ABC, Gordon Weiss and authoress Niromi de Soyza

9781742694146c_9781742694146

Like many people I used to think that such agencies as the BBC and ABC provided balanced reviews and were relatively unbiased. No more. Further confirmation: a recent panel presentation by ABC in March 2013, entitled “Continuing Genocide in Sri Lanka” and anchored by Jane Hutcheon, exposed in blatant nudity the lop-sided perspectives within Aunty ABC.

The presentation was timed to coincide with the UNHCR sessions in Geneva where the USA was sponsoring a resolution censuring Sri Lanka. No problem with that. But this was a serious ABC review dependent on two questionable “experts,” namely, Gordon Weiss and authoress Niromi de Soyza aka Subhodini Mariatta Anandarajah – known as Subha among her pals. When Australia has a bevy of possible commentators, from Ameer Ali to Rohan Bastin, Serge de Silva-Ranasinghe, Shanaka Jayasekera, Laksiri Jayasuirya, Noel Nadesan and Suri Ratnapala to choose from, their selections on this occasion indicated partisanship.

Weiss has authored The Cage based on his experiences within an UN agency in Sri Lanka in 2008/09. Whatever the verdict on that book, he chose to launch it on the 19th May 2011, a symbolic day of mourning for the Tamil Tigers (and all Tamil nationalists it would seem). Since 2011 he has been increasingly drawn into the circuits of the powerful Tamil nationalist lobby worldwide, an extensive and intelligent network that is on a path of vengeance at the same time that it works for Thāmilīlam through the Transnational Government of Thāmil Eelam. When the National Security Research Centre organized a conference on “Safeguarding Australia” at Canberra, the Tamil lobby threatened to boycott the event if the organizers did not invite Weiss as counterbalance for De Silva-Ranasinghe (whom they wished to exclude).[i] When Rowan Callick of The Australian wrote an article on how the Brothers Rajapaksa defeated the LTTE,[ii] he was inundated with phone calls, some quite bellicose; and several voices asked him to consult Weiss in order to gain a corrective.[iii]

As it happens, Weiss and Niromi de Soyza have worked as a team before. Weiss introduced Tamil Tigress at Glee Books in Sydney[iv] in 2011 and his website refers to it as “Niromi de Soyza’s amazing autobiography.” Indeed, he is on record affirming that he regarded the book to be “incredibly moving” and “a story of redemption” (as quoted by Nikki Barrowclough — 2011).

According to her account in Tamil Tigress Niromi left Lanka in 1989 and there is no evidence that she has ever returned since then. So, one can question her competency to speak about the Sri Lankan situation over the years 2009-to-2013. Indeed, Hutcheon produced a veneer of investigative probing by asking both speakers if they had visited Sri Lanka recently. In his typically intense manner, and equally typical certitude, Weiss said that he had networks in the island which provided him with information. Niromi was categorical: “being a Tamil she never felt safe [in Lanka].” It was a platform for her to assert that Tamils cannot visit Sri Lanka safely and that they are “persecuted.” Well! Well! One must inform her and the Australian audience that according to the latest census of 2012 there are 3 million Tamils in Sri Lanka (with 2.27 million being “Sri Lankan Tamil” and 0.84 million “Indian Tamil”). Among the 2.27 million Sri Lanka Tamils 70.3 per cent reside in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, while 29.6 per cent, or 673,648 SL Tamils, dwell in the rest of the island, with Colombo District hosting 231,318, amounting to 10.2 % of the island-wide SL Tamil population (and also 10.0 % of the total populace in Colombo District); while as many as 97,690 of them make up 30.7 % of the population within the Colombo Divisional Secretary’s Division.[v]

But where the ABC revealed its most astonishing shortcoming was in the failure to do adequate homework despite having a considerable office staff to assist their front faces. Their personnel seem to be wholly oblivious to the questioning of Niromi’s reliability as witness in Tamil Tigress. Several authors, including myself, have pinpointed errors and embellishments of some consequence.[vi]

Niromi claims that she joined the fighting ranks of the LTTE in mid-1987 [when, I note, the Tigers were still a guerrilla outfit[vii]]. Her book opens with a riveting first chapter in “Ambush” which describes in some detail how their unit was ambushed by “soldiers” who are identified on the back cover as “government forces.” This chapter details how both her bosom friend Ajanthi and platoon leader Muralie were killed. Now, Tamil friends have told me that there indeed was a Tiger functionary named Muralie who died in December that year and that a young female fighter with the nom de plume Nirmala died during a skirmish on 23 December 1987. Nirmala was Doreen Ajanthi Andrew (a Christian Tamil, Catholic in this instance).[viii] Sarvananthan has now been in touch with another female combatant who was part of this platoon and believes that Niromi’s claim that she went along to Mullaitivu jungles with other survivors of the foregoing ambush is suspect.[ix] This issue will soon be resolved by Sarvananthan’s further investigations.[x]

The issue here is that the Sri Lankan government was not battling the LTTE on land in the north and east from October 1987 to early 1990. The Indian government had intervened vigorously to aid the Tamils in the face of a GSL army advance in mid-1987 and sent what is known as the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) into the north and east to maintain order. They twisted the arm of Pirapāharan in doing so. The uneasy entente ended in early October and the LTTE took on the massive IPKF contingents in guerrilla warfare, which lasted till late 1989.

Virtually all Sri Lankans would be aware of this background fact; but not so most Australians and outsiders. With a huge Tamil migrant market to cater to, it would seem that both Subha Anandarajah and Allen and Unwin considered it best to tweak the tale a ‘little’: the Sri Lankan forces were a more acceptable enemy for the opening gambit. It was this considerable fabrication that aroused my initial questioning in “Another Demidenko? Niromi de Soyza as a Tiger Fighter” written in August 2011.

The question mark in the title at that stage indicates that it was just a suspicion. Helen Darville had adopted the pseudonym Helen Demidenko and written the story of a Ukrainian called Fiona Kovalenko in a prize-winning novel The Hand that Signed the Paper, which eventually achieved notoriety when Malcolm Knox led the way in revealing that it was wholesale concoction. Knox’s “Darville made me do it” (2005) was an important intervention and a landmark in Australian literary history.

Subha Anandarajah’s work is not quite on the same scale of deceit. Her biographical details seem to contain a considerable degree of facticity. She may have possibly joined the LTTE and undergone preliminary training. But whether she was engulfed in that December 1987 skirmish is in serious doubt. One cannot think of a soldier who takes aim in the general direction of the enemy without pinpointing some target – a point she reiterates in both book and public appearances.[xi] There are, in addition, several detailed incidents where she appears to be on an ego trip. By way of example take two: (1) when she tells us how she was permitted to approach and chat with Thileepan, a LTTE Leader who was fasting unto-death beside Nallur temple in Jaffna town in protest against the presence of the IPKF. This was a momentous event and here was Subha, aka Niromi the raw recruit, honoured like few others;[xii] and (2) when she describes how she had personal chats with Pirapaharan on several occasions (e.g. TT:114-15, 131) and on one occasion Niromi and Kanchana were given monies by the talaivar (leader) to purchase combat-ready clothing for the female fighters (TT: 167). Are these “little embellishments”? Are they such for a biography presented as a tale grounded in fact rather than a mix of biography and fiction?

It was a little after I had voiced my initial reservations that a friend directed me to a version of the same tale under the same nom de plume in the Daily Telegraph on 3 May 2009.[xiii] One can find a highly abbreviated report of the same version in The Australian on 23 May 2009 under the revealing title “Cause remains for Tamil Tiger in Our Midst.”[xiv] Here Niromi says: “At dawn that day, Indian soldiers had surrounded our hideout.” Later in this same account she notes that “fighting the Indian soldiers made no sense to me.” This realization, according to this account, was one factor in her decision to extricate herself from the commitment to fight for Tamil independence under the LTTE.

In contrast, in the opening account in 2011, the enemy are just “soldiers;” while the back cover explicitly proclaims that “two days before Christmas 1987, at the age of 17, Niromi de Soyza found herself in an ambush as part of a small platoon of militant Tamil Tigers fighting the government forces in the bloody civil war that was to engulf Sri Lanka for decades (emphasis mine).”[xv] In short, in 2011 the Indian presence has been obliterated at this critical juncture, though they figure occasionally at other points deeper in the book (pp. 162, 164, 168, 227, 264). The ambiguities, as Ratnawalli has suggested (2011), indicate a confused mind. On the other hand there are indications that Niromi may have carefully mined Narayan Swamy’s Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka and used his information to flesh out the Tiger struggle and provide an aura of authenticity for her so-called ‘experiences’.[xvi] A careful textual study is likely to reveal borrowings as well as the repetition of errors in the Narayan Swamy book.

Despite challenging questions from several voices,[xvii] including some Tamils, Niromi aka Subha Anandarajah has carried on with aplomb. Speaking to the world at the Adelaide Writer’s Week in March 2013 she referred in passing to her fighter experiences against “the enemy.” A useful blanket category is it not for an uninformed audience – “enemy” [or “soldiers”]? Moreover, on at least three occasions her platform appearances have been featured by an emotional welling of tears.[xviii] She is a seasoned presenter of herself as an ex-Tigress. She thinks she would be in danger in Sri Lanka today, but has no hesitation in adapting her original book and amending the last chapter suitably so that it can appear on Sri Lankan bookshelves courtesy of Sarasavi.

The literature devoted to Tamil Tigress in Sri Lankan circles is considerable. One essay in Groundviews even received 16,466 hits and drew 407 comments. ABC, however, remains in the dark. Whatever excuses Margaret Throsby may have had in her defence in 2011 when I questioned the simplistic perspectives guiding her [Throsby’s] interview with Niromi at that stage, the ABC today has no excuse for its ignorance about the literature around Tamil Tigress that has burgeoned subsequently. What a colossal failure in homework! They trot out as expert a ‘celebrity’ who left the land over 20 years ago, has few ongoing links and has an established capacity to obscure truth and wield tears.

Hold on however. Ignorance may not be the reason or the only reason. The Niromi-Weiss performance was arranged in March on the eve of Sri Lanka bashing in the Western media prior to the sessions at Geneva. Liberal circles in the West have been hostile to the government for many years because of its unwholesome record in intimidating if not killing local journalists.[xix] The Fourth Estate worldwide has, with good reason, been alienated by the ‘white van’ phenomenon responsible for some of these acts of violence and intimidation. Recent attacks on the Uthayan offices[xx] in Kilinochchi and Jaffna towns by grey elements suspected to be Tamil political outfits linked to the government or military agencies continue to keep this issue alive.

Thus it may be that Aunty ABC is indulging in payback. In this theory a balanced discussion of the present circumstances in Sri Lanka was NOT its goal in the public TV airing under review here. Its weighted thrust was directed towards a survey of the Sri Lankan scene by two partisan siblings-in-arms who possessed a veneer of authenticity that could convince an Australian constituency (with its limited background knowledge) that Sri Lanka was a rogue state. In this instance in my conjecture facticity and even-handedness are not an ABC concern. The Aunty can foul.

REFERENCES

ABC 2013 “Continuing Genocide in Sri Lanka – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) http://www.lobbyforpeace.com Sri Lanka, OR http://search.mywebsearch.com/mywebsearch/video.jhtml?searchfor=ABC+VIDEO+ON+SRI+LANKA&id=UXxdm014YYau&n=77edea53&ptnrS=UXxdm014YYau&ss=sub&st=sb&ptb=BCB5529D-57B4-40DA-B145-2649C52BFBCF&tpr=&si=maps4pc&vid=e05NpvXpeKc.

Ambalavanar, Arun 2011 “The farce of a fake Tigress,” The Sunday Leader,  www.thesundayleader.lk/2011/08/21/book-review-20 and http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/08/farce-of-fake-tigress.html.

Anon 2009 “Life as a female Tamil Tiger guerilla relived by one of first female soldiers,” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/srilanka/5283438/Life-as-a-female-Tamil-Tiger-guerilla-relived-by-one-of-first-female-soldiers.html

Cooke, Michael C. 2011 “The singer might change but the song remains the same: A critical look at Roberts and Sarvananthan ‘outing’ Niromi de Soyza,” 10 December 2011,

http://groundviews.org/2011/12/10/the-singer-might-change-but-the-song-remains-the-same-a-critical-look-at-roberts-and-sarvananthan-%e2%80%98outing%e2%80%99-niromi-de-soyza/

Barrowclough, Nikki 2011 “Tigress, interrupted,” Good Weekend, 9 July 2011, pp. 26-28.

Callick, Rowan 2010a“Brothers who tamed the Tigers,” Australian A Plus, 18 Oct. 2010.

Callick, Rowan 2010b “Sri Lanka urges hard line on Tamil asylum-seekers,” Australian, 18 Oct. 2010.

Cooke, Michael C. 2011 “The singer might change but the song remains the same: A critical look at Roberts and Sarvananthan ‘outing’ Niromi de Soyza,” http://groundviews.org/ 2011/12/10/the-singer-might-change-but-the-song-remains-the-same-a-critical-look-at-roberts-and-sarvananthan-%e2%80%98outing%e2%80%99-niromi-de-soyza/, 10 Dec, 2011.

[De Soyza, Niromi] 2009 “Life as a female Tamil Tiger guerilla relived by one of first female soldiers,” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/srilanka/5283438/Life-as-a-female-Tamil-Tiger -guerilla-relived-by-one-of-first-female-soldiers.html.

Facebook 2011-13 “Tamil Tigress: The Fake Memoirs,”  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tamil-Tigress-The-fake-memoirs/426676137369106?fref=ts

Furier, Mark 2011 “Book gives boat people a voice…,” Serendib News, October 2011, p. 13.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2011a “From Shenuka to Niromi: True Tale of a Tamil Tigress,” http://dbsjeyaraj. com/dbsj/archives/3160.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2011b “The ‘Flying Pigeon’ Rider who sang ‘Una Paloma Blanca’,” 23 December 2011, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/3378#more-3378.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2011

Journalists of Democracy in Sri Lanka 2011. “Extra judicial killings, abductions, burglaries haunt Sri Lanka’s North,” 7 January 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.jdslanka.org/2011/01/extra-judicial-killings-abductions.html

Knox, Malcolm 2005 “The Darville made me do it,” 9 July 2005,

http://www.smh.com.au/news/books/the-darville-made-me-do-it/2005/07/08/1120704550613.html

Mariampillai, Judy 2012 “Unfolded truth about the Tamil Tigress – book written by Niromi De Soyza,”  19 Sept. 2012, http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2012/09/unfolded-truth-about-tamil-tigress-book.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+srilankaguardian%2FIGKI+%28Sri+Lanka+Guardian%29

Niromi de Soyza 2013 “Niromi de Soyza Adelaide Writer’s Week,”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9uWKa5YfKQ.

Ratnawalli, Darshanie 2011 “D.B.S. Jeyaraj finds some fatal slips in Niromi De Soyza’s narrative And Quietly Ignores Them Hoping They Will Just Go Away,” Sunday Leader, 18 Dec. 2011, http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2011/12/18/and-quietly-ignores-them-hoping-they-will-just-go-away/

Roberts, Michael 2009 “The Rajapaksa Regime and the Fourth Estate,” 9 December 2009, http://www.groundviews.org/2009/12/08/the-rajapakse-regime-and-the-fourth-estate/

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Aussies swallow lies & Rajapaksas miss a trick,” 31 October 2010, www.thuppahi.wordpress.com.

Roberts, Michael 2011a “Another Demidenko? Niromi de Soyza as a Tiger Fighter,” http:// thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/another-demidenko-niromi-de-soyza-as-a-tiger-fighter/.

Roberts, Michael 2011b Forbidden Fruits: Niromi de Soyza’s “Tamil Tigress”, Noumi Kouri and Helen Demidenko?” 31 Aug, 2011, http://groundviews.org/2011/08/31/forbidden-fruits-niromi-de-soyzas-tamil-tigress-noumi-kouri-and-helen-demidenko/

Roberts, Michael 2011c “Niromi de Soysa’s Path of Redemption with Deception? Or Both?” 27 October 2011, http:thuppahi.wordpress.com, October 2011.

Roberts, Michael 2011d “Niromi 2009 versus Niromi Tigress 2011,” 22 December 2011, http://groundviews.org/2011/12/22/niromi-2009-versus-niromi-tigress-2011/

Sarvananthan, M. 2011 “Outing a Counterfeit Guerrilla: A Tale of Lies by Tamil Tigress Niromi de Soyza,” Groundviews at: http://groundviews.org/2011/11/19/outing-a-counterfeit-guerrilla-a-tale-of-lies-by-tamil-tigress-niromi-de-soyza/

Srinivasan, Meera 2013 “Jaffna-based Uthayan suffers second attack in a fortnight,” 13 April 2013, http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/uthayan-office-attacked/article4613921.ece

Sunday Leader 2013 “Dissent under Siege,” 7 April 2013, http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2013/04/07/dissent-under-siege/

Warne-Smith, Drew 2009 “Cause remains for Tamil Tiger in Our Midst,” 23 May 2009, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ news/nation/cause-remains-for-tamil-tiger-in-our-midst/story-e6frg6nf-1225715005848.


[i] Information form Canberra sources which I cannot divulge.

[ii] Callick 2010a and 2010b.

[iii] Personal communication from Callick when I phoned him after his articles appeared.

[v] Tables A2 and A6 in the Census of Population and Housing 2011 undertaken in March 2012.

[vi] Ambalavanar 2011; Sarvananthan 2011; Roberts 2011a,b and 2011c; Ratnawalli 2011 and Mariampillai  2012. Also see Facebook 2011-13.

[vii] For details on the context, see Roberts “Forbidden Fruits…,” 2011b.

[viii] Information from Arun Ambalavanar (by email).

[ix] Both Sarvananthan and other Jaffna sources indicate that several LTTE fighters including some of those in the Muralie Platoon voluntarily resigned from the LTTE. So only some of those who survived the December ambush by the IPKF stayed on and went to the Vanni.

[x] My thanks to Sarvananthan for recent communications on this point.

[xi] This contention was re-introduced by Niromi during her Writer’s Week Interview at Adelaide in 2013.

[xii] See Tamil Tigress: 147-49 where Muralie “acceded to my request that I might visit Thileepan on the podium” and he whispers “have you gone back to school? do not spend all your time here. You need to get an education.” Niromi is then overcome with sobs and ordered to go home by Muralie.

[xiii] See Anon 2009.

[xiv] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ news/nation/cause-remains-for-tamil-tiger-in-our-midst/story-e6frg6nf-1225715005848. This title was probably created by reporter Drew Warne-Smith.

[xv] During her leisurely chat with Nikki Barrowclough in Sydney in July 2011 Niromi said that her unit spent “most of the time … running and hiding from government soldiers.”

[xvi] As suggested by Ambalavanar, who finds the account of the failed assassination attempt on Kittu in both books to be similar and err in their identification of the Tamil attackers.

[xvii] See Ambalavanar 2011; Sarvananthan 2011; Roberts 2011a,b and 2011c; Ratnawalli 2011 and Mariampillai  2012. For valiant defenses, see Cooke 2011 and Jeyaraj 2011.

[xviii] Personal information from friends present at these moments. Jeremy Liyanage was quite impressed by Niromi during the lead-up conversations prior to their appearance on the same platform at a function in Melbourne; but when she cried during her presentation, he was quite alienated. Note: “Author de Soyza often uses her crocodile tears to get the full attention of the audience in most of her public meeting” (Mariampillai 2012).

[xix] Roberts 2009 and Journalists for Democracy 2011.

[xx] Sunday Leader, 7 April 2013, http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2013/04/07/dissent-under-siege/. The Uthayan is a Tamil-medium newspaper associated with the Tamil National Assembly.

  • S.B.D

    Niromi was categorical: “being a Tamil she never felt safe [in Lanka].”

    We all know there’s room for improvement….but I wish some of the “persecuted” Speak UP.

    Commercial Bank:
    Jagan Durairatnam – Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer
    S Swarnajothi – Director
    Rohan Muttiah – Chief Information officer

    DFCC / VARDHANA Bank:
    J E A Perumal – Director
    R B Thambiayah – Director
    M A Tharmarathnam – Director
    S R Thambiayah – Director

    Hatton National Bank:
    Rajendra Theagarajah – MD / CEO
    J R P M Paiva – DGM S&C
    L L C C Thambiah – DGM NM
    M Asokan – Head of Int Audit
    S Gnanapragasam – AGM Risk
    R Thamirajah – AGM NM

    Aitkenspence:
    R.N. Asirwatham – Director
    Ranjan Casie Chetty – company Secretary
    Nilanthi Sivapragasam – Chief Financial Officer

    John Keells Group:
    Sithie Tiruchelvam – Director
    Indrajit Coomaraswamy – Director

    Ceylinco Life:
    R. Reganathan – MD/CEO

    Sri Lanka Insurance:
    Noel Selvanayagam – Director

    Colombo Stock Exchange:
    Krishan Balendra – Chairman

    Brandix:
    Ken Balendra* – Chairman
    Ajit Johnpillai – Director

    To name a few.

  • James Chance

    It’s amusing to see Prof Roberts hop back on one of his favourite hobby horses, but for all his detective skills about Ms. Zoysa, aka Subha Anandarajah, he’s yet to challenge anything factual about what either Weiss or Zoysa said on the show – other than the admittedly over-the-top claim that simply being a Tamil makes it unsafe to be in Sri Lanka. This is clearly not the case. But what else did she claim, or did Weiss, claim that wasn’t true – or that was so “unbalanced” that ABC shouldn’t have had them on the program?

    I, too, saw the show and wasn’t overwhelmed. I, too, would have liked to have seen a robusy debate between two or three panelists with very different positions. But given the outrageously lenient position the Australian government currently takes towards Sri Lankan government, all because of overblown, politically-motivated, fears of Sri Lanka asylum seekers, it’s not the worst crime to have a bit of well-deserved SL government-bashing on Aussie TV. This is especially the case as government apologists like the ex-Navy commander, now SL High Commissioner, are regularly given their own TV soap boxes. Perhaps some day there will be a better show, but what is it about Prof. Roberts that gets him just so hot and bothered about Weiss and Zoysa? That remains a mystery I’d like to see some other researcher/detective dig into…

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Mr James Chance,

      Glad to note that you identified at least one Lie that Subha Anandarajah uttered ….”you know”.

      You ask “But what else did she claim, or did Weiss, claim that wasn’t true – or that was so “unbalanced” that ABC shouldn’t have had them on the program?”

      Why don’t you tell what truth they related by quoting from the interview? Of course they should have had them on the program but they should have done so with a counterbalance.

      You say “I, too, saw the show and wasn’t overwhelmed. I, too, would have liked to have seen a robusy debate between two or three panelists with very different positions.”

      Sure that’s what any right thinking person would have expected and what a right thinking broadcaster should have done.

      You say “But given the outrageously lenient position the Australian government currently takes towards Sri Lankan government, all because of overblown, politically-motivated, fears of Sri Lanka asylum seekers, it’s not the worst crime to have a bit of well-deserved SL government-bashing on Aussie TV. This is especially the case as government apologists like the ex-Navy commander, now SL High Commissioner, are regularly given their own TV soap boxes. Perhaps some day there will be a better show,..”

      Is that an excuse for doing the wrong thing?
      The fact that the Australian govt does not agree with your views justifies Tha National Broadcaster of Australia giving two liars a platform to Lie brazenly? Fine sense of Justice you are endowed with sir.

      You say “but what is it about Prof. Roberts that gets him just so hot and bothered about Weiss and Zoysa? That remains a mystery I’d like to see some other researcher/detective dig into…”

      Why is it a mystery?
      He knows about Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans.
      Thus identifying a Lair, intent on unjustly vilifying the country and it’s inhabitants is child’s play to him. Not only Roberts but any right thinking person would get hot and bothered when Lairs such as Weiss and Subha Anandarajah (aka Niromi) are given a platform to Lie by a National Broadcaster such as ABC. He has exposed many other Lairs including Ch4.

      BTW Mr Chance could you please explain why someone would risk the lives of their own family (including very young children) to get into a boat and sail thousands of Km in search of Asylum in a land that is governed by Culturally, Religiously, Linguistically disparate people, who once practised a White only immigration policy, when refuge is available within arms reach, just a couple of hours boat ride away, amongst their own people, who are Culturally, Linguistically and genetically inseparable from them?

      What is the asylum they are seeking by bypassing Tamil Nadu in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and making a bee line for distant Australia?

  • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

    [Comment posted on author's behalf in response to tweet and Facebook comments by Gordon Weiss.]

    As far as I recall the following sequence occurred

    A- Followed google references and listened to Niromi interview at Writers Week and took notes
    B- Then listened to ABC panel discussion and took notes – and at this point the title did not even register
    C- Later as I filled in the biblio and decided to add this source, the title struck me as ODD and maybe an imposition by the “peace lobby; but it had had no bearing on my discussion and the intent was to provide the source — even a secondary source — for those readers who wished to check out my reading.
    D- Changing the tile wd have been a bibliographical distortion; but in retrospect I sd maybe have placed ABC in square brackets.
    E- In any event my review was not informed by the title –as self-evident [I hope] to readers.
    F- Weiss’s complaint is pedantic but his point about duplicity by the outlet presenting this repeat of the ABC panel discussion is valid

    • Arul

      Interesting to note here from Prof Michael Robert’s writing that Niromi de Soyza is mentioning about the danger in Sri Lanka at the TV show , but has no hesitation in adapting her original book and amending the last chapter suitably so that it can appear on Sri Lankan bookshelves courtesy of Sarasavi book distributors !!! . Niromi is shifting away from Asylum seeker problem to peace and charity so that she can be appeared in the Sri Lankan bookshelves. It took time for Gordon Weiss to realise De silva’s true nature. Francis Harrison will realise soon. Sri Lankan community has enough experience in the past dealing with people like Karuna , Thaya master, and KP .I won’t surprise if Niromi De Soyza appear in the TV shows and public meeting against her very own Tamil community for the book sale in Sri Lanka! since she was prepared to change the last chapter to get the favour from the government of Sri Lanka. How can a person counterfeit money using the misery of the dead friend Ajanthi ?. How can a person proud of being away from her own community (Tamil) and speak for the very community (Tamil) concern ? Only hypocritics can do!

    • Gordon Weiss

      Professor Roberts grossly misleads readers in the opening paragraph of his piece, and calls it pedantry when his sloppy research is questioned? And seriously expects that incorrectly deploying the “G-word” within the first three lines has nothing to do with his own “facticity and even-handedness,” as he puts it? Come come Prof. A simple and non-too-pedantic suggestion I trust: when sneering, sniping, and slinging mud at people, employ accuracy. That way, you won’t leave yourself open to the suspicion that your single-minded pursuit of individuals like Niromi de Soyza, for one, has more to do with some peculiar resentment, rather than healthy and helpful “facticity.”

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Mr. Gordon Weiss,

        Thank you for taking the time to respond to Prof Robert’s article here on GroundViews. It is gratifying to see that persons of your stature do read GroundViews though your august presence on GV, is indeed rare.

        I am sure that you would agree that for a panel discussion to be unbiased and unpartisan it should be represented by parties who have divergent views on the subject. The very palpable absence of such representation in the ABC program in question, is definitely not due to a shortage of such person’s in Australia, as there are many, including Tamils, that are resident in Australia, who opose yours and Ms. Subhodini Mariatta Anandarajah alias Niromi de Soyza’s views.

        I believe that the ABC presented you and Ms Anandarajah an undefended Goal, to shoot your Goal Kicks with impunity. I believe that ABC consciously and studiously avoided confronting you and Ms Anadarajah with opposing Views not just from the Sinhalese but more importantly from dissenting Tamils. It allowed you and Ms. Subhodini Mariatta Anandarajah alias Niromi de Soyza to lie and make unfounded claims unopposed.

        Hence I fail to see how Prof Roberts misleads the Readership when he points to that obvious fact by stating very eloquently “……panel presentation by ABC…….“Continuing Genocide in Sri Lanka” and anchored by Jane Hutcheon, exposed in blatant nudity the lop-sided perspectives.

        Your attempt to sling mud at the professor instead of disproving his contention of BIAS, does not hold water, certainly not from a seasoned UN spokesperson. Probably you were preoccupied with another G word, as the only G word within the first three lines is Genocide which in fact ispart of the Title of the panel discussion.

        You have also not responded to the Professors third paragraph which draws attention to the increased rapport between yourself and the Tamil separatist Lobby worldwide.

        Niromi has lied in her book, which relies on playing on Tamil sentiment to boost sales. And you are known to have teamed up with her as Prof. Micheal Roberts points out. I see that you have not denied it either.

        In an ABC interview with Mr Campbell you put forward the Civilian death toll as 40,000 claiming the figure came from reliable sources INSIDE the NFZ. In your book the cage you claim that you don’t know how reliable your sources are. This is Double Speak to say the least.

        Today this rubbery death toll figure you originated then, has snowballed beyond belief to an unbelievable figure of 147,000.

        147,000 dead + 441,000 (a nominal 3 times that wounded) + 300,000 (some of them wounded and hence will be accounted for within the 441,000 wounded) rescued and in IDP camps, giving a minimum total population in the Vanni to 888,000 and that’s excluding those who went overseas by whatever means. All in all the Vanni population would have approached or exceeded 1,000,000. The ludicrousness of these claims are apparent when these absurdities are compared to Census figures.

        The UN has access to demographic data of its own, as Funding for UN aid programs is based on them. Hence the claim that you authored and which has now gone berserk, is nothing but Rumour, that by your own admission is Unreliable to say the least.

        Does this not indicate that your utterances are unreliable? More so as you have an interest in whipping up Tamil Sentiment to boost revenue from the book sales of your targeted audience, The Tamils nationalists.

        GORDON WEISS: [Former UN spokesman, Sri Lanka] A lot of civilians died inside the siege zone. I have heard anything between ten and forty thousand people and that’s from reliable sources who had a presence inside the zone.

        CAMPBELL: So up to forty thousand civilians could have been killed in those last battles?

        GORDON WEISS: That’s right.

        CAMPBELL: That’s a shocking figure.

        GORDON WEISS: Yes, it’s a terrible figure.

        In the “Cage” you wrote

        “I have not dealt in close detail with the matter of figures of dead and wounded, how they are calculated and how reliable those sources might be. I make the point in the text that it is for others to get closer to that particular particle of truth.”

        Why the Double Speak Sir?

        Are you afraid to face facts?

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Mr. Gordon Weiss,

        Five days have gone without an explanation from you. Is it because you were spinning a yarn when you were talking to Campbell of ABC about the 40,000 dead?

        Come come Gordon, a simple and non-too-pedantic suggestion I trust: when sneering, sniping, and slinging mud at people, employ accuracy. That way, you won’t leave yourself open to the suspicion that your single-minded pursuit of GOSL has more to do with some peculiar resentment, rather than healthy and helpful “facticity.”

        Words sound familiar? Yes of course there your own, except for just three of them. Is this peculiar resentment due to you loosing your lucrative spokesperson job at the UN, when you shot your mouth off, out of turn, leading to your removal?

        Ms. Subhodini Mariatta Anandarajah alias Niromi de Soyza lied. She did so in her book and everywhere subsequently….. “you know”. It was impossible for her to fight the SL forces that was confined to barracks due to an intergovernmental treaty.

        She has proved herself to be a professional Liar and hence even her being a LTTE cook is doubtful…..”you know”!

        You on the other hand Lied about the 40,000 deaths.

        If what Prof. Roberts wrote in his analysis is wrong, please prove your case without trying to shut him up with your mud slinging expletives. That would be the honourable thing to do. But then you would not know anything about that either, would you?

        • Mapa

          Off the cuff,

          Please don’t get upset over Gordon Weiss not responding to you. ‘You know’ what he is like. He will never reply beause can’t face facts especially when they are put forward so forcefully by a man (you are a man, right?) of your intellectual calibre and certainly not because he thinks, like Churchil did, that life is too short to be throwing stones at every dog that barks at you. We all think that you are doing a wonderful job exposing these people to the world even though you get so cantankerous at times and we feel worried about your health. Please don’t get upset. Just keep exposing, but without getting into a lather and expecting too many replies. We truly admire you, you know.

          peace and thanks!

          • Off the Cuff (M.N.I.N. Perera)

            Mapa,

            Here is a little bit of Sufi Wisdom from the Islamic world for you to digest. Appropriately describes what I have written and your understanding of it.

            1. If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.

            2. A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.

            You asked “you are a man, right?“

            Oh my goodness now you want to know my sex?
            I shudder at the thought!!!
            Man, you must be sick.
            Please find somebody else, I refuse to be your wet nurse (http://groundviews.org/2013/01/31/another-us-resolution-on-sri-lanka-the-road-to-nowhere/#comment-50685).

            Here are some typical examples of your involvement on GV.

            Yapa questioned you on 01/01/2013 • 6:37 and you slithered away without a reply.

            Jansee made a claim of 146,000 civilian deaths. Yapa asked her to prove it. You asked Yapa to prove it. This was Yapa’s reply.

            Dear Mapa; I don’t have. Why not ask jansee how she arrived at that figure, 146,000? Thanks!
            (http://groundviews.org/2013/01/15/militarized-charity-and-land-grabbing-experience-of-keppapulavu-in-the-vanni/#comment-50483)

            You fell silent and NEVER asked Jansee why she claimed 146,000 civilian deaths if she could not prove it!!!

            Here is a post you directed at me on 02/06/2013 • 9:56 am with a childish modification of my pseudonym.

            Of the scarf,

            “BTW, LTTE had Terrorists not soldires.”
            Why do you say so?
            Thanks!
            Mapa
            (http://groundviews.org/2013/01/31/another-us-resolution-on-sri-lanka-the-road-to-nowhere/#comment-50665)

            Here is another directed at Yapa in the same page on 01/07/2013 • 3:47 pm referring to the yet unproven, 146,000 civilian dead claim by Jansee

            Yapa’
            What is Jansee’s intention and what is so foul about it?
            Thanks!
            The above are just three posts picked at random of the many you have written. In every instance you ran away when questioned.

            Your posts show a marked partiality towards people like Jansee a virulent separatist and Gordon Weiss a similarly virulent separatist supporter and Rumour Monger. This leads me to believe that you are a Tamil separatist masquerading as a Sinhalese, using a Sinhala name.

            Your posts have never discussed “issues” but they have attempted to filibuster comments that are unfavourable to the Separatist cause and propaganda.

            Can you prove to us that you are not a Tamil Separatist hiding behind a common Sinhala name, dishonestly used as a pseudonym.!!!

            When you showed your interest at discussing 13A, I thought you had at last outgrown what I discussed in this post. (http://groundviews.org/2013/01/31/another-us-resolution-on-sri-lanka-the-road-to-nowhere/#comment-50685). But I see that it has degenerated further.

            Hence I don’t see that you are capable of a serious discussion.

            BTW I thought that Churchill said “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” But then you know better.

            But closer home we have a Sinhala Idiom that has the following meaning.
            Dogs bark at the Moon but the Moon will not fall down.

            You asked me the following question on 04/25/2013 • 5:31 pm. “Why are you opposed to the 13A in its present form? Please explain. Feel free to be asdetailed as possible. As I said there is much to learn from you.”

            My position is clearly stated in my post addressed to Padraig Coleman here. http://groundviews.org/2013/04/20/long-war-cold-peace-the-return-of-dayan-jayatilleka/#comment-52602

            Hence please state your position as clearly as you can. We can then proceed to debate the issue under the article Long war cold peace the return of Dayan Jayatilleka.

            I do hope you are equal to that task, though its miles apart from what you have been contributing to GV so far.

            You also posed the following question to me in the same post referred to above. You asked “I am glad you had a chat to Dayan Jayatilaka about 13A. That would have been something to behold! What did he say?”

            Since Dayan is available for questioning in the Long war Cold peace page, why don’t you ask him yourself? I hope you are not afraid of him.

            I have made a few contributions under my “real” name of M.N.I.N. Perera. A search on GV would reveal my full name (ha ha). Never attempt to mount a moral high horse on the mistaken belief that a name such as “Mapa” / Aacharya / Tamil Chanakyan / Manimaaran has a moral high ground over a pseudonym just because all four of them are names of real people. However ALL four of them are being Dishonestly used by people whose real names are not even close to them.

            Pseudonym such as Off the Cuff / Rationalman / Burning Issue / Keynes! / Candidly / Mango / Georgethebushpig / warfoepeacehypocrite / etc does not make any attempt to mislead the reader. Hence they are more moral than the names that the above 2 people (the last 3 are used by a Single Tamil person) use to write under.

            Public forums such as GroundViews that use the Internet are essentially anonymous by nature. You will find that out as I have asked you to prove that the assumed name you write under (Mapa) is actually your real name. It will turn out to be more difficult than you think.

            Looking forward to a healthy discussion on the 13A. If you are up to it that is!

          • Mapa

            Dear Off the Cuff,

            Phew! What a lenghty and angry response to such a simple little question? I am glad to see you are working hard but the temper is a bit worrying. You need to take a deep breath and be calm. At your age such violent tantrums can hurt your health very badly.

            Another question: Why are some pseudonyms more moral than others? Please be detailed in your response. You are so good at making these fine distinctions.

            I am not here to debate with you or Dr. Jayatilaka or anyone for that matter. I am here to learn from all the great peopole who write on Groundviews. So please answer my questions and enlighten me.

            I see Gordon Weiss has not responded yet. You flattened him I think. He is probably looking at your finger and mising the moon.

          • Off the Cuff (M.N.I.N. Perera)

            Mapa,

            I believe you have forgotten to answer the SIMPLE question I raised in my previous post which I repeat below for ease of reference.

            Can you prove to us that you are not a Tamil Separatist hiding behind a common Sinhala name, dishonestly used as a pseudonym!!!

            The sample comments of yours, that I referenced in my previous reply, leads me to believe that you are a Tamil Separatist hiding your ethnicity behind a Sinhala name.

            We can continue the discussion after you establish your bona fide identity.

            BTW Gordon Weiss will definitely not reply, as he would have looked at the Moon and not the finger, though you continue to look at the finger and not the Moon.

            Remember the Sufi wisdom from the Islamic world that I quoted earlier?

          • Mapa

            “Can you prove to us that you are not a Tamil Separatist hiding behind a common Sinhala name, dishonestly used as a pseudonym!!! ”

            Nice one off the cuff. I will be spending many sleepless nights trying to figure out a way to prove this to you. Trust me.

            But you are right. I like people like Jansee. Know why? They give us all an opportunity to hear your scintilating views on so many issues. Without the Jansees of this world there will be no Of the cuffs and the world wil be so much poorer in wisdom. This is why I am so annoyed with Gordon Weiss. One little response from himu and you would have written ten pages demonstartaing at least half of your wit. Naughty Gordon denied us that!

            By the way I might prove my bona fides if you answer these questions:

            What are your views on the 18th amendment?

            Are your views similar to Dayan Jayatilaka’s or are there slight diffences like with the 13th amendment?

            If people know you are M.N.I.N.Perera why do you also use a pseudonym?

            Please provide detailed answers.

            Almost forgot,
            Thanks!

          • Off the Cuff (M.N.I.N. Perera)

            Hi Mapa,

            You say “Nice one off the cuff. I will be spending many sleepless nights trying to figure out a way to prove this to you. Trust me.”

            Trust you? After all the deceit that you practice hiding your real ethnicity by using a Sinhala name? Are you ashamed of being a Tamil?

            Are you or are you not a Tamil separatist hiding behind a Sinhala name? I believe you are, as your comments on GV prove.

            You say “By the way I might prove my bona fides if you answer these questions:”

            Did you not understand what I wrote earlier?
            I will repeat it for ease of reference

            We can continue the discussion after you establish your bona fide identity.

            Hope you will understand it the second time around.

            Enough of your deception. You are incapable of proving that you are a Sinhalese. You can never establish that you are not a Tamil separatist using a Sinhala name to hide your ethnicity because you are a Tamil Separatist.

            You ask “What are your views on the 18th amendment?”

            You are no longer interested in the 13th amendment?
            Did you feign interest earlier, to filibuster and hijack this thread?
            I have set out my position in detail at the link I referred you to several days ago.
            Did you set out your position?
            No you haven’t.
            Deception is second nature to you.

            You ask “Are your views similar to Dayan Jayatilaka’s or are there slight diffences like with the 13th amendment?”

            Another attempted Red Herring?
            I see that you are still afraid to ask DJ direct… ha ha haa.

            You ask “If people know you are M.N.I.N.Perera why do you also use a pseudonym?”

            Time to remind you about that Sufi Wisdom from the Islamic world again.
            “If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger”
            Try to look at the Moon instead of the finger.
            I do hope you are up to it.

            This thread discusses ABC, Gordon Weiss and Niromi.
            18A and 13A and all the other BS that you are trying to bring up is irrelevant and outside the scope of discussion. If you want to discuss 13A do so at the thread I linked you to. Unless of course you don’t have facts to discuss.

            Here again is another Sufi Wisdom from the Islamic world

            “A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey”

            You questioned me about my pseudonym and I have questioned you in return. Hence please establish that “Mapa” is not a Pseudonym that hides your Ethnicity and deceives the GV readership.

          • Keynes!

            Off the Cuff,

            How many do you think were killed?

          • Off the Cuff

            Keynes!

            Obviously not Zero.

            A report of the Committee On Foreign Relations, issued under the hand of John F. Kerry, Chairman. and Richard G. Lugar, Ranking Member and published on December 7, 2009, six months after the end of the war, states as follows

            “The war between the Government of Sri Lanka and LTTE, which claimed over 70,000 lives since 1983″

            The US estimate covers the WHOLE war from 1983 to 19 May 2009 and includes SL forces, Terrorists, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay and other civilians.

          • Mapa

            M.N.I.N. Perera,

            It is sad you do not trust me. Trust is very important in a relationship. Even online.

            What is filibustering? Please explain to me. The last thing I want to do is to do something that is not right without knowing it is right. Is this somethng you do? Then I am happy to do it too because if you are doing it it must be right.

            Don’t you know what the 18th amendment is? I thought you knew almost everything. Please find out and answer my question. Don’t avoid it.

            Here is a question on the current thread. This girl Niromi, you know she lied right? Why do you think she is doing that. Some people think she just wants to sell her book but can there be something more to it, like wanting to bring the Sri Lankan government into disrepute? Or maybe she wants to help poor Prof. Roberts? He has not been writing anything original for a while now and not many people are taking him seriously these days. Maybe Niromi felt sorry and wanted to give him something to write about? You know how passionate he is about exposing Niromi, don’t you? Almost as if Niromi has brought him back from the dead. Please let me know what you think. A very long response studded with Sufi wisdom is best.

            I also saw you have responded to Keynes! question. So ‘Over 70,000 dead could also mean ‘over 100,000, or ‘over 150,000′?

            Hey have you noticed how Keynes! has a punctuation mark in his name? Isn’t that the coolest thing that you ever did see? Why don’t you do that, get a cool punctuation mark for your name. M.N.I.N.Perera? That would be cool as!

            Thanks!

          • Off the Cuff (M.N.I.N. Perera)

            Mapa,

            Still struggling to give an answer to my question

            Can you prove to us that you are not a Tamil Separatist hiding behind a common Sinhala name, dishonestly used as a pseudonym?

            BTW I did say We can continue the discussion after you establish your bona fide identity.

            Time to remind you about that Sufi Wisdom from the Islamic world again.
            “If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger”

            Try to look at the Moon instead of the finger lest you post again, a post that proves another Sufi wisdom.

            “A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey”

            Have fun “Mapa” have loads of fun …ha ha.

  • Mapa

    “One cannot think of a soldier who takes aim in the general direction of the enemy without pinpointing some target – a point she reiterates in both book and public appearances”

    Ummm I am not sure. Perhaps you should check with Lt. Geb Depinder Singh:

    “However, it was very dificult to pin point the location from where the fire was being brought down and it appeared to be coming from all around us. Under these circumstances all that we could do was to fire back in the general direction from where we thought the militants were firing from”

    Lt. Gen. Depinde Singh, The IPKF n Jaffna, p.141.

    Thanks!

  • Ram2009

    Using a Sinhala moniker to write articles, books etc criticising Sri Lanka is now common practice among the Tamilterrorists and fellow travellers. I myself was at first taken in but it is good to know that one has to be more circumspect now and not accept things at face value.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Ram2009,

      Better late than never.

      Best Regards

      OTC