by ‘Bangkok Post,’ June 3, 2013 Sri Lanka celebrated the fourth anniversary of its military victory over Tamil separatists last month amid concerns over a venomous hate campaign and resultant attacks against Muslim and Christian minorities by some Buddhist monks, one of whom set himself on fire. Army tanks rolled onto the streets of Colombo to… Read more »
Posts Categorized: Politics
Across the Bay of Bengal, a Therevada Sri Lankan monk—adopting what has become a common strategy among Tibetan Buddhist monks—self-immolated in the street. The monk, Ven. Indarathana, set himself on fire outside the Temple of the Tooth—the holiest Buddhist shrine in the country—in protest of the Muslim halal method of slaughtering animals.
Ven. Indarathana belonged to the Buddhist revivalist group Voice of Sinhala, a hardline Buddhist rights group. This could qualify the self-immolation as the first connected with an anti-Muslim organization. According to BBC correspondent Charles Haviland, Sinhalese ultranationalist government ministers are praising the incident as “an act of self-sacrifice for the good of the country.”
“Truth must be told. After all, it is the truth that will set everyone free. But, for truth to be told, there needs to be a change in attitude”, are words from my first speech in Parliament and three years later we have yet to see a change in attitude. We have seen instead, a… Read more »
They never had before and do not have now a sense of economic or political empowerment. To put it in simple language, the Tamil people do not have the ability to take control of their lives. This is because their democratic verdict is not respected. They have to deal with masters and rulers. They cannot deal with persons whom they have elected as their representatives to attend to their needs and to exercise political power on their behalf; to whom they can talk freely; whom they can question and who are answerable to them. They can only deal with masters and rulers who can be merciful as they wish to be, can be rude and arrogant if they wish to be. Are not the Tamil people being treated grossly differently from the Sinhala people? Is it not the true position that the Tamil people have a price to pay because they are Tamils? Mr. Deputy Chairman of Committee, this cannot continue….
It must be understood that inclusiveness, tolerance, pluralism, egalitarianism and justice are the hallmarks of a truly democratic society. This is not to state that the wishes of the majority of the people are irrelevant, but it certainly means that the wishes of the majority of the people must be guided by these fundamental elements, and that the political leadership should have the wisdom to guide the people in this regard. Great democracies the world over have acquired unity in diversity, respectability, stability and prosperity by adopting this spirit. A State, which does not accept these principles, cannot be regarded as a truly democratic State. In today’s context, Sri Lanka’s democratic credentials do not stand the test of scrutiny. The Sri Lankan State regrettably stands out as a majoritarian State, which does not uphold the rule of law, particularly in regard to the minority peoples, that excludes legitimate minority rights and concerns, disregards the democratic verdicts of the Tamil people, and is strongly influenced in its governance, by sectarian nationalist thinking. This must change, and this is yet another lesson that must be learnt, if there is to be voluntary and genuine reconciliation, peace and harmony. A State, which claims to be democratic, but which distorts democracy, and practises majoritarian authoritarianism, will inexorably traverse the path of self destruction. To be truly democratic, is a lesson that a Sri Lankan State needs to learn early.
International Council on Eelam Tamils (ICET) – Tamils rights conference in Geneva, March 2-4, 2013 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEOY5KrLBqA http://youtu.be/uEOY5KrLBqA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHwah7gzduk http://youtu.be/lHwah7gzduk http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fvOIKXE_I8Q#! http://youtu.be/fvOIKXE_I8Q Transnational Government of Tamil… Read more »
There are numerous reasons to be concerned about this survey. The timing of the survey – and the military’s heavy involvement – suggests that this was (and remains) an obvious effort to deflect international pressure at the HRC and other international fora. When and why did the DCS begin to work so closely with the Defence Ministry?
The similarities of the Myanmar and the Sri Lankan states are obvious. Majority of the people in both countries practice Theravada Buddhism. And both countries are plagued by ethnic conflicts.
On the anniversary of the 26-year civil war, the Sri Lankan state celebrates its 2009 victory while Tamils mark the bloody nadir of the campaign to systematically dismantle the Tamil nation – one which continues today. In May 2009 as the armed conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of… Read more »
In further contrast to its neighbors, Guatemalan society was (and remains) profoundly racist, fearful of the indigenous majority that it has continually dehumanized. That racism let the elite-military alliance use anticommunist counterinsurgency principles to justify the extermination of Mayan peoples and communities.
“Why do you ask why Indians were killed?’’ a member of the oligarchy once asked me. “A better question is why didn’t we kill more Indians?”
This May 18th, as the Tamil nation remembers on genocide past and present, and looks towards the 5th year of ‘peace’, the need for security is only more apparent; and the Tamil nation’s determination in achieving it, more profound.
This visit demonstrated yet again the persistence of land problems, recently compounded by policy directives that may lead to the dispossession of land of thousands. CPA calls upon the Government to take urgent steps to address this situation and to institute processes that are transparent, participatory and just. CPA also calls upon Government and military officials to adhere to promises and pledges made including the release of private lands and to ensure people’s fundamental freedoms are respected.
While state police forces and right-wing media in India, the local partner in the genocide, keep hailing the ‘Sri Lanka solution’ as appropriate to deal with the Maoist insurgency, influential military thinkers in the US appear to be doing a professional, scientific study of the Sri Lankan model and its applicability to other contexts….
He argues that Sri Lanka’s victory “has led some people in the counterinsurgency community to question the basic precepts of classical counterinsurgency as understood in the West which advocates protecting the population and focusing on political primacy as a means to win over the population and isolate the insurgent and forge a lasting peace.”
Further, “Sri Lanka in this case shows a different path, somewhat in contradiction to these prescriptions and produced both quick and decisive results. Firstly, counterinsurgency is at its heart – a counter adaptation level – a struggle to develop and apply new techniques in a fast moving high threat environment against an enemy that’s continually updating and developing. Counterinsurgency isn’t defined by a single, specific set of techniques rather a combination of techniques used for a particular insurgency under particular circumstances. Sri Lanka’s approach embodied that principle.”
Most ironically, in his book ‘Counterinsurgency’ published in 2010, Dr. Kilcullen had advocated that “Scrupulously moral conduct, alongside political legitimacy and respect for the rule of law, are thus operational imperatives: they enable victory, and in their absence no amount of killing—not even genocidal brutality, as in the case of Nazi antipartisan warfare, described below—can avert defeat.”…
But yet, when influential COIN and military experts in the establishments like Kilcullen and Hashim praise the successes of Sri Lanka’s war on the Tamil people, overlooking the genocide and the concomitant political fallout in Tamil Nadu and the diaspora, and while the various HR reports produced by those NGOs and State Departments in the same establishments only engage in counting the trees without addressing the question of genocide, nationhood, and sovereignty of the Eezham Tamil nation, it is hard not to think that they are two sides of the same coin.
Who are the real beneficiaries of this construction work? Certainly not Tamils. It is all for Sinhalese businessmen and contractors who employ Sinhala workers. Under military occupation, most of the people who have been devastated by war are living in poverty in the North and East.
In reality, those who have been so-called ‘rehabilitated’ and others have been placed under constant monitoring by military intelligence. The number of ex-combatants released is exaggerated. The government does not have the actual figures….
Enough is enough. The HRC resolution is actively endorsed, guaranteed, by the international community. Let’s concentrate on the positive side of this resolution, rather than, in effect, joining hands with the Rajapaksa’s government by rejecting it.
The provisions of the PTA fly in the face of almost every conceivable human rights norm pertaining to the liberty of the person, including most prominently, detention without charge for extended periods of time at irregular places of detention, the broad denial of detainees’ rights, admissibility of confessions in judicial proceedings subject only to the most tenuous of safeguards, the shifting of the evidential burden of proof to the defendant, and disproportionate penalties. The unchecked detention powers, special trial procedures and absence of meaningful judicial review in the PTA facilitate arbitrary and capricious official conduct, including torture. The PTA also makes serious incursions into the freedom of expression and the media by requiring in certain circumstances governmental approval for printing, publishing and distributing publications and newspapers. For these reasons, the PTA represents an aberration of the rule of law upon which the constitutional order of Sri Lanka is ostensibly based, and has been the gateway to systematic abuse of human rights, giving rise especially to gross ethnic discrimination in its implementation.
NEW DELHI (AP) — The Dalai Lama has implored Buddhist monks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to put an end to a series of recent attacks on Muslims in their countries. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader spoke Tuesday night about religious violence when asked questions following a speech he delivered to 15,000 people at the… Read more »
Sri Lanka: The Northern Provincial Council Election – Analysis by S. I. Keethaponcalan, ‘Eurasia Review,’ New Delhi, May 7, 2013 The provincial council system in Sri Lanka was established in 1987 consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord concluded between Sri Lanka and India in the same year. One provincial council was setup for the Northern and Eastern… Read more »
Now that the option of the armed struggle has failed the Tamils for the present, we have turned to the doctrine of non violence to deliver us from this predicament. In that case, we need to study its logic and the consequent applications. It must be realized that this philosophy as espoused by Mahatma Gandhi, also speaks with forked tongues. Gandhi advocated non violence only to unarmed citizens and not to States which were actually armed to their teeth. It seems that in his scheme of things, it was legitimate for the States to engage in violence while only the citizens had to practice restraint and sacrifice. ..
My fervent appeal is that ITAK and the other constituent Tamil parties of the TNA come forward with honesty of purpose and the willingness to change their entire approach to political engagement with the government of Sri Lanka and the Sinhala people. In this mission, the Tamils here and abroad have a role to play. They cannot be blindly continuing the same path they had tread for years. Pro-actively they must seek a transformation of their own society and politics.
“Azad Sally’s arrest, and the harassment he has faced over the past weeks, is indicative of the climate of fear government critics in Sri Lanka are forced to live under. He must be released immediately or charged with an internationally recognisable criminal offence,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.
“He has been campaigning to end oppressive practices against minorities in Sri Lanka, in particular Muslims and Tamils, for which he has faced the ire of the Sri Lankan government.
While in Mullaitheevu (and in Vavuniya too) tension over land between Muslims and Tamil returnees are building up to the point of burning down poor returnees’ temporary huts in Mulliyawallai and blaming each other, in Weli Oya (Mullaitheevu) and Thalapogaswewa (in Vavuniya) Sinhala settlers are being brought by the government in bus loads for colonization. To date there have been about 4800 Sinhala families brought to Weli Oya and about 2000 families to Thalabogaswewa.
In Sri Lanka, Buddhism is a faith that defines society for the Sinhalese, and it becomes the identifying characteristic when they feel threatened. That still doesn’t entirely explain how it became the rallying call of the modern Sri Lankan military, or large segments of it, and how its nonviolent, introspective teachings were so easily abandoned not only in time of conflict—perhaps understandable given the brutality of the Tamil Tigers—but also when time came to make a just peace with the civilian population of the Tamil north.