Colombo, Constitutional Reform, Identity, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War

Whose reality in Sri Lanka?

No one will deny that Sri Lanka has experienced dramatic changes over the past 18 months. The military defeat of the LTTE came as a surprise to many defence and security analysts, including myself. But the issues that gave rise to the vicious rebellion – and in some ways provided it with the fuel to persist and expand – have basically remained untouched.

Even the former General and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Sarath Fonseka (now controversially imprisoned) believed that the LTTE could be defeated in a classical military sense yet continue to operate as some form of low-level insurgency.“ A useful way for understanding the military defeat of the LTTE is to analyse the strength of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, the weakness of the rebels and the role played by foreign states.

Firstly, the government“s effort to enhance the military capabilities of the armed forces was crucial. In part this was achieved through a sheer increase in numbers and military equipment (basic and advanced alike). But it also consisted of an investment in learning lessons, developing more innovative and sustainable military operations (including cutting off supplies to the rebels and stressing the need to retain territory), and utilising harsher tactics (more on this later).

Secondly, the impact of the split within the ranks of the LTTE should not be underestimated. The defection of the group led by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, which at the time was known as the “Karuna Group“ (now the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal), proved to be highly significant. Not only did the “Karuna Group“ provide valuable assistance to the armed forces, it also contributed to the wider problems the rebels were having in raising funds from the Tamil diaspora and in procuring weapons.

Moreover, while it was obvious that Prabhakaran was a tyrannical egomaniac, not even Fonseka could have predicted that the rebel leader would fail to prepare his group for what eventually transpired. In other words, from a purely strategic perspective, Prabhakaran did not trust his own subordinates to operate a different version of the rebellion if required. There was no plan for the LTTE to transform into a cellular network structure for urban-based assassinations and attacks on key strategic installations.

Thirdly, the role played by foreign states in facilitating the defeat of the LTTE is important to recognise. For example, China and Pakistan have been very happy to sell arms to Sri Lanka while Iran has provided cheap finance and invested heavily in infrastructure development. These and other friends have also provided diplomatic protection to Sri Lanka, which has just served to complement the Indian government“s ambivalence regarding recent affairs in its southern neighbour.

Despite all of this, if the causes, dynamics and consequences of the conflict are not addressed, then“some sort of“future violence or even insurgency (perhaps very different in nature to what we have seen over the past quarter century) is likely. Smashing the LTTE does not in itself solve the fundamental“problems that have gripped the country since independence.“Without appropriate action, the prospects for meaningful reconciliation between communities are bleak. In such an environment, fanatics from all ethnic backgrounds could ferment violence.

I maintain that there is no such thing as a “military solution“. From a conflict resolution perspective, the concept of a “military solution““to large-scale violence rooted in social, economic and political grievances and driven by greed is a contradiction in terms – if the aim is a just and lasting peace. Of course,“in itself, the defeat of the LTTE represents (yet another) opportunity to identify and overcome the very real barriers to such a peace. A good starting point would be to acknowledge that Tamils (and indeed all other Sri Lankans) need to be saved from“much more than“a brutal rebellion. Thoughtful commentators have identified what needs to be done.

Firstly, there must be an impartial and rigorous investigation into the conduct of the entire war. The Commission on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation is not up to the task of discovering the truth and ensuring that all parties are held to account for respecting international humanitarian law (IHL). For those who say that this is unimportant, ask yourself whether you would maintain this position if it was your family or friends who were killed during fighting (for the rules of IHL prohibit civilians from being targeted). The fact that many foreign governments demonstrate double-standards when it comes to accountability in armed conflict is irrelevant. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Secondly, governance issues in Sri Lanka need to be addressed. A concentration of power in the hands of a few – no matter how popular they are – is simply undemocratic. Nepotism is not new in Sri Lankan politics but that does not change how disturbing it is in the present. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution has been rightly criticised as a step towards authoritarianism. Moreover, Tamils and other minorities must enjoy genuine autonomy so that they may preserve their culture and realise their legitimate aspirations. This is not a threat to a unitary state. To the contrary, when all Sri Lankans enjoy their right to self-determination, it should reinforce the system that serves to protect and empower all of its citizens.

Thirdly, the human rights situation in the country remains of great concern. There is no longer any need for a state of emergency. Internally displaced persons and others directly affected by the war must be assisted in ways that link addressing immediate needs with long-term development. The several thousand Tamils detained in prisons or camps must be either charged with a crime or released and rehabilitated. Civil society and the media should be protected so that they feel secure in expressing their concerns.

Military expenditure should be switched to civilian goals, such as reconciliation and justice, building more effective public institutions at all levels, reducing poverty and inequality, and human rights monitoring. This is the path to freedom from fear and freedom from want. As it stands, many Tamils and other minorities in Sri Lanka have not shared in the sense of triumphalism that has swept the country over the past 18 months. Perhaps more importantly, they do not believe that the marginalisation and vulnerability they experience will begin to end anytime soon. For any Sri Lankan (or friend of the country) who believes in a better, shared future, this must surely force them to question their perceptions.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    This guy is a defence and security analyst, huh? By his own admission , not a very perspicacious one. He didn’t expect the Tigers to be defeated.

    ” I maintain that there is no such thing as a ‘military solution’. ”

    Classic obfuscation. There is no military solution to a political problem but there is certainly a military solution to a military problem, such as that of a parallel army on the soil of a small island, launching attacks on the capital city. That military problem has been solved militarily. There is no political solution to a military problem, just as there is no military solution to a political problem. However, the military solution has opened the door to the possibility of a political solution.

  • sathyadeva

    This guy is working for some doctrine manager. Open your eyes readers. Nepotism is prevailing and flourishing in Europe. United Kingdom a democracy, such an oxymoron. When are the subjects of the queen elecct next king/queen/?.
    He is holding us in Srilanka to much higher standards than he expects and accepts from his masters_ pay masters_.
    He has no balls to question or ask about the Iraqi invasion, The way so called war against terorism is prosecuted.
    We Srilankans lived in fear of tiger terrorism not too long ago.
    Stay open minded, read wikileaks.
    You find Kalu suddas every where. shame.
    Spin doctors have no shame. They lick the boots of their masters.

  • Lankan On The Road

    Why doesn’t Sunit Bagree let India set an example and give the people of Kashmir the right of SELF DETERMINATION?

  • Sunit Bagree

    This is the author, Sunit Bagree. I do wish that people would be more polite. Courtesy does not weaken one’s argument.

    @ Dr Dayan Jayatilleka: That’s right, there was a time when I didn’t believe that the LTTE could be defeated militarily in the manner in which we have seen. If you read the article carefully, some of the reasons behind this view (which was even held by some members of the armed forces) are provided. Admitting that one was mistaken, and trying to understand why, is not a sign of weakness. At the same time, I argue that the military defeat of the LTTE may not be a permanent one unless certain things are done.

    Regarding ‘military solutions to military problems’, what exactly do you mean? I believe that states have the right and duty to protect their citizens according to national and international law. But that does not mean that they should always aim to militarily defeat rebel groups. Negotiations can solve ‘military problems’ and begin a process to establish a political solution. Peace processes do not always fail.

    @ sathyadeva: I am British and I agree that nepotism can be a problem in my country. However, what is worse is how British companies and political elites facilitate corruption in foreign countries.

    I am a republican. I have been strongly opposed to the invasion of Iraq from the very beginning and mention double-standards on the part of foreign states when it comes to accountability in armed conflict in the article. I have also published a report on how the ‘war on terror’ is damaging human rights and the prospects for rights-based poverty eradication (sadly it is not available online).

    So who are my paymasters? How easy it is to make ridiculous accusations from behind your computer.

    @Lankan On The Road: All human beings have the right of self determination. India and Pakistan should work together to ensure that there is a just and lasting settlement to the Kashmir conflict. Such a solution would have the views of the people of Kashmir at its heart. Sadly, this does not look like happening at the moment, and all parties share the blame for this, but particularly India. But why wait for others to get things right? Why does Sri Lanka have to follow the lead of India (or anyone else)?

  • wijayapala

    Dear Sunit, thank you for replying to us and welcome to Groundviews.

    Negotiations can solve ‘military problems’ and begin a process to establish a political solution.

    Normally I’m a critic of Dayan J. but here he hit the nail on the head. You can NOT have a “political solution” to the reality of a separate armed group in the country that does not want to be disarmed or be integrated into the existing military. Of all people, the Eelam supporters themselves were very keyed into this reality:

    http://sangam.org/taraki/articles/2006/03-09_Geneva_Talks.php?uid=1573

    “It is blindingly clear the Movement will not trust either the Sinhala army or the Sinhala bureaucracy; that is, the Movement will neither demobilise its Tamil forces nor disown its Tamil administration. It follows a political solution must inevitably recognise two armies and two States; the government would have to concede a confederal structure in Sri Lanka.

    “The Co-Chairs, represented by Norway, got the LTTE to commit to a “federal structure” in the Oslo round (Oslo Statement, 5/dec/02). Their next move was going to be the demand that the LTTE decommissions weapons to allow government to introduce federalism. The glib subtext is that a federal system cannot accommodate two armies. Of course ***the LTTE would naturally refuse to disarm until after a political settlement, if any, is reached.*** In this way the government and its foreign backers schemed to mislead Tamils to believe that, after the Oslo round, the government is ready to work towards federalism and achieve “peace”; that the LTTE’s parallel armed forces are the primary stumbling block.

    Peace processes do not always fail.

    I was someone who had initially supported Ranil Wickremasinghe and his “peace process” in 2001-2 and sucked in platitude statements like the above without thinking. The reality of the LTTE’s child soldiers and suicide bombers put a quick end to that fantasy. You’ll have to give a more concrete reason to take what you said seriously.

    All human beings have the right of self determination.

    Sorry, but this is another platitude. How would “self-determination” work in reality? Specifically, how can both “Sinhala” and “Tamil” self-determination actually be accommodated when they involve a zero-sum game over perceptions of territory?

    The Tamil “self-determined” homeland roughly covers the Northern and Eastern Province, so you might thus quickly conclude that the rest of the island is the Sinhala “homeland.” But that wouldn’t be the Sinhala “self-determined” homeland! The Sinhalese consider the entire island of Lanka to be their “homeland.” If you were to ask them about the Tamil “homeland,” they would point to Tamil Nadu. Asking them to recognize Tamil “self-determination” would necessarily be asking them to renounce Sinhala “self-determination.” Is that what you are calling for?

  • wijayapala

    Dear Dr Dayan

    This guy is a defence and security analyst, huh? By his own admission , not a very perspicacious one. He didn’t expect the Tigers to be defeated.

    It’s unfortunate that you marred your excellent analysis that followed with this preceding crap. Did you expect the Tigers to be defeated before it became obvious? If so, could you kindly direct us to an article you wrote before the summer of 2008 preparing us for the post-LTTE world and what we should do?

    Unfortunately you did the same thing with the recent presidential election, telling us why we shouldn’t vote for Fonseka but not explicitly stating or even assuming that he would lose (otherwise why try to convince us not to back Fonseka?), but then afterwards declaring that you knew Mahinda would win all along.

  • Sunit Bagree

    @wijayapala:

    1) ‘You can NOT have a “political solution” to the reality of a separate armed group in the country that does not want to be disarmed or be integrated into the existing military… The reality of the LTTE’s child soldiers and suicide bombers put a quick end to that fantasy. You’ll have to give a more concrete reason to take what you said seriously’.

    Firstly, your statements assume that it would never have been possible for the LTTE to negotiate in good faith and agree to genuine regional autonomy (plus certain other benefits). This is a very bold assertion to make – ‘never’ is a very long time.

    Secondly, conflicts that appear to be intractable aren’t always so impossible to resolve in ways that are humane, fair and sustainable. Like I said, I’m British, and the Northern Ireland conflict is a good example. Nepal (another country in South Asia where I have lived and worked) provides another good example. There are many others throughout human history.

    Thirdly, I think that I should restate that I’m not against the use of force – in ways that adhere to IHL – to protect citizens. I just think that the limits of what violence can achieve – and the tragedy that inevitably comes with violence – must always be recognised.

    2) The right of self-determination is not a ‘platitude’! Firstly, the entire decolonisation movement has been based on it. Secondly, like it or not (and I certainly do), from a legal perspective, the International Court of Justice has confirmed that the right is obligation erga omnes (i.e. towards all states). It is likely that the right is also a jus cogens (peremptory) norm of international law. Thirdly, I don’t deny that the application of the right of self-determination can be complex. But compromise is possible if there is an inclusive and equitable process. The oversight of an independent judiciary is also crucial and a body such as the UN could also assist. If you’d like my opinion, the Tamil Nadu argument doesn’t wash; the Tamils in Sri Lanka are Sri Lankan not Indian. You sound rather pessimistic about what is possible to achieve. That doesn’t worry me – I’m pessimistic about is actually happening.

  • luxmy

    Sumit , simple and scientific. Thanks.

    1. This problem goes on for more than 62 years because it is an island and large numbers of Tamils would have fled land borders in the 50s/60s/70s, changing the direction of the conflict, had NOT this country been an island
    2. To most Sinhalese if anybody speaks of injustice to Tamils, that person is pro-LTTE.
    3. Armed struggle in Sri Lanka should not be taken out of context of political and economic oppression, PTA/ER, politicised judiciary, impunity of armed forces and damage control at UN and Commonwealth(violence is unacceptable in most circumstances)
    4. There is evidence to show that Ranil’s motive for ”peace talks” was to lure foreign assistance – he was working hard in 2002/3 to get GSP+ more than developing a peace constituency among the people who were fed by racism and religionism in textbooks for 5/6 decades and massaged by ethnic outbidding for decades:
    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/09/30/llrc-evidence-given-by-mr-austin-fernando-former-secretary-of-defense-on-18th-august-2010/#more-4274
    LLRC: Evidence given by Mr. Austin Fernando, Former Secretary of Defence, 18 August 2010:
    ‘’When I look at the responsibilities, some of those government senior politicians were very silent. On the other hand the Opposition politicians were sabotaging the thing(peace talks).”

  • niranjan

    Dr. Dayan Jayathilleke,

    The Government has to work hard towards granting autonomy(at least in the form of the 13 amendment) to Tamils.
    The military problem came about as a result of discrimination the Tamil community faced from independance onwards. “Sinhala Only” was the worst such measure.
    The military problem came about as a result of a political problem. The political problem has to be addressed now otherwise there is a likelihood that the military problem will crop up again not immediately but in the years to come.
    If a political solution is not put in place in the next couple of years another generation on both sides of the ethnic divide may have to fight another war.

  • Heshan

    The king must die so that the country can live.

    – Maximilien Robespierre

    The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.

    – Maximilien Robespierre

    Source: brainyquote.com

    Yes, folks – the ills of S. Lanka, summed up in two lines.

  • Santa

    It seems we have further evidence that Dayan Jayatilleke is merely a simple minded name-dropper, though skilled in obfuscation.

    What Dayan has said above, separating out military and political matters in the way he has, betrays that he has never really understood Gramsci (whose name DJ throws around from time to time while trying to appear intellectual).

    For Gramsci war (i.e. miltary effort) is also political – politics by ‘other’ means. For anyone who has understood Gramsci the above statement by DJ about military problems and miltary solutions versus political problems and political solutions is ridiculous. Secondly, it is important to ask about whose peace solutions it is all about.

    From the perspective of the LTTE, the miltary dimension of their political aims seems to have been decisively defeated – at least for now, but since the political hopes and aims remain unsolved the miltary dimension could come back into play.

    From the perspective of the Government of SL, the miltary dimension of their political aims seems to have been decisively acheived, and so also then their political aims – but given that it was only so due to the huge support by the IC, any withdrawal of support by the IC could change the way things appear now.

    If by ‘solution’ it is meant an equitable solution, then Sunit Bagree is absolutely right about there being no such thing as a military solution.

    wijayapala, we should now put the child soldier war time propaganda away – its like the Iraqi WMDs. The LTTE certainly used suicide bombers, and they trained children for future use, but they never used any child soldiers; not least because they prided themselves as being a professional conventional army (which under the circumstances of the time was strategically a blunder and so it also led to their defeat)

  • luxmy

    Niranjan
    There is hardly any chance of any Tamil rebellion in the near future – they might have been politically and economically mutilated several years ago. In the last eighteen months, they have been physically, psychologically and sociolgically crushed and have been made sub-humans.
    Then the utter disregard for, or malicious destruction of, the environment of the land and the sea.
    To ensure the Tamils are disabled, there has been an increasing supply of drugs and pornography to the youngsters by the occupation army begun ten years or so ago but has intensified in the last eighteen months.
    SLOW GENOCIDE so that others will not notice it as easily as gas chambers or whatever.

    Buddhist culture !!

  • SD

    Dear Santa

    RE: “The LTTE certainly used suicide bombers, and they trained children for future use, but they never used any child soldiers;”

    For my Christmas wish, I would like you to go the NHSL (National Hospital SL) and speak to a few soldiers who were in the front-lines. They will give you first hand accounts of little children wielding AK-47s shooting in all directions, mad with fear or hatred.

    Adding more to the “propaganda”, here’s a little personal anecdote from a wounded soldier narrating a story of his own dilemma at the prospect of having to shoot a child. As it turns out, during the latter stages, the LTTE, severely short of manpower, would send women and children to the front-lines first. He described his personal mental anguish at having to shoot little children. Demonized though the average soldier (or LTTE cadre) may be, they are still human beings. For most soldiers, it eventually turns out to be a Hobson’s choice – “shoot, or be shot at”. As I recall, he ended up shooting too. The children didn’t look like they could be reasoned with and self-preservation usually wins.

    This kind of news probably never makes it up to the north pole. To say that child-soldiers were never used is either ignorance, or just willful self-deception.
    Anyway, no need to rely on anecdotes, a casual search on Google will do.

    http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4cdd263f14.html
    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2004/11/09/sri-lanka-tamil-tigers-forcibly-recruit-child-soldiers

  • wijayapala

    Dear Sunit,

    Thank you again, this time for taking the time for responding to my own comments, although you didn’t really respond to my points. I would appreciate it if you could back up your arguments with solid facts about the Sri Lankan context rather than drifting back into your ideology or the experience of other countries.

    Firstly, your statements assume that it would never have been possible for the LTTE to negotiate in good faith and agree to genuine regional autonomy (plus certain other benefits). This is a very bold assertion to make – ‘never’ is a very long time.

    You still don’t get it. By mid-2006 the LTTE had all but re-declared war. They sent a suicide bomber after the Army Commander, a year after murdering the Foreign Minister. They were laying landmines to blow up soldiers. I was in Jaffna when a police SSP was brutally murdered in broad daylight.

    What was the govt supposed to do in this situation??? (again, please don’t answer in vague terms like “the govt should have believed in peace and reached out /w open arms etc etc) ***How could the govt have stopped the LTTE from conducting explosions and killing people????***

    Like I said, I’m British, and the Northern Ireland conflict is a good example. Nepal (another country in South Asia where I have lived and worked) provides another good example.

    The more you give examples from other countries having much different contexts, the more I’m convinced that you really are not familiar with Sri Lanka (which is ok) but refuse to admit it (which is not ok, I’m afraid). When was the last time the IRA or Nepali rebels killed a senior member of government?

    Thirdly, I think that I should restate that I’m not against the use of force – in ways that adhere to IHL – to protect citizens. I just think that the limits of what violence can achieve – and the tragedy that inevitably comes with violence – must always be recognised.

    In other words, you devoutly hold double-standards. If you had told me you were a pacifist and hold your ideas from principle, then I could only disagree without really challenging your principles.

    In SL today there are no more suicide bombings. No more mass displacement of people from combat. No mass recruitment of child soldiers. No shelling, bombing, and most importantly no fear of the above. I was born after the war began and thus have no memory of what SL was like without the above things. You appear to have no appreciation for this. I hope that I am wrong.

    We can debate about the way that the govt conducted the campaign, but you’re clearly in a losing battle if you’re trying to argue against the outcome. You can theorize about the limits of what violence can achieve, but I can show you concrete proof of the limits of what a farcical “peace process” can.

    2) The right of self-determination is not a ‘platitude’! Firstly, the entire decolonisation movement has been based on it.

    Again your misplaced context-dropping arises- NE Sri Lanka was not a Sinhala “colony” governed from thousands of miles away.

    Secondly, like it or not (and I certainly do), from a legal perspective, the International Court of Justice has confirmed that the right is obligation erga omnes (i.e. towards all states). It is likely that the right is also a jus cogens (peremptory) norm of international law.

    And like it or not, international law is virtually worthless in the real world as it has no enforcement mechanism outside the willingness of individual sovereign states to do so.

    Thirdly, I don’t deny that the application of the right of self-determination can be complex. But compromise is possible if there is an inclusive and equitable process.

    You absolutely ignored my argument on the zero-sum nature of “self-determination” in SL through yet another cliche, “inclusive and equitable process,” without addressing anything specific to Sri Lanka.

    If you’d like my opinion, the Tamil Nadu argument doesn’t wash; the Tamils in Sri Lanka are Sri Lankan not Indian.

    Again, you don’t get it. I am not arguing that Tamil Nadu is the only Tamil homeland. I am arguing that most Sinhalese perceive the entire island of Sri Lanka as their homeland. What this means is that creating an autonomous Tamil region on the basis of Tamil “self-determination” will NECESSARILY negate Sinhala “self-determination.”

    If you disagree, you will have to answer IN SPECIFIC TERMS how you think Sinhala “self-determination” could be acknowledged using your rubric (again, spare the “we can have UN-mediated discussions on this” sort of argument).

    You sound rather pessimistic about what is possible to achieve.

    Ummm, to be brutally honest I am right now a lot more pessimistic of your actual knowledge of Sri Lanka and what happened in the last few years. Again, I am really eager for you to prove me wrong!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Santa,

    they never used any child soldiers; not least because they prided themselves as being a professional conventional army

    Child soldiers are an excellent basis for a conventional army, particularly in the 15-16 age range when they are physically almost adults but not emotionally (and many modern infantry weapons are light enough for the kiddies to use). They are easier to train and indoctrinate than adults and have a much lower tendency to desert because they don’t know where to run.

    I recommend reading P.W. Singer’s book “Children at War” to cure your unfamiliarity with the topic.

  • Sunit Bagree

    @ luxmy: Regarding the island issue, yes, it has strategic significance. But protracted armed conflicts can and do occur in places that are not islands. On the issue of how some people conflate talking about the injustice faced by Tamils with being pro-LTTE, that’s one of the golden issues to deal with, and I believe that everyone has responsibilities in this regard. Perhaps a good way to approach any discussion of the exclusion and vulnerability of Tamils is to start with the point that the LTTE was very abusive of Tamils (and others) living in areas that they controlled.

    @ niranjan: I agree, although the 13th amendment is certainly not without its problems. Also, on top of properly devolving powers, there would be a need to ensure that Tamils and other minorities were included in decision-making processes at the (new look) centre.

    @ Santa: ‘If by ‘solution’ it is meant an equitable solution, then Sunit Bagree is absolutely right about there being no such thing as a military solution’.

    Indeed. I did write: ‘From a conflict resolution perspective, the concept of a ‘military solution’ to large-scale violence rooted in social, economic and political grievances and driven by greed is a contradiction in terms – if the aim is a just and lasting peace’.

    @ Santa & SD:
    Santa wrote:
    ‘The LTTE certainly used suicide bombers, and they trained children for future use, but they never used any child soldiers; not least because they prided themselves as being a professional conventional army (which under the circumstances of the time was strategically a blunder and so it also led to their defeat)’.

    Firstly, and as SD points out, there is plenty of evidence that the LTTE used child soldiers. Secondly, according to IHL, non-state armed groups are not permitted to recruit anyone under 18 for any purpose, so ‘training children for future use’ is a violation. Thirdly, saying that the LTTE would not have been defeated if only they had used (more) child soldiers is just bizarre.

    Having said this, I think that it’s really important to recognise that it’s not only the LTTE who were responsible for grave breaches of IHL (i.e. war crimes) and other human rights abuses during the war. It is well known that the armed forces and paramilitary groups also broke these rules, sometimes in appalling fashion.

  • seevaliabeysekera

    I came across this article whilst I was reading the many column inches devoted to the wikileaks story about SL and the hilarity of what is happening to MR during his travails through a very frozen UK.

    Whilst on one hand we engage in intellectual and sometimes enlightened debates such as this one, one cannot help but notice when we observe the antics of our leaders and parlimentarians, just how devoid of substance we Sri Lankans really are.

    It did not take a rocket scientist ( or an astrolger ) to predict that the LTTE lobby in the UK would make very effort to disrupt the MR visit. That they have done so and humiliated the GoSL is indicative of how inept and incompetant the SL authorities trully are.

    To then learn of the disruption with the SL parliament where government ministers are physically threatening opposition parliamentarians simply because they took a contrary point of view is once again sadly indicative of our failings as a society which seems incapable of both understanding and appreciating the values and the concept of free speech and democracy.

    It is indeed a miracle that the military aspect of the conflict was achieved the way it was. I fear however that winning a lasting and equitable peace is an objective that we are either incapable of or unwilling to achieve.

    To do so we need leaders of the type that mother Lanka is so far incapable of producing.

  • Sunit Bagree

    @ wijayapala: If I’m being brutally honest now, I don’t think that you’re properly engaging with what I’ve written, as I have responded to your points. I’ll try and explain again, expanding where appropriate as you have expanded on your points in some areas as well. By the way, just because you disagree with me doesn’t mean that I don’t have a good understanding of the situation. What a patronising view that is!

    1) ‘How could the govt have stopped the LTTE from conducting explosions and killing people?’ The government achieved this using a particular approach. It worked (for now), but at a terrible cost.

    You seem to believe that this was the only way. Maybe, but I’m not so sure. Moreover, you appear to assume that everything that went wrong was the fault of the LTTE. Both sides violated the Cease Fire Agreement. And successive governments could have done a lot more to begin addressing some of those structural factors that helped to give rise to the LTTE and really build constituencies for peace.

    I’m not saying that the government should have stopped obtaining intelligence and conducting military operations. But perhaps it could have always tried to get back to a properly monitored ceasefire and genuine negotiations. Part of this task would have been to get the international community to squeeze the LTTE in various ways so that they would take the peace process seriously. All this assumes a state operating in good faith.

    I can’t say for sure that this would have proved a better course of action but it could have proved to be more successful and less bloody. We are of course in the realms of the counterfactual. It comes down to a matter of judgement.

    One final point here: if the government was determined to wipe out the LTTE then it should have respected IHL and human rights standards.

    2) Actually, the IRA tried (and only narrowly failed) to assassinate senior members of the UK government. But that’s irrelevant. You’re making out that suddenly everything hinges on whether a rebel group has killed a senior member of the government? That’s really a very odd thing to say. In addition, while every armed conflict is unique, if you don’t think one can use certain principles in analysing war or (carefully) apply lessons from one war in another then you’re deeply mistaken, in my experience. I’d recommend that you read some of the relevant literature and talk to other practitioners.

    3) So I hold double-standards because I believe in the use of force as a last resort and, in such an instance, recognise that, at best, it can achieve limited aims? What a black-and-white outlook you have! You either have to be a pacifist or a warmonger to win your respect?! Do you know that this view of mine is based in a tradition – known as the just war discourse – that dates back thousands of years and is the basis for the modern international system?

    4) Of course I’m pleased that the broad security situation in Sri Lanka has improved a great deal in the last 18 months. To suggest otherwise is offensive. I have many friends in the country (from all ethnic backgrounds) from my time there. I also have Sri Lankan friends in the UK and other parts of the world. My article didn’t say otherwise – in fact I say that there are real opportunities now to push on and solve the many other problems in the country (many of which are related to the war itself). Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    5) You legal analysis is flawed. I was talking about self-determination and the global decolonisation movement (i.e. how this happened in different places which are now sovereign states). Moreover, the right of self-determination does not only apply to colonial situations. With all due respect, this is basic stuff. As for the enforcement of international law, yes, there are massive problems. But the ICC renders your point inaccurate. Also, try telling Pinochet or Taylor that international law doesn’t work. Moreover, in the absence of enforcement, law can also carry a sort of moral weight that can have diplomatic significance.

    6) Regarding Tamil Nadu, I know that you weren’t arguing that point as your view. So what? That doesn’t change my opinion. What my opinion means is the view of Tamil Nadu that is held by many Sinhalese is wrong and regional autonomy for Tamils in Sri Lanka won’t negate the majority group’s right of self-determination. Enlightened Sri Lankans from all backgrounds should advocate this (in my opinion). Also, the nature of the process is really important, to suggest otherwise is almost unbelievable.

  • Sunit Bagree

    That was my last post. I’m moving house on Saturday morning, so I have to stay away from the laptop! My best wishes to all – apart from the Sri Lankan cricket team when they play England!! 😉

  • ordinary lankan

    We sri lankans are a paradox.

    we have the best and worst of everything – and we can still keep our heads up and keep walking –

    in terms of consciousness we are still at war – the adversarial spirit rules

    but this is early days.

    we count our blessings

    as the months and years roll on we need to grind out the negativity and hatred in our hearts – and sincerely wish that we do not contribute to another terrible war in this land for the rest of this century

    if we can avert another war – this country may have no option but to develop

    the tamils and muslims must feel they belong – here rather than to their diasporas … and the sinhalese must feel that the minorities belong here – with their own roots

    MR is MR – not a mandela or aung san sukyi – he rules on his capacity not on our wishes

    we can rally around against oxford – but does the ‘we’ include all sri lankans now?

  • My goodness, [edited out] Marshal Heshan! Did Daddy buy you a book of quotes for your birthday? Can you give us some more quotes over here: http://www.groundviews.org/2010/11/28/the-big-lie/comment-page-1/#comment-25419

  • sam

    The problem with the majortiy of sinhalese is that they cannot move away from their thought that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese!!! They also think that since sinhalese language is spoken only in Sri Lanka and that they have to safeguard the sinhalese language, at any cost!!! (including suppressing other languages, or even to the extent of killing Tamil Speaking people)

    Until they learn to live and let others live, There will not be peace in Sri Lanka.

  • sam

    Thank you very much Sunit Bagree for a well balanced, impartial article. I am surprised why some of the commentators are bristled.

    For some people it has become a habit (livelihood) of fishing in troubled waters!!! They don’t want genuine peace in the country!!!

  • Serendib Eye

    “They also think that since sinhalese language is spoken only in Sri Lanka and that they have to safeguard the sinhalese language, at any cost!!!”

    That’s a pretty legitimate thought process. Tamils should try and understand this. How do you think Tamils would react, for example, if the 10% Telugu population of Tamil Nadu tried to claim 60% of Tamil Nadu’s coastline and 30% of the land area as part of an exclusive “Telugu homeland”? This is in a place where peple set themselves on fire for “the love of the Tamil language” and burn and attack Kannadiga shops and people when there is a dispute with Karnataka.

    In fact, Telugu is not even an offical language of Tamil Nadu despite the fact that Telugu people are a significant minority in Tamil Nadu. So it appears that Tamils may point fingers at the Sinhalese but when it actually comes to the treatment of minorities in areas where Tamils are in the majority the situation is actually worse. The biggest ethnic cleansing that happened in Sri Lanka was perpetrated by Tamils against a Tamil-speaking minority – the Muslims.

  • Krish

    Dear Serendib Eye,

    Not sure how much you know about India/Tamil Nadu, but you are taking an extremely narrow view of things when it comes to Tamil Nadu. First of all, self-immolation and more importantly, setting shops on fire has literally happened in every state in South India, whether it is Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu or Karnataka. Whenever a water dispute happens between Karnataka and TN, buses of the other side are attacked by both sides (not just Tamil Nadu as you claim). And frankly, linguistic fanaticism is present everywhere in India with the only difference being the level of fanaticism. In the mid-nineties, Karnataka even mandated names of destinations on buses to written in Kannada-only making it difficult for others to understand, especially in places like Bangalore. If you go to many parts of Northern India, not knowing to read/write/speak Hindi will give you a real hard time.

    Regarding separate homeland for Telugu speakers in Tamil Nadu, please note that Andhra Pradesh was the first state in India to be formed on linguistic basis (from Madras Presidency). After that, 3 other states Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were formed in S. India on linguistic basis. So, in a strange way, it is the Telugu people (or a movement to represent them) demanded a separate state and got it earlier than anyone else. And the Indian constitution allows separation on a linguistic basis for new state formation since that time. Oddly enough, for Tamil Nadu, it’s chief minister Karunanidhi’s origins are from Andhra Pradesh and he speaks Telugu at home.

    And when you say that Telugu is not an official language in Tamil Nadu, you conveniently ignore that Tamil isn’t an official language in AP either. And when AP was formed, many districts that became a part of AP from Madras Presidency (like Nellore, Chittoor districts) had a significant Tamil-minority population and continue to do so even today. So, in TamilNadu vs AP scenario, whatever you say is equally applicable to the other side as well.

    Frankly, like Wijayapala said in another post, we must read/learn a lot instead of generalizing things like the way you do. 🙂

  • Krish

    Dear Sunit Bagree,

    You say, “I’m not saying that the government should have stopped obtaining intelligence and conducting military operations. But perhaps it could have always tried to get back to a properly monitored ceasefire and genuine negotiations. Part of this task would have been to get the international community to squeeze the LTTE in various ways so that they would take the peace process seriously. All this assumes a state operating in good faith.”

    Dealing with terrorist organizations is always very tough for any Government, particularly for Srilanka with LTTE, The problem with these groups is (whether it is LTTE or Hamas or Taliban) is they don’t come to a battlefield and fight you. They attack you thru suicide bombers, land mines etc. Even in the final stages of the war last year, had LTTE surrendered without any fight, it would have been easier for everyone else. What are the options for a conventional army when the enemy (LTTE in this case) hides behind the civilians and started shooting? And even when civilians pleaded with them to let them go, they didn’t (if reports were to be believed). And I am not saying that Srilankan army didn’t commit any crimes, but in a war if a side is hiding behind civilians, what is the SLA supposed to? If they do a limited war like you say, that would embolden LTTE, scare the innocent Tamil people caught in this and more importantly, LTTE would live for another 2 years to comeback again.

    Peace process was going on for years with LTTE from 2002 till 2005, but LTTE kept violating many a times. Things got really worse, when they stopped water supply to the south that affected the livelihoods of many people in the Sinhala-majority areas. That is the kind of organization that LTTE was. All that you suggested were tried by Chandrika, Ranil and others but LTTE would never negotiate in good faith.

  • yapa

    Dear wijayapala,

    From the answers given to you by Sunit Bagree in his post of December 2, 2010 @ 9:41 pm, I feel like he seemed to believe followings as ” self evidence universal truths” which should be adhered to at any cost.

    1. The Cease Fire Agreement

    2. Right of self-determination

    People like him may add concepts mentioned below to that self evident list at any cost.

    1. Freedom of thought

    2. Freedom of expression

    3. R2P- right to protect

    4. Rights of minority

    5. Gender Equality

    6. Right to have faith on any religion

    7. Market Oriented Liberal Economy

    8. Democracy (the way practiced by the USA as leaked by wiki leaks)

    9. Lessie-afire

    Many people cannot even think anything now without these valuable “absolute truths”.

    But for us the our fundamental “valuable concepts” are different from those mentioned above. Rata, Deya, Samaya (the Country, the Nation and our Religion) are the most valuable first and foremost concepts/ principle that cannot be violated. Any other “valuable concepts” of anybody becomes null and void if they violate the fundamental concept of this country.

    Planted alien concepts that do not represent and violate the aspirations of the people of this country should not and cannot be the basis for solutions for the issues the country. Why one should be adjusted to a set concepts that has been produced by some people in somewhere to suit their requirements. Instead we should produce good set of concepts according to the aspirations of our people.

    There are no “absolute” political principles/concepts. No one should advocate or imposed upon us to be imprisoned in a set of political concepts even though they think them as absolute principles. That may be a “violation of Freedom of Thought”.

    Thanks!

  • longus

    Dear Yapa

    As you say, “violation of Freedom of Thought” can’t be an important concept to us as it lies outside your ‘Rata,Deya and Samaya’,isn’t it? So why bother about it?

  • Sunimal Jayaratne

    I would rather leave it than even wasting a minute reading what DJ has to say today. [Edited out.]

    Looking back comparing dozens DJ s previous articles published on this forum, I feel he has completely been upside down – as if he genetically modified to work for the current govt [Edited out.]

    Very recently, this guy wrote repeatedly that MR has been reelected by the nation – while atleast 30 % of lankens are well aware that it was the most corrupted presi election held in the post independece history.

    However my question is if so called senior political analysts get blind before ruling rhythless leaders, what to talk or think about the average of the country- who are the poor majority in rural areas ?

    For pitty gains our people are ready to do whatever they are being offered.. that is it.

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    This country has taken in so called “alien concepts” and foreign influences throughout its history. It will continue to do so in the 21 century.
    People are free to express their opinions including Sunit Bagree.

  • Santa

    Dear SD,

    Firstly, I should have been more specific: perhaps I should have said child combatants rather than child soldiers because soldiering activities involve much more than active combat.

    The HRW link refers to the LTTE recruiting ‘thousands of child soldiers … since active fighting ended in 2002”. That is, child soldiers during a period when there was no fighting!
    The UNHCR link seems content to accept the evidence of Brig. Sudantha Ranasinghe without question. I would think this particular witness could not be regarded as credible under the circumstances.

    In fact when I have looked into this I have inevitably found that either the witnesses cannot be held as impartial, or the term soldier is used very broadly, or both.
    I have seen many pictures of chldren (some as young as perhaps 3) dressed in LTTE miltary costume – but I have also seen in reality, as well as pictures of, small children and even adults dressed as Santa!

    So I maintain that to this day I have not come across any credible evidence to say that the LTTE used children for active combat. Even Karuna (when he was in the LTTE) though he was responsible for almost all the forcible recruitments of children, never seems to have put them on the frontline as combatants.

    As for the soldier you spoke to, what he thinks he did and saw may well be true: he may have genuinely believed he shot a child soldier/combatant. But there are other explanations: perhaps in the heat of the moment he shot a child who happened to be in the area whom he mistakenly believed was a soldier/combatant, or perhaps those who appeared to be children looked so because of they were undernourished.
    It is however quite possible that toward the very end those who were able to get hold of guns and use them (because many had of course been trained) did so – but the image of little children crazily running around with machine guns and killing, as in Africa, could not possibly be right.

    However let me also make absolutely clear that I do not sympathise with the use of the vulnerable who do not know any better for any purpose that would destroy their lives. The ultimate responsibility however must be with the successive Governments of Sri Lanka and the self seeking politicians who created all this horror.

    Dear wijayapala,

    You almost had me change my mind and had me seriously worried for a while! I first mistakenly thought the author of ‘Children at War’ was Peter Albert David Singer, but then saw that it was only Peter Warren Singer.

    The first [Peter Albert David Singer] is a philosopher who whatever his interpretations are would certainly make sure he got the facts right. Peter Warren Singer on the other hand seems more concerned with book sales and raising his profile – he does write entertainingly for popular consumption but I would question some of what he presents as facts. I would put him even behind Rohan Gunaratne when it comes to factuality and attempts at analysis.
    Peter Warren Singer in his book seems to know something about the African conflicts, but even here some points are questionable, and has simply added in the LTTE to put more colour into his writings. According to Peter Warren Singer the LTTE operation Oyatha Alaikal was about some place called Multavi: where’s that? And also everyone knows that the LTTE strategy and tactics were not at all the way he in a few lines describes it while trying to connect it to the African situation.
    Still, Peter Warren Singer is worth a read: a window into those worlds we may not be familiar with. But keep in mind that the window-pane is in places often very badly distorted and smudged.

    Dear Sunit Bagree,

    Your comprehension and logic seem very flawed: how ever did you mange to interpret my saying that the LTTE lost so easily because it tried to be a conventional fighting force in the wrong circumstances, as my saying that the LTTE would not have lost if it used child soldiers/combatants?

    I did not earlier comment on your article as such but only noted that Dayan Jayatilleka’s criticism was faulty.

    However, I did wonder as to why you, an outsider, have written in the way you have. What you say about the lack of meaningful healing and resolution even after well over a year has already been stated by so many people inside the country and outside many times over – and the same has been disputed by those such as Dayan Jayatilleke according to their motives. To this issue then you have added nothing substantial, but only a further voice like a signature to a petition perhaps.

    But Sunit Bagree, I did notice something rather fishy in your article: “the role played by foreign states in facilitating the defeat of the LTTE is important to recognise. For example, China and Pakistan have been very happy to sell arms to Sri Lanka while Iran has provided cheap finance and invested heavily in infrastructure development.”
    But you make absolutely no mention that it was indeed none other than India that played the overwhelmingly major role in facilitating the defeat of the LTTE – and it was also India, though the only power in position to do something at that moment in time, that coldly stood by while thousands of helpless Tamil civilians were killed!
    When you only refer to the ambivalence of India it is suggestive that you are downplaying something!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    I don’t say any concept should not be respected. But they cannot violate our fundamental principles. That is the thumb rule.

    We all know how those alien “absolute principles” have been used by the “elite nations” to civilize the so called ‘uncivilized world. None of our people had/have criticisms about their political theories even before they started capturing the countries to “civilize the people living in them”. Those political theories used to civilize the “unfortunate people” who had no knowledge about the God have rendered a mighty service though hundred thousands of unfortunate people were killed and billions worth of their resources that has no value to those uncivilized creatures were taken for the benefit of the God fearing civilized world. Millions of people were displaced against their will and taken as slaves to build up mighty empires, still their political theories were unblemished.There are no bad political theories born in the west. If a theory is born in there, they are absolute truths and inviolable principles. Our theories are theories developed by uncivilized people. However, whole world now know how differently those universal theories work for them and work for us. wiki leaks opened the eyes of many. Dear niranjan, at least open your eyes now and see the world with some sense. Be proud of yourself and of your country and its people, not of the imperialists who exploited us to the born and broke our backbones.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear longus

    “As you say, “violation of Freedom of Thought” can’t be an important concept to us as it lies outside your ‘Rata,Deya and Samaya’,isn’t it? So why bother about it?”

    They think our freedom of thought is not valuable as theirs.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “People are free to express their opinions including Sunit Bagree.”

    “Is this another self evident universal principle”? God said so?

    Thanks!

  • wijayapala

    Dear niranjan

    People are free to express their opinions including Sunit Bagree.

    Unless you’re living in the UK, where you are allowed to suppress free speech by threatening violence:

    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/1855

  • wijayapala

    Dear Santa

    You really need to think hard. If the LTTE did not use child COMBATANTS, then ****why risk international approbation by allowing all those photos out there with Tamil children holding weapons???**** And how come the LTTE supporters THEMSELVES did not claim that the LTTE did not use child soldiers??? Those facts alone demolishes your entire line of thought.

    I personally have spoken to former combatants who have been rehabilitated. One of them was “special forces.” Another was on a mortar crew.

    The HRW link refers to the LTTE recruiting ‘thousands of child soldiers … since active fighting ended in 2002”. That is, child soldiers during a period when there was no fighting!

    You mean there was no active fighting from 2006-9???? You should tell that to all the people accusing the govt of war crimes!

    I have seen many pictures of chldren (some as young as perhaps 3) dressed in LTTE miltary costume

    And have you seen pictures of 3-year olds carrying weapons?

    http://www.nationalsecurity.lk/fullnews.php?id=6576

    Peter Warren Singer in his book seems to know something about the African conflicts, but even here some points are questionable, and has simply added in the LTTE to put more colour into his writings.

    You are correct that his knowledge of the LTTE is limited, but I was using his ANALYSIS to debunk your claim that children are not useful for a conventional army. You have not disproven at all that point.

  • Krish

    Not sure what was achieved by the expatriate Tamils by behaving this way. If they had any serious concerns, say for example, some of their folks went missing, or died or displaced still in the north during the war, or were taken by the SL army and never came back etc. etc., they should have simply taken this opportunity to tell the president first hand. Doing what they did they only showed their unwillingness to engage with Rajapakse or the Srilankan Government. You may disagree with Mahinda or his policies, but he is a democratically elected president. It is rather shameful when the Tamil folks in UK engage in this manner.

  • Belle

    “Unless you’re living in the UK, where you are allowed to suppress free speech by threatening violence:”

    Why don’t we cast our sights nearer home? Would have been more apt to say, “unless you’re living in Sri Lanka, where not even the media has the right to free speech.” Since when was Rakapaksa’s freedom to speak under threat? Does he not have entire media organizations at his disposal?

    Oxford Union needs to have its collective head examined for even issuing the invitation in the first place. They should try coming down from their ivory tower long enough to realize that where suspected massacres are at stake, the speaking should be done in a court of law, not at a debate forum, no matter how august. The invitation to Rajapaksa was completely disrespectful of diaspora Tamils who believe, rightly or wrongly, that their family members and community were killed by a terrorist state. I don’t see the Oxford Union inviting Osama bin Laden around for scones and some free speech. Why not? Because there the dead bodies were white, and therefore deserving of respect?

  • Davidson

    Sri Lankans think that it’s the Tamil diaspora.
    But the truth is university students of one country sympathesing for those of another country and ”war crimes” happening anywhere is widely condemned.

    What those people may or may not know is how the Tamils have been treated in the last eighteen months:
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/srilanka/The-refugees-and-resettled-Lanka-s-nowhere-people/Article1-520268.aspx
    The refugees and resettled, Lanka’s nowhere people, Sutirtho Patranobis, 17 March 2010: ‘’On the stretch of the A9 highway between Vavuniya and Jaffna, hundreds of released IDP families have put up flimsy tents or taken shelter in broken houses. After months in camps, they now have the freedom of movement. But little else.’’

    For his next visit:
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=33166
    Rajapaksa vengeance orchestrates political shield of captive Tamils in Vanni, 4 December 2010:
    ”On Saturday early morning, amidst heavy rains, Sri Lanka army rounded up ‘re-settled’ Tamil civilians in Vanni, including pregnant mothers, elderly and children, and brought them to Ki’linochchi forcing them to carry placards in a ‘demonstration’ that Rajapaksa was doing good to them…”

  • Agnos

    Krish,

    Other than the fact that some of the protesters held LTTE flags, which is clearly deplorable, I don’t see a problem with protesting against a war criminal–criminals who snuff out thousands of innocent lives and assassinate journalists critical of them, can have their free speech in a court of law. They can speak when the judge gives them their chance.

    The Oxford Union made a misguided decision to call a war criminal to speak to them; their claim of neutrality is hogwash. There is no such thing as neutrality when you call a war criminal and give him an audience.

    As for being ‘democratically’ elected, that is immaterial. There are many Congressmen elected by voters who, when shown to be criminal, are jailed; that doesn’t make the initial choice by voters any right. A majority of Sinhalese people decided, wrongly, to elect a war criminal to power. It is democracy’s burden that when the majority of voters fail in their civic duty to be careful in whom they elect, the whole country will suffer. But for the victims, he will always remain a war criminal, to be indicted and jailed.

    Here is the full video of a barbaric war crime by the SLA that a friend of mine who holds a senior position with the Government of Singapore, sent me. http://www.lobbyforpeace.com/
    (Note: The Video is too gruesome, includes naked dead bodies of women, and is not suitable for children. Because of this, I think Ch4 of UK didn’t show all of it).

    Only a barbarian would dismiss such a detailed, clear video and question its authenticity, as Mahinda Rajapaksa did.
    As an Indian, you should be ashamed that your government colluded with the GoSL in whitewashing such crimes. We will remember your government’s duplicity and criminal complicity in this whole sordid war for generations to come.

  • The Mervyn Silva

    The Heshan said,

    The king must die so that the country can live.

    – Maximilien Robespierre

    The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.

    – Maximilien Robespierre

    Source: brainyquote.com

    Yes, folks – the ills of S. Lanka, summed up in two lines.

    The Heshan,

    To my thinking the modern history of the Sr Lanka side is very simple – and short. It is like this:

    In the beginning, there was nothing.

    Then there was the Thing. It was called the Prabhakaran.

    Then came another Thing. This was called the Rajapaksa.

    The Rajapaksa killed the Prabhakaran.

    Now we are having no-Thing.

    But there is now another Thing.

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “People are free to express their opinions including Sunit Bagree.”

    Many times I have seen you were expressing a similar quote,

    ” YOU ARE ENTITLE TO YOUR OPINION”, to counter arguments.

    DO YOU KNOW THAT YOUR COUNTER ARGUMENT ABOVE HAS NO VALUE AND IT IS A LOGICAL FALLACY POPULAR AMONG PEOPLE LIKE YOU?

    Many of the political ideologies many utter/preach as absolute truths to “ignorant godayas” of this country and to the “uncivilized world” are not less frequent with fallacies, but maintained as “absolute principle” with the might of power, propaganda and with help of money spent all over the world to reap benefits to their producers. Other than that many of the popular political ideologies have no absolute or literary value.

    Please read.

    http://inviink.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/logical-fallacies-that-just-wont-die-the-opinion-entitlement-fallacy/

    May preach logical fallacies to us, but we believe them as absolute truths and preach others to believe and practice.

    niranjan, do you belong to that category?

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    correction………

    “May preach logical fallacies to us, but ……………………..”

    should read as ” Many preach logical fallacies to us, but……….”

    Thanks!

  • yapa
  • Punitham

    ”Military expenditure should be switched to civilian goals, ….”

    http://blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/6977/2010-12-03.html
    How Culture of War Threatens Human Civilization, 3 December 2010:

    ”…… the catastrophic human and economic costs of using violence or military force to settle socio-political differences have left indelible scars in the body politics of a number of countries in various regions of the world. Prominent among these are: Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Chechnya, Darfur, Iraq, Liberia, North Korea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, the Congo, the Middle East, and Uganda, etc.”

  • Heshan

    The Mervyn Silva,

    Now we are having another thing called the King. The King has lots of treasures – tsunami money, 10% commissions,”gifts” from the IMF, and gifts from his new friend Kumar Pathmanathan. The King is also the Finance Minister, so he is in charge of the treasury, and members of his family have occupied most of the important civil service positions. With so much power and wealth, the King must surely be bored. Competition brings new challenges and leads to innovation, but this King has left his competition to rot in Nanthikadaal Lagoon and Welikade Prison.

  • The Mervyn Silva

    The Heshan,

    I am agreeing. The KIng is the (new) Thing.

    But if we are to overthrow the King Thing,

    We must have something else.

    Hopefully not the the Thing from the Welikada side or the Nanthikadal side.

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    “People are free to express their opinions’- Is that a fallacy? I do not think so.
    When did freedom of expression become a fallacy?

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    But they cannot violate our fundamental principles. That is the thumb rule. – what are those principles that are so fundamental in your opinion?

    thumb rule- whose thumb rules are you talking about? Yours I presume. Not anyone elses.

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    Dear niranjan, at least open your eyes now and see the world with some sense. –
    I have seen the world. It is people like you who may not have seen the world or cannot make sense of it.

  • Santa

    Dear wijayapala,

    Perhaps the LTTE assumed that there was no risk of international reprobation exactly because they were only photos of children dressed up – but they should certainly have more carefully sought international approbation; not to do so was another of their mistakes.

    Did you ask those former ‘combatants’, or perhaps former soldiers, what exactly they did? I would think that not a single one of them would have been involved in actual close frontline combat.
    The special forces and motar crew probably helped to carry stuff. But still, firing a mortar is quite easy so maybe some of them sometimes actually fired mortar rounds as well.
    Also some of the government’s actions made many children want to join the LTTE to avenge their family members and friends.

    From 2002 to 2006 is 4 years, so if someone aged 16 was trained in 2002 they would have been 20 in 2006 and 23 by 2009 – still very sad waste of lives!

    The national security site is a pro Government of Sri Lanka site, so what do you expect? Of course its anti-LTTE propaganda!

    The recruitment and training, or even use for certain soldiering activities such as firing mortar rounds and carrying ammunition and things, of under-age persons is one thing. But the image of swarms child soldiers going wild with machine guns, and being forced to do so, as in Africa is definitely wrong.

    The African type of child soldier/combatant image was made use of to demonise the LTTE. But now it is the time for reconcilliation.
    And if, and this is a very big IF, reconcilliation is really what the government wants all the false stories and propaganda that demonised the Tamils should be corrected.
    The child soldier propaganda also demonises the Tamils because most Tamils (whether or not they liked the LTTE) supported the LTTE because they thought it was their only hope.

    (A better comparison maybe the Vietcong – they also had children to help them to do certain things).

    There has been no example anywhere in the world where the use of children to fight as in Africa has been successful. If Peter Warren Singer has said that, as you say, then his analysis is wrong.
    I think it is also correct to say that by definition a conventional army has certain strict rules about the function of under-aged persons.

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    1. “People are free to express their opinions’- Is that a fallacy? I do not think so.
    When did freedom of expression become a fallacy?

    Didn’t you read the given link? It is a fallacy. You cab find enough evidence by browsing internet. Many popular political theories like Liberalism is based on such fallacies.

    2.”I have seen the world. It is people like you who may not have seen the world or cannot make sense of it.”

    True, please remove your dark glasses made in west, when you see the world next time. Then you will realize that the world has a different colour than what you have perceived.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “thumb rule- whose thumb rules are you talking about? Yours I presume. Not anyone elses.”

    No, it is the thumb rule of deeply rooted Sri Lankan tradition. It is fairer such a tradition to become our thumb rule rather than alien traditions that brought misery to the rest of the world.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    It is recommended to read the world history of past 500 – 600 yrs or so to know what a devastation those “universal political theories” “endowed” to the rest of the humankind. Just see how the demographical map of the world has changed during the period. That alone will tell you the fairness of the dominating (declining) political theories of the world.

    Many are seeking alternatives and are successful in finding their own theories suit to their contexts. “Universally true political theory illusion” is becoming obsolete.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    For your attention please.

    http://print.dailymirror.lk/editorial/106-editorial/29324.html

    Thanks!

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    Please explain to me the deeply rooted Sri Lankan traditions ?

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    There is no pure Sri Lankan tradition just as there is no pure Sri Lankan race Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher etc. We have intermarried for centuries and our genes are mixed.

  • SD

    Dear Santa,

    RE: “The child soldier propaganda also demonises the Tamils because most Tamils (whether or not they liked the LTTE) supported the LTTE because they thought it was their only hope.”

    The *fact* of the use of child soldiers demonizes the LTTE, not the Tamil people. It is crucial to be educated on the nature of the LTTE, instead of believing comforting fairy tales about them. If, on the other hand, the majority of Tamil people supported the LTTE *while knowing (or ignoring) this fact*, perhaps it’s time for those people to seriously reconsider their views? Sorry, the truth cannot be wished away just because it helps you to reduce your cognitive dissonance.

  • SD

    Santa,

    Further to my previous post, it should also be noted that the kind of denial you’re in, is very similar to the denial displayed by those who would go as far as to believe in conspiracy theories of the LTTE orchestrating Black July. But just as one cannot deny the reality (and subsequent consequences) of Black July, so too can you not deny the reality of child soldiers and its consequences. Just as one cannot deny the fact that many people died in the final stretch of the war. just as one cannot deny that Sinhalese and Tamils have both been racist and so on and so forth.

    Peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved by sticking our collective heads in the sand.

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “Please explain to me the deeply rooted Sri Lankan traditions ?”

    I think you know the taste of an apple. Can you explain it to me?

    Same here, Taste it for yourself.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “There is no pure Sri Lankan tradition just as there is no pure Sri Lankan race Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher etc. We have intermarried for centuries and our genes are mixed.”

    Yes! It is an integral part of Sri Lankan Tradition.

    Thanks!

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    Yapa,

    “Please explain to me the deeply rooted Sri Lankan traditions ?”- I am eagerly waiting for your explanation as to what “Sri Lankan traditions” are. Besides how deeply rooted are they?

    .

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “Please explain to me the deeply rooted Sri Lankan traditions ?”- I am eagerly waiting for your explanation as to what “Sri Lankan traditions” are. Besides how deeply rooted are they?

    You want me to be an Issac Newton to re-invent Calculus?

    Just browse the net, you will find so many sources to understand it. I’ll give you just two links to start with.

    1. http://www.google.lk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CB4QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.srilanka.travel%2Findex.php%3Foption%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D412%26lang%3Den&ei=lcwATcmWDcXVrQf4toWRDw&usg=AFQjCNHHbbHicYUKbdTpX9L5rGS918Ux-Q

    2. http://www.google.lk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lankalibrary.com%2Frit.html&ei=lcwATcmWDcXVrQf4toWRDw&usg=AFQjCNEU8JxQW9DW9ABX2JgDdLiMgJbv0Q

    By the way, Are Sri Lankan Traditions alien to you?

    Thanks!

  • niranjan

    Yapa,

    First tell me what a Sri Lankan tradition is? Then I will tell you if it is alien to me or not.

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “First tell me what a Sri Lankan tradition is?”

    Please read the given links. It will give you some hints. however, I will tell you something salient about Sri Lanksn Tradition which is alien to western traditions. To tell you a secret, in our tradition our people knew/know to use transcendental/metaphysical knowledge for the betterment of their lives while western people rely only on mundane things. (Don’t you believe me? I can scientifically prove that transcendental things really work.) Their knowledge base is also limited to that mundane box. That is the reason for their so materialistic and consumerist life styles, traditions and world view. They only see materialistic realities, still they cannot put even them into practice as their sole objective is based on craving to please their sensory urges. Selfishness so created brought a massive destruction to the world as wars, invasions, genocides, enslaving people etc. etc. Recently experienced failure of their economies is a natural outcome of their foolish traditions and visions. They are lack of spiritual vision in them.

    Many do not understand these complex realities, and try to give materialistic solutions to all the problems. You will have to identify the non material aspects of the issues as well to provide satisfactory answers. West will have to learn them from our traditions. Really they on the path for that, but you are still wondering in the jungle of western traditions.

    Feel the touch of eastern traditions too. They are repositories of traditional knowledge alien to the west.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    “First tell me what a Sri Lankan tradition is? Then I will tell you if it is alien to me or not.”

    You don’t need to answer the question mentioned in the second sentence above for me to know the answer for it. The answer is “YES, It is alien to you”.

    Your first sentence (question) itself provides the answer for it, just as no help is necessary to understand that “intelligent man is a man”. Your first sentence (question to know answer from me) itself implies that you don’t know the answer and therefore Sri Lankan Tradtion is alien to you, (if you are honest in asking the first question).

    However, it definitely shows your lack of exposure to the valuable areas of Western Traditions too, except for western garbage like fallacy ridden western political ideologies which contain your “kokatath thailaya” (panacea), liberalism. If you had some awareness of the nature of formal logic introduced by Aristotle and later developed by philosophers like Emmanuel Kant which is an integral part of the “Valuable Traditions” of the west, you wouldn’t have put those two sentences together. By “Analytical judgement” the first sentence of yours implies the answer to the second.

    Puzzled?

    Those are the marvels endowed to the world by ” Valuable Traditions”, whether they belong to east or west. Fallacy ridden biased traditions of the west like “universal political ideologies” can bring only destruction and harm to the world. They are nothing more than garbage.

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan;

    If you want to know the source(s) of the fallacies found in the most of the western political ideologies, just give me a ring.

    Thanks!

    • niranjan

      Yapa,

      Those fallacies that you talk about is your opinion and not mine.
      I do not accept what you say.

  • luxmy

    ”military defeat of the LTTE came as a surprise”

    No, Shouldn’t be a surprise:

    i.The scale of military expenditure by the Sri Lankan government could buy any advanced technology.
    ii.The oppressed have no representation at intergovernmental bodies where the oppressor(the Sri lankan government) has the support of similar oppressors and expertly controls damage by ”appointing” commissions
    iii.Sri Lanka, being an island, internal colonialism has been holding sway for more than six decades and has been successful in decimating the socio-economic-environmental fabric of the Northeast.
    iv.mass exodus would have taken place in the 50s/60s and there wouldn’t have been this carnage, had Sri lanka been NOT an island.

  • Santa

    Dear SD,

    There is no cognitive disonance on my part because I am not trying to sustain any contradictory views.

    The truth seems to be as follows:
    The LTTE did train under-age persons and also made use of them for a variety of purposes. If the term ‘soldier’ is to be used very broadly then certainly it is correct to say that the LTTE used ‘child-soldiers’ – yet the LTTE did it seems recognise these persons as children and under the circumstances did extend due care and concern and discipline.
    The LTTE did not send swarms ofchildren into battle firing machine guns as cannon fodder to scare and soften the enemy and to save their own senior/important people like in the African civil wars. (And the LTTE children were not drugged up like in the African situation). The LTTE also did not use or even train child suicide bombers as in the middle-east.

    My point is that the incorrect/untruthful associations with the African and middle-eastern scenarios does not help with going forward.

    In fact I am also now seriously begining to question the image of Prabakaran as a crazy megalomaniac! Maybe he should be posthumously rehabilitated?
    (But definitely our southern megalomaniac politicians are greedy and crazy.)

  • wijayapala

    Dear Santa,

    Before we continue, is there anyone else out there under the delusion that the LTTE never recruited child soldiers (Donner? Blitzen?)? You seem to be treading a rather lonely path, my friend.

    The same human rights organisations that are currently criticising Sri Lanka have also condemned the LTTE’s use of child soldiers. Are you saying that these groups are wrong and that Mahinda was not lying when he said there were zero civilian casualties?

    There has been no example anywhere in the world where the use of children to fight as in Africa has been successful. If Peter Warren Singer has said that, as you say, then his analysis is wrong.

    Ahem, then how did Charles Taylor take over Liberia? How did the RUF of Sierra Leone survive virtual annihilation not once but TWICE? How did Joseph Kony, a high-school dropout/witch doctor create an army out of virtually nothing in Uganda?

    Perhaps the LTTE assumed that there was no risk of international reprobation exactly because they were only photos of children dressed up

    The problem with that interesting theory is that the LTTE DID experience international reprobation yet totally refused to change course, even after becoming banned internationally as a terrorist organisation. If EVERYBODY except for you mistakenly believed that the LTTE used child soldiers, would it not have been quite easy for the LTTE to disprove that??

    The special forces and motar crew probably helped to carry stuff.

    Your ignorance of armed combat is quite astounding. “Special forces” does not mean porters. Mortars are infantry weapons that are used relatively close to front lines and are often at the receiving end of enemy artillery. Anyone serving in a mortar crew would most certainly have been exposed to death on a regular basis.

    Also some of the government’s actions made many children want to join the LTTE to avenge their family members and friends.

    Thank you for acknowledging that the LTTE indeed used child combatants, although in the same post you are still holding onto contrary ideas. Kindly keep your story consistent.

    It is true that some children often joined the LTTE out of revenge. It is also true that the LTTE did not allow them to leave if they wanted to. I recommend that you read Margaret Trawick’s recent book on the civil war in Batticaloa during the 1990s. She presents the reasons behind the myths why children joined (for example, using young female cadre to tease boys) and also how as many as one-third of enlistees wanted to leave but could not.

    But the image of swarms child soldiers going wild with machine guns, and being forced to do so, as in Africa is definitely wrong.

    Prove it.

    The African type of child soldier/combatant image was made use of to demonise the LTTE. But now it is the time for reconcilliation.

    But there is no need for reconciliation with the LTTE, because it is gone! 😀

    I think it is also correct to say that by definition a conventional army has certain strict rules about the function of under-aged persons.

    Nope. A conventional army is distinguished from a guerrilla army in that the former has the logistical and other capability to fight engagements toe-to-toe with other conventional armies, whereas guerrillas cannot do so.

  • Lol, Santa. The LTTE did exactly what you say they didn’t do — I was at Elephant Pass in ’91, and the Tigers used children in frontal attacks against us. I saw it with my own eyes. The first wave was unarmed and their job was to run through the minefields in column of twos, clearing a path with their bodies for the second wave, which was armed women, working in pairs, who would run through the cleared paths in the minefields and place Bangalore torpedoes against our razor wire. The third wave was again children and unarmed again, except for satchel charges which they would carry through the gaps in the wire and try to throw into our strongpoints — most who got through died in the explosions. The fourth wave was armed males who would assault our first line with rifles and grenades. The fifth wave was unarmed again, adult males or females, who would pick up the weapons of the dead from the fourth wave as well as those of our dead if they’d taken our first line. They would then together assault our second line. There were variations on this tactic, but that was it, basically.

    Firing mortars is easy — like any other infantry weapon — but hitting your target is particularly difficult with this weapon, and good mortarmen need experience and a certain instinct. If children are used in mortar units, they’re always ammo bearers and loaders — the gunners are always adults.

  • Davidson

    http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/24337/
    Sri Lanka: 18 months after civil war, Graham Thom, 9 December 2010:

    ”……..Travelling to the east of the country, in and around Trincomalee (a predominantly Tamil part of the country which was often the front line in the recent conflict) the police and military presence was even greater. It felt as though you were visiting an occupied country. …….. Unfortunately I couldn’t get to the north of the country where I had heard the situation is even worse for the locals. The military presence is even greater and the level of infrastructure for those returning home often nonexistent. Instead I drove back to Colombo down the west coast, an area largely untouched by the war. I was struck by how different it looked and felt. There were very little military to be seen, nice roads and no bright blue camps. It seemed more like half a world away.”

  • Davidson

    http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/24337/
    Sri Lanka: 18 months after civil war, Graham Thom, 9 December 2010:
    ”….I was able to visit a number of the refugee families who had recently returned to Sri Lank after having lived in India for a number of years. Their makeshift houses were extremely basic and the police were never too far away. Their poverty and the suspicion they were treated with in their own home contrasted sharply with the busloads of “tourists”; Singhalese from the south visiting a part of their country inaccessible to them for over 20 years. As one group scratched to rebuild their homes and find enough food to feed their children, the other happily played on the beach. ….”

  • Santa

    Dear Wijayapla,

    I never said that the LTTE did not use children. Of course children were involved and sometimes the children would have been in high risk situations. Margaret Trawick mentions that there were children in the LTTE camps but she does not say any of them were involved in any fighting. The LTTE did it seems take into account the fact that they were children and assigned them to appropriate duties.

    What I am insisting on is that the LTTE never used children in a completely callous way as in Africa.
    In the Africa, and with the Mexican gangs, children are simply made use of in order for the leaders to gain power and control.

    There are no child armies outside Africa, and even their existence in Africa does not mean that they are succesful there.

    By conventional army I was not using that word in contrast to ‘unconventional’. Sorry, I should have made that clearer: The LTTE did come to see themselves as the armed force of a future state. So they did see themselves as having to hold to certain conventions/norms as befits such a view.

    I meant reconciliation with all the Tamils including those who hold the LTTE members in affection and with regard.

    Dear David Blacker,

    I do not at all believe that you were at Elephant pass in 1991!!

  • Who am I to argue with your beliefs? They are all that remain when reality has deserted us.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Santa,

    You still have failed to answer my argument that the LTTE never denied using children as combatants, despite being accused by human rights organisations. You also had no answer to my suggestion that you must also believe Mahinda’s claim that the SLA inflicted zero civilian casualties, as you do not hold these organisations to be credible.

    You have also failed to answer the fact that child combatants were used to bring Charles Taylor and the RUF to power in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    Score- wije: 2, Santa: 0

    Margaret Trawick mentions that there were children in the LTTE camps but she does not say any of them were involved in any fighting.

    Wrong- she states that they participated in raids in the east. Also, she does not deny that children were used in combat. On the contrary, a great deal of her narrative deals with the morality of using children in combat.

    What I am insisting on is that the LTTE never used children in a completely callous way as in Africa.

    Because the Tigers were not callous people? Murdering Anandarajah or Rajini Thiranagama were not completely callous acts?

    The LTTE did come to see themselves as the armed force of a future state. So they did see themselves as having to hold to certain conventions/norms as befits such a view.

    But the Tigers also knew that they could never achieve their future state without an effective army, and they could not build that army without using children. Sorry!

    I do not at all believe that you were at Elephant pass in 1991!!

    Do you have evidence to show that DB was not at Elephant Pass in 1991? If not, your claim is quite hollow. To disprove his argument, you will have to provide an account of the battle showing that only adult LTTE combatants participated.

  • Wijayapala, when someone tells you they believe that the earth is flat and the moon made of cheese, it’s a waste of time asking them to prove it 😀 Best leave it to the men in white coats.

    • Santa

      Dear David Blacker,

      OK then! Let me rephrase: I know that you were not at Elephant pass during any LTTE attack in 1991.

      What you write (and the way you write) gives you away!

      “when someone tells you they believe that the earth is flat and the moon made of cheese, it’s a waste of time asking them to prove it Best leave it to the men in white coats.”

      True! Bur also:

      ‘when someone tells you that they saw with their own eyes that the earth is flat and the moon made of cheese, it’s a waste of time asking them to prove it Best leave it to the men in white coats.’

      • Santa, rephrasing your delusions won’t make them reality 😀

    • Santa

      Hello Wijayapala,

      Making a joint statement for political reasons does not mean that the parties involved are in agreement.

      The early UTHR was very good and accurate (especially during Rajini Thiranagama’s time and due to her influence), but the later UTHR they seem to have become very lax and biased: strongly anti-LTTE while being pro Government of SL.

      So I would not give those later reports much credibility.

      For example (the 1995 report), do you realy believe that children with cyanide in their hands would treat what they were doing as a mere game? Would they not rather be terrified at the thought of the possibility of having to take the cyanide? And why do you think they have such a prominent picture of a supposed LTTE child soldier caught by the SL army?
      The second one from 2009 is also obviously and unashamedly pro Government of SL.

      Why is it that in 1991 (immediately after the attack) no one mentioned these so called masses of child soldiers? And since the attack was repulsed there would have been plenty of time and opportunity to take pictures and show the world – But where are they?

      So, why not for example ask (or get someone to ask) Karuna about the tactics of the 1991 elephant pass attack (and the 2000 attack)!

      • wijayapala

        Dear Santa

        Making a joint statement for political reasons does not mean that the parties involved are in agreement.

        Then how can you show that the GoSL and UNICEF are “in agreement?”

        the later UTHR they seem to have become very lax and biased: strongly anti-LTTE while being pro Government of SL.

        Strongly anti-LTTE maybe because LTTE murdered one of its founding members and came gunning for the others?

        So let me understand you correctly- UTHR lacks credibility only when it criticises the LTTE, because the LTTE is beyond all reproach, and only gains credibility when it criticises the govt?

        So I would not give those later reports much credibility.

        But you were the one who told me to read UTHR to learn about LTTE atrocities! Are you telling me that you lack credibility???

        The early UTHR was very good and accurate (especially during Rajini Thiranagama’s time and due to her influence), but

        I agree that Rajini had a great influence on the UTHR; the introduction of Broken Palmyra had one of the best analytical histories of post-independence SL that I’ve ever come across, showing how the shortcomings of the Tamil and Left parties helped pave the way for Sinhala chauvinist politics.

        For example (the 1995 report), do you realy believe that children with cyanide in their hands would treat what they were doing as a mere game? Would they not rather be terrified at the thought of the possibility of having to take the cyanide?

        …because they’re children? Human beings in an early stage of development who haven’t built up their sense of judgment yet???

        And why do you think they have such a prominent picture of a supposed LTTE child soldier caught by the SL army?

        Where is the picture?

        The second one from 2009 is also obviously and unashamedly pro Government of SL.

        LOL!! Here are some of the subtitles that give away this “obvious” pro-govt bias:

        18th May: Getting Uglier – Tell Tale Evidence of Killing Surrendees

        Insensitivity to IDP Needs:An Incident in Menic Farm Zone 4

        Lying about Heavy Weapons all the Way

        19th April 2009: Far from Surgical

        The Doctors face Justice that Brays

        The Conduct of Operations: More Troubling Questions

        Why is it that in 1991 (immediately after the attack) no one mentioned these so called masses of child soldiers?

        Maybe for the same reason why no one has ever suggested that the LTTE did not use children as combatants?

        And since the attack was repulsed there would have been plenty of time and opportunity to take pictures and show the world – But where are they?

        There was an astrologer who predicted there would be a santa in the future who would deny that the dead children were LTTE combatants and claim that they were innocents butchered by the SLA and dressed up as LTTE. Luckily SLA heeded the advice.

        So, why not for example ask (or get someone to ask) Karuna about the tactics of the 1991 elephant pass attack (and the 2000 attack)!

        1. Because nobody (except for you) has denied that LTTE used children there?

        2. Because Karuna himself was not there in 1991?

    • Santa

      Dear Wijayapala,

      “Where is the picture?

      The picture of the supposed child soldier is in the UTHR link that you yourself provided!!
      http://www.uthr.org/Briefings/Briefing2.htm

      So am I to infer that you do not thoroughly check your sources?

      “Sorry pops, but you’ll have to produce citations from Ms. Trawick to back up your tall tale. We’re not interested in your selective imaginations.”

      No popsy, it is you who brought up Margaret Trawick as a witness according to your imaginations about what she actually wrote, and I pointed out that MT never says what you claim but rather is very sympathetic to the LTTE whom she sees as quite principled etc. etc.
      In fact if, IF, you had read her carefully you would agree with me.

      “Kindly note that nowhere does Sivaram echo your empty claim that children were not used as cannon fodder.”

      Very true, but then nowhere does Sivaram deny that there are unicorns in the north-pole either!
      Read what he says very carefully and you will see that he actually denies that the LTTE forcibly conscripted children.

      “LOL!! Here are some of the subtitles that give away this “obvious” pro-govt bias”

      The following is evidence as to why I said the UTHR link showed definite pro-govt bias:

      In the introduction we find this: “It is not so much a case of what the LTTE did to the people, but what the State became through its own excesses in the course of fighting it.”

      Need I explain?

      Of course there are complaints in the report about the SL government excesses – and these appear to provide balance. But it is in the above context: so that what the govt did is, according to UTHR, because the LTTE (bad through and through from inception), drove them to to it!

      Karuna was not at Elephant pass in 1991, but he knew about it very well and was part of the planning for the 2000 attack which took into account the lessons of 1991.

      Depending on who contributed some UTHR reports make sense some don’t. But I like all of Rajini’s writings – it shows a lot of integrity.

      • wijayapala

        Dear Santa

        Karuna was not at Elephant pass in 1991, but he knew about it very well and was part of the planning for the 2000 attack which took into account the lessons of 1991.

        But you seem to be missing the larger point that nobody aside from yourself actually believes that the LTTE did not use children as cannon fodder. Hence Mr Karuna does not have to convince anyone that the LTTE used children in massed assaults in 1991, since you have clearly done a poor job convincing the world of your truth.

        Let me illustrate how most people would treat your tall tales which you have not been able to confirm with evidence:

        1) What do you think about those pathetically deluded Eelamoids who continue to believe that V. Prabakaran is still alive?

        2) Do you think that they’re lying to themselves to retain some false sense of pride that they can still achieve their goals?

        I pointed out that MT never says what you claim but rather is very sympathetic to the LTTE whom she sees as quite principled etc. etc.

        Which is exactly, EXACTLY why if the LTTE did not use children in combat, MT would’ve been the first to declare so and thus vindicate the LTTE!

        “Kindly note that nowhere does Sivaram echo your empty claim that children were not used as cannon fodder.”
        Very true, but then nowhere does Sivaram deny that there are unicorns in the north-pole either!
        Read what he says very carefully and you will see that he actually denies that the LTTE forcibly conscripted children.

        Correction: Sivaram denies that ALL child combatants were conscripted, a rather moot point since groups like UTHR never made that absolute claim.

        Ahem, wasn’t our topic the use of children for COMBAT, not forceful recruitment? Kindly keep your head focused. You haven’t answered the point that Sivaram counted children in formulating his Military Participation Ratio. That means he considered them combatants.

        The following is evidence as to why I said the UTHR link showed definite pro-govt bias:
        “In the introduction we find this: “It is not so much a case of what the LTTE did to the people, but what the State became through its own excesses in the course of fighting it.”
        “Need I explain?

        Soooo… you believe that the State committed no excesses then???

        Of course there are complaints in the report about the SL government excesses – and these appear to provide balance. But it is in the above context: so that what the govt did is, according to UTHR, because the LTTE (bad through and through from inception), drove them to to it!

        Soooo… the LTTE did not do anything bad?

        Depending on who contributed some UTHR reports make sense some don’t.

        Soooo… only the UTHR reports that “make sense” are the anti-govt ones, while the anti-LTTE reports don’t “make sense?”

        Unfortunately you have neither specified who nor which reports don’t “make sense.” Much like the rest of your argumentation, you are being vague to the point of uselessness.

        But I like all of Rajini’s writings – it shows a lot of integrity.

        It’s too bad you spit on her grave by admiring her murderers as well. And please spare me your garbage that the IPKF or SLA did it- try convincing her children instead (it certainly would be hilarious to watch you tell them that the LTTE never used children in combat!).

  • Santa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    “You still have failed to answer my argument that the LTTE never denied using children as combatants, despite being accused by human rights organisations.”

    To the contrary: the LTTE has denied using children as combatants very many times. And after the many accusations the LTTE has even insisted that it had stopped recruiting children for any purpose.

    “You also had no answer to my suggestion that you must also believe Mahinda’s claim that the SLA inflicted zero civilian casualties, as you do not hold these organisations to be credible.”

    Your argument seems to be: Since both MR and the LTTE denied what the HROs said then either both are correct in their denials or both are wrong in their denials.
    This is fallacious, because the possibility that one of the denials is correct and the other incorrect also exists.

    In the case of the LTTE there is no clear evidence that their denial is false and furthermore their denials are not entirely implausible.
    On the other hand in the case of MR’s claims it is firstly entirely implausible – how could it ever be that in such circumstance that no civilians were killed? Secondly there is plenty of clear evidence.

    So: Wije: 0, Santa: 2

    All the examples of the use of children as frontline combatants that you give are from Africa. And I did say this was true only of those African situations!

    So: Wije: 0, Santa: 3 ?

    But I did also that even though they gained power, like the mexican gang leaders have some local power, it should not be regarded as a success.

    “Wrong- she [Margaret Trawick] states that they participated in raids in the east. Also, she does not deny that children were used in combat.”

    Nope! You are wrong here: Margaret Trawick throughout her book appears to be saying that the LTTE because of their principles never assigned children to combat roles but only used them in support roles.

    “On the contrary, a great deal of her narrative deals with the morality of using children in combat.”

    True that she does explore the predicament of children in war environments. But she does not exactly get into discussions of the morality of using children in combat – in fact she does not mention any situation of children in combat, nor does she mention that she has spoken with any such children.

    “Because the Tigers were not callous people?”

    Of course there were some callous acts committed by the LTTE – see reports in UTHR for example. But on the whole I would not class them as so. In fact Margaret Trawick writings say that the Sri Lankan forces and the USA are far worse!

    “Murdering Anandarajah or Rajini Thiranagama were not completely callous acts?”

    Here you are right: The murders of Anandarajah and Rajini Thiranagama are to be absolutely condemned. (But was it really the LTTE who murdered Rajini? Some people say it was the IPKF, some people say the SLA, and the LTTE denied it.)

    “But the Tigers also knew that they could never achieve their future state without an effective army, and they could not build that army without using children.”

    Eh?? The first part of the sentence is true; the second part is a non sequitur!

    “Do you have evidence to show that DB was not at Elephant Pass in 1991?”

    The evidence is in what DB wrote (and did not)! Besides, how is it that others who were actually there said nothing of it at the time?

    • wijayapala

      Dear Santa,

      How do you feel that there’s nobody else in the world who believes your tall tales about the LTTE not using child combatants (santa’s “little helpers”)?

      Of course there were some callous acts committed by the LTTE – see reports in UTHR for example.

      You mean the same UTHR reports that talk about the LTTE’s use of children as combatants??????

      Since you’re looking for more “objective” (read: pro-LTTE) sources for the LTTE using children in combat, here’s D. Sivaram giving a lecture on “military participation ratio”:

      http://www.sangam.org/ANALYSIS_ARCHIVES/catabell.htm

      Kindly note that nowhere does Sivaram echo your empty claim that children were not used as cannon fodder.

      And after the many accusations the LTTE has even insisted that it had stopped recruiting children for any purpose.

      But the LTTE never presented the argument you’re claiming: they never claimed to recruit children for only non-combat roles or only for training. They would vacillate between the lie of not having any child soldiers and the other lie of promising to stop recruiting child soldiers. You’re free to show me exact quotes/more lies from Thamilselvan to prove me wrong.

      “But the Tigers also knew that they could never achieve their future state without an effective army, and they could not build that army without using children.”
      Eh?? The first part of the sentence is true; the second part is a non sequitur!

      Nope. The LTTE had a hard time recruiting adults during the IPKF years and suffered high desertion rates from the post-Black July generation of recruits who were mostly young adult men. The decision to use your kiddies as cannon fodder was very practical as they could not desert so easily.

      how could it ever be that in such circumstance that no civilians were killed?

      Since you’re eager to take the LTTE’s word as gospel (you probably also believed their claims that they were winning the war, right up until dead Prabakaran-in-a-diaper showed up on youtube), I thought you would extend the same courtesy to Mahinda.

      Margaret Trawick throughout her book appears to be saying that the LTTE because of their principles never assigned children to combat roles

      Sorry pops, but you’ll have to produce citations from Ms. Trawick to back up your tall tale. We’re not interested in your selective imaginations.

      But was it really the LTTE who murdered Rajini?

      LOL that was quite predictable. You’re probably scratching your head whether the LTTE killed Neelan, Kethesh, or Kadirgamar as well. Or anybody!

      “Do you have evidence to show that DB was not at Elephant Pass in 1991?”
      The evidence is in what DB wrote (and did not)!

      So your evidence that DB was lying about being at Elephant Pass solely is his description of child soldiers. Isn’t this circular reasoning?

  • SD

    It appears that Santa’s prolonged exile in the North pole has made his grip on reality tenuous at best. Santa, I would love to believe in fairies, gnomes, flying reindeer, an honourable LTTE and a chivalrous MR – unfortunately, the evidence tells me such things just don’t exist.

    As a monument to my own stupidity, I present more evidence for Santa to brush aside. Each of these links clearly describes the use of children in *front-line combat* Only a cursory search was necessary, indicating the astounding extent of Santa’s denial, which might perhaps even exceed his girth.

    http://www.unicef.org/har2010/index_sri_lanka_feature.html

    http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2004/11/10/living-fear (Read section five in particular)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8121441.stm

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/children/child-soldiers/background–help-end-the-use-of-child-soldiers/page.do?id=1191009

    Santa, maybe you need to schedule a landing on a Sri Lankan roof sometime so can see these things for yourself?

    • Santa

      Dear SD,

      I have seen all of the links you have put up and more…

      As I said before, what is certain is that the LTTE did recruit children for training as future fighters and for other purposes – the LTTE did have a one child per family policy (but only children seem to have been exempt though).

      But what is not certain, in fact seems false, is the wholesale forced use of children for combat by the LTTE as in Africa.

      It is also true that the Karuna group was the worst offender both before and after the split. In fact after the split this is what Amnesty International says:

      “According to Allan Rock, a UN Special Advisor on Children and Armed Conflict, in November 2006, for example, there is “strong and credible evidence” that elements of the Sri Lankan security forces were “supporting and sometimes participating in the abductions and forced recruitment of children by the Karuna faction.””
      http://www.amnestyusa.org/children/child-soldiers/background–help-end-the-use-of-child-soldiers/page.do?id=1191009

      The Vanni group’s ethos seems to have been quite different concerning children – though this is not to say that they did not train children.

      Some comments on the veracity of the links you have provided:

      Amnesty International – The only one that has some validity. And as the above quote shows it would be incorrect to label those children as being used by the LTTE; rather they were recruited and used by Karuna group and SL security !

      UNICEF – too close to the SL government (they even admit working closely with the SL government). And some would say that the UN has even colluded with the SL government to keep certain things hidden.

      HRW – They appear only to have spoken to ex-Karuna group children. Furthermore since they are supposedly escaped members did you really expect them to say anything else? Of course they would demonise the LTTE! There is also no indication of any checks being made by the researchers as to whether these ‘ex-LTTE’ children were or were not put up by the SL government and the Karuna group to say what they did. And given what Amnesty International says did the children clearly know who recruited and ill treated them? (LTTE?, Karuna group?, SL forces?)
      All in all I would say there were many methodological problems with this report.

      BBC – the report is by an Indian pro-SL government person in order to tell the world what a good job the SL government is doing and how bad the LTTE was. So what do you expect?

      So,
      Q: Did children end up in combat situations?
      A: At least some must have for whatever reason – this possibility certainly cannot be ruled out.
      Q: Did the LTTE have such a policy of forcibly using children in combat situations?
      A: No would seem to be the correct answer here.

      About landing on Lankan roofs: can you guarantee that no one will harm my reindeer? I flew over many times but noticed that even the ordinary people were still not safe!!

      • wijayapala

        hello again santa

        UNICEF – too close to the SL government (they even admit working closely with the SL government).

        The same UNICEF that had issued joint statements with the LTTE on this very topic?

        http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_6-3-2003_pg4_19

        Oh, here’s the corroboration of DB’s story:

        http://www.uthr.org/Briefings/Briefing2.htm

        “Many children were used in tasks such as the torture of political prisoners, and in massacres, even of women and children in Muslim and Sinhalese villages. Children were also used in massed frontal attacks such as on Elephant Pass camp in July 1991. There were also very young cadre in other major massed attacks, such as at Pooneryn during November 1993. Each one of these attacks claimed of the order of 500 dead. The trauma of children who suffered permanent loss of limb and saw many of their closest comrades mowed down, made a vivid impression on those who visited Jaffna Hospital. The agony of children who had being used in acts of violence against unarmed civilians, women and children are also on record. Several of them were in the 12-14 age group. Many of them live in a spiritual emptiness where they wish to end their lives, and resign themselves to be used within the organisation itself as suicide operatives. The LTTE also found that children are more useful and efficient as lone assassins. With cyanide in hand, when children lose the fear of being apprehended, they could become very deadly. They have fewer inhibitions and treat the assignments as a game.”

        Quick- find a way to convince all of us that DB and UTHR are in a deep dark conspiracy to keep the human rights orgs confused and misled about the LTTE’s humanitarian treatment of children! lol

      • wijayapala

        Q: Did the LTTE have such a policy of forcibly using children in combat situations?

        “Moreover the LTTE had been conscripting very young children on sight and placing them on the battle front after barely a day’s training.”

        http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport32.htm#_Toc232409735

  • Heshan

    Friend Wijayapala:

    The latest Wikileaks release on Sri Lanka shows the Karuna group was able to recruit children, with the blessings of the SLA and Defense Ministry. In fact, according to this release, Gothabaya Rajapakse knew exactly what KG was/is doing, but gave permission anyway, since it was better for paramilitaries than the SLA to do the dirty work (since SLA came under international scrutiny). Do you admit that recruiting child soldiers is okay with GOSL, when it suits its needs? 🙂

  • Santa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    “But you seem to be missing the larger point that nobody aside from yourself actually believes that the LTTE did not use children as cannon fodder”

    Firstly, I am not at all alone in claiming that the LTTE does not appear to have used children as cannon fodder.
    Secondly the larger picture seems to be exactly that such a view was part of the anti-LTE propaganda by the Govt of SL and its allies who all wanted the LTTE out of the picture.
    This view grew much in popularity and was unquestioningly repeated as often as the LTTE was mentioned; and even now it seems to be repeated because there is still plenty of gain in it for some people!

    “Which is exactly, EXACTLY why if the LTTE did not use children in combat, MT would’ve been the first to declare so and thus vindicate the LTTE!”

    It is fallacious to make such a claim. MT did not set about looking to vindicate or condemn the LTTE. She just says what she saw and found out. From what she says it is reasonable to believe that the LTTE were quite principled etc. including when it came to the matter of the use of children.
    If with an open mind you read books such as that by MT or the writings of the Australian pediatrician Dr. John Whitehall (for example his book “War and Medicine”) you would definitely question the anti-LTTE propaganda. It would seem that the LTTE were not the evil monsters they are made out to be: in fact they seem to have been quite admirable in many respects!

    If proper reconcilliation is to come it is important to recognise that the LTTE did actually fight for a very reasonable cause – and that same the causes still seem to be present. To simply resort to insults such as “Eelamoids” does not help. The grievances and cause must be given due respect, else no genuine progress can be made, and problems could erupt again later.
    There is no guarantee that the world and India will continue to support the SL govt; and it is important to recognise with all humility that if not for such massive external support the LTTE would not have been defeated. It is also important to keep in mind that those supporters did what they did for their own long term purposes and not for Lanka.
    But I do agree that there are those who are very deluded (on both sides).

    “Sivaram counted children in formulating his Military Participation Ratio. That means he considered them combatants.”

    No, because Sivaram does not say when they took part in combat. He may have counted them as future combatants.

    Karuna and VP were both in their teens when they took part in combat operations, so of course there would have been many others. But the point is they were not kidnapped and forced. And it seems that many lied about their age so that they could join up.
    But it was certainly a waste of such heroically minded young lives. Imagine the contribution they coud have made otherwise. So my view is that the SL govts were extremely stupid in not trying harder to see their point of view.

    But the UTHR 2009 report is quite absurd. Do you really think that terrified children with one day of training could fight?

    “Soooo… you believe that the State committed no excesses then???”
    “Soooo… the LTTE did not do anything bad?”

    You missed the underlying point UTHR was making. According to UTHR the state was made bad by the LTTE. So even the state’s excesses are to be ultimately blamed on the LTTE.
    Of course the LTTE did bad things: The murder of Anandarajah, torturing opponents etc. (But not excusing what they did, it would seem that what the LTTE did was far less than the SL govt – for example MT seems to hold this view, as do many Tamils).

    “It’s too bad you spit on her grave by admiring her murderers as well. And please spare me your garbage that the IPKF or SLA did it- try convincing her children instead”

    I would think that since the truth was important to Rajini, she would welcome a proper investigation. Labels like “garbage” will not change the truth.

    “(it certainly would be hilarious to watch you tell them that the LTTE never used children in combat!).”

    There is a difference between saying that there were children on the LTTE side who became involved in combat situations, and saying that the LTTE USED children in combat. What is implied in the latter phrasing is more often than not completely inaccurate.

    • wijayapala

      Hi Santa,

      Firstly, I am not at all alone in claiming that the LTTE does not appear to have used children as cannon fodder.

      Ok- aside from the halfwits who think that Prabakaran is still alive, WHO exactly shares your views??? Is it too much to ask you to clarify your vague and unsupported statements?

      Secondly the larger picture seems to be exactly that such a view was part of the anti-LTE propaganda by the Govt of SL

      So let me understand correctly- the GoSL that is vilified by int’l human rights organizations and the media is the same GoSL that hoodwinked the same int’l HR groups and media about the LTTE??? Why is the int’l community so selective about what is listens to? Why would the int’l community be anti-LTTE, aside from its use of children as combatants????

      You have the unfortunate tendency to leave these glaring questions unanswered.

      even now it seems to be repeated because there is still plenty of gain in it for some people!

      Such as?? Will I have to remind you again and again to specify the “people” whom you vaguely refer to?

      From what she says it is reasonable to believe that the LTTE were quite principled etc. including when it came to the matter of the use of children.

      But WHAT exactly did she say to give that impression?? Is it too much to ask you for a direct citation?

      If with an open mind you read books such as that by MT or the writings of the Australian pediatrician Dr. John Whitehall (for example his book “War and Medicine”) you would definitely question the anti-LTTE propaganda.

      What did Dr. Whitehall say about the LTTE’s use of children as combatants?

      It would seem that the LTTE were not the evil monsters they are made out to be: in fact they seem to have been quite admirable in many respects!

      You mean the way they treated mothers looked for their children, or the level to which LTTE members would tell lies even to each other, as MT conveyed??

      If proper reconcilliation is to come it is important to recognise that the LTTE did actually fight for a very reasonable cause

      So here you finally get to the crux- you are basing your judgment of the LTTE on its goals while avoiding its conduct, and based on that judgment you are coming to a selective understanding of its conduct.

      So I was correct when you doubt anyone or anything that criticises the LTTE, because nobody should criticise something that is “quite admirable?”

      To simply resort to insults such as “Eelamoids” does not help. The grievances and cause must be given due respect, else no genuine progress can be made, and problems could erupt again later.

      But the overwhelming majority of Tamils living in SL are not Eelamoids. If the Tamils have pro-LTTE sentiments, they are certainly not showing them! So why do the rest of us have to take the Eelamoids seriously?

      There is no guarantee that the world and India will continue to support the SL govt; and it is important to recognise with all humility that if not for such massive external support the LTTE would not have been defeated.

      How exactly did the world and India support the SL govt? Vague allusions to “massive external support” won’t cut it, I’m afraid.

      “Sivaram counted children in formulating his Military Participation Ratio. That means he considered them combatants.”
      No, because Sivaram does not say when they took part in combat. He may have counted them as future combatants.

      He never referred to them as “future” combatants, and he had no reason to state when they took part in combat in the context of his explanation of MPR. If they weren’t combatants, he would not have counted them.

      But the point is they were not kidnapped and forced. And it seems that many lied about their age so that they could join up.

      But Sivaram never claimed that they lied about their age to join! Seems that you’re lying about the children lying!

      Did the children have the right to leave the LTTE if they wanted to?

      But it was certainly a waste of such heroically minded young lives. Imagine the contribution they coud have made otherwise. So my view is that the SL govts were extremely stupid in not trying harder to see their point of view.

      But it wasn’t stupid for people such as yourself to support this waste of young lives?

      But the UTHR 2009 report is quite absurd. Do you really think that terrified children with one day of training could fight?

      Of course they could not fight, but that was not their purpose. The LTTE was on the verge of annihilation and thus **HAD NOTHING TO LOSE***. It is truly amazing how you have missed this simple point.

      You liked Broken Palmyra, no? Have you forgotten the part where the LTTE used Tamil civilians as speed bumps to slow down the SLA’s advance in Jaffna in 1987 (much like how they used them as human shields in 2009)??

      According to UTHR the state was made bad by the LTTE. So even the state’s excesses are to be ultimately blamed on the LTTE.

      Ok, let’s take a recap of history.

      The GoSL under Ranil Wickremasinghe entered into a CFA in 2002 which the LTTE dishonored literally thousands of times. Chandrika Kumaratunge returned to power in 2004 but more or less continued things. There was no war, mass displacement of civilians etc during this time even though the LTTE gleefully took children.

      Then the LTTE decided that it did not want peace anymore and began attacking the SL military in 2005-6. The pro-LTTE elements in the diaspora were ecstatic about the possibility of fighting and winning glory for the Tamil Nation.

      Of course the LTTE did bad things: The murder of Anandarajah, torturing opponents etc.

      If you’re going to insist that the LTTE never used children as cannon fodder, you might as well add that the LTTE never murdered or tortured anybody and that such reports are SL govt propaganda. Either way nobody will take you seriously.

      I would think that since the truth was important to Rajini, she would welcome a proper investigation. Labels like “garbage” will not change the truth.

      Her own children know that the LTTE had killed her. There’s the truth for you!

      “(it certainly would be hilarious to watch you tell them that the LTTE never used children in combat!).”
      There is a difference between saying that there were children on the LTTE side who became involved in combat situations, and saying that the LTTE USED children in combat. What is implied in the latter phrasing is more often than not completely inaccurate.

      Twaddle. They believe, like everyone else except for you, that the children were used in combat.

      • Santa

        Dear Wijayapala, “WHO exactly shares your views??? ” I
        won’t mention names, but do investigate for yourself – there are
        lots! “So let me understand correctly- the GoSL that is vilified by
        int’l human rights organizations and the media is the same GoSL
        that hoodwinked the same int’l HR groups and media about the
        LTTE??? ” Yes! Now the govt of SL is publicly vilified because of
        geo-political considerations; and previously the LTTE was publicly
        vilified because of geo-political considerations. About
        international organisations: Firstly, keep in mind that not all HR
        organisations are truly independent, and secondly the information
        sources they use are not necessarily uncontaminated either. Thirdly
        substitute “geo-political powers and their interests and egos” for
        “international community” – see Kusal Perera’s article about the
        UN. I leave it to you to investigate who gains by keeping the LTTE
        threat alive, and those who gain are not only in SL. “But WHAT
        exactly did she say to give that impression?? Is it too much to ask
        you for a direct citation?” Well, you never gave any direct
        citations to substantiate what you said either. But do re-read MT.
        “What did Dr. Whitehall say about the LTTE’s use of children as
        combatants?” Its not about child combatants. But read the book for
        yourself and you will come away seriously questioning your earlier
        beliefs about the LTTE. “So here you finally get to the crux- you
        are basing your judgment of the LTTE on its goals while avoiding
        its conduct, and based on that judgment you are coming to a
        selective understanding of its conduct.” No. I said the goals seem
        to have been quite valid under the circumstances created by stupid
        SL politicians. The reason why I commented on the LTTE as admirable
        is due to what John Whitehall for example says about their
        behaviour and general conduct and discipline and sense of duty.
        They are separate matters. All I am saying is let’s stop demonising
        the LTTE and by implication all who supported it then and who still
        do. The circumstances are different now and the way forward is to
        try to understand each other. “But the overwhelming majority of
        Tamils living in SL are not Eelamoids.” Can you be sure? “If the
        Tamils have pro-LTTE sentiments, they are certainly not showing
        them!” If you don’t see something it doesn’t mean it isn’t there!
        “So why do the rest of us have to take the Eelamoids seriously?”
        Because today is not tomorrow! I think for SL it is a matter of
        reconcile with sincerity or perish! “How exactly did the world and
        India support the SL govt?” I am amazed that you are not familiar
        with this! There is plenty of information on this out there if you
        care to find out. It will take too long to give and corroborate
        details here, but some points: Indian navy, intelligence concerning
        LTTE locations, LTTE funding and arms procurement networks, etc.
        Without meaning any disrespect to the SL forces, their role seems
        only to have been like shooting an already de-clawed de-fanged
        tiger that was in addition chained and caged very securely: even if
        they did nothing and sat around, the tiger would die being unable
        to feed or look after itself. This why it is very very important to
        remember that today is not tomorrow. On Sivaram, just read more of
        what he says. “Of course they could not fight, but that was not
        their purpose. The LTTE was on the verge of annihilation and thus
        **HAD NOTHING TO LOSE***.” No, no, no: this is the old propaganda
        song. Its now time for change and truth. The truth seems to be that
        when the LTTE knew they were on the verge of annihilation they laid
        down their arms; they did not for that reason crazily start using
        children because they had nothing to lose. “Either way nobody will
        take you seriously” If those who are genuinely interested in the
        truth take my questioning of the earlier propaganda line seriously
        that is enough for a start. The odds are that the IPKF/India was in
        some way responsible for Rajini’s murder. To repeat: the evidence
        is that while some children who joined the LTTE even became
        involved in combat, the LTTE did not kidnap or force children to go
        to the battle field and use them as cannon fodder. The LTTE did
        make use of children for tasks they thought suitable for them.
        However the Karuna group and the SL army did kidnap, abuse and use
        children as cannon fodder – see wikileaks.

  • SD

    Dear Santa, Guess we have yet another localized version of
    a “holocaust denier” in good ‘ol Sri Lanka. Why don’t you take a
    number and join the rest of the crackpots, I mean, umm…
    intellectuals, who claim that July ’83 was orchestrated by the LTTE
    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlSors1i4D8) or that the Tigers are
    adorable but ill-treated little kittehs
    (http://cheezburger.com/View/2115874048) with honourable intentions
    who are being painted in a vile light by the evil, ruthless,
    fantastically cunning GOSL in order to mislead all the gullible
    folks in the rest of the world, although you and a handful of other
    LTTE apologists alone are privvy to the real facts and astute
    enough to see past the smoke. That’s a nice story and the doctor
    will be with you shortly 😉 As for the rest of us, I think we’d be
    better of calculating Santa’s crackpot index, perhaps a version
    adapted for use on Groundviews.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

  • Santa

    Dear SD,

    Nice Siamese cat – and Siamese cats do sometimes tend to be misunderstood kittehs!
    But I would say you exaggerate my position, and I therefore also empathise with the misunderstood kitteh.

    I am in no way trying to be an apologist for the LTTE. But now that the dust and hysteria has settled somewhat, take the time to investigate things more carefully. Read what people such as Margaret Trawick and John Whitehall say about what they found – and note that these people have nothing whatsoever to gain by lying.
    The future depends on getting to the truth however much it might upset preconceptions; no truth = no reconcilliation.

    [Edited out.]

  • Santa

    Dear SD, I agree with you that those people who think the
    LTTE planned and orchestrated the July 1983 anti-Tamil riots are
    definitely in need of considerable psychiatric care! (I mentioned
    names earlier and the moderator in correctness edited it
    out).

  • wijayapala

    Dear Santa

    “WHO exactly shares your views???”
    I won’t mention names, but do investigate for yourself

    Nope- it’s YOUR job to prove your points, not mine. If none of your friends are willing to suffer ridicule for openly declaring that the LTTE never used children in combat, that’s your problem.

    Now the govt of SL is publicly vilified because of geo-political considerations; and previously the LTTE was publicly vilified because of geo-political considerations. About international organisations: Firstly, keep in mind that not all HR organisations are truly independent, and secondly the information sources they use are not necessarily uncontaminated either. Thirdly substitute “geo-political powers and their interests and egos” for “international community”

    You really don’t understand the ditch you’re digging yourself into. You are saying that these groups are criticising the SL govt not out of genuine concerns for human rights, but “geopolitical considerations,” thus seriously tarnishing the credibility of their statements. Isn’t that exactly what the Mahinda supporters are claiming???

    I leave it to you to investigate who gains by keeping the LTTE threat alive, and those who gain are not only in SL.

    And who gains from cooking up stories about the LTTE not using child combatants? Not Messrs Nediyon or Vinayagam???

    Well, you never gave any direct citations to substantiate what you said either.

    I can’t give citations because I don’t have the book, but here are some nuggets referenced by page from Ms. Trawick that you clearly missed. Despite being anti-Sri Lanka, she had a lot of nasty things to say about the LTTE and how it did things.

    If any of the below is inaccurate, I challenge you to provide the page numbers for your arguments as I have done:

    p. 61- Even pro-LTTE parents do not want their children, even over age 18 to join LTTE

    p. 110- even pro-LTTE children do not want to join, because they’ll die

    p. 105- Local people believe that God punishes the Tigers’ children for killing people and deer (after the death of the young LTTE couple’s baby).

    p. 110- Efforts to recruit are resented by civilians, the post-1995 generation understands the dangers of combat

    p. 168- one in three children who joins the LTTE regrets the decision, but they cannot leave

    p. 180- sometimes children join to escape abusive homes, or failed examinations

    p. 187- Tigers are better at lying and lie more than civilians; no civilian really knows how the Tigers discipline themselves

    p. 237- sometimes the Tigers operate on scant evidence without trial to kill someone; Alagar lies about not knowing that a youth was killed for being an informer, later he cites 7 reasons for execution but can’t remember them all

    p. 260- Alagar lies about a hand sticking out of the ground, saying that it must be the body of an old man who fell in a river and died naturally, even though body is deeply buried; civilians have rumors that 1) a civilian was accidentally tortured to death and was hastily buried by the LTTE 2) husband and wife were killed by a Tiger who extorted them and did not give a receipt, and civilians were afraid to say anything to the LTTE about the hand;

    “What did Dr. Whitehall say about the LTTE’s use of children as
    combatants?”
    Its not about child combatants. But read the book for yourself and you will come away seriously questioning your earlier beliefs about the LTTE.

    As I thought, you once again bring up irrelevant material to back your claims. Again, if you want to convince anyone that the Tigers were angels, you have to provide the evidence yourself.

    I said the goals seem to have been quite valid under the circumstances created by stupid SL politicians.

    So you also agree that Mahinda’s goal to annihilate the LTTE was quite valid under the circumstances created by stupid Prabakaran and his even more stupid supporters?

    The reason why I commented on the LTTE as admirable is due to what John Whitehall for example says about their behaviour and general conduct and discipline and sense of duty.

    But didn’t the Nazis also have “discipline” and “sense of duty????”

    All I am saying is let’s stop demonising the LTTE and by implication all who supported it then and who still do.

    Ok, then how about we also stop demonising the SL govt and its supporters? After all, the circumstances are different now and the way forward is to try to understand each other, no?

    “If the Tamils have pro-LTTE sentiments, they are certainly not showing
    them!”
    If you don’t see something it doesn’t mean it isn’t there!

    But it means that these sentiments are pretty weak, and that nobody really cares if the LTTE is properly called to account for its misdeeds.

    “So why do the rest of us have to take the Eelamoids seriously?”
    Because today is not tomorrow! I think for SL it is a matter of
    reconcile with sincerity or perish!

    But how will SL perish with the LTTE out of the picture?

    “How exactly did the world and India support the SL govt?”
    I am amazed that you are not familiar with this! There is plenty of information on this out there if you care to find out.

    Correction- there are plenty of rumors on this out there. I am more interested in facts than fiction.

    Without meaning any disrespect to the SL forces, their role seems
    only to have been like shooting an already de-clawed de-fanged
    tiger that was in addition chained and caged very securely:

    Yet this same “de-clawed de-fanged tiger” was able to hold 200,000 people as human shields until the very end. Not so de-clawed de-fanged as you’d like to believe!

    On Sivaram, just read more of what he says.

    I’ve read Sivaram enough. Apparently you haven’t, otherwise you would know the meaning of “Military Participation Ratio.”

    The truth seems to be that when the LTTE knew they were on the verge of annihilation they laid down their arms;

    They sure killed a lot of soldiers after laying down their arms!

    Where did you get this “truth?” Tamilnet or Nitharsanam???

    The odds are that the IPKF/India was in some way responsible for Rajini’s murder.

    What is your evidence? Why don’t Rajini’s own children believe this crap???? Are you saying you know more than they do???

    To repeat: the evidence is that while some children who joined the LTTE even became involved in combat

    So you are backtracking from your original garbage that the LTTE did not use children in combat??

    • 😀 Wijayapala, you know Santa is lying so you’re angry.
      Santa knows he’s lying, and he knows you know, too, so he’s calm.
      Don’t forget what I said about flat earth theory and the men in
      white coats. Merry Christmas.

  • Santa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    “Nope- it’s YOUR job to prove your points, not mine.”

    Yes this is true; but in this case concerning names I prefer not to. But at the same time have you really proved anything beyond doubt?

    “You really don’t understand the ditch you’re digging yourself into. You are saying that these groups are criticising the SL govt not out of genuine concerns for human rights, but “geopolitical considerations,” thus seriously tarnishing the credibility of their statements.”

    Unfortunately this is the truth of the matter. Amnesty is probably the least influenced, and therefore the most trustworthy. HRW is sometimes ok; ICG is very politically biased; etc.

    “Isn’t that exactly what the Mahinda supporters are claiming???”

    Sadly, what they are saying is quite true! Just because they are not particularly likeable for many other reasons does not mean they are always wrong.

    “And who gains from cooking up stories about the LTTE not using child combatants? Not Messrs Nediyon or Vinayagam???”

    Everyone gains by trying to get at what is true.

    “I can’t give citations because I don’t have the book, but here are some nuggets referenced by page from Ms. Trawick that you clearly missed.”

    If you don’t have the book how did you get the quotes and page numbers??

    Anyway, I haven’t got the book with me but I will check it and let you know. But it seems that while some of what you say MT has written seems correct, some seem to be incorrect or doctored.

    “As I thought, you once again bring up irrelevant material to back your claims. Again, if you want to convince anyone that the Tigers were angels, you have to provide the evidence yourself.”

    The point is that given what the LTTE seems to have been as an organisation it does not seem to be the kind that would force children into combat and use them as mere cannon fodder.
    And I never said that the LTTE were angels.

    “So you also agree that Mahinda’s goal to annihilate the LTTE was quite valid under the circumstances created by stupid Prabakaran and his even more stupid supporters?”

    Nope I disagree – The cause cannot blame the effect!
    And under the circumstances presented to the Tamils by the stupid SL politicians over the years I would say the Prabakaran and his supporters cannot be regarded as stupid.

    “But it means that these sentiments are pretty weak, and that nobody really cares if the LTTE is properly called to account for its misdeeds.”

    Maybe those Tamils are being cautious in not voicing their views

    “But how will SL perish with the LTTE out of the picture?”

    As long as a country is not at peace there is always the chance that others will exploit the situation for their purposes. Guess who gave the LTTE training in the beginning?

    “Correction- there are plenty of rumors on this out there.”

    No smoke without a fire – so follow up on the smoke and see where it is coming from.

    “Yet this same “de-clawed de-fanged tiger” was able to hold 200,000 people as human shields until the very end.”

    More implausible anti-LTTE propaganda! Do you really think that while they were in the middle of fighting for their lives they had time to round up and control that many civilians?
    Also saying that the LTTE was keeping all those people as human shields was an alibi for the govt of SL killing so many thousands of civilians.

    I repeat that there was no need for any final (murderous) assault because the LTTE was already de-clawed, de-fanged, chained up and caged very very securely with no chance of escape.

    “I’ve read Sivaram enough. Apparently you haven’t, otherwise you would know the meaning of “Military Participation Ratio.””

    “Military participation” is a broad term – not all need be combatants at the time.

    “They sure killed a lot of soldiers after laying down their arms!”

    Where’s this from?
    How many soldiers were killed after the LTTE layed down their arms and surrendered?
    But how many LTTE members and Tamil civilians were killed after the LTTE layed down their arms and surrendered?

    “What is your evidence?”

    Too much to present here, but investigate for yourself.

    “Why don’t Rajini’s own children believe this crap????”

    I see you have already decided it is crap!!

    “Are you saying you know more than they do???”

    Is that impossible?

    “So you are backtracking from your original garbage that the LTTE did not use children in combat??”

    For sake of accuracy I dispute words like “use” and “forced” when it comes to any children who may have got involved in combat roles.

    • wijayapala

      Dear Santa

      For sake of accuracy I dispute words like “use” and “forced” when it comes to any children who may have got involved in combat roles.

      I commend you for correcting your misguided thinking that the LTTE did not use your kids as cannon fodder.

      It is true that some children joined the LTTE voluntarily in the 1990s, but the key point you’ve missed is that they were not allowed to leave after joining. This is where you should hang your head in shame for condoning the destruction of the Tamils’ future.

      “What is your evidence?”
      Too much to present here, but investigate for yourself.

      Translation: Santa has no evidence and is hoping that wije will find it for him!

      But at the same time have you really proved anything beyond doubt?

      I don’t have to prove anything because my view is the established norm. It is your view that is not accepted by anyone outside of the LTTE flag-waving community.

      Your predicament is the same as Mahinda’s as he insists that no civilians at all were killed by the SLA. His view is not the established norm. He cannot ask you to prove that he’s innocent- that’s HIS job!

      “Isn’t that exactly what the Mahinda supporters are claiming???”
      Sadly, what they are saying is quite true! Just because they are not particularly likeable for many other reasons does not mean they are always wrong.

      But it does put all of you in the same sinking ship! 😀

      Everyone gains by trying to get at what is true.

      Then how come people lie? Especially to themselves?

      If you don’t have the book how did you get the quotes and page numbers??

      I posted my notes not quotes. Trawick is not a very good writer, dispersing her useful observations within a sea of anthropological monologue/preaching, hence the need to keep notes.

      BTW, until you consult your book to refute my notes, the score stands at wije: 9, santa: 0.

      The point is that given what the LTTE seems to have been as an organisation it does not seem to be the kind that would force children into combat and use them as mere cannon fodder.

      Why not? Even Margaret Trawick believed that the organisation rested on lies. However much sympathy she had for ordinary Tigers, she had little if any respect for their leaders.

      And under the circumstances presented to the Tamils by the stupid SL politicians over the years I would say the Prabakaran and his supporters cannot be regarded as stupid.

      Not even when Prabakaran and his supporters went around killing Tamils, with your approval, beginning with Duraiappah? What did you think about Trawick’s comment on p. 237, citing the common belief that it is a curse to be born Tamil because if the Sinhalese aren’t killing Tamils then the Tamils are killing each other?

      Maybe those Tamils are being cautious in not voicing their views

      If that is true, which I doubt, then how come they were not so cautious when the war began? Isn’t this proof that the Tamils are worse off today than they were before the LTTE popped up?

      As long as a country is not at peace there is always the chance that others will exploit the situation for their purposes. Guess who gave the LTTE training in the beginning?

      But the country is at peace. The Tamils in SL don’t want to fight, because unlike you they have directly experienced the horrors of war and don’t want to go back to that.

      After the Rajiv Gandhi killing, India won’t make the same mistake.

      “Correction- there are plenty of rumors on this out there.”
      No smoke without a fire – so follow up on the smoke and see where it is coming from.

      How about instead you provide your own evidence instead of blowing smoke? 😉

      Do you really think that while they were in the middle of fighting for their lives they had time to round up and control that many civilians?

      Correction- they were in the middle of retreating for their lives, and they took the civilians with them.

      How else would the civilians have gotten there?? Are you so incredibly clueless to beleive that they WANTED to be trapped in Nanthikadal with no place to hide or protect themselves???

      Also saying that the LTTE was keeping all those people as human shields was an alibi for the govt of SL killing so many thousands of civilians.

      Unfortunately it’s the truth which you claimed you would gain from. I already pointed out how the LTTE did the same thing during Op. Liberation in 1987.

      How many soldiers were killed after the LTTE layed down their arms and surrendered?

      Only a relatively few Tigers surrendered. Most kept on fighting and killing.

      But how many LTTE members and Tamil civilians were killed after the LTTE layed down their arms and surrendered?

      Since you are on the same side as the Mahinda supporters, your answer would be zero, correct?

      “Why don’t Rajini’s own children believe this crap????”
      I see you have already decided it is crap!!

      Yes, because her children believe that your theory is crap!

      “Are you saying you know more than they do???”
      Is that impossible?

      It is quite impossible that you would know more than them, unless you were the murderer.

  • Santa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    “I commend you for correcting your misguided thinking that the LTTE did not use your kids as cannon fodder”

    No, the LTTE did not use anyone’s kids as cannon fodder – it was only the Karuna group and the SL forces did so (as wikileaks confirms). I have not changed my thinking on this! (But I never disputed that children did become involved even in combat roles on the LTTE side).

    “key point you’ve missed is that they were not allowed to leave after joining.”

    I think that depended on the age. But I agree that after training and a certain level of involvement where they were regarded as fully fledged fighters leaving may have been regarded as desertion – but still if there were good reasons exceptions seem to have been made.

    “This is where you should hang your head in shame for condoning the destruction of the Tamils’ future.”

    Before the LTTE the Sinhala SL politicians (except for Dudley Senanayake I believe) were already intent on destroying the Tamils for the sake of votes as well as mindless, ignorant and violent communalism which they further fanned – It is in this context that the LTTE arose.
    So the shame lies fully with those SL politicians and all those who supported them in their repulsive ways.

    If the LTTE never arose then the pattern of destructive anti-Tamil pogroms would have continued just as before the existence of the LTTE.

    “Translation: Santa has no evidence and is hoping that wije will find it for him!”

    This is a mistranslation!

    “I don’t have to prove anything because my view is the established norm.”

    Well, some years ago the norm was that the earth was flat! But I dispute whether what you refer to as the norm has at all been established anymore than the flat earth beliefs which were unestablished norms.

    “But it does put all of you in the same sinking ship!”

    Certainly geo-political greed can muddy the waters, but at the end of the day truth wins. We are definitely on different ships!

    “Then how come people lie? Especially to themselves?”

    Delusions appear to work for a while.

    “BTW, until you consult your book to refute my notes, the score stands at wije: 9, santa: 0.”

    OK, just for now. But it won’t last!

    “Even Margaret Trawick believed that the organisation rested on lies.”

    No she does not, but noted that some people did lie.

    “However much sympathy she had for ordinary Tigers, she had little if any respect for their leaders.”

    This is completely unsubstantiated: she does not say anything like this.

    “Not even when Prabakaran and his supporters went around killing Tamils,”

    I am not sure if this can be taken as sufficient grounds for claiming that the LTTE were unreservedly evil. I think why they killed whoever they did must be taken into account.
    But as I agreed with you before, the murder of Anandarajah was very stupid and wicked.
    However just as Tamils have killed Tamils so have Sinhalese killed Sinhalese, and Muslims kill Muslims, Europeans kill Europeans, African kill Africans etc.
    The point being made was that while the Sinhalese were killing Tamils it was stupid of the Tamils to add to that.

    “Isn’t this proof that the Tamils are worse off today than they were before the LTTE popped up?”

    The Tamils were badly off every time there were anti-Tamil pogroms, from times well before the LTTE popped up!
    Some Tamils say that what is happening now was actually delayed by the LTTE for these 30 or so years!

    “But the country is at peace.”

    If you think the peace of Mahinda is true peace, what can I say!

    “The Tamils in SL don’t want to fight”

    Don’t you think that those Tamils who are still being pushed around in the NE wouldn’t if they had a chance to change things? Do you really also think we have seen the last of the Sinhala uprisings?
    As long as there is a reason people will always resist if they get a chance.
    And the SL politicians still simply don’t seem to get this – stupid is too mild a word for them!!

    “After the Rajiv Gandhi killing, India won’t make the same mistake”

    RG has nothing whatsoever to do with the long term plans of India for the region. (Also note that MR’s ego craves the love of the west and he sees India as his door).

    “How about instead you provide your own evidence instead of blowing smoke?”

    No it is better for you to convince yourself.

    “Correction- they were in the middle of retreating for their lives, and they took the civilians with them.”

    OK use the word ‘retreating’ if you must! How about ‘they were fighting for their lives while retreating’?
    So you agree then that they had no chance whatsoever to really fight back? That is why I said before that the final assault was cold blooded murder! It was like shooting someone tied up in a cage.

    Civilians went with them but I don’t think you could say they took civilians with them – that is part of the human shield propaganda.

    “How else would the civilians have gotten there??”

    Because the SL forces were advancing and did not distinguish between civilian and LTTE. So the civilians were trying to get away from the SL forces. There was nowhere for they civilians to hide from the SL forces.

    “Only a relatively few Tigers surrendered. Most kept on fighting and killing.”

    Yes of course they fought until they laid down their arms. But after that they didn’t, but were still killed (together with civilians) even while surrendering!

    “Since you are on the same side as the Mahinda supporters, your answer would be zero, correct?”

    No way the same side! Go and wash your fingers with disinfectant soap for typing that!

    “Yes, because her children believe that your theory is crap!”

    But could they not be wrong?

    “It is quite impossible that you would know more than them, unless you were the murderer.”

    So you do admit that they could be wrong!
    (Though I hasten to add I had nothing to do with it – was too busy taming polar bears at the time anyway).

    • wijayapala

      Dear Santa

      “Translation: Santa has no evidence and is hoping that wije will find it for him!”
      This is a mistranslation!

      You’ve presented no evidence and when I ask for it you tell me to find it. So what have I mistranslated?

      But I never disputed that children did become involved even in combat roles on the LTTE side

      So in other words you are admitting that the LTTE used children as cannon fodder. No need to be so modest about your learning experience! 😉

      “key point you’ve missed is that they were not allowed to leave after joining.”
      I think that depended on the age.

      Your thinking is wrong. Only veterans who served 5 years could leave the organisation. New child recruits could not leave, and UTHR documented pretty well the consequences of trying to escape. The child combatants that I had met all had harrowing stories of how they got out.

      For someone who preaches for others to read more, your knowledge of the LTTE appears to be mostly confined to impressions and probably gossip from your friends!

      “I don’t have to prove anything because my view is the established norm.”
      Well, some years ago the norm was that the earth was flat!

      And Magellan disproved flat earth by sailing around the world. You on the other hand have proven nothing. What do you think Magellan or Columbus would have accomplished by yammering about the earth being round without going out and proving it??

      Before the LTTE the Sinhala SL politicians (except for Dudley Senanayake I believe) were already intent on destroying the Tamils

      Yet in all those years they really could never accomplish very much compared to the LTTE. SWRD allowed 2 anti-Tamil riots to occur but the Tamils remained intact as a community, probably even stronger than before now that they faced a common threat. Mrs. B began standardisation and there was an unfortunate episode at the International Tamil Conference, but again this really didn’t undermine the fabric of Tamil society.

      The one leader you could say was intent on destroying the Tamils was JR, with 1983 as the best evidence (among other atrocities). Although the LTTE had existed before 1983 (and committed terrorist acts that helped fuel the particularly virulent strain of Sinhala racism in vogue back then), it was 1983 that gave militancy and especially the LTTE a specific relevance for the Tamils. It was 1983 that gave legitimacy to Tamil militancy while turning SL into a pariah state.

      Yet things began to sour immediately afterwards with the increasing phenomenon of Tamil-Tamil violence, which Sinhala politics had nothing to do with. The Sinhalese did not create the groups that you call “paramilitaries.” At one point all of them were militant groups having the same goal of achieving a Tamil state. In the case of Karuna and Pillayan, they had been Tigers themselves. Yet they ultimately had no choice but to fall in with the government once the LTTE came gunning for them.

      If the racists among the Sinhalese had a little more sense, they would praise the LTTE as accomplishing the great task of ruining and dividing Tamil society that they could never have done alone. Two and a half decades of war, mostly thanks to the LTTE’s military prowess, have made about 1/3rd of the Tamils into exiles with no hope of sustaining their culture abroad, and the remainder as internally-displaced people with no homes to return to.

      You already have made common cause with the racists by denouncing the human rights groups; it’s great to see you both praising the destruction of the Tamils together too!

      Certainly geo-political greed can muddy the waters, but at the end of the day truth wins.

      And verily, the geopolitical greed of the LTTE and its halfwitted supporters brought about its own end, and the truth of its lack of substance prevailed.

      Delusions appear to work for a while.

      How long will yours last?

      “Not even when Prabakaran and his supporters went around killing Tamils,”
      I am not sure if this can be taken as sufficient grounds for claiming that the LTTE were unreservedly evil.

      Ok, so you believe that Sinhalese killing Tamils also is insufficient grounds for saying that Sinhala racism is unreservedly evil. I had no idea you had such an open mind!

      Some Tamils say that what is happening now was actually delayed by the LTTE for these 30 or so years!

      See “delusional” above. 30 years ago there was no 200,000 man SLA to occupy the north.

      “The Tamils in SL don’t want to fight”
      Don’t you think that those Tamils who are still being pushed around in the NE wouldn’t if they had a chance to change things?

      But they won’t have a chance to change things because of the 200,000-man SLA in the north, and the politicians know that. Hence they will not fight.

      Do you really also think we have seen the last of the Sinhala uprisings?

      Good question, but that should be a win-win situation for you.

      How about ‘they were fighting for their lives while retreating’?

      The Nazis did exactly the same thing as they were retreating from France and other parts of Europe. Same with the Japanese in Asia. You really should read more history.

      Civilians went with them but I don’t think you could say they took civilians with them – that is part of the human shield propaganda.

      Sorry, but there are aerial videos showing tens of thousands of people fleeing into govt areas when there weren’t any Tigers to shoot them in the back.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjy7cOzxTVk

      Because the SL forces were advancing and did not distinguish between civilian and LTTE.

      If that was true, there would have been no survivors and no Tigers in custody.

      Yes of course they fought until they laid down their arms.

      But most of them did not lay down their arms. That was the tragedy.

      RG has nothing whatsoever to do with the long term plans of India for the region. (Also note that MR’s ego craves the love of the west and he sees India as his door).

      Either way, India will no longer arm Tamils again.

      “Yes, because her children believe that your theory is crap!”
      But could they not be wrong?

      It is infinitely more likely that you are wrong, since you were in the Arctic chasing polar bears while Rajini was being killed. That explains your cluelessness about the LTTE and the war.

      “However much sympathy she had for ordinary Tigers, she had little if any respect for their leaders.”
      This is completely unsubstantiated: she does not say anything like this.

      Try reading Trawick’s book again, this time more carefully.

    • wijayapala

      Sorry Santa, I hit the submit button too early:

      Do you really also think we have seen the last of the Sinhala uprisings?

      There will be no Sinhala uprisings if there is a feeling of a common threat. However, all these photos of videos with you and your friends waving LTTE flags will provide that feeling of a common threat. Far from being angry, Mahinda should send you a medal for giving him a reason to continue his repressive policies!

  • wijayapala

    Here’s an article by a Mahinda-basher on how pro-LTTE elements are propping him up:

    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/12/_protiger_elements_in_the_tami.html

  • Krish

    Dear Wijayapala,

    As always, wonderful posts! Being an Indian, I have very little to contribute to most topics here, but your posts are very refreshing to read. While you continue your debate with Santa, here are some observations!

    1. I am rather disturbed not just by this 30-year old LTTE presence (thanks to Mahinda I guess, no matter what) but the continuity of their propaganda 1.5 years after they are gone. It seems that the current generations of Tamils, especially the ones on the net and in their 20s, 30s and even 40s seemed to have lost all their hopes of engagement with MR or are buying into the propagandistic attitude of diaspora. Even if LTTE got a separate Eelam, it would have to put up with a hostile India in the north and SL in the south. The point is, no matter what, the Sinhala-majority south is something that the predominantly Tamil North has to live with irrespective of what the rest of the world thinks. So, it only makes sense to co-exist rather than fight.

    2. Despite my pessimism, I am impressed with some posters here. Travelling Academic, Burning_Issue, SomewhatDisgusted and yourself for instance. I am guessing that TA and BI are Tamils, whereas you both are Sinhalese. Sorry to mention all that, while I am not revealing my identity, language, caste or religion, but your posts give a lot of hope for the future that no matter what our disagreements, we can always discuss. So, keep discussing I guess. 🙂

    3. Regarding India arming the tigers and others, that is the single most blunder that India did in SL context. For all the hue and cry that we do about Pakistan’s support for LeT and others in Kashmir, we did the worst thing for SL, to whom we are the only neighbour (you also have Maldives but still). This arming of the Tamil groups and the way they roamed about freely in India is a shame. But that was a time when India simply listened to TN politicians vis-a-vis SL. After these Dravidian parties came to power, they made SL an election issue every single time and wanted to get the sympathy of Tamil Nadu people. I still remember what that got for TN in the news, especially the gun culture and violence that spread with the protection that these armed groups enjoyed in TN:
    a. Prabhakaran and Uma Maheswaran literally opened fire at each other in broad day light.
    b. Killing of Padmanabha and other by LTTE in cold blood.
    c. Even the alleged killings that Douglas Devananda is involved in in India.

    The killing of Rajiv Gandhi thru LTTE suicide bomber was the last one. After that, the support and sympathy in TN for their brothers across palk strait is just gone! Except for some futile propagandists like Vaiko, Ramdoss etc, not many takers anymore. But, India should have gone all out on the LTTE (with SL’s help) and finished them for good by then. Atleast a whole generation of people could have been saved, many lives wouldn’t have been lost and it is really pathetic today to see where Tamils in SL are after years of LTTE terrorism.

    Please allow me to say this though! Indian historian Ramachandra Guha (a Tamilian himself) said during a promotion of his most recent book “Makers of Modern India” that the greatest thing for Tamils in India is being a part of India itself. A separate homeland for Tamils would have achieved nothing of practical significance as compared to being a part of India. When I look at the sufferings of Tamils in SL, it seems very true to me. Tamilians, as part of India have come a long way virtually in every single field in India and went on to achieve globally as as well. If Tamil Nadu was Northern SL, it would not be where it is right now. So, my advice to Tamil brothers in SL is, there is much to gain as part of a united country than to fight for a futile separation. Plant the seeds of engagement, love and brotherhood. It is very tough, hard and testing, but eye for an eye only makes the world blind.

    Now, back to the topic…….

  • yapa

    Dear niranjan

    “Those fallacies that you talk about is your opinion and not mine.
    I do not accept what you say.”

    There is nothing called yapa’s fallacies. You are running away with your false ideologies, afraid of them being refuted.

    They are outdated ideologies,used to exploit the countries all over the world, bringing misery to many people.

    Thanks!

  • Santa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    Firstly may I congratulate you on finally realising that some people do indeed have much to gain by keeping alive the LTTE threat – And this anti-LTTE strategy naturally becomes all the more potent if the propaganda about how the SL govt saved everyone from the clutches of the ruthless child killing terror spewing LTTE demon is also kept going!

    “So in other words you are admitting that the LTTE used children as cannon fodder.”

    No, the LTTE never used children as cannon fodder, but the Karuna group and the SL forces did. The LTTE children who did get involved in combat situations were apparently not forced. And it is more than likely that some of those children did get killed and injured, but still they were not used as mere cannon fodder.

    “Only veterans who served 5 years could leave the organisation.”

    Now, now, Wije think! Does this make military sense? No. Would the LTTE just waste 5 whole years of highly valuable experience? Of course not. Does this even make sense along your views about the LTTE’s ruthlessness? No .. . but then are you softening your anti-LTTE stance perhaps?
    As I said before it seems it was possible to leave given good reasons, but not just on the basis of 5 years of service.

    “New child recruits could not leave, and UTHR documented pretty well the consequences of trying to escape.”

    New trainees were there to be trained so of course they were not supposed to just come and go as they pleased. And the LTTE seemed to want to toughen up those who showed weakness and so they had ‘punishments’ too – but is that any different to any regular army or other physically organisation? (I agree though that conscription of children even just for training does seem harsh).

    “The child combatants that I had met all had harrowing stories of how they got out.”

    Now firstly of course every child (and adult) who was caught up in the war in whatever capacity would have harrowing stories to tell. Secondly on your reason for bringing this up, I would suppose that they were children who were used by the Karuna group and the SL forces against the LTTE!

    “And Magellan disproved flat earth by sailing around the world.”

    Ahem! It was only because it was already well established, in fact undisputed, that the earth was round that Magellan decided to try to circumnavigate it. The proofs were in the careful interpretations of the much earlier astronomical observations going way back from times BC.
    And so if indeed Magellan or Columbus did yammer on that the earth was round without bothering to sail around it, no one would have disagreed though they might have found it rather boring!

    “Yet things began to sour immediately afterwards with the increasing phenomenon of Tamil-Tamil violence, which Sinhala politics had nothing to do with.”

    Sinhala politics had everything to do with the burning of the Jaffna library with all its ancient contents, the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom as well as all the previous ones etc. and so Sinhala politics is to be held responsible for the LTTE as well as all the other Tamil military groups some of which came to be referred to as the SL govt’s paramilitaries.
    Apparently, apart from Prabakaran wanting to bring all the groups under one flag, some of those other Tamil militaries were very undisciplined and prone to various vices and that too was a contributory factor for the clashes among the Tamil groups.

    “If the racists among the Sinhalese had a little more sense, they would praise the LTTE as accomplishing the great task of ruining and dividing Tamil society that they could never have done alone.”

    Well perhaps if not for the LTTE this sort of thing would have happened sooner: http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=33279
    Worse seems to be happening in the Jaffna area it seems – but according to the latest gossip of course!
    Can the LTTE be blamed for these sorts of things that violate what is dear to the Tamil people?

    “Two and a half decades of war, mostly thanks to the LTTE’s military prowess, have made about 1/3rd of the Tamils into exiles with no hope of sustaining their culture abroad, and the remainder as internally-displaced people with no homes to return to.”

    Ok, this can be attributed to the war.

    “You already have made common cause with the racists by denouncing the human rights groups; it’s great to see you both praising the destruction of the Tamils together too!”

    No I never denounced Amnesty. But I commented that any organisation close to the UN definitely was being steered by undisclosed geo-political interests.
    When the Tamils were cornered and were being massacred in their thousands how many of these so called HR organisations protested? The UN had all the information then but chose complicity by silence. So what do you think they are shouting for now?

    “And verily, the geopolitical greed of the LTTE and its halfwitted supporters brought about its own end, and the truth of its lack of substance prevailed.”

    Not sure if you can refer to the geopolitical greed of the LTTE, but certainly if the LTTE did agree to play geopolitical ball according to the interests and rules of the geo-political powers, and the regional power i.e. India, then they may have lived on.
    As I said before the LTTE was de-fanged and de-clawed, tied up and caged by the same geo-political powers and India while the same supported the SL govt: and that is why the LTTE collapsed so rapidly. Its supporters, not only the half-witted but even the full-witted, had nothing to do with it!

    “Ok, so you believe that Sinhalese killing Tamils also is insufficient grounds for saying that Sinhala racism is unreservedly evil.”

    The contexts are completely different. The Sinhalese killing of Tamils during the anti-Tamil pogroms were simply based on that the victims were Tamils. When the LTTE killed some Tamil it was not because they were Tamil but for being against them.

    “But they won’t have a chance to change things because of the 200,000-man SLA in the north, and the politicians know that. Hence they will not fight.”

    Yes and no. Yes for obvious reasons. No because it is the 200,000 man SLA that is resented as an occupying force. Just because the IDF is immensely more powerful than anything the Palestinians can come up with do you think there is no attempt at resistance?

    But much more significantly, not least given the geo-political interests at play, how long do do think the SL govt can sustain such a huge force in the north or anywhere else for that matter. Add to this a possible Sinhala uprising in the south which will include at least ex SL forces if not even serving forces and …
    That’s right the near neighbour will then step in to pick up the pieces (but out of sheer love for Lanka of course)!

    There is also the Islamic extremist card waiting to be played!

    “Sorry, but there are aerial videos showing tens of thousands of people fleeing into govt areas when there weren’t any Tigers to shoot them in the back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjy7cOzxTVk

    This is embarrassingly obvious propaganda!
    Firstly, of course thousands upon thousands of Tamil civilians poured into the govt controlled areas, but exactly to get away from the SL govt sponsored shelling and bombing and use of all kinds of horrible weapons of those areas outside SL govt control. Wouldn’t anyone???

    The aerial video evidence shows a large group of people with a few people standing in front who appear to be corralling them. The people in front also appear to be holding something in their hands which may or may not be guns.
    We do not know who those people in front are apart from what the commentator says, but let’s assume that those people in front are LTTE.
    But where is the evidence that the group of people are being shot at in the back or in the front? There is nothing!
    If they wanted to show that people had actually been shot wouldn’t it have been ever so easy to wait a while and show the bodies as the people were being supposedly pushed back?
    But nothing!

    Again there could be all kinds of other reasons why the people in the front were holding the crowd back. Perhaps there were mine fields in the direction the crowd was trying to go. Perhaps the army shelling and bombing was strong in that direction.

    But notice what the video does do. After showing the crowd it suddenly shows a tank or something firing while the commentator says that it is the LTTE firing from within the safe zone. So by association the audience is decieved into thinking that what was said earlier is also true. (The visual evidence of the tank firing is true , therefore …).
    And again we only have the commentator’s word for it that it was indeed the LTTE who was using the tank and that it was actually in the safe zone.
    And of course just because the commentator has an Indian accent that does not mean what she says is trustworthy!

    “If that was true, there would have been no survivors and no Tigers in custody.”

    What you say does not necessarily follow but still rather, consider how many more actually perished!! Why do you think no one was allowed into the region afterwards?

    “But most of them did not lay down their arms. That was the tragedy.”

    Yes an enormous tragedy. But wasn’t it a case of: surrender and get killed or get killed while fighting?

    “Either way, India will no longer arm Tamils again.”

    True, but that is not the only way to control Lanka in this globalised age. But at the same time what is the future of ‘India’ in this age?

    “It is infinitely more likely that you are wrong, since you were in the Arctic chasing polar bears while Rajini was being killed.”

    But remember Santa is always able to find out who was being naughty and who was being nice anywhere!

    “Try reading Trawick’s book again, this time more carefully.”

    I will let you know if I do find anything that substantiates what you claim. But if I don’t, will you accept that as demonstrating that you are wrong?

  • Santa

    Dear Moderator,

    The post went to the wrong place – please remove the other one.
    Thanks

    Dear Krish,

    Your comments are indeed interesting … and we do live in interesting times – it is said that there is a Chinese curse that goes something like: ‘May you live in interesting times’.

    “I am rather disturbed not just by this 30-year old LTTE presence (thanks to Mahinda I guess, no matter what) but the continuity of their propaganda 1.5 years after they are gone.”

    But why are you disturbed? Do feel free to elaborate from an Indian perspective – since you do say you are an Indian.

    “the current generations of Tamils, especially the ones on the net and in their 20s, 30s and even 40s seemed to have lost all their hopes of engagement with MR or are buying into the propagandistic attitude of diaspora.”

    Actually a great many Sinhalese have also lost all hope with MR & co!
    By “propagandistic attitude” do you mean that they are simply liars? So since your alternative is engagement with MR are you then suggesting that MR & co are truthful??

    “a hostile India in the north”

    But why should India automatically assume a hostile attitude? You seem to think that it is a given that India must be hostile! Again please feel free to elaborate on the reasons why India must be hostile.

    “irrespective of what the rest of the world thinks”

    No. In this globalised era of geo-political greed what the world thinks does make a decisive difference, including what India thinks!

    “Regarding India arming the tigers and others, that is the single most blunder that India did in SL context.”

    But for India to watch on and indeed even support the massacre of thousands upon thousands of Tamils was a lesser blunder?

    “But that was a time when India simply listened to TN politicians vis-a-vis SL.”

    I’m afraid Krish that I am beginning to believe that you indeed have very little to contribute as you yourself have stated at the beginning of your post.
    The reason India initially armed the Tamil groups was in the context of the cold war – India was pro-USSR, and SL was pro-US which India did not like. Nothing at all to do with TN politics! India has always feared that SL would fall out of its control and that fear still exists – MR has accepted India for now but who knows how other SL politicians feel or if MR will change his mind.

    “The killing of Rajiv Gandhi thru LTTE suicide bomber was the last one.”

    And only the LTTE was involved in that?

    “After that, the support and sympathy in TN for their brothers across palk strait is just gone!”

    After that a lot changed in Indian politics too! Sadly RG was so naive in some ways (including the way he handled the Bofors affair).

    “But, India should have gone all out on the LTTE (with SL’s help) and finished them for good by then.”

    But later India did!! Geo-political considerations made all the difference and it was with India’s considerable help that the LTTE was militarily defeated.

    “Atleast a whole generation of people could have been saved, many lives wouldn’t have been lost and it is really pathetic today to see where Tamils in SL are after years of LTTE terrorism.”

    Given India’s ongoing role in this, the saying about crocodile tears strongly comes to mind!

    “Tamilians, as part of India have come a long way virtually in every single field in India and went on to achieve globally as as well.”

    This sentence (and the rest of the paragraph) suggests that you don’t think Tamilians are really Indian but have been admitted by the Indians as part of it. Perhaps you should say that India has come a long way thanks to the successful Tamils of India?

    “Plant the seeds of engagement, love and brotherhood. It is very tough, hard and testing, but eye for an eye only makes the world blind.”

    So tell us what is your position on human rights activist Dr.Binayak Sen?

  • wijayapala

    Dear Santa,

    “Try reading Trawick’s book again, this time more carefully.”
    I will let you know if I do find anything that substantiates what you claim. But if I don’t, will you accept that as demonstrating that you are wrong?

    I already know that I’m right, and I don’t need further confirmation from LTTE bootlickers. Your challenge is to find anything to substantiate YOUR claim. If you cannot, then I am right and you are wrong!

    I congratulate you on finally realising that some people do indeed have much to gain by keeping alive the LTTE threat – And this anti-LTTE strategy naturally becomes all the more potent if the propaganda about how the SL govt saved everyone from the clutches of the ruthless child killing terror spewing LTTE demon is also kept going!

    I’m sorry but your argument makes little sense. Why would Mr Nediyavan who is keeping up the pretense that the LTTE is alive want stories of children cannon fodder to be publicised?

    No, the LTTE never used children as cannon fodder, but the Karuna group and the SL forces did. The LTTE children who did get involved in combat situations were apparently not forced. And it is more than likely that some of those children did get killed and injured, but still they were not used as mere cannon fodder.

    Sorry but that’s not what the rest of the world thinks. You’ll have to try harder!

    The fact remains that recruiting children is universally condemned (except from the LTTE supporters) because they do not have the faculties of judgment that adults have. That is why the LTTE committed a crime by using them as cannon fodder. Dithering in denial won’t change any of that!

    Would the LTTE just waste 5 whole years of highly valuable experience?

    5 years is plenty of time to get indoctrinated into the lifestyle and possibly be given a leadership position. By that time the cadre doesn’t really have much of an alternative outside of the LTTE. Also, by that time if the veteran wants to leave but is not allowed to, he/she probably will cause more problems for the organisation inside than outside.

    Allowing new recruits to leave, on the other hand, would destroy the foundation of the organisation. Haven’t you seen the beautiful LTTE calendar showing the heads of all the deceased Black Tigers in a pyramid, and Prabakaran is at the top? Quite fitting, I must say!

    New trainees were there to be trained so of course they were not supposed to just come and go as they pleased. And the LTTE seemed to want to toughen up those who showed weakness and so they had ‘punishments’ too – but is that any different to any regular army or other physically organisation? (I agree though that conscription of children even just for training does seem harsh).

    Actually it would make absolutely no sense to punish children for leaving, if they were conscripted just for training.

    So you are condoning the use of children as cannon fodder now? Is it because you look down on their caste?

    Now firstly of course every child (and adult) who was caught up in the war in whatever capacity would have harrowing stories to tell.

    In this case it was specifically on the ordeals they faced trying to escape.

    Secondly on your reason for bringing this up, I would suppose that they were children who were used by the Karuna group and the SL forces against the LTTE!

    Nope, they were used by the LTTE as cannon fodder against the SL forces and any anti-LTTE Tamil. The SL forces didn’t use children as child soldiers.

    It was only because it was already well established, in fact undisputed, that the earth was round that Magellan decided to try to circumnavigate it.

    So you are admitting that you proved nothing?

    And so if indeed Magellan or Columbus did yammer on that the earth was round without bothering to sail around it, no one would have disagreed though they might have found it rather boring!

    So you are saying that you are a boring person?

    Can the LTTE be blamed for these sorts of things that violate what is dear to the Tamil people?

    They used the grounds of a major Catholic church to conscript cannon fodder:

    http://omiusajpic.org/2008/04/24/bishops-demand-ltte-quit-madhu/

    “Two and a half decades of war, mostly thanks to the LTTE’s military prowess, have made about 1/3rd of the Tamils into exiles with no hope of sustaining their culture abroad, and the remainder as internally-displaced people with no homes to return to.”
    Ok, this can be attributed to the war.

    Yes, but the war lasted so long because people like you gave money for the LTTE to forcibly conscript children!

    “You already have made common cause with the racists by denouncing the human rights groups; it’s great to see you both praising the destruction of the Tamils together too!”
    No I never denounced Amnesty

    What about Human Rights Watch which condemned the LTTE and people like you for using Tamil children as cannon fodder?

    http://www.hrw.org/en/node/77143/section/4

    “The LTTE has also increased the forced recruitment of adults. Each family in LTTE-controlled territory is required to “volunteer” one family member for service in the LTTE military. According to several sources, the LTTE has recently expanded its recruitment practices beyond “one person per family” in some cases, requiring families to volunteer two or more family members at the same time, depending on the overall size of the family.[17] The LTTE has also forcibly re-mobilized all former LTTE fighters, including former fighters who were originally recruited as children and former fighters who had since married (previously, married persons were exempted from forced recruitment), in an apparent effort to boost their ranks with experienced fighters.

    “The fear engendered by the LTTE’s forced recruitment practices were underscored when the LTTE withdrew from the Omanthai area north of Vavuniya in mid-November 2008. Soon thereafter, more than 300 civilians from villages in northern Vavuniya district previously under the control of the LTTE approached the Sri Lankan army near the Omanthai checkpoint in small groups[19] and were detained and brought to public buildings under military guard in the Menik Farm area, where they remain. According to a source who visited the Menik camp and interviewed some of the detained arrivals, many of these were single young men and women who had been hiding in the jungles of northern Vavuniya district in order to avoid LTTE forced recruitment. They had fled the area as soon as the LTTE withdrew.[20] They reported that the LTTE had stopped many other young men from fleeing: one group of three young men from a particular village stated that they had been part of a group of 30 people that had try to flee, but that the LTTE had stopped the others from leaving.[21] Other displaced persons reported to humanitarian officials that they believed that many other people had been caught by the LTTE while trying to flee.[22] According to a priest who visits the Vanni regularly, many of the individuals and families who fled the Vanni earlier and are now being kept in detention camps in Kalimoddai and Sirunkandal[23] also fled to escape recruitment, or the recruitment of their children.[24]

    “In September 2008, the LTTE publicly announced a stricter punitive policy for those who try to avoid recruitment: the LTTE said that if persons called up for military service flee, it would arrest up to 10 of their relatives and use them for hazardous forced labor, building military reinforcements on the frontlines. An international humanitarian official told Human Rights Watch about the 21-year-old son of a local staff member who went into hiding when the LTTE tried to recruit him. In response, the LTTE arrested the local staff member, his wife’s brother, and other male relatives, until the recruited son came out of hiding and agreed to fight for the LTTE.”

    Those 3 paragraphs bring the score to wije: 12, santa: 0. You’re making this too easy! 😉

    When the Tamils were cornered and were being massacred in their thousands how many of these so called HR organisations protested?

    But I thought we already established that it was these same HR groups which reported that Tamils were getting killed. Since you doubt the sincerity of these groups, you must also doubt that thousands of Tamils were killed!

    Did you protest?

    Not sure if you can refer to the geopolitical greed of the LTTE, but certainly if the LTTE did agree to play geopolitical ball according to the interests and rules of the geo-political powers, and the regional power i.e. India, then they may have lived on.

    So you admit that the LTTE’s geopolitical greed led to its demise. Good riddance, eh?

    When the LTTE killed some Tamil it was not because they were Tamil but for being against them.

    Wrong- it was entirely because they were both Tamil and anti-LTTE. Otherwise the LTTE would’ve killed more Sinhalese who are inherently anti-LTTE.

    No because it is the 200,000 man SLA that is resented as an occupying force. Just because the IDF is immensely more powerful than anything the Palestinians can come up with do you think there is no attempt at resistance?

    But the resistance has accomplished nothing. And more importantly, the Tamils are not the same as the Palestinians.

    But much more significantly, not least given the geo-political interests at play, how long do do think the SL govt can sustain such a huge force in the north or anywhere else for that matter. Add to this a possible Sinhala uprising in the south which will include at least ex SL forces if not even serving forces

    Please keep your imagination under control. There hasn’t been a Sinhala uprising for over the past 20 years and there won’t be one today or even tomorrow given that there are no grievances. The bulk of military-age young men are keeping the N-E under control. They certainly have no complaints!

    “But most of them did not lay down their arms. That was the tragedy.”
    Yes an enormous tragedy. But wasn’t it a case of: surrender and get killed or get killed while fighting?

    Nope. The ones who surrendered, like Mr Daya Master, are alive.

    But at the same time what is the future of ‘India’ in this age?

    To refrain from supporting Tamil militancy.

    “It is infinitely more likely that you are wrong, since you were in the Arctic chasing polar bears while Rajini was being killed.”
    But remember Santa is always able to find out who was being naughty and who was being nice anywhere!

    You are not Santa though, you’re just another bloke who ran away to leave the fighting to the children.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Santa,

    Haven’t heard from you in a few days, hope everything is ok. On the topic of “Whose reality in Sri Lanka,” I’d like to share two Tamilnet articles that appeared only two days apart from each other:

    Indian coast guard says deterring Sri Lankan attacks
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=33339

    Fatal blow on Eezham Tamil fishery follows Indo-Lanka ‘defence’ agreement
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=33348

    The first article condemns the SL Navy for attacking Tamil Nadu fishermen. The second article condemns the SLN for allowing Tamil Nadu fishermen into Sri Lankan waters!

    Could you kindly explain the Eelamoid thinking behind these utterly contradictory arguments? Would you say this is representative of the Eelamoid mindset: priority of demonising Sri Lanka at the expense of truth and consistency???

  • Santa

    Dear Wijayapala,

    Sorry for the long delay … very busy. Thanks for inquiring: everything is ok. Hope things are ok with you too.

    Happy New Year!

    I’ll get back to the earlier post re Trawick etc. later but just a quick comment on the Tamilnet articles.

    Eelamoid or not the two articles are not contradictory at all.

    SL navy attacks both TN as well as TE (!) fishermen. But these are all ordinary poor folks who are struggling to make a living and look after their families.

    But in the second article the invasion was by fleets of trawlers from India that were possibly operating from the TN coast. But most crucially their purpose seems to have been to destroy the nets and equipment of the ordinary fishermen. They were not there to do any fishing on that day.

    Since this destruction seems to have been with Indian approval in order to further their defence plans 1) the SLN couldn’t do anything even if they wanted to, but 2) the SLN was probably pleased that the TE fishermen’s equipment was being destroyed.

    There are big plans for the Indian ocean. And in this, small players (like ordinary fishermen) are seen to be in the way. Lanka (and the ordinary Lankans whether Tamil or Sinhalese or anyone else) will be swallowed up in this game as will many ordinary Indians.

    I think you can also see now why there was such a desperate attempt on the part of the big world players (the so-called International Community) to stop Eelam at any cost. Now there is nothing to stop India swallowing up Lanka. Premadasa knew what he was doing when he supported the LTTE against India.

    MR will give the Indians and the IC anything they want, no questions will be asked!