United States & the struggle for Tamil Eelam
An open letter to Congressman Frank Pallone
Professor Aaron Rajah, 19 October 2006
The words of Congressman Pallone reminds us yet again of something that
Arundhati Roy said some three years ago: "..Way back in 1988, on the 3rd of
July, the U.S.S. Vincennes, a missile cruiser stationed in the Persian Gulf,
accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner and killed 290 civilian
passengers. George Bush the First, who was at the time on his presidential
campaign, was asked to comment on the incident. He said quite subtly, "I
will never apologize for the United States. I don't care what the facts
are." I don't care what the facts are. What a perfect maxim for the New
American Empire. Perhaps a slight variation on the theme would be more
apposite: The facts can be whatever we want them to
Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free)
Dear Congressman Frank Pallone,
I had an opportunity to read your statement dated August 19th, 2006
regarding the Habarana, Sri Lanka Navy attack by suspected rebels of the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on October 16th, 2006.
I have some interesting observations and some questions regarding your
statement and would like to clarify some of the questions that concern not
only me as a United States citizen but also the Tamil people in North East
of the island.
1. “I strongly condemn the brutal attack on Monday near Habarana, Sri Lanka
that killed more than 90 people, mostly Sri Lankan sailors. The navy
personal were unarmed and heading home for vacation. This act of terrorism
is inexcusable. I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and
to the Government of Sri Lanka.”
In any attack against armed forces or armed conflicts, all military actions
by both troops and rebels are always brutal. Violence and brutality always
goes hand in hand and adding brutality to your statement does not mean
anything; however, the statement “…Navy personal were unarmed” is quite
deceptive and misleading to the American public.
Although the media, including AFP news agencies, published
the photos (please refer to attached photos) of numerous arms, body amours
and military hard hats collected of the so-called unarmed Navy personnel
killed on that day you have decided to portray to the American people that
the Navy was unarmed and on a vacation to a resort island, thus eluding the
main issue in this entire conflict which is the value of life. It is no
secret the value of life was never honored by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
This was clear by the continuous day-to-day brutal killings of Tamil
civilians by well-orchestrated Sri Lankan government forces. Your misleading
statement only contributed to the bias and one-sided tunnel vision on the
conflict and will be only counter productive to your efforts to bring peace
to the island nation. It seems the only equal opportunity killer in Sri
Lanka these days is the spiral of violence which does not discriminate
well-armed military, rebels and always unarmed innocent civilians and yet
you sadly decided only to be alarmed by the deaths of well armed Sri Lankan
Navy personnel. I am simply puzzled by your statements on this regard.
2. “…I extend my deepest condolences to bereaved families….”
It is very much sad to note you have not given your deepest
condolences to the numerous unarmed Tamil civilians killed in the recent
killing spree by both Sri Lankan armed forces, including the para military
and Sinhalese mobs. Indeed the prime example was the
recent air attack on Tamil orphan school children on August 14th, 2006.
O'.... Do you hear our voices?
condemn the killings of 61 school children and wounding 129 in the
only validates your biased view that only real civilians in the island of
Sri Lanka are “unarmed” Sri Lankan Sinhalese Navy personnel.
I strongly feel, being the Founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus
on Sri Lanka, you can be much more effective in the peace process of Sri
Lanka conflict by not making biased statements that mislead the American
people. You may easily make efforts to bring together both warring parties
for a negotiating settlement in Sri Lanka. In addition, you may also call
upon and meet the expatriate Tamil community to find the Tamil aspiration of
the island, just like your recent opportunity to meet and talk to the
president of Sri Lanka. After all, one should have the opportunity to talk
to both parties of a conflict to better effectively promote peace in Sri
I look forward to hear from you shortly,
Professor Aaron Rajah
San Diego, California.
United States of America.