FLOW OF TAMIL REFUGEES TO WEST WILL DRY UP IF ‘REAL PEACE’ EVER RETURNS TO SRI LANKA (SL)
According to SL officialdom ‘real peace’ returned to Sri Lanka with the defeat of the Tamils /Tamil militancy-LTTE in May 2009. This ‘real peace’ is a contrived one, satisfying SL’s thinking that the Tamils waged a civil war without genuine grievances that on defeat they only deserve the ‘peace’ that the victor ‘Sinhala SL’ offers the defeated Tamils. That peace will be without any measures that the international community including India had long prescribed as vital to redress the long standing grievances of the Tamils. The doctrine of ‘winner takes all’ that Sinhala SL (Palitha) readily adopted renders measures to redress the defeated Tamil’s grievances irrelevant.
Amantha Perera’s, (a Rajapakse clone and devout apologist of this SL line of thinking) ‘Business returns to Sri Lanka’s former War zone’ in Time, 13 September 2010 is best evaluated in the context of SL’s conviction that international pressure to redress Tamil grievances has to be resisted at all costs. Intoxicated by its victory over the Tamils and its success in paralysing UN’s ‘crimes against humanity’ initiatives (for the massacres of civilians in the closing stages of the war), SL also sternly resists any international community’s pressure against SL pursuing its genocide agenda to conclusion in post (May 2009) Tamil militancy SL. The objective; to firmly establish a Buddhist Sinhala SL.
To counter its international isolation over these developments, SL detracts the debate away from SL’s ‘crimes against humanity’ to IDPs in concentration camps; delays in their release, resettlement and rehabilitation, and refugee arrivals in the West. Also In true Buddhist Sinhala tradition Sinhala SL apologists use outrageous untruths. An international community that is now too familiar with such SL’s stories totally ignore them. Amantha’s piece falls within this class of journalistic blasphemy.
Amantha’s piece in effect counters the thesis that conditions in Sri Lanka are deplorable to create the refugee exodus discussed in ‘Sri Lanka Refugees – Product of Six decades of Sri Lanka Genocide’ in Groundreport.com, August 19 2010. Amantha simplistically extrapolates a ‘make believe’ success story of a ‘Singamuththu’ to mask the miserable conditions of the Tamils in North SL urging them to emulate Singamuththu and await manna to just fall from SL’s ‘real peace’ on defeating Tamil militancy. ‘All across northern Sri Lanka, the age of the bullet is being supplanted by that of the billboards….it all has the feel of a nation in the happy throes of rebuilding… that’s because… President Rajapakse’s government has the opportunity to cement its military victory through the economic development of this long-marginalised region, and thereby improve the chances of a lasting peace.’ How very simple! Why in the first place was there ‘..this long marginalized region’ without the spin-offs of any ‘economic development’? Sinhala SL had to keep Tamil homelands marginalized (a key Tamil grievances) until the North was ethnic cleansed accommodating sizeable Buddhist-Sinhala enclaves to alter the North’s demographics before conditions for the Tamils are improved and for the benefits of economic development to flow and for sharing with Buddhist Sinhalas who also will live there.
Strangely SL’s contribution to Singamuththu’s miraculous success is itself dubious. That ‘Bill boards’ and Rajapakse hoardings will deliver the ‘manna’ from economic development to the dispossessed and starving Tamils convinces none, given the history of Sinhala SL that is replete with accounts of massive dispossession and impoverishment of the Tamils from the time the British left SL shores. Tamils who were once displaced and driven overseas are now killed to reduce their demographic strength in SL. To expect that SL Sinhala leadership with an adversarial mindset will honestly rebuild Tamil lives leave alone their destroyed homes is baffling.
The rebuilding (this is hardly evident in the North) of the homes and income producing assets of the IDPs is basically funded by the overseas diaspora kin. SL’s grants of Rs 5000 in cash and Rs 20 000 worth of tin/vinyl sheets more for temporary shelters not to rebuild their homes damaged by the scotched earth war Sinhala SL waged. Returning IDPs collected as many as 28 shells fired into a single home; revealing the venomous artillery attacks to kill off all the Tamil civilians in their homes to alter the demographics in the North in favour of Sinhala SL. The IDPs who fled advancing Sinhala SL forces abandoned homes, invaluable farm equipment/tractors and valuables that the Sinhala SL army personnel systematically pilloried, enriching themselves and impoverishing the Tamil victims. A good number of these SL army personnel were sighted scrambling to invest their ill-gotten wealth in overseas countries.
The impoverished IDP returnees today live close to starving levels; only the generosity of their kin living overseas saves them from starvation deaths. Are readers convinced that Amantha’s highly touted bill boards along the A9 highway is actually redressing the critical hunger threat that many Tamils face in SL today? Amantha’s journalism dishonestly omits mention of these miserable conditions on the ground when its sole purpose is to delude readers with make –believe conditions of real ‘peace’ and prosperity the Tamils in the North have like the imaginary Singamuththu. It is unfortunate that Time offered a reputable platform for SL’s propaganda carrying the Amantha story. The better informed Western opinion is unlikely to be convinced whether Amantha’s story is hosted by the prestigious Time or by any others.
Hence the better informed International opinion is most concerned today about the more ferocious genocide specifically the severe ethnic cleansing now ravaging the North, post (May 2009) militancy. Altering the demographic character of the Tamil homelands is Sinhala SL’s messianic mission. Ethnic cleansing though disguised as building military bases heavily militarises North SL; ominous for the very survival and peace for the Tamils in North SL. A regime that pleads lack of funds to rebuild the willfully destroyed Tamil homes has massive amounts to fund the building of images of Buddha at every street corner and new military complexes every few kilometers apart with housing for military personnel in the villages from which the original Tamil inhabitants are evicted. These large bases serve as strong Buddhist Sinhala enclaves to keep the Tamils in a servitude status now that the protection of the Tamil militancy/LTTE is unavailable. There are of course the Karunas and Devanandas who would readily accept servitude and worse without a whimper. The involvement of the Sinhala SL armed forces in occupying their villages for military bases deters the Tamils from any protests against the injustice of dispossession in today’s SL. Amantha prefers to see only activity along highway A9, speak only to a Singamuththu to urge all Tamils for their salvation to emulate a make-believe thriving Singamuththu. The reality in the North is far from that rosy; military dispossession and occupation of Tamil villages impoverishes the Tamils further and further. Amantha prefers not to see or mention any of these in the Time piece.
The origin of the Tamil struggle itself is traceable to D S Senenayake’s state sponsored Sinhala colonization of the Tamil homelands in the late 1940s. The widespread democratic political protests by the Tamils; satyagraha and peaceful demonstrations were brutally suppressed by Sinhala SL using state instigated mobs torching the Tamils and their homes with a regularity that in retrospect was SL’s ‘real peace’ the Tamils endured to hold on to their dear lives and be on the ready to pack up and flee home North at the first hint of mob violence erupting. Now that the North is heavily militarized it is no more the safe haven for the Tamils from violence by both the Sinhala mobs and Sinhala armed forces. Tamils had real peace and were safe from such Sinhala attacks when Tamil militancy/LTTE ruled the North and East and kept Sinhala state and mob violence on Tamils in check for 27 plus years post 1983. Will the Tamils enjoy such a peace ever again with the Sinhala SL army right in their midst.
The scathing criticism that Amantha’s self-serving yellow journalism received for the IPS story on New Media in Sri Lanka, 5 February, ‘It’s not a particularly well written or researched article, typical of so many other traditional journalists attempting to ..’apply equally to the Amantha Time story as well. Yet Amantha as apologist for the Rajapakse murderous regime is in the good company of the notable Bernard Goonetileke, the SL Ambassador to US who narrated through the Washington Time radio a massive hoax that the Tamils/LTTE heavily involved in human smuggling stole and sold 130 000 Norwegian passports to Al Quade realizing millions of dollars for their war chest. A notable victim of that hoax/story was the reputed defense analysts Janes who factored those millions from the Norwegian stolen passports sale to inflate LTTE’s finances.
Another crude hoax was SPUR’s (a front organization of the SL genocide regime in Australia who in a recent) Media Release of 30 July 2010 titled ‘Australian Parliamentary Elections – 2010..’ claimed that though Sinhalese were 73 852 and Tamils only 8897 the Tamil/Tiger lobby was more powerful than the Sinhalese lobby in Canberra. This release contradicts the customary SL propaganda demeaning the Tamils as faking conditions in SL to enter Australia in numbers that Australia accepted under the Australian refugee scheme for victims of the racial conflict in SL following 1983 pogrom. According to the figures (using ‘language spoken at home’ measure) Tamils were 32 701 and Sinhalese 29 053 not far behind. How does one explain Sinhalese (the aggressors not victims in the 1983 pogrom) slipping through the same Australian refugee migration scheme for the Tamil victims of the 1983 pogrom in equal numbers? Unashamed SPUR members who thus abused that scheme are the most vocal on Tamil refugee migrants. SPUR underestimates the intelligence of average Australians to cynically exploit the emotive issue of migration to damagingly dirty up politics in Australia. More interesting is the self-appointed SL ‘counter-terrorism’ expert domiciled in Singapore claiming that the boat that coasted Canada in October 2009 carried 76 Tamil refugees all LTTE terrorists. The Canadian government apparently had not checked the credentials of this expert and used his services to ascertain whether in fact the boat carried LTTEs. None in that boat were determined to belong to the LTTE. This expert again sought another October 2009 assignment claiming that most of the 500 refugees also in the MV Sun Sea that arrived in Canada in mid 1010 were LTTEs. It was too soon for Ottawa to forget how this expert took Canada for a ride over the October 2009 boat to decline his offer unceremoniously. Canada’s investigations found no LTTEs in MV Sun Sea.
Apologists like Rohan Gunaratne, Bernard Goonetileke, Champaka, Shanaka Jayasekere and before that B Raman and Hariharan did take SL down the road that destroyed its credibility in the international community; exceptions being India and China. The sum total of their work was to mobilize opinion into encouraging SL to launch the massive offensives against the demonized Tamil militancy/LTTE and in the process bargained away cheaply the most powerful leverage (Tamil militancy/LTTE) they had for handling a genocide Colombo and inviting UN ‘crimes against humanity’ initiatives against SL.
Delhi went overboard to canvass that Tamil militancy/LTTE was the obstacle to addressing the long standing Tamil grievances and for peace in SL and the region. Hence Tamil militancy had to be destroyed and effectively contributed to its destruction. Delhi and the West certainly regret that outcome. In post Tamil militancy/LTTE an enthused SL hell-bent on completing its genocide is committing far greater crimes than what the UN, international community or even Samaritan India envisaged that SL would do in post Tamil militancy. This caused the international community including India not just annoyance but seething anger and alarm. Delhi bargained for a peace with honour for the Tamils but what Delhi got was Colombo embroiling the region especially India in a greater regional turmoil. China was given a firm foothold in SL; SL’s plan is to keep Delhi on a tight leash using the powerful China card with China at its Southern doorstep. In the longer term SL may turn into an agent for China to dismember India, thanks to the SL’s samaritans in Delhi. Delhi nationally was humbled by its inability to deliver on its promises to Tamils in TN; Delhi made promises during the critical period leading up to the May 2009 defeat of the Tamils/militancy-LTTE. Key Delhi politicians beguiled the Tamil militants into entering Narayanan’s fire-free zone assuring them of their safety instead of melting into the Mullativu jungles to survive. Both SL and TN Tamils would remember this Delhi’s historical duplicity in the demise of Tamil militancy and the resulting predicament of Tamils in SL today.
SL Tamils worldwide look up to the truly humane international community for redress from the servitude into which SL/Delhi pushed SL Tamils. A leading commentator succinctly summarized the stance of the international community ‘Sri Lanka didn’t win the war on its own. India’s political support and its naval blockade (and much more) 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..Rajapakse has failed to make the country’s Tamil minority feel secure after crushing the Tiger insurgency last year’. The most humiliated by post militancy SL was Delhi; SL consigned Delhi’s sacred cows, the 1987 Indo-SL Accord and the Thirteenth Amendment into the dustbins of history. Tragically Delhi status even as a regional power was humbled by SL using India’s much dreaded China card. SL overplaying the China card may create conditions for changes in Delhi and TN that SL Tamils may look forward to but it is the international community whose commitment to human values that will eventually deliver solace to the Tamil victims of SL genocide.
The West is hurt with Delhi encouraging Colombo to close the Tamil refugee tap to TN/India unfairly encouraging the refugee flow Westward though the West had already accepted over a million Tamils. For this purpose Delhi abdicated its control of the Palk Straits waters to the Sinhala SL navy and arming it for that purpose. To ensure a balanced sharing of the refugee flow the international community needs to vigorously pursue SL for its war crimes through UN and widening the gamut of sanctions for Colombo to react positively to the West’s concerns over the SL Tamils issue. The support of NAM and the Third world that SL normally boasts about are no longer audible, instead it’s the voice of Elders and statesmen Lee Kuan Yew and Desmond Tutu that is coming through loud and clear.