Sri Lanka’s track record of over indulging in deceptions with impunity on the international community over the last six decades long genocide backfired when the UNHRC-SL resolution was adopted recently. Yet the Rajapakses chose to defy the Resolution and the UNHRC, the mandated body to bring rogue human rights abusers into line though the Resolution was most reasonably worded
The victims of the Rajapakses’ genocide are profuse in appreciating the humanity of those who voted for the resolution. In contrast the Rajapakses derisively abuse the eminent personalities in the international community, the NGOs, think tanks and reputable sections of the media who produced this great humanitarian outcome. The Rajapakses habitually only see petty self interest (wooing the few Tamil votes in countries to which the Tamils were driven out to escape brutal SL oppression) behind the actions of distinguished international leaders like Obama, Cameroon, Harper, Gillard, Tutu and a whole host of others. The Rajapakses do not believe in the basic human urge namely to relieve human sufferings caused by genocide abusers found in those who voted for the resolution,.
In the Rajapakses the lust for power predominates. This drives them to seek after and inflict more and more pain on the Tamils to subjugate them both at home and abroad, the diaspora. The eminent Arundhadhi Roy colourfuly describes the Rajapakse/Sinhala venomous urges as follows: ‘However I do believe that the LTTE and its fetish for violence were cultured in the crucible of monstrous racist injustice that the Sri Lankan government and to a great extent Sinhala society visited on the Tamil people for decades.’ The LTTE though totally destroyed continues to surface frequently in the Rajapakse debate to justify SL continuing anti-Tamil oppression. Not just Roy, but Sonia, Delhi, India and the world now recognize how demonic the Rajapakses’ crimes are that all the geo-political logic to India benefitting from cultivating SLs friendship according to the anti-Tamil South Block sectarians’ turns out to be a mirage.
The Rajapakses label the diaspora now living far away in distant countries as the rump of the LTTE for continuing the LTTE struggle to secure justice for the decades of Tamil sufferings. Growing numbers of Tamils now gracefully accept being associated with the LTTE as the world as well learns that the Rajapakses are a vicious and ruthless lot and a growing menace to peace in the region. Like Roy, think tanks the world over understand that the Sinhala mindset is anti-thetical to the democratic, non-violent Ghandian struggle of the Tamils. The Tamils demoralized after the failure of the democratic Ghandian non-violent 3 decades long struggle to save the Tamils began supporting the armed struggle of the Tamil youth fighting SL’s violent genocide.
Historical circumstances in SL led to the armed resistance and the Tamils support for the much maligned LTTE since the early 80s. The Tamils looked up to the LTTE to save their lives from the oppressive SL genocide on a scale that shocks the world especially the West. The diaspora driven out of their homes and country and assisted by the host countries to rebuild their lives afresh are in deep gratitude to the host countries for this and more for their continued support for the diaspora in seeking redress for Tamil sufferings. The diaspora is unlikely to be taken for more empty SL rides/promises to abandon their struggle for the Tamil cause which is basically survival. The generosity of the host countries will forever remain as integral part of Tamil and Asian history.
Hence the gratuitous advice to the Tamils from the Delhi South Block’s Friends of Rajapakses (FOR) urging the Tamils “But in the three years that have passed since the death of Tamil Tigers leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, (Colombo and) Delhi …behave as if the Tamil problem in Lanka was over, and the past is a bad memory which should be allowed to lapse in silence”. SM Krishna a keen member of the Friends of the Rajapakses is maliciously and dishonestly painting rosy pictures of the conditions for the Tamils under the Rajapakses discouraging the Tamil struggle especially the UNHRC war crimes against SL though the SL genocide has entered a more vicious and menacing phase affecting every aspect of life for the Tamils. This Krishna upathesa (sermon) is to sabotage the growing support of the international community to redress the injustice the Tamils suffered The current phase of SL genocide follows closely Palitha Kohona’s ‘the winner takes all’ dictum appropriating all the Tamil possessions, lands, their livelihood, even women and children and above all human dignity.’.
‘But the past is never so cooperative, particularly if there are demons hidden in its fog…Guilt is something that governments rarely, and foreign policy establishments never, admit.’ One wonders if there is a story of Delhi’s collusion with Colombo during the last phase of the war, when some 40,000 civilians were allegedly butchered, (and) the UPA government would prefer (it) to (be) lock(ed) in the secrecy of the archives? Is UPA worried that public debate will release ghosts that it wants safely buried?” ‘The world knows a little more than what India wants the world to believe about its role in the brutal military resolution of the ethnic conflict in SL.’ Manivannan.
The Tamils are yet grateful for Delhi’s UNHRC vote but not PM Manmohan’s stooping explanatory letter to the Rajapakses for Delhi’s UNHRC vote for the resolution. This belittles the moral standing of India as a regional power and makes a mockery of its vote in the UNHRC. Indian media reports that Sonia reacted with remorse to the graphic images of the Rajapakse bullet ridden body of Prabhaharan child carried by the Channel 4 documentary to order PM Singh to vote for the resolution. The greatest contribution of Channel 4 to the Tamils is bringing out into the open the truth about the savagery of the Rajapakse, disabusing the cruel images of the LTTE parleyed to the world by the South Block Friends of Rajapakses Channel 4’s more balanced picture of the Tamil armed resistance earns it the respect and eternal devotion of all Tamils.
‘The world has changed radically since May 2009 when the horrendous nature of the Rajapakse brutality entered the public domain. Yet the South Block…."Friends of Rajapakse ’‘…mandarins of New Delhi found a way out through its “amendment” …voting for the resolution and … (yet) saving genocidal Colombo, its own skin in the “in the loop’ complicity factor …’.The targeting of civilians is a war crime..UN agencies acted against Mladic and Karadic for targeting civilians. Bashir al-Assad is facing UN sanctions for killing 1 300 Syrians but the Rajapakses (with Delhi’s nod) are aghast that the international community dares to contemplate eventual punitive actions for the SL killings of civilians (over 40 000) in such numbers within a few days in May 2009.
President Rajapakse image tattered by the media images of brutality needed urgent correction. The Rajapakses’ massacres without witnesses elevated its genocide to the status as a ‘humanitarian operation’ with ‘zero civilian causality’. These turned out to the most brutal the world had ever seen.
The Rajapakses initially blamed the LTTE for causing the killings, firing at civilians attempting to flee the ‘no fire zone’ into the government lines. Next parleyed was the make believe ‘human shield’ story that the international opinion initially believed claiming that only the LTTE armed fighters were in the Rajapakse designated no fire’ zone, not any others. Here the President Rajapakse’s memory failed him badly that on 29 May 2009 at the height of this massacre Rajapakse publicly lauded his courageous elite and well armed DPUs in action in SL’s ‘no fire zone’ attempting to breach LTTE’s defensive sand bunds supposedly to allow the civilians trapped in the ‘no fire zone’ to flee. This was military action including firing by the DPUs within Rajapakses’ ‘no fire zone’. Rajapakses’ blatant untruth is that no SL armed forces were in action inside the ‘no fire zone’ except the LTTE fighters in those few critical days in May 2009.
Now there are civilians who were in the ‘no fire zone’ who are prepared to recount how the DPUs fired on the civilians to coerce them to work on breaching the defensive LTTE bunds. These witnesses also recount that the volleys the DPUs fired from the no fire zone invited massive SL artillery retaliation into the no fire zone crowded with civilians. Rajapakses’ key witness Daya Master at the LLRC hearings did mention that LTTE that fired at those attempting to flee into the government lines also mentioned that the LTTE fighters fired weapons into the air and ground to scare the few civilians who attempted to cross over to the government lines. The firings from the government lines caused panic amongst the civilians who could not find shelters to save themselves from the government artillery shelling and perished. How credible is Daya master evidence who according to reports had fled into government lines in April 2009 but the fatal massacres occurred between 16 -19 May. The time difference between April 2009 and May 16 – 19 is crucial. The LLRC report was built around such suspect evidence; hence the call for an independent international investigation of the crimes. LTTE demoralized and weakened could not have have undertaken this level of human shield killings? LTTE’s human shield factor was inaccurate and grossly exaggerated?
Hence when international opinion began to suspect the role of the DPUs almost two years later, Rajapakse began to claim (on 9 May 2011) that "Our forces carried the firearm in one hand and the human rights charter in the other. Our forces never carried any hatred towards any community or individual,” Rajapakses’ memory again failed when the Channel 4 showed lurid images of Isaippriya’s (a TV personality) naked and raped body was dragged about punctuated with vulgar jibes that the Rajapakses men indulged in a display of a disgusting orgy.
SL forces vulgarity trickled from the top. Gothabhaya Rajapakse wondered openly in a BBC interview how the pretty Tamilvani, the face in the Channel 4 presennting the ‘Killing Fields’ ‘documentary without being raped during her daring presence in the frontlines war caring for the wounded and suffering.
J Jayalalitha bluntly pointed out the Rajapakse deceptopns on 27 March 2011 asserting that the terrorism factor overplayed right through by Colombo and Delhi to mask SL’s human rights abuses or brutal repression ‘ to relegate them to the realm of speculation or dismissed as biased or partisan reportage’ to demand that Delhi take steps to ‘bring ..Rajapakses to stand trial for war crimes and genocide along with the generals, senior ministers and all others who were party to the brutal excesses’.(16 May 2011`.
Equally succinct is the editorial comment in The Guardian of 15 June 2011; ‘That the LTTE assassinated presidents and invented the suicide belt, used civilians as human shields, is no defence from the charge that the Sri Lankan soldiers summarily executed prisoners in their custody. Sri Lanka is trying to pretend these events are history..This evidence has to be faced.’ In ‘The Opinion Pages’ The New York Times’ (June 20 2011) David Milliband and Bernard Kouchner following visits to the refugee camps in June 2011 were highly critical of ‘Men and boys taken from refugee camps – and now out of contact . Tamil life was treated as fourth or fifth class. If foreign policy is about anything, it is about stopping this kind of inhumanity… Restrictions on journalism meant that there was a war without witnesses in Sri Lanka..accountability is a duty under domestic and international law, and those responsible including Sri Lankan Army commanders and senior government officials would bear criminal liability for international crimes..Kofi Annan has said that the international community cannot be selective in its approach to upholding the rule of law. .absence of a satisfactory response from the Sri Lankan government,… (requires that action is initiated under) the international arrangements recommended by the (Ban) report…They must be the basis of action. Or the law becomes an ass’. How come Delhi all the cruelty with callous indifference.
In an opinion piece, once again in The Guardian (April 1, 2009) Arundhati Roy made a plea (prophetic enough) for the international community attention to what she called a possible government – sponsored genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. She cited reports of camps into which Tamils were being herded as part of what she described as ‘a brazen, openly racist war’…She also mentioned that the government of Sri Lanka is on the verge of committing what could end up being genocide ..And described the Sri Lankan IDP camps where Tamil civilians are being held as concentration camps.’ Any response to these from the Krishnas, Narayanans, Pranabs, and Menons (the Friends of the Rajapakses).
The herding created the IDPs, no fire zones, the concentration camps which the Rajapakses specifically designed to facilitate the mass slaughter of Tamils without witnesses in numbers to alter the demographic balance in favour of the Sinhalas. In brutality SL had a model to offer to human rights abusers planning to demographically alter the nature of the political, economic and social fabric to advantage the majority. The Indonesia’s transmigration policies created a tragedy for the East Timories which the international community rewarded with an independent state. South Sudan was born under similar conditions.A bitter Indonesia voted against the Resolution to save SL but failed. Turkey likewise saved the Muslim Cypriots from Greek oppression. The depraved supportive role of the Delhi’s South Block (Friends of Rajapakses) deserves special mention though SL’s conduct was totally unacceptable by civil standards to the international community and the UN agencies that are mandated to deliver R2P to the weak.
Recent developments (the Resolution) is the first step in acting to check the excesses of the Rajapakses and the Tamils have every confidence that the international community will save the Tamils from total demise. East Timor and South Sudan precedents are worth following.