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Forget The Panels, Remember The People

With all this talk of commissions and omissions and ‘I say’ and ‘how dare you’, I think we may have missed the point. There are a lot of widows and orphans walking around our country. When I visited Menik Farm, I didn’t meet a single person who hadn’t lost a relative. I don’t think it’s right for the UN to mess with our affairs, but I do think it’s right for Sri Lankans to look into our own.

The real issue

Why I Oppose The UN Panel

My friend used to wear a badge that read ‘UN Official Photographer’. He literally meant unofficial photographer, but people seemed to take it seriously. I don’t think the UN Panel will find anything especially worth knowing since it has no official support. They can’t even get a visa, so a tourist could theoretically find out more. Beyond reading TamilNet and Groundviews, I’m not sure exactly how they’ll investigate.

The UN Panel remains where it began, in an international bubble unduly influenced by a Tamil diaspora baying for blood. I called one of those diaspora organizations and they said they’d never give up until some official was punished. And they still want a separate state. That punitive and divisive noise, colours any good this panel might do.

You can’t necessarily blame the UN, the government doesn’t engage, so the vituperative diaspora is the only ones talking. But that doesn’t mean serious people should listen. Any solution and resolution has to come from Sri Lanka of today, not historical bitterness.

Actual Local Concerns

I do advise listening to Tamils living in Sri Lanka now. I’m no TNA supporter, but MP Suresh Premachandran is brave enough to speak his mind. He said the one question that comes up whenever he travels is ‘where is my son?’, or husband, or brother, or friend. Those questions are real and those deaths exist, or non-exist as it were.

When Mahinda says that not one civilian was killed in the war it is quite hurtful to those who have lost family and friends. It lessens the magnitude of good he has done by an unnecessary lie. Civilians were killed in this war. I’ve met the survivors. I know LTTE survivors as well, that’s not the point. Saying that those deaths were tragically necessary is one thing. Saying that they didn’t happen is just cruel.
The Limits Of Our Commission

G.L. Peiris constantly points to the official Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. That should be enough for the UN to back off, fair enough. But it’s not enough for Sri Lanka. That commission is tasked to look into why the cease-fire broke down and who’s responsible. It looks more inclined to skewer peaceniks and NGOs than look into the war. Not that these people don’t need skewering, but none of this actually answers the questions our widows are asking. Which is, I think, the point.

A lot of civilians did die. One could go on about who’s fault it is. I personally think it’s the LTTE’s for taking them hostage and I think the government was right to finish the war rather than drag it out. I know this is easy for me to say as a Colombo Sinhalese, so I try not to push the point that hard. Because I think it’s besides the point. One thing we could agree on, is simply acknowledging that people have died in this war. The ‘why’ I don’t think we’ll ever agree on, but the ‘what’, I think, is self-evident.

Middle Path

Sadly, between the meddling of the UN and the fiddling of the government, the space for that simple acknowledgement becomes less and less. I don’t support the UN Panel but I do think a true accounting would be good. Sadly, one can rarely get beyond ‘but’ in any sentence without being branded either a traitor or bloodthirsty Sinhaloid.

We just go on talking about each other and our respective perceptions while ignoring the immediate reality of the widows and orphans who have actually lost human beings; our motherland which has lost children, which I think is more important. I could honestly care less about eminent persons on a panel and I don’t get what the former Indonesian Attorney General has to do with me. I’m just wondering about the regular people we lost. That I think, is the point.

33 Comments for “Forget The Panels, Remember The People”

  1. mura

    Appointing Commisions to make some Commission out of it.

    Corruption and waste this is all about Sri Lanka.

  2. Indica

    Indica

    What this obsession to target and attack the Tamil Diaspora? “Indica” would love to silence the diaspora so that all the cruel misdeeds can be hidden forever. I say good thing that the diaspora is standing up. If not guys like you – lackeys – would eliminate the Tamils altogether.

    You say Sri Lankans can inquire and look after themselves. There is a Sinhala saying “Horaage Amma gen Pena Ahanawa wage”. It is so absurd to expect the SL government to hold a impartial inquiry.

    Whom are tou trying to fool? I say again it is a good that the diaspora is there to agitate for the truth. Guys like to would love get rid of the diaspora altogether by any means.

    Hard luck “Indica”, the diaspora will not resty until the the truth is revealed. So get used to it.

    • billy

      we should investigate who did fund ltte in the west to commit all those barbaric acts on our people!

      • Saro

        Yes, let UN investigate everything that happened.

        • We should investigate 30 years of L.T.T.E activities , funding etc. Alll those who responsible for killing and abduction should give the capitel punishment. Govt. can appoint a 5 juge bench for this perpose.

        • slbud

          Guys, the expectations from a a GOVERNMENT that claims to be a democratic one, are completely different from what you expect from a TERRORIST ORGANISATION. Many Sri Lankans who comment on these forums intentionally or unintentionally disregards this difference and their argument is “if they can do that , why can’t we?”. Of course if we put both LTTE and the SL government in the same category, your argument is spot on! But, fortunately, to the world, SL government is a GOVERNMENT that should look after its citizens. It is not doing that; and it has no intention to do it anyway. Hardly any government since our independance has had a true will to do this. Their aims are POWER AND MORE POWER, WEALTH FOR ITS ELITE MEMBERS at the cost of truly innocent citizens who praise whoever throw them a few peanuts because they have absolutely no idea what they and their children are losing to provide supreme luxuries to this elite class. There is a huge wave of paranoia that the government has created among Sinhalese in the name of patriotism to cover up what it is doing. The world is criticising this role because not many of the citizens of this country have the vision, the need or the strength to do that. Very few would have the guts to do that risking their own lives.

    • Tom Curse Jr

      Indica! You are correct in some way or an anther, but remember that it’s the poor innocent Tamils who have suffered from the LTTE and the SL Govt they between the Devil and Deep Blue See.
      Remember the Diaspora lives in western countries in luxury and freedom and do not won’t to be deported from those countries, since there is no more need for refugees in the west and will not harbor them anymore.
      So the SL Govt are the biggest culprits killing the innocent and the LTTE is even bigger traitors for using the Tamil people for the stupid agenda that would never been fulfilled such as a separate state and the Tamil Diaspora equally at fault for shouting with there living in Luxury.

    • damini

      The tamil diaspora is the ones who supported this war, and now when they lost they are blaming the government and hiding their faults.
      Why don’t they ask the UN to investigate their crimes first. Are you saints??
      This is not the innocent tamil people they are worried about, but about the top LTTE leaders that died and taking revenge for it.

    • Hari

      You are no more Sri Lankan. Sri Lanka does not allow dual citizen ships. So get over it. You have no say anu more. Your Blood thirsty leader is no more, so let at least who ever you left behind in Sri Lanka restart their living. Do not try to mess with the lives of poor relatives in SL. They will get what they deserve. But for you, do not waste your time, you never get what you want.

  3. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Thanks Indi, for your valuable article.

  4. Saro

    Indica has given the reason for not in favour of investigating or finding out who were responsible for violations of human rights and international law by the neutral panel appointed by UN Sec General. He knows well that the SL government is not serious about any commission or committee because all that were appointed were either ignored or aborted. IIGEP and APRC are just two examples of placating everybody. We want to know who and how many died in the war so that proper last respects can be paid, after all they are not animals to be ignored or be indifferent.

  5. sunny deol

    deAR iNDI

    yHIS ARTICLE OF YOURS WOULDHAVE BEEN A ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ONE, iF YOU WERE A TAMIL IN THIS TROUBLE AREA AND YOUR MOTHER OR FATHER WAS KILLED , IN THE CONFLICT BY TYHE TROOPS ,AS YOU SAY 5TTHAT HAS HAPPENED.nEVER ADVOCATE KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE BY WAY OF WAGING WAR AGAINST TERRORISTS.tHESE CIVILIANS ALSO ACITIZENS OF OUIR COUNTRY THOUGH THEY ARE TAMILS. YOUR FEELING WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IF SOME ONE OF YOUR FAMILY DIED AND YOU WILL FEEL THE LOSS.

    sO ,WHEN THE WAR STARTED , GOV KNEW THE GROIND SITUATION AND WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN HAPPENED TO THE CIVILIANS, WHO WERE HOSTAGES OF THE TERRORISTS. bY THE WAY i FEEL THAT YOU JUSTIFY THIS BY SAYING THAT YOU COMMEND THE ERADICATION OF TERRORISM, AND iT SOUNDS THAT YOU COMMEND WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAY, THAT NOT A SINGLE CIVILIAN WAS KILLED.

    IG JOKE. bE SENSIBLE, IN WRITING TO NEWS. i ACCEPT CERTAIN COMMENTS IN YOUR LETTER BUT THE BIGGEST BLUNDER IS YOU SAY THAT GOV DID A GOOD THING, BY KILLING THE TERRORISTS.

    GUNDA

  6. Creator

    Sunny and others,
    Yes my friends and families were killed by barbaric LTTE. In any war civilians get killed. If LTTE hadnt hidden behind the civilans and fired at the army casualities would have been much less. In bombing London, Coventry thousands of civilians died in world war 2. So was in Armritsar – hostage taking of the Golden Temple.
    I live in wellawatte where majority is Tamils they live happily. where do you leave/ In some country as a refuge?
    What are you saying when civilains, farmers , monks etc. were brutally hacked to death, and chased off/ where were Singhalese muslims living in East, North?
    Dont talk like a punde Andi.

    • mkdk

      do you know the difference between a terrorist and a Govt; soldier? or a terrorist group and a govt?? how about traitor and patriot?? everyone who lines behind any govt; is not a patriot!

    • From NZ

      WELL SAID , CREATOR

  7. Anton

    The LTTE killed , Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese, mostly innocent people. Then they dragged the Tamils along with them as a Human Shield. The Government waged war against the LTTE and in the above context, I am sure there were innocent casualties. This happens in all countries that wage war against Terrorists because Terrorists are cowards that hide behind civilians. The LTTE would have never survived for 30 years without the civilian population amidst them . The LTTE is at least for now, gone. Let us build a better future without division and hatred. .

  8. slbud

    “When Mahinda says that not one civilian was killed in the war it is quite hurtful to those who have lost family and friends. It lessens the magnitude of good he has done by an unnecessary lie”

    This is what I mean. If a leader could make such an irresponsible statement, a blatent lie in fact that nobody with average intelligence will believe, what would the innocent tamils who had their whole families wiped out, would think? Could they count on him as their leader to look at their plight? Would they ever think this leader is their leader with a heart to feel their pain? Even in a general sence, what is the credibility of such a leader?

    What if, instead, the government issued a statement along the lines of”….we admit that a large number of civilians have perished in the unavoidable circumstances; we share the sorrow of those many who lost their relatives and families and do whatever is necessary to bring some relief to their lives………” This does not need much in a way of intelligence but needs far more than our government can offer. More so, the military win hs driven us all into such psychotic levels of elation that higher brain functions completely stop.

    For Tamils, it looks like you are back to square one. The era of distrust, frustration that you don’t have a leader that cares about you. To start the process again to win one day, like your earlier generation tried? Who will pay for the consequences of this? The next generation; our own children. This is the cycle that will continue until, one day in the distant futre, true intelligence, true human thinking governs our great great great grand children.

  9. kris

    We have suffered more than 30 years of Killing funded by Blood thirsty Tamil Diaspora.

    When LTTE was committing village massacres, throwing infants to wells and drowned them, smashing babies on tree trunks while their mothers watched in horror and grief, ripped open the wombs of pregnant mothers, clubbed and chopped women and the unborn to death without the least ruffle the so called Tamil Diaspora was very happy funded in millions encouraging LTTE showing their thirst for blood.

    When LTTE bombed all over killing thousands of innocent men, women & children the so called Tamil Diaspora hailed LTTE and kept funding and helping them to get more weapons and ammunition to kill more and more.
    When LTTE attacked the prominent politicians and leaders this Tamil Diaspora was thrilled with what LTTE was doing and they started helping them openly trying to get support from other terrorist organizations and international recognition.

    By supporting these ruthless animals they have not realized that they have lost most of their own relatives in their territory.

    While Prabakaran was drinking blood of innocent people in Sri Lanka, the so called Tamil Diaspora was living a luxurious life in western countries and funding the war like betting a horse race and watching happily the killing spree and massacres of innocent villagers including their kith & kin.

    Now its time for this Tamil Diaspora to turn back and see the disaster they have made by funding this war. There is absolutely nothing they have gained for the present or next generation. At least its time now they should realize that they funded a coward who was holding their own kith and kin as human shields.

    Sri Lanka LTTE issue is over and now LTTE is operating in other countries actively similar to what they started here. I am sure they will create similar bombings and suicide missions in these countries unless this is not controlled properly.

    If these so called tamil Diaspora is very loving to their kith and kin they should have been here now to help their people by collecting food, water, medicines etc etc. What has LTTE done to these people for this 30 years? Have they got even a house to live. But please visit the Tamils in Govt controlled areas and see the facilities they have got and how happy they are.

    We all lived happily together sometime back before Diaspora funded Prabakaran and innocent Tamils to be terrorists until their asylum claims were turned into Citizenships. Tamils in Sri Lanka are not fools anymore.

  10. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

    “bloodthirsty Sinhaloid”: I love it!

    Any investigation will rip open wounds on both sides; wounds over which scabs should be allowed to grow. the reopening of wounds cannot help. there wil be more recrimination, wider gaps.

    • Pon

      I don’t agree! Wounds cannot heal if is not cleaned and treated properly and if the scabs are allowed to grow over uncleaned wounds it will fester and create a bigger wound. After WW 2 German Generals and others were hauled up before the Nurenberg trials to face war crimes. The tribunal was not appointed by Germany but by an International panel. In doing so the guilty was punished and the innocent were released. Those who escaped are still hounded world over and will continue to run until they are caught. This is how one need to act if we are to see a complete healing of this terrible wound. After all ‘crimes against humanity’ is barbaric and cannot be condoned whatever the circumstances be and whoever you support in a conflict. It should be investigated by unbiased and independent commission and eradicated wherever it crops up in the world. No right thinking person or government should turn a blindeye to such crimes against humanity nor impede an investigation into such attrocities as it can next happen to you.

  11. RANJAN

    It is required to Investigate the truth of both Govt. and the LTTE and clear the doubts of the Nations people. This would help the future generation to live with free mind. Also,the people involved in the Cold Blood murder of inncent people must be brought to justice whether he/she is a high profile govt. official or a LTTE ex militant. This would definitely help the future generation to make a corruption free govt.

  12. dagobert

    Cow Dung lies everywhere. Its better to leave it to get sun baked & whither.

    There is no war waged anywhere without civillian casualties.
    Lets not go back to 30 years. Take for instant the peace pact of 2002.
    What did Peace really mean then? To re-arm ?
    Who provided the funds for floating warehouses full of arms, those under water equipment and building of underwater track to name a few…
    Why ? When there was a peace pact inplace.

    There is nothing to Investigate here. Somebody funded & a war ravaged the Tamil /Sinhala population robbing Children & Youth of a life.

    Atrocities…….. They were committed and everybody is aware & nothing new.
    The end result…At the end of the day the war is over & scabs on wounds remain………………..
    What is happening now is that, attempts are being made to forcibly remove those scabs to reopen wounds.

    Diaspora, UN, West, GOSL all must bear in mind, permit the wounds to heal and let the scabs fall by itself.
    Lets help the wounds to heal completely & work towards that. Assist people to get on with life..
    Diaspora & the political machinary has nothing to loose. Both used available Youth and the victims were those parents and family who had lost loved ones on either side.
    Grand looser was the Country.
    THEREFORE, DOES ANY OF THESE PANELS , COMMISSIONS, REFRAIN OF GPS+ HELP ANY OF THE VICTIMS to heal ? Answer is NO.

    All these only help to boost the EGO of parties behind the scenes who never experienced & nowhere near the real suffering.

  13. Hari

    I think Sri lanka should accept UN’s offer as long as they start investigating all the Countries, politicians, individuals, NGOs, HR activists, UN agents, Tamil Diaspora or any one who helped LTTE in any way over last 3 decades in their killing spree of over 100000 people and destrying Sri lankas economy.

  14. db

    Innocent tamils are suffering not because of the SL govt or singhalese. The main cause for their suffering is Tamila leaders, their terrorist leaders and tamila disapora. Biggest enemy of tamils are tamils themselves

  15. dave

    LTTE is the Main cuase for all the problems. They should have not been to violance find out the solutions for their problems.

  16. Who start the volance and carryout suicide game in Srilanka? Duration of 30 year’s UNO was remain silent after defected of barbaric LTTE terrorist UNO is awake, Srilank Army was liberted innocent poor Tamil speaking people from the terrorist. Tamil disapora living in overseas having luxurious life and geting financial assistance and commpassion from the UNO blind people. Why Tamil diaspora cannot come to Srilanka and help poor Tamil speaking people, do not groan, Time has come to develop land and the life of innocent people. stop savage. There for not to permited any “SUDDAPPU” for the Investigation in Srilanka

  17. Anton

    When President Obama came into office, he did not want the government to investigate the past administration for the simple reason that it will drag the nation into a further mess, rather than implement his agenda for the future.

    If we keep on looking at the past and forget the future, Sri Lanka as a Nation will not survive. All our efforts should be to strength the rule of law, the Judiciary and equality to all under a united Sri Lanka. We should not forget the people who lost the most irrespective of their Nationality.

  18. Panduka

    “When Mahinda says that not one civilian was killed in the war it is quite hurtful to those who have lost family and friends. It lessens the magnitude of good he has done by an unnecessary lie. Civilians were killed in this war. I’ve met the survivors. I know LTTE survivors as well, that’s not the point. Saying that those deaths were tragically necessary is one thing. Saying that they didn’t happen is just cruel.”

    “One thing we could agree on, is simply acknowledging that people have died in this war. The ‘why’ I don’t think we’ll ever agree on, but the ‘what’, I think, is self-evident … Sadly, between the meddling of the UN and the fiddling of the government, the space for that simple acknowledgement becomes less and less.”

    Thank you for a well articulated set of thoughts here, Indica.

    Being true to ourselves is the crux here, if we are to seriously search for harmony for the present and the future, and to leave all those irreconcilable historical reasons alone.

    Denials that become barefaced lies, like what Indica refers to above, and news items of actions like that of military personnel in the N-E ordering the civilians not to conduct any remembrance services for the dead on the eve of the government’s celebrations of the one year since the end of hostilities, will not help this process of searching for true peace, harmony, and reconcilliation.

    Well done again, for your forthright and well articulated thoughts, Indica.

    May we remember with good will all those who died in the national conflict.
    May all of them be blessed in the hereafter with greater wholesomeness.
    May we remember with love and good will those of broken heart and limb.
    May we remember with love and good will all those who have survived calamities of nature.
    May all be blessed with healing of heart, mind and body.
    May all be safe and well.

  19. Vathy

    Please remember what Lasantha wrote in his last editorial. It was not LTTE who killed him. In his editorial he had named his killer. How come Sunday leader is publishing biased articles like this one. The writer has tried to cover up by admitting civilian deaths and a positive note about Suresh Premachandran.

  20. Duh

    It is easy for all to make comments like these. because (posibly) none of you have lost someone in this war – and actually seen the person shooting them down. don’t forget eye witness. these people know who is responsible for what.
    only the wounded will know how much the wound hurts – NOT THE DOCTOR.

  21. Orpheus

    When there is a war, whether it is against internal terrorist organization or foreign invasion, like in Iraq, people do die. Most of the deaths in Colombo were due to terrorist attacks, in public places. In the North, people died when they were caught in the cross fire. Human life is valuable. These deaths are tragic. Any attempt to divide the country in the future, will end up in worse blood baths, whether it is done by local politicians or foreign powers. Al l intelligent Sri Lankans should keep that in mind. Nothing can bring the dead back. Tamil Diaspora has a duty to help the displaced and orphaned in the North. Most important thing is to stay alive and immerge from poverty. You don’t need to have cars and palatial houses.

    • Vathy

      Orpheus, where are you living and what are you talking about? Tamil diaspora do not live in palaces. Most of my friends abroad do live in basements and rooming houses. On one hand some of you are telling that instead of working in restaurants Tamils must come back to Sri Lanka and some of you are telling that they must send money to help IDP. Civilians died because of shelling. When Kilinochi was captured by Sri Lankan army, the civilians were directed by the army on a certain path which was purposely shelled. This is one example. 40000 cannot die in crossfire or can be kept as hostages. Since the government is responsible for the damage they must build our land back as requested by TNA and dividing the land had worked well in many countries with the help of UN.

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