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Tamil civilian victims in Mullivaikal, 2009 Sri Lanka.

Tamil civilian victims in Mullivaikal, 2009 Sri Lanka.

In Geneva the UNHRC discussed a very funny joke: the Sri Lankan government doesn’t want to listen to its own recommendations.

Of course the tragedy of the Tamil people is not about that. The UN ( even the UN!) realized that something of heinous magnitude happened in Sri Lanka. In their report, it is alleged that 40 000 civilians died. And these are the conservative figures of the UN.

The government agent for Mullaitivu Imelda Sukumar testified for the LLRC that the population under her control in January 2009 was 360 000.

When the Tamil civilians started to reach the Sri Lankan army after the defeat of the LTTE in May, the official figures were 280 000.

Even a UN official can realize that there are 80 000 missing. If you visit and talk to the survivors, they will tell you of a carnage.

The Sri Lankan government chased like wild beast almost half of a million of Tamil civilians. The Sri Lankan government exploded the full blast of its fire power against those civilians, starving them of food and medicine. This to me is something we should discuss in Geneva.

tamil slaughter

Tamil civilians killed in Nandikadal Lagoon

When in May 2009 the Tamils in the Nandikadal Lagoon and opened fire, what they were expecting? It is a fact that in that area there were more than 300 000, so many come out. When you are bombing with heavy shelling a strip of beach with that multitude of children, elderly and women, the casualties cannot be but enormous.

The Western countries have no interest in dealing with this serious subject because they have a biggest concern in other issues. India needs to exercise its sphere of influence on Sri Lanka, including the economic exploitation of its position and side. The oil exploration in the Mannar Basin is benefitting Indian companies, which are listed in London, so the UK is mild against real pressure on Colombo. Besides, London sells weapon to Sri Lanka and has no intention of losing a client. Similarly France is just entering the oil scene in Sri Lanka and had already paid its fee (allowing the murder in Paris of LTTE leader Parithi). But also the Tamil leadership has some responsibility: they keep on hanging accountability and justice to the causes of Eelam. They don’t really ask for justice, unless is coming with independence. And of course nobody at present has the minimal intention to give them a new state. So it is really nobody’s intention to discuss what really happened in Sri Lanka.

Let’s talk instead of LLRC and its implementation; this is really a topic, which will bring no harm to anybody. You have a case of genocide and in Geneva your discussion is about LLRC. Sad.

tamil massacre

Tamil civilians were massacred by the Sri Lankan attacks

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bidding oilOn the 7th of March 2013 Sri Lanka’s government held an international road show to facilitate the bidding process for the offshore exploration rights for several blocks[1], locations: Houston, London, Singapore.

It may be interesting to note two facts: in this round there is almost a unanimous interest: Exxon, Total, Eni, BP, Gazprom, Petronas[2].

This enthusiasm probably derives from the successful operations of Cairn-Vedanta. The Anglo-Indian company in 2011 found oil.

This leads to the second interesting fact: the previous road show was held in 2007[3], same locations (Houston, London, Singapore). Did anybody hear about the Eelam War? It ended quite bad for the LTTE, the separatist army, which was annihilated and also for more than 360 000 Tamil civilians, chased out like wild animals. More than 80 000 civilians are supposed to have died in the final stage of the conflict. Well, in 2007 the war had just re-started. Not a surprise that the bidders were a bit more cautious.

rajapaksa oil cairn agreementIn fact the LTTE was one of the best trained, motivated and fierce liberation army in the world, with an exceptional navy. During the civil war, the LTTE navy, the Sea Tigers have been able to evenly match the Sri Lankan one. The region controlled by the Tamil Tigers was run like a state, with banks and post offices. And it was rely heavenly on sea supply lane. So it was vital for the LTTE to have a successful protection from the sea. Then in 2007 India started patrolling. India’s position has been ambiguous, to say the least, with the LTTE.

But in 2007 the idea of buying exploration rights in war zone was simply mad. Unless the government pledged beyond any reasonable the certainty of the deal…

How can you guarantee such agreement during a conflict?

Probably you planned carefully to eliminate any resistance, any dissent. And with 1 billion barrels of oil, you can buy international support and help.

In a country ruled like a private dominion of a family, law is administered by the will of the powerful ones. It is surprising that a lucid and bright intellectual life is still living under the brutality of such regime. In Sri Lanka words can sentence you to death. It is still quite a shock that a person of the calibre of Lasantha Wickremasunge has been killed with complete impunity: who dares to speak out his mind, really is a hero, one time more after that heinous assassination.

 It is with mixed feelings that we assisted at the recent case of Franziska Jansz. On one side we horrify about the gangsterism of member of the government, who is not ashamed of threatening a journalist for a puppy. We know that in Sri Lanka words like the ones of Gotabaya Rajapaksa are heavy as lead. On the other the courage of people such the editor of the Sunday Leader, a worthy heir of her predecessor, Wickremasunge himself, gives hope that the light of free thinking is still alight, though under such menaces. But what a general despondency that freedom and justice are relegated to fight for the story of a puppy.

The Rajapaksa have turned like medieval rulers, with no sense of decency or respect for the basic rights of a modern state.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the past expressed himself with a similar thug attitude. Asked about cases of rape and other war crimes, he commented citing the example of LTTE woman cadre, who wasn’t raped ‘despite’ being very attractive. The vulgarity of such a statement, coming from the most powerful member of the government was shocking and leaved spechless.

He was talking like rape is a natural consequence for an attractive woman. His shameless remark was revealing a general attitude in the Sri Lankan the military. And his complete lack of any consideration for the women, is a clear signal that you can’t expect any protection, respect or justice about sexual crimes.

Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka, A senior Sri Lankan minister considered close to President Mahinda Rajapaksa has threatened the Tamils they would face annihilation if they continued to harbour homeland ambition.

Much in the same line of the words used by one minister, Mr.Champika Ranawaka. He advised the Tamils to be quiet and don’t stir too much the waters, otherwise they should expect 100 Mullivaikal. Again, there are no words to really comment such a disgrace. First, it is a clear admission from the government that the events in Mullivaikal have been an horrible carnage. They are so aware of the magnitude and of the brutality, that they can use it as a menace.

Second they show the real objective behind the so called ‘humanitarian rescue’. The IV Eelam War was not a counter-terrorism operation, but a massive scale elimination of Tamil nationalism. True, the LTTE was the military arm of such sentiment, but the real objective was to subjugate the Tamils.

Finally you can see what is the real face of rehabilitation and reconciliation form the government: don’t move, don’t speak, pretend to be dead like your brothers in Mullivaikal. You saw what happened to them, remembers that it is a pure chance you’re alive.

In Sri Lanka, nobody really has any doubt about the intention of the government. Serial raping, ethnic cleansing and authoritarian dominance are obviously quite well known in the island. But it is so sad, almost ironic that the government has no decency in saying it explicitly in words, that members of the ‘royal’ family, or of the government patently admit and show off almost with pride, the responsibility of those crimes.

 We can only whisper it now, but we are thoroughly taking notes and we are patiently registering any of this revelations.

It is very likely that the Syrian government target civilians in its repression of the insurgents; it is also quite possible that the West, led by the US would see very favourably a regime change in Damasco. Pretty much as it happened in Lybia. It is also quite undisputable that the current Syrian government is an authoritarian oppression of the Syrian people. We noted that the big supporters of the Rebels are actually Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Now we have some perplexities about the real intentions of subverting a despotic regime, with a democratic system. Normally the big sponsor of an activity holds the key of the future of that activity. We doubt that Saudi Arabia and Qatar will support any democratic effort by the Syrian civil society.

courtesy Getty Images

And here we commence our Odissey. Is it right to fight a tyranny? Well, yes of course. But the natural expectation is to install a better government, not worse. All the premises in the Syrian case are suggesting that indeed Damasco isn’t any closer to a fair and democratic society. Middle East expert Robert Fisk is right in his analysis about the contradictions of attitudes towards this crisis, both from Westerns and Arabs.

The overall impression is that good principles are just waved in front of public opinion simply to make it swallow any kind of dirty operations. It’s Real-politik, baby. Or simply international relations. Really is there an educated audience, which still believes in those principles?

Reuters

I’m sorry, but I do really believe that those principles are important and that the public opinion is really supporting them. And it is very unfair (anti-democratic) to operate against it. There are good reason to fight Assad, as there were to Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. But it is absolutely paramount the way you reach that goal. If you combat anti-democratic governments, because they are anti-democratic and you use anti-democratic means, don’t you see a contradiction? Am I naïve?

I think that for governments is becoming more difficult and difficult to cover up all their dirty operations. Recently the New York Times investigated the Al-Qaeda infiltration in the Free Syria Army, the Dutch journalist Orlemans confirmed that version . Why it is all right to be in the same war of Al Qaeda now? Is it really true that anybody figthing my enemy is my friend? The West was the sponsor and the founder of the Talibans in the ’80s, when Saddam Husseins was an ally ( a paid one).

The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeinen advanced the hypothesis that the Houla Massacre, the carnage that shocked the world and accelerated the opinion making against Assad, could have been actually committed by the rebels. But the UN as recently as two weeks ago pointed out the Syrian regime as the sole responsible.

This is wrong, grossly wrong.

Mullivaikal Massacre of Tamil civilians, May 2009

In 2009 the Sri Lankan government kept on saying it was conducting a ‘humanitarian rescue’. It was barbarously slaughtering thousands and thousands of civilians. According to the UN report, more than 40 000 (double of that in Syria), but different sources put the figures at 140 000. For who are we fighting as a society, as a (group of) civilization? Geopolitical interests come first, the people don’t really need to know, they don’t care, they like reality show and new tech gadgets. It seems to me like a give them brioches. But those people are able to get informed and to shape their opinion, quite rapidly now (thanks to the tech gadgets and the like). And I think that those ‘Jihads’ against ‘antidemocratic’ countries, with such antidemocratic means, should undergo a profound process of rethinking. Propaganda is there, is everywhere. But the civil society is growing very fast anti-bodies to unmask those lies.

I still believe in the principles of democracy and human rights. And I don’t think I’m a dreamer, and surely I’m not naïve.