Thirty-two years ago on Friday, anti-Tamil riots burned a hole into the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka that it still struggles to close. For many of us in the Canadian Tamil diaspora, it is an emotional reminder of not only what we had lost in Sri Lanka but also what we have gained in Canada in return
Asserting that there is a “threat” to national security, Sri Lanka’s opposition today asked the government to act urgently over a US report which said that the LTTE’s international network and funding was intact.
“The UN Human Rights Commission’s decision to investigate violations and the huge loss of life during the last months of the war concluded in 2009 was a significant victory for the victims. The dignity of the victims required that the truth must be told without fear or favour, and processes of justice and restoration set in motion. And the wrong was not all on one side. Dignity also demands that we await the verdict of the judges with restraint and reverence for the name of justice.”
The UN Human Rights Commission’s decision to investigate violations and the huge loss of life during the last months of the war concluded in 2009 was a significant victory for the victims.
The dignity of the victims required that the truth must be told without fear or favour, and processes of justice and restoration set in motion. And the wrong was not all on one side.
Dignity also demands that we await the verdict of the judges with restraint and reverence for the name of justice.
But in Jaffna, all hell broke loose over the coming UNHRC report in an orgy of mud-slinging, recrimination and effigy burning for Tamil leadership spoils.
Some academics in Jaffna University led by taking on themselves the task of identifying and upbraiding ‘traitors to the race’ in a return to dangerous heroics. MPs Sampanthan and Sumanthiran were excoriated for attending the Independence Day function.
The first shot in virtually christening the coming UN report a ‘genocide report’ was fired by Northern Chief Minister Justice Wigneswaran on 10th February 2015 in the Provincial Council resolution he advanced.
The opinion held by a sizeable portion of the university teachers was not to politicise the coming UN report, so as to allow Sinhalese to read it with an open mind. There was no opposition to delay, as requested by the new government. But this moderate stance got lost in the rush of events. It was presented to the media on 13th February as the University Teachers demanding the release of the report as scheduled in March.”
“Tamil National Alliance(TNA)Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan MP and TNA National list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran won many hearts and minds by participating in the official Independence day ceremony held in Battaramulla on February 4th….”
With that election, the man who had paid the LTTE Rs. 500 million to effect a polls boycott, became the supra-patriot in an end-justifies-the-means argument. Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had refused to give into the Tiger’s political demands, became a traitor.
Sri Lanka played up concerns of LTTE regrouping in South Africa despite contrary intelligence report
Shahnaz Habib writes for The New Yorker’s ‘Briefly Noted’ a review of the last book of Shobasakti “The MGR Murder Trial “.
Again and again, the stories in this exciting new collection from Sri Lankan writer Shobasakthi grapple with the question of who a character really is. The writer, who now lives in France as a refugee and has worked as a dishwasher, construction worker and street sweeper over the last 20 years…
“Sri Lanka will Celebrate its Sixty-seventh Anniversary of Independence from the United Kingdom this Wednesday. The country then known as Ceylon obtained full freedom from the British on February 4th 1948.Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka / has faced many challenges and problems in the past 67 years. We have had military coup attempts, communal riots, pogroms, armed revolts, external military intervention, assassinations of heads of state, terrorist violence and above all a long secessionist war that threatened to tear apart the country.”
Sri Lanka’s new government plans to return private land seized by the military in the civil war-ravaged north and release several hundred detainees, a minister said, in an apparent move toward reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils. Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters late Wednesday that the government of new President Maithripala Sirisena will ease its military presence, and that unlike the previous administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa that was defeated in the Jan. 8 election, does not believe military action alone can prevent a resurgence of the rebels. “Especially for the north, we don’t think we need all that security. Our entire concept will be different,” he said. “About the lands in the north … we have already decided whatever acquired for business purposes, other than the security purposes, to give back to the owners.” He said the administration of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the civil war, was always concerned about a resurgence of the group. “We don’t think you can stop an LTTE resurrection (just) with an army,” he said. “So spending on security will be very moderate.”
In four months’ time, Sri Lanka will mark the sixth anniversary of the end of its bloody civil conflict. Ever since government armed forces declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on May 19, 2009, the country has savored peace after a generation of war.
Sonali Samarasinghe to Mahinda Rajapaksa:
“The irony of the presidential election being fixed for the sixth anniversary of the day on which my husband and your ‘friend’, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was assassinated, may have escaped you. It has not escaped me.”
The question is of great relevance and grave significance at a time when the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner’s office is investigating alleged human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sri Lanka in terms of a resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“Shobhasakthi’s Traitor ends with a surrealistic description where an old man wandering about the mountains with a corpse which he carries – a corpse which he uses to entertain, disgust and even to drive away people; which he sometimes uses for his own sustenance – encounters a carter going uphill caught in a predicament with its horse which wouldn’t budge. The carter whispers in the horse’s ear, tries a mild stroking from its whip and – all failing – thrashes the beast with all his might. The old man, who with his corpse is seated nearby, is visibly moved and intervenes. This abstraction with which the novel ends is a surrealistic summing up of the fate of the Eelamist struggle and the fate of its various stakeholders.”