SRI LANKA REFUGEES – PRODUCT OF THE SIX DECADES OF SRI LANKAN GENOCIDE
The arrival of freighter MV Sun Sea with some 500 asylum seekers off the Canadian coast revived a furious debate over whether it is people smuggling activity with security implications for the host country or a deeper problem caused by conditions in the originating country creating the refugee exodus. Feigning SL apologist believe that it is the former, while sober minds view it as the latter succinctly summarized in the following quote:
‘It is Sri Lanka that has a problem…President Rajapakse’s government has failed to make the country’s large Tamil minority feel secure after crushing the Tiger insurgency last year. Until he does, people will continue to flee…That’s a message Prime Minister Harper’s government should drive home, as the United Nations, the United States and India have done. Sri Lanka didn’t win the war on its own. India’s political support and its naval blockade weakened the Tigers. So did U.S. and Canadian moves to cut off Tiger funding… still our help pre-supposed a fair deal for Tamils when the war ended…Now the Tamils are fleeing in desperation… So it was a bit too much to hear Sri Lankan High Commissioner Chitranganee Wagiswara urging Ottawa to turn away the Sun Sea, with its women and children, to prevent Tigers from regrouping here. If Sri Lanka’s majority of 17 million were making the minority 4 million Tamils feel less threatened, fewer would be regrouping anywhere.’ Further ‘… Indeed, instead of…delivering reform… (SL)… chos(ing) to rebuff UN probe into war crimes… (and) to focus more on economic rebuilding than devolution..(or) justice for Tamils… would (not) put the people smugglers out of business.’ How much more candid could Canada be in the face ‘.. of the..self-serving rhetoric about ‘terrorist probing Canada’s defenses?
Likewise when refugee boats coasted the Australian shores SL’s Chitraganee’s people smuggling refrain was there in the ready to muddy the refugee debate to mischievously and crudely exploit the emotionally sensitive refugee arrivals issue in Australia’s general election year. SPUR Media Release of 30 July 2010 titled ’Australian Parliamentary Elections – 2010; ABS Census Exposes Myths of theTamil Tiger Lobby’ falls into people smuggling category (and brilliantly rebutted in the above quote) with arrivals carrying the remnants of a totally defeated LTTE to become a menacing security threat to Australia. The SPUR Media Release goes further than Chitraganee to deceptively manipulate ABS Census statistics to target the credibility of the Tamil diaspore lobby. SPUR is reputedly active as SL’s front organization as more and more Western nations join in the vanguard supporting UN war /genocide crimes investigations against SL.
In the aftermath of the 1983 pogrom the widely created perception by SL apologists including SPUR in Australia is that Tamils the victims of the 1983 pogrom arrived in Australia as refugees in such overwhelming numbers and not to the liking of most Australians. SPUR’s statistics shows Sinhalese arrivals were much than the Tamils. According to the widely used ‘language spoken at home’ demographic measure Tamils were 32 701 and Sinhalese 29 053 (ABS Census 2006). The SPUR memorandum chose to use a subsidiary ABS’s ‘ancestry’ measure for its self serving agenda that shows the Tamils were 8 897 and Sinhalese 73 852 giving a massive difference in the numbers arrived at using ‘language spoken’ measure. It’s normal when difference of this magnitude surface clarification from ABS is called for especially when there is a correlation between language spoken and ancestry criteria. That Sinhalese (who were not victims of the pogrom) slipped into Australia in such large numbers using the refugee migration program meant for Tamil victims of the anti-Tamil 1983 pogrom is thus substantiated by the 2006 Census figures. SPUR’s 73 852 Sinhalese in Australia that falls outside acceptable margin of error is ignored for the purposes of the current debate. These Sinhalese now form the hardcore vocal anti-Tamil (SPUR) Buddhist Sinhala elements in Australia.
SPUR’s use of the deceptive ‘ancestry’ measure and totally omitting to mention the ‘language spoken at home’ measure is in line with many other similar deceptive stories SL puts out from time to time. Readers are reminded of SL’s iconic story of the 130 000 Norwegian passports that LTTE stole and sold to Al Qaeda for millions of US $ reported in the Asian Tribune and the Hindu (in May 2007). The story was narrated Bernard Goonetileke, SL Ambassador to the US (now holding high office in the Sri Lanka Peace Council) who in a lengthy interview with the highly reputed Washington Post Radio attempted to discredit the Tamils/LTTE for alleged involvement in people smuggling. The Norwegian clarification exposed that the 130 000 passports were lost (not stolen) over a ten year period and that only in 6 cases were the Tamils involved, not any LTTE or AL Qaeda operatives.
Similarly SL’s catalogue of Tamil militancy/LTTE’s crimes included funds extortion, narcotics trafficking, people smuggling and a whole host of activities without specifics. These were recited almost verbatim by SL’s country lobbyists/apologists like B Raman, Hariharan and Ajit Kumar Singh in India, Shanaka Jayasekera, an ex SL cop, one time student of Macquarie University and a freelance counter-terrorism expert in Australia, (Alexander Downer in 2007 rebutted totally Shanaka’s catalogue of allegations against the Tamil diaspore in Australia) and one Rohan Gunaratne a self promoted counter-terrorism expert who is in South Asia. The excesses of the counter-terrorism experts cost them their credibility. SPUR’s recent media release has not performed any better.
The magnitude of deception to demonise the Tamils and Tamil militancy had a field day when most western countries subscribed to Bush’s doctrinaire war on ‘terrorism’. With Obama/Hilary Clinton’s nuanced approach there is greater understanding of the role of militancy in confronting ‘state terrorism’ that is as evil as Jihardism especially in SL with strong genocidal tendencies. SL and its army of agents planted overseas are hard put to find a platform in its fight to reverse the growing ‘anti-SL state terrorism’ sentiment internationally.
When its traditional tools failed to cope with SL’s loss of credibility, SL resorted to harsh abuse. SL apologists would not even spare respected eminent persons like a Desmond Tutu and the Elders. The silence of the usually boastful Rohan Gunatileke to the comments of (‘So what Asia saw was ethnic cleansing’ in Tom Plates – Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew) another distinguished elder statesman is ominous for SL. The Elders’ media release of 3 August 2010 is unlikely to go without impact on international opinion when SL’s remarkable success in ethnic cleansing removed about 50 per cent of SL Tamils as refugees, war casualties and in extra-judicial killings. In post Tamil militancy/LTTE the continuation of a more brutal ethnic cleansing using out of sight ‘holding camps’ in the North (the Tamil homelands) has few supporters outside SL except China, Pakistan and possibly Delhi. These are crimes against humanity that only the powerful moral voices of a Desmond Tutu or a Lee Kuan Yew and the West would act to stimulate UN action to hold SL accountable for ‘crimes’ on the Tamils.
Hence the call ‘End Sri Lanka’s genocide behavior to end flow of Asylum seekers’ in Groundreport.com 9 Nov 2009 highlights SL’s Nazi like labeling of asylum seekers (para demalas) as SL’s unwanted exports underpinning the cruel SL mindset that most civil Western nations would desist from associating
Instead there is mounting pressure from the international community especially the West to hold SL accountable for crimes that SL was able to successfully commit with impunity. The diaspore committed to the Tamil cause strives purely to save Tamil lives in SL first, the positive result of which is a definite shift in the Tamil cause debate away from the LTTE in post May 2009 to prosecuting SL officials for the genocide and the massacres. The West now better informed is at pains to redress the consequences of hastily lumping the Tamil resistance with Jihardi terrorism to deprive the Tamils of the protection they had against SL’s thirty years of atrocities on the Tamils.
Though the number of refugee Tamils seeking asylum will diminish further host countries are better served by acting jointly to end SL’s genocide behavior even if necessary involving the UNHRC that is now unlikely to be paralyzed into inaction by the numerically larger number of human rights abuser members. The US and EU stepping in and providing the ‘leadership to deliver on what the UNHRC failed to deliver is the prayer of every Tamil worldwide’.