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Home > Tamil National Forum > Selected Writings - R.Shanmugalingam > Sri Lanka State Terrorism & Non State Tamil Eelam
Presentation by Ramalingam Shanmugalingam
at Friends of The World Affairs Council
North County Chapter, San Diego, February 2000
Today, the world’s conflicts are mostly between states and nations. Alien rule or domination by one group over another forms the basis for the struggles of peoples all over the world without a state - peoples who constitute the Fourth World. It is estimated that 168 states assert their right and power to impose sovereignty and allegiance upon more than 3000 nations.
All conflicts that occur cannot be contained or hidden, nor resolved on a state-to-state basis politically. The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has led to the “warm” war currently raging in the North and East Sri Lanka.
The United Nations at least takes a peep into conflicts between states and states. Who is there to look into conflicts between states against non-states? This has to be addressed separately. It is incumbent on my part to take a specific case to bring out the real terrorism, whether state or non-state.
I have chosen Sri Lanka as the example, since I am a victim of Sri Lankan State Terrorism.
The Sri Lanka State government continues with its policy to integrate and assimilate Tamils, their lands and resources, with its numerical superiority in representation in Parliament - a Parliament of a unitary state. Sinhala colonization of Tamil land among other injustices, is a principal factor behind the civil war in Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, the Sri Lankan government has masked the conflict with a strict news censorhip and with the help of expert publicity giants like Satchi and Satchi, the British advertising giants, has made the world believe that the conflict is an internal matter.
And as Bernard Q. Nietschman remarked:
“From the domestic perspective, indigenous combatants are seen as “rebels,” terrorists,” “bandits,” “separatists,” and “extremists.” But most Fourth World nation combatants see themselves as engaged in international conflict, nation against state; and thus they may call themselves soldiers, fighters, warriors, etc. The view of international states is that states declare war, while nations declare terrorism. By treating conflicts between states and nations as but an internal matter of the state, the conflict may be masked but not understood, nor resolved.”
Sri Lanka is today a State with two nations, the Sinhala and the Tamil nations. As much as the Sinhala nation exercises its inalienable right to self-rule, the Tamil nation although it has that right, has to seek ways and means of exercising that inalienable right.
Tamils failed to move successive Sinhala leaders (who were overconfident with their numerical superiority vis a vis Tamil numerical inferiority) to achieve a measure of equality with the Sinhala people, politically without bloodshed. Tamils therefore, had to, very reluctantly and at very great risk, take up arms. Tamils were driven to take up arms to defend their land, language, culture and life itself on a permanent basis - and that can come about only by exercising their inalienable right to self-rule.
A world leader perceived this sometime ago,
“When politics developed to a certain stage beyond which it cannot proceed by the usual means, war breaks out to sweep the obstacles from the way… . When the obstacle is removed and the political aim is attained, the war will stop. But if the obstacle is not completely swept away, the war will have to continue till the aim is fully accomplished…. It can therefore be said that ‘politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.”
The genuine freedom war of the Tamil nation within its own backyard, is different from the acts of violence of international terrorists.
International terrorists stage acts of violence away from their backyards and mostly for reasons other than freedom. Looking back at the history of terrorism, religion played an important part in inspiring terrorism.
Several groups such as the Naradanaya Volya (means people’s freedom) founded in 1878 to challenge the Tzarist rule, resorted to daring and dramatic acts of violence, designed to attract attention to the group and its cause. Even though this was not productive, as a form of terrorism, it was mainly directed to attract attention to the cause.
“The Jewish terrorist group of 1940 known as LEHI (The Hebrew acronym for Lohamei Herut Yisrael, the Freedom Fighters for Israel, more popularly known simply as the Stern Gang after their founder and first leader, Abraham Stern) is thought to be one of the last terrorist groups actually to call itself publicly as such. However, latter-day counterparts, chose as the name of the organization not “Terrorist Fighters for Israel,” but the far less pejorative 'Freedom Fighters of Israel'.” (Dr. David A. Yazdan M.D. in History of Terrorism)
Today every criminal organization bent on disrupting the peace in the world, with acts of international violence and mayhem with the help of ‘rogue states’ hide behind the semantic camouflage of more anodyne labels such as “freedom fighter” or “urban guerrilla.”
Naturally, even a genuine freedom struggle such as the one carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - LTTE - of Sri Lanka for the last 17 years is branded as terrorism, perhaps for want of a better term for such freedom wars.
John Leo in US News & World Report wrote, “Wording, in fact, is often crucial.”
Sri Lanka government sleuths and publicity pundits have craftily and persuasively publicized, with the help of an inadequate or inappropriate and inaccurate term - terrorism, to turn a sympathetic international community against the Tamils.
The truth is masked and the lies accentuated by not opening up the war torn area for media scrutiny, with typical totalitarian news censor, and the Sinhala publicity machinery has almost succeeded in preempting Tamil freedom efforts. Terrorism undoubtedly is a pejorative term. It is a term associated per-se with negative connotations forcefully applied to one’s enemies or with whom one disagrees vehemently.
The Sinhala Government, assumes the role of the accuser, but in truth is the accused, denies the most elementary human rights, dignity, freedom and independence, and occupies the land of the Tamils forcibly with its military might.
Therefore, a just revolt against a malevolent government is not in anyway near terrorism, as we understand.
“What is called terrorist,” Brian Jenkins has written, “thus seems to depend on one’s point of view. Use of the term implies a moral judgment, and if one party can successfully attach the label terrorist to its opponent, then it has indirectly persuaded others to adopt its moral viewpoint.”
There was a time, when Tamils were accepted as the victims of Sinhala government hegemony and frequent state aided and abetted race riots. No sooner Tamil youth took to arms to defend themselves from the many pronged Sinhala attacks, the Sinhala government wasted no time in successfully attaching the label, “terrorists.”
The small band of youth concentrating on physically defending Tamil civilians from the Sinhala thugs in kakhi uniforms, sarong clad Goondas and yellow robed Rogues had neither the means nor the time to neutralize the Sinhala government publicity offensive....
By the time, the peace-loving Tamil diaspora realized this serious gap in Tamil publicity; it was too late to reverse an already biased international society that continues to think of Tamils as terrorists, but in fact they are still the victims.
Despite the richness of the English language, new ideas and new developments bear old nomenclature. Hence, it may be in the best interest to avoid skirmishes over language, and coin a new term.
The Freedom War such as the one fought valiantly by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam should be differentiated from other forms violently expressed, with a term such as 'genocidefense'. It is hoped the media will start using Genocidefense for wars defending against state terrorism thrust on those aspiring freedom.
For clarity and to avoid confusion, branding acts of freedom, as 'terrorism' should stop.The new term 'genocidefense' will serve better. Terrorism, per se, has brought about bad feelings against the Tamils in the international arena.
The U.S. Government, without fully evaluating the immoral means adopted by the Sinhala Government to resist the Tamil moral end, despite American commitment to end human rights violations, is adding fuel to fire by covertly and overtly assisting Sinhala atrocities against Tamils.
The Secretary of State and the former UN Representative Williamson have admitted that detailed studies were not available on the human rights violations of the Sri Lankan Government. The irony is, that this lapse notwithstanding, the Secretary of State has included the 'genocidefense' LTTE in the Terrorist list of 30 and wants us to believe that the Tamil freedom war is nothing but an act of terrorism.
The LTTE, rightly. perhaps for military expediency, expects every Eelavar (People from Tamil Eelam) to act under their command structure. Understandably, any other representation of Tamil cause is suspect within Sri Lanka. It is therefore, left to the likes of the few such as myself to advance the notion of a political war without bloodshed, diplomatically, if you may, from exile.
There is a difference between a violent act at a time and place of war and a violent act at a time and place of peace. It is a very difficult task to win sympathy amidst an organized government, backed by adverse and atrocious negative publicity against the Tamils - made worse by the silent many, who react to only mutual re-assurances.
It is one thing deliberately and cold-bloodedly to smear a genuine freedom struggle as acts of terrorism, but it is quite another to mistake Sinhala artifice for the real thing. Tamils are also victims to the adage, “That which begins falsely, becomes with constant repetition true.”
The Sinhala government has spent large sums of money to sell their product - anti-Tamil venom - and so far their sales campaign is a success. It is nothing new to you all that through the press that could be influenced in subtle ways, and through television, where time is literally for sale, any given viewpoint can be made acceptable by recreating to fit whatever image will sell.
The Tamil freedom war is tarnished as terrorism, and made the subject of an extraordinary amount of Sinhala government publicity. As many friends have pointed out there is a serious lapse on the part of Tamils in not providing information, other than successes and failures in battles in Sri Lanka.
In the absence of Tamil information, is it all that matters to go by the large first impression? Does it require a miracle to change this?
If anybody can, you the Americans can, ladies and gentlemen; you can make things better for the tens of thousands suffering in the jungles of Tamil Eelam and in exile! The thousands under the hawk-eyes of the several Sinhala likes of ‘Les Miserables Inspectors’ are confined to camps and prisons not fit for animals even in transit!
Yes, you can and you should help sanity to return to the Sinhala agressor and the Tamil victims in Sri Lanka. The World Affairs Council of the San Diego North County Chapter is moving in the right direction to create public awareness to the second and third side of the race conflict in Sri Lanka.
Since the international media is mesmerized by the charm of the Sri Lankan publicity machinery, the Sinhala government's side is well publicized.
It is encouraging that Mr. Frederick Nathan of the World Affairs Council is working on a fact-finding opportunity with the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington D.C. to represent the much publicized Sinhala Government side of the Sri Lankan Ethnic Conflict coin, and yours truly to speak for the much maligned other side, the Tamil side to the Sri Lanka conflict coin.
However, as always, the third side, albeit a narrow side is to be represented by a local expert, a very welcome imperative for a fair expose of a terrible situation in a remote corner of the world. This event is to take place on 15 March 2000. Details will be made available soon. I now learn that the Sri Lankan Ambassador has backed out.
The decision to call someone “terrorist” is subjective, as it depends largely on whether one sympathizes with or opposes the cause in question. It has also been established that the Tamils are the victims - despite the few incursions Tamil Freedom Fighters, in the context of a war, had to undertake to make the Sri Lanka government forces realize that Tamil fervor for freedom is beyond the niceties of a defense line.
If need be, they can strike the enemy in his own yard. A few selected targets seem to be necessary in a no win situation stalemate to minimize losses from both sides. This irony is not hard to understand with the results of the Hiroshima Nagasaki atom bomb fiascos. The need for Tamils to resort to some daring and dramatic acts of violence is necessary, I think, if I was in that position, I may do the same, are designed to attract attention, which is conspicuous by its absence, to the cause of genuine freedom.
Dexter Filikins -Times Staff writer in a recent article in the LA Times wrote,
"Tamil women are taking over crucial roles in the rebel group as the civil war enters a decisive phase. A Tiger offensive in November rolled back territorial gains the government had spent months making, prompting Sri Lanka's leaders to propose direct negotiations with the rebels. Meanwhile, fighting is raging across the north and east."
If Tamils did not take up arms, they, as a vibrant ethnic community would be history by now. Tamils being the VICTIMS, obviously the Sinhala government has to be the TERRORISTS.
First, even before Tamil youth took to arms, it is good to refresh our memories. Tamil pre-armed non-violent struggle can be called “no war-time” in Sri Lanka. The “no war- time” acts of successive Sinhala governments were “State sponsored” terrorism, as observed by Tarzie Vittachi in “Emergency ‘58. The story of the Ceylon (Sri Lanka since 1972) Race Riots. Andre Deutsch London 1958) and differs only in the degree of intensity today.
“News trickled out from Queen’s House that the governor-general had announced, off the record at the press conference, that the riots had not been spontaneous. What he said was' Gentlemen, if any of you have an idea that this was a spontaneous outburst of communalism, you can disabuse your minds of it. This is the work of a Master Mind who has been at the back of people who have planned this carefully and knew exactly what they were doing. It was a time bomb set about two years ago, which has now exploded.
“The Prime Minister never set foot in the Royal College camp for Tamil refugees, but he was one of the first callers at the Thurstan Road camp which accommodated the Sinhalese evacuees from Jaffna. Perhaps it was bad politics for Sinhalese politicians to be seen with Tamil refugees…. .
“The terror and the hate that the people of Ceylon experienced in May and June 1958 were the outcome that fundamental error. What are we left with? A nation in ruins, some grim lessons which we cannot afford to forget the momentous question: Have the Sinhalese and the Tamils reached the parting of the ways? Many thoughtful people believe we have.”
A certain section of the Sinhala educated class knew the direction Sinhala chauvinism was taking the country to.
Dr. Colvin R De Silva, then an opposition Member of Parliament had this to say:
“If we come to the stage where, instead of parity, we, through needless insularity, get into the position of suppressing the Tamil people from the federal demand which deems to be popular amongst them at present - if we are to judge by electoral results - there may emerge separatism.”
How prophetic! Yet when he became part of the Srimavo Bandaranayake’s coalition of 1971, he was the architect of the Constitution of the Republic, which dropped the only safeguard, Section 29 under the Soulbury Constitution.
This is a stark reminder to the advocates of a united Sri Lanka in whatever form the Sinhala Government is willing to dish out for international appeasement, will not work.
Dr. G. Uswatte-Aratchi (A Sinhala) as reported in The Island of December 7, 1997 said:
“It is the right of the Tamil people to establish their own state if they so desire. One must accept that as a reality in this day and age and its consequences.”
Also please refer to Annexure (A), "Sinhala Devolution No Solution to Tamil Revolution."
L. Piyadasa - (Another Sinhala writer) in “The Holocaust and After - 1983” wrote:
“ We have talked to people who were eye-witnesses of the killings the beatings-to-death and burnings-alive in cold blood of individual Tamils, with never a case of police opposition, on the streets and in vehicles. "Most people have read and heard the account, which we are convinced authentic, of the Norwegian tourists who saw twenty people burnt alive in a minibus by one of these gangs.
One of the remarkable exploits of the “heroes” was the massacre, that day, in Welikade Prison (Sri Lanka’s most important) of 35 people, including some convicted men, most either on remand or arbitrarily detained by the military. All were Sri Lanka Tamils. We were convinced that the massacres could not have been carried out without government and National Security Council authorisation and preparation at a level, which have guaranteed immunity from prosecution and public investigation.
The men and women responsible for the conspiracy to commit this atrocity were never named, nor were those who organised and directed it. Fellow prisoners of the murdered persons who were set up to commit some of the killings, and provided with weapons (and what else?) were collectively but not individually identified, but no one charged.”
There are many more recorded atrocities, but time and space do not permit their inclusion in this short talk.
However, it suffices to say that Tamils have cause for justified bitterness from grievances that have rankled them for a very long time. My generation has seen the deterioration of Tamil Sinhala camaraderie; our predecessors built on mutual trust among the elite of the time.
True, the average Tamil or Sinhala was kept in the dark, as the official language (English) during the colonial times was a barrier and buffer for cross-national hate that was brewing for centuries.
With independence or more appropriately with the change in government from a colonial master to the Sinhala chauvinists,
“The thugs displayed a temerity which was quite unprecedented. They had complete assurance that the police would never dare to open fire. The “APEY AANDUWA” - (The government is ours) bug had got deep into their veins. As the situation deteriorated, desperate measures were needed.” (Emergency ‘58)
Tarzie Vittachi in his “Emergency ‘58” draws our attention to the manipulative treachery of Sinhala leaders beginning with S.W. R. D. Bandaranayake, the moderate, who turned out to be the open rabble rouser and won Premiership on the “Sinhala only in 24 hours” gimmick.
“If their had been any chance whatever at this stage of keeping Sinhalese tempers under control it vanished completely following the Prime Minister’s broadcast call to the nation of May 26. The call was no doubt, well intentioned and a statement to the nation was, for once, essential and even overdue. But, unwittingly or otherwise, it contained a reference that had the effect of blowing raw oxygen into a fire that was already raging vigorously. By a strangely inexplicable perversion of logic Mr. Bandaranayake tried to explain away a situation by substituting the effect for the cause. .."
"No effort was made to check whether the Seneviratne killing was a political affair or the outcome of a private feud as suggested by Mr. S. J. V.Chelvanayagam during the debate in Parliament on June 4. It was indeed, a ‘private’ murder, the use of this man’s name in the context was a grievous and costly error.”
I am no expert on American Foreign Policy, but I have read the following with a quote from Peter Krogh in the TIME of May 17, 1999: “I cannot recall a time when our foreign policy was in less competent hands” The bombing of Iraq has only entrenched Saddam Hussein’s power. The bombing of Serbia has likewise entrenched Milosevic and contributed to a refugee debacle. To make matters worse, these involvements have come at the expense of America’s primary strategic interests: integrating Russia and China into the international system.
“They instruct the Russians and the Japanese on their economics, Chinese on their politics, the Iraqis on their military… It is foreign policy of sermons and sanctimony accompanied by the brandishing of Tomahawks.” (Madeleine’s War by Walter Isaacson) If you add the U.S. military support given to Sri Lanka that is prolonging an avoidable war, then, something is definitely wrong somewhere.
The Secretary of State is quoted in the May 17, 1999 Time: "I think threat to our national interest come from a variety problems, [including] the creation of chaos and instability that comes about as a result of ethnic cleansing." My questions are, how do we pick and choose such fights? Why help a malevolent, human rights abusive Sri Lanka Government? How is American stability affected in that region? How many international civilian aircrafts did the Tamil Freedom fighters down? Because the Secretary of State does not want to appear, "Just because you can't act everywhere doesn't, mean you don't act anywhere?"
The absence of a set doctrine to act does not have to be the wrong action. These questions need immediate answers and you could help the administration to make good decisions at least as far as Sri Lanka is concerned. I append below an AP news item that casts dangerous shadows before the coming US Govt. aided Tamil annihilation event, if we do not do anything about it now:
[SriLanka-US Sri Lanka to buy weapons from US to fight Tiger rebels
COLOMBO, Jan 30 (AFP) - The United States has agreed to sell a large consignment of military hardware, including helicopters and weapons, to Sri Lanka in its battle against Tamil Tiger rebels, a press report here said Sunday. Sri Lanka is expected to take delivery shortly of three Bell 412 helicopters, a favourite among the Sri Lankan airforce, which has converted some of the older Bell helicopters to gun ships, the Sunday Times newspaper said. It said one of the main items on the shopping list was Hughes mortar locating equipment worth over 22 million dollars and that the US bureau of trade has already given the green light for the deal.
The purchase of mortar detecting equipment is subject to approval after a US congressional hearing, the paper said. Details of the weapons in the deal were not given. Sri Lankan security forces have suffered most of their casualties due to heavy artillery and mortar bomb attacks carried out by the guerrillas of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Tiger rebels were designated a “foreign terrorist organisation” by the US State Department in October 1997 and since then there has been stepped up cooperation between US and Sri Lankan security authorities.
The Sunday Times said the Sri Lankan military was also trying to buy high calibre ammunition from a company in Spain which manufactures the ammunition under licence from a US firm. There was no immediate word either from the Sri Lankan government or US diplomats about the reported arms deal, but military sources here said a five-member US team was already in Sri Lanka as part of an exchange program. The US team led by a colonel were helping Sri Lankan soldiers in non-combat related training as they had done earlier in casualty evacuation, the sources said.]
[Dr. Margaret Trawick, Professor of Social Anthropology, New Zealand in an article to [email protected] wrote and I give below a few passages:
Subject: starving children, international terrorism, money, drugs, and generals:
"The articles reproduced below are about a group of Karen rebels from Myanmar who took over a Thai hospital to induce the Thai army to stop helping the Myanmar army. The rebels were all killed within twenty-four hours of the takeover. One paper showed a picture of their bodies lined up in a row.
"Although they were under sheets, the outlines of their pelvic bones and rib bones were clear. The nine of them were very thin, and very small. Some of them were reported to be children. Their leaders were twelve years old. No one else commanded them. They took this risk, and lost their lives, so that they and their people could get basic medical care, and not be subject to shelling anymore."]
The article made me think of all the assorted topics listed in the subject heading of this message, and how they are linked. Their import is best understood, I think, in the context of at least two other items. One is the article forwarded by AppuArchie to Circle on Jan 21, entitled “UN Accord Targets Child Soldiers.” " We all know what that is about. The other is the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1999. The full text of that Convention may be found at http://www.un.org/law/cod/finterr.htm "The gist of the ISFST, as we shall call it, is that “terrorism” is a lucrative international racket, connected in hazy ways with “illicit arms trafficking,” “drug dealing,” and “exploitation of persons for purposes of funding terrorist activities.” Therefore, States (i.e., governments) that are parties to the convention (sign on to the ISFST) must cooperate to ensure that no financial assistance travels internationally from with their territory to assist in the performance of terrorist acts.
"The key clauses of the document are these: 1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person by any means, directly or indirectly, unlawfully and willfully, provides or collects funds with the intention that they should be used or in the knowledge that they are to be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out:
(a) An act which constitutes an offence within the scope of and as defined in one of the treaties listed in the annex; or
(b) Any other act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act. (End quote)
(c) The convention was signed on 10 January 2000 by seven countries, including the United States and Sri Lanka. It will go into effect if and when it has been ratified by a total of 22 countries.
I have searched the document, and though I am no legal expert, I see no place where it says that a state committing acts of terrorism against a population within its own territory is exempt from culpability for those acts. This means that if any signatory to the convention (e.g. the US) sells or gives military equipment to another signatory state (such as Sri Lanka), knowing that this military equipment will be used - in part or in whole - against civilians for the purpose of terrorizing a population, then the state making the gift or sale would be in violation of the convention that it had signed. Not that anyone would do anything about it.
Would Sri Lanka sue the United States for selling weapons to Sri Lanka, knowing that Sri Lanka planned to use these weapons on its own soil, to terrorize its own population? Probably not. The greater question is whether the framers of this convention, who include a Sri Lankan, even thought about the negative implications to themselves. Western popular folk belief says that “terrorists” are desperate Third World people who cannot get what they want through “legitimate” channels, and therefore resort to taking civilians hostage, or blowing up banks, to get attention.
If they hadn’t been driven to desperation in the first place, they would not do this stuff. The kids from Myanmar who took the inmates of a Thai hospital hostage were terrorists of this description. Indeed they were “international terrorists.” The point is that it does not take money to commit an act of international terrorism - all it takes is guts and a rifle. Even a starving child can do it.
It does take money to raise an effective army, and as we all know, individuals profit greatly from the international arms trade. Providing food, medicine, and other essentials to war-ravaged populations should not in principle be expensive, and would reduce the probability of armed insurrections and such. Or so it seems to me. But again, perhaps I have missed something.
It is exhilarating to envision a Sri Lanka or for that matter a world culture ‘composed of complementary yin and yang forces, the desire to link and the opposing desire to differentiate.’ It is clear the desire to differentiate emanates from the Sinhala side and that is predominant. So the less effective desire of the Tamils to link is smoldered by the high handed atrocious treatment of the Tamils by the Sinhala Government. Hence, as Tarzi Vittachi ended his ‘Emergency ‘58’ with the question, “Have we come to the parting of the ways?” Yes, it was decided democratically by the Tamils in 1976. A few activists helped me in 1982 to submit the “Unilateral Declaration of Independence” to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in New York on January 14, 1982.
Therefore friends, it is high time that the international community is apprised of the helpless situation of the Tamil nation without a state against the atrocious, undemocratic, dominating, genocidal Sri Lanka Government State Terrorism. An American Professor, who has worked in Ceylon in the mid -1950’s and who has many friends among the Sinhalas and Tamils, visits Sri Lanka often. He is not privy to what exactly is happening in the war torn areas, since he could not visit those areas. There is also news blackout, and any information that comes is rather sketchy and circumspect. He, like many of the American champions for Human Rights I have met, would like credible information.
I have tried to elucidate some, but sometimes words can be hopelessly inadequate. Nevertheless, I have gathered some atrocious incidents and tried to arrange them chronologically in the attached Annextures (B), (C) and (D).
The burning of the Jaffna Public Library by Sinhala Forces, is perhaps the dastardliest act second only to the killings. The library was the sacred object of Tamil culture. “A culture accumulates not only customs, habits, language, and beliefs, but certain objects.” (Spoils of War - Page 49.) The Jaffna Public Library, the best Tamil Library in the world, gave Tamils a sense of identity and continuity with generations past, as well as Tamil national community.
The Sinhala State terrorists did not spare this irreplaceable Tamil cultural object. It is no denying that it is the forces of chauvinism, the national political parties and the Buddhist Monks that are insincere about a just and lasting solution to the problem. Obviously such obstructions lend the greatest support to the separatist cause. A recent AFP Report confirms that to expect any concession from any Sinhala Government is a "malignant illusion." It is historical fact that every Sinhala Tamil pact was reneged at the insistence of the Buddhist clergy and future once will be no exception. Therefore, Tamils have to convince the international community to intervene and find a lasting solution:
[SriLanka-peace Buddhists oppose Norwegian hand in Sri Lanka peace bid by Amal Jayasinghe COLOMBO, March 5 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's influential Buddhist clergy are bitterly opposed to Norwegian attempts to bring the island's warring parties to the table and have vowed to block peace moves, political sources said Sunday. Top Buddhist monks have decided to campaign against President Chandrika Kumaratunga's decision to press ahead with the Norwegian initiative in the conflict, which has claimed more than 55,000 lives since 1972, they said. The island's two leading Buddhist groups -- Malwatte and Asgiriya -- are united in opposing Oslo's attempts to facilitate face-to-face talks between Colombo and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Press reports here quoted the Malwatte chief priest, Rambukwelle Sri Vipassi, as saying he opposed the Norwegian involvement because he believed Oslo supported the LTTE. He also said his group would submit a petition asking the government to abandon the foreign-aided peace bid and a proposed reform package aimed at ending the conflict through political means. The monks' hard-line stance followed a visit here last month by Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, who held talks with Kumaratunga and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on the peace initiative.
Vollebaek said they had accepted the "challenging task" of helping bring the LTTE and the Colombo government to the negotiating table, but diplomats have made it clear Oslo could not underwrite peace in Sri Lanka. Vollebaek said Sri Lanka's drawn-out conflict could be resolved only through a political settlement, and said all the parties must be willing to make sacrifices. The process could take time, he warned.
Recent press reports here have said talks between the two sides could be delayed by at least two months because a key Tiger negotiator based in London is in poor health. While the government is pressing ahead with the Norwegian-backed peace bid, Kumaratunga has opened a dialogue with other political parties on her radical constitutional reform plan first unveiled in August 1995.
Kumaratunga is due to hold talks with opposition leader Wickremesinghe Thursday on the devolution plan. The opposition holds the crucial balance of power in parliament to make or break proposed reforms. The Buddhist clergy has said they oppose Kumaratunga's controversial plan, which seeks to turn the country into a de facto federal state in all but name and grant greater autonomy to the minority Tamils.
The protesting monks are strongly supported by four nationalistic groups from the majority Sinhalese community, although they make a distinction between the minority Tamil community and the LTTE. "We do not say kill the Tamils, we say defeat terrorism (of the LTTE)," said retired major general, Ananda Weerasekara, who is a member of the nationalistic Sinhala Veera Vidahana movement.
The four Sinhalese groups in a joint statement said they were not consulted by Vollebaek during his visit here and they believed Oslo was helping the Tigers. "If Sri Lanka wanted the assistance of any country to solve this problem, it should be (neighbouring) India," their statement said. India became directly involved in the conflict here in 1987 through the Indo-Sri Lanka peace accord which sought, but failed, to disarm the LTTE. New Delhi withdrew its troops from Sri Lanka in March 1990 after losing more than 1,140 soldiers to the Tigers. Since then, India has stayed out.
I like to conclude my presentation with an appeal to you all to invoke the “CNN Factor” and bring some semblance of truth about the Tamil situation in Sri Lanka that is masked by a government controlled media press releases and or well orchestrated Sinhala publicity machinery.
Needless to say, there has been some accusation against the freedom fighters for their contribution to the chaos in Sri Lanka.
I do not have to reiterate that two wrongs do not make a right. However, in the same scale for measuring atrocities in Sri Lanka, any Tamil violation, as a result of the Sinhala Governments excesses, though inexcusable has to be tolerated.
Some of my countrymen honor and celebrate the freedom fighters, but it is I think their only way of showing gratitude for stopping ‘Sinhala State Terrorism in 'no-war time’ and perhaps creating the opportunity to seek refuge in countries that abhor human rights violations.
These refugees are nevertheless safe, except for attendant problems faced by refugees under other situations. Their actions while in exile may not be in the best interest of those unfortunate fellow Tamils who are like the proverbial two-headed ant, cannot stay put or move in any one direction. It is our duty to find some pragmatic means to put an end to the human carnage.
Friends, there is a cultural collision in Sri Lanka, a religious fanaticism dictating the course of a multi-polity Sri Lanka towards a Sinhala Buddhist single polity.
The Sri Lankan Government refuses to recognize the linguistic and cultural uniqueness of the Tamils. President J.R. Jeyawardene had the votes -blank signed paper from each UNP M. P - to pass the necessary legislative enactments to resolve the ethnic conflict. But he did not. He was saving his presidency by not antagonizing the Buddhist clergy. Globalization, the fancy of the new millennium, with military information revolution that America is experiencing can be used to bring about peace in that remote island.
Unfortunately Sri Lankan Government with the help of the U.S. uses that advantage to kill Tamils in Sri Lanka. That is wrong. Do you want to be party to that murder? Do you want to be party to some bureaucratic bungling? Do you want to be party to aid the Clinton administration act on lopsided information supplied by the Sri Lankan Government's Competent News Authority? Please say NO.
Help us to send the message that does not reach the State Department conveniently. Help us to help our kith and kin from being the prey for Buddhist religious predators. It is life or death, death for being a Tamil. Think of me as a lone Tamil Eelam Genocide Defense (TEGEND) spokesman. With your help, let us bring about lasting peace instead of adding fuel to the fire by supporting a genocidal Sinhala Government with American military know how. Thank you. "DENY ME FREEDOM DENY ME LIFE."
12 September 1995 Sinhala Devolution No Solution to Thamizh Revolution
Date Place Incidents 1997 Tamil Eelam Sri Lanka's Prevention of Terrorism Act
July 1983 Colombo SriLankan1983 July Riots!
1990-1998 Eastern Province 13000 disappearances in 7 years: MP
09.90-12.90 Tamil Eelam Arbitrary Killings in Sept 1990 to Dec 1990
1996 Tamil Eelam A Review in 1996
26.03.1998 Vattakkachchim SLAF jets kill 8 civilians [TamilNet]
17.03.1998 Chavakachcheri Young woman raped in Jaffna [TamilNet]
05.02.1998 Tampalakamam Sri Lanka: Government forces kill eight civilians - justice needed now [AI]
05.02.1998 Tampalakamam Sri Lanka: Government forces kill eight civilians - justice needed now [AI]
Jan 1998 Kaluturai January 1998 Kalutara Prision [PBI]
19.12.1997 Kaluturai Three Tamil prisoners killed by Sinhala inmates [TCHR]
12.12.1997 Colombo Three Tamil prisoners killed by Sinhala inmates
27.11.1997 Jaffna SriLanka: The continuing spectre of "disappearances" (AI)
24.11.1997 Batticoloa Human Rights Violation in Sri Lanka (SAMS)
24.11.1997 Batticoloa 4 Tamil People were Killed by SL Forces
23.11.1997 Batticoloa A letter from AI to Srilankan Officials
20.10.1997 Jaffna School girl abducted abandoned
14.10.1997 Vanni 7 civilians killed by bombing
Sept 1997 Batticoloa Human Rights Violations in Batticaloa
28.08.1997 Olumadu Vanni A 5 yr girl killed by SL troops
24.09.1997 Amparai 8 Civilians were killed by SL forces in East
05.09.1997 Atchuveli Jaffna Sinhala soldiers gang raped a 6yr old girl
l2..08.1997 Vavunikulam Vanni Priest protest over church bombing
15.08.1997 Vavunikulam Vanni 9 Tamil Civilians Killed in another Church Bombing
11.08.1997 Mullaitivu 40 Civilians Killed in Operation Jeyasukuru
06.08.1997 Jaffna Kirishanthy a student and her family raped and killed
19.07.1997 Nedunkeni Vanni 4 Tamil Civilians Killed
17.07.1997 Nedunkeni Vanni Attack on Hospital 8 people killed on a day
21.05.1997 Batticoloa Rapes in Batticoloa
11.01.1997 Nagarkovil Jaffna NagarKoil School Massacres -21 kids killed
17.01.1997 Atchuvely Jaffna Thenuka a 10 yr old student was raped by SL troops
June 1997 Jaffna Tamil Deaths and Injuries Increase in June
17.06.1997 Batticoloa A Tamil Mother was raped and killed by SL forces
1997 Colombo Sri Lankan massacred Servivor Identified Soldiers
22.05.1997 Batticoloa SL Tropps Raped and Killed a 4 chileren's mother- AI report
21.03.1997 Batticoloa Raped 2 other Tamils - AI report
14.05.1997 Mullaitivu 6 Civilians were bombed in Mullaitivu
20.09.1995 Navali Jaffna 75 Civilians were killed during O.L.F
10.09.1990 Chaththurukkondan Chaththurukkondan Massacres
11.07.1995 Navali Jaffna Navali Church Massacres
18.04.1995 Naachchikuda Naachchikuda Massacres
20.04.1996 Kilali Jaffna Kilali Lagoon Massacres
Apr 1996 Kumarapuram Kumarapuram Massacres
1996 Colombo 21 Tamil Civilians' Bodies were Dumped in Colombo Lake
15.08.1996 Colombo More Tamils' Bodies in Colombo Lake 1983 Colombo Welikade Massacres
1996 HURT Report
· DATE · INCIDENT.
· 1948/50 · Plantation Tamils deprived of citizenship. Sinhala Lion Flag imposed as National Flag by majority will. Sinhala colonisation of Tamil Homeland. Enactment of Sinhala Only Law.
· 1956 · Tamil Parliamentarians attacked & 150 Tamils killed.
·· 1958 · Genocide ‘58.
· 1961 · Sinhala army attacks Tamil Satyagrahis.
· 1971 · Repeal of Constitutional safeguards for minorities.
· 1972 to 1975 · Tamils squeezed out of Higher Education.
· 1972 · Suppression of peaceful Tamil resistance. Organised pogrom against Tamils.
· 1977 · Rise of the armed resistance of the Tamil people.
. 1977 . Tamil resistance met with Sri Lankan state terrorism.
· 1979 · Destruction of Jaffna Public Library.
· 1981 · Continued attacks on Tamil civilians.
· July/August 1982 · Anti Tamil anti Hindu offensive in Mullaitivu.
· 1982 · Violation of the right to free elections. Interference with the judiciary and violation of the Rule of Law.
· 1982/83 · Tamils detained without charge or trial.
· 1979/83 · Sri Lanka Terrorism Act ‘ugly blot on statute book of any civilised country’
. 1979/83 . Torture almost universal practise of Sri Lankan authorities says ICJ
· 1983 · Genocide ‘83
. 1983 . Chunnakam massacre and extra judicial killings of Tamils.
· 1984 · Case Study of Torture Sri Lanka Style.
. 1984 . Sinhala army murders Christian priests.
· 1984/85 · Arbitrary killings and torture.
· 1985 · The Massacre in Tiriyai the village that died on 15 June 1985.
· 1952 · Tamil villages in Trincomalee area razed to the ground in two months.
· September 1985 · Amnesty File on Sri Lanka Torture.
· October 1985 · Amnesty confronts Sri Lanka’s denial of torture.
· December 1985 · Synopsis of extra judicial killings by an independent law group.
· 1979 to 1985 · Iruthayapuram Massacre: eye witness account.
· January 1986 · Akkaraipattu Massacre & Arbitrary killing of Tamils.
· 1986 · Security forces continue to kill non combatant Tamils.
· 1987 · UN Commission on Human Rights calls for Red Cross intervention.
· 1987 · Indian army intervenes at invitation of Sri Lanka government.
· 1987 · Thileepan’s fast - and Jaffna.
· September to November 1987 · Diwali Day massacre at Jaffna General Hospital.
· November 1987 · India’s war in Jaffna. EduardoMarino’s Report to International Alert. Indian army’s war crimes
1987. Rape of Tamil women by Indian Army.
· 1987/88 · Annai Poopathy’s fast for freedom.
· 1988 · Torture & Reprisal attacks by India and Sri Lanka.
· 1989 · India’s My Lai.The Valvettiturai Massacre.
· 1989 · Sri Lanka’s Deputy Defence Minister on the rule of law...
. 1989 . Planned genocidal attack on Tamils in the East.
· 1990 · 180 Tamils butchered at Saththurukondan.
· September 1990 · Hundreds of Tamils ‘Disappear’ after detention by Sri Lanka.
· 1990 · Sri Lanka bombs Jaffna Hospital & other Tamil civilian centres.
· 1990 · Amnesty launches 3 month campaign against Sri Lanka.
· 19 September 1990 · Thousands of Tamils extra judicially executed says Amnesty.
· 1990 · Tamil detainees systematically tortured.
· 1991 · Kokaddicholai massacre.
· June 1990 · Calculated disinformation campaign by Sri Lanka government.
. 1991 . Human Rights violations continue at ‘an alarming rate’.
· 1992 · Sri Lanka rains terror from the skies.
· 1993/94 · New spate of disappearances & extra judicial killings.
· 1993 · The torture of Arulapu Jude Arulrajah
· 1995 to 1999 · Genocide, Genocidal War.
Dec 14 1999 Schoolgirl raped Colombo. A group of 5 including a Sri Lanka Army deserter sexually assaulted a 13 year old school girl in Mawanella about 55 km east of Colombo on the Kandy road said sources. TamilNet
Dec 10 1999 Demonstrations mark Human Rights day Batticaloa. A large number of people took participated in a demonstration march and a public meeting held at Vantharumoolai in the government- controlled part of the Batticaloa district this morning to mark the Human Rights Day. TamilNet
Dec 10 1999 Sri Lanka: The Most Violent Place 1999 AHRC Human Rights Message Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is the most violent place in Asia in recent years. The primary reason is the loss of democratic process due to non-working of the democratic system. -
Dec 08 1999 Released detainee found dead Mannar The body of Christy Jesuthsan 25 was found washed ashore at Pallimunai a suburb of Mannar town this afternoon said sources. He had been arrested by the Counter Subversive Unit (CSU) of the Police and later released by the Mannar Magistrate Mr.Ilancheliyan on October 14. TamilNet
Dec 08 1999 4 boys missing in Jaffna Jaffna Four schoolboys have been reported 'missing' by their parents in the Thenmaradchi Division of the Jaffna Peninsula said sources. The parents have informed the Human Rights Commission and the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officials the sources said. According to HRC sources the students are from Kachchai road of Kodikamam. Thangamailan Mayooran17 G.C.E (A/L) is a student at the Chavakachcheri Hindu College. The other three Velnayagam Maran Sinnathamby Mathiyalakan Thambirasa Latheeswaran are students of Thirunavukkarasu Maha Vidyalayam. TamilNet
Dec 05 1999 Report of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances Sri Lanka
Dec 05 1999 Fact Report on Arrest Detention & Arbitrary Killings -This is the first of a series of monthly fact reports over the application of the PTA with regard to arrest detention and arbitrary killings.
Dec 05 1999 350000 people in Wanni starving Wanni The Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph who visited the Wanni area at the weekend declared yesterday that most of the 350000 people living in the district are starving. The Bishop has requested the Governor of the North-East Province Major General Ashoka Jayawardena to take immediate action to send food to the Wanni area.
Dec 05 1999 Young mother gang-raped and murdered - A young woman was gang-raped and murdered by unidentified gunmen near Kannakai Amman Temple in Punguduthivu an islet off Jaffna peninsula Tuesday night residents said. Her body covered with Palmyrah leaves was found yesterday morning about 100 metres from her house they added. TamilNet
Dec 04 1999 Report on Jaffna disappearances Jaffna - The Sri Lankan Government said today that in the final analysis regarding complaints of disappearances in the Jaffna peninsula 16 people were ascertained as dead 201 were found in prisons and there was no evidence at all in respect of 174 even to commence inquiries. TamilNeT
Dec 02 1999 Mental patient shot dead Batticaloa - A mentally ill man was shot dead by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers at Meeravodai about 35 km. north-west of Batticaloa Wednesday night around 10 p.m. said sources. TamilNet