| by Shenali Waduge
( January 13, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) That the US, UK, EU, Canada & similar nations join in tandem to bring allegation after allegation against Sri Lanka is something we as citizens should not be surprised over while politicians need to realize that it is their follies & inactions that allow a continuous barrage of accusations. Yet, if crimes against humanity is the buzz word then investigations must begin in a chronological fashion starting with those committed by US/NATO forces since their occupations have been in violation of international treaties & to date remain without valid proof.
We are all aware why powerful nations of the world championed a drive to depose men they called “tyrants”. Ironically these very men were one time their “friends”. Friends became tyrants in order to take over the wealth of these nations. It is a small group of people who rule the world who will decide who is friend & who is tyrant. Anyhow, we all know that these nations are today suffering far worse consequences of believing in “freedom” chants promised to them. Kosovo is a country flourishing in “prostitutes” where women have no other means of livelihood. Iraq’s children & women are far worse than they were during the reign of Saddam, the same takes place in Afghanistan & now Libya. Lest we forget Egypt is far worse. These western crusaders of freedom & human rights are not even remotely embarrassed by the continuous footage of US/Nato soldiers humiliating Iraqi’s, Afghans – urinating on them, raping women & children, using uncivilized methods upon these people. It is possibly these acts committed by their own soldiers throughout the nations that western nations today occupy which prompts them to think that our Lankan soldiers conduct themselves in similar fashion. We can proudly say – Sri Lankan soldiers are far more disciplined.
50,082 crimes were committed by 56,904 US soldiers from 1967 to 1998 in South Korea. Based on the statistics, the total number of crimes committed by US soldiers since September 8, 1945 (when they were first stationed in Korea) is estimated to be around 100,000. Unfortunately the south Korean government does not have statistics on US soldiers’ crimes committed before 1967, because SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) went into effect in 1967, allowing the south Korean court jurisdiction over crimes committed by US soldiers with narrow and limited application.
While in Iraq, a Johns Hopkins University study published in the medical journal Lancet in 2004 estimated that 100,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed or died between the invasion in March 2003 and October 2004. Most of victims by coalition forces were children/women. Many of these killings are by mercenary forces clad in military attire. If one looks through the internet to view the number of deformed children born in these countries suffering the after effects or uranium munitions, the West would be exposed as the worst tyrants in modern history. Generations of people in these nations will suffer abnormalities & cancers.
That these war crimes goes on unabated & neither the UN nor its associated entities & NGOs cry foul & realistically do something is clear. Instead it has become an easy past time to divert attention to smaller countries and document reports accusing these nations while totally ignoring the crimes committed by these western nations.
So the latest parrot chants has become the LLRC report. The West is fascinated with definitions & English vocabulary to be applied in reports that to them is supposed to be the answer to good governance & something called reconciliation.
What the west must realize is that Asians have a culture of their own far superior to that of the West and the West cannot dictate how we should live nor force us to follow the Western stereotypes.
An error that needs to be corrected forthwith is that Sri Lanka did not & does not have an ethnic problem. If that were the case scores of Tamils should be marginalized, killed, discriminated on a regular basis similar to that in South Africa & in America where being black was a crime. In so far as the 8m total Tamil population is concerned in Colombo they remain far richer, owning far greater property & businesses than the majority Sinhalese. The Tamil population need to admit that while a handful of poor & low caste Tamils suffered they benefited even while the LTTE prevailed which is why the majority of Tamils are reluctant to openly chastise the LTTE, the TNA or the Tamil Diaspora. If at all there is any marginalization that Tamils suffer from it is as a result of the caste & class that exists among Tamils themselves.
Let us come to a very popular dictum in todays political & social circles – “human rights”. When countries accuse Sri Lanka of human rights abuses, immediately we wonder what wonderful records of human rights must exist in these nations. Ironically, in the US there were 4.3m violent crimes reported in 2009, 15.6m property crimes & 133,000 personal thefts. Some 90m Americans own 200m guns in the US (US population itself is 300m). In 2010 there were 12,000 gun murders in the US. The US often cries foul over freedom of expression & freedom of movement of people. However, in 2010 6600 travelers were subject to electronic device searches. The US Homeland Security has been sued over its policies to search & seize laptops, cellphones & other electronic devises without reasonable suspicion. Even internet freedom is controlled through the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act”. There are 1.7m men & women in US prisons. Inspite of US boasting of its “democratic” ways in reality its elections are based on money. A mid-term election cost USD3.98b in 2010. 7.5m people lost their jobs in 2010. The number of unemployed tops 15m. There are 44m Americans in poverty as of 2009. There are 42m Americans using food stamps while on an average 82,000 people are found homeless on any given night! 50.7m do not have health insurance (2010)
The country that is continuously getting its embassy staff to bully smaller nations may like to look at the rate of racial hate crimes taking place in the US. FBI annual report places 6604 hate crimes in 2009 – where 4000 of them were racially motivated & 1600 related to hate for a particular religion. Whites became the perpetrators of these crimes. The US that boasts of gender equality may like to explain why statistics revealed by the National Institute of Justice quotes 60,000 female prisoners as victims of sexual assault. US soldiers are accused of sexually assaulting their own women soldiers where close to 1/3 of female soldiers in the US forces have been raped or sexually assaulted. Domestically too women suffer where 1.3m are victims.
While false civilians casualties in Sri Lanka were reason to cry foul nothing was or has been said of the number of civilians killed & being killed by US/NATO troops. Is it only US/NATO forces that can kill civilians? Is it only the US/NATO nations that can flout fundamental freedoms & establish detention centersin Guantanamo Bay, Diego Garcia? In what context can US dictate about human rights & freedoms when it has not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights nor the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The US has also not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The US certainly has a very dismal record on home turf & its record in nations that it has forcefully taken over is far worse. Clearly those accepting US recommendations & bullying on the guise of human rights are ignorant of the hypocrisy that prevails.
Running through the home statistics of UK, EU nations etc will give similar statistics which ultimately brings us back to ask what all these bullying tactics is all about. If all these nations are interested in the Tamil people, their rights & needs only – the Tamils account for just 8m in Sri Lanka & countries like Norway & Canada are large enough to have these people relocated. For Tamils who decry about speaking/learning in Sinhala don’t raise a cry over learning German or French !
We welcome proposals but ultimately it is Sri Lanka that must decide. Fundamentally what everyone must accept is that Sri Lanka never had an ethnic problem – it was commercially twisted to take the excuse of “ethnicity” for it helped galvanize international support & credibility. Nations must also remember that in a population of 20m people 14.8m are Sinhalese. If at all it is the Sinhala race that has to be protected for the Sinhalese are a minority & endangered group & not 70m Tamils living all over the world. This number is something that people cannot & should not forget. When a diaspora member was challenged to name the discriminations exclusively suffered by Tamils he could mention only 3 & all these occurring pre 1985. This shows that they are running out of examples & paying the western nations to look up different ways to ensure the LTTE incorporated enterprises continues to exist. Are we surprised that the bankrupt JVP are now garnering former LTTE – no we are not. We knew this would happen all along simply because the cash rich LTTE enterprise has nothing to do with Tamil people & all to do with making money & using innocent people to become rich.
As a nation it is time we force our politicians to openly back our troops. Why should our nation be compromised for aid & economic assistance if it means we have to commit our nation towards war crimes probes when it is clear our soldiers fought a blood war bloody well during the last stages of battle in a war that was fought on the ground, at sea, in the air & politically against TERRORISTS.