by Dr. Edward Perera
When I started writing this note to express what I felt about the reaction of Koïchiro Matsuura, the Director General of the UNESCO concerning the bombing of Tamil Tiger Terrorist broadcasting centre, I had a moral conflict whether to respect the individual or to respect his role as a high ranker in the UN. One thing clear to me is that as a matter of generosity from an ethical point of view, I have to respect every human being with no regard to his caste, class, creed, or status.
Question therefore, does not arise here that I have to respect his rank in the UN namely the Director General to the UNESCO. On the other hand, anyone who reads his condemnation of bombing of the LTTE Voice, the propaganda radio, would raise the question why he did say anything on this issue. The fact that the Japanese Navy bombed Colombo on 5th April 1942 comes to my mind involuntarily. Mr. Matsuura must be reminded how this bombing killed a number of psychiatric patients at Mulleria Hospital and one bomb was dropped on Ceylon Radio Station in Colombo, which was then known as Voice of Colombo. While quoting Lord Buddha’s preaching that hatred cannot be overcome by hatred, the Ceylon delegate at the San Francisco Conference made an appeal to the world not to punish the Japanese government but to give the hand to this totally defeated country to raise the head from ashes. Exactly after 65 years, a member of that pardoned country points the finger to the government of Sri Lanka for having bombed a terrorist propaganda radio station. Does Koichiro Matsuura justifies the bombing of Sri Lankan Air base at Anuradhapura recalling what the Japanese Air Force Kamikase Pilots did to Perl Habour in 1941?
The face value of his protest may attribute to his role as the Director General of the UNESCO but not because that he and Yasushi Akashi (the Japanese mediator involved in the so-called reconciliation process between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger terrorists) come from the same country. I have no clues to see any co-relation between Matsuura’s conduct and Akashi’s emphasis concerning this conflict. But it is the general attitude in Sri Lanka that Akashi was another blonder.
Japan as a country, which went through hell during Second World War knows much about cancer in mass scale after bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US Air force during this war. This immeasurable disaster caused many hundreds of thousand deaths and cancer amongst millions of people in Japan. But this harmful effect was confined only to Japanese territory.
There is a valuable reason why I started with the cancer issue. The LTTE, the most ruthless terrorist movement in the world is an evil malignant cancer not only in the region of its birthplace but also on a global scale. Cancer is also a cell but it is different to the healthy cells in a body. A person, who does not know the intrinsic properties of a cancer cell, cannot distinguish it from a healthy cell.
This is exactly what is happening in Sri Lanka. With all their expertise and conviction of humanism, this Japanese dignitary and his close international associates are fighting the healthy cells but not to eradicate the cancer cells in the context of so-called ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. Is this an indication of common ignorance or a clear demonstration of double standards?
It could be both because he and his other associates who interfere unnecessarily in this issue seem to be sharing an unethical commitment.
Ignorance is worse than a cancer. A group of so-called human right champions have challenged a democratically elected government for having taken drastic measures to curb terrorism. A malignant cancer is perceived as a liberation movement and the malice not dealt with appropriate measures. Like the medical personnel engaged in curing a cancer patient, a democratic government has launched a war on terrorism in order to eradicate this evil in the same manner as any other civilized governance does.
The USA and its allies like Great Britain, Germany, Canada, Australia, and Poland have sent their troops to fight terrorism in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Japan has nothing to say other than saying yes to what her allies do in these regions and most interestingly the same group champions the cause for human rights in Sri Lanka while massacring innocent people in millions in other countries.
We do not need the assistance of such hypocrites to restore democracy in our country because Sri Lanka is one of the most ancient countries, which enjoyed a long tradition of civilized social order. The secret behind the success of this uninterrupted socio-cultural and religious order is the homogeneity in its composition. If not the continuous invasions from south India did not take place and the western colonial powers did not tried their fortune in our countries, this homogeneous composition would have prevailed up to present days like in China, Korea and Japan. As an exception in the western world, 98% of the population in Germany is Germans. Though the Bavarians claim that they are not Germans and they have their own language, the Bavarians had to accept the conditions imposed by Otto von Bismarck of Prussia in his historical task to bring all divided parts to one solid state namely Deutschland (Germany). The pressure from Bavaria to the Sri Lankan government is relatively high when compared to other federal states in Germany. The reason is the Catholic Church and we are not supposed to ignore the fact that the Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger comes from the same state. Historically there would have been no Hitler without Bavaria.
This is an example how the people can be brought under control by any authority depending on the historical, geographical, and economic conditions. The Bavarians had their own territory, language, and customs and deeply rooted other cultural traditions. The size of the state is very similar to the size of Sri Lanka but there was no claim for a separate homeland similar to the Tamil “Eelam” (Traditional homeland). There was neither an armed struggle nor terrorism for a separate state though they were independent in the past. What sort of example can the Bavarians set for the Sri Lankans in relation to the present conflict while preserving the homogeneity with other federal states and preaching a separate for handful Tamil terrorists?
Germans do not like to see their society becoming heterogeneous like the Japanese. Nevertheless, they like to see Sri Lanka as a heterogeneous country. With some differences in the accent and in expressions, a great majority of people in Germany share a common language, common culture, common religious believes and a democratic capitalist system.
They are also the pioneers of European Union, which brought many western and eastern countries to one single political, social, and economic body. The borders are open. A common currency namely the Euro is introduced. As a result, the economy is booming in each individual country. It proved that the unity is mighty. Most unfortunately, these people cannot see how our nations in the south Asian region were enjoying this privilege since many thousands years. In India or in Sri Lanka, there were no religious or ethnic wars for many centuries until the “divide and rule” strategy was implemented by the colonial “masters”. They join hand in hands to develop their countries but they never let people in former colonial countries to feel united.
Sri Lanka is an exception with an excellent example for harmony with a social, cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity. There are ample prehistoric evidence to prove that even before the Dravidic incursions (10th century) took place, Hela Diva (The Island of Helas) gave the shelter to various heterogeneous groups like Naga, Yakshas, Deva and Raksha.
Some scholars presume that the Dravidians were present in this island before the Sinhela ethnic group came into being. According to the Lanka Academic Forum, “Indeed, archaeological records confirm the existence of humans in Sri Lanka, long before Vijaya”. “….”However it was the advent of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, that saw the distinctive evolution of the Sinhela race - a mixture of the original inhabitants naga, yaksha, tamils<*1> who had been in Sri Lanka for a long time and who embraced Buddhism and the Vijayan colonists. They were united by Buddhism and the newly developed Sinhela language” (see: The origins of Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese. –Lanka Academic Forum – (http://www.theacademic.org/forum/viewtopic/).
(<*1> My personal opinion on the usage of this term in the historical context is not appropriate. Small groups of Dravidian origin would have been living in this island without a strong ethnic identity. Some Anthropologists<*2> infer that Veddas have certain physical resemblance to Dravidians and Australian Aborigines. Even if it is a fact, there is no evidence that Dravidian civilization was established in pre-Vijaya era. If there were a Dravidian social organisation, Tamil, Malayalam, Kanarese or Telugu would have been the language of the pre-Vijaya era).
(<*2> Malcolm D. Prentis, Science, Race & Faith: A Life of John Mathew, 1849-1929, Sydney: Centre for the Study of Australian Christianity, 1998, pp.240. ISBN and Aboriginal Man in Australia, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1965, pp.31-33)
Though the above inference of the Lanka Academic Forum is obviously disputable, this presumption has some significance in shedding light to the ancient social structure of Hela Diva. It is Buddhism, which paved the way to the harmony of ethnic diversity finally carving out one of the fabulous civilizations in the world. It was the historical task of Helayas to bring unity amongst this heterogeneous people under one significant culture. The consequent incursions of Dravidian rulers from South India clearly indicates that there was no historical evidence for a specific Dravidian cultural line that existed side by side in the evolutionary process of Sinhala Buddhist culture in this island. All that we can see as the remnants of the Dravidian culture in Sri Lanka are the work of invading groups from South India. They had to introduce every cultural aspect from the beginning, as there was no historical evidence for Tamil language or Hindu religious rituals before these invasions.
The facts behind this consequent religious and ethnic harmony even after these invasions clearly indicates that Sinhala speaking Buddhist Helas and Tamil speaking Hindu Dravidians had no problem to share the land and the brotherly warmth in every aspect of their daily lives.
It is ultimately the enemies of Sinhalese Buddhists (Helas) and the Hindu Tamils (Dravidians) have sown the seeds of germs on our soils and we only enjoy the harvest of bloody violence.
Let me appeal every decent Tamil speaking person to join hand in hand in order to eradicate the terrorist malice from northern Sri Lanka. This will open new avenues for our proud nation to build the country leading to peaceful co-existence and economic prosperity.
Friday, December 7, 2007
by Dr. Edward Perera
Posted by media at 11:43 PM
When a peace delegation of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) went to Norway for peace talks during the then UNF administration, Norwegian government gave Rs. 240 million (US$ 2.4 million) to the LTTE, says Karuna Amman, who is currently under the detention of British authorities.
The LTTE purchased arms and ammunition using the money. These arms arrived in Sri Lanka after 40 days of signing the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), Karuna has further said.
The LTTE violated the CFA by bringing arms to the island. Karuna added, then head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Trond Furuhovde has once told him that the conflict will never end as long as the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is alive.
Reporting by Keerthi Warnakulasuriya
Posted by media at 5:59 AM
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
At least 15 bus passengers were killed and 38 wounded Wednesday in a roadside bomb attack in Sri Lanka, police said as the military claimed 36 more people were killed in other violence.
Security forces rushed to the north-central region following the bus attack, a police official in the area said by telephone. He said separatist Tamil Tiger rebels were believed to have carried out the bombing against the civilian bus.
"We have 15 passengers killed and at least another 38 have been taken to hospital," the official said. "We believe it is the work of the Tigers."
There was no immediate comment from the Tigers who were blamed for a similar bus bombing in the area in June last year when 64 bus passengers were killed.
The blast came hours after the defence ministry said a total of 29 Tiger rebels and seven soldiers had been killed in fresh violence in the island's embattled northern regions.
Wednesday's attack was at Abhimanapura, a village some 265 kilometres (165 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo and away from the area where troops and Tamil Tiger rebels are locked in combat, police said.
The defence ministry in a statement accused the Tigers of carrying out the powerful bomb attack against the civilian bus.
"The terrorists have detonated a roadside bomb at Abhimanapura, on the Kebithigollawa-Padaviya road," the ministry said, adding that the bus had been deliberately targeted.
Hospital sources in the north-central Anuradhapura district said 23 people admitted to the hospital were in a serious condition while several others had minor injuries.
The attack against the bus came a week after Tamil Tiger rebels were held responsible for two bomb attacks that killed at least 21 people in Colombo.
The bombings came despite a stepping up of the already tight security arrangements across the country amid fears that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) could avenge military strikes inside rebel-held areas.
The authorities had also arrested thousands of minority ethnic Tamils as part of a crack down against the Tigers. The mass arrests have provoked law suits against the police.
Tens of thousands of people have died since the Tamil Tigers launched their bid for an independent homeland in the majority Sinhalese nation in 1972.
A Norwegian-brokered 2002 truce began to unravel in December 2005.
Posted by media at 11:33 PM
US Ambassador Robert O. Blake
December 4, 2007
General Fonseka, General Peiris, Ms. Ratwatte, Mr. Dissanayake, Mr. Vandenhove, distinguished field Commanders, Ladies, and gentlemen,
I would like to thank General Fonseka for his kind invitation to be here today, for the honor of being your chief guest, and for the opportunity to speak on a subject that is of great importance to us all. I note that General Fonseka has spoken of the need of every commander to commit himself personally to the respect of the basic human rights of every individual, even when carrying out his difficult and often dangerous duties. I could not agree more.
I speak to you today as a friend of Sri Lanka. The friendly relations between the U.S. and Sri Lanka go back almost 60 years. We want to build on those to help Sri Lanka end its long conflict, strengthen its democracy, and promote economic prosperity and free markets so this beautiful country can realize the bright hopes that we all have for it.
The United States, like Sri Lanka, is engaged in a sustained struggle against terrorism. We recognize that the people of Sri Lanka continue to face the threat of terrorism from the Tamil Tigers. The United States has been a steadfast supporter of Sri Lanka’s efforts to stop the flow of arms and financing to the LTTE, by providing law enforcement assistance, and by providing training and equipment to help the Sri Lankan military defend itself.
However, experience around the world has shown it is virtually impossible to defeat a terrorist insurgency by military means alone. Effective counter-terrorism requires sound economic development policies to provide jobs and economic opportunity. It requires a political strategy that embraces democracy, freedom of speech, independent media and a marketplace of ideas. It requires political compromise to address the aspirations of combatants so they can be persuaded to lay down their arms. It requires respect for human dignity and a rejection of an ideology of hate that targets innocent civilians.
And it requires respect for human rights. Lessons from conflicts in the Middle East, the Balkans and elsewhere tell us that a key motivator in many terrorist incidents was the desire to avenge extra-judicial killings, torture and other human rights crimes committed against their families and friends. These memories burn deep and make post-conflict national reconciliation that much more difficult.
In battle, soldiers may occasionally act outside the law. What is important is that there are laws and institutions set up to investigate and respond appropriately to such transgressions. The successful empowerment of such institutions and the full implementation of such laws are measures of a strong and well-regulated military and a strong and healthy democracy.
That’s why the United States and Sri Lanka agreed earlier this year that it would be very useful to bring together military justice experts from Sri Lanka and the United States to exchange information, perspectives and best practices. As a result, military law professionals from the U.S. Pacific Command, in partnership with the American Embassy in Colombo, hosted a Military Law Exchange Program with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense to exchange ideas on ways to improve transparency, accountability and human rights in military justice.
We are now planning follow-on activities to see how we can work together to strengthen your military justice institutions and improve accountability within the military.
The people of Sri Lanka face difficult times. We want to help you face them. But for us to keep helping you, it is important to realize that we hold ourselves and our partners to the highest standard of human rights observance. As the warriors of a democratic society and government, you, like we, have an obligation to protect human rights, hold people accountable for past abuses, and shield the population from any further abuses.
I am glad that General Fonseka has emphasized this point. We hope to continue working with you closely to make further progress on this, which is as important as any other part of your campaign to restore the integrity of the nation of Sri Lanka, and assure a peaceful and bright future for all its people.
Thank you again for this invitation to join you today. I wish you successful deliberations in this important seminar.
US Embassy, Sri Lanka - http://srilanka.usembassy.gov/baticaloa.html
Posted by media at 10:08 PM
"As a minority community representative I can't wait in the Government if the Government was doing any thing detrimental to the minorities," Minister for Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle
At a press briefing held at the Media Center for National Security (MCNS) today, Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said that certain members of the parliament of the TNA and UNP were trying to show that innocent Tamils are being detained, which he as a Minister completely deny.
Referring to the two bomb attacks at Minister Douglas Devananda's Narahenpita office, and a shopping mall at Nugegoda, the Minister said that the two suspects, one suicide bomber and the other as a shopper had come as innocent people. They did not have any labels on them as LTTE or Terrorists. Therefore, the Government was compelled to search people and places in the interest of public security, since that was the responsibility of the Government.
The Minister continued that so far a total of 2554 both male and female have been taken in to custody for questioning. Of this number 2350 have already been released after questioning. Of the 2554, 2189 are from the Western province and the rest from Puttalam. Of the 202 still in custody, 100 are in detention and 102 are to be produced before the magistrate and in remand. They do not belong to one particular community. There are some Sinhalese and Muslims among them.
Those under detention are detained under the normal ordinary law. The Minister went on to say that these are not uncommon happenings at a time of threat to national Security. It happens all over the world, beat America, UK or India.
Of those to be produced before courts, there are some suspects with LTTE connections. It is a matter for the courts to decide. There are about 87 detainees from Jaffna and about 30 from upcountry.
Meanwhile following representations made to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Ceylon Worker' Congress Leader Minister Arumugam Thondaman he met a number of relatives of the detained persons yesterday (3) at Temple Trees, Colombo.
President instructed the Inspector General of Police to release persons detained during recent search operations, if there are no charges against them.
Some make irresponsible statements of not providing sufficient facilities to those taken in to custody, but at an emergency situation it is not possible for the Police or the government to provide all the possible facilities when the police have to cope with so many numbers.
Those in custody are either in Boosa or in Police custody. Parents or relatives are able to see the detainees. One cannot be sure of parents or wives of having knowledge of what their children or husbands would be doing or involved in, said the Minister.
Answering a question, the Minister said that TNA MPs are provided ample security and Government was trying to do its best in the interest of the Security of the public.
Posted by media at 6:47 AM
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
What circumstances made it possible for the resolution of the conflicts in Banda Ache and Nepal? In both instances a stage was reached where the rebels realized that more could be gained by decommissioning their weapons of war and participating in the political processes than by continuing to engage in conflict. Could similar conditions be created in Sri Lanka? What conditions should come into play for the LTTE to eschew violence and seek a political solution as it was with the rebels in Nepal and Ache?
The genesis of most conflicts is in felt or perceived grievances by segments of a society. A group within such a segment resorts to violence in the belief that it is only violence that would render them their due entitlements. If they succeed, they become the liberators of their people. However, for such liberators to be accepted by the liberated, they should not resort to violence against their own people. It is the reward of recognition and acceptance as liberators that make them eschew violence and seek political arrangements to address their felt and perceived grievances. Else, the sacrifices made on behalf of the people they represent would have no meaning. In the cases of Nepal and Ache the rebels came to be accepted as liberators, thus becoming vital players in the negotiations as well as in the implementation processes. This was possible because the people on whose behalf the rebels were making sacrifices accepted them as their legitimate saviours.
Thus, recognition as saviours is the reward for most rebels. However, in the case of the LTTE, there is no tangible evidence that the Tamil community would today accept the LTTE as their liberators. Considering the killings and other very serious acts of terrorism they have perpetrated on the Tamil people, this reluctance to freely accept the LTTE as their liberators, is understandable. This has made it necessary for the LTTE to claim for themselves the title of "sole representative", without the legitimacy of popular acclaim. Under the unique circumstances of Sri Lanka’s conflict, what rewards could possibly be offered to the LTTE for them to eschew violence and terrorism?
The LTTE and the non-LTTE Tamil leaders jointly cannot represent Tamil interests because of differences in their respective political horizons. It has to be either/or, but not jointly. This is what makes Sri Lanka’s conflict so different to conflicts in Nepal and Ache. The International Community (IC) has belatedly recognized that the Tamil community and the LTTE are two different entities; Senator Leahy being the most recent to state "that the LTTE should not be equated with the Tamil community"(Sunday Times, November 4, 2007). Under these circumstances, therefore, the solution to Sri Lanka’s national question has to start with reconciling the interests of the Tamil community with the LTTE. It is acceptance of the LTTE by the Tamil people as part of their leadership that would make it worth the while for the LTTE to eschew violence and for interests to merge. Without such acceptance it is violence and terrorism that makes them acquire relevance. Without acceptance or violence the LTTE would be irrelevant.
RECONCILIATION A MUST
To reach a stage where interests merge the LTTE would have to make peace with the Tamil community. Whether the Tamil community would be up to such a task is not a foregone conclusion. The social and caste mores endemic within Tamil society in addition to the crimes committed by the LTTE would prove to be a serious obstacle to reconciliation. However, without reconciliation the Tamil people would not be able to benefit from any political solution. The question then becomes: Who makes the first move?
If the first move is to come from the LTTE there has to be a verifiable demonstration that the LTTE would eschew violence by decommissioning, in order to ensure that the Tamil community would be safe from LTTE violence. The response to such a gesture would be for the Tamil community to accept unreservedly the LTTE as part of their leadership. If on the other hand the Tamil people were to take the first step they have to demonstrate convincingly to the LTTE their acceptance of the LTTE as part of the leadership, to which the LTTE must respond by renouncing violence by decommissioning.
The prevailing status quo where the LTTE retains the means to exercise its will on the Tamil people through force is understandable in view of the uncertainty as to its future survival both physically and politically within the Tamil community, in the event the LTTE eschews violence without these guarantees. In short, it is only the Tamil community that can reward the LTTE for transforming itself, by freely accepting the group as part of its political leadership.
Without reconciliation between the Tamil community and the LTTE any political solution formulated would have little or no chance of being implemented, because its very success would isolate and marginalize the LTTE to the point of irrelevance. The LTTE and its supporters in the diaspora are not going to stand by and let that happen. If due to a process of serious weakening of the military capabilities of the LTTE, or even if the high command of the LTTE ceases to exist some fragments are bound to remain with the inclination to disturb peace and security as is taking place with the Basque elements in Spain.
If the potential for such possibilities do not exist, it is vital that the Tamil community takes the initiative to reconcile with the LTTE because at the end of the day it is they who would be reaping the rewards of peace more than any other. It is after all the Tamil community and their leadership who called upon on the Tamil youth to fight for the creation of Tamil Eelam. Even though the LTTE are the sole survivors through a systematic process of ruthless elimination of all other militant groups, the Tamil community has to take the initiative and the responsibility to persuade the LTTE to give up its "thirst for Tamil Eelam" and settle for a more realistic political arrangement that assures prosperity for all, and set aside as unrealistic the dream of fulfilling aspirations through Tamil Eelam.
It seems impractical to expect the present LTTE leadership to transform to a degree that would make a reasonable political arrangement acceptable to them. Reconciliation given such obduracy is unrealistic. Reconciliation would thus probably have to wait another day for the emergence of a more flexible leadership within the LTTE that is pragmatic enough to value the rewards of legitimacy and acceptance by the Tamil community as being greater than the pursuit of an unattainable goal, the realization of which is becoming increasingly beyond reach. Whether it is now or later, the hope for a durable peace for the Tamil community can come only with a process of internal reconciliation within the community.
THE FLAW IN THE CURRENT APPROACH
The need for reconciliation within the Tamil community itself as a prelude to negotiations with the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) is a concept whose significance has not been given the consideration it deserves. Hitherto the approach has been to for the GOSL to negotiate with the LTTE alone. Another approach has been for the GOSL to evolve a Southern consensus through the mechanism of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) on behalf of the All Party Committee (APC). These efforts are in keeping with the concept of evolving a political arrangement acceptable to the "South" as an essential prerequisite to aid negotiations. In this regard, a proposal that has again resurfaced is for the formation of a national government.
These approaches while well meant, are founded on the belief that it is the absence of a viable political solution that is perpetuating the conflict. Proponents of this concept believe in the notion that a political solution based on devolution would appeal to the Tamil community to the point where they would be sufficiently encouraged to withdraw their overt and even covert support to the LTTE. However, even if there is merit in this belief the LTTE would not allow implementation of such arrangements to mature because any such arrangement negotiated without their participation would amount to conceding the LTTE’s irrelevance, both consciously as well as deliberately. This is not going to happen. The LTTE would do everything in its power to prevent and obstruct the implementation of any arrangements that have support from the Tamil community.
The inability of the South to forge a political formulation is being cited as the cause for the perpetuation of the conflict. The delay in evolving such a formulation is attributed to the diversity of opinions regarding the causes of the conflict and the corresponding approaches to address them. Despite such differences of opinion, there is consensus in the South that the Tamil community is an integral part of the Sri Lankan nation. The divergence of Southern opinion is in respect of HOW the Tamil community is to function as part of that Sri Lankan nation.
A similar consensus of being part of the Sri Lankan nation does not exist among the Tamil community. One section represented by the LTTE is for a separate state while the rest would perhaps agree to an arrangement where they are a part of the Sri Lankan nation state with powers devolved to their regions of concentration. This however does not take into consideration the fact that more than half of the Tamil population of Sri Lanka now resides in the South. This divergence is so fundamental that reconciliation within the Tamil community has to be central for any negotiated arrangements to endure. The needed reconciliation is not possible given the inflexibility of the current LTTE leadership. However, the potential for reconciliation exists under a more pragmatic leadership.
Considering the fractures that have emerged within the LTTE in recent times the emergence of such a pragmatic leadership is a possibility. The resolution of Sri Lanka’s national question has to await a paradigm shift in the psyche within the Tamil community that realizes the need to accept a transformed LTTE leadership, or one that is more pragmatic, despite its inbuilt social and caste prejudices. In turn, a leadership must be awaited within the LTTE that values recognition and acceptance by the Tamil community in preference to forced compliance by the latter. Throughout this conflict the Tamil people have placed the entire responsibility for evolving a reasoned political arrangement on successive Sri Lankan governments without taking the responsibility for initiating the conflict by creating unattainable expectations among the Tamil youth. That leadership is responsible for creating expectations that cannot be reconciled.
It was reconciliation between the rebels and the people they represented that hastened the resolution of conflicts in Ache and Nepal. The gulf that exists between the Tamil community and the LTTE in regard to their respective goals, one real and the other unreal, is the obstacle to the resolution of Sri Lanka’s conflict. Either these expectations have to change, or circumstances have to facilitate a change in expectations for final resolution to be possible.
By Neville Ladduwahetty
Posted by media at 6:01 AM
Social Services Minister Douglas Devananda yesterday requested all democratic forces to join hands to find a political solution to the present crisis and defeat the LTTE terrorism.
The Minister making a special statement in Parliament said we should put an end to this war launched against the community by the LTTE on behalf of the Tamil community, and urge all democratic forces to rally round to change this situation.
He said the LTTE is against the rights of Tamils. The LTTE on Wednesday sent a suicide bomber to assassinate me and explode another bomb at Nugegoda by killing several innocent people. The intention of the LTTE is to explode bombs in Colombo and the suburbs and get political milage from such incidents. But Prabhakaran will never be able to achieve his goals through such brutal acts.
I have so much experience on these LTTE bomb attacks. The LTTE attempted to kill me on several occasions. But I am not afraid of Prabhakaran. I am not a coward who runs away from such cowardly acts. Prabhakaran cannot frighten me through his suicide attacks, he said.
"My public relations officer Steven Peiris was killed by the LTTE's brutal suicide attack launched against me. In addition, a large number of innocent people were killed by the LTTE bomb blast at Nugegoda. I convey my deepest sympathies to the families of those who were the victims of this bomb blast," the Minister said.
'Devananda said innocent human lives are being taken away by the LTTE daily. The LTTE says they fight for the Tamils. But why is the LTTE killing its own Tamil people and political leaders who work for the Tamil community? How many Tamil political leaders have been killed by the LTTE during these past two decades? Will the Tamil people be able to get any solution through these LTTE killings?.
"I am ready to face even death. Every political leader who worked on behalf of the Tamils was killed by the LTTE. The problem faced by the Tamil community is completely different from the problems faced by the LTTE." He said we also took up arms at one time. Finally, we put an end to our fight and entered mainstream politics. We also suffered untold hardships those days. But the LTTE in the name of independence killed their own people who held different views."
Devananda said after the Indo-Lanka Peace accord was signed, they came to the democratic mainstream. The LTTE also pretended that they would also come to mainstream politics. Nearly 19,000 youth in the LTTE have been killed. If the LTTE came to mainstream politics, this would not have happened. But the LTTE did not accept the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord.
The Minister said the aspirations of the people should be taken forward. That is why the EPDP is asking for an interim administration structure. But the LTTE is against to it. The LTTE always denies the people's rights. But the EPDP arrangements intend to safeguard the rights of the people.
"We want to save our people from this LTTE destruction. Therefore we ask everybody to support our interim arrangement structure. This was first asked by Prabhakaran. Finally, he did not agree to it. Prabhakaran put forward another thing. The LTTE only wants the destruction of the people. They want to continue their fascism".
"During the regime the former Ranil Wickremesinghe Government, the LTTE had six rounds of talks, under the present Government, the LTTE had talks with Government in Norway and Geneva. During these negotiations, the LTTE only asked for meaningless things, Distraction is the only wish of the LTTE. People do not have any freedom to question the LTTE. The LTTE Leadership is not for peace, he said.
The Minister said nearly 19,000 Tamil youth in the LTTE have been killed during the past two decades. In addition, a large number of innocent civilians and soldiers have also been killed by the LTTE. All together the country has lost nearly 60,000 lives. The LTTE is responsible for all these killings."
At present the international community has banned the LTTE. They do not accept the LTTE as freedom fighters. The LTTE is not a friend to anyone. At present, the LTTE has fallen into a trap, he said.
Prabhakaran in his annual speech has tried to compare the issue of East Timor and the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka as Similar issues.
But these kinds of brutal killings did not take place in East Timor. They did not kill their own people as the LTTE is doing now in Sri Lanka. The LTTE is shedding crocodile tears in the civilised world. They are unleashing terrorist activities, the Minister said.
At present our people in the North have faced untold hardships. Amidst the LTTE threats, I frequently visit Jaffna to look into problems faced by the people. Every Wednesday, I have dedicated my service to the public. Truth never dies.
The dreams of the Tamils are always destroyed by the LTTE. From ordinary citizen to higher citizen, everybody has faced this LTTE threat, he said.
Having faced this critical situation, this budget is being debated. Our intention is to develop the whole society. All people have a right to live. Therefore, all democratic forces should join hands to put an end to this destructive war launched against the community by the LTTE, the Minister added.
Posted by media at 5:17 AM
Attempt by the LTTE to kill EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda using a woman suicide cadre stands to prove that Tigers never change their spots, leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front, V. Anandasangaree said.
Eelam People's Democratic Party leader Devananda survived the attack which killed his Coordinating Secretary who was at his Narahenpita office when the woman clad in suicide kit detonated it inside the structure.
Condemning the incident, Sangaree said that it was typical of the LTTE to kill and dominate, and they do this on purpose to live by the gun to ensure that Tamil people do not raise their heads against them.
"They do not know any other way and apply this principle to rule every one," he explained.
He categorically stated that Tamil media must stop glorifying the LTTE and their terrorist acts at once.
Sangaree charged that some Tamil media are speaking for the LTTE and they seem to enjoy a kind of media freedom which no other media in the country enjoy.
"I do not know why some media are saying that the Government is suppressing media freedom when they can see the kind of freedom the Tamil media in the country are enjoying," he said.
Referring to an example Sangaree said that he saw a certain news item in a Tamil newspaper which said that the security forces was responsible for the deaths due to a recent claymore mine explosion which had taken place in a location close to Kilinochchi.
Eleven persons died in the explosion including students.
Sangaree said that since he was an MP from that area, he very well knew no one but LTTE cadres roamed in that area.
"How can the Army bury a claymore mine in an area where they do not go?," Sangaree asked.
Posted by media at 3:03 AM