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Reconciliation and painful realities on ground

Hello Friends,

A harsh fact of life is the hiatus between rhetoric and reality.

One is starkly reminded of the chasm between promise and performance as we see current developments unfolding.

On the one hand there is the very discernible yearning of ordinary people from all ethnicities to put the past behind us and move forward to reconciliation, justice,amity and unity.

But there are other forces obstructing this natural process by obstinately sticking to obscurantist ideology.

The ruling Rajapakse regime for reasons of its own is actively fostering and promoting triumphalist fervour amidst the majority community continuously.

Instead of urgently addressing the crucial issues of reconciliation and nation building those in power are seemingly drifting due to being intoxicated by the recent military triumph over the LTTE.

In the process the tragic plight of nearly 300,000 internally displaced Tamils is not receiving the priority it deserves. The entire population of two districts is being virtually detained under harsh conditions indefinitely.

If the process of reconciliation is to commence genuinely then this IDP situation has to be rectified first.

Not only these recent IDPS but those in the East, the displaced Muslims from the north- east and those Tamils displaced in the north and displaced Sinhalese, all need to be re- settled and rehabilitated.

This is indeed the acid test for the Rajapakse regime.

Opening up this Blog to voices urging reconciliation and inter-ethnic understanding has resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response.

The voices of moderation and reason have used this forum to make themselves heard.

The long silenced majority is opening up and that indeed is good news.

But appealing for reconciliation can turn out to be empty rhetoric if painful realities on ground are not taken into account.

The ruling regime is yet to demonstrate that it is capable of tackling the urgent task of reconciliation and nation building.

The “peace” rhetoric of Mahinda Rajapakse cannot obscure reality for long.

In that context I want to share with you some views expressed by a young Sri Lankan woman activist on the realities of the current situation.

Shamila as she prefers to be called has worked extensively in the North and East and has intimate knowledge and experience of the prevailing conditions there.

Shamila was recently interviewed about the current situation by the German Journal “medico-rundschreiben”, She has stated her views frankly and forthrightly.

I am posting an English translation of the interview on this Blog with the intention of providing a reality check of sorts.

I do hope this would generate a healthy, constructive conversation. - D.B.S.J

I can be reached on dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

Sahanagama IDP site, Pulmoddai 13th Mile Post-pic by drs. sarajevo

Here is Shamila’s interview:

1.) After the defeat of the LTTE: What is the general situation on the ground in the north as well as in the whole country?

The war in Sri Lanka is finally over. This twenty six years of civil war has caused loss of around 100,000 lives and colossal damages to properties and public infrastructure specially in the north and the east. It seems the government has completely wiped out the LTTE leadership that arrogantly stood for a separate state and undermined almost all the efforts of arriving at a political settlement. The current moment therefore should lend a great opportunity for reconciliation between all the communities and a just political process to address the problems that led to the polarisation of communities and the armed conflict in the first place.

However what we have watched in the last few weeks sadly does not make us believe that we have a leadership that will bring about reconciliation among communities. What we see here is a regime that is clamoring about its victory while dismissing any form of accountability to the war-crime it has just committed so crudely against its own citizens. It is a regime that can’t tolerate any dissent or outside views. This government is built on its impunity and military centric power. We also see that this regime is increasingly rallying support from countries that are its mirror image in the region. Just now the President finished his visit to Myanmar .

In the north, the government has called for municipal council election in Vavuniya and Jaffna . People from these two districts don’t see a reason to have an election without 300,000 displaced people (who are virtually locked up in open prisons in these two districts) being returned back to their homes. They see this election as a step for government to ensure that its allies get into local government, so that their cronies will further the government’s militarisation and Sinhala colonization agenda while helping them have control over much expected foreign aid for resettlement of these internally displaced people.

In the south the continuing triumphalist rhetoric and celebrations has further cornered even Tamils who never ever supported LTTE’s ideology. The chauvinist fever that followed military defeat of the LTTE is now haunting the Tamils every where in this country. In fact it is ironic that the government, its military and Sinhala nationalists are making these Tamils feel that without Pirabakaran and LTTE they are meaningless and subservient.

2.) More and more it comes clear, that GoSL is already installing a system of long-term internment of tamil people, in general a system of ethnic separation. What is the everyday life-situation of these displaced people and tamils in general?

The painful situation of the nearly 300,000 displaced persons now interned in camps in Vavuniya is most troubling at this point of time. These Tamil civilians had suffered much under the LTTE, which used and abused them without the freedom to leave its territory for over a decade. During the final months of the war, the LTTE used them as hostages for its own survival putting them in the line of fire. Actually these IDPs have suffered much before they finally got to these detention camps. People are congested in tents packed next to each other in land recently cleared and 12 to 15 people live in tents that can barely accommodate a family. Food and medical needs continue to be difficult, particular for physically challenged persons and people with special needs.

Access to groups working on relief and rehabilitation has been limited and services are finding it hard to reach the people. The situation of pregnant women and mothers with small children as well as minors in particular is precarious. A judge from Vavuniya gave a brave verdict recently to let the elders out from the camps since 15 elders died on a single day due to starvation and dehydration. There have been many reported cases of people specially youngsters being removed from camps after the visit of para-military men who would identify people who are suspected LTTE supporter or soldiers. There are incidents of rape but no one is prepared to talk about it and we get to hear only when the victim is dead. On May 5th two women’s dead bodies appeared near a facility which was assigned for women to bath in Manik farm. Latter that day their bodies were removed by the military before even the arrival of the judge and no postmortems were conducted.

Heavy militarization of camp management and coordination of relief and rehabilitation work is hampering any timely assistance getting to the needy people. Current restriction on accessing Manik farm is also limiting and slowing down the response to urgent medical needs of the injured civilians. Some of these injured people are denied advance treatment since their mobility has been completely curtailed. More importantly there is an urgent need for mental health care service since many of them are severely traumatized. Even the government psychiatrists are not given access.

Furthermore, the current condition in the camps amidst crowding is likely to be detrimental with the monsoon rains due in a couple of months. There are reports of people suffering of epidemics like Diarrhea, Hepatitis and Meningitis. Because of this over crowding there are already reported cases of 17 undernourished children dieing of these communicable diseases.

Government is refusing to release a name list of all these IDPs, detainees and convicted LTTE soldiers because it is engaged in the practice of eliminating the “unwanted”.

3.) What are the urgent needs, what is to be done next? What could be, in long term-perspective, a solution?

In the above context, there are some immediate steps government should take before even one think of long term solution. The issues of IDPs including the Northern Muslims who were evicted in 1990 by LTTE and other war affected IDPs in the northern and eastern province should be addressed immediately. There is no reason for the government to keep people in detention camps, temporary shelters or relocation villages. People should be allowed to return to their own homes or to their relatives and friends soon. What slaps on my face every time I visit Manik farm is that an entire population of two districts have being locked up in order to weed out a few thousand rebels. Some time I wonder whether it is right to even use the term IDPs to describe these detained civilians or are they prisoners of War?

There has been sharp fear among these people that they will be denied re-entry to their homes since they have heard various moves of the government in establishing high security zones and expropriating their homeland for special economic and cultural zones. If this government is genuinely interested in arriving at a political solution it has to commence dialogue with IDPs, political parties and civil society regarding the State proposals for the return of IDPs to their places of origin, reconstruction, livelihood opportunities and development of the North in the first place.

Govt should accelerate the resettlement phase to ensure that the bulk of the displaced people are resettled in the time frame of six months it has promised. This should be the first step of the government towards any reconciliation process in the post-war Sri Lanka .

Then the Govt should make every effort to ensure a political solution to address the long-standing grievances of the minorities which will ensure a sustainable peace and strengthen the democratization process. For this de-militarisation and devolution of reasonable power to the Northern and Eastern provinces are paramount important. Rajapakesa himself has initiated a process (All Party Representative Committee) that brought forward a comprehensive and sensible devolution package in the form of majority report which should be the base for arriving at a lasting solution for this conflict that has in fact being deepen after this military victory of the south .

4.) During the whole last two years and probably always, it was very difficult to give a voice to the oppressed people as well to those who resisted: What is to be done to give those people a voice which will be noticed-how to construct a really “international community” (perhaps the most important question)

We must not assume that simply because the LTTE has got defeated now, there would not be any possibility of other forms of armed insurgencies happening in the future. You cannot continue to repress or deprive the rights of any group of people forever? Can you? Look at Palestine . Despite the support of the supper powers from the west Israel is struggling and more and more young Palestinians are coming forward to lay down their lives for a cause.

In fact what helped Sri Lankan government to defeat LTTE is not simply it’s military power but the increase withdrawal of the support of Tamil people to it’s rebel movement.

The international community has made many mistakes in the past by interfering into a conflict that they thought can be solved by bring together only the warring parties, the LTTE and the government. In this process they forgot to strengthen the other stakeholder of lasting peace in Sri Lanka . The Muslims, Up-country Tamils, women , labour movement, people’s unions and civil liberty movements have not been looked as something that need to be strengthened to create just peace in Sri Lanka. This is one of the reasons why in the last two years we did not see much people’s uprising in the south against the war and the continuing govt’s terror tactics against the Tamils and the media.

I genuinely feel, at the moment, there is no space for the western international community to get directly involved in political work in Sri Lanka . Unfortunately, to me, it seems like India’s job. They messed up this country long time before by arming the Tamil rebels, recently they helped Rajapakse’s finishing off the war on terror and now they are constrained to help the Tamils at least to live in dignity and peace. Of course the government friendly countries like China , Japan and South Africa can play a supportive role

Shamila is a human rights activist in Sri Lanka and has given this interview under a pseudonym. She was interviewed by Dr. Thomas Seibert.

The original interview in German is on the following website:

http://www.medico.de/themen/menschenrechte/dokumente/vom-triumph-der-sieger-umzingelt/3244/.

150 Comments

  1. Gloria Abraham says:

    Shamila

    You have told the truth without fear or favour.This is the reality.I hope you dont get into trouble

    May God protect you

  2. Dilshan F says:

    Wow DBSJ, I live in Sri Lanka and it seems that this lady has an agenda. let me report on her views. My comment is as an ordinary person, reading newspapers both pro government and not, websites and general discussions with ordinary people. I do not claim to have visited IDP camps.

    ref her statement about govt. rhetoric. – There is no such thing. all official victory celebrations stopped on presidential orders after one week. there are no rallys involving ordinary citizens or other . what was there was a celebration of freedom from terror just that. There are functions such as felicitations to the govt officials and armed forces chief by various organisations. That is a thank you note of some sort of getting rid of violence and terror and not for creating a nation only for sinhalese. again and again speeches at these functions echo on national reconciliation and not over any victory over tamil people – this the president made a very clear statement. -’ there are no more a people called a minority just those who love srilanka and those who not. ‘ – Do not misinterpret this statement – I love Srilanka and may even vote this govt out if they do not perform.

    her statements about making friends with like minded countries in the region to make a point are baseless. Myanmar is a country with Budhist places of worship. What does she say of the Australian and other dignitaries of their govts making courtesy calls on the defense secretary?

    She talks about ‘War Crimes’ – let her prove that there was deliberate effort and orders by persons in Govt to directly target civilians. I have seen enough videos that shows evidence of soldiers saving civilians from LTTE held areas. her reference to ‘War Crimes’ exposes her agenda. I do not for a moment justify the great loss of life in this terrible war. whether it happened over a period of 30 years or in a matter of 3 months is not a war crime. innocent people died by the LTTE and the SLArmy. I have seen direct attacks on villagers and civilian buses by the LTTE. perhaps my information is not updated by attacks by SLARMY against entire tamil villages wiping them out. Who does she want accountability against Sarath Fonseka? In that case she should file a FR case aginst the army and keep them growing vegetables.

    Elections are essential – this is the first time I have heard of anyone calling having elections not required. Let the people speak for or against the rulers. no one is holding their arms. This is a call by a few political parties who got their wires wrong in the past and have not won any elections for the past 18 times.

    there is NO chauvinist fever. the people are more inclined to worry about the economy of their purses than anything else. Do not spread false facts. you appear more like a hate monger.

    Q2 put both persons asking and answering showing their true intentions. The displaced persons camps are not comfortable places. one cannot call them homes. Yet there are hundreds of bombs arms and ammunition buried by the LTTE. The govt has no benefit in keeping these people in camps. According to my friends who travel to camps taking food and milk powder i hear no talk of rape and murder. they just ask can I give more money to help. This is the true spirit of people who help. she talks about rape and two bodies. there is no connection whether the bodies were found raped and killed? I do not for one moment state that there is no rape or murder. if that was we would not require courts in the rest of the country. I also do not expect catholic convent behavior or protection in these camps. Her statement of calling them open prisons are crazy? A prison does not have preschools and banks and shops!. What a crazy person this woman is.

    I agree with her in the entirety of her answer to question no 3. in short the people should be allowed to return home with some package or mechanism to repair their homes and lives.

    the 4th question exposes the interviewers true intentions and i agree with her reply. there is no room for western governments here. I would like to tell her that ‘oppressed people will always be there. It is not that we look the other way but find non confrontational methods is finding solutions for them. the issues are very complicated.

    by the way please do not use the pseudonym ‘shamila’ The one I know works tirelessly for the welfare of the IDPS. its an insult to her. may I suggest ‘ Fraulein Gertrude’

  3. Angelo says:

    Dilshan

    Like Shamila I also live in Lanka.Dont try to bullshit her views. She speaks truth . We also know the truth. Now dont call me Catholic because of my name.

    You are wrong about celebrations stopping in one week. They continue even now.The Army officially stopped celebrations only after a month

    As for going to Myanmar dont give “boru kathawa” about Buddhist and all that

    Hundreds of Buddhist priests were attacked and jailed and even killed by the Burma military dictatorship.To Lanka’s shame our govt did not utter one word of concern or protest

    Now Mahinda goes shamelessly and poses for pix with the brutal, corrupt dictatorship.Not one word about Ang San or the Buddhist priests

    Like birds of a feather sticking together two “Buddhist” corrupt, militarist rulers are sticking together

  4. yogi says:

    Dbsj:
    Thanks for posting this translation.
    All the moderate Srilankans should appeal to all those countries that helped to win the war, to cordinate and pressure the SL government for a political settlement.
    SL government can not blame the LTTE supporters for everything and evade its responsibiliy.The ministers,particularly Douglas & Karuna in the government should speak out, instead staying mute.

  5. Navin says:

    “There is no reason for the government to keep people in detention camps” — she mentions everything form demilitarization to international roles but forgets mention a single word about land mines that are littered all over the place…, shows the level of her expertise.

  6. Ulysses says:

    reply to#5 Navin

    ok, i just could not refrain from posting a brief reply to this comment

    /////
    she mentions everything form demilitarization to international roles but forgets mention a single word about land mines that are littered all over the place, shows the level of her expertise./////

    the government is detaining these people out of concern for their safety? lest they accidentally step on a mine?

    wow! simply wow!

    Ps:

    @Shamila,

    excellent article!

  7. Navin says:

    #6. Ulysses:

    This is a good one.

    Do you also believe that even if the government had no concern for the LTTE moles who are mingling with these people, it can let these people into these areas?

    It will take many more months to clear the areas of land mines and build the necessary infrastructure so that the areas are habitable once again than to weed the population of the LTTE moles. Still many will loose their limbs for years to come. Besides, do you think a government can throw people into barren lands with just a palmyrah leave for shelter like LTTE? Where do these people go in case of an emergency? How do they get started with their living? What if their houses are booby trapped? Where do their children go to school? This is what happens when you start believing that NGOs are the saints sent by god to save the IDPs from evil Sri Lankan government (or should I say Sinhalese?) and that these people are alive today only because of the services of INGOs and international community.

    People like Shamila should know what their level of expertise are before they start commenting on everything around them.

    Give some credit to the government. After all, the IDPs are been fed by poor tax payers money from the south whom you accuse of discriminating against these very same people and not by monies collected by rich diaspora who are self immolating in front of Parliamentary square in London for the welfare of their brothers and sisters.

    Besides, yes the government has a right to be concerned about the LTTE moles among these people for it is not only responsible for the safety of these 300,000 IDPs but for the 20 million Sri Lankans.

    Please be pragmatic and sensible when you make comments. Do you think Sri Lankan government comprise of people who suffer from sadism that derive pleasure by subjecting these people to prolonged agony? They may be corrupt, inefficient, idiots but they are most certainly NOT oblivious to the plight of these people as portrayed by Shamila and the like. Its a difficult situation and there are no easy solutions.

  8. Nathan says:

    Some reality at last. Much has been written about “reconciliation”, but in general, the larger population takes the cue from the leadership. There has been no discernible change in the attitude of the Sri Lankan leadership. Tamil citizens of SL are still waiting for some signs magnanimity and humility, and in my view it is going to be a very long wait, and perhaps even a fruitless one. Tamils living in SL should get used to being satisfied with the crumbs.

  9. vp says:

    Sri lankan or foreign human rights activists should not be taken seriously.They are doing business.They want to potray a bad picture on country earn money .They sell whoever and whatever they can for their luxury living.We have seen so many of this kind during tsunami .They collected lot of money selling tsunami victims and spent this money for their luxries.Cat came out of the bag when she said that west failed to support civil movements.Mr kumar rupasinghe has already asked money from foreign donors to help IDPs.
    How can government kept such large number of persons without their consent.They will make huge protest.Whoever tell what ever IDPS live in better life in this camps than what they suffer in recent past.Sri lanka government isr ehabilitating more than 9000 ltte caders.If the government is so bad why they do this act.Government has resettled more than 10000 persons in the silavatura area.Why cant they appriciate that.What is needed is not the quick resettlement but avoid a conflict situation after the resettlement.They suffered 30 years what about few months.So many tamil people became IDPS in east.I think that most of them are resettled now.As everybody knows vanni situation is far more complicated than extraordinary measures like keep them in camps is required for the benifit of country as well as the IDPs.IDPs are not confined to the camps and they are brught to Vavnia hospital for treatment.They are allowed buy frits like apple there.They enjoy these things in long time in their lives.Mini markets have been established to buy goods to those who have money.I sincerely belive that they enjoy good life in camps than when they live under the prabakaran rule.

    The IDP’s must be re-settled in their original homes as soon as possible……….DBSJ

  10. Panhinda says:

    shamila obviously fell from the sky yesterday. she fell inside the camp and saw a lot of suffering people. its hard not to believe her.

    Shamila didn’t fall from sky but works inside camps. Yes it is hard not to believe her…..DBSJ

  11. Tharaka says:

    Angelo,

    I think something against Buddhists. I have seen many like among Christians who in turn projects Buddhists are against Tamils and then against Hindu’s.

    There are few Buddhists who don’t worship Hindu shrines but overwhelming majority Hinduism is as secret as Buddhism and I know most Hindu’s do respect Buddha and Buddhism.

    Re : Burma Yes they do have oppressive regime. However what with that is to be decided by Burmese them self. Just because we are Buddhist we can’t and have no right to mess with other countries affairs.

    You looks me person who is brought up appreciating western mind set where they believe only one reality exist. We who brought in Indian or Sri Lankan culture naturally accepts multiple realities. That is why we tolerates other cultures. Therefore I do not see any issue in our leaders who want have good relationships most of the other countries even though they are painted by western media as “oppressive” “closed” etc etc. Just as western media say with regard Sri Lanka government opinions indipendently verified we also do have any way of verifying motives of western media.

  12. Ramesh Pathiraja says:

    I think both GOSL, Diaspora and many Tamils are more or less hold extreme views, at least for the time-being.

    There is nothing bad in celebrating the victory over LTTE, even for 1 year, which plagued the country for 30 years and killed many thousand of innocent civilians. Greater majority of Sinhalese are happy that war is over and what they are looking forward for now is development and better living conditions. They have nothing against Tamils in general…There is NO chauvinistic fever amongst US.

    On the other hand many NGOs and Tamils cried NOT to re-settle IDPs without de-mining and developing infrastructure in East. Why this difference in North?

    We understand the that IDPs live in pretty bad conditions, but how many Tamils raised thier voice when those people were forced to undergo so much of difficulty as human shield and hurded like animals, in to tiny space of land by LTTE, over a PERIOD OF 2 YEARS?.

    Everyone knows people in East, including former LTTE carders, have started decent living now and the same thing will happen in North also. But importantly Tamils in SL will not get anything extra than what Sinhalese have. That is to remind all of us live ordinary lives just managing over selves, irrespective of cast, creed and race.

    The governments will come and go, they don’t do much. Similarly what Chelvanayagam and Prabhakan have given Tamils during last 50 years? Only suffering and hatred of Sinhalese!!

    So its nothing but best we as ordinary Sinhalese and Tamils will try to strengthen ourselves and live our lives. Thats a reality in SL with ever stronger private sector, growing economy, free education, health and telecommunication facilities etc.

    The choice is yours!!

  13. Kumaran says:

    The 300,000 Sri Lankans (Tamils) in the IDP camps is a travesty of injustice to the Tamils, and also to some extent, to the poor Sinhala soldiers who bravely sacrificed their lives in this war for bringing permanent peace.

    The curse of Sri Lanka has always been the lack (or rather the deafening silence) of the collective moderate Sinhala public voice. This is why we continue to see this type of injustices being done to the Tamils in “broad daylight.” The IDP camps are no different from 1983, but worse!

    Even though I sympathize with the cause (equal rights) for Tamils, I never supported LTTE from its inception due to its mindless violence. On occasions, when I thought it is worth my energy to express it, I was not afraid to voice my dissent face to face to even hard core tiger supporters.

    Right now, I think it is worth the energy and time of the Sinhala moderates to collectively voice dissent about the IDP camps. GOSL is in a good mood right now due to its overwhelming victory over LTTE. So, even if we characterize some of the high-ranking members as chauvinistic, GOSL may tolerate some pubic dissent.

    Sinhala moderates please don’t be afraid to voice your opinion in public. Can’t you guys collect a couple of thousands of people and do a march on Galle road or something to voice your collective dissent about the IDP camps? And the Sinhala moderates in the diaspora, can’t you guys connect with each other as a group and start an ongoing dialog on this issue with GOSL?

    GOSL thinks if it can weed out even the LTTE ‘seeds’ from these IDP camps, they are going to destroy ‘terrorism’ forever. I think this is why some of the Sinhala moderates are also quietly going along with it. This is foolish. This war has killed thousands and every dead Tamil has relatives in Sri Lanka and in the diaspora. Every day we wait, we run the danger of radicalizing more and more Tamils.

    Right now, in the Tamil diaspora, all the chauvinistic narrow minded nitwits are arraying behind the stupid transnational Tamil Eelam project. Like VP, KP is also in hiding. So, even if KP means well, this project is going to be hijacked by the chauvinistic Tamil diaspora. This can mean only one thing: more violence on the ground in the future.

    If we don’t release the IDPs quickly, this transnational Tamil Eelam apparatus is going to pull all the Tamil moderates into it. Then it would be too late.

    The urgent need for moderate Tamils now is to see some positive actions on the ground by the moderate Sinhalese in terms of these IDP camps. Then only the reconciliation would become more meaningful.

    We need to have a good cop, bad cop strategy. Good cop: get on the good side of GOSL, but at the same time work towards releasing the IDPs from the camps ASAP. Bad cop: continue to bring out the negative aspects of the IDP camps to the public via interviews like these and rattle the cage a bit.

    So, the moderate Sinhalese who really consider the Tamils as fellow Sri Lankans, while we discuss and reconcile, please take the next step and organize yourselves as a collective to voice your dissent about the IDP camps. Only Sinhalese can do this. Tamils cannot even go into these IDP camps. You guys need to come together as a voice ASAP.

  14. Kumaran says:

    DBSJ, my apostrophe and quotation characters got messed up in my comment above. Could you please fix it if you have time. Thanks.

  15. parvathi says:

    Landmines, ex-tigers hiding amongst the civilians and the need to re-create the town centers before people can move in are valid reasons for this process being slow, I agree.

    But in these camps there are also families with young children and elderly people who have relatives and friends in Jaffna, Colombo & Trinco. It is very easy to identify these people and let them leave, which actually makes the screening of the remaining people that much easier and reduces the scale of the problem!

    Such logical acts will give Tamils like me, who want to be Sri Lankans — not just minorities, as the President would like us to be — much greater confidence that we are part of a future Sri Lanka. Success of the Sri Lankan cricket team achieved some of it, getting rid of VP achieved some of it, rapid release of people from these camps will make it 100%.

    So, please let them go… soon.

  16. Sinhala_Voice says:

    The government of Sri Lanka DEFEATED a militia group that tried to form a geographic area EXCLUSIVELY for Tamil and Tamil speakers.

    They did this by themselves and without real help from the western countries.

    You can not solve ALL the problems that TAMILS HAVE ACCRUED over the last 26 years, resulting totally from the conflict between the militias and the GoSL forces (1983-2009) overnight……

    The “Do gooders” that try to interfer is best adviced to look through the issues and try to separate those issues/problems that are a direct result of the conflict between the militia and GoSL and those that TAMILS say are the primary causes….

    Thos who try to mix these are nothing BUT TAMIL SEPARATISTS.

    My,my I thought TAMIL SEPARATISTS were defeated but they are still around I see…….DBSJ

  17. rose says:

    navin, #7, You said “Give some credit to the government. After all, the IDPs are been fed by poor tax payers money from the south whom you accuse of discriminating against these very same people and not by monies collected by rich diaspora who are self immolating in front of Parliamentary square in London for the welfare of their brothers and sisters.”

    You seem to have forgotten that ships containing food and medical supplies, put together by the diaspora, have been turned away by SL government–after they have admitted there were no arms on board. So far, at least two such ships have been turned away.

    What type of government does this when there is a humanitarian crisis in the country? A criminal type, that’s what. Not ignorant or careless, but criminal.

  18. Preetha says:

    Dear all,

    I appreciate the views of some of the moderate voices. See we all should agree that we have discriminated the tamils for more than 60 years. They did not life arms for the sake of fun. We being a buddist country should have treated all human beings with dignity and respect .

    We have failed in manu counts and I do not know how all our sins will be cleansed. We continue to commit more and moe sins bu all our actions.

    I am worrie about the future of our fellow Sri Lankans.
    May be now the victory will cover the

  19. rose says:

    Sinhala_Voice #16
    You said, “The government of Sri Lanka DEFEATED a militia group that tried to form a geographic area EXCLUSIVELY for Tamil and Tamil speakers.
    They did this by themselves and without real help from the western countries.”

    Are you trying to re-write history? The only reason the Tigers were defeated was due to the West declaring the Tigers as terrorists. This crippled their organization. Then there is all the financial, intelligence and military aid given by both the West and the East. The only thing your government does superlatively well is going around the world begging for alms.

  20. Crazyoldmansl says:

    Dear Landminers,

    What have landmines got to do with making a list of all those who are in camps?

    What have landmines got to do with identifying who dies and issuing death certificates to their next of kin?

    These mines that “pepper” the north and east. How many have you found so far and where are they?

  21. J.Shanker M. says:

    Dear friends,

    I always hated the word “terrorism or terrorist”. Is Bin Laden a terrorist? Are those Muslims, who are rightly or wrongly fighting against the Western dominance, terrorists? Or is Bush a terrorist? Those western powers, which are only in their self-interests fighting against the Muslims in the name of Civilization, terrorists? Was Prabaharan & Co terrorists or is the Rajapaksa-regime terrorist? Who is a terrorist and who is not?

    Are we all, who live in enormous luxury in Western Countries and who never ever want to give up our luxuries for any cause, but who love to talk, talk and talk, while millions of people around the world are dying, starving and suffering in their poverty each and every day, Terrorists? What is terrorism in real terms: the extreme poverty in our world or the armed wars? And who are terrorists in the real world: only the fanatic armed Muslims, the extreme Guantnamo-Bush & Co, Prabaharan & Co, Rajapaksa & Co, or are we all, who already live in luxuries and who still want more and more, while more and more children are dying each and everyday because of hunger and malnutrition around the world? Who are terrorists???

    In my humble opinion, we should give the priority to the ‘silent deaths’ as well as we give our priority to the ‘war deaths’. If we really want to fight for justice and for our freedom and if we really want to fight against the terrorism or the terrorists, in what ever forms it or they may appear, we must always start our fight from ‘ourselves’.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Who will release the most important prisoner of war in Srilanka ?

    It looks Mahinda Rajapakse is virtually a prisoner of his brother Gotabaya and his Army company.

    The shots are called by Gotabaya and executed by Sarath Fonseka.

    The President’s job is now limited to visit countries, participating in victory ceremonies, garlanding statues etc only.

    And Gotabaya is a man of ‘army’ reasoning.

    Ruthless, undiplomatic, rigid, blood thirsty ..etc

    I will equate him with dead Prabhakaran. He is Prabhakaran # 2 of Srilanka.

    Gotabaya declared earlier (not view) there are only two groups in Srilanaka : one the terrorists and the other who are fighting against it. Whatever talks, about plight of victims of war and their agony, is TREASON !

    So everyone can see where the IDPs and their well wishers got their place in the above categorization.

    The IC and neighboring countries may look for a different way if they sincerely want to help the IDPs.

    If anyone object to my above view, they may review the BBC interview of Gotabaya after the murder of Lasantha Wikramatunge and also Lasantha’s posthumous write up published on 11th Jan 09.

  23. Senadhi says:

    none of us have visited any of these camps. the information we have are based on the people who managed to visit them. on this light i don’t like to comment on shamila’s views. however some of her views seem to contradict to the views expressed by T. Constantine who visited these camps.
    however regarding medical needs of the IDPs, there is a weekly article written by Dr. Ariyasena U. Gamage in sunday lakbima. he is a consultant doctor who previously worked at Mawanella hospital and presently he’s working in Ramanadan village. he is writing from there regarding his day to day interactions with patients and the information he receives from them. he doesn’t criticize nor credit the government or the armed forces. he strictly writes about the health concerns and what he proposes. Dr. Gamage is a well respected doctor who has written books as well as regular news paper articles regarding community health. i have never heard him involving in politics. in that light his views can be accepted too. those of you my friends who can read sinhala, i invite you to read his articles. the latest one is available on http://www.lakbima.lk/archive/last_21_06_09/index.htm
    Dr. Gamage also believes that those IDP’s should be sent home as soon as possible and he mentions that there are a lot of patients in need of councelling, threat of communicable diseases, lack of toilet facilities etc. sure enough conditions are not ideal, but according to him there is no lack of medical attention and people are not allowed to die as some people say. not only doctors, there are midwives who visit people at their temperory homes. recently all those more than 59 years of age have been allowed to leave the camps. the description is so long, but i’d like to mention one interesting point Dr. Gamage has mentioned. There are a lot of teenage pregnant mothers in these camps, the reason being they married early and had children since LTTE didn’t recruit pregnant mothers and mothers with small children. earlier i read somewhere one tamil friend mentioning these teenagers are pregnant because they were raped by SL army. i don’t like to take sides and say who is lying. but i believe that those who are in the ground knows better.

    finally, i should say that i don’t at all commend the conduct of this government or their approach towards IDP’s. but since none of us or any independent journalist have visited these places, before jumping in to a judgement we should consider views from all sides.

  24. TCK says:

    To be honest, I do not want to beleive any of this. During the war, I would have just ignored ALL of it. But I do not want to do it anymore. The time for passive inaction has passed with the defeat of the LTTE. Firstly I thank her for her humanitarian activities which I am sure are genuine.

    So lets start by assuming she is saying the truth.

    1. We cannot establish her credibility without knowing who she is. (I know she has her reasons for not revealing it including security reasons) But still, I cant establish the credibility.

    2. She provides no factual evidence for these allegations at all. I would like to see someone writing a very factual report saying on this day this time, these things were refused to the IDPs, on this day in this announcement govt. refused these things etc etc. Then we can know beyond any reasonable doubt that the govt is actively torturing the IDPs.

    3. She claims “The ruling Rajapakse regime for reasons of its own is actively fostering and promoting triumphalist fervour amidst the majority community continuously”. But how is this defined and proven? Is the govt. asking or implying or encouraging this in any manner? lets have a list/ news reports/ personal experiences to that effect. (Not by her. it is not her job to do it. But by a journalist lets say…)

    4. She claims “In the north, the government has called for municipal council election in Vavuniya and Jaffna . People from these two districts don’t see a reason to have an election without 300,000 displaced people (who are virtually locked up in open prisons in these two districts)”
    but how do you define an open prison? What are the attributes these have that an open prison does?
    And what about the good things the IDP camps have than an open prison does not? All I am saying is that the misleading/ incorrect use of words could be indicative of a vested interest.

    5. She is also deliberately misleading and misinforming. As I know there are no IDPs from Jaffna or Vavunia municipality areas. The destrict is a seperate thing. It is the municipal elections that are being held.

    So all in all, while recognising the summary of her “harrang” as indicating the plight of the IDPs must be really bad, I am wodnering if it is as bad as she wants to propogate.

    If the government is genuine, the best way to counter attack this sort of faceless ‘short stories’ is to send an impartial committe (of well regarded Tamil, Sinhala & Muslim officials people such as supreme court judges) to the IDP camps to make an independent report on the issues and publish their findings.

    Without some thing like this, the storey tellers will keep on saying stories that are only “based on a true incedent”.

    DSJ RESPONDS:

    The lines in Your point no 3 was not written by Shamila but by me.

    If the Govt allows unfettered access to international media,INGO’s , Human rights activists etc to the camps then most of your doubts will be answered effectively.

  25. N2 says:

    #7. Navin:
    “Do you think Sri Lankan government comprise of people who suffer from sadism that derive pleasure by subjecting these people to prolonged agony?”

    Answer: “YES!!”

    And if the concern is really about landmines (as opposed to inflicting collective punishment and deriving sadistic pleasure from that) why have all the offers of expert help been refused?

  26. ardneham says:

    Land mines is an excuse suitable for the naive Sinhala Voter! Surely NGO and Jouranlist are able to tread
    though such “excuses”. I suppose Gotha is more
    worried of deaths due to mines now and not what he did – ofcourse not ,but what India did through him as he
    claimed!
    I do not expect any moderate Sinhala voice to be heard – as all that has been severed with Lasnatha etc.
    The words in tamil used by MR is the hieight of Hypocracy of a political leader in modern times.
    MR visiting Burma with his family and Wimal .W. is
    very Buddhistic; after turning back the Mercy Mission
    Aid. They want diaspora assistance to develop the
    North East, but not this kind of aid to IDPs!

  27. cedric says:

    Alas victory has brought about a sense of amnesia to this current mob. ! They have forgotten that a tamil problem exists in this country . Not only that , rabid elements , who were dormant , seem to have sprung out of the woodwork and are barking mad. ! My goodness ! where do the Tamils go from here ? The key , in my opinion , to the answer lies with India. ,but she has gone to sleep on the Sri Lankan issue. To the Tamil people I say , its time to wake her up !

  28. aratai says:

    There is only one solution: Follow China.

    One country, One language, One flag… One Leader.

    :-)

  29. duminda Kumarasiri says:

    Sharmila fits into DBSJ agenda.

    Just one more question for DBSJ
    Why you call the SL Government as Rajapaksha regime???
    is there any reason??

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Machang Kumarasiri

    I dont know what you mean by agenda.

    But yes I do have an agenda of speaking truth to power.

    And yes I do have an agenda of exposing truth and reality as far as possible.

    I am sure you would fit into this agenda too if you are so inclined.

    About your question – is not Mahinda’s surname Rajapakse and is he not the head of state and govt? So how do you want me to call it Rajapakse regime or Percival regime?

    Maybe you want me to call it Racist Rajapakse regime or Ruthless Rajapakse regime (3 R’s and all that)

    Why do you ask such stupid questions?

    What is your agenda by the way?

  30. wesley says:

    Comment #13 says : The urgent need for moderate Tamils now is to see some positive actions on the ground by the moderate Sinhalese in terms of these IDP camps.

    There is some news which states that GOSL is to create a new forum to discuss IDP protection issues.

    (EDITED)

    Hopefully it will be a constructive one, and not just created for political publicity. It remains to be seen if such a forum can provide an avenue for the ordinary public to voice their concerns to the GOSL about the IDPs.

  31. Navin says:

    17. rose:

    We in Sri Lanka do not know of a 2nd ship been turned away but we all know that one was asked to go back and is now anchored off the coast of Chenni and continuing on with its publicity circus.

    This ship was nothing but another campaign to portray the Sri Lankan state as evil and exaggerate the situation. Otherwise, why would they focus on publishing daily videos and media reports from the ship throughout its journey from England to Sri Lanka? I won’t be surprised if they even took the longest route from England to Sri Lanka as well! This was nothing but a cheap attempt to use the plight of these people to propel the cause of separatism— that’s the concern diaspora shows for their own, at least the ones that call the shots!

    Besides, there was no coordination with the government. If they had delivering aid to the IDPs at heart, they would have first asked for permission from the government rather than trying to go over its head showing their arrogance and deliver the aid. This is akin to the infamous parripu drop which had nothing to do with delivering parripu to the people. So the government too reacted appropriately. After all, do you think we Sri Lankans have no dignity to dance according to you diaspora tune?

    Has the government also turned away humanitarian assistance that has arrived from other quarters of the world?

    If you want to deliver aid, then the government will gratefully accept your gift. However, if you want to talk politics, the government will also do politics.

  32. agony says:

    Hi
    I too visiting the IDP centers very often.
    What the writer saying is agreeable.Except the political points ,i too like to support the writer.

    As a Sri Lankan we everybody should agree that we are lethargic to accept truth about ourselves.what we seeing in the camps also same.The demand is huge but supply is very limited.as a results lot of deficiencies,water,toilets,foods,space and medical supply.
    Daily at least 30- 50 death are reported.children ,young and old -all are became the victims.
    A person asked me- we will forget all other rights,please assure my rights to live.what are we going tell ?Hepatitis,Meningitis , pneumonia are the main killers.why we couldn’t help medically?because of strict regulations on transfers of patients,Always a military doctors gross checking and refusing the request. flies and diarrhea are so simple.
    So how are we going to assure the rights to live?
    I would like to propose that supply should be increased or demand should be reduced(not by killing the people)

  33. Navin says:

    # 20. Crazyoldmans:

    What have landmines got to do with making a list of all those who are in camps?

    FYI: I believe a list is now available. If you are honestly concerned you should first contact the ministry of human rights and disaster management.

    These mines that “pepper” the north and east. How many have you found so far and where are they?

    Ask SLA, they will be happy to give you a count. Not just of the land mines but of other more exquisite toys that have been found and unearthed under pretty much every tree and bush.

  34. Senthil says:

    Can there be reconciliation without justice?

    Can there be justice without truth?

    Allow people to tell the truth. Allow journalists unrestricted access to the internment camps. And please, don’t kill them when they report the truth. They are only trying to help you.

  35. Rajah says:

    In reply to #7 Navin:

    Navin: This is a good one.

    Rajah: It certainly is. A good laughable one.

    Navin: It will take many more months to clear the areas of land mines and build the necessary infrastructure so that the areas are habitable once again than to weed the population of the LTTE moles. Still many will loose their limbs for years to come. Besides, do you think a government can throw people into barren lands with just a palmyrah leave for shelter like LTTE? Where do these people go in case of an emergency? How do they get started with their living? What if their houses are booby trapped? Where do their children go to school?

    Rajah: So let me get this straight. The government is keeping the people behind barbed wires in camps to protect them from landmines and because their areas are uninhabitable. It’s been 4 months since the government took control of Kilinochi, and there have been numerous videos shown of soldiers walking freely around Kilinochi and taking photos. Are you saying that Kilinochi is uninhabitable? What were the soldiers doing in Kilinochi for four months instead of demining the place? Taking photos? These IDPs have endured atleast a year’s worth of indiscriminate aerial boming and shelling by this same government and now the government is worried that they might step on landmines? From the IDP’s perspective, compared to the aerial bombing and shelling, landmines are a joke. Here’s a novel concept: WHY DON’T YOU LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. Sri-Lanka is a free country isn’t it? Why doesn’t the government remove the barbed wire and let the pople freely go where they choose. If as you say, their lands are uninhabitable and the camps are better suited for life, they will return to the camps. Why are there still restrictions to the camps for those who want help and international organizations? Why are cameras and voice recorders not allowed in? Because of landmines? When Hurricane Katrina devastated the US and made areas virtually uninhabitable and downright dangerous, did the US government imprison the survivors in barbed-wired camps to protect them?

    Navin: Besides, yes the government has a right to be concerned about the LTTE moles among these people for it is not only responsible for the safety of these 300,000 IDPs but for the 20 million Sri Lankans.

    Rajah: When the JVP uprisings were put down, why were there no barbed-wire camps to house the million or so Sinhalese just incase there were still JVP moles? Was the government not concerned about the JVP moles?

    Navin: This is what happens when you start believing that NGOs are the saints sent by god to save the IDPs from evil Sri Lankan government (or should I say Sinhalese?) and that these people are alive today only because of the services of INGOs and international community.

    Rajah: Actually, this(your comments) is what happens when one is not educated and lacks an independent rational mind to analyze things for oneself.

  36. Helaka U says:

    Absolutely agree with #16 Sinhala Voice, well said SIR !

    It has only been ONE MONTH since the end of fighting between the Tamil terrorists and government forces, a war which lasted THREE WHOLE DECADES !!!!

    Can anyone expect the government to IMMEDIATELY resettle the displaced without filtering any remaining terrorists, clearing landmines/explosives/hidden weapons, re-building the infrastructure (destroyed by these so called liberators of Tamils) ????

    Get real people. These so called INGOs and NGO are suffering because their means of income has dried up and their luxurious lifestyles cannot be sustained, so they need to start painting ghastly pictures of IDPs in order to get back to their old lifestyle. What have these people done over the years to help our citizens in war-torn areas ?

  37. Pramod says:

    ” A harsh fact of life is the hiatus between rhetoric and reality.

    One is starkly reminded of the chasm between promise and performance as we see current developments unfolding.”

    Dear DBSJ,

    The above is a politician’s challenge now a days.

    I presume “shamila” is a human right activist.

    But that role is a shadow of her.

    What she speak is pure politics.

    An activist should help to lessen sufferings of human beings. But she talks much on who created /caused it.

    Let her speak out even if you feel it is “politics”. So what if it’s “politics”?……….DBSJ

  38. Piyatissa says:

    DILSHAN : Of course you won’t hear of RAPE & MURDER, in th IDP camps, you will only find more dead victims.

    - Dilshan, you can be proud that our country has the LARGEST REFUGEE/ PRISON CAMP – 262,657 PERSONS.

    TO NAVIN: The fear among tamils in SL is that landmines may be planted in the areas where the people were living. This is the MISTRUST the regime has established.

    Is it the LOVE OF THE GOSL FOR THE IDPs,which is keeping them going back to their villages ? COME ON NAVIN, YOU AND I KNOW BETTER

    NATHAN : Yes tamils are waiting for MAGNANIMITY & HUMILTY from the GOSL, BUT NO SIGN YET.

    TO ALL SINHALA MODERATES : PLS SPEAK UP , YOU HAVE BEEN SILENT TOO LONG.

  39. Haroon says:

    We need more Shamilas in SL for anything significant to happen – hundreds of thousands more. In any decent society there will be demonstrations to highlight the issue of the IDPs. If SL is a democracy I would expect it. If SL is a Buddhist country I would expect it – one would expect the Buddhist clergy to be storming the Presidential Palace to demand that the IDPs are properly cared for, accounted for and released without delay.

    The problem is, most people seem to regard those caught up in the conflict as (1) ‘them’ or worse still (2) that ‘they’ are responsible for the situation and the conflict in the first place.

    In most countries the people in the extreme right of politics are in the minority – such as the BNP in the UK and the present day Neo-Nazis, KKK in the USA. The majority keep these crackpots in check. But chauvinism seems like an accepted norm in SL, almost as if our heritage demands it. It is as if chauvinism is essential in order to display patriotism.

    This is why you won’t see mass demonstrations in Colombo. I think #21 J Shanker M would call this ‘democratically sactioned terrorism’. It is shameful.

  40. Pramod says:

    #21. J.Shanker M. | June 22nd, 2009 at 5:20 am

    Dear friends,

    I always hated the word “terrorism or terrorist”.

    You hate it or not.
    Or you define it .

    It is those who create fear in you by acting unpredictable way.

    You have to fear it.

  41. mercator says:

    crazyoldmans #20
    LTTE clearly marked all 1.5 million landmines with a little flag and instructions on how to dig them up and disable them. They also have signs saying “Dear Army People, Please do not step on the Landmine”

  42. kavi says:

    (EDITED)

    Re settle is a distance dream… Firstly, think about the conditions and the access. If you cannot talk to your relatives, after you got a terrible missery, what kind of situation they are in?

    If you cannot go out and live with your relatives, if you cannot go out and work, if you cannot go out and get the medicine you want, if you cannot send your kids to the school you want… basically if you cannot step out of the camp and see the outside world…. This is not just IDP camps.

    All IDPs are IDPs, but they have the rights to do all the above. This has to be sorted out before thinking of re-settlement.

  43. sivet says:

    Timely article, DBSJ. A man must be judged by what he does and not what he says. The President says all the correct things, but his deeds are quite the opposite. As a Sinhalese who lives in and loves this country, I am becoming increasingly pessimistic that the end of the LTTE will really make a change for the better. The euphoria is fading rapidly.

    Thank You but it’s really Shamila’s interview and ot my article…………DBSJ

  44. vivian bandara says:

    Dear All, Nothing important than re-settling those people in IDP camps at the moment. But I do not see GOSL putting it’s best effort to the cause. Yes I understand there may be thousand of obstacles before its get done. But on the national madia they should show the progress on daily basis and conditions on those camps.

  45. RAM says:

    When Tamils are treated separately than Sinhalese, there begins separatism. Defeat of terrorism does not only mean defeat of LTTE, it means end of extrajudicial methods of GOSL too. Reconciliation does not mean subjugation, it means equal treatment. Follower of Dharma does not mean that one is a Buddhist, but mean courage to uphold righteousness, no matter what ever the faith one may belong. These are universal principals, if violated the nation would reap the fruits of it.

  46. George Gunasekera says:

    My Dear DBSJ, Why don’t people have patience. If the GOSL did not do away with the LTTE so quickly these displaced tamil people now in the Camps would be still be under going the worst form of misery under their saviour Prabakaran & Co. The rations sent by the Government were snatched from them and harsh punishments were given like taking each member for fightiing and shooting them when they tried to escape. Young women were made to bear children so that there will be plenty of eligible people to be recruited for fighting. This is evident from the large population of young children and expectant mothers amongst the displaced.
    It is only a month since the fighting ended. Every one must appreciate that the Government was able to find some sort of temporary shelter for the displaced people.The sick were treated with the help of all those who were willing to assist.The people are fed from the time they set foot on the Government controlled area.Even the first Lady visited the displaced children and people in the camps and distributed gifts and arranged to further the education of the children.
    Some displaced families were settled in mannar area last month and demining, provision of electricity for the whole of the north and construction of houses is being done to settle the displaced batch by batch.The Government has promised to accelarate settlement and are working on a 180 day programme. All these work is being done with the limited financial resources with the Government. The heartless pro LTTE tamils blocked the IMF Loan the Government required for development.
    Once the Government conducts local Government elections and restore the local bodies those members elected out of the people in these affected areas itself can attend to the needs of the people better than the Central Government.
    Therefore DBSJ it is your duty to educate these restless people of the work the GOSL has done so far and ask them to give at least another three months for the GOSL to show a sigtnificant improvement. If these people could suffer for three decades under a inhuman monster surely they should be able to wait for a few more months to get what they want. All the tamils living in the Northern Province should be grateful for the GOSL for whatever peace they are enjoying now.At least they can be sure there is no one to shoot them now. All Sri Lankans have achieved peace by eliminating a heartless man now let us be wise and consolidate the peace achieved.Trust our own Hindu and Buddhist Clergy would step in at this most wanted hour and help to remind our rulers and the ruled the real meaning of love and the responsibilities towards each other as taught by our Great Religious Leaders.

  47. uslanka says:

    When looking at all these variety of comments, what one wants to do by their governments one thing is clear. The governments cannot be run by listening to all these individual voices because they do not represent the big picture. Same happened to California, not governable anymore , nothing works, no budgets passed, almost bankrupt, listening to all interest groups too much and having too many proposition elections. Democracy is crazy when there is no limit. Sri Lanka government ended the terrorism, we all celebrated it, no more suicide bombs. Isn’t it a good thing? I listened to army commander yesterday saying that they won’t resettle people until all death traps are cleared. Doesn’t it make sense? So, they have a plan. Let them work it out. Those people were in LTTE death traps with no freedom for 25 years. Let the government do it right this time. Do not judge anything based on media sound bites. This government has done the unthinkable, seems like it is going in the right direction. I bet the same guys will bark crazy at this government if a single resettled family faces an uncleared LTTE death trap and get killed. Please do not talk with hidden agendas or partisanships. This is not a UNP/SLFP issue or Tamil/Sinhalese issue, it is a national issue. We can clearly see why Sri Lanka could not do anything right in the past. It is we the people not thinking of the country first.

  48. rimfirejones says:

    # 23. Senadhi ,

    No independant journalist are allowed to visit the camps by the GOSL. Therefore the voices that support the GOSL rings hollow.

  49. Nisha says:

    I agree with Kumaran and Parvathi. The Gov should try their best to resettle the IDPs as soon as possible. Even if they keep them in order to screen out a few LTTEs, they might unintentionally create another separatist movement. Moderate Tamils living in the IDPs might go along with it if they are kept in the IDP camps for a prolonged period of time. Also I believe it is their basic human right to be allowed to live freely.

    Yes there are landmines that need to be cleared out first. But like what Parvathi said, at least let the families and elderly with relatives and friends who are receptive move in with them.

    I do believe there are many Tamil diasporas that are pro-LTTE, but there are also many that are anti-LTTE but also anti-IDPs. If we can have the people settled soon we can win them over and hopefully in time, the seeds of a Transitional Government for the Tamil Eelam will wash away. We do not want yet another separatist movement. One was enough to put our country back 30 years.

    Regarding the shipment, I am deeply saddened that the very much needed items that were collected internationally were not accepted. I am also equally saddened that the Tamil Diaspora didnt do the necessary paperwork prior to sending the shipment in. Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation and one cannot just send a shipment of anything to a nation and expect it to be unloaded without prior consent. It violates international shipping procedures. Having said that, this could have been over-ruled by the GOSL having found that the ship contained only aid. I personally feel it might have been an ego-issue. I do feel that it was also an ego-issue in the Diaspora part for not getting the necessary paperwork done. It is a shame that the bullish nature of both the GOSL and the Diaspora ends up being a loss for the IDPs.

    To my Sinhala brothers and sisters. I understand that the feeling of being able to walk outside the house with out worrying at the back of the mind of getting blown up is indeed liberating. It can make one want to celebrate for years. What we need to understand though is that it is hurting the sentiment of a community in our nation. A community that feels that we should not be celebrating while 300,000 of our brothers and sisters remain displaced. I know that we are just celebrating our feeling of relief, and its definitely not about victory over a community as it may have been portrayed abroad. But let us take their sentiments into heart. Lets instead channel this energy to reach out to our Tamil brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka. I know that government has promised to resettle the IDPs as soon as possible, but let us keep reminding the government that it is indeed a pressing issue. Let us all unite and voice together.

    We must remember that it is not truly a victory until everyone in Sri Lanka feels that they are a part of the nation.

  50. Tharu22 says:

    As always people are using different versions given by various people not in an objective manner, but just to re-assure themsleves of their preconceived ideas.
    Anyway, I am somewhat vary of the accounts coming from ‘unnamed’ sources. Afterall there is a global industry that thrives on other peoples misery and it is in the self interest of these elements to depict a very ‘miserable’ picture.
    I am not saying that this Shamila is lying, but surely there are many elements with strong incentives to do so.
    And, about the ‘unrestricted’ access for NGOs, I don’t think there is such thing as ‘unrestricted’ access in this kind of situations in any country of the world, so the debate should be on the ‘level’ of restrictions imposed.
    While there are valid reasons to grant more access to NGOs, there are reasons not to do so as well (especially after considering the behavior of some of these NGOs over the years). Nothing is as black or white as extreme elements of both ends claim.

  51. Dexter says:

    # 5 Navin:

    Postponing resettlement is another lie, just like the “Humanitarian rescue” that never considered “human costs”.

    please see what TULF leader V Anandasangaree said on BBC. He is no LTTEer.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8076407.stm

    “The theory that the area is heavily landmined cannot be accepted because I am in touch with a number of people. So, when I ask them they tell me where the landmines are placed. They are local people. According to them, 75% per cent of the area is not at all landmined,” the Tamil leader said.

  52. shan stefan says:

    I agree with uslanka’s comment the government did erdicate terrorism for the first time in SL. so why not we wait and see the progress. It is not easy to do what people talk in just a couple of days. let things happen as per the government plan.

  53. Navin says:

    #25. N2:

    Your comment is not worthy of a reply.

  54. Kesara says:

    DBS,
    Consider this too
    Why resettlement of Sri Lanka’s displaced should not be rushed

    Oh sure.Do they have any choice?From LTTE to GOVT IDP’s are captives of circumstances….DBSJ

  55. shan stefan says:

    By reading all the comments i understand whoever comented are really care about the IDP’s. That shows the Love and Effection about these innocent people

  56. KV says:

    Not worth publishing. Another one of those letters aimed at bringing discord among people of sri lanka. Perfection perfection , how perfect are you Shalini in your dealings?. At the end of the day, what ever the out come is, if you ahave done your best you will have a good night’s sleep.
    KV

  57. confused confucius says:

    Dear All
    Good news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A. The 300000 IDP’s are not in the FIRE but are in the FRYING PAN. I presume this is a slight improvement in conditions. No more mistaken shells falling from anyside and no more deaths in large numbers BUT you get fried I am afraid.

    B. I wonder whether anyone can name a Sri Lankan head of state who rose to power to do good for his countrymen. When I mean countrymen I mean it. Regardless whether you are a Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim, Christian, Chinese, Dutch, English or “Indians” [Shame on all who decided that these MOST HARD WORKING LOT IN SRI LANKA should not be Sri Lankan citizens in the past]…………. no leader ever intended to do any good to anyone

    C. Tamil people if you think that you were dealt badly, in a racist manner, please see how the JVPer’s were incinerated, tortured and killed. I think you are better off compared to them. This is the Sri Lankan way of dealing things, I don’t understand why you are failing to understand this again and again.

    D. Who are the people who were marginalized when the proportionate system was introduced? Who started to fight against it? Who is paying the price now?

    E. The LTTE took “LIFE” out of a generation of people in Vanni. The generation has reached it’s final abode either in a cemetery, maimed, in the IDP camps or in camps of Tamilnadu or free citizens in a rich country as ASYLUM SEEKERS, missing the magnificent life they had in Sri Lanka [although they had pan and paruppu]

    F. Did we have democracy in Sri Lanka? until I was a student I thought we had. But the moment you step in to the Sri Lankan life, you feel that you are powerless and useless unless you are related, to someone who is related to someone who is related, to someone who is related to the leader of Sri Lanka. Otherwise people have to feel sorry for you and help you. So Tamil people don’t mourn you are in the same boat once you are out of the camps

    G. Who are to blame, me and all of you who type here. We created the people who created our constitution. This constitution can not do only one thing “Pirimiyek gahanu karana eka and gahaniyek pirimiyek karana eka” [i.e. a sex change either way]. We never lost our democracy because we never had it. We created monsters [sorry it should be ministers] from nothing, which are chasing behind us during elections to come to power by hook or by crook. Why because we don’t want to get involved. No one want’s to get involved because it’s not our problem. The thugs will take care of our future and will dictate where we should reach in 50 years time.

    H. Now Pirabaharan is gone. whom are you expecting. Karuna?, Pillayan? Devananda? you don’t have the answers. Not because it is due to LTTE or southern politics, it’s because it is Sri Lanka.

    I. I think the only way we can help is helping each other, we cant expect miracles from the politicians after all they are politicians. e.g the Southern expressway collapsed on a child and I don’t think no one will be held account. This is an example of democracy and justice in Sri Lanka. It’s no point Screaming, chanting and blocking roads in europe but to understand what Sri Lanka is and help each other in a way practicle and possible

    K. Whatever we shout or protest is like raining on “Erma Maadu” and if we continue to do it we will become the “Erma Maadu” or have we already attained that?

  58. Navin says:

    # .35 Rajah:

    Rajah: So let me get this straight. The government is keeping the people behind barbed wires in camps to protect them from landmines and because their areas are uninhabitable. It’s been 4 months since the government took control of Kilinochi, and there have been numerous videos shown of soldiers walking freely around Kilinochi and taking photos. Are you saying that Kilinochi is uninhabitable? What were the soldiers doing in Kilinochi for four months instead of demining the place? Taking photos? These IDPs have endured atleast a year’s worth of indiscriminate aerial boming and shelling by this same government and now the government is worried that they might step on landmines? From the IDP’s perspective, compared to the aerial bombing and shelling, landmines are a joke.

    You think that just because the army soldiers can survive in an area, it is also suitable for people to live? Are the needs, knowledge, risks they are prepared to take as soldiers the same for ordinary people? Why don’t you go to Killinochchi and see whether you can live in that place without any facilities, a civil administration or police protection before talking about sending others?

    What is your measure of indiscriminate? What about freedom fighters butchering entire villagers at night, sending lorry loads of suicide squads to the capital to destroy its air ports, harbors, central back, oil deports, bus stops, train stations and pretty much everything in between for years and years not to mention assembling a hostile military inside the country itself comprising of an air wing and a sea going arm? So if a government after enduring all this decide to take on specific terrorist targets through aerial bombardment, is that indiscriminate? IYO, when would it not be indiscriminate to take action against LTTE and what kind would that be?

    In the same way that IDPs have a right to freedom of movement all other people in the country have a right to LIVE. Right to live is paramount to freedom of movement. I sincerely hope that the government would do its very best to make the lives of these poor people as comfortable as possible and help them salvage whatever is left of their tomorrow. However, if it is required that their rights be temporarily curtailed for the betterment of the country and all its people including the IDPs themselves, then there is nothing wrong with that decision; its certainly not an easy one but the correct choice nevertheless.

    Interestingly enough, some time back, in the east, when the government wanted people to leave the camps it was NGOs again that started shouting against government for forcing people to go back to their homes!!!

    Rajah: When the JVP uprisings were put down, why were there no barbed-wire camps to house the million or so Sinhalese just incase there were still JVP moles? Was the government not concerned about the JVP moles?

    Do I need to elaborate to you the way the JVP uprising was put down? Have you forgotten the infamous role played by the “Black Cats” paramilitary at night and mass graves? Have you forgotten those 30 or so students that got massacred in Embilipitiy? Did the JVP hoard all people of an entire region into a small corner like LTTE? Was the JVP able to destroy the entire civil administration and all its infrastructure to the point of those areas becoming completely inhabitable? If you think the government went soft on JVP because they were Sinhalese and is going hard on LTTE because they are Tamil, you must be smoking something really good.

    Navin: This is what happens when you start believing that NGOs are the saints sent by god to save the IDPs from evil Sri Lankan government (or should I say Sinhalese?) and that these people are alive today only because of the services of INGOs and international community.

    Rajah: Actually, this(your comments) is what happens when one is not educated and lacks an independent rational mind to analyze things for oneself

    The state of your educated, independent rational mind is amply shown in your comments.

  59. George Gunasekera says:

    Dear DBSJ, May I try to clear some misgivings some of the writers are harbouring and also what Shamila has raised during her interview:
    1). In the first instance we must take notice of the dreadful picture the foreign journalists are trying to paint to describe the temporary camps where the displaced persons are housed. In order to prevent the LTTE men who are in the jungle getting inside the camps and abducting IDP’s in the camps the GOSL has put up a barbed wire fence round the camps. This is done purely in the interest of the security of the IDP’s. If the GOSL had the time and the money they would have got a neat wall erected round the camps. The foreign journalists think that these camps are similar to the American Prisioners of war garrisons rounded by huge razor wire in the Guatanamo Bay in Cuba and they liken the Vanni IDP camps to those prisons. The Army sentries and the barb wire round the vanni camps is only for the security of the displaced people and not to harass them as in the prisoner of war camps in the Guatanamo Bay.
    2. Secondly the question of keeping Journalists and some NGO’s away from the camps. This is done also for sake of security. Some Journalists wants to get into the camps to concoct sensational stories and publish in their bankrupt news papers to earn money. The readers do not bother to verify from reliable sources to see whether these stories are true but the damage they do to the reputation of a country is enormous.This is the very reason the GOSL is holding journalists like that of the London Times from getting inside the vanni IDP camps.
    Then the question of some notorious NGO’s. It was reported that some NGO’s have used their money to lure young tamil girls from vanni and had raped them . Some photos of victims of these foreign NGO’s were published in the internet. This is one of the main reasons why some NGO’s are not allowed inside the IDP camps.
    3. Thirdly most westerners are worried about the victory celebrations that are going on in the country. I wonder whether these parasites read about people in Pakistan dying while they were celebrating the winning of the World 20/20 cricket cup match final at Lord’s last Sunday. Sri Lanka won a match fighting a devil but no one died when the Sri Lankans celebrated this victory. Actually speaking Sri Lankans celebrated this victory not just because they won a battle against a inhuman but bacasue they ended a three decade suffering their innocent tamil brotheren suffered. These celebrations were really harmless exercises making everyone happy and served a better purpose than the meaningless and treacherous wild mass demonstrations of the tamil diaspora in almost all the western countries.The tamil diaspora could have made better use of the money spent on those senseless demonstrations if they had only sent that money to their relatives back in the Vanni.
    4. Shamila is worried of uncomitted war crimes in Sri Lanka. Shamila should have learnt from her studies that all war crimes were comitted by the LTTE. The LTTE robbbed the civilians trapped in the war zone of their rations,they forcebly recruited them to fight for them, They forced children to join their cadres to fight,they shot all those who dared to flee from the war zone. The GOSL is saddled with the task of inquiring into these crimes from the criminals caught amongst the IDP’s. It is very interesting how Shamila has decided to pardon the western countries of war crimes by conveniently forgetting the innocent civilians killed by them and are still killing.
    5. Shamila has said that there are no signs of reconcilliation but only celebrations. I wonder where Shamila was when the President Mahinda Rajapakse in his first speech itself said that he is declaring that there are only two types of citizens in Sri Lanka after the war, that is those that are LOYAL to SRI LANKA and those that are not Loyal. He was humble enough to avoid referring to them as TRAITORS. Can Shamila find another Head of State who invited all its citizens to forget everything that happened in the past and be Loyal Citizens of the country soon after winning a murky war that had ruined the country to the last cent. Reconcilliation if Shamils knows the spirit of reconcilliation what more does she want? I am sure Shamila would be ashamed to be living amongst the Sri Lankans she criticised so much after seeing the unity amongst the Sri Lankans in the next magical few months time provided dark horses like Shamila does not become pawns in the hands of our enemies who are trying their best to reverse our gains. Shamila should know the situation in Sri Lanka. There was no disunity in Sri Lanka. It was some power hungry politicians who tried to disunite the Sri Lankans and it has now been rightly corrected by our heoric visionary His Excellency Mahinda Percival Rajapakse.
    6. Shamila has thought it fit to find cudgels wih the GOSL for its efforts to restore the democratic institutions that were destroyed by the self proclaimed despot Prabakaran immediately after destroying the fool. Shamila does not realise the pride and strength a well organized democration institution like a municipality could bring to a people who had been oppresed for decades. The idea of restoring these democratic institutions are the sole thinking of his Excellency of Mahindha Rajapakse as he knows that people of the same area are best to solve their own problems. Shamila tries to bring the narrow minded thinking of the saboteurs that the GOSL is trying to install the municipalities to colonize tamil areas with sinhalese people. I would like to tell Shamila that this is a redundant idea. I must tell Shamila that the new Sri Lanka does not recognize any province belongs solely to a particular community. Sri Lanka considers all citizens living in Sri Lanka as Sri Lankans and any Sri Lankan can live in any part of the country that he or she wishes. Therefore the question of the old imperial colonization does not come into play in Sri Lanka again. We are not going to be divided again. The whole of Sri Lanka is open to all Sri Lanka and people living in any part of Sri Lanka will be known as Sri Lankans. I trust Shamila will not be jealous of this achievement.
    7. Then lastly the common charge the Shamila type of people bring to discredit Governments that of Rape. I would like to ask Shamila whether she found any vacant tents erected in the IDP camps to take women for raping.How on earth did the soldiers rape women without being seen by thousands in the camps in the open bathing places.It is a shame a respectable lady should bring a false allegation like this simply for reasons best known to her.

  60. George Gunasekera says:

    Dear DSBJ – Sorry I missed the all important question of land mines. It is not only the land mines they have to clear there is a another GOLD MINE for a stray terrorist or for gangsters in the jungles of the vanni. The Army is finding hundreds of AK 46,86 rifles,hand granades,claymore mines,deadly c4 powder,rounds of ammunition and all kinds of military items and fuel buried in various places in the vanni jungles. If these items gets into the hands of the displaced people who are already trained to use them we just cannot imgine what calamity we would have to face again. So, all those impatient Shamilas please have mercy upon us and give the GOSL a reasonable time to bring complete fool-proof peace to all Sri Lankans.

  61. Jonathan says:

    All those who are still celebrating, think again after reading this article

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/liao2

    Did MR make the biggest blunder in history?

  62. kuthbuddin says:

    please think positively on the issue of internally displaced people .yes the government is making every effort to send all these people back to native villages and their is no doubt about it.cos its a big burden on the government side to keep them.as humans we are not farm animals that is what sharmila is interpreting so please understand the plight of it.and the issue of rapes and taking away as suspects is wrong.under the law every citizen has the right to be protected.rehabilitation should take place inside the camp under the supervision of the parents.as they may be terrorist earlier but rehabilitating them and giving them dignity them is the biggest gift government and its people can give.as a sri lankan i say to all who are out side of the country please don’t be misled by people who are trying to create disharmony over here .end of the day we are one who are suffering.

  63. Dilshan F says:

    Dear Angelo,

    read carefully before you reply.

    This is what ‘Shamila’ said, ‘In the south the continuing triumphalist rhetoric and celebrations has further cornered even Tamils who never ever supported LTTE’s ideology. The chauvinist fever that followed military defeat of the LTTE is now haunting the Tamils every where in this country’ – DO you agree that she could paint All sinhalese people in one color? The activities involving ordinary people STOPPED!! what is going on I have described..

    The Myanmar issue is not relevant – you can have your opinion.

    I agree with most comments here about letting the IDP’s return to their own ‘BEDS’ – this is the most important thing now TOGETHER with reconciliation. I really feel that as someone argued, MR Regime or the present government could find a lot of support from all quarters if the ADP’s were settled village by village on an accelerated basis.

    I am sure it would not be impossible to find caregivers to look after sectors, BUT I do not know the ground reality of those areas, whether any habitation can happen now.

    All I can say is that the Govt WILL resettle in their earliest though a time frame cannot be defined. In the meantime many will view such delay with suspicion.

  64. R says:

    Great interview. Based on the reaction, it seems we have a long way to go before Tamils can live with peace and dignity.
    I am akways first, you shall be second best
    If you challenge me, you will have none
    Work with me, I will pick first and share the rest

  65. fran says:

    The reasons the Tamil civilians are in internment camps
    1. Pathological fear the government is suffering from.
    a. fear of the crime committed may come out
    b. LTTE may be reactivated as GOSL consider everyone in the camp is a potential hard core tiger
    2. Systemic racism in governance of Sri lanka.
    3. Incompetence and busy self serving politicians.

    Reconciliation and political solution from this regime- NEVER.
    Then who hold the card for reconciliation and success of SL-moderate/progressive Sinhalese if they can be vocal and muster their strength. May be in post MR era.
    Until then……………?

  66. Saliya says:

    Dear Mr Jeyaraj,

    I have only followed your articles within the last 6 years, but I have always found them insightful and a window into Tamil politics which would otherwise not have been open to me. Sri Lanka lost a great journalist when you stopped writing for the Sunday papers.

    While being a non-violent person, I am glad that the fighting is over and that normalcy has resumed to a great extent in the south. I didn’t expect events to turn out this way, and like most people didn’t expect to see the end of the LTTE organization during my lifetime.

    For me personally (being far removed from the suffering and loss of life at the war front), I was pleasantly surprised and rejoiced in the military’s gains upto Mr Lasantha Wickramatunge’s murder. That event cast a shadow over the President’s announcement of the fall of Killinochchi, and the President himself seemed troubled during his televised speech.

    From then on, while appreciating the military’s gains and sacrifices, I began to feel disquiet about the future following the end of the fighting. While I felt relief and appreciation for the armed forces towards the end of the fighting, I personally felt very sombre about the future of our country.

    It grieves me greatly to hear about the continued attacks on journalists, and it saddens me when the Defence Secretary openly makes statements to the effect that people who are ‘traitors’ will be punished by those that love the armed forces. I was also greatly upset when I heard a leading SLFP member on his morning radio show inciting callers to ask that Ranil Wickramasinghe be given the electric chair for the concessions he made to the LTTE during the CFA! While this was in the feverish leadup to the Western Provincial Council Elections, it was very sad that this should occur without some sort of control by the President or Senior Members of the government. What hope do we have of national reconciliation when the UNP (as the major opposition party) is attacked like this?

    I have developed a grudging respect for President Mahinda Rajapakse over the years – since he has the support of the South, he is someone capable of doing very politically difficult things. One example is Norochcholai, and another is withstanding international pressure during the closing phases of the fighting. I only pray that he has the wisdom to use this support to implement an enduring equitable political solution that will ensure a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka.

  67. rose says:

    Saliya #66
    I see that 20,000 Tamils killed in the fighting, and quarter of a million Tamils living like animals in camps doesn’t cause any disquiet to you, but the killing of one Sinhalese man disturbs you. I guess Sinhalese life is much more precious, isn’t it? While I have the utmost respect for Lasantha W and regard him as a true hero, I don’t think his life is worth more than that of Tamils.

    It is only natural that when three evil brothers get together and kill innocent Tamil civilians with the excuse of wiping out terrorism that, when that job is done, they will turn to wiping out their own Sinhalese bretheren. Killers are killers, after all–they don’t understand anything else. Perhaps it is only at this point, when Sinhalese turn against Sinhalese, that the majority population will finally wake up.

  68. Serenity says:

    In the 80s I had the privileg of organizing a medical camp for a group of IDPs in Colombo. We had less than 500 people. It was very chaotic for a long time before we had everything in place.

    I cannot wrap my mind around 300,000 people.

    Practically speaking all of us will have to be patient,
    and help the GOSL to move forward.

    I am glad that Shamila is helping them. Now it is our turn.

    I wish the diaspora will stop lobbying the politicians in the western world. All it does is force the GOSL to spend money to ‘counter’ these statements.

    To me this is money that is being wasted by both sides. This is the money that we need to spend on the IDPs to help them to get back on their feet.

    This is the money we can spend on the kids who are suffering from post traumatic stress syndromes. (I have nightmares if I see a war movie. And I shudder to think what their feelings are like just now)

    I also tried my best to help during the Tsunami. What frustrated me most was the amount of money that was collected by INGOs. I know first hand how a lot of this was ‘wasted’

    But. I can see their point of view too. People from other countries who come to help us the Sri Lankans think that it is okay to use some of this money to stay in expensive hotels. They are used to air conditioning. And since they are not used to the heat and dust and the sound, they would not be able to function in the heat. But to us the ‘locals’ this is money wasted.

    So my point is
    a. Lets be patient

    b. We the Sri Lankans need to stop blogging and start helping. Find out a successful project in Sri Lanka and send money. Or better still volunteer in any way you can.

    c. Try to talk to your Tamil friends (I am a Sinhala Buddhist) Try to reassure them when ever you can

    Then and then only will we be able to grow together and move forward as one nation.

  69. Jayan says:

    We should not forget that the 300,000 IDPs who stay in the camps volunteered to stay in the LTTE controlled areas in the first place. They realised the mistake when the LTTE kept them as human shields. Now the GoSL have to check these people thoroughly before they are released in to free society. We do not need any more human bombs. GoSL has a choise between the safety of 20 million citizens or inconvenience of 300,000 IDPs.

  70. Nallavan says:

    Good to see Sharmila’s article.

    I was expecting the call from you DBSJ, now, to the GOSL to LET MY PEOPLE GO as you did to the LTTE.

    Sadly the response will be the same. But, I hope you will continue to expose the crimes against the people in these camps and keep make the GOSL accountable.

    Many Srilankans feel, these camps will be the place where reconcilliation should start (and end!). If these camps last another year another era of hatrad and mistrust will be built from these very camps.

    It is sickening to read some of the arguments in keeping people in these camps.

    LET MY PEOPLE GO…

  71. Fauzer says:

    Peace to all.

    DBSJ’s intro gives the impression that ‘Shamila’ is speaking of facts based on here first hand experience on the ground. However, the interview is full of wide ranging opinions and her own conclusions (not to say that they are necessarily incorrect or biased).

    The danger of that is immediately apparent from the very 1st comment

    //1. Gloria Abraham | June 21st, 2009 at 7:07 pm
    You have told the truth without fear or favour.This is the reality.I hope you dont get into trouble
    //

    I find the line of questions, particularly Q2, very dubious. It embeds a statement that is supposedly an universal truth – dodgy buggers.

    We want things to improve for the IDPs and everyone else, and the government to be more open and accountable, but one must be careful not to mix truth with falsehood and not to confuse opinions with facts.

    If I may quote the Quran:
    (An interpretation of Capter 2, V 42)
    -And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know (it). -

  72. senadhi says:

    had the premadasa gov had the same insight as rajapakse gov to weed out all the terrorists hiding among civillians and called for international support to catch all the terrorists who fled the country in 88/89 era, sri lanka would have been in a better position today since there won’t be any somawansha, weerawansha or tilvin to manipulate people or obstruct implementation of good policies.

  73. Naan Kadavul says:

    Why Burma is Mahinda’s new friend?

    Wikipedia tells:
    Tamils, around 500,000 have adapted themselves, embraced Buddhist ways in addition to Hinduism, speak Burmese and dress in Burmese style.

    Read more in:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_Burmese_Indians

    Is that what it means NO MORE MINORITIES..?
    Things to come for Tamils in Srilanka..?

  74. Fauzer says:

    JOB DISCRIMINATION IN AUSTRALIA.

    Sorry, slightly off topic, but I believe this might be of interest to people who come here.

    I guess the point I’m making is, that no country or system is ‘perfect’. (and that you can’t go chopping up countries or blowing up people and things everytime there is an injustice)

    It has been my long held view, and strengthened over time, that the short commings of Sri Lanka has been blown way out of proportion, in a sustained manner, by the seperatist elements and thier supporters and sympathisers, with devastating consequences for all.

    Without further ado, here is the link to article at the Australian National University website.

    http://news.anu.edu.au/?p=1317

    here is an excerpt from it:

    “To get the same number of interviews as an applicant with an Anglo-Saxon name, a Chinese applicant must submit 68% more applications, a Middle Eastern applicant must submit 64% more applications, an Indigenous applicant must submit 35% more applications, and an Italian applicant must submit 12% more applications.”

    Now this is just to get a first interview, immagine how hard it must be to actually get the job if you weren’t from the ‘right background’.

    Peace.

  75. Dinesh P says:

    35. Rajah | June 22nd, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    says: Here’s a novel concept: WHY DON’T YOU LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. Sri-Lanka is a free country isn’t it?

    Did you speak up for “your” peoples’ rights when they were being herded like cattle by the LTTE and forced to serve as a human shield most recently? Did you speak up for their rights when the LTTE murdered every known dissident and maintained concentration camps for their political prisoners over 30 years? (In case you don’t believe me, perhaps you believe the UTHR? I’m not sure whether DBSJ allows urls to be posted, but here is one link which may educate you if you are so inclined: ).

    Yes, the IDPs need to be resettled asap. But hypocrictial statements are not going to help. So far, the GOSL has done far more than the LTTE ever did for anybody except their own selves.

  76. Panhinda says:

    what comes to mind is the proverbial rabbit who thought world comes to an end. next thing you know there will be pain in the ass marches everywhere.

    unfetted access to people is provided someone said. 52 INGO are serving the IDPs. shamila is not presenting the truth here. nor can anyone substantiate others floating around because no one reveal names.

  77. senadhi says:

    MR & co. is same as VP. they have no value for human life and they achieve or try to achieve their target at what ever cost. whoever tries to obstruct their path either killed or warned with violence. if you think they do this only to tamils because he wants to get revenge from them, you are mistaken. sinhalese are no exception if they go against him. that is a fact and everybody knows that. but if you claim that MR is trying ethnic cleansing or trying to convert hindus to buddhism, you lose the support of the moderate sinhalese too. you can’t expect the wellbeing of your relatives in north and east by protesting or discrediting sri lankan gov in western countries. do you think those countries care damn about your problems except for your vote in the next election?
    there’s only one way to intimidate the present gov. that’s by uniting moderate tamils and sinhalese. even though you tamils hate this gov, the future of the tamils in north and east lies in the hands of this gov. that’s the sad truth. the gov has started a forum to discuss problems of IDP’s recently. if you look in sri lankan news papers there are a lot of work being done even though not ideal. you have to look into the ways where you can involve with the gov decision making. protesting only won’t bring much effect.

  78. rose says:

    Fauzer #74
    Yes, these Tamils are really terrible. Imagine wanting a separate country just because they have to send in 68% more applications for jobs than others. How unreasonable.

    And yes, no country is 100% free of racism. As such, 100% racism of SL Sinhalese government and shelling of innocent Tamils, raping of women by the army is justified.

    No doubt you have no ethical problems with white Australia’s history of race relations with the Aborigines.

    You might want to look up the difference between democratic government and fascist government.

  79. rose says:

    Jayan #69,
    A civilized state would not shell at civilians if a terrorist group is using them as a human shield. That was a hostage situation. They should have waited till the situation changed, because obviously Tigers can’t shield themselves forever.

    But then again, SL is a barbaric state so one should not expect these human decencies from them.

    As for your argument that the IDPs must be thoroughly checked before letting them go, I hear there are murderers in Colombo. Do you think we should round up everyone in Colombo and check that they are not murderers before we let them go? What is a little inconvenience if we can rid the city of murderers, right?

    Have you heard of modern civilization’s basic tenet of law–a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty?

  80. rose says:

    Senadhi #23,
    I don’t think we should give the benefit of the doubt to governments who refuse transparency. As long as SL government doesn’t allow international media and INGOs into the camps, I have no doubt at all that the very worst things are happening there. Governments are elected to represent the people and are accountable to them. The people shouldn’t have to guess what they are doing. If a company does not provide regular reports of how it is doing, should shareholders then just give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the company is doing well?

  81. banu says:

    Ahhh another NGO personel trying to portray the government as a evil demon.Yes lets show the world that IDPS are doomed killed raped starved ridiculed and beaten to death.Oh my what a great story that would make.And just to make sure that you are a moderate person critisize the LTTE a bit as well.(what a pity that this critizism comes after it was defeated but not before for obvious reasons.)You can sell this story to millions of fools who read it on the net and also to the western world so that they may execute R2P.I’m not saying that these camps are great to live in,but these crazy stories ?

    Would you honestly think that the army which has MOST of the time shown great restraint will just now mess it all up by raping and killing women inside these camps when the whole world is watching specialy in a post 1983 era?

    we would give our food and clothing to these innocent people and we have done some what already (unlike the diaspora who shouts a few slogans and then goes about there daily chores),we are not chauvanists or extremists but we do believe equal rights for all and we dont believe in lies
    of these so called NGO s who are trying to earn a quick buck nor of the government as well.

  82. P Shantikumar says:

    Thanks Shamila for a very enlightening, and of course courageous interview with “medico-rundschreiben” bringing to light to the world the falsehood and misinformation disseminated by those cowardly Sinhala fascists in Colombo.

    By the way, whatever happened to those women who wanted the expatriates to keep away from their people? Can they at least persuade the Sinhalese to whom they wanted sell the Tamils lock, stock and barrel provide latrines facilities to prevent the spread of epidemics amongst those illegally interned Tamils in the Concentration Camps? You don’t have to wash their back sides after they had moved their bowel – not even to those internees who are infirm, sick, or otherwise disabled. Just use your influence with the Sinhalese to provide adequate latrine facilities. There is a whole lot more that need to be done very urgently, including resettlement of the IDPs and the internees of those illegal Concentration Camps.

    If any of you Tamil women want to recite Kamba Ramayanam or sing lullabies to concubine-friendly Sinhala ministers do it at your own expense and not at the expense of Tamil refugees who have suffered at the hands of Sinhala fascists for decades. What is this, some kind of attempt to suck up to combine-friendly Sinhalese? What has it got to do with Tamil refugees?

    All the nuclear powers in the world combined to support the cowardly fascists to the hilt against those ‘Tamil Spartans of Mullivaikaal’. Like their predecessors – the Spartans of Thermopylae – the courage and valour of the Tamil Spartans of Mullivaikaal too would be sung until the end of civilisation, as we know it!

  83. kavi says:

    #47. uslanka # AND shan stefan !

    “I listened to army commander yesterday saying that they wont resettle people until all death traps are cleared. Doesnt it make sense?”

    This does not make any sense. Did you read the article first?
    In the first place why these Army people invole in IDP matters? Actually since January when SLA captured Kilinotchi, LTTE moved out of many area very fast and went to Mullaitheevu. There was not enough time for LTTE to plant mines. Because people moved with LTTE. And Army followed them sooner.

    Same thing when SLA captured Jaffna people returned in few days. There were no traps other then SLA camp area.

    Army too moved very fast within 3 weeks to Mulaitheevu area. Untill Late December people lived there in Kilinochi. It is a fake matter that gov says that they need to remove ‘death traps’. Do you heard that any ‘land mine’ or ‘booby trap’ removing programs are going on.

    There is nothing. It is all that SLA is planning that 40 SLA camps from Mannar to Mullaitheevu. Also they want to make Tamils minority when they move to their homes. All businesses and gov offices will be run by SLA when they return home.

    The planes are clear. I do not want to tell you. If you want to defend openly, you can defend this plan openly.

    Very simple and very basic question is that why EVEN a Governmet Own media like ‘Rupawahini’ or ITN” is not allowed to go to camps to see how people are living.

    Even today SL health ministry said 4000 people have suffering by eye peoblem. Can they get the medicine they want. It is the freedom Tamils wanted. Is this what you all celibrated?

    You and me can be happy eradicating terrorism. But that does not mean you can got the licence to do the same. We would be thinking in the future that, LTTE defete was a wrong decision…..

  84. Kumar says:

    #78,#79,#80, rose,

    You pontificate a lot. Please read up the recent news reports as well. INGOs are functioning in the camps now and conditions in he camps are improving. John Holmes says this not me. You are trying to pass your opinions as facts. There was no second ship with relief materials that was turned back as you claimed. Captain Ali was not allowed due to ego politics. Both diaspora and GOSL share the blame here. You can’t bypass a govt and try to offload something in a country. It’s stupid of diaspora to try that. Once it’s known that the cargo is only relief material GOSL should have allowed it but ego prevailed again.
    GOSL has declared that bulk of the IDPs would be settled in six months. This is the assurance India has sought and obtained. My guess is about 100K would be settled in six months and the rest in about a year’s time. Initially, I was wondering what prevented the govt from releasing the IDPs once ltte cadres among them were identified. Now, from the extent of arms caches unearthed on a daily basis, I think till they are sure that about 80-90% of them have been unearthed it is highly unlikely that anyone would be let out. Land mine is a flimsy excuse. It’s the arms.

  85. Ajith says:

    Who will Sri Lanka emulate after the LTTE ? That will decide whether there can be reconcilliation

    South Africa, East Timor and Ireland are good examples for Sri Lanka. These countries too had a massive turning point in their lives after decades of genocide, war, apparthied and etc.

    In South Africa, Nelson Mandela came out of prison not seeking revenge with the whites but to reconcile blacks and whites. The nation started rebuilding back again at the international stage. But today South Africa owes a lot to Nelson Mandela. He was 26 years in prison losing pretty much his adult life. He did not come seeking revenge like Prabahkaran did or follow Rajapakse in parading it as a victory but in a humble manner accepted the fact the journey had just started not ended as a result one can celebrate. East Timor might be another nation which is trying to break away from Indonesia but it seems to have not done a good job reconcilling with its former foe Indonesia. South Africa had to reconcile within (similar to Sri Lanka) and East Timor has to do it externally. Ireland is another good example of reconcilliation. But I feel in a way Sri Lanka has to do both. It needs to reach for reconcilliation with the Tamil Diaspora too.

    Unfortunately I believe Sri Lanka will become another North Korea or Zimbabwe and become another dictatorship. Already MR is basking in a victory with empty rhetoric. Coming hard on Media, adding more soldiers to the ranks as if he is going to now fight another nation, being worshiped like a god by the singhalese. The later is quite disturbing. He seem to be reaching this god like status similar to the way VP was for the tamils, hitler was for germans and I see a dangerous sign of Sri Lanka heading towards a dictatorship. With the entire family controling the government similar to the way Marcos controlled Philiphines for years.

    Last week the rumours circulating in Sri Lanka that the President intends to stay in power forever shows Sri Lanka is heading towards a absyss. Most Sri lankans are still celebrating while the government is pulling the rug under their feet. The very same singhalese who are celebrating today will be fighting Rajapakse in another 10 years time. Trust me it wont be the Tamils then and who knows they might be the ones trying to save him then. Politics has a wierd way of turning today’s hero into tomorrow’s villan.

    Thanks

    Regards

    Ajith DR.

  86. kavi says:

    #84. Kumar !

    John Holms said “I hope the conditions are improving”. He didn’t say ‘improved’.

    “Both diaspora and GOSL share the blame here. You can�t bypass a govt and try to offload something in a country. It�s stupid of diaspora to try that. Once it�s known that the cargo is only relief material GOSL should have allowed it but ego prevailed again.”

    Actually people who sent the ship claim that they have proper paper work and approal. GOSL have not denied that. And the important think is that EGO? what do you mean. Do you expect this kind of government and surrounding monks party people allow a solution to tamils in Sri Lanka’s history?

    In 1983 JR said “Sinhalese will be happy if Tamils starve”. He defined the real face of SL.

    If you want to note it down… Tamils will never allowed to go back to their villages. Gov will create colonies kind of villages. It is the plan of 325,000 houses. Most of them will go to constructrors, business and officers of Sinhala community. That is why SLA need 100,000 more troops.

    If this is done by end of this year, tamils will be brought to those places by the name of re-settlement.

  87. kavi says:

    #81. banu

    It is the history of you kind of people.

    Anybody in the world criticise SL, they will be LTTE or LTTE supporter.

    Why don’t you guys practice to talk with facts?

    Why don’t the government even allow Rupavahini / ITN or Daily News journalist (gov salaried journalist) to cover the situation? Will they become supporters of LTTE too?

  88. Muthiah says:

    DBS,
    This article brings much needed dose of reality check after all the reconciliation talk. Congratulations & Thank You.

    I’m all for reconciliation, once the ground reality allows it.

    For all the participants who spoke out FOR reconciliation: Please use your energy now to reform the SL govt..

    Any ideas from moderate Sinhalese as to what can be done to change the present policies of this govt. ?

  89. Raj says:

    DBS,

    Forever may you keep writing. I wish you well.

  90. Jayan says:

    Though the LTTE is no longer exists, we need to appoint an independant commission (not GoSL appointees) under the supervision of UN body, to find out the crimes commited by the LTTE. All Sri Lankans and world at large should be reminded the facts and compensate the victims. All rulers (including the present ones) should be reminded that they can’t get away with crimes commited againt the people.

  91. Raj Kumar says:

    >28. aratai | June 22nd, 2009 at 10:38 am
    There is only one solution: Follow China.

    One country, One language, One flag… One Leader.

    :-)
    —————–

    Dear Aratai (or addai?)

    It is because of people like you, that even moderate Tamils were forced to support LTTE.

  92. Stephen Jones says:

    The IDP camps are no different from 1983, but worse!

    A totally idiotic statement.

    The problem is the view of the military (and Gotabaya and Fonseka are on a roll at the moment) that winning a war proves they are competent to steer the peace.

    Many people do have to be kept in the IDP camps. A large number of them have been following the LTTE around for years and it is not clear where they can go to. And they can hardly just be dumped without food and told to go home.

    However a large number do have homes to go to or family to help, and they should be free to leave, so that the organization of the camp can concentrate on those that need help. And the best thing they can do with the LTTE footsoldiers is let them go home. Nearly all of them were conscripted anyway.

    The problem is that the government has grandiose plans of social engineering (we saw the same after the tsunami) and will continue to apply them for some time even if they prove totally unworkable.

  93. Saliya says:

    Dear Rose (#67),

    I just wanted to clarify that I don’t value the life of a sinhala man above those of Tamil civilians. Though not everything about the Sunday Leader appeals to me, I respected Mr Wickramatunge for his accomplishments as a human being – not as a sinhalese. And his killing was significant as a signal about the consequences of dissension.

    Sri Lanka has seen death, suffering and untold misery from before I was born. As an individual, I have as much control over the Government’s decision to go to war as over the LTTE’s behaviour. The civilians of the Wanni are the most unfortunate: having lived under the LTTE system, subject to death and injury during the fighting, displacement from their homes and livelihoods, and now in camps without a clear idea of how their futures will turn out.

    My support for the armed forces’ gains were a result of multiple factors. I think most Sri Lankans were used to the status quo of the LTTE holding areas in the Wanni, and would have been fairly content for the situation to continue if the LTTE left the south alone. I was very hopeful during the early stages of the CFA, and I felt that Norway let slip a great opportunity for a peaceful resolution by not holding the LTTE accountable for violations of the CFA. The continued killings, abductions and intimidation orchestrated from LTTE ‘political offices’ in government areas resulted in greater (predominantly rural) support for Mahinda Rajapakse during the Presidential campaign. Following the election, the LTTE brought on their own destruction by continued assasinations, suicide bombings (including the attempts on the Defence Secretary and Army Chief), and later the aerial bombings of Colombo. These events reinforced the general perception in the South that negotiations/engagement was fruitless and the only practical response was a military one. I don’t see what purpose the LTTE’s actions served besides gathering public support being the military actions despite the high casualty figures, civilian suffering, and the huge impact on the budget during a shaky economic period.

    Despite the celebrations, I think most people were aware of the suffering and casualties on both sides – both civilians and the ordinary village youth making up the ground troops on both sides. The morning after VP’s death was announced, the crowds in the buses were acting just as on any other day – quietly getting on with their daily lives, asking only to be left in peace.

    There are many things wrong with the system of governance in Sri Lanka, and most people would agree that politicians in general put their personal interests foremost. Good governance, the rule of law, the distinction between ensuring security and suppressing dissent – these are issues for all Sri Lankans regardless of ethnicity.

  94. MANO says:

    Well said Navin. I totally agree with your comments. These tamils, it’s impossible to make them happy. What ever the government do they are not happy. Who is looking after the IDP’s is it the tamil dispora? I live in Australia I know lot of Sinhala people collect money for the IDP’S, will the tamil dispora do this if it was other way round?
    You can’t clap with one hand, can you?
    So if you want a quick solution, send the dispora money for the IDP’S.

  95. rose says:

    Kumar #84
    Granted that I made a mistake about the second ship. I thought the ship anchored in Indian waters was yet another ship that had been turned away by SL. But you think ego is an acceptable excuse? Was the government elected to express their ego or to look after the interests of citizens–all citizens?

    Why do you fault the Tamil diaspora for stupidity? Didn’t they have plenty of reason to think that the government would turn away the ship? Isn’t that what happened in the end? Even with people dying from need, the government sent away a ship carrying aid. The ship set off during the war period. Wasn’t there plenty of reason to suspect that the supplies would never reach the Tamils if they went through the regular channels? There were lots of reports about tsunami aid being channelled away from Tamils. And this is a government that was then killing innocent civilians as collateral damage. Should the diaspora not be suspicious of a barbaric state?

    As for NGOs being allowed in now–why are even UN workers not allowed to bring in their cameras and phones to the camps? So that if anything criminal is going on, they will never have the evidence to prove it?

    You think Tamils should be happy to be jailed in camps for a year so the Tigers’ arms can be located. Why does it take a year to do this? Shouldn’t a month be enough? Would you apply the same perspective if it was your parents, sister or wife incarcerated in these camps, not be allowed contact with their families who don’t even know if they are alive or dead? Would you take the same view if the quarter million displaced people were all Sinhalese?

    I am not pontificating. I am looking at the situation from an ethical perspective. You find it “pontificating” because for you Tamils are not human beings, but digits and pawns.

    Sinhalese will suffer one day the consequences of thinking of this situation in pragmatic terms instead of focussing on its ethics, on viewing it as a chess game instead of a humanitarian crisis. The same regime that killed Tamils will one day kill Sinhalese. In fact, they have already started. As Ajith #85 said, the signs are already here that this will become a dictatorship of the order of Zimbabwe. Or Burma.

  96. SahaSamvada says:

    I think Shamila has highlighted something very important in her interview. That is her comment about the 1990 Muslims IDPs who were subject to expulsion by the LTTE from the North. To add to this there are also the IDP camps in Vavuniya (Poonthottam etc.) that need to be sorted out as priority. I think it is also fair that the newer IDP’s who have relatives in other parts of the country be screened and given a choice to leave.

    Despite the many shortcomings of the GoSL and its continued efforts to reduce the faith of the Tamils in its capabilities and conviction, we are actually left with little choice but to work with them. I think civil society organisations should diplomatically push to gain the confidence of the GoSL and work towards making the situation better for these IDPs instead of constantly dishing out criticism and further increasing animosity if the true concern is about bettering the plight of these war ravaged IDPs.

  97. thalapathpitiye hemanada says:

    some body said about the impartiality of dr ariyaratne u gamage he is brother in law of SB dissanayake

  98. rose says:

    Saliya#93

    Thank you for explaining your viewpoint. I do appreciate it. However I don’t think you can blame the Tigers for everything that happens in Sri Lanka. If the Sri Lankan majority hadn’t voted and kept voting for chauvinistic parties and leaders, the Tigers wouldn’t have emerged.Sinhalese politicians know the route to power is through Sinhala nationalism. There was a road of disenfranchisement and violence that led to the Tamil demand for a separate nation and even more horrible ensuing violence. To focus on Tiger violence without looking at the carnage the government has perpetrated is just a strategy Sinhalese are using to justify the continued disposession of Tamils.

    Today, the Tigers are dead. Then why isn’t the government dealing with the issues of equal rights, etc? Why is it trying to hold a faux election for Tamils when many of them are in camps? Why is the government talking about the importance of bringing Buddhist principles into governance when they should be thinking about minority rights?

    You make your politicians out to be just like other politicians in the world–all looking out for their own interests. This is not true of SL leaders. They are looking to entrench their community’s power, to deliberately dispossess minorities who have equal claim to Sri Lanka. They are playing the race and religion cards. They have been willing to murder to get their own way. This is not like most politicians in the world. What is happening in SL is not normal.

  99. Jayan says:

    Out of the 300,000 IDPs there are 6000 identified LTTE caders and not sure of the unidentified amount. If you releae all of them to free society, its very likely they will go back to there old professions, harassing and killing. Threfore all IDPs should remain in camps until the GoSL is sure of their sincerity. GoSL can’t risk 20 million lives.

  100. Peace 1 says:

    Interesting how the GOSL position changed from time to time how the people of Wanni are described .
    First the number of civilians caught in the cross fire were minimized.
    Then the SL military were described as liberators of the people .
    Now the same civilians are in camps,should we call them” prisoners of war?”
    What ever name you want to call them it’s obvious that all international conventions and laws have been violated and continued to be violated.
    We can blame both sides for the plight of the IDP’s,GOSL &LTTE.
    We as peace loving people have a responsibility to bring GOSL to it’s senses.
    In that regard the remnants of free press in SL ,the civil rights movements and some in judiciary have done atleast some lip service towards the cause.
    Conspicuously the clergy of all denominations have been silent.
    DBSJ,you probably has contributed most by exposing all involved in this theater,single handedly.
    Bravo brother!
    The elements are dangerous you know what you are doing .Be more vigilant.These are the same bread as the once who tormented you before.
    Now changing gears to elections politics.
    MR has clearely mentioned that he cann’t hold presidential electons until Nov 2009.(view his interview to NDTV).Therefore he has to play with time and keep the celebrations going so he can get maximum out of the demise of LTTE.
    In George Bush’s language he has earned some political capital ,he is going to spend it to ensure that he has a puppet parliament . When it’s presidential election time, he is going to up the ante and make sure he is reelected. Beyond that he wants to make sure his brothers get a chance too.
    If we look at it in this perspective it’s clear why he is acting the way he does.
    He is not interested in settling the IDP’s immediately. He wants to use them.He need scare monger about remnant LTTE elements.The delebrate confusion about the death of some LTTE figures is also an ochestrated confusion for many reasons.
    One is the need to keep the LTTE threat alive to keep the state of emergency to suppress dissent from any quarter.
    The rhetoric about foreign NGO’s ,The local Govt elections to shore up the pro GOVT elements so if need be electons can be rigged and ballot boxes can be shoved.
    The free press stands in his way so he has to deal with them.Hence the Podala incident.
    This may sound far fetched and conspiratorial but it’s reality.

  101. mercator says:

    Jonathan #61
    And the issue is what exactly ? That the West can act in their strategic interests but no one else can ?
    Where is this written ?

  102. mercator says:

    A few have expressed disbelief that there are mines being cleared – Please see for yourself
    http://www.ddg.lk/SriLanka.htm

    I dont think the link you’ve given is valid. This de-mining program was discontinued a while ago…..DBSJ

  103. kavi says:

    # 88. Muthiah !
    “Any ideas from moderate Sinhalese as to what can be done to change the present policies of this govt. ?”

    I feel sorry for ‘moderate Sinhalese’ who does not have a voice. In 1983, when Tamils thought that, it is time for a drastic change, they helped armed tamil movements without asking a questions. Even there was no body brainwashed Tamils in 1983. But the situation and the damage done to Tamils was severe.

    Then, when MR want to fight with tigers. All Sinhalese including moderate Sinhalese, happy. No body want to voice against them until they realise, it is damaging civilians at the late stages. But the voice was almost unheard. BBC Sinhala service/ people like, Wikramabaho didn’t have much popular. Also their voice didn’t do anything I can say.

    Sinhalese, who opposed the war from the beginning, are either in exile or in prison or lost lives – out of the war zone.

    Now Mangala Samaraweera, Sarath N Silva cannot do much in SL politics in the coming years. An Parliament election will be held soon after the Jaffna/Vavunia sample elections. SLFP (may be not UPFA) will hold 75-80 seats. Definitely 2/3. After that most likely president election will be held (if there is no big turns happened sooner) but constitution may be amend to be president more than twice.

    During the time MR brothers, Fonseka and Champika group will be in a roll to bring Sri Lanka as ‘one nation’ ‘one people’. They will try one party too. As Fonseka once said, ‘tamils, under the pretext of being minority cannot demand’, that will be achieved.

    I have a Pakistani friend. He was talking to me about the SL issue for long. He was telling me tigers were obstacles for peace in SL. I met him recently. He told me the words like this ‘I never expected this kind of ethnic cleansing would happen in SL. I thing this is the biggest issue of the century’.

    I told him that Ruwanda and Darfur issue also worse. He replied that ‘if you see the number of tamils and % people died. Also African countries didn’t do this much of systematic way’.

    So, what moderate Sinhalese can do?

    They can do something.
    1. Diaspora tamils are bringing the transnational gov to the stage. Sinhalese are getting angry already about it. This is the opportunity moderate Sinhalese can use I feel. They can form a group and put forward the alternative and they can talk to tamil diaspora. There are tamil who definitely listen to alternatives. This will bring a health discussion, rather then bringing hate talks.

    2. In Sri Lanka, moderate Sinhalese can form a party or they can support an existing party to bring all the elements that believe a permanent solution is needed in Sri Lanka. They can act and put forward plans as and when needed. This will bring down the boiling communities to cool.

    At least for a start they can talk and unite Sinhalese, in and out of the country, who thinks there are things to be done in SL, to save the future of the country.

    For. E.g, as I said, Sarath N Silva, Mangala Samaraweera and people like SB Dissanayake can come under one umbrella. If they can get support and voice from abroad.

    But my feeling is that: moderate Sinhalese will wait and see how MR gov will talk to India and give solution to Tamils.

    Definitely they will talk with India and they will modify the existing provincial system to show something to the world. May be with less power then it has now.

  104. kavi says:

    #80 rose !

    “As long as SL government doesn’t allow international media and INGOs into the camps, I have no doubt at all that the very worst things are happening there.”

    I would say you can correct this.

    international media – even Local media
    INGOs – relatives and elected MPs

  105. R Pathmanathan says:

    # 78 Rose,
    Excellent. comments.

    # 84 Kumar
    Rubbish!

    You are deluded in smoke. Hoping the GOSL to fulfill it’s pledge given to India is similar to expecting VP to resurrect!

    The IDP’s will stay for long long time and this is why the GOSL is building permanent structures.

  106. kavi says:

    #99. Jayan !

    6000 LTTErs!! In the first place why the government said that only 500 tigers are there during the last stage of the war. And now after 2000-3000 LTTE have been killed, 6,000 remaining? some reports says 10,000.

    We all know how the government treated the Sinhala youths during JVP praise. more then 50,000 youths killed. But JVP members where in hundrads. All the remaing youths are innocnent.

    This is the history of SL. You kind of people will encourage to make things worse.

    Students from Jaffna University went to council the youth in the camps. When they went there, young girls are taken by the army in the nights and released in the morning. Uni. students need to council these girls. But the girls don’t even open the mouth to talk. How can they?

    Parents of all the families are living in fear as we hear.

    I am wondering anout people like you, talking like this…. even after, war is over and top ledership is
    demolished…..

    No media alloed…
    No relatives allowed…
    Even UN/ICRC does not have full access…
    Civilians are kept under barb wires and heavy security…
    Food prices are too high (Gov is earning big money from these people)…
    Camp conditions are ‘apealing’. You need to wait all day for even toilets…
    No school for kids….(do you expect them to come out as great Sri Lankan citizens….)

    I can see definitely you might have celibrated….

    Think a moment….. if your family is in this situation….

  107. kavi says:

    #99. Jayan
    What about Karuna? Won’t he go back to old profession? With armed gurds and facilities around him?

  108. banu says:

    kavi #87

    Hey i’m not telling that everybody who criticises the government are LTTE supporters,but a majority are isnt it?

    and it seems the the story has been bought.Wel
    gud 4 u, livin in a dreamland where the government is all evil and the NGO’s are saints.
    (i’m not saying that this government is the best but we have had worst ones especialy during the JVP insurgency 1988/89 when 1000′s of sinhalease youth were killed without even asking a question)

    u have asked y doesnt the government does not even allow the government media to go to these camps.gud question now realy y?

    they cud easily make up a bogus setting of a camp where people are all happpy and show it to the whole world.after all they are government media arnt they?
    But they ddnt do even that .So cant u figure out that its more to do with govenment policy than with something to hide?

  109. banu says:

    rose #95

    wel i just have one simple question to ask.if the people of tamilnadu cud send there relief to the people of wanni through the ICRC or legal means(the government was not involved) y cant the diaspora send them like that as well?

    So u c the diaspora dont realy care about the wanni people they just wanted to make a big deal out of it.Having ex -SLMM people on board updating blogs everyday.This was just a big show off wasnt it ?it wasnt realy about people it was much about the publicity and the diaspora was thinking they were in a win win situation thinking if the navy blew the ship up they cud video tape it show it to the whole world and stem up sum more of that anti SL views. OR if the government let it get into the country then they can shout” hey look here people we can do what ever we want to the SL government and nothings gonna happen” and many a ship wud ‘ve followd. So now EGO is a BIG THING after all aint it?

  110. Kumar says:

    #95, rose,

    Now, India has persuaded SL to allow Captain Ali to enter srilankan waters. You said the diaspora was suspicious of reaching the aid to the intended beneficiary and that was why they tried to skirt the regular channels. This shows a lack of tact. You can’t bypass a sovereign govt and get something into a country. No self respecting country would allow that. If they thought the aid would not be properly channeled they should have contacted organizations like ICRC and asked them to take charge of the distribution. That the diaspora never bothered to involve any reputed neutral NGO in the process naturally invites suspicion that the whole exercise is a propaganda tool. India knew this and that’s why it refused to entertain the ship in Chennai port. Now due to compulsion from coalition partner DMK, the central govt put pressure on SL to allow the ship. But if the diaspora thinks that it’s due to their effort they are mistaken. It’s due to TN politics where MK has to show that he is the savior of tamils to upstage J. Some unintended good has happened that’s all.

  111. Nama Yoga says:

    Dear DBS,
    I hope you will giveprominance to the letter written by the Anglican Primate in Canada to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the 24th June 2009. This should be sent to all the WORLD LEADERS and to the Leaders of various international bodies such as UN.
    The leaders of all the countries are concerned with their own economic and political problems and have no consideration for the evil activities of some Countries–Myanmar,Iran,North Korea, Libiya,China and SRI LAKA.

  112. j.muthu says:

    Reconciliation, Jai ho Mr Dbsj its me one and only muthana muthu,
    How can you justify this evil mahinda and his nutters( sinhala veerayas) going to give reasonable solution to tamils. I gave up my lovely dream about tamil home land, do you know Mr. Muppet sinhala mahindas motivation, fool himself and sinhalease what motivation behind his budhistiation of srilanka? If budha alive today he will hang himself because these evil modayas.
    I will call all my sinhala brothers and sisters wake up or you will cry one day like tamils who supported clueless LTTE.

  113. Marlon says:

    I see this good cop, bad cop strategy being floated around. No matter what the strategy is, this Island shall never be divided along ethnic lines. Those who try, should be stopped on their tracks by all who live in Sri Lanka for the sake of their decendents.

  114. gomathy says:

    #109 Banu !

    Well done!!

    You do not want accept a ship load of food/medicine from diaspora, because it was a show by diaspora…

    Ok, You want to show who you are, even though peple in the camp starve..Do you really writing here for reconciliation with with tamils diaspora? If you want reconcile with tamils in SL, it will not help write here.

    you said:
    “wel i just have one simple question to ask.if the people of tamilnadu cud send there relief to the people of wanni through the ICRC or legal means(the government was not involved) y cant the diaspora send them like that as well?”

    Do you think that we do not support IDPs there? I have personnaly done much I could through my relatives in Colombo, even though your gov do not aloow our relations to go to the camps to share the wounds.

    Your government spent Billions (not millions) to buy arms (still), even after the wat. Hiring 100,000 more people for the troops (18,000 min salary).

    But people can die by starvation. There will be no batter gov in this world than SL.

    You all guys never going to listen tamils. If you do, first of all ask your governmet why the hell you did OFFENCE against a terror group while they are using people as human shield.

    It is very very clear that you, your froends, your relatives, your bosses/ teachers, your leaders, your media people… whole sinhalese want to kill prabakaran for ANY cost. THAT IS THE TRUTH. Even 20,000 or 30,000 people.

    I would not be angry if you kill praba or his mates….
    BUT you all clearly DID kill people, as you all thought that, “we can do it like what we did to JVP”.

    OK. Leave the camps. why journalist cannot go to mullaitheevu… to show the world that there is no one is killed.

  115. senadhi says:

    going through the comments made by most of you, it is clearly evident that most of you haven’t visited sri lanka especially north for a long time and even if you did, you have no idea about the prevailing gov policies etc. this happens when you follow media which only speak about tamil rights, descrimination, genocide etc. if you care to go through media and web sites of sri lanka, you will be able to gain some insight of the other side of the story and get a balanced view. once in a while log into web sites like http://www.dailynews.lk, http://www.thesundayleader.lk, http://www.dailymirror.lk. time to time your blood will boil seeing mahinda smiling in the home page, but there are enough news about IDP’s and tamils that will interest you. i personally go through gov, pro gov, anti gov, anti LTTE websites frequently and Tamilnet in particular. this not only makes you a balanced person, but makes your views expressed in blogs like this more credible. failing to do so results in comments like standardization of uni entrance still exists.
    however regarding your lack of understanding of the condition in jaffna, kavi, do you know how many areas were demarcated as land mine areas in jaffna even years after SLA captured jaffna. those were not essentially around army camps or high security zones. there were land mines marked in my friend’s garden as well. one of my friends had a lucky escape having set foot in an area demarcated as land mines without reading the board. regarding mine clearance, i read an article last sunday in a sri lankan news paper written by a journalist who visited mulathivu about how he saw mines are cleared along the road sides. as i have mentioned elsewhere i’m not whitewashing the gov or SLA, but do you know apart from news about horrific conditions in the IDP camps, disappearances etc, there are other positive news as well. they have set up schools for school going children and the teachers among IDP’s are identified and allowed to teach them, (and some of these kids say that their original schools were not this better. read ) more teachers are requested from south to teach A/L students to make sure they will sit for the exam, the youth are given vocational training by 3 centres opened recently. so many sri lankan doctors regardless of their race are working voluntarily in these camps and their coordinators have post graduate qualifications in disaster management, gov is looking for fertile lands around the camps with water facilities to engage people in agriculture with short term crops to avoid people idling inside camps, the roads and bridges are built, electricity given, the railway is being extended, people of hambanthota have pledged to repair the jaffna railway station and people of galle will help repair mankulam station. there are lot of good news going around. therefore tamils in sri lanka are not as bitter as you are. these news don’t get international recognition because they are not sensational news.
    ask from yourself, if a genie appears today and grants you 2 wishes for you to select one, whether you would like to bring MR & Co. before a court and given a similar verdict as was given to saddam hussain or whether you would like to re-settle all the IDP’s in their original lands with means for livelihood, what would you select? you don’t have to answer me, ask from yourself. because you are bitter with the conduct of the gov, don’t you like to teach a lesson to this gov using western powers? but don’t forget, in the recent past, no country solved their problems by involvement of the western powers. look what happened to iraq, afghanistan, pakistan. because you live in the west, western media may have made you believe that these countries are in a better position now. but with my day to day interaction with citizens of these countries i have gathered that they consider that their countries are in a far worse situation now. i like the betterment of my country, i want to return to my country soon, i like to see an end to this problem soon. don’t think that if you chase away this gov you will get a better gov next. this party is far worse as an opposition, you won’t get anything done by the gov.
    somebody asked what moderate sinhalese think tamils should do now. change your strategy. historically you believe that those who represent tamils should sit in the opposition and fight for the rights of the tamils. whoever who shows any co-operation with the gov is a traitor. you consider it as being a servent of the sinhala gov. but you have to make up your mind that unless a seperate state is given, whoever who rules the provincial gov are under the central gov. next point is those people who fight for the tamils in the opposition haven’t won anything for the tamils so far. forget about the rights, atleast some development in their respective areas. in this perspective, tamils should learn from muslim leaders and up country tamil leaders. the latter are always ministers no matter which gov is in power. don’t think that those in the opposition have more voice than who join the ruling party. and don’t forget that the TNA MPs have lost their credibility among general public since they represented LTTE in the parliament. nobody takes them seriously even if they say the truth. in that contest, ananda sangaree and devananda are in a better position. both the gov and sinhalese take them more seriously. you can’t win this battle with principals. politics is different. you have to approach and strenghten a politician who is accepted by the gov and sinhalese. you can win only through co-operation. this is easy if you make up your mind since sri lankans are highly emotional and easy to mould if you speak with little love.

  116. Haroon says:

    #113 Marlon

    SL will always be divided on ethnic grounds as long as the extreme racist attitudes of people persist. Successive leaders have always played on this to come to power. They have no interest in changing the mentality of the masses. Neither have the clergy.

    During the ceasefire with the Tamils, the venom of the majority (and agitators) was directed towards the Christians.

    We first need to educate the people. This will take generations. We are centuries behind. SL is a wonderful place for present day Hitlers of the world.

  117. senadhi says:

    those of you who worry about toilet facilities, initially the gov out sourced building toilets to UN. but due to the cold war between gov and UN regarding the time frame of resettlement, it was reported that the UN has made sub standard toilets which can be used for a small period of time in order to pressurise the gov. ultimately the civillians suffered.
    those of you who are angry with the gov for not allowing access to some INGO’s, don’t forget that some of them have serious allegations of channeling their resources to LTTE rather than to the civillians, facilitating transport of explosives and equipment, forceful religious conversion etc. so many investigations are underway against them and some are in custody. i don’t think given the nature of this gov that they will take any chances now.

    Re#97 Hemananda (Thero is it?)
    i haven’t heard Dr. Gamage campaigning for SB. infact, SB is in the opposition fighting with the gov regarding IDP issues.

    Re#86 kavi:
    JR’s statements or policies he implemented doesn’t represent politicians in SL at all. do you have any idea how sinhalese people curse him regardless of their political opinion even after years he’s dead? he is the most unpopular president of our history

  118. rose says:

    kumar#110
    You said “You can’t bypass a sovereign govt and get something into a country. No self respecting country would allow that.”

    How have LTTE been getting arms into the country for 25 years now? I don’t think you guys have a notion of how many things are possible in Sri Lanka through bribes. The only thing you can’t get in Sri Lanka through bribe money is rights for minorities!

    As for your cockamamie theory that the diaspora wanted to use the shipment as a propaganda tool–if this was true, wouldn’t the Sri Lankan government, knowing that, have just accepted the shipment and not allowed it to be exploited as propaganda?

    Why should the diaspora need to produce propaganda when, at the time the ship sailed, the West was calling for a ceasefire? Evidence had already come in at that time that the government was shelling thousands of civilians. How does this huge crime compare to the government turning away an aid ship? What if the government had planted some arms and declared it to be a ship smuggling arms to the Tigers? This wouldn’t have won any propaganda leverage for the diaspora, would it? It would have discredited them in the eyes of the world. Why would they risk that?

    Let’s look at the real effects of the whole incident. It allowed the SL government to show itself as ‘tough,’ especially as standing up to the West (cos the ship came from there). It would have been very easy for the government to plant some arms there, and claim the ship was smuggling in arms. They didn’t do that.Instead they okayed it, and then left it stranded. Why? To use it as a bargaining chip for something? The question is what did India offer SL in order to get it to accept the shipment?

  119. rose says:

    banu #109
    You said “wel i just have one simple question to ask.if the people of tamilnadu cud send there relief to the people of wanni through the ICRC or legal means(the government was not involved) y cant the diaspora send them like that as well?”

    I can’t speak for the Tamil diaspora who sent the supplies, but one reason could be that they were trying to send the supplies in a hurry–to go direct to Vanni. It was an emergency, and videos of what happened in Vanni were available on youtube. The diaspora probably has done this sending of aid several times before and had a ready and reliable network. Except by the time the ship arrived, the war had ended and their network probably shattered.

    Your reasoning of the diaspora’s intentions is quite desperate. Why would they expect the SL navy to blow up the ship? Even by SL standards, that would have been irrational behaviour. How can the diaspora possibly think that they can do anything they want with a government that just excelled most of the world’s standards of barbarism by shelling civilians?

    The diaspora had lots of family members caught in the Vanni emergency. Why is it so hard to think that their only motive was to help relatives and their community? Because you don’t have any relatives who were caught in Vanni, maybe.

  120. Surya says:

    Please don’t expect things getting quickly fixed. It takes time to heal the wounds after 30 years of increasingly brutal war. We also remember that Sri Lanka is not in Africa. It has sorrounded by influential and powerful friends as China and India. Culturally and economically they are connected to each other since ancient times. I don’t think they let down Sri Lanka.
    We are talking here about a country that had one of the highest living standards before the war in early 1980′s. It has a potensial to become advance economy within few years time. Tourism has huge potensial in Sri Lanka. It’s already anticipated about 2-3 million tourists arrival within 2015. Tamils also going to benefit from this economic boom. The only onec who don’t want a successful Sri Lanka is Western countries and Tamil diaspora in those countries.

  121. kavi says:

    #117. senadhi


    JR’s statements or policies he implemented doesn’t represent politicians in SL at all. do you have any idea how sinhalese people curse him regardless of their political opinion even after years he’s dead? he is the most unpopular president of our history

    Firstly, thank you for accepting JR did wrong.

    Sinhalese people elect him twice right? “…sinhalese people curse him….” do you mean criticise him in the news papers and speeches.
    Is there any court charges against him? Is there anyone from UNP party punished for those acts? Did UNP officiaaly accept that he did wrong? Is there any ‘official appology’ at least from concecutive governments. No, because it is a majority rule country and politicians need vote !

    May be in 10 years time you will say Rajapakshe is the most unpopular leader.. after electing him twice. You belong to the real SL politician, I hope….

  122. Pramod says:

    Rose, you are in illusion .

    “This wouldn’t have won any propaganda leverage for the diaspora, would it? It would have discredited them in the eyes of the world. Why would they risk that?”

    The goodwill earned by pumping USD 300 million every year to buy weapons and arm 10/11 year old children and pushing them to war front line is still in your credit. That would never be lost .

    Unhindered moral and monetary support to an organization which is banned by the very own country gave you asylum has earned you much credits.

    Supporting an armed group who herds poor and helpless people from place to place just for shielding the militants has yielded good credits.

    The total credit for the displacement of Wanni people is in diaspora credit.

    Total credit earned is a large sum. So don’t fear of discredits .

  123. kavi says:

    #115. senadhi

    “however regarding your lack of understanding of the condition in jaffna, kavi, do you know how many areas were demarcated as land mine areas in jaffna even years after SLA captured jaffna”

    I do not have the exact fact for sure. What I know is that, my family was living in Jaffna and I was travelling back and forth to Jaffna during the period.

    As per CFA, there are thousands of houses which comming under HSZ(high security zone) were under controll by SAL. Many area in Thellipalai, Kattuvan, Vasavilan were under SAL. I hope definitely there were mines there still.
    But not definitely around Jaffna town, Nallur, Manipay, Chunnakam or Nelliyadi like places where people lived without SLA activities.

    Do you have any facts, where (name of the places) the land mines were after SLA gone?

    I hope it will be near sea routes and where the SLA camps and surrounding area where SLA was active.

    On the other hand SLA offence which poured 6,000 KGs of Bombs (as per reports in Feb 2009) only in Vanni area, was a enough to environmently damage the land compare to the land mines I feel.

    As per Mangala Samaraweera, the amount of arieal bombs thrown in to this land is higher then what was thrown in Vietnam. This is done as a offiensive operation.

    you say bout the IDP camps!

    “they have set up schools for school going children and the teachers among IDP’s are identified and allowed to teach them, (and some of these kids say that their original schools were not this better…). ”

    Yes these are the only things you hear from rupawahini/ ITN. The government keep them against their will (not as human shield anyway) and give them a scholl to learn, where there are no facilities around. I even saw some ‘under tree’ school set up in videos. If SLA around watching the kids 24 hours, what else they will say to get foods.

    I even read Divyana / lanka truth or defense news. I do not read just tamilnet to comment here. But I am sure many sinhalese who talk about SL knows defense news and maximum daily mirror (if not Asian tribune).

    Are you talking about the ‘Colombo Conference’? It was a joke.

    It summarises with one para:

    Most of the views expressed by the Tamil participants were baseless sermons. However the view expressed by one participant from Australia, Mr Raveendran, echoed the aspirations of the Tamils as a whole. His views were resolute and decisive….

    It is like you are with us or againsts us policy….. simple. You try to pronounce it in detail.

    I can point one point from that:
    “Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and Law Reforms Suhada Gamalath, replying to a question with regard to the detainees kept under ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act.’ for a long period of time, explained the practical difficulties in framing charges against these youths. He assured that very soon all those who cannot be charged before the court of law will be released.”

    There are detainees since late 80′s living their life in the prison, without even going to court. There were serious efforts made during the early CFA period. But gov was telling thousands of lies to keep them in the camp.

    You can talk about the article if atleast one of the target is met.

    Some funniest points:

    “3. The growth and strengthening of regional, racial and religious political parties will not be apposite for a healthy society. That will lead to hazardous proportions – from FM”

    he forgot JHU/TULF but was thinking TNA / TMVP…….

    “4. The migration of Tamils from North to South in increasing daily. The Government is actively engaged in reducing it”
    Are tamils Sri Lankans? they cannot live where they want? Why the gov not thinking of Sinhalese moving to Colombo from down south?

    And about the Qs:
    “ask from yourself, if a genie appears today and grants you 2 wishes for you to select one, whether you would like to bring MR & Co. before a court and given a similar verdict as was given to saddam hussain or whether you would like to re-settle all the IDP’s in their original lands with means for livelihood, what would you select?

    for me will not select MR to court… But before re-settle, I will try to stop the disppearances and other terrible stories to be STOP. IDPS need safe and basic condition of living.
    If there is nothing bad there, SHOW US. Let the neutral media (not Internationsl media Im talking) in to bring the reality. Let the relatives in to talk freely. Please…

    “but don’t forget, in the recent past, no country solved their problems by involvement of the western powers. look what happened to iraq, afghanistan, pakistan. because you live in the west, western media may have made you believe that these countries are in a better position now. but with my day to day interaction with citizens of these countries i have gathered that they consider that their countries are in a far worse situation now”

    half true. It is true Iraq / Pak / Agghan made worse. But Montenigro, East-Timor etc made better.
    On the other hand SL cannot ba alone. They now allied with India and China (hopefully the future powers). Remember how they handle Asia, Mianmar (worst militery power), Nepal (Mao’s party), Bhutan (one of the worst democracy – under India). Bangladesh (struggle to be stable). Sri Lanka made worse by China in mid 70′s during Sirima. By India as IPKF.

    As per the international players, US helped to fight the ‘war on terrorism’ while pressuring a political solution. But China and India who have their hands in SL made this worst ever situation , even though the terrorism is wipped out. people killed in thousands in Never Ever acceptable.

    “historically you believe that those who represent tamils should sit in the opposition and fight for the rights of the tamils.”
    It is not true. Tamils Parties since 1948, fight for the rights. But they never opposed development plans. They vote with government in some situation where oppostions parties opposed. But during TNA or in late 90′s it is not about development. Government had economical ban to north-east. You elected from Tamil area which is under food/ medical ban. You cannot sit with the gov, obviously.

    On the other hand, up-country perties, will struggle for fund if they do not get ministry. If they are out of ministrieal power, they cannot keep the party alive. Also they never did good things to upcountry people. I personally know situations where Thondaman (Sr.) was opposed to school buildings in the rural area. Still the university entrance level is less than 3% from upcountry area because of the poor schools

  124. mercator says:

    Re: Demining

    Hi DBSJ

    http://www.lk.emb-japan.go.jp/eg/contents/press%20releases/Press%20releases.htm#Minesigned

    26th May, the Japanese announced aid for demining to be done thru DDG and HALO Trust

    Sorry Mercator.Thanks for this link. I missed reading it. ………….DBSJ

  125. Kumar says:

    #118,#119, rose,

    Pramod, #122 has given a nice reply. I have something else to point out. You say the aid ship was organized in a hurry and that’s why it was not routed through ICRC. Good joke. It took six weeks for Captain Ali to set sail after the start of the collection of materials. Six weeks is a very short time indeed. Add to this the sailing time of 4 weeks. So the aid was to arrive two and half months after the move to send in some relief took shape. That’s a very short time indeed. It seeps through your replies that you are bitter without reason. And you don’t seem to be know that one month is not sufficient to clear a jungle terrain of arms caches. As for any quid pro quo from the Indian govt., it’s more money as grant and soft loans. As of now, India has declared 500 crores towards resettlement. Probably, SL is asking for 1000 crores.

  126. Thava says:

    How can u talk about reconciliation, when there is so much hate and vengence between both communities. When you read the comments on your blog, there is no way both these communities can get along.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    That is what you say. If you had really read all the comments to all the blogs you would have found that there were many who voiced opinion contrary to your stance.

    As I have said again and again reconciliation is a process . Moreover reconciliation is not a luxury but a necessity.

    The Tamils of Sri Lanka have a common destiny with that of the Sinhala people. We are inextricably inter-twined and the sooner we realise it the better for all of us

  127. rose says:

    Pramod #122
    The only part of the Tamil diaspora which supported the Tigers are those who are now protesting bearing Tiger flags. The others are not. It is a blatant lie to act as if the entire diaspora, or even a large part of it, are Tiger supporters. This is how Sinhalese chauvinists try to justify their genocide of Tamil people over these past decades. It won’t work.

    Also, please note that supporting Tigers is a crime in all those countries that declared the Tigers to be a terrorist organisation. As such, those in the diaspora who helped the Tigers carry out their killings are now being prosecuted in these countries. There have been such prosecutions in UK and USA. In Singapore, I personally know of one case where a man who helped the Tigers was arrested by the SL authorities, and his foreign wife and his children who had PR in Singapore were deported back to the wife’s birth country by the Singapore authorities.

    The difference between the diaspora who supported the Tigers is that they have to pay for their crime. On the other hand, the SL army and government are getting away with far larger crimes, for the death and destruction and rape, and unjustified incarceration of huge numbers of Tamil civilians.

    You dare to say I am labouring under an illusion. Yesterday, I visited a SL Tamil domestic helper working in Singapore who lost EIGHT members of her family to government shelling of civilians. In one fell swoop, she lost her mother, grandmother, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews. None of them had any connections to Tigers.

    I am labouring under an illusion? You claim that while knowing that the government won’t let any information get out about what is happening in the camps. How do you know what happened? On what basis are you claiming your knowledge? On the propaganda of a genocidal government?

    At least I know that the domestic helper I visited yesterday wasn’t crying false tears. She wasn’t pretending that she lost EIGHT family members to government shelling.

  128. senadhi says:

    dear kavi, i don’t represent any politicians here and if you have gone through my previous comments and the comments i have made elsewhere in this blog, you wouldn’t come to such a decision. the point i was trying to make is that there are no totally black or totally white people involved in this issue. this doesn’t apply not only to sri lanka but to the world politics as well. forget about JR and UNP, it is widely accepted that George Bush(jr) is the most unpopular president in the US history who brought a lot of misery to people in the muslim world. but who is going to prosecute him or apologize on his behalf? US is a country with a well established democracy. so what do we have to talk about SL which doesn’t know even ABCD of democracy? i don’t deny justice to the people who went through misery, but i’m talking on more practical approach.
    regarding IDP camps, i have never approved keeping them there. but your comments made me realize that you have gone through news regarding only the negative side. that’s why i tried to shed some light on the positive aspects. but that doesn’t legitimize their detainment on those camps and various human right abuses.
    regarding my visit to jaffna, i visited Elalai, my best friend’s home town in 2002 and had another visit in 2003. my comments regarding land mines were based on those visits. but i have not seen a HSZ near Elalai. but i hope you know jaffna better than me.
    i’m surprised to know that you read divaina due to 2 reasons. one is because you can read sinhala because they don’t have english translation except for The Island which doesn’t have the same contents except for few news. secondly because you can digest the news there which sometimes i even find nauseated to read due to the partial behaviour.
    however i’m suggeting more practical aspects with regards to politics whether you’d like to accept it or not. considering the current hopeless behaviour of the gov, fighting with them doesn’t look to be a good idea. empowering politicians to whom the gov listens (or show to be listening) is the key.
    btw it seems like you have totally mistaken me for supportig the gov. i don’t live in SL, so have no access to Rupawahini or ITN and i don’t bother to watch it through the internet either.

  129. RS Wickamasinghe says:

    DBSJ,

    Your work as a public intellectual in starting and maintaining this blog deserves the highest commendation.

    In many countries you would have been given New Year’s honours for your sacrifices as a journalist.

    Reading through many of the comments on this blog has convinced me of the dearth of knowledge of the actions of Sri Lankan leaders in creating the crises that have defined so much of Sri Lanka’s political history.

    There are many well intentioned educated fairminded people commenting on this site, but because of their piecemeal knowledge of their own history many are prone to drawing erroneous conclusions overly weighted down with emotion.

    May I humbly suggest an remedy to this.

    If you are able to publish a full scholarly account of the Sri Lanka conflict on your blog for readers wishing to know more this would go a long way changing opinion.
    This need not be freshly written by you but rather could convert a published book into an electronic format that could be posted on your blog.

    T.Sabaratnam has published one such account, but as it is on a blacklisted website, it suffers from a credibility gap among potential moderate readers on the web.

    The truth is there a pitiful amount of scholarly historical information available in the electronic domain, yet there is an audience of many, who do not have the time, resources, familiarity and motivation to seek out increasingly rare printed books. Much of what is available electronically is low quality propaganda.

    Your work as a public intellectual educating the public about this conflict and bringing about understanding, which is the key to reconciliation, would have a standing reference for many of the discussions on this blog.

    What say you?

  130. N2 says:

    #53. Navin:
    ” #25. N2:
    Your comment is not worthy of a reply.”

    I don’t think it is the worthiness of my comment that has s bothered you that you feel the need to say it is “not worthy of a reply”!

    The truth is the truth and you Navin cannot ever refute it!!

    #59. George Gunasekera,
    When did the Americans or anyone else keep geriatrics and babies behind razor wire?

    But the NAZIs certainly did!

    Those of you who twist and turn to justify this horror must be truly soul-dead and without anything resembling a conscience!!

  131. Pramod says:

    Rose, It is good to see that you are not labouring under illusion.

    But my doubts arose when when you started with two ships story.

  132. JMPillai says:

    “About thirty thousand to thirty five thousand children are sheltered in Manik Farm. Many of them are suffering from diseases and some still suffer from injuries sustained in the military operations. Fifteen to twenty percent of them are also suffering from acute malnutrition,” media reports in Colombo said quoting Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, the executive director of Colombo based NGO Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya.

    This is from a news-site.
    What are we doing as human beings discussing about righs and wrongs when children, who are Sri Lankan children, are suffering for no fault of thier own.
    JMP

  133. Anonymous says:

    #128. senadhi

    Thank you for your reply and views. It cleared me some of your views.

    I think we have differences how we have to react.

    Diaspora tamils bring the bad name to SL, on the other hand people who oppose the gov who are sinhalese (may be a strong UNP supporter), definitely oppose a bad name to SL. As a Sri Lankan they cannot digest it.

    I feel and understand both sides as I could. Also as everyone I have an opinion. I lived pre-and post 83 period in North. I saw how gov and rebelism worked. If you see the young generation in south they knew only tigers, tigers, terrorist…. People in north listen to BBC, veritas tamil and Indian news to get the real news even in 1983. Division started since then…

    It was so much much more things to discuss and to be done for the people of SL.

    Basically I think you cannot fight with gov to get things done. But how gov accepted the ship now? It is all pressure from international. As we live outside SL, can definitely pressure to do the right things. Otherwise, we will loose the grounds to the gov totally. Imagin, if there is no pressure about the camps, SL will don’t even care about the foods, I hope. Because, as of them, no need / not a problem.

    Eelalai is near to the HSZ (if not in HSZ), is is close to the Vasavilan Kattuvan area, near former Palali camp fron line.

    One more point: “it is widely accepted that George Bush(jr) is the most unpopular president in the US history who brought a lot of misery to people in the muslim world”

    Not exactly correct. In 1990 one analyst said, musilim world would be the next target by the west after the cold-war. It was a laughable statement in 1990. But became reality. So, it was all in the game. I think the post Obams period after 7-8 years, targets will be different. Thats is why US intelligents allow Obama to the stage I feel. Who knows it could be Asia/ Buddhism/ Hinduism/ Africa / something else. But there is one….

  134. Ian says:

    Yes Tamils have been unfairly treated, killed etc. Best chance that was there has been lost. Bad things happen, what to do. Foreign countries are not going to get Tamil Eelam. Only way to go forward is to reconcile.

  135. Ian says:

    #28. aratai

    There are many languages in China.

    Mandarin
    Wu
    Cantonese
    Min
    Hakka
    Gan

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_sinitic_languages-en.svg

  136. RS Wicrkamasinghe says:

    DBSJ,

    Any comment on the UTHRJ claim that VP was captured and tortured by at the headquarters of the 53rd?

  137. banu says:

    Many of the sinhalese do except the fact civilians were killed due to shelling to a lesser or greater extent and if you’re denying that then u must be blind and deaf or simply stupid but the thing is was it intentional? for that i think the majority wud reply in negative because of the fact that what wud the government stand to gain by shelling innocent people? So many of us think it was collateral.

    So the easiest thing is to say is that just forget it and move on..
    which is easier said than done coz these are human lives and i know how i wud feel
    if my kith and kin was killed like that.So it is very painful and hard to let go ….
    Still if we think in the long run that is the best way to go about things if we are realy serious about a bright future for
    SRILANKA which is too small to divide but large enough for all of us to live in.
    So i ask my tamil brethen to please let go even though u may think u’ll never be able to do that……

  138. Stephen Jones says:

    RS Wickamasinghe

    The problem is finding the information in electronic form. As far as published work goes there is a plethora of information available but much of this is not sold outside of Sri Lanka.
    The standard history is that by K.M.de Silva
    A History of Sri Lanka
    An excellent take on post colonial Lankan history and the economic underpinnings of strife is John Richardson’s
    Paradise Poisoned

    Both of these books are rather too nice about Jayawardene’s disastrous government in my opinion though.

    For the LTTE uprising and the events that let up to it the two UTHR tomes are the most accurate source of information:
    Rajan Hoole’s Sri Lanka: the Arrogance of Power
    does not seem to be purchasable online, though it was easy to find in Lankan bookshops.
    The Broken Palmyra is available online
    Vijitha Yapa also sell a Sinhala transation of at least part of the book. Biduna Talruka

    For a description of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism the best book remains H.L. Seneviratne’s
    The Work of Kings

    There are also numerous economic, anthropological and social science studies. Anything by Michael Roberts is well worth reading and taking seriously. His Exploring Confrontation is an excellent set of essays, and for a thorough but brief demolishing of Eelamist pseudo-history I recommend Narrating Tamil Nationalism.

    There are many books I’ve missed out. As I said before the main problem is that most of the material is in paper form, not available online. I’ll be back in Lanka in a couple of days, so if you are genuinely interested in more information I can check out from the hard copies of the books I have lying around the place.

  139. UGK says:

    These videos shows how the Illuminati ruined so many countries:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qnd2b_fm26c&feature=related
    ———–
    Sri Lanka is no different. The illuminati’s CIA, MOSSAD, Mi5. RAW etc are all manipulating Sri Lanka.
    Please wake up people and stop looking at the surface of the lake

  140. wesley says:

    In comment #130, N2 asks : When did the Americans or anyone else keep geriatrics and babies behind razor wire?

    To answer that, do a google search for Briggs Plan in Malaya or Chinese New Villages, Malaya and you will come to realize that keeping very large groups of population in fenced camps as a counter-insurgency technique is not the invention of Sri Lanka, but of the British.

    In the 1950s, the British colonial adminstration forcibly resettled more that 500,000 ( about 10% of the population of Malaya then) mostly rural farmers in fenced camps far from their original homes, and guarded them round the clock, because the British suspected them of being sympathetic to communist terrorists that were trying to overthrow the government. Those in these camps were provided with education, health, water and electricity facilities.

  141. Pramod says:

    How Prabhakaran was killed is going to be buried in history ?

    The torture story has weight since it is reported by none other than the UTH(J). But their sources are Army officers who has natural talent in making war stories.

    Few circumstantial evidence suggest that he was in custody and tortured :

    Considering the highly secretive nature of LTTE affairs, it was imperative to capture top leaders live to extract information regarding inland/overseas operations, cash reservoir, weapons concealed, tiger sleeper cells etc.

    But the govt did not take surrenders instead they preferred to eliminate leaders outright who walked with white flag very high in the air. (too high to irritate or unnoticed ?). Or the Govt already had the key with them ?

    Prabhakaran’s face had black mark below the right eye and a bump on right side.

    The fingers where whitish and were not stiff .

    The was mud applied over the body.

    The upper head part was blown off or teared. It was not a front shot or a shell. If it was a gunshot from behind , the entry wound was not shown anywhere in none of the images.

    The Govt hurriedly destroyed the body – reported.

    Finally, the defence.lk cooked an appropriate story to counter UTHR (J) report.

    Most probably they had him live.

    DBSJ may give clear accounts. Hope.

    Or will it go as an enigma wrapped in mystery ?

  142. senadhi says:

    Re #133 Ananymous
    Thank you for your reply.
    i think this whole scenario about the aid ship is another gov propoganda. i think they won the heart of indian gov. it looks as if the gov was rejecting the aid ship amid growing international pressure and they listened only to the indian gov. i read in the SL news papers they say that the gov will accept the aid ship due to appeal from the indian gov. they are master minds in these fields.

    why i always ask the diaspora to involve with the gov is not because i’m sad or angry that you all are fighting with the gov from abroad. there are news regarding political solution for sri lanka and based on comments made by various gov ministers, it looks as if they will involve people like devananda, sangaree and those supporting the gov. the voices of the opposition is less heard, infact a part of UNP also likes to help gov. so even if there will be a poll asking for acceptance of the solution, the gov will win easily. if you won’t stress these tamil politicians about your hopes and aspirations we might end up with a solution which you won’t accept. then the struggle will continue.

  143. RS Wickramasinghe says:

    Steven Jones,

    Thanks for the list. I would like to have a read of the rest, I am planning to be in SL soonish myself. Can you email the rest through to me. My mail is ravinwic@gmail.com

  144. Kumaran says:

    As a Tamil, I appreciate the Sinhalese who have been helping the IDPs out of compassion. As part of this reconciliation process, I wanted many of these compassionate Sinhalese folks to get into these IDP camps so that they will see the real situation and force GOSL to shut down the camps quickly.

    But I don’t see this happening and I am loosing hope. Some of the Sinhalese folks are continuing to heckle the Tamils to help pay for the IDP camps. And some of them are even ranting that the Tamils are always complaining and it is never enough for the Tamils.

    Most of the Tamils view “caging” the IDPs in the camps as a violent criminal act. We will not participate in this crime. This is why we don’t want to give money to setup infrastructure for these camps. Sorry, no money for the toilets.

    None of my relatives or friends lived in Vanni; so, I have no relatives or friends in the camps and I have nothing to gain personally from shutting down these camps.

    Over the years I have enjoyed giving generously towards helping the poor folk for food, clothing etc. I am a stakeholder for peace in Sri Lanka and will not condone or contribute towards violence as a means for sorting out our conflict. There are many people like me who will definitely help generously towards feeding, clothing etc. the IDPs if you free them from the camps.

    We are given many excuses here for continuing to “cage” them in these camps. It has been more than a month and there is not even a master list of people in different camps so that the family members can find each other. There is no reason for 99% of the IDPs to be in these camps. This is a crime plain and simple.

    Some of us Tamils who really feel the suffering of the IDPs are writing here with our “hearts on our sleeves”, so that the Sinhalese will get it. But I dont see any move in the direction of shutting down these IDP camps.

    We want you to shut down these camps ASAP and release the IDPs so that they can go and stay with their relatives, cry, heal, and put a closure to their lost loved ones and move on. It is very important we do this.

  145. Ganeshkumar says:

    There will only be peace when there are no homelands in sri lanka . The sinhalese should live in the north and so should muslims and all othere communities , people like shamilla have no idea and couldnt be bothered about long term peace . and there is no hurry to replant these idps they have already been displaces for 3 or so years by the ltte the difference of a year not change anything .

    if the tamils can live in colombo and wellawatte why cant the sinhalese be resettled in these homelands , people will live together when they have to . and they will have to when they are amongst each othere . in case you are not sure go ask LKW ..

  146. TCK says:

    Two interesting news snippets I came across today. Thought of sharing them:

    1.
    “A circular issued by the Media Centre for National Security has forbidden the use of military victories as propaganda for the elections. MCNS director said in a letter that using images of the forces in posters, cutouts in print or electronic media by any candidate is illegal. He further added that ex-service personnel could with written permission use such pictures in election.”

    2.
    “Tamil language will be made mandatory from July 1 in the State sector, Minister of Constitutional affairs and National Integration DEW Gunasekara said today. He further added that from July, Tamil will be mandatory for employment to the sector and that steps will be taken to teach those who are already employed.”

  147. kavi says:

    133. Anonymous – should be under my neme. I might have missed print the name.

    #146. TCK !

    Answers:
    1. Permission WILL be given only to UPFA members.

    2. IMF pressure… This is just a ministers decision. Not a law. Why now? How many days needed to forget this? Will Champika Ranawaka’s staff redy to learn Tamil?

  148. TCK says:

    147. kavi

    1. Where did it say “Permission WILL be given only to UPFA members”? Do you have a reliable new source for this claim?

    2. Well why not now?
    A minister can table a bill in parliament first to be made into law. So it starts there anyway.

    As I know private staff of politicians are not government/ civil servants. In anycase, I do not know if they are ready to learn Tamil or not. You will have to ask him.

  149. brown flore says:

    gt has annonced that they are going to take houses and lands unoccupied to give to foreigners to open banks hospitals etc. there are so many banks and private hospitals in Jaffna.Now 61 banks have applied to open in Jaffna,when I seeadvts by banks I have the impression they are goin to open branches in every junction and ATM machines in every house. Alreadey banks i and insurance companies are playing havock in schools in Jaffna forcing the children toinduce the parents to do business with them.Allthis actions are to grab the foreignen remittances, same goes for the camps too.govt also talks about remittances to the camps.Instead of taking houses and lands in Jaffna to be sold to foreigners they should be given to the refugies ,Jaffna doesnot need anymore private clinics nor banks.First settle the the refugies in those houses and create industries with local mattreals.All the tamils must oppose the govt doing the wrong;The toilet in the camps area pit with two planks and children are falling inside the pit fullof shit of so many people and what we do? Talk about diaspora 13 amendement devolution etc. It is the immeadiate Needs that countWe all must get together and push the govt to allow the people to get out of these horrible camps.

  150. K.Balasunderam says:

    Sister Gloria Abraham
    It is very difficult to eradicate the racial tensions brought about by human feelings.Sometimes it takes a violent form.The government is elected by the people.The MP’s have to support the people, otherwise they do not get elected.Therefore the problem in SriLanka will remain. It seems the war is ‘over’. There is no solution.There cannot be a solution under which the Tamils will be able to live peacefully. Shamila is a very brave person. She expressed her own feelings under the present situation, nothing will happen to her. I am a product of Jaffna college,and in the early sixties,played cricket for Jaffna Schools and was selected for the Ceylon schools cricket team.Have played along with Ranjit Fernando, Darrel Liverz, Sarath Wimalaratna, Victor Wickramasinghe, late Sathasivam, Chanmugam Etc.Why i am saying this is, I left everything and came to the UK for higher studies.I could have stayed in Ceylon.AS A TAMIL,THERE WAS NO HOPE FOR ME IN CEYLON.This was in late 1965.I remenber the racial riots in 1958.There were hundreds of ‘tamil refugees’ who took refuge at my college.THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

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