Image courtesy Channel 4

Channel 4’s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields is anything but understated. It is designed to shock, even if you are the most hardened of viewers. Images of blood-soaked bodies assail you from every angle. As a cellphone camera jerks around, you see the bulging eyes of a man-turned-killing machine. He appears to be enjoying himself. You feel disoriented. When you think you cannot take it anymore, there it is: Another body eviscerated, another child screaming for her mother, another man’s eyes tied shut, another gunshot through the head, and still another naked body piled atop a truck laden with violated human flesh.

And then you are left with nothing but darkness. And silence.

That silence lingered as the lights went up on the UN Church Center, where NGO workers and UN staffers, reporters and diplomats attended a subdued screening of Channel 4’s controversial (and at times sensationalist) documentary, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields. Though the screening was punctuated by two short breaks, few viewers dared to get up for a glass of water or a refill of their morning coffee during the screening.

The panel that followed was moderated by Jose Luis Diaz, Amnesty International’s Representative to the United Nations (who has since written an account of the event here, and featured speakers from Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, Amnesty, and the director of the film, Callum McCrae.

McCrae said that he had very little to add to what the audience had just seen.

“As filmmakers, our job is to gather the evidence, to put together the film… it’s not our job to define what should happen next. In some sense, that’s your job,” he said.

Calling his film “prima facie evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he stated that three entities would have to answer for these brutal violations: the Sri Lankan government, surviving Tamil Tiger leaders, and the UN and the international community. Refuting the idea that his documentary was causing problems in Sri Lanka, McCrae said, “The problems are there… without justice, there can be no resolution, no reconciliation.”

The representatives of the assembled rights groups spoke next. They summed up the violations of both parties to war, cataloguing in particular human rights abuses of the LTTE that they had documented over the years. They also pointed out the limits of domestic mechanisms under the current government, blasted the United Nations and the Secretary-General’s inaction on the report of a panel of experts he had convened, and called for an international inquiry into the conduct of the final phases of war. When they were done, the audience was given a brief opportunity to ask questions. A few hands were raised, but most appeared not to know what to say, or ask. After three questions, Diaz reminded the audience that the alleged crimes under discussion were subject to universal jurisdiction, allowing any country to pursue and prosecute them. He noted this as an avenue that might be pursued in the absence of domestic accountability processes.

And then something rather surprising happened. Two men from Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission—two men often named in allegations of war crimes–were given the opportunity to respond to the documentary.

Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations spoke first. Addressing a question that was posed earlier about why the international community had not taken these allegations seriously, he claimed that it was because they were not “well-founded.” Kohona’s response did not question the veracity of the footage; rather, it questioned the motives of the producers, and others calling for investigations, as well as the accuracy of their claims and commentary. He argued that the filmmakers and rights activists had confused “allegations” with “evidence” in their presentation, and referencing Channel 4, turned to McCrae and said “maybe you were upset that you were thrown out of the country, at some point.” Even as he admitted that UN staff left the North in September 2008, Kohona claimed that “the UN had dozens of local recruits on the ground, and they continued to stay there” as observers until the end. He continued, “In fact, we suggested that the UN also pull them out.” We might ask: If these local recruits remained, what assurances were made for their safety and lives that would allow them to act as observers? Kohona further claimed that the ICRC had a presence on the beach until the very last day.

In light of what he called “naïve mischaracterizations,” Kohona said that the documentary required more scrutiny and analysis:

It is easy to provoke people, get them emotional—and also, even if you count up all the people who are dead in that video, I don’t think you could come up with 100—that is not to suggest that others were not hurt or died—they may have! But even if you counted every single body that was in that video, I do not think that you could come up with a total of 100. (Emphasis added.)

Kohona then rejected the documentary’s assertions about the post-war North, and added a few final remarks to his dismissal of the film’s war crimes allegations: He averred that there are a number of ways in which the government has taken responsibility for investigating these concerns:

  • The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has “the mandate to go into all aspects of the conflict, including accountability issues”
  • “The Attorney-General’s Department of Sri Lanka has established a special unit to pursue further any issues relating to accountability that are raised by the LLRC.”
  • Kohona cited an Army statement that it would look into “any instances that can be substantiated where soldiers have broken the law,” noting that “there were instances which we saw on that screen, which were not very pleasant, and which may be brought under the criminal law of the country. And the military has said that very categorically—that they will deal with situations like that.”

In short, Kohona admitted that the footage reveals acts that require legal investigation and asserted that Sri Lanka has domestic mechanisms—in particular, the LLRC and the Attorney-General’s office–to investigate war atrocities. Such claims may be belied by the political realities in which these mechanisms operate: a judiciary subject to political appointments and decades of commissions of inquiry with little result. Those who stand accused occupy Sri Lanka’s highest levels in government and military, yet Kohona’s final point claims that the military will investigate itself.

In contrast, Kohona suggested that pointing out these shortcomings to say that Sri Lanka cannot investigate was “extremely paternalistic.” He continued: “I’ve not heard Amnesty International, or any other organization, suggesting that there should be an international inquiry into Abu Ghraib or what is going on in Tripoli at the moment.” (That Amnesty did call for an “independent investigation” into Abu Ghraib—even after US investigations and minor prosecutions—is conveniently forgotten.) In making this point, does the ambassador inadvertently liken the events depicted in the Channel 4 documentary to other grave violations of international law? Does American and British hypocrisy justify these acts, or would they not require, at the very least, independent and impartial scrutiny?

By way of conclusion, Kohona stated: “I must confirm that Sri Lanka will continue to abide by its responsibilities internationally, will conform to international standards, and wherever our troops, our security forces are found lacking, appropriate measures will be taken.”

The Asian Tribune has since published a written summary of Kohona’s ad-hoc speech here. However, his is not the speech that many Sri Lankans would be familiar with after reading last week’s news; that distinction belongs to Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva.

The ambassador handed the floor over to Silva, who was appointed by the Rajapaksa government last December as Kohona’s deputy at the Mission. Diaz reminded Silva that he had only two minutes, yet he spoke for nearly ten. Silva began by pointedly noting that he had not been invited to the event, nor to speak, though he was “featured” in the film as the Commander of the 58th Division. He then proceeded to act as a living caricature of the Government’s initial response to the Channel 4 documentary. The deputy claimed that the footage was fabricated, and explained to the audience how he had determined this. He variously decried the identity of eyewitnesses, perpetrators and victims as Tigers.

Let us look more closely at one example provided as the “evidence” for this “fabrication.” Silva claimed that Channel 4 had mistranslated footage of a woman screaming as she hid with others in a trench. He said the same was true of the Sinhala-language footage, though he did not offer any examples. This is the scene he referred to, as translated in the film (09:41):

Don’t take the video

Please get in the bunker

What are you going to do with the video?

They are killing everyone

Silva suggests that we “ask someone who knows Tamil to tell what it is” and offered the following “translation” in response:

“And these people who are going down [into the trench] say not to film this! This is a production! This is a production!”

Viewers of the Channel 4 documentary will see that the narrator introduces this footage by noting that the identity of the videographer—and therefore, whether the person was a Tiger cameraperson or a civilian (09:28)–could not be confirmed. What matters is what we see: that a woman is shouting out of fear, asking the camera’s operator to get into the bunker when “they are killing everyone.” That “they” are not specified does not matter: Whatever the entity, it is targeting non-combatants, and this requires credible investigation.

McCrae noted that the producers had used four Tamil translators and five Sinhala translators to ensure their accuracy, and that these translations were independently verified. How many did Silva use? Were his translations verified? Either Silva has sought to deceive an international audience, or his mistranslation speaks to his own inability to understand one of Sri Lanka’s national languages.

The minutiae of these misrepresentations distract from allegations that are leveled at the government in this film, and the UN Panel of Experts report – in particular, the deliberate withholding of food, water and medical supplies; the shelling of hospitals and other non-military installations; and most grave of all, the intent to kill civilians herded into no-fire zones — allegations that Silva did not confront at all. A government that is convinced of the legality of its actions and the lack of evidence to prove otherwise should be able to confront such allegations, and would have nothing to fear in addressing them. Rather, evasions such as Silva’s reveal more than they conceal.

As he spoke, Silva waved a set of papers around, and told the audience that the government could provide links and analysis after the event. Owing to the length of Silva’s extempore speech, there was no time for audience questions at the end of the event, contrary to what the state media presents here. McCrae was given the opportunity to respond briefly, and with that, the event was over.

As the audience prepared to leave, two men from the mission handed out the two documents that were held up by Silva as “Sri Lanka’s response.”

See full screen version of this document here.

See the full screen version of this document here.

Let us then take a look at these documents: The first is called “Points to Ponder” and analyzes the commentary of the documentary while questioning the validity of its footage, and juxtaposing this with images of civilians killed by LTTE bombings. The second document is called “Channel 4 Faceoff—Exposing the appalling truth” and is drawn from the Defence Ministry website. Each document reiterates Kohona and Silva’s disjointed remarks, in a bundle of links, images and commentary that justifies the war and denounces the producers of the documentary—the second by making unsubstantiated claims that link their project to a pro-LTTE, anti-Sri Lanka campaign abroad.

Shortly after the event ended, the Government went on a publicity blitz. The Ministry of Defence, state media and a sycophantic press released numerous statements that denounce the documentary’s footage as fake. As with an earlier release by Channel 4 of a video documenting extrajudicial killings, it makes hyperbolic claims that link this footage to the Tigers, and has recently gone so far as to suggest, via an Army spokesperson, that Tamil asylum-seekers “invented” the footage to secure refugee status abroad.

Such remarks, along with those at Tuesday’s event, have allowed the Government to proclaim a public relations victory, as it has done here and here. Yet those in the audience who were not attached to the mission were visibly and audibly perturbed by the footage, and post-event, noted and questioned the differences they observed among the two speakers. They saw Kohona as a diplomat who understood how things worked, even if his arguments were unconvincing. Silva, on the other hand, was described by some as “an idiot.”

The words of one attendee summed it up: “The evidence is there for everyone to see.” Indeed, it is. What will be done with it remains to be seen.

The documents above and the audience reaction all beg the question: Why is the Government unable to come up with a coherent, reasoned response, let alone one that is adequate to the footage that confronts the viewer? Why were Kohona’s remarks shelved and Silva’s trumpeted by the state media?

Is it, perhaps, because Kohona’s statements about the footage and Sri Lanka’s mechanisms implicitly recognized that there may have been violations that should be investigated and accounted for? Because—unlike Silva’s utter denial–he explicitly noted that the State was responsible for dealing with violations of international law, and would then be required to uphold such obligations?

Taken together, Kohona and Silva’s two-faced response reveals a schizophrenic mission for a government that is unable to face up to the truth of the war, in order to reconcile and rebuild the country. As Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia, Elaine Pearson, pointed out during the event, the Government has focused its efforts on touting “the Sri Lanka model” of counterinsurgency. In doing so, it has drawn the notice of liberal interventionists. Human rights activists are not with us, they are against us, its spokespeople shout in response– or, as Silva claims, they are aligned with the pro-LTTE lobby abroad in a grand, imperialist plot. The war on terror extends indefinitely. And the government has thus effectively created the conspiracy that it now seeks to vanquish.

Indeed, the Government’s inadequate response to the problem of accountability for war atrocities does not bode well for the future of Sri Lanka. It lays the ground for suspicion, fueling calls for international action, which are then used by those in power to justify their repression of domestic critics—actions that only indicate growing authoritarianism and raise further questions. Evasions of accountability thus serve to undermine local efforts at post-war rebuilding and reconciliation, and in fact leave the back door open for those who would make an example of the state’s failures. These efforts toward truth and justice—and not the whitewash of an international propaganda battle–are the real challenges for a democratic Sri Lanka, as it strives for everyday and political reconciliation, and the prosperity of its citizens in the years to come.

After watching the Channel 4 film, many of us asked: What will the Government do now? If these scattered, frenzied “responses” are the answer, don’t the people of Sri Lanka—and in particular, the war-battered people in this film – deserve better?

  • ordinary lankan

    There comes a point in the history of a nation when deep reflection – not knee jerk reactions are required. This happens when the conscience is shocked and words are totally insufficient to deal with the enormity of what we have all experienced and will face in the future.

    Such a realization is important. This is not a matter of taking sides. We have been through all that. This is not just about war crimes per se. Wisdom comes when we lose everything – all our habitual refuges are withdrawn and we are totally naked.

    Fools will of course keep arguing and split hairs. This is to be expected. But those with the gift of intelligence must reflect more and talk less. We are at the brink of the abyss as individuals and as a nation. It is blindness that got us here.

  • Davidson


    Thank you for the much-needed

    • Sadun

      I saw this posted in a website. The first one is the shooting clip in Sinhala and the second one is stripped female terrorists shown in Headlines Today.


      listen to 0:29 of the first video and 1:05 of the second ”

      the voices looks the same to me, do you think so too? if you think so is it not a proof that the shooting clip has been dubbed in Sinhala?


  • ravana

    Thanks for the report. As I feared, looks like Silva did make a fool of himself and let Lanka down.
    It is interesting that the two men who have been allegedly accused by Fonseka (the latter has denied that he did this directly) have now appeared on video, acting very nervous and agitated (GR did this over a year ago).

    We are now beginning to read leaks about other video footage being available; ones taken by a state journalist which have now fallen in to the wrong hands. These leaks in the Lankaenews comments column even go so far as to suggest that there is a video of Silva taking orders (of you know what!) from Gota.

    If this is in fact true, then it looks like it is curtains for the regime. Sri lankans should at least now gather up some courage and dignity and do the needful. This means taking action to have the truth about everything which has happened over the past year and a half come to light. It is better to sacrifice a few so that the Nation can move forward than to be collectively shamed.

    I hope those of you who are English readers are taking note and conveying these messages to the masses.

    I am truly sorry for you guys. But I am more sorry for the people in the north who have had to endure unimaginable horrors in the past thirty years ending it with the an unspeakable fate. We have to assume the worst if Sri Lankans do not have the courage to pursue and demand the truth and nothing but the whole truth.

    • sabbe laban

      As you say, Silva couldn’t express what he wanted clearly with his limited vocabulary, leave alone posing a sound counter-argument.

      But, on the other hand it is not a shame considering the fact that English was not his first language. It may send shivers down the spines of a few “brown sahibs” who try to show that their English is even better than that of an Englishman! The audience too might have understood this fact, if they were in their right mind and excused Silva for his short comings. Have you listened to Ban Kee Moon’s English, by the way?

      The crux of the matter is that the Holy Goats of the West have launched a campaign to trample Sri Lanka. One reason is that they were treated badly by the Sri Lankan government. Another is that they are angry because Sri Lanka defied their interference to save the LTTE leadership. Another is that their predicted outcome didn’t eventuate.

      Though amnesty “did” call for an independent investigation on Abu-Ghraib torture chamber and the illegal concentration camp Gitmo, they never hawked and pursued their goal like in Sri Lanka’s case. Their cry looks like a mere eye wash to me. By the way have they campaigned to investigate the war crimes od “highway of death” in Iraq?

      The C-4 says that they have made a similar documentary on British soldiers’ killing of prisnors! Have they gone to THIS length to launch their campaign the way they come after the Sri Lankan government? Where is the international panel to investigate that crime?

      Therefore, it is apparent that this is nothing, but a reaction of the Old Master to teach a lesson to third world natives!

      • ravana

        It wasn’t Silva’s English I was worried about. In fact he has a sufficiently good command of English. What worried me is that after producing evidence of Tiger complicity in some of the videos, that he did not have the sense to apologise for crimes committed by soldiers and to assure that there would be investigations. If as is claimed on the Internet, he is primarily complicit for war crimes then this explains his behaviour.

        WRT Western countries having designs on Sri Lanka, I am with you. Some one suggested a scenario to me today that sounds convincing. The west is pursuing this issue so aggressively not because they have some moral high ground but because they want a piece of the cake (we can all understand that). However, my friend suggested that China will not support Sri Lanka if evidence against the Rajapakses is produced by the west. In this case the most likely outcome is that the Rajapakses would go down on their hands and knees and invite the west (via India) in. Once they have what they want and have the Rajapakses doing their bidding, all will be forgiven and this thing will vanish.

        What my friend says makes a lot of sense when one looks at the Gaddafi affair. The west will be fine until something like a General Strike or mass resistance emerges in Sri Lanka. Then, rather than let Marxists or any religious rabble get hold of the strategic value of the island, they will certainly consider an invasion (via India). China will look the other way as long as she has a stake in it. Don’t think the west would be beyond doing a deal with them.

        What the Rajapakses have achieved is to undermine a political plan of others soon after the war to minimise the likelihood of interference in management of Sri Lankan resources by any power, whether it is the West, India or China. Justice to the people of the North would have been a plan of such a strategy. Now it is basically too late.

        These machinations you are afraid of have nothing to do with the Tamil people (I agree); they will be discarded once the powers concerned have their way. From their point of view (I suspect) Sri Lanka is strategically far too important to be left in charge of Sri Lankans.

        Sri Lankans had an opportunity straight after the war such that they would have achieved the objective of remaining independent by now. Instead that objective is fast receding. The betrayal of sovereignty will almost certainly occur via the Rajapkases. The buffalos will hardly notice!

        I am afraid check-mate is ready to be made.

  • Candidly

    What is significant to me about the section of the Channel 4 film from which this screen-shot is taken, and the caption on the screen-sheet could be a clue, is that rather than asking to be rescued by the UN, these poor deluded people appear to be asking to be witnessed as they offer themselves as martyrs for their belief in Tamil Eelam. With respect, I think the author of this article is only looking at one possible interpretation of the final events of the Tamil Tiger-Sri Lankan government conflict. Another interpretation, for which there is growing evidence, is that, in the final months of the war, the LTTE leaders were deliberately trying to engineer a massacre of Eelam Tamils for reasons which at the moment we can only speculate open.

    It has been done before in the history of fanatical cults (e.g. at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978 & at Waco in the USA in 1993), but rarely on this scale.

    • Sarath Fernando

      Dear Candidly,

      Well said –“we can only speculate.”

      Given that, I am sure you are all for a proper, detailed investigation that alone can shed light and expose the true culprits (as you suggest could very well be LTTE!)

      Also, if we as a country do not call for an independent investigation, and resort to just internal investigation, we will continue to be under suspicion that we framed the LTTE.

      So, to clear our good name, let’s call loudly and clearly for an independent investigation and get to the bottom of this – and get the LTTE aptly identified and convicted since you feel that is a likely possibility that the ignorant author seemed to have missed.

      So, you are with me on this call for an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this, right? Else, the LTTE will never be convicted of this heinous crime – correct?

      Perhaps, one other question if I may. The Government has and continues to claim, substantiated by authoritative experts in the field, that the video was a fake. It seems you don’t believe that, given that your interpretation amounts to conceding that in fact such atrocities indeed took place, but possibly done by LTTE. Do you believe the Government’s version or do you doubt their expert’s credibility? Look forward your candid view.

  • It is truly tragic that the National Press, both Govt. and not used Silva’s pathetic presentation to further reinforce their case that the whole thing was a LTTE plot to discredit SL as a nation. This has been now bought hook line and sinker by the majority of the public, as any assertion to the contrary would exact verbal abuse from every quarter of society and even the TNA have been very quiet about it.

    This means that unknowingly C4 has further strengthened a defacto dictatorship similar to Hitler’s populist sweep to frighten the people into submission and taken almost all contrary viewpoints out of the mass media. I cannot see any change in that line, as any noticeable opposition would be considered treasonable.

    The regime appears to care not one iota what the rest of the world thinks, as no one seems to understand how bad its questioning of the video was. The standards used as only 5% of the country understand English, is of complete lack of finesse, and so any performance can be explained as victorious as no one can really appreciate the poor quality of the delivery of a diplomat, who really should have remained as a soldier, as he just could never with the best will in the world change careers in midstream. In this Palitha Kohona was the adept diplomat with a finesse no one could fault as he weazled out of the problem with an element of aplomb, and when compared with Silva’s performance came out even better.

  • Dear Anamika,
    Do you seriously expect this govt (or any SL govt) to submit to McCray’s whiny denunciations, when he’s clearly marked out his stance in this Grauniad article where he writes: ..“The brutal Sinhalese government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa..”

    His Elephantine memory must’ve failed him. e.g. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle’s murder by LTTE suicide bomber. McCray and Channel 4 simply couldn’t make a dispassionate documentary. If they had (and it would’ve been easy to do) GoSL would really be panicking.

    The GoSL reps did the best they could given the video footage, but they absolutely cannot (and should not) be allow themselves to be judged by C4, AI, HRW and the rest, when far bigger criminals roam free, in the West. After they’ve managed to ‘get’ them, by all means, put Gota, MR & the rest on trial. Until then, its the losers trying to get the winners to war crimes trials. Unless GoSL have burnt all their bridges to key countries like India, this is not going to happen.

    I’m still waiting for someone (anyone?) to explain to me exactly how ‘reconciliation’ in SL will be assisted by a Western bloc inspired war crimes trials, aided and abetted by the dregs of the pro-LTTE diaspora and how this will help the Tamil peoples in SL, especially in the North & East.

    And who will comprise this foreign ‘independent’ panel acceptable to all. Which period should they cover? Which countries should they investigate, other than SL? Should they be able to indict SL Tamils currently living in the West who can be proved to have supported the LTTE? Will they indict and prosecute Western supporters of the LTTE, including some dodgy NGOs?

    p.s It’s taken the British government over 100 years to sort of apologise to the Irish. When the Queen visited Belfast she said “both nations could have acted differently” The UK govt has now set the standard that SL (as dutiful ex-colonials) can also follow, no?

    • ravana

      Thanks for the links. Well done. Much better than Silva [Edited out]

      In my opinion, McCrae is a pawn who has no idea what he is doing. However, I think there is real danger that the west could get hold of some evidence currently held by those of Sri Lankan origin. If nothing is done in Sri Lanka about the Rajapakses soon, I have the feeling that these guys will release devastating evidence.

      When that happens the west will have its day with Sri Lanka. Everything will happen behind closed doors. You and I will never know why everything went so hunky dory all of a sudden!

      The Tamil people simply does not matter in their equation. They are a means to an end.

      OTOH, they are our kith and kin. We need to treat them with more respect and compassion. This is something we who were born on Sri Lankan soil most do and have a duty to do. It should not be because of any compulsion by great powers but because it’s the right thing to do.

      • Dear Ravana,
        I think the ‘West’ already has as much info as they need, if they want to crucify MR & co. We know that there are more damning videos, yet to be released and they’re already ‘out there’. As much I as treat the West’s moral homilies with the contempt they deserve, the fact that MR & Co have been so tardy post-war, engaging in endless foot dragging, means that (many) people in SL are looking for external pressure to accomplish what should be done because as you say, its the right thing to do.

        I agree 100%, the cause of the SL Tamils is now been used as a proxy in the usual geo-political games, as it was in May 2009, during the first UNHRC vote.

        AI calls for ‘international investigations’ at every available opportunity, forgetting that they are not an elected government. It is a self-selected group of ‘concerned humanitarians’, who were as useful as a chocolate teapot in crushing the LTTE. AI has already declared war on SL, so I don’t expect anything from them.

        If they were really concerned, they’d be campaigning to prosecute Adele Balasingham now living in safety and comfort in London, only a few miles AI’s swanky central London head office. But they haven’t and they daren’t. And here’s AI’s fragrant Yolanda Foster (another SL ‘expert’) with a drone from the British Tamil Forum (an LTTE front) publicising the C4 documentary! 🙂

      • yapa

        Dear Mango;

        Thanks for your effort for providing hidden facts to refute the lies against country by LTTE remnants and their paid agents. They are trying to turn back the victory the country had, defeating the evil force that destroyed the country or at least to disrupt its progress. The western masters and their cats’ paw INGOs want to tame and harness us to dance to the tunes of their pop music. But the ancient “cultural giant” who was sent to seep by the colonials by giving sleeping tablets has awaken. Sri Lanka is not a “cultural dwarf” like most of the big bully western countries. We had heritage of a rich culture developed in a incomparable civilization based on a sound philosophy. Western “dwarf culture” was developed on the mere drive of greediness based on blind “materialism”.

        What we have to do today is to defeat all the remnants evil forces and their paid agents decisively and explore our old vision of the nation and the civilization that that bloomed over 2000 years until the colonials destroyed it and build and develop Sri Lankan Nation on norms suitable to the present conditions of the world.

        We built our nation in the past ahead of the other world despite being a small nation, we have the heritage of discipline and expertise to develop our country on a vision of our own. When the westerners were hunting with stone tools in the jungle we were making plans to build dagabas to resemble water bubbles, heap of rice and bells. We had share a master plan written in the hearts of the people not on papers to develop our country in a holistic approach. The west is jealous and envy of our foundation, being their foundation built on greedy knowledge ant mythical values. No any philosophy is able to provide a foundation sound holistic foundation to a nation like Buddhism can do. This sound philosophy is our strength. That is the guiding light of our nation. No nation in the world is able find such a fine philosophy. So we have the best path ahead of us. But we have to defeat these remnant evils decisively and completely while getting ready for bloom of our nation. You are doing a great service in that endaevour. Thanks, Mango!


      • Dear Yapa,
        I don’t agree that the West is pursuing SL because it is ‘jealous’ of SL. Segments of the West are doing so for a mix of other reasons including geo-politics, bizarre notions of human rights (applicable to SL only) and a fierce dislike of the Rajapakses for how they ignored the West’s entreaties during the final stage of the War. The INGOs are simply following their own logic. i.e. SL must be ‘punished’ to set an example to others.

        However ‘great’ our civilization was and regardless of the public declarations of piety and Buddhism, we both know that it is now a tool to distract the masses. e.g. Malini Perera who was arrested for causing ‘offence’ to Buddhism because she wrote about her conversion to Islam.

      • yapa

        Dear Mango;

        The objective of my post addressed to you was to pay a bit tribute to what you were doing, really not for accepting or rejecting my views. Still having that respect to you I think I have to clarify some points you raised with a bit of negative connotation, in your response.

        You say,

        “I don’t agree that the West is pursuing SL because it is ‘jealous’ of SL.”

        The term “jealous” I didn’t use in the usual meaning of the word. It is well understood because “west” not being a person it cannot be jealous, if in the common meaning of the word. But what I meant was something like “political jealousy” or a sort of dislike towards the countries with a more profound philosophy. Really west has a dislike towards the countries with different political philosophies. It does not like the Muslim world, mainly because of their different political philosophy. By the term “Jealous” I meant a sort of meaning not the literal meaning of the word.

        Again you say’

        “However ‘great’ our civilization was and regardless of the public declarations of piety and Buddhism, we both know that it is now a tool to distract the masses. e.g. Malini Perera who was arrested for causing ‘offence’ to Buddhism because she wrote about her conversion to Islam.”

        Really I proposed to build our nation on the Buddhist Philosophy, not on the “tool” that distract masses. What people do today has no any connection to Buddhism, and we should not call it Buddhism and find fault with Buddhism on the practices of some people. I am not talking about that “bad Buddhism” but about Buddhism. I think you will not disagree if it is the Buddhism I meant, rather than the Buddhism you thought of.

        Again Malani Perera’s arrest I don’t think a Buddhist act again and it does not have anything to do with Buddhist philosophy. Individual’s blunders are not necessarily credited to Buddhism.

        So, I think your doubts were arisen on some mis-understanding of Buddhism, though you are doing a great service by exposing the foul work of LTTE remnants.


  • Lakshmansingh

    Philosophical and wise comments will not achieve much regarding the C4 film. Neither will there be any progress for peace in trying to analyse and do postmortems on the address made by Kohona and Shavendra.
    What needs to be addressed is to investigate the hidden agendas of C4 and their cohorts Callum Mcrae, John Snow, Jonathan Miller, Bend de Pear,David Milliban, Koucher and other numerous foreign agents who are hell bent in destabilising Sri Lanka. Intelligence agents must be used by the Sri Lankan Government to probe into the activities of former LTTE remnants who call themselves the “diaspora” now living in the UK, US, Canada, EU and Australia. The C4 film is biased towards the LTTE rump without a shadow of doubt. There is not even a hint as to the damage the proscribed terrorist LTTE did for 33 years in Sri Lanka. Why did C4 take 2 years to produce damaging films against Sri Lanka? The terrorists collected millions of dollars to create mayhem with death,injury and destruction for over 3 decades. The terrorist leader Paripaharan’s only solution to his problem was to engage in a do or die war to the finish. And indeed it finished with his demise and his army. The LTTE rump who went to the west in seek of greener pastures like others who did so, formed themselves into various groups in pursuit of a mono-ethnic dream of eelam, that they promised to all those who helped in illegal fund-raising for their cause. A question arises as to why would C4 and their cohorts mentioned above (after 2 years since the end of the war)be interested in making these films and the damaging propaganda, for nothing. It is a known fact millions of dollars collected by the Tamil “diaspora” cannot lie in a dormant state indefinitely. In order to collect “blood money” there has to be action that is exciting. So this money that talks and laughs walked into C4 and their agents to make these despicable films with falsehoods unimaginable. It now seems that money is above honesty and integrity of ITN and their agents. The aspirations of the two and a half million Tamils now in Sri Lanka are, to co-exist and live peacefully with the rest of the population, after the anxiety, doom, gloom and fear for over 30 years. Making derogatory films by C4 is a demonic activity to create mistrust and hatred among the Sinhalese and the Tamils. When the west has only permanent interests like oil or precious metals e.g. Libya, Iran etc.C4 and their ilks will jump at the idea of money, if the price is right. Sri Lanka is now endeavouring to bring peace, rehabilitation and massive re-building projects and infrastructure in the north and the east. So I urge C4 and their agents, the LTTE rump to stop harming their kith and kin, by poking their hands into other people’s pies.

  • ordinary lankan

    Is there a problem here?

    Whose problem is it?

    If – and this is assumed – the answers to 1 and 2 above are yes and ours

    Then what are we as Sri Lankans going to do about this? The truth and journey are both ours. I dont care a lot about the foreigners. As comment above says our intelligence or foolishness (both Govt paid) will take care of those things. there willi be quite a few rich lawyers and media people at the end

    But here in Sri Lanka – what will you tell your children? I have not concluded anything here except that there seems to be a major issue – compounded by a lack of professionalism and credibility on the part of the Govt in responding – like zero civilian deaths etc vide statement of mahinda samarasinghe after the war.

  • sabbe laban

    Dear Ravana-The Great Myth!

    In other words it’s the incompetent and contradictory statements of the Sri Lankan authorities that led to the present scenario. In addition to this, the shocking revelations by your hero Fonseka too contributed to it in a major way, as his interview is quoted in many communications by the international bodies.

    How can Shavendra Silva admit to the alleged atrocities of the Army when this is not the official stance of the government?(at present!)

    There’s a major reason for China to tow in line with Sri Lanka in a future UN resolution on Sri Lanka. Apart from the geo-political reasons the conflict in Sri Lanka is history now, therefore it doesn’t affect the world political stage anymore, howevermuch the diaspora and their stooges cry out. It’s quite contrary to the situation of Sudan or Lybia.

    In that scenario the end result will be an intensification of the despotism and paranoia of the current Sri Lankan rulers. The people too will support them not knowing that they are in fact helping to create a monster. World history has good examples!

    • ravana

      I should have added an alternative to the option one for war criminals. Sri Lankan authorities (including the courts) could develop the backbone to prosecute those who are above them. Somehow, I doubt if this would happen. I expect that one of the demands of the West (for non-prosecution outside the country) would be to ensure that no one is above the law and the courts are independent. These factors would be required to ensure safety for investments. The west will no longer take risks with pure tyranny as they have in the past (tolerance of Saudis will only last as long as they remain puppies- the west knows that Sri Lanka will never be like that- history proves it).

  • ravana

    “We built our nation in the past ahead of the other world despite being a small nation, we have the heritage of discipline and expertise to develop our country on a vision of our own. When the westerners were hunting with stone tools in the jungle we were making plans to build dagabas to resemble water bubbles, heap of rice and bells. We had share a master plan written in the hearts of the people not on papers to develop our country in a holistic approach. The west is jealous and envy of our foundation, being their foundation built on greedy knowledge ant mythical values. No any philosophy is able to provide a foundation sound holistic foundation to a nation like Buddhism can do. This sound philosophy is our strength. That is the guiding light of our nation. No nation in the world is able find such a fine philosophy. So we have the best path ahead of us. But we have to defeat these remnant evils decisively and completely while getting ready for bloom of our nation. You are doing a great service in that endaevour. Thanks, Mango!”

    Should we add the honorific “Anagarika” in front of your name!!

    • yapa

      Dear ravana;

      No problem of the name or the title. Rose is sweet by any name. Truth is also not different.


  • Candidly

    Could any of those who are advocating an “independent investigation” into the allegations about the ending of the war in Sri Lanka cite any examples where such an investigation has been carried out in similar circumstances and has brought about beneficial results for the people directly invoved in the conflict?

    I’m not saying there aren’t any such examples, but I can’t think of any.

    • Sarath Fernando

      Dear Candidly,

      Why would the innocent fear an independent investigation? – Conversely, the guilty would have every reason to obstruct, Right? How candid can you really get?

      Now, since you have this splendid insight that LTTE possibly masterminded the massacres in the video; shouldn’t you support independent investigation to expose that heinous crime, rather than be content with “mere speculating”? Once the investigation proves LTTE’s horrible acts that will clear all unsubstantiated accusations on our Government. What is your hesitation to get that going?

      Is this, to put it candidly, an attempt to weasel out now

      • Candidly

        Sarath Fernando asked:
        “Why would the innocent fear an independent investigation?”

        My friend, the international standard is that governments should first investigate such allegations themselves, as the UN Secretary General, his spokesperson, and other governments (such as those of the USA, UK, Russia & China) have acknowledged. Only in extremely exceptional circumstances are outsiders called in to investigate, and then only after the authorities in the nation concerned have failed or refused to do so & there appears to be overwhelming evidence to support the allegations.

        You seem to be arguing that Sri Lanka should have to follow a different standard; it therefore seems to me that it is up to you to argue the case for that. One way to do that might be to demonstrate that such “independent” investigations bring tangible beneficial results. Otherwise the internationally accepted practice must stand & that’s why I think you argument of “why should the innocent fear an international investigation?” carries no weight. If that was a principal that was generally applied everyone in the world would be under independent investigation by everyone else!

        Anyway, you don’t have to convince me or others on Groundviews, but the Sri Lankan government or any of the authorised United Nations bodies as these alone can approve such investigations.

  • Dear Yapa,
    Understand and thanks, but I think its more to do with geo and power-politics than any philosophically based issue. As for religion, I think it should be left in the private sphere, but I know that this is not going to be the case in SL 🙂

  • Justica

    Just look at Maj Gen Silva. He dresses in the garb of the west
    and shouts slogans against it.If he was a true Singhalese he should have been dressed like the President and spoken in a tongue he understands
    best and got a translator to convey his message across. That way there will be no room for mistakes or misunderstanding of his presentation. This alone questions his credibility as he does not look a genuine Singhalese(In a suit)or speak a genuine tongue, which could be forked, as it is not his genuine language.Something to think about when we present ourselves to the world!!

    • gilbert Abey


      One of the greatest Philosophers in the world said” Dont accept blindly all what you hear no matter who has said it.Accept what you think best and true after verifiction & with total convivtion !! People in general are attracted to the morbid. They seems to enjoy the discomfort of others,Mockery is their mode of recreation..

      . One could, and should dress as one likes one could speak; eat; or lead a life that one thinks it is suitable & cuases no, harm to self or others.. This is what is known today as FREEDOM. However this word, it’s very meaning is abused today.
      Dress forms were devoloped through times for climatic reasons. Others were devolpoed for religous reasons (sadly),


  • Simon

    Lets see where we are now. According to CH4, AI, HRW etc..

    1)Sri Lanka and the LTTE are both guilty.
    2)On the Sri Lankan corner, we have three who funded and continued this war, and one service personnel who was involved in active duty:
    Mahinda Rajapaksa
    Gotabaya Rajapaksa
    Palitha Kohona
    Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva

    Could any of you experts name three from the LTTE side?

    I do not recollect the war being escalated to the UK, USA etc… they cannot be all dead.

  • Nithyananthan

    Well known LTTE celebrities – still illustrious – the Honourable Junior Minister V. Muralitharan, alias ‘Colnel Karuna’; the EP Chief Minister Chandrakasan, alias ‘Pillaiyan’ and the Guest of Honour of the GoSL Honourable Kumaran Pathmanathan, alias ‘KP’; could easily be named as required. Thanks, Nithy!

  • Sarath Fernando

    Dear, dear Candidly,

    What an evasive, cop-out of a response.

    I am not asking you to investigate or asking for details about the procedures – my question is whether you will enthusiastically support a call for an independent investigation given your original, uniquely brilliant insight that “there is growing evidence, that, in the final months of the war, the LTTE leaders were deliberately trying to engineer a massacre of Eelam Tamils for reasons which at the moment we can only speculate open.”

    Why be contend with “speculating”? Even if we conduct an internal investigation, and prove that your brilliant insight to be the case, the LTTE runts will continue to dismiss it as biased. Thus, wouldn’t it be beneficial to the Government to call for an independent investigation so that the true culprits (now that you have “growing evidence” that LTTE engineered massacre of Eelam Tamils) can be exposed and we could get all of this unwanted international pressure off of our shoulders. The Tamils in Sri Lanka and even the non-LTTE-runt Diaspora will then see the truth and shun the LTTE-runts and their aspirations, and join hands with us – correct?

    On that account, can you give a logical reason why the regime and you have reservations calling for an independent investigation? Conversely, how come the LTTE runts are paying Internationals millions and millions (our Government’s claim) to push for an independent investigation? Why the sudden cold-feet on your part – don’t you have confidence in your own theory – was that merely a cooked-up one aimed at public consumption, and in truth you yourself don’t believe an iota of it?

    Dearest Candidly, here is my point. Whether you like it or not, the videos have substantially undermined the confidence and respect for our country. It is possible some handful of miscreant’s, somewhere in the spectrum from the bottom-rung to the top-rung, may have had a role in activities unbecoming of a civilized nation – if so, the country and every loyal, patriotic citizen has the responsibility to act civilized, if the country is not to be dragged down wholesale. No other country has sped down a steep hill as fast as Sri Lanka has, from being the jewel of the hemisphere just five decades ago to one that is now frequently compared with the dismal states at the bottom of civility. There is a need to open one’s eyes, identify what went wrong, accept faults if any, and go forward. And, do that quickly. Running scared and hiding behind canards is not worthy of either the courage of a lion or the wisdom of a Buddhist – “there are just three things that cannot be hidden – the Sun, the Moon and the Truth!”

    • Candidly

      Dear friend Sarath Fernando, I think we have to agree to differ on this question. I can see no reason why Sri Lanka should behave any differently from other countries regarding the war & humanitarian allegations. Sri Lankan government spokespeople have said that the allegations will be examined by its own LLRC who can then make recommendations as they see fit. That fits in with the generally accepted way of doing things in these cases, as the UN Secretary General himself has acknowledged.

      If that doesn’t happen to the satisfaction of the UN & its member states, then they will take the steps they think appropriate in the circumstances.

      As I wrote before, firstly, I can see no reason why Sri Lanka should be treated differently from any other country. Secondly, so-called “independent international investigations” carried out so close in time to the alleged offences have a very poor track record. All they seem to do is make the lawyers involved very rich. So far no one has been able to cite a case where such an investigation in similar circumstances has brought any benefits to the conflicting parties.