| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(January 30, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The government is despatching emissaries to the four corners of the world in its last ditch efforts to ward off war crimes. External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris, is earning frequent-flyer miles what with shuttling across the continents trying to undo the horribly expensive advertising firm, Bell Pottinger’s, abysmal campaigning for the government in thwarting war crimes allegations.
|How does one compare the LLRC report to the Darusman report?|
Now the government is trying its level best to accuse INGOs (international non-governmental organisations ), exiled journalists and Tamils abroad of conspiring to overthrow the regime which stands accused of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity which escalated in the final stages of the war in early 2009. The lame-duck of a commission set up in the aftermath of leaked media reports that it ruthlessly killed thousands of civilians in the name of wiping out LTTE terrorism remains just that. A lame-duck.
Surely Channel 4 ‘s Killing Fields documentary, Darusman Report commissioned by the UNSG (United Nations Secretary General) Ban-Ki-Moon and evidence presented to the domestic inquiring mechanism, the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) based on TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) set up by the ANC (African National Congress) in apartheid South Africa cannot all be wrong.
That the raw evidence presented by civilians of their murdered, raped, tortured and abducted family members was carefully and willfully omitted in the final doctored report of the LLRC is not lost on the international community.
Satellite images of the government security forces bombing safe zones such as hospitals, schools and churches deemed no-fly zones monitored by the US cannot be swept under the carpet and we have Julian Assange to thank for the Wikileaks cables emanating from US diplomats positioned in Colombo to the State Department. The latest Wikileaks revelation is the government had Lion Cubs, a ruthless government appointed hit-squad led by the formeroverall army commander, General Sarath Fonseka, who is widely credited with annihilating the LTTE to bump off anti-government forces including media personnel.
The evidence against the government is mounting and it needs more than shuttle diplomacy and white-washing war crimes to justify its stance in eliminating the LTTE and thousands of innocent Tamil civilians who put their faith in the government security forces to rescue them as they were uprooted from their homes time and again to save their lives and limbs.
How does one compare the LLRC report to the Darusman report? The first is a knee-jerk reaction to the UN report and let us not prevaricate the latter on its authenticity. UN is not a body sprung overnight but a culmination of decisions made by post-war nations which believed the two world wars annihilated millions of lives all because they did not adhere to the dictum of an Aryan race as prescribed by Adolf Hitler who wanted to expunge non-Aryans aka six million Jews and who did not prescribe to the new world order where blonde and blue eyed citizens would be the right inheritors of this earth. Th others would be vermins needing extermination and that was the crux of the Hitler Doctrine. That Hitler had Jewish blood was all the more reason to obfuscate history and present himself as true Aryan.
As recent as 1983 there are many Tamils who changed their names by deed poll and the Muslims of the South started studying in Sinhala and speaking Sinhalese albeit with a very Tamil accent since they did not want to become the ire of the Sinhala government.
Tamils were never betrayed by the Sinhalese. They were betrayed by the opportunistic Tamils starting from Ponnambalam Brothers, Appeal Court Judge Palakidnar who received a plum property in Dehiwela worth millions from CBK for siding with her in swinging justice for her elections in the Wstern province which led to her being elected in 1994 and who is a well-known rapist of his underlings, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Karuna the ex-LTTE army commander, Douglas Devananda, the human trafficker, owner of lodges across Colombo for would be migrants to the West and mastermind behind white van abduction and extra- judicial killings including that of Kumar Ponnambalam.
One cannot forget the latest addition to the Rajapakses’ co-horts, the LTTE arms procurer KP wanted by the Interpol and India who is now receiving VVIP patronage at Visumpaya, one-time official residence of the prime minister all because the government has serendipitous hopes of laying its hands on LTTE funds stashed abroad.The LTTE has its own share of horrendous war crimes and the government harbouring KP and Karuna – former LTTE leaders – is another serious war crime the government needs to justify.
Every time a US government representative announces that Sri Lanka needs to address and atone for war crimes the government lashes back saying that US has its own abyssmal tack record in human rights. US involvement in Guantanamo Bay prisoners, invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle-East and African states does not mitigate our own government’s war crimes.
Now talking of 13th amendment and a plus, PSCs and other laws in the constitution at this juncture is not only pointless but a time-wasting exercise. The government has shown that it would not lend its ears to public opinion or international concerns since it does what it wants and to hell with rabble-rousers.
Editorials in the Colombo media are spewing out venom that the West, UN and NGOs are braying for the blood of the government which ended terrorism on its soil. This oft-repeated mantra is becoming a little stale and cannot stand up when UNHRC scrutinises atom by atom the piles of evidence landing on its desk. They are not to be scoffed at. They are painstaking investigative work done by eminent legal experts, UN, technical experts and internationally reputed lawyers for almost a decade.
Demanding justice for the civilians killed in the war is not treachery. It is our right.
( The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 21 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)