Image courtesy stuff.co.nz

The killing of Osama Bin Laden by chopper-borne US Special forces and Navy Seals is good news and a job well done by that country. Shortly after the attack on the Twin Towers the Sri Lankan papers carried a piece I wrote entitled ‘Why Osama Ain’t My Hero’, a full-on critique of terrorists masquerading as liberation fighters and an explanation of why defence of existing states, most especially democratic ones, against the former is perfectly compatible with the defence of the latter. My rejection of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda was on a continuum with my polemics and politics against Prabahakan and the LTTE, and earlier, the JVP’s savage second insurrection. It also stemmed from my understanding of Lenin’s and Ho Chi Minh’s rational use of violence even on a large scale, and the ethics of violence of Fidel, Che, and the Sandinistas.

At stake are the ‘ethics and politics of violence’(the precise phrase is the late Prof Fred Halliday’s, and I was pleased to discover that the Ethics Bibliography of the US National War College features my book on the subject, with Fidel as the case study). More is at stake: the broadly shared values of rationality, modernity and civilisation.

We Sri Lankans had a 9/11 every year, from the attack on Anuradhapura in 1985. Osama Bin Laden did far less damage to the USA than Prabhakaran did to Sri Lanka. If there is a counter argument of ‘context’ and ‘root causes’ as in “Prabhakaran was only the result of certain policies”, the same argument holds for Osama Bin Laden. Those who reject that line of reasoning in his case cannot legitimately insist on it in the case of the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lanka. If as I do, you choose to comprehend context but refuse to use it as moral excuse or exculpation, you can have the analytical cake and eat it too, but the same must go for the Sri Lankan case: there is a context and a causation (the Treaty of Versailles, the Cold War, ’58 and ’83) but nothing excuses Nazism, al Qaeda and the Tamil Tigers.

One joins the USA in its celebratory sentiments and President Obama in his ringing reassertions about Bin Laden, but these are as valid or even more so, with regard to Sri Lanka and the Tigers. How come it is ‘celebration’ in the USA when people spontaneously shout the name of their country and express pride in its armed forces and wave flags outside the White House and ‘triumphalism’ when it happens in Sri Lanka? It is fine when people gather outside Ground Zero and praise the death of Bin laden as justice served for the victims of the Twin Towers, but it is bad form when Sri Lankans, who have been victims of large scale terror and murders of their leaders, express relief and happiness at the death of the man and the destruction of the militia that plagued a generation! Is it that it is ‘fine’ when it is the citizens of the North who do it, but ‘terrible’ when it is those of the global, ex-colonial South? Or is it that the sentiments of the people of certain communities can be ‘hurt’ by expressions of relief, congratulations and triumph, but not those of certain others? Why should Sri Lanka play by these hypocritical hegemonic rules?

To pre-empt any sly assertion that the killing of Osama did not entail civilian casualties, we must recall that it was preceded and is still accompanied by a protracted conventional war in Afghanistan, which spills over into neighbouring Pakistan, and has entailed quite significant civilian casualties — not even the most surgical tactic, Predator drone strikes, are devoid of them when the terrorist leaders are embedded among their kinfolk and tribes.

Analysts and contemporary historians must not forget that the core of the civilians who were with the Tigers were those who had chosen to leave Jaffna with them in 1996 after it had been liberated by the Sri Lankan armed forces in Operation Riviresa, and most Tamils had stayed behind or moved precisely from Tiger control to army controlled areas.

Prabhakaran gambled and failed, or did he? He gambled that using human shield tactics, a Beslan or Moscow theatre hostage tactic used by the Chechen ‘Black Widow’ suicide bombers, but on a larger scale, would either prevent the Sri Lankan state from taking the kill-shot, or generate sufficient international pressure from the West and Tamil Nadu to deter the Sri Lankan state, or that a Jim Jones type collective suicide would make his cause reverberate. It almost worked because there were calls from the powerful and hypocritical for a ceasefire and renewed negotiations with the LTTE – as if we and our neighbours had not been down that road many times before starting with 1987; as if negotiations had not been repeatedly tried and resulted in renewed warfare by the Tigers.

Prabhakaran was wrong in assumptions one and two. This is what we Sri Lankans have to thank President Rajapaksa for, because no one but the political executive could have said yes or no to external pressure including projects of evacuation which would have permitted Prabhakaran to slip through.   Prabhakaran was wrong in assumption three, because collective mass suicide through exposure to Sri Lankan military assault (“suicide by cop”) was prevented by the military’s willingness to take casualties in dangerous operations to penetrate the bunker–trench complex and create openings for the escape, each time, of tens of thousands of civilians.

However, Prabhakaran’s third gamble may have posthumously paid off at least in part, going by the current intense campaign against Sri Lanka. All wars including the on-going one in Afghanistan, entails civilian casualties. The taboo is the intentional and avoidable killing of civilians. Sri Lanka’s war was not characterised by the intentional, avoidable killing of civilians. As a policy, Sri Lanka sought to minimise civilian casualties. Sri Lanka’s military policy was not the intentional targeting and killing of civilians. As in Afghanistan, as in drone strikes in Pakistan, civilians died as an unavoidable result. Is a ‘no fire zone’ a zone into which the military does not fire even if it is taking heavy artillery fire from within it? Or is it rather a zone into which the military does not fire at random, but only does so in a targeted fashion in order to suppress heavy artillery and mortar fire coming from within?

The US used B-52, B-1and B 2 strategic bombers, designed to carry nuclear weapons, in  bombing raids on Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which were far more lightly armed than the Tigers with their heavy guns, fledgling air force and established naval arm. Sri Lanka did not violate the criterion of proportionality in the force it deployed in the last war, including the last phase of the last war. The civilian casualties were not only unavoidable, but were a fraction of those who had died in the wars that the Tigers unilaterally waged even after a reformist solution was available in 1987, and a fraction of those who would have died had the Tigers not been terminated and the war continued for the next thirty years.

This does not mean there were no brutal excesses as in any war, but these were not a matter of policy; they were exceptions, which will be dealt with within and by Sri Lanka, institutionally, just as every state and society deals with them. Why should Sri Lanka be an exception?

There is an attempt to catch Sri Lanka in an accountability trap. Iraq was accused of possessing WMD and asked to submit to external inspection. It did, and the absence of WMD did not prevent the horror that was visited upon it.  The panel report is not, as Gordon Weiss has it, Sri Lanka’s Srebrenica Moment. There, 8,000 men women and children were taken prisoner and executed. What is being sought to be staged is Sri Lanka’s WMD Moment. The question is posed, if Sri Lanka is innocent of charges of war crimes why not prove it by means of an international independent inquiry? That’s a ‘have you stopped beating your wife’ type of question. How independent is independent; independent of whom or what? How international is international? And why not start with other states whose wars, including those of conquest and annexation, inflicted far more casualties and ended much more than two years ago?

The UN Tribunal in Cambodia is an inquiry into war crimes committed by the defeated Khmer Rouge, not into the conduct of the armed forces of the government of Cambodia which, in alliance with Vietnam, overthrew the Pol Pot regime.  In Sri Lanka, with the equivalent of Pol Pot and his henchmen dead, the so-called international community wants an inquiry into those who overthrew “South Asia’s Pol Pot”, as the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist John Burns designated Prabhakaran.

The milder method of a ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ is also inappropriate. From South Africa to Guatemala, these have been present only in situations of a negotiated peace, never an outright military victory. Had the Tigers been pushed by the West and sympathisers in the Tamil Diaspora into adhering to the CFA, instead of, say, assassinating the Foreign Minister, we might have had one of those to go with it—though, it must be noted that the Northern Ireland peace process did not contain any Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Bloody Sunday report took 38 years.

The Darusman panel’s call for an ‘independent international inquiry’ is nothing less than singling out of our sovereign country for a “strip search”. Is there anything that suggests that an island nation with a written history of millennia and a collective identity (‘imagined’ or organic, constructed or primordial) even longer; a country that is not a failed state, or located in Europe or across the Mediterranean in a common region, but in Asia, will subject itself or succumb to that unfair and intrusive violation?

  • TT

    “It is quite interesting to note that World’s two most dreaded terrorists-Velupillai Prabhakaran and Osama Bin Laden were killed in the same month-Month of May.

    Occult numbers of LTTE and AL-QAEDA are same-that is 16.

    Prabhakaran was born in the Zodiacal Sign of Sagittarius represented by Jupiter. Osama was born in the Sign of Pisces represented by Jupiter .
    Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE in the month of May. Also,former Sri Lankan President Premadasa was assassinated by LTTE in the month of May.

    A period of 9 years or multiple of 9 (18,27,36 etc) is numerologically quite significant. Osama was killed after 9 years of the attack on WTC. Prabhakaran was killed after 18 years of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.”

    http://damodarology.sulekha.com/blog/post/2011/05/osama-and-prabhakaran-killed-in-may/comments.htm

    Why the now failed Vadokoddai resolution was passed in May too! 🙂
    2001 September to 2011 May is 9 years and 8 months.
    1991 May to 2009 May is 18 years.
    SL’s national heroes day used to fall on May 22.

    I think May is the holiest month in SL because Wesak falls in May. In some countries Wesak is celebrated in other months.

    • Buddhika

      Help us to live in harmony with all nationalities in Sri Lanka, without interfering unnecessary.
      There are no other explanation for Terrorism, Terrorism is Terrorism.

      • Buddhika

        After dead of Prabhakaran only I came to know, what is PEACE. My Language is not enough to explain feelings of PEACE. Since my Childhood I/we suffered a lot with WAR.

      • TT

        Me too. Those born after the start of war had never seen anything else in SL until 2009.

        As of May 2009, MOST SLs had a considerable span of their life affected by war. In the case of those born after 1982 it was 100%.

        For persons born before 1983 the following list gives the chunk of their valuable lives badly affected by the presence of the LTTE.

        Age in 1983—– % life affected by the presence of LTTE by 2009

        0 —– 100%
        5 —– 84%
        10 —- 72%
        15 —- 63%
        20 —- 57%
        25 —- 51%
        30 —- 46%
        35 —- 43%
        40 —- 39%
        45 —- 37%
        50 —- 34%

        The ending of this is worth celebrating.

    • sambar

      May be …

  • Velu Balendran

    “Prabhakaran was only the result of certain policies”, the same argument holds for Osama Bin Laden. Those who reject that line of reasoning in his case cannot legitimately insist on it in the case of the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lanka says Dayan.

    Dyan is forgetting to play the numbers game which will determine the legitimacy of the claim. A vast majority of Tamils – and would venture to say that practically every Tamil – even to this date, agrees that the “policies” of the Sinhala govts produced a groundswell of Tamil resistance that inevitably propelled into being a leader like Prabha. That is not the case with Osama. His ideology can even be described as an artificial one as it has not sprung up spontaneously from the majority of Muslim masses based on a social need but only has a following from a minority of extremist Muslims. That is the reason why Prabha can and Osama can’t claim legitimacy.

    On the “celebrations” at ground zero, only a small crowd did so for a short time. That must be simply dismissed as unrepresentative. They were condemned by everyone in TV and radio including by the relatives of some who perished there on 9/11. No point comparing those ‘celebrations’ with our ‘triumphalism’ except for scoring cheap points.

    Dayan probably has read recent reference of his boss to Pol Pot in the media. Otherwise why talk about titles to a dead man? The fact is that the Pol Pot mantle is being passed on to Mahinda after the world has come to know of his genocide of Tamils sans witnesses at Mullivaikkal. I wonder what John Burns would say today!

    Sadly, the political climate is such that if you have to support the govt at all cost, even weak arguments sould be put forward. Disappointing and laughably that is what Dayan is doing!

  • Agnos

    Listen, DJ. The Ban panel report has devastatingly laid out the blatant lies that you and your government constantly peddle. Read what The Economist and The Financial Times say, rather than repeating ad nauseam that J.F. Burns quote. You guys are congenital liars and criminals. Your audience now is only your like-minded liars from Sri Lanka. Others are not even going to bother reading your drivel.

    If you want anyone to take you seriously, do a Moussa Koussa and come clean about the sordid, murderous regime that you represent. What did your bosses do to Eastern University VC, Prof. Raveendranath? Did they kill him and keep his body in a freezer in their homes? Did you happen to look into that freezer and recoil in fear? And Prageeth Ekaneligoda? I see that Lasantha W. is laughing at you from his grave–that you remain so pathetically in denial of what grave crimes you all have committed and what is coming to you.

  • SD

    Dayan,

    I agree with much of what you say, including the issue of war-crimes investigations, but here’s a question: what grounds do the UN have in calling for a war-crimes investigation? The answer is simple, after the death of tens of thousands of civilians, what credible steps have been taken to address national reconciliation? At the very least, what happened to the 13th?

    In the absence of such meaningful or even token reform, is it really surprising that there’s no moral high ground left for us to tread, and no counter-arguments to be made, other than conspiracy theories, ranging from remnant LTTE forces influencing the UN to invading space aliens seeking intimate relations with southern Sri Lankans?

    Is it really that surprising that external observers will assume the only explanation left: That reform was never on the cards, or no necessity for it was ever seen, or that the deaths of tens of thousands are all in a day’s work.

    Should we ever even have conceded that moral high ground, and if we hadn’t, would the UN ever even have seen a necessity to proceed?

    So what options remain, other than shameful threats and coercion, to initiate any kind of action from an apparently apathetic public, and a mulish, recalcitrant government and its leader who once famously said: “Prabhakaran must be spoken to in the only language he comprehends”. Seems VP was not the only one with such comprehension problems.

    • Burning_Issue

      Dear SD,

      I do sincerely salute you that you have not lost a sense of balance as far as a meaningful reconciliation is concerned. It is clear that the MR regime projects development as a form of reconciliation. Even if one takes the developments exclusively, what is there for one to point out. May be the military growing crops and selling vegetables undercutting the local endeavours!

      By the way, 13th Amendment is history as far is Dr Dyan is concerned; he will not talk about it anymore!

  • aadhavan

    No policy of intentional or avoidable civilian deaths? This chap is delusional. The panel found credible evidence of the crime against humanity of murder, extermination, persecution and disappearance. Yes, let that sink in. Extermination – the “intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population.”

    These lies don’t work anymore Dr. Dayan. Sri Lanka may or may not have its leaders (or diplomats – through JCE liability) hauled before an international court. Perhaps China and Russia will bail Sri Lanka out, despite their recent proclivity to abstain when it really counts. But no one will ever believe your story. They may support you even – but they won’t believe you. You fellows got called out. Get to grips.

    • the way of the Dodo

      allegations not evidence. There is a difference, IMO. Downplaying the number of people in the vanni is not evidence of extermination. It leads to an allegation of ‘extermination’ which according to the report is credible. I’m not a lawyer but i think there is a lot more work to done to turn that into an indictment & a consequent conviction.

      • veedhur

        Ask the people in the vanni and honestly record their statements – they will tell what happened during the war and afterwords in the manic farm camps – not much work I would guess, if one is really interested in getting to know the truth that is.

      • aadhavan

        the distinction is only technical and not substantive. technically, you have evidence of acts that constitute crimes, and allegations of crimes. which is why the panel referred to credible allegations of crimes. elsewhere, they refer to the credibility of the evidence placed before them.

      • Really, Aadhavan — the distinction between an allegation and evidence is technical? Would that be like the technical difference between a screw and a motor vehicle?

      • aadhavan

        aiyo, pay attention child. the distinction between credible allegation and credible evidence is technical. now, run along and be a good boy.

      • the way of the Dodo

        hmm…

        So am i to understand that only thing lawyer at the Hague do is fight over technicalities.

      • Lol Aadhavan, I know it’s quite inconvenient for you when people don’t simply swallow your mumbo jumbo because you went to law school 😀 but adding the word “credible” to both allegation and evidence doesn’t refine the distinction between the two. So if you mean that the difference between the two is a technicality on a legal document such as the difference between “legal” and “illegal” being a technicality based on the use of the “il”, then sure; everything’s a technicality. But in the real world, which funnily the law has to deal with, the difference between allegation and evidence is hardly a technicality. One will send you to jail, the other won’t.

  • TT

    Moral high ground?

    LOL!

    This is the joke of the century.

    What moral high ground the UN, US, Blake, etc. have to point out others’ alleged crimes?

    What’s the point in harping on the UN panel report? That is done and dusted now. The panel came up with the report and that was the plan. There is NO follow up action on that. It has no legality. The matter ends there. It is paper with holy scriptures written on it for some while for others it is toilet paper.

    • SD

      I was about to make a shamefaced post correcting “conceded that moral high ground” to “ceded” that moral high ground, when I saw that some people didn’t even understand what “moral high ground” meant in the first place 😀

      A merciful obviation?

      • TT

        May be time for that shamefaced correction to be made as intended! 🙂

        Had the LTTE not taken seriously a “shamefaced correction” IN TIME, things would have been way better for everyone.

    • Zorro

      but this toilet paper seem to worry a lot of people in Sri Lanka, including MR, Gota, ynd of course you.
      For your information TT if it was illegal, why the GoSL working together with the UN to make this report and why all that hide and seek statements from the GoSL about their meeting with the Panel members. Was that this toilet paper of such important to save [Edited out], my dear blind patriot without any moral high grounds?

    • Velu Balendran

      Moral high ground – laughable indeed.

      Since independence reforms were never on the cards, far from it, stealing even the few safeguards the Tamils had was the preoccupation of the Sinhalese govts as we saw in the subsequent constitutions.

      • SD

        Moral high ground is always a relative term Velu. Even the GOSL looked like a bunch of boy-scouts next to the LTTE. So that is the context in which I refer to “moral high ground”. There was ample justice in decimating a violent, crypto-fascist terrorist outfit, and therefore, ample moral high ground to tread on. Now, that moral high-ground is being ceded rapidly each day there is a failure to enact meaningful reforms.

      • Velu Balendran

        I understand where you are coming from SD. Outside of Sinhalese circles in Sri Lanka I am not aware of anyone using the term ‘crypto-fascist terrorist’ to refer to Tigers. (If you observe closely, serious commentators refer to them as rebels or separatists. Some catch up for you to do there SD). And because of these delusional tags the Sinhalese people think they are on moral high ground – relatively. But that is not the reality.

        SD, pardon me for asking, why are you clamoring for meaningful reforms? Even Tamils are resigned to this now and are waiting for better times to come to fight their cause.

      • SD

        Dear Velu,

        RE: “Outside of Sinhalese circles in Sri Lanka I am not aware of anyone using the term ‘crypto-fascist terrorist’ to refer to Tigers.

        Velu, I know where you’re coming from too, and within the echo-chamber of Tamil nationalism, suicide bombing, child soldiers, human shields and every other crime under the sun, is all just “asymmetric warfare against a brutal terrorist regime”. Yes, I can sympathise to a degree, but not to the degree of questionable sanity I would have to sink to, to stand where you do.

        RE: “(If you observe closely, serious commentators refer to them as rebels or separatists. Some catch up for you to do there SD).”

        Indeed, I have noticed that, but those are the commentators who are stuck in the past, and are sympathetic to the origins of Tamil militancy. Indeed, the actions of the govt. have been so atrocious in the past, that the origins of militancy could indeed be sympathized with. But what such commentators fail to comprehend, is that the Tigers had already long since transformed itself into a cannibalizing fascist cult, and a failure to observe that fact is a failure in analysis.

        Dayan’s own piece here quotes some respected commentators who call the Tigers fascist outright, and although those alone should be more than enough, here are a few more I found with a Google search who think so, and are published in respectable places and are “outside of Sri Lanka”.

        http://www.economist.com/node/15393468
        http://www.jstor.org/pss/10.1525/as.2009.49.6.915
        http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a930465093
        http://publicculture.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/10/3/515.pdf
        http://www.jstor.org/pss/4398721

        RE: “SD, pardon me for asking, why are you clamoring for meaningful reforms? Even Tamils are resigned to this now and are waiting for better times to come to fight their cause.”

        Because my duty is towards my fellow citizens, and we have to strive for improvement, in whatever incremental steps possible. That is only possibly through constructive engagement, with those who are open to reasoned discussion and debate, and the hope that ripple effects will eventually result in the necessary critical mass. It’s not possible through violence, as the LTTE came to realize, nor is it possible through mindless hate-mongering, as you apparently never will realize.

      • the way of the Dodo

        the US chap who came here today had said “VP along with osama were two of the worst terrorist leaders in history” then went on to say “Certainly no one in the United States, certainly not in my government, mourns the passing of Prabhakaran.”

      • aadhavan

        The government had no moral high ground after the war in which they are credibly alleged to have committed the crimes against humanity of extermination, persecution, murder, disappearance and imprisonment. What they did have was a wall of silence built around the wide scale and systematic targeting of civilians during the last months of the war. That wall is cracking, and with it, the Tamil people of Sri Lanka – beleaguered and broken, are beginning to find their voice. They have been vindicated. The crimes against them acknowledged and made known. The TNA’s recent feisty attitude is only a reflection of this trend. Before the communities are reconciled, Tamils must be made to feel equal and their dignity secured. Thus, telling the truth about the campaign of terror and extermination unleashed on the Vanni Tamils by the government is indispensable to the search for reconciliation.

      • Velu Balendran

        To do justice to your comment would require a lengthy essay. Let me just take the suicide bombing you mention at the start which seems to be very revolting to you.

        Even without googling most people would know of the names of many types to bombs – Cluster bombs, Phosphorous bombs, napalm bombs, Dirty (radioactive) bombs, Hydrogen bombs, Atomic bombs etc – that have crept into our vocabulary. These are developed by powerful states with huge defence budgets so much so they can even be called the rich man’s bombs. In stark contrast the suicide bomb presents itself as the poor man’s bomb. It is a non-starter to ask which bomb will win in a PR battle. That will explain the unpopularity of the suicide bomb. But educated academics (such as you?) can’t get caught in that trap. A bomb, is a bomb, is a bomb that takes out life without notice or discrimination, whether innocent or not and therefore deserves to be condemned by humankind.

        But the poor man’s bomb is often used by people seeking justice that is denied them and its usage or scope is local. The rich man’s bomb on the other hand is highly sophisticated to cause maximum damage with limitless scope and is used enforce power by massive destruction of life and property. The Cluster bombs, Phosphorous bombs and MBRL used by SL fall into this category.

        On the moral landscape, I think the suicide bomb occupies the higher ground – relatively.

      • SD

        Dear Velu,

        I disagree. Because the suicide bomb requires taking some poor sap, and conditioning the person to voluntarily and very deliberately blow oneself up, against one’s most basic instinct to survive. This is an even more cold blooded brainwashing process than conditioning a soldier to go to battle. At the very minimum, a soldier fires out of necessity, and it is the very instinct to survive that animates him/her. A suicide bomber very deliberately does the exact opposite, often in conditions that are not immediately life threatening to that person or his/her comrades.

        Clearly, this kind of thing requires a blood curdling process of reprogramming an individual’s basic drive. Often times, it requires hand picking abjectly vulnerable candidates who can be psychologically primed over a period of time for the task. Read up on the process of how this conditioning is done. The LTTE, with their cult of martyrdom, were experts in the process. I doubt you’ll come back saying it’s superior. That’s why that kind of suicide bombing is universally shunned as being immoral beyond question.

      • Velu Balendran

        Dear SD,

        The issues you raise have been recognised in Puranaanuru</i.(a 3000? year old Googlable Tamil works) and that is what gives strength and conviction to fight for a worthy cause disregarding life. By the way were you aware that there was a long waiting list for selection of suicide bombers!

        It is sad we may have to agree to disagree.

      • the way of the Dodo

        Using a suicide bomb is not such a bad thing as people make it out to be, provided the bombers are not coerced or brainwashed. The problem is that suicide bombers around the world have this tendency to blow themselves up in random public places even when there is no military target in sight.

        If we are honest & practical the ltte had very little choice other than to use suicide bombers. And given that they were out gunned for the most part, it was an efficient way to attack targets inside enemy lines.

      • SD

        Dear Velu,

        As I mentioned, the Tiger’s cult of martyrdom romanticized the notion of blowing themselves up for the “cause”, hopeless though it may have been, so of course some souls were suitably enamoured by the notion to line up – that’s the whole point behind creating that cult after all! The subsequent process involved carefully brainwashing selected individuals to actually do it, usually candidates who were psychologically manipulable enough to go through with it. As far as the moral landscape goes, that’s as deep a trench as the Mariana.

        In any case, I’ll believe your rhetoric about suicide bombing the day I see you eagerly lining up to be one or if I see you send your teenage children to die fighting in the front-lines. Till then, you are just another one of those people who exploited the poor to fight for your pipe-dreams, and readily eschew reason for rationalization.

        So yes, you’re damn right we agree to disagree 🙂

        —————————

        Dear way of the Dodo,

        Have to say your name is fantastically appropriate. I take it you mean Sinhalese and Tamils both? They certainly seem eager to go extinct.

        I can see the advantages in suicide bombs, I’m not questioning that. But by that logic, child soldiers, drug trafficking and every crime under the sun, is fine and dandy, and it all degenerates into the “all’s fair in love and war” argument.

        Velu’s contention was that suicide bombing was “honourable”. I was merely showing him that, as far as the moral landscape goes, the LTTE’s position had sunk about as low as they could possibly get.

        Thus, the move to obliterate them was a perfectly logical process, because the GOSL was the lesser of the two evils – by definition.

      • Velu Balendran

        Dear SD,

        Sorry to say this, but try to win your arguments with facts and logic, not with incoherent rants.

      • SD

        Dear Velu,

        Nonsense. I have carefully deconstructed your arguments and there are no facts or logic in them.

        Here are your claims.

        1. You claimed that only us Sinhala circles called the tigers fascists – I provided evidence that this was not the case.

        2. You claimed that the “Sinhalese people” think they are on high moral ground for no good reason – I pointed out that almost anyone would be on relatively higher moral ground than the tigers. I pointed to child soldiers, suicide bombing, and human shields. You ignored the issue and took suicide bombing only – the easiest to defend after all.

        3. You then claimed that suicide bombing was honourable, apparently forgetting the fact that we were discussing the issue in the context of the LTTE. I pointed out that there was nothing honourable about brainwashing a poor sap to act like a lemming, especially in the way the LTTE did it, attacking non-military targets – it could be called desperate, but not honourable.

        4. Finally, you pointed to some 3000 year old text that has no relevance to the kind of suicide bombing that the LTTE was engaging in, and even went on to say that people were queuing for the privilege. I asked you why you weren’t doing the same thing?

        What facts or logic have I missed?

      • Keep dreaming and waiting, Aadhavan; as the Cuban and Tibetan exiles discovered, the Messiah isn’t coming.

  • ravana

    Let’s face it Dr. DJ,
    The Darusman report is full of inaccuracies and could not have been ever meant as a threat to GSL. The president of SL merely used it in his usual cunning way to whip the usual suspects; the ultra racist Sinhala thugs who have made the lives of Sri Lankans miserable for decades.

    I am interested however to note your brief but deliberate swipe at the 1980’s JVP. After decades believing that the JVP were heartless terrorists, I have recently come to realise that the JVP were merely the children of supporters of the major party of the current Government. A secretary to the Presidential Commission of the time has recently made a heartfelt confession about the evidence of torture and slaughter of these “children” by the Police and Defence Force Personnel of Sri Lanka. Whilst all these kids were sinhala speaking Sri Lankans, the perpetrators were without the doubt from the Sinhala tribe as well.

    I wonder if you could write a balanced article about this saga, gathering your knowledge of the time. Perhaps we could hear more about a shadowy organisation called PRA which I have heard of, whispered in some circles. Was PRA some sort of arm of the racist sinhala thugs? Or did they not care who they tortured and killed; Tamil or Sinhala?

    I much appreciate one of your earlier articles, clearly outlining the gory nature of these Sinhala thugs during the July 83 progrom. The picture of the poor naked boy about to be felled by a Karate kick by one of these animals is etched into my mind for ever. For that death alone I can never forgive the Sinhala thugs, let alone thousands of other such deaths.

    Perhaps the Darusman report gains a degree of legitimacy beyond what it deserves because of the clear lack of justice in Sri Lanka’s past. A past which has been marked by a spineless judiciary. It is clearly not just racism which is deeply wrong with the culture of Sinhala and Tamil racists. Racism is just one aspect of their entrenched disregard to any thing with a semblance of humanity.

  • Zorro

    DJ it is not the question of an international and independent inquiry in to this matter, instead it is the question of the dedicated interest of the GoSL to inquire into this matter, to deliver justice. The interest seems to be very low due to other political interests, that is what been missing in the whole story. We showed corporation to the panel to make this report but at the home front we accuse the panel as illegitimate to radicalize the mob, the govt. was in such a hurry to make the 18th amendment to extend the powers of the president but the 13th and the 13+ amendments have no priority, the all party commission report was discarded and kept under lock, the LLRC has no mandate to investigate to find out the route cause and was not appointed by the parliament but alone by the president, and there is no legal obligation to publish the LLRC report, if it is going to disturb the peace of the nation.

  • Bundoora

    This never ending UN saga, is it against SL and it’s people or it’s regime?? Even if UN were to take action (very unlikely) it would be most likely

    1) Travel ban on this regime
    2) Frozen of assets
    3) Moussa Koussa effect on diplomatic stooges

    Why can’t we differentiate the difference?

    • the way of the Dodo

      bundoora, this will probably adversely effect the business community as well. Investment will slow down, tourist numbers will likely drop as well.

  • the way of the Dodo

    Whether we like it or not, this UN factor has already adversely affected SL, Will have to wait and see what is up in the store for us. Thanks to our short sighted selfish, power hungry, arrogant politicos. Even before this tragic comedy, EU withdrew GSP+ facility, US enforced restrictions (Certain limit) on its investors to SL.

    • the way of the Dodo

      i didn’t know about the US restriction. can you provide a link as i can’t seem to find one

  • TT

    Osama Bin Laden’s daughter claimed her father was captured alive by US forces and then later executed in front of her.

    Al-Arabiya, citing Pakistani security officials, reported that the 12-year-old daughter of Bin Laden saw her father executed after capture and drug aboard a helicopter.

    The official allegedly rejected any notion a firefight took place.
    “Not a single bullet was fired from the compound at the US forces and their choppers. Their chopper developed some technical fault and crashed and the wreckage was left on the spot,” the official told Al-Arabiya.

    The White House has already changed its story a number of times. It was revealed that Bin Laden did not use one of his wives as a human shield, after the administration initially claimed he had and it was also later learned the al-Qaeda leader was shot while unarmed. Previously it had been reported that he resisted and was armed with a rifle.

    The Obama administrations response following the mix up was to clarify that Bin Laden resisted and that resistance did not require he be armed.

    US Fox News has also reported that Bin Laden was in possession of large amounts of cash and phone numbers, leading many to believe he was getting ready to flee the home or was prepared in the event he was forced to leave quickly.

    On top of these revelations the National Enquirer claimed in a report that the man pleaded for his life and told US forces “it’s not me.”
    Security officials apparently did not recover any arms or explosives following an all-encompassing search of the compound. They did however remove two buffalos, a cow and roughly 150 chickens in addition to computer hard drives, DVDs and an array of documents.
    According to the Pentagon it was also in the plan for the US forces to remove and take Bin Laden’s family with them when they left the compound. But, the failure of one of the helicopters forced them to scrub that part of the plan.

    The mix of stories and lack of tangible evidence of what actually occurred has left many angry and confused.

    An Islamist group in Pakistan took to the streets in protest, yelling, “Down with America! Down with Obama!” and “Jihad, Jihad the only treatment for America.”

    “Let me make it very clear that we will avenge the martyrdom of Osama bin Laden, and we will do it by carrying out attacks in Pakistan and America. We will teach them an exemplary lesson,” said Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan.

    A British bishop has also blasted the acts of the US, arguing the incident was more about revenge than justice.

    “The more I consider it the more concerning I find it. The thing that troubles me most is the way some are speaking of justice being done,” said Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester. “What has actually happened, only too sadly understandably, is, I think, much more reasonably viewed as an act of vengeance or revenge.”

    http://rt.com/usa/news/bin-laden-captured-alive-executed/

    Differences of opinion just like in the case of VP. And European bishops play their part in the controversy. No difference.

  • veedhur

    @SD

    “Tigers had already long since transformed itself into a cannibalizing fascist cult, and a failure to observe that fact is a failure in analysis” – I agree, and would like to add ‘egged on by a delusional diaspora’

    • SD

      Dear Veedhur,

      I agree.

      What is your opinion on the way forward from here?

      One thing is, I think it’s easier to carry on a conversation when one does not assume that the other, by accident of ethnicity, necessarily has some deep-rooted desire to oppress the “other”. I hope we can continue to build that up, and moderate people on both sides align themselves on such common ground. Given the present climate, my personal opinion has been that whatever future platform must be on the grounds of equal rights, and also on the notion of equal rights for all minorities (without being framed as specifically for Tamils). The ethnocentric madness of the LTTE has had the unfortunate side-effect of tainting even legitimate claims with a “racist” brush.

      I remember Ahilan Kadirgamar and Nirmala Rajasingham putting forth that argument a while back, but that wisdom was promptly ignored at the time, after all, Ahilan was the son of a “traitor”, Nirmala was branded in a similar way, and the LTTE was “invincible”.

      I think we can gradually work forward to a more culturally sensitive society from there. At least, we are in much better shape than we used to be, and it actually shows, despite the temporary trough no-thanks to the frothing hardliners. However, you’ll notice that even they won’t fail to pay lip-service to equal rights and racial equality. Such intellectual enlightenment according to 21st century norms is inevitable, unless of course, Sri Lanka fails to move forward from its present 3rd world status, and decides to stay back wallowing in ignorance and nationalistic frenzy. How all of us proceed will determine that of course.

  • Bundoora

    oDear , the way of the Dodo

    This was revealed (written in an article )by the Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasooriya when he visited SL with few American investors some time ago, if I get hold of it , I will give you the link, in the mean time why don’t you write to the SL embassy and find out.

  • PitastharaPuthraya

    Americans flew to another country violating its airspace without formally getting their permission, killed a man they claimed to be their arch enemy and now change their story time to time.

    I do not have any sympathy towards Osama.

    However, this is not going to be a good precedent. If a powerful country sees a man/woman as a threat to their national security they now can get into any country without a visa or any form of permission and capture or kill that person.

    If this is legitimate in the eyes of international law what Mossad did in a Dubai hotel killing a Hamas Member using British pass port was correct. So there is no need for the British Government to say ‘foul’ as they did vehemently in the parliment and every where those days.

  • Here is the man who Was trying to compare the number of years of MR in power , with those dictators are/were in trouble during the early days of Arab uprising .despite the fact that , MR is the only one who seized/abused so much power within a very short period of time (other Arab dictators took so many years to achieve this )
    Now tries to do the very same cheap comparison between prabakaran and BL , what a way to survive!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Velu Balendran,

    By the way were you aware that there was a long waiting list for selection of suicide bombers!

    Then how come there aren’t any suicide bombers today?

  • Afraid of Death

    David Blacker and Dayan J make an excellent pair. I wouldn’t call them Tweedleedee and Tweedleedumber because they aren’t. They are just a pair of I-don’t-know-whats cut from the same cloth of sycophancy, in different patterns perhaps.

    The reality is that we have a violent government that has an unparalleled record of “taking out” those who disagree with what they stand for and all the King’s (MR’s)horses and all the King’s men (DB and DJ can choose their categories) cannot put that Humpty Dumpty together again. This is a corrupt government that is interested in NOTHING except self-aggrandizement and those that support that effort seek to do nothing but advance that initiative.

    DJ and DB, you have provided ample evidence of your totally amoral belief system and all your continuing utterances do is confirm that fact. You are both beyond shame.

    There are still people in this world who do have a belief system that encompasses the minimum standards of the UN protocols and even if you and your masters succeed in silencing them through threats of death and destruction, you cannot take out what’s in their hearts and heads.

    • Personally, I have no problem with what is in their hearts and heads, just what comes out of the mouths of people like you who try to interpret those hearts and heads. I, for one, would like to see the UN protocols enforced universally, starting with the countries where said hearts and heads reside 😉

    • Off the Cuff

      Afraid of Death,

      David says “I, for one, would like to see the UN protocols enforced universally,”

      Since you declare that you possess the minimum moral standards of UN protocols, under what moral grounds can you object to what he says?

      If you do object, are you not the sycophant?

      • sambar

        Off the Cuff,

        David Blacker was being crafty and only made a conditional statement — he is quite willing to implement any UN protocols as long as he gets to be at the back of the queue.
        But while DB’s sincerity on this point may be questioned, he is absolutely spot on in pointing out the hypocrisy.

      • I don’t suggest that there should be some lengthy queue. However, don’t you think that it’s only fair that the nations who proclaim themselves to be the most advanced, civilised, and democratic, and who set themselves up as examples for the backward Third World to follow, should be the first to implement the very protocols they demand we accept?

    • Thambi

      Patronizing holier-than-thou attitudes (ala you) make me sick.

    • Thambi

      Minimum moral standards are displayed by the tamil chauvinist diaspora who glorify blowing themselves up, setting themselves on fire, forcing children and women to fight, extreme racist chauvinistic ideas, etc..

      Or maybe these are shown in those hanging from hooks game that Tamils play in Jaffna and the East.

  • Sairah

    Regardless of any opinion on whether Prabakharan was a terrorist or a hero, one cannot make the comparison between the U.S. victory and that of Sri Lanka’s. The U.S. managed to find Osama in this last stage with minimal civilian casualties. Sri Lanka has yet to account for how many of our own were sacrificed for the sake of the last stage of the war. The comparison is absurd and truly the only parallels that can be made is that both (Osama, Prabakharan) were killed in the month of May.

    While the author mentions casualties cannot be avoided in war, there is a difference between a few, a few hundred, a few thousand and a tens of thousands. The mentality in the East and West regarding the value of an individual life can help explain why Sri Lankans simply do not see the number of civilians and soliders that were killed as an issue. As far as sovereignty, I am not sure if such a thing truly exists in the first place in our globalized world. With the influence of China and Iran surely this does not exist in Sri Lanka either. The truth is if you want to be a part of a society you have to play by some rules. The best wake up call for Sri Lanka and its leaders will be to realize that when they help the people they will help the country and then they will help themselves.

    The war-related euphoria can only last for so long before another group of mistreated and marginalized individuals crop up, whether they be Tamil or Sinhalese.

    • Thambi

      More significant difference: Al Qaeda has not been defeated or stunted in a major way by the death of Osama. It continues throughout the Middle East in decentralized guerilla groups. — this is in contrast to the killing of Prabhakaran which was the cherry on the top of the complete defeat of the LTTE and anything that supported it. Now it only exists among the tamil diaspora (with members like Velu Balendran) waving LTTE flags and fantasizing about the ‘heroics’ of suicide bombers.

  • MV

    Birds of a feather flock together, eh?

    It isn’t so surprising that GOSL, their backers, the Sri Lankan mainstream media et al have rushed in at this opportunity to compare Bin Laden’s death with that of Sri Lanka’s own ‘war on terrorism’. Of course, the message is clear – that is, to legitimate Sri Lanka’s war and to decry any war crime charges as hypocritical of IC in killing ‘terrorists’.

    That being said, it is also not surprising that GOSL and US are partners in the war, despite the latter issuing statements on human rights – as is noted here http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/may2011/sril-m18.shtml