality of these massacres has been proved beyond any doubt by a news item broken by Channel 4, with the Sri Lankan military being forced to make some farcical statements in an attempt to cover up their now-exposed tendencies to murder and animalism.

[When civilians refused to cross into army-held territory, charges were brought that they were being held against their will as 'hostages.' If people in the Vanni heard about extrajudicial executions such as the one shown in the Channel 4 video mentioned here, they would have had a powerful and very reasonable disincentive from moving out to Tiger-held territory. -- Ed. Comm.]

On the news being broadcast in the United Kingdom and quickly picked up by various other news agencies, the Sri Lankan President’s media unit released a statement saying the government “will make a strong protest to Channel 4 with regard to the contents of this video and also bring the matter to the notice of the relevant authorities…” 

It described the footage as “false and doctored.” It promised to “pursue remedies available with regard to the distortion of truth.”

Channel – 4 news representative Mr. Jonathan Miller commented on the Sri Lanka Government denial, saying:

“I think Steven Spielberg would have had a hard job staging this grim scene.

We were unable to verify the authenticity of the footage, but we did our level best to do so and we would not have broadcast our report had we not been confident with the expert analysis we received.

Before we went to air, I watched the video with a leading Sri Lankan human rights investigator – a Sinhalese himself – who provided forensic insights into its authenticity.

This investigator has many years of experience looking into abuses and impunity in his homeland, but he’d never seen anything like this.”

Hitherto, the international community expressed their concerns and regrets regarding the Tamil issue in some bland statements and sound-bites alone, and they watched the LTTE defeated through government war crimes committed under the banner of “terrorism”, as they had expected.

The Tamils have now been driven into a black hole as political orphans, without anyone’s support or help,  their people kept in over-crowded and unsanitary concentration camps, their children taken to “rehabilitation centres” from which they never return, while Sri Lanka and some foreign nations trumpet the “defeat of terrorism.”

Now, what does the international community plan to do with the slowly emerging, but overwhelming, evidence of war crimes, human rights violations and clear breaches of international war codes by the Sri Lankan government?

1)   When the motion put to the vote in the UN Human Rights Council about whether Sri Lankan human rights situation should be investigated or not, the majority of the members of the Council rejected the call for an investigation, in effect providing a path for Sri Lanka to conduct itself as it wished without any regard for human rights. The Council’s vote essentially refused to recognise the UN’s own policy and classification of a war crime. When the Council rejected the call for an investigation, it cited a lack of evidence about the complaints forwarded by the media and the human rights organizations. Now, the Channel – 4 footage can open some of these eyes. Would the UN now be prepared to bring the matter before the International War Crimes Tribunal?

 2)  Soon after the Sri Lankan government announced that the war was finished, the first step the president took was promoting his field commanders who were responsible for such mass-murders to the position of ambassadors and other diplomatic positions to cover up their direct involvement in these blood-baths.

For example, the government has appointed Brigadier Udaya Perera, formerly Director of Army Operations, as Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner in Malaysia. Hot on the heels of Perera’s appointment, Major General Jagath Dias, who had commanded a fighting Division in the Vanni operation, is to receive a diplomatic appointment in the Sri Lankan mission in Germany.  

Has the global community sunk so low, its moral and ethical attitude toward human suffering and mass-murder become so corrupted, that it is prepared to give a red carpet reception to war criminals?

3)   President Mahinda Rajapakse is going to attend the next UN General Assembly in New York in September and plans to bring around 80 military officers with him on his mission to New York.  His desperate intention is to get international recognition for his commanders, and his plan is to present these 80 child-killers and rapists as brilliant field scholars to be consulted in fights against terrorists both real and imagined.

After the cold-blooded homicide, in an open field in broad daylight, of those blind-folded men was caught on camera and the video beamed around the world,  is the UN still happy to give the green light and a pat on the back to Sri Lanka for its actions?

4)   Seven Singhalese soldiers who had been captured by the LTTE in the war were released without harm in the final days of the battle in the Wanni. By this action the LTTE had shown its respect for international war codes. If this action is labeled “terrorism”, which word in its vocabulary does the international community use to describe the Sri Lankan government, which executed its own civilians who surrendered to them?

5)   In the void left by the LTTE, and with Tamils facing such cruelty and mercilessness from Sri Lanka’s armed forces, is there any reasonable argument against Tamils taking up arms against a government reeking of Sinhala hegemony, to protect themselves from state terrorism?

The international community has plainly failed its obligations to protect the Tamils from severe human catastrophe when the war hit its zenith, and through inaction let the government achieve its desired outcome, no matter how unjust. Even today, the UN and others continue to take the shameful and irresponsible route and clear the way for Sri Lanka to abuse three hundred thousand people behind barbed wire fences in interrogation camps,  and suffocate hundreds of thousands of others in the open prison of the North and East of the country.

These civilians continue to be abducted from the camps by the infamous “white vans” on a daily basis and the fate of such people remains unknown. There is not a single person – not even the people’s representatives - to pose questions about such situations because of the dreaded fear of a Nazi-style army and Hitler-model governance.

The Sri Lankan leftist Mr. Vikramabahoo Karaunaratne described the situation thusly:

“Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, rejecting the claim that there is a serious situation that has arisen, warned that the LTTE terrorists masquerading as civilians are now taking refuge among the displaced.

Apparently, they could resume attacks if the government gave into internal and external pressure and released them. He said further, that there were a lot of explosives, arms and ammunition buried in the Vanni, particularly in the eastern part. When we talk about families sufferings and the massacres against them, he screams about hunting terrorists.

If Tamils are terrorists to that extent then the war is bunkum. Since Tamil rebels are a part of the Tamil population, Gotabhaya will have to push all the Tamils into an open prison and keep an eye on them. I am afraid if the defence secretary continues in this strain, all Lankan Tamils could once again resort to an armed insurrection, maybe with newly found mass destructive weapons!”

The LTTE rang the initial alarm bells as to the conduct of this war. A Sinhalese leftist now chimes the bells once more. He speaks his words not as a threat,  but as a well-timed warning;  a well-meaning message to the international community that it should give special attention and balance,  even at this late stage, to a situation that it blindly allowed for years to be grossly skewed to the side of oppression and mass-murder. For the last few months the Tamils depended on the international community for some measure of justice in the belief it would secure release of its civilians and innocents. For the moment they also hope Mr. Karunaratne’s prediction won’t eventuate. If it were to… well,  who could argue you weren’t warned?