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Selected Writings V.Thangavelu, Canada

On 'Peace a priority for Sri Lanka envoy Daya Perera'

19 November 2008

The Editor
Ottawa Citizen

Dear editor,

Peace a priority for Sri Lanka envoy

Daya Perera, Sri Lankan High Commissioner for Canada , is doing what he is expected to do. He is simply lying for his country. It is a supreme irony and a huge joke that he speaks about peace while waging full scale war against Thamils. Thamils are supposed to be citizens of Sri Lanka. Daya Perera remarks reminds one of George Orwell's 1984 -  "War is Peace" "Freedom is Slavery� and �Ignorance is Strength.�

Sri Lanka's defence budget has hit the roof costing US $1.77 billion dollars for 2009!

Sri Lanka's Rising Military Expenditure in Billion Rupees...
.75 6 24 38 56 63 69 139 164 171
1977 1986 1995 1996 1998 2001 2006 2007 2008 2009

More than 4,000 Thamil civilians have been killed just under 3 years. They were victims of aerial bombardment, artillery shelling, abductions for ransom, involuntary disappearances, torture etc.

The present government headed by president Mahinda Rajapakse is bent on seeking a military solution to what is basically a political problem. Rajapakse has said no to 3 basic demands put forward by Thamil people during the failed Thimpu talks held under the auspices of India in 1984. He has said NO to federalism, NO to Northeast being the traditional homeland of the Thamil people and NO to the right of self-determination of Thamils. The armed struggle by the LTTE is solely due to the failure of the Sinhalese ruling class to accommodate the aspirations of the Thamils. Since independence a series of discriminatory legislative acts have reduced Thamils to third class citizenship.

The language of administration even in Thamil majority provinces is Sinhalese. The armed forces are 99% Sinhalese. The administrative service consists of 95% Sinhalese. The President is a Sinhalese. The Prime Minister is a Sinhalese. Out of 108 Ministers hardly any Thamil is a cabinet Minister. A few are Non-cabinet Ministers. Admission to Law College is 99% Sinhalese.

More than 2,000 Thamils have been arrested under emergency regulations on suspicion that they are Tigers and locked up in prisons without charges or trial. The Police and the army have ordered all Thamils to register themselves at the nearest police stations and hang the family photograph in a prominent place in their homes.

Every day Thamil civilians are abducted, killed and their bodies thrown in ditches. So far 80,000 Thamil civilians have been killed by the armed forces. Over 9 Thamil journalists have been killed during the last 3 years.

Five Thamil parliament members have been killed by the army or Quislings operating with the armed forces. Over 500,000 have been internally displaced.

Fishing and farming in the North east, especially in Jaffna peninsula have been severely restricted. Over 40,000 troops are occupying Jaffna peninsula. There is daily curfew from 6.00 pm to 6.00 am. Daily bombing in Vanni in which scores are dying or getting injured.

The Presidential Commission on Disappearances in a damning report has said that more than 1,100 persons missing or abducted in the past two years are still unaccounted for. The Commission�s Chairman, Retired High Court judge Mahanama Tilakaratne has reportedly said that these include 771 persons who had disappeared and 334 others who had been abducted. According to Tilakaratne, the Commission has received complaints regarding 543 unsolved murders and 308 unidentified bodies. He had added that 15,222 disappearances of persons had been reported in the two-year period up to August 31, 2008, and 14,451 of them have been found, and of the 1,138 incidents of abduction, 804 abductees have returned. Tilakaratne had also said he is still receiving complaints about persons being arrested on terrorism charges and organised abductions in white vans.

The boast of Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Defence Secretary and sibling of president Mahinda Rajapakse is that the government has unloaded 14.4 million kilogrammes of bombs in the Vanni. He seems immensely proud of that achievement. 14.4 million kilogrammes of today's military grade explosive is equivalent to the explosive force of over 18 kilotonnes of TNT. The nuclear weapon dropped by the United States on distant Hiroshima had an estimated yield of between 13 to 18 kilotonnes of TNT.

Sri Lanka is a fascist and a racist state like that of Hitler's Nazi Germany.

Like Hitler an absurd claim is made that the country is owned by the majority Sinhalese who are Aryans and Thamils (Muslims as well) are just intruders who can live but cannot made "unreasonable demands!"

Army General Sarath Fonseka said it all. That Sri Lanka is a democracy and therefore the Sinhalese have the right to rule the country. This is what he said

 "The Sinhala nation has to sacrifice if you want to protect the country and survive�.. In any democratic country the majority should rule the country. This country will be ruled by the Sinhalese community which is the majority representing 74 percent of the population" (The Daily News � 19.7.2008).

In an interview to National Post (Canada) he reiterated his claim that Sri Lanka belongs to the majority Sinhalese. He said

� I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people...We being the majority of the country, 75%, we will never give in and we have the right to protect this country...We are also a strong nation ... They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things."

People with common sense should know the racist character of the Sinhalese state. Daya Perera is a racist and he is part of the problem! Sri Lanka today is a not a paradise � a pearl in the Indian Ocean - but a hell-hole on earth and the killing field for the Thamils.

Although Daya Perera has dismissed the concerns of Governor General of Canada, Micha�lle Jean on the occasion of the presentation of credentials this is what she told him "

�We strongly support the presence of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human rights in Sri Lanka with a full mandate to report on the human rights situation.. It is important to ensure that civilians in conflict zones are protected, that they have access to humanitarian organizations, and that their human rights are respected�, she said while conveying deep concern of her government �over the future of the Sri Lankan people�. (Canada News Centre - October 24, 2008)

A country that has showed its back to the presence of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights has no right to speak about peace. It is the Sri Lankan government that torn the Ceasefire Agreement in January this year and declared war on Thamils.

No amount of subterfuge and double talk by Daya Perera will cut ice with the 300,000 strong Thamil Canadians in Canada. He and his president Mahinda Rajapakse will be kept where they rightly belonged to - in the dog's house!

Yours truly

Veluppillai Thangavelu

Ottawa Citizen: Peace a priority for Sri Lanka envoy

Jennifer Campbell
Citizen Special

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sri Lankan High Commissioner Dayananda Perera has one overriding goal for his time in Canada -- to unite the majority Sinhalese and separatist Tamils. He wants to do that among the Sri Lankan ex-patriate communities in Canada, and in his beleaguered homeland where civil war broke out in 1983 and has continued to flare up periodically ever since.

A ceasefire brokered by Norway in 2002 broke down after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam became increasingly violent in 2006 and the government responded and ultimately regained control of an eastern breakaway province last year. The government announced it was officially withdrawing from the ceasefire in January and fighting has intensified since.
Sri Lankan troops made a push over the weekend and captured three more towns on Monday from the LTTE, a group the Canadian government, along with the United States, European Union and India, have named a terrorist organization.

Sri Lankan Tamils are one of the fastest growing ethnic minorities in Canada, particularly in Toronto, home to some 250,000 Tamils who left their homeland to escape the violence. And while practising non-violence, many are sympathetic to the causes of their counterparts in Sri Lanka who want an independent Tamil state. Some have been accused of raising money for the LTTE's efforts.

For his part, Mr. Perera, a lawyer for some 50 years, and former Sri Lankan ambassador to the United Nations, just wants peace. He sees his role as trying to bring both sides together. The day after he arrived in Canada in October, he attended a cricket match in Toronto where Tamil activists made their presence widely known.

"I try my best to see the Tamil people," he said. "Their loyalty should be to Canada, not to a mass murderer in Sri Lanka."

He noted that when he presented his credentials to Gov. Gen. Micha�lle Jean -- "a charming, wonderful lady" -- she asked him what Canada can do to help resolve the bloodletting. He replied simply: "I told her, 'You can do one thing: understand us.'"

Regarding the Harper government's move of joining others in officially labelling the LTTE a terrorist group, Mr. Perera said "that was the most sensible thing they did."

While the latest government victories in Tamil territory are encouraging to him since some of the towns the troops have secured are seen as important Tamil sites, he said Tamil leader Velupillai Prabhakaran will not back down because he knows "no other job.

"He's got an unprecedented jail term and a death sentence in India," Mr. Perera said, and added that ending the war isn't an option the Tamil leader will likely consider.

Mr. Perera, who will travel across Canada to connect with Sri Lankans, has a son in New York and a daughter in Toronto. His wife of many years died suddenly, at the age of 75, just one month before they were due to leave for Canada. He said she was looking forward to their time in Ottawa because she'd heard there were several clubs for diplomatic spouses -- even more than there were in New York.



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