“A thing moderately good is not as good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” -Thomas Paine
“The Sri Lanka armed forces have massacred over two thousand Tamil civilians in Vanni during the past two months. This is not happening in secret, out of the world’s gaze, but in plain sight.
The horrific details of the Sri Lankan artillery bombardment and airstrikes are made available every day by a flood of data, pictures and footage.No Tamil can fail to be shaken by the murderous fanaticism of the Sinhala state and, especially, the complicit silence of the international community.
The present is thus an important moment in Tamil national consciousness”. This is the introductory paragraph of the article, “The Will to Resist”, in Tamil Guardian of 18th February 2009.
Further the editor of the Tamil Guardian has argued that it is not the demand for Tamil Eelam that is the problem in Sri Lanka, but institutional Sinhala violence and oppression. Therefore no ‘solution’ would suffice unless it could guarantee our people protection from Sri Lankan genocide of Tamils.
More than Tamils, the world will not forget the year 2009. On 18th June 2009, within a month after the Mullivaikhal massacre of Eelam Tamils, a body of human rights organizations wrote to President Barack Obama, expressing their deep concern about the then situation in Sri Lanka and urged him to take immediate steps to address the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in that country.
That urgent and meaningful petition was signed by Mr. Larry Cox, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA, Ms. Karin Ryan, Director Human Rights Program, The Carter Center, Ms Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director, Freedom House, Mr. Robert Arsenault, and International League for Human Rights, Ms. Felice D.Gaer, and Director. Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and Mr. A. Frank Donaghue, Chief Executive Officer, Physicians for Human Rights.
“The failure of the international community to take concrete action to protect civilians in Sri Lanka has given the green lights to regimes around the world and has signaled that there is nothing that the international community will do when a government kills its own people under the cover of sovereignty”, was their underlined and highlighted point of view.
All these great personalities have done their sacred duty by their strong statements of concern within just one month of the massacre of Tamils, long before the outflow of eye witness and
documentary evidences. They simply want the world to be a better, fairer and peaceful, more equitable place to live in.
Lumping genocide with human rights
The various governments, as if it is an unwritten law, are more concerned about their economy and geopolitics. They are temporary and they invariably change for good. But the Elders, HR warriors, noble prize winners and the great personalities are the guardians and guide the world forever. Hence it is our duty to canvass world opinion for an independent Tamil Eelam.
Tamils must unite and conduct propaganda meeting in various countries that have sympathy for the Tamils and then to other countries to win them too. The shocking proof of secret war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan genocidal war, urgently needs to be shared with the world. Lumping genocide with human rights is the well known trick of the perpetrators.
Everyone now try to project and deal with the issue, as it is something common to the whole of the island – another subtle way of detracting the
plight of the Eelam Tamil nation offended by all of them. Let us all have a good head above our shoulders!
Let us see what our friends in Canada have done. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird have been vociferously critical of Sri Lankan Government’s disgraceful records of violations of human rights, including war crimes and crimes against humanity as exposed by the UN from the concealing Sri Lanka. Canada is making amends to the passive role played during the war when these crimes were committed with impunity and without witness. This will definitely put other misguided governments in an embracing situation, because the Tamil liberation struggle is underpinned by genuinely socialist secular principles and is not a war against any other people or religion.
However, even the most honoured scholars and experts can make mistakes if they have blind spots, been influenced by others, fail to see the weaknesses in their assumptions or have ulterior motives. My teenage grand son who loves to read my writings once told me, “ Appapah, ask those people who read Sri Lanka propaganda materials to substitute the word Tamils for Terrorists whenever they come across the word terrorism. It is a divine blessing that both words start with the letter‘t’.”
The Tamil struggle must not be seen in terms of “terrorism “and “military campaigns”, but as fears and anxiety of a community, which has been at the receiving end of political discrimination and persecution for the last sixty odd years and has never been able to realize it’s just demands.
Delhi loosing grip on Lanka
The Colombo Sunday Times of March 2009 carried an exclusive article by Gen. Ashok Mehta under the heading, “Indian Army in medical garb, but is Delhi loosing grip on Lanka (Ref: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090322/News/sundaytimesnews_19.html) Mehta’s last assignment in the Indian Army was as the General Officer Commanding, in the Indian Peace Keeping Force, Sri Lanka (1988-90), after Major general Harkirat Sing, who wrote the very informative brilliant book, ‘Intervention in Sri Lanka: The IPKF Experience Retold.’
The writer as a keen follower of Tamils struggle for freedom, read this article on that Sunday itself, but now the exclusive article by Gen. Ashok Mehta brings more light and significance to the events happening now, depicting the desperate attempts of the Sonia Government to bluff and resort to crafty and Machiavellian exercises like Natchiappan’s comic opera and getting TNA members to Delhi to give unwanted prominence for the long rejected and ignored, the so called 13th amendment.
At the beginning of the article itself, he gauges the pathetic plight of the Sonia government. “ Just how fragile is India’s neighbourhood diplomacy and diminishing clout, especially in the last five years, chasing the chimera of big power status, is evident from Delhi’s futile attempt in the last two years to end the war and humanitarian tragedy in the North East of Sri Lanka,” he says. In fact he said this almost two months before the Mullivahikhal massacre.
During the month of February Sri Lanka’s donor Co Chair – the US, Norway, Japan and the EU – evolved a US-led humanitarian intervention operation by three Marine Evacuation Brigades to extricate civilians trapped in the war. A Washington-Colombo-Delhi dialogue on the launch of Operation rescue was apparently rejected by India and which Sri Lanka also did not favour.
Delhi somehow managed to locate a 52-man medical mission, in fact a military field hospital, as a beach head for any contingency project to end the war, at Pulmoddai, North of Trincomalee Harbour. This was a concession made by Sri Lanka to India for letting Colombo had its way in the fight to finish the Tigers regardless of the humanitarian costs. This move had sparked a minor controversy, some Lankans depicting it as an invasion. As a result some medical Indian soldiers from the field hospital returned to India, low profile in civilian clothes.
Thus, India-Sri Lanka relations are best characterized by different IPKF placards carried by Buddhist monks in Colombo. In 1987 it was “IPKF Get Out”. In 2000, “IPKF Come Back” and in 2008: “IPKF Keep Out”. Therefore, the description of the Army Medical Team at Pulmoddai, North of Trincomalee Harbour was seen as an ‘invasion’.Another very valuable piece of information, likely to be very interesting for the Tamils and quite disgusting for the common Sinhalese is also one finds in Gen. Ashok Mehta revelations.
He says, “In 2000 when the Tamil Tigers all but defeated the security forces after the fall of Elephant Pass, Sri Lanka requested for India’s help in evacuating the Jaffna garrison. Delhi offered financial assistance but declined any military involvement. A tested friend Pakistan came to Sri Lanka’s rescue by supplying crucial Multi-Barrel Rocket Launchers which helped to hold back the Tigers. Indian leaders at the time remarked, heavens will not fall if the LTTE reoccupies Jaffna”
India ranks low at 141in this year’s Global Peace Index (GPI) that measured peace in 162 countries, according to 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators of the absence and fear of violence.The Government of India is paralyzed with one hand, one leg for Tamil issues while other hand and leg are helping the forces against Tamils. It is only natural that discontent develops among Indian Tamil citizens. When the Government of India is not taking any action on any issue, people have to come to streets and vent their anger. It is simple logic that the cessation of Sri Lanka will be a great relief.
At the same time Sri Lankan government’s poor stature in the world view has made it at least till the November 2013 CHOM to be a bit nice to India, a desperate exercise. The pathetic Delhi is all out to some or other in any shape push down the throat of TNA. Tamils remember that there was a time when India even bribed Prabhakaran to accept the accord. Tamils rejected it then, now…you are joking!
As Groucho Marx put it, “those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others”. There is every likelihood that our leader Prabha would say the same when he shows up!