Former Tamil MP Ponnambalam puts it simply: “I think it’s dangerous for us to think about what is possible. If we start thinking about that, it only means assimilation. We must stop talking Tamil, we must give up our religion. We must be Sinhalese and Buddhist.”
OVER AND above the geopolitics and domestic Tamil politics that directly affects India, the Sri Lankan Tamils’ story raises a disturbing question. Can the desperate and continuing plight of a people be explained away by terrorism alone? For now, more than 22 lakh Tamils within Sri Lanka and an estimated 10 lakh in the diaspora, are asking this universally perplexing question. As their story also serves as a warning to other displaced people without a nation — while the world and the UN plays a double game, your idea of nationhood could be the next to disappear.
But even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils.
The newspaper owner, who is also an opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator, said it was the second strike on the publication this month and added the assailants had to be from “either the government or para-militaries.
“Who else can carry firearms freely in Jaffna?” he asked.
Sri Lanka lifted emergency rule in 2011 after the military crushed Tamil separatists two years earlier following a decades-long ethnic civil war in the island nation of 20 million people.
But troops are still deployed in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo, and other parts of the country to support the police…
Uthayan’s owner said five of his employees had died in attacks on the paper in the last eight years.
by Yasmin Sooka, ‘GroundViews.org,’ Colombo, April 11, 2013 Image courtesy RNW Colombo’s contempt for the international community seems to be increasing. The recent media release on the findings of the Military Court of Inquiry stretch credibility. While I have not had access to the full report and to the evidence presented to the Military Court… Read more »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nSSv9Kk3tkI Haunted by her yesterdays This documentary tells a story of silent agony, trapped screams and repressed mourning. A story of women forced to deny their identity – who are trapped in between a government which sees them as “Tigers,” and a society whose norms they are no longer deemed worthy of. These women fought… Read more »
Is it possible to secure the dignity, rights and well-being of a conflict-affected population by incorporating them into a military juggernaut that has quickly grown to dominate all spheres of life?
The people also told us about how approximately 25 Navy families now live in their lands and that 33 houses have been repaired and occupied by the SLN, with more than 20 female Navy personnel having taken up residence within the former hospital building. Furthermore, of the two school buildings, only one has still been released for the 35 students from Mullikulam to study in. The remaining building is still being utilized to conduct Civil Engineering classes for the SLN.
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.
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.
Letter from India NEW DELHI — In the series of photographs shot in 2009, the bare-chested boy is first shown seated on a bench watching something outside the frame. Then he is seen having a snack. In the third image he is lying on the ground with bullet holes in his chest. The photographs, which… Read more »
Sri Lanka: Transitioning from a Humanitarian Crisis to a Human Rights Crisis InterAction Transition Case Study – Sri Lanka – January 2013 Sri Lanka is recovering from a devastating 26-year civil war, which ended in May 2009 with the military defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the government of Sri… Read more »
Sri Lanka has always insisted it did what it could to ensure no civilians were killed during its operation against the LTTE. Yet a team appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon found that up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed. The team said there were credible allegations both sides committed war crimes.
Holding on to the war-time catchphrases “Humanitarian Operation” and “Zero Civilian Casualty” — which have been disputed by independent observers, the United Nations and other credible institutions — the Court insisted that “commanders at all times obeyed… the directives from the higher headquarters with regard to No Fire Zones (NFZs) and even when the LTTE terrorists had fired from NFZs, commanders refrained from firing at such NFZs.”
The government’s talk about a military drawdown lacks merit, especially in the Northern Province. “We are living under military occupation,” notes one community member living near Jaffna. Even though several checkpoints have been removed, a large number of them have been converted into shops – such as grocery stores and cafés – that are run by the military. The ubiquity of military personnel does not leave people feeling safer; ordinary citizens feel more vulnerable and the country’s continued militarization has contributed to a host of widespread social problems including alcohol abuse, sexual violence and rape.
TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – TCHR 9, rue des Peupliers, 95140 Garges les Gonnese – FRANCE – Tel/Fax : 33 – 1 – 42 67 54 36 Documented cases of ARBITRARY ARRESTS/DETENTION – January 2008 – June 2008 (actual arrests higher than documented by TCHR) http://www.tchr.net/cp_sum_jan2008-june2008.htm No. Date Full Name Sex Age… Read more »
Ini Avan, Asoka Handagama’s latest film, in Tamil, has won international cinematic acclaim. And it is easy to see why. The film has interesting characters who within their confined destinies take some unpredictable turns and moves at a compelling and deliberate pace through carefully designed frames with strong aesthetic appeal that are also revisited, like recurring… Read more »
Ground zero is Kotkai, which sits amid barren saffron and chocolate colored hillsides above a snaking river cutting through South Waziristan. The town was one of the first targets of the 2009 strike and now is at the heart of the military’s rehabilitation zone…
But the government has given little to help individuals rebuild homes that were damaged or destroyed during the offensive…
Some residents of South Waziristan remain wary of their own military, which is sometimes seen as the heavy hand of the nation’s dominant Punjab class used against the country’s Pashtun population, a large ethnic group from which the Taliban draws most of its fighters.
[Sound familiar? Editor]
by ‘The Sunday Times,’ Colombo, January 6, 2013 The life and times of the people of Kepapilavu should make for a study in endless suffering. After witnessing the war at its cruellest, experiencing multiple displacements and spending the longest interval of time confined in Menik Farm, one would expect that life can hardly get any… Read more »
Many of those displaced during the war are now gradually being resettled at their original residences by the Vanni security forces headquarters. Residents are pictured acclimatizing themselves to their old abodes and environment after a lapse of several years. Pix by Romesh Madushanka