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Fraudulent concept of a “fire-free, no-fire, safe zone”

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Nowadays there is a lot of media focus on the terms “Safe-Zone,” “fire-Free Zone,” and “No-Fire Zone” in the Northern mainland known as the Wanni.

All terms refer to a designated tract of territory where the warring parties namely the armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are not supposed to fire from or fire at each other.

[Safety measure during gun fire]

The underlying reason being to afford the helpless civilians a safe haven away from the fighting where they could literally and metaphorically experience “breathing space”.

Thus the terms “no-fire” and “fire-free” zones. At present both refer to a single zone. It is also called a safe zone at times.

In practice, these terms have become virtual misnomers because there has been constant firing both from and at the zone.

The people within the zone have often been killed and injured. The zone is more unsafe than safe.

The Government charges the LTTE of entering the safe zone and mingling with the civilians. The tigers are accused of taking cover behind the civilians in a cowardly manner and firing upon the armed forces outside the zone.

The LTTE on the other hand says the security forces are bombing, shelling and firing at the people inside the safe zone. The pro-tiger media is replete with disturbing pictures and vivid details of the civilian victims.

In what would have been comical , but for the fact that people are getting victimised the Government denies responsibility for civilians getting killed or injured.

Official spokespersons say that if any one is getting killed or injured it must be terrorists because the security forces do not target civilians.

The defence spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara often maintains that he has no knowledge of the army engaging in any military operation in the area.

Yet the same government facilitates through the good offices of the ICRC an evacuation mission where injured civilians from the zone are taken to hospitals by ship.

If the Government consistently denies that civilians are getting killed or injured the LTTE enacts another drama claiming that the helpless civilians are staying in the zone willingly.

[People waiting to get sugar]

The tigers deny that they are keeping the bulk of the population against its will within the zone.

The LTTE also blacks out the fact that the main if not the sole reason for the people getting affected is due to attacks launched from within the zone thus inevitably drawing retaliatory fire.

Judging by all the attention focused on this zone one would think that the fire-free or no-fire or safe zone is a concept with a sound legal basis.

Truth is stranger than fiction!Actually, the so called safe zone has no legal basis. It is a piece of legal fiction.

The Armed forces have certainly announced “safe” zones. But they were all unilateral pronouncements.

If a “safe” zone was to be adhered to then both parties to the conflict must concur. In this case the LTTE was not even consulted. At no stage were agencies like the ICRC officially requested to engage the LTTE and bring about a joint decision.Instead it was a unilateral imposition without any legal framework.

Let’s look at recent history.

Even as the war escalated and civilians became displaced the clamour for a safe haven where they could be away from the fighting was mooted on a humanitarian basis.

The demand increased after fighting shifted to areas east of the A-9 highway. As territory controlled by the LTTE began shrinking , civilian vulnerability increased.

It was at this point that the army announced the first “safe” zone. This was supposedly the areas between Viswamadhu and Oddusuddan inclusive of both places.

Viswamadhu is on the Paranthan-Mullaitheevu road while Oddusuddan is on the Mankulam- Mullaitheevu road.

Despite the declaration , nothing tangible evolved and within a short period the army seized Oddusuddan. Thereafter it marched towards Viswamadhu and took that place also

The second act of the farce was when the army declared another safe zone along the Paranthan-Mullaitheevu road between Udayarkattu junction and the “Manjalpaalam” (Yellow bridge) and towards Iruttumadhu in the east.

This “zone” too was doomed from the start.

The reason was starkly simple.

[Puthumathalan hospital Female ward 16 April]

If a “safe” zone was to be an effective,practical reality the designated area should either be away from the theatre of conflict or one where both parties agree to demarcate as a “no-conflict” zone .

This did not happen.

Also the areas declared as “safe” were all in the line of advance by the army. Effectively, the LTTE was being asked to give up the right to defend some areas they were holding and make it “safe” for civilians.

Naturally, this did not happen. The fighting continued and within hours civilians who moved into the “safe” zone were caught in the crossfire.

Initially many believed that the Safe zone proposal was a sincere one. The Catholic Bishop of Jaffna , Thomas Soundaranayagam, welcomed the proposal and requested that the zone be extended to the coastal strip of Mullaitheevu district also.

As events unfolded it became clear that this safe zone would not work.

It was clear that a “safe” zone could work only if both parties concurred on a designated area away from the fighting and if a reputed third party like the ICRC was also involved to some degree.

Unilateral declarations by the security forces designating areas in the line of army advance could not succeed.

The safe zone assumed a bizarre twist when some areas in the Mullaitheevu littoral were declared as a “fire-free” or “no-fire” zone by the army.

Again these areas were within LTTE controlled territory. Basically it was a coastal strip extending between Ambalavanpokkanai in the north to Vattavaakallu in the South. The areas came under the Karaithuraipatru AGA division.

The curious thing about this was that the people had moved or been moved en masse into this area by the LTTE before it was declared as “safe” by the security forces.

This was due to clashing military logic.

The Army had planned out a move to take the coast and thereby “box” in the LTTE without access to the sea. For this the 55 division was to move south along the coast from Challai. The 59 division was to move north from Karaichikkudiyiruppu. Both were to link up half-way.

The LTTE resorted to a cruel and inhuman stratagem by moving the civilians into this coastal strip in large numbers. If the army tried to move along the coast , large numbers of civilians would be killed or injured. It was an inhumane “human deterrent” placed by the LTTE.

The security forces were compelled to abandon the original manoeuvre. Thereafter they concentrated on the A-35 and adjacent areas in the hinterland rather than the Karaithuraipatru littoral.

In a remarkable twist the Army declared the areas between Ambalavanpokkanai and Vattavaakallu as a fire free zone. This resulted in people moving towards the coast. Originally the LTTE had “moved” about 25,000 – 30,000 people. Now the numbers began swelling.

With the fall of Puthukkudiyiruppu and other areas in the Puthukkudiyiruppu AGA division the so-called” safe” zone began overflowing with civilians.

The Army made a virtue out of necessity by declaring the coastal strip a safe zone. Since the LTTE had blocked the plan to take the coast by moving civilians in large numbers the armed forces had to declare so.

By this the army deflected criticism on account of civilian casualties. Declaring a safe zone silenced the international community. At the same time the people in the hinterland had a safe place to move into. They were temporarily not in the line of advance by the army.

[Twin babies delivered on 16 April 2009 by dedicated Health team; delivered by cesarean section successfully with very minimum facilities-pic: RDHS/Kilinochchi at Puthumathalan]

Things have changed after the fall of Puthukkudiyiruppu.Only the coastal strip remains in LTTE hands now. The Army has to capture it if it wants to deny all territorial control to the LTTE.

The tables have been turned on the tigers. The LTTE thought itself smart when it moved the people into the littoral to block the army moving along the coast.

What has happened now is that the army has taken all other areas and the people are crammed into this coastal strip that has been unilaterally declared as a safe zone.

The tigers are making their last stand here. But they are being widely condemned for misusing and abusing the safe zone by mingling with civilians and fighting from there.

If the LTTE were to move away from the safe zone it will have no place to go. If it allows the civilians to leave in large numbers it would have no cover.

In a way the LTTE is entrapped with the civilians. To use an archaic expression the tigers are hoist with their own petard.

The last stand of the LTTE is within this densely populated littoral. The zone is transformed into the arena of conflict.

Thus the so called safe zone has changed into an unsafe zone.The fraudulent fire-free zone is becoming a free-fire zone. The non-existent no-fire zone is no more.

But then there never ever was a legally defined safe, fire-free, no-fire zone in the first place.

I can be reached on
Email: dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

111 Comments

  1. Mr. Jeyaraj

    You have exposed both the Army and LTTE and about the fraud fire -free zone. Both sides are not concerned about the plight of pathetic people. How sad it is, no?

  2. You are absolutely correct DBS. The LTTE forced people into the sea side to block army coming. But now tigers trapped into same zone with civilians. Whole world wants them to go out of there or let people go out

  3. With or without the Punditry of self made war correspondents and kneejerking IC with ulterior agendas the fall of LTTE for good is imminent. Only you and the ones in your ilk got to look for other jobs. SL soldiers with the humanity in mind only holding fire at NFZ is the holy truth.

  4. mr.jeyaraj,
    I have been reading your articles since eighty’s. why do not you create an archive for all your writings ????

  5. Ltte take peple with them to save them from army. Today only tigers fighting for tamils. Army will be chased off soon

  6. I have heard that horrible things are happening at the detention camps. Therefore, people are not much better off if they leave the NFZ.

  7. Wasantha Ranagala is unable to read and comprehend what has been written in this artical. People of his ilk are blinded by hate and clouded by venom

  8. There is a contradiction in your writing in putting the blame on LTTE.

    You have written that only around 25,000 people were there initially and only after the declaration by the government bulk of the people moved inside.

    Then how can you accuse LTTE that they had planned to move all the people into the coastal area to prevent the army troops from linking up?

    When LTTE is repeatedly pleading for international observers t o be allowed inside the ‘safe zone’ to verify the facts, only government is refusing to do so.

    It is clear that the government has lot to hide and its accusations on LTTE regarding the ‘hostage situation’ is just false propaganda.

    DBSJ responds: Please re- read what I wrote. Isaid the LTTE had MOVED 25 to 30,000 civilians into the coastal strip to block the 55 and 59 from linking up.

  9. If after all this the tamils keep supporting LTTE, it could be only compared to the nazi party & hitler being supported by germans after WW 2.

    it also could reflect the lack of vission, leadership, depth, desperation, hopelessness & the inability to change for the better.

    what they must realise is that from now onwards the behaviour of the diaspora will be closely watched & all the support & sympathy they conned out from the west is under severe strain & could crash fast.

    it could be compared to an economic bubble. it takes a lot of cunning, conning, bogus schemes, time & effort to build up, but could crash faster than anyone can imagine.

  10. It is cruelty by Tamil Diaspora demanding a ceasefire from GOSL rather than pleading LTTE to evacuate the Vanni civilians from this so called No Fire Zone. They are fully aware of the fact that these innocent, defenseless civilians are the pawns in the hands of LTTE for its military maneuvers. Yet they pretend as if these civilians are willingly staying with LTTE to be killed in the cross fire. GOSL is restrained by the International criticism for continuing its military push into this densely populated area. In the first place, LTTE, as a warring party to the conflict should not go into this area as it is designated for civilians. They should fight the Sri Lankan army outside this zone until they are perished or victorious.

  11. The solution for the dead lock may be the same one as what happened in Bhuthan. US gave the option to 70000 Southern Bhutaneese of migrating to USA, so the conflict came to a settlement, though very few actually took refuge. It was then proven the actual population was also much less than what was originally thought of, missing the mark by some 300% .

  12. Well done DBS.
    Natural focus is the current war zone, but what about
    Jaffna? Normal or barbedwired? Under seige?

  13. One Observer.

    Yes, I also heard that horrible things are happening at the detention camps, like tamil people realizing what kind of shit is the LTTE & they are treated as humen beings at the detention camps. How horrible that is… (for LTTE)

  14. DBS,

    “The LTTE resorted to a cruel and inhuman stratagem by moving the civilians into this coastal strip in large numbers. If the army tried to move along the coast , large numbers of civilians would be killed or injured. It was an inhumane “human deterrent” placed by the LTTE.”

    “The security forces were compelled to abandon the original manoeuvre. Thereafter they concentrated on the A-35 and adjacent areas in the hinterland rather than the Karaithuraipatru littoral”

    But there might be valid reason why.

    I think SL army wanted to take control of the coastel zone and boxed up tigers without supply (as you said), but they were compelled to stop this not because of the concern about the plight of civilian . They could not achieve this as tigers resistance was excessive and their inability to do so. Then they tried other way around (as right now).

    Ravi

  15. Dear FERN, Stop attacking DBS blindly. He reports truth. If you cannot take the truth that thamil tigers are holding human shield, please go to SL and see it for your self.

    Dumb ferns like you have done more damage to tamil cause. If there had been correct moderation among Tamil diaspora, LTTE would not be the monster it is now.

    You all failed – LTTE is a thing in the past, whether you like it or not,

    greetings from kandy!

  16. DBSJ’s articles have been of the highest journalistic standard, exposing the truth for all to see. I very much doubt he is benefitting materially (eg good money as M Fern #12 suggests). DBSJ has on numerous times written about the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils in SL – He has only exposed the dubious and insincere calculated methods and means that all sides have been conducting to achieve their aims. M Fern’s statement that DBSJ is a betrayer of the Tamil Cause and Maximum damage has been done is a wild accusation. If there is no one to point out the truth and uphold transparency, the cause is lost (as has happened in SL). We need objective, truthful and transparent reporting – not biased claims and counetrclaim journalism.

  17. Before starting this war the GOSL should have proposed a political package in good faith. The package that has been proposed by the Eminent Persons (appointed by Mahinda R) would have met the aspiration of the vast majority of Tamils. Only if the LTTE had refused to corporate, one might have quite rightly argued that this war is inevitable. On this point, I feel the GOSL has committed a major crime – this irresponsible conduct of the GOSL has cost thousands of lives on both sides. Having witnessed the brutality of the war, even moderate Tamils feel co-existence is an impossible objective. A senior British Labour MEP now argues only the two state solution is the viable option.

    Regarding the Human Shield aspect of this conflict, we need to remember there are voluntary HS and Forced HS. LTTE has been a vast organisation; there were thousands of cadres, to date over 30,000 cadres have martyred, thousands of civilians participated in the LTTE run institutions and all these people and their family members became targets of the SLAF. These people are terrified to come out and form the bulk of the voluntary HS. One cannot deny that the LTTE also enforces Forced HS.

    It is true a large number of people are terrified to go into IDP camps in fear of torture, violence, sexual abuse, prolonged detention etc by the SLAF.

    The other very painful aspect of this war is that in this prolonged and extremely dangerous and stressful displacement elderly (say over 60), infirm, disabled people have all perished. Preveance of severe mal nutrition, particularly among the children, is dangerously high. A significant proportion of the children, I am afraid, may not pull through this brutal ordeal.

    VANNI HOLOCAUST is going to be one of the worst man-made disasters in living memory. It is likely that some of the members of the GOSL/LTTE will have to stand war crime charges in due course.

    ,

  18. Interesting as always DBS. So what could be the army approach.

    One would be to cut a path dividing the zone into two. This will essentially reduce the LTTE strength hopefully with minimum casualities.

    Second would be use the same LTTE ploy. Hiding within the human sea. Good possibility that Karuna Amman may get the chance to deal the last hand.

  19. Truth will come only if International Monitors are permitted to war zone.
    And Srilankan Government does not allow this???
    🙂

  20. Horrible things are happening in the NFZ because the LTTE choses to use this area. They would’ve come out fighting if some of their field commanders were still alive.

  21. There are many front organisations of the LTTE or tamil tigers here in the U.K. or in the EU, Australia etc. All the western countries has to do is threaten to deport the organisers of these front organisations, and automatically these terrorists will release these hostages. The western countries will not do this because the are supporting these terrorists.

    A precedent now has been set. All that a terrorist organisation (which is being supported by the powerful western countries) has to do is take thousands of people as hostages and make any/all their demands and if they are not met, well to hell with the hostages, let them die as long as the terrorists get all/any of their demands met. What is of concern is that other terrorist groups can also copy these methods as well.

    Even now no one cares to ask why the tiger terrorists are allowed to keep these civilians as hostages, as if it is normal for terrorists to keep more than 100,000 civilians as hostages in a no mans land, away from their homes with absolutely no basic facilites simple to use them as a human shield. As if this is business as usual. Why has the western countries not demanded from this terrorist group to release these people immediately? I have never ever heard anywhere in the world where a terrorist group has been allowed to keep more than 100,000 people as hostages in a no mans land with no facilities. It is outrageous and disgraceful and shows utter disregard for the lives of these pople. And those western counries are also guilty since their first concern is ‘how to save the terrorists’ not ‘how to save the civilians by demanding in no uncertain terms for these terrorists to release these civilians immediately’.

    Also one important point is that it is the sri-lankan government who is responsible for the welfare of all sri-lankan citizens and not a terrorist group. So this terrorist group has no rights whatsoever to keep civilians as hostages and release these civilians and be handed over to the legitimate government of the country and the UN so the government can then send these people back home so they can get on with their lives in peace.

    The sri-lankan government or for that matter no government in the world can provide basic amenities to 100,000 people in a no mans land for long. The civilians have to come out to a built up area for that to happen. So these civilians have to be released by this terrorist group without any delay. The western countries have not demanded these terrorists to release these civilians immediately and end this hostage crisis, they have not pressured them to let the civilians go.

    The sri-lankan government as far as i know have repeatedly demanded the tiger cadres to lay down their weapons and surrender and that they will not be harmed and it is only the leaders of this organisation which will be arrested. So there is no danger whatsoever either to the civilians or to the tiger cadres from the sri-lankan government. Only the leaders of this terrorist orgaisation need worry and it is they who are fuelling this conflict by keeping the civilians as hostages. Even these leaders if caught will only be arrested and nothing will happen to them.

  22. People need to remember that before the current situation which started in 2006 with Marvil Aru, there was a cease fire agreement which was essentially observed by the GOSL and completely disregarded by the LTTE. It was the Tigers and not the GOSL that walked off from the talks in 2003. It was the Tigers and not the GOSL that kept on bombing and attacking the civilians in 2005 and 2006 during the so called cease fire. One also has to remember, that Mahinda after his election, repeatedly called for talks with the LTTE, offered even to go to Killinocchi to meet Prabhaharan, thus recognizing for all intents and purposes a separate state of Ellam. What was the LTTE response, more provocation. After repeated attacks by the LTTE on civilian targets in 2006, MR simply had to respond. He had a responsibility to protect the civilians and if he did not do that he would have lost all credibility. There is a simple solution to the humanitarian crisis in the so called No Fire Zone. LTTE should be forced to let the civilians go free. The Tamil Diaspora has a responsibility to insist that the LTTE acts now and end holding the civilians as hostages. If not, the Diaspora that sits safely and comfortably in places like Toronto, London and Sydney, will bear as much responsibility for the blood and the lives of their Sri Lankan brethren as the LTTE that they blindly support and the GOSL. What is really interesting is to see how the concerns of the Diaspora manifested only after the LTTE was routed by the GOSL.

  23. What a pity, the much trumpeted Pirabhakaran the Sun God and his invisible band of super tigers have to hide behind the petticoats (or “redda asse” – in singhalese) of the very same innocent Tamil civilians they claimed to liberate!……………..C’mon….Gimme hope Prabha……….Bite the vial now and save the innocents…… if you have half the guts of the many LTTE fighters who preferred to die for your warped cause than surrender.

  24. Dear DBS,

    Seems like this article signals you are now beginning to write more about this catastrophe. Although I’ve seen many of your writings on civilian plight earlier not many since intensified. This one is about the place it self where the most the murderous GoSL state is showing no mercy with the relentless shelling, signals the new starting point for the continuing atrocities; and we hope you will write more on these matters happening in and out – as they are forced out into internment camps etc. Thank you

  25. Could I ask you, why this kind of article about the plight of tamil civilans is not publish in the LTTE newspapers and websites?

    What a shame !
    Tamils must protest about this.
    It’s a shame !

  26. Since LTTE went to war with IPKF, it’s interest and tamil’s interest have taken different paths. By not letting North and East tamils vote in the last presidential election, it was LTTE which paved the way for Rajepakse. I was in Jaffna, beginning of 2006 and I saw first hand how LTTE was undermining the peace process by shooting, and throwing grenades at the soldiers. LTTE propaganda machinery was working full time saying this peace process was not good for tamils. What has happened after 3 years? All these expat tamils who are protesting in world capitals, seems to have very short memory. LTTE has come to a stage where it cannot even acknowledge death of Theepan, one of it’s gallant commanders. Time has come for tamils to look beyond LTTE.

  27. Wasantha R and Thavam are unable to comprehend beyond what they WANT to believe. Kindred in their thinking… just sitting on two sides of the same coin.

  28. You have made a very good point here that the so – called safe or no – fire zone was not set up properly or legally. It is simply a unilateral pronouncement by the armed forces. What is sad here is that the so – called international community and media keep on parroting about a safe zone without ever questioning Colombo on its bona fides

  29. Just a minor addition.

    The worst offender from the media is the Indian daily “Hindu” which chastises the LTTE for misusing the safe zone whereas you have clearly pointed out that it was never ever “existed”.

  30. Hello Mr. Jeyaraj

    Having lived with my husband in your beautiful country in the eighties and nineties I became very fond of it and its people.

    I am an avid reader and became your fan from the time you wrote the “Behind the Cadjan Curtain” column in “the Island” newspaper.

    After moving back to Copenhagen I keep reading on Sri Lanka regularly. I was very glad to see your writing on the net and started lapping it up eagerly.

    I am really happy that you maintain sense and sanity in a very difficult situation.

    I am so sad for what’s happening in that splendid Island. Your writings are some of the few silver linings in those dark clouds.

    Thank You

    Please keep on writing Mr. Jeyaraj

  31. Thank you for nice piece of writting DBS. You have highlited cruelity of LTTE .LTTE has violated rights of their own people while trying to fight as a liberators of tamil people.The ruthless terror organization like LTTE cannot accomplish any objective other than total destruction of their own due to following a path of hatred against bretheren citizens of their own country. The dfeating tigers is a matter of time.However it is much better to focus on manipulation of second and third generation tamil youths for their own sake.In many countries in the west they have been actively recruiting youths for this purpose.They are pathetically using emotions,desperation and frustration of College and university students.Be careful of this movement!

  32. DBS writings are are good money making pieces pretend to be on the center (critising both parties), while only helps the State. Becasue, look at the other side of the coin. If both parties are no good then both parties are good too on the other side. If that is the case, then why in world the international community should support a group over a State?

  33. M. FERN is either an ignorant fool who cant comprehend what DBS is writing or a charlatan out to damage DBS wilfully. Either way his contribution to this site is useless

  34. This war was started by Tamils, after they failed to win their rights through democractic means. Worse, the Tamils were attacked and killed in large numbers for democratically fighting for their rights through non-violence methods.

  35. M.FERN

    Why are you falsely accusing the Tamils of starting this war when everyone knows that the Singalam govt started this war. Why do you betray the Tamils by admitting Tamils started the war?

  36. It’s very bad for M. FERN to tell that Tamils started this war. By saying that M. Fern only justifying Singala govt using violence to suppress Tamils.

    DBS why are you giving people like M. FERN space to attack Tamils?

  37. Marathamilan (Post#45)

    You cant make me change my views. The Tamils only started this war. Dont think only you are Marathamilan and I am a Parathamilan

  38. Kumaran.P. (Post#47)

    Dont try to prevent DBS from giving space to me. No matter what you say I will stand by what I said. I am no coward.The Tamils only started this war.

  39. M. FERN

    Dont bring caste into this. I call myself Marathamilan on the basis of bravery not caste. But you are saying “Para” and all that. That’s not good. I cant believe you so caste conscious

  40. M. FERN

    I think you are far too gone.

    DBS keep him out please otherwise he’ll damage Tamils more and more

  41. M. FERN

    Hats off to you sir!

    It takes guttty honesty for a Tamil to admit openly that Tamils started this war.

  42. DBS Jeyaraj

    I hope you will not debar me from this website.

    DBSJ Responds:No your views are welcome here

  43. Hey buddy M. FERN

    U no coward eh?

    Then why the heck dont U say what ya saying under Ur own name? why the false ID man?

  44. Exchanging views is all good but M.FERN has diverted discussion away from the civilian problem in Vanni. Shame on you M.FERN

  45. It was wrong on the part of M. FERN to say that Tamils started the war. But all this excitement about M. FERN is also unwarranted. Its rather irritating. Can we get down to more important matters please?

  46. Just because M. FERN told truth that’s no reason to criticise him so badly. This is how DBS also gets bashed for writing the truth

  47. Marathamilan, Kumaran.P, Sonnaboy, Antony. V, and JM Rajaratnam

    I am really sorry for offending you but the truth is the truth. The Tamils started the war. I stand by what I said come what may

  48. Suranimala, Sonia Disa and Surangi

    Thank you for standing by me. I presume all of you are Singalese people.

    I hope you will support me even if I say the Singalese started the war

  49. Dear DBS

    My thanks to you for letting me reply to my critics.

    I am really contrite for calling you names and accusing you of money – making.

    This brief encounter has made me realise what you must be going through when you write the truth which proves bitterly unpalatable to some.

    Still truth is truth and I commend you for sticking to it consistently

    Bravo!

  50. Hey M. Fern

    U know what?

    Sonnaboy is my real name.

    I am a B’caloa Burgher man. Sonnaboy is my middle name

    I am from Komari. You know where it is?

    Then look up my folks man!

  51. A good article overall. My only comment is DBS talks about having a “legal contract” with LTTE before setting up the ‘no-fire zone’. I thought the govt banned the LTTE. Not sure how govt would have entered into a legal cotract with an entity declared illegal.

  52. This is a good piece of journalism.
    I visited Trincomalee, Mannar and Jaffna in 2005 and I share the view of Jaybee. It was disappointing to see that the LTTE was working against the peace process. It should also be noted that about 95% of the ceasefire violations (based on SLMM statistics) were against the LTTE. I had a problem understanding the LTTE strategy then. I still do. By their own actions, LTTE have turned themselves from an asset to a liability to the Tamil people. Most certainly the time has come for the Tamils to look beyond the LTTE.

  53. Thank You Mr. Jeyaraj for explaining the background to this so called safe zone. Our people are very unsafe there. I blame both the Govt and LTTE for this

  54. # 64 – Wikum Sri

    I guess Chinthanaya shouldn’t have declared LTTE illegal then. What GoSL going to do with LTTE cadre…and family too? smoke then out as well. A contract and supervision are good in the name of civilization. If the idea is practice of barbarianism then Chinthanaya is correct, 100%

  55. There are no Rules of Warfare when fighting the LTTE. They do not adhere to any ethics or laws, they will do whatever it takes to survive so that includes using the very people they claim to represent as Human Shields. It is an unfortunate tragedy of this conflict, but nothing can be done. The death toll of Civilians will be high but unavoidable.

    Maybe One day the Deluded Diaspora will open their eyes and see the Horrors committed
    against their own ethnicity that they themselves funded.

  56. Hi Guys,
    pls don’t get upset with FERN.
    sorry for these type of people. pray for them.
    if you want upset. pls upset with god.

  57. dbs
    can you tell us why the government is stubbonly refusing to allow international observers to go into the safe zone to verify exactly what is happening. if indeed the ltte is forcibly keeping the civilians there then they will be terribly embarassed by international observers there.
    also comment 65 marcus-quote”time has come for the tamils to look beyond the ltte”. it is easy to say this but what is the solution for the tamils. by throwing out the ltte wont it be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. the ltte is an organisation. if the tamils dont like it anymore they can change the leadership, not get it of it.
    the ltte was started in 1975 by prabaharan with 5 people and one pistol. with that pistol the first shot was fired when durayappah was killed by prabha. anyone taking over from prapha now is certainly going to have more than 5 people and one pistol. dont forget that a tamil army concept was born because of the sinhala army and police not protecting tamil civilians and in some cases even actively helping thugs. prabaharan when listnenig to these stories as a child was asking why are they not fifgting back.
    anyway what is your solution. it is easy to keep on talking about the problem but difficult to find a solution acceptable to everyone.

  58. Jeyaraj

    Please write more of this type and inform us of actual situation.We trust you more than govt and LTTE media

  59. Agreed – that strip of land is anything but a safe zone.

    Hasn’t that been true of the whole of the north and east? Wasn’t that the whole point of the LTTE? To free the Tamil people from the unhappy union with the rest of Sri Lanka and to create a “safe zone???” Isn’t that what ‘eelam’ was supposed to be?

    The same LTTE that claimed it was the sole representative of the Tamil people for the last two and a half decades, must take exclusive responsibility for the plight of the same Tamil people it sought to represent exclusively.

    Nobody can dispute that the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are worse off today than when the LTTE first took arms.

    Not only do they not have access to education, land and equal opportunity – they are also subject to unprecedented brutality and misery by government forces and their appendages (paramilitaries). More children are dying a violent death today then they did prior to 1983. More women are raped, more men gone missing, more lands confiscated or rendered useless by land mines, more schools destroyed and more jobs lost, than before.

    Tamils are made to feel like pariahs in all parts of the Country. Forget the nonsense that Tamils and Sinhalese live harmoniously outside of the north and east. Thats only true of the whiskey drinkign Tamils and Sinhalese who never have to step into a police station to register themselves or visit a grama sevaka’s office to get some citizen services.

    The Government of Sri Lanka has repeatedly (from JRJ to DBW to Sarath Fonseka) reminded us that Sri Lanka is a land that does not belong to the Tamils. The Tamils have been told to behave like guests or face the consequences. The government has consistently backed up the words of those leaders with action. The LTTE, has not.

    When the going got tough – the tough got going.

  60. its an 18km stretch of land. if LTTE really wanted to expose themselves without civilian cover, they could easily do so. civilians however key to their survival. the civilians provide them –

    – cover from military fire
    – cover to fire at military without risk of retaliation.
    – forced labor,
    – access to govt provided food and medication

    women and children who somehow manage to break free with bullet wounds on their back tell a story. LTTE wont let them go. LTTE shoot and even shell civilian shelters when they need propaganda. there is no such thing as ‘independent Tamil media’. they all push LTTE agenda one form or another.

    viz legality of NFZ. They recognized the existence and the location when they claimed the army shelled NFZ. No more agreements are necessary. They already knew its location and its purpose before entering it and taking cover behind it.

  61. Friends

    There is an impostor trying to imitate me on this website.Dont get deceived.

    DBS , please take precaution and prevent this impostor playing tricks here. Delete those postings instantly

    Thanks

    The real M.FERN

  62. No! No Friends

    I am the authentic M.FERN

    The other guy is the impostor

    DBS take care. avoid the charlatan like the plague

    Thanks

    the Real MCcoy

  63. I think I speak for the majority of readers here when I say that the childish antics of M. FERN & M. FERN should stop. They remind me of the detective twins Thompson and Thompson in Tintin

    Mr.Jeyaraj dont permit such puerile conduct. It lowers the standard of this site

  64. I agree completely with Gloria.

    This guy or these guys posing off as M.FERN is/are a nuisance.

  65. Just an idea

    To prevent people of “M.FERN” types playing pranks here get them to post under their real names using genuine e -mail addresses. If they dont simply delete all posts under M.FERN

  66. Hi I am a singhalese (please guys not singalese). I am really amused by the comment that Tamils started this war! The war was started by the LTTE and the Sinhalese politicians. Unfortunately, ordinary people from both races have been compelled to take sides (you know it is difficult to ride against the tide). That is a fact.
    Whatever the problems they had, I seriously don’t believe that ordinary tamils ever wanted to be fighting, over their life time!
    DBS, your analysis is truely amazing, it really explains how both sides are using the civilians in to gain military advantage! The misery will end only when either party gives in, lets hope it will happen soon!!!

  67. The Tamil media says large – scale fighting has started. I think the Army is going to go inside the zone. Thousands of innocent civilians are going to die. Can anyone stop the carnage?

  68. DBSJ, you have great inside history of this conflict. Your There must be some sense among southern political leaders that this conflict will never end unless there is a settlement with real constitutional safeguards for the Tamils that address the difficult history they have experienced under majoritarian rule?

    The sinhalese polity may never accept Eelam, either within Sri Lanka or separate to it. But what is the likelihood the present leadership (opposition and government) will address the marjoritarian roots of this conflict ,in policy and law? That is: communal violence, colonisation and reduction of access to government jobs and education, and the weaknesses in law that will allow these to recur?

    Can we see real nation-building and statesmanship in Sri Lanka?

  69. THE PROBLEM WITH MOST OF THE TAMIL PEOPLE LIVING ABROAD IS THE RELUCTANCY TO ACCEPT THE TRUTH THAT THE TAMIL PEOPLE ARE STRANDED TODAY DUE TO PRABAKARAN . I THINK TIME HAS COME TO THINK DIFFERENTLY .YOU LIVE WITH US PEACEFULLY SHARING EVERYTHING EQUALLY OR BULD UP YOUR EELAM IN YOUR COUNTRIES WHERE YOU LIVE NOW.

  70. It’s too late now. The LTTE has no one to blame but them selves. If they hadn’t denied the voting rights of tamils in the last presidential election, Mr Rajapakse would have struggled to win it. They asked for it now they have it.
    The same fascist ideology they used to justify violence has brought them down. How could they ever make a claim that they are the sole representatives of tamils when in fact they are seeking protection from the same people?

  71. There is only one thing that will minimise this blood shed. That is by LTTE leadership to change its mind & heart … if only they surrender at this point will the carnage will stop.

    civillians free zone is the death bed for LTTE . So they won’t allow this.
    GoSL is committed to irradicate LTTE leadership if not surrendrering.
    At this point the weaker party is LTTE . If they surrender now they will die with respect ,if not as cowards and the wrath of the traped civillians will invariably come upon them.

    What ever the accusations only these civillians know the truth. So you think the culprits will allow them out safe?

    The war should end. No more blood shed. LTTE should come to a non violent path, even if they have to agree to less than tamil eelam. No one will trust them hereafter keeping the civillians as a shield is beyond repair.
    All should realise that violence will end in violence nothing will be achieved but tomb stones.

    If any one belives in a God do pray for devine intervention to free the innocent from this volcano. Enough is enough can some one say this to VP?

  72. DBS J,

    Thanks for your clarification. Still I do not feel, that LTTE had deliberately positioned the civilians in between. It is just my point of view.

  73. Suganthi,
    Only the Sun God LTTE leader can stop this civilians massacare. We have to tell to all those LTTE hooligans who take pride in carrying LTTE flage in world capitals nowadays.

    But Sun God will not do it. Be’cos that is his trademark.

  74. the sl army has entered the zone. the carnage will stop when the tamils’ “surya thevan”bites the cyanide capsule.
    this is what tamil terrorism has bought the tamils. the fat diabetic thug and the diaspora that funded the war are the ones responsible for the carnage. latest reports say that the filthy animals are using suicide bombers against tamil civilians. so this is what the diapora has funded. what a shame!

  75. Citizens asked to go to a safe-zone, fighting erupts in & around safe zone, mono-ethnic army captures civilians in safe zone…this was Srebrenica.

    Will there be a Sri Lankan Srebrenica? Not quite; the Sri Lankan army likes to burn bodies whereas the Serbs (stupidly) buried them, so there will be no evidence.

  76. This article is somewhat moot now.
    .
    Over 30,000 civilians left the safe zone for Sri Lanka Army controlled territory today alone. Tens of thousands more will move to SLA territory over the next few days.

    The ambassadors to Britain, the U.S, Canada and other countries were shown crystal clear UAV footage of LTTE cadres shooting, beating, and attempting to violently prevent Tamil civilians from leaving the safe zone.

  77. M.Fern you are correct.Tamils have started this war.but they cannot accept the defeat.People who saw the seeds must reap the harvest.God bless innocent tamil civilans except terrorists. There nothing you can do now.Your elusive dreamland concept of Elam is now going to garbage.Go and find a place in south India.United Kindom can do nothing in Sri Lanka.( Karunanidhi may able to help you)

  78. Nakeeb M Issadeen : Could you explain who is guarding the Sheeps from the Fox camps when the Fox is consuming few sheeps a day make Sinhala Nation keeps the Tigers away policy.

    Those camps may be a better place than a tarp covered shed in the silver beach, but there is no difference that child or man no matter how old are they that they will live to see the next day.

    Have you read the statement by the Center For Policy alternative that Children are being Recruited by the Paramilitary armed gps.

    How about the report by the Thomas Seibert http://www.medico.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/sri-lanka-noch-immer-hunderttausend-zivilisten-im-kampfgebiet-eingekesselt/3206/ An English translation is available in TAMILNET.com

    I have contributed 4 fig. money to the organizers of the protest and I have taken time off and flew red eye flights to attend those rallies.

    My point is UN or INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY should Guarantee the safety and security of those people before you ask the LTTE to release anyone.

    We the Diaspora like me are not flying out over 2000 miles to just participate to save the tigers.

    I am there to tell the world that Tamils are not save in the hands and GOSL and we need their guarantees and Intervention.

    India become the Fox breeder and Sheep slaughter and there is no point in asking any help from India.

    It is simply a witch hunt by the Widow of a War criminal.

    I have not paid a penny to LTTE but I will use my fortunes to fight the GoSL through all other measures, will fund the Legal teams to fight in US and Hague. This is my New-year Resolution.

  79. Hey Citizens (Post #90)

    You can scold LTTE leader all you want. I dont care. But dont call him diabetic thug as if being diabetic is something wrong.

    I am a diabetic. So what about it? LTTE leader may be diabetic. So what about it?

    You are insulting millions of diabetics all over the world.

    By the way how many ministers in mahinda govt are diabetic do you know?

  80. Until UN monitors and Independent media go and witness what is exactly happening, We will not know the truth.

    Why no one is pushing the Sri Lankan government to allow
    independent media into the zone????

  81. Tamil Tigers, Sinhala Lions and the innocent Lambs. I do not believe nationalists of either side will let these Lambs survive. From one slaughter house to another they run in hope, but get slaughtered they will. Nationalism must be defeated for the betterment of the country and its people.

  82. I agree whole-heartedly with Bandara. Nobody not even LTTE leader must be attacked for being diabetic

  83. Re Comment 99,
    Don’t blame Both side.International community has approved-Carte Blanche- lions. Once civilians are with Lions they are better off, This what our respected countries including India expects.Without any casuality to civilians Lions have rescued more than 15 or 20 thousandas civilians in one day from Tigers. Who else on Earth can do this Miracle. UN Chief Banki Moon has immediately praised Lions for their brave achivement.Refer Daily Mirror Today.
    Lionns have denied any civilians casuality even for three monts in Safe Zone. That is True. But Only thousands of Tiger Terrorists- Even 1 year to 75 years old- have been badly injured by Tiger Terrorists. and have been evacuated for treatments to Trinco by Ships many Times.
    One Thing is sure. The Brave achivement so far gained against Terrorists not By lions. But Bby international countries, specialy Kandhi Desham.
    We are fortunate to live in this World.

  84. DBS

    I agree with you that both govt and LTTE have mistreated poor civilians. Govt fires on the “no – fire” zone and kills people but refuses to accept it. But now the people are being freed. At least now Govt must look after the people treated badly in past

  85. The inhumane attitude towards civilians by govt and tigers is well brought out in this article.Tragically for Tamils its continuing by both sides

  86. Metha I am sorry, IF only there is no nationalistic leadership in SL that does not use the language ‘Tamils and Sinhaleese’, the problem will be solved. I do not envisage such a leadership in SL as the entire polity is poisoned by nationalism on both sides. What is now needed is a fight against nationalism, from the grass root level at both sides.

  87. Tina, Fight against natinalism is applicable to western countries who doesnt have a history like us.You can ask them to forget their nationalism.But in Sri Lanka we have our values and everything depend on our nationalistic ideology.I am not only saying about sinhala nationalism.It is applicable to Tamil natinalism as well.Nationalism should be seperated from racism.Problem is not with nationalism, it is with racism.

  88. Is it not intuitive to assume that Tamils care more about their relatives in the NFZ than the average Sinhalese grunt manning the artillery?

    So, if the Tamil diaspora really care about these civilians would they not try to encourage the LTTE (who assumedly have the Tamil interests at heart) to let them go and save their lives? I have not seen a single banner requesting Prabakaran to let them go and spare these lives. Instead they implore the Sri Lankan army end the campaign and go home. Could it be because at the end of the day they secretly believe that the Govt is more humane than the LTTE?

  89. Can we all strongly agree that the LTTE are basically killing the Tamils ? If they care so much, they shouldn’t have entered the no fire zone !!

    Can we also agree that we need to get rid of LTTE mentality and may be have the mentality of the great tamil leaders as Hon. late Kadiragamar, Thiruchelvan and the remaining few Tamil leaders as Devanandan and Mano Ganesha ??

    Can we also agree that we will talk of the developments that happen in the east after it was freed from the LTTE and how a former LTTE child soldier went on to be the chief minister of the province and how Karuna, a right wing man of Prabhakaran has entered the main stream politics and is a minister now int he parliament ??

    We all can agree that Sri Lanka will be free and a place to live for any person immaterial of race or religion once the LTTE is eliminated !!!

  90. Roshanth’s criteria for Great Tamil leaders is a joke.!! If Devanandan (I presume Roshanth is refering to Douglas Devananda) , a renowned criminal, who has several abductions, murder, all the crimes under the sun behind him can be called a Tamil Leader, a lot of people can be called as God!!
    Kadirgamar can be called a sinhalese leader, definitely not a Tamil leader because he has done a lot of damage to the Tamils!! He even denied the bombing of the Navaly church by the government as falls!! All for the pittance and the perks provided by the Govt.
    Karuna and Pillaiyan can compete for the title for criminal with Devananda .
    Mano ganeshan is fit to be called a leader. It is a shame that Roshanth has put his name together with criminals!!
    When will Sri Lanka be free from the sinhala Terrorists? Like MR & co. there are too many to mention. Once the war is over what will the ex-soldiers do? They are used to terrorising the population and has done rape, abduction, torture, robbery, extrajudicial killings and never inquired or punished, because the victims were mainly Tamils. Do you think they will suddenly become saints? The game will not be over so soon!!

    I think Roshanth does not know what is happening in Sri Lanka or day dreaming!!

  91. Roshanth,
    How can weall agree when I for one cannot even agree that you have read, leave alone understood, the above article.

  92. Fellow sinhalese, the UN reports 6500 dead, 14,000 injured, 20,000 casualties of war.

    Keep revelling in the morality of the armed forces, and the cynicism of the Tigers holding human shields, and the imminent demise of Prabhakaran.

    You may fool yourself only long enough to see a new wave of hatred unleash its terror in blood

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