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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings - V.ThangaveluOn Sri Lankan Envoy's Antics in Windsor

Selected Writings V.Thangavelu, Canada

On Sri Lankan Envoy's Antics in Windsor

11 May 2008

May 11, 2008

The Editor
Windsor Sun
Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Dear Sir:

This refers to your news story filed by Dan Janisse captioned 'Sri Lankan envoy visits Windsor' that appeared in your journal on May 04, 20008.

We are not amused at the antics of Bandula Jayasekera, the newly posted Sri Lanka's Consul General to Toronto to pose as a lily white angel of peace in Canada.

He makes the ridiculous claim "We have a terrorism problem right now. Some families who came from Sri Lanka are living in fear of the terrorist group. Even families who are no longer in Sri Lanka and are here in Canada live in fear." His statement some (Sri Lankan) families are living in fear is a supreme insult to the law enforcement agencies of Canada. What he is trying to do is to fool the Canadians by resorting to Goebbelsian style propaganda!

Jayasekera's interest about "some families" is akin to that of the wolf shedding crocodile tears on seeing the sheep getting wet in the rain!

croc.gif (30929 bytes)

Jayasekera and his government have been free with the words 'terror' and 'terrorism' to vilify and malign Thamil's fight for equal rights. He is resorting to subterfuge to hide the ugly face of his own state terrorism. His ploy is to cash in on the global fight against "terrorism" of Al-Qaeda variety.

In this connection, it is useful to quote Democratic Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton's comments when she was asked by Michael Tomasky of Britain's 'The Guardian' (October 23, 2008) newspaper which covered Iraq, the legacy of the Cold War and ceding executive powers.

When asked "Do you think that the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, or do you think they have specific geopolitical objectives?" Hillary Clinton replied:

"The bottom line is you can't lump all terrorists together. . what the Tamil Tigers are fighting for in Sri Lanka, or the Basque separatists in Spain, or the insurgents in Al-Anbar province may only be connected by tactics. Well, I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been utilized throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial. There are personality-driven terroristic objectives.

I mean, what the Tamil Tigers are fighting for in Sri Lanka, or the Basque separatists in Spain, or the insurgents in al-Anbar province may only be connected by tactics. They may not share all that much in terms of what is the philosophical or ideological underpinning. And I think one of our mistakes has been painting with such a broad brush, which has not been particularly helpful in understanding what it is we were up against when it comes to those who pursue terrorism for whichever ends they are seeking."

It is time someone told Jayasekera to clean his own house before pointing fingers at others. His pompous claim could prove, in time, to be utterly fallible. Nepal is a good example. US Ambassador Ms Nancy Powel has opened talks with the leader of the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) despite the fact NCP (M) remains in US list of banned foreign terrorist organizations.

Thamils fled their country of birth because of racially motivated persecution by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and its Sinhala armed forces. Ironically, Jayasekera is the worst extremist among Sinhalese racists who has spent a life time in terrorising Thamils with his pen. His writings bear ample testimony to this fact.

Sri Lanka is not only a racist state but also has all the paraphernalia of a police state.

Thamils continue to be oppressed by the Sinhala armed forces. Aerial bombing, artillery shelling, abductions, assassinations, involuntary disappearances, arrests, cordon and search operations are a daily feature.

All this under the facade of fighting "terrorism." Scores of Thamils are rounded up daily by the Sinhala armed forces under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations. GOSL uses or rather misuses a myriad of draconian laws in its judicial armory to harass, arrest and incarcerate Thamils merely on grounds of ethnicity.

Civil society has accused the GoSL of arrest and detention of about 61 Tamil civilians in Colombo in several cordon and search operations during the past few weeks. According to civil society sources 25 are being detained in police stations at Dehiwala, Wellawatte and Kohuwela, 15 at Weliveriya, and 21 are held in Kotahena. All detainees had valid national identity cards, but were taken into custody because of their Tamil nationality,

Last year the Sri Lanka police and the army forcibly expelled around 350 Tamils from lodges in Colombo to towns like Vavuniya and Trincomalee. Justifying the expulsion Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Defence Secretary and Presidential sibling told BBC (Sinhala Service) that non-Asian world that Sri Lanka can do without it and did his best to sound belligerent and unaccommodating, not only towards the LTTE but also towards Lankan Thamils and the international community. The outpouring devoid of commonsense and circumspection of a senior and responsible official is simply beyond belief.

More than 7,000 people have died during the last 2 years alone in addition to hundreds disappearing into thin air. A total of 4 Thamil parliamentarians and 7 Thamil journalists have been killed by the Sri Lankan army's intelligence unit during the same period.

Despite several reports by high ranking UN diplomats critical of the human rights record of GoSL little or nothing has been done to arrest the worsening situation. Instead UN diplomats like Allen Rock, Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, were subject to innuendos by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who questioned un-ashamedly his personal character. (Transcurrents -November 18th, 2006)

The same fate fell on John Holmes - the U.N. Undersecretary-General for humanitarian affairs. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, the government's chief whip in Parliament and a Cabinet minister branded Holmes a "terrorist" who is in the pocket of the Liberation Tigers of Thamil Eelam rebel group. "I think the LTTE has bribed Holmes. Otherwise he would not have done such a wrong thing," Fernandopulle said. (The Associated Press Wednesday, August 15, 2007)

The United States State Department's 2007 Human Rights Report (March 11, 2007) on Sri Lanka depicts a chilling level of state sponsored terrorism orchestrated by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) far more gruesome and far worse than the five countries officially listed by the United States as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, and Iran.

US report further said "the overwhelming majority of victims of human rights violations, such as killings and disappearances, were young male Tamils. Credible reports cited unlawful killings by government agents, assassinations by unknown perpetrators, politically motivated killings and child soldier recruitment by paramilitary forces associated with the government, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, poor prison conditions, denial of fair public trial, government corruption, a lack of transparency, infringement of religious freedom, infringement of freedom of movement, and discrimination against minorities."

When Ms Louise Arbour, UN High commissioner for Human Rights, warned the GoSL's that "Lanka's individual criminal responsibility as being untimely, inappropriate and unacceptable" she was vilified as a LTTE supporter.

Addressing on the Occasion of the 2nd regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 18 September 2006 by Ms. Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said "Also in Sri Lanka conflict has flared up again. In the past six months, the country has descended further into violence with the death toll climbing to include an increasing number of civilians. As the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings will report to this session, scores of extrajudicial and political killings, allegedly committed by Government security forces."

Despite several reports by high ranking UN diplomats critical of the human rights record of GoSL little or nothing has been done to arrest the worsening situation. Instead UN diplomats like Allen Rock, Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, were subject to innuendos by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who questioned un-ashamedly his personal character. (Transcurrents -November 18th, 2006)

The second submission by the Law and Society Trust (LST) to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Serious Human Rights Violations, states that five persons are either killed or disappear each day in Sri Lanka.

"14 humanitarian and religious leaders have been killed and nine humanitarian workers have disappeared between January 1 and August 31, 2007. Three media personnel have been killed and five media personnel have disappeared. 662 persons have been killed and 540 persons have disappeared between January 1 and August 31, 2007. Twenty-five children have been killed and 43 have disappeared during this period," says the report.

On August 04, 2006 Sinhala soldiers and Home Guards shot and killed 15 aid workers (14 Thamils and one Muslim) employed by French based INGO Action Against Hunger(ACF) at Muthur.

Mourners present flowers at a Memorial Service on 11 August 
for Aid Workers executed by Sri Lanka Troops

These killings of aid workers sent shock waves through the global humanitarian community. ACF in disgust has quit Sri Lanka after the GoSL failed to apprehend the culprits responsible for the dastardly murder

Army Chief General Fonseka has made bellicose statements promising to kill 10 LTTE cadres a day and 3000 by the end of August. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse had vowed to kill the LTTE leader and his deputies before the year is out. He arrogantly declared that the army knew their hideouts and they will be taken one by one. He has also proclaimed publicly that civilians suspected of LTTE supporters will be killed or abducted and executed. In justification, he quoted the example of US itself. This is what he told the Khaleej Times on the spate of abductions for ransom and involuntary disappearances "I'm talking about terrorists. Anything is fair. When the US does operations, they say covert operations. When something is (done) in Sri Lanka, they call it abductions.This is playing with words" (Khaleej Times - 12.6.2007).

Unlike the racist state of Sri Lanka, Canada is model state committed to democratic pluralism and rule of law. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees political and civil rights of people in Canada from the policies and actions of all levels of government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights.

Canada is a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-religious and multi-cultural polity in which all citizens of whatever ethnic origin live in freedom and dignity. There are about 300,000 Thamil Canadians (they are not Sri Lankans) living in Canada enjoying equal rights. It is the Thamils back in Sri Lanka who are living in fear of state sponsored abductions for ransom, extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances, ethnic cleansing, arrest, incarceration etc. Offenders are not prosecuted and President Mahinda Rajapakse's regime's imperviousness to human rights violations and the culture of impunity have now become legend.

Finally, Jayasekera's speeches and activities are a clear interference in the internal affairs of Canada. He should be told that he is not the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka but only it's Consul. He should confine himself to issuing passports, visas and paying pensions.

Yours truly
Veluppillai Thangavelu
President, Thamil Creative Writers Association, Canada


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