by Francis Harrison, posted by Sri Lanka Campaign, March 6, 2013
Monthly Archives: March 2013
The Rajapaksa government enjoys the support of the Sinhalese population when it comes to withstanding war-related international pressure. But when Gossip9 posted the photo feature of Balachandran’s death, around 30 percent of the comments were against the cold-blooded killing of the young boy. Usually, comments on war-related stories are anti-LTTE and full of praise for military action. The innocence of the young boy seems to have made the difference.
It appears the Sri Lankan government did not want to take senior leaders of the Tamil Tigers prisoner, especially those who were well connected and spoke English. Their detention and any legal proceedings would be subject to international scrutiny for a long time to come. This was a risk as they were witness to multiple war crimes – the deliberate bombing of hospitals, food queues and civilian safe zones by government forces. And there was the chance that alive these men could lead Sri Lankan Tamils in another chapter of their struggle. The victors wanted a definitive end to the conflict. But in their haste they violated one of the most basic norms of war. Without respect for the white flag there’s no way to protect civilians and those who decide to stop fighting.
My interest lies only with Stalin’s continuous refusal to recognize Ceylon as an independent country, until he died in 1953. For a comparative profile of other South Asian nations, India received recognition in UN on October 30, 1945. Pakistan received UN recognition on September 30, 1947. But, Ceylon had to wait until December 14, 1955. To the best of my knowledge, no Sri Lankan historians had attempted to study this peculiar theme. My postulated reasons are two-fold: (1) espionage angle, and (2) political angle.
Sri Lanka has long had a problem with disappearances. Accordingly, the LLRC sought to address this issue in its final report, which includes the following two recommendations:
Recommendation 9.46: Investigate allegations of abductions, enforced or involuntary disappearance; bring perpetrators to justice.
Recommendation 9.51: “…the Commission recommends that a Special Commissioner of Investigation be appointed to investigate alleged disappearances and provide material to the Attorney General to initiate criminal proceedings where appropriate.”
Yet the GoSL’s record on disappearances continues to be a concern. Appallingly, 25% of TSA survey respondents have had a family member disappear. And that individual was usually the principal incomer earner of the family.
In executing Balachandran, the Sinhala military was also annihilating the Tamils’ struggle and affirming to itself its complete dominance over the Tamil people. The Sri Lankan military’s abuses cannot be seen as individualised violations. Rather they are part of the state’s collective targeting of the Tamil population…
[The international community] must also understand and recognise the symbolic, targeted and collective nature of Sri Lanka’s crimes.
The Human Rights situation in the North and the East, and indeed in all parts of the country continues to deteriorate. Not holding anyone accountable for the grave crimes committed during the last stages of the war, has its heavy price.
by Jack Healey, ‘The Huffington Post,’ Los Angelos, February 19, 2013 (founder, Human Rights Action Center) Bad Girls video It always starts with James Franco, doesn’t it? “Pineapple Express,” a Franco and Seth Rogen vehicle that came out in 2008, used “Paper Planes” in a red-band trailer for their film. Thus the artist M.I.A. became known outside… Read more »