"I’m for Peace not for War"

Asian Tribune -Mon, 2005-11-07
                                     By Seyed Bazeer

“Thy fate is the common fate of all ,
   Into each life some rain must fall,
   Some days must be dark and dreary
                                                      -Long Fellow- 1842

The writer wonders why on earth Mr. Santhirasegara dragged up Seyed Bazeer’s views in his letter to your on line news daily, when he wrote about who would be the best president of Sri Lanka. It looked something like “tying the balding head to the knee” ( Mottathalikum mulankalukkum Mudichu Podurathu) . The writer checked the name once again to ensure whether his name was ending with a letter “N” or “M”, as he has met hundreds of Tamil people who condemn the “Expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province and the genocide of Muslims in the East,” without reservation.
If it was Santhirasegara(n) or Sathirasegara(m) he would have probably not made such a comment, rather he would have at least kept silent about it.

The LTTE , themselves apologised and even made a public statement about their action of eviction as a tragic event. It is indeed a good sign that Sri Lanka needs many Santhirasegara(s) to be “non racial”; and to understand the Tamil question and honestly condemn the Sinhalese occupation and chauvinism.
Dr.Brian Senewiratne (Australia) has been supporting Tamil cause and the LTTE for quite a long time. He even wrote an open letter to Rajiv Ghandi in 1988, stating that; “If the LTTE are crushed, as was the JVP in 1971, they will reform and rise up again perhaps next year, the year after or in five years time”. He compared the LTTE to JVP but the LTTE is still there asserting that they are the sole representatives of the Tamils. Nonetheless, they do not appear to be reformed as predicted by their Sinhalese Supporter, but, instead the JVP has transformed into a democratic political party today. Here we need to draw a line between the supporters of the Tamil cause and the supporters of LTTE. As far as the writer is concerned this distinction is indispensable.
Every President or Premier of Sri Lanka had to agree at some point in time that the Tamils were discriminated including JR Jayewardene. The writer totally agrees with Santhirasegara that the Tamil people were displaced and suffered at the hands of the Sri Lankan authorities.
Unlike the Sri Lankan army the LTTE claimed that the Muslims were their brethren and fighting for the “freedom” of all the Tamil speaking people and ruthlessly expelled the Muslims from their homeland whilst killing them in the East.
The resettlement of Muslims is largely in the hands of the LTTE rather than the SL government. No one will deny that all the refugees should be resettled including Sinhalese who Santhirasegara ignored to mention.
The Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims have become refugees within the country due to the civil war. People of all ethnic origins have been victims of civil war in Sri Lanka since the 1971 JVP revolution. The JVP also killed politicians and the members of armed forces.
The LTTE massacred the Sinhalese at Anuradhapura , Aranthalava , Kallarawa and other border villages in the East. The LTTE bombed and killed civilians at the Temple of Tooth, in Kandy. In Kallarawa , in the East in May 1995, the Amnesty International UK condemned the killings of the Sinhalese innocent villagers at Kalarawa and the killing of a Buddhist priest at Dimbulagala.
Mr. Lawrence Thilakar, the then LTTE spokes person wrote back to the AI on 10.07.1995 to defend the killing and legitimised the killings in his statement. The AI wrote back to him on 11 September 1995 , among other things that” Since May 1990, we have repeatedly raised our concerns about reports of gross abuse of human rights with the leadership of the LTTE, conveyed via you or other representatives of the LTTE outside Sri Lanka.
They have included the deliberate killing of the hundreds of non-combatant Muslim and Sinhalese civilians, the arbitrary killing of civilians in bomb attacks on public buses and trains, the torture and killing of prisoners, and abductions for ransom. We have also expressed concern about reports of execution-style killing of prisoners accused of being traitors.
It appears that Santhirasegara is excessively concerned about the Tamils without mentioning a word about the LTTE who also committed enormous human right violations. Although there are some white professors to support the LTTE in the west they are impartial and even condemn and or criticise the LTTE.
Prof. Peter Schalk, Chair of history of Religions at the University of Uppsala in Sweden made his point in a lecture “War and Peace” in London. In December 1995, that ” The LTTE should refrain from exploiting the fact that it derives its legitimacy through state terrorism by rejecting to commit violations of human rights. He also warned that “There is a limit for what can be tolerated as a legitimate action of war by the world community. There is no excuse for violations of human rights by referring to them as a reaction to the violations of the Government”. He is one of the members of the delegates who is said to has met the High level delegation of European Commission external Relations Officials in Brussel following the Brussels demonstrations against the travel ban on the LTTE last week of October. This is what lacking from our many LTTE supporters and Mr. Santhirasegara.
The SL government failed to protect the Muslims, the Tamils and even the Sinhalese who become refugees within the country due to the civil war. It is the history that the state sponsored Sinhalese colonisation in the North and East was sponsored by D.S.Senanayake, since the independence. It is also true that those Sinhalese traders, government employees, bakers, carpenters, mechanics, vegetable sellers and fishermen had to come to the North East and settle for the purpose of rendering their skill and services to the people of the region and lived as brothers.
Whilst Tamils and Muslims could settle in the South and engage in business and other activities and even erect mosques and temples, it is not construed as colonisation but an economic and social migration. There were also some state sponsored colonisations like Kent and Dollar farms where the ex convicts were settled and said to have posed threat to local Tamils. However, the innocent Sinhalese trading communities were chased out from Kalkudah, Punnakkuda and Batticaloa etc in the Batticaloa district by the LTTE. Following the pull out of IPKF , the writer was aware of how one of the then Batticaloa leaders of LTTE , threatened the Sinhalese with death and expelled the Sinhalese who had lived there for years. He later saved by the IPKF from swallowing cyanide.
The writer has made his own observation as to the Home Guard fiasco in his article to the lines issue of November 2003. In which he wrote “During the eighties the government established many paramilitary units including the now notorious ‘Home Guard’ units. These unites were purported to provide security to Sinhala and Muslims border villages, but mainly served to unleash counter-terror on Tamil villagers.
JR and his successor’s government exploited the volatile security situation of the Muslims to recruit youth to form Home Guard units. However, this move was not supported by many Muslims, and in fact some Muslims youth even joined the LTTE in the late 1980’s. Then there was a series of attacks on Muslims Home Guards in some parts in the East in 1987.” The home guard is the off-shoot of the LTTE’s intimidation, abduction and killings of the Muslims and the Sinhalese. They were manipulated by the Sri Lankan forces and unleashed counter terror activities on Tamil villages as repercussion of any attacks.
In the pretext of writing about the president election Mr. Santhirasegara put forward his views as to why Ranil wickramasinghe would be the better president. Becoming a President is one thing in Sri Lanka, whilst sustaining as President is another. The Presidents’ “life time” is decided by the LTTE. The writer wishes to quote as to what Karikalan , former eastern LTTE leader , told a UK journalist when he was asked whether the Sri Lanka President was on their hit list? “Our leader says that anyone who causes the death of Tamils in large numbers must be eliminated “ (The Independent 30 November 1995). It was the President, Chandrika Kumaranatunga who later had a narrow shave from the LTTE.
The writer would like to highlight from the letter of Mr.S. Sivapalan, who wrote to the Island News paper on 10th December 1995 in response to Mr.Somasekaram’s views on the plight of the people in Jaffna.; “Is Mr. Somasekaram aware of the 6000 prisoners held by the LTTE in concentration camps near Mullaitvu during 1992? Is he aware about the whereabouts of the 4000 prisoners held by the LTTE concentration camps in Eastern and Northern Province during February 1993? Are these not human tragedies”. Mr. Sivapalan also added in his letter that “The Tigers wanted the people out of Jaffna for their own reasons. Any decent human being will understand tribulation that is being undergone by the displaced Tamils from Jaffna and pity them. Why can’t the LTTE who is bent on to establish an Eelam and who has been continuously fighting did not think of this human catastrophe.”
The writer hopes that this will be an answer to Mr.Santhirasegara’s comments.
In the meantime the writer observes that all the presidential candidate claim that they will end the war and bring peace. Mahinda Rajapaksa wrote a letter dated 13 October 2005.to Desamanya Dr.Lalith Kotelawala , of Society for Love and Understanding in response to his concerns about the divergence of opinions of his alliances in respect of finding a solution to ethnic crisis and the ending of war.
In his letter he said , “ I want to you to know that under my Presidency there will be no more war in our country. For the peace we achieve to be a lasting Peace, it must grow on a foundation of Democracy and respect for Human rights “.
However both Ranil wickramasingha and Mahinda Rajapaksa has categorically declared that they will put an end to separation. It is politically naïve to say that the civil war would be renewed if Mahinda is elected and this is a propaganda ruse of those who would like to support Ranil.

From Asian Tribune: 07/11/2005

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