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Archive for November 29th, 2007

The President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa told a mouthful in Los Angeles last month when he addressed a packed auditorium of Sri Lanka expatriates: “Sri Lanka has lost the war on global public diplomacy to LTTE terrorists.”

we have  been constantly reminding its readers, among whom are diplomats and professionals of many nations in the Third World and the West, first stating with facts the distortions of the LTTE regarding the Sri Lanka situation, how the international community was almost got succumbed to such misrepresentations of the Tamil Tigers to unreasonably twist the hand of Sri Lanka, and how Sri Lanka’s overseas diplomatic corps, especially those representing the Tiger-targeted Western nations, failed to reverse the situation in favor of Sri Lanka when the latter was fighting a ruthless terrorist organization to safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington is now taking a lead to reverse the trend in global public diplomacy that has been in favor of the Tamil Tigers all these years.

Here is a piece of effective public diplomacy undertaken by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington to the delight of especially the Sri Lankan expatriates living in Western nations who have witnessed the decades of distortions of the Tamil Tigers.

A recent program on Sri Lanka in ‘Unreported World’ by Britain’s Channel 4, which focused on the current situation in the conflict areas, interviewed Sri Lanka Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, as part of the program, on November 9, 2007.

The following is an excerpt from the interview:

Presenter: Commander, in areas in the east, which are fully liberated now by the army, how is it not possible to stop whoever these mysterious unidentified gun men?

Commander: If you are trying to say Karuna’s people are doing it, then, it is a problem between the LTTE and the paramilitary groups. It is not a normal area, people getting killed and some people go missing – it will happen as far as the LTTE and its operations are continued.

However, pro-LTTE parties like TamilNet and Tamil Nation, to name a few web sites, gave a malicious twist to the Army Commander’s words, with flammable headlines like ‘Sri Lanka’s Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils’ and also in Disappearances and killings will continue”

The TamilNet report, says: “Asked about human rights abuses in the newly captured Eastern province, the commander replied: “This area is not a normal area. So people getting killed and some people going missing will happen as far as the anti-terrorist operations are continuing.”

The twist in language usage has lent the meaning to sound as if the Army Commander was admitting to government forces being responsible for extrajudicial killings and disappearances, when the original interview left no doubt as to what the Commander meant as he laid the blame for the atrocities fairly and squarely at the door of the Tigers.

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC was inundated with inquiries from concerned individuals, who had taken exception to the distorted version of the interview.

Responding to queries, Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke explained that the entirety of Sri Lanka’s separatist propaganda is a cunningly woven web of deceit and fraud that spans many decades of creating and building nonexistent grievances on situations that never existed and incidents that never happened. As the Ambassador said, the latest twist in this sinister strategy is the attempt to tarnish internationally, the image of the Sri Lanka government, by maligning the Army Commander, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka. Pro-LTTE web sites gave wide publicity to their version of what the Army Commander said, as it would strengthen their accusations of impunity against Sri Lankan armed forces.

The Ambassador further said that the YouTube presentation, ‘Short History of Sri Lanka – Tamils Against State Terrorism,’ is another cleverly fabricated piece of disinformation made probably with the Heroes’ Day in view. On November 27th of each year, in Sri Lanka and overseas, the Tigers commemorate Heroes’ Day and remember Tiger cadres, who have died for the LTTE cause. This bogus documentary is designed to hook members of the international community, who are not familiar with Sri Lanka’s conflict, and particularly, the younger generations of Tamil Diaspora whose knowledge of Sri Lanka’s history will be scant at best. The program starts thus, “When the British took over the island in 1796, there were two distinct kingdoms, one Sinhalese, and the other, Tamil. In 1948 British granted independence to the island, handing power to the Sinhalese majority.” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkJOR-cJ3GI.

These words are accompanied by a nonexistent flag of a Tamil kingdom with a Tiger in motion. As the Ambassador pointed out, that is the height of Tiger duplicity, and asked, “How many would research into history to ascertain whether there was an independent Tamil kingdom in 1796?” The last petty king of Jaffna Sangili Kumaran, who reigned under the Portuguese was taken to Goa and hanged by the Portuguese in 1618 A.D. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) staked its claim for a separate state with the Vadukkodai Resolution only in 1976, and not in 1948, as the documentary would have the viewer believe.

The Ambassador explained that those who have followed the fortunes of Sri Lanka are aware, that successive Sri Lankan governments have been trying to negotiate peace with the LTTE since 1985, and that the Tigers have always come to the negotiating table to buy time to regroup and build up their fighting capability. Successive Sri Lanka governments engaged in peace talks with the Tigers in 1985, 1987, 1989/90, 1994, 2002 and 2006. In April 2003, the Tigers abandoned negotiations that saw six rounds of talks facilitated by countries such as Thailand, Norway, Germany and Japan.

In June 2006, having gone to Oslo together with the government delegation, the Tigers refused to participate in negotiations on spurious grounds that that the Government’s representatives were not on par with the seniority of the leader of their delegation. In October 2006, the Tigers walked out mid way during negotiations. Further, on every past negotiating attempt, the Tigers never allowed discussion of substantive issues that sought to settle the conflict. With reality being such, the YouTube documentary audaciously comments, “The liberation movement with its preference for peaceful settlement has participated in several rounds of talks with the government from 1985 onward…. The government continues to employ its traditional methods of intransigence and foot dragging.” It is the Tigers that walked away from the negotiating table at every turn.

The YouTube presentation focuses on ‘Standardization’ of marks for university admission as if it was discrimination against the Tamils. However, as the Ambassador explains, that was positive discrimination practiced even in neighboring countries in fields such as education and employment, favoring underprivileged students from rural areas, whether they were Sinhala students from Sinhalese majority Monaragala in the south, Tamil students from predominantly Tamil Vavuniya in the north or Muslim students from predominantly Muslim Kaththankudy in the east. Standardization or a statistical weighting system was designed to help disadvantaged students from rural districts irrespective of their race, and it was never designed to discriminate against Tamils. Thus, rural Tamil students along with others, benefited from standardization, which is not what the Tigers would have you believe. On the other hand, it was the urban students, who had access to better educational facilities, who were discriminated through standardization, among whom were Sinhala students from locations such as Colombo, Kandy, Galle etc.

This is the same devious strategy that Tiger activists use in trying to whitewash their heinous deeds when exposed, such as the bombing of the Sencholai Tiger training camp in Mullaitivu in the Northern Province, in August 2006, by the Sri Lanka Air Force.

Immediately following the bombing, the Tiger propaganda machinery swung into action, claiming that the ‘Sencholai Children’s Home’ established in 1998 was an “institution housing a girls’ home caring for children rendered orphans by war.” Subsequently, Tigers claimed the victims were schoolgirls attending a two-day training workshop on first aid. Thereafter, they claimed that the girls were attending a 10-day residential training course designed to provide leadership training. It was later established that following the relocation of the Sencholai Children’s Home to Kilinochchi in January 2006, this facility was used by the Tigers, since April/May 2006, to train people’s militia. Three girls who survived the bombing, subsequently confessed to authorities that they were school girls, who had been coerced into military training as resident students at the LTTE run Sencholai Institution.

In deeper analysis, the very foundation of the LTTE demand for “Tamil Eelam” is nothing but fictitious, for there was never, at any time in Sri Lanka’s history, “a traditional Tamil homeland” as has been widely claimed by the LTTE. As Gamini Iriyagolla says in Tamil Claims to Land: Fact and Fiction, “(it is) an audacious falsification of ancient and modern Sri Lanka history.”

The Vaddukkodai Resolution of 1976 of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) tries to establish a Tamil homeland (or Eelam) in the Northern Province and the Eastern Province, based on a paragraph from a single piece of writing, the Cleghorn Minute of 1799. The British colonial government instructed Hugh Cleghorn, the first Colonial Secretary, to provide a report on the “Administration of Justice and Revenue in the Dutch Settlements.” Following a brief stay in then Ceylon, Cleghorn wrote a memorandum on the Dutch system of administration of justice in the maritime regions, which the British had just conquered. The Dutch maritime settlements referred to, was a thin strip of coastline in the South West which had a Sinhala majority and a thin strip of coastline in the east, where Tamils and Muslims lived. The TULF deliberately distorted this information to extend the Dutch-held coastal strip occupied mostly by Tamil speaking people to the whole of the present day Northern and Eastern Provinces. It did not matter to them that the British demarcated these two provinces in 1833 in terms of the Colebrook-Cameron Reforms, and later, in 1899, demarcated the borders of the 9 provinces, which exist to date, solely for administrative purposes and not on ethnic considerations.

This is how Tamil political groups came to selectively choose the following from the Cleghorn Minute to buttress their claims: “Two different nations from a very ancient period, have divided between them the possessions of the island: First the Cinhalese (Singhalese) inhabiting the interior of the country in its southern and western parts from the river Wallowe to that of Chilaw, and secondly the Malabars (Tamils), who possess the northern and eastern districts. These two nations differ in their religions, language and manners.”

It was no surprise that the TULF and the LTTE conveniently ignored the fact that even the then Governor of Ceylon, Fredrick North, expressed reservations on the accuracy of Cleghorn’s statement. In the same Minute, Cleghorn also erroneously stated that the Sinhalese derived their origin from Siam (present day Thailand).

This statement was very adroitly left out by Tamil political groups as it would have cast doubts on the veracity of the Tamil homeland statement. Merely six years after Cleghorn wrote his Minute, Captain Robert Percival, in his book ‘An Account of the Island of Ceylon’ (1805) said, “The inhabitants of Jaffna consist of a collection of various races. The greatest number of Malabars is of Moorish extraction and is divided into several tribes known by the names of Lubbhas, Belalas, Mopleys, Chittys and Choliars and a few Brahmins; they are distinguished by wearing little round caps on their close shaven heads. There is also a race of Malabars found here somewhat differing in their appearance from those of the continent. These different tribes of foreign settlers greatly exceeded in number the native Ceylonese in the district of Jaffna (pp71-72)”

If Cleghorn’s statement is to be indisputably accepted, it was the Muslims that were in majority in Jaffna during the period of his presence there, a little over two hundred years ago, and not the Tamils. Ambassador Goonetilleke asked, “In which case, whither “the traditional homeland” of the Tamils?” He asked pertinently, “Why did a Tamil scholar like Mudliyar C. Rasanayagam in his 1926 book, ‘Ancient Jaffna,’ say, “ That Jaffna was occupied by the Sinhalese earlier than by the Tamils, is seen not only in the place names of Jaffna, but also in some of the habits and customs of the people.” (p.384)

Thus the facts of history, demography and geography have been distorted by Tamil political groups, and a masterful attempt has been made to mislead the international community on this dubious claim of the existence of a ‘historical Tamil Homeland’ in Sri Lanka.

Every year, as November 27, the day that marks the sacrifices of their fighting cadres, closes in on the Tigers, they take stock of their dead. According to LTTE sources, over the past twenty-four years, they have lost 19538 young men and women, including child soldiers by 31 August 2007.

The Tigers, who try to forcibly hoist their will on the Tamil community as “their sole representatives,” are the very source that is single mindedly decimating the Tamil race.

The Tamil community needs to dauntlessly break off the web of deceit that is being constantly spun around them and recognize the Tigers for what they are a group of ruthless terrorists, who will demand sacrifice after sacrifice from Tamil youth until their mythical “Tamil Homeland” is wrested through bloodshed and destruction. It is time for all Sri Lankans to take stock of the situation, move away from violence once and for all and find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

(http://www.asiantribune.com)

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“Groundless public accusations can seriously compromise our ability to carry out humanitarian and development work and are also putting the safety and security of UN staff and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners at risk,” Neil Buhne, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Sri Lanka, said in a recent statement released by the UN Inter Agency Standing Committee (ISAC) country team.Buhne’s warning came in response to recent accusations against the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) by members of the Sri Lankan opposition, widely circulated in the local press. They include allegations that the UN agency had imported “combat rations” allegedly destined for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), that it had channeled finances to a banned organization, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), and that its staff participated in a local protest in June 2007. On 26 November UNICEF was accused of providing the LTTE with bullet-proof vehicles.

On 22 November a member of parliament from the People’s Liberation Front, Wimal Weeravansha, asked about the intended use of a container of ready-to-eat-meals UNICEF had imported. “This kind of food is not for the consumption of civilians,” he told parliament. “Usually, this kind of food is needed for military units that engage in guerrilla warfare and that’s why these food parcels are known as ‘combat rations’.”

The UNICEF shipment was impounded the same day by Sri Lankan customs authorities.

The office of the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Colombo said in a 23 November statement that the meals were imported on behalf of 12 UN and other agencies, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UN Development Programme, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the World Food Programme, for consumption by their staff in emergency situations.

UN to cooperate with any government investigations

While the UN acknowledges and fully supports the right of a sovereign government to investigate credible allegations of wrongdoing, the circumstances of this action [impounding] appear to have been driven by unsupported statements in parliament earlier that day by a member of the opposition,” it added. Nonetheless, said Buhne, “The UN and its partners will follow established procedures agreed with by the government, including cooperation with investigations of any alleged misconduct.”

Regarding accusations by some Sri Lankan political parties that UNICEF was financing the TRO, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry in a 23 November statement said UNICEF had agreed to make public an audit of its transactions in Sri Lanka to prove there were no ongoing dealings with the TRO. The TRO was banned this month in the USA and subsequently in Sri Lanka for acting as a front for the Tamil Tigers.

UNICEF spokesperson Gordon Weiss told IRIN UNICEF had stopped working with the TRO in early 2006. He also rejected Weeravansha’s charge that UNICEF had provided bullet-proof vehicles to the Tamil Tigers. “Only one vehicle was modified to withstand blasts and it is still being used by UNICEF,” Weiss said.

Three UN staff involved in demonstrations

On the issue of staff involvement in demonstrations, UNICEF headquarters in New York is currently considering action against three staff members from its Sri Lanka office who took part in a public protest, the UN agency’s Colombo office said. The 6 June protest had been organised by local civic groups to decry rising violence against aid workers.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry on 23 November asked UNICEF country representative Phillippe Duamelle “to take appropriate action against the staff members who participated in the demonstration, including the withdrawal of the concerned international staff and the termination of local staff.”

However, by the time the government request was conveyed, according to Weiss, a UNICEF internal inquiry into the protest incident was already under way.

Weiss told IRIN that one of the three UNICEF staff has already left the services of the UN agency, while the other two, one international and the other a Sri Lankan, are still working in UNICEF’s Colombo office.

“We take any transgression by a staff member extremely seriously,” said Weiss, adding that UN staff are barred from taking part in any activity that would compromise UNICEF’s impartiality.

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Brutality had so hardened in their hearts that the LTTE will never reform themselves, says V.Anandasangaree who condemned the brutal attack on the innocent civilians at the Nugegoda junction by the LTTE, by exploding a bomb which caused the death of 17 people and injured over thirty five others.“While condemning this cruel act,” Anandasangaree, President of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in a press release said, “I express my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of both incidents and plead with the people to keep calm without giving vent to their feelings and to see to the safety of the minorities living in their midst.

Giving below the full text of V.Anandasangaree’s press release:

Bomb Blast at Nugegoda

“I very strongly condemn the brutal attack on the innocent civilians at the Nugegoda junction by the LTTE by exploding a bomb which caused the death of 17 people and injured over thirty five others. Brutality had so hardened in their hearts that the LTTE will never reform themselves. The news item that 11 persons including 9 students had been killed in a claymore mine attack by the forces that penetrated deeply into the LTTE held area is a real fabrication. Reading this in the Tamil news paper this morning I felt that this news is a prelude to some serious incident to take place in the course of the day and as expected this tragic incident had taken place at Nugegoda.

“The claymore mine incident took place in a village which is so close to the Kilinochchi town that the forces can’t even dream of reaching that village and if what the paper had said is true, the end of the LTTE is nearing.

“Those who were instrumental for this news to appear in the papers had a clear motive for doing so. It is obviously to show the International Community that the 2nd incident is retaliatory to the first incident and also to justify it.

“As one who knows the Kilinochchi Electorate well, I am positively sure that the forces could not have access to the village where this tragedy took place. This area was a part of the Kilinochchi Electorate before the Mullaitheevu Electorate was created.

“While condemning this cruel act, I express my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of both incidents and plead with the people to keep calm without giving vent to their feelings and to see to the safety of the minorities living in their midst.

V. Anandasangaree,
President – TULF. “

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Sri Lanka said two attacks that killed 18 people in the capital, Colombo, yesterday may be the start of a bombing campaign by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in response to rebel military defeats. “The LTTE has targeted innocent civilians who have no involvement in the ongoing military operations,” Jayantha Wickremarathna, a police spokesman, said late yesterday in Colombo. “In the midst of repeated defeats and setbacks on the battle field, LTTE attacks against civilians could intensify in the coming weeks.”

A parcel bomb killed 17 people in Colombo’s Nugegoda district during the evening rush hour. Earlier, a female suicide bomber killed herself in the office of Social Services Minister Douglas Devananda. The minister’s public relations officer died of injuries received in the attack.

Sri Lanka’s army won control of the eastern region in July after 14 years of fighting, leaving the LTTE holding areas in the north in its pursuit of a separate Tamil homeland. Military operations against the LTTE have “shut fast the door for peace,” Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tamil Tigers’ leader, said in his annual address two days ago.

“The general public should be extra vigilant about their surroundings especially in trains, buses, crowded areas and even in schools,” Wickremarathna said, according to the Media Center for National Security’s Web site.

All state-run schools in the Western Province, where Colombo is located, were told to shut today and tomorrow, the Daily News reported, citing the Ministry of Education.

Cricket Tour

England’s cricket team is going ahead with its tour to Sri Lanka next month, Samantha Algama, media manager for Sri Lanka Cricket, said in a telephone interview in Colombo today.

“The tour is on, it’s on schedule,” Algama said. “The team has already been given ministerial level security. If they ask for more, we are willing to grant them that.”

The first Test match starts in the central city of Kandy on Dec. 1 and the teams play in Colombo Dec. 9.

The parcel bomb was left on the counter at a private company and exploded while a security guard went to inform his superiors that the package was suspicious, Wickremarathna said at a briefing late yesterday. Police are investigating how the bomb was detonated, he said.

Suicide Bomber

The suicide bomber, a polio-afflicted woman who carried explosives hidden in her bra, was allowed into Devananda’s building because the minister was scheduled to meet patients, Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said yesterday.

Devananda wasn’t harmed in the attack that injured two security guards.

The minister leads the Eelam People’s Democratic Party, one of the main parties representing Tamil-speaking people.

He fought with the Tamil Tigers before joining the “democratic stream of politics, renouncing the gruesome crimes committed by the LTTE,” the Defense Ministry said on its Web site. “So far, the LTTE has made eight attempts on Minister Devananda’s life.”

The Tamil Tigers, designated a terrorist group by the U.S., the European Union and India, have been fighting for 24 years in a conflict that has killed more than 70,000 people.

Radio Station

Sri Lanka’s air force bombed the LTTE’s Voice of Tigers radio station two days ago to try to stop it broadcasting Prabhakaran’s speech. The attack destroyed the building near the LTTE headquarters in Kilinochchi, northern Sri Lanka, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The LTTE said 10 people were killed and that Prabhakaran’s address was broadcast by a support radio, TamilNet reported.

“Civilians traveling on the road were also killed,” the LTTE Peace Secretariat said in an e-mailed statement. Three members of the radio’s editorial team and seven civilians died, TamilNet cited an unidentified LTTE official as saying.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern that an office of the World Food Program in Kilinochchi was damaged in the raid, the UN said. Ban called on the rebels and the government to ensure the protection of civilians and to return to the peace process.

Reporters Without Borders denounced the attack as a “war crime,” according to a statement on its Web site. Under the Geneva Conventions, only military targets should be attacked, the Paris-based organization said.

The International Federation of Journalists, a Brussels- based organization with branches in 120 countries, said in a statement the raid was an attack on freedom of speech and violated international law.

Propaganda Voice

Sri Lanka’s government said the radio station was the propaganda organ of an internationally proscribed terrorist organization.

“The employment of civilians in that facility, if indeed there were any, was a choice made by the Tamil Tigers,” Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, said in a statement. “The target was a legitimate one.”

Rajapaksa, in a speech to Parliament on Nov. 7, vowed to “eradicate” terrorism from the South Asian island, saying the Tamil Tigers have “demonstrated that they will never be ready to surrender arms and agree to a democratic political settlement.”

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The Tiger chief has spoken. Unlike his previous speeches full of sabre-rattling, threats, warnings and vivisection, Tuesday’s one was not a roar but a whine punctuated by feeble growls here and there. Overall, it was a passionate entreaty to the international community begging for its help vis-à-vis the increasing alienation of the LTTE internationally.

The not-so-eagerly-awaited speech begins with a lament. Prabhakaran is sad that the ‘Sinhala nation’ is lagging behind other nations in Asia in this ‘Asian century’. Many countries in the region, he says, have made vast strides in various fields and are researching into the space, the moon and the atom. The reason why the Sinhala nation cannot keep pace with the others, according to him, is that it is trying to destroy the Tamil nation. Then he sheds a few tears for the island which, he says, ‘continues to soak in blood’. Not a bad start but he is being a bit too maudlin!

Then, he does a little bit of philosophising. “Buddhism,” Prabhakaran tells us, “is a profound spiritual duty.” Wow, he knows his Buddhism! “Its philosophy,” he continues, “is life without desires, a life of love and justice.” If so, then why on earth did he bomb the Dalada Maligawa, where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is kept, in 1998 and massacre a busload of Buddhist monks at Arantalawa in 1987? Devil quoting scriptures, one may say! He blames the Sinhalese for being ‘immersed in poison of racism’while claiming to be Buddhists. (Look who is talking!)

Thus, he cleverly tries to market his violent campaign to the non-Buddhist West, where he is getting isolated. Not a bad try! But, if it is the so-called Sinhala Buddhists who, according to him, are suppressing the Tamil nation, why has he resorted to ethnic cleansing against the poor Muslims who are no party to the conflict? In 1990, he chased all the Muslims from the North and grabbed their property, didn’t he? He has also massacred thousands of Muslims.

Prabhakaran lambastes the international community for being trapped in a chauvinistic project of the Sinhala state. “The one-sided involvements of foreign powers,” he says, “are not new in our prolonged struggle.” He cites the Indo-Lanka Accord as an example and views the Indian intervention as ‘part of its regional expansion’. He faults India for having tried to force ‘an ineffectual solution’ on ‘the people of Tamil Eelam’, which, he says, didn’t envisage devolution at least to the extent of what was promised in the Banda-Chelva pact. He blames the ‘Sinhala state’ for blocking India’s solution. Here, one has the ‘Sun God’ lying through his teeth! It is he who went all out to scuttle the Provincial Councils by taking on the IPKF.

He blames the international community for making the same mistake as India. “What we find most incomprehensible,” he laments, “is the fact that these same nations, which labelled us terrorists, not so long ago fought in defence of their own freedom.” The reason, somebody should tell Prabhakaran, is that the world doesn’t consider his war a freedom struggle. No freedom fighter destroys the people whom he claims to protect. Prabhakaran has wiped out the entire democratic Tamil political leadership save a handful; destroyed the future of a whole generation by forcibly turning children into cannon fodder; killed thousands of Tamils; exploited the people under his gun in every conceivable way by way of illegal taxes and ransom and violently suppressed political dissent. Has any freedom fighter used disabled people as suicide bombers? Prabhakaran did so yesterday by getting a disabled woman to blow herself up in Colombo! (The International Day of the Disabled People falls in a few days on Dec. 03.) A true freedom fighter cares for the people, especially children and women, whom he tries to liberate. But, Prabhakaran cares only for his family. His children are studying abroad and one is being groomed as his successor in the safety of a well fortified underground bunker, while the offspring of the ordinary people are being abducted and turned into combatants. That’s why, Prabhakaran should realise, the world doesn’t consider him a liberator. Pol Pot, Bokassa, Idi Amin, Papa Doc were not regarded liberators, were they?

Prabhakaran says ‘the Sinhala state’ used the ceasefire as a cover to prepare for war, and blames the SLMM for doing nothing about it. As far as we are aware, the UNF government made no war preparations. Instead, it totally neglected the military. So did the UPFA government until last year. What did Prabhakaran do during that time? Didn’t he smuggle in several shiploads of arms, as Karuna claimed later on? The present government, he says, ‘assembled its military might and let loose a massive war on the eastern region’. “The Rajapakse regime,” he says, after unilaterally abrogating the ceasefire agreement, is ruthlessly implementing its military plan to remove the contiguity of the Tamil homeland…” (Emphasis added). Nietzsche’s assertion that the lie is a condition of life stands! Aren’t grown up men ashamed of lying? President Rajapaksa was lily-livered and weak-kneed until Prabhakaran’s boys captured the Mavil Aru anicut last year, plunging the country back into war. Within days of President Rajapaksa’s election, it may be recalled, Prabhakaran promised war in his 2005 heroes’ day speech. The Tiger chief should own up to the fact that it was his military miscalculations that made a meek President Rajapaksa fight back first and then go on the offensive.

Having lashed out at the SLMM and the international community, Prabhakaran rises to their defence. He blames the government for reprimanding and controlling the Norwegian facilitators, vehemently criticising the SLMM, branding UN officials as terrorists, instilling fear in journalists and NGO workers. See how concerned he is! But, the question is why he abducted two UN workers a few months ago. The INGOS have been keeping their local staff indoors for months in the Wanni in view of LTTE abductions.

“It was only when we proved our military prowess and only when we were militarily in a position of strength,” Prabhakaran says, “that the Sinhala nation signed the ceasefire agreement.” What is wrong with his memory? Is age telling on him? Can’t he remember that it was he who declared a unilateral truce in 2001 and the UNF government only reciprocated that gesture?

The Tiger chief keeps contradicting himself at a rate. Having accused the government of ‘ruthlessly implementing its military plan to remove the contiguity of the Tamil homeland (read the recapture of the East), he says, “We have strategically withdrawn from the east while launching defensive attacks.” If so, why should he worry about the government’s military action? He boasts, “The Sinhala nation could have learnt the dangers of putting its feet too wide apart in our land as it did during past battles… it will soon be forced to face the serious consequences of its misguided ambitions.” Hush, Hush! If the government is making a blunder, he should keep silent. It was Napoleon who said, “Never interrupt your enemy, when he is making a mistake!”

‘Operation Ellalan, the very first combined Black Tiger and Tamil Eelam Air Force attack’, he brags, has ‘disrupted the daydreams of the Sinhala nation’. True, that raid was a huge success and it dealt a devastating blow to the military. But, has it taken him anywhere near his goal? He has lost Tamilselvam and a state-of-the-art satellite communication centre worth millions of dollars in retaliatory air-strikes. It is sad that he has not mentioned those cadres who perished in seven arms smuggling vessels sunk by the Navy since his last heroes’ day speech. Unbecoming of a leader, eh?

The LTTE air wing had nothing to do with the success of the Anuradhapura attack, contrary to Prabhakaran’s claim. It was the Black Tigers who should be given the full credit for that raid posthumously. Prabhakaran’s son’s planes came after everything was over just to show off. Did he send those planes to the scene to promote the image of his son he is grooming for leadership?

Finally, the Tiger chief lets the cat out of the bag. He laments that ‘although 80 million Tamils live all around the globe, the Tamils do not have a country of their own… on this sacred day, it is the hope of our people that the international community will cease giving military and economic aid to the Sinhala regime and accept the right to self-determination and the sovereignty of the Tamil nation.” He reminds the international community that it has helped East Timor and Montenegro become independent states. That is the kind of solution Prabhakaran is seeking. He is not just trying to solve a local problem but a broader international issue.

So, how can the international community or other pundits claim that he who wants to create a state for 80 million people will settle for devolution in the North and the East of tiny Sri Lanka?

“We are not terrorists, committing blind acts of violence impelled by racist or religious fanaticism,” Prabhakaran says, “our struggle has a concrete, legitimate, political objective.” Whom is he trying to fool? He had better go tell that to the Marines – or to Hillary Clinton!

(www.island.lk)

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Angry ethnic Indians who marched in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to protest race-based discrimination in  Malaysia carried portraits of Mahatma Gandhi  as a symbol of their non-violent struggle.

“But if their genuine grievances continue to be ignored, (Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers leader) Velupillai Prabakaran could soon replace Gandhi as their inspiration,” warns P. Ramasamy, former professor of history at University Kebangsaan Malaysia.

In an interview to DNA from Singapore, Ramasamy, who was appointed by the LTTE to its Constitutional Affairs Committee in 2003, connected the dots that link the Tamil diaspora in Malaysia (which accounts for most of the  Indian population there) to the Tamil Eelam movement in Sri Lanka.

The chilling picture that emerges is one that holds serious foreign policy implications for India, quite similar to what it faced in Sri Lanka in the early 1980s.

“There is a very real risk of radical groups taking over the movement if the Malay government persists with its racially discriminatory policies,” says Ramasamy, whose services at the University were terminated  for criticiing government’s policies.

“Today, the ethnic Indian movement may be a loose formulation, and their ideas may not seem well-formulated. But if there’s a police crackdown, there will be retaliation.” The government’s stated intention of invoking the Internal Security Act against demonstrators could trigger such a confrontation.

Malaysian journalist Baradan Kuppusamy, who has been an up-close observer of events concerning the Indian community, too senses an increasing inclination to resort to militancy as a last resort.

“They have been knocking their heads on the wall for so long, that some form of radicalisation has already happened.” Militant views are not yet being publicly articulated, “but they are frequently voiced in private gatherings,” he notes.

It is in this context that the Tamil diaspora’s solidarity with the LTTE assumes significance. Ramasamy notes that Tamils in Malaysia are active contributors to the Tamil Eelam cause.

“Indians in Malaysia are very sympathetic to Prabakaran, and Tamil newspapers valorise Prabakaran,” adds Kuppusamy.

So is there a real risk of an LTTE-like movement getting underway in Malaysia? Says Kuppusamy: “From my study of the ethnic Indian movements, I feel that the current leadership – headed by firebrand lawyer Uthayakumar – is among the most radical, willing to take big risks, and court arrest.”

But from there to an open call to arms is a long way off, and Kuppusamy believes this leadership is incapable of making that leap. “But there could be a splinter group in the years ahead, which could be far more radical, so, yes, the possibility does exist,” he says.

For the Indian foreign policy establishment, which is still grappling with the Sri Lanka-sized problem, the prospect of Malaysia going down the same road can only be a nightmarish proposition.

(http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1136140&pageid=2)

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At least 13 including 11 school children were killed in a claymore attack inside the LTTE controlled areas in the Wanni yesterday morning. The LTTE which blamed the military for the attack, said the incident took place in Iyankerni – 25 kilometres from the Kilinochchi town.
The military however strongly denied any involvement in the attack.
The LTTE said the children were travelling in a van to attend an LTTE ‘heroes day’ event.
“We don’t know anything about this incident because we don’t operate in those areas,” Military spokesman Udaya Nanayakara told the Daily Mirror.
The incident however could not be verified independently.

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