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Forget the LTTE, forget even the Tamils. If you slaughter tens of thousands of people, if you treat the survivors like animals, if you do respect human dignity, then sooner or later you’ll pay that price. And I’m not talking of resurgence of terrorism. Sri Lankans already have the worst punishment: president Rajapaksa, a despot who rules the country like a private property. Sri Lankans decided to enslave themselves to the ultimate dinasty on the island.

The issue is not about the Tamils. It is about impunity and lack of accountability. Clearly the Rajapaksa administration received a green light by the international community. The UN, the West, India let the Rajapaksas walk away after the slaughter of a city like Vavunya (according to UN)(according to the Bishop of Mannar, in his testimony for the LLRC, it is more likely a city like Kandy). What do you expect after that? Any other murder, any other disappearance is petty crime in comparison. The Sri Lankan citizens, all of them, have forget precisely this simple fact: how can you call for justice, after that?

Any misconduct, from threatening journalists, to assaulting judges, is trivial. Moreover, do you think the right of law can be exercised if you have skipped so quickly any investigation about the end of the war?

The Sri Lankan citizens have been lured by their government, but also by a majoritarian ideology and a guilty sense of ownership over the island, that any dissent can be buried by any means. The LTTE started an armed struggle out of desperation. The leadership of Prabharakan soon spiralled in a vortex of violence for the sake of it; it was a response to the oppression and devastation of the Tamil culture and identity. Most important, the deranged trajectory of the LTTE didn’t represent and include all the Tamils. The elimination of 40 000 human beings is a crime of genocide. Forget Tamil Eelam: if you are a proud Sri Lankan, so proud that you’ll never consider the division of the country, then you must act immediately to seek the truth. To bring justice to human beings and to Sri Lanka, to the good name of Sri Lanka.

Poor Sri Lanka, if you think that killing innocents is a good way to honour your country, if you think that the blood of children, elderly and armless unfortunate, is a good way to worship this Buddhist soil.

Are you really convince that a Buddha will be pleased by this bloody sacrifice, that to hold a flag in his name, you had to rape, torture and massacre thousands? In what kind of hell have you fallen, my poor Sri Lanka.

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Sri Lanka Buddhist monks destroy Muslim shrine

In Septmber 2011 a mob destroyed the Muslim shrine in the city of Anuradhapura. In April 2012, thugs stormed the mosque of Dambulla. We have already talked about the strange ‘spontaneous mob’ in the history of Sri Lanka and as in previous cases, police officers were present but they didn’t intervene. The peculiarity about these incidents is that they were led by Buddhist monks.

At present they are focusing on the Muslim community ,so Rauff Hakeem, a Muslim politician, asked president Rajapaksa to suppress the ‘yellow robe terrorism’. It seems as the Sinhala Buddhist extremists are tolerating less and less the simple presence of the Muslim community(and now they come for the Muslims!).

Victim of a white van abduction

The message is that the Muslim are the new undesired guest, even if they always maintained a very low profile. This is particularly striking, given that the country just ended a bloody civil war with another minority. Sri Lanka has been characterized by various forms of “terrorism”. The government made a point of its identity in the so called “counter-terrorism”( instead it was a civil war). But the state itself committed act of terrorism, torture and abuse against citizens, like the case of the “white van” abductions are very well recorded. And of course all the atrocities that targeted the Tamil people. So what is the position of the state about the “yellow robe” one?

The answer is that Buddhism is at the core of the Sinhala supremacy. Sri Lanka in its constitution of the 1972 clearly defined itself as Sinhalese and Buddhist. The first victims of this intransigence were the Tamils. In fact the state made any possible gesture to undermine the identity and the position of the Tamil. The Sinhala Act of the 1956, the pogroms of the 1958 and 1983 are all example of majoritarian violence against the Tamils. This absolute intolerance lies in the specific religious tradition of the island. You could find a bit odd that a religion that is professing the impermanence of everything, would be so concerned in affirming it’s mundane presence. But there is a reason behind this. The Sri Lankan school of Buddhism is founded on the ‘Mahavamsa’, a poem of the 5th century CE narrating the early history of the religion on the island. The essential context of these chronicles is the falling of Buddhism in India. Devotees were clearly scared by the eclipse of their religion in the very place of origin, so their reaction was to ground their tradition as a firm stronghold for the doctrine.

Therefore the Mahavamsa itself must be contextualized in a period of profound concern for the survival of Buddhism. But the Buddhist clergy took this mandate in a totalitarian acceptation: any diversity must be considered as a direct opposition. No matter how marginal, any sign of not-alignment with the mainstream, must be viewed as the seed for future destruction. Hence it must be eliminated.

The problem is that after the Mahavamsa (or even before actually), other communities came to Sri Lanka. The Tamils can indeed trace their presence on the island back for millennia. And yet, this presence after independence was never completely tolerated. The necessity to assimilate the North by the Sinhalese ideology has always been present and fed by the pretext of Mahavamsa (see the very insightful article of Dr. Dewasiri). So the Buddhist clergy actually is the backbone of the movement to subjugate the Tamils before and now the Muslims.

We can see now a very clear trajectory of a supremacist ideology, that wants to eliminate any diversity.

The reaction of the LTTE masked this very simple fact: that the Sinhalese extremists don’t accept any other presence on the island, no matter how small or marginal this difference can be. The Sinhalese supremacy will always consider any difference as a direct opposition (here the hypothesis of a “Buddhist fascism”). The idea of reconciliation cannot exist until the “yellow robe” terrorism is dominant. Sri Lanka will never be pacified with this totalitarian violence of majority: the civil war was not caused by the LTTE; the roots of that virulent reaction are all still present and quite active now. It must be faced the simple fact that the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka is an element of disturbance and violence. I still don’t get how people who profess impermanence and mindfulness can so storm the lives of the others. Really I don’t get it.

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.

Riots May 1958 – A Tamil passenger was taken out of the vehicle and beaten up

In July 1983 it is claimed that a spontaneous violence of the Sinhalese population spurred against the Tamils. It wasn’t the first time. Most notably in 1958, but during the ’60s and ’70s, tension was registered amongst the two ethnic group. Or better: anger and violence from the Sinhalese majority towards the Tamil minority. In fact the killing of the Four Four Bravo patrol was the first example of organized, Tamil aggression. Critically, against a military target.

So, from independence in 1948 to 1983, you have 30 years of growing animosity towards the Tamil minority, which is less and less tolerated. And precisely for that, the Tamil population tried to maintain a very low profile. Indeed the request was simply to exist as a distinctive community, with its own language and cultural identity, within the Sri Lankan state.

Pogroms against Tamil

This is crucial: the Tamils demanded only to exist as Tamils. And they conducted a very peaceful and non violent struggle. And the constant denial of the Sri Lankan state produced a very logical and obvious outcome: if the Sinhalese can’t tolerate the Tamil presence within the same state, it will be better to have a separate one. The request of an independent, separate state indeed came to prominence only in the ’70s, when it was clear that the state couldn’t or didn’t want to protect the Tamil citizens.

This is a point. The official position of the Sri Lankan state has been of mediator between the violent request of the Sinhalese majority and the peaceful resistance of the Tamil minority. It seems as the Sri Lankan government identity is shaped by the containment of Sinhalese justified violence against the Tamils. And sometimes you have to let steam off. It is only but natural that once in a while the majority will overcome its barely repressed tolerance and slash the obnoxious presence of the minority. This is more or less the message. That the Tamil presence is unnatural and it is not completed eliminated only because of mercy by the majority. But you can really blame it if reacts when provoked.

And when a military action took place like in 1983, the reaction involved all the Tamil community. And that was one example where the government couldn’t really defend the minority.

But this impotence was an act of will. In fact the pogroms done by the so-called ‘mob’, were actually quite organized and planned. Properties were carefully targeted, people picked up, check point set up and weapons made available. Most important, the police and the army didn’t really intervene and crack down this form of violence. The state has the right and the duty to eliminate any challenge to its sovereignty. The LTTE attack is an example and the ‘spontaneous mob violence’ is another one. But in the latter, nothing happened. The government actually accepted that kind of violence. You have two possible reasons: the mob violence is actually just an extension of the state will. The government is acting through the thugs, beyond its own legal framework.

Black July ’83 Sri Lanka

Or the government can’t really act against the force that intimately legitimized its authority: the assumption that the Sri Lankan state is founded on the Sinhalese affirmation, which is more grounded that the rule of law. And when the Sinhalese affirmation take a violent form, it is granted legitimacy by its own force. This is a tribal law, whose constitution is illiterate and drawn with blood.

In either cases if you are Tamil, your chances of survival are quite low. Because your state made a point of erasing your identity. Assimilation or elimination. Sri Lanka is not a country for Tamils. Cornered in such a way, some in the Tamil community felt that they had little to lose in fighting till death the Sri Lankan state.


On July the 23rd 1983 a small group of Tamil rebels ambushed the Four Four Bravo convoy of the Sri Lankan Army. The rebels, a cell of the LTTE, killed 13 out of 15 soldiers of the patrol. A very severe and negative judgement should be expressed on the overall activity of the LTTE: the Tigers committed several crimes; precise and detailed account are available from international and independent sources. Any Tamil should be more aware of the dark side of the Tigers. The LTTE in many, too many occasions hit civilians and innocents. But in that infamous July of 29 years ago, the target was military, completely military. Within the legal framework of a state is clearly an act of aggression, but it is not even criminal. In fact the rebels stands precisely to contest that framework and they suspend themselves from the law of a state they consider oppressive and unjust. Other laws stand, though. It’s the beginning of war and wartime laws apply. For example, it’s not murder to kill a man of the opposite faction, under appropriate circumstances. But must of all, the laws of humanity apply. Civilians per definition are exempted by the hostilities (and soldiers who surrender).

On the other hand, the state has all its right to eliminate this challenge to its authority and sovereignty. The Sri Lankan army would have been on the right side, had responded to Tigers’ fire.

But it didn’t.

President Jayawardene, few days before the riots, said on the Daily Telegraph:

‘I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people now… Now we cannot think of them. Not about their lives or of their opinion about us… The more you put pressure in the North, the happier the Sinhala people will be here…really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy’

This is very clear statement that the government is not interested in suppressing violence against the Tamils. These words came out two weeks before the riots.

What happened is that ‘spontaneous mob’ targeted Tamil citizens and properties. People have been decapitated, burned alive, massacred. And the police and the army took very bland and superficial measures. Some members of political parties actually took active part in the violence, leading groups of thugs. Nobody has been seriously prosecuted for those events. The lack of intervention of the state was a clear message that the killing of the Tamils is a legitimated action. At least in the framework of an ethnic pogrom.

Now, in political theory the state has the monopoly of violence: the government had the right of responding to the LTTE attack precisely and only for this reason. From a theoretical point of view, the mob violence is a form of insurgency and a challenge to the state sovereignty of the same nature as the one of the LTTE. Mob violence should be treated as terrorism. Instead the government let it go. It didn’t take appropriate counter measures, it didn’t punish people responsible. In other words, it tacitly condoned the event. Well, as we have seen, not even so tacitly. The words of president Jayawardene are heavy as rocks and sharp as swords, in the agitated context of the July 1983. The pogrom of the Black July is a responsibility of the Sri Lankan state. The Tamil insurgency started appropriately with an army to army aggression, whereas the government reaction continued to target civilians and to be ethnic oriented. No surprise that this single-minded racial violence escalated to a civil war. It is out of the question that the start of war was caused by the oppressive and violent stance of the Sri Lankan government.

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Lalgarth, assembly of Adivasis women.

Almost unknown in India there are more than 80 millions of indigenous people, the Adivasis. These people are living in the continent before unmemorable time. You may say that they always lived there. Recently their situation has been publicized due to severe injustice against their rights. Prevarication and disempowerment have been the constant attitude of the central government towards the Adivasis, but the situation deteriorated for a simple reason: in the territory inhabited by Adivasis, huge deposits of mineral resources have been found. Mine companies keen to put their hands on that wealth have supported para-military groups in an effort to drive out of their homeland these millennial inhabitants of India.
The case of Adivasis has been analysed to describe a general trend in the Indian: basically the dynamics subsequent to the independence has been characterized by a reverse colonization: a powerful, dominant Indian elite has been handed down the previous British dominion. The outcome is that an anglophone, foreign ruler has been substituted with an Hindi (but also anglophone), local ruler. Even worst: the European master was obliged to follow principle of civilization such as a generalized empowerment of human rights and citizenship. The impossibility to fairly and correctly grant this empowerment was the driving force the self-collapse of the British dominion. In fact it has lost a moral authority to rule other people, primarily under its own matrix of judgement. The new, local masters on the contrary didn’t feel the need to respect any principle. This is why such a vast portion of Indian society lives in extreme poverty and a complete disempowered state.
The new masters had the authority to rule only granted by their local ethnicity, in front of the British and by their strength to crush any other rival, in front of their people.
Therefore you can see that in the union process many actual battle have been fought against small rulers who didn’t recognize the new master. The unification of modern India passed through, also, sheer military conquest.
The centrifugal forces are always running underground because of this purely violent force of cohesion. The separation from Pakistan has been a miracle of pacific transition only because of the unique personality of Mahatama Gandhi: otherwise it could have been a bloodbath of inhumane proportion. The persistent tensions in all the are, from Bagladesh to Sri Lanka, from Kashmir to Maldives, from Nepal to Myanmar are the resultant of this despotic rule.
Politics in India is governed by local chieftains who administered the empire of the central rulers, as representative of the strength, not the law.
The new Hindi ruler are of course incarnated in the first place by the Gandhi family, though not exclusively. And they are paradigmatic for two reason: in the first place, because with peace to democracy, the central power in India is handed down dinastically. Second, because this supreme power is far from being uncontested: the tragic history of the family is the mirror of the centrifugal forces in the kingdom ruled by the family itself.