Peace and Conflict

We will no longer tolerate …

It seems that students from the Sri Lankan diaspora are getting activated. An email is  doing the roungs urging people to participate in an email campaign. I have pasted this email message below.


Sri Lanka has reached a cross-roads between two very different paths,
destruction or hope. We can be the voices needed to begin change. We can
make a difference.

The campaign asks you now to email the following people.

President of GOSL
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
Editor of Island newspaper
Editor of The Nation newspaper
Editor of the Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Asia tribune
UNP and Gov’t Opposition Leader
International Correspondent Columnist NYT (Nicholas Kristof)
Sri Lanka Pro-Peace (to gauge response)

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Re: Peace in Sri Lanka


His Excellency the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri
Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, Dr. Palitha Kohona
Editor of the Island newspaper
Leader of the Opposition and the President of the United National Party
(UNP), Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe
Foreign Editor of the New York Times, Susan Chira
International War Correspondent & Columnist for New York Times, Nicholas D.

We, the students and youth of the international community, are deeply
concerned about the rapid deterioration of political and democratic rights
of the people of Sri Lanka and the steady militarization of the Sri Lankan
society. The escalation of military attacks, in addition to recent
abductions and killings of civilians, support the widely held theory that
the Ceasefire Agreement, signed by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has been abandoned. And while
public statements by the two parties that the CFA is still in effect, with
current military engagements for “defensive” operations only, may keep
international opinion at bay, we are not fooled.

Despite waves of assassinations, disappearances, abductions, destruction to
property, suicide attacks, aerial and other forms of bombing, which have
cost more than 4,000 lives in the past year alone, the parties to the
conflict have not come closer to achieving their objectives militarily.
Worse, the escalation of the war has pushed the communities of Sri Lanka
farther apart than ever before. Recently, nearly 400 Tamils were expelled
from Colombo and deported under the guise of “suspicion of terrorism.” On
Monday June 11th, the Government of Sri Lanka took responsibility for this
incident to admit the mass expulsion was a “big mistake” which will never
“happen again” — without promise of punishment for those responsible. A
week prior, two Red Cross workers were abducted by men claiming to be police
officers and shot dead. Again, these men were members of the minority
community. This follows a long series of arrests and improper abuse against
civilians, especially the intimidation and molestation of members of the
media and journalist community.

It is very clear that the GOSL is neither capable of dealing with the
situation nor willing to deal with it effectively. Each act of excess and
outrage is met with a promise of an inquiry but nothing comes out of these
promises. Your Excellency, you have said that, “Discipline, honesty and
diplomacy is the way to solve problems; we need to set examples of ourselves
reaching new heights of unity.” We ask you to adhere to these words and
follow through. A military solution, as has been proven throughout the last
twenty years of civil war, is not the answer to end hostilities. Moreover,
the attacks against minority communities on the basis of suspicion of
terrorism is outrageous and unjustified.

We will no longer tolerate these flagrant violations of human rights.

In a recent BBC article, Secretary of Defense for the GOSL, Gotabaya
Rajapaksa, your honorable brother, stated that any form of public outcry for
the actions of the GOSL are a form of “international bullying.” This is not
true. We, the young people of the international community, with deep ties to
Sri Lanka in heritage, culture, and spirit, are a reflection of the Sri
Lankan people. When we are sickened by events that take place in Sri Lanka,
and voice our opinions, it is because we have the luxury and freedom to
discover the truth. It is the international community who learns about an
explosion, military operation, “covert military operation,” or deplorable
human rights violation — via family, friends, and the many media and press
outlets in Sri Lanka — before even the local communities across the island
are able to do so.

Your Excellency, you have also said, “Self respect for each citizen and good
governance are our aspirations.” It is with great sadness then, that we tell
you the international community is discouraged by the collective punishment
inflicted upon the Tamil people in the North and East, who are deprived of a
right to food, medicine, and adequate health care for their basic survival
as human beings. Hundreds of thousands of people in the northern Jaffna
peninsula are cut off from the rest of the island and are living
precariously on meager and uncertain supplies of food shipped by a rampantly
corrupt government. Thousands more in the East are living in refugee camps
exposed to constant bombardment. Sri Lankan society cannot be reconciled or
made peaceful by destroying the dignity of its people, by placing embargos
on essential items, or by taking away the right to live as equals
irrespective of socio-cultural backgrounds. Your goals are “developing youth
skills, uplifting of women, children and the disabled” to “create a great
nation.” Yet how can this be achieved with so little opportunity available
to the citizens of Sri Lanka?

The LTTE, for its part, is not making things any easier, least of all for
the long-suffering people of the North and East. Not only has it continued
to incite the armed forces of Sri Lanka, but does so with the intent of
causing maximum political, economic, and social mayhem to boost its own
military and financial aspirations. Their responsibility for the state of
Sri Lanka is not lost on the international community, and especially the
students of the world who have ties to Sri Lanka. But, as the democratically
elected leader of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, it is your
duty and responsibility to uphold the values of truth, justice, and
democracy. The restriction to free and truthful speech, the spread of
corruption, fascism, cronyism, and nepotism, and the unconstitutional abuse
of civilians of all communities are antithetical to your role as the
President of Sri Lanka.

We, the young people of the world, ask for you to follow through on these
words that ring so truthfully:

“The Presidency is a creation of an honest leadership to achieve
expectations of the people of Sri Lanka. ”
— His Excellency the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri
Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa

Students of the International Community