C4 video

Like so many diasporic Sri Lankans I watched it, even staying up late (by my currently low standards that is).

Did I think that the first programme was a good thing? Yes. There’s a line, a quandary, a grey area after any conflictual situation. And it’s about what we should just put behind us and forget or accept and what we need to analyse and dissect in order to learn from to move forward.

There’s probably no one who would suggest that it’s wise to forget and / or accept absolutely everything, on all sides, and there’s probably no one who would think that’s it’s sensible to analyse and dissect every single thing. But the line has to be drawn somewhere and, for me, much of the positioning of the line has to do with the issue of civilian casualties (which sounds so much more PC than “civilians deaths”).

Up until after the showing of the first Killing Fields documentary there were of course no civilian deaths in the final days of the conflict at the hands of the GoSL.I’m not sure that there was a strict and binary tipping point but I’m convinced that the doco was the closest thing to it in getting the GoSL to change its approach. Frankly that was a good thing, only a start but a good thing nonetheless.

I asked a good friend about things and he told me that many people on the GoSL’s side feel that they’re being attacked and that they didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. I asked him how those people could explain then the GoSL’s change in stance from “no civilian casualties” to what it is now.

His response, which actually did astound me, was that “if there had been no accusations in the first place they wouldn’t have said zero casualties”.  Of course there’s no way of testing his theory but I just don’t accept it. Chap A commits a crime, gets accused of it and, faced with a large amount of evidence, fesses up to it (a bit). And the theory goes that, had chap A not been accused then he would have admitted to it anyhow. Hmmm….spurious.

Over here the publicity leading up to the showing of KF2 was big in an underground sort of way. From the things I see and have seen on the ‘net I get the impression that people in Sri Lanka think that the whole of the UK observes things in Lanka and spends a lot more time and energy discussing them than is actually the case. It’s weird; the people who have an interest are interested and the rest just don’t give a damn.  The Sri Lankans and the Sri Lankan diaspora were all aware of the programme, I’m sure a few who had that interest, maybe people who have holidayed in SL or who do business were interested too.

But, most people aren’t that bothered. It’s the morning after the night before and, as I sit here in my office dwelling on it, not one person here so far has mentioned the programme, asked my opinion or anything similar.

Before KF2 I had hoped that Channel 4, or the programme’s makers at least, wouldn’t make the “mistakes” ( a term I use very loosely) that had been made in the KF1, as those elements were used by some to attack the credibility of the makers and therefore the documentary. It’s the most basic of schoolboy tactics; shooting the messenger, but can be highly effective. And it was. After seeing it I reckon they did a better job in that respect, but time will tell.

*As it happens, about five minutes after I wrote the sentence in which I told you that no one in my office had asked about the programme, someone did. She was horrified.*

For the record though Jon Snow is a highly respected journalist and presenter here and most find it hard to believe that he’s full to the brim with the lack of integrity and hidden agenda many have suggested.

KF2 actually mentioned the GoSL’s counter “documentary” – Lies agreed upon – showing some footage from it and tackling the issue of why the Doctors who had been quoted and filmed in KF1 regarding the shelling of civilian targets and hospitals appeared to totally change their stories. Seriously I ask you, does anyone find it that hard to believe that these people were threatened with imprisonment and told what to say in Lies Agreed Upon?

I suppose, for people who have some knowledge of Sri Lanka anyway, things like KF2 don’t really change anything. They just reinforce opinions, whatever those might be. I didn’t really watch and learn anything I didn’t already think or know and I’d bet that was the case for you too.

The most salient points about the whole thing for me are simple, but often get lost or forgotten in all the rhetoric. As David Miliband said, the expectations of a democratically elected government are higher than that of a terrorist organisation. That doesn’t excuse or justify the actions of the LTTE, but it does say that there should be a higher power, a better standard of behaviour.

And, if the GoSL really has nothing to hide, then why the lack of a proper investigation and inquiry?

Of course the standard answers to the above are pretty much as follows:

  1. David Miliband, well he’s just evil, everyone knows that.
  2. Who would do the investigation? The UN is about as corrupt, inefficient and fundamentally flawed as can be and all white people are evil anyhow. Look at how they colonised us.
  3. The UK invaded Iraq illegally a few years ago, who are they to talk?

Well all these are points, but not very good ones. Shoot the messenger, attack the credibility of anyone who criticises and punish dissent will only last for so long, for a finite amount of levels. Then, somehow things come out. They always do in the end.

But, for those who are still learning, these things are a source of knowledge.

I had my girls with me last night but dropped them back at their mother’s before the programmes started. They’re almost sixteen and almost eighteen now, so I mentioned to them that it was going to be on TV later, without trying to push them to watch it.

I’m not sure about K, but I know A (the eldest) did watch it. They love Sri Lanka and have been going there regularly since they were each about eighteen months old, but don’t know much about its politics.

A texted me late at night and said:

“Is this what the Tamils did?”

I replied and said:

“Well its what both sides did A, really sad.” I missed out the apostrophe in “it’s” but it was a text and I sometimes live dangerously and go a little crazy like that.

She responded:

“That was horrible. What’s sad is that it kind of makes me sort of not proud to say I’m from there after seeing that programme.”

“I know and I understand”. I said.

And I do know. And I do understand.

  • “does anyone find it that hard to believe that these people were threatened with imprisonment and told what to say in Lies Agreed Upon?”

    Does anyone find it that hard to believe that they would say what the LTTE wanted them to say when they were held hostage?

    • Lulzsec

      Padraig colman,

      The difference is one is a situation a doctor is going on about saying how bad the situation is when shells landing all over him and dead and dying souls screaming around him (Unless if you are blind or fell asleep during the documentary) and then when the doctors get taken by the “Criminal Investigation Division” and treated with lot of death threats then showing up in PRO govt media for a rehearsed version of events.

      Your argument is a classic sinhalese denial mentality and not answering the question but giving an answer to a different question just like your defence secretary.

    • Padraig,

      I remember reading a couple of your articles in Le Monde Diplomatique, etc.

      You simply give quote after quote—your entire articles are often just quotes– from other journalists, some of them Sinhalese hard-liners, and others like DBS Jeyaraj and Kishali Pinto Jayewardene. And you quote them without understanding their ideological postures. It is an indication that you haven’t digested anything about Sri Lanka yet. So maybe you need to hit the library and do more reading, rather than perhaps listening to your Sri Lankan wife, and skimming newspapers, and then pretending that you know enough about Sri Lanka to write about it.

      As for your question about the doctors who were incarcerated, there is an easy way to ascertain the truth. Find medical jobs for them outside Sri Lanka and get them out of the reach of Rajapaksa white vans and military killers. They will then tell the truth.

      The fact that you raise such a question while the murderous regime in power still operates white vans for abductions shows that either you are clueless or you intentionally support the criminal regime. How can anyone take your seriously man?

      • @ Agnos

        Here is another brave critic hiding behind a false name.

        You are, of course, entitled to your opinion about my abilities. Many would agree with you, many disagree. I have written a great many more articles than the ones you cite from Le Monde diplomatique. Unlike your good self, I expose myself to criticism by putting myself forward in the public prints using a recognisable name and consistent identity.

        Those articles you mention were intended to explain the Sri Lanka situation to a foreign audience. I did the best I could in the word count available. “Your entire articles are often just quotes” – you are entitled to your opinion but that entitlement depends on being factual. I am well aware of the ideological postures of the people I quote. My aim in those articles was to present different points of view and to let the reader decide.

        The result was that I was accused of regurgitating LTTE propaganda as well as being a government lackey.

        One should also bear in mind that explanation is not the same as justification. Asking a question is not the same as putting forward an argument.Quoting someone does not imply agreement. Are you saying Jeyaraj and Pinto Jayawardena share intellectual postures?

        I accept that I have a lot to learn about Sri Lanka but perhaps you do also. I have an extensive library and do not rely on my Sri Lankan wife for information. I know much more than she does.

        “How can anyone take your (sic) seriously man?” No-one has to.

      • Keynes!

        This how I interpret the discussion between Agnos and Colman:

        ‘We’re almost out of ammunition,’ shouted Agnos to Sergeant Colman.

        ‘Don’t let the enemy know,’ called Colman. ‘Keep firing!’

  • @PADRAIG COLMAN the answer is NO. You counter question is good for argument sake. Jon Snow has pointed out 4 clear accusations against the GOSL, lets focus on them and find justice for those who need it. LTTE is well known to have committed atrocities of its own, but should that be an impediment in bringing the war criminals to justice?

  • kadphises

    One cant argue with John Snow that

    1. The civilian numbers were deliberatedly underestimated by the SLG

    2. The NFZ was shelled. And on the last day it was shelled mercilessly.

    3. The LTTE heirarchy was taken alive when the Army finally overan the remaining scrap of LTTE held land. They were then executed in cold blood.

    I think there is fairly conclusive evidence for all 3 of the above and almost all but the most deluded Sri Lankans know it happened even if they overtly maintain that their “valiant armed forces” would never do such a thing.

    I personally heard about Prabakaran’s son being killed in cold blood in front of his father “to make VP feel the anguish he caused so many thousands of other parents”, from a senior officer in the Army who himself was visibly disturbed by what had happened. I then dismissed it for a rumour when I read dbs Jayaraj’s dramatic account about how Prabakaran and a group of LTTE elite forces tried to break out but were caught on an island in the Nandikadal. I was also partial to believe the DBS Jeyaraj version because I was almost sure that VP would never let himself be taken alive. But the wound on his head and then the pictures of the son’s body with bullet holes in the torso seemed to point to an entirely different end to VP and his family. Unless of course it was a mass suicide with VP, his family and the body guards shooting each other like in the Reichtag bunker the most likely interpretation was that the Army did it for them.

    I have a couple of hypotheses for VP letting himself be captured alive.

    1. When the moment came he did not have the guts to commit suicide even though he recommended it heartly to his underage combatabts.

    2. He was duped into surrendering by the Army by anouncing that an international team had arrived to take his surrender with the guarantee of exile in a third country. (Perhaps they used someone with a foreign accent to make the offer over loud speaker)

    3. He surrendered with a plan up his sleave to take a primary school or a member MR’s family hostage (like in the Beslan incident) and arrange a hostage swap afterwards.

    What I dont believe is that he surrendered with an intention of spending the rest of his life in prison.

    Even though it goes against international law I dont think there was an alternative but to shoot Praba and Pottu Amman as holding them alive would have caused many further problems. But to kill the son, Isaipriya and all those others..? How can anyone justify that? How can anyone justify the calous treetment meted out to the survivors? Demanding foreign aid to care for them while we spent our money on parties and parades.

    If there was some humility after victory, making sure there were no excesses. If there was genuine compassion shown to the IDPs. If the promises of devolution after the LTTE defeat were kept. The SLG and those unfortunate enough to live under it would not be in this possition.

    • HD

      Dear Kadphises

      DBS Jeyaraj’s dramatic account is nothing more than a story planted by the military intelligence. Jeyaraj may or may not have known about it at that time that he was being used by the military intelligence to get out their version of the story.There is a picture of Mahinda Rajapakse grinning from ear to ear in the Sunday Observer while he was still in Jordan. This was most likely after he was informed that Prabaharan has been captured alive. That same day Jeyaraj had an article on his blog about Prabaharan. He got word from the military intelligence that captain out and innings over. The body of Prabaharan displayed did not show any signs of decomposition that it has been recovered from a battlefield or a lagoon.

  • Hi RD.

    I’m at the office and no one seems to have seen the documentary. I was mortified after KF1 and no one noticed that episode either. As you rightly point out, most of the British public don’t really give a damn about Sri Lanka and its internal politics.

    I shared your apostrophe joke with both our copywriters and they both had a good laugh.

    I completely agree with and share A’s sentiment. It’s certainly quite sad 🙁

    • RD

      Shaad Hamid – thanks for appreciating the apostrophe line, I’m a firm believer in the importance of these things.

      I may well be struggling with old age and memory so please correct me if I’m wrong here, but was the footage of the Drs in KF1 mostly shot after the end of hostilities, in which case they wouldn’t have been under pressure from the LTTE?

      If I’m wrong about when the footage was filmed then I apologise.

      • Indeed, our copywriters are extremely harsh when spotting grammatical errors. So much so that when I go home I put my feet up and write posts minus apostrophes and commas. Just because I can 🙂

        I do recall quite vividly, that the doctors on KF1 were interviewed during the final stages of the war and not after the end of the war. Therefore, it could also be argued that they expressed these views under duress too.

  • Apologies but I seem to have failed to mention in my previous comment that I respectfully disagree with your observation “does anyone find it that hard to believe that these people were threatened with imprisonment and told what to say in Lies Agreed Upon?”

    I’d argue that those doctors were threatened with murder by the LTTE during those last phases of the war when they made those initial statements.

  • KISHAN PERERA

    Sarath Fonseka must be having a good laugh in jail. He is also in victim column now. This whole post war scenario has been so badly mismanaged that not only the regime, the country has also started to reek now.

  • Anujan Fernado

    I think its sick! How can anyone kill these innocent people. I know for a fact Tamils were a threat in Sri Lanka. Our people felt threatened by then so they tried to kill them off, I am ashamed. I think justice needs to be done and now! I cried myself to sleep. My race have blood on their hands!!!!!

  • yapa

    “Prof Rjiva Wijesinha counters allegations in New Channel 4 documentary on Sri Lanka”

    http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/9574

    Thanks!

  • @Shaad Hamid

    “As you rightly point out, most of the British public don’t really give a damn about Sri Lanka and its internal politics.”

    A good virtual friend in Glossop, Derbyshire comments on most of my articles. He is an educated professional and publisher of medical literature. He follows international news and is quite knowledgeable about many things. He is also a published author in his own right. He wrote this to me last week.

    “Despite the negative media coverage, I don’t think you’re right about everyone in the West thinking of Sri Lanka in terms of the civil war and its associated nastiness. If someone says ‘Sri Lanka’ to me, my immediate thoughts are to do with (1) cricket, (2) the appalling tsunami and its after-effects, (3) the Paradise-like photographs I’ve seen of the country, (4) the few (delightful) Sri Lankan acquaintances I made during my medical career many years ago, and of course (5) your postings. Of course I know about the civil war but it doesn’t dominate my thoughts about the country. Okay, that’s just one Westerner’s reactions, but I don’t think it’s atypical.”

    @ Lulzsec

    “Your argument is a classic sinhalese denial mentality and not answering the question but giving an answer to a different question just like your defence secretary.”

    I am not Sinhalese and I do not have a defence secretary. I did not propose an “argument”. I deny that I am in denial. I will discuss the implications of the Channel 4 programme in detail elsewhere. On this occasion, I asked a simple question. You have answered it in your own way (hiding behind a false name)and the matter is open for discussion. I did not venture my own opinion about the doctors’ testimony but I will say now that it cannot be relied upon, either way. I am, however, sympathetic to Shaad Hamid’s comment: “I’d argue that those doctors were threatened with murder by the LTTE during those last phases of the war when they made those initial statements”.

    @Sriram Pathmarajah

    “Lets focus on them and find justice for those who need it. LTTE is well known to have committed atrocities of its own, but should that be an impediment in bringing the war criminals to justice?”

    Good point, worth discussing

  • Keynes!

    Let’s wait for LAU2. Minoli Ratnayake will be in full swing. Minoli might include a stellar cast this time by bring her school buddies Natalie Jayasuriya Atilla, Lara de de Soyza and Michiko Chiba.

    I can’t wait to see the catwalk.

  • The conversation with a good friend that RD refers to is one he had with me, and I will post here what I posted on his blog, because I think it needs clarification:

    I think you’ve been unfair to me there, RD, since we didn’t really finish our conversation. You’ve assumed that I said chap A confessed to part of what chap B was accusing him of simply because of the accusation. That’s not how I see it. It’s more complex than that.

    Imagine someone accuses you of burning his house down and killing his mum. You deny it and claim innocence. You don’t even smoke, you protest.

    Your accuser finds matches on your person and trumpets the fact that you’re a liar and that you do smoke. You admit that you smoke some weed on and off. You didn’t want to admit it ‘cos it’s illegal.

    Your accuser then shouts out to everyone that you’re a drug addict, and if you’ve been caught out at smoking ganja and lying about it, you must obviously be an arsonist and a murderer too.

    Fact is, if no one accused you of burning down that house and killing the old lady, you probably wouldn’t have tried to hide the fact that you have the occasional joint.

    Hope I made that clear, mate.

    • Keynes!

      It’s difficult to place your riposte in the context of what has been said. What have you been smoking?

      • It’s not a riposte. It’s a clarification. Why so prickly?

      • Keynes!

        Pandukabaya, Padraig, Yapa, Kadphises, Dayan, Agnos,

        Can you chaps understand David’s clarification?

      • Keynes, the author of the above piece (RD) has already understood and acknowledged my clarification (http://londonlanka.blogspot.com/2012/03/thoughts-on-killing-fields-2.html ), making your fight for attention faintly ridiculous.

      • Keynes!

        David,

        That is the very reason why I did not include RD and you in that list of names.

        I wanted to know if others were able to understand your so-called clarification.

        It’s good to note that you and RD have ironed things out after the pillow fight. However, your attempt to pocket veto my question is rather disappointing.

      • Keynes, perhaps mummy isn’t paying you enough attention, but the comment wasn’t addressed to you but to RD and anyone else with the intelligence to understand it. If you didn’t, too bad; I don’t hold it against you, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to explain it to you either since it wasn’t addressed to you. It seems those that you hailed for an answer don’t seem to care too much about what you do or do not understand either.

        Your interest in pillows is also entertaining, but hardly enlightening; your comments are usually of the soft and fluffy nature too. No doubt you will now have a fresh inanity to add to the pot and keep this conversation ticking over until mummy has time for you again. I hope she won’t take too long.

      • Keynes!

        Ah! The accused becomes judge and jury.

        I request GV to immediately sequester the jury for the reasons below:

        1. The accused seems adept in the subtle arts of Freudian innuendo and courtroom drama.

        2. The accused attempts to portray the claimant’s Oedipal Complex as something that is unnatural and perverse.

        3. Das Unheimliche. He has an uncanny ability to tamper with the sleeping jury and fire up their loins.

        I fear that the jury may become the accused’s shadow since his imagination flies.

        With apologies to Vladimir Nabokov and a hope that the accused will now face the prospect of a criminal trial for perverting the course of justice.

      • I think I’ll leave the perversions to you, Keynes.

  • Dayan

    When former President of SL, Chandrika BK’s son, Vimukthi said he was ashamed to be what he is, I think he was being most honest, because that’s how any reasonable Sri Lankan should feel.

    • kadphises

      Call me a cynic.. but I think she was just being opportunistic. There was plenty to be ashamed of while CBK was in power. Chandrika is simply getting her knife into MR with this. Of course if she had somehow defeated the LTTE she herself would be crowing about it and denying all wrongdoing.

    • yapa

      I also was horrified when I saw the picture frames of KF1, but it doesn’t assure the truthfulness of the film. Vimukthi is a (political) kid. To quote a kid’s (her own kid especially)emotions in public to back a point is more kiddish and naive. To take such an unimportant and insignificant statement, though from a former head of a state to support its case, C4 shows its unreliable nature of the evidence it presents to support its case and its opportunistic nature, to materialize its goal disregarding anything deviated from its pre-set goal.

      C4’s are totally biased and prejudiced in its presentation, though there could be some truth contained in it. That truth has no value in that mono-partisan, tunnel vision presentation. It doesn’t care any other fact that does not support its case. That is the main advantage for those who oppose and argue against C4 films. Even the supporters swallow it as “bitter medicine”, it is hard to swallow.

      Don’t know the CBK’s view regarding the use of her video clip by C4? Was it used with her permission or consent? Does she still hold the same view? I think she must clarify her stance regarding this, if she is a bit responsible, for sure, she cannot be a woman from “Mariyakade”.

      Thanks!

  • Pandukabaya de Silva

    Hey guys, let me try and bring a different perspective into this discussion…First, I agree wholeheartedly with the view that the Sinhala State has committed brutalities but this has not been against the Tamils alone. In my village in the Deep South, my relatives who were Sinhalese Buddhists were killed by Sinhalese Buddhist soldiers sixteen years ago because they were seen to be sympathising with the extremist Sinhalse rebels. In a neighbouring village called Bathegama, the entirety of the people in that village were killed along with the village priest and were buried in the temple compound. I have heard a story from an eye witness that soldiers went into the paddyfields, shot a farmer who they thought was conspiring with the rebels, came back to the house compound and shot his wife who was holding a three month infant in her arms. They shot her in a way so that the baby she was holding fell into the well and died instantly. Anyone who is interested can read the reports of the commissions appointed who investigated these incidents. But we did not have videos of these killings in the same way that ‘alleged’ videos are circulating now. We did not have the UN clamouring for an investigation.

    @Padraig, so my point is – and this is a point that I have seen Pinto Jayawardene constantly emphasizing in her writings, to give her due credit – that the Tamils in Sri Lanka do not have a monopoly on injustice. If we are sincere about cleaning up the country, we need to look at this as injustices committed down the decades towards all by the State and by the politicians. This is a line of thinking that may not have large loads of donor money behind it but it remains the truth.

    • Keynes!

      There were loads of donor money then. How do you think His Excellency President and Madam Tamara Kunanayakam went to Geneva then to lodge a complaint about human rights abuses?

    • Pandukabaya de Silva commented:

      “@Padraig, so my point is – and this is a point that I have seen Pinto Jayawardene constantly emphasizing in her writings, to give her due credit – that the Tamils in Sri Lanka do not have a monopoly on injustice. If we are sincere about cleaning up the country, we need to look at this as injustices committed down the decades towards all by the State and by the politicians. This is a line of thinking that may not have large loads of donor money behind it but it remains the truth.”

      Thank you for your intervention. I certainly do not have loads of donor money behind me. I have been working for some time on a lengthy piece about the JVP times. I am well aware that “the Tamils in Sri Lanka do not have a monopoly on injustice”.

      @Agnos:

      If you really believe that Le monde diplomatique would publish articles which were uncritically supportive of GOSL you must be very ignorant of the way the international media works. My articles went through editorial scrutiny and were sometimes amended to fit the “editorial line”. They published a critical article which was taken up approvingly by the JDS.

      If you can show where I have defended GoSL, white van abductions etc. I will happily examine my conscience.

      I have frequently quoted (lthough you do not approve of quotation) trenchant critics of the government such as Tisaranee Gunasekera. Are you saying Pinto Jayawardena and Jeyaraj are government supporters?

  • Navin

    All these cries of profound sympathy and disbelief for the fate of VP’s son are just plain hollow. Violence far worst than this had been perpetrated by LTTE on civilians for 30 long years but these do-gooders didn’t give a damn then. I’m not trying to justify violence of one side but only pointing out how some people react to violence then and now. Today, Alistair Burt is shocked. But wasn’t it the Brits that allowed Anton Balasingham to live freely in London? Was his kind shocked then? Guess not! These diaspora children happily went to school when children of border villages had to spend the night in the jungle just to stay live. Now after seen the body of Balachandren, they are ashamed to call themselves anything Sri Lankan! Have they even seen the dead bodies of monks (children nonetheless) whose heads were reduced to pulp by LTTE so many many years ago? Did CH4 or MIA or anyone of many human rights champions who are screaming in Geneva today say anything then? These good Samaritans who are crying aloud now near and far have no real empathy for nobody.

    • @Navin

      How did these diaspora children ‘actually become’ diaspora children? Do you remember black July in 1983 and what happened to the Tamils then? From 1948 onwards, successive Sinhala governments have harassed, abused and turned a blind eye when Tamil houses were burnt and their kith and kin were killed. You reap what you sow. As long as a proper solution to the ethnic crisis is not granted by the Sinhalese and their government in power, the diaspora will be on their backs till kingdom come. The Jews have never forgotten…neither will the Tamils.

      ps. I am not a Tamil but being a minority myself (remember that Muslims, Christians, Burghers ect are categorised by most of the majority as ‘anya Jaathikayan or anya aagamikayan) I can understand what the Tamils are feeling.

  • Pandukabaya de Silva

    @Keynes, thank you for your comment. From what I have heard of the lobbying back in the eighties, it was not so heavily donor funded as now. There was a much more sensible and honest link with real issues, collectives of people (who later came to be known as non-governmental organsations with all its pejorative overtones in the nineties and thereafter) operated out of their homes and on a shoe string budget. Civil society then had a moral voice – one which they have lost almost completely now except for a few voices. Of course, one needed money to go to Geneva even then and I am sure that the politician Mahinda R. would have used party funds to do so but the context is completely different to now.

    @ Padraig, I believe Agnos’s comment was to make the point that you cite Jeyaraj and Pinto Jayawardena without emphasizing the context in which they make their critiques. Both come at the debate from different standpoints from what I see. Jeyaraj is essentially a political journalist while Pinto Jayawardena is a trenchant legal analyst who writes on rights violations.

    True, they are certanly not government suporters but the mere fact that you quote them cannot make your argument logical or balanced. I am not saying particularly that your reasoning is illogical or unbalanced but I do wish that writers would focus far more on the CURRENT RESPONSIBILITY of the President and his government in adhering to the law. Is this what is happening from Sarath Fonseka downwards to the drug-politco nexus, the grabbing of land and rampant corruption?

    I am glad that you are addressing the question of what happened during the JVP insurrection but the point is that it is the nature of the State that has to change. This is not an abstract pont. And the State has to change not through patch work Action Plans on HR but through comprehensive constitutional reform and effective practical change of political will. The present government is completely incapable of doing this.

    And even though I am uneasy about the political alternatives that we have to the Rajapaksas, this status quo HAS to change. If this needs the brunt of heavy US pressure to make this happen, well, I am all for it. Despte all the red flag waving by Dayan et al, I still cannot see what the fuss is about regarding the resolution. gain, this stress on the technical assistance is no big deal. Already the UN agencies etc offer this to us and acceptance of such assistance is our call.

    Since the Rajapaksas do not listen to the people anymore, perhaps this US pressure is a necesarry evil that we will need to endure!

    • @ Pandukabaya de Silva

      “but the mere fact that you quote them cannot make your argument logical or balanced.”

      I appreciate your calm and civil manner of expression but I am afraid I don’t get your point. Despite what Agno says, my articles are not JUST quotations. There is context. I firmly believe, and I can give countless testimonials from satisfied readers (foreign and Sri Lankan), that my attempts to explain the Sri Lankan situation to foreign readers are logical and balanced. I don’t expect to please everybody. Quotations from people with differing viewpoints are only part of my method, which is surely not unusual!

      I am writing about “the drug-politco nexus, the grabbing of land and rampant corruption?”

      “And the State has to change not through patch work Action Plans on HR but through comprehensive constitutional reform and effective practical change of political will.”

      I agree but I do not have the power to make that happen. I did manage to get something published about the 18th Amendment. I am not a politician or even a citizen of Sri Lanka. I cannot even guarantee that my articles will be published. It is the responsibility of Sri Lankans to bring about political change. I am just an elderly gentleman writing for his own education.

  • Pandukabaya de Silva

    Well, I agree perhas about the context, it is not as if there is no context at all but Ii do believe that there must be far more forceful criticism of the government’s own failings if one is to make a genuine contribution.

    Sometimes, the power of words can in fact make things change even if one is not a politician or a citizen!We need sane and sensible writing now more than over not half crazed rantings which many engage in

    BTW thanks for making this a sane discussion which could be continued further at some point…

  • Luke 61

    Channel 4 News chose not to share the video footage or any of the other material with The High Commission of Sri Lanka(UK), but gave a copy of the video to English Cricket Team at the Heathrow press conference, FOUR DAYS prior to broadcast!

    http://tinyurl.com/7uqt6ks

    • jaffnaboy

      Luke61

      Why should CH4 share the video with SL high commission?

      JB

      • Luke 61

        JB

        Why did they give a copy to The English Cricket Team but refused a request from The High Commission of Sri Lanka(UK) ?

        Was it a coaching video?

  • jaffnaboy

    RD
    I was reading this and thinking to myself “very well written piece most probably by a Singhalese, educated in Colombo”. I could be wrong. However reading the comments and finding out the “friend” was DB put a bit of downer!!

    Couldn’t fathom out why your daughter texted this?

    “Is this what the Tamils did?”

    Wasn’t the whole programme about atrocities committed by GOSL/SL Armed forces? Maybe I need to watch it again.
    JB

    • RD

      Jaffnaboy – thank you for the comment. Actually my background is that I’m born and raised in London of SL origin.

      My daughter, who has been brought up here in London too, texted that because she’s learning about the conflict. She’s been going regularly to SL since she was very young but has viewed the country and conflict from afar, if at all.

      As for DB, what can I say. I often disagree with his views, sometimes vehemently, but I class him as a good friend and always regard his opinions with respect. Over the years I’ve learned a lot from him.

      To me that’s one of the good things about living a mature life; we can have friends whom we respect yet disagree with.

      Thank you again for the nice comment.

      • jaffnaboy

        RD

        The comment about about DB was a “tongue and cheek” comment! DB was in the SLA in the eighties I heard. Leopard never changes its spots I guess!

        Your are a gentleman Sir.

        JB

  • Pandukabaya de Silva

    @RD, I think the point that you make – that one can agree to disagree ( even if vehemently so) is a very good point for all of us to remember in a country where the educated have abandoned the idea of civilised dissent in favfour of vituperation and slander.

    I hope GV will carry more such discussions in the future,

  • yapa

    ‘LTTE fabricated videos to gain propaganda advantage’

    -LTTE’s former media co-ordinator, Velayudam Dayanidhi alias Daya Master

    “Velayudam Dayanidhi alias Daya Master told state-owned ITN television that fabricated footage produced in 2002 during the ceasefire with the Army was distributed internationally.

    “The footage used by Channel 4 are those fabricated footage issued by the LTTE,” Daya Master said.”

    http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/ltte-fabricated-videos-to-gain-propaganda-advantage_764875.html

    Thanks!

  • yapa

    Sri Lankan govt. releases latest response to C-4 documentary

    http://english.srilankamirror.com/2012/03/lankan-govt-releases-latest-response-to-c-4/

    Thanks!