SANGAM.ORG
Ilankai Tamil Sangam, USA, Inc.
Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Killer Tigers or GOSL/Paramilitary Dirty Tricks?

by Nimal, June 25, 2006

However, the GoSL did give the bus attack a reading along the ‘provocation’ lines and proceeded to start high altitude bombings, so that the aerial bombings were claimed not as declaring or starting a war or an act of war or even as violating the terms of the CFA, but as retaliatory in the face of provocation. That is, the GoSL used this bus attack as an opportunity to start bombing raids under the moral cover of ‘retaliation,’ while mouthing words about committal to peace. Perhaps they were Bombs for Peace?

The Kebithigollewa claymore mine attack that willfully and contemptuously targeted a bus full of civilians, including many innocent children, most rightly received worldwide condemnation as an inhuman and utterly evil act.

While some countries focussed on condemning the attack itself and with a good sense of understanding and tact stopped there, others, and notably the US, were quick to start pointing the finger quite categorically at the LTTE. Various news items, blogs and releases too were keen to lay at least some suspicion in the direction of the LTTE, and some assuredly even the blame, though some were more cautious and careful.

Government Position

As was to be expected, the GoSL and its supporters, without the slightest hesitation immediately blamed the LTTE:

According to Jehan Perera, the director of the National Peace Council think-tank, “The message coming out is that they [the LTTE] will not stop at anything … They are saying they will also target civilians if their demands are not met. Or they could be trying to push the government into a war.” (Yes, ‘Peace Council’!).

The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) came out as absolutely doubtless:

“I visited the scene of this tragic incident on Thursday and consider it the most horrendous crime perpetrated by the LTTE in recent times.”

“I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of the LTTE claymore bomb attack targeting a bus carrying innocent, ordinary civilians of Kebithigollewa, Kanugaha and several other adjacent areas early yesterday.”

“The Government and myself, together with the entire world community have totally condemned this savage act of the LTTE, brutally killing unarmed innocent people, including women taking their breast-feeding infants to clinics, students going to sit the GCE Advanced Level examination as well as the mourners proceeding to attend the funeral of a home-guard who died in an earlier LTTE terror bomb attack.”

“We all know that during two decades of their violent past the legacy the LTTE has left behind in the name of liberating the Tamil people is reducing hundreds of thousands of their own innocent Tamil brethren to refugee status, and burying the bones of thousands of others.”

“We never expect such violence in the name of a people's liberation.”

“We have endeavoured from the very inception to reach a political consensus and achieve a sustainable peace by instituting a socio-democratic political climate in the country acceptable to all, with honour and dignity.”

“Whatever savage and barbaric acts the LTTE may indulge in, we will never allow our search for peace to be derailed. We will create an atmosphere where people can live in peace without fear and mistrust.”

That is, according to Mahinda Rajapakse, the LTTE is not only the certain perpetrator but is carrying out such acts of barbaric violence in the name of liberation, while he [MR] is a man of peace and the GoSL is still committed to peace. Of course, a man of peace or a government committed to peace would surely not drop bombs on civilians from high altitude would they? And surely they would not violate the terms of the CFA would they? Or would they? (It is of note that, while various atrocities have been committed over the years, there has been an escalation of civilian targeting since MR took office – in the name of peace and unity??)

MR also said that the LTTE did it in order to provoke a civilian backlash; that is, a backlash against the minority Tamils ( the LTTE are Tamils ) by the majority Sinhalese ( the bus victims were Sinhalese ), for the purposes of gaining worldwide sympathy for their [the LTTE’s] cause. As the GoSL explained, “International co-chairs and other organizations blame to LTTE claymore attack as a barbaric and brutal violence against the innocent civilians and island’s majority Sinhalese community. The rebels wanted to provoke an ethnic backlash against minority Tamils to support their demands for a separate LTTE homeland.” (However, only one member, the US, among the Co-Chairs blamed the LTTE; and who or what these “other organizations” are the GoSL does not say).

Note that this GoSL statement refers to a “LTTE homeland” and not a Tamil homeland in order to drive a wedge between the two. And so while urging the majority Sinhalese to stay calm, the GoSL dropped bombs on supposed LTTE targets from high altitude as if to prove the difference.

The GoSL Defense Affairs spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella is also reported as insisting, “This is a barbaric act of the LTTE” and that “Their aim is to provoke a backlash.”  And the Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who headed the GoSL delegation at the February 2006 Peace Talks, also spoke at the victims’ funeral urging the Sinhala public to stay calm and not to fall into the LTTE's trap of wanting to create an “ethnic backlash.”  A GoSL statement said “The Government is aware that the aim of the terrorists is to instigate a backlash in order to fulfill their evil designs. The Government urges the people to be calm and support its endeavor to eradicate the menace of terrorism.”

So, the message to the international community from the GoSL is that “The rebels [the LTTE] wanted to provoke an ethnic backlash against minority Tamils to support their demands for a separate LTTE homeland,” BUT he - Rajapakse, the man of peace - and the GoSL have stood firmly for peace and have even prevented an “ethnic backlash.” And Rajapakse has been reported as saying that this was also intended to sabotage the peace process BUT, “We [the GoSL] are deeply committed to the peace process.”

The United States Department spokesman Sean McCormack also sounded quite confident in blaming the LTTE and said, “The vicious act has all the hallmarks of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” and "It is a clear violation of the cease-fire agreement that the Tamil Tigers claim to uphold,” and then trotted out the standard line of “They [the LTTE] must renounce terror and enter into direct negotiations with the Sri Lankan government.” How does he know? Well, the GoSL must have told him, therefore… And no doubt the US will heartily congratulate the GoSL for preventing an “ethnic backlash” and being “deeply committed to the peace process,” high altitude bombings of Tamil civilians and purported 'LTTE targets' notwithstanding.

Of course, the US has its own interests, purposes, strategies and agenda which may or may not coincide with the interests of the Sinhala-extremists, Rajapakse and the GoSL. Perhaps the US is playing wedge politics with the Tamils, but still, the genuineness of the grievances of the Tamils has been accepted and openly acknowledged by the US for quite some time now, and, more recently, mention has been made of a 'Self Governed Homeland for Tamils' by Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. Clearly the US does not believe in putting all its eggs in the same basket.

Even the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, the Bishop of Colombo, jumped in, latching on to the GoSL line and wrote “The deliberate and brutal attack on innocent civilians at Kebittigollawa that has killed more than sixty persons and injured many others needs to be vehemently and out rightly condemned. The calculated murder of simple villagers including several children going about an honest day’s work is a crime against humanity.” And the ‘Rt Revd’ Bishop of Colombo, considerations of social influence notwithstanding and without any thought or concern that he may inflame a highly sensitive situation, then went on to thoughtlessly say “the sophistication and intensity of the attack points the finger at the LTTE,” even though he was clear that investigations had to be conducted to “provide more information.” And the Bishop, too, urged calm, while pointing the finger: “I call upon all to resist the provocative nature and intention of this attack and to remain calm.” So he also knows about the intention of the attack, does he? (See: http://sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/06-16_Bishop.php?uid=1784).

Indeed, the ‘Rt Revd’ Bishop’s very words have been used by many in support of the GoSL claim and its ‘retaliatory’ high altitude bombing raids, wantonly risking even more civilian injuries and deaths – as if the civilian casualties of the bus attack weren’t enough! ‘Even the Bishop said it, so it must be true’, is the unfortunate mind-dulling contribution the ‘Rt Revd’ has made to the social discourse concerning this desperate situation.

So far the GoSL and its supporters have put forward the following as motivating reasons as to why, in their view, the LTTE attacked the bus full of civilians including innocent children:

But do any of these suppositions stand up to scrutiny?

Ethnic Cleansing Theory

As for the theory of ethnic cleansing, the Kebithigollewa area is outside any area seen as part of Tamil-Eelam or the traditional Tamil Homelands. Therefore, that theory as motivating the bus attack falls flat. And furthermore the LTTE has pointed out many times that they are not Anti-Sinhalese, but Pro-Tamil with regard to Tamil self-government within the borders of the traditional Tamil Homelands.

Blackmail Theory

As for the  blackmail theory: as has already been amply pointed out by a number of people, the LTTE does not and cannot possibly gain anything in terms of favourable publicity or any other favours by such an atrocious act. Indeed, it would not only gain massive negative publicity and condemnation, but would also result in the loss of every bit of sympathy and support it may have ever had in the eyes of the international community. Blackmail tactics would immediately super-criminalize the LTTE not only in the view of the whole world in general, but also fellow Tamils. And so this point then dismisses the blackmail theory out of hand because the LTTE would lose out overall – whatever Jehan Perera, the director of the National Peace Council or anyone else may believe, or publicly say for the sake of pushing the ‘LTTE-Are-Evil-Terrorists’ line.

Besides, the GoSL has made it quite clear by the aerial bombings and other ‘retaliations’ that, even if it were blackmail, it would not change its outlook. So why would the LTTE pursue a tactic that not only will not work, but further would invite global and local condemnation? On the other hand, as has already been pointed out by a number of people, the GoSL stands to gain enormously in terms of international condemnation of the LTTE and favour for the GoSL, at least by contrast, by pinning the bus attack on the LTTE.

Provoke a War Theory

Now, the point being made by the ‘Provoke a War’ theorists is that ‘provoking a war’ as opposed to ‘starting a war’ means that whoever starts the war will be seen by third parties such as the international community, as an aggressor, while a provoker may not be. Thus, by provoking a war, it may be possible that one is not seen as the aggressor who started the war, but the other side would be seen as the aggressor even though they were only replying or retaliating in the face of the ‘provocations.’ But for this trick to work, the provocation has to be very subtle and very unobvious. Otherwise, the provoker will immediately be seen as - and clearly known to be - the aggressor who really started the war. As the GoSL Peace Secretariat Chief Palitha Kohona said “We will not be the first party to draw the sword, despite the LTTE's provocative attempts at creating an ethnic backlash”; the point of ‘provoking’ as opposed to starting, is not to be seen as the party that started the war. Attacking a bus full of civilians including innocent children is most certainly not subtle or unobvious. Therefore to claim that such a grossly obvious act is meant to be a subtle and unobvious provocation to get the other side [GoSL] to be seen as the starter of a war or the first sword drawer is absurd.

If the point is simply a war wish without any reservation about being seen as an aggressor, the LTTE could, of course, simply start it openly without ‘provoking’ it! Therefore ‘the provoke a war’ theory is also absurd.

However, the GoSL did give the bus attack a reading along the ‘provocation’ lines and proceeded to start high altitude bombings, so that the aerial bombings were claimed not as declaring or starting a war or an act of war or even as violating the terms of the CFA, but as retaliatory in the face of provocation. That is, the GoSL used this bus attack as an opportunity to start bombing raids under the moral cover of ‘retaliation’, while mouthing words about committal to peace.

Perhaps they were Bombs for Peace? Perhaps GoSL really meant to scatter flower petals but got the payload mixed up?

Besides, how would high altitude bombings of LTTE areas stop any mine attacks on civilian buses on the ground in far away areas such as Kebithigollewa?

In order to claim committal to peace even while violating the terms of the CFA, the GoSL decided to talk of ‘retaliation.’. And not surprisingly, given that the aerial bombing attacks violated the terms of the CFA, Kehilya Rambukwella the GoSL Defense spokesperson said “We have to seriously consider the cease-fire agreement and possibly restructure it.”

If Kehilya Rambukwella’s line of thought is followed, this would mean that every time the LTTE is merely accused of anything, the GoSL could attack the LTTE by calling it ‘retaliation’ rather than seeing things in terms of the CFA as it [the CFA] now stands.

Anyhow, whoever was responsible for the bus attack, the fact remains that the bus attack was used as a win-opportunity by the GoSL to further its military agenda against both the LTTE and Tamil civilians perceived as supportive of the LTTE through the ‘retaliatory’ bombing raids.

Ethnic Backlash Theory

The main GoSL line is the backlash theory, that the LTTE did it in order to provoke an “ethnic backlash” with the aim of getting sympathy from the international community which is in support of an “LTTE homeland.” But, of course, if any sympathy were to be gained by an “ethnic backlash,” it would at best be for a Tamil Homeland rather than an “LTTE homeland.” (However, it seems that GoSL, somewhat contradicting itself, also wanted to use this opportunity as a wedge by saying that it would result in sympathy for a “LTTE homeland.”)

Anyway, it is fairly certain that there will be no “ethnic backlash” because, as has been demonstrated over and over again, every ethnic/inter-communal Sinhala-Tamil riot in Sri Lanka in the past was organised and orchestrated by higher political powers. Lorry loads of armed thugs and violent criminals with electoral rolls highlighting Tamil names and addresses do not spontaneously appear just like that; there has to be organisation and planning which in turn requires the blessings of powerful politicians.

As well, most Sinhalese, while they may be ignorant about what is really going on in Sri Lanka in their name and are regularly misled by their leaders, are nevertheless not out-and-out rabid Tamil-haters. Indeed, for example, during the 1983 riots many normal Sinhalese helped and protected Tamils, and it is said that some even risked their own lives to protect their Tamil friends. And again after the Tsunami many normal Sinhalese did help Tamils and vice versa.

Thus unless some political gain can be extracted (such as for example redrawing the demographic distribution), we can be quite sure that there will be no “ethnic backlash.” And certainly there will be no ‘spontaneous’ anti-Tamil uprising by the Sinhalese en masse – that needs to be organised. So talk of any “ethnic backlash” is simply a devious political device. In the present situation it is not in the interests of the powerful in the South to organise a big inter-communal riot. (And July 1983, of course, backfired on the organisers with regard to international opinion). Rajapakse and the GoSL stand to gain far more by being seen to be in control of the present situation, as having prevented an “ethnic backlash,” and as the man of peace with a Government committed to peace and harmony and unity among the people, etc.

Would the LTTE benefit by provoking an “ethnic backlash”? Firstly, any provoker would not gain any sympathy at all. Indeed, while the victims may possibly get sympathy, the known provoker, however, most certainly will not, but will be hated.

The 1983 situation was completely different: it was SLA persons who were attacked; that is the target was military and not civilian. Therefore, the ‘spontaneous’ riots which followed not only brought worldwide attention to and sympathy for the Tamils, but also for the LTTE who was seen as their protector and who had only attacked a military target in their fight for freedom from the successive oppressive governing regimes of Sri Lanka. Therefore, sympathy for the Tamil minority in general was also extended to the LTTE in 1983.

The bus attack, on the other hand is a completely different context: civilians and innocent children were deliberately and murderously targeted. Therefore, it is just not possible for any perpetrator to gain even the slightest bit of sympathy whatever their purported cause. So again there is no gain to be had by the LTTE from such an act. To the contrary, it would be a massive loss of support and sympathy.  The only thing ‘gained’ would be hate and revulsion, and most certainly no sympathy or any support whatsoever for any kind of homeland run by the LTTE.

. Anandasangaree (TULF), not only claimed regarding the bus attack that there was “no doubt that it is the work of the LTTE” and that the LTTE’s “intentions are obvious. They are all out to provoke the Sinhalese by this type of horrid activities, to start communal riots, through which they think that they can win back the sympathy of the International Community,” he then actually most bizarrely and incorrectly went on to say, “It was the LTTE that was responsible for riots of July 1983 in which most well-to-do Tamils became paupers.” If someone could actually say that the LTTE was responsible for the horrific 1983 Jayawardene & Co. - organised riots, it would certainly be far easier to pin the entire responsibility and moral culpability on the LTTE if there were to be any “ethnic backlash”, or organised riots, now.

Therefore, whether there is an “ethnic backlash’ or not the GoSL is the winner: because, if there is a backlash, then it is the LTTE who are seen as culpable, and if there isn’t, that is because Rajapakse and the GoSL have got the whole matter under control. Further, it would prove to the international community that even such an act as the bus attack has not turned the Sinhalese against the Tamils and, therefore, the Tamils need not fear to live in a unitary SL, etc.

So, leaving aside for the time being who (the GoSL or the LTTE) some third party such as the international community may believe, whichever of the above theories, (provoke an ethnic backlash, provoke a war, blackmail, ethnic cleansing), is put forward by the GoSL and its supporters as motivation for the LTTE to carry out such a horrific attack, it turns out that in actual fact the LTTE loses, if indeed those were their motives, and the GoSL wins out!

Why would the LTTE want that?

Now under each of these above motivating theories imputed to the LTTE by the GoSL so far, the LTTE does not gain but rather loses out, and it is the GoSL (or some GoSL ally) that does gain/win.

This does not exclude the possibility that the GoSL might have got the LTTE’s motives wrong. Perhaps there are other motives that would make LTTE the winner (and perhaps also the GoSL the loser)? So far the GoSL does not seem to have come up with any other.

LTTE Response

Before looking at this point, let us first see how the LTTE side responded in regard to the horrific bus attack. The LTTE has not only categorically denied any involvement, but have themselves condemned it in no uncertain terms, saying that it “is a reprehensible act of murder.” Furthermore, and quite rightly, the LTTE has also strongly asserted that the deliberate direct targeting of civilians in this manner could never be justifiable for whatever reason.

The LTTE statement reads: “LTTE condemns this attack on the civilian bus. Directly targeting civilians, as the Kebitigollawe claymore attack has, cannot be justified under any circumstances.”  The LTTE also said that “The claymore attack on a civilian bus …is a mindless use of civilian life for political ends.” The LTTE also put forward an explanation, named who they claimed was the perpetrator and suggested what their [the perpetrator’s] motive might have been: “The attack in Kebitigollawe timed to occur immediately after the arrival of the LTTE delegation from Europe is a reprehensible act of murders with the sole aim of blaming the LTTE for the attack.”  The LTTE also correctly predicted that: “The GoSL is going to justify the air attack as retaliation for the claymore attack” and continued to assert that the bus attack “was also in fact carried out by them [the GoSL].” The LTTE also called for the international media to be calm and cautious: “Unfortunately the international media is easy prey for this reprehensible propaganda tactic. We call upon the international media to exercise caution and use high standards in their reporting.” The LTTE also said that while even in regard to any CFA violations in the past they [the LTTE] “has been accused of hitting only military targets” it now “has been accused by the GoSL of three attacks on Sinhala civilians.” The LTTE then argued that since the GoSL or GoSL allied/operated forces have murdered Tamil civilians including children with impunity and without compunction as has been demonstrated in the past they [the GoSL] could easily do so with Sinhala civilians too: “On the other hand LTTE is charging that the GoSL operated forces that has unleashed a mindless violence on the civilians in Northeast is also capable of killing Sinhala civilians in order to discredit the LTTE.”

The LTTE line is that the GoSL, with utter disdain for human life, is practicing a dirty tricks tactic of targeting civilians including children for political propaganda ends – first Tamils and now even the Sinhalese. That is, the LTTE (and its supporters) have put forward the following as motivating reasons as to why the GoSL (via some GoSL-operated forces such as some penetration unit or the paramilitaries), attacked the bus full of civilians including innocent children: The GoSL’s motive in doing it and blaming the LTTE for it is to invite international condemnation of the LTTE and the consequences, so as to gain at least politically in the eyes of the international community if not also militarily.

For the GoSL propaganda to work, it would not, of course, matter even if the motives imputed to the LTTE by the GoSL actually result in loss for the LTTE and gain for the GoSL. It is the subjective belief factor that dominates and all that matters is that the propaganda is believed or taken on board and communicated.

This is exactly what has happened as evidenced by the reaction of some countries, notably the US, various news items, blogs and releases that were quick to latch onto the GoSL line and point the finger quite categorically at the LTTE.

That it is an overall win for the GoSL and loss for the LTTE does not affect its propaganda value for the GoSL, if that is what it was. So it is certainly advantageous for the GoSL to have done what the LTTE has accused it of, (and as evidenced by various reactions it is a loss for the LTTE).

Other motives?

Returning to the earlier question, even though so far the GoSL does not seem to have come up with any other motives, are there other motives that would make the LTTE the winner (and perhaps also the GoSL the loser)?

For example, it may be that the LTTE did it, also for propaganda, in order to accuse the GoSL and/or GoSL allied/sponsored elements such as the paramilitaries of a dirty tricks propaganda campaign, and so also seek international condemnation of the GoSL and the paramilitaries for this and other highly condemnable horrific murderous practices. But for this to work it must be believed by the third parties; however despite the LTTE claiming that the bus attack was a propaganda ploy, even many of the countries and news outlets that did not completely go along with the GoSL line (the that LTTE did is to provoke an “ethnic backlash” or other), while reporting the LTTE’s response still did not endorse it. Such endorsement and belief is necessary for any propaganda to work. So the problem with saying that the LTTE did it in order to accuse the GoSL (or its allies such as the paramilitaries) of practicing dirty tricks for propaganda purposes is that, as an LTTE propaganda tactic, it does not seem to work to the benefit of the LTTE.

Besides, especially given the “terrorist” label that has been pinned on the LTTE, to do such a thing is a massive risk. And what of the future? So, as to who (the GoSL or the LTTE) some uncritical third party seems to have decided to believe, it would seem it is the GoSL. And the more cautious and critical members of the international community and the media, have only mentioned the LTTE’s line but have not endorsed it. Therefore in terms of a propaganda-war, again the GoSL seems to win out.

Why would the LTTE pick a high risk move with a highly unlikely gain as a strategy?

Does the LTTE need such a further horror for propaganda? No, because incidents like the Allaipiddy massacre, Vankalai brutality, various disappearances, executions and assassinations are already on the record with the LTTE accusing the GoSL or the paramilitaries of committing those horrendous crimes. And more recently there is the Pesalai incident.

So as far as the LTTE would be concerned, the GoSL and the paramilitaries are doing plenty already. So again, why would the LTTE pick a high risk move with a highly unlikely gain as a strategy with enough data already available?

But could there be other motives? Perhaps, but no one has come up with one so far.

Someone may now say that that is the very point: that no motives can be found makes it the perfect propaganda tactic for maligning the GoSL, because now all suspicion is turned away from the LTTE and the finger begins to point in the direction of the GoSL or the paramilitaries. But again, why bother to take this risk when there seems to already be plenty of other atrocities available to accuse the GoSL or the paramilitaries of?

Paramilitaries?

There is another possibility: the paramilitaries did it in order to pin it on the LTTE but without the GoSL knowing about it. However, it is of note that the GoSL did not even consider this but straight away blamed the LTTE and commenced ‘retaliation.’ That the GoSL has avoided talking of this very real possibility, and has refused to entertain this possibility and investigate it then makes it [the GoSL] not only morally complicit, but also demonstrates that it [the GoSL] is not genuinely interested in actually getting to the bottom of things and working to bring any true and worthwhile peace even to the Sinhalese people, leave alone the Tamil people and others.

No GoSL'Retaliation' for Attacks on Tamil Civilians

It is interesting that, in the case of the murderous atrocities against the Tamil civilians including children, the GoSL took the line that it may have been the LTTE that was responsible with the motive of maligning the GoSL or/and the paramilitaries. However, having accused the LTTE of dirty tricks in relation to the attacks on the Tamil civilians yet the GoSL did not bother to ‘retaliate’!

Indeed, in regard to credibility, honesty and straightforward sincerity there are a number instances where the GoSL and Rajapakse have been found wanting. Why pick on Rajapakse and the GoSL one may ask? Isn’t it the GoSL that is proclaiming to the world that it is sincerely wants peace and isn’t it the GoSL that has managed to sway international opinion in its favour? If there is no honesty or genuine concern for people on the part of Rajapakse and the GoSL, what chance is there of bringing an end to the evil that is going on in Sri Lanak in the name of peace and unity by merely mouthing nice words like “peace” for the benefit of the international community?

Nothing of real worth is to be gained by blaming and accusing the LTTE for everything as the GoSL automatically does.

The international community expects the LTTE to comply with certain standards, but what of the GoSL?

Fictions

Furthermore, it is not only in relation to loss and gain factors that the bus attack needs to be looked at, but also in relation to the character of the individual players themselves. There some things that many people would never ever do or even think of doing under any circumstances, yet there are others who will do those same things without the slightest hesitation or compunction.

Recently (June 1, 2006), an article attributed to Rajapakse, the President of Sri Lanka, titled “Taming the Tigers” was published in the Wall Street Journal. Rajapakse wrote: “In April, a pregnant suicide bomber blew herself up in the heart of our capital Colombo, killing not only her unborn child but also several civilians. That’s typical of the callous disregard for the lives of even our youngest citizens displayed by the Tamil Tigers.” At the time of writing it was absolutely clear that there was no “pregnant” bomber involved, yet Rajapakse decided to go to the world with this line even emphasizing that the “pregnant” bomber was prepared to kill her “unborn child.” (And this perhaps points to where the fiction of the “pregnant” bomber originated).

Rajapakse also wrote: “Again and again, they [the LTTE] have tried to provoke a civil war between the island’s different religious groups. Christians have been assassinated in church during Christmas mass.” Again another fib: Rajapakse is clearly implying (without naming the victim though) that Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham who was gunned down inside a cathedral last Christmas eve “during Christmas mass” was in fact killed by the LTTE – (however, see for example http://www.sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/01-02_Pararajasingham_Murder_the_Fallout.php; and it should be noted that investigations regarding the murder of Mr. Pararajasingham are still supposed to be going on).

Not only that, Rajapakse was craftily suggesting that this cathedral murder may have been intended “to provoke a civil war between the island’s different religious groups.” And guess what? A religious civil war never happened! And the bus attack also according to Rajapakse was intended to, that's right, “provoke an ethnic backlash.” So much then for the man of peace.

Truth comes before peace; else the ‘peace’ is a fiction.

Would a man of peace threaten newspaper editors as Rajapakse threatened the editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge earlier this year? According to the transcript Rajapakse ended his threat with “Pariah. You are not scared! ... I will show you what it is to be scared. I will rest only when I destroy you. You wait and see. You don't know who Mahinda Rajapakse is.”  See the article by Sonali Samarasinghe (a Sinhalese), titled “Mahinda's real chinthana”, where she (Sonali S) also writes “… he [Rajapakse] again branded himself a liar.” 

It would seem that the international community also does not really “know who Mahinda Rajapaksa is.”

Then there is the performance of Gothabaya Rajapaksa , the GoSL Secretary of Defense and MR’s brother. (See: http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline/index.php?page=archive&region=2# for the transcript and video). Gothabaya first denies the existence of the paramilitaries, then having been cornered by the SBS reporter, admits it. Then does another contortion and hits on the ‘bright’ idea  that even though the ‘paramilitaries’ did exist they were independent of the GoSL, and that the reason the GoSL was not pushing for the paramilitaries to be disarmed was that if they [the GoSL] did so then it could start a war by aggravating them! And since the GoSL was pursuing peace, to push for disarming the paramilitaries would surely be the wrong move! So much for straightforward sincerity!

Conclusion

It does not matter which way fingers point, or whether the finger is a Rt Revd Bishop’s or not. The real worthwhile issue is to find out the truth about ALL the civilian killings, whether Sinhalese, Tamil or any other.

In the case of the Kebithigollewa claymore mine attack that targeted a bus full of civilians, including many innocent children, there are only two options: Killer Tigers or GoSL/paramilitary Dirty Tricks. But will those who are in a position to do so, allow an honest, impartial and independent inquiry?

To end: only the truth will set the people free, whether Sinhalese, Tamil or any other.

Note: While I have used words like “win” or “gain” to make a point, it cannot be emphasised enough that there no winners when innocents are cold-bloodedly murdered, whether Tamil, Sinhalese or any other.

© 1996-2022 Ilankai Tamil Sangam, USA, Inc.