Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Prof: Rohan Gunaratne talks about the truth behind the ‘Political Settlement for Tamils’ and the so called human rights abuses allegedly to have been committed by the SL armed forces

As was highlighted by many a times in my posts and also as has been a quite common knowledge to many, the demand for a 'political settlement for Tamils' being shouted from the roof tops based on a bogus 'Tamil Homeland' or the mythical Tamil history in Sri Lanka is just a creation of a bunch of Jaffna Tamil Vellala elites who made use of this fantasy to achieve their political goals at the expense of misguided poor Tamil youth. 
In a recent interview to Daily Mirror Prof. Rohan Gunaratne , Head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore puts it in one of the best ways one could do it as thus:
 'This political settlement is not created by the ordinary Tamils in the NE but those highly politicized and radicalised Tamils in Colombo, doing the cocktail circuit, lobbying the embassies, or Tamil politicians'.
 He goes on to say
'But this is not a priority for the people. I think the idea of political settlement is created by a small percentage in Colombo not representative of the real needs of the Tamil people as a whole. Govt can ensure that these Tamils can live peacefully in the NE or wherever they want to live in the country, have access to education and livelihoods. Gvt. must focus of economic growth. '
With regard to human rights abuses alleged to have been committed by the SL security forces…..
"Every conflict zone in the world whether it is Afganistan, Kashmir or Iraq has produced civilian injuries and fatalities. No conflict zone can a government fight without violence. Civilians are those who most inevitably die in a conflict. You can't fight terrorism without civilian deaths. The entire strategy of the terrorist is to hide behind the civilians and attack. If you look at civilian deaths, then in Iraq 100,000 have died, in Afganistan several tens of thousands more. But in Sri Lanka the number is very modest in comparison, yet, why did the UN appoint a Committee of Inquiry. It is because there was very significant pressure on him by countries that have been lobbied by LTTE and its friends."  
The number of civilians alleged to have been killed is just an exaggeration by the LTTE and picked up by the interested parties   
Because in the final stages of the war the LTTE activated its machinery overseas and this couldn't be countered by the government through its missions overseas. These missions didn't give priority to this. This has been a traditional failure of the governments.  So LTTE gave a figure of 7,000 civilian deaths in its websites, which was picked up by the UN, media and human rights organizations. The strategy of the government should've been to issue a white paper on what happened in the No Fire Zone during this time, it can still be done today. Then the government must inform the UN and other governments commenting on SL without burying its head in the ground. Say what is right and what wrong. They must be pro active and responsive. Then the government must raise the question why these organizations are singling out Sri Lanka by reacting to LTTE propaganda. They can ask why they are concerned about civilian deaths if there is no principle of equality when dealing with more deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan and why they don't have Commissions of Inquiry on these other conflicts as well. 
I think the government is not doing this because they feel singled out. Simply singling out a country is bad. I believe the Opposition instead of carrying out its traditional role of confrontational politics should have the wisdom to tell the government that they will work with it. Defeating the LTTE was the biggest challenge Sri Lanka faced in the last three decades and when it comes to matters of foreign policy there must be a bi-partisan opposition. That is an intelligent opposition. SL must maintain a relationship with the West or the security threat to the country will increase. Otherwise the LTTE will reorganize.
SL forces never deliberately killed the civilians because its aim was to eliminate the terrorists not the civilians
"The Sri Lankan forces never killed civilians deliberately but in counter intelligence civilian deaths take place. Because, the intention of the government was to vanquish LTTE and not kill civilians, where 9,000 of the 11,000 LTTE cadres in government detention were those who surrendered.  SL ensured that every operational order had zero civilian casualties as a priority. From my research the total number of civilian deaths is 1,400 and LTTE 10,000. It is important to distinguish between an illegal combatant and a civilian. "
It is indeed a must read article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the blog very useful to me, as i am to sit in a lecture next week by Irish component of the People's Tribunal on Humun Rights abuses in SL. A SL born post grad, living and studying in Cork University, Ireland, I am Dreading, once again, sitting in a room full of westerners who think they have the solutions to everyone's problems. Thanks for you blogs- I am arming myself, not with guns, but with voices of SL in their own country. Peace! Nilmini