Monthly Archives: October 2013

General Giap and Prabhakaran

by Sachi Sri Kantha, October 28, 2013 Vo Nguyen Giap NYT article 1964 Aug 16 by Max Clos Mr. Villa Anandaram, currently residing in Canada, is a good friend of mine. Our friendship goes back to our classmate days at the Colombo Hindu College, Ratmalana, in mid 1960s. Though we disagreed (and still disagree) on… Read more »

Tamils: Need for Change

The prime consideration of the Tamils is security, which determines their very existence. Now that the conflict is ended by the war, there will be an extended period to recast relationships between the state and Tamils, the Sinhalese and Tamils, to overcome past iniquities and focus on the future.

The Tamils must have the assurance that their security won’t be compromised again on any account. While the international community is there to afford relief, it takes time to assemble and implement their directives. It needs an effective local mechanism to prevent such a development.

One clear and unambiguous way of ensuring this would be to embed a self-determination clause in the Sri Lanka constitution as a clear safeguard against any excesses or discriminatory action by the state. At the same time, there must also be safeguards to prevent it being invoked frivolously.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Passes Resolution

by Julie Mariappan, TNN, from ‘Times of India,’ October 24, 2013 video report at CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution urging the Union government to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting slated to be held in Colombo in November. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reportedly informed the DMK leadership recently that a decision on India’s… Read more »

Major Losses in Apparel Sector from Loss of GSP Plus

By Ashwin Hemmathagama, ‘Daily FT,’ Colombo, October 24, 2013 Our Lobby Correspondent Losing the General Scheme of Preference (GSP) Plus benefits in August 2010 has caused closure of 25 apparel factories, forcing almost 10,000 people out of work, with the total loss to the country exceeding Rs. 782 million from apparel exports, the Government revealed… Read more »

Sorry, Dr. Seermaran

by Sachi Sri Kantha, October 18, 2013 ‘Better late than never’ is one of my favorite English proverbs. Early this year, when I published my thoughts on T.L.B. Bastianpillai (1941-1978), the sadistic Tamil cop, in April, I remembered Dr. P.R. Seermaran again. He was my freshman student at the Medical Faculty, University of Peradeniya, in… Read more »

CPA: Report on Election Violence

As elaborated in the attached situation and incidents reports,militarization was and continues to be the major impediment to the enjoyment of civil, political and socio-economic rights in the province.The exercise of the franchise is no exception to this. CMEV as well asother monitors recorded a number of complaints of threat and intimidation allegedly by members of the security forces including the Civil Defence Force, Their involvement in the campaigns of ruling party candidates – four in particular were mentioned in this regard- and even intimidating presence on election day. Militarization was underscored in the remarks made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the end of her visit to Sri Lanka just under a month before the election – 25-31 August 2013- and as required by the March 2013 resolution on Sri Lanka in the Council, in her oral remarks to the Council just after the election. The High Commissioner expressed her grave concern that civilians who had met with her had been questioned by the military before and after their meeting with her.The extent of militarization in the daily lives of the civilian population and the political objectives it serves, attests to its embedding and institutionalization in the context in which the election campaign andpolling was held. In this respect militarization clearly undermined the integrity of the electoral process, with the overall voter turnout figure and result representing a popular backlash in defiance against it.

External Development cannot Substitute the Settling of the Basic Unresolved Issues

by the Commission of Justice and Peace of the Catholic Diocese of Jaffna, October 18, 2013, courtesy, October 21, 2013 Fr_Mangalam_JPC_131018 To: His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Spiteri, Apostolic Nuncio Apostolic Nunciature 220 Bauddhaloka Mawatha Colombo 7 Your Excellency, Greetings to your Excellency from the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic… Read more »

The Good Men of India

Let me introduce the Common Indian Male, a category that deserves taxonomic recognition: committed, concerned, cautious; intellectually curious, linguistically witty; socially gregarious, endearingly awkward; quick to laugh, slow to anger. Frequently spotted in domestic circles, traveling in a family herd.

Why Ethnicity Matters in Sri Lanka

bu Sinthujan Varatharajah, ‘Colombo Telegraph,’ October 16, 2013 Following our Sinhala privilege piece published on our Tumblr, ‘Check your Des(h)i Privilege’, we received a number of responses from Sinhalese and Tamils alike. As one of the co-authors of the piece, I’ve observed some of the conversations that were incited by the piece on social media… Read more »

Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap (1911-2013)

Gen. Giap’s victory over Americans had a positive and negative influence on how Prabhakaran conducted his war against the Sri Lankan army. General Giap’s prime strategy was to ‘wear down the enemy’, despite heavy losses. Prabhakaran successfully incorporated the guerrilla warfare from General Giap’s book to Sri Lanka and caused much pain in the crotches of his Indian and Sri Lankan enemies. Prabhakaran also firmly believed that with severe handicaps (in personnel and military budget), he could eventually win against the Sri Lankan army. But, he failed to take into his calculation the aid provided by Soviets and Chinese to General Giap’s army. Secondly, Prabhakaran also failed to realize the truth in the adage, ‘Time and Tide waits for no one’.

India for Lasting Political Solution in Tamil Areas: Khurshid

When the Indian Foreign Minister brought up the issue of meaningful political devolution in his meetings, the Sri Lankan side – both President Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, in response, seem to have pointed to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)…

Speaking to the Indian media in Jaffna before his meeting with Mr. Khurshid, Chief Minister Mr.Wigneswaran said it was important that the PSC lay down explicitly its parameters and matters related to its forward movement…

Having indicated to Sri Lanka that it was a “historic opportunity to start dialogue afresh”, he said India would be there to “help, assist and advise.”

Was Rajiv Gandhi Deceived By Jayewardene?

Last week’s judgment offers the clearest proof yet that the Thirteenth Amendment does not provide any measure of meaningful checks on central intrusion into provincial governance. It points directly to the Amendment’s inadequacies. To its capacity to be abused and the fickleness of the devolution of the very subjects it was intended to devolve. Moreover, the judgment unequivocally demonstrates the inherent problem of devolution within a unitary state – the threat of the unilateral rollback.

Devolution of Powers under the 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka

In short, the executive and legislative powers of the Provincial Council continues to be with the President and exercised by the Governor whom he appoints while the Governor exercises such powers with the assistance and advice of the Chief Minister, the members of the Board of Ministers and through the members of the Provincial Public Service. The Chief Minister and the members of the Board of Ministers just cannot defy the Governors authority.

Tough Times Ahead for Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council

The TNA has also indicated it will try to raise development funds outside of Sri Lanka, particularly from the global Tamil diaspora – estimated to be some 700,000 people, mostly concentrated in Canada, the UK and the rest of the European Union – to invest directly in the province, without going through the national government.

But since 2009, when the government created the Presidential Task Force (PTF), the state has controlled all humanitarian and development activities in the north.

“Mainly the Task Force is…to coordinate activities of the security agencies of the Government in support of resettlement, rehabilitation and development, and to liaise with all organizations in the public and private sectors and civil society organizations for the proper implementation of programs and projects,” said a government announcement.

Run by the Defence Ministry, PTF approves all humanitarian and reconstruction work in the north.

Why Is The CHOGM In Colombo Wrong?

In addition, there has been neither accountability for the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both Government and Tamil Tiger (LTTE) forces during the conflict nor any meaningful attempts to address the root cause of the ethnic conflict and war – the discrimination and marginalisation of the Tamil people right from the time of independence in 1948, which the British Government gave to all the people of the island.

Collateral Damage

At the time of the crackdown in East Pakistan, President Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, were trying to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China…Yahya, its military leader, became Nixon’s secret liaison with the Chinese leader Zhou Enlai. Yahya helped lay the groundwork for the visits to China by Kissinger and then Nixon….

With the White House averting its eyes, the largely Muslim Pakistani Army killed at least 300,000 Bengalis, most of them Hindus, and forced 10 million to flee to India. Bass lays out his indictment of the White House: Nixon and Kissinger spurned the cables, written by their own diplomats in Dacca (the capital of East Pakistan), that said West Pakistan was guilty of carrying out widespread massacres. Archer Blood, the counsel general in Dacca, sent an angry cable that detailed the atrocities and used the word “genocide.” The men in the White House, however, not only refused to condemn Yahya — in public or private — but they also declined to withhold American arms, ammunition and spare parts that kept Pakistan’s military machine humming.

Cho Ramaswamy

Someone has to say it straight, and let it be me. Cho’s knowledge on Eelam Tamil affairs is gibberish…

To disprove Cho’s repeated faulting of LTTE for the breakdown of Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord of 1987, I provide Dixit’s reasons why it failed.

Reason 1: “ Intelligence agencies, armed forces and the Ministry of External Affairs, including myself told him (Rajiv Gandhi) that the initiatives being taken for signing the agreement were valid and practical….That the advice was wrong and the political judgement on which this advice was based was erroneous has to be acknowledged with the benefit of hindsight.”

London Conference on Accountability for Genocide

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) organised a conference on accountability for genocide against the Tamils on 28 & 29 September in London.  During the conference, many  speeches were delivered.   Four of those speeches on YouTube are below.  The speakers presented their views on whether Sri Lanka can be held accountable for committing  genocide. Geoffrey Robertson… Read more »

Harder Lines

Continuing repression of Tamils, and their defiance, suggest reconciliation is far off